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Music Notes: Real Life’s “Send Me An Angel” – from The Wizard!

February 4, 2014

This is a song you all know, but if you don’t recognize it at first, that’s probably because it’s buried deep in the recesses of your mind.  It’s the 1983 classic song, “Send Me An Angle” by Real Life:

I don’t have much to write about in terms of the music video.  It’s a random collection of things that was the norm in entertainment made during the 80′s.  I think because everyone was so hopped up on cocaine back then that they just decided to throw into music videos whatever images popped into their minds, with nary a second thought as to why ever given.  Case in point – this video tells the story of Chewbacca running through the forest trying to rape some girl, only to be defeated by a 14-year-old Robin Hood.  Or something.  I dunno, it’s hard to tell, and constantly cutting back to lead singer David Sterry’s goofy mug makes it all the more distracting.

But this music video isn’t what made this song famous for people my age.  If you’re still having trouble figuring out where you heard this song in your life, the answer lay in THIS video:

Yep, it was featured prominently in a montage in the middle of the 1989 kiddie film, “The Wizard.”  You know, the movie in which Fred Savage has to hitchhike with his little brother to Reno in order to play “Super Mario Bros. 3.”  If you’re in your early 30′s, there is no way this movie didn’t cross through your childhood at some point.  I feel like there must’ve been an entire channel that just played this movie around the clock, that’s how much I seemed to have watched and re-watched it throughout my childhood.  But now, just viewing this montage, I don’t think I could bring myself to view the entire movie as an adult.  Not just because it’s the typical “kids know everything, adults are dumb” motif that permeates all children’s entertainment, but because this has to be the most boring montage in all of cinema.  They drive past a kiddie roller coaster, a statue spider hovering over a car, and… Beau Bridges driving with Christian Slater, sweat glistening off their doughy faces.  Yeah, not much there.  Although, I guess if you’re a kid, it’s enough to get swept up in the adventure of the story, all while dancing to the pulsating beat of “Send Me An Angel.”

Also, you could never film a scene in which three kids hitch rides with some Hell’s Angels motorcycle group today.  That just screams of Chewbacca-style rape… in real life.

Pete

Self-Publish: Mr. Grey vs. The Greys IV: The Arctic!

January 4, 2014

Hello all!

At long last, part four of my Amazon short story series is available for your Kindles! Please click the cover below and start your downloadin’! Also – the story will be FREE all next week, Monday through Friday, January 6 – 10, 2014, so now is the perfect time to get back into the adventures of Mr. Grey!

Download part 4 today!

Download part 4 today!

Commercial Break: If You See Ray Liotta in a Bar, Be Careful – He’s a Dick

November 19, 2013

While watching TV last night, this commercial popped up, featuring the very plastic surgery-stretched face of Ray Liotta ordering 1800 tequila at a bar. Take a look:

Couple things here:

1. Ray Liotta is a dick for making these bro’s feel bad about their choice of beverage. Who gives Ray Liotta the ultimate say on what is “manly” to drink? Those fellas were sipping on some Manhattans, which my grandfather used to order any and every time we went out to eat (hell, he’d ever try to order a Manhattan at McDonald’s). And Ray Liotta thinks tequila is what these dudes need to drink in order to “man up”? Dude, tequila is most known to be taken in shot form by bimbo college girls on spring break. It’s not scotch or whiskey – drinks more known for their rugged, “manly” quality. Tequila? Really?

2. And who the fuck drinks tequila on ice like that? Nobody I know. Like I said, tequila is more known to be consumed as shots by college bro’s and HO’s looking to get laid, and in margarita form by the girls hitting up happy hour after work. If anything, I’d say going from a Manhattan to tequila is a downgrade in “manliness.”

3. These bro’s are weak and stupid for blindly being intimidated by Ray Liotta. A REAL man is confident in what he orders, even if it’s the fruitiest, girliest cocktail ever made. As long as you order that shit with AUTHORITY, nobody can question your masculinity. Try it sometime. Go to a bar, scan the drink menu for the pinkest, brightest cocktail they have, and order that shit like it’s a motherfuckin’ IPA with an 11 ALC/VOL. Ain’t no washed up actor still living on their Goodfellas performance gonna say shit to you then! It’s all about attitude, bro’s.

And with that, I’m off to buy a Mike’s Hard Lemonade…

Pete

Music for 15-Year-Old’s: Did the Lights of the Good Year Blimp Really Say, “Ice Cube’s a Pimp”?

September 26, 2013
Does anyone know how much it would cost to rent a blimp and actually do this?

Does anyone know how much it would cost to rent a blimp and actually do this?

I recently came across a clever T-shirt online that illustrated the classic lyric from Ice Cube’s hit song, “It Was a Good Day” that goes as such:

Even saw the lights of the Goodyear Blimp
And it read, “Ice Cube’s a pimp”

If you need to refresh your memory, here’s the song in its entirety:

Listening to the song after a long hiatus from it, I’m struck by how grounded everything is up until the third verse.  In the first two verses, Ice describes a pretty good day for him, one in which could realistically happen to anyone.  He got up in the morning and felt good, his momma cooked breakfast hog-free (a healthy way to start the day, unfortunately, Ice ruins this healthy initiative by eating Fatburger at 2AM), and he got a call from a lovely lady named Kim, someone Ice always hoped would look his way since they were in the 12th grade together.  Now 24 years old, this means Ice has been yearning for Kim a solid seven years, assuming they were both 17 while attending their final year of high school together.  All in all, the day has gotten off to a roaring start for Cube, and our narrative has cemented itself in a grounded sense of reality.

This reality continues in the second verse, in which Ice is able to run a red light at an intersection but not get pulled over by a police vehicle trailing behind him.  He then heads over to a friend’s house, where the classic program “Yo!  MTV Raps” is playing on the television.  He wins a game of Craps and Dominos, that apparently had some money on the line, which Ice collects (some of these funds are later used on the Fatburger, I imagine).  Fresh off his gambling winnings, Ice heads out to meet up with Kim, his seven-year unrequited love for their first of – hopefully – many dates.  He uses his gambling winnings on some refreshing brews (assuming “brews” means beer, I have to disagree with Ice’s choice here.  Beer is not really a safe beverage choice for a date, especially a first one, because in my experience, girls tend to lean more on wine or cocktails for their imbibing.  If I were he, I would have gone that route, even if the date is merely sitting around watching the Lakers play the Supersonics on TV).  Fortunately, Ice picks Kim up and she has on her person a bit of marijuana, so that, coupled with the beer, means they’re all set to watch a rousing game of NBA basketball together.

So far, we’re following Ice on a story that could very well happen in real life.  But then the third verse hits, and that’s when our narrative falls off the rails a bit, in terms of its grounded reality.  First, Ice claims that his prowess at sexual intercourse was so powerful that it put the exhausted Kim right to sleep.  I’m always dubious of men and their claims of sexual superiority.  It’s too easy to exclaim your magnetism in the bedroom when no witnesses are present to verify such claims (other than your sexual partner, whom most of the time will either refrain from divulging such information, or will robotically support your brags).  This is the first time in the song where I start to feel Ice is exaggerating his narrative for dramatic effect.  I mean, it’s far more entertaining to hear about someone having amazing, out-of-this-world sex than to hear of a coitus session that just went okay.  But then I know he’s a downright liar after that, when the infamous verse comes out:

Even saw the lights of the Goodyear Blimp
And it read, “Ice Cube’s a pimp”

Nope.  Not buying this for a second, for two reasons: 1. At this point, it’s approximately 1:30 in the morning as Ice is driving Kim back home (and talk about being cold – Ice has been yearning for this woman for seven years, and once he finally gets her, instead of cuddling in their young love until the morning sunrise, he drops her off at her house.  He’s ice cold, just like in those Coors Light commercials.) , so there is no way in hell the Good Year blimp is even out.  This blimp is usually reserved for special sporting occasions.  Even if it were a night game, the blimp would be docked by this point, and the only sporting event we know of was the Lakers/Supersonics game, which the blimp would be meaningless for since nobody at the game would be able to see it.  2. I really don’t think the good people of Good Year would randomly advertise the phrase, “Ice Cube’s a Pimp” on their iconic blimp.  The only way Ice could pull this off is if he were to pay for advertising on the blimp, which would cost him a sizable chunk of change (more so than what he won in the day’s earlier bouts of Craps and Dominos, I’m sure).

You had me along for the ride up until this point, Ice.  Now, I’m not sure whether or not you’re full of shit.  Now I’m starting to question if you really did run a red light with a cop car behind you.  I’m not sure you really put Kim’s ass to sleep.  Hell, now I’m not sure you even performed all that well on the basketball court as you said you did earlier in the song.  To have your audience believe the Good Year blimp used it’s electricity-heavy lights to exalt your status as a pimp is a pretty big buy.   Your conquest of the sought-after Kim does give you a bit of a pimp-status for the night, but it’s not enough for the Good Year blimp to advertise you.  Sorry, you’ve lost me.

All this being said, if I had enough disposable income to throw myself the perfect day, I would try to re-create Ice’s: I’d have my mom cook me a bacon-free breakfast, I would pay my friends to let me win a pick-up basketball game, I’d hire cops to ignore me running a red light, and of course, I’d pay Good Year to advertise my status as a pimp.  So as much as I slam this song for being unrealistic, it’s still realistically possibly for all of this to happen in one day, provided you put the deposit down upfront.

Pete

Music for 15-Year-Old’s: Snoop Dogg/Lion Writes an Entire Song About… Fruit Juice

July 1, 2013
Snoop Loves His Fruit Juice... and Weed, apparently.

Snoop Loves His Fruit Juice… and Weed, apparently.

Yes, I’m not ashamed to admit it: I downloaded the new Snoop Dogg (“Lion”) album, Reincarnated, and have actually taken the time out of my life to listen to it.  At first, I pondered whether or not I should reveal this information to you Ready Readers, but if casually following politics has taught me anything, it’s the less sketltons in the closet, the better!  So, yes, I readily admit I listen to this Snoop “Lion” album, and have even put some songs on my running mixes.

One such song is “Fruit Juice.”  You’re probably thinking the term “fruit juice” is slang for pimpin’, or for booze, or seman, or something.  Most rap songs hide their innuendo in silly little terms like “Pimp Juice.”  But this song is – literally – about fruit juice.  As in, the beverage you buy your kids, that comes in little cardboard boxes.

Don’t believe me?  See for yourself:

Like I said – this song is literally about juice, made from various fruits that grow on various trees.  And you know what?  I find it incredibly refreshing to have a rap song (I know it’s technically a reggae song, but this is about as reggae as a trip to the accountant to get your taxes done) that is about something as pure, innocent and – of course – delicious as fruit juice.  So much of hip hop is littered with songs about drugs, street violence, and bypassing the line to get into the club, that it’s a true breath of fresh air to hear one about the simple joys one receives when drinking a glass of juice.

I think back to all the wonderful fruit juices I’ve had in my life: Tropicana, Ocean Spray, V8, Simply Orange, Capri Sun, Purple Stuff, Sunny D… and the sense memory alone makes me want to write a lyrical ode to these refreshing beverages.  Fortunately, I don’t have to now, because Snoop has done the job for me!

Unless I’m a completely idiotic, naive white boy and all of these fruit juice lyrics are, in fact, euphemisms for various drugs, narcotics and marijuana flavors.  And if this is the case, I will be very sad, and my innocence will be shattered.

Not for the first time, and certainly, not for the last.

Pete

Commercial Break: KFC’s “I Ate the Bones” is Stupid… and Awesome

June 12, 2013
This actor should be given an Oscar for pulling off such a realistic performance of something that COULD NEVER HAPPEN

This actor should be given an Oscar for pulling off such a realistic performance of something that COULD NEVER HAPPEN

Writing about this KFC campaign was all but inevitable.  By now, everyone knows of KFC’s obnoxious – yet incredibly effective – advertising campaign of “I ate the bones!”  If you’re living under a rock or are one of those “too cool for TV” kids, here are the two commercials:

Watching them back-to-back, I find the one with the father to be a little more tolerable.  I mean, it’s not him that freaks out over something that is LITERALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO DO.  It’s his young, naive children who first point out that he ate the bones.  Or rather, he POTENTIALLY ate the bones.  The father, of course, goes into freak out mode, exclaiming to the heavens that he ate the bones, while his children stare up at him, their faces displaying the sad realization that their father might actually have Down Syndrome.

The first commercial with the bro’s is simply unacceptable.  This is a group of grown ass men sitting together and enjoying a meal of fried chicken made quickly for convenience.  They should possess the basic understanding that mistakingly eating the bones in a piece of fried chicken is IMPOSSIBLE TO DO WITHOUT NOTICING.  As homeboy freaks out here, his friends look about aghast, but not in the same sense the children do in the second commercial.  Their’s is not one of dawning realization that the man responsible for their existence is a complete retard, but more that they might have consumed the bones, as well.  Idiots and fools abound throughout this ad campaign.

And yet, I cannot deny the catchphrase possesses spark and memorability.  It’s rather fun to belt out “I ATE THE BONES!” in any given, random moment.  I might even apply it in all areas of my life – if I get pulled over and the cop asks me why I was speeding, I’ll retort: “Because I ate the bones!!”  When my mother calls and asks me how I’m doing, I’ll answer: “Doing okay, except I ATE THE BONES!”  When a lawyer serves me with papers, I’ll merely shrug and listlessly say: “Looks like I ate the bones.”  Truly, this catch phrase works in all aspects of life.

And so, even though this ad campaign brings Americans into new heights of stupidity, it also leaves us with an exclamatory phrase that is more fun than it should be.  It’s difficult to truly despise these commercials when they deliver what commercials are supposed to deliver – memorability.  Of course, I’m sure us yelling “I ate the bones!” will follow the path of the “Whhaaaaaattsup” Budweiser guys from back in the days of yore.  But before it reaches its peak and becomes a played out fad, let us all enjoy the eating of the bones together, as one nation, united in stupidity.

Pete

In Memoriam: The 80′s Celebrities in Michael Jackson’s “Liberian Girl” Video

May 20, 2013
MJ calls a wrap on the entire decade of the 80's.

MJ calls a wrap on the entire decade of the 80′s.

Now here’s a fascinating time capsule of a music video!  Made in the year 1989, the video for Michael Jackson’s “Liberian Girl” is like an epilogue chapter to the book that was the 80′s.  It’s a summary of who was big back then, but watching it now, it’s like visiting a haunted house – a cavernous space filled with dead celebrities from time’s past.  But don’t just read my interpretation.  See it for yourself…

I’m going to try to list each 80′s celebrity in the order of their appearance, but truth be told, I don’t know a lot of these people because this was still a wee bit before my time.  Any help or assistance in this matter would be greatly appreciated.

Model-Looking Chick Who Mouths the Opening Line – Probably some big model back in the late 80′s, but is nothing now.  Or could just be a random extra plucked from Central Casting who is back in her hometown now working as a middle school art teacher.

Malcolm Jamal-Warner – Ahh, we begin with Theo Huxtable, at the height of his fame.  Here, he speaks into an abnormally large cell phone, which was like strange, alien technology back then.  This was how big MJW was – he had a futuristic phone, in which he was telling people he was too busy to hang out with them!  I bet now he’s still rocking a Razr phone and begging for people to come over and hang out at his two-bedroom apartment in Van Nuys.

Sherman Hemsley – R.I.P.  So, right away we get the two biggest, black sitcom stars of the day.  This is how fleeting sitcom celebrity can be, which is why all sitcom actors immediately transition from TV to the Big Screen, or else you just end up doing strange gigs like this one.  At least he displays some sweet MJ dance moves a little bit later.

Butch Lesbian Girl – She’s talking to someone, and is sporting a sweet, David Bowie-esque hairdo, and I’m sure she was famous back then (because of every shot of this video features a celebrity of the time), but I have absolutely no idea who this is.  Anyone?  Anyone?

Paula Abdul – Ahh, PA, right at the time “Forever Your Girl” was released and blowing up the charts.  Little did we know of then impending craziness that would ensue years down the line.  No doubt she spent the day on this video while waiting for the animation to get done on her own, classic music video, “Opposites Attract.”

Whoopi Goldberg & Other Dude – Whoopi was already starting to sense her celebrity mortality, as she is scheming on a sequel to her 1986 film “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” with Michael titled “Jumpin’ Jackson Flash.”  Little did she know twenty years later, all her acting jobs would dry up and she’d have to be on a morning talk show where she and three other women yell at each other for an hour everyday.  As for this other dude, well, again, I have no idea.  Anyone got a clue?

Quincy Jones & Other Chick – Can’t say anything about QJ, because he truly is timeless.  Again, no idea who he’s talking to.  Anyone?  Anyone?

Girl Silently Singing to the Song While Reading the Lyrics – I got nothing here.  I want to say Bernadette Peters, but that can’t be right, can it?  She also looks like a young Rhea Pearlman, who I am surprised does not make a cameo in this video.

Girl That Looks Like Sarah Michelle Geller & Her Friend – I need serious help here in identifying these two!  I have no idea!  And maybe “friend” is way too strong of a word here.  The Friend is a total bitch, giving unrelenting attitude towards the Sarah Michelle Geller look-alike – as if it’s HER fault that Michael is late.  “Well, Michael asked ME to be in his video…”  I’m glad you’re not famous anymore… whoever you are.

Billy Dee Williams & Lou Diamond Phillips – Lando Calrissian and Ritchie Valens, as they are known by their true 80′s names.  After they reached their peaks with these roles, they were forever damned to a life of playing detectives on various CBS NCIS-type shows.  Although, who could forget Williams’ classic cameo on the Nikki & Paulo LOST episode?  If you ask me, this was Billy Dee’s BEST and FINEST performance!

John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John – Keep in mind, we are in the Look Who’s Talking era of Travolta here.  Pulp Fiction seems so long and so far away when watching this video.   Also, what the hell is Travolta looking at before he breaks out into singing?  It looks like a jar of pickles.

Corey Feldman – You can’t get more 80′s than this!  This might be the ultimate 80′s cameo, even more so than Malcolm Jamal-Warner!  Although I know CF more from a classic 90′s movie vs. an 80′s one – as the voice of Donatello in the FIRST live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.  I think that was the last big movie he ever booked.  (Unless you count his reprisal of the role in the third Ninja Turtles movie, the one in which they time travel to ancient Japan.  But I don’t.)

Steven Spielberg – Seems like whenever you need a “Who’s directing this??” joke, there’s ol’ Stevie for a Cut To: reveal.

Blond British Girl – Anybody have any idea?

Ricky Schroder & His Black Friend – Oh, boy, now we’re really getting out of my range of celebrity reference.  Ricky was on a show in the early 80′s called “Silver Spoons.”  Yeah, I can’t speak to that, or his friend.  But these two are merely a gateway to…

Weird Al Yankovic! – Easily my favorite cameo in this video, and in no way do I consider him a “dead” celebrity.  Countless ten-year-old boys still buy and listen to his parody albums, and his concerts still sell out.  Classic.

Suzanne Somers & Bubbles – Not much to say about Suzanne.  She came, she went, and had a nothing-to-shake-at career.  But what’s really interesting is this piece on the Adult Bubbles, and his new home.  Check it out!

Lou Ferrigno – Now this dude was a major part of my childhood, playing the Incredible Hulk!  Poor guy is deaf now, but don’t feel too bad.  He charges like, fifty bucks, at every comic book convention everywhere.

Don King – Another classic 80′s icon!  I once interviewed Don King on the red carpet many moons ago.  You can watch that classic piece here.

Mayim Bialik – Had I written this blog a few years ago, I could heap all sorts of sarcasm on Mayim, but she’s great on Big Bang Theory now, so we move on to…

David Copperfield – I guessed to myself that Davie is probably holding a permanent show in Vegas, and one Google search later, I find I nailed it on the head!  He’s at the MGM Grand every night.  Maybe they play this video before each show as a warm-up?

Iman – At least, I think this is Iman.  I mean, who else could it be?  (I’m gonna feel like a loser racist if one of you points out it’s not Iman)

Richard Dreyfuss & his daughter (I assume) – “Exactly which Michael Jackson are we talking about here?”  Not sure why this line is here, because at the time, there was only one Michael Jackson.  (Unless you count the Cleveland Browns wide receiver)

Danny Glover – Yep.  It’s Danny Glover.  Singing.

Dan Aykroyd & Steve Guttenberg – Oh, boy.  Oh, no.  Where do I even begin?  I love how the shot starts with Akroyd riding in on a motorcycle, and you’re thinking: “Oh, okay, Aykroyd is kind of a timeless comedian, that’s fine.”  Then, Guttenberg rolls up behind him, shades on, looking and acting all very Guttenberg-y.  I think MJ, knowing his videos would be watched far into the future, knew that trotting Guttenberg out was the final straw, so he decided to call it.  No more 80′s celebrities – we can’t fall any lower than Guttenberg!  So Mike finally appears at the end, and when he says, “Okay everybody, that’s a wrap,” it’s like he’s referring to the entire decade of the 80′s, and not just the video.

Pete

P.S. How many times do you think they did a take of Aykroyd going, “Aww, Mike!” like a man with Down’s Syndrome?  Five, six, seven times?  Is the real director of this video still around to ask?

P.P.S. I’m aware I could have easily just looked this video up on IMDB and gotten the names of every celebrity here.  But if I had, it wouldn’t have been as fun, or nearly as snarky.

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