Sweet Fix and Tim Jacobus Reveal New Artwork!

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Usually, I’m not one to get a lot of phone calls. Although, not too long ago, a phone call came in from Ivan Anderson, guitarist from the band Sweet Fix that I reviewed here recently. Any time I’ve spoken to Ivan he always has a very enthusiastic tone and I appreciate that. He’s got such a passion for his music and also for pop culture stuff in general. This has lead him to read The Sexy Armpit on many occasions. He noticed our post about New Jersey native Tim Jacobus’ “It Came From New Jersey,” during the 2013 Halloween Countdown, and he called me without hesitation. Hmm, did he want to invite me to an upcoming Sweet Fix show? Did he want to challenge me to a public debate about the role and impact on society of ’80s sitcom neighbors? WHAT WAS IT? Now I needed to know, so I actually had a real live phone conversation with him.

“You’re never gonna believe this…” Ivan blasted. When he started mentioning the post I wrote about Goosebumps artist Tim Jacobus, he thought it was such an amazing coincidence that the news he was about to break to me also involved Mr. Jacobus. Strange and eerie things must have been afoot during the Halloween Countdown!
Ivan finally cut to the chase. His band Sweet Fix had enlisted none other than legendary artist Tim Jacobus to do a balls-out piece of art featuring the band in Goosebumps style. Mind blown!
It was difficult figuring out what was more amazing, the news about Tim’s Sweet Fix artwork OR the fact that this came into play right around the same time that my post went up. And we did not coordinate this effort in any way. 
Since Tim’s artwork of the band had been done for a while now, all that was left for Sweet Fix was to unveil it somehow. Sure they could’ve just threw it up on their website and had everyone click LIKE or comment “Cool!,” but they wanted to do something a little more elaborate to commemorate it. 
The band knows that I am a New Jersey Pop Culture maniac, so this was the reason for Ivan’s call. The logistics were set, the time, the place, and all we needed was for Tim to be on board. Being the awesome motherf*cker that he is, he was happy to be a part of it. The “It” that I am referring to is the  video we filmed to discuss this incredible collaboration.
Posted above is my conversation with Sweet Fix and Tim Jacobus, filmed by Mike Wirth (@idiotatplay on Twitter) at the Union Plaza Diner in Union, NJ (naturally a diner, we’re in New Jersey!) In it we talk all about the album, Tim’s Goosebumps covers, and of course, we unveil Tim’s artwork of the band. Enjoy!

First Openly Gay WWE Star Hails From New Jersey

Darren Young coming out seemed like a shock to the wrestling world, but it really wasn’t. Many of the WWE Superstars were well aware that one half of the Prime Time Players was gay and it didn’t change his position in the company either way. In fact, it may even give his career a big boost.

The story broke recently via TMZ, as all these tabloid stories usually do. Even though Young has been with WWE since signing with NXT in 2009, he’s still a relative newcomer to the big time. And now, for reasons beyond his in-ring ability, people are becoming familiar with his name. Just last night on Monday Night Raw, Young was prominently featured in a tag-team match.

Although billed from Miami, Florida, Young, whose real name is Fred Rosser, was born in Union, NJ and began his wrestling career at IWF in West Paterson, New Jersey. After several years of wrestling on the indy circuit, Rosser signed with WWE developmental. The NXT rookie was mentored by CM Punk and soon after Darren Young appeared on WWE TV as part of the brash Nexus faction.

Young was even referred to as the black John Cena by some fans. He had the right look and physique and would’ve gotten a push, but I’d wager to say that Young wouldn’t have announced he was gay if he felt it would be detrimental to his success within WWE. If anything, revealing his personal sexual preference has only brought him more notoriety. In some ways this seemed like a strategic business move – one that was probably passed through the corporate hierarchy in WWE before Young broke the news to TMZ.

Can’t you just see Vince McMahon’s reaction if he was opposed to Young coming out while still on the active roster? It probably wouldn’t be long before Young heard that famous growl:”You’re FIIRRRREEED.”

If Young did in fact make the announcement on his own, without WWE’s knowledge, I give him credit for being brave. Either way, WWE would be accused of sexism and discrimination if they retaliated against him in any way, or worse, let him go for making the announcement without their knowledge. As supporters of their Be a Star bullying campaign, WWE would look like super hypocrites.

Never put it passed WWE to see dollar signs in Young’s courageous admission. In our diverse culture, sexual preferences shouldn’t make a difference, but in the wrestling world there’s been several gay wrestlers through the years who kept it to themselves. For some of those WWE Superstars their decision for it to remain a secret had a lot to do with personal reasons, the views on sexuality in the country, or for others, it was the fear of losing their highly sought after position in the company.

If WWE approves of Cameron from the Funkadactyls discussing her option to get breast implants on Total Divas to show that not all women need to have them, WWE may have even encouraged Young to come out to exploit the fact that they are a non-discriminatory company to work for. After hearing of all the wrestlers dying WWE needs as much ammunition to tout as they can get.

A View From The Cassette Deck

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Who says you need a DeLorean to time travel? Lately, my various former jobs in radio have given me the ability to relive past times in my life. I never realized how weird it is to listen to old shows of mine where we discussed stuff that is now extremely dated. Listening to these recordings is sort of like time traveling.

It all started when I noticed that there were about 30 cassette tapes in my closet (yeah kids, I said cassette tapes, look it up on Wikipedia) collecting dust and begging for attention. I was finally able to connect my old Aiwa stereo to the computer properly and started plowing through some of these tapes. Hearing these shows and clips have been quite a trip. Some of the highlights I had completely forgotten about and some of the low-lights still stick in my head.

Some of the guests were sort of depressing. One guest author talked about his recent book all about “new” digital music technology including mp3s and Napster which made me feel super old. Another guest, a lead singer of a band that was signed nationally, was promised the world by their label, but their CD tanked and they were never heard from again. Aside from this, much of the banter was fun to listen to, in fact, the best parts came when my co-host Sharon and I discussed the news. Even listening to old news is still entertaining if it’s broadcast by hosts engaging in whacked-out conversations. Even the most ridiculous back and forth couldn’t stop me from thinking how time really makes such a difference. Back then I taped these inconsequential shows for no other reason other than to make more clips for use in future shows, never thinking that I’d be going back and listening to them so many years later.

The content of these old tapes made me wonder, “am I where I’d like to be in my life?” I followed the radio career as long as it took me, but ultimately I wound up in a completely different field making an adequate salary. I figured that not everything in life could be as fun as goofing off on a radio show. Life is what you make of it, and a lot of people do indeed LOVE their jobs, one of whom is a former classmate. He was just an all around good guy and I admired his positive outlook on everything. It was because of his hard work and positive attitude that he accomplished his goals.

I thought of him because he popped up on a random installment of my old college radio show that I had been listening to. Before I went on the air one day I asked one of the younger DJ’s if he wanted to stop in and plug his own show that he had recently started. Justin was sort of an odd man out because he had no shame about his love for pop and dance music at a station that was crammed with hard rock tunes and WSOU wannabes.

Justin did his radio show because he was motivated and because it was fun, but his main goal was being a weather man – a feature he incorporated into his show. As we fast forward to present day we can see Justin’s progression. The young college DJ playing mainstream music in a world of rock went on to work as an actual TV weather man for FOX 2 in Detroit! He no longer works for them, but basically lived his dream and he told me he’s still pursuing it. Will he still be a weather man when he’s 55? Who knows, but he can still go back and smile at the fact that he did it, and he did it well! The Sexy Armpit is very proud of you Justin! Perhaps you could use his success as inspiration in your life. Now to continue my cassette tape trip back in time!

The Dirty Pearls Rocking Union, NJ

Since Eventful’s KISS Opening Bands competition is completely fixed, make sure you catch The Dirty Pearls elsewhere on their upcoming east coast tour. They are the best band in New York City and in the above performance of “Caffeine & Gasoline,” they show Jersey what their brand of Rock and Roll is all about. The video was recorded by FuzztopiaVideos at Soundwaves Recording Studio in Union, NJ.
Along with a couple of New York City dates, The Dirty Pearls will blow the roof off of Maxwells in Hoboken, NJ on October 2nd 2010. See you there!

The Day the Candy Died

At work the other day we came into a windfall of Smarties. It was fun, it was like Halloween. I don’t eat candy a lot now that I’m all “grown up,” but I was a loyal fan of the candy when I was a kid. Smarties were a favorite of mine and I can’t count how many occasions Smarties wound up in my hands. We would get them in birthday party goody bags, on Halloween, and sometimes in a big-ass variety pack mom bought that was filled with candy. Smarties never changed the formula and always stayed true to themselves. The packaging, flavor, and consistency have stayed the same as long as I can remember. This means a lot in comparison with all the rest of the candy out there.
We stuffed our pockets with as much would fit. My coworker and I had lumpy asses. I haven’t had them in so long so I ripped into them immediately and they tasted awesome. There was actually different varieties like Tropical, which didn’t taste too much different than the original, and Bubble Gum! Now, I’m a big fan of the flavor bubble gum as in “Maglione’s Italian Ice Bubble Gum,” and I was hoping that the Smarties would taste similar. After I popped a bunch in my mouth and started chewing I realized that they actually turned into gum. A pretty BAD gum if I must say. It tasted like apples instead of bubble gum. Even worse, was that it was the type of weak gum that seems like your chewing a pansy ass gum that wears frilly violet shirts. I spit the damn gum out immediately. I couldn’t stand it.
It’s such a shame that Smarties has bowed to the pressures of society and started making all these different varieties. That’s the downfall of quality. Why make Reese’s with caramel, Reese’s with white chocolate, Reese’s with pudding, Reese’s cookies, Reese’s with pesto sauce, Reese’s with neon yellow peanut butter, Reese’s with her spoon, the list goes on and on. To all the candy companies: Start concentrating on the original and quit worrying about offshoots! Stop trying to spin-off your candy! Are you trying to make candy or jump the shark?
After checking out their website, I read that they’re a family owned company and they are made right in Union, New Jersey! Not that this makes me forget how awful their Smarties gum is, but it definitely puts them back in my good graces. But that didn’t last long as I continued to peruse their site and saw so many different kinds of Smarties to chose from. There’s even Smarties candy money! Let this be a lesson, stick to the basics. Once you start manufacturing X-Treme Sour Smarties, it’s disastrous!
And what’s with Nestle Chocolate Smarties clogging up search engines when I search for the REAL Smarties? F-them! Does anyone even like them?