Saturday, July 23, 2011

The 27 Club

With the recent and unexpected (I mean, really. Who saw THAT coming?) death of English singer/songwriter Amy Winehouse at the tender age of 27, we were all left wondering whether she did it on purpose just to be in the 27 Club alongside fellow dead-at-27-rock-artists like Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain. Arguments began surfacing about whether Winehouse was even worthy to lick these artists' boots. Throw in blues legend Robert Johnson and Pete Ham of Badfinger, and some would say Winehouse better join some other club and beat herself over the head with it.

Winehouse apologists soon came to the rescue by saying she's at least as worthy as The Gits' lead singer Mia Zapata and Hole bassist Kristen Pfaff. Detractors countered by stating that, at best, Winehouse might belong in the 27 Club somewhere between Andrew Cunanan and the Elephant Man.

Amid all this bickering and me hiding in the closet shouting, "Mommy, Daddy, stop!" I thought to myself that if Winehouse had only pulled an Andy Kaufman or a Snooki during her short career, she might have been welcomed with open arms into professional wrestling's 27 Club.

Yes, professional wrestling, the pseudo-sport we only pay attention to when Hulk Hogan is relevant or another champion murders his wife and son, has a very prestigious 27 Club. Not familiar with it? Let's go to the ring:

J.C. Bailey

While Bailey's death might have been as predictable as Winehouse's, you have to wonder how Abdullah the Butcher has celebrated 70 years of life when little Joseph Carl Bailey Jr. went at such a young age.

Bailey wrestled for the IWA Mid-South and Combat Zone Wrestling, among others, and was known for being a bloody mess. Multiple barbed wire matches and light tube matches, and wrestling guys with names like Necro Butcher, Brain Damage, and Thumbtack Jack left J.C. with more than a few concussions. He died of a brain aneurysm in August 2010, and his brain is still expected to be donated to Boston University.

Russ Haas

If you're a wrestling fan you must surely be familiar with Charlie Haas, superstar of World Wrestling Entertainment and Ring of Honor Wrestling. What you may not know is that in 2001 the Haas Brothers were poised to take the WWE by storm.

Russ Haas, trained by the legendary ten-year arm cast wearing "Iron" Mike Sharpe, had a damn good career ahead of him until a heart attack in September 2001. It was the one three months later that killed him.

Masakazu Fukuda

If you can't tell, Fukuda was a Japanese wrestler, wrestling primarily in Japan. You can check out his match against Jushin Liger on YouTube.

In 2000, Fukuda collapsed unconscious during a match against Katsuyori Shibata and died a few days later from internal bleeding of the brain. That will almost always kill you.

Louie Spicolli

Easily the most known wrestler of the club, Louis Mucciolo Jr. wrestled under many names during his career, including "Rad Radford" in WWE, "Madonna's Boyfriend" in Mexico, and "Cutie Pie" in the UWF.

While he was known as Radford in 1996, a neighbor found Mucciolo unconscious after he overdosed on Soma and suffered a seizure. He survived, but WWE soon released him, what with the steroid scandal they were still getting over. He began wrestling as Louie Spicolli in Extreme Championship Wrestling later in '96, but still had the drug problem. After leaving ECW under bad terms in '97, he headed to World Championship Wrestling. His time there was short-lived as he passed away in February 1998 after again ODing on Soma and alcohol.

Ibem Seleem

Who the fuck was Ibem Seleem? Just a man whose real name was Charles Harvey who was driving through the beautiful state of New Mexico in 1939 and got himself into a car accident that killed him. That's who.

Yeah, little else is known about Harvey/Seleem. If wrestlers who died in the 21st century end up as media unknowns who are just names on a list, what the hell chance do you think Ibem Seleem ever had to be remembered?

And there you have it, the exclusive 27 Club of pro wrestling. Of course, with wrestling you have a death club for nearly every possible age. There's the 23 Club (Chris Cash, Emiko Kado, Shane Shamrock, Mike Von Erich), the 26 Club (Basil Bozinis, Kasavubu, DJ Rizz), the 28 Club (Art Barr, Kelly Tabor, Yuel Lovett, Billy Redwood), the 29 Club (Trent Acid, Lance Cade, Gino Hernandez, Plum Mariko, Bobby Shane, Chris Taylor, Lee Estabrook. Yeah, this is a good club), and the 30 Club (Rick McGraw, Jay Youngblood, Tony Nash, Giant Ochiai), just to name a few.

So, no, the 27 Club doesn't fascinate me. At least not nearly as much as the 12 Club, which features Heather O'Rourke, Nkosi Johnson and Sadako Sasaki.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Already a Projected Winner for the 28th Annual "Dead Wrestler of the Year Award"

It's almost official. Unless Hulk Hogan, The Rock or "Stone Cold" Steve Austin drops dead by December 31, 2011, "Macho Man" Randy Savage will be awarded "Dead Wrestler of the Year" for 2011.

On May 20 Savage suffered a heart attack on a Florida highway before losing control of the vehicle and crashing. Savage, as evidenced by the joy felt throughout the world when he stopped the world from ending shortly after he passed, far exceeds the popularity of other wrestlers who have perished so far this year, including Verne Langdon, Gordon Scozzari, Guy Coffey, Val Puccio, Dr. Death, Shawn Osborne, Johnny Heideman, Nick the Greek, Oliver Humperdink, Ham Lee, Pierre Morrison, Chip Fairway, Manny Guzman, and Dusty Feldbaumer

And now a look at past winners of this prestigious award:

Dead Wrestler of the Year

1984 – David Von Erich
1985 – Jay Youngblood
1986 – Gino Hernandez
1987 – (tie) Mike Von Erich/Scott Irwin
1988 – (tie) Bruiser Brody/Adrian Adonis
1989 – Haystacks Calhoun
1990 – Ed Gantner
1991 – Chris Von Erich
1992 – Buzz Sawyer
1993 – Andre the Giant
1994 – Art Barr
1995 – Eddie Gilbert
1996 - Dick Murdoch
1997 - Brian Pillman
1998 – (tie) Junkyard Dog/Louie Spicolli
1999 - Owen Hart
2000 - Yokozuna
2001 - Terry Gordy
2002 - Davey Boy Smith
2003 – (tie) Elizabeth/Hawk/Curt Hennig
2004 - Big Boss Man
2005 - Eddy Guerrero
2006 – (tie) Earthquake/Johnny Grunge
2007 – Nancy Benoit
2008 – S.D. Jones
2009 – (tie) Test/Umaga
2010 – (tie) Chris Kanyon/Lance Cade
2011 – (Projected) Randy Savage

Dead Wrestler of the Year Award – Winners and Nominees

2010 – (tie) Lance Cade
Chris Kanyon

Ludvig Borga
Jack Brisco
Trent Acid.
Luna Vachon
JC Bailey
Mike Shaw
Giant Gonzalez

2009 – (tie) Test

Steve Doll
Buddy Rose
Mitsuharu Misawa
Steve Williams

2008 – S.D. Jones
Chase Tatum
Ron Slinker
Steve Bradley
Mike Bell

2007 – Woman
Bam Bam Bigelow
Mike Awesome
Bad News Brown
Sherri Martel
John Kronus
Brian Adams

2006 – (tie) Johnny Grunge

Emory Hail
Luke Graham
Tiger Khan
Joey Maggs
Tiger Conway
The Spoiler

2005 – Eddy Guerrero
Chris Candido
Shinya Hashimoto
The Spider
Pez Whatley

2004 – Big Boss Man
Stephan DeLeon
Danny Hawke
Hercules Hernandez
Texas Outlaw #1
Ken Timbs

2003 – (tie) Miss Elizabeth
Road Warrior Hawk
“Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig

Crash Holly
Mike Lozansky
Pitbull #2
Jerry Tuite

2002 – Davey Boy Smith
Big Dick Dudley
Wahoo McDaniel
Rocco Rock
Billy Travis

2001 – Terry Gordy
Chris Adams
Mike Davis
Russ Haas
Rhonda Singh

2000 – Yokozuna
Gary Albright
Bobby Duncum Jr
Masakazu Fukada
Jumbo Tsuruta

1999 – Owen Hart
Jonathan Boyd
Emiko Kado
Yuel Lovett
Rick Rude

1998 – (tie) The Junkyard Dog
Louie Spicolli

Brady Boone
Terry Garvin
Giant Haystacks
Shane Shamrock

1997 – Brian Pillman
Plum Mariko
Big E Sleeze
Stan Stasiak
Jeep Swenson

1996 – Dick Murdoch
Espanto III
Sonny Rogers
Ray Stevens
Neil Superior

1995 – “Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert
John Ayers
Jerry Blackwell
Don Ross
Big John Studd,

1994 – Art Barr
Ray Candy
Boris Malenko
Joey Marella
Scott Peterson

1993 – Andre the Giant
Dino Bravo
Larry Cameron
DJ Peterson
Kerry Von Erich

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What Does it Mean to be a Man?

I wrote this for a contest that was cancelled. So what better place for it than The Unpublishables?

If you can get your mitts on a dictionary these days, you’ll find that one defines a man as, “an adult male person, as distinguished from a boy or a woman.”

Fair enough, and quite literal, but there is also the sexist definition of, “the human individual as representing the species, without reference to sex,” as in “mankind.”

That kind of talk will get Gloria Allred on your tail.

Google Images is no help whatsoever, as they will give you photos of everyone from Iron Man and Spider-Man to a pregnant guy and some dude with three ears.

Modern culture, meanwhile, has relegated man to the buffoon in every sitcom and commercial who farts and watches football with his buds in a “man cave,” and goes fishing or hunting while on something called a “mancation.” So there is no known formula for being a man, other than having an Adam's apple and external genitalia.

Still, I stood outside Men’s Warehouse last week and asked several guys named Dan and Stan, who are always nicknamed “The Man,” what defines a man. One told me that it involves, “standing up to urinate and not talking during movies.” This made sense, as even my own wife loves to talk during films.

“Why’d he do that?”

I don’t know. Let’s watch the rest and find out.

This gave me the idea to ask my Grampy, the oldest man I know, the manliest man I know. He dictated the following rules to his nurses:

1.) Having a reasonable number of shoes, hair brushes, and purses. I mean no purses. This is a man bag.
2.) Drinking one’s weight in beer and being able to fix things, be it a car engine, a high school volleyball game, or the neighbors’ beagle.
3.) Not having to give birth, and if we bleed for five days in a row, we’ll probably drop dead

It was after crumpling up Grampy’s answer and tossing it in the trash that I realized it’s our modern rock and roll poets to whom we can turn to get an idea of what a man really is. For example, Tom Scholz of the band Boston, said that being a man takes –

The will to give and not receive
The strength to say what you believe
The heart to feel what others feel inside
To see what they can see

Amen, Mr. Scholz. And only the bards from the Sacramento band Tesla could put it into these words –

I know what it takes to be a man.
It ain't the way you look
Or the clothes that you wear.
That ain't what it takes to be a man.
Do right by the ones you love,
Always lend a helpin' hand.

I’m crying right now because this hits the nail right on its flat little head. “Do right by the ones you love.” Just because women can do it doesn’t mean it can’t also define a man. So that’s my answer: See Tesla’s “Be a Man.”

Leaves and Racism

Originally appeared on RafterJumpOn

Every autumn when I see someone raking leaves, or I step on the claw part of a rake and smash myself in the face like Tom from Tom & Jerry, I think of this one advertisement from my childhood.

It wasn't an advertisement, per se. It was more of a public service announcement. The PSA began with a man, a white man (this is important) raking leaves in his front yard. After a couple of seconds, we see his neighbor come out from his front door, also to rake some leaves. The neighbor is black.

Upon seeing his black neighbor, the white man, looking disgusted, drops his rake and storms back into his house. "I ain't rakin' along side a Negro. It’s bad enough the property value around here has plummeted thanks to him," he seemed to say.

Then there was a caption and voice over that said something like, "Stop racism," or whatever. Well, this PSA came on during cartoons, and I was a mere tot. I didn't know what racism was. I seriously thought racism had something to do with rakes. I thought this was an anti-leaf raking PSA. What do these people have against raking leaves? I used to wonder. What are we supposed to do with all these leaves?

My dad would go out to the yard on an October Saturday afternoon and I'd say, "I don't know, Dad. The same cartoon that told me to give a hoot and not pollute and to 'do a flip for breakfast' told me what you're doing is bad. When has anything aired during The Banana Splits or Top Cat stirred me wrong?"

I don't know what this says about my upbringing. Shortly after this my dad slapped the taste out of my mouth because I said the word “nigger,” again after hearing it in a commercial and not knowing the connotations of the word. It was another damn anti-racism PSA in which someone could be heard shouting, “Nigger lover! Nigger lover!” So I said it, and lied to my dad, telling him I actually said, “Nugget lovers!” and was having a basketball game inside my head. He didn’t buy it.
I also equated atheism with devil worship, mainly because I saw an MTV interview with Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, in which he said he was an atheist. Well, people equated Megadeth with Satan worship, so I thought Satanism and atheism went hand-in-hand. So in my world everyone loved each other and believed in Christ, or they were just evil. Especially if they raked their leaves in the fall.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pithy Talks with the Silly and Deceased: Part 3

This week Pithy Talks with the Silly and Deceased tried to talk with Harpo Marx, Brigitte Soubeyran, and Helen Keller and we got so frustrated we shot ourselves in the head.

Next week Freddie Prinze.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Seven Deadly Podcasts

Deadly FUNNY, that is. LOLCWSPRMB!!!!!!! Recently, you see, I’ve become one of those uppity bitches who carries his iPad all over the place, listening to podcasts and getting French fry grease and Blistex Lip Medex all over the adorable lil’ screen. And, with that, I’ve been eschewing my usual XM Channel 105 listening from 8 AM-Noon PST and enjoying some of the many podcasts that iTunes has to offer.

My friend, who we’ll call “Shrek (But Much Sexier),” has been hounding me to listen to the comedic stylings of Kevin Smith, Ricky Gervais, Joe Rogan, and others online FOR FREE, unlike the whatever the hell a month I’m paying for Sirius/XM. Now I’m doing this and loving it and facing the tough decision of leaving Ron and Fez away from my delicate ears in the morning in favor of Smith, Gervais, Marc Maron and Adam Carolla.

Well, Maron and Carolla I’m not completely sold on yet, at least verses Ron and Fez. Smith and Gervais are geniuses who I am not including in my Seven Deadly (Funny) Podcasts, simply because they’re too popular and it will make Shrek (But Much Sexier) way too happy.

Lastly, none of these shows could ever take the place of my afternoon listening of The Opie and Anthony Show. Sorry, Shrek (But Much Sexier), it’s the funniest program on Earth. Still, here are seven programs that will become part of my regular listening pleasure.

Bill Burr’s Monday Morning Podcast

Hilarious Boston comic Bill Burr (Chappelle’s Show) took his frequent and always-funny guest appearances on Sirius/XM’s The Opie and Anthony Show and created his own weekly podcast. Burr’s comedy special Let It Go is currently streaming on Netflix and it is fantastic.

The Davey Mac Sports Program

Former Ron and Fez Show producer Dave McDonald teams with current Ron and Fez Show producer Chris Stanley for this wonderful weekly sports show. You can also catch “East Side Dave” on Special Delivery with co-host Sam Roberts Saturday nights on Sirius/XM.

Mohr Stories

Star of television, stage and screen, Jay Mohr (Action, Gary Unmarried) has been a regular guest on both The Opie and Anthony Show and The Ron and Fez Show. So, when Kevin Smith approached him about doing a show under Smith’s Smodcast umbrella, Mohr said why the hell not. And the result is pure gold.

The Joe Rogan Experience

Comedian, UFC announcer and television star (Newsradio, Fear Factor) Joe Rogan hosts this interview show about comedy. Rogan is another podcast host who’s frequently appeared on The Opie and Anthony Show, as well as Howard Stern. You can also find his comedy special Joe Rogan: Live on Netflix.

Mike & Tom Eat Snacks

Co-stars on the NBC dramedy Ed, Michael Ian Black (Michael & Michael Have Issues) and Tom Cavanaugh (Eli Stone, Yogi Bear) eat and review snack food. The result is hilarity.

Robert Kelly: You Know What, Dude?

Another comic who honed his radio skills on The Opie and Anthony Show, Boston’s own Robert Kelly has played Louis C.K.’s brother on FX’s Louie, and is a veteran of Dane Cook’s Tourgasm and O&A’s Traveling Virus.

Jim Jefferies and Eddie Ifft Talk Shit

Australian comedian Jefferies (Down and Dirty, The Opie and Anthony Show) and Pittsburgh comic Ifft (Premium Blend, Last Comic Standing) …talk shite.

Pithy Talks with the Silly and Deceased: Beth Eggers

This week on Pithy Talks with the Silly and Deceased we speak with Beth Eggers, sister of beloved writer Dave Eggers, author of the not-at-all pretentiously-titled memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Beth claimed the book was horseshit, was forced to recant her accusations on Eggers’ web site, and then committed suicide in November 2001.

PTSD: I’m here with Beth Eggers, whose brother wrote a book back in 2000 called I’m the Greatest Writer Ever and Even Joyce and Hemingway Can Go Fuck Themselves. Did I get the title right?

Beth: Good as any other name.

PTSD: Beth, I spoke with a writer recently who said he would like to punch your brother square in the mouth. How do you respond to that?

Beth: Every writer up here wants to punch him.

PTSD: Really?

Beth: Yeah, Twain, Fitzgerald, Hitler. You name it.

PTSD: You said “up here.” You’re in Heaven? And so is Hitler?

Beth: Yes.

PTSD: Well, good for you. Your brother also created a magazine or sorts called McSweeney’s, named after Tom McSweeney, who was either the white guy from Boston that Tyson beat or the mailman from Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. It might even be a dessert at McDonald’s.

Beth: No, Tom McSweeney was an imaginary friend who wet my brother’s bed every night.

PTSD: Well, we must get him on the show soon. Anyway, back to An Agonizing Piece of Drunken Horseshit. Did everything in that actually happen?

Beth: Seriously? You read it.

PTSD: I started to, but I couldn’t get through it.

Beth: Well, no.

PTSD: Okay, and lastly, David Foster Wallace, is he hanging around up there in Heaven? I’d like to interview him next.

Beth: No, he’s in hell.

PTSD: Ole Three Names is in hell, but Hitler’s in Heaven.

Beth: Go figure.

PTSD: Thank you, Beth. You’ve been hilarious.