Friday, June 30, 2006

WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE


BY BELINDA M. PASCHAL
Anarchy in the playroom! God save the Beanie Babies! Never Mind the Barbies … Here’s the Sex Pistols!
Whether you view them as punk revolutionaries, a masterwork of sensationalism or the greatest scam on Earth, the Sex Pistols undeniably carved their own distinctive niche in the rock’n’roll landscape. Now they’re making their mark in the toy industry.
You can relive the days of mile-high mohawks and strategically placed safety pins with Medicom’s 30th anniversary commemorative Sex Pistols Kubrick figurines. The Japanese toy maker has given the Pistols the cute treatment, creating a limited-edition, four-piece set that goes for 42 to 60 bucks a pop at sites including
http://www.funkyzilla.com and www.sweatyfrog.com.
Kubricks, by the way, are block-figure collectibles, generally 2½ to 3 inches tall. Each figure starts from the same basic blocky body, and different heads, body attachment and paint jobs are used to recreate any character. There are Kubricks of music groups, companies and organizations, as well as anime, television and movie characters – Star Wars is on its sixth series of collectibles.
What better way to memorialize to a band created by hype and hawked like the pre-fabricated product that it was? Besides, nothing says "rebel" like cuddling your very own Sid Vicious doll.
If you’re not a fan or toy collector, buy ‘em for the kids. Throw in a set of Sesame Street Kubricks and voila – Celebrity Death Match! Oscar the Grouch would give Johnny Rotten a run for his money, plus they have the same hairstyle. Or display them on your desk to show your coworkers there’s still an iota of the anti-establishment maverick you used to be, before you were forced to bow down to The Man in order to make a decent living.
Obviously, celebrity dolls are not a new concept, but for the most part, they don’t do anything. What if they truly reflected the personalities and behaviors of the people they represent? It would give a whole new meaning to "action figure." I can see it now: An 11-inch replica of Tom Cruise with turbo-action, spring-loaded feet – perfect for spontaneous couch-jumping! Or a model of Naomi Campbell – wind her arm up and watch her throw a telephone! Buy one and get the phone-chucking Russell Crowe figure at half-price!
Just imagine these dolls arriving fresh off the assembly line:
* Michael Jackson, King of Pop figure: Grows progressively whiter with age! Accessories include penny loafers, one glittery glove, red pleather zipper jacket and an assortment of attachable noses. Veiled children dolls sold separately.
* The Jolie-Pitt Clan: Mommy Angelina and Daddy Brad form their own little United Nations with babies Maddox, Zahara and Shiloh! Comes with: Extra car seats, as family is likely to expand. Pro: They’re awfully purty to look at. Con: You’ll soon get tired of looking at them.
* The Britney, Sean P. and Baby-to-Be Makes Three Playset: Hear lifelike Britney chirp, "Oops, I dropped him again!" and "It was the nanny’s fault, y’all!" Comes with collapsible high chair.
The set would not include a Kevin Federline doll, as it would make sales plummet even lower than his so-bad-you-gotta-laugh single, PopoZ√£o.

Friday, June 16, 2006

ONLY HER SURGEON NOSE FOR SURE

By BELINDA M. PASCHAL
While many singers avoid cosmetic facial surgery because it might irreversibly alter their voices, Ashlee Simpson is rumored to have gone under the knife anyway. Recent pictures of her sans the small bump that made her nose distinctive suggest the rumors are nothing to sneeze at.
She's also gone back to her natural blonde. I will concede that she's significantly cuter than she was a year or two ago, when she looked frighteningly like the love child of Gomer Pyle and Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. However, the changes in her appearance have led me to a rather disturbing suspicion: Ashlee Simpson is gradually morphing into her sister Jessica.
At the rate she’s Jessifying, she may have to modify the chorus of her hit, Boyfriend, to: Hey, how long till the music drowns you out?/Don’t put words up in my mouth/I didn’t steal your boyfriend … just your face.
I’m tellin’ ya, all she needs is an ex-boy band husband and she will have completely assumed her elder sib's identity. She's starting to look more like Jessica than Jessica does! Come to think of it, when's the last time anyone’s seen Jess in public? Hmm.
Initially, Ashlee denied the nose-job rumors, despite "before" and "after" photographic evidence to the contrary. The difference is as plain as ... well, the nose on her face. Later, she laughed off the speculation by stating, "Everybody's already saying it, so I just don't talk about it. I'm like, OK, whatever. It doesn't bother me."
Hey, maybe she, like, totally got, like, a nose job because her much-publicized acid reflux or whatever was, like, eating away at her septum. (And causing spontaneous outbursts of lip-synching on live television.)
I honestly believe Ashlee's goal is to become totally Jessified, then surpass her sister on the Ladder of Sexy. In April, she boasted that she's ''hotter" than Jessica, telling Scotland's Daily Record: "I'm taller than … and my legs are longer … I got lucky because my chest size isn't completely massive."
Ah, but, my dear, the very reason you have attained The Hotness is because you look like your sister now. Tsk, tsk. Don't bite the face that feeds you, Ash.
Sadly, it's not difficult to be hotter than Simpson the Elder at the moment. Make no mistake– I think Big Sis trumps Li'l Sis in both the looks and talent departments. (Yes, I mentioned Jessica Simpson and talent in the same sentence. Sue me.) But since her breakup with Nick Lachey, she's been looking a little ... well ... let's just say she's a black wig away from being mistaken for the old Ashlee.
But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it's not Jessica whose place Ashlee is trying to take. If you close one eye and squint with the other, she does bear an uncanny resemblance to Kirk Douglas. Or maybe she's impersonating Paris Hilton.
If that's the case, all she has to do is replace her brain with a small crayon drawing of a brain.

Friday, June 02, 2006

ALBUM NAME HALL OF SHAME


BY BELINDA M. PASCHAL
They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, and that’s also true of its title. For example, fiction author Francesca Lia Block makes the bestseller lists with such horrifically titled tomes as Necklace of Kisses and Psyche in a Dress.
That same philosophy can be applied to albums. Take, for instance, Fiona Apple’s critically
acclaimed 2001 release. Make no mistake -- I love me some Fiona. But my favorite sullen girl must’ve been off her meds when she came up with When The Pawn Hits The Conflicts He Thinks Like A King What He Knows Throws The Blows When He Goes To The Fight And He'll Win The Whole Thing 'Fore He Enters The Ring There's No Body To Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might So When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand And Remember That Depth Is The Greatest Of Heights And If You Know Where You Stand, Then You Know Where To Land And If You Fall It Won't Matter, Cuz You'll Know That You're Right.
Thankfully, this is commonly abbreviated to When the Pawn – I passed out from lack of oxygen while requesting it at the music store.
When album titles are good, they’re very, very good – e.g., Exile On Main Street by The Rolling Stones and Funkadelic’s One Nation Under a Groove. But when they’re bad, they’re horrid – like Sum 41’s Does This Look Infected? (No confirmation to the rumor that this was Sum singer Deryck Whibley follow-up question after asking for Avril Lavigne’s cloven hoof in marriage.)
I could write a series of columns listing some of the most wrongheaded album titles. (And depending on the severity of my writers’ block this month, I just might.) Here are some inductees in my personal Album Title Hall of Shame:
* Limp Bizkit: Chocolate Starfish & the Hot Dog-Flavored Water – The meaning of this title isn’t printable in a family newspaper. Let’s just say Fred Durst deserves a punch in the "bizkit" for such pretentious idiocy.
* REO Speedwagon: The Earth, A Small Man, His Dog and a Chicken – By the same band who gave us You Can Tune a Piano, But You Can't Tuna Fish, this title sounds like it should be followed by " … walk into a bar."
* Butch Yelton and Upbound: Swing That Gospel Axe – He will, he will … smite you!
* Robyn Archer: Mrs. Bottle's Absolutely Blurtingly Beautiful World-Beating Burp – I wonder if Archer’s next album will be Mr. Fletcher’s Positively Fabulously Fantastic Flame-Fanning Flatulence?
* The Peanut Butter Conspiracy: Is Spreading – The columnist. Is gagging.
* Circulus: The Lick on the Tip Of an Envelope Yet to be Sent – For this, Circulus gets the Foot in the Butt of a Kick Soon to Be Delivered.
* The Ministers Quartet: Let Me Touch Him – Not even with a 10-foot pole.
* Alanis Morrisette: Under Rug Swept – Talks like Yoda, Alanis does.
* Freddie Gage: All My Friends Are Dead – No, Freddie, they’re just really, really frightened by this title and they’ve entered the Witness Protection Program.
* Billy Ray Cyrus: Some Gave All – And clearly, Cyrus shouldn’t have.