11) And Now Mark Briscoe with the Weather
I don’t watch nearly enough Ring of Honor as I should, but I am damn certain that one of the highlights of it is Jay and Mark Briscoe. The two are violent rednecks who are far more realistic than your usual over-the-top redneck wrestling character. Not only are they really good in the ring, but they could make a DVD of them just talking up their upcoming matches and I’d buy one for me and a handful for the holidays.
Recently, Mark got to do a local weather forecast while wearing his tag title belt. What makes this for me is how the background isn’t mic’d at all, but you can still just slightly hear the crew laughing their asses off. It’s infectious.
12) Xavier and Magneto Take on Master Mold
The X-Men cartoon in the 90’s was pretty damn good and a lot of it holds up. Not to say it wasn’t completely maddening how strict they were about the roster’s status quo.
“Hey, Colossus/Nightcrawler/Archangel/Iceman. Now that we’ve beaten the bad guys, I wanted to offer you a spot on the X-Men.”
“That sounds great. Maybe one day, but not now. I’m going to just stand over there instead.”
Other than that and a couple other flaws (Storm’s voice actress, oh God), the show did a great job. Other than Apocalypse’s tendency to say the most chilling shit in the most ominous voice, my favorite thing on that show was the first season’s finale. Magneto gets decimated by an army of Sentinels and the X-Men give him medical care. They go off to save Senator Kelly and defeat the Sentinels, despite Magneto’s warning that they’re “brave fools”. He ultimately decides to man up (mutant up?) and help out. The final act is filled with a lot of strong character moments with Sentinels being torn apart and blown up all over the place.
When things look to be going mutantkind’s way, a mountain explodes and Master Mold – the lead robot that dwarfs its fellow Sentinels – stands up, swearing, “I CANNOT BE DESTROYED.”
All of the sudden, Xavier shows up in the Blackbird, with a cockpit filled with dozens of boxes of explosives and drums of oil. As he rants, you can quickly see a bandaged Magneto fly by unseen by Xavier.
“You are the living embodiment of all that is evil and unjust in humankind. You must be destroyed!”
Magneto bodysurfs on the top of the plane and turns on his force field just as Master Mold blasts in what would have been a direct hit. At the last second, Xavier presses the eject button and Master Mold goes up in one hell of an explosion. Sweet.
I always found it weird how despite being the X-Men’s #1 bad guy and leading the villain army in the intro, Magneto did shockingly little in the villainy department on that show. He fought them in the third episode (where Xavier defeated him by MAKING HIM RELIVE THE HOLOCAUST, which is extremely fucked for a kid show), but all his subsequent appearances had him fighting alongside the X-Men in some fashion. Granted, there was a lot of reluctance from both sides, but he was there.
13) GENTLEMEN! I Have Lost Weight!
In the past five months or so, I’ve dropped 30 pounds. I went way too far during the holidays in terms of stress eating and not passing up any free food, so I weighed somewhere over 230 pounds. Without really doing anything consciously for the next couple months, I thinned down slightly because my diet – while not especially good by any means – was still a huge step up from leftover Halloween candy and entire buffalo chicken pizzas. I figured that if I could lose a little weight like that without even trying, what would happen if I DID try? As of right now, I’m at 203 pounds with intent on losing at least another four.
As anyone will tell you, the secret to weight loss is diet and exercise, but while I’ve made plenty of trips to the gym, I really haven’t had enough time in my schedule to do so as I’ve wished. Watching what I eat has been the crux of it all. The one thing that ended up helping me the most is the discovery of Who Nu? cookies.
They’re cookies filled with healthy crap. What you do is get the soft chocolate chip kind, put seven of them on a plate, put it in the microwave for 30 seconds and you’ll get something that tastes just as good as chewy Chips Ahoy and will fill you up. I’ve never felt the need to go for seconds.
Give it a shot, it’s good.
14) Superman’s SNL Funeral
Early 90’s SNL was pretty impressive in terms of springboarding careers. More than half of the cast was either already considered stars or they’d go on to become huge. That’s what makes the Superman’s Funeral skit so surreal. Not only is it crazy in terms of accuracy for a skit about comic books, but the casting is mind-bending. Look at who we have here:
Rob Schneider as Jimmy Olsen
Al Franken as Lex Luthor
David Spade as Aquaman
Adam Sandler as Flash
Tim Meadows as John Stewart Green Lantern
Dana Carvey as Batman
Chris Rock as Robin (…okay)
Sinbad (host) as Black Lightning
Phil Hartman as Perry White
Chris Farley as the Hulk
The skit itself is genuinely enjoyable, from Luthor’s smarmy joy to Black Lightning being offended that nobody remembers him and then lighteninging Jimmy in the chest. Hulk’s eulogy is hilarious and, in its own strange way, kind of touching.
I don’t know about you, but I would have rather seen a Tim Meadows Green Lantern movie instead of the one we got.
15) Pete the Meat Puppet
I suppose I should put some kind of entry in here about how much my friends and family mean to me or some shit. Fine. But I’m going to do it in the form of gushing over this video my brother Geremy made for Diesel Jeans a few years ago. It’s pretty messed up, so be warned.
My brother (and my sister-in-law, who works closely with him) is doing pretty damn well lately. Not only did he direct a Selena Gomez video recently, but his commercial for Evian involving animated t-shirts with dancing baby bodies has taken off. The Port Authority in NYC is filled with ads in that style. It’s nuts.
16) Dark Knight 1966
Those videos people make of Batman trailers remade with clips of the cartoons are great and all, but the one someone made with clips from the 60’s movie is head and shoulders above it.
Love how the one black guy in that movie is shoehorned into the super-quick Lucius Fox appearance. Similarly, this video is another great take on mixing the two sides of the bat coin, mainly for how perfect, “LOOK AT ME!” syncs up.
17) Cartoon Electro’s Style
I’ve barely watched any of the 60’s Spider-Man cartoon, but I somehow came across this little clip on YouTube and I really need to find a way to use it more often.
It’s sad because after 65 years, Electro has yet to do a single thing cooler than these six seconds. It’s all downhill.
18) Hulk Hogan’s Bad Table Manners
Many years ago, one of my favorite websites to visit was X-Entertainment, a blog by Matt Caracappa about all sorts of pop culture weirdness. While I owe a considerable amount of my writing identity to Christopher Bird for a variety of reasons (going back 15 years, believe it or not), I think that X-E did a lot to shape my style and make me the “Player 2″ version of Chris Sims that I am today.
The one thing that sticks out in my mind is a review he did about ten years ago about wrestlers showing up in cereal commercials. After discussing Andre the Giant invading the Honeycomb Hideout, he goes into an ad where Hulk Hogan deals with the Honey Nut Cheerios bee.
This image and the description that follows it made me cry in laughter the first time I saw it and it never fails to make me laugh at least a little bit whenever I revisit it.
Watching Hulk Hogan slop down milky cereal is a lot like watching UFOs come down to Earth to murder your best friend. You’re disgusted and dismayed by what you’re watching, but at the same time, you recognize it as a truly historic and special moment.
19) The End of Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow
Alan Moore’s Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow is a fantastic story despite falling into Moore’s trap of “now let’s make it dark!” After all, this is a story meant to be Superman’s finale and Moore creates this situation by wiping the slate clean with a gigantic pile of dead bodies. Villains and friends are killed off for one reason or another and one of Superman’s most cartoony foes is reimagined as a demonic and bloodthirsty entity.
It’s the interlude halfway into the story that shows that everything’s going to be okay. As Lois tells the story of Superman’s final days to a reporter ten years later, her husband Jordan Elliot steps in to badmouth her old flame, calling him kind of worthless. Even if it took me years to get the reference in his name (go by the first syllables), I knew right there that we were going to get a happy ending because there was no doubt that this guy was Superman. Instead of dying, it was revealed that Superman depowered himself permanently and wandered off into the arctic cold, never to be seen again. The interview finished, the reporter leaves and Lois talks it up with Jordan.
So much to love about this. The final wink. The fact that Moore never explicitly says what is obvious. The knowledge that the greatest hero will get his reward instead of dying in battle or living for centuries in solitude. The knowledge that although his super days are behind him, there will be another like him in the future.
The best part, to me, is how he denounces his super-powered life. If Superman was always meant to be connected to the little man, then there is no better ending. It’s joy mixed with a roundabout humility.
Still sucks that Moore killed off the dog, though.
20) Extended Video Game Music
I can’t imagine there’s too many bloggers who do their thing without listening to some music in the background. I know David certainly does. What sets me apart is that while most others would listen to specific albums to help focus, I find it too distracting. I’m more likely to find a single song I really enjoy and keep playing it again and again until it starts to get on my nerves.
One of the best discoveries for me when it comes to this is finding out that if you take a piece of video game music, type it into the YouTube search bar and add “extended”, you’ll strike monotonous gold. Forget being interrupted by a song ending and then beginning. I can have my background music last ten minutes to a half hour. Some of my go-to songs include Flash Man from Mega Man 2, Pharaoh Man from Mega Man 4, Taskmaster from Marvel vs. Capcom 3, the main theme from Double Dragon, Jotaro’s theme from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Sewer Surfin’ from Turtles in Time and the Freeway theme from the original Ninja Turtles arcade game.
Yeah, that’s the stuff.