Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Top 10 Celebrity Deaths of 2009

It seemed like there were an abnormally high number of high-profile deaths in 2009 so Entertainment Tonight and their ilk--ahem, like the programming on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News--had a lot of easy material to work from. Also, everyone gets to do some kind of "best of" list at the end of the year so, like the sheep I am, I wanted to do one, too.

Anyway, without further ado, I give my top 10 list for celebrity deaths in 2009...

Number 10
Billy Mays
Ahh, the late, great Billy Mays. I wondered how the infomercial world (or rather, direct response marketing world to be more accurate) was going to mourn the passing of their greatest asset, and they did so by continuing to run commercials in which he was in. The dead move product among us.

Number 9
Ed McMahon
Jovial sidekick of the late, great Johnny Carson. He spent the last years of his in and out of hospitals for broken bones and pneumonia, fighting bankruptcy, and trying to buy gold from us in Super Bowl commercials.

Number 8
Farrah Fawcett
Sex symbol of the 70s and 80s. Ms. Fawcett got her start as one of the Ten Most Beautiful Coeds in Cashbox magazine while a Tri-Delt in the late 60s, and then 30 years later after being in a sorority at the University of Texas she lost a three year battle with anal cancer. Bad things truly do come in threes.

Number 7
Patrick Swayze
Heartthrob of the 80s and early 90s. He died of pancreatic cancer after a late diagnosis. More than likely he's dancing and kicking ass up in the great road house in the sky.

Number 6
Ted Kennedy
Elder statesman and last of a storied generation of a certain family. He's the third in a row on this list to die of cancer--his of the brain variety. Being a Catholic, his belief says his soul is at rest in heaven. Being a Kennedy, I say his soul is at rest in that he doesn't have to work to keep the closet door closed anymore.

Number 5
David Carradine
Speaking of closets, Carradine was found dead in one in a hotel in Bangkok, Thailand, with his hands bound and a shoelace tied around his penis. It's the easily the oddest death on the list, but that's not why he's on here. (Honestly, though, the coolness of dying from an apparently botched sex act did bump him up a couple spots.) He's on here because he's awesome and because he was on Kung Fu... both of them.

Number 4
Dom DeLuise
The great comedic actor. If you care about comedy at all, you're well aware of the work of Mr. DeLuise. He died from from complications with cancer and kidney failure. That's two Cannonballers in one year--he and Farrah Fawcett. I think it's safe to say the last to go will be Jackie Chan because of his magical powers, and next to go will be Burt Reynolds. He'll die from choking on a sausage patty made from a pig that had anal cancer. (The tumors always get stuck in the back the throat no matter how much you chew them up.)

Number 3
Bea Arthur
THE golden girl and unfortunately another tally for cancer. When not doing a ton of showbiz work, she crusaded for animal rights and the rights of gays. She ranks so highly on the list because she was hot, hotter than Farrah Fawcett.

Number 2
Michael Jackson
He's known as the King of Pop and is the most commercially successful entertainer of all time. When he kicked bucket as a result of drug-induced cardiac arrest, people went crazy. Luckily, in this day and age we have 24-hour news networks so we could hear all the drama and drivel surrounding Jackson's death around the clock for two months. I am so glad there wasn't news to cover during that time.

Considering the intense coverage the media doled out on the death of Michael Jackson, who could ever top him and pull in the coveted top spot of my list?

Number 1
Walter Cronkite
"The most trusted man in America." He is without a shadow of doubt the greatest, most influential broadcast newsman of all time. Unwaveringly dedicated to educating and informing the public, he is an irreplaceable American icon.

It's been said his death has brought an end to an era, but it's never said what era that is. It's the era of good, honest, non-ratings-driven, televised journalism. We've re-entered an era of biased sensationalism, reminiscent of the yellow journalism of the late 19th century, and it'll probably be years before we can look back with the blessing of hindsight to truly see what we lost.

Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order only):
Henry Gibson
John Hughes (Hughes should have been in the list, but I'd already made the list by the time I realized he'd passed away. What does this mean? It means my laziness outweighs my "integrity" as a "journalist.")
Steve McNair
Ricardo Montalban
Les Paul

I just found out Robert S. McNamara died this year as well. That's huge. I don't think I could have made a joke about him, though, so he'll just be an honorable mention. Damn. I've got to get my shit together.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Oregon Trail Chronicles

Alright, so, this is something I wrote over two years ago, and I recently read it again. It's kind of cheating in that it's not a "fresh" blog post because it wasn't written for the blog and is lacking any degree of timeliness. Whatever. The other day when I was reading the crap I used to write for myself I thoroughly enjoyed it so I wanted to share...

Oregon Trail Chronicles: The Diary of Ezekiel Hughes

17th day of August, 1848
I watched from the bank as Jebediah tried to save a few dollars and float the river instead of paying for the ferry. He lost 8 oxen and his youngest son. He still has 20 oxen left, though. Damn Jew banker. He'll probably buy 50 boxes of ammunition and another son at the next fort.

25th day of August, 1848
Well, I'll be damned if Joseph don't have dysentery for the third time this month. I wish the good Lord would let me know what this boy has been eating. He leaves at night when we're asleep and comes back looking like quite a site to behold with leaves in his hair, dirt all over his face n' clothes and somehow smelling worse than he did the day before. He swears to his ma and me that he ain't eatin' nothin' out there, but I been a young'un once myself, and I know a fib when I hear one.

8th day of September, 1848
I hate to do it, but it must be done. We're low on food, and I'm going to have to make the whole family cut back on their daily rations. I'd go hunt for something, but the boys and myself used up all the ammunition shooting every buffalo that we saw soon after setting out from Missouri.

13th day of September, 1848
Little Anne broke her leg today when she was convinced that she could fly off the top of our wagon and catch one of those vultures that have been following us around these past few days. Apparently, she's been eating just about anything that she comes across out here in the wilderness since I cut back on her cornbread, and she found herself a whole mess o' those "Devil Mushrooms." I couldn't find a very straight stick to set the leg in the cast we made for her, but I'm not too worried. My ma used to always say about broken bones: "If the good Lord Jesus wants that you have straight 'uns. He'll make it so."

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Past 24 Hours of Lame

Let's see here. Twenty-four hours ago I was wrapping up a hockey broadcast and being somewhat inebriated. Right now I'm tired, sore, and hungry, and my shoes are soaking wet. I'll fill in the middle.

After going home from my broadcasting duties I sat in my apartment and allowed myself to imbibe a tad more. From here the only logical course of action for me to take would have been to drunkenly text someone, and so, I did. I texted a young lady (the one from the "About a Girl" post) and told her she should dump her boyfriend because she deserved better. Smooth. An incoming call from her phone promptly greeted me.

When I answered it was not the voice of the girl who owned the phone on the line. It was her roommate. I subsequently received an earful of frantic invective.

"You have no right to tell her what to do! He is the best thing that's ever happened to her!"

"Whoa, whoa. Wait." I tried to gain some control of the conversation but to no avail.

"Don't you tell me 'whoa!' He treats her like a princess!"

She said something else, and I said, "Hey!" That was no use, though, because she'd already hung up. I was upset to the point I was shaking a little bit, but it was weird. I didn't feel like I was that bothered by it, but there was physical evidence that spoke to the contrary.

I texted the roommate and told her not to defend the guy. She texted me back to say it wasn't my business and that it was up to the girl's friends, family, and boyfriend to look out for her.

"Well, make sure you and her friends do a good job."

I guess I lost my friendship status. My number of friends on facebook has probably dropped in the past 24 hours. I'm pissed at myself for even saying anything. I could've waited for a better time to shoot my mouth off, but the alcohol makes the trigger itchy. I'm going to have to quit emotionally investing myself in people.


For my next trick I smoked weed for the first time in months. Despite all the drama and hoopla, I had a pretty good time. I didn't go to bed until late as a result, and I woke up really early the following morning for no reason at all.

I took on some homework when I arose from bed, and a little later I had to go to work several hours earlier than usual. I just recently clocked-out, and I regret to say I never took a break. My legs are killing me, and I'm cold because my clothes are wet from cleaning up. I need to take a shower, but I don't think I'm gonna make it. I'll probably just crash and be stinky.

Just before I got home a different lady-friend of mine told me she broke up with her boyfriend. If I was looking for results I guess I was whispering in the wrong girl's ear.

I need to lie down and take off these clothes. I'm pretty sure I forgot some stuff, but it's not important. None of it is.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


I couldn’t wait to get to work this past Friday. I even went in nearly two hours early. I don’t know why, but I felt like I just needed to be there, like it would make me feel better. It did, too. All my pent up stress just melted away as I started shrink-wrapping foam trays of beef.

It seems like when I’m at work I’m not stressed out because in the back of my head I feel I can use my job as an excuse for not getting my studying done. Accordingly, everything that’s bothering me just goes away when I’m clocked-in, and I don’t even think about school at all.

I’ve tried doing homework there, but it’s impossible. Customers or employees are always trying to talk to me, and starting and stopping reading all the time to help people obliterates any degree of concentration I can muster.

Playing guitar used to help me relax, but that relief is pretty much nonexistent these days. I started taking guitar lessons in August. I’ve become a better guitarist, but now I basically have guitar homework every week. That plus worrying about performing up to my teacher’s expectations just adds on the tension.

My guitar lessons are on Fridays. So, I actually canceled my lesson the other day so that I could go to work before I was scheduled. When I told my teacher I was called in to work, he told me to not let them make me “their slave.” I think I’m going to put my guitar tutelage on hold for a while so I can have my job and my music to calm my nerves.

To add on to the anxiety, a dermatologist told me I have fairly good chance of developing melanoma in the coming years thanks to the frequency of moles on my skin and the sporadic occurrences of skin cancer in my unfortunate family history. Sweet. In all honesty, the idea of cancer isn’t bothering me all that much. I’ve been trying to get a mole excised since July though, and doctors keep passing me around like a damn case of crabs instead of actually removing it. Now I’ve got another appointment with a different dermatologist December 7th on my birthday, and a happy one it will be, I’m sure.

Anyway, I’ve been on edge because of school and doctors, and a back massage would be really nice right now. Maybe I can get that girl I’m stressed out about to show me some love...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

About A Girl

Jeez. I feel like I never have time to think, but in all reality, I’ve all the hours I need... I think. The problem is I keep spending the day thinking about a girl. Maybe, though, that’s not even that big of a problem; maybe that’s not the trouble at all. The actual conundrum very well could be that said girl has a boyfriend—one who doesn’t like me oddly enough.

I don’t really have a problem with the guy other than that I have no respect for him. He comes off as a selfish asshole, and it shines through ever so brilliantly when he’s been drinking. I’ve got stories, but I won't parade them about.

The point is I really like this girl, and I know she deserves better. Furthermore, I’m worried she’ll stay with him unless I do something—something like steal her away. That creates an entirely different problem, though. I’m not sure if I am good enough for her…

Okay, here's a story anyway. One night I went to the girl’s house to talk to her roommate. He was there, and when he noticed I was in the front yard having a conversation with the girls, he flipped out and started drunkenly riding his bicycle in the street and popping wheelies to illustrate his anger with my presence. What the fuck, right?

She became really upset to the point of tears, and he wouldn't knock off his stupid pseudo-macho bullshit. After I got him to calm down without hitting me in the face, he started informing me of his plans to marry his girlfriend and move away to Missouri. (I can only assume to distance her from me... or to get that job he was talking about.) This makes the situation all the more dire.

This isn't even the most glaring example I have of him being a dick to her—not even close, but I like telling this one because it makes him look like an idiot. Why the bike? I don't get the popping wheelies thing. Everyone I tell about the incident laughs, and I think it's hilarious. Was it supposed to scare me? "Oh, shit! This guy's got sick skillz on teh bmx! I better skedaddle." Give me a break.

What makes the whole thing worse is he’s a fuckin’ ginger. (I’m kidding. I have the utmost respect for the ginger subspecies.) Seriously, though, what to do? What to do?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Merc with a Mouth

So, I've been drinking (who would've thought?), and I've been reading, too. Today—or rather, yesterday if you wanna get technical—I read a year’s worth of Deadpool comics. Don’t ask how I acquired them. That’s not important.

Mel and Robert have been talking about how cool Deadpool is, and I had to check him out for myself. I have to say he’s pretty damn cool… and pretty damn crazy. Schizophrenia ftw!

The only thing that bothers me is that now I’m a tad bit hooked, and I’m gonna have to find a way to get my grubby hands on all the previous issues to see where Deadpool came from and where’s he’s been. I’ve read the online bios, but that is NOT enough.

Sometimes, it’s easy to come across a collection of comics of a singular character or group of characters. However, that character/group will usually have crossovers, and I’m just OCD enough to want those as well. There’s the snag to the whole ordeal. That’s the most bothersome part from my experience of collecting comic books.

Anyway, I encourage most to check out Deadpool. I don’t say “all” because sometimes (a lotta times) he gets quite violent as mercenaries (I assume) are wont to do. Still, though, it was a fun (and funny!) read.

Them Crooked Vultures

You know what I’m excited for? Them. Crooked. Vultures. The band name isn’t actually spelled out with the periods. You see, I did that for emphasis. Do you know why I’m excited for Them Crooked Vultures?

Well, for one there’s this. Go ahead and watch the rest of HowellKenny’s videos, or at least watch the aforementioned band’s vids. You don’t have to watch Joe Perry covering Aerosmith, or The Cult covering The Cult.

Secondly, there’s the ingredients that make up Them Crooked Vultures. We have Joshua Homme from Queens of the Stone Age/Kyuss on guitar and vocal duties, and we have Dave Grohl of Nirvana/Foo Fighters fame on the skins (a.k.a. the drums). This combination the world has seen before, though, on the QOTSA album Songs for the Deaf.

Still, there is one more piece to the puzzle that has me and several others salivating a tad more profusely than normal… John Paul fuckin’ Jones (Sorry for cursing, but it was appropriate.). John Paul Jones from frikkin’ LED ZEPPELIN is in the band playing bass (of course) and mandolin (I could see that. I’ve seen him do it before.) and doing background vocals (Sweet Jesus, it’s a trifecta!).

(Sorry for all the parentheses, but these were appropriate as well.) (Also, sorry for getting so link-happy. I'm a loose cannon, and I apologize.)

These are three musical legends who walk the earth merely to entertain we the little folk. I have no doubt these men have humbled and shaken hands with God herself, and there is no wrong they can do on this plane. Alright, I take that back. There is no wrong Grohl can do behind a drum set, but once he gets behind a mic with a guitar, his decisions are subject to questioning. This isn't important right now, though.

Let me say that I do enjoy drugs to “enhance the experience” as some folks might say, but I may have to take something to “take the edge off” of this monumental occurrence. That’s not entirely true. I’ll probably consume massive quantities of drogas—as the Spanish-speakers say—to cull whatever life-changing happening I’m looking for with this musical collective.

Seriously, though, music is a drug, and I plan on taking in whatever these pushers give me because if this isn't a "supergroup" I don't know what is.

All in all, all I’m saying is all should check out Them Crooked Vultures. All of what they offer is all-consuming of musical ideas, but I’ll shut up about them 1now. I just want all of you to check them out. That’s all.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Jerry's Current Events

So, let’s see here. I don’t even know where to start. There are a few things on my mind—past and future events, and I suppose the most logical and least convoluted thing to do would be to go through my chronicling chronologically.

Last Monday, I attended my first group blues jam in which I was actually a participant. It was a free weekly jam that McMichael Music puts on in order to get aspiring musicians out of their shell and playing with like-minded folks, and I really enjoyed the experience when I wasn’t scared to death of making a fool out of myself. Coming out of it, I was greatly relieved I wasn’t the worst guitar player there, and one of the guitar teachers even gave me a big compliment on one—my first, actually—of my solos, which was big deal for me. I think he could see how nervous I was so it might have been pity praise.

I was informed Saturday an I-hate-Jerry-club had been formed, and right now at work there is a sign hanging up that reads “I hate you Jerry.” This morning a young lady texted me to say I was an asshole, and some old man at work walked up to me and inexplicably said, “Nobody likes you.” Then he just walked off. That seriously happened. I thought the club was a joke, but apparently, it’s real and gaining members pretty damn quick.

I went to Coach’s on Main Street here in Norman Saturday night after work to indulge in some live music. A very pleasant drunkard greeted my friend and me in the parking and warned us that the band, in fact, “sucked” and that there were “a lotta better things” we could do with $5. I honestly thought he was going to try to sell us drugs after the line about finding better things to do with my money, but sadly, it was not to be.

My guitar teacher is actually in the band accused of sucking so too is a blind guy, but that’s irrelevant and probably tasteless for me to point out. The band is called The Stumblers, and I’m not sure why (wink, wink! I really do know, and I think you do, too!).

Once I went in Coach’s, I sat down at the bar and started ordering bourbon-and-coke’s as a young alcoholic of my particular background is wont to do. When my teacher noticed me during one of the band’s breaks, I got to experience his proclivity for cursing and revealing incriminating stories while under the influence of alcohol as older men of his particular background are wont to do. It was pleasant. I feel like we really connected, and I feel much more comfortable around him now. I love booze.

Looking to the future, I’m going to see The Black Crowes on Thursday. I’m pretty excited, but this means I’m gonna have to skip my shift on the radio. Consequently, I’ll have to DJ two shifts next week.

Oh yeah, for those of you that didn’t know, I’m a DJ for The Wire at OU. You’re all more than welcome to check out my show. It’s on Thursday 6-8 p.m., and I play an eclectic mix of music and throw in my and my co-host’s inane ramblings here and there for extra flavor. If you’re in the Norman area, 1710 AM is an option, but the live stream on the website is much more reliable.

I’m pretty sure I had more to talk about, but if I remember I can just post it later. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

It's That Time of Year Again!

Well, it's almost that time of year. It's September so the race has been on for retail chains across America to put out all their Halloween-themed candy and decorations. One of those Halloween stores that's around for two months out of the year opened its doors just a few blocks from my apartment, and they had someone dressed as a penguin on the side of the road holding an advertisement for their shop the other day.

I feel sorry for that person. I stood outside for about 15 minutes today, and I smell like a jock strap now. The penguin had to have been reeking by the end of the day because those costumes are always way too frickin' hot. If global warming gets any worse, Halloween will be canceled so homeowners won't have to deal with sweaty-ass kids stinking up their lawns.

The costumes nowadays have their pros and cons. On the one hand, some of the outfits are becoming much more realistic thanks to fancy future materials like foam and plastic. For example, check out these sweet Oscar the Grouch costumes I saw a couple scroungy-looking guys wearing a couple days ago...

Welcome to the future everyone! It just feels like some smelly, angry, green guy is gonna leap right outta there and let everyone know he's having a bad day.

Even though the costumes are looking better than ever, the originality just isn't there anymore. Every guy on the block is dressed as a pirate, fireman, or a vampire, and one dude no one likes always dresses up in some beer or condom-themed thing and goes home alone at the end of the night. Most girls put on a costume titled "Sexy" something-or-other and prance around in skimpy clothing because it's the one day out of the year it's socially acceptable for them to dress like the whores they deep down really want to be.

In the end, Halloween isn't scary anymore. We've seen it all already, or we've seen it too soon to where there's no surprise left. Generally speaking, guys come off as being bigger jackasses than usual, and the ladies seem to want to change the holiday to Slut-for-a-Day or something.

Guh. It's the second week of September, and I'm already sick of Halloween. I guess it's just that time of year.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

When a Man Loves a Woman with a Gun

A few weeks ago, I hooked up with a girl at a party, and we went back to her place where she told me she “practiced safe sex.” I told her that was great because I did, too. However, what she meant by her comment was she had a loaded gun by her bed at all times sitting on her nightstand. So, when I told her I practiced safe sex, I thought I had alluded to keeping a box of condoms of assorted colors and flavors at my disposal, but what she heard was that I like to have group sex with Smith & Wesson.

When I saw the gun in her bedroom, I didn’t panic and run away. My family raised me around firearms, and I didn’t want to get shot in the back. I decided to play it as safe as I could. I would have sex with this girl and try not to do anything to threaten her or piss her off. There was a problem with my plan, though. She said she wanted rough sex. I felt as though I had to oblige, but I was scared to death I was going to take it further than she wanted to go. I’ve found out the hard way that people have their limits, and this wasn’t one of those “hard knock” lessons I was willing to learn.

The night consisted of me continuously almost building up to an orgasm only to lose all that pressure when I’d start to imagine her reaching for the gun. I wanted nothing more than to cum and fall asleep in her protective arms, but the sex lasted for more than two hours culminating in me having an anxiety attack on top of her and effectually faking my own orgasm. For the next four hours, I was used as a body pillow while I stayed awake staring at her ceiling fan in a cold sweat.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Russian Journalism In The "Shadow Of Death"

I recently read a story ran by The Observer called “Journalism in the shadow of death and Putin.” The article centers on the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta and how the journalists working there have dealt with the deaths of their comrades. This paper is the “last major publication consistently critical of Kremlin power,” and they continue to condemn the workings of their government even as their colleagues fall prey to attack.
In my opinion, what they do at Novaya Gazeta is very admirable. They face a realized danger in the form of lethal censorship from a fascist government, yet they trudge on. They’re brave men and women fighting for the spirit of journalism.
It’s unsettling this paper is the only major newspaper or mass medium striving for truth in the whole country, and I find it odd they’re allowed to continue operating. It is fortunate they have been able to function in such a situation, and I think it is amusing the paper is used by the government to both fight the charge of a lack of freedom of speech in Russia and for competing factions to gather info on each other.

“Journalism in the shadow of death and Putin”

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Arming Tanker Crews In The Face Of Piracy

I just read an article on the New York Times website titled “Rescue Fuels Debate Over Arming Crews.” The article refers to the rash of piracy off the coast of Somalia that has been taking place in the past year, and it questions whether or not tanker crews should be allowed to arm themselves in the face of increasing threats on the seas.
I have to say the article raises some valid points. It says “most ports severely restrict vessels from having any weapons,” and it mentions the U.S. Coast Guard has qualms as well, saying the arms could be used for terrorism. I think it would be difficult for a slow-moving tanker to offload and take on arms between the several stops they make, but with the panic buttons that have been installed in commercial vessels, it would be difficult for a group of terrorists to dock a tanker without port authorities already knowing of their presence.
The article also says an increase of patrols combined with other preventative actions curbed piracy near Indonesia in the 1990s. That would probably be the most effective action without further endangering the lives of tanker crewmen forced to defend themselves and their employers’ cargo.

"Rescue Fuels Debate Over Arming Crews"

The Most Powerful Blogs

A little over a year ago, guardian.co.uk posted an article titled “The world’s 50 most powerful blogs,” and as the name suggests, it is a list of 50 blogs believed to be the most “powerful.”
The list, if anything, was very eye-opening. A very large bulk of the sites listed I had never heard of and did not know there was a market for. I think it’s pretty neat that some of these bloggers were able to mold businesses from their passions to make a living for themselves.
Personally, I’d like to know what the grading criteria were for the selection of the blogs, though. I didn’t notice an explanation, but within the summaries of each respective blog was a list of its merits or, at least, a description of why the blog was on the list. I suppose I just don’t understand why the list is in the order it’s in. Sure, I agree The Huffington Post should be at or near the top, but what gave Angry Black Bitch the edge over Stylebubble?

"The world's 50 most powerful blogs"