Saturday, December 29, 2007

Inside the CMJ Vault: Vol. 1

Upon leaving my old job, I made a point to grab as much music on our company network server and copy it onto an external hard drive. While doing this, I discovered a folder on the network where someone had thrown over 1200 songs from various College Music Journal CDs. These CDs were a lifeline for me in college - Each month they were sent out with about 20 tracks per disc of new music, and while not all the music was specifically college radio oriented (I remember tracks from Korn, Michelle Branch, and even the Rolling Stones popping up on compilations) they were usually a good starting point for finding new bands, or new tracks from bands you already liked.

With that in mind, I decided to dig into the vault and post some selections. Some I already had heard, some I hadn't, but it's always interesting to look back at what the editors of CMJ deemed worthy of checking out from 1993-2003. Some tracks I remember liking at the time and now being embarrassed about; most tracks that I liked at the time I still like. And there are a decent amount that I never heard and am checking out for the first time now. With that, I present the first of hopefully several installments into the CMJ compilations vault. Our first round of random selections include:

Band: Gay Dad
Song: Joy!

CMJ Volume: 74 (October
, 1999)

I remember this band solely for their name, naturally. They were attempting to ride the tale end of the Britpop revival in the late 90's, but didn't quite make the splash they hoped for. This song is fairly unremarkable, but still a solid pop song with 70's-style glam hooks. And I've always had a predilection for song titles containing punctuation marks. This song also fades out at the end - the fade out has truly become a lost art of studio production hasn't it?

Band: Guster

Song: Airport Song

CMJ Volume: 57 (May, 1998)

Before I heard their music, Guster always seemed like a band I was predisposed to hate. My friends who were fans of the band would say over and over, "Their shows are so fun! They are so funny and they have all these traditions within their show!" In my experience, bands who rely on the wacky stage-presence gimmicks usually do so because the music itself can't get the job done (Hello Barenaked Ladies!) But this was the first Guster song I heard, and it's stellar. It's also rather dark for a band who made their mark with shiny jangle pop songs. But apparently things have lightened up by the end of the song as a calming game of ping pong breaks out.

Band: P
Song: Michael Stipe

CMJ Volume: 28 (December, 1995)

The song title piqued my curiosity. Who writes a song about hanging out with Michael Stipe? And who names their band simply P? And who expects that either of these decisions would be met by the listening public with anything other than judgment and ridicule? The answer - Johnny Depp and Gibby Haynes, who apparently put out an album under this name in 1995. The guitar intro and verse riff sounds suspiciously identical to Jewel's "Who Will Save Your Soul" but since both that song and this one were released the same year, perhaps it's just a coincidence. Who would have thought that Am-C-G-D would be such a common chord progression?!

Band: Paw
Song: Jessie

CMJ Volume: 12 (July, 1994)

The following is an actual conversation that took place between customer and owner at Barry's Music in 1994.
Dave Nelson: Do you have the CD by the group Paw?
AndyAlan Berry: [Looking perplexed for 3 seconds of silence] Uhh....yeah...I think so. [Still looking bewildered, then paging through CD racks]
AndyAlan Berry: Here you go. [Handing the CD over dismissively]
Dave Nelson: [Looking at the CD, stunned] No! I asked for the CD by the group Paw! Not the CD by RuPaul!

Band: Ruth Ruth
Song: Condition
CMJ Volume: 61 (September, 1998)

The verses here reference a murder in a bath, possible molestation by a landlord, a rabbit in one's mind, a penguin, and a hunchback midget band, all set to an uninspiring droning bassline. If that doesn't do it for you, wait until the chorus kicks in, providing salvation to anyone who has ever thought to themselves, "I really like Matthew Sweet, but I'd rather hear something that sounds like a mediocre imitation of him instead."

Band: Bush Tetras
Song: Too Many Creeps

CMJ Volume: 29 (January, 1996)

I had never heard of this band before, but my research indicates this song was their biggest hit, originally recorded in the early 80's. They hailed from New York City, and seem to one of those "performance art" bands - the type that crank out dissonant guitar riffs while repeating one line over and over and over, and people talk about how amazing and real they are. They seem to have (or had) somewhat of a cult following, but I will not be joining said cult. I think this track is monotonous and annoying.

Band: The Cardigans
Song: Lovefool

CMJ Volume: 40 (December, 1996)

This choice is just an excuse to watch the following:

Stay tuned for Volume 2 into the CMJ vaults coming soon.

Friday, December 28, 2007

John Mayer Responds

So, remember when I wrote my homage/roast of John Mayer?

Well, it looks like he may have read it.

And his response only proves my point further. He actually agrees with me (and is quite knowledgeable on the science of linguistics).

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Best Music Videos of 2007

Get comfortable. I’ve got a clip play list and link-riddled blog entry that has been a year in the making.

When I started writing for Bad Idea Blue Jeans at the beginning of the year, I didn’t realize that the majority of my entries would deal with music videos. For the past 10 years, I had lived under the impression that music videos were dead. mp3 killed the video star. Or something like that.

Anyway, it’s the end of 2007, and there were many great videos that were released. And I don’t think any of them made their way to the screaming tweens at TRL. But in the world of youtube, that’s not necessary.

Before we get to the cream of the crop, I give you the Honorable Mention play list:

Mute MathTypical

They learned to sign the song backwards. Then they learned to play the song backwards. Then they learned to do it live on Kimmel.

Escort - All Through the Night

When Weezer used the Muppets in a music video, I predicted that the idea was so ingenious, it would make Buddy Holly Weezer’s 2nd most popular video. I was dead wrong about that. But, I do like that this video stays away from the mainstream Muppets and focuses on the most obviously drug-inspired furballs.

Daft Hands - Harder Better Faster Stronger

Just watch. And pray that carpal tunnel syndrome doesn’t ever strike this remarkable talent.

Justice - D.A.N.C.E. (live on Kimmel)

“This is gonna be weird.” Yes, Jimmy, but I commend you on allowing bands to mix up the traditional (boring) late night talk show performance. I get the Michael, Prince, and Rick James impersonators. But I’m a confused as to why Stevie Wonder is playing the drums and why anyone would think of impersonating Rod Stewart.

Pretty Ricky - Late Night Special

Relentless, X2C, Pipelayer, and Pressure are either training for the crew team, or making the weirdest way to ask someone out to prom in modern history.

Poor ottoman.

And now, without further delay, I give you my Top Ten Music Videos of 2007, in no particular order:


This is a graphically amazing video. So amazing that it won the European Music Award. So amazing that it prompted on of Kanye’s classic whine fest. So amazing that Kanye learned his lesson and snagged the director for his latest video.

Kanye West - Can’t Tell Me Nothin’(feat. Zach Galifiniakis)

I’ll simply direct you to my previous blog about the lip synching stylings of sir Zach.

FeistMy Moon My Man

I also blogged about Feist’s tendency to rip off other music videos. But I’m a sucker for choreography in videos. And I’m also a sucker for airport people movers.

WiselyThrough Any Window

The song sounds like James Taylor meets Elliott Smith. But the video has two things that I fall head over heels for: one shot filming and Jenna Fischer.

No More Kings - Sweep the Leg

This is starting to turn into a retrospective of my previous entries. Neato.

Ben Kweller - Penny on the Train Track

First of all, that’s Kweller’s actual grandmother. Second, she knows the words! Third, her friend can’t hang with her intense dancing. Fourth and fifth, she does both air guitar and air car washing!!

Bat For LashesWhat’s a Girl To Do

Another one-take wonder. This one has the feel Lily Allen on a bike meets Donny Darko BMX 80’s movie. And how can you go wr with that?!

SpoonThe Underdog

Ok. Now I’m even boring myself with these choices. But I think that only using one shot automatically impresses me, because we live in a 50 cuts-per-minute world. Also, this is probably my #1 single of 2007. So there. I also like this one because it reminds me of Weezer’s best video no one's ever seen.

RJD2Work It Out

I dare you to claim that crutch dancing isn't the next robot.

Paul McCartneyDance Tonight

This video has Gareth from The Office, Natalie Portman (hubba hubba), and mandolin-loving ghosts! And if that’s not enough for you, check out Sir Paul’s other video from this album (**warning** Paul’s music video acting has not improved since 1983).

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


In a fitting twist, thoughts travel back to a Purdue vs. Penn St. football game in West Lafayette during my time at school. A Purdue player was streaking down the sideline, almost assuredly going in for the touchdown when a player off of the Nittany Lion bench (possibly a late coming 11th defensive player, possibly a Woody Hayes "There'll be none of that round here" guy) and tackled said Boilermaker.

The crowd went ape shit, and somehow one voice rang high above all others screaming with a pristeen decipherability, "CHEATERS!"

Out comes the report that the Big Ten has a lead football official on the books that has not only filed for bankruptcy in the past, but did it all while owing cash to multiple casinos. The bankruptcy is a troubling issue because most officials - at least in theory - are at least somewhat chosen for their ability to not succumb to financial pressures. Ever notice that a lot of NFL referees are lawyers?

With the NCAA being as vast as it is, there's no chance they can find enough six-figure guys willing to pull on the stripes. In steps Stephen Pamon, the offical in question, and the same guy who headed up the crew for this year's Purdue vs. Penn St. game in Happy Valley. The Boilers were driving late in the game when Purdue receiver Selwyn Lymon took a play out of bounds only to have the nearest official rule that the game clock should continue running - causing Purdue to use a timeout - rather than stopping the clock as most plays the go out of bounds tend to do.

Here's why I hate this situation: it actually gives me reason to look beyond reason.

Purdue fans tend to be more self-critical than their in-state counterparts. While there are the requisite odd balls determined that some Freemason led conspiracry is holding the Boilermakers down, most of us can see failure and call it what it is (take tonight's shit the bed performance losing at home to Wofford for example).

These revelations - details that still don't definitively point to a fixed game - actually give Purdue fans a reason to think some Vegas, mob-laced, point shaving conspiracy is in the works each time we lose. We're more than used to living with losing, but we'd rather do it on our terms by overestimating ourselves, being outmatched, or fumbling the game away.

Now, I'm not stuck wondering whether every questionable call is somehow tied to some back judge laying 13 points and his next mortgage payment. I'm just going to be stuck next to a guy at some future game who's certain that's the case.

Like we needed any more pain these days. We're in the Motor City Bowl for Purdue Pete's sake.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

"I've made more mistakes at 3 in the morning..."

Did anyone else catch the recycling theme of last night’s ep (that’s what the cool kids call episodes…eps)? I felt like it was NBC's Green Week all over again.

• The recycling of old clothes into new ones
• The premise of recycling old clothes into new ones beign recycled from the 1st Challenge of season two
• The recycling of sassy comments from Christian (“Who knows? The judges may die over it…or they may die of it! Mwahahaha!”)
• The recycling of Chris March! (because Jack turned into a chipmunk…..too soon?)

Alright. Let’s head straight to the designs, again ranked form my first to my worst:

Kit – You edged out Kevin for what I thought was the best. Part of that is because you were able to create a dress that distracted by your model’s weird face (apparently hot pink trumps ugly). The other thing that gives you the win in my book is your reference to The Corpse Bride.

Christian – Dammit, you had to go and win. At this point, you’re probably safe until the final four. But honestly, you did what is crucial in any challenge dealing with ordinary people (instead of models…those crazy skinny aliens). You made something safe. Ordinary people don’t like the experimental. They don’t like the statement-makers. They like the GAP. And that’s what you did. Dammit.

Rami – Another quiet and strong performance. You just keep your head down and push forward. Thank you for not draping anything.

Kevin – I’m not so sure about the leggings, but your model seemed ecstatic with what you made here. As I was watching the show with my bros, we all decided you probably boffed her too. Actually, we’re going to go ahead and assume that is the case throughout the rest of the show. I mean, who can resist spiky facial hair outlines? Come on!

Sweet P – You are creeping up in the ranks. You didn’t do anything to hurt yourself, and that’s usually a good day’s work. But please, stop crying. That’s Ricky’s job.

Ricky – Your cry count stands at 6, and your baby doll designs stand at 2 (in 5 episodes). Actually, you sort of lucked out that this challenge was for normal people, because it’s clear when you’re asked to design something new, you freak out. My only hope is that next week they ask everyone make dresses out of mesh hats, and you refuse. In the meantime, I suspend my habitual picking of you to go home. Don’t cry. **Addendum** I somehow (and unforgivably) forget to mention Ricky's belly-button showing, stiletto-wearing, denim capri-strutting ass, as he was trying to find the right fit for his client. Apparently Ricky is a middle-aged woman who dropped 100 pounds just waiting to bust out! What we didn't see was the inevitable smackdown of Ricky from Christian for stealing the uberfeminine gay 20-something spotlight. Talk about god awful hideous!

Victorya – You made that woman wear a velvet dress more typically seen at midnight mass on Christmas Eve on a sleeping 6-year-old girl. And of all the designers, you did the least to change the original clothing. You shortened it. Neato. You’ve dropped way down in my book.

Chris – Did they track you down at the airport? Had you even left yet? And why, in God’s name, did you come back and make a sailor suit. Seriously, all of your outfits look like they were worn by Motherboy contestants (see picture below).

Elisa – The judges summed it up well. You forgot about the client. And the more challenges that require you to work for a specific person, the worse you’ll be. Hopefully the remaining challenges ask you to design for your inner hummingbird moon spirit or something.

Steven – I won’t even dignify that outfit with a critique. Your slow-talking, eye-squinting, seam-gluing ass should be ashamed of yourself. Now, I will say that this is the 2nd week in a row that I feel a one contestant was given specifics that made it impossible for them to win (Chris’ shoulder pads last week being the other). How do you turn a wedding dress into everyday attire? And Michael Kors, you shut your mouth about the great fabric. That beading was hideous and you know it. It wasn’t MOB. It was B! And you can’t wear B everyday.

Jillian – What? You think it’s a mistake that you’re at the bottom of my list? What’s that? The judges had you in the top three? Well, my saucy little contestant, I say nuts to that! The challenge was to make something out of a previously-existing outfit. You make a brand new outfit. You didn’t complete the challenge. And when the judges put you in the top 5, that only proved one of the problems with this show: the Tim Gunn challenge parameters do not dictate the Heidi/Nina/Michael/random designer judging. It’s all separate. But still, you can’t just ignore the challenge. I mean think about it. What if this Sunday, the Dolphins say “Ok, we know we only get 4 downs to gain 10 yards, but these yards are just too tough to gain. So we’re just gonna take 6 downs. Sweet, thanks.” Jillian, my bros may be crushing on you, but I am not.

Random observations:

• In my head, Heidi Klum is starting to sound a lot like Elmer Fudd. Or maybe my impression of Heidi Klum is starting to sound a lot like Elmer Fudd.

• I am vehemently opposed to Tim Gunn adopting any catchphrase employed by Christian.

• Tim’s comment that he’s made more mistakes at 3 in the morning than he can count….truly disturbing (though, actually, I’m glad he has a social life)

My current top three: Kevin, Rami, Kit

The next to go: Elisa (just a hunch)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

"Project Runway Perfume: a mixture of tears, sweat, and Chinese Food"

Now that's was a challenge I could get behind!

Most of the challenges this year have been unimaginative to say the least. “Design whatever you want with top-of-the-line material!” “That toga is brilliant!” “Make something for a man!” “That striped shirt is brilliant!”

But last night, there were a few curveballs that worked will with this challenge:

Curveball #1: It’s always fun to have a good model sweep. Any designer that switches models is immediately labeled a fiendish cutthroat who will do anything to win (and by anything, I mean take Ricky’s long-nosed model…good work Jack). And of course, it’s the only reminder that apparently the models are apparently contestants too.

Curveball #2: I liked that the teaser from Heidi stated that they’d see some “old” friends, which made the contestants imagine making clothing for senior citizens, which led to the reveal of…Nina Garcia (you old bag)! Having to use the old trends of pleather, cut-outs, fringe, and all the other evil spirits of clothing trends past is a great idea…in theory (more on that later).

Curveball #3: Pick your own teams! The team challenges guarantee friction, and to have an unorganized group formation seemed to assure that someone would be standing alone in a corner, toes pointed in, head lowered, wondering if this is why they don’t have anyone to sit with a lunch. And I assume that because of time issues, Bravo edited it out. I will go ahead and assume that Ricky cried during this process.

The teams:

Christian, Kit, Jack: My favorite contestant teams up with what I hoped would become her arch rival (for the love of God, Christian: please stop twirling in the dresses you make!)? And then teams up with the guy that probably leaving the show next week (based on the emotional Tim Gunn huddle promoted for next week)? Luckily they didn’t drag her down too much. They giggled their way through the two-day design. Christian gave them a ridiculous nickname (with an even more ridiculous 14-year-old-girl explanation of said nickname). They did an admirable job of incorporating their three ugly trends into each outfit, but they were toned down so much they became boring. Boring colors. Boring lines. Boring silhouettes (sounds like I know what I’m talking about, huh?). Still, none of them hurt their rankings.

Jillian, Rami, Kevin: Well, this only proves what I have suspected of Jillian from the beginning. She’d probably be better off as a model. She obviously inspired the two top guy designers to create solid outfits from really difficult ugly trends (overalls, poodle skirts, etc.), and since she was the “leader,” it definitely advanced her position. Kevin’s work-til-the-buzzer approach only shows that he has the talent and calm nature needed to deal with the pressure situation that will come in the future. He’s my LEAD PIPE LOCK for the final three. That said, I thought all their outfits looked like costumes from Oklahoma!, which only goes to once again prove that I know nothing about the subject I’m criticizing.

Chris, Steven, Sweet P: Alright. First of all, Steven, your Tim Gunn impression sucks. It’s nowhere near Santino's, and I bet our good friend Ross McLochness would blow you out of the water. You belong on some horrible impersonation show. Now, this group’s fatal flaw came when they chose to have color unite the three looks. Apparently that was a bad idea. I would have done that. But I completely disagree with Chris being eliminated. Now, truth be told, he wasn’t going to last much longer, and would be back to making drag queen dresses for himself (I’m assuming) in no time, but most of their criticisms for his shoulder pads were that shoulder pads weren’t stylish. They looked weird. Obtuse. Out of place. Really? Huh. Then why did you tell him to use them? Out of all of the ugly trends, shoulder pads had the least amount of flexibility or room for interpretation. You can’t tone them down. I suppose you could exaggerate them, but that would have a Legion of Doom-like outfit. Anyway, they probably just eliminated Chris because he was the fat chick.

Ricky, Victorya, Elise: Who knew Victorya could end up being the passive aggressive bitch of the season? I didn’t see that coming. But maybe she just seemed like a passive aggressive bitch because Ricky is just a little bitch (can you tell I’m angry that I’ve picked him to leave for three weeks straight, and he’s been in the bottom two, only to survive because the judges disregard the inherent difficulties of the challenges?). But as much as Victorya obviously thinks Ricky is a moron, she saved him from leaving when she gave him shout-out during judging regarding the change in fit on her model. Personally, I thought Elisa’s dress looked like a doll dress made of construction paper that was four sizes too big for the doll. But the fact that she’s still around and hasn’t done anything to rival her “pooing fabric” dress of the first episode is the biggest surprise.

So, my current top three: Kevin, Rami, Kit

The next to go: If I say Ricky, he’ll stay. So I won’t say Ricky (but I’ll think it)

PS: Is it just me, or is the show so much better when Heidi isn’t pregnant with another baby seal?

PPS: Random side note: Jack’s boyfriend is Dale from Top Chef. Do you think Bravo has a commune somewhere that they pull all of their contestants from? Maybe that’s what’s really going on in Lost!

PPPS: Did you watch that youtube clip of the Legion of Doom wrestling earlier in the post? I counted at least 5 ugly fashion trends in that ring alone!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Go back and listen to "Daughters," bitches.

My friend Andy and I have a paradoxal theory:

John Mayer is the biggest douchebag in music and John Mayer is the coolest celebrity around.

Here's how we came to this conclusion. It's really quite simple. Anything related to John Mayer's music is evidence that he's a douchebag. His Dave Matthews impression (also known as his career). His weird guitar faces. His "I used these songs to get Berkeley girls to sleep with me, and then used them to get Jessica Simpson to sleep with me" lyrics. He's a douchebag. That much is clear.

But he's also the coolest celebrity. Almost any time John Mayer is on television, doing something not related to music, I love it. He's funny. He's cynical. He doesn't take his music seriously. If it weren't for that damn music career, he might replace Zach Braff as my man-crush.

And so, I submit video evidence of Mayer's appeal. It's mostly comedic, which makes sense since he's apparently an aspiring comedian.

Allow me to walk you through the playlist of his comedic stylings:

Clip 1: White People Dancing

The best part of this skit from Chappelle's Show is that Mayer doesn't talk. And even though he plays music, it's merely a prop for Chappelle's comedy. And Mayer clearly knows his role. He's a prop.

Clip 2: Kanye West and John Mayer recording "Bittersweet"

Now, here John spreads his wings. It seems that this was supposed to be some 2-minute blurb on Kanye's latest collaboration (that wouldn't make it on the album), and Mayer decided to narrate a fairly predictable "white guy/black guy awkwardness" skit. But it works well, especially when he grabs Kanye's necklace. My guess is that when the scene cut, he was bitchslapped for that.

Clip 3:Chocolate Rain remix by John Mayer

If there's anything I love more than Project Runway, It's Best Week Ever. And apparently John Mayer wandered onto the set just in time to make fun of that weird Chocolate Rain clip. The genius of this was mashing it up with a Nelly Furtado song. And lord know I'm a sucker for an ironic Nelly Furtado cover!

Clip 4: John Mayer speaks Japanese

It's just great to see a celebrity not pretend to be friends with the red carpet pests. The fact that Ryan Seacrest is the next Dick Clark (and will tell teenie boppers what music to listen to and when the clock has struck midnight for generations to come) does not require everyone to accept his meaningless and personally invasive small talk. As John says, "Be a man."

Clip 5: John Mayer on kazoo

Ok, again, there's a small connection to music on this one. And honestly, part of why I like this clip is how on-pitch his kazoo playing is. Have you ever tried to hit notes on a kazoo? Try it. I dare you. The one thing that could completely ruin this clip for me is the possibility that the Celine Dion request was planned, and not spur of the moment. Sadly, that's probably the case.

Clip 6: John Mayer on "The Paul Reddy Show"

It's a long clip, but it's worth it. Apparently it's some extra on a Mayer dvd, but if you like The Michael Showalter Showalter, you'll like this.

Clip 7: Alicia Keys and John Mayer commercial

This sparked the discussion that led to the theory. Andy and I were watching a show (it may or may not have been a bisexual reality dating show), and these Alicia Keys skits would start each commercial break. And when the person in the bunny costume was revealed, we knew we had something.

But yeah, his music totally sucks.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

"None of us really know who he is"

That clip will be explained later.

This week’s episode made me question the talent of not only every designer on this season, but every previous season (and really, fashion designers in general). As a clueless critic of the field, I at least viewed fashion designers as a unique combination of high creativity and excellent skill. They could envision a dramatic piece of clothing, but also make it. Some can think but not make [see Sweet P’s critique below], and some can make but not think [see Jack’s critique]. Most people can do neither.

So when Project Runway decided to do their 1st all-male clothing competition, and all of the contestants lost their shit, I started to question the skill necessary to make women’s clothing. If men’s clothing is so difficult, then is women’s clothing that easy. Probably not. Again, I’m a clueless critic of this field. But ignorance is bliss when it comes to Bravo reality television.

Oh, the other odd aspect of last night’s show was Tiki Barber. It was great to see the sheer disappointment and confusion on the contestants face when they saw the guest judge. Tim Gunn wanted to throw them a curveball, and apparently the reciprocal of an iconic well-known ugly white woman is an average unknown (at least in the eyes of 7 women and 6 gay guys) handsome (at least in the eyes of 7 women and 6 gay guys) black man.

Ok. The rundown (from my worst to my first):

Carmen – You didn’t make a shirt. And you tried to hide that fact by following the Rami “Drape Any Damn Thing” method. It’s sad to see you go, because you seem to be the only person that had potential to be the overly and unjustified confident designer that became hated by all. Oh well. And as robotic as Tiki Barber’s wife was, it was awesome when she pointed out you were making a Members Only jacket. Oh, and your hair was ridiculous, so I’m fine with you leaving.

Ricky – I was close. You were almost gone. I still think that you pinning sheets of cloth into a shape that vaguely resembles a suit is even worse that Carmen not making a shirt, but what do I know. I’m no Niiiiina Garciiiiiiia.

Sweet P – You are a perfect example of how this show values creativity over function. Your outfit looked like that episode of The Cosby Show when Denise made for Theo when he couldn’t afford a designer shirt (seen in the clip that started this blog…skip to the 1:00 mark to see the shirt). And yet, you’re still here. But seriously, you can’t make a shirt? You’ve never made a shirt? For shame!

Elisa – Hey look! You made Robin Hood a new outfit. And all without seeing your model’s thighs. But hey, I love that you’ve decided that your boyfriend is “the only male I choose to touch.” But what happens when Tim Gunn tells you to clean up your space in a few weeks and goes for the double-cheek kiss? Maybe you’ll spit on him.

Jillian – I think Dirk Diggler wears that suit in the final scene of Boogie Nights.

Chris – You would have dominated the stylish valet uniform contest. If that’s what this was. But it wasn’t. Boo. Hiss.

Rami – Yawn. That’s what I wear to work everyday. And let me tell you, it does not impress (at least, it doesn’t impress a bunch of 16-year-olds).

Steven – If you keep this up, you’ll become the most boring designer in show history. Michael Kors will probably hire you.

Victorya – As much as I love oversized white blazers, I can’t get behind your design. But at least you finished it. That’s more than most can say.

Jack – You won for a very simple reason. This was the only outfit Tiki Barber could wear in the real world. Everyone else swung for the fences and whiffed or created something for the world of runway. You made something Tiki Barker could wear on television. Congrats on having the least creative or demanding win in show history.

Kevin – Even though you were the only contestant not genetically oriented to salivate over the male models, you were distracted just enough to forget the fact that Tiki has to wear this on television. No goon is going to go on the Today Show with an untucked shirt. Keep your eye on the ball, man.

Christian – Apparently you’re a sewing machine (figurative, not literal…this isn’t Beauty and the Beast), and so you freaked out the least and make the most. But like most of the other contestants you forgot that this was for Tiki Barber. And he was going to wear it on television. But, it was made well, so despite my wishes, you move up in the power rankings. But I still hate you. You’re a 15-year-old girl who thinks she’s the shit.

Kit – Kit, my dear, you used the word “rad” ironically and sarcastically, so you’ve captured my heart. You fix those hideous bangs, and I’m yours. And even though I thought your outfit looked like something a middle-aged father who just bought his first boat would wear on his maiden voyage, I was rooting for you. You at least kept the purpose of the outfit in mind, unlike most other contestants.

My current top Three: Kevin, Victorya, and Kit

The next to go: Ricky (please, take him (and me) out of his (and my) misery)

Friday, November 23, 2007

"It's kinda like a spit mark, only better."

I must preface my thoughts on episode two with an apology to my roommate.

I am sorry that I told you Bon Jovi was the guest host. That was false. Turns out the host was that chick from Square Pegs. You know, the one who married the murderer.

You see, I am not the type of person who avoids spoilers. In fact, I usually hunt them down. Tell me Bruce Willis is a ghost the whole time. Tell me that JD and Elliott will end up together. Tell me that Heidi totally takes Spencer back. And totally spread that rumor about LC. And totally doesn't even have a job. It won’t ruin my viewing experience. However, my roommate hates spoilers. So I usually taunt her with the inside info I’ve attained, courtesy of my blogged sources. Well, thanks to idolator, I spent the hour leading up to tonight’s episode bitching about how Project Runway would be carting out Bon Jovi as their “biggest guest judge ever.” Bitching about how if it were a reality show about shitty rock stars adequately running an arena league football team, he’d be more than qualified to judge. And then, Sarah Jessica Parker walked out.

And even though I have my problems with Sarah Jessica Parker (I find her to be the ugliest woman on the planet, and yet most girls I know have tremendous girl crushes on her. I suspect a large conspiracy, aimed at brainwashing everyone to think that Rusty from Footloose is the definition of beautiful. And if that’s true, then by comparison, most other women would be MORE beautiful than one of the biggest stars in the world), I was glad to not spend the evening watching the contestants create dock-work outfits for Johnny.

But I parenthetically digress.

Here’s my breakdown of the 7 pairs from ep2, from worst to first:

Marion and Steven - Alright. So I went out on a limb last week and said you, Marion would get to the final three. I should have known that if you can’t make eye contact with the camera (or people), you aren’t long for the reality tv world. And Steven, you're bugging me because you talk like a 30-year-old gay and not creepy version of Vincent Price (or was Vincent Price already gay?). But apparently your plan to was to take Sweet P’s potato sack from last week, run it through a french fry cutter, and cut some arm holes. Farewell, sweet Marion.

Christian and Carmen – I’m glad to see Flock of Seagulls reunite. And Carmen, I’m glad you did the recess-kickball-team-picking “yes” clench when you got picked second to last (but not last, that would have been embarrassing). Christian, you're apparently a fan of making ugly jackets. And Michael Kors stole all my 80’s pop culture references (“Addicted to Love” and “The Facts of Life”) related to this outfit.

Elisa and Sweet P- I’m sorry, a cape? I’m sorry, spit marking? I’m sorry, polymorphic? I’m sorry, the same bright blue color that Elisa used last week? But I will say that, Sweet P, I thought you would be the crazy old cat lady of this season. But next to Spit Mark McGee, you're the voice of reason.

Kit and Chris – Kit, if you play your cards right, you could become a new favorite of mine, or at the very least, my new crush. But picking the costumer as your partner meant an outfit that was literally a costume. Pepe Le Pu’s girlfriend walking down the runway. Get that beret out of here. And, I will never, NEVER think that black and brown combo is a good idea.

Rami and Jillian- Eh. That’s what I say to you two. Eh.

Victorya and Kevin – What the hell is going on with these poncho dresses? Rami and Jillian had one. Elisa and Sweet P had one. And you two put a vest on top of yours (which apparently had some awesome back to it. **edit**I've just been told, it's called a racer back. I was also just told I lost a dollar). But I will say this: You two are showing the simplicity, execution, and host-pleasing qualities that scream final three.

Ricky and Jack- Have I mentioned that I know very little about clothing, fashion, and women's taste in either. Ricky, I picked you to go home, and you designed my favorite dress of the night. It was nothing fancy by any means. In fact, it was probably the most boring. But at least I knew what it was. Now, don't get too excited, Ricky. You're not completely off the hook. The Ricky cry count stands at 3, and the Ricky dumb hat count stands at 4.

My current top three: Victorya, Kevin, Rami

The next to go: Ricky (based on the teaser for next week, and the fact that he’s probably running out of hats)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bob Knight: Molding America's M*therf*cking Youth

I know I've devoted some time in the past detailing former Indiana University basketball coach Bob Knight's stranglehold on the collective basketball unconscious in my home state. But at a recent dinner, I was told a story that has thus far taken the cake in the land of Bob Knight's legendary Knightness.

A friend of my wife's, we'll call him Glenn (not his real name) was a bit of a baller in the late 70's, early 80's. Glenn was also a Purdue fan that knew if he wanted to go to the best basketball camp available to 13-year-olds in 1978 he'd have to head to Bloomington to refine his skills. This guy still wore Purdue t-shirts at the camp and felt an accute stigma for his choice of apparel, but otherwise was an active member at the weeklong camp and roomed with three like-minded adolescents.

One of Glenn's roommates, we'll call him Sally, took on the role of pariah, and was the butt of a practical joke executed by Glenn and two other roommates involving hair, wet from an afternoon shower, and baby powder on a pillow. Pretty harmless, and really, not too imaginative.

Poor Sally took great offense to this slight and took his displeasure to one of the coach/counselors who happened to be his regular coach or dad (I can't remember which). Late that evening at a regular day ending convocation of campers - the kind where mail and notes from home were passed out - Glenn and his two co-conspirators were told in front of the entire camp that they were to report to office number such and such immediately.

Upon reaching the door of the office, Glenn knocked and said he heard a very familiar voice calmly call them in with a smooth, "Come on in, boys." In this office were three cafeteria chairs facing three similar chairs filled with IU coach Bob Knight, and two assistants, one of which was a former player from the undefeated 1976 IU national championship team.

Glenn described the next forty-five minutes as being reminiscent of An Officer and a Gentleman with the cliched drill sergeant, nose to nose, barking delivery. Only this time it was Knight and compatriots playing the Lou Gossett, Jr. role. Glenn and friends were treated to an in your face, swearing-filled, "Who the fuck do you think you are," reaming where the adults were trying to get these three 13-year-olds to turn against each other and label one the ringleader. Somehow (Glenn thinks it was the shared guilt) none of the boys turned on the others, and eventually Knight sent them back to their rooms.

As Glenn was exiting the room, Knight calls out his name and asks, "What does the number 317 - XXX - XXXX mean to you?" Knight was reading from Glenn's personal information, and Glenn responded, "That's my home phone number sir."

Knight went on, "Would your father like to receive a call at about 2:30 this morning telling him to drive down here from Indianapolis and pick your ass up?"

Glenn continued his kowtowing and answered Knight's final volley of questions. Once Glenn was finally dismissed and moving out of the office, Knight took the opportunity to fire one last shot at a 13-year-old kid and sent Glenn packing with the oh so subtle, "Sweet dreams, motherfucker."

* * *

I coach a basketball team filled with 13-year-olds but have yet to call one of them a motherfucker. Maybe it's just my style. But when I was at our league-wide coaches meeting last week there was the requisite middle-aged guy wearing a Texas Tech pullover in Indianapolis, ready to take his B team storming through the season.

Maybe it was Sally.

If you're wondering, Knight still puts on camps each year.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

“Her model looks like she’s pooing fabric.”

Not since Santino’s spot-on impression of Tim Gunn and Andre on a romantic date at Red Lobster had I laughed so hard. Unfortunately, for the rest of the night, I felt like Bravo was pooing poo.

Season Four of “Project Runway” (“Project Guiltiest of Pleasures”) premiered last night. I’ve never quite understood my own fascination with this show, though I suspect it’s merely a mathematic formula, that Bravo has mastered, of using dramatic music and editing to disable the viewer’s ability to change the channel (that’s probably why I’ll watch any Bravo career competition or documentary series. I have no interest in OCD gay guys flipping houses or the daily escapades of the wives of retired baseball players…and yet I watch).

But I digress.

Season Four’s beginning was the epitome of anticlimactic. The joy of meeting new contestants was shattered when it was clear that a) most of these designers already have jobs with prominent labels (or their own) and b) they all seem to be weaker version of designers from previous systems (more on that later). Bravo has always been great at pigeon-holing a real person into a stereotype, and I’ve always wanted them to remix a season of Runway so that Wendy Pepper becomes to constantly cheery contestant or Daniel Vosovic became the queen. Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum were introduced by merely wandering into the shot at Bryant Park. The always difficult and self-sacrificing first challenge was…..access to $50,000 worth of fabric. But hey, they made the fat guy run, so there was that.

Anyway, I’ve decided to subject the readers of BIBJ to a weekly blog, perhaps a power ranking system of sorts. Admit it, you’re sick of reading about indie rock and Joe Tiller.

Here’s my take/predictions/assessment of the contestants after week 1:

Simone – You didn’t make it past the 1st episode. Apparently yellow, off-white, and can’t sew is a bad combination.

Rami – You’re obviously the favorite to win, but it sounds like that’s just a matter of you already having more success than any winner of this show has already had. I suppose that’s why the judges gushed at that gray toga you made. I’m hoping you realize the show will actually hurt your career, and quit.

Elisa – You’re the crazy one this year. The one who will take advice on clothing design from mother earth instead of mother Nina Garcia. That’ll keep you around for 2 episodes or so. At least until the first group design project.

Victorya – The only season I hesitate to name you my favorite to win it all is the fact that Chloe Dao already won. And I know, you’re Korean, and she’s…well…I’m not sure, but she’s probably not. Anyway, Bravo likes to mix up the demographic of their winners, so you’re likely to become the Uli of this year (the one-note designer who never makes a mistake, but doesn’t have the gusto to win it all). Plus, your dress had a metallic flower. Please.

Ricky – Fredrick’s of Hollywood, here you come! You’re probably gone next.

Sweet P – You’re name is Sweet P. You dressed your model in a potato sack. Get out of here with that noise.

Carmen – I like outfits that look like a superhero version of Jasmine from Aladdin as much as the next guy (which is not at all), but you’re going to get the “there’s too much going on with this outfit” talk around episode 6.

Steven – The polite gay guy never lasts. Especially when he makes a boring power suit.

Kit – Your “Mark Twain” is Kit Pistol. And as cool as that is, and as young and blond as you are, you’ll only last about half of the season. But I’m sure you’ll still flash the rawk sign upon your departure.

Marion – You dress like Oliver Twist. You got no air time on the first episode. And yet, your dress wasn’t terrible. I hereby declare you my dark horse pick!

Chris – As my friend Andy said, you are Ricky Gervais if he let himself go (three times). They made you run, and you’re a costume designer. You’re first dress looked like a curtain on the set of Long Day’s Journey Into Night. You’re gone by episode 4.

Kevin – Your facial hair sure is creative. And the dress was too, I suppose (keeping in mind I know nothing about this). You’re probably in the final four (as long as you can handle the other freakazoids.

Christian – Speaking of freakazoids, it’s abundantly clear that you will be the villain of this season, which guarantees you at least final five status. Your hair is ridiculous. And so are you. And I still can’t figure out why the judges loved your design. It looked like Lucy from Peanuts made a dress out of a Thanksgiving tablecloth.

Jack – I think you meant to try out for that Workout show with the lesbian. And your dress looks like a shower curtain that Target designs for college kids. But you’ll be around for the elite 8.

Jillian – Your pin-up outfit suggests that you’ll be more interested in your own appearance than your model. And the clips as suggesting that you’ll be a bitch, so you might have some staying power. But I’m always weary of backing the candidate that chooses Flintstone Push-Up orange as a dress color.


My final three as of now: Rami, Marion, Victorya

The next to go: Ricky

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

One Blazing Moment

There is no greater three to four minutes in my year than the montage of One Shining Moment. It's fair to say that no matter what team wins the 64-game romp that is the NCAA tournament - God willing in my lifetime it'll be Purdue - I'm going to be knocking down orphans and nuns to make sure I'm able to watch those beautiful clips.

One could imagine my glee when the NCAA moved their offices to my home town of Indianapolis and installed a permanent exhibit in their Hall of Champions dedicated to One Shining Moment. If you're ever trapsing along the downtown canal within the confines of White River State Park, you too can stop by the television kiosk playing all One Shining Moments on a continuous loop...well you could until the damn thing caught fire.

Turns out an electrical snafu led to a serious fire at the NCAA Hall of Champions today and the subsequent fire fighting inundated the exhibits and caused "extensive damage."

I'm not one to jump the proverbial gun, but something tells me the gods have cried "havoc" and let slip the dogs of discord in the the college basketball universe. Take a look at the evidence
  • Kentucky falls to Gardner-Webb
  • Mercer knocks off USC
  • Michigan St. loses to Grand Valley State
  • Columbia gives Ohio State a run for their money in the Columbus hosted first round of the NIT
  • My 85-year-old grandfather had to sign up for Direct TV in order to circumvent the cumbersome cable powers that be and finally have the phantom Big Ten Network and the majority of its conference games piped into his house.
  • The NCAA Hall of Champions suffers a devastating fire at the hands of Teddy Pendergrass

These may not be sure signs of the apocolypse but they do put the avid college basketball fan on guard.

Wait a minute.

Lots of early upsets. Dramatic finishes and close calls. These are the hallmarks of my favorite time of year...but it's only November. Oh dear Lord, if this be thy way, let me and my Purdue Boilermakers abide in your graces and somehow garner a 3 or 4 seed. Thy will be done.


Thursday, November 01, 2007


My mission for Halloween 2007 was simple. Since I've moved to Chicago and learned to cope with the rigors of waking up in the morning consistently for the first time in six months, I've been playing things close to the vest. I've yet to go to work with a hangover, and more often than not I've been getting an appropriate amount of sleep each night. Clearly, this had to stop, and what night was better for ending this trend than this? With that in mind, I headed to the Metro for what turned out to be an ass-kicking show from Art Brut and The Hold Steady. Both bands brought it hard in the costume department, although Elvis jumpsuits are not always flattering. The Hold Steady also announced that the show was being recorded for a live album/DVD, which should be outstanding as the show was epic.

As I was walking to the Metro, I thought I would swing by and check out the big gay Halloween parade careening up Halsted. This year marked the 11th annual North Halsted Parade, and I applaud any event that combines a costume contest for children with the shenanigans of Boystown. Where else can you combine the cuteness of this......with the subtlety of this...
In case you're wondering, the collective pictured above dubbed themselves "The Cockettes." They were pretty tame compared with some of the more adventurous parade-goers.

But try as they might, Santa's not so little helpers did not win me over for best costume of the evening. That honor belonged to another attendee. I don't think I've ever been jealous of a kindergarten-aged lad, let alone jealous of their wardrobe, but I was in complete and unadulterated envy of this tyke's get up:
What kid this age has any basis to know who Conan O'Brien even is? I guarantee when I was his age I wasn't begging my mom to let me dress up as Tom Snyder for trick-or-treating. Kudos to you kid. You've set the bar high for Halloween 2008. Hope you weren't planning on dressing as a Cockette. That costume is taken.

Friday, October 19, 2007

You're Not Helping

That's a scene from the October 6, 2007 Purdue loss...uh, routing at the hands of Ohio State. Don't let the large smattering of red in the stands fool you, this was a "home" game for the Boilers.

Sure, it was two weeks ago, but the issue of 15,000 plus OSU supporters at this game is still riling the most loyal Purdue fans, especially with related news from the NFL. More on that later.

The kernel of the argument is this: what good are you doing for your team by giving up season tickets to fans of the opposition? Most Purdue fans smarting from the OSU beat down will answer: none.

Tickets for the endzones of Ross-Ade stadium are offered to the public and allotted for the opponent's fans, so it's natural to find the red there. But at this recent matchup, there were Ohio St. fans at the 50 yard line, between the 30's and throughout the crowd filling seats belonging to long-time season ticket holders and John Purdue Club members. These were not casual Purdue fans or desperate individuals giving up their tickets to feed their families. These seats belong to folks who've forked out lots of money over a significant amount of time. To put it in perspective, my wife and I are John Purdue Club members and have had season tickets eleven years. We've just now crept to the goal line for our seats.

It's unacceptable to let season tickets held by long-time donors and fans fall into the hands of the opposing team, especially if my theory holds up that many older (read: richer) fans decided to forgo the game because of its "late" 8:00pm kickoff. Were they afraid they'd miss Matlock?

Purdue coach Joe Tiller even noted that, "The thing that concerns you some is when you see so much of the opposing team's school colors in what's considered premium seating."

Of course the situation isn't that simple.

The instant counterargument goes a little something like this: They're my tickets. I bought them. I can sell them if I damn well please.

That's true for most things like shoes, cars, and maybe a Fender Telecaster. But buying a pair of shoes does not bring along the inherent obligation to cheer for Nike. You wear them till you blow out the soles and get a new pair. It's a simple utilitarian purchase. On the contrary, no one accidentally joins the John Purdue Club, gives thousands of dollars to the Purdue athletic department, and purchases tickets just to have something to do on Saturdays. Your purchase, by definition, is to support the program. Selling tickets willy-nilly just because you can, especially to the opposing team, greatly undermines that support our team depends upon.

Another counterargument: I got a deal I couldn't pass up.

You know who probably needs a little scratch to make it to their next paycheck: students. And they didn't sell out. The student section was almost 100% decked in Boiler black. (In fairness there was a very small smattering of OSU fans in the student section, but not to the nauseating degree of the rest of the crowd.) If you needed the money, why spend the hundreds of dollars in the first place?

The best counterargument: I did what the university wanted. I couldn't make the game and sold my tickets on the "official secondary ticket provider" Stubhub.

This one hurts the most. How many folks couldn't make the game? I know, I know, that Ben Matlock is one cagey old coot. Again though, this is where the university is cutting off its nose to spite its face. They encourage fans to use Stubhub (read: make money from) to get tickets then are aghast when those same tickets are delivered by FedEx to an Ohio address. Still, the onus is on the fans to guarantee giving the support the team deserves. That means keeping OSU fans off of our sidelines in OUR STADIUM!

In steps the New England Patriots.

The Patriots just won a legal battle to gain the names of 13,000 (not a small number) of ticket holders who sold their seats on Stubhub. If they determine that these individuals were season ticket holders, they just might lose their season ticket privileges.

Of course, the relationship between the Patriots and Stubhub is not akin to Purdue's, and Massachusetts state laws do tend to differ, but the spirit of the Patriots' action is admirable. It's our stadium, it's our team, and damn it when you buy tickets you're agreeing to support us. When you sell the tickets, that agreement goes up in flames and puts some ornery Redskins fan within spitting distance of Bob Kraft's uppity french cuffs.

On the college level - and with a team that tends to sell out despite not having season tickets - Notre Dame takes a very active approach to police the secondary sale of tickets, even using undercover agents (I'm not kidding, I know this for a fact) to scout out scalpers on campus for the games. They too threaten to revoke ticket rights if they find people profiting off of their tickets.

Where's the answer? I think teams have every right to hold their fans to being fans. That doesn't mean you can't voice your displeasure with a sucky performance - like Purdue phoned in against OSU. Instead, if you're tired of things don't come, or better yet, don't buy tickets next year. And if your tickets and your support are such a burden, get the f*ck out. No one will miss you or your money. Most of us are tired of hearing you bitch anyway. But for Purdue Pete's sake, stop giving quarter to the enemy.

Next, Purdue and the Big Ten need to get out of this deal with Stubhub and start making the 15% commission themselves. And if fans have a legitmate reason for not making a game - say, a Matlock-a-thon! - the university needs to establish opportunities to put the tickets into the hands of Purdue fans and not an open marketplace. Do something incredibly draconian like selling only to certain zip codes, I don't care. Students would be the obvious first choice, but since most of them already have tickets and actually show up and cheer, maybe the greater community of Lafayette and West Lafayette could step in. Aren't there some orphans who'd like to watch a football game? Establish a not for profit where fans could donate tickets for a tax write off and the tickets get passed along to schools or community organizations.

In the end, millions of dollars - some of them my own - have been invested into this program and that should preclude surrendering our stadium over to another team's fans. Being a fan allows cheering when they're up and bitching when they're down, but never sabotage or treason.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Zero Hour in Washington?

That's Willie Deane, former standout for the Purdue Boilermakers who was recently picked up - along with a 40 year old, and a 13 year NBA veteran - to play with the Washington Wizards.

Deane was more than loved in Boilerland not only for his play - a bright spot in the waning trough of Gene Keady's career - but for his look. He pulled off cornrows in an area where most people expect cornrows to, well, grow corn.

And he endeared himself to many by sporting a jersey number not seen too often. Eschewing the double worn by many big men, Deane was simply Zero. 0. Nada.

Here comes the hard part. If Deane works his way past these other dinosaurs into the Washington lineup, will there be any question of Gilbert Arenas - Agent Zero himself - sharing his nothingness?

How often does one team have two guys used to wearing zero? I'd put the chances at, well, zero.

Honestly, I think Willie Deane is only concerned with zeroes at the end of a paycheck, but it would be great to see them settle this jersey debate once and for all and shoot for it.

Friday, October 05, 2007

You'd Prefer a Reunion

Somewhere, lost in my youth are scattered moments revolving around three letters: Hum.

Drew hated their signature song as redundant and overplayed. That guy from Com 120 had a hat with their name on it. I worked feverishly to perfect the drop-D rippage they play, only to realize I'll never come close to the giant guitar sound. Who cares how many times I hear knock-offs at the Jefferson Tap, there will never be another Hum.

She's got colors to spare,
and I don't care what they choose,
I've got nothing to do,
And nothing like you left to lose.

One story rises above the rest though, and the inclusion of hand-written signs and scotch tape make for the marks of myth and mirth. I think it was November 14, 1997 but I could be wrong.

The scene was Cincinnati and Tom and I were dropping into Bogarts to see Goldfinger and the Aqua Bats. Almost like an afterthought I checked out the doorways of the places we'd passed and noticed that Sudsy Malones was hosting a band that night named Hum. Sudsy had taken the time and Sharpies to make a homemade sign to press against the door.

"Funny," I thought. "They've ripped off one of my favorite band's name."

Little did I know. That was the closest I would get to seeing them live.

Seriously, the sign on the door was hand-written and made no allusion to their national appeal or alt-rock genius. Later generations would try to lump them with Man or Astro-man, but I knew if only for a moment that night I was missing something special in order to hear "Mable" live one more time.
tempus fugit
I came close. Little chance remains for more than a VH1 charade. Thank God for Cadillac.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Mmm Hmm

Associated Press photographer Michael Conroy captured this image of Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen after the Irish's sixth straight home loss to Michigan State.

I couldn't help noticing Clausen's similarity to my favorite wiz with small engines, Karl Childers.
Charlie Weis must have eaten all of Jimmy's french fried puhtaters.

Better keep Jimmy away from your lawnmower blades.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Success At Last

You've been playing this game since the pee-wee league in the park.

You took your high school team to unexpected heights.

You parlayed that college scholarship into numerous accolades and even got yourself drafted into the upper echelon on football.

But you're still not at the top...until you become a verb.

That's right,
Michael Vick is now a verb (not too shocking considering Vick's previously fast and loose use of language).

Someone at Franklin Central High School in Indianapolis posted a banner that read "Vick the Bulldogs" ahead of their football contest against the Columbus North Bulldogs. By the way, Franklin Central are the Flashes. Intimidating indeed. All this and the Flashes got Vicked up the ass 42-14.

Let this lapse in judgment serve as Michael Vick's final foray into famedom. He is truly an ath-lebrity of the nth degree. It reminds me of a trip to a fireworks store circa 1996 when the man thumbing through bins of bottle rockets ahead of me was wearing a t-shirt that read, "Shut up, bitch, before I O.J. your ass."

Other great celebri-verbs
  • "Friends don't let friend drink and Billy Martin."
  • "I'm gonna have to hit the teaser card unless I want to Pete Rose my paycheck."
  • "I've got this job nailed. I totally George O'Leary-ed my resume with a PhD from Dartmouth."
  • How'd you do on finals? "Jim Harrick-ed my way to a 3.8, beyotch!"
  • "My landlord was gonna put my ass on the streets of Ann Arbor until my dad went all Ed Martin and bailed me out."

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Hurt Doesn't Show But the Pain Still Grows

When "Don't Stop Believin'" was uses to underscore the final scene of "The Sopranos," it inspired a flurry of articles celebrating and/or deriding the self-diagnosed "renaissance of Journey." Most of the arguments put forth filled me with self-righteous smugness. In my world, the Journey comeback had started years before. In fact, over two years before "Don't Stop Believin'" appeared while Tony Soprano stuffed his face with onion rings, I attended the wedding of one of my best friends, and saw that he had made good on a promise to convince his bride to walk down the aisle while the wedding pianist cranked out the opening chords from the Journey masterpiece. As she walked down the aisle to get married! It was far and away the greatest thing I've ever seen at any ceremony, and nobody in attendance needed David Chase to tell them that it was OK to appreciate Steve Perry.

Nevertheless, the bottom line is that people go apeshit when a classic song from decades ago forces itself back into pop culture, either genuinely or in a ironic sense. Case in point: Phil Collins is back people.

Exhibit A: The promo for a new sitcom "Carpoolers" centered around "In The Air Tonight." I know nothing about this show (other than Vern is riding shotgun!) but I'm betting the ad will run for a longer duration that the series.

Exhibit B: A stunning ad for Cadbury running in the UK. Apparently this ad launches a £6.2m campaign for the company, which may help explain why they're cutting costs by shrinking the Cadbury eggs.

Perhaps things are simply coming full circle. Today, virtually every television series uses commercial music in episode montages/flashbacks/establishing setups, but it was "Miami Vice" producer Michael Mann who in 1984 first had the vision to combine cheesy overdubbed drum compressions with amazingly hackneyed dialogue between Don Johnson and his ex-wife.

23 years later, Phil Collins is back in the forefront of the worldwide psyche. We are a nation of Alec Baldwins, repeatedly enjoying our mixtape from Tracy Morgan.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Michael Vick is Sorry...No, Not That Michael Vick

I know Michael Vick has done a kennel's worth of bad things, and I have full faith in the legal system to mete out the justice necessary for such crimes.

What's troubling is the fact that so many people are impressed with Vick's contrition after he seems to have apologized for an imaginary friend.

Within the transcript of Vick's apology given at the Richmond Federal Courthouse are numerous references about "Michael Vick" (NFL caricature) by Michael Vick (dog strangler).
  • "I totally ask for forgiveness and understanding as I move forward to better Michael Vick the person, not the football player."
  • "If I'm more disappointed in myself more than anything is because of all the young people, young kids that I've let down who look at Michael Vick as a role model."
  • "I got a lot of down time, a lot of time to think about my actions and what I've done and how to make Michael Vick a better person."

I know that Vick is in no way the first athlete to refer to himself in the third person (see Deion Sanders). However, Vick is the most recent ath-lebrity looking to appear contrite in order to salvage what he can of a career spinning recklessly into the abyss. My question remains, who's really sorry? Michael Vick the person or Michael Vick the football player?

Forgive my incredulous response, but Vick apologizing for Vick - as opposed to appologizing for himself - is like Sylvester Stallone apologizing for Rocky after being busted for steroids. One is a real person in real trouble. The other is a character who will fall off the entertainment radar until the former serves their time. One is a human being stuck in shit so thick no publicist can spin them out and the other is a statue in Philadelphia or name on a jersey.

I know this may seem to be a semantic debate calling for pronouns from a person who is admittedly "not a public speaker." I just think if Falcons owner Arthur Blank is going to get pulled in hook, line, & sinker - and not make any move to cut Vick - he might want to know whose holding the rod: Michael Vick or Ookie.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Perfect Match

Last week, IFC aired a four-part series focusing on sex in indie cinema. The series was nicely put together, though I don't get the promotional department's fixation with Dita Von Teese. However, there's always an inherent problem with any docs that give blanket approval in celebrating every film that tests certain limits. Just because a writer/director pushes boundaries with a provocative idea, if the movie itself isn't good, that's a problem, and that idea is pushed to the background here. Midnight Cowboy and Last Tango in Paris were groundbreaking as classic rated X films, but putting them in the same category with the "look how shocking we're being!" efforts of Kids and The Brown Bunny just seems...short-sighted.

However, IFC is not finished with their exploration of taboo sex on film. In fact, they've made themselves the home for the most independent of all sex-with-underaged-kids filmmakers around.

Starting today, each day at will reveal a new chapter of R. Kelly's never ending "Trapped in the Closet" anthology. According to IFC's VP, it's a natural fit:
Call me crazy (or obsessed), I find something in Trapped that makes it a natural next step in this experiment. While it might not be on the scale of Midnight Cowboy, in its own iconoclastic, pop-culture way, Trapped in the Closet challenges the traditional mores and sexual stereotypes of the current climate as boldly -- and hysterically -- as many films coming out of Hollywood or the indie movement. The cheating women, the closeted preacher, the pop star hiding in the closet, the adulterous midget with a paternity problem -- Kelly makes a case to carry the mantle of John Waters into the new millennium. You may laugh, but you can't look away.
Chapter 13 debuts today featuring an elderly couple wishing bird shit-related misfortune on each other, the protagonist telling time, and R. Kelly watching the video himself and acting way too amused, while a hipster film critic smiles nervously. Indie cinema at it's finest. Take some pointers, Waters.

Chapters 13-22. (New chapter each day.)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Safety First, Bone-Crushing Hits Later

Purdue University football coach Joe Tiller wants you to know that safety is paramount in college football...unless you want to be like the NFL.

Tiller is none too fond of the new rule in college moving kickoffs back to the 30 from the 35 and bringing college football more in line with the NFL. The NCAA wants to speed up the game by virtually eliminating fair catches and almost certainly will. Save a gale force tailwind, we'll be seeing more returns and in the case of Tiller's Boilermakers more great returns called back for illegal blocks to the back.

Tiller is not happy with 22 guys careening off of each other with a full head of steam. According to Tiller, "The most violent play in ALL OF FOOTBALL IS THE KICKOFF!"

I think he means it. Seriously, look how close he got to the microphone to tell us. He also seems not convinced that the speed of the game is the driving force behind this decision to "create more G-forces as these kids are running into each other" resulting in "a few more injuries than we've had in the past."

I for one was shocked to find out kickoffs were more violent than a crossing route right into the jaws of some middle linebacker. So if that's the case and kickoffs are the most violent plays, then the victory formation "take a knee" must be the most benign. The most exciting is a interception return, (especially since it starts with an exhilarating pair of words, "Picked off!"). And the most hapless play must be the coin toss at every Duke game.

Ain't football grand!