I’m OK, You’re OK

Live from the Sporting Goods department...

Live from the Sporting Goods department…

The new Mecca CD is here!!!  And a good month earlier than I thought we would get a change in the muzak… but this year’s Summer CD has been replaced with…. um…. the meccamuzakmondaysSummer CD?  OK, I may have to start referring to the most recent disc as the Spring CD, because the one playing now is absolutely the one Mecca meant to provide the atmosphere for the warm season.  Plus, it’s practically a remix of last year’s Summer CD, complete with Beach Boys overload….

And yes, I have issues.  I am probably the only person alive who is actually tickled to death at the prospect of learning a new nine and a half hour playlist….

Anyhoo, in honor of this occasion, I’m going to dedicate this week’s edition of Mecca Muzak Monday to one of those wonderful songs that tickled my eardrums last summer that has returned to provide great joy once again as I stock the Suavitel and Fabuloso.

stocker squirrel

And other stuff…

If you were wondering who that chick was I led off today’s post with, and what she had to do with MMM, she is actually a pretty well known singer-songwriter by the name of Ingrid Michaelson.  Ingrid’s yet another Mecca CD alumnus who got their start as an indie act, which means she was never pressured to dress up like a slut in front of the camera to try and sell more records CD’s downloads… and why should she when her reddish locks and nerdy spectacles make her ten times cuter than the artists who dress in meat costumes and engage in lesbian tongue wrestling on stage?

who doesn't love furry lesbians?

NTTAWWT

Here is a lyric video of Ingrid’s magnificently catchy little song that has now become a Mecca summer tradition… her 2008 single “Be OK”:

My focus on the background over the obvious tends to run over into my taste in music as well… and while everyone focuses on the voice and the wailing guitars in a song, I tend to enjoy the bass and percussion even more.  Many of my favorite songs have a killer bass groove and/or some nifty percussion work… and “Be OK” definitely has the latter… complete with snapping!

Not this kind of snapping...

Not this kind of snapping…

Thanks to Ingrid Michaelson and the genius mixmakers behind the Mecca Muzak CD’s, for two and a half minutes every night I’m at work, everything will be OK when this song comes on!

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We Just Disagree

I hope you know you'll be sleeping in the birdhouse tonight, Ralph.

I hope you know you’ll be sleeping in the birdhouse tonight, Ralph.

Ooo-ooo-ooooooh!  Who-oooo-ooooah!

sqturday squirrel logoIt’s a well-known fact that squirrels can be pretty testy creatures… particularly with one another.  But what if those squabbling squirrels were significant others?  I took this photo a few weeks ago, and when I look at it, I can’t help but think that it looks like these two sciurines just had a little domestic throwdown, and are now busy sulking on opposite sides of the pole.  Maybe it’s just my overactive imagination, but there doesn’t seem to be any love lost between these two Saturday Squirrels.  Can’t we all just get along?  Kiss and make up you two!!!

Have a much more enjoyable weekend than this couple seems to be having!

Posted in Saturday Squirrel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Stu-Stu-Studio

Welcome back, everyone!  I'm Yeti the Yak.  Follow me to the Millionaire studio.

Welcome back, everyone! I’m Yeti the Yak. Follow me to the Millionaire studio.

Well, this is it… the final Friday in July.  Every Friday for four whole months now, I’ve been presenting you with another tantalizing episode of my Millionaire Journey.  Slowly but surely, like ketchup falling onto a plate of fries, we are making progress in getting to the exciting game show action you are all so patiently waiting for…. and will have to continue waiting until the end of the following month for… but hey, we’re having a hell of a time on the glacier-like trek to the promised land, aren’t we?

DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT!!!!  Get to the good part... NOW!!!!!!!!!

DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT!!!! Just get to the good part… NOW!!!!!!!!!

Last week I went into detail about how my personal associate producer Brent managed to take a few boring details about my life and turn them into exciting tidbits that would make me look like an awesome person in the Hot Seat.  As that chapter concluded, the contestants from both taping groups were being lined up to head to the studio downstairs for rehearsal.  Let’s head down there, shall we?

I knew going in that there were supposed to be two people from the WWTBAM message board and/or its sister board on Yahoo who were going to be in the second taping group.  I was easily able to determine by matching a screen name to a real name who one of them was, and it was the first contestant from Group 2, who was conveniently just two places behind me in line.  I asked if she was who I thought she was…

Hey, Baby!

Which would have been really awkward had it not been… especially had I greeted her like this.

That lady was Laurie Petersen, who posted with the handle “AttyLP” on our board.  She was excited to meet me (hey, who wouldn’t be?), and when our line made a pit stop at the potties on the way downstairs, she took advantage of the break to introduce me to the other member of the show’s online community, who I had known only through her online identity “Ethel Merman.”

Foreshadowing alert!  File this association away for future reference...

Foreshadowing alert! File this association away for future reference…

It turned out she had put herself in the wrong taping group on the message board list that was generated of contestants who had been called from this round of auditions.  She was actually in my group, and Ethel turned out to be Amy Turner, who would be sitting opposite me in Seat 2.  She seemed like such a nice lady, and it would be such a shame to have to kick her ass at a little trivia…

You're goin' down!!!!  You're ALL goin' down!!!  ARRRRGGGHHHHH!!!!!!

You’re goin’ down!!!! You’re ALL goin’ down!!! ARRRRGGGHHHHH!!!!!!

The pre-rehearsal potty break was due to the fact that thanks to all of the cheating that went on during the game shows of the 1950’s, contestants had to have an associate producer babysitter at all times, even to just take a leak.  Contestants were not allowed to leave the green room for any reason without being escorted by an AP.  This was to make sure we didn’t seize the opportunity to wander over to wherever the hell the question writers were located in the big, huge building we had never been in before in our lives to pick up a crib sheet.

Dammit!  Why can't game shows be more like school was...

Dammit! Why can’t game shows be more like school was…

Once all bladders were drained of all remnants of continental orange juice, we continued on the short trek to get to see for ourselves the familiar Millionaire studio that we had only before seen on TV.  One of the illusions of watching any kind of show on television that is filmed in a studio is that the set always appears to be much bigger than it actually is in real life.  And that was my first impression of the studio my favorite game show was shot in as I walked inside of it for the very first time, just how small it actually was.

My second impression was, “Holy shit!  Could it be any fucking colder in here!?!?”

Dammit!  I'm going to freeze my nuts off!

Dammit! I’m going to freeze my nuts off!

Most television studios are kept very cold in an effort to offset all of the heat from the intense overhead lighting.  I already knew this to an extent from having interned at a local television station a few years prior, but still wasn’t really prepared for the polar vortex that had taken over in ABC’s studio.  I was now very glad my chosen outfit for the actual taping included a sweater.

You gotta dress appropriately for the situation.

You gotta dress appropriately for the situation.

Those of us in the first taping group were instructed to take our places in the infamous “Ring of Fire,” where the prospective Hot Seaters sat while waiting for their turn to qualify for the main game.  Those in the second taping group had a seat in the audience bleachers that were directly behind my half of the Ring, while the twenty companions occupied the bleachers on the other side.

And there I sat… in the infamous Seat #9.  The place where so many a “board buddy” had rotted a slow, painful, zero dollar death.  A seat where comedian Norm MacDonald on the most recent celebrity edition of the show in November of 2000, wound up being the last of the ten celebs to win a fastest finger question…

That's Norm there as the last contestant left.  He had to move from Seat 9 to Seat 4 just to get a damn Fastest Finger question right!

That’s Norm there as the last contestant left. He had to move from Seat 9 to Seat 4 just to get a damn Fastest Finger question right!

No sooner had I taken in the ominous ambiance of our community’s most infamous chair that I heard a continuous string of clustered pecking to my left.  It sounded like someone was furiously sending out a Morse code message to someone halfway across the Atlantic.

It's a message from our underground agent in New York.  They want us to send blankets and a continental lunch.

It’s a message from our underground agent in New York. They want us to send blankets and a continental lunch.

It was the contestant seated next to me in Seat 10, Andrea Carla Michaels, and she was firing away at the buttons on the Fastest Finger console in front of her like the fate of mankind depended on it.  This was actually a piece of advice the people on our board who’d been there before always gave to the newbies off to seek their game show fortune for the first time… take plenty of time during the rehearsal to get the feeling for the console!  After all, winning a Fastest Finger question was the only way to get into the Hot Seat, and the more at ease you were with the way the archaic buttons worked and felt, the better your chances of winning.  So I fiddled around with the buttons a bit myself…

Not everyone can win by just pounding your fist on the podium like Billy Joel.

Not everyone can win by just pounding your fist on the podium like Billy Joel.

One other thing my ADHD body very quickly found out is that the chairs swiveled.  Not just a little bit side to side, but you could do circles in these things.  Since Seat 9 is directly behind where Regis sits as he asks the questions, that meant I was going to be seen over his shoulder quite a lot on the air, and I’m sure some dumbass constantly twisting side to side would not be what the producers would want showing up on their nationwide broadcast.  Hopefully I can get my tape of the show transferred to some kind of digital format so that when I finally get to the good part, I can show you just how totally not in control of myself I was during the taping…

Wheeeeeeeee!!!!!!

Wheeeeeeeee!!!!!!

One of the female AP’s took center stage to address the mini gathering.  We’re going to learn how to properly leave our chairs and come up to greet Regis should we happen to win a Fastest Finger question, as well as the correct way to get into the Hot Seat.  Sure, you may be laughing that we would actually have to practice this, but let me tell you that at this stage in the game show adventure, nothing is a gimme.  The unfamiliarity and the nerves are definitely taking over.

squirrel toilet

I better go get my babysitter… er, AP to help show me how to wipe my ass.

The first instruction we are given should we win is to come “Bendy Side Out.”  I’m not making that up, that’s exactly how it was explained to us.  To help demonstrate, here is a photo of the studio set-up (I actually think it’s the studio for the UK version of the show, but the set was identical to the US version) with my beautifully written markers to show you what’s what…

Closed captioning provided by possums with no arms.

Closed captioning provided by possums with no arms.

Notice how the first five Ring of Fire seats have console supports that bend out to the left, and the last five have supports that bend out to the right.  This was the side we were told to exit out of as we walked up to shake Regis’ hand… except for the contestants in Seats 5 and 6 who were supposed to come Non-Bendy Side Out since they were already close enough to where Regis would be standing to slap him on the ass and call him Sally.  We were not to walk behind the row of contestants, as that would look like we were trying to get out of the center of our row to buy some popcorn in the middle of a ballgame.

Easy as chileh pie, right?

You forgot to go Bendy Side Out, Dick!

You forgot to go Bendy Side Out, Dick!

Not for a klutz like me.  I had already managed to trip on the studio’s glass floor when I first walked in, and got all tangled up in the Bendy Side as I tried to plop my ass down in Seat 9.  And you can best believe that every single time I got into and out of that damn seat, I tripped over the fucking Bendy Side.  To whoever invented the Bendy Side game show console, I got just one message for you…

Stick this up your Bendy Side!

Stick this up your Bendy Side!

Next up was training on how to enter the Hot Seat.  I can assure you that the kids from Space Camp had a much easier time re-entering our earth’s atmosphere than most contestants had trying to park their fannies in this fucking famous chair.

I say we go Bendy Side around this next satellite.

I say we go Bendy Side around this next satellite.

To get into the Hot Seat, we must stand with our backs to it, grab the armrests from behind, and use all the physical strength we can muster to pull ourselves up into it.  Since the Hot Seat was positioned about seventy feet off of the floor, this was not as easy as it sounds.  For those who are too short to play professional basketball, they had a stagehand standing by with a wooden box to stand on to make this task about 2% easier.  I think this was the stagehand’s only responsibility during the entire taping process was to man the wooden Hot Seat booster box.

We box-toting stagehands have a good union.

We box-toting stagehands have a good union.

We were warned not to try to get into the chair by using the footrest, unless we wanted to break the whole damn chair and put the stagehand out of a job.  Once in the seat, a small 90 degree spin would put us facing Regis and the monitor our questions would show up on.  Nothing too it, right?

So when it’s my turn to go through this exciting practice run, I get up out of Seat 9, trip over the Bendy Side, shuffle my way up the hard to judge transparent glass floor, shake the fake Regis’ hand, walk up to the Hot Seat, hoist my fat ass up in the chair, and put enough torque into my spin to have completed a circumnavigation of the globe had I not managed to grab at the monitor for dear life…

But hey!  Regardless of what would come to be later in the day, for three whole seconds I could say I had sat in what at the time was the most famous chair on television!

Oh yeah!  How do you like me now, bitches!?!?

Oh yeah! How do you like me now, bitches!?!?

After we’d all gotten the chance to make a fool of ourselves, we traded places with the second taping group so they could go through the same routine.  While they’re doing that, I’m going to take this opportunity to rest up for a week.  We’ll continue with the conclusion of the rehearsal session next Friday… but until then, remember that there’s only one way to live life!

Bendy Side Out, Baby! (Artist credit: Deidre Wicks)

Bendy Side Out, Baby! (Artist credit: Deidre Wicks)

Posted in Millionaire Journey | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Evil Squirrel’s Nest Comic #117 — 7/24/14

comic72414

Mama & Eejit’s Cartoon Craziness Challenge

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Live For Today

More 80's lameness than you could ever hope to handle...

More 80’s lameness than you could ever hope to handle…

tuesday tvFame is fleeting.  Just ask any has-been who was once famous enough to date a supermodel, but these days can’t even find anyone who wants to flirt with them on Zoosk.  One day, you are the idol of the masses, the cream of the celebrity crop, the trending hashtag on Tweeter Twitter.  Then before you can say “Milli Vanilli”, you’ve suddenly found yourself  crashing on people’s couches, pawning off your Best New Artist award, and applying for employment at Mecca.  Nobody wants to put you in the spotlight anymore, and the only people who even remember who you once were are those who enjoy mocking the overbloated celebrity persona you became…

What were we thinking in the 80's???

What were we thinking in the 80’s???

Eventually, though, a random thought will enter someone’s mind… and they’ll wonder, “You know, what ever happened to so-and-so?  He was such a big deal back in the day and had a huge hit song, yet I haven’t heard a thing about him in years!”  Sometimes, this person will be told by the caretakers that he’s special, and put back in his padded cell to continue chewing on the strings of his straightjacket.  But occasionally, that person will find themselves working for VH-1… and that stray shot of nostalgic curiosity will inspire an episode of “Behind the Music.”

Discover Card rammed both of these ideas together in 2000 and gave us this classic commercial featuring a 30 second documentary about the fictional heavy metal band Danger Kitty:

So our fictional heroes Danger Kitty had a heavy metal hit in 1983 with a song called “Love Rocket”…

It's a good bet that A Flock of Seagulls and Wham kept "Love Rocket" off the top of the charts.

It’s a good bet that A Flock of Seagulls and Wham! kept “Love Rocket” off the top of the charts.

Great research work there, Discover Card.  Long haired heavy metal may have been all the rage in Los Angeles in the early 80’s, but it hadn’t exactly gone mainstream yet in 1983.  Here is a list of the Top 100 songs of 1983 according the the magazine that makes the charts, Billboard.  Cruise on down that list and let me know when you get to a hair band.  The only artists who are even close are Loverboy, The Tubes, and solo Sammy Hagar… and they all appear towards the bottom of the countdown…

quiet riot

Apparently Quiet Riot wasn’t mainstream enough for Billboard…

And how shitty of an act must Danger Kitty have been to have already shot their wad tanked and become irrelevant the very next year, especially when the very genre they were involved in was just about to explode onto the national scene?  That’s like having some success as a grunge band in 1990, only to have everyone think you’re ripping off Nirvana when you’re playing the county fair in 1991.  Damn, even Andy Warhol would have admitted they got cheated out of some of their fame time.

Even punk rock squirrels have a longer shelf life than that!

Even punk rock squirrels have a longer shelf life than that!

Perhaps they were just too busy buying “mansions, cars, and the finest women’s clothing” to bother actually going out on tour or recording another fucking album.  Everyone likes to mock the many androgynous musicians of the 80’s, who had no qualms at all about wearing the opposite sex’s clothing back when Mark Knopfler could still call them faggots without everyone thinking he was a homophobe.  Steven Tyler thought they looked like a lady before he bothered getting a good look at himself in the mirror.  And even Buster Poindexter, formerly of the glam rock band The New York Dolls, dedicates the first part of his video for “Hot Hot Hot!” getting a shot in at the posers who copied his style by calling them “heavy mental bands” who “dress in their mother’s clothes”….

Well, now we know where he came up with the song "Hot Hot Hot!"

Well, now we know where he came up with the song “Hot Hot Hot!”

Of course, the real affront to common decency in the Danger Kitty story is that it’s one of those types of scenarios we hear of all the time that make us want to kick some egotistic douchebag right in their Giorgio Armani designed codpiece.  Someone hits it big, comes into a great deal of money, then somehow manages to blow it all and end up in worse financial shape than they started out in within a few years.  How we’d all like a shot at making a million dollars… by golly, we’d make sure to live within our means and sock some of that dough away so we could rest assured we lived comfortably for the rest of our lives!

Like hell we would...

Like hell we would…

But not here in America where we’re all living in a material world.  If we got an instant infusion of big bucks like Danger Kitty did, we’d also buy mansions, cars, and hell, probably even the finest women’s clothing… and I’m obviously not talking about that shit off the rack in Mecca that was made in Bangladesh either.  Look at all of the lottery millionaires who have gone broke once the fortune they suddenly gained was gone and no more checks were due in the mail…

OK, maybe that 24 karat gold litter box was a bad idea...

OK, maybe that 24 karat gold litter box was a bad idea…

Keeping an eye towards the future is not one of humans’ most polished talents.  I loathe the saying, “Well, you can’t take it with you when you die!”… which I hear a lot since I’m a tightwad miser bit frugal.  And while that’s true unless you believe in a religion with some strangely cool version of the afterlife, the fact is that I don’t plan on dying anytime in the immediate future, and as this year is proving to me time and time again, there are going to come rainy days where that money not spent on those high class hookers in the past is going to come in handy.

ES has the squirrels at his feet!

One day you’re gonna wish you hadn’t spent all those acorns on MBRS…

And to have this lesson being presented to us by a credit card company, who make their billions in executives’ bonuses on the concept of keeping people in debt for life, is either a refreshing case of corporate ethics, or a baffling decision by a company who had it’s gimmick flat stripped from them by Capital One a few years later.  Seriously, how many people remember that before Alec Baldwin and Samuel L. Jackson came along that Discover was the original “card that paid you back?”  You got served, Discover…

Get your mothafuckin' card out of my mothafuckin' wallet!

Get your muthafuckin’ card out of my muthafuckin’ wallet!

Every strange concept in this ad all comes together in the end when Discover flaunts the “spending management tools” the company offers to help you better understand just what you are maxing your card out with.  It’s kind of quaint these days to have a company get all excited about its card’s expense tracking, email alerts, and online payment capabilities… but remember, this was the turn of the millennium when the internet was still in the dark ages and we still thought this was cool…

The Hamster Dance is still not as evil as Facebook...

The Hamster Dance is still not as evil as Facebook…

Eat, drink, and be Merby is wise advice to an extent, but tomorrow you may not die after all, and actually have to pay that all important internet bill.  So for offering us a touching public service announcement by exploiting the misery of a made-up hair band, we at The Nest salute the Discover Card for taking the moral high ground when it comes to fiscal responsibility, prudent living, and fashion sense.  We also raise our furry paws in a “Rock On!” gesture for the one and only Danger Kitty, who were played in that commercial by an actual heavy metal cover band based out of LA that now goes by the name Steel Panther.  Oh, and yes, they actually recorded the song that was featured in the ad…. so put on your eyeliner, crank the amps up to eleven, and enjoy that number three hit from 1983, “Love Rocket!”

 

 

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