Saturday, December 30, 2006

Don't quit your day job

If you recall the early days of reality television, we were besieged with programs that implied the half hour of trauma-drama to come, with titles like "When Bears Attack 3" and "When You Decide to Give The Cops Chase And Ignore The Fact That You're Being Videotaped".

As I cringe at the subsequent videos, I try to ignore the fact that I may, just may, have actually enjoyed these songs at one delirious point in my life. I call this When Actors Sing - dun dun dun!

In honor of having seen Dreamgirls last night, I trot out for you Eddie Murphy's first, illustrious singing effort, brilliantly titled, "My Girl Wants to Party All The Time". But if you listen, it's "par-tay" and not "par-tee", get it? I watch this and wonder how hopped up on drugs Rick James was to be not only making this video, but appearing in it too:

I danced to this video. Many times. Until someone pointed out to me that neither Eddie's singing - or the song - were very good. Let's face it - here comes Eddie Murphy strutting his stuff, looking all slick and smooth...and out comes the voice of a girl. It's even worse in this follow-up effort with Michael Jackson. Never mind Eddie's moves in this reel which scream "Arnold Schwarzenegger dancing" to me. Look at the tank top. Look! The Tank Top. The man is wearing A Tank Top.

From all appearances, I'm guessing this video was filmed during the nadir of his career, somewhere between Holy Man and Vampire in Brooklyn. Because nothing else sinks a career into quicksand faster than appearing in a a tank top...with Michael Jackson...while surrounded by a dancing, prancing circle of swishy choirboys.

But maybe we should start calling him Teflon Eddie. Because like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Eddie Murphy sang out to me in Dreamgirls last night, with acting which is sure to win him a Golden Globe, but...his singing was still not very good.

As for this next one - plot association be damned, this is a Don Johnson video we're talking about here!

I'm seriously confused by this video. Who's 'The Girl' in the video? You know, there's always A Girl in music videos - like She's The One That Got Away. So is she the one in the black? Is she the one in the white? I don't get it and I don't foresee a moment's rest until someone explains it to me.

I'm also fascinated at how the bombed out background of the video morphs around. I mean, how do you go from war-torn Nicaragua into...the streets of East L.A.? (Throwing hands up in the air) I give up. Don Johnson, where are you? But with all these questions, one was answered for me. Now I know where Dweezil Zappa's fledgling music career went - downhill after appearing in this video.

And if you stop at 1:54 in the video, you see a shadow fight that can only be described as a gang member being beaten up by a ghost. Because that shadow just dives right through him, causing him to have a delayed reaction and then fall over, submitting to biggest ass-whuppin' in 80's-video-land. Imagine that story:

"I'm telling you, this ghost, bro, it just dove right through me. And then it jumped up and started beating the ever-lovin' shit out me. I still got the scars to prove it - I'm telling ya, ghosts? They don't play around."

The only video beatdown better than that is in Michael Jackson's Beat It video, where gang warfare is played out in a spangly and sparkly wonderland akin to a Liberace stage set.

Next, one of my favorite all-time songs ever. Don't ask me why, admitting to it is enough. This is when it becomes When Actors Have to Plug Their New Movie By Appearing In The Music Video - a very 80's practice that is now sadly defunct.

Fact: Singing back-up to Billy Ocean in an all-white tuxedo (and shoes!) does not a leading man make. You know who you are.

Fact: Michael Doulgas punches like a sissy. (I mean, what's up with the punching as part of the choreography?)

Fact: Michael Douglas grandfathered the dance that is now known as The Robot.

And a final fact: Danny DeVito has Bless.

Michael Douglas couldn't look more proud to be doing what he's doing right there, which makes me feel really guilty about even making fun of him in the first place.

But I'll live.

Imagine Julia Roberts dancing with a puppet pig to promote Charlotte's Web? Daniel Craig doing The Electric Slide for Casino Royale? Leonardo DiCaprio doing a cover of "Diamond Girl" to promote Blood Diamond? Come on, Leo, sing it! "Ooo ahhh, you're my diamond girl!"

I say, reinstate the music video clause in movie contracts and make our actors work for their moolah!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Richard Simmons for President

The Brits like to call certain performers and figures of prominence from their country "national treasures". This is their way of reminding the rest of the world that they've produced people of such magnitude, like Princess Diana and Elton John, that their legacies will no doubt outlive us all.

But we Americans are different, as I like to remind C. We're not as prolific, as I tried recently tried to explain to him who - or what - exactly Richard Simmons is.
Livin' the American Dream
See, we don't like our national heroes to be highbrow. Neh. Rather, Americans love a good rags-to-riches story with a touch of Jerry Springer sprinkled in. We like our presidents to tarnish their good names, whether by Watergate, female interns, or a proclivity for polishing off a whole case of Budweiser in one go. Our country is built proudly on a mix of white trash and pop culture, which is why Britney Spears is Prom Queen USA and gadgets like The Clapper are our contributions to technological advancement.

But Richard Simmons, my friends, he is king. Never, ever understimate the ability of Richard Simmons to transcend "Sweatin' to the Oldies" and really reach into the soul of Americana with his earnestness and sincerity. My fellow Americans, you know if you heard someone making fun of him, you'd be the first to jump and defend his white-boy 'fro, shorty short-shorts, and girlish giggle.
He made us get healthy. He made us laugh. And sometimes, just sometimes, he made us cringe and say, "Ew."

See? There's just no way to explain the man. He just is. He embodies what an American national treasure should be - endearing and lowbrow in a circus-sideshow-freak sort of way. This man, who's been such a huge success without ever having come out of the closet, hey - Clay Aiken could learn a thing or two from him.

Yeah, yeah, so the Brits may have their Beatles, the band Queen, and Her Royal Highness The Queen. But Richard Simmons makes me damn proud to be an American!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Elf Yo'self and more Christmas fun

As I'm Jewish, Christmas has always equated to a day of total mooching around for me. As a kid, this was an endless day of boredom encapsulated by hours of mind-numbing TV due to the inability to go anywhere. Everything was closed and most of my friends would be with their fams.

But times are a-changin' and thanks to the Internet, I have a portal with which to amuse myself for hours and hours on end, as C is at work. And I've found a wealth of Christmastime amusement thanks to OfficeMax, who can find out where to send me the check by clicking on the Contact Me information in my profile. It's clever, it's fun, and it's saving me from the boredom of the day.

I love this video, because it's basically a video of people doing what they shouldn't be. They're checking out that box, like, "Hmmm, what's in here for me? That stapler I nicked from the supply closet just isn't going to get me through the holidays."

That one lady doing the little dance with her hands up in the air when she's caught? She's not "raising the roof", she's doing the Dance of Shay-haaaammeeee, my friend. Is that dance not similar to what the police ask you to do when they catch you stealing? Aaaahhhhhh! As for the guy who can't stop laughing, that's a, "Ho ho ho! I just got totally busted with hidden cameras at work. I'm never going to get that promotion now! Ho ho ho!" laugh.

Love it.

Then there's this video of the hilarity that ensues when you have mistletoe in an elevator and three actors in on the gag. I have nothing to add to this, it speaks for itself.

And finally, I've elfed myself. After watching it for more than a few seconds, I realize how truly capable I am of annoying my own self.


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Mrs. Garrett and Mr. Belding would be SO proud!

What do you get when you cross the Incredible Hulk, Janet from Three's Company, and Kato Kaelin with Seinfeld's Soup Nazi channeling Bruce Springsteen?

An embarassing display of what some of my favorite childhood stars will to get a paycheck from Smirnoff, and the possibility that I may not be able to get this song out of my head.

Tootie, Blair and Jo - take note of this gift idea: Natalie needs some singing lessons. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Belated Birthday Holla for My Hubba Hub

Yesterday was C's birthday. Since I was busy spending it with him, he gets his birthday holla today.

I took him to Peter Luger’s steakhouse for dinner last night. I think we could make like polar bears and live off of our own fat from that meal for the whole winter.

See that bear? That's a bear who went to Peter Luger

I mean they pour the grease from the steak over the meat when they serve it to you at the table. Some places are all about a clean presentation and making it looking like designer steak, but at Peter Luger they don't give a shit. They want to make sure you know they're all about clogging your arteries. I think I'm suffering chest pains while I type this, but I'm telling you - GO.

In addition, he got the full collection of James Bond DVD from start to finish. Well, actually...he would have the whole collection if Amazon hadn't messed up and sent me the first season of Mission Impossible instead of Volume 2. So while C enjoys the 3/4 of his James Bond collection he has now and we wait for the final set, here are some aspirational birthday gifts for mah man:

Your very own plane, because you are an airman at heart. It's probably not the right model, but what do I know about this stuff?

A "Charlie and The Chocolate Factory"-style visit to Best Buy, with the grand slam of owning the joint by the end of the day. For anyone who doesn't know C, seriously? This would make his year. Scratch that. It would make the rest of his life.

A week on Necker Island with all of your friends and family. Richard Branson's expense account included.

A big backyard, with a pool, because I know sometimes you need your own personal Zen spot when city life drives you crazy sometimes. Thank you for moving all the way here and putting up with it so you could be with me.

And last, but not least...

Lots of wet kisses from Zoe-Dawg and me, as we love you very, very much!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Sigh of relief

A quick post to report that Zoe's lump is just a fatty deposit and nothing that poses a threat to our little lady. Between this scare and last month's - which is a whole other, grisly story - we have become very popular at the vet's. But we are thankful that in the end, she is fine and bossy as ever.

So thankful, in fact, that we took her out last night to American Trash bar with C's friends from England. Partly to celebrate and partly because these days, I don't want to let her out of my sight. But putting her in a roomful of tipplers waiting to rub her head and pay her attention, you would never, ever have guessed that anything could have befallen this dog.

Hopefully, this weekend is about catching up on the sleep and good humor that seems to have eluded me for the past month or so. The bags under my eyes can hold a week's worth of laundry and my nerves are just a *wee* frazzled. So I'm really all about the R & R for the holiday season and achieving this thing they call a peace of mind.

Unless my dog has other plans for me...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

No laughing matter

Last Sunday, I was sitting on the couch with Zoe-dawg and C, when I felt a lump on her chest the size of an olive. Now's the time I start making some deals with God.

Zoe has featured heavily in this blog, since I first started writing in it. That's because she's so much a part of our lives. If C and I go together like peanut butter and jelly, Zoe is the glass of milk that makes it all taste that much better.

The day I bought her home, I had no idea the impact she would have on my life. I've had dogs growing up, but I was never their sole caretaker. There wasn't that personal responsibility then as I have now. The love I've got for her is no more than the dogs I had as a kid, it's just entirely different. So when there's any indication something might be wrong with her, it shakes me to the very core.

I keep searching her eyes to make sure they haven't lost their sparkle. When I walk her, there's that undercurrent of waiting to see if her gait is any less bounce-y than before. As we wait and wait to see what the vet has to say, C keeps trying to reassure me that she'll be okay. She only had her routine check-up last month, so this insidious lump has really come out of nowhere and we've caught it early.

But I'm the Zoe-Momma and I will worry.

This dog is what got me through those difficult days when C was still in England and we were doing the long distance thing. There was no moping allowed when she had to be walked properly at least three times a day. There was no time to be sad when she was busy mooching around the park and running around like a bat out of hell once I let her off the leash. She kept me sane.

Even though C is now here, she's still my sidekick. A combination of feisty and sweet, she's my little pal. She lets C know she will share me, but only for a little while. Yet in her own ways, she lets him know she loves him too.

I've got tears going down my face as I type this, not because I'm scared - which I am, a little - but I've got this great big ball of love for what I've got. Me, C and Zoe - that's our crazy little family unit right there.

So start sending some good thoughts our way. Because this dog is Loved, with a capital L, and we're loved right back.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Revelation for ya

Godiva's marshmallow dipped in milk chocolate.