Thursday, May 6, 2010

Doin' it bloggie-style...

I’m really surprised there’s been little-to-no mention in the media this week about Tuesday being the 40th anniversary of the Kent State tragedy.  Screw Watergate—I think Kent State was Nixon’s biggest blunder, and to this day, I don’t get why this thing had to happen, all because The Big Dick’s ego was bruised by a bunch of college kids who were fed up with an ignorant war.  To their credit, at least Kent State doesn’t try to sweep it under the rug and act as if nothing happened.  In the parking lot where the shootings took place, they’ve cordoned off the four exact spots where each student was gunned down, and there’s also a small monument nearby.  It’s well worth the visit if you’re ever up in that area.

I highlighted some passages from George Carlin’s “sorta-biography” book Last Words that really resonated with me that I want to share.  I should point out that I don’t subscribe to Carlin’s attitudes here just because George wrote them.  He and I seemed to share the same position on a lot of issues, and he often reinforced my original opinion in the first place.  In other words, I don't merely let a comedian (not even a brilliant/legendary one) form my religious or political beliefs.  It's just that George could express my feelings better than I sometimes can, his “World’s Greatest Bullshit Story” bit being a prime example.  Anyway, here are some more profound quotes from Sir George:

On the never-ending liberal vs. conservative conundrum:
“I felt discomfort at having received positions on issues, simply because of my preference for the left of center, for people’s rights over property rights.  I was beginning to find that a lot of my positions clashed.  The habits of liberals, their automatic language, their knee-jerk responses to certain issues, deserved the epithets the right wing stuck them with.  I’d see how true they often were.  Here they were, banding together in packs, so that I could predict what they were going to say about some event or conflict and it wasn’t even out of their mouths yet.  I was very uncomfortable with that.  Liberal orthodoxy was as repugnant to me as conservative orthodoxy.”

This is the line I currently find myself treading, hence why I consider myself to be a “radical moderate”.  Though I’m still left-leaning, more often than not anymore, I think both sides are full of shit…

On group mentality:
“The worst thing about groups are their values.  Traditional values, American values, family values, shared values, OUR values.  Just Code for white, middle-class prejudices and discrimination, justification for greed and hatred.”

“Bullshit is the glue of our society.”

On the subject of children, which came up at a celebrity panel discussion gathering on HBO:
“I’m letting it go whenever it’s CHILDREN this and CHILDREN that.  Now it’s the Internet and THE CHILDREN and we can’t protect THE CHILDREN and porn and THE CHILDREN.  This goes on and on and even Chevy (Chase), when he’s not doing structural damage to the building, is being self-important and pretentious about THE CHILDREN.  They finally call on me and I say:  'There’s TOO MUCH ATTENTION TO CHILDREN in this country!  Leave them ALONE!  They’re gonna BE ALL RIGHT!  They’re SMARTER THAN YOU ARE!'”

Amen to that!

“I must say, like most adults, I find kids fascinating one-on-one.  Just watching them drool or look at you funny.  Or even saying something bright.  But as a class—far too much attention.”

On global warming/Saving the planet:
“The problem was caused long ago by us arrogantly trying to control nature, believing we were superior to our environment.  Just as arrogant to think we’ve needed to save it—especially when we haven’t even learned how to take care of one another.  Earth doesn’t need us to save it.  It’s survived four and an half billion years through far worse disasters than a species a mere hundred thousand years old that has only been really fucking the place up since the Industrial Revolution.  We imagine we threaten this vastly powerful self-correcting system?  The planet will shuck us off like a case of the crabs.  Forget about saving endangered species—WE are the endangered species.”

I wish George could’ve lived a bit longer to skewer this whole “going green” bullshit.  Makes me want to burn a stack of tires in my back yard in his honor!

Overall, Last Words is a wonderful book and a great read, apart from a section at the end when George got a little psychobabbly about his relationship with the audience and his views on his art and his craft.  Like I mentioned last time, it seems like he’s still alive in so many ways, but it’s depressing to realize there won’t be any more brilliant witticisms and diatribes coming from Carlin.  I guess John Lennon was right:  “And so, dear friends, I guess you’ll just have to carry on…”  Thanks again for all the laughs, George…

Get a load of who Time magazine considers to be some of the 100 Most Influential People In The World, in their latest issue.  Oh, there’s the usual suspects like Pres. Obama, Sarah Palin, Oprah, et al, but then you have such icons as Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Sandra Bullock, Neil Patrick Harris and Bill Mickelson.  WTF?!?  Let’s see, that’s an off-key Country singer, an off-kilter Pop singer, an overrated actress, a gay actor and a golfer, in that order.  Influential, my ass!  Oh, and they have Bill Clinton categorized in the “Heroes” section being praised by Bono, and Ted Nugent’s little lovefest on Palin contains enough bullshit to fertilize my entire back yard.  I still can’t believe I used to idolize that man.

Speaking of Sarah Palin, as much as I loathe what she stands for and what a limelight whore she’s become, I do have to admit she’s a very attractive woman.  One of the better photos I’ve seen of her graces the back cover of the Time issue.  No bike shorts this time—just a very classy skirt suit.  One question, though—since when did conservative women start wearing 5-inch heels?  Does Nordstrom’s of Alaska have a fetish-wear department now?

I love all these people (including some of my own co-workers) who are suddenly against off-shore oil drilling in the wake of the oil spill FUBAR in the Gulf of Mexico.  These same bleeding-hearted saps are the first ones to bitch and moan when gas prices spiral out of control, then they start whining about the U.S. being far too dependent on foreign oil and that we should endeavor to find our own stash.  Can’t have it both ways, folks.  And who could have forseen this accident occurring anyway?  Damn crybabies…

Newspaper and especially Internet editors are fast becoming extremely lazy these days by substituting ‘lax’ in place of the word ‘lacrosse’.  I’m growing tired of seeing ‘lax’ in the headlines about this U. of Virginia lacrosse player who was brutally murdered.  Whenever I see ‘lax’, I automatically think of a big airport in Californy, not what G. Carlin once deemed to be a "faggot college activity."  Try spelling the whole word out, guys…

It’s a drag to watch what’s happening down Nashville way with the flooding there.  I was shocked to see photos of the riverfront area that I walked around in a couple years ago next to the Cumberland River totally underwater.  I also read where the Country Music Hall of Fame had water in its basement, as did the Predators' hockey arena.  The field at the Titans stadium was also under water at one point and the Grand Ole Opry house out in the burbs had flood issues too.  Fortunately, the historic Ryman Auditorium sits on a hill and seems to be out of danger—unless this flood does reach biblical proportions.  Hope for everyone’s sake down there that things dry out soon…

Just finished reading Off The Rails:  Aboard The Crazy Train In The Blizzard Of Ozz by journeyman bassist Rudy Sarzo, and it’s an excellent read.  Rudy chronicles his brief, yet tumultuous stint in Ozzy Osbourne’s band during 1981-82 which of course, coincided with the totally senseless tragic plane crash that killed guitarist Randy Rhoads.  Actually, Sarzo himself contributed very little to the tumult—he and Rhoads and drummer Tommy Aldridge were good soldiers and kept their noses clean for the most part—and naturally it was those tempestuous Osbournes (Ozzy & Sharon) who kept everyone on edge as the "Blizzard Of Ozz" and "Diary Of A Madman" tours slogged their way across North America and Europe.

The more I learn about Ozzy and Sharon, the less I like them, especially Sharon.  In spite of the lovey-dovey public persona she puts up, Sharon Osbourne strikes me as a rather vile individual, not unlike her late hard-ass father, Don Arden, who managed Black Sabbath and others with an iron fist.  Although Sarzo paints SO in a fairly positive light in his book, I’ve heard on more than one occasion that she is not well-liked in music business circles and can be very petty and spiteful when someone crosses her—no wonder Jack and Kelly are so fucked-up!  As for Ozzy, I find it truly astounding that this man is still alive (let alone even halfway functional now) considering how much he alcohol he consumed and how much cocaine he snorted—Ozzy made Jim Morrison and Hank Williams, Jr. look like a teetotalers in comparison during the early ‘80s.  He also had this bizarre preoccupation with urinating and/or defecating in public places, hotel ice machines, people’s shoes, etc., which subsequently led to his infamous arrest for taking a whiz on the Alamo in San Antonio in ‘82.  Still and all, Ozzy has defied all odds and can look back on a very successful solo career, what precious little he can remember of it, anyway…

Rudy also detailed his friendship with Randy Rhoads and what a dedicated musician RR was.  Even before the plane crash, Randy’s days with Ozzy’s band were probably numbered anyway, as he became frustrated with how overly-theatrical the concerts had gotten, and he longed to learn more about classical guitar.  Pretty impressive—as good a guitarist as this guy was, he wasn’t one to rest on his laurels and wanted to keep growing as a musician.  Rhoads also chafed a bit at having to perform Osbourne’s Sabbath classics “Iron Man”, “Children Of The Grave” and “Paranoid”, preferring to focus on the material he’d written with Ozzy on their first two albums.  Contrary to what I’ve previously written about 1982's Speak Of The Devil album, it seems that a full live Ozzy album comprised of Black Sabbath tunes was already in the works before the plane crash, as opposed to being an inspired idea to avoid appearing to capitalize on Randy’s death, as I’d always assumed.  RR initially balked at the notion of doing an entire album’s worth of Sabbath songs, and it didn’t matter, anyway, as Brad Gillis of Night Ranger wound up doing the honors six months after the tragedy, but it still would’ve been fun to hear Randy’s own takes on those songs.  His soloing on “Children Of The Grave” on the Tribute CD blows away all other live versions I’ve heard, including Tony Iommi’s.  I’ve said it here before—one wonders what else this little dude would’ve gone on to accomplish in his career had he lived.  My hunch is he’d have outgrown Ozzy and moved on to a solo career with a backing band à la Ted Nugent, Stevie Ray Vaughan or Santana.

I was hoping Mr. Sarzo would also discuss his days with Quiet Riot and Whitesnake in Off The Rails, but I’m guessing he’s saving that for another book.  I would especially love to hear about the ups and downs with singer Kevin DuBrow and his over-inflated ego.  The 1984 MTV interview with QR where a clearly-embarrassed Sarzo silently does a slow burn while DuBrow mugs for the camera (about midway through this clip) is just priceless, and Rudy left the band not long afterward.  I would also enjoy reading about Sarzo’s days with Whitesnake (especially about what an arrogant prick singer David Coverdale was/is), as well as his time with Dio (shades of irony—Sarzo played for both Ozzy and Dio) and more recently, Blue Oyster Cult.  Anyway, damn good book, Rudy!

I am now partway through actor Adam West’s biography Back To The Batcave, and in it, the mayor of Quahog revealed that he won the role of the Caped Crusader over future “Carol Burnett Show” regular Lyle Waggoner and even more surprisingly, actor Mike Henry.  MH is better known as Junior in the Smokey & The Bandit flicks.  Henry was also a tight end with the L.A. Rams in the early ‘60s, and later played the second Donald Penobscott on “MASH”.  Impress your friends with those trivial morsels, if you like…

Don’t go away, it’s time to play my new-fangled “Rockford Files” Drinking Game!  I’ve recently gotten into wacthing the mid-‘70s crime drama starring James Garner on DVD and in spite of its inherent predictability, I enjoy it anyway.  So, if you want to have a little fun, grab a copy of a season’s worth of “Rockford” on DVD, line up your favorite alcoholic beverage and play along.

Simply take one drink whenever:
Jim recites his famous fee, “$200 a day, plus expenses”
Jim gets arrested for anything, regardless of the charge or whether he’s guilty of it or not
Jim’s old man (Rocky) does something inept to foil Jim’s brilliant scheme
Jim’s stoolie friend Angel does something even more inept than Rocky to foil said scheme
Jim comes home to his trailer only to find a perp inside pointing a gun at him
Jim is awoken in the middle of the night by a phone call or a knock at his door
One of Jim’s fellow inmates from his San Quentin days shows up at his doorstep
Rocky chastises Jim for choosing such a dangerous line of work
Jim unexpectedly gets whisked away in a car at gunpoint by a group of thugs
Jim’s girlfriend of the week gets bumped-off by the bad guys
Rocky, Angel or Jim’s lawyer gal (or any combo of the three) are held hostage by the baddies
Rockford goes under the alias "Jim Taggart"
Jim gets beaten up
Jim pisses off his police detective buddy Dennis Becker/puts him in a bind over something
Jim inflicts damage on his Pontiac Firebird (or Rocky’s GMC pick-up)

If played properly, you should be pretty well sloshed after about three episodes!