<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/kY5nYXK8VUU” frameborder=”0″ allow=”autoplay; encrypted-media” allowfullscreen></iframe>

It’s one month into 2018. How’s your New Years Resolution holding up? If you need a new one either because you accomplished it or because you didn’t, I’m going to share mine: Smile.

I’ve been working on this project for a couple of years. I visited Chicago, Los Angeles, and New Orleans and asked hundreds of people to write down or draw something that makes them Smile and every fun, silly, heartwarming response made me smile too. I sat editing this video and realized that my face hurt because there is an involuntary psychological response to smiling: smiling. Smiles are contagious and they spread happiness. We need more joy, especially in 2018.

I wrote this I Wish I Were A Dinosaur song at a time when I wasn’t happy at all. I wrote it to remind myself to smile. This video is selfish. I wanted a cheat sheet because as I get older and older it seems like it gets easier and easier to get beaten down by life. I wanted this to be something I could always refer back to whenever I realized that I needed a reason to smile.

What makes you smile? For the rest of 2018, I’m going to challenge you to share it. Loud and proud. If you want to do it like people did in the video and put it on social media here’s a hashtag: #MAKESMESMILE

The world is desperate for smiles. Share your smile with people you love and people you don’t and encourage them to share their smile with you. Let’s see what happens.

A huge thanks goes out to everyone who shared their smile with a random guy on the street with a bucket of markers, paper, and a camera. Thank you to Israel Peck for being my PA at a moment’s notice instead of watching the Bears game. Thanks to Jaysin Osterkamp from Night Owls Media for filming me from the ground and the air. Thanks to Elijah Lucian for singing the hook and to @Kaela Caron for getting his grumpy butt in the video.

Listen to the full album here:

Knowlton Haaland took his dancing all over Chicago to help me with the video for the song Dance With Me. We did it on the last warm weekend of the year and had a blast dancing with Chicagoans and tourists. For the ending we brought in Adrienne King and together we braved 18 degree weather and 25 mph winds to film the dance at the end. No fingers were lost, but it was a close call.

Knowlton and I met while standing in the cold for tryouts to So You Think You Can Dance Season 3 in Atlanta. I had seen him the previous year dancing like a clown and he was my favorite performer of the season. I turned into a fan girl and we spent a week in Atlanta dancing and partying and forming a lifelong friendship. Neither of us made it on the show that season, but we did get to dance for the judges in Atlanta. Here’s his more famous dancing performance.

This song is on the album I Wish, Dude that I did with Elijah Lucian and the bridge he signs on this song is my favorite moment on the album. I hope you’ll give it a listen.

A couple of years ago my brother-in-law off handedly remarked to me that he thought I should do a song “about beer helmets and jet skis”. I’d been noodling doing some homage to The Little Mermaid and just combined the two of them.

Then it felt like we had to make a music video. I cast my mom and dad and a guy my dad grew up with and his wife as the stars. Rented a crazy cool old yacht, got some drones and boom!

Check out the music video. Share it wherever fine music videos are shared!

Fowler Things

December 15, 2016 — Leave a comment

Driving up from Nashville last Saturday and Waze saw fit to skip the interstate on the way through Indiana. Before I knew it the gas tank was nearly empty and every farmville gas station I pulled into was closed. Couldn’t even pump gas with a credit card. One town’s station didn’t even have pay at the pump. Is this 2016?

The roads were un-plowed and horrendous. 1x service was the best Verizon could muster. Panic set in. Is this what the ancients felt back in the days before smartphones? Finally Google Maps relented and showed me a gas station 7 miles away down unplowed farm roads. Worth a shot.

The car beeped repeatedly with a second low-fuel warning and with three miles left to go it seemed like I would be walking. Then, in the distance I could see gas station lights. Not the station Google pointed to, but one it didn’t know about at all. A mirage? I pulled in and noticed a beautiful small town main street blanketed in untouched snow. It was real!

After filling up and getting a slushee and other survival supplies (pizza Combos, gummy bears, sour patch straws, etc), having a look around seemed worth it. My favorite spot was the Fowler Theatre. Like a character out of Stranger Things its retro glow lit the snow with 80s goodness. With a Star Wars: Rogue One poster out front, the look of a modernized anachronism was complete. The sign in the box office read, “Come In We’re Awesome!”. It took all of two blocks to drive down main street and see the entire town with it’s festive Christmas decorations and old fashioned street lights.

There was a car parked on the main street. It was covered in the softest snow. So perfect, so beautiful. I drew a giant wiener on the back window (so they know what signal to shine in the sky to call me if they ever need my help) before Katherine and I drove out of town. I wonder if that will make the town paper – the Benton Review – or if I imagined this beautiful little oasis that I probably won’t ever see again.


New York City is wonderfully insane. You can’t not have an interesting time. Last year I went to NYC on a work day trip. I normally over-pack for overnight trips like Elle Woods going away for a summer vacation, but this time I decided to be a man and just take a backpack with my laptop, a t-shirt and a spare pair of underwear. I rolled into New York a grown up adult man. “Look at me Big Apple, I’m a big boy who can travel without checking two suitcases”, was what my head was saying. New York replied exactly how I’d expect it to: the middle finger. A blizzard trapped me in Manhattan for a week. Forwards, backwards, inside out forwards, inside out backwards. Damn. I had to buy new underwear.

This year, New York City was kinder, but just as off the wall.  Moment ago, while racing to LaGuardia airport and I handed a UPS package (that I was trying to drop at a UPS Store that Google assured me was kind of on the way to LaGuardia Airport) from the window of my Uber to a UPS driver next to me in traffic while stopped at a red light after waving frantically at him like a maniac while half hanging out the window for 3 blocks.

Yesterday, I was trying (somewhat unsuccessfully) to hail a cab and a guy came up and just yelled “white guy needs a cab!” for five minutes next to me and when a cab finally pulled over, he asked me for money for crack as a reward for his help. Appreciating the honesty, comedy, and assist I gave him five bucks.

Then later in the morning as if New York City was equalizing things karmically, a cabbie picked me up and told me he wasn’t turning on the meter for the first half of the ride because he was on break but picked me up anyway. We drove for about ten minutes before he said, “ok, now I turn it on, ok?” Umm, sure? What planet am I on right now.?

Last night I jumped up to grab ketchup at Shake Shack in Times Square and was gone all of twelve seconds and a woman had taken my seat and was reaching for a fry. I shooed her away and she shrugged and looked incredulous that I’d taken back my food, but also not too upset to take up a position waiting for someone else to make a similar mistake to mine leaving her with FRIES.

On the way back to my hotel, I inadvertently became a #LizardPeopleOfNewYork and made progress getting over my fear of snakes (and becoming a Slytherin) when some dude just tossed a snake on my shoulders as I walked past and then demanded $20 from me for the privilege (and a photo if I wanted one). Fuck yeah dude I want one! I mean, does it look like I don’t have an Instagram account?

Stay weird, NYC.

I Went Bowling

March 8, 2016 — Leave a comment

I went bowling. It was great. People don’t do enough bowling. Such a classic American sport that has been utterly ruined by anti-smoking laws and high-end bowling lanes that serve craft beers and have DJs with names like DJ Erik Spazzmaster and charge $42 a game. Bowling alleys are smoke filled palaces to ass cracks and truckers and dollar pitchers of “beer”.

It just so happens I wandered into such an anachronism and found my tummy rumbling for something delicious. I decided to hit up the in-alley restaurant called Alley Dogs. That’s when I saw it. The greatest menu ever.

Don’t believe me? I was taking selfies. I have proof.

Epic Bowling Pizza Selfie

As I was sizing up the incredible menu and getting my tummy excited for whatever culinary delight I chose, my mellow was harshed severely by the jerk in front of me who was harassing the cute old ladies working the restaurant about the quality of their food. I found myself saying something. Shit. “You’re in a bowling alley”, seemed to leaving my lips. Oops, I did it again. I was ignored. Then I heard, “I’m going to leave you a terrible Yelp review.” The next thing I know, BAM! “I’m going to leave you a five star Yelp review!” came out and my hands were loading the Yelp app. Upon sober reflection I stand by this review.

Read Benjamin G.‘s review of Alley Dogs on Yelp

There’s a new I Wish I Were A Dinosaur remix up featuring Chris Yonke. I really love what Chris did with me on the outro of the song.


see when you’re running your mouth
it’s ruining my time
because you’re running a line might as well be a mime
cuz the canary in the mine
said your full of hot air
that’s the my just desserts
and it’s as american as apple pie
but it hurts
jackie kennedy
watching you own asses while i’m home asking
when am i gonna find my aristotle onassis
and i’m mad and i’m sad, but i’m glad
because fact is
you’re not good to your word, if he knew would he burn
and maybe a threesome, but not a silent third
to continue this charade is two syllables absurd
and i’m built to love one woman only
unitl her old hairs gray
and her gray hair’s old
and we keep each other warm
until we’re unwarmably cold
i’m not the only one
and i don’t know if you’ve won
but the fat lady’s sung
and we’re done, i’m only one
goodbye hun bite the bullet
it’s your gun
dot your i’s,
dot your j’s,
and put the t in cun
get it? there was love, now there’s none

you say i’m crazy
but when you call me baby
i know
i’m not the only one so i’m letting you go
we made vow, but now, it’s broke
i thought we’d walk the road
you’re going alone now
i’m not your home
cuz i know
i know
i know
i know

My friend Chris Yonke who sings like a total dream has been working on some new songs with me. We decided to do a few covers along with some new songs. I’m a huge Ed Sheeran fan. Love his lyrics, love his flow. He also sent me front row tickets to a show on his last tour to help impress a girl and, well, that’s a good way to guarantee I’ll fall in bro love with you.

This was a weird track to rap on, but lyrically tons of fun. There’s something incredibly adorable about watching a girl you love put her hair up. Every girl does it differently, but when you know her you know that move and, well that’s what was on my mind while writing this.

Here’s the full lyrics to the rap:

you gotta little bit of frosting on your lip like you always do when you get that latte extra whipped
and if you don’t mind i’ll just just sneak a kiss make that disappear like this you can feign embarassed
there its…gone
and that move you make when you quickly tie your hair in a bun
well hun, you’d know that there will never be anyone
that can do that the way you do and i’m done
and that neck line swopping into your shirt
well it hurts when i don’t see that first thing in the morning
and i love that you somehow sleep through my snoring
and not like destinys child, but i love when you say my name
change the a to an e and i’m yours and it would never be the same
if anyone else said it so from today until the day i’m dead it
is you and only you and i’m happy to put that on reddit and meme it
but i promise to never put you in one of those internet proposal videos
i mean i swear to god i will never lip dub a lip sync on one knee and you can trust me
i’m not being funny honey look at my face
i wanna slow dance with you while we cook dinner until all of our hips have been replaced

A few years ago, I wrote some raps for the Taylor Swift song “Begin Again” and then I couldn’t find anyone to sing it so it just sat there. I wrote a new intro verse (mainly because I can’t sing) and decided to put it out.

It’s available to purchase on all the big services if you’re so inclined.

iTunes: http://apple.co/1L1HKPY
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1S4U42V
Spotify: http://spoti.fi/1FSvXvy

A year ago I sat down with a bottle of Coldplay’s The Scientist on loop and wrote a poem. I came back to it months later and finished it. I was searching for a name to call my new musical side project and this poem seemed to be it. I’d like you to meet I Wish I Were A Dinosaur and the first release from the upcoming album called “I Wish I Were A Dinosaur”.


Beck karate chops former rap star, current punchline Kanye West

I listened to that Beck album today. You know, the one that won that Grammy. To be cliche: it was a loser baby. It was a hot sea of mopey, uninteresting slop that never justified itself other than that Beck has a long history of better albums that deserved this award far more than this one. If this was the best album last year then music is in a sad, sad state. And, no, Beyonce didn’t get ripped off. Her album was hot garbage as well. If you need help seeing this read this scathing (and hilarious) review that basically destroys an image you have of Beyonce as a force for women or a talent of any kind.

So what then were the best albums last year? Well, I solved it for you. Pretty much all my favorite 2014 tracks are on this playlist, but album-wise here goes:

1 – Ed Sheeran – X

There is no argument to be made for why this is not the album of the year. What Ed does lyrically, vocally, and musically is brilliant. It’s catchy, it’s sad, it infuses elements of hip-hop. It takes you to the 50s, across the pond, and to Middle Earth. Every single song makes it to a playlist.

2 – Taylow Swift – 1989

I wanted to hate it. It’s fucking fantastic. I don’t believe the bullshit for a second that Taylor “writes” any of this, but with assists from guys like Fun./Steel Train/Bleachers genius Jack Antonoff this is the best purely pop album in like 10 years. Beyonce who? If you can’t find 6 songs to belt out at the top of your lungs with your windows down you’re not human.

3 – Bleachers – Strange Desire

80s synth pop gets a makeover from Steel Train and Fun. member Jack Antonoff. Yeah, he’s dating Lena Dunham and seemed like an insufferable Bushwicker in concert, but he wrote the year’s best lyric (I didn’t know I was lonely til I saw your face”) on “I Wanna Get Better” and some of the year’s catchiest and best songs on this album. Hell, he even made Yoko Ono tolerable for a couple of minutes. That alone deserves a congressional medal of honor and a Grammy.

4 – K.Flay – Life As A Dog

She started as a rapper, now she kind of inhabits a genre to herself. She’s like Lorde if Lorde weren’t so damn overplayed. K.Flay is a better song writer with more adult lyrics. She’s Lorde for grownups.

5 – Damien Rice – My Favorite Faded Fantasy

Damien comes out with an album every decade or so and when he does they’re usually incredible. This is his best album since his debut and if you can find me a better lyricist that isn’t Passenger, I’ll eat my shorts. Colour Me In might be the song of the year.

6 – Bassnectar – Noise vs. Beauty

Skrillex who? This is the best EDM / Dubstep album of the last few years. It will melt your face off and definitely leaves no question that Skrillex (who’s incredible turd of an album this year definitely made his first seem like a fluke) has been dethroned.

7 – Iggy Azalea – The New Classic

I was a hater at first, but this album is fire. There’s Nikki and Iggy and after that I don’t think there’s a female MC that comes close. Some really fun lyrics on here and great beats.

8 – YTCracker – Introducing Neals

Indie rapper and former hacker has a flow that is more interesting than 90% of rappers out there. I don’t want to compare to Eminem other than to say that YT experiments with rhyme schemes in the catchiest ways possible and it’s reminiscent of Eminem simply because he’s the smartest and catchiest rapper everyone on the planet knows. The beats on this album take 1980s electro and update it for 2015. The lyrical content of this album is off the charts as a parable for all the dirty little ways the government is using technology to steal all your freedoms before you even realize it. The album is the backbone for a potential movie and tells a parable of an alternate future with disastrous results. It’s catchy, it’s banging, it’s lyrically incredible.

9 – Passenger – Whispers

He’s like the less miserable Damien Rice, but it’s only slightly less miserable. Guy and a guitar and a voice that could melt butter, but mostly melts panties. Fantastic album.

10 – Sia – 1000 Forms of Fear

Incredible tour de force. Melodies everywhere. It’s light, dark, brooding. It has a sick video with Shaia LaBeouf to followup that weird contemporary dance video for the single everyone knows.

11 – Johnnyswim – Diamonds

Stumbled on this one randomly on Spotify. Kind of reminds me of Civil Wars. Male/female vocalist (possibly married or involved, I don’t know, you have Google…Google it.) It’s very chill, but some really great tunes and powerful lyrics.

12 – Brad Paisley – Moonshine In The Trunk

Brad Paisley is the best thing country has going for it and this is just a fun album to listen to while drinking beer in a field or while screwing your cousin under the stars in the back of your neighbors pickup truck.

13 – Jenny Lewis – The Voyager

Jenny Lewis goes weird places on this solo album, but it’s all just as good as you’d expect from the Rilo Kiley front-woman.

14 – Old 97s – Most Messed Up

Rhett Miller used to be a alt-rock God. He’s been boring as fuck the last few years. I expected more of the same. This album is track after track of delicious rock and roll fun.

15 – The Front Bottoms – Rose

You haven’t heard of these guys yet, but when you do you’re going to wonder how they got so fucking famous without you knowing. These guys are the favorite band you knew of from your high school and would tell everyone from neighboring towns about proudly as if just because you shared a mascot you deserved to bask in the glory of their success.

16 – Luke Bryan – Spring Break 6

Luke Bryan is bro country at it’s best. Grab a Bud Light Lime and spend an hour at Spring Break. Bryan’s last solo album was him as the kind of bro you want to punch in his face and send him crying back to his frat. It came out early this year and was such a gigantic shitball of a record that the only logical explanation is that they rushed this thing out to cover up for that shitball. I made that up, but it has to be true. This is Luke Bryan as the kind of bro you learn to love because he always has a case of beer chilled and ready to go and he’s somehow always sober enough to drive.

17 – Jukebox the Ghost – Jukebox the Ghost

Piano driven rock. Toured with Ben Folds. Great, fun band.

18 – Ingrid Michaelson – Lights Out

Blah blah blah. It’s great. She’s great.

19 – Hoodie Allen – People Keep Talking

Fantasic, fun, lyrically interesting album that will stick in your brain.

20 – Allison Weiss – Remember When

Great album by a really fun singer-songwriter. Some are just her and a guitar, some full band, but all will stick in your head and heart.

A few years ago Diddy changed his rap name to Diddy – Dirty Money. I think the implication was that he now had a crew. However, his crew was never seen. His verses were still ghostwritten by better rappers and other people wrote his songs, but hey, that’s true with Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus too. Who can blame the guy?

His big hit from his album Last Train to Paris was a ditty called “Coming Home”. Skyler Gray sang the hook, but for reasons I’ve never understood she is inexplicably played by two actresses in the video. Anyway, the first time I heard the song I thought, “hey, I can make that really gross.” I did. I hacked the acapella and removed a few words and replaced them with moans. I put the parody up on YouTube and it was off to the races. Then, DMCA and dumb record labels likely illegally removed the parody.

I always thought the video was a beautiful celebration of life and got some musicians together to help me cover the song (to avoid the DMCA issues) and the video is now back on YouTube and the song is available on iTunes, Amazon, and Bandcamp.

Listen people, Facebook was a brilliant concept. If the wheels ever come off and Facebook becomes the next MySpace or Friendster it will be because they long ago abandoned the simple utility it used to provide: a place to keep the party with your friends going online. All the moves towards forcing everyone to be public and trying to shove friendship with Tide laundry detergent or Clorox bleach down our throats just ruin the simple beauty of marveling over your buddy’s drunk photo from the night before.

Facebook has the cash to sustain itself forever and they probably will roll out Look Back movies in 3D for the twentieth anniversary, but it’s not going to hold the same place in the hearts of the next generation. They are putting their stupidity somewhere “safer” (Snapchat), recognizing that Mark Zuckerberg – for all his Millennial hubris and idealism – is really just a money hungry sellout. Which is fine, I advocate selling out. If I’d made Facebook I’d be on Ko Phi Phi island right now chilling out and not still sitting as CEO of Facebook in San Francisco. Facebook is positioned to be the white pages of the internet. That’s fine, but it’s about as exciting as, well, the white pages.

Furthering this, Facebook’s hunger for your real name and lack of privacy is going to be the other nail in their coffin. A friend changed her name to some hybrid of her first and middle name while applying to jobs. As my social network approaches it’s thirties this is increasingly common. Total fake names, hybrid names, names with prefixes and suffixes are probably 40% of my friends now. This is rational behavior by Facebook users in my opinion. My friend then tried to change it to something slightly closer to her real name and Facebook deactivated her account until she provided a government issued ID. Now her Facebook can only use her full first, middle, and last names. She’s a doctor. She’s been using Facebook since 2004 and used it as intended. It’s strange to me that Facebook doesn’t see that by following this path they’re making it impossible for old people (ie, not college kids) to comfortably keep their own Facebook account as they transition to later stages of life because a Facebook account tied to your name is as dangerous as having a felony on your record. One drunk photo from ten years ago can ruin a teacher’s career because some overly pious parent might hunt the teacher down and throw a shit-fit about it.

A lot of this hit me while watching everyone’s look back videos. Some were beautiful, but most found ways to surface really awkward exes or moments from the last ten years. I watched mine and decided I could do better. I’ve since seen funnier parodies and folks who did a better job than I did, but I’m not going to link to them because this isn’t their cool website.

I’d love to see yours though. Feel free to post a link and I’ll watch and laugh.

I was born in 1982. I don’t really need any signs to tell me I was born in the 80’s. One day though, I might. I can already tell my mental acuity is declining and if I look at some of the folks I know who were born in the 70’s I can clearly see it’s not going to get any better. Don’t even get me started about people born in the 60’s.

The 80’s were the decade of Alf, Ronald Reagan, Marty McFly, and more. It’s really, really hard to pick and choose only ten signs that someone was an 80’s baby. There was He-Man, Thundercats, Miami Vice, crimped hair, and more cocaine than something that has a lot of cocaine. Still, I promised you something awesome everyday and, though I regularly fail at that, I am going to succeed today. After much consideration, research, and thought here are the 10 Signs You Were Born in the 1980’s.

1. Your birthday has 1980 in it.

2. Your birthday has 1981 in it.

3. Your birthday has 1982 in it.

4. Your birthday has 1983 in it.

5. Your birthday has 1984 in it.

6. Your birthday has 1985 in it.

7. Your birthday has 1986 in it.

8. Your birthday has 1987 in it.

9. Your birthday has 1988 in it.

10. Your birthday has 1989 in it.

Phew. I never thought we’d make it. There it is. That’s the definitive list. I know, some people wanted Joey Lawrence to make an appearance, but he didn’t even crack the top 12. Here are two honorable mentions:

1. 11. Your birthday has 1990 in it.

1. 12. Your birthday has 1979 in it.

Let’s be real, if you were born in 1990 it was still the 80’s. The 90’s didn’t start until Ice Ice Baby came out. You almost count. You can be a hashtag: #honorablemention

Just because I’m nice, here’s Joey Lawrence. Like, whoa.


A few weeks ago, my business travel met with crazy weather and mixed up airline schedules leaving me stranded. As luck would have it, Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan was stuck in the same mess. So, in the Duluth airport (DLH for all my airport code aficionados out there!) we shared a cocktail or three while we waited for the airline to fix the ailerons on our plane. Vince got a little tipsy and shared the ending of Breaking Bad with me.

I was hoping that Breaking Bad would end with something provocative like Skyler, Jesse, and Walt Jr. getting shot. The only thing left for Walt to do would be to get on his boat and drive himself and their bodies into a hurricane. Walt Jr. would, of course, live and grow up to become a mute lumberjack.

To me, that would be a great ending. However, Vince blew me away with the real ending. This will serve as your final spoiler alert. What I’m sharing will likely ruin the ending, but if you just can’t wait for the end of Breaking Bad to air then read on. I took notes on my phone as best as I could while Vince talked and I think sharing them with you without much editing is the best way to do this.

In the penultimate scene, Walt kills everyone with his trunk Gatling gun. For some reason Skyler, Pinkman, Saul, Junior, his daughter, etc are all together at some event with Todd and his uncle and their henchmen. (SD note: Vince kept some secrets, I don’t know what the event is.) Walter starts killing them. The dust clears and they are all dead. Then he kills Skyler again. Just to be sure because, Jesus, after that editorial she wrote someone had to fucking shut her up for good. (SD note: Vince’s words, not mine.)

Satisfied, Walt puts on his Heisenberg hat. It had fallen to the ground during the firefight. He notices something. He’s dripping blood and cancer juice all over the hat. He’s been shot too. He crumples to the ground dying of cancer and bullet. Fade to black.

The epilogue begins just as you think there’s nothing left. After a few seconds of black, we get a jump cut to a bustling fast food restaurant. Imagine an 80s McDonald’s that’s been turned into some other franchise of fast food restaurant. Families eating shitty fast food. Kids licking the balls in the play area ball pit and vomiting and giving other kids kid diseases like push pop mouth and whatnot.

Some pimply-faced stoner chick is taking drive through orders. The restaurant eventually closes. The camera weaves through the restaurant to the back managers office. The pimply-faced stoner chick locks the doors and heads back to the office. She knocks. “We’re all locked up Mr. Black.” Cut to…

WALT! He’s alive and we never find out why because the show is literary and wants you to think. It’s not going to just explain everything for you. Walt’s name tag says: Mr. Black. (SD note: OH SHIT YOU MOTHERFUCKERS HE HAS A NEW IDENTITY! MR. BLACK! THE OPPOSITE OF WHITE! WILL THIS SHOW EVER STOP BEING SO LITERARY? )

The shadows are all on Walt making him look ominous. He says, “Good. Now we can really cook.” (SD note: He probably means meth, not fast food.) (SD note: OH SHIT THE STONER CHICK WAS A FORMER STUDENT OF HIS AND IS HIS NEW PROTEGE.)

They enter a secret passage in the floor to an awesome meth lab. Better than any meth lab ever. Like the lab in Despicable Me crossed with Dexter’s Laboratory (SD note: Vince’s words, not mine). They cook some meth. It’s lightsaber blue just like it should be. Walt smiles.

Cut to the exterior of the fast food restaurant and the big glowing sign: HEISENBURGER. Camera pulls out to Alburquerque and then the world.


As you can imagine, I cried the entire rest of the time we drank and for the entire flight. Vince just writes the most incredible TV.

526050-219e943ccb3cd8d703771d810dab2727Oh wait! There was a post credits scene!

Cut to Hank. Gurgling blood and his hand bursting through the desert soil. He’s like (right into the camera), “I’ll be back.” A Heisenburger wrapper blows into his face and he dies again.

Last week Miley Cyrus straight up changed my life with “Wrecking Ball”. I’m not entirely sure if her latest music videos are sexy or repulsing, but I have a strange type of boner for her lately that defies all classification (at least when referenced against the many classes of boner I’ve already experienced). She only added to that boner today by releasing a new single where she sings about being high on Percoset and being – surprise – in the club while wearing the sexiest Michael Jordan jerseys I’ve ever seen. Again, weird boners abounding. She’s also wearing shades and I can only assume that she won’t stop and is probably also popping mollies. In other words: art.

While the visuals are hot and the lyrics on the hook are provocative because everyone remembers Miley as a cute little kid and not the strong sexual and drug icon she has become, the song “23” is straight up garbage with near retarded rap verses from Wiz Khalifah and Juicy J. They’re likely included because rapping like you can’t read or speak at better than a 3rd grade level came in with Chief Keef and is, apparently, still a thing. Miley somehow transcends all of this and (like a wrecking ball) takes over the entire song.

Now, since Miley has been in my head all week, I decided to do my version of her song “Wrecking Ball”. Chicks are always being uncool and getting up in my business for things like sending dick pics to their friends via Twitter and cheating on them and stuff, so I decided to write a new version called “Wrecking Balls”. It’s all about when some chick is being uncool about you tongue kissing her mother and she bursts in and straight up wrecks your balls.

In filming this masterpiece I attached two hop balls (those balls that look like exercise balls, but are for kids not yuppies and have a handle for bouncing around) wrapped in sheets to chains hanging from the ceiling. Then I brought in Vanessa to repeatedly hit me in the balls with stuff. Here’s the things I learned:

  1. A titanium cup is a great invention and way better than the junky plastic thing I wore in high school while playing football.
  2. Holy shit is it tiring and painful to swing around on a wrecking ball like that. The chain dried out my skin like crazy. I’m not some pussy who keeps his hands un-callused either. I’m a red blooded American man who chops down trees just because and I was lathering my hands with shea butter for three days just to get them back to regular callused-ness. My back, biceps, triceps, lats, quads, and abs got a workout I completely didn’t expect. Muscles I hadn’t used since the Clinton administration roared in frustration as I woke them from their slumber. The following morning as I limped to the bathroom to pop my Prilosec OTC, I marveled at the kind of shape Miley must be in to be able to handle that kind of workout. I mean, I’m a man. She’s just a cute little girl who plays Hannah Montana.

Enough about me. Watch the video on YouTube and drop a comment letting me know how some girl wrecked your balls. Ben Nissen from HapHazardFilms shot it. Go check his stuff and follow his various channels. Vanessa Ceron turned in a killer performance busting my balls. Go give her some love so she’s not so mean in the future. And hell, if all this isn’t enough to convince you to watch it, Evan Longoria is a professional athlete and he has no idea why our video isn’t the biggest thing in the world yet. That’s pretty convincing. I mean, he’s in the fucking playoffs.




I don’t have AMC so I had to wait a day to catch Breaking Bad on the train. There’s a guy that watches it on his 3rd generation iPad and every week I make sure to sit right behind him so that I can watch too. It’s great. I’m pretty good at reading lips so I catch the important stuff and this week’s episode was a doozy.

This season the DEA is closing in! Walt is pissed at Jesse and Jesse is pissed right back from older seasons. I hope this isn’t spoiling too much, but Walt (aka Heisenberg) is a high school meth teacher who stops teaching meth and starts cooking it for fun and cash when he gets lung cancer. He befriends a dropout kid who was probably super adorbs back in the day, but is now just a burnout-failure-junkie. Jesse loves this one special chick and her son Brock, so Walt figures he better poison the kid with Ricin (like really strong rice wine which is Chinese which is where the name Heisenberg originates). Walt realizes the kid eats Fruit Loops and he pours Ricin dust or whatever in the box. The kid’s mom probably just thinks it’s sugar dust or some harmless preservative like BHA used to keep the cereal fresh. She feeds him like ten bowls because kids love cereal. The last shot of the episode is this haunting shot of the kid just chewing his cereal. Then the credits flash.

That’s when it hit me. Jesse Pinkman is Calvin.


I know what you’re thinking. There are already a lot of cute little depictions of Walt and Jesse as Calvin and Hobbes alloverthe internet. Ok fine, but point to one TV series or movie that doesn’t have a Calvin and Hobbes send up. Joker/Batman, Doc/Marty, Blues Brothers, He-Man/Battlecat, Dr. Who, Han/Chewie, etc. This guy is on a mission to insert every pop culture duo he can into Calvin and Hobbes.

I’m talking about something more sinister. I allege and intend to prove that Vince Gilligan and the writers of Breaking Bad are, really, covertly writing the continuing adventures of Calvin. Furthermore, their success is built on the hard work and creativity of Bill Watterson’s famous comic. Let’s look at the facts.

1)Their Childhood Homes and Upbringing

Calvin is a child of the suburbs. He’s an only child and lives in a quiet house on a quiet street with a nice family.

Snowman-_Easter_Island_Heads ch_930130

I imagine if Calvin lived in the suburbs of Albuquerque (the one in New Mexico) his childhood home might have looked something like the Pinkman house.


That might not be the most damning piece of evidence you’ve ever seen, but it sets the stage. This is Aaron Hernandez, not OJ. I’m proving this fucker way beyond a reasonable doubt and I promise there is evidence aplenty just sit tight.

2) They Are Both Academically Challenged

Jesse develops, but he’s basically dumber than a box of rocks in the academic sense. Walt remembers Jesse basically failing his way through high school science. What kind of kid would fail his way through high school? Presumably one who failed his way through grade school. Calvin wowed teachers with things like his infamous “Bats Are Bugs” report.bats-arent-bugs

Some of you may think that’s cute. A little boy with a giant imagination fails to excel in school because he always waits until the last minute to do his homework. Cute indeed. Community colleges across the nation, you know, the ones with names like Northwest Southeast University, salivate at the thought of kids like Calvin with parents who believe in them and are willing to waste some cash to prove it wasting a few years on campus before heading off to an illustrious career as a meth dealer or sign spinner at the Mattress Mart. At least, that’s the stereotype. Some of my smartest and most financially savvy friends went to community college and had jobs while I was long term unemployed with my degree from a ridiculous, money sucking, scam of a University. The point is: it’s not cute to be stupid.

Let’s just peek at some evidence from Pinkman’s high school career. Here’s a science test of Jesse’s that Walt graded.


Circumstantial, I know. But consider…

3) Their Wild Imaginations

Calvin talks to things that are not there. A lot. Constantly.

last-calvin-hobbesThis is a fake comic strip, but Calvin very well may have been medicated in real life. ADHD was a craze in the 90’s where every parent who’s child was slightly unable to sit still for hours at a time and amuse themselves was given a powerful stimulant called Ritalin to help them focus. There’s this thing on the internet which suggests that Ritalin is correlated with drug use as an adult. It’s from a college in Utah which is pretty legit, however Walt – who teaches science – would probably caution us that you cannot infer causation from a simple correlation. But just maybe, Calvin (aka Jesse) was given Ritalin and it didn’t help his grades, but it predisposed him to drugs. The very drugs he does, sells, and makes with Walt.

Some folks prize Calvin’s imagination, but at some point he’s really just talking to the stuffed tiger. Look at that last frame. That’s reality. The reality is that the tiger isn’t really talking back. That’s some scary shit. You know who else imagines entire conversations with people who aren’t there? Jesse Pinkman. Here he gets super meta with his imaginations and imagines his friend Badger imagining an entire pie eating episode of Star Trek: The Original Series. This is likely because of the drugs, but maybe Jesse didn’t actually need drugs to get to this place. Maybe his whole life he’s been imaging tigers and pie-eating-spaceship shows that weren’t even there.

Calvin also imagines giant dinosaurs destroying cities and fancies himself a space explorer.


Jesse Pinkman had an imaginative childhood too. He drew all kinds of sci-fi creatures and adventures. That’s some pretty causal correlation if I do say so myself.


4) Their Cars

This was the final piece of the puzzle for me. Like when Gus Fring figured out that Walt Jr. and Sal were the same person. The discovery blew his mind and this will blow yours too!

Remember your first car? If you’re like me or Jesse Pinkman, your boringly white-bread dad or mom drove the lamest Oldsmobuick van-wagon. They did this out of some unforgivable sense of suburban, middle class frugality coupled with a desire to cater to the safety and comfort of their children over how they’d look driving around in the damn thing. Fine for them, but somehow the damn thing limped along well past 200,000 miles and survived until your 16th birthday.

That morning your dreams of receiving a really awesome car that you could turn into the ultimate shaggin wagon are shattered as your proud parents toss you to the keys to the Oldsmobuick. You make sure your smile is gracious and excited, but your insides burn hot with your tempered screams of, “Fuck you mom and dad! Thanks for fucking nothing.” They see you smile and assume that they have instilled their values in you. They assume you will appreciate the practicality of their gift and appreciate that, in their words, “you even have a car at all”. You recall all those times your dad reminisced about the badass Corvette he bought with the money he made working at the grocery store during summer vacation when he was 16 and think again, “fuck you Mom and Dad.”

Let’s take a look at Calvin’s dad’s sweet ride which he presumably handed down to his son one day.



Here’s Jesse Pinkman’s sweet ride.

breaking_bad_00 jesses-new-ride jessie-car Breaking-Bad-Toyota-Tercel-Wagon-640x360

Look familiar? Coincidence? Calvin and Hobbes was first published in 1985. Calvin’s dad had probably bought his car two or three years before the years covered by the strip. It’s like a 1983-ish model van wagon.

Jesse Pinkman was born in 1984 and his car is a 1984 Toyota Tercel. That’s a Japanese car. You think an American car from 1984 could last like that? I don’t. The Tercel is a very practical, four wheel drive station wagon that probably replaced the Corvette or Camaro or t-top Cutlass that Mr. Pinkman probably drove around picking up chicks in before inadvertently knocking one up and marrying her. The Tercel was Jesse’s dad giving in to a suburban death sentence. That very death sentence played out by Calvin’s dad in frame after frame.

Now, I know the show suggests that Jesse didn’t get his car as a hand-me-down. It suggests that his motivations were to remain inconspicuous. However, they’ve obviously taken some liberties with Calvin’s story by calling him “Jesse Pinkman” so maybe this is just another place where Vince Gilligan and the Breaking Bad team fiddled with the story so that the notoriously litigious and protective Bill Watterson wouldn’t sue them. (Bill was kind enough to give us permission to reprint all of his comics here just to help prove our point. Thanks Bill!) Also, Jesse has two fathers (Walt is a kind of surrogate father) and Walt advises him on this car purchase. Plus, Walt is Heisenberg and Heisenberg is Asian and Toyota is from Asia. I rest my case.


Pinkman and Hobbes

A little over four years ago Former Fat Boys started filming an epic Power Rangers parody music video for the song “It’s Morphin’ Time” off the album The Legend of Hard Corey.

As the producer, director, and rapper, I am very happy to finally present the music video and introduce you to THE MORPHIN MIGHTY MEGA RANGERS!

The MEGA RANGERS are an elite squad of teenagers chosen two decades ago by the ethereal, alien entity ZORDOM to fight the evil LORD NEDD and REEDA REVULVA and their MONSTERS / NUTTY creatures.

Enjoy the video and remember: You’re not cool if you don’t share the video on Facbeook and Twitter and, of course, reblog on Tumblr.

And, of course, there were outtakes, bloopers, and behind-the-scenes footage. You can peep the photo album here and the video right below:

You can get the song on iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp, or listen free on Spotify. You can also get the official t-shirt from RedBubble (who we also refer to as RIPOFFBUBBLE. If anyone knows a cheaper place to make shirts on-demand at a high quality, shoot us a tweet on @FormerFatBoys.)


Video Credits:

Producer: www.senordinosaur.com
Director – Ben Garbe / Ben Nissen
Director of Photography – Ben Nissen – http://www.haphazardfilms.net
Cinematography – Ben Nissen, Ben Garbe, Corey Wills, Anthony Ricciardi
3D Modeling and Visual FX – Anthony Ricciardi – http://www.anthonyricciardi.com/
Editor, Rotoscoping, and Visual Effects – Ben Garbe
Lyrics – Benjamin Garbe
Guitar – Corey Wills re-imagining a Ron Wasserman classic
Drums – NP Lanthrum
Costumes – Benjamin Garbe
Robot Suit Designer – Ian Cermak
PA’s – Ash Adams-Klopfer, Mike Meyer, Rob Kross

Pink Mega Ranger – Kelly Marie – http://www.itsmekelly.com
White Mega Ranger, Lord Nedd, Green Mega Ranger, Red Mega Ranger – $ucksex
Yellow Mega Ranger, Reeta Revulva, Puddy, Dinosaurus – The Laosian Boy
Blue Mega Ranger – Hard Corey
Red Mega Ranger – Chris
Green Mega Ranger – Knowlton
Sexy Yellow Mega Ranger – Maria
Nutty – Pat aka Mintie Phresh
Nutty, Man-thong Green Mega Ranger – Joe D.
Zordom – B.E.N.
Bölk – Chozo Ninpo
Sköl – Funky49 – http://www.funky49.com
Dinosaur – Jon D.


You are killing it this week. You’re fucking killing it. I understand. I really do. The thing is, by Wednesday you’ve run into an endless stream of morons, mouth breathers, and double morons and they are screwing the whole thing up. I’m here to say, “don’t you let them!”

Fuck those motherfuckers. You’re awesome and if they’re not down with that they can pull to the side and suck trash/exhaust as you blow past them literally doing a metaphorical 200 mph while littering Taco Bell wrappers from the last few weeks of awesome meals you’ve consumed out the window and straight up into their windshield area.

I don’t advocate actual littering (duh), but literally metaphorically littering on someone who is harshing your shit is totally an ace move in 2013. Actual littering is not. That would be cool if you time machined back to 1964. The whole world was a trash bin back then (according to the old Earth Day book that I had in 2nd grade from The Scholastic Book Club). Do they still have the Scholastic Book Club? Who didn’t love that monthly flyer? I’ll tell you who: the fucking idiots ruining your week who probably can’t even read.

So what do you do? Let them ruin your week? Fuck no. Grow up. Say a prayer. You need serenity and we have the prayer to get you there. That rhymed on accident, but it’s probably due more to the fact that I am a writing god and on some 10,000 hour Malcolm Gladwell shit right now and when I write it just comes out genius and I don’t even have to contemplate than dumb luck. Even if it was dumb luck, they say you make your own luck. Either way, my train of awesome is full steam ahead Back to the Future III-style. Hill Valley 1985 or I’m going straight into Clayton’s Revine. Boom.

Anyway. Morning, noon, night, fourth meal, whenever this is the prayer that will life you up:

God grant me the serenity to kick some motherfucking ass today and karate chop the shit out of anyone slowing down my train of awesome.

Rinse and repeat until Friday.

Our crack team of demographic wizards and math nerds surveyed everyone in the United States of America today. Everyone. We tried to get to territories like Guam and Puerto Rico (just to up the scientific-ness of our results), but those results were statistically invalid. We would never mislead or misuse statistics just because we never want to see Lebron James win a playoff series again. After speaking with millions of Americans today we ended up with a clear map that really shows how America feels about tonight’s matchup between the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers.

Lebron James is obviously the second coming of Michael Jordan and his/the NBA’s marketing team have gone to great lengths to try and make the preening, self-indulgent “King” James likable in the same way Jordan was. He appears in Samsung ads with his kids. He does a Harlem Shake video with his teammates. Lebron James isn’t a diva. He’s just a blue-collar guy like you and me. Except it’s a red collar. (Because he’s on the Heat.)

Our research shows that America isn’t buying it. America knows the NBA is desperate to have at least one global superstar in the NBA Finals and after Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, and every other name superstar decided to lose early. They know the NBA has to be desperate for Lebron to get a ring. No one cares about Tim Duncan or that guy who was married to Eva Longoria. America smells this and they have decided to throw in with the Indiana Pacers to spite Stern and Lebron James.

We wish both teams well, but the here’s hoping Lebron ties his shoe laces together and trips on the opening tip-off.

I think this is probably the best manifestation of true love that I’ve seen in awhile. It’s not sexy or glamorous, but it’s funny, intimate, and real.

Aereo is a service that skirts copyright law by renting a physical TV antenna to New Yorkers and digitizing all content received by that antenna. It then allows customers to stream that live TV conveniently to a myriad of devices. Naturally, broadcast TV networks are really, really angry and sued Aereo. Fox threatened to become a cable-only network to thwart Aereo. This week CBS CEO Les Moonves said something similar. From The Verge:

Now he’s [Les] saying that he could make the switch in as little as a few days “if we are forced to.” By taking free CBS broadcasts off the airwaves, Moonves says, “about 10 percent of America will not get our signal and I don’t think they will like that.” Aereo sells people access to individual TV antennas on its premises, letting paying subscribers watch the free broadcasts they capture online.

I don’t think this is anything more than chest puffing, but let’s step back a second and look at this situation. It’s insane from all sides. CBS is a (largely) free TV network that makes a lot of money because it’s one of a few networks with rights to use the airwaves to forcibly broadcast content into the homes of millions of Americans. The government (aka us) license these airwaves to CBS. In the old days before cable and satellite the only source of revenue for networks like CBS was from advertising. Cable introduced a new revenue source. Customers monthly fees go to the local cable monopoly (Comcast, Time Warner, etc.) and are then shared with the networks. From an advertising standpoint the allure of TV has always been a large, captive audience that can’t turn away. VCRs and DVRs have eroded that classic relationship a bit. I can understand CBS being weary of another service helping viewers avoid commercials, but how is jettisoning 10 percent of the CBS audience a good plan to impress advertisers? They want a large viewership!

There’s a bigger question, though. Why in insert-diety’s-name-here does Aereo even exist? Why did someone have to come up with this service? Why isn’t CBS running this service? Why isn’t NBC? Hulu was cute, but it’s an uncomfortable, inflexible beast to use and was abandoned prematurely by most networks. Entertainment wants to be flexible and mobile.

I have a 60″ HDTV in my living room. I get CBS in glorious HD on a cable subscription that I pay for. I almost never watch it. Why? Because I’m sitting at my computer and I want to watch TV right there. I have two 30inch monitors and can’t figure how to work a TV in to the mix. What’s the difference between TV signal coming from a coaxial cable and an ethernet cable? Why are we still having this discussion in 2013? What is wrong with ad salesman and the innovation teams at all the major advertising agencies that they haven’t demanded that networks also make their content easily watchable online with ads inserted? I sit at my computer watching episodes of How I Met Your Mother that I downloaded on a torrent site a few minutes after the show airs. The show is in full HD and is without commercials. I could have watched it in the other room when it aired, but by waiting I get to watch it where I want it. I get to watch it in a media player window and not an awkward streaming browser window. I can do other work while it’s on. I live in what I like to call: the future.

How I Met Your Mother

The opening credits to “How I Met Your Mother”…

Forget 2030, how is it that a disjointed network of end users can provide a better TV experience than a major TV network in 2013? This isn’t new stuff anymore. Downloading TV has been a more efficient viewing option for nearly a decade. Here’s what the TV experience should look like and why advertisers and networks should rip their heads out of their own asses, embrace it, and profit from it.

I’ll use How I Met Your Mother as an example. The show airs on Monday night. At the very least it should stream live (a la Aereo) online with the exact same commercials as when it airs on actual TV. The web allows for some awesome additional features like the ability to click over to an advertiser’s site directly from the stream. Why aren’t advertisers demanding CBS provide this? It’s a killer feature. I see a cool new Samsung phone and I pause my show to see more about it and then come back.

By sometime Tuesday How I Met Your Mother should be available to stream or download on CBS.com in a format playable in common players like iTunes and Windows Media Player. Why download and not just streaming? Streaming is uncomfortable for anything other than shorter videos. It also makes the file portable. It can be played in a separate and re-sizable window while doing other computer work and moved to a tablet or phone for viewing on the go. Streaming is also an an awful experience and there are a million places where even a WiFi connection isn’t a guarantee that a stream will work. Ever been at a hotel and tried to share a crappy DSL connection with 400 other business travelers for $30 a day? Exactly.

This digital (streaming and downloadable) How I Met Your Mother should have all the original ads that were aired in the show the night before. I’m ok with networks trying to disable ad skipping, but I honestly think there’s plenty of times where I would watch the ads even if I could skip them. Why? Because ads are pretty good these days. Maybe I’m just an advertising nerd, but I love a lot of ads that i see on TV. They’ve become little sketch comedy videos and their own form of entertainment. By providing these options, CBS addresses the fact that no one wants to be tied to their living room anymore and kills the desire to illicitly download their show.

There’s a lot of amazing benefits advertisers can get from this. Better analytics is just the obvious jump off, but why couldn’t networks replace advertisements after the fact just like they would on a re-broadcast of the show. When How I Met Your Mother re-airs over the summer hiatus it doesn’t have the same Samsung ad it had when it aired the previous February. It has the current advertisement. Whenever I download the show under this system it should have the same evolving ads. If I download right away in February my files should have different ads than if I download in June. Download options could disappear after the next season starts to maintain DVD sales.

Let’s say CBS ignores my file download idea and simply sticks with only streaming. NBC does this with Sunday night football. Normally, instead of watching football on my TV (where I pay for it by paying the cable company) I want to watch it on my computer. To do this I find an illegal stream from somewhere like Germany and stream the game to a small window on my screen in less than HD quality. It’s glitchy and not ideal, but it lets me watch football how I want to watch it. It lets me work and watch. Because the only difference between my computer monitor and the TV in the other room is semantics and arguing semantics is for third grade know-it-alls not adults.

These NFL streams that I steal from Germany always have commercials built into them. It’s arguably the same as broadcast. Flip over to NBC’s site and they are the only channel to stream their games online. The service is great. The picture is great and some of the additional stats, camera angles, and Twitter integration really enhance the game. Here’s what doesn’t make any sense at all. There are very limited advertisements. 80% of the ads shown on TV are not shown on the stream. During TV commercial breaks the online stream might show an ad from, say, Microsoft, but then just sit there with dead air until the game resumes. What? What the heck is going on at the networks and at advertising agencies and brands? Are they clueless that this is valuable advertising space? Why in the world can’t this space be sold? Why isn’t it more valuable than a traditional TV spot? The folks consuming content over the web like this are the cutting edge, young demographic. Advertisers want them, right? Why don’t the same exact ads air online that air on TV? (Yes, I understand there are some regional FCC requirements, but Google is smart enough to tell I’m accessing their site from a server in Chicago so I’m sure regional ads could be correctly directed to the right viewers on a given stream.) Figure it out. Why isn’t this being monetized?

CBS shouldn’t be suing Aereo. CBS should be Aereo. It’s insane that because networks and advertisers are so incredibly inept with digital media that a company like Aereo with a seemingly preposterous business model of renting physical antennas can exist and profit. Les Moonves ought to quit cutting off his nose to spite his face (as my mom would say) and buck up and deliver entertainment styled for this decade.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was not revered by critics or hardcore G.I. Joe fans many of whom love the comics more than the 80’s cartoon. Though largely reviled, I loved it and thought it was an absolutely awesome adaptation of the cartoon. As a hardcore nerd I’m usually part of the crowd that cries foul when a film adaptation fails to live up to the high bar set by an original novel or comic or graphic novel. I understand fans of the comic’s slightly more serious and smart G.I. Joe wanted a less cartoony movie and I respect that. But since I never read the comics, I don’t have to care.

Here’s what was awesome about G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra. Channing Tatum carried the film on his back. Duke was a perfect live action leader for the Joes with charisma to spare. The gadgets were appropriately absurd. A lot of people had problems with the super-suits that Duke and Ripcord used to destroy Paris. But seriously? This is exactly on par for G.I. Joe and exactly the G.I. Joe I grew up watching. It’s absurd and awesome. It’s exactly the kind of stupid awesome weapon that makes for great action figures and thrills 11 year old imaginations. The Dark Knight was awesome. I guess people really like a James Bond film devoid of humour, soul, mirth, or even the slightest hint of joy because Skyfall broke all kinds of box office records. Still, why every adaptation of some classic cartoon or comic or book need to be gritty and depressingly realistic. Why can’t we just have some fun where the good guys win over absurd odds and crack wise along the way and the villains are absurdly evil caricatures with creepy voices and global destruction schemes?

Which brings us to G.I. Joe: Retaliation. What a fucking disaster. I don’t even know where to start. The movie started awesome. The Rock and Channing Tatum had great chemistry. There was a camaraderie there that could have carried an awesome G.I. Joe film. Then they killed Channing Tatum. I would have spoiler tagged that, but they show it in the previews for the movie so deal with it. You could literally feel the air being sucked out of the film right then and there. Reminded me of Django Unchained when the two best actors bow out in one scene and the film literally deflates without them to help it across the finish line.

The premise is that President Zartan has eliminated the Joes by pretending that Duke’s team went rogue. This allows him to kill every Joe ever, except, like, all the ones that are going to keep popping up for the rest of the movie. Not very thorough if you ask me. Roadblock (The Rock), Lady Jaye (the lamer guy from Supernatural’s modestly breast implanted sister), and Flint (this dude doesn’t even deserve a credit he’s so god damned awful in his role I can’t even believe they wouldn’t have been better off casting a mannequin) must make their way back to America (never clearly explained how they did this, but whatever) and clear their names. Oh, and for some reason Snake Eyes is off doing other stuff and will show up later to help them or something.

The Snake Eyes stuff is the worst. The film contrives to get Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes in a sort of temporary truce against a common enemy after first fighting about it. What results is a whole bunch of scenes that make no sense and some absolutely horrendous acting by RZA as their blind sensei. There’s some cool battles on the side of a mountain and a cool Storm Shadow / Snake Eyes fight, but it’s too little too late for that side story.

Walton Goggins as the prison warden who is in charge of the prison holding Cobra Commander and Destro (who gets left out of the film) might have been my favorite part of the movie. This guy steals every scene he’s in on Justified and stole a bunch of scenes in Django Unchained. He’s a great minor character here in probably one of the most fun segments of the film as Storm Shadow and Firefly help Cobra Commander escape from prison. Cobra Commander was leaps and bounds better than in the first film and appears in traditional costume, but still kind of left me wanting. The Cobra Commander in the cartoon was terrifying. The voice was part Skeletor, part smoker, and part Snake. He was evil, creepy, and maniacal. In Retaliation he just seemed like a bland Darth Vader. This was even more true if you juxtaposed Cobra Commander to to President Zartan and Firefly. Even the Cobra Commander on Twitter is more of a maniacal genius.

Bruce Willis appears at some point as retired General Colton. General Colton is not so much a character as he is Bruce Willis playing Bruce Willis. I like Bruce, so I’m fine with that. He’s skeptical of Cobra’s involvement despite it being obvious, but joins up once a DNA test proves the President has been replaced. This is infinitely less fun use of an old guy than Dennis Quaid’s role as General Hawk in Rise of Cobra. Bruce has very little to do, but still manages to score some of most memorable moments. His Presidential rescue is the sort of clever action bit John McClain built a career on. Strangely, Colton calls Lady Jaye by the name Brenda for the whole film. She always objects to it, but his rationale is never explained. He also makes a big deal of recruiting a bunch of other retired Joes to help out in the climax, but then they never really show the retired Joes doing anything. What was the point of either?

Cobra Commander’s plan to trick every world leader into destroying their nukes is actually pretty ingenious. President Zartan is delicious playing Angry Birds as the world approaches nuclear fallout further eclipsing Cobra Commander in overall evil quotient yet again.

It’s fun to see how hard movie companies are trying to avoid denigrating China at all. The summit of G8 nations that President Zartan convenes includes such major players as Romania, North Korea, France, and India. What a joke. I guess they have to try not offend China but, America was the bad guy here so I’m not sure why real G8 nations would be offended by inclusion. Although this doesn’t reach Red Dawn levels of preposterous the avoidance is starting to border on the absurd.

Cobra’s world destruction plan sort of undermines any argument that G.I. Joe needs to be super-serious and realistic. To believe in Cobra as a terrorist organization with a global footprint and the ability to go toe to toe with the US military is one thing. In this film you have to believe they have tons of expendable soldiers and their own space program. That’s a whole heck of a lot of disbelief suspension. Those suits and that plasma gas that raised so much ire in the first film were perfectly suited to this world. Retaliation‘s fun gadgets include Firefly’s explosive bugs, a gun with remote controlled bullets, and a gadget Roadblock uses to melt a chain link fence. Yawn. Where are the lasers and god damn ten-rocket mega rocket launchers?

General Colton arms the Joes for a final conflict and rather than giving them anything cool to play with his just gives them a ton of regular old guns. I get that real guns are more realistic, but G.I. Joe was a place for absurd guns and lasers and rocket launchers and ridiculous weapons. It’s also 2013, right? Realistic gun fetish imagery in a movie based on a line of kids toys is kind of weird. Even if they’re trying to broaden the audience and get a PG-13 rating, it’s still going to be a popular movie with kids. I’m not even super anti-gun, but the realistic guns in this just weren’t fun and weren’t in the spirit of GI: Joe.

The film roars on loudly and Roadblock gets a dune buggy that he uses to destroy three Cobra tanks that look like they could make chop suey out of him in seconds. No tension. Just wham, bam, boring. It’s the equivalent of John Connor walking up to T-1000 and shooting him with a water gun and somehow winning. It’s so “real” it’s stupid. Why couldn’t we have something more like what we see in this G.I. Joe: The Movie trailer.

Can you believe that shit was a kids movie at some point?!?!

And then the film ends and pretty much all you can think is, “how bad was this movie last summer when they went and did a million re-shoots to make it better and turn it into this mess?” America paid to see it though, so maybe we’ll get a third one with a cast that doesn’t totally suck. Maybe they’ll bring Duke back to life and let Channing and The Rock have fun for an entire film, but I doubt it.

Larry is like that kid from Mr. Holland’s Opus. The one that liked to feel the music. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful Cole. Except he liked to feel the Beatles and Larry is all about feeling his favorite Carly Rae Jepsen tracks. You see, Larry is Canadian so his tastes are a little strange, eh.

Are Mr. Holland’s Opus jokes still big with the kids? Does this date me? Is Richard Louis Dreyfuss still alive? You think that chick Rawina ever went on to be a famous actress or do you think she went on to be a hooker? I think she’s probably a hooker. How come no one dreams of moving to the big city and becoming an engineer? Probably because engineering is boring as shit. I remember sitting in the theater thinking, “Mr. Holland should really get with the times and just peace the eff out.” Did everyone else feel the same way? Probably not.

To this day the film resonates with me as a very powerful version of the Kevin James film Here Comes The Boom. What are we talking about?

Playboy’s original Gamer Next Door and former Cyber Girl of the Year Jo Garcia rounded up fellow Playboy models Stephanie Olson and Nikki Gilich as well as friends Anne Mendez, Kendra Zager, Kelly Marie, Vanessa Ceron and, of course, yours truly to share stories about giving our first blow jobs. This raw, uncensored, and often humorous documentary tears into a subject not often discussed by the lamestream media. In the memories we found beautiful stories and joyful memories.

A big thanks for all the girls for making this happen. Make sure to show them some love on Twitter and share the video on your social sites, Reddit, Buzzfeed, and more.

Jo Garcia’s official site: http://www.jogarcia.com

Presumed Hindu

February 28, 2013 — Leave a comment

I’ve stopped eating meat at Taco Bell. It tastes horrid and is less healthy. I am telling you this for a reason to become apparent later. I’m a white guy in his late 20’s (read: I’m 30) and I have blond hair and blue-green eyes depending on the angle of the sun and the current point in the tide cycle. I am pasty because I live in Chicago and it’s been winter for far too long. This will become important shortly. I pulled up to the Taco Bell drive thru payment window and the nice woman addressed me the following way.

Woman: aegerhigeioghe agerghegih xnvdjnvsvkn (aka total gibberish)

Me: (Smiling and trying to hand her my credit card) I’m sorry?

Woman: agaeiognabdfkbnanwlf avekvna (more gibberish)

Me: (Feigning understanding) Oh, Yes! (Still trying to hand her my American Express card)

Woman: (Leaning in to get a better look at me): Ahh, you are Hindu!

Me: What?

Woman: You’re Hindu?

Me: Uhh, no, I’m sorry. I misunderstood you.

Woman: (I think really looking at me and my extreme non-Hindu-ness) Oh, I’m sorry! I thought from your order you were Hindu! (Finally lets me pay.)

So there you go. By ordering vegetarian I was presumed Hindu. Let this be a lesson. I’m not sure what the lesson is or was, but hey…awesome. I’ll be Hindu all day long. Pass the Crunchwrap Supreme with beans instead of beef.

I’d never heard of Mother, Jugs, and Speed, but someone told me Bill Cosby was pretty raunchy in this film and I felt like I needed to see Ghost Dad himself in a completely new light.

This movie is fucking hysterical. There’s not much to it. Two ambulance companies duke it out in the most underhanded ways they can imagine to become the #1 ambulance company in Los Angeles. Feels like Taxi meets Caddyshack. It’s not as good as Caddyshack, but Larry Hagman and Bill Cosby playing foulmouthed ambulance drivers dropping some pretty fun banter is totally worth it.

Why it’s worth your time? Well, here in 2013 they don’t do raunchy comedies like this anymore where the dialogue is as superb as the visuals and antics are crude. More often than not you just get The Hangover II. This is smart and old school. Love it.

I’m thinking something is wrong with Mint.com tonight. Either that or a very rich benefactor just made my 2013 taxes a freaking nightmare.

This ever-evolving Christopher Dorner story is simply fascinating. There are so many angles that it feels like I’m watching as close to a real Jason Bourne movie as the world will ever see. That it falls against the backdrop of the long rumored and now pretty much confirmed exposing of President Obama’s “Drone Strikes for Americans Are Now Legal in Secret, Prolly” policies just gives it an even weirder feel. Throw in the debate about guns and it just becomes an incredible hurricane of conflicting emotions for me.

Time will tell, but it looks like Dorner was probably at least justifiably correct in his manifesto when he alleged that he was wrongly booted from his job as an LAPD officer. I’m sure more information will be released, but already the testimony of the man kicked by the officer that Dorner reported has leaked and pretty much confirms Dorner’s story.

It looks like Dorner probably lost his life and livelihood because he ratted out a fellow officer for kicking a mentally handicapped man in the face needlessly. It’s an almost Richard Kimball-y type of injustice. It’s the kind of injustice that gets Americans up in arms. It seems like Dorner was royally screwed out of his entire livelihood and life right around a time when it became pretty damn impossible to find a new livelihood right here in the good old US of Bank of America.

Reports suggest he lost his job as a policeman around the time the Great Recession started and if you’ve been out of work at all in this period you know quite well that finding a new livelihood to replace one that’s lost is next to impossible. Just read Gawkers Unemployment Stories for a good idea of what it’s like. I can only imagine what it’s like for someone who was trained to be a police officer and then was fired from the job under his circumstances. What other department would hire him? No one. What else is he suited for? And so, to protect a bad cop the LAPD created a monster. At least, it’s hard to not see it somewhat like that.

Obviously, Christopher Dorner has snapped and must be stopped. You can’t just go around executing people who are sort of to not at all tied to how you were wronged. I know that. It’s just not a feasible way to run society. And yet, knowing this, I still feel for this guy. I feel for his victims families too. I just feel sad, but it’s not clear cut where to direct that sadness.

Watching the media cover this story has been enlightening. His manifesto seemed like a final goodbye of someone who didn’t really want to say goodbye, but really felt like it was over. It felt like a very Web 2.0 suicide note. Think about it. For the last 5 years we’ve increasingly been trained to converse with/at brands and celebrities as we would our friends. Is it really that strange that he left messages for famous folks, politicians, and people he knew? For a crazy manifesto he seemed fairly reasonable. Compared to the Dark Knight shooter… The media has treated this almost exclusively as if he’s a lunatic with no basis in reality and, strangely, no one is buying it. Every story I’ve come across on niche blogs and mainstream news sites is riddled with oddly justified support for Dorner. He’s being called a hero by many. It’s doubly intriguing and validates, at least somewhat, the confusion I’m having with this.

Not Dorner's Car, Not Even Close

Not Dorner’s car, not even close

Further complicating the issue is that random police departments in the LA area decided to start shooting civilians who they mistook for Dorner. Never mind that these civilians were driving a truck that was the wrong make, model, and year as the suspect. Never mind that there were two small women inside. Never mind that police aren’t supposed to shoot first and ask questions later. Never mind that they shot these women in the back and riddled the back of the car with bullets. It was a “police mistake”. Then another shooting happened and more bystanders are hurt. If you’re blood isn’t boiling over this story as a human and as a citizen, it should be. At Dorner, at the LAPD. At everyone. Comments have been ruthless from what I’ve seen and I think I agree with many that these women deserve every penny they get in their eventual civil suit. However, I also agree that these officers ought to face criminal charges. The police department will fight this and probably win, but what a colossal fuck up. This response is exactly the type of police work Dorner was trying to expose when it cost him his career. This is the kind of police work that the Constitution is supposed to, I would think, prevent.

This kind of shoot first and worry about laws and the rights of American citizens mentality of the police and government is exactly what will result in Dorner being caught dead and not alive. People smelled this from a mile away last night when police ordered new helicopters out of Big Bear, CA. Besides, this is what we do as a country now. The most amazing thing to me about the killing of Osama Bin Laden is that the supposedly liberal President didn’t take him prisoner and put him on trial. He wasn’t an American citizen, but I’m starting to wonder if we’ve really lost sight as a country of how to be a beacon of justice. If busting into another sovereign nation and executing a war criminal isn’t cowboy justice, I don’t know what is.

I generally understand most of the cop hate in this country, but I also think they have really hard jobs. Probably some of the hardest jobs on the planet. These officers deal with the scum of the earth on a regular basis and regularly deal with psychologically trying sights that cannot be expected not to take a toll. Does this excuse it when a cop is a jerk or behaves badly? No, but it does at least allow for some understanding of how they might gradually over time become unwittingly rotten. It’s also just a job to these cops. We all get jaded and sick of our jobs. Dorner speaks to this in his manifesto:

Don’t honor these fallen officers/dirtbags. when your family members die, they just see you as extra overtime at a crime scene and at a perimeter. why would you value their lives when they clearly don’t value yours or your family members lives? We heard many officers who state they see dead victims as ATV’s, waverunners, RV’s and new clothes for their kids. why would you shed a tear for them when they in return crack a smile for your loss because of the impending extra money they will receive in their next paycheck for sitting at your loved ones crime scene of 5 hours because of the overtime they will accrue They take photos of your loved ones recently deceased bodies with their cellphones and play a game of who has the most graphic dead body of the night with officers from other divisions. This isn’t just the 20 something year old officers, this is the so year old officers with significant time on the job as well who participate.

I’ve personally had many cop friends show me their phones and cameras filled with this stuff and heard them talk about the “insert racial slurs” here that they have to deal with. I think this guy nails police culture in big city departments. Suburban cops are a whole different breed. It’s like comparing poodles to dobermans. There’s hundreds of videos on YouTube of inexplicable behavior from police. I don’t think many of these officers even realize they’re that far out. It just becomes a problem when they are dealing with average citizens who aren’t that far out of line and their typical schema for who they’re dealing with is violated. Imagine dealing with people like this all day and staying completely sane.

If you watched all of that, I’m sorry. Point is, they’re always expecting to encounter that lowest of the lowest common denominator. They’re worried about their own safety. And so old women in trucks get shot.

When is being scared going to stop being an excuse? We were afraid of terrorists so we’ve spent over a decade at war with people who weren’t even responsible. We gave up tons of civil liberties with the Patriot Act to get safer. Did we? It apparently didn’t work because President Obama has just plowed forward carelessly with executive orders and secret policies authorizing drone strikes against Americans. All this under some ridiculous assertion that there is some legal way to do that and that we should be grateful that we will be safer. Meanwhile the debate rages about gun rights in America after several high profile shootings. Obama and his folks claim that we need tighter gun laws and the gun nuts claim that more guns are the solution. I been sort of conflicted here as well. I never want a gun anywhere near my house, but I respect the second amendment. I think we could require a little more of people who want to buy a gun in terms of background checks, but I don’t think that regulations will change much. Do I buy the argument that we still need guns to protect ourselves from a corrupt government? The rational side of me says, “no”. However, there’s a nagging voice in the back of my mind that looks at Obama’s corrupt actions and the shooting of these women in the blue pickup truck as pretty damn good examples of a government that is just out of control with what it can and should be doing. Some people argue that an armed populace couldn’t stand up to the government, but Iraq and Afghanistan haven’t exactly rolled over against the best military in the world. So I come back to being torn about the whole thing.

This brings us back to Dorner and trying to make sense of my mixed emotions about his situation and killing spree. I think this guy is being labeled a hero because most Americans are really, really sick of these giant institutions that do what they want, when they want and claim victim-hood. Maybe these institutions get justice for themselves, but the little guy doesn’t. The LAPD got what was just to them. You don’t cross the blue line. Period. Dorner did and from the LAPD’s point of view, justice requires he be thrown out of the brotherhood. It’s like Mafia rules. From the point of view of the big banks, justice was bailouts to save them from their mistakes. From their point of view, justice didn’t involve helping homeowners keep the homes after screwy mortgage polices and rates they created sent millions into foreclosure. The government chose, surprise, the institution to support.

Maybe Dorner should have known better than to stand up for a mentally challenged arrestee. Maybe people should not have bought into stupid mortgages. But I’m struggling to find sympathy for these big institutions on a more regular basis and I think there’s a growing sentiment in America that when the big institution gets justice, the little guy gets screwed. And I think that’s how I explain rooting for Christopher Dorner at least somewhere in my soul.

I’m out driving my sick new whip in the snow today and it was icing pretty badly out and, naturally, my mind wandered to power sliding around some turns on the way to Taco Bell. Now, I’m no Ryan Gosling’s character in Drive, but I execute basic driving maneuvers like “The Right Turn” and “The Merge At Speed” (this is surprisingly complex judging from how many people do not understand that the purpose of the on-ramp is to accelerate to the speed of traffic on the highway so as to merge seamlessly) with ease. I consider “The Powerslide” to also be in my repertoire.

I came to a beautiful curve in the road that banked nicely and threw down. The car started to slide and then abruptly corrected itself. Dash lights flashing and warning me that traction control was kicking in. Fuck that. How are you supposed to power-slide around turns like a boss if traction control keeps kicking in and ruining everything?

Name one man to ever pick up a fine lady without power-sliding right in her face.

Benjamin Franklin you say? WRONG.

Ben Franklin evades the cops

Ben Franklin evades the cops

Ben drove his horse and buggy drunk all the time (It was a different time. Back then this was considered “hilarious” and “de rigueur” and “boss-like”) and was ALWAYS power-sliding and doing donuts all over the place like a fucking boss in front of mad wenches, in front of mad pubs and all the bros were super pissed because, as I read on Wikipedia, they were totally jealous of his diplomatic immunity and thought it was bullshit.

Head on over to Wikipedia and see for yourself or better yet, because I’m nice like that and saved you the time just peep this rad screen capture.

Ben Franklin Drivin' Drunk

And there you have it folks. No excuses. No traction control. Do it Franklin style today.

Kind of a mediocre showing this year both on the field (come on, that game was over at halftime until the NFL cut the lights to give themselves a chance to tell the Ravens to let the 49ers make a game of it) and on Madison Ave, but let’s see what was fun and what wasn’t. Feel free to hate all of this.

The Best

M&M’s won the Super Bowl this year. They’ve killed it the last few years with that Party Rock Anthem ad and the male model trying to eat the Green M&M. This ad was just perfect right up to the last line where Red says, “It hurts but I kind of like it.” Makes me want to have a giant talking M&M move in with me and crack wise. I’d watch a show with Red living with Kevin James as roommates and funny amusing things happen. Kind of like the show Cavemen, but not awful.

The Worst

What the hell was Dodge thinking with that God and Farmers ad? That’s probably going to play well in Iowa and Oklahoma where they haven’t seen Food, Inc. or don’t have Whole Foods yet, but don’t we all know that there’s no such thing or (very close to no such thing) as little, neighborhood farmers anymore? I found the ad preachy and fake. Too bad for them because I thought their Eastwood and Eminem ads in the last two Super Bowls have been terrific. Even if no one in their right mind would believe that Eminem would ever drive a Chrysler 200.

Speaking of cars you’d never drive, that Mercedes Kate Upton ad was kind of cute except for the fact that it looks like Mercedes was unveiling a $4,000 car. I would sign a contract with the devil to avoid having to drive that Mercedes anywhere.

The other ad that really hit the bottom of the barrel for me was Wonderful Pistachios Gangnam Style inspired “Get Crackin'” ad. When did they conceive that thing? September? At the very least that’s gotta be the final nail in that song’s coffin, right? In 10 years we’ll all remember that song with some nostalgia while cracking a Budweiser Black Crown, right? If the ads are any indication, Black Crown isn’t going to last a week. If Bud hadn’t aired the horrible series of Platinum ads last year this might have been their worst Super Bowl ad showing ever. Also, can they just drop “Here We Go” as a tagline? It’s always been more awkward than that ad for Calvin Klein Concept. Just a horrific ad that definitely didn’t make anyone in my living room want to smell the fragrance.

Coke’s ad with the race across the desert was inept like a GoDaddy ad of yesteryear. What was the point of the “vote online” campaign just to see exactly nothing clever happen in the conclusion? Coke always rules at this sort of thing and tonight they blew it. Not that Pepsi really killed them or anything. Beyonce’s continued the miserable string of halftime shows that have plagued the Super Bowl ever since Janet Jackson ruined it all. Can’t we just have Britney Spears and Ben Stiller back again? Or Michael Jackson?

Biggest Surprise

GoDaddy. GoDaddy makes horrible Super Bowl ads. They do it year after year and they always get trashed online for it and rightfully so! They use Danica Patrick. For gods sakes if you’re going to use a woman who sucks at a professional sport at least hire Anna Kournikova.

This year when I saw Danica and Bar Refaeli on screen I figured that Danica was going to hint to Bar that they should behave in a lesbian manner and then GoDaddy was going to suggest that I go online to watch all the parts that were “too steamy” for the Super Bowl. Then I’d go to their website and Bar and Danica would be sitting there eating a roasted cat and I’d realize that GoDaddy was just having some good old fashioned fun. But this year, GoDaddy actually made an effort and got gross and hilarious. I have no idea how much they paid Bar for that, but that nerdy dude got the role of a freaking lifetime. Then they blew my mind further with their “Big Idea” spot and didn’t even hint at anything sexual or misogynist and just went for the funny bone. Good show Bob Parsons.

Honorable Mentions

Who else won? Old Spice’s Wolf Man was hilariously “them”. Oreo’s Whisper Ad and impromptu blackout related Twitter ad were great. Kia’s “Where Do Babies Come From” ad was perfection. With that one especially I like how the humor tied back into the product with a great demonstration of its superior sound system. Audi’s prom ad was vicariously awesome and totally reminded me of that time that my dad let me drive our minivan with 400,000 miles on it for the first time. Not an Audi, but I was tipping over Porto-Potties not going to dances. Leon Sandcastle was great fun, but I had to look up that it was for the NFL Draft. The Joe Montana Miracle stain ad was a riot too and tied nicely into the game. And The Rock drinks Milk was yummy.

Missed Oppurtunity

Missed opportunity was not using Sam Gordon. Roger Gooddell, a man no one likes, had the good sense to sit her next to him at the game, so why in the world didn’t anyone do a clever ad featuring her knocking down NFL players left and right and tell me that anyone can do anything if they just “Do It” or “Believe” or “Drink Gatorade” or “Believe in Scientology”. And really, CBS, you’ll let Scientology advertise, but you won’t let Sodastream run it’s meh ad that sort of disses Coke and Pepsi?

Next Year

Next year, I better see an ad with Joe Flacco declaring some product, service, brand, or film to be “fucking awesome” in honor of this year’s amazing post-game Janet Jackson gaffe. I predict Lance Armstrong will do an ad of some kind with some brave advertiser. There will also be an ad that references the blackout in some clever way.

Bang For The Buck

The last two years Old Milwaukee has proved something with their Will Ferrel ads. They show their ads in very small markets and thus qualify – at least as far as the internet is concerned – for Super Bowl Ad status without spending a fortune to get in the game. And yet, they probably achieve nearly the same level of saturation as many of the other big game ads. Sure, the Super Bowl is seen everywhere, but this has buzz. It spreads like wildfire around the internet and infects the Old Milwaukee target. Old Milwaukee’s market – whether they would ever admit it or not – is probably high school kids and college kids who need cheap, crappy beer to buy or steal. The only other market is poor twenty-something who drink it ironically. Exactly the type of people to love and share this ad. It will be interesting to see who tries to replicate this strategy next year. It’s a terrific bang for the buck strategy even if GoDaddy had a better gross makeout this year.



Winter sucks, but for some reason I love shoveling in the middle of the night. I think the neighbors probably hate me, but whatever. They let their pug out every time I let my dogs out (now you know who let the dogs out) and then my dogs get all distracted and can’t go potty. And man, it’s freezing cold so I just want them to go, go, go. I sit there and sing to them. I talk like a baby-wayby. I pray to my lord and savior Jesus Christ and every other diety including, but not limited to Shiva and Majin Buu that they will just go god-damn-motherfucking pee pee and poo poo because I am selfish and don’t want to freeze anymore. I also don’t want to clean up anymore poopy poo in the house and really don’t want to be awakened again by a dog peeing on my head. (That’s a whole other rant.)

I pray and pray and right about the time I’m closing with an amen and well before my dogs are helicoptering into poop squats, the light on my neighbor’s porch always flips on and the door slides open and Super Distracto Pug 3000 comes snorting outside. It’s a cute, tubby little dog that they feed doughnuts and pastries which get left in the yard sometimes. This is to my dog’s delight and my dismay, but it’s sort of what I imagine the Israelites must have felt when they were wandering around picking up manna off the ground. “Oh look, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, an Israelite would say, “God left us some Krispy Kreme’s this morning and Jim Cramer said Krispy Kreme was a solid stock this month so we better eat up and help support those fools that took his advice.” Think about it. How badass would it be to just wander around the lawn picking up breakfast bread from God? Seriously though does it always have to come out when I’m out taking my dogs out? (Side note: I think doughnut poop must be delicious because it’s like crack to my crackhead dogs who eat it anytime they can.)

And so I shoveled. I did my driveway, front stoop, back porch, a good portion of the street, and for good measure some of the grass. So who’s the champ now?! (Not the people’s champ either. As an educated American knows that’s Dwayne The Rock Johnson. He’s also the reigning WWE Champion after beating CM Punk this week. No really.)

If you’re still awake right now go catch some snowflakes too. That’s as American and Apple Pie and Ice Cream and in this economy considerably more affordable for the average American. It’ll make you feel alive mostly because the snow is probably filled with jet fuel and global warming juices that are horrible for your insides and will give you bowl cancer, but not for decades so do it anyway. And make sure to take HDR cellphone pictures and share them with the world on your stupid blog that no one reads like some weird self paparazzi-ing sycophant who doesn’t post their blown-out and weirdly exposed/saturated photos to Instagram like a well adjusted modern man. But the thing is Instagam is just another annoying thing to check and maintain and I’d rather be out catching snowflakes in my mouth than posting One Direction memes and pictures of my dinner (snowflakes) to yet another site while trying to accumulate the most hearts. It’s just stressful to have another place where I’m trying to get attention and likes and deliver high quality content to my fans.

So grab your shovel. It’s the middle of the night but you’re currently under employed. Aren’t you? You are. You don’t have to get up early tomorrow, it’s Saturday. Grab your Saturday by the horns and start it right now at 4:30AM CST and then sleep through most of the rest of it after you’re done. Burn off the Cheesy Gordita Crunch, Crunchwrap Supreme, Mountain Dew Baja Blast Slurpee (probably not called that because 7-Eleven owns the trademark, but that’s basically what it is), Medium Baja Blast Mountain Dew (I didn’t know if the Slurpee one was going to be any good so I ordered a backup. It wasn’t good. It was fucking awesome. But I drank them at midnight. Whoops.), and Cookie Sandwich that you had earlier. (I might have been lying about snowflakes being my dinner.)

This weekend wake your neighbors up and wake up your soul. Remember what Kid President said: “Fuck you Robert Frost.” Goodnight.

House Shoveled And Feeling Accomplished

Facebook invited me to check out its new Graph Search this weekend and like a complete moron I clicked “sure” or whatever it said. Boom! Just like that my old Facebook nav bar was gone and this fancy new Graph Search bar was there. Forever. No going back. Just like timeline. Oh well. Let’s try it out. Now, the hallmark of any new Facebook feature is that it has to materially make Facebook more intrusive and less privacy friendly. So I wanted to kick it off with a search for something that would really tell me how Facebook-y this new feature really was. Plus, I just wanted to laugh at my friends. I figured with ~2,000 friends most of them under 35 this must at the very least turn up some results. Let’s see.

Search For Pornography on Graph Search

No results? Hmm. I must have some really classy friends. Or Graph Search isn’t very useful. In fact, since it’s entirely based around what your friends have actively “Liked” it’s only as useful as the collective “Likes” of your network. Why did I ever want to search for the things my friends like?

In its promos, Facebook seemed to really like the example of searching for a good restaurant. Isn’t that what Yelp is for and has an incredible database of information on already? Isn’t Yelp already connected to Facebook? And doesn’t TripAdvisor kind of have a lock on the international version of that? Let’s find out.

I’m from Chicago and I have maybe 15-20 friends in New York. If I search for “restaurants my friends have liked in New York” lets see what happens.

Graph Search

The top result is a chain restaurant that has locations in many cities including Chicago. The second result returned by Graph Search has one like. That’s statistical noise. That’s not a definitive answer. Now, Graph Search may get better over time, but it has a long way to go to compete with this similar search on Yelp:

Yelp Search Results

That’s just a sampling, but the top restaurants in New York have hundreds and thousands of reviews. That’s not statistical noise. If I pick a random 5 star restaurant off of that list I’m going to have some confidence that I’m going to get something special. I can also read a few quick reviews to see why people rated this highly and what specifically they liked. A simple like on Facebook conveys none of that nuance. Maybe someone liked a restaurant for a coupon. Maybe they did it as a joke. Who knows. This is Facebook and it’s a site that for at least half of it’s life was filled with a user base that was there to post drunken pictures of their college debauchery and write stupid comments on each others’ walls. That’s what Facebook was designed for. That’s why it thrived. It did so in spite of search functions that worked. Each time it tries to move away from this function it gets more unwieldy.

Also, it’s not wonderful to have to type in “my friends who like” for every search. Searching on Graph Search is a bit like answering a question on Jeopardy. “What is friends who like restaurants in New York City, Alex?” Yuck.

Still, there was one area I figured Graph Search would be really useful. How many times has a friend sent you a video or shared something that you’ve seen in the News Feed and wanted to read later or show a friend two months down the road. At least graph search would help for finding those old posts and status updates faster than scrolling endlessly through timelines.


Ok fine, maybe that was asking too much. How about this:


Oh, ok, so graph search really is useless. Doesn’t this lack of functionality annoy the ever loving hell out of the people who work at Facebook? Do they use their service? No status search an incredibly annoying feature (or lack thereof) ever since Facebook introduced the Status Update. They essentially created the worlds most popular micro-blogging system without a search feature and still have yet to implement one. It’s really a wonder that people still put up with it.

It’s almost regression. This is how search was before Google. Remember doing a search for “cows” on Excite or Yahoo! back in the day and the top result would be “Tony’s Pizza”? It wasn’t a surprise that Google won the search war. Their search engine actually found really useful results when it searched. Facebook search is more like Excite. Yuck squared.

Another problem I see with the relevancy of results in Graph Search is that Facebook users have a very serious reason to curtail their liking of pages. Privacy wise this is invasive, but only if you liked some stuff you’d be embarrassed by. From Facebook’s point of view you wouldn’t like something if you didn’t want the whole world to know, right? Now, If I like “Playboy” or “pornography” (maybe as a joke, maybe because I worked there, maybe because I love them) is a potential employer going who does a graph search on me going to be able to make that distinction just by seeing that I liked something? I don’t think so. And so Facebook has just given folks a very good reason to stop liking things. It’s given it’s users a reason to unlike tons of pages. Pages Facebook is simultaneously trying to get to buy ads to guarantee that the people that have liked them actually see their messaging. That’s insanity.

When I signed up for Facebook in 2004 I filled out some interests and those became likes when the like system kicked in. Suddenly, my News Feed was filled with posts by those likes. Any new page I like invades my feed. Thing is, I never really wanted that functionality on Facebook. Facebook was wonderful for info on friends. There are a very select few brands or pages that I want in my News Feed. Any time I click like on something now I most likely change the settings so that I only see “Important Updates” or, more commonly, I uncheck “Show In News Feed” and simply banish the page from my feed entirely. Why? Because, while I may like Vans Shoes, I don’t want to hear about them every day.

All of this also begs the question: where is the value in using your real name or identity on social media? Facebook was beautiful because it did away with AOL Screenames and MySpace names and replaced them with real names. You could find your friends and not have to know that they went my XOXOCheerGirl5183. I think Facebook has proved once and for all that you really do want to go by something other than your real name online. (That is unless you’ve never like something potentially embarrassing or taken a crazy photo, then by all means Commander Boring use your real name. Though Commander Boring is a great option if I just made you paranoid.)

The last useless thing that Graph Search does is force you into a box. Google doesn’t correct or guide me when I type. I will suggest in the results that I try something else, but if I really want to search for something, I can. Here’s what happened when I searched for “my friends who like Nazis”:

Now, I’m not for anyone liking Nazis, but why can’t I search for it? Why does the search correct to this every time? It does this because Facebook is really just a big psych experiment to see how far it can push its users before they jump ship. So far, I’m pretty impressed at folks’ desire for punishment when a perfectly elegant Google+ sits pretty much unused.

Tonight while watching Homeland, a few of the local police descended on my back yard with flashlights….freaking me the eff out.

I cautiously opened the back door and asked what was going on.

Police: “Sir, have you seen anything strange tonight. Your neighbors reported that a black was wandering through the neighborhood.”

Me: (thinking, did you really just say that?) “I’m sorry, what?”

Police: “A male black with a red sweatshirt knocked on your neighbors door and asked for a loaf of bread. We followed his footprints (in the snow) into your backyard.”

Me: (you know, terrified) “Umm…no… I haven’t seen anything like that. Those are actually probably my footprints. I have dogs that I walk out there.”

Police: “Well, check all your doors and windows and make sure they’re locked.”

Me: “Uh…ok. Thanks officer. Have a good night.”

They wandered off and I went to get a Slurpee and figured that I needed to be prepared in case the suspect tried to come back to my house and finish what he started at the neighbors. So I picked up this little surprise and left it out front just in case.

7 Eleven White Bread


I have recently scored several job interviews via Skype. It’s great! I don’t even have to leave my house or stop watching Phineas and Ferb for all that long. I do really want to avoid any faux pas though so I went to the experts. In Mashable’s “The Ultimate Guide To Crushing Your Job Interview” they suggested:

This might seem like old news, but just because it’s obvious doesn’t mean it’s not important. You need to dress to impress when it comes to your interview. If your interview is through online video, you might think you can dress down a bit and worry a little less, but this certainly isn’t true! Dress just as nicely as you would for an in-person meeting.

Now, I don’t know why it’s 2013 and we haven’t all agreed that things would be much easier if we just all wore designer jeans, snapback hats, and Star Wars t-shirts to work, but apparently it does still impress people when you dress up in a suit like it’s still 1960. And so, I will wear a suit. But that got me thinking: Do I have to wear pants? Skype is only going to show at most my upper torso in glorious 2 megapixel beauty. I know for sure I don’t have to tuck my shirt in. But, could I do the whole interview in my Justice League boxers?

Proper Skype Interview Attire

Hmm…apparently those are my Avengers/Marvel Superheroes boxers. Definitely inappropriate. They’ve got villains on them. I don’t want to convey that image. However, hypothetically if I switched to my Justice League boxers (with heroes only), would that be acceptable?

I don’t think Mercedes Benz expected that anything could go wrong with an advertisement featuring the beautiful Sports Illustrated cover model Kate Upton washing their CLA sports car. On paper it sounds like a great idea. A funny take on the “hot girl washes car” concept that’s been done successfully previously by Carl’s Jr./ Hardees who did it with Paris Hilton stuffing her face with a gigantic cheeseburger.

What’s wrong with the Mercedes ad? For starters it looks like a ten year old produced it. The camera work, the editing, and most importantly the script just fail to impress. Kate Upton looks downright frumpy.

So how do you fix this ad?

1) Sell the misdirection with a little more oomph.

The Paris Hilton ad plays on all your preconceived notions of what to expect from a “hot girl washes car” video. All the shots of her approaching the car put your mind in the schema of “hot girl washes car”. And then she starts eating a giant cheeseburger all over it and making a mess. Schema violated. Why not start the ad with Kate Upton in a robe filling up a bucket with soap. She could playfully blow bubbles and giggle as she got sprayed by the soap. If the goal was not to show skin, this could accomplish that. She could simply have her jean shorts and top on underneath the robe.

2) Change the title.

It feels like this should be called: How Kate Upton Washes A Mercedes. Why? It implies that she has some unique twist or method for washing this car and that helps set a hook right away.

3) Speed things up.

She stands there doing nothing, not showing off the car, not really being sexy or selling the story with an chutzpah for way too long. Give her something to do. Sell the joke. This is almost painfully awkward.

4) Make the reveal even more impressive.

After she’s done filling the bucket with soapy water in her robe. Have her remove her bath robe and reveal her regular clothes. As she picks up the bucket and walks towards the car pan the camera to show the drooling football team standing at the ready waiting to wash her car. She can give them the soap and then watch them wash the car allowing for the real parody to take place with the guys washing the car. Heck, you could even have the guys doing things traditionally associated with the “hot girl washes car” type videos. Maybe a guy accidentally gets sprayed and he washes and has to take his shirt off.

There’s a lot of fun that could have been had with this concept and that coupled with bravado associated with Mercedes leaking the ad early (a la Volkswagen Darth Vader) really invited the backlash.

And that’s how a dinosaur would fix Kate Upton Washes the All-New Mercedes-Benz CLA in Slow Motion.

<iframe width=”480″ height=”360″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/4gby0zfCYiA” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

This isn't the worst name for a burrito place, but it's not the best either. It's just kind of ok.

This isn’t the worst name for a burrito place, but it’s not the best either. It’s just kind of ok.


Yelp actually suggest that OK Burrito might actually be better than OK, but you wonder what they were thinking with this nombre.

As a, er, Former Fat Boy myself, this clip made me smile out loud while on the treadmill last night. Probably the best #1 in SportsCenter history.

How do you smile out loud? It’s kind of a combination of laughter and sighing with a whole lot of joy in the mix. Really fun to see the joy of sports and being a crazy kid all rolled into one clip. Especially after writing about RG3 and my own thoughts on youth football yesterday and feeling like that came off a bit negative.

Watching RGIII this weekend was painful. Everyone with eyes saw clearly that this kid did not belong on that torn up football field. Everyone who has ever played a down of football understood why the kid didn’t pull himself out, but Nate Jackson really dissected it well over on Deadspin:

“Greatness is not given,” Robert Griffin III says in his national Gatorade spot. “Greatness is taken, when the weak and distracted are resting on their reputations.”

What that means is anyone’s guess. The football industry comes wrapped in so much epigrammatic tough-guy rhetoric that you never really stop to think whether any of it makes sense.

And then later:

The health of an athlete belongs to everyone but the athlete himself. It belongs to his team, his fans, the media who cover him; it belongs to the realm of myth. What’s the difference between a leg broken in front of millions of people and a leg broken in an empty sandlot? Only the former gets valorized by NFL Films. It’s the perception, real or not, that each game is of monumental importance that keeps these men sacrificing life and limb. Glory! Pride! Manhood! That’s the brilliant NFL hype machine at work. It sells the product. It brings in money hand over fist.

The problem is that the product permanently injures those who play it. Their lives are shorter for having played it. But the funny thing is that the players don’t give a shit. They’ll play anyway because that’s all they know.

I think what’s worse is that this doesn’t start in the NFL. It doesn’t even start in college (where Griffin finished the half in a game where he tore his knee up the first time). It starts in high school and younger. It’s beaten into a player since youth. If RGIII (or any other NFL player) is willing to trade mobility in old age for millions of dollars I don’t really have a problem with it. You can live a pretty good life with the $20 million or so that he’s already taken to the bank. I have a problem with that kind of mindset being instilled at the Pee Wee or High School levels where 99% of the kids have no chance of playing the game after they turn 18.


Back in my glory days…

My high school football team hadn’t won a game in 4 years. Our varsity offensive line probably weighed less than 700 pounds soaking wet. We regularly ended games early on account of the slaughter rule because our defenses couldn’t have stopped this girl on most Friday nights. Yet my coaches acted like we were playing NFL games. This was serious shit. Maybe that’s how you have to act as a football coach. Maybe that’s how you teach kids to run down the field at top speed on kickoffs and crash into other kids. (Tore my tricep on one of those sophomore year.) I don’t know. They finally moved my high school team down a few divisions and now they win all the time, but they still haven’t sent any kids on to the pros or made anyone a millionaire and I wonder if any of it is worth it.

I played football because I moved to town after soccer tryouts my freshman year. The year before I played traveling soccer and was a starter on a team that took second place at state. I played with several kids who were on the Olympic development team and later played college or pro ball. I went to the coaches office and asked the soccer coach if I could try out. He told me they already had tryouts and definitely had enough keepers that year. I was devastated. Pretty much near tears. I think the football coach at the time – a really great guy named Mike Ellberg – explained that the soccer coach was an asshole and he’d love to have me come play football. Sadly, the next season Ellberg was gone and they brought in a new coach. Still, I’d bought in to football at that point. All my new friends played football. That’s where sports, especially at the youth level, have an extra dimension in psychologically controlling players. You aren’t playing with just teammates. These are your friends. So when your coach insinuates that you’re letting down your team in the back of your mind you think, “I’m letting down my friends.” Peer pressure reinforces the mindset to play through the pain.

Now, football is pain. To play it you definitely have to play through some pain. From an aerial view it’s elegant and smooth, but it requires a tougher mindset and tougher physical mettle than most other sports to play. Maybe it’s necessary to instill this mindset young. But is it worth it? I never had a headache as a kid or teenager, but suffered a concussion senior year and had 5 years of migraines and still get them occasionally. I was really fuzzy mentally for a week, but back on the football field in 5 days. I had a bunch of knee contusions and found out in my mid-twenties that my cartilage had died. Two knee surgeries and some experimental stem cell magic (and $100K+ in medical bills) later I managed to avoid a knee replacement at or before 30, but was it worth it?

I remember peeing blood from a badly bruised kidney that I suffered on the last day of summer practice. On the last play of scrimmage against the scout defense I caught a touchdown pass. A scout defender speared me in the back after the catch. I went home and peed tomato soup and then went to the hospital. I sat out the first game and was told by various coaches that I was a “pussy” and a “wimp”. Some teammates reiterated that sentiment parroting the message sent by the adults in the room. I never started or logged much playing time in a game again. I got Alex Smith’d. That’s the kind of mentality these Neanderthal coaches have even on perpetually losing high school teams.

I was also the punter. In the next game after my kidney injury the special teams coach explained that he wasn’t going to let me punt in the game even though I’d been cleared to play. He reiterated that “maybe I shouldn’t be such a pussy next time”. Man, I felt like shit. Lower than shit. Dog shit.

Fun aside: karma is a bitch.  That punting decision worked out real well. By some miracle we had won our first game (against a varsity team at a new school that was filled with Juniors and Sophomores because they didn’t have a Senior class that year). Our second game was a non-conference game against a school as traditionally horrible at football as we were. We jumped to a 20-0 lead in the game and were en route to our first 2-0 start! Things were looking good! Then, on our first punt of the game the second string punter punted the ball backwards over his head and the other team ran it in for a touchdown. I asked the coach to let me punt. No dice. The next punt the punter forgot to count players on the field and with no personal protector had his punt blocked for a touchdown. He was replaced by the 3rd string punter who punted his first punt backwards over his head resulting in another touchdown. We lost 21-20. At least I got my starting punting job back. I should have told them to screw off.

I love the NFL. I love watching football. I love going to NFL and college games with my family and friends. I love going back and watching high school games. My kids will absolutely never touch a football. Ever. They just won’t. I won’t sign a consent form. I will gently push them to play any other sport. My parents finally gave in when I begged them to play. I love them for that because I was a little dick about it until they said yes. They’d never played the game. I have. I love the sport, but everything about it and its psychology is fucked and it’s not worth the physical toll.

Señor D. and Señor Dad

Señor D. and Señor Dad

I know you were waiting all year for this. Now, I can’t nominate either of the albums Former Fat Boys released this year, but you should consider adding them to the top spots on your list. You can listen to them on Spotify for free. Click THE LEGEND OF HARD COREY or WANNA BUY BEATS VOL. 2 and decide for yourself.

Setting aside my ego here are the best albums of 2012:

1)The Front Bottoms – Self Titled

This here band called The Front Bottoms reminds me of a band called Troubled Hubble that hailed from Chicago and disbanded some years ago. They were a great little rock band that sang songs about fun, regular adventures. They wrote great hooks and just seemed to be having a lot of fun. This band seems to me to be the natural heir to their crown and in a rare feat, I like almost every song on this album. Some of the lyrics in the song “The Beers” are my favorite in years:

“I will remember that summer as the summer I was taking steroids, cuz you like a man with muscles. And I like you.”

“It’s the cops are coming in kind of sobering up.”

Standout track: The Beers, Rhode Island, Flashlight, Maps, Swimming Pool, Father

2) Wordburglar – 3RDBURGLAR

I really wanted to give this one the top spot. Sean Jordan aka Wordburglar is a comic obsessed rapper with an impeccable flow and an incredible flair for inventive rhymes. He’s probably the best writer of traditional indie hip-hop that is operating in “nerdcore”. I think he’s probably better than the scene deserves. I feel phenomenally lucky to have had him guest on the our last album. The only other “nerdcore” rapper I’d consider on his level flow-wise is YTCracker and I think this year Wordburglar’s output topped YT’s. Frankly, he’s got one of the best flows in hip-hop period and easily had the best hip-hop album this year.

Standout track: Croque Monsieur

3) The Classic Crime – Phoenix

I found this album on Spotify’s New Releases tab one week and thought it was the new Phoenix album. Turns out that with a little bit of what I like to call “reading correctly” the band is called The Classic Crime. Whoops. I listened to the entire thing and recommended it to several people before I realized that it wasn’t what I thought it was. I guess it kind of reminds me a bit of more recent Jimmy Eats World. Kinda.

Standout track: Let Me Die

4) Eve 6 – Speak In Code

This is my favorite band of all time. They broke up after their label blew it releasing their 3rd album. That album was a better album, but to come back after almost a decade and record something this good is rare for any band. It picks up right where they left off.

Standout track: Victoria, Pick Up The Pieces, Curtain

5) All American Rejects – Kids In The Street

I like that these guys grew up a little bit and wrote some tracks that were still heavy on hooks, but not as obviously aimed at the Hot Topic-lite kids. Some cool music videos too.

Standout track: Someday’s Gone, Beekeeper’s Daughter

6) Mackelmore and Lewis – The Heist

Thrift Shop is undeniably incredible, but Macklemore’s smart flow and intelligent lyrics are such a stark contrast to the moronic hood grabage being put out by the likes of Chief Keef and 2 Chainz. This guy is poet and, I think, the best is yet to come. There were only about three songs I added to my iPod, but the whole album is a good listen.

Standout track: Thrift Shop, 10,000 Hours

7) Inspector Owl – Self Titled

Yes, IO frontman Corey Wills makes most of the beats for Former Fat Boys, but his main project is really great indie rock. Even if Corey weren’t one of my best friends and collaborators I think this record would still be on my list. Give Mousey a listen and make sure you make it to the explosive ending and tell me you aren’t sold. Do it.

Standout track: Mousey, We Are An Ocean

8) Carly Rae Jepsen – Kiss

Yeah, I dunno. It’s catchy, it’s fun. It’s here based on the number of songs I starred as I went through it. I’m not very excited about it, but it’s got some joyful tunes on it. I think the real problem with it is that it feels like a bunch of producers made a record that was very disparate in styles. Ke$ha is Ke$sha. You know what you’re going to get. This feels like they haven’t decided what Carly is going to be.

Standout track: Tonight I’m Getting Over You

8) Stepdad – Wildlife Pop

It’s so-freaking-catchy-you’ll-just-die synth pop made by a fat beard man that takes being a fat beard man very seriously. One of the rare bands that’s actually amusing to follow on Facebook. This might deserve to be lower on the list or higher, but the problem is that every time I listen to it I get a musical tummy ache. It’s basically pure sugar. After awhile you crave some substance.

Standout track: My Leather, My Fur, My Nails

9) K’naan – Country, God Or The Girl

His last album was better, but this album was pretty damn fun. K’naan is another great rapper who actually has something to say. I listened to this again recently to wash the taste of the giant turd of a second album that Wiz Khalifah released this year out of my mouth. K’Naan accomplished some incredible feats here and managed to make Nas and Bono interesting again for a second. Also, made Nelly Furtado worth remembering.

Standout track: Gold In Timbuktu, The Sound of My Breaking Heart,

10) DMX – Undisputed

DMX was arrested, went to jail, and did so much crack in the last few years I can hardly believe this is possible, but he’s back bark and all. I went in with super low expectations, but was reasonably surprised. DMX always had a good nose for hooks and infused his deeper tracks with gospel in a non-tacky way. That’s all on display here.

Standout track: I Don’t Dance featuring Machine Gun Kelly