Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Red Side of the Moon

Wanna geek out on lunar eclipse? Here's the Wiki.

Wiccans celebrate the lunar eclipse as a coming together of the god (the sun) and the goddess (the moon). Bow chicka-bow-bow! Just how are we celebrating, eh? I'm kidding. Witches, too, recognize the lunar eclipse as a wonderful and magical time. I am happy to hear that, even if it looks foreboding, the lunar eclipse does not spell bad mojo for anyone.

Can you imagine how frightened early humans must have been to see the full moon turn blood red? I gobbled up a sleeping pill last night (insomnia) so I missed the damn eclipse. Good thing a whole bunch of science nerds stayed up to analyze and photograph it for me and you.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Karaoke Do Not Sings

In case you missed it while wondering how Miss Teen South Carolina manages to function on a daily basis, this list arose like Venus on a half-shell from the clever mind of Dan Hopper at Best Week Ever:

Have you ever been at a karaoke bar, flipped through their phone book of songs to pick from, debated in your head if you wanted something awesome or ironic or awesomely ironic or whatever, then finally settled on a perfect choice, typed in the song, waited excitedly, finally gotten up on stage, then after about a minute, realized that the song is either impossible to sing, or goes on for a painful amount of time, or wasn’t nearly as funny as you had anticipated, or some devastating combination of the three? Who hasn’t? That’s why I’ve drawn on personal experience and the catastrophic anecdotal accounts of my fellow karaoke-loving friends to comprise this list of the Top Ten Worst Karaoke Trap Songs in the hopes that we can reduce these awkward, time-wasting experiences, one room of people rolling their eyes at a time.

10. Sir Mix-A-Lot - “Baby Got Back"

The concept of getting really drunk with one’s friends and shouting along out-of-tune to random pop songs is already so wonderfully ludicrous, I wonder why people feel the need to intentionally choose a pseudo-novelty song for the sake of humor, let alone one which everyone got tired of even on a nostalgic level after about three weeks of college. That never stops the one nerd in your group from trying to impress everyone in the room by singing all of “Baby Got Back” without looking at the words on the screen, as though anyone even cares about the song beyond the first minute, chiming in for the obligatory “My anaconda don’t want none” part then eagerly anticipating the song’s end.

9. Frank Sinatra - “New York, New York"

Part of the glee of karaoke comes from drunken people singing the most random, stupid song that they secretly love and having those couple stunned people in the crowd who also secretly love that song rising up and triumphantly belting along with the person holding the mic. Why is it, then, that so many people feel compelled to bore the room with “New York, New York,” a perennially anticlimatic choice which is at best sung perfectly, garnering a dull “hmm, that guy was really good,” reaction, and at worst a “are these Sinatra dudes going to be done soon? I’ve been waiting a damn hour to sing ‘Santeria’.”

8. INXS - “Need You Tonight"

This 80s pop gem can be a tempting choice, but there’s something magically elusive about Michael Hutchence’s voice; it’s too low for high singers, it’s two high for low singers, and if you’re in the middle, it’s impossible to sing, you pretty much just have to speak the words, which ends up being just kind of boring. It’s only two minutes long, mercifully, but the angsty sex noises require a degree of acting that’ll make any non-hammered individual look like a pervert, and any appropriately hammered individual look like a drunken pervert. I can imagine how singing this song in concert over and over again would lead a singer to… never mind.

7. Meat Loaf - “Paradise By The Dashboard Light"

Another tempting option, cause there aren’t really a lot of great duets once “Don’t You Want Me Baby” and “Another Day” from Rent get sung in the first hour, but this song folds under two massive flaws: One, only the last part of the song is a duet, the male part takes up about the first 70%, and Two, it is the longest goddamn song in the history of recorded music. There isn’t even a single version; even the karaoke rendition will include the full two minutes of Phil Rizzuto’s baseball announcing. If you’re paying for a room and you select this song, you’re a moron who instantly owes everyone in the bar five rounds of drinks.

6. Journey - “Don’t Stop Believin’"

Don’t get me wrong, this song is absolutely tailor-made for sing-alongs, but, in a way, it’s almost too good; everyone in the room, from nineteen-year-old sorority chicks to even the most jaded hipsters will dive into the choruses, and the final breakdown will be an absolutely cathartic group scream that will end in huge applause when the song fades out. BUT — if this isn’t the last song of the night, it pretty much ruins every single song that follows it, and can clear a bar as quickly as the Sopranos finale cut to black. You might as well just go onstage after The Beastie Boys just did a two-hour set with Jerry Lee Lewis.

5. Anything from the “Grease” Soundtrack

Short of that one girl who keeps picking country ballads that no one in the room knows, there is no more polarizing force in the world of karaoke than the girls who put on songs from “Grease,” resulting in an inevitable three minutes of loud girly sing-alongs and insecure dudes yelling at them to change the song or to pick something less done-to-death (like “Livin’ on a Prayer”). You could go onstage, grab the mic, and start preaching about how Roe v Wade needs to be overturned, and you’d start fewer arguments than if you sang “You’re The One That I Want,” so you really have to ask yourself if your few minutes of happy falsetto-ey '50s music is worth a roomful of tangible animosity.

2. Prince - “Purple Rain"

The stacked catalogue and mass appeal of almighty Prince often blinds people to his disatrous karaoke potential; songs like “Little Red Corvette” and “1999″ are perfect for dance parties, but never quite hold up on the karaoke stage (perhaps because we have certain predispositions about that Prince fellow’s stage presence), but “Purple Rain” is an absolute, no-exceptions room-killer. No matter how seemingly hilarious a song suggestion is, or how many girls clump themselves around a microphone to shout a chorus, no karaoke song really holds up past the four-minute-mark, and this one goes on long enough for patrons to take a cab to a different karaoke bar, type in a song, and get on stage quicker than if they’d waited for this one to be over.

3. U2 - “One”

When you choose to sing Pearl Jam or Dave Matthews, you pretty much know beforehand that you’re going to have to do a flat-out impression of the lead singer. With “One,” though, you can’t really slip into full-on Bono impression without sounding like a crappy Mad TV sketch, nor can you sing the song in your own voice without sounding like an Idol reject who was bad but not in a unique or amusing way. You’ll be stuck in a perpetual state of partial-Bono impression that won’t sound like anything, will damage your vocal chords, and really begin to grate on people long before you come to the excruciating two minutes of “oooohhh ooohhhh!! haaaaaaaa!” at the end.

2. Guns n’ Roses - “Paradise City

A flawless, across-the-board example of a textbook karaoke trap. It seems like a viable option, because everyone can get into G’n'R, plus the chorus is fun and easy for everyone to sing along to, but even the chorus gets pretty old by about the fourth repetition (out of thirty), to say nothing of the superfast verses which no one knows, the five instrumental breaks, and the total running time of nearly seven minutes, making for a crushing, “dear god, what have I done?” epiphany for the unfortunate soul who’s left bearing the microphone like a scarlet letter.

1. Vanilla Ice - “Ice Ice Baby”

Remember Vanilla Ice? I do! He had that stupid song when we were little that became awesome again when we went to college and now we’re going to sing it! Isn’t that ridiculous? Who wants to be part of this never-before-attempted stab at hilarity? Ok, here we go! Stop, collaborate and listen, Ice is back with my brand new invention, something, that… dah da dah…. ummm speaker that booms… “poisonous mushroom”? What? I’ve never seen any of these words before. Anyone? Dear god, get to the chorus, quick… Ice Ice Baby! [stands there awkwardly.] Ice Ice Baby. [five more awkward seconds, then the second verse starts, and people are either talking to one another or just reading the lyrics in disbelief. This continues for about seven more verses until someone finally skips to the next song. Person who was about to type in “U Can’t Touch This” reconsiders his options.]

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Name's K-Money

He sings the crap out of "Creep" but he's far from one.

K-Money had the thankless job of working with me at a chain restaurant. We bonded over a mutual hate of ketchup and grew to be good friends through karaoke at the Ho. Oh, that's the Tally Ho, my hometown historic gay bar. Neither of us are gay but lots of our friends are and we both loved the resident karaoke DJ.

He toils all day at some suit-and-tie job that he's way too smart for, and tolerates the bizarre, irresponsible, rude and sometimes tragic behavior of all his friends with some kind of zen magic. I worry he'll snap and throttle some unsuspecting diner waitress who absentmindedly hands him a plate covered in ketchup.

Yes, it's Trouble-is-Sentimental Week. Suck it up!

The Key to Solving Jewish-Muslim Conflict: Karaoke!

Here's me and my German/Bosnian and proudly Muslim friend Alem, solving Mid-East conflict via karaoke duet. Through karaoke we became friends and found very little to fight about (except who does all the driving on trips to Atlantic City).

I believe the song was "Something Stupid" by Frank and Nancy Sinatra. The setting was Bob's basement during a late-winter blizzard. It was actually something of a miracle Alem arrived safely for my farewell party — I'm awfully glad he did.

Sure do miss him! You ought to hear Alem tear up "Du Hast" in the original German. It's been known to send people fleeing up the stairs of the Lodge. It is the awesome.

Friday, August 24, 2007

For Your Entertainment, While I Disassemble a Mighty Bedroom Fort

This is Bob. Bob is my friend and I love him very much. He's one helluva singer, which you may or may not be able to discern from this video. Bob was astonishingly drunk at the time, didn't know the song as well as some of those in attendance at the Lodge, yet sang better than anyone of us ever could.

Bob lives in Lancaster and is the star of many a local playhouse musical. In fact, he is in rehearsals right now for Little Shop of Horrors, playing Seymour. He and K-Money and Lore and our other karaoke friends go out without me, drink Lager that I can't get here in Denver, and hells bells do I miss them. And Lager. And the Lodge.

Mood: Wistful Demon Space Pirate

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

7 People, Picked to Share an Apartment...

No 20-year old skank doofuses here, though: Me, the Superfly, Nana and all four of the Trouble litter are sharing our 2-br swanky apartment in the sky-hi-i. And loving every minute of it!

So while we revel in familial happiness, I will not be posting much or spending much time online at all, actually. You see, there's this site called Club Penguin that's a sort-of chatroom nightmare for the elementary school set. I don't worry much; it's monitored by strident nanny goats and kids are ejected for saying, "poop".

In other news, E-A-G-L-E-S !!!!! Suck on that, Carolina Panthers!

Have a lovely, sunny, enjoyable end of summer, everyone. LYLAS!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Mood: Demon Space Pirate

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Not For the Squeamish

Much ado around Gawker these days about, well, back-door action. People stridently pro and con and a whole lot of bullshit being presented as fact.

I am personally in the con camp. My actual experience with the practice is limited to the few boyfriends I've had who timidly inquired if I maybe wanted to try, blah blah, and were immediately sent packing. Er, I mean I dumped them. Um, we broke up. Heh. I have friends and know other women who swear that it's the best thing ever. Of course, those people are either sex workers or garden-variety sluts. Shocking!

My theory (I'm full of them! For any occasion!) is that when girls and women started emulating strippers, porn stars and prostitutes in clothing, waxing, tanning, pole dancing and sex tapes, the natural step was to one-up the porn actresses in the bedroom.

Sure, anal sex has been around since people have been around. And believe me, I've heard every lame excuse and rationality for why guys want it and girls will do it.

Why are some people just crazy for anal sex?

Is it because the guy is in denial about being gay? Maybe.
Is it because the girl has "let herself go" down there? If so, get a new lover who isn't a shallow, misogynistic bastard who is in denial about being gay.
Is it because it's natural? Wrong! That is an exit, people.
Is it because it's safe and painless if "done right"? You Wish!
Is it because the guy/girl is constantly looking for new and interesting ways to get off? Probably. Maybe they should pursue a different hobby.

Ok, so this theory holds that guys who are into anal sex are shallow, capricious and probably gay. And on the girls who claim they can't get no satisfaction any other way, I call total, utter bullshit.

Some girls want to be the girl all the guys want. You know her: she's sexy and flirty and every woman's frenemy. She thinks that if she figures out what guys like and becomes that thing, she wins. If none of the other women will demean themselves, risk their body's good health and proper functioning, and fulfill their jerkoff boyfriend's vile fantasy, she will! She wins! Yay, Slut!

When I had sex talks with my smart, beautiful daughter, I always stressed this: "Any man who asks you to have anal sex with him has absolutely no regard for your safety or happiness. He doesn't love you."

Why? Because it's true. Because she grew up in a world where people are celebrated for their disgusting behavior and where women allow themselves to believe that looking like a low-rent stripper is the height of fashion. And a world wherein a dangerous perversion like anal sex is promoted as a normal, fun sex practice. What's next, donkeys?

Come on, people. Leave the nasty stuff for the prostitutes and porn stars. That's what they're for! If your partner is bugging you to do it, find a new partner. It's high time someone said enough. Bring back shunning! Bring back shame!

With apologies to anyone horrified by this post. You're right to be horrified, so am I. I just had to get this off my chest. If I posted it as a Gawker comment I would surely be flamed by buggers, and really, who needs it?

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Friday, August 03, 2007

If You Ain't Bipolar, You Ain't Trying Hard Enough

Interweb scuttlebutt has diagnosed Britney Spears as being Bipolar. Clues cited include Ms. Spears shaving her head, waving her genitals at photographers, and generally losing her shit every chance she gets. Apparently, the poor kid isn't treated for this psychiatric disorder because she's busily working out another one: Bulimia.

Diagnosing Bipolar disorder is an inexact science, as any reputable psychiatrist will tell you. There is no blood test, no rash, no Xray image of throbbing craziness. Instead, doctors look at patterns of behavior in deciding if it's Bipolar, Depresssion, some combo thereof, or other mood or personality disorders.

Substance Abuse and acting like a batshit whorebag asshole are not precise symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. If that were true, a lot more than 2% of the population would be officially diagnosed.

It's entirely possible that Britney is Bipolar. It's equally possible that Lindsay Lohan is Bipolar. In fact, I would put my money on Lindz: she has the inappropriate sexuality thing happening, the substance abuse, the erratic behavior, the total lapses in judgement, and — tellingly, I say — the terrible rages. Where Britney is a sadsack, insecure cuckoobunny, Lindsay Lohan is a megalomanic, friend- and family-alienating nightmare.

Now throw Amy Winehouse into the mix. The Wino was officially diagnosed and — in all her clear-thinking sobriety — decided she didn't need medication and therapy.

I'm no spokesperson for Bipolar Disorder, or bipolar women, or celebrities, or anyone at all, I just don't want the world to associate the disorder with these skeevy trainwrecks. Amy Winehouse is not the fucking "face" of Bipolar Disorder, ok?

I have a diagnosis of severe Bipolar Disorder. I have suffered from the terrifying symptoms (which, for me, did not include waving my genitals or wrecking expensive cars in DUI stupidity)since I was a teenager. It's bad enough to encounter doctors who treat me like I have Down's Syndrome or Autism when I visit them for ordinary medical problems. Nurses often freak out when I tell them I take Lithium. Know what Lithium is? A common mineral, like table salt.

So, I'm not looking forward to the surely-upcoming news pieces about Bipolar, featuring Jimmy-Crack-Crackers Spears. Seriously, people, having Bipolar Disorder is sucky enough. Must we be lumped in with celebrity whoreflowers?

Last time I checked, acting like a thai hooker at dance clubs, drinking yourself half-to-death, and experimenting with drugs was a disorder called College. I guess every person in their early-to-mid '20s has bipolar, in addition to being worthless and stupid. How sad!

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Guilty Pleasures - Awesomely Crappy Songs

Were you to swipe my Ipod and scroll through my music downloads (clearly to steal, you rat bastard) you will find: a lot of cool songs, some killer rarities (Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot, anyone?), plenty of disco, and a handful of absolute head-scratchers. ("Climax Blues Band? Really?")

The many goofy, cheesy, almost-all-of-the-'70s songs sandwiched between Wolfmother and Hawaiian love songs are not there because I am a fashionably-ironic hipster. No, no. The only thing I have in common with those useless wastes of carbon is species.

I truly, whole-heartedly love these songs. They evoke, for example, innocent afternoons of listening to AM radio and working on a rocket pop. They transport me, through time and space, to summers spent playing Charlie's Angels and writing love letters to Starsky. Farrah was married to the $6 Million Man and all was right with the world. The soundtrack to that time celebrates wholesomeness, as in Debbie Boone and the Carpenters, and raunchiness I only pretended to understand, from P-Funk and Foxy. We had Muskrat Love and we had Love to Love You, Baby.

But there's nothing better than a cheesy '70's ballad, as sung by some skinny, long-haired, sweet-mustached guy in shiny pants and a puffy shirt. I am telling you.

Of these songs -- many of which were criminally left off VH1's "Softsational Soft Rock Whatever" -- the greatest, most awesomely crappy song that holds a special place of honor in my Ipod is a little number by Jay Ferguson called "Thunder Island".

Sha-la-la-la-la-la, m'lady indeed!

Thunder Island (LP Version) by Jay Ferguson

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

To Snark and to be Loved by Me

Ah, my fellow Gawker commenters. So terribly smart and armed-to-the-teeth with obscure references and puns for any occasion.

With wit, charm and no small amount of schadenfreude, the men and women chosen to weigh-in on posts at Gawker's sites with unbalanced opinions, straight-up rants, in-fighting and bon mots oneupmanship are usually more entertaining than the post to which they refer.

Editors regularly single out commenters for praise or, more often, execution. For the year I've been throwing in my .02 I've found Gawker's decisions to be mostly apt. I was once executed (for suggesting post topic quotas existed at Gawker HQ) and invited to "eat a dick". Superfly boyfriend was delighted to hear it!

I pleaded and whined until they reluctantly let me back in to the super secret treehouse club. I've kept my nose clean and focused my comments to topics I actually know something about. Chances are I'll never check in to the Gold Star Motel — unless completely by accident — but it's personally rewarding to do more than sneer, laugh, or gasp at the laptop screen. Sharing is, after all, caring, nu?

So when you visit a Gawker site, read the comments. You'll find some of the funniest, most entertaining, and occasionally perplexing witticisms that exist online. The next time an open invitation to become a commenter comes along, consider joining in the frayed fun.

Unrelated: How is it possible I have 20+ mosquito bites and haven't died of some tropical disease yet? Not only do I live next to a wildlife preserve where plague exists amongst the woodland creatures therein but dadgum West Nile Virus is a-poppin'!

Amusing story related to the unrelated bit: A guy in line behind me at the grocery checkout tapped me on the shoulder and helpfully instructed me to make a paste of meat tenderizer and MSG (Lawry's Seasoned Salt was his recommendation) and rub it on my itchy, red welts. "The MSG kills the poison" he soberly said.

I definitely prefer the advice of random strangers in Colorado than that of the clearly barking loony mad ones in Brooklyn.

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