Thursday, December 30

12 Days of Karaoke- Day 12

J. Geils Band- "Love Stinks"

Sadly, we have reached the end of our karaoke madness. Of course, that's no guarantee that I won't continue to slip in songs for your eardrums, since I'm all about that sort of thing. You can bet as soon as Cee-Lo's "F*** You" becomes eligible it will get a mention on here, if only to show that delightful music video a second time.

But the song we're looking at this time is one that is especially potent if performed on Valentine's Day. It's also a good song to sing aggressively, as Adam Sandler does very well in The Wedding Singer, which is also included below for your listening pleasure. As most songs from the 80s do, "Love Stinks" has a fantastic music video, complete with a drummer that appears to be using a fish in lieu of a drumstick, simple to follow dance moves, and best of all, karaoke lyrics! Now you can sing along at home so you won't even have to look at the screen when you perform. Fantastic!

This Day in History

1922- In post-revolutionary Russia, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) is established, comprising a confederation of Russia, Belorussia, Ukraine, and the Transcaucasian Federation, which would later be divided into the Georgian, Azerbaijan, and Armenian republics. Also known as the Soviet Union, the new communist state was the successor to the Russian Empire and the first country in the world to be based on Marxist socialism.

Wednesday, December 29

YouTube Videos That Are Actually Kind of Impressive

Anyone who has ever used a computer knows that YouTube is both a fantastic invention and an amazing timewaster. If I want to pull up an obscure music video (like, say, Rainbow's "Since You've Been Gone,"), it's incredibly easy to do so. Or maybe I want to watch a failing temple run from Nickelodeon's Legends of the Hidden Temple. No problem! Or perhaps I just want to enjoy the 1987 National Aerobic Championship, and believe me, you will enjoy it as well. The point is, it's incredibly easy to get pulled in and watch videos until your brain turns to mush. And therein lies the dilemma of YouTube.

The biggest issue I have with the site, though, is that just about anyone with a digital camera and a cable to upload footage from said digital cameras can do so. And that means there is a TON of awful videos out there. But every once in awhile someone will come along and present an activity or event that kind of makes you smile or laugh or think, "Wow, that actually took some effort, even if it is staged!" Here are a few of those videos below.

This Day in History

1890- In the final chapter of America's long Indian wars, the U.S. Cavalry kills 146 Sioux at Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. While it's classified as a battle, a more accurate description is an unnecessary and avoidable massacre.

12 Days of Karaoke- Day 11

The Young Rascals- "Good Lovin'"/Manfred Mann- "Doo Wah Diddy"

I'm a HUGE fan of songs that allow audience participation, and both of these songs have quality backup vocals that encourage a group to sing along. Whether it's the "doctor!" part in "Good Lovin'" or basically singing the title of the song in Manfred Mann's hit, you'll get the crowd involved, and they'll love you for it. "Good Lovin'" is listed first because you can sort of 60s dance to it. Enjoy both below.

Tuesday, December 28

My, That's an Impressive Monument!

I'm a big fan of statues--there's just something amazing about being immortalized throughout time (or at least until the stone/marble/wood/bronze/other material crumbles or is destroyed) and the creators of these monuments always do an excellent job. Here are a few of the ones that any traveler should see, assuming it's not snowing too much and you can leave your local airport.

Christ the Redeemer (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

Rio gets everything, don't they? The Olympics (2016), a World Cup (2014), a song by Duran Duran, and possibly the most impressive statue in the world, at least in my opinion. It's positioned in a similar way to the Statue of Liberty, but this symbol of Christianity just seems so welcoming, and seeing it overlook the harbor is just amazing.

Lincoln Monument (Washington, D.C.)

This one gets bonus points because it's right next to the National Mall as well as the Reflecting Pool, so you get three places in one. Obviously the U.S. capital would give some dap to our previous leaders, and while Thomas Jefferson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt also have nice memorials, Lincoln's takes the cake.

Sydney Opera House (Sydney, Australia)

What is it about being by a harbor (or in this case, harbour) that makes a place that much more impressive? I don't know, but the Sydney Opera House is probably one of the most distinctive pieces of architecture, and it serves as a multipurpose performing center too. So if opera's not your thing, you can still enjoy the magnificent work of its designer, the Danish Jørn Utzon. Really I just wanted an excuse to use a "ø."

Great Wall (Beijing, China)

Sure, it was used to keep out unwanted intruders, but what's more incredible is just how LONG this structure is! It stretches in either direction for as far as the eye can see. A gondola ride to the part of the wall that's walkable gives you an eagle-eye view of the scenery, and it really makes you feel tiny in the midst of its massiveness. I recommend not trying to run up the steps because it's quite exhausting at that altitude, but hey, if you only visit it once, go wild!

Colossus of Rhodes

This statue only lasted 56 years before being destroyed in 226 BC, and it wasn't even positioned like that, with one leg on each side, straddling the Rhodesian harbor. But come on, how awesome does that look?

This Day in History
1895- The world's first commercial movie is screened at the Grand Cafe in Paris. The film was made by Louis and Auguste Lumiere, two French brothers who developed a camera-projector called the Cinematographe. The brothers showed a series of short scenes from everyday French life and charged admission for the first time.

Monday, December 27

12 Days of Karaoke- Day 10

Weezer- "If You're Wondering if I Want You To (I Want You To)"

This is easily the newest song on this list, but since it has been in heavy radio rotation for a good year and a half now, your favorite karaoke hotspot most likely has it. And if not, demand it, because this is certainly a good number. As any fan of music knows, Weezer's radio singles are almost always top notch. However, a good song does not always translate into karaoke goodness. Take, for example, another Weezer song, "Buddy Holly," is an amazing little tune (with an excellent guitar riff in the bridge/solo), but for whatever reason it doesn't go over very well when Rivers Cuomo is not singing it. For shame.

This one, however, gets everyone's toes tapping and sometimes even provides some actual backup dancing. The call and response chorus is another benefit that can help out an otherwise timid singer. And since the song is sort of about being timid itself, it fits. Enjoy the music video below.

This Day in History

1932- Radio City Music Hall in New York City first opened to the public. It was especially well-received as this was during the height of the Great Depression. The hall was designed as a palace for the people, a place of beauty where ordinary people could see high-quality entertainment. Since its opening 78 years ago, more than 300 million people have gone to Radio City to enjoy movies, stage shows, concerts, and special events.

Sunday, December 26

12 Days of Karaoke- Day 9

Dion and the Belmonts- "Runaround Sue"

It's a little known fact that Dion was supposed to be on the ill-fated 1959 flight that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper, also known as "The Day the Music Died." However, he thought the $36 fee to ride the plane was too expensive--his parents paid that much every month for rent in his childhood apartment. If I had to blow a month's worth of rent to fly I'd probably not want to do it either, and Dion escaped with more than just his money after the plane crashed with no survivors. Dion would go on to have a couple of Top 2 hits, and one of them is your karaoke song for Day 9. And since today (Boxing Day) is actually one of the 12 Days of Christmas, it's twice the fun. Or something like that.

In any case, this song is excellent because it gets people sock-hoppin' on the dance floor and is also really fun to sing along with, seeing as how about a third of it is either cool backup vocals or "whoas," which everyone loves, aside from punk band NoFX. So while February 3, 1959 was certainly a tragic day, fortunately for Dion (and our ears), he was able to record this song two years later, reaching #1 on both the Billboard Charts and our hearts.

Please note that the song is missing the first line, which is: "Here's my story, it's sad but true."

Winter Wonderlands

Once again, a Christmas has come and gone, but does that mean we're done with the holiday? Of course not! There's still snow on the ground (quite a bit of it, in the Midwest at least), so that means there's plenty to do in that festive atmosphere. You could try plowing snow with a train:

Maybe go with a snowball fight:

Or you could be extremely stupid and see if your tongue sticks to a cold pole in the dead of winter:

But you know, maybe you don't have any snow where you're from, so sometimes it's best to just dance.

And even if you don't celebrate Christmas, we've got you covered:

And if you want to be somewhat offended by two not very funny white women singing a song about Ramadan (in the vein of Adam Sandler's "Hannukah Song," why, you can just click right here. I don't really want to dignify it with a spot in this blog though, so I think maybe we should just be done with this post.

Hope the holidays will continue to be fantastic for everyone and that you can all end in 2010 in style. Unlike this guy:

This Day in History

1966- The first Kwanzaa is celebrated in Los Angeles under the direction of Maulana Karenga the chair of Black Studies at California State University at Long Beach. The week-long holiday was designed to embrace African American family, community and culture.

Thursday, December 23

12 Days of Karaoke- Day 8

Fountains of Wayne- "Stacy's Mom"

Fountains of Wayne is probably one of the greatest groups that nobody really knows anything about, save that their biggest hit is insanely catchy and has a funny music video starring Rachel Hunter and borrowing heavily from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Oh, and they love their Cars references. In fact, Cars frontman Ric Ocasek was allegedly supposed to cameo in this video but declined. That could have been the greatest combo of pop ever witnessed, but alas, we just have this piece in its stead.

Anyway, getting back on track (or off of it), Fountains of Wayne have a TON of good songs that sadly have not graced nearly as many eardrums as they should. Songs that mention a monkey reading Playboy magazine. Songs with clever lines and great videos. songs that are cheery and depressing at the same time with a catchy riff to boot, and possibly the best recounting of a night gone that the singer can't remember.

But the only song anybody knows (except you readers, since you no doubt clicked on all those links I scoured YouTube to find!) is "Stacy's Mom." And boy, do people know it. Which makes it a great karaoke song.

Fountains member Adam Schlesinger co-wrote "That Thing You Do!," so he is no stranger to one-hit wonders. And while you may not get Rachel Hunter as a backup dancer during the instrumental break, this song is good enough on its own.

Bonus "This Day in History"

Since there will likely be a break during the next few days, we'll give another bonus "TDIH." In 1888, Vincent Van Gogh, in a fit of dementia, sliced over the lower part of his left earlobe. While Van Gogh is generally considered one of the greatest artists of all-time, during his lifetime he only sold one painting. He shot himself two years later and died only 37 years old.

And with that, merry Christmas!

A Festivus for the Rest of Us!

Well, it's December 23, so that means many a discontented person will be celebrating Festivus, the holiday created during a memorable episode of Seinfeld. Although not everyone believes it's so fictitious, as this Los Angeles Times article points out. A brief synopsis of the festivities, if you will.

This Day in History

1972- On this day 38 years ago, one of the most famous NFL plays occurred. And it happened during the AFC playoffs (remember when playoffs were in December and not mid January? Yeah, I don't either), between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Oakland Raiders. Yep, the Immaculate Reception. Steelers QB Terry Bradshaw evaded some pressure, heaved the ball downfield, where it appeared to be broken up by the late Jack Tatum, who delivered a big hit on Frenchy Fuqua. As the ball hurled toward the turf, Pittsburgh's Franco Harris caught the carrom and raced toward the end zone, scoring the game winning touchdown for the Steelers. NFL Films has dubbed it the greatest play of all time, so enjoy below, and have a strong and righteous Festivus!

Blake Griffin Top 10 Dunks

After yet another impressive dunk last night, it should be obvious by now that Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin is a complete beast. And fans may have gotten some good news, as Griffin has said he would do the dunk contest this year if the league asks him to. NBA, you know what to do.

Anyway, I did get to see Griffin and the Clip Show live against Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks this year, and while the highlights of that game were a Jason Kidd 75-foot buzzer beater and a DeAndre Jordan dunk after a very amusing scramble that seemed to evade the entire NBA, just the prospect of Griffin rising up and throwing down the thunder was enough to keep fans in their seats when they'd otherwise be in line for overpriced concessions.

In honor of the former Sooner, here is an admittedly outdated video of Blake Griffin's Top 10 dunks. Hey, I'm sure there'll be a new one soon for this month, but these are still amazing.

Wednesday, December 22

12 Days of Karaoke- Day 7

The Cars- You Might Think

For whatever reason, Boston-area rockers The Cars have never gotten the dap that they so rightfully deserve. Sure they've released few clunkers, but when they're on, they are ON. And in this tasty number, you can bet they were in solid form. The music video is also wildly entertaining, so if your local karaoke parlor has a music video going in the background and you can snag this one, well...they might as well just give you the crown right now.

December 22- This Day in History

You know, a lot of interesting things have happened throughout the course of history. So each day, courtesy of, we'll post an event that was worthwhile. Or at least a fun fact. Normally this will just go at the end of another post, but I figured the first one deserved its own section. And since it's the first one, you get TWO fun facts! How lucky!

1956- A baby gorilla named Colo was born into Ohio's Columbus Zoo, becoming the first gorilla to be born into captivity. Today there are about 750 gorillas in captivity around the world and roughly 100,000 in the wild. Since Colo's birth 54 years ago, 30 gorillas have been born at the Columbus Zoo alone.

1937- In continuing with a Christmas theme (sort of, if you remember an obscure reference from the movie Elf), the Lincoln Tunnel in New York officially opened up to traffic this day 73 years ago.

More NBA Christmas Songs

Over the weekend we showcased the Chicago Bulls giving their vocal chords a test run with a "12 Days of Christmas" rendition. But D. Rose and company aren't the only ones getting in the holiday spirit. Check out these other videos from teams around the NBA, and have a very merry Christmas.

Denver Nuggets- "Christmas in Hollis remix." Who knew Birdman could rap like that?

The Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks went with more traditional Christmas tunes in their holiday greetings, with varying degrees of success.

And while these are each older videos, Rasheed Wallace and company performing "Jingle Bells" deserves a mention, as well as the Houston Rockets (trying) to sing "Let it Snow." Maybe Yao has a career as a singer ahead of him!

Finally, the NBA in general continued its bobblehead theme with a winter wonderland of sorts.

Tuesday, December 21

12 Days of Karaoke- Day 6

The Proclaimers- I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)

Embarrassingly enough, the first time I heard this song was when I was just a wee lad. It was sung by *N S Y N C (yes, that's how it's actually spelled) in some "get to know the group" video my sister had. It made me laugh then and the song still makes me smile now. I've heard it called the "best love song ever," and it was featured prominently in an episode of How I Met Your Mother.

Sadly, finding the music video of said song has proven difficult, so we'll just have to make do with the below. But hey, you get to do this song in a Scottish accent and have a very fun "da da da" part in the bridge, so everyone's a winner!

Lonely Island's Newest Jam

Those crazy folks over at Lonely Island have come up with another smash hit. Known for videos that are generally about very basic topics with over-the-top production values and very catchy songs, this latest one continues the trend. Called "I Just Had Sex," it stars Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone and features Akon. There are also a couple cameos that have become a staple in LI vids as well. Kind of funny that Akon is in here, as T-Pain was in "I'm on a Boat," and those two performers are very similar in sound. Either way, enjoy, and maybe you'll find yourself singing along.

Monday, December 20

12 Days of Karaoke- Day 5

Wham- Wake Me Up Before You Go Go

Hmm, there seems to be a trend of songs with insane falsetto choruses on this list. Take note, aspiring performers! Wham! themselves predicted this little number to jump straight to #1 on the UK charts upon its release. Well, it took an extra week, debuting at #4 and then going to the top spot for two weeks. Either way, it’s memorable for its unfairly catchy chorus, an incredibly corny Doris Day reference, and as a song featured in the movie Zoolander. Oh yeah, the official music video is notable too for its…well, just watch it. Marvelous.

Sunday, December 19

12 Days of Karaoke- Day 4

R. Kelly- Ignition (Remix)

Before you select this song, you must be VERY careful that it is not the original "Ignition" song. That one is far more vulgar, far less known, and a much more inferior version. And sadly, multiple karaoke kiosks (or karaoke bars, or karaoke arenas, or karaoke street corners) only provide the original, with the remix nowhere to be found. So be sure that mistake is not made!

That being said, once the remix gets going, you'll be hard pressed to find a song that gets everyone as happy as this one does. With sing-along lyrics like "Can I get a toot toot? Can I get a beep beep?" and a feel-good vibe throughout the whole song (even though Kelly says "it's the freakin' weekend," this song works just as well on a Tuesday night) that really can't be beat. Plus it's slightly less risque than the original. Enjoy each version below, starting with Duke University's music video rendition of the remix.

Saturday, December 18

12 Days of Karaoke- Day 3

Mariah Carey- All I Want for Christmas is You

Since we're in the holiday theme per our last post, this is as good a time as any to include a Christmas song in the karaoke pack. Sorry, Adam Sandler's Hanukkah song, you just don't compare in terms of sing-along-ability. Although Sandler's song is a lot easier to sing.

And that makes Carey's Christmas song a risky pick--you really do have to be able to sing, at least a little bit. At her peak she was one of the greatest voices of all-time. And this song was recorded in 1994, which is also known as her peak. So going in, this ain't no "Don't Stop Believin'"--you can't just hold up the mic and let everyone else sing. But if and when you pull it off, it's amazing. And honestly, find me one person who doesn't enjoy this song and I'll show you a robot or some other soulless abomination, because that's the only category of subhuman I can imagine not liking this song. But I digress...

Holiday Greetings from the Sports World

It's not uncommon for most professional sports (and really, any business) organizations to do cheesy holiday greeting cards. Some of these are showcasing a new stadium to be built, a la this Marlins one. Some of them involve embarrassingly catchy songs from the behind the scenes people that do their best to make sure every trip to the ballpark/stadium/arena/whatever is a great one. The Diamondbacks do a good job of that, and get bonus points for including a "more cowbell" reference.

But let's be real, what the fans actually want are the players themselves. Cue the Chicago Bulls:

My personal favorite is Ronnie Brewer's alley oop, since it looks more like a shot than his actual jump shot. But I'll let you decide for yourself which Bull can croon the best.

Then there are some videos that start off promising and then just fall apart, like the EKU Colonels one here.

Either way, A Hot Cup of Joey wishes you and yours a very happy and safe holiday season.

Friday, December 17

12 Days of Karaoke- Day 2

Billy Ocean—Get Out of my Dreams (Get Into my Car)

I’m pretty sure it’s a rule that any song created in the 80s has to have an awesome bassline. Fortunately, this song has no trouble adhering to that rule. I actually first heard this song on EA Sports NASCAR Thunder 2003, as a cover by Fenix TX. That version is quite amazing itself, but it’s doubtful any karaoke establishment will have it among its song selections. So I had to venture into the decade of my birth and check out Billy Ocean’s rendition. And yes, it’s just as good, and far more danceable. Enjoy each version below, starting with the karaoke classic (and the necessary cheesy music video).

Thursday, December 16

The 12 Days of Karaoke- Day 1

As anyone who is even remotely familiar with me knows, I love karaoke. Whether it's crooning to a select group of friends or belting something out to a ton of strangers, if I have a mic, you're going to get rocked. And since Christmas is right around the corner I'll include 12 karaoke songs that not everyone thinks of but are guaranteed to get you cheers. Assuming you can pull them off, that is. And yes, I know there are fewer than 12 days till Christmas, but since a few of the actual 12 days ARE after Christmas anyway we'll make it work. Here we go with our first entry!

The Darkness: "I Believe In a Thing Called Love"

This song is so good I even wrote a post about it on AOL's Spinner. That link also has the hilarious video accompanying it, so be sure to click on it when you're done here. If you can hit the high notes (and every self-respecting person should be able to), it's a sing-a-long dream. The only downside (or upside, if you're an air guitar pro) is the long solo in the middle. While it's fun to play on real guitar, it leaves you without vocals for nearly 20 measures. 17, to be exact. Either way, is it amazing? Oh, yes, you better believe it!

Wednesday, December 15

Best Dance in Recent Memory

I know I've been gone for forever. Hopefully that will change! Anyway, here's a great sack celebration, courtesy of Barry Cofield of the New York Giants:

It conjures up memories of Kelley Washington's "Squirrel Dance," shown below for comparison's sake:

There are plenty of other celebrations--in fact, a countdown may be necessary. For now, though, let's just enjoy the creativity and hope the NFL doesn't continue to crack down on these kinds of celebrations!