October 28, 2005
Three Wishes for Amy Grant
Aww... Chistian Contemporary vocalist Amy Grant has her own show on NBC.
It's an uplifting reality affair called Three Wishes. In each episode, Amy and her Christian Contemporary friends visit some small town in middle America, and grant their wishes, making their "dreams come true." It's sort of like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, but retooled for viewers who hate gay people.
Since NBC's "Three Wishes", has given me so much hope and joy, I've got three wishes of my own, just for Amy Grant:
#1. Fuck off.
#3. I hate you. (that's not actually a wish, but YOU SUCK)
October 27, 2005
Interview with a Ghost Monster
The year was 1980, and a great sickness was ravaging America. The name of that illness?
Unlike many afflictions, Pac-Man Fever never caused poor people in foreign countries to get sick and die. Instead, PMF was an ailment that caused socially inept slackers to jam quarters into an arcade machine for hours at a time. And this was back when 25 cents was really worth something - back when one quarter could buy you a chicken dinner, a 6-pack of Schlitz and a full tank of gas for your VW Minibus.
A lot has changed since then, yet Pac-Man remains a quintessential icon of American culture. Although it was developed in Japan. By Japanese people. Specifically, this guy:
Even so, what could be more representative of the American Spirit than a disembodied mouth that mindlessly devours everything in its path? Replace those little white dots with beer, pornography and foreign oil, and Pac-Man could easily challenge The Great Gatsby as the Great American Novel. And Pac-Man is neither American nor a novel! Beat that, John Irving.
Yet... as much as America loves Pac-Man, far too little attention has been payed to the famous yellow munching machine's supporting cast. Of course, I am referring to the game's fearsome antagonists, the Ghost Monsters.
Without the Ghost Monsters (Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde), Pac-Man would have lacked conflict. There would have been no drama, no rising action, no catharsis! Despite the pivotal role they played in the success of the game, the Ghost Monsters reaped none of the rewards. While Pac-Man went on to star in major feature films and signed lucrative endorsement deals, Inky died penniless in a Tijuana barfight. Blinky is currently serving 5-10 on federal drug charges. And Clyde... well, no one really wants to talk about what happened to Clyde.
Pinky, however, is alive and well, working as a dental hygienist in upstate New York. In order to commemorate this, the 25th anniversary of Pac-Man, I caught up with Pinky for an intimate personal interview.
Joey Headset: Thanks for for joining us today, Pinky.
Pinky: My pleasure.
JH: So what exactly is a Ghost Monster?
P: What do you mean?
JH: Well, are you supposed to be a ghost, or are you a monster?
P: A ghost is a monster, isn't it?
JH: It's a kind of monster...
P: Yes it is.
JH: You are a ghost, then?
JH: You're an incorporeal being? The supernatural manifestation of the soul of a deceased...
P: What the hell are you talking about?
JH: That's what a ghost is, right? The supernatural manifestation-
P: I'm not that kind of Ghost.
JH: What kind of ghost are you?
P: I'm a Ghost Monster.
JH: But that just brings us right back to the question...
P: You know, I don't really concern myself with labels. Could we move on?
JH: All right. I've always been curious, what was it like working with Pac-Man?
P: I'm not going to lie, it wasn't easy. I tried to keep things professional - we all did: Blinky, Inky, Clyde. We were professionals, man. We tried to take it one quarter at a time... but every single day was a struggle.
JH: How so?
P: Let's just say that a lot of crazy shit went down behind the scenes. No one ever talked about it, and that's fine. Back then, it was all about the game and we weren't going to say anything that would hurt the game. In all those years, we never said a word about Packy's eating disorder.
JH: Pac-Man had an eating disorder?
P: He was bulimic.
P: He did nothing but eat all day long, and he never gained any weight. What the hell did you think was going on?
JH: I just figured he got a lot of exercise. He did a lot of cardio, running around the maze and stuff.
P: Vomiting around the maze is more like it. You know that little tunnel he would duck into on the side of the screen? There's a reason we didn't like to follow him through there. "Puke-Man" treated that tunnel like his personal vomitorium.
JH: I see.
P: But the bulimia was really nothing compared to P-Man's escalating drug problem.
JH: Pac-Man had a substance abuse problem? That's a pretty serious allegation. Can you offer any proof?
P: Look, no - obviously I can't prove anything. The league never bothered to establish a meaningful drug testing policy... but come on. What did you think all those pills were? Vitimin C? "Power Pellets" my ass, that was Crystal Meth! It made him fucking crazy. One minute we'd be chasing him around the maze - which was our job, after all. Suddenly, he pops one of his little Happy Pills - next thing you know, the crazy motherfucker is TRYING TO EAT US. The league didn't give a damn. If you recall, Mike Tyson bit Evander Holyfield during a boxing match, and they banned Tyson from competition for an entire year... just for BITING a guy. Me and my teammates were not only bitten, but TOTALLY DEVOURED, on millions of occasions and that yellow freak never got so much as a fifty dollar fine. What kind of fucked up league puts up with something like that?
JH: I see your point. But to be fair, Pac-Man didn't actually hurt you.
JH: He would chomp on you, but then you would go back to your little box and do whatever it is you Ghost Monsters did in there, then come out a few moments later ready for action. So he couldn't have hurt you that bad.
P: Let me ask you something: Have you ever been eaten?
P: Well, I'll let you in on a little secret: Being eaten is EXCRUTIATINGLY FUCKING
JH: You know, Pinky, it's interesting you bring that up, because there's something I've always wanted to try. You may have noticed this box I brought to the interview - bet you were wondering what was inside!
P: Not really.
JH: Here, why don't you open it.
P: I don't have arms, Joey. I can't even open a can of Milwaukee's Best.
JH: I'll open it for you then. Here, take a look - I'll bet this takes you back to the old days!
P: What the... WHERE THE HELL DID YOU GET ONE OF THOSE?
JH: Ebay. Got bid up pretty high too, but I put in a strong bid in the final minutes. As I'm sure you know, Pinky, this is an actual "power pellet" from the original Midway arcade game. Bet you haven't seen one of these in a while, huh?
P: GET THAT THING AWAY FROM ME!
JH: You see, when I was a kid I played Pac-Man all the time in the arcades... but I always wondered what it would be like to actually be Pac-Man. I would run around the house, yelling "aapa-aapa-aapa", biting any small white object or family member that crossed my path. It was fun, but it wasn't the real Pac-Man experience that I craved. But now - with a little help from you, Pinky - I can live out my dream!
P: This interview is over...
JH: Mmm... this power pellet is delicious! No wonder Pac-Man liked them so much. How you feeling over there, Pinkster? You look a little blue. In fact, you've turned completely blue! Uh oh... now you've started blinking. I better get down to business!
P: GET OFF ME YOU FUCKING BASTARD! STOP BITING ME! ARRRGGGH!
It was at point that we concluded the interview, what with Pinky having been recently devoured. By me. For those keeping score, this incident represents the first case of a journalist eating the subject of his interview since Jeffrey Dahmer's largely unsuccessful stint as a stringer for the Akron Beacon-Journal.
October 25, 2005
Avian Flu Claims First American Victim
October 18, 2005
What rhymes with Depeche Mode?
Subject: Save 26% on "Playing the Angel" by Depeche Mode at Amazon.com
To: Joey Headset
Dear Amazon.com Customer,
We've noticed that customers who have purchased Audio CDs by New Order also purchased Playing the Angel by Depeche Mode. For this reason, you might like to know that Playing the Angel is now available. You can order your copy at a savings of 26% by following the link below.
From: Joey Headset
Subject: Re: Save 26% on "Playing the Angel" by Depeche Mode at Amazon.com
Thanks for noticing! Along those lines, I've noticed that customers who have purchased Audio CDs by Depeche Mode have also purchased:
(The new Depeche Mode actually isn't so bad, if you are into that sort of thing. You can preview the whole album over here.)
October 13, 2005
Bond goes Blonde
The last few months haven't gone so well for Jude Law.
First, he was caught sleeping with his children's nanny. Not his finest moment... made much worse when the English tabloids got a hold of it. Not surprisingly, the whole nannysex thing damaged Jude's relationship with his fiancee - actress Sienna Miller. You may remember her from Fox's highly entertaining series Keen Eddie. Well... you might have remembered her from that series if Fox hadn't dumped it after seven episodes to make way for some piece of shit show about bored teenagers in Orange County (which got cancelled after a few episodes, I think).
However, in recent weeks, things had been looking up for the English actor. He had reportedly been patching things up with Miller, and was rumored to be the #1 prospect to take over the role of James Bond from Pierce Brosnan. Jude must have drooled over this opportunity. Once you've starred in a Bond film, you can bag any nanny, governess, au pair, or day care provider you choose. It's a pretty sweet gig.
But according to recent reports, Jude Law didn't land the Bond job. Instead, it went to Law's countryman and good friend Daniel Craig. To make things worse, Law recently discovered that his fiancee had been cheating on him with a handsome blonde Englishman. And who was that handsome blonde englishman? None other than Law's countryman and good friend Daniel Craig.
Now that's GOT to suck.
One day you're lined up to be the next 007 and engaged to a beautiful young actress. Next thing you know, your buddy gets the job, sneaks off with your hot fiance - and suddenly, you're just some dude who slept with his nanny. And she wasn't even a particularly hot nanny. Unlike the ones on Cinemax.
But enough about Jude Law - lets talk about this new Bond, Daniel Craig.
Some internet people may get all worked up about the fact that this guy would be the first blonde Bond... but SCREW YOU INTERNET PEOPLE: I have a good feeling about this guy. Though I haven't actually seen him in any movies, Craig looks like he could kick my ass - and that's the standard by which I judge ALL Bond actors. Any actor who I could beat up should never be cast in the role. Over the course of the franchise, producers have placed far too much emphasis on making Bond suave and dapper. Yes, anyone who plays Bond must look good in a tuxedo. But he also has to look good killing a man with his bare hands. If an actor can do both at the same time, so much the better. My point is this: if you stick a prettyboy into Bond's tux, it just doesn't work. Like George Lazenby and Roger Moore, Jude Law is a prettyboy. He's more likely to be issued a License to Moisturize than a License to Kill. Sean Connery and (the massively underrated) Timothy Dalton were good looking fellas, but they had some rough edges. Those rough edges are essential - and they can't be added in post-production.
As for Pierce Brosnan, I thought he was too pretty for the role when he did his first Bond film (Goldeneye) in 1995. But as the actor aged over the last decade, I actually think Brosnan started to look a little rougher and more appropriate for the part. Apparently, the Bond producers disagreed, since they fired him for being too old. Typical.
Anyway... though it's too early to judge, I look forward to seeing Daniel Craig when he stars in the next Bond film, Casino Royale. Let's hope they don't fuck it up.
Note: Some, if not all, of my sources for this piece were either English tabloid websites or weird foreign newspapers (thanks Google News!) so it's entirely possible that nothing I wrote here is, you know, accurate. But I'm not too worried. The Hindustan Times hasn't failed me yet.
October 11, 2005
Easy Target: Brian Austin Green
I've got a question for the American Broadcasting Company.
What did America ever do to you? Did we piss you off in some way? Did we take a dump on your driveway? Did we sleep with your sister, then not call her? We must have done something pretty awful, because that's the only possible justification for your new sitcom, "Freddie".
No, you are not hallucinating - it's a Freddie Prinze Jr. "vehicle". You remember Freddie Prinze Jr., perhaps the only actor in the world who employs fewer facial expressions than Keanu Reeves? Only Andie MacDowell has fewer, but I'm pretty sure she's actually an animatronic robot, built from dismantled parts stolen from a (now defunct) Chucky Cheese in Trenton, NJ. But I don't have the energy to go after Prinze right now. Why bother, when the co-star of his sitcom is Brian Austin fucking Green!
Honestly, when he put out that rap album, I just assumed I would never see him on TV again. At least not outside of a Beverly Hills 90210 rerun... or an episode of "Punk'd: Marginal Celebrity Edition". Green is marginal even by 90210 standards. Jason Priestly drives racecars, at least. Jennie Garth is on some WB sitcom. And Shannon Dougherty is a noted bitch, so at least she's got that going for her. For fuck's sake, Luke Perry probably isn't doing anything - couldn't they have dragged his ass away from whatever Olive Garden he's working at and put him on the show instead?
It's just not right that Brian Austin Green gets to be on TV again. It's like letting Hitler try out for American Idol. If I could channel Randy Jackson for a moment: "Yeah, Adolf, you did your thing, Dawg. BUT YOU KILLED 11 MILLION PEOPLE SO YOU DO NOT GET TO BE ON AMERICAN IDOL. FUCK OFF HITLER!"
Perhaps I am overstating my case?
Look, all I'm saying is this: the fact that a person was once on a TV show is not - in and of itself - a good reason to cast that person on another TV show. Especially if that person sucks. Like Brian Austin Green.
October 10, 2005
Random Crap Roundup
What is less essential to contemporary culture than the music of the Pet Shop Boys?
The music of two Swedish girls performing the songs of the Pet Shop Boys! The West End Girls (ugh) features a brunette who sings in an amusing accent and a blonde who stands quietly behind the brunette. Both of them wear hard hats, either in homage to some ancient PSB schtick, or to protect themselves from some unspecified debris that threatens the tender noggins of scandinavian pop singers. (Discovered via the excellent Pop Justice website)
If you are a total dick, you can drive around in a Hummer. If you are a total dick with a large quantity of disposable income, you can be driven around in a Hummer Limousine.
This luxurious vehicle combines the gas-guzzling power of a Hummer H2 with the fuel-devouring comfort of a deluxe limo. "The Hummer Limousine: It's Not an S.U.V. It's an F-YOU-V!"
In unrelated automotive news, This guy loves his Subaru. He really, really loves his Subaru. (NSFW - unless you work for a Subaru dealership. And even then, probably not.)
October 07, 2005
Movie Review: Elizabethtown
In director Cameron Crowe's new film, Elizabethtown, most of the plot revolves around Kirsten Dunst, who goes by some other name in the movie. I didn't catch the name, it may have been Carla or Clara or something like that. In the movie, Dunst is there, mostly being adorable and stuff. She wears different outfits in the movie, so you get to see different looks from her - not always the same look. All the different looks are totally adorable, which is the important thing here. If she only looked cute in one of the outfits, then they would have been better off just leaving her in that outfit. But since she looked good in all of the clothes they had her wearing, it was OK that they had her change clothes during the movie. She even wears a stewardess outfit which is totally hot.
Anyway, a lot of different stuff goes on in the movie, some of it happening in this town where a bunch of people live. I think the place was actually called "Elizabethtown" which is also the name of the movie! So the town is "chock full" of wacky people who try to be funny a lot, but aren't all that funny and aren't nearly as adorable as Kirsten Dunst is. After the town, there is this guy who drives around in a car for awhile, listening to some radio station where Kirsten is supposed to be the DJ I think. This was the worst part of the movie because it's just this dude driving around, and you don't see much of Kirsten because she's only talking on the radio. And it doesn't make sense anyway because girls who sound cute on the radio are never all that cute in real life, so why would Kirsten Dunst work for a radio station when she's totally adorable and she's supposed to be working as a stewardess anyway? She looked HOT as a stewardess.
So the guy drives around, then meets up with Kirsten again, and they make out for a while. And that's pretty much the movie.
In my opinion, this movie was OK, but not as good as it could have been, so I'll give it three and a half Joeys.
Elizabethtown opens October 14.
October 05, 2005
Sinead Goes Reggae
Just turned on Leno, and was surprised to see Moby performing with a full-out reggae band backing him. Except it wasn't Moby - it was Sinead O'Connor! You can understand my confusion - they are both tiny little bald-headed women. Anyway, it turns out that Sinead just released an entire album of classic reggae! Thank GOD someone has stepped up to continue the great tradition of Irish Reggae - a tradition that started with James Joyce and the Dubliners' classic 1938 recording "Bloom in Babylon".
Now if only Ziggy Marley would finally release his new collection of angry, feminist alt-folk... then popular culture could finally collapse under its own weight. And I could go get a sandwich.
October 02, 2005
Six Experiential Phases of a Saturday Night Live Comedy Sketch
1. Sketch begins, Comedic Premise is established. Viewer experiences strong doubts regarding efficacy of Comedic Premise. Still, viewer retains hope that through imaginative execution, Comedic Premise can be effectuated humorously.
2. As Sketch proceeds, viewer's expectation of humor decreases over time (as shown below).
3. Sketch continues, ineffectually. Viewer begins to suspect some kind of comedic misdirection: Is this Metahumor? Anti-humor? Perhaps the lack of discernible humor is the joke? Viewer awaits the conclusion of Sketch, anticipating some ingenious Comedic Twist that will justify the Sketch's apparent tedium.
4. Sketch concludes, sans Comedic Twist. Viewer is surprised, then shocked, then confused, then enraged.
5. Viewer wonders why Sketch Comedy Program is still broadcast on national television.
6. Viewer wishes Dave Chappelle would get his shit together and bring decent Sketch Comedy back to TV.