Video Breakdown – ‘Til Tuesday, (Believed You Were) Lucky

Before I get into this crazy-ass video for what really is a great song, let me lament that there aren’t more Aimee Manns in the world. There was a time, not long ago, when female singer-songwriters covered the earth in thick herds visible form space. Shawn Colvin, Sarah McLachlan, Natalie Merchant and scores of others…there was Lilith Fair, there were the Indigo Girls on commercial radio…it was glorious. Now we have Taylor Swift. And Gods love her, she’s fine, but…she ain’t no Aimee Mann. Taylor’s simply not as talented. She’s not as deep. And no, she’s nowhere near as enthralling and sexy. Sigh. It’s true: I have harbored a crush on Aimee since the Voices Carry video, through her cameo on Rush’s Time Stand Still, continuing with I Should’ve Known and shit, even up to ’til now.

But let’s be honest, in this video…she’s a little wacky. But then, the whole thing is wacky. This track was co-written by Jules Shear, and fun trivia fact: he’s the “Jules” in ‘J’ for Jules, another brilliant song from this under-achieving album. Both ...Jules and our featured song for this Video Breakdown used to be part of a mixtape my old roommate Marcus would play in the room we shared in college. He’d packed it with soothing melodies to facilitate soundly sleeping, even if sometimes each of us would actually be quietly shagging our female companions in our respective twin beds. Hey, man…college.

So, let’s begin by watching the actual video, shall we? Open it in another tab if possible, because you may want to flip back and forth. Ready?  In the words of Fred Schneider,here it ’tis…

Away we go.

00:00 – Oh! Lindsey Buckingham?

00:09 – Surprise! It’s Debbie Harry! Or…wait…

00:16 – Is that a picture from The Haunted Mansion? A saw? A bow? A bow-saw? (Also, Aimee? Aimee! We’re over here!)

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 9.18.19 PM

Camera one, Aimee. Camera one. Camera ONE.

00:33 – And this was your father’s lightsaber…

00:49 – I think they could only afford greenscreen for the top third of this shot.

1:04 – Magic 8-Ball getting’ mighty preachy.

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 9.20.36 PM

The new ones just say “Reply hazy. Fuck you.”

1:08 – Robo-hand has sweet knuckle tats like Robert Mitchum or Jake Blues.

1:10 – ILLUMINATI CONFIRMED!

1:13 – “Crap, guys. I couldn’t find a clover or horseshoe graphic. Let’s just spell out ‘lucky’ if it’s all the same to you.”

1:20 – “Aimee, show ’em the thing!”

1:23 – Birds: We’re free! Free from 8-ball enslavement!

1:30 – Black hole sun.

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 9.22.55 PM

Are those…birds? Or did someone drop a bunch of Playtex gloves?

1:34 – Aimee? Hey! Over HERE!

1:40 – Wherein Aimee steps in a hole or something, and domino doors, because…um…

1:49 – WHAT’S IN THE BOX?!

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 9.25.11 PM

Memories. Memories were in the box, asshole. And what looks like a spider.

2:00 – Took me a minute to realize that the shadows were from the objects still falling, ostensibly, from the previously-mentioned box. Nice touch. I guess whoever was in charge of continuity earned their paycheck on this shoot.

2:08 – What is that shit? Ash?

2:10 – Oh! Bubbles! We’re underwater with goldfish. That is lucky! (But goldfish can’t read.)

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 9.26.54 PM

|AT LEAST IT’S NOT MONOPOLY! HAHA!| (Translated from goldfish.)

 

2:13 – “Say, I wonder what my fate holds?”

2:14 – “FUCK! That can’t be good! Aw, man…”

2:18 – So we’re doing this again? This ‘Twilight Zone’ crap?

2:23 – Zoom in on young Peyton Manning.

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 9.28.34 PM

He’s just patiently waiting for his chance to yell “OMAHA!”

2:30 – The Australian ‘Watership Down.’

2:40 – Finally! Dr. Who!

2:43 – Finally! The Doors!

2:45 – Aimee, open your eyes all creepy-like.

2:46 – Nice touch with that ‘Spock’ thing you’re doin’ there.

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 9.30.00 PM

Actually, it looks more like a Dr. Evil move…

2:48 – The ‘Infinity Ticker-Tape” thing never really took off.

2:52 – Kids, that is a nice transition. Seriously, good match-dissolve.

2:59 – “ARE YE READY, KIDS?” (Because life. Life. In a pineapple. It’s de bubbles. Under the sea.)

3:03 – Those have to be snooker balls or something. Stupid English people gotta make everything fancy.

3:07 – “Lucky” is a great white-trash baby name, FYI.

3:12 – Time-lapse rose to symbolize…patience? I guess?

3:16 – Aimee puts her band on a pedestal. (No, fuck YOU!) Except…she’s up there, too…and Peyton does’t have his damn drums! WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR DRUMS, PEYTON?!

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 9.32.07 PM

CAMERA ONE! GODDAMMIT, AIMEE!

3:22 – It is ALWAYS camera one! ALWAYS!

3:31 – ILLUMINATI!

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 9.33.16 PM

Laugh all you want, and then tell me what other reason there could possibly be for this. Huh, smart guy?

 

AAAAAAAAND SCENE.

So, to recap: Aimee Mann is a very talented singer/songwriter, but has no idea which camera to look into. The drummer for ‘Til Tuesday would grow up to shill pizza for Papa John’s. And in the 80’s you absolutely HAD to have a video. For every song you released. Sometimes your director had just depleted his last ounce of creativity trying to get Whitesnake to go in a more creative direction and, failing to do so, had gone on a three-day coke and alcohol bender before showing up on the set screaming “EIGHTBALL! WE’RE DOING THE EIGHTBALL SHOT!” (Double-meaning totally implied.)

Thanks for reading, and check out “Everything’s Different Now” by ‘Til Tuesday if you ever get a chance. Good stuff.

 

 

Video Breakdown – Material Issue, Valerie Loves Me

I had a blast breaking down the perplexing nonsense of Belly’s song “Slow Dog” because, well…the nineties.  The thing is, I really enjoy that song.  But early-to-mid nineties music and fashion, however enjoyable it may have been, invites people to make fun of it.  As a former college radio DJ and flannel-and-Doc Martens-wearing “alternative/punk” kid, I still create Pandora stations that sound like the legendary KROQ must’ve sounded back in the Jed the Fish/Rodney on the ‘ROQ days.

But the videos?  Man…they were usually ridiculous.  They were all grainy, shaky handicam shots or some asinine attempt at edginess.  Sometimes they told a story.  Sometimes they just put the band in wacky situations, like a piss-poor version of the Beatles’ “HELP!”  Sometimes they borrowed form all these formats and added some ‘live’ performance shots of the band itself.

For example:  this.  “Valerie Loves Me” by Material Issue.  One of my favorites from that era. The first time I heard the song I was POSITIVE that the band was one of the hot English acts: bands that cropped up in large part thanks to the “Madchester” scene that gave us Happy Mondays, Blur, Inspiral Carpets, and later branched out to the Soupdragons, the Farm, and Oasis under the group heading “Britpop.”  Material Issue fit nicely into that sub-genre of Alternative music, and I was stunned to learn that they actually hailed from Chicago, Illinois.

Huh.

Anyway, here’s the lackluster video to the amazing song.  Watch it, then join me for the breakdown.  Then watch it again and go “Oh, yeah!”

Okay, we begin with…RUN!! IT’S ENGLISH PEOPLE!!  (Editor’s note: we’ve already established that this band is from Chicago, not anywhere in England.)

:05 – Oh, hey!  It’s not English people, it’s a Liv Tyler look-alike!

:10 – Thank goodness.  The lost Gallagher brother.

:23 – Freddie Highmore is now in a band, but cannot afford a shirt that fits.  Perhaps he will grow into it?  Let’s hope!

D'awwwww...they grow up so fast!  (And unattractive!)

D’awwwww…they grow up so fast! (And so unattractive!)

:29 – Remember when you had two hoop earrings in your left ear and none in your right?  Remember?  God, I do.  I also rocked the glittery Ankh on a French hook because ALTERNATIVE!

:33 – Sorry. It’s not Liv Tyler, it’s Ally Sheedy circa Short Circuit.

Seriously...is this even the same girl?!

Seriously…is this even the same girl?!

:59 – Young Ric Ocasek is just plain creepy.  Give her some space, dude!

Who's gonna drive you home NOW, bitch?

Who’s gonna drive you home NOW, bitch?

1:02 – Ally Sheedy says “Ha ha!  AS IF!!  L8R, sucka!”

1:23 – Uh-oh.  Mike Ness’s bastard kid is creepin’ in the girls’ room.

1:26 – My bad.  It’s really Arnold Horshack.  And he is SO BUSTED!

1:52 – “Hey, you gotta quarter?”

2:03 – It’s either “Hey, look at that hot piece of ass!” or the “Hey, why am I wearing sunglasses inside a dim, smoky bar?”

[INSERT CSI: MIAMI 'YEAAAAAHHHH!!!! HERE]

[INSERT CSI: MIAMI ‘YEAAAAAHHHH!!!! HERE]

2:12 – Air/Water.  Your choice.  Fuckin’ England. (Ed. note:  Chicago.)

2:18 – DOUCHENOZZLE ALERT!!

Beard?  Check.  Tie?  Check.  Shades?  Check.  Conclusion: 100% douche.

Beard? Check. Tie? Check. Shades? Check. Conclusion: 100% douche.

2:30 – One of my favorite parts of this song is completely wasted in this video.  Jim Ellison screaming “VALERIE LOVES ME!” is such a powerful, anguised counterpoint to his usual sing-song English (CHICAGO!) style of power-pop…and he doesn’t even get a closeup or a camera-shake.  Lame.  Probably why Ellison took his own life in 1996.

2:35 – That guy is totally rocking a Kurt Cobain-style shirt.  Man…the nineties…

2:45 – OH SHIT! GUYS!  SHE’S HERE!!

2:47 – The Aryan Drummer Brotherhood approves.

"Ich liebe Valerie! Und so spielen sie auf dem Schlagzeug!"

“Ich liebe Valerie! Und so spielen sie auf dem Schlagzeug!”

2:49 – Jesus, Horshack, could you be any creepier?

2:56 – “HA HA!  LOOK AT THOSE DWEEBS!  NICE SHIRT, HIGHMORE!”

We are totally going to be in that new 4 Non Blondes video, girl!

We are totally going to be in that new 4 Non Blondes video, girl!

3:04 – She is totally fucking with them.  “RUN, GEEKS!  RUN ALL THE WAY BACK TO ENGLAND! (Chicago.)

FADE OUT.

Conclusion: great song.  Average video.  They get points for almost having a narrative.  The loveable losers in the band crush on Valerie (Fun fact:  all the girls in the 90’s were either named Valerie or Veronica) and spend the video trying to woo her, only to have her drive off at the end.  And you know she’s totally gonna hook up with that douchebag with the tie.  Fuckin’ ties, man.  That’s life, man.  That’s life.

But Valerie loves me…

Video Breakdown – Belly, Slow Dog

Hey, gang!  Kind of an experiment here, and we’ll hafta see if it turns into a regular feature.  What we’re gonna do is watch this video together and see how it performs.  See, the 1990’s were a magical time.  The Alternative revolution had thrown wide the doors of musical variety, at the same time that mainstream rap and hip-hop were finding their way into regular ol’ Midwestern (i.e., white) households.  One of the bands that had sort of middling success was Belly.  Belly was fronted by the amazing Tanya Donelly, who had been in the indie college band Throwing Muses and then co-founded The Breeders with Kim Deal (Pixies.)  Anyway, in 1993, Belly released their debut “Star.”  It was great.  The smash-hit “Feed the Tree” made it to #1 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart.  The follow-ups “Gepetto” and this one, “Slow Dog” failed to make much of a mark.  But now we’re going to see if this video helped or hindered this mainly-forgotten band.  Here’s the video.  Sorry if must wait through an ad.  That’s the way of things.  It can’t be helped.

First impressions:  We get it, 90’s.  Jump-cuts are cool and interesting.  Even better when you de-saturate the colors.  Edgy Al-TER-na-tive!  And, oh!  Let’s put a blurry disc at the bottom of the screen.  Yeah.  It’ll sort of be like the Pixies video for “Here Comes Your Man” but in reverse!  (Never mind that the whole Pixies video was basically the band saying “fuck you, 120 Minutes” right down to the very obvious lack of any sort of lip-synching and the “inflated” head on Black Francis/Frank Black.)

"Hey, Pinfield!  LIKE OUR FUCKIN' VIDEO?"

“Hey, Pinfield! LIKE OUR FUCKIN’ VIDEO?”

The blur-disc-lens thingy serves another important purpose in this misfire of a video.  See, Tanya Donelly is a cutie.  You might even say she’s downright gorgeous.  However, during the mid-90’s Modern Rock revolution, you were supposed to act like you WEREN’T gorgeous.  “Gorgeous” was for total posers, you guys.  So you dressed the hot babes in ModCloth retro dresses and put them just out-of-focus so that it looked like they were, like, totally just like me and you only WITH MUCH MORE HIDDEN PAIN!!  ON THE INSIDE!!

Poor, unfortunate, ugly 90's chick.

Poor, unfortunate, ugly 90’s chick.

Also, remember when those granny boots were in?  Often worn in conjunction with (ironically) babydoll dresses or, I shit you not, maternity dresses?  (Seriously, 90’s…you were weird.)

Anyway…we’re like :45 seconds in and we already know just about all there is to know about this video. We’ve seen a guitar smashed by a blonde chick with a pixie haircut.  We’ve observed a pensive surfer dude lean against the wall, trying to sort out life and all its ups and downs (why, pain?  Why must you BE?!?!) Also, we’ve been treated to some rusty things, some spindles, and the contents of my grandfather’s old tool shed being spilled onto the floor.  GODDAMMIT, YOU WILL PICK THAT SHIT UP OR I SWEAR TO GOD I’M GETTING THE BELT!

OMG, you guys...life is so hard...Hollister isn't open for, like...thirty minutes!  I'm totes bummed!

OMG, you guys…life is so hard…Hollister isn’t open for, like…thirty minutes! I’m totes bummed!

But most importantly, we know this:  the video for this song doesn’t have one momentary, fleeting, thin, tenuous relation to the lyrics of the song itself.  This was a HUGE problem in the 90’s.  See, classic videos from the 80’s often told a story.  Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher” was a good example.  Even so-called Alternative or Punk bands tried their best.  The Ramone’s “I Wanna Be Sedated” didn’t tell a story so much as make the viewer feel exactly like the song suggested.  The sped-up pace of the background characters and goings-on was a brilliant way of visually matching the song.  Even into the early-90’s, we had a sort of symbolic story-telling…remember Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy?”  Powerful stuff. Even Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” dealt with scary dreamlike images.  Remember when the semi truck hits the bed right at the “BOOOOOMMMM!!” part of the song?  Golly! Then, well…U2’s “Numb” happened.

You guys, this is going to make "Lemon" look like a sick joke!

You guys, this is going to make “Lemon” look like a sick joke!

“Numb”  happened the same year that Michael Jackson joined Eddie Murphy for “Whatzupwitchu.”  Holy shit, things were getting bad.  We should’ve seen the signs…like in Ace Of Bass’s videos.  Including, well…”The Sign.” At least in the U2 video, they’re trying to be artsy.  See, the main vocals in “Numb” are handled not by the bombastic Bono, but the monotone drone of The Edge.  (Rock stars used to have AWESOME names.) As a result, they tailored the video to Edge’s more sparse, mumbled, spoken-word type delivery and subjected him to a variety of distractions including, but not limited to, feet.  On his face.  Yep.  But even with this sort of nonsense going on, the video STILL MADE SENSE.  See, he’s numb!  He ain’t CARE ‘bout yo feet up in his grill, ya heard?

Yes, this actually happened.  No, it was not supposed to be funny.

Yes, this actually exists. No, it is not supposed to be funny.

But then, well…everyone started getting “artsy.”  The old go-to “live concert video” was pretty much out, so they staged “concerts”in strange settings, before weird crowds of too-cool people, and the irony was that in an era where cheese and bullshit were eschewed and bands that participated in such chicanery were shunned, total bullshit dominated the airwaves at Mtv.  And in some cases, the lure of cutting-edge CGI effects was just too much. (Kurt Cobain cashed out at just the right time, it would seem. Can you imagine a video for “Rape Me” done with Lawnmower Man graphics?) This begs a follow-up question:  is it better to have an Mtv that shows virtually NO music videos, or one that only shows complete shit?

Okay, back to “Slow Dog.”  I’ll give the director one tip o’ the cap:  at least Ms. Donelly’s guitar seems to be actually plugged into something.  Since they were faking the whole thing, it would’ve been simpler just to have her hold the goddam thing and strum.  Kudos.  Now, onward…

My efforts to bring your attention to the guitar cable have undermined my efforts to bring your attention to the guitar cable.  Damn it.

My efforts to bring your attention to the guitar cable have undermined my efforts to bring your attention to the guitar cable. Damn it.

Up to the 1:00 mark we go.  Wherein a bald maintenance guy (or Chef from South Park) passes out after nailing some cups to a sidewise table, the cameraman forgets how to frame a shot, and surfer-boy has trouble with his vice or something.  OH, AND HERE’S YOUR FUCKING CIGARS, PAL!!!

Quickly now.  To the 1:34 point in our journey.  FIX THAT GODDAM GUITAR ALREADY!!

To 1:45.  What, exactly, is so fucking funny, Tanya?  You think this video is some sort of fucking joke?!  AND HEY: PAINT MIXERS ARE NOT FOR GUITARS, YOU FUCKING IMBECILE!!  WE’RE WORKING ON A BUDGET, PAL!!

2:00. And now, Consuela has another lovely item for us.  It’s a pewter replica of a 2nd-century BC terracotta warrior statue.  We’ll start the bidding at $400…

2:00-2:30. Croutons, pewter chicken, burial.  Dear God…

2:30-3:00. Almost there.  Surfer-boy has sewn you a nice drum.  Consuela thinks this is “art.”  Chef/Iron Sheik/Maintenance Guy does shots.  Buttons, etc.  Please, let this be over…

3:00-4:00. Suddenly:  carnival rides.  Also, is that your cat’s corpse?  Consuela can’t stack cans for shit.  Chains.  Chef is ashamed.  Why, Lord?  Why?

WHY, GOD? WHY? WHY DID I LEAVE MY WATCH ON WHILE SUNBATHING?!?!

WHY, GOD? WHY? WHY DID I LEAVE MY WATCH ON WHILE SUNBATHING?!?!

Okay. A couple of things in review.  Jesus H Christ, that Tanya Donelly is a stone fox.  Actually, the whole band looks better than the cast of Dawson’s Creek.  They should’ve done an entire video of all of them standing around in linen shifts, backlit.  Or perhaps just closeups of Tanya’s sensual, willing, hungry mouth…

Yes, that very one.

Yes, that very one.

For comparison (and to bring this cumbersome ship back around to the original point) I went back and watched the video for “Feed the Tree.”  Know what one of the first shots in the video is?  A goddam tree.  And before we’re :27 in, we see a shot of an old man.  Right when, you know, the lyrics mention an “old man.”  How weird is THAT?!?!  The video almost perfectly mirrored the meaning of the song lyrics!  One can’t help but wonder if perhaps that’s the main reason why “Feed the Tree” is the only Belly song most people remember.  Also, one can’t help but wonder what Tanya Donelly would look like rolling around in a waterbed with myself and some Crisco in the summer of 1993.  Now THAT would be a great video, folks.

 
 
 
 

Music Television (Or as We Call it Now: YouTube)

Lately I’ve been trying to transfer most of my music library from iTunes to Windows media so’s I can put it all on my new Galaxy S III (possibly the finest electronic device conceived by the mind of man, BTW) and it occurred to me that there’s sooooooo much good stuff out there that I love that many people have never even heard of, or at least they’ve forgotten about it.  That’s easy, the forgetting part.  Radio plays the hits (I know, bub.  That’s how I earn my livin’.) And Mtv long ago dropped the “Music Television” from their logo.  Yep.  Go look it up.  I’ll wait.

Done?  Good.  And yes, there are apps like Pandora and Spotify that do an okay job of throwing “similar” music into the mix, but you always run the risk of pigeon-holing yourself musically.  You’re listening to your Classic Country playlist/station and it might throw in a Conway Twitty that you’d never heard, but you’re totally missing Hank III.  “Wait!”  You scream as the internet bus pulls away from the virtual curb. “Hank III isn’t classic country!  He plays hellbilly and metal!”  He also does some numbers that sound more “country” than anything by that nitwit Kenny Chesney, so shut yer yap or I’ll come over there and spit some Beech-Nut in yer eye. P’TANNNNGGG!!!!

I digress.  I figured since we’re all friends here, I’d introduce you to some of my all-time faves and maybe throw in a couple of more recent selections.  This way you can spruce up your playlist a bit, yes?  ‘Cause it needs some sprucing.  You know this.  Also, note:  Ima try and find the album versions of these songs unless there’s a great video/concert video.  I want you to hear these like they’ll sound on your iPod, phone, etc. We’ll start with one of my all-time favorites.  So much so that I actually have the lyrics inked on my body.  That’s legit, folks.

Rancid. I was late to the party on these guys, first hearing about them when they truly broke in the great punk revival of 1994.  I’d heard Operation Ivy, but somehow missed that two of that band’s original members had formed “Rancid.”  Blew. Me. Away.  I like this song for so many reasons, not the least of which is that it was written by Billy Joe Armstrong of Green Day. (Which is awesome, because Green Day have always done a great cover of Op Ivy’s “Knowledge.”)  This song is pop punk with a little more snarl than most “pop” acts.  Is Tim Armstrong (no relation to Billy Joe, BTW) drunk?  Is he handicapped?  Maybe both.  And it’s awesome.

The next selection is from one of the greatest “Alternative” albums of the early nineties. Concrete Blonde doesn’t get any love in the mainstream world, but you probably heard a snippet of one of their songs in Point Break and their amazing version of Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows” in Pump Up The Volume.

The closest this band ever came to a “hit” was the single “Joey” from the same album, Bloodletting.  There’s not a bad song on this album, however, and I recommend you download the entire thing.  Vampire fans should note that this was a sort of concept album, with the Anne Rice vampire saga as the backdrop.  Not every song drips with blood, venom, and mossy trees in the French Quarter, but the album as a whole sure does.  Check it.

Now for something more contemporary:

This song was like a virus of truth.  My friend Ray called me, excited and panting, saying “Dude.  Dude!  You MUST check out Volbeat!  My God…you’ll love them.  They’re like…like Social Distortion meets Metallica meets Johnny Cash and Elvis.  I can’t…just listen to Sad Man’s Tongue.  You’ll thank me.” Of course, Ray is sort of misguided prophet, and he and I have been on many adventures, from pissing in a cop’s driveway in the dead of night in Chicago to nearly being abducted by hot rockabilly chicks in Indianapolis.  I trust Ray.  Ray was right again.  This song really is the best example of the Volbeat sound, and yes, they do range from straight metal riffage to simple acoustic country tunes.  This song has it all, and everyone I’ve ever played it for has immediately gone and acquired every piece of the Volbeat discography. Do likewise.

I’ve got one more for ya.  I have to stop, or you’ll be scrolling this baby  until your mouse wheel wears out.  Or your touch screen.  Whatevs.  Canada’s The Real McKenzies liked the Celtic flavor of Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly, but apparently felt that neither was Scottish enough.  The results are delightful.

What’s a cattieyote?  From what I’ve been able to glean from the interwebs, it’s a cross between a coyote and a feral cat.  I don’t know if such a thing is actually possible, but there you go.  The McKenzie’s version of Loch Lomond is also a rollicking affair, and I have been dying to use the phrase “rollicking affair” for so damned long, it’s great to finally have a reason to do so.

So there’s a starter pack for you.  That oughtta keep you downloadin’ and streamin’ for quite a while.  Get to it and rock on.

Notions.

Going through some of my notes (take good notes, kids.  You never know when there’ll be a quiz.) Making observations.  Pondering things.  Coming to realizations and conclusions. Here, then, are two of them.

The modern music video was invented by the late-60’s early-70’s classic “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?”  Seriously.  Remember that cartoon?  The original.  Not that Scrappy-Doo blasphemy.  Anyway, in the second or third season, they started adding these chase scenes near the end with Scoob, Shaggy, etc. running back and forth, avoiding the “monster” by hiding in cupboards, in and out of rooms in a long hallway, running SMACK DAB INTO THE SPOOK and then turning, running in place for an agonizing second before shooting off again…and all the while, this insipid Davey Jones-style pop music played in the background.  For example, fast-forward to about the :45 mark of this classic…

There wasn’t any need for this sort of montage, really, except to fill time. But the effect was solid, and the producers/directors continued using this device even into the more modern incarnations and movies, such as “Scooby Doo and the Ghoul School.”  The only difference was the use of more modern pop-punk Save-Ferris rip-offs, but they’re still there.  But take a moment to consider cartoons and television in general before, say, 1972.  Can you imagine an episode of “Dragnet” with a long musical montage of Joe Friday kicking open doors and rousting hop-heads?  (Actually, that sounds pretty awesome.) Or if that famous candy-conveyor-belt bit from “I Love Lucy” had a cool Perry Como ditty playing behind it?  It just never occurred to anyone to do that.  Then, about ten years later, bands started making their own Scooby-Doo chase scenes to promote their tunes; they just forgot to add Scooby-Doo.  However, note that Matthew Sweet’s ‘Girlfriend’ video was almost completely re-purposed anime footage.  A few years later, Mr. Sweet would cover the Scooby-Doo theme song.  THAT’S what you call full circle, ladies and gents.

Gather ’round, children, and I’ll tell you the tale of the early-90’s. When Matthew Sweet was a rock star, and not…well…whatever he is now.

Another observation:  I have been showing my dick to fewer and fewer people.  True story.  People that know me are aware that I have a penchant for showing my junk off in the most inappropriate places and at the least beneficial times.  I do this primarily to shock people and to sow chaos, naturally.  But recently, I just…well, haven’t had the desire.  I wondered if perhaps I was growing out of my adolescence (since, you know, I’m forty-fucking-TWO now) and being responsible.  But let’s be honest:  it’s still me. Me and my penis.  So I have two hypotheses:

ONE: Everyone in Ft. Wayne has been privy to my casual “Hey, is this gum?” trick (wherein you open your fly and pull part of your scrotum through it.  Looks like pink, chewed gum at first.  Watching the realization of what they’re actually seeing creep onto your victim’s faces is priceless.  Hysterical.)  All manner of men and women have seen my casual dangle, and so there are none left to shock.  “Yeah, Turner, we know.  It’s your piece.  Great.  Can we get back to work now?”  It’s to the point that when I wear my kilt people just roll their eyes instead of fleeing in terror.  In other words, the flashing of twig and berries has lost its shock value.  Dammit.

“Soooo, nothing? Nothing at all? Damn.”

TWO: I haven’t played much hockey lately.  See, hockey players LOVE showing their units to anyone and everyone.  I think there’s some latent homosexuality to some of it, sure.  But it’s also because hockey guys LOVE chaos and pranks, and there’s no more surefire way to enjoy both than with a simple “Hey!  Look what I found!  ZZZZZZIIIIIPPPP” at a buddy’s wedding reception.  Pure comedy. Remember Johnny Upton in ‘Slap Shot’ when forced to do the fashion show?  (If you haven’t seen ‘Slap Shot’ then kindly remove yourself from my presence until you correct this.  Thank you.) That movie got so much right, and the hockey/sexuality/brazen penis talk is spot-on. I think there’s also the male-domination factor.  Literally, it’s dominating the other males by showing the ultimate in confidence.  Letting everyone see for themselves how grand or miniscule your babymaker is.  That’s a risk most won’t take, and the guy who DOES whip it out is afraid of nothing.  Not your judgement, your sense of decorum, your thoughts on his girth, the authorities, the wrath of his girlfriend…nothing.  It’s a big testosterone-fueled chest-thump of sorts.  And since I’ve been away from hockey a bit, my instincts have waned.  I’m out of shape.  I’m a fat, slovenly shell of who I once was.  Time to whip my dick out.

YES!! They TOTALLY bought it!