Rooting For The Underdogs

The unlikely dream the biggest.


I will be taking a hiatus from blogging.  I have an idea for a fictional book and it feels like it is just under my skin clawing it's way out.  There is a constant buzz in the back of my head all day and I feel like I need to work with my wife to put it to paper.  So I will not be blogging anymore to spend my writing energies on this project.  I wish you all the best and will update when I can. 

_The Underdog

Just So You Know

Just so you can't claim later in life that no one told you. Head-bands are not cool. They are not ironic or retro. There once was a time that someone would suppose that this tool to the right was just being silly. But since now people are serious about wearing these, don't chance it. You risk making the statement "I want to keep my ridiculous hair out of my face so that you can clearly see my face this super cool Facebook picture I took in my bathroom." Then again it is a great time saver when it comes to cataloging people. "Oh look honey that guy is wearing a headband, he must never want to succeed in life."
It is sad really because what was once a really cool Halloween costume is being ruined by (what I can only assume to be) aspiring time traveling aerobics instructors or ancient Romans who discovered blue jeans. Lovable hippies, toga goddesses, and Jazercise conventioneers are now no longer distinct. We are all wondering, "Is she going to a costume party and she will completer her outfit there, or is she blind and someone is playing a trick on her?"
So don't be fooled by the catalogs. If you go outside with a headband to accessorize your skinny white jeans (Sorry, I had to go throw up) just know that the magazines are right that you will "get noticed". But it is not a good thing. It is just the universal sign that you are easily tricked into buying something that you should actually get paid to put. (Most likely in a five dollar dare.)

Dear People (the magazine)

Dear People Magazine,  I'm just writing to let you know that we get it.  All of us.  Every last single person on this planet understands the facts.  Once upon a time Brad Pit married Jennifer Aniston.  Then they got divorced.  Now he is with Angelina Jolie.  Jennifer and Angelina don't like each other.  Consider us brought up to date.  Given the fact that it all happened over five years ago and you are STILL WRITING ABOUT IT.

No joke.  I was buying groceries this week when I noticed the headline "Jennifer and Angeline Update".  I think it was the first time in my life that I gasped out loud at a headline on a magazine rack.  Not because the news of it was shocking, but once my brain processed the possibility that there might still be a single human being out there that cares about "Bradgelina," it shook me to my core.  In fact, I have it on good authority that every lonely soccer mom and thirteen year old girl is arguing with their token gay friend about whether Bella should have puppies with Jacob or emo children with hairy belly buttons with Edward.  (Don't pretend like I'm the only one that threw up a little when he opened his shirt.) 

If you are a student of journalism and you are wondering how much information is too much information I present you with "Bradgelina".  All of the drama in this particular love triangle happened in the year 2005.  To put that in perspective, 2005 saw the trial of Saddam, the distruction of Katrina, and it was one year after the hit show Friends ended.  But here we are, five years later allowing publications to lead with that headline.  I don't feel like I'm out of line saying "You've got to be stupid if you are still talking about this. MOVE ON!"  It would be like if tommorrow USA Today led with the front page headline "Obama... Still President".  I'm not expecting alot from tabloids, but maybe it is time to bring back "Bat Boy" or "Alien Baby" or maybe... just maybe... you might try reporting some actual news instead of publishing your diary entries about stalking people who don't contribute to society in a tangable way.

So, I am proposing a ten year shun on "Bradgelina" and Jen.  To clarify:  Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, and Angelina Jolie may appear in movies, TV, and publications.  But not together.  They must actually DO something to warrant individual recognition.  During said ten years I propose they all go their separate ways.  Brad can hang out with Clooney and make Oceans 34.  Jen can continue to romantic comedy her way into oblivion.  Angelina can continue her quest for world domination through adoption.  Once she actually assembles her "We Are The World" brood and conquers the world forcing all the population to get stupid looking tattoos and watch Tomb Raider until we bleed from the eyes and go brain dead, then you can put her back in the news.  Come to think of it, to shorten that scenario I could have just said we would all become Megan Fox.

Shunning is the act of deliberately avoiding association with, and habitually keeping away from an individual or group

I think it is time America.  In an generation bombarded with information (Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, TMZ, your mom's bridge club gossip), we have become entirely too tolerant of side show accidents that claim to be news worthy.  I don't blame you.  Sure, I've done some rubber necking.  There are things that I have seen (terrible things) that I know I should look away but don't.  Lady GaGa is one of those things.

Fact:  Lady Gaga wrote a song called "Telephone".  This song when played in its entirety lasts 3:40.  Three minutes and forty seconds of catchy nonsense, mispronounce werrrrds, and keyboard layers.  Once the song was distributed by the forces of evil to radio stations all across the land, and robots pretending to be DJ's programmed it every 3:41... the stage was set.  The "Telephone" music video was unleashed like the Kraken from the pits of Tartarus.  The MUSIC video is 9:32.  So if you count the variables and carry the one, there is 5:52 of no music.  5:52 of no MUSIC IN THE MUSIC VIDEO!  What you will find in this masterpiece of horror is a storyline so thin that it makes the premise of Spin Doctors early 90's hit song "Two Princes" look like Oscar material.  At one point Lady GaGa is showing you her butt whilst wearing sunglasses made of lit cigarettes.  She then is released from prison (the first mistake), she gets in a car with Beyonce' (really Beyonce' you are better than this) and proceeds to kill a diner full of gay robots from the future.  I'm actually certain that one of them is wearing the free sunglasses Pizza Hut gave away when Back To The Future 2 was released.  At the end they ride off in a Kill Bill reference (which doesn't score them any points with me).  All of this is done whilst finding time to include the 3:40 of a song about Lady GaGa's phone ringing while she is at the club and not wanting to answer because you can't hear anything on the dance floor.  What that has to do with killed people, prison beatings, or homosexual / homicidal cooks... we will never know.  The worst part is that at the very end it says "To be continued." 

That does it.  I propose that Lady GaGa be given a four year shun.  One year because she dresses like a five year old picked out her outfits in a used alien costume shop.  One year because of "Poker Face".  Yet another year exiled because she tries making an innuendo of the phrase "disco stick" but it really doesn't make sense any way that you would or could take it.  And one more year so she can grow her hair out after I shave off her stupid, stupid bangs.  All four years should be spent in a land devoid of sunlight so she can't wear glasses made of razorblades, lit cigarettes, venetian blinds, booby tassels, mickey mouse ears, or view masters.  I'm not making these things up.

I can only hope that America will join me in shunning this woman so that she might take some time to evaluate her life.  Maybe she will finally look in a mirror when she dresses or discover music.  Given time she might even sing for the first time in her life.

Why Rap Music Will Never Change The World

During times of global compasion brought on by a catastrophic event (i.e. Earthquakes, Tunami, Huricanes), one thing is certain; there will be a song.  There has to be a unifying music piece that is played in the background of the commercials for collectable coins, requests for donations to the Red Cross, and news channel montages.  The reason is that it isn't a disaster unless Hollywood says so.  Up until this point these songs have been power ballads or "singer/songwriter" sad piano songs.  Every once in awhile you will hear a reggae beat, an African choir, or an ignorant country song... but these are usually a mistake.  Not that we don't appreciate all the work U2, Greenday, and Sarah Mclachlan do, but I started to wonder why other genres aren't as successful.  The following is why pop and rap music will not unite us in our time of need...

1.  Most of the time the lyrics don't actually make sense.  Rap and Hip Hop are basically written in a sub-culture version of English that has a lot and I mean A LOT of pop culture references, but the message is unclear.

Drake - Girl You Know
I love your sushi roll, hotter than Wasabi,
i race for your love, shake and bake ricky bobby

I'm glad the girl already knows... I'm just not sure what it is she knows.  A song to unite the world must be written in a clear way that isn't contingent on seeing a movie that wasn't life changing to begin with.

2.  R&B and Rap music excels at being the anthems for parties even though many of things they are talking about... you wouldn't actually want to happen to you.  I will attempt to translate.

Ke$ha - Tick Tock
Wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy,
Grab my glasses, I'm out the door, I'm gonna hit this city
Before I leave, brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack
Cause when I leave for the night, I ain't coming back

And now the dudes are lining up cause they hear we got swagger

But we kick em to the curb unless they look like Mick Jagger

Don't stop, make it pop DJ, blow my speakers up
Tonight, Imma fight Till we see the sunlight

What I can only assume from these lyrics, is that this girls idea of a perfect day consists of rising in the morning like a black man, having very little to no hygiene, being homeless, dating old wrinkly leather-skin men, having a professional destroy your stereo, and then getting your teeth kicked in until the sun comes up.  Then it must all stop as we can only assume the sun has mystical powers to end fighting (maybe she is a vampire).  My point being, I think it is time that we admit that these lyricists are more concerned with rhyming than actually producing content.  If you are going to write the next we are the world, you can be concerned with making a crappy rhyme like (I can't rhyme world with anything but curled, Dang).

3. The third reason is what I like to call the "Dance Factor".  The thing that rock ballads, reggae, sad piano, bad country, and gospel choir music all have in common is that you are suppose to sway to it.  A good world peace/disaster relief song is performed in front of workers with candles with hands in the air swaying back and forth at a leisurely pace.  Even when Rap music dazzles us with political lyrics like...

Kayne West - Forever
Old money, benjamin button, what!? nuttin

Now superbad chicks giving me Mclovin
You would think I ran the world like Michelle’s husband (Obama Reference)

Lil Wayne - Down
Indefinitely, not probably
And honestly I'm down like the economy

... you still want to dance to it.  You can't have a nationally televised concert where everyone is crumping and the workers are sexing eachother up.  Bump and grind is not really inspiring.  Well... it is, but not in the "World Peacey" way.

Things Not To Do @ The Apocalypse

On the off chance that fire would rain from the heavens this weekend, there are some things you should probably avoid.  I know that might seem a little restrictive.  Usually when there is an apocalypse or a cataclysm or a general catastrophe, order and sound thinking are not in vogue.  The prospect of dying in a cosmic debacle doesn't bring out the best in people.  It generally makes people horny, crazy, and crazy horny.  But if the countless movies and books in the "Post-Apocalyptic" genre have taught us anything it is that there just might be a post-apocalypse.  So on the off chance that you wake up the next day, here are some things you might want to avoid during the end of the world.

Don't Have Sex
The whole appeal to having sex during the apocalypse is that there are no consequences.  By all accounts you pretty much expect to be incinerated during, going out with a bang on all accounts.  However, it is more likely that the building you are in is going to collapse and you will die in a much less romantic and very undignified position.  But once the fire starts to rain from the sky, many people will look for one last thrill and they won't be picky about who it is with.

The day after you survive the end of the world, (or what might have been an elaborate episode of Punk'd) you can expect things to be awkward.  You could expect a walk of shame except there is nowhere to walk to.  In fact you might be locked in a bomb shelter with a canned goods buffet and a troll who steals the covers.  Pregnancy and herpies aside, the last thing you want to have when there are only two people left on earth is "The Hills" style drama.  Don't let reality TV be the only thing that survives.

Don't Tell Anyone How You Feel
Usually when people have to say goodbye they get sentimental.  Under normal circumstances an average male is able to bury it deep, deep down.  Emo kids and chicks always feel like they have to cram a lifetime of love and rejection into five minutes of "You ruined my life... because I love you." 

Now, since the seven headed beast is rising from the sea, no one would blame you if you decided to break down and cry.  Might I even suggest soiling yourself or running like a little girl.  But whatever you do, don't bare your soul to your friend that you had a crush on, your friend you have really hated this whole time, or your dad that never made it to your ball game when you were a kid.  The reason being that once you realize that the sky isn't falling and there might be something to this global warming thing... you are going to have a lot to answer for.  Or just imagine that the world does end except... you guessed it... you two are the last on earth.  My advice, put it away and go out with some dignity.

Don't Go Off On Your Own
Rule number one on surviving a cosmic tragedy:  find a small child to protect.  If you can bank on something during this mortifying zombie, locust, nuclear love-fest, it is that the "powers that be" will single out a small creepy child that will save us all.  This child and its protector will not and cannot die.  It will not be allowed.  So, if you grab the nearest kid (it cannot be your own unless you are pregnant by an angel or some other holy sexy time thing) you have a shot at picking the right rugrat and being totally bulletproof.  After that, all you have to do is make sure the dirt smudges on his/her face are cute and wait for them to redeem humanity.

If at anytime you and this small child encounter a group of people who also surrvived, don't get attached.  The formula being, one will betray you, one is a zombie (or will be very soon), and the rest are there to slow down whatever might be chasing you at the time.  Yes, even that cute one that thinks you are so great to look after a kid who is not your responsiblity.

So let's review
If you think it is the end of the world and you need to scratch an itch, eat some junk food and go to bed early.  You might have to go to work in the morning.

Quality Vs. Quantity

My fellow blogger Tyler has been counting down the best and worst movies of 2009.  I have seen maybe half of the movies on that list and as I stand in front of the shrine to extortion that is known to mere mortals as Blockbuster Video, I can't help but notice the giant walls of movies I have not and will never see.  I have a few people I would like to blame for this.  They are in no particular order, as my outrage is naturally peppered with wit and not organization.

I Blame Hollywood. 
If you happen to have any unemployed senior citizens laying about (they might be refering to themselves as retired), shake them from their fourth nap and over a nice cup of Ensure ask them about "the pictures".  They will of course tell you how great movies used to be.  They can actually list all the movies they saw as a child and all the stars of those movies.  The reason being there were only twenty movies and ten stars.  Rent any movie from 1930-1950 and you will see the same ten people recycled into every combination they could make of them.  This might seem taxing on the actors except each studio only put out about two movies per year.  That is why your senile grandfather can't remember your name, but he knos Cary Grant was spectacular in that movie, because he was in every movie.  And when you are in every movie the chances of you winning an Oscar are almost a sure thing.  (Calm down Samuel L. Jackson... I said almost.)  But now since there are twenty movies opening every second starring the latest set of boobs to fall off the truck, it's hard to keep up.  Maybe if we tone down the number of movies and be a little more selective about who we call a celebrity (You know who you are) then we wouldn't have to let movies like Old Dogs take up space in the Theater.

I Blame Sony
Sometimes things are so good they change the game entirely.  Sony has made camera technology so good, so cheap, so accessable that anyone--and I mean ANYONE--can make a movie.  You used to have to have a budget, a studio, a crew... not anymore.  Now you just need a Handy Cam and a mediocre script and ZAP! BANG!  You win the independent film award.  I'm just kidding.  Sure that happens sometimes, but most of the time you end up with some toothless whino shooting Zombie Nazi Surfers IV.  Four of them you say?  You bet!  Straight to DVD shelves everywhere.  If you are lucky Steven Segal or JCVD will stop by for a days worth of shooting.  I'm exaggerating you say?

I Blame The Government
$9.50.    That is the price of a movie now.  $9.50  Not a 3D film or Imax.  $9.50  Just to walk into a theater the size of my living room and sit in a sticky seat that hasn't been cleaned in years.  $9.50 to fight Jr. High kids for seats.  And let's not even talk about the mugging that is "concession".  The word means to "yield to".  Yes, I get your mind game.  With every ten dollar bag of popcorn you get to slap me and force me into submission.  I would stay home and rent DVD's but...  $5.00 rents a DVD for one night (JUST ONE).  I feel a little bit of my soul slip away with each rental.  Which brings me to Obama.  Make my dollar worth more please.  And since we can't seem to get anything substantial done with Health Care... what about Entertainment Reform?  But before you get started on your new plan I just want to let you know that giving my tax dollars to movie stars and people who are already rich won't turn the economy around.  Spending money aimlessly doesn't make it worth more.  I only bring it up because of that whole "that's all you did your first year in office" little tiny thing.

Real Life Lessons From "Call Of Duty" part 2

One might say that when an individual starts to blend fiction and video games with reality... that person might be losing their mind. Those people would be correct. I feel like I'm taking crazy pills. However, my eventual loss of a grip on reality shall not be in vain. Allow me to share with you a few life lessons you can learn from playing "Call of Duty" (online first person shooter video game) but you can apply to everyday life.
2. The More You Talk The More I Know You Are Lying.
When you play any video game online you can always pick out the noobs, cheaters, and idiots within the first five minutes. They are the ones typing things in chat about how awesome they are. Mind you, they are typing and not playing the game... which they are so amazing at.
In real life the same rules apply. A man just walked into my office and I didn't know him from Adam. Now, an hour later, I'm not sure if I know every single detail of his life story, or if I still don't know a solid fact about him or the reality he lives in. From what I could gather, this man used to make $3,800 a week doing something that involved him working on the fifth floor of a building. He owned a 1.2 million dollar home, and for funzzies he used to gather with his co-workers and literally throw money out the window because he thought it was funny to watch people fight over it.

Now, he is homeless and broke... wait now he has been unemployed for four years. He has no degree in broadcasting but wanted me to pray for him because he got an interview at a radio station. And if he gets that job, he is then going to go to Second City and become the next Dan Aykroyd. All his dreams will come true. He just needs some money and food to make it through the week. He went to the food pantry, but they asked him to do really ridiculous unproductive things like register for food stamps and government aid. He really doesn't have time for all that paper work being swamped with unemployment and chasing his dreams. And he loves God but really is sick of hearing that God will provide for him and doesn't go to church because of this unbelievable string of bad luck with churches (and trust me it is unbelievable). But his oldest who is 13 loves God. Also, his oldest who is 18 is an atheist. Rather than explain to him that the term "oldest" can only apply to one child being that the nature of the adjective is to single someone out, I listened intently to him talk about his optimism being so great that he was going to hang himself and that he and his wife loved each other so much they were thinking about getting a divorce. Things have been tough since he had to cut their cell phones back to a $180 a month plan and the "shack" that he is living in costs him in rent what I pay for our townhome.
Had this gentlemen played Call Of Duty he might have known that the more he talked, the more chance there was of screwing up his story. He might have guessed that it is better to act than to talk... then when you succeed because you were busy acting while others were talking all you have to do is point at the score board.

Real Life Lessons From "Call Of Duty" part 1

One might say that when an individual starts to blend fiction and video games with reality... that person might be loosing their mind.  Those people would be correct.  I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.  However, my eventual loss of a grip on reality shall not be in vain.  Allow me to share with you a few life lessons you can learn from playing "Call of Duty" (online first person shooter video game) but you can apply to everyday life.

1.  Don't Stand In Doorways (you'll get us all killed)

As I was leaving a well known department store I was halted right before I could exit.  There was a woman in front of me that had just stopped dead in the doorway.  Normally I would simply navigate around her, but this woman was of a particular size and shape that fits snugly in a double sliding automatic doors like they were made just for her.  I waited about a full minute before saying "excuse me" and pushing past her.  It was a tight squeeze and I had to shoulder check her just a little bit.  I made it through and could breath again.  Gasping for huge gulps of air I looked back to see what she could possibly be doing... you know... besides getting in my way and leaving the automatic doors open to let cold air into the store.  She was texting.  Let me say it out  loud... she stopped in the middle of a public exit to send a text message from a mobile phone.  From that point I managed to walk to my car, get it, start it, adjust my mirrors and fiddle with the radio and when I pulled out she was STILL STANDING THERE.  By this point a crowd was building behind this fire hazzard... I mean woman... and I thought I saw the mob getting restless.  It was only a matter of time before this woman was beaten senseless, and I didn't need that on my record.

Crossing Over

As the years go by I believe we are seeing a return to old times.  It used to be that the celebrities of the day were not just actors, singers, or dancers.  They were all of these things.  They were "Entertainers!"  They could do it all.  Lately, I think we are seeing Hollywood try to return to this... but as it turns out, celebrities aren't always talented... at all... like they shouldn't be famous in the first place (Cast of The Hills I'm talking to you).  So I have addressed some stars who "crossed over" one way or another.

Good crossover
Zooey Deshanel (who's sweet persona has been featured in a number of TV shows and movies such as "Elf" and "500 Days of Summer") had the good sense to team up with M. Ward to form the group She & Him.  This is smart for a number of reasons.  Because she is in a "group" rather than releasing under her name, she earns more street cred and doesn't have to write her own songs.  The album is not just about her, she just happens to be the front (wo)man of a group that features a musician that has been respected in the industry since the late 90's.  M. Ward is a genius and by having him in the band Zoeey can lean on him without looking like a teen pop star that can't play an instrument or write songs, but wants to be a star.

Bad Crossover
No offense to the two young aspiring calipso singers in this reality, but this branch of music seems to be the easy fall back of actors trying to be pop stars.  Paris and Hayden have already tried it and I just want to tell you before I have to listen to Shia LaBeouf play steel drums... it's not good Hollywood... it's just not good.  Better to bombard me with autotuners and beats so loud I can't hear the lyrics (Ashley Tisdale) than to sing me a song I would only listen to for 15 seconds over a 2 inch elevator speaker while I decend into a hotel lobby in Jamaca for my Jimmy Buffet themed class of 63' reunion.  Even then, people would wonder why that crap was on when we have Margarettaville we could listen to on repeat.

Good Crossover
Hey if you can sing, then some acting jobs are available to you, because the part requires you to sing.  The reverse is not true just because you act like a singer does not entitle you to an album.  But fortunetly for us Mandy Moore can both sing and act.  She is hilarious in movies like "Saved" and made great guest appearances in "Scrubs", but we have to attribute this great crossover to the fact that in "Saved" "American Dreamz" and "A Walk To Remember" Mandy Moore sang in the roll.  Good job Mandy...

Bad Crossover
I love this man.  He is an international sensation and is funnier than all get out hosting award shows and sketch comedy.  But "Alpha Dog"?  Seriously Justin?  It breaks my heart.

Good Crossover
Wouldn't you rather watch "The Italian Job" than listen to "Good Vibrations"?  Ok, maybe that is catchy... and maybe I'd rather listen to Mark Wahlburg talk to animals than watch "Max Payne" again.  But I think, over all, the acting is better for his image.

Bad Crossover
Any rapper at all...  Any of them... Ice Cube, Ice Tea, Cube Tea, Common, Dre, Snoop, Nick Cannon, Chris Brown, Lil Wayne... I'm talking to all of you.  Stop it.  Just because you can speak in rhythm with stunning lyrics like "I'm on a boat" doesn't mean you should act.  You can rap about owning a big screen without actually being on a big screen.
Adendum:  Exceptions to this rule are Will Smith and Marshall Mathers (eminem).  But in all farness Eminem starred in a movie about himself.  But the man can be himself very well, give him an award.

My Toss ups are as follows:
J.Lo - went from dancer on "In Living Color" to dancing pop star to starring in not so great movies.
Hillary Duff - it was cute for a while.
Lindsay Lohan - It wasn't good in the first place, so having a crappy crossover is the least of your problems.  Get tested Lindsay...