Friday, December 31, 2010

Nine By Design 16

We've literally come to the end of the year.  In just a few hours, it'll be "Amateur Night."  My advice, go over to a friends house or host some friends and stay in.  I'm not a drinker, but I did work for a band for years, so I've been in and out of clubs most of my life.  I understand wanting to go out, get happy and possibly ring in the new year with a new friend.  Just be careful.  Taxi's, designated drivers and public transportation are all your friends tonight.  I was saying to my wife last night, that public transportation should be free on New Year's Eve.  It just makes sense and it would encourage people to take it.  Logic, who uses it?

Speaking of my wife, the loyal readers will know that she's pregnant and due in the middle of 2011.  We've been tossing names around.  She's fond of "Puke-Inducer" and "Parasite," but this week's list will be rejected baby names.

Rejected Baby Names

Beyonce: I think having that name would put too much pressure on the child to be extremely talented.  "I have to sing, dance and act?  Gee, thanks."

Adolph: I think Mr. Hitler ruined this name forever.  Plus, it would probably make the child power hungry at an early age.  "Fine, I will go to my room Dad, but wait until your shower tomorrow morning.  You'll never forget it."  Bwaahhaa.  We don't need evil laughs at age 4. 

Madonna: If we have a girl, I'll be worried about keeping her "off the pole," as Chris Rock likes to say.  "It's dad's only real job."  I don't want to answer the question, "Who was I named after?"  "You were named after her, sweetie."

Zdeno: We love the hockey player, but we feel it would put too much on the kid to be a 6'9" freak of nature, with a 105 mph slapshot.  Especially, since my wife and I are both kinda short.

Iggy: As much as we love the singer, I named my cat after him.  It's a good name fit for my cat.  He's crazy.  I'd be afraid we'd have to deal with this at some point.  (I love the old guys doing commentary on the video, just hilarious)

Coco Crisp:  Yes, son, we gave you a name that sounded like a breakfast cereal.  That won't be too damaging to your psyche growing up.  The kids won't have much to pick on you.  You'll be fine!  Honey, this joke has gone too far.  You mean it's really on his birth certificate?  Whoops, my bad.

Dick Trickle: It takes, excuse my joke, "balls" to go with this over, Richard.  He was a fan favorite on Sportscenter when Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann we're still around.  There's only one tougher guy in the world with the name Dick.

Dick Butkus: With a name like this, you have to come out of the womb kicking ass and he probably did.  The man hasn't played in almost 40 yrs and I still wouldn't want to see the guy in a dark alley.

Yngwie: Pronounced Ing-Vey, for those of you not in the know.  I don't know if I want my child to bring back another "neo-classical" era in rock guitar.  Yngwie is very talented, but takes himself too seriously.  Paul Gilbert, does the same stuff (play with teeth, etc.) as a joke.  There's the difference.

There's the list, hope it was fun to read.  Happy New Year and Be Careful.  I only have like 30 readers, so I can't afford to lose any.  Oh, and your family and friends would probably be upset too, but I'd lose a reader.  That's way more important.  Cheers!  Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 In Memorium

The year is winding down to an end in a couple of days.  I just want to take some time and remember some of the people that have passed this year.  More of a celebration of their lives than missing them.  These are just a few people that I'd like to single out for personal reasons.

J.D. Salinger

He, of course, is best known for writing, The Catcher in the Rye, but he also wrote, Nine Stories and Franny and Zooey.  Which are both excellent as well.  Catcher is one of my all-time favorite books.  I've read it many times over the years and it still holds up today.  This up coming year will be it's 60th anniversary of publication.  No small feat.

Chris Kanyon

I know what you're thinking, "A professional wrestler, really?"  He was really more than that.  He innovated many moves that you see today and also trained many wrestlers.  Still, that's not what makes him important.  He was an openly gay man in a very manly profession.  Think about that.  Most don't consider pro-wrestling a real sport, but they have to be athletes to perform everything in ring.  I like to say it's predetermined athletic event, a male soap opera, so to speak.

Ronnie James Dio

The little man, with the huge voice.  I never got to meet him, but have read and heard personally, that he was one of the nicest men in rock music.  Always treated his fans like they were friends.  That's not easy to do and it's a very desirable personality trait.  I have trouble treating my friends like friends.  The man was in three monster bands during his career.  Rainbow with Ritchie Blackmore, Black Sabbath (later known as, Heaven and Hell, when he was singing) and his own band, Dio.  He was still touring a full schedule until his death.  \m/

Lena Horne

Just look at that picture...simply gorgeous.  You could look at a recent picture and it would pretty much look the same.  She was a multiple threat when it came to the arts.  She could dance, act and sing.  Mainly known as a singer, she had her signature song.  Her career spanned close to 70 years, pretty impressive.

John Wooden

Anything I write about John Wooden will not be enough.  One of the great teachers of not only basketball, but life.  So, I'm going to have a few other people talk about him.  I don't feel I could do him justice.

Alex Chilton

It's really sad that he passed away this year, because he was starting to get the recognition he's deserved for decades.  He was the voice behind "The Letter" by The Box Tops in 1967, when he was just 17 years old.  Later on he would be the voice of Big Star, who are "Godfathers of Power Pop."  Everyone has heard, "In the Street," as it was the theme to That 70's Show.  He and the late, Chris Bell wrote, in my opinion, one of the most underrated ballads ever, "Thirteen."  Big Star was one of those bands that you can listen to and get lost in the lyrics and music.  It's so perfect.

Last and certainly least...

Brett Favre's Career

What in the world was he thinking?  He has arguably one of his best seasons in 2009 and he decides to take the money and return for one more year.  Big Mistake.  He gets involved in some crazy scandal that drags his name through the mud.  Gets his ass kicked all over the field so he can go down in sports history as one of those players that stayed too long.  Rather, than a great quarterback.  I just have no idea what he was trying to prove.

Monday, December 27, 2010

X-Mas 2010 Recap

The staff (me) of For Lack Of A Better Title is back from their Holiday break.  I'll be recapping my X-Mas 2010 for you.  I know technically, it's not correct to call Christmas, X-Mas, but I like my Christmases, straight edge.  I know Ian MacKaye would be proud.

12/23/2010:  I'm puttering around the house when my phone rings.  It's my Mom and all she says to me is, "Guess what's baking in the oven?"  To anyone else, it's an impossible question, but for's really quite easy.  For her to ask me this, means she's baking something special.  So I say, "Cherry Squares."  Which is the correct answer.  I'm the only one in my family that eats them and my Mom bakes them on special occasions for me.  Although, she doesn't do them every Christmas, only when she's inspired.  My dad used to eat them as well, but since he's gone, it's just me.  So, I like to think that she's baking them for both of us.  Although, she's only making me the fat tub of lard.  By the way if you've never heard of them, A cherry square is a blonde brownie with cherry pie filling mixed in.  Quite tasty.

12/24/2010:  The wife is home and we have plans to go out and do our X-Mas shopping.  When you only shop for three people, you can wait until the last minute.  Neither of us have shopped for each other this year.  Sure, we like gifts like everyone else, but we have other priorities to spend money on.  First, on the agenda is stopping by the Warden's jail house to see Brains and Viper.  You may remember them from their first appearance.  We get there and the inmates are bouncing off the walls helping the Warden bake X-Mas cookies.  After all that, it's lunch time at the cafeteria.  The Warden isn't happy unless everyone gets something.  She yelled at me to eat lunch.  Lunch varies from grilled cheeses (Viper and myself) to PB&J's (Brains/Warden) to Chef Boyardee (the wife).  We get ready to leave, because lockdown is coming soon and Viper has already beaten me black and blue, in front of the Warden (actually, she took me in the back and beat me out of the sight of the guards).  Still, the cries and threats of I'm calling Santa do nothing (I have a red cell phone and I call Santa every year near X-Mas, when I see them).  Viper tells me, "It's too late, he's already left, you can't get a hold of him."  Smart kid, but I tell her, "I have a direct line to the sleigh."  Eyes grow large.  We leave the jail house.  Santa should still arrive on time.

We're off to pick up some coffee for my Mom and a restaurant gift certificate for my brother and his girlfriend.  Then, it's home for the rest of the day.  I get a call later in the day from my Mom, asking when we'd be there on X-Mas day.  I say between 12 and 1pm.  Normally, we're really good with time, but since the wife is pregnant, it's a little slower these days.  This time range is usually for my brother.  A notoriously late person.  If you say dinner is at 5pm, he'll show around 6pm.  So you need to compensate for him.  He's gotten better, but only because, he lives with my Mom.  If he had to physically drive himself, who knows when he'd show up?  The over/under would be 12/26/2010 at 4pm.  Only because, he'd be watching the Patriots game earlier than that.

12/25/2010:  The wife is actually awake early.  Color me surprised.  My phone rings, It's my Mom, "See if you can find a store that's open.  I'm out of Crisco.  Without that, NO Apple Pie."  She had been baking two days before, but just now figures out, she's out of Crisco.  Hmmm...conspiracy anyone?  Don't forget, my brother lives with my Mom, but it's up to me to find the Crisco.  Fine, it's up to the wife and I to save X-Mas.  It's just not a major holiday without my mother's apple pie.  It's that good.  We usually have it instead of birthday cake, that should tell you something.  Our first stop is Walgreens, which is down the street from my house.  Nothing.  We jump back in the car and head to the Hess gas station, because you just never know.  Strike two.

We finally start heading north.  We live in Providence, RI and my Mom lives about half an hour away in MA.  We get off the exit and I head away from my Mom's house, because I have an idea.  There's a small independent grocery store in the town next to hers.  They might be open.  We drive by and they aren't open either.  I say to my wife, "that we're going to stop at CVS and if it's not there, we're done."  My mother had called when we were in route earlier and told my wife, "not to go to CVS."  I'm telling you, it's a conspiracy, she doesn't want to bake the pie.  Once in CVS, we find it.  Pay for it and head to my Mom's.  I call my mother and tell her, "That we we're at our wits end, but since it's X-Mas, we decided to knock on random houses, looking for Crisco."  She's laughing hysterically.  I then tell her, "That the wonderful family known as CVS, provided us with it and X-Mas is saved."  I tell her before hanging up, "that next year she should have us find something easier, like frankincense or myrrh." 

We exchange gifts, have a great meal, with apple pie.  Then watch, The Town.  Although, not an X-Mas movie, it was pretty good.  A little predictable, but just about everything is these days.  Like clockwork, my brother starts to fall asleep and it's time for us to head out.  One way to keep every family visit great is knowing when it's time to leave.  My wife and I have mastered it.  All and all, another good holiday.  We enjoy spending time with all of our family, but there is a time limit.  Some have longer ones than others.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Nine By Design 15 aka The List For Santa

Santa...I've been very good this far as you know.  My special equipment has kept me off your radar, so I should come up in the good list.  Even if I've had to throw some people under the bus to keep me out of the spotlight.  Sorry, Lindsey Lohan and Charlie Sheen, but you're great targets.  Everyone expects you to fail, so it makes the cover up that much easier.  On with our list...

Santa's List:

A Job is really all I want for Christmas.  No joke or pun at all.  All the others might be humorous or funny, but this is a very serious request.

A Skateboard would be cool again.  The one pictured in the link was the skateboard I had when I was 14.  I always wanted to skate like this guy.  I was never that good and my knees would never allow me to get back on a board now, but it would still be nice to have one around.  The artwork is always amazing.

A Fender Telecaster was the guitar I should've purchased when I started playing, because it would have fit my hands better.  I didn't, of course...I needed an electric guitar with a whammy bar, so I could (pretend to) shred.  What did I know?  Stupid kid.

Cool concert tours.  I've established how obsessed with music I am, at least it should be apparent by now.  I put together tours all the time.  Tours that I wish would happen:

The Minnesota Trifecta of Soul Asylum, Bob Mould and Paul Westerberg.  That tour would be amazing, the guys from Asylum could back up Westerberg for some classic Replacements songs.

Since, the original Cars are currently recording and hopefully touring, how about, Dinosaur Jr., The Pixies and The Cars. This show would be historic, if everyone could get along.

Bands that I think should tour together, just because I think they fit well, The Black Crowes and Wilco, Sonic Youth and The Smashing Pumpkins and the topper, David Bowie and Iggy Pop, they wrote a bunch of songs together...

Disclaimer: This list is really very difficult for me, because I'd rather be the one purchasing gifts for people.  I never ask for anything.  So, we may not make it to nine.

One of my wishes, is something I'm already getting later in 2011 and that's a baby.  My wife and I have had some trouble conceiving and it took us 2 years, but now we're counting the days and getting ready for the life changing event.  You can see why a job is so important to me.

The last thing I'll post, because I just can't think of anything else, would be more time with my Dad.  No matter what the amount would be, of course, it would never be enough and I understand that, all too well.  He's missed so much since he's been gone and there's so much I never asked him, because I didn't have the ability or experience to form the questions yet.  I'm not trying to bum you out.  The holiday season gets hard sometimes, I know I'm not the only one.

I'll leave you with this:  When you've had about as much as you can stand from whomever on Christmas day or when the kids wake you up 2 hours after you've gone to bed, just be glad you have them.  You just never know when things will change.  That's as preachy and sappy as I'll get.  Merry Christmas everyone, I hope everyone gets what they want, no matter what it may be.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Future Is Unwritten

8/21/1952 - 12/22/2002

Eight years ago today Joe Strummer died.  I never looked at him like he was a "rock star," I always thought that was Mick Jones' job in the Clash.  Strummer was lyrically superior to Jones, but didn't have his talent as a musician.  I think he made up for it by putting his heart and passion into his songs.  Writing more politically or socially motivated lyrics.  Kind of like a barometer for the times.  A modern folk singer, just a bit louder.

I've believed for as long as I can remember, that you can get your message out through song.  Whatever that message may be.  If put together correctly, you have a captive audience.  Not everyone is going to agree with what you're saying, but that's not the point.  Your message is out there.  Whomever wants to grab it and hold on to it,'s just there.  Joe Strummer believed you could change the world with song and in a lot ways, I think he did.  He focused more on the message and less on himself.  It's a lesson that today's activist rock stars need to learn how to do better.  I'm not calling anyone out today.  Another day, maybe, Sunday Bloody Sunday, I'll talk to Roxanne and call people out...just not today.  I still hear your message Joe, loud and clear.

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's Scary In Here!

Do you ever get stuck inside your head?  I do, far too often.  It's like walking an endless spiraling staircase.  See what I did there with the visual aide...pretty nice.  I'm currently not working and haven't in a while.  It's really worn on me, because it's not for the lack of trying.  I just happen to live in one of those states (Rhode Island), where it's been difficult.  So, I get down and stuck in my head.  This is what I see when I'm there...

Warning: Harsh Language

Gunnery Sgt. Hartman yells at me when I'm feeling really depressed or down.  This will be like a self-analysis or sitting in on a therapy session.  Or as comedian Maria Bamford would call them, "The-Rapist."  Think about it, it's brilliant.

When I'm trying to cheer myself up...I think about things like this.

This video just has everything.  Dweezil and Ahmet Zappa, who should have their own show.  They are two of the funniest people I've ever seen.  They did have a show in the late 90's, but it didn't work out.  John Tesh, trying to rock, is so funny, I don't even know what to say about it.  He plays "easy listening, Yanni-type" music!  The Zappa's running on stage like they're going to open Christmas presents.  Last, but not least, you get to see Ahmet dance.  That's usually enough for me right there.

Then I start thinking about "obscure" one-hit wonders.

Love this song.  Charlie Sexton was 16 yrs old when he recorded this.  Amazing.  The record label tried to get him to be a teen-idol.  It didn't work.  This song is also featured in one of the most underrated movies of the 80's, Some Kind Of Wonderful.

Then my mind will wander into something like this:

So, thanks for visiting my mind.  It's Scary In Here, most of the time.  But, like you...I'm just trying to get through the day, everyday.  You know...Wash...Rinse...Repeat.  I'm just having one of those days.  It's easier and cheaper to come to the blog than go anywhere else.  Also, it's about the same as far as results go, too.  Cheers!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hall Of Mediocrity Induction Party

The hard working staff at For Lack Of A Better Title had the Hall Of Mediocrity Induction Party at the fabulous Grand Prix Motor Lodge.  You don't really need to know the location.  It was equally mediocre.  Vince Neil, from Motley Crue and Skating With The Stars was going to be our host, but he fell off the stage.

So, I hosted and everything went about as well as we could imagine.  The two bands being inducted tonight were.  Whitesnake and Grand Funk Railroad.  It would have been Bachman Turner Overdrive and Supertramp, but they couldn't get into the USA.  Stupid, TSA at the airports.  We're very flexible and called up the other bands to be inducted.  They were just as happy to be inducted.  Grand Funk sent an old roadie for their honor and David Coverdale of Whitesnake actually showed up.  He probably thought we were the real Rock Hall of Fame.  Since our location looks just like downtown Cleveland, it was to our advantage.

Here is what the honorees received:

Pretty snazzy, if I do say so myself.  They also received a $25 gift certificate to China Buffet.  We spare no expense here.  The jam session was going to be great, until we realized that we had too many guitarists and no drummers.  So that didn't happen either.  In our defense, this induction was moved up a week, because most of us here at For Lack Of A Better Title, have better things to do next week.  It was a great time, had by at least a few people.  Though, those few may be hard to find and may not actually admit they had fun, now that their sober.

This will become just a yearly induction...since, no one here can handle doing this on a quarterly basis and we really need our 20 readers out there to nominate and induct the future members of the Hall Of Mediocrity.  We'll try again next year.  Cheers again to Whitesnake and Grand Funk Railroad!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Nine By Design 14

Today will be the sing-a-long portion for our weekly list.  We'll be focusing on Holiday Songs and like most of the things I like, non-traditional.  Although, I think I'm actually pretty traditional most of the time.  I just like creativity.  The classics are fantastic.  There's a reason why they are classics, but I do like good variations on themes or even new original songs.  So, without much further ado about nothing...our songs.

Holiday Songs:

The Snow Miser/Heat Miser Song is probably my wife's favorite Christmasy song.  She actually checked to make sure it was on my list when I was making it.  She generally doesn't read my blog (she's heard it all before), but still wanted to make sure her song made it.  You can see where her priorities are.

Reggae Christmas took place in the Golden Age of MTV, when they didn't take themselves too seriously, had actual personalities hosting and played music.  Plus, Pee Wee Herman is in the video and he's had a good comeback year.  So it felt appropriate.

Snoopy vs The Red Baron is by The Royal Guardsmen.  It's just one of those songs that you might not remember right away, but once you hear it love it.  They are still around and playing.

I Wish It Was Christmas Today is one of my favorite SNL moments.  It's a strangely catchy song that will be stuck in your head for a while.  I apologize, but it's also one of the few times when Horatio Sanz and Chris Kattan were funny.  Tracey Morgan is hilarious just for his dancing.  

Bob and Doug Sing 12 Days of Christmas is a classic around my parts.  The entire album is genius.  Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas before they were stars.  Were they ever stars?  Well, kinda I suppose...they do make a living out of playing other people.

Little St. Nick definitely has the best singing of any of the songs on the list.  The sweet harmonies of the Beach Boys.  It's basically "Little Deuce Coupe" with Christmas lyrics, but don't tell anyone.  It's a secret.  For as crazy as Brian Wilson is supposed to be, take a look at a Mike Love interview.  You tell me who the crazy one is.  Have you figured out that I don't care for Mike Love?

Christmas At Ground Zero by the genius that is "Weird Al" Yankovic.  He's made parodying songs famous, most bands don't feel like they have really made it until, "Weird Al" parodies one of their songs.  His originals are quite clever as well.  The best selling comedy musician of all-time.

Misty Mountain Winter Wonderland is by Fleming and John and a great take on two classics.  I really love Fleming's voice.  Her voice works well in the song.  I wish they would do more Christmas mash-ups.  this is extremely clever.

Fairytale of New York is quite possibly in the top 25 of personal favorite songs.  Not just Christmas songs either, it's that good.  Not that I keep a list of these things or anything.  The list changes far too much, but The Pogues and the late, Kristy MacColl just work and will always be there, somewhere.  It really is the Holidays when you hear this on the radio.

I'll be back next week, Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel, with the last Holiday Nine of the year.  Happy Weekend...Cheers!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Odds And Sods - Holidazed Edition

I really love the holidays.  I don't mind driving to the different sides of the family, because I haven't had to do both sides in one day yet.  Normally, my wife and I would go to my Mom's for Thanksgiving and have Christmas a week early with her.  Then we'd do Christmas day at my in-laws house.  It's always worked out well.  Things will be changing, since next year we'll have a baby and I'm sure both sets of soon-to-be Grandparents will want their time on the holidays.  Thankfully, they don't live to far apart currently.  Things could change on that front...stay tuned.

I'll admit, I do watch some reality television, but I try not to watch too much of it.  I tend to watch more educational shows.  I know technically a show like American Pickers is reality, but you learn a lot about history as well.  I do like the reality shows that have a competition aspect to them.  Survivor has been decent this season.  No one is really controlling it this year, so it could be anyone's to win.  There just hasn't been a person that you can see coming back as an all-star.  Naonka would have been that one, but she quit, which was just dumb.  The other show that is like a white-trash Olympics is, The Road Rules/Real World Challenge.  If you've never seen it, check it out.  Steroid amped guys and prima donna girls, go against each other in battle.  It's basically Survivor, but you don't have to worry about being liked.  Being good in challenges is the main goal.  Plus, it's the only watchable thing on MTV, since there are no more videos.  They have shows called: 16 and Pregnant.  Sure, let's promote that...

Honor Roll:

I just want to send out my congratulations to my friend, Harris and his wife, Amy.  They just had their first child.  I'm happy everything went well and everyone involved came out healthy.


We all know that commercials are for the most part dumb and holiday ones, even more so.  I don't know if any commercial is dumber than this one.

They are looking for the car and they brush off a black one first, but no that's not the right one.  They hit the button on the phone and find the car.  Of course, the first car isn't yours.  Your car is WHITE...not BLACK.  A little snow isn't going to hide that important fact.  Also, "Our House" by Madness has been ruined for me.  Thanks Verizon...

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Extra-Medium Sized Review: Tin Horn Prayer - Get Busy Dying

Where to begin?  Beginning at the beginning has been done to death.  Tin Horn Prayer, is sort of a Denver, CO supergroup.  Is being a supergroup a good thing?  There's a different answer for everyone involved when asked a question like that.  Bands like Bad Company, Asia and Journey can be called "supergroups."  I think it's an unfair misnomer for this band.  How about current project?  It sounds less pompous than that other word from the 1970's.

Get Busy Dying is their debut album, released by Bermuda Mohawk Productions.  I was happy to see that not only did it get released in CD format, but also vinyl.  A vinyl record is just a special thing to have, which you should already know.  If I have to sit here and explain why, it's already lost on you.  So, kudos to the boys.  I'm sure they get it.  Enough of my rambling, you want to know about the music. 

Here's the big question:  Who do they sound like?  They sound like Tin Horn Prayer.  I know, not the answer you're looking for.  You want a description of some other bands that may sound a bit like them, so you can "judge a book by it's cover."  Guess what, I'll do that, but I'm also going to provide you with enough links to sample their music, that you'll be able to make up your own mind.  On with the awkward comparisons.

If a gun was held to my head this is what I'd say.  If you got the Band, with their Appalachian Americana sound and they got together and had a baby with The Pogues, with their fun pub, folk punk sound.  Then, that baby hung out way too long with Tom Waits in the back of a club, drinking shots and smoking cigarettes, you'd be close.

The sound of this album for me is just having a nice get together with a bunch of people.  Sitting in the backyard around a fire, with some guitars, some drinks, singing and playing songs together.  Having a grand ole time.  The songs flow like that on the record.  "Better Living," starts off the record at a nice pace.  A great sing along.  "Crime Scene Cleanup Team," changes it up a tad, let's you know the album isn't a one trick pony.  Songs like "Devil Makes Me" and "Memory," take the tone down a bit.  We're not all fun and games, we're a little more serious than we let on.  You still get some fun songs like, "Louis Collins" and "Wretch."  "Wretch" actually starts out serious, but halfway through the song, the band kicks it up.  It has a nice call and response vocal, that will get you singing along, by the end of it.  One song in particular, "1939," sounds like Rocket From The Crypt to me.  Which is in no way a bad thing, in my opinion, at least. 

I'm not going to rate the album.  I don't have some dumb rating system.  What I will do is strongly advise that you pick it up, download it, whatever, just get it.  It's a very strong debut, by a bunch of guys that have been around the block a few times.  Hopefully, this will become a full-time gig for everyone involved and we can look forward to a tour (come to New England) and second album.

The Important Info:
Buy Get Busy Dying here or here

If any other bands would like to have their albums reviewed, please contact me.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Nine By Design 13

John Lennon was killed 30 yrs ago this week

I find it a little remarkable that this list entry, I started as a way to get over a little writer's block and make sure that I blogged at least once per week, has been going on for a quarter year.  It may not sound like much, but I have tiny goals in life.  As regular readers know, I've been feeling under the weather this week.  I self-diagnosed myself with Legionnaires Disease, because it sounds cool.  Better than the sniffles or a chest cold.  Everyone gets a cold, but not everyone gets...LEGIONNAIRES DISEASE.  On with our weekly list...but wait, we don't know the topic yet.  You are a very astute observer and correct, of course.  Since the holidays are upon about Alternative Christmas Movies?  (The descriptions could be very surreal, since I don't want to spoil anything)

Alternative Christmas Movies:

The Family Stone

No, really...I'm starting with this movie.  I never said they we're all good movies, although I like all of them.  There's just something about this one and no, it isn't Sarah Jessica Parker...she's so out of place, which I know is the point, but yuck.  That's all I'll say about SJP, yuck is all you get.  Anyways, Claire Danes is very charming and hot in the movie.  Craig T. Nelson is the dad and probably, one of the coolest dad's in a movie.  If you haven't seen it, do so...the story will get's really good, despite SJP.  Luke Wilson's in it, it can't be bad...

 Less Than Zero

The first book by Bret Easton Ellis and also the first to be adapted into a movie.  Robert Downey Jr. plays himself in the movie, but goes by Julian.  Not really, but at the time the movie was made...Downey was a mess, so it wasn't a stretch.  One of three movies where, Andrew McCarthy is the "hero" and one of my favorite actors, James Spader, is the "bad guy."  The other two, Pretty In Pink and Mannequin.  All three were made within 24 months of each other, interesting, but I don't know why.  Show your children, Robert Downey Jr's drug journey, as a way to scare them straight.  The visual isn't an egg in a frying pan, it's a straight guy, turning tricks to pay his dealer back.  Way more effective...

The Ref

I guess you would call this a breakthrough movie, but not for who you would think.  Denis Leary was great in this movie, but wouldn't really embrace acting until Wag The Dog/Suicide Kings both made in 1997.  It's pretty much, Kevin Spacey's coming out party.  It's his first real chunky role.  He does so much with it and he's great with Judy Davis, who plays his wife.  Just about every one of his roles for the next 10 yrs gets nominated for something.  It's about as heartwarming a black comedy gets.

Bad Santa

Another heartwarming black comedy.  Are there really such things?  There better be, I just called two movies that.  Billy Bob Thronton is the ugly Johnny Depp.  Let me clarify.  Johnny Depp makes big budget movies to get smaller ones, that he may prefer, made.  Billy Bob does the same thing, but isn't as good looking as Officer Tom Hanson.  So, the girls down at the hairdressers tell me at least.  This movie is just great top to bottom.  A fantastic cast, the last film of John Ritter and is hilarious.  Plus, Lauren Graham is just, wow.  I blame my wife for making me watch Gilmore Girls.  Highly recommended and the movie too.

Die Hard

"Yippee-ki-yay, mofo" (I try not swear here, it just lowers every one's intelligence, plus I've always liked, "mofo") is as big a part of Christmas as, "Merry Christmas."  It is in my world, it should be in yours as well.  The movie that made Bruce Willis a movie star.  He was already a TV star, but we know there is a difference.  Until recently, being a TV star was like being a second class citizen, but nowadays, it's almost the preferred profession.  There are very few real movie stars left.

Better Off Dead

The classic story of love lost and love regained.  Add, a homicidal paperboy looking for two dollars, your neighbors mom blew up, your best friend is trying to snort an entire mountain and one of the coolest Camaro's ever.  That's just the tip of iceberg.  Any movie that has an animated scene about the Van Halen song, "Everybody Wants Some" is making my random 9.  It also helps that John Cusack is an all-time favorite actor of mine.

Trading Places

Everyone in this movie is brilliant.  It takes me back to a better time in movies, when Dan Aykroyd wasn't Yogi Bear, Eddie Murphy wasn't a donkey and Jamie Lee Curtis wasn't shilling yogurt that made you poop.  Would you rather that I use the word, defecate, instead of, poop?  It sounds worse that way.  OK, I better stop, I've just ruined this movie for everyone, me included.


I know this is a real Christmas movie, but it's a favorite and very off beat.  It's one of Bill Murray's best roles, IMO.  As far as remakes go, I don't think this can be topped.  A phenomenal cast, the story is tweaked enough that it becomes it's own movie and not just a re-telling of a classic.  It's not  Dickens' Christmas Carol on steroids, it's on acid...makes for a better trip.  Not that I would know anything about that, Officer Tom Hanson.  Moving along...

Christmas Vacation

Another real Christmas movie, I know, but it's too great to leave off.  It's one of the few times when Chevy Chase is funny.  That's not a dig on him personally.  I just think he's picked bad scripts over the years.  Fletch is one of my favorite movies.  You should all know this movie, it's on every year multiple times.  If you've never seen it, what are you waiting for?  You'll be quoting lines from this movie throughout dinner with your own Uncle Eddie.

Honorable Mention:  The Long Kiss Goodnight, because it was Geena Davis' last good role and that's sad.  How she hasn't done anything good in almost 15 yrs, is beyond me?

This now concludes our programming for the day...Cheers.  Happy Weekend.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Visions Of A Med-Head

Alright kids, strap on your safety belts, because I haven't a clue where this could go.  It could turn into Visions of Cody really quick.  So, "step right up and don't be shy, because you will not believe your eyes."  I've had a pretty decent cold for the past couple of days.  So I've been taking cold medicine...responsibly or close to that.  I've been in and out of a medically induced coma most of the time.  Making days go by like the fast forward button was stuck down.  Having some really interesting dreams to say the least.  Which is also very interesting, because I'm one of those people that generally don't remember their dreams.

I had a dream that revolved around the concept of "Time," because it's a man-made concept and doesn't really exist.  (That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.  You believe what you like).  It was always fun to tell people that would call in a prescription when I worked in a pharmacy, that it would take an hour for it to be completed.  If they questioned it, I'd tell them that time didn't exist.  It was much easier than explaining that the people waiting at the pharmacy, came first.  Also, in this dream, it was apparently a movie and I cast Ethan Hawke and Robert DeNiro.  Two people that have never worked together, to my knowledge and quick researching.  Maybe, it was my mind trying to save "Bobby D" from another Focker movie.  They are so not good.  I'll give you the first one, but even that was just so-so.

The other thing that I've been thinking about a lot is blogging.  I've recently had a little influx of followers, which is incredibly cool.  One of my favorite things is when I get a reader or what the reality actually is, a mistaken viewer, from a new country.  The United States is my biggest reader, but as I've said before, Denmark is second.  Singapore is in the top 10, although I do have a friend who recently moved there.  I'd love to have this little old blog go international.  

As I screw it all up today, by giving you this turd on a stick.  Anyways, I was thinking that followers are great and all, but I hope they actually read what I'm doing on the blog.  I hope they are not just taking up space on the right side of my blog ,where the followers go, keep up people!  These are the thoughts that have been swimming in the med-head.

That's all for's back to bed for this med-head.  I also had another thought about re-writing, "A Visit From St. Nicholas" satirically.  I make no promises, but I will be working on it.  Good Night, Morning or Afternoon, whatever it maybe in your part of the world.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Being Invaded By Zombie Squirrels

Zombie Squirrels really do exist.  It's not the visions from the cold medicine I'm taking or overdosing on. makes everything pretty colors.  Normally, we get one squirrel on our small porch.  We live in a third floor condo.  Investigating, looking for nuts and whatever else they do.  Now, there's at least 2 or 37 at a time.  My math is a little off, I think it might be the same 2 or 3 squirrels that keep coming from other directions.  My cats are in extra-red alert defense mode.  They are the protectors of the house.  They are proficient in Kat-Fu (whoa, that's bad...that's one for Underhill).  They like to run up to the sliding glass door and scare them.

Don't let their cuteness fool you.  They are deadly attack cats.  I trust them with my life...well, that's a bit extreme, but against the zombie squirrels...I do.

So, where was I...oh right...the zombie squirrels.  My cats have told me they are getting too close and I have to be evacuated to the safe room (bedroom).  You talk to your cats too and they talk back, right?  Maybe, it's just me.  So, that means more cold medicine and off to the zombie squirrel proof bed.  Be careful out there.  Keep plenty of nuts handy, so you'll be protected.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Nine By Design 12

Back once again for the weekly list and the topic surprisingly has to do with music.  I know you're just as shocked as I am.  I figure the next couple will have holiday themes, so I wanted to do this one for the first week of December.  Today's list will be Debut Albums After 1975.  Why so specific?  When you have so many great albums that came out in the 60's/early 70's (Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Beatles, Hendrix and on and on). I thought it would be nice to specify.  To quote Mike Campbell, "Don't bore us, get to the chorus."  On with the list...

Debut Albums After 1975:

Patti Smith - Horses

Poet turned singer/songwriter, Patti Smith released this career defining album in 1975.  To say this album influenced everyone would be an understatement.  An intellectuals take on rock 'n' roll, with originals like "Land" and a very interesting take on the Them song, "Gloria."  Rolling Stone has this album at #44 on their list of 500 greatest albums of all-time.

Elvis Costello - My Aim Is True

Declan MacManus, changed his name to Elvis Costello and started his career as a singer/songwriter.  A pretty darn good one too.  He announced his enormous talent with great singles like: "Alison" and "(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes."  He's been here ever since, exploring music for over 30 years.  Rolling Stone has this one at #168 on the greatest 500 list.

The Cars - Self Titled

This is still one of my all-time favorite albums to this day.  It's a true greatest hits album.  Just about every song is still played on the radio.  Ric Ocasek wrote amazingly catchy songs and whether it was him singing or the late, Benjamin Orr, it always sounded great.  Most people don't know there were two singers in the band, bonus points to those out there that do.  It was hard to pick songs, but I went with: "Bye Bye Love" and "Just What I Needed."  Love Ben Orr's voice.  Don't cry for Ocasek, he married Paulina Porizkova, he's doing fine.

Joe Jackson - Look Sharp!

This album is fantastic from top to bottom.  Jackson had been playing piano in bars since he was 16.  It's one of those albums that is hard to describe.  Is it new wave, punk or something else altogether?  It's a bit of everything really.  It's an album that goes from, "Is She Really Going Out With Him?"  to "Got The Time."  I understand why Anthrax covered "Got The Time," it's already close to being a metal song.  Plus, you just have to love his shoes on the cover.

The Pretenders - Self Titled

I don't know what it is about Chrissie Hynde.  She's always had that something, that really makes you pay attention to her.  She's an incredibly talented musician and she'd probably kick your ass if you got out of line.  This is the classic lineup of the band, which sadly would only make it through a couple records.  Pete Farndon and James Honeyman-Scott would both die of drug overdoses.  With songs like: "Stop Your Sobbing" (Kinks cover) and "Kid," it's a must own album.

The Jesus and Mary Chain - Psychocandy

The brain child of the brothers Reid, Jim and William.  As Allmusic said, "It's an album with one trick, Beach Boys melodies meet Velvet Underground feedback and beats."  It works incredibly well and helped start the whole "shoegazer" genre of alternative music. You'll get it after hearing, "Just Like Honey" and "Never Understand." 

The Stone Roses - Self Titled

Another band that help start a new musical genre.  This one is called "Madchester," which were a group of bands from Manchester, England, that played a mix of psychedelic rock and dance music.  Often considered by critics to be one of the greatest and/or most important British albums ever.  I think it's an album that's in the conversation.  Especially with songs like, "I Wanna Be Adored" and "She Bangs The Drums."

Pearl Jam - Ten

Pearl Jam got a lot of crap from other bands (Nirvana, called them a sellout), critics (David Browne, said "you've heard it all before.") and fans (I hated them when they came out).  I think a lot of it came out of jealousy.  It was an, "Oh crap!" moment.  "This album is going to change the playing field."  Well, it did, big time.  I had friends that were obsessed with this band and it was kind of annoying.  I'll finally admit that this is a great album.  Pearl Jam is a great band and is the only big grunge band that never broke up or stopped.  With songs like, "Alive" and "Black," who could blame them?

Liz Phair - Exile In Guyville

Here's what guts are in my book: You write a debut album as a song by song reply to the Rolling Stones classic, Exile on Main Street.  Yes, it's a way to get noticed, but it also has to be good, which this isn''s great.  Liz Phair is a very talented songwriter and pretty hot too.  Just needed to add's important.  If you're looking for an album that's a little different, pick this one up.  Songs like, "Never Said" and "Fuck and Run" are just that good.

To wrap it up...every album is on the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time, except Look Sharp!  Which is a shame, because it should be there, but it's Rolling Stone...who really cares what they think?  See you next week...Happy Weekend...Cheers!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Extra-Medium Sized Review: Conan

The average sized review, with just a little more...something.

I've been watching Conan O'Brien's new show on TBS, pretty much every night.  Late night television talk shows need one of two things to get me to watch.  Either, a good guest or a good band.  Sometimes, you get both, but it's pretty rare.  The only show I watch religiously is The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and I generally watch it the next day.  

Most of us by now know the story of Conan, Leno and NBC.  So, I'm not going to rehash it.  I do feel like Conan got a raw deal and Leno cried to get his show back.  I also feel that Conan is back where he is the best, in an underdog role.  His comedy is generally geared toward the younger crowd, kinda what David Letterman had in his formative years during Late Night.  Johnny Carson was the pro and Letterman was the student.  Letterman had his own run-in with Leno about the Tonight Show in the past.  So, after Dave left NBC for CBS, his comedy became a little more generalized.  Since he and Jay were targeting the same audience.

I know Conan's new show has only been on about a month, but he has no competition at that time slot.  The news is on 24 hours a day somewhere.  You can watch The Daily Show, Colbert Report and Sportscenter anytime you want.  Conan is re-energized now that he's back on television.  You can tell he's having fun again.  It seemed like he was under a little too much pressure during the Tonight Show days, until he was getting fired and then he didn't care.  That's when he went back to being himself.

His partner in crime Andy Richter is back.  He should never leave.  They work flawlessly together.  Richter is a very talented comedian and writer that wants to do his own things.  I get this, but it seems like his humor is only appreciated on Conan's shows.

I'll miss Max Weinberg, but I understand him not wanting to leave the East Coast.  He's been on the road for most of his professional life with Bruce Springsteen.  He also filled in as the sidekick after Andy left in 2000.  Andy's back, Max doesn't want to move permanently to the West Coast and the band is the same, just without Weinberg.  Everything worked out nicely.  Jimmy Vivino is the quiet, but very capable band leader.  He would lead the band when Max would leave on tour with Springsteen, so it's not new to him.  I love that Conan didn't bring in a bigger name to lead the band or get a new band altogether.  Instead, remaining loyal to the guys in the band, who have been with him for 17 years.  Shows you what kind of guy Conan is.

It's a little quick to judge, but I think Conan can only succeed.  He's the face of TBS, works as a great lead in to George Lopez, who is bloody awful, by the way.  Here's something for that time slot that might be a little nutty or outside the box.  Give it to Kevin Pollak, yes, I'm serious.  He hosts a chat show/podcast on You Tube/iTunes, that is really great.  Good guests, fun questions and not boring.  I think it could work.  Check it out.

Final Thoughts:  I was thinking of someway to grade this/these review(s) for my own (thumbs up/down, high fives or A to F, etc.), but I'm not that clever or lame (you choose).  So, I'll say's the only late night talk show that I try to watch every night.  I like Conan, I always have.  Having Andy with him can only make it better.  I think he's right where he should be.