Thursday, January 27, 2011

Me So Horny...For Justice

I was a fan of Chris Elliott as soon as I saw him on Late Night with David Letterman in the late 80's.  All of his recurring characters cracked me up - The Guy Under the Seats, The Regulator Guy, The Conspiracy Guy, Marlon Brando, etc...all were excellent.  But it wasn't until Get A Life that he became one of my all time favorite people on earth.

Chris Elliott's performance as not quite normal mentally, thirty year old paperboy living with his parents was nothing short of genius.  It was very odd show though and I am not too surprised that it didn't attract more viewers (although it did beat Seinfeld in rating during the first season), and it definitely didn't help that Fox kept changing the day and time that it was on.  Still, it holds very fond memories for me and I wish dearly for the complete series to have an official DVD release.

Following the cancellation of Get a Life, the world was treated to Cabin Boy...which I found wonderful but most others seemed to hate.  Again, the oddball comedy was just a little to strange for most people.  Since that time, Chris Elliot has been all over the place with guest appearances and small parts in hundreds of movies although most people seem to remember him best as Woogie in There's Something about Mary or the cameraman in Groundhog Day.  Each time I saw him, it filled my heart with a little joy but yet I was always left unsatisfied.  Most rolls just didn't have enough Chris Elliottness in them - the extremely goofy, oddball, strange humor that I loved from Late Night, Get a Life, and Cabin Boy.  However, certain looks and gestures would still make me crack up in remembrance.

Hopefully that is all about to change.  Hopefully, that empty spot in my soul for that special, bearded, bald guy will be filled with [adult swim]'s new show - Eagleheart.  It looks like a Walker, Texas Ranger spoof and man do the teasers hit me in the right spot.  It has been a long time since Chris has been the lead in a comedy show and I think he is a great fit for [adult swim].  I hope it is a long run.  Check out the teaser's below and be sure to check out the show on Feb. 03, 2011 at Midnight/11pm central.  I'll be watching.

Friday, January 21, 2011

It's a Love / Hate Relationship

I totally love that youtube offers access to all this music that I haven't heard in a really long time (or ever)...but I also hate it quite a bit.

I hate watching music videos...yes, I know that is what youtube is all about video, but most the time I just want to listen to the music.  I think video ruin more songs than they help.  I guess I like to interpret songs in my own head.  I don't need a video to tell me what to think or feel, the music should do that by itself.  I especially hate this when listening to new music that I haven't heard before.  If the music can't stand on it's own without a video it is garbage.

Duplicate many times can the exact same video be uploaded over and over?  Endless.  I know youtube has code that can detect if a video uses copyrighted music that the rights holder doesn't want used, I am sure they could also easily detect duplicate videos.  Let's thin this crap out and make it more usable.  Let's keep the highest quality copy of the video.  So who gets to keep their video?  Either the owner/copyright holder's official site, or the first one to load it.  Stop giving me 44 options and them all be the same video.

Sound leveling.  Much like TV there needs to be some kind of sound leveling where each song flows better into each other.  I think be getting rid of duplicate vids could help some of this, but not all.  Sometimes it is a train wreck listening to a playlist.

Speaking of playlists - name them correctly.  I know these are all user made, so it is not youtube's fault, but seriously people when you have a playlist named "Megadeth" I expect Megadeth and only Megadeth.  I don't expect or want Slayer, Metallica, and Iron Maiden thrown in there.  If I wanted that I would search for "Metal Mix" or something like that.  I like all those bands but sometimes I just want an hour fix of Megadeth.

A better advanced search function that lets me easily choose between "official" and fan-made videos.  I actually kind of like the fan-mades that are just the album cover and the music because this is how I often listened to albums as a kid.  Record on the turntable, staring at the album cover.  But many of the others are just crap and distracting...I wish I could just bypass them.

Work with all the music companies to get all their official videos online.  I hate when a music company only has like 3 videos when the artist has 10.  It is just strange what they choose to load and not load.  Record companies - you paid to have these videos made, lets see them.

Those are a few of the things that would make my youtube experience better.  Just hoping, I guess.

Monday, January 17, 2011

More Media Hilarity

So late last week, I get in my car and am pulling out of my driveway my radio happened to be on a local news station. Once again like the football quote, I don't know the context.

The newscaster is talking and says something to the effect of "Mr (unknown) says that we are in an unusual situation."  Cut to audio clip of Mr (unknown):  "We are in an unusual situation."

Really?  That is the news reporting you are going with?  I was laughing so hard that I had to stop for like 5 minutes.  It was completely ridiculous.  It was like a line straight out of Airplane!, The Naked Gun movies, or maybe even The Simpsons.  I almost expected to hear:
"You're on the Radio..."
"The Radio? What is it?"
"It's a form of communication through the transmission of signals by modulation of electromagnetic waves....but that's not important right now."

IPR, I really expected better...but you made my day.  Thanks.

Monday, January 10, 2011


As I was flipping through the channels over the weekend, I stopped for a second on ESPN and there was some football player being interviewed on the side of the field.  I am not sure but I think it might have had something to do the BCS championship game so it could have possibly been one of the players for Auburn or Oregon.  I don't really watch football so I didn't recognize the player or the uniform...honestly I wasn't even watching, just flipping up to a different channel.

Anyhow, on the brief second that I was on the channel before my thumb had a chance to push the up button again,  I heard a quote similar to this "...and you can check that in Daniel Webster's dictionary!"  My brain yelled "stop" but my thumb was already in motion and by the time I was able to get back to ESPN they were headed to commercial.  But I know what I heard and I laughed about it for 10 minutes.

Daniel Webster was a Constitutional lawyer, Congressman, and Secretary of State in the 1800's.  Most people now mostly remember him for the story and films "The Devil and Daniel Webster."  His name was also used by Mark Twain for the name of a frog in his story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County".  There is also a Daniel Webster College in New Hampshire.  And a Liberty class ship was named after him in WWII.  He was well known for his oratory skills, intellectual prowess, and constitutional know what he wasn't known for?  A dictionary.

Talking about Webster's Dictionary - as in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, that is Noah Webster.  Noah was Daniel's cousin, but still completely different people.  Would you want to always be confused with your cousin?  Noah worked in copyright, education during which he created a popular spelling book, and finally created one of the earliest American dictionaries.  Noah wanted to standardize American speech and created American English - separate from British English.  He thought British English was often unnecessarily complex and he is the reason that we spell "center" instead of "centre", "honor" instead of "honour", and "theater" instead of "theatre"...among many other changes.

I just wanted to give a little credit where credit was due...and tell the footballer that he may want to study a little bit harder.

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Message to Congress

As the new session of congress begins, I would like to say a few things.

First of all, to all the members of congress who are still current or were just voted out but helped pass a lot of important legislation in the so called "lame duck" session. THANK YOU.  Nothing pisses me off more than when the Senate and House sit around for a couple months because some people are leaving.  All members of the House or Senate were elected for a two or six year term and I expect them to work in one way or another the entire term.  Hey, I knew I was going to be laid off last summer, and you know what would have happened if I sat on my ass and didn't do my job those couple months before my layoff?  I would have been fired much sooner...without pay.  Every time there is a lame duck session where the congress does nothing, I as a tax payer want my money back.  I understand if there was nothing to do but to stall just because some people are leaving or control is changing to a different party is dumb.  Do your job...the entire time.  So thank you for doing that one of the first times in my life.

Secondly, to all the incoming Republicans, Tea Partiers, and existing congressmen who now want to spend the first couple weeks of the new session trying to completely repeal the 2010 Health Care reform...Fuck off.  It's not perfect, that is granted but it actually does have a lot of good parts.  So instead of wasting time trying to repeal the whole thing which nearly every considers next to impossible - repeal most likely won't pass the Democratically controlled Senate, and even if it did the President will veto, and let's be honest you do not have the votes to override.  Instead of wasting time showing off that you are against healthcare reform (a pretty stupid position in my book - why do you want to deny people with pre-existing conditions?), why don't you instead work to fix the parts that aren't as great?  You might actually be able to make some changes instead of just wasting time and my (tax payer's) money on useless endeavorers...because honestly doing that sounds like the typical "business as usual" partisan bullshit that most of you ran against.  PS - you get health care coverage that takes effect immediately, and don't have to worry about pre-conditions (coverage which is paid for 75% by tax payers).  Stop trying to deny every once else a chance for similar benefits.

Finally, just do your job.  Your job is not to be a total idiot listening to your party and doing everything that they want.  Your job is not to listen to big business or take lots of contributions for your political future (or your pocket).  Your job is to your constituents.  Listen to them, do what they want...we are your boss - not your republican or democratic leaders.  Benefit the citizens of the United States instead of looking out for your own interests.  There is a reason that it is called Public Service.  If you do this, the public will take care of you.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Where's Floppy?

I was fortunate enough to have the entire week after Christmas off work.  I had big plans - plans to see a lot of movies with CT, plans to spend a lot of time with my girl, plans to get a lot of stuff done around the house.  None of those happened, because I ended up being sick the entire week...for the second year in a row.  My sickness wasn't as bad as last year...but it definitely limited the way I spent my time off.  Luckily, I did feel well enough to celebrate New Year's Eve with Angie and catch the 2nd Annual Floppy Film Festival.

For those who are too young, or don't live in central Iowa.  The Floppy Show (and it's many variations) was a locally produced children's show.  The show consisted of ventriloquist Duane Ellett and his dog puppet Floppy interacting with the audience of young children - mostly the kid's telling jokes or "beeping" Floppy's nose - between old Bugs Bunny and Tom & Jerry cartoons.  Each show started the same, Duane counting down "3...2...1" and the kids yelling "Where's Floppy?" as Floppy popped out of his box and each show ended the same, "Floppy yelling "Soooo Loooong Kids" and the kids replying "Goodbye Floppy".  Simplicity and low budget but yet it was magic.  It was a daily ritual for kids, much like the Pledge of Allegiance at school. Floppy (in one show form or another) aired from 1957-1987.  As a kid, I remember watching Floppy at noon while eating my PB&J sandwich lunch.  It was what you did as a kid.  I also remember being disappointed whenever President Carter or Reagan would disrupt my Floppy viewing with a live press conference  or speech. I would think "Who cares....Floppy should be on!"  My political attitude hasn't changed much since then.

Floppy logos and images copyright The Duane Ellett Family

I wouldn't say that The Floppy Show was that important in the larger scheme of things, but it is one of those things that will always remind me of my childhood.  I remember the day in second grade when our class took the field trip to be on the Floppy was literally THE field trip of the year.  Forget the fire station, forget the pumpkin patch, forget the museum - The Floppy Show field trip was the event of the year, the whole reason for second grade (oh and maybe some education).  So what did you get for your Floppy Show field trip?  You got to hangout on the Floppy Clubhouse set for 30 minutes while they taped a show (you very own (possible) TV extra appearance),  you got to either tell Floppy a joke or beep his nose, and you got a "goody bag" which had an orange, a soda, and maybe a small piece of candy.  It was great.

In May 1987, Duane and Floppy celebrated his 30th anniversary.  A month later, Duane Ellett died of a heart attack while jogging.  It was one of those moments for me - you know those moments that you remember where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news.  Those older than me recall the the assassination of JFK and the moon landing.  I clearly remember three people dying:

  1. John Lennon - my mom and dad are huge Beatles fans, so it was a powerful moment for our house.
  2. John Denver - I am a big JD fan and happened to be thinking just the day before that JD would tour around here again soon. 
  3. Duane Ellett - I was old enough not to be into Floppy any more, but I was still saddened and it seemed like the end of an era.

I was always impressed by Duane and Floppy even as I grew older and past the target audience.  To me, it just always seemed like Duane loved what he was doing.  Most people would probably snap after hearing the same jokes over and over again.  Just imagine how many times Duane must have heard "Why'd the man throw the clock out the window?" or "What's the biggest pencil in the world?" or "Why did the man put the car in the oven?" (which is the joke I told!).  Literally, thousands of times over 30 years...but Duane always smiled and Floppy feigned ignorance...only jumping in with the answer if the joke was told twice in a row.  I am sure Duane had bad days, but he was always there to entertain the kids.  Even when the kids made his job difficult, he always kept smiling and making jokes with Floppy.  It really does take a special type of person to do this day in and day out.  I know some people here are probably saying that teachers, parents, or daycare providers do this, but really they don't...not to this degree - The Floppy Show was nearly identical for 30 years, every day.  That type of repetition would drive most people insane and I think most would turn into Rainbow Randolph from Death To Smoochy - a little bitter, a little crazy, and a little perverted.

Floppy logos and images copyright The Duane Ellett Family

The 2nd Annual Floppy Film Festival was very interesting.  I missed the first one due to severe illness.  So even though I wasn't feeling 100%, I was determined to go to this one (and special thanks to Angie for making all the arrangements and keeping it in mind when I couldn't concentrate on anything).  Basically, it was just a bunch of Floppy clips throughout the years edited together...but they all brought back lots of memories. I forgot about all the different versions of The Floppy Show - The Floppy Show, Duane and Friend, and The Floppytown Gazette to name a few...even though I had seen each hundreds of times.  All the different stage sets and to seeing Duane throughout the ages was just plain nostalgic.  I wish there were more interviews with Duane.  I thought it was fascinating to hear what he thought of the whole experience.  Maybe the interviews don't exist but I do hope somewhere there is more with Duane.  I watched the guy for years, and would just like to know a little more about who he was and what he thought when he wasn't performing with Floppy.  It was still a very entertaining experience though - clips of Bill Cosby and Adam West on the Floppy Show, clips throughout all 30 years, and a few cartoons thrown in for good measure.  You better believe that I bought a Floppy t-shirt like the one I always wanted as a kid.  I highly suggest any one who enjoyed Floppy as a kid to check out next year's festival.

Miss you Duane & Floppy.