Tuesday, February 22, 2005

This Week's Victim - Telemarketers, Part Two (Or Is It Part Three?)

Sometime during the three or so years that I have been compiling bitch-fests for the literally dozens of people who care I gave the boot to a pretty obvious candidate. I have always hated telemarketers, as do probably anybody who doesn’t receive a paycheck from one of these corporations.
To protect my sacred nightly ritual of DVR’d episodes of Springer, PTI, and Married With Children from interruption, I placed my name and number on the much ballyhooed “Do Not Call” list. This is not a fool-proof method, though, as I have continued to receive unwanted calls. Admittedly, though, the frequency has dramatically decreased.
Generally, I utilize the greatest invention of all time, caller ID, to screen these call, but every now and then I will actually pick up. Last Thursday was such a time.
The reason I picked up was because a good friend of mine received a call requesting his opinions regarding prime time television. One of the only people in the world who shares similar opinions as this moron, he used his time wisely, bitching about reality shows, CSI and the seemingly dozens of copycats, and the lack of any quality sitcoms.
I wanted this call, and when Burnett Phone Consultants called last Thursday at 8:41 p.m., I thought I had my chance. Unfortunately, it wasn’t, but it appeared to be sort of similar. The company wanted to send me a tape of a show that was supposedly being tested for a prime time slot. They wanted me to watch it sometime Monday night, and they would call me on Tuesday for my opinions.
Of course, I agreed to their request. It was a dream come true. My opinion could control the fate of television history. Maybe I’d assist in helping the next Seinfeld, the next Married With Children, or the next Arrested Development. Or conversely, maybe I could stop the pain of hospital and police foresnic dramas. Or those horrific fat guy/hot wife CBS sitcoms.
On Monday evening, I arrived home in a daze, shook up by the tragic death of one of my heroes, Hunter S. Thompson, the Bob Dylan of literary political mischief. Sure enough, at my front door was a Fed Ex package. Along with the unmarked video tape (which in this age of DVD’s should have been a sign right there) was an instruction sheet and a couple of pamphlets that looked like those standardized tests we all took back in high school.
Believe it or not, I actually followed the directions. I opened the booklet that was marked “fill out before watching the video”. This is when I knew I was in trouble. Each page featured a handful of different brands of the same product. One page was toothpaste; another had tuna. My instruction was to write down on the answer sheet the corresponding number of the brand I was most likely to buy. I was pissed, but I took about five seconds to make my choices.
Then I sat down with the video tape. Actually, I had to hook up a VCR first, as I hadn’t watched a video tape since I bought a used copy of Up & Cummers #42 starring the voluptuous Raylene. The show was called Dads, and it was dreadful. They should have just called it Full Houses, as it was once again three divorced dads. One was supposed to be a charming ladies’ man, another was a dude who cared about nothing but his job, and the third was the token goofball with the silly catchphrases. Of course, the kids were unbelievably perky and they said the darndest things. Oh yeah, and Rue McClanahan played the kindergarten teacher.
I know enough about the industry that screeners’ tapes do not include commercials. How could they? They don’t have sponsors yet. Well, this tape did. And the booklet I was to fill out afterwards was almost the exact same as the first one. There was enough of a difference to potentially throw off a complete moron, but I like to think I’m an incomplete moron.
Last night, I received the second phone call around the time we had set up. After a handful of non-thought-provoking questions regarding the actual show (would you watch this show; should the show have a message or lesson, etc.) we got to the real reason they had me watch this travesty. The questions centered around Listerine, and while I remembered they had an ad I couldn’t remember anything about it. So for ten to fifteen minutes I had to repeat that I didn’t recall what I heard or saw in the ad; just that I remember there was one. We finally went over three or four of the questions in the books – obviously the same questions to see if the stupid show had changed my opinions. Of course, they would never acknowledge that this was the goal.
Obviously, I learned my lesson. I won’t make this mistake again. These bastards can call and call but if it’s not a recognizable name or number I’m not interrupting the Bundy’s ever again. And I’m never going to buy Listerine again. Don’t worry, ladies, there are other brands on the market. I’ll keep my breath fresh just for that slim chance of a beautiful woman with a strange fetish for a chubby, old, jaded media critic.

Today’s Ipod Mix:

1. Eddie Floyd, “Raise Your Hand” (The Complete Stax/Volt Singles)
2. Guided By Voices, “My Valuable Hunting Knife” (Human Amusements at Hourly Rates)
3. Wilco, “A Shot in the Arm” (Summerteeth)
4. Bob Mould, “It’s Too Late” (Black Sheets of Rain)
5. Hole, “Softer, Softest” (Live Through This)
6. The Kinks, “Situation Vacant” (Something Else)
7. Scud Mountain Boys, “Glacier Bay” (Pine Box)
8. Camper Van Beethoven, “Love the Witch” (Camper Van Beethoven)
9. Bob Mould, “Dreaming I Am” (Workbook)
10. Suburbs, “Cig Machine” (Ladies and Gentlemen, The Suburbs Have Left the Building)
11. Pixies, “No. 13 Baby” (Doolitle)
12. Paul Westerberg, “Mr. Rabbit” (Stereo)
13. Sex Pistols, “Anarchy in the U.K.” (Never Mind the Bollocks)
14. Chuck Berry, “Too Much Monkey Business” (Anthology)
15. Bob Dylan, “I Want You” (Blonde on Blonde)
16. The Fall, “Fiery Jack” (50,000 Fall Fans Can’t Be Wrong)
17. Richard Buckner, “Pull” (Devotion & Doubt)
18. Chuck Berry, “I’m Talking About You” (Anthology)
19. Sonic Youth, “100%” (Dirty)
20. Ray LaMontagne, “Hold You In My Arms” (Trouble)
21. The Velvet Underground, “All Tomorrow’s Parties” (Peel Slowly and See)
22. Peter Bruntnell, “Outlaw (May the Sun Always Shine)” (Normal For Bridgwater)
23. Bob Dylan, “If Not For You” (The Bootleg Series)
24. M. Ward, “Feel the Same” (End of Amnesia)
25. Weezer, “Butterfly” (Pinkerton)

Monday, February 21, 2005

R.I.P. H.S.T.!!!
Posted by Hello

Thanks to my stupid cell phone provider, I didn't receive the message that I wasn't needed as a fill-in at the KRRO. Stopping for some gas, I picked up the paper to get me through the hour I now had to waste.
Page three had the tragic news - "Hunter S. Thompson, the acerbic counter-culture writer who popularized a new form of fictional journalism in books such as 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas', fatally shot himself Sunday night at his home, his son said. He was 67."
At first I was shocked...beyond shocked, really. It seemed like his life, at least his literary life, was back on track. His columns on ESPN.com (collected in last year's Hey Rube : Blood Sport, the Bush Doctrine, and the Downward Spiral of Dumbness Modern History from the Sports Desk, were as witty and insightful as anything from his glory days. Kingdom of Fear, released a couple years ago, was one of the more honest "memoirs" of recent memory, detailing both the highs and lows of his eventful life. And there were the two volumes of personal letters that more than any other release documented the rise of "gonzo journalism" and his late 70's burnout.
While I could never, nor would ever, even consider myself one-tenth of one percent as talented as the Great Doctor, he was definitely the most influential writer of my life. He took on all of the country's big evils - Hells Angels, Nixon, Vegas mobsters, Hoover, Aspen's Chamber of Commerce, straight-laced magazine and newspaper editors - with complete disregard to any personal repercussions. In doing so, he created a new method of writing - combing facts and fiction to paint a picture of a bigger Truth.
As I went through the motions on the dismal day, it slowly dawned on me that maybe Hunter's death wasn't so surprising. I'm sure we'll find out in the next few days why he pulled the trigger, so this is just pure speculation. I've gotta believe that there were some health problems. There were, after all, reports of some strange behavior at a L.A. book signing a few months ago. Most people just wrote that off as Hunter being Hunter. Could there have been other problems? I think it's safe to say that Thompson had no desire to spend his last years stuck in a hospital bed.
Whatever the reason, this is certainly a tragedy. In an era of Republican talking points disguised as journalism, we need a Thompson to shake things up. Hell, we need a few dozen Thompsons. If there's any good to come out of this, maybe more people will pick up any of the Fear and Loathing books, or the Great Shark Hunt.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The Grammies

As everybody knows, the Grammies were telecast this past Sunday night. And as you may expect, I have a few opinions about those 3 ½ hours I wasted.
To be fair, I must admit that when it comes to awards shows, the Grammies are easily the most legitimate. Unlike the American Music Awards, the VMA’s, and all of the other music awards shows that plague our airwaves, the Grammies aren’t chosen by a handful of publicists and Dick Clark in a smoky conference room. Instead, the process is similar to the Oscars, where those that actually work in the industry make their choices.
Not that major label corporate weasels don’t have their faults. They tend to be reactionary instead of visionary, making their choices not on the quality of the actual song or album but by what they have overlooked in the past.
And they also have their favorites. We should be glad that Sting didn’t release anything this year, as his farts have been nominated in the past. The same with Bonnie Raitt and Bruce Springsteen, who won a Grammy this year for a bonus track added on to a greatest hits package. I love “The Boss” but “Code of Silence” was not the “Best Vocal Rock Performance”.
There were some valid choices for winners in other categories, however. Wilco won two Grammies for “A Ghost Is Born”. Green Day nabbed an award, as did Steve Earle and Loretta Lynn. The Daily Show even won for the audio version of their chart-topping America book.
Most of those awards were presented before the telecast, and that’s where my bitching begins. Let’s just put it this way – the whole show could have been narrowed down to five minutes. Green Day’s Clash-like attack of “American Idiot” and Loretta Lynn’s tipsy ramble after winning for Best Country Album were the only reason for watching. (I’m sure the folks next door at the country hick station didn’t agree with the choice of Lynn, but that album was easily the best country album of the year.)
The show began with this horrendous medley of acts that I guarantee we’ll never see again. Or at least I hope we won’t. It was centered on a group that I whined about last week – the Black Eyed Peas. You may recall that I compared them to C&C Music Factory. I’m going to retract that statement – they’re really a modern version of the Village People. Sure, they’ve got a chick…and from what I’ve heard they were forced to take her on. She apparently was sleeping with some record company executive who made her inclusion a non-negotiable part of their record deal.
Think about the comparison. Besides the hot chick, you’ve got guys who run the gamut of races – Hispanic, African-American, Native-American, and white. They have little vocal talent, and dance around in goofy choreography designed to look spontaneous. And their songs are nothing but catch phrases. Ugggghhhhh!
Then we were forced to deal with Stevie Ray Vaughan-lite…I mean Los Lonely Boys. Good God. And formally easy to deal with Gwen Stefani dressed as a tattered pirate singing some nursery rhyme with similarly talent-less Eve. And somebody please explain to me how Maroon 5 made it out of the cover band circuit. What is their appeal?
What’s sad is that this opening wasn’t the low point of the evening. It’s hard for me to pinpoint what would be the worst spot of the show. Greasy Mark Anthony and J-Ho and their obvious dislike for each other? I thought I was watching Univision. Queen-size Latifah and her lack of charisma hosting the show? You know you’re doing a bad job when you have to coax the audience to cheer.
Then there’s also that southern rock medley that came off like a Klan rally held in the hood. Really, what were all these honkies doing playing those tired tunes in from of a crowd that was primarily black? I guess the good news is that Skynyrd and their pals were rescued from the State Fair circuit for a night.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, there was that extremely bizarre gospel medley. I like Kanye West, and his album definitely deserved to win for best rap album, but aren’t religious people supposed to have just a bit of modesty?
I also must rant a little bit about Jamie Foxx. Although I have purchased the Ray movie, I have yet to see it. My understanding is that he did a great job portraying the legend, but it’s time for him to retire his act. He’s not Ray. He can’t play piano like Ray, and he can’t sing like Ray. He has no business continuing to be trotted out as Ray Charles anywhere other than on the movie screen.
After lengthy consideration, I think the low point of the telecast would have to be a segment that could and should have been the best. Of course, I’m talking about the all-star benefit for tsunami relief. It was poorly conceived and even more poorly executed. “Across the Universe” is a great song; maybe one of John Lennon’s greatest pieces of lyrics. But it’s not an easy song to sing, particularly in a “We Are the World”-type group performance. It’s extremely word-y, with strung-on lyrics that even Lennon struggled to fit the melody. It’s definitely not a song for the vocal gymnastics of people like Alicia Keys and Bono. Keys wasn’t even halfway through her line before the melody reached the end. Stevie Wonder missed his cue, and Brian Wilson seemed to think he was on another planet. Which he probably was.
Notice I haven’t talked much about the actual awards. As I said before, the deserving winners were awarded their prizes before the telecast. The few awards given during the actual show were both perplexing and predictable. John Mayer has officially become the next Sheryl Crow as the undeserving Grammy darling who inexplicably wins every year. I’ve already stated my opinion of Maroon 5, and their Best New Artist prize should guarantee their quick disappearance. And as much as I appreciate Ray Charles, and from what I’ve heard and read about his last album it’s a pleasant enough release, but eight Grammies? Album of the year? C’mon.
But one great thing did happen during the course of the show. The insufferable Usher was shut out from any major awards, and from what I’ve read he was close to tears backstage. Finally, this moron has been put in his place. He’s not an artist; he’s a male model who has everybody else do his work for him and his job is to dance a little and leer at the camera. Any airbrushed pretty boy could do his job. Like Johnny Rotten once said, “come back, Milli Vanilli. All is forgiven.”

Today’s Ipod Shuffle:

1. Guided By Voices, “Hot Freaks” (Human Amusements at Hourly Rates)
2. Anders Parker, “Don’t Worry Honey, Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” (Tell It To the Dust)
3. The Who, “Summertime Blues” (Odds & Sods)
4. The Jayhawks, “A Break in the Clouds” (Smile)
5. My Morning Jacket, “A Break in the Clouds” (It Still Moves)
6. The Jam, “Here Comes the Weekend” (Direction, Reaction, Creation)
7. Tom Petty, “American Girl” (The Big Jangle)
8. Golden Smog, “Jennifer Save Me” (Weird Tales)
9. Bruce Springsteen, “Hearts of Stone” (Tracks)
10. Rolling Stones, “Gimme Shelter” (Let It Bleed)
11. The Smiths, “William, It Was Really Nothing” (Louder Than Bombs)
12. Neil Young, “Lookin’ For a Love” (Zuma)
13. The Church, “Under the Milky Way” (Left of the Dial)
14. Bettie Serveert, “The Love In” (Log 22)
15. The Smiths, “Never Had No One Ever” (The Queen is Dead)
16. Guided By Voices, “Twilight Campfighter” (Human Amusements at Hourly Rates)
17. Weezer, “Across the Sea” (Pinkerton)
18. Paul Westerberg, “Self-Defense” (Suicaine Gratifaction)
19. The Fall, “Green Eyed Loco-Man” (50,000 Fall Fans Can’t Be Wrong)
20. Camper Van Beethoven, “Skinhead Stomp” (Telephone Free Landslide Victory)
21. Magnolia Electric Co, “Such Pretty Eyes For a Snake” (Trials & Errors)
22. The Brian Jonestown Massacre, “Straight Up And Down” (A Retrospective)
23. Tom Petty, “Think About Me” (Playback)
24. Replacements, “Someone Take the Wheel” (All Shook Down)
25. Uncle Tupelo, “Take My Word” (March 16-20 1992)
26. My Bloody Valentine, “I Only Said” (Loveless)
27. Replacements, “Dose of Thunder” (Tim)
28. The Jam, “The Dreams of Children” (Direction, Reaction, Creation)

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Today's Great Find - The Upcoming New Order Album

Ever since I spent my week of pnuemonia loading up my Ipod, I have returned to a lot of my former favorite groups of the 80's. The Fall, Smiths, Cure, and New Order are a few of those bands. Scouring the newsgroups earlier today, I was pleasantly surprised to find New Order's upcoming new album, Waiting For the Sirens to Call, their first since 2001.

The album marks a bit of a return to their classic keyboard-heavy 80's sound. As singer Bernard Sumner explained to NME: "The last album was guitar-heavy simply because we felt that we'd left that instrument alone for a long time and we thought that was what the general trend was and what people wanted to hear. But when we started doing live gigs, we found that people got off on the more dance-oriented and synth stuff just as much. This album really splits into two halves. It's a mixture of two, because that's what New Order fans like." The keyboards in question, however, aren't played by founding member Gillian Gilbert. Phil Cunningham, who played guitar in the New Order spinoff group Electronic and also filled in for Gilbert on the last tour, is now a full-time member.

Here's the first track of the album, "Who is Joe?"

Today’s Ipod Mix

1. The Fall, “Touch Sensitive” (50,000 Fall Fans Can’t Be Wrong)
2. Paul Westerberg, “I’ll Do Anything” (Mono)
3. Mink Deville, “Let me Dream if I Want to (Amphetamine Blues) (No Thanks!)
4. The Clash, “What’s My Name” (Clash on Broadway)
5. The Jam, “Slow Down”
6. Bettie Serveert, “The Love In” (Log 22)
7. Supersuckers, “Supersucker Drive By Blues” (The Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World)
8. Replacements, “Sixteen Blue” (Let it Be)
9. Radiohead, “Everything in its Right Place” (Kid A)
10. The Libertines, “I Get Along” (Up the Bracket)
11. Pavement, “Texas Never Whispers” (Slanted and Enchanted)
12. Spoon, “Reservations” (Series of Sneaks)
13. Jason & the Scorchers, “I Really Don’t Want to Know” (Are You Ready For the Country)
14. Graham Parker, “Passion is No Ordinary Word” (Squeezing Out Sparks)
15. Replacements, “20th Century Boy” (B-Side)
16. Chappaquiddick Skyline, “Hundred Dollar Pocket” (Chappaquiddick Skyline)
17. Sonic Youth, “Stalker” (Dirty)
18. Replacements, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Ghost” (Don’t Tell a Soul)
19. The Jayhawks, “Think About It” (Sound of Lies)
20. The Velvet Underground, “All Tomorrow’s Parties” (Peel Slowly and See)
21. The Cure, “Lovecats” (Greatest Hits)
22. New Order, “All Day Long” (Brotherhood)
23. The Brian Jonestown Massacre, “Let Me Stand Next to Your Flower” (A Retrospective)
24. The Moaners, “Oh Christy” (Dark Snack)
25. Tommy Keene, “Mr. Roland” (The Real Underground)
26. Whiskeytown, “Dancing With the Women at the Bar” (Strangers Almanac)
27. The Cure, “Sinking” (The Head on the Door)
28. Jason & the Scorchers, “Are You Ready For the Country” (Are You Ready For the Country)
29. Paul Westerberg, “As Far As I Know” (Pantages Theatre, 11/7/04)
30. The Fall, “Living Too Late” (50,000 Fall Fans Can’t Be Wrong)
31. Golden Smog, “She Don’t Have to See You” (Down By the Old Mainstream)
32. Grandpaboy, “Take Out Some Insurance” (Dead Man Shake)
33. Son Volt, “Streets That Time Walks” (Wide String Tremolo)
34. The Smiths, “Sheila Take a Bow” (Louder Than Bombs)
35. Morrissey, “Suedehead” (The Best of Morrissey)
36. Bob Dylan, “Every Grain of Sand” (The Bootleg Series)
37. Brian Jonestown Massacre, “Starclenaer” (A Retrospective)
38. Lucinda Williams, “Passionate Kisses” (Lucinda Williams)
39. The Clash, “Deny” (Clash on Broadway)
40. Elvis Costello, “I Stand Accused” (Get Happy)
41. The Who, “Little Billy” (Odds & Sods)
42. The Fall, “Eat Y’self Fitter” (50,000 Fall Fans Can’t Be Wrong)
43. Pixies, “Break My Body” (Surfer Rosa)
44. The Jam, “Heat Wave” (Direction, Reaction, Creation)

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Today’s Extremely Hungover Ipod Mix

1. Elliott Smith, “Pictures of Me” (Either/Or)
2. Blue Rodeo, “Side of the Road” (Greatest Hits)
3. Chuck Berry, “Thirty Days” (The Chuck Berry Anthology)
4. The Cure, “One More Time” (Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me)
5. Earlimart, “1st Instant/Last Report” (Treble & Tremble)
6. The Pogues, “Repeal of the Licensing Laws” (Red Roses For Me)
7. The Fall, “Victoria” (50,000 Fall Fans Can’t Be Wrong)
8. Jesus & Mary Chain, “Cracking Up” (21 Singles)
9. Jason & the Scorchers, “White Lies” (Are You Ready For the Country)
10. Morrissey, “I Am Two People” (You Are the Quarry)
11. Big Star, “Thank You Friends” (A Little Big Star)
12. Modest Mouse, “Blame It On the Tetons” (Good News For People Who Love Bad News)
13. Uncle Tupelo, “I Wanna Destry You” (Still Feel Gone)
14. Paul Westerberg, “Mr. Rabbit” (Pantagas Theatre, 11/7/04)
15. Joy Division, “Something Must Break” (Heart and Soul)
16. Radiohead, “Sulk” (The Bends)
17. The Rolling Stones, “Little T&A” (Tattoo You)
18. Jesus & Mary Chain, “Darklands” (21 Singles)
19. Bruce Springsteen, “Mary Lou” (Tracks)
20. Ryan Adams, “Chin Up, Cheer Up” (Demolition)
21. The Libertines, “The Good Old Days” (Up the Bracket)
22. Jason & the Scorchers, “Change The Tune” (Are You Ready For the Country)
23. The Shins, “Pressed in a Book” (Oh, Inverted World)
24. Steve Earle, “N.Y.C.” (El Corazon)
25. Bob Dylan, “Desolation Row” (Highway 61 Revisited)
26. Green Day, “American Idiot” (American Idiot)
27. Ryan Adams, “The Shadowlands” (Love is Hell)
28. Camper Van Beethoven, “Interstellar Overdrive” (Camper Van Beethoven)
29. Bob Dylan, “Sugar Baby” (Love & Theft)
30. R.E.M., “Pilgrimage” (Murmur)
31. Replacements, “Sixteen Blue” (Let It Be Plus Outtakes)
32. Wilco, “Candy Floss” (Summer Teeth)
33. Joy Division, “Ice Age” (Heart and Soul)
34. X, “White Girl” (Greatest Hits)
This Week's Get Out of Town Rant: The Super Bowl

This past Sunday, a couple hundred million people spent the evening watching the New England Patriots beat the Philadelphia Eagles 24 – 21. I was one of those people, and as you may expect, I have a few negative thoughts.
1. What has this world come to when an innocuous show such as the Best Damned Sports Show has to be renamed the Best Darned Sports Show? I’m sure Dr. Dobson and the Parents Television Council will still file FCC complaints, just as they do with every single other program.
2. I’ve said it once before, and I’ll say it again. The Fox Pre-game team is the biggest waste of space on television. Even those idiots across the street from this building have more talent.
3. Why does the pregame show have to last all day? There’s two weeks between the conference championships and the Super Bowl. During that time, between ESPN, Fox, newspapers, and magazines every angle is covered. There’s nothing to be learned from these profiles. We already knew everything there is to know about T.O.’s ankle; we already knew that Belichick looks and acts like a garbage collector; and we certainly know more than we ever would need to know about Donovan McNabb’s mother. Please cut this show down to a reasonable length.
4. Gretchen Wilson is another fake country act that I can’t understand. As one website I discovered yesterday stated, “let me get this straight – she’s actually PROUD to be an old reneck whore? Has the world gone mad?”
5. The Black Eyed Peas – at least they didn’t sing that stupid “Let’s Get It Started” crap. Again quoting from the web, “as far as I’m concerned, they’re just the new C & C Music Factory. Go away already.”
6. Duets with dead guys is beyond creepy, especially when the living one has to drown out the recently deceased legend with American Idol-ish vocal gymnastics. Just sing the damned song…and while you’re at it, kick that untalented Will Smith the hell out of the stadium.
7. Now on to the big unexplained mystery. For 364 days a year, we’re programmed to ignore commercials; to even zap them out if we have a DVR. For some inexplicable reason, however, people are actually excited to see commercials during the Super Bowl. I don’t get it. In fact, I find it downright depressing that people talk more about these weak attempts to influence our spending than the actual game. I hated the beer thrown out of the plane ad; I don’t care who Brad Pitt was calling on his cell phone. Hopefully it was his agent to bitch him out for selling his soul. In fact, all of those celebrity ads were godawful. P.Diddy and that sellout Carson Daly with their delivery trucks. Please. The Verizon miniaturized celebrity debacle? Whose brilliant idea was that one? And multi-plastic surgery disaster Burt Reynolds dancing with a giant bear. Jesus. There were only two commercials worth watching, and the NFL forced Fox to not replay one of them. That, of course, was the internet ad featuring that hot babe’s wardrobe malfunction. Unfortunately, I still don’t know what godaddy.com sells.
8. Finally, I can’t ramble on about the Super Bowl without some comment on the halftime show. I’m actually going to pass the ball on this one to an acclaimed music writer that I once interviewed in the Tempest. His name is Jim DeRogatis, and he writes for the Chicago Sun-Times. Here’s what he had to say about Sir Paul McCartney:
There was a time when Paul McCartney was a heck of a lot edgier and a lot more "dangerous" than Janet Jackson.
In 1967, Macca spoke glowingly about psychedelic drugs in the English press. "LSD opened my eyes," he said. "It made me a better, more honest, more tolerant member of society, brought closer to God."
The cutest Beatle was also an enthusiastic advocate of decriminalizing marijuana, and between 1972 and 1976, he was busted for possessing pot four times.
Rounding out the unholy trinity of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, McCartney crooned about doing the nasty in the most vivid of terms, from "Why Don't We Do It in the Road" by the Beatles to "Eat At Home," a song from his 1971 solo album "Ram" that raves about the joys of oral sex.
But all of that is ancient history, and it happened long before the 63-year-old musical legend became "Sir Paul" and the No. 1 poster boy for Baby Boomer nostalgia.
This sanitized, defanged and -- let's face it -- thoroughly boring McCartney was clearly the one that the NFL wanted to provide the music at halftime for Super Bowl XXXIX on Sunday, the better to dispel charges that America's most popular spectacle of violent sport isn't "family friendly."
Television and radio are still frantically readjusting broadcast standards in the wake of the $550,000 fine levied against CBS following the seconds-long glimpse of one of Jackson's breasts during last year's half-time show. Nipplegate prompted a heavy-handed crackdown by the FCC that is still picking up steam, and this year, the efforts to avoid the slightest hint of controversy seemed a lot more strenuous than any exertions that the Eagles and the Patriots were making on the field.
Even the big-budget TV commercials tried to outdo one another with shows of "good taste," rather than the usual jokes about sex and farting. But good taste and good rock 'n' roll rarely have much in common, and McCartney's much-hyped four-song performance was about as gripping as those late-night infomercials for packaged CD or video collections of "The Hits of Yesteryear."
The freshest tune was no less than 32 years old, while the hoariest will turn 40 later this year. Sure, "Live and Let Die" and "Drive My Car" are classics. But we've all heard them a thousand times more than we ever needed to in this lifetime, and the fiery playing of Paul's young band didn't stop them from being tired oldies.
With "Hey Jude" and "Get Back" completing the set list, that made for three songs by the Beatles and one by Wings, with no hint that McCartney has done anything of merit for the last three decades. Come to think of it, though, we should probably be glad that he didn't croon "Freedom," the wretched and simplistic sing-along that he penned in homage to 9/11.
The most risque that Sir Paul got at Alltel Stadium was when he ripped off his jacket -- a smooth move with no evidence of a wardrobe malfunction -- and led the crowd in shouting, "You gotta give the other fellow hell!" during "Live and Let Die."
This tune seemed like an odd and callous choice at a time when America is at war, but it was custom-made for the fireworks that shot skyward during the bombastic choruses, and it's doubtful that anyone but a rock critic bothered to the think about the lyrics for even a second.
Actually, it's doubtful that anyone but a rock critic stayed put in front of the TV at half-time, though plenty of folks probably joined in the "Na-na-na" refrain of "Hey Jude" from the kitchen as they loaded up on chips and dip. At least they didn't have to worry about missing much.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Today’s Ipod Mix:

1. Bruce Springsteen, “Loose Ends” (Tracks)
2. Bettie Serveert, “Smack” (Log 22)
3. Jay Farrar, “Barstow” (Sebastopol)
4. Liz Phair, “Gunshy” (Exile in Guyville)
5. The Clash, “48 Hours” (Clash on Broadway)
6. Joe Jackson, “Is She Really Going Out With Him” (No Thanks!)
7. Ryan Adams, “In My Time of Need” (Heartbreaker)
8. Whiskeytown, “Inn Town” (Strangers Almanac)
9. Golden Smog, “She Don’t Have to See You” (Down By the Old Mainstream)
10. Echo & the Bunnymen, “My Kingdom” (Crystal Days)
11. The Cure, “Inbetween Days” (The Head on the Door)
12. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, “The Ship Song” (The Best of Nick Cave)
13. The Arcade Fire, “Vampire Forest Fire” (Funeral)
14. Superchunk, “Not Tomorrow” (Superchunk)
15. Paul Westerberg, “Little Mascara” (Pantagas Theatre, 11/7/04)
16. The Fall, “The Chiselers” (50,000 Fall Fans Can’t Be Wrong)
17. Uncle Tupelo, “Whiskey Bottle” (No Depression)
18. Young Fressh Fellow, “You’ve Got Your Head on Backwards” (The Fabulous Sounds of the Pacific NW)
19. Grandpaboy, “Homelessexual” (Grandpaboy EP)
20. Uncle Tupelo, “Wipe the Clock” (March 16-20, 1992)
21. My Bloody Valentine, “You Never Should” (Isn’t Anything)
22. R.E.M., “Driver 8” (Fables of the Reconstruction)
23. The Who, “Slip Kid” (The Who By Numbers)
24. The Clash, “Midnight to Stevens” (Clash on Broadway)
25. Bob Dylan, “Seven Days” (The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3)
26. X, “The Once Over Twice” (The Best of X)
27. The Byrds, “This Wheel’s On Fire” (The Byrds Box Set)
28. Pixies, “Tromple Le Monde” (Trompe Le Monde)
29. The Clash, “Death Or Glory” (Clash on Broadway)
30. The Libertines, “Mocking Bird” (Up the Bracket)

A few thoughts:

1. I still don't understand the Ipod's love of all things Ryan Adams. Once again, Ryan gets an airing, this time serendipitiously(sp?) followed by Whiskeytown, his former band. Other acts mysteriously receiving more than their pro-rated share includes The Clash, Dylan, and the Pixies (not that I'm complaining).
2. At least today featured a few acts previously unheard. New additions such as recent releases by Bettie Serveert and The Arcade Fire, along with just added old faves such as Liz Phair, The Who, and Bruce Springsteen were welcomed with open arms.
3. Haivng all of these albums at my disposal has certainly reminded me of the greatness of the Cure, Joy Division, and Nick Cave.
4. Although the sound quality of the Westerberg bootleg is great enough to mix with studio releases, it's a bit disconcerting to hear the sudden cut-off when the track is over. This also happens with albums where the tracks blend together.
5. Having voiced the minor complaints, I still contend that the Ipod's shuffle is the greatest invention ever. It's like having the greatest radio station of all time, with a pleasant surprise arriving every couple of minutes. Those few times when a song comes up that I'm not in the mood to hear, one quick click and it's on to the next tune.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Today’s Ipod Mix:

I must admit that I'm a bit perplexed by the shuffle. Why is Wilco and Ryan Adams coming up so often? I have over 4,000 songs on this toy, so the odds should be slim that any artist would be duplicated in a 20 song shuffle, or in multiple shuffles. And why were two tracks from the Shins suddenly chosen?
Not that I'm complaining; I'm still pleased at the machine's mind-reading skills.

1. Modest Mouse, “I Came As a Rat” (The Moon and Antartica)
2. The Cure, “Firday I’m in Love” (Greatest Hits)
3. Supersuckers, “Born With a Tail” (The Greatest Rock and Roll Band In the World)
4. Wilco, “Spiders (Kidsmoke)” (A Ghost is Born)
5. Ryan Adams, “Wish You Were Here” (Rock ‘n’ Roll)
6. The Craig, “I Must Be Mad” (Nuggets II)
7. Rolling Stones, “Happy” (Exile on Main Street)
8. The Shins, “Know Your Onion!” (Oh, Inverted World)
9. Billy Bragg Wilco, “Against the Law” (Mermaid Avenue Volume 2)
10. The Jayhawks, “Better Days” (Smile)
11. Otis Redding, “Shake” (Complete Stax/Volt Singles)
12. Tommy Keene, “Shake Some Action” (The Real Underground)
13. Elliott Smith, “Twilight” (From a Basement On the Hill)
14. Superchunk, “Half a Life” (Superchunk)
15. Lou Reed, “Perfect Day” (NYC Man)
16. Bob Dylan, “Forever Young” (Essential Bob Dylan)
17. X, “Around My Heart (Live)” (Make the Music Go Bang!)
18. The Shins, “The Past and Pending” (Oh, Inverted World)
19. The Delgados, “Girls of Valour” (Universal Audio)
20. Joy Division, “The Only Mistake” (Heart and Soul)