I Watch Every Ski Movie, Episode 1: Hot Dog... The Movie

so this is the first installment of my quest to watch every fictional ski movie. The first of many is Hot Dog... The Movie, I guess in case you got it confused with the food. As far as I can tell, the 1984 movie is one of the older ski comedies out there, and it shows: poofy, fluffy hair, mullets, and trucker caps well before they became ironic or cool again.

Like most ski movies, Hot Dog features lots of gratuitous nudity (it's supposed to be a teen sex comedy) but this one seems a bit seedier for a number of reasons. It also features one of the dumbest ski "sports" I've ever seen. We'll get to that later.

The movie starts with Harkin Banks (actor Patrick Houser, who wasn't in much else) driving across the country to Squaw Valley, California to enter a ski competition. He picks up Sunny, a female hittchiker along the way and they go into a bar with a wet t-shirt contest, then sleep together. This begins the sketchy sex-related stuff in the movie, as Sunny is supposed to be 17 -- apparently that was OK back then.

Eventually they make it to Squaw Valley, where antics ensue. Harkin makes friends with the motley crew of party guys with names like Slasher and Squirrel, as well as older pro Dan O'Callahan, played by David Naughton, who was also in An American Werewolf in London and Makin' It, a TV series based on Saturday Night Fever. They enter the race against bad guy Rudi Garmisch, an Austrian who enters wearing a huge fur coat.

There's also Shannon Tweed, staple of Skinemax movies and now Gene Simmons' wife. She hangs around in a hot tub topless and gets with Harkin, which upsets Sunny. Sunny goes to Garmisch, who gropes her in a sauna with his buddies looking on, and then is implied to have slept with her. Like I said, sketchy stuff happens in this movie.

There's some partying and stuff, with Dan making a drink in a fishbowl-sized glass called a "leg-spreader," which causes a girl to pass out immediately after drinking it, followed by a guy saying "now that's a girl I can take advantage of." Then Harkin and company challenge Garmisch's crew to game of broom hockey, which includes a lot of shenanigans. Eventually the ski competition begins. There's three events, a downhill race, a hot dog competition (aka aerials, doing stunts off a ramp) and ski ballet, which is absolutely the dumbest thing I've ever seen on skis.

Basically, you do ballet (or ice dancing) on skis -- pirouettes, spins, flips, and a bunch of corny flourishes. Apparently they used to do it in the US Freestyle Nationals, but wisely cut it. There's a video below. It's hilarious to see characters in the movie going "yes!" after these ridiculous-looking moves.

Unfortunately for Harkin, the whole competition is rigged, with Rudi Garmisch getting higher scores despite Harkin's superior performance. Garmisch wins, but then Harkin, Dan and crew challenge Garmisch's crew of black-jacketed Austrians to "Chinese downhill," which is apparently supposed to be a crazy highlight. "And now for the rules of the International, Chinese downhill: there are none." The beginning of the race shows guys with weapons, rockets, and all kinds of crazy crap, but eventually it's just Harkin vs Rudi. Harkin takes a totally extreme jump and wins. Hooray.

If it weren't for the creepy parts, this would be a pretty funny throwback type movie. There's really nobody famous in it, other than Tweed and Naughton, and the partying antics are kind of amusing. It's hard to rate these things, because they're all kind of lame, but I probably wouldn't watch it again.

And finally, here's the trailer, and a video of the ski ballet, which was later renamed acroski. This is a woman, but the guys in the movie did the exact same moves. Just look at this crap.


Drinking games with Germans

so I like drinking games -- they are inherently funny. The other day I was at Wonderland, my neighborhood bar, and they had Oktoberfest specials going on in the outdoor patio area - $1 pretzels, big steins of Paulaner and Spaten and Hofbrau. I was hanging out with a couple of buddies and sitting next to us were two German guys, who said they came by because the beergarden (or biergarten if you want to be exact) which had long wooden tables, was the most accurate they'd seen in DC.

They were pretty nice guys; we talked about soccer and stuff and my buddy, who had already had a few, challenged one of them to a drinking game. Originally my buddy proposed drinking a glass of whiskey versus the German guy drinking a glass of beer, but thankfully they didn't do that.

Instead, the German guy suggested a game where my buddy would do two shots of whiskey and the German would drink two pint glasses of beer. He said he'd drink one of the glasses first, and then my buddy could start drinking his shots, and whoever finished first won. The prize was "one American dollar." The only rule was my buddy couldn't touch the German guy's glass and vice versa. I told the German guy he was going to lose, unless he could do some kind of Man Show-type pounding a whole beer in seconds, but he didn't seem worried.

So the game began. Since there was no time limit, the German guy took his time drinking the first beer. Then he finished it, said ok, go! and took his glass and slammed over one of my buddy's shot glasses, covering it. Unfortunately, it fell over, spilling part of the shot, and then my buddy did the shots and won.

It was pretty funny though, because since the rule was you can't touch the glass, it would have been impossible to take the shot if it hadn't fell over. Pretty clever, German drinking game guy! Good times were had by all, and my buddy won one American dollar.


Music Jam: Theatre of Disco

so I found this band from a mixtape my buddy made awhile ago -- Theatre of Disco is an electronic group from Australia. What is it with Australia and good electronic music? Cut Copy, The Presets, Avalanches, etc etc.

Anyway, the trio of Theatre of Disco don't really have a sound I can nail down -- it's mostly dancey electronic rock, or maybe rocky electronica. Sometimes it's a bit like Calvin Harris, LCD Soundsystem, Fujiya & Miyagi, or Cut Copy's more driving songs. "On the Train" was the first one I heard, it's a rolling ditty with funny, did-I-just-hear that lyrics like "everybody on the train got herpres, they've got STDs." "Oke" is another good rock song, while "Larry" and "Go Fifi" are more techno-ish dance songs. It's all good stuff.

Here's their Myspace, and below is a video of the band and friends dancing in Tokyo to "Oke." They also have an EP out.


Washington Nationals drinking game

so I wrote up a drinking game for The Onion that you can play while watching Washington Nationals games on TV. Enjoy.



so apparently, President Obama said, off the record, to Nightline co-anchor Terry Moran that he thought Kanye West was a jackass after his outburst at the VMAs. And apparently (link here) Moran then Twittered about it. However, that isn't on Moran's twitter feed anymore, so he must have deleted it, as Politico reports.

Now to me, the main problem with this is not that the President thinks Kanye West is a jackass, but that Moran twittered off-the-record stuff. ABC said it was a mistake, so maybe it was honest. I would guess that Obama's remark was in response to some question about West, since both are from Chicago and all. But in any case, I think Obama's right, Kanye is a jackass, and I have no problem with Obama having an opinion about this kind of thing. I doubt he watched the VMAs, but the President being up on current pop culture events is cool with me.



so I hear the President is giving a speech to America's schoolkids. Apparently that's a bad thing, as a bunch of folks are complaining about it. Honestly, it seems like people will oppose anything Barack Obama does. Here's what the President says the speech will be about:
"I'm going to be making a big speech to young people all across the country about the importance of education; about the importance of staying in school; how we want to improve our education system and why it’s so important for the country. So I hope everybody tunes in."
The Department of Education is circulating lesson plans to schools with questions and such:
The guide for pre-K through grade 6 suggests questions students think about during the speech, such as "What is the President trying to tell me? What is the President asking me to do?"

The plan for grades 7-12 includes a "guided discussion," with suggested topics: "What resonated with you from President Obama's speech? What is President Obama inspiring you to do?"
The Cato Institute responds by saying
"It's one thing for a president to encourage all kids to work hard and stay in school – that's a reasonable use of the bully pulpit. It's another thing entirely, however, to have the U.S. Department of Education send detailed instructions to public schools nationwide on how to glorify the president and the presidency, and push them to drive social change."
Honestly? It sounds to me like they're asking about listening comphrehension -- what is he saying?

It's ludicrous. People need to take a step back and think for once, instead of this bizarre knee-jerk reaction to everything. This kind of garbage drives me insane and I think it's damaging the country.