Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Backup Dancers From Hell: Rihanna featuring Jay-Z - “Umbrella (Orange Version)”

Editor’s Note: I’m not sure why this is called the “Orange Version”, but it does sound considerably different than the radio single that dominated the summer a bit back in the day. I actually like it better, and with 20,000,000 YouTube hits, I’m thinking other people feel the same, so let’s go with this version…

We start off with a shot of Rihanna in one of her typically trampy outfits, this one involving leather, a hat, and lots of Rihanna’s glistening sweat. She’s reclining on a fog-filled stage somewhere, probably trying to build her strength back up after saying “ella” 246 times.

Cut to Jay-Z, also on a stage, and surrounded by a bevy of slightly-Asian beauties wearing hoodies and dark sunglasses. There’s a constant shower of sparks falling down during this segment, and I’m not sure what that’s supposed to mean. It looks kind of dangerous, but Jay-Z is down with it since it seems kind of fun as long as nobody gets electrocuted. (We get brief glimpses of Rihanna still lounging on that other stage, doing the “eh…eh” part of the song.)

Jay-Z keeps doing his rap-sing section of the song, and it’s abundantly clear that his lyrics really have nothing to do with the original words, but this is not important because it’s Jay-Z and everybody knows that you should just let him do his thang. (The slightly-Asian girls continually cast their eyes at Jay-Z like every word he raps is the most important thing that they’ve ever heard. One of the girls is so inspired that she turns around to show us that her hoodie is emblazoned with something sparkly.)

Jay-Z finishes up and runs off to collect his paycheck. Cut to Rihanna, finally standing up after her catnap, and we can see that she’s wearing another one of those outfits where she has to be really careful with her arm movements or ta-ta’s will be set free. She performs a few dance steps, which mostly involve touching her head and shoving her booty at the camera.

Then Rihanna does a nice “Flashdance Tribute” move, which cause giant ice blocks to melt and suddenly waves of water are splashing our girl. To deal with this deluge, Rihanna changes into a white outfit that clings to her body when it’s wet, because if the rivers are going to rise, you might as well look sexy for the rescue party. This goes on for a bit, with Rihanna slapping away the attacking water in ways that are sure to accentuate her heaving breasts.

Oh look, now Rihanna is a ballerina walking across the stage on her toes. (Interestingly enough, we don’t see the upper half of Rihanna doing this very difficult toe-balancing, so I’m thinking “body double”.) We do get some upper-body shots of Rihanna waving an umbrella about, but you can’t see her feet. You can see that Rihanna’s current outfit is putting a lot of pressure on her nether regions. How can this girl even breathe?

Now Rihanna is in another room, with fancy moldings on the walls and her wearing some odd fishnet stockings that indicate the girl really didn’t pay any attention in church. Somebody has given her an umbrella do dance with (imagine that, considering the name of the song) and she does so with gusto. This also goes on for a while, with Rihanna making it very clear that she loves devices that can protect her from the elements. (I hope that umbrella remembered to wear a condom.)

Sidebar question: How could anyone feel comfortable in an outfit so tight that you can actually see pubic hair through the material? Is it just me?

Wait, what’s this? Rihanna is now completely covered in silver paint and touching herself with aggressive self-appreciation. What has this got to do with anyone standing under her umbrella? Does she have mercury poisoning? Oh my, it certainly doesn’t have anything to do with wearing clothes, because Rihanna isn’t doing so during this sequence. She strikes a number of artsy poses that let the world know she has a personal trainer. (And I’m here to tell ya, if a man tried this, the video would never make it to the airwaves. Word.)

Okay, we’re back to Rihanna without any Rustoleum spray-paint, and she’s now invested in singing to us over her shoulder, so someone must have mentioned that this is hot in some way. Her vocalizing causes lots of extras to come running on stage with umbrellas, and a shower of sparks to start falling from the ceiling. (Didn’t Jay-Z just do the same thing a bit earlier? What up?)

Oh, now I see the difference. The stage is now flooded with water while these umbrella people cavort about and do synchronized movements. Well, that’s a good thing, to mix electricity with water. Nothing bad can happen when you do that, right? Clearly, these dancers must not be in a union of any kind, or they wouldn’t have to do any of this life-threatening crap.

This goes on for a while as well, probably because it costs a lot of money to flood a soundstage so you might as well make the best of it. Rihanna shows us her belly button while the extras do some water-and-sparks choreography. (The take-away from this sequence is that it’s really important to arch your back when sparks are falling on your head. And if you can synchronize your movements with other people in your posse, then things will look really cool even if you die in the process.)

The video wraps up with Rihanna twirling her umbrella while the extras dive face-first into the deadly water gushing about the stage. To make sure that we understand Rihanna is the sexiest woman on the planet, she fondles her breasts and then beckons us to come take the place of her crappy umbrella and put out her fire.

Sorry, honey. I am not wading into that water filled with electrocuted bodies. If you ever make it to dry land, give me a call…


Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Backup Dancers From Hell: Nelly Furtado - “Night Is Young”

We start off with Nelly and all her little friends singing in a church choir. For some inexplicable reason, Nelly is leading the choir as they vocalize about whatever. Everyone is really happy and their choir robes are pretty. Then we spot a guy and a girl giving each other the eye. Oh? Is there lust in the temple?

Cut to a bit later, with everybody pulling off their robes and getting ready for the rest of their night. As they do this, we have Nelly somewhere else, singing the first part of the song, with her hair severely pulled back and all gelled up. The choir folks finally stop screwing around and pretending they like each other, and everyone heads out the door.

Some of the gang piles into the back of a pickup, because that’s really cool and hip, right? The guy and girl who were mentally undressing each other in the House of the Lord hop onto a motorcycle, so there’s going to be sex, because everyone knows that virgins don’t allow throbbing machines between their legs. Nelly jumps into a convertible with a few select friends, so at least she’s not a total tramp.

And we’re off, with all these folks cruising the streets. (Not sure why they didn’t just stay where they were, because it’s all the same people, but kids are wacky these days.) Nelly, in the backseat of the convertible, decides she needs to wear a hoodie as she sings and wiggles. Not so sure that was the best move, but hey, I don’t have any hit singles.

We get glimpses of a trio putting on fake angel wings, some other people wearing really loud pants while they walk along a sidewalk, and some folks in another convertible performing interesting hand movements like they’re doing synchronized swimming. Except there’s not any water in the car, as far as I can tell. But at least everybody’s happy.

Oh look, the angels are on roller skates, zipping along the sidewalk. Let’s hope they’re not drunk, because who wants to get killed by an out-of-control angel when all you want to do is buy a chili dog at a corner stand? At 1:10 in the video, a woman does a sideways high-kick that leaves nothing to the imagination about what she’s looking for tonight. These people are really frisky.

Back to Nelly in the convertible, with the car being followed by hundreds of guys on bicycles. Nelly rewards their appreciation by putting her hands behind her head so that the whole scene pops, so to speak. The guys respond by making their bicycles bounce. I’m thinking that the dating scene has completely changed since I was on the market.

Nelly and friends pull alongside the pickup with half the choir in the truck bed, and everybody waves like this is the most exciting thing they’ve ever done in their entire lives. (I try not to feel sorry for them.) Then we have a montage of all kinds of people driving around and grinning like somebody beat them with a Simple Stick.

Cut to an impromptu break-dance session (do these things still happen?), with people standing around and cheering as individuals try to do their smoothest moves in the middle of the circle. Somebody must have texted Nelly that this was happening, because she and her friends arrive two seconds later to enjoy the show. We then have a very long run of folks strutting their stuff, so I’ll just give you the highlights:

At 1:50, a woman praises Jesus for inventing spandex.

At 1:58, the woman who showed us her barely-clad cooter does yoga.

At 2:04, some guy gets his foot stuck on his head. Frustrated, he slaps his partner. (Dude, it wasn’t his fault, settle down.)

Brief interlude while Nelly and her glossy lips sing an important part of the song while angels continue to roller-skate. It’s very celestial and pretty, and no animals are harmed during the filming.

Then we zip over to, hell, I don’t know where we’re at. Some place that has a DJ. We have more angels, but these are the special kind that wave their hands in the air like they just don’t care, which is good, because they don’t seem to have any other purpose. Oh, and there’s lots of white balloons. This probably means something.

I guess it means that we have to watch more scenes with Nelly sporting that slicked-back hair bun thing, which is not necessarily my favorite look for her. Meanwhile, the angels must have taken the original DJ to Heaven, because now we have a new female DJ that doesn’t really understand what headphones are for, confusing them with a sexual appliance. Doesn’t matter, Nelly can still dance with the crowd, and as long as she can do that, we have a video.

And once more with the break-dancing. Lots of people line up for this, sashaying down the line and proving that alcohol can make you believe you are the hottest thing that ever reacted to a disco beat. (To be fair, one guy bounces upside-down on his hands, which looks pretty amazing, but probably doesn’t guarantee him a real job with the current economy.) There’s also a duo that performs what I’m guessing is a tribute to Tina Turner in “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome”. If it wasn’t, then those two are just angry for no reason.

As the song winds down, we see the guy and girl from the church gazing at one another with unbreakable devotion. (See, kids? Group singing can lead to long-term relationships and semi-guaranteed regular sex. Join a choir now!) The couple kisses, and Nelly, the DJ, most of the still-sober angels, and half the club cheers. It makes people happy when you score. A torrent of confetti then falls from the sky as a tribute to Romeo and Soprano….

Fade to black.


Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

10 Things I Want to Ask Other People But Don’t

1. Why do you hold your wireless phone in front of your mouth when you speak instead of on the side of your head?

  Do you not understand that you are actually moving the microphone further away from your lips? If you thought this would help your little friend hear better, you’re mistaken. What type of backwoods situation led to you thinking this would improve things? Hold the phone where you’re supposed to hold it and quit dicking around.

2. What happened to all the mirrors in your house?

  Something must have, because if you had caught a glimpse of yourself, you never would have left the house looking like THAT. Then again, based on the stained clothing, unwashed body parts, and hovering gnats, the mirror may not have provided any assistance. Here’s a tip: Take a bath. And stay home anyway.

3. Have you heard of that new-fangled thing called birth control?

  No? Well, here’s a brochure. It has pictures, so I’m sure you can figure it out. Basically, you don’t have to have a child every time you have sex. No, I’m not kidding. For real! Now, your priest or one of those nun people might try to talk you out of this, saying that you will burn in Hell if you don’t use every egg your body produces to its fullest capacity, but that’s not true. Lots of people get into Heaven with less than 10 children. So run to the store and buy some of those balloon things like in the brochure pictures. Share with all your friends.

4. Do you understand why you have to get your car inspected every year?

  It’s so people don’t die. You may think it’s okay that all the trees on both sides of the road instantly die from your toxic exhaust when you drive past, but it’s really not a good thing. Actual people have to breathe that crap, too. I’ve never done anything to you. (I don’t even want to be near you.) It’s a bit unfair that the planet should have to expire prematurely just because you’re too lazy and self-centered to arrange for a bit of automotive maintenance.

  Don’t have the money to fix your car? Hmm. Well, somehow you managed to pay for that phone you’re hollering into over the clatter of your busted muffler while thousands choke on your fumes. Let’s get some priorities, shall we?

5. Is there a sign on my forehead that says I’d like to talk to strangers?

  No? Then why are you violating my personal space with intrusive questions about how my day has been and what I think of the Dallas Cowboys? I’m already forced to talk to lots of people that I don’t like, such as supervisors, relatives, and home-repair personnel who feel compelled to provide a running commentary on my decorating choices and the quality of my neighborhood. Perhaps we can come to an understanding where we simply nod briefly to one another and that’s the end of our conversational discourse. Agreed?

6. Do you not comprehend the function of the drive-thru at a fast-food restaurant?

  Because you’re just sitting there in your car, blankly staring at the menu board as if it’s written in Swahili and you have no idea what items might be served at this establishment even though you picked it. I know that choices can be confusing, but there are only so many times that you can read everything on the board. And quit hollering “Hold ON!” every time the attendant tries to take your order. It’s not HIS fault that you can’t make up your mind. What are you waiting for? The next Presidential election? Just get a cheeseburger. It’s a fail-safe.

7. Do you have a microphone in your hand?

  I didn’t think so. Now stop singing along with the song on the in-store radio while we stand in the supermarket checkout line. No one asked you to do this. I just want to pay for my croutons and then get the hell out. I don’t want to be involuntarily serenaded with a rap song, especially one where you clearly don’t know all the right words. YOU might think you have the music in you, but I’m afraid it’s just a gas bubble.

8. Did you think I was a fortune teller?

  I’m not. So you’re going to have to tell me what you want. By you just standing there and babbling about inconsequential trivia that means nothing to me, you’re causing my blood pressure to go up, and your chances of any worthwhile assistance to go down. And when we’re finally done? Please fill out this exit survey so I can determine where I erred in my quest to avoid you all day. Thank you.

9. Are you familiar with the Heimlich Maneuver?

  Do you think it works in the other direction? Because we really need to get whatever has been shoved up your ass out of there. Let’s put some duct tape over your mouth and try it. Come here.

10. Why did your people make you leave your home planet?

  And what can I do to make them take you back?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

10 Fascinating Exit Signs on Highway 20 in West Texas

1.  White Flat Road

  Really? They couldn’t think of anything else to name this thing? Granted, there’s not a lot of inspiring natural landmarks, but even the most simple, dust-coated roadway engineer could have come up with something better. Like “Squashed Armadillo Boulevard”, “Tumbleweed Gulch” or “Toothless Yokel Peeing By The Side of the Road”. Use your imagination, people. Geez.

2. Stink Creek Road

  How can you put this address on a letter or an application and still feel good about yourself? I mean, if you were born there and such, you might not realize that there’s a better life out there. But to purposely move here, or even look for an antique shop on this road, well, then you deserve whatever might happen in the dark of the night.

3. Old Lamesa Road

  This implies that there must be a “new” Lamesa Road somewhere, but I sure didn’t see it. And what was wrong with the old one? Why was it necessary to build a new one that people can’t find? Are we supposed to just avoid Lamesa entirely? Was there an incident involving whiskey, snuff, and incest? (For some reason, those three things come to mind if you are stupid enough to get off the main highway). So many questions, so many miles between exits to think about the possible answers.

4. Whorton Road

  You know this road led to Whoretown at some point back in the day, but then the Baptists showed up and made people change things. Whoretown itself is now probably a Bible Camp run by descendants of the original well-traveled lady founders, with the town rechristened “Jubilee” or “Jedediahville”, where they serve S’mores around the campfire instead of cooter.

5. Blackland Road

  Three guesses who used to live here. Because people were so subtle in the days of segregation, lynchings and racist real estate zoning decisions. Some people out here think that since Abe Lincoln was assassinated, that whole “Emancipation” thing didn’t really count.

6. Dick Ware Unit

  Not making this up. This little exit supposedly takes you to some aspect of the local correctional facility, named after some guy that was a mayor or football star or really successful used-car salesman. Clearly, somebody wasn’t thinking when they made this naming decision. And still not thinking when they made a big-ass sign by the side of Highway 20, with an arrow pointing, not realizing what people would think . I’m sure the hookers from Whoretown were totally surprised by what they found after driving their horseless carriage down the exit ramp.

7. Noodle Dome Road

  No idea.

8. Haytor Road

  Visions of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter living in a cul-de-sac, handing out miniature hooded robes and “My First Gay-Bashing” primer kits on Halloween, then attending PTA meetings where they remove the word “progress” from all school textbooks.

9. Desdemona  Boulevard

  Wow. Did somebody out here actually read Shakespeare? Maybe they thought it was an old-school manual on how to make hand-carved weapons like the Amish people.

10. The George Bush Highway to Heaven between Midland and Odessa, TX

  Okay, this one doesn’t actually exist (not yet, anyway) but it might as well. These people worship the Bushes. WOR-SHIP. There are giant billboards with Bush the First, Shrub, and Laura all over the place. Billboards. With bible scriptures, halos, and no black people. (Local restaurants have menu items like “The Obama Roadkill Pulled Pork Sandwich” and “Pulverized Pelosi Potato Salad”.)

  This is not just a nexus of conservative thought, but something far beyond that. It’s a way of life, with strict rules and regulations. You must have Fox News playing in the background at all given times, lest you forget who you’re supposed to hate today. If the police pull you over and there’s not a copy of George Bush’s “Talking Points” somewhere in the vehicle, you’re probably going to jail.

  And the traffic signals in town? The three colors are red, red, and red. Because yellow and green are too close to the color blue. And we can’t have that….

Saturday, November 27, 2010

It’s the Crate Bumpkin, Harley Crown - The Final List

  Initially, the room was in stunned silence following Buford’s pronouncement that he wished to serve the Lord via a midlife career change, then the chaos descended.

  “Now you’re my favorite son!” squealed Granny Crown, hurling herself into Buford’s arms and clutching him in a rapturous manner, leaving hamburger-grease streaks on his already sweat-drenched shirt. Then she paused and leaned back to ask a critical question. “Wait, have you ever had sex? They have an issue with that.”

  Buford sighed, not so gently removing Granny’s tentacles from around his waist. “Of course I have, Mother. How do you think we had seven kids?”

  Granny was not fully convinced. “Well, there was never any real PROOF they were yours, so I was never completely certain, especially since Betty has that reputation, and none of those kids look like me, which doesn’t seem possible, with MY dominant genes.”

  Of course, Momma Crown did not take this kindly. “WHAT reputation, Mother? This is news to me.”

  Granny glanced briefly at Momma Crown, then turned her still-hopeful eyes back to Buford. “People talk, Betty. People have always wondered what happened the night of the Zucchini Festival when you and Tommy Thomas went on that hayride alone.”

  Momma Crown let loose a sigh containing as much exasperation as she could pack into it. “Mother, we were NOT alone! There were at least twenty other people in that hay wagon! And Buford and I didn’t even start dating until years later.”

  “Well, you two sat away from everyone else in the wagon, and it was dark. Those are ingredients of the devil. No telling what you did when no one was looking. Or maybe they were looking and you found this appealing in a perverse manner. Once you’ve sinned, it’s a short tumble to hell.”

  Momma Crown practically leapt out of her chair and approached Granny. Momma noticed, with barely-concealed satisfaction, that Granny cringed slightly before recovering herself and pretending to check on the stuffed peppers sizzling in the oven. “You are a bitter, old woman, Mother Crown, and you are completely out of your mind!”

  Buford cleared his throat. “Betty, let me take over.”

  Granny Crown looked at Buford with gratitude, her once-again adoring eyes filled with assured salvation. “You’re such a good son, Bufe, stopping that horrid woman from-”

  “I’m not stopping anything,” clarified Buford. “I’m finishing it. Tell me, Mother, why do you suppose that I’ve chosen this particular moment to join the priesthood. Any ideas what might have happened recently that could, shall we say, cause me some concern?“

  “Why, I would have NO idea,” said Granny, edging slightly away from her glaring son, a move which certified her guilt in the developing inquest.

  Buford continued. “You are right, in that people talk. And most of the time it’s you doing the talking. And right now, I’d like nothing more than to go somewhere where people don’t talk, especially YOU. I’d like total silence, maybe for the rest of my life. And the only way to assure that type of solitude is to join an order of Jesuits who take vows of silence. And we get to live in a monastery, where the powers of Jesus will keep you and your hell-mouth out.”

  “Oh?” asked Granny with fake tremulousness, blinking her overly mascara-coated eyes with hummingbird rapidity. “Whatever do you mean?”

  “Well, I just had a nice little chat with Mrs. Ferbisher. You know, the old nosey woman in that bridge club of yours? Where you and she and probably a whole coven of cackling harpies make up stories to impress one another.”

  Granny Crown gulped.

  “Mrs. Ferbisher, purely out of nothing but concern for my welfare, asked me if it was a good idea that I be working so hard outside considering my erectile dysfunction.”

  Granny made a small keening noise, similar to those heard in National Geographic specials before small prey breathe their last. Out of desperation, Granny sought any means of escape. “Buford… should you be saying such words in front of the child?”

  “It’s okay, Granny,” piped up Harley. “I know what erectile dysfunction means. It’s a kind of dinosaur.”

  Momma Crown jumped in. “That’s right, Harley, it’s a dinosaur. Now tell me, Mother, why you would be talking to anyone about Buford’s dinosaur? And choose carefully before telling your next lie, because I can assure you that Buford’s dinosaur has no problem whatsoever DOING IT’S JOB!”

  The doorbell rang, which was a really unfortunate happenstance for anyone wishing to see potential domestic bloodshed.

  “That must be the Fishbeins,” Granny Crown practically screamed. “I’ll go let them in.” She did a body roll over the kitchen counter and hit the ground running.

  “I’m warning you, Mother,” Momma Crown hollered after the fleeing form. “The only words you know right now are ‘welcome’ and ‘please have a seat’.”

  “Oh no,” sighed Harley. “We ran out of time and didn’t finish my list.”

  “Not just yet,” comforted Momma Crown. “We still have a few moments. Read Momma the rest of the names while I finish up with dinner.”

  Harley smiled. “Great! Okay, next we have…”

  And now, dear reader, I stop pretending to be Harley, and I offer up my thanks for the rest of the folks who have been supportive over the last year and a half as I tried to get the blogs up and running. I can’t possibly mention everyone, of course (there are over 2,000 folks on the Facebook fan page) but I’m going to try and hit the key players. This is risky, in that I’m sure I’ll accidentally leave out a critical supporter or two, which is a sad thing, but I’d rather take the chance than do nothing at all.

  And don’t worry, we’ll wrap up the tale of the Crowns in just a bit. (Skip down to the bit about “Okay, back to the story” if you don’t care to peruse the mushy part.) And here we go…

  To Suellen Hale Young, one of the first folks outside my immediate family and friends who became a champion for the blog, and helped start things rolling. We graduated a shocking number of years ago from Broken Arrow Senior High. And a shout-out to other folks from that time who have come back into my life, much to my great happiness:  Margaret Laws (Margaret the Strong), Gala Freisberg (who still makes me laugh), Debra Sparks Meeker (who gives me guidance in a special way), Connie Jordan Register (On va a la plage?).

  My re-discovered sisters, Mindie Dodson, Kellie Fox and Terry Hentschel-Wichelhaus. Jon Powell and Alan Mauk (dudes, we should have hung out more). Tammy McLean Pounds (love it when you call me “darlin”, even if you call everyone else that), Regina Miller-Fierke (deep thoughts, great discussions) and the incomparable Kate Todd. (Let’s shave the cat!)

  My newfound Facebook family:  Bex Swartz (I never got mad that time, by the way), Anne Sumner (the “good” kind of New Yorker), Michelle Phillips (always there, always supportive), Sandra Fitzgerald (ditto), Tricia Penolan (another great New Yorker), Cathy Keibler (your warmth is evident and appreciated), Brandi Suzanne Rogers (another one of the first supporters) and Wylie Joe Summerlin. Can’t forget Susan Heckler, Mike Shain, Douglas Redecopp and Stella Arcane Mage Hayek.

   And here’s a big, long list of others who pop up from time to time with comments and likes (yes, I see you). I’ve alphabetized this by first name, so you can just skim for your shout-out and then jump ahead:   Audra Hughes, Bambi English, Barbara Lindsay, Becky Arnett, Bill Borges, Brian Barrett, Carmen Dunnington, Charyse Crawford, Chele Hunt, Christopher West, David Ribbe, Deborah Megivern Foster, Doug Moore, Dusty Taylor, Ellen Sherman, Gretchen Doss, Hadi Hussainu, James Morris, James Scott, Jennifer Daniel, Jennifer Ray, JoeyandAngi Williams, John Carney, Jojo Stephens, Judy Pilder, Katt Heinemann, Laura Austin, Laura Evatt McCoy, Lauri Lundy Moreno.

  Linda Dillworth, Lindsay Reddin, Lisa Da Cuckoo Finch, Lisa Gasway, Lisa Jo Gage, Marcia Reid, Maria Schulte, Mari’ Antoinette Allen Hamilton, Melanie Reeves Alexander, Melba Malone Weaver, Merlene Dorner, Pamela Adams Holman, Pattie Bell, Pritchard Hoggard, Rebecca Kay Gary-Ingersoll, Rebekah Barthuly Soikkeli, Rhonda Bryant, Rianne Capron, Robert Willard, Roman Hisses, Sean Heggan, Stacy Cotone Peters, Steve Sells, Suthern Barbie, Tami Bottoms, Teresa White, Teretha Pass, Tyrik Parker, Valerie Every, Valerie Jay, Victoria Sharp and Victoria Taylor.

  And finally, much love to my mother, Dee Taylor, who through all the times of good and bad and ups and downs, has always loved me, and to my partner, Terry, who still sometimes thinks this whole blog thing might not be worth it, but let’s me play anyway…

  Okay, back to the story:

  A bit later, the Crowns and the Fishbeins finally sat down to dinner.

  “So,” said Ida Fishbein, serving herself a surprising portion of pea salad, “why are you being so quiet this evening, Beatrice?”

  Granny Crown glanced furtively at Momma Crown before answering. “Oh, Ida, you know how I get a little peaked sometimes when the seasons change. I’ll be fine in the morning.”

  Ida paused, a dab of mayo on her chin. “I don’t believe I’ve ever seen you peaked. In fact, I’ve never seen you NOT dominate a room with just a Bible verse and some subtle hints of blackmail. Something extraordinary must have happened after you left the ‘Jesus and Bagels’ meeting this morning over at the Hyatt.”

  Momma Crown grinned broadly. Spearing another stuffed pepper, she shared some news with messy-chin Ida. “Oh, Beatrice has a new outlook on life. Lots of things have changed.”

  “Beatrice?” asked Granny Crown. “You always call me Mother.”

  Momma Crown continued beaming. “That’s one of the things that has changed, Bea. Another new development is that you will start helping out with all the meals, since I pay for all the food despite you having tons of your own money, yet you come over every night and don’t do a damn thing but eat it. I believe Harley is ready for you to make dessert.”

  Harley was leary, because Granny Crown interactions often ended in tears, or at least door-slamming. “I am?”

  “Yes, you are,” said Momma Crown. “What would you like?’

  Harley considered. “Ice cream?”

  “Perfect! What flavor?”

  More of the Harley thought process, then: “Butterscotch.”

  Granny Crown gasped. “The child can’t be serious. It will take ages for me to make homemade ice cream, and there’s no such thing as butterscotch ice cream.”

  Momma Crown smiled coldly. “Well, Beatrice, you claim to be such a marvelous cook, I’m sure you can manage it. Now get your ass in the kitchen and don’t come back unless you’ve got a nice bowl of butterscotch ice cream for your favorite granddaughter.”

  “Well,” said Ida Fishbein, using her napkin to daintily wipe away the smidge of mayo she had finally discovered on a her chin. “I believe this is the best meal that Beatrice has ever eaten.”

The End.

Friday, November 26, 2010

10 Things You Can Learn Playing Wii Frisbee Golf with Your Relatives

1. Failure is inevitable.

  It doesn’t matter how carefully you read the directions, or how meticulously you assume and perform your playing stance in front of the TV. When you are trying to prove yourself in front of relatives who will never let you live down athletic failure, virtual or otherwise, you are doomed to do something insipid that will cause the Frisbee to sail out of bounds and decapitate several innocent bystanders. It won’t be pretty.

  And it doesn’t matter how clearly you try to explain that you waved your arm just right, but the damn Frisbee went AWOL and did that messy thing with people named Biff and Claire as they discussed stock options on the fairway. No one will believe you. They will assume for the rest of their lives that you have no talent whatsoever.

2. Satan has taken possession of the Wii remotes.

  More precisely, Lucifer has gained control of your remote. Only yours. No one else will be experiencing the technical difficulties that you encounter. You throw firmly to the right, and the Frisbee zooms to the left. You barely flick your wrist, and the Frisbee sets sail for North Korea. You do absolutely nothing at all, seriously, and the Frisbee takes off on its own, lands in a water hazard, and sinks to the bottom, never to be seen again.

  Meanwhile, people who are not even trying to do things right will have amazing success. Total drunken fools can trip over the coffee table while reaching for the bean dip, bang their head on the fireplace mantel, knocking themselves unconscious and dropping to the floor, yet still manage to push the right button that results in a hole-in-one. It totally sucks.

3. Do not leave your Wii remote unattended.

  Everyone else in the family will do whatever it takes to win, including snatching up your unguarded remote and jacking with the controls to seal your devastating fate. It will take you three full rounds before you realize that you are now Player Two and not Player Four. You’ve been throwing at the wrong time, and no one has bothered to tell you this.

  Or they simply play for you when you’re distracted by something shiny in the other room. When you finally wander back into the playing arena and question why it has been so long since it was your turn, they will all tell you that you just played but you’re too drunk to remember. Since you’ve had just enough rum-laced eggnog that things are a bit foggy, you just sit there in confusion, all alone on the couch except for some stale Cheetos and that one cousin that nobody ever talks to because it’s just too much work and life’s too short.

  Take precautions. Keep the remote with you at all times. Use it to stir your drink, scoop out some cheese dip, and hold it over your head while you pee.

4. Do not attempt to write a blog post about playing Wii Frisbee Golf while a nearby TV is showing Lisa Lampanelli hosting a roast of Larry the Cable Guy on Comedy Central.

  This is far too much distraction for any human being to endure.

5. People will not listen to directions.

  It doesn’t matter how many times you explain to them about which buttons to push, they will never get it right the first 16 times they push something. The game grinds to a complete halt while they pound away on every button except the correct one. And if you dare to question them about which button they are pushing, they will become irate and scream that they are pushing the right one, even though everyone can plainly see that they are nowhere near the right button.

  You need to get these people out of the game as soon as possible. And this is the only time that you are allowed to legally jack with someone else’s remote. Wait until this loser becomes confused figuring out where the cucumber sandwiches are, then snatch up their remote, take out the batteries, and throw the remote over the backyard fence.

6. Do not eat fiber less than six hours before the Wii competition.

  You might get away with clenching and sweating in front of everyone if you play just a 3-hole game or some such. But if you agree to 9 or 18 holes, there will be an incident.

7. The Wii people are not lying when they tell you to use the safety strap on the remote.

  Do so. Otherwise, you will find yourself responsible for an out-of-control remote sailing through the air and whacking Granny’s head into the punch bowl as she’s innocently trying to gnaw her way through a piece of peanut brittle. Intensive discussion will result, and your prospects in Granny’s bequeathing activities will plummet. Small cousins will call you The Granny Killer for years afterwards.

8. Trees are your enemies.

  They come out of nowhere. The damn things are not even showing on the cute little map, and suddenly your Frisbee is slamming into one, tossing your disc into some seldom-visited thicket of crap that doesn’t even appear on the playing grid. This isn’t fair at all. A gigantic tree slapping down your tiny piece of plastic. Trees should die.

9. Once you mess up, you’re screwed for the rest of the round.

  As soon as you hit a tree, veer off to Cambodia, or concuss your grandmother, you will never recover enough to make a respectable score for the hole. You will now perform even more amazing feats of mind-numbing failure, like throwing the disc only two feet or actually managing to make the thing land behind where you are standing. 

  And the game is not very supportive in your time of need. Instead of getting a cute little name for your score like “birdie” or “bogey”, the game just lets you know that you were 17 strokes over par. There’s not a nickname. And if you’re really good at being bad, the game will simply tell you that you can’t throw any more and that you need to sit down before you do any more damage.

10. Frisbee Golf is a basically worthless game.

  Yes, I know that people actually do this in real life. But why?

Backup Dancers From Hell: Rihanna - “Only Girl (In The World)”

We start out with Rihanna wearing a headband and a billowy outfit, making her look like she’s on her way to Woodstock, but just a bit late. She’s in the middle of some field, with amber waves of grain and such, and she’s slowly waving her arms about, so maybe she’s praying to the Earth Mother for another hit single. Wait, she’s already got enough of those, so she doesn’t really need any more.

Cut to Rihanna standing in front of a wall of flowers, none of them blooming as much as Rihanna’s hair. We also have shots of Rihanna in a small, barren valley, wearing a bustier and some sparkling panties. Back to Flower Rihanna, where she’s doing something odd with a caterpillar boa. Whatever she’s doing, it’s making her happy, and that’s all that really matters. Oh look, the boa is making her shake her booty and thrust her chest forward. That’s one naughty boa.

Back in the valley, Rihanna is throwing clothes around, which is kind of rude, but she gets bored with that and starts playing with her massive hair. (Maybe she’s looking for Amelia Earhart?) She struts around and claps her hands, because she’s got the music in her and her body just can’t stay still. More shots of Flower Rihanna and her caterpillar friend.

Long shot of Rihanna doing something on a hill, then another long shot of her twirling near a really big-ass tree. (I didn’t realize that Rihanna liked nature so much.) Valley Rihanna is still fascinated with her hair, but this doesn’t stop her from occasionally caressing her lips like they are the finest silk on the planet. Flower Girl does a weird thing where she falls back into a bed of roses, and you know the poor thing snagged herself on a thorn or two. But Rihanna’s a trooper, writhing around in the roses like she can’t wait for somebody to butter her bread.

We jump-cut around for a bit, then we have Rihanna prancing around in a river of flowers. For whatever reason, the wind is really blowing in these scenes, like Dorothy and Toto better scoot for cover. Again, Rihanna doesn’t really mind, because the strong gusts of wind make her tiny little skirt fly up and cool things off. River Rihanna sure does love those flowers, running about and fondling stems. She’s even inspired to use one of the flowers as a microphone, probably the one thing that Lady Gaga hasn’t thought of doing.

Now Rihanna is somewhere else, fiddling around with a flimsy shawl that appears to have rabbit tails attached to it. The soft dangling fur inspires Rihanna to once again perform moves that accentuate her breasts. (Speaking of, this scene also has lots of balloons floating around for no apparent reason. Rihanna might be the only girl in the world, but she’s not the only balloon.)

Yet another scene, with Rihanna wearing an outfit as if a circus performer was getting dressed for a show, but then got distracted and never finished. She finds a giant wooden rose just laying there in the field, and naturally assumes that the rose needs some lovin’. So Rihanna, because she wants to make ALL her fans happy, practically rides the rose as if it’s a Revival at the Church of Panting Tramps. (Based on the wooden rose’s reaction, I think the rose likes it best when Rihanna does aerobics while wearing high heels.)

And now we have Exploded Tutu Rihanna, as she twirls on another hill and belts out the rousing chorus of the song. This dress makes Rihanna wave her hands some more and jump around, which is probably not a good idea because her ass could go tumbling down the side of that craggy hill, and Lingerie Sales around the world could plummet, losing their best customer and all.

Thankfully, Rihanna finally gives up on singing on that particular hill. But instead of going to sing somewhere safe, like a nice, flat pasture or a recording studio, Rihanna clamors on top of this rickety wooden structure sticking out of a lake that we didn’t notice before. (Rihanna probably had the lake special-made for this shoot. She’s got the cash.) Once at the peak of this obvious deathtrap, Rihanna starts up again with the arm-waving and the posing like a Greek Goddess flying through the sky to destroy lovers who have disappointed her with their couture choices.

Oh, and look at that, now Rihanna has managed to find a swing that is apparently anchored to a cloud. She’s swinging to and fro, making even that look sexy leading her to have at least a small orgasm. (Does this woman ever do anything that doesn’t sexually stimulate her in some way?)

And we roll into our final few set-pieces, with Rihanna thrusting herself into the sky while fireworks explode around her. Now she’s wearing something really fringy, which might not be a good idea what with all the sparks from the fireworks, but she didn’t consult me. She dances around for a bit, and if she was going for the Ann-Margret look, she found it, although I’m not sure Rihanna would know about such a thing.

Now Rihanna is gyrating in front of that giant tree we glimpsed earlier, but it’s nighttime at this point, and they’ve hung what looks like giant glow sticks all over the tree. The glow sticks flicker a little bit. (Girl, quit dancing on the power cord!) The song winds down as Rihanna turns and runs toward the tree. I’m guessing one of the thicker branches caught her attention…


Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

It’s the Crate Bumpkin, Harley Crown - Part 3

  Momma Crown sighed for the twenty-second time that day as she entered the living room and approached her mother-in-law, who was standing at the picture window in the front of the room. “Tell me, Mother,” she queried, “why is it that Buford is your son when he‘s being good, and only my husband on the days that you don’t like him?”

  Granny Crown didn’t even bother to look at Momma, her eyes remaining fixed on whatever horrid spectacle she had encountered on the lawn. “I don’t claim him when he does something that a child of mine wouldn’t do, and I certainly never taught him to do THAT.” She pointed out the window with a dramatic flourish, as if instructing a jury where they might find the serial killer in the courtroom.

  Momma Crown almost didn’t even bother to see where the gnarled finger was directing eye traffic, but she did glance briefly and had to pause. Buford was facing away from them on the far side of the yard, and if one were inclined to assume that men would always be doing something sexual if given the opportunity, it certainly did appear that Buford was fiddling with something about groin height. And his buttocks were vibrating.

  “The neighbors,” whispered Granny, her words dripping with outrage. “They must be mortified!”

  Momma turned away from her husband’s jiggling bum so she could address Granny properly. “So it would be okay for him to do this as long as the neighbors couldn't see him?”

  “I didn’t say that,” murmured Granny. “But it will certainly make the next meeting of the Ladies’ Auxiliary more challenging than it really needs to be.”

  Just then there was a loud roar from the lawn, followed by a zipping noise, so they both turned back to the window to review the latest developments. Buford was now slowly walking along and trimming the edge of the grass, after apparently having resolved some type of snafu.

  “So, Mother,” said Momma, “he was just replacing the line on the weed-eater and you were convinced that he was intent on spilling his seed far and wide. Great. Now, go into the kitchen and apologize to your granddaughter for calling her daddy a fornicator.”

  “She has no idea what that word means.”

  “Apparently you don’t either.”

  “I’m okay!” hollered Harley from the other room. (Translation: I like my life much better when the old woman isn’t near me.)

  “Furthermore,” continued Granny, “I have no intention of apologizing. My children have been trying to get me to do that for 50 years and I’ve never done it once.”

  “And all of your kids turned out so well,” muttered Momma. “Especially the two who went to jail.”

  “Those were circumstantial situations,” scoffed Granny.

  “The convictions or the kids? Anyway, I’m going to go help Harley. There’s still hope for her generation. Let me know if your son decides to impregnate some more lawn and garden equipment.” 

  Momma Crown reentered the kitchen. “What’s the next name on the list, sweetie?”

  “Why is Granny so mean to everybody?”

  “I don’t know, darlin’. She probably bit into something sour when she was a little girl and never forgot about it. Who’s next?”

  Harley checked. “Chandra Sullivan.”

  “Chandra? Is she still in that all-girl band with… is it Chavonne Hayes?”

  Harley nodded. “Yes, she’s next on the list. Their band is really good. It’s called the Flaming Assignment Girls. My favorite song is ‘I Should Probably Put You On Hold But I’m Bored So I’m Just Going To Hang Up’. Everybody claps really loud on that one.”

  Momma paused. “Flaming Assignment Girls? Those are some interesting initials.”

  Now Harley paused. “Initials?” She wrote out the name of her friends’ band. “So that would be ‘F’, and then ‘A’ and then… Oh.”

  Momma nodded. “Yes, it makes a word that we probably shouldn’t-”

  “I don’t think they meant for the initials to spell a British slang word for cigarette.”

  Momma smiled. “Well, look at that, I may have done something right with you.” She squatted down so she could look her daughter in the eyes. “Harley, don’t ever change.”

  “I’m not going to, Momma. I don’t know how.”

  Granny Crown clattered into the kitchen once again, completely ruining the tender moment of bonding, which was one of Granny’s special talents. “Betty,” she barked.

  “What’s the matter, Mother? Not enough people in the living room for you to torment?”

  Granny grimaced. “I was trying to be nice and let you know that you need to get started with those stuffed peppers if dinner is going to be on time for the Fishbeins. You haven’t had enough practice to make them as quickly as I can.”

  “You’re just hungry, Mother. You couldn’t care less if the Fishbeins get to eat or not.”

  Granny snorted. “While I am starving to death because you haven’t placed out any appetizers, I’m only looking out for your social standing. The Fishbeins are on lots of committees, and one of those organizations might be able to help you out some day. Probably not, because it would mean you had actually done something artistic, but one never knows.”

  “Tell you what, Mother,” said Momma, taking a seat next to Harley. “Why don’t you get started on stuffing the peppers while I finish up here.”

  “ME?” asked a startled Granny. “Why on earth should I start the peppers? This is your house.”

  “Oh, you’ve waited until NOW to realize that? Besides, everyone knows you are very good at shoving things where they don’t naturally belong. I’ll join you in a second.”

  Granny made a huffing noise, but quickly began dragging things out of the refrigerator, already relishing the high praise that she was surely to get for the finished meal, compared to the mediocre culinary output that this house usually experienced.

  “Now,” said Momma to Harley. “Let’s try to get through these quickly, if we can.”

  Harley nodded, referring to her list. “Um, there’s Bobbi McDonald Klinger. She works in a dentist office during the day, but then she goes home and writes stories. She’s good. You should read the one about the avocado that learned how to talk. It’s very moving.”

  “Avocados can’t talk, Harley,” intruded Granny, as her greasy hands violated wads of meat. “That’s just silly.”

  “It’s a parable,” explained Harley. “I like parables.”

  Granny Crown chose that moment to become very interested in some handy bread crumbs, mainly because she had no idea what a parable might be, but she certainly wasn’t going to admit that. Besides, the word sounded like something that spokes models were always warning her to avoid on Fox News.

  “Let’s finish your list, Harley,” prodded Momma Crown.”

  Harley turned her eyes once again to the sheet. “Okay, there’s Yvonne White who talks to me every day and always says nice things. And Darlene Cunningham who is a production assistant at ‘Backup Dancers From Heck’. And Kathi Sandlin Andrepoint, who works in the Recruiting Department at Bonnywood Manor. And Sage Thunderbolt, who is a former prawn star who found Jesus.”

  Granny Crown paused with the stuffed peppers shoved halfway into the oven. “Could you repeat that last one?”

  Momma Crown intervened. “I don’t think you need to hear it again. Keep going, Harley.”

  “But the child just said something about pornography, I’m sure of it.”

  “Mother, let her talk! She never gets to when you’re around.”

  Granny made a disgruntled noise, then turned to attend to the dinner salad, firmly convinced that her endless suffering on earth was going to be amply rewarded once she made it to the pearly gates. Then she began chopping an onion with much more violence than was necessary.

  Harley continued. “Um, and then there’s HRH Tammy Christesen and her Royal Consort Muffin Bruce. Jennifer Coit, who makes sure that I watch the right TV shows and doesn’t let me get too lippy. And the Davis sisters, Sara and Melissa and Tiffany, who between the three of them need more therapy than can possibly be available.”

  Suddenly, there was the noise of determined stomping on the back porch, and then the door flew open and crashed against the wall, exposing a very sweaty and probably smelly Buford. He had some news for the startled viewing audience assembled in the kitchen.

  “I’ve decided to join the priesthood.”

Click Here to Read the Next Entry in This Series.

Backup Dancers From Hell: Ciara - “Gimmie Dat”

We start off with shots of a really fancy car driving into what might be an abandoned factory complex. The car rolls to a halt, the door slides up, and we see two legs pop out, sporting tennis shoes with 6-inch plastic spike heels. (It’s probably not Laura Bush getting out of the car.) Nope, it’s Ciara, who is already tall, so the high-heels make her look like an Amazon with an attitude.

The music kicks in, which inspires Ciara to open the hood of the car, and then stand there thrusting her booty back and forth. (She wants to make it with a turbo engine?) Ciara gets bored with that, probably because the engine is not responding back, so she wanders a little bit away, where she has more clearance to shake her booty with even fiercer determination.

Still not satisfied with the response from the crowd (honey, there’s no one else there, what are you expecting?), Ciara then marches over to another area in the lot, firmly aims her pelvis at one of the buildings, and then lets rip with some very athletic thrusting. At one point she is shoving her crotch forward so hard that her head is practically banging on the ground behind her. That itch must be bad. Somebody really needs to help this woman out. Like the entire graduating class of Brooklyn High School. And their parents.

Ciara then wanders into one of the buildings, leaving her car outside, which is probably not a good idea, but she can afford another one, so it’s not that important. Once inside, Ciara runs into a total stranger that just happens to know the same dance moves that she does. So they gyrate all over the warehouse floor for a while, with the guy barely able to keep up with Ciara as she pinwheels all over the place.

During one of the smooth moves, Ciara manages to completely change her outfit, which is a neat trick. More dancing ensues, mostly of the “kick your legs to the side cuz we got us a hoedown” variety. Then Ciara really ramps it up with some rapid-fire stepping, just as someone decides to turn on a strobe light, so Ciara looks like a June bug on crack. At one point, Ciara whips out a white towel and waves it around, which causes her partner to completely vanish. (He couldn’t keep up, anyway. Screw him.)

Ciara magically changes outfits once again and we find her in another room in the warehouse, with walls that apparently need to be rubbed by Ciara’s busy booty or they will collapse. She happily obliges, practically stripping a layer of concrete off the walls because the friction is so intense. Ciara also does a handstand so she can bang her crotch against the abused walls as well. (I don’t know why she couldn’t just turn around to do that, but I’m not Ciara and my body parts don’t need that much attention.)

Now Ciara has found a bunch of new friends in one of the really big warehouse rooms, and they proceed to do a very energetic line dance that involves a lot of arm-thrusting. Her new friends are all military men, indicating that Ciara likes her lovers to wear uniforms. They stomp around for quite a while, until someone notices a giant stack of wooden pallets off to one side, so they run over their to see what damage they can do.

Not much, it turns out. They dance on top of the pallets for about two seconds, then decide it would be more fun for all the guys to lie on the floor and have Ciara drive her booty backwards toward them so they can jump over her head. Then the gang is back on the crates for a bit because if somebody took the time to stack them so they looked like a concert stage, them people sure as hell better dance on them for a while.

Now we have Ciara in some room where the lighting is messed up, showing things in the negative, so that we can better study Ciara’s form-fitting dress. She does more of that “bending over until my head drags the ground” business, as well as some squat-thrusts near some exposed plumbing. (Have I mentioned that Ciara really loves her body? She do.) Eventually somebody figures out the issue with the lighting and we’re back to normal colors.

Which prompts Ciara to run to another room where it’s raining inside. She then does a dance that might be a tribute to penguins, or an indication that maybe the thong panties weren’t such a good idea after all. There’s a couch in this room but nobody is sitting on it because, well, it’s raining inside, and you should probably stay on your feet for when the rest of the Apocalypse gets here.

Ciara doesn’t seem bothered at all by the rain, strutting around and whipping her hair so that it splashes the camera. The rain, however, does nothing to cool off Ciara’s fevered loins, and she spends a great deal of time trying to tend to the needs of her over-baked muffin. She finally can’t stand it anymore and slaps the ground in frustration.

Which briefly transports Ciara to an odd room where she crawls around like a panther, and then we zip over to yet another room that is apparently a fertility clinic, because we suddenly have about 6 Ciara’s wearing belts as tube tops while they dance around and beg for people to give them some bass. (I’m thinking they need something a little stronger than that.) This is a little creepy, but I’m not signing the paychecks here.

These girls are really angry about something, punching at the air and grimacing like things are lodged where they shouldn’t be. I don’t think I want to be friends with any of these Ciara’s. Luckily, the song is winding down, and we only have few more jiggle hops before the extra Ciara’s disappear and it’s just the original version, lashing out at us with one final punch before she turns and walks away.

What happened to this woman that she’s so bitter? Geez.


Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It’s the Crate Bumpkin, Harley Crown - Part 2

  Before Momma Crown could counsel her child that it was entirely possible to be popular without being a miniature slut, there was a clatter as Granny Crown traipsed into the kitchen from the living room. “Mother!” exclaimed Momma Crown. “When did you get here?”

  Granny Crown sighed, which was clearly a trademark move with this family. “I’ve been here  a bit. I was checking to see if you’ve bothered to dust the house this year. What is that child babbling about being popular? She needs to be more popular. Maybe she’ll get out of the house more often and I won’t have to think of new things to say every time I see her sitting there like a toadstool.”

  “Mother, she’s not deaf.”

  “I’m NOT deaf,” confirmed little Harley. “I’m alive just like you.”

  Granny Crown glanced briefly at her 47th grandchild, grimaced, then turned her attention back to her 6th daughter-in-law. “Why won’t you let the child be popular?”

  Harley immediately changed sides in the brewing battle, as children are wont to do, not yet understanding things like consequences and alimony. “Yeah, Momma, I wanna be popular. Please?”

  Momma Crown rubbed her left temple, begging the creeping baby migraine to return to its cave. “Harley, sweetie, you can be as popular as you want. But you are not going to do it by waving your fanny at all the boys.”

  Granny Crown snorted. “Isn’t that how you landed my son?”

  Momma forced herself to smile in Granny’s direction. “Can I get you something to drink? Hopefully something that will make you lose your ability to speak?”

  Granny waved her hand. “I’m fine, thanks for finally asking now that I’ve been here at least thirty minutes. We old people don’t need as much lubrication.” She studied the mounds of paper on the table. “What is this child doing?”

  “Mother, you can speak directly to her, you know.”

  Granny sighed again. “Of course I know that. But what would be the point? I’ll still have to come to you for an actual answer that I can understand. Is she applying for boarding school? I can certainly help her with that.”

  Momma Crown, firmly convinced that a tenth cup of coffee certainly couldn’t do any more damage at this point, reached for the pot while explaining. “We’re helping Harley decide who to invite to her Halloween party.”

  Granny looked at Momma in surprise. “Halloween? Surely the child understands that-”

  Momma held up her hand. “We’ve been down that road. It’s not important. We just need five names. And don’t ask any more about that part, either. You really don’t want to know.”

  Granny reached down and snatched the piece of paper out of Harley’s startled hand. “Is this the list?”

  Momma and Harley both nodded.

  Granny scanned the wrinkled sheet, then threw it down on the table. “All of these scamps are horrid little creatures. This is boring. I’m going to go watch wrestling. Let me know when dinner is ready.” She turned and marched back into the living room.

  Harley peeked around the corner, waiting for Granny to move out of earshot, then looked at her mother and whispered. “Daddy says he drinks because of Granny, too.”

  “Interesting,” breathed Momma Crown. “You and your father seem to be very chatty. You might have to fill me in some day. Okay, the stuffed peppers are calling. Who is next on your list?”

  Harley looked down. “Lisa Wines.”

  “Lisa?” asked Momma, mildly surprised. “Isn’t she in Europe?”

  Harley nodded. “She lives in France. In Paris. She does Bo He-man things, and tries to stop pressing of minor T’s, and wants a world piece. And she blogs.”

  “What does she do with dogs?” hollered Granny Crown from the other room.

  “Mother,” hollered Momma back. “If you want to be a part of the conversation, you need to come back in here. I’m not in the mood to translate for you.”

  “I’ll stay right where I am, thank you very much,” came the reply. “Even if it’s so dusty in here you’d think it was Oklahoma in 1934.” This was followed by a clearly fake but exuberant sneeze.

  “I know what an Oklahomo is!” piped up Harley. “It means ‘the land of the red van’. We learned that in school.”

  Momma forced another grim smile. “It’s so nice to see that paying all those school taxes has been worth every penny. But I don’t think Lisa can come to the party. She lives too far away.”

  Harley frowned. “Can’t we just go pick her up? She can sleep over.”

  Momma sighed, then reached down to tenderly caress her daughter’s hair. “You are such a pretty little girl.”

  From the other room: “But when God was handing out brains, she thought He said train, and she got at the end of the line.”


  “Betty, we have to face things for what they are or-”

  “We can face them later! Watch your damn TV show.”

  Harley: “Why does Granny want me to get on a train?”

  Momma Crown stroked her hair again. “It’s nothing, sweetie. She’s old and she sometimes forgets where she’s at. Or why she even bothers to come over here. Okay, who’s next on your list?”

  “Lisa Whitlock.”

  “Hmmm. I don’t think I know this ‘Lisa’.”

  Harley nodded. “Yes, you do, Momma. She’s a nurse, and she lives in the Land of the Red Van like Granny was just talking about. She helps people. I like people who help people. Don’t you?”

  “Of course I do,” confirmed Momma Crown. “But if she lives in Oklahoma, she can’t come, either. It’s too far.”

  Harley frowned again. “We can’t go get her in the car?”

  “No, sweetie. It would be a very long drive, and people will get cranky.”

  Harley pouted. “Then I don’t understand why we have cars, if they can’t go get your friends when you want them to.”

  From the other room: “Buy the child a map.”

  “Mother, that’s TWO strikes…”

  “Betty, the commercials are on. I know all I need to know about ‘Metamucil’. I have to do something to pass the time.”

  Momma Crown sighed again. This was truly a day for sighing. Perhaps records would be broken. She looked back at Harley. “Okay, sweetie, who’s next?”

  “Lisa Golden.”

  From the other room: “Child, why are there so many Lisa’s? Is there some kind of club? Are you in a cult?”

  Harley, bewildered: “Is she talking about farming? That sounds like a farm word.”

  Momma Crown, exasperated: “Mother, would you PLEASE-”


  “-stop throwing out your mean little comments while I’m trying to-”


  Pause, then: “What, Mother?”

  “You need to come in here. And don’t bring the child.”

  Momma Crown glanced at Harley, who quickly made a motion that she would rather do anything in the world than go in the living room. Staying right here was just fine. Moving to the back porch would be even better.

  “What IS it, Mother? Can’t you just tell me?”

  “Fine. That husband of yours is fornicating on the front lawn.”

Click Here to Read the Next Entry in This Series.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Backup Dancers From Hell: Evanescence - “Bring Me To Life”

We start off with a fly cam zooming through some metropolis, where the buildings are all dark and angsty, so this might be some sort of tribute to “Blade Runner” or another movie where unhappy people live bleak futuristic lives. Of course, we’re also hearing the lovely opening part of the song where a piano is playing, which should be soothing, so we’ve already set up a dichotomy of sorts. Are we going on a picnic or are we going to drown ourselves in gothic doom? Some of us face this decision every day.

As Amy, the lead singer, starts wailing, we focus in on a particular window in a particular building. All the other windows in the building are closed, but this one isn’t, with curtains billowing in the wind, meaning a free spirit lives here. Or at least somebody who hasn’t figure out how to close the window. The camera intrudes through the window (because it’s not a real rock video unless there’s voyeurism of some kind) and we see Amy lying on a bed, looking all lethargic and unsatisfied.

Suddenly, Amy is falling through the air in front of the building. She probably wasn’t expecting for this to happen, since she’s still wearing her slinky negligee and not something more helpful like a parachute. She’s not opening her eyes, which is probably good, because who wants to see a street rushing toward their ass when they unexpectedly fall out a window that they probably should have closed before they started drinking absinthe?

Oh wait, now we’re back in the bedroom, with Amy tossing and turning on her strangely-long bed. Is she dreaming? Does she have sleep apnea? So many questions. (Another shot of Falling Amy, still falling. This must be a very tall building.) Sleeping Amy appears to be singing parts of the song as she writhes in the bed. She seems to be in a lot of emotional turmoil. Maybe this wouldn’t be happening if she had bothered to remove her gothic makeup and piercings before she retired for the evening. How can you rest comfortably with a metal stud shoved through your eyelid?

Brief pause in the music, then the camera rolls up the building a bit to another apartment, where the rest of the band is performing in a nice room with padded walls. (Symbolic, much?) They rock out for a bit, which apparently causes Sleep Apnea Amy to rise from her strange bed and head toward the window of her own boudoir. (Is this really a good idea? I’m still not seeing a parachute anywhere, and something tells me you might need one.)

Montage of the band jamming and Amy unable to resist the allure of the Death Window, slowly working her way to the opening, but pausing here and there to look tragic and pale for the camera.

Amy, still not properly dressed, climbs out her window (hey, that’s a good idea) and stands on a tiny ledge. She starts working her way around the corner of the building (instead of going back to bed like a non-suicidal person would) while gale-force winds are whipping her hair and nightgown around. (Where is this severe wind coming from, anyway? Is the Republican Convention in town?) Brief sequence where Amy wanders past a window where an older couple is watching something on TV. They don’t seem to mind windblown rock stars strolling outside their window.

Amy also passes a few windows where people wearing creepy masks are dancing with balloons and wearing unfashionable attire. (I’m going to guess this is a jab at pretentious music critics. Otherwise, I’m at a loss.) More shots of the rest of the band bouncing around in that padded room, and it appears that Amy wants to join them, gazing skyward as trees and cows blow past her.

She starts climbing up the building toward the floor where her mates are rocking comfortably in a room that doesn’t have open windows. (Say, Amy, that’s a really good idea. Climb even higher so you can fall even further. Smooth move.)

Hey, is that Jack Nicholson at 2:03?

Mount Everest Amy finally clamors her way to the floor with the rest of the band, which is pretty impressive considering she’s barefoot and doesn’t have any actual superhero skills. The band doesn’t immediately notice her arrival, so she stands at the corner of the building and lets the wind whip her hair about while she writhes against the stone masonry. She finally gets bored with that, and staggers over to one of the windows, pausing to sing in a manner that indicates she might be enjoying what the wind is doing to her nether regions. Just a guess.

The other lead singer (no idea what his name is, but if memory serves he’s just a guest on this song, so it doesn’t matter that we don’t know who he is) finally notices Morticia on the tiny ledge. He shoves the window open with far too much exuberance, causing Mount Everest Amy to lose her balance. She tumbles, but manages to grab hold of the tiny ledge just below the window. (It totally sucks when you scale giant buildings in the middle of the night, so many things can go wrong.)

This other lead singer climbs out on the ledge, and tries to rescue Morticia, which is initially a good thing. But they both keep singing, which is kind of stupid, and makes the rescue attempt much more difficult than it needs to be. This goes on for a while, with Morticia dangling, unknown other lead singer weakly trying to hold on to Morticia, but really more invested in his vocals, and shots of the rest of the band rocking out and not even trying to help in any way. Inevitably, other lead singer loses his grip and Morticia Amy plummets.

Really sad. But we were expecting this, yes?

So Morticia Amy falls for a really long time, in that slo-mo way they do things when we’re supposed to pay attention. The other lead singer seems a wee bit torn up about this development, but he doesn’t stop singing, so he’s probably a little jaded about the sudden death of people he’s performing with. (The rest of the band still couldn’t care less, strutting about in the padded room.) The other lead singer does have a quick shot of him looking off to the right and appearing distraught, but he’s probably thinking “dang, if Morticia is dead, how am I going to get another gig?”

Oh, now we’ve cut back to Sleep Apnea Amy and she’s still in her bed. So, did any of this really happen, or was all of it a shifty dream, aided and abetted by the recreational use of controlled pharmaceuticals? We may never know.

The camera pulls away from the Building of Death and Falling People, leaving us all to ponder the significance of our lives and whether or not Rock and Roll might kill us at some point.

Fade to gothic black.


Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

It’s the Crate Bumpkin, Harley Crown - Part 1

  Editor’s Note: As we roll toward Thanksgiving, I thought I’d show my appreciation for those folks who have been great supporters of my blog posts. In the little story below, which should run about 3 or 4 parts, I’ve sprinkled in shout-outs to readers and references to past posts as a celebration of the people who have helped make the Bonnywood Manor community what it is. And if you’re new to the party, don’t worry, this story stands on its own as well. Enjoy.

  Little Harley Crown was sitting at the breakfast table in her momma’s kitchen, quietly studying a list of names and occasionally glancing at several stacks of reference materials spread around the table. She did this for quite some time, until Momma Crown, realizing that it was approaching the dinner hour and she would soon need Harley to help her stuff some bell peppers, sat down across from her youngest daughter.

  “Harley,” said Momma Crown, carefully choosing her words because her special child was apt to veer into parts unknown without any warning. “What are we working on?”

  Harley looked up from her tattered list and made a slight grimace. “I’m trying to figure out who to invite to my Halloween party.”

  Momma Crown was taken aback. Halloween? That had been weeks ago. It was nearly Thanksgiving, in just a few days. Momma Crown chose her words with care once again. “Harley, do you understand that Halloween is already gone? You’ve already been trick-or-treating. The parties are all over.”

  Harley sighed, in the overly-dramatic fashion which was very popular with youngsters who were firmly convinced that their parents had no intelligence whatsoever. “I know that, Momma.”

  “Then help me understand why you’re still working on this list.”

  Harley’s little face hardened in determination. “Because Daddy always says you should finish everything that you start.”

  Now Momma Crown sighed. “Sweetie, your daddy’s a drinker.”

  “I know that, too, Momma. I’m not a Ignor Aunt. Daddy told me he drinks all the time because he’s just trying to get it right. He’s not a quitter. And I don’t wanna be a quitter. So I want to finish this list before I start something else.” Harley suddenly snatched up a nearby sheet of paper, scribbled something on it, then shoved it back to its original position.

  “What was that all about? Did you decide who to invite?”

  “No,” smirked Harley. “I was making a note. To not make lists when mothers are close.”

  Momma Crown sighed again. “Look, Harley, if you still want to make this list, you can do that. But you need to hurry. We have the Fischbeins coming for dinner.”

  Harley wrinkled her nose. “I don’t like them.”

  “And why not?”

  “They smell like fish!”

  “Harley, they do NOT smell like fish. They are perfectly-decent, non-smelly people.”

  “Then why do people call them the fish-bins? That’s not a name, that’s something you smell like. And they smell like fish bins. Everyone knows that.” Harley again snatched up her wrinkled list as if the matter was now settled and dismissed.

  Momma Crown quietly stood up, walked to one of the kitchen counters where she calmly fixed her seventh cup of coffee for the day, then brought her treat back to the table. “Harley, let’s work on the list together. Momma is good with lists.”

  Harley eyed Momma suspiciously. “You aren’t going to make fun of me, are you?”

  Momma took a sip of her coffee. “Why would I? You have plenty of brothers and sisters to take care of that for me. Now, this list. What’s the hard part about deciding who gets to come. Can’t you just invite everyone?”

  “Oh no!” breathed Harley, horrified. “We can’t do it that way. I can only invite five people, so I have to decide who can’t come.”

  “Five?” asked Momma Crown. “Why only five?”

  “Because only six people can fit in the Crate Bumpkin, just me and five friends. Everyone knows that.”

  Momma Crown languidly stirred her coffee. “Well, then, I guess I’m not everyone. I had no idea that the Crate Bumpkin had an occupancy restriction. And Harley?”

  “Yes, Momma?”

  “What’s a Crate Bumpkin?”

  Another look of horror crossed Harley’s face, filling it with utter shock and outrage. “How can you not know what the Crate Bumpkin is? You’re a grown-up. You’re supposed to know about everything.”

  Momma Crown absently fiddled with the handle of her cup. “Well, I might have known what it was at one time. But then I had seven kids, none of whom bothered to follow the same flight pattern as the siblings before them, and I’ve been married for ten years to a man who apparently thinks his last name is Crown Royal. Things start to get by you. So, please. Tell Momma what this dang Crate Bumpkin IS.”

  “You said ‘dang’…”

  “Dang is fine. Dang is wonderful. You can say it from the time you get up until the time you go to bed and Momma will love you just the same as always. Now. The Crate Bumpkin. Explain.”

  Harley sighed again, an expression which would have normally been cute on her cherubic little face, but was not particularly so at this moment. “The Crate Bumpkin. Linus and Sally? “The Peanuts?” It comes on Halloween and gives a ride to all the good little boys and girls.”

  Momma Crown immediately went to the counter and poured herself an eighth cup of coffee. While she poured half the jar of sugar into the lukewarm liquid, creating something akin to molasses, she pondered. Was is worth trying to explain the real story to Harley? Momma glanced at her watch. Nope. It was too late in the day. There were peppers to be stuffed.

  She returned to the table. “Okay, then. You can only invite five people. Who’s first on your list?”

  Harley grinned, now somewhat excited about the turn of events. After all, there had been a few times when Momma had actually proved worthwhile, so maybe this wouldn’t quite be the drudgery things often were when parents tried to provide direction and guidance. Harley snatched up her list and read the first name. “Tiffany Davis.”

  Momma Crown’s eyes widened. “Tiffany? Sweetie, you know that Tiffany can’t come. She’s… away for now.”

  The grin disappeared from Harley’s visage, replaced by an expression somewhere between crestfallen and defiant. “I know she’s in the Santa Torium. But I thought they might let her out of her cage just for my party. They can lock her back up when we’re done.”

  “Harley, honey, Tiffany’s not really in a cage.”

  “Dewey Potter says she is.”

  “Dewey Potter is a wretched little boy that you should never talk to. Anyway, Tiffany needs to stay where she is until she gets better. The doctors and nurses are trying to help her understand some things.”

  “Like what?”

  “Like you can’t attack the mailman because he didn’t bring the ‘Pretty Princess’ crown that you ordered. You should never hit anyone just because they didn’t bring you something that you want.”

  Hayley considered this. “I guess you’re right. I don’t like it when Mellie Jo hits me just because I was borned.”

  Momma Crown nodded only slightly. “Well,  your big sister does have some issues of her own.”

  Harley looked up expectantly. “Can we send Mellie Jo to the Santa Torium, too? So they can help her understand that she’s mean and wicked?”

  “Maybe some other time,” said Momma. “We’re on a schedule right now. Okay, cross Tiffany off the list and read me the next name.”

  Harley reluctantly made a squiggly line on the paper, then cleared her throat. “Laura Hopeman.”

  Momma Crown’s eyes narrowed in concentration. “Laura Hopeman? Have we been introduced?”

  Harley nodded. “Yes, Momma, you know her. She’s a strut.”

  “A strut?”

  “Yes, Momma, a strut. We learned about struts and hordes in the health film we watched at school. Struts and hordes are naughty, and they talk to boys a lot.”

  Momma Crown finished the remainder of her coffee in one gulp. “Harley, just what kind of film was this?”

  Harley shrugged. “I don’t know, Momma. A health film. They made us watch it or we couldn’t go to recess.” Her eyes suddenly lit up. “Oh! I almost forgot about recess. Laura is a Jungle Jim Girl, too. She’s very popular.”

  Momma Crown felt the first tingles of a headache. “And who is Jungle Jim, Harley? And why does he have girls?”

  “Momma!” snipped Harley with exasperation, realizing that her mother’s ignorance had become burdensome once again. “You climb on the Jungle Jim. It’s not a person. It’s on the playground back by the fence.”

  Cautiously, Momma Crown asked for further detail, ready to run if things got darker. “Okay, Harley. What do Jungle Jim Girls do?”

  Harley rolled her eyes, her mother’s worthlessness cemented in her mind forever. “They climb to the top of the Jungle Jim so the boys can see their panties.”

  “Oh my God!” gasped Momma Crown.

  “Momma, we’re not supposed to say ‘oh my-’”

  Momma Crown waved her hand. “Not right now, Harley. We’ll talk about that part later. Why are the girls showing their panties? And where are the teachers.”

  “They’re usually drinking, Momma.”

  Stunned, Momma Crown glanced at the coffee pot, but decided a ninth cup would make her head explode. She turned back to Harley. “Okay, I need to talk to some people at your school. And you are not wearing any more dresses to school. In the mean time, Laura Hopeman is NOT coming to your party.”

  Harley frowned. “But she’s popular, Momma. Don’t you want me to be popular?”

  Momma Crown decided that the ninth cup just might be worth the risk.

Click Here to Read the Next Entry in This Series.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Backup Dancers From Hell: Stone Sour - “Through Glass”

We start out in some kitchen where “Pizza Hut” boxes are stacked all over the place, and some guy we don’t know is looking for…

Oh, wait. This is just the advertisement before the actual video. My bad.

We start off with the lead singer (Corey) sitting in a chair in some house, where there seems to be some type of party going on, but I don’t think it’s possible for him to look any more bored than he seems to be. Cut to some woman looking equally bored. (Even her hair is drooping limply, non-stimulated by the hemp shampoo she probably used.) If it’s that bad, shouldn’t they just leave?

And another woman who is bored, despite wearing an absurd little hat on the side of her head that would make most people feel all gussied-up and ready to party. Then there’s a small explosion. No, it’s just some guy taking pictures with an unnecessarily big camera. Tiny Hat girl gets up and wanders off, letting us see that there is something seriously wrong with the lower half of her outfit. Like it’s basically not there.

Pointless Camera Man takes a close-up of Corey, which is not something that he particularly cares for, so gets up as well and saunters off. (At least he has the decency to be wearing pants.) He walks around the room, looking at all the other anemic, non-partying people, mostly rail-thin girls who haven’t eaten since circa 1987. One of them, in a black dress that wouldn’t fit a Barbie doll, appears to desire tremendous rounds of sex from Corey, but he keeps walking, convinced that if he even breathed in her direction she would snap in two and then there would be a pesky lawsuit.

At one point, another barely-clad butt moves out of the way, and we can see another member of the band sitting near another woman with a floral hair accessory. (I’m assuming he’s in the band. He could be Grizzly Adams come to town for more beef jerky before the hard winter sets in.) Grizzly just sits there. He might not even have a pulse, so we should probably check on him a bit later.

Next up is a couple. The woman is another copycat supermodel, but the guy? Oh my. His hair alone could cause instant psychosis for entire societies, but his jacket is even worse. Anyone who would put those two components together in the same ensemble clearly should be loaded into a Hummer and drive to one of those swanky health facilities where superstars hide out until someone else is on the front page.

How Corey is even able to keep singing after seeing that, I have no idea, but he does. The rest of the band members get up from their various locations, and it appears that they might be leaving, but nothing in this video is guaranteed to be what you think it is.

Like the lobster and champagne on the tray being carried by the slutty server as she marches toward us? We learn that it’s just a propped-up cardboard cutout as Tramplina makes her way past.

Corey sees this, but doesn’t seem to be too concerned, so maybe he’s used to these things. He sings some more as we start to see shots of the band setting up their instruments at the base of that ginormous “Hollywood” sign that we’ve all see a million times on that hill. They’re moving very slowly, so there might have been something unexpected in the bean dip.

Back to the party, Corey is still warbling and walking past uninteresting people that no one would really want to talk to if record contracts and hooker-availability weren’t at stake. (Sure seems like it’s a long way to whatever door Corey is heading towards. He needs to pick it up a little bit.) Another shot of the band at the base of the hill, starting to get their groove on. I don’t know why they’re doing that, because Corey is not there yet, still walking through the apparently mile-long house, and the band can’t do much with the song unless there’s somebody to take care of the vocals.

Montage of the band playing without Corey, Corey singing without the band, women wearing swimsuits and high-heels (which has always seemed like the pinnacle of pointlessness to me), fab people swilling champagne, and Corey unable to find the freaking door out of this place.

Whoa, hold up. Some guy just picked up one of the fab people, and turns out they’re cardboard as well. What in gay hell? And he picked up another guy, with the same sudden flatness happening. This party just became very uncomfortable with that kind of action going on. And the weirdest thing of all? The guy picking up the now-cardboard people looks like Chris Daughtry. Word.

Checking back with Corey, we see that he’s not concerned about the invasion of the body-flatteners, or maybe he just hasn’t noticed. He’s wailing away, now marching around the pool, because you can always find the front door out there, right? Wait, now he’s singing with the band over at the hill. What about the paper people at the party? I don’t know any of them, so I’m really not invested, but we should probably learn what exactly happened. Mainly so I don’t serve the same combination of appetizers that might turn my friends into things that people steal from movie-theater lobbies.

Oh, good, we’ve jumped back over to the party, so maybe we can get the scoop. (Have they called CSI yet? We’ll probably need them, especially if George Eads needs me hold something for him.) But we really don’t learn anything. Instead, we just watch Daughtry continue rounding up the flat folks and… I don’t know… using them to fix uneven table legs. (I will say that the technology here is pretty trippy, with folks looking very real until they’re not. But an actual plot would be nice.)

Back to the band at the hill, where one of the members (might be Grizzly, hard to tell) is squatting down, apparently in the midst of doing something one should not do in a mixed setting. This is soon followed by one of the guitar players shoving his instrument at us so we can see that he really is playing it. (Got it. Thanks.) Then the band launches into a powerful part of the song and things get very energetic. They really like to play this song. Sure do.

Back at the party, Daughtry is still snatching up flat low-level celebrities and carting them off. Oh, look at that. Snatcher Man is no longer satisfied with just taking the people. (See, once you turn evil, things start to snowball. Just ask Dick Cheney.) Now he’s turning other things into posters, like swimming pools and wings of the house. There’s no telling when this madness might end.

Oh, wait. There is telling, after all. Because it’s the end of the song, with Corey belting out the last line and then wandering off the set, so we can see that the hill was fake, too. And so Corey can go find some new friends. Because his old ones will probably get sold in bulk to the International House of Pancakes.

We probably shouldn’t eat there for a while. Just sayin.


Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.