L is for LFO

In the late 90s, it seemed like there was an endless supply of boy bands. The most prominent at the time were, of course, *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys but there were many, many others including a little trio called LFO. LFO stood for “Lyte Funky Ones” because apparently no one knew how to spell and was made up of Rich Cronin, Devin Lima, and Brad Fischetti.

If you can tell me which one is which without looking up the answer, I'll send you $5.
The first person who can tell me which one is which without looking up the answer gets $5.

The band’s debut album, unoriginally called LFO, was released in 1999 and featured their biggest hit “Summer Girls.”

The song could have basically been a commercial for Abercrombie & Fitch considering how often they mention that clothing line (“I like girls that wear Abercrombie & Fitch,” and “You look like a girl from Abercrombie & Fitch.”) But aside from their obvious product placement, the rest of the lyrics make almost zero sense:

“You’re the best girl that I ever did see/The great Larry Bird, jersey 33″

“Hip Hop Marmalade spic and span/Met you one summer and it all began”

“Cherry Pez, Cold Crush, rock star Boogie/Used to hate school so I had to play hooky”

The spelling and nonsensical writing now makes sense.

“There was a good man named Paul Revere/I feel much better, baby, when you’re near”

“Fell deep in love but now we ain’t speakin’/Michael J. Fox was Alex P. Keaton

"Please don't bring me into this."
“Please don’t bring me into this.”

But despite (or perhaps because of) the stupid lyrics and shameless commercialism, this song peaked at #3 on the Billboard charts because we as a nation had zero standards. And believe me, I wasn’t immune to this–I actually owned this album.

In my defense, I was 12, and I clearly made a lot of questionable choices around that time.

Listening to this song again, it just makes me cringe and the two other hits they had weren’t much better. “Girl on TV” was written by Rich Cronin about his then-girlfriend Jennifer Love Hewitt who, as you’ll see, also stars in the music video.

I, too, have always wished for a song to be written about me that includes the line “Shooby-doo-wop and Scooby Snacks/Met a fly girl and I can’t relax.”

Scooby's face says it all.
Scooby’s face says it all.

Their last hit, “Every Other Time”, came off their second and final album, the name of which I didn’t even bother to look up because honestly, I’ve lost enough brain cells to this boy band. But just in case you haven’t, here’s the music video for “Every Other Time”:

With lyrics like “Sometimes we swim around/Like two dolphins in the oceans of our hearts”, it’s hard to believe that this group ever disbanded but they did in 2002. They later reunited in 2009 for the summer (no word on if they wore Abercrombie & Fitch) but before they were able to record a third album, Rich Cronin tragically passed away from leukemia in 2010.

As for the other two members, they continued their music careers but all of their projects are likely ones you’ve never heard of. And I don’t mean that in an underground/hipster sort of way–it appears that one of the biggest credits either of them have had was Devin Lima’s band getting a single on the American Pie Presents: Beta House soundtrack.

This is how you know you've made it big.
This is how you know you’ve made it.

For those of you keeping track, that’s the seventh American Pie movie in the franchise. I had no idea these were still being made but at least they’re keeping Eugene Levy gainfully employed as he’s the only one to appear in all eight films (and there are rumors of a ninth if you believe Tara Reid).

Always double-check your sources.
Always double-check your sources.

Happy Throwback Thursday!

Still Here!

After some technical issues with the site, I am once again functional (at least in the sense of my website). I’ll be posting some updates in the next few days along with links to my latest TBT posts as soon as I can.

K is for Kids Typing

While most of my friends learned to type with computer programs like Mavis Beacon and Mario Teaches Typing, I played Kids Typing.

Don't worry, no one else has heard of this either.
Don’t worry,
no one else has heard of this either.

Released in 1993, this game was, predictably, software used to teach typing to kids. The basic premise is that you visit a house haunted by a ghost named “Spooky” which is only a slightly more original name than Holly Golightly naming her cat “Cat.”

"You renamed yourself "Holly Golightly" and I have to just be 'Cat'? Screw you, lady."
“You renamed yourself “Holly Golightly” and I have to just be ‘Cat’?
Screw you, lady.”

Spooky would escort you around the house and after you’d practiced typing, you could go around to various rooms of the house and participate in timed typing challenges that would cause something spooky to happen . . . kind of like Paranormal Activity but without the annoying handheld cameras. Usually, something would levitate like furniture or babies because that’s a logical progression from objects to defenseless, tiny humans.

Is anyone else creeped the fuck out by Spooky's facial expression?
Why is the baby unattended in the dining room at 8:00 at night?

However, it’s not like anyone else in the house was paying all that much attention to the random floating objects/people so I guess maybe the family is just used to it.

"The TV floats all the time. This is totally normal."
“The TV floats all the time.
This is totally normal.”

If you didn’t feel like haunting the family, you could practice typing full sentences by going up to the attic and typing out fairy tales like Cinderella or The Ugly Duckling.

Is anyone else bothered by Spooky's frozen, serial killer smile?
Is anyone else bothered by Spooky’s
frozen, serial killer smile?

I usually spent my time in the game doing this, partly because I like reading and partly because timed tests give me anxiety.

Although I have admittedly been starting a lot of sentences with "My therapist says . . ."

If you feel like watching a walkthrough of the game narrated by someone who talks way too much, you can watch this YouTube video and enjoy Spooky’s annoying (yet slightly creepy) voice as he exclaims “Let’s go up to the attic!”

All things considered, it wasn’t a bad typing game. I may be the only person I know who used this game but my typing speed is 90 words per minute so take that.

Maybe if I type fast enough I can escape from that creepy smile.
Maybe if I type fast enough,
I can escape from that creepy smile.

Happy Throwback Thursday!

J is for “Jurassic Park”

In case you’ve just come out of a coma that’s lasted since 1992 and need a refresher, 1993’s Jurassic Park tells the story of an island that contains a dinosaur theme park, complete with real dinosaurs. After extracting dinosaur DNA from mosquitos encased in amber, the genetics team, headed by B.D. Wong, combined the dinosaur with frog DNA to produced cloned dinosaurs. I don’t really get how that works but that’s probably because I got my degrees in English and not science.

Here's the extent of my skills. That, and I can make a mean cup of coffee.
Here’s the extent of my skills.
Well that, and I can make a mean cup of coffee.

After a Velociraptor kills and eats someone because it’s a fucking Velociraptor, the park’s creator, John Hammond, is forced by the legal team to bring in some experts to prove the park is safe for families. Hammond invites child-hating paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant and his lovely girlfriend/paleobotanist with a ticking biological clock, Dr. Ellie Sattler ,while the lawyer invites a mathematician specializing in chaos theory named Dr. Ian Malcolm.

"I'm always on the lookout for an ex-Mrs. Malcolm."
“You were so busy asking if you could that you never asked if you should.”

Honestly, I could’ve called the article “J is for Jeff Goldblum” because he’s responsible for 90% of the memorable lines in this movie. This could be due to the fact that after the initial kerfuffle with the Tyrannosaurus Rex, Malcolm is injured and spends most of the movie doped up on morphine but that seems like we’re splitting hairs. He functions somewhat like a Greek chorus, making snarky comments and pointing out the obvious. Unfortunately, no one is paying attention because he’s comes off like the creepy dude in a club who wears too much cologne and won’t stop asking you to dance even after you say no.

“Life finds a way, baby.”

Related, I saw this on Facebook last week and needed an excuse to use it:

If you don’t love this, you should stop reading now.

Anyway, our three experts are flown out to Jurassic Park and given a tour behind the scenes by Hammond who explains the whole mosquito-dinosaur-frog thing which clearly left a lasting impression on me. They witness the birth of a baby raptor and B.D. Wong assures them that they’re only creating females to prevent rogue breeding. Dr. Malcolm tries to warn that this isn’t a good method because “life finds a way” but everyone essentially tells him to shut up and they move on to the tour of the park itself. Hammond bows out of the tour and instead decides to watch from the control room like a rent-a-cop at a mall. He does, however entrust his grandchildren to strangers, one in particular who hates children and spent an early scene of the movie pretending to eviscerate an 11-year-old with a raptor claw on an archeological dig.

Yeah, this is totally a guy to whom I'd entrust a child.
If you believe the fan theory, this punk kid grows up to be Chris Pratt in Jurassic World.

Ellie, however, is happy that Hammond’s grandchildren, Lex and Tim, are joining them and hopes that this will give Grant some practice with kids so she can hurry up and get pregnant already. They’re also joined by sleazy third wheel Dr. Ian Malcolm and they embark on their journey around the park. However, while on the tour, they discover a sick Triceratops and Ellie figures out why (plants or something? I don’t know, no one cares) after getting elbow deep in a literal pile of shit.

Jeff Goldblum is still DTF.
Jeff Goldblum is still DTF.

Ellie stays behind with the park veterinarian while a tropical storm approaches, leaving the children alone with Grant and Malcolm which seems like one of the poorer choices made in the film.

Meanwhile, the park’s computer programmer accepted a large corporate bribe for dinosaur embryos. This colossal douchebag who is responsible for all the subsequent events of the film is none other than:

Sure, his name was Dennis Nedry in the movie, but literally no one cares because it was the 90s and he’s forever Newman so shut up.

Sorry, I'll get it together.
Sorry, I’ll get it together.

Anyway, Newman shuts off the security system so he can steal dinosaur embryos from the cooler or wherever the crap they’re kept. In shutting down the security system, Newman also ends up freezing the tour vehicles when the power goes off and our quirky party of heroes is stuck. But they soon realize they’re about to be in more peril than just simple boredom and having to entertain two kids who won’t STFU.

The most suspenseful glass of water in film history.

With the power off, the electric fence that separates them from carnivorous dinosaurs is also deactivated and they the party is face to face with a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Keep in mind, this was in 1993 before there was possible evidence of a T-Rex having feathers or full lips which now makes it sound less like a walking nightmare and more like a drag queen.

Just replace the dinosaur roar with "YAAAAAAAAS!"
Just replace the dinosaur roar with “YAAAAAAAAS!”

At this point in the tour, the lawyer thinks this is an appropriate time to poop so he runs into the nearby bathroom. The T-Rex then comes by and, after ripping apart the bathroom, eats the lawyer while he’s on the toilet which sounds a little unsanitary to me but I guess to each his own–just because I’m not going to eat someone in the middle of pooping doesn’t mean a T-Rex can’t.

Bet he’s regretting that last burrito.

Grant and the kids escape by staying very, very still since the dinosaur’s vision is based on movement. The boy, Tim, sneezes or something and they’re all about to be eaten when Malcolm intervenes and saves the day by leading the T-Rex away as a distraction. He’s then injured, but not killed, and gets to spend the rest of the movie heavily medicated and saying Jeff Goldblum-y things.

While all this is happening, Newman drives off the road in his attempt to get to the boat waiting for him so he can sell the dinosaur embryos. While sloshing through the rain and mud, he encounters what he thinks is a cute little dinosaur . . . until the Dilophosaurus puffs up its built-in Elizabethan collar, spits venom into his eyes, and then eats him.

Before anyone starts complaining, yes, I know this dinosaur is scientifically inaccurate. Spielberg just wanted it to look cool while it was killing Newman.
Before anyone starts complaining, yes, I know this dinosaur is scientifically inaccurate.
Spielberg just wanted it to look cool while it was killing Newman.

Concerned for the well-being of her boyfriend and the two children, Ellie teams up with Muldoon, the park’s game warden, to look for them. Instead, they find a half-eaten lawyer and the injured Malcolm whom Ellie pretends to be relieved to find. In the meantime, Hammond is trying to reboot the park’s security system but encounters this instead:

The height of 90s computer technology.

Hammond and his chief engineer realize the only way to get everything up and running again is to do a hard reset of the entire park–which entails temporarily powering off the fences enclosing the Velociraptors. Hammond gives the thumbs up and takes off as fast as his cane will allow him to hide in an emergency bunker while the engineer is left to navigate the increasingly dangerous park to complete the reboot in the maintenance shed because that seems like a really well thought out design. Shortly after this, Ellie and Muldoon arrive at the maintenance shed and find only the engineer’s severed head because if you work for this park, you’re pretty much fucked. Muldoon offers to distract the raptors while Ellie shuts off the power and, in essence, signs his own death certificate in doing so. Earlier in the film, he explained how raptors hunt in packs and use distraction to disarm their prey. But when faced with the raptors, he forgets all of this and is eaten.

While all of these bureaucratic shenanigans were going on, the child-hating Grant was left in charge of the survival of the kids but he’s not a monster so he does what he can to keep them safe. They spend the night in a tree and make friends with a Brachiosaurus who proceeds to sneeze on them because apparently it’s allergic to cheesy bonding moments. The next morning, Grant attempts to navigate their trio back to safety an on the way, they discover dinosaur egg shells and Grant hypothesizes that because certain kinds of frogs can change gender when necessary for breeding, infusing the dinosaurs with frog DNA gave the dinosaurs the same ability, which proves Malcolm was right all along.

"Told ya so."
Obviously.

Grant and the kids continue on but they’re quickly ambushed by dinosaurs who want to eat them because the humans are soft and squishy and no longer at the top of the food chain. They climb over a defunct electric fence but just as Tim is climbing over, the last to do so, Ellie flips the switch to turn the power back on and Tim is flung from the electric fence, presumably electrocuted to death.

Nice catch, I guess?

Luckily, a fence designed to take down massive dinosaurs does no lasting damage to a 10-year-old so all three move on with their day like nothing happened. They finally reach the visitor’s center at which point Grant ditches the kids to go look for Ellie. The kids decide to find something to eat which leads to the most nerve-wracking moment ever had with lime jello when they realize they’re not alone in the visitor’s center.

I wanted to make a Bill Cosby joke but I think I’m going to pass on this one.

The kids have to hide in the industrial kitchen to fend off the raptors hunting them and if you saw this as a kid and this scene didn’t give you at least one nightmare, you’re probably a sociopath.

THEY COULD OPEN DOORS!
YOU WOULD NEVER BE SAFE!

Grant and Ellie come back to rescue the kids but fuck up royally because they’re no match for raptors and just as they’re all about to die, the T-Rex shows up in a brilliant moment of dino ex machina.

Convenient.

All’s well that ends well, yadda yadda yadda.

On a personal note, I thought I’d share my own connection to the movie . . . although I might have just made it sound way cooler than it actually is. When I was in high school, I was involved with my church’s youth group and twice a year, we’d go on weekend retreats. Each retreat had a theme and in the spring of my senior year, the theme was “Beatification Park.” Instead of bringing back dinosaurs, the guy in charge of the park brought back saints, lessons were learned, spiritual growth occurred, etc.

As a promo for the upcoming retreat, I, along with several other teens in the program, were invited to participate in a reenactment of the opening scene of “Jurassic Park” when one of the employees was eaten by a raptor.

Guess who got eaten by a saint?

If you guessed me, you’re correct.

Ultimately, this video doesn’t really make sense in regards to the rest of the videos that were made for the retreat because the saints want to help everyone, not eat them, so my death was kind of pointless for the story (but entertaining all the same). It also seems worth pointing out that one of the bored-looking guys that was half-heartedly poking at the saint to free me before I died was my then-boyfriend. Needless to say, our relationship didn’t stand the test of time but that’s okay, because my heart belongs to another.

“I’m always on the lookout for an ex-Mrs. Malcolm.”

Hold onto your butts and happy Throwback Thursday!

I is for “Ice Ice Baby”

If you even vaguely had a pulse in the 90s, you know this song.

If you didn't immediately say, "Ice is back with a brand new edition" then I have no idea why you're reading this column.
If you didn’t immediately say, “Ice is back with a brand new edition” then I have no idea why you’re reading this column.

“Ice Ice Baby” is the 1990 single from Robert Van Winkle, better known as Vanilla Ice because apparently it gives you more street cred to sound like a snow cone than it does to sound like a guy who falls into a a moonshine-induced coma.

I may or may not be paraphrasing.
I may or may not be paraphrasing.

This song is exceedingly catchy features ridiculous lyrics with gems such as:

Flow like a harpoon daily and nightly 

or

Cookin’ MCs like a pound of bacon 

or

Take heed ’cause I’m a lyrical poet

No.
No.

But let’s be honest, no one is praising the lyrical genius of this song except Vanilla Ice. The main reason people love it is because he ripped off David Bowie and Queen’s “Under Pressure.” I say “ripped off” instead of “sampled” because he initially claimed that the two bass lines were totally different and not only did he not pay royalties to Bowie and Queen, but he also didn’t give them writing credits.

Years later, Vanilla Ice claimed that his statement was a joke but pretty much everyone around him at the time called bullshit and insisted he’d been serious. Vanilla Ice ended up forking over the cash to David Bowie and Queen and gave them writing credits which means that we get to continue to enjoy this song in perpetuity instead of having it disappear from our lives forever due to copyright infringement.

And women everywhere would have to find a new way to annoyingly announce their pregnancy on social media.
And women everywhere have a way to annoyingly announce their pregnancy on social media.

“Ice Ice Baby” was the first hip hop song to top the Billboard charts and some critics said that it was this song that made hip hop more available to a whiter wider audience. However, even the critics admitted this was largely due to the stolen hook from David Bowie and Queen because those guys were geniuses and Vanilla Ice was kind of a twat.

This face is Justin Bieber-level douchey.
This face is Justin Bieber-level douchey.

While my best friend’s husband might be quick to point out that “Ice Ice Baby” wasn’t Vanilla Ice’s only hit, Vanilla Ice was primarily viewed as a novelty pop act instead of a legitimate rapper. Once people started to get tired of “Ice Ice Baby”, his popularity declined.

That being said, the song remains wildly popular to this day so really, who gives a crap? Go ahead and watch the video below so you can sing along and/or dance around and do the running man. I know you want to.

Also, that video cost $8,000 to make. Relatively speaking in terms of music videos, that’s not very expensive when you compare it to, say, Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson’s video for “Scream” which is the most expensive video ever made at $7,000,000 (nearly $11,000,000 when adjusted for inflation). However, there’s no way a few cans of spray paint and the use of an empty warehouse for a couple days cost $8,000. But then again, what do I know? I just make fun of stuff on the internet.

And write books.
Buy one here!

Happy Throwback Thursday! Word to your mother.