Monday, March 31, 2008

PODCAST RECAP - Episode 6.00

This was a long one. Our longest one. We had the feeling it would be, so an in-depth dissection of weird Wikipedia pages was cut before we even started.

It helped that we both loved our The Bests (they had to beat out some good ones which almost made the cut), and the field of cover songs is a vast & fertile one.

Sneaking in a little bit of Lost, and there's your Episode 6.00.

Lots of music & YouTube links after the jump.
Couple of random links:

--Scarlett Johansson is really covering Tom Waits
--Tom Waits wasn't aware of it originally.
--Battle of the Network Stars Info

Songs From & Inspired by our Musical Interlude this week (Cover Songs):
I couldn't find a version of Matthew Sweet's "Don't Cry No Tears" off of his Son of Altered Beast EP, so I included a live version of his Evangeline.

Ditto for the Afroskull's version of "...Elizabeth Reed".

SeeqPod - Playable Search


Battle of the Network Stars - So much good stuff in this one:

-Captain Savalas smokes and lodges a complaint.
-The music
-The discussion of the phrase "hullabaloo" while a lesbian, possibly a transsexual wears a trench coat in the background.
-Conrad & Schneider's ethnic slurs.
-The genuine excitement on the part of Penny Marshall & Ron Howard when the ruling came down.
-Linda Carter mauling Gabe Kaplan.
-Bob Conrad losing his shit and threatens to leave the competition.
-"Farrah baby, I'm not in charge of the rules committee" - If you think I won't use that line in every single Ultimate game from here on out, you're crazy.
-An apparently unscripted impromptu sprint-off between Kaplan & Conrad. That would never happen nowadays.
-Kaplan SMOKING Conrad like Savalas smokes a Camel.
-Epstein waiting to congratulate Mr. Kotter.

BotNS - This is worth it to watch Ted McGinley kill himself playing "doubles" while his corpse of a partner stands sullenly. And then he patronizingly pats her on the shoulder. She's not happy. As a bonus, Dick Van Dyke's narration and smooth jazz compete to see which can be the most soothing:

BotNS - Billy "Hot Shoes" Crystal ganks the obstacle course in 77, but comes back strong against Letterman in 78. He was a fast little bugger:

The Apples version of "Killing in the Name Of":

The introduction of The Jesus:

A reasonable facsimile of what I saw at Dangerous Curves (except less organized and more violent):

Hope you enjoyed this one, and stay tuned for Episode 7.0x.


Friday, March 28, 2008

Links of Interest... 3/28

If you haven't read the book World War Z, I recommend you do so, because no matter what you think going in, you'll be surprised. Obviously, news of it becoming a movie shouldn't be surprising, but from the looks of this article, it has a chance to actually be decent. We can hope.

Apparently the 70s were a lot more liberal when it came to racial humor. This clip of Rickles at Sammy Davis Jr.'s Roast is beautiful for a number of reasons...Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.'s reactions...How Rickles effortlessly insults Puerto Ricans...Chamberlin possibly not getting the jokes...just watch and enjoy.

Best news I've heard today: Billy Dee Williams coming back to commercials! Ok, so it isn't the greatest, but I blame the agency and the stupid dealership for that. Besides, the news led me to some of BDW's better work including this, which then led me to this, which ultimately led me to this, which doesn't even include Billy D., but does have a woman shooting lasers that make Colt .45 appear.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Links of Interest

After watching this awesome video, I'm pretty sure if I had the choice between meeting this Steve Perry or the real Steve Perry, I'd choose the former. Based solely on the fact that this video had to be his idea. (And maybe the keyboard player's).

For all you teachers out there. I'm 96% sure this makes up the bulk of their curriculum.

Ok, I hunted a long time before finally finding the time it was hands down the scariest Unsolved Mysteries segment I had ever seen. Watching it today, not so much. But still, missing time is a creepy thing. And this is definitely worth watching. Keep in mind, it scared the bejesus out of me, but that was probably because I had to drive home from my friend's house at 1 AM immediately after watching it. As an aside, it has sparked an idea for an Unsolved Mysteries post that should be coming soon. Here's part 1 and here's part 2.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Links of Interest

I renamed this column to eliminate the constant pressure of the word "daily." While I'll still try to update as much as possible, now when I forget a day, I can casually suggest it was because there was "nothing of interest" out there.

A few years back, disillusioned with my current job (that's another blog post entirely) I responded to an ad to be a product description writer for QVC. In the second interview, (the first had gone well) I met, as I was told later, Tina Fey's brother, who would be acting as my boss. Didn't really get to know him, but I could tell he was less than happy with his current status in life. I was told later, that he had been "out to Hollywood," but then came back. That could certainly go a long way toward explaining his despondent interview skills. Anyway, I didn't get the job (probably a good thing) but if I had, it might have been me writing this piece about working at the "don't-call-me-the-home-shopping-network" network.

Jackie Chan is seen as kind of a doofus here in America. And that's a shame, because back in China, he was the man. Here's a video of his 10 most ridiculous stunts. Personally, I would have flipped 2 &1, but it seems the creator gave points for injuries.

I loved (and to a degree, still love) G.I. Joe. The mythology and cool toys that were created for it really is underrated. And of course, like all fond memories of our childhood, the Big Machine has to come a raping. Here's a picture of Snake Eyes from the G.I. Joe movie that is in production.

I'm gonna be honest. I was never a Saved By the Bell fan. That's because I thought all those crazy kids were pansies. But this guy makes the argument that Slater was the ultimate pansie. And I'll be honest. It seems like he really was.

Wanna hear the latest Outkast track? Head over to Kanye West's blog where he leaked it!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

People REALLY Win With The Popcorn Trick!

Facts about items given away by certain podcasts:
  1. Shirts can't be used to make gooey melted sandwiches.
  2. Shirts can't provide cool dessert feelings.
  3. Shirts can't give you something blue & cylindrical to suck on.
Shirts can't do any of those things, but the prizes we give away CAN!

During the recording of our Podcast Episode 4.0, I decided (on the fly) to reward our listeners. Specifically, all of our listeners who were willing to both listen to our podcast almost to the end AND figure out how to send us an email.

I would reward them with items selected randomly from Wawa. The one-stop shop for almost anything you'd need.

How to randomly select those items? That's where my good friend Excel stepped up.

First I broke down the entire contents of a Wawa into 9 major categories:
  1. Drinks
  2. Sandwich/Sides
  3. Chips
  4. Baked Goods (including Tastykakes)
  5. Candy
  6. Fresh Food (fruit, vegetables)
  7. Frozen/Dairy
  8. Newspaper/Magazine/Tobacco
  9. Desperation Aisle ("regular" groceries you only buy from Wawa if you're in a rush)
Each of the winners were randomly assigned one of these categories using Excel's RAND() function.

Before going to Wawa, I filled out an entire spreadsheet of random numbers generated by Excel. One column had a list of #s randomly selected between 1 and 10. The next column between 1 and 9. And so on.

The plan was to use these numbers within each category to choose any of a number of sub-categories. Whether it was the # of shelves in the candy aisle, the # of options in the sandwich touch screen, or the # of dairy cases, I left it up to whatever gods the creater of the RAND() function worshiped.

And it came out quite well. I was hoping that the sandwich touch screen would yield some horrible concoction, but instead it resulted in a 1/2 lb. of Cooper Sharp cheese, sliced thick. Other lucky winners got some ice cream inspired by the Democratic primaries and a candy push pop.

Congratulations, you lucky bastards!

Apropos of nothing, here are some weird links I found when searching for a Wawa graphic:

Daily Links

Ok, I'm gonna try real real hard to put up some links every day. Some may have a personal opinion of mine tied to it, some might just live on their own. Regardless, if you're reading this, you can tell your grandkids you were around when The Popcorn Trick's Daily Links started.

The Daily Links will be a few interesting links I stumble across throughout my day that I feel other people would enjoy. No rhyme or reason, the links will not be categorized or be about any specific topic. They will not be simple rehashes of the current stories in the news, unless it is something that adds a little more substance. They will also not be the goofy videos that your aunt always seems to send you. No, the videos I link to will be much more bizarre and nonsensical.

Put it this way - I strive to include links that you normally wouldn't see.

And we're off!

Great news for Mr. Show fans. Seems like Bob and Dave are coming back to HBO. And if you're not a Mr. Show fan, well, this won't be that exciting for you.

My favorite DMX quote ever was when he was asked about the slight absurdity of ever being raped by a woman (which I believe he suggested). “Because when I sleep, my man be out.” Sadly that quote is not in this interview. However, he does apparently admit to not knowing who Barrack Obama is.

Apparently, Russia has a small problem with the Black Market - as in it's really easy to get weapons-grade uranium.

"It's not nice to snitch, Shorty." I can still say that to some of my friends and get a great reaction. I love this article because it almost directly alludes to that great quote from Helter Skelter. Also, is anyone really surprised there might be bodies buried up near where Manson hung out for a spell?

I find it hard to believe Caruso was serious about wanting his character to fly. I will say that regardless of his behavior, you should rent Session 9 ( cool movie Caruso was in).

Who knew Gallagher was this insane?

Monday, March 10, 2008

PODCAST RECAP - Episode 5.02

This will be brief. Episode 5.02 is deep in the can. We cover the light topic of music you want played at your funeral.


Goose, I know the Moon Boot Lovers song isn't the one used for the intro ("Ali"), but it's the only one Seeqpod had. Deal with it.


Me with Marah:

Marah with Nick Hornby (Limb comes in at around the 8-minute mark, but Hornby's reading is worth listening to):


Friday, March 7, 2008

The Hidden Hollow Files

The Hidden Hollow Files is an attempt to recount the golden era (1991-1994) of Hidden Hollow Swim Club, a pool facility nestled in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

One day every summer, a quiet little swim club in the southeastern corner of Pennsylvania is transformed from a kid-friendly watering hole for the 21st century into a violent cesspool of cutthroat lunacy. Neighbors turn on neighbors; kids plot their parents demise.

It is here where watermelon football is played...

There used to be a time when sports were played “for love of the game.” A time when it meant something

Every Summer, on the 4th of July, in a sleepy little corner of Southeastern Pennsylvania,

Before endorsement deals and color coordinating sneakers, sports were played “for love of the game.” Now players ham it up for each other to record on camcorders, and make sure they look pretty enough on the field to acquire their next deodorant commercial, making the competition, at best, second in importance. And unfortunately, that attitude seems to be trickling down into the lower levels of games. Sport used to be about competition. Gone are those days, except for a little town in southeastern Pennsylvania, at a swim club nestled in the woods like a bloated tick in the hair of a mangy dog. It is here where spirit and honor thrive.

Actually, it is not so much played as it just simply happens. “Play” is a loose term, used, perhaps mistakenly, to describe what goes on for about a half-hour each Fourth of July and Labor Day. There’s nothing playful about it. Victors dance festively; losers skulk back to their towels, stewing in the humiliation of defeat already looking forward to the next contest. The only thing predictable in these encounters is the date. For one day every summer, Hidden Hollow Swim Club is transformed from a fun, family hangout into a bitter, violent cesspool of cutthroat lunacy.

Welcome to war.

The Rules of the Game

The idea of rules in Watermelon Football is quite misleading, as there are none. There is an objective, and there is a specific area where it must be played, but after that the game is left to the imagination of the players. It starts like this: An unruly group of swim club patrons is divided into two teams. These two teams have always been divided to pit the paying members of the club versus the lifeguards of the pool. At first glance this may seem like an uneven division of talent, as the lifeguards undoubtedly should have an edge with their youthful vigor. However this is not the case. Upon closer examination, the “paying customers” in these contests are usually the adult males who rarely frequent the pool during the week due to their employment, but come out to enjoy the facility on the holidays. The average age of this team is probably around thirty-five; the average age of the guards is seventeen. Also, since no records exist of the proper number of players per side, the “paying customers” (AKA non-guards) always field much larger teams.

Each team finds itself on an opposing side of the pool; since the guards vs. non-guards rivalry started, the guards have always taken the west side of the pool. If they see this as an advantage they never speak of it, more likely the choice is based on tradition.

The pool is roughly 25 yards long by 20 yards across. The depth ranges from 13 feet, down to a slope of twenty feet. It is held in the diving well of the facility, which boasts a platform ten meters high, hence the drastic depth change. Rarely does the depth change come into play however, it is noted only for the fact that this game is done while treading and/or swimming. There is no chance to take a moment and catch your breath here.

The teams line up on their wall, carefully assigning teammates positions and responsibilities, all the while measuring up the competition. This is a crucial time in the game, a time when strategists and tacticians show their worth. This goes on for a few minutes, time which the guards have routinely complained it is unfair as it gives the non-guards a chance to size up their opponent and then go and reshape their team based on what they see facing them.

Now comes the watermelon. This is no ordinary watermelon. Because the swim club is situated on an orchard, this watermelon is an enormous bear of fruit, appearing ready to burst out of its green skin and splash everyone nearby with sticky-fruit goodness. Early in the morning the day of the contest the melon is liberally coated with Vaseline, and then propped in the window of the swim club’s office for all to admire/fear as they enter the facility.

The watermelon is ceremoniously walked down to the pool in its splendid cardboard box lid, and handed over to the manager of the pool, who has the unique honor of starting the game by throwing the melon into the water. Once the melon is poolside, the manager hoists it over his head and walks out onto one of the diving boards overhanging the pool. With a few seconds of silence, everyone stares up at the prize, eager to wrap his or her body around this hefty gift from nature. After a few feeble – and some say sarcastic – warnings to both sides to not kill anyone, the melon is heaved into the watery abyss, shooting a plume of water into the air, signifying the beginning of the mayhem.

Simply put, the object of this game is to get the watermelon to the opposing side’s wall, and heave it up onto the deck of the pool. With such a simplistic goal, one would think the game is rather boring. But thoughts like that can lead a team down the road to mediocrity. The subtle complexities are what make this game a challenging endeavor. The first thing everyone must realize after the shock of jumping into the water after a piece of fruit is that the melon doesn’t necessarily float. It doesn’t sink to the bottom though either. It kind of just sits in the nether region of the pool, taunting people to swim down and tempt fate to bring a watermelon from the shadowy depths into a throng of nearly naked men, all after the same thing.


Because of the Vaseline, the watermelon is obviously not so easy to grab right up and swim with. That, coupled with the fact a mob is trying to do the same exact thing in the opposite direction, is what makes the strategy of the game so interesting. Lefty Johnson, HHSC guard ‘88-’92 put it best, after a particularly trying battle when he said, “The key to the game is controlling the wall.” Regarded as perhaps one of the greatest watermelon tacticians the county has seen, Johnson saw that while the non-guards obviously had an advantage in size and numbers, the guards knew the pool dimensions better than anyone. Realizing this, he developed the “Fed Ex Two Step” offense, a strategy still used occasionally to this day. He had three of the fastest guards dive in and go straight for the melon and two “couriers” hold back at the wall. The rest of the team swam hard to the middle of the pool to “mix it up” with the opponent. This was strictly a diversionary tactic. If the 3 advance guards were fast enough – and good – they would get to the melon first and then “deliver” it behind them underwater, beneath the grappling mass, to the 2 couriers. It was now the couriers responsibility to swim close to the edge of the pool, as inconspicuous as possible, to get the melon to the goal. Detection was inevitable, but if the plan worked, the guards would hold a distinct advantage of having possession and the side of the pool – a must as no one can flank you. While this offense had a good amount of success, there were times of complete failure - none so terrible as the “Great Swell of ’91,” when Milton Kuttard (‘90-’91), acting as one of the three guards assigned to get the melon, passed it right to a non-guard who happened to be swimming down there. It led to an immediate score and gloating victory for the non-guards, one that still is brought up in inspirational huddles at more recent bouts.


There are few accounts of what exactly transpires in the “big mess” that is the huge grappling of bodies in the middle of the pool during the contest. Perhaps no one cares to dwell on the demonic levels he/she must sink to during this aquatic orgy of fisticuffs. Witnessing such a tangled heap of violent bodies squaring off against one another cannot be good for the soul – neither the participants’ nor the viewers’. It is safe to say the wrestling in the middle of the pool consists of the most vile, evil “dirty pool” tactics seen this side of a bridesmaid scrum after a tossed wedding bouquet at the reception. It’s a wonder there’s never been a recorded death at any of these bouts. Actually, the modern era (85 – present) has been relatively injury free, save for the occasional bloody noggin or woozy feeling some complain of when getting out of the pool. No records have survived from before so we are left guessing as to the fate of some of the players of long ago.

It takes a special breed of person to enter the “big mess.” – and size has nothing to do with it. Nico “Balls” Dashawazinski, (HHSC 93-95) one of the better “middlemen” of the game, was hardly 5’2” in his prime yet he would fearlessly enter the barely controlled melee with no other concern than “making sure the watermelon didn’t break up in the pool – cause it’s a bitch to clean up.” To enter the pool for the sole purpose of fighting off the other team took little more than guts, attitude, and a bundle of insanity you could call on and have delivered to you in your darkest hour.

And what of the victory? Some silly players boast they don’t play for the win, but just to “bash some heads and get a work out.” But that is hardly the case. Officially, the prize to the winners is dibs on the soon to be cut up watermelon; unofficially it is of course the gloating rights that are freely dispersed for the rest of the day. Indeed, if the guards win, the club’s PA system is often used to remind everyone of the outcome, sometimes days after the actual contest. Never mind that few if any of the non-guards are physically there to hear it; they hear it from the chasms of their minds every second after the conflict.

Some uninitiated might ask why this war continues as it seems there is a bare minimum of organization, reward, or reason to participate. Veterans of the game hear this and smile. That is the exact type of attitude they want to keep out of the game. Sure watermelon football would rake in millions of dollars and ratings should it sell itself out for a lucrative TV contract. But that would taint the pureness of the game, something every player who has ever broken the surface of the pool in search of the elusive watermelon agrees would destroy the essence of the game. There is a reason these people leap deep into a pool and chase after slippery produce two times a year. And no amount of money will ever coax them to give it up.