Friday, October 30, 2009
So it's only right to give them credit for finally promoting their main product, even if it is only for a week. Their limited-time-only deal was a good one--a large one-topping pizza with extra cheese for just $5.99--and the ad campaign was even better. I can't find the video online (probably because of the promotion's short shelf-life), but the TV commercial they ran was pretty funny. They had signs in the restaurant saying that there was a limit of 256 pizzas per household per day, and customers were shown carting away dozens of pizza boxes, culminating in a woman pulling up with a tractor trailer, and the manager saying "this is NOT happening." Good stuff.
Well done, Domino's. This is the first time I remember you pushing your pizza since Donald Trump's cheeseburger pizza a few years ago, and I only remember that because of a funny SNL sketch. Now I can stop paying attention to you for another four years.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
150. "Careless Whisper," Wham (1985)
149. "Roam," B-52s (1990)
148. "Safety Dance," Men Without Hats (1983)
One of the all-time great music videos. And very economical--it looks like they only shot about a minute of video, and then looped it over and over.
147. "Under The Bridge," Red Hot Chili Peppers (1992)
146. "And She Was," Talking Heads (1985)
145. "You Were Meant For Me," Jewel (1997)
144. "Karma Chameleon," Culture Club (1983)
143. "Don't Dream It's Over," Crowded House (1987)
142. "I'll Make Love To You," Boyz II Men (1994)
141. "Glory Days," Bruce Springsteen (1985)
140. "Take A Bow," Madonna (1994)
139. "Hey Jealousy," Gin Blossoms (1993)
138. "Let's Groove," Earth, Wind, & Fire (1981)
137. "Let Her Cry," Hootie & the Blowfish (1995)
136. "Escapade," Janet Jackson (1990)
135. "Hurts So Good," John Mellencamp (1982)
134. "How's It Going To Be," Third Eye Blind (1998)
133. "Edge Of 17," Stevie Nicks (1981)
Hmmm, a potential title for the post two weeks from now...
132. "Father Figure," George Michael (1988)
131. "Hard To Handle," Black Crowes (1991)
Monday, October 26, 2009
This was the first time I'd done any significant people-watching since returning to Utah (a daily if not hourly occurrence on the busy streets and subways of New York City). I had been to a baseball game a couple of weeks earlier, but I was pretty sick that night and didn't pay much attention to the crowd.
As I made my way to the Marriott Center and found a seat, I kept thinking I saw familiar faces. But I was always wrong; in six or so hours I spent on campus, I didn't see anyone I knew. I'm sure my desire to bump into old friends or teachers was a big part of my eyes misleading me, but I think there was another reason: the students at BYU in 2009 do look almost exactly the same as BYU students did in 2004.
The combination of prevailing whiteness, the desire of Utah college students to look like they come from California, and the dress and grooming guidelines present in the BYU Honor Code result in A LOT of Stepford students. Especially the guys. For white guys at BYU, there seem to be two basic stylistic templates: preppy and American Eagle catalog model. Virtually every guy's look is at best a slight adaptation of one or the other. (Adding glasses to the preppy look gives you a third subcategory, nerd.)
But after attending the forum, I learned there is another reason for this sameness. The speaker was Neil deGrasse Tyson, head of the Hayden Planetarium in New York and the most entertaining non-entertainer I know of. (Check out some of these clips to see what I mean.) As part of his presentation, he described how we drink the same molecules of water and breathe the same molecules of oxygen that Jesus and Lincoln drank and breathed (it apparently takes about 100 years for the molecules in any single glass of water to be distributed across the globe). We are in the universe, and the universe is in us--we are all made of the same stuff. Therefore, it shouldn't be surprising that we all look the same (he didn't say that last part; I jumped to that conclusion all by myself).
This thought came back to me later that same week, when I donated blood for the first time. I had always been under the impression that, due to my childhood health issues and accompanying blood transfusions, as well as my time spent in Scotland, I was ineligible to give blood. It turns out I was misled, or the Red Cross has relaxed their standards.
Allie (by far the cutest of the blood-letting tech-people working that day) asked me all about my sexual history, determined I was an acceptable donor, and strapped me down on a chair. Neither of my arms had easily accessible veins; she finally found access through a side vein, and my blood began to fill the bag. Slowly. They apparently measure blood flow on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the fastest. Mine was never higher than a 3.
I guess my blood is both shy and stingy. Or maybe it just really wants to stay in my body. It makes sense--the water and oxygen that help make up my blood have been travelling around the world and through the vessels of billions of people over millions of years, and it knows that it's never going to have it as good as it does while pumping through my body.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Here's a wider shot, for some perspective (and to show that a pleasant side effect to this giant cookie pill is leftover dough, which can be used to make more cookies). In possibly related news, every Hofmann male has a weight problem.
P.S. There are only 180-something shopping days left until my birthday!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
1) It helps me stay in a mode of consistently posting on here.
2) The printout of the list I have is falling apart, and this is one way to preserve it forever.
3) On my blog, I write about stuff that I like, stuff that interests me. Most of my stuff has some kind of general appeal, but not all of it, I suppose.
4) If you'd actually read these posts, I think you'd see that there's at least one funny or witty joke and one weird or funny link in each one.
5) I don't want to stop now, and end up like Michael Corbin in If Looks Could Kill (he never followed through!).
6) As I've just been demonstrating, I'm a big fan of lists.
On to installment 14 of 20!
175. "Wild Night," John Mellencamp (1994)
174. "Head To Toe," Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam (1987)
173. "Free Falling," Tom Petty (1990)
It's Tom's birthday today!
172. "All That She Wants," Ace of Base (1993)
I remember hearing my sister sing this song before I had ever heard it on the radio. I assumed she had misheard the lyrics. Nope--it's really "all that she wants is another baby." It's Octomom's theme song.
171. "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," Poison (1988)
While at BYU, I went to many women's basketball games, especially when All-American Erin Thorn was on the team. One of the other starters was Chanell Rose, and me and my fan crew (which included blog reader Angela) planned from early in the season to sing this song loudly if the two ever combined for a basket. Our chance finally came in a game against Wyoming. Thorn assisted on a Rose field goal, and we all started singing. All of us spontaneously changed "cowboy" to "cowgirl" (that's the nickname for women's teams at Wyoming) when we got to the sad, sad song part of the chorus. It was awesome. After we finished high-fiving each other, we went back to heckling Cowgirl forward Kristy Bacon, whom we called "Crispy."
170. "Girl You Know It's True," Milli Vanilli (1989)
169. "Push," Matchbox Twenty (1996)
168. "When I Think Of You," Janet Jackson (1986)
167. "The Heart Of The Matter," Don Henley (1990)
166. "Venus," Bananarama (1986)
I'm very surprised that this song was ranked higher than "Cruel Summer."
165. "Separate Ways," Journey (1983)
I know I've linked to this music video at least once before, probably multiple times. But I'm doing it again, because it's so great. Almost as good is this shot-for-shot remake by some BYU-Idaho students. Which shows that typing up lists of songs every week isn't the biggest music-related time waster I could be involved in.
164. "Stay," Lisa Loeb (1994)
Do you think Lisa Loeb gets angry whenever she sees Tina Fey on TV? Loeb was the cute, quirky girl with classes long before Fey made it cool. In high school, Tina Fey probably dressed as Lisa Loeb for Halloween!
163. "I've Been Thinking About You," Londonbeat (1991)
162. "What I Like About You," Romantics (1980)
Our second straight week with a song that is better than a sitcom it shares a title with. Although Jennie Garth and Amanda Bynes are much more pleasant to look at than Wally Palmar and Mike Skill.
161. "I Will Remember You," Sarah McLachlan (1999)
160. "Mambo #5," Lou Bega (1999)
A little bit of Angela, Pamela, Sandra, Rita, Monica, Erica, Tina, Mary and Jessica...all in the same song!
159. "Hands To Heaven," Breathe (1988)
One of the only entries of the entire 500 where I didn't recognize the song title or the artist. But after finding the video, it's definitely one that I know.
158. "You Keep Me Hangin' On," Kim Wilde (1987)
157. "Fly Away," Lenny Kravitz (1999)
156. "Listen To Your Heart," Roxette (1989)
155. "You Give Love A Bad Name," Bon Jovi (1986)
154. "It's All Coming Back To Me Now," Celine Dion (1996)
153. "A Little Respect," Erasure (1989)
152. "I'd Do Anything For Love," Meat Loaf (1993)
Dr. Pepper made a great commercial using this song. But this is a better commercial using Meat Loaf.
151. "Wild Wild West," Escape Club (1988)
When the first single from U2's new album was released earlier this year, parts of it reminded me of this Escape Club song. Which I guess is a compliment, but a very mild one.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
(I know that most of you won't bother to click the link, so here's the text of the article. Go ahead, read a few paragraphs. You'll thank me later.)
"At Hell in a Cell, The Viper reclaimed the WWE Championship and slithered toward his sixth World Title reign, doling defeat to his rival in John Cena's first-ever bout inside Satan's Structure.
"Since permitting the words "I quit" to seep from his split tongue at WWE Breaking Point, The Viper fittingly molted any skin carrying remnant traces of defeat, just in time for Hell in a Cell.
"Callous, unscrupulous, wicked. Proving that the cold of his blood pales in comparison to the noxiousness of his venom, the serpentine aggressor Orton exceeded his personal limits of malevolence in the Prudential Center.
"After Cena endured the challenger's favored weapon--the RKO--the frustrated Viper tightly constricted his ring rope-wrapped opponent's neck within his coils. With Cena deprived of oxygen circulation, Orton's (legend) killer instincts seized control. He zeroed in on his titleholding target and charged forward with his skull-rattling punt to put away The Champ.
"Worse for wear after equally arduous weeks (and beyond), both individuals entered Hell, though they'd have sworn they'd already driven one another to this fiery destination. Cena, dogged and immune to the Cell-experienced Legend Killer's intimidation tactics, pledged to display a side of himself more vicious than ever once locked within the 20-foot-high steel entrapment. He even vowed to not just defeat, but also destroy his foe.
"But Orton had once before competed in the Satanic construct and danced with its keeper, The Undertaker. Less than one month after surrendering the title to the 12 Rounds star--despite a match spent torturing the resilient, unyielding Cena--The Legacy leader leveraged his familiarity with the Hell in a Cell Match to once again swathe his scaled waist with championship gold.
"After years in which their disparate paths have intersected, never have Orton and Cena so fervently fought as in the recent months, culminating inside the five-ton steel aberration. While the two warriors now stand at five wins a piece in all-time pay-per-view encounters, it is The Viper who once again clutches the prized WWE Championship. But how long will Orton's tenure at the top last before Cena seeks a tie-breaker?"
(In case you were wondering, Randy Orton is not actually a serpent.)
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
This didn't happen. Less than a month after my return from Scotland, I had plowed through them all, 24 issues, cover to cover. I don't like the now-WWE as much as I did or for the same reasons I did when I started following it more than 20 years ago, but my fandom has never been a "phase." I was able to cope with the temporary separation, but it did nothing to eliminate the cravings.
I've been dealing with a similar situation since moving back in with my parents. I am an admitted TV addict, and my childhood home has no cable. In New York, I had no TV whatsoever, but I had a good Internet connection, which enabled me to watch almost every show I wanted to online. But as I've chronicled in this space before, my parents still use dial-up (dial-up!) Internet. No chance of loading any shows on Hulu or anything like that.
To be fair, being back in a place with consistent over-the-air television has several advantages over my New York situation: bigger screens, full episodes of So You Think You Can Dance and Saturday Night Live, syndicated reruns of Simpsons, Seinfeld, etc., and, with fewer options, I've had a chance to get back into shows like Survivor that I haven't made time to watch for a while (this has given me what I feel is a pretty funny idea for my blog; I'm trying to figure out how to make it work in written rather than video form, but stay tuned).
But the lack of cable service has forced me to miss out on many of my favorite programs: nearly all of the sports and wrestling programming I like to watch, The Soup, music videos on VH1, and perhaps most of all, the Daily Show/Colbert Report 1-2 punch. I had seen every single episode of Colbert since it debuted about four years ago, but have now gone over two months without seeing Stephen wag his finger or better know a district.
Just like with my wrestling magazines, the removal of these shows from my life has not caused any waning interest. My cravings for sports and satire are as strong as ever. I can certainly live a normal and happy life without them (I'm not quite that pathetic), but I really, really wish I had access to cable and/or good Internet. And that's The Word.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
200. "Heaven," Warrant (1989)
199. "Closing Time," Semisonic (1998)
This reminds me of any school or church dance from my senior year of high school/freshman year of college.
198. "Hit Me With Your Best Shot," Pat Benatar (1980)
197. "Fly," Sugar Ray (1997)
So does this.
196. "Too Shy," Kajagoogoo (1984)
195. "Missing You," John Waite (1984)
194. "One Headlight," Wallflowers (1997)
193. "You Spin Me Round," Dead or Alive (1985)
192. "I Remember You," Skid Row (1990)
191. "Have I Told You Lately," Rod Stewart (1993)
190. "Looking For A New Love," Jody Watley (1987)
And she's been looking for a new career for the last 20 years. Buh-dum-ching!
189. "I Knew I Loved You," Savage Garden (1999)
Wow, it's like whoever put this part of the list together stole the mix tape I made for that girl I liked in Stover Hall.
188. "Addicted To Love," Robert Palmer (1986)
In case you haven't seen the iconic video, check it out, and then you'll know what all those other videos are parodying.
187. "Raspberry Beret," Prince (1985)
186. "West End Girls," Pet Shop Boys (1986)
185. "If It Makes You Happy," Sheryl Crow (1996)
184. "I Want Your Sex," George Michael (1987)
George is a master of subtlety, isn't he?
183. "Jumper," Third Eye Blind (1998)
I SO feel like I'm back at a MHS Stomp right now!
182. "Eternal Flame," Bangles (1989)
181. "Rock The Casbah," Clash (1982)
180. "Mmm Bop," Hanson (1997)
Which fact is most surprising: that the Hanson brothers play their own instruments, that they all seem to have turned out pretty normal despite being so successful at such a young age, or that this song--which seemed so cheesy and lame when it first came out--is actually really good?
179. "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," U2 (1987)
178. "All Around The World," Lisa Stansfield (1990)
177. "Barely Breathing," Duncan Sheik (1997)
176. "Mad About You," Belinda Carlisle (1986)
This song is much better than the TV show of the same name. And Belinda was eliminated far too early from Dancing With The Stars. Maybe she should've tried fainting.
I don't know where "Mo Money, Mo Problems," "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It," or Tubthumping are, but otherwise they nailed most of the big hits from the dance floors of '97-'98 and '98-'99. That's it for now. You don't have to read other blogs, but you can't...stay...here...
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
After two months as the interim #1 song, Sheriff’s "When I’m With You" resumes its rightful place at #226, as I bring you the 12th installment of New York City’s 95.5 WPLJ’s countdown of the top 500 songs of the ‘80s and ‘90s, circa Memorial Day weekend 2003 (with my commentary in italics).
225. "Little Red Corvette," Prince (1982)
224. "What Would You Say," Dave Matthews Band (1995)
DMB likes to cancel shows in Utah, but it's far from the worst case of them dumping on their fans.
223. "What Have You Done For Me Lately," Janet Jackson (1986)
My blog's theme for the last two months, hopefully now a thing of the past.
222. "One More Try," George Michael (1988)
Not to be confused with the Timmy T song of the same name.
221. "Unskinny Bop," Poison (1990)
And that's all I can say.
220. "Can’t Fight This Feeling," REO Speedwagon (1985)
I'm not ashamed to say that I'm a big fan of the Speedwagon. Although me saying that would make my old roommate Will spin in his grave, if he weren't still alive.
219. "I’m Too Sexy," Right Said Fred (1992)
218. "True," Spandau Ballet (1983)
I can't believe somebody sampled that lousy PM Dawn song.
217. "Legs," ZZ Top (1984)
If I ever made a list of the most overrated bands of all time, ZZ Top would be near the top of my list. Not a big fan. By the way, has anybody ever made the joke that they would be called "Zed-Zed Top" in Canada? Or that the only member of the band without a long beard is named Frank Beard? What's that? Everyone has made those observations? Let's move on...
216. "Ray Of Light," Madonna (1998)
215. "Unbelievable," EMF (1991)
I wonder if Andrew Dice Clay gets royalties whenever this song gets played at sporting events.
214. "Vision Of Love," Mariah Carey (1990)
213. "(I’m Gonna Be) 500 Miles," The Proclaimers (1993)
Hopefully, finally, mercifully surpassed by Franz Ferdinand as the best Scottish rock band ever.
212. "Cruel Summer," Bananarama (1984)
211. "High On You," Survivor (1985)
Betcha didn't know Survivor had any songs that weren't used in Rocky movies.
210. "A View To A Kill," Duran Duran (1985)
209. "I Don’t Want To Wait," Paula Cole (1997)
Freshman year, in the dorms...on Wednesday night visiting hours, us guys always had to go over to Stover Hall, because all of the girls in our ward were watching "Dawson's Creek." We could stay in the room if we promised to only talk during commercials. And Dawson and Pacey thought THEY had problems.
208. "Rock Steady," Whispers (1987)
A big comeback hit for The Whispers; maybe my Apollo nemesis Bobby should've sang this one instead.
207. "How Do I Live," Leeann Rimes
206. "To Be With You," Mr. Big (1992)
205. "Pride (In The Name Of Love)," U2 (1984)
204. "King Of Wishful Thinking," Go West (1990)
203. "I’m The Only One," Melissa Etheridge (1994)
202. "Love Bites," Def Leppard (1988)
I had a party to break in my karaoke machine when I bought it a few years ago, and probably my favorite moment was Brad Reynolds making every girl in attendance uncomfortable when he belted this song out. Not as good as when David and I cleared the room at someone else's karaoke party with our version of "Talk Dirty To Me," but still pretty great.
201. "I Touch Myself," Divinyls (1991)
Yikes. I had forgotten how bad music was from 1991-1994. Wish I could’ve kept the memory of some of these songs repressed. Anyway, I promise not to leave a non-Cyndi Lauper self-gratification song as the leader in the clubhouse for longer than a week.
Friday, October 2, 2009
I really, really love cookies. Like pizza, even the worst cookies are generally still very edible. Nilla Wafers, fortune cookies, the really cheap store brand, Teddy Grahams, Nutter Butters, the burnt leftovers from a homemade batch...these might not be my top choices, but if that's what's available I'll gladly eat them. But I definitely have my favorites, which I will break down by source. I'm sure some good ones will be omitted, either through forgetfulness or my ignorance; please enlighten me in the comments.
I've tried many delicious cookies made from home recipes, but none will ever top my mom's chocolate chip. They come out perfect every time, and the dough is also phenomenal. My mother is a wizard in the kitchen, but she specializes in baked goods. Her manhole covers, chocolate crinkles, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, or even the butter brickle batch she baked this morning are all tremendous, but the classic chocolate chip will always hold the top spot.
Although it's kind of pricey, that frozen dough elementary school kids sell usually makes pretty good cookies. But this category exists mainly as a tribute to Girl Scout Cookies. The Thin Mints are fine, but what I really want is about nine boxes of Samoas, and three or four Tagalongs. You go, Girls!
Cookies from a bakery are usually high quality (at least if they were made that day), even if they're semi-mass produced. I really like the cookies from Albertson's bakery, for example. Pinnacle, the deli/a la carte place I frequented while working at Columbia, had excellent cookies.
ESPNZone makes an amazing cookie dessert (right, Larissa?) that's more filling than most entrees. I'm surprised I can't think of more restaurant cookie concoctions right now; I'm sure there are some I'm forgetting.
A return visit to Smart Cookie in Provo is long overdue. You can't do better for the money than buying a J-Dawg, then walking next door to SC and buying delicious cookies for a quarter each. Or, even better, getting an ice cream cookie sandwich.
And, of course, there's Mrs. Fields. My first job was not quite as great as I thought it might be (leftovers at the end of the day are given to charity, not employees), but it was still pretty sweet. Or semisweet. Or white chocolate macadamia. Or cinnamon sugar. Or my very favorite, chewy fudge. Mmmm....chewy fudge...
I still remember being the most popular guy at Fashion Place Mall when I'd wander out with the sample tray. Of course, when there was only one piece left on the tray, I had to eat it, because I would feel bad if two people walked by and I didn't have enough for everyone.
Of course your fancy brands like Milanos and Soft Batch are great, but I usually go with what's on sale. My preferred cheaper cookie is Chunky Chips Ahoy!, followed by the chocolate lovers variety (in cookies, the more chocolate, the better) of Keebler's Chips Deluxe. The more convenient packaging isn't the only thing that gives Nabisco the nod over Keebler, but it's definitely a factor. A new soft baked chunky Chips Ahoy! came out a few years ago and quickly became my favorite, but for some reason the recipe changed within a few months and it's not as good now.
With as many cookies as I eat, though, it shouldn't come as a surprise that I'll often switch things up, buying a different variety of those brands, or Oreos, or Mother's circus animals, or the bite-size Otis Spunkmeyer, or whatever.
Last but not least...what better way to start your day than with a bowl full of cookies? Keebler recently unveiled a new entry, and it's delicious. Or at least I think it is, but apparently not many agree: it seems to have already disappeared from supermarket shelves.
After all these years, Cookie Crisp is still a solid breakfast option. The new double chocolate variety, however, is not as good, which I guess is the exception that proves my more-is-better chocolate rule. Well, that, and the time I poured chocolate milk on Cocoa Puffs.
That's all I can think of right now for types of cookies I eat, but while we're on the subject of Cookie Crisp, there's one more cookie category that needs to be discussed: mascots. All of the best cookie mascots of my childhood are gone or altered.
The Cookie Cop and the Cookie Crook were great spokesmen for Cookie Crisp. Later, they added Chip the Dog as the Crook's henchman, and that was fine. But then someone decided to eliminate the Cop and Crook, keeping only the dog. And now they have a different dog, one that's much more wolf-like. What gives?
And don't get me started on the ultimate cookie character, Cookie Monster. He used to be my role model, with a diet consisting entirely of cookies. But now they've got him promoting healthy eating and saying cookies are only a "sometimes" food.
Back in my day, the only time they even hinted about Cookie Monster eating a healthy diet was suggesting that cookies grow on trees.
There, I'm off my soapbox. I haven't needed it much since I grew tall enough to reach the cookie jar on my own. I think I'll go get one now.