Get out your dueling phasers, the always great nerdhub i09 has put together their list of the Top 100 Science Fiction/Fantasy/Sex-Repellent Television Shows Of All Time. These sorts of lists incite a strange kind of primal rage from geeks, and I’m no exception. (I nearly blacked out with rage getting into Comic Book Guy style fury over the omission of Millennium.) Read, evaluate, compare notes. If nothing else, see where CityTV staple Lexx appears in the rankings.
My football career: As a viewer/fan/pseudo-pundit, sports and I get along wonderfully. As a participant, sports and I get along terribly. I’ve always been terrible at sports and my steadfast laziness makes the idea of practicing repugnant. I like to “play” sports far more than compete in them. So how the hell did I end up briefly (very briefly) on a high school football team? It’s a tale of sloth (mine) and a disinterest in redemption.
I had just moved to Regina (come for the crystal meth, stay for the man-made lake!) in the summer of 2001, and I had the brilliant idea that I would like to play football. “I like watching organized football on the pictocube, so certainly it’d be a fun activity to do,” I thought. I can’t emphasize how moronic a line of logic that is. I mean, I liked watching Darkwing Duck growing up, but that show never inticed me to be a single dad. My interest in playing football was misguided at best.
I fantasized about endorsment deals, post-career broadcasting work and the eventual transition into an acting career. I decided I’d most likely take Jim Brown’s career path, but I’d accept having a resume more akin to Fred Williamson if need be. As long as I got to be in some of the better blaxploitation flicks, I’d be alright.
The fall rolled around, and I began my first semester at Campbell Collegiate. Stepping into the gym, I cracked up laughing immediately. My new school had giant posters of children (because school is for children) in their action football poses. I can’t emphasize how silly it looked. Grrrr! This poster shows how tough our teens are! It was like something out of The Faculty, if kids in The Faculty had aspirations of playing minor league football in Canada. I suppose the enormous images were intended to be a point of school pride, but it came across as strange homo-erotic nostalgia fantasy fufillment. Maybe they could sneak giant posters of Smiths singles album art on their walls, too.
(Important Smiths Note: I was an enormous Smiths fan in high school.)
Mind you, if the school gym did have promotional material for The Smiths on a gigantic scale, our drama department would be the best in the nation (It wasn’t. Proof? I won a year-end Best Actor award.). I was not deterred by the worship and pride the school focused on their football program. I was convinced that me and football would be an okay fit. I talked to the head coach on the first day of school. I gave a bizarre, convoluted speech about how I had seen Rudy, and that I’d be a valuable addition to the team. My speech likely did nothing to aid the situation, but I was added to the roster for some reason. Probably as a means to get me out of his office.
As soon as the first practice began, I had my Bluth moment. I’ve made a huge mistake. I immediately had an epiphany that being on a football team is the complete opposite of what I consider worthwhile. Doing drills, being yelled at, watching game film, adhering to a schedule, being around people who wear school jackets and buy copies of the yearbook. This was my vision of hell, and I idiotically signed up for it. I had fucked up terribly. It was only one day into my football career and I had enough.
There was only one way out. Quitting. That or something to do with dynamite, but that’s a wild overreaction to getting out of an athletic commitment. Before the second practice, I told the coach I quit. I quit with gusto. I quit knowing that I like sports as a leisure activity. I quit knowing I am the opposite of Brett Farve. My football career began and ended within a week. And I couldn’t be happier for it.
Reading Rainbow's been axed, the braces are coming off Betty Suarez and The Jay Leno Show is nearly upon us. Am I being punished for not meeting the appropriate level of upset over the death of Ted Kennedy?
Nine years back The AV Club presented an assortment of celebrities with the question, “Is there a God?” It turns out that Catherine O’Hara and Mickey Dolenz disagree on the matter (like those two ever agree, am I right?). It’s an interesting read, you can check it out here and another edition here.
We’re year nine into the Willenium, and it appears year ten into my slow descent into alcoholism. If I have my personal booze history right, it’s been ten years since my first night drinking. Judging by my W.C. Fields-esque nose you might guess that I’ve been drinking since 1968. This would be quite the feat, as that would mean I started drinking seventeen years before I was born, and that’s something only a Barrymore could do. Strangely, my gin blossom is the result of only ten years of drinking.
As a matter of historical record (in case Ken Burns elects to make a documentary mini-series about me), I thought I’d tell the story of my first night drinking. It’s a tale of intrigue, humiliation and the ongoing struggle of humanity against modern appliances. Coincidentally, it happens to be a true story.
The Background: Booze was never really a big part of my household. My Pa is a teetotaller (like Joe Biden and Chamillionaire) and my Ma drinks sparingly. The only time drinking went on in the house was when my grandparents would come over (3/4s of whom could join the pro liquor guzzling tour), or the very strange fall/winter of 1994 when Ed Belfour was a constant fixture at our house. My exposure to booze was sparse and my knowledge was mostly culled from television. I had no tangible understanding of liquor outside of drinking white wine with holiday dinners from the age of 8 onward.
My first liquor adventure took place in Ste. Rose du Lac, Manitoba. It was one of the many rural settings I grew up in as a kid. I hated living there. How much? At sixteen, I moved to the exotic metropolis of Regina, Saskatchewan to live with my grandparents. Canada’s answer to Cincinnati was a much more exciting option to grow up in than the home of the “Hoof and Holler Festival”. Yes, the town’s festival was actually called that.
This story takes place when I was at the tender age of fourteen. I lived next door to my friend Brett. According to my Ma, he looks like Chris Griffin, so you can use that as a visual aide if you like. We hung out a lot watching bad TV and eating worse food. On a non-descript Saturday, I went over to his place to watch The Blues Brothers. This plan was side-tracked when a few of Brett’s friends (Shawn, Kyle and Tyler) dropped by his house with an absurdly large brown bag filled with booze. Jake and Elwood could wait, there was fuck-uppery to be had.
I was the only one in our group that had never drank before. I’m not sure if that made me more eager to try, but I tackled my assignment with gusto. We started off playing assorted drinking games. None of them I remember (I don’t like drinking games, I feel it gets in the way of drinking), but I do remember guzzling vodka by the litre. My coordination is shit normally (to the point I was in the special education group at one of my elementary school’s “athletics” days), so adding booze to the equation had me losing every game I played. Strangely, I held my liquor much better than my peers. After mowing through a few large bottles of vodka, my pal Brett was looking worse for wear and was eventually carried to bed. It was a night for drunk and passed out teen boys. Or as Kevin Spacey calls it “Tuesday’s, My Place”.
When I say I held my liquor well, I mean I didn’t unleash a torrent of vomit all over the walls of his family’s home (luckily his parents were out at some sort of party). I took this new sensation of drunkenness for a spin. I had a blast doing detective work on that. I found out that your balance is shot, pouring drinks involves spilling liquor everywhere and that peeing into a toilet can be a remarkably difficult exercise. (I would like to note that I have mastered directing my urine into a toilet while drunk, so I am now safe for parties.)
I also found out that while drunk, guys like to have “dad talk”. This is a constant thread that has reared its head at drunken nights out with friends to this day. Guys like to talk about their dads. The gist of it is mainly “my dad is kind of a hardass, but gawdammit I love em”. I’ve heard some variance of this revelation constantly throughout the last ten years. It’s sort of like being some sort of weird play each time you hear it. I’m working on my monologue so I can pull it out if I ever decide to join the “dad talk” club.
The night continued to roar on with the contents of the brown bag emptied and the liquor cabinet raided wholesale. I continued to be fed an assortment of drinks, and I was happy to play the role of soused guinea pig. In my drunken stupor, I felt that drinking twice as much as my colleagues was a Herculean activity that would later result in my recieving medals and ticker-tape parades. I drank whatever cocktails were given to me. Eventually, I was given the most disgusting thing I’ve drank to date (aside from Mountain Dew Red Alert, of course). I was given a mug that was one half Long Island Iced Tea, one quarter whiskey and one quarter 2% milk. I watched passively as the milk curdeled instantly. I also watched as my hand picked up the glass and directed the glass of bad decision into my mouth. It was like drinking a milkshake made of garbage and despair.
At this point, I thought it’d be a great idea to follow one brilliant decision with another. I was going to call my Ma at four in the morning to tell her I was going to be staying overnight next door. Instead of walking/stumbling/crawling the twenty feet back home, I dialed Brett’s phone to tell Ma I had to stay over because my friend was sick. Jealous, Machiavalli? I am such a genius strategist.
My Conversation With My Ma
Me: Maaaaaaahhhh! I’m’a’sturyin’over at Brett’s. (Shouting) He’s sick!
Ma (tired and annoyed): Damn it, Dan, come home. You’re drunk.
Me: You doooohhhhnn’t understand. He’s sick. I’ve gotta stay. He’s not feeli-
And that’s when I vomitted directly into the phone. As if exiting from a firehose, an industrial pressure stream of puke was unleashed into the mouthpiece of Brett’s family phone. I dropped the phone immediately. I looked at my friends, my shirt drenched in barf, and declared as non-chalantly as I could “yeah, I think I’m going to go home.” And that’s when I ran as fast as I could down the stairs.
I started sprinting immediately and didn’t bother to look at the broken glass from earlier in the evening strewn about the floor. I ran through it and didn’t care. Somehow I convinced myself that if I ran back home fast enough I could outrun my drunken phonecall home. Covered in puke and blood (this was before Amy Winehouse turned it into a fashion statement), I walked through the front door. My parents were there to greet me.
You know the whole “I’m not mad, I’m just dissapointed” thing that parents do? That was the reception I got. I was carried to bed like Renton was in Trainspotting. It turns out that carrying a child covered in assorted bodily fluids isn’t something Ma and Pa enjoy doing before sunrise. Additionally, it turns out that friends aren’t crazy about cleaning guest vomit from their communication devices. If Kyle didn’t take a shit in Brett’s laundry hamper earlier that evening, I imagine there would be much harsher repercussions. Mystery poo can really get you out of some terrible situations.
There’s an epilogue to the running through broken glass story, oddly enough. I travelled back in time and gave Annie Lennox a hit using my experience of walking on broken glass Two weeks after the Manitoba Booze Massacre, I was watching basketball on the couch and my Pa walked by and noticed something shiny poking out of my big toe. My big toe had swollen a bit since that night, but my feet are so absurdly large, who could tell? My Pa went to fetch some tweezers and began to remove this mystery toe addition. So what was lodged in my foot? A piece of glass the size of a (Canadian) dime. I’m not sure how I didn’t notice, but this may come in handy if I ever have to recreate scenes from Die Hard.
Poisoning and personal injury. What a way to start a romance! I love you, booze.
If you ever need to mainline whimsy, might I suggest The Brothers Bloom?
For some reason there are loads of films I like every year (how unique am I to enjoy the moving pictures), but there aren’t too many where the first adjective that comes to mind is ”fun”. The Brothers Bloom was fun. Enormous fun. I’m certain it’s stylish, silly and unapologetically romantic approach will make some folks gag, but if you’re willing to be charmed, writer/director Rian Johnson has crafted as an entertaining a movie you’ll see all year.
Tragic sidenote: I think going to see it last night may qualify as the most twee outing of my life. I’m not particularly twee (nor want to be), but it seemed like the perfect storm of twee-ocity: I went by myself to see a Wes Anderson-esque film in the basement of my local library. I drank root beer and listened to Tullycraft while walking around killing time before the screening. After the show I hopped a bus and openly wondered what it’d be like to be married to Rachel Weisz. Great, I imagine.
I think that itinerary legally gives people carte blanche to punch me in the nose and take my lunch money. Which, to be honest, is the right reaction.
The Flaming Lips aren’t twee, but the track is all sorts of fun.
The Sleepy Jackson - I Understand What You Want, But I Just Don’t Agree
This week I was told that I look remarkably like Ron Perlman. My life can now be divided into two eras: 1) The Pre-Perlman Revelation Era (1985-2009) 2) The Investing In Facial Prosthetics Era (2009-Present).
In “the perverted arts” news, Devil’s Film has announced that they will be doing an adult film parody of Big Love. I find this troubling as I’ve only seen the first season of the HBO series and fear that I’ll be lost plotwise. It’s the same trepidation one might feel about not rereading historical documents concerning George Archer-Shee before watching a stage production of The Winslow Boy.
"You’d better come to play" complete with pictures of lions. Am I being tough talked by Toronto’s 1980s tourism board? It’s still better than their original slogan: Toronto - Fulfill Your Homeless Sex Fantasy.
Before you move, you feel paralyzed. Some people really actually like you, and even though you might not think so, they hurt because you leave. Death is not the only seperation that makes us sad. Distance feels heavy. There is a calm before you move, and it’s very scary. I’ve done this twice now, but the last time I didn’t think about it very much. Now I feel it. It’s exciting, but its really sad. They prayed for me at church today, and I think it sunk in that I have a role here, which I never realized before. All the times I made jokes, performed, hung-out with people, organized improv for church- it was really a gift for others, just as I am blessed through people. So, now I know how my friends feel, because I miss them a great deal already. I’ll miss you very much Regina. See you around!
From the May 11, 1999 edition of CNN’s Showbuzz entertainment catch-all column.
Court ruling doubles the ‘Easy’ score: Torn 2, Hopper zip
LOS ANGELES (CNN) — A judge has ordered actor Dennis Hopper to shell out another $475,000 to colleague Rip Torn, in Torn’s defamation lawsuit against Hopper, according attorneys for both parties.
An earlier ruling, upheld on appeal, required Hopper to pay a first $475,000 in compensatory damages. This time, it’s punitive damages. A judge found that Hopper “acted with malice when he made false and defamatory comments” about Torn in 1994 on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” according Torn’s lawyer, Robert Chapman.
Torn says Hopper slandered him by telling Leno that Torn had pulled a knife on him in a restaurant while the two were discussing Torn’s potential role in the 1969 film Hopper directed with Peter Fonda, “Easy Rider.” The part went to Jack Nicholson.
Torn’s version of the story is that Hopper is the one who pulled a knife. Hopper has since said the incident had nothing to do with the question of Torn being in the film.
Hopper’s attorney says an appeal, this time, is unlikely.
I’m not so weirded out that Madonna is currently 50 as I am that she was barely 40 when Music came out. For some reason I remember her being 56 and Guy Ritchie helping her out of the tub to go to the studio.