doing that thing that Ogre calls “one of those things you do that makes me laugh”

we used to do this thing, back in the day, that our “shockingly hairy” associate Ogre approved of in which i would take some items of celebrity news, get totally worked up about them, and then criticize the people involved furiously while dropping more f-bombs than Enzo Calzaghe in his son’s corner at the Bernard Hopkins fight. which, incidentally, should have been watched by all for two reasons: a) because Joe Calzaghe is awesome and b) because Bernard Hopkins ended up discussing what he referred to as his “crouch.” but i digress; the point was that since i’m not bringing back TTR for a guest appearance this week, Ogre might appreciate it if i got a little old-school and trashed on some celebrities, and not in that “here’s the scoop” gossipy way, but in that “i fucking hope you wind up fucking dead in a fucking sand dune in the fucking southwest United States with a fucking lizard eating your fucking eyes.” so let’s do this thing!

Valkyrie and Tom Cruise, partners in failure
wow, it’s weird how comfortable and happy Tom Cruise seems in a Nazi uniform, isn’t it?

Tom Cruise and the impending failure of “Valkyrie”
link to the story we’re talking about here: ‘Valkyrie’: Cruise’s Valentine’s Day Massacre?

i have to tell you, the possible crushing failure of a movie by Tom Cruise couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. now, i grant you that i don’t wish an extreme amount of ill will on the memory of von Stauffenberg; it’s just unfortunate that noted man-about-town and/or asshole Tom Cruise associated himself with the project in what i can only assume was an attempt to compare himself and Scientology to the heroes fighting Nazis (or, in the modern world, governments that hate on Scientology). some reasons that this movie will probably bomb?
–the awesomely poor timing of a movie starring almost all men (and older men at that) coming out around Valentine’s Day;
–Tom Cruise apparently refusing to adopt a German accent for a film about Germans while all his co-stars DO adopt them;
–director Bryan Singer expecting “to shoot four more scenes with a disbanded cast including a big war/action sequence that sets up the film but still doesn’t exist,” a concept that completely boggles my mind.

further, if you haven’t been paying too much attention to Tom Cruise (as, in fairness, he’s admittedly fucking worthless and thus not actually worthy of the attention i give him), there’s also the matter of his ex-wife worrying about Scientology getting a hold on their adopted children (not a surprise, what with Scientology being an evil cult and all), a move that has made her retroactively more attractive in her youth to me (though not now when she’s much more tired and old, of course), as well as the fact that Jason Beghe, in leaving the cult, noted that Tom Cruise & Friends believe themselves not to be homo sapiens, but rather, a new, evolved race of “homo novis.” so, Tom Cruise, here’s to hoping that your film bombs and you die in the desert where birds can peck out your eyes!

Jimmy Fallon, the voice of the damned
oddly enough, i found this picture searching for “photos of people i want to punch in the face”

Conan O’Brien to be replaced with indeterminate amount of bullshit
link to the story we’re talking about here: Jimmy Fallon to replace Conan on “Late Night”

Jimmy Fallon fucking sucks at being funny, at acting, at life. to repeat: JIMMY FALLON FUCKING SUCKS. look, i was already concerned with the prospect of replacing someone hilarious (Conan O’Brien) with someone who’s… well, look, if it was simply a matter of replacing Conan with someone who’s not funny (or even not AS funny as Conan), this would be sad news on principle, but what’s the deal with replacing him with someone who’s actively unfunny? okay, to be fair, let’s make a list of all those funny Jimmy Fallon moments i can recall:
–…
–…
–…still nothing

his appearances in skits on SNL always made me say “someone turn this fucking shit off.” his guest appearance in HBO’s Band Of Brothers – and don’t get me started on not understanding why Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg couldn’t have gotten a REAL guest star for the show – is easily the worst thing about that miniseries. for crying out loud, the motherfucker starred in Taxi with Queen Latifah. TAXI! the only way this works out is if this is all an elaborate ruse to trick Jimmy Fallon into journeying out into the desert, where he can be beaten near to death with aluminum bats and then left for dead with only the lizards to keep him (and his tasty eyes) company.

Wesley Snipes, king of the Cash Money Boys
in related but even sadder news, i have found the WORST PHOTO OF WESLEY SNIPES EVER TAKEN

Wesley Snipes is going to jail
link to the story we’re talking about here: Judge sentences Wesley Snipes to 3 years for tax convictions

this is going to be brief, because a man’s going to jail (which is not THAT funny, unless that man is Tom Cruise and unless said Tom Cruise gets raped to death by the Mexican Mafia), so let me just say this: Wesley, you have all these famous friends testifying on your behalf; you have all this fame and wealth (supposedly you owed $2.7 million on $13.8 million of income); whereas i only have two questions:
01. WHY THE FUCK COULDN’T YOU OR YOUR RICH FRIENDS JUST PAY YOUR FUCKING TAXES
02. WHY THE FUCK DO YOU CLAIM YOU WERE MISLED OR FUCKING TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF WHEN YOU HAVE ARGUED AGAINST TAXES FOR YEARS

look, Wesley, i have already vowed to form a militia to, when the Revolution comes and society dissolves, go around shooting it out with the fucking white trash bubbas who think “they ain’t got to be payin’ no taxes as them there taxes is illegal anyways.” but they’re poor white trash; they have an excuse for a) being fucking stupid, b) having no money with which to pay taxes, and c) being fucking stupid. but you’re a millionaire with numerous employees and cash galore! WHAT THE FUCK?

whew. i feel better. oh, and i lied. just for you, Ogre:

TTR
THE RETURN OF TTR!

talking about Lewis & Clark … for NO GOOD REASON AT ALL

so, on a daily basis i pass by some kind of sign that’s supposed to remind me to remember the 200-year anniversary of the Lewis and Clark expedition in 2006; it obviously wasn’t very effective in that i didn’t get very excited about it at the time or buy myself a t-shirt to commemorate it or anything like that, but two years or so after the fact, i’ve read a little bit about it (as in, in addition to whatever i was taught about it in my youth) and i’m now armed with some pointless, ridiculous facts about this expedition that i’m going to share with you now. and for the record, i totally had about 13 hilarious ideas for a post this week, but i feel so strongly about Lewis & Clark that i wanted to talk about them instead. so hey, now some facts about L&C that you might not have known:

UNDAUNTED COURAGE
yet another exciting adventure starring Lewis & Clark! this week, our heroes once again narrowly dodge death at the hands of thoroughly disappointed Sioux!

Meriweather Lewis was of Welsh heritage. and the Welsh, as we all know, are the salt of the earth. based on what we’ve learned about them here on this sweet internet site, i’m led to believe that he conquered all forms of adversity by singing a) constantly and b) without any real justification for it other than that being the way that Welsh guys overcome the troubles of their lives. that being said, it’s not like anything else about the expedition leads us to note his Welsh-related skills – he didn’t seem to mine much coal or get oppressed by teams of English guys – so frankly, if the singing DIDN’T happen, he’s sort of a disappointment, beyond all the great achievement and all. i choose not to investigate much further. though maybe he wasn’t 100% Welsh, since he was crazily bi-polar, unlike every Welsh guy i know.

Thomas Jefferson was deeply concerned about mastodons and Welsh Indians. the latter refers to a common misconception that Prince Madoc ap Owain Gwynedd beat Columbus to the New World and founded a tribe of Native Americans (Jefferson, being of Welsh descent himself, a fact that helps explain HIS awesomeness, cared deeply about this notion), as opposed to the standard European practices of “killing all the Indians we can find and taking their gold,” “accidentally killing all the Indians we can find and picking up the gold they left around,” and “killing all the Indians we can find and being disappointed in their lack of gold.” it turns out that they were just regular Native Americans instead of turbo-awesome Welsh-Americans. but more ridiculous is that Jefferson was apparently quite taken with the notion that Lewis & Clark might find mastodon herds and, if they did so, to notify him immediately. now, i grant that mastodons are cool as hell and i grant that there’s nothing wrong with obsessing over wild pachyderms (i can think of at least one film i’ve purchased on that grounds that someone told me “in it, guys shoot at other guys with a cannon mounted on an elephant”) … but let’s get serious, people were all over North America and no one seemed to mention massive mastodon herds.

Lewis and Clark spent a lot of time trying to bribe Native Americans with coats and medals. seriously, this apparently happened all the time: Lewis & Clark would meet a new tribe, offer them some token gifts (like tobacco), declare various Native American chiefs from larger groups of them to be “the main chief” … and then reward them with coats and medals. and then the Native Americans, regardless of tribe, would be incredibly disappointed. while it’s fair to note they DID also take better trade goods for specific tribes and specific situations, how the fuck did no one see this disappointment coming? “guys, here’s what i want you to do: go west and impress upon the Indians you meet the wealth and power of the United States by giving them shitty jackets.” oh well, Jefferson’s still cool with me. and one of these meetings (if not more than one) did result in Lewis describing the population of the US in the terms of “we are all gun-men.” so that’s awesome.

Lewis and Clark ate a lot of dog. i’m outraged to admit it, but apparently these guys made do for food on SCORES of occasions by buying dogs from Native American tribes and then eating them. i really can’t say i condone of this activity, and i sort of get the impression that the Native Americans didn’t either. they also didn’t like it when L&C were eating horses, so L&C seem to have come off as “those white guys that were eating dogs and handing out worthless medals.” it’s pretty clear why i didn’t learn this menu information back when i was in grade school, though.

UNDAUNTED NEWFOUNDLAND DOG
so does it bother anyone to note that Lewis had a Newfoundland dog as a sidekick while CONSTANTLY EATING DOGS? or that his dog was named Seaman? anyone?

Charbonneau didn’t die on this expedition. one reason that you shouldn’t watch Simpsons episodes where history is re-imagined in joke-filled cartoon form is that something like the following will happen:
01. the creators of the episode will decide that Charbonneau was a massive douchebag (in fairness, a fact backed by the historical record);
02. accordingly, they’ll have his role be filled Milhouse (fair enough);
03. cartoon Charbonneau will commit error after error while being mocked (which, again, is backed up by the historical record, since i can, without making a serious effort, think of at least two occasions where Charbonneau almost destroyed their boats and goods, for example);
04. cartoon Charbonneau will be killed by a snake or something. but it turns out that he didn’t actually die like that and i feel misled by animation yet again.

once again, the French saved America. or, i suppose, Americans. since we started saving France’s ass on a regular basis in 1914, they like to claim we’re even on the grounds that they made it possible for us to win the American Revolution, which might have some truth to it, but come on, why do they have to act so cocky about it? anyway, late in the expedition, almost everyone was low on food and Clark went ahead with a small group to try and alleviate that, whereupon he found some Nez Perce (who were not acquainted with white dudes). it turns out after the fact that said Nez Perce considered killing Clark & Friends for their weapons … only they didn’t, because one woman among them, Watkuweis, had some time before been captured by Blackfeet, taken to Canada, and then sold to a white trader, who treated her much better than the Blackfeet and who caused her to note that people like them having been kind to her (despite the purchasing), the Nez Perce should return the favor. and thus, Clark & Friends survived. so what the fuck does this have to do with French people? because i assume everyone in Canada prior to 1937 was a French-Canadian fur trader. now that’s what i call history!

talking about Lewis and Clark isn’t very funny. seriously, there’s like two jokes total in here. so disappointing.

the janklowtron 9000: apparently powered by awesomeness!

so in recent weeks there has been some talk about robots, in particular robots that i claim to have invented and then utilized around my home for purposes such as “robot stuff” and “uh, you know, the chopping.” said robot – which we shall call the Janklowtron 9000, which functions as a close approximation of its actual name – has become a mild recurring joke amongst my co-workers, who like to mock various things about it or threaten to destroy it should i not attend various functions wherein the impending nuptials of a co-worker are to be celebrated with the dancing of the nude ladies. and frankly, it’s really very heartless to talk about the destruction of my beloved, TOTALLY REAL robot as a mere pawn designed to make me see gross people and events that might include an abomination we shall only call “the Brazilian.” and NOT in honor of that Genesis song of the same name, which is actually a rockin’ tune.

but i digress, as i intended to use this space and time to shed some light on the exciting Janklowtron 9000 and its various features. you all care, right? right? well, i don’t care if you do or not, but it’s this or i go back to talking about Ghostface’s eagle bracelet and Big Trouble In Little China. and no one wants that! allow me to use an informative sketch, as my robot is a little too shy to allow me to take a picture of it.

the Janklowtron 9000
the Janklowtron 9000: half man, half amazing! well, wait, it’s not half man, it’s a robot. but, uh, yeah, there’s some amazing things going on with it!

and now, some points of discussion:

crazy-looking robot head
originally, i was considering a clear glass shell for the cool, oval-shaped head, but it turns out that when you can see a robot’s optical sensors looking at you, you often end up with the kind of uneasy feeling you’d get if someone was staring at you in your nudity-protecting denim cut-off shorts when you’re in the shower, so i opted to roll with a frosted glass shell so as to avoid all the awkwardness. well, okay, it still wants to know “why my human body appears so frail and vulnerable to being chopped with a cleaver,” so not ALL of the awkwardness is gone. but we’re learning to live together.

“robot parts” torso area
while i can’t get into the specifics that make my robot run so well – we’re talking about some seriously high-speed patents and ideas that it took me years to steal from books about Nikolai Tesla, or as i call him, “the father of all the robots i make, as well as the father of 87% of my death rays” – i CAN tell you that, as i have alluded to before, this model of the Janklowtron is, in fact, powered by “awesomeness.” the original models were powered by alcohol that i distilled from sugar beets, which is less expensive from a financial point of view, but which also led to unpleasant things like “robots on fire,” “oh no, janklow got into the alcohol meant to power his robots again,” and “additional robots on fire.” running a robot based on a fuel of awesomeness (which, in fairness, is more like 89% awesomeness and 11% good feelings) is simply safer and more efficient.

what we call treads
wheels on a robot seems too much like those weird robots that fight on shows to amuse nerds, which initially had me leaning towards “a spider-like assortment of legs that make a robot move in a fast and creepy-in-a-good-way creepy fashion.” but then i remembered the excellent film Wild Wild West and Kenneth Branagh’s robot body, and i didn’t want to be accused to stealing ideas from the greatest film of 1999, so i went with treads. treads that roll over other robots, non-robot foes and small ditches alike! as in, very small ditches, because the Janklowtron 9000 is not that flexible.

excellent antenna
this is mainly used for getting broadcast television channels for me and having romantic robot talk with supercomputers and stuff for the Janklowtron 9000. i know, i know, i don’t really condone robot romances, but there isn’t much i can do about it. it’s been topped with a black ball so that i can spot my robot more easily in parking lots.

the claw and the meat cleaver (!!!)
i wanted to go with flexible arms, but with less of a “first queen in space” feel than that Lost In Space robot has (i never get tired of referencing this John Waters joke), so it was important to cap said arms with turbo-manly, but useful, ends. so i went with a claw, which is mainly used for “doing things” and “picking up things” and other such useful affairs, and the cleaver, which is used for “chopping things.” it can make sandwiches, it can defend my house, you name it. some colleagues wanted to know why i didn’t give my robot a gun for a hand, but i pointed out that i can simply ride around on my robot shooting from the protection of its metal frame. guns are for me, cleavers are for robots. it’s really very simple.

so how did i learn to make such awesome robots? well, i HAVE seen the opening to Astro-Zombies over two times! also, no one tell TTR about this update, or he might get pissed…

songs that i shouldn’t be embarassed to rock to, but that you should be embarassed to hate

much like the fine, fine acting of Patrick Swayze, the world is full of little treats for the eye and ear that people spend a lot of time and money telling you you should be ashamed to like. i mean, you’d be surprised how much it costs to send someone to “Swayze rehab,” which is nothing more than a fancy name for a torture chamber where they try to convince you that Road House and Red Dawn aren’t unappreciated gems. and the electric shocks! my god, the electric shocks! but to hell with them, they will never stop my devotion! PAIN DON’T HURT!

…but i digress. we’re not here to talk about Swayze anyway, but rather, some rocking tunes that i adore that people are always telling me “suck.” sometimes they use the phrase “really suck” as well. these people, however, are just like the villainous Brad Wesley: DEAD WRONG, and evil to boot. they might also be prone to hiring help that likes to declare “i used to fuck guys like you in prison,” but who knows. so, without further ado, a defense of these songs.

IT'S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN
i would be hard-pressed to think of an album cover that screams “THE FUCKING EIGHTIES” more than the one above does. Sweden truly does bring us the greatest in rock and/or roll music.

Europe – “the Final Countdown”
reason you should fondly recall it: it’s the theme to many of GOB’s magic tricks on the canceled-to-soon show Arrested Development.
not only does this song contain the sweetest use of keyboards in the history of rock music (though i grant that this statement isn’t true at all and that, if i made an effort, i could probably think of 13 better keyboard uses in rock music, but still), but it rocks hard enough to overcome the fact that Europe is, in truth, a glammy metal band from both the 1980s and the mean streets of Sweden, which is saying something when you consider how lame Sweden can really be (though i gather they eat horse sausage there, which also rocks). supposedly, this song made Europe (which should have kept the name Force) huge international stars, and further, it’s supposedly inspired by David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” which merely wishes it rocked as hard as Europe did.

the Cardigans – “Iron Man”
reason you should fondly recall it: uh… it was on the radio a lot in, i think, the late 1990s to early 2000s? i’m not sure how much it was on the radio, but that’s what i remember it from.
so, speaking of Sweden… we have another Swedish band of dubious rocking ability who faded out after some mild radio attention, but note this: they apparently loved Black Sabbath. also, i have a soft spot for covers of songs that are “softer” than the originals, a list that, beyond this track, includes Townes Van Zandt’s cover of “Dead Flowers,” Shawn Colvin’s cover of “Viva Las Vegas,” and Johnny Cash’s cover of “Hurt” (though neither version of that song is really very hard). anyway, i find there’s something catchy Nina Persson working over this tune about a time-traveling man sheathed in iron who is the cause of an apocalypse he foresaw in a poppy way. make of it what you like!

ROCK LOBSTER
Fred Schneider and Rockwell remain wondering if the unabashed praises of janklow are in any way beneficial to their musical careers.

the B-52s – “Rock Lobster”
reason you should fondly recall it: that sweet, sweet acoustic version of this song that Peter plays to soothe Cleveland on that one episode of Family Guy.
yeah, that’s right, i think that fucked-up joke version of “Rock Lobster” that Seth MacFarlane sung is actually legitimately better than many “real” songs out there in the universe; deal with it. anyway, perhaps it’s worth not trying to explain how awesome this tune is (because i don’t believe people have heard it and disagree), so instead, i will tell this tale: my Irish sidekick and i both love this song to death, so we demanded the DJ at his wedding put it on the play list. so the whole evening is going by, and nothing, nothing, a tease of “Love Shack” that we feared was his “compromise on the Rock Lobster issue” and nothing. and then… late in the evening… he played it. and everyone stops what they’re doing and looks up with his general “what the fuck” expression. whereas he and i both say “FUCKING AWESOME.” yeah, okay, we drink a fair amount, how’d you know?

Rockwell – “Somebody’s Watching Me”
reason you should fondly recall it: the reasons are mysterious; everyone’s heard the song, but they don’t know where and they don’t know what it’s called and they don’t know who sang the song… but they know the song when they hear it.
what i do at times like this is not even pretend i can describe the awesomeness, and so i quote Gerald Posner talking about it: “then came “Somebody’s Watching Me,” a song by an artist named Rockwell, who was really [Berry] Gordy’s song Kennedy. it was his first, and despite an unusual mix of partly sung, partly spoken lyrics cast in a British accent, the record was a solid hit.” i can’t even fathom how someone comes up with this idea. “okay, Rockwell, sing the song a little, but don’t sing it too much. pretty good, pretty good… tell you what, British it up.” and this is why it’s totally awesome.

JERK OUT
so, while i am not convinced that Morris Day or any of his friends are musical geniuses, goddamn it if they’re not charismatic!

Morris Day & the Time – “Jerk Out”
reason you should fondly recall it: well, i don’t know about “Jerk Out” specifically, but maybe you liked them rocking out at the end of Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back? or during Purple Rain?
so, “Jerk Out.” maybe you saw the video, where Morris Day and friends run around with their mirror, throwing handfuls of cash at people, riding around in the greatest, most-stretched-ever pink limousine, and going so far with their infectious rhythm as to make a stuffed buffalo head on the wall start to dance? you didn’t see it? well, all that shit happens in it (though i am told i am supposed to call it a “bison’s head”), so maybe you SHOULD see it. also, i think Prince might have been the one that actually wrote this song, and i think we can all agree that, androgynous or not, he’s a fucking musical genius.

so there you go: these songs are awesome and that it is. hey, janklow, how come Michael Jackson’s songs like “Thriller” and “Wanna Be Starting Something” aren’t on this list? because we all agree that Michael Jackson’s album Thriller is fucking awesome, and no one needs to defend it.