Friday, October 29, 2010

Nine By Design 7

Do you remember when Saturday Night Live was funny?  Me either...well that's not exactly true.  They do have their moments, but they are less and less these days.  Today's list of nine will be skits from SNL.  Just to remember when the show was funny.

Saturday Night Live Skits:

The Chippendale Dancers is an all-time favorite of mine.  Just the contrast between Patrick Swayze and Chris Farley is enough, but then you get Chris really going for it.  Classic.

Celebrity Jeopardy is brilliant.  I don't know how Will Ferrell kept a straight face.

The Festrunk Brothers is another classic skit.  Steve Martin wasn't a part of the cast, but was on enough that it seemed like he was.

Super Hero Party is great.  It shows how good a skit can be with the entire cast involved.

Single Ladies proves that the show is always better when Timberlake is on it.

Peyton Manning United Way is one of the funniest fake commercials they've ever done.

These restaurant sketches are two of my favorites.  Both the Hub's Gyro and Italian Restaurant.

And to finish off our nine for the week.  We have the Gap Girls.  Great stuff.

I'll be back next week with another list.  Happy Weekend.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

In Search Of The Lost Record

I just got home from my adventure of searching aimlessly for records.  I used to do this on an almost weekly basis, back in the good old days when I had money.  Now it happens around my birthday (which today is) and Christmas (which today isn't).  I tried to enlist a friend of mine to come with me.  He was otherwise obligated, but there will be other quests.

I do most of my record shopping by myself, as my wife the trooper she is, would rather take knitting needles to her eyes, than wander the store with me.  She put in her service when we were dating and she does love music, but not digging for records.  The idea of going with someone was kind of novel, because it rarely, if ever, happens.  However, my friend and I are like minded and it probably would have been a good time.  It's nice to bounce thoughts about records off another person.  Have you heard this?  Is this any good?  Etc...

I made my list of lost records the night before.  They aren't really "lost" per se, I just don't have them.  Some titles that made the list would be brand new to me, records I've been meaning to pick up or records I needed to replace.  When I say replace it's usually for a couple of different reasons.  I have let people borrow albums and had them fall in love with it.  So, I let them keep it.  I've literally purchased London Calling, 4 or 5 times over the years.  I don't really have a favorite album.  My tastes are very diverse and change constantly, but if I was ever hooked up to a lie detector...being asked what my favorite album of all-time was?  I could say London Calling and pass...probably.  I had some cds borrowed in college without my knowledge.  I'm still working on getting them back.

Today's visit was extremely quick for me.  Only about an hour and a half, mainly because my wife called during her lunch and snapped me out of my daze.  If I don't make a list of things to look for, I just wander with no direction.  I've been in record stores for over 5 hours before, for no reason...just looking for things that pop into my head.  I did make my list and it had about 15 titles on it.  The idea is only to purchase 2 or possibly 3 things...depending on price and availability of the item.

Today's Haul:

I wrote about this album yesterday, but in doing so, I realized I didn't have it anymore.  I must have lent it to someone at some point.  Beats me.  All they had was the Import version.  Which is fine, but I like to buy CDs used and it was new, but it was actually very cheap considering.  I hope this doesn't turn into another album that people borrow and never return.  I can't afford it.

I love the band RUSH, but in actuality, I don't own that much by them.  So, this was on the list for that reason.  Neil Peart debut.  I think it's a very underrated album of theirs.  There are a lot of good songs on it.  Plus, it was on sale.  It's the remastered version and it was super cheap.  Couldn't beat it.

This album wasn't on the list.  It's Steve Vai's first solo album and a record I had as a kid on cassette.  I bought this originally in 1986/87, so I was in Junior High School.  Loved every minute of it.  It was fun, weird and at times, very heavy.  It's also how I got into Frank Zappa, but I've always been into Vai more.  I haven't had a copy of it since that cassette, but it was so familiar, I didn't need it.  Found it used today for under $6 and had to buy it.

Another successful day in search of the lost record, but it's a search that will never end.  At least, I hope not.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Year That Was - 1971

Originally, I was thinking of doing a retrospective on the year, but that would be either a huge blog entry or multiple entries (which I would have to write and I didn't want to do that).  So, I decided to focus on the most important category of any year, to me at least, music.  Again, I was going to focus on the entire year of great albums released (Led Zeppelin IV, Who's Next, L.A. Woman, Aqualung and Sticky Fingers) to name a few and bands formed (Queen, New York Dolls, Big Star and the Eagles).  Another huge task.  So, we'll still look at very successful musicians/albums/songs, but a little less known for the year.

The Yes Album was the first commercially successful album for the band, Yes.  That's a mouthful, say that five times fast.  Steve Howe had just joined the band and Rick Wakeman would join later in the year for this classic album.  They indeed released two albums in one year and classics at that.  Try it, I dare you.

Every Picture Tells A Story by Rod Stewart, was easily his most successful album at the time and still might be his best.  He was still a member of the Faces, in fact, the Faces would also release two albums in 1971.  Stewart wouldn't officially leave the band until 1975, but would continue to release solo albums the entire time (although the band would often play on the albums).   

And now for something completely different...Maggot Brain by Funkadelic.  You can't call this album a departure, since it came before most of the bands' heavy funk albums.  It's more like psychedelic soul.  Eddie Hazel was still playing guitar for them and is amazing on this record.  I can't recommend this album highly enough.  It really has everything.

My first exposure to "glam rock," Electric Warrior by T. Rex.  It took SIX albums for them to really hit it big.  Bands don't get to do that these days, you either hit it big or get dropped from the record label.  They are so much more than just "Get It On."  Just listen to Marc Bolan sing "Cosmic Dancer" or "Jeepster."  Sadly, Marc would die in a car accident in 1977.  (By the way, that was Elton John playing piano in the "Get It On" video)  I knew you were wondering...

Trafalgar by The Bee Gees has nothing to do with disco.  Most of their career has nothing to do with disco.  That's what really gets me.  A lot of people don't give them the credit and respect they really deserve.  The harmonies, musicianship and songwriting are really second to none.  Please listen to their early is really quite good.

Hunky Dory by David Bowie is actually the first album with all the members that would become, The Spiders From Mars, Ziggy Stardust's band.  Bowie is a chameleon, not only with his multiple looks and characters over the decades, but with the sound of his music.  "Queen Bitch" is a tribute to Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground.  This is the album just before his mega-stardom and a good jumping on point for new listeners.

Of course, we're wrapping this up way too soon, but there are just too many great albums.  Go explore this year in music, it's totally worth it.  Have Fun.  I'll be back to do more at another time.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Mohan Chronicles - The River Day Incident

The crack staff here at For Lack Of A Better Title, used their top secret photo progression software to determine what Mohan would look like here in 2010 and the best they could come up with is something resembling, Mr. Erik Estrada.

River Day at Marist College is a tradition.  Get as drunk as possible in a 3-4 hour span.  If you were 21 yrs old, you could attend this Bacchanalian extravaganza.  Just beer and wine coolers, thankfully no hard alcohol.  Enter Vigo.  He was definitely of age and was going, but like any other Saturday in college, he woke up late.  Marist College officials tried to keep it under control.  It started early in the day (around 1 or 2 PM) and ended early (by 5 PM).  Also, like any other Saturday in college, I was headed over to the townhouse to hangout.  Most of the house was on it's way out or already gone to do their weekend plans.  We'd all reconvene later that evening at some point.  

The only two people in the house were Jim and myself.  We were in the middle of our best 253 game series between the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers in NHL 93 for Sega Genesis.  We didn't exactly "play," we actually got inebriated and had the computer play itself, while we did play by play.  We also wouldn't talk to anyone unless it was between periods, while we were taking our break and smoking cigarettes.

Jim and I had just finished our games for that day.  Since, it was April and warmer, I maneuvered his chair onto the outside porch so we could just take in the sun.  Then it happened...Vigo came lumbering up the back hill towards the townhouses.  We knew he was really drunk, because this is not the way you would normally get to the townhouses, so booze brain was lost.  He also said upon seeing us, "Oh, I live there," pointing at us.  I quickly got Jim in the house, we both knew this was going be interesting.  Hearing us coming into the main house, Mohan suddenly appears from his and Jim's room.  Jim and I looked at each other, wondering when he got home.  He slipped past us during one of the games.  My intoxicated brain tries to sober itself up, by sending off a coherent thought...A very drunk Vigo is about to come home and Mohan is standing right in front of you, what do you think is going to happen?  In my mind I warned Mohan, but that warning never came out of my mouth.

Vigo busts through the main door of the house.  Laughing and talking to whomever he can see.  Jim and I go into distract mode.  How was River Day, I heard you got there late?  Vigo responds with the, "What did you expect?  It starts too early, I had to play catch up, so I'd grab a wine cooler or two and drink those while stood in line for a beer."  The first of many "oh shits" is muttered between Jim and myself.  How much did you drink?  Vigo's response, "I don't know, I did that for like 3 hours straight."  Another, look of panic between the two of us.  Just then, Mohan walks back into the main room.  Vigo smells blood.  "Hey, Mohan come over here I wanna try something."  Jim asks me "what I'm going to do?"  I respond, "nothing, Vigo is 6'3" and about 300 lbs and I'm not."  Jim's response was, "well that makes two of us, I'm in wheelchair here."  

What Vigo wants to try is simple, at least in a drunk person's mind.  I'm going to hold this couch cushion in front Mohan's face, to see if I can punch it hard enough to knock him over.  Brilliant.  Except, as you know when you're drunk, you move slower, plus gravity is involved, so the cushion falls.  Can you see where this is going?  Blam! Vigo let's Mohan have it (fist meets face).  Mohan is laughing, because I think he's scared and rightfully so.  Vigo abandons the punching of the cushion and just starts wailing on him with it instead.  Vigo grows tired of this and I get him to go upstairs to his room.  Where he proceeds to play Chuck Yeager's Flight Simulator on his computer until he makes himself sick and has to crawl to the bathroom.  Then he makes it to his bed where he passes out at 6:30 PM.

I head downstairs to do damage control.  I talk to Jim about Mohan, who quickly fled the scene.  Jim said, "Mohan had fun, but didn't want to play that game again with Vigo."  Tragedy averted, no one is pressing charges. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Nine By Design 6

Another week has gone by and are you ready for your list of the week?  I said, ARE YOU REEEAAADDDYYY?!?!?!?  For the number of voices in my head and the 10 or 20 people reading at home...It's time...For what you've waited all week for...Nine By Design!!!  (Crowd my mind at's pretty awesome in there)  It should be apparent that we'll be tackling Professional Wrestling this week.  Sport?  Sports Entertainment?  I've always liked athletic male soap opera.  I don't think you can deny that these guys and gals are athletes.  It's not fake, it's pre-determined...they are told who is going to win, but not how that person will win.  They take some really nasty bumps and have some REAL injuries.  I started watching wrestling in 1981, when I moved to Brockton, MA, because the neighborhood kids watched it.  It's 2010 and I still watch it, but not as religiously.

Brockton, is the "City of Champions."  It has fallen on hard times, that have just got worse.  A very tough city, with lots of violence.  I remember going to high school and meeting a bunch of people in my class and asking what part of the city they were from?  The consensus was the "Bad Part" and your response would be, "You're from the East side too?"  They'd say, "No, the West, South or North side."  Someone had spray painted the Batman Symbol above the entrance to the Police Department garage and wrote, "Bat Cave", it was there for years.  The good old days...On with our list!!!

Pro Wrestlers:

Bryan Danielson:  Known as Daniel Bryan (ugh) in the WWE, he has long been considered the best wrestler in the world.  I don't think the WWE is going to let him use his finisher, the Cattle Mutilation and I don't know why?  Danielson, has a great sense of humor...I hope the WWE let him really wrestle sometime.

Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig:  The late, great Curt Hennig shot some perfect vignettes before he made his debut in the then, WWF.  He would die at the young age of 44 in 2003.  His son Joe is currently wrestling for the WWE.

 Owen Hart:  Another wrestler that died way too soon and his could've really been prevented.  He was the best wrestler in the Hart family, which is saying a lot.  Yes, better than Bret.  He had some great matches in the WWE and Japan.  The first real "high flyer" I ever saw.

PAC:  He is known as "The Man Gravity Forgot."  The modern high flyer.  He's what the kids call a "spot monkey" (just wants to pull off big moves, not tell a story) in wrestling.  That is probably true, but you can't deny his body control and ability.   White men can jump apparently.

The Great Muta:  He was one of the first Japanese wrestlers I got to see, because he came over to the US.  Such a different and amazing style.  The first time I saw a lot of the moves he used.

Jushin "Thunder" Liger:  Now we're really in the Land of the Rising Sun.  His character is based on a Japanese superhero.  He's slowing down these days (after 25+ yrs in the biz), but he's invented many of the moves you see today.  Always puts on a great performance, even in defeat.

Sid Vicious:  Sid couldn't really wrestle, but at 6'9" and 315 lbs, you tell him that.  It's not everyday that some that big, looks like that.  He was a fantastic character.  For those of you that still think wrestling is fake, he suffered one of the worst in-ring injuries (not for the faint of heart) ever.

The Undertaker:  It should be obvious that I'm not a fan of the big wrestlers, but the Undertaker is an exception.  Nobody that size should be able to move the way he does.  In my opinion, the best gimmick (character) of all time.  Super Bonus Nerd Points: if you know who Johnny Polo would go on to be?  Somehow, the Undertaker is still doing it today.

Chris Jericho:  Quite possibly the best promo guy in the business.  Just so funny.  He's also a very good wrestler.  One of the greatest feuds in wrestling was Jericho vs Malenko.  Great matches with Dean, but always made his opponent look great.

So, another weekly list has been wrapped up.  As always, I hope you enjoyed it.  How can you not?  It's the wacky world of Professional Wrestling.  It screams comedy...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

When Good Musicians, Go Horribly Wrong

No one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes.  Some just make them in the public eye and they last forever.  Take musicians for example, once it's down on tape, it's there forever.  The bigger the band/musician is, the bigger the mistake will be.  Remember, this is just me babbling.  These so called "mistakes" by me are just my opinion, someone liked it.  In fact, in many instances it's very popular, but that doesn't make it good.

Billy Joel - Not Playing Piano:  Look Mr. Joel, you may not be the greatest piano player in the world, but you're going to be better than the doofus in the video.  You're the Piano Man, that's what people want to see...not you playing guitar.  You can hire people to play guitar for you, who are probably better players than you.  How do you get from here to this abomination?  If I was ever going to buy tickets to see you in concert, you better have that piano strapped to you or at least a keytar or even an accordion, something with keys.

The Beatles - Letting Ringo Sing:  When I first started listening to the Beatles at a young age, I would ask my dad who was singing each song.  I knew there were different voices, I just didn't know who they were.  So when I heard Ringo's voice, I asked if that was the "funny, short man, that can't play drums."  I don't really dislike any Beatles songs.  Even their bad songs are better than most bands, best, but whenever I hear Ringo, it just sounds like music for children.

The next two, you really have to ask, why for both?

Styx - Kilroy Was Here and ELO - Xanadu:  My punk credentials (which are suspect, at best) just got flushed down the toilet, but yes, I like both Styx and Electric Light Orchestra.  Just not these albums.  Styx goes from one of their better albums (still theatrical, but not bad), Paradise Theater to a concept album about "a future, where rock music is outlawed" and takes it's name from a graffiti saying.  I know they're not exactly the same, but I've always thought Kilroy was a ripoff of RUSH's 2112.  On Paradise Theater, you get rocking songs like Too Much Time On My Hands (because Tommy Shaw wrote it and sings it) and even a rocker by Dennis DeYoung (Mr. Opera, the guy that wanted to act out Kilroy live, every night) with Rockin' The Paradise.  Instead, you get Don't Let It End.  Mr. DeYoung, please let it end...that album and tour was the reason why Tommy Shaw left the band.

The Electric Light Orchestra, fall into this because, of the association with the movie.  They wrote the soundtrack for it.  I was going to explain the plot, but I'm not sure I really understand it myself.  So, one of the worst movies in history, it was nominated for most of the Razzies categories that year (their debut) and it pretty much killed the band.  The album was a success, but their success was on the quick decline.  Not hard to believe when you get, I'm Alive and All Over The World.  They probably thought they had a good thing going with doing the movie.  You figure, you have Olivia Newton - John, Swan from The Warriors (Michael Beck) and Fred Astaire, what could go wrong?  There's a quote from Michael Beck that goes, "The Warriors opened a lot of doors for me in film, which Xanadu quickly closed."

I make a ton of mistakes, but you probably won't hear about them, even if I know you.  Right now, my acting career is better than Michael Beck's.  I wasn't in Xanadu after all.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mom Always Liked You Best 2


Warning: Chances of Spoilers are Likely, Read at Your Own Risk

On the surface, both of these films are about addiction.  Both main characters Mark Renton (Trainspotting) and Harry Goldfarb (Requiem) are heroin addicts.  If you dig deeper into both movies, they are both about trying to improve your lot in life.  How does that work for the people involved?  Some better than others.  Let's explore...


Both movies were made for under $5 million dollars.  Tiny budgets, even for a drama.  They both were made independently.  In a nutshell, they didn't have huge corporate movie companies paying for everything.  Which is both good and bad.  Bad, for the obvious, very little money to make your vision.  It is good however for the director.  Most of the time, they don't have "big brother" watching over them and telling them, what they can and can't do.

Speaking of directors, both movies had guys making their second official films for the big screen.  Danny Boyle for Trainspotting, has gone onto make 28 Days Later... and Slumdog MillionaireDarren Aronofsky for Requiem, has gone onto make The Fountain and The Wrestler.  The first time the general public stood up and took notice of their talents.

These movies were critically acclaimed.  Ellen Burstyn was nominated (lost to Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich) for an Oscar as Sara Goldfarb, Harry's mother.  The screenplay for Trainspotting was nominated (lost to Sling Blade)for an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.  Both of these movies were novels before making it to the big screen.

There are other similarities, but again, I try not to give too much away for those people that live in a box and haven't seen these movies quite yet.


Hard to overlook this fact.  Trainspotting was a box office hit and Requiem, wasn't.  Danny Boyle's first hit made roughly 5 times it's budget (budget=3.5 million, gross=16.5 million).  Pretty good return on your investment.  Darren Aronofsky had to wait for DVD sales for his movie to become a cult hit.

The casts of these films are both very talented, but the Trainspotting cast had breakout stars.  From Ewan McGregor right away to a little later with Kevin McKidd and pretty much everyone in between had huge career boosts.  For Requiem, the aforementioned Burstyn was already an Oscar winner.  Jared Leto is too busy trying to be a rock star.  This was Jennifer Connelly's first major adult role, IMO.  She's not just "eye candy," she proves she can really act and has done some good movies since.  Now for the scene stealer supreme, Marlon Wayans.  No, really...I'm serious  He's very good in this film and I've always wished he'd do more drama.  He's currently making the Richard Pryor biopic, which could be a star making performance.  Although, portrayals of real people, especially famous ones, are very difficult.  I'm hoping he pulls it off.

How does it all end?  Both films are fantastic, but one is more realistic than the other.  I believe Requiem to be the more realistic film.  People fall victim to their own personal demons everyday and nowhere does it say life has to have a happy ending.  Now, while it's true that not everyone in Trainspotting has a good time in the end.  Our main man Renton, makes it out alive and is much better off than his beginning.  Sure this could happen, but I think the odds are against it.

It's no surprise to me that both films are in the top 200 most popular/best movies on IMDB.  If you haven't seen these movies, please do yourself a favor and watch them.  Maybe not on the same day, both can be pretty graphic at times.  Still watch them and form your own opinion.  It will be worth it.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Nine By Design 5

Welcome to another fun adventure and the weekly visit to the list portion of my humble blog.  I still think I'm a kid.  Not a kid at heart, but a kid.  I don't want to grow up.  I have taken responsibility in my daily life, but I still want to watch dumb comedies, eat sugared cereals, read comic books and get up early to watch Saturday Morning cartoons.  The sad thing is, they really don't have cartoons on Saturdays.  They have them all the time now, but not like the 80's when all three major channels were dedicated to cartoons from about 7 AM to around Noon.  I miss that.  Getting up way too early and sitting in front of the TV with a giant bowl of Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs.

This weeks list is dedicated to cartoons.  Not just Saturday Morning ones, but all kinds.  Hope you enjoy.


Banana Splits:  I never saw the original run of this show, which was from 1968-1970.  They always seemed to replay this and the Monkees during the summer.  At least, that's how I remember it, so that's what I'm going with.  The show was kind of a groovy variety show developed by, Hanna-Barbera, with Sid and Marty Krofft designing the sets and costumes.  The show had a live action serial with Danger Island (with a young, Jan Michael Vincent), but also had cartoons, like Atom Ant as well.  It also doesn't hurt that the punk band, the Dickies covered the intro theme and that cover was just featured in the movie, Kick-Ass

The Herculoids:  Another Hanna-Barbera classic and was definitely a Saturday morning staple.  The original run was again before my time, 1967-1969.  I remember watching them at the god awful hour of 6 AM or something close to that.  It  was part of the Hanna-Barbera World of Super Adventure.  It still airs at times on Cartoon Network and is referenced in pop culture.

Scooby Doo:  One of my wife's favorite cartoon shows.  I used to watch the original show, but there's been so many different types of Scooby Doo series, it's hard to figure out which relaunch you're viewing sometimes.  Everyone knows that Shaggy and Scooby were stoners.  It's pretty obvious to the trained eye.  My wife made the comment, "You knew Saturday morning cartoons were dead when A Pup Named Scooby Doo came along."  Hard to disagree with that.

The Penguins of Madagascar:  Yes, the ones from the movie.  It's really a fantastic show.  The most recent cartoon series on my list.  All the penguins are funny in their own way, but I really love the lemurs.  King Julien, Maurice and Mort (voiced by Andy Richter).  I don't really care for the movies, but I am glad the creators have made a show with the best part of the movie franchise.

Ren and Stimpy:  One of the first cartoons I watched where you had no clue about that episode.  Literally, anything could happen and that's what made it so much fun.  It was like watching an episode of Monty Python.  Everything was great, the characters, songs and fake commercials.  A cartoon that paved the way for shows like South Park and Family Guy.  Anything goes and it did.

Johnny Bravo:  A nice throwback to the 50's with Bravo.  He's all about picking up women and he sounds like Elvis.  Just too good not to love.  Johnny Bravo was so over the top and full of himself, he was perfect.  This show was often on after Dexter's Laboratory, another favorite of mine.  To go with all of that, The Reverend Horton Heat did a song for him.

Justice League Unlimited:  I like just about all cartoons that are related to superheroes.  I've always been a huge fan of the medium. but have gotten a little too expensive for me to keep up.  I still follow by reading Wizard magazine, from time to time..  It's a very well done show, plus you usually get a lot of superheroes.  That's probably why I like it so much.  The more heroes, the better.

G.I. Joe:  I loved this show, had a lot of the toys, but always thought they were the worst soldiers ever.  Nobody ever gets shot or blown up, yet they are using incredibly powerful weapons.  It always confused me as a kid.  My favorite characters weren't even Joe's.  I was a huge fan of Zartan, but the show was at it's best when Tomax and Xamot were on.  Avoid the live action movie, but watch the animated movie.

Tom and Jerry:  A show that I still watch anytime it's on.  Most likely because, Tom and Jerry don't talk most of the time and music plays a huge part in telling the story.  It's a classic.  I know kids still watch it today, my nieces do at least.  Not bad for characters that premiered about 70 (yes, not a typo...) years ago.  It's the music I tell you...It's universal and timeless.

Hope you had a good time walking down memory lane with me.  Have a great weekend.  Cheers.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Listening To You 3

My tastes in music are generally obscure and/or not what the general public consider popular.  I don't listen to the music of the masses, so to speak.  That isn't to say what I favor isn't good music, in fact, I think it's better than most of the processed, auto-tuned stuff you hear on popular radio.  You may not have heard of the people I focus on, because I tend to root for the underdog.  The artist or band that is working and struggling just to have a career.  Needless to say I'll never profile someone from American Idol.

Aimee Mann formed 'Til Tuesday in the early 80's while she was attending the Berklee School of Music in Boston.  Just six months after formation, they won the WBCN Rock & Roll Rumble (the band I was associated with, won in 1997, just so you know).  'Til Tuesday probably has had more hits, but Aimee has really come into her own as a solo artist.  She was nominated for an Oscar and a Grammy for her work on the movie, Magnolia.

I really don't know why Aimee Mann isn't a bigger star than she is?  Well, I do, but I'm trying to keep this positive, so I won't get into it.  All I ask is to listen and if you like it, purchase her music.  This is my request for every band or artist I profile.

"Coming Up Close" is probably my favorite 'Til Tuesday song.

"Voices Carry" was their big hit.

"Save Me" which lost the Oscar to Phil Collins and his monkey love song, Aimee's words...not mine.

"Freeway" is from her last album, @#%&*! Smilers (pronounced Fucking Smilers)

Please check her out, she's a phenomenally talented singer-songwriter.  The way I like to learn about "new" music is to, listen to it, if I like it, I explore it, if I still like it...I buy it. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Into The Eye Of The Storm

We tend to avoid Walmart like you would avoid the plague or a high school reunion.  However, this past Saturday it was unavoidable.  We were headed to our niece's 4th birthday party.  If you've ever been to a little kids party, you know it's like throwing a bunch of piranha in a tank that's too small, after they've been dosed with cake, ice cream and an inflatable bouncy house.  In a side note: Nothing will tell you that you're getting older, than an inflatable bouncy house.  I was done after ten minutes.  My knees we're screaming at me, but I couldn't hear them over my lungs gasping for air.

Where was I?  Right...Walmart.  We have to stop on the way, because my wife had been on 24 hour call with her company since Thursday night.  She had gone pretty much non-stop since she started the long weekend.  It won't end for her until Tuesday morning.  As we were walking into the abomination of savings, she was getting calls.  Just brutal.

We've entered the eye of the storm.  Sensory overload has begun.  Rollback the prices, tempting smells (it's a Super Walmart, one with a supermarket in it, not referring to the other shoppers) to go along with the beeps and buzzing of the registers.  We're only here to get a birthday card and a couple of things for the house, must go quickly, before temptation can take over.  We quickly grab a cute little card that a child would like, but children don't care about cards.  She's four, she can't read quite yet, although she does surprise you at times.  What do we have?  Card...check!  Trash bags...check!  Tub of Dubble Bubble gum...check!  What was that last item?  165 pieces of bubble gum...moving on, nothing to see here. 

Yes, I was weak...I saw the vat of gum for $3.50 and just couldn't rationalize why I shouldn't get it.  This is what Walmart does to you.  There is no way you can go into the store without coming out of it with something you don't really need.  This is why we avoid the place.  Well that and a couple of other things.

The first being, the People of Walmart.  As funny as the website can be, I don't ever want to be featured on it.  Just frightening.

The second, comes after seeing this Walmart documentary.  I know all docs are subjective and are the point of view of the filmmaker, who has an agenda...etc..etc.  Look at any Michael Moore documentary for example.  Note to Mr. Moore, it's a documentary, the director is not supposed to be the star of EVERY single film you make.  The subject is...Please understand this...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Nine By Design 4

I'm a huge fan of movies, but I'm what could be characterized as, obsessed with music.  No movie can bring out the emotions in me, that music can.  So many genres that you can dive into, blues, rock, country (real country, not pop with cowboy hats) jazz, classical and on and on.  I've always been the music guy, but not the "popular" music guy.  Meaning, I tend not to listen to what everyone else in the world listens to.  I get into one particular band or artist and branch off from there.  Who are their influences?  Did any members play in other bands?  Where are they from?  It just leads you into so many other directions.  I'm always trying to learn and explore music.  I've said this recently and I say it often, "I don't have time for new music, because I'm too busy going backwards."  Yes, I've also been called a music snob, but I don't think I am.  I try not to put down music that doesn't appeal to me, except for the country remark earlier.  Listen, Garth Brooks and Toby Keith aren't country, they are pop singers.  I'll stop now, because we'll never get to the list if I keep on going.  It's just a fact of life.

Welcome to the list part of the blog for the week.  The 9 best glockenspielists, now that list would probably kill this blog.  Then again, writing about RUSH and the UFC have yet to.  Onto our random 9 for this week.

Rock Guitarists

Lindsey Buckingham:  Very rarely do you get a musician that plays with as much passion as Buckingham.  He's never used a pick that I know of, preferring to finger pick everything.  He has had success with Fleetwood Mac of course, but also as a solo artist.  I think he's pretty great singer as well.

Steve Vai:  Burst onto the music scene as the player of "Impossible Guitar Parts" or "Stunt Guitarist" for Frank Zappa.  He would become the ultimate hired gun playing for bands like Alcatrazz (please excuse the keytar, I have no control over it), David Lee Roth (please excuse DLR's ass-less spandex pants, I have no control over it) and Whitesnake (no video, I have control over it), to name a couple.  He has taken over for his mentor as one of the premier instrumentalists in rock music.

Gary Moore:  We're about to get a little obscure and into the blues.  How is it that Gary Moore isn't a huge guitar hero?  Oh that's right, he plays blues guitar and rarely leaves Europe.  The man has one of the sweetest sounding tones I've ever heard.  He also played on and off with Thin Lizzy and Phil Lynott during his solo career.

Steve Morse:  He's a hard guy to put a finger on.  He formed the Dixie Dregs in 1970.  A sort of southern fried rock, jazz fusion band, if that makes sense.  He's also had his own Steve Morse Band for years, as well as, playing in Kansas and currently, Deep Purple.  Occasionally, he'll duet with someone on an easy piece...wink wink.

Mike Campbell:  He and Benmont Tench (piano) have been with Tom Petty since the beginning.  Such a tasteful player that never over plays.  He's a master of his craft that adds just enough to each song.  Campbell is so valuable to Petty, he plays on Tom's solo albums.

Nels Cline:  Has contributed so much to Wilco.  Has a noisy, almost experimental take on lead guitar, but also plays some of the smoothest leads ever heard.  Nels has done many a guest appearance on albums and even though he's busy with Wilco's ever growing popularity, he still maintains his side project, The Nels Cline Singers.

Danny Gatton:  The late, great, King of the Telecaster.  Could be one of the saddest stories in music history.  Struggled with depression for years and although undeniably a guitar god, lived in obscurity most of his career.  Danny would take his own life in 1994.  His great technique and music still live on.

Mark Knopfler:  The master of subtlety, in my opinion.  There is so much going on in his hands, but makes it look like nothing is happening.  Mark Knopfler is an unlikely rock star.  On top of being a guitar wizard, he's a great singer and one hell of a songwriter.

Paul Gilbert:  I've saved my favorite for last...Mr. Paul Gilbert.  Whether he's playing with the reunited Mr. Big, Racer X or making people laugh with his solo stuff, Gilbert is always amazing.  I'd put money down that he could play every song ever recorded, as he is the master of cover songs.  To add to all of this, he was an early teacher of this mysterious man.

As always, I hope you enjoyed reading and watching the list.  I enjoyed putting it together for you.  Have a great weekend (Holiday weekend in the States for most people) and have fun.

Editor's Note:  The Whitesnake comment was made in tribute to John Sykes.  David Coverdale fired John and the entire band, after their self-titled breakthrough album was completed.  Imagine, writing and recording an album that would go on to sell something like 8 million copies, but some other dudes get all the press and glory for it, because they are the ones in the videos.  That's my gripe.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Odds and Sods 4

Four score and seven years ago...whoops...sorry, wrong topic.

Do you acquire keys?  I have this ability to acquire keys.  I have a couple keys on my ring that I really have no idea where they go to.  One could be from an old job, but which one?  The other isn't a key to a building, but more like a mail key.  The thing is, I have my mail key...hmmm...just stumped.

Looking for a good quality movie to view.  Mr. Deeds it is!  My wife calls me a connoisseur of "bad movies."  I don't really look at them as bad, per se.  Ok, I do, but I can usually find something good in them.  Take Mr. Deeds, for's all about Winona Ryder.  Not her performance, but just her.  My schoolboy crush forever. 

Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag have called off their divorce.  Seems like I called this a couple of months ago.  I think my prediction is sound in it's logic.

"I wish I was in Tijuana, eating barbecued iguana."

Honor Roll (formerly Hall Passes, this makes more sense): 

Apparently, this little blog is big in Denmark.  Which is awesome beyond words.  Looking at my stats, my main readership is from the United States.  Since, that's where I'm also from, it makes sense.  Number two, however is Denmark.  Now I do have a friend that lives there, but I don't think he is the one that is viewing it all those times.  Sa, Hej to mine venner i Kobenhvn og i hele Danmark.  Tak for laesning.  I hope I didn't butcher your language too badly.

The late great, Rory Gallagher.  There is supposedly a story where a writer or interviewer, walked up to Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock and asked, "How does it feel to be the greatest guitarist in the world?"  Jimi's response was, "I don't know, you should go ask Rory Gallagher."  True or false, I have no idea, but it makes for a great story.  This video is all about the bass player, Gerry McAvoy.  He's so into it.


October.  It's my birth month, so it's not all bad, but it means I have to start wearing pants again.  Hold on pervs...I wear shorts...everywhere.  As it cools off and gets rainy, I have to cover up my sexy legs.  I'd rather wear shorts.  It's just easier.  Plus, it's like summer is still going my mind at least.

No expulsions today, but I'm always watching.  Be good kids.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fans Don't Boo Nobodies

In case you were wondering, Reggie Jackson of the New York Jackson's, said the above quote.  In the world of sports, amateur and professional, you have to be somebody before anybody will boo you.  It should be taken as a badge of honor.  Much easier said than done, of course.

We, the sports fan, have just entered the sweet spot on the sports calendar.  The MLB playoffs are about to start, the College and Pro Football seasons are well underway, with the NHL about to get going later this week and the NBA getting off the bench to begin stretching.  In fact, this year we get the bonus of the Ryder Cup.


I personally don't play the sport.  I have played and the result is kinda ugly.  I don't mind watching it though.  It's great background noise to take a nap to.  I love watching the Ryder Cup.  It's one of the few times where golf becomes a team sport.  It's really very exciting.  Which is why I think the PGA should do a team event every year.  Have it be one of the fun late season tournaments.  Take the 50 best players in the world or something like that.  Have a random draw for teams and play a couple of rounds.  Just a thought...

American Football

I specified it as the "American" version, because there are other "footballs" out there and those "others"  have been played longer.  I just want to throw that out there.  Don't get me wrong, I do like the NFL, but I have progressively watched less of it over the past couple of years.  Which I think is odd, because the sport has become more popular.  Also, since I live in New England, we've had a pretty good run.  I don't really have anything to complain about.  I'd just rather watch the "other" footballs, both soccer and Aussie Rules, respectively.


The regular season is over and the tournament is beginning.  Anything can happen and it probably will.  We don't have the time to go over everything that was "supposed to" happen, when it comes to the MLB playoffs.  So, who plays who?

Texas Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Rays
New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins
Cincinnati Reds vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves vs. San Francisco Giants

I'll give you my superb predictions in a second.  I'd love to see all the teams that are new or haven't been there for a while advance.  Just because, it'd be something different.  I know the Yankees and Phillies spend all that money just to get here every year, but wouldn't you want to see the Twins and Reds?  No...alright fine.

First Round Predictions:
Rays beats Rangers
Twins beat Yankees (Yanks pitching staff is suspect)
Phillies over Reds
Giants over Braves

We'll come back and predict the second round when that starts.

Fantasy Sports Corner

As good a place as any to update the happenings. I went 1-2 on my last UFC picks.  It's just one of those sports where anything can and usually does, happen.  Very difficult to predict, but I do my best.

Fantasy Baseball is over for the season.  The Hong Kong Cavaliers finished a disappointing 4th, after the playoffs wrapped up.  I qualified for them in 2nd.

Fantasy Football is still going strong.  The Flying Burrito Brothers are currently 2-1.  With today being a Monday, the fourth game has yet to be completed.  I'm currently behind in that one, with a couple of players yet to play.  So it could change...stay tuned.

Fantasy Hockey has yet to start, but I have high hopes for the R2 Cheechoos.  The people I generally play fantasy sports with aren't hockey fans and that's fine.  I was lucky enough to get into a league with some guys from the Strat Forum.  You may ask what is Strat? 

Well, that could be an entire different blog, but as a teaser...Strat-O-Matic is the best sports simulation, bar none.  Look into it, explore it...In fact, I'm going to go play...have fun.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Nine By Design 3

This weeks list will feature comedians.  I've always been a fan of comedy in any form.  With the recent deaths of Robert Schimmel and just this week, Greg Giraldo, I felt it was fitting.  Remember, the nine "weekly picks" are not the best anything, just personal picks.  There are easily a hundred comedians I like for any number of reasons.  Picking just nine was very difficult.  Without further ado...(Remember videos are for adults only, if you are easily've been warned)

Favorite Comedians

Robin Williams:  The first comedian I got into in the mid-80's.  I saw his Live At The Met special on HBO in 1986.  I was hooked immediately.  I never knew Mork did stand up comedy, but as soon as I saw him, I needed more comedy.  Thus was the beginning of me being a comedy fan.  Robin was a student of comedy and up next is his mentor.

Jonathan Winters:  A former Marine, he fought in World War II.  A master of improv and characters, had the ability to just "go" with a subject or object.  A veteran of many movies, television shows and is still working at 84 yrs old.  He'll be the voice of Papa Smurf in the upcoming live-action movie.

Stephen Lynch:  The funny foul and incredibly wrong troubadour.  He is the son of a former priest and, I didn't make that up.  His lyrics are extremely clever, but usually mocking pop culture.  He was in the production of the Wedding Singer on Broadway for about a year. 

Steve Martin:  Most people know Martin as a movie star, but long before that he was probably the biggest stand-up comedian of the 70's.  His comedy has more to do with thinking outside the box and absurdity than actual jokes.  When he was younger he worked as a magician at Disneyland. 

Richard Pryor:  The master of stand-up.  One of the most honest comedians in history.  He talked about everything in his life, the  good and especially, the bad...on stage.  Had a lot of success in movies and television, but was never as good, as he was on stage.  He and Gene Wilder formed an excellent duo in the movies they did.

Eddie Izzard:  Yes, he dresses like a woman.  He's an executive transvestite, basically a "male tomboy."  A very intelligent man that often talks a lot about history and religion using many pop culture references.  He has been in a few movies and television shows, but I still think he's the best at stand-up.

Chris Rock:  He took over from Eddie Murphy, who had taken over for Richard Pryor.  Continues the honest brand of comedy that Pryor started.  Has been successful on television and in movies, but always comes back to his stand-up roots.  Not bad for a high school dropout.

Louis C.K.:  Is finally getting his due for being a great comedian.  C.K. is probably my current favorite comedian.  He's always funny and never disappoints.  He has a great television show on FX.  Talks about a variety of topics on stage.  I wish him all the success in the world

Bill Hicks:  Probably my all-time favorite comedian, if I ever had to name someone.  He's intelligent, observant, a little out there, but makes you think.  As abrasive as he may be and he is, without his influence there would a few major comedians, we would've never heard of.  He's an all-time great.  

As we wrap up another week here, I hope you've enjoyed this list.  Maybe you've discovered someone new or you can tell me about your favorite comedians.  Just don't mention the plague of society that is Dane Cook.  Ever wonder why the guy who was everywhere for a while, is now nowhere to be found?  People finally figured out that he wasn't funny and doesn't tell jokes.  (Rant over)  Have a great weekend everyone!!