Thursday, December 31, 2009

Long live the 80's !!!

It's hard to believe that yet another decade has come to its unofficial end (unofficial because technically, the new decade won't begin until 2011 -- mind your math, people!). Hard to believe for me, at least, because I'm still stuck in the 80's, aka The Greatest Decade Ever. What have any of the other decades in my lifetime contributed to popular culture? I was barely alive for the very tail end of the 60's, and they're noted for drugs and disgustingly dirty hippies. Thanks, but no thanks. The 70's are remembered for huge sideburns, Vietnam, and utterly heinous fashion. Thanks, but no thanks. The 90's were ridiculously nondescript -- the dingy grunge scene, and that's about it. Lame. And the 00's have been equally bland, apparently engendering tons of nostalgia for decades past from old fogeys like myself. My fave of those decades? The 80's!!! The new wave scene, those ridiculously goofy yet charming hairstyles, the metal scene, the "horny teenager" movies that have been much-imitated but never-duplicated, the over-the-top action flicks, the arcade scene... If you missed the 80's, you really missed out. So no, I can't quite let go of The Greatest Decade Ever, especially when there are still so many unresolved 80's dilemmas:


A) Who's Eileen, and why do I have to come on her?

B) Who really wants to hurt Boy George? Not me, although I WOULD appreciate him shutting the fuck up.

C) Just why DID she blind Thomas Dolby with science?


There were literally thousands of horrible plot devices in 80's movies... which of my personal top three offenders would rank as the worst one?

A) The little kid saying "It was paint!" and, in one fell swoop, leading Danny Glover to realize that the baddie in "Lethal Weapon" was in the same secret batallion as Mel Gibson.

B) María Conchita Alonso magically producing the microfilm with the unedited footage of Arnie's "Butcher Of Bakersfield" shenanigans on "The Running Man." And while we're on that subject, just where DID María Conchita Alonso hide the microfilm? I'm guessing it was inside her conchita. Man, I kill myself.

C) Daniel LaRusso actually defeating Steve McQueen's incredibly scary son. I can believe a one-legged Daniel-san managing to beat Billy Zabka, since he used The Crane, a move Mr. Miyagi described as "no can defend" -- but there's no way Daniel-san got past Dutch. I refuse to believe it.

Best exposure:

A) Joyce Hyser tearing off her tux and revealing her assets in "Just One of the Guys."

B) Jamie Lee Curtis "inadvertently" showing Dan Aykroyd the goodies in "Trading Places."

C) Phoebe Cates telling Judge Reinhold how cute she thinks he is by unleashing the puppies in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High."

D) Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. No, not really. But don't you wish it was true? I know I do.

Signature game:

A) Rubik's Cube. Obnoxious, but addictive. Bonus question: How in the hell were those people on "That's Incredible" able to solve it in mere seconds? Bonus questions II: Who the hell is Rubik?

B) Pac-Man. Still popular today!
C) Donkey Kong. Nowadays, you probably know it as SuperMario or some such crap. But it'll always be Donkey Kong to me.
D) Space Invaders: as quoted roughly a billion times by my pal Greg, "Space invaders... they invade your space. Get it? [Snickers]"

Sports injustice:

A) The Brownies. Don't get me started. I hate John "Horsefucker" Elway.
B) The Cavs. Michael Jordan's an asswipe. Don't even dream of arguing this. He's a piece of shit.
C) France. A very underrated source of sports heartbreak, because they should have won both the 1982 and 1986 World Cups. The semifinal losses against Germany still make me sad, angry, and nauseous. Bonus gripe: Harald Schumacher is a disgusting Nazi thug, and the fucker belongs in prison. Bonus gripe II: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge may kindly burn in hell.

Signature look:

A) The new-wave hairdo, best exemplified by ridiculously long bangs -- aka, the "
Flock of Seagulls" look.
B) The
feathered bangs.
C) The
metal mullet. Just about every wannabe poser in my high school yearbook looks like this, so this one may be my personal fave.

Ah, so many 80's questions, so little time... Happy New Year / New Decade !!!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sports nicknames

I love a good sports nickname, but can't help but wish there was a little more originality involved nowadays. I know I'm old, but we've just got to stop recycling nicknames. Kobe Bryant, you're not "The Black Mamba" -- Roger Mayweather is. Sam Peter, you're not "The Nigerian Nightmare" -- that would be Christian Okoye. LaDainian Tomlinson should be called "LDT," not "LT" -- those two initials are the domain of one Lawrence Taylor. And I could go on. We're just getting lazy, complacent, and unimaginative when it comes to nicknames. A few months ago, Toby Mergler penned an excellent column to that effect, which included the following three jewels:
  • Jose Canseco: "Flea Market" -- Every once in a while, you'll find something useful in what he says, but most of the time he's full of crap.

  • Tracy McGrady, "The Public Restroom" -- Because he's hard to find when you need him the most.

  • Dwight "Y-Axis" Howard -- Because his post game is one-dimensional.
Fantastic stuff! So, as the year draws to a close, I thought I'd make my own paltry contribution to this list by "honouring" some of 2009's biggest sports goats.

Braylon Edwards: "Edwards Scissorhands" -- because "Hands of Stone" was already taken by Roberto Durán. Edwards Scissorhands played himself out of town by dropping an inordinate amount of passes, then complained that the Cleveland faithful never liked him because he went to Michicrap. That's not the least bit true. Leroy Hoard went to Michicrap, and we adored him. Of course, Hoard was a productive back, a consummate team player, had a great sense of humour, and his interviews were an absolute joy. Edwards Scissorhands is a me-first, hypocritical, pass-dropping POS. The only consolation for the Cleveland faithful is that he's been equally maddening with the Jets, making ridiculous circus catches for 10 yards only to drop pretty much every perfectly thrown 30-yard rainbow. Loser.

Serena Williams: "Crown Victoria" -- because she has the biggest trunk. I actually like Crown Victoria, but that ridiculous hissy fit she threw because she couldn't handle the fact that she was getting her huge ass handed to her by Kim Clijsters earned her a spot on the list. Besides, I'm absurdly proud of myself for coming up with this hackneyed nickname.

Milton Bradley: "The Water Molecule" -- because he's bipolar. I can't believe this clown keeps getting chances. What's worse, the teams that sign him (and their fans) make the same mistake: namely, thinking that things will be different with them, and that The Water Molecule has turned a new leaf, and he's misunderstood, and he's a really nice guy, blah, blah, blah. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Bradley's crazier than a shithouse rat, and he's proven it time and time again. At this point, it's just a matter of when, not if, he'll go nuts in Seattle. It's a bummer, because after losing the Sonics and watching the Seahawks mail in their season, the Seattle fans deserve better, and are rightly optimistic about the Mariners, especially now that they've added Uncle Cliffy Lee to their already formidable rotation. But The Water Molecule will derail this team.
Bank on it.

Donte Stallworth: "Hungover Calculus" -- because you should never drink and derive. But all kidding aside, accidents happen. What people just refuse to understand is that they're MUCH more likely to happen when your reflexes and judgment are impaired, even if slightly. Stallworth flashed his lights at the poor pedestrian he ran over. If you see a guy crossing the street in front of you, don't flash your lights... HIT THE BRAKES!!! Now we're all left to wonder whether Stallworth would have been able to either stop, slow down, or swerve had he been completely sober.

Eldrick "Tomcat" Woods -- too obvious? Sue me.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean!

This past Friday was the last day of school before the Christmas break. My Chemistry and Physics classes were finishing up their exams, but my Physical Science students were done. Not wanting to start a chapter only to have them forget everything over the break -- and trust me, they would -- I decided to cut them a little slack. The new schedule means that, at 49 minutes a class, I wouldn't be able to show them a movie. Luckily, a few years ago I snapped up the complete Mr. Bean series from Costco. The set includes the sublimely hilarious "Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean" holiday episode, which I played for my kids. Man, if only our labs were this much fun!

If your only exposure to Mr. Bean is from the awful movies that the TV show inspired (and this was the case with my students, who were in awe of Mr. Bean after the clips), you're in for a true Christmas treat: