Why Shannon Tweed’s Desire To Adopt Is Foolhardy

Shannon Tweed has lost her mind.  In the seventh season premiere of Gene Simmons Family Jewels, the 55-year-old Canadian just can’t enjoy being a newlywed.  In her mind, there’s something missing.

Oh, there’s something missing alright.  Despite finally convincing longtime boyfriend Gene Simmons to marry her last year, an impossible feat almost no one expected to actually happen, she wants to be a mom again.  Call me crazy but shouldn’t she have fully articulated this desire before the wedding?

Yes, it’s true.  This isn’t the first time in the show’s history that Tweed has brought up this touchy subject.  (This originally happened in episode four of the first season.)  But to revert back to it when the couple has still not fully resolved all of their outstanding problems is foolhardy to the extreme.  What the hell is she thinking?

Because Tweed can no longer conceive naturally, she wants to adopt.  (Gene foolishly planted this dumb idea in her head way back in the third episode of season two after the negative result of her pregnancy test was revealed.)  Early on during a lunch conversation, she asks her girlfriend point blank if she should do this.  Too bad she couldn’t hear me screaming, “No!”.

To say Tweed needs a hobby or a straight-to-video acting gig instead of another run at motherhood is beside the point.  Her boredom when Simmons and their kids are out of the house is well-documented throughout this series.  No, the real problem is her selfishness.  Tweed can go on and on about all the neglected children in the world who don’t have parents, how a lot of them are needlessly abused and discarded to the fringes of society until I’m blue in the face.  This is all about her and no one else.  Her motives are not at all altruistic.  You get the sinking feeling she’s going to go ahead with this nonsense whether her family supports her wishes or not.  (She tells the kids all about it in an episode scheduled to air next week.)

Meanwhile, Simmons’ slutty past refuses to go quietly in the night.  When Tweed absurdly finds a mysterious key under a box (that’s your hiding place, Gene?) while rooting around for old baby items, she correctly assumes the worst.  Simmons has her sit down in his office before lowering the boom.

We learn that the key is to a safety deposit box in a local bank that stores no less than four “portfolios” of nudie pics, three rows of four on every page, of numerous past groupie conquests.  It’ll take you all of two seconds to guess what Tweed wants her husband to do with them all.  If you said that they get burnt to a crisp in the final scene of this episode, you deserve a cookie.

In the past, despite its sometimes less-than-authentic sitcom premises, Gene Simmons Family Jewels was a surprisingly engaging quipfest that fully embraced its mostly likeable and not-really-that-unconventional subjects.  You didn’t always believe the “reality” that was presented, but you laughed often and cared about the family.  Mom and Dad didn’t need to be married to be happy and their well-adjusted kids seemed ok with that.

Since the crisis-ridden episodes of season six, however, the fun stuff has been gradually phased out in favour of the increasingly glum relationship dramas.  Simmons looks like a beaten dog much of the time, especially when his wife eagerly springs her annoying adoption desire on him with little warning.  Rather than firmly tell Shannon she’s a complete nut for wanting to be a single parent again, he lives in cerebral meanderland, a wonderful place where you don’t quite commit to something horrible nor do you specifically turn it down while secretly hoping the uncomfortable subject is eventually dropped just as quickly as it was brought up.

An overview of the entire forthcoming season reveals that Shannon and Shannon alone is the only member of the family completely onboard with this stupidity.  (Barely seen Nick correctly calls it “an awful idea” in one of next week’s shows.)  After everything that happened last season – the endless counselling sessions with Dr. Wexler (which continue this year), the long separation, and the eventual reconciliation and new start – why would Tweed push her already overly extended luck with this bullshit?

If she doesn’t let go of this annoying desire of hers very soon, how long before an overly tolerant Gene realizes he has to get out of this nightmare and go back to banging less needy groupies?  Then again, even if she doesn’t adopt, based on what’s been seen and heard in the last year or so, this rickety marriage is already doomed.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, May 28, 2012
11:47 p.m.

UPDATE:  More than a month later, Shannon has finally given up her silly desire.  In a recent hour-long episode of Family Jewels, she informs Nick, Sophie and Gene that keeping her family together is far more important than raising a foster child.  After watching her equally delusional younger sister Tracy needlessly struggle through a pointless albeit mercifully brief flirtation with in-vitro fertilization (she has one last frozen embryo that’s almost a decade old that she’s desperate to have implanted in her uncooperative uterus), the stubborn Shannon has returned to the land of the sane.  She’s thankfully backed off from wanting another kid to raise.  Kudos to Sophie and Nick for vigourously and persuasively opposing this nonsense.  If only their father had their courage.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
12:58 a.m.

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Published in: on May 28, 2012 at 11:47 pm  Comments (6)  

Despicable Cheat

I missed my opportunity
To put you in your place
To throw the unspeakable truth
Right back in your face

If I’d been there from the beginning
I’d have a ringside seat
For all the emotional fallout
You’re a despicable cheat

How could you stray
From such exquisite perfection?
She was completely devoted to you
You made a powerful connection

But the lure of the tramp
Became your ultimate undoing
(Just because she’s easy
Doesn’t mean she’s worth screwing)

When your wife learned
About your horrible misdeed
Her loving turned to loathing
And you began to bleed

The atmosphere turned toxic
The environment so unsafe
All because you stuffed
Your tiny weiner in a waif

What ever were you thinking?
You’ve must’ve been insane
This is what happens
When you’re born without a brain

Fortunately for you
You’ve never been unwanted
You quickly snagged another
No wonder you’re undaunted

Your marriage may have died
But your chutzpah lives on
Maybe your current squeeze
Will soon carry your spawn

Three years after the mistake
You decided to say good-bye
To the best gig you’ll ever have
All your supporters asked, “Why?”

I’m not sure what you were offered
But your reaction was startling
Who knew you would become
The next Jackie Martling

A once shining talent
Who thought he was worth more
But after he walked away
He became an anonymous bore

And just like The Joke Man
You made a brief return
If only you hadn’t left
A lesson too late to learn

Long after the debacle
Your lovely ex moved on
One day she’ll be attracted
To brains over brawn

But until that day arrives
She’ll fly solo and free of strife
While you’ll obsessively ponder
How you fucked up your life

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, May 28, 2012
11:23 p.m.

Published in: on May 28, 2012 at 11:23 pm  Comments (2)  

Breaking The Extended Silence

How do you express frustration without sounding unappreciative for all the good things in your life?  How do you convey disappointment without letting it swallow you whole?  Quite simply, how do you just put out there what’s really bothering you?

For the past three weeks, this website has been silent.  There have been no new entries of any kind since May 5th (not counting an update to The Very Foolish Sarah Tressler on May 11th).  One problem has been my mood.  It’s been quite sour at times over the past month.  (I have this uncanny ability to allow negativity to dominate my thinking.  It’s a very difficult trait to let go of.)

Here’s the deal.  I’m a 36-year-old man with no job, no girlfriend and no place of my own.  I still live with my parents, my maternal grandmother and her cat.  I’ve often joked about this current situation being my Costanza period as a way of coping.  But truthfully, I’ve never been happy about any of this.

This wasn’t how I envisioned my life when I was much younger.  I was supposed to have a special someone, a great career as a creative person and an independent life.  None of that has happened.  Part of that is my fault for giving up too much too easily when I get discouraged but the rest of the time, I’m not really given a fair shake.  With my 37th birthday coming up in the next little while, it’s impossible to deny this reality any longer.  Something has to change.  I want to be a happier person.

Although my mood has thankfully improved recently (mostly because of the warmer weather and a lot of sympathetic music), I’ve not been terribly inspired to write, another problem I’ve been experiencing of late.  It’s funny.  You can assemble several decent pieces in a row over a considerable amount of time without any fear of losing momentum and then, just as suddenly, your creativity goes on vacation and loses all contact with you.  Regular readers will find this refrain quite familiar.

One somewhat welcome distraction from all of this has been the family attic.  When we moved into our current residence almost 30 years ago, a whole bunch of boxes crammed with assorted possessions went right up there where they quickly became forgotten (with the exception of Christmas decorations which, for many years, came down for the holiday season then were put back up in the new year).  As I grew up, even more junk was relocated to the highest floor in the house.  Nothing up there ever seemed destined to be thrown away.  The pile of crap just kept growing.

In 2004, the nephew of my then-living chiropractor (she died in 2009), who had been recommended to us for the purpose of transforming my mom’s old dance studio into an apartment for my grandmother in 1997 and had worked on numerous home improvement projects since then, talked my dad into “finishing” the attic.  Unfortunately, this turned out to be a terrible idea.

The one-room floor, which was never properly renovated when we settled here in 1984, was artificially transformed into two incomplete spaces.  With my regrettable assistance, the handyman had drywalled one-half of the room (making it feel much smaller) and created a cubbyhole which stored all our crap.  A make-shift door was made out of a sawed off piece of drywall.  Only a screw placed in a hole on the front in the top middle keeps it in place.

Once the door is removed and put to the side, unless you’re Peter Dinklage you have to crouch through the unlit area (there was supposed to be a light fixture installed) using a flashlight in order to keep track of your surroundings.  The confining space is not terribly easy to traverse through.  There are wooden floor beams you have to watch out for or you’ll trip.

Needless to say, my parents were not thrilled with the handyman’s work.  After my mom got into a heated argument with him one uncomfortable summer afternoon over what he was charging us for a deeply flawed project (more than 20 dollars an hour, if my memory is good), he was promptly fired.  He’s not been back since.

About a month or so later, I took it upon myself to begin the thankless task of going through our voluminous attic possessions in order to find suitable material for my former church’s rummage sale in early October 2004.  (I’ve been an atheist since 1996.  Mom still goes.)  I would estimate between 45 and 50 boxes of stuff existed up there at that time.  Over the next three summers, even more items would be removed reducing the overall total considerably.  (Despite initially being upset at me for doing this, my mom eventually got on board.)

A few years ago, the attic became a second home for mice.  You could often hear them carrying on through the walls in numerous rooms in the house, particularly at night.  Ultimately, my dad started buying these little bags of poison that come in a cereal-sized box.  You open up the bags, lay them strategically on the floor where the mice tend to congregate and they’re supposed to mistake them for food.  (The poison is concealed in these little, colourful pellets.)

Because of this annoying development, I stayed as far away from the attic as you can imagine.  But on May 13 this year, the sabbatical ended.  Instead of wanting a purchased gift, my mom wanted me to perform a good deed for her on Mother’s Day.  She asked me to clear everything out of the cubbyhole and bring down all those dead electronics we’d been needlessly hanging on to so they can be eventually taken away by a company that specializes in removing such materials.  (That day can’t come soon enough.)

It was a particularly warm afternoon to be spending any amount of time in the attic of an old home.  Based on past experiences, I was used to that (except sweat dripping into my eye which happened on a follow-up trip).

What I wasn’t anticipating was all that mouse shit.  It was everywhere.  On the main room carpet, in some of the boxes, near a pipe (where my dad had literally seen a few rodents shoot down years earlier) and most especially on the floor of the cubbyhole.  I should’ve worn a mask.

Thankfully, there were no critters to keep an eye on me.  However, there were disintegrated remnants of them in parts of that main room.  The poison worked.

It was overwhelming and disgusting but I had a job to do and by God (how’s that for irony?), I did the best I could under the deeply disturbing circumstances.  (I was also a bit tired from not having a great night’s sleep.)  With the exception of scattered bits of wood, a bag of insulation, some shingles, three boxes of additional wood and another box filled with sawdust and other garbage, all of our possessions were safely placed in the main room.  (The flimsy boxes were too heavy to move and I didn’t know where to place the scattered bits.)  And quite a number of dead electronics found their way to the front porch.

Ever since then, I’ve made two additional journeys upstairs where I’ve discovered more useless equipment (like a very long ghettoblaster covered in old paint drips and drywall crumbs) and have managed to fill and remove at least two full bags of trash.  (Not a pleasant job, by any means.  Sadly, only some of the rat shit was removed.)  But there’s still between 15 and 20 boxes of stuff (among other unboxed items) left to peruse and assess.  (May 30 UPDATE:  After clearing out three more bags of garbage this afternoon, I specifically counted a little more than 30 boxes.  Ugh.)  More than ever, I’m determined to finish the job I started eight years ago.  It will not be easy.

As helpful as this on-again, off-again process has been for me personally (a massive clean-up job really can improve your focus and temperament), it’s also been a complete pain in the ass.  I shouldn’t have to be the one to do this at this point in my life (not that I’m not appreciative of having something to do while my life is on hold).  I shouldn’t be dealing with useless junk that no one else wants to deal with, much of which isn’t mine.  (And this is only one room we’re talking about.)  But because I’m not getting paid for my writing, I’m not dating and I’m still at home, at least I have some useful purpose.  But I’m growing tired of not progressing beyond this stage of my life.

I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do.  The attic clean-up will most likely continue when this stream of hot weather passes us by in a couple of days.  Because it’s much more bearable on cooler afternoons, this process will probably drag on and off for the next several months until the next church rummage sale in September.  (I’m hoping it doesn’t take nearly that long.)  As long as I have a clear objective of how to proceed, the most disgusting room in the house will gradually become slightly more inhabitable and fewer boxes of junk will live up there.

But beyond that, all my other problems remain.  How does a late-blooming, shy person still living at home resurrect a long dormant love life?  How does a blogger expand a readership to the point of attracting the publishing and broadcasting industries’ attention?  And how does a mama’s boy finally grow up to become a man?

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, May 28, 2012
1:01 a.m.

Published in: on May 28, 2012 at 1:01 am  Comments (1)  

The Problems With Aftermath’s Greatest Entrance Theme Tournament

It’s one of the most unique programs on Canadian Television, a show that assesses the good and the bad of two other shows right after they finish airing on the same channel.

For three years, Aftermath has cast a critical eye on the WWE’s two weekly mainstays, Monday Night Raw and Friday Night Smackdown.  Appropriately scheduled to come on immediately after each show concludes (in the case of Raw, it follows the Tuesday afternoon replay just after 6 p.m.), the three-person panel breaks down the latest episodes and offers commentary on what worked and what didn’t in a half hour or less (depending on how long the last Raw replay goes over) twice a week on The Score.

Last October, Aftermath established its own blog on The Score’s official website.  Besides following media stories involving professional wrestlers, there’s extended commentary on WWE programming, regular podcasts and even several exclusive video interviews with notable figures in the business.

Recently, just for fun, the site established brackets for a tournament to determine the greatest entrance theme of all time.  (You know, the songs that play when wrestlers make their way to the ring.)  63 were selected by the bloggers themselves while the last spot, a wild card entry, was voted on by readers.  It’s a great idea that’s already generated a lot of online comments.

Unfortunately, there are several problems with the way the whole concept has been laid out.  Let’s go through them one by one:

1. Unspecified themes

When you examine the full list of contenders, for the most part you’ll notice a lot of wrestlers’ names without actual song titles beside them which in a good number of cases leads to considerable confusion.  Consider the selection of Randy Orton.  One would presume that Voices, the theme he’s been using since the spring of 2008, is the one that was picked because it’s the most recent.

But he’s had other notable themes.  During his Legend Killer phase, he used Burn In My Light, which I always felt was a better song.  Whatever theme was chosen should be listed in his bracket to clear up any doubts.

Kane is another performer who’s had more than one memorable theme over the course of his career.  Currently, he’s using Veil Of Fire, a variation of at least one of his earlier heel entrances.  But between 2002 and 2008, he used the Finger Eleven song, Slow Chemical, regardless of the direction of his character.  So, which of his six themes is in the tournament?

Granted, when you see Shawn Michaels’ name, you immediately think of Sexy Boy and nothing else.  In the case of Kofi Kingston, S.O.S comes to mind.  Kurt Angle?  I Don’t Suck.  And even though he originally used Eye Of The Tiger and, for a very brief period, Hulk Hogan’s Theme (also used for the short-lived cartoon series, Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘N Wrestling), Hulk Hogan is most closely associated with Real American which was actually written for Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo during their US Express period.  (Aftermath panelist Arda Ocal confirmed recently on the show that Real American is indeed in the tournament even though it’s not listed in the Hulk Hogan bracket.  Hollywood Hulk is a separate contender.)

However, for those of us who remember more than one entrance theme for a number of these performers (The Fabulous Freebirds used Freebird before Badstreet U.S.A., to name yet another example), simply adding specific song titles next to their names would be a big help with the voting process.

2. Too many recent themes

I grew up in the era of The Wrestling Album and have many fond memories of the songs that were conceived for the wrestlers of the mid-to-late 80s and early 90s.  Quite a few of those entrance themes have stood the test of time which makes me wonder why some of the stronger ones from that period weren’t selected for this silly tournament.

When he turned ‘face in 1987, Jake “The Snake” Roberts had a fantastically ominous instrumental entrance theme that perfectly suited his dark character.  When wiley manager Slick, The Doctor Of Style, danced to the ring before a match, usually with Akeem (the former One Man Gang) grooving right next to him, we heard the delightfully hooky Jive Soul Bro, one of the earliest wrestling rap themes.

In the early 90s, Hacksaw Jim Duggan started coming out to his own catchy instrumental song helpfully punctuated with his trademark “Hoooo!” catchphrase.  And what about All-American Boys which features The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers?  (I’m sure there are others I’m forgetting.)

All were sadly snubbed for more recent themes for Brodus Clay, M.V.P and Kofi Kingston among others.  (Honestly, are those tracks better than the ones I mentioned that were rejected?)  Just because you’ve heard a relatively new entrance theme millions of times in the last few weeks/months/years doesn’t automatically make it a good choice for this tournament.  (It’s only memorable because you can’t escape it, not because it’s anything spectacular.)  Although there are a number of strong selections, past and present, that did make the cut, the overemphasis on the new hurts its overall credibility as a best-of-all-time tournament.

3. Why only one Wild Card spot?

What’s the point of having a fun little tournament like this when readers could only select one of their own favourites?  It’s too late now but wouldn’t it have made a lot more sense to have all interested parties vote for as many entrance themes as possible and then the 64 that acquired the most votes would make the cut?  Perhaps this would have eliminated a number of unwelcome recent themes from the list.

4. Gorgeous George should share a bracket with Randy Savage

At some point during the beginning of his WWF run, Randy “Macho Man” Savage started using Pomp And Circumstance as his entrance theme.  He did this for a very specific reason.  He worshipped Gorgeous George.

Perhaps the most famous wrestler of the 50s and 60s, George was also the most influential.  He dyed his hair blonde, wore colourful robes, had the squared circle sprayed with perfume so it wouldn’t smell of sweat, and generally behaved like a feminine narcissist.  He also had an entrance theme:  Pomp And Circumstance.

While the song is now mostly associated with Savage, give credit to the guy who did it first.  Add Gorgeous George’s name to The Macho Man’s bracket.

Round one of voting for the Aftermath Blog’s Greatest Entrance Theme Tournament begins on Monday.  Let the arguing begin.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, May 5, 2012
8:15 p.m.

Published in: on May 5, 2012 at 8:15 pm  Comments (1)