Monday, December 20, 2010

This Week In Non-House Hugh Laurie: Merry Fucking Christmas

OK, I realize that if this were a normal week House would have started already, and I said I'd post the non-House clips in the hour leading up to a new episode. But, thank Jesus, it's a Christmas miracle. House is on hiatus so tonight is just a rerun. So nuts to you. It's not like your reading this anyway.

To celebrate the season, I'm fast-forwarding this week's post to the year 2008 for Laurie's hosting of Saturday Night Live. But I must warn you, if you're anything like me then you will want to skip the cold opening by Gilly, a character so bad that it makes me long for the days of "It's Pat." Actually, scratch that. "It's Pat" still sucks ass. Anyway, skip to 0:15 to avoid the colon tumor that is Gilly.

I have to admit, this skit really shouldn't be funny. It's one of those one-note skits that SNL is infamous for (I love Keenan Thompson, but "What Up With That" is NOT FUNNY!). But I think I like it because it would be fun to have a Christmas dinner like that. Granted, I'm sure plenty of families do have a Christmas dinner like that and they would probably say it's not a good time. But what if you just planned a dinner where the whole point was to yell at each other and treat each other like shit. Then after about an hour you can go back to at least pretending to being nice to one another. I don't know, am I the only one who thinks that would be a blast?

Well, with Christmas coming up this will most likely be my last post until next week so have a fantastic Christhanukwaanza, and I'll leave you with a bonus clip: some unexplainable montage of Hugh Laurie pictures set to a piano instrumental of "Silent Night."

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Take The Edge Off With The Greatest Kick To The Head I've Ever Seen

While I don't talk about it much on here, I'm pretty much addicted to mixed martial arts. I suppose that makes sense, since I use this blog as a forum to bitch about the things I don't like. But I saw a clip this week that I feel should be seen by as many people as possible. Therefore, I'm dusting off the "Take The Edge Off" post so that I can share this with anyone who may not be familiar with MMA and have not seen it. And if you are one of those people who still think that MMA is nothing more than "human cockfighting," well you are just wrong and I'm not in the mood to try and explain why.

First, you should know that the following clip comes from the final airing of a company known as World Extreme Cagefighting. Lame titles aside, it's been known as one of the few organizations to make the guys over at Ultimate Fighting Championships turn their heads. In fact, the owners of the UFC bought WEC, and used it as a forum for the smaller weight classes to show their stuff. The UFC recently decided to merge those weight classes into its own organization, so the fighters will have a home but there will no longer be a WEC.

Well, the final fight that the WEC broadcast this past Thursday is making waves as a potential fight of the year. Lightweight fighters Ben Henderson and Anthony Pettis put together a 25 minute epic fight, probably because they both knew that a win meant better job security going into the merger. I do have to admit, because the fight aired on Versus and I'm too poor to buy that TV package, I didn't get to see the whole fight. But we can all take a look at the move that probably earned Pettis a decision victory over Henderson.

I'm pretty sure I could watch that kick five times a day for the rest of my life and it would never, ever get old. It's just got everything. It's flashy. It's unexpected. It snaps Henderson's head back like a whip. The only thing I can't believe is that Henderson wasn't knocked out by that kick. That man must be a cyborg, because I'm fairly certain a kick like that would have made me cry. Not just tears in my eyes, either. I'm talking full-blown wailing in the middle of the cage. I wouldn't have cared who saw me.

I'd say the only disappointing thing about the kick is that Pettis gave it the rather weak name of the "Showtime Kick." I mean, I guess it's not a terrible name, but that kick deserves better than "not terrible." I'm thinking something along the lines of "The Deathfoot" or "The Decapitanator." Something with a capitalized "The" in front of it. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. If not, watch it again because you must be doing it wrong.

Monday, December 13, 2010

This Week In Non-House Hugh Laurie: The Legends Of Treasure Island

I remember when I first started looking into Hugh Laurie's back catalog, I found that this guy had some really impressive range. Originally seeing him in House, I didn't even realize that Laurie is English. He can really lose himself in a role, be it a crotchety but brilliant doctor, or a goofball Prince of England.

Which is why I find it so surprising that he spent most of his early career being typecast. Case in point: The Legends of Treasure Island. To this point, it seems as though most of Laurie's work has been as an ignorant, but well meaning aristocrat. But in 1993, however, the creators of Legends introduce Laurie to new territory as a voice actor. And how do the creators of the show exploit this new medium for Laurie? By making him an ignorant but well meaning aristocrat...and a bird.

If you take a look at this week's clip (starting at around 7:35) you'll see what I mean. The good news is that if you find yourself entranced by the whimsy of this animated tale, you're in luck because it's one of those shows that nobody gives a rat's ass about so YouTube has complete episodes posted. I, however, will just assume that the show ends with them finding treasure on an island of some kind.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Grumpy Movie Review: The Warrior's Way

That was just fantastic. I literally got through the door about 5 minutes ago after seeing The Warrior's Way and I feel obligated to proclaim it's glory. This movie just stamped a smile on my face that may not go away until 2011.

Now, I have to make a confession. I love movies. But they don't have to be great movies. In some cases, I'd prefer they weren't great movies. There Will Be Blood, for example, is supposed to be a great movie. I could barely get through it. Yes, yes, I get it. A man's greed and ambition will leave him empty and joyless. And then he'll kill a skinny preacher with a bowling pin. I still don't get why I had to waste two hours of my day watching it.

If I'm going to waste two hours, I'd much rather it be by watching The Warrior's Way. Subtlety? Who needs it. Character development? Kiss my ass. Plot? Ha. Let me sum up the plot for you. An assassin (played by Korean star Dong-jun Jang) refuses to kill the last remaining member of his enemy clan because she is only an infant. His clan then starts to hunt him down, and he escapes to a small town in the U.S.'s Old West where he befriends a girl (Kate Bosworth) who's looking for revenge against an evil colonel (Danny Huston). The assassin and the girl fall in love, and then a whole bunch of people get shot/cut to ribbons with swords.

If you think I've spoiled the ending for you, then you're an idiot and I'd like for you to be on your way. Of course a lot of people are going to die. This is exploitative trash, and that's why I love it. Everyone knows exactly what's going to happen, but that doesn't make it any less awesome when a faceless ninja dives through machine gun fire to slice off the arms of its user, causing said machine gun to fall on the ground and spray fire at random asshole cowboys.

And by the way, when I mentioned the love story between Dong-jun and Bosworth, I basically mean sword training montages interspersed with lingering looks and I think maybe one kiss. Just enough to show the audience that this guy has something to fight for now. We wouldn't want him to just go around cutting off heads for no reason. We're not mindless animals here, folks.

Plus, I'd be remiss if I forgot about the appearance of one Mr. Stephen "Captain Barbosa" Fry. This has got to be the absolute ugliest man I've ever laid eyes on. But he's still more man that I could ever hope to be, and this movie is no exception. In fact, if I have one complaint about the movie, it's that there wasn't enough Stephen Fry. That, and through the whole movie he never said "Damn! Ninjas." Come on, guys. When you basically center your previews on a phrase like that, it should pay off in the actual movie.

Other than that, however, there isn't anything bad in this movie for me to complain about. That's because it's all supposed to be bad. And it is. It's a terrible movie. But like I said, it put a big smile on my face. And in the end that's all I ask. Bravo to Rogue Pictures for being willing to distribute such delightful schlock. I look forward to their upcoming opus, Season of the Witch. It's got Nicolas Cage in it. I don't think I really need to explain myself any further.

Grade: A

Monday, December 6, 2010

It's "Caffè". Not "Coffee". Stupid American.

Editor's Note: Ha! I called myself the editor...I'm awesome. Anyway, we have our very first guest post today, courtesy of the little woman. I promised this was coming a couple of weeks ago, but she didn't get around to writing it for the crappy excuse of having an actual life to lead. Oh well. Enjoy some estrogen-laced ranting!

So, as all two of you know, the Grump and I were lucky enough to travel to Florence (Italy not New Jersey) for our honeymoon. It was an amazing trip and I'm sure you guys have kept up with the hub's posts concerning our awesome time there. While most of the things that the Grump saw as major enjoyment roadblocks (like not knowing the language...oh, wah) I simply ignored as I most likely had a glass of chianti in hand at the time. However, as a coffee drinker, my honeymoon buzz was nearly disrupted by the lack of a decent cup of joe anywhere in the country.

I started drinking coffee in college, mostly just to get going for my 10:00 a.m. classes. God, I miss college. Anyway, I was introduced to coffee through the roach trucks on campus.


This is coffee that had been brewing for about three days before the cup was shoved into your hand by Vlad, who may or may not be a convicted felon in the old country. Zombie-like, you totter the first few feet towards your class while taking your first tongue scalding sip. What happens internally is only what I can describe as a Van Damme kick to your frontal cortex, tongue and vital organs. Externally, for me anyway, it looks and sounds something like this:

Needlessly to say, I reached the point where this kung fu showdown with my early morning brain function is something that I now require to start off my day. So, imagine my surprise when I asked for a coffee in Italy and the waiter plunked this down in front of me:

"I feel like I'm gonna break this damned thing."

I know what you guys are thinking. "Mrs.Grump, (because you guys are polite) that appears to be an espresso. Coffee-zilla. Even for an addict like yourself, it should be more than sufficient to satisfy your coffee jones." Well, Grumpites, it's not. I like to enjoy my caffeine buzz. Savor it, if you will. And I just can't do that when there's only a quarter of an inch of metallic tasting liquid with an entire pack of sugar thrown in.

Puzzled, I consulted my trusty Frommer's. Skipping past the potential set up they give you for being roofied by someone named Gio the second you step into a bar, "caffè" is listed as the Italian word for coffee....and espresso. Seriously? So a couple of days and almost one full espresso cup later, I overhear a table of French tourists ordering a "caffè americano". I know, right? The last group you would think would order anything "americano". So I give that a whirl and I'm given a cup of something that was quite obviously espresso watered down with the spit of the cafe waiters. Ugh. Good thing it's socially acceptable to order wine at eleven in the morning on a Tuesday here, otherwise there would be dead bodies littering the piazza.

So to bring this rambling post to a conclusion, my coffee confusion was cleared up about a month later when I stumbled upon this post by The Oatmeal, who I absolutely love and am also a little afraid of. While I don't agree with his assessment of the whole Italian/American coffee situation (Espresso with or without water blows goats either way in the categories of taste and strength), I'd recommend reading it before you venture off into the land of Italy. Or just have a backup cup of diner coffee waiting for you like I did when you land.

This Week In Non-House Hugh Laurie: Jeeves and Wooster

After last week's tangent that had little to nothing to do with Hugh Laurie, I'll try and stay on point as we take a look at Jeeves and Wooster, a.k.a. A Bit of Fry and Laurie, 1930s Style. For those of you who read more than I do (don't be too impressed with yourselves) you might know Jeeves and Wooster as characters from the short stories of P.G. Wodehouse. The series was adapted for TV by Clive Exton, whose prior work includes the epic period piece Red Sonja.

And the Oscar never, ever goes to...

One thing that I have to share with you from the show is the opening sequence. You'll see that Hugh Laurie is nowhere to be found, but you'll also find that the theme song will be stuck in your head for a better part of the day.

As the following clip will show, there isn't a whole lot about Jeeves and Wooster that will surprise you if you're already familiar with the work of Fry and Laurie, aside from the fact that Fry plays the straight man a bit more than in the past. Laurie, as usual, is a buffoon, and similar to his turn as Prince George he's even dumber for not realizing that he's a buffoon. The humor is a bit more low-key here, and to be honest a little of this show goes a long way for me, but it's still worth a look.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Christmas Shoes: Proof That God Either Doesn't Exist Or Really Enjoys Screwing With Us From Time To Time

I need to make a correction from Monday's post. In my ranting about the insufferable nature of patriotic pop music, I incorrectly named "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (Angry American)" as the worst thing ever written. This is a grave error. It is by no means the worst thing ever written, and I apologize for making such a statement.

After all, how can "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue" possibly be the worst song in a world where this exists...

Now, it may surprise you to know that I actually like Christmas music. I even look forward to when the local douche bag top 40 station goes to all Christmas music after Thanksgiving. It gives me time to forget that I'm a cynical asshole for a few minutes on my ride home from work. That's why I get extra fucking pissed when I hear these idiots from Newsong spew this shallow, bullshit bowl of nothing.

I mean, come on. Shoes? Fucking shoes? Of all the things that you could have come up with to shamelessly tug on the old heartstrings you're giving me footwear? And don't give me any kind of weak crap about how it's meant to convey the simple innocence of a child trying to show his love the only way he knows how. If I'm dying of the unnamed disease that is apparently killing the mom in this song, my kid had better not come at me with a pair of goddamn shoes unless he wants me to smother him with the pillow from my hospital bed.

And I'd also like to know what kind of values this family has instilled in this kid, where he thinks that Jesus really gives a shit what his mom's wearing on her feet when she buys it. As if Joan Rivers is going to be waiting in the tunnel of light to bust her chops if she's not wearing Manolos.
"Oh! Can we talk about that hospital gown? It's so assisted living! But that could be forgiven if her brat of a son would have bought her some decent shoes!"


And what the hell is Rob Lowe doing in the shitty TV movie based off this shitty song? I didn't even find that out until today. This man is Sam Seaborn! He was a senior aide to the president of the United States of America, and he deserves better than that!

God, now I've gone and gotten myself depressed in this season of love and family. Thanks a lot Newsong. I hope your exploitation of empty sentimentalism makes you feel really good about yourselves. It's thrilling to know that you're likely richer than I'll ever hope to be. Merry Christmas, trouser stains.

Monday, November 29, 2010

This Week In Non-House Hugh Laurie: "America"

After a lovely Thanksgiving holiday of eating turkey and not writing any posts, it seems I'll be following up last week's non-House Hugh Laurie segment with....another non-House Hugh Laurie segment. But in my defense, I'll be doing so with an aspect of Hugh Laurie that we haven't seen yet, which is Hugh Laurie's ability to write and sing ridiculous songs.

The song I chose for this week, "America," hits a particular note with me for two reasons. First, I cannot fucking stand when pop musicians cash in on American patriotism. And yes, I'm looking squarely at you, Toby Keith. "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (Angry American)" may be the worst song ever written in the history of anything being written. If you haven't heard it, do yourself a favor. Don't. Just don't ever.

Basically, a man who has made his living playing a musical instrument has taken it upon himself to warn terrorists of the ass-kicking they have coming. But, lest you think his motives for writing a song about American patriotism in the wake of 9/11 are anything less than pure, just remember Keith simply had to write it as a tribute to his father:

It wasn’t written for everybody. And when you write something from your heart - I had a dad that was a veteran, taught me how precious our freedom is - I was so angry when we were attacked here on American soil that it leaked out of me. You know, some people wept when they heard it. Some people got goose bumps. Some people were emotionally moved. Some cheered, turned their fists in the air.

Fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you. Fuck you times a million. There is nothing more nauseating than watching the macho posturing of a man you know has never been put in harms way for a single day in his life. This is just a shallow rallying cry for people looking for any excuse to shout "America, fuck yeah!" without any hint of irony.

Which brings me to the second thing that "America" brings to my mind. Fellow complainer Lewis Black made the best point that I've ever heard about mindless country pride in a bit on his CD, The End of the Universe. I can't seem to find the exact quote, but it comes down to this: Imagine you have a coworker who wanders around the office continually shouting "I'm the
best motherfucker in this place!" Eventually, you and your fellow office mates will rise up and slay him.

Yes, we live in a great country with a lot to be thankful for, so we should enjoy it and even be proud of it. But do we need to rub it into the faces of everyone we know just to make the point that we think their lives are a big pile of dogshit? For Christ's sake, let's settle down a bit, huh? I think this post has taken a bit of a turn. Perhaps its time to get to the clip before I get too lost up my own ass. Enjoy some light musical satire, folks!

Monday, November 22, 2010

This Week In Non-House Hugh Laurie: Strapless

If there is anything I like more than movies and movie trivia, it's crappy movies that big name actors would like to forget they were ever in. If I ever met, for instance, Adrien Brody, I would not dream of mentioning his Academy Award winning performance in The Pianist. Shit, I've never even seen that movie. Nor would I ask him what it was like to act the part of a disabled person in The Village, or how hard it was to bulk up for Predators. Nah, if I ever met Adrien Brody, I would smile, look him in the eye, and say "I loved you in Angels in the Outfield."

If you didn't know that Adrien Brody was in that movie, don't worry. I'm fairly certain he forgot he was in it, too. But everyone in showbusiness has to work through that crappy movie, either to get started or to make a house payment. And Hugh Laurie is no exception.

To be fair, I know very little about this week's pick, a 1989 movie called Strapless. The synopsis on IMDB is some drivel about an American doctor who goes to work in London and meets some guy and blah blah blah whatever. What's important is that Hugh Laurie is neither of these characters, nor is he anywhere in the vicinity of top billing. In fact, I'm pretty sure the following montage is at least 80% of all of Laurie's scenes as the character Colin.

So for all I know about the movie, Strapless could be a cult hit in England. It may be what kicked his career into high gear, paving the way for his introduction to the U.S. as Gregory House. But seeing as that breakthrough didn't come until a decade and a half later, I'm going to say that's a big no. I just hope he bought something really cool with the money. A minibar, perhaps?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Half Marathons Are At Least 0.5 Times As Good As Full Marathons

I ran in the Philadelphia Half-Marathon today. Me and 24,000 of my closest running pals gathered at the Art Museum and tested our mettle. I'd run one other half marathon in my life, but that was about 11 years and 40 pounds ago, so I wanted to see if I could still pull it off. I'd been training for a few months with the sole goal of running the entire race without having to walk, which I couldn't do the first time around. Follow me, if you will, as I take you through what goes through a large, somewhat overweight runner's mind as he runs 13.1 miles.

7:00am (0 miles)--We're lined up in our starting groups, and the announcer gives us a countdown to get everyone started....3, 2, 1! And the race has begun.

7:10am (0 miles)--I still can't even see the actual starting line, and I begin to realize my race won't be starting any time soon.

7:24am (0 miles)--My group finally gets started. The mayor is giving high fives to people as they get started, but I there is a line of 4 people waiting to get a chance to get one. I pass, as I have very important running to do.

7:36am (1 miles)--I'm feeling good, although not thrilled that it took me 12 minutes to run a mile because all of these jerks are in my way. Clear a path, people!

7:47am (2 miles)--This is really cool. I get to run through Center City Philadelphia without worrying about cars or, more importantly, bicyclists. Stupid fucking bicyclists.

7:57am (3 miles)--Now I'm getting my rhythm. I like my pace and I'm even passing a lot of people. This pace will in no way come back to bite me in the ass later on.

8:07am (4 miles)--Running down South Street. Must resist urge to run into Jim's for a cheesesteak.

8:17am (5 miles)--Making my way down Chestnut Street and through a major part of Center City Philadelphia. Coming to terms with the fact that if I was not running in this race I would want to kill everyone in the world for fucking up the city's traffic patterns.

8:27am (6 miles)--I'm almost halfway done! Still feeling really good, with the adrenaline and the cheers of the crowd keeping me moving. Hey, maybe next year I'll even try a full marathon!

8:37am (7 miles)--I think it was around here that I could see the river, where a good number of the full marathon runners have already passed the 13.1 mile marker and are in the second half of their run. My feelings are hurt a little bit, but I'm OK.

8:58am (9 miles)--OK, I'm hitting a bit of a wall now. But I'm on the back end of the run so as long as nothing unexpected comes up, I should be fine.

9:04am (9.5 miles)--Who the fuck decided to put the courses largest hill at the 9 mile portion of the race!? Are they trying to make me cry? Obviously there's a conspiracy here.

9:08am (9.8 miles)--Well at least they put a water station soon after the hill. And this one even has energy gel! I never realized how dense this stuff was. While trying to eat it I can only assume that I look like a dog with peanut butter in it's mouth.

9:21am (11 miles)--Fucking bicyclists! Just one of these assholes manages to insert himself in this race, and I get stuck next to him in a crowded downhill section of the race, so I get to hear him constantly creaking his breaks as he keeps almost hitting runners. Die.

9:22am (11.1 miles)--Oh, and I am dying right now. I haven't hit the wall, I've torpedoed into it.

9:33am (12 miles)--Oh, thank you Jesus. One more mile.

9:39am (12.5 miles)--Shit, are these miles marked properly?

9:45am (12.8 miles)--They start directing half-marathoners to one side and full-marathoners tot he left. I realize that if I was running a full marathon, I'd just about be at the half-way point. I make a solemn pact with myself right then and there to never run a full marathon in my life.

9:46am (13.1 miles)--I've made it! I've run 13.1 miles without stopping! .....Oh dear God. If I stop moving my legs I think every muscle in them may just seize.

Well, thankfully they didn't seize. I must admit I was a little bummed out that I came in a little bit behind the 1st place female runner...of the full marathon. But all in all it was a pretty great run. Plus, afterward, I had my lady waiting for me AND a waffle breakfast. Not a bad way to end a day. Yes, I realize it's only around 10am at this point. But I don't really plan on doing jack shit for the rest of the day.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Why Couldn't Eric Stoltz Go Back To The Future?

I'm a big fan of useless movie trivia. I'll admit, this is a bit of a redundant phrase, similar to "irritating Oasis song." But I can't get enough of tidbits about how a movie was made, especially things about the parts they cut out. For example, did you know that Kevin Smith originally ended Clerks by having Dante killed by a robber? Or that Chris Farley would have been the voice of Shrek if not for his untimely death?

Well, one of the recent "What could have been" movie reveals is that Back to the Future's Marty McFly wasn't originally Michael J. Fox. He was the studio's first choice, but he was too busy with Family Ties, so they went with option B: Eric Stoltz. Take a gander at the clip below, and behold the surreal image of shot for shot scenes with Stoltz replacing Fox.

That's pretty much a bummer for Eric Stoltz, isn't it? Five weeks of shooting and then he gets shit canned? I like Eric Stoltz, too, and I wonder if he was really as wrong for the role as they say he was. I decided to put this question to the test in the most half-assed way possible: take two movies, one with Michael J. Fox and one with Eric Stoltz, and compare their performances to see who would be a better fit. I did away with pesky scientific concepts like "controls" or "legitimate effort," and just picked two movies from the eighties that I liked.

For my Michael J. Fox sample, I went with the terrifying tale of pubescent lycanthropy, Teen Wolf. Fox plays Scott, an small-town high school basketball player who finds out he's a werewolf. And when the rest of his school finds out, instead of fleeing in terror/forming a mob to destroy the evil beast, they make him the most popular kid in school. But forget about the plot, my aim here was to analyze Fox's performance. And I must say, with the material given, this guy should have won an Academy Award (or at least a Golden Globe). He somehow manages to take a character in an insanely idiotic premise and make him seem natural.

In the case of Eric Stoltz, I at least wanted to choose an example from around the same time as Teen Wolf. I could have chosen Mask, but it didn't really have a comparable tone to Teen Wolf and it would have been too difficult to resist my natural urge to make fun of people who have unfortunate physical ailments. So, I went with the John Hughes produced Some Kind of Wonderful, where Stoltz plays a middle-class outcast named Keith who finds himself going out on a date with popular girl Amanda (Lea Thompson). Stoltz gives a fine performance as quiet and brooding artist who gets by in the movie with a subtle, likable cool.

And here I think is where I agree with the choice of Fox over Stoltz. It's pretty obvious that nothing in Back to the Future calls for quiet or subtle. Even in the few short shots of Stoltz from the dumped footage from Future, you can tell he's trying to play it straight, which really would not have worked given the ridiculous premise (if you don't already know the premise you can kindly leave now).

In all fairness, it seems that even Stoltz wasn't comfortable with his performance. In a phone call with director Peter Bogdanovich, Stoltz confessed to feeling "wrong for the role." In a 2007 interview with Moviehole, Stoltz had the tone of a man looking on the bright side of losing the part.

You know, it was twenty-something years ago and I rarely look back, if at all; but in retrospect, I think just getting through that difficult period helped me realize how freeing it really was. I went back to acting school, I moved to Europe, I did some plays in New York and I actually invested in [pause] myself in a way that was much healthier for me. If I had become a massive star, I don't know if I wouldn't have gone into therapy. On the other hand, I would've been exceedingly rich which would've been wonderful!

So, even though I agree with the fact that Michael J. Fox was much more suited for the role, it still seems like Eric Stoltz kinda got screwed out of some big fame and money. Although, if the movie sucked with him in it, then maybe his career would have been even worse. Either way, we likely would not have been blessed with his awesome bit part as heroin dealer Lance from Pulp Fiction (he's the dude in the clip who's not John Travolta).

Monday, November 15, 2010

This Week In Non-House Hugh Laurie: Blackadder Goes Forth

OK, this will be the last of the Blackadder Hugh Laurie. Other than a special here and there this was the last season of the series, which ran in 1989. This iteration of Laurie's character is Lieutenant George Colthurst St. Barliegh, right hand man of Rowan Atkinson's Captain Blackadder. Laurie is doing his usual clueless goofball schtick here, and I really didn't have much to say about it until I watched these clips from a Blackadder documentary:

At around 3:45, Laurie discusses the challenge of making a screwball comedy set in the trenches of World War I, and it hit me that this was the first season where the characters are actually likeable people. As funny as the earlier seasons are, most of the characters in them, especially Laurie's Prince George III, are kind of assholes. But in the fourth season, Lt. St. Barleigh may be an idiot, but at least he's brave and loyal. Hell, in the final scene, just about everyone gets to go out as the good guys. Unfortunately, they're also going out in a charge against German machine guns:

I don't know about you, but I was kind of impressed by how they chose to close out the final season. But if you're also like me, you'll find yourself fairly depressed as well. So let's end Laurie's Blackadder stint on a happy note:

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Grumps' Italian Adventure: Day 8, or Random Thoughts On Italy

OK, so as it turns out I didn't have enough material for 10 days of posting. I don't think 8 days is too shabby, however. As I don't really have any topics worthy of a full post, I'll just share a few things that have been rattling around in my head since I got back:

  • I don't fly well. I guess I never noticed this because I'd never been on a plane for 10 hours before. But I can really be quite the bastard at the end of a flight. I blame this on my family's problem of having really bad ears when it comes to pressure changes. While I know that a popping sensation in one's ears is normal during airline travel, I don't think it's normal to feel like someone stuck a screwdriver in my ear hours after I got off the fucking plane. So I must admit, by the time I get off the actual plane, I'm less than cordial, even to my lovely wife. Sorry baby.
  • Airline policies suck ass. I may be a prick when I fly, but I refuse to take all of the blame. If you're not supposed to bring meat products back from other countries, then that information should be readily available to read BEFORE you've purchased almost 50 bucks worth of Italian salami and gotten it 90% of the way through U.S. customs. Not to mention that this was after about 14 hours worth of going through inefficient security stations and boarding procedures. I think what gets me the most pissed off about airlines is that their security is reactionary. Perhaps if these schmucks would think far enough ahead to create some kind of technology that's flexible enough to catch the crap that they didn't think of before, then they wouldn't have to update their carry-on policies every five minutes. Oh, someone managed to put a bomb in a shoe? Then you'll have to take yours off and put it through the x-ray machine every time you fly. Someone made a bomb out of liquid?
    Then you can only have less than 3 ounces on the plane from now on. I'd hate to see what would happen if someone managed to plant a bomb in one of his testicles. I'm picturing a small guillotine next to the metal detector.
  • We must be actively trying to become obese in the U.S. I spent ten days in Italy, making absolutely no attempt to watch what I ate. Yet somehow, I managed to lose two pounds. That's not much, I know, but considering I ate enough prosciutto to risk a swine shortage in the Chianti region, I should be about 300 pounds by now. I don't know what we're putting in our food here, but we should seriously look into switching to what they're having. Although, my weight loss may also have been due to the fact that everything in the Chianti region is at least at a 30 degree incline. It's unreal. I always laughed when an elderly person would say they had to walk uphill both ways to get to school everyday. But now I realized they weren't full of shit if they grew up in Italy.
  • Being worried about acting like a stereotypical arrogant American while traveling abroad is the most surefire way of acting like a stereotypical arrogant American while traveling abroad. I so didn't want to be that guy. But within a day of arriving at our hotel I managed to call the guy working the counter "Matt" about 13 times before I realized his name was Andreas. And I managed to pull off the ever-helpful language barrier busting technique of yelling things slowly and obnoxiously in English. Because, after all, anyone should be able to understand English as long as you speak it to them as if they are a deaf child. Shockingly, I don't think I turned into the hotel's favorite guest. My natural reaction to this suspicion was to think they were the assholes, because anyone who doesn't think I'm awesome is clearly a douche bag.
  • The final conclusion that I pull from everything I've posted about this trip is pretty simple. I am one lucky guy to be married to Mrs. Grump. I'd imagine that traveling with me is similar to going on vacation with an ill-tempered gorilla that can form basic sentences. Yet even so, Mrs. Grump made sure we had an excellent honeymoon. We saw sights that I'd probably only ever see on a computer screen if left to my own devices. I ate food that makes me tear up a little bit just to think about it (On a side note, if you ever have a chance to eat food that has wild boar in it, do it. Don't think about it. Just do it). I even managed to pick up a phrases of Italian. I think my favorite was "due." It's nothing special. It just means "two." But it was the word I used the most often because anything I ordered or purchased was always in duplicate to accommodate my new wife. And that makes me happy.
Speaking of the wife, stay tuned for a special guest post sometime next week from Mrs. Grump herself. I don't drink coffee, but according to Mrs. Grump, anything good you've heard about Italian coffee is a bold-faced lie. Check in sometime next week to find out why.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Grumps' Italian Adventure: Day 7, or Gotthard Is The Best Swiss Band In Italy

Yes, yes. I know I missed yesterday's Italy post. Cut me some slack work has been a pain in the ass. Actually it's pretty delusional of me to think that anyone even noticed that I missed a day, but that's not the point. It's the principle of the thing. Unfortunately, work has been giving me a healthy kick in the pills for the last couple of days so I haven't gotten around to doing anything productive since yesterday morning.

Anyway, midway through our trip Mrs. Grump and I had go to the local laundromat to wash our clothes because we didn't feel like lugging ten days worth of clothes with us over to Italy. While at the laundromat we were passing the time by making fun of the crappy Italian music videos that were playing on the TV, which was made even funnier by the fact that there was no sound. Next time you're watching your very favorite band in a music video, try turning the sound off. Without fail it will be the dumbest fucking thing you've ever seen.

One video, however, was so awful that I had to see if I could find it on YouTube when I got back to the apartment. Fortunately for everyone in the world, I was able to find it. It's actually a Swiss band called Gotthard, who named themselves after both a mountain pass and the act of pitching a tent. Pun: accomplished.

Alright, I've kept you from this long enough. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you "Unconditional Faith."

I just don't know where to begin, here. I think I'll go with pointing out the mandolin player. What about him? Well, basically just the fact that he exists. There is a grown man in the middle of a rock band playing an itty bitty guitar. And he's rocking that shit.

Also, can anyone tell me where the story of the boxer is supposed to go? He's training, he wins a fight, and he goes back home to his wife. I mean, that's lovely and all, but is there a point? Or are we just going for a surrealistic depiction of a white guy beating a black guy in a boxing match?

I think what I like best about this video is that it actually got worse when I was able to watch it with sound, it actually got worse. And it's not just that the song is bad. Well, yeah it is bad. But when you watch that music video while it plays with that song, you get an entity that transcends itself and evolves into art on par with Plan 9 from Outer Space.

Sadly, the lead singer of Gotthard, Steve Lee, recently died in a motorcycle accident. That really is a bummer, and I will take the high road for perhaps the first time in my life and not make a joke about it. In fact, I better just end this post now before I wind up accidentally saying something that makes me look like a complete dick.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Grumps' Italian Adventure: Day 6, or The Devil Is A Pigeon In Florence

I'm not going to lie to you. This pigeon kind of scared the shit out of me. Mrs. Grump and I found this guy perched on a statue outside of the Uffizi Gallery, and he really did not seem to be happy to share the same air as us ground dwellers. At first he just looked like he was part of the statue, because he did not move. At all. But then I realized that nothing on the statue seemed as evil as that little fucker.

And since when did pigeons have the ability to retract their heads into their necks, thereby turning themselves into a demonic, uncircumcised penis? Although, maybe my looking at a pigeon and seeing a dick says more about me than it does the bird.

Phallic illusions aside, I still had trouble taking this guy's picture. Seeing him through the digital display of the camera made him seem a lot closer to me than I was comfortable with. I was expecting to take the camera away and find him only inches away from my face, ready to murder and devour me in front of hundreds of people. Fortunately, I was able to escape with my life and fly home to Philly where the pigeons aren't demonic. They're just assholes.

This Week In Non-House Hugh Laurie: A Bit Of Fry And Laurie Season 1

Last week I introduced you to A Bit of Fry and Laurie with a skit from their pilot episode, which aired in 1987. It wasn't until 1989 that their first proper season began. Which begs the question...what the hell takes so long to produce British sitcoms? Blackadder had a three year gap between its first and second season. The recent dramedy Doc Martin ended its fourth season in 2009, and won't even begin filming until 2011. What gives? I mean, I like British sitcoms but most of them aren't exactly epic in grandeur. It's usually just some people on a soundstage acting snarky.

Eh, whatever. This week's clip takes the silly factor that I mentioned from last week and goes ahead and cranks that bitch right up to 11. There is absolutely no point to it other than to be bizarre, but as usual it works like a charm.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Grumps' Italian Adventure: Day 5, or Grappa Is Italian For Poison

OK, so grappa is not really poison. It's just an after dinner drink that they serve in Italy. Wikipedia describes it as a "fragrant, grape-based pomace brandy" but I don't think that's really true either. Sure, it looks harmless enough...

Grappa (the shot glass to the right) just looks like a little shot glass filled with water. I tried to tell the waitress that I don't drink, but she spoke very little English and I wasn't about to give her the "no wanto to be an alcoholico" treatment. So when she gave me a free grappa with what turned out to be a limoncello chaser, I just smiled and said thank you. It being a small restaurant, I felt obligated to at least investigate the drink lest she watch me casually discard it off to the side of the table.

Well, the limoncello smelled strong, but pleasant. The grappa, however, smelled like someone misplaced their shot of rubbing alcohol. Later we came to find out that's because Grappa is like 40% alcohol. Jesus, I think I'd be better off drinking the rubbing alcohol.

Needless to say, not being a drinker I decided to let the waitress be offended if need be because I was not going to touch the grappa. I did down the limoncello, however, which lead to this...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Grumps' Italian Adventure: Day 4, or Cocks Are Big In Italy

Today's title is wordplay at it's finest, folks. First, the innocent layer: Mrs. Grump and I stayed in the town of Greve, whose official emblem is the black cock. In this instance, cock is just a rooster, plenty of which can be found around town.

You can't miss my gate. It's the one with the big, black cock on it.

Cock a doodle doo, indeed.....right?

Don't trust any wine that doesn't have a black cock right on the label.

I have to say I'd be very interested in seeing how the town would look if black cock took on the other meaning, especially considering that black stereotypes are alive and well in Italy...

That actually may be the most obscene picture that I show you today. And that's including the next pictures that prove that roosters aren't the only kind of popular cock in the area.

Can anyone please explain this sculpture to me in a way that doesn't include a man being forced to wear a Trojan War Helmet at clubpoint?

Insert joke about giving head here.

Pretty much everything about this statue deeply disturbs me.

So, like I said, cocks are big in Italy. But wait! There is also a delightful layer of irony in that sentence. If you notice, in terms of proportion, all of the cocks in the above examples are actually quite small. Mrs. Grump informed me that this was due to artists of the time feeling that a long ding dong would be in bad taste. So, it's cool for a dude to hold a severed head while in the nude, just as long as his winky isn't taking up too much space. Michelangelo's "David" is another good example of that mindset, but Mrs. Grump didn't get any pictures of little David. I guess she was trying to keep some semblance of scruples for our photo album.

Hm...never mind, then.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Grumps' Italian Adventure: Day 3, or Even The Delinquents Are More Cultured In Italy

Ha! You thought I was going to skip today. Well I just had to wait until Mrs. Grump hooked me up with the rest of the honeymoon pics so I'd have some visual aids. Speaking of pics, it turns out the wife took 350 of the damn things during our trip. I'll have a few collections to show you, but there are a few in particular that I'd like to share.

Get a load at the ornate decoration here. It's obvious that this structure was pretty important to make the artist put so much care and attention to detail into it.

Or maybe it was just a fucking lamp post.

This is just plain awesome, especially when you consider this turtle is the base of a simple set of bars covering someone's window. I've been to Camden, NJ, where there are entire blocks of houses with bars covering any opening. But you won't find turtle one on any of them. Not even a frog. I think Camden would be in much better shape if their protecting window bars had adorable little animals on them.
OK...this is beautiful work, but it really depressed me when I realized it was graffiti. Mrs. Grump and I found it on a construction barrier in Florence, and it makes me ashamed of how we do graffiti in the States. We're lucky if the cock and balls drawn in Sharpie on the bathroom stall are realistic enough to include pubic hair.

Stay tuned for some examples of what happens when Italians actually get serious with their art. Marble, granite, and poorly-endowed, naked men will abound!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Grumps' Italian Adventure: Day 2, or Too Fat For A Fiat

Lufthansa's thoughtful wedding gift aside, there was a lot to be excited about once we got to Italy. Mrs. Grump and I had a full itinerary of things to see and do for our 10 days in Chianti/Florence. One of those things was a tour of Florence. But not just any tour. Mrs. Grump found a company called the Fiat 500 Touring Club. The premise here is that each group gets its own Fiat to drive as part of a convoy that tours Florence and eventually makes its way to a winery just outside of the city. Sounds fun right?

The catch here is that the cars are stick shift, and do not even have the technology that standard cars have that allows you to shift directly from one gear to another. No, I had to learn (in about 20 minutes) a technique called double clutching, which basically means twice the work for the same effect as a modern car. Oh, and I have to do all of this in a car built in 1964 that was made for a small European man/woman. So to recap: I'm expected to drive a matchbox car with antiquated technology through a foreign city that I've never even seen before. Let's go to the pictures, shall we?

The weather report said it was supposed to be sunny all day. It's comforting to know that Italian meteorologists are as full of shit as Americans. Also, note that this may have been the widest road in all of Florence.

Another shot of the back of one of our fellow Fiats. This was probably 99% of my sightseeing experience, lest I accidentally hit a squirrel and total our car. Actually, I came within about 3 inches of running over a little old Italian guy who was crossing at a crosswalk. Sure, any way you slice it he had the right away, but that would mean I'd have to come to a stop and then start a car that I'd spent the last 10 minutes stalling out just to get started. Needless to say I was willing to let this guy take one for the team.

Here we are parked outside the winery where Mrs. Grump got to do a tasting and I got to get my heart rate back down under 100 beats per minute. I like how our Fiats make the Volkswagon bug on the left look like a frigging Hummer. Honestly, though, all whining aside, it was at this point in the trip that I really started to enjoy myself. I'd gotten a handle on the car and now we got to see how wine is made by some of the best in the world. I don't even drink but it was really interesting to learn about the process, and how people rate wine beyond saying "This is great" or "This tastes like piss."

The best news of the day was that when we left the winery, the rain had stopped and we could actually stop to take a gander at some of the sights. Here we are parked in our little convoy near an overlook of Florence. I think, if necessary, our group could have easily taken on the Hell's Angels.

Even if everything else had been a complete disaster, this view would have made the whole trip worth it.

And here we have one last picture of me. Note that my head is in fact looming above the sunroof. When the cover was on it looked like a scene from Harry and the Hendersons. And in case you're wondering, due to my paranoia that one of the 3 people who read this blog will somehow affect my professional career should I include my actual identiy, any picture of my face will be replaced with Taylor Hicks. Why Taylor Hicks? Because for the last 3 months or so, I've been told that I look like Taylor Hicks by Mrs. Grump's family, the bartender at my wedding, and a couple that we had just fucking met during our honeymoon. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go kill myself.

Monday, November 1, 2010

This Week In Non-House Hugh Laurie: A Bit Of Fry And Laurie Pilot

In a fine example of my strong work ethic, I've decided that I should also bring back some non-House Hugh Laurie on top of my chronicling of my epic adventures in Europe. It takes real grit to search Youtube for 3 minutes and write a paragraph about the first clip that catches my attention.

This week we get to the start of A Bit of Fry and Laurie. The pilot for the show came out in 1987 and the series lasted all the way to 1995. By British standards, that's a run that would put The Simpsons to shame.

The clip I chose for today, "The Word 'Gay'", is pretty much your classic example of Fry and Laurie's humor, which is basically just to take the stereotypical British facade and make it as silly as possible. I guess the cultural norm has a lot to do with the direction that comedy will take. Here in the States, for instance, we have a cultural hang-up with sexuality. So, naturally, a lot of our comedy has to feature at least a boob or two. For Fry and Laurie, acting goofy is their version of T and A. So enjoy this week's clip, if for nothing else than to hear my new favorite word, "assbandit."

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Grumps' Italian Adventure: Day 1, or Kiss Mein Weinershniztel Lufthansa

As promised last Thursday, I'll be spending every weekday for the next two weeks covering my honeymoon with the newly minted wife to the Chianti region of Italy. To be honest, I'm not exactly sure where I'm going with this yet. I've been given specific instructions by Mrs. Grump not to just bitch and moan about everything, so I guess I'll just give some this and that about the sights, some of the stories....and fuck it there will also be a lot of complaining.

Today's post, in fact, will be a heavy dose of venting at the sauerkraut slurping assholes at Lufthansa Airlines. And before you say anything, yes, I'm well aware that ranting about airlines is about as fresh as a knock knock joke. But I'll be damned if ever single complaint ever said, written, or sung about the airline industry isn't one hundred percent justified.

These polesmokers at Lufthansa are responsible for taking a trip that had been relatively smooth and taking a nice healthy scheize all over it. We flew out of Philly, but had a two hour layover in Frankfurt, Germany. As we boarded the bus that would shuttle us to our connecting plane to Florence, we realized something was wrong when the fully loaded bus sat motionless for about 20 minutes. Our suspicions were confirmed when we were told that the pilot for our flight was sick, and that we had to return to the terminal while other arrangements were made.

Well, apparently the "other arrangements" were for the entire flight to go fuck themselves. They just canceled the damn thing, and told us that a portion of the passengers would get the remaining seats on the next flight to Florence. Well, in another piece of good news, it turns out that Mrs. Grump had been included in the next flight but I had not. That's all I need. Mrs. Grump goes to Florence by herself where she's surrounded by gorgeous, olive-skinned men with sexy accents. No dice.

So I mention this foul up to the workers at the gate, but they tell me they don't have any control over who gets chosen for the next flight. They did seem to have the authority however, to rip up Mrs. Grump's ticket right in front of me when they realized she would not be going without me.

So our next move was to get our tickets transferred to a flight four hours later that would take us to Bologna, Italy. And since Lufthansa really goes the extra mile, they agreed to get us the rest of the way to Florence by bus.

But we couldn't get the tickets from the people at the gate, which I found odd considering they just gave tickets to all the people who got on the next Florence flight. We had to take a journey that literally had us go through customs three fucking times just to get a new boarding pass for the flight to Bologna. To put that in perspective, we didn't go through customs a single goddamn time when we got to the Bologna airport.

What the fuck, Germany? You are the country that brought us Mercedes, BMW, and, uh....less pleasant forms of meticulous planning and efficiency, but you can't even think far enough ahead to have a pilot on call for the days when the scheduled pilot couldn't keep his fucking hands off the Beck's and Jagermeister the night before? Or, failing that, perhaps you could hire employees that don't react to unexpected problems by turning into quivering piles of fucking stupid. Congratulations, Lufthansa. You really set the tone for our honeymoon by making my wife cry and giving me a migraine. Danke schoen, you bunch of pricks.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Back Just In Time For Halloween

Hey assholes! I'm back from the honeymoon to Italy, which means 2 things: 1) I can save time on my blogs by just saying Mrs. Grump instead of Mrs. Grump-to-be (oh and I have a lifetime partner, soulmate, etc). 2) I have plenty of European adventures to describe and, more importantly, to bitch about. Starting Monday, I'll be posting ten days worth of sharing my thoughts on what's great and what sucks about traveling to Italy.

Today, however, I need to warm up the old blogging muscles so I'm going to give a shout out to my favorite holiday: Halloween. And to do so, I'll be hitting you up with a list of some spookiness that can make your Halloween just a little bit, Halloweenier? Ugh, I really do need to shake the cobwebs off here. Anyway, on to the list!

Halloweentastic Movie: Stir of Echoes

Most people go for the obvious classics on Halloween, especially the John Carpenter movie of the same name. And while I'm usually an 80s slasher guy, there is something special about Stir of Echoes that keeps me coming back for more. A large part of that is due to a great show by Sir Kevin Bacon, who plays a man who's been hypnotized and gains the power to see a ghost trying to give him a message. More importantly though, is that the movie is just plain creepy. There's not a lot of gore, which is admittedly not often a plus for me. What it does have, however, is enough tension and atmosphere to make a freaky goddamn movie. Even after repeated viewings, it still gives me chills.

Halloweentastic Television: Psych-"Tuesday the 17th"

I was going to let my geek flag fly here with a nod to Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel, but I can only take so much of people laughing at me. Fortunately I've been watching the third season of Psych today and my favorite episode came on. If you aren't familiar with Psych, basically it's a better version of The Mentalist that came out before The Mentalist. In the epidose "Tuesday the 17th," fake detective Sean Spencer is asked to solve a mystery at a camp where there was a mysterious death years before. It's essentially just a nod to every great slasher horror flick of the 70s and 80s. Even if you wind up not liking the show, you can play a drinking game where you drink every time there is a horror reference.

Halloweentastic Book: The Dragon Factory

I did a post on Jonathan Maberry a little while ago and I mentioned that I was looking forward to his new book, The Dragon Factory. I used down time during the honeymoon to finally get around to reading it, and it's another winner from Maberry. It's filled with evil science run amok, and a great group of love-to-hate-em villains to make great matches for the good guys lead once again by Joe Ledger, one of my favorite horror/action badasses. If you're anything like me, you'll probably want to start off with the first book of the series, Patient Zero, but if you're not bothered by starting from the beginning than you probably won't lose much in terms of understanding what's going on in The Dragon Factory. It's just a lot of good, bloody mayhem.

Halloweentastic Short Story: "Masque of the Red Death"

I'm actually not a big fan of a lot of Edgar Alan Poe's work. My tendency towards the spooky made me really want to like him, but to be honest he gets a little too up his own ass using big, highfalutin' words to be truly scary. Or maybe I'm just one of the dumber people to bullshit his way to an English degree. Either way, I just can't get into most of his stories. Masque of the Red Death is different. Poe claimed that a short story should elicit one emotion from beginning to end, and "Masque of the Red Death" does that perfectly. The tale depicts a group of aristocrats who isolate themselves in a castle to protect themselves from a plague, when they are confronted by a silent stranger. The only emotion that I felt throughout the story was one of impending doom. There really aren't any surprises, but that doesn't make it pack any less of an impact. Take five minutes at around midnight tonight and read "Masque of the Red Death." Good luck getting to sleep afterward.

Halloweentastic Video Game: Friday the 13th

Ok, so let's just get something out of the way. As video game experiences go, this game is pretty fucking stupid. As a counselor at Camp Crystal Lake, it's your job to protect the campers from hockey-mask donning zombie hillbilly Jason Voorhees. And if that seems like a bad idea for a game, well you're pretty much right on the money. It's repetitive and it was made for the original Nintendo so the graphics suck. But I can't help but like this game and for some odd reason it actually still kind of scares me. The soundtrack is actually quite eerie for something that sounds like it was composed on the dial pad on a telephone. Plus, the game tells you what cabin you need to go to in order to find Jason, which surprisingly adds tension as you wait for the moment when he's going to pop on screen. Although, since this is what he looks like in the game...

I guess it's hard to be too intimidated. But what can I say, it's an entertaining homage to one of my favorite horror franchises. I'm kind of obligated to like it.

So there you go. Just a few things to darken up your All Hallow's Eve and to get me writing again. If you've got any suggestions for me I'm always looking out for new things to give me the heebie jeebies. Otherwise, I shall see you all again on Monday, where I'll be starting things off by tearing Lufthansa a new asshole for fucking Mrs Grump and I over at the start of our honeymoon. I know, airline humor...that's some original shit right there.

Oh, and just in case "Masque of the Red Death" doesn't keep you up tonight, enjoy this Halloweentastic costume: The Tron guy.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Excuse Me, Can You Tell Me How To Get To The Sexy Time?

This may very well be my last post for the rest of the month. I've only got 6 more days until I've officially tricked Mrs. Grump-to-be into marrying me, and there is much to be done until then. After that, I've got ten days of Italiantastic adventures planned for the honeymoon.

One of the things we did today to get ready for the trip was to pick up a copy of Frommer's Italian PhraseFinder and Dictionary. We may look like douchey tourists with it, but I think it's a small price to pay to be able to phonetically stumble through phrases like "Do you know English?" and "We don't know Italian."

After a bit of studying, however, I've come to realize that the people at Frommer's know that people don't just go on family vacations or school trips to Italy. They also realize that some people go to Italy for the same reason that anyone goes anywhere: to find themselves a nice piece of ass. Tucked in between the "Golfing" and "Casino" sections is a category entitled "Nightclubbing." But I'm pretty sure they should have just called it "One Night Stands." Here is a sample conversation you studly fellas can have with the pretty ladies of Italy based on phrases learned in the Frommer's guide:

Stud:Mi scusi, posso offrirle qualcosa da bere?
Excuse me, may I buy you a drink?

Bella: Si.

Stud: Che begli occhi che ha!
You have nice eyes.

Bella: Grazie.
Thank you.

(Cut to Stud's place)

Stud: Sei bellisima. Vuoi entrare?
You are beautiful. Would you like to come in?

Bella: Sei
You are handsome...yes.

(Cut to Stud's bedroom)

Stud: Vuoi che ti massagi la schiena?
Would you like a massage?

Bella: No, per favore, non farlo...hai un preservativo?
Please don't do you have a condom?

Stud: Ho un preservato. Prendi la pillola?
I have a condom. Are you on birth control?

(30 seconds later)

Stud: Li?

Bella: No, non cosi.
That's not it.

(15 seconds later)

Bella: Li...piu veloce...piu profondo.

Stud: Piano! Piu lento!
Easy! Slower!

(5 seconds later)

Stud: Stai qui, ti preparo la colazione.
Stay, I'll make you breakfast.

Bella: Credo che questo sia stato un errore.
I think this was a mistake.

Fortunately for me, I'll have Mrs. Grump to disappoint in my own language. My only worry is that with intimate phrases included in our translation guide, a few errors could lead to something like this:

Enjoy the rest of your October, folks.

Monday, October 4, 2010

This Week In Non-House Hugh Laurie: Blackadder 3

I really was going to try and stick to posting a Hugh Laurie clip in the hour leading up to House, but as you can see that steadfast weekly tradition lasted about one week. In my defense, however, I am up to my balls in wedding plans (T-minus 11 days) and today I had to get to my first dance lesson with the fiance. Hey, you can laugh if you want to, but if anyone is going to make an asshole of themselves on the dance floor it's going to be my alcoholic family and not me.

I'll at least be keeping in line with posting today's clip on the same night as House, although I think Laurie's depiction of Prince George in the third season of Blackadder is about as far from Gregory House as a guy can get. House is very smart. George is very stupid. House is dry and quick. George is flamboyant and rambling. In fact, close your eyes and listen to the following clips, first one of House and then one of George.

I don't know about you, but if I didn't already know it was the case, I'd have no idea the same guy is playing both of these characters. Oddly enough, it seems that in real life Laurie might be closer to House, one of his more recent characters, than any of the goofballs he made a name playing in England. He's fought clinical depression throughout his life, and in most of his interviews he seems to want to be anywhere but where he is. Take this clip of Laurie on Ellen, for example.

But, in all fairness, I don't think anyone wants to be on Ellen. Anyway, here's another Prince George clip.