Tuesday, June 30, 2009

BILLY MAYS HERE!




I can't believe I am actually moved this much by the death of an infomercial pitchman. I was shocked at first to hear that Billy Mays, the infomercial king who introduced the world to Oxyclean and Mighty Putty, not to mention countless other things, had passed away unexpectedly. While most of the pitchmen on television of over-the-top and down right obnoxious, there was something appealing about him. I don't know what it was. Could it have been the fuzzy beard or his enthusiasm for whatever he was hocking to me? I really don't know. All I know for sure is that my laundry will never be the same. Every time I reach for the Oxyclean I will always think of Billy Mays.

Why was it so easy to buy from him as apposed to the other pitchmen? Others completely turn me off. I wish Vince would choke on a ShamWow. He had a talent that I don't think many realized until after he was gone. Why else would the passing of an infomercial icon bring such national attention and grief.

I for one am going to miss him. I just can't explain it, but I really am going to miss him. Anthony Sullivan has been around much longer than Billy Mays in the infomercial world, but he cannot hold a candle to Billy's exuberance and likability. It feels strange to miss someone yelling at me about the latest, greatest invention, but in a way he became welcome on my television. To think that we will never hear the phrase "Billy Mays here!" leaves a void for me. I can only imagine that he is showing the angels how to get their robes whiter with Oxyclean right now.

Monday, June 29, 2009

ANIMATION OVERLOAD




I love the Simpsons. So help me Jebus, do I ever love the Simpsons. Why couldn't it stop there. Fox gave us King of the Hill, which is little more than a animated drama which manages to bore me to tears. I realize it is intended to be funny, but damn, did it ever miss the mark. American Dad has its moments. If it were not for Roger I don't think there would be anything salvageable about it. And scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel we have Family Guy. Out of all animated shows on television today, I can honestly say I HATE Family Guy with a passion. I know there are loyal fans of the show. I just don't find it funny. It's about as predictable as the sun rising and clearly meant to grab shock value, but fails miserably.



Now Fox has announced a spin-off from Family Guy; Cleveland. If it is anything remotely like Family Guy it will only confirm my suspicions that the average television viewer has severe mental defects in the humor center of the brain. I know there are legions of Family Guy fans, but honestly, are all the flashbacks and cut-aways really necessary. It only shows that the writers obviously don't have enough material to fill an entire 30 minute show. How sad is that? So what do they expect to accomplish with a show about Peter Griffin's least funny neighbor? Please FOX Network, could you spare us? PLEEEEEAAASE!!!



FOX hit a home-run with the Simpsons, but their choice in animation since that time has been abysmal. The one true quality animated sitcom they had that rivaled the Simpsons in it hilarity was Futurama. So what do the FOX executives do? Cancel it, of course! That Jebus Comedy Central has picked it up and is not planning on relaunching (no pun intended) the series with all new episodes. FOX's loss, Comedy Central's gain. Kudos to Comedy Central. You have redeemed yourself for the abomination that was the Roast of Larry the Cable Guy.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

DAMMIT!

Smile for the camera.... um, good boy?

I will never understand my dog, Dammit (no, that's his name not an expletive). I have no doubt that he is a brilliant animal. I think he's smarter than many people I know... and that's the problem. Oh, he understands every command given to him. He chooses to ignore them. Only when I am furious does he actually do what I say. He's a very gentle dog, but don't let his mild-mannered demeanor lull you into a false sense of security. No, he is always plotting... scheming. You can almost hear the wheels turning in his head.

Obedience school started out smoothly enough at first. He learned his commands and was the star of the class. The instructor, Katie, was constantly praising him. In class he followed every command without hesitation. When we were at home it was a totally different story. When Katie told him to sit, he sat. When she told Dammit to lie down, he did. At home when I told him to sit, he would walk away. When I would tell him to lie down, he would... well, do whatever the hell he wanted.

The first session of obedience school passed without incident and he had everyone fooled, except for me. I knew the truth. An owner knows their pet better than anyone. I used to laugh at people who humanize their pets by saying things like, "he's so smart, he's almost human," or, "I think he understands every word I say. Sometimes I think he's about to talk." Yep, I thought Dammit was about to talk once. It turned out to be the most astounding belch ever released from a mammal. In fact, I fail to see how any of God's creatures could make such a sound without imploding. But I do now think that he is smarter than many people I know.

Round two. The first day of the second session of obedience school Katie was thrilled to see Dammit, and Dammit seemed thrilled to see her. It seems during the month or so break between the classes Dammit had been doing some thinking. He understood the commands and understood her methods. He also understood that every time he performed for Katie he would get a treat out of the little blue pouch she wore on her hip. Here's a little side note; dogs are NOT totally colorblind. They simply don't see the range of colors that humans see. Dogs tend to see more blues than anything else from what I have read. Dammit had to wait until the time was right. The first day of class passed without any major incidents other than the fact that every time she spoke he felt like he had something more important to say. I spent the majority of the class holding his mouth shut.

By now I hope you are seeing the appropriateness of his name. Sit, Dammit! Get down, Dammit! Shut up, Dammit!

During the second class Katie let her guard down for a split second. The stars were aligned just right. Katie bent to pick up some doggy toys from a basket, I was talking to the lady next to me about her dog and everything felt right with the world. It was time to make his move. The little blue pouch with the treats was there for the taking. He analyzed the situation for a quick second, then made his move. As if struck by an electric cattle prod, Dammit leaped forward, pulling the leash from my hands, grabbed the little blue pouch from Katie's hip and without missing a step continued to charge through the pet store. The chase was afoot.

Now let me explain; this was one of those big-box pet stores that rivals the size of many grocery stores. Translation: plenty of isles to run through and keep the chase alive. A split second after his daring theft we were in hot pursuit of the bandit. He made quick turns down isles with his paws slipping on the slick linoleum floor. Darting down each isle sending shoppers and their well behaved pets scurrying for safety. Occasionally stopping to make sure we were still behind him, he would dart off again. Through the fish aquariums, past the cat cages, around the giant cage of birds, out the front door and into the parking lot. He stopped in the middle of the parking lot to look back at us, myself along with almost every store employee. I could see the look of satisfaction in his eyes. We broke up into three groups. The first group of store employees went around to the right and up the next row of cars. The second group went around to the left. I led the third group right up the middle, moving ever so slowly towards Dammit. I was speaking as calmly as I could while holding out the largest barbecue basted bone the store had. I thought we were making progress. He seemed to be responding to the bribe. Just as I was within reach of him he faked to the left and shot back to the right and around us making a bee line directly back to the pet store.

When we entered the pet store we found Dammit sitting in the training area. The little blue pouch was set on the floor by the instructors table completely unharmed. He had not taken even one treat from the pouch. He sat there like nothing had ever happened. It was clear that the was never interested in the contents of the pouch. It was the thrill of the chase.

I thought we were going to be escorted out for sure. Katie stood in the middle of the training circle, obviously exhausted, and announced that the class was dismissed. "I'll see you all next week. Don't forget to practice what we learned today. Um, well, just practice what we learned last week." Dammit seemed to gloat during the entire ride home. He had won this round.

The next week was no more successful. The command the dogs was to learn was "Drop It." Katie passed around pig ears to all of the dogs. Each owner would grab the pig ear and command the dog to "drop it." At this command, like well trained furry soldiers, they all followed their orders. All except for Dammit. I gave the command while holding the pig ear. He refused to release it from his jaws. I repeated the command. Still nothing. Katie praised the other dogs and their owners, then turned her attention to us. "Matt, you're doing it all wrong." I released my grip on the pig ear and said, "If you think you can do better, be my guest." Katie calmly took the pig ear in her hand while Dammit help his death grip on the other end. "Drop it." Nothing. Again, "Drop it." Still Nothing. Katie, becoming a little louder repeated the command. At this Dammit rose to his feet and began to pull away. Now it was a game of tug. Katie, probably weighing 100 pounds if she had a pocket full of rocks, began pulling back and yelling, "Drop it, Dammit! Drop it!" I wasn't sure whether she was cursing at the dog or actually using his name. in hindsight I'm pretty sure it was profanity. After a hard fought struggle Katie admitted defeat by releasing the pig ears and saying, "Alright, just keep the damn thing." At this Dammit dropped the pig ear and with a swift flick of his paw, kicked it across the floor. Again, he had no interest in the treat, only in the battle.

As we were leaving the pet store the manager approached me and offered to give me a full refund for the training class in exchange for me agreeing to never bring Dammit back. With the eyes of all of the other dogs and their owners on us I agreed. As we left the store and the automatic doors closed behind us I'm sure I could hear the cheer and applause of everyone inside. Finally the beast is gone!

Dammit continues to be a daily challenge. Just when I think he has thought of it all, he finds another way to leave me dumbfounded and many times outraged. Don't get me wrong. I love my dog and he loves me, but it is certainly a love/hate relationship if ever there was one.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

MICHAEL JACKSON AND ELVIS?


Almost immediately upon the announcement of the death of Michael Jackson the comparisons began between the King of Pop and the King of Rock and Roll. But how deep do the comparisons go?

Elvis died at the age of 42 of cardiac arrest at his home. Sound familiar?
Elvis had a history of abusing prescription drugs including pain killers? Sound familiar?
Elvis was surrounded for the most part by yes-men, people who told him whatever they thought he wanted to hear rather than what he needed to hear? Sound familiar?
Elvis died in debt. He spent more money than he earned? Sound Familiar?
Elvis was scheduled to launch a new tour when he passed. Sound Familiar?
Elvis was pronounced dead at 3:30 PM. Sound familiar?
Elvis left a nine year old daughter behind. Sound familiar?

The similarities don't stop there. Elvis unquestionably changed the face of music forever. R&B had been around for years, but Elvis did something a little different with it. Raised on gospel and country music, he combined the influences of all three styles to create a unique sound. Michael Jackson was also a musical genius. His early albums, especially "Thriller", raised the bar for popular music and set a benchmark for all popular music to follow. Not since the Beatles' "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album or the Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds" album, has popular music been so influence.

Neither Michael Jackson nor Elvis Presley were at their peak physical condition. Elvis was overweight and severely out of shape. Now reports are surfacing that Michael Jackson was not in the best of health at the time.

There were so many parallels in the lives of these two legends its almost creepy. The mobs of fans and the worldwide outpouring of grief for Michael Jackson is something that has not been seen since the death of the King of Rock and Roll. Yes, even in death the similarities continue. This will be interesting and most probably sad to see the Michael Jackson saga unfold. Rumors and speculation will fly, just as they did with Elvis. People will come out of the woodwork to try to smear his image, just as they did with Elvis. But most importantly, the gift of genius that Michael Jackson gave the world will never be lost, just like Elvis.

There are countless rock and pop stars out there. Many of them are extremely talented and will have very long careers, but very few of them can be considered legends. Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Elton John, the Beatles, Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Tina Turner... these are just a few undeniable legends and a status not to be taken lightly.

When I first heard of Jackson's death the first person I thought of was Wolf Hudson. Knowing what a tremendous fan he is of Michael Jackson, I could only imagine the pain he was in. Later that night I was chatting with my friend, Jeremy Feist. He asked, "Is it weird that the first person I thought of was Wolf Hudson?" It was strange that we both had the same reaction. I assured him that there was nothing strange about that at all. It just showed our compassion to someone that we both admire and sympathized with his grief.

The first album I ever owned was "Thriller." I can still remember listening to it over and over and over, nonstop. My parents would have to take it from me at night so I would go to sleep. His mark on the music industry will live on forever just as Elvis' legacy will live on forever. The parallels are astounding. Perhaps there is a pattern to true genius. Whatever the the case, both Jackson and Presley will always have a place in the annals of pop culture and the hearts of their fans forever.

FRIENDS

It's funny how life works. I have always been fortunate to have great friends, but in the last couple of years I have formed friendships that I am sure will last a lifetime. Most of you that know me, know that I am friends with Pierre Fitch, the world-famous porn star, model and soon-to-be DJ. If you had told me a few years ago that he would be one of my best friends I would have thought you were crazy. Now I can't imagine not having him in my life, and I am grateful for that. Despite some vicious rumors slung at him by some others in the adult industry, the majority hold Pierre in high regard. So what is it that I love about Pierre? Is it his perfect ass? 8 inch cock? toned muscles? beautiful smile? tattoos? No, it's none of these. I love Pierre for who he is on the inside. I love that he has the biggest heart of anyone I have ever known in my life. There is a childlike quality about Pierre. I don't mean he is immature. I mean he has a love for life that transcends anything I have ever seen. He is excited by things that most of us pass by in our everyday lives. He's also easily hurt when his trust is betrayed. His genuine passion for life and the love he shares with friends and strangers alike, his loyalty to his friends, family and fans, and his undying charisma are the reasons I love him and am so proud to call him my friend.


And then there is the up-and-coming porn star from Montreal, Jeremy Feist. He is another amazing individual. If you're in the Montreal area be sure to stop by Adonis and and check him out. He's been on the scene for a few months but is working hard to put his career on the fast-track. I'm proud to say I knew him before he began his porn and dancing career. In fact, I helped pick his porn name! I see big things for him in his future. Jeremy is smart, funny, and a very talented writer. Be sure to check out his personal blog at www.notesonbarnapkins.blogspot.com. You will see just how wonderfully witty and funny he is. When I first started chatting with Jeremy he was so incredibly shy. He talked of wanting to work in porn, but when it came to committing to it, he would get weak in the knees. He was so shy he could not even talk to me on the phone. Now he is entertaining people and doing an outstanding job. I'm very proud of him. This is another friendship that I'm sure will last a lifetime. You can check Jeremy's work out at www.videoboys.com and www.squirtz.com.


So why did I write this post? I guess it has just been occurring to me lately how important it is to have friends like these. I don't get to see them as often as I like. I'm in the US and they are in Canada, but the borders cannot stop the love and loyalty I have for them.

Be sure to let your friends know how much you love then every chance you get. Encourage them. Support them. But most of all, love them. Praise them when they are right and advise them when you think they are wrong. Be there for them for the good times, but especially the bad.