GMIM: The Carlton, Dunkirk, and shopping scams

Welcome to another installment of Good mourning, it’s Monday! This weekly blog looks to cover various topics in the news, along with personal stories or encounters from the past week at home and work to help you through your first day back at work (unless you don’t work). Hopefully my seven followers like this and share this to make it eight. Enjoy…

Is The Carlton the greatest dance in television history?

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So the other night, the girlfriend and I had the TV on prior to going na-nights. She prefers to fall asleep with it on, while I would rather not burn my eyeballs out before falling asleep. I usually lose that battle, but I promise you, I will win the war.

Anywho, we throw on Nick at Nite* and playing is Fresh Prince. We jump in the middle of Season 2, Episode 24, a.k.a. “Striptease for Two” from May 4, 1992 to see Alfonso Ribeiro on stage in front of a large number of middle-aged women. He gets into a Chippendale’s-esque routine that is cut short by Ribeiro’s TV mom. Kicking off the routine, however is the familiar swaying of his arms left to right and right to left, with the rest of his body following along. Yes, it’s Carlton Banks’ signature dance, simply known as “The Carlton.”

Brief History

Carlton Banks’ dance first appeared in Season 2, Episode 13 titled “Christmas Show,” when the family is on a holiday vacation and Carlton is a little late joining in on the spontaneous dance party in the living room.

What elevated the dance from a random fixture in a Christmas episode to legendary status was the first time Carlton danced to Tom Jones’ song “It’s not Unusual” in Season 3, Episode 10 titled “Asses to Ashes.”

Ribeiro had created a masterpiece with his signature move featuring the perfect song to accompany it. But what was his inspiration for “The Carlton?”  How did he craft such an iconic dance? During his appearance 2014 appearance on The Real, Alfonso revealed the inspiration was a comedian and a 1984 hit song:

Yup, 18 years after inventing The Carlton, Ribeiro used his signature move in Dancing with the Stars to win the title (which doesn’t mean a thing, but hey, good for you).

After watching Fresh Prince the other night, it had me thinking: is “The Carlton” the greatest dance in television history?

The Elaine Dance

Even if you didn’t follow Seinfeld, you’ve at least heard of this dance. It’s a classic move by middle-aged women to “get the party started,” but end up looking like their head is kicking, arms are nodding, and feet are punching. The reliability on this is quite high for most women, unfortunately.

Fonzie in the dance contest

Eyyyyyyyyyyyyy! Season 3, Episode 17 of Happy Days had the Fonz bust out in a dance that not only dominated the Dance Contest, but also served as the inspiration for Weezer’s music video for “Buddy Holly.”  Of course, the Fonz makes it look so easy.

The Routine

Friends is one of those shows that people don’t necessarily remember episodes, but instead the moments. I guess they did it right by naming the show Friends and doing friends stuff. Yeah…

Well, this is one of those moments. Ross and Monica do “The Routine.” It’s the type of show with moments like this that make you feel more connected to the characters you love. Or in my case, make you feel obligated to add to this video to the list.

Verdict

While other shows have great dance “moments,” nothing has ever come close to The Carlton’s influence in pop culture and weddings more than two decades later. It’s the perfect wedding dance to fit in with your Aunt Louise, or to jokingly show off your excitement before heading out for the night. When you see someone bust out The Carlton, you know it’s time to play Tom Jones. And when “It’s Not Unusual” plays, you know it’s time to bust out The Carlton.

Hit the damn music!!!

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*Nick at Nite and Adult Swim are the g.o.a.t. in terms of late night television.

Zach’s movie review: Dunkirk

It’s pretty much a guarantee that a baseball, World War II, and/or a mixture of both themed film will be featured in box offices nationwide every single year. They’re an easy money-grab until old folk stop going to the movies.

Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan dips his feet in the historical genre with a story focused on the Battle of Dunkirk, the defense and evacuation of British and Allied soldiers from Europe to Britain from May 26 to June 4 of 1940. Most WWII films have covered D-Day, the battles in the Pacific, and the Allies’ eventually victory from an American standpoint. But Nolan introduces audiences to a battle that is taught to every British school child in history class, but may be unfamiliar to many Americans, myself included.

Nearly all of Nolan’s films are focused around one theme: time. Memento deals with short-term memory loss, Inception dives into multiple dreams, and Interstellar’s focal point is space travel. Dunkirk lays out the time right away with three separate, yet connected vantage points in the story line:

1. The Mole [one week]
2. The Sea [one day]
3. The Air [one hour]

At first, I wasn’t sure if this was meant to be a countdown to a major event, or maybe a certain time ago. But after the first 10 minutes of the film, it’s easy to catch on and realize that these three separate stories start at their own respective times in the past (one week ago, yesterday, and an hour prior) and are on track to collide in the finale.

The biggest stand-out names are Tom Hardy and Harry Styles, but the cast as a whole helps create a well-played motion picture. In fact, Hardy and Styles are possibly the least featured stars in this film, and Hardy’s face is covered 90% of the time by a fighter pilot mask. Dialog is sparse and the action is constant, but the same could be said about war.

Although there are references to real-life high-ranking military officers, the characters in Dunkirk are fiction. Nolan pointed out the fictitious aspects of the film, but says the bigger events and moments are accurate. This allowed Nolan to create characters better focused around the events of Dunkirk, and prevented him from doing a disservice to anyone actually involved via a poor or inaccurate acting portrayal.

I highly suggest watching Dunkirk in IMAX. Even as I watched this film on a standard AMC screen, the sounds of gun shots, airplanes, and bombs were the most intense I’ve experienced in a theater. The fear of every soldier as the screeching sweep of German bombers hovered in the distance could be felt while watching the film.

Hans Zimmer handles the score in Dunkirk and like most films he works on, it’s fantastic. Much like the perfect combination of Steven Spielberg and John Williams, Nolan and Zimmer continue to create outstanding films with the perfect soundtrack to accompany the visuals. The video below does an excellent job explaining how Zimmer uses the Shepard Tone sound illusion to add intensity to various films:

I won’t jump the gun like other critics have in hailing Dunkirk as a “masterpiece,” but I’d be lying if I didn’t call this one of the best WWII films to date. As soon as I walked out of the theater, I was already thinking about when I would see it again. Although I could wait until its release on Redbox or possibly Netflix, I would absolutely pay money to watch it again, this time in IMAX.

With the numerous reboots, sequels, and flops flooding the box office this year, Dunkirk shines as not only the standout film of the summer, but as a heavy Oscar favorite as well.

Zach’s rating: 5/5 

Why sales and savings are the biggest scams when shopping

This past weekend featured a little shopping at a store called Kohl’s. In my younger days, mama would take my brother and I school shopping there so we could be the coolest kids in grade school. Nowadays, I only stop in when my mother gives me some Kohl’s cash, which I usually pass on to my girlfriend. (Notice I’m too humble to say I’m a classy guy or a great boyfriend? You won’t see me brag about myself in these blogs.)

While I humbly write about my experiences in these blogs, Kohl’s loves to brag about its endless amount of “savings.” They slap it on advertisements, gift cards, receipts, and registers. Just look at this garbage…

My brain hurts from staring at the mess between each item, the different fonts, and the endless numbers. The worst thing about this receipt is the circled savings at the bottom. It’s the biggest item on the entire receipt: the $304.23 in “savings.”

Savings, deals, and sales in the shopping world continue the biggest scam going in America. Just recently, Amazon was accused of jacking up its prices for its big “Prime Day” sale.

The success of Kohl’s relies on customers believing they are walking out of their stores not only with new clothes, but also a bigger wallet. News flash, folks: you still spent money. Even our friend who saved over $300 above still blew $166.18, yet Kohl’s wants you to believe that customer is three-hundo richer because of them.

You may be thinking, “Zach, the point is they’re paying less than what they would have originally.” Sure, but do you think it really costs all that much to make the clothing in the first place? My first job was flipping patties at McDonald’s, and I was able to see a lot of the nitty-gritty of the biz. One thing that fascinated me was food cost. See kids, back in my high school patty-flipping days, a McDouble was only a dollar while a double cheeseburger was around $1.60. After certain times in the day, the manager had to write down how much food was wasted, tallying number of buns, patties, and even condiments that went in the trash instead of customers’ mouths. I took a look at the list and found out a slice of cheese cost the restaurant 6 cents. Yup, Micky D’s was charging 10x the amount for an extra slice of cheese on its burger. (Prices have obviously changed since that was almost a decade ago, but you get the point.) It’s not to bash the Golden Arches for making a profit, because that’s just business 101. Point is, everyone needs to makes some green, but thankfully Ronald McDonald isn’t running inside the playplace screaming about the savings.

Next time you walk into a store, just remember that unless you spend nothing or someone hands you money, you’re walking out with less money every time. The sales and savings scams are out for your wallet, and it’s your responsibility to stay woke.

Have any stories to share? Suggestions? Feedback? Send them to ZacharyAdamGray@gmail.com or Tweet me @ZacharyAdamGray

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