Monday, December 31

12 Days of Karaoke 2012 Day 11: "Gives You Hell" by The All-American Rejects

This one is another fun little ditty, that's very easy to sing, and doesn't have any long instrumentals for you to snooze through. Plus there's a breakdown where it's pretty much just drums and your vocals, which lends itself to good group sing-alongs or over-the-head-clapping that permeates songs like "I Believe In a Thing Called Love," at least in the music video. And there ain't hardly anything wrong with that. 

Day 11 2010

Five Fun NFL Tidbits from the 2012 Season

As the regular season closed its books yesterday, I thought I'd take a look at five random little facts, stories, tidbits, whatever they may be about the 2012 season. Le'ggo:

1. If you were a Titans fan and only watched two games all year (Week 3 versus the Lions and Week 17 versus the Jaguars), you would have seen seven return touchdowns--three punts, two interceptions, one kick and one fumble. In that same Lions game, you also would have seen two touchdowns scored against your team in the final 18 seconds, including a deflected Hail Mary. And of course, there were blunders aplenty by the officiating crew, since this was still during the era of the replacement refs.

2. If you combined Mark Sanchez and Philip Rivers into one person, Marlip Sanvers would have had an astonishing 15 lost fumbles and 33 interceptions, or just about three turnovers a game. Ironically enough, Sanchez had one touchdown compared to eight picks in the month of December, while Rivers played quite well, throwing 8 scores and just one interception. Of course, they still continued to fumble like a teenager on a first date, with the Sanchize fumbling the ball four times and Rivers an even more impressive six. They each lost three of them.

3. Christian Ponder barely had more yards per pass attempt (6.1) as Adrian Peterson did per carry (6.0). The next closest QB in YPA that started all 16 games is Ryan Fitzpatrick, with 6.7. Coincidentally, his main running back, C.J. Spiller, also averaged 6.0 yards per carry. Seems like a trend. If you average Brady Quinn and Matt Cassell together, the Chiefs QBs averaged about 6.2 yards per pass, while their RB Jamaal Charles posted a 5.3 YPC average. Definitely seems like a trend--bad QBs make great rushers look even more amazing.

4. Of players with at least 50 catches, only four had 5 or fewer catches that weren't first downs or touchdowns: Vincent Jackson (72 receptions, 61 1stD, 8 TD), Lance Moore (65 receptions, 55 1stD, 6 TD), James Jones (64 receptions, 45 1stD, 14 TD), Malcolm Floyd (56 receptions, 47 1stD, 5 TD), Brandon Gibson (51 receptions, 43 1stD, 5 TD) and Josh Gordon (50 receptions, 40 1stD, 5 TD). Only one of those players--James Jones--is on a team going to the playoffs, yet four--the others, save for Josh Gordon--are on teams that won seven games this year. The Bucs, Saints and Chargers all went 7-9, while the Rams finished 7-8-1. So...mediocrity wins?

5. Only four teams performed better on the road than they did at home: Again, we find the Chargers, Bucs and Saints on this list, but they're also joined by the Bengals, who were a surprising 6-2 on the road, compared to 4-4 at home. My beloved Bears also have the dubious distinction of posting a +98 point differential, yet still failed to make the playoffs, highest in the league for a team missing out on the postseason. On the other end of the spectrum, the Colts are the only team, at -30, to get into the playoffs with a minus-point differential. That's the power of Chuckstrong.

Enjoy the postseason, everyone, and kick some butt in 2013!

Sunday, December 30

12 Days of Karaoke 2012 Day 10: "Since U Been Gone" by Kelly Clarkson

I'm amazed this song hasn't been on the list yet. It's pretty fantastic, and a Top 5 personal performance for me. While it can be daunting trying to hit some of the high notes Miss Clarkson reaches, very few people dislike this song. Girls love that it's one of those "girl power" jams that they sing along to in their hairbrushes, and guys always have a little bit of a crush on the singer, especially since her star performance in From Justin to Kelly. Plus, the only major "instrumental" break is right after the highest note of the song, so you can use the time off to bask in the applause after you nail said note. Wins all around.

Saturday, December 29

12 Days of Karaoke 2012 Day 9: "Are You Gonna Be My Girl?" by Jet

I'm not entirely sure if I like that song that much. I know I hated it when it came out, but it's slowly started to grow on me. Fortunately, I most likely won't be in the audience when you're performing (or maybe you'll get lucky and I will be), and people LOVE this song. I don't know if it's the groovy bassline, the raspy counting vocals, or the tambourine-drum duo, but it gets toes tappin' and arms raisin'. And that's a winner in my book.

Friday, December 28

12 Days of Karaoke 2012 Day 8: "Pour Some Sugar On Me" by Def Leppard

Another one that I've never performed at karaoke! What is this world coming to? I do know that hair metal bands were huge back in the day, and everyone still loves the occasional hit. While I'm not sure songs like "We're Not Gonna Take It" and "Cum On Feel The Noize" will have as a good a reception, Def Leppard's jam always gets the people dancing and the sugar pouring pantomimes going. In classic glam-rock fashion, the lyrics are not so subtly sexual, and any song with gang vocals like this is a winner in my book. Bring an inflatable guitar for added effect!

Thursday, December 27

12 Days of Karaoke 2012 Day 7: "Your Love" by The Outfield

Some people might not know the name of this artist, but EVERYONE knows the song. It's just one of those quintessential jams from the 80s that nary a soul can resist singing along with. People get excited when it comes on, and you can jump right into it, since it starts with vocals (make sure you're paying attention!).

The biggest problem I have with the song, is not the annoying kid in this tune that samples it, but rather the end. As was commonplace in songs from the 80s, artists found it too hard to simply end on a note or long chord, so they went with the more popular "fade out." Which is all well and good for a studio version of a song, but in karaoke? That means you're going to be singing "Use your love" and yelling "toniiiight!" quite a bit. The standard karaoke track goes about 20 seconds longer than people will tolerate, so feel free to come prepared with some "I wish this song was over already" material.

Day 7 2010

Day 7 2011

Ranking the Pokemon: #69- Charmeleon

I don't know what it is, but the Charmander line of evolutions has always been my favorite of the starters. It doesn't really make sense. The fire lizard is the hardest to advance through the game, as only one gym leader is really weak against the Fire type. Its moveset isn't great, either, with Slash and Flamethrower being your two best options as far as natural level-ups go. I believe the middle Char can also learn Fly in Pokemon Yellow, so that's a nice little bonus against anyone that's trying to take you out. Dig, which Charmy can learn in any version (via TM) does a similar job of avoiding a potentially devastating hit.

I guess Charmeleon gets some points for being fairly human-like, too. Even though it's obviously some sort of dinosaur/lizard hybrid, it kinda looks like a human, what with its two hands, two feet, ability to stand upright, and weird deformity on its head. There's also the added bonus of being able to cook s'mores or heat up a cold room with its tail. If I can roast a marshmallow AND stay warm during the frigid months of winter? Well, then we've got a winner on our hands.

Battling Grade: C+

Previously: #70- Hitmonlee

Sunday, December 23

12 Days of Karaoke 2012 Day 6: "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" by Taylor Swift

Here's another one that I have yet to attempt at karaoke, but you better believe I'ma be rocking that mic the next time I go. Tennie boppers and older girls alike seem to really enjoy this song, and why not? From the "I'm FINALLY giving up on this boy" message of solidarity to the fun "we-EEEE" part in the chorus, there's lots to love here. Good stuff all around.

Wednesday, December 19

12 Days of Karaoke 2012 Day 5: "Fat Lip" by Sum 41

In this case, we're going to put the video that I made wayyyy back in the day for this song instead of the actual music video. OH WELL.

"Fat Lip" is one of those songs that just screams 90s, despite the fact it actually was released in 2001. And people love 90s sounding songs, even if yours isn't technically from that decade. It's just a good catchy song, and in fact, made a list of the most catchy songs ever. So you have that going in your favor. It's best to do this one with a buddy so you can alternate lines back and forth, especially in the bridge. Of course, it's still doable solo, I just personally have more fun when I'm tag teaming this with someone. It also holds the honor of being the only karaoke song I've performed at a Six Flags theme park (Great America in Gurnee, IL), and that's pretty neat. 

Day 5 2010

Amy Sedaris on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Amy Sedaris is hilarious. If you don't know this, watch this video, and you'll learn. She teaches Jimmy how to make a weird salad, complete with bananas and pineapples. Fantastic!

Tuesday, December 18

12 Days of Karaoke 2012 Day 4: "Starships" by Nicki Minaj

Fun fact: People like to dance during karaoke. If your song can provide the beat for them to get their wiggle on, you already have an advantage. People become very excited when the opening riff of this song plays. It's not overtly hard to sing, although some of the notes do become pretty high, and it's got a nice little clapping beat in the chorus that folks like to clap along with. Nicki Minaj may be terrible otherwise, but she nailed this one. Good show.

Samuel L. Jackson and Anne Hathaway Have a Sad Off

In what can only be an advertisement for their respective movies (Django Unchained and Les Miserables), Samuel L. Jackson and Anne Hathaway get into an argument over which one of their movies is more depressing. There are a number of great one-liners, and both of them are generally entertaining to watch. Good stuff!

Monday, December 17

Big Boi Reads Dr. Seuss

He's cooler than a polar bear's toenails, and now he's reading Dr. Seuss. Join rapper Big Boi--taking a breather from promoting his latest album as he delivers a Christmas message, courtesy of the Grinch. Let's just hope he doesn't steal the holiday!

Sunday, December 16

12 Days of Karaoke 2012 Day 3: "Fat Bottomed GIrls" by Queen

I believe this is the first song on the list (from any year) that I've never actually performed at karaoke. And there's not really a good reason for it. Every time I've seen it done it brings the house down, even if the person performing isn't a particularly good singer. With a freaking catchy group chorus, as well as a nod to any girl with a big booty, you'll get people yelling along with you, and girls--regardless of if they have a fat bottom or not--shaking their rears. And any time folks are singing and dancing to your song, you're doing alright in my book.

Day 3 2010

A Hot Cup's Christmas Extravaganza

Items to check out! Freebies to download! Fun all around! Sounds like a Christmas extravaganza!

The heartwarming (and heartwrenching) story of former NFL-er Chris Spielman and his wife's battle with cancer, That's Why I'm Here: The Chris and Stefanie Spielman Story takes a look at how Chris balanced football with four children and a wife that was diagnosed with breast cancer during his playing career. While a few of the chapters get more football-oriented, overall, this is a book anyone can read. Great messages abound throughout, and as someone that's had multiple family members affected by cancer, I really enjoyed it.

The Money Code(available 1/22/2013)
Joe Duran's newest book takes a subject that's been covered to death (money and finances) and brings it to life in an engaging way. As someone who could always use some help in the money department, this is a welcome read. Using the fictional character Jack to create a personal narrative, Duran emphasizes the importance of decision-making, and how you can use wise choices to improve your financial life.

The MILF Diet(available 1/1/2013)
John Cho's character in American Pie popularized the use of the term MILF, but that doesn't mean only women can enjoy this book. Sure, it's aimed at females, with exercises and positive reinforcements, so certainly more women than men will own copies. However, Jessica Porter's humorous, honest writing helps keep the reader entertained, and I'm always willing to try out some new recipes--there's no shortage of those in this book. While it's a great gift for any woman in your life, if there's a guy you know that likes to cook, they'd like it, too.

I've never been one for dietary supplements, but I've also never been one to care about what I eat. Of course, as my metabolism starts slowing to a crawl, I'm sure that'll change. If you've already reached that point, Twinlab Diet Fuel combines the herbal power of forskohlii (try saying that five times fast) with chromium, a fat burning mineral, and the thermogenic green tea extract. Use Coupon Code "GNC: 20376" and save $3.00 on any Twinlab purchase. 

I'm all about lotions and creams that not only keep any sort of dryness at bay, but also provide some pain relief. Topricin actually does both, through a natural blend of ingredients. Since I tend to get sore quite often due to the WIDE variety of exercises I do, this is a welcome addition to the medicine cabinet.

I know, I know, I'm a sucker for sweets. But what about sweet smelling things? This bath and body set features fragrances like Snickerdoodle and Frosted Cookie. Not sure if you personally want to smell like that, but I wouldn't mind if someone that wasn't me was wearing them. Assuming they also brought cookies to share with everyone.

"White Skies and Moonlight" by Kelly Sweet
She's described as a Robyn soundalike, and that's good enough for me. Check out the song for free! Makes a great stocking stuffer. If, you know, your stocking is online.

Based off the incredible website of the same name, this board game has a bit of an Apples to Apples feel to it. But since nearly every picture is absolutely amazing, it's even better than the fruited one.

This Is Not an App
Based off the Keri Smith novel This Is Not a Book, this iOS and Android app guides users through a series of prompts to determine the final product and content of the app. This app transforms a phone or tablet into a digital time travel device, an electronic mess-maker, a choose-your-own adventure, a handheld nature emulator, an ethnographic study of the room you are sitting in, or a virtual collection of objects from the world around us. The creative mind (like mine) loves it, and it hearkens back to the ol' Goosebumps days of choosing your own adventure. This Is Not an App is now available for download through the iTunes Store, Google Android Marketplace and at Barnes and Noble for Nook ($4.99).

This is an app that's been around for awhile, but it still cracks me up every time I play it. Maybe SOMEDAY it'll come out for the non-iPhone phones, too. You create music videos by making the sounds of instruments using the iPhone camera. It's hilarious and sometimes you actually create some really catchy stuff. Great party game, and it's free!

*These products were provided to me for review at no cost.

5 Tips For Shopping Safely Online During the Holiday Season (or anytime)
Seems to me like these are fairly obvious, yet I'm constantly amazed by how many people get swindled by online shenanigans. Here are five tips to stay safe while shopping, courtesy of Geeks on Site.

1.       Use your Credit Card, not your Debit Card
Credit Cards offer better protection against fraud.  With a Credit Card, you are only liable up to $50 as long as you report the fraud within 30 days. Debit Cards on the other hand, are more difficult to get refunded and sometimes you only get a partial refund.

2.       Shop from known retailer’s websites
Search engines may redirect you to scam or spoofed websites. Spoofed websites are created with exactly the same appearance and infrastructure as the original website, with the sole purpose of stealing your user credentials. Be sure to verify the website address at the address bar of your browser.

3.       Update your System
When shopping online, make sure to use the latest brand named browser available for your system, such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Internet Explorer, as the latest versions of each have increased safeguards to prevent adware, spyware, and phishing attempts.  Having an updated antivirus or antimalware is essential when preventing fraud.  Both the browsers, as well as approved antivirus programs offer some type of verification of websites, making sure they are the original site and not a spoofed one.

4.       Shop at home
Public LANs and WIFI networks, such as libraries, cyber-cafes, airports or even work computers, could be compromised with malware.  Hackers also have access to these networks, and could be tapping into them to get your personal information. Always do your online shopping from network secured with a WEP or WPA password.

5.       Don’t save your information online
Saving your information online such as name, address and Credit Card number might be convenient for your next purchase, but there is always a chance that the company keeping your information could have a data breach. Then your information, as well as thousands of others will be at the mercy of a hacker. For this reason, it’s best to always enter your information every time and not save it in a server which you don’t have control over.

Enjoy the holiday season!

Thursday, December 13

12 Days of Karaoke 2012 Day 2: "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen

Goodness, everyone and their mother knows this song. I know my mother does, at least. It's a nice, relatively wholesome song with the most infectious chorus of all-time. From countless lip-dub parodies to endless singalongs and everything in between, people may be sick of the song, but not SO sick of it that they don't get excited when it comes on.

The first and only time I performed this song at karaoke was in early 2012, and maybe even late 2011. It was before the song had really taken off, but people were still bobbing their heads and enjoying themselves. Granted, that's because I'm awesome at karaoke, but now after the song is so huge? It doesn't matter if you can't sing at all, people gon' enjoy it.

Day 2, 2010

Day 2, 2011

Tuesday, December 11

12 Days of Karaoke 2012 Day 1: "We Are Young" by fun.

This song almost didn't make the cut because it's sooooo overplayed. There was a good time out there where you couldn't go anywhere without hearing "Toniiiiiightttttt." But fortunately for you, karaoke connoisseur, that will work to your advantage. Because even though most of the world is sick of this song and would immediately change the channel if it came on the radio, at karaoke it's considered one of the greatest songs ever. Especially by drunk folk. They love the sing-along of the chorus; the verses are simple enough; the "Carry me home tonight" in the bridge is a fun change of pace, and the song is basically about having a good night and forgetting your problems. Awesome.

Ranking the Pokemon: #70- Hitmonlee

I don't know what it is, but I've always kind of liked Hitmonlee. Along with Hitmonchan, it's one of two Generation I Pokemon named after an actor that excelled in martial arts. Except Bruce Lee isn't alive anymore, so Hitmonlee has to carry on his name. Kick-san is also in Super Smash Bros., while Punch-chan is nowhere to be found. I don't know what Hitmonlee says when it attacks in the fighting game, but it's terrifyingly amusing. And the kicking Pokemon reminds me a LOT of the men whose heads do grow beneath their shoulders that appear in a ton of Shakespeare novels. Good stuff.

I prefer Hitmonlee over Hitmonchan because 'lee doesn't pretend to be something it's not. You get it at the Fighting Dojo, it looks like a fighter, and that's what you'll get. No "Oh, I learn a bunch of elemental punches, but my Special is so atrocious you won't do any damage with these attacks." Hitmonlee says "eff that." The only two Special moves it learns at all are Meditate and Rest, which will do the same thing regardless of what your Special is. You might even consider putting both on your Hitmonlee, and then rounding it off with High Jump Kick and Double-Edge or Mega Kick or some other high damage Normal move. Gotta take advantage of Hitmonlee's absurd Attack and pretty good Speed. 'Lee gets a bit of a bad break, though, as in later generations its Special Defense is really strong, so it has a chance to take some hits from a Psychic. It still can in Gen. I, but it's less likely. Guess it should have spent a little less time on its legs and some more on its bulbous body, so it could absorb a few more blows.

Battling Grade: C

They're Billing This as the Worst Free Throw Ever...And It's Not Exaggeration

Appalachian State center Brian Okam launched a free throw a few days ago that is being called the worst ever. And you know what? That might not be hyperbole. It's very clearly a slip of the hand, but it came at a costly time--i.e., a time when the cameras happened to be rolling. Beautiful. To his credit, Okam appears to be handling this all in stride, but hopefully he has better luck on his finals than he did with this free throw.

Monday, December 10

Matthew Stafford Dresses Some Dude in a Funny or Die Van Heusen Ad

I guess everything that happens in this video is nicely summed up in the title, but...Matthew Stafford teams up with Van Heusen to help a man transform from junior high dropout to well-dressed salesman. The video also features Steve Young and Jerry Rice, and a couple of laugh out loud moments. Didn't know all these guys had the comedic chops in them. Well done!

Friday, December 7

Aaaand Here's Your Adorable Thing For the Day

You may remember Jimmy Fallon and the Roots playing classroom instruments with Carly Rae Jepsen a few months back. Well, the late night team is back at it again with a very adorable rendition of "All I Want For Christmas Is You." Mariah Carey joins to sing her song, and still has an incredible voice. There are also some very cute cameos you'll find at the bottom of your screen. If you don't like this video, well...nice to meet you, Mr. Grinch.

"Look at this Instagram" Parodies Nickelback, Hipsters

Goodness, this is amazing. College Humor has sent us a parody of Nickelback's "Photograph," altering the lyrics to describe people taking mundane pictures on Instagram. This is really on point, and the guy's voice in particular sounds just like Chad Kroeger. Enjoy the hilarity.

Wednesday, December 5

Facebook Law for Idiots

If you own a Facebook, you may have noticed a bunch of your friends posting some crap about a privacy notice on their timelines. Well, guess what? Writing something down doesn't overrule the Terms of Services you signed when you started using Facebook. And College Humor has made a delightful video teaching us how the law works. Check it out!

Charles Barkley Latest to Fall Victim to Gregg Popovich's Mid-Quarter Interview Antics

This is a few days old, but no less incredible. It's been well documented that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich thinks the sideline mid-game interview is a huge joke. He'll often give short, brusque answers to the sideline reporter, who is often Craig Sager. Fortunately, it often leads to hilarity. Last Thursday night Charles Barkley found himself interviewing Coach Pop, and Chuck lost track of how many questions were asked. Watch as Pop calls him out on it.

Monday, December 3

Dikembe Mutombo Will Save the World

Sometimes, something comes out that's just beyond words in terms of weirdness and awesomeness. A perfect example of this is Dikembe Mutombo's 4 1/2 Weeks to Save the World. An interactive Flash game from Old Spice, you take control of the former NBA center and compete a series of tasks to try and carve more time into the Mayan calendar. It's complete with 8-bit graphics and Dikembe's very own voice acting, as well as some insanely random cameos, like a British pig. 

But don't just take my word for how strange this game is. Play it for yourself here.

Saturday, December 1

Sufjan Stevens' Delightful Christmas Album Ad

Sufjan Stevens is certainly a Christmas connoisseur. He's released a number of festive songs, and he still has the holiday spirit in this hilarious commercial from Pitchfork TV. Part one of Stevens' "Friendship Slay Ride" video series, it's a promotion for his album Silver & Gold, but it features some tracks that I would love to hear, in wonderful cheap PSA form. Enjoy!

Paul Pierce, Watch Ya Ankles!

Paul Pierce has had a rough week as far as playing defense goes. First, Jameer Nelson crosses him over, to the point that Pierce looked like he got shot and/or just broke both of his ankles. Of course, Nelson, true to form, misses the wide open jumper. Fortunately, Joe Johnson was taking notes.

The newly-acquired Net catches a pass on the wing, and does seriously the most impressive crossover I can remember seeing. Pierce commits the cardinal sin of defense: he reaches in when he's off-balance. From there, it's game over. Johnson crosses him up and actually makes the shot, thus making his play better.