Category Archives: childhood

when you were young

Yo Gabba Gabba: Educational children’s program no. Psychedelic show for college pot heads yes.

When did children’s programming stop teaching us things? Or better question, when did children’s programming stop making sense? The shows that I watched when I was a kid, Sesame Street, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, Arthur, Wishbone, all taught us something, whether it was how to make friends, how to count to ten or who the ancient Greeks were.

Now, it seems like we’ve regressed with incomprehensible children’s programming like Boobah, a seemingly incoherent show about several weird gelatinous blob people who lived in a womb and occasionally sent little screaming British kids flying through the air.  Or a now staple program for the drooling infant, Teletubbies, a show about British (coincidence?) alien like creatures with televisions in their stomachs and antennae on top of their heads. Basically, the Teletubbies consisted of four retarded people who danced around all day, ate custard and toast and occasionally summoned their vacuum to clean up for them.

These shows taught stupidity and slovenliness and also just plain sucked but fear not, our nation’s children may not be learning anything but they sure can have fun not learning anything. One such show for children that most certainly doesn’t suck is Yo Gabba Gabba. While completely pointless it’s also completely awesome. Just watch this intro and tell me you don’t want to watch this show.

Woah… that was trippy as fuck am I right? But crazy awesome visuals are not the only thing this bizarre gem of a show is about. Yo Gabba Gabba also has way awesome musical guests like MGMT:

Or Of Montreal:

Shit… I don’t know why more people don’t brush their teeth.

But wait, you’re saying. This show needs some awesome hosts too well look no further cuz this show’s got an entire episode dedicated to Jack Black:

And everyone loves Biz “You say he’s just a friend” Markie right? Well he’s a fuckin’ regular and with his beat of the day why wouldn’t he be?

And no show would be complete without Murray (Rhys Darby) from Flight of the Conchords pretending to be a robot:

It’s shows like this that make me wish that I was five again, and that I had a huge bag of weed.

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Halloween parties: Think, “I was so fucked up last night” + zombies and hot nurses

If you’re my age, when Halloween rolls around every year you no longer go from door to door in your neighborhood in search of candy. Well, you still might but that would probably be because you were drunk. Yes, booze and not candy is now what captivates us every time October 31st rolls around. It makes sense really, you’ve put time and effort, and in some cases lots of money into your giant gorilla suit or Michael Jackson costume so why not top the persona you are trying to capture off with a little liquor induced acting? You would probably be much more inclined to climb that tree overhanging the river with those 10 whiskey shots in your stomach, and you probably wouldn’t attempt to moon-walk down that flight of cement stairs were it not for the case race you had against that guy in the ninja turtle costume.

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Typical Halloween attire. 'Beer Keg Man' was the designated driver for the night.

And why shouldn’t we enjoy ourselves? We’re always told that our years in college are some of the best years of our lives so we should get as much enjoyment out of them as possible. This is especially true for holidays such as Halloween, which you’ll only experience 4-5 times as an undergraduate unless you like it so much you decide to stick around for another 3-4 years, a good option for the hardest partiers. But if your idea of enjoyment on Halloween is getting super drunk with a bunch of guys in cavemen outfits, playing Madden 09′ and then wandering outside to throw up on people’s lawns and smash their pumpkins in the streets that’s fine. I won’t judge you if that sort of thing is your idea of maximizing your college experience.

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It's like, what we'd look like if we played sports in the 80s get it?

And who am I to judge if your idea of a good time is waking up on a futon surrounded by groggy semi-strangers with a pounding headache, a missing cell phone, several mystery stains on your pants, a torn eye patch and damaged paper mache parrot on your shoulder? I’m not, I just wouldn’t have dressed as a pirate. But that’s what it’s really all about. Making memories, or at least piecing them together based on what pictures you’ve been tagged in. Afterall, nothing makes a dazed walk home the morning following a party more enjoyable than if it is done as a cardboard robot or giant plastic M&M.

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Sing that Feng Yang Song

“Get out!” She screamed throwing a jar full of paint brushes at me and my classmates as we entered the art room of my elementary school to retrieve something for a teacher. Mrs. Voss had always been extremely temperamental, either because half of the class forgot to bring it’s recorders to play “Hot Crust Buns” or “Breeze Blown Bag”, or because we had forgotten our lines in the 6th grade musical. (It was probably because we were didn’t show any empathy for a family member of hers that had died but that’s neither here nor there.) Yes, it was the general consensus of our elementary school that Mrs. Voss was an angry and unsavory character. But she did leave everyone of Gatewood Elementary with some unforgettable music, for better or worse, worse I guess.

The majority of music that we had to sing in elementary school really sucked, there was a song that enforced Irish stereotypes about the potato famine called, “Oh the Praties, They Grow Small”. Then there was one about singing in the hills of Norway or Sweden or some damn Scandinavian country called “Hollderiedia”. That probably isn’t spelled right but after extensive googling I couldn’t find anything about this lost song. There was another shitty swing song called, “Dancin’ On the Rooftops” that I sadly still know all the words to too but I won’t subject you all to a clip of that.

No, the one song that perhaps stuck with me the best from my time in elementary school music class under Mrs. Voss would have to be “The Feng Yang Song”. It was a weird little Chinese tune complete with erhus, bangus, banhus and yes, even a tanggu or two. I don’t know why it stuck with me the way it did, probably because at one point you got to break it down and speak gibberish/broken Chinese.

Here’s my rendition, (I’m in the glasses):

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Here’s the registered Chinese version, (note how it’s in Chinese and she breaks it down a little differently/not as good)

Now there’s a tune prime for remixing. Jay-Z, I’m looking at you.

Just for shits and gigs, here’s what I can remember lyrically from the songs I mentioned above.

“Oh the Praties, They Grow Small”

Oh the praties, they grow small, over here, over here… oh the praties they grow small, over here, over here… now we’re down in the dust, it’s lord in whom we trust, we’ll repay him crumb for crust, over here, over here

“Hollderiedia”

Vegas hills are not so far, Hollderiedia! Holldeeria… we shall shout hi-sa-sa… Hollderiedia! Holldia… Holl-der-ie-dia, Hollderiedia! Holldeeria… Holl-der-ie-dia, Hollderiedia Holldia!

“Dancin’ On the Rooftops”

Man, I hate that fuckin’ song. Watch this instead.

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The top 10 things that should and will make a comeback

#1: Light up shoes: "Look mommy no seizures!"

#1: Light up shoes: "Look mommy, no seizures!"

Light up shoes: Nothing says “hey look at me!” like light up shoes. They were the talk of any kindergarten class. But wait, there’s a problem with that sentence, kindergarten class. We wore them then why not now? Any simple websearch reveals that these shoes do in fact exist and in adult sizes so the only reason I can think of as to why they haven’t come roaring back is this: They’ve either been deemed as extremely tackey or way too cool. I’d prefer to think the latter. Bonus: Be the first guy or gal on your street to bring back those sweet velcro straps.

#2: Safety suckers: "It's never too late to pull it out."

#2: Safety suckers: "It's never too late to pull it out."

Safety suckers: “Well you’re all done.” Dr. Wanderman would tell me once I hopped down from the checkup table in one of those weird fitting nursing gowns that I could never tie right. “Here you go.” Of course you all know what happens next, you would be handed an orange, or if you were feeling adventureous, a cherry flavored safety sucker. This of course was a win-win for me and my doctor. I could enjoy the chemically processed goodness of some brand-x health sucker and the doctor could take solace in the knowledge that I would not choke to death. The whole process of someone choking on these things and then “saving” themselves by yanking the ring out of their mouths seems nice enough. But as a parent I’d be more worried that if my kid could choke on a sucker that he’d also be one of those kids who could drown in a kiddie pool.

3#: Roller discos: "They still exist right?"

3#: Roller discos: "They still exist right?"

Roller discos: Some of you may be too young to have even experienced the roller disco phenomenon that swept the nation in the 1970s. Luckily, I came from a suburb in Minnesota that was at least two decades behind the rest of the country and thought rollerskating in the dark while the “Hokey Pokey” played through the speakers was still cool. We all thought it was anyway and it made for a cheap field trip for our school. My class would swarm to Cheap Skate (an ironic name now that I think about it) all amped up ready to be fitted for rollerskates, or rollerblades for the real “cool kids” and hours later we would come out giddy and smelling of pixie sticks showing off our miniature novelty combs or mustaches. It was awesome. Now imagine doing that now. Pounding techno music, flashing lights, pants and shirt so bright and fluorescent that they blind everyone around you. The whole experience could even be topped off with some mind altering <ahem> hallucinogens. There are some downsides though, roller discos are extremely hard to find and the one by my house was closed down and turned into an Aldi. Bonus: Roller discos would probably be a great place to find a bunch of hot women, the ones who haven’t mistaken it for a roller derby anyway.

#4: Giant cell phones: "Yes honey, they're cordless now!"

#4: Giant cell phones: "Yes honey, they're cordless now!"

Giant cell phones: Now this might seem like a step backwards initially but c’mon, styles are pointing to 80s retro right now and who’s to say that technology shouldn’t follow suit? Think about the possibilities. Yes, you’re having a very important conversation with someone but don’t you want as many people as possible to know that you’re having an important conversation? Besides, if someone walks up to you and says, “Why the hell is your phone that big?” you can just respond with, “Why isn’t yours?” That’s how trends start anyway, right? With the ever shrinking cell phone size of today it seems only a matter of time until we reach that limit and have to go bigger again. I look for the major telecommunications carriers to carry these big phones within the year.

#5: Scratch N' Sniff Stickers: "Because bending over and sniffing your graded spelling test never looked weird."

#5: Scratch n' Sniff Stickers: "Because there are too many things we shouldn't scratch or sniff."

Scratch n’ Sniff stickers: Think of getting a sticker on your spelling test that said, “Good job!” Now if that wasn’t enough to boost your young wavering self esteem imagine that you could scratch that sticker and then bend over and smell it. “Hey now! That smells vaguely like grapes!” That’s right, you have just been the lucky recipient of a scratch n’ sniff sticker. These teachers didn’t just give these coveted stick n’ smells for anything though. They came out only on special occasions like a nearing holiday or a birthday and they were stored deep under the manilla folders of the teachers desk drawer. Possibly the best thing about scratch n’ sniffs is that you can find them years, even decades later, scratch them and they still smell! If that’s not quality I don’t know what is.

#6: References to Borat: "Hey dudes, check out the one impression I do!"

#6: References to Borat: "Hey dudes, check out the one impression I do!"

References to Borat: Now I became as annoyed with the constant stream of Borat impressions that pervaded our culture a few years ago as the next person. But I must admit, recently I heard some scream, “Izzz nice!” and much to my astonishment, I laughed. Yes, as bizarre and mislead as it might seem, I propose that the time has again come for the occasional, “I like!” and “Wah wah wee wah!” Seriously, if someone was to perform a serviceable renditon of a Borat quote at a party you’d at least laugh before you punched them right?

#7: Crazy straws: "Makes drinking plain old juice fun!"

#7: Crazy straws: "Makes drinking plain old juice fun!"

Crazy straws: It really surprises me why crazy straws aren’t more popular. We would get the occasionally at my house when I was younger but they usually had to be matched with an equally crazy drink like a smoothie or rootbeer float. You couldn’t drink milk with a crazy straw. I suppose it does make sense in some way why they aren’t more widespread in this culture of instant gratification. After all, when you take a cup or straw to your lips you expect to be quenched by the liquids inside almost immediately, not in a matter of seconds as it would take were the liquid in question traveling through the crazy straw. But I, being the traditionalist I am, believe that these straws can make a comeback just based on them being so colorful, twisted and wacky. Just look at the picture crazy isn’t even spelled right! That’s crazy!

#8: Popsicle frezzer trays: "It's like juice, but frozen!"

#8: Popsicle freezer trays: "It's like juice, but frozen!"

Popsicle freezer trays: As a kid my favorite thing in the world was popsicles. If my parents weren’t home and I didn’t want to make lunch for myself I could just eat 4 or 5 popsicles and I’d be full. There were so many brands and flavors and over time I probably tried them all but to me, nothing beat a grape Welch’s popsicle, though I did stain a good number of t-shirts because of them. The popsicle is timeless. The world might end and we could all be living in caves and as long as we had fruit juice and a freezer tray and a mini freezer we would survive. Those are the 3 things I would grab if a giant cloud of burning ash was headed my way. You can even use them to accessorize <see left>. Plus easy clean up and dishwasher safe!

#9: The Skip-it: "Wear thick socks to prevent ankle bruising."

#9: The Skip-it: "Wear thick socks to prevent ankle bruising."

The Skip-it: I never had a Skip-it as a kid, but I was jealous of everyone who did. I didn’t have a good reason for wanting one, it just seemed like the kids in the commercials were having so much fun. It was a really stupid and pointless activity really. Basically you stand upright with occasionally lifting one leg over and over again. If you get to 500 skips have you won or lost? They still exist somewhere, if not on ebay then collecting dust in some kids garage, right behind the mini trampoline and the Bop-it Extreme that stopped working when dad threw it against the wall in a momentary lapse of judgement. It would be a hit for drunk kids at parties though. If you can do this thing without throwing up you win! Bonus: Would probably double as a great weapon for fending off other would-be Skip-it champs.

#10: Yahoo Serious: "He demands to be taken seriously."

#10: Yahoo Serious: "He demands to be taken seriously."

Yahoo Serious: Now I don’t know a whole lot about Yahoo Serious, but I do know that he was  popular in Australia in the early 90s when Crocodile Dundee was popular in the States. I once saw a movie with him on channel 45 late one night where he was running down flights of stairs being chased by giant falling piles of garbage and he’s known for playing the guitar or something. Basically I’m guessing that he’ll become famous again because he’s got a crazy name and he hasn’t made a popular movie in Australia in decades so he’s prime for a comeback. Maybe if he moved to New Zealand he could cash in on some of the popularity of Flight of the Conchords everyone loves those guys. Bonus: He doesn’t sound like us so he’s immediately more interesting. Plus the name.

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