Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Spice Girls Are Making a Comeback

I heard a rumor that the Spice Girls are getting back together (according to a merchant of cool that is very close to my heart) I know that there was some tension between Ginger Spice and the rest of the group. The ladies have decided to resolve their issues and releaes another album. Wanted to find out what everyone thinks of this. I personally would be so excited since I do still listen the original album myself.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

But I did sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night....

Are you a fan of ER? If the answer is yes, then head right over to your local hospital and start offering the doctors some advice on how to do their jobs.
"Hey Doctor Smith, get over here, STAT. Dr. Carter would never have ordered an a CAT scan when an EKG would do!"
Were you a big fan of Friends? Head to Starbucks immediately and tell them,
"That is no way to make a Venti Mocha Frappuchino, you idiot!"

And finally, if you are a big fan of Law & Order, please head to Congress,

While being interviewed by a local talk radio station about Guantanamo Bay, San Francisco Democrat Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher, had this to say,

You know, look, I didn’t go to law school but I have watched Law & Order for ten years, and I do believe we have the rule of law that we are not only, uh, adhering to in the United States as a very strong principle, but we’re also trying to, by the way, interject it around the world. And we need to stand for it. (Hat tip, PoliPundit)

Because Dick Wolff said so! Got that! No word on whether Congresswoman Tauscher believes Detective Sipowitz interrogation techniques qualify as torture. Stay tuned!

Friday, June 24, 2005

The Clash vs. the Sex Pistols (and soccer?)

We covered the obligatory Diamond Dave Lee Roth vs. Cabo Wabo Sammy Haggard (I mean Haggar) earlier on this blog, so now it's on to actual influential music:

I'm probably going to vote for the Clash in a follow-on post, but first an April 12 NY Times article that combines my true loves (besides my family), punk rock and English Premier League football. (By the way - not to take this blog into sports, but I'm pleased to report that Liverpool beat Chelski in the semis on its way to being crowned Champions of Europe on May 25 - Yay Reds!! YNWA!: (archive access needed)


Chelsea Receives Air Time in U.S.

If Steve Jones had not been a punk rocker, he might have been a soccer hooligan.

Jones, the guitar player for the Sex Pistols and one of the band's founders, received considerably less attention than his more outrageous band mates Johnny Lydon, who was known as Johnny Rotten, and John Simon Ritchie, known as Sid Vicious. Who knew during all those years of playing "Anarchy in the U.K." and "God Save the Queen" that Jones was a died-in-the-blue Chelsea fan?

These days Jones is doing an eclectic rock 'n' roll show on radio, "Jonesy's Juke Box," weekdays on Indie 103.1 FM in Los Angeles (on the Internet at from 3 to 5 p.m. Eastern). And he never misses an opportunity to praise Chelsea on the air.

He opened his show Friday strumming his guitar with a loose interpretation of Muddy Waters's "Mannish Boy": "A little blue, Chelsea blue. Going to win the league.
Maybe the Champions League, too. This one goes out to Frank Lampard. To John Terry. To Claude Makelele and all the others. They're the men."

His Chelsea club is on its way to its first English First Division/Premier League title in 50 years and is close to advancing to the semifinals of the Champions League, the top European club competition.

Little Ditty ..., b'out John Cougar Mellencamp

Generally, I'm a fairly mild-mannered fellow, but when I hear a John Cougar Mellencamp song on the radio, my blood starts to boil. I'm not sure when I started having these volatile reactions, or why, but I can't bear listening to any of his songs. As a young tuff (Right!) in the 80's I grooved to John Cougar's (sans Mellencamp) down home, soulful pop tunes about young kids "tryin' the best they can." Then came "Farm Aid" and all of that honkey-tonk, harmonica-driven country twangish stuff, and I started to tune out. Still, I did not revile his music.

But now when I hear one of his songs, I feel compelled to call the DJ at the radio station to find out why they still play his music. I want to start an action committee to ban his songs from the air waves. They just sound so stupid. But, of course, when it comes to truly getting organized and mobilizing the masses, I don't have the time or the energy to devote to this cause. Would be interesting to hear other tales of "allergic" reactions to popular music.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

A return to the days of records (iPods) skipping?

I'm loading a lot of tunes onto an iPod these days. A couple of older CDs have me thinking about the days of LPs skipping on old beat-on turntables. Back in the day, I actually liked that my LPs and subsequent tapes had little blips and skips - it was an extra identifier and it seemed strangely absent when I heard the "radio" versions. Well, it seems like blips and digital skips are appearing in my iTunes Library or usually just on my computer sound system. Seems like large file albums (Husker Du's "Zen Arcade" and "Warehouse" come to mind) are the most prone. Besides for actually cleaning a disc occasionally and not bumping into my computer, is there something I can do? Actually, I'm not that concerned - let the digital skip age begin!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

AFI's Top 100 Film Quotes

Top 100 (or 10 oe whatever) lists are fun if you don't take them as definitive, but as an opportunity to argue, augment, or comment. To that end, the American Fim Institute has releases a list of the 100 top film quotes of all time. My first reaction, of course, is to add some favorites that didn't make the list:

"Put the Bunny Back in the Box"-- Con Air
"I'm wearing a cardboard belt"-- The Producers
"Ula, go to work"-- The Producers
"Actors are not animals, they're human beings!" "They are? Have you ever eaten with one?"-- the Producers (Ok, you probably sense a pattern here)
"Mongo! Santamaria!"-- Blazing Saddles
"What're you rebelling against, Johnny?" "Whaddya got?"-- The Wild Ones
"Son, you got a panty on your head."-- Raising Arizona
"Take Hitler and stick him on the funny page."-- His Girl Friday
"Fellas... I don't recognize the right of this committee to ask that kind of question. And furthermore, you can all go f*** yourselves."-- The Front
"I'm very fond of children. Girl children, around eighteen and twenty."-- The Bank Dick

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Greatest Duran Duran song and video

Duran Duran is to 80s pop culture what Beethoven is to deaf German musicians. Quite simply, they were the Alpha and Omega. They ruled the airwaves and MTV when MTV actually played videos.

So I believe that a discussion focused on Duran Duran belongs in the hallowed halls of this blog.

That discussion begins with the basic question of what is the best Duran Duran song and what is the best video (the two do not have to coincide since a Duran Duran video was in itself high-art). And as any clear thinking person will know, the best Duran Duran song is The Reflex and the best video is for Wild Boys.

Now I know some will push for Rio as best song and video. Let me simply state that you are wrong. And yes, Girls on Film is a great video because it introduced scantily clad female models to videos and should be respected for that. But Wild Boys has a dragon type fish thing, guys in mohawks flying and shooting crossbows, some sort of flaming things and the boys triumphantly driving a car at the end like Caesar entering Rome after defeating the barbarian hordes. For my money, you can't beat that.

Top Dance Albums

I have moved my post so we can begin a new subject:
I have decided my top dance albums in the past 10 years. I am only going with top 5. I know you are all going to judge me so whatever here they are:
1. Justin Timberlake- Justified
2. Madonna- The Immaculate Collection
3. Christina Aguiliera- Stripped
4. Destiny's Child- Survivor
5. NSYNC- No Strings Attached
I know I sound like something out of American Idol but it still rocks! Don't knock it till you have listened.
Also if you have never heard Kayne West's Workout Plan do its awesome!

On Cold Play

While the Coldplay debate has percolated among the cubes, I've been trying to put my thoughts together. How do I feel about Coldplay? Can I take a stand? Well, the answer is yes and no.

Here's how I became aware of Coldplay. Like most everyone here, I first heard their song "Yellow" from their first album. Really liked it. It must have had a lot of play since I don't usually drive and at home I listen to CD's, so somehow this hit song came to my attention. Was the song good enough to convince me to buy the album? Negative.

But, when Maria and I rented a car to visit her parents in New Jersey (pre-car ownership and pre-child days), the previous renter had forgotten to hit the eject button on the CD player. Turn the ignition, and there was Cold Play's first album blasting on the car stereo. We listened to the entire CD throughout the trip to New Jersey and on our way back and loved all of the songs.

Next, Maria buys me a Cold Play album for Christmas - Rush of Blood to the Head (can't remember the exact title or which album this is - 2nd or 3rd?). I like the song that was the big hit - the one with the haunting/overly dramatic piano intro that was used by a lot of television producers with montage clips to market the launch of new television series. I think HBO also used this music to market their movies in a commercial. But, I never listened to the rest of the album.

For you New Yorker readers, I'm sure you've seen the columns by Sasha Frere- Jones, the pop music critic. In addition to being a fantastic writer, I think she's very insightful and knows how to write about pop music in a way that shows how much she loves it, but in the end, she doesn't take it too seriously, because after all it's just pop music.

(On the New Yorker film critic side, by the way, I think Anthony Lane has the same balance when reviewing movies. A great writer who can make you laugh out loud. You can also tell by reading him that he loves everything about movies, even though he's constantly lampooning the industry. Unfortunately, David Denby has largely taken over the movie reviewing beat in the past year or so. He's a crank who wants movies to be like novels, and overall, I don't think he likes films at all But that's subject for another dialgue - Lane vs. Denby. )

Back to Coldplay, Sasha Frere Jones, captured my sense of the band in a capsule "Pop Notes" review she wrote that appears on page 26 of the June 13&20th Debut Fiction issue. Titled "Warm Milk," Sasha's basic thesis is that until their latest release - X&Y, Cold Play has not been a great band, but overall worthy of the success they've had. Here are a few quotes from that review:

" 'Comfort Music' sounds like an insult , no matter how you spin it. But it's an insult that the enormously popular English quarted 'Coldplay' is probably willing to endure, given that it has sold twenty million records filled with music that is sometimes sweet, sometimes warm, and sometimes fuzzy. And although this isn't the kind of thing that earns critical adoration, it's also true that Coldplay is expert at the form. Only a churl (Adam ) could resist their best singles: "Yellow," a piercingly sincere bit of high school poetry that is just as moving as they intended it to be, and the airy, hypnotic 'Clocks.'" (That's the song I referred to earlier in this post.).

Here's the best part:

"Up until now, this has been healthy. But on Coldplay's third album X&Y, the band has apparently caught the virus Significatio terribulus, a condition that previously afflicted bands such as U2."

There's more to read on about how successful bands that begin to take themselves too seriously get sidetracked. I have it at my desk if you want to check it out.

By the way, in the same issue, Roxy Music's Brian Ferry appears in one of those glossy celebrity-drive adertisements for Mandarin Oriental Hotels. Brian still looks foppishly dapper as ever and very well- preserved. How old is he now?

Monday, June 20, 2005

Spin This!

Spin Magazine has released their list of the best albums of the past twenty years. No wonder I listen to talk radio! What a load of crap this list is. Nirvana, ok, maybe. Pavement? Who the bleep are they? PJ Harvey? Twenty ugliest human beings on earth list, ok, a list of the best music, no, no, a thousand times no.

1. "OK Computer," Radiohead
2. "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back," Public Enemy
3. "Nevermind," Nirvana
4. "Slanted and Enchanted," Pavement
5. "The Queen Is Dead," Smiths
6. "Surfer Rosa," PIxies
7. "3 Feet High and Rising," De La Soul
8. "Sign 'O' the Times," Prince
9. "Rid of Me," PJ Harvey
10. "Straight Outta Compton," N.W.A

KFWBlogger's Top 5 of the Past twenty years (in no particular order)

Milk Cow Blues, Willie Nelson
American, Johnny Cash
Joshua Judges Ruth, Lyle Lovett
Odelay!, Beck

Actually, the better title for this list would be, 'only five albums I have bought in past twenty years'

What I really love listening to,

Top 5 Jazz Albums (in no particular order)

Yardbird Suite, Charlie Parker
Sunday at the Village Vanguard, Bill Evans
Round About Midnight, Miles Davis
Live at Basin Street, Clifford Brown and Max Roach
Live in Paris, Diana Krall

Top 5 Grateful Dead CD's

Dick's Picks 33, Day on the Green, Oakland, 10/10/76
Dick's Picks 8, Harpur College, Binghamton, NY, 5/2/70
Dick's Picks 25, Springfield Civic Center in Springfield, Massachusetts on 5/11/78
Dick's Picks 30, Academy of Music in New York City, 3/28/72
Dick's Picks 1, Tampa, Florida 12/19/73.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

The P.E.R.R.O Tapes

For those of you interested in early 70s music, stop by and check out the P.E.R.R.O Tapes - essentially Crosby and Nash material with people from the Airplane, Dead and others sitting in.

More info here - push past the set list for discussion.



Saturday, June 18, 2005

A Bewitched statue in Salem - what show is next?

I don't live in Salem or visit very often, but I'm ready to jump into the "controversy" over a new statue of Samantha Stevens of Bewitched fame. Here's the AP's take on this really important issue:

I think it's pretty funny that folks would be upset about Salem's legacy and history being cheapened, but quick wit Scott Simon, host of NPR's "Weekend Edition" said (paraphrasing) he understands both sides of the controversy, but really doesn't think it's a good idea for a "Hogan's Heroes" statue to be erected in Berlin.

OK, Topazers and pop culture gems lurkers, which TV star/show deserves a bronzed statue and where would it be installed?

Lastly, from my daily "Howard Stern Show" intake, I've learned there is a porn star named Tabitha Stevens and I'm pretty sure it is not the original show's actress, Erin Murphy, all "grown" up. Hilarious name (little bit twisted?), but I'm guessing she would be a very controversal statue in Salem or even Las Vegas.

Friday, June 17, 2005

The legion of creepy actors

Some time ago, I decided that certain actors represented a certain level of, well, creepiness, and were worthy of their own legion (think "Legion of Doom," Superfriends fans). These charter members of the Legion of Creepy Actors are:

Founding Members:
John Malkovich-- no explanation needed
Alan Rickman (Thin-lipped British representative of all things creepy)
Gary Oldman (Even if he hadn't played Dracula)
Peter Weller (Not just Robo-Cop, but in particular, "Naked Lunch," and even his recent appearance on "Enterprise"-- I mean, that voice...)
Willem Dafoe-- no explanation needed
Christopher Walken (thanks Tim)
Crispin Glover (thanks Kevin)
Eric Roberts (thanks again Kevin-- and don't forget "Star 80")
Ralph Fiennes-- another oversight-- not satisfied with playing a repugnant Nazi, he is now portraying Voldemort

Junior Members:
Jude Law (You can actually interpret a scene in "Existenz" as Willem DaFoe 'initiating' Law into the Legion. If you've seen the movie you know what I'm talking about).
Christian Bale (American Psycho, the Machinist)
Cillian Murphy (new add 11/4/05)-- His turn in "Batman Begins" alone gets him on the list-- though I hear "Red Eye" helps his qualifications

Adjunct members: (I'm kind of on the fence about these):
Steve Buscemi (way too likeable in some movies)

I may have left some out, I will follow-up with additions. Feel free to add your nominations.

Wang Chung was horrible - Lengthy post

Ouch. Sometimes in life we build something up so much with antincipation and then it is just a complete and total disaster with almost no redeeming qualities. Case in point: Last night's "Hit Me Baby One More Time."
Random thoughts drafted while watching the tape until near midnight (I went to "It Came From Outer Space" in 3-D at the Coolidge Corner - now that's entertainment) ...

Wang Chung (reminder: my predicted winner) - Round 1 - Caught the last phrase of "Have Fun Tonight," which I was until hearing them sing. Round 2 - I love Nelly like a 14 year-old, but it took me one sung note of "Hot in Here" to say 'Aaaah, They've lost!' and reach in panic for the FF button. The host (more on him later) recap interview is amazing. He of course asked the trite "you've kept the meaning of WC secret for 20 years, care to share tonight?" question. Let me get this straight - I now know that Mark Felt is the hero on the 1970s, but these twerps will not share their sexual reference naming inspiration?!

Cameo - Round 1 - Codpieces as a fashion statement ended in 14th century England! No more codpieces! Video interview: Did the lead Cameoite just say he's interested in "astrology and metaphysics"? Wait, did he then close by saying "Black is Back" - oblique AC-DC reference, you decide? Round 2 - "1985" by Bowling for Soup might be my least favorite song of all time (formerly held by "You spin me round, round baby, like record baby, round, round."). If I've picked up the gist of the lyrics correctly, protagonist Debbie (now older, married to a CPA and popping pills) thinks back longingly to her best days of bands and her lifestyle from 1985. At least Debbie's formative years weren't being spent listening to drivel from Bowling for Soup! Heck, Debbie probably did have a blast listening to MTV's crap in 1985 and missing the whole song cycles of Husker Du and the Replacements or "easier" but important listening of Elvis Costello, Pretenters & Joe Jackson.

Sophie B. Hawkins - Many of you have heard my sitting in back of Sophie B. on JetBlue from Long Beach stories - They are all true. So, she's got the jean shirt on for a little while and for the grand finale I'm thinking it's a souvenier for someone in the clueless audience. Nope, that one's going back home or to the cleaner. Video interview: Cool bike with high handle bars, but no helmet sends bad message to kids. Actually, a Dukakis once wore a helmet and got rightfully slammed. Round 2: The audience is clapping off the beat - that has to make a performer angry.

Howard Jones - This was talent!! No, really, he wins this contest - the slightly changed version of "No One Is to Blame" was amazing and the Dido cover survived over-exuberant clappers again (thanks to a producer for the fixing the mix). Maybe Howard's Buddhist chanting will help the vote totals?

Irene Cara - Sorry, but all I could think of was that I watching a pretty good drag queen diva in P-Town or at Club Cafe in Boston. Video interview: The show's host is the worst in the history of television. He yells for the entire show and said Irene "Cara" wrong for the whole show. How do I know? In the video interview, I think she explains that her new band is named "Caramel" because people pronounce her name wrong. Cut back to the host and he looks flustered. He says her name correctly once and then butchers it for the rest of the show. Hilarious. Almost as funny as her closing number which was bizarre - she had other vocalists on stage with her - what the heck?!? Besides her cover was insipid:
I'm outta love (I'm outta love) Set me free (Set me free) And let me out this misery (Yeah yeah yeah yeah) Show me the way to get my life again ...

Thought: If the other person is setting you free then why are they also responsible for getting your life again? Maybe it's a quasi-religious affirmation song?

That's it and I am officially done with this show until the Final - a friend is planning a party, I think?

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Wang Chung was robbed

Robbed I say. I cannot believe they did not win Hit Me One More Time. And to lose to Irene Cara is a crime.

Two old white English guys rocking out to Nellie's Hot in Here was one the best moments in TV history. Last episode of MASH pales in comparison. There is no justice in the world. Say it ain't so.

America, America

American mentality and things that are possible in this contry keep surprising me! Jennifer Wilbanks, the 'run-away-bride' has made a deal with a company that is pitching a movie about her life to networks! I've never been to any other country before, where psychos have a real chance to turn into stars!

Christine Aguilera's role in the war on terror

And who said she is a good for nothing hoochie mama?
Last week, Time magazine “reports on the interrogation of Mohammed al
Qahtani at Guantanamo Bay, who is widely believed to be the so-called 20th
hijacker, a compatriot of Osama bin Laden and a man who had tried to enter the
U.S. in August 2001 to take part in the Sept. 11 attacks … The quizzing now
starts at midnight, and when (al Qahtani) dozes off, interrogators rouse him by
dripping water on his head or playing Christina Aguilera music.”

This week we learned that the 20th hijacker was also subjected to...RAP MUSIC!
On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely
loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before.

This is a truly American innovation, turning the worst of American popular culture into a crime fighting tool. I'm all for it.

GITMO should be having Pauley Shore movie festivals 24x7, Pet Shop Boys reunion concerts, Roseanne Barr singing the national anthem every morning, Richard Simmons leading daily calestenics. Think of all the crime fighting weapons at our disposal!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Hit Me One More Time

NBC's excellent new show Hit Me One More Time is on again tomorrow. This is a tv moment as important as any superbowl or Michael Jackson verdict delivery. This is Wang Chung important.

This week will feature:
- Wang Chung (To Live and Die in LA is still a great song.)
- Irene Cara (of Fame fame. Me personally, I don't want to live forever if that is the song I have to hear).
- Sophie B Hawkins (Damn!)
- Cameo (Word Up and cod pieces)
- Howard Jones (With more hit songs than the rest combined. Howard, you don't need to be here. You are still relevant!)

Obviously Howard Jones should win. But fate and crowds are fickle, and often wrong. So my money is on Irene Cara taking the crown, because for some strange reason people like Fame.

Golden Girls- A hit in the 80s and stil a hit today

I have to say, much to Terry's objection, that the Golden Girls has seemed to trascend through the years. If you ever watch an episode of Golden Girls on Lifetime (which is one of my favorite channels--don't judge me) then watch an episode of Sex and the City the similarties are uncanny. From Sophia's sarcastic remarks to Blanche's hormone driven behavior, it is honestly still a funny and true show to watch. Besides the humor, it takes on topics of getting older, dating (even if you are over 50), and friendship. Just wanted to see what everyone else thinks. Let me know. Remeber to don't talk about it, blog about it!

The only Batman Begins Review you will ever need to read

The only Batman Begins review you will ever need to read at Ain't it Cool News. Neill Cumpston is a God among mortals, if your idea of a deity includes crude humor and lots of swearing. Unfortunately this is one of his tamer reviews, but you still get the flavor of his style here.

Looks like the word on the Batman movie is very good, the franchise rescued from camp once again. NY Times and Boston Globe liked it a lot, and my 13-year-old spies tell me Howard Stern gave it a thumbs up too (which is a big deal considering where he had to move the thumb from to put it up).

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The most important question: Diamond Dave or Sammy

My first blog has to do with a simple question that will help me to understand the inner core of every person born between 1965 and 1990. Was Diamond David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar the best lead singer for Van Halen?

This simple test will show what type of person you really are. If you answered Diamond Dave, you have a keen sense of style, are a fun person to be around and people respect you. If you answered Sammy Hagar, you probably suffered a debilitating head injury at some point in your life. And if you are wondering why I didn't include that guy from Extreme, you can just shoooosh and go back to humming Hole Hearted and wondering why Extreme couldn't last for 4 albums.

Now I am not saying that Sammy is not cool. He can belt out a rock tune. He taught me that driving 55 was for squares and taught me about Mexican culture and tequilla. I like 5150 and Apolitical Blues is a good song. But he is no Diamond Dave. Diamond Dave was as cool as they come. Diver Down and 1984 were great albums. They were the band that your mom warned you about. Even his first couple of solo albums were good (I challenge you to not like Yankee Rose.)

So that is the starting point for my musical belief system. David Lee Roth prior to 1990 was a rock god. Any other answer is heresy.

I also believe in the importance of embracing your inner cheese. You should enjoy Warrant. Quiet Riot taught me to love again. Kool Moe Dee is awesome. And Hall & Oates deserve your respect.

I will be working to show you the path to enlightenment through enjoyment of cheesy pop music and hair bands. My next blog will be a critical look at what Duran Duran song is the best and why.


Concert shirts I wish I still had

3. Van Halen - "Diver Down" tour; Worcester Centrum. Thankfully, I recently found a tour program from same show with some very artistic photographs and letters from fans
2. Frank Zappa - "Shut Up 'n' Play Yer Guitar" tour; Boston University's Case Center? Front had the Barking Pumpkin logo and back was the name of the tour in huge letters.
1. UB 40 - "If it Happens Again I'm Leaving" tour, Albany or Binghampton, NY? I once wore this to a Bon Jovi "Slippery When Wet" show at Great Woods. Shortly after our late arrival, I was yelled at by a gang of teens with big hair when I was very mean to Jon Bon Jovi.
(Maybe I'll recap that concert in a future post)

So Topazers, what shirts do you miss?