Monday, July 31, 2006

10 Things iPod About You

The iPod is an interesting creature. It is basically the ultimate toy that falls under the category of "totally useless but you don't know how you ever lived without it once you have one". Actually, I take it's NOT totally useless. Because I really don't know how people live anymore when they can't have their entire album collection in their hip pocket. But that's only because I have one and I've become one of them.

So this unnecessary intro is basically my segue into me playing the shuffle game to have something to write about to start. Which will basically be me either lauding or ragging on things that I own. And having not only the indignance of OMG I OWN THAT!, it gets added with OMG I TOOK THE TIME TO UPLOAD IT!

Anyhoo, 10 at random, starting now:

Primus, Tommy The Cat: I think there was a time in high school when we all convinced ourselves this album wasn't just Rush on crack. It's also that hindsight thing when Les Claypool figured out that crazed rednecks melodics were where it was at, not the whole thrash thing unto itself. They weren't quite there yet. Also, the first time I had heard this was when I had just woken up from a nap and it was some live version somewhere, and that whole post-sleep thing made it sound about 5x trippier than it would normally.

Elvis Costello, 13 Steps Lead Down: Brutal Youth is an album I've historically gone back and forth on. I think it depends on how much Get Happy! I've consumed at any given point. This period is basically the "Stardust Memories" of EC's career: I like the stuff he put out, but I prefer the early, funnier ones.

The New Pornographers, Sing Me Spanish Techno: TNP are my current crush as far as power pop goes, and that only barely factors in Neko Case. And actually, there's a line from this song that sums up The Pornos best: "listening too long to one song". Because that's one thing that they're trying their damndest to avoid, since the only problem I have with TNP is that most of the songs are these 3-minute shangri-las and just when you're completely immersed in them, it's over. Insert disgruntled ex-girlfriend joke here. You almost wish they had a little MORE pretensiousness in them, because I could stand for the 4th album to be more opus-happy. Cmon, know you wanna. And by the way, to see why I'm making a hubub, here's why

Barenaked Ladies, Next Time: And one of my former crushes, like any good jealous former crush, pops up at an inoppertune moment. The problem with BNL is when they try to be serious, you almost can't take them seriously, but that's the price they pay for trying to be circus monkeys (in the daily mail, even). And that's more the rest of the world's problem then it is my problem, but them's the breaks.

The Tea Party, The Messenger: And if you're keeping score, that's 3 Canadian bands in a row. I can see why Joss Whedon had the idea of putting this song in an episode of Angel, which is where I heard it in the first place, because it's large-scaled, it takes itself too seriously and it whines. Not unlike BroodyMcGlummigan his ownself (re: TVwoP dot com).

Jack Johnson, Wasting Time: I probably bought this during one of my folk phases. The problem with Jack Johnson isn't that he's untalented, it's that he's semmingly made out of spare parts that Sting, Dave Matthews and Ben Harper could no longer use. And what John Mayer didn't take for himself.

Iggy Pop (w/Soul Asylum), Back Door Man: : This is from the Concert For The Rock n Roll HOF 2-CD set that I probably in hindsight overpaid for, since there's about 5 worth-it songs on the whole thing, with this being one of them. And while Jim Morrison ate more chicken than a man's ever seen, Iggy prefers a non-white meat. Like any good rock record, it's loud, it's abrasive and it's over in 3 minutes in a cloud of dust. Actually it's not THAT great and of the 5 aforementioed songs, it's probably 5th.

The Cars, Magic: Since everything in the world comes back around, I didn't think much of the Cars the first time around, but then again I was only old enough to catch them on the back end. It just sounded like everything else sounded like in the 80s. But it's only later when you realize that they had sounded like that 7 years prior and that the rest of the world had merely caught up (see also Mothersbaugh/Mark, Rogers Nelson/ Prince and Heads/Talking for further reference). Although that said, this is more the MTV period. Which can and should be addressed in this space this week considering they're 25 and it makes me realize how blanker blanking old I am at this point. And as if on cue...

Tom Waits, Time: Just the moment I lament about my age, here's Tom Waits lamenting about time, time and time. Normally I love you, but for today take your troupadour hat and stick it.

Willie Nile, Cell Phones Ringing In The Pockets Of The Dead: And speaking of wannabe troupadours, it's Willie Nile, who basically has Tom Waits' career divided by five. However, that said, this song and this album (Streets of New York) are fantastic. Ever wondered what Paul Westerberg would sound like if he hadn't lost his testicles back in 1989? Here you go. See, that sounds like a slag, but really I'm giving this site an extra search engine option. But only for those people who would put "Paul Westerberg testicles" in a search engine. But hey, you gotta grab an audience from somewhere. In Willie Nile's case, it's from other imbittered musicians.

Who Sets The Tone?

I can see this is going to be a point-counterpoint relationship...and that's perfectly okay until the meat axe comes out and the limbs start flying out the window.

Let me lay out the dichotomy for you: my friend here loves Tom Goes To The Mayor, loves it like his long lost brother who's down to his last penny and needs to figure out how to feed his wife and 27 children. On the other hand, I wrote this. Tom Goes To The Mayor walked up to me at a traffic stop and tried to clean my windshield, and dammit if after three trips through the car wash I still can't get the greasy smear of its tatty sleeve off the glass. Matt wants to think TGTTM is a good sort, but I SAW HIM DO THINGS, man. When you weren't looking, that slimy bastard was trying to pick your pocket in line at the McDonald's. I think he was going to split it with that 12 Ounce Mouse son-of-a-bitch behind the dumpster. You can tell it from his eyes.

That's not to say that you can't hang with TGTTM, bud. It's your life. Just hide your wallet when he comes over. And the silverware.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Matt's Introduction

Great. Another blog.

However, we're going to do things a little differently than most.

First, we harbor no illusions at all about ourselves. This isn't important, it's not going to ignite a social and/or intellectual revolution, we're not out to rock your fragile minds. It is what it is; a collection of guys typing whatever crosses our minds and slapping it up on the break-room bulletin board. Any appearance of self-importance on this site is purely accidental or ironic. You can figure out which.

As a rule, I don't have much use for "pop culture". Of course I watch my fair share of TV, listen to my music and watch my DVDs. The main thing that my diverse tastes have in common is that I generally don't enjoy things because it's hot or cool or wicked or whatever the hell kids say these days. It's because I try to appreciate things for what they are instead of what they're marketed to be. Just between Eric and myself, you'll find fans of the obscure (ska music, and yes it DID exist before 1997), the outdated (old time radio), and the charmingly futile (Pittsburgh Pirates).

I'm an individual with my own defined set of tastes. And deep down, dear reader... so are you. Don't hide it, celebrate it. It really is okay to dislike Top 40 radio, or to enjoy reading 18th century poetry. (Pansy.) It's fine to poke a little fun at the shallow platitudes and entertainments we're bombarded with daily. It's acceptable to watch CNN for an hour and say to yourself "Hey, I didn't really learn a single damn thing I didn't already know! That was 40 minutes of rich people arguing with each other and 20 minutes of commercials!" It's even okay to get just a little pissed off sometimes over the whole mess.

We're going to share whatever viewpoints we have here pretty much just for the hell of it. Agree, disagree, point and laugh (either in agreement or derision)... it's up to you. I'll be having some fun along the way and hopefully you will, too.

Eric's Introduction

Our benediction today is a cheerful little jingle composed by Charles Heber Clark for his book Out of the Hurly-Burly. When he cranked this out, he was thinking of Julia Moore, who made a nice living cranking out mawkish odes to dead children back in the day, and therefore was too good a target to leave alone. Mark Twain took a more enduring swing at Ms. Moore's trade in Huckleberry Finn, but I can't help but love Clark's bit of purple poesy:

Willie had a purple monkey climbing on a yellow stick,
And when he sucked the paint all off it made him deathly sick;
And in his latest hours he clasped that monkey in his hand,
And bade good-bye to earth and went into a better land.

Oh! no more he'll shoot his sister with his little wooden gun;
And no more he'll twist the pussy's tail and make him yowl for fun.
The pussy's tail now stands out straight; the gun is laid aside;
The monkey doesn't jump around since little Willie died.

Yes, that's referring to a cat, you filthy children. And if you didn't get a giggle out of that (the poem and my follow-up), you might as well give up on us right now.

The name we ended up going with is from Alexander Pope's satirical epic poem which "celebrated" the agents of decay and stupidity in 18th century England. If you followed my work at all on Tiny Money Land--and honestly, why would you?--you know that it never ceases to amaze me how thick people are becoming these days. Like it says at the top of the page, it makes me dumber just thinking about it. So rather than suffer alone, I decided to drag a few net pals into a whole new collaborative nightmare. And you get to watch!

My goal in this enterprise is based on a couple of unfortunately trendy poses: we're the normal ones and the rest of those jerks with their fingers up their asses have to go. It'll hopefully be funny once in awhile, but when it isn't, let's just pretend I did it on purpose.

If nothing else, this will be an exercise in the contributors keeping each other on their toes. That includes you too, comment field boys and girls.