Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Don't Look, Ethel!

There are times when I wonder if going for my master's degree in fine arts will be worth my while. Then I see clips like this and I feel better.

Meet Frank Pichel, who has a master's in microbiology and has gone on to make life easier for streakers nationwide. He could give up when his tearaway suit fails (he looks so sad at 1:00, and not even for his pixelatedness), but he perseveres and winds up with a perfect run. Go, Frank! Just, uh, go in the other direction.

NOTE: I went back through the last seven months and updated all the broken embeds I could. It was a pretty time-consuming process, as you can imagine. So in the future, if you can't open the link I've described, but YouTube has a similar one on hand, let me know and I'll update it.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

One skin... two skin...

Rainbow was a children's TV program in Britian, sort of their version of Sesame Street. It ran for about twenty years, and the English get just as nostalgic over it as Americans get over "C Is For Cookie."

In the late '70s, they put together a naughty sketch loaded with innuendo for their own amusement; it became a cult favorite and was (incorrectly) rumored to have actually aired as a regular episode.

Now that I've sucked all the humor out with that long-winded intro, have at it!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Good morning, slave

I became a Michael Ian Black fan after seeing him powerwalk in Wet Hot American Summer, one of the great dumb movies of this decade (and if you know me, you know that's a high compliment). So I'm not hip enough to have first seen him in his early TV show The State, but I'm hipper than those who discovered him in VH1's I Love the Decade series. I can accept that.

There are those who find him very not funny, but he makes me laugh amighty. Check out his written work on McSweeney's here. Or, if you've only got 1:38 to spare, watch him read his poem, "If I Had a Slave."

Kudos to the camerman for managing to keep the shot as steady as he did.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Rose Marie Times Two

I always wondered how Slim Whitman could sell twenty million records before I ever heard of him. -- Tim Sample

Nowaday probably best known as the guy whose voice made alien heads explode in Mars Attacks!, Slim Whitman was huge in the fifties. Huge. Here's his song "Rose Marie," which was #1 in the UK for eleven straight weeks, a record that wouldn't be broken for 36 years.

And here it is as performed on Late Night with David Letterman by Andy Kaufman, wearing a fake mustache, turban and diaper.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Daisey, Daisey

This weekend promises to be fun. I'm going to New York City to meet up with a few of my friends from Ithaca, and we're going to see a one man show, Invincible Summer, performed by Mike Daisey.

Mike's a monologuist I met in college. He's gregarious, funny, and hugely talented. And in the clip below, he's the guy on the left.

Thanks for the tix, Mike, and we'll see you soon...

Friday, January 26, 2007

If I Were a Carpenter... I'd Drum

There was a TV movie I saw as a youngster where a music A&R man said, "I tell you boys, NO one's got a voice like that Karen Cahhhpentah!" It became a watchword in the house for a while.

But of course, she wasn't all vocals. Here she is on one of her TV specials, juuuuust a little energetic as she performs a drum solo. (And yes, that is John Denver with a cameo.)

Which reminds me of a joke: Why is a drum solo like a sneeze? You know it's coming and there's nothing you can do about it.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Like everyone who ever fell in love with the Velvet Underground, I went out and learned as much as I could about Nico, the "fetchingly frog-toned vocalist" (as Rolling Stone once described her) who sang three of the tracks on their debut. Wikipedia tells her story better than I could; suffice to say she's quite a woman. Just look at that face for a minute.

Anyway, in 1965, two years before The Velvet Underground & Nico was released, she recorded a song for Andrew Loog Oldham, manager of the Rolling Stones, and his new Immediate label. The song, "I'm Not Sayin'," was written by Gordon Lightfoot a good decade before he'd ever heard of the Edmund Fitzgerald, and features the acoustic guitar work of Jimmy Page. (I first heard it on a vinyl bootleg I bought back in the day, and it took me a while to get to side two, I just kept moving the needle back to hear this one over and over again.)

And of course they shot a video for it. A moody Nico walking around in London. It doesn't get much better than this.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Yo mama's a long-handled gardening tool

When Ken Jennings was spending half a year on Jeopardy, winning what eventually came to $3 million, it seemed like he never got a question wrong. Here's a case where he got called wrong, but I think he was absolutely correct.

Does anybody use the correct answer in this context these days?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Cha cha cha

Post number 200. Whoopeee!

I found out that Monday was Sam Cooke's birthday; he would have been 76 if he was still with us. I wish I'd known that yesterday; fun as "VD Is For Everybody" was, it could have waited...

I've had a particular clip on my to-post list for quite some time, and now, belatedly, here it is.

This is Sam from 1958, lip-synching to "Cha Cha Cha" with Jackie Wilson (who died exactly 23 years and two days ago) on a program called The George Klein Show. It's fun; they're just two friends goofing around and looking soooooo smooth as they do.

Monday, January 22, 2007

VD Is For Everybody

Back in the '40s, soldiers were shown a film warning about having unprotected sex and its consequences. The film had to be pulled because soldiers felt the actress in the film was so attractive, they were willing to get an STD just to be with her.

This '70s ad reminded me of that story.

It's just so peppy, in a Big Band way. Everybody looks so happy, don't they?

PS - I like the viewer's comment that the jogger at :48 looks like Bill O'Reilly. I have to say, there's some real wit in a lot of the viewer comments. Sure, there's a few too many "LMAO!" and "I just wasted two minutes of my life," but I've laughed out loud more than once at some of the thing people have to say. Dry wit is this nation's saving grace.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Double Shot

Today I feel like listening to Roy Orbison songs as lip-synched in David Lynch movies, and the more langauges the better.

Fortunately, I can do that.

Here's Dean Stockwell, letting loose with "In Dreams" from Blue Velvet...

...and Rebekah Del Rio turning in a riveting Spanish take on "Crying" in Mulholland Drive.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

I have a pony

Steven Wright made his TV debut on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1982. At the time, he'd only been performing standup for a few weeks and had no agent - the Tonight Show talent scout just happened to catch him in an early performance and decided he was ready for the big time.

What I marvel at the most when I watch this (aside from how young Steven looks - we all looked pretty young a quarter century ago) is how hard the audience is laughing. Not that this isn't funny, but this style must have been so different to people at the time, so fresh and innovative. Now everything wacky gets attributed to him, whether he said it or not - raise your hand if you've been forwarded some of "his" funniest lines.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Warriors, come out to skayate!

Okay, Michael Beck wasn't in Skatetown USA (though it sure looks like him at 1:25), but he's about the only 1979 B-lister who wasn't in this, "the greatest story ever rolled."

Check out this cast list: Chachi! Horshack! Marcia Brady! Mary Ingalls! The Unknown Comic (under his real name, Murray Langston)! Flip Wilson! Laugh-In's Ruth Buzzi! Midget Billy Barty! Dorothy Stratten as "Girl at the snack bar"! And making his major motion picture debut... Patrick Swayze!

How can this not be out on DVD yet? Columbia Pictures, Xanadu the right thing!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Brokebike Mountain

There's a blog I read regularly called Masculinity and Its Discontents. In it (to oversimplify a tad), Dan & Jamie talk about what makes a man a man, be it upbringing, the media, what have you, and how the manly image is shifting as society's views change and/or stay the same.

I thought of them when I saw this.

The Pink Angels is a 1971 flick about a gang of gay bikers. Judging by the trailer, they're also transgendered transvestites who make love to women of all races. I guess the studio wanted the widest audience possible.

Check out the guy at 1:52 - that's Grizzly Adams! Seriously!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Disco Motorbike Man

If this blog has any kind of template, I'd like it to be Punchbaby. For years (though it's slowed of late) they would post a clip and accompany it with snarky commentary, loaded with British slang. It never failed to be good for a laugh, or a wince, or both.

I mention this because today's clip is one of my Punchbaby favorites. It shows a motorcycle racer doing a nifty two-step to weave his way out of trouble.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The life of a repo man is always intense!

My second favorite movie of all time is Repo Man. So off kilter and endlessly quotable, this is the rare movie that still works in its censored-for-television version ("you melon farmer!"). It's probably nothing new to you, Constant Reader, but bear with me whilst I show a couple clips.

First, the best segment of the movie, where Miller claims to know John Wayne's sexual preferences. Practically every line here is a laugh line.

Finally, we'll stretch out for a couple minutes to take in Miller's explanation of the weirdness going on.

Monday, January 15, 2007

"I've been to the mountaintop"

I've always preferred Martin Luther King's final speech, delivered the night before his death, to his "I have a dream" speech. There's an unsolved mystery to it - had he really experienced a vision? Was he aware that his time was running out? Did these words come to him as he was speaking them?

We'll never know, but we can marvel all the same.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

It's German for "The Hard"

Remember the silent Top Gun and the silent Dirty Dancing? Well, it's time for the silent Die Hard.

Too bad Alan Rickman doesn't twirl his mustache and demand the deed to the ranch, or this would be perfect.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


A bunch of guys looking for somewhere to eat encounter the Atlanta Hawks mascot riding a little motorcycle. Which then breaks down on him.

Randomness just doesn't get any better than this.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You

Used to be that if you went on YouTube and typed "grindhouse," you'd get a few dozen great trailers for '70s drive-in movies.

You still can, but nowadays there are going to be more entries for Grindhouse, the new film directed by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, due out April 6.

This would be a disappointment but for one mitigating factor.

This trailer kicks ass.

A warning: Don't let your child watch this. Not for the sex & violence as such, but because it's so manly that he or she is liable to start growing a beard by the time it's over.

I can't even begin to figure out what's best about this. The music? The beat-up film stock? That Gun?

I'm not an action movie kind of guy, but this trailer makes me wants to go to a Chuck Norris restaurant and order some machos with extra hot salsa, a dish of testosteroni, and two robust slices of that brawny pie.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Rock Star Birthday 4

It's all been leading up to this...

Happy birthday to Zach Brewster-Geisz, lead guitarist for the Gonnas. Sadly, they're very much underrepresented on YouTube, so I'll have to put up a couple by one of Zach's favorites, Jonathan Coulton.

This is "Flickr," mayhap the only song that simply can't exist apart from its video.

And here he is live, covering "Baby Got Back" in such a way that you'll never hear it the same way again. Which might not be a bad thing.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Rock Star Birthday 3

Today's birth stars include Shawn Colvin, Pat Benatar, Frank Sinatra Jr., and Donald Fagen from the beloved Steely Dan. (Confidential to William Burroughs fans: Pun!) But I'm going to spotlight two others today...

Jim Croce, in addition to having one of the best mustaches in music, wrote some great tender songs and some fine storytelling ones. Here's "You Don't Mess Around With Jim," which has the same plot as "Bad Bad Leroy Brown" (tough guy, boy is he tough, but he gets taken apart by the end). But as Croce himself once said, "If you dig it, do it. If you really dig it, do it twice."

The other featured birthday boy has a reputation for having betrayed his talent as his career moved along, but what a talent he had. His first four solo albums are must-owns, and the bands he was in weren't too shabby either. Ladies and gentlemen, here's Rod Stewart, back when he was with the deliriously sloppy Faces, doing "Stay With Me."

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Rock Star Birthday 2

My original plan was just to show one clip of today's year-older rocker, Jimmy Page - first as a downy lad and twee, then as a rockin' rocker who rocks.

Then I looked around and found out he's not the only musician who's chosen today to age - there's also Crystal Gayle, Dave Matthews, David Johansen, and Joan Baez. What IS it with you Capricorns?

I quite liked this one - Joan singing "Mi Corazon" with her sister Mimi Farina, no slouch herself.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Rock Star Birthday 1

For some reason, this week has a very high number of musicians turning a year older. We're going to be looking at a few of them over the next several days.

Starting with David Bowie, who hits the big six-oh today. Here's a semi-recent clip of him performing "Sound and Vision" with the vigor of a man half his age. Which, ironically enough, is how old he was in 1977, when he wrote it.

But there's an even greater rock star born on January 8 - Elvis Presley. Here he is just weeks before his death in 1977, performing "Unchained Melody" in concert.

"You can see the speed and other pills have him," my friend John said about this clip, "but he is still The King."

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Colorful Sunday

Don't you like it when an ad can take you to another place? This one sure does it for me. And just in time for Sunday morning.

A quarter of a million Superballs were turned loose on the San Francisco streets for this. No computer effects, just the real McCoy. It's scored to "Heartbeats," as performed on Veneer by Jose Gonzalez, who surely benefitted from the "saw the ad, heard the song, bought the album" chain of events.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Knowing Is *laugh* The Battle

This is a long one, but believe me, it's worth your while.

Back in the '80s, GI Joe ran on Saturday mornings. These poorly animated cartoons concluded with public service announcements about a minute long, saying things like "don't play in old refrigerators" and "stay away from live wires."

Eric Fensler, a Chicago filmmaker, remixed about two dozen of these, recutting and overdubbing to make whole new animals. Hasbro made threats and Fensler took them off his site, but the toothpaste was out of the tube.

I can't post just one. I'm tempted to post them all, but I'll leave you to investigate here. These are best watched one right after another - the cumulative effect is that much funnier.

Here's "Carnival."


"Body Massage."

"Porkchop Sandwiches."

"Mr. Laffitti."

And finally, my favorite, "I Just Wanna Ride My Motorcycle." Notice the incomplete steering wheel and the guy's mustache floating free as he says the last syllable, plus the kid whose shirt and race change from shot to shot. The monologue is transcribed in the comments section.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Oh, Ponch...

What a difference a quarter century makes. In 1972 Erik Estrada turned in a dynamic performance in his movie debut, as a gangster-turned-preacher in The Cross and the Switchblade with Pat Boone.

Now he's appearing on a reality series, making Wee Man from Jackass laugh by... oh, just watch it.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Joe Namath Sells Out *snort*

Seems I've fallen off the every-nine-days cycle for my sellout series. Well, I'll just post them as they come from now on...

In his heyday, Joe Namath advertised everything from alcohol to Ovaltine. Some of his chosen products were for the boys (here he's with Farrah Fawcett)...

...and some weren't.

The company that advertised Olivetti typewriters was getting in hot water for their ads, which only showed men as bosses and only showed women as secretaries. To make up for this, here's the ad they came up with:

No doubt about it - the man was a playa.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Shirley Temple IS The Littlest Samurai!

This is kind of fun. There's an LA improv group called "Totally Looped." Their schtick: take old movies they haven't seen before, turn down the volume, and ad-lib the dialogue.

They've got a bunch of clips on YouTube, pretty much hit and miss. This is the strongest, as far as I'm concerned - Shirley Temple taking on a role she was not exactly born to play.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Unfortunate product names

Back in the early '80s, there was a diet candy called Ayd's.

A quarter century later, there's an undeniable twinge of sadness to the unintentional comedy here. By contrast, the only twinge you'll feel from the next commercial, for a genuine 1970s board game, is the twinge in your muscle after you've pulled it laughing hysterically.

Try it today - it's as easy as checkers!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Fanfare for the Common Yokel

Good day, and welcome to 2007.

I couldn't think of any better way to introduce the sublime and the ridiculous to come in the next twelve months than with this...

Recognize the eepher and the hamboner at 1:10?