Archive | Family Life RSS feed for this section

The Hangover’s 2009 Person of the Year: Tiger Woods

30 Dec

Tiger Woods had a remarkable 2009.  He won 6 of the 17 PGA tournaments he entered, finished 2nd three times, and earned over $10.5 million in prize money.   Forbes estimates that he also made $100 million in endorsements.    In addition, Tiger managed to bed a host of smoking hot party girls and wanna-be celebrities.   If not for the fact that Tiger was married with two small children, his 2009 would have been a year for the ages.  Instead, all this remarkable success was overshadowed by his wife taking a golf club to both him and his Cadillac Escalade. 

So why does the Hangover name an apparent moral degenerate as its person of the year?  For the simple fact that in 2009 Tiger’s actions benefitted all married American men.   No matter what faults we may have, at least we’re (presumably) not Tiger Woods, out banging skanky chicks while our devoted, unsuspecting wives  remained home caring for our innocent children.   No other action (short of bringing home an STD) could anger the average American woman more than that.  Tiger has made the rest of us look good.  Really good.

For example, 

You give your wife a vacuum cleaner for Christmas.  Your wife thinks: He may be an idiot, but at least he’s not Tiger Woods.”

You lose your job.  Your wife thinks:  “Well, he may be an unemployed lout, but at least he’s not Tiger Woods.”

You blow the rent money on an impossible five team parlay that busts on the Colts’  loss to the Jets.  Your wife thinks:  “He may be a degenerate gambler, but at least he’s not Tiger Woods.”

Your wife catches you checking out her sister.  Your wife thinks:   “He’s on the  couch for a week, but at least he’s not Tiger Woods.”

You get drunk and crash your car into a tree.  Your wife thinks:  “He’s a drunken idiot, but at least I didn’t have to go out in this cold and beat him with a golf club.   He’s no Tiger Woods.” 

Whatever the rest of us may do this year that our wives may deem ignorant, idiotic, or nearly unforgivable, it won’t seem as horrible to them as what Tiger Woods did in 2009.   Tiger has made the rest of us appear better than we actually are.  Thank you, Tiger Woods–the Hangover’s 2009 Person of the Year. 

Tiger’s 2009 in Pictures:


Goose Rocks Beachfront Owners Sue Kennebunkport (and try to screw the rest of us)

10 Nov

A cabal of Goose Rocks Beach homeowners is suing the town of Kennebunkport, claiming that they own the actual beach down to the low water mark.  The Hangover’s first inclination is to consider this class warfare, a case of the “have’s” versus the “have not’s.”   However, this cannot be the case, as the nature of the suit clearly indicates that these homeowners have no class at all.   Still, as a public service The Hangover has decided to explore the nature of the impending litigation. 

Newspaper reports state that the fat cat homeowners are primarily concerned with overcrowding at Goose Rocks.  This is odd.  There are a limited number of parking spaces at Goose Rocks, thereby limiting the number of visitors who can actually reach the beach.   In middle of the summer, the designated “public beach” is not ever close to being overrun.  Areas of the “private beach” are sparsely populated at their most hectic.   Even at high tide, there is always room for a family (perhaps the beachfront owners are expecting the Manson’s) to spread out and enjoy themselves.   Hampton Beach in New Hampshire is a crowded beach.  In July and  August a gnat cannot find enough room there to lay down a blanket.  This is far from the case at  Goose Rocks.

If the overcrowding issue is a smoke screen, there must be other reasons for the homeowners’ desires to keep people off a beach that has been used by the public for hundreds of years.  Here are some possible explanations:

Revenge:  As residents of Kennebunkport are well aware, there was a property tax revaluation undertaken this past year.  This resulted in property taxes rising substantially for those with beachfront and waterfront homes.  Perhaps these privileged landowners are angered by the fact that for the first time in 20 years they now have to pay their fair share of taxes.  They are extracting their revenge by taking it out on the town and those residents whose taxes were reduced.

Self-Loathing:  Twenty-five years ago, Goose Rocks was a mostly middle class enclave with the majority of its residents coming from the suburbs surrounding Boston and southern New England.  The small cottages that marked the beach then have (for the most part) been torn down, rebuilt, and expanded.  Many of these “new and improved” homeowners are from–as luck would have it–the suburbs surrounding Boston and southern New England.  Coincidentally, many people visiting the beach also come from these regions.  Perhaps the beachfront owners just don’t want to be reminded of the humble origins from which they slithered.

Health:  Everyone knows that tourists emanate from anomie-infested suburbs and angst-ridden cities.  They are mentally unclean and tainted.  Their presence on the beach could undo the serenity brought about by rolling waves and gliding sea gulls.  The horror, the horror.  Those soiled must be kept away. 

Wanna-be-ness:  The lawsuit could be a simple case of celebrity envy.  By aping various asinine celebrity behaviors, these homeowners could be hoping to view themselves as important and privileged.  In 1999, Jim Belushi sued when a house painter had the audacity to walk across the beach adjoining his property.   (Belushi lost in court.)  Entertainment industry icon David Geffen fought public access to beaches in Malibu.  He also lost.  But he did get some headlines.  Perhaps this could be a feeble attempt for 15 minutes of fame.    Maybe these landowners are hoping to be ridiculed in Doonesbury just like “The Dark Leader” Geffen.

General Snobbery:  Could it be that these homeowner’s are just your average run-of-the-mill snobs who don’t wish to associate with “neighbors” who can’t afford beachfront dwellings?  This would be an ugly reality.  That people so tremendously boring and base could actually exist in Kennebunkport would be embarrassing for the rest of us–and thus, we are doubly injured.

InAction As Action

One response to the suit would be to let the beachfront owners have the beach.   We have to consider the future.  The town would then have reason to ignore the homeowner’s  pleas for help as the beach continues to erode–and erode it has over the past ten years.   Picture a town manager smirking across his or her desk:  “Hey, it’s your beach.  You do something about it.”

Then there’s global warming and rising sea levels.  As reported by National Geographic and thousands of other reputable scientific authorities, global warming will eventually cause sea levels to rise:  “A one-meter sea level rise would wreak particular havoc on the Gulf Coast and eastern Seaboard of the United States.”   Presumably, this includes King’s Highway and Sand Point.  These homes could eventually land “below” the low tide mark.  The Hangover wonders if that wouldn’t place them in the public domain.  Certainly, the beachfront homeowners would see the justice in that. 

(It’s interesting to note that should the beach even slightly flood this winter, these same landowners will likely call the fire department to come pump out their soaked basements.  Neighbors in the form of volunteer fire fighters, although not allowed to cross their beach, would be actually allowed in the houses themselves.  The fire fighters will surely be grateful.)   


On the other hand, if one is inclined to act, The Hangover is all for non-violent, civil disobedient protest.  When Tony Soprano needed to extricate himself from the purchase of a waterfront property from a high faultin’ neighbor, he didn’t call for a hit.  He brought in the music.  He had associates anchor his yacht just off shore from the would-be seller’s house and play a steady stream of Dean Martin: Live at the Sands Hotel.   After several hours of Deano, the seller cracked and the deal was off.  

This could work here.   While many of us can’t afford a waterfront manse, we do have boats and boom boxes.   Picture a pristine Memorial Day Saturday.  The Hangover envisions a fleet of 100 Boston Whalers, dinghies, sunfish, and runabouts anchored just outside the low water mark of Goose Rocks Beach.  Only instead of the sultry crooning of Martin, selected beachfront homeowners are bombarded with the non-stop punk-guitar crunch of  The Clash.  An afternoon and evening of Should I Stay Or Should I Go just might work here:

The Best Songs For Your Labor Day Cookout

29 Aug

According to the US Department of Labor, Labor Day is “dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.”   In 2008, that means Americans will spend Monday firing up grills to char steroid-injected beef.  They’ll sit around on made-in-China beach chairs and drink Belgian-American Budweiser, English-American Miller, and Canadian-American Coors.  All that’s need to make the day complete is the right music: Songs that celebrate, venerate, and castigate the working world we’ve been given a one day furlough from.   

The Hangover’s Best Songs for your Labor Day Cookout: 

Working in the Coal Mine, Devo

Sure, coal mining is tough work.  Black lung.  Back-breaking labor.  Never-ending claustrophobia.  The threat of a being trapped miles below the Earth’s surface.  Forget it.  But why dwell on the negative aspects of hard labor?  Devo’s version of the song is bouncy and fun.  It will get people dancing herky-jerky around the barbecue and there’s no better way to spend your government-mandated day off than that. 

Welcome to the Working Week, Elvis Costello

Costello sings a song of welcome to those entering the working world.  The tongue in cheek lyrics slip a sucker punch in the guise of a simple new wave song.  The easy-going vocals and power pop melody belie the survival-of-the-fittest environment as Costello sings, “Oh, I know it don’t thrill you, I hope it don’t kill you.”  You know what he’s talking about. 

 The River / Better Days, Bruce Springsteen

Springsteen supplies some blue collar poetry here, but manages to rock out as he does it.  Yes, you can have songs of substance without sounding like a musician in a lab coat.  In The River, Bruce chronicles the everyman-working man: Tied into a job and a marriage, and the realization that the future doesn’t turn out like many of us imagined it.  Then in Better Days, Springsteen refuses to give up hope.  The singer takes what he has and makes the most of it.  You get both sides of the coin from Bruce.   

Luxury, The Rolling Stones

The Stones’ Luxury is a rocker with an island tint.  It’s a refinery worker’s lament; he’s trying to keep his family out of poverty and the pressure is on.  His dreams and realities exist on a permanent collision course:

I want a real fine car, fly Miami too
All the rum, I want to drink it, all the whiskey too
My woman need a new dress, my daughter got to go to school
I’m working so hard, I’m working for the company
I’m working so hard to keep you in the luxury

And you can’t call me lazy on a seven day a week
Make a million for the Texans, twenty dollar me
Yes, I want a gold ring, riding in a limousine
I’m working so hard, I’m working for the company
I’m working so hard to keep you in the luxury

 It’s only rock and roll, but it makes a definitive Labor Day statement. 

 Working Class Hero, John Lennon

Let this play when the clouds come over the deck.  John Lennon grew up a working class kid in a working class city.  He’s seen the class warfare, and while his message appears to be positive there’s more to it.  One can take pride in the ability to survive in the working world, but at what expense?  One can feel that hurt in his voice as Lennon exposes the cracks in the foundation of that belief. He ends the song: 

There’s room at the top they are telling you still
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like all the folks on the hill
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

It’s Not My Place (in the 9 to 5 World), The Ramones

The Ramones say it simply.  They will not be dragged down into the soul-sucking 9 to 5 world and all that it entails.  The Ramones knew who they were and what they were about.  As a tribute to their wisdom, The Hangover will be hard at work on Labor Day.   Rest assured, the hours won’t run from 9 to 5.   

Big Hype, Bad Movie–The Love Guru Standard

22 Jun

The Hangover suspects that the amount of marketing preceding a movie’s release exists in an inverse proportion to the movie’s quality.  In other words:  Big Hype, Bad Movie.   This thesis results from 1) suffering throught a month-long, full scale media assault by Mike Myers and 2) various reviews of his film The Love Guru.  (Full Disclosure:  This is a movie that The Hangover won’t be seeing until it hits HBO in the hopefully distant future.)

In the past few weeks, Myers has:

  • Appeared on the cover of the July Esquire.  The accompanying article 45 Years in 45 Sentences wasn’t nearly as funny as it could have been, although it did manage to pimp The Love Guru and re-pimp Shrek, Wayne’s World, and Austin Powers
  • Hosted the 6th Annual TV Land Awards (6/15/08 )
  • Appeared with Justin Timberlake (also from the movie) on ESPN’s Sportscenter.  (And this is after hockey season.) (6/13/08 )
  • Appeared on The Tonight Show (6/12/08 )
  • Hosted MTV Movie Awards (6/1/08 ), resurrected a tired Wayne and Garth
  • Appeared on Ellen (5/21/08 )
  • Appeared on American Idol Finale as Guru Pitka, his character from (surprise) The Love Guru. (5/21/08 )
  • Well, you get the point by now.  The Hangover also wishes to remind the reader that this is only a partial list.

Now let’s compare the amount of Myer’s promotional work with some reviews of The Love Guru.

From Wesley Morris of the Boston Globe ( earning 1 out of 4 stars):

“Some movies are polite enough to save their outtakes for the closing credits. Others wait for the DVD release. “The Love Guru” doesn’t have that kind of patience. It’s a pitiful assortment of bad ideas and gags that never work; I don’t know what else to call a movie that asks us to find Jessica Alba credible not only as the owner of the beleaguered Toronto Maple Leafs and a comedian, but as a woman attracted to a vulgar, hirsute Mike Myers. Oh, yes I do: Embarrassing.”

From A. O. Scott of the New York Times: 

“Which (the movie’s catchphrase being much less amusing than it should be) might sum up “The Love Guru” in its entirety but only at the risk of grievously understating the movie’s awfulness. A whole new vocabulary seems to be required. To say that the movie is not funny is merely to affirm the obvious. The word “unfunny” surely applies to Mr. Myers’s obnoxious attempts to find mirth in physical and cultural differences but does not quite capture the strenuous unpleasantness of his performance. No, “The Love Guru” is downright antifunny, an experience that makes you wonder if you will ever laugh again.”

The Hangover realizes that we may be committing a stasticial fallacy by taking this one example and extrapolating the “Big Hype, Bad Movie” theory of film marketing.  We’ll have to put the research department on this for further study.  Or perhaps we’ll wait and see what happens when Shrek Goes Fourth comes out.  The guess here is that Myers will have a much less demanding promotional schedule–those Shrek movies are actually funny.     

Songs For Your Rich Girlfriend (Or Wife)

6 Jun

Some of you out there are riding the gravy train with a girlfriend or spouse whose income is much greater than your own.  (The Hangover knows the trip.)  It’s a safe bet that at some point you will screw it up.  You’ll want to go crawling back with roses or chocolate, and that’s a good idea.  But in your other hand, you’d be wise to to carry a Rob Gordon-type (High Fidelity) mixed CD.  You’ll want to burn a disc with songs that tell her you appreciate, respect, and worship her.  But you’ll want to do it with style and wit, and you’ll want to be able to walk around the house without wincing when she plays it.  So in addition to any number of sappy love songs (which The Hangover assumes you can figure out on your own), you’ll also need these:

The Hangover’s Songs For When You’ve Screwed It Up With Your Rich Girlfriend (or Spouse):

“Working Girl” by The Members

The chorus of this song states with luxious harmonies, “Hey, I’m in love/I’m in love/I’m in love with the Working Girl.”  Those words will no doubt bring a smile to Baby’s face as they are repeated again and again.  The Members are clearly grateful, as are you, for Baby’s hard work.  As the chorus echoes in her head, she’ll probably miss lines like, “If she works nine to five trying to keep my love alive/If she works from nine to five, that’s okay with me,” and  “She can go out to work and bring home her money for me.”  No, you don’t have to grovel while telling her you love her–and the results of her hard work.

“I Touch Myself” by Divynls

Although sung by a husky-voiced Christina Amphlett, the sentiments are what counts.  Is not thinking of Baby during self-pleasuring the most heartfelt form of appreciation and flattery?  This song is all about the hold she has on you.  She’ll again see herself as the object of your affection and forget about the jaw-dropping, bug-eyed face you made when that blonde in the little black dress walked past your table the last time you took Baby out to dinner.  (Which was probaly months ago.  Another reason to burn this disc.)

She Makes Me Feel Bigby The Fools

This is a hip retro-swing number.  The singer comes home beaten and defeated by the daily grind.  Only his girl can restore his pride and dignity, and make him big again.  Isn’t that what Baby does for you?  And won’t she be thrilled to recognize the nurturing role she plays in your life?  The band backs up the lead vocals a response that emphasizes her glorious powers:  “She makes me feel big/Big Big Big/That’s why I love her.”  It is a simple, sweet lament.  Baby will love it.  

“She Pays The Rent” by  The Lyres

This one gets down and dirty.  The Lyres have lived on the outs and are happy to be in–as in “in an apartment.”  The garage band guitars and organ cook, as MonoMan’s vocals lustily cry out with gratitude.  Baby will feel better about herself and you for your allowing herself to keep you alive.   The lyrics recognize that “She don’t love me the way that she used to/And when she kisses me I know that we’re through” but that doesn’t stop The Lyres. They answer:  “But I do love her with no regret/because she pays, she pays the rent.”  Sound familiar?  Better burn her two discs.   

“Cheatin'” by The Gin Blossoms

Okay, say you’ve really done it.  You’ve slept with A) Her Sister, B) Her Best Friend, or C) Any other woman on the planet.  You are in big trouble.  You’ve probably blown it for good.  So take a shot with this song.  Gin Blossoms songwriters Jesse Valenzuela and Doug Hopkins pen the tale of a poor soul being away and lonely–and making the ultimate mistake.  They come clean and don’t want to throw it all away over one minor indiscretion.  Their lyrical reasoning:

She had a way just like you do
To make me feel just like a woman should
You cant call it cheatin
Cause she reminds me of you…

Hey, at this point, anything’s worth a try.

BONUS TRACKS:  If you’ve made it this far through the post, you might be in real trouble.  The Hangover is here to help, again.  We’ve recommended that some sappy love songs accompany the above selections.   But Baby doesn’t need a disc full of “More Than Words”, “Everything I Do (I Do For You),” and post-Beatles Paul McCartney.  To that end, here are two classics that you won’t be ashamed to hear bouncing off of your bedrooms walls:

“Loving Cup” by The Rolling Stones

It’s from Exile on Main Street, the Stones at their grittiest, and although there is clear sentiment, no syrup is spilled.  The singer has a car that won’t start, is stumbling, and plays a bad guitar (sounds like The Hangover in his Heyday).  But a drink from Baby’s loving cup will make it all good.  You’re down and out and she can bring you back:  Let her know it with a real band and you stand a chance. 

“Cupid” by Graham Parker

Baby probably sees herself as a modern woman, especially if she is supporting you.  So give her  a modern version of this Sam Cooke hit.  The lyrics are simple.  The music is acoustic and quiet, but it still swings.  Parker’s vocals are honest and true.  This one hits the bulls-eye of Baby’s heart. 

Dan Zanes, The Disney Channel’s Del Fuego

24 Mar

The Disney Channel used to be a morning staple for The Hangover children.  The kids have grown out of it now, and for the most part, that’s a good thing.  But there is one drawback:  Dan Zanes and Friends no longer appear in the living room, providing musical interludes between shows.  One might ask:  Why would a grown man bemoan the loss of videos starring a funny looking, colored-suit-wearing, gangly musician?  Because Dan Zanes was formerly the lead singer of one of the best bar bands on the planet–The Del Fuegos

A few years ago I was reading the morning paper and the kids were watching television (the horror, the horror).  To fill time during breaks, the networks showed music clips, usually featuring some goofy singer strumming an acoustic guitar singing about dinosaurs or bunnies.   My eyes never left the page.  And then I heard a raspy voice backed by a Stratocaster and drums.  I put down Doonesbury and there was Dan Zanes.

“Kids,” I said.  “Watch.  This guy is awesome.” 

The Del Fuegos came out of Boston in the early ’80’s.  They weren’t musical virtuosos, but the drums snapped and the guitars churned.  Dan Zanes’ vocals suggested gravel more than velvet.  Ten seconds into a song, you knew they meant it.  They sang about the usual rock and roll subjects:  girls, relationships, failed relationships, music, and making it through the day.  The music had integrity and cajones.

The Hangover first saw them in a San Diego bar in ’84 on a recommendation–more an order–from a friend in Boston.  They took the stage and howled, sweat, and jumped through their set.   People danced.  It was music made for beer drinking and letting loose.  Eventually, Miller tapped them for a commercial–a grainy, shadowy bit that is nothing like the slickly produced ads seen today.  Most of their videos looked like they were shot in 8mm and created for black and white.  That’s the kind of band they were. 

The day their second album, Boston, Mass, came out, we drove to Newberry Comics and then listened to it straight through on a portable CD player in a ratty Camaro.  A show at the Channel a few weeks later was a masterpiece.   The next time they played the venue, it was so crowded that no one could move, never mind dance.  Personal space and fire code violations were rampant. 

Two  more albums and the Del Fuegos were done.  That’s the music business.  Great bands disappear practically on a daily basis, with no logic or voodoo to explain it.  Had things fallen right, the Del Fuegos might have been a contender for the “American version of the Rolling Stones” crown.  Instead, they are a footnote. 

Dan Zanes is now on a mission to play a folk-rock-world hybrid that entire families can enjoy.  He believes in this the same way he did his earlier music.  It’s not the Del Fuegos, but we like it.  The Hangover will miss seeing the Dan Zanes videos in the morning.  They never failed to bring back bars, Buds, and great times, at least until someone spilled Cheerios all over the floor.