Dec 20 2010

my favorite thing about the christmas season

The best thing about this time of the year is that it starts the countdown to a real holiday – a holiday actually worth celebrating.  And that holiday is, of course, Presidents’ Day.  Once we get these lesser days out of the way over the next couple of weeks, we can focus on what really matters.  Everything is going really well for me lately, so I don’t know why the Eleventh Annual Karaoke to the Death XI should be any different.  I’ve so got this.  Make your plans now to see me win.  It’s only two months away.


Aug 20 2010

who knows where the time goes?

One of the surest indications that one is getting older is that the mere passage of time becomes fascinating.  And since I officially entered the ass-end of my thirties this year, I’ve been feeling kinda old.  But a sure-fire way to feel young again – at least for an evening – is to gather in a seedy dive bar and drink like a champion while mocking all my friends.  I can hardly believe we’re halfway there already.  If the past six months are any indication, Presidents’ Day 2011 is right around the corner.  Excelsior!


May 11 2010

hog hootenanny

And then, after my ride, I feasted.
I had been waffling on whether or not I was going to attend the pig roast.  Matyas – of KttD fame – had invited several of my friends and me up to the hinterlands of northern Maryland to dig on some swine.  It sure sounded like a good time, but my concern was that she lives way out in the sticks.  And I was already planning to spend the day in different sticks, wearing myself out.  The pig roast would make for a very long day.  Ultimately, however, Matyas and Emma Peel wore me down.  (The promise of delectable pig meat didn’t hurt either.)  And so I headed home as soon as I finished riding, took a quick shower, and hopped on the Metro to meet up with Emma, our friend Megan, and Emma’s friend Andy who was in from out of town.

The evening was windy and unseasonably cold, so for some people that might have been the most memorable aspect of the occasion.  Others might focus on the pig on the spit and the chickens on the smoker and the seventeen types of desserts and describe the event as delicious.  And others still might reflect upon the lonely middle-aged man serenading the unattended children in the gazebo with unfortunate Indigo Girls covers and classify the gathering as creepy.  But for my money, the hootenanny was positively Dickensian.  Allow me to explain.

I was invited to the pig roast by Matyas, with whom I went to college.  She invited my friends because after three years of attendance at Karaoke to the Death she had become friendly with them on her own terms.  Last weekend, while out on the town, Emma met Matyas’ younger sister, who I always forget lives in DC.  That would be strange enough, but it turns out that Emma and Matyas the younger attended Ohio University at the same time and knew some of the same people.  But wait, there’s more: Andy – Emma’s friend from out of town, who used to live in DC – turns out to be old friends with Paxton, who is the younger Matyas’ long-time boyfriend.  And Paxton – who is from Cleveland (which I didn’t know until this past weekend) – is also friends with Megan’s brother.  (I guess they were once at the same bachelor party, which was apparently a very funny story that I never did hear thanks to Megan.)  And to top things off, a fellow guest of Paxton’s lived at the same time as me in the orphanage from which I was eventually adopted and he found out after I left that his biological father was the scoundrel who taught me way back when to pick pockets (which was the only way I managed to stay alive on the mean streets of Toledo, Ohio), and that the haughty ingenue in my adopted family with whom I fell madly and inappropriately in love was, in fact, his sister.

It’s a small world.


Feb 27 2010

we are the world

Maybe you couldn't tell, but I was pretty darn pleased with how KttD X: St. Valentine's Day Massacre went down.  There was one thing, however, that was a little disappointing.  A few weeks prior to the big day, I got an email from Matyas suggesting that a good way to commemorate the tenth year of our little karaoke contest would be for all of the former champions to sing as a group.  I thought it was a great idea, and presented it to Dabysan, who suggested the perfect song: "We Are the World."  We were both stoked.  I watched the video on Youtube about thirty times that day, and I'm pretty sure Daby watched it even more than I did.

Obviously, it didn't happen, which is a shame.  But we were already one champ down when Doc Paradox foolishly decided that he and his wife weren't flying in from San Francisco.  We took another hit to our ranks when Benedict Akaijen informed us the day before the big weekend that she had made plans – plans that could have occurred at any other time – to go away for the weekend.  (I don't blame Aussie Bob.  Everybody knows he had no say in the matter.)  But the real death knell for our group effort was a DJ who was a stickler for the rules.  Now, I'm not complaining, per se – we've been burned by the terrible DJ before – but nobody wanted to give up their second song.  "Lord" Ramsey took one for the team and changed his tune, but it was too little too late.  The evening was over before we got to it.  Oh, and they claimed not to have the song anyway.

Anyway, the point is "We Are the World" has been in the news recently since it was announced the song would be re-recorded to benefit earthquake victims in Haiti.  Hell, it's even been parodied already.  Which is why I'm glad to see that Shane MacGowan, Nick Cave, Mick Jones, Chrissie Hynde, Glen Matlock, and – on guitar – Johnny Depp got together recently to record Screamin' Jay Hawkins' classic "I Put a Spell On You" to raise money for the stricken nation.  It's a way better song, and, frankly, a better group of singers.  I just wish they'd found something for Huey Lewis to do.

In other news, Shane MacGowan is still alive.  I wouldn't have guessed that.

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Feb 22 2010

loggins and matyas

There's not a whole lot at this point left to be said about Karaoke to the Death X.  Or at least, not until the hype machine kicks into gear next January.  Besides, it's only fitting to let our new champion have the last word.  Excelsior!

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Feb 21 2010

judge baker

Anyone who follows the NFL knows that a disproportionate amount of superstar quarterbacks come from western Pennsylvania.  You've got your Johnny Unitas.  Your Joe Namath.  Your Joe Montana.  Your Dan Marino and Jim Kelly and Charlie Batch.  Well, it seems a similar dynamic is happening in the glorious sport of bad karaoke.  It's becoming increasingly clear that northern Ohio is a cradle of bad karaoke talent.  The only multiple-time champion – yours truly – hails from Toledo in the northwest corner of the state.  Our newly-crowned champion Matyas calls Cleveland home.  And the highest rated rookie in this year's strong class – Liz Judge – is another native of the Mistake on the Lake.  When we ever get around to building our Hall of Fame, it should probably be located someplace like, oh I don't know…. Canton.

Sweet Love
Liz Judge

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Feb 21 2010

soo doh zevon

Sheesh.  This title is even worse than the Trashbodies would have been.  I really didn't think this thing through.
Werewolves of London
Soo Doh Nim

Soo Doh Nim is one of the most intellegent people I've ever met in my life, but he's not a good Scrabble player.  We were playing once a few years back and he played LOOFAH for about nine points.  He wasted two high point tiles and opened up a line to a triple-word score for me.  I kicked his ass because he would rather play a clever word than win.  He has the same problem in Karaoke to the Death.  Sure, he coasted to victory in KttD IV on the strength of his awkward dance moves and a down year, but in recent years it has seemed he lacks the drive to compete at the highest level.  Some of his song choices have truly been inspired, but they're just not that hard to sing.  This year was no exception.  His belief that he can actually sing is a powerful weapon in Soo's arsenal.  It may also be greatest limitation. 

Black Cow
Soo Doh Nim

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Feb 20 2010

[i can't think of a lame pun for this one]

Seriously, I got nothin'.  The Trashbodies?  Homemen?  Frankly, El DeJason was forced enough, thank you very much.

I fear that an audio only clip will fail to do justice to Homebody's rendition of the surf/garage rock classic "Surfin' Bird."  What made her performance so sublime was watching the nonsense syllables consume the prompter.  They literally filled the entire monitor.  Over.  And over.  And over.  And over.  It's not a long song, but it seemed to go on forever.  Soo opined shortly after Homebody started singing that "it takes a lot of balls" to attempt this song.  I tend to agree.

Surfin' Bird

Homebody

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Feb 20 2010

patti labill

I honestly don't know what to make of "Lord" Bill Ramsey's performance.  I don't think he was tanking, but I was definitely among those who considered it to be "a little tank-y."  And actually, I honestly don't know what the distinction is between the two.  Maybe I'm splitting hairs.  But I guess this was to be expected.  Karaoke to the Death has roughly tripled in size since the last time he took the stage.  And the level of competition has increased exponentially.  Sports evolve, and records are made to be broken.  I just hope he doesn't wait another seven years to grace us with his presence again.  Bill may have been down this year, but I'm not counting him out.

Lady Marmalade

Bill Ramsey

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Feb 20 2010

the z—–s

I don't know what I expected from M-Dashes, but it wasn't what I saw.  He almost seemed to be enjoying the spotlight.  And he delivered a solid performance too.  There weren't any ba-ba's, but I never realized before how high this song gets on the chorus.  Given a song with a little more variety of pitch and tone, he could be one to watch in the future.  If, of course, he ever comes back.

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