Archive for February, 2009

26th February
2009
written by Jeff

Every Thursday, I post about the things that I love, and God only knows what those things might be.

Cake!Lots of things in this world can bring you pleasure – great music, vacation, sex with prostitutes, crack. It’s all part of the rainbow of life. For me, on the short list of things that make me happy is cake.

Not only is it sweet and delicious, but it makes you feel special, like it’s your birthday any day you eat it, and who doesn’t love that!?

When I was a kid, my favorite was chocolate. I still really enjoy a good chocolate devil’s food cake with chocolate icing. I particularly like the devil’s food because I like feeling as if I’m eating something prepared by Satan himself. There’s a comforting feeling knowing the Prince of Darkness got his claws in a mixing bowl and whipped a little dessert just for me. It’s sweet really.

But, my favorite of all is white cake with white icing. This is not a racial thing. I don’t think you should keep black and white separate. In fact, I encourage interracial cakes. Hell, marblize those bastards even. Power to the batter, bitches.

Anyway, white cake with white icing is just fantastic. Don’t leave me near a plain wedding cake or I’ll eat the whole damn thing and even lick the little bride and groom…and the cake topper too – AHTHANKYOU!

Sheet cakes are usually made this way, although I don’t like the whipped cream icing nearly as much as the buttercream. In fact, as my ex-wife will attest, I went through a “sheet cake phase” where I randomly brought home sheet cakes from the store and ate them a little at a time right from the box. That was the summer I gained 75 pounds, suffered a triple coronary and smelled of fondant. Terrifying.

Other cakes high on my list include red velvet, angel food cake (my grandmother made the best version of this), ice cream cake and cheesecake, though that’s more like a pie, but I’m not going to quibble over sugar.

It should be noted that I also love cupcakes. Look, if I love a good sheet cake, why would I discriminate against its tiny little offspring. While I don’t make a practice of eating it regularly, I’m not opposed to veal or lamb, so why would I be adverse to eating baby cakes – and no, that is not the name of a stripper I met in Vegas.

Truth is, that wonderful combination of sugar and flour is hard to beat when it comes to dessert. Sure, ice cream is yummy, chocolate is decadent, pastries are tasty, pies are nom and tarts are tartastic, but cake will always remain king of the dessert heap, even the King Cake they have for Mardis Gras even though it has that crazy plastic baby inside destined to lodge in your throat and kill you if it doesn’t first come to life and stab you in the eyeball.

It’s just like that movie, Chucky Takes the Cake. Ok, maybe not.

Photo by groovehouse.

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25th February
2009
written by Jeff

Every Wednesday, you get a peek inside the mail bag. In this case, that bag is full of letters I write to ask questions we all want answered…or maybe just me.

Front of the HouseTo My Dear Soon-To-Be-Ex Neighbors,

I will soon (hopefully, VERY soon) be selling my house and moving off this street I’ve lived on for almost 15 years. I’ve enjoyed meeting most of you and enjoyed observing you even more. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all individually.

Thank you, creepy guy that sits in front of the empty lot and reads paperbacks, for being so odd and making me wonder what the hell you are doing there every day and, more importantly, what you are reading.

Thank you, guy who was so convinced his mother would move back to the house next door that he let it fall into severe dis-repair, for finally selling both houses and moving on with your life. I’m sure everyone is much happier.

Thank you, Love Park basketball gym, for not allowing me to play in the afternoons when you are empty even though no one else plays there during the day and all I wanted to do was shoot some hoops on your newly-renovated hardwoods by myself.

Thank you, angry lesbian, for spray painting my drummer’s van one night simply because you were grumpy that none of the neighbors or the police thought our rehearsing before 10pm on Monday’s with a HEAVILY soundproofed room was worthy of scorn and vitriol.

Thank you, giant, chubby, hairy guy with incredibly thin, anti-social wife, who help me to remember that odd couples sometimes really do work.

Thank you, guy who called his wife a bitch in front of me and then told me the long story of how his testicle swelled up to the size of a grapefruit, for moving and making our street a little more peaceful.

Thank you, guy that stared at the tree every day in your yard until it died. That was one seriously awesome summer.

Thank you, strange people across the street who always come in at 11pm every night and never seem to be home any other time, clearly because you are hired assassins or ninja.

And now for the serious one’s…

Thank you, my dear next door neighbors, for allowing me to watch your children grow, for helping me with work around my home, for always being kind and for KPFT rocking my weekends from your outdoor speakers.

Thank you, both sets of neighbors who lived on the other side of my house, for your kindness and your patience with me and my music.

Thank you, neighbor across the street for chatting on your front porch.

Thank you, my sweet, long-since passed neighbor, for all the stories you told me about my home and the Heights in general. You were an inspiration.

Thank you, guy who used to own my house, for coming back and doing all the repairs to help me get ready to sell and for being such a great guy to deal with when I bought the house in the first place.

Most of all, thank you residents of my awesome little street for making me laugh and for tolerating my sometimes odd behavior, many yard sales, pet rescues, strange gardening choices, loud music and home repairs over the years. You will all be missed.

I hope whoever buys this house realizes just how quirky and awesome you all are and loves you for it as much as I have.

Sincerely,

Jeff

P.S. To my next door neighbor, don’t think I won’t be sitting outside your house every Christmas looking for a tin of your homemade fudge. Seriously.

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24th February
2009
written by Jeff

I wish I was smart enough to come up with some of the crap people think up on a daily basis. Honestly, the Foreman Grill, the Flowbee, the human heart and now the Blow Guard.

I’m sure it’s very useful, but I have some questions about the ad:

Blow Guard

First of all, isn’t Nick the Dick that guy with the foot-long schlong in Bachelor Party? I’m fairly certain it is. Aren’t they going to be sued for using his name without permission?

Second, why are they using the British spelling of “savour” and not “flavor?” Are they using some quasi-British-American hybrid language because, if so, I say, “Go back to Russia!” This is AMERICA. In America, you talk American and not some commie pinko half-breed language.

Third, how do you KNOW he’ll return the favour favor? Does the Blow Guard contain some magic serum that enters the bloodstream through the penis and causes a man to be unable to stop himself from performing oral sex on a woman or does it just mean he’ll tap you on the head this time before having his happy ending? Either way, I guess that’s an improvement for most women.

Lastly, what in the name of all that’s holy is that couple drinking? Sweet pink Jesus that looks nasty.

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24th February
2009
written by Jeff

Every Tuesday I write about the television shows I watched growing up and I watched a LOT of tv. Ask my retinas.

Greatest American HeroLike most boys, I was enamored with things like athletes, martial artists and, yes, comic book heroes. When The Greatest American Hero hit the airwaves, I was immediately hooked.

GAH ran from 1981-83 on ABC and starred William Katt, Robert Culp and Connie (John Tesh) Sellecca. The show creator was the prolific Stephen J. Cannell, who created other action-oriented 80’s shows like The A-Team, Hunter and 21 Jump Street.

GAH told the story of Katt, a school teacher, who discovers a suit from outer space that gives him super powers when he wears it. The only problem is he didn’t get the manual and learning to use his powers, which include flying, invisibility, super strength among other things, is a disaster, particularly the flying part. Think Jackie Chan in The Tuxedo.

On second thought, don’t think of that. In fact, just erase that from your memory. Whew. That was close.

Culp, a veteran tv actor most recently seen playing Ray Ramano’s father-in-law on Everybody Loves Raymond, is a tough FBI agent who is with Katt in the desert when they find the suit. The two are told by aliens via the car stereo to use the suit to save the world. This entails fighting bad guys and looking like total jackasses, apparently.

Katt played your typical late 70’s shaggy-haired sort-of hippie do gooder. He was a good guy who wore square knit ties and tried to teach his students, a bunch of at-risk kids led by Michael Pare, right and wrong, but he certainly isn’t cut out to be a hero. I wondered years later if Katt’s character was at all modeled on John Ritter’s character from the terrible movie Hero at Large, where Ritter, an out of work actor, accidentally foils a robbery wearing a superhero costume that looks an awful lot like the GAH costume and ends up fighting crime…badly. Katt and Ritter’s characters were pretty similar in personality and their names each had two t’s in them – coincidence?

See, this is what happens when you watch too much tv and have cable at an early age. You watch entirely too many television shows and bad movies. I have an entire list of B movies from that era I want to get on DVD. You don’t want to know.

GAH only made it a couple seasons before ABC pulled the plug. Ironically, the show’s theme song “Believe It or Not” went to #2 on the Billboard charts and stayed in the top 40 for 18 weeks, a much more successful run than the show itself, which must be incredibly rare. The theme song even got a nod on Seinfeld when George recorded used the theme for his answering machine greeting:

Believe it or not, George isn’t at home.
Leave a message at the beep.
I must be out or I’d pick up the phone.
Where could I be?
Believe it or not, I’m not home.

GAH hit in that perfect era of television viewing for me, the early 80’s. I was too young to care about girls (or do anything about it even if I did), but old enough to stay up past 8pm. Sweet!

To this day, I have really fond memories of GAH and, let’s face it, Connie Sellecca was HOT!

Wikipedia
IMDB
Get Yourself a GAH T-Shirt or, better yet, GET ME ONE!!! (XL please!)

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23rd February
2009
written by Jeff

I was a child in the 70’s and early 80’s, a time marked by some of the sweetest, sensitivist and soulfullest pop songs ever. Each Monday, I give you a chance to learn about some of the music I heard as a kid right here on Light Rock Monday.

Andrew Gold - Lonely BoyToday’s Light Rock Monday song is Andrew Gold’s “Lonely Boy,” released in 1976. Gold was the son of a composer and a singer, so it runs in his blood. By the time he was a teenager, he was already a working musician. His music, production and arrangement credits include Art Garfunkel, James Taylor, 10cc and Don Henley. His most recognized performing and arranging credit is with Linda Ronstadt, working on her huge hit album Heart Like a Wheel.

“Lonely Boy” was Gold’s biggest radio hit reaching #7 on the Billboard Pop Chart, but his best-known song is “Thank You For Being a Friend,” which wasn’t popular at the time of its release but found an audience as the theme song for “The Golden Girls.” While Gold didn’t sing the version of that TV theme, he did sing the theme for the Paul Riser, Helen Hunt sitcom “Mad About You.”

It’s clear that Gold had some mad production skills as “Lonely Boy” sounds about 4 or 5 years ahead of its time sonically. The arrangement demonstrated Gold’s skill as a multi-instrumentalist as well.

But, at it’s heart, “Lonely Boy” is an ode to the lost soul of a young boy who feels abandoned by his parents and confused by the changing social norms.

Yes, it’s corny. Yes, it’s marginally sappy. But, it’s sweet in its nostalgic view of a clearly complicated childhood. I was an only child so, in a way, I get the vibe the song is trying to create.

Mainly, I just think it’s a really catching song.

Stream Andrew Gold’s “Lonely Boy” on BlipFM
“Lonely Boy” Lyrics
“Lonely Boy” Wikipedia
Andrew Gold Wikipedia

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