My Best Friend’s Exorcism: Another Book I’m Sad I Didn’t Write

This cover called to me from the drab piles of “new release” paperbacks at my local Barnes & Noble. “I’m not like the others,” it said. “I’m everything you’ve ever wanted in a creepy beach read,” it cooed as I ran my fingers over it’s soft-matte cover. It looks like a freaking VHS rental tape and I SOOOOO wanted it. IMG_1004

People sell books like this in major retailers?? Maybe I’ve missed my calling!! But ultimately, I put it down because I got worried that the scary parts would be less Stranger Things and more the actual-movie-The Exorcist. But I don’t know. I’m still thinking about it, so maybe I’ll be bold and give it a read.

Hey Dude: Melody’s Brother (My White Whale, My Broken Teenage Heart)

Very Special Readers, I am very excited to share with you “Melody’s Brother,” a.k.a. my white whale of Very Special Episodes. This is a “lost episode” of Hey Dude, and I have been looking for it for YEARS. (Hey, this blog just had it’s 3rd birthday. The VSB isn’t a toddler anymore. Aw, it’s growing up so fast.)

01-07-brownHey Dude is a show about a bunch of teenagers working on a dude ranch. I was really into it as a small child, but I think this was mostly due to the fact that there was a girl named “Brad” on the show and I thought that “Brad” was a cool name for a girl. Incidentally, Brad was the name of my first boyfriend. I don’t think the two facts are related since I was mostly into him because he was into Nirvana and had blond hair.

Sadly, things ended badly with Brad. He brought another girl on a date to a football game at my high school (which he did not attend) mere days after he crushed my little fourteen year old heart while Weezer’s “Buddy Holly” played in the background. (To add insult to injury, I had only slightly earlier in the day determined that this would be “our song.”) But it’s funny how life goes because now I look back on this fondly as one of my better break ups. (For the record, Brad apologized to me a year later, so we’re good. I’m not here to drag some dude through the mud for youthful transgressions over a decade later. OVER A DECADE. And the VSB is 3 years old. OH NO, I AM AGING.)

Alright, alright, I promised you a very special episode.

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Would you let that kid in the middle fix your toilet?

Melody’s brother comes for a visit and tells her he’s going to propose to his girlfriend. She refuses to be a bridesmaid, which is pretty rude, and invites him to go canoeing. He’s like NOPE I AM GOING TO CHILL WITH MY FRAT BROS. (Rude family.) He presumed that she would be working, and she says, “No, I switched with Brad.” (Brad being the girl character on the show and not my ex-boyfriend.)

On his way into town, Melody’s bro invites some of her coworkers into town to a bar that WILL NOT CHECK ID. But they’re good ranch hands, so they say no. Listen, The VSB would NEVER condone underage drinking, but as someone who is a few years past the legal drinking age, I must say that I will never again be able to drink like I could drink when I was 20. Would that I could, Hey Dude, would that I could.

dude12Danny (played by the “missing” Joe Torres but this guy on Facebook says he’s Joe and not to worry), says that he doesn’t want to go because a friend of the family had a drinking problem. Melody’s brother says, “there’s a big difference between having a few beers with your friends and having a problem.” He’s right, but obviously this is the Chekov’s gun of this episode.

He leaves the room and the ranch hands comment on his stank alcohol breath. (Oh, yep. Here we go.)

Danny, says that the friend of the family betrayed all of them by becoming “another Indian with a drinking problem.” Therefore, Danny can never drink even if he wants to lest he become a stereotype. Shit, things got culturally heavy here.

Later in the afternoon, Billy dry heaves by the cabins. He doesn’t want to join Melody for dinner. His jeans are ripped and he has an injury that he can’t explain. He says he only had two beers. (LIES!)

12-38-melody-delightedThe overzealous ranch hands see Melody talking to her brother and they’re like oh hey, your brother is drunk. And she gets all defensive and says he’s just tired. Meanwhile, it’s dinner time and everyone wants to tell Melody her brother has a problem in their judgey voices but no one wants to help this guy metabolize that booze by encouraging him to eat some bread or drink some water. Have we no plain pasta, people???

In a flagrant violation of child labor laws, the manager insists on opening up the room where Melody’s bro is “sleeping it off” so that a thirteen year old can presumably fix the plumbing. This obviously fails, so her brother has to move rooms. While they’re moving the luggage, a big old bottle of brandy falls out of his bag.

Melody is PISSED. Apparently, their dad is an alcoholic too. But her bro says he’s just having a hard time right now. You know that girl he wanted to marry? That girl broke up with him and is in love with someone else.

Okay, Rule #1. Don’t drink when you’re sad. 
Rule #2. Enjoy your fast metabolism while it lasts and STAY HYDRATED.
I’m dishing out very special lessons all over the place today, guys.

Melody’s bro promises to never drink again (but don’t count on it because this episode still has several minutes left.) He leaves the ranch to go see a movie and…uh oh…this ends with the cops calling to say there has been an accident. He’s alive, but he has a DUI. Melody decides to practice some tough love and not bail her brother out of jail. Woah. Damn. This episode is rough.

37-73-melody-billy-2Her boss bails him out and big bro is mad as hell that Melody wasn’t there to support him. Melody is devastated and she says that she’s already been lying to everyone for him and is starting to resemble their mother covering for their father. (GUYS, THESE PEOPLE NEED THERAPY AND CRAP I’M SO GLAD I DIDN’T SEE THIS ON NICKELODEON AS A KID.)

She says, “Maybe you’re right. Maybe you don’t have a problem with your drinking. But I do.” Mic drop.

Turns out, he lied AGAIN. That girl from earlier (the one who he wanted to marry but she broke up with him because she was in love with somebody else), she wasn’t really in love with somebody else. She broke up with him because they argued all the time about his drinking. Damn, those overzealous ranch hands are perceptive. Be careful who you invite to hang out with you. They may just expose your deepest secrets in an instant.

Anyway, he has to fly home to their parents’ house since he no longer has a drivers license.

Very Special Lesson: Listen, there were some veritable truths dropped all over this post. I cannot even synthesize this post in a witty one liner because I have an overwhelming urge to listen to “Undone: The Sweater Song.”

GLOW: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling

Friends, lovers, countrymen (oh that’s not how that goes?), it has been a minute. I hope you’re all enjoying the beginning of summer. Here are some things I have been up to since we last spoke:

-I started dating again! Highlights include: a man who told me he lost all of his friends in his last relationship 45-minutes into our first and only date!

-I struggled through a hangover at my new job and was very successful at fooling everyone into thinking I was fine to “jump on that call” and didn’t feel like curling up in the fetal position under my desk. (Sadly, I don’t think I can add this to the “skills” section of my resume.) This was only the 2nd time I have ever been hungover at work: the first time being when I went out with a group a couple of years ago and elbowed the CEO in the eye on the dance floor! It’s okay. We’re on good terms. We still talk!

-I binge-watched all of the new Netflix series “Glow.” And that’s what brings me here today. I enjoyed every minute of this series, but I knew it would indelibly change the pop culture landscape of my mind when SPOILER ALERT: Pat Benatar’s “Invincible” was featured in the final match of the season. (Oh, that’s not something most people consider a spoiler? Well, excuse me for trying not to ruin the magic for those who are also big, big fans of The Legend of Billie Jean.)

Glow is a semi-biographical look at the 1980’s women’s wrestling show. (But I can say that having watched now the series AND the documentary–I am SERIOUSLY into Glow, guys–Netflix seems to have taken a lot of poetic license with this. The stars are Alison Brie and that woman who played the lady doctor in Nurse Jackie, but if you look at the image below, just over that dude’s shoulder…

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Yes, that woman biting her thumb is none other than the incomparable Kate Nash, songstress of my late teen years. Actually, I didn’t even recognize her, but I was singing “Pumpkin Soup” in the shower this morning, so is my subconscious that strong? Or maybe it’s the first bullet point on the list of things I’ve been up to?

Anyway, thanks to a former coworker (who may actually be my pop culture soul mate?) I have some really sweet videos from the real Glow to share with you.

If I had to give an elevator speech for Glow (the real series, not the Netflix series) I would say, “It’s kind of like The Warriors but if all of the gangs fought in a pink wrestling ring and also they did some MadTV-type sketches–oh and also some “rapping” in the style of Deborah Harry.” Go ahead, see for yourself:

Also, Jackie Stallone is legit Sylvester’s mom. HOW GREAT IS THIS? I cannot believe this beautiful, beautiful piece of camp existed and I didn’t even know about it. Did any of you watch this in the 80’s?? Please tell me all about it in the comments!

Family Ties: Birth of a Keaton

Okay, kids. I gotta be honest, I’m phoning this one in. I started a new job this week (WOOHOO CORPORATE HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN!!!) Tonight (yes, I am speaking to you from the past), I planned to work on this, but I ended up chatting with my BFF on the phone and then I started watching a bunch of Shalamar videos on YouTube.

Okay, so now onto our final telethon episode!

This episode is actually about a PBS fundraiser, which I do recommend supporting because OMG they let me watch episodes of Sherlock for free on their website!! But our final fundraiser will be for the NRDC because Antartica is melting.

Tmv5bmjm5mdawmzy5mf5bml5banbnxkftztgwnza0mtgzmje-_v1_uy268_cr870182268_al_he Keaton kids are really dreading PBS pledge week, but Elyse is excited about it because she’s hoping to be able to perform as a singer/guitar player. Steven doesn’t want her to perform, but she’s mega-pregnant so he knows better than to say no to her. It turns out that she has a lovely voice…until she hits the high notes…

As the week progresses, Steven begins to notice that his children are not terribly excited about manning the phones at the telethon. After talking to Elyse, Steven decides that he was rude to the children because he never asked them to participate. (He thinks it’s a problem of manners rather than the fact that they’re simply bored out of their minds). Of course, when he gives them the option, they all decide NOT to participate.

But as the week goes on, and they see all of the other families participating in the telethon (is that a thing??), the Keaton children begin to feel guilty. So they schlep on down to the station to make up for their selfish behavior.

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In this HIGH DRAMA episode (aka I have almost fallen asleep 4 times) Steven must leave immediately after the children arrive because they have plumbing issues at the house!!! OH NO, he’s going to miss Elyse’s performance!

From home (where the ceiling is about to cave in) Steven watches Elyse perform. Just as she is about to hit that high note, she goes into labor.

TIME FOR PART 2!

Ugh, this SERIOUSLY could have been a single episode because NOTHING happened in part 1. Part 2 starts off with labor pains and a big snowstorm. (Also, it turns out that going into labor led to a lot of pledges!!) Sadly, they are snowed-in and Elyse will have to have the baby at the station!

(Full discloser, I’ve been skipping through this episode a lot. Steven goes to the hospital and Elyse’s isn’t there. Since there are no cell phones she sends him messages over the air at the telethon. This causes even more pledges to pour in. Even though the roads are impassible, Steven leaves the hospital and makes it to the station. He brings a doctor…couldn’t they have just called an ambulance like an hour ago? She has the baby. It’s fine.)

Oh my gosh you guys, this was so boring. I’ll never do this to you ever again.

Here, enjoy some Shalamar:

The Golden Girls: The Monkey Show

Today’s contribution goes to Meals on Wheels because one day, if we’re lucky, we’ll all be as old as the Golden Girls, but we may not all be so lucky as to have amazing roommates. Meals on Wheels provides companionship and nourishment to our most vulnerable elders.

Dorothy and Stan are seeing a therapist together, which has created a situation in which Stan has transferred his feelings for Dorothy to a surrogate–a fake monkey, to be exact. (More on this later.)

Meanwhile, Rose has gotten 8 hours of television airtime for a telethon to save a lighthouse. She asks the girls to help her get everything organized.

Furthermore, Dorothy’s sister, Gloria, pops by for a visit and major sibling rivalry ensues.

This is a two-parter and we already have an A, B, and C-plot. Are you keeping up? I want to make sure we’re all on the same page, so please take a moment to review.

Okay, you good?

Gloria tells Dorothy that she’s not a real teacher because she’s just a substitute. Rude. I don’t understand why family members come into your home and just think they can get away with insulting you. Like you MAY be my flesh and blood, but you’re still in my home and you need to GTFO if you’re going to be rude.

Then Stan shows up with the (fake) monkey. Gloria is there to see all of this of course, and Dorothy doesn’t miss the opportunity to let Stan know that Gloria has run out of money, which Stan mistakes for “monkey,” and he somehow manages to become more possessive of the fake monkey than he was before. He doesn’t hang around for long though because he has an important business dinner, where he plans to seat the monkey with “the other wives.”

The monkey is some fake fur and a little plush face wrap around an orange traffic cone, just so you have an accurate mental picture. Oh wait, here’s a real picture:

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Dorothy is delighted that Stan is into a traffic cone these days and therefore leaving her alone. Sophia pressures her to use this extra non-Stan time to bond with her sister. But instead Dorothy decides to pour salt into her wounds.

Okay, sometimes I forget that Dorothy was horrible and mean because she was the funniest one on that show. But when she offers to give Gloria some romantic advice, everyone laughs at her…because her ex-husband is in love with a fake monkey. So yeah. Maybe she doesn’t have the best taste.

And then Stan transfers his love for Dorothy from the monkey to Gloria. Here’s the SFW version of what happened between them:

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Oh and by the way, there’s a hurricane on the way. So we’ve got: sibling rivalry and romantic transgressions, fake monkey love, a save the lighthouse telethon, and a hurricane. Sophia is very excited about (potentially dying in) the hurricane*:
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Finally, it’s time for the telethon. And none of the acts can make it. DUE TO THE HURRICANE. So Blanche and Rose set out to do everything themselves. Rose sings a lovely song from Minnesota, called “I Never Thought I’d Grow A Hair there.”

But the only pledges this earns are a $20 and a $50 from Sophia who will only make the donations if Rose stops playing.

After a very sad performance from their only act to show up (a man who impersonates crickets) Rose receives word that they’ve been taken off the air and that the studio is going to be used as a hurricane shelter.

Meanwhile, Dorothy finds Gloria and Stan in bed together again. Oh and I might add that they are in Dorothy’s bed. Ewwwwww.

Oh my gosh, I’m sorry. Let me back up. Dorothy discovered right after she found them together the first time that Sophia had actually tried to set Gloria up with Stan. I say “tried” but maybe I should say “Sophia had successfully set up one of her daughters with her other daughter’s ex-husband.” Sophia then runs off and did I mention that there is a hurricane???

So now Dorothy is frantic, but she really shouldn’t be. Sophia is chilling with her brother Angelo. Angelo tells her she was out of line with the whole Stan thing (duh) and they decide to head to the shelter. Alas, a tree has fallen and trapped them in the house!

Back at the shelter, Stan confesses that he was only with Gloria and the monkey (uh, okay) to make Dorothy jealous. Ugh, poor Gloria. Her mom sets her up with her sister’s ex and he’s just using her to make her sister jealous. But then again, now that I’ve written the previous sentence, I’m not sure why Gloria felt like hooking up with Stan was ever a good idea in the first place.

Oh and remember how Sophia was trapped in that house with Angelo? She’s fine. She literally just walked into the shelter. She makes the girls hug by threatening them with running away into the storm again. (Remember that morbid shirt from earlier??)

Also, remember that targeted advertising I discussed several posts ago? Well, I’ll have you know that I saw a pregnancy test commercial at every single break in this two-part episode. So…not quite sure what to make of that.

*SEE it ain’t easy being an older adult, scroll on up to that Meals on Wheels donation link.

Saved by the Bell: Save the Max

Today’s charitable donations will go to your local public radio station! Follow this link to find your local NPR station and make a one-time or recurring donation.

screen2bshot2b2014-09-012bat2b6-03-432bpmWhile trespassing in a closed off area of Bayside High School, Zack and Screech uncover a radio station, KKTY. The gang heads to The Max to plan out what each of their respective roles in the revived radio station will be. But when they get their order they find their burgers to be like 1/5 of the standard size. (Like if you order a quarter pounder and then someone brought you one single White Castle burger.)

Max explains that he’s had to make some cuts do to rising costs and everyone is extremely sympathetic, despite the fact that they’ve probably all paid 5 times too much for the amount of meat they’re getting. GUESS THERE’S NO STRESS WHEN YOU’RE USING MOMMY AND DADDY’S MONEY. But I digress.

Then they all talk about how no one has seen Max’s dog in a while and they wonder what could have happened to it, as they look suspiciously at their tiny burgers. Wait, SERIOUSLY, Saved by the Bell? A dog meat joke? This is TOO dark for your fare. I’m still having nightmares about that episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and now you just had to go and stir up my PTSD.

The lone investigative journalist at the station (Jesse Spano, obviously) uncovers a hot story when she discovers that the Bayside School District is Max’s landlord. The district plans to turn The Max into a parking lot if Max doesn’t pay $10,000 in back rent by the end of the week. Woah, woah, woah. That place is ALWAYS full. I know. I’ve been there. How the heck did Max mismanage his finances so badly?

Also, this school district owns a restaurant and an oil field? WHAT IS UP WITH THIS TOWN??

Anyway, the kids report this news on the radio without getting Principal Belding’s approval first (thus violating the terms of their radio station agreement). Zack senses something behind the principal’s outrage about potentially losing his job because he let a bunch of kids trash talk the school board on the radio, so Jesse starts investigating Belding. Eventually, she finds something. And just in case you forgot that it was “okay” to make rape-y jokes on television in the early 90’s:

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As it turns out, Belding got in trouble in high school for mooning the school board. Seems like he and Zack had a lot more in common than we thought! Belding, the original DJ of KKTY, protested the school board’s ban on long hair and jeans (hence the mooning), which lead to the station’s demise.

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Hey, hey, hey slow down here. First of all, there are REAL things to protest other than not getting to wear jeans and saving some unsustainable business. I mean really, Belding? You went to high school in the 60’s and your biggest concern was that your school board didn’t want you to have long hair? Sounds like a selfish jackass to me. I guess he and Zack really are the same. So Belding agrees to help with the radiothon. (RADIOTHON! Now this post makes sense, right???)

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 8.33.02 PMOn a side note, I dig this sweater that one of the extras is wearing at the radiothon. Can any Etsy friends hook me up with a similar look?

So pretty much the radiothon is just their regular radio show but in person and at The Max. I’d say that’s pretty weak in terms of a fundraiser. Lisa starts auctioning of gossip, Screech does a bad Al Bundy impersonation, and Slater pledge’s his life savings of $100.

Oh yeah, Slater’s at home instead of at the radiothon because he sucked at being on the radio. It’s a whole B-plot that I just didn’t go into.

When Zack loses his voices and everyone else falls asleep, Slater shows up and takes over the radiothon hosting. He makes a motivational speech (see below) and the phones start ringing off the hook.

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Sounds like it’s time for a group high-five!

Tender Wings of Desire

Very Special Readers, I finally found my dream job. AND IT IS TAKEN! I hope the ghostwriter of Tender Wings of Desire appreciates the perfection that is being paid to write a romance novel about Colonel Sanders.

Special for Mother’s Day, KFC has published Tender Wings of Desire: A Colonel Sanders Novella. You can download it for free on Amazon and 100 lucky people will be selected to receive a hard copy on Facebook.

Check out the promo video here:

I never imagined anyone would dream of making sweet, sweet love to Colonel Sanders. But KFC went there and I APPLAUD THEM FOR IT.

I’m several chapters into the novella and it’s not what I expected. I thought it would be like set in rural America (right)? But no, it’s all about a Downton Abbey-type lady who runs away from her arranged marriage to become a barmaid in a small fishing village. (The tavern’s owners are surprisingly chill with her lack of domestic skills.) It’s through her new job that she meets the Colonel, who heads out to sea with career fisherman for the fun of it.

I haven’t finished the whole thing, but it seems very PG. The riskiest thing to happen thus far is some serious kissing and chapped lips. I’m pretty sure it won’t progress any farther than that because THIS IS A FAMILY RESTAURANT, PEOPLE. So if you’re into romance novels, then I’m not sure I can recommend it as traditional romance novel fare, per se. But I can say that you better read this is you love absurd pop culture humor (me) or love chicken (me) or love Americana (me).

Plus, it’s free. It’s literally free.