Shameless self-promotion: Under 30 column presents The Sweatys
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the first-ever Sweatys, an awards show that honors dubious achievements by celebrities and newsmakers during the summer of 2006!
I'm your host Steven Hyden. You may know me from such Post-Crescent columns as "Boy, politicians are crooked!" and "What's the deal with airplane food?" It's great to see so many famous people in the audience tonight. Looking lovely as usual, Scarlett. Sorry about getting fired by Paramount, Tom. Please stop humping your chair, Paris.
The Sweatys are the place to be tonight as we head into Labor Day weekend and look back on one crrrazy summer. Speculation over this year's winners has been running rampant in Hollywood for months, which is amazing considering I didn't invent the prize until this week.
Without further ado, let's get Sweaty!
The "Where is Zack Morris When You Need Him?" Award: Dustin Diamond, a.k.a. Screech from the craptastic early '90s sitcom "Saved by the Bell," was back in the news for all the wrong reasons this summer. In June he tried to save his Milwaukee-area home from foreclosure by selling T-shirts, a scheme apparently cooked up by Zack and A.C. Slater to the comical chagrin of Mr. Belding. In August Diamond was mugged by a 28-year-old woman in an Omaha hotel room. As if things couldn't get any worse, Lisa Turtle still thinks he's a total dweeb.
The "If You Need a Babysitter, Don't Call This Guy" Award: Appleton man Ryan Van Hammond is on a rocky road after stealing a bucket of ice cream from a 14-year-old boy in July. (Get it? Rocky road? Never mind.) Van Hammond faces a felony theft charge as well as two counts of bail jumping in connection with a complaint that he struck and pointed a gun at a teenage boy during a family party in April. He is now available for all birthdays, graduations and baptisms.
Special guest metal columnist Serpico: "A funny thing happened to me on the way to the Monsters of Rock Tour…"
My good friend Serpico is a metal god. He owns hundreds of vintage metal CDs, he can drop knowledge on the most obscure metal bands known to man, he even drives around in a car with "MTLHEAD" plates. He makes Rikki Rachtman look like Kenny G.
I have long thought it a crime that Serp's incredible metal knowledge wasn't being shared with the world. So I've invited him to write an occasional column for my blog. Read on if you dare. But don't stand too close to the computer screen, ladies. His writing is so potent, it could get you pregnant.
WASP!! I LOVE WASP!! If you ever want to scare the living crap out of me, yell that phrase.
As the summer tours are winding down, I can’t help but think about one of the dandies I got the privilege to attend in the summer of 1988, on Friday, May 27. I, like many others, made the trip to Alpine Valley in East Troy, Wisconsin to witness the miraculous lineup of Kingdom Come, Dokken, Metallica, Scorpions and Van Hagar – Halen – sorry. It was billed as the Monsters of Rock Tour and all other tours that summer would be paltry in comparison because metal ruled the world.
8:30 am: It was a hot, sunny day where you just knew the beer was gonna taste great and hijinx would definitely be on the menu. Prior to boarding the van, I carefully sifted through the proper metal gear and donned my WASP t-shirt, MTLHED Wisconsin license plate and multi-colored palm tree jams – I was stylin’.
10 am: Anyway, we arrive at Alpine Valley, park the van and commence pre-concert festivities – drinking heavily. One thing that everyone should know, is that when I have a few bowls of loudmouth soup, I tend to get VERY social – “Not a boast but a curse,” as Sir Lancelot once said. While shaking hands and saying “hi” and taking pictures with complete strangers is all fine and well, but you always have to remember to keep that guard up. Everyone slips on occasion.
11 am: So concert time is 1pm and Social Drinking Hour #1 has gone very well. A few pictures with strangers, have talked with anyone wearing any kind of metal t-shirt, had to dumb down my vocabulary for some conversations, but all is well…and getting tipsy.
Sometime am/pm don’t know: Me and Bob go for a stroll to see the sights and to jabber with fellow metal maniacs about what the day at the Monsters of Rock could have in store for us. Little did I know that in about 40 yards my MoR day was going to take a turn – all because of WASP.
So on this adventure, I was completely taking in the Alpine Valley experience: Admiring those summertime girls and their big hair, observing various tailgating parties, listening to the different musical tastes every 25 feet – Iron Maiden here, Van Halen there, Metallica, KISS even Krokus – Ahh…this IS a little slice of heaven, truly things that – “WASP!! I LOVE WASP!!” Then it happened…
I now know how a deer in headlights actually feels before the moment of impact. But then again, they probably never drank Busch Light, so their reaction time would basically be nonexistent like mine was. I know him today only as The Beast in the Red Tank. He was a man of great stature and drunkeness who knew he liked WASP.
Following his war cry, he charged. I could not move, I was frozen in terror. If I was Ted Nugent, I would have drawn the bow back and dropped him in his tracks like Fred Bear, but I wasn’t Ted Nugent, I was Jim, the Two-Fisted Slobber who was clearly no match for The Beast. I juked left, then right, or I thought I did, to no avail. The Beast was upon me, he hit me with a force of 1,000,000 watts of a Motorhead concert and hoisted me over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes…
“So this is how it’s going to end, “ was all I could think as The Beast twirled around effortlessly yelling “WASP!! WASP!!” with me over his shoulder. He was surprisingly graceful and gentle for a big intoxicated man. After what seemed an eternity of the WASP war dance, my fellow WASP fan, The Beast, decided to set me down. Whether he was dizzy from the war dance or he just ran out of gentleness, I’ll never know…
The nearest place to set me down would have been the grass. But The Beast must’ve liked bright colors and the nearest bright color was a nice juicy 1984 red Trans Am. The Beast turned to meet the Trans Am head on, “Yeeeaaaaahhh!” he bellowed. I figured this was the end. I braced for what would be the body slam of all body slams. Killed by some Manowar outcast just didn’t seem fair. The Beast ran to the Trans Am with me over his shoulder “WAAAAAAAASP!!!” he proclaimed. “Oh, shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!” I proclaimed. – THUNK!!
It was done. The Beast had won. Only the corpse remained. But wait! What’s this??!! I’m alive! There’s no pain! I can feel!! Once I had realized that I was okay, my wits came back to me and I surveyed my surroundings. The Beast reared up for what I thought was a congratulatory handshake and to help me up. Instead, a look of befuddlement, then fear. He spoke. “Uh-oh.” He turned and he ran. Yep, The Beast ran.
At this point I had no idea of the damage that The Beast and I inflicted on this now less-than-mint Trans Am. Until I got up off the car, I was just happy to be alive and still have full use of all my facilities. Then I saw it. The hood of the Trans Am folded like a napkin under me and The Beast, forming a hammock-like indentation. Oh, this is was not good. Especially with me standing in front of said Trans Am. So I looked left, then right and then behind me. I saw Bob with mouth agape and we did what most drunk people would do…we ran…really fast.
I think about 15 cars down we hid behind a Suburban and regrouped. Okay, no one saw us – that we know of. No one appears to be pissed off and looking for someone. Alright, it looks to be clear. Dodged a major bullet. Okay, let’s get back to the van and keep drinking. Bob informed me on the way back, “Dude, I’m glad you’re okay and all, but that was great!” Yeah, I can laugh about it now.
I never saw The Beast again and I never met the owner of the Trans Am. However, I do apologize for the dent but I had no control over The Beast. He acted on his own love for WASP.
Well, the rest of the day is kinda blurry. Didn’t see Kingdom Come, all I remember is saying, “Let’s go see Metallica!” Everything after that is in and out. Remember looking up and seeing James Hetfield then black. Remember looking up and seeing Don Dokken then black. Finally came back to the land of the living after a while and saw the Scorpions and Van Halen to close out the Monsters of Rock day. Apparently, I made quite a few new friends along the way to the gates. Bob told me I was shaking hands, high fivein’ people and telling everyone that I loved whatever band t-shirt they had on. He said I could’ve been mayor in East Troy.
Dean Wormer said it best when he claimed that fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life. He’s right, to a point. I mean heart disease can kill you and you can’t put a price on education and while alcohol may be the devil’s mouthwash, it does tend to make things interesting. But for one day, when metal ruled the world, it was okay…and yeah, I still love WASP.
There is no greater honor for a music artist than to have your song remembered as a summer anthem.
Forget the Grammys. Flush your platinum records down the toilet. Take the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame and stick it where Ryan Seacrest smooched to get his first job.
It’s all about achieving summer song perfection.
What is a summer song? It is a one-way ticket to pop immortality, that one tune that will take you back to a particular summer every time you hear it, conjuring up memories of late-night kisses, lazy afternoons and leather car seats hot enough to burn the skin off a thousand thighs.
A summer song doesn’t have to be good in an I’m-gonna-like-this-in-three-months sense. In fact, the best part of a summer song is hating it by the end of August. A summer song just needs to be catchy, fun and, yes, dumb enough to provide an appropriate soundtrack for the days of sun and sweat. This summer had several strong candidates. The nominees are …
Every summer needs a good driving song that’s also a little dangerous. Forty summers ago Jan & Dean sang about speeding down “Dead Man’s Curve.” This summer Chamillionaire rapped about “ridin’ dirty” with a “pistola” next to his “PlayStation controlla.” So, who is the bigger badass? Well, Jan was in a car crash shortly after “Dead Man’s Curve” was released. Meanwhile, Chamillionaire presumably plays video games in real life. In an upset, we have to go with the surf rock kings.
Nelly Furtado, “Promiscuous”
What has gotten into Nelly Furtado? After likening herself to a delicate winged creature on her first hit, she released a single, “Promiscuous,” and new album, “Loose,” this summer. Furtado is like that girl back in middle school who wore panda bear sweatshirts in seventh grade, and then came back in eighth grade donning a halter-top and thong. Whatever happened to that girl, anyway?
We could also mention Rihanna’s other monster summer hit, “S.O.S.,” but this hysterical ballad dug a little deeper into our craniums because the 18-year-old diva sounds completely out of her’s. “I don’t wanna hurt him anymore/I don’t wanna take away his life/I don’t wanna be ... a murderer.” Not since “Romeo and Juliet” and possibly “Degrassi: The Next Generation” has teenage romance seemed so freaking scary.
Read the rest and find out the winner here. Or you can just watch this YouTube clip.
Local TV watchers may remember Kyra Phillips from her brief stint on WLUK-TV Channel 11 from 1992-94. Phillips is a big time CNN anchor these days, but unfortunately she's in the news today for, um, a very loud bathroom break.
"Live From" anchor Kyra Phillips had apparently left the set around 12:48 p.m. EDT Tuesday for a bathroom break while the news channel carried Bush's speech marking the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Phillips' wireless microphone was turned on and picked up about a minute and a half of a muffled conversation she had with an unidentified woman where she apparently talked about her husband, laughed and talked about her brother.
"I've got to be protective of him," she said without being aware that the mic was on. "He's married, three kids, and his wife is just a control freak." CNN anchor Daryn Kagan broke into the telecast immediately afterward updating viewers on what Bush had been saying.
"CNN experienced audio difficulties during the president's speech today in New Orleans," the CNN statement read. "We apologize to our viewers and the president for the disruption."
CNN apologized to the White House on Tuesday afternoon. It wasn't clear whether it was a technical or human malfunction, and CNN, citing corporate policy, said it wouldn't comment on whether anyone would be disciplined. It seemed unlikely that anyone would.
Hopefully this won't hurt the grosses for "13th Grade"
You know that little voice inside your head that tells you to feel sorry for Dustin Diamond? Yeah, you can tell him to shut up now.
There is talk that Dustin's recent money troubles might have been exaggerated. I quote from Tom Roz, Wisconsin's most dedicated reporter on the Screech beat, who refers to a story on Denver's Westword.com:
"There are A-list celebrities and Z-list celebrities -- but the alphabet would have to be expanded to properly categorize Dustin Diamond, who made his name in the late '80s and early '90s playing Samuel "Screech" Powers on the time-capsule-ready teen series Saved by the Bell, then pretty much disappeared. But Diamond won't be saved by ManiaTV!
The has-been star was scheduled to personally helm a five-hour telethon from the two-year-old online network's Denver headquarters, with proceeds earmarked for his "Save My House" campaign; on his website, www.getdshirts.com, Diamond (who couldn't be reached for comment) says that his home in Wisconsin is facing foreclosure. Then, just ninety minutes before the telethon was scheduled to begin, Richard Ayoub, ManiaTV!'s vice president of programming, pulled the plug.
"We didn't want to take the risk," explains ManiaTV! spokesman Jason Damata. "We couldn't verify that his house is in foreclosure, and even if there are facts to substantiate that it is and he's really, honestly trying to save his house, he exhibited some really strange and obnoxious behavior."
As Damata tells it, in the week or two before the big day, Diamond seemed legitimately excited about the telethon, and eagerly accepted ManiaTV!'s offer to fly him to Denver along with a companion, Jennifer, whom he introduced as his manager and fiancée (in at least one article, she's referred to as his wife). But Diamond's tone was much more negative after he arrived in town, even though he was generating headlines for the first time in recent memory.
And afterward, Damata says, Diamond "acted like a complete jerk," which prompted Ayoub to pull Jennifer aside for a conversation -- and her comments made him wonder if the main thing in danger of foreclosure was ManiaTV!'s reputation. "We're really trying to develop trust," Damata notes, "and if we're perceived by our audience as being involved in something that was just a publicity stunt, it might be more hurtful than helpful."
If this turns out to be true, Diamond can pretty much kiss a guest slot on "Saved by the Bell: The Mid-Life Crisis Years" goodbye. He may not even get cast in craphole movies like "13th Grade," a low-budget flick he made in 2005 with Gervase from "Survivor." Which is saying a lot, because "13th Grade" makes "Saved by the Bell" look like "The Simpsons."
"If life is really as short as they say, then why is the night so long?"
Last month I joined a club called Mixaholics that is centered on an intriguing premise: Every month I get mix CDs from two club members, and every month I share a homemade mix with two other club members. It's a cool way to discover new music.
One song that jumped out at me on the first CD I recieved was "Requiem," a joyously angry eulogy for a fallen soldier by singer/songwriter M. Ward. I recently picked up Ward's latest album, "Post-War," which includes "Requiem" and about a dozen other songs of forward-thinking retro folk songs.
I realize that description doesn't make much since, but it's the only way I can sum up Ward's music. Like late period Dylan, Ward is infatuated with "post-war" blues and folk music from the 1940s and '50s. But he's not a revivalist. Rather he uses the old music as a haunting, timeless cloak for his gently wistful songs, which mourn the past and celebrate the future in equal doses.
The above YouTube clip is of Ward's performance last week on Letterman. He performs "Chinese Translation," an outstanding track off "Post-War." Ward will be at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee on Sept. 7, my birthday, and I'll likely be there because I just won free tickets. This clip has me excited, and not just because I have a thing for female drummers.
The lone bright spot of last night's nationally-televised humiliation of the Green Bay Lackers at the hands of the Bengals and their not-really-crippled QB was Aaron Rodgers' mustache, which strode the sidelines with a pride not seen since the great Lombardi. (By the way, sportswriters and radio talk show hosts are free to use my clever "Lackers" nickname. Just give me some credit, please.)
I haven't watched much of the Packers' pre-season until now, so perhaps Rodgers 'stache has made other appearances. But last night was the first time I ever saw it, and boy, the man is handsome in a don't-want-to-leave-the-kids-alone-with-that-guy kind of way. I say McCarthy should give him the starting job RIGHT NOW based on solely on facial hair. (The fact that Favre is looking like late period Dickey cinches the change.)
I've been searching high and low for a pic of the 'stache all morning without any luck. So I'm placing a bounty on the prize: I will pay 10 bucks to the first person who brings me a pic of the 'stache of Aaron Rodgers.
I am not kidding. I do not kid about bounties. I promise 10 bucks, plus bragging rights, to the first person who brings me a pic of the 'stache of Aaron Rodgers.
Shameless self-promotion: Seven lessons about schoool you can take from school movies
School movies are never praised for their realism. In fact, most people think school movies are downright fakey. But those people are wrong. School movies speak the truth.
Popular kids worry about having to act cool all the time. Nerdy kids are one makeover away from being sexy. Every college is evenly split between rich snobs and crazy party animals. All true, all situations regularly featured in movies.
With the school year looming, we went back to some of our favorite school movies to find valuable lessons for surviving the next nine months of full-time learning. Here are seven of the most important school movie truisms.
Keep extracurriculars to a minimum
There is more to school than going to class. There also are extracurricular activities like sports, plays and hanging out at the mall. But don’t let the extras get in the way of your studies. Consider Max Fischer, the protagonist in “Rushmore.” A partial list of Max’s extracurriculars include: French Club, Model United Nations, Stamp and Coin Club, Fencing Club, the Yankee Racers go-kart club, Trap and Skeet Club and his theater group, the Max Fischer Players. Max also spends a lot of time with Bill Murray. The packed schedule causes him to flunk out of school. The lesson? Go with one or two extracurriculars, particularly the Trap and Skeet Club and Bill Murray.
“My” time vs. “our” time
Since the dawn of school, teachers have admonished chatting and spit-balling students for wasting “my” time in the classroom. Students, in turn, say classroom time is really “our” time. So, who is right? The answer can be found in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” when Jeff Spicoli tries to order a pizza during Mr. Hand’s history class. (Watch above YouTube clip.) Not only does Spicoli lose his pizza, but Mr. Hand shows up later in Spicoli’s bedroom to make up for “my” time being wasted in class. There is no way around it: The “my” timers win, kids.
How to win a school election
Every year the popular kids pretend to be politicians in the school’s student government election. It’s a dreary exercise few non-popular kids enjoy, so a budding JFK is well advised to liven things up by cribbing from perhaps the best school election speech ever given by angsty teen Tammy Metzler (played by Jessica Campbell) in “Election.”
“Who cares about this election?” Metzler asks, recalling the righteous power of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. “The same pathetic charade happens every year and everyone makes the same pathetic promises just so they can put it on their college transcripts. As president, I won’t do anything. The only promise I will make is if elected, I will immediately dismantle student government so that none of us will have to sit through one of these stupid assemblies again.” Promise that and you are a shoo-in to be the next class prez.
Me, I'm not expecting anything too dramatic with this record. It looks like it will have the same bluesy, old-time feel of "Time Out of Mind" and "Love and Theft," two records I really, really love.
I'm almost as pumped about seeing Dylan live again. He is doing an arena tour this fall with a bunch of young pups, including Kings of Leon and The Raconteurs. His Oct. 31 show at the Kohl Center in Madison will feature the Foo Fighters in acoustic mode.
I didn't watch the Emmys last night, but apparently there was a memorable "Lost" parody starring host Conan O'Brien involving a hilarious plane crash. Unfortunately, there was an actual plane crash in Lexington, Kentucky, early Sunday morning that killed 49 people.
I'm not one to be easily offended, but I'm a little shocked the pre-taped skit wasn't pulled as soon as the news broke. Networks normally are hyper-sensitive about controversies like this, so somebody obviously was asleep at the wheel. I think Hot Air blog makes an interesting point: If the plane crash had happened on the west coast, more care would have been paid. Plane crashes in fly-over country (no pun intended) are just funnier, I guess.
My name is Steve and I'm a newspaper reporter and writer living in northeast Wisconsin, which is just below the armpit created by the bulk of the state and the peninsula. I don't live in the actual armpit, which is Green Bay, which is a place where fat people sit on their porches and watch traffic go by when the Packers aren't in season. I live in Appleton, a place where slightly less fat people do slightly more interesting things, like watch NASCAR, which is traffic with better camera work. I like living here 79 percent of the time. I fancy myself a deep thinker, an iconoclast, a man who can enjoy both high and low culture. Think Chuck Klosterman with a dose of Jack Nicholson from "Five Easy Pieces." However, I suspect I am not nearly as cool as I think I am. I may in fact be a dork. For example, look at how I described myself a few sentences earlier. What can I say? I'm the guy who started listening to the Clash when he was 13 not because he was reacting against the repressive Republican regime he had lived under most of his life, but because John Cusack wore a Clash T-shirt in "Say Anything..."