Saturday, July 31, 2004

Another beauty in an official Hudsonland Get Out of Town shirt - Ms. Traci Hoem!
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The beautiful Deonna poses in a Hudsonland Get Out of Town T-shirt.
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This Week in Review

Obviously, the big news is the Democratic Convention. I must admit that I didn't watch a lot of the proceedings. It's become way too orchestrated, and there's absolutely no drama. There was a time that the outcome was in doubt, and even if that wasn't the case there were heated debates over the partie's platform. No more. There's just scripted speech after scripted speech.

Yet despite the fact that it's micro-managed for television, it doesn't work on the idiot box. There's a reason that the networks only showed a hour or so per day - it's boring TV! Why should they broadcast hours and hours that nobody will watch? Especially when the "highlights" will be repeated over and over on the news channels. Yet even the cable channels fumbled the ball. The most egregious error was when CNN cut away from Sharpton's speech - here was the first (and only) case where the speaker tossed aside the teleprompter and delivered an impassioned speech and CNN pulled the plug! There's no excuse for this - the whole reason we have 24 hour news shows is to get the whole story. There should be no time schedule. Larry King or Anderson Cooper can wait a few minutes before they begin their inane babbling.

It's also funny that these networks that survive on live sporting events cannot pull off any other live event. How many times did all three news networks have technical problems? How many technicians were mistakenly heard on the air? Will CNN have to pay a fine for letting the f-bomb fly? Will the Republican convention have a five second delay?

Still, there were some fine moments that came out of the festivities - namely the unlikely pairings of Michael Moore and Bill O'Reilly, and Sean Hannity and Al Franken. They all threw out their best punches, and took a few in return. The results - a tie. All four had their moments, and all four had to resort to their worst tendencies. And the Daily Show has fully emerged as the best political show on television.

What else happened this week? Well, it was a good week for new music, with new releases by Tommy Stinson, Old 97's, Badly Drawn Boy, and Sahara Hotnights. None of these albums will rank with the year's best, but they're all charming in their own way. The musical highlight of the week has to be Por Vida: A Tribute To The Songs Of Alejandro Escovedo. Like nearly all musicians, the legendary Escovedo had no medical insurance, and last year came down with Hepatitis C. Over 30 artists came together to cover songs from Escovedo's 30 year career - from family members (Sheila E, Javier Escovedo, Pete Escovedo) to alt-country superheroes (Son Volt, Jayhawks, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle) to singer/songwriters (Vic Chesnutt, Peter Case, M. Ward). Sure, there's some bum cuts, but unlike most of these tribute discs, this one is pretty listenable from start to end. Besides the high quality of most of the artists involved, the main reason this album succeeds is due to Escovedo's varied career. He started off as a punk rocker with the Nuns in the late 70's, and has since then evolved in and out of many genres.

The only other highlight of my life for the week is the news that I am now hated by the local pro-life movement. Starting this past Monday, a California pro-life group targeted Sioux Falls for demonstrations involving supposed images of an aborted fetus on the sides of a number of large trucks, and a small plane carrying a banner featuring a similar photo. I ranted about these people on my KRRO segment this past Wednesday, which resulted in my family's businesses receiving angry phone calls from "concerned loyal customers". Funny thing is, these calls came from a pay phone.

The funny aspect of this controversy is that the main point of my rant is that abortion is one of those topics that people shouldn't even debate, as you never change anybody's opinion. Hell, I'll just reprint what I wrote:

(July 28) Before I started composing this rant, I spent quite a few
hours internally debating whether I should even chat about the upcoming
topic, or whether the people I’m about to describe should get the boot.
There are certain subjects that should not be debated, as it’s extremely
unlikely that you’re going to change any opinions.
For example, fans of the Vikings and the Packers should never argue
about whose right, as it’s just going to culminate in hurt feelings. Same
with Cubs and White Sox fans, or Democrats and Republicans. David Lee
Roth versus Sammy Hagar. Jessica versus Ashley.
By far, the arguement that should always be avoided is the dreaded
abortion debate. Both sides of the issue feature people who are way too
emotionally attached to the topic...well, actually, it’s mainly one side
that goes overboard with the rhetoric. To these people, abortion is the
only political debate. They live and breath this controversy, devoting
their entire life to pushing their agenda. They latch onto any
politician who shares their viewpoint, no matter how big of a wackjob they are
otherwise. If a modern day Adolf Hitler came out as pro-life, they’d
still vote for him.
The main reason I try to stay out of the debate is that it’s too
complex of a subject to have a cut and dry answer. When exactly does life
begin? If you say conception, then you should almost go back a step or two
and proclaim each drop of sperm and every egg as life. If that’s the
case, then any form of birth control is abortion. Quick, dispose of that
condom before the activists discover that you’ve wasted some more
sperm. Plus, that means I’m a killer everytime I watch a Jenna Jameson DVD.
If it’s not conception, when do these cells constitute a human being?
There’s arguements for every single stage of pregnancy. Yeah, I know
that the pro-life crowd has these photos that supposedly “prove” that
they’re fully formed within hours of conception, but to me that’s about as
accurate as the reflection from the sun that resembles
anybody really knows what he looked like.
Again, I’m not here to debate this issue. I have my opinion, but I do
respect the opinions of those that don’t agree with me. So please don’t
fill my inbox with hate mail telling me that I’m going straight to
hell. I think I crossed that threshold decades ago.
But I do have a problem with people that go overboard in their
obsession. Those people who open “counseling clinics” with a hidden agenda
should be next to me in line to meet Satan. I think those people who focus
on only one aspect of Planned Parenthood’s operations should be burned
at the stake. And I think that every person who preaches about the
topic should be ordered to adopt a baby - preferably one from a low-income
family of color with some sort of handicap. Put your money where your
mouth is.
I suppose at this point you’re wondering who I’m kicking out of town.
Actually, I’m giving the boot to people who don’t even live in
Hudsonland. People who force their opinions on others who don’t even share the
same license plate.
This past Monday, my mother stopped at one of our restaurants to help
over the noon rush. This particular store is located a quarter block
from the busiest intersection in the entire state, and this particular day
was pretty typical. Traffic was backed up for at least a couple of
blocks, and entering and exiting our business required a bit of patience.
Suddenly, the entire store was jolted by the sounds of horns. Everybody
who looked inside was treated to the graphic images of what was
portrayed as an aborted fetus. Over the course of the next hour, this truck
(actually two trucks) passed by a number of times, and was accompanied by
an airplane flying overhead that displayed a banner similar to the
design on the truck.
It turns out that this publicity-obsessed demonstration was actually
from Southern California, as part of what’s called the Key States
Initiative by the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform. Monday’s demonstration was
just the beginning of a weeklong media blitz that at one point was
babbling away at one of KRRO’s sister stations Monday afternoon.
I should have known that this group wasn’t from South Dakota. If you
ever see an anti-abortion demonstration, it’s usually populated by people
with license plates from Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska. Sure, there’s
usually a few South Dakotans involved, but way too often they’re the
minority. It’s those idiot Iowegians that block the entrances to parking
lots, or rudely attempt to use the restroom in my office.
It’s time for these mostly white middle-aged zealots to stay in
Hicksville. How would they like it if I paraded down their streets with semi’s
advertising some of my crazy beliefs? I could have a loudspeaker
shouting “F the FCC” with a convoy of Howard Stern fans. Or maybe I could
paint the Vivid Video girls on a truck and proclaim my belief that
everybody should own porn. As Beavis would say, “yeah yeah, that’s not a bad
idea, Butthead”.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Get Out of Town T-shirts Now Available!
For only $15, you can get this beautiful Get Out of Town shirt or tank top. Just send an email to either or

Movies and Television

With nothing planned this weekend, I decided to catch up on my movie watching. I subscribe to Netflix, which always shocks me with the depth of their inventory. Plus, I don't have to worry about late fees.

The first movie I watched was Intimacy, a British flick that caused some controvery when it came out in 2001. I now understand what the fuss was all about. Within the first few minutes of the movie, there's complete full frontal nudity of both the male (Mark Rylance) and female (Kerry Fox) leads. Later, they show her performing oral sex on him...and I mean they show it.

Yet it's sort of a mainstream film. I've seen movies with both Rylance and Fox, and I recognize a few other actors, including Marianne Faithfull. The story is that Rylance is a bartender, who has a weekly affair with Fox. She just shows up at his apartment, and after a short, animalistic bout of sex she leaves. A word is never said between the two. Eventually, the silence starts to gnaw at him so he starts following her. He ends up meeting her husband and child, and begs her to leave her middle-class family.

Next up was Raising Victor Vargas, which I had picked because it had won some awards at last year's International Spirit Awards. Victor thinks he's a Latino stud, but word gets out that he's been hooking up with the heavy-set girl that lives in the apartment above him. To prove he's the stud he thinks he is, he sets sights on Judy, a beautiful young woman he notices at the pool. Judy has a take-no-shit attitude, but eventually the deep-seeded vulnerability of both characters is expressed.

And then there's The Grey Zone. I had rented this months ago but had never gotten around to either watching it or just sending it back (thank god for no late fees). This flick is a true story about a squad of Jews who were forced to do the dirty work of rounding up the other Jews in a WWII concentration camp for the gas chambers. A young girl is discovered still alive after one of the gassings at the same time that final preperations are being made for a revolt. Steve Buscemi is as great as usual, but I was most impressed with David Arquette. I'm used to him being in silly comedies about pro wrestling and Elvis impersonators, but he's actually a great dramatic actor. I hope he continues in this sort of work.

Between these flicks, I scrambled around the dial. Comedy Central had a South Park marathon, which is always worth watching, but otherwise I can't believe how awful weekend television is. Most of the cable channels just shows the same action movies that they had just shown days before. And the networks are completely beholden to reality television.

So I tried to sit through an hour of Big Brother. This is a show that gets worse every year, and like all other reality shows they're trying to save it through (so-called) dramatic twists. This year's twists feature a brother and sister who had never met each other, and a set of twins that are being rotated in and out. While the siblings appear to not only share the same father but other members of their gene pool, particularly the dim-witted pseudo-cowboy, they're not the most vile members of the show. That award is shared between two guys and one woman. The woman, who I think is named Holly, maybe the biggest airhead to ever appear on television. She talks in baby talk, she demands all of the attention all of the time, and thinks she has a tv career after this show's over. Her only saving grace is that she doesn't seem to like wearing panties. But even she's not as bad as Jase and Scott, two would-be pretty boys who think they run the house and have named their clique the "Four Horseman". Isn't that clever? I don't see how anybody could live with these ass clowns without throwing a punch or two. I'll never watch this trash again..especially since Julie Chen somehow still has the host gig.

As if that wasn't enough torture, I also sat through two episodes of Ashlee Simpson's show. I had refused to view this show...her sister is bad enough. But I now know everything that's wrong with the music business. First, there's the whole "watch Ashlee go from signing her contract to her first gig". Shouldn't that be the other way around? Then we get to watch her record her album. She "co-wrote" the whole album, which seems to mean that she sits there and talks about how she wants a song about her mean boyfriend and the two real writers than bash out a song. She's then coached how the lyrics are phrased, which is set to music that should have Courtney Love's attorneys racing to court. A band is put together for her, and the best analysis that can come up is that the guitarist is "cute".

While Ashlee is not as blonde-stupid as her sister (there's no chicken of the sea moments), she's worse than Jessica. She's 19, but talks like a 14 year old as she complains about how hard it is to get ready for a fashion shoot or how mean her boyfriend is because he didn't dedicate a song to her at his concert. The whole world revolves around her, and dying her hair is a big statement about her individuality.

The show is a huge indictment about the record industry. Ashlee Simpson gets a record contract because her sister is famous and MTV can promote it with a cheaply made reality show. This could be excused, as it's gone on in some fashion for over 50 years. But she's not an exception. Paris Hilton has not only a record deal but a label. Lindsay Lohan just signed a record deal, and there's also the Duff sisters. At least when Gina Gershon and Juliette Lewis tried to become rock stars, they did it the old fashioned way by going out on the road. These twits just hire the people to do all the work for them, including cleaning up their out-of-tune vocals, and show up at movie premieres and award shows. Meanwhile, there's tons of great bands that are working their asses off but can't catch a break. They're not able to make a video, let alone get one shown. Labels spend millions to ensure that Jennifer Lopez' lastest is played on every radio station in the country, but real bands can't get a van to drive them from gig to gig.

I beg everybody to not buy into this garbage. Ashlee Simpson's album comes out Tuesday...JUST SAY NO!!!

Friday, July 16, 2004

I'm Back

Ok, I've ignored my blog for quite a few months. I don't really have an's equal parts computer problems, time, and laziness. And, quite frankly, I have no clue if anybody even reads this thing. If you are one of the few and proud, send me an email ( or

A bit of a recap of my life for those who may stumble upon this thing. I live in Sioux Falls, SD, population 130,000. I've lived here all but 18 months of my 41 years. Throughout most of my life, I've been involved in our city's fledgling music scene. I've worked in record stores, DJ'd at clubs and on college and commercial radio. I've co-promoted concerts, and was also the music editor for Tempest Magazine for close to 12 years. Currently, I have a dayjob with my family's business, but I also contribute to Etc. Sioux Falls, a publication that's much tamer than Tempest. I also have a weekly segment on KRRO, a local hard rock station, where I play a song of my choice and have a weekly rant titled "Get Out of Town".

I'm divorced, with a 16 year old son, Alec, who just got his driver's license.

My plan for this blog is to check in every couple of days with typical blog stuff - political rants, music and movie reviews, and anything else that I feel like ranting about. I'd like to include MP3 links, but I'm not completely sure how to do that. Send me an email if you can help.

So let's start with some babbling about the most recent movie I attended. I had to see Anchorman, not only because I'm a bit of a Will Ferrell movie but also because of my hatred for our local TV news affiliates. While certainly not a great movie, I must say that I enjoyed most of it - I guess I'd call it a good stupid movie. The story is a bit light, and it's take off on local news could have been a bit more hard-hitting, but it is amazing how little things have changed since the 70's timeframe this movie references. The stars of local TV are nothing more than big fish in a small pond, stars in their own mind working for little more than the person who takes your order at McDonalds.

The best scene is easily the one that is also the most unrealistic. About halfway through the movie, Ferrell and his cohorts go shopping for new suits. They take a wrong turn into an alley, where they're confronted by the number two news team, headed by Vince Vaughan. Just as they're about to fight, here comes the number three team, along with PBS and the local Spanish channel. While the scene (over)played out, all I could think about was the assclowns at our three affiliates.

As for the cast, Ferrell is excellent as usual, as is Paul Rudd (Man on the Street Brian Fantana) and Steve Carrell (dolt-head weatherman Brick Tamland). And Christina Applegate still has it - I've loved her since Married With Children (the greatest sitcom in history).

Let's move on to some music. I'd have to say the best album I've bought in the past two weeks is the new one by Jesse Malin. He's the former leader of D Generation, and he's recast himself as a singer/songwriter. Ryan Adams produced his first solo album, which was in my opinion so-so, but on this album he bests the buddy's recent meandering releases. More rocking than his last album, this is the power pop album of the far.

I also recommend the new Roots albu, although it's not as strong as Phrenology. Also worthy buying are the comeback albums by the Cure and Morrissey, and the latest releases by Wilco, Jay Farrar, The Killers, The Veils, The Soviettes, Paper Chase, and Marah.

That's it for now. Please check in from time to time.