Our fearless Glutton braves 7-year-olds at his son's ''Star Wars''-themed birthday. Plus: ''Rock of Love,'' stupid concert tricks, and your mail

By Dalton Ross
Updated July 26, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT
Lucasfilms Ltd.

Dalton gets Darth Maul’ed!

Loyal readers of the Glutton may recall earlier this year I wrote a column about showing my 6-year-old son the Star Wars movies. (If you missed it, read it here.) Well, the movies must have done their trick, because when it came time to plan Dale’s seventh birthday party and my wife and I asked him what he wanted to do, he screamed, ”STAR WARS! STAR WARS! STAR WARS!” (God, I love indoctrinating children.)

This may strike you all as odd, but when he first brought this up, I was actually against it. Having a birthday party at the house is a lot of work. And I wasn’t sure we were ready to handle 15 screaming boys turning our home into their own personal Jedi battle arena. I tried to talk Dale into having it out at some party place where I wouldn’t have to worry about kids jumping on furniture and vomiting up cake on the dining-room floor, but he wasn’t having it. And then it hit me: What the hell am I doing? This should be one of my crowning achievements in fatherhood — throwing a Star Wars party for my son. The torch — or lightsaber, rather — was officially being passed down. I set out with a single-minded purpose and dedication that would have made Qui-Gon Jinn himself proud.

When the big day came last week, I was ready. The best part about the entire party was that I was allowed to break out all my ridiculously unruly Star Wars memorabilia, which had been sentenced by my wife to lifetime imprisonment in the attic. Star Wars posters on display? Absolutely! Figures to put on the cake? You know it! Stand-up life-size cardboard Boba Fett? On the front porch, acting as the most badass intergalactic bouncer Republic credits can buy, baby!!!

Once the little ones got past Boba Fett, I had set up a Star Wars tattoo station so they could pledge their allegiance upon arrival to either the Jedi or Sith orders. (Note: Most tykes went over to the dark side.) What I’ve learned about little kids’ birthday parties is that if you don’t keep them constantly engaged in activities, you’re screwed. It turns into absolute mayhem. So after everyone had showed up and gotten inked, I divided them into teams and then gave each a Star Wars word search I had made on the Internet. They couldn’t have been more into it, yelling to their teammates, ”Where’s Jabba the Hutt?!?” ”Oh, I found Mace Windu! Repeat: Found Mace Windu!” I had worried that this activity might veer dangerously close to resembling actual schoolwork, but the inclusion of funny alien names sent them all into a frenzy of inadvertent learning.

In fact, the word search proved so popular I allowed it to continue longer than originally planned. But I had to wrap it up to get to our next activity: Star Wars trivia. I once again divided everyone up into teams. Dale had prepped me on the kids who knew everything about the franchise, those who were clueless, and those in between. That way I was able to make sure all the teams were evenly matched. But before the game got under way, I had a little surprise for them. While they sat discussing what their team names would be (”Ooh! Ooh! Let’s be the Tusken Raiders!”), I snuck upstairs and slipped on a Darth Maul costume — yes, I own one, and no, you are not allowed to judge. I made my way down the stairs as stealthlike as possible, trying my best not to fall and kill myself, which was a distinct possibility, considering that seeing outside the mask was next to impossible. I felt a bit like Luke Skywalker in Episode 4 with his blast shield down, getting zapped by the lightsaber training droid. Only I was a lot less whiny.

So when I got to the last step, I made a dramatic Force-fueled Sith leap down to the floor, ignited my lightsaber, and busted out a supermaniacal laugh. One girl screamed at the top of her lungs. Another looked at me like, Who the hell is that guy?, and all the boys proceeded to charge at top speed and tackle me. I went from amused to scared to death in a matter of milliseconds. Kind of like that screaming girl. Once I got my hands free, I ripped off my mask as fast as I could and surrendered. It was only then that I noticed that a couple of parents were still there and that this would make for awkward conversation at the next class dinner.

After freeing myself from the kung fu-like grip of the 7-year-olds (who all had Sith tattoos and technically should have been on my side), I commenced the trivia game. These kids were good. Scary good. One question asked them to name as many members of the Jedi Council as possible. I figured they’d get Yoda, Mace Windu, Obi-Wan, and Anakin (although I did have to point out that he was not granted the title of Master), but this one squirrelly young’un actually called out Plo Koon. Plo Koon! How the little bastard knew about Plo Koon is beyond me. I had to look him up on the Internet before I could verify the answer as being correct. After that rousing game, we moved on to Pin the Computer on Darth Vader, which is kinda like Pin the Tail on the Donkey, except you need to place Darth Vader’s front-panel sticker in the middle of his chest. Operating under the premise that regular blindfolds are for suckers, I made all the kids wear my beloved Boba Fett helmet (with the eyes blacked out).

Good fun was had by all, and even though my wife made me put all my memorabilia back in the closet the second after the last kid left, for a few glorious hours, I was a kid again. Oh, who the hell am I kidding? I am a kid approximately 23 hours of every day (and that includes sleeping, when I dream about pulling Jedi mind tricks on my coworkers — just how do you think I convinced Ken Tucker to give me his Chevy Chase Show clock anyway?). As a pair of boys were leaving the party, I heard one excitedly tell the other, ”This was the best party ever.” Honestly, I couldn’t agree more.

Poison frontman Bret Michaels wants nothin’ but a good time. Yet he also wants to find a woman who will talk dirty to him and, on occasion perform a little unskinny bop. But, as we all know, every rose has its thorn.

Okay, that’s it, I’ve used up all my bad Poison song-title puns. In plainer, less-hairsprayed English, here is what I’m trying to say: Bret Michaels is now starring on a VH1 dating show called Rock of Love, in which he is trying to find a new girlfriend from a group of 25 bimbos…I mean babes…I mean ladies. My hesitation in referring to them as ladies may stem from the fact that they spend their free time getting completely soused, performing in front of each other on stripper poles, and comparing their breast implants. Make no mistake about it, Rock of Love is horrifying on many levels. Along with Flavor of Love, the show seems to have set back the women’s movement by, oh…about a century. But there is an undeniably fascinating element to it as well. It’s like we’ve all been afforded a backstage pass to the wildest late-’80s Poison after-party. You feel ashamed for watching it, and even more so for liking it. Kinda like listening to Poison themselves, actually.

NEXT PAGE: The Five Stupidest Things the Glutton’s Ever Done at a Rock Show and Reader Mail

I wrote a few weeks back about attending the Monsters of Rock show in 1988. Well, apparently it is the column that keeps on giving, because it inspired this week’s Five:

The Five Stupidest Things I’ve Ever Done at a Rock Show

1. Tried to stage dive
I was 14 and at my first punk rock show at D.C.’s legendary 9:30 club. While watching the opening act (named Doggy Style, incidentally), I noticed that a whole bunch of people kept jumping off the stage. Looks cool, I thought, But you know what would look even cooler? If I did it! I climbed up and hopped around for a few seconds, looking at the band in the hopes that they were looking at me. Yes, I was desperately hoping for the approval of a bunch of dudes in hula skirts with slogans like ”Eat me” written on their chests in neon paint. (Did I mention their name was Doggy Style?) Anyway, I was so intent on watching them that I didn’t look down at the crowd as I made my fateful plunge. Big mistake. The audience had parted like the Red Sea, and I smacked the ground with a thud. Maybe this was just some sort of hazing or initiation. I don’t really know because I never stage dove again in my life.

2. Made my girlfriend sit 10 rows behind me at a show
This was bad. Back in high school I bought four tickets to see the Cult play. For some reason, two seats were in the third row, and the other two were in row 13. I was dating a girl, but that was starting to go south, and there was another chick I was interested in hooking up with down the line. So I concocted same lame excuse as to why I needed to sit with the new girl up front, and why my current girlfriend had to sit with my buddy back with the losers in row 13. Not surprisingly, I never hooked up with either one ever again.

3. Forgot to bring earplugs to AC/DC
I don’t know if it was the cannons that exploded upon each utterance of the word ”rock” in ”For Those About to Rock (We Salute You),” or the giant bell that was struck at the beginning of ”Hells Bells,” but I was deaf for a week after this concert.

4. Camped out for Who tickets I didn’t want
A bunch of my buddies from school were camping out for Who tickets for their big reunion tour in ’89. I guess I was caught up in the camaraderie of the moment, because I slept out on the sidewalk with them all night and even bought a $50 ticket for a show I had no desire to attend. Luckily, I sold my ticket to a friend a few days later after recovering from the flu I contracted from sleeping outside on cold cement.

5. Stood up at a Public Enemy concert
Back in 1988 (have I dated myself enough yet in this column?), I went to go see Public Enemy. This being Washington, D.C., and this being Public Enemy, I was the only white person in the entire building. That was fine. The embarrassing part happened when Chuck D told the crowd, ”Now I want everyone in the audience on their feet with their fists in the air.” Naturally, I did as instructed and rose up and began to extend my arm. ”Not any of you white people. You can sit your asses back down.” Alrighty, then.

Plenty of thoughts on last week’s column about whether one should be able to point out hot men and women on TV, as well as explanations as to what makes Big Brother‘s Jen so damn annoying. But first, we get things started with another response to my piece on hating rock festivals. Take us away, David…

Trust me on this. Even with the benefit of industrial-strength pharmaceuticals, the experience of sitting in the middle of a field, surrounded by 350,000 unwashed bodies, enduring a two-hour hiatus between Jefferson Starship sans Grace Slick and Genesis sans Peter Gabriel because the headline band refused to play until it was dark enough to use the new lasers ‘n’ mirrors lighting system in which they had invested several kazillion pounds sterling but which could not be seen by anyone in the gently sloping natural arena except for the hundred-or-so audience members jammed into the area immediately in front of the stage (and did I mention that this took place on June 21st, the day of the year of maximum daylight?), was an event that could quite comfortably be described as the 10th Circle of Hell. —David Taylor

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, David, but I just don’t see how that’s possible in this case.

Hey Dalton, how can you only ask the ladies about guys noticing TV hotness? My husband has the decency not to comment on beautiful women, but I can’t contain myself when I see my boyfriends, George Clooney, Clive Owen, and James Tupper (Men in Trees). And yes, my husband reacts exactly like your wife does. —Marisa Genoa

You know, here’s something that didn’t go into last week’s column that probably should have: I gave my wife a lot of crap for flying off the handle over pretty innocuous comments, but the fact remains — I’m not much better. I still take digs at her for the Hugh Grant obsession that she refuses to cop to, but that’s more because she subjected me to it. She made me go see that awful Music & Lyrics film just so she could drool over some clown with an accent. I don’t mind her having some harmless crushes, but don’t make me waste my time (and money) on her imaginary boyfriends. In other words, ignorance is bliss.

My husband and I have a ”hottie system” in which both of us are allowed three hottie celebrities to drool over whenever we see them. If we develop new crushes, someone has to be booted from the list. It makes it fun and takes the pressure off…you and Christina should take a page from our book, although since you write for EW (and thus potentially have real access to hottie celebrities) it might be more problematic for you. —Martha Culver

Love your system, Martha. In fact, I’d print my three right here and right now, but I’m guessing there is about a 3 percent chance that Christina may somehow find this article and commence a new round of harassment over my selections. Oh, okay. I’ll provide some initials: MB, HB, and JC. At least if she reads this, she’ll have to deal with a few maddening hours of decoding. Love ya, honey!

What makes Jen so annoying is the fact that while she is actually a fearless, smart player and not easily influenced by the dumber ones…she can still act so incredibly stupid! She isn’t phased by Evil Dick (who I think is great and his edit is not doing him justice) going off on her — in fact she just laughs it off, much to his annoyance. She nominated smartly for Dick and Danielle to be eliminated, but then let her stupid, totally one-sided, bizarre obsession with Nick keep him off the chopping block when Danielle won the POV. Let’s not even get started on the stupid attention-seeking T-shirts and the porn unitard which she adapted, as if the original version wasn’t bad enough. Even CBS didn’t have the balls to show that skanky looking thing. —Diana Dzaja

Let me just say this — I am all about the unitard. The positives I see in Jen are that she does what she wants to do and does not allow herself to be manipulated. The negatives are that instead of making her decisions based on gameplay and strategy, they are more based on getting rid of people who don’t hit on her, or, even worse, hit on boys that she likes.

Jen is like so like annoying like. She’s all like ”be positive” and like then like threatens people before the like POV competition. She’s all like so self-centered taking down a picture of like her with her like mom because she looks like so not good. She can’t like defend herself against Dick, who is really growing on me & can insult someone in an adult fashion but instead like responds all like ”thanks Dick.” She’s like an idiot & needs to go like now. I’ve hated her from the first moment she like spoke, you know. —Audrey Brosowski

Oh, yeah. Like, totally forgot about that negative as well.

Have any birthday entertainment horror stories to share? Loving or loathing Rock of Love? And any guesses as to the mysterious MB, HB, and JC? Send your questions, comments, and quibbles to theglutton@ew.com, or just fill out the handy-dandy form below. See ya next week!