Pet Cobra

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Monday, December 27, 2004

First, my apologies for failing to deliver on the promised "dispatch-a-day-from-Holiday-Hell". To my utter surprise, Christmas with both sides of the family didn't suck (although I didn't get any Xbox games - what the hell? And I was shot down in my attempt to buy ESPN NFL 2K5 - on sale for a mere $17.00! - during our foray to the mall yesterday. Beth chided me for not spending money on things I "need", like nice clothes for work. Apparently, when you have a kid, Christmas becomes less about "you", which runs counter to my Cartman-esque view of the True Meaning of Christmas.)

I am tired, though, as we were driving all over SoCal this weekend - up to L.A. for Christmas Eve with the in-laws, then back down to San Diego for Christmas Day with my family. Thankfully, as evidenced by the fact that I have time to do an entry during work hours, things should be pretty slow this week. Other than massive tsunamis wiping out the eastern Pacific Rim (I don't mean to be insensitive here, but I don't think I'm alone in my initial reaction upon hearing the news: I hope somebody got some kickass footage of tidal wave action. On a serious note - no one should be surprised at the massive death toll, as the fact remains that the respective "governments" of Indonesia, India, Thailand, and the other affected nations have for years shown zero concern for the plight of their impoverished citizens and their infrastructure. Ask the Sultan of Brunei how much cash he's invested in disaster preparation programs.)

Anyway, as we draw closer to what's been a year of mixed blessings, I'm thinking that I'll be like every other hack and put together some "Best Of..." lists. First up is my personal "Best Of Guilty Pleasures" list. Lest you think I'm one of the Cultural Elite, here are a few things that helped me to keep it real this year.

Best Bad TV Show: "Las Vegas". I don't have the bandwidth to truly describe how wonderfully awful this show is. James Caan, the ex-CIA-operative-turned-"president/director"-of-Vegas'-top-casino/hotel. Josh Duhamel, the part-time-Marine-war hero/part-time-private detective/full time hotel security chief, who solves crimes that the LVPD can't handle. And the hot chicks who work for them (although what they do is never quite clear - one of them is like a consierge to the uber-rich gamblers; in one episode, she went "rogue" to break up a money-laundering ring).

(The runner-up here was "Star Trek: Enterprise". It's not that bad, as far as "Star Trek" shows go, but what sets it apart is the theme song, which is sung - sung! - by a person named Russell Watson who sounds a lot like that band Survivor ("Eye of the Tiger", remember?). Here are the lyrics:

It's been a long road
Gettin from there to here
It's been a long time
But my time is finally here
And I will see my dreams come alive at night
I will touch the sky
And they're not gonna hold me down no more
No they're not gonna change my mind
'Cause I've got faith of the heart
I'm going where my heart will take me
I've got faith to believe
I can do anything
I've got strength of the soul
No one's going to bend nor break me
I can reach any star
I've got faith
I've got faith
Faith of the heart

(I often wonder who is the "they" - the 22nd Century's version of "The Man" - that the singer refers to. The Klingons, perhaps?)

Honorable Mention: "Smallville". Because, as regular viewers know, it's all about Lana. The show makes the list thanks in small part to the episode where she and Chloe and Lois (yes, Lois Lane) are possessed by the spirits of 16th century witches.

(Best Good TV, BTW: "Lost". )

Best Bad Band: Maroon 5. Goddammit, now I have that song going through my head. She WILLLLLLLLLLLLL be loved...she WILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL be luh-uh-oved...

Runner-up: Modest Mouse. I for one welcome any band that does for the Talking Heads what Oasis did for the Beatles, i.e. shamelessly but entertainingly rip them off. Sadly, their appearance on "Saturday Night Live" showed their weakness - good on record, bad on stage.

Honorable Mention: Foreign Born. Never heard of 'em? Hopefully you will - they're actually really good, and do for Echo and The Bunnymen what Modest Mouse did for the Talking Heads. I'm opposed to the current trend in alt-rock of bringing back the 80's sound, but if you have to go that route you may as well draw inspiration from the best English band of that era. (No, U2 doesn't count - they were Irish). Foreign Born is unsigned, and making the club rounds in L.A. Their website is, go see them if you can, and my endorsement has nothing to do with the fact that their guitarist is my brother-in-law.

Best Bad Song: This is a subcategory, and the award goes to Snoop Dogg, for "Drop It Like It's Hot", off of his aptly titled masterpiece "R & G: The Masterpiece".

Best Bad Movie: "Eurotrip". Even funny without the aid of certain mind-altering substances.

Runner Up: "National Treasure". Apparently the most revered document in U.S. history is remarkably easy to steal. Nicholas Cage and Halle Berry should do a movie together, and really bring it all together - a story of an alcoholic racist (Cage) who finds his unlikely soulmate in a welfare crack-addled mother whose child died horribly (Berry); together, the two use their martial arts skills to foil a plot to steal the Mona Lisa, which holds the key to finding the Lost Ark.

Honorable Mention: Blade: Trinity. I haven't seen it yet, but really, do I need to?


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