Monthly Archives: April 2004

pentultimatrimonial

4/30/04

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At Sean & Jordana’s rehearsal dinner in Great Neck, NY, they turn around after a full night of roasting. I got a joke in there about his first marriage, leading to groans all around, so I feel like I represented myself well

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It was an intimate affair

l’chaim!

4/29/04

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The important thing, of course, is that my brother Sean is getting married to Jordana on Saturday. Friday we’ll have the rehearsal dinner, and the next day it’s 23-skidoo up to Yonkers to celebrate their matrimonial bond in what promises to be an entertaining mix of my bizarre family and Jordana’s Long Island Jewish ancestry. I figure it will rock.

We came back from Los Angeles this week in order to help, but as I know from our own wedding, one of the prime ways to be of service is to stay the fuck out of the way, and be on time when called. Our wedding was compared to a movie shoot, while Sean’s compares his to Opening Night on a big play, and the two aren’t that much different. I think you could plop a Wedding Planner into the producer’s chair of “Scrubs” and they’d run the show fine.

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above: Laurie W., George G. and Tessa; below: us on Park Ave.

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I went into the city today to find a good shirt for the dinner, play basketball (terribly, as it turned out), then went back home to help Tessa with the “This is Your Life in Pictures” video that accompanied every Mormon wedding we ever knew (and was sadly missed at our own nuptials). What we’ve discovered is that there is a dearth of pictures of Sean & Jordana together, yet hours of footage of them in different movies. We’re going to give them a little trip down Mem’ry Lane, and yes, there will be FULL FRONTAL NUDITY of not just Jordana, but her sister too!

I suppose it’s an interesting line between a heartwarming wedding video and kiddie porn, but we’re willing to walk that tightrope. For the family.

Oh, and for those of you wondering where Lord Chip Chapman has been this week, he has been ruling the court at Mulberry Street Garden:

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Lindsay, Chip, Scotty, me

nothing rhymes with “depth”

4/28/04

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Yesterday’s entry spurred comments that eventually devolved into a debate about terrible lyrics, rather than the god-awfulness of pop songs themselves. I’ve talked about lyrics before (click here for a well-arranged laundry list on the subject) but this recent chatter has reminded me of another litany I wrote in 1989: My Least Favorite Song Lyrics.

Making a list like this was harder than you think, because most lyrics are supposed to be bad. I’d like to see Blender try it. Again, keep in mind that this is me, at age 21, writing 15 years ago:

Least-Favorite Song Lyrics

10. “All I Need”

turn around, bright eyes

4/27/04

By now, most of you have seen the list of the 50 Worst Songs Ever list put out by Blender magazine, and several of my favorite blogs, like Stereogum and Betty Rocker, have amended these choices and put out their own.

At this time, however, I would like to say that I totally owned the Worst Song List back in the fall of 1988, when I was writing the Wednesday’s Child column for the DTH at the University of North Carolina, and it always got me in more fights than anything else.

Here’s my list of the Top 20 Worse Songs Ever, but keep in mind that it was written almost 16 years ago:

20. “Superman” – REM

19. “Wild Thing” – The Troggs

18. “Wild Thing” – Tone Loc

17. “Rock On” – Michael Damian

16. “Puppy Love” – Donny Osmond

15. “I Saw (Him) Standing There” – Tiffany

14. “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” – Great White

13. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” – Bonnie Tyler

12. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” – Wham!

11. “Hangin’ Tough” – New Kids on the Block

10. “Makin’ Love Out of Nothing At All” – Air Supply

9. “In The Navy” – The Village People

8. “Wild Boys” – Duran Duran

7. “Shake Your Booty” – K.C. and the Sunshine Band

6. “All I Need” – Jack Wagner

5. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” – Whitney Houston

4. “Angel of the Morning” – Juice Newton

3. “Rock Me Amadeus” – Falco

2. “Cum on Feel the Noize” – Quiet Riot

1. “Electric Avenue” – Eddy Grant

Now, having just retyped this list for the first time since Reagan was president, I have to say I stand by almost all of them. I’d take K.C. off the list, perhaps “In the Navy” and of course, I would certainly not disparage Falco anymore, may he rest in peace. And it could be said that Great White has suffered enough.

But top to bottom, “Superman” still sucks balls and “Electric Avenue” is ONE GODDAMN CHORD. What’s worse, my friends in LA live on Electric Avenue, and there’s no way to drive on it without that fucking song pounding through your head.

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Eddy Grant, who I am sure is a nice enough guy

It’s interesting that Blender chose “Hangin’ Tough” and others have “Muskrat Love” in place of “Puppy Love” (I’d say they’re about equal), and Carla also chose “Rock On.” The blogosphere seems to despise both “Love Shack” and “Take on Me” (both of which remind me of happy times, but I guess those tunes can get pretty annoying over the years).

I realized that I had forgotten my least favorite “pop” artist ever: Bob Seger. That fucking guy has made me sick to my goddamn stomach since I was a toddler, and I’ve fucking had it. When Ford made “Like a Rock” its signature tune, I wretched into my 3-leaf binder. “Old Time Rock and Roll”? “Against the Wind”? “Turn the Page”? “Rock and Roll Never Forgets”? Is any man in music history – including Salieri and Stockhausen – more boring than this man?

Blender’s choice for worst song ever is “We Built This City,” but Starship actually had a worse hit: “It Ain’t Over (‘Til It’s Over),” which was the least-inspired hunk of burning catshit since… well, since “Electric Avenue.” I did like “Sara,” you know, “storms are brewin’ in your eyes.” Some songs get a pass because they put you back in a place you remember with exquisite fondness.

What would I add today? That’s really hard, because I think a lot of the hip-hop and full-ahead rap on the radio right now is hard to calibrate: if you hate one song, generally you’re going to hate them all. Hip-hop and sexually-charged R&B, which dominate the charts right now, marks an important shift for music lovers (and critics) currently in their 30s like me: either you got on the train around 1996, or else you haven’t been in a record store in years.

That said, I would like to add these songs to the list:

“If It Makes You Happy” – Sheryl Crow (nails on chalkboard)

“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” – Deep Blue Something

“Somebody’s Watching Me” – Rockwell (lyric about the I.R.S. may be the worst ever)

“Just a Friend” – Biz Markie (no, I don’t think it’s funny)

…and I’d look up the various hits by Bush, Live and Matchbox 20, but seriously, who has the time to fight chicks in 9th grade?

Bonus Category:

Best Rap Interlude in a Song by White People:

Q-Tip in Deee-Lite’s “Groove is in the Heart”

Worst Rap Interlude in a Song by White People:

KRS-ONE in R.E.M.’s “Radio Song”

I suppose my feeling is this: almost all songs these days are kinda bad; focus-group-tested, uninspired, yet pleasing enough. In the ’80s, you had artists really trying, which gave us some flashes of brillliance (“Life in a Northern Town,” “Head Over Heels,” “How Soon is Now?”) and colossal failures (“Dr. Heckyll and Mr. Jive,” “Method of Modern Love,” “Mr. Roboto,” “Bad Medicine”).

I know which era I’d pick.

our second act

4/26/04

I would encourage anybody who knows my family to go read Michelle’s blog (Apr 25 entry) about someone most of you don’t know: my sister-in-law Melissa. Michelle does an excellent job of extolling somebody who had an ENORMOUS impact on my life, and is probably responsible for 10% of the way I think.

When I was 14, I was yanked from London back to the cornfields of Iowa, back to the place where I had been (and was further to be) brutalized by assholes at Franklin Junior High School in Cedar Rapids. I retreated into an incontrovertible silence so hermetically sealed that I didn’t talk for an entire month. These days you would call that “depression” and treat it with “therapy” and perhaps “drugs” – but back then, all I had was Melissa. (see here for an early blog on the subject)

Long before marrying my brother Kent was considered an option, Melissa was at our house every day, playing board games and cards, and taking me to her mom’s second-hand clothes store off Mt. Vernon Road. When my parents started remodeling the kitchen

culture schlock

4/25/04

All I can say is this: those of you addicted to Xanax, I pity you poor bastards. How can you get anything done? My brain feels like it has turned into a post-fishing-expedition wool sock thanks to the Xanaxes I slipped into my bourbon, making for a delightfully uneventful flight from Long Beach, CA to New York City. Or at least I’m told it was uneventful.

Y’see, the Fox party had lasted until 3am, and I had to get up at 4:45am. Several missed flights later, I popped the pills and was suddenly at JFK at 10:30pm (Eastern time) Saturday night, then cabbed into the city, got ol’ Bessie the Land Rover from Laurie, fought traffic all the way up the West Side Highway, and made it to my brother’s bachelor party upstate at 3 am.

Fortunately, Sean has the same caliber of dedicated friends that I do, and everyone was still up, playing pool, darts, talking shit and being exceptionally funny. That kind of culture shock – from Venice Beach to my upstate NY barn – is quite profound. It took me a few hours to regain my witty repartee (poor Tessa is stuck in Santa Monica, and fears that her brain is atrophying).

Reports of the death of winter here in New England are woefully premature. It is fucking freezing here, miserable, rainy and 40 degrees. I can’t imagine how you, my fellow New Yorkers, have suffered through the last two months. I’ve been here for 24 hours and I already want to stick a fork into my neck.

But the change of pace is utterly arresting: in the matter of hours, I went from shaking hands with some of the most important decision makers in Hollywood to gardening flower bulbs 3000 miles away. At some point, you just have to be a Buddhist about everything, because “relinquishing control” isn’t a choice, it’s an order. And as my and Tessa’s career rests in the jotted notes of the young execs on Pico Blvd, all I can do is shoot foul shots in the barn and pretend I’m 12.

where Rockefellers walk with sticks

4/23/04

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I think you’d have to call tonight a success. Everyone loved the entire evening, and my play went over like gangbustahs, I tellya. Pictured: me, Spencer, Mary Kay, Tony, Jess, Joe and Geoff

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You could throw six hundred ping-pong balls into a revolving basket and never come up with the talent of this cast. Pictured with me is the lovely and hilarious Sian (who is complaining about her chins AS YOU READ THIS), and my closest Fox Exec confidante and fabulous new friend Jen

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Tessa was going to wear a Little Black Dress, but I talked her into this floral number. Nobody works the room better

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I got to buy a Banana Republic suit with the insurance money we’re getting from our great Fedex swindle, but I still had to ride my bike to the show. One of these days we’ll take a hybrid limo, and they’ll roll out the red carpet, but for tonight, we’ll take our little victories and sleep with exhausted euphoria.

storm before the calm

4/22/04

We just had the last performance of “Naked TV” before the Fox Executive and Celebrity Night shindig tomorrow night, and I’ve been subtly trying to calm my actors down and not freak them out before the Powers That Be come to judge them. I don’t know why so much importance has been placed on this one performance (out of sixteen), since our future could be equally determined by some silent, powerful creature slipping into one of the other nights. But everyone’s casts, not just mine, has worked themselves up into a fine froth, so maybe that energy will be channeled positively.

I mean, what else can I think? Not much either Geoff or I can do about it now. We wrote and directed it, but the show belongs to them now. It is pretty exciting

love handles everyone

4/21/04

One thing about being back in LA: you’re definitely forced to think about yourself occupying a “physical space.” In New York, you can get away with being a neurasthenic writer with little or no care given to grooming, and your weight can fluctuate about 10 lbs. either way without anyone particularly giving a shit. But the visual social structure here is so exacting that you honestly find yourself looking at yourself all the time.

Strange thing is, this is occurring at a time in my life when I feel the Desire to Be Physically Acceptable beginning to slip away. I think we must spend so many years trying desperately to measure up to the other gender (or your same gender, if that’s the way you butter your bread) that we get to a point where we are simply EXHAUSTED.

For some, this means finally getting nice and fat. For others, like me, it means living in that in-between state of sucking in my gut, but not really feeling like sucking in my gut anymore. I think Tessa and I are doing fine:

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2001, April 2002, April 2003, April 2004

But as I sit around all of these cast members, 15-year-old hotties and 25-year-old bombshells, I sometimes forget that I don’t need to care anymore. I wonder how it feels for beautiful women after they get married, or after they reach that magical age when they are no longer instantly considered sexual

recreational analgesic abuse

4/20/04

While we were biking on the beach yesterday, I told Tessa that Sean and I used to sabotage each other’s bike rides by coming up from behind and hitting the back tire of the bike in front of us with our own front tire. After a few months of this, we discovered something: almost always, the guy in back was the one who ended up crashing. So – I confidently assured Tessa – if she was ever thinking about doing it, suffice to say the research had been done, over twenty years ago, and it just doesn’t work.

There are plenty of things you do as kids that you would never dream of doing as an adult, but the upshot is that a lot of pretty decent research gets accomplished. How else would you know that an egg explodes in the microwave? That’s just something you don’t do when you’re 36.

However, I had an experience today that I reprint here in the interests of science. Namely, I had three giant extra-strength Excedrin caplets go directly into my lung.

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I get these headaches that only three Excedrins can manage, so I popped some while driving down Abbot Kinney Road in Venice Beach. Some pedestrians walked out onto the road, so I braked, and in doing so, sent the white capsules into my bronchioles. Unable to breathe except for a tiny passageway of wheezing, I pulled over, and gave the “choking sign” to a driver who was pulling out of a restaurant.

He basically looked at me and told me to fuck off. I’m using this blog, right now, to send him really, really bad karma. Thank god another woman, a pedestrian, came over to me and gave me a small Heimlich and basically talked me down. I was wheezing mucous, in a cold sweat, and she calmly explained that the pills were beginning to break up, and that the passageway would clear gradually. I managed to croak out “are you a doctor?” She said, “I’m studying to be one.” I never got her name, but I’m sending her much love and yes, good karma.

Here’s where the science comes in, just in case any of you were thinking “what happens when you snort three Excedrins at the same time?” First off, the caffeine in three of those pills is equivalent to two or three big shots of espresso squirted directly into your brain. It’s not far from the sensation cocaine might give you: agitation, dizziness, feelings of euphoria mixed with paranoia, and road rage.

I drove to Arcadia and played one of the best basketball games of my career, nearly got into a fight with a missionary at the church, and now I lie awake in bed at 2:10am writing this blog with explosions of horrible spelling.

So that’s what happens. Just so you know.