Archive for the Gags Category

Sounds I Make in Songs: The Quiz

Posted in Gags, Music with tags , , , , , , on September 17, 2017 by Mike

Much has been reported about bad or misheard lyrics in popular music, but what about the weird sounds and noises that can be heard when you turn on the radio. Some of these sounds are made by the recording artist but many are generated by the listener (me) when he tries to simulate instrumental flourishes in his car.  Wonder if you can hear 10 sounds I make during songs and figure out the name of each song? Let’s try. Reply with your guesses. In a week or so I’ll post the answers.

 

 

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Needs

Posted in Gags with tags , , , , , , on January 19, 2016 by Mike

I wrote, shot, and edited a short film yesterday as an experiment with software.  It’s about a man at work who is in conflict with his needy body–urgent, pressing, insistent needs that sometimes will not go away.

Reflections That Arise From Near Constant Playings of Kidz Bop CDs

Posted in Family, Gags with tags , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2016 by Mike

As a parent, when you’re not watching repeated viewings of the same movie (see Reflections That Arise From Near Constant Viewings of The Croods), you’re in the car listening to the same songs over and over again. And even though you control the knobs, it is never your favorite album coming through the speakers. The kids may be in the back seat but their loud whining will break you down every time. Parents of young children know that their own wants and preferences are meaningless and they won’t have control of the entertainment devices again until the kids are shipped off to college.kids bop final

We have a 7- and 3-year old so we listen to a lot of Kidz Bop. Kidz Bop is a music label/marketing brand that produces child-friendly versions of popular songs. Picture a boy band five years younger with two of the boys replaced by quickly budding 5th grade girls. Swapping verses between singers and using the choruses as a chance to sing loudly and emphatically as a unit, the Kidz Bop Kids bring youthful energy to hit songs you’ve likely never heard before.

If you listen to enough of these albums, you will start to make weird observations. Here are some of mine:

  1. Do pedophiles listen to Kidz Bop CDs in their cars and houses? Seems like they would.
  2. I imagine the contract for a Kidz Bop Kid would last 3-4 years, maybe from 11-14 years old – covering the span of time that the kid can dance and sing, but before gangliness and acne show up.
  3. Those contracts must be quite rigid: the kids likely have to maintain fitness, style, and can’t pursue solo work to avoid one becoming more popular than the group and putting the whole dynamic in turmoil.
  4. Though reluctant to admit it, these songs can be educational. Kidz Bop 29 has the song “FourFiveSeconds” on it and one lyric confounded both my wife and me. Four or five seconds from what?? Turns out the word is wildin’ and, according to the Urban Dictionary, it means: “To do something really over the top, extreme, crazy or wild…” and the stiffs over at Oxford Dictionaries define wilding as, “The activity by a gang of youths of going on a protracted and violent rampage in a public place, attacking people at random.” So again we see the importance of the apostrophe. We’ve also learned that the “or” between the fourth and fifth second is unnecessary; we now use this phrase around the house to sound hip (e.g., “Kids, we’re about fourfive seconds from supper—wash your hands.”)
  5. I think they should build a show around Kidz Bop Kid tryouts so we can see young naïve hopefuls get dream-crushed by heartless judges – we could watch the show with our own sniffling children and say, “Do you still want to be a rock star?”
  6. Grown-ups are required to bash kids’ music but honestly, the more your children force the CDs on you, the better they become. Now when I hear the original artist singing a song I’ve only heard from the Kidz Bop Kids, I always prefer the Kidz Bop version. The production is of high quality, the performances are crisp and perfectly engineered, and the song’s message is now universal and safe for consumption. Are people trying to whitewash material for kids? Some people are but most are helping them grow up too fast. Kidz Bop music helps put off some conversations until it’s time to have them. And you can dance to it, if you’re a kid, or working from home and no one else is there to witness such a thing.
  7. Who has the job of rewriting questionable song lyrics into sanitized kid-friendly versions? They should make a throw-back album and try their hand at 2 Live Crew, featuring the song, “We Want Some Pudding.”

 

 

 

 

 

Reflections That Arise From Near Constant Viewings of The Croods

Posted in Family, Gags, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2015 by Mike

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Any parent of a toddler will tell you that kids will get fixated on one movie and watch it until the laser has burned right through the DVD. Our daughter, Alice Wren, is going through an intense love affair with “The Croods.” It’s her first and last request of the day: Can I watch The Croods? Of course we say yes and reach for all of the remotes – we wouldn’t dream of squashing her young love affair.

But due to the unfortunate open concept design of our home, we are also forced to watch it, unless we spent the waking hours in the garage with the door closed, and what kind of family time is that? The more you watch a movie, the more you start to make connections and decode puzzles the filmmakers planted just for you and the countless other willing and unwilling habitual viewers.

  1. Certain scenes were written to riff on the probably universal sentiment that Nicolas Cage is a shameless overactor. (a.) When the dad character emerges from the cave and reluctantly signals to his family that it’s all clear. The dad is embarrassed to do the weird bird sound – “aaah-oooh, aaah-ooooh” – and you can feel Cage filling the recording studio with his patented brand of cheesy uber-emoting. (b.) When he and Guy are trying to get the large colorful cat to yank them from the tar and he performs with the “acting sticks.” Cage seizes the scene like the character seizes the sticks and the over the top performance, in this one scene in this one movie, is appropriate.
  2. The opening sequence – the epic chase for the egg, which is underscored by a marching band like a halftime show or an NFL highlight film – is one of the better action sequences you will find in any movie. There’s humor, greatThe-Croods-egg-in-beak-scene directing, tension, release, and suspense. Repeated viewings only intensify the fun–I can see this rewiring my daughter’s synapses as she studies the screen every time, hopefully it’s improving the original network. 
  3. This movie surely overplays the running joke “I wish death upon my mother-in-law”–it’s probably used at least six times where the dad is doing a headcount and he’s repeatedly disappointed when he finds that the mother-in-law has survived the latest misadventure. Simply, he wishes she was dead dead dead and that’s a weird point to make over and over again.
  4. If you really think about it, modern man still lives in caves and we only venture out for the necessities–we are plagued by trepidation since danger and horror await us each time we roll away the rock and emerge from our holes and squint into the oblivion of each new day.
  5. Despite his skills on the vibes, Belt should’ve been hurled off a cliff the second time he did the ominous da-da-beltdaaaa thing. And he carries a knife – he’s dangerous and not to be trusted. 
  6. I think the the cave-Emma Stone and the cave-Catherine Keener are just as enticing as their real selves and I think most females would think the same thing about the cave-Ryan Reynolds. And then I think I should get out more.
  7. It’s doubtful that an elephant-sized feline exists in the fossil record. But wouldn’t that be fun? This movie makes you cherish your pets and, if there was more time and an editing suite in this garage, could be trimmed down into a commercial for fostering unwanted animals.
  8. The ancient artists behind the Lascaux cave paintings were probably hilarious and ironic and invented their era’s versions of modern conveniences like umbrellas and instant cameras. In this painting, you can see that early man used rubber duck canes, which can now be found in Disney Stores all around the country.Field Museum 6

To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before – a remake

Posted in Gags, Music with tags , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2015 by Mike

As cheesy great as the original was, this song needed a reboot. Not all guys can sleep with whichever beautiful woman he desires. Most of them wander around in desperate longing half the time, tantalized by the gorgeous females beyond their reach.

Click here to listen to the recording.

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The Pitch-Mire

Posted in Gags with tags , , , , , , , on August 26, 2015 by Mike

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Pitch-mire, noun: The seemingly interminable span of time between the beginning of the forced ad the millisecond when you can, and do, skip the ad. While in the pitch-mire, you watch the seconds count down, forcing yourself not to look at or listen to the commercial. You vow to never buy the product that’s being advertised and curse the fact that you live in an era where you can’t watch a blooper reel without having to view a friggin Mylanta commercial. During the middle seconds, and since you’re on the clock, you wonder if you shouldn’t just cancel out of the window and do your actual job, but that thought takes 2-3 seconds, nudging you that much closer to the sweet release of the blooper reel. Just before the countdown is over, you wonder if the advertiser knows how hated they’ve become during this relatively short interval and that, instead of a potential customer, they’ve created a monster determined to sabotage their business. Then the blooper reel starts and your blood pressure goes down and you watch Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly clips for the hundredth time.

Movie Memes for Parents

Posted in Family, Gags with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2015 by Mike

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psycho.meme-01

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