My Not So Humble Mother has been pestering me for a while (okay, a couple decades) to give her a Christmas list so she can get ahead on her shopping. I don’t see what the big deal is, since I don’t think I’m that hard of a guy to shop for. Still, in order to make it easier for her and anybody else who might want to get me a little something, I’m getting this up now with plenty of time for the holiday season. Here’s what I’d like this year, in no particular order:
Australia (H/T to Gene Hackman circa Superman II)
A date with Kathy Ireland
A new wardrobe
A new house
A new car
Three dozen penguins
My virginity (Sorry, no link. I lost that a long time ago.)
World peace (Sorry, no link. We haven’t been able to find that for a long time either.)
$526,817.83 in unmarked bills (so I can afford to pay the butler, the maid, and the gardener)
A map to King Solomon’s mines
Two sturdy goats
A time machine
My two front teeth
The heads of all of those who would dare to oppose me
A recount of the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election (I really don’t care who won; I just want people to shut up about it.)
And just remember, if you’re still looking for that special gift or virtual stocking stuffer, you can get a copy of my book on Amazon for less than a buck!
Just because it will color everyone’s perception of everything I say on the subject, I’m going to get it out of the way right now: yes, I voted. No, I am not going to say how I voted or what I voted on. That’s none of your damn business, but if you’re a regular reader or do a dive through the archives there shouldn’t be much doubt.
Now that I have that out of the way, let me get something else off my chest: I really don’t care if you vote. If you choose not to vote, that only increases the value of my vote by some small, practically imperceptible amount. But I’ll take it. Pennies add up. The fewer people who vote, the more each vote is worth, and I want my vote to be worth as much as possible.
If I were going to encourage you to vote, I would point out that if you don’t vote, you can’t vote “no”. I am a big fan of “no”. It’s something our government doesn’t hear nearly often enough. Vote “no” on as many things as you want, even if you have to vote “yes” in order to vote “no” to government (D.C., I’m looking in your direction, and I’ve got two ounces in my hand as we speak.)
I would also like to call for a moratorium on the oft-used and completely fallacious “if you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain.” You may as well say “if you don’t pay taxes you don’t get to complain about the debt,” or any number of equally irrelevant couplings. The sad fact is we all live under the same roof and obey the same laws made by the same government, and whether or not someone chooses to participate in the process of selecting that government does not remove their right to complain about it. Complaining is one of the few things we all get to enjoy equally, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or social standing. Putting a price on that is ridiculous.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone who has made it possible for us to have the chance to decide whether or not to participate in deciding the course of our democracy. Certainly that includes the soldiers that have defended our democracy throughout its history, but I want to also acknowledge the others who don’t usually get mentioned.
Thank you to the teachers who have explained the process for generations. Thank you to the philosophers and thinkers who created and sustained a system that has endured. Thank you to the businessmen who have helped our country continue to grow and prosper so that we can continue to have a democracy. Thank you to the artists who have broadened our minds and given us a culture worth exploring and defending. Thank you to the workers who participate every day, not just once every couple years. Thank you to everyone who makes America a place worth voting for.
The politicians? They should be thanking us.
Some of my friends accuse me of enjoying shitty movies just because they’re bad. I would like to set the record straight: I love truly awful movies that go above and beyond, that have a certain something special that transcends simply being a bad movie. I’ve already mentioned Flash Gordon and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (in the same post, no less!), which gives you an indication of just how far I’m willing to go to get my bad movie fix. But they’re more than schlocky scripts, bad dialogue, stilted acting (Hayden Christensen, I’m looking in your direction), or bizarre plots. There has to be something extra, something that just calls out to me and says, “this is a beautiful disaster”. I offer you some of my favorites here.
Howard the Duck (1986) – I’m not going to cry “spoiler alert” at this point, because if you haven’t seen Guardians of the Galaxy by now and bothered to watch the after-credits scene then shame on you (plus as I’ve already established, we’re well outside the “no spoilers” zone). So yeah, the point is I nearly wet myself when I saw that scene, because I LOVED the original Howard the Duck movie. It was such a train wreck, I couldn’t get enough. Really, what’s not to love? Starring a young Lea Thompson and Tim Robbins (yes, that Tim Robbins) and produced by George “I’ll never make another Star Wars… well, maybe just one more” Lucas, this movie is basically the story of a sarcastic, cigar smoking humanoid duck pulled to Earth from an alternate dimension by a laser beam who has to help fight off an intergalactic evil and save the universe with the help of a singer and a lab assistant. No, I am not making that up. I would try to say more, but really there’s nothing else to say. If that’s not enough to entice you, just wait for the remake (coming soon, I hope).
Popeye (1980) – I was as saddened as anyone by the passing of Robin Williams, and I do not intend to speak ill of the dead. Just getting that out there now, because the truth is I really do like this movie. I just have no idea why it ever got made. What makes this movie fascinating for me is the production value. This really is a great movie. The acting is superb, the make-up is fantastic, the sets are gorgeous. Williams absolutely nails his character, and Shelley Duvall is outstanding as Olive Oyl. Everything looks and feels like a fully realized real-life rendition of a Popeye comic strip. The only question is “why?” There are a few stand out things that make this movie such a beautiful disaster. First, I have no idea who was crying out in 1980 for a film adaptation of Popeye. Second, I have no idea who thought to themselves, “You know what the world really needs? A Popeye musical.” (You read that right.) Third, I have no idea how this movie ever managed to get made, considering how truly bizarre it is when you get down to it. The only answer I can seem to find to any of those questions seems to be director Robert Altman, who had the vision and skill to pull it all off. If you’re into quirky or surreal movies, you need to see this one.
License to Drive (1988) – Ah, the Coreys. Heartthrobs of the 80s, who peaked far too soon, and in my book forever known for their much better roles (a relative statement to be sure) in The Lost Boys. That having been said, this slightly off-beat teen rom-com is still enjoyable, if for no other reason than the shear slow-motion train wreck factor. It’s almost as if you can watch their careers coming to a screeching halt as the movie progresses. The chance to see a very young Heather Graham in her first big movie role (and a painfully awkward one at that) is a special bonus. Come for the flashback, stay for the travesty.
Once again the voting season has snuck up on me, like a thief in the night, which is not surprising considering that we’re voting for congresspersons. I feel it is my civic duty to once again throw my hat in the ring as a non-party candidate for all elections in all districts, to give you, the people, a chance to vote for the candidate you truly deserve.
My opponents will accuse me of being a misanthrope. Well as Dan Quayle once said, I wear their scorn as a badge of honor. I don’t deny being a misanthrope; I proudly proclaim it. I believe that is what makes me the ideal candidate for the office to which you will be writing in my name.
Consider: I am the only candidate you never have to worry about having any sort of prejudice. Racism? Sexism? Homophobia? Religious intolerance? Why bother? I disdain each and every one of you equally, regardless of color, gender, or creed. Let’s face it, folks: you’re so far beneath me that to single out any one of you individually or as a group is pretty much a waste of my time. And you never need to be worried about being embarrassed, because the only person worth sending naked pictures to is myself.
You also don’t have to worry about corruption; I promise you here and now that as soon as I get elected there’s going to be plenty of it. While you’re in the voting booth just assume I agree with whatever you believe, because once I’m elected I’ll follow the cash or the polls, whichever one is more politically expedient.
This may sound awful to you, but I’m just giving you the kind of honesty my opponents are afraid to show you. That’s the same kind of honesty I’ll bring to floor debates, where I’ll simply announce how much I really don’t care about the topic at hand when I can be bothered to show up at all. Most times I’ll be back in my home district, ignoring your complaints and dodging your calls, just like the guy you have now, only I make it look good.
So when you go into that voting booth, don’t think about yourself, think about your family, your friends, your neighbors, your community. (One of us has to.) Do the right thing this time, and give them the candidate they deserve.
Hello? Anybody here?
Boy, it sure has been quiet lately, huh? Just gonna clean up some of the dust and cobwebs. Really need to talk to the maid about that.
So, I guess you’re wondering where I’ve been. Well, I could tell you I’ve been working on my book. (Which you should totally buy, ’cause I’m not gonna stop pitching it ’til you do.) Which would be true for a couple months, but not for most of the time I’ve been gone. I also went to Barcelona (as in Spain), but that was only for a week or so, and even getting ready for that doesn’t account for more than a week or so.
The truth is, blogging is a job. I started out doing it for fun, and I got some early success. I got picked up by WordPress’ Freshly Pressed page a few times, and it went to my head. I thought I could just keep churning out the same random thoughts and silly jokes and I would be world-famous in no time.
The only part that was true was “no”.
Like I said, blogging is a job, at least if you want to be successful at it and make it big. I have a couple friends over at Heels First who have started getting some success on their blog. Here’s the secret to their “overnight” success: they’ve been working their asses off for years. Literally, years. I’ve seen them doing it. They work every day, doing everything they can. They’re out there pounding the pavement, doing social media, checking the stats, writing posts, staying on top of the trends, and a hundred other things I can’t even remember. Oh, and they have day jobs too. It’s exhausting just to watch. They earned every bit of it, and more.
Me? I don’t want that. The success, sure, I’d take it if you gave it to me. But nobody’s out there handing out success to every would-be world famous blogger/writer/action-movie star. (I warned you, I’m going to keep pitching it until you buy it.) It’s a hustle, and I was looking for a hobby. That’s why I quit World of Warcraft and started blogging in the first place; it had stopped being a fun hobby and started becoming a job. When blogging became a job, I quit. Simple as that.
So why am I back? Well, aside from the chance to plug my awesome new book (really, I was dead serious about that, buy it or I won’t stop), I finally got tired of playing video games and watching TV and realized that I actually miss writing. I miss gracing you all with my wit and charm, my deep insights and personal foibles, my pet peeves and my deepest delights. In short, I miss sharing My Not So Humble Opinion. (Look, they’re coming closer together now.)
So does this mean you can expect more? (Posts, not plugs. I’m done with those, I promise.) Yes, but sparingly. I’m going to go easy on myself, and do it right this time. I’m going to write when I feel like it, and some of that time is going to be spent polishing my next book. (See? No plug… yet.) I’ve had plenty of time to think, which means I’ve got plenty to say.
Welcome back, folks. The ride is just about to begin.
She was my first best friend.
She was my first arch-nemesis.
She was the first girl I ever loved.
She nursed me through my first heartbreak.
She laughed at my first joke, and rolled her eyes at the next 2,674,362.
She has the voice of an angel, and sings as beauty personified.
Her heart is big enough to love anyone, even a scoundrel like me.
She has inspired me, confounded me, infuriated me, counseled me, consoled me, and stood beside me my entire life.
Happy birthday to My Not So Humble Sister.
First I want to thank all of my wonderful contributors: Janet Currie Konigsberg, Matt Foster, Scott Soper, Yillah Natalia, and Marek Swiderski. You gave me a wide range of talent to choose from, and you make it worth it every year.
But that’s not what you came for. You came to see –
THE FINAL BOBAPALOOZA LINEUP!!!
That’s right, folks. You heard it here first: the Clash of the Titans is the ultimate and final Bobapalooza. As the Kurgan once said, “it’s better to burn out than to fade away.” But let us not dwell in sadness; let us instead revel in THE GREATEST BOBAPALOOZA EVER.
First we have the band that needs no introduction, but is going to get one anyway. The winner of the Clash of the Titans, and the headliner of Bobapalooza 2014: Pink Floyd! This was a hard-fought victory against some of the greatest artists of all time, and as a long time Floyd fan myself, I can’t deny being quite pleased to see them win. Their catalogue of legendary songs is extensive, and Dark Side of the Moon spent over 11 years on the Biilboard Top 200… consecutively. (It was on even longer if you tally the total time it spent there, and Billboard actually changed the rules to prevent albums setting records like that again.) Titans indeed.
And then we have the STAGE OF LEGENDS. This year I offer you a blend of old and new, heavy and soft, sweet and sour and what the hell? Bands that have undoubtedly left their mark on music, one way or another. They are:
Jefferson Airplane (Nominated by Scott Soper) – From Scott: “Go big or go home. When it comes to the one band you’d break your leg to go see in their prime it has to be Jefferson Airplane. Maybe they’re so compelling because they broke up so tragically and never got a chance to perform for so many of their fans. So many songs were at peak power when those artists were just starting out; you can only imagine what they might have done with more time.”
AC/DC (Nominated by Matt Foster) – You have to love AC/DC. Angus Young himself said “I’m sick to death of people saying we’ve made 11 albums that sound exactly the same. In fact, we’ve made 12 albums that sound exactly the same.” And we still keep coming back for more. The stage show is even better: “When I’m on stage the savage in me is released. It’s like going back to being a cave man. It takes me six hours to come down after a show.” – Angus Young
Weezer (Nominated by Matt Foster, seconded by Janet Currie Konigsberg) – Weezer has long been one of those bands I love to hate, right up until one of their songs comes on and I find myself singing along. How long? Oh, only about twenty years or so. Janet Currie Konigsberg finally convinced me they deserve a place among the Legends: “Twenty years ago Weezer came on the scene with Undone (The Sweater Song), and immediately filled the gap between Nirvana and Pearl Jam perfecting Nerd Rock. As each single was released, Weezer’s fan base grew by leaps and bounds. The crunchy chords and heart-wrenching vocals spoke to post teenage-angst 20-something slackers. I’ve always referred to Weezer as “My Beatles”; they are pop and punk and bubblegum and crunch, they are raw emotion and ADHD. The songs range from kick-ass-psych-you-up (Hash Pipe), to how-did-you-know-how-broke-my-heart-was?? (Say It Ain’t So), to romantic-but-the-world-doesn’t-understand-us (Island In The Sun), to I’m-not-really-sure-what-the-purpose-is-but-dammit-I’m-ME! (Pork and Beans). On top of great music, catchy lyrics, and a beat you can dance to, Weezer has made some of the best music videos of all time and managed to do so in an era where music videos have almost completely lost their importance in pop culture. Weezer: No self-respecting Stage of Legends (or Main Stage, for that matter!) would be complete without them.”
So…. Yeah. You can argue with her if you want. Not me.
Black Sabbath (Nominated by Scott Soper) – Scott nails it once again: “When it comes to Legends, there is one who has retained his title as the Prince of Darkness unchallenged across decades of American Popular Rock. The one, the only: Black Sabbath! Ozzy Osborne by himself would be a worthy contender for the Stage of Legends, but reunited with the original Black Sabbath for the new album 13 he seems completely at home, a master having traveled full circle. I would NOT go back in time to see Black Sabbath at their prime, and maybe that’s another test passed for a true Legendary band.
Simon & Garfunkel (Nominated by Matt Foster) – Everybody knows a Simon & Garfunkel song. Start whistling “The Sound of Silence” at a punk rock show and everybody around you will be singing along inside of a minute (if they don’t curbstomp you first; they’re still punks). From hippies to metal heads, there’s nobody who doesn’t like Simon & Garfunkel; they have a gentle, insistent sound that insinuates itself into your soul and makes you a better person for it.
Now you’re probably expecting the Main Stage, but there’s so much more this year! For the first time ever, I present to you THE BOBAPALOOZA MIDWAY!
When you get the urge to dance, slip in to the ALL NIGHT RAVE TENT, with special guest DJ RUST-RYU (http://www.mixcloud.com/rustryu/bangers-and-mashups/)! He’ll be spinning all night long, and of course he’s super request-friendly!
And don’t forget to stop by Uncle Scott’s Concession Stand, where you can pick up fresh kabobs, veggie treats, and of course all your favorite Bobapalooza swag (http://www.printfection.com/bobapalooza)! Uncle Scott will also be running his favorite (exceptionally weird) videos on his Jumbo-Tron monitor right over the concession stand! Here’s just some of the “fun” in store for you:
Disturbed – Land of Confusion (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6KXgjLqSTg)
Capital Cities – Safe and Sound (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX54fWP-os4)
Imagine Dragons – Radioactive (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktvTqknDobU)
AWOLNation – Not Your Fault (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jm9-yVdxbSs)
Gorillaz – Clint Eastwood (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoQYw49saqc)
Ludo – Love Me Dead (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XH3oMNKApI#t=92)
Muse – Knights of Cydonia (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3Yc3HhSl1Q#t=87)
Primus – Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYDfwUJzYQg&feature=kp)
Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghb6eDopW8I#t=71)
El Guincho – Bombay (NSFW) (http://vimeo.com/15247292)
DYE – Fantasy (http://vimeo.com/30798517)
And now, the MAIN STAGE! There’s plenty of variety and flavor this year, and many thanks to everyone who contributed.
The Thermals (Nominated by Janet Currie Konigsberg)
Boney M (Nominated by Marek Swiderski)
The Cult (Nominated by Matt Foster)
George Thorogood (Nominated by Scott Soper)
Kae Sun (Nominated by Yillah Natalie)
Metric (Nominated by Janet Currie Konigsberg)
Disturbed (Nominated by Matt Foster)
Al Green (Nominated by Scott Soper)
Sitali (Nominated by Yillah Natalie)
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes (Nominated by Janet Currie Konigsberg)
The Black Keys (Nominated by Matt Foster)
Soundgarden (Nominated by Scott Soper)
Petite Noir (Nominated by Yillah Natalie)
James (Nominated by Matt Foster)
DJ Kool (Nominated by Scott Soper)
Be sure to check out all these artists and support their endeavors. The Official Bobapalooza 2014 Playlist™ is still to come, so stay tuned!
Once again, I’d like to thank all of my wonderful contributors from Bobapalooza past and present. You’ve made this entire endeavor worthwhile, and it’s been a blast. I hope you’ve all enjoyed it as much as I have.