Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Quickie Before Bedtime

  • Quick take on Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?: Loved this the first time a saw it...when they called it Jaywalking.

    Actually, I think they chose the wrong Blue Collar comedian for this program, and the wrong title. The level of contestant on the first outing cries out for "Here's Your Sign."
  • Once again, television makes me miss all the good stuff. From Good Magazine (an actual dead-tree bimonthly which I didn't know existed before tonight), Michael Silverblatt tells you "why you never learned to read"...and why it's not a contradiction that you just found out by reading something.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A Musical Revelation

I figured it out.

I realized why I listen to Dashboard Confessional.

See, I acquired their 2006 release, Dusk and Summer the other weekend. I'd forgotten just how much I missed Chris Carrabba's plaintive wailing of the scribblings you might find on a hormone-addled 8th-grader's notebook.

It's so melodramatic, so delightfully over-the-top, so incredibly cliched that I just... can't... stop listening to it. Over and over. Musically and lyrically, something new pops up every listen to grab my attention and tickle my funny bone.

"Reason To Believe" is a great example. Check out the opening lines, sung in a piercing moan: "Oh sweet lungs don't fail me now / Your burning has turned into fear / Drills me in my every step, I'm moving quick but you're always on my heels"

Wow. All that just 33 seconds in. Then there's this delightful chorus: "Breathe, don't you want to breathe / I know that you are strong enough to handle what I need / My capillaries scream, there's nothing left to feed on / My body needs a reason to cross that line / Will you carry me there one more time?"

Seriously, I think this entire song is about his cardiovascular system. It's innovative, but who the hell is gonna buy that to put in a commercial? Low-fat margarine? Asthma inhaler? Yes, asthma inhaler. That will work.

The theme continues on the next track, "The Secret's In The Telling". "Your name is pounding through my veins / Can't you hear how it is sung? / and I can taste you in my mouth / before the words escape my lungs". I'm beginning to suspect this album was written in study hall right after biology.

The hits keep on coming. Adam Duritz from Counting Crows comes by to warble a few lines in "So Long, So Long". "Stolen" features the eloquent chorus "You have stolen my heart". "Slow Decay" is (for no apparent reason) about a wounded soldier home from the war. And top everything off, the final song "Heaven Here" causes Bach to turn over in his grave and bend his tuning fork thanks to breaking several basic rules of harmony. (Parallel movement between open fifths is WRONG, shitheel! You fail at music theory! And would it kill you to use a standard-tuned guitar once a year?)

Overall it adds up to a musical and lyrical equivalent of not just a car wreck, but a ten car pileup featuring nothing but 1993 Honda Civics with rear window decals and black bumper stickers bought at Hot Topic. It's painful and hilarious at once, maddening and hysterical, enough to make you want to lobotomize yourself with crochet hooks while cackling insanely at how literally Carrabba has managed to use the word "heart" for the 98th time in this album.

For these wholly ironic reasons, I will keep this album on my computer forever, right next to all their other full-length releases and EPs on my hard drive. And also on CD to listen to in my car and at work. For irony.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Welcome To Jack Bauer Career Options Theater!

Once again, I post this for one of my partners because he can't hear me lalalalalala...

The conversation in Wednesday night's chat made its way to Bob Barker's retirement (again), but as usual, it doesn't take much to send these people off into their own little world.

EasyEW: When is Bob Barker leaving again?
KelvinNYC: August, I think.
EasyEW: That'll be a day to save
KelvinNYC: I'm sure Howie Mandel has already been approached to do the show since TV execs can't see beyond current game show hosts for another game show.
EasyEW: aw nononono
EasyEW: Howie's just not a good fit
KelvinNYC: or John McEnroe
EasyEW: STOP IT
Ska: $800 FOR A TOASTER
EasyEW: that just HURTS
Ska: ARE YOU SERIOUS
Ska: YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS
KelvinNYC: LET'S PLAY... GOLD CASE!
EasyEW: hahaha
KelvinNYC: That one!
KelvinNYC: btw... Mountain Climber is easy as f**k to win
KelvinNYC: 20-30-40
Ska: I dunno, now I really want McEnroe to host
KelvinNYC: and bam, you've won
KelvinNYC: Ten Chances, hosted by Mac would rule.
Ska: or Jack Bauer
KelvinNYC: Toaster: 4 2 0
Ska: TELL ME HOW MUCH THE CAR IS
Ska: TELL ME!
Ska shoots contestant in knee
Contestant: I DON'T KNOW
Contestant: PLEASE STOP
JackBauer: WRONG ANSWER
JackBauer pulls cord out from $28 floor lamp
JackBauer walks menacingly toward contestant
Contestant: NO
Contestant: NO
Contestant: 24,580
JackBauer: ...
JackBauer: That's what the Chinese told you to say.
Contestant: NO... I SWEAR IT'S NOT
Contestant: PLEASE... I HAVE A FAMILY
JackBauer pulls back the $24,580 card
JackBauer: ...
JackBauer: AND THEY WERE RIGHT!
JackBauer: CONGRATULATIONS, ENJOY YOUR NEW CONVERTIBLE!
Contestant: THANK YOU JACK!!!
Contestant: WHOOO
Contestant: *HUGS*
JackBauer: Oh, it's rigged with a tactical nuke set to go off in 45 seconds.
Contestant runs off
Contestant: wait, what?
DigitalTimer: BEEP
DigitalTimer: BEEP
DigitalTimer: BEEP
DigitalTimer: BEEP
Contestant: YOU SONOFA
DigitalTimer: BEEP
Ska takes a bow
KelvinNYC: and scene

And yes, we talk in stage directions. Doesn't everybody?

(And while we're on the topic of roleplaying, here's a long overdue plug for Testicles Chowdhury...most peculiar, but it's best to keep the weird ones where you can see 'em, so of course we do.)

Friday, February 09, 2007

Optimizing Gary's Traffic

Although I'm going to miss the rare video and music clips once the final copyright crackdown happens, YouTube won't be a total loss if we still get things like these magic moments with Gary Ruplinger, search engine optimization expert. At least that's what he calls himself, but you'd think an "expert" would be able to spell his own URL. He also has such a twitchy camera presence that you suspect he'd leave a cartoon-like hole in the ceiling if you snuck up on him and said "boo". And yet in spite of his general squirminess, at no time do his shoulders ever move!

Come on, you have to see it now.

What A Waste


You could argue that if Anna Nicole Smith had not lived the last years of her life as a shambling, drug-fogged wreck, and not dedicated so much energy to making a spectacle of herself rather than building a spectacle around herself, there would be a chance of her being alive today.

There would also be a chance that we would never have heard of her. And I'm sure that as far as she was concerned, that just wouldn't do.