Friday, July 20, 2007
1. "Tarantula" from Smashing Pumpkins' Zeitgeist. Yep, it's the reunited Pumpkins, minus the guitarist and the bassist. But we all know that it's Billy Corgan who made the band go round, so if this is what he wants...
This song is encapsulates all that is/was good at about the Smashing Pumpkins. Jimmy Chamberlain, who does return to the band, is still able to pound ferociously on the drums and drive the song at a quick pace. Corgan's whine is perfect for the song: "I don't want to fight/Every single night," he starts, but the song's just trying to pick a fight.
2. "United States" from that same album. And this is encapsulates all that is/was bad about the Pumpkins. It's long -- clocking in at 9:52. It's indulgent. Kind of sloppy.
3. "Billie Jean" by Chris Cornell from his new CD Carry On. That's right, the former Audioslave and Soundgarden front man is covering Michael Jackson. And I don't know about you, but I don't really think that this song needed to be redone. Still, Cornell does a good job with it, changing the tempo and slowing it down, making it into a grunge/blues song.
4. "You Know My Name" closes out the Cornell CD. You might also know this song as the theme song to the last Bond movie, Casino Royale. I like this song. A lot. I wish more of the CD were this good.
5. "Nobody Wants To" from Crowded House's new CD, Time On Earth. This, like most of Crowded House's work, is a quiet, tuneful song that's darker than it sounds: "Down on the ocean floor/that's where I'm heading for/hold onto a sinking stone/until the worst is known/nobody wants to think about it/nobody wants to talk about it." That's right, the CD starts with a song about suicide.
6. "Don't Stop Now" from that same album. It's got bright, bouncy, cheerful music with the typical dark lyrical undercurrent. It's a good CD. Not a bad song in the group.
7. "A Better Man" from Nick Lowe's At My Age. Lowe's career started at the beginning of the punk movement and he's probably best known as the writer of "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding." He's grown up, and this song is a crooner with a touch of country. It's a song of regret for the past yet full of hope for the future.
8. "The Club" from the Nick Lowe CD. It's a simple song about love gone bad. Very few instruments, and it could almost be a country tune, or, if the tempo were a bit faster, it could easily be 50s-era Elvis Presley.
9. "She Builds Quick Machines" from Velvet Revolver's Libertad. Admit it, you didn't think that this band would survive one CD. Much less make a second. Maybe they should've stopped after the first. This song is standard Velvet Revolver. Lots of guitar and banging drums. It's just like the stuff on Contraband, though not as good, or fresh.
10. "Can't Get It Out of My Head." Velvet Revolver covers Electric Light Orchestra, and pulls it off. Just imagine ELO without all of the strings and orchestra, and just nothing but guitars and drums. This is easily my favorite thing on this CD.
11. "Dance Tonight" from Paul McCartney's Memory Almost Full. If he would've done this song about 25 years ago, it'd be a huge number hit. He didn't. But it's a good song. Easily something that would've been the best thing on a Wings album. It's a fun song to listen to, to hum to, to sing to.
12. "Only Mama Knows." McCartney likes to start a song one way, then send change the tempo and make it something else. This starts as a ballad, maybe a love song, but as the first lyric hits, it turns into a rocker.
13. "Icky Thump" from The White Stripes' Icky Thump. Okay, I don't get the critical acclaim for this CD. It's only okay. I don't like it as much as the last CD. I kind of think that Jack White's believing his publicity. Here Jack wails. Meg pounds. There's a little distortion and some sloppy production.
14. "Conquest" sounds like something from one of those 1970s grindhouse flicks, or else something that Quentin Tarantino requested for one of his movies. Jack White can't pull it off.
And, number 15 is an oldier, but because I'm sick of all the rain that Houston's been having since May, I've been listening to this song alot.
15. "Mr. Blue Sky" from Electric Light Orchestra.
Monday, July 16, 2007
This is photo is looking down into the stadium as the roof opens. I'm about 142 stories up, taking this photo from the Skypod high atop the CN Tower.
This is coming up to one of the main entrances of the stadium.
This is from center field. The roof is closed today because it's raining outside.
The Blue Jays don't have a real scoreboard. They use the video board for stats. Player stats on the upper left. Lineups on the upper right.
I liked the place. It was bright and colorful inside, even with the roof closed because of the rain. The concourses were wide. There were lots of food choices, and I thought that prices were reasonable.
Well, that's it for now.
And so ends the photo from the 20th MLB park that I've attended. Only 10 more left.
Friday, July 13, 2007
So, I offer this modest proposal.
1. When you get on the plane. Go to your seat and get out of the fucking way. I'm really getting tired of you pricks who just stand in the aisle and try and try and try and try to shove your oversized luggage into the luggage bin. Then you keep standing there and see if the people around you want to trade seats. Meanwhile, people are standing in the aisles, waiting for you to sit your ass down so that they can get to their seats.
2. If your bag is bigger than you are, then fucking check it. Yeah, it might get lost, so fucking learn how to pack. If it can't fit under the seat, then don't bring it on the damn plane.
3. Put your luggage in the bin over your head. If you're sitting in the back of the plane, then put you bag in the bin's back there. Don't stick the bags up front so that they'll be easier to for you to get to as you leave the plane. The people who sit in the seats up front would really like to have the ability to put their bags in the bins over their heads.
4. The plane isn't your fucking bedroom. So don't dress like you're going to bed. The only woman that I want to see dressed like this is some woman that looks like this. And guys, those shorts with the untucked t-shirt and t-shirt that barely conceals that beer belly, well, I don't want to see it. And I know that security is a real bitch, but really, enough of the flip-flops and sandals, especially you guys since most of you have really ugly toe nails. I don't want to look at it. You don't have to wear a suit. Hell, I rarely wear have to wear a suit when I travel. But take some pride in your appearance. Would you go out on a date dressed like crap? Or to a nice dinner? Then dress like that on the plane. It's not that hard.
5. And when they tell you to turn off your phones, turn off your phones. I shouldn't be hearing your fucking phone ringing as we're rolling down the runway for take-off. And I don't want to hear you pick it up and say hello.
Act like a grown-up when you're on the plane.
This has been a modest proposal.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Yeah, I know, but I promise not to forget about all of you little people when I’m famous. No. Really. I mean it.
Here’s the deal. I went from a little vacation time in Toronto over the weekend to a trip to New York City for a little work related function. I’ve just checked into my hotel – the New York Hilton on 6th Avenue – and I’ve unpacked and I’m roaming the streets. Actually, I’ve kind of meandered over to Broadway and I see the crowd standing outside of Letterman’s studio. It’s about 3:00, so I know that it’s the crowd waiting to go in for the taping of the Monday night show. I take a left and start heading down Broadway to 42nd Street. I’ve walked about 2 blocks when I hear this guy asking if anyone’s interested in Late Show tickets.
I’m thinking, there’s probably some scam going on, but I’ll bite. The tickets are supposed to be free, so if he starts asking for the credit card, I’ll just split. Instead the guy says that I’ve got to answer a trivia question: “who is Rupert?” When I say the guy from the Hello Deli, he says that I’ve got a ticket for a show taping tonight.
Now, I’ve just come from the studio, they’re getting ready to tape the thing. So I ask about that. He tells me that Letterman likes his three day weekends, and that to have one this week, he’s taping shows on Monday. The show that I will be attending is to start at 7:00 and it will air on Friday.
I pick up my ticket, and picking up the ticket involves standing in a long line for about half-an-hour. While I’m waiting, there are Late Show ushers standing outside, keeping order, and telling everybody that though the temp outside is about 100, it’s a nice chilly 52 inside and that we should all bring sweaters or sweatshirts to keep warm.
I haven’t packed any of this, so I hit the CBS store, right next door, and I buy a Late Show sweatshirt.
I’m told to return at 6:00 and that the seating will be random. So, I return and at 6:00 me and my group are squeezed into the lobby where we’re given all kinds of instructions, like no wolf whistles, no woo-woo’s, that kind of thing, because the microphone’s pick up every noise. We’re seated at about 6:30, and a stand-up comes out to get the crowd warmed a bit, then the band members are introduced one-by-one followed by Paul and the announcer Alan. Then, five minutes before the show starts, Dave comes running out and starts chatting with the crowd.
I’m about six rows back, about 4 seats inside the row, sitting in the section on the band’s side of the stage. Letterman looks around and goes: “Hey, you, in the blue shirt.” Now, my sweatshirt is blue, but I don’t think it’s me, then he says it again, and points in my direction. I look down at my shirt, and he says, “yeah you,” and has me stand up. We chat a bit, and he asks me about the cost of the shirt. I tell him and he makes a big deal about how expensive it is. Then he has the warm-up comic come down into the audience and pay me for the shirt.
So, things are going great. I’ve just talked with Dave, and I’ve gotten a free Late Show sweatshirt. Then it’s time for the show to start.
Dave comes out and starts in on the monologue. He does some Friday the 13th jokes, then some Harry Potter jokes. Then he’s on about how hot it is in New York. About how it’s so hot that people will do crazy things, like spend $45 bucks for a sweatshirt. As I’m laughing, I notice the monitors overhead and I see that there’s a shot of me up there.
So, I’m going to be on national television on Friday night.
Oh, and the guests, besides the Clown, are Queen Latifah, Alan Zweibel, and Smashing Pumpkins.
Oh, as to the Lindsay Lohan reference in the title, one of the ushers with whom we spent time while standing in line, inside and outside, was a dead ringer for the blond-era Lohan. Except that she wasn’t Nicole Ritchie skinny, and she didn’t appear to be drunk or high. But she did have freckles.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
I also want all of you to set your DVRs/video recorders, etc. for The Late Show With David Letterman on Friday night. This show was actually taped on Monday night. It features Queen Latifah, Smashing Pumpkins, and yours truly.
That's right, I'm on Letterman. So make sure to watch the monologue on Friday night.
And, when I get the time, I'll tell you about the David Letterman experience.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
If you're doing a musical based on the Madonna movie Desperately Seeking Susan, shouldn't the music in the musical be Madonna's? And not Blondie's? Now, I like Blondie. And I like Blondie a hell of lot more than I like Madonna. And any musical with Blondie's music is, by definition, bound to be better than any musical with Madonna's music. But this thing is about the Madonna movie. And that's the movie that shot Madonna through the stratosphere. So, if the musical's celebrating Madonna, shouldn't it be celebrating Madonna's music?
Of course, I won't see a musical with Madonna's music. But I might with Blondie's.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
Four Jobs That I've Had In My Life:
2. Astros DiamondVision stats
3. Syndicated Program timer and Movie Editor -- Channel 2 TV, Houston.
4. Deposition Summarizer.
Four Movies That I Watch Over and Over:
1. Office Space -- I've been having a bad case of the Mondays for most of the year.
2. Almost Famous -- I just love my Zooey Deschanel.
3. Major League -- Just a touch outside.
4. Diamonds Are Forever -- come on, Plenty O'Toole and Tiffany Case.
Four Places That I've Lived:
1. Houston, TX
2. Salzburg, Austria
3. Copenhagen, Denmark
4. Davis, CA
Four TV Shows That I Love to Watch:
1. Baseball Tonight -- even though it's less about baseball and more about joking.
2. Lost -- I heart Elizabeth Mitchell.
3. Scrubs -- funny.
4. The Office -- so real, yet so funny.
Four Places That I've Been On Vacation:
1. Las Vegas
2. Spring Training -- Orlando, FL
3. San Francisco
Four of My Favorite Foods:
2. Hot Dogs at the ballpark
3. Fried Shrimp
4. Carrot Cake
Four Places I'd Rather Be Right Now:
1. Toronto -- actually, I'm in Toronto right now, so I don't know if that counts.
2. The Ballpark -- I was there earlier today.
4. San Francisco.
And now I know the answer.
The Jays don't play "God Bless America." It's just a standard 7th inning stretch.
I wonder, is there anyway we can get MLB to go back to a standard 7th inning stretch? Most baseball games tend to be too long as it is because of managers trying to manager -- situational pitching, pitchers pitching to one batter, etc. -- that it seems by dumping this stupid song the game might be just a touch quicker.
And, if there must be a patriotic song, why not "America the Beautiful?"
Saturday, July 7, 2007
For those to lazy to click on the link, here's a brief summary.
Major League Baseball announced its All-Star teams last Sunday. Because TBS is a new rights-holder to MLB, MLB decided to let TBS be the one to break the lineups. But TBS was set to do this after a Braves game. There was a long rain delay. The show got pushed back. And pushed back. The Associated Press got the lineups and posted it on the wire. ESPN, for once reporting on actual sports news, went with the AP story on SportsCenter.
Now, ESPN is also a MLB rights-holder. And MLB says that since ESPN broke the embargo that the rights-holder had agreed to, it will be prevented from reporting from the game -- it can only show the Home Run Derby since it is the rights-holder for the Home Run Derby.
This happens with other sports all of the time. Only the network broadcasting the game can have a camera guy on the sidelines for NFL football. NCAA kicked bloggers out of the College World Series because ESPN was the rights-holder.
Since when does reporting the news mean that one can't report until a rights-holder does? Hell, it's bad enough with ESPN as it. Did you know that the NHL played this season? Well, not if you watched ESPN because ESPN was too busy pushing Arena Football, of which it is a part-owner.
And, yeah, most of this probably doesn't make sense because I'm really tired -- I've been roaming the streets of Toronto for about the past 7 hours, and I haven't had much sleep -- but hopefully you get the idea.
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Here are the first fifteen songs that I heard today off of the iPod shuffle feature. Note: the Juliana Hatfield song that was featured in the Lyric of the Day was heard later in the day.
So, without further ado:
1. “I Am The Walrus” from The Beatles Love soundtrack. I read in the Geoff Emerick book that Lennon wrote this deliberately as a nonsense song to mess with the mind of an English teacher who was using the band’s lyrics for class work.
2. “Ventura Highway” from America. What can I say? I have kind of a weakness for 70s light rock.
3. “Watching the Clothes” from The Pretenders Learning to Crawl album. Chrissie and the boys rock on this song. But “Back on the Chain Gang” is my favorite thing on it.
4. “El Tango De Roxanne.” Ewan McGregor and a few others remake The Police’s “Roxanne” for the movie Moulin Rouge. It basically becomes a tango, and it works.
5. “Daylight” from Coldplay’s A Rush of Blood to the Head. I know it’s not cool, but I like the band.
6. “Daphne Descends” from Smashing Pumpkins’ Adore. This is what happens when Billy Corgan decides that the fans prefer songs like “1979” to “Bullet With Butterfly Wings.” A whole album full of songs like “1979.”
7. “Gas Point” from Oasis’ Standing on the Shoulder of Giants. Long, boring song. These guys were once the darlings of the 90s-music industry. This album killed off any of the love.
8. “Mixed Emotions” from the Rolling Stones Steel Wheels album. I think that the album was just an excuse for the band to tour, because the album wasn’t that good. This is probably the best thing on it.
9. “Chocolate Cake” from Crowded House’s Woodface. It’s a dark, cynical, funny song, not as light as the band’s earlier work.
10. “Sex Type Thing” from Stone Temple Pilots. Rock-and-roll. Rock-and-roll.
11. “Table for One” from Liz Phair’s Somebody’s Miracle. I defended Liz’s Liz Phair album because even though she was “selling out” to try and make it big, there was still some good, rocking stuff on the disc. I can’t say that about this follow-up.
12. “You Really Got Me” from The Kinks. Yeah, I know, most of you think of this as a Van Halen song. But Eddie and David Lee have nothing on the Davies brothers. Nothing.
13. “I’m Lonely (But I Ain’t That Lonely Yet) from The White Stripes Get Behind Me Satan. This is a quiet song. Not very big on the guitar sound. More keyboard driven. A big departure for Jack and Meg. I like it.
14. “Beautiful” from Christina Aguilera’s Stripped. So, what do you guys say? Who’s going to have the longer career? Christina or Britney?
15. “San Diego” from Wheat’s Hope and Adams. Most of you have probably never heard of this band. It had one song on the Elizabethtown soundtrack. I heard the band when it opened for Liz Phair. I liked them. A lot. I must have been the only one, because I don’t think that the band exists anymore.
"You're big in small circles.
Maybe big in France.
But my country just never gave a damn."
Juliana Hatfield, "It Should've Been You." From In Exile Deo
The station's in its news break, giving the loudmouth know-nothing hosts a break. The anchor's reading out last night's scores, and he mentions that Roger Clemens got the victory last night, making him the first pitcher to get 350 career victories since Warren Spahn. The anchor also notes that this means that Roger Clemens might well be the last major league pitcher to reach that 350 career victory mark.
Well, the anchor could be right. If you don't pay any attention to the fact that Greg Maddux is currently sitting on 340 wins and has given no word of an intent to retire after this season. Which means that Greg Maddux might be reaching that 350 victory by this time next season -- unless something magical happens and he does it this season -- and that means that Roger Clemens would not be the last major league pitcher reach the 350 mark.
But what do I know. I'm not a on the radio.
Just one thing: the song is "Freedom." For those not familiar with "Freedom," it's a Sir Paul McCartney song written and released in 2001, just after 9/11. The basic chorus and verse of the song is "Freedom. Freedom. Freedom." That's about it. It's a little something that McCartney probably put together in about five minutes.
I just thought that it was funny that the radio station was playing a song by a Brit to pump up the patriotic fervor of a bunch right wing nutjobs.
Monday, July 2, 2007
Now, there are two legal concepts at play. First, as a private corporation, MLB is allowed to dictate what fans can, and cannot, bring into a stadium. This isn't a First Amendment issue. And, I'm sure, if you check the back of your ticket stub, you'll find the warning in small print about what you are allowed to bring in to the stadium, probably including a statement about demeaning, derogatory, and obscene signs and banners. And, as an extension, this same censorship right also applies to the individual clubs. These aren't governmental bodies trying to censor you. They're private companies, and they have that right.
However, here's where it gets a bit tricky...
Your First Amendment rights can't be abridged when you're on government property. And guess what, if you're in a baseball stadium, the odds are that large portions of that stadium were funded by government tax dollars. So, under this theory, if you're in a taxpayer-funded facility, like Chase Field in Arizona, or Minute Maid Park in Houston, or Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, or New Comiskey, or Petco Park, or Safeco Field, or Coor's Field, and on and on, you should have the First Amendment right to hold up your Barry Bonds banner (note: one incident in the story takes place at Phoenix's Chase Field). Actually, as far as I know, there are very few facilities in MLB which weren't built as part of the tax-payer funding scam, including San Francisco's AT&T Park. So, if the Giants wanted to prohibit derogatory banners, they'd be well within their rights.
Now, I've got to admit, I don't recall reading much law on this topic. I remember back during my early years of law school that tax-payer funded facility or not, the stadium could exercise a right of control over banners. But as I remember it, the sole reason had something to do with Harris County ceding the rights to control of the Astrodome to the Houston Astros. But that was years ago, and I don't really remember much about it.
So, I've got to think that there's actually a legit, Constitutional issue here. Which would be the first time in a long time that a sports story about First Amendment rights has actually been about First Amendment rights.
"When I met you in the restaurant.
You could tell I was no debutante.
You asked me what's my pleasure,
"A movie or a measure?"
I'll have a cup of tea.
And tell you of my dreaming."
"Dreaming" from Blondie's Eat to the Beat.
And Craig, if you're reading, this is for you.
There's just one thing wrong with the Senator's examples: the new style British electronic surveillance played absolutely no role in stopping these attacks. None. Nada. Zilch.
The first London bombing was stopped when ambulance workers, responding to another call, spotted a smoking car. The second car was towed for being illegally parked.
The Glasgow incident was stopped because the drivers collided with the airport terminal and the bomb failed to detonate.
But note this, British intelligence did not know that this was coming: "'There is no intelligence whatsoever that we were going to be attacked in this way,' said the national counter-terrorism coordinator, deputy assistant commissioner Peter Clarke."
So, to sum up: Senator Lieberman wants us to surrender our Constitutional rights and adopt obtrusive security and surveillance measures which have been proven not to work. I believe that it was Benjamin Franklin who once said somthing about he that seeks security before liberty deserves neither. I think that applies to Senator Lieberman.
For those who haven't heard, the wife of New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez wore a shirt to Yankee Stadium in which the words "fuck you" were visible on its back.
Now, the fine bastion of journalism, the New York Post, wants me to believe that thousands of fans who were in attendance at this game were offended by this shirt. Which leads me to wonder, has the doofus who wrote this story ever actually attended a game at Yankee Stadium?
Well, I have. And let me state that while it was a fantastic experience seeing a Red Sox/Yankee game at the Stadium, it was also everything that I was lead to believe that it would be. Lots and lots of profanity. Lots of directed to the Red Sox. And trust me when I say this, that the words on the back of Mrs. A-Rod's shirt were mild when compared to the words that were shouted at by the fans. One of the favorite words started with the letter "c" and is also used to refer to a woman and a part of her anatomy. So spare me the moral indignation. Because I just ain't buying it.
Really, you can walk down Times Square and Broadway and you'll find souvenir shirts selling shirts with "New Fucking York" written on the front. And these shirts are placed in the front window. So, please don't start going on about how the delicate sensibilities of New Yorkers were wounded by this so-called vulgar display. I just ain't buying.
It's no wonder that Rodriguez wants out of the city.
And, for anyone who's interested, here's my review from The Police's recent Houston concert.