Friday, May 16, 2008

'80s Flashback: Just Say No

Friday is here again, so it's time for another '80s Flashback.

Before a word from our sponsor, here are the recent '80s Flashbacks:

'80s Flashback: Freddy Krueger
'80s Flashback: Atari
'80s Flashback: OP corduroy shorts
'80s Flashback: Parachute pants
'80s Flashback: Rambo cartoon
'80s Flashback: Psyche!
'80s Flashback: Jim and Tammy Faye
'80s Flashback: Avoid the noid
'80s Flashback: Mary Lou Retton
'80s Flashback: One night in Bangkok
'80s Flashback: Adams Atoms
'80s Flashback: Don't you forget about me

OK. This week's flashback is brought to you in part by the 1985 Villanova men's basketball team, which pulled won of the biggest upsets in NCAA tournament history when it beat Patrick Ewing's Georgetown team in the championship. It was one of the games that took the popularity of March Madness to another level. Yeah, so it later turned out that a couple of the Villanova guys had drug problems, but at least this was a natural high for them. Also, it's always magical when a team is led to a basketball title by a coach who was kind of shaped like a basketball.

Now the flashback:

This week we look back and remember how to "just say no" to drugs. I always thought this was easy, mainly because I was never offered any drugs. Or cigarettes. Or invitations to parties.

Not being real popular did have at least one positive, I guess. But for people who were popular -- people besieged by cool friends asking them to do drugs (apparently this happened) -- the responsible adults of the world decided to show how easy it was to say no.

So we had lots of public-service announcements. Here are three great ones, and if you're wondering who taught me now to get these videos, well ...

It was you, all right! I learned it by watching you!



This next one is so '80s. Howard Jones wasn't available, so they got some guy who looks like him.



And this one features a really cool bandana headband.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Come to church, get free gas

Accept Jesus as your savior and get a break from high gas prices!

It's not quite like that, but a Baptist church is trying to attract members with a raffle for free gasoline. But when the gas is gone, will the new members leave, too?

"Some pastors have questioned our motives. If it was just to get people in the building, it would be wrong. But we want to meet someone's physical need and eternal spiritual needs."

Especially if they drive Hummers.

Shoot, I can't scratch that itch

Ever get an itch on your back that you can't quite reach?

I'm guessing you never considering extending your reach by using a revolver.

Good thing.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The best way to shave: with hot girls

Commercials for disposable razors and shaving creams tend to be a little overdramatic. Actually, I mean EXTREMELY OVERDRAMATIC!!! ... which is why I used all-caps and almost as many exclamation points as an over-the-top real estate listing:

CHARMING!!! BEAUTIFUL!!!! INCLUDES BEDROOMS!!!!!

Here's a classic stupid shaver commercial. It shaves hairs off your face. It's top secret!!!

But it gets topped by the dumb online campaign cuurently under way at www.edgeshave.com. Watch Video 2. It's nearly as ridiculous as a TAG Body Spray commercial.

Of course, when I was a geeky teenager, I would've loved hot women to give me tips on shaving. But even then I would think the ads were stupid.

Seriously, this is really, really good art

I admit it. I just don't get art.

It's not that I don't appreciate it. I'm just confused why some artists who seem very talented can't make a living and others get $25 to $35 million for this:

(Note: The painting involves nudity and a severe weight problem).

If you don't want to see it, here's a description from the story.

The painting challenges modern notions of beauty and elicits a reaction from everyone who sees it. That may have been precisely the aim of [Lucian] Freud, who told London's Tate Gallery in 2002 that he wanted his paintings to "astonish, disturb, seduce, convince."

Well, he succeeded. A naked woman on a worn-out couch for $25 million.

Astonishing.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Out-of-control sports moms

Even if your not a basketball fan, you might've heard how LeBron James' mom got a little too involved in the game Sunday night. When James got fouled hard, his mom started screaming at the opponent.

Then LeBron screamed at her. The video is here. (Mom is in the white shirt).

It's not nearly as bad as having your mom come into a boxing ring and defend you by hitting your opponent with a shoe. (At least I think that's what it was).

It's a classic boxing blooper. You can find it in the video below ... just scroll ahead in the video to about the one-minute mark.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Humor Me: Florence, Minn., population 61

By MATT WIXON

Welcome to Florence: Population 61.

"Hey, the number has gone up!" my dad said, pointing at the sign for the southern Minnesota town where he grew up.

Up to 61. I think there were more than 61 kids in my high school gym class, and I know I've waited in a line of more than 61 at Krispy Kreme. The Krispy Kreme line did seem to have a ton of people, but certainly not a town of people.

My guess is that Florencians would embrace a Krispy Kreme wait. After all, Florence has no fast food of any kind, other than someone opening a microwave and popping in a frozen dinner. And the frozen dinner would have to be purchased outside of town, because Florence doesn't have a grocery store.

It doesn't have a general store, either. Or a gas station. Or a post office. Or roads.

Well, at least paved roads.

A few years ago, my wife and I, along with my mom and dad, "toured" Florence. It took us all of 15 minutes, including a photo stop and wrong turn. But 15 minutes was enough time to finally give me images to illustrate my dad's stories of youth.

We weaved through town on a dirt road, and my dad pointed out what Florence once was. He pointed out the building that was once a town hall, the building that was once a bar and lots of houses that were once inhabited.

"So Florence was once a lot bigger?" I asked.

"Yes," he said. "When I was growing up, it was probably about 150 people."

Wow. Imagine the traffic.

And imagine the traffic in Tyler, the "big" town a few miles from Florence. Tyler, where my dad was bused for school, has all the earmarks of big-city life: several paved roads, a gas station, carbon-based lifeforms and a Dairy Queen.

It also has a weekly newspaper, which during my visit featured stories on a Lions Club meeting, a bike rodeo and, my favorite, a family moving to town.

"Welcome, Petersens!" the story said, including all the names of the family members. I suppose this is commonplace in cities with populations that barely exceed the number of people orbiting Earth at a given moment.

Not that Florence and Tyler aren't nice towns. Crime is low, the air is clean and it's easy to make the high school baseball team. I believe the team's motto is "Have glove, will play."

Seeing the high school was the highlight of my trip to Minnesota. The school is not a great sight, but it did provide a stunning devaluation of the story my dad has long trumpeted: that he was ranked No. 1 among the boys in his class.

I was told this every time I came home with a report card for my dad to sign. And the story sounded impressive when I was growing up. "Number one among all the boys!" my dad would say. "Yessiree, my boy, I was the NUMBER ONE boy!"

Just how big his class was, however, my dad never did say. He still hasn't. But after seeing the school, my guess is that had my dad slipped a couple of spots in the rankings, he might've been in the lower half of the class.

But I didn't need to know the size of my dad's former school to know that it isn't a pillar of academia. All I needed to see were the large, wooden Christmas stockings mounted on each side of the school's front doors.

It was July. They had Christmas stockings up in July.

"They light the stockings up at Christmas time," one of my relatives in Tyler said.

But why don't they take them down? I know it snows in Minnesota a lot, but the winter wonderland doesn't last all year. The stockings shouldn't, either.

At least my dad agreed.

"I think I'm going to write a letter to the editor," he said, "and tell them to take those stockings down."

That kind of leadership should be expected from the No. 1 boy.

***
To be on the list that is sent out when a new column in posted, e-mail mwixon@dallasnews.com. Have a great week.