The Ten Greatest Songs of All-Time: #6 – I Will Always Love You

Thanks to the recent discovery of a super-secret formula for ranking songs, I’ve been able to compile a definitive list of the ten greatest songs of all time.

Because I’m such a nice person, I’ve decided to share the list with you all. And because I’m kind of weird, I’m sharing them in non-sequential order.

The songs so far:

#10: Push – Matchbox 20

#9: Rock Me Amadeus – Falco

#8: Beer for My Horses – Toby Keith and Willie Nelson

#7: Cry Me a River – Justin Timberlake

#5: Revolution – The Beatles

#4: I Want You Back – Jackson 5

#3: Can I Kick It? – A Tribe Called Quest

#2: Danger Zone – Kenny Loggins

#6 – I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston

Why the ranking is justified

She became a bit of a mess at the end of her life, but back in the 80’s and early 90’s, Whitney Houston was as big as they came in the music industry. For all you youngsters out there, she was essentially the Beyoncé of her time, complete with a pop star husband.

But Whitney wasn’t content just being on top of the movie world. She also tried her hand at acting, and perhaps her most famous role was when she teamed up with Kevin Costner in the 1992 movie The Bodyguard. (This was back when Costner was considered one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.)

Most people probably wouldn’t remember the movie it if not for the song that Houston produced for the soundtrack. She took Dolly Parton’s 1974 hit and re-worked it as an R&B power ballad. The result ended up winning two Grammy Awards.

It’s worth noting that according to the formula, this is the greatest song ever sung by a female artist. (I suppose that’s a bit of a spoiler for the #1 song. My apologies to anyone hoping that Blondie’s “Rapture” was going to capture that spot.)

Personal reflection on the song

Long-time readers of the blog will remember when I capitalized on Houston’s death to become the star of Mrs. Cutter’s company holiday party.

Aside from that, I don’t really have much opinion about Whitney. She was a great singer, but her music isn’t exactly my cup of tea. And it’s not like I was especially pumped to watch The Bodyguard either.

I do remember one time in elementary school when our gym teacher recited “Greatest Love of All” over the intercom system. I don’t recall why exactly she did that, and looking back, it was kind of weird. I think it had something to do with the children being the future or something.

What do you think? Does “I Will Always Love You” deserve its lofty ranking? Or did my formula (and keep in mind, it’s infallable!) miss the mark on this one?

Posted in Pop Culture | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Super Bowl XLIX Preview – with Special Guest Star Idina Menzel!

Now that the controversy over the Patriots’ balls is starting to die down, we can finally look ahead to Sunday’s big game. Unfortunately, most people have realized that they aren’t particularly fond of either team playing in the game.

First off, both teams have had too much recent success. The Seahawks just won last year! Haven’t they met their quota for a while? And I think we’re all pretty sick of seeing teams from Boston succeed.

Not to mention that both teams have sometimes been accused of not exactly handling their business completely legally.

DID SOMEBODY SAY SUPER BOWL?

What the heck?

I DON’T KNOW HOW YOU COULD POSSIBLY TALK ABOUT THE SUPER BOWL WITHOUT TALKING ABOUT WHO IS SINGING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM!

Oh, no! Not again!

ALL HAIL QUEEN ELSA – THE GREATEST ANTHEM SINGER THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN!!!

Sigh…it looks like I’m once again being paid a visit by Idina Menzel.

Idina Menzel: Hello, Cutter! Queen Elsa has returned to your humble blog.

Cutter: It’s so lovely to see you, Idina.

IM: *Ahem*

Cutter: (Shakes head)……It’s lovely to see you, Queen Elsa.

IM: Of course it is. How many other blogs have had the honor of having the queen of Arendelle stop by?

Cutter: I’m guessing several hundred?

IM: And each one of them is truly blessed!

Cutter: So…why are you here?

IM: Why to discuss the Super Bowl, of course! Isn’t that what everyone is talking about these days?

Cutter: Yes, I was discussing the Super Bo-

IM: But I’m sure that what everyone is REALLY looking forward to is the national anthem!

Cutter: Admittedly, my daughter is kind of excited about it. Then again, she’s even more excited about Katy Perry singing at halftime.

My daughter is super pumped about Katy Perry's halftime show. (Image source)

My daughter is super pumped about Katy Perry’s halftime show. (Image source)

IM: Katy Perry? A fine enough singer I suppose, but is she royalty? I think not. Besides, her “half time” show shall surely be overshadowed by my marvelous performance. Why it wouldn’t surprise me if the game itself is overshadowed by me.

Cutter: Uh, sure. So while you’re here, do you have any thoughts on the game itself.

IM: Yes. Since I was invited to perform at your country’s most important event, I decided to learn a little more about this game.

At first, I was not a fan of the Patriots, for their…what do you Americans call him..quarterback –

Cutter: You’re American! Stop acting like you don’t know what a god damn quarterback is!

IM: Oh, silly Cutter. In Arendelle, we didn’t have such silly games. As I was saying, that Tom Brady reminds me just a bit too much of Price Hans of the Seven Isles.

Cutter: Bridget Moynahan probably feels the same way.

IM: But then I saw that the Patriots are coached by my old friend Grand Pabbie. I’m sure that Grand Pabbie will be able to lead his team to victory…much like he once helped me control my ice powers.

Cutter: Um, that’s actually Bill Belichick.

Add a hoodie, and you've got a dead ringer for Bill Belichick (Image source)

Add a hoodie, and you’ve got a dead ringer for Bill Belichick (Image source)

IM: You don’t say. Well in that case, perhaps I shall choose the Seagulls to emerge victorious.

Cutter: It’s the Seahawks! You know damn well that it’s the Seahawks! Are you pretending to be foreign or mentally handicapped?

IM: I’m not pretending to be anything.

Cutter: Sadly, I think you’re right.

IM: Perhaps to make Sunday’s game more interesting, I will make it snow! Wouldn’t it be fun if the players got to run around in snow?

Cutter: Um, the game is being played in Arizona…and indoors.

IM: Those are but minor obstacles for my ice powers!

Cutter: Still, it’s not a good idea for you to….Wait, why am I actually worried about this?

This is what we can expect Idina to be wearing on Sunday.Image source

This is what we can expect Idina to be wearing on Sunday.Image source

IM: Don’t worry. I wouldn’t want to ruin an event that is of such importance to your people.

Cutter: Jesus, lady. You’re going to come out wearing an Elsa dress, aren’t you?

IM: What a silly question! What else would Elsa wear besides her signature dress?

Cutter: You know, I’m starting to think that this link is full of crap.

Anyway, I gotta go. Before I end this, do you have a prediction for the game?

IM: The Seagulls-

Cutter: Seahawks!

IM: – shall win the game 23-20!

Cutter: So if any of you were holding off on making bets because you wanted to hear what an insane woman thought, you can feel free to call your bookie now!

Before we go, do you have anything else you’d like to add, Elsa?

IM: Let it go! Let it go! Can’t hold it back-

Cutter: NO! STOP! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, STOP SINGING THAT!

Sigh…Enjoy the game, people!

Posted in Pop Culture, Sports | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Who Won the Internet? – The New England Patriots and “Deflategate”

It’s time for me to once again take a look around the World Wide Web and determine which person or people “won” the internet this week.

By nature, the teams that win the NFL’s conference championship games are going to receive a lot of publicity. In case you haven’t noticed, this whole “Super Bowl” thing typically receives a lot of hype, and the media often thoroughly covers the teams that will be playing in the game.

Maybe one day this game will get the hype it deserves. ("Super Bowl logo" by Source. Licensed under Fair use of copyrighted material in the context of Super Bowl">Fair use via Wikipedia.)

Maybe one day this game will get the hype it deserves. (“Super Bowl logo” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.)

However, this year’s representative from the AFC is receiving even more attention than usual. Why is that? Because of some deflated balls.

Apparently, the New England Patriots were using under-inflated balls on offense during their game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Like most people, my first thought was, “Huh huh…he said balls.” And like most people, my second thought was, “Um, does that actually help a team?”

Apparently it does. Or not? It seems that most people aren’t sure. But the NFL requires teams to keep their balls inflated to a certain pressure, and the Patriots didn’t do that.

Was it an accident? Was it a nefarious decision made by Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Tom Brady in order to give their team an advantage? We may never know, but rest assured that the media won’t stop talking about it until we find out. (Or until a week or so after the Super Bowl when most people will stop caring.)

Is the ball in this picture properly inflated? Someone needs to investigate! ("New England Patriots logo old" by Source. Licensed under Fair use of copyrighted material in the context of Pat Patriot">Fair use via Wikipedia.)

Is the ball in this picture properly inflated? Someone needs to investigate! (“New England Patriots logo old” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.)

“Deflategate” has become the big news story this week. Which leads to an important question: Why do we always add the word “Gate” to the end of a word to indicate a scandal? Watergate was the name of a hotel, not a scandal about water!

Anyway, we now have a lot of news stories where people pretend that the word “balls” isn’t hilarious. (And naturally, countless more stories where people point out just how funny it is that people keep using the word “balls.”)

Whether you think that the Patriots are horrible cheaters or you feel that this is being way overblown (pun very intended), I’m sure you’ll enjoy this supercut of Tom Brady talking about balls:

Posted in Sports, Who won the internet? | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Sunday Funday

Everyone knows that Sunday is a day for leisure. Sundays should be spent recovering from all your weekend fun, or perhaps watching some sort of sporting contest on the television.

Sigh….wouldn’t that be nice?

In the past, I’ve mentioned how parenthood hasn’t made it easy for me to watch Eagles games. This past weekend, I learned that Sunday can be quite difficult even when my favorite team isn’t playing.

The difficulties began on Saturday night when Mrs. Cutter and I attended the 50th birthday party of one of our friends. (By the way, it’s extremely frightening that we actually have a 50-year-old friend.)

I was determined to attend the event because the birthday boy’s wife decided that the party should include a roast. I was asked to be one of the roasters because apparently making fun of people is something that I’m skilled at.

Most of the other roasters were relatively tame. On the other hand, I went full “Comedy Central” style, attacking the other roasters and the guest of honor with jokes that attempted to straddle the line between funny and inappropriate.

Some people thought it was hilarious. Others may not speak to me for a while. I’m actually quite okay with that, because the following day sapped my will to ever go out on a weekend night again.

Non-parents don’t understand the problem with going out at night. It isn’t that we can’t stay up and hang with everyone. The problem is that we don’t have the following day to recover from it.

Before I had kids, I could go out on a weekend night and spend the next day lounging around the house. That’s not quite as easy with children. Children seem to have this innate sense of when their parents had fun without them, and then try their best to gain some revenge.

There were indications of the impending trouble as soon as we got home.

We’ve been attempting to transition the twins from sleeping in their individual rock-and-play cradles to a full-sized crib. Thus far, the transition is not going smoothly.

Given the additional freedom of movement that the crib provides, they are able to squirm free from their swaddles. Unfortunately, they have no idea what to do with this hard-fought-for freedom and soon begin to cry.

Cribs provide freedom. Horrible, horrible freedom. (Image source)

Cribs provide freedom. Horrible, horrible freedom. (Image source)

We returned home a little before 11 PM (We’re real night owls, right?), and when we checked on them, they had already half-escaped. It seemed likely that the first crying session was imminent.

Since they were half-awake anyway, we decided to feed them in hopes that they would then sleep until morning.

We were wrong. VERY WRONG.

Despite being fed, they continued to squirm, break free, and then cry out. We tried to soothe them with either a pacifier or an attempt at re-swaddling, but nothing quieted them for long.

At around 4:30, they were clearly awake and wanted to be fed. We realized if we wanted to salvage any sleep, we would have to feed them again and put them in their rock-and-plays. Despite being returned to their more confining environment, they still woke up a couple more times.

Like I said, they REALLY wanted to make sure we never went out without them again.

I’d like to say that the day got easier after that.

Later that morning, Mrs. Cutter took the Cutlet to her ballet class, leaving me to watch the twins.

For some reason, I thought that if I put them down for a nap, they might give me some time to myself. Once again, I was incorrect in my assessment of their desire to sleep peacefully.

Stairs: The greatest workout tool known to man. (Image source)

Stairs: The greatest workout tool known to man. (Image source)

I tried to get in a brief workout in our basement, but every few minutes, I was interrupted by the sound of crying. Apparently Cujo didn’t have any intention of settling down for a nap.

I suppose that going up and down the stairs so many times qualifies as a workout, right?

I had (sort of) gotten in a workout, and the Cutlet had attended her class. That’s a pretty good agenda for a Sunday, and we should have been good just calling it a day after that, right?

Not when Target is having a sale on diapers and formula. Given our diaper and formula needs, when they go on sale at Target, we pretty much have to drop everything and stock up:

Big shout out to Hyperbole and a Half for this meme.

Big shout out to Hyperbole and a Half for this meme.

Fortunately, the twins were actually calm and slept through most of our trip. That peace would not last, as Cujo resumed his inconsolable ways shortly after returning home.

WARNING: The following section will discuss a major bowel movement by one of my children. If you don’t like poop stories, you’d probably be better off reading this post from last month. It doesn’t involve poop at all.

This fussiness was not a welcome development since I would once again be left alone with the twins that evening. Mrs. Cutter and the Cutlet had tickets to see a live performance of The Little Mermaid, so it was up to me to calm the boy down.

Eventually, I was able to get him settled down (Actually, I really didn’t do anything. He pretty much got tired from crying so much and passed out.) just in time for the Cutlass to wake up crying.

It was much easier to determine the source of her angst. It was close to feeding time and she was hungry. I gave her a bottle and settled her down, only to have Cujo reawaken and demand a bottle of his own. (Yay, twins!)

He was still upset after eating, but thankfully he calmed down a bit once I put him in his swing in front of the television. I felt slightly bad about letting TV serve as a babysitter, but I had things to do, and I wanted to watch the football game. (DON’T JUDGE!) Meanwhile, his much calmer sister sat in the kitchen and watched me as I prepared dinner.

I later realized that I was doing a splendid job of reinforcing gender stereotypes when I brought the girl into the kitchen to “help” with dinner while I let the boy sit and watch football.

Once dinner was prepared and on the table, I moved the Cutlass’ chair next to the table. All I had to do was grab Cujo so that we could all sit down together for a nice “family” meal.

I reached down to lift him up from his swing, and I suddenly realized why he had settled down. He had needed to poop. And now, he didn’t need to poop anymore.

There’s scientific research that shows that the human brain is actually better equipped to deal with a major tragedy rather than minor ones. That’s why people tend to handle their house exploding with an odd sense of calm, while getting a $10 ticket can send them into a fit of rage.

I’ve found that if a little bit of poop seeps out from a diaper and gets on my hands or clothes, I’ll get very annoyed and frustrated. But when my son looks like he’s been dipped in a jar of mustard, I’m able to calmly assess and handle the situation.

I’ll give Cujo a lot of credit as he was unnaturally calm throughout the entire cleaning process. He probably just felt relieved to have all of that out of his body.

After I had cleaned him, there wasn’t enough soap in the world to wash my hands. I think I had the water turned up so hot that I burned off a few layers of skin.

Once we were both clean, I was able to bring Cujo downstairs, place him next to his sister and finally eat my dinner. (Your guess is as good as mine as to how I still had any appetite at this point.)

That evening, after the twins were successfully put to sleep and our washing machine was busy churning away, Mrs. Cutter returned home. Upon seeing the twins’ bath tub out, she asked me, “Oh did you give them a bath? That was ambitious.”

I just kind of stared at her for a few seconds. Ambitious wasn’t exactly the word I would use.

Posted in Twins | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Ten Greatest Songs Of All-Time: #10 – Push

Thanks to the recent discovery of a super-secret formula for ranking songs, I’ve been able to compile a definitive list of the ten greatest songs of all time.

Because I’m such a nice person, I’ve decided to share the list with you all. And because I’m kind of weird, I’m sharing them in non-sequential order.

The songs so far:

#9: Rock Me Amadeus – Falco

#8: Beer for My Horses – Toby Keith and Willie Nelson

#7: Cry Me a River – Justin Timberlake

#5: Revolution – The Beatles

#4: I Want You Back – Jackson 5

#3: Can I Kick It? – A Tribe Called Quest

#2: Danger Zone – Kenny Loggins

#10: Push – Matchbox 20

Why the ranking is justified

In the early 90’s, the airwaves were overrun by a genre of music sometimes referred to as “genero rock.” The alternative bands from the early part of the decade had slowly become mainstream, and the entire “rock” genre morphed into an odd blob of similar sounding songs.

The movie Ted summed up it perfectly in the following clip: (Warning: There is some slightly NSFW language)

Out of that blob came Matchbox 20 and their lead singer Rob Thomas. Somehow, M20 (Is M20 an actual nickname for the band? If not, it totally should be!) sort of distinguished itself. It seems that Rob Thomas’ voice is so generic that it is actually kind of distinct in its genericness.

Does that make sense?

No, I didn’t think so either. But the formula says that this is the tenth greatest song of all-time, so I guess it must be.

Personal reflection on the song

For some reason, one day Sweaty and I were hanging out and began to start singing this song repeatedly. (And by “some reason,” obviously we were kinda inebriated.)

We soon discovered that songs by the following artists can be sung using the same mock-Rob Thomas voice:

  • Hootie and the Blowfish (As seen in the above clip)
  • Pearl Jam (Remember when everyone thought Darius Rucker sounded exactly like Eddie Vedder?)
  • Stone Temple Pilots (Come to think of it, everyone once thought Scott Weiland sounded exactly like Eddie Vedder too!)
  • Bruce Springsteen (Nobody is suggesting that The Boss sounds like Eddie Vedder, but the voice works for his songs too.)

By the way, I thought the movie Ted was hilarious. Unfortunately, it caused a huge fight between Mrs. Cutter and me. She thought that Mark Wahlberg’s character was a jerk, and I defended him, saying that he was right to blow her off in order to meet Flash Gordon.

I told her that if I was in a similar situation and had a chance to meet Terry Mulholland (my favorite Phillies pitcher ever), I would go. And thus, one of our dumbest fights ensued.

Lesson learned: Be careful when watching Seth McFarlane movies with your spouse.

What do you think? Does “Push” deserve its lofty ranking? Or did my formula (and keep in mind, it’s infallable!) miss the mark on this one?

Posted in Pop Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

A Belated Look Back at my Year in Blogging

So I accomplished my goal: I continued my now four-year-old tradition of publishing a new post every day in the month of December.

As you may have noticed (Or not – Absences aren’t necessarily easily noticed), once the calendar flipped to January, that posting streak ended. In the three previous years I held my 31 Days of Blogging event, I continued to post at least a couple of days into the new year.

But finding the time and motivation to post something every day of the month was much more difficult this year. (Funny how having two extra children will do that to you!) So on the afternoon of January 1st, faced with no real obligation to write a post (not that I’m ever REALLY obligated to write anything), I just kind of hit the “F*** it” button.

I couldn't find the motivation to post anything for a few days. (Image source)

I couldn’t find the motivation to post anything for a few days. (Image source)

I realized that if I didn’t want to let my blogging momentum completely fade away, I couldn’t wait too long to post something. So here I am with a look back at how things went for The Cutter Rambles in 2014!

Is January 5th too far into the new year to take a look back at 2014? I realize that year-end retrospectives are generally done in December, and most people are now looking ahead to 2015. But in a way, my approach is better because I get to include stuff from the final days of the year!

Full disclosure: I’m just rationalizing. Nothing especially exciting happened last week.

Belated as it may be, here’s a month-by-month look at how 2014 went for The Cutter Rambles:

January

I started out the year with a lot of momentum. I continued the 31 Days of Blogging for 11 days into the new year, thanks in part to some amazing guest posts.

Later in the month, I became really ambitious. I planned to assemble an alliance of like-minded bloggers and together, we would soar to great heights. It all sounded so good in theory.

At this point, it looked like it was going to be a huge year at The Cutter Rambles.

February

Cheerios was the brunt of my ire in February.

Cheerios was the brunt of my ire in February.

As January turned into February, I was faced with a dilemma: What happens when you can’t write about the most pressing subject on your mind?

I learned that Mrs. Cutter was pregnant, but it was too early to announce the news to the world. Still, I was able to come up with a fairly good “mock outrage” post.

But the highlight of the month was probably the debut of the Blogging Alliance of the Damned. For a little while, it seemed like my group would be a huge success.

March

My mind was all over the place this month as I dealt with the reality that I would soon have two extra mouths to feed. And what little writing motivation I had was being sapped by my duties as an editor of a Philadelphia Phillies blog. (Unfortunately, time constraints would force me to step down from that position at the end of the summer.)

My best posts this month dealt with eliminating winter weather and wondering just who exactly was following my blog.

April

I started a new job in April, and wanting to make a good impression, I didn’t think it was smart to spend too much time blogging on the job.

May

Image source: Wikipedia

Image source: Wikipedia

This month brought about some sad news regarding one of my fellow bloggers; news that seemed to essentially kill off the Blogging Alliance of the Damned.

I also began to analyze the movie Major League from a blogger’s perspective, although I think I enjoy writing those posts more than people enjoy reading them.

June

I was finally able to write about my changing family situation. In perhaps my favorite post of the year, I discuss how life doesn’t always go according to plan.

July

It was somewhat out of character for me, and six months later, I’m not sure I still agree with the Supreme Court’s decision.

August

With the countdown to the twins’ birth rapidly approaching, I only managed to write one post this month. However, it was a pretty good one, as I defended the ALS ice bucket challenge from all the haters.

September

In my last post before my life changed, I shared a life lesson learned from The Simpsons.

October

I dealt with the realities of raising twins, and how babies can make you look at old movies from a brand new perspective.

November

Wanting to save my best ideas for December, I didn’t post anything of note this month. Unless, you’re a big fan of Too Many Cooks.

December

It wasn’t easy, but I managed to write something every day. Not every post was good, but there were at least a couple that turned out pretty well.

So that was 2014. Not my greatest year in terms of quantity, but there certainly was some quality sprinkled throughout. Now if only I could get that quality to appear with more quantity.

I’d like to promise big things for 2015, but I’m not sure I can deliver. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I tend to be a bit of a neglectful father when it comes to this site. Sometimes I act really dedicated…other times, I’m nowhere to be found.

But who knows? The Phillies blog is a thing of the past. Given that their season is over, my weekly commitment to preview Eagles games is also gone.

In theory, being free from obligations provides me with the freedom to do whatever I want with my free time (What little of it there is).  In reality, it probably removes whatever motivation I felt to write on a regular basis.

Which way will the year go? I guess we’ll all find out in the months ahead.

Posted in 31 Days of Blogging | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

The 2014 Cutter Awards

We’ve reached the last day of 2014. This seems like a good time to look back at the year that was and hand out my annual awards.

Per custom, I’ll kick things off with a musical number.

Apparently, Justin Timberlake was so excited about having his song named the seventh greatest of all-time, that he agreed to perform for my readers. And best of all, he didn’t come alone!

Here are Justin and Jay-Z performing Holy Grail!

The first award to be handed out is the Chris Callan Rookie of the Year Award, which goes to my new favorite person of the year.

My previous job wasn’t a great one. I wasn’t really doing the type of work I wanted to be doing, and the lack of vacation time was a huge detriment.

But at least the job allowed me to meet this year’s Callan Award winner. He was hired in the second half of 2013. Theoretically, he was hired as a front end designer, but given the lack of distinction between IT positions at the company, we both ended up working on a lot of the same stuff.

We soon began to commiserate over the state of the company and how we weren’t always pleased with the way some of our co-workers handled things. We soon came to the conclusion that we were just about the only sane people working there.

When I decided to leave the company in April, I knew that he was going to be pissed at me. Fortunately we’ve been able to stay in contact and still meet up for lunch once a month.

Since we were both big fans of the show Transformers: Prime, his pseudonym shall be based on his favorite character from that show.

A big congratulations to…Smokescreen!

Next up is the Movie of the Year Award.

After the twins were born, I didn’t have a lot of time to make it out to the movies. Our outing to see The Hobbit this week was the first time I ventured into a theater since August. So if there was a high quality movie released between September and October, chances are that I didn’t see it. (But I’ve heard good things about Interstellar!)

Fortunately, my top movie of the year came out in April. I had high expectations for this film since it was part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and almost all (looking at you, Iron Man 3!) of the movies in the series have been good.

But Captain America: The Winter Solider was probably the best of all the MCU movies. It had political intrigue! Explosions! Guys in fancy flying suits! Robert Redford!

Plus, there were lots and lots of somersaults. Just about every scene in the movie featured a character doing a somersault or a flip of some sort. Just watch this clip!

For the second straight year, I shall present a Blogger of the Year award. I want to honor one of my fellow bloggers who has constantly been churning out quality and entertaining material on his site.

10297392This year’s award goes to one of the hardest working men in the blogging game. If he isn’t drawing a hilarious cartoon, then he’s discussing a classic commercial from the days of yore.

Earlier this year, he shared with us his quest to be a contestant on the game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” While his attempt to become rich went unfulfilled, the journey was indeed fascinating to follow.

Therefore, my Blogger of the Year is the man known as Evil Squirrel!

If you’re not already following his blog, I suggest you head over there immediately and check it out.

Next up is my Song of the Year.

Admittedly, I have strange musical tastes, and I’m not exactly on the cutting edge when it comes to the latest music. I could look at the Billboard Top 100 chart and not recognize more than a handful of songs listed.

The song I have chosen as my favorite isn’t one that most people would have guessed, since it doesn’t match my usual musical preferences. But for whatever reason, I really like it.

The winner is Girls Chase Boys by Ingrid Michaelson:

The final award is the coveted Person of the Year award.

Usually, I give this award to one of my friends. But for the most part, I stopped seeing most of them in the second half of the year. So they all get disqualified.

Instead, I’ll give the award to a person with whom I’ve gone through quite a bit this year.

We received some pretty major (and partially unexpected) news in January, and since then, our lives have changed dramatically. There’s been extreme morning sickness and quite a few pounds added on. (And that was just me!)

The last few months have been extremely tiring, and at times, it felt like I wasn’t going to make it with my sanity intact. But thankfully, I had a wonderful partner accompanying me on the journey, and there’s nobody I’d rather have gone through it all with.

So congratulations to the 2014 Person of the Year: Mrs. Cutter!

I’ll close things out with one final musical number. In honor of her victory, I chose one of Mrs. Cutter’s favorite songs of 2014. Here is Fall Out Boy performing Centuries!

Happy new year and may your 2015 be wonderful!

 

Posted in 31 Days of Blogging, Pop Culture, Trips and Events | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

G.I.Joe: The Gods Below – A Review

Ah, yes. It’s time to once again re-visit a beloved childhood television shows and point out just how incredibly stupid it was. It’s time to review another episode of the classic G.I. Joe cartoon!

This will be my fifth episode review, so I’m afraid there’s not much fresh material to discuss. I’ve already established that the Joes are horrifically undisciplined, and usually only succeed either due to sheer luck or because their opponents are more incompetent than they are.

So for this year’s review, I wanted to choose an episode that stood out above the rest. I wanted to choose the craziest episode ever.

This was not an easy task since just about every episode this show is at least little bit insane. But when I was writing the Fear Boger post last week, one particular episode came to mind. In a series that was almost nothing but craziness, this episode stands out as the craziest of them all.

And so I bring you…The Gods Below!

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As we begin, we find that Cobra has done what Cobra does best: Kidnap a scientist! However, they’ve decided to show a little bit of variety this time around. Instead of kidnapping a scientist in a long white lab coat, this episode’s scientist – Dr. Marsh – is wearing safari gear.

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Dr. Marsh has uncovered an ancient tomb in Egypt, and Cobra suspects that there is treasure contained within.  Marsh will have to help them find the treasure, or he’s literally going to get his butt whipped.

Black leather outfit and a whip. No wonder so many pre-adolescent boys had a thing for the Baroness.

Black leather outfit and a whip. No wonder so many pre-adolescent boys had a thing for the Baroness.

Marsh warns Cobra that the Egyptian government will react to his kidnapping and send security to the tomb. But – and this is somewhat surprising considering Cobra’s usual success rate in direct combat – Cobra’s troops are able to easily dispose of them.

But wait! Apparently, the Cobra attack was not unanticipated. A few members of the G.I. Joe team were hidden under the Egyptian vehicles.

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They were taking quite a risk hiding down there. They could have easily been killed during the attack.

Sorry, I forgot for a second that nobody ever dies on this show. Still, instead of hiding, it might have been more useful for them to actually, you know, fight the Cobras.

Regardless, the Joes are ready to ambush Cobra, but when they emerge from their hiding spots, they don’t see anyone. They assume that Cobra has already entered the tomb and they follow in pursuit.

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Or not. In a rare bit of smart planning by Cobra Commander, he actually anticipated the ambush by the Joes! They were hiding outside, hoping that the Joes would enter the tomb first and set off all the inevitable booby traps within.

Here’s a quick run down as to which Joes have been sent on this mission:

Duke – The brave leader of the Joes. He generally makes tons of bad decisions, but unlike Flint, at least he’s not a dick about it.

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Lady Jaye – The token female who provides JUST enough sassiness to keep things loose.

Alpine – The token minority who makes jokes at inappropriate moments.

Bazooka – The token mentally handicapped member of the team. I’m not sure if that’s what the writers intended, but there’s clearly something not quite right with his brain.

And to make things even better, let's give him the biggest weapon we can find!

And to make things even better, let’s give him the biggest weapon we can find!

Barbecue – The token firefighter. In the past I’ve questioned why the Joes need a firefighter, but he has actually proven useful at times.

These five enter the tomb and quickly set off one of the aforementioned booby traps. As they run to escape, Duke tells everyone to avoid a particular stone, because he thinks it might also be a trap. He deftly leaps over said stone, only to have the floor collapse under him when he lands.

I can understand Duke getting caught by surprise. But considering how much time they had to avoid it, I’m not sure why the four other Joes also fell in the hole.

Oh look! A hole! Should we avoid it? Nah.

Oh look! A hole! Should we avoid it? Nah.

Outside the tomb, Cobra Commander discovers that there are several air ducts throughout the tomb that allow him to listen in to what’s happening below.

Realizing the Joes are lost and of no use to him, he decides to have his troops fire some missiles into the ground, in hopes of collapsing the tomb and trapping the Joes.

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Before the missiles can be fired, the Joes trick the Commander by saying that they found the treasure and it’s a shame that they’ll be buried with it. The Commander freaks out and stops the Baroness from giving the order to fire by tackling her.

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Sign this guy up for the NFL

The Commander orders some troops to go into the tomb, find the Joes, and bring back the treasure. Despite the Joes being lost in a hidden chamber, the Cobras are able to find them pretty quickly. Apparently, Cobras are excellent trackers. But will their fighting skills prove to be just as strong?

No. The Joes kick their asses pretty easily.

It’s worth noting that despite both sides being heavily armed, not a single shot is fired. Then again, the Joes don’t seem to need any weapons since Duke is apparently able to lift up two Cobras by himself and slam them into a wall.

That's grown man strength right there.

That’s grown man strength right there.

The Joes steal the Cobras’ uniforms, tie them up (in their underwear naturally!), and head to the surface to rescue Dr. Marsh.

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The disguised Joes return to the surface and tell Cobra Commander that the Joes escaped, but they found the treasure. For some reason, the Baroness doesn’t believe them and threatens to whip them.

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The writers apparently really wanted to see the Baroness whip someone.

This amused me: In the picture below, the disguised Joe on the left is Alpine. Alpine is clearly African American, yet when he’s disguised as a Cobra, his neck became white. I admire his dedication to his disguise that he took the time to apply makeup to his neck.

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The Joes lead the Cobras back into the tomb, and despite a few attempts, are unable to escape. Eventually, they wander into a chamber where Cobra Commander sees a golden crown. Upon grabbing the crown, the chamber fills with gas, finally giving the Joes an opportunity to escape.

Before I began this review, I talked about how insane this episode was. But up until this point, it really hasn’t been too bad. Sure, there has been some wackiness, but nothing that isn’t par for the course in a typical G.I. Joe episode.

Well, here is the point when things go off the rails. I apologize in advance, because I don’t think my attempts at reviewing the action will come close to capturing just how nuts this is.

Once the gas clears from the room, the Cobras find themselves face to face with a giant manifestation of Set, the Egyptian god of evil.

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Yes, apparently the ancient Egyptian gods are real, and have been living in this tomb for thousands of years.

Set and Cobra Commander soon realize they have quite a lot in common. The Commander has a bit of a snake fetish, and Set sometimes takes the form of a snake. They soon agree to team up and take out the Joes, who Cobra Commander claims are servants of Set’s brother Osiris. (Who, of course, is also real.)

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To prove their loyalty, Seth takes the form of a giant snake and forces the Cobras to bow before him.

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Meanwhile, the Joes are still attempting to escape the tomb.

Approximately half of this episode consists of the Joes getting lost, and I feel a lot of the blame lies with Dr. Marsh. He was supposedly an expert on this tomb (remember, that’s why Cobra kidnapped him in the first place), but he doesn’t seem to have any idea where he’s going.

After another wrong turn, the Joes enter a chamber in which the floor drops out from under them. When they reach bottom, they appear to have been transported into outer space. And perhaps most alarming, there is a giant, glowing Egyptian god in the room with them.

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All hail Osiris!

The god introduces himself as Osiris, the Egyptian lord of the underworld. He is soon joined by several other gods who accuse the Joes of being servants of Set. The Joes claim innocence, but to prove themselves worthy, they must participate in a trial to weigh their hearts.

They are lifted into space on a giant ankh where they are greeted by the goddess Maab. She tells them that for their trial, they must battle Sekhmet – the fiercest of the gods.

Similar to Gozer the Gazarian, Sekhmet has taken a form that would frighten even the bravest of mortals: A fire-breathing bear with wings.

Now that's something you don't see every day.

Now that’s something you don’t see every day.

Alpine is immediately knocked off the ankh and falls into space. Showing his usual level of brilliance, Bazooka jumps after him.

Geronimo!!!

Didn’t really think this one all the way through, huh?

Like I said, it’s nice to give the mentally handicapped an equal opportunity at employment, but I have to question why Bazooka is a member of an elite military unit.

The rest of the Joes take on Sekhmet, and the battle doesn’t go so well. Lady Jaye gets squeezed in a crippling bear hug (pun intended!), and Duke and Dr. Marsh are burned to death by his fire breath. (This is getting kind of grim for a cartoon.)

Finally, Barbecue has the brilliant idea of just shooting the damn thing. (I told you he was surprisingly useful!) One shot from his laser rifle drops Sekhmet to the ground, and Maab announces that they have passed the trial.

The trial was supposed to be about measuring their hearts, but from what I can tell, the Joes only passed because they had a weapon capable of hurting Sekhmet. Without that rifle, the Joes are probably going to have the hearts devoured. (Did I mention the part where a giant snake told them that failure results in their hearts being devoured? Sorry, there’s just too much craziness to keep track of.)

Maab claims that the Joes passed because they showed bravery and came to each other’s aid, but I think she only stopped the trial to avoid having their great “champion” get embarrassed too badly.

In Maab’s defense, the presence of a laser rifle probably threw her for a loop. Back in her heyday, most people probably didn’t come armed with anything worse than a sword.

The Joes are taken back to Osiris, who tells them they may continue to the underworld. The Joes object based on the fact that they’re still alive and all. They ask to return to Earth, but Osiris is having none of that. Instead, he calls for Anubis to ferry them to their final resting place.

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Good to see our old friend Anubis

Meanwhile, Cobra Commander has told Set that to properly fight Osiris’ helpers, he needs money to raise an army. So Set conjures up a large pile of gold and jewels which the Cobras happily place into bags and take to the surface.

Eat your heart out, Scrooge McDuck!

Eat your heart out, Scrooge McDuck!

Once they exit the tomb, the sky erupts into a sudden thunderstorm, and the ground begins shaking to the point that even the Joes in the underworld can feel it. They’re all like, “WTF?” and Anubis explains that the treasure of Osiris must have been removed from the tomb. Once that happens, the world is no longer under Osiris’ protection.

The Joes assume that Cobra Commander was the one who stole the jewels, and they ask Anubis to take them to the surface to help stop him.

You might think it would be difficult and require great effort for gods to enter the mortal plane. But much like Thor in the Avengers movie, Anbuis just kind of ignores this for the sake of plot convenience.

Anubis flies his ferry boat out of a river and into the sky in pursuit of the Commander’s jet. The Joes quickly shoot him down, and Anubis deftly catches the fallen bag of treasure.

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Duke praises Anubis’ catch, and “endearingly” calls him “Dog Face.”  Anubis apparently takes offense at this and dumps the Joes in the river.

He was probably just pissed because he has the face of a jackal and not a dog.

Either way, Anubis returns to the underworld with the treasure. The world is saved, and the Joes have returned to the land of the living.

All is well, right? Well, maybe not…

In Conclusion

For years, people have questioned if there is a god. But now we know the truth: There is a god, and his name is Osiris. Apparently, not only are Osiris and the other Egyptian gods real, but they are actively protecting the world against evil.

You’d think this discovery would have had major repercussions throughout the world. Wouldn’t this essentially discredit all other religions? Wouldn’t humanity be left with no choice but to become Osiris worshippers?

Um, all hail Osiris, I guess? (Image source)

Um, all hail Osiris, I guess? (Image source)

I’ll assume that there was a concentrated effort by the world’s governments to cover this up. They’d probably be worried that it would cause too much trouble. I’m sure the tomb was summarily destroyed and the existence of it wiped from record.

Of course, this plan requires the Joes to keep it a secret. Unfortunately, we’ve seen that their security protocols aren’t necessarily the best.

I also found it troublesome to learn that Osiris – the almighty ruler of the universe – is a bit of a liar. He told the Joes that by entering his realm, they forfeited their lives and couldn’t return to the surface world. Yet, Anubis had no trouble going up to the real world and leaving the Joes there.

Did Anubis just disobey the wishes of Osiris? Did he feel like he owed it to them for helping to save the world? Or maybe he just didn’t feel like taking them all the way to the Land of the Dead. It’s been shown that he gets lazy sometimes.

This is pretty deep stuff for a cartoon. I’d better end things on a lighter note by watching a PSA.

The girl is having a stomachache, so her brother helpfully offers to give her some of her father’s medicine to make it better.

Not so fast! Doc is outside the bathroom and warns them that it might not be a good idea to take medicine designed for other people.

That’s perfectly good advice. But I have just one question: What the hell was Doc doing right outside the bathroom window? I’ve been trying to think of an innocent reason for him to be standing outside the bathroom window, but I can’t think of any.

So yes, the advice about the medicine is good, but I think the real message learned from this PSA is this: Close your bathroom window or else Doc is gonna watch you pee.

Now you know. And knowing is half the battle!

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The Ten Greatest Songs of All-Time: #7 – Cry Me a River

Thanks to the recent discovery of a super-secret formula for ranking songs, I’ve been able to compile a definitive list of the ten greatest songs of all time.

Because I’m such a nice person, I’ve decided to share the list with you all. And because I’m kind of weird, I’m sharing them in non-sequential order.

The songs so far:

#9: Rock Me Amadeus – Falco

#8: Beer for My Horses – Toby Keith and Willie Nelson

#5: Revolution – The Beatles

#4: I Want You Back – Jackson 5

#3: Can I Kick It? – A Tribe Called Quest

#2: Danger Zone – Kenny Loggins

#7: Cry Me a River – Justin Timberlake

Why the ranking is justified

If you think about it, most men should not like Justin Timberlake. He started out as that annoying curly-haired guy in N’Sync who had an insanely punchable face. And then he dated Britney Spears, forming one of the most annoying celebrity couples of all time.

Awful. (Image source)

Awful. (Image source)

And yet, Timberlake has managed to win men over. He’s proven to be charming and funny during his appearances on Saturday Night Live, and his music is catchy enough that guys don’t have to be embarrassed to admit they like it.

But the turnaround really started when Britney dumped him. He could have whined about it. Instead, he delivered us Cry Me a River.

Just about every guy has been screwed over by a woman at some point or another. Many men have fantasized about getting revenge on that woman.

Timberlake didn’t just fantasize about it. He recorded a song that basically gave a giant middle finger to his ex.

Personal reflection on the song

Fortunately, (as far as I know), I’ve never had a girl cheat on me. So I can’t really relate too much to the song.

If I was choosing this list (Remember, this list isn’t based on my personal opinion. It’s based on the secret formula), I would have gone with a different revenge song: Hit ‘Em Up by 2Pac.

Now that one had some vicious lyrics, and didn’t exactly rely on subtlety. It also might have gotten both 2Pac and Notorious BIG killed.

On the other hand, I can do a surprisingly decent karaoke rendition of Cry Me a River. So there’s that.

What do you think? Does “Cry Me a River” deserve its lofty ranking? Or did my formula (and keep in mind, it’s infallable!) miss the mark on this one?

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Date Night!

I wasn’t sure I was going to get this post in today. Believe it or not, Mrs. Cutter and I actually went out on a date tonight – by ourselves! For the first time since the twins were born, the two of us left the house without any of our children.

You may be wondering how the parents of three children were able to manage such a feat.

The Cutlet’s preschool is closed all next week, which created a bit of a dilemma for us. We’d either have to overburden our au pair with all three children (something we want to avoid this early in her stay), or one of us would have to take vacation time to stay home. Since both of us have already used plenty of vacation time this year, this was not an ideal situation.

Thankfully, my parents offered to let her stay with them for a few days. So after our annual Christmas trip to Long Island last week, we dropped her off at their house on the way home.

You might be shocked that we traveled to Long Island this year, and honestly, we were a bit surprised that it happened too. The trip has often proven long and aggravating, and this year, we’d have two additional babies and an au pair en tow.

It wasn’t clear if we’d even be able to fit all of our stuff into the minivan. But somehow, we found a way to get everything in. On the trip home I think we used every last cubic centimeter of available space, and it wasn’t necessarily the most comfortable arrangements, but everything (and everyone) fit inside.

Free from the Cutlet for a few days, our au pair graciously offered to watch the twins for a night. We happily took her up on this offer and went out to the new deluxe movie theater.

Earlier this year, an iPic movie theater opened near us. This is one of those new “fancy” theaters that has full restaurant service and reclining seats. Obviously, these amenities don’t come cheaply, but we figured that since we don’t get out all that often, we might as well go all out.

Our movie of choice was The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. I wasn’t too impressed by the movie. All of the critics who complained that the movie shouldn’t have been split into three parts had a good point. The way they split it up left this movie as little more than an extended battle scene, which can grow tiresome after a while.

But really, who cares? The quality of the movie wasn’t the important thing. The important thing was that we actually went out by ourselves! Because there’s a good chance that we won’t be able to do it again for another 18 years or so.

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