Funny Stuff

Just fluffy, funny stuff.

i hope.

Kids, This Here’s What America’s All About: Weird Al Through the Eyes of His Fans

tour

My first “Weird Al” Yankovic concert was two days before my fifteenth birthday, August 14, 1994 (Alapalooza Tour).  Jeff Foxworthy, who was at the height of his “You Might Be a Redneck” fame, was the opening act, and I remember being totally blown away when Al finished the night by announcing he’d play an unreleased tune from his next album.  It was an incredible evening, and I’ll never forget how my mother, brother, and I laughed together in that darkened arena.

Back in the days before the internet, there weren’t many resources for searching an artist’s discography, so I’d go for treasure hunts at every music department I came across.  When I’d dig up a new cassette, I’d beg my mother to spend her meager earnings on another hour of life-altering entertainment.  Before long, I knew all the songs by heart.  I was such a sponge for his lyrics that after only hearing “Headline News” that one time at the Ohio State Fair, I was singing it line-for-line to the campers and my fellow councilors back at my summer job.  (My brother and I would also enrich the impressionable Cub Scouts with our renditions of “The Bedrock Anthem,” “The Good Old Days,” and “Nature Trail to Hell.”)

I’m pushing forty now, and I probably bring up Mr. Yankovic at least once a day.  At night, I troll the internet for memorabilia.  My collection has become so obscure and inclusive of minutia, I’ve had Al ask me where I found the stuff I was having him sign.  I found the press kit from the cult-classic Al-penned-and-acted film “UHF.”  I’ve got one of the one thousand copies of the Placebo EP Al sold from his Cal Poly dorm when he was first starting off.  I even have a piece of vinyl called “Slo Grown,” a tribute to the sleepy town of San Luis Obispo that happens to have a track on it by a young Alfred Yankovic.  Do I have the “Peter and the Wolf” record he collaborated with Wendy Carlos on?  Oh yeah!  I found it on Ebay.

Over the years, I’ve seen Al a half a dozen times, at amusement parks and county fairs, in historical halls and rock venues, and twice at The Hollywood Bowl.  I even had the privilege of seeing him interviewed in person at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles.  Still, nothing will ever top the show in ’96 at the Newport Music Hall (Bad Hair Day Tour).

The crowd was youthful and energized.  Al, still bespectacled and ‘fro-headed, had us high on visions of Twinkie-wiener sandwiches.  This was kind of a special moment in Al’s career.  He was branching out into fresh territory that would come to serve him well in the years ahead.  He’d mingled with a lot of genres but had mostly tangled with pop hits and rock anthems.  “Amish Paradise” was only his second shot at rap, and when those unmistakable first notes seared out from the speakers, I turned to my right and saw a cat that looked a lot like a young Busta Rhymes.  It was amazing!  I didn’t know this guy, but I felt a bond between us as we rapped Al’s hip hop parody together.  Later in the night, when “Smells Like Nirvana” cranked the volume at us, I grabbed one of my buddies and pushed him into the two headbangers standing in front of us.  They wore Pantera shirts and army boots, and when Christian’s body slammed into them, they turned around and stared at us.  And then, as though this was the moment they’d been waiting for all night, they carpe’d some mean diem, throwing up devil’s horns and letting out cries of unfettered liberation.

Yes, I started a mosh pit at a “Weird Al” show, and it’s still one of my proudest achievements.

There hasn’t been another concert like that for me – partly because I’m older, but also because of the brand of audience Al tends to attract.  They’re nice, reasonable, well-behaved people, and sure, they might have Al’s face tattooed on their back, but they aren’t the brand of rebel that wants to burn this mother down.  They – okay, we!  We sit politely through the concert and clap for the requisite encore.  We might be moved to applaud, but we never dance like no one is watching.  That doesn’t mean we don’t know how to have a good time.  What other show features cone bras, a fat suit, a giant purple peacock costume, boxers torn from pants and thrown from the stage, a Santa punching, goth cheerleaders, and a battalion of Storm Troopers?  There are video clips that span almost four decades and inspire audience participation at a Rocky Horror Picture Show level.  Trust me, we’re having a blast, but even with all that spectacle, if you’ve been to one Weird Al show, you kind of know what to expect.

Want in on a little secret?  I’ve actually been in crowds that don’t know or don’t care about the standard ritual.  I’ve been one face in a sea of others, standing and cheering, shouting and wailing, never stopping our outcry of love and respect.  Remember the night I told you about where Al performed “Headline News” before it was released?  That was during a second encore.  It really doesn’t have to be the same show every night, and I think that’s what motivated Al to do something different this time.

The marketing for The Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour was just as bizarre as the name might imply.  Al posted a warning on his social media feed, advising the majority of his ever-expanding audience to stay away.  This public service announcement seemed to be doing everything possible to discourage ticket sales.  There will be no A-side material; instead, it will be a night filled with the lesser known originals.  There may have been some break-out B-sides, like “Dare to Be Stupid,” “One More Minute,” or “You Don’t Love Me Anymore,” but every fan has had the same two questions when they talk about their devotion to Al: “Didn’t he stop making music in the 80’s?” and “He does original songs?”  The majority of his digital downloads are the latest parody of a Billboard chart-topper.  What would compel him to go on the road and commit career suicide by not playing any of his greatest hits?  And this time they’ll be side-stepping the big show theatrics?!  Just like the audience, Al, Kimo, Steve, Ruben, and Bermuda were promising to sit through the whole thing.

From the moment I saw that first announcement, I couldn’t wait to plunk down my hard-earned cash to see the show.  This would be an ever-changing set list of deep cuts and rarities and audience chatter; it was going to be a little less weird and a little more Al.

Real fans – or as we like to call ourselves, Close Personal Friends of Al – may not be as crazed and feral as those who followed The Grateful Dead around the country in days of old or who currently take Faygo showers with The Insane Clown Posse, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t just as zealous.  We may statistically be white and nerdy, but we feel passionately about our favorite musician.  Most of us discovered him during our formative years, when puberty and self-esteem issues were making our lives miserable.  We were sensitive and awkward, struggling to make friends without the aid of athletic prowess or cool guy angst.  Then suddenly we hear some song that set aside the tropes of  the universal themes dominating the air waves.  This crazy song had the balls to be about something other than rebellion or a messy break up.  It was a song that stuck its finger into the eye of conformity.  It was punk rock in a totally understated and endearing way.  Our minds were blown.  We’d never be the same again.  Here was something just as different as we were, and finding it was an absolute eureka moment.

In his wildly colorful shirts and patterned canvas shoes, Alfred Matthew Yankovic set the mold for every self-respecting class clown.  He was one of us and had turned a name his college classmates had given him in mocking derision – “Here comes weird Al” – and turned it into the moniker of a self-made rock god.  He didn’t have the luxury of knowing how to shred on an electric guitar to get girls.  Instead, he squeezed an accordion and sang with a squeaky voice that mustn’t have seemed destined to win the four Grammys he’d someday have.  But he had a few tricks up his Hawaiian sleeves.  His wry wit and work ethic would fill notebooks with his lyrical genius and propel him to stardom, and even after that, he’s still the same kind person he was when he first came out of Lynnwood.

Just like when a new tent pole blockbuster hits the theaters, I stayed away from spoilers about this tour on the internet.  With only a vague wish list of songs we wanted to hear (sadly, “I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead” didn’t make the cut at all on this year), my girlfriend and I arrived at Humphrey’s by the Bay early enough to participate in the VIP pre-show.  This was a venue Al hadn’t played since ‘85, a year before The Golden State Killer claimed his last victim, and they were about to time travel with an entire audience, hopping back and forth from 1982 to 2014 and all the years in between.

The first blast from the past was Emo Philips, who opened the show with a wandering, childlike stand-up set that’s been seasoned since the 80’s.  The Al crowd knows and loves Emo from his performance in “UHF” where he sacrifices a piece of himself to a. . . a. . . table-saw?  I’m sure you already know Emo cut us all to pieces and had us in stitches.

After a brief changing of the stage, my favorite band perched on stools and effortlessly filled the evening air with nostalgia.  As my eyes wandered across the faces of my fellow audience members, I felt a warming kinship with the crowd.  Burly men with grey hair smiled broadly and sang along.  Mothers laughed at jokes they’d never really paid much attention to before, reminding me so much of my own mother’s enjoyment at that first show.  My heart filled with joy when “The Good Old Days” was announced, and kids the same age as the Cub Scouts in my good old days lit up like Christmas.  It was almost like a magic show.  We weren’t necessarily hearing songs from our personal playlists.  These were lullabies buried deep in our subconscious, and in fact, there were moments when Al dug so far back that he lost the majority of the crowd.  It didn’t matter that not everyone was vibing on “Velvet Elvis,” because it was really playing well for that one or two people who were there, hanging on every note.

The whole gig felt special, and without all of the artifice,  there seemed to be little distance between the viewers and the performers on stage.  There was enough space in what was happening in those colorful spotlights for both “Albuquerque” and “The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota,” two of the longest songs in the whole library.  And they performed even longer versions of them then what remains unchanged on the original recordings.  They were alive and sparkling and new all over again.  This journey back into childhood was being led by the ultimate guide.  This love letter to the fans was a thank you for sticking around or for checking back in after all these years.

The biggest surprise of the night came during the encore.  “The next song will be a request, so everyone, shout out what you want us to play.”  We roared, suggesting everything from “Hardware Store” (a song impossible to play live) to “Still Billy Joel” (an unrecorded track he’ll probably never play again).  With a confused look at Jim West, Al replied, “Really?  I’ve never played that before.  But. . .  okay.”  And then the audience sat in stunned silence for about three minutes.

You could almost hear them asking each other, “What album is this from?”  To come with the answer a bit late, it was from the debut, self-titled album by Foo Fighters.  It was a cover of “This Is a Call,” a straight, non-humorous song, made funny by juxtaposition, and that’s not even the coolest part.  For every encore at every single night of the tour, Al and the band have been performing a different cover.  They’ve done unsmirking renditions of The Beatles, Devo, Smash Mouth, and Steppenwolf.  It’s a different surprise every show, so you really can’t see the same thing twice this time around.  They’re playing whatever the hell they want with a level of execution rivaling the original performers.  This really is one of the greatest – and certainly most underrated – group of musicians in show business.

When you’re talking about an artist that’s built a reputation on reusing other people’s music, it should come as no surprise his success has hinged on his lyrics.  Mimicking the lilt and key of a hit squad might be enough to propel a cover band to regional fame, but becoming the prince of parody with an Energizer bunny of a career is a statistical anomaly.  In fact, it’s genre-redefining, since the term “novelty act” by it’s very definition implies a passing fad.  These are supposed to be viral hits for a few weeks and nothing more.  No one should know the lyrics to “Eat It” thirty four years after it was released, and perhaps the reason there are so many of us who do isn’t because of the surging impact on the cultural landscape “Beat It” had.  It’s because the album In 3D also came packaged with “Midnight Star,” “That Boy Could Dance,” and “Nature Trail to Hell.”  It’s a testament to the originals that Al wasn’t destined to be a one hit wonder, despite what was predicted after Polka Party! failed to replicate his earlier numbers.  It wasn’t about whose coattails he could ride.  He’s always been able to do the heavy lifting on his own – or at least with a little help from his friends, and that’s why I feel we’ve entered into a new and exciting phase in this one-of-a-kind career.

I really believe we could have at least another decade of incredible work from our hero, even if he never does another parody again.  I know he’s done doing albums, but I can’t wait to see – and hear – what comes next, and I know I’m not the only one.  Whether they first heard him on Dr. Demento’s show or as the titular character of Milo Murphy’s Law, the true believers are all here, sitting in the darkened arena, waiting with anticipation.

If I could leave Al with one parting thought it would be this:  Don’t be afraid to do something new and unexpected.  It might seem like it would end everything, but just like when Michael Jackson said no to “Snack All Night” and you found Nirvana instead – just like when Yoko Ono turned down “Gee, I’m a Nerd” and it eventually transformed into “White and Nerdy” – subvert everyone’s expectations, like this amazing tour, is only going to draw us closer to you.

 

For more about my journey with Al’s music, check out this excerpt from my novel “Home Street.”

To rock out to the music Al inspired me to create, check out Chalkskin here.

And as a last self-indulgent plug, if you’d like to see the show I’ve been dying to interview Mr. Yankovic for, check out my conversations with such luminaries as George R.R. Martin here.

Al Pal 02.jpg

Advertisements

Top Posts of 2016

Keanu

10. Keanu!!!, in which I review the Key and Peele film.

make-money-tumblr.jpg

9. How Should I Spend My Lottery Winnings, in which I make plans for a couple million bucks

jack-reacher

8. The DO’s and DON’T’s of Action Flicks, in which I compare and contrast the original Jack Reacher film with Skyfall

Racist 01

7. How to Spot a Racist, a post that is even more important today than it was when I wrote it in 2013

anger

6. The Greatest Depictions of Single-Minded Emotion, a continuously popular blog

cali

5. VOTER’S GUIDE: California Propositions and Measures, a helpful voting tool

spine-01

4. Back Story, the story of my debilitating back injury and the miracle that went with it

Ghostbusters-Kate-McKinnon-Melissa-McCarthy-Kristen-Wiig-Leslie-Jones

3. Ghostbusters (2016): A Superfan’s Perspective, my thoughts on the reboot

Kill Me Now and AVGN

2. Going Long: Reviews for “Kill Me Now” and “Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie,” reviews of a couple of independent films made by popular Youtube artists

Jennifer Fichter 02

1. Predator versus “Predator,” my take on female teacher sexual scandals

 

 

Wedding Plans

Of course, tomorrow is Chalkskin Comes Home, a huge day for me.  But I originally planned to come out to Columbus, Ohio to go to two weddings.  One for my college buddy, Carl Gannon, which I was in, and one for my high school pal, Shawn Page.  But this whole trip has been about weddings in a way.  I can’t escape it.  All of my friends and family keep asking me when I’m going to pop the question to Stella (even a Navajo man we bought a dream catcher from on Route 66 asked seven times!), and it’s all over television, being June and all.

Well, it got Stella and I thinking, and we decided that in the event of a wedding ceremony, these are our choices for the traditional line-up.

 

Bride walks down the aisle: “I Will Do Anything for Love” -Meatloaf

Biblical passage: II Kings 2:23-24

Poetry reading from family member: “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” -Maya Angelou

Bride would have vows read by: James Earl Jones as Darth Vader

Groom would have vows read by: Christopher Walken as Christopher Walken

Bride and groom walk back down the aisle: “Hit the Road, Jack” -Ray Charles

First Dance: “Closer” -NIN

Mother/Son Dance: “My Mom” -Eminem

Father/Daughter Dance: “Story of Isaac” -Leonard Cohen

What disturbing entry would make your list?
baby-awkward-wedding-photo

The Greatest Depictions of Single-Minded Emotion

Seeking out the perfect representation of simple emotion in the arts.  This is one man’s opinion. . .

Anger


Kratos (God of War)

  • The team that worked on his design and animations put in every effort to make Kratos seem ticked off.  From his hunched walk to his snarling voice, it doesn’t take long to realize that the gods of Olympus are in for some hurting.
  • Honorable Mention: Mel Gibson (William Wallace in “Braveheart”)

Happiness

Mickey Mouse

  • There’s a reason Walt Disney’s theme parks are often cited as “the happiest place on earth” despite the fact their really just a gimmick to get you to stand in lines all day and fork out loads of cash.  It’s because of the lovable animated mouse that hopped down from the cartoonist’s pen and came to life in the hearts and minds of every child.

Frustration

Curly Howard (The Three Stooges)

  • With a shrieking “mmmmmmmm!!!” and a double slap to the face, Curly communicated frustration in a way that surpassed any language barrier.  You know it’s an effective interpretation when you start doing the same thing in your everyday life.

Fear

Shemp Howard (The Three Stooges)

  • The general Stooge “Gnaaah!!” is pretty much what I do when I’m scared, but it’s the addition of Shemp’s “me me me me me” and crazy noises that takes the fear to terror.
  • Honorable Mention: Lou Costello (Abbott and Costello) for his trying-to-whistle/trying-to-cry-out-for-help bit.  However, the fact that he was mugging a bit too much toward the forth wall gave Shemp the easy edge.
  • Additional Honorable Mention: Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead)

Surprise

Michael Richards (Kramer on “Seinfeld”)

  • Each time he walked through a door, it seemed that Kramer was surprised by what he found inside the room, but it was the moments when his mind was blown that he truly excelled in being the embodiment of happy, frightened, or excited surprise.

Despair

Harold Lloyd (“Safety Last”)

  • Running out of time.  Running out of space.  Harold Lloyd is literally hanging for his life on the revolving arms of a clock, perilously five or six stories above rush hour traffic.
  • Honorable Mention: Christopher Lloyd (“Back to the Future”) for going for the same gag.

Indignation

Oliver Hardy (Laurel and Hardy)

  • When Stan messes things up, Ollie – as one of the greatest straight men in history – didn’t just do a double take or slap the man-child, his reaction shot was the punchline to a mousetrap of a set up.

Disgust

1422.gif

Jim Carey (“Liar Liar”)

  • I think it’s the revulsion followed immediately by the gag reflex that does it for me.  And that he seems to be clearing his palette after throwing up in his mouth a little is just the cherry on top.
  • Honorable Mention: Jim Varney (“Ernest Goes to Camp”) when he’s cleaning the toilet in the opening credits.

Insanity

Gloria Swanson (Norma Desmond in “Sunset Boulevard”)

  • The entire movie is a study in madness and delusion, but the “I’m ready for my close-up” scene is pure movie magic.  It’s incredible that a film about aging silent movie actors still feels as fresh and relevant today as it did then.  The funeral for the chimp companion has shadows of Michael Jackson and Bubbles, and the struggles to feel special and unique are something more and more people can relate to in the Twitter era.
  • Honorable Mention: Jack Nicholson (Jack Torrance in “The Shining)

Love

Alfalfa (Our Gang, Little Rascals)

  • How do you define love?  Well, since we’re doing lust as a separate emotion here, let’s presume it is innocent.  It’s eager to please, yearning, awkward, bold.  When Alfalfa croons, he is the embodiment of all these things.
  • Honorable Mention: Ingrid Bergman (“Casablanca”)

Lust

Benny Hill (“The Benny Hill Show”)

  • Forget the tender empathy of love.  Lust is all about wanting the object of your desire, and Benny Hill not only projects that outward yearning on his face, he chases after crowds of beautiful women to “Yakety Sax!”
  • Honorable Mention: Tex Avery’s Wolf

Bashful/Shy

Stan Laurel (Laurel and Hardy)

  • Stan Laurel may have gotten himself and his pal into many a fine mess, but he was too darned lovable to stay mad at for long.  His total lack of ego may have been the only thing keeping him from being ripped limb from limb by an indignant Hardy.

Brave/Bold

Norman Rockwell (Of the Problem We All Live With)

  • Ruby Bridges walking to a newly desegregated classroom, surrounded by a mob of racists was an act of absolute bravery, and this painting captures the moment with clarity and a boldness of it’s own.  Norman Rockwell is America’s great painter, and this is one of his finest works.
  • Honorable Mention: Norman Rockwell (Murder in Mississippi – Southern Justice) is a very close second, but the fact that the subject is not a child and that the emotions are more complicated lost the edge.

Cocky/Self-Indulgent/Arrogant

Christian Bale (Patrick Bateman in “American Psycho”)

  • It’s rare for a drama or thriller to give you protagonist without layers, but Patrick Bateman’s subtext is that he’s even more shallow than he seems on the surface.  That’s what makes it such great satire and a roasting look at society in the 1980’s.

Broken/Redeemed

Bill Murray (Frank Cross in “Scrooged”)

  • This is particularly subjective, I realize.  For a lot of people, the ending of this movie dragged on way longer than it should have, and perhaps they’re right when judging the film solely as a comedy.  For me, however, this scene was absolutely necessary for us to see and feel the redemption of a Christmas miracle.  And more importantly, this was the moment that I realized that one of my favorite actors of all time was actually one hell of an actor.

Sad/Depressed

Ricky Scroder

Ricky Schroeder (“The Champ”)

  • This one was easy.  There was an actual scientific study to find the saddest scene in history, and the kid from “Silver Spoons” won it hands down.  While they don’t have an animated .gif of this iconic moment (I mean, who would spend their time making such a thing of something so sad), you can view the three minute scene here.

Anguish/Despair/Worry

ms21sn.gif

James Stewart (“It’s a Wonderful Life”)

  • The scene where George Bailey is praying at the bar was one of the first shots Jimmy Stewart did coming out of the war.  He had told Frank Capra, the director, that he wasn’t ready to make a movie, that he was still recoiling from the psychological effects of combat.  Mr. Capra got this shot and actually scanned the image to get closer than the original frame.
  • Honorable Mention: Aleksey Kravchenko (Florya Gaishun in “Come and See” – “Idi i Smotri”) showed incredible range and depth in his first acting role.  The moment he literally sticks his head in the mud to block out what he is seeing is riveting and will stay with you forever.  It kind of comes as no surprise that in the director’s commentary, Elem Klimov reveals he was afraid this scene had “driven the boy mad.”

Shame

Lucille Ball (“I Love Lucy”)

  • Lucy would do anything to get into Ricky’s show.  She’d step over people and on toes, and it would end in disaster.  But she loved the people that she embarrassed or hurt, and she genuinely felt ashamed.  Thus, she’d burst out into her famous “Wah!!”  The picture here is not perfect, but you can see what I mean here.  (It’s a fan-made music video of a song produced by “Weird Al,” but it shows you what I mean if you if you don’t already know.)

Pain

Jim Varney (Ernest P. Worrell)

  • Jim Varney’s rubbery face could project many emotions, but what the slapstick maestro excelled the most at was showing pain.  I feel he especially excelled at exaggerating the little injuries that we are all familiar with, such as slamming his fingers in a door.

Weariness

Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean in “Falling Asleep in Church”)

  • This entire five and a half minute sketch is pretty much Mr. Bean just trying to stay awake through the sermon at his church.  And it’s perfectly riveting.  Check it out right here.

Hunger

little-tramp-charlie-chaplin-eating-shoe-animated-gif.gif

Charlie Chaplin (The Tramp in many films, but especially “Gold Rush”)

  • For one of the richest men ever to grace the silver screen, Charlie Chaplin sure understood hunger.  The Tramp was an outcast who couldn’t hold down a job, keep a girl, or get a decent meal.  The most compelling imagery for hunger is in “Gold Rush,” where Mr. Chaplin invented the man-turning-to-food-hallucination gag, which you can watch here.

Isolation/Loneliness

live

Live (Lightning Crashes)

  • Music has a way of crawling under your skin and haunting you.  This song about simultaneous death and birth reminds me of driving lonely roads miles from home in the middle of the night.  It’s melancholy without being so sappy it doesn’t leave you completely cold.  You can watch the music video here.
  • Honorable Mention: No Doubt (Don’t Speak) is the song I listen to in a dark room when I need to cry for a scene.   Don’t judge me!

Belonging/Family/Community

The whole town (“It’s a Wonderful Life”)

  • As you can see above, this film was cited as having the quintessential moment of anxiety, which makes this ending all the sweeter.  It is at the precise moment that this line is spoken by George’s kid brother, the war hero Harry Bailey, that the realization that no man is a failure who has friends really sinks in.

Sarcastic

Groucho Marx (The Marx Brothers)

  • I don’t know about you, but whenever I want to get away with insulting someone, I pretend to be ashing a cigar, stoop down a little, and say whatever quip I have in mind in the voice of Groucho Marx.  The greatest compliment in the world was an insult from the man with the painted on mustache and eyebrows!

Indifferent

tumblr_o5gol3Px9E1rvcknwo1_500.gif

Buster Keaton

  • The king of deadpan comedy, Buster could have a house fall down around him, and he would take it all in stride.  In fact, he did.  You can see that here.  Oh!  And here.

Contentment

20151101-freedom-from-want

Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom from Want”

  • This singular image not only represents contentment within the American ideology, but it calms you as you look at it.  Rockwell created the history of our country on his canvas and told – not an idealized version since he was not afraid to tackle the hard issues (see Bravery above) – but a version that is complete and immediately accessible.

What do you think?  I’d love to hear your picks in the comments.  Did I miss an emotion?  Or perhaps a great masterwork?

Some of you may be wondering why there’s so much slapstick comedy on this list.  Well, for two reasons:
1. Slapstick boils down complex emotions into simple, single-minded reactions better than any other art form.
2. I have a deep appreciation for classic comedy.

Okay.  That’s it.  Go on home.  Nothing more to see here.

Post Modern Carol

Wrote a new Christmas Carol for you folks. (To the tune of “Jolly ‘Ole St. Nicholas.”)

Jolly ‘ole St. Nicholas
Loves to laugh at me.
Every year dick-a-less
Leaves nothing at my tree.

Pumpkin and cinnamon,
Peppermint and pine.
Wishing I were thin again,
But food, I won’t decline.

Spending time with family,
Silent night so fine.
Unless of course you are me,
And that family is mine.

I’ve got two blackened eyes,
An arm in a sling,
Just from going after buys
The day after Thanksgiving.

I wonder how Jesus feels
Every time we say
We should have his birthday meal
On a pagan holiday.

So set up that evergreen tree.
Light up all the lights.
Turn on the Nutcracker Suite.
Merry Christmas to all tonight.

It's a Wonderful Life

Twinkies – An Obituary

Maybe it’s because I never expected Jimmy Stewart to be immortal.  I never held the belief that The Three Stooges would live forever anywhere other than the silver screen.  Truly, I have never felt a public loss in such a personal way.

What will folks joke will survive the apocalypse beside the cockroach?

That squishy golden sponge, the sugary rush of cream, and a sweet synthetic aroma.  Is this experience lost to the ages?  Will it only live on in my heart?

What will they call young, muscular gay men?  What about Asians that are “white on the inside?”

The Twinkie culture has bled all over me, influencing my favorite cinema.  From the Twinkie analogy in Ghostbusters to Bob-oh’s favorite dish in “Weird Al” Yankovic’s masterpiece UHF.  There are references to the tasty treat in Deer Hunter, Die Hard, Iron Giant, and Wall-E.  But now I will only truly be able to appreciate Woody Harrelson’s fruitless search in Zombieland.

What will be my deep-fried standard at the county fair?  Will I never taste a Twinkie wiener sandwich?

Goodbye, Ho-Ho.  So long, Ding Dong.  Cheerio, Cup Cake.  Adieu, Suzy Q.  Ciao, Zinger.  Bye-bye, Fruit and Pudding Pie.  Adios, Donette.  Godspeed, Banana Dream.  Au revoir, Honey Buns.  Toodle-oo, Yodel and Funny Bone and Ring Ding and Devil Dog.  Sayonara, Wonder Bread and Nature’s Pride.  I will mourn the whole Hostess family, from the vanished Christmas fruitcake to the morning coffee now divorced from my Dunkin Stix. 

What will courts now call a sugar-high influenced murder spree defense?

I pray that someone will rescue us all and resurrect our dear friend back to the world of the living.  (Perhaps Disney?)  But for now I must postpone it no longer. . .Image

Rest in peace, dear Twinkie.  We didn’t love you enough.