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What I Watched Last Night

The Chicago Bears: proving yet again you don't need a quarterback to win a football game.

Also at Soldier Field, American Idol finalist Chris Daughtry sings the national anthem and shows off his progress on a look originally popularized by former pro tag team wrestlers Maurice "Butcher" and Paul "Mad Dog" Vachon.

DaughtryVachon1.jpg

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If you were curious over the source of the hour-long chorus of anguish wafting over the nation just before noon Sunday morning, it was the mass hysterical freakout by germophobes everywhere watching back-to-back episodes of Fox Reality Channel's Busted on the Job: Caught on Tape. This is a series that gleefully loads up on instances of workplace surveillance cameras catching the underpaid and the malcontent in all manner of back room shenanigans. As the program itself admits, even Einstein would proclaim that the only thing more infinite than space is human stupidity.Yes, there's your garden variety stupid, like the drug-selling high school teacher, the deputy stealing coins from the blind vendor, Santa taking a leak on the dock, the thieving housekeeper, the mortician swiping a ring off a stiff in the box, a dude keying the boss' car, and the female employee photocopying some T&A. But there's also your variety of stupid that needs a little more marinating time, like the guy on the graveyard shift who pushes the sexual harassment envelope with his employer's stock of newly-manufactured pinatas. "The things didn't complain in any way, shape of form," the guy says in an interview for the show.

But if you're ever looking for reasons to never eat a meal made by someone else as long as you're alive, this show gives you plenty of them. There's the bistro kitchen help practicing their hackey sack moves with meatballs and licking the whisk, the convenience store clerk in front of the the freezer case licking the inside of the ice cream container lids, the pizza delivery guy at the front door French kissing the pepperoni, and the Chinese food delivery guy dropping the food on the sidewalk and using his hands to shovel it back into their containers.

The cream of the crop, though, are the kitchen help who go about remedying the nutritional oversight of salad dressing and donut glaze containing nowhere nearly enough protein. Sure, tapes like these did improve public health at that point, but consider this: These guys got stopped only after someone became suspicious that they might have been putting the secret in the secret sauce for some time.

Now, you might think these modern Typhoid Marys would be apologetic, but you'd think wrong. Said one waitress who was found stirring the contents of her runny nose into the coffee of one of her regulars who made the mistake of squatting for hours without ordering anything other than coffee: "I hold grudges only until I get even with them. You fuck with my tips, I'm going to fuck with your food if I ever get back into food service. America, just beware: there are others just like me and when they see this, hoo-boy."

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What do you do when you're a dude with a belt buckle bigger than Greenland who's fed up with your raggedy-ass Peterbilt looking less-than-gnarly while spilling its load of steel coils all over the Bishop Ford? While MTV won't pimp your ride, seven dudes on Country Music Television will do some pretty amazing things to your big rig on Trick My Truck, a program I was more or less held captive to with the sound off Saturday night while spending some quality time getting to know the Home Plate Pub in the Hessville neighborhood of Hammond, Indiana. Listen, when the regular price of a good mixed drink is $2 and one of the first things Penny the bartender does is offer me a cookie in one of the more attractive and thug-free neighborhood joints in a town like Hammond, I don't make waves over what's on the TV.

Although they appear to be working on second jobs as ZZ Top impersonators, the seven truck trickers do some amazing work transforming sorry-looking rigs into rolling works of road art with layers of new paint, airbrushed murals, new engines, enough interior sound to make your ears bleed, giant flat screen TVs, leather seats, neon rope lighting inside and out, sleepers worthy of Plato's Retreat, and more than enough chrome to blind Ray Charles a second time. Saturday's back-to-back episodes went to the design extremes of bringing heaven and hell to our nation's highways and byways by producing The Grave Digger for trucker Matt Graves and Higher Power for trucker Richard Crowder.

Crowder, interestingly enough, does his trucking for Jesus and uses his rig to spread the Gospel to heathen motorists and TV-watching tavern denizens everywhere by displaying select Bible verses. Since the TV was on mute, I'm not sure why Crowder has dedicated himself to moving our nation's consumables for the Lord, but no matter. I imagine your soul will be in better shape after slamming your car into a concrete barrier at 70 miles per hour while reading something in the next lane from the sixty-fourth chapter of Corinthians.

For the exterior, Crowder's rig got its own giant angel wings mural and church pipe organ-style exhaust pipes in the back, while the interior got a light-up stained glass window of a flying dove, and painted clouds with flashing lightning. Graves' Grave Digger got a truly bitchin' moonlit graveyard scene, while the interior got its own big-screen video game system and a little toy car diorama of a monster truck crushing some cars.

Finishing off the whole package were side exhaust pipes that shot blue flames high into the air, which should be remedy enough for any pokey motorist in the passing lane who seriously deserves the living shit scared out of them.

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I ran across this word-for-word listing on my satellite TV guide for a very late Saturday night movie on Spanish-language channel Si TV, which caused me to wrangle with the question of whether it would be just too scary or just too ridiculous to actually watch:

Circumsized Cinema (2005). A film about rival drug lords is cut into a story about singers with dreams of winning big on Mexican Idol.

Meanwhile, Dr. Drew continued to pursue his lifelong dream of being an idiot. Who else could host a show for Discovery Health called Strictly Sex, announce to the world there's a male equivalent of the G Spot, and then not give the less enlightened specific directions on where exactly it is? Yes, it will be a bright day indeed when Sue Johanson hobbles over from Talk Sex on the Oxygen Channel and smacks the lame right out of him.

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Anyone over the age of 50 can tell you exactly where they were the day President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. Likewise, Saturday's late night rerun of the VH1 retrospective When Metal Ruled The World shows us why anyone over the age of 40 can tell you exactly where they were the day hair band metal was assassinated in 1991 by Nirvana's Nevermind.

Before the music industry figured out that flannel from Seattle was a spiffy way to rake in boatloads of money off the bipolar and suicidal, there was a glorious, heady era - back when the M in MTV and the V in VH1 actually stood for "music" and "video" - that began when it finally dawned on everyone that the Sex Pistols weren't just assholes, but they weren't that good of a band either. So once Quiet Riot's album Metal Health was released and everyone ate up its first single, "Cum On Feel The Noize" in 1983, every single musician in America gave up on spelling lessons and headed off like the Joads to Los Angeles and Sunset Boulevard. Once there, they stopped off at the store selling helium-voiced singers and every single one of them got signed by major record labels. If you were one of those bands, you got to experience firsthand what The Great Gatsby would have been if Fatty Arbuckle drove up in a Ferrari full of big hair, big makeup, big drugs, and big loud guitars.

Sunset Boulevard was to '80s hair bands what the intersection of Haight and Ashbury was to musicians in the '60s. On the Sunset Strip, the top venues to play were the Rainbow Room, The Troubador, The Roxy, and the Whiskey A Go-Go, where Skid Row lead singer Sebastian Bach wistfully recalled walking in the front door and "being greeted with the scent of puke and piss," and there was enough sex going on in Dumpsters in alleys behind them all to make everyone a happy camper.

Things went along really well and everyone was having loads of fun going broke on hair stylists to make all sorts of music videos featuring women who constantly reminded hairy-palmed boys how dangerously close they were to finally going blind, like this one from Warrant and this one from Whitesnake. The good times almost died when when the mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap came out and showed everyone how ridiculous things had become, but then Guns 'N Roses came along and MTV started scaring the bejeezus out of every parent in America with Headbangers Ball.

Eventually, though, everyone discovered that the money runs out sooner or later because it's really, really hard to maintain a career while on heroin or sitting dead inside a car wrapped around a telephone pole, and everything, observed Motley Crue singer Vince Neil, "went from being really fun to being really dark" once someone turned the industry suits on to Starbucks and bands with a sense of social relevance. Even now, Neil still has a hard time understanding the allure of grunge and the smell of teen spirit: "It went from 'Let's go fuck some chicks' to 'This world really sucks.' It's marketing depression and how much life sucks."

Amen, brother.

*

Meanwhile on Spike TV, some doofus is singing "Soul Taco" on Cheech and Chong's 1978 film Up In Smoke, a movie that showed us exactly why hair bands needed to save Sunset Boulevard and clubs like The Roxy. Ellen Barkin makes an uncredited appearance as a girl with a guitar, and a bearded Donal Logue refuses to admit narc cop Sergeant Stedanko (Stacy Keach) into the Rock Fight of the Century at The Roxy. A few hours later, the Donal Logue haunting continued, this time on TNT in The Patriot, a movie made in 2000 when Mel Gibson was having personal issues with the British instead of the Jews.



Permalink

Posted on January 22, 2007


MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Don't Let Your Pet OD.


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