Saturday, June 23, 2007

Assorted funnies

Now that's MY kind of buffet!













I ain't so sure they're kidding, either!












They call me MISTER Popiel!

















How low would YOU go?








"Road Trips Gone Terribly Wrong"--Part I










"Road Trips Gone Terribly Wrong"--Part II






Go Beavers!

Being the proud owner of one of their hats, I'm certainly rooting for the Oregon State Beavers again this year in the College World Serious against UNC in Omaha. Actually, I became an OSU fan a few years back because their football team likes to whoop up on Notre Dame in bowl games, leading to headlines like "Beavers humiliate the Fighting Irish"!

I think I posed this question once before, but does anyone know what Oregon State calls their womens' teams? Surely not the "Lady Beavers"! Same goes for South Carolina--their mens' teams are called the Gamecocks. Inquiring mind wants to know...

Oh well, anyway--Go, you Beavers!

Language Lessons

Ever since my recent trip to Memphis, I've become a music documentary DVD junkie, and this week I re-watched a most excellent profile on the life of legendary producer Tom Dowd.  You may not know his name, but unless you're deaf or have lived in a Third World country for the last 50 years or are just plain brain dead, you're familiar with this man's body of work.  There's a better than good chance his name is on the back of more than a few of the albums/CDs in your collection, because he produced the likes of The Allman Brothers, Ray Charles, Derek And The Dominoes, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Neil Young, Charles Mingus, James Brown, Eric Clapton, John Coltrane, Rod Stewart, Wilson Pickett, Cream, Lynyrd Skynyrd—even my boys Black Oak Arkansas—and many many others.  Can you say prolific?!?

The DVD, Tom Dowd-The Language of Music was filmed just prior to Dowd's death in 2002, and his stories and recollections are priceless, as are those of Clapton, Gregg Allman and others he worked with over the years.  It also features one of the more majestic musical instruments on this planet--the grand piano that the second half of "Layla" was played on.  Mr. Dowd just had a knack for bringing out the best in the musicians he worked with, and he also seemed like a genuinely nice man and was well-respected by all.  Well worth a look if you're into "behind-the-scenes" music stuff like I am.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Summer's here and the time is right...

...for obese women to dress appropriately in public!

Don't get me wrong:  I'm NOT referring to mildly-overweight women like say Kate Winslet, Jennifer Hudson, Renee Zellweger at Bridget Jones size (which I actually prefer) or even Ann Wilson circa 1985.  I'm talking about these female Jabba The Huts like in the photo here, who ought to have a little common sense.  I've already seen far more flesh than I care to this spring and summer, and I swear, if I see any more of these grossly overweight (and often tattooed) skanks trying to look chic at the grocery store in their spaghetti-strap tube tops (with those oh-so-sexy exposed bra straps), it may just give me cause to reconsider homosexuality!  Look folks, I weigh 265 to 270 pounds, and I do the world a great big favor by not going shirtless in public, so a good rule of thumb is basically any woman who outweighs me by more than 20 pounds has no business wearing this stuff outside the house!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Minding My P's & Q's

I’m still churning my way through the alphabet in my CD collection, and here are some brief thoughts on who I’ve been listening to this week…

TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERSI’m not completely sold on whether this guy truly belongs in the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame, but TP does have his moments now and then.  I can usually only take Petty in small doses, apart from his 1989 Full Moon Fever CD, which was far and away his best (ironically minus the Heartbreaker name) and the second Traveling Wilburys CD, Vol. 3, which he practically carried by himself at times.

My All-Time Tom Petty Top 10:1) Runnin’ Down A Dream (1989)
2) Refugee (1980)
3) Poor House [Traveling Wilburys] (1991)
4) Jammin’ Me (1986)
5) Yer So Bad (1989)
6) Last Dance With Mary Jane (1993)
7) Cool Dry Place [Traveling Wilburys] (1991)
8) Don’t Do Me Like That (1980)
9) [tie] I Need To Know (1978)/
American Girl (1976)
10) Zombie Zoo (1989)


ELVIS PRESLEY
Yes, the man has been reduced to a mere caricature these days, but let’s not forget why he became such a cultural icon in the first place.  Like Eddie Murphy says, when Elvis was young, he was "a bad motherfucker!" and his early music certainly reflects that.


I view Elvis as a rather tragic figure—he got run into the ground by his manager, Col. Tom Parker, who had him making all those crappy movies instead of focusing on his music career in the ‘60s, and then Elvis got all mangled up on drugs to the point where he was a walking zombie by the mid-‘70s.  Elvis also made the tactical error of surrounding himself with a bunch of leeches and yes-men (his "Memphis Mafia"), not to mention The Big Dick (see photo), but I think he was an extremely lonely man, which I find very sad.  His demise was inevitable, but as Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits once sang, "He’s still the man…"

My All-Time Elvis Top 10
1) A Big Hunk O’ Love (1959)
2) Hard Headed Woman (1958)
3) Mean Woman Blues (1956)
4) Kentucky Rain (1970)
5) Jailhouse Rock (1957)
6) Hound Dog (1956)
7) In The Ghetto (1968)
8) Suspicious Minds (1969)
9) Money Honey (1956)
10) Way Down (1977)


THE POLICEAs with Cheap Trick and Journey, I’m more partial to a lot of The Police’s "B-stuff" than their big hits, thus "Roxanne" doesn’t even crack my Top 10, and I never need to hear "King of Pain" and "Every Breath You Take" again as long as I live...

Evidently, there are still plenty of suckers out there paying $200 a pop to see the band on the latest "We’re Only In It For The Money" tour (a tradition started by The Eagles back in the mid-‘90s), but I have no intention of seeng them live now (unless Sting, Andy or Stew personally invites me).  I have fonder memories of two excellent Police concerts back in the day, one at Kemper Arena on March 25, 1982 (ticket price: $10.75) and another at St. Louis Arena (then known by the silly name "Checkerdome") on July 24, 1983 (same day as the George Brett pine tar incident), where they pretty much brought down the house both times.  I remember the crowds were very energetic at both of those shows and were almost as much fun to watch as the band was, especially all the girls who were dressed like The Go-Go's.

So, how come Sting’s solo career was so dull?  Successful, yes, but so utterly dull…

My All-Time Police Top 10:1) One World (Not Three) (1981)
2) Message In A Bottle (1979)
3) Synchronicity II (1983)
4) Regatta De Blanc (1979)
5) Demolition Man (1981)
6) When The World Is Running Down… (1980)
7) Rehumanize Yourself (1981)
8) Synchronicity I (1983)
9) Born In The ‘50s (1978)
10) Spirits In The Material World (1981)


THE PRETENDERSHave to admit I wasn’t terribly crazy about Chrissie Hynde at first, but I grew to like her over time—well, at least her voice and her songwriting, anyway.  Still not crazy about her attitude sometimes, but at least she didn’t allow her band to morph into "Chrissie Hynde & The Pretenders", as so often happens with bands who have a female lead singer, a la "Patti Smyth & Scandal" and "Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine" (was that a mouthful, or what?).  Like Petty, I’m not so sure the Pretenders belong in the HOF either (not yet, anyway), as I think they’re a tad overrated at times, but there is some good stuff to behold here.

For you trivia buffs, that’s Rockpile’s Billy Bremner playing lead guitar on "Back On The Chain Gang" and "My City Was Gone".  Also, Chrissie Hynde attended Kent State University at the height of the anti-war protests, and she was there during the tragic May 4, 1970 campus shootings, although I’m not sure if she actually witnessed the massacre or not.

Speaking of "My City Was Gone", it also serves as the intro music on Rush Limbaugh’s Communist—er uh, conservative—radio propaganda program—er uh, talk show.  Seems strangely ironic that he would choose the music of a liberal ├╝ber animal rights activist like C. Hynde for his show.  Ay, oh, way to go, Ohio…

My All-Time Pretenders Top 10:
1) Message Of Love (1981)
2) Tattooed Love Boys (1980)
3) Time The Avenger (1983)
4) Middle Of The Road (1983)
5) I’ll Stand By You (1994)
6) My City Was Gone (1982)
7) Mystery Achievement (1980)
8) Show Me (1983)
9) Back On The Chain Gang (1982)
10) Precious (1980)


QUEEN
One of my bigger regrets in life is never getting to see Freddie Mercury & Co. live in concert, as I’ve heard they used to put on an awesome show.  My best chance was probably in 1980 when they played Kemper Arena on The Game tour, but as I remember, that was a very tough ticket in this town.  Queen returned again in 1982 on their Hot Space tour, but we passed on that one because the album was so crappy, and I later heard that it was a poor show anyway, and they were actually upstaged by upstart opening act Billy Squier.  Saaayyy—you don’t suppose Billy and Freddie—oh, never mind, let’s not go there!!  Ironcially, Squier himself was upstaged by upstart opening act Def Leppard the next time he came to town.  And so it goes…


Getting back to Queen, Hot Space did a ton of damage to their career in America that they never really recovered from, but the fans in England and Europe remained fiercely loyal to the band, and they put out some damn good stuff in the mid-to-late ‘80s that went sadly unnoticed in America, right up until Mercury’s death in 1991.  One of the greatest vocal performances you’ll ever hear is Freddie singing "The Show Must Go On"—you’d never know that the man was literally dying when Queen recorded it for their final album Innuendo, and it was an unbelievably powerful performance coming from someone who at the time needed assistance just to go to the toilet.

Queen should have ended right there and then, but now we have Queen + Paul Rodgers, which I’m having great difficulty embracing.  No offense to PR—he’s a great singer in his own right—but you just don’t replace a Freddie Mercury.  Wrong, wrong, wrong!

A little Queen trivia for you: You know how Freddie Mercury's truncated microphone stand came about?  Totally by accident.  At one of the band's early gigs, he had some mic stand that evidently was bulky and heavy, and during a performance, Fred tried to move the thing and it wouldn't budge, so he just ripped the top portion of the mic stand out of its base and did the rest of the show without the base.  He liked it so much that it stuck...

My All-Time Queen Top 10:1) Tie Your Mother Down (1976)
2) Bohemian Rhapsody (1976)
3) Killer Queen (1974)
4) The Show Must Go On (1991)
5) Crazy Little Thing Called Love (1980)
6) One Vision (1985)
7) You’re My Best Friend (1976)
8) Rock It (Prime Jive) (1980)
9) I Want It All (1989)
10) Need Your Loving Tonight (1980)

Zoinks!

For all you poetry buffs out there, please allow me to recite a little tribute to those Meddling Kids that I spotted on the back of a car the other day...

Pass ol' Shaggy the baggie
So he can roll a doobie for ol' Scooby!


Or something like that...

Monday, June 18, 2007

Pacman Fever!

Well, in a thoroughly earth-shattering turn of events, Tennessee Titans cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones is being sought by authority figures about his possible involvement a shooting outside a titty bar involving his homies—er uh—his entourage.  Couldn't possibly be true, could it?!?  This is damn near as shocking as David Crosby getting busted for drug possession...


Okay, I'm being facetious more than a little bit here—Paris Hilton's in jail but this fucker isn't?  And, is there any doubt that the NFL's current most prolific miscreant is rising high on the list of the biggest dumbasses in sports history?

In fact, here are the current standings:
1) O.J. Simpson
2) Darryl Strawberry
3) Art Schlichter
4) Mike Tyson
5) Steve Howe
6) Adam "Pacman" Jones
7) Lawrence Phillips
8) Andre Rison
9) Denny McLain
10) Ron Artest
11) Jose Canseco
12) Bode Miller
13) Todd Marinovich
14) Tommy Morrison
15) Pete Rose
16) John Daly
17) Tonya Harding
18) Terrell Owens
19) Albert Belle
20) Randy Moss

Sainte Kelsey?

[NOTE: This post deals with a hot-button topic that some people are ultra-sensitive about, so if you're easily offended, reader discretion is strongly advised.]

At the risk of sounding like some jaded, insensitive clod, I have to get this garbage out of my system on this whole Kelsey Smith thing, which is beginning to border on obsession here in K.C.  This kind of story always manages to bring out the best and the worst in people, and what started off as a genuine outpouring of sympathy has turned into affectation, and I can't for the life of me understand the disproportionate media coverage this story has garnered, both locally and nationally.

Let me preface my remarks by saying that I'm not disputing what a tragedy this was.  No parent should have to go through a senseless nightmare like this, and I do have sympathy for Kelsey's family and friends.  BUT, having said all that, most people have seemingly gotten caught up in the moment here and made this girl out to be some perfect angel.  Yes, I'm sure she was a nice girl and all, but there are millions of nice girls out there and it's a sad fact of life that this kind of thing happens every fucking day to women of all ages—pretty ones, ugly ones, white ones, black ones, rich ones, poor ones, whatever.  So, why is Kelsey Smith getting the lion's share of attention?

Just when I thought the whole Kelsey hubbub was dying down, here comes the Kansas City Star with a feature-length article in yesterday's paper about how her family is coping.  Seems to me that if I were grieving the sudden loss of a beloved family member, the last thing I'd want to deal with is the media.  However, the Smith family certainly hasn't shied away from the media attention one bit, between the countless appearances on TV (both locally and nationally) and the two hours they spent with the Star reporter for yesterday's piece, which featured a photo of the family yukking it up over some memory of Kelsey.  '"When she got herself tickled, she'd wrinkle up her nose right here," Greg Smith [Kelsey's father] says, touching the sides of his nose.'  Do we really need to know all this?  'Missey [Kelsey's mother] wants people's lives to go on.'  Precisely my point, but you don't seem to want to let us...

Then you have all the opportunists and scapegoaters taking to this story like arsonists to a burning building.  Opportunists like the funeral home in the above ad profiteering off this thing, not to mention supermarket tabloids like that vaunted and respected publication The Globe whose cover Kelsey's photo now even graces.  And then there are the gun lobby folks who are trying to convince me that if Kelsey had been packing heat, she'd still be with us today, as well as the bleeding heart do-gooders who blame violent movies and video games for her murderer's actions.  Uh, check the facts, folks—it's well-documented the accused murderer, Edwin Hall, bounced from one foster home to another because no one could control him—he was fucked-up long before movies and video games could corrupt him.

And, "A beautiful life"?!?  Okay, Kelsey was a lovely girl, physcially, but other than being an ambitious teenager who aspired to be a veterinarian, what did she actually do in life to merit such lofty adulation?


I don't get it, folks, I really don't...