Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Chris watches American Idol...LIVE!

Welcome, friends!  I have a very special installment for you this evening.  Thanks to the miracle of modern technology, this blog is about to go LIVE!  Not quite yet, though.  I am writing this sentence from the distant past of EARLIER TODAY!  Were we ever so young?  I hope you’re well-hydrated and have chosen your safe word because we are about to embark on a two hour journey into product placement and modern country songs.  THIS IS…


Lookin' good!
Before we start down the treacherous road of live blogging, I’d like to give a brief overview of my tumultuous relationship with American Idol.  As a moderately successful musician and a noted songbird, I have a vested interest in the portrayal of music in popular culture.  Does that mean that I’m the voice of my generation?  Probably...I don’t believe in labels, man.  I appreciate Idol as an outlet for talented kids but there is a fatal flaw in the show’s formula.  The American people, as a whole, are dumb.  I’ve been watching this season of Idol and I’ve seen a lot of interesting, original performers get the boot.  So, what did you leave us with, America?  Two boring teenagers singing contemporary country (the worst kind of country).

One last bit of business before we find ourselves waist-deep in Seacrest.  I’ve been hesitant to tackle American Idol this year because that job is already being magnificently handled by Paul F. Tompkins over at Vulture.  As I've mentioned before, Mr. F. Tompkins has had a major influence on my writing and his weekly Idol recaps have been brilliant.  Therefore, it is with deep regret that I must live blog the American Idol finale, knowing full well that my actions will eventually lead to my fighting Paul F. Tompkins on a mountaintop.  There can be only one!  Alright, I've insulted two wholesome teenagers, the entire population of America, and threatened the very life of one of my favorite entertainers.  I think it’s time to get this show on the road!  I am climbing into my DeLorean and I'll join you in...






7:55 Eastern Standard Time
Hello, Internuts!  WE ARE LIVE!  It's like we're watching this together, you and I.  Would you like anything from the fridge?  Fresca?  I'll be writing as fast as I can so you should be able to view new content every few minutes.  You'll have to keep refreshing the page but I trust you can handle it. You are a grown-up!  I won't have much time to edit so please forgive any spelling errors that make it in.  Before the show begins, here are my predictions: Scotty will win.  J.Lo will wear too much makeup.  There will be MANY uncomfortable group songs.  Let's see how I do!

8:00 EST
And we're off!!!  We're treated to a clip package that counts the number of contestants down to 2.  Scotty and Lauren!  Seacrest looks resplendent in his tux and he reminds us that we're watching the finale.  Apparently, there were 122 million votes cast last night.  Ryan asks the crowd where their allegiance lies and the crowd responds with angry yelling.  We meet our judges.  Steven Tyler is dressed like America's spinster aunt.  The Top 13 sing "Born This Way" by Lady Gaga.  I don't like it.  American Idol has to have a lot of money to throw around.  How does this still look like a parent's camcorder footage from a high school musical?  Commercial!

8:10 EST
Seacrest tells me that James will be performing with Judas Priest.  James is dressed like it's biker night on Fire Island.  That's not a dig at the gay is decidedly a dig at James.  James and the boys throat-sing their way through a medley of JP songs.  I'm embarrassed for everyone involved here.  We now get a clip package of Randy Jackson saying "What show is this" and "In it to win it" for like 2 minutes.  Now, Jacob and Gladys Knight and another guy sing a gospel song.  It's okay.  I guess they're raising money for the tornado victims.  That makes it a little better.  James didn't mention the tornado victims.  He and Judas Priest must love natural disasters.  Commercial!

8:25 EST
Beardy Hobbit and Jack Black welcome us back from the break by singing "Fat Bottom Girls."  I like this!  Why can't this be the end of the show?  There is scat singing and girls riding bikes!  Seacrest is waiting for the ladies to come to the stage for their number.  He stalls a little.  Good job, Seacrest!  The ladies sing "Single Ladies" and possibly some other Beyonce songs and I am immediately reminded why most of these girls were forcibly removed from the competition.  Oh dear.  Now, I like looking at ladies' legs but it looks like these girls were coated in Pam cooking spray and it's weird.  This is weird.  Haley, who was voted off before the finale, is still doing a great job and it I am still mad at America for kicking her off.  Oh shit, here comes Beyonce!  I think Beyonce has an industrial fan pointed at her 24 hours a day.  Beyonce brought her own dancers because she has no faith whatsoever in the contestants.  Everybody hugs...COMMERCIAL!

8:39 EST
It's time for Steven Tyler's clip package!  Steven talks a bunch of gibberish and hits on a bunch of 15 year old girls.  Steven gets a standing ovation.  Good for you, Steve!  Now Haley is gonna sing a jazz tune with Tony Bennett.  Tony's 84 and he's still got it.  He and Haley do a little dance.  It's cute.  This is cute.  Now it's Jennifer Lopez's turn to look back at her life.  All the young male contestants remind J.Lo that even she cannot escape the slow decay of age.  Now it's time for TLC featuring Lil Jon and some other people!  My girlfriend points out that it's really just TC since the L passed away.  This is all in very good taste!  Next, Scotty and Tim McGraw  sing an uplifting country song about cancer.  Fun?  Is this the only song in history to combine terminal illness and "a bull named Fu Manchu?"  I'm really asking.  I will not be researching this.  Commercial!

8:59 EST
Remember when the show was fun and we all laughed guiltily at the terrible singers and (if we're being honest) seriously troubled human beings?  Well, Idol remembers too and they have another clip package.  Now, it's time for Marc Anthony (J.Lo's Tom Arnold) to sing a song.  This is not so great.  Ooooohhh, now Jennifer Lopez is on the stage to perform the marital act of love.  J.Lo doesn't even get a mic.  She just shakes her ass like the Fly Girl that she has always been.  Clip package time!  God always answers my prayers but sometimes the answer is "no."  A bunch of the guys let us know that getting kicked off the show sucks.  The video devolves into "comedy" and we all have a good laugh.  Teenage reality show contestants are known for their impeccable comic timing!  The guys sing a medley of completely unrelated songs.  Hey, Tom Jones is there!  Is he the most famous Welshman in the world?  Again, I will not be looking into this further so you're on your own.  Anthony Hopkins?  Is he Welsh?  No matter!  Commercial!!!

9:19 EST
Yup, it's a Ford music video.  Ford donates $20 per test drive to each of the finalists' schools.  Christ in a rickshaw, Ford...can't you just donate some money?  Scotty and Lauren give Ford Focuses (Focusi?) to their favorite teachers.  For this act of charity, Scotty and Lauren get to pick the Ford vehicle of their choice.  See, it pays to be generous!  Lady Gaga shows up dressed like the blue lady from The 5th Element and sings from on top of a mountain like Simba.  Oops, her clothes fell off.  Now there's a dude up there and they mime at least 7 sex positions by my count.  Remember, young girls, this is how you become a famous singer!  COMMERCIAL!

9:31 EST
Lauren's singing a Carrie Underwood song.  Is Carrie Underwood going to show up?  Yes.  There she is.  Carrie Underwood also has creepily shiny legs.  What is happening to legs?  I think I'll actually research this know...for science.  Clip package time!  The other contestants say a bunch of nice things about Scotty and Lauren.  Guess what?  Beyonce's back to sing her "favorite song."  It's called "1 + 1" and it seems to be about basic arithmetic and boning.  Why does Beyonce get to sing 2 songs?  Is it because 1 + 1 = 2?  CONSPIRACY!  COMMERCIAL!

9:45 EST
Uh oh.  Spiderman musical.  Spiderman swings around for a minute on clearly visible wires and then Bono sings a song about it.  I'm still waiting for the big reveal that the Spiderman musical is an elaborate Andy Kaufman-esque joke.  J.Lo almost kisses Spiderman but his mask gets caught.  Oh well.  At least nobody got hurt.  Commercial!

9:54 EST
Home stretch!!!  Will there be another commercial in the last 6 minutes?  I bet you know the answer to that.  Steven Tyler sings "Dream On" and he sounds pretty damn good for an 80 year old scarecrow.  I love this song.  Am I old too?  Probably.  Commercial!!!  Asked and answered.

10:01 EST
And we're officially running long.  Seacrest requests the envelope containing the name of the winner.  The lights are dimmed.  And...Scotty wins!  I don't care.  THIS IS YOUR FAULT, AMERICA.  Lauren takes it pretty well.  Scotty thanks Lauren and JC, his Lord and Savior.  Scotty walks down to hug his family and he gets choked up.  This is actually kinda nice.  I'm sure Scotty is a nice kid and he seems genuinely overwhelmed.  Good for you, Scotty.  I'm still not going to buy your record though...

Well, we did it.  Two hours later we've seen some good things, some bad things, and a Spiderman.  Thanks for watching with me, Internuts!  I'll have something new for you after the holiday!  Good night!!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chris watches 16 and Pregnant.

Hello again, Internuts!  It’s so nice to be back!  I apologize for my prolonged absence but, as most of you know, I have been away for the last week and a half.  Let me explain.  Around this time every year I travel to the Cayman Islands to indulge my greatest vice…pony fighting.  For the uninitiated, pony fighting is very similar to dog fighting except that the ponies mostly just nuzzle each other and eat grains before adorably falling asleep.  Very little money changes hands.  But, now I’m home and I’m feeling rested enough to present you with…

 16 and Pregnant!

Left behind.
As any credible scientist will tell you, the Rapture is taking place this Saturday.  About time!  Traffic has been a nightmare!  My last six Rapture parties have been a complete bust.  What am I going to do with all those Kirk Cameron piñatas?  If the Rapture does go down I sort of hope I’m left behind to see how confused everybody from the Westboro Baptist Church will be when they aren’t sucked up to Heaven.  Talk about having egg on your face!  But seriously, those people are fucking terrible.  Anyhow (being faced with the end of the world and all) the only thing I wanted to do was watch, notate, and review MTV’s 16 and Pregnant.  Take that, last precious minutes with loved ones!

Hi Danielle!
Full disclosure: I’ve seen 16 and Pregnant a few times before.  It is equal parts cautionary tale and broad comedy.  Today’s episode centers on Danielle.  Hi Danielle!  MTV kindly gives me a crash course on Danielle’s life.  She used to be a good student but got mixed up with the wrong crowd in her freshman year of high school.  She started to fight with her mom (who is 32…I’ll let you do that math) and moved out of the house.  She met her boyfriend Jamie and was pregnant within 4 months.  Apparently, the “No Protection Whatsoever Plan” is not ironclad.  Danielle moved back home with her mom and the show finally begins.  Thanks to MTV’s editing practices, I learned all that back-story in 9 seconds.

Our narrative begins while Danielle is 33 weeks pregnant.  Thanks to my desktop calculator, I can tell you that 33 weeks is about 8 months.  MATH IN ACTION!  Danielle and Jamie are kicking back and discussing their initial attraction.  Here’s a taste of the witty repartee…

You understood, like, what I was talking about and I could have a actual conversation with you without you saying something that had nothing to do with what we was talking about.

We had good convo…

No kidding, good convo!  It’s like Oscar Wilde shooting the breeze with another Oscar Wilde!  I haven’t been sixteen for about 11 years and it is discomforting to learn how dumb I probably was.  We jump a few weeks ahead and Danielle’s mom is advising that the young couple will need at least $300 a month for the baby.  Jamie works at McDonalds and makes $300 every two weeks.  I am not a wealthy man by any means but $600 a month seems ridiculously low.  They should really have a tip jar at McDonalds.  These children have children to feed!  Danielle and Jamie sit on a swing set and try to work out a budget.  The pair realize that babies cost money (and I’m pretty sure that $300 is really lowballing it) and start to fight about their finances.  I start to get the feeling that I’m watching a movie but I already know the twist ending.

We’re now at week 38.  Danielle is craving chalk and nail polish remover.  I’ve heard about pickles and ice cream.  Is this a thing?  Moms: please send me an email if you ever craved chalk or nail polish remover during your pregnancy.  Danielle starts to get, what she describes as, lightning bolt pains in her lady parts.  Does that mean that she will have to defeat Voldemort?  No.  She’s having contractions!  Danielle’s mom drives her to the hospital and the doctor recommends inducing labor.  It’s Showtime!

Before we delve into the miracle of childbirth, I’d like to take a moment to talk about the commercials on MTV.  I understand that advertisers want to cater to their target demographic but this is ridiculous.  16 and Pregnant is an hour long and there have been just 2 commercials playing on a continuous loop.  The first commercial is for Taco Bell.  The second commercial is for Proactiv Skin Care Solutions.  At first, I was delighted by this ironic pairing but as the hour went by I became more and more paranoid.  This has to be some kind of back room deal, right?  We’re through the looking glass here, people…

Alright, enough talk about overstuffed tacos...let’s talk childbirth.  I’m ashamed of myself!  Danielle is given an IV to help speed up her contractions.  I’m not going to lie.  Having a baby looks awful.  It’s often described as “pushing a watermelon out of an opening the size of a lemon.”  I think a far more apt description is “pushing a human person out of a vagina.”  I’m not sure how all the produce got involved.  No matter how you look at it, Danielle is in a LOT of pain.  She’s given an epidural and the baby stops breathing.  COMMERCIAL BREAK.  Are you kidding me, MTV?!?  It’s like they know I’m not paying attention so they purposefully endanger a newborn.  AND WE’RE BACK!  As expected, Jamie Jr. has been born and is in perfect health.  Whew.

Danielle and Jamie get a crash course in diaper changing from a nurse and are released into the world to care for another human being.  Danielle stays with her mom for a week but decides to move in with Jamie.  Jamie who works at McDonalds.  But wait!  Apparently, Jamie missed too many shifts leading up to the birth so he got fired.  Fired from McDonalds.  So, now there is no household income.  After a few weeks, Danielle finds a free daycare to leave the baby at so she can do her homework and Jamie can go to work with his dad.  Jamie is upset by the idea of putting their newborn baby in daycare.  The new parents fight and Jamie storms off for good (I think).  Danielle sensibly moves back in with her mother and the show is over.  This is depressing!

Final Thoughts:

If you’re a teenager and you’re having unprotected sex…you are dumb.  Whether you believe in abstinence or birth control, try to avoid having a baby when you’re 16.  Reality is nowhere near as quirky and whimsical as Juno.  Well, that’s all for today, my friends.  It’s good to be back and I’ll have some new posts for you next week.  Have a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Chris eats his vegetables.

Hey, everybody!  I trust that you’re well.  We find ourselves at a significant moment in history.  Earlier this evening, I consumed the last weird food product from my initial trip to Whole Foods.  Thus far, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with these foodstuffs.  Some were surprisingly good (rambutan, meatless jerky) and some were not so good (fuck you, Limburger cheese).  Since I’ve exhausted my original supply, I am relying on YOU to give me some good suggestions for future taste tests.  Feel free to leave a comment below or e-mail me at  But, enough of this jibber-jabber!  It’s time to meet the food du jour…

Vegetable Tempuraw!

I'm 60% sure that these are not psychedelic mushrooms.

I have a confession to make.  I’ve got no beef with vegetables.  I chose this snack based entirely on the (disgusting) appearance.  Judging by looks alone, Vegetable Tempuraw consists of mummified veggies coated in peanut butter and boogers.  Vegetable Tempuraw is made by Awesome Foods™, headquartered right down the road from me in Bridgeport, PA.  As you may have guessed by the clever name, Awesome Foods™ specializes in raw foods (TempuRAW…get it?).  The creators of Awesome Foods™ also own a raw/organic food store in the suburbs of Philadelphia called Nature’s Harvest.  This is not to be confused with Natural Harvest: A Collection of Semen-Based Recipes.  Dear God, I hope that the Mom and Pop organic food store and the sperm cookbook get each other’s mail once in a while!   FARCICAL!!!  It’d be like Frasier but with marginally more semen.

Do NOT eat that flan.

That’s enough sperm-talk for now.  Let’s learn a little about raw foods!  Raw foodism (yup, it’s a thing) was created by Swiss doctor, Maximilian Bircher-Benner, in 1897.  That’s right, Californians, you didn’t come up with this!  Apparently, the good doctor discovered that eating a bunch of raw apples cured his jaundice.  Dr. Max, who also invented muesli, opened a sanatorium in Zurich which has been cramming apples into people ever since.  Since raw food isn't cooked it still contains bacteria and micro-organisms.  Usually, eating bacteria-riddled food is avoided but raw food advocates believe that consumption of the correct types of bacteria can be beneficial.  Specifically lusted after is a kind of bacteria called “gut flora.”  You know, this stuff…

I'm going to need Dustin Hoffman, a rubber suit, and a monkey...

I should really start researching the stuff I eat before I eat it.  Lesson learned.  Here’s what I’m getting into with my bag of Vegetable Tempuraw:

Yams, Zucchini, Daikon, Bell Peppers, Onions, Snow Peas, Cashews, Filtered Water, Fresh Lemon Juice, Granulated Onion, Dill, Parsley, Himalayan Salt, Black Pepper.

That doesn’t sound too bad!  Being a curious kitten, I took it upon myself to look up Himalayan Salt.  Wikipedia tells me that Himalayan Salt is salt mined in the Himalayas.  The Awesome Foods™ website tells me: “We use only Himalayan salt in our products, since it is free of pollutants often found in sea salt and table salt. Himalayan salt contains 84 minerals essential to life, since it was formed over 250 million years and remains in its original pristine state. It is mined by hand from a protected area of the Himalayan Mountains. This natural unprocessed salt contains a highly crystalline structure, which allows nutrients to be absorbed at the cellular level, purifying the body physically and bio-energetically.”  You say potato; I say a bunch of nonsense…


Time for the main event!  Upon cracking open my bag I’m greeted with a familiar smell.  The veggies give off a smell very similar to potato chips.  I’m guessing it’s just the smell of salt.  Forgive me…Himalayan Salt.  All the vegetables are desiccated and covered in a strange beige paste.  Things are not looking great.  I pick out a mummified piece of zucchini and pop it into my mouth.  Not bad.  Not bad at all!  I work my way through the various vegetables and they all taste about the same.  The onion, dill and salt give everything a fairly homogeneous flavor.  The strangest thing about the Tempuraw is the texture.  All of the veggies are sliced thinly and are dried until extremely fragile.  The snow peas, in particular, are like chewing on a fine piece of balsa wood.  Much like the meatless jerky, Vegetable Tempuraw is pretty tasty but I doubt I’d go out of my way to find some more of it.  Alright, Internuts, that’s all for this week.  Make sure to send me some suggestions for more strange foods and I will take them under advisement before my next shopping spree.  Have a great weekend, gang, and I’ll see you back here real soon!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Chris watches the Royal Wedding.

Hey there, tea sippers!  As promised, I’ll be writing a little something about the Royal Wedding today.  Lucky for me, no other pertinent world events have happened between the wedding and this moment.  What’s that?  Oh.  In Pakistan, you say?  Riddled with bullets, you say?  I see…  Anyhoo, let’s talk about pretty dresses and horsies!  It’s…

The Royal Wedding, Bitches!

Let’s begin with the most important aspect of this wedding coverage…me.  If you live in my neighborhood, you’ve already signed a document confirming that I am a registered Anglophile.  I love British stuff!  I love Monty Python, the Beatles, red phone booths, tiny little cars, strange road markings, The Office, warm beer, the word “colour,” and boiled meat.  Well, I love most of those things.  But above all things, I love the Royal Family.  From Queen Elizabeth to Henry VIII to that stuttering guy, a motley crew (or Mötley Crüe if you’re from the States) has passed through Buckingham Palace.  And members of the Royal Family are famous from the moment they’re born…just like Suri Cruise!

Earn this.
Last Friday we celebrated the marriage of Prince William (or His Royal Highness Prince William Arthur Philip Louis, Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn, Baron Carrickfergus, Royal Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter if you’re nasty) and Catherine (Kate) Middleton.  I have paid no attention to the wedding coverage leading up to the event.  Luckily, CNN provided 6 hours for me to watch while I nap on the couch.  The Masters of Ceremony will be Piers Morgan, Anderson Cooper and Cat Deeley.  The CNN coverage is staggering in its lack of relevance.  Eventually, people start arriving at Westminster Abbey.  For reasons known only to the British people, all the men are dressed like butlers and all the ladies are dressed like Kentucky Derby attendees. 
You should see her at The Preakness.
Let’s talk about Kate Middleton for a second.  She is a stone-cold fox (sorry, honey).  More than that, she’s more-or-less a commoner.  I had to say “more-or-less” because she and William are twelfth cousins once removed.  It’s not a Royal Wedding without a little shared DNA!  Kate and William met at University and got engaged in 2010 while on holiday in Kenya.  Having paid little attention to the Royal Family, I still pictured William as a handsome young dude.  Imagine my surprise, dear reader, when I found out that he’s now rocking a full-on George Costanza!  We’re just lucky that Kate didn’t lick too many poisonous stamps for the wedding invitations! 


Oh, hello.
Back to the ceremony, there are several A-List Brits in attendance.  We see David and Victoria Beckham, Guy Ritchie, Joss Stone, Elton John and Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean!) filing into the Abbey.  Let’s get this show on the road!  William hops into a car with Harry and the two Princes are shuttled off to the church.  It’s around this time that I fall asleep on the couch.  I am awoken by the blare of trumpets and I see that Kate is already walking down the aisle.  I briefly consider rewinding the DVR but quickly remind myself that I hate this.  Kate looks smoking hot (sorry again, baby…the Baroness of Carrickfergus and I are just friends).  William looks like Captain Kangaroo. 

CNN reminds me that the wedding ceremony will last about an hour and a half.  I fluff my pillow and settle in.  The internet tells me that it takes Kate 3 and a half minutes to walk to the altar.  I can assure you that it feels significantly longer.  We are treated to several readings which are tremendously dull but sound amazing when delivered with a sonorous English accent.  Will and Kate exchange vows and I’m actually getting a little verklempt.  I think these two crazy cousins are gonna make it!  Uh oh.  They’re already married and there’s still an hour and fifteen minutes of ceremony left.  How much more can be involved here?

Apparently, a lot more can be involved here!  There is a ton of singing.  I mean, a tonnnnnn of singing.  Kate’s brother gives another reading which, again, would be incredibly boring without that kickass accent.  I could listen to John Cleese read the instruction manual for a coffee maker.  Next, a commissioned choral work is sung by a bunch of little British boys.  Is it wrong to assume that they are all chimney sweeps?  If it is, I do not want to be right!  More readings.  Another choral work.  My pillow is becoming more and more inviting.  NO!  YOU WILL WATCH THIS THING, CHRIS!  YOU WILL FINISH WHAT YOU START!!!

One hell of a church.
I am consoled by the beautiful images of Westminster Abbey on my HDTV.  That is one hell of a church.  Am I going to go to hell for writing, “one hell of a church?”  I don’t really care anymore.  I will happily spend an eternity in the 9th circle of hell if it means this wedding will end.  Now everybody sings some kind of rugby fight song.  That’s like singing “Meet the Mets” at the Presidential Inauguration.  Finally…FINALLY…the brass kicks in and all in attendance sing “God Save the Queen.”  I notice that the Queen doesn’t sing “God Save the Queen” and I assume that she doesn’t want to look like a jerk.  Will and Kate retreat to a back room to sign the marriage registry or something.  The choir sings another song for about 6 days.  Eventually, there’s another fanfare and the Bride and Groom lead the procession out of the Abbey. 

There are definitely talking mice in there.
Willie and Kate hop into a carriage which I am quite certain was very recently a pumpkin.  The newlyweds ride through the streets of London, waving to the adoring crowds.  Does this process take a while?  I think you know the answer to that.  Once all the Royals are dropped off at Buckingham Palace, the coverage goes into “treading water mode.”  We are reminded that the married couple didn’t even KISS during the ceremony.   No wonder the Puritans left England.  Those swinging Brits and their loose morals!  After what seems like the remaining years of my life Will and Kate emerge on the balcony of the Royal Palace.  Finally, William plants one on Kate and the crowd goes wild.  I hope William is incredibly thankful that he is the Prince of England and, as such, gets to marry a beautiful lady like Kate (I swear, sweetheart, she doesn’t mean anything to me). 

In summation, this wedding took a long time.  There was a bunch of pomp and circumstance and stiff, British upper lips.  There was a wedding dress and a carriage and a pretty church.  Honestly, it seems like William and Kate actually love each other.  I, for one, will be pulling for the young couple and I’d like to see them make it.  I just hope they like the Foreman Grill I got them.  Pip pip, cheerio!