May 31, 2012

Get Prepared

Went onto Yahoo! earlier tonight and found that "Zombie Apocalypse" was the #1 trending topic today.

Makes sense.

In a week in which we've seen a California man bite the nose off of his cousin, a naked Florida man eating the face off his victim and a New Jersey man stabbing himself and throwing bits of flesh and entrails at police officers...well, it makes sense.

This probably isn't the inevitable Zombie Apocalypse. But is shouldn't stop you from making preparations. I'm planning on a little shopping trip to survive the undead horde that is surely coming.  Here's what I'm getting:
  • An Axe-handle baseball bat. It just fits your hand really well.
  • A Ginsu set of knives. Late-night television tells me that they are the best for zombie killing.
  • Bourbon, and lots of it.
  • A haircut. Dude like me with a ponytail? That's just one more way for a fucking zombie to catch you. I'd feel silly dying because a zombie dragged me down by my luxurious mane. 
  • A slow, fat, dim-witted friend. You know why.
  • A middle finger lighter. Because it's bad-ass! And zombies burn real good.
  • Some catnip for my cats. They are coming with me on my journey against the undead. I'm not a fucking savage.
  • Did I mention bourbon?
What would you make sure you had with you when the shambling dead come calling?

May 30, 2012


This post is inspired by blogger, writer* and all around good egg Erin O'Brien. A few days ago, she posted a video from the band April Wine that was a moderate hit back in 1982. The song in question was called "If You See Kay", and if you say that out loud...well, go read Erin's blog post.

Got me thinking about some of the terrible, raunchy music from the early 80's. And if you read that post, you will see that I commented about a song called "I.L.B.T.'s" (link NSFW-ish) by Joe Walsh from 1983.  An acronym that stands for "I like big tits", which appealed to me when it first came out because I was 16-ish. Still appeals to me now as an older feller. What can I say? I like 'em big. Not making any excuses here.

Anywho...that song came from an album called "You Bought It, You Name It" and there were several songs that got significant airplay from it back in the day, including that one. And yes...a song that proudly stated how much the performer loved big tits had significant airplay on FM radio back in 1983. Believe it or not.

The other two songs from that album were "Space Age Whiz Kids" and "I Can Play That Rock and Roll".  Well, lemme...ugh...oh God! Just watch the videos below and prepare to have soul crushed if you remember 1983 fondly at all.

Okay...a few of things to note.

  1. I haven't heard either of these songs in about 25 years. And yet, somehow, when I first found them again on Youtube the other night, I knew them by heart. I mean every lyric and chord of both damned songs. How the fuck is that possible?
  2. Both songs are basically about the same thing. A man lamenting an older time when things were simpler and/or better. I'm guessing Joe was feeling a little out of time in 1983.
  3. How did Joe Walsh get away with "I Can Play That Rock and Roll" when Bob Seger basically wrote the same exact song 5 years earlier with "Old Time Rock and Roll"? Sure, they sound different, but the message is the same in each. Maybe they were buds, I dunno...

*Read her writing about her brother John O'Brien, author of "Leaving Las Vegas", and his writing here. It's...heartbreaking and awesome.

May 29, 2012

Orange Whip

"Who wants an Orange Whip? Orange Whip? Orange Whip? Three Orange Whips."

That's a clip from the film The Blues Brothers. And these things are hard to figure out exactly, but it's probably the movie quote that I've used more than any other in my lifetime. From the time that I started frequenting bars, especially if I was there with two friends, this quote reared its fabulous head.  And you definitely have to include the little whirly hand action that John Candy does so well up there.

Which brings us to a question.  What the fuck is an Orange Whip?

I found out with a quick Wiki search that Candy wasn't actually ordering an alcoholic drink in that clip. There was a bottled non-alcoholic drink called an Orange Whip back then.  In fact, the line was ad-libbed by Candy because someone working in costumes on the flick was the daughter of the Vice President of the Orange Whip Corporation who had been providing refreshments to the cast during production. She approached John Landis about dropping the product name into the film and he agreed to let Candy ad-lib a line. Pretty cool if you ask me.

But I knew that there was an alcoholic (hehe) drink that went by that name as well. And without further's the recipe via Drink Mixer:

Orange Whip
  • 4 oz orange juice
  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1 oz rum
  • 1 package cream
Pour ingredients over ice and stir.

That's right. A whole package of cream. What the fuck is a package of cream?  I honestly have no idea. But I saw this exact recipe on several sites. Wikipedia says to just use heavy cream and blend the fucker up like a milkshake. But I'm left wondering about that package of cream. What the fuck?

Anyone have any clues?

May 25, 2012

Personal De Niro

I was watching one of my personal favorite Robert De Niro films recently, and I was thinking about how he hasn't made a quintessential Robert De Niro film in a really long movie. A film that is highly entertaining featuring Robert De Niro dominating the screen in just about every scene. Seems as if he has been mailing it in for well over a decade now. That's a shame, because he still shows flashes of brilliance every once in a while, but nothing that can sustain an entire film.

So I started thinking about my favorite De Niro films. Not films that he was in, necessarily. I love The Godfather: Part II, and De Niro is awesome in it. But it's not a De Niro film, if you know what I mean. Same with a film like The Untouchables. He was great as Capone and the film was a ton of fun, but it's not a De Niro film.

So here, without further ado, are my personal favorite Top 5 De Niro films in chronological order:
  1. Raging Bull (1980)
  2. Midnight Run (1988)
  3. Goodfellas (1990)
  4. Mad Dog and Glory (1993)
  5. Ronin (1998)
I know, I know.  Lots of controversial choices there. No Taxi Driver or The Deer Hunter or The King of Comedy or Cape Fear or The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle. Sacrilege, right? Those are all great films, well...most of them. It's just that I could watch any of those five listed above at any time and enjoy it as much as the first time I saw them. Taxi Driver is always a film I've had a tough time with. It's a classic and quintessential De Niro, maybe THE quintessential De Niro film. But I've never loved it as much as the rest of the world.  Same with The King of Comedy. The Deer Hunter I recall just as much for the performances of John Savage and Christopher Walken.

Raging Bull was the first De Niro film I ever saw that just floored me. He disappeared into that role like I've never seen him do before or since. Just a brutal portrayal of a damaged man and maybe the best boxing film ever made, and that's saying something.

Midnight Run wouldn't work without the comic pairing with Charles Grodin, but that doesn't make it any less of a classic De Niro film in my book. He was flat-out awesome in it as bounty hunter Jack Walsh.  It's hard to tell, but I hope he had as much fun making that film as I have watching it. Which I have several dozen times now. One of my favorite films of all-time.

Goodfellas might seem like an odd choice at first. It's more of a vehicle for Ray Liotta, who is awesome in it in his own right. Or Joe Pesci for that matter. But having re-watched it a few weeks ago, I was amazed at how much of a De Niro film it is. Much of the drama and action in the film comes as a result of his character's actions and/or behind-the-scenes dealings. Often quiet or composed, he lets his facial expressions do most of the acting. And he dominates doing so. Why not the similarly themed Casino?'s good, but it feels like a pale comparison to Goodfellas.

Mad Dog and Glory is probably the one that has most of you scratching your heads. I just loved how he played against type. Normally that wouldn't result in a De Niro film, but I think it worked to near perfection in this one thanks to some inspired casting like Uma Thurman, David Caruso and Bill Murray. I think it's one of the more underrated films in his catalog.

Ronin is the film that got me thinking about all this. I love that film, and I watch it nearly ever time it's on. Just watched most of it again on Wednesday night. Another film that De Niro is out front of with a fantastic supporting cast like Sean Bean, Stellan Skarsgaard and Jean Reno. Not only does it feel like a quintessential De Niro film, but it also feels like a quintessential John Frankenheimer film as well. I used to love it for the breath-taking car chase scenes through crowded French streets, but now I watch it for De Niro and the rest of the actors.

Do you have any personal favorite De Niro films that I may have missed?

May 22, 2012

Alabama Shakes

The answer is no. I'm not planning on making this a music/video blog permanently. It's just where my head is at right now, and that ain't a bad thing.

Next up is a band called Alabama Shakes that a family member introduced us to this past weekend. A real roots rock kinda band. I hear a bunch of stuff that I grew up with in the 1970's in this group of kids who are barely old enough to buy liquor. The key performer, for me at least, is lead singer Brittany Howard. She has some fucking pipes, yo! Fierce!  One might initially dismiss her as trying to hard to be Adele-like, but if you keep listening you realize that isn't true at all. Unique in her own right.

Love the first comment on the embedded clip below. "If you don't like this, then you don't like music." Couldn't have said it better myself.  It's a long clip with an extended performance recorded at a radio station, but it's worth listening to the whole thing. Or find some of their shorter clips from the Conan Show on Youtube. Either way, you are in for a treat.

May 17, 2012

Dead Sound

I'm loving this song by The Raveonettes lately. A little Blondie meets surf guitar or something not at all like that. But whatever it is...I dig.

May 16, 2012

Favorite Song of the 1980's

This is mine. What is yours?

PS - I pretty much hate everyone in the band now, especially Ian Astbury. He look like a fool. So almost all of them. Except Billy Duffy on lead guitar. He's fucking harsh!

May 14, 2012

This close

A crazy person approached me on the sidewalk. I could tell he was crazy because he was gesticulating wildly and yelling/barking at people both real and imaginary.

Made a quick assessment of the situation, and I realized there was no avoiding him. He was coming right at me, fast, and there was no easy way out.

So I decided to keep on moving toward him and make eye contact. He saw this, locked in on me and shouted "YOU...I'M TALKING AT YOU!!!"

Not good. But I remained calm, and I kept eye contact. "Hey. What's going on, man?" I asked.

This seemed to momentarily quell the crazy as confusion took over. "Um, nothing. What's going on with you?" he asked back.

By now our momentums (can I pluralize that?) were taking us past each other.  He with a wake of hardcore crazy streaming behind him. Me with more of a sputtering, bubbly wake of a slight beer buzz.

I looked back over my shoulder at him, smiled and said "Not much. Have a good one, buddy. Okay?"

He, still confused, nodded his head and replied "You too!" And we each made our ways away from each other in opposite directions.

That could have gone a different way. I wonder if he thought at all about the guy on the sidewalk who gave him the barest minimum of the time of day after our brief encounter. I know I'm still thinking about him.

May 11, 2012


Do yourself a favor.

Sign up for a 2-week free trial of EPIX online and then watch Warrior either on your computer or one of your streaming devices.

I just saw it and I think I need some time to process how much I loved it. I'll be back Monday with my review after I watch it again.

Until then...take my advice above. I don't believe you will regret it.

May 10, 2012

Pandora Redux

I keep talking about Pandora. That's because it's pretty much my favorite thing ever in the streaming music world. I listen to it all day streaming to my Roku box while I work. I listen to it using an the app on my phone when I'm out and about. I'd listen to it in the car, but we have XM/Sirius there.  I just dig it.

Because it's the only thing out there that introduces me to new artists/music or reunites me with some artists that I haven't heard in a very long time for one reason or another.

Like Gill Landry, an artist who I had never really heard of before. But I was listening to a Tom Waits station that I had set up, and "Mexico" by Mr. Landry has popped up several times over the past few month.  I dig.

Then there is Alice Donut, a band who I LOVED back in the early 1990's. I don't think I've heard anything by them since, well, the last time I mentioned them here on the Dude. But man...I still love some of their stuff. "Magdalene" is such a great song. If you were a fan of Jane's Addiction or Sonic Youth back in the day, then you may enjoy it as well.  Dig times two.

May 9, 2012

Don't You Just Know It

Watched Snatch again last night. It never gets fucking old. Maybe one of the best soundtracks ever. "Golden Brown" by The Stranglers, "Ghost Town" by The Specials, "Dreadlock Holiday" by 10CC, "Fuckin' in the Bushes" by Oasis...and, of course, "Don't You Just Know It" by Huey "Piano" Smith.


May 8, 2012

Jumpin' Jack Flash*

Every once in a while, scientists figure something out that is not only a break-through, but hilarious at the same time.

Case in point: It's a gas: dinosaur flatulence may have warmed Earth.

Now, I have no idea if dinosaur farts really warmed the Earth in the Mesozoic era, but that headline sure warmed my sick, little heart. There's lots of real science in that article. They calculated the effect of methane production from current numbers of cows, sheeps and pigs. Then they calculated the numbers and average size of dinosaurs living in the Mesozoic. From there they were able to calculate the amount of methane produced and the effect on the environment.

But I don't care about any of that. Because dinosaur farts are funny. And probably really awful. Imagine hanging with your dicky dinosaur friends. Just taking a drive to the movies of something.  Suddenly the dino-driver rolls up all the windows and locks them. You all wait for a second, and then it hits you! Deadly dino-gas! The driver, of course, thinks it the funniest thing in the world. Because not only did they produce prodigious amounts of gas (probably), they also had tiny, tiny brains.

And we all know that creatures with tiny brains find a lot of humor in flatulence.


*It's a gas, gas, gas. Get it? Derp...

May 7, 2012

3D Sucks

Here's a tip for movie studios:

If you are aren't planning on 3D effects for the entire film, or if you are thinking about adding 3D post-production, just say no.

It becomes distracting to the viewers if the film switches back and forth from 3D to normal projection because some scenes are just too difficult or expensive to transfer to 3D.

Case in point: I loved The Avengers. There is literally nothing I could say about the film that hasn't already been said thousands of times already by people a helluva lot smarter than me (they wish). My one quibble with it was the post-production 3D*. It made no sense. For example, there was a car chase near the beginning of the film. The chase itself was not in 3D, but every time the perspective switched to inside one of the vehicles the 3D kicked in.

What the fucking fuck is that all about? It was inconsistent at best and distracting at worst.

Just say no.  Seriously.

By the way, Dave2 had a great point (spoiler alert) about another minor quibble with the film. I found it even more minor than he did, and I actually had a different issue with the same point. But, like I said, it was minor. The Avengers was a nearly flawless movie-going experience. Notice I didn't say that it was a nearly flawless film. Hard to judge that yet, but as a movie-going experience it ranks up there with Terminator 2: Judgement Day, LotR: The Fellowship of the Ring and Avatar.  Three movies that made me shake my head and mouth "holy crap!" over and over and over again while watching them in the theater. Doesn't mean they were all incredible films, although I think the first two are. Avatar, besides the incredible effects, was largely forgettable for me. But that didn't distract from how awesome it was to see it in the theater.  

The Avengers was like that. Probably the best super-hero movie I've ever seen. We'll reserve judgement on that until it has had some time to sink in. Just go see it!

*I was warned the night before by several folks to skip the 3D version of the film, but I had already purchased my tix for the next day through Fandango. You live, you learn.

May 3, 2012


I'm a few weeks late with this. Sometimes it takes some time to process the events of the day or of the world.

Levon Helm passing away was an event of the world.

I didn't grow up with the music of Levon Helm or The Band. I was late to the the game. I think I started listening to them in my late 20's. Close to 20 years after they, um, disbanded. But once I did, I was done with trying to find the voice of America. It was Levon Helm. Singing about characters like Crazy Chester, Miss Anny and ole Virgil Caine.

There have been more fitting tributes to Mr. Helm in the past week or so than I could ever imagine writing myself. I'm not going to even try.

So do yourself a favor. Go and read Rob Delaney's words here. Then listen to the man himself here.

As Elton John sang, he shall be Levon.

May 2, 2012

House of Lies

I just finished watching the first season of Showtime's House of Lies starring Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell. Well, amongst others. Great supporting work from Ben Schwartz (Jean-Ralphio!!!), Josh Lawson, Greg Germann, Griffin Dunne and Richard Schiff as well. And Donis Leanord Jr. as Cheadle's cross-dressing son is amazing.

I'm not sure I've ever despised and loved a show this much before.

I love the acting and the storylines and the sheer fucking hotness that is Kristen Bell. I despise the characters and everything they stand for. There is a special place in hell reserved for corporate management consultants. And that's what this show is all about.  Having had some, ahem, experience with these mother-fuckers, I can guarantee that is true.

Which makes loving the show that much more difficult. I initially tried watching the show with Gia, but she got turned off after the very first episode. Because these people and their jobs are awful. I get that. Yet somehow I had to keep watching.  I try to tell myself that it's because of the acting chops of Cheadle and Bell, but I wonder if there is some latent jealousy going on here. The travel, the money, the blatant disregard for the average man/woman on the street.

You see, I dropped out of the corporate life almost 10 years ago. I wasn't a fast-track guy. I put my time and my work in, but I became something of riser in my field because of it. Director, Associate Vice President, Vice President, etc... 80 hours work weeks weren't the exception. They were the norm. And there were perks to go along with it. I almost never went out during the week unless the tab was picked up by the company. And excellent tickets to all the ballgames I wanted to attend. The money was pretty good too, and getting better all the time.

Then 9/11 happened. I know, I know...everyone has their 9/11 story. Mine isn't all that special. I knew some people in the Towers, including my best friend. All of whom survived the attack, by the way. That's not really the point. And, to be honest, my feelings about corporate life had changed before September of 2001. But I just kept on keeping on, like a good zombie. And where my life would lead didn't happen right afterward either. I stuck around, sucking on the corporate teat for another couple of years. But when I looked myself in the soul after 9/11, I knew something had to change.

So here I am now. Wondering where my life would have taken me had I decided to stick with it. I'm certainly happier now than I ever was back then. That's entirely to do with Gia. But the money or the job security in the private sector aren't really something to write home about. So there's that.'s one of those shows that make you think. Or, at least, it's one of those shows that made me think. About what was, about what is, about what could have been.

And I'm not sure how I feel about any of it.