Saturday, October 30, 2010

Scary movies are too damn scary!

"A Nightmare on Elm Street" has edged "The Shining" and "Scream" to be named the scariest movie of the Snooze Button Generation.

Although Snooze Button Generation founder and CEO Joe Stevens is not a big fan of horror films, the SBG still released its top 10 scary movies list today as part of "Halloween Weekend 2010."

"Some people are totally into horror movies, and that's not me," Stevens said. "But I still think it's appropriate to have such a list, although I try to stay away from these movies. They scare me."

Wes Craven's "A Nightmare on Elm Street" (1984) has pretty much everything a scary movie needs from quirky and dermatologist-needy villain, Freddy Krueger, to the feature film debut of Johnny Depp. It has much more depth, and humor, than many other films in its genre but is cliche enough to be a scary movie.

2. The Shining (1980)

This is by far a better film than "A Nightmare on Elm Street," but it has too much going on to be considered a mere horror film. Plus, it was released in 1980, so it's darn near impossible to find a member of the Snooze Button Generation who saw "The Shining" in the theater. In fact, I would guess that's about as rare as going to an adult's Halloween party without seeing a "Catwoman" there.3. Scream (1996)

Dang, it's another Wes Craven film, and it deserves to be there. It's funny, a box-office smash, and it revitalized the horror genre. Yeah, the SBG likes Wes Craven. It's only a coincidence that he hails from Cleveland, the hometown of Stevens.4. Halloween (1978)

Jamie Lee Curtis had her feature film debut here. Without that part, would she have ever been able to write her much talked about, but seldom read, children books?

5. Friday the 13th (1980)

Jason is an institution of fright. Honestly, the movie is not the best. Is it? But it certainly holds a high spot in the pantheon of horror flicks.

6. Poltergeist (1982)

Carol Anne? Carol Anne? The fact that Heather O'Rourke, the actress who played the girl Carol Anne, died at 12 makes the film even creepier.7. Mr. Holland's Opus (1995)

Real cheesy and m-f-ing scary!

8. The Exorcist (1973)

Well, "The Exorcist" might be the scariest film of all-time, but its 1973 release date probably doesn't make it an SBG film. But, man, that pea-soup flick deserves to be somewhere on this list.

9. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti."10. Saw (2004)

If the horror genre isn't dead, only "Saw" can save it. Unfortunately, many of the films on this list have a gazillion sequels that just make it obvious that their goal is to cash in and not pretend horror films can be an art form.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

'Dazed and Confused' star wins Game 1

The Snooze Button Generation would like to congratulate "Dazed and Confused" character Mitch Kramer for his victory in Game 1 of Wednesday night's World Series.

Unfortunately, after the game, the pitcher was chased around Austin, Texas, and was paddled in the backside by his brother's friends. Those friends, though, were then cool enough to invite him to a party and give him a couple beers.

Technically, Mitch Kramer, played by Wiley Wiggins, is a fictional character. But that doesn't mean Giants star Tim Lincecum is not a dead ringer for the teen in "Dazed and Confused."

The SBG considers the 1993 film "Dazed and Confused" a classic. The movie is extremely funny and entertaining, but it has heart, too, and captures a side of teens not often represented in film.Even though Wiggins' career peaked with "Dazed and Confused," the movie's cast is like a who's who of acting - 17 years later.

Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Parker Posey, Joey Adams and Adam Goldberg all are in the movie. Their roles were, more or less, the biggest breaks for all of them, and many now see the movie as a cult classic because of its marijuana references. Yeah, maybe, but there's a lot more to it than that.

What is even more amazing is that Wiley Wiggins somehow won the National League's Cy Young Award last year and inked a two-year, $23 million contract earlier this year. Apparently, it's never too late for a career change.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Encyclopedia Brown: Frozen in time

Encyclopedia Brown is entering a real awkward pubescent stage and likely will make readers laugh at him, the Snooze Button Generation has learned through a source who requested anonymity.

"Yeah, he's been stuck on 12 since 1963, and he's going to age," the source said. "Beware. It's going to be a lot like Daniel Radcliffe in the Harry Potter series. Can you say 'awkward'?"

Harry Potter is extremely popular and all, but the actor Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Potter, has aged to make the character look awkward and weird. The same thing will be happening with Encyclopedia Brown.Encyclopedia Brown author Donald J. Sobol likely understands the risks of aging his boy detective. But perhaps he does not understand the far-reaching ramifications. There is a chance Brown will now hit on his gal pal Sally Kimball, drink with bully Bugs Meany and give up solving some cases in order to message hot chicks he doesn't know on facebook.

Goodbye to puberty, Encyclopedia Brown - and goodbye to solving cases.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Black Max: Evil or genius?

It's rare that a product hits the market that revolutionizes lives. I say the television, cell phone and snooze button on alarm clocks did that.

But a more subtle, but just as important, product was the Black Max tennis racket from Dunlop. Not long before the Black Max hit the market in 1980, tennis rackets were made of wood, then aluminum. The Black Max, AKA the Dunlop Max 200G, was the first widespread used graphite racket, and it totally changed the game.

The Black Max was lighter. It offered more control, and it had a cool name.

As a lad, I remember yearning to use the Black Max, although I never found the courage to say, "Uncle Ed, could I borrow your Black Max?"

Eventually, the racket become commonplace enough where getting my hands on one was simpler. Yeah, man, I loved that Black Max, but I'm wondering if it did more evil than good.

The Black Max hit the market in 1980, the same exact time tennis style peaked. Take a look at any picture of Bjorn Borg or John McEnroe from that time. Yeah, man, those were two sophisticated gentlemen.After 1980 and the advent of graphite rackets, tennis style went way down. Ivan Lendl, for example, had decidedly less style than Borg, McEnroe and even the staid Jimmy Connors. Andre Agassi was simply a cheeseball, and nowadays, Roger Federer is about as exciting as a cornflake.

Technically, the Black Max is an inanimate object and cannot talk. But I bet it would argue that its usage had nothing to do with the lack of style of post-1980 tennis champs.

Some might say that style is alive and well in tennis today. I wholeheartedly disagree. If it didn't peak with Borg and McEnroe, then it peaked with Richie Tenenbaum.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dirty martinis: Sexier than Bond's drink

As I continue my quest for self-improvement, I need to draw the line somewhere of how far I will go to be in good shape. Therefore, I will not take steroids.

Granted, if I truly wanted to be in great shape, I should probably lift weights and opt for the 'roids. However, something just doesn't feel right about that plan.

One thing I have been doing, though, is curtailing my drinking. I am not going to go cold turkey with drinking because of my successful track record of social drinking. I believe I can drink in moderation and will keep that in my repertoire of skills.

As I cut down drinking, I am planning to not bring any liquor into my house until I have another one of my popular and classy parties (probably soon). So without buying liquor until then, I will only drink what is in my house. I happen to have a big bottle of Seagram's gin in my house, so I've been drinking a bunch of martinis of late.If you ever wondered if it is a good or bad idea to drink martinis, I suggest reading an old New Yorker article by Roger Angell. He described a martini in a perfect way that I'll never forget, saying it has a "stark medicinal bite." That's so true, and I've come to love that medicinal bite.

Glamorizing drinking is probably a bad thing, but perhaps no one did it better than James Bond. While I am a fan of Bond's wardrobe, I question his choice of martinis. He typically orders "a vodka martini, shaken, not stirred," which is redundant. Martinis are rarely stirred, so when ordering one, saying "shaken, not stirred" is a bit goofy.

I also prefer "dirty martinis" with gin to vodka martinis because they have more of that medicinal kick I dig and I like the extra drops of olive juice. And to me, ordering a "dirty martini" sounds far sexier than Bond's order. Who doesn't like a dirty drink now and again?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

'Loviking' Sniglets is natural

When Michael Scott - AKA my brother - recently visited California, he had a difficulty exiting a rental car and said, "Ooh, sorry, had a lot of curbswell here."

I said, "Don't sweat it. At least it's a rental."

Curbswell is one of many Sniglets that has been in my family's vernacular for about 26 years. Sniglets are made up words that make total sense and were put together in a 1984 book by comedian Rich Hall. Curbswell, for example, is a seismic condition in which the curb on the passenger side of a car rises and wedges a car door.

I find myself inventing Sniglets now and again and the other day was wondering: What in the world ever happened to Rich Hall?

Apparently, Hall lives in London, had some TV shows there and is often on quiz shows, where he is known for being an excellent participant. I also have discovered that he is the inspiration for the bartender Moe in "The Simpsons." Huh, who knew?One Sniglet a student of mine invented that I think is brilliant is "lovike." Sometimes in a relationship, it is inappropriate to say both "I love you" and "I like you." Lovike is in between those two, and I think it's a necessary word.

Anyone who checks out this mega-list of Sniglets is likely to find words that have been experienced. On a recent plane ride, I experienced "elbonics" - jockeying for the arm rest with a stranger.

I also have walked on "cinemuck" - the combination of popcorn, soda, and melted chocolate that covers the floors of movie theaters. I have also participated in "tubswizzle" - sliding back and forth in the bathtub to mix the too hot water with the cooler water.

I respect Hall for not milking Sniglets too much. He did his Sniglet thing in the '80s, then stopped when the '90s hit and moved to England to become their quiz-show version of Charles Nelson Reilly and/or Richard Dawson.

The Snooze Button Generation thanks him for his words, including "grantnap," the extra five minutes of sleep you allow yourself that somehow makes all the difference in the world.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Grandma deemed 'cooler than Snake Eyes'

Snooze Button Generation founder and CEO Joe Stevens continues to discuss life-and-death issues, following the death of his grandmother Adele Stevens. He refuses to give the SBG staff guidance as he reunites with family in Cleveland to remember Adele.

"Look," Stevens said from Cleveland. "I really don't care. Just do the post on how Snake Eyes from G.I. Joe wore all black from birth on. That works. It makes sense. I just don't want to be bothered now. I have more important things going on."

Instead of focusing on Snake Eyes' style plan as a lad, the SBG staff would like to extend its condolences to Stevens and his family. Adele Stevens passed away Thursday night at 93. She was Stevens' last remaining grandparent and has been deemed cooler than Snake Eyes by the SBG staff.Adele had a close and successful family mentioned in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Sunday. From what Stevens says, she was an eccentric, funny and sophisticated lady. She saved her money a lot, deeply loved her husband "Coach" and tried to give her three children - Eddie, Lynda and Freddie - superb upbringings in Cleveland.

"Although we all knew this would happen eventually because she was 93, it's a difficult time," Stevens said. "It'd hard to explain how quirky and cool she was to people who didn't know her. She truly got a lot out of life - way more than most do - and I admire that."Stevens did not offer many details about his grandma, other than mentioning a 1977 white Ford LTD, Chippewa Lake, Ohio, and something called "Cleveland water." He was vehement in saying he did not want to get emotional because he prefers to simply celebrate his grandma's life.

"When something like this happens, it's real easy to sob," he said. "That's normal and OK. But I'd rather just smile and think, 'Yeah, Adele was one of a kind.' Memories are important to me, and I'm happy to have so many great ones with her and my family."