Wednesday, August 19, 2009

You cain't use the blog, cuz you didn't work a-late!

Sometimes I wonder what I’m a-gonna do…

“Hate and fear in every face/I’m getting ready and I’ve packed my case/If you find something better, can you save my place?”—John Entwistle, The Who, “Had Enough”

Good gosh a-mighty, peoples, what’s up with all the recent histrionics at these town hall meetings over Obama’s health care reform proposals?  If I didn’t know any better, we were still on the campaign trail leading up to election time.  And whaddya know, Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter was finally able to actually focus on something important for a change, as he somehow managed to pull himself away from his never-ending probe into how the New England Patriots cheated to beat his Philadelphia Iggles in the Super Bowl in 2005, but I digress.  Honestly, what’s up with all the rancor at these town meetings?  These people who are acting a fool remind me more of Jerry Springer panelists than concerned citizens.  And as usual, they’re reacting to baseless misinformation from the likes of 2012 President-elect Sarah Palin and the usual Faux News Channel suspects in much the same they react to crap like “Dem ho-mo-seck-shuls are out to recruit your sons and daughters,” or “them Democrats are going to ban the Bible when they get into power”—as if they would even have the power to ban the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.  Even my best friend of 31 years has uttered sky-is-falling mantra like “we’re one or two czars away from being the USS of A.”  To all these people I say back up the fucking truck just a minute—and quit jumpin' around like a bunch of Kansas City faggots!

Palin calls the Democrats’ plan “downright evil” and says it would include “death panels” to decide who gets euthanized.  I mean, honestly, do all you righties really want this moose-skinning twit leading your party?  She’d have all the effectiveness of one of those GEICO cavemen.  Thankfully, my man Leonard Pitts, Jr. is the voice of reason, as usual, in this vast abyss of paranoia:  “It (the plan) would require your doctor to regularly consult with you on the need for a living will and advanced care directives, i.e., decide ahead of time if you’d want to be kept alive in a persistent vegetative state.  The requirement may or may not be a good idea, but it’s hardly ‘downright evil’ and it bears no resemblance to the image Palin conjures:  Granny forced to justify her continued existence before a panel of men in black hoods.”  Actually, death panels sound like a great idea, but not for the elderly or terminally-ill—I suggest using them on misinformed idiots instead so we can do as DEVO advocates and “eliminate the ninnies and the twits.”  Relax, folks, I’m just kidding!  Believe it or not, my aforementioned best friend of 31 years thought I was dead-dog serious when I posted that bit on my Facebook page!  I find this highly disturbing…

Leo P. Jr. went on to say, “But shouting down those who disagree with you is not (patriotic).  Neither is threatening, shoving, hitting, painting swastikas or otherwise rendering reasoned debate impossible.  That’s not love of country, it’s not dissent, it’s not even civilized.  It’s boorish, oafish and crude, the rantings of people panicked beyond reason…By now, it has become reflex, this instinct of theirs to manipulate the debate and muddy the waters by stoking people’s primal fears, whether of gays, Muslims, Hispanics or now, health care reform.  ‘I’m afraid of Obama!’ screams a woman.  And doesn’t that just say it all?  Doesn’t that speak volumes about the intellectual bankruptcy and decayed moral authority of the political right?  With apologies to Franklin Roosevelt, the only thing they have to sell is fear itself.”  Damn, I wish this dude would run for office!  Anyway, why the fuck are all these people losing their minds at these town meeting things?  These are merely Obama's proposals—nothing's been decided, voted-on, enacted or etched in stone yet, so freakin' calm down, will ya!  And to his credit, Obama seems willing to make changes to his plan.  But naturally, the wretched Right will accuse him of flip-flopping.  And even I have questions about some of Obama’s ideas myself, but at least he has a fucking plan to fix our health care system—I sure didn’t hear of any ideas coming from Prez-dent Freedom Fries over the last eight years, not even stupid ones.

Another news media tactic I’ve grown weary of is the “Developing Story” gambit.  CNN flashed this on their screen a couple weeks back, when all they were airing was an interview with John McCain where he—you better sit down for this one, kids—bashed President Obama’s health care reform proposals!  What an earth-shattering revelation this was, right up there with how the sun rises in the east and Amy Winehouse gets arrested for something on a daily basis.  Chant the mantra with me, friends: “We all know that crap is king…”

LES PAUL, 1915-2009
I'm a little late with this tribute here, but he’s well worthy of mention—Rock ‘N’ Roll would not be the same without this man.  My man Ace Frehley (pictured here with Les) said it very well:  “The music industry has lost a giant!  I’m very saddened by the news of Les Paul’s passing.  I was lucky enough to know Les as a friend, and admired him as a musician and an innovator…He forever changed the way we listen to music.”  Apart from Leo Fender’s Stratocasters and basses, the Gibson Les Paul models (like the one in the pic) are quite possibly the coolest guitars on the planet.  We can all hope to live as long as LP did—94 years!

“Crank out my Les Paul in your face…”—S. Hagar

SURE SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSEThere is a NEW Kiss album due out October 6th.  I say again—a NEW Kiss album!  Eleven new tracks—that’s one for each year since the last new Kiss album, and one for practically every greatest hits CD or box set Kiss has released since their most recent studio album, 1998’s half-baked Psycho Circus.  Evidently Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley finally ran out of ways to repackage the past (and Gene was finally able to pull himself away from his “Family Jewels“ reality show long enough to make a record), and they finally decided to do what I’ve been advocating all along—put out something new with Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer in place of Ace and Peter.  They’re giving the new album, entitled Sonic Boom, the Eagles/AC/DC treatment by selling it exclusively at Wal-Mart, which doesn’t exactly thrill me, but that seems to be the route everyone’s taking these days, and they’re only asking 12 bucks for the CD, which also includes yet another greatest hits disc (#12?!?) and a DVD featuring part of a recent Kiss concert.  Hope the new stuff is worth waiting 11 years for.

Feels great to finally be able to say this again—Ace Frehley has a new album coming out next month.  Our good friend the Space Ace is finally releasing his long-awaited new CD, Anomaly (his first new record in 20 years) on September 15th.  The album is all new material, apart from a cover of “Fox On The Run”—“Just an old Sweet song…” as Ray Charles once intoned. [Sorry, couldn‘t resist!]  I sampled one track on Ace’s official webpage—it didn’t suck, and it’ll be great to hear what the planet Jendell’s favorite son has to say these days.  And after all the crap he’s taken from Simmons all these years, wouldn’t it be sweet if Brother Frehley’s album outshines and/or outsells the new Kiss album?  While I really do want them both to do well, it would still be poetic justice if Ace had the last laugh on Simmons and Stanley—Ack!  Ack!

I stumbled across a hidden gem at the library this week, a bluegrass band called Hayseed Dixie, who specializes in cover versions of Hard Rock/Heavy Metal classics like AC/DC’s “Highway To Hell”, Judas Priest’s “Breaking The Law” and Motorhead’s “Ace Of Spades”.  I borrowed their Kiss tribute album, Kiss My Grass, and it’s a total hoot, especially “Detroit Rock City”—“Geet up/Everbody’s gon’ move their feet/Geet dayown/Everbody’s gon’ leave their seat”—sounds even better than the Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ 1994 version!  "Lick It Up” and “Love Gun” are a stitch as well, and the Hayseeds even managed to plug in a decent solo during that lame middle break on “I Love It Loud”.  Not sure I’d want to listen to this on a daily basis, but it’s fun to hear a slightly different (and rather warped) take on old favorites.  I’m dying to hear their AC/DC tribute album now!

Listening to this thing made me realize that comedian Steve Martin was absolutely right when he said the banjo makes such a happy sound.  Sure enough, it's pretty difficult to be bummed out while hearing banjo music, for some reason…

“Suite Judy Blue Eyes”—CROSBY, STILLS & NASH (1969)  “Can I tell it like it is (Help me I’m suffering), Listen to me baby.”  I swear, I always thought it sounded like Stephen Stills was singing “Listen to the butler”!

While reviewing my Woodstock DVD last week, I had the subtitles turned on, and evidently the person(s) who keyed in those subtitles didn’t bother consulting the lyrics to the songs the folks were singing.  For instance, during The Who’s classic rendition of Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues”, Roger Daltrey couldn’t use the car because he “didn’t work a lick,” and Sha Na Na sang “you can eat a lot of chicken” At The Hop (Bop-Bop-Bop) instead of “Calypso with your chicken” (whatever that means).  And the subtitles during Ten Years After’s “I’m Goin’ Home” were a total free-for-all when Alvin Lee free-lanced on old classics like “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and “Baby, Please Don’t Go”.  I feel so sorry for the deaf people who rely on closed captioning and end up viewing DVDs with such incorrect dialogue keyed in.

Well, who among us didn’t see this coming?  Brett Favre is un-retiring yet again to play for the Minnesota Vikings this season (and next, according to his new two-year contract).  This diva in cleats never had any intention of retiring in the first place—he just wanted to conveniently skip training camp.  Wow, what dedication, and what a team player this man is!  Even Mary Richards would be pitching a fit about this at WJM.  And as a result of Favre's arrival in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Vikings season ticket sales spiked by 3,000 in one day.  To those who bought those ticket packages, allow me to quote Ronnie James Dio:  "You're all fools!!"  Mark my words, Favre won’t get the Vikings to the promised land.  Hell, they won’t even make the playoffs—he'll either be ineffective or re-injure his arm (which some doctors are evidently saying is quite at risk), and in my opinion, all his presence is going to do is mangle up what little team chemistry the Vikes have, just like it did with the Jets last year.  Congratulations, Chicago and Green Bay—the NFC North division is yours for the taking now...

The guys on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike In The Morning” shattered their own world record for uttering the same name a thousand times in a 2-minute span the day after Michael Vick was signed by the Eagles last week.  Between Vick and Favre, could ESPN be any more obsessed over headline-grabbing players?  And they claim that all this overkill is just what us viewers and listeners are clamoring for.  Riiiight.  As for Vick’s return to the NFL, I have no problem with it.  He’s done his time and paid his debt to society fair and square, so these PETA folks need to—ahem—call off their dogs in regards to Vick.  In return, he’d better keep his nose cleaner than a neurosurgeon’s hands in the OR from here on out.  And don’t expect Vick to be the star he aspired to be before—I think he was overrated as all get-out to begin with, and two years in the pokey couldn‘t have helped him.

By the by, I thought Jesse Jackson said that all those mean ol’ NFL owners were colluding to not sign MV this season.  You got some ‘splainin’ ta do, Jesse!  Is there anyway we can jettison this boob to Dantooine so the Death Star can blow his phony ass to smithereens?

Could someone please tell me how I can get this Scott Boras super-agent character to get someone to pay me zillions of dollars in advance?  That’s what he did for this Stephen Strasburg pheenom kid who signed to pitch for the Washington (G)Nats for $15 million, having never set foot on a Major League diamond yet.  Is it any wonder the game of baseball is so screwed up with salaries like this?

Much hoop-de-doo last week about Miley Cyrus doing a little stripper pole-dancing on some TV show, causing concerned parents to once again get their collective panties in a twist.  True to form, the Cyrus camp claimed it was innocent, just like the photo session last year where Ms. Montana dared to bare her back.  Innocent, my colon—these people know exactly what they’re doing!  They’re pushing people’s buttons to see just how far they can milk this gravy train—anything to keep her name in the paper and postpone her inevitable fade into obscurity.  But, just like Tiffany and Debbie Gibson before her,  Miley will be a has-been by the time she’s 19, and Billy Ray won’t have his meal ticket anymore.  Ms. Cyrus, yer 15 minutes were up a year ago!

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