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William and Kate, A Royal Headache

27 Apr

 This weekend the Royal Wedding between Prince William and Catherine Middleton will command enormous attention here in the United States.  The Hangover asks, “Why?”

 It’s easy to understand why the entirety of the United Kingdom will be enthralled by the proceedings.  After all, this is their heritage, from King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table to Queen Victoria to Roger the Shrubber.  But even the most dim-witted of Americans must realize that the revolution that formed our country was an attempt to rid us of fops like King George and the Royal Family.  Despite saying goodbye to all that back in 1783 and then again in 1812, modern Americans seem smitten with English Royalty—this despite two hundred-plus years of “All men are created equal.”

When Prince Charles married Diana Spencer in 1981, United States media coverage would have suggested it was the third biggest event of the last century, following only the moon landing and OJ and Al Cowlings in the white Bronco.  Americans continued to adore Diana, even after she became, in the words of Mojo Nixon, a “drunk-divorced floozie.”  (Before you take offense, consider what you would call your neighbor’s ex-wife if she ran off with your town’s handsome local hero and sped around night-clubbing, drinking, and snorting blow.  “Your Highness” isn’t it; well, not unless you’re fond of ironic puns.)

 In the coming days, America will be again drowned in Katrina-like coverage of the upcoming Royal wedding.  The Hangover wishes the happy couple well. 

But what does our fascination with the event tell us about ourselves?    

Is it that: 

 a)  We no longer need to value “all men being equal” now that just about every American can afford high definition television.

 b)  We’ve become so ingrained with fairy tales and Disney Princesses that we just want the chance to imagine ourselves in the role.  After all, it’s only a matter of time before one of these Royal Highnesses will sweep into our Burger King, pull us from the flame broiler, and whisk us away to a McMansion in the clouds.

 c)  Americans are sheep.  We (at least those with cable) would watch Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie read the Los Angeles phone book if Entertainment Tonight, TMZ, The New York Times, and the Today Show deemed that it was an “event.”

d)  The less relevant something is to the reality of our everyday lives, the more it interests Americans.  This would explain the nation palpatating over Bret Favre’s emailed junk, the Octo-mom, John and Kate, Michelle Bachmann, and those teenage girls having babies on MTV.

 e)  All of the above.

 Enjoy the festivities.  Maybe the Newlyweds will even be so kind as to hop into a white Bronco as they head to the reception.  Wouldn’t that be ecstasy?

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:

Sarah Palin’s Next Move (Movie)

6 Jul

After Sarah Palin’s stunning resignation, many commentators on the political scene were unsure of her real motives.  Even mastermind Karl Rove was “a little perplexed.”   On her Facebook Page, Palin offers a myriad of reasons for the move, eventually stating that it will be in Alaska’s and her family’s best interests if she calls it quits as Governor.  However, one can rarely take what a politician says at face value.  While the debate rages, The Hangover has determined it has been done for one simple and logical reason:  Sarah Palin wants to go Hollywood.   

There are any number of studios who would throw millions at Palin to make the following movies:

Fargo II:  Bismarck

During the campaign (especially in the debates) Palin’s appropriating of Frances McDormand’s “You betcha’s” and homey up-north speech patterns made her an even better Marge Gunderson than Oscar-winner McDormand.  In this sequel, Marge (as played by Sarah), guns blazing, would would take down the tall, thin, eloquent, but immoral and corrupt African-American Governor of North Dakota.

Twins (The remake)

In this remake of the Arnold Schwarzenegger–Danny Devito vehicle, Palin would team with Tina Fey.  Although the comedy of the original was centered around the implausibility of physical opposites Arnold and Devito actually being twins, the fact that Fey and Palin look incredibly alike would make it easier for Republicans and other religious zealots to follow the movie.

Dumb and Dumber:  The Girls

This would be another Palin-Fey vehicle, with Fey acting and Palin practically being able to be herself.    Here, the trip starts in Wasilla, careens through Anchorage and Dutch Harbor, and then just as it appears that the film will wind up on the Bridge to Nowhere, the pair make it to Siberia. Production costs would be low because the former Soviet Union is so close to Alaska that you can see it from there.  

Semi-Pro:  The Real Thing

In a cross between a reality show and a bad Will Ferrell comedy, Palin would be given ownership of a WNBA franchise.  Known in her younger days as Sarah “Barracuda,” Palin would also play point guard for the team.  The camera would follow her on and off the court. Let’s face it, this is about the only way the WNBA could be made even the least bit interesting.

Bar-Naked Cover: Esquire’s Best Ever

8 Jun

The cover of Esquire’s July 2009 issue is striking:  Bar Refaeli wearing nothing but lines from Stephen King’s short story, “Morality.”  Yes, it’s taken a naked supermodel and one of America’s literary giants to bring The Hangover out of its spring hibernation.

Read Me, Baby (Esquire, July 2009)

Read Me, Baby (Esquire, July 2009)

In the past, this space has admonished Esquire for its seemingly fading commitment to the short fiction it once championed.  But the editors have just taken a master stroke.  A painted, unclothed super model will catch the eye of most men.  Then, hopefully, the twisting language of King’s sentences will spur those potential readers to search out the story (page 57) in the magazine.  If this kind of heat can sell beer on television, why can’t it work for fiction in a glossy?

The pairing of King and Refaeli is genius.  The accompanying photos of the word-paint-splattered supermodel, July’s Esquire “Woman We Love,” speak for themselves.  And if there were a statistic that somehow averaged “book sales” and “literary quality of writing,” it’s likely that Stephen King would sit atop those standings.  Make no mistake, his story here is a contemporary, relevant monster.    

Now if we could only get some aspiring model to volunteer to be painted in the words of a Hangover Post, cultural satire would reach heights previously considered unattainable.    Applications for the position will be gladly accepted.

Abercrombie & Fitch Ad a Tour de Force

30 Jan

Abercrombie & Fitch’s new advertisement (available here), filmed in Kennebunk and Kennebunkport, is a tour de force of sociological documentary filmmaking.  While some critics may see the spot as just another attempt to sell shirts by exploiting sexy models and the retro rhythm and blues of Duffy’s “Mercy,” in reality the piece underscores the dire economic conditions and resulting anomie facing the region.

The opening shot of stately coastal homes and sailboats establishes a seemingly exclusive and monied setting.  However, this feint is followed by a reel of hard-hitting economic reality.   The black and white format adds  the existential gravity of film noir.

The lack of a shirt on the male character immediately symbolizes a grave issue facing young people in Maine today.  There is an undeniable lack of well-paying jobs for those in the “recently graduated” demographic. Many of our educated youth are forced to leave the state in search of employment in Boston, New York, or even the West Coast. Those who stay often can’t afford clothes. It may come to down to a choice of wearing a shirt or pants.

There are shots of the young man hauling a row boat to the shore, an indictment of the dying fishing industry. Subsequent scenes of him running with his dog show how Maine men have been reduced to their most primitive state: That of the pre-historic hunter-gatherer who domesticated wolves to aid his survival.

The young woman in the piece also reinforces the theme.  Her first extended scene shows her driving.  She is coming from somewhere else, both in place and in opportunity. Her face is serious and determined. She knows the hardship her man is facing. The film ends with the couple embracing in a field, though it is clearly established that he will be leaving with her.  Oppurtunity and hope exist where she lives.  There he will be able to afford pants and a shirt.

Songs Every Garage Band Should Know

11 Nov

The garage band is an American institution.   It is impossible to know just how many bands started out as a group of friends practicing in their garages, playing songs they liked–and could figure out. The music was usually basic rock and roll:  three or four chords, a strong back beat, guitar, bass, drums, and sometimes an organ or keys.  The garage sound spans from Chuck Berry and Elvis to the Stones, Kinks, and Beatles, through Warren Zevon and the Ramones to the Strokes and White Stripes. Perhaps the Granddaddy of all garage bands was Buddy Holly and the Crickets. Not only did they practice in the Holly’s garage, they recorded some of their first demos there. The rest is history.

Whether a bunch of stoned teenagers or middle-aged middle managers trying to blow off steam, a garage band should be able to rock out the neighborhood 4th of July cook out, your Aunt Sophie’s fifth (and surely last) divorce party, and any bar in town that has even the slightest whiff of stale beer. The songs don’t require exquisite musicianship but they do have to sound like fun.  The following set list would make any band practicing next to a Ford Taurus garage rock Kings:

Louie, Louie (by  the Kingsmen)

Three chords, sometimes indecipherable lyrics, and a never-fail connection with drunkeness thanks to Animal House make this a garage icon.  This song–that you can dance and drink to–will be a hit anyway, anyhow, anywhere.

Wild Thing (by The Troggs)

Another example of roots rock simplicity at its finest.  Guitar crunch, dramatic pauses, and potential crowd response put this on the list. 

Johnny B. Goode (by Chuck Berry)

Altough unable to be quantified, this song must have been played in more garages and barrooms than any other song in the history of rock.  It defines Chuck Berry’s rhythm and blues style.  Guitar players cut their teeth as beginners and then show their chops by playing lead to this one.

Heartbreak Hotel (by Elvis Presley)

No garage band set list would be complete without a nod to the King.   This will get everyone fired up, especially if the singer can do that hip thing and sneer at the same time.

Satisfaction (by the Rolling Stones)

It’s got the quintessential garage feel, a classic guitar lick, and a frustrated. pissed off narrator.  It doesn’t get more “garage” than that.

Pretty Woman (by Roy Orbison)

This song can work in a variety ways.  If the singer has some pipes, it can be done as a homage to the great Roy Orbison.  More likely, it can be dirtied up and done as a straight rock and roller, ala Van Halen (but please without those DLR squeals).  Either way, it will pack some punch.  Just make sure the singer isn’t checking out your date while he’s singing it.   

Wipeout (by the Surfaris)

Every band should be able to play an instrumental.  Surf music will get the crowd doing “the swim” and partying like its 1969–the time of free love. 

Allison (by Elvis Costello)

Even a garage band should know a slow song.  This one is from ’78.  When it’s dark and late, nothing sets the mood better than lost love and fading dreams. 

I Walk the Line (by Johnny Cash)

This will hit the mark with nose-ringed punks, as well as country fans who have a lawn mower replica of Dale Jr.’s #88 Impala in their own garage.  It will prove to some that you don’t need a Stetson to play or enjoy country music.

I Wanna Be Sedated (by the Ramones)

This will hit the mark with cowboy-hatted hillbillies, as well as alternative fans who have a Toyota Prius in their garage and a motorcycle leather in their closet.  It will prove to some that you don’t need to a habit to play or enjoy punk rock.

Get Back (by the Beatles)

The early Beatles were a prototypical garage and bar band, pumping out the Chuck Berry and Carl Perkins covers that tore the roof off the Cavern Club in Berlin.  They progressed from there, but on their last album returned to those pure, rock and roll roots.  This is also great to play if your ex-wife is in the room or the rhythm guitar player’s chick is trying to break up the band. 

And The Hangover’s Ultimate Garage Rock Song:  Werewolves of London (by Warren Zevon)

Obama Just Says No to Lindsay Lohan

18 Sep

The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that the Obama campaign has turned down Lindsay Lohan’s offer to host events for young voters and go on the stump for Barack.  It appears that the actress’s past troubles with alcohol and drugs have scared off the campaign.  Sure, she’s been arrested for drunken driving and cocaine possession, and she’s done a stint in rehab.  But all that makes her is an icon for those in the 18-25 year old demographic–and a perfect ambassador for Obama. 

In case you haven’t noticed, people aged 18-25 like to do drugs and drink alcohol.  That’s why they often go to college.  They also can vote, and in an election expected to be close, their votes could make the difference.   Survey results from the Department of Health and Human services found that nationally in a particular month, approximately 40.1% of those in the 18-25 demographic used illicit drugs (6.5 million people).  Approximately 50% of those 18-20 used alcohol, while 68% of those 21-25 also drank (19 million people).  Even if you consider that a good portion of those using drugs probably did so with a cocktail in their hand, that’s still a considerable number of potential votes.  And Lindsay Lohan is just the starlet who can reel them in.
Key to the "Party Vote."

Lindsay Lohan: Key to the "Party Vote"

Taking an overview, it’s likely that some 18-to-25ers are probably intending to cast their ballots anyway.   But there are others, ones who are too stoned to watch the news but just cognizant enough to ferret out Entertainment Tonight or TMZ.  Here’s the scenario:  Inbetween lines, tokes, or mojitos, the youthful party animal catches the stunning Lohan in a little black dress; she’s saying how much the country and especially their generation needs Obama.  A thought rises as the endorphins fire:  “Hey, if Lindsay’s for this guy, then he’s got to be cool and I might as well vote for the dude.  Worse comes to worse, I can hit the booth and pick up a 12 pack of Bud Light Lime and an eight ball on the way home.”  This could play out in every state in the nation, and those voters could tip the scales in favor of Obama.   If you don’t think “the party vote” would have carried Florida for Al Gore in 2000, then you’ve never seen Miami Vice.  
Mr. Obama, ignore your advisors and get Lindsay Lohan on the phone.  Put her to work for you.  She’s the key to votes that could win you this election, even if she can’t walk a straight line at 3:00 in the morning.

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.   

Reasons not to watch the Democratic National Convention

25 Aug

Even if you’ve got time to kill, don’t waste it watching the Democratic National Convention.  That is, unless you want to see five nights of self-congratulatory flagellation.   Yes, the Democrats did manage to nominate an electable candidate, as they have since 2000.  But as we all know, they’ve done it before with nothing to show for it. 

On tap is five nights of unearned back-slapping and speechifying.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but the platform most Democrats ran on in the last mid-term election was to stand up to W. Bush and end the war in Iraq.  Yet, they kept voting for funding, and our troops are still there getting bombed and shot.  And in case you haven’t noticed at your local gas station, the Enron loophole is alive and well.  This is the party that is supposedly looking out for working and middle class Americans.  In the words of Charlie Brown, “Good Grief.”

It is almost beside the point, but any entertainment the Convention can supply can be trumped elsewhere on cable, with less boredom and more enjoyment.

Better bad acting than at the DNC

Melrose Place: Better bad acting than at the DNC

  • If you’re looking for melodramatic bad acting, go find some reruns of Melrose Place on the Soap Network.  Skip Hillary and Barack arm-in-arm, smiling and acting like they’re great friends, mutually thrilled to have finally unified their party.  Without Aaron Spelling to direct them, that bit could be one of the most painful events in recent television history.
  •  Democratic party officials and politicians will be full of vitriol, fire, and outrage this week.  Of course, it’s easy to stand up and bellow when you’re surrounded by ardent, nerdy supporters.  Remember, these are the same folks who let Rove, Cheney, and Bush push them around for the last eight years while barely making a peep.  Watch the Wizard of Oz and see if the mighty Wizard doesn’t remind you of the Democrats–especially after Dorothy pulls back the curtain.
  • When you were in high school, didn’t you find the student government people to be just a  bit pompous and full of themselves?  As if they were actually doing something other than putting on dances and making sure students paid their class dues?  Granted, some kids were normal teens trying to pad their college apps, but the ones who took it seriously–you might recognize them at the convention foaming at the mouth and thrusting Obama-Biden signs high into the air.  Do you really want to spend five nights with these folks?  Get a grip with some kids who have real issues–check out Season One of Friday Night Lights.  Not a Student Council geek to be found. 
  • Democrats will spar over the party’s platform, as if it matters.  As soon as everyone is elected, the politicians will go back to their primary job function–getting reelected.  Outside of a few issues such as health care and hopefully ending the war, no one will give a rat’s ass about “minor” aspects of what is supposedly the party’s agenda.  If you want to see staged, fixed, and meaningless fighting, The Hangover recommends the WWE‘s Monday Night Raw or Friday’s Smackdown.  In addition, the wrestling Divas are much hotter than the political wonkettes.  The Hangover will take Eve and Victoria over Nancy Pelosi and Rielle Hunter any day. 
  • If you actually want to gain respect for your Senators and Representatives, skip the Convention and watch C-Span.  Anyone that can stay awake while serving through a session of Congress deserves some degree of adulation.
  • Finally, if you want to see what’s at the heart of American politics, get your hands on Robert Altman’s Nashville.  The film is set at a political convention, and it will entertain, educate, and challenge more than this week’s pitiful Demo-fest.   

Celebrity Sex Scandal: 1 Winner, 300 Million Losers

19 Aug

John Edwards.  Rielle Hunter.   Jay McInerney.  The latest celebrity sex scandal being reported on in the American press was 25 years in the making and includes a would-be President, a once-famous, sometimes decent writer, and a coke whore “media expert.”  Who needs the Lifetime Channel when we have this? 

After intrepid reporting by the National Enquirer (I can’t believe I just wrote that), Edwards admitted to having an affair with Rielle Hunter in 2006.  Edwards confessed:

“In the course of several campaigns, I started to believe that I was special and became increasingly egocentric and narcissistic.”

Edwards, honestly, admits to becoming a fathead.  This is the same thinking that regularly leads others to cheating, including professional athletes, actors and actresses, and politicians.  It shouldn’t surprise anyone, unless one investigates the history of his paramour, Rielle Hunter.

Rielle Hunter was formerly called Lisa Druck.  She was a noted coke-snorting, bed-hopping (not that there’s anything wrong with that) 80’s New York party girl.  In fact, after a liaison with McInerny in the post Bright Lights, Big City era, she became the inspiration for the main character of his forgettable second novel, Story of My Life.  Mysteriously, the book was about a trampy, coke-snorting New York woman who was trying to find her way in life.  The character based on Hunter, Allison Poole, was also skewered in two of Bret Ellis’s novels.  That indicates one of two things:  either she was incredibly loathsome or Ellis was one celebrity Hunter wouldn’t give it up for. 

Twenty years later, Hunter became a public figure again, initially for filming campaign “webisodes” for Edwards’ failed 2008 Presidential bid.  In an interview with “Extra,” Hunter admitted:

“I’ve never really been interested in politics in my life.  I voted twice.”

Perhaps this explains why her webisodes proved to be tremendously ineffective.  And while she found politics “a gross environment,” Hunter did find Edwards to be “interesting,” “real,” and “authentic.”  Apparently, she also found him steamy, and really, really hot.

The sole beneficiary of this scandal is McInerny.  He’s got a 2007 book, The Good Life, to publicize and the press is knocking on his door again, if only to ask about Hunter.   However, thanks to the scandal, Story of My Lifehas just been reprinted.  While The Good Life is ranked 80,125 in book sales on Amazon, Story of My Life has climbed to 1,828. 

It’s the rest of us who are the losers here.  And not because the Hangover-endorsed Edwards has skuttled his chances for future public service.  At this point, it’s impossible to care about a full-of-shit politician, no matter what his (or her) message.

The more serious problem exposed by this scandal is the tabloid culture that owns America.  As citizens, we should have more important things to think about than a failed politician hooking up with a bottle-blonde scratching and clawing for another Wharholian 15 minutes.  And the Hangover is not suggesting that we spend time considering Britney’s recovery, Brangelina’s kids, Bigfoot, or Christian Bale’s belief that he’s Batman, dammit. 

The Hangover apologizes for even bringing up the subject here.  As punishment, I’ll force myself to watch an hour of Entertainment Tonight.  While it might be painful, at least I’ll be made fully aware of the issues considered important by the vast majority of Americans.