Saturday, March 31, 2007

Muppets, Rated R

Last year I posted a clip of Ernie and Bert talking with dubbed-over dialogue from Happiness and titled it, "This is just plain wrong."

Well, that was nothing.

Here's Kermit the Frog covering Johnny Cash covering Nine Inch Nails. Here's Kermit shooting up, snorting down, pleasuring himself, pleasuring others. Here's me turning away in disgust, then hitting "Play again."

And for those of you who already know this clip (you know who you are), here's NWA's "Fuck tha Police" set to Sesame Street footage.

Friday, March 30, 2007


Tonight's my second of the three concerts I'm attending this spring; I'm going to see Lindsey Buckingham, and I'm psyched. I think he's one of the most underrated guitarists in rock 'n' roll, and I think he's a great songwriter - kind of if Brian Wilson was more jaggedly experimental.

Lindsey's got his own YouTube channel, but I can't embed anything off of it; fortunately, there's plenty of other spots to choose from.

Here's the video for "Show You How" off his newest album, Under the Skin.

Here he is sounding like two guitarists playing at once with "Big Love."

And finally, here's an out-of-sync chin performing his solo song "Don't Look Down."

Thursday, March 29, 2007


A couple guys installed a train horn on their car. Then they drove around, honking their extremely loud horn at people and videotaping the reactions. Then they set up a website and sold the best reactions to anyone who'd buy them.

As John Mellencamp might say, "This is oooouuuuurrr countryyyyy."

A little of this goes a long way, but I have to say, I love the casual question 14 seconds in.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

'60s Cartoons Sell Out *snort*

I'm guessing many of you are familiar with the Flintstones pitching Winston cigarettes, part of their early ballyhooing that theirs was the first cartoon aimed at adults.

What you may not know is that Mr. Magoo was regularly drunk on Stag Beer.

And here's Underdog in an unusually plot-heavy ad for Cheerios.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Whack Rocky

Sports Guy Bill Simmons, who introduced me to Apache and Marvin Gaye's "Star Spangled Banner," has come through again.

This is Ronald Jenkees, who looks and sounds like a guy who gets picked on every day of his life, but hasn't let that stop him from being himself. Lucky for us, his self has some mighty keyboard skills. You go, RJ!

Monday, March 26, 2007


When I got my tax refund, I splurged and bought tickets for three different concerts; the first of these took place last night. We'll get to the next two over the course of the next couple of weeks, but for now, let's focus on Lucinda Williams.

Her show was great. She was sweetly tolerant of all the people yelling out requests ("It's nice that I've got so many songs to choose from..."), and showed a very dry sense of humor; talking about some of her favorite bluesmen, she mentioned the influence of Howlin' Wolf, Robert Johnson, and Jim Morrison. And the music was terrific - her guitarist, Doug Pettibone, had a solo in "These Three Days" that blew out the house.

Sad to say, I couldn't find that song on YouTube, but here are Williams and Pettibone doing "Joy" from one of the greatest Americana albums ever, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. This is one that goes for the gut.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Elton John sings about an oven

Elton John turns 60 today, and I thought I'd celebrate with this little clip.

He's talking with a star-studded audience, and Richard E. Grant, Withnail himself (sitting in front of Ozzy Osbourne, no less), challenges him to set instructions for owning and operating an oven to music. And that's exactly what he does.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Is Jerry Lewis your type?

One of Jerry Lewis's most famous bits is his miming to "The Typewriter Song" by Leroy Anderson. Here he is doing it in his movie Who's Minding the Store? It's not easy; you'll notice Jerry screws up a couple of times, but doesn't let that stop him.

There's a number of recreations of this on YouTube. It's easy to see why. Your webcam's right there, you don't have to leave your chair, it's fairly brief, there's no language barrier (helpful for the French!), and it takes enough dexterity that doing it's a real achievement, fun to show and fun to share.

So here are a bunch of them right in a row.

The last one's totally my favorite. It's a teenage girl from Vegas, and not only is it fun to see a girl imitate Jerry Lewis (and well), but she's so winsome as she does it.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Get Crazy

Get Crazy is one of my top five favorite movies that has yet to be released on DVD. It's directed by Allan Arkush, who helmed Rock 'n' Roll High School and used to be an usher at the Fillmore East in its glory days of the late '60s and early '70s. This film's his tribute to it.

It's about a New Year's Eve concert at the Saturn Theater, owned by a very Bill Grahamy Allen Garfield and assisted by a young Daniel Stern. There's more sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll than you can shake a microphone at. And what a cast - Ed Begley Jr.! The Doors' drummer! Paul and Mary Bland! Fabian and Bobby Sherman! Lou Reed (with a sense of humor!!)! Clint Howard as an usher! And above them all, Malcolm McDowell IS Reggie Wanker!

Sparks performs the title track, with the great lyric "Get crazy / Tell your boyfriend that you're pregnant / Watch him smile." I'm telling you, this is one you've got to track down.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Larry "Bud" Melman, R.I.P.

Calvin DeForest died this week at the age of 85. He's best known - in fact, probably only known - as a regular foil of David Letterman's, both at NBC, where he played the character Larry "Bud" Melman, and CBS, where he appeared under his real name.

He had a persona where he wasn't so much clueless as in his own world. It never failed to amuse Letterman when he would talk at the wrong camera, or not know how to work the microphone, or say just about anything in his helpless bray of a voice.

Here he is in 1983, serving as offical greeter at the Port Authority bus terminal, turning a funny idea into something approaching magic.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Two more ads

Here are a couple ads I got a kick out of - the first is genuine; the second, almost but not quite.

First, a British PSA advising you to know who the person is before you actually let them in. It's cute and all, and then the last line comes along and changes EVERYTHING.

Then there's this ad. Apparently, the voice talent decided to have some fun and dub a different voice-over onto an ad for a local union. The visuals, the jaunty music and the tough city voice don't exactly blend, but they do make it much more memorable. (NSFW, by the way.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The power of suggestion

The other day I saw a subliminal advertising executive, but just for a second. - Steven Wright

There's two kinds of subliminal advertising. One is when an image is deliberately planted - for example, watch for the woman in bra and panties in the lower right corner halfway through this ad.

The other is when something is supposed to be implied by the use of imagery. Such as the horse running free in the surf in this one.

Or did you see something else?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Rollin', rollin', rollin'

Back in 1938, The Terror of Tiny Town was released. It has the distinction of being the only Western ever filmed with an all-midget cast. Shetland ponies, walking under saloon doors... wah-hah-hacky!

Thing is, it's not really all its rep would suggest. You get used to the smaller scale, and it's not particularly bad - Mystery Science Theater 3000 turned it down more than once. It's just boring.

Something the Dead Kennedys never were. Fronted by Jello Biafra (who came in 4th out of 10 people when he ran for mayor of San Francisco in 1979 under the slogan "There's always room for J-E-L-L-O"), they were one of the key hardcore punk bands of the West Coast in the early '80s. They wrote classics like "California Uber Alles" and "Holiday in Cambodia," and had their fair share of swell covers besides.

Enough rambling. Here's some Tiny Town footage set to the DK's version of "Rawhide." In A. Good country key.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Keanu Reeves Sells Out *snort*

Give me a W! Give me an H! Give me an O! Give me an A!

Yes, it's Ted Theodore Logan himself, the Neo and nlyo, going for the commercial gusto. First, as a young man, he practically orgasms over the taste of Kellogg's Corn Flakes.

For relaxing times, composer Keanu makes it Suntory time.

And finally, he's still willing to shill for something he believes in...

Saturday, March 17, 2007

That Harrison Ford Movie

Don't you love that Harrison Ford movie where he plays a loving husband and devoted father, and then one day he finds his family has been taken from him and they're in grave danger, and at first he's so helpless all he can do is talk on the phone and point, but then he starts kicking ass?

Oh, you know the movie I'm talking about...

Friday, March 16, 2007

So, just how gay IS Top Gun?

Val Kilmer was asked whether Gay Perry, his character in the movie Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, was the first gay character he'd ever played. "Only if you don't count Top Gun," he said.

It's pretty common by now to figure that that was the subtext. Here's a mock trailer which handles it with much more subtlety than you might expect.

And here's a clip that marries some of the more obvious moments to the famous Quentin Tarantino monologue from Sleep With Me that got the whole thing rolling. Incidentally, that monologue was written by Roger Avary, cowriter of Pulp Fiction.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


It's still technically winter, but after a 70 degree day today (a rare and welcome thing in mid-March New England), we've got winter on the ropes. He'll give one or two more good swings, but the fat lady's warming up her pipes, sap's flowing, spring is nearly sprung, and I'm feeling so exuberant, I just gotta dance.

Check that - I gotta watch somebody else dancing.

This comes from the movie Hellzapoppin', released in 1941, and it's considered the best example of swing dancing committed to film. Seriously, you're not going to believe the energy exhibited in this.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Last night I dreamed that I was in a bank-type building, and a stuffy old man behind a counter showed me an Oscar he'd found. "That belongs to Marlon Brando, doesn't it?" I asked.

"Yes," he said. "As you know, he refused his Oscar for The Godfather, and this is that Oscar."

I marveled for a moment, then headed out the door. Where I bumped into the man himself. I said, "Marlon! I mean - Mr. Brando!" He smiled and patted me on the shoulder. Then I said, "The people behind the counter there have something that belongs to you." He perked up and headed to the counter, and I booked it out of the building.

When I woke up, I knew that I had to feature him tonight. So here he is, not in his old, diaper-wearing years, but in his youth, when it was impossible to keep your eyes off the man.

Here he is in 1947, testing for Rebel Without a Cause. The movie didn't get made for another eight years, at which point Brando was too old and had other fish to fry. Apparently, he didn't sign on to do this because he didn't want to be tied to a studio for seven years. But can you imagine if this had happened and a teenaged James Dean saw it in the theater?

And here he is on Person to Person with Edward R. Murrow, revealing that Matthew McConaughey wasn't the first actor to get the cops called on him for playing the bongos too late at night.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Love Unlimited

Don't ask me why, but I'm in a Barry White kind of mood today. A quick spin through the YouTube archives reveals an embarrassment of riches. (But where's the Simpsons "Whacking Day" episode?)

First we have the current champion "Show They'll Never Release Season DVD Sets On Accout Of Music Rights" (the former champ, WKRP in Cincinnati, is due out 4/24 - yahoo!), Ally McBeal. John Cage used to psych himself up with a little BW in the sountrack in his mind. Here he and three others demonstrate in the unisex bathroom. (Just typing that paragraph made me miss the show terribly...)

Next up, Gollum and Smeagol duet on "Never Gonna Give You Up." Brilliant lipsynching here, and the split screen toward the end is a great payoff.

We've got to have the man himself, so here he is live, doing "Can't Get Enough of Your Love." The conductor is moving around more than he is, but I doubt Mick Jagger could wrest the stage away from him.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Doin' the Taube

Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street have gotten their fair share of ribbing over the years, from Mad Magazine to Family Guy. But you know what? Why should Americans have all the fun?

Freitag Nacht News,
a German comedy program, has recurring characters named Bernie und Ert. Suffice to say, they do things differently in the Fatherland. (Don't worry, it's not a scheisse video... this time.)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Abba Fab

Recently I was asked where I stood on the straight/gay scale; I said, "With one being completely straight and ten being completely gay, I'm probably a three point five." There was a moment of surprised silence, and then I added, "I love Abba. What are you going to do?"

So yes, let's have a round for Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anna-Frid, second only to Volvo as Sweden's biggest export earner (yep, even more than the meatballs). There was nothing quite like those killer melodies and shrieking harmonies, and even though they weren't as revered in America as they were elsewhere, the fact remains: Abba crush.

Everyone should have a favorite Abba song, and this is mine:

Whoops - that's not them. Let's try that again:

There's something about "when the pretty birds have flown" that just can't be expressed. I also like that this falls in my vocal range, for cranking when I'm alone in the car or on a karaoke stage. And before I move on, let's just take a second to note how much Bjorn looks like Kato Kaelin.

Now have a gander at this:

It's from French and Saunders, a British export from the folks who created Absolutely Fabulous. I think the laugh track actually improves this, as they love every single affectionate bash, from "Benny's" fake smile near the beginning to "Bjorn's" nose near the end.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Street Performers

We got a good one here for you today, gang - an exhibition of the talent you can find performing for change on a streetcorner near you.

I went to LA once to see my friend John, and one of the highlights was walking down Venice Beach and seeing the various robot dancers, chainsaw jugglers, and three-card-monte dealers strut their stuff. America does indeed have talent.

Here's a dash of culture - Mozart performed on bottles.

Next, a very expressive skeleton marionette.

Finally (far and away my favorite here), the Incredible Singing Dolls performing Motorhead's "Ace of Spades."

And don't forget the joker!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Meat & Acid is Murder

Reasons not to take LSD:

1) it may cause irreparable damage to your brain.
2) it may result in your arrest and prosecution.
3) it may force you to kill a hot dog that has a wife and seven kids to support.

Don't believe me? Watch this...

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Miami Bugs

I never got to watch Miami Vice in my younger years. My older sister, after much effort, persuaded my folks to let us "just watch the beginning" of an episode. Unfortunately for us, the episode began with some bad guys nuzzling naked female mannequins, then firing pistols at them; that was enough for my mom, who turned it off over my older sister's protests that they were the bad guys and they would pay.

So there went a whole chunk of pop culture for me; all I could do was listen to Jan Hammer's theme storm up the charts to number one and wonder what all the fuss was about.

Fortunately, somebody on YouTube created a version that would've been okay to watch - not just late Friday night, but Saturday morning too.

I don't care if the voices don't match the lips - I LOVE this.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Not Dr. Doolittle...

...but Dr. Dolots, the character played by Luis Avalos on The Electric Company. Harpo from the scalp up, Groucho from the scalp down, he was one of the key components of the development of my high-speed wit.

Here he is at the shoestore...

...and in his office with Paul the gorilla and Fargo North, Decoder (it took me until high school to figure out that there was a pun there). It may have been the 1970s, but on children's TV vaudville was still alive and well.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Ginger wizards

Since the Great Purge of Comedy Central material (thanks a pantsload, Viacom), it's hard to come by any YouTube clips that can make good use of their shows. Here's one that manages to get some South Park talk in, by dubbing it over some Harry Potter visuals.

I don't know about you, but I almost don't miss seeing Cartman.

Monday, March 05, 2007

I Got You Babe

How about another Letterman moment?

In 1987 David Letterman managed to do the unthinkable - not only did he get Sonny and Cher to appear on his set together, he got them to duet on "I Got You Babe."

This is a pretty remarkable clip, not only for the connection that's still there, but for the feeling that you just don't know what's going to happen next. Pathos on top of tension; your heart's dealing with two kinds of anxiety, and that's going to produce an unforgettable moment.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Hail to the Chief

David Letterman has a recurring bit on his show called "Great Moments in Presidential Speeches." It consists of a clip of FDR saying "...fear itself," JFK saying "Ask not...", and Dubya looking and/or sounding ridiculous.

An easy laugh? Sure. But it's remarkable how much material the guy's given us.

There are lots of these clips on YouTube, but this is the one that lays me out.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Booray for Bollywood

I'll keep the text short today. Here's a musical number from an Indian film that sounds a lot like the Beatles.

And here's another one that... doesn't.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Sweet Jane Times Two

Happy birthday to Lou, happy birthday to Lou...

Today marks the day that Lou Reed is old enough to collect Social Security; I'm willing to bet there are an awful lot of people who didn't think he would last this long. In tribute to his having done so, let's look at a couple takes on one of his signature songs, "Sweet Jane."

First we have the Man Himself performing it in Paris in 1974, when he was rockin' the blond hair and sequins.

And now perhaps the most famous of many covers of it, the Cowboy Junkies' take. I think it's kind of funny how Margo Timmins is doing everything she can not to look at the camera.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

We can be heroes, just for one day

The Mego Corporation, proud makers of "Ball Buster" and the "Starsky & Hutch" and "Waltons" toys, were THE company for action figures in the first half of the '70s. Then some executive took it upon himself to reject a deal to license toys for Star Wars. Kenner made the deal, raked in huge profits, and drove Mego out of business.

I'm not sure if this is an ad or a company film, but it's Mego in their prime, featuring their impressive lineup of superhero dolls, to the accompaniment of a football marching band. Well, maybe not, but it sure sounds like it.

Both DC and Marvel's top heroes get their props. Lots of questions remain, though - what's Shazam doing with a phone cord? Does the announcer put a little too much emphasis on one of the adjectives describing the Falcon? Most importantly, how do Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Girl have the same power - and wouldn't it take a highly active imagination to make it work?