As Woody Allen said, the heart wants what it wants. So, why are you here?
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
The YouTube Hall of Fame
I discovered these from Bill Simmon's, the Boston fan/sportswriter who leads a pack of truly excellent journalists on ESPN.com's Page Two. He wrote an article entitled "The YouTube Hall of Fame," and I've stripped out some of the best ones for your perusal. Some of them are amazing. I should spend more time on YouTube. It's truly amazing the way people can find the time to dig up these insanely obscure clips from the past, digitize them, and put them up for all the world to see. I don't know who these people are, or if they're as weird as I imagine them to be (I suspect so). But no matter. Tonight, I salute them. Your efforts are not in vain.
Anyway, here's my top ten from the clips on the article. In order.
10. "Grand Theft Submarine" Adam Corolla - who, if he's not the least talented person on television, is awfully close - goes into a long diatribe on a movie idea that he's come up with off the top of his head. Simmons notes that he does this quite often, and since he has no long-term memory, usually recycles these ideas 7 or 8 times over the course of a month or two. Wow. They give this guy shows. Multiple shows. Some bright-eyed cynical animator decided to animate one of his movie ideas into a pretty convincing animated pitch for a film. This film has been made before. If this were 1988, this film would be being made now, and would probably star Jean-Claude Van Damme and Lea Thompson. Think about that.
9. Van Damme on the Dance Floor Speaking of which, remember that brief period of time between "Dirty Dancing" and, um, common sense in which brief dance segments were added to films to up the fanbase?This is the dark, moldy underside of that movement. Stick around to about the one-minute mark on this clip. That's when the splits start coming.
8. Namath-Kolber I I feel bad putting this up, not because it's not funny (it is), but because I feel that Namath probably put in a few too many years for the Jets, took a few too many sacks, got a few too many concussions, and now awkwardly hits on vaguelly attractive female reporters while being interviewed on national television, and what right have I to laugh at him? I imagine that by the time I'm 30, Aikman and Young will be pulling similar stunts on the sideline of important playoff games and mortifying their fanbase. Or, more appallingly, a slow-witted Brady trying to get some action while the Patriots play in Super Bowl LV. I'm feeling sick about this. Though, honestly, it's pretty great when she throws it back to the booth and the announcers try to play it off with one of those "Oh, that's just Joe" comments. You've gotta be professional to pull that one out with a straight face.
7. Mike Tyson Post-Fight Interview This is the one where he reveals his plan to eat Lennox Lewis' children. I'd forgotten how wildly insane Tyson was. He's really from a different planet, isn't he?
6. "Whatzupwitu" There was a time when Eddie Murphy was huge, huge. There was a time when Michael Jackson was even huger. And they made a video together. It's like watching the entire Holy Roman Empire crumble in under five minutes, counting download time.
5. Bill Shatner & Rocket Man I'd only seen Family Guy take-off on this (which I couldn't find online). I'd had no idea that it was based on reality. I had no idea that awards shows could get this out of control. I had no idea that William Shatner was more out of touch than, say, if Mike Tyson had been raised by aliens (though I vaguelly suspected it). It's like a dream come true for all that is unholy in this world. Remember folks: he's in dead earnest here. This is like watching R. Kelly's dramatic one-man interpretations, only ten times better.
4. Carl Lewis "Break It Up" Carl Lewis - yes, that Carl Lewis - wrote a song and made a music video out of it. I've always held the view that the 80's were a dark period in our history, something that should be erased from the books and from our musical memories. Every other nation in the world is willing to rewrite history in order to forget the atrocities of the past, but we can't even destroy this.
3. NY Jets Draft Blunders The best part of this - by far - is the point where Commissioner Rozelle starts off "The Jets select fullback..." and doesn't get any further, because from the back there's a piercing howl of one man going "Noooooooooooo!" I've watched this clip several times, and that moment never gets any less funny. Other highlights include a freaked-out Mel Kiper, as stunned as every fan in the auditorium, going "The Jets just do not get what the draft was about." Priceless.
2. Vanilla Ice Goes Postal on MTV This is a cool idea. Before all the snotty "Talk Soup" and "Best Week Ever" shows that they have now, MTV gathered some legitimately funny stars: Jon Stewart, Chris Kattan, Janeane Garafalo, and Dennis Leary, and sat them down to make fun of the most terrible and overplayed music videos together, then destroy them. This comes to a head when they're joined by the newly punk-rock Vanilla Ice, who was to help them poke fun at "Ice, Ice Baby," then destroy the tape. Everyone was unsuprisingly too scared to poke fun at a video while watching it with the artist there, but it got great as the video went on. Instead of destroying the video, Vanilla Ice destroys the studio, wreaking havoc on the set. The crowning moment is him charging with a bat towards an end table, while a terrified Kattan screams "Vanilla, no!" It's like Christmas.
1. Journey -- "Separate Ways" Everything that's beautiful about the 80's - over the top lip-synching, air guitar, weird cinematography, bewildering choreography, and the complete ruination of a band's best song by a video that tazers one with its awfulness. Did I mention the heavy slow motion? There's a reason this beat out Carl Lewis and Vanilla Ice, and that is this: lead singer Steve Perry, sleeveless but by no means buff, launches into this video with a performance Simmons called "one of the greatest performances of the last 35 years -- he throws himself into this thing like DeNiro or Pacino." Anthony Michael Hall couldn't have given a more fitting 80's performance than this. This is the apex of the decade.
The Galahad Impulse, or how I hope to become famous
I tried to find someone today by Googling their name, but no luck. As a test, I ran my name again, to see what would come up (I did a similar test a year and a half ago). I had pretty much the same results as last time, though at least this time a lot more of the entries discovered were actually about me, which was fun. My favorite find by far, though, was the discovery that I was a character in a moderately erotic detective story called "The Galahad Impulse." It's one of those stories with sections like this: Room service brought us a bottle of merlot, platters of red meat, potatoes swimming in sour cream and a salad tossed with blue cheese. We ate as greedily as we had made love. Finally, all organs sated, we sprawled on the king-size bed. "Pam," I said, "there's something wrong with this. If someone had raced out to me on the sixteenth hole and told me my wife had been kidnapped, I’d come running — even though the crime had been foiled. I wouldn’t stop to change shoes, certainly not socks.”
I play the street-smart, tough-as-nails police captain with an eye for espionage. A sampling: The captain came towards me, his hand outstretched. His grip was strong. “Helluva job, Mahaffey. I’m Ben Wyman.” “I was just in the right place at the right time, Captain.” “Well, Mahaffey, there’s plenty of so-called upright citizens in the right place at the right time, and they don’t do a damn thing.”
Another prime section: I called Wyman, who was still at work. As soon as I launched into my theory, he interrupted. “You’re right, Mahaffey — we went to arrest him. He split.” “Split?” “We’ll find him. He shaved his head in the executive john. Had to launch his escape plan a little earlier than scheduled.” “And I thought I was Sherlock Holmes." “I had some help. One of the heavies confessed.” “Oh.” I felt better. “That’s cheating.” “Not the way we do it.” I laughed. This Wyman was something.
As you can imagine, I'm pretty thrilled about all this.
This piece of news is so incredible that I'll need to lead up to it with a bit of history.
During the filming of 1959's Plan 9 From Outer Space, director Ed Wood - generally considered (okay, unanimously considered) to be the worst director in the history of film - lost his main actor, Bela Lugosi early on in shooting due to his untimely death. Not to be dissuaded, Wood wrote a script around the footage he had already shot and finished the film with his wife's chiropracter, Tom Mason, in the role, a man considerably taller than Lugosi. Mason acted the entire film with a cape over his face.
This is generally considered the low point in film history. We may have to reconsider.
During the filming of 2007's Postal, director Uwe Boll - generally considered (okay, unanimously considered) to be the worst director alive today - announced recently that he's decided to fight the harsh criticism that his films have quite appropriately received.* Well, he's not actually going to fight the criticism. He's going to fight the critics.
He's invited his five worst critics to fly out to the location of where he's shooting his latest atrocity, Postal,** where he has volunteered to put them up in a hotel for a night, and then they are welcome to climb into a boxing ring with him and actually box him.
I guess he's finally answered his critics.
* His latest, Bloodrayne, was so mind-blowingly bombastically terrible that Imdb's only user comment simply says: "Man, this movie blows." ** Starring - get this - Gary Coleman.
Since the Coldplay explosion in 2003, soft rock is hip. You know this. And this is a good thing. Some of America and the U.K.'s best artists have suddenly gained wild mainstream attention, and one can be cool these days without having to pretend that he's into Chamillionaire or Young Jeezy. Which is good, because you'll never catch me riding dirty.
But it's gone too far. The following list of artists are now under orders to ditch whatever musical direction they are currently heading in, purchase $60 amps from Guitar Emporium and turn them up to 11, watch "School of Rock" non-stop for 72 hours, hire a drummer who hasn't worn a shirt since 1996, head out on the road, and start rocking.
1. James Blunt You've got so much potential, James. But your album is lousy. 10 songs long, and only five are any good, and three of those are slow. Sure, I love that you've got the former-British-soldier edge, but ditch the cheery poppy tunes, it undermines everything you're doing. There are terrible things that happen during war, but nothing sounds sad when you're warbling it over a plunky piano at 120 BPM. The only rocker on the album is "High," and the guitar sound is so clean it could be an LFO track.
There's a reason that radio stations are starting to ban your songs. They're catchy and bright, but it reaches a point where you want to start banging your head into the wall. Make it stop.
2. John Mayer Y'know, we called you "the songwriter of our generation." And we meant it. You had the whole package - pop hooks with indie cred, surprisingly solid guitar skills for an acoustic songster, a sad, intelligent, droopy-eyed take on mid-twenties life. You went electric and we bought it, even though we felt that maybe the wheels were coming off a little.
And then, you launched "The John Mayer Trio," a jam-rock three piece set that mashes a succinct three-minute expression of lost love into a painful twelve-minute faux-jazz improv mess. We know jam-rock, John, and you are not jam-rock. I saw your FreeView special on OnDemand a few months back. My friends and I used to see how long we could watch before it became too painful and we had to turn it off. Our record: two minutes and thirty-five seconds. You usually hadn't even hit the second verse by that time.
Entertainment Weekly is recommending you to join the American Idol staff to be a songwriting consultant. You're embarrassing everybody who ever admitted that they liked you. Stop.
3. Jars of Clay Many people debate which one of your albums is the best. Most feel it was your simple, elegant acoustic-rock self-titled debut. Some favor your classic pop follow-up, Much Afraid. A determined but powerful minority think that your rocker, The Eleventh Hour, might in fact be the best. There's a few votes for bluegrass and gospel flavored Who We Are Instead, and even the quirky failure If I Left the Zoo.
But I'll tell you what nobody picks. Nobody's in favor of this keyboard-heavy, uninspired hymn symposium, Redemption Songs. In one album, you single-handedly destroyed my extremely well-researched theory that though you guys kept switching styles, you'd never put out a bad album. I'm very bitter about this.
4. Gavin Degraw I'm going to grant you grace here because even though Chariot is spotty, "We Belong Together" is such a good song, and I'm hoping that's what I'll get more of on the next album. Also, you worked with Zach Braff on the "Chariot" video, which also gets you in my good graces. But be warned. I'm watching you.
5. Howie Day It's gone too far. You are no longer allowed to be to be this good live and this bad on each of your albums. Each of your albums must now be recorded with several of your favorite musicians in a creaky old house/recording studio. These albums must take more than three months to record, must be considered your "major opus" once released, and must feature at least one talented guest musician making a "special appearance." I recommend Mayer, since a) you guys were awesome together on "Sorry, So Sorry" at the House of Blues, and b) he needs the work.
6. Rob Thomas I've reviewed you before, and what I said stands. You are Rob Thomas. You are a strong vocalist. You are gritty, honest, open. You are capable of summing up a generation's emotions without ever losing sight of the pop hook. You lead, or at least led, a rock band that was wildly successsful and used to be played on Rock radio, Top 40 radio, and Adult Contemporary radio. This is good.
But: you are not Josh Groban. You are not poetic in an Dickinson-cum-Dylan manner. You are not capable of expanding your resume. You are not capable of being "funky." You are not allowed to feature John Mayer on any more of your albums, as I feel that you might be confusing him. You are not allowed to "shout out to your sisters and brothers, of every different color" anymore. You are only allowed to sing songs about smoking cigarettes in the rain after a bad break-up at three in the morning at Waffle House. I am totally serious about this.
7. Keane You guys rock, you really do. I don't mean to kick at you, I dig your stuff. But it's time for a guitarist. Really. The pianist/drummer/singer three-piece gimmick can only hold on for one, maybe two albums at the most.
Remember: The White Stripes added a bass player after everybody complained that the two-piece band thing was getting stale. And look at them now.
These artists will be under my strict supervision during this next probationary period, which is until each of their next albums hits stores. Failure to show some Townshend-esque potential in this time will result in losing all privileges.
It occurred to me that I may have an extremely small readership spread across the country, but it's still worthwhile to put this out there. You never know.
This is Laura Mackenzie. I went to school with her two older brothers for several years (they eventually became my dental hygenists) and she's always been a friend of the family. A few years back I was surprised to discover that she'd grown up while I was away in college. I'd run into her at Christmas parties and Bible studies and whatnot, she's one of the absolutely sweetest girls I'd ever run across. I've always been very fond of her.
On March 8th, she ran away from home, and nobody's seen her since.
If you've got a second, I'd love for you to click on the website real quick, just to familiarize yourself with her face. You never know.
I mentioned earlier that since I was having so much trouble getting my camera to work, I decided to take pictures with it whenever I could actually get it working - which is basically only in my room.
I've created a small gallery of the best of these. Alright, that's a lie, I've created a small gallery of all of these, there's only so many things to take a picture of in my room.
All of these pictures were taken either in the room at night or out my window during the day. You can click on an image to see it in higher resolution. It still shouldn't take that long to load. Enjoy.
An old newspaper clipping from a London paper on my wall.
This is an old newspaper clipping from New York, entitled "View of Lake George, NY."
This one was taken last week. It's pretty heavily photoshopped.
A painting my aunt did. No one likes this painting but me.