Monday, November 28, 2011

Tis the season to hear awful Christmas music

With Thanksgiving past us, we are now on a crash course to a dark and scary time. No, not Christmas shopping or my anniversary—those are manageable compared to this menace. I refer to Christmas music. Brace your ears, because it's about to destory your brain.

Every Christmas song ever written sucks. There's no other way to put it. I'm not trying to come off as some horribly Scroogy miser here, it's just there has never been a Christmas song that makes you want to kick someone in the neck it rocks so much. My highest review for a Christmas song is Bruce Springsteen's “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” which qualifies as “passable,” mainly because of the Boss involvement.

Even She & Him have fallen victim to this trap.
And when an indie rock group goes
commercial like, hipsters die a little inside.
It's no surprise the highest time of suicide coincides with the highest time of Christmas music.

The worst part about Christmas songs is there's roughly only six of them ever. Yet, literally millions of bands have covered every single one of them ad nauseam. During the peak of the holiday season, it's possible to change from a rock station to metal to country and have the complete lyrics to “Deck the Halls” sung out without even missing a word. That just reeks of unoriginality.

And this is another problem with Christmas songs. Just try listening to the radio in December. Stations that normally play good 70s and 80s style arena rock suddenly go soft and play songs that can be derided as “happy” instead. Apparently, this ploy actually works though. Wikipedia says the radio stations that switch to holiday music tend to see their ratings triple. And because people will nest into the first station they hear “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (Batman lyrics on), radio stations have moved to playing Christmas music earlier and earlier.

I remember when I was growing up, an oldies station had just made the switch to all holiday all the time crap. I would have just put on a different station, but the cook at the place I worked had control of all things radio, and despite being called “Mean Dennis,” he loved his holiday music. The DJ on this station went through the old holiday standards—Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Walk on the Wild Side, Winter Wonderland, White Christmas, Blue Christmas, Feliz Navidad and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (possibly by a different band).

After going through this bout of torture, he started playing “The Superbowl Shuffle.” While not the greatest song (some might classify it as “Awful) it's also not holiday music and therefore seems way better by comparison. Halfway through the song (“Well they call me sweetness / and I like to dance”) the DJ broke into the song and said “Wait a minute, this isn't Christmas music!” Before launching into the 14th version of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Muppet version) of the day.

But I'm not the filthy heathen who wants no merriment during these holiday seasons, instead, I will create a new song to make the holiday season as magical as the first hundred times you heard it. But I will issue a caveat, I have absolutely no musical ability. And this means no musical writing ability. So what I'm going to do is have a list of 30 words below. Print up the list, cut out each word and toss em in a hat. Pull at five at random, and this is your refrain. The next seven are the opening, and the final 18 should be set afire, song perfection has already occurred. Feel free to toss in some verbs, if you wish, but as the 12 days of Christmas proved, it's not really necessary. Set the lyrics to a 7/8 beat and enjoy. Oh yeah, I don't know what 7/8 beat means. Hopefully it's one of the good ones.
I can already taste the residuals for
Santa Stocking Happy General Tso's Chicken.

Word bank for your hit new Christmas song:
Christmas, Happy, Merry, Jolly Sauce, Cookie, Santa, Antidisestablishmentarianism, Reindeer, Johnny Cash, Tequila, Tree, Ornament, Peppermint Patty, Cyborg, Mistletoe, General Tso's Chicken, Snowfall, Sledding, Rooftop, Plastic Tree, Jigsaw Puzzle, Conservation of Mass Principle, Real Tree, Muffin, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, ¾ Beat, Shower, Cosmetics Testing, Stocking, Ice skating.

Have fun with your new holiday classic and don't forget to have yourself a merry little Christmas.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

This Thanksgiving, thank Weird Al for UHF

Ultra Hilarious Film
Many people have lots of things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. The fact that stores are extending Black Friday into Thanksgiving, parents, lists of things to be thankful for, and the deliciousness of cookie dough. All of these things will probably rank high up there on many people's lists of things to be thankful for. But what am I most thankful for? That “Weird” Al Yankovic graced us with UHF over 20 years ago.

UHF was my first journey into truly bizarre humor. When you combine the parody with the... unique characters, you're not going to get a whole lot of sense out of it. But therein lies the logic of UHF. Everything is bizarre to make everything normal.

This is the perfect movie for any time, any occasion. Feel like watching “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Rambo” but don't want to go through the arduous process of loading up two discs? Bam, UHF. Get attacked by a poodle? Bam, UHF. Cable goes out? BAM, UHF (that one gets all caps, because it has two meanings).

I hate eating fish and everything that goes with it. But if given the opportunity, I'd go on “Wheel of Fish” without even giving it a second thought. I might seriously undervalue what I won (Ohhhh, this 881 pound tuna is kind of large. That's neat... I should have taken the box), but to get to hang out with Kuni would make it all worth it.

I remember when I was five years old and didn't really understand the concept of a VHS. I walked past my parents as they watched the “This Weekend on U62” portion of the movie. 

The shows they were previewing looked insanely cool, especially in my Pop Rock-addled five-year-old mind. If they had gone ahead with a full-on version of Conan the Librarian, I'd imagine there'd be a knockout battle between Conan and someone who un-Deweys the decimal system. Needless to say, whenever he swords someone, there'd be explosions.

When I tried turning to U62 that weekend, my TV didn't go that high. I picked up some weird religious stuff on the later channels (13) but that wasn't anywhere near the requisite 62. I imagine my parents were heartbroken when they had to tell me those promos were for fake shows.

But if we had more programming executives like George Newman, we'd have more watchable shows. If he weren't a fake guy turning out parody shows, the world would be a better place. I consider myself a heavy consumer of TV programs, and even I only watch about 15 shows a week. And since I am not an octagenarian, none of these programs come off of the CBS schedule.

This paves the way for an easy solution, have George Newman run CBS. I realize the inherent problems of having a fictional character run a real TV station, but has anyone ever met so-called CBS President Les Moonves? I rest my case. Having a fictional George Newman running CBS is no different than having a fictional Moonves at the reins. And one is much more Weird Al-infused.

Just imagine a CSI-budgeted version of Bowling for Burgers. There'd probably be big time special effects and shots from the burger's point of view. Or maybe a version of “Two and a Half Men” that's actually funny. That might seem like a tall order, but having the public buy all of the station's stock to pay off George's Uncle's gambling debt was quite the tall order to. Oh, 20 year old spoiler alert.

So, as all of you gather around your Thanksgiving turkey today, raise a drumstick in Weird Al's general direction (West by Southeast) and think him for creating such a fine contribution to American cinema.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Papa not give kibble. He must have a Sprocket loose!

Your dignified guest blogger.
Papa is busy writing a novel this month, so he just didn't have the time to write. Since he didn't have the time to write, he needed someone to write for him (since he didn't have the time to write). He turned to his offspring and said “Offspring, I don't have the time to write this week. I need one of you to totally Billy from Family Circus this for me.” And since Papa only has cat for offspring, and since Otis is a really stupid cat, that task fell to me, Sprocket, his most smartest cat.

I'm much better choice than other kitties. Way smarter than that stupid stupid Otis. Otis had poop stuck to his tail the other day. He also chased his tail. Unrelated, but still show Otis very stupid. I hate Otis so much.

I use this space to talk about something that's weighing heavily on my mind recently. No, not the fact that on a scale of one to 10, I hate Otis the amount of furs I have (lots). No, it's the fact that it seems kibble time comes later and later every day. You might say “You're a cat, you can't tell time,” and that may be so, but I know when my tummy rumble rumble rumbles, and I make sure to tell everyone, but still kibble time comes so much later. I hate it!

Otis wouldn't figure out how to fit in here. I did.
And then when Papa finally relents to my non-stop whining, Otis tries stealing my food! That's my food! Now, I don't want to draw any sort of racial conclusions here, but did I mention that Otis is Black Cat? Pretty scary huh? He bring people bad luck, probably because I hate him so much. Oh, and he's stupid. Way stupider than me.

I'm not going to stand for this. Until I get kibble 24/7 and Otis goes to the great litter box in the sky (which he don't even know how to use right) I am officially on strike. I want endless supply of kibble given to me 24/7, and you better make it wet kibble. None of that dry stuff. Well, some of that dry stuff, because it kibble, and I like kibble, so I like dry stuff. Wet stuff also good, it taste like kibble.

As a striking worker, papa and mama will get no chance to pet all of my furs (which I have many of) and I won't do cute things for them like get stuck inside of three separate TVs on three separate occasions during a three year span. They'll be sorry they didn't give into my demands earlier. My cuteness will be for me and me alone.

The face of thy enemy (yet to die at my paw).
Oh, oh, oh, and Otis won't be allowed to have any kibble. Sure, one of my demands is he has to die, but he also not allowed any kibble. If I find out they placed kibble on his tombstone, boom, back on strike I go!

But if Otis not die, I want to have him still not eat kibble, so I can eat my kibble and then go breath on him. I say “Hey Otis, meow” and then whoooooosh, my breath smelling of Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Pet Foods Duck and Green Pea wafts all over Otis. Undead Otis would be like “Oh, I wish I weren't dead, so I could have the kibble Sprocket is having. Why didn't I think of going on strike?'

I think it's obvious undead-dead-undead Otis, you didn't think of it, because you're stupid. Way stupider and less cute than I am. To show how stupid he is, I'd also have parents fashion a stupid hat that he'd have to wear, because he's stupid.

Oh, papa calling me, and, and, and it's kibble time!!!!! I must go!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Take a roll of the dice to #SaveCommunity

With NBC's announcement this week that Community would not be on the midseason schedule, the Community community went nuts. They did things as crazy as start an online petition and even created a #SaveCommunity hashtag which upwards of six people have followed!

While I fully support these OccupyNBC style protests, I don't think they'll be enough. We need to do more in order to make NBC actually take notice. Online petitions almost never actually work. People feel good about making them, even better about signing them, but as far as I know, a show has never been saved by an online petition, Target has never not opened at Midnight Black Friday because of a petition and Barack Obama was never made to be born outside of the United States because of said petition.

We need to do something more noticeable that will make the head honchos at NB realize there's a strong fan base. After Arrested Development's second season, that show was placed on a similar bubble. It could be renewed, it most likely would not. Fans got together and sent FOX President of Programming Peter Liguori gift baskets filled with banana stress balls, feather boas, pirate stickers and presumably, Michael Cera. Several thousand inside jokes later and the FOX brass got the message, they renewed the beloved series for a 13 episode final season.

That's the kind of strategy we need to use to #SaveCommunity. But what inside joke should we build this campaign around? Luckily, a recent episode paved the way. In the episode “Remedial Chaos Theory,” six alternate storylines were created when characters rolled a die to see who would go downstairs and get the pizza. The alternate storylines went down vastly different paths, from bad pies to absolute chaos as the apartment burned to a character wanting to marry the (unattractive) pizza man to everyone busting a move to Sting's “Roxanne.”

What if we lived in an alternate reality where Community were a ratings bonanza? What if we rolled the die and didn't have to go up against The Big Bang Theory? These represent intriguing realities that the evil versions of us would never have to experience. No felt goatees for these fans!

Six Seasons and a Movie
Let's take the dice concept and bring it to the next level. Let's bring it to the Community level. We should send “gift baskets” filled with dice made out with Community inside jokes to NBC head honcho Bob Greenblatt. Put pictures of Troy and Abed on the dice, include pictures of you with your homemade Starburns. Anything that's funny and interesting should go in this gift bag. This will give Greenblatt a physical object he can hold, feel and roll to show how dedicated we Community fans are. Who knows, maybe he will roll that alternate reality where we're all happy with six seasons and a movie of Community.

You can send the care packages to Bob Greenblatt at

Bob Greenblatt
C/O NBC Universal
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608

Also, even though I question how well they work, sign the Save Community petition at One thing I know is, it couldn't hurt.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Not even the Shrine of the Silver Monkey can stop "Legends of the Hidden Temple" revival

The "Legends of the Hidden Temple brought back with 5,000,000 fans" group has surpassed 50 fans, putting the beloved game show 1/100,000th of the way to making history. As encouragement for this splendid cause, I am reprinting the press release as a show of support.


Gauges interest with Facebook campaign

NEW YORK, Sept 1, 2011 — “Legends of the Hidden Temple,” the cult favorite game show featuring a giant head and kids running through a labyrinthine maze may have found a “pendant of life” as Nickelodeon moves forward with bringing back the series lovingly described as “American Gladiators meets Young Indiana Jones.”
The head head, Olmec, earned the show
much of its notoriety.

Earlier today, Nickelodeon launched a Facebook campaign to gauge interest in a reboot for the big-giant-head-hosted-series. Fans of the show can register and like the campaign at The campaign looks to garner five million fans before the network will consider letting Olmec rise from his storage-closety doom.

The series, which ran on Nickelodeon from 1993 to 1995 developed a cult following for its frank depiction of Olmec, its big-giant-head of a host as well as idiotic kids who could not figure out how to put together a three-part monkey statue. It won a CableACE award for Best Game Show in 1995.

“We know anyone who ever wished they could be a Blue Barracuda, Green Monkey, Orange Igauna, Purple Parrot, Red Jaguar or Silver Snake missed out on a great opportunity when the show was canceled,” says Kirk Fogg, co-host of the initial run of shows and lead proponent of the reboot, “but with 4,999,999 of their closest friends, they can live out those dreams.”

Fogg said they decided to use Facebook as the crux of the campaign, simply because people identified the face of the program as Olmec, and to put that on Facebook would surely garner the fans necessary to refind this “Hidden Temple.”

Although the series only lasted three seasons, to this day it remains a popular fixture on college campuses and at Halloween parties.

“To bring kids the ability to rediscover the Comet-Embroidered Battle Flag of William the Conquerer or the Milk Bucket of Freydis truly makes me ecstatic,” says Fogg, referencing two of the more renowned episodes from the original run.

Even the potential of bringing the show back has resulted in more trouble than getting out of the troubling “Shrine of the Silver Monkey.” Nickelodeon initially balked at the high salary demands of the famed big giant head and co-host, Olmec, but the show's producers found ways to reason with the network.

“I woke up and there was an Olmec head literally in the bed next to me. It crushed my significant other—that thing weighs like 3,000 pounds” says Marjorie Cohn, president original programming and development Nickelodeon. “Knowing they were capable of that, I had to move forward with a Legends of the Hidden Temple reboot.”

About Nickelodeon
Nickelodeon, now in its 32nd year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. It's most known for never engaging in Facebook ruses, no matter the legends that could be unearthed by it. Nickelodeon's U.S. television network is seen in more than 100 million households and has been the number-one-rated basic cable network for 16 consecutive years. For more information or artwork, visit  Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B).

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Minesweeper swept away my childhood

Nothing, nothing nothing, nothing, flag, nothing, nothing question mark, question mark, flag, flag, flag, flag, flag, flag, flag, flag, nothing, mine... damn it!

Having one of these minesweeping suits will protect
you from shards of plastic as you bash in your computer.
Anyone who has ever had their internet go down and is killing time before they can do something productive knows Minesweeper exists. Less people know that the above paragraph describes 98 percent of all Minesweeper games ever played. And surprisingly, even less have spent seven months of their life trying desperately to get a sub-two minute time on expert difficulty. When they achieved it, they found out there are even larger Minesweeper nerds who routinely notch times under 40 seconds. Disappointment raged as a life's accomplishment shriveled up in a matter of seconds and small schoolyard children picked on them.

I fall into the third category.

Back in 9th grade, when everyone else spent their Friday nights having sex, Minesweeper occupied my time. Who cares about genital stimulation when an imaginary army might hit a mine on their journey across Antarctica to reclaim the Holy Rat of Spartania?

… I created storylines to give me a stronger drive for this game.

And that drove me on my sub-two minute quest. For those who actually don't understand the basics of the game, there's a grid of squares, when you click, a patch of numbers appears that tell you how many “mines” they touch. You then use logic to clear the board of non-mines, leaving only the mines. To obtain a time under two minutes, you need to mark where a mine is every 1.2 seconds. Keep in mind, it takes even longer than 1.2 seconds to type 1.2 seconds, and you need to go faster than that.

When you get really deep in the game, there are some broken bits where logic will not carry you. At this point you have to flip a coin and choose one or the other. But flipping a coin also takes longer than 1.2 seconds and to keep up the pace, you must make rash an ill-informed decisions at a late point in the game. This usually results in profanity.
This doesn't frighten me. But a red three touching five
squares with no way to find the mine's true location does.

As alluded to, I spent seven months trying to obtain what I perceived as perfection. After all, my friends thought of the game as some sort of crappy screen saver, not one with strategy and preplanned times to swear. But then YouTube came around and knocked me off the high I rode for nearly a decade.

With YouTube I can load up video from the World Minesweeper Championships (yup, it exists) and watch video of people stroll through expert like it's nothing more than medium. Minesweeper literally drove me crazy (it creates social isolation), and these people do it competitively. It seems kind of strange to do, because never has anyone used “I'm really good at the game you don't understand” as a pickup line. It just reeks of sadness. Although the phrase “I can find the mine” might have merit.

Recently, my internet went down, so that meant no Minesweeper watching for me, instead, Minesweeper playing. I found tons of changes in it. That beloved gray screen, the one that had taunted and rewarded me so much in my youth had turned blue. It also kept stats beyond simple completion! Oh, and also the skills I built over the course of roughly 20,000 games had completely vanished. I scrambled to nab a 50 second intermediate score. Pathetic. But it also felt kind of good. Sure, I wasted a lot of time in my youth and had nothing to show for it, but at least I didn't waste twice as much time to get to the professional level of Minesweeper.

Hey, I think this one isn't a mine... damn it!
Well, at least it's a sub-two minute time.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Save Yourself by not Celebrating Daylight Saving Time

Happy 2:09am, or is it 3:09am? Maybe even 1:17pm next Sunday? Possibly pi o'clock? Maybe even tooth hurty? Actually, it's all of these, because I have decided to boycott Daylight Saving Time this year.

Everyone knows this accursed holiday is a strong arm tactic by the clockmaking industry to get people to buy new clocks, increasing the companies' bottom lines. How many times has the first Sunday of November (or ninth Wednesday, whenever the hell they do it) rolled around and faced with the arduous task of holding one button while pressing another button 23 times, you just threw away the clock?

Lord knows I've done that on many occasions, and it's not uncommon for others to do it as well. In fact, the landfill outside of Alamogordo, NM is known as “Lost Time,” because it's filled to the brim almost entirely with alarm clocks. Really this is a massive waste of time, but it's what the clockmakers deem necessary to make the hands go round, so they force it through.

Really the saddest case study involves Indianapolis, IN. For the longest time, this fine city held up to the repeated inquests of the clock industry lobbyists. It bravely faced intimidation, bullying and withholding of cheese, but the city remained strong in its opposition.

McMaster's Masterpiece.
When elected mayor of Indianapolis in 1884, John L. McMaster immediately attacked the clock industry for its repeated attacks upon the city. However, he soon just vanished off the face of the earth. And I'm not talking like he got run over by a perpetually late train from Ft. Wayne, but vanished as in never seen again.

Soon after McMaster's disappearance, the clock industry launched one of its most successful products ever in the Longcase clock, AKA the “Grandfather Clock.” It's no surprise that one of the first recipients of said clock was McMaster's grandson, Nellie. Now, I'm not saying evil clockmakers callously diced up McMaster's bodies and put him into a horrorific namesake clock, but really, evil clockmakers callously diced up McMaster's bodies and put him into a horrorific namesake clock.

Although I don't really fault them, I mean nothing keeps time like human intestines.

Another aspect of Daylight Saving Time that really gets me is this whole ridiculous “Spring Forward, Fall Back” nursery rhyme. Have you ever met someone who has actually fallen backwards? Wait, let me rephrase that, have you ever met someone with a fully functioning brain (both hemispheres) who has fallen backwards? I can already assume the answer is “No,” because you're not going to ask someone who just had a potentially fatal fall what their brain disorder is. My argument wins by default.

I do know perfectly normal people who have fallen forward, even some who have springed backwards. It's not all that uncommon and would make for a much better, much more logical statement.

Even if they did do that system, I'd still boycott it, because all Daylight Saving Time shifts are going to be ignored from here on out. My Grandfather Clock will be ahead of yours for the majority of the year, and that means I'll always be earlier than anyone else to pressing events. When people see how prompt I am, they just might (will) join my revolution. I look forward to having you.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Almost in Double Jeopardy Meeting Jeopardy Champion

Answer: Ken Jennings.
Question: Who is the multi-millionaire Jeopardy champion who I met while at the beach?

Correct! $2000 coming your way.

But wait, there's more to this Jeopardy answer. Several weeks before that fated beach excursion, I was on the sales floor at Target. I helped someone carry out their patio furniture when I saw a vaguely Jeopardy-champion-shaped-blob off in the distance. Although the sighting lasted roughly three seconds, I knew I spotted greatness.

I'll take Jeopardy Stalkers for $600, Alex. 
And that greatness caused me to start freaking out and doing some sort of weird convulsion. The patio-furniture-person raised an eyebrow, so I needed to explain the greatness we just encountered.

“Do you ever watch Jeopardy?” I asked in a one-word chunk.
“Not really... why?” the slightly bored looking middle aged housewife responded with slightly less enthusiasm than I exhibited.
“Because I think we just saw Ken Jennings!” For some reason, this met a bored silence. “... You know, the guy... who won like 2.7 million dollars on Jeopardy...”
“... ooooooh, well, that's cool, I guess... but how'd you know it was him?
“Well obviously, I watched his run on the show, and I read his book and of course check out his blog.”
“You read his book... you're not some kind of geek, are you?'
I could not respond to that. All conversation effectively ended at that point. I didn't even offer her a “Do you want this gazebo to not scratch your bumper?” I just did.

However, merely letting my “interaction” be three seconds long wouldn't suffice. I went on Ken's blog and got his email address. I asked him if that was indeed him at that Target on that day. He quickly responded that it was him, because he needed to buy LEGOs, because his kid was going to a birthday party.

Success! Case closed. I had seen greatness. But most Targets are not located on beaches, and that leads to part two of the story.

About three weeks after that incident, I rode my bike around town. I initially planned to ride along the prostitute-strewn area of Seattle, but you know what they say about those ladies when in heat—avoid. Instead, I went to a local beach.

Seconds after parking my bike and treading over roughly 10 feet of sand, I looked to my right and once again saw the "Brainiac," the "Maphead," the KenJen. Of course, I did recognize him, but it couldn't be him. He had appeared in public and nobody mobbed the man who made Jeopardy interesting to watch. He merely just sat there, with his family. A guy sitting next to him didn't even cast a sidelong glance at the terror of Alex Trebek.

Between the two people in this picture, we've won over
$3 million on Jeopardy
Practicing the same reserve I displayed three weeks beforehand, I freaked out again. Luckily I could pawn it off as excitement for the beach (ooooh, cold water!). But I couldn't convince myself to go up to him. Sure we had corresponded, but it seemed like such a different world when Ken Jennings was just hanging out on a public beach with his family.

It took numerous unanswered texts to my friends to find out if I should go up to him to get me to go up to him. As anyone who did watch his run should know, he was incredibly cool. He had no problem letting me take a picture with him or giving me 14 percent of his winnings, which he just happened to have in his wallet.

Well, that last part didn't happen, but at least I walk away with a story and an amazing picture.