March 27, 2012

Trivia Blog: The Fabric of (the End of) Our Lives

These Trivia Blog posts come from the emails I send out as Quizmaster of the Gael Pub Trivia Night every Tuesday.  But seeing as how they comprise most of the writing I seem to do these days, I thought it fitting to include them on the Pale Writer blog as well.  I won't include things like info about categories or drink specials, but will keep the bulk of the rest.  Hopefully you enjoy, so much so that you come out some Tuesday at 8:30 (3rd Ave. b/t 82nd and 83rd)...

Forget hoodies, it’s the cardigans you’ve got to look out for…

It must be hard for a once-popular figure from the 80s/90s to have to stare into the abyss of celebrity mortality and realize that people just don’t give a damn about you anymore.  Some, like Corey Feldman or Dustin Diamond, make desperate plays to reclaim their former greatness, showering the world with uber-depressing reality shows or eyeball-melting pornos until our collective short attention span finally outweighs our morbid curiosity and they fade into obscurity for good.  Others, like Neil Patrick Harris or Robert Downey Jr., tap into a deeper well of talent and make much-deserved comebacks to re-achieve their former A-list status.  And then there are people like Geraldo Rivera, who go the Glenn Beck route and just say the stupidest shit that comes to mind in order to remain part of the national conversation.

For those who missed it, last week Geraldo made headlines and drew the ire of many, many people by making claims that murdered teen Trayvon Martin was partly responsible for his own shooting death because of the hoodie he was wearing, and then threw gasoline on his own conflagration of verbal diarrhea by not only defending his claims, but pulling out the race card in his own defense.  In a sad attempt to remain relevant and get some airtime, Geraldo basically claimed that a hoodie killed Trayvon Martin.  The lunacy of a man whose mustache is equal parts Yosemite Sam and Ravishing Rick Rude giving fashion advice aside, let me point out two things:

1.  Geraldo’s statement was crass, unthoughtful, misguided, and smacked of a (hopefully) soon-to-be-extinct, Andy Rooney-esque, “get off my lawn, you damned kids” rhetoric that always comes off as pathetic and out of touch.
2.  Geraldo actually brought to light a perilously important fact:  Some articles of clothing are out to get us.

You may think the idea is ridiculous, and you may think I’m just trying to stretch a very thin premise into a complete trivia blog post, but consider the following:
  • The turtleneck has no credited inventor.  Many just assume that it was simply a practical neck-warmer that eventually wound its way into mainstream fashion, but certain historians, theorists, and that pantsless guy in the produce section at Walmart claim that turtlenecks started out as regular shirts, but have slowly extended their reach upwards, biding their time until they strike, cutting off the airflow of the people who still think turtlenecks are cool.  Like the great Mitch Hedberg once said, “If you wear a turtleneck and a backpack, it’s like a weak midget trying to bring you down!”  Turtlenecks already took out Steve Jobs; who’s next?
  • You know that little skull you often see serving as the clasp for a bolo tie?  That’s not just a shitty fashion choice; that’s the end result of the bolo tie coming to life and snatching a small rodent or bird out of a tree before feasting on its adorable features.  The skull is left as a warning:  ”Don’t come near, or this happens to you.  Also, my owner probably drives a truck with oversized tires and has ill feelings towards immigrants.”
  • Hitler.  Mussolini.  Pinochet.  Idi Amin.  Darth Vader.  Freddie Krueger.  What ties these brutal murderers together?  Hats.  Always with the hats.
  • Most people think that Bill Cosby’s character on The Cosby Show simply lacked fashion sense and had an innocent affinity for terrible sweaters.  The real truth, however, is that the sweaters were part of a hidden, evil race of torso-shaped creatures who, when viewed by enough people, would call the evil demon god Cthulhu from the depths and unleash his terrible wrath on all of humanity.  Thankfully, the show was cancelled in 1992 before enough episodes could be produced, and Bill Cosby unwittingly became the greatest champion the human race has ever known.
  • Trucker hats.  I don’t have any fake facts to list about them, but anything that rallies that many douchebags under its spell has to be evil.

March 20, 2012

Trivia Blog: Limerick Rolled

These Trivia Blog posts come from the emails I send out as Quizmaster of the Gael Pub Trivia Night every Tuesday.  But seeing as how they comprise most of the writing I seem to do these days, I thought it fitting to include them on the Pale Writer blog as well.  I won't include things like info about categories or drink specials, but will keep the bulk of the rest.  Hopefully you enjoy, so much so that you come out some Tuesday at 8:30 (3rd Ave. b/t 82nd and 83rd)...

And we look back as the sounds of Flogging Molly fade away…


Hopefully your St. Patty’s Day hangovers have all subsided well enough to make it out to our fine Trivia Night, which (shameless self-promotion in 3… 2… 1…) MyCityWay recently said is “largely considered the most popular bar trivia night in NYC.”  So good job, trivia goers, you’re all popular and stuff!  Just like high school.  For most of you.  Some of you.  But I digress.


Now that St. Patrick’s Day, that great holiday of American excess wrapped in a shroud of Irish heritage, has passed; now that green food coloring sales have dipped back down to their normal, slightly depressing numbers; now that the vomit on our fair sidewalks has dried enough to chip away in the breeze; now that all of the non-Irish pubs have removed the O’ from the front of their signs; now that binge drinking is again considered a “health risk”; now that my beard no longer makes me look like a caricature; let’s take a moment to look back on some of the unique, lovable characters we met along the way who made St. Patty’s Day so special, in traditional Irish limerick format:


They seem drunk before the day even begins
These Missy’s and Stacy’s and Megan’s
But what would we do
Without the girls who scream “Wooo!”
And fall like the Wall in Berlin


I see you refuse to wear green
Because “conformity isn’t your scene”
The Irish you won’t smooch
‘Cus you’re just a big douche
Who won’t even dress up for Halloween


You’ve been aggro and angry all night
To a big happy crowd, you’re a blight
You have little courtesy
And you’re probably from Jersey
‘Cus all you want to do is fight


At first you’d just drink and frolic
But now you appear melancholic
You’ve puked in the plants
And pissed in your pants
You, sir, might be an alcoholic

March 6, 2012

Trivia Blog: Broad-why?

These Trivia Blog posts come from the emails I send out as Quizmaster of the Gael Pub Trivia Night every Tuesday.  But seeing as how they comprise most of the writing I seem to do these days, I thought it fitting to include them on the Pale Writer blog as well.  I won't include things like info about categories or drink specials, but will keep the bulk of the rest.  Hopefully you enjoy, so much so that you come out some Tuesday at 8:30 (3rd Ave. b/t 82nd and 83rd)...

This idea should’ve been over before the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor…

My dear triviagoers, I apologize if this here email gets out to you a bit later than usual; I’m scrambling to put everything together and think of a good opening blog topic after spending the last five days visiting family in Florida, playing many rounds of golf, trying to avoid a sunburn, and drinking enough rum to drown Keith Richards in.  While looking over my usual news sites in an attempt to find something to write about, I debated maybe wading into the Super Tuesday waters, or perhaps commenting on Kirk Cameron’s odd damnation of all things gay (didn’t the Growing Pains theme song teach you anything, Kirk?), or possibly being the 500th person to take a shot at overweight drug addict Rush Limbaugh and his latest foot-in-fat-mouth debacle.

But then I saw that, for some reason, Animal House, possibly the funniest movie ever made apart from Caddyshack, is going to be adapted into a Broadway musical, complete with music by totally relevant band The Barenaked Ladies.  Schwa?  Belated, unoriginal, and potentially terrible is no way to go through life, son.  But I suppose this is the trend lately; everything from Back to the Future to Big Fish to Austin Powers is reportedly in development as a show on the Great White Way.  Considering that they make movies out of 21 Jump Street, the “Shit My Dad Says” Twitter feed, and goddamned Battleship, why wouldn’t we expect the powers-that-be to make musicals out of the movies we love?  Who knows, maybe it’ll even be good; Young Frankenstein: The Musical and Spamalot were hilarious, and The Barenaked Ladies have at least semi-recently given us the great theme song for The Big Bang Theory.  I’ll wait and see.

But it got me thinking… What’s next?  Is there any piece of cinema history that we won’t soon see prancing and singing its way across a stage?  And if so, can I find a good idea and sell it for millions?  Here, then, are my bold (and probably misguided) predictions for movie adaptations that thousands of tourists will someday wait hours upon hours at the Tkts booth line to see on Broadway:

127 Hours: The Musical
Reasoning:  You say audiences won’t respond to an adaptation of a movie where basically the one and only character is pinned under a rock for 90% of the story before being forced to brutally amputate his own arm to escape?  I say you ain’t seen nothing until you’ve seen Armie the Arm, the most adorable puppet amputated arm character you’ve seen since… well ever!  Once Armie flops his way on-screen and those two start up with the witty banter, audiences will delight in the best Broadway duo since The Producers.
Marquee Musical Numbers:  “Why, Oh Why (Didn’t I Bring a Cell Phone or a Flare Gun or Something?)”, “Mostly ‘armless”, “Oh Danny Boy(le, the director of 127 Hours)”
Tagline: Come for the Lack of Set Changes, Stay for the Dismemberment!

Old Yeller: The Musical
Reasoning:  It’s Disney!
Marquee Musical Numbers:  “It’s a Doggone Shame”, “Leave Your Sorrows Behind (the Shed)”
Tagline: How’re You Feeling?  Good?  Not for Long!

Schindler’s List: The Musical
Reasoning:  Broadway and Hollywood saw a nice bit of crossover success this year with the film adaptation of the hit play War Horse, which to date has raked in more than $80 million at the box office.  In that regard, why not come back with the Spielberg magic and do a reverse War Horse by bringing one of his classic films to the stage?  But to keep the difficulty level up, let’s not go with an easy adaptation like E.T. or Jurassic Park.  Instead, let’s go with the Oscar-winning story of how Oskar Schindler defied Hitler himself and saved thousands of Jews by employing them in his factory.  Who could possibly object to this totally-not-somber-at-all story being set to finger-snapping, toe-tapping musical numbers?
Marquee Musical Numbers:  “My Fair F├╝hrer”, “Jew’ve Got a Friend in Me”, “Top of the List! (And I Feel Fine)”
Tagline: Too Soon?  Yes.  Yes It Is.

Rocky: The Musical
Reasoning:  Who wouldn’t love to see th– Wait, what?  They’re actually adapting Rocky into a musical?  Like, for real?  Man, I was just making a joke about it because it seemed absurd… Wow.  Really?  You’re sure?  A half-retarded Italian who gets punched a lot can be turned into a musical?
Marquee Musical Numbers:  No, really, stop screwing with me.  They’re actually making a Rocky into a musical?  Does Sylvester Stallone know about this?  Is he dying?  Wasn’t Rocky V bad enough?
Tagline: What the fuck?