Saturday, November 26, 2011

This is me writing a blog post about Arnold Schwarzennegger talking about Total Recall

I love Total Recall. In fact, I think it is Arnold at his most Schwarzenneggerist, because he's trying so hard to be a movie star. Early campy shit like Conan and Commando were just Arnold showing he could flex and speak lines phonetically at the same time. The Terminator was a brilliant solution to the question, "How can we get people to watch Arnold for two hours when his acting is so robotic?" But Total Recall is Arnold as action hero. He tries to be loving, be tough, be dramatic, be funny, and be as confused as Philip K. Dick was when he tried to write the ending to the original story after his speed wore off. Throw in Paul Verhoven, the director who never met an exit wound or unecessary boob shot he didn't like, and you have sci-fi action comedy gold, Jerry.

But don't take my word for it. Let Arnold tell you about all the great parts of Total Recall in The Greatest DVD Commentary Ever Told.

He had me with the little laugh he gives after talking about using a character as a human shield. Who knew a T-800 came with a sense of humor?

The whole thing makes it sound like McBain talking about one of his movies. It reminded me of a little McBain bit I wrote for a Simpsons spec script I once wrote:

Homer and Bart sit in the living room, watching TV. Homer is in his underwear. On the television, a preview for a new McBain movie is running.

McBain is wearing a white dress a la Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot, along with a blond wig. He is approaching a group of Mendoza’s thugs on the street. McBain is communicating secretly with a hidden mike and earpiece.

I see Mendoza’s goons, chief.

Nice work, McBain. In that disguise, they’ll never recognize you.

The goons see McBain and begin to wolf whistle as he approaches.

MCBAIN (to the chief)
They think they’re getting a hot date, when they’re really going to get hot lead.

McBain walks over an open vent in the street. Air blows up, lifting his skirt and revealing an impressive arsenal of firearms around his waist. The goons reach for their guns, but McBain is quicker. He pulls out two submachine guns and empties the clips into the criminals. He looks down at the bodies on the street.

I guess blondes have more guns.

See McBain get dressed to kill in, Some Like It Dead.

Oh, to have been a writer for that show.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Top Ten Wednesdays: What are we thankful for?

10) Declined “full-ride” football scholarship to Penn State.

9) Early Black Friday deals on pants with elastic waistbands.

7) Kid brother still hiding his bong in the same drawer.

6) Replacing ten hours of awkward family conversation with football.

5) Mother’s drinking problem will make her more receptive to the news that Lance is more than just a good friend.

3) Taking a day off from still being unemployed.

1) Boners.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Random 11

It’s one more random than 10!

I’m so ready to rock I’m just going to plug in and spin the knobs (heh-heh, I said knobs).

1) “Somebody to Love,” Queen. There are only three things I have not liked about parenting: 1) Not sleeping enough, which is thankfully subsiding in toddlerhood, 2) Cleaning up poop, which is at least being relocated toward the toilet, and 3) Watching shitty movies. Libby does in fact like a lot of decent films, and studios like Pixar have made flicks that parents can enjoy as much as the kids. But every once in a while I get subjected to some piece of regurgitated penguin food like Happy Feet, which I bought for Libby unseen because she wanted “the penguin movie.” It’s like Glee for flightless waterfowl, and the only redeeming moment in it is a fairly stirring rendition of this song. But now the sequel is out and Libby—having just been to her first movie in the theater—wants to see it. What they need to make are 3D glasses for adults that actually block the kids’ movie and play something like Mad Men episodes. "Sure we can stay for the credits, sweetie, Christina Hendrix isn't finished changing yet."

2) “Mass Romantic,” The New Pornographers. The first song off their amazing first album, but unfortunately it kind of has the effect of reminding me how much I used to like The New Pornographers. It’s like a romantic relationship that has gone to the friend zone: Three albums that were nearly perfect, followed by two that have left me feeling like we were just going through the motions together. Then we had an argument because the band asked me if I was seeing its BFF, Neko Case on the side, and I said no, I mean, we met for one solo album, and that was purely platonic. But then they found out that I secretly bought all of her albums, causing the confrontation where I said TNP just didn’t do it for me any more after Challengers. We didn’t talk for again for a while until I bought their last album, and had a perfectly pleasant experience that nevertheless only served to remind me how hot and heavy we once were, especially when I was on my slow descent into alcoholism. Now we just occasionally run into each other at Starbucks.

3) “Whiskey Bottle,” Uncle Tupelo. About as close to a power ballad as I think Alt Country gets.

4) “Cause=Time,” Broken Social Scene. There’s a mellow Dinosaur Jr. vibe on this song, though I definitely feel the absence of a J Mascis freakout solo. This may also be the first album I ever bought solely because of a high Pitchfork review. Please don’t hold that against me, the Internet and I were still young and kind of unpredictable.

5) “Caroline,” Concrete Blonde. Very much the older sister of “Joey.” I also loved that Johnette Napolitano played the bass and sang, just like a certain Canadian I admire. Although she sang about alcoholic guys, sad women, and hungry vampires, instead of music-hating priests, journeys through black holes that led to encounters with Greek gods, and union-busting trees.

6) “Light-Rail Coyote,” Sleater-Kinney. Inspired, if I’m not mistaken, by a coyote actually riding the Portland rail. That’s the difference between the West and the East. A coyote isn’t getting on the New York Subway or the Chicago El. But you never know when something wild and furry is going to get on public transportation in the West. Although in L.A., it would likely be a dude on his way to respond to an ad on Craigslist.

7) “Little Sister,” Queens of the Stone Age. Libby has started asking about having a brother or sister. That’s extremely unlikely unless The Lovely Becky has been selected as the Immaculate Receptacle for the Second Coming. We’ve had to have conversations about how some families just have a mommy, daddy, and one little girl. It of course pains me to not be able to fulfill her request, which is probably why I will eventually buy her a pony.

8) “It’s Thunder and Lightning,” We Were Promised Jetpacks. If it’s not Scottish, it’s crap! Good thing this is Scottish. TLB’s sister and some of her Canadian relatives just took a trip to the land of single-malts and exposed male legs. I was so jealous. The trip TLB and I took there in 1997 was one of the best times of my life, touring a bunch of castles, envisioning myself on the parapet slaying foes like Sir Lancelot at a wedding, and then washing the day down with Scotchy-Scotch-Scotch. The only thing I didn’t like was driving, not because it’s the opposite but because Scots drive like they are Japanese pilots trying to sink American aircraft carriers. We did a bit touring off the beaten path which involved driving down one-track roads, which wouldn’t have been so bad if there weren’t crops that obscured the road ahead. I was literally driving on faith, hoping that some giant truck wasn’t whipping toward me at speeds that sound so much more dangerous in kilometers.

9) “Teardrop,” Massive Attack. Pretty much impossible for me to not bob my head while this plays, which makes it hard to write.

10) “That’s What You Get,” Paramore. Why do I like this song so much? Between this and Rush, I cocked up Three Bulls Radio something fierce, but this is so much more embarrassing than Apollo and Dionysius fighting for the soul of man. I feel like I should be shopping for leggings at Justice while complaining about why Taylor won’t return my texts, probably because he’s with that skank Montana. And yet, what happens to the volume knob? It gets turned up. Additional embarrassing revelation: I spelled Dionysius correctly on the first try. How exactly did I get ever get laid?

11) “My Morning Song,” The Black Crowes. A little more age and gender appropriate. Turned up even louder so I can feel the slide guitar, weed, and B.O. that went into making this song. Seriously, how would you like to be stuck with Chris Robinson in a recording booth. “Hey, Brando, could you bring up the vocals?” “Sure, but only if use this bar of Dial before I wrap it in a sock and beat you unconscious.” Still, worth enduring some fried nasal passages to hear the orgasmic reprisal of the chorus at the end.

Bonus track: “Love Removal Machine,” The Cult. I can’t let this go. Working with Rick Rubin would be the reverse of working with Chris Robinson. He’d say to Ian Astbury, “Could you try the vocal again, only throatier?” and Ian Astbury would say, “I think there’s a ferret living in your beard.” By far my favorite AC/DC ripoff track of all time and a plastic, fantastic way to head into the weekend. Have a great one.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Random 11

It’s one more random than 10!

Never has that line been more appropriate than on Nigel Tufnel Day. In honor of the best friend of the patron saint of footwear, I’m only going to play the first 11 random songs that I feel truly go to 11.

The logical choice to honor Nigel Tufnel on 11/11/11 would be to link to the Spinal Tap segment about the amps that go to 11. But my favorite part of the movie is this scene, which made me laugh louder than anything else in the movie the first time I saw it because it caught me completely by surprise. It is arguably the greatest dick joke in cinematic history.

1) “Coma,” Guns N’ Roses. It’s a bit funny that the two songs that top my list of favorite GnR ditties are “Mr. Brownstone” and “Coma.” That’s kind of like saying my two favorite TV shows are Man Vs. Food and America’s Next Top Diabetic (“Sweet! – Entertainment Weekly). Speaking of which, I think a big reason I watch Man Vs. Food is to see if someone has a heart attack on television. “I just ate 16 pounds of double-fried bacon cheddar custard ├ęclairs, and they were so delicious, I could….OW!!! Oh, I knew I should have skipped the Mt Fudgerest sundae! Gack!” It’s like the NASCAR of eating, you watch for the crash, not the race.

2) “Big Poppa,” Notorious B.I.G. At least he wasn’t on a diet when he was gunned down by Tupac’s people. How much would that suck? You lose 100 pounds because you want to be healthy when you get older, only you die the minute you leave Weight Watchers because you’re caught in an East Coast-West Coast rap war. Ain’t that a B?

3) “White Line,” Neil Young and Crazy Horse. Neil Young and Crazy Horse always go to 11.

4) “I Get Wet,” Andrew W.K. I would have played the shit out of this when I was 16. It would have been blaring out of my stereo when I was getting ready for a party, Dep’ing my hair and rolling my cargo pants, before adding my acid-washed jean jacket (collar up, of course). Unfortunately this came out when I was 31. Which makes me feel really old because that means Andrew W.K. has been around for 10 years in recorded form. Love this video because the intro is very reminiscent of Mach.

5) “You Can’t Say Kingston Doesn’t Love You,” Title Fight. Of course, when said party turned out to be a bust and the girl I wanted to talk to was instead talking to that other guy, and the cops broke everything up before I could have my second-swig of warm Beast that my buddy snuck out of his older brother’s room, I’d have come back and put this bit of breakneck melancholy on my headphones and contemplated what went wrong while fantasizing about how it could have gone right. Strong possibility this song shows up on the Favoritist of 2011 list.

6) “Holy Flames of the Firespitter,” High on Fire. FIRE! This makes me want to drive a tank through an army of orcs. Hey Sauron, think a nazgul can stop an armor-piercing round? Not if it's forged from mithril by an elvish maiden, motherfucker!

7) “Bad Luck,” Social Distortion. Mike Ness’s arm tattoos go to 11. I think he actually has tattoos on his tattoos. I am not inked at all because tattoos don’t suit me. I would never be able to just get something small like TLB in Viking runes with the L extending up to form a spear that impales a heart (to signify that I’ll love her until I get impaled on a Viking spear). No, I’d do something ridiculous like have the entire scene from Pulp Fiction where Jules and Vincent shoot the guy that took the case storyboarded on my back.

8) “Dumb,” Nirvana. It sucks when guys like Cobain die too young, but I also have a hard time imagining what they would have done if they lived. Like I heard Hendrix on the radio the other day, and the same thought ran through my mind, but then I couldn’t imagine what he would have done. Synths in the 80s? Snoop rapping on a remake of “The Wind Cries Mary” in the 90s? Playing a guest solo on Kelly Clarkson’s album in the aughts? Same with Cobain.

9) “How Soon Is Now,” The Smiths. About as 11 as Morrissey gets. I was very sad when this popped up in a car commercial. I don’t really mind that bands need to sell their songs for advertising—they gotta make a buck. But it has to match the product. Phoenix or Band of Horses pushing a few autos? That’s fine. Morrissey doing the same? That’s almost as bad as Modern English shilling for a horrific bathroom experience.

10) “Mountain Song,” Jane’s Addiction. Insanely fun to play on fake plastic drums and an absolutely blistering live version of this, complete with Perry Ferrell looking like Peter Gabriel would have looked if he had been on heroin and grown up in LA. Come to think of it, if Cobain had lived, maybe he would have turned into Perry Farrell.

11) “Unchained,” Van Halen. If you strip Spinal Tap of their “Stonehenge” tendencies, they pretty much could be a parody of Van Halen (or VH the embodiment of ST). Tell me that you couldn’t apply this review—“the musical growth rate of this band cannot even be charted…they are treading water in a sea of retarded sexuality and bad poetry”—to a lot of Van Halen albums? But still, I have always liked this song. It has a lot more heft and a lot less Roth-glazed ham than a lot of other songs. There's also classic Michael Anthony face around the :40 mark. I'd have looked that happy if I got to make millions of dollars slapping the top string of a bass guitar.

That’s it for today. Remember to have a good time all the time.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Top Ten Wednesdays: What's derailing our presidential campaigns?

10) What God’s voice tells us tends to sound much less commanding and sane when we repeat it to the media.

9) Letting all rebuttals being handled by our parasitic twin.

8) Knowing now why voters cry, but acknowledging that it is something we can never do.

7) Public wants to give ignorant morons from states other than Texas a shot at the White House.

6) As a testament to our libertarian commitment to curbing executive authority, we have only one campaign promise: if elected, we will commit ritual suicide.

5) Endorsed by Joe Paterno.

4) Tendency to shove hands deep into pockets, throw head back, and say, “Ohhh, that’s a tough nut to crack,” when asked about gay marriage.

3) Proposed enforcing reproductive violations by setting up remote breed cams in women's va-jay-jays.

2) Campaign posters have only been printed on the sides of milk cartons.

1) To be eligible for any jobs we propose to create, each American must first sleep with us.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Friday Random 11

It’s one more random than 10!

The road to blogging is paved with good intentions.

I have sat down every day this week, ready to drop some golden nuggets of comedy, only to find myself unable to think of anything to say. I have been saying funny things in the bricks and mortar world, and I drop the occasional bon-mot in my Facebook status update. But when I have been trying to be funny in any form of organized form—say, in a top 10 list—I have been banging my head against an invisible wall.

There have been times in the life of this blog (six years now, holy crap!) when blogging has been unconscious for me, as if I was taking dictation from my own writing staff. There was this great collaboration between anger at the political circumstances of the country and the satirical targets that were delivered on a silver platter.

Since Hope and Change (now known as Change We’re Hoping For), things have gotten different. I’ll be the first to admit I was pulled in by the charisma of the President of the United States (not to be confused with the former Preznit). I didn’t expect a revolution, I didn’t really expect more than some redecorating, maybe a different political feng shui. What I did not expect was the extent of change to be moving around a couple of rugs and calling it a day. Or thinking about knocking out those restraining walls separating the have room from the have-not room and determining it’s the thought that counts.

I figured the current crop of GOP Presidential Clowns would light a satirical spark, but it did the opposite: it made me sad. Post-Bush, this is the best the Republicans could do? The ROM-NEY 2012 Cybernetic Candidate, a Texan who seems to think less than the previous brush-beater, the most bat-shit crazy candidate to ever gain national attention, the less-charismatic brother of Clarence Thomas, and the crazier twin of Ross Perot. To quote a certain Heather, fuck me gently with a chainsaw.

I have always been a political animal, but I’ve found myself running away from the news, throwing myself into fiction or the inanities of videogames or fantasy football. I’ve probably read more about the various pulls and strains of running back Peyton Hillis than I have about the Republican field (and goddamn my stupid ass for not believing in the Madden Curse when I traded for that 240-pound hamstring pull).

But I find myself coming around again. After struggling a bit with putting a novel in the drawer (for now) and trying to get a new one off the ground, I had my Eureka moment a couple weeks ago. I feel myself channeling the ol’ satirical spittle into a character that maybe, just maybe, could become a great literary pie-in-the-face to the brain-dead conservative movement that is both hilarious and terrifying, because what happens if one of those people actually wins? If Herman Cain was president and have Angela Markel an indecent proposal she can’t refuse, what would happen if she did? Would we be nuking Nuremburg because of blue balls? And God help the Middle East if he gets anywhere near Queen Noor.

So this is a long-winded way of saying I not only want to start blogging again, I need to start blogging again (and commenting, too). It’s the only thing that’s going to keep me sane.

Tune time….

1) “Imaginary Friends,” Nada Surf. I did have the pleasure last week of seeing the incomparable Von, the tremendous Jennifer and her trusty sidekick Grizzled, and for the first time, the man who puts the animated in re-animated, ZRM. The circumstances were both bittersweet and familiar—bittersweet in that we toasted both the passing of Von’s dad and the arrival of her birthday, familiar in that we met in a bar in my old neighborhood, a place The Lovely Becky used to frequent regularly. It was a blast. It’s so interesting to meet residents from the bloggerhood in the flesh. We get to dispense with chit chat because we have been chatting for years. We already know about things like love for Canadian progressive rock, double-entendre swordfights, and waste receptacles that have been used and abused. By the end of the first round the filtbot had pulled up a stool and joined us, and the only thing were missing was a comments box. It was awesome.

2) “Von,” Sigur Ros. Okay, how randomly awesome and creepy is that. THE PLAYLIST IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE!

3) “Sex (I’m A…),” Berlin. And there’s the filthbot. Also one of the most hilarious male vocal turns this side of Right Said Fred. It’s literally like a jealous husband trying to put his arm around his hot wife while the press yell at him to get the fuck off the red carpet. Look, Mr. I’m-A-Man, I didn’t buy this album to hear you whisper “suck” during the outro, okay? Why don’t you go jump in front of The Metro?

4) “I Confess,” The English Beat. I have never been a big fan of this one. It’s a bit like the bastard child of Spandau Ballet and Morrissey. I like a more grind and less whine from my Beat songs.

5) “Super-Charger Heaven,” White Zombie. So completely in my wheelhouse. Distorted guitars turned to 11? Check. Thick, propulsive beat? Check. Completely random and hilarious references the occult? Checkity-check-check. From the “DEVIL MAN” in the chorus to the sound bite, “It is not heresy, and I will not recant!” I am sucked in completely whenever this is summoned in iTunes.

6) “Digital Love,” Daft Punk. Wow, that’s quite a three-song switch. The only bad thing about hearing Daft Punk is that I instantly wish I was someplace where I could be dancing to Daft Punk. I love how they save the heavier bass for the first couple minutes of the song. And how many Francophone neu-disco anthems have a killer guitar solo at the end? It’s like someone constructed a dance song based on results from a focus group consisting of only me.

7) “She Bangs the Drums,” The Stone Roses. They are touring! I know it’s sad and that nostalgia is the first sign you’re both old and no longer cool (not that I ever was the latter, but a boy can dream), but the idea of hearing this live makes me really fucking happy, and I may speak in tongues during “I Am the Resurrection.” Judging by the current pictures, though, I wonder if they are doing this to raise money for Botox injections. Regardless, I’m happy to throw in what will certainly be a very un-rock-and-roll amount of money for tickets.

8) “Fight Till You Die,” Pennywise. Bad Religion minus the thesaurus, which will either make this sound like pedestrian punk or music to Piscean ears. This album was prime Discman commuter material for me when I was fighting crowds on the subways of New York. Back the fuck off, I’m wearing a sweater vest and shirt with a banded collar!

9) “It Could Be Sweet,” Portishead. This past Halloween has taught me that I would sell out my country, my parents, and possibly my wife for a couple of Hundred Grand bars. The Lovely Becky bought them for the kids, but instead I have been devouring them with the ravenous bloodlust of an alien from War of the Worlds. It’s one of the most perfect confectionary creations ever: chocolatey, caramely, chewy, and crunchy, a precisely balanced representation of the four candy groups.

10) “How Deep Is Your Love,” The Rapture. I got Pitchforked when I bought The Rapture’s debut based on an elusive 10.0 from everyone favorite hated arbiters of indie rock taste. This, however, is a great song, precisely because it is a song, not a bunch of beats, bleats, and serrated guitars that covered their first record. The keyboards even pack a little Funky Bunch punch for good measure.

11) “A Forgotten Chapter in the History of Ideas,” The Fucking Champs. If you have a metal bone in your body, you will be compelled to bang your head for the first two minutes of this instrumental riff-o-rama. Imagine if Metallica had decided to stop sucking and singing sometime in 1989 and you get an idea of what this sounds like. I always have this album in my car because whenever I need to channel my inner Road Warrior and battle through traffic, this makes me feel like I’m wearing football shoulder pads and carrying an Easton aluminum bat that’s topped with a skull. METAL!

Bonus track because I’m a pleaser, not a teaser:

“Kiss on My List,” Hall & Oates. I was talking to TLB the other day and made mention of something being irrelevant and she said, “You mean like John Oates.” This elicited a stern reprimand from me, because Oates is much more than a pretty mustache. He is the digestive enzyme that makes songs like this so yummy in my musical tummy. He is not Andrew Ridgeley with a hairy lip (ironically, Ridgeley has more hair on his lip than his head these days). And who doesn’t want to have someone’s kiss on their lips as we head into the weekend?

Have a good one, and if you can’t love the Oates you want, love the Oates you’re with.