Archive | December, 2008

The Hangover’s 2008 Person of the Year: Tina Fey

28 Dec
2008 Woman of the Year

Tina Fey: 2008 Woman of the Year

Nobody had a better year than Tina Fey (including President-Elect Barack Obama, whose reward will be the opportunity to clean up the ever-deepening mess left by his predecessor).   Fey surpassed all known standards in just how successful an entertainer could be with brilliant comedic performances that crackled with social and poitical commentary.

Fey is the creative force behind NBC’s 30 Rock, a show both popular  and critically acclaimed.  Her character, Liz Lemon, is an achieving woman attempting to manage a nearly unmanageable “Saturday Night Live” conceit.  As played by Fey, Lemon is sharp and compassionate, as well as confused and insightful.  Lemon carries a realistic acceptance of her position on constantly shifting ground.  She is an icon for women juggling professional success and personal chaos.   Liz Lemon makes no apologies for who she is.  In a high school reunion episode, “The Revenge of the Wrath of the Nerd,” Lemon bids farewell to her former White Haven classmates with,  “You know what? Suck it, you whittling IHOP monkeys.”

That would seem to be enough for one woman.  But then came Sarah Palin.   Fey’s impersonation of Palin on various episodes of Saturday Night Live marked some of the greatest comedy in the show’s storied history.  At times, Fey was indistinguishable from Palin.   Through a fusion of comic genius and comic existentialism, Fey effectively parodied a woman who was a parody in and of herself.  No easy task, and one worthy of recognition in the form of The Hangover’s Person of the Year.

If you don’t believe it, see for yourself:

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Teixeira, the next Mattingly, Signs with Yankees

23 Dec

Finally, Mark Teixeira ended his career as a news-making free agent and signed with the New York Yankees for $180 million over eight years.  Of course, he’d probably have signed with Satan for $181, but fortunately the Dark Lord doesn’t have a team.   Teixeira can now wear his pinstripes with pride.  He’s getting well paid for the privilege.  One can only guess where he will ultimately fit in the great tradition of  Yankee first basemen.  

Certainly, he will not match Lou Gerhig.  But then who could?  Teixeira will  be better than the Giambino or Tino Martinez, no disrespect to Martinez, who actually captured rings with the Bronx Bombers.  The Hangover finds an eerie paralell with Texeira and Yankee great Don Mattingly.   At first glance, this comparison should make Yankee fans happy.  Like Tex, Mattingly was an excellent fielder who could hit the hell out of the ball.  But Mattingly never tasted post-season champagne, the Yankees losing the one playoff series that he was involved in (despite his hitting .417).  Teixeira hit well  in his one playoff series, too, batting .467. His fearsome spraying of singles didn’t do much for his Angels, however, as they got their ass kicked by the Red Sox. 

The great Yankee teams of the ’90’s were exactly that, teams, with the main cogs coming up through the Yankee system (Jeter, Posada, Rivera, etc..,).  If buying your way to the Championship worked, the Yankees would have won last year, or the year before that, or the year before that, and so on.  You get the point.

Let’s not overlook the karma factor, either.  The Yankees still have the greatest choker in modern baseball history, A-Rod.  Maybe the pressure comes with a little more force when you’re cashing in at 20 million-plus and your name isn’t Manny Ramirez.   Good luck to Teixeira, who,  if he feels like it, can drown future post-season failures with Thomas Jefferson’s bottles of Lafite-Rothschild.  Like Mattingly, Teixeira’s Octobers will also end short of the bubbly.

And before the Red Sox and their fans start whining about the big spending ways of the Yankees, all they have to do is think of the Nationals or the Pirates or the Brewers.  To those teams, the Red Sox might as well be the Yankees.  

In the end, the Red Sox will be okay.  They’ve still got two World Series MVP’s left, each making about half of what Teixeira and A-Rod bring home.  Funny how that works.

The Hangover’s Christmas List

21 Dec

You’ve got to love a holiday named after a wine-swilling, long-haired, no-shoes-wearing carpenter.  And there are presents.  In honor of the holiday, The Hangover offers our own Christmas list.  And in the true spirit of the holiday, it is better to give than receive. 

For Terrel Owens:  A punch in the mouth. You’d think that Tony Romo or Jason Witten or somebody on that team would have had the balls to tell TO to shut up and then drop him with a right cross.  (Is Bum Phillips still alive?  Could he take care of this for Wade?)

For the State of Maine:  Less Taxes, Better Government.   We know, good luck with that one.

For Religous Extremists (be they Christian, Muslim, Pagans, Jews, Sun-Worshippers, Followers of Satan, or actual card carrying members of Red Sox Nation):  Less scripture, More action (from their respective deities).  Doesn’t fanatical worship sully the very God that it profess to follow?  Wouldn’t these various Gods be tired of people acting like complete fucking idiots in their names?  Shouldn’t  these Gods have had enough of this bullshit and smite their “extreme” followers from the planet?  Lightning bolts, now, goddamnit!

For The Boston Celtics:  Good Health.  The rest will take care of itself.

For Kathryn Tappen:  More sweaters of the shade (some sort of yellowish white) that she wore yesterday during the 12/20/08 Bruins-Hurricanes telecast.  Amazing.  A high-def Goddess if there ever was one.

For Barack Obama:  The cajones to swing back to the left after these mandatory first two years of centrism.

For Kennebunkport:  Less Development.  Do we have to turn every open space not owned by the Conservation Trust into either a neighborhood of McMansions or a psuedo-tony resort?

For the Red Sox Marketing Team:  A long, long, long vacation.  Two years ought to be enough.  We don’t need any hats with socks on them.  We could use a better ticket-buying site, however.  Or at least one that doesn’t have to blame its lack of functionality on “high transaction volume.”  What with the exciting new hats, you didn’t think people would want to buy tickets, too?

For the Red Sox:  Derek Lowe.  Give us a great pitcher who excels in big games, under pressure, and who wants to play here.  And we’ll take a refurbished Mike Lowell, too.  The hell with Mark Teixeira.  The only thing he’s led the league in is “Speculative news media stories on where Mark Texiera will land.”  Pitching wins and Lowe is a winning pitcher.

For News Editors of Television Weather Reports:  A grip.  Hangover Headquarters is in Maine.  It snows here.  It always has.  Every time a flake hits the atmosphere, we don’t need panicked, poker-up-the-ass anchor people screaming “storm warning,” “winter storm watch,” or “extreme weather event.”  If you want people to watch your insipid newscasts, try doing some actual reporting, or get better looking newspeople and have the women go topless and dress the men in Chippendale’s outfits.

For the Rolling Stones:  One last great album. I don’t mean pretty good, either.  Voodoo Lounge was compared to Exile, but we all know Exile, and Voodoo Lounge is no Exile.  Every Stones album since Steel Wheels has been proclaimed in one way or another, hearkening back to the heyday of the Stones.  Simply not true.  The world could use another Exile on Main Street or Sticky Fingers.  Get on it, boys.

For the Readers of The Hangover:  Less hangovers, of the alcohol-induced head ache and vomiting kind.

For The Hangover:  More readers.  Then I can start pimping out the ad space and earn enough money to quit one of my days jobs.   Then I could completely sell out and turn into one of those despicable, loathsome individuals that I despise.  Wouldn’t that be grist for some interesting writing?

Bail This Out

8 Dec

The Federal bailouts that began with the Savings and Loans during the George HW Bush Administration, touched down with the airlines after 9/11, threw 85 billion to AIG, then shoveled 700 billion to save our vaunted Financial Institutions, have now come to a three-way pile up on American automakers.   When the country’s leading capitalists are landing in Washington on a weekly basis asking for cash to keep their industries afloat, something’s wrong.  The United States and capitalism are supposedly merit-based institutions, or at least they used to be.  The Hangover asks:  Why is abject failure being rewarded?

Understandably, these financial institutions and industries need to stay viable or millions of Americans will be out of work or out of their homes.   That can’t happen.   But bailout dollars shouldn’t be handed over so that a sinking-into-the-muck status quo can be maintained.   When the AIG executives got their money, they spent nearly half a million dollars at a Califroina spa playing golf, stuffing their faces, and getting massages.  Will those running the auto industry and financial institutions prove to be so different? 

President Elect Obama stated:

“We have to have an auto industry that understands they can’t keep on doing things the same way.  If this management team that is currently in place doesn’t understand the urgency of the situation, and is not willing to make the tough choices and adapt to these new circumstances, then they shoud go.” 

But Obama has it backwards.  You don’t give the reward first and then demand the behavior.  Like spoiled children, our greatest capitalists need strict boundaries and discipline.  The Hangover proposes two simple “conditions” for companies who want “bailout” money.  If they’re willing to comply, they get their dollars.

Of course, some may say that these proposed conditions smack of socialsim.  But it’s exactly what the industries are asking for.  Give the capitalists what they want.

The Best Rock and Roll Christmas Songs

2 Dec

The best rock and roll Christmas songs can be gifts in themselves.  After all, how many times can one listen to a pack of dogs barking Jingle Bells or even the great Burl Ives crooning Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?  And enough with the Fa-La-La-La-La’s.  Luckily, rock is a genre whose songs encompass all aspects of the holiday.  There’s the merriment, good cheer, hope, peace, goodwill towards fellow man, heartbreak, spirtiuality, and class warfare.   Before this holiday was co-opted by riot-inducing consumerism and Martha Stewart holiday perfection, Christmas was fun.  These songs will make it so again.

A Merry Jingle  by The Greedies (aka The Greedy Bastards)

A Merry Jingle is a 1978 punked-out mash up of Jingle Bells and We Wish You a Merry Christmas.  And it’s preformed by a legendary band:  Steve Jones and Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols, along with Phil Lynott, Brian Downy, and Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy.  This is the musical equivalent of a snow-cooled six pack delivered by a Victoria Secret model clad in a Santa’s Helper mini-dress.  (While the Greedies’ version is veritably unavailable, the Backstreet Girls worthy cover of the song is available here on Amazon.)


Run Rudolph Run by Chuck Berry

This is likely the first rock ‘n roll Christmas song, released by Berry in 1958.  It’s old school Chuck Berry, a holiday Sweet Little Sixteen that has Rudolph “whizzing like a saber jet” and Chuck “reelin’ like a merry-go-round.”  A fitting tribute to a great reindeer.

The Grinch by Mojo Nixon and the Toadliquors

Mojo Nixon’s cover of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” isn’t one for the kids.  He lets the low-down, present-swiping creature have it in a Bad Santa, no-holds-barred, swear-filled rampage.  What else would one expect from the great Mojo, protector of virtue and wholesome Christian values?

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus by John Mellancamp

This is straight-ahead holiday roots rocking where a real good time is being had by all.  You’ve got to love the accordion that gives the song a real jump.  Mellancamp’s cover songs never disappoint and just like Santa, he delivers here.

Christmas Wrapping  by the Waitresses

This is no-doubt the greatest of the new wave Christmas songs.  The 1981 song tells a story that is relevant today.  The over-worked, harried (sound familiar?) singer misses connection with a potential beau all year, only to have that Christmas magic work things out because of forgotten cranberry sauce.  A bouncy pace and excellent horns give this suburban rap a sweet bite.

Sleigh Ride by The Ventures

Instrumental greats The Ventures give their surf treatment to Sleigh Ride, and it is a beautiful thing.  No sappy lyrics. No over-emoting singer.   Just wave after wave of holiday surf.

Happy Christmas (War is Over) by John Lennon

John Lennon doesn’t go intellectual here.  There is nothing to decipher.  Gratitude, hope, and good will are up front and unabashed.  All Christmas music should have as much heart and as little pretension.    

Little Saint Nick by The Beach Boys

Nothing says Christmas like the sun-drenched harmonies of the Beach Boys.  They give Santa’s sleigh the Little Duece Coupe/Shut Down car song treatment.  Christmas soars with the high notes of the vocals.

2000 Miles by The Pretenders

Chrissie Hynde’s voice has been described as snarky, sultry, smoky, and sexy.  But on this heartfelt song of longing, it’s simply pretty.  Heartache and hope never sounded so beautiful.

All I Want For Christmas Is A Rock n Roll Guitar by The Stompers

Boston club-goers will recognize this tilt by The Stompers.  Sal Baglio and the band plead for the one present that will make life complete.  And they do it in the all-out style that the band was known for.  They just don’t want the guitar, they need it. 

Blue Christmas by Elvis Presley

The King puts his stamp on Christmas with several songs, but none have the depth of this one.  In an unplugged segment of his ’68 Comeback Special, Elvis lets his voice carry the song.   Elvis could do it all–and here he shows how it’s done: 

Father Christmas by The Kinks

Leave it to Ray Davies to bring a dose of economic reality to Christmas with typical Kinks crunch.  Davies points out that not everyone’s holiday is egg nog, over-sized Teddy Bears, and carols by the fire.  His character, a department store Santa, is accosted by a gang of kids.  As usual, Davies’ lyrics are humorous and poignant as the kids tell him: 

Father Christmas, give us some money
We got no time for your silly toys
Well beat you up if you dont hand it over
Give all the toys to the little rich boys

Have yourself a merry merry christmas
Have yourself a good time
But remember the kids who got nothin
While youre drinkin down your wine

It’s a Christmas message for us all.