Tag Archive | pop culture

What’s Your Pleasure?

The past few weeks have been hectic, to say the least. Between work, my social life, and friends coming and going, this bird has had far too much on her plate. To relax, I’ve indulged in a decidedly tragic guilty pleasure: Justin Bieber’s music.

I’m fully aware that The Biebs is not yet of age (not till March 1, 2012, anyway) to creep upon. I don’t envision myself “with” him, a la my male friends’ Olsen Twins 18th birthday countdown. Instead, I simply lose myself listening to his catchy songs, and I can’t believe how incredibly successful this Canuck became in just a couple of years (and hundred million YouTube hits).

I was “outed” at lunch last week, as co-workers and I discussed our guilty pleasures. One said he couldn’t get enough of Nancy Grace‘s coverage of the Casey Anthony (AKA Tot Mom) trial. Another said she loves to spend hours upon hours playing video games. And we pretty much all agreed that networks like Bravo are created for the sheer satisfaction of lazy Sundays and guilty-pleasure gratification.

While my appreciation for JB does not nearly equate to the pandemic Bieber Fever that affects approximately 10 of 10 teenage girls, I also think the whole point of a guilty pleasure is that you shouldn’t have to defend it.

So what’s yours — do you crave romance novels or tabloid mags when you need to unwind? Is it something else entirely? Share your story, so we can celebrate the _____ lover in us all.

A Toast to the Train Wrecks

The American public is obsessed with train wrecks. We live for the recap of Lindsay’s sentencing. We can’t wait to see what dumb thing Mel will say next. We eagerly consume all of the TMZ and Perez accounts of seeing Britney’s … well, Britney.

What is it about these people that is so fascinating? Maybe it’s because we crave the real-life entertainment value. Reality television isn’t enough, nor are the inconsequential details of our everyday lives, so let’s all gather ’round and watch the A-Lister crash and burn.

Or is it because we can’t wait to see famous people fall (figuratively and literally)? I think that most people are good at heart; but I can’t help and wonder if we love to see “idols” knocked off their pedestals, reminding us that everyone is human.

All of this ruckus around Charlie Sheen especially, has made my head want to explode. I can usually take about 10 minutes of celebrity gossip before I want to asphyxiate myself. When it comes to Sir Douche Canoe, I can take approximately 10 seconds. As a wagering enthusiast, I know that’s not a great over/under.

Not only does he “star” in one of the worst television programs I’ve ever witnessed, but he is just plain self-destructive. Did Martin not pay him enough attention as a child? Was he jealous of Emilio’s success in The Mighty Ducks: 1, 2 and 3? These are understandable setbacks, but for fuck’s sake Charles, it’s time to grow up.

Don’t get me wrong; I’d be thrilled if his demise continued until he was shoved out of the spotlight forever. I just don’t want to hear about it.

But seeing as how unlikely that is for our society, a toast is in order. A tip of the hat to you train wrecks everywhere. Good luck and may God have mercy on your soul.

Oh, Say Can You … Wait, What’s Next?

As everyone knows by now, Christina Aguilera totally dumped all over the national anthem at this year’s Superbowl. While I applaud Miss Aguilera for her impromptu creativity, it wasn’t the best botch I’ve seen. Since employing a teleprompter during this time-honored tradition is all too logical, I present my favorite flops of our national anthem:

The One Where Mo Cheeks Saves the Day During NBA Playoffs

13-year-old Natalie Gilbert was sick, but she didn’t want to let that stop her from belting it out. Mo Cheeks came to Natalie’s side, Dirk Nowitzki later gave her a high five and she’s since proven her knowledge of the star-spangled song in a web redemption on “Tosh.0.” Not bad, Natalie.

The One Where Roseanne Proves Her Voice Is NOT Her Worst Quality

Forgetting the words is bad. Forgetting the words AND subjecting everyone to a high-pitched, tone-deaf rendition? Just stop. I thought the old adage was “elephants never forget” but Miss Barr has proven it quite wrong.

The One Where the Girl Fails … and Falls

It’s pretty patriotic to forget the lyrics and excuse yourself out of embarrassment, rather than continue. But nothing says “America” like coming back to redeem yourself and busting it completely. This one wins over my humor and my heart.

In short, would it really be that difficult to get the words on a scrolling screen at major sporting events? It doesn’t have to be for the Table Tennis Championships (because let’s be honest, who watches that?) but the Superbowl, the World Series, the Stanley Cup … let’s get on it, Amurica.

Do the iTunes Shuffle

I opened iTunes recently and started thinking about the way songs come in and out of our lives. Some stay with us for a few fleeting moments; we enjoy the rhythm or melody and then let them fall by the wayside.

Others stay with us forever. They punctuate the past, then hearing a few notes brings us right back to that place and time.

In the spirit of this melodic monologue, I put my music on shuffle and resurfaced the memories of each song.

The Beastie Boys – “No Sleep Till Brooklyn.” Riding to school in Brother’s P.O.S. car, where the passenger seat doesn’t lock in place. Pulling to a stop, I slide forward. He makes me wait in the car until he’s far enough away for me to exit the car without us being associated with one another.

Chumbawumba – “Tubthumping.” I’m in elementary school and my mom just started allowing us to listen to Top 100 radio. This isn’t anything like The Eagles or The Beach Boys. It will be years before I understand what “pissing the night away” means.

Hall & Oates – “Private Eyes.” What can I say about Sir Hall and Sir Oates, besides the fact that I love them? I clap along every time I hear it, and although I don’t recall the first memories, I will always think of the “Psych” promo with this song as the backdrop.

Journey – “Don’t Stop Believing.” (I shit you not.) My favorite song of all time. I’m singing in the back of my mom’s van, dancing at a fraternity party, on stage at formal — always screaming the words, adding my own hand motions and dancing like nobody’s watching.

Cobra Starship – “Good Girls Go Bad.” Drinking heavily and scanning the bar for the next guy to buy a round. Shouting over the music to my girlfriends about where the night will take us and not giving two shits about having to wake up in five hours.

LFO – “West Side Story.” Back to middle school, I think rhyming “can’t seem to find a damn thing wrong with her” with “Veronica” is pure lyrical heaven. I’m still smiling from their concert with Britney Spears, my first. There’s nothing like being a Lyte Funky One.

Johnny Cash – “Ring of Fire.” My grandparents’ old house. It’s coming from a record player, because the song just doesn’t make sense blaring from an iPod. Beautiful words with a painfully true message. I tap my feet to it every time.

The Dan Band – “Lady.” Aside from being my introduction to The Dan Band’s cover songs, I adore this one for a very solid reason: Vince Vaughn’s drum solo. Reliving the glory days a la “Old School” wouldn’t be complete without it.

The Fray – “Over My Head.” Freshman year of college and I’m wishing I went to a school where I knew someone, anyone. The acquaintances at USF aren’t enough to make me stay, yet. I cry alone the first night in my dorm, because my roommates don’t talk and I hate Tampa.

Michael Bolton – “When a Man Loves a Woman.” For my money, it doesn’t get any better than this. OK, OK. All cheese, no meat. Love his hair and think this song is too ridiculous to not have in my repertoire.

It’s no consolation to the 1,903 songs that weren’t chosen, but these 10 represent a small piece of my musical life. They tell their own stories without my experiences tacked on and I’m sure anyone reading has their own memories tied to each song. The harmonies and hooks may all be different, but one common thread remains: Life isn’t complete without a soundtrack.

Tyler Perry: The Bane of My Existence

This fall, see Tyler Perry as Tyler Perry in Tyler Perry’s “House of Tyler Perry.”

I cannot stand this unfunny douche canoe. His movies, shows, press tours and general promote-till-your-ears-bleed way of life makes me sick.

His latest creation is titled “For Colored Girls,” but the working title was “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Not Enuf.” I have to credit Perry for making likely the single smart decision in his shameless career: He shortened the title to something said in one breath (and it’s spelled correctly!).

Between this installment, countless Madea reincarnations and the entire TBS lineup, I’m sick to death of hearing Tyler Perry talk about how awesome Tyler Perry is. Ever hear of a little something called humility?

I’ve never watched any of his “works,” nor do I ever intend to … I’m not looking for salvation in seeing a cross-dressing middle-aged man purposely mispronouncing things so the laugh track can tell me it’s funny.

I can’t understand why some people (I’m looking at you, Oprah) act like he’s some sort of comedic revolutionary who brings people together by finding humor in tough times. Uhh, I’ve seen that song and dance, and Chevy Chase did a hell of a better job at it — sans laugh track.

All of Perry’s works dance through the spectrum of jokes about oppression to “uplifting” messages that have been done plenty of times before. We’ve seen and heard it, thanks to you shoving it down our throats. And it’s not gotten any meatier or easier to digest.

There aren’t many things in this topsy-turvy world that I can say I’m absolutely sure of. The list is limited to absolutes that, God willing, I’ll never be proven wrong about. But Perry brings it to a whole new level. I can say, without a shadow of a doubt and in my deepest heart of hearts, that I will never think Perry is funny.

Rest assured that in countless reiterations over the next 10–20 years, Perry, Madea and whatever other idiotic personas he’s stashed away will try. I can’t wait for that “House of Payne” on my already worn-thin patience.

As Seen on TV? SOLD.

If you’re watching a commercial with terrible music, awful acting and a lot of flashing prices, I probably own or will soon own whatever is being advertised. The rare exception is the Quizno’s singing kittens bit; and if given the chance, I’d like to kill those cats.

I’m addicted to As Seen on TV products. And I’m not ashamed to admit it.

The Bump-It was an integral part of my Halloween costume this year (Flo from the Progressive spots). It gave my hair unrealistic lift and was harder to deconstruct than Pauly D’s blowout.

I received a Big Top Cupcake as a college graduation present and became subsequently obsessed with finding flavors to mix. I couldn’t wait to see how big top that cupcake could get.

I’m swathed in my Snuggie Deluxe (it has pockets) as I type this tonight. Thank God for a blanket with sleeves … what did I ever do without it?

I even remember the first As Seen on TV purchase in my home as a child: the RonCo Food Dehydrator. We made banana chips, granola and beef jerky — the latter of which, I will never eat again thanks to a disgusting story from Tucker Max.

When I was in college, I worked at a retail store in a mall. We got word that an As Seen on TV store was going in near us, and I freaked. How else would I have instant access to Aqua Globes, The Perfect Brownie and a ShamWow? I suppose I could always become a prostitute and prepare for a beating.

What is it about these products that draws me in? Is it the spokesman’s stern yelling? Is it the fancy graphics that anyone with a basic knowledge of Microsoft Powerpoint could duplicate? Is it the fact that no matter what, they always throw extra shit in for free?

The fact is, it doesn’t matter what the motivation behind these purchases may be. Slap that beautiful ASoT sticker on it, and I’m sold. Except you, Smart Mop. I refuse to drink spilled soda off the floor … even if the economy sucks.