Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The FBI Warning

How many times has this happened to you:

You watch a movie at home.

I bet it has. There you are, watching a DVD and before you even get to the film BAM you are scolded by the FBI.

It's pretty scary.

To make matters worse, you can't even skip through the warning or fast forward like you could in the days of VHS tapes.

I felt so strongly about the FBI warning that I wrote a song about it.

It's to the tune of the "Gilligan's Island" theme song (season one.)

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Just sit right back to watch a film,
or any other DVD.
And a message from the F.B.I,
is all that you will see.
You can't fast forward through the words,
and the skip button works no more.
You have to leave it on your screen,
for three seconds or more, three seconds or more………
The warning talks of commercial use,
to avoid at any cost.
And if you try to duplicate,
your freedom would be lost; your freedom would be lost.
The screen may scare the hell outta you and take away your smile,
with civil penalties,
and criminal too,
title 17,
of US code,
section 601,
and the rest...
All from the F.B.I.

I also rewrote the last few verses for the second season theme song:

The screen may scare the hell outta you and take away your smile,
with civil penalties,
and criminal too,
title 17,
of US code,
section 601,
the Professor and Mary Ann...
All from the F.B.I.

Hey! Remember how the END of Gilligan's Island had a different theme song?

I redid that, too.

So this is the tale of our strangers then,
they're here for a long, long time.
They'll have to make the best of things,
it should turn out fine.
The foreign guy and his cousin too,
will do their very best,
dating a couple of hot blondes,
with a nice caboose and chest.
With phones, and lights, and motor cars,
it's a life luxury.
Like Robinson Crusoe,
...maybe... I don't know... I don't read much.
So join us here each week my friend,
you're sure to get a smile.
From two mismatched roommates,
Here on Perfect Strangers.

Oh yeah, I wrote that one about the TGIF show "Perfect Strangers" not the FBI Warning. Sorry.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Cyndi Lauper's Goonies Video part 2

When we last left The Goonies video Cyndi was trapped and Steven Spielberg wasn't able to help her.

And the announcer was talking in the goofiest voice ever (just ahead of Senator Joseph Lieberman!)

This video starts with the announcer's crazed description of the last video and then shows Cyndi and The Goonies on the ship in chains being held hostage.

Then Cyndi's mom (who is dressed as some kind of sea hag) tells her to go overboard and get them some "sushi."

Cyndi goes overboard to see a deleted scene from the movie:

This octopus was deleted from the film (it appeared in some TV edits) and is in the deleted scenes section of the DVD.

It's a wonder they cut it out. It looks like a pretty good special effect.

Oh, never mind.

So, Cyndi slaughters an octopus on the ship. You would think they would have been INSTANTLY besieged by Greenpeace leading to an eventual rescue.

Ah well, no such luck. Cyndi is trapped on a ship being held against her will by Roddy Piper, Iron Sheik, Nikolia Volkoff and The Bangles.

Wait a minute! Is that really The Bangles??!??

Good lord! It IS The Bangles! I must say I never thought I would see The Iron Sheik do-se-do with Susanna Hoffs.


This video reminds me of every dream I ever had when I was sick with the flu.

The Goonies eventually find a treasure chest full of cheap costume jewelry and toss it onto the bad guys.

And The Bangles.

The bad guys (and The Bangles) take the jewelry and roll around on the deck of the ship allowing Cyndi and The Goonies to escape.

I can't imagine that Nicolai Volkoff has a greater moment in his career than the day he rolled around on The Goonies' ship with The Bangles. I know I would have it engraved on my tombstone.

As The Goonies escape we see that they are all wearing matching slippers. These slippers were a short lived fad in the 1980s. They looked like feet with fuzzy green fur around them. You were supposed to paint the toenails all different colors if you were a girl.

None of The Goonies did so. I can imagine that "not painting the slipper's toenails" is at the top of Martha Plimpton's list of regrets.

After jumping off the ship Cyndi and friends come back through the wall of the gas station.

They leave The Goonies in the wall. Really! We never see them again.

Cyndi, Dave Wolf and Wendi Richter left them there to die.

They are almost as evil as The Bengals.

Speaking of evil, the bad guy wrestlers have taken full control of the gas station:

Sheik is taking care of the customer, Moolah is cleaning the windows and Volkoff is lifting the car up so he can check the tires.

They may be bad, but they run a good gas station.

Cyndi offers them jewelry in exchange for their overdue bills.

They refuse so Cyndi whistles and out of a cloud of smoke appears Andre the Giant.

Wait a minute. Why didn't she whistle earlier? If she had Andre on standby, why didn't she just call him in the first place?

Why didn't she whistle for him instead of asking Steven Spielberg for help? Why didn't she call him when she had an octopus around her neck? Why didn't she have Andre head-butt The Bangles?

As the audience struggles to comprehend this, Andre starts bustin' heads.

After knocking out Sheik and Volkoff, Andre goes to grab Piper.

Piper, refusing to job- EVEN in a silly music video- starts yelling at Spielberg, Donner, Lauper and Wolf screaming "the video wasn't supposed to end like this!"

Hey! Is Andre wearing tight fruity underwear under his fuzzy monster shorts?

Yup. Try and get THAT image out of your head now, I dare you!

Piper then makes an attempt to carjack someone:

Then the video ends with Cyndi lifted high in the air and the announcer babbling like an infant.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Yankee Doodle

Yankee Doodle went to town,
A-Riding on a pony;
He stuck a feather in his hat,
And called it macaroni.
Yankee Doodle, keep it up,
Yankee Doodle dandy;
Mind the music and the step,
And with the girls be handy!

"Yankee Doodle" is a well-known American song, often sung with patriotic vigor. It wasn't always that way.

The tune began pre-Revolutionary War and was sung by British military officers to mock the disheveled colonial "Yankees" who served with them during the French and Indian War.

Let's take a look at the lyrics:

Yankee Doodle went to town,

The word "Yankee" was used as a derogatory term for colonists during this era. There are many possible origins for the word:

It was coined after the nickname "John Cheese" which was another mean nickname for the colonists since both John and Cheese were other derogatory names for colonists.

Jeez, they had a bunch of derogatory names for colonists. Hey! Even "colonist" was probably derogatory! It starts with "colon."

So mean.

"Yankee" also could have been taken from the Cherokee word for coward. The British had battled the Cherokee and thought the colonists cowards for not joining.

Or maybe there was a baseball team that couldn't win a World Series in the better part of a decade despite having the deck stacked so significantly in their favor that Las Vegas odds makers had them as the odds on favorite to win the series before the season even started.

Yeah, I'd hate to be called that. Tee hee hee.

Anyway, as for "doodle" it was a word that was commonly used as an insult for someone who was a simpleton. So the song is talking about a stupid Yankee. Not Jason Giambi, though, he hadn't even been born yet.

A-Riding on a pony;

See: a pony not a horse. A horse would be the more respectable thing to ride. A pony on the other hand tastes better.

He stuck a feather in his hat,
And called it macaroni.

This verse always puzzled me. Why did he think the feather was macaroni? I have tasted many a feather and it NEVER tasted like macaroni.
Then I found this on Wikipedia:
A macaroni, in mid-18th-century England, was a fashionable fellow who dressed and even spoke in an outlandishly affected manner. The term pejoratively referred to a person who exceeded the ordinary bounds of fashion in terms of clothes, fastidious eating and gambling.

See! He put a feather in his stupid hat and now he thought he was important.

Stupid doodle.

Here is the rest of the song:
Yankee Doodle, keep it up,
Yankee Doodle dandy;
Mind the music and the step,
And with the girls be handy!

I am not sure what "with the girls be handy" but I can imagine. Oh yes, I can imagine. Whoo hooo! Be handy, doodle! Whoo hoo!

Anyway, today the song is the state anthem of Connecticut.

But it is much more famous for being the tune to which the Barney the Dinosaur theme is sung:

Barney is a dinosaur,
From our imagination,
And when he's tall he's what we call,
A dinosaur sensation.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Cameraman Zoom: My brief encounter with The Iron Sheik

The Iron Sheik is one of the best known wrestlers of the 1980s. He was most famous for winning the WWF title from Mr. 110% Bob Backlund.

Backlund, if you don't remember was a rather bland technical wrestler who held the WWF title for 6 long years.

He always gave the fans 110%. I don't understand that expression. 110? If you were capable of giving more than 100% why stop at 110?

Why not give 120%?


Anyway, Sheik won the title and then passed it along to Hulk Hogan and thus Hulk-a-mania was born.

This weekend Sheik was at the MonsterCon horror convention in Cherry Hill, NJ. If you are scratching your head about why a wrestling legend was at a horror convention, you aren't alone.

It does seem odd. Suffice to say, horror conventions are jam packed with the stars of yesteryear. You don't have to have ANYTHING to do with horror films. You just have to rent a table and sell your 8x10 photos.

The price for an autograph from anyone at these conventions is generally $20.

Yeah, it's a bit of a rip off.

I have seen Sheik at a few of these conventions and he always makes me smile. I liked him a whole lot when I was a kid. I always cheered for the "bad guys" and Sheik was one of the baddest.

A few years ago I saw Sheik step on top of someone's backpack and almost take an ugly tumble. But I passed on giving him $20.

Finally this year Sheik got my $20 for a combination of reasons. Nostalgia, Sheik's advancing age and a lack of cooler guests made Sheik the top draw for me at the MonsterCon.

Sheik was sitting at a table next to Captain Lou Albano and in front of Nikolai Volkoff.

As usual, Sheik was wearing an American flag bandanna. It's no longer in fashion to be a Iranian Sheik and he knows this. In fact he wrote USA #1 on my autograph.

I had him personalize it to my middle name: Anthony. Not a good idea. Sheik didn't know how to spell "Anthony." I assume "Guy" would have been less trouble. Uh... maybe.

Sheik also wrote "Good. Luck" I don't know why he chose to put the period in the middle or what he was wishing me luck in. I am just glad he wished for it.

Also take note of how he prints "Iron" and writes out "Sheik" in cursive.

The more I look at this, the weirder it seems. Maybe he wasn't writing "USA #1" maybe he was writing "USA1" and drawing a crude picture of the USA1 World War II biplane bomber.

Anyway, after getting the autograph I paid an additional $5 to get a photo with The Sheik.

Like a shark who smelled blood in the water, Captain Lou smelled money in the air... and fake blood. It was a horror convention.

"You can't come in here with a beard" he joked gesturing to my beard and then his own.

I politely laughed but it wasn't so much of a joke as a chance for Lou to try to find common ground with me.

"We both breathe air." would have been his next comment if I hadn't been trying to talk to the Sheik.

He called me by my name and told me to make sure to visit his table. He put on the hard sell. It was hard to refuse Captain Lou.

But first I had to get a picture with The Sheik. He handed me his world title and showed me how specifically he wanted me to hold it.

It actually isn't the world title. It's a replica belt anyone with a couple hundred bucks can buy on eBay.

But this one belongs to The Iron Sheik. I can only imagine where this belt has been and what it has seen.


Anyway, Sheik pointed at my friend taking the photo and shouted "Cameraman zoom! Iron Sheik, World Wrestling Champion. World Tag Team Champion with Nikolai..."

He kept talking for about five minutes. Finally, my friend (who I will now claim on my taxes as my personal cameraman) just snapped a photo rather than wait for Sheik to finish what might have gone on all day.

Afterward I headed over to Capitan Lou's table and then quickly rushed past Nikolai Volkoff before I was out $75 in just five minutes.

In the interest of full disclosure here is my photo with Captain Lou:

Thursday, February 15, 2007

No one wants Kevin Smith's pants

It's a pretty sad statement about the USA.

Theres like 300 million people in this country. I know this because there were about 25 cars in the parking lot of the local KFC last night. Since there are over 30,000 KFC's in the US that adds up to about 300 million.


And none of them want Kevin Smith's pants.


Take a look:

Reebok sweatpants worn by director Kevin Smith. You might know Kevin from his role as Silent Bob in the "Jay and Silent Bob" film series.

Maybe you recognize his name from some of the fine directorial work he has done on such films as Jersey Girl and the "Jay and Silent Bob" film series.

Or maybe you remember him as the sloppy guy in the morgue in Daredevil or maybe you saw the animated TV series clerks which was based on the "Jay and Silent Bob" film series.

Anyway, you probably know who he is.

But apparently you don't want his pants.

Shame on you.

Look at those fine pants. If that mannequin had hands he probably couldn't keep his hands off Kevin Smith's pants.

The eBay auction for the pants Smith wore in the recent Jennifer Garner romance flick Catch and Release reads thusly:

You are bidding on a 100% authentic item of movie memorabilia direct from COLUMBIA PICTURES season's hit film, "CATCH AND RELEASE".

You are bidding on PANTS worn by the character SAM (KEVIN SMITH) during production of this lovable film!

Don't hesitate or you might miss out! Good luck bidding and don't miss "CATCH AND RELEASE" in theaters now!

Opening bid is $0.99 people.


Heck, you should want these even if you don't know who Kevin Smith is and have never seen any of the films in the the "Jay and Silent Bob" film series (I don't know why, but that looks funny in print.)

Sure, they are huge. XXXL. That is more XL than most people want in thier pants... but think of the comfort. It will be like wearing a sleeping bag on each leg if you are a smaller person.

Plus, you could take them in with a safety pin or a sewing machine.

Look at this:

A pair of sweatpants NOT worn by Kevin Smith is worth $35. Can't someone pony up the 99 cents to buy ones worn by Kevin?

I know what you are thinking:


Sure. This is true for stuff NOT worn by Kevin Smith like an instruction book on how to draw clowns...

Or a pair of Jumbo Clown scissors...

But even a squeaky toy clown gets bids...

Is a squeaky toy clown worth TWICE as much as pants worn by Kevin Smith?


Let me take this from another perspective.

Let's say you like football... or pro wrestling. Or both. Then you will probably like the flick Gridiron Gang starring The Rock.

I liked it. I also like The Get-a-long Gang starring Rocky Raccoon. But I digress.

Anyway, here is an auction for The Rock's duds from that movie:

They are selling for about FIFTY TIMES what Kevin's pants AREN'T selling for.

But look closer...

That's the same mannequin!

So, you can't buy the pants worn by The Rock. You could still buy pants worn by the SAME MANNEQUIN that wore The Rock's pants.

Click here and make your bid.

Don't be surprised if I outbid you.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Cyndi Lauper's Goonies Video part 1

The Goonies 'R' Good Enough videos were two of my favorites growing up. In fact, I saw the videos long before I saw the movie.

The song is OK, and the tie in is great (Goonies is an awesome film) but the real appeal of the video, to me, was the stars of the WWF.

Let's take a look:

The video starts with Cyndi Lauper crossing the street armed with two cardboard boxes. In the background we see Mom & Pop's Gas Station and Wendi Richter's veggie burger stand.

If you don't remember Wendi, I am not surprised. But let me tell you this: in the months right before and right after Wrestlemania Wendi was arguably just as popular as Hulk Hogan.

Wendi was "best friends" with Cyndi Lauper in thee WWF storyline and also served as her manager. Wendi was the WWF woman's champion.

Then Wendi demanded more money from Vince McMahon and Vince set up a match between Wendi and an unknown masked wrestler named The Black Widow.

The plan was for the masked wrestler to lose to Wendi. That didn't happen. The staged ending was changed by Vince and no one told Wendi.

The lady under the mask, Wendi's rival The Fabulous Moolah, pinned Wendi and a surprised Wendi Richter was never seen on WWF TV again.

But we get to see her here hawking veggie burgers at a gas station.

Cyndi's dad (played by Captain Lou Albano) is upset. Creditors are going to evict them. We know this because a goofy announcer told us. Lou speaks to a photo on the wall for a while and then Cyndi enters and says:

"I can't take it no more." she is tired of the pollution and traffic.

David Wolf (Cyndi's scrawny real life boyfriend and manager) reminds her that "this place is a gas station."

Sure, it's a gas station, but
it's a gas station with veggie burgers and free cookies.

Suddenly a limo pulls up and Cyndi says "customers" in a voice so goofy that you start to miss the announcer.

Oh no! The limo's gull wing doors open to reveal Rowdy Roddy Piper.

You know this means bad news for the Lauper family and David Wolf and Wendi Richter who... I guess... work for them.

Even though he's not family, David Wolf gets right up in the grill of The Iron Sheik as he proclaims the gas station to be his "property."

See, he's a Sheik and he's in the oil business. Wrestling always plays up stereotypes.

Like the stereotype that Scotsman don't like cookies.

Yeah, in an extreme close up Roddy tells Cyndi's mom that since she made cookies she should "take her face back inside there and bake a suitcase."

The music for the song starts.

Then all hell breaks loose.

The Fabulous Moolah drives up in a pickup truck. In the bed of the truck Nicolia Volkoff is pretending to milk a plastic cow as he croons the Russian National Anthem.

Moolah parks the truck and kicks out Wendi. The era of the veggie burger stand is over.

Instead Benihana Hibachi chefs take over.

I'm starting to think the Iron Sheik runs a better gas station than Mom and Pop.

Anxious to kiss up to the new management, David Wolf starts to polish Volkoff's head.

Volkoff likes it.

Next Cindi tries to feed the plastic cow some milk. I don't know why, but that grosses me out.

In the meantime, Volkoff tries to lip-synch Cyndi's song.

Not being able to lip-synch ruins Volkoff's mood.

Then he takes part in a mob assault of Wolf as Cyndi removes multiple statues of dogs from the gas station.

Hmmm. I question the sanity of having more than one statue of a dog in any place other than a dog statue store.

I also question the sanity of having a dog statue store.

After the dog statues go it's time to remove the photo from the wall.

What's this! A secret cave! Good lord. Inside the cave is a bunch of skeletons and, of course, the Goonies:

Yeah, they got the whole cast back together for the video. Actually, I don't think "back" is the appropriate term. The video seems to have been made during the making of the film and a small segment of it is played on the TV in the film.

Still one must applaud them for being able to cast Chunk.

It should be noted that we have passed the THREE minute mark at this point.

Its an epic video.

The Goonies have a matching map that fits in with the one that Cyndi has.

Oh yeah. I forgot to mention, Cyndi found a map in the hands of a dead guy just steps inside the cave.

Time had done a number on the dead guy his flesh and clothing are long gone. His map, is is great shape, however.

As soon as the maps are placed side by side we are treated to a highlight reel of footage from the film.

When we cut back to the cave things get weirder.

First Cyndi's mom shows up dressed as Sigmund the Sea Monster:

Then all the bad guys show up as pirates. Roddy even gets smacked upside the head by Corey Feldman.

Then David and Wendi find the cave. They too ignore all common sense and climb into a smoking hole in a gas station wall.

Meanwhile The Sheik stands guard over a kneeling Mrs. Lauper and I started to worry that he might use his old country techniques to make her humble.

But hey! Wait a minute! Isn't Sheik inside the cave dressed as a hulked up Iranian Johnny Depp?

Yes he is. So there are TWO Iron Sheiks!

Before I had a chance to think of the ramifications of such a discovery we see this:

Did Bennihana's pay for all this product placement?

One borderline racist joke later and Cyndi is stuck on a bridge:

What should she do? She asks Steven Spielberg for help.

Unfortunately he doesn't know what to do. He's probably too busy trying to decide if he should grow a beard and if it would have been funnier if the chef said "Cyndi Ropa."

So the announcer comes back on to do more goofy announcing promising to show us what happens in the conclusion "coming soon to an MTV near you."