Recording music is an incredibly painstaking process- delivering a killer performance is the easy part. Between the producer, recording engineer, mix engineer and mastering, it’s almost as if a performance has to make it through an increasingly fine set of filters to make it to the finished recording. OK, no, it’s exactly like that. Which makes it spectacularly unlikely that a huge mistake in a vocal would make it out of the artist’s lips, past the producer and onto the tape, through the arduous mixdown process onto the master recording, and onto thousands of pressed recordings in Walmarts across the land.

Yet… here we are.

6. Bring The Noise – Public Enemy
Maybe it’s just because Chuck D could sound like the voice of unimpeachable authority while reading his grocery list, maybe it’s because it’s during a quick passage; either way, fans of Public Enemy and attention to detail were hitting rewind on their cassette players (it was the 80’s) like crazy the first time or two they heard the classic “Bring The Noise”. It wasn’t their imagination, Chuck flip-flopped a couple words and it had somehow skated through onto the finished version of one of the greatest rap songs ever.

The Line:
“He can cut a record from side to side, so what / The ride, the glide / Should be much safer than a suicide”
The Flub:
“He can cut a record from side to side, so what / The ride, the glide / Much should be safer than a suicide”

The mistake was corrected on the 1991 remake with thrash pioneers Anthrax (and the line rapped by Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian), though Chuck has never publicly acknowledged the error, probably because nobody ever called him out on it for fear of getting their ass kicked.

5. Eminence Front – The Who
“Eminence Front” only reached #68 on the Billboard chart, but received heavy play on MTV with a live video captured during a rehearsal. The song features acerbic lyrics about the bullshit facades of the rich and coked up, penned by Pete Townshend- who was more than a little familiar with the subject, and performed a rare lead vocal on the track. The error that made it onto the album version wasn’t so much a matter of the wrong words as the timing of Daltrey’s backup vocal.

The Line:
“Behind an eminence front”
The Flub:
“Behinna ninna emma nemma ninni fruh FRONT!”

The incredibly, undeniably wrong syncopation of the backing vocal only happens once- the first time- but it’s so obviously a mistake that one must wonder how fucking high everybody involved would have to have been for it to end up on the recording. Needless to say, the error wasn’t repeated in the live video version, and was fixed on the 1997 remastered CD.

4. Louie Louie – The Kingsmen
Since the lyrics to this song are so slurred as to be unintelligible, interpretations of said lyrics vary wildly. Unfortunately for the FBI, it turns out the lyrics are not “pornographic“, just really hard to understand. So how do we know there’s a flub?

The Line:
Who the fuck knows? We’re talking about “Louie Louie” here.
The Flub:
The singer comes in way early after the guitar solo.

You might think he’s just warming up to start a-singin’ again, but the vocal inflection is identical to how the next verse starts. It’s one of those things that you can’t un-hear once you’ve heard it, but since this is quite possibly the sloppiest rock and roll song ever this side of the White Stripes, nobody gave a shit and the error stayed.

3. Tell Her No – The Zombies
The Zombies were a pretty fuckin’ sweet English rock band that had the misfortune of being active in almost exactly the same time frame as the Beatles. Their single “Tell Her No” was a number 6 U.S. hit in 1965; the gist of the song’s lyrics is, “My girlfriend is kind of a slut. I’m telling you right now she will probably hit on you, and asking you to please not fuck her.”

The Line:
“Don’t take her love from my arms”
The Flub:
“Don’t loving dump from your arms”? We’re honestly not sure.

Singer Colin Blunstone has admitted that he was half asleep during the recording of this one. The result is an intriguing, alternately detached and pained vocal; this does not explain the failure of the producer to call to Colin’s attention that his mouth had shat all over the track on chorus two. On a side note, we think it fortunate that Colin decided he wanted to be a rock singer and not an airline pilot.

2. You’re Driving Me Crazy – Frank Sinatra
In all of popular music there are few more confident vocalists than Sinatra in his prime. His recorded rendition of the standard “You’re Driving Me Crazy” is typically rollicking, and the casual listener might pass the mistake off as Frank engaging in a little shoobity-doobity…

The Line:
“You are the kind / Who would hurt me, desert me / When I needed you”
The Flub:
“You are the kind / Who would hoyt- uh / hurtmedesertme when I needed you”

The ol’ throat just kinda seized up on Frank. After mangling the word “hurt” there’s a brief pause before he wrapsupthenextfewwordsreallyquick and falls back in on time. Apparently nobody thought it was a big deal, least of all Sinatra, who didn’t really think anything was a big deal as long as he had his case of Scotch and executive suite at the Sands.

1. Fear Of A Black Planet – Public Enemy
Chuck D began the list, and Chuck D will end it with the most egregious flub we think we’ve ever heard. On the title track to PE’s classic 1990 album Fear Of A Black Planet, Chuck goes to deliver the line that sums up the entire song’s message of racial harmony and understanding. With utter conviction, he fails. So hard.

The Line:
“All I want is peace and love on this planet / Ain’t that how God planned it?”
The Flub:
“All I want is peace and love on this planet / Ain’t how that God planned it?”

Just another simple flip flop. At the climax of the song, with the beat dropped out for added impact. On the title track. Of one of the greatest albums of all time.

But, you know, whatever. Good enough!

Laptop Computer: Epson HX-20, 1981

When it comes to inventing computing hardware, IBM led the pack. The IBM 5150 was the first to be called a “PC”, and modern computers are still based on its architecture; they even took a crack at a “portable” computer in 1975, but it’s not exactly what you would call an early laptop. Or portable in any way.

If this is portable, then we are the fucking Avengers.

Epson, on the other hand, are known mainly for printers. They came into existence to help the Seiko company develop a printing timer for keeping time at the 1964 Olympics, and operated as a sort of subsidiary to that company until 1975. Their first product would become the most popular dot matrix printer in the U.S., the TX-80. For their next trick, they ratcheted up the holy fuck factor a tad.


AWESOME! What… do we… do with it?

The Epson HX-20 met all the technical requirements necessary to be called the first laptop computer, and it was released in November of 1981. Full keyboard, battery, integrated display, and the hell with it, a printer because they’re Epson. Sure, the display was a tiny lil’ 120×32 pixel LCD and its memory couldn’t hold three seconds of an mp3, but does your laptop have a built-in printer? No? Fuck you.


It could display bitchin’ 3D images, asshole!

So its specifications were somewhat limited, but it was a damn impressive piece of hardware at the dawn of the PC, and they’re still held in pretty high regard by vintage computing aficionados (which is the politically correct term for “Supra-Geek”). Trust us, if you’d have seen one of these in 1981 it would’ve blown your feathered haircut back. You would’ve pissed your Calvin Klein briefs, and crapped your cream-colored trousers and we’ll just give the 80’s a rest now.

Electric Car: Thomas Davenport, 1837

Since the day Ben Franklin discovered electricity by flying a kite in a thunderstorm (one of the most important historical events to have never happened), it became a goal of science to use electrical power to generate mechanical power. Englishman Michael Faraday was probably the very first to truly harness electrical power with his invention of the first electric generator in 1831, but American blacksmith Thomas Davenport didn’t waste much time making that innovation look straight up wack.

Davenport’s invention used electromagnets mounted to a rotor to produce mechanical energy- the first electric motor. His major innovation was what electrical engineers know as a commutator, a switch that periodically reverses the flow of current, and makes continuous rotation of the rotor possible. In other words, Davenport was using a newly discovered natural force to make a goddamn wheel turn around and around by itself, which probably made him seem like a fucking sorcerer to common people in 1834. Plus, the contraption itself looked pretty awesome, if somewhat like a sewing machine.

Mending my britches shall hereafter be accomplished in a jiffy!

Davenport’s first attempt to patent his invention was refused, literally because nobody had ever patented an electrical device before. So he spent a couple years collecting letters of recommendation from scientists and academic types; traveled to Princeton to get the support of pioneering engineer Joseph Henry, and to Pennsylvania to get the same from Benjamin Franklin; went back home to Vermont, and got his goddamn patent in 1837.

Fortunately for comedy, we still have some some media accounts of his mind-blowing demonstrations of this arcane force, like this one from the New York Herald:

“The occult and mysterious principle of magnetism is being displayed in all of its magnificence and energy as Mr. Davenport runs his wheel…”

My god, man! He has invented an automatic rabbit production contraption!

But that wasn’t his best trick. Davenport was able to come up with a pretty radical application for his device- he used it to power the world’s first goddamned electric car. The materials were expensive, the technology in its infancy, and it may not have been practical to start building electric cars for every citizen- but damned if Davenport wasn’t able to build one, over a hundred years before the technology would be refined, perfected and buried by greedy oil companies.

On our way! We’ll be there in four months!

Also, the first primitive rechargeable battery wouldn’t be invented until 1860, so Davenport’s vehicle had a rather limited range. Isn’t that just how they get you? Who wants to plug in a goddamn car for eight hours to drive it 50 miles? Fuck that bullshit, hook us up with a fatty tank of gassy gasoline!

5. Batman Logo Appeared Incidentally In Christopher Nolan’s First Two Films

Director Christopher Nolan makes really fucking good movies. These days, he is of course most well-known for his Batman trilogy, the middle film of which is arguably the greatest superhero film of all time. But seven years before beginning Batman with Batman Begins, Nolan’s debut feature gave a little subliminal sneak preview of things to come.

THERE! Did you see it?!?

1998’s Following was a tightly plotted, minimally cast, black and white film about a couple guys breaking into people’s flats. Outside one such flat, as a conversation is taking place between the two leads, sharp-eyed viewers could catch- OK, no, it’s just right there, big as life. In an interview with Empire, actor Jeremy Theobald confirmed that the sticker on the door was pure coincidence, and he would know- it was his flat.

“Say, ever get the feeling that the guy you’re working for will one day direct a film series that will render this shot a gigantic coincidence?”

Of course, nobody had any way of knowing that Nolan would soon be handed the keys to the Batman film franchise, which in 1998 was dead in the water. But that’s not all. His next project after completing the Dark Knight trilogy was as a producer on Man Of Steel, the Superman reboot. Now, take a look at this shot from Nolan’s second film, 2000’s Memento:

No? Look a little closer and to the right:

Um… holy shit.

4. The James Bond/Lord Of The Rings Connection

Veteran British actors Christopher Lee (Saruman) John Rhys-Davies (Gimli) and Sean Bean (Boromir) all graced Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings trilogy. Weird, huh? Just kidding, that’s not the weird part. What if we were to tell you that all three actors also starred in James Bond films? Well, they’re all British, that’s not such a stretch, right?

Christopher Lee, The Man With The Golden Gun, 1974.

What if we told you that all three of them played Bond villains?

John Rhys-Davies, The Living Daylights, 1987.

In three different decades?

Sean Bean, Goldeneye, 1995.

Opposite three different Bonds? ‘Cause that’s what we’re telling ya. Lee’s villainous Scaramanga went up against Roger Moore, Rhys-Davies’ General Leonid Pushkin harassed Timothy Dalton, and Bean’s Alec Trevelyan annoyed Pierce Brosnan in their respective turns as 007. But instead of sending them all to hell, Bond apparently sent them to Middle Earth.

3. Charles Manson Lookalike Appears At End Of Sharon Tate’s Final Film

We’re sorry, but it’s time to get morbid for a sec. It’ll be all rainbow colored kittens again soon, we promise.

As you know, smartypants, Sharon Tate was the actress wife of film director Roman Polanski, and she was murdered by associates of Charles Manson at their home while Polanski was overseas shooting a film. About six months earlier, Tate had wrapped her final film- The Thirteen Chairs, an Italian production. Her co-star, Vittorio Gassman, played a hairdresser who spent the entire film immaculately groomed- until the very end. Specifically, the final freeze frame. Even more specifically, holy fucking crap, this is really not cool.

Um… fuck.

Remind you of anyone? Tate would soon meet her END at the direction of a man who is the spitting goddamn image of the dude in that still. And we’ve officially creeped ourselves the fuck out, let’s talk about Harry Potter now.

2. The Woman In Black/Harry Potter Connection Keeps Getting Weirder

Susan Hill’s 1983 novel “The Woman In Black” has been adapted for the screen twice- once for British TV in 1989, and once for the big screen in 2012. The main character Arthur Kipps was portrayed in the 1989 adaptation by Adrian Rawlins, who played James Potter (Harry’s father) in six of the Potter films. With us so far? Good.

In the 2012 adaptation, the role went to Daniel Radcliffe- Harry himself, with Radcliffe stating it was a mighty strange coincidence in an interview. In addition, the actor Ciarin Hinds appears in the 2012 adaptation The Woman In Black as a friend of Arthur, and in Deathly Hallows Part 2 as the brother of Albus Dumbledore. We’re not done.

It’s like some kind of MAGIC was at- OK, we just think this picture is really funny.

Also, the writer of the 1989 adaptation is the father of an actress and F/X artist who worked on the Harry Potter films. Finally, and weirdest of all, Radcliffe and the book’s author Hill bonded over their shared love of border terriers- and discovered that they each own one that not only came from the same breeder, but was sired by the same stud. What the shit?!?

1. The Serendipitous Actors

David Keith and Keith David are both veteran character actors, and they have much more in common than that and an apparent aversion to last names.

They both made their film debuts in the same year, 1979. Both got their starts playing soldiers early in their careers (DK in The Great Santini, The Rose, and An Officer And A Gentleman; KD in Platoon, Missing In Action III and Stars And Bars). Both worked with “Masters Of Horror” in the 80’s; David Keith starred in the Stephen King adaptation Firestarter, and Keith David in John Carpenter’s remake of The Thing and They Live, wherein he engaged in the most epic back-alley brawl in film history with Roddy Piper.

Their paths have come weirdly close to crossing: DK starred in Behind Enemy Lines, while KD starred in its direct-to-video sequel; later in their careers, both starred in episodes of “The Outer Limits” and “Law And Order” (but not together) and both guested on “Hawaii Five-O” in 2010 (in separate episodes). Through their entire careers, they have never appeared in a project together, and we kind of want to know what the hell would happen if they did- unless it involves the fabric of space-time exploding at the speed of light.

On top of all this, this is David Keith:

And this is Keith David:

Come on, these guys could practically be fuckin’ twins.

Some movie heroes should have just stayed in bed and let things work themselves out. Look, making a bad situation worse may help the plot along, but it’s not so great for your stress level, you dumbass movie hero.

Goddamned moron.

Not that it isn’t entertaining to watch someone throw themselves right under the Crazy Bus. The following so-called protagonists didn’t just worsen their own problems; without them, the problems never would have existed in the first place.

6. Bowman and Poole, 2001

The main dramatic point in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey revolves around the AI known as HAL 9000, which completely controls the systems of the spaceship our heroes reside in. HAL states to protagonist David Bowman early on that he is infallible and incapable of error, so you know things are going to turn out great.

After HAL erroneously diagnoses a fault in one of the ship’s components, Bowman and crewmate Frank Poole get a little sketchy, since their asses are in the hands of the supercomputer. They shut themselves in an airtight pod and have a little discussion; if HAL fucks up again, they’re pulling the plug. They’re confident HAL can’t hear them, and it can’t- but it can see them.


They have this conversation in full view of the sentient, super-powerful machine, which simply reads their lips and decides that it’s humans vs. computer at this point. It doesn’t take long before things start getting deathy. Multiple deaths that could have been avoided if Bowman and Poole had taken the simple extra precaution of covering their fool mouths.

Bowman and Poole cock everything up.

5. Ashley J. Williams, Evil Dead II

In Evil Dead II (which is absolutely not just a higher budget remake of Evil Dead, that’s just ridiculous) the trouble starts when Ash and his friends decide to smoke some dope and play some tunes. OK, so that’s not quite accurate. They decide to smoke some dope and play a reel to reel tape of someone reciting passages from the goddamn Necronomicon, which may sound like a good time, but we assure you it is not.

Unless this is your idea of a good time.

You’d think Ash would have learned from the events of the first movie, because this is a sequel, not a remake, dammit, but before long all manner of crazy bullshit is breaking out all over everywhere, Ash is cutting up his dead killer zombie girlfriend with a chainsaw and literal geysers of blood also make an appearance.

In fact, judging by the end of the movie and the entirety of the next, Ash has a pretty bad habit of causing his own problems. Good show, Ash. You guys probably should have just listened to Abbey Road or something.

Ash blows it hard.

4. Nick Rice, Law Abiding Citizen

In the underrated 2009 thriller, Jamie Foxx’s prosecutor Nick Rice decides to cut a deal involving two thugs who murdered the family of nice guy Clyde Shelton, imprisoning the less-guilty of the two on the testimony of the super-guilty one. Happens all the time, right? Gotta break a few eggs to reverse-engineer a chicken, or whatever the saying is.

However, it turns out Clyde is not so nice- he’s a government trained killing machine, and he’s not a big fan of the deal. In fact, his specialty and trade happens to be subterfuge, mindfuckery and killing people while not even in the same area code, and he thinks Nick Rice is a real asshole.

And he’s gonna bring the hunky pain.

Nick might should have pursued the truly guilty party a little harder- it seriously would have turned out way better for everyone involved, guilty party included. We’d prefer six life sentences to what happens to that guy.

Nick buggers himself.

3. Captain Kirk, “Star Trek – Space Seed”

In the original “Star Trek” episode “Space Seed”, several questionable decisions are made with regard to the super-soldier Khan- not the least of which is to thaw him out in the first place, and to allow him valuable alone time with an impressionable, easily manipulated female crew member.

Would you leave your woman alone with him?

While this almost results in the Enterprise’s destruction at the climax of the episode, the next and possibly worst decision- to drop the fucking charges against Khan and exile him instead of putting him on trial- endangers the ship and its crew again decades later, after Khan has had plenty of time to stew in anger and plot his revenge.

In the tellingly titled 1982 film Star Trek II – The Wrath Of Khan, the crew happens upon Khan, who doesn’t waste any time with pleasantries before ear-bugging Chekov and fucking up Kirk’s shit so hard that he wails Khan’s name in anguish. Those are, like, the only two parts of that movie anyone remembers, right?

Anyway: fuck a duck, Kirk, why didn’t you just kill the guy? Totally should’ve killed the guy. Who are you, Batman?

Kirk, under the authority vested in him by Starfleet command, ensures a giant clusterfuck for everyone decades hence.

2. Evan Treborn, The Butterfly Effect

The ostensible hero of The Butterfly Effect is a textbook example of this trope; Evan Treborn (Ashton Kutcher) is a walking, talking This Trope. Literally everything he does leads to a different problem that he has to fix; then, his solution to that problem leads to an even greater problem that he has to fix; and on and on ad infinitum. Which sounds like the bumbling antics of a loveable doofus like Kutcher, only in this movie it leads to one abjectly horrifying situation after another.

At least Kelso couldn’t warp reality.

If you haven’t seen the movie, then hey, spoilers: Evan himself goes from mildly screwed up but pretty well-adjusted kid, to prisoner, to double amputee, and finally to inmate in a psych ward. His girlfriend becomes a junkie hooker, his mom gets lung cancer, his best friend goes crazy… all while Evan insists to himself that his next leap will be the leap home, and Dean Stockwell calls him a stupid asshole.

We may be remembering this wrong.

At any rate, depending on the version you watch- theatrical or director’s cut- it all leads either to a tidy wrap-up of all the bullshit Evan spent the whole movie causing, or an incredibly dark non-ending. We’ll let you guess which is which. (Hint: watch the director’s cut.)

Evan fucks up…

Incredibly badly.

1. Tommy Jarvis, Friday The 13th Part 6: Jason Lives

In the opening scene of the sixth entry in the venerable Friday The 13th franchise, whackjob Jason-killer Tommy Jarvis has a terrifying nightmare in which he is Corey Feldman. And that’s not even the scariest part: he witnesses Jason rising from his grave, in the middle of a dark and stormy night, pissed off and ready to get stabby.

In order to ensure that it was just a nightmare, Tommy drags a dumbass friend who should really know better out to Jason’s grave in the middle of a dark and stormy night and freakin’ digs him up. Stay with us; that’s not even the second-stupidest thing Tommy does in the first five minutes of this movie.

Pictured: a fucking genius compared to Tommy Jarvis.

Tommy uses a machete, Jason’s weapon of choice, to hack on the corpse for awhile before symbolically throwing a symbolic goddamn hockey mask at said corpse. OK, that is the second stupidest thing Tommy does in the movie’s first five minutes.

What’s the stupidest thing, you ask? That would be impaling Jason with a giant metal pole from the cemetery’s gate. Made of metal. In a thunderstorm. And what do you suppose happens next?

Someone never got around to watching this one.

If you answered “freak bolt of lightning”, then congratulations, you’re much smarter than Tommy. The electrically reanimated Jason equips himself with the hockey mask and machete that Tommy conveniently supplied for him and figures he woke up just in time for the killing spree. And hey, whaddya know- he’s right!

He has a bit of a one-track mind.

Fun fact: Jason Lives had by far the highest body count (18) of any Friday The 13th movie to that time (until Jason X topped it in absurd fashion with 28). All deaths that could have been avoided if Tommy had been less of a wussy about his nightmares. Nice going, champ!

Tommy fucking blows it.

5. Rage Against The Machine Bassist Rages Against The Stage Props

At the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards, Rage were nominated for Best Video for their Michael Moore-directed “Sleep Now In The Fire”. They lost to some bullshit by Limp Bizkit, and bassist Tim Commerford was not pleased.
In his defense, very few members of Rage are ever pleased about anything.

While the Bizkits were onstage accepting their award, Commerford suddenly materialized on top of the stage dressing, rocking it back and forth while audience members urged him to jump, because of course they did. Nobody seemed to be sure if it was a planned stunt (it wasn’t), the other band members were mortified, and the NYPD thought Commerford was a crazy fan and promptly arrested his ass when he came down.

This effectively ended Rage for a long-ass time; lead shouter-atter Zack De La Rocha quit the band a few days later. We just wish that if Commerford had to kill his band to make his point, he would have at least managed to squash Limp Bizkit while he was at it.

4. Sinead O’Connor Pisses Off Every Catholic In The World On SNL

For her 1992 performance on Saturday Night Live, Sinead O’Connor had a little surprise for everyone. She sang a powerful acapella rendition of Bob Marley’s “War” and your first hint that something was wrong was her changing of the word “racism” in the lyrics to “child abuse”. She also seemed… well, increasingly agitated as the performance progressed, and at the end it became apparent why.

While singing the word “evil”, she produced a picture of Pope John Paul II, then tore it to pieces as the song ended. There was absolute dead silence in the studio (sadly, the one guy who was supposed to shout “what the fuck?!?” must have missed his cue) and a quick cut to commercial.

Obviously, nobody had been warned of this beforehand (she had held up a picture of a starving child during dress rehearsal) and SNL producer Lorne Michaels, probably after changing the underwear he had just rage-crapped in, sprang into damage control mode.

Not that it did much good; NBC was flooded with telephone calls and angry letters, tabloids everywhere jumped all over it (with headlines like “HOLY TERROR!”) and suffice to say that nobody invited Sinead to do jack shit on live TV ever again, pretty much. Joe Pesci tore up a picture of O’Connor on the following week’s episode, saying he would have “given her such a smack”, which would have scared us more than the combined anger of all the nation’s Catholics if we were Sinead O’Connor.

3. PiL Thinks American Bandstand is A Joke, Acts Like It

When American Bandstand invited Public Image Ltd. to appear in 1980, they apparently did not read up on the band or realize that its lead singer was John Lydon, the once and future Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols. AB required bands to lip-sync, which went over exactly as well as you’d expect:

Lydon wandered around the audience, pulled people up onstage, engaged in idle conversation, banged his mic on the podium- everything he could think of to do except what he was supposed to be doing, which was pretend to sing. The rest of the band was likewise uninterested in pretending to play, but Dick Clark- ever the good sport- dutifully did his post-song interview and even had the band “perform” another number, which again consisted of Lydon wandering around the set like he was at a cocktail party.

Despite not cooperating in the least and potentially making a gigantic fiasco out of the airing, there were at least no expletives or overtly assholish remarks from Lydon, and the clip has become a regular part of AB’s highlight reels. Tom Snyder would probably say they got off easy.

2. The Stranglers Act A Fool On Dutch TV

English punk band the Stranglers were invited to perform on the Dutch music showcase “Top Pop” in 1977. And oh, they performed, all right, in much the same way that circus clowns do.

Singer Hugh Cromwell is obviously not singing, drummer Jet Black is even more obviously not playing (at one point even facing away from his drum kit) and the whole thing just generally looks like a bunch of Ritalin-addled toddlers pretending to do music stuff. But apparently nobody told the keyboardist; he proceeds to nail every pantomimed note perfectly, which is somehow the funniest part of the whole thing.

1. Billy Joel Stops Song To Be Huge Smartass At 1994 Grammys

A strange thing happened during Frank Sinatra’s acceptance speech for his Lifetime Achievement Award at the ’94 Grammy Awards. Frank was disappointed that he hadn’t been invited to sing, and yes, maybe he was going on for a bit; we don’t know how we would have dealt with it, but we’re pretty sure it wouldn’t have been the way the producers did- they cued the exit music and cut to commercial in the middle of his damn speech.

For some reason, this didn’t sit well with rock legend Billy Joel, who was performing his song “River of Dreams” next. There’s a slight pause in the middle of the song by design, but this time, Joel brought the number to a full stop, nonchalantly looked at his watch and intoned:

“Valuable advertising time… going by. Dollars… dollars… dollars.”

He let the producers sweat it out for what seemed like an eternity before mercifully launching his band back into the song. A textbook rock and roll moment, all in defense of Frank Sinatra, who famously didn’t much care for rock and roll.

For many of you- that is, anyone who was between, say, 5 and 20 on August 1st, 1981, when MTV went live- there was a time when you knew all of these songs by heart. MTV only had about 2 or 3 hundred videos when it suddenly became a gigantic cultural force, and you watched it literally every time you could, so you heard these songs a ton. And you probably haven’t heard a one of them for 25 years. You’re welcome!

9. She’s A Beauty – The Tubes

Ladies and gentlemen, Fee Waybill and the Tubes! No, that’s not my impression of Ed Sullivan having a stroke. And dammit, don’t you try to pretend this wasn’t one of the most awesome fucking things you had ever heard and/or seen the first time MTV broke it out for you.

8. Slipping Away – Dave Edmunds

There’s a reason it’s so catchy it started coming back to you before you clicked the link- it was written and produced by Jeff Lynne of ELO, undoubdtedly why it became Edmunds’ only U.S. Top 40 hit. Edmunds is a veteran British musician, kind of like Elvis Costello or Nick Lowe but less well known, and he can thank Lynne and MTV’s scant 1983 video archive for his lone sniff at success across the pond.

7. Stand By – Roman Holiday

Roman Holiday were a British Swing/Pop fusion band that kicked around for a few years and made a video or two in the early 80s. “Don’t Try To Stop It” was their biggest U.K. hit, but thanks to MTV their U.S. single “Stand By” is stuck in your head right now.

6. Pat Benatar – You Better Run

You remember this for a very specific reason, and not because you thought Pat Benatar was hot (but you can admit that, it’s OK). Famously, “Video Killed The Radio Star” was the first video played on MTV, but this was the second, and they played the living fuck out of it.

5. The Warrior – Scandal

OK, now this you only remember because you thought Patty Smyth was hot. And because, “shootin’ at the walls of heartache, bang bang” is the most ridiculous lyric you’ve ever heard.

4. Talking Heads – Once In A Lifetime

Some of you may remember this better than others. You may think it defies description, though it has been summed up pretty succinctly as David Byrne “singing like a robotic street preacher while sweating profusely and doing African tribal dances”. You may ask yourself, how do I work this? However you cut it, this video was displayed for a time at the Metropolitan Museum Of Modern Art in New York City, and Talking Heads rule.

3. New Girl Now – Honeymoon Suite

Doesn’t ring one single bell, huh? Then you’re not from Canada, and you should just click the link and wait for the bridge. Likely the only band to ever come from the town of Niagara Falls, and so named because that is where they are from and lots of people honeymoon there (seriously), the band has actually remained active on the Canadian music scene to the present day- but the only reason they’re remembered in the U.S., if at all, is for “New Girl Now”, which is actually kind of a kickass song.

2. Naughty Naughty – John Parr

OK, look, I’m just not even sorry for this. You knew that the post was about 80’s videos. It’s not my goddamn fault that John Parr exists, that “Man In Motion (Theme From St. Elmo’s Fire)” is not his worst song by a damn sight, or that you just plowed ahead and read this. This is part of your life again. Deal with it.

1. Mexican Radio – Wall Of Voodoo

Alright, I’m really sorry now. Your brains are all over the place, they’re gonna be a bitch to clean up, and you are positive that when you get them all back into your head, this song will be stuck in them for at least a week. But what you’ll have an even harder time getting them around is this: how could you possibly have forgotten a song this cool?

We’ve all been there… work. You know, the place you go every day to make money and avoid responsibility. Most normal people treat work like what it is- a necessary nuisance, a gauntlet you must run through daily in order to make the money you need to finance your REAL life outside of work. The eating, the not being homeless, the betting on cockfights, the hardcore designer drugs and the like.

Some other people see the workplace as a wonderland of aggressive self-actualization. A place where annoying opinions and worthless advice can be freely dispensed, where close quarters means that even complete strangers who have nothing in common with them can be treated like Uncle Phil at a drunken Thanksgiving celebration, and where “professionalism” is always in quotes. These people need to shut the fuck up, and we have all worked with at least one of them. People who…

6. Bitch Constantly

The issue:

Look, we all get it. Most people are not fortunate enough to do something they truly like to do for a living. These people- if they enjoy not being fired- are required to perform a rather delicate mental balancing act on a daily basis. On the one hand, their job is boring, mundane, and requires them to constantly perform physical and mental functions they simply were not wired to do. For example, most cube monkeys would prefer to not be sitting in a cube performing repetitive tasks. They would rather be writing their novel, or restoring their classic car, or betting on the aforementioned cockfights. They literally could not give one single shit, on a personal level, whether their contribution to the company positively impacts that company.
On the other hand, society dictates that we need money to survive, and employers both a) provide money and b) insist that you at least provide the appearance of giving a flying fuck about your job. So when we slip up somehow, and a supervisor leaves a passive-aggressive email in our inbox reminding us of policies and procedures in language usually reserved for autistic four-year-olds, we reply, “Thank you, sir, for the information. I will take care in the future to adhere to policy. Regards, Jack Schumpfist”. (Assuming that is your name.) We do NOT respond by spray-painting “JACKMONKEYS” across the front of the building, or pulling the fire alarm every fifteen minutes for six days, or sticking our dicks in the potato salad at the company potluck, as would be our wont. We walk the line.

Above: Stability and reason.

The thing is, some people have difficulty with this balancing act. LOTS of difficulty. These people will attempt to engage anyone who will listen, and most who will not, in conversation about their long, long list of grievances. The hours, the pay, the manager, the manager’s attitude, the manager’s face, the manager’s dog and cat, and on and on ad infinitum.


Nobody is in love with their job, but these people serve as a constant, nagging reminder of EVERY LITTLE THING that we dislike about it, and some things we had never previously thought of. Listen: we’re walking the line here. We know Bob’s an asshole and his face should be murdered, but choosing to think about it as infrequently as possible helps us stay on the tightrope. Walking it takes mental fortitude, and people who constantly bitch are like circus midgets at either end of the rope, wobbling it hard as they can while screaming the lyrics to “Barbie Girl”.
It gets worse when:

They attempt to suck us in to the vortex of bitchery. Everyone likes to have their opinions validated, especially their opinions about how much everything sucks. This makes them feel more like a rebellious iconoclast, and less like a fucking crybaby prickbiter.
But as it turns out, agreeing with the opinions of the constant bitcher- even if you share them- will eventually reflect on you. And even if you can continue walking the mental tightrope while agreeing strenuously that, yes, Bob is a gladhanding craphound who needs immediate death to his face, you will inevitably find yourself voicing that agreement with Bob standing right the fuck behind you.

The mature response:

“Al, I understand how you feel about Bob’s face, even if I find your proposed solution a bit extreme- I just don’t think fire ever belongs in the workplace. I would ask, however, that you refrain from discussing your grievances with me while on the job, as these types of discussions can lead to low morale, reduced productivity, and firings. Of you. And me.”

But your response will probably be:

“Thanks Al, I read you loud and clear. Bob’s a dick. Thanks for the news flash. You know what? You’re kind of a dick, too. Your face ain’t so great, either. This raises the question: shut the fuck up.”
5. Call you out for being “cranky” or “grumpy”

The issue:

Of course, everyone has bad days. Unlike the types in the above example, most normal people deal with it by keeping their head down, their blinders on, and attempting to get through to the end of the work day as painlessly as possible. Their mask of grim determination and reluctance to engage in conversation (feel free to use that in your next rap tune) are not meant to put other people out, but are a mere survival mechanism. They just… don’t feel like it today. Any of it. They just want to finish their goddamn shift, go home and get blackout drunk, and it certainly does not help when some upbeat, chipper fucking clown comes along to point out their mood to them (like they needed it) and everyone else within earshot (in case anyone hadn’t noticed), usually in the form of a question: what’s wrong, Jim? Are you feeling cranky? Are you feeling grumpy?

Does somebody have a case of the Mondays?

First of all: people in a bad mood do not like being referred to as grumpy, or cranky, or any of that juvenile sounding bullshit. They are an adult having a bad day at work, not a temperamental toddler who missed his nappytime. It’s condescending language, and using that type of language with someone who has obviously already worked up a good head of irritation suggests that you may enjoy a cock punching, or at least having your car keyed six ways from Sunday.

Secondly, it has nothing to do with the caller-outer. Mr. Crankypants is not asking for sympathy, or even recognition. In fact, he would likely prefer that no one say a word to him for the rest of the day. If this is not feasible, he will probably attempt to keep the dialogue as brief as possible. Again, not because of the caller-outer. Not because of anything they need to ask about, or point out, or even be aware of. But can the caller-outer be the one unexpected bright spot in the otherwise intolerable day by just… letting him slide? No. No, they cannot.
And it’s even worse when:

The caller-outer not only points out your mood, but then takes it upon themselves to attempt to, Freddie help them, cheer you up- usually employing the same grating juvenile attitude, corny jokes and/or workplace cliches (see below) that people who are already running in the red just fucking love.
The mature response:

“No, Frida, I am not grumpy, and I do not have a case of the Mondays. I have a bit of a headache, and I’m focused on my work. Thanks for asking. It will not be necessary to ask in the future.”
But your response will probably be:

“No, Frida, I am not grumpy, and I do not have a case of the Mondays. I have a bit of a headache, and I’m focused on my work. Thanks for asking. It will not be necessary to ask in the future. Wait, let me rephrase that. Shut the fuck up.”
4. Spout cliches/pseudo profundities

The issue:

Stop me if you’ve heard these: Workin’ hard or hardly workin’? Is it Friday yet? “Assume” makes an “Ass” of “U and Me”! Hey, HAPPY HUMP DAY!

Hey, Mr. Voorhees! Is it Friday yeEEEAAAAARRRGGGH IT IS!!!!

These workplace cliches have, it has been determined by paleontologists, been around literally since the dawn of time. The first Cro-Magnon to fashion himself a crude cubicle from stones, sticks and mud had not occupied it for five minutes before a fellow Cro-Magnon (probably that putz Larry from accounting) stopped by to ask him if he was workin’ hard, or hardly workin’. These cliches were mildly amusing the first time, kind of annoying the second, and blind-rage inducing the next 14,652 times. So why, WHY in the name of all that is decent, do people still spout these inanities? Do they have massive head injuries, or did they just wake up from a 30 year coma, or both? Do they really not have anything better to say? Or, when confronted by eye contact from another human being, do they find it impossible to simply smile and nod? Is the urge to say something, anything, so undeniable that they must fall back on a silly cliche that nobody has found amusing for decades?

The same mindset seems to be present in those that put forth what one prominent workplace analyst (me) likes to call “pseudo profundities”. For easy examples of these, look at motivational posters.

And when we all fail together, we all plunge to our deaths.
Before motivational posters were an Internet meme, they were meant to actually, you know, motivate employees. They did not, because they were retarded. Office dynamics can’t be reduced to easily digestible, simplistic analogies. Everyone knows that, yet many who are tasked with disciplining or training employees will just let their brain coast on auto-pilot, open their mouths and begin with, “Bill, a help desk is like a tree…”

“A tree with a truck in it. The truck is stick-to-it-iveness.”
It’s even worse when:

They actually believe their own bullshit. It’s one thing to have to feign interest in someone’s obviously canned, trite attempts at motivation. It’s quite another to see that, holy crap, this guy is actually drinking the Kool-Aid. He thinks he’s saying things that make sense and are worth hearing. He thinks stick-to-it-iveness is a fucking word.

The mature response:

Do what these people should do, but don’t: smile and nod. When that putz Frank from HR asks if you’re workin’ hard or hardly workin’, just respond with something equally tired and obtuse, like “livin’ the dream!” That, believe it or not, is likely the desired response. And when someone uses a word like “stick-to-it-iveness” with a straight face, I recommend you try biting your tongue to keep from slapping the everloving hell out of them. That almost always works.

But your response will probably be:

To slap the everloving hell out of them. Then tell them to shut the fuck up.

3. Insist on discussing religion and/or politics

The issue:

There is a well-known thinking defect (“cognitive bias” if you want to be all science-y and appropriate) known as the “False Consensus Effect”. The general idea is that people tend to see their own personal beliefs as some kind of baseline “consensus” beliefs that the majority of others share. There are varying degrees to which this can be seen as understandable. Most people assume that everyone thinks chocolate tastes awesome; that there is a general consensus. However, believe it or not, there exist some (very odd) people who think chocolate tastes like shit. It is a false consensus, and if that seems innocuous, keep in mind that it’s the same reason your Uncle Ray will email you about how great his new home in rural Montana is, especially because there are barely any (insert horrendous racial slur here). He doesn’t realize that not everyone thinks like him, and has no idea that he just said something jaw-droppingly ignorant.

No idea.

This carries over in a highly awkward way when people in the workplace start feeling a false sense of closeness with their co-workers- after all, they see these people every day! They’re like family! And since THEY feel that way, everyone else must feel that closeness, too! We’re probably also all right-wing, Christian conservatives! We should discuss our commonality at every opportunity!
Which brings into play yet another cognitive jim-jam known as Confirmation Bias- the tendency to seek out discourse and information that conforms to your existing set of beliefs. It feels so GOOD to bash Muhammedbama, we should all get in on the act! Since we all think exactly alike on this subject and so, so many others!

Not to pick unfairly on Christians, but particularly in America, they seem to fall victim to this double whammy of cognitive errors more than most. I mean, this is America! Isn’t everyone Christian? Doesn’t everyone want an email (or three, or six) every morning reminding them that God loves them?

Well, no, they may not. Especially if they are Muslim, or Hindu, or atheist. Or maybe they think God is the bees’ knees, but just don’t want a bunch of self-righteous bullshit clogging up their work inbox. The point is, there is a time and place to expose others to your belief system, and at work is not that time or that place.

It’s also not the time or place to expose others to your genital system.

It gets worse when:

The person in question is your boss. Sometimes you can fake your way through sympathy to a backwards-ass belief system, but sometimes it just doesn’t fly. Ever work for a blinding, unapologetic racist? As bad as it is for non-whites, it’s almost as bad for white people; they get to experience the queasy mixture of rage, confusion and shame that comes with knowing your racist boss just assumes that you’re racist, too, and behaves accordingly. When you NEED that job, but just cannot reconcile your integrity with working for a bigoted piece of shit, what do you do? Kick your own ass like Eddie Norton in Fight Club?

The mature response:

To politely request that such subjects not be discussed in the workplace. In extreme situations, to simply quit. When your boss starts blaming the recent slump on the blacks, Jews and queers, maybe it’s OK to be unemployed.

But your response will probably be:

“Hey Ed, got your email. Did you know I’m Hindu? Also, though I may not look it, I’m half black. And gay. And though I hide my disability well, I have a bum leg that requires six hours of physical therapy per week and an intense drug regimen just to walk right. So yeah, I’m a black, heathen, crippled queer. And I voted for Obama. Shut the fuck up.”

2. Broadcast every conversation

This can be the most maddening of all, because these people absolutely do not think that what they’re doing affects you in the least. Their private conversation is their own business, and if you happen to overhear, well, you shouldn’t be such a snoop. Even when said conversation is taking place at a relative volume and distance from your work space so as to be literally impossible for you to ignore.


It’s not even the content of the conversation that matters. Nor is it the workload you are currently facing. And sometimes, it is as easily tuned out as any other distraction. But other times, for whatever reason, it is not- and those intrusive, obnoxious conversations can cause a damn-nigh uncontrollable urge to beat the face of the person making the offensive noise until they are no longer physically able to do so.

This is at its worst when you work in a call center. It’s difficult enough to block out all the background noise- the 20 conversations within earshot, the guy’s music two cubes over, the person across the way farting repeatedly in long, low, plaintive tones such as an alto sax might make- and focus on your call, without a completely unrelated, full chest-voice conversation taking place directly behind you in the hall.

It gets even worse when:

This is one of the most goddamned rude, annoying and oblivious workplace behaviors, regardless of what is being loudly discussed in your immediate vicinity. But it’s even worse when the conversation is of a particularly personal nature. It’s easy enough to be driven to distraction by a loud background discussion of how awesome the Avengers movie is (it is), or how hard the new Beyonce song sucks (it does). It’s so, so much worse when the topic being discussed is your manager Artie’s erectile dysfunction, or the painful constipation of receptionist Linda’s three-year-old. It’s even better when you yourself are on the phone, and cannot even politely ask for the conversation to be moved elsewhere. You can try miming strangulation, shooting and stabbing, but they’ll probably just think you’re being zany.

The mature response:

To just deal with it. It’s really not that bad. Just do your best to tune it out, and eventually the offending parties will have to get back to work.

But your response will probably be:

To place your current call on hold; then, to remove one shoe and seize that loudmouth dipfuck Steve by the throat, jamming said shoe into his mouth as far as you possibly can, while kneeing him repeatedly into the groin and screaming the phrase “SHUT THE FUCK UP!” over and over again. Once Steve has lost consciousness, pick your call back up, thank them for holding and continue.

1. Are You

The issue:

YOU! BAM! YOU are the issue! Didn’t see THAT coming, did ya?!?

It’s like an M Night Shamalyan twist ending, but slightly less retarded and predictable.

See, every one of us has been a variation on one of these types at some point or another. Perhaps you’re in a boisterous mood because you got laid last night, or drunk, or maybe you’re STILL drunk and about to get laid, or whatever it is that makes normal people happy. Maybe you just plum forgot about the last 16 times these behaviors got on your nerves hard enough to make you chew concrete and spit out dust. The point is, if you’re ever inside the office using your outside voice, maybe take a quick look around and make sure it wouldn’t be best to… you know.

The mature response:

To shut. The fuck. Up.

But your response will probably be:

To bitch loudly about that grumpy Jew Stanley down the hall, who needs to “be more of a team player”, right behind someone who is in the middle of an important call. You are SUCH a dick.