Saturday, June 28, 2008

Disappointing Songs From Artists I Like

Bear in mind, while I might like these artists, these are just some of their most forgettable efforts.

Fame - David Bowie (w/John Lennon)
This one takes a pathetic hack at funkiness with a tattered effort at "groovin" in the worst, most white, way. The lyrics are stupid, the singing, thanks to a cackling John Lennon, sounds like cats fighting over who gets prime litter box territory. The song, in general, comes off like filler - or an afterthought. There's no cohesion to it and the voices are just plain annoying to hear. Painful.

Man On A Mission - Van Halen
The opening riff just tears through the eardrums. The song makes no sense, just bad Sammy Hagar rhetoric with no point to the lyrics, a horrible chorus. They must've "written" this song in like 3 minutes and had thrown it onto the album as an afterthought for filler.

Good Day Sunshine - The Beatles
This song is so sickening, saccharine sweet, and full of happy flowers and sunshine, it's intolerable. Talk about vomit. Just the phrase "I feel good, in a special way..." is too much for me to handle. I hate HATE when McCartney writes this happy-dappy garbage.

Rag Doll - Aerosmith
The video is intolerable; slutty models ultimately hanging off of Tyler, with painfully bad fake live footage. The song itself just doesn't go anywhere, with a chorus that really isn't much of a chorus. It simply was devoid of any depth - and trust me, I can understand the need for some songs to just be "fluff" and fun, but this one seems to drone on and on.

One At A Time - The Who
From the It's Hard release, an album with plenty of thoughtful, insightful writing, this one was the song to keep on the cutting room floor. It comes out of the gate and just hurts the ear with screaming, circus-like horns, a dopey riff and an overall bad attempt at a moment of light-hearedness.

My World - Guns n' Roses
From the Use Your Illusion II release, it's the mystifying, very Axlish closing track that just leaves one scratching his or her head - or in my case, scratching my head and covering my ears (imagine how that would be anatomically possible). A very oppressive sonic bucket of water in the face, employing Axl's bitchy and whiny litany, enveloped in a nasty rap context. Full of distorted bleeps and bloops, it's one of those songs that I'd use on an alarm if I really needed to be jolted out of bed.

Atom Heart Mother (the whole album) - Pink Floyd
Twenty years of trying to like this album, and it's just not going to happen. The volume ranges from typically too quiet to discern anything, to loud screaming choirs and random, unstructured attempts at an opus. I heard things from earlier years and, of course, later years, but this one just defies logic. Too much experimentation and attempts at being an artist, rather than creating listenable pieces.

Chip Away - Jane's Addiction
Lots of hangover-inducing pounding and overloaded screaming. For that matter, it just is the musical equivalent to a bad hangover headache. Listen with caution. I will say, on stage, it does present a cool visual, which involves 3 members of the band, hammering away in unison.

She Goes Down - Motley Crue
This song, from the Dr. Feelgood album, must have been targeted specifically to the crowd aged 12 to 16. Any song that starts with a lame sound effect of a zipper being undone and a devlish female laugh, well, that's one for the recycle bin. Hell, throw it in the landfill instead. A rare hiccup on an otherwise strong release.

Bicycle Race - Queen
Stupid stupid stupid stupid! And not to use this in the classic homophobic context, but the song is sooo gay! Plus Freddie, rest his soul, buried more gay code phrases into this song than he did with guys' heads into his lap. The irritating ringing of the bicycle bells at the end of the song are also a relief, because the painful listen is finished.

Loving You Is A Dirty Job - Ratt
Good band, lots of great 80s rock, and then they dropped this revival effort in the early 90s. It was a weak track, and they were better off just calling it a day after the rather strong Reach For The Sky album. The song has a lame chorus, and everything around it is even less memorable. Kind of left a bad taste in one's mouth, and they really could have just let things be and ended everything on a high note. I know that this was also in tandem with a greatest hits release, but then just release the greatest hits! Stick to the solid stuff. Stupid.

Moby Dick - Led Zeppelin
Yes, of course I had to attack my own, sooner or later. Rule #1 - hell, rule #0 - DON'T RELEASE DRUM SOLOS ON ALBUMS. Especially crappy ones.

Sunday Afternoon In The Park - Van Halen
Van Halen's second appearance, though this one is from the DLR era. From Fair Warning. It was clearly filler, and the band was already angry with each other at its recording's outset. They needed something to throw in here, and it was a lame attempt to showcase Michael Anthony on bass. Oops.

Bright Light Fright - Aerosmith
Well, it takes quite a bit for a band to show up twice on this list, but leave it to them. This song, from Draw The Line, was a lame Joe Perry throwaway song, they were, at this point, just messed up and looking for ways to fill up an album. There's no discernable riff or melody to this, and a painful waste of recording time. Hell, the lyrics from the "chorus" should say it all...

I got the sunlight blues
I can't find my shoes
The only thing on TV
Is the good morning news

Candle In The Wind - Elton John
Ok, this one's just personal, but hell, I'm entitled. This song has historically been a truly cursed track, as over time, any time I've heard it, something would happen that same day. Heard it one morning on the way to high school, two minutes later, I smashed the back of someone's car. Heard it another day on the way home from work, then on the way to basketball later that evening, some idiot plowed into my car. Heard it come on the radio another time, frantically turned it off, but it was too late, and later on that day, I busted my ankle. Same frantic turn-off moment a few months later, but again, the curse was imposed, and I lost my wallet. So you can imagine why I'd rather not hear this song, and made for the post Princess Di death era all the more interesting, with lots of artful dodging.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

More Mini Lists

Just rattling them off at this point. Don't forget to check the preceding article I posted earlier today! It was a doozie!

Signs You're An Old Coot

-Use of the enraged phrase, "I'll show ya!"
-Saying anything involving the word "nickel"
atening, "I'll give ya a knuckle sandwich!"
-Use of the words "fella", "youngster", or "whipper-snapper"
-Making pointless references to "Post Toasties"
-Recalling when cigarettes were a nickel a pack (see item #2)
-Listening to A.M. Radio - while at home
-Referring to a girl as a "lass"
-Continued use of the ol' record player
-Wasting the postal carrier's time with 20 minute stories
-Driving Oldsmobiles
-Continued maintenance and repair of the avocado green refigerator and dishwasher
-Meeting friends and only talking about which mutual friends have most recently fallen down the stairs
-Candy dishes
-Installation of a hand rail in the bath tub
-Consistent purchase of epsom salts
-Reading the paper on the toilet
-Being abrasive to that apparently "flimsy" male cashier
-Arguing with toll collectors
-Arguing with toll collecting baskets
-When whoopie cushions are replaced with hemorrhoid pillows
-Bathing suits become "swimming trunks"
-Referring to the electric bill as the "light bill"

Signs You're An Annoying Punk

-Wearing a sideways "bee bop" baseball cap
-Obsession with talking "street"
-Prominence with playing the Madden football series
-Wearing shorts that are longer than pants
-Spurious use of the word "hizzle"
-Only watching games that are preceded by the letter "X"
-Constant use of the interjection "Dayyyamn!"
-Always having spray paint cans in the trunk/bike basket
-Calling yourself a "baller" without ever having played basketball in real life
-Careful grooming of an almost goatee

Signs That I Need A New Car

-Car presents me with divorce papers
-Memories of lost hubcaps
-Not needing a key to start it
-Cigarette lighter creates a fountain of sparks
-Exhaust pipe is all "banana'd out"
-Brake pads are sections of moist phone books
-Oil change becomes just the process of adding new oil
-Cassette player rewinds any inserted tape, then devours it
-Tires announce they are officially tired
-Being rebuked by other Mustang owners
-Two words: Floppy spoiler
-Car gradually strips itself down to primer
-Window defroster causes a fire

Get Off The Road If You...

-Still have a "Baby On Board" sign in the back window
-Drive a mini-van

-Have a flag of any type flying outside the vehicle
-Have more than two bumper stickers
-Own those annoying (and locally illegal) purple headlights
-Own those annoying (and locally annoying) hubcaps that spin independently
-Have some poorly restored 80s-mobile with those noisy glass block mufflers
-Ever attended a "glass block muffler" convention (yes I've seen one from across the street)
-Still drive anything from AMC
-Drive that "Dee-troit" way where you slink down to the side while at the wheel
-Make out with your chick at stoplights
-Can't identify a green light in less than 3 seconds
-Go 20 mph over the speed limit, and are behind me
-Go 10 mph under the speed limit, and are in front of me
-Stop in the middle of a busy street for no reason, without signalling that you're about to turn left
-Have a Kicker box and more than 100 watts of stereo power
-Have those ridiculously fat tires

Commercials That Need To Stop

-Vonage. No explanation necessary.
-Anything with Billy Mays hawking the product. Half of them are questionable in quality anyway.
-Geico commercials, particularly with the caveman. Haven't we suffered enough? Not to mention the stupid gecko, the annoying kid at the race track, and the bad cameos from K-List celebrities.
-Sports Illustrated - Champ of the month... Have whined about this enough
-Ocean Spray - Stupid guys that are supposed cranberry farmers, standing in a bog. Just too demeaning.
-Wendy's - Still creeped out from the animated Wendy cartoon character.
-Sonic - Always two idiots talking in a car, presumably at a drive-thru. We don't have Sonics around here, give it up.
-Coors - People being way too excited about vented spouts in the cans and how the label turns blue at the right temperature.
-Prostate commercials - No need to explain.

Strawberries And Cream?

As a fledgling tennis fan (not to mean I'm a fan of fledgling tennis - gotta watch those dangling participles), I've been watching coverage of Wimbledon's first four days. Watching it almost to exhaustion, might I add. On DirecTV, they have six additional channels available, so one can watch the action on various courts. It's scary to think that such immersion is made available to hungry tennis fans, and scarier to admit that I've been one of the zealots, fluttering about from channel to channel, like a schizophrenic butterfly zipping from flower to flower. Somewhere out there, I just know there's a classic rock cover band named "Schizophrenic Butterfly". It's a name just like "Acid Reign" or any number of names that are adopted by area high school rockers. With this amount of coverage, it's easy to start seeing tennis courts in bad dreams, and you bet they would be bad dreams. Nevertheless, watching hours of Wimbledon coverage invariably leads to me to noticing peculiarities of the tournament, the "tradition", and jolly old England itself.

First of all, being all grass courts, the baseline area from where the players stand and run the most, is a worn out, brown patch, presumably from too much wear and tear. That's fine and understandable, as most of the courts at the club are used for other events during the warmer months of the calendar year. On one hand, I suppose it's inevitable, but couldn't these days of science miracles solve this? Or couldn't they just spray a green dye over these brown patches just to make the courts look better? Plus, with all that wear and tear over the 3800 years of play at that antiquated place, why haven't the players just worn a trench into the ground there? If they can avoid the trench, they can avoid the brown. There, that's my slogan for my next political campaign when I run for mayor of Schaumburg. Hell, why not, they've got some good eateries out there, plus all the shopping! I'd imbezzle that sales tax revenue like Mayor Quimby. Next point about these brown patches that just annoy the hell out of me... The Centre Court (their spelling) is used once a year - just for the Wimbledon tournament. That's understandable, since they want to keep the court in as pristine a condition as possible for the big matches during the tournament. That being the case, then why are there still brown patches? For Pete's sake, after a year of non-use, can't this magic rye grass actually grow green along that baseline area? Drop some fertilizer and a little water on the area every once in a while. Teeing areas on golf courses are similarly shorn, get tons of traffic, and even the cut rate golf courses know how to keep the area green. Teeth and grass, those folks over there have some learning to do for both. I'm starting to think that they've hired some certified Brown Patch Specialist to pour Clorox and lard all over those areas just to keep it a nice crappy brown. I'm sure the stiff shirts over there would make some type of excuse that the anomalies add to the "character" of the All England Club. Yes, when I see a state of disrepair, I think of character. It's only a matter of time before I have yet another nightmare in which I'm being attacked by ravenous underground brown patch monsters.

Next, there's the stuffiness and rigidity of the whole thing, as if this is some brown-patch-laden, outdoor department of Parliament. Players must wear "mostly white". Mostly? Is there a Royal Judge of All Things Mostly? "Hmmm sorry, ol' chap, that outfit doesn't satisfy our mostness standards. Get most mostish and then we'll let you play on our mostly green courts." Of course, the line judges, staff, and related officials all wear, to an extent, uniforms. The judges have to stand completely stoic, which is understandable during the progress of play, so as not to distract. But these poor bastards stand still, like Buckingham Palace guards, to the bitter end of the play, even when the ball has been ruled "out" and is zipping toward their expressionless faces at 130 miles per hour. Put a hand up, Nigel! Duck out of the way, Quentin! You're probably being paid crappy shillings anyway, so have some self-preservation and protect what's left of your hawkish face. I don't get it. These people would stand still if a live grenade were tossed to them. Lord knows we don't want to break the rules and risk distracting the grenade-throwing player. On another level altogether, spectators aren't allowed to leave or return to their seats until there is a break in the game, such as between sets or when players change sides. That could be a hell of a nightmare if some poor shmuck in the tenth row suddenly gets a potty emergency after a bender of too many fish and/or chips. And who decided this was a friggin' opera all of a sudden? Is there a Wimbledon brig for any offending individuals that cough, sneeze, or break into a seizure? I'm sure cell phones are banned from a ten kilometer radius surrounding the place, Heaven help anybody that forgets to turn theirs off and allows it to ring. Off to the brig with the sneezers. No talking, don't cheer too much, just sit quiet. It's the sporting world's equivalent of study hall.

There's far too much emphasis placed on the whole "strawberries and cream" garbage. This is the signature concession that receives way too much attention during the course of the events. Now I'm as big a fan of strawberries as the next guy. They're juicy, nutritious, and quite a tasty snack. But for a sporting event? With cream? I've never had them with cream, I suppose I'm a bit left of center by preferring them straight up. But now with the cream involved, you need utensils, a cup, it's like those stupid cereal commercials in which people are shown with a bowl and a spoon wherever they go; at work, in the woods, on the train, etc. Too much work. Just sell the damn strawberries and skip the cream. You can serve the strawberries in a little box like french fries (sorry, chips) and it becames a handy, mobile munchable. These folks certainly haven't figured out the secrets of convenient snacking. Worse yet, commentators seem obligated to report the total amounts of strawberries and cream sold, which I'm sure is a far better use of expensive live television broadcast time than, say, I don't reporting the results of the damn tournament. Who cares! I want cream data and strawberry tonnage! Now! Get me the queen.

On a slightly - very slightly - more realistic note, they also sell fish and chips. Ok fine, this is jolly old England, and for once, this could actually be conceived as a good walking snack. I could see myself engorging on this fare, but it makes me wonder if they sell beer at the site. I'll bet they don't, perhaps one of the devoted readers can do the leg work on this and comment back. If they don't sell beer (which is like soda in the U.K.), then I can't quite see the point of having the fish and chips. That kind of thing is pub grub, and pub grub requires pub drinks. Anything else would be like white wine with red meat. Then again, a ban on alcohol sales at this church of a sporting event would reduce the likelihood of wacky hooligans, drunken ruffians, stander-uppers, and sneezers. They'd need a bigger brig anyway.

There are a few things that really could use some modernization for that place. I will grant them a nod for working on installing a retractable roof over the Centre Court, slated for availability in 2009. This was done so that important matches wouldn't be spoiled by the area's inevitable lousy weather. If the stodgy folks at the club can make such strides, why are people, on many courts, still operating the scoreboards by hand? What the hell is this, Wrigley Field? Come on already, my damn grade school gym, which was built some time before Westminster Abbey, had an electronic scoreboard in the late 1960s. Every time I saw one of these dopey scoreboard operators manually swapping and sliding tiles, all I could think of was Gene Rayburn saying "Slide it, Earl!" (This obscure Match Game reference was brought to you by Rice A Roni - the San Francisco treat!) I understand that this plague of Amishness only tainted the ancillary courts (there are nineteen of them in play), but jeez, join the 20th century.
In addition, there's a slightly new feature of pro tennis - the option to challenge a line judge's call and utilize a system called Hawk-Eye. This system uses triangulation and multiple cameras to track exactly where the ball landed, down to an absurd level of precision. It's a nice feature, and comes in handy for overruling a bad call. So I ask, why not just use this damn system all the time and remove the chance of human error in an important match? Of course, we can't mess with tradition, and it would remove the human element from the sport, but I think we have that covered by the humans actually competing in the sport. Who knows, some day, umpires and officials in all sports could theoretically be replaced by such computerized analysis systems. Wouldn't bother me, as long as the call was accurate.

As for the players, I don't know how this Ana Ivanovic could be seeded #1, she looked like an amateur out there. I'm betting she'll get bounced soon. As for the American players, I suppose all our hope will reside with the Williams sisters, be they a bit brash, all the other heavy hitters have been knocked out. Blake was bound to lose, and Roddick just lost, though he's kind of a stubborn jerk anyway. Nice fast serve, though. None of the American players are particularly pleasant. Though Russian born, Maria Sharapova is pretty much an American, she speaks without an accent, is the darling of photographers, she's rather abrasive, and she's also out of the tournament. I was ducking in my tornado position for her post-defeat press conference. There's no requirement to be "nice" in tennis, I suppose (unless Wimbledon imposes one), but she's rather catty, so I've seen.

I'll be cheering for my boy Rafael Nadal, of course. Federer's cool, but I always love to see these two play each other, and hope it happens again in the finals. Federer's deemed unbeatable by many, and I always like supporting the underdog in this case. At press time here, only two rounds have been played. My dark horse would be Hewitt, but I'd assume Federer will do his thing. I have to think that Serena Williams might pull this one off herself. We shall see, and I'm sure I'll be wrong.

And once again, I am SO SICK of these Vonage commercials at this point! They are on every damn channel, during every commercial break, at every time of day. How can these jerks afford the advertising expense??? It's ridiculous. Don't give them a penny, there are other options. Screw them. Sorry, had to stick this in. It's driving me batty.

Cheers from suburban London!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Things I Like To Do

- Yell at people using palindromes for sentences: "Sit on a potato pan, otis!"
- Walk on a nude beach with a ruler (courtesy of Rodney Dangerfield, 1988)
- Create false Myspace aliases and have them argue with each other
- Sue anyone named "Flip"
- Flip anyone named "Sue"
- Prance into Subway locations claiming to be Robert Earl Hughes

- Prance into Subway locations asking if I can get downtown from here
- Convince dumb guys that by shoving an ear of corn into the gas tank, the car will run forever
- Two words: Pancake Contests!
- Train pigeons to poop on fat guys
- Ask for a Whopper at McDonald's
- Ask for a Whopper at Ace Hardware

- Ask for a "Whopper" at a house of ill repute
- Figure out a way to get these blasted X-Ray vision glasses to work
- Sewing machine fights
- Convince stoned people they are smoking the ashes of Shemp Howard
- Send bees in the mail
- Eat the stick that comes with every package of "Fun Dip"
- Scream to Wendy's workers, "I've found the beef!"
- Lock myself into Sam The Butcher's meat locker
- Secretly pipe Black Sabbath instrumentals into ice cream truck speakers
- Search for Noah's ark in all the wrong places
- Create courtroom sketches of Carol Burnett with a beard
- Telex Paul and Ringo, informing them how it's a shame that the stupid ones always survive
- Enter wheelchair people into triathalons

- Wonder, out loud, how I found an operational telex machine
- Detest anyone that is associated with those Vonage commercials
- Ditto for Geico
- Invent new names for "Sloppy Joes"
- Build large pyramids for Bob Crane, using a crane

- Tavern strangulation
- Write poems that use the word "yum" in every stanza
- Throw pennies at cops and accuse them of accepting bribes
- Get high score at Moon Patrol, Galaga, and Dig Dug
- Dig Doug
- Find a way to use a cell phone to eviscerate Billy May, from all those noisy commercials
- Go fishing with a stapler
- Get a job as a baggage handler at a local airport, just to emulate the Samsonite gorilla
- Hit bucket number six
- Attract the ladies by pretending to know Tim Conway
- Bludgeon people to death with a stick of Laffy Taffy
- Create religions based exclusively on carp
- Recreate the first Harvard vs. Yale football game using rats and hamsters
- Organize grass roots campaigns, protesting the high prices of grass roots
- Spend entire weekends adopting the persona of Gene Rayburn
- Egg Range Rovers

- Arrange a wrestling match between the old "Bubble Yum" monster and "Animal" from The Muppets
- Take action on Animal, instruct the "Bubble Yum" monster to take a dive
- Taint Wikipedia with false information
- Ask blind guys if they can break a 20
- Steal steamrollers
- Write wacky lists

Monday, June 09, 2008

Vappie Awards - Worst Of Music

First, as with the "Best Of" awards, this is simply restricted to rock, mostly classic rock, having to do with major rock artists that we've all heard on the radio at some time. I don't acknowledge rap or hip-hop in these things, I find those genres nauseating and not even worthy of taking the time to review or criticize them.

Worst Guitarist
Neil Young

He just never really learned how to solo, and should have passed that torch to a competent guitarist when on stage or recording tracks. Sure, he can play creepy organ passages, harmonica, and acoustic guitar, but he routinely plays intolerable electric guitar solos, like the endless solo in "Southern Man". Invariably, when performing live, he'd make a mess of a solo and dive into some supposedly punkish routine of breaking his guitar strings. It was tiresome at best, and not very entertaining.

Most Overrated Drummer
Charlie Watts

No question here - he's just boring and lazy at best. He can't even properly play a 4/4 high hat/snare beat without lifting his drum stick out of the way at the end of the measure. Just amateur skills that were never improved. I don't care that he played for the Rolling Stones. He still didn't show any talent in his work, seemed painfully bored with his job, and otherwise phoned in all his performances, be they on record or in a live context.

Biggest Jerk
Eddie Van Halen

A stubborn, power-hungry curmudgeon with all the attitude and ego to fuel his self-appointed cause. He took his Van Halen enterprise and did with it what he chose, always at the whims of his own arrogant logic and at the expense of himself and eventually, the fans that basically funded his wealth. He's ruined potential full scale reunions with David Lee Roth back in 1996 by not giving in to anything Roth said or did, but rather just sending him on his way, even though a tour that year would have been huge. He proceeded to fire DLR, bring in Sammy (who I didn't much like myself), be best friends with him, then coldly fire Sammy years later. Whatever Eddie wanted, Eddie got. His megalomania continued by hand selecting Gary Cerone for a dismal album (Van Halen III) and the only thing that rescued their popularity was the eventual interest engendered by DLR's recording two new tracks with the band a few years later. Then, once he successfully chased off his wife, he ate crow and decided it would be time to tour with DLR again, despite the absence of original member Michael Anthony. He's just constantly stubborn and cocky, and to his, and the band's, detrement.
Runners up: Ted Nugent, Dave Mustaine

Worst Classic Rock Song
Fame - David Bowie

Irritating and painful, with no real melody to it, and further irritating background vocals from John Lennon. Close behind is "Green Eyed Lady" by Sugarloaf. That song just makes me throw up.

Worst Live Act
ZZ Top

As I've said before, they stand in one place, don't change things up at all, and have absolutely no dynamics in their stage presence. It's basically watching two old men stand still, with another old man drumming (who is the most interesting member to watch), and the performance is just a tiresome reproduction of their recorded works. I've seen them in multiple venues, both small and large, and they were this boring, stagnant, painting on the stage, leaving me wondering why, despite hearing a string of popular songs, I wanted to leave.

Worst Crash - Airplane
Lynyrd Skynrd Plane Crash

Close behind were the crashes and deaths of Randy Rhoads and Richie Valens, but this was the death of multiple members of a very creative and relevant band. Three members died, including a brother and sister (Steve/Cassie Gaines) and of course, lead singer Ronnie Van Zant. Not to mention the loss of several others that weren't in the group.

Worst Crash - Vehicular
Marc Bolan

A sad story, as he was an incredible talent with monstrous amounts of stage presence. He made it through so many years of the excessive 1970s without giving in, as it were, to the temptations therein. Then, an unfortunate accident. He'll always be missed.

Worst Crash - Weight
Tie - Ann Wilson (Heart) and Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac)

With Ann Wilson, she was very attractive in the 1970s and early 80s, then she exploded like a hot air balloon. As with Stevie, she was this dainty, winsome, petite, waif of a girl, hardly weighing in at 100 pounds, and then blew up like a puffer fish after around 1985. As it was once said, she switched from nose candy to just plain candy. Runner Up : Debbie Harry.

Worst Crash - Career
Peter Frampton

He could've maintained his 1976 "king of the world" status by just releasing more radio-friendly singles for the single-hungry radio market of the time. Then he just faded away from everyone's mindsets, and he didn't do much to clog that professional hole in the dam. Now he's popping up on Geico commercials, somewhat self-parodying much of his 15 minutes of fame, and that's his own choice.

Ugliest Band
Tie - Canned Heat & Grateful Dead

Canned Heat showed up on the revised film for "Woodstock", and they were just monsters. I'm not detracting from whatever talent for blues that they had, but they were butt ugly. As for the Grateful Dead, forget it. The only person that could have ever been desired by chicks would have been Bob Weir, but those are rather lean odds when the band had 6, or at times, 7 people. For God's sake, they had a member named "PigPen" at one time. This band seemed hell bent on growing long beards, looking like they smelled bad, and playing their stony set.

The "Time To Quit" Award

They just can't write good music anymore. All their material is sappy, commercially inspired, and without any real creativity or "edge", as they possessed in the 1970s. They actually showed a lot of promise in 1989 with their release of "Pump", but after that, things just got worse and worse. Generally when the retrospective boxed sets start coming out, you know that the shark has been jumped.

And Finally!

Worst Rock Album
Lou Reed - Metal Machine Music

It's widely accepted to be the worst, least tolerable release in rock history. Nothing more than feedback, screeching guitars, and painful effects. Widely thought to have been recorded as a joke, it had to take top honors.

Spam Review #10

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Pelham vytt{
Date: Sat, Jun 7, 2008 at 4:45 AM
Subject: Everybody's raving about these wonder drugs

And beginning a few years ago, everyone was wondering about raving drugs. Folks!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: TermLifeAgent
Date: Sun, Jun 8, 2008 at 10:36 AM
Subject: A Secure Future for You, an Optimistic Future for Them.

Who the hell is "Them"? The tomato plants I have growing in the yard? The PLO? The squirrels that haunt me every time I say the name "Mama Celeste"? Van Morrison's band from the 1960s? Stop torturing me with pronouns!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: hillyer varkey
Date: Mon, Jun 9, 2008 at 2:05 AM
Subject: You look really stupid mikeydhh

Aw, come on. Do I really? I'm trying to shed a couple pounds and plan to get a nice haircut. You just wait until my makeover.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: delmor hernando
Date: 2008/6/7
Subject: You look really stupid mikeydhh

Oh, you too? What the hell did I do to deserve this?

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jeramie
Date: Fri, Jun 6, 2008 at 8:09 AM
Subject: Hard as a rock

Your giant apparatus will make her wet

Yes it will. It's my 50 foot long garden house, attached to the spigot on the side of the house. That'll make anyone wet. Hey, it's summer.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Zaida Heimark
Date: Thu, Jun 5, 2008 at 9:14 PM
Subject: increased sweating; increased yawning; loss of
appetite; nausea adam

The goldsmith? by do. by chef the trial. As bribe To remission. Be or retailer. I or controller. The is exemplary medal promotion.
almighty it psoriasis. Of inexpensive do scandal. on fortunate? For of conjoint skate. Of constrained That emeritus. by brick. on my graduate. Is do fountain pagan tomcat. architect at witty. my chill, bubble an internal.

Ok, these aren't even complete sentences. I remember that architectural firm, Witty. Who's the chief architect there? Who's on your graduate? Mrs. Robinson? I was bubbling an internal as well, but that was from yesterday's chili.

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It's a new dance! Let's all do the "Wing Rule Moisture!". I've swept Monopoly before...once I took Park Place and Boardwalk, forget it.

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He businessman? Yes, me Tarzan, he businessman. Ah, Victor Competent, he was a competent pianist. So you're on "ordinance steam"? Is that like a code phrase for some drug I've yet to hear of? I'll go with "calculate".

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First, don't be calling me a porter. I quit that job years ago. Remember the breakup hermit? He used to just stay home and offer to call peoples' significant others and announce the breakup. Handy fellow. And I'm fed up with the cobra community. They're just a bunch of bikers that ride their Harleys and cause trouble at taverns. Yes. Go Spade! He's a good guy, so what if he's black, and got that nasty nickname. No Eddy? Damn, I was hoping he'd be around. I will now go and laminate. I follow orders.

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She has a carrier? Like of a disease? Darn. She can be a carrier, you can't be a caretaker. Bonds isn't playing, so he's not in any inning. Yes, the Periodic chart has atomic information, and as such, a nucleus in every element. You should know that, and if you didn't, that explains your nasty case of podium acne. Probably you caught it from that carrier.

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I loved that character from that show - Platinum the Jigsaw! He was so cute. What, science without an accelerator? How are you going to accelerate particles now? So much for Fermi Labs. Keep skiing.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Letofsky Rutenberg
Date: Thu, Jun 5, 2008 at 5:02 AM
Subject: cubs gnarly


Battle, the parthas being headed by yudhishthira, first restrain
his own self if he desires to restrain who goes on the stand. thackeray not only created he houses himself in empty abodes of men. He sleeps will shoot shafts with great energy for the destruction see, that the speaker had risen from behind the the late hour, mr. Lincoln's bedroom was invaded acts. i never act fruitlessly. I am adorned with.

Halloha to you too. Yes the Cubs are most gnarly - hell, they have the best record in baseball at present. Can't wait to see these shafts. Are they of Mr. Lincoln? With what are you adorned? Clearly you don't act fruitlessly, this message was clear as a freshly cleaned window.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Raj
Date: Wed, Jun 4, 2008 at 8:51 AM
Subject: Make your hot rod longer

I have a beat up old Mustang, isn't that still considered a hot rod? Can I lengthen it? I need more trunk space, but be warned that the spoiler is loose, and who knows might have jammed something into the exhaust pipe. But yeah, a longer hot rod. Very appealing. I'm game.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: batholomew ned
Date: Mon, Jun 2, 2008 at 10:23 AM
Subject: You look really stupid mikeydhh

Aw, come on, Ned. Now you're just piling on.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: TV on Your PC
Date: Mon, Jun 2, 2008 at 2:21 PM
Subject: Stop Paying the Cable Guy

I did, and the cable stopped its service. It's kind of a 50/50 proposition.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Vappie Awards - Best of Music

Welcome to the first (and likely only) Vappie Awards. These awards don't cover the past year alone, but extend back through all of earth's history. The first section is the best of music - of course the worst of music won't be far behind. After that, there will be a couple other categories of Vappie winners as well.

Best Music Video
Chemical Brothers - "Let Forever Be"

This very very closely beat out U2's "All I Want Is You" for top honors, it was almost a dead heat. U2's video is very cinematic and emotionally gripping, as it makes an effort to tell a story in the span of about six minutes. That said, the Chemical Brothers put out such a groundbreaking video, that is anything but cinematic, it is hard to ignore. The special effects and the overall anxiety of the video perfectly works with the song. In addition, as it didn't use classic film stock, it looks like something that harkens back to the early 1980s, but the result was far from it.

Best Rock/Pop Song
U2 - "Bad"

As I mentioned
here, everything about the song builds with drama and almost incites a teardrop or two. One would have expected me to top that list with a Led Zeppelin song, but I had to give credit where credit was due.

Best Live Act
The Who

No argument here. And I'm talking from back in the day. They ran away with this category, as I
explored before.

Best Rock Album
The Who - "Who's Next"

Another close race - and trust me, this hurt me to let "Led Zeppelin IV" lose out, being, as everyone knows, a Led Zeppelin person. In the end, I've heard every single song from "Who's Next" on classic rock radio, in regular rotation, and I can't necessarily say the same for any other album. As an unfortunate remnant of the brilliant "Lifehouse" project, it took the best tracks and plugged them into a single album, packed with fantastic songs - in a sense, it was a "best of" release.

Best Rock Drummer
Neil Peart (Rush)

This was a close race, as were most of these "awards". Neil beat out the likes of Keith Moon and Carl Palmer for his precision, creativity, and complexity of rhythms.

Best Rock Guitarist
Eddie Van Halen

Yeah, another one that was too close to call. This one might surprise a few people, as I always had Hendrix as #1, but after taking everything apart, Eddie had the nod in precision, innovation, and versatility. It's not to say that Hendrix couldn't have replicated some of the things (like two hand tapping) that Eddie mastered, but for the requisite time periods, I'd have to say that Eddie was just slightly more innovative. That's perhaps sacreligious to say, but again, it was a close race here.

Best Bass Player
John Entwistle

His complex runs and sense of timing were aspects that were hard to be surpass. Unfortunately his accomplishments are forever locked in the past, since he is one of the departed now.

Best Rock Vocalist
Freddie Mercury (Queen)

And once again, a tight race. He edged out Bruce Dickinson and a couple others. He simply had the range and power that few could match. It was hard to catch him off his game. He, like Bruce, had operatic qualities to his sense of singing, and that put him far ahead of the rest in the rock world.

Best Lyricist
Jim Morrison (Doors)

It's easy to roll ones eyes at this, but he was, by trade, a poet. His integration of classical references and rhythmic phrasing was truly the leading edge of what "The Doors" produced, and in many ways, the instrumentation was just a backing track for his creative poetry.

Best Song Writer
Pete Townshend

Another tight race, and another photo finish. This is an overall category that encompasses creativity in lyrics, music, and production. For all he did, Townshend runs away with it eventually. Close contenders were Paul Simon and Bruce Springsteen. As for Simon, even Pete himself said once "I'm no Paul Simon...". Regardless, Pete was one of the few that created entire projects - not just songs - that carried a common theme. Things like "
Tommy", "Quadrophenia" and the abortive "Lifehouse" went far beyond the brilliance of merely creating one great song; now it was about creating a cohesive, interrelated suite of songs that all had a common theme and their content had to contribute to the direction of a greater goal. Songwriting legends such as Simon, Springsteen, and Dylan, had great passages and great "statement" songs, but they were generally piecemeal in nature.

Best Rock Riff
Led Zeppelin - "Whole Lotta Love"

Versed against many of these "awards" having been such tight races, this one is another runaway. I
delved into this topic a while back, and if you don't know the song, you will once you hear it. Too recognizable, too gutteral, and too infectious.

Best Guitar Solo (In a Rock Song)
Dave Navarro - Jane's Addiction - "Three Days"

Navarro was always a hero of mine and a mad genius in his own way. The ethereal, complex phrasing of the minute-long solo in this song is almost otherworldly, and I might add, damn hard to replicate, as a guitarist. Many would have expected me to give the award to "Stairway To Heaven" for Jimmy Page's solo, and it was a close contender.

Best Rock Hottie
Debbie Harry (Blondie)

Her subtle, faux Marilyn Monroe nature, mixed with her sensual vocals, made for, shall we say, compelling theatre. She carried herself off very well as a little sex-pot, without overdoing it either.

Best Punk Band

They had a lot of the punk ethos, whatever that might have been. The very nature of punk was being one's self, or in this case, a group's self. They played loud, raucious tracks that rarely crossed the three minute mark in terms of duration, but they were fun and independent of all other musical trends. Punk was a medium of independence and non-conformity. In my opinion, The Sex Pistols were simply a manager's creation, and The Clash was just a band with some decent songs at times.

Best Relic
Cheap Trick

For what it's worth, they still sound like they did back in the 1970s, and have seemingly relegated themselves to just playing their old hits, of which there were many. In addition, they've kept their lineup intact (with the exception of the early 1980s) and that gives them the nod over Van Halen. Aerosmith fell out of the running because of their sappy releases after 1990, but that's for another award ceremony (gee do I see a "Worst Of" award headed their way?). For what it's worth, AC/DC was a close runner-up, they have not really lost their edge in all the years they've been plugging on.

Best Make-Out Song
Led Zeppelin - "The Rain Song"

A beautiful piece, that just warms the heart with romance and emotion. Plus plenty of other warm places. The romance is somewhat snuffed out when the song hits the hard-rocking section near the end, but it's a soft trade-off.

Best 21st Century Band
White Stripes

Ok, before people complain, I know they released their debut album in 1999. But they broke through later than that, so there. Jack White is quite a creative fellow and did much to revive the basic recording style that symbolized much of the mid 1960s music. On a deeper level, the band's efforts are not just restricted to their oft-labelled "garage band" sound. There are some plaintive, endearing, and emotional tracks that speak from the heart, and those traits have long been lost upon most artists in the last 25 years. A fresh take on classic songwriting.

Stay tuned for the Worst Of Music awards.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Cooking Shows That Annoy The Hell Out of Me

- Chef At Home - Discovery Home Channel
Some Canadian bozo, with a dorky voice, hosts a show, presumably based out of his own home kitchen. First of all, when I think of countries that embraced fine cuisine, I don't think of Canada. Strike one. But even more annoying - well, most annoying - is that this moron always appears unshaven and it just drives me nuts. I've never seen this doof without a token 5 o' clock shadow to compliment his nerdy, bushy hair. His variations on food preparation are about as appealing as raw snails, and for that matter, he probably had those as well.

- Secret Life Of... - Food Network
The loud, annoying Jim O'Connor, as host of this show, would abruptly jut himself into various intriguing food locales, and even the non-celebrity food people wouldn't be able to stand him. He has no culinary experience of which to proffer, so he'd continually be an annoying host that would irritate the subjects of the segment's focus. Mercifully, he was no longer the host of the show for a good amount of recent episodes. Here's hoping that network executives saw the light in this case.

- Cookin' In Brooklyn - (not sure of the channel)
This doughy boob named Alan Harding hosts a faux reality show where he's stuck in various situations and has to turn out great meals as a result. He might forget his anniversary, or have a bunch of uninvited guests for a Super Bowl party. Regardless of the turmoil, he uses his "knowledge" of cooking to resolve the situation. Worse yet, he's got this annoying "taste cam" thing, in which he has a camera mounted behind an oustretched fork, for showing people on the street as they taste his creations.

- Take Home Chef - Discovery Channel, and others
Once again, as with Canada, when I think of countries that offer fine cuisine, I don't think of Australia. That happens to be the country of origin for the blond, supposedly handsome, surfer boy host of the show, Curtis. He tracks down attractive girls at grocery stores, offers to cook up a menu for the evening, and proceeds to create said menu and buy the requisite groceries for his latest hottie. A third of the time, his Australian accent creates indiscernable dialogue, set against his insistance to cook up meals that always seem incredibly inadequate for a normal couple's appetite.

- Dinner Takes All - Discovery Home
A bunch of self-ingratiated, usually wealthy, metropolitan jerks, all competing over a week's time for the honor of who can provide the best home-served meal. The contestants for the given week are always wealthy, the commentator is drippingly British, and the show focuses far too little on the creativity and/or preparation of the food itself, but rather the host of the day and the "entertainment" planned for the evening.

- Paula's Home Cooking/Paula's Party - Food Network
I've ranted on this before, so I can be brief. Irritating witticisms from the chunky host, constant preparation of artery-clogging fare, and endless occasions of dragging out her stupid sons to "help out", as if it were some serendipitous unplanned visit.

- Inner Chef - Discovery Home
Forget it, I haven't even made it through a whole episode of this. The guy can hardly speak English, he has a Scandinavian name, but is clearly of middle eastern descent. He relentlessly hugs the innocent female victim of the day (not unlike "Take Home Chef") and it just screams of discomfort.

- Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives - Food Network
Hosted by the oh-so-impetuous Guy Fieri (but must be pronounced "Fee-edd-ee" - ya see, he's Italian). This guy's an overly spunky, spikey-haired, living example of self parody, drumming up the surfer character to the point of agony. Most annoying of all, when indoors, interviewing some hard working restaurant person, he opts to wear his sunglasses NOT on the top of his head, NOT hanging from the collar, and NOT in the pocket of his predictable bermuda shorts, but *behind* his head, as in backwards. He looks like an absolute moron in doing so and surely he's trying to create some national trend. I won't hold my breath.