Monday, February 28, 2005

Good article

A '75 Flashback for Digital Music
Wall Street Journal
February 28, 2005

The digital-music revolution proceeds apace, with all its associated
wonders. But oddly, in one sense the music of 2005 feels like 1975.

Back before the original incarnation of MTV -- an age in which the Walkman
was gaped at like the black monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey -- one of the
great mysterious music moments was finding out what that band with the new
song stuck in your head or climbing the pop charts looked like. If you were
a kid, this revelation often came through a peek at an older brother or
sister's Rolling Stone or People, staying up late to see Saturday Night Live
or Don Kirshner's Rock Concert, or going to the mall and staring up at the
records in the new-release racks.

However you got to this point, the reaction was usually the same: "That's
what Fleetwood Mac look like? No way!" Jace can't ever remember a band
looking like he'd thought they would, and the disparity between reality and
what he'd imagined was often startling, to say the least.

After MTV became a phenomenon in the early 1980s, this "no way" moment
basically ceased to exist for popular acts: For more than a decade, to hear
Madonna, Def Leppard, Duran Duran and other artists of that time was to see
them, too -- and many a music fan had the odd experience of realizing some
new hit songs just weren't as compelling on the radio or on the stereo,
which stripped them of their accompanying videos.

What changed? The biggest thing was that MTV and VH1 cut back dramatically
on the number of videos they played, finding they got better ratings and
more attention for game shows like "Singled Out" and reality numbers like
"Real World" and "Newlyweds." Today, there are video channels such as the
Fuse and the just-relaunched MTV2 trying to fill the music-television niche
that MTV once owned. But for whatever reason, none of them has achieved the
reach or importance that MTV had -- and that's meant that for many, popular
musicians are once again heard rather than seen.

Oddly, the other factor in reducing musicians' visual presence has been the
Internet itself -- and it's reduced it in ways that 1975's music fans would
find startling, despite the fact that they rarely if ever saw a video.

1975 was the age of the LP, which meant umpteen hours of poring over album
art, lyrics, liner notes and whatever else came with a favorite record -- a
process generally begun even before LP hit turntable, as you tried to puzzle
out which songs would be good based on lyrics and titles alone. (Supergeeks
of a certain age will even remember that you could get some idea of a song's
sound by looking at how dense the grooves within the track were. A long,
basically blank stretch within a track meant trouble, particularly if it was
part of a bloated rock opera with passages marked in Roman numerals. We mean
you, Rush.)

One thing that drives CD haters particularly insane is the way standard CD
packaging crunched artwork and accompanying material down to a much-smaller
footprint. But at least that material still existed -- with digital
downloads, the most you typically get is a small image of the album cover
displayed when your jukebox software plays that album's songs. With digital
downloads, album art is now barely bigger than a postage stamp, and liner
notes and lyrics are basically gone.

Yes, some artists and labels have tried to present that material in
different ways -- download U2's "How to Dismantle an Atom Bomb," for
instance, and you'll get the contents of the CD booklet as a PDF. But as
with many efforts to read for pleasure in the digital age, sitting in an
office chair scrolling and magnifying PDFs is a far cry from sprawling on
the rec-room couch with an album jacket. (This is even worse for jazz buffs:
Jazz albums actually have liner notes with something to say.)

But wait, you say -- virtually every band with a record deal now has its own
Web site. Try that in 1975!

True -- today anybody with a Web browser can dive into a new band's bio,
discography and photos with a few mouse clicks, and more and more bands
offer sample MP3s and other goodies. But the difference is that's material
you have to go out and get -- it doesn't come to you the way MTV did. Does
that matter? It may: For many people, music is something they absorb while
doing something else, rather than something they actively want to interact

It'll be years until we know what, if anything, this loss of visuals will
mean for bands trying to forge their own identities in an increasingly
fragmented, winner-take-all music world. In the meantime, as listeners we're
probably even worse at deciphering lyrics than we used to be. And those of
us of a certain age may find ourselves in a time warp, saying things we
thought we'd said for the last time back in the Reagan administration:
"That's what the Killers look like? No way!"

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

For Whom The Shmuck Tolls

Today's Carlin calendar entry:
"As you swim the river of life, do the breast stroke. It helps to clear the turds from your path."


Some good cartoons about the NHL season being cancelled.


Korn's guitarist finds God, leaves band.
Good for him, and fuck the "fans" who give him shit for letting go of anger in his life. You know the ones...they also hate Hetfield for saving his own life.

I know what you might be thinking but, see, this Blog is how I AM letting go of anger.


Michael was trying to figure out what to wear to court when this was taken:

Monday, February 21, 2005

You Know You're An Old Detroiter If

...You took a "moonlight cruise" to Bob-Lo with Captain Bob-Lo
or went to Edgewater Amusement Park.

.....You shopped at Hughes and Hatcher, B Siegel, Peck and Peck,
Himelhoch's, Robert Hall, Crowley's, Shoppers Fair, EJ Korvettes or

.....You rode the elevator at J. L. Hudson's, which was "run" by an elevator operator.

.....You remember a Winkleman's and Sanders store in your neighborhood.

.....You remember the "Big Snow", Buffalo Bob, Howdy Doody, Clarabelle,
Phineas T.Bluster, Princess Summer-Fall-Winter-Spring.

.....You remember Twin Pines Dairy delivered milk and juice to the chute on
the side of your house and Milky the Clown performed magic with the magic
words "Twin Pines."

.....You remember the Good Humor man in a white uniform, ringing the bells
as he drove down your street.

.....You remember Olympia Stadium.

.....You remember when Vernors was made on Woodward Ave., and a bearded
troll was on the bottle.

.....Your Mom got groceries at Great Scott, Food Fair, Wrigley's or Chatham.

.....Your Mom saved Holden Red Stamps, S&H Green stamps, or Gold Bell Gift
stamps, and you licked them into those little books.

.....Kresge's and Woolworth's were "Dime Stores."

.....You had an uncle in the furniture business (Joshua Door).

.....You know who Bill Kennedy is. (Channel 50's "1 o'clock Movie")

.....You saw the Detroit Lions play football in Tiger Stadium.

.....You remember Black Bart and the Faygo song. Or how about "Which way did
he go? He went for Faygo, old fashion root beer."

.....You watched Rita Bell's! prize movies in the morning.

.....You remember Jack LeGoff and Van Patrick.

.....You remember Milky the Clown,
Soupy Sales, Johnny Ginger, Poopdeck Paul, Captain Jolly, Sagebrush Shorty
and maybe even Sergeant Satko Salute.

.....You visited the Wonder Bread Bakery and got to take home a mini loaf of

....! .Your address had a two-digit "zone" before there were zip codes.
Detroit 19, Michigan.

.....You remember "Get on the right track at 9 mile and Mack, to get the
best deal in town. Roy O''s the best deal in town."

.....You remember a laundry chute, milk chute and a coal chute.

.....You remember going to Detroit Edison with your Mom to exchange burned
out light bulbs for new ones.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Send in the Drones

Radio frequency i.d. badges to track students in school

God forbid the teachers shut the door and take attendance. I guess they're too busy to take attendance and look the kids in the eye. Maybe that's the idea? Less personal contact and personal accountability accountability (let the PDA track it) inhibits teachers getting to know who they're students are, becoming attracted to them, then sleeping with them. Think I'm stretching? They wanna cancel SpongeBob and Teletubbies because they're "too gay". And when one drunk idiot rides the JetSki up the lakefront lawn killing a picnic'ing 6 year-old, the Safety Police want to no one to ride jet ski's anymore, ever.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Thanks World

We genetically mutate tomatoes to repel insects naturally, and tolerate striving Super Parents wanting to pick a designer baby fetus, but we never hear about scientists wanting to genetically engineer the ASSHOLE GENE out of the world's DNA, do we?

Thieves Steal Consumer Info Database

Makes me remember asking my very sharp and hip Aunt Nancy, a retired Vice President of a Toledo Bank thru the 70s,80s,90s about why she doesn't do email and the like. Her answer was "because I read '1984' darling. Just you watch."
Funny...on 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent" Sunday night, one of the detective characters commented that he "had read the Patriot Act in its original form..."1984".

Well shit...if I don't go for the '3', I'll let everybody down, now won't I...

Eh?? Get it?? 1984...? Eh??


Colin Farrel and Jamie Foxx are the leads in the Miami Vice movie remake.

This will probably be kickass. Rather than be a funny Ben Stiller-ish sendoff, Michael Mann, who originally wrote and directed Vice in the 80s, then directed 'Thief', 'Heat', and 'Collateral', is writing and directing this movie. So the Slick and Grit will be On I must say. This will be a great flick to get the Bro's out together for a movie night and beers afterwards. Like when ya rally up for a new Bond flick.

And thus rightly so the question is: how updated, or old-school'd, or completely forgotten will the opening credit sequence be in relation to the classic 80s show?

Friday, February 11, 2005


Sorry such lame blogging lately. Been prepping for the hernia operation I had today. A return visit to the same spot I had one operated on in 1990. It sucked. The last time hurt so bad, because somehow the procedure left me feeling like someone put a C-clamp on one of my boys. Like Bigfoot, Thor, and the gunnery sargent from Full Metal Jacket spent 3 hours each kicking me in the groin.

(Btw, those 3 will be singing the TV postcard Christmas Carol on SNL next season. Just you watch.)
SNL-Merry Christmas

This time I'm just sore as hell, walking hunched over like an old man. Very slowly and with pain. Like Han after Vader sizzle-tortured him in Cloud City and Leia had to help him get to the wallslab bunk. Vicodin is my new friend, and what a sweet, cozy warm, silly friend he is. When the high school drama teacher asks people to imagine they’re a rug, or a plant as an acting exercise...Vicodin allows me to win an Oscar for ‘Best ‘Coziest Flannel-Douvais’d Down Comforter.”

I wanna punch the surgeon who did my last hernia. I have NONE of the ‘c-clamp on a nut’ pain I did last time. Just the triple jalapeno Dorito-ian Xtreme raw soreness where the work was done. Makes me wonder what the hell that last guy did to give me quadruple the pain last time. I guess he just sucked.

There was two pains – the hernia pain, and the ‘pinched nut in a vice’ feeling. #2 is gone, the boys feel totally fine. Just feels like a wolverine bit a grapefruit-sized chunk out of me where your front hip bone protrudes.

So I'm spending the weekend with some new CD's and a Level 42 concert video I ordered. And the best surprise of all was that the lead singer/bassist Mark King actually signed my DVD! Like many formerly huge 80s bands, a few original members kept it going on a smaller scale - so the 'Band Machine' is more Mom&Pop. The lead member probably mails out the merch people order himself. Anyway, it was cool. And the dvd is fantastic.

The other CD I got was from Joy as a Valentine present. An out-of-print album that Curt Smith of Tears For Fears recorded in 1991 after leaving TFF. Its major league early 90s Euro-pop, quite the adult contemporary. Curt to this day bemoans he even made it, says he made it to end a contract with MCA. I don't care. It's sweet to me.

Anyway, thanks for letting me share. Blogging during recuperation time feels fun and relaxing. So let's blog:

A little BeLosophy rant from the week:
This past week John Williams and George Lucas were scoring the final Star Wars film, Episode 3, and Wednesday they did alot of the big 12-minute Obi-Wan and Anakin duel scene.

Kinda cool to know that the movie is being scene by a big room of people
this week. Though I'm sure lots of the images are animatics still of

I really hope Williams blew his nut on this score. (Nice Dave, more nut talk). Like when StarWars Mike and I watched the special edition Star Trek; the music of the prequels seems so undermixed and not as dominant as the classic trilogy and the Star Trek's of the 70s. If they did Jedi again now, Luke kicking Darth's ass after the sister comment would have been more lightsabre sizz;le, surround sound room sound of the generator, footsteps, the battle outside...and buried in it would have been that demonic descending choral music Williams wrote. I mean it was just damn obvious Luke was falling into the dark and going apeshit with rage with that music.

I watch the prequels with such an open mind and ear and sometimes I just
feel these holes where someone needed to crank the volume on the music. Or
action scenes where more THX surround effects seem crammed in and the music
is barely heard galloping along. I don't need to hear every shnukkle vendor
in the Pod Arena stands selling Corellian CornNuts, and people cheering, I want that
music jammin. I need some help rooting for the CGCartoons George.

Maybe its fine and I'm getting old. But when I watch Geonosis, the music
isn't penetrating me nearly as much as Hoth or Endor. It was
Music-Image-Sound effects. Now it seems Image-Sound effects-Music.

I think if that original recipe was used, the prequels would have "felt"
better to many who didn't like it. Cuz music is always there, you only
hear it a few times when someone's theme was supposed to be heard. The
rest of the time its background music. The classics the music was always
there. And it buffered some of the more sappy moments or lackluster
transitions. The score told you what you needed to feel when a landspeeder
sped along, or people walked down hallways. Kept you locked in the feel of
the universe. I don't get all the time with the prequels. The music for
the speeder chase on Coruscant is classic Williams and I was straining to hear
it on the film. But when I heard the soundtrack, I never knew there was a
tribal drum solo going on in there. Zam and Anakin's engine sounds were
more prevalent. There's Zappa-ian guitar solos in that scene! I swear, weird stuff.


Speaking of Star Wars, this SW novel is great. 'Shatterpoint'. Think Mace Windu starring in 'Apocalypse Now.' Heavier than the usual SW fare. Definitely a hard PG-13.

Read on if you're one of those people who appreciates or digs on the thought of antiques, or things like inaminate objects that have been around a long time. Like furniture a family had for 150 years and the eras its existed through. Old trees that have been on your block for 80 years. Or Coney Island and all the stories and experiences, memories people had at that place over such a long time. The times these items have seen.

I read an article mentioning one of those Plane Graveyards in the Mojave desert. Where de-commisioned airline planes get stored when they're retired, 747's and the like. Just sitting out there to be used to parts, or to blow up in a movie.

Got me thinking how much thought and emotion would be burned in the upholstery of those planes. How many stories would be contained in the cabins. How many thousands of people over so many years sat in those planes, and thought long and hard about so many things. 200 people, 200 different stories x however many flights x the years the plane was in commission. How much mental energy imbued into those windows, from people looking out them thinking on who they're about see again. Or who they just left, on good or bad terms. Or the life they just left to start anew. Or how much Life Inventory they engaged in having that isolated, private, intense period to be alone with nothing but their thoughts. And being in a plane, you can't pull over. Can't take a detour. Can't move out. Can't stop at a gas station to break for a minute. Plus there's the chance of a crash in the back of your mind. Its a flying 'meditation-with-your-eyes-open' chamber. Its's different than a bus, there's stuff to look at from a bus or train, you can tell where you are. On a plane, you're up there. Just you and air.

People flying to meet someone they love, go home, leave home, leaving a lover, on their way to a funeral, from a funeral, a new job, a dream vacation 10 years in the making, goin to kill someone, comeing from having killed someone. The fear of flying, the anxiety, the glee of someone's first flight. If people can talk about someone 'lighting up a room'...(you don't have to see them come in but you can tell they showed up because the energy of the room changes.) THAT kind of energy is what I'm talkin' about. That energy emitting out the pores from all those plane passengers over the years.

I dunno know. If there was such thing as a 'Plane Whisperer', akin to one of those TV detective 'mediums' that can feel the crime psychic-ley, where it overwhelms them bordering on brain damage, all that power... make one of those mediums press their ear against a decommissioned plane's fuselage to tap into the history. It'd become a scene out of Scanners.


'Meh!...whadda you know??!! Why don't you go name a monkey..."

Well, okay.


Go buy and watch and love Firefly.
FOX deserves a molotov cocktail thru the programmer's doors for screwing up that one.

New band name: Twinkie Barter Coalition.

Monday, February 07, 2005


From my George Carlin at-a-glance desk calendar.
The weekend page:

"Civilization began its downhill path the day some guy first uttered the words "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do."

Monday's page:

"I think many years an advanced civilization intervened with us gentically and gave us just enough intelligence to develop dangerous technology but not enough to use it wisely. Then they sat back to watch the fun. Kind of like a human zoo. And you know something? They're definitely getting their money's worth.


Is it me, or is that as we humans hit senior citizen age, our greeting message on our asnwering machine becomes longer because we talk s l o w e r for some reason. My Dad's work answering machine sounds like Graham Bell's first recording; " Hi...this_is_Bruce. I_can't_come_to_the_phone_right now," etc.....

Either he's doing his best Kirk impression, or most of his customers are new to English and he slows down so they can keep up in translating in their heads.

Fripp says...
"The way we describe our world shows how we think of our world. How we think of our world governs how we interpret our world. How we interpret our world directs how we participate in the world. How we participate in the world shapes the world.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

It's gonna get warmer. Right????

Which of these is an Italian submarine and which one's the Batmobile?


In 7th grade, watching Voltron after-school on Channel 50 in Detroit, I discovered a wonderful scientific thing:
If you eat Chef Boy-R-Dee ravioli and drink orange juice, your burps smell exactly like hot dog burps.


Jerry, I think he's going for the two..

Augmentin, a super antibiotic, makes your pee smell like the pumpkin guts from carving at Halloween.


Buddy jan sent this story from his current adventures in UCLA's MBA program:
I was told this story by a career counselor, Matthew, who works with us at
He was recruiting people for investment banking jobs in Hong Kong, and
part of the interview process for i-banking is a "pressure interview"
where they try to push your buttons to see how you deal with tough

They look through your resume for things you may be defensive about, and
ask you pointed questions about them.

So this interview happened to be the lead pilot on the bombing run to kill
Qadaffi back in the 1980s. He'd gotten out of the military and was
looking for a job in investment banking.

So they sit down across the table, Matthew pulls out the guy's resume, and
the first question he asks is...

"So you're flying over Libya in the dead of night in a multimillion-dollar
aircraft, loaded with bombs, on a top-secret mission to kill Qadaffi. And
you MISSED. Why should I hire you?"

He said the guy told him to f--- off. He gave the guy the job.


Zac and Penny got Joy and I hooked on Firefly, a great scifi series from the Buffy producers. It came and went too quickly due to FOX handling it as badly as their reality show contestants treat the family name back home. Rent it and dig it. It's very easy.


Literal odds on this guy being the next Bond.