Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Bee Gees – "Night Fever" (1978)

There is movement all around
There is something goin' down
And I can feel it

In a post that appeared almost exactly one year ago, 2 or 3 lines featured an e-mail written by the coach of my law firm’s coed slow-pitch softball team on the occasion of the team’s season-opening game.  Click here if you missed that post.

That e-mail was a stream-of-consciousness monologue like something out of a Samuel Beckett play.  It barely touched on the softball game itself.  

By the way, I’ve never actually read a Samuel Beckett play, so who knows if that comparison is even remotely accurate.  (Have you ever read a Beckett play?  I didn’t think so.),

Recently our coach circulated an e-mail about this year’s season-opening contest, which he titled “You Can Bet Your Last Money, It's Going To Be a Stone Gas, Honey!  Oh, and We Opened the Season With a Win if You Care.”

(NOTE: The first sentence quoted above was the catchphrase with which the late Don Cornelius closed every episode of Soul Train:)

Here’s the e-mail, which has been scrubbed of all names and other identifying details:

Hard to believe that it’s Opening Day of the softball season again.  Another year of sweating it out in the heat trying to figure out what the “narrative” to each game will be.  (Which, depending on how the game turns out, can be a Herculean task.)  

While the team gathered in the dugout I sat in the stands . . . and just sort of looked around, keeping an eye on my watch since I had a prior engagement to get to at 9PM (which prior engagement I had no intention of missing). 

It was obvious to this writer that our team was going to win this game when the first batter swung away on a ball that went through the infield, and then was flubbed by some bewildered rightfielder.   So the batter just kept running, like a lunatic, until he scored.  

I’ve not seen this batter hit a single that turned into a home run in over eight years.  To me this was an omen, and also the moment I heard the song “Night Fever” by the Bee Gees off in the distance from a car that was passing by which brought back a few memories.  

One in particular was when I was in the second grade and our teacher loved to pass around copies of “Cricket’”magazine, which styles itself as “the New Yorker for children.”  

(NOTE: Cricket was first published in 1973 by the Carus Publishing Company, which publishes 15 different children’s magazines, including Cobblestone and Ladybug.)

The November 1979 issue of "Cricket"
In one issue of “Cricket,” I read that disco was no longer in style – that “disco was dead.”  This caught me as surprise since that was pretty much all we were listening to in Northeast Ohio in the spring of 1981, which was long after the disastrous “Disco Demolition Night” at Comiskey Field in Chicago, which took place on July 12th, 1979. 

Who says baseball is boring?  A radio disc jockey by the name of Steve Dahl (who hated disco music)  got all of Chicago worked up about blowing up disco records in the infield in between games at a White Sox doubleheader.  What resulted was an all-out riot, all because of the fact that a number of people thought that a particular genre of music sucked.  

(NOTE: “Disco Demolition Night” drew a huge crowd of anti-disco fans, thousands of whom ran on to field after Dahl blew up a big pile of disco records.  The explosion and the ensuing riot left the field unplayable.  The White Sox grounds crew spent an hour trying to clean up the mess, but the umpires thought that the playing field was still unsafe and postponed the second game.  The American League president later forfeited the game to the visiting Detroit Tigers.  Here's an ESPN piece about "Disco Demolition Night":)

Why I am thinking about “Cricket” magazine and disco at a time like this?  It’s beyond me.  Let’s focus instead on the subject at hand: Lawyer League Softball.

(NOTE: I’ve deleted the incredibly boring inning-by-inning account of the game, and cut to the chase.)

The final score?  12 to 10 in favor of the good guys. 

After the game I meet up with a buddy down the street (who was a solid four National Bohemian tallboys in) and I mentioned the “Cricket” magazine memory that was triggered by hearing the Bee Gees doing “Night Fever,” in response to which he said (and I quote):

“I do hereby decree 2016 the official summer of disco!  It’s coming back – we’ve waited too long.  Ever since ‘Disco Demolition Night’ in 1979 put the final nail in disco’s coffin, we have suffered through many horrible summers. . . like ‘Cruel Summer’ summer, ‘Macarena’ summer,  ‘Barbie Girl’ summer, ‘La Vida Loca’ summer, ‘Abercrombie and Fitch Girls’ summer,– worst of all – Richard Marx’s ‘Endless Summer Nights’ summer (1988).” 

After this diatribe I walked over to the juke box and played these songs in no particular order: Silver Convention’s “Get Up and Boogie”; Jesse Green’s  “Nice and Slow”; Olivia Newton-John’s “Xanadu,” and “More More More,” by Andrea True Connection. 

[NOTE:  Andrea True was a porn star before she was a disco singer.  Click here to read what 2 or 3 lines had to say about “More, More, More” and Andrea True.]

The summer of softball and disco starts today.  So bust out your roller skates and tube socks because I’m ALL IN!!!!

You can bet your last money, it’s going to be a stone gas, honey,

Signed, Raoul Duke

(NOTE: “Raoul Duke” was the name given to the antihero of Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.  Duke was clearly based on Thompson himself.)

* * * * *

“Night Fever,” which was released in 1978 on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack album, was the third of six consecutive #1 hits for the Bee Gees.  Only the Beatles have had as many consecutive #1 singles.

Here’s the music video for “Night Fever,” which was filmed in 1978 but not released until 2004:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Illusion – "Did You See Her Eyes" (1969)

Did you see her eyes?
Did you see her eyes?

I hate to complain, but

(Strike that.  Let me start again.)

Last month, my sister gave me a Fitbit "Flex" for my birthday.  

You know what a Fitbit is, right?  It’s a little gadget you wear on your wrist (like a watch) that tracks how many steps you walk each day, and vibrates in a most satisfying fashion when you reach the number you’ve set as your goal.

I didn’t know until my birthday that my sister had a Fitbit, although it didn’t surprise me when I found out – she is an obsessive exerciser who almost never goes a day without working out.  

And I didn’t know that each of my kids had a Fitbit, which did surprise me.  I’m glad they all do, because it motivates most people to walk or run more.  

None of my kids has a weight problem – all of them were athletes when they were young, and have remained active – but that can change pretty quickly when you have a desk job and start watching games on television rather than playing a sport yourself.  (Or when you’re a woman and you weight problem due to no fault of your own even though you never eat anything more fattening than celery sticks).

The Fitbit "Flex" comes in many different colors
I would never have bought myself a Fitbit.  I walk and ride a bike and referee basketball, and I have a pretty good idea how much I’m exercising – I didn’t really see the need to have something that counted each and every step that I took.  But I would never have bought myself a Kindle either, and I’m very glad that I got one as a gift a few years ago.

When my sister sent me the Fitbit, she enclosed the receipt with it in case I didn’t like it and wanted to return it.  

(My sister takes after my mother.  Every time my mother gives me a gift, she says “You can always exchange if you don’t like it/it’s not the right size/it’s not the right color” as I open it.  I don’t know if that’s just because my mother is a born pessimist when it comes to picking gifts, or because I act so underwhelmed by the gifts I receive that she think that I never like what she gives me.)

The only problem with my sister’s idea was that she bought the Fitbit at a store that’s pretty ubiquitous in her part of the country, but nowhere to be found in the area where I live.  (I would have had to drive two hours to Richmond to return the Fitbit – unless I wanted to box it up and ship it back to the store where my sister bought it, which is almost as big a pain in the ass as driving two hours to Richmond.)

But I didn’t want to return the Fitbit and buy myself something else.  At least not at first.

Most people sync their Fitbits to their smartphones so they can keep track of their steps no matter where they are.  Unfortunately, I’m one of the dying breed of Blackberry users – and Fitbit doesn’t have an app for Blackberrys.  (Not good, Fitbit.)

That meant I was going to have to hook up my Fitbit to my home computer and use that computer to see how many steps I had taken.

But I had trouble getting the Fitbit to sync with my home computer – a Mac that is several years old, but which has the newest version of the Mac operating system.

I won’t bore you with a description of exactly what the problem was.  Suffice it to say that THE DAMN THING DIDN’T WORK WORTH A DAMN!

After wasting half an hour or so going through Fitbit’s online troubleshooting tips, I called Fitbit’s customer support phone number.  The eager-to-please young man who answered responded to my complaints with extraordinarily sincere expressions of sympathy – “I know how frustrating that can be!” – and then told me that my Fitbit’s firmware needed to be updated.  He walked me through that process.

A couple of hours later, I was calling the customer support phone number again because I still couldn’t get my Fitbit to sync with my Mac.  The representative who answered that call told me he was going to send me a new dongle to replace the one that had come with my Fitbit.

(Don’t feel bad . . . I had never heard of a dongle either.  According to Wikipedia, it’s a small piece of computer hardware that provides a means to connect a device to another device wirelessly.)

A Fitbit dongle
The new dongle didn’t work any better than the old one had.  Quelle surprise!

The next rep I spoke to sent me a whole new Fitbit.  He even offered to send me a different-colored wristband for my Fitbit if I wanted sometime a little jazzier than basic black.

OF COURSE that didn’t help either.

While waiting on hold with the third telephone rep, I filled the time by drafting a l-o-n-g and profane e-mail to Fitbit’s customer service folks.  The response I received to my e-mail suggested that I uninstall the Fitbit app from my computer and reinstall it.  I promptly did that – not because I had any hope that it would solve the problem, but just for grins.  I wasn’t disappointed!

On my fourth call, the rep admitted with great sadness that there was a “known issue” with the Fitbit model I had been given (the “Flex”) and Macs with the newest operating system.  He assured me that Fitbit was working diligently to find a fix for that connectivity issue.  

When I asked why the other reps had given me completely different explanations for my problem, and why there was no disclosure of the problem to prospective Fitbit purchasers who owned Macs – not to mention no disclosure that Fitbits didn’t work with Blackberrys – he seemed to be deeply embarrassed by his company’s failings . . . perhaps even ashamed.  

I have to admit that I’m a little skeptical of the Fitbit’s accuracy.  It’s completely unclear to me how the thing works.  How the hell does it know how many steps I had taken?

I did some online research, and found that researchers had tested the Fitbit on subjects walking on a treadmill and concluded that the thing gave them a number that was pretty darn close to the number of times that their subjects actually stepped.

But what I wondered was whether performing activities other than walking while wearing my Fitbit would fool it into thinking that I was walking.  For example, what would happen if I wore it while I was riding my bike?    

I wore my Fitbit on my bike today after checking how many steps I had taken today prior to saddling up for my ride.  When I got back home and checked the results, I found out that my Fitbit thought I had taken a thousand or so steps while riding my bike.  (I may taken a hundred or so steps while walking to the garage to get my bike out and then walking from the garage to my computer at the end of my ride, but I certainly didn’t take a thousand steps.  No way, no how!)

I was also curious whether my Fitbit would register steps for me while I was sitting at the computer and typing this story.

Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to sync my Fitbit since returning from my bike ride hours ago.  So I don’t know if typing (or playing the piano, or cooking, or other activities involving hand and arm motions) will cause the Fitbit to give me credit for more steps than I’ve actually taken.

So let me unplug my dongle and plug it back in – that sounds kinda sexy, doesn’t it? — and then close my browser and reopen it and next do all the other useless things I regularly do in a futile attempt to get an updated reading from my Fitbit.  

Eventually the Fitbit will decide to sync and allow me to see my up-to-the-minute step count.  But when that will happen is anyone’s guess . . . and why it happens is a mystery beyond all human understanding.

On the bright side, I just received my "Penguin March" badge from Fitbit.  That’s because I just went over 70 lifetime miles walked while wearing my Fitbit, and 70 miles is the distance of the annual trip that emperor penguins make to their breeding grounds.  But unlike those emperor penguins, there was no one waiting to breed with me at the end of that 70-mile journey.

Here's my official Fitbit "Penguin March" badge:

* * * * *

The Illusion was a Long Island band that released three albums in 1969 and 1970 before breaking up.

During their brief existence, the Illusion opened for rock legends like the Who, the Allman Brothers, Sly and the Family Stone, and Jimi Hendrix.

“Did You See Her Eyes” was their only top-40 single.

Here’s Music Mike presenting the single version of “Did You See Her Eyes.”  

Click here to buy the album version of the song from Amazon:

Friday, June 24, 2016

Foreigner – "Cold As Ice" (1977)

You know that you are
Cold as ice

The last few 2 or 3 lines posts have featured the tabloid-style e-mail subject lines that the snooty Washington Post is hoping will cause people to visit its website and maybe click on some ads.  

Give the cheap tricks I stoop to in order to get you people to click on the ads on 2 or 3 lines, I have no business casting the first stone at the Washington Post.  But wouldn’t you think that a newspaper with 47 Pulitzer Prizes in the bank would hold itself to a higher standard than I do?

A Pulitzer medal
Here’s the headline from a Post story that was highlighted in an e-mail sent to subscribers earlier this month:

From the Post:

When the Goldsboro, NC, resident spotted the freezer at her neighbor’s yard sale last month, she thought she was getting a good deal.  The neighbor was charging $30 for a deep freezer with a hinged lid — the kind of freezer large enough for someone to climb inside.

But there was a catch.  The buyer was told she couldn’t start using the freezer immediately because the neighbor had promised to lend it out to her church’s Sunday school class.

The neighbor told her the church would come to pick up the items inside the freezer, which was sealed shut with duct tape.  But when three weeks passed and the church folks never showed up, the buyer began to get suspicious.

More from the Post:

[The buyer] was keeping the freezer plugged in in the corner of a spare bedroom, alongside houseplants, an armchair, a vacuum cleaner and spare toiletries.  Last Friday, she peeled off the duct tape and looked inside.

The first things the woman saw were a green sheet and a bag of kitty litter.  Then, her eyes landed on a human foot.

“I saw toes and a foot and ankle,” the woman said.  She slammed the freezer shut.

An autopsy confirmed that the freezer did contain human remains.  The medical examiner detected no sign of foul play, and ruled that the death resulted from natural causes.  

But that doesn’t mean the woman is off the hook entirely.  Concealing the death of a person is a felony in North Carolina, and disposal of bodies is regulated by state public-health and environmental laws.

Here's how one local TV station reported the story:

The woman who bought the freezer told a reporter that she knew immediately who the victim was:  “I recognized the foot.  It was her mother’s foot.”

The neighbor’s mother lived with her, but hadn’t been seen since suffering a stroke last September.  

The neighbor told friends that her mother was in a nursing home in West Virginia, and that she was moving there to be closer to her.  It appears instead that she had stuffed her dead mother inside the freezer some nine months ago and skedaddled out of Goldsboro after selling the freezer at her garage sale in May.

* * * * *

Foreigner’s “Cold As Ice” was released on the album of the same name – which was the band’s debut album – in 1977.  

Here’s “Cold As Ice”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tom Jones – "What's New Pussycat?" (1965)

Pussycat, pussycat, I love you
Yes, I do!

[NOTE:  Cat videos are solid gold when it comes to increasing traffic to your website.  2 or 3 lines is always trying to attract more eyeballs, so I thought posting some cat videos couldn’t hurt.]

The Washington Post sends out daily e-mails that highlight the most popular articles in its online edition.

Despite its lofty reputation (47 Pulitzer Prizes!) and holier-than-thou editorial attitude, the Post is not above using sensational, tabloid-type headlines to click on the links in those e-mails.

Here’s a headline from a recent Post e-mail that I found impossible to ignore:

From the Post:

A Texas school district said students and staff members will not be punished despite outrage from the animal-rights community over a video that shows high school juniors and seniors skipping rope with cat intestines.

The North East Independent School District said Wednesday that the exercise earlier this month was part of a lesson plan for an anatomy class at Winston Churchill High School in San Antonio. . . .

“This was not meant to be disrespectful or degrading,” Aubrey Chancellor, a district spokeswoman, told The Washington Post in a statement. “In fact, the students and the teacher are very upset it’s being portrayed that way.”

That’s priceless, isn’t it?  The teacher and students who are jumping rope with the innards of a dead cat are “very upset” because cat lovers have a problem with the video of the activity.  Poor widdle teachers and students!

Here’s the video:

More from the Post:

The district is still investigating the incident but does not plan to punish the teacher or the students who were involved because it was part of a lesson plan — and because, Chancellor told CBS affiliate KENS, they had no “ill will.”

Chancellor said the teacher learned the same lesson when she was in college and thought it would be effective in her own classroom.

Where the HELL did that teacher go to college?

“The idea of the lesson was to demonstrate the tensile strength of the organ,” she said. “However, we understand that best practices change over time, and we believe there is a more appropriate way to demonstrate the concept.”

Ya think?

If that’s not bad enough, the following link appeared in the middle of the cat-intestines-used-to-jump-rope story:

From the Post:

There’s no other way to describe this than to say it is bizarre and disturbing: Students in white lab coats doing a choreographed dance routine with dead cats before dissecting them in biology class, while singing.

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) obtained this video of students at Harding Charter Preparatory High School in Oklahoma City “dancing” with the dead cats while singing “meow, meow, meow” to the tune of a cat food commercial.

(You can click here to see that commercial.)

Here’s the video:

After word about the video got out, the school issued a public apology that included this line:

These students made a mistake and they will most likely make other mistakes in their lives.

Given that we’re talking about high-school students here, that’s a safe bet.

* * * * *
“What’s New Pussycat?” was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David for the 1965 movie of the same name.  It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song, but lost out to Johnny Mandel’s “The Shadow of Your Smile.”

Here's the trailer for that movie, which is completely incoherent.  (By "which," I meant the trailer, but the movie is completely incoherent as well.)

If a guy could trade places with another guy for one day (and one night), you could do a lot worse than trade places with Welsh singer Tom Jones circa 1965.

Here’s Tom Jones singing “What’s New Pussycat?” live on television:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Vivienne Segal – "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered" (1950)

I've sinned a lot
I'm mean a lot . . .
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered, am I

As I noted in the previous 2 or 3 lines, I get a daily e-mail from the Washington Post that highlights the most popular stories in that paper that day.  It’s called The Post Most.  

Here are the subject lines from four recent The Post Most e-mails that sound more like something you’d find in the National Enquirer than in the Post – which has won 47 Pulitzer Prizes and is usually considered one of three best newspapers in the United States:

Why a South Carolina man got bail after he shot, buried and ‘slow-cooked’ two people.

“They cut my son’s head off, and they took my son’s head. Who would do that?”

“Her blood was drained”: Graphic novelist charged with killing girlfriend in Hollywood.

Teen killed his girlfriend’s parents and celebrated with sex. He’s being released after 5 years.

Each of those headlines is irresistible, but I think the last is the most irresistible.  It’s also quite misleading.

The victims
From the Post:

When police arrived at the yellow-brick house in Garland, Tex., on the afternoon of August 17, 2010, they found Alan Nevil lying near death in a neighbor’s yard.  He had been shot five times.  One bullet was lodged in his throat.  His wife, Darlene, was found dead inside the house, shot in the back and head.

Despite the blood in his mouth, Alan managed to gargle the name of their attacker.

It was his stepdaughter’s 13-year-old boyfriend, he said.

(Note: because the boy and girl were juveniles, newspaper accounts of the murders do not disclose their names.)

The Nevil home
The two teenagers had met a few months earlier, after the girl had moved from her father’s home in Ohio to live with her mother and stepfather in Texas.

The boy had had a difficult life, according to the Post:

One of his uncles had murdered a family member. Another uncle had been killed. And he watched his mother endure domestic violence. He began smoking marijuana at age 10 and became involved with a gang.

Not surprisingly, the girl’s mother and stepfather didn’t approve of the relationship.  So the girl began to plot to kill them, according to the police.

“The final straw was when they took away my coloring books,” she told Detective Bruce Marshall, who interrogated her after the murders.  “I knew they had to die.”

Rather than commit the murders herself, the girl used her feminine wiles to get her boyfriend to do the dirty work.  From the Dallas Morning News:

Marshall said that in police interviews, the girl bragged that she was smarter than the boy and could get him to do anything she wanted.  It was the girl’s idea to kill her mother and stepfather, Marshall said. . . .

Family members at the graves of
Alan and Darlene Nevil
It was several weeks between the time she introduced the idea to kill the Nevils by showing him Alan’s gun and when it became the murder weapon. At first, the boy wouldn’t touch it, Marshall testified.

The Nevils didn’t approve of the relationship and tried to end it — the boy reacted with profanity laced messages to Darlene that were used as evidence. The girl pushed harder and the boy agreed to the plan.

“She told [the boy] she was pregnant and that Alan Nevil tried to sexually abuse her,” Marshall testified.  None of it was true.

The police quickly tracked the couple to the boy’s home, where the two were having sex.  I’ve never personally committed murder, but apparently it makes you very horny.  (When you’re 13 years old, of course, pretty much everything has that effect.)

The boy and girl were sentenced to prison terms of 28 years and 20 years, respectively.  But the boy will be paroled next month when he turns 19.

 The Texas Juvenile Justice Department told Judge Andrea Martin that the boy had taken responsibility for his crime and was remorseful for it, had an exemplary disciplinary record, and had excelled in job training and educational programs.  So she went along with that agency’s recommendation that he be paroled rather than transferred to an adult prison, where he would have had to serve at least ten years.

Judge Andrea Martin
The TJJD believes that the boy will likely make a successful transition to life outside of the juvenile facility where he spent the last five-plus years – in large part because he no is longer bewitched, bothered, and bewildered by the girl.

Why do they believe that?  For one thing, he tattooed her name on his wrist soon after he was sentenced in 2011, but had the tattoo removed in 2014.

Sam Spade would be proud of the boy.  He’s not going to play the sap for the girl again.

By the way, the girl will be up for parole when she turns 19 next year.

* * * * *

“Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered” is the most popular song from the musical Pal Joey, which was first produced on Broadway in 1940.

Vivienne Segal
Vivienne Segal and Gene Kelly co-starred in the play, which featured the music and lyrics of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart.

Here’s Vivienne Segal’s 1950 recording of “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

Friday, June 17, 2016

Who – "Miracle Cure" (1969)

Extra, extra
Read all about it

The last 2 or 3 lines discussed the true story behind this Gawker.com headline:

Lady in Sumo Suit Bludgeoned Ex with Smirnoff Ice for Flirting with Man Dressed as a Candy Bar

If you’re not familiar with Gawker, it was recently described in a magazine article as “a spiteful, bile-fueled gossip rag whose decisions of questionable newsworthiness included posting a video of a heavily intoxicated woman having sex in a public bathroom.”  

Typical Gawker headline
That may be true, but more traditional news outlets could learn a thing or two about writing headlines from Gawker.

Big media companies are struggling to make money these days.  TV viewers refuse to sit through commercials, and TMZ is eating the old-school networks’ lunch when it comes to breaking the kind of stories that the hoi polloi care about – which is to say stories about celebrities, stories about sex scandals, and stories about celebrity sex scandals.  

No one under the age of 50 reads newspapers any more, so even snooty publications like the Washington Post are relying on sensational National Enquirer-style headlines to get attention.  

Best headline of all time?
I get a daily e-mail called The Post Most that highlights the most popular stories in that paper that day.  Here are the subject lines from four recent The Post Most e-mails:

May 11:  Why a South Carolina man got bail after he shot, buried and ‘slow-cooked’ two people.

May 17:  “They cut my son’s head off, and they took my son’s head. Who would do that?”

May 19:  Teen killed his girlfriend’s parents and celebrated with sex. He’s being released after 5 years.

June 1:  “Her blood was drained”: Graphic novelist charged with killing girlfriend in Hollywood.

It’s hard to say which one of these is the most appalling.

I might write a post about each of those four stories, or I might write about only one of them.  It will depend largely on whether the stories live up to the headlines, and how quickly I get bored or distracted.

* * * * *

“Miracle Cure,” which is only 13 seconds long, is the shortest song ever featured on 2 or 3 lines.  It’s one of five tracks on Tommy that’s less than one minute long.

“Extra” is short for “extra edition,” which newspapers used to publish when war was declared, or a President was assassinated, or there was some other news event that was so extraordinary that it couldn’t wait for the regular edition of the paper to be published.  Newspaper street vendors would shout “Extra! Extra! Read all about it!” to get the attention of potential newspaper buyers.

Here’s “Miracle Cure”:

I can’t imagine anyone in his or her right mind would spend $1.29 to buy a 13-second song, so I’m skipping the usual link to Amazon.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Ghoti Hook – "Sumo Surprise" (1996)

I'm a full-fledged Sumo wrestler wannabe
Even if you keep on making fun of me

The host of a talk-radio show that I listen to regularly was talking the other day about headlines that are so intriguing that you just have to read the underlying stories.

Here's one such headline:

Woman in Sumo Wrestler Suit Assaults Ex-Girlfriend in Gay Pub After She Waved at Man Dressed as a Snickers Bar

Believe it or not, that turns to be an actual headline from an Irish newspaper about an incident that took place in 2008 in Dublin.  (A story about a drunken bar fight in Ireland is not exactly man bites dog, is it?)

On, I almost forgot – the incident took place on Halloween night.  That explains the sumo wrestler outfit and Snickers bar costume.  (Sort of.)

Here’s the headline that was in Gawker:

Lady in Sumo Suit Bludgeoned Ex with Smirnoff Ice for Flirting with Man Dressed as a Candy Bar

Which headline do you think is more compelling?  

The original mentions the kind of candy bar the dude was dressed up as – a Snickers – while the Gawker headline didn’t.

But the Gawker headline used a superior verb – “bludgeoned” is clearly better than “assaulted.”

Plus Gawker identified the weapon used by the woman in the sumo outfit: a Smirnoff Ice bottle.  That’s an important detail.

From the Gawker story:

It was a crime of infinite ridiculousness: dressed in a sumo wrestling suit, Sandra Talbot assaulted her ex-girlfriend with her own girth and a bottle of Smirnoff Ice, vengeance for flirting with a man dressed as a giant Snickers bar.

A Dublin court convicted Talbot yesterday [of committing] the assault . . . on Halloween night, 2008.  Talbot was dressed as a sumo wrestler, and she ran into ex-girlfriend Adrienne Martin at a gay bar.

During the evening Talbot, who was wearing an inflatable sumo suit, bumped into Martin.  When she turned around, the accused said to her: “Keep smiling, c**t.”

(Oh my!)

Later, a man dressed as a Snickers bar began waving at her and when she went to wave back, Talbot pushed her arm from behind. . . . 

The confrontation escalated.  Talbot reached into the folds of her inflatable flesh, where she had hidden a bottle of Smirnoff Ice.

Inflatable sumo wrestler costume
 ($57.99 from halloweenexpress.com)
“The next thing, I got a blow to the left side of my head beside the temple," Ms. Martin said.  "My knees went from under me and I went down.  She walked away, laughing and sneering at me.  I had a massive lump on the side of my head.”

It’s hard to escape the scene of the crime when you’re wearing an inflatable sumo-wrestling costume.

Talbot, an aspiring tattoo artist, "was escorted out and had to be asked to partially deflate her costume so she could get out the door."

Talbot’s lawyer offered an imaginative defense, but it failed to persuade the judge:

But how did she carry the [bottle of] Smirnoff in her suit?  This mystery was at the center of Talbot's defense: . . . that she could not have fit the weapon in her sleeve due to the suit's “air-tight seal.”  But her protestations were not enough: Talbot was found guilty and fined 400 pounds.

* * * * *

“Super Sumo” was released on Ghoti Hook’s 1996 album, Sumo Surprise

That album has been described as “a pop punk CD, with a tendency toward both humor and evangelical Christianity.”  (As my mother would say, “It’s different.”)

Here’s “Super Sumo,” which sounds a little like the way Green Day would sound if they had a sense of humor:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon: