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Archive for August, 2007

princess di is wearing a new dress

I had forgotten all about the Diana anniversary thing (holy hell, ten years?) until I hit Marc’s page. Hopefully, that will still be up there when you click.

Is Diana’s death one of those “where were you moments” in world history? I have to say, I didn’t really care much about her alive and I don’t care all that much about her dead. I mean, it’s not like she ever did anything for me. Maybe she kissed some babies and talked about poverty or whatever, but in my eyes, all she was doing was trying to steal Mother Theresa’s thunder. Too bad Mother Theresa would never try to live the rock star lifestyle while attempting to maintain her dignity. I KNOW MOTHER THERESA AND YOU ARE NO MOTHER THERESA, DIANA!

Sorry.

But I do remember where I was, only because it was my first glimpse of the power of the internet. I had only gotten online (AOL, thank you) a month or two before, and I was still in awe of the things you could do with your computer. Oh, the games you could play! The stories you could read! The animated gifs you could have a seizure to! The strangers you could meet! It was a vast, new world inside that 32k ram computer and I wanted to seize it all.

So I hung out in AOL chat rooms. Yes, I made the best use of my new found toy. Others were figuring out how to turn the intertubes into money. Some were developing web tools that would take us even farther down that information highway. Me, I was guessing movie by quote or guessing song by lyric or looking for lonely housewives who wanted a threesome with a truck driver and a waitress in Topeka, Kansas. For shits and giggles, of course. I was the truck driver. The waitress was my girlfriend. Flo.

Anyhow, I was sitting in Movie Quote Trivia, trying to remember where the quote “Come on sing everyone! Sing or I’ll go home and kill all your mommies,” came from when someone burst into the room (you did that simply by entering the room, then typing in all caps right away, without waiting for the standard {{{{{{{{{{welcome}}}}}}}} hugs) and started blathering about Diana being dead or maybe dead or possibly maimed or really, really, really dead.

My world stopped for about ten seconds. Then I remembered the quote was from Dirty Harry and typed that in and waited for my kudos. But everyone was too busy being in shock over the death of the princess to care. I went to a couple of other chat rooms, but they were all talking about the same thing. Even in “Male4Male Oregon,” they stopped talking about glory holes and started talking about the glory of Diana.

I spent the next hour or so checking every news site, all my favorite websites, chat rooms and forums and not only had the news of her death spread at an alarming rate, but the conspiracy theories spread even faster. The CIA killed her. Prince Charles hired a hitman. She was really driving. Aliens. Communists. Canadians. Mother Theresa. A secret Vatican plot that had something to do with the antichrist and a flock of crows at midnight.

Man, I thought. The internet is neato! We can spread lies and disinformation faster than ever before! Poor Diana! Her image would be forever tarnished by the fact that rumors, by the laws of physics and all, move at a faster rate of speed than truth. And with the power of a whole lot of 56k modems and America Online, Diana’s virginal image would go down within seconds.

So I logged into the brand new RIP Diana chat room and told everyone that Castro did it. He didn’t want anyone to find out about their torrid affair, especially that night in Havana. Let’s just say Clinton isn’t the only world leader to know a thing or two about cigars being more than cigars.

What was my point here? Oh, yea. Diana may have died tragically, but out of the ashes of her fiery death came Sir Elton John’s poignant singing of Candle in the Wind. And really, would the world ever be the same again? No, I think not. Rest assured, Diana did not die in vain.

Wait, the point was about discovering the power of the internet through the death of the princess. Or was it about discovering that posing as a truck driver just passing through Oregon and looking for some “fun” can lead to a very large phone bill and a broken heart?

Either way, RIP Mother Theresa.

I mean, Diana.

*this post is dedicated to Marc, the most profound of all Princess Di aficionados.

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Some of you may have read this story already (it was post about 2 1/2 years ago on my old blog), but Mikey asked about it in my post on songs that everyone loves that I hate and I told him I would post it again. It’s about my hatred of Paradise By The Dashboard Light.

I know. It’s a classic. Everyone loves it. Great bar song! Great party song! My ass.

I reached my breaking point with this tune about 12 years ago at my sister’s wedding. Now it’s my kryptonite. Just the mere mention of it and I break out in hives. Right now, my arms are starting to itch. I’m going to need a bottle of calamine just write this out.

I’m sure you’ve all been to weddings or the like where people acted this song out. It can’t just be a Long Island thing. Please tell me that this happens in other places.cal.jpg Don’t leave me all alone here in loserville.

Ok, my sister’s wedding. I’ll tell you what happened. Let me just get some more calamine.

As soon as the DJ hit this song – I’m talking as soon as the firs note hit – , the dance floor was packed. Everyone who sat on their fat, drunk asses all night during the great dance songs of the night (Oh, like you don’t want to dance every time you hear Funkytown) were suddenly lined up on the floor. Guys on the left. Chicks on the right. Ready to….what? Rumble? Line dance? What the hell were they doing? Following the song? Acting it out? When did Paradise become the new Hokey Pokey? Was I that sheltered that I missed this memo?

Excuse me while I gulp this Benadryl down. The hives. They multiply.

At this point in the reception, I’d had about five thousand shots of tequila. Ok, maybe twenty. Twelve. Whatever. Point is, tequila will usually have me up on a table swinging my bra around dancing to some Donna Summer song. But not even a good Cuervo buzz could get me out there for this song. They tried. I told them to back the hell off. I’ll sit this one out. Call me when the DJ puts on Bad Girls.

I just stood back and watched. Grown men and women doing this dance thing. We’re talking town councilmen and judges and the president of the local chamber of commerce here. They all took turns singing the boy/girl parts., standing across from each other like some scene out of West Side Story and doing this back and forth singing. They acted the parts out, pretending to be lusty teenagers in a steamy car. During the Phil Rizzuto play by play part, one couple stood in the center of the two lines and pantomimed the whole thing. I kid you not. They acted the whole damn thing out. I was embarrassed. Why weren’t they? My jaw dropped as my cousin informed me that this went on at every wedding, in every bar, every night of the week and I needed to get out more. No. No. I need to never leave the sanctity of my house again. I’ve been emotionally scarred by witnessing this.

Oh, it got worse. The play by play part was over. Some lady did a sliding split into the middle of the dance floor, holding up her hand and singing “STOP RIGHT THERE!” Wait.. That’s no lady. That’s my daughter’s religious ed teacher! And that guy singing “let me sleep on it” in her face? Jesus, that’s my uncle. Then they all chimed in. All of them. Doing this back and forth thing, guys singing desperately “I gotta know right now” and the girls responding with some tit-shaking dance, singing “let me sleep on it,” and this went on until the very end, where they all did some bizarre shimmy down to the floor as they whispered “glowing like a metal on the edge of a knife.” I shook my head to clear it. I thought maybe the tequila had gotten to me. I was hallucinating. Dreaming. I had been transported to the ninth level of hell and Satan himself was going to rise out of the dance floor. But no. It was real. It was real and it was horrible and it formed some Pavlovian response in my brain so that I start itching and screaming and begging for mercy every time I hear this song.

That happened 12 years ago. And I remember every little thing…….nah, not going there.

Pass the calamine.

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300 bands, 300 songs (146-150)

Halfway there!

146. Steve Miller Band – Wintertime
Book of Dreams is a great album that reaches across so many different types of music. It was fun rock and roll, a bit bluesy and a great sitting in your backyard drinking beer with your friends type album. Except for this song. Wintertime, is a slow, bare tune that needs a dark room and headphones. It’s the kind of song that can make a teenager long to know more about love and loss. And the kind of song that can make an adult who knows those things wish they didn’t. There’s not much to thislyrically, but what he says and the way he says and the arrangement of the music makes me feel almost haunted by the song.

147. Runaways – Cherry Bomb
1976. I was 14 years old. My parents had just pulled me out of public school and sent me to Catholic high school for “my own good.” One of the first friends I made in that school introduced me to the Runaways and that spark of of teenage rebellion that was lit the year before blew up.

Hello daddy, hello mom, I’m your ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-cherry bomb

Good girl gone bad. Turns out Catholic school girls were the last thing I needed for “my own good.”

148. Wu Tang Clan – Can It All Be So Simple
Do I love Wu Tang or do I simply love Enter the Wu Tang (36 Chambers)? Probably more of the latter. But this album is so packed with awesomeness, maybe I just had a hard time with the follow ups living up to it.

I love the groove on this song, the smooth stylings of both Raekwon and Ghostface Killah, the sampling of Gladys Knight and the Pips – it’s sort of jazzy and mellow, something you’d hear in the background of a dark night club, the kind where you have to know someone to get in.

Now, let’s take a moment of silence in memory of my man ODB.

149. Filter – Under
I almost went off their main catalog for this one. Their cover of Three Dog’s Night “One” for the X-Files soundtrack, and their duo with Crystal Method “Trip Like I Do” from the Spawn soundtrack and “Jurassitol” from the Crow: City of Angels soundtrack were my first three choices, but I decided to go with something from Short Bus, as this was the only great album of the three they put out. Talk about disappointing follow ups.

While Hey Man, Nice Shot is a pretty awesome song, Under just rocks me harder. It’s mean, it’s fast, and I love when he says “I got a fresh opinion now.”

Shame what happened to them. I nearly cried when they released “Take a Picture.”

But – and I’ll say this for any band I loved that changed their style and became successful – more power to them. People don’t get into this business to live on ramen noodles and sleep in a van their whole lives. If they manage to make money doing it, I think that’s great. Even if it means I don’t listen to them anymore.

150 – Motorhead – We Are The Road Crew
Let’s reach the halfway point milestone with Lemmy. The ugliest man in rock and roll. Seriously.

He may be ugly, but he sure as hell can rock. And, as we all know, Lemmy is God.

This is totally a sentimental pick, as Todd wrote a song to this tune while driving across the country to move here. If I weren’t so sappy, I would have picked Ace of Spades and said something about holding up a bic lighter and screaming until my voice gave out.

Fascinating trivia: Lemmy is the narrator on my favorite Troma movie, Tromeo and Juliet.

And there we go. I made it to 150. 150 more to go.

I did the math right this time.

I think.

FAQ here
list of upcoming bands/artists here.
List of songs completed so far here
Link to all 300 bands, 300 songs posts

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ditch diggin

Why is there no 300 songs post tonight? Because I was busy shoveling dirt, that’s why.

This is where our bbq pit is going to go.

diggin ditches

That’s about 14 inches down. I didn’t just have to dig a hole, I had to deal with all kinds of roots and unidentifiable stuff that might have once been alive. There was lots of sawing and cutting and lopping.

Here’s a closer look.

ditch diggin 2

You need to view the larger size to get the gist of it. But that was all filled with roots. See that tool over to the left? That’s a lopper. It’s my favorite tool ever.

So that’s what I was doing tonight. My body is hurting.

Once, when I was young and stupid, in a fit of teenage rebellion, I told my father I wanted to drop out of high school. He said, “Great. The world needs ditch diggers, too.”

Well, I’m here to tell you that isn’t an easy job. And there’s infinitely more job satisfaction with manual labor than I get at my desk job all day long.

So here’s to you, Mr. Ditch Digger. I now have a full appreciation for your job.

[this post was really just a way to say “look at me, i worked my ass off tonight and now my arms hurt and feel sorry for me, ok?”]

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help me spend my itunes money

Ok kids. I have an iTunes gift card for 15 dollars.

What songs should I buy? (I do want to buy separate songs and not an album).

This would be the perfect opportunity for you to plug a band/artists for my 300 songs.

On a related note, sort of, anyone know of or listen to the Cows? I’m looking for an out of print album by them called Cunning Stunts. If I can find, you know, a way to “procure” it (wink wink), I’d be all kinds of happy.

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a day late and a url short

Because I am always on the cutting edge of what’s hip and cool out there, I finally got a myspace account. That’s right, now that it’s full of porn and all the cool kids have abandoned it for facebook or whatever networking thing is out there now, I have decided to jump into the pool. It’s just like 1976 – when I could finally afford a pair of cool bellbottoms, everyone was wearing Levi boot cut jeans.

Really, I signed up just so I can comment on some friends’ pages.

This has to be one of the worst designed websites I have ever visited.

But I am strangely mesmerized by it. Won’t you be my friend?

And who the hell is this Tom dude?

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It’s almost Labor Day weekend, which means a million classic radio stations across the country will have some kind of “your favorite songs of all time” countdown. Over the years, these countdowns have become so predictable, I’m pretty sure they no longer count your yearly votes on the tunes and just use the same final list they have for the past 10 years or so.

The only thing worse than having Stairway to Heaven finish first every year is when something new like Linkin Park makes it into the top 20.

The following is my list of “Greatest” Songs Of All Time That Really Aren’t That Great. In my opinion, of course. Which may not mean a whole lot to you, but it’s all I got.

1. Led Zeppelin – Stairway to Heaven.
I used to think this was the greatest song ever written. It was only years later that I realized the words probably mean nothing except that Robert Plant read a lot of books. He strung some thoughts and words from his favorite novels together, mixed them in a blender and called it Stairway to Heaven.

The problem here is also that Zep inadvertently invented a formula for overrated songs: Some cryptic lyrics about five stanzas too long, followed by a guitar solo that makes one envision the guitarist standing on top of a mountain, wind blowing through his hair while his screeching riffs conjure up all kinds of inclement weather because it’s that good. And don’t get me wrong. I love Zep. But Stairway makes me cringe. Maybe I’m just embarrassed that I used to believe this song meant something profound. I also used to believe that you could see the Statue of Liberty in the reflection of a lake on Bear Mountain, but both those beliefs were born of the same drug.

2. Don McLean – American Pie
It’s long. It gets tedious after a while. And most of it makes no sense to anyone but Don McLean. Yes, I get the whole “the day the music died” thing and I think it’s really nice that he was so touched he wrote a song about it, and I get the allusions to other bands of the time within the song.

But maybe he could have cut about ten verses or so. I mean, it’s great when you’re 17 and stoned and sitting around a campfire at the beach and your friend has an out of tune acoustic guitar and starts strumming and you all start singing “bye, bye, miss American pie….” but, come on. It’s just too god damn long. By the time the last verse came around, I was always halfway down the other end of the beach, looking for a private place to pee.

3. Lynyrd Skynyrd – Freebird
So I spent a good portion of my high school years yelling “FREEEBIRD!” and playing air guitar to this song. Most people my age did. It’s just what we did. You drank beer, hung out in arena parking lots before concerts and talked about what a fantastic song Freebird is, man. With a straight face. And you had to listen to the live version, so you can hear the “What song is it you want to hear?” and also the part where he says “How ’bout you?” because man, he was talking to ME.

I’ll let my 14 year old son give you the review of Freebird from the point of view of today: “Yea, the guitar solo is ok, kinda cool, but the rest of the song blows. It’s like he’s having sex with his guitar.” I think he probably picked that up from the Guitar World message boards, but I’ll let it stand on record.

4. Eagles – Hotel California
Do you see a trend here? Maybe I just don’t like long songs. This is another one of those “rock musicians gone poetically awry” songs, in which a lyricist believes he is not just a writer of catchy rock songs, but a poet as well. A poet who likes to fill his lyrics with allegories. Dark, mysterious, cryptic lyrics that will, thirty years down the road, still be the subject of “what do you think it means” conversations. Who cares? This song is BORING. It’s like watching a horrible movie with false endings, where you keep shifting in your seat thinking, ok, credits are going to roll right………now! But no, they cut to yet another drawn out, badly acted scene, maybe one in which there are mirrors on the ceiling and pink champagne on ice. Oh, yes, how Hollywood people live in excess, that must be the theme of this song! No, wait, it’s about being stuck in a place you can’t get out of…no, it’s…hey, a guitar solo! Another long, drawn out, masturbatory guitar experience! Pass the bong!

5. Guns N Roses – November Rain
November Rain (and here I’m going to include the video with the song) is a Harlequin romance novel when all you want is Hunter Thompson. It’s GnR’s Beth. Remember Beth? How much did you want to puke every time that song came on the radio? Sex! Drugs! Rock and Roll! Love Ballads!

Err…NO. Many people call this song the greatest love song of the 90’s, but holy schmaltz, Batman. Is an 8 minute, 53 second heartbreaking love song accompanied by an equally heartbreaking video really what you want out of your depraved metal band? What happened to “I used to love her, but now I have to kill her?” Man up, Axl! Eh. Too late for that.

7. The Beatles – Hey Jude
I’m not saying it’s a bad song, musically. The thing is, the song is seven minutes and seven seconds long and I think seven full minutes of it is the Beatles singing “Na na na na na ,na na na, hey jude..” which makes me thing that Paul and John got together and said “Hey, let’s make one of those arena songs, you know, the kind where the audience stands up and flics their Bics and sings along with you and we can keep it going for half an hour at least and then turn the house lights on at the end and no one will bitch about the show ending because they had a moment with us, you know wut I’m saying, luv?” Ok, so it was 1968 and the cigarette lighter arena show hadn’t been invented yet, but everyone knows that McCartney and Lennon were ahead of their time.

8. Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run in the USA in his Glory Days
Yea, all of them. All of him. And I’ll be honest and tell you right off the bat that I have a personal, visceral hatred for Springsteen that goes beyond the usual “oh he sucks” kind of hate. But there’s also that other kind of hatred where you listen to a band/artist and think to yourself “Why? Why, god, why?” And then you remember you don’t believe in god and people like Springsteen becoming world class heroes is part of the reason why.

Anyhow. I can’t stand his strained voice. I can’t stand his underbite and the way he grimaces when he sings. I can’t stand the oh so meaningful lyrics about life as a down and out Jersey cowboy (wait, I think that’s Bon Jovi). Every song reads like the same Joyce Carol Oats short story. “Me and Janie went down to the boardwalk to talk about our lives and well, the boardwalk was kinda empty because this town is just dyin’, man and me and Janie said like, yea, we gotta get out of here. This town is just gonna kill us man. We can’t spend all our lives drag racin’ and fuckin’ and takin’ long walks on the beach contemplatin’ shit. And Janie’s pregnant, man and her old man is gonna kick her out of the house for not lovin’ Jesus enough and her momma done spent all the milk money gamblin’ in Atlantic City and we just work hard, you know? We work hard, man. We put on our blue jeans and work boots and go to the factories and mills and we work our fingers to the bone and we got nuthin’ to show for it ‘cept teenage pregnancy and drug overdoses and depressed kids with nothin’ to do and the streets are on fire baby. Let’s make out.”

9. The Doors – The End
The End is probably the most quoted Doors song of all time. It’s quoted by pretentious potheads who think they are being deep and meaningful; by retro beatnik poets who carry tattered paperback copies of On the Road in the back pocket of their faded jeans; by psuedo-intellectuals who claim that Adlous Huxley’s Doors of Perception is the single greatest thing ever written by man; and by despondent, razor-wielding, confused, emotional teenagers who think they have this connection with Morrison, a connection with the sixties, man and hey, the blue bus is calling us (yes, I was one of those once).

Ride the snake, ride the snake
To the lake, the ancient lake, baby
The snake is long, seven miles
Ride the snake…he’s old, and his skin is cold

Do you know that otherwise intelligent people have spent entire weekends drinking vodka and deciphering those very lyrics? Here’s a news flash:

It’s nonsense. No matter what you want to believe, no matter how allegorical and deep you think those words are, no matter how much Freud you studied or Night Train you drank, those words are the magnetic poetry of the Age of Aquarius.

So, yea. The killer awoke before dawn and put his boots on and killed his mother. Or did he fuck her? Ohhh, the mystery! Fistfights have broken out over whether he fucked or killed her. Will we ever know? Of course not, because Morrison, realizing that he was nothing more than a sham, a bad poet and a bloated parody of his own idols, killed himself before he could tell us that, well, he had no fucking clue what he was saying there. He ad libbed it. Winged it. Made it up as he was going along.

I’m not saying the Doors sucked in general. I was a big fan and I still dust off the albums once in a while. But if you’re over 18 and not hindered by drug addiction or alcoholism that may cloud your thinking and you still believe these words are the most powerful thing you ever heard, you might want to find the nearest bathtub and emulate your idol.

10. Pink Floyd – Another Brick in the Wall
If you know me, you know I’m a huge PF fan. But come on. Even I can admit that the entirety of The Wall, not just this song, is kind of overrated. There’s a whole “what the hell were they thinking” aspect to the album, most notably the disco background of Another Brick in the Wall. The whole song is tedious – it’s as if their goal was to come up with an anthem that the kiddies would sing along to, that would resonate with them and make them believe that this album was about them, too. “We don’t need no education” was the Pied Piper line of The Wall. It suckered in millions of teens and young adults who shouted along with the lines and bopped their heads to the rhythm and never gave thought (at least not until their later years) to the fact that Waters and company were pounding out the disco beats (also on Run Like Hell and Young Lust, which makes the “dirty woman” line feel somehow justifiable) just a year after disco was declared dead. Was he being ironic? Was the whole album ironic? Who knows. The message sort of got muddled in between the Oedipal odes and the admonishment of eating your whole meal before you have dessert.

Well, this was a nice respite from writing about my favorite songs. Agree with me or fight me. Either one is fine. But I know you have your own to add here. Go for it.

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