Saturday, June 28, 2008

What Not To Wear--Sports Edition

A little countdown of the ugliest uniforms in the world of sports...

10) Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA)
I never could figure out what the Cavs were trying to accomplish with these black, teal, orange (and whatever other colors they threw in) numbers with streaks and stripes in them after abandoning their cool orange and gold uniforms of the '70s and '80s.  Thankfully, the LeBron James era ushered in some much nicer burgundy, blue and gold threads...

9) Seattle Seahawks (NFL)
Is that actually a color?!?  'Hawks fans have complained vehemently for the last six years about these nasty-looking threads, and I don't blame them.  I always thought their original royal blue and green uniforms with the silver helmets were much cooler...

8) Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB)
I loved the late Willie Stargell to death, but was totally embarrassed for him when he had to wear these canary-yellow convict get-ups complete with the pill-box hats.  Sometimes nostalgia can go too far...

7) Philadelphia Eagles throwbacks (NFL)
The sad irony here is Donovan McNabb and the Iggles had their best game of the 2007 season when they wore these travesties...

6) Washington Capitals (NHL)
After the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA came along, teal was all the rage and every other sports team adopted the color for their uniforms, including the once red-white-and-blue Caps of the NHL.  I didn't mind the color so much as the gaudy over-sized numerals on the backs of the Caps' uni's.  Thankfully, Washington came to their senses and re-embraced the red-white-and-blue color scheme last season.

5) Memphis Tams (ABA)
Oakland A's owner Charlie Finley also owned the ABA's Memphis Tams franchise, and insisted on outfitting them in the same green and yellow colors as the A's.  Unfortunately, they also were outfitted with matching Sears Toughskins pants!

4) Cleveland Force (MISL)
Who was the inspiration behind these uniformsBig Bird?!?  You almost needed sunglasses to watch these guys play!

3) Houston Rockets (NBA)
Pinstripes gone bad!  The "Round Mound Of Rebound" Charles Barkley looked especially silly in these hideous uniforms that the Rockets sported in the late '90s.  I never understood why they replaced their very cool red and gold uni's, but at least they came to their senses and at least went back to red to usher in the Yao Ming era.

2) Oregon Ducks football (NCAA)
Talk about fugly!  Yellow should never be the primary color in any team's uniforms.  Then they added the gaudy numbers and silly looking trim around the shoulders and knees to make things worse.

1) Orlando Thunder (WLAF)
Neon green is far and away the ugliest color in the world to me.  It is to me what Kryptonite was to SupermanI can't bear to look at it!  The Chicago White Sox had a "Neon Green Cap" night against the Royals on the TV, and I had to turn it off after seeing all those goomers seated behind home plate wearing these gnarly-looking things!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

My deepest condolences...

...go out to fellow traveller/blogger and frequent commentator to this blog, Dr. Sardonicus, whose wife Peggy passed away today at age 48--done way too soon. Please join me, my good friends and readers, in sending out heartfelt sympathies to the good Doctor and his family. It's been a sad week around these parts...

Give Peas A Chance

It occurred to me yesterday that hardly a day goes by where I’m not reminded of one of George Carlin’s witticisms during everyday activities.  Like anytime someone says “Have a nice day!”, my brain automatically clicks on “Yeah, yeahwill you gimme my fucking change, please?” or whenever I leave my car radio cranked up when I turn off the motor at night, then start it up the next day and “the goddamned radio is THIS LOUD!!!” or when someone says they’re going to take a piss or shit—“you don’t take ‘em, you leave ‘em!”  Every time I read about anti-abortion zealots, I’m reminded of “You ever notice how most of the people who are against abortion are people you wouldn’t wanna fuck in the first place?...There’s such balance in nature…”  And every time I see a lacrosse match on TV, I chuckle when I think of George’s declaration that lacrosse is “a faggot college activity”.  The man was more prevalent than I ever gave him credit for.  So long, George, and thanks for the laughs, my man…

…and for Gene Simmons, it’s damn near impossible.  As if his “Family Jewels” show doesn’t inflate his insatiable ego enough, A&E viewers were subjected to the “Gene Simmons Roast” last night.  In best Dean Martin style, his royal Gene-ness held court sitting on his throne (wearing his gargoyle Kiss platforms, no less) and was fĂȘted by such luminaries as Carrot Top, Danny Bonaduce and Andrew “Dice” Clayis that a nightmare panel, or what?  Tell me againhow is it I once came to idolize this man…

Speaking of the Dean Martin roasts, have you seen the infomercials for the DVDs of those old crapfests featuring Tim Conway?  I remember watching them when I was a kid, and they seemed kinda cool at the time, but watching them now makes me cringe when I see the forced laughter from people like Jimmie Walker and Phyllis Diller and hear the hackneyed jokes these people told, all of which was obviously fueled by copious amounts of alky-hol.  As for Conway’s infomercials, I’ll say it again:  if you need 30 minutes to convince me to buy something, I probably don’t want it…

You’ve no doubt seen these ads on TV featuring some elderly woman sitting by a swimming pool informing us that as of February, 2009, TVs that aren’t digital won’t be able to receive broadcast signals of over-the-air TV stations.  “TVs that are hooked up to cable will be just fine…” she says.  Dumb question, but why are these commercials running on cable networks?!?  People who already have cable need not be concerned with this—it’s those folks who haven’t joined the 21st century and gotten cable or satellite (like my old man, for instance) who they should be talking to here.

I coulda swore that cloning was still illegal, but I was reading in the paper today about the just-announced Journey concert here in K.C. in September, and it appears Neal Schon and the boys have unearthed yet another Steve Perry clone, one Arnel Pineda, to replace their first SP clone, Steve Augeri.  I have yet to hear Pineda, but they say he sounds just like Perry.  Augeri sounded uncomfortably close to Perry too, and even looked a lot like him—“Steve Perry with a perm”, as someone deemed him.

As for the real Steve Perry, every time I see that awful “Oh, Sherrie” video, I cringe a little.  That was his actual girlfriend Sherrie in the video, and I’ve often wondered if that video led to their break-up.  Or maybe she decided not to marry him to spare herself from being known as Sherrie Perry…

Or at least one of them. For no particular reason, I was reminded the other day of these really lame Levi’s Dockers commercials from the early ‘90s that featured a bunch of yuppie cocksuckers (all from the waist down) carrying on some inane group conversation about nothing and ending with the catchphrase, “Relax, you’re among friends…”  What the filth-flarn-filth does this have to do with cheap-ass un-durable friggin’ casual dress pants?  I wore those things to work and they lasted about as long as Chevy Chase’s talk show before the crotches wore out.

Not an InBev Light!  I don’t get this whole hostile takeover stuff, like where this Belgian brewer InBev that wants to buy Anheuser-Busch out from under itself.  Does Busch want to be bought?  Doesn’t sound like it to me.  Take your waffles and go back to Belgium, you yutzes!

Remember these guys?  U-Totem was more or less the poor man’s 7-Eleven or QuikTrip back in the ‘70s.  We had just a handful of them around here, but I liked them more because they sold Topps hockey cards and 7-Eleven didn’t!

…on KOMT, Holland’s Comet Radio—All B-Stuff All The Time!  Here’s a sample hour from my iPod’s playlist yesterday:

“One World (Not Three)”—THE POLICE (1981)
“My Gang”—CHEAP TRICK (1994)
“Cool Dry Place”—TRAVELING WILBURYS (1991)
“I’m The One”—VAN HALEN (1978)
“Space Truckin’”—DEEP PURPLE (1972)
“Boys In The Band”—THE RAIDERS (1970)
“Parasite”—KISS (1974)
“Hooked On A Feeling”—BLUE SWEDE (1974)
“Here Comes The Feeling”—ASIA (1982)
“Avenging Annie”—ROGER DALTREY (1977)

“B-Stuff” doesn’t refer to the quality of the music—most of these are A’s in my book—but rather it refers to songs I love but rarely (if ever) hear anywhere unless I play them myself.  Best of all, it’s all commercial-free and no deejays, either.  Just as well, most of today’s radio jocks can’t count to ten anyway.  I have over 700 songs loaded and my iPod is almost packed to the gills now.  Go figure:  six months ago, I didn’t even want an iPod, and now I want a bigger one!

“One Fine Morning”—LIGHTHOUSE (1971)  Oldies stations and classic Rock stations stopped playing this record song decades ago, and that’s a shame—it’s a cool song!  Some people even confused Canada's Lighthouse for Chicago, with its ever-present horn section, while other people confused them with Edison Lighthouse of “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)” fame.  I always thought late lead singer Bob McBride sounded a lot like fellow Canuck Burton Cummings of the Guess Who.  You can find “One Fine Morning” on Rhino’s ‘Have a Nice Day’, Vol. 6 compilation.

“That Hypnotizin’ Boogie”—DAVID WILCOX (1985)  This one’s a little more obscure.  Also from the Great White North, Mr. Wilcox is not to be confused with an American folk singer of the same name.  I first heard "Boogie" on the radio during my visit to Toronto in 1994 and instantly fell in love with the song.  I can best describe it as Warren Zevon meets George Thorogood with a little bit of Stevie Ray Vaughan thrown in.  Wilcox sounds very Zevon-ish vocally, and very much like Lonesome George and S.R.V. on the raw and wonderfully sloppy slide guitar, and has some of Rick Nielsen's mannerisms on-stage.  This live performance is pretty good, but the original studio recording is even better.  As the song itself says, “everybody got to have a hypnotizin’ boogie kind of sound…”  Wish I could tell you where to get it, but I'm not sure now.  I pirated iter uh, borrowed it off the 'Net before the Great MP3 Embargo five years ago.  Good stuff, Maynard...

Best band name I’ve heard of in a while: The Dandy Warhols.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Black Monday

GEORGE CARLIN, 1937-2008
Like many of you, my day got off to a bad start with the news of the passing of comedian George Carlin last night of heart failure in Santa Monica, CA.  We’ve lost a true icon, and his imprint is readily apparent all over this blog, as he heavily influenced both the way I write and even the way I talk sometimes.  Although I’m trying to avoid becoming the curmudgeon that he was in his later years, I’ve adopted a lot of Carlin’s attitudes (especially about religious phoniness) over time, and his impact on me is immeasurable.  I think what sets GC apart from most comedians is in addition to being funny, the man made you think.  It’s eerily ironic that George passed away near the "scene of the crime", so to speak, where he recorded his most famous routine, "The Seven Dirty Words…" at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in 1972.  Truth be known, he didn’t have to rely on the use of profanity—he was plenty funny without it as evidenced on his rather obscure Take-offs & Put-ons album (recorded during the Johnson administration).  About the dirtiest word Carlin used there was "broad", and it’s a damn funny record.  And yes, George is the man I learned profanity from in the first place, for better or worse, and he used it to great effect in punctuating his routines without overdoing it—i.e., every other word wasn’t "fuck" or "motherfucker" like with Eddie Murphy or Chris Rock.

The first thing I thought of when I heard George "passed on" (as he preferred saying instead of "died") was a bit he did on death and dying from about 30 years ago.  I wondered if George got his Two-Minute Warning ("Two minutes—get your shit together…") and I wondered if he made arrangements to forego the whole funeral/cremation thing and be "blown up", per his wishes.  George once even poked fun at the very condition that caused his death in a bit he called the "Comedians' Health Sweepstakes":  "Currently, I lead Richard Pryor in heart attacks, two-to-one.  But Richard leads me one-to-nothing in burning yourself up!"  At least Carlin's passing was swift and we're spared of seeing him waste away before our eyes as in Pryor's case.

Carlin (along with the late John Entwistle) is one of my few idols whom I actually got to meet in the flesh, and he was very gracious in autographing my concert program that night.  George also indirectly saved the day for me one snowed-in New Year’s Eve back in the mid ‘80s.  I was really bummed because I wanted to go out and party, but the weather outside was frightful, so I wound up staying in, and thankfully, HBO ran several of Carlin’s hour-long specials in succession that night, and he nearly had me on the floor at times.  Even though I’ve heard his routines from his old albums a thousand times and know most of them verbatim, some of them still make me laugh out loud to this day.  Stuff like when he lamented having "no ass at all" as a teen and having a black dude come up to him and say, "Say, baby, where your ass at?  My man ain’t got no ass!  How do you hold them pants up, man?"  Or how about a new cartoon character:  "Who are you?  I am Fuck!  Fuck of the Mountain!  Tune in again next week to ‘Fuck of the Mountain’!"  Or sports teams:  "I’m tired of Panthers and Tigers and Wildcats…I’d like to root for the Cincinnati Mice!...Any animal that’s alive ought to be eligible to be (named) for a team—the Seattle Sperm…Texas Tumors…how about the Kansas City Crabs? ‘Well, the Crabs are all over the Cowboys today…"  His dog bits were especially funny, too.  "Anybody got one of those little dogs?  One of those over-bred dogs?  The kind that just shakes and pisses all the time..."

The DJ who delivered the bad news today suggested something cool, too—next time you open a fresh loaf of bread and start digging through it to get to the "good bread", think of George.  By extension, next time you’re on an escalator and notice the hand rail moving just a little faster than the thing you’re standing on or find that "one weird piece of bacon" underneath all those neat horizontal strips, or maybe pass by the St. Louis Home For The Totally Fucked, think of George.  Another favorite routine was "Ed Sullivan, Self-Taught" from the FM & AM album where George lamented that there was no official finale to the "Ed Sullivan Show" because it was cancelled while in reruns and no one got a chance to say, "Thanks, Ed!  No kidding, man, thanks for all those crazy acts and all those years…" and sadly we didn’t get a chance to collectively thank George Carlin, although it was just announced that he was to receive an award named after Mark Twain for his lifetime achievements in humor.  All I can think to do is paraphrase Carlin himself from that routine and say, "(It’s) A little maudlin, gang, but thanks, George!"

Here’s my original official tribute to George from last year on his 70th birthday.

…I made this Carlin-esque observation over the weekend while watching TV news coverage of the flooding on the Mississippi:  Why is it that rivers on road maps are shown in blue?  Rivers are brown!  Okay, lakes and oceans are blue (or green), but I’ve never seen a blue river, not even the one I cross every day on the way to work and back that's called the Blue River!  Which of course, reminds me of Carlin’s burning question:  "Why is there no blue food?  Blueberries are purple…there’s no blue food, man!"

Evidently, chronic NFL miscreant Adam "Pacman" Jones is insisting that the media refer to him as just plain Adam Jones, as only his mother and his teammates are allowed to call him by his video game moniker.  This fucker has a rap sheet on him that stretches from Maine to Maui, and all he’s worried about is what people in the media call him?  They can call him "Donkey Kong" Jones for all I care—it’s not going to change the fact that he’s first-class moron…

The great Don Imus is in hot water again over racially-charged remarks he made on his new radio show today about Pacman Jones.  Apparently, during a discussion on his show about Jones' numerous arrests, Imus had to ask, "What color is he?"  When told that Jones is "African-American", Dickhead Don responded, "There you go. Now we know."  And now of course, Al Sharpton is already into full-goose-bozo race-baiter mode, but we won't get into that now...

My issue here is about how pathetically uninformed Imus is.  You don't even have to be much of a sports fan to know what color Pacman Jones is, and unless you've been living in a cave like Osama bin Laden for the past couple years, surely you'd have seen him in the headlines a few times.  One would expect a nationally-syndicated radio host like Imus be a tad more well-rounded than this, but then again, this is the same man who had to ask a couple years ago if Johnny Unitas was still alive.  I bet even bin Laden knows what color Pacman Jones is...

I damn near ran my car off the road the other morning when I heard race driver Danica Patrick on a radio commercial say, "A lot of people ask me what it takes to get under my hood…"  Whoa, Nellie!  This reminds of the old E-Z Off TV ad that comedian Gallagher once mentioned about the gal laying in bed proudly proclaiming "I’m cleaning my oven!"  He said, "Her hands are under the covers—you figure it out…"

In a sure sign of the apocalypse, I was stunned the other day to discover that my little podunk conservative-Christian-dominated suburb of Raytown, MO now has a fetish-wear store!  This is no mean feat considering how the Baptists own half the friggin' city, and once blocked the opening of a bar because it was located too close to one of their churches.  Never mind that half the congregation would have patronized it...

I’ve grown weary of yet another advertising icon (for lack of a better word), the creepy talking baby.  These ads weren’t all that funny to begin with, and now they’re running them into the ground not unlike the Geico gecko ads.  At least Budweiser knows "when to say when", so to speak, and not wear their ad campaigns out, like the Spuds McKenzie thing, the lizards/ferret series and their "skunky beer" ads, et al.  If they remain true-to-form, those lame "Dude!" ads should disappear soon…

It was Alex Gordon bobblehead night at the Royals game at Kauffman Stadium the other night.  Fortunately, Big Al's surname was correctly spelled on the ones the Royals gave away, unlike these little numbers in the photo given away a couple years back by their AAA affiliate in Omaha.  Not only did they misspell the man's last name, but he has yet to play an inning of baseball in Omaha!  It might have been appropriate for them to have Gordn Lightfoot sing the national anthem and NASCAR's Jeff Gordn to throw out the first pitch...

The answer is:  A tune all about sloppy seconds. What is "Here You Come Again"?

I don't know how these guys do this, but I'm most impressed...