Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A B.J. Costs Aboot $50, Eh.

I am so glad I had to work late tonight. Otherwise, I may have never been in my car listening to the radio when The World (I roll NPR-style, bitches) interviewed a woman named Terri-Jean Bedford. I'm sure you've never heard of her, nor had I until this evening. But I think everyone should know her, as she has the greatest job title in the history of anything in the universe:

Canadian Dominatrix.

As it turns out, a judge in Canada has ruled against its prostitution laws on the basis that they are actually harming the prostitutes more than helping them. The judge reasons that since prostitution is illegal, women who are forced to take part in it must do so in dangerous environments and with no regulation. As part of the story, they interviewed Ms. Bedford, a former "street walker" who is currently self-employed as a dominatrix.

Let me pause here to say that prostitution and sex trafficking is not funny. I do not promote, nor find amusement, in any kind of sexual abuse towards women. I feel bad for any woman who feels she has no other choice than to sell her body just to make ends meet.

What I do find amusing, however, is listening to a woman who sounds like Marge Gunderson talk about how she did 2 years in jail for being a madame, a.k.a. a she-pimp. And now that she's a Canadian dominatrix, I'd like to submit Ms. Bedford's nomination for Oxymoron of the Year. How exactly are one of these sessions supposed to even approach the realm of sexual stimulation?

"Ok, now, buddy boy. Here's how this is going to work, don'tcha know. You're just aboot ready to pull thoose pants down so I can give ya a good spankin', aren't ya? Then I'm going to put on some skin tight flannel, eh. Maybe I'll letcha lick one of my snow shoes. You'd like that, wouldn'tcha? After that I'll carry ya out good and naked and roll ya around in the snow, by golly, until you're good and ready for a good plowin', eh?"

Note: I'm well aware of the fact that the character I've parodied is American and not Canadian. But if you listen to Ms. Bedford's interview and don't hear Frances McDormand from Fargo, then you can just get bent, ya hoser.

Monday, September 27, 2010

This Week In Non-House Hugh Laurie

Well, it seems that my doing a post on Hugh Laurie the night before the season premiere of House managed to hoodwink a few extra readers into stopping by my blog. This is a shameless use of keyword placement that has no place in my work. That is why I am going to be posting this weekly segment at a new time...Monday nights in the 7 o'clock hour, just before the new episode of House, on the Fox TV network. But don't worry, I won't give you any "House spoilers," or "House gossip," or anything about "Thirteen" being "bisexual."

Anyway, by a lucky coincidence my first clip of Hugh Laurie last week seems to be some of his earliest televised work, which means it will work nicely to at least start off going through his career in chronological order. Today's clip marks his first appearance (aside from a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo earlier in the season) of Laurie in one of the best comedies ever to come out of England, Black Adder.

In the upcoming clip, Laurie plays Prince Ludwig, a villainous master of disguise. The role is pretty funny, but it pales in comparison to Laurie's work as George later on in the series (we'll get to that on a later date). Laurie has some good lines here, but most of the fun is had by Rowan Atkinson, who plays an asshole better than just about anyone. Except for maybe "Hugh Laurie as House."

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Grump's Bachelor Party: Just Like The Tom Hanks Movie, But With More Vomit

I've mentioned on here a few times that I'm preparing to make the big leap into marriage, and as of today I've only got a little more than two weeks until the big day. To celebrate, my co best men (I'm too much of a wimp to just pick one) put together a little fishing excursion for me along with my dad and soon-to-be brothers-in-law. I was really looking forward to this trip. It had been a long week at work and I was looking forward to kicking back for a little bit of man time with the guys. Little did I know, however, that my worthless fucking stomach was going to make it impossible for me to even pick up a fishing rod that day.

Before we get into that, however, let's take a quick journey back to when I was about 7 or 8 years old. My dad had grown up around the ocean and as a teenager worked on a party boat, which is basically a boat where paying customers pack themselves together for several hours while fishing/drinking themselves into oblivion. Dad must have felt bad that we'd moved to Pennsylvania when I was born and that I never got to enjoy such simple pleasures, so a couple of times a year he'd be sure to take me out to New Jersey for a fishing trip.

The only problem with that is as a child, the simple act of looking down at my feet while in a moving car was enough to make me turn 12 shades of green and puke my Captain Crunch all over the back seat. So, sticking me on a modestly-sized boat in rocky seas for 6 or 7 hours never ended well. If I took Dramamine to counteract the motion sickness, I'd wind up getting drowsy and sleeping for 90% of the trip. If I didn't...well let's just say throwing up when you have nothing left in your stomach is very painful. Fortunately, it only took between ten and twelve such trips for Dad to figure our that I really didn't have the constitution for saltwater fishing.

It wasn't until college that I stepped foot on a boat again, risking my previous day's meals to take a Father's Day blue fishing trip with the old man. Happily for me, however, the Dramamine no longer made me pass out and the seas were calm enough that I didn't have any problems. In fact, I've been going out every Father's Day since then.

So, when my buddies told me that they were taking me out fishing for my bachelor party, sea sickness was the last thing on my mind. That morning, I even treated myself to some bachelor party debauchery in the form of Dunkin' Donuts and Coke for breakfast. And yes, I mean the soda. I'm not exactly the guy you call if you're looking to recreate The Hangover.

My first inkling that I might be in a bit of trouble came before we even left, when my Dad told me for the 19th time that he'd checked the fishing report (he gets a little excited) and it said that there was going to be some heavy wind that would make for some choppy seas. I was a little nervous, but I figured with my reliable buddy Dramamine I'd be fine.

So, we're all loaded up on a very full boat and I'm excited. I figure even if we don't catch a thing, we'll get to eat and shoot the shit all day. I was ready to enjoy the ride out to the planned fishing spot from the back corner of the boat, when Dad suggested that we go into the cabin to avoid getting soaked by that day's rather sizable waves smashing against the side of the boat. I think this is what proved to be my undoing.

It was about 103 degrees in that cabin, and as you can imagine the air inside a party boat isn't what you'd call fresh. So I'm sitting at a table, watching everyone play Uno, when I start to get an unpleasantly familiar feeling. My stomach starts to rise and fall in sync with the waves, which is a problem because the weather has made it so that there is no fucking synchronicity to the waves. So not only is my stomach sloshing around my torso, it's also doing so with no rhyme or eason.

As it dawns on me that I'd felt this way before on a boat , I head outside and watch the land get farther and farther away. For anyone who hasn't gotten seasick, I can't explain to you the feeling of hopelessness that comes with knowing that you are moving in the exact opposite direction of the only thing that can make you feel better.

I'd say it was about 10-15 minutes after I first started getting nauseous that I wound up hanging over the rail, cursing myself for drinking carbonated liquid that morning. And the worst thing is that, unlike most stomach problems, puking won't really make you feel better. You'll have some relief for maybe about 5 minutes, but then you just start the whole thing all over again.

Add on to that the fact that I'm doing this in front of about 100 people and I'm really not looking forward to how the rest of this day is going to pan out. One of the mates came up to me and took me to the back of the boat, both as a way of making sure I didn't get puke all over the boat but also to get me to the part of the boat the rocks the least.

Actually, I was pretty surprised that he seemed so genuinely concerned. I figured that most of the mates on these party boats would actually take pleasure whenever one of the assholes on their boats starts ralphing as long as they don't have to clean it. But this guy game me some ginger ale (which, by the way, is a bullshit remedy for an upset stomach) and gave me some tips for getting my stomach to settle. Granted, none of them worked, but I did appreciate that he tried. As I've said before, if you're looking for a boat to take you on a blue fishing trip, go with the Golden Eagle in Belmar, NJ. It's a good boat.

The rest of the trip was pretty much a nauseous blur as I tried to pass out in my seat so that I didn't have to feel feelings anymore. The problem with that is that if you fall sleep while sitting up on a boat in rocky seas, you'll find yourself pretty quickly woken up as you realize you're about to take a face plant on to the deck.

Of course, it turns out that I missed some great fishing. Everyone caught blue fish, some tuna, and one guy in our group even managed to snag a fucking sea gull. I would have loved to have seen that whole scenario play out, but no, I have to be a fucking pussy and spend the day holding my gut and trying not to cry like a little girl. Eventually, we made it back to shore, and as I stepped foot on that heavenly, non-moving earth, I walked around, got my wits about me again, and one thought popped into my mind: Man, all that puking has made me kind of hungry.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Proof That OK Go Should Be Producing All Future Music Videos. For Everyone. Ever.

OK Go could have so easily been a gimmicky one-hit wonder. In fact, when "Here It Goes Again" came out, I thought to myself, "You know, Self, that is pretty cool how they hop around on treadmills like that, and the song is actually pretty catchy. But I doubt we'll be hearing about them in the future. They got lucky once and will now fade back into obscurity. I know, Self, I've got a good beat on popular culture. I'm amazed more people don't listen to me."

But then came "This Too Shall Pass," and myself said, "You know, it looks like these guys actually pretty damn good at what they do. Not only do they come up with some really creative performance art for their videos, but their songs are really good. It's not as if they're covering up mediocre music with some pretty visuals." I, of course, told myself that know one cares what he thinks and that he can fuck off.

But with "White Knuckles," OK Go's newest video, I've really got to give them credit. I'd pretty much given up on music videos at this point, so it's pretty great to see a band who hasn't given up on it that can still get it right. And again, the music is just as good as the video, pulling off the monumental feat of making a sourpuss like me nod his head and tap his toes. Plus, I can only imagine the number of takes they must have gone through to get trained dogs to cooperate for a three and a half minute, single take shot. That's devotion to your craft right there.

So perhaps I've got to start giving myself a little credit. Sometimes he knows what he's talking about.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

This Week In Non-House Hugh Laurie

When you say the name Hugh Laurie to 99% of the people in the U.S., the first thing they'll think of is House. And for good reason. It's a great show and Laurie plays dark, dry humor better than almost anybody.

But what I didn't realize for a long time is that Laurie's career goes back almost 30 years in the U.K., and he usually plays the clueless, screwball antithesis to Gregory House. And that's the Hugh Laurie I'd like to make sure that everyone knows about. That's why I'm going to show you a snippet of screwball Hugh Laurie every week until I can't find anything new. It may be a quote. It may be a video clip. Honestly, I'm making this up as I go along so I'm not sure what it might be from week to week. But it will be Hugh Laurie, so it will be great.

This week, I bring you some of Laurie's earliest work with Stephen Fry, a man you'll probably be seeing a lot more in this segment. It's from a special called "The Cellar Tapes," a broadcast put together by The Footlights Revue. The Footlights, as far as I can tell, is the British answer to Second City. The group has produced a large number of British comedians, including Laurie, Fry, Emma Thompson, Eric Idle, and Peter Cook.

In the clip below, Fry actually has a lot of the best lines, but I think it's a perfect example of Laurie as the clueless idiot that you never get to see on House. I doubt, after all, you'll see House ever try to gather his voice from his buttocks (watch the clip and you'll get that, I promise).

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Well maybe I shouldn't have come at all.........JERK OFF!

The capacity for cable guys to be unrepentant, lazy scumbags was always one of those things that I thought was embellished over the years by customers who couldn't stand to wait for a few minutes for their service. I mean, they have like a four hour window. How can they not be on time? But then I got a place of my own and waited for the cable guy for the first time. And I waited. And waited. And when I realized that my cable company's promotional offer was going to fucking end by the time this guy arrived to install it, it occurred to me that perhaps there was some truth to the theory that cable installers really just didn't give a shit.

But in a move that I hope will find its way in my town soon, New York is instituting late fees for cable companies whose installers don't show up within their appointment window. That is just splendiforous. I can only hope they take that shit right out of the cable guy's paycheck.

Although, I must admit I do see a drawback to this plan. As if New York wasn't already dangerous enough for pedestrians, what with cabbies and tow truck drivers cutting a swath of destruction through the streets, now you have to worry about a Cablevision van pasting your ass into the pavement. But hell, I think it's worth it for the chance to get a month's worth of free cable.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Take The Edge Off With Down Periscope

I got back from my Labor Day weekend camping trip today. Had a great time down in Rehoboth Beach. Camped with Ms. Grump, enjoyed the beach, got the obligatory sunburn, and went out to eat where we were served by one of the many Eastern Europeans who live in Rehoboth Beach. Don't believe me? Go to the Delmarva area sometime and if you go out to eat more than twice I guarantee you will have a blond girl in her late teens or early twenties telling you to "For please to enjoy your dinnertime."

Oddly enough, though, after a fun weekend away with my special lady, the part that inspired me to come back to my "Take The Edge Off" segment after many weeks off was the movie we watched when we got back, Down Periscope. And I can't even tell you this is a good movie. In fact, on paper, it's kind of a piece of shit. Kelsey Grammar plays a submarine captain who is put in charge of a Korean era vessel with a rag tag group of misfit sailors in an exercise set up to fail by the douche bag admiral played by professional douche bag Bruce Dern. It's not exactly inspired film making.

But it's also one of those movies that I cannot help but watch whenever it's on. It's just so committed to its crappiness that I just have to smile the whole way through. Everyone knows this is a stupid movie, and so they just go for it. Rob Schneider, the master of giving his all to cinematic turds, is great as the second in command. The director, even on a B-level movie like this one, knew to keep Schneider's role secondary and as brief as possible so as to keep him from getting stale. Basically, he just comes in from time to time to act like an asshole, especially towards the cook, and then he gets thrown off the boat two thirds of the way through the movie. Oh yeah, spoiler alert, by the way.

The always underrated Harland Williams also has a great role (I'm using this term relatively folks) as the "ears" of the sub, which basically consists of running jokes about how he can hear even the faintest of noises. Unfortunately, the fine contributors over at YouTube haven't felt the need to keep the stock of quality Down Periscope clips up to date, so all I have for you is a poor definition segment featuring Williams impersonating a whale. I still think it's funny though.

I think the only thing I could have really done without in this movie was the character Stepanek, who seems to be an attempt to include a good looking bad boy male in the cast. I'm pretty indifferent as to how well they pull this off in the movie, but when I see the guy who plays Stepanek, I can't help but think that he probably had hopes that this would be his big break into leading man stardom. And since I couldn't tell you what the hell the actor's name is at this point, I think we all know how that turned out for him. That kind of makes me sad.

The more I think about it, the more I think that I may be giving you bad advice in recommending this movie. I'm just picturing you watching this movie and deciding 15 minutes into it that I'm an idiot and should not contaminating the internet with my stupid bullshit. But then I remember that that I'm not the only one in my circle of friends who likes the movie. Plus, the internet is already filled with stupid bullshit, so a little bit more can't hurt. So I say give the movie a shot. If you have Netflix, you can even watch Down Periscope free through instant streaming, so it's not like you have a whole lot to lose. A more ringing endorsement you are not likely to find. And, if nothing else, you can play "Spot Patton Oswalt" in his Extras-like two line role in the movie.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Have a Groovy Labor Day

With Labor Day coming up I'm taking a trip with Ms. Grump down to Rehoboth Beach to get my camp on. Before I go, however, I wanted to direct you to an interview I read this morning that Bruce Campbell did with the LA Times. Campbell, of course, is Ashley "Ash" Williams, the man behind the S-Mart smock in Sam Raimi's Evil Dead trilogy. And if you don't know what I'm talking about there, please just do me a favor and leave right now.

The interview is great, if for nothing else than to see that it seems Campbell has basically become Ash over the years. He's a bit more subtle, perhaps, but he's got that bit of an arrogant swagger that you just can't help but love. Plus, in the interview, he addresses the fact that there have been about 314 different releases of the Evil Dead movies, with the latest being the new Blu-Ray edition.

Enjoy the interview, and a few of Ash's greatest hits from Army of Darkness below. I'm out, bitches.