Saturday, October 9, 2010

The life of a henchman

(h/t Kassie at Undercover Geek Girl)
Monarch henchmen at NYCC
These guys are from Adult Swim's The Venture Bros., which started as a parody of Johnny Quest but is now an all-purpose fan boy Easter egg fiesta, from a gated community called Malice to name dropping Gaetan Dugas, to an on-going love letter to David Bowie, the show is amazing and hysterical. Sunday nights, look for it.

Kassie's article enthuses about the simplicity of the New York Comic Con's policy on "weapons"--basically, don't be an idiot.

Which reminds me of a trip back to Portland from LA, when a Dr. Botox had loaded me up with a bunch of re-gifts from someone at the studio that produced Buffy the Vampire Slayer (that person's name rhymes with "Snail Furman" but I'm in no way dropping names). Among my paraphernalia was a Buffy action figure (mint in package) with a plastic sword approximately the size of the skewers on uses in a martini.

The Transportation Safety Alliance was having none of that shit. No toy swords!

"But it's a toy's toy," I replied.

I don't recall where things went from there, but I believe the TSA let me go through. And I probably still have that action figure mint in package. Or not, it's been a while.

Apologies if you got spam from me

It wasn't intentional on my part.

Notes on Violet Tendencies

Before I do my thing, John has something to say:
The promise Mindy Cohn showed in the TV film "The Facts of Life Goes to Paris" has finally been realized on the big screen. After years of toiling in television (including mentoring George Clooney on "Facts") she finally gets the long overdue lead in a major motion picture. She is fierce!

And back to me. It was great to see Mindy and the movie is fun, but a really shallow fun. There are no award possibilities, not even a Golden Globe nomination; sorry everyone involved. If you're genuinely surprised, we should talk. Serious.

But if you haven't seen the trailer, it's funny as hell, enjoy:

Project Runway micro-recap (week 11)

Dear Gretchen: I have no tact whatsoever, but even I know that Heidi probably watches the show. Maybe the right response to "constructive criticism isn't your enemy" shouldn't have been "Heidi hates me."

And speaking of childish behavior, let's hear it for Ivy for complaining about something from weeks before. I thought Title 9 would teach girls sportsmanship. Sportspersonship. Guess not.

For Ivy to make me feel bad for Michael C. (look at me, I learned another name) is putting me in an awkward situation.

To be honest, I barely paid attention to the designs, but congrats to Andy. I think he won. Hey look, another name! Hooray me!

God this season is working my nerves.

Happy Birthday Nona Hendryx

Her nearly 50 years in the music business has covered an array of styles and featured an interesting set of collaborations. She's done girl group doo-wop, soul, funk, r&b, dance, new age, world music, and balls out rock. And you don't even know that you know who she is. Hedwig mentions her in "Midnight Radio" people!
"What do I have to do to make you feel the tingling too"
But let's go chronologically, more or less. She and Sarah Dash formed a band that would become the Bluebells, then Patti LaBelle and the Bluebells. And the Bluebells sang with Laura Nyro on this 1971 album, Gonna Take a Miracle. I have no idea how this came to fruition: a notable singer/song writer reaching across color lines and styles to record other writers' songs with a soul girl group.

"Gitchi Gitchi Ya Ya Da Da"
Here she is singing her biggest hit ever, the funk classic "Lady Marmalade":

"I'm winning, and I don't intend on losing again"
The band split up shortly after Marmalade, and all 3 women released solo albums. Nona's included "Winning" which was later covered by Santana.

"I'm gonna move on"
Here she is with Material, on the 1980 hit "Bustin' Out"

"Love will get you through the night"
I joined the Nona show already in progress, with 1985's The Heat. It was the year of Patti's big comeback, but Nona also picked up a Grammy nomination for "Rock This House" (which she wrote and recorded with Keith Richards).

"Tell me why can't it be, Like I want it to be"
With 1987's Female Trouble she worked with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and Peter Gabriel, and gave us this song that I've put on every dance-ish mix tape ever since. At some point around this time, Chris Wilson and I saw her in a multimedia performance piece with some performance troop--that's all I got, 20+ years later. It was in Little 5 Points, there's another piece of info, I'm sure it helps.

"I’m most dangerous when the skin that I’m in isn’t mine"
Sonya gave me a promo copy of Nona's 1989 album Skin Diver because she knew (knows) I love her, not with the expectation that I'd add it to rotation at the college station. But I did. It was a little bit of a selfish move, but, whatever. The funny part came 2-3 weeks later when an independent promoter called to try to convince me to at least listen to the record. I pointed out that we'd been playing it in medium rotation for half a month. Promoters are so used to hearing "no" that they really aren't prepared for "yes" let alone "um, done."

"Where would I be, Rosa if you did not believe"
Okay, I'm skipping her collaboration with Billy Vera, and I'll mention her Emmy nomination for Original Song for "Children of the World" but that's it. In the last 10 years or so she's been acting, producing, preaching the gospel of funk, and working to honor the memory of Rosa Parks. Portland recently changed the name of Portland Boulevard to Rosa Parks Ways, and there will be a memorial to Rosa in a park near my house. My neighborhood association will be in charge of the memorial design, selection, etc. Don't be at all surprised if Nona appears at the dedication (what, I can be selfish every 20 years with respect to Nona) to perform her composition "Dear Rosa" from the reunited LaBelle:

"Was it the sex, the drugs, or the lies"
And she called out Rush after his callous comments regarding Haiti. For a quickly written and recorded song, I'm kinda impressed.

So there's your Nona 101.

Happy birthday dude! Rock (and funk) on.

Song of the Day: "The Rabbit"

Miike Snow continue to confuse the hell out of me.

It's a band, not a guy.

What's up with two "i's"? Is it "Mike" or "Meke" or something else?

I heard a full-on reggae version of their first song, "Animal" late one night and couldn't figure out what the song was.

I can never remember who they've collaborated with (Britney Spears, Kylie and Madonna as Bloodshy & Avant) and I thought they had some relationship with Animal Collective, but they've called themselves a-ha meets Animal Collective.

This song is new, but it's from the album from last year. Which has been reissued with a new track.

And finally, this video (crap, not embed-able, see it here)... wow. But, to its credit, awesome gluteal muscles at the end there.
Miike Snow - The Rabbit by WILD TONIC

Song: "The Rabbit"
Artist: Miike Snow

"Like the moon and the stars and the sun"

It's John Lennon's birthday, and I asked some coworkers for their favorite songs. Eric was almost a little too quick with "Instant Karma," like he had been expecting the question.

"Tell the story" he said. Um, okay, I thought. I'm sure Wikipedia (here) will tell ME the story first. It's one of the fastest recorded and released single in pop music history, from writing to recording to record store shelves in 10 days.

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans"
Erin was worried that "Beautiful Boy" would be qualified. I have no idea why--I really didn't have any limitations or provisos in mind.

"My independence seems to vanish in the haze."
I'm going with "Help" because I love the movie. I've always heard that it's not as good as A Hard Day's Night, but I find Help utterly charming.

Here's the trailer, you'll see what I mean.

I don't want to trivialize him by listing his accomplishments. His music is eternal, that's kinda all you need to know.

Happy birthday dude! Rest in peace.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Song of the Day: "The Suburbs"

I got The Suburbs by Arcade Fire a couple days ago, and I'm really taken with it. There's something about it that speaks to the trivial angst of my suburban life in the 80s--I had it great, but at the time I would have told you I was miserable. Why? BECAUSE YOU JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND.

Drama. Oh to smack my 14-year old self upside the head.

The title track opens the album, and was dismissed in a review I read a few days ago--the reviewer didn't like it and said the album kicks off with the second track: "Ready to Start." The album definitely picks up a different feel at that point, but clearly this song serves a purpose. To me it's the giant "you are here" sign at this particular mall--it portends the restless energy of cynical youth wary of conformity. Or it's possible I have no idea what I'm talking about.

But trust me, I know the suburbs. The Reagan-era suburbs (the best suburbs of all).

And here's a live version of the same song.

Song: "The Suburbs"
Artist: The Arcade Fire

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Some guys prefer to catch anyway

(h/t Towleroad)

Here's CC Bloom (Charlie Crist)--some folks would say he's throwing like a girl, but I don't know girls who throw this poorly. Also I don't want lesbians kicking my ass.

Happy Birthday Dan Savage

No nonsense, fucking frank talk about sex. And he is helping break through the insane prudishness of American sexuality (hey, as far as any of you know, I'm not kinky).

In addition to LOVING his column, I really enjoyed his books Skipping Toward Gommorah: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Pursuit of Happiness in America and The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Get Pregnant. Note to self: read another book of his. And, he edits the hysterical sibling of my beloved Portland Mercury, the Seattle Rocket. And, AND, he helped define "santorum" (The frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex).

I've been really impressed with his simple clarity on marriage equality. Somebody say amen.

And most recently he's stepped up to reach out to gay teens in the wake of a rash of gay teens who have been bullied committing suicide. "It gets better" is the message. And it does.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Song of the Day: "Fuck You"

(h/t to Jared--in fact a Phillies hat tip)

Cee Lo Green, hells yes! Look for this in my top 10 singles at the end of the year.

Also, where are you shopping, I could totally rock that suit.

I only hope Cee Lo doesn't get another one of those defective Dilbert page-a-day calendars from Andrews McMeel Publishing, cause he will NOT get a replacement. Not like that.

Song: "Fuck You"
Artist: Cee Lo Green

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Happy Birthday Matthew Sweet

He's flirted with fame and produced some damn fine music. Unfortunately nothing from his 1989 Earth album is embed-able (it's a pretty good album), so let's just jump into his 90s power pop hits.

"I've Been Waiting"

His take on the theme from Scooby Doo


All the versions of "Sick of Myself" have shitty sound quality. Here's a live version of "Someone to Pull the Trigger"

He's recorded a few albums of covers with Susannah Hoffs that are worth checking out if you're a fan of either. Here are a couple:

But I leave you with the awesome-est--Matthew on Space Ghost Coast to Coast.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Not that you asked: Record of the Year candidates

I'm waiting to see the short list created by the Blue Ribbon Panel, the list of about 30 records, albums and songs from which nominations will be made. But in the meantime, what the fuck, I'll make some predictions.

I had an interesting dialog with a moderator of the Grammys forum at The Envelope who convinced me that "Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour)" was too obscure for a Record of the Year nomination despite its Grammy-friendly performers (Bono, The Edge, Rihanna and Jay-Z). He also pointed out that Rihanna is NOT Grammy bait as, aside from 2 nominations, all of her wins and nominations have been for collaborations. I pointed out "like this song?" I don't understand why I'm not more popular. [UPDATE: "Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour)" was not submitted for ROTY consideration.]

Anyway, I feel pretty good about these 3 songs as nominees for Record of the Year (which is an award to a song's performers, while Song of the Year is an award to a song's writers):

"Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z featuring Alicia Keys. I wrongly suggested that Jay-Z had not been nominated in the general categories as a performer, but he's a shared nominee for Record of the Year with Rihanna for "Umbrella" and with Beyonce for "Crazy in Love." And he will be again this year with Alicia Keys. I have no problem with this, and producers of the show ought to make this the show's cold opener--hopefully her pregnancy won't disrupt my awards show planning (not that you asked).

"Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga. It took me a while to warm to this one, but it's a fucking great record. The lyrics are inconsistent, but that's a different category. This is the closest thing this year has to a pop culture phenomenon at the level of "Single Ladies" which WAS NOT nominated for Record of the Year. "Halo" was, and "Single Ladies" won Song of the Year... I swear people totally get shit backwards.

"Need You Now" by Lady Antebellum. They're the new Dixie Chicks, but in a quality sense.

Here are 3 songs that I think have sufficient appeal to land a nomination if the stars align--but only 1 of this group of 3 would pick up a nomination: "Dog Days" by Florence + the Machine or "Lisztomania" by Phoenix or "Sweet Disposition" by Temper Trap. [UPDATE: "Lisztomania" and "Sweet Disposition" were not submitted for ROTY consideration. Temper Trap's "Fader" was submitted.]

A smarter man would probably put country hit "The House That Built Me" by Miranda Lambert ahead of Phoenix or Temper Trap. I am not that man. But I can see it as the fifth nominee.

Here are four songs that are my "also ran's": "Love the Way You Lie" by Eminem with Rihanna; "California Gurls" by Katy Perry with Snoop Dogg; "Airplanes" by B.o.B. with Hayley Williams [UPDATE: Eminem shares credit on "Airplanes"; and "Soul Sister" by Train [UPDATE: the version officially in contention is a live version of this song, so I'm counting it out].

Nominations aren't announced until December 1. Not that you asked.

Jimmy Donn for Congress, bigger than Chris Isaak's penis

Previously on the Rebel Agenda (here and here), we've discussed the insane amount of attention and traffic my cousins' cousin, Jimmy Donn has brought to my little blog. I made a someecard to commemorate (here) the traffic (hell, I will beat this horse until it's dead and buried if it gets me traffic).

Before Jimmy, the most popular search terms directing folks to my site included "Chris Isaak penis" (Google it, you'll see). I think I'm the top Google result for "Ray Liotta in a Speedo" but that never really generated much traffic.

So thank you Jimmy. You're bigger than Chris Isaak's penis, and you may use that quote in whatever context benefits you best.

Tim McGraw in a role that will surprise you

Tim McGraw/Todd Palin
Coming in Spring 2011, the Lifetime Original Movie Holding Her Purse: The Todd Palin Story—the story of how Todd Palin knocked up, and then married, the woman who would go on to be one of the most inexplicably popular Facebook users of all time.

Song of the Day: "Wheels"

I'm happy there's something new from Heart. We've discussed the lack of appreciation for them as pioneers for rockers who are also female (here). They're still not in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but this year's nominees includes Donna Summer so... um, yeah.

34 years after their debut the sisters Wilson bring us Red Velvet Car (I'm a little surprised that doesn't say red velvet cake, to be honest, given the way I type without thinking this early--what does red velvet car even mean?), and it's getting solidly favorable reviews. Here's your first taste of this red velvet cake (whatever):

Song: "Wheels"
Artist: Heart

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Midge gets Bayified

Thanks to Fake Michael Bay (via Twittah), Midge has been rendered in the form of a Michael Bay movie poster, with not one, not two, but THREE Shia Labeoufs (3!!!!). Try it yourself (here).

[UPDATE: Is the plural Shia Labeoufs OR Shias Labeouf?]

"When your nom de guerre was Codename Caroline"

It's also Colin Meloy's birthday, and while the Decemberists have a lot of great music, the song "Valerie Plame" gives me the chance to remind everyone (all 8 of you) that George W. Bush, war criminal/criminal against peace/drunken dumbass/pretend Christian ALSO pardoned a man guilty of treason: Scooter FUCKING Libby (who was, technically, the scapegoat for Karl Rove and Dick Cheney who is a war criminal/criminal against peace/war profiteer).

Oh you know what, what the hell, here's a Morrissey cover too:

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Happy Birthday Saint Bob Geldof

As much as I'm trying to reduce the amount of waxing sentimental I do about the good old days at the radio station, I am somehow obligated to mention that Bob and the Boomtown Rats were at the radio station when the AP wire went off with the news report of the shooting that inspired their hit "I Don't Like Mondays" (like a decade before I got there):

And here's Bob rolling around with a snake:

But Bob became St. Bob (note to self: canonize Midge Ure too--his birthday is Sunday, same as Jackie, same as Kirsty MacColl, but we can do all 3!) when Bob and Midge Ure wrote "Do They Know It's Christmas?" and then they assembled Band-Air to record it, and THEN they did Live Aid. Seriously, you saw the snake earlier, right? Same dude!

Here's St. Midge (hey look, canonize Midge Ure, check) singing a demo of the song:

And the fucking incredible final product, from 1984 (right?)--Paul Young, Boy George, Paul Weller, and the rest (this blueprint has been aped a million times since):

No EGOT credentials, no actual sainthood, he has an honorary knighthood but isn't supposed to be called "sir" so fuck it, Saint Bob it is. And a couple of nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize.

But if he had only co-written "Do They Know It's Christmas?" he would still totally fucking rock!

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Amanda Bynes in a role that will surprise you

Amanda Bynes/Christine O'Donnell
Coming to Lifetime in 2011, The Young Christine O'Donnell Chronicles, starring Amanda Bynes as the wacky Senate candidate. Dabbling in witchcraft, crusading against masturbation, or warning America about China's secret takeover plans--the hilarity never ends!

Giving Paula Dean a little help

Early last year, on a visit to my mom's, we made a Paula Dean recipe for gorilla bread (here). It was modestly successful, but I vowed to improve it. And I did, I just forgot to share my genius with the rest of you until it came up this morning.

Here's what I ended up with, and the details I emailed my sister and mom when I'd finished:
I call this lemur coffee cake.
This is adapted from Paula Dean's sad "gorilla bread" recipe that didn't work. Which is some kind of easy "monkey bread." Fuck that shit. This is my lemur coffee cake.

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup packed
 brown sugar

3 teaspoons cinnamon (more or less)

1 stick butter

1 8-oz. package of cream cheese--cut this into 16 pieces

2 regular cans of crescent rolls--open and unroll the 16 roll triangles

1-1/2 cups chopped walnuts (or pecans)

8" x 8" or 9" x 9" casserole dish--spray this with non-stick cooking spray

Preheat the oven to whatever the crescent rolls say. I don't have it with me, but what
 Paula Dean said didn't work. What the crescent rolls said did. So do that. Let's say "375" for now. But again, use what it says on the tube. And none of that high-altitude shit. Unless this is Sonya. And then only if she hasn't moved yet.

Layer the bottom of the casserole dish with all the walnuts

In the microwave: heat the stick of butter and the brown sugar for like 90 seconds. This will be a gooey sticky icing type thing. Use about half of this in the bottom of the casserole dish where there is that layer of walnuts.

Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a mixing bowl.

Roll 1 piece of
 cream cheese in the sugar cinnamon mix. Then wrap it with a triangle of crescent roll. Then roll that in the sugar cinnamon mix. Yes, roll, wrap, and roll again.

Repeat 15 more times.

Line these in the casserole dish 4 x 4.

Use the remaining gooey stuff in between the 16 balls of future yumminess.

Bake this for 30 minutes.

Remove and invert while still warm, but keep the dish in place a little bit as it starts to cool.

And you're welcome.

Quote of the day

"Whether anyone thinks it's good now is almost not my problem, all I have to do is write with my own voice..."--Sonya
Finding inspiration in Sonya isn't unusual.

Admitting it is.

Song of the Day: "Tightrope"

Wow, I'm way behind on this one. I've been reading up on various possible Best New Artist nominees for the Grammys (I figured Mumford & Sons had it sewn up), and was reminded of Janelle. I read about her back in May, but never actually heard her. The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III) is her first full-length album, so unless her obscure 2007 EP disqualifies her from the category (NARAS changed the qualifying definition for Best New Artist and now I have no fucking clue who's eligible--MGMT were nominated the year after J.U.S.T.I.C.E. won a Grammy for remixing one of their songs, but Lady Gaga wasn't eligible because she had been nominated herself). [UPDATE: Never mind, she was nominated in the Urban/Alternative category in 2009, sorry J.]

She opens for Of Montreal this fall, and I might actually see her (or I'll buy tickets, see the crowd, freak out and scalp the tickets).

Love the sound--it's totally "Hey Ya" from Outkast (Big Boi from Outkast is featured on the song) but that's like saying "dinner tonight is nachos and ice cream again."

Song: "Tightrope"
Artist: Janelle Monae featuring Big Boi

Notes on Easy A

Okay Hollywood, listen up: it is time to stop portraying all Christians as two-dimensional bigots. It's so fucking tired at this point, that I'm embarrassed to see it. You'd think Hollywood producers would get the message, but in case they haven't:
  • Not all Blacks are in gangs
  • Not all Hispanics are drug lords
  • Not all gays are designers or decorators
  • Not all Muslims are terrorists
  • Not all Jews control the media (or something like that)
  • And not all Christians are shallow and filled with hate
As much as I wanted to love Easy A, making a central character so one-note undermined that.

And as a follow-up, here is the demographic profile of the city of Ojai, California (the setting of the movie, and the home of Jamie Summers, the Bionic Woman):
  • 88% Caucasian
  • 12% NOT Caucasian
  • 15% Hispanic (this is an ethnicity, not a race; Hispanics come from all races)
While the movie cleverly (and sweetly) includes a young Black actor, Bryce Clyde Jenkins (I had to work to find his name), as the heroine's sibling, that's about it for racial/ethnic diversity. I guess the movie really is an homage to 80s teen movies which were also lily white.

Okay, off the high horse, on to the usual "recap within the frame work of awards potential." Despite what you've read, I rather like the movie, despite the screenplay.

Overall, the movie is better as its discrete elements than it is as one piece. Emma Stone is adorable and funny, and could pick up a Golden Globe nomination (Best Actress in a Musical/Comedy), but that's as far as I see her getting. Still, that's a good step for her. I think this movie helps her career similar to the way (500) Days of Summer helped Joseph Gordon-Levitt's. (Actually her agent should do everything he/she can to get her presenting at some awards shows this winter, she'll benefit more from those gift bags than a Golden Globe nomination.)

Amanda Bynes is also adorable and funny, and could pick up a Golden Satellite nomination (they have separate Supporting Actor/Actress categories for Musical/Comedy and for Drama), but that's as far as I see her getting (the GS is lesser than the GG). If she is smart, she will try to leverage a slight resemblance to Christine O'Donnell before O'Donnell is (hopefully) just a punchline in about 4 months. Otherwise she's gone from "young actress I vaguely knew of" to "young actress I might remember."

I don't know how they got Patricia Clarkson, Stanley Tucci, Thomas Hayden Church and Lisa Kudrow for this movie, but all 4 of them are fantastic in the movie. Clarkson and Tucci, who both starred in the first season of Murder One (how's that for old), play characters that are just too cool to be believable as parents--but they are really good doing it. Clarkson plays a character similar to her role on Six Feet Under (for which she won 2 Emmys, the only actor to win an Emmy for the show) but I allow it since I've seen her be more versatile. But it would be nice to see someone think of Clarkson as something other than a free-spirited earth mother type. Tucci's coming out of playing an understanding husband in Julie & Julia and a pedophile/serial killer in Lovely Bones, so I think he's a little less type-cast at this point. I'll keep both of these actors on my dark horse list going into awards season. I can easily see these roles being included among a set of movies for a critics award or two (although let me say that, having seen the Burlesque trailer twice now, I hope Tucci isn't winning for his work in Easy A & Burlesque only).

Thomas Hayden Church is really solid in an un-flashy role. I don't see him getting any awards attention for this. Lisa Kudrow also won't get any awards attention for this, but she shows some previously unseen skill in the movie. I've loved her many times in the past, but this is the first time I've seen her act without sounding affected in some way, like she was doing a character's voice. She's gets a couple of really meaty scenes that give me new esteem for her as an actress. But she's third in line for supporting actress consideration from this movie (Clarkson first, then Bynes).

The direction, cinematography and editing are all fine but nothing award-worthy. I liked the title credits presentation at first, but ultimately I found myself a little confused, and I'm the kind of person who reads title credits (so you might never notice).

The movie's biggest weakness, sadly, is the screenplay. There's a lot to like about it, but it feels a lot like someone wanted to make a deconstructed homage to The Scarlet Letter and Mean Girls at the exact same time. Too much. But in some fucked up way I can see this ending up with an Adapted Screenplay nomination--I just hope it doesn't.

In fact, I felt better about the movie leaving the theater than I do now, having slept on it. But I'm still undecided. The actors individually are much better than the movie as a whole.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Love in the time of censorship

By now everyone knows that I fucking use expletives every fucking chance I can. This blog really ought to be called the "gratuitous use of the word 'fuck' blog" since it's a better description.

The people at Andrews McMeel Publishing are so offended by the word fuck that they refused to replace a defective product when that word was used... "even as a joke." I wonder if the writers they publish are on board with this kind of CENSORSHIP.

Is it really censorship? Fuck yes. Andrews McMeel Publishing censored me. Andrews McMeel Publishing are censors. Why would any writer want them as a publisher, what with all their censorship. Fuckers.

Of course, the reality of the AMP catalog is a bunch of cookbooks and defective page-a-day calendars, so perhaps they never actually encounter the word "fuck." But honestly, this isn't about them and their fucking refusal to replace my fucking defective Dilbert page-a-day calendar.

This is about the fucking LA Times, a real newspaper.

They operate a site called The Envelope (here) which is focused on show business awards. Now it will come as no fucking surprise to anyone that I frequent that site. I mean, aside from having my name ON it, it's pretty much the ideal site for me.

So I was really amused when, in the Forums section, posting about Rosanne Cash's The List and its chances at a nomination for Album of the Year at the Grammys, I made reference to Grammy and Oscar winner Herbie Hancock. And Herbie's last name was censored by the forum software (click to embiggen):

Herbie Hancock is shown as Herbie Han****.


Happy Birthday Chris Lowe

He's the quiet half of Pet Shop Boys. The cute half (sorry Neil). The half that introduced the hooded sweatshirt under denim jacket look to the world (I'm guessing)--everyone remembers that look right? No. Okay...

I posted for Neil's birthday, but having recently listened through their concert album Pandemonium I am reminded that Pet Shop Boys are a great fucking band. So here are a few more songs I love:
"Is this a riot or are you just pleased to see me?"

"You drift into the strangest dreams
Of youthful follies and changing teams"

"Sooner or later this happens to everyone
To everyone"

"When life is calmer, I have no doubt
No angry drama, a storm blows itself out"
"You always wanted a lover
I only wanted a job"

I hadn't set out to post all live versions, but I'm kind of enjoying that theme here. If you're at all paying attention you know that Behavior is one of my all time favorite albums. And people who aren't me agree that it's a great album (here). ["Only the Wind" is from Behavior, "What Have I Done to Deserve this isn't, so save your angry corrections.]

"Denigrate or speculate on what I'm going through
Because it isn't the sort of thing I normally do"
Well, the all-live option ran out. Oh well...

"The night we met was cold and wet, I needed a drink or two
I saw you standing there and I knew I'd like to be loved by you"
That's Johnny Marr on guitar, by the way.

But Chris, and I say this with every ounce of my late 80s/early 90s crush on you, it is time to retire the late 80s look. There's a word for men in their 50s who wear baseball caps with the word "boy" across the front: sad. I'm sure there are a gazillion stylists who will help you transition into a more dignified yet comfortable look... said the man who will likely wear white gym socks to work.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on! Just in a different hat.

Song of the Day: "Cadence"

There is a genre of music called "math rock." This genre's name never made sense to me until I heard the band Minus the Bear. "Math" has nothing to do with the mathematical operator "minus" being used in the name (their name is a BJ and the Bear reference) but refers to irregular stops/starts, complex rhythms, and meters other than 4/4. Wikipedia leads me to believe, well, a lot of things, including that vocals aren't overdubbed and will be a little lower in a song's final mix.

All of these qualities, with the possible exception of the meter which, apparently, I can't figure out to save my life—syncopation throws me off, as does that fact that songs don't have to start at the beginning of a whatsit, that section of sheet music [bar? stanza?] and since I know how to convert fractions I say every song can just be a single [bar/stanza/other] in like 1547/1588 time if you want it too, just write out all the notes in one little section.

Oh my god, I am so off topic.

I think this track by Mt. St. Helen's Vietnam Band qualifies as, at least, math rock-ish. And I mean that in a non-pejorative sense. It's possible that "math rock" is a dis, but I don't mean it like that. "Lite jazz" is a total dis, when I use it, just FYI. It's slower (and more melodic) than I expect "math rock" to be, but I don't think any specific tempo is mandated, but failure to change tempo (significantly and often) might disqualify this song.

It's possible that I'm just so seduced by the wandering bass line (shout out to Jared Price, the bass player) that I've been fooled. Happens a lot (seriously, you have to pay attention to the ENTIRE eBay listing).

I am prepared to issue a retraction on the whole "math rock" thing should I get protests, or to live with a rock band that dislikes me based on my writing [SEE ALSO: The Go-Betweens].

The band is from Seattle, and Where the Messengers Meet is their second full length album. And they're touring with someone right now. Oh, you expect me to look... ah, Portugal. The Man (formerly of Wasilla, Alaska, now of Portland, OR-we're the Brooklyn of the rest of the US).

Oh, and, AND, I really like the song. My meandering writing has given me the time to listen to it 6 times already just this morning. I like it. I have no idea what it's about, the bass is that good.

Song: "Cadence"
Artist: Mt. St. Helen's Vietnam Band

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I'm 13,149,046

In web traffic (per Alexa).

This is up from 23,737,137 in August 2009, so clearly I will be the new Facebook in minutes.

Many many minutes.

Project Runway micro-recap (week 10)

Mondo won with his very Mondo print design and a nicely designed, well executed outfit, and, oh yeah, the tear-jerker-est story of the show's run. But the fact that all the discussion among the judges and in the last 8 minutes of the show were about Mondo's revelation and not Mondo's design bothered me. The affirmation that "he will deal with life's problems in an upbeat manner" needs to be followed by "10 years later" since that was my take-away.

Now, snarkiness aside, he deserved to win for this week. My coworker has a lot of enthusiasm about his aesthetic and I'm just being a curmudgeon with my grousing. At this point it would be a surprise if he and Gretchen aren't the primary designers faring off in the final 3.

I will be really amused if Michael C. is the third, considering all the shit he took (and rightly) early on. Also, he's straight? The presence of a kid is confusing.

And goodbye to Rachel Dratch. I'm not sure who gave you meth before the runway appearance, but OMG that was some tweaky talking.

[UPDATE: Hey, I just realized I didn't have anything bitchy so say about Gretchen. I think it's 1-part "she's mellowing" and 2-parts "I've become immune to shit she says."]

Not that you asked: Album of the Year candidates

The Grammy eligibility year concluded last week, so I can start pontificating on possible Grammy nominations (or I could clean my bedroom--see how I chose to spend my time?).

I reviewed the Grammy forum at the awards site I frequent (The Envelope, here) and am disappointed that I didn't see Rosanne Cash's The List pretty much at the top of everyone's predictions. Actually I didn't see it at all, but I did see Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster EP on a bunch (it's an EP, duh).

The List has several things going for it, not the least of which is that it's a damn fine record. It also pays homage to important works (SEE ALSO: Herbie Hancock River: The Joni Letters), boasts a solid line-up of guest performers (SEE ALSO: Ray Charles Genius Loves Company and Santana Supernatural), and has an important family legacy (SEE ALSO: Natalie Cole Unforgettable with Love).

In fact, it seems like such a slam dunk that I'm struggling to come up with credible potential nominees. It helps to know what's on the NARAS short list (Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year nominations are drawn from a curated shortlist of only 20 to 30 albums cherry picked so as to minimize Grammy embarrassment, and that's really basically the actual reason). The curated lists help get "diversity" among the nominees, so let's use that to say that Jay-Z's The Blueprint 3 will bring the 7-time Grammy winner his first Album of the Year nomination as a performer (I'm pretty sure he's been nominated as a producer). We'll talk about "Empire State of Mind" and it's shot at Record of the Year at a later time.

Speaking of "Empire State of Mind," Alicia Keys The Element of Freedom is probably a strong contender for a nomination given her prior success with 12 Grammy wins (nothing predicts a Grammy nomination better than a previous Grammy win).

Lady Antebellum Need You Now is in a pretty good position. They won last year for a track from their earlier album, but they performed "Need You Now" from this album... I think that might mean something. They're the new Dixie Chicks so this is a reasonable acknowledgment.

Johnny Cash American VI: Ain't No Grave is sure to pick up nominations in the Country and Americana categories, but I can see it picking up a nomination for Album of the Year, next to Rosanne, making a special interest aspect to the category.

Janelle Monae The ArchAndroid has an amazing Metacritic score of 91, and while I recall reading something about it months ago, I don't recall what. I've added it to my library queue, but let's put it in the mix.

Let's put Eminem Recovery, Sade Soldier of Love, Michael Buble Crazy Love, Arcade Fire The Suburbs, and Mumford and Sons Sigh No More down as plausible but they don't have me that excited (this is about nomination likelihood, not merit).


I guess I need to send this to Andrews McMeel Publishing

I wish I'd thought to create this.

Jimmy Donn for Congress

My father pointed out that "Jimmy Donn for Congress" (here) did what I expected Randy Quaid's birthday post (here) to do, namely amp up my blog traffic.

Check out my keyword analysis--Jimmy has knocked "Chris Isaak penis" out of the top 3.

So in his honor, I've created a someecard (here):

Carry on.

"You can call it another lonely day"

Years ago Wharton Rob asked me what my favorite classic rock songs were. Bus rides to/from high school listening to 96 Rock burned me out on the idea of classic rock so I said "none" way too quickly. Technically at that time I loved "American Pie" and "Go Your Own Way."

Since then I've expanded my list to include vague general references to Jimi Hendrix (who I wasn't burned out on via 96 Rock as, hello, he's black, so he didn't get played), "The Needle and the Damage Done" and "Gimme Three Steps" (yes, whatever).

Today is Lindsey Buckingham's birthday, and "Go Your Own Way" is all Lindsey. Lindsey wrote it about his ex-, Stevie Nicks, who objected to the line "shacking up is all you want to do." Lindsey refused to edit the line. Regardless, I don't think the lyrics are the song's strong point. The guitar, the percussion, and the overall arrangement of instruments and voices is what works. And here's how I will make that point.

Acapella (lyrics only--clever but largely unremarkable)

A cover by the Cranberries gets the music right, but misses the vocal harmonies:

A cover by Keane gets it on the harmonies but lacks the punch of the incredible drum sound of Mick Fleetwood

And finally, the original recipe... see what I mean? Genius!

Oh, and happy birthday dude! Rock on!

R.I.P. Stephen J. Cannell

Emmy-winner Stephen Cannell created or co-created an array of television shows including The A-Team, Magnum P.I., Diagnosis Murder (which I call Prescription Murder), Silk Stalkings, and The Rockford Files, to name but a few. He died last week due to complications from melanoma and, remarkably, was married to his high school sweetheart--seriously, he was still married to his first wife. That's kinda awesome.

All of his shows carry a certain wry humor--here are some favorites:

I had no idea, until just now, that Sammy Davis Jr. sang the theme from Baretta. Although listening to it now... duh.

Rest in peace.

Okay... what?

(h/t Towleroad)

Based on what I understand thanks to this Mercury article, a graduate teaching student at a Beaverton School District school told students he was DUN DUN DUNNNNN gay, and a parent of one of his students threatened to remove his child from the classroom, so the graduate teaching student is now no longer working at in that school district.

"Hopefully, he'll find a place at a school that doesn't discriminate."--the dude's attorney

Happy Birthday Hart Bochner

Hart played the annoying yuppie who wanted to cut a deal with the bad guys in Die Hard and was probably thrown out the window or something. And was the hunky dim bulb in Supergirl. But his best movie (of the movies I've seen) is easily 1988's Apartment Zero.
AZ is a political thriller starring Hart and Colin Firth--it's set in Argentina and it's darkly funny, creepy, awfully gay, and I really don't remember much about it aside from loving it. How's that for a recommendation?

But seriously, Colin Firth is awesome. And it was co-written and directed by Martin Donovan who is also awesome.

Look for it from your library.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Song of the Day: "Swim Until You Can't See Land"

I discovered Frightened Rabbit with this year's The Winter of Mixed Drinks, but they've been around since 2003. And they're Scottish, so I love them. [UPDATE: Hey, look, they are playing in Portland next Saturday night, Oct. 9th at the Wonder Ballroom.]

Song: "Swim Until You Can't See Land"
Artist: Frightened Rabbit