Friday Fives – toofless

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The last thing you posted on Facebook is the first thing you must say in a speech in the UN, how screwed are you?

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It’s not good news for me.  Here is my last post, verbatim… from about 3 or 4 days ago: Just read that Toad is touring on the 25th anniversary of their masterpiece ‘Fear’. Time flies! I saw them play a bar on that tour… with a fake ID (of course).

What is a classic “old person name”? 

       Harold

What trait do you most resent your parents for passing onto you?

Being short

What is the prettiest word in a foreign language?

schadenfruede (likely mis-spelled)

The zombie apocalypse is breaking out and the only thing you have to defend yourself with is the last thing you purchased. What are you using to defend yourself?

Oh, it’s on.  I am loaded up, and down, with 5 containers of yogurt.  Eat that, zombie bitches!   You are eating too much brains, and it’s time for some probiotics, motherfuckers!

Just had a toof pulled, been on yogurt for a week now.  You been warned, zombies.  Prepare for a delightful, somewhat healthy, and low calorie snack.

Ok, that feels empty.  You deserve more.  How about a silly bonus?  We’ll do this just like we used to.  the first song that comes up on my phone on random, and what it means to me:

Times of Trouble – Temple of the Dog

first things first, maybe I should introduce you.  Temple of the Dog is a supergroup composed of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden.  Even better, this band pre-dates Times of Trouble.  Temple of the Dog was a small songwriting side project for Chris Cornell after his roommate died of a heroin overdose.  Sorry, too long of a story.  It is an amazing song, and you should find it’s twin.  Mike McCready from Pearl Jam wrote the music for the song.  He not only gave it to Chris Cornell, he put it on a demo tape.  Mother Love Bone was looking for a singer, since Andrew Wood died. The band put 3 songs on a demo tape, now famously known as the ‘mamason trilogy‘, and this song was one of them.  the Pearl Jam song is called Footsteps, and it may be the most powerful and intimate vocal Eddie has ever done.

This specific cut is from the Temple of the Dog re-issue.  Here is the Cornell version from Temple of the Dog.  Now… here is the Pearl Jam version.  To further complicate things… the backing band is exactly the same on both.  Scratch that, I am not just going to link it, I am going to embed it.  If you can, I strongly encourage you to listen to this with headphones to get the full effect.

 Which version is better?  Now, I could give you a chickenshit answer.  I could say “each is terrific, and has it’s own value.  You can’t just compare art to art.  You can not, and should not- qualify OR quantify art.  Let each thing stand on it’s own merit.  Chickenshit!  There is a better version of the two, and Pearl Jam wins.  Listen to Vedder’s voice, there are tears.

Friday Fives – how Lost ruined my love of everything

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If there could be a sequel to any movie which doesn’t have one, what would you choose?

Big Fish – maybe the greatest movie ever made.  Imagine this:  imagine if once, just once, Tim Burton took his crazy vision and made a happy and bright movie?  Well, he did it… just once.  Don’t worry, it has a tiny bit of Tim Burton trademark darkness… and of course stars his ex wife… but for a brief shining moment we saw a joyful and Tim Burton… and it is amazing!

We need the sequel for, if nothing else, Steve Buscemi’s poet laureate character to finish his poem.

Which TV Show or Movie’s title totally contradicts with its plot?

The Sopranos.  They can’t sing for shit.  Of course, ain’t like anyone is going to say that to their face.

 What’s the laziest and most over-used sitcom trope?

The hot wife who holds it all together for the family, and the dopey husband who barely manages to not kill himself every waking moment.  the wife is always an 8.5 of hotness, and they guy is a 4.

Every movie is re-named to be as obvious as “Snakes on a Plane”. What are the best alterations?

i don’t know.  this question is weird.  like your face.

 From start to finish, what’s the best binge-able TV series?

Breaking Bad.  Best arc, best storytelling.  Everything gets resolved, too.  Not in a good way, or maybe even in a satisfying way… but everything is addressed and ties together.

To make Walt a protagonist through all this is no easy feat.  With Tony Soprano, he is easy to root for.  He’s in the mafia, and everyone knows what they signed up for.   and if he wasn’t pulling the springs, someone else would be.  Same outcome.  With Walt, though, you see his evolution.  It is done so masterfully, through both Vince Gilligan’s genius vision, and Brian Cranston’s untouchable acting.

I am thinking of Lost here.  Did you watch that?  8 years of my life in the shitter.  NOTHING WAS EXPLAINED.  Nothing.  All we get are the protagonist, and the antagonist (smoke monster) were/are brothers.  It’s all very Cain and Abel.  At the end, everyone is dead, I guess.  Spoiler alert.  After 7 or 8 or 9 years of INCREDIBLE storytelling… here is what we get.  The last scene is Jack walks into a church.  He was dead.  They were all dead.  I guess they all were.  Always.   For many people, myself included, Lost ruined ALL television.  Seriously, I am afraid to love again after burning that much time and energy.

Breaking Bad doesn’t do that.  They were also, I am sure, WELL aware of Lost’s failure to connect with a single viewer or storyline.  With Breaking Bad, we had just come off to VERY big finales.  The Sopranos, and Lost.  I think the Soprano’s ending was brilliant… but most did not.

People didn’t like the ambiguity, but I think it was perfect.  I wrote about that here.

entering into lengthy and angry Lost rant

Ok, one cool thing that Lost did.  JJ Abrams invented the ‘flash forward’, and the ‘sideways flash’ to layer the complexities of the story.  Not  that any of that ever  pays off.  EVER.  Even worse?  As the ending of the show approached, fans worried they could not possibly pay off about 30 to 45 of the key questions that had come up.  They assured us all will be answered.  Lost had this brilliant way of each time they answered a question to your satisfaction, it would ask 3 new ones.

Don’t worry, Abrams and Lindeloff told us.  They have had this whole thing sketched out for years.. and it will all make sense.    IT DIDN’T.   nothing was resolved.  I guess we learned Hurley was the real prophet (as I had long suspected).  What about why women couldn’t have babies on the island?  What about the others?   What about  Jack seeing his father everywhere?  What was the smoke monster after?  Why were their polar bears?  What did Penny and Desmond and her rich and evil dad have to do with all of this?  What were the lottery numbers about?  Why could they move through time and space?  What was Mr Ecco about?  What about his dead brother in the plane?  Why was there a ship filled with dynamite?  Who cares, you will NEVER EVER EVER KNOW, did that homemade jumbo jet ever make it off the island?  What are Jack’s tattoos’ about?  Was John Locke handicapped from the big fall?  Did the island heal him?

 

 All you need to know is in the very end all the main characters are together in a church.  They are all waiting for Jack, and it is Kate who let’s us know that.  It would appear this is some kind of  funerary service.  Were they all dead?  Were they always dead?  Was this just a dream?  We will never know.  The only thing we’ll know is my heartbreak and confusion when the show ended.  It was like how the last presidential campaign ended.  I kept thinking ‘well, I know Hillary was a terrible candidate, but they aren’t really going to let him be president, are they?’

Friday Fives – just some more pet stuff, really

*** note:  my editor gave me 5 questions about Trump.  I can’t do it.  I am still in denial, seriously.  I am sure anger is coming, but right now it’s mostly denial and worry.  Let’s talk about this at the bottom, shall we?  I’ll try and be brief.

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How many pets have you had at one time?

Probably now we have the most I have ever had.  3 horses, 2 cats, 3 dogs, and some fish

What is the strangest pet you have ever had?

I had a turtle once, really really briefly.  Being a Deadhead in high school, I was a big fan of the dancing turtles from Terrapin Station.  I had them dancing across the back windows of my van.  One day, Joel came across a turtle.  Just a turtle.  A real one, probably in someone’s yard.  Knowing my affinity for the Dead and the turtles, and my obvious love of animals… he brought it to me.  This was high school sometime.  I was, of course, thrilled.

We had some errands to run, so I just set him down.  They don’t move fast.  They hardly move at all.  So, I set him down figuring he would be there when I got back.  Then, I could figure out how the hell to explain this to my folks and see how I could keep and raise him.

When I got back, he was gone.  There was no fenced yard.  We just set him down on the lawn.  Couple hours later… gone!  So, I did have a turtle once.  For about an hour.  Had I kept him, I would still have him.  Those little bastards live for a 100 years or more.  Same with parrots.  Odd, isn’t it?

What is the coolest trick you have ever taught a pet?

We had a wonderful and smart and sensitive black lab named Maury girl in college.  Technically, she was Renee’s.  But, we were dating shortly after she got the dog, and living together shortly after that.  Anyhow, it being college… and us thinking we were clever… we taught her a couple silly things.  Instead of ‘shake’, we taught her to do that motion when we said ‘drug deal’.  So, you walk up to Maury girl and say ‘drug deal’, and it would look like she was slipping you a baggie.

Additionally, for ‘down’, we taught her that… but the word she learned that action to was ‘cops’.   In tandem, these were always a huge hit at parties.  She moved with us to Denver, and basically raised Max.  here is something interesting about her… she was SUPER sensitive.  Whenever we would argue, she would cower under the kitchen table and shake.  These aren’t big arguments, mind you.  These aren’t “I slept with your brother”.  These were ‘what kind of monster puts ketchup on steak?”.    We learned we had to go into another room to argue so we wouldn’t upset her.

Here is a bonus fun and rather true story about Maury girl, and the Christmas she almost ruined.

Real animals: What animal have you always wanted as a pet?

All of them!  When I was younger, I imagined when I grew up my house would be a zoo.  I definitely wanted lots of birds flying around.  The wife has forbid it, and for good reasons.  Birds are lousy pets.  They don’t care about you, they are mean, they are pointlessly and endlessly loud, they are wildly independence, and shit everything up.  There is zero love given back to you.

Imaginary animals: Describe the ideal pet, an animal that doesn’t really exist.

A golden retriever that was like 30 pounds.  I want every aspect of that dog… the temperament and the coat and the joy and the desire to please… in a MUCH smaller package.  Forever, we had the most wonderful dog ever, Maxwell Silver Hammer.  he was, of course, a Golden.  We now have a different Golden, named Monty.  What is odd, though, is this new dog looks EXACTLY like the last one.  Not just in temperament and behaviors… as that is probably a Golden Retriever thing… but his hair and coat and face… all of that.   Here is a pic of our current magical little Golden, Monty.

A bit about this picture.  My nephew is visiting from Phx, AZ in this picture.  At home, they too have a golden retriever.  He totally missed his Golden, Rexie.  So, Monty offered to be his Rexie for the weekend.

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I can’t even tell who is happier here.  Probably not George.  Doesn’t look like it is going to end well for him.  It’s a pretty great moment.

 

 

 

*** ok, quick addendum to my Trump thing above.  Here is what scares me.  A first thought, you might think ‘well, anything he can do, the next president can undo.’  Problem is… not so much.  You know about ‘separation of govt’, right?  It is designed to have the power carefully divided between 3 bodies:  the executive (POTUS), the judicial (SCOTUS), and the legislature.  Problem is, right now, Trump has all 3.  In fact, it is even stronger than that..  since he has both the house and the senate.

So…. To undo all the shit he is doing… the next president will have to have all those powers in his back pocket.  It will be REALLY tough to get the Supreme Court back if he gets some nominees in.  remember, those appointments are for life.  Impeach him, right?  From what I understand, people are WAY more scared of Pence.

Friday Fives – Como Aqua para Chocolate

What movie is so poorly made that it becomes funny?

Gotcha.  I have 2 movies that I love because they are SO bad yet really so great.  Gotcha, and Summer School.  Both these movies did so poorly in the box office that neither was ever pressed to DVD until about 15 years after it was released to VHS.  I deeply love both these movies.

You know what we need Wonder Mutt?  I mean… besides bread.  A woman who appreciates us!

 

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What movie made you cry so much that you could never even bear to watch it again?

The greatest and most romantic and perfectly told tale of love ever.  Como Agua para Chocolate

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here is a hint as to how magical this movie is.  Look at this poster!  Ever seen anything sexier?

What movie becomes more interesting if you add “from behind” to the title?

Gotcha!

What do you think when you hear ‘Belgium’? 

We are still talking movies, right?

In Bruges.  Supposed to be a great think piece from Colin Farrell, but it’s a dumb ass snoozer with terrific cinematography.  Btw, I have really come around on him.  Forever, it seemed he was just so fucking good looking that I could not take him seriously.  Thing is, he is funny.  Watch the movie ‘Horrible Bosses’.  Dude is fantastic.

What movie is so perfect you do not fuck with?  

Princess Bride

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Friday Fives – school yard edition

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Tell us about your first fashion crisis. 

Not something I thought we were going to talk about here.  This question, America, is why it should be abundantly clear I do not write these questions.  I have, of course, but 90% of the time they come from my editor and mentor, Roy.  Sorry, back to our question.  When I was in kindergarten, I remember very little.  BUT, I remember ‘Western Day’.  We were to dress up in fun cowboys ways.  One of my big brother’s (the dumb one, not the ugly one) had some cowboy boots.  Both brothers are about 5 years older, so the boots did not fit.  That had NO bearing on my decision…  I was going to wear those fucking boots!  So, I spent the day at school falling out of my shoes and probably looking dumb.   Obviously, it didn’t go terribly well… as it is literally my only memory from back then.

I smile as I look back, but that is also because I had all my classmates murdered since then.  Well, except the Az Monkey Boy.  He even knows about the library book incident… which assures he will be dead.

What is your earliest memory of recess?

Fun, playing, running, football.  I was an athletic kid, so recess was the best.  I mean, what’s not to love?  You aren’t in class?  Was I supposed to say how lonely I was?  Am I supposed to say this is when I was afraid to go play because of the bullies?  Is this where I tell you about the incident with the PE teacher who got a little handsy?  No sir.  My childhood was AMAZING.

Can I tell you something that no one will even talk about?  In middle school (so I am about 12, and this is about 1984) our favorite game was called ‘smear the queer’.  Note, this had NOTHING to do with anyone’s sexuality.  It also had NOTHING to do with bullying… because everyone who played was self selecting.  We all voluntarily went out to the field and played.  Perhaps you are not familiar with the game.  You have about 10 or 20 boys, and a nerf football.  Whomever has the football, everyone else chases and tries to tackle.  He is, you see, the ‘queer’.  When he could not longer handle the heat, he would throw the ball away.  Now, he is instantly safe and no one cares.  All eyes are on the next fool who grabbed the ball (voluntarily).  It was silly fun, and tons of exercise.  That is it.  I am sure kids were bullied.  I was not bullied (well… much.  I was a spindly as kid with a loud mouth.  I made things kinda tough on myself), nor did I bully… or see bullying.

OR… maybe I did, and was, and am… and just repressed it.

I want to clarify another thing.  Growing up, we used the term ‘gay’ a lot.  It had nothing to do with sexuality.  Obviously, it is a mean and unnecessary descriptor, and I no longer use it.  However, then (if not now, I don’t know) it simply meant ‘lame’.  Understandably, I don’t use that term anymore.  That word is off limits, which is (frankly)… gay!

*** so, all this ‘gay’, ‘homo’, and ‘queer’ stuff is innocent fun, right?  No it is not.  How would a young 10 year old kid feel who was gay hearing these words and terms thrown around?  He would be terrified, and likely ashamed.  THAT is why we don’t like that anymore.  Well… I don’t.  Those homos in 6th grade probably still do.  Barbarians!

Tell us about your first driver’s test. 

You won’t like this.  It was SO easy and SO awesome.  In short, I got my license without ever taking the test.  In high school, I got to participate in an after school program called ‘Behind the Wheel’.  It was something my parents wonderfully paid for, so I could learn to drive.  2 or 3 days a week, after school, I got driving lessons.  It was a single adult teacher, and 3 to 4 students.  We would take turns driving.  I don’t remember how long this was for, but when it came time to get my driver’s license… I had a pass.  Literally, I was given a certificate from this program and I handed it in and got my license.  I don’t even remember if I took the written test, but I know I didn’t have to take the driving test.

Funny consequence about that:  I never learned how to parallel park.  Seriously, I STILL can not parallel park.  I haven’t had to.  I didn’t drive back East, where you have to parallel park daily.  Plus, 90% of my driving experience has been in trucks.  You don’t have to parallel park

Tell us about your oddest family relative

Believe it or not, and I understand if you don’t… I can’t think of one.  On top of that, I would not be surprised if anyone else in my family named me.  I am fine with that.

Tell us about the first time you got into trouble in school.

No.

 

Friday Fives – the Future of Mexico

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What hobby attracts the most assholes?

Wow.  That is a thoughtful and odd  question.  Needless to say, it would be something involving men.  Weightlifting.

 What’s a weird hobby you have?  

Not arson, I can tell you that much.  Not even sure why you just brought that up.  Let’s look.  What are my hobbies?  Guitar and bass playing.  Traveling.  Writing to you aholes.  Probably that one.  I have been doing this, on this very web address, since 2003.  Snark BEFORE TMZ, Salon.com, Buzzfeed, Cracked, the Daily Show.  Did I invent it?   No.  we would go back to the Harvard Lampoon.  Sure, there was snark and thoughtful social commentary as long as language goes back.  However, the Lampoon organized it.  They published.  They wrote original material.  They made movies.  They win.  Plus, Simpson’s was entirely run by Harvard nerds for the first few generations.

If you could shoot anything out of your index finger, what would you choose?

Clean tap water.  I would go back to Mexico (note, I literally woke up in Mexico today.  We are there a lot) and help them with their water problems.  They have tap water, but you can’t drink it…. Still.   I have been traveling to Mexico for almost 30 years.  It hasn’t changed.  It is still all charm, and a total fucking mess.  That is why we visit.  People think of Cuba as being this magical place stuck in 1959, and it is.

Anyhow,  getting a cup of water out of your tap is an incredible advancement, and one we obviously take for granted.  In Mexico (again, this is on my mind because I was just back from a week there.  We go a lot, annually.  Both wife and i speak Spanish, and we have been all over the country) you can’t drink the water.  It also means you can’t get a mixed drink.  Why not?  Because your mixed drink has ice in it, made from the (bad) tap water.  So, you keep a nalgene*** bottle of purified water with you everywhere… even to a restaurant.  Other than that, drink beer!  BUT WAIT… was that beer kept in a cooler?  Maybe with water and ice?  Maybe there is some of that water on the bottle or bottlecap.  You have to consider that, too.  We take lime and rub it around the top before we drink,

Mexico kinda feels the same.  At least the places we go, outside of some random wifi in a restaurant, I could drop you where we were this week and defy you to even give me a decade we were in.  LOVE it.

How about some pics from our vacation?  Scroll down.  Hold on, they are still on my phone.  Through the magic of time edit, it is done now and they are down there.

What’s something you will never do again?

That I am willing to share, in writing?  Ok, that scratches out most humiliating stupid ideas that have made great stories.  It’s safe to say skiing.  I never liked skiing, and never got in to it.  Grew up in Phx, you remember.  The skiing there, frankly, is sub par.  Since then, I have had a few knee surgeries.  Plus, the idea of paying… a LOT… to be stuck on a mountain outside in a snowstorm… with no way to safety but sticks lashed to my feet… well that doesn’t seem like fun.  That seems like a big problem.

How do you think the world will end?

I don’t think it will be war, I think it will be disease.  However, let me end with this AMAZING quote by Einstein – I do not know how WW3 will be fought, but WW4 will be fought with sticks and stones.

mexico vacation photos below

*** nalgene – I am guessing everyone from Colorado reading this knows that this is, and others may not.  It’s just a water bottle, but its the greatest water bottle ever.  unbreakable, strong, light, big, dishwasher friendly.  If you don’t have several get some now.  You will thank me.  REI has the best, and I think kind of pioneered the design and popularized the brand.

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pictures from Mexico.  Why?  Why not?

Working actors – I was Correct!

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A few years ago, I finally publicly lamented the curse of the musician in popular culture.  When an actor goes on Jimmy Kimmel, they aren’t expected to do a scene.  Shouldn’t they?  Instead of showing a clip, let’s bring on 2 of the actors and have them read a scene together.

Point of contrast being – when a band comes on same shows, they have to perform.   Why not let them sit and chat for ten minutes… and then ‘play a clip’  of their new song?

Since I am closer to a musician than I am an actor… I feel we are getting screwed.  Well, I was Correct!  The late night breath of fresh of fresh air, James Corden, has rectified this.  He has brought on some great sports to re-create all of their iconic roles of the last 20 years.  With quick minds, quick change  clothes, and a lot of fast working stage hands… they ‘play a clip’ by performing live.  In essence, it becomes ‘dance, you monkey, dance’.  This is what the entertainer was for.  Sit around with the king and bust everyone’s balls to amuse the King.

I feel this puts us music playing folks on a more even keel with actors.  Oh, and let’s say you are going camping.  Who do you want by the fire?   Folks with acoustic guitars!.  Actually, though, it would be pretty cool to have a small troupe sitting around a campfire drinking and doing a play or scene together for fun.

Enjoy!

 

See, I still have this great idea.  Take a 100 million dollar Tom Cruise film.  Instead of filming it, you take that show on the road… 10 cities.  Perform it live!  I know you are thinking ‘that already exists, it’s called a play”.  Not quite. I  want the big budget super special effects thing done with all the stars right in front of me.  Maybe use a football stadium.  Each night would be expensive to produce… a million bucks a night!  This movie has jets?  Then we get jets to fly over the stadium.

How do you afford that?  The average football stadium is 70,000 seats.  If each seat pays $14… we have a million already.  You are already paying almost that to see the movie in the theater.  You would certainly pay that to head downtown and see all the big actors do the roll in person.  There is certainly another few million to be made in concessions.

With special effects and a LOT of money, this is all doable today.  Now, you think ‘but the sound sucks in a football stadium’… it sure does.  So, the actors are mic’d up and you are wearing a headset that beams the audio directly to your ears.  They did this in the Vatican, it was really clevel.  As you can imagine, at any point in time, there is thousands of people touring.  You can’t have a group bigger than about 15.  So, that would leave hundreds of tour guides shouting over each other.  Intead, the guide wore a mic and just spoke at a soft whisper… and we were each wearing a headset paired only to our guide.

In closing,

I would like to paraphrase a brilliant and fun acceptance  speech from a young Will Smith “I would like thank me!  Without me, none of this would have been possible.”