Monday, December 31, 2007

Tomorrow Is a Long Time Times Two

"Elvis recorded a song of mine," Bob Dylan once said. "That's the one recording I treasure most."

The song Dylan's referring to is "Tomorrow Is a Long Time." He never recorded a studio version; it was released on his second greatest hits album from a concert he'd given eight years earlier. Here it is, scoring pictures of him with Suze Rotolo, best known as the girl clinging to him on the Freewheelin' Bob Dylan album cover.

Elvis's version was buried on the Spinout soundtrack, despite not being in the movie. He gives it a swampy Southern acoustic feel and That Voice floats above it, eerie and beautiful all at once.

Thought that'd be a nice way to close out 2007. PS - Happy birthday, John!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

My finger's off the pulse

There are a whole bunch of "Best Viral Videos 2007" articles on the web as the year comes to a close. And really, two years ago, who would've guessed there'd be such a category, and with so many entries to choose from?

I tended to steer clear of posting them at their time of fame because I figured they were common enough knowledge that people would've already gotten their fill, so "Leave Britney Alone," the Filipino Thriller, the Dramatic Chipmunk/Prairie Dog/Gerbil, Miss South Carolina, and many others never made their MeTube debut.

But I can't help finding a whole bunch of world-famous clips that I'd never heard of. It's just a touch embarrassing, really. So I thought I'd take a flying leap onto the old bandwagon and show you some of the world's longtime favorites that I'm only just now learning about. Maybe they'll be new for you too.

There's the Zombie Kid...

Lily Allen's third nipple...

The Potter Puppet Pals...

Heidi Klum's great knockers...

"Chocolate Rain"...

And a mobile phone salesman singing opera.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Once again, the Japanese rule

Thanks to Barstool Sports for introducing me to this clip. It's a ten-year-old Japanese girl rendering the entire band of Kansas forever obsolete with this cover of "Carry On My Wayward Son."

I've seen ten-year-olds at talent shows who can't handle "Mary Had a Little Lamb." Of course, they didn't have keyboards this awesome, either.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Like a Rolling Lorax

Hey again!

One of the highlights of my Decembers comes my way from my friend Paul in New Jersey. Every year I send him a mix CD for Chanukah and he sends me one for Christmas. This year's entry was of the usual high quality and introduced me to a chunk of pop subculture I'd missed out on completely.

A Houston resident named Kevin Ryan recorded seven songs with the words of Dr. Seuss with music and attitude similar to that of Bob Dylan. He posted them on a website, Just as it was getting attention, Seuss lawyers sent a cease-and-desist letter to Ryan, and he took the site down. But you know how hard it is to get toothpaste back in the tube. Particularly if it's brilliant toothpaste.

Here's the song Paul sent me, of "Green Eggs and Ham."

And here's "The Zax."

Monday, December 24, 2007

DC meets S.C.

Today I'm off to celebrate with la familia, and I'll be away for a few days. But I wanted to leave a winner behind.

ItsJustSomeRandomGuy, who I've noted for his genius, has a surprisingly moving story of the time that Saint Nicholas paid a visit to stately Wayne Manor.

I'll be back on Friday. Until then, best of the season to all.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Catch-All

One of the great things about doing this all these Christmas posts is that there's so many good ones. Frankly, I should have started this a lot earlier. As it is, I'm putting up a whole bunch here with no common theme save 12/25.

Here's Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa, the best Christmas movie of the century so far.

Here's the stop-motion classic Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town - made freshhhhhh.

Here are some bad guys feeling the spirit of the season.

And here's Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Cool Yule

There are any number of cool rock musicians who have cool Christmas songs. I'm just going to post a few of my favorites here. You'll note that neither Lennon nor McCartney is represented. That's not an accident.

We'll start with the King, by request - here's "Blue Christmas."

The Ramones kicked out the jams with "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight)."

Billy Squier leads perhaps the most joyous rockin' Christmas song, "Christmas is a Time to Say I Love You." I make no apologies for loving this.

The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl combined to immortalize "Fairytale of New York." Check out the Wikipedia entry - it's fascinating stuff.

Finally, the greatest (and not coincidentally the most depressing) of them all, Tom Waits's "Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis," with a few bars of "Silent Night" thrown in for good measure.

Friday, December 21, 2007

NOW how much would you pay?

The first really good Christmas gift I ever got for somebody was in the late '70s, when I got my dad the Auto-Cup from Ronco, which guaranteed no more spilling hot coffee on the long drive. (In the days before cupholders, a legit concern.)

Ronco, named for its founder Ron Popeil, was the company for gadgets in the '70s and '80s. Their ads brought the phrases "It slices, it dices," "set it and forget it," and "but wait - there's more!" to the collective conscious. And the zesty version of "Deck the Halls" that closed the ads was a great indicator that Christmas was close at hand.

Here are a few of their greatest hits: The glass froster...

...the smokeless ashtray...

...and the semilegendary Mr. Microphone.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Give me a D! Give me an Arkness!

The Darkness, who brought metal and falsettos back to our consciousness with "I Believe In A Thing Called Love," may not have lasted long (drugs are bad, kids), but before the implostion, they managed to pen a Christmas classic, "Christmas Time (Don't Let the Bells End)."

I particularly like the way the singer slips as he goes out the door. And I love the quote I heard, that they were thrilled they found a way to get the word "ringpiece" played on the radio. You can't fault any band with an evident sense of humor.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

When I say Christmas, scream real loud!

Pee Wee Herman had a Christmas special, and it's available in 9-minute chunks on YouTube. Don't know that everyone's got time for that at the moment, though, so I'll just shoot you the opening credits (and honestly, once you see these, how could you not want to watch the rest?)...

...and Grace Jones singing a little bit of "The Little Drummer Boy."

And you just know he celebrated Christmas at the stroke of midnight. Heh.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Once Is Not Enough

One last un-Christmassy entry that I've been waiting to post for months...

Today's the day that Once is released on DVD. This is a film about a busking musician in Dublin, and the Czech girl he meets, and the way they inspire each other, musically and otherwise. It's my favorite movie of the year, and I've seen No Country for Old Men.

This is the scene where they perform in the studio for the first time, and the hired-hand producer slowly realizes he's got something good here.

Glen Hansard, the guitarist, is a huge Van Morrison fan as well. So here are a couple covers he does: one of "Into the Mystic"...

...and a very intense version of "Astral Weeks."

I can't say enough good things about this movie, so I'll keep this simple. If you've not seen it yet, do.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Non-Christmas Movie Movies

Every December I watch a copy of The Ref; this year was the first time I had my own copy and didn't need to rent it. What kept me? It's a great film that I wouldn't really call a Christmas film - it just happens to take place around Christmastime.

Denis Leary is a burglar who takes Judy Davis and Kevin Spacey hostage, and their constant bickering is enough to drive him up the wall. Davis & Spacey do some excellent work, and while, as Leonard Maltin says, it's a meatier movie than you might expect, there are some great laughs and semi-silly scenes as well. Here, for instance, Spacey finally takes on his guilt-tripping mother - and wins.

Love Actually is considered more a romantic comedy than a Christmas movie, as there are six to eight romantic comedies crammed into it. The one where a guy loves his best friend's wife is resolved this way.

Sappy? Maybe. But the reason they make syrup out of sap is because it's oh so sweet.

PS - R.I.P. Dan Fogelberg.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Please, God, stop the pain!

As anyone who's every attended an elementary school concert knows, there are ways that songs can be butchered which are beyond our ken. I'll give a couple of examples here.

Jimmy Kimmel and Mike Tyson duetting "Winter Wonderland" is one of those where you stare in total incomprehension. I suspect they picked this particular song so we could here Mike lisp his way through the "snow is glistenin'" line. The Casio is the only possible background music for this.

"O Holy Night" is one of my favorite Christmas songs, but it's a challenging one to sing. This guy accepts the challenge and fails spectacularly. It starts off seeming like just your basic bad cover, but give it time.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Christmas Cookie

From the all-time classic Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, here's Cookie Monster doing everything he can to get in touch with Santa Claus, only to see him dash his own hopes again and again. Whether using a pencil...

...a typewriter...

...or a phone...

...he can't make that connection. But at least he won't go to bed hungry.

Friday, December 14, 2007


We had our first real snowstorm this winter today (well, technically it's late fall, but still...), giving us a good foot of the white 'n' fluffy. I've been holding off on posting these guys until that first snow happened, so now I'll take a break from the Christmas posts to give you a couple semipopular skiing clips.

One's an ostrich with a knack for the downhill (fake, sure, but still)...

...and the other is a French skier taking a shot in the cubes, to the (very) apparent delight of the broadcaster.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Some Christmas Television

Our neighbors to the north had a few good sketches on SCTV. Here are a couple of Christmas-related ones: Los Hermanos McKenzie...

...and an early Ed Grimley.

And I suppose I can't really end this post without Bob & Doug's semifamous "Twelve Days of Christmas."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Comes Alive!

I am such a sucker for talkboxes it's not even funny. Here's a guy putting his heart, soul, and saliva into a version of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."

As an added unrelated-to-Christmas bonus, here's Tom Servo being used for the same purpose.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ding dong m'kay

I can't believe that there's still a clip from South Park available on MeTube. Such a great clip, too - Mr. Mackey and the Mackeys singing "Carol of the Bells."

Since I can't trust the powers that be at Viacom to leave it up, I'll add the insurance of a quality lip-synch performance. Look close and you'll see it's one guy playing the part of four guys.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Kris Sting-le

The ne plus ultra of mashups to A Charlie Brown Christmas was, is, and always will be the one that combines it with OutKast's "Hey Ya!". But this is an awfully worthy runner-up. After all, everybody knows that every little thing Santa does is magic.

Major points to its creator for synching up the vocals with the mouths so well.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Incredible Shrinking Dickies

Back in college, my friend Paul in New Jersey introduced me to the music of the Dickies. Picture if the Ramones were formed in LA, with LA sensibilities and a touch more camp - that's the Dickies.

One of the things they were best known for was for recording cover songs that doubled the tempo of the originals. This led to such classics as "Paranoid"...

...the insanely chipper theme to The Banana Splits Show...

...and the Christmas classic "Silent Night," here scored to a little girl who's a menace with balloons.

Incidentally, if you're wondering if that last one is going to kick off two weeks of Christmas videos on MeTube, well, wonder no more.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

How Snow White became a woman

Did you know that shortly after World War Two, the good folks at Disney studios made a cartoon explaining menstruation?

And remember, try not to catch a cold or you'll throw everything off.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Eggs and sausage and birthday cake

This marks the first time, I think, that I've celebrated the same celebrity's birthday more than once. But when it comes to Tom Waits, there's so much gold out there that you can't pass up an opportunity to celebrate it with him. So here he is in 1976, blowing everybody's mind on The Mike Douglas Show.

I have to say, I really appreciated Mike Douglas's handling of this. He doesn't act condescending toward this guy that's clearly on another wavelength, but rather, he does his best to draw him out, and I think he genuinely appreciates him on some level. So score one for the squares.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Oy! Stop! You're embarrassing me!

Here's a clip for some of my best friends.

Sadly, this one isn't available on any video site, so I'll just link to the transcript of one of the great Saturday Night Live sketches: "The Night Hannukah Harry Saved Christmas."

Shalom, mishpocha!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Come Closer Together

Today's a fine day for a mashup.

Longtime readers of MeTube may remember this entry, where Kirk and Spock were cut together to appear to be acting on their desires to the tune of Nine Inch Nails' "Closer." Well, here the leaders of the Enterprise have been replaced by the lads from Liverpool.

I have to say, I think John would really get behind this. Paul, not so much.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

MeTube Extra: Oh, just one more Letterman

I just spotted this and couldn't wait...

The writer of the dog poetry video (see previous entry) was Merrill Markoe, who was the original head writer on Late Night and was also David Letterman's girlfriend for a number of years.

In the mid-nineties she returned to the show as a guest. Dave spent much of the show talking about how nervous he was to be interviewing her, but the interview turned out very well; you could certainly understand the attraction. It's fun to watch the warm side of Dave coming out.

Dog Poetry

Not too awfully much to say today, so I'll just post some dog poetry from Letterman. I remember when this was in a coffee table book on Letterman, and it was nice to see it in motion.

Monday, December 03, 2007

You Don't Have To Say You Love Me Times Two

On the Agony Booth, my bad-movie-celebration website of choice, we discuss all sorts of other pieces of pop culture. One person asked for suggestions of cover songs that bettered the originals, and another person brought up Elvis Presley's take on the Dusty Springfield classic "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me." I found it hard to believe that anybody could top this...

...but then I heard the King's version, and I have to say, I think he does it.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Hooray for Tom Lehrer, To-ho-hom Lehrer

Tom Lehrer's had a remarkable life. Besides being the man who invented the Jell-O shot (no, really), he got his BA and MA from Harvard before he turned 20, he became a respected mathematician, and of course, he wrote a few dozen songs that made him, in Dr. Demento's words, "the best musical satirist of the 20th century."

Try and imagine how excited I was to find that someone's posted songs from Lehrer's 1966 concert for German television. To not only see him doing these, but to see him doing them in his prime, is an absolute treat.

Here he performs "The Masochism Tango." The German word he speaks toward the end means "Excuse me."

As a child, I wasn't allowed to sing "The Vatican Rag" when certain company came by. It's great to see the man himself zip through it with such vim.

Finally, here's an excellent lip-synch of "New Math."

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Woody Allen - The Funny Years

Post number 500. Woo hoo!

Today is Woody Allen's 72nd birthday. I've not liked much of his stuff from the past decade or so, but the run he had before that, both in writing and on film, make him hands down one of my biggest comedy heroes.

Play It Again, Sam is an atypical Woody Allen picture. For one, while he wrote it and stars in it, he didn't direct it (Herbert Ross did). For another, it's set in San Francisco, as there was a New York-specific strike going on at the time. Finally, some of it's quite dated - jokes about rape and Polaroid don't translate too well to today's sensibilities.

Despite this, it's my favorite of his pre-Annie Hall movies. If you've got a minute, watch this clip of him trying to pick up a girl at an art museum.

If you've got six and a half minutes, here he is getting ready for a blind date. For all his verbal dexterity, this has some of the best physical comedy you'll ever see.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Thoughtful Fifties Music

For some strange reason I'm in a '50s kind of mood at the moment, so I thought I'd share a few favorites of mine from the era. They all have a kind of pensiveness about them; one's peppy and two are slow.

This is Clyde McPhatter, the first of the many great Drifters vocalists, on his solo hit "A Lover's Question." Not a high-octane video, but that audio's wonderful.

Here are the Flamingos doing a lip-synch to "I Only Have Eyes For You." It looks like they're doing it a good fifteen years after the fact.

Finally, here's the scene from Badlands, the wonderful debut picture of Terrence Malick's, where Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek are on the run from the law, drifting apart, and they hear Nat King Cole's "A Blossom Fell," and it lets them be close one last time.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hee-hee-heere's Tom with the weather

Local news has some fascinating things about it. (No, really, stay with me on this.) One of the most fascinating is the number of mistakes that make it on the air - there's a reason these folks aren't on network - and how the reaction isn't horror, but a giddy sort of schoolkid excitement, like they just got away with something.

YouTube is loaded with all sorts of goofs from the six o'clock news; here are a few favorites. There's the anchors who get into a giggle fit at a runway model's tumble. Listen as one starts to apologize and the other interrupts him so they can see it again.

There's the one who inadvertently starts a catfight.

Another giggle fit during a report on vasectomies, with absolutely brilliant camera work.

And finally, here's my favorite, one the poster titled "The Most Perfect Technical Glitch."

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Happy Birthday Josh

My brother turns 33 today, in honor of Larry Bird, Rolling Rock, and Mick Jagger when he recorded Black and Blue. Two of his favorite things are the band the Minutemen and the TV show Jackass. That makes today's video clip a natural - an acoustic version of "Corona," which originally appeared on the album Double Nickels on the Dime and later became the Jackass theme song.

For a taste of their studio stuff, here's their video for "This Ain't No Picnic," in which they play to a really tough crowd - namely, Ronald Reagan with bombs.

If you like what you see, you're in luck - there's a whole documentary on the band.

Anyway, happy happy, little bruddah.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Yksi, kaksi, kolme, nelja

Today I discovered a blog that links to mine. Now that's always a treat, but this one was extra-special - it's in Finnish. Speaking as a quarter-Finn myself, it's nice to be embraced by the land of my ancestors, where we know it's pronounced sow-na, not sawn-a, and where you don't want anyone calling you "paska housut" (pronounced "buska ho-so"; definition available on request).

So I've got to say hello to my neighbors to the north with a couple of Finnish video clips. But they've got to have American appeal. Hmmm, what to do...

Well, you can't go wrong with disco. If you're not up on your steps, here's a quick lesson...

And if you are, here's a stompin' cover of "YMCA." What sisu!

Monday, November 26, 2007

This makes me laugh harder than it should

Here's the old favorite from Dr. Demento, and when I say old I'm talking 1946. And every time they show that quarter-second shot leading into the chorus, I crack up.

I swear to God, comedy wouldn't be comedy without timing.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

This blog should be played LOUD

Well, I enjoyed my Thanksgiving, and I hope you all enjoyed yours.

Thirty-one years ago today was another very special Thanksgiving - the famous Last Waltz concert was held in San Francisco. The Band, performing for the final time with their classic five-man lineup, had the mother of all going-away parties, with guests ranging from Neil Diamond to Neil Young and pretty much everyone in between. Best of all, it was captured for all time in a documentary directed by Martin Scorsese.

If you've not seen this, you really owe it to yourself to check it out. I'm so crazy about this movie I literally took a two hundred mile bus ride to see it on the big screen. (Okay, I was supposed to see it with someone, but she never showed. Nevertheless, I don't consider it a loss. THAT'S how crazy I am about this movie.)

Here's the very beginning, where we meet the Band members as they stomp through their closing number, a cover of Marvin Gaye's "Don't Do It."

And here they are doing "Mystery Train" with Paul Butterfield on harmonica.

Great story here - the lighting board blew a fuse, and the only light working was the spotlight on Butterfield. So one of the great effects in the show was a one hundred percent accident.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Muppets Galore

So I'm going to be getting into the fourth Thursday of November by taking off until Sunday. Of course, I don't want to leave you in the lurch too badly, so I'm going to load up a ton of Muppet-type clips. (Really, it's been far too long.) Hopefully they'll keep you from suffering too much withdrawl.

From Sesame Street, here's a personal fave, "Some Of Us Are Here."

Next, some disco, with Cookie Monster channeling Isaac Hayes and George Clinton.

And now, Pigs In Space, between servings of cosmic slop (hi Sam!) with John Cleese. Note the parrot reference.

Followed by Veterinarian's Hospital, featuring Christopher Reeve.

Now for a couple mashups - here are our felt friends acting out the sound to the trailer for House of 1000 Corpses.

And Beaker emotes "Yellow."

Finally, if you click here, here, and here, you can watch a complete episode of The Muppet Show with Milton Berle. I picked this one solely for the way Statler and Waldorf heckle Berle to powder.

So enjoy the rest of your week, everyone, and I'll see you on Sunday.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"Easy" does it for me

Robert Altman died a year ago today. He'd been one of my favorite directors for almost two decades, and it was tough to let him go. All the things he's known for - overlapping dialogue, improvisation, curious moments of fun - appealed to me an awful lot. In his memory, here are a couple favorites.

First, the trailer for my personal favorite, The Long Goodbye, with Elliot Gould as Philip Marlowe, stuck in '70s LA. The title track's sung by the same guy who sings "Conjunction Junction."

Now the key scene in Altman's signature movie Nashville. Keith Carradine's performing a song, and three women think he's dedicating it to them - but a fourth, Lily Tomlin, knows it's aimed right at her. I recommend watching this full-screen, so you can see the emotional devastation move across her face.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Twenty-nine years ago today, the New York Giants were headed toward an upset win over the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles had no time-outs; all the Giants had to do was kneel down and let the clock run out. It was such a forgone conclusion that they'd won that the credits literally started rolling.

Here's the original network broadcast that shows what happened next.

Today, it's known as "The Miracle in the Meadowlands."

Here's the original broadcast of another famous fumble, known as "The Holy Roller." In this case it turned out well for the fumblers, the Oakland Raiders, and since they were clearly cheating, the NFL would change the rules about late game fumble recoveries before the next season.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Withnail & I, together again

Withnail and I is one of the great cult classics of the last 20 years, as well as being one of the most quotable. Just a few scenes to give you the flavor, on the off-chance you're unfamiliar: Withnail demanding to have some booze - twice...

...and at film's end, quoting Hamlet to the wolves.

The film's so special to so many that news that the two stars, Paul McGann and Richard E. Grant, were reuniting for a short film, their first time together in two decades, was a complete and unexpected thrill, the cult-movie equivalent of John and Paul going back to the studio together in 1990. The result, Always Crashing in the Same Car, was fascinating in part for the gentle McGann having the much darker role.

Here's the trailer for it. Enjoy with the Camberwell Carrot of your choice.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

It's all in the voice

We all know that it's not just good singing that sets the good a cappella groups apart from the great ones. Nor is it the adventurous choice of songs or the exciting arrangements. No, the key final step is some fine choreography.

Here are a couple collegiate a cappella groups to illustrate. First, the UC-Berkeley Men's Octet performing "Bohemian Rhapsody."

And now, the BYU Vocal Point doing a version of "Thriller" with zombie lurches and headsnaps that I guarantee will make you smile. Particularly the one about 1:09 of the way in.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The dawn of (Letter)man

David Letterman wasn't always the brilliant talk show host he is today. He started off as a local weatherman before going to Hollywood to hone his acting chops.

Here he is doing light comedy with Michael Jackson. (Yes, you read that right.)

And this is him as an obnoxious self-help guru on Mork and Mindy.

That was a great find for me personally, because for years I've remembered this phrasing of "Sit down and shut up" and didn't know where it came from. Now I do. Thanks, YouTube! *grin*

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A world without writers

The writers strike in Hollywood's going strong, and we're being forced to imagine what might happen if people less facile with words were running the show.

My British friend Jamie sent me this clip, showing one possible answer...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Great Lost Albums

Pure by the Primitives was a cassette I picked up and bought on nothing more or less than a hunch. I'd never heard of them, never heard any of their songs - but there was something that compelled me to buy that tape. Usually this impulse buying is a huge mistake on my part, but this time it turned out beautifully.

The Primitives were basically one part Blondie, one part Jesus and Mary Chain. Their guitars could buzz, roar, and jangle, but the point of the band was the songs, with more hooks than a strip of Velcro and the sweetness of Tracy Tracy's vocals lilting above.

Here are a few videos of songs from the album to give you an idea. First, the best-known thanks to a later appearance in Dumb and Dumber, "Crash."

Next, an earlier single, "Thru the Flowers."

Finally, a pretty bad video for a pretty great kiss-off song, "Way Behind Me."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

There's always room for Jello

One more story about my thesis and then I'll shut up about it. In my introduction I talk about the importance of what if in my stories, how it opens up realms of possibilities. And I quote Jello Biafra, lead vocalist for the Dead Kennedys, talking about the time he ran for mayor of San Francisco in 1979. He was talking about signs he saw on his campaign stop, like "If he doesn't win I'll kill myself." Then he says his favorite sign just said "What if he wins?"

Here's local news coverage of the mayoral candidate cleaning up San Francisco.

And just because I'll take any excuse to show this, here's the DK cover of Elvis's "Viva Las Vegas." This is the aural equivalent of buying a spit, going to Graceland and sticking it into Elvis's coffin so you can know for an absolute fact that he's spinning in his grave.

Monday, November 12, 2007

My thesis is almost dung

I've written about 175 pages worth of short stories for my MFA degree, and I'm pretty happy with them. Before I turn them in, though, I'm going to proofread them. Otherwise, as slam poet supreme Taylor Mali tells us, something like this might happen.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

For the love of God, don't watch this

There's a video making its way around the net called "Two Girls, One Cup." I think it's disgusting. I don't know for sure, because I had to shut it off after thirty seconds and I'm sure more stuff happened after that, but I refuse to find out what.

How disgusting is it? It's so disgusting that there are dozens of YouTube videos where people record themselves and others watching it for the first time and reacting.

Here are six. I could easily have put up a lot more.

If you want to see the original, you're going to have to be proactive and seek it out yourself. I'm not going to help you. Frankly, the imagination is a lot more fun.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Won't you please, please help me?

Did you know the second-best Beatles movie finally came out on DVD this week?

John said that Help! wasn't a Beatles film so much as a film with Beatles in it ("It was like having clams in a movie about frogs"), and he's right. But I actually get a bigger kick out of the musical performances here than the ones in Hard Day's Night, on account of they're more reminiscent of what bands would be doing on MTV twenty (twenty!) years later, i.e. "here we are, get used to us," leavened with a li'l wackiness.

Such as their take on "Another Girl." (I always loved the modulation to C major in the bridge.)

And "Ticket to Ride."

Incidentally, that's Paul playing lead guitar on both tracks.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Short Attention Span Theatre 5

Hey kids, it's that time again! You have the inclination but not the time to watch all these MeTube clips, and believe me, I feel your pain. So here are a whole bunch of them adding up to one minute, give or take.

I give you animated clips that look nothing like Sam Elliott...

...or Owen Wilson.

I give you an old woman throwing a solid punch.

I give you the Little Mermaid's bare hinder.

I give you a six-fingered woman. I think.

And I give you three clips from Kentucky Fried Movie.

You may have to hit "refresh" to see them all in one go. Just make sure you don't miss out on the last one...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Otis! My man!

You're not going to believe the energy in this clip. It's Otis Redding on Ready Steady Go!, singing a medley of "I Can't Turn You Loose," "Shake," and "Land of 1000 Dances." He's joined by Eric Burdon and Chris Farlowe, fair soul singers in their own right.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Everyone will be famous for 4.25 minutes

There's no two ways about it - you're either going to love this or hate this.

It's a short film made by and starring Andy Warhol. To say any more would, I think, detract from the point of watching it, so I'll just let you decide whether it's worth 250-some-odd seconds.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Let's mock Star Trek

I can't find the exact quote or the comedian who said it, but there's a great line about how a guy should be in bed that goes something like, "I figure if I can get the girl to sing the Star Trek theme, I'm doing my job." Well, here's a guy doing it down at the pub - singing the theme, that is.

Then there's this mashup of ST visuals to the Jefferson Airplane song "White Rabbit." Really quite brilliant.

And now for something completely juvenile.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Ring of Fire Times Two

I've already showcased one excellent cover of the Johnny Cash classic "Ring of Fire," but I didn't think it would hurt to feature a couple more interesting ones.

First we have a live version by Social Distortion, who made the song (if not their own) all theirs for a while.

Then there's the Wall of Voodoo version. It's not quite "Mexican Radio," but it'll do nicely.

Or at least it would if it doesn't cut off with two minutes left in the clip. So to make it up for you, here are a couple of kids totally feelin' it.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

High school is a battleground for your heart

I watched every episode of My So-Called Life save the pilot on its original 8pm Thursday time slot on ABC, absolutely loving the whole thing. I identified in an awfully big way with Brian Krakow (played by Devon Gummersall), who was a curly-haired smart kid harboring a gigantic crush. A stranger once told me I looked like Krakow, and I just glowed. I wrote ABC a letter begging them not to cancel the show. I planned a spec script where Brian's cool cousin breezes into town and Angela gets a crush on him and Brian can't understand why. And since I didn't have cable, I never saw a rerun, but despite being without it for over a decade, so much of it has stayed burned into my head.

Anyway, this week the complete series, all 19 episodes, was released on DVD, and I'm getting all caught up in it all over again. To give you just a little idea why, here are a few favorite clips.

First, the moment when Jordan Catalano (Jared Leto) realizes he loves Angela Chase (sweet, sweet Claire Danes), prompted by a reading of Shakespeare's Sonnet 130.

And this is him acting on it. Never before has handholding been such an absolute apex.

Finally, the last few minutes from the last episode. Brian's done a Cyrano and written a love letter to Angela under Jordan's name, and she's found out.

Oh, did this kill me. The way she says "Brian?" The way Brian says "Hi" and the quickly corrects himself with the cooler "Hey." They got it. And boy, did they get me.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Ariel gets nas-tayyyyyy

This isn't safe for work, but what do you care? It's Saturday!

It's the Little Mermaid as you've never heard her before, channeling her inner Yoni Mitchell as she sings of her wish to have a little enchantment under the waistline.

Friday, November 02, 2007

You can never get enough Saber Dance

Here are nine young people doing a dance routine at varying speeds to Khachaturian's greatest hit.

I'm willing to bet good money that most if not all of the people we're seeing here are theatre students.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The front fell off

This is going to be a busy month for me, what with my thesis coming due in three weeks closely followed by Thanksgiving and Black Friday, pretty much in that order. So my comments may not be quite as thorough as they could be. But I'll still keep the clips a-comin' as quick as I can.

Here's an Australian comedy team, John Clarke and Bryan Dawe, doing a routine that's SO dry the YouTube commenters (not the brightest crayons in the box, granted) can't make up their minds on whether it's real or not.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

MeTube Extra: Two more Halloween hits

I wasn't planning to do this, but I know that the nine-minute-plus cartoon below might be too long for quick enjoyment. Plus I saw these over at Barstool Sports and I just had to share. (I'm guessing there's not too much overlap in our audiences.)

Less than half a minute combined, these two clips teach the same valuable lesson: don't scare a man who's learned how to defend himself without thinking.

This cartoon scares the shit out of me

I first saw The Sandman as part of an animation festival. Paul Berry, the animator, would later go on to work on The Nightmare Before Christmas and James & the Giant Peach, but passed on in 2001 at the too-young age of 40. This is his masterpiece, based on the story "Der Sandmann" by E.T.A. Hoffmann.

The less you know going in the better, so I'll just let it play now. Make sure and watch it through the closing credits. Unless you're scared. Buck buck buck-kaw!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bummer of a birthmark, Hal

Back in 1994, I joined millions of Americans in eagerly sitting down in front of my TV to watch Tales of the Far Side, a Halloween special featuring the work of the brilliant cartoonist, Gary Larson. His very askew humor (this entry's title was spoken by one deer to another, who had a target shape on his body) and his genuinely funny art (I loved the way the fat ladies would make dents in their sides when the put their fists on their hips) made me certain I was about to see something great.

I have to say, I didn't expect what I got - nearly wordless vignettes strung together, with characters being killed, repeatedly. There was nothing wa-hah-hacky about this show. The scene with the wolves in the second clip below, in fact, is genuinely moving.

Here are three excerpts from a most unusual animated special.

Tommorow: the scariest cartoon I've ever seen.

Monday, October 29, 2007


Forgive me a little joy. My Red Sox just won the World Series.

I've been a huge fan of Mike Lowell for the past two years (read this to understand one of the reasons why), so I was really happy to see him win the Most Valuable Player award. Here's a video celebrating Lowell to the tune of the Dropkick Murphys's "Shipping Up To Boston." And slipping in a few phobic digs at A-Rod besides.

That shot near the beginning of the Red Sox bullpen (a.k.a. "The Black Pearl") playing the bottles has been a favorite part of the season for me. They stare straight ahead, expressionless, and bang out the rhythms. Here's a better version with sound, plus a fan's very true take on it.

Oh, and don't forget to pick up your free taco at Taco Bell between 2 and 5PM on Tuesday.

Congratulations, Red Sox, and thank you so much for the memories.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Fine and Mellow

It's a slow, cold Sunday, and I've been looking to put up this clip for a while. Today, I dare say, is the day.

This is Billie Holiday performing "Fine and Mellow" on the 1957 TV special The Sound of Jazz. Lester "Prez" Young takes the second sax solo, one of the loveliest in music. Within two years both Holiday and Young would be dead; she of cirrhosis of the liver, he of cancer.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Quicker than the eye

Ricky Jay has built himself a fair career as both a writer (Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women) and a character actor, but it practically goes without saying that he'll be best remembered as a master of sleight of hand with a deck of cards. YouTube has all kinds of clips of him doing what he does best that'll make your jaw drop.

This is him doing a "is this your card" trick with multiple audience members.

And here he is flummoxing America's favorite triangle head, Arsenio Hall.

One of the commenters pointed out that with 2:30 left to go, you can see Jay switch cards. I watched it a good half dozen times, I can see how he did it, but the smoothness with which he accomplishes this just makes it all the more astonishing for me.

Friday, October 26, 2007

This one's for the lay-days

Tonight I'm going to a Halloween party. I'm wearing sandals, white jeans, a Hawaiian shirt, gold chain, aviator sunglasses, plenty of mousse, and a light dusting of powdered sugar around the nostrils and going as a '70s LA cokehead.

There may be a number of people who are also attending a gathering this weekend and are in need of something to wear. Well, if you're a woman, help is on the way...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

William Castle Rocks

William Castle was a man who created gimmicks to bring people to see his B-movies. From skeletons flying overhead to the Coward's Corner, Castle knew how to fill those seats. Here's a trailer for a documentary about him.

His best known gimmick was for The Tingler, where selected seats were literally electrified. Here's the trailer for that.

If you've got the time, you should really read this salute by John Waters, from his book Crackpot. Among other things, it tells about the time a mischievous film projectionist made use of the electrified seats from The Tingler during a screening of The Nun's Story.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What's a good indie wedding song?

My friend John in LA is going to his brother's wedding in the not too distant future, and he sent me an email last night asking a favor. His brother was originally planning to have the first dance song be "California Stars" by Billy Bragg and Wilco.

Unfortunately, a buddy got married and used it first, and he doesn't want to follow in someone else's footsteps here. (Totally understandable, right?) So John asked me if I had any suggestions for something else, something "in the same vibe and feel."

I had a bunch of suggestions, my personal favorite being Nick Cave's "The Ship Song."

The jury's still very much out, though, and I wanted to throw this out to my readers. If anyone's got any good ideas for a first-dance song that's gentle, but has a little swing and pep, I'd love to hear them.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Petite peepers

I wrote a story for my fiction workshop that had a character telling the story about the time he tackled a man fleeing the police. As the cops were taking him away, one of them said, "Let's go, short eyes." The storyteller realized from this that he had just helped them catch a child molester.

One workshop member said something to the effect that the only way he could know arcane prison slang like that was if he himself had been a child molester. This got kicked around for a couple of minutes, with me sitting their thinking, Um, I wrote this, you realize. Finally, the teacher came right out and said this was starting to get weird and she wanted to emphasize that in no way was anyone saying... She didn't actually finish the sentence, but everyone was on board with what she meant, and we moved on.

Nobody actually asked me where I had learned this phrase; if they had, I could have told them I had two sources. One was the play "Short Eyes," written by Miguel Pinero, which was made into a movie, starring a young Bruce Davison and featuring the film debut of an even younger Luis Guzman. It's a pretty intense work, about a pedophile who finds that prisoners mete out even tougher justice than society.

The other was from the old Doctor Demento favorite "Kinko the Kid-Lovin' Clown" by Ogden Edsl. They're better known for their song "Dead Puppies," which I never found funny as it's too "oh my aren't I outrageous" for my tastes. "Kinko" has that quality too, but somehow the excessive innocence / excessive creepiness works to greater effect there.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A drinking song & a drunk song

Well, the Red Sox are going to be representing the American League in the World Series. Can I just say, "WOO HOO!!!"

No, I can't - I've got to actually post some video clips, don't I?

Well, here are a couple song from the '40s that I thought might be a fun way to celebrate.

First we have the Maine Stein Song. The University of Maine is the only school that (a) has a drinking song for its school song, and (b) has seen their school song reach number one on the hit parade (thank you, Rudy Vallee.) Here it's paired up with Georgia Tech's.

Ah, but once Demon Rum has you in its clutches, you wind up singing a little more like this.

Oh, well - as long as everyone's happy.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Five down, 64 to go

The Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs is going to go down as one of the greatest achievements in the history of rock music. Stephin Merritt composed 69 songs in dozens of styles, played dozens of instruments, employed four other vocalists, wrote the most creative lyrics since Stephen Sondheim, and came up with a work that's great not just in size, but in quality. No matter what your age or your tastes, you're guaranteed to love L-U-V more than one of these songs.

It's an album whose fans are extremely devoted - YouTube has an awful lot of homemade videos for them, and it's funny how many of them have responses saying this is their favorite of the 69. I thought I'd post my favorite songs here; if the video's good too, that's just an added bonus.

I've already posted one for "The Book of Love," so that's out for now. My other favorites include "I Don't Want To Get Over You,"...

"All My Little Words,"...

"Long Forgotten Fairytale,"...

and "The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side."

Wanna go for a riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide?