Welcome to Run It Back. Each week, S.E. Shepherd brings you a unique look at the best (and worst) in TV, movies, sports, comedy, online video, and life in general. Is there something you’d like S.E. to cover? Hit him up on Twitter @TheSEShepherd.
Happy Friday, folks. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty psyched to be waving bye-bye to a week during which the highlights of pop culture discussion centered on a boy band reunion and the various body parts (tongue, caboose, brain — or lack thereof) of the artist formerly known as Hannah Montana. With the end of summer just around the corner, it’s time to buckle down and put our collective energy towards something a little more worthwhile, like day-drinking and watching college football non-stop for the next 72 hours. Whether you’re headed to Nashville to watch the Cats steamroll the Hilltoppers or enjoying Labor Day weekend a little closer to home, here’s a quick round-up of things that mattered to me and might matter to you.
Guess Who’s Back?
This week, Eminem debuted his new song “Berzerk” with a bare bones video featuring an old school boom box blaring the sample-heavy track. Lyrically, “Berzerk” is classic Eminem, containing snarky pop-culture references to the Khardashians, Lamar Odom, Kid Rock, and K-Fed (it’s 2013 and we’re still making K-Fed jokes! You da woman, Britney!).
Outside of the catchy hook, the song feels a bit too much like an awkward mash-up of the underlying source material. It’s sort of like eating a cake where you can clearly taste each of the individual ingredients, and no one wants to eat an egg-flavored caked. Couple that with the fact that Slim Shady seems intent on cramming in every permutation of his famous voice/tone/inflection range and you’re left with a song that’s jarring and disjointed. The bottom line is, if you’re a fan of Eminem, the Beastie Boys and Billy Squier’s 1981 hit “The Stroke,” this is your dream song and it’s totally going to be your jam. Otherwise, not so much [lyrics NSFW]:
As a fairly recent transplant to Kentucky, one of the things that most impresses me about Southerners is their ingenuity. These days, you can’t go more than a couple of clicks deep on the internet without reading about “life hacks,” those handy little tips and tricks that are supposed to make life a little easier or provide a nice DIY solution to everyday problems. While I’m sure every region of this great country has a few famous hacks they like to claim as local originals, I’d wager dollars to doorknobs that the South boasts the most and the best. For example, before I moved to Kentucky, I thought the only way to eat ramen was soup-style after preparing it according to the instructions on the package. Little did I know Southerners have been using uncooked ramen to top salads and other dishes for years. And I don’t know if Southerners invented the art of backing into parking spaces, but they sure as hell perfected it. Everywhere I look, some savvy Southerner is backing everything from a Kia Rio to a Ford F-150 into a parking spot, as if at any moment they may have to dive in the driver’s side window Dukes of Hazzard-style, put the pedal to the metal and make a quick getaway out of the Kroger parking lot.
One of my favorite things about living in the South is that folks in these parts take their drinking seriously. Whether it’s sippin’ bourbon in a hoity-toity lounge or pounding brews in the parking lot of Commonwealth Stadium, drinking is part religion and part art form. Recently, Jessica Mischner, who blogs for Garden & Gun (and don’t kid yourself, the day that publication launched was the day the “Best Magazine Name Ever” contest was officially over), shared a great Southern Hack called “beer spinning,” which claims to chill a room-temperature beer in 96 seconds flat using nothing more than a bucket filled with ice, a little water and some salt.
Offer me a chance to be a fly on the wall in a roomful of Harvard-schooled scientists brainstorming ways to prolong human life or near a rag-tag group of Southerners kickin’ around a few ideas about how to build a better Kegerator and I’ll choose the latter every time. I’m sure the loyal KSR readers are well versed in tricks such as these, so if you’ve got a favorite Southern Hack, share it with us in the comments or on Twitter with the hashtag #SouthernHacks.
It’s a Dad! It’s an Octopus! It’s Octodad!
Because I’m a grown man with grown man responsibilities, I don’t have nearly as much time to devote to playing video games as I did a few years ago. That means I have to be pretty selective about the games I buy or rent, because going in I know I’ll only have a few hours tops to play each one. The upcoming Grand Theft Auto V is a no-brainer. I mean, have you seen the trailer for that thing? Bank robberies. Jumping out of planes. Bounty hunting! SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY! But beyond that, I haven’t been super jazzed about any upcoming titles. At least, not until I saw this trailer for Octodad: Dadliest Catch:
You play an octopus masquerading as an average suburban dad, and you’re tasked with completing a few everyday situations like getting ready for your wedding, mowing the lawn and shopping for groceries. Of course, it’s tough for an octopus to navigate the human world, and if you draw too much attention to yourself revealing your true identity, it’s game over, man! The game’s creators fully acknowledge the ridiculousness of the premise, even going so far as to include the question “were you on drugs when you came up with the game” in their FAQ section. The game is scheduled for release later this year or in early 2014. Trust me when I tell you that if there were an address where I could send all of my money to buy this game, the envelope full of cash would have been in the mail yesterday.
If you live in or around Lexington and happen to be the parent of a kid between the ages of two and 12, odds are you found yourself heading out to Keeneland last weekend for the annual Touch-a-Truck event organized by the Child Development Centers of the Bluegrass. The event brought together a motley assortment of giant machinery and gave kids the chance to get up close and personal with the metal monsters. This year’s gathering of the truckalos featured a garbage truck, a helicopter, a bus, an ambulance, a half-filled hot air balloon that was converted into a giant romper room, and enough construction equipment to tear up and replace every inch of highway in the Commonwealth (which is ironic since the seemingly never-ending road work on Versailles Road near Keeneland appears poised to stretch in to the mid-2040s. ZING!).
My daughter, who is currently obsessed with any motorized vehicle with two or more wheels, enjoyed the festivities for about 10 minutes, right up until we walked past a big rig with a cab-full of eight-year-old boys who decided the perfect time to join hands like a sugar-fueled Voltron and slam on the horn would be the very instant we walked in front of the truck. The noise sent my daughter into full-on sob mode and she let me know in no uncertain terms that it was time to go home, which, in all honesty, was fine with me. The event was hosted on a blacktop parking lot in the middle of the afternoon in August. That’s sweat-drip city, friends. It didn’t take a lot of arm-twisting to convince me to load the crew back into the Family Truckster and Nascar it back to the air-conditioned comfort of my living room. That said, it’s a pretty cool event for older kids or anyone who digs getting a closer look at the types of vehicles Marky Mark will probably fight with/against in Transformers 4. So you should totally check it out next summer.
The King of Clowns
There are a lot of legit Elvis impersonators floating around the internet, but none of them are TCB’ing like Clownvis Presley. Known as The King of Clowns, Clownvis combines the swagger and sweet pipes of Mr. Elvis Aaron Presley with the playful-yet-deranged looks of Pennywise, the creepy, sewer-dwelling killer clown from Stephen King’s It. Clownvis and his crew post their adventures on their YouTube channel, which includes everything from music videos to comedy skits, the bulk of which are NSFW. But here’s a mostly family friendly clip of Clownvis pleading with the powers-at-be to keep teaching cursive in our schools (what, did you expect the half-Elvis, half-clown dude to champion a cause OTHER than the handwriting techniques of today’s youth?):
That’ll do it for this week. Have a great weekend. And thanks for checking out Funkhouser throughout the week. We’re having fun writing it, so we hope you’re having just as much fun reading it and/or accidentally wandering over here and posting comments like, “Is this Kentucky Sports Radio or TMZ/Entertainment Tonight/People Magazine?!” Never change, commenters. Keep doing you.
Happy Labor Day!