Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Princess Catherine of Wales

Probably seen ten different articles/headlines since it was announced yesterday that Prince William has finally popped the question to his longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton, and, I have to admit, I've read every one of them.

Yeah, I know only Great Britain and bored American housewives are supposed to care about fairy tail weddings, but this chick is hot. Smoking hot. Passes the party test. What's the party test you ask..? Well, sometimes I'll be reading the news and I'll see some article or picture of a celebrity and the article will be fawning about how beautiful or handsome that person is. Sometimes they'll even get an award for it (People's 50 Most Beautiful People) and all the while I'm sitting here thinking, "Michelle Obama is nine feet tall and looks like Chewbaca... Why the hell are they calling her beautiful..?" Nothing against the first lady. I'm talking from a purely aesthetic standpoint.

So, to avoid the confusion that fame and station often create, I apply the party test and ask myself, "If I were to meet this person at a party (and they weren't rich or famous) would I still think they were hot..?" For example, if I met America Ferrari, or whatever that girl from Ugly Betty's name is, at a party, would I want to hook up with her..? Given the booty drought I've been in for the last several months, I probably would.. :( But would I tell anyone about it..? When it comes to America or the First Lady, the answer is hell no... I would take several very thorough showers and place the memories in the shame closet with a few other drought relief/weak moment booty calls from my past. Now, if by some miracle, I went to a party and hooked up with Salma Hayak (also from Ugly Betty), I'd think myself on par with deity, having been in contact with perfection.

Which brings us back to Lady Kate... She's smoking hot. And not just because she's famous and about to become a princess, but because if she were just an average girl the you met at a party, even without the cool accent, and if were lucky enough to hook up with her, I would be high fiving myself in the mirror, waking up my boys the next morning to go to breakfast so that I could tell them of my triumph, AND, in my jubilation, even paying for breakfast... She's that hot. So, if you want to laugh at me for being intrigued with this whole engagement and wedding, laugh away. I'll never be ashamed to be intrigued with hotness.

Now, being a stand up guy, I will admit that the whole princess thing adds to the hotness, as does the accent, as does being English. Why differentiate between the accent and the Britishness..? Well, a couple of years ago, I got ahold of a movie called Love Actually, which is about the interconnected lives a whole bunch of people, and the story takes place in London at Christmas time. It is, hands down, my favorite Christmas movie of all time and affected so much that right after seeing it, I booked a flight to London. I'd never been, nor had I ever felt any particular desire to go see the mother country, but something about that movie made me want to go check it out.

England didn't disappoint. Despite the fact that I went alone (it was very last minute) and that it was some of the most bitter cold wet weather I'd ever experienced, it was one of best trips I'd ever taken. A busy town with a vibe all it's own, London was everything I'd expected it to be. Shepherd's pie in a warm pub, Christmas decorations everywhere, history at every turn, I could easily live there. Unlike Las Vegas, where I felt oddly at home the first time I ever visited (go figure) London didn't feel at home, but felt more like a place I just wanted to get to know better and better. Every shop in Knotting Hill had my attention, every sign on the highway advertising a castle or a museum caught my attention. Even the movie theaters and grocery stores were interesting...

One thing that did stand out to me without really bothering me was the fact that there aren't a whole lot of beautiful people in England. Pale, unhealthy, out of shape, frumpy, while there was so much history and culture to see, the hottie count was hurting. Even took the time to go to a church on Sunday (that's right, the soapbox goes to church) and even though it was a congregation made up primarily of singles, there wasn't much there. Which makes a good looking woman stand out that much more. As I said, there wasn't that much to look at during church, but there was one girl who stood out like a supermodel. Back here, in the states, she would have also stood out, but less so because, well, it's America and it's full of beautiful women.

All of this rambling is in an effort to drive home the point that it's ok for me to be interested in the upcoming royal wedding because the new princess is smoking hot and worth the time.

As for the GB, it's also worth your attention and the money. Go during Christmas, dress warmly, take a ton of money so that you can enjoy yourself. I'm throwing in a little something video clip of the beginning of Johnny English which stars Rowan Atkinson of Mr. Bean fame as a bumbling English spy, not for any particular reason, but simply because I'm feeling an affinity for the old country today.. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hello boys and girls.... Is anybody out there..? Probably not. That's ok. This was a one man show from the get go. Thought I'd check in seeing as it's been a while. This time of year is usually when the best movies are supposed to come out. The last couple of years have seen a lot of comic books and cartoons brought to the big screen. This year, Hollywood, devoid of creativity or originality, decided to tread on holy ground for its inspiration attempting to recreate the magic of Karate Kid AND, can ya believe it, The A-team...

Let's start with the Karate Kid. I'm not so sure if it was meant to be taken seriously as a movie or if Will Smith was overdoing it on the Christmas presents when he cast his underage, undersized, inexperienced son as the westerner who gets introduced to the world of martial arts. Maybe I should just list my beefs:

Soundtrack - who doesn't remember the iconic fight scene with "You're the Best" playing in the background, or "Cruel Summer" as Daniel goes back to school after getting beat down at the beach? Or how about "Young Hearts" when they go on their first date? Nope, rather than sticking with simple, light, and yes, slightly campy fare, Smith tries to keep it real by thugging out the soundtrack holding on to blackness like a warm blanket... "That's racist man..!!!" you might say... Well, I just don't remember Daniel crossing the country in an IROC or wearing a tracksuit to school. They could have given him some more Italian/New York flavor, but they didn't need to because they had a good story.

Jaden Smith - cute kid, flexible, athletic. Ralph Machio - feminine, walks like a chick, can't fight. BUUUTTTT.... MACHIO IS A REAL ACTOR!!! You pulled a Godfather 3 when you put your son in the lead role. Sure, you might like it, it might make him feel good, and your wife likes it, but THE BOY CAN'T ACT!!! Machio had The Outsiders under his belt. Smith had four lines in that Happyness movie...!!!! Come on. Keep the nepotism out of Hollywood. We need more Nicolas Coppola's in the world. Guy wants to earn his place so he changes his last name to Cage and works his way up. Doesn't go crying to Uncle Francis Ford to go buy him a big budget movie.

Title - It's not karate... It's Kung Fu. They had such little faith in the quality of their garbage film that the on thing they stayed true to was the title. (outside the US, it's called The Kung Fu Kid)

Jackie Chan - only bright spot in the film. Chan brought a magic to the film that was all his own and did honor to the memory of Pat Morita.

My worksmith isn't working so well today, so, as usual, I'll let our friends at YouTube do the talking:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Got out of New Moon a little while ago. Made several attempts to review it, and they all sucked. So I'll try to sum it up:

Not my favorite show. Somewhere between a B and a B-. Choppy editing, the soundtrack was utterly forgettable, and why wasn't Ashley Green in it a whole lot more...? Soooo hot.....

The first director was a thousand times better, the special effects, specifically the running sequences, were marginally improved and I still can't get over how Kristen Stewart is so beautiful on camera when she looks like hell in all of the movie premier and TMZ pictures I've seen.

The book was a letdown from Twilight, so I'll give that to the director, but a better soundtrack and less Pink Floyd scenes could have really added some depth to it.

To illustrate my point, I give you a compilation from the Lost Boys set to the signature track Cry Little Sister by G Tom Mac. This was 1987. Vampires up until this point had been the traditional tux and cape "blah blah I vant to suk your blood" type and Joel Schumacher (yeah, I probably misspelled it ass)using a timeless soundtrack and an act that only Keifer Sutherland could pull off, reinvented the vampire movie for us. The New Moon crew should have done a little more homework...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Engage Maverick Engage..!!!!!!

Taking you back to 1986 when Tom Cruise, Kenny Loggins, and Top Gun made aviators cool and shirtless volleyball games even cooler. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, STOP. Go rent Top Gun, take the time to ponder the message, and then come back. You know I'll be here. It's mighty cold and might dark. I sure ain't going outside...
My title is a reference to the scene in Top Gun where Maverick, still recovering from the death of his RIO Goose, finds himself outnumbered, and in the middle of a dogfight with the latest Russian Mig (which all my fellow nerds are saying to themselves, that's no Mig, its a T38 Talon).

Anyways, Maverick, blaming himself and his reckless flying for the death of his best friend Goose, has lost his nerve. Or edge, or mojo... Whatever you want to call it. In training dogfights, he just quits and walks away much to the chagrin of his comrades. (probably shouldn't have said comrades since he's fighting Russians)

Eventually, however, something clicks inside of him, he gets back on the saddle, dives into the fight, and sends the commies back to the motherland.

Getting back on the saddle isn't always easy... I can remember several times when I'd been out of the game for a period of time and getting back in was really difficult. The first long hiatus I took was for a period of a little over two and a half years. No dating, no parties, nothing. Just work. I didn't think like a guy on the prowl. I'd turned into an old man and didn't know it. Luckily I had some very good friends who helped to get me back into the game. I remember, one night, as we were about to go out. I'd gotten all dressed and cleaned up and was about to leave with the boys when my friend Mike stopped me dead in my tracks and said, "Dude, at least untuck your shirt..." I didn't realize until that moment, that the button down shirt, khakis, and dress shoes I was wearing, made me look like a dad. I untucked the shirt, grabbed one of my trusty casual jackets or vests (can't remember which, but we're talking about one of the big poofy outdoor vests that were in style at the time)

The next time occurred a couple of years later. I'd been in a very serious relationship with the same girl for almost a year when it abruptly came to an end. Having been out of the game for sometime, I floundered a bit. I'd forgotten how to do it. Luckily, I was once again surrounded with great friends; cheerleaders from the university I was going to. They were kind of like little sisters to me, and seeing my dilemna, took it upon themselves to help me. They hooked me up with one of their freshmen cheerleaders, a girl with dark hair and eyes that smiled when she smiled (I only mentioned that because I think great smiles are rare, and this girl had a million dollar smile that lit up the room) Oh yeah, and she was curvey and smokin hot too. Still at that fun, carefree age, and impressed by my age and social stature, I was making out with her in the parking lot the same night of our first introduction and many subsequent nights after that. Hate to use the term "friends with benefits" or "booty call friend"..........ok no I don't.... but that's what we ended up being. That girl was like a healing balm to me, and night after night she eventually restored my waning mojo. To this day, I consider her one of my favorite people and dearest friends from college, and I will always be grateful to her.

Now fast forward to the present. The big "D" happened a little over a year ago. During it, I became fat ass. After the papers were signed, I hung out with a few girls. Probably hooked up with six since the signing (including the ex a few times) But still haven't quite been able to get back on the horse.

When I go to parties, I still clam up, get nervous and look for emergency exits. In setups or one on ones, I'm not that much better. Kinda in a weird place in life, and so its really hard to make conversation. Bert has tried to help a few times, but for some reason, his setups feel like that time when we took our dog to the breeder and four or five of us sat out there in the back yard waiting for them to mate.

On Sunday, Bert invited me over to his lady's parent's house for Sunday dinner. Didn't know that they had also invited one of his girl's friends in hopes of some sort of setup. The friend was actually cute too. Really cute. My smooth line of the night was, after I found out we lived in the same apartment complex, "Oh yeah? You guys have really good parking out by your building. Much better than mine...."

Smooth like buttah right?

14 years ago, I was at a charity banquet with my dad where Miss America was the guest of honor. When I saw her, I thought she was really cute. I didn't see the sash, the big head table or the mayor sitting next to her. I just saw a cute girl that I wanted to meet. So I got up, walked over to the band, asked for a special number, walked up in front of all those people, and asked her to dance. It wasn't a dancing event at all. I made it one. She said yes, I escorted her down near the band, and in front of several thousand people, I danced with Miss America. Cool girl. *on a side note, several years later, I was talking to a buddy who was friends with a beauty pageant queen. The girl was friends with Miss America, and related a story to my buddy, told to her by Miss America, about a time when she was at a banquet and this guy asked her to dance in front of everyone, and how cool it was.

That was me 14 years ago. The me now, makes comments about a young lady's excellent selection of parking stalls behind her building and leaves parties after 20 minutes and a whole lotta flop sweat. I really hope I can figure out how to get back on the horse soon.

Anyways... here you go folks. Hope it'll work some magic....

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My Two-fer

Yep, that's right folks... I'm back. After that last post, I was still emoting, so I played a couple more Johnny Cash tunes on youtube which led me to Hank Williams Jr. to John Anderson, David Lee Murphy, Brooks and Dunn, Alabama, Alan Jackson......well, you get the theme don't you?

Treasuring my anonymity, I hesitate to share pertinent facts about #1, but I will share this much with you... I'm from the South. And my roots run deep too. Couldn't tell you how many generations back, but well before the Civil War. I'm an old fashioned Iron Eagle American. Love my country, and proud of my heritage

As I sat here, playing the different videos, I started to feel better. I guess I get a certain strength from my roots and its comforting to remember from time to time who I am and where I came from.

Along with that Southern heritage, which I treasure and would never trade, I was brought up with the belief that I was a son of God and that as his son, I could always call upon him when in need. Can't tell you how many times I got down on my knees begging for strength and comfort and how many times he answered me with his love. I was taught, from childhood, to believe in Jesus, and that belief became an anchor through everything that happened. I used to picture myself on a rock, out in the sea with a furious storm blowing. Wind, rain, waves pounding everywhere and on that rock was a curved bar, kind of like a handle. And as long as I held onto that bar, I stayed anchored to that rock, and the wind and the rain and the storm couldn't get me.

There were times that I felt so dark and so lost that I thought I would be swallowed up, and I didn't know what to do or where to go, so I would get down on my knees and plead and that anchor never failed. Sure, I got beat up a little bit, but that anchor of faith held firm and I'm still here. I will always be grateful to God for it.

If there was anything that I am glad my parents taught me, it was the knowledge of who I was and who God was. I don't quite have everything figured out. Some things in my life are still a mess, and I'm definitely an emotional cripple. But I'm still here. Sometimes it's all we can do to just ride out the storm....

Old Wounds Still Stinging

Gonna have to apologize beforehand folks out there in cyberspace, because today I'm going to deviate from my usual upbeat rhythm and rhyme...

Remember how, a few posts ago, I talked about the ability of a smell, a sound or some other trigger to take us back to a specific place and time? Usually, for the old soapbox, that's a good thing. Whole lotta great memories to relive at opportune moments. Unfortunately, those same triggers can sometimes take us back to unhappy places; a breakup perhaps or even the death of a loved one...

I saw a face today, just a picture actually, that took me back to my divorce last year. Yeah, I flunked marriage the first time around. Tried to get it right but it just didn't take. I've broken bones, gotten dumped, lost jobs, been arrested, heck, I've even been shot at, but none of that compares to the pain of being divorced.

You see, when you get married, part of the contract is that you will be loyal to each other first and foremost, and that the other person will be put first. Well, it didn't work out that way for me. Loyalty, along with trust and respect were never part of our not so blessed union. Wish I could blame everything on her, but there are volumes of things that I messed up. Don't get me wrong gang.... Old Soapie was never an abuser, never a cheater, and I didn't have some weird porn addiction either. I was just very new to the job and brought a whole bunch of imperfections with me. Things that I wish I could have done better.

What hurts the most, however, is the whole betrayal end of it... I found out from the start that my wife was never in my corner, and I found out (although I'd suspected all along) that her heart had reserved space for another, and after the divorce, I saw her eventually marry him. By the time we were ready for divorce, I was pretty done with her, but I still loved her, and when I found out that they were getting married, it pierced me to the very core.

The healing process has been slow, but steady and I've been feeling like my old self a little bit at a time until recently when I realized that I might have to face someone from that past in the near future. Thinking about it, what he'll probably tell everyone he knows (and mind you, they will be all lies) just puts a black pit in my stomach. Funny thing is, its not a problem of physical intimidation. I could knock the little bastard into next week. Its just having to deal with the gossip and false rumors about something that was already painful enough as it was.

It was such a dark time.... So many hours in painful silence or burying my face in pillows so that no one could hear my sobs. I never want to go back there again. I can't even begin to describe it.

Sorry if this brings you down, but it helps to talk about it abeit not in too much detail mind you... (I treasure the anonymity of cyberspace) Anyways, when it comes to pain, I believe in letting it all out, and music is a big part of that. So I thought I'd give you a taste of some of my depressed music.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Taking One For The Team

We've all done it. Call me and optimist, but despite all of the ugliness and evil that surrounds us everywhere, the Soapbox firmly believes that, beneath the selfishness, behind the backstabbing, there lies in all of us streaks of greatness and nobility... Whether it's telling the lady ahead of us in self checkout that she forgot her cash back in the dispenser, or not hitting it with the emotionally vulnerable friend who works at Hooters because she is genuinely trying to become a better person, to not giving the Hawaiian peace sign to the asshole in the minivan who just cut us off because he has small children in the car, I believe that there are times when all of us show glimmers of nobility that are far too often unnoticed and unrecognized...

Understanding the inspirational nature of the telling of these noble acts, I shall bless your lives by sharing one of mine...

"Just take one for the team..." We've all heard it. Most of us, unless you're pure evil, have done it. Like the urinal rule, it's one of those unwritten, but written in stone golden rule/kharma laws that men live by. Under "taking one for the team" a friend agrees to undergo humiliation, hang out with the ugly friend, get his ass kicked in a bar fight, all in the name of friendship and, with the understanding that the favor would one day be returned in like manner.

That said, this past weekend, as you all know, was Halloween, and I, the soapbox, being a true child of the night embrace the dark holiday often coming up with four or five amazing ideas well in advance of the magic night. Sifting through such awe-inspiring ensembles ranging from Weird Al in "Eat It", to Shonuff (my homage to this 80's martial arts/blaxploitation classic), to a member of the Black Panther Party, I'd settled on a last minute stroke of genius; Kenny Powers from HBO's Eastbound and Down. *for those of you not familiar with the show, it's the story of a redneck baseball phenom and his fall from grace. Picture what probably happened to John Rocker and there you go. Funny premise, and even funnier with Danny McBride starring as Kenny Powers, it's one you shouldn't watch unless you are extremely thick skinned. One episode can even leave the soapbox feeling a little yucky with its overboard vulgarity. I can only watch parts of it. You have been warned....*

Anyways, my idea was to wear all black, get a black gheri curl mullet, and let maybe 85% of the party crowd ask me who I was with 15% of the crowd instantly getting it, cracking up, and begging for a picture to post on facebook. Couple of problems with that, however; first, I wasn't going alone. I was going with my old buddy, Bert, who you might have remembered from the movie theater debacle... When going with a buddy, having a mutual theme always helps. Second problem was, the party we would be going to was a church party, meaning that the 15% of party guests that would recognize my Kenny Powers getup would be reduced to maybe 4%, which could be a blessing in disguise seeing that any hot girl that would recognize the outfit and the genius behind it would be a naughty church girl, but mainly being a problem as half the night would be spent explaining the costume to people who would instantly be offended or later be offended when they went home and looked the show up on youtube.

That being said, I talked to Bert, who said that his girlfriend and her girlfriends were going to take care of the costumes and that all I needed to do was wear all black. He wasn't 100% sure what the idea was, just said something about America's Best Dance Crew and his girlfriend's hot friends. It wasn't as cool as Kenny Power's, but Bert's my boy and the hot friends lessened the blow so I went with it.

I rolled over to Bert's at the appointed time dressed in the requisite black and having made lemonade out of the not-cool-as-my-idea costume with the promise of getting in good with the hot friends. When we went over to his lady's house, that's when my Halloween nightmare began....

Either the hot friends had decided to dress up as fat girls or I'd been terribly duped, because I walked into the house to find a whole bunch of broad backs being covered by a whole lotta costume material and not enough make-up. One of the ducers actually made a comment about wishing that she could do something about her waist. I was about to whole heartedly agree when I realized that she was referring to her costume.

As for the costumes.......... When he said America's Best Dance Crew, I pictured those Asian breakdancers, the Jabberwokies (forgive the spelling folks), and, remembering that they'd performed with Shaq and wore cool masks, was pretty ok with the concept. Apparently, old Bert hadn't been paying his phone bill and had bad reception when they were telling him about the costumes, because the idea was to be more like a "glee" club with homemade costumes and not like the one on TV with the hot cheerleaders. Everything not gay in me wanted to run far away, but Bert was my boy, and he'd just hooked me up with a bunch of lortab for my back (not a druggie folks, I just tweaked it working out and had been in severe pain) so I dutifully sat while the ladies applies fake suspenders and fuzzy bracelets.

I kept telling myself that it wouldn't be too bad, that it would be really dark, and that we could just disappear into the crowd. I was so wrong... So very wrong.

At a Halloween party, you want people to look at you. Dressed as Kenny Powers, I would have enjoyed the inquisitive looks of the innocent, the disapproving glances of the knowing, and the high fives from the very not innocent, but the looks I got as I walked into that room will haunt my dreams for years. Their eyes told stories of pity, of mockery, of "oh please don't come talk to me you weirdo", and I could feel every pair of eyes look at me in a slow, arduous social castration. The girlfriend's two friends that dialed in under two bills quickly disappeared into the crowd. My good buddy, who already had a girlfriend and guaranteed action proceeded to dance the night away. After a couple of attempts to socialize and explain my costume, I let the lortab take the wheel and found a quiet chair in the shadows for the last half hour of the party.

Looking back, I realized that Bert, since he already had a lady, didn't need me to take one for the team, and that Kenny Powers, offensive and unrecognizeable to so many would been a thousand times better.

With my mojo reserves back down to a critical level, I'm gonna take the next couple of days and regroup. Luckily the Yankees have opened up a can in the World Series, and a forecast of beautiful weather for the rest of the week will allow me to get in some good workouts.

In an attempt to illustrate what could have been and the hopelessness of my situation, and in keeping with my tradition of sharing awesome videos, I give you this masterpiece: