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The Truth About Danny from Hey Dude… Dead or Alive?

By Andrew Blumetti

Anyone who knows relatively anything about anything knows that teen s-kicker sitcom, Hey Dude, is the best television show to ever grace the boob tube.

Well, maybe not exactly the best show ever, but if you grew up a healthy diet of late 80’s/early 90’s Nickelodeon fare, you’re no doubt as big of a fan of the western cowboy-comedy as I was.

The plot was your classic fish-out-of-water:  A nerdy New York City accountant purchases  the “Bar None Ranch”, an Arizona dude ranch smack dab in the barren desert, and brings his Hypercolor shirt-wearing son with him.  Throw in a teenage staff of cowboys, Indians, and textbook white-boy slackers, and you’ve got yourself a Nick home run, and I don’t mean Swisher.

“Who you calling a fish out of water?!?”

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There was goofball troublemaker Ted, and his on-again, off-again love interest, Brad, a rich girl with a boys’ name who was nowhere near as attractive as she was made out to be.  Rounding out the bunch was goody two-shoes lifeguard Melody, Brendan Frasier-wannabe drummer Jake, pretty-boy cowboy Kyle, Lucy- the one actual adult who worked there, and last, but not least, Danny Lightfoot, a Hopi Indian who had a larger denim vests collection than Ernest P. Worrell.  Lightfoot also was graced with a deep, spiritual kinship with the anhydrous desert land, the way Hollywood assumes all Native Americans do.

Danny (fourth from left) was peeved in this episode, as everyone put their money on him to go first in the “Hey Dude death pool”. 

After the show’s cancellation in 1991, the teen cast mostly fell into adult obscurity.  A few cast members kept their inconsequential relevance– protagonist Mr. Ernst (David Brisbin) did some minor acting on episodes of shows such as Seinfeld and ER, Ted (David Lascher) went on to co-star in Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, and Melody (Christine Taylor) most prominently became known as Mrs. Ben Stiller.

The parched tumbleweeds blew across the Duders world for years until an ordinary 2004 afternoon, when it was reported (albeit unconfirmed) that Joe Torres, the actor who played Danny, had passed away from liver failure.

This story could’ve been an immature internet hoax, or it could’ve been true, and that’s the sheer bloody genius of it.

Report that Brad Pitt jumped off a bridge or Kim Kardashian fell into a shark tank, and skeptical people will call shenanigans from the get-go.  Report the quiet demise of an obscure actor from a nearly 20-year old kid’s cable show, and it becomes a lot harder to disprove.

Also, the longer the rumors went invalidated, the more believable the actor’s doom-and-gloom fate became.  Was he still vertical?  Or did the man-eating jack rabbits and killer cacti finally take Torres down?

(Yes, apparently Danny was a big Guns ‘N Roses fan.  …but did he ever get to experience the forgettable phenomenon that was Chinese Democracy?)

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Finding information on Torres is about as difficult as you’d imagine.  Over the years, on his IMDB page, help was sparse at best.  Mostly a bunch of occasional message board nerds doing message-boardy things, such as disputing his fate, discussing his mullet, and who saw him doing what, and where (not necessarily in that order).

Internet hearsay is absolutely worthless though.  For all we really know, he was out playing darts with Elvis, country line-dancing with Tupac or maybe he was abducted by martians who were mistaken Clarissa Explains It All fans instead.

There were also stories that Torres packed his dusty bags and ended up on the East Coast.  Some speculation pointed to him living in Tarheel country in North Carolina.  Or maybe it was more plausible he simply dropped the “s” at the end of his last name, blew all of his Hey Dude savings at the plastic surgeon, then managed the Yankees to four World Series titles.

One man, four rings?  Perhaps all those years of dealing with hothead Ted on the show prepared him to deal with Roger Clemens on the field?

Another possible theory was that Torres was still alive and working at a Toyota dealership in Runnemede, NJ.  Any links on the website to his existence are gone, and this was the supposed picture of him from his shirt-and-tie job:

“He was known as ‘Sells’em Camry’ in used-car circles.”

Another theory that seemed to have legs was that Torres was still alive and kickin’… at a bar nonetheless.  Some had claimed to see him frequent the World Famous Golden Nugget Tavern in Tuscon, Arizona.

Word on the sand has it that Torres is not someone you want to meet up with on the felt, as he’s quite the pool shark (just without his own week on cable every summer).  This seemed to be more likely than the other scenarios, seeing as the Southwest was Torres’ old stomping grounds when Hey Dude filmed out there during its run.

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After many failed attempts to find any contact source to help with Torres’ mysterious story, the simplest solution was get in touch with the Golden Nugget to see if they could shed any light on this Dude-er dilemma.

Following an inquiry to the establishment, I received a very helpful email from Tim Donaldson from the Golden Nugget.  Donaldson kindly told me that Jose (Joe) “is alive and well”, thanked me for my message, and said he would pass it along to him.

Hey Danny, you’re alive!  Don’t look so shocked.

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So my fellow Nick fans, may this news make your late-summer week a little sweeter.  We can all breathe a “yippe ki yi ya!” in relief that the rumors of the demise of Danny from Hey Dude, were just that- rumors.  A bunch of speculative hogwash– no liver failure and no job selling Snooki a souped-up Corolla at a Jersey car dealership.  Turns out our very favorite Hey Dude-er is just a former actor looking to kick back, sink the 8-ball in the corner pocket of his past, and enjoy his billard-loving privacy.

…unlike Sponge from Salute Your Shorts.  We all know he’s really dead.

???

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Filed under Comedy, Entertainment, Humor, Pop Culture, Retro, Television

Hey, This Looks Gross. (The Gummy Edition)

By Andrew Blumetti

 

1. Bears

2. Worms

3. Fish.

 

That’s the traditional gummy holy trinity, plain and simple.

Once in a blue moon, you’ll see the candy powers-that-be branch out and cook up something unique, like gummy dolphins, gummy cola bottles or a gummy De Milo (the rarest gummy of them all), but honestly, who needs all those bells and whistles?  Deep down, don’t we all just wish those were bears while we’re chowing down on them?

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from life, it’s this:  When something’s good and a buck’s being made, some schmuck goes too far and ruins it.  That’s why we had Speed 2, the final season of Roseanne, and a Belushi brother who’s name wasn’t John.

Companies tend to overestimate how much sugary crap we will shove down our gullets and really– there’s only so far kids will go when it comes to gross candy.  Check a trick-or-treater’s bag on December 1st, you’ll still see half-melted Mary Janes and awful Bit-O-Honeys decomposing at the bottom of it sticking to the side, waiting for sweet life in the garbage can.

…and if some rube decides to hand out these horrid looking things, they’ll certainly be sitting in there too.

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GUMMY BACON

Yuck Factor:  3

Why’s it So Gross?:  I usually subscribe to the theory bacon makes almost all things better.  Add it to a cheeseburger, eggs, or a turkey club, and it’s a crispy, artery-clogging treat.

Something about the fact that this has gummy fat on it really isn’t sweetening the deal, and it sure seems strange that pig on the box is so excited to help the pork industry.

Plus, if there’s one thing we all look for in our artificial bacon, isn’t it strawberry flavoring?

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GUMMY HEART

Yuck Factor:  5

Why’s it So Gross?This is how Hannibal Lecter started, isn’t it?

I’m picturing the second you sink your teeth into this awful gummy organ, it must seem like an eternity to actually get through it.

Once again, strawberry’s the unlucky flavor of choice when trying to distract us from how disgusting something appears.  Gritting through this wretched thing may actually be only slightly worse than eating an actual heart.

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GUMMY T-BONE STEAK

Yuck Factor: 1

Why’s it So Gross?:   Don’t bother taking out the A-1 for this.

There’s very few things as enjoyable as firing up my Weber grill on an early summer evening, tossing on a mouth-watering steak, and watching the flames lick the searing meat.  The smells, the flavors- it just does the Macarena on your pallet.

While this isn’t as bad as… let’s say the heart, raw-looking red meat just doesn’t seem to translate well into gummy world, and comes off as more T-bonehead than anything else.

Kudos for packaging it in a pseudo supermarket meat package though.

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GUMMY BOO-BOOS

Yuck Factor:  7

Why’s it So Gross?A rainbow colored Band-Aid would’ve sufficed perfectly here, but, it’s the stupid realism that hurts this bandaged mess.

Maybe there’s a small market for candy with blood stains on it in some backwoods Deliverance-ish town, but I highly doubt the CEO of this mess is driving a Porsche Boxster and sending his bratty kids to Princeton on the skyrocketing sales of the bloody gummy bandage.

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GUMMY UNDIES

Yuck Factor:  10

Why’s it So Gross?Because there’s a better chance of contracting hepatitis from this than from licking the floor of a Waffle House bathroom.

You know how a hurricane goes over a body of warm water, picks up steam and shoots up a category on the Saffir-Simpson Scale?  Well, the second I realized this liver-enlarger was a thong, it was gifted with a dreaded “10” on the yuck factor.

Guys- If your girl wears these, run for the hills yesterday.

Girls-  If your guy wants you to wear these, Krazy Glue his toilet seat.

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GUMMY HAGGIS

Yuck Factor:  3

Why’s it So Gross?We Americans can tell you, the Scottish staple, haggis, is incredibly rare here.

From what I’ve gathered, you pretty much let Michael Myers go to town on a sheep or lamb, remove all the tasty innards, encase them in stomach lining, boil it all up, and the end result is a finger-lickin’ sausage.

I do love green plaid and sausage, so this butterscotch gummy equivalent, so sensitively called, “Angry Scotsman’s”, is winning me over more and more as I type.  I am going to have to ask my Scottish friend Cherie, if this gummy haggis is popular on the other side of the pond, or if it’s just plain “b’aaaahhhhhhddd”.  (Some terrible sheep humor)

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GUMMY “BOX OF BOOGERS”

Yuck Factor:  9

Why’s it So Gross?With the tissue-filling tagline, “SsssNot Your Regular Gummy!”  this box of corn-syrupy sophistication features “Tangy Gummy Boogies that Look & Feel Real!”.  That about sums it up.

I would’ve loved to be a fly on the wall in the testing room for these sugary snot rockets.  I could imagine it now:

-“Needs more lumpiness!”

-“The green ones aren’t true to life.”

-“I switched them out on my friend, and he didn’t know the difference!”

-“Really helped break the ice when I met my in-laws!”

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GUMMY RAT

Yuck Factor:  6

Why’s it So Gross?Hey Jelly Belly, calling this thing a “pet rat” isn’t making it any more appealing and cute.

Ratatouille this is not.  This nasty thing looks like a freakin’ subway rat.  Vermin spread disease, eat dumpster trash, and Splinter was one of the weakest Ninja Turtles characters, let’s not reward that in candy-form.

With any luck, the black plague you get from noshing on the gummy rat will take you out before you have to finish it.

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GUMMY “BURSTING BUGS”

Yuck Factor:  2

Why’s it So Gross?Without any concrete picture of these, jumping to conclusions on these may be a bit rash.  They probably aren’t as bad as they seem, as the “bursting” quality could either be kinda awesome or horribly awful.

We’ll probably all look back with fondness when Disney Pixar releases A Gummy Bug’s Life in the summer of 2016.

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GUMMY POO

Yuck Factor:  9

Why’s it So Gross?For once, saying something tastes like crap isn’t an insult.

I really wish I could tell what language that is, and what country that’s producing these sugary fecal globs to impressionable youths.

The smiling swirly dookie on the packaging sure seems like a happy fella, even though he’s got nothing on Mr. Hankey.   Everyone I know will be finding a package of these in their stocking this Christmas.

Try to act surprised.

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GUMMY FETUS (Regular version and The Flaming Lips version)

Yuck Factor:  (Regular) 4, (Flaming Lips) 8

Why’s it So Gross?Well, the first version would be weird enough, but just close your eyes, quickly bite off the legs, and it kinda looks like a sideways gummy manatee.

As for the latter, The Flaming Lips are a critically acclaimed band, who break into dentist’s offices, suck down all the nitrus oxide, and then decide the most bizarre ways to release music to the masses.  This is a 2011 three-song release of theirs on a USB drive stuck inside a yes, gummy fetus… just like the way Sinatra used to do it.

Keep in mind, once you bite into that thing, you’re the guy who bit into a fetus.  You can’t undo that.

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GUMMY ZIT POPPERS

Yuck Factor:  10

Why’s it So Gross?If you ever wondered what the greasy teenage cashier’s face at the supermarket tastes like, wonder no longer.

On the plus side, it leaves a void for someone to create gummy Clearasil.  Million dollar idea!

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Filed under Advertising, Comedy, Food, Humor

Come As You Arf! Celebrating Dog Nirvana

By Andrew Blumetti

The Bad News:  You look at your calendar and reality sinks in like a cold bath that it’s officially now deep into 2013.  That means twenty years ago, 90’s Seattle-alterna-rock legends Nirvana were probably sick of playing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on a nightly basis at this point already.

The Good News:  In dog years, that’s 140 years, so when you think about it, we’re not really that old.

Now that has been established, here’s my attempt to not lift my leg on one of the all-time great rock bands in history.  It may or may not have worked.

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“When I swear that I don’t have a bone!” 

 

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Krist playing bass during “Milk (Bone) It”

 

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Courtney Love wasn’t the only dog in that relationship.

 

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A dog’s least favorite song on this record? 

 

“Train You”

 

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Grrrrrr-ohl.

 

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From the MTV Unplugged concert, an acoustic version of David Bowie’s “The Doberman Who Sold the World”.

 

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One of Nirvana’s classics, “Heart Shaped Barks”

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Filed under Comedy, Entertainment, Humor, Music, Retro

The Pyramid of Regrettable CD’s: The Eighth Wonder of the World

By Andrew Blumetti

 

Just remember, you can’t spell iTunes without “CD”.  Well, technically you can, if you spell either word incorrectly.

Let me rewind.   First off, so I don’t sound like a dinosaur, CD’s (or compact discs) are circular discs that hold music for your listening pleasure… or can be used as mini frisbees to toss to Danny DeVito or your neighborhood fat kid if you so choose.  An advancement on once-commonplace cassette tapes, they were quite popular in the 1990’s to the early oughts until impersonal digital music files took over as the listening medium of choice amongst music listeners and plagues of frogs took over the world.  …or something.

So, now that I do sound like a dinosaur, I still love CD’s, and I still proudly buy them.

The pride of any music owner is their collection.  Actually, collections have always been something I’ve loved since I was a young lad.  From Masters of the Universe figures to baseball cards, and eventually recorded music.  Cassettes to compact discs to vinyl records, music is a natural for a born collector, cause after all, who needs that money anyway?  Albums display perfectly and within those displayed spines is a history book of sorts–  each record is a snapshot to a time in your life:

Perhaps Nirvana’s Nevermind brings back memories of your mushroom-haircut teenage years, maybe Green Day’s Dookie is reminiscent of a summer spent skateboarding with buddies with a slightly less embarrassing mushroom-haircut, or that copy of The Chemical Brothers Dig Your Own Hole reminds you of when you bought raver jeans the size of freakin’ Kansas and got caught up in the electronica boom of the late 90’s.

That’s the beauty of music–  Even when you’re not physically listening to it, the sentimental value is still there in spades.  Each album is a smaller picture of something bigger.  I advise anyone reading to take a few minutes to look at your music collection sometime, and watch the memories start flowing like a busted dam.

Although, before you pull a Balki Bartokomous and do the dance of joy like your favorite Eastern European sheep just gave birth, remember, not everything always comes up roses.  One natural growing pain music collectors run into is the purchase that just didn’t go as planned.

Maybe it was the album you anticipated for months, and when you excitedly ran to rip open the plastic and push track one, it just fell flat.  Or maybe it was that gamble record you decided to give a shot based on one radio single, and the music slot machine came up:  LEMON, LEMON, LEMON.

Well, in the musical history book of my life, this is pretty much my Bay of Pigs invasion.   Let’s turn those three lemons into slightly crappy lemonade as it took forever to stack this house of card-clunkers without tumbling.

…here’s my PYRAMID OF REGRETTABLE CD’s:

 

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FROM BOTTOM TO TOP (L to R)

1. CHUMBAWAMBA- Tubthumper (1997)

This doosey was just doomed from the start.  When you’ve got eight people in a band, and they all decided to do this to their hair, the warning sirens in your head should be deafening.

A one-hit wonder who’s one hit was so overplayed on the radio, there was no need to listen to it voluntarily.  There was a follow-up single titled, “Drip, Drip, Drip”, which honestly was about as exciting as a song called “Drip, Drip, Drip” should be.  I give these musical anarchists credit for having a career of longevity, even without any further commercial success.

I also give them credit for taking my money.

Dirty pool Chumbawamaba, dirty pool.

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2. THE NIXONS- Foma (1995)

Technically, this was a gift-certificate (yes, certificate, not card) purchase, but considering I could’ve spent it on anything else that wasn’t a Nixons CD, shame on me.

Two radio singles, “Happy Song” and “Sister” were what I bought it for, but both quickly fell to the “meh” curse over time.  What a bloody shame this band was, because if they had just worn Richard Nixon masks, I’d be a little warmer towards them.   Not really warm, just a little.

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3. LIMP BIZKIT- 3 Dollar Bill, Ya’ll$ (1997)

The giant red-hatted elephant in the room.  Better to get this over with sooner than later cause no list of regrettable music would be complete without Fred Durst and Co.

Let’s face it, when we’re teenagers, we’re more or less freakin’ idiots.  Teens do stupid things during those awkward high school years- some might get detention for smoking in the school bathroom, maybe someone gets grounded for swiping some Schlitz brews from the fridge, or perhaps suspended from school for fighting.

Well, considering I never drank, smoke or was one for fighting, this one right here is my colossal shame.

Sure, I’ll be the first to admit, at the time, the Bizkit boys were shamefully fun.  Dopey nü-metal, chock full of dumbed-down metal riffs and fifth-grade lyrics spouted by a frontman who was permanently on the verge of an adult temper tantrum, it was a turn-your-brain-off good time.  Of course common sense eventually kicks in, and post-“Nookie” hindsight is 20/20, but I’ll just blame all of that on pre-Y2K jitters.

Good luck selling this one back to one of the three music stores left in America.

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4. PRIMUS- Brown Album (1997)

For the record, I really like Primus a lot.

Try as you might, it’s impossible to find a band in the past 20 years that sounds just like the California alterna-funk trio.  Low-end master Les Claypool is one of the most innovative and original bassists of our generation, and they’re responsible for churning out some interestingly fun and quirky records in their heyday.

This wasn’t one of those.

It’s not that I didn’t like Brown Album, the Pri-guys’ fifth full-length, it’s just that it had very little replay value.  Back when CD’s constantly cost $17 and up, the importance of replay value couldn’t be overstated enough.  Although, when the lead single is titled, “Shake Hands with Beef”, it’s really buyer beware, leading me to wish I had payed “Les” for this record.

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5. BLUES TRAVELER- Straight On Till Morning (1997)

Wow, 1997 was not my smoothest year, was it?

There was once a record store in my town called CD Den.  A small store that carried everything a music geek could desire.  Without a doubt, it was my favorite hangout as a teenager.  About a two minute walk from my house and directly on the route of my walk home from school, it was a must-visit at least three times a week.

On July 1, 1997, I went on the day of release to go pick up OK Computer, the highly anticipated third album from alterna-gods Radiohead and electro-smash, The Fat of the Land, by The Prodigy (an album that might have possibly made this article if that stinkin’ pyramid could be built bigger).

The woman who worked at the counter was going on and on about how amazing the freshly-released new Blues Traveler album was.  What could go wrong?  Their tubby singer could wail on the harmonica, and I sure liked that “Run-around” tune from a few years back.

So, I trusted her judgment, plunked down my hard-earned teenage dinero, brought it home, put on the Radiohead album, and of course after that, I didn’t really care about listening to then-zoftig John Popper and his merry jam-band.  I still don’t as this thing collects dust faster than Brett Somers decomposing in her seat on The Match Game.

And if you think I’m being too rough on them…  try and find anyone else who actually owns this album.

6. BUSH- The Science of Things (1999)

I really should’ve known better.

I honestly don’t know why I gave Bush’s flat third album the time of day.  I wasn’t a fan of “The Chemicals Between Us”, the overplayed leadoff single peppered with electro drips and drops, and lyrics that couldn’t have been any less relatable if they were picked out of Fred Durst’s red cap (see: No. 3).

I guess there were follow-up singles, but the impression they left was as non-existent as an episode of The Neighbors.  The money must’ve literally burned a hole in my pocket and I was itching to to buy anything that day.

Note to all the kids out there:  Don’t spend like that.  You’ll end up with a record of a red-haired Gavin Rossdale in your collection.

7. LIVEThe Distance to Here (1999)

Back in the mid-90’s, I couldn’t have been a bigger fan of the York, PA foursome,  Live.

They were my first concert experience ever, the singer had a killer rat-tail, and their sophomore album, Throwing Copper, still remains one of my favorite records of all-time.  Its follow-up, 1997’s Secret Samadhi, was an underrated record with a terrible name, but rest assured, as much as I didn’t want it to, the wheels didn’t hesitate to start falling off the Livemobile soon after that.

The Distance to Here, their fifth album, had some good songs, unfortunately they were few and far between.  Much like Primus’ inclusion on the pyramid, its replay value was short-(live)d especially for the price back then.  For a while, Live continued to release music every couple of years following this before a bitter breakup and I blame Distance for pushing the barrel over the waterfall.

I just blamed a piece of plastic.

8. CANDLEBOX- Lucy (1995)

I take almost a sickening level of pride in the fact that I went out and bought this disc the day it was released.

Candlebox was really an odd band when you think about it.  Musically, they were far from unique, they rode the coattails of the grunge movement all the way to the bank, and their songs contained oddly-placed swears in them that came off like your grandmother dropping the F-bomb during bingo.

Bizarrely enough, all through that, they were honestly quite enjoyable- their 1993 self-titled debut sold four million copies, and spawned some really fun singles.  It’s hard to deny that “Far Behind” or “You” weren’t hugely succesful 90’s alt-rock staples, unless you’re a grouch.

Lightning certainly didn’t strike twice, as Lucy, their second album, was the epitome of a sophomore slump.  It had a kinda stupid cover, a forgettable first single, and a bunch of other songs that were the equivalent of musical Ambien.

They should’ve renamed the band “CandleBLAHx”.  Wokka wokka.

9.  GRAVITY KILLS- Gravity Kills (1996)

Back in math class in 11th grade, amidst a flurry of variables and probables, a buddy of mine offered to sell me his used copy of Gravity Kills self-titled debut for a mere five bucks.

Skepticism hit for a minute- I wondered to myself, “Why?- What’s so wrong with this album that he’d want to sell it for so cheap?”.  I rolled the dice, placed a crisp Abe Lincoln in his hand, waited till the school bell rang, feverishly popped it in my Discman (!) on the walk home, and like a splash of ice-cold water in the face, I soon realized the sobering answer to my question.

This band is a one-hit wonder, and that one hit (the pseudo-industrial “Guilty”) was clearly the highlight of this snoozer.  Unfortunately, my interest in industrial music was incredibly short-lived, (about as long as my walk home from school that day) and this album never stood a chance with me.  That five dollars could’ve bought me five tacos at Taco Bell, and that thought still haunts me to this day.


10. METALLICA- St. Anger (2003)

There’s honestly no excuse on my part for this one, and there was no doubt in my mind that Metallica’s crapfest St. Anger had to occupy the summit in this shameful pyramid of regret.

After hearing the 2003 album’s seven-minute title track first single full of tin-can drumming and missing guitar solos, I scratched my head.  While scratching, I decided to walk.  While walking, I passed by the Sam Goody in the mall.  Wouldn’t you know, Sam Goody was selling it for seven dollars!

A mere bag of shells!

The hamster in my head started spinning its wheel, and I instantly felt a handlebar mustache start to sprout and my inner James Hetfield said “why not?!”  I figured for that price, it could never be that bad… right?   Hop in the car, pop in that disc… bring on the metal… Metallica!

Fast forward one car ride home later:  If this rubbish wasn’t packaged in a cheap cardboard Digipak case, I’d have used it for a coaster years ago… for drinks I didn’t care for.

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Now take a walk down memory lane and look at your music collection-  What are some of your favorite least favorite albums?  What makes up your own pyramid of regrettable CD’s?  Feel free to share in the comments! 

You know James Hetfield wants you to!

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Filed under Comedy, Entertainment, Humor, Music, Retro

Ladies and Gentlemen: The Worst Menu in America

By Andrew Blumetti

The taste buds of this great nation are as diverse as its many people.

The deep-fried South will give you finger-lickin’ barbecue that’s second to none, steamy Texas is where it’s at for a sizzling slab of seared steer, Maryland’s the place to go for mouth-watering soft-shell crab, head to New Mexico for delicious food with a peppery-Southwestern flair, and ciao! you can’t beat the Big Apple for the best steaming hot pizza around.

However, one thing that is a constant is in this bustling 21st Century world is not everyone has time to spend precious hours preparing a piping-hot homemade meal anymore.  Modern life is life on speed, it’s just too darned busy sometimes, and it’s only increased the amount of new restaurants and take-out that pop up on every single corner, every single day.  All too often, time (or lack thereof) calls for ease to take precedence.  Granted, it’s not the way your sweet, wrinkly granny would’ve done it, but then again, she didn’t spend all day on Instagram and watching DVD marathons of Girls .

Going hand-in-hand with this influx and popularity of restaurants are the amount of pre-folded take-out menus that are feverishly stuffed into your mailbox.  Sure, they come in handy, but let’s be honest– most of the time, they just collect dust till they eventually reach menu heaven.

(Now, cue sentimental background music…)

I come from a small suburban town in northern New Jersey located roughly 20 minutes outside New York City.  It’s not a flashy or busy place, it’s a square mile, consisting of 15,000 people, and essentially our one claim to fame is that a dumpy little hole-in-the-wall pizzeria called, “Pizzaland”, appeared for an instant on the opening credits for The Sopranos every week during the series’ run.

A small suburb is a double-edged sword– the security of living in a safe, small town also brings along a bit of boredom with it.  While not much exciting happens here, I can just thank the take-out gods that the most amusingly bad print-job for a take-out menu was done by an Italian/Mexican (a more truly organic combination has never existed) joint called “Michael’s”.

…and wouldn’t you know, Michael’s (now closed) was also located in my hometown.

Even luckier, I didn’t toss this piece of comedy gold out in the garbage when it was stuffed in my mailbox.  Here’s some photos I snapped.

Now go throw out your brain cells, it’s The Worst Menu in America:

(Sadly, none of these pictures have been altered in any way.)

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Well, maybe that opening was a bit harsh. They did work pretty hard there.  They even stayed open to the ungodly hour of 13 PM.

– Gordon Ramsay says, “PURE RUBBISH!!!”

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With this lack of enthusiasm, no wonder the place went under:

Gordon Ramsay says, “UTTERLY UNINSPIRED.”

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Mmmmm, Snooki’s favorite, “Pasta with Italy”…

Gordon Ramsay says, “$@&!ING STUPID!”

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For those of you who enjoy your soup a bit more unusual, you’re crap outta luck…

– Gordon Ramsay says, “PITIFUL.  SIMPLY PITIFUL.”

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Close your eyes and make a wish, a sandwish…

Gordon Ramsay says, “I’VE CRAPPED OUT BETTER THINGS THAN THAT!”

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Raise your hand if this is making your mouth water as much as mine…

– Gordon Ramsay says, “C’MON!  $#@!ING HOGWASH!”

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Tussle that lovable scamp’s hair!

– Gordon Ramsay says, “I’M GONNA VOMIT, THEN PUT THAT ON THIS MENU! …AND IT WILL BE THE BEST THING ON THERE!”

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You haven’t lived till you’ve tasted beef tangue, broked pork, salled beer, and Mexicans!

– Gordon Ramsay says, “BLOODY CRAP!”

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Usually you “buy one and get one free”, but Michael’s catered to a more aggressive crowd…

Gordon Ramsay says, “YOU’VE GOT TO BE $@#!ING KIDDING ME.”

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It’s a little known fact that Forrest Gump used all evil shrimp in his Bubba Gump dishes…

– Gordon Ramsay says, “WHY AM I ON THIS STUPID BLOG ANYWAY?!?”

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Filed under Comedy, Entertainment, Food, Humor

PERFECTION: The Most Terrifying 60 Seconds of Your Life

By Andrew Blumetti

And now, a play-by-play of every time I’d play the classic Milton Bradley board game, Perfection.

You know the drill of this heart-attack in the making- twist, timer, tick, tock, trouble, and KA-BLOOM!  A yellow mess on the rug that the dog isn’t responsible for this time.

Please enjoy, relate, and relive the hair-raising madness of the most nerve-racking minute you’ll ever come to experience in your lifetime.  It’s cheaper than a shrink afterall…

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Tick tick tick tick

– Strap in for one minute of pure geometrical mayhem!  In your face math!

I’ve just turned the cheap plastic round timer on my Perfection game, and that stupid thing is spinning faster than Amanda Bynes’ vision when she slunks behind the wheel on a Friday night.  Gotta make sure not to over-tighten it though, that “Made in China” Smurf-blue knob looks like it’ll break if the wind blows too hard.

– Reaching over to that pile of golden plastic pieces, and fumbling around, there goes about five of them off the coffee table, and I’ve realized this godforsaken game would’ve been better played on the rug instead.

– Quick!  Grab that triangle or square one or anything that looks like a simple Sesame Street-level shape, and try to fit it in game board holes while the gettin’s good.  Basically, just avoid getting held up on those tricky looking ones from the island of misfit shapes, they’ll just gum everything up.  Squeeze those in like a champ in the final precious seconds instead.

– The gravity of the situation hits like a splash of cold water:  this game is for “ages 5+”, so at my current anemic pace,  basically I’m handling this as badly as a kindergartener.  After more nervous laughter than a first date, time to look at the timer on the game for some piece of mind.

– Phew!  All that self-doubt was a mere overreaction… still have 35 seconds left.  This thing’s money in the bank…

– Oops, spoke too soon- the faded numbers are impossible to read, it’s actually only 25 seconds left…

– And to top it all off, that nonstop ticking, which is the soundtrack to my obvious board game failure, is starting to make the hairs on my arm stand up straight.  It’s like watching that scene in Paranormal Activity, when possessed Katie awakens, gets up and just stares at… wait, this isn’t the time for that!

…and is it me, or does the ticking seem to be somehow speeding up as time goes on?  Is that physically possible?   Is Milton Bradley practicing some sort of voodoo?   Cause I don’t think they should be.

– Geez, why did I waste time thinking about the ticking?  That was another precious ten seconds down the crapper…

– OK, down to just a few left, time’s running short, but it’s time to dominate this ticking time bomb like Tom Brady marching the troops down the gridiron with two minutes left.  These back-against-the-wall heroics are what separates the men from the boys.

but big time folly:  those annoying shapes from before are still staring me in the face, laughing.

– Maybe I should just stop the timer for a couple seconds, you know, just to fit a few extra pieces in… nah, that’s cheating.  I guess, right?   …and I am an adult.   …Stupid adults.

– …and to top it all off, I can’t believe they made me apply the stickers onto this thing myself.  Cheapskates…

– Let’s see… nailed the diamond, star shape and the pentagon…  can’t wait to push that switch that stops the game!  No messy cleanup, no heart-stopping plastic explosion that I know is coming, yet still makes me jump.  (I mean, who wants to go through that?  Look at how those Caucasian kids are being thrown around on the box, I’m too delicate for that fate.)  I’ll tell ya, if they gave out medals for Perfection playing, I’d pull in gold, silver and bronze.  That’s right… all three platform levels. 

Five seconds left!  Better hurry!

– Crap on a stick!  That stupid S-shaped piece that looks like Pac Man if Picasso got a hold of him then threw him in a blender.  This awful thing always haunts me.  I always fumble it the way an arena football player fumbles pretty much every play.

– This feels like watching one of those poor sap victims in a Saw movie watching the timer tick down till their arms and legs get yanked out.

3… (gettin’ hairy…)

2… (man up Andrew- it’s time for a last minute board game miracle…)

1… (hmmm…)

uh ohhh…

DING!!

– Ahhh, stupid piece of plastic crap.  It wasn’t me, the timer must be busted.  Maybe they should call it Imperfection.

(That line was gold!   I wish someone was here to hear that…)

– Ehhh, this Commie game’s for kids.  I’ll clean it up later.  I’m gonna go have some Fruit Roll-Ups.

THE END.

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Filed under Comedy, Entertainment, Games, Humor, Retro

Tarantino’s Wuss Pack

By Andrew Blumetti

Quentin Tarantino (tærənˈtiːnoʊ), noun One of the most prolific, controversial and popular film directors of the past two decades.  His over-the-top smattering of grindhouse ultra-violence, 70’s throwback nostalgia, dialogue-heavy scenes and non-linear story telling has captivated movie goers from east to west and north to south, and back to east again.

Mr. Tarantino’s given us quite the array of characters in his seven (or eight if you split the Kill Bills) major motion pictures.  Unsavory, immoral, and entertaining as the night is long, their bigger-than-life personalities jump out from the screen, grab us by the scruff of the neck, and demand our attention.

…and I wouldn’t like to run into any of them in a dark alley any day (but to be fair, I wouldn’t want to be in a dark alley anyway.  It’s a breeding ground for puddles and gum to get stuck on the bottom of your shoe).

Lucky for me though, the way the world works, things often balance out.  For every Mr. Blonde, Pai Mei, or Hugo Stiglitz that makes us wet our collective britches in fear, there’s gotta be some lightweights shuffling around in Queint’s flicks… and I’ll take my chances with them in a dark alley anytime.

I now present, “The Top Ten Tarantino Non-Toughies I Could Probably Take in a Fight”

(much like old sour cream in the toasty July sun, the following is NOT spoiler-free)

1. Mr. Blue (Reservoir Dogs, 1992) portrayed by Eddie Bunker

The ‘Dogs resident seasoned vet with that impressive ‘stache and psycho gleam in his eyes.  Now, he’d probably have me eating red-hot lead within seconds, but considering I was 12 when this movie came out, and he was old then, I think he may be the only one of the colored-named criminals in the bunch I could’ve held my own against.

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2. Brett (Pulp Fiction, 1994) portrayed by Frank Whaley

One of the four clowns who decided to screw over Band-aided crime kingpin, Marsellus Wallace, Brett is actually a whiter guy than me, which I never thought possible.  His ability to get rubber-mouth under pressure, and the fact that he eats cheeseburgers for breakfast sure puts the odds in my corner.

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3. Buck (Kill Bill- Vol. 1, 2003) portrayed by Michael Bowen

The creepy orderly in the hospital who had a gross on-the-side business dealing with coma patients.  This immoral entrepreneurial weirdo met his eventual fate from a fresh out-of-coma patient with dead legs, so that’s gotta put me in a good spot.

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4. Warren (Death Proof, 2007) portrayed by Quentin Tarantino

In a film full of mostly tough adrenaline-seeking women who’d whoop me in a heartbeat, I had to find one of the few fellas in the latter half of Grindhouse to pick.  Now, if I couldn’t at least go toe-to-toe with a cornball bartender (played by Quentin himself) who pushes a drink called “Chartreuse”, then it’s time to hand in my man-card.

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5. Master Sgt. Wilhelm (Inglourious Basterds, 2009) portrayed by Alexander Fehling

Guten tag!  A German soldier given the night off to celebrate the birth of his son, Wilhelm’s crap timing finds himself smack dab in the middle of a firefight inside a Parisian pub.

Sure, he’s a Nazi, and sure, he’s experienced with heavy artillery, but the guy and his fellow soldier comrades seem like sloppy drunks, like Jersey Shore-ish drunk.  And if there’s one time Andrew can successfully pull off a strike, it’s when battling against the very inebriated.  That’s why I’d be so good at fending off zombies, they’re just like decaying cannibalistic drunks.

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6. Larry Gomez (Kill Bill- Vol. 2, 2004) portrayed by Larry Bishop

I do feel bad putting anyone on this list who’s been in Kung Fu, Laverne and Shirley and The Dukes of Hazzard, especially someone who made me laugh so much in the second Kill Bill installment.

He spent his lone five minutes in the film snorting coke with a trashy exotic dancer and chewing out Michael Madsen for being late to work, so outside of those five minutes, he’d probably beat the everloving cake out of me, so strike when the iron is hot.

I bet he’d enjoy my Sylvester Stallone article though, seeing as he kinda looks like him.

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7. Mark Dargus (Jackie Brown, 1997) played by Michael Bowen

I’m really banking this list on the fact that Michael Bowen’s got a glass jaw, cause otherwise, I’m toast.

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8. “The Gimp” (Pulp Fiction, 1994) portrayed by Stephen Hibbert

This leather wearing, zipper-mouthed freak basically went down in one stealth hit by a just-out-of-a-car-accident Bruce Willis.  Despite his creepy mask, “The Gimp” doesn’t necessarily instill much fear, seeing as he was tethered on a leash the whole time, and I’m highly suspect that Jim Belushi is actually under that costume.

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9. Francesca Modino’s poodle (Inglourious Basterds, 2009)

Here we have the prissy dog of the prissy Francesca Modino (Julie Dreyfus), the French-to-German interpreter to Head of Propaganda in Germany, Joseph Goebbels.  Naturally, fighting animals is a big no-no (I really don’t want PETA getting all huffy and puffy, protesting to shut down my blog and toss red paint over computer screens nationwide),  but I’d put the over/under at me beating this dog at a foot race at about 65/35.

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10.  Billy Crash (Django Unchained, 2012) portrayed by Walton Goggins

Cowboys are the true classic American-definition of “manly”.  They’re gruff, tough, and I’m guessing their sweat smells like a leather couch from Crate and Barrel.

Billy Crash may have been quick with the six-shooter and wore a pretty sweet hat, but he was all talk, with nothing to back it up when push comes to shove.  Basically he’s kind of like a slavery-era cowboy version of every single stupid bully in every single stupid after-school special that ran in lieu of Duck Tales.

Man, I hated those.

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Filed under Comedy, Entertainment, Humor, Movies, Pop Culture