Archive for July, 2007

Hasslehoff Go Under Limbo Stick

Monday, July 30th, 2007

Lately I’ve had the Limbo Rock song in my head. I think they were playing it on the radio, which is kind of weird. I never thought of it as a song that could stand alone, you know, without an actual limbo, but it’s got a lot of things I like in songs: hand claps, whistling, and Chubby Checker doing a bad accent.

I do take issue with one line, however: “Jack be limble Jack be quick/ Jack go under limbo stick.” The word “limbo” is used about 25 times per second. I think we get the point. The song is about the limbo. Was it really necessary to mutate “nimble” into “limble?” Bruce Willis doesn’t think so.

Meanwhile, it looks like David Hasselhoff was (at some point in his career) out to dislodge Chubby Checker’s monopoly on limbo accompaniment. Is there anything The Hoff can’t ruin?

What You Want, Baby I Got

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

And while we’re on the subject, The New York Times sucks. As many of you probably know, they published a review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows a couple days early, much to J.K. Rowling’s dismay. The Times offers two defenses of their actions: 1. They didn’t ruin the story and 2. They obtained the book legally*. Both of these excuses can be disputed, and both miss the point. Journalists are welcome to offer glorious praise or scathing criticism, but they should always respect the artist. In this case, the artists very simple wishes were arrogantly trod upon and dismissed.

A DJ on Q101 got in a similar tiff with Jack White when she played The White Stripes’ new album on the air before it was released. Jack White called her personally and yelled at her. She was, apparently, shocked, and couldn’t imagine that she did anything wrong. I understand breaking the rules to get a scoop and make a buck or score some publicity. What blows my mind is that these folks are surprised when the artist is upset by it.

Anton Ego, the aptly named food critic in the movie Ratatouille offers this comment on criticism in his final review (which happens to follow one of the most brilliant scenes in the history of motion pictures): “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.”

* I also question how legally they obtained the book. They say it was bought two days early at a chain store in Manhattan. It seems unlikely that this particular bookstore wasn’t bound by the same contract as every other bookstore in the country, and it seems just as unlikely that The New York Times didn’t know the book was being sold illegally.

Don’t Worry, I Won’t Give Away The Ending (But Bruce Willis is a Ghost!)

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

Divebar‘s show in Berwyn ended around 11:30… perfect timing to stop by the Harry Potter release party on the way back to the city. We eschewed the World Wizarding Watch festivities in Oak Park and headed to a familiar Borders, or as they had dubbed it, “Harry Potter Headquarters.” We also decided that it’s awkward to use the word “eschewed,” even when appropriate.

I’ve got to hand it to Borders. The long snaking lines moved quickly and efficiently. The staff seemed genuinely friendly and excited despite being asked the same questions over and over and over and over again by hundreds of geeked out nutjobs. They kept us entertained while we waited by playing games (Snape Bingo) and dolling out Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavor Beans. One security guard dressed as professor Quirrell stayed surprisingly in character the whole night, nervously shifting his eyes around the room.

In the past I’ve always pre-ordered the books online and had them delivered. Now I wish I hadn’t. I like being in crowds of happy, excited people. I ran into some old friends, made some new friends, and about an hour and a half later, walked out with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Just look how happy everyone is (at this point we’re nearly to the reigsters!):

potter.jpg

I finished the book the next day. My review (until more people have read it): it’s good.

I Also Sing

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

While I’m on the subject of this double dutch movie, what is it with child-actors singing theme songs for their movies? Both stars of Jump In! (Corbin Blue and Keke Palmer) recorded songs for the movie.

Corbin sings the hit “Push it to the Limit.”
Keke’s is the almost-titular jam “Jumpin’.”

I recently saw Bridge to Terabithia (which really requires a post of its own) and during the closing credits AnnaSophia Robb, who plays Leslie in the movie, sings this syrupy number: “Keep Your Mind Wide Open.”

Want more? During the credits of Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams, Alexa Vega sings “Isle of Dreams,” which I actually like, but that’s beside the point. She also sang the theme from Spy Kids 3D: Game Over, aptly titled “Game Over.” That one I don’t like as much, and apparently neither does YouTube.

No one’s got the movie-credits-recap-song down like Will Smith, though. I think his lyrics come from the back of the DVD box. Hey, thanks for recapping the movie I just saw, Will! Check out his recap of Men in Black II.

Two Turning Ropes and a Dumbaphone

Friday, July 20th, 2007

That’s the worst headline ever. I apologize.

Looks like Disney ripped off my great idea for a double dutch movie. Obviously they visit this site every day. What’s worse is it stars Corbin Bleu from my favorite TV Show: Flight 29 Down. And to think, Corbin, I spent all year telling everyone how good your show is. This is the thanks I get?

“Jump In!” is the story of a boxer who is begrudgingly drawn into the world of competitive double dutch. There he learns a thing or two about himself… or something ridiculous like that. He also finds a way to stupidly use his new-found double dutch skills in the boxing ring. You have to see this to believe it. (Go to the official Jump In! site, click on videos, and watch clip #3. You will be whatever the opposite of blown away is.)

Corbin says, “They gave me the script and I fell in love with it.” Really? You fell in love with it? The script to “Jump In!?” Stupid Bleu. Aw, who am I kidding? I’m still going to see the Flight 29 Down movie when it comes out.

Meanwhile, my brother Brian and his friends have come up with probably the most ingenious idea ever: air double dutch. It’s simple. Two folks pretend to spin double dutch ropes and people take turns jumping in and doin’ their, um,  thang. It’s amazing how good everyone is without those pesky ropes always getting in the way. It works best in a public place where strangers can join in. Spread the word! Unlike “Jump In!” it’s a national phenomenon!

Do You Smell How Badly We’re Losing?

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

At Jellyvision, we have a cardboard cut-out of The Rock. He’s been with us for ages. Once, when the alarm in the office went off and the cops showed up, they pulled their guns on him as he stood silently in the dark. Thank goodness they didn’t shoot!

The Rock came out to cheer on our Jellyvision softball team during our last game of the season. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough. Though we played our little hearts out, we ended up losing in a fairly lopsided fashion.

therock.jpg

After the game the umpire told us we were his favorite team — the season’s Miss Congeniality. We got that from other teams as well, often as they were hitting back-to-back-to-back home runs.

My other softball team is currently undefeated. No one ever tells us we’re their favorite team.

Water Water Everywhere… And You Can Drink It, But It’s Gross.

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

In Chicago, and probably many other cities that reside along lakes or oceans, there are two types of people: beach people and everyone else. Beach people go to the beach every chance they get. They need to live near the lake. They read at the beach, run at the beach, eat at the beach, and if all the e coli swimming warnings are any indication, those probably aren’t the only thing they do at the beach.

I’m not a beach person. I’ve gone whole summers without setting foot on the beach. It’s not that I don’t like it there, it’s just that I don’t need it like others do. But I like beach people. Some of my best friends are beach people.

When Thea asked me if I wanted to go to the beach, my initial thought was, “nah,” but I didn’t have anything better to do and it’s only a couple blocks away, so I figured, “why not.”

The beach is great!

beach_castle.jpg

We built two different sand castles, ran out in the water, and, most importantly, dug an awesome hole. I don’t know what it is about beaches that make me want to dig a hole, but dammit if digging a hole at the beach isn’t the most fun in the world.

We dug and we dug and eventually we hit a layer of greyish clay stuff that stank real bad. REAL bad.

THEA: I think I’m gonna fill in the hole. It really smells.

We also talked with one of the metal detector guys. He’s a beach person. He told us about his greatest success (a diamond ring and some sort of gold jewelry from India) and seemed generally happy that someone wanted to talk to him. We put some change in our hole before we filled it in. I hope he finds it and not the other metal detector guy… the evil metal detector guy.

It was a pretty awesome day. We even got poopsicles, although I almost immediately dropped mine. Blip blop.

beach_poopsicle.jpg

It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone’s House Burns Down

Monday, July 16th, 2007
Midwestern thunderstorms have always been one of my favorite things about living in Chicago. On the night of Chicago’s fireworks, some friends and I sat on the front deck and craned our necks to see the show. Later that night, the lightning put the fireworks to shame.

Thunderstorms are fun and exciting, but sometimes it’s easy to forget how destructive they can be.

On my way home from work last week I stopped to get a sandwich and lightning struck the building across the street. The sandwich shop folks called the fire department, who came and did their thing.

I couldn’t leave since the firetrucks blocked me in, so I took some pictures and tried to stay out of the way. I don’t know how much damage there was, but the roof was smoking something crazy.

firetrucks.jpg

So Much For That

Friday, July 13th, 2007

It seems my fantasy baseball team’s fortunes are inversely related to those of the Cubs.  Remember when my team was in first place while the Cubs were biting it hard?  Well, the Cubbies have been on a tear over the last few weeks, and during that time The Evanston Conans have gone on an unprecedented 7-game losing streak.  They are now in last place.

Oh well, you can’t win ‘em all… or, apparently, any of them.

It’s Been Mild in the Midwest

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

Every day Yahoo shows me the top 5 news stories of the day. Today one of those top five stories is “East Swealters in 2nd Day of Heat Wave.” The story explains how temperatures are expected to hit 93 degrees in New York today. Yesterday in Chicago the high was 94.

A couple of days ago, one of the top headlines was “Heat Wave Broils West.”

It used to bother me that the entire center of the country gets no respect or attention. Now I like it. This town is our little secret — all ten million of us. Then again, maybe it’s just hard to write headlines without a coast: “It’s Really Hot in That Part Of The Country Between the East and the West.”

I think I want to work on the Olympics.

The Sam Show at the Annoyance Theater

Monday, July 9th, 2007

I’ll be playing as a guest musical act in The Sam Show at The Annoyance Theater. Here’s the general idea:

Sam lives with Dustin and Dustin’s girlfriend, Elise. Dustin and Elise go to work while Sam stays home. His only friends are Chuck and Wednesday, a Converse All-Star sneaker and a pair of day-of-the-week panties. Join Sam as he almost holds down a job, is nearly driven insane teaching mandolin, and finds love in the UPS lady. Then there’s Chester. Sam & Chester have a band called Your Kentucky Waterfall and their sound appeals to the female demographic. And each week features a different musical guest! (WEEK ONE: CHICAGO’S OWN “THE COUNTRY DOCTORS!”)

Part Mr. Rogers Neighborhood and part American Splendor, hilarious characters and outrageous puppets abound in this darkly comic tale. Written and performed by Sam Locke, Dustin Levell and Elise Dubois, The Sam Show is a masterful combination of black humor and Americana.

“The Sam Show: A Night of Mandolin, Happiness and Others” is directed by Ali Weiss and written and performed by Sam Locke, Dustin Levell and Elise Dubois. Featuring puppets by Emily Tamblyn and writing by Corey Rittmaster and Monique Madrid.

The Sam Show: A Night of Mandolin, Happiness and Others opens July 11th, and runs every Wednesday at 9:30pm, until August 15th at The Annoyance Theater.

We Were Using That

Thursday, July 5th, 2007

It’s summer at work and the battle over the air-conditioning is in full swing. Every so often folks sidle up to the thermostat and try to subtly nudge it into their comfort zone.

As we bickered over the difference between 72 and 74 degrees, I noticed that we might actually have a bigger problem outside:

badairconditioners.jpg

UPDATE: Holy crap! It turns out all the copper was stolen and sold for scrap. Let’s see. Copper’s going for $3.15/pound… 100 pounds… that’s $315. The cost to replace four air conditioning systems this size is going to be well over $10,000. Someone should come up with a crime efficiency table. This might be the least efficient caper ever.

UPDATE 2: It’s freaking hot in here.