Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Louie times twoie

"If I told you the words, you wouldn't believe them anyway" - Richard Berry

You might not know it, but everybody's favorite drunken karaoke choice, "Louie Louie" by The Kingsmen, was investigated by the FBI in the early 60s. Seems there were some concern that the lyrics may have violated federal obscenity laws. Problem was, no one really could make out what the lyrics even were, let alone whether they were obscene. Recorded for fifty dollars in a primitive studio, lead singer Jack Ely yelled the lyrics into a boom mike suspended ten feet above his head. If the title wasn't on the 45, we probably wouldn't even know what to sing in the chorus, fer cryin' out loud.

The Smoking Gun got their mitts on some of the paper trail, including complaint letters from hysterical parents, responses from The Kingsmen and the FBI lab's analysis of the lyrics, who basically concluded that the song was sung so unintelligibly that they couldn't conclude with any certainty that there was anything there to prosecute.

The Louie Louie Pages track the complicated history of the song, originally written in 1956 on the back of a napkin by Richard Berry. In fact, this site is kind of a one-stop shopping source for all things LL, including (but not limited to) LL trivia, uses of LL in various movies and LL translations into French, Spanish, Serbo-Croatian and Zulu among others.

But of course it all comes back to breaching the impenetrable fortress that is lead singer Jack Ely's elocution. Does he really say "At night at ten I lay her again" there? Did I just hear " F%!$ you girl, oh all the way"?! Enunciate, Ely! Enunciate!

So then, what are the words to one of rock's most-covered tunes? The boring truth is that the lyrics are about as racy as one of Ricky Ricardo's numbers he used to perform at The Tropicana. Here's a sample:
A fine little girl, she waits for me.
Me catch the ship across the sea.
I sailed the ship all alone.
I never think I'll make it home.
Louie Louie, me gotta go.
Three nights and days we sailed the sea.
Me think of girl constantly.
On the ship, I dream she there.
I smell the rose in her hair.

And if those "real lyrics" aren't real enough, The LL Pages claim the only way to really sing the song correctly is to forget about the words, forget about dirty innuendoes, hell, forget you even speak a language. Instead, break down what was sung fo-net-ick-ly and sing it for all you're worth! What you get then is something that starts out with:
Looweeloowhy ono sadday we gowgow
yeh yeh yeh yeh yeh sadday looweeloowhy oh bebay sadday we gowgow

and ends with

Lastly but not leastly (hey, my blog, my words) the industrious folks at have compiled a (PDF) list of close to 1600 different bands covering you-know-what.

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Where's The Shatner?

Okay the Internets, you fooled me once a while back making me think there was really a tattoo parlor out there inking infants. I forgive you for that. I was young and foolish, you were feeling your oats and it was a bright and sunny April Fool's Day. Just please let Baby Toupees be for real. Please?

This particular rug style is The Donald, and frankly it looks less ridiculous here than the original. (via Boing Boing)

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Monday, September 25, 2006

I can see my house from here

Have a go at the Google Maps Quiz. You are shown a satellite image of somewhere in the world and your job is to click where you think it is on the map. Sometimes you just see a spot in the middle of the ocean somewhere, which comes down pretty much to taking a wild guess. Other times you can figure it out using geographical landmarks like distinctive coastline shapes or large lakes, etc. The screenshot above was from my closest hit, only 27 miles off. The ones I'm not so proud of were more like six, seven thousand or more miles off.

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TV Party Tonight

I have no idea how this guy can legally put these here, so they may go away at some point. Enjoy it while you can.

Every Simpsons and Futurama episode. Really! (via Metafilter)

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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Randomplay Rides Again

For no particularly good reason, here are a few songs pulled from the mp3 pile.

R. Crumb & His Cheap Suit Serenaders - Get A Load of This
Cartoonist Robert Crumb put out several albums in the mid-70s with his outfit The Cheap Suit Serenaders. This track came from their first full-length album "Cheap Suit Serenaders No. One"

Add a few scratches and ignore the references to TV and "Bowling For Dollars" and this would sound like it came straight off one of those 78s up in Grampy's attic.

The Chameleons U.K. - Swamp Thing
The shimmering guitar figure that kicks off this track always sticks around in my head for the rest of the day every time this one gets played.

The Feelies - Let's Go
Though they were described by one WFMU DJ as "the best thing to come out of New Jersey since the light bulb", The Feelies are one of the underappreciated indie-rock bands of the 1980s. This track is from their 1985 sophomore effort The Good Earth, produced by R.E.M.'s Peter Buck.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Me fail English? That's unpossible!

I make no claims to be any sort of linguistics expert, I just appreciate The English As She Is Spoke. In fact, to be honest, most of the terminology found in the links to follow sailed so far over my head I'd need the freaking Hubble Telescope. Nonetheless, here goes.

You know those kinds of clich├ęd phrases where you can plug in whatever it is you want to refer to in order to get your point (or joke) across? If you answered with the question, "Huhwhah?", perhaps these examples will clarify:

  • I'm not an X, but I play one on TV.
  • If we X then the terrorists have won.
  • X is the new Y.
or my personal favorite
  • X 2: Electric Boogaloo
There is an actual term for this, and it's called a snowclone. Why, you may be asking, is it called a dumb name like that? The term is an allusion to one particular instance of the phenomenon:
If Eskimos have N words for snow, X surely have Y words for Z.
The guy who introduced the concept has a blog called Language Log, which maintains a running discussion on the subject. The index for all of his articles is here. If you want to skip all the analysis and whatnot, Wikipedia has a pretty extensive list of snowclones, too.

For some odd reason this really tickled me, even though, frankly, I didn't really know what she was talking about. Linguist Heidi Harley categorizes some of the language humor in The Simpsons. Lots of examples are listed as well as what class of liguistic humor they fall into. I'm not quite sure if Troy McClure introducing one of his infomercials with “I’m Troy McClure, star of such films as ‘P is for Psycho’” is funnier knowing that the humor is because of
English spelling, borrowed consonant cluster reduction, but I appreciate that someone has gone to the effort of doing this.

Similarly, some mathematics professors have, ahem, "zeroed" in on the math humor in
The Simpsons. Examples from all 18 (and counting) seasons.

Mrs. Krabappel: Now whose calculator can tell me what 7 times 8 is?

Milhouse: Oh! Oh! Oh! “Low battery?”

Mrs. Krabappel [sighs]: Whatever.

Sign at Slotcar Heaven toy racing car store: “1/24 the size, 3/8 the fun”

[A TV ad for the state lottery is shown.]

Employee: I don't need your crummy job, Mr. Employer! I've won the lottery!

Employer: Well, who needs employees? I won the lottery, too!

[two window washers descend on a scaffold, each with a huge bag of cash at his feet]

Window washers: We both won the lottery!

All [to camera]: Why don't you win the lottery, too!

Announcer: The state lottery, where everybody wins! (Actual odds of winning: one in 380,000,000.)

Kent: But there's already one big winner: Our state school system, which gets fully half the profits from the lottery.

Principal Skinner [talking to his teachers in the Faculty Lounge]:

Just think what we can buy with that money… History books that know how the Korean War came out… math books that don't have that base six crap in them… and a state-of-the-art detention hall [holds up a scale model] where children are held in place with magnets.

Teacher: Magnets. Always with the magnets...

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You know what you shouldn't steal out of the courtroom while you're on trial for stealing computers? The court's computers, for one thing.
In an interview Monday night at the county jail, Eipp said he stole the computers "for personal reasons."

"I needed help, and I didn't know how to ask for help," he said. "And I guess, in my crazy way, that was my way of asking for help. Help with my drug problems, help with my sanity."
(via Techdirt)

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Monday, September 18, 2006

"Kick Me" 2.0

Roll-your-own signage with the Warning Sign Generator (via Digg)

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Tonight, On A Very Special Information Nation...

trope [trohp] -noun
story components or elements which have become standardized through decades (or more) of use.

The TV Tropes Wiki is no place to visit if you have anything you need to get done in the next few hours. Seriously. In just the subcategory of Animated Tropes, which is vast on its own, there's some really interesting stuff, such as

  • Motionless Chin - The reason most animated characters can talk, cry, scream, etc, yet their chin never moves
  • White Gloves - How come Mickey Mouse wears those white gloves?
  • Big Ball of Violence - You know, when cartoon characters get into a fight and it's depicted as this amorphous cyclone with the occasional head or fist becoming briefly visible

Aside from the animated stuff, there are the intracacies of Fan-Speak and your basic Stock Phrases (as contrasted with catchphrases like "Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?"), such as No Time To Explain and It's Quiet, Too Quiet.

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Howdy Dewitt

Japanese street magician Cyril Takayama doing a couple of great illusions, Burger Thief and Card through a Window. I have no idea how he does either of these tricks. On the other side of the magic coin, Penn & Teller reveal all in their Blastoff illusion. (via Memepool)

Burger Thief

Card though a Window

Penn & Teller's "Blastoff"

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006


For those of you who have sons, and for those who are glad they don't. (via The Presurfer)

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

There's Something About...

The Comics Curmudgeon and it's hilarious daily dissection of comic strips has become something of an obsession for me this summer. In particular, the in-depth weirdness of what's going on in Mary Worth. Yeah, you heard that right. I have been tricked into actually enjoying Mary Worth. Well, maybe more along the lines of "enjoying reading others mock Mary Worth".

Oh, and yes, that guy above does indeed bear an uncanny resemblance to Captain Kangaroo. And yes, Mary should have known trouble was brewing when he moved in next door. His last name's flipping Kelrast for crying out loud. Kelrast? Stalker? Hello?

Even weirder, someone has actually taken the stilted dialogue, the bizarre body positioning and inexplicable lack of intercharacter eye-contact and turned it into cinematic minimalism at its most inspired. Five short films done by framing the actors exactly as seen in a series of Mary Worth strips from 1998. By about the second or third one you just may become too creeped out to ever set eyes on the funnypages again, if you can keep from giggling that is. Bonus points for the creepy "wind blowing song" on the soundtrack. (via everywhere)

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Quit talkin' and start chalkin'!

Finger Billiards is a fun little timewaster. Read the instructions before you start, and remember a gentle touch will get you far. (via Transbuddha)

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Hive Spy lets you take a peek in real-time at the stuff that's getting bookmarked at social bookmarking sites like, and There's even a handy "Pause Stream" link on the page if something catches your eye and you want to check it out before it falls off the bottom of the screen. (via Cleverhack)

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[add your own Forrest Gump joke here]

Top 10 Ping Pong volleys ever

Maybe, but how did they miss this one? (Though I thought if you hit it all the way over the opponent's side of the table without it touching the surface then your opponent gets the point. Are these guys playing legal table tennis?)

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Testing 1, 2, 3... is this thing on?

I've come across what seems to be a nice, clean, free hosting site ( that I think will allow me to share the occasional tune. They claim to be pop-up/spayware-free, which is a definite plus. You should be able to listen online or download, whichever you want. If it's really great (or terribly crappy) please let me know, m'kay?

So, what to put up here for the maiden voyage?

How about these random assorted, various and sundry ditties?

Apollo 100 -- "Joy" -- Those of you who either a) grew up in the 70s or b) enjoyed the Boogie Nights soundtrack might remember this one-hit based on Bach's "Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring".

Brother -- "The Clumsy Lover" -- Probably the rockingest traditional Celtic song you'll ever hear. Replete with bagpipes and didgeridoo(!)

Tom Waits -- "Jockey Full of Bourbon" -- The first time I ever heard this song was a long time ago when I rented Jim Jarmusch's "Down By Law" (1986) starring John Lurie, Roberto Benigni and our boy Mister Waits. This track plays during the opening credits as a camera tracks up and down some of New Orleans' seamier side.

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Fry, Robin, Fry

It started when I saw this post (via Collateral Damage) about how through the miracles of modern technology, Texas State Fair patrons can now enjoy deep fried Coca-Cola. Science is on the march!

Deep fried Oreos

Deep fried Snickers bar

Deep fried wine

Deep fried Twinkies

Deep fried prime rib

Deep fried Bacon Double Quarter Pounder

Deep fried pickles, not to be confused with the band Deep Fried Pickle Project. They get really testy when people try and take a bite out of them.

Deep fried asparagus

Deep fried peaches

Deep fried bugs

Honorable Mention

The Deep Fried Hall of Fame goes to the Scottish people, who seem to have never met a food (I'm looking at you, haggis) that they wouldn't eat. Or deep-fry. Or deep-fry and then eat. Here are but a few of their creative fusions of hot oil and bad ideas:

Deep fried Mars Bar. At least I hope like hell that's what this is, because it looks more like a deep fried colonoscopy.

Deep fried pizza

Deep fried haggis. If you are one of the innocents who doesn't know what haggis is made of, for your sake, please don't click here to find out. Oh, you so totally clicked that, didn't you?

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Monday, September 04, 2006

More importantly, how will this affect the 3-D movie industry?

+ = ?

One of the core concepts of superstring theory in physics is that these "particles" (for lack of a better term, at least by me before I've had my second cup of coffee) exist in the tenth dimension. But how in the heck are we supposed to imagine ten dimensions?

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The crocs missed their chance

Some sad entertainment news today from Australia. Steve Irwin, known to many as the host of Discovery Channel's popular program "Crocodile Hunter" was killed in by a stingray today while filming a nature documentary off Queensland. Apparently the barb from the stingray hit him in the chest and punctured his heart.

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