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.)   

Action

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:

Susan Collins: PAC Money Makes Policy

1 Oct

Susan Collins opposes President Obama’s health care plan, particularly the public option.  The Hangover knows this because one of her staff was kind enough to tell me so in a recent phone conversation.   Consider me cynical.  When in a follow-up I asked the staff member how much campaign money Senator Collins has taken from the medical, insurance, and pharmaceutical lobbies, Collin’s mouthpiece told me that she didn’t have that information.   I wondered aloud if Collins didn’t know how much payola came from those sectors.   I was reassured that while the Collins’ staffer didn’t have that information, it was available at fec.gov, the Federal Election Commission’s website.  This excahnge followed:

The Hangover:  “Don’t you think Senator Collins should provide that (who she received campaign donations from) information?”

Collins  Staff Member:  “The information is available on the website, fec.gov, that I told you about.”

The Hangover:  “Don’t you think that withholding the information makes her look corrupt like all those other Republicans taking money from lobbyists?”

Collins Staffer:  “The information is available on the FEC website, sir.”

Before any Republicans think The Hangover is “profiling,” we heartily acknowledge that Senate Democrats take just as much money as the Republicans do from these lobbies.   That’s the problem.  (It’s no wonder that real health care reform is impossible:  Mandated business creation for insurance companies isn’t exactly health care reform.)

The Hangover took the staffer’s advice and checked out the FEC website.  The information was, indeed, there.  In fact, the report on Susan Collins’ accepted  campaign contributions for the 2007-2008 election cycle was disgusting.  What’s worse is that her tally reads similarly to those of her 99 Senate colleagues serving  “we the people.”  Collins’ list of contributors can be viewed here in it’s entirety, but there are some obvious highlights:

In the 2007-2008 election cycle, Senator Collins received expenditures of:

$26,000 from the American Association of Neurosurgeons PAC

$190, 530 from the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons PAC

$14, 000 from Aetna’s PAC

$20,000 from the American Hospital Association PAC

$20,000 from AFLAC’s PAC (that’s the one with the duck)  

$18,000 from the Blue Cross/Blue Shield PAC

$1000from the Bluecross of Michigan PAC (???)

There are so many contributors listed, The Hangover doesn’t blame the Senator for not providing her staffers with the information.   They’d have to be MIT graduates to follow it. 

In terms of full disclosure, The Hangover gave nothing to Senator Collins’ campaign.  We find this is appropriate.  If any of Maine’s other 1.5 million residents believe that the Senator is looking out for their best interest, all they have to do is pull out their processed checks for the last few years.   It’s likely one is getting according to what one gave.

Hangover Blog on Hiatus

21 Aug

The Hangover is officially going on hiatus.  Faithful readers have surely noticed a considerable slowdown over the past six months.  This is one thing in contemporary America that can’t be blamed on the economy, however.    There is a novel to be completed and The Hangover is going to be totally immersed in full-contact fiction-writing.    Outside of a possible music post or two, The Hangover will resume when the manuscript is complete.

However, we do reserve the right to comment if some act completely egregious to common sense raises our ire.  This could include:

  • Health Care “reform” that doesn’t do anything except create mandatory customers for insurance companies–who are obviously the root of the problem (along with their lobbyists).   Count us among those who would prefer our health care decisions be made by a bureaucrat, as opposed to a “fat-assed” CEO or corporate drone whose bonus is tied to the greed-driven profit of a health care conglomerate.   (And why do our prescription drugs cost more than those in Canada?  Our beer doesn’t cost any more money, and isn’t alcohol a drug?)
  • Corruption in Congress that blocks common sense legislation.  Those who have the most lobbyists with the deepest pockets win.  It’s disgusting, as are our elected representivives as individuals.  None of these clowns would ever get laid if they didn’t have their government jobs.
  • A car industry that continues to build Hummers for non-military use.   Yep, that will lead us to energy independence.
  • Less prison time for a football-playing, drunk-driving, people-killer (Dante Stallworth) than for a football playing dog-killer (Mike Vick) or a football-playing dumbass  (Plexico Burress), who shot only himself in a nightclub. 

If The Hangover continues to dwell on these subjects, the long-awaited novel will never be completed.   Unfortunately, with a country like this, The Hangover could be pulled back into action tomorrow.

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.

Best Fourth of July Songs

24 Jun

The best Fourth of July rock music will provide audio fireworks for your Independence Day celebration, the most American of holidays.  After all, rock and roll is American music.  While celebrating the birth of our nation, the 4th also honors all things American:  our freedoms, life in the  USA, and even summer itself.   The songs can be serious, fun, thoughtful,  thoughtless, or any combination thereof.  While there are plenty that pay homage to American values and virtues, these are the best:  

Living In AmericaJames Brown

The Hardest Working Man in Show Business sings, hoots, and howls this paean of American life.  It was recorded for Rocky IV, in which the cold-war-fighting Rocky ultimately triumphs over the Russian Drago,  symbolizing America’s greatest post WWII victory.  The American Way prevails.   Bonus feature: the film clip is also a great example of bloated American excess.

4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy), Bruce Springsteen

When one is young, summer is everything.  And that time is never more vital than when experienced on the edge between youth and adulthood.  This song captures that place and those moments.  So much of the American summer is the shore and the boardwalk (or Main Street), and Springsteen draws of a vivid portrait of the yearning that rises there.   If you’ve grown up in the US, this song will lead you back to place you know.

Rockin’ In The Free World & This Note’s For You, Neil Young

This medley of Neil Young songs will hit the highs and lows of the American experience.  Rocking in the Free World (from “Freedom’) is a full throttle celebration of freedom in general, and freedom of expression in particular.  Yes, we are grateful.  But This Note’s for You, on the other hand, skewers the never-ending marketing deluge that Americans face on a daily basis.   Everything is for sale here, including integrity.  Hopefully, our freedom will prove to be an exception. 

Guitars, CadillacsDwight Yoakam

For the heartbroken, lonely character of this song, the only thing that “keeps him hanging on” are “guitars, Cadillacs, and hillbilly music.”    This roots rock/country rave recognizes the basis of identitiy for many Americans:  Cars and Music.  

Rockaway Beach, The Ramones

Once again, The Ramones nail it in the simplest way possible–both lyrically and musically.  It’s summer, it’s hot, and they want to escape the city go to the beach.   They’ll hitch a ride to get there, too.

California Girls & Surfin’ USA,  The Beach Boys

The Hangover was tempted to place the entirety of Endless Summer
on this list.  The Beach Boys were at one time not just the original California band, but the American Band.  They honor the USA with their classic sound here, extolling the virtues of California women and surf culture.   No arguments accepted. 

4th Of July, X

The other seminal California band gives us a snapshot of reality–relationship discord and disappointment on the day itself.   The singer hopes that the holiday can allow the couple to step outside into the fireworks and regain what they have lost.    It’s a heartfelt, urgent slice of American life.

Fight For Your Right, The Beastie Boys

The Declaration of Independence tells Americans they are entitled to certain unalienable rights, one of which is “The Pursuit of Happiness.”  Nothing will stop the Beastie’s from this exercising this right:  Not hypocritical parents or a dictatorial educational system.   Americans have had to fight to protect the freedoms that we have been given, and the Beastie Boys take this seriously.

Surrender, Cheap Trick

On this holiday, one cannot ignore  middle-American suburbia, the  soil that Cheap Trick tills here.  Post-Vietnam America spun off its axis, and Cheap Trick’s portrayal of that era reveals a fissure that while disconcerting is far from fatal.   Weirdness is okay.  “We’re all alright.”

Route 66, Chuck Berry & Drive SouthJohn Hiatt

Chuck Berry’s 1961 cover of Route 66 brought the roadtrip  into the rock and roll world.   There aren’t many things more American than hopping into a car and just taking off.  The virtues of this particularly American  escape are echoed by John Hiatt in Drive South, recorded nearly 30 years later.  

 Living In The U.S.A., Steve Miller

In this most egalitarian of nations, it’s fitting that even a mediocre rock star can write a great song about his country.   It’s a “plastic land” that’s not quite so easy to live in as it appears to be, but it’s even harder to leave.  This nuanced, insightful look at the USA delivers much more than what can normally be expected from Miller. 

Gun Sale At The ChurchThe Beat Farmers

In the 1600’s, the American continent was settled (invaded?) by hardcore religious fanatics kicked out of England.  The musket ultimately made that habitation “successful,” and then the Winchester rifle sealed the empire by winning the West.  The very foundation of America, therefore, is based on gun and church.  The Beat Farmers skewer the irony of this philosophical dichotomy as it exists in modern America. 

American Beat ’84The Fleshtones

The Fleshtones pay tribute to the American Rock and Roll sound, so much a part of freedom of speech and our post-1950 cultural heritage.  Their homage acknowledges the American sounds of:  Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Berry Gordy, Del Shannon, the Del Fuegos, Buddy Holly, the Lyres, the Real Kids, The Modern Lovers, MC5, the Kingsmen, the Plimsouls, Los Lobos, Richie Valens, Martha Reaves, and on and on…. 

Ode To Liberty (The Protest Song), Phil Lynott

Phil Lynott shows depth as a songwriter, philosopher,  and poet with a thoughtful ode to American liberty and the need for it to exist throughout the world.  It is a poem set to dreamy, textured rock that buoys the hope and need invoked in the lyrics.  This is a song that should be heard, especially on the July 4th.

Pink Houses, John Mellencamp

Although there’s a slight risk that someone might mistakenly think you’ve slipped a Chevy commercial into your mix, Mellencamp’s Pink Houses is a wry celebration of all things American:  Freedom and the resulting absurdity allowed by that freedom.   He sings of past glories, ridiculous disillusionment, winners and losers, and the ultimate irrelevancy of it all.

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.