Another story involving privates and death: the unfortunate demise of Kung Fu

It’s a cliché.  Mothers encourage their children to make sure they have clean underwear on.  Why?  Because, you don’t want someone to see your dirty underwear if you get into an accident. 

Of course, mothers do not say this because they want to keep you from being embarrassed.  If you are in a car accident the force of which rips your pants right off of you, exposing your dirty underwear, you are probably not in a position to worry about how bright and white they are at that point.  In fact, if you see it coming, you’ll probably carpet bomb your boxers anyway.

The point is: your mom’s not worried about how this stuff will affect you, she’s worried about what other people will think about her.  But, in the end she’s right.  You should not embarrass your mother or anyone else who knows you by having the world exposed to your dirty underwear.

I guess it’s pretty obvious at this point that David Carradine’s mother never had this conversation with him.

Yesterday, it was reported that Carradine was found hanged in a hotel room in Bangkok.   This in itself immediately throws up a red flag.  At one point, it was reported that it was a homicide.  Then, later it was reported as a suicide.  At the end of the day, I saw a report that he was also found nude.  Nude…, hanging…, Thailand….  You knew at that point it was going to be sordid.

So, today we awoke with a start to find out that he was found nude in a closet with shoelaces tied around the closet rod, his neck, and his penis…alone.  [shudder]  This is never good.

The world will never be able to hear the phrase, “Snatch the pebble from my hand” without giggling again.

The Foxnews story doesn’t get any better.  Several things in it caught me as interesting.  First, the name of police spokesman who commented on the case was Lt. Gen. Worapong Chewprecha.  Greatest name ever.

The second odd thing was the options given as a cause of death.  “The two ropes were tied together,” he said. “It is unclear whether he committed suicide or not or he died of suffocation or heart failure due to an orgasm.”  I’ll bet Carradine’s mother would not choose the oragasm option.

I found the following quote interesting.  “All we can say is, we know David would never have committed suicide,” said Tiffany Smith, of Binder & Associates, his management company. “We’re just waiting for them to finish the investigation and find out what really happened. He really appreciated everything life has to give … and that’s not something David would ever do to himself.”  I think the obvious question at this point is; Is anyone in a position claim to know what motivated Carradine and what he was capable of ‘doing to himself’ at this point?

Finally, he was 72.  I guess if people are going to continue to prove that they are incapable of knowing when its time to leave their privates alone, we will have to legislate the point at which the privates are no longer allowed to be used for sexual functions.

In a related story, residents of Conisbrough, South Yorkshire, England in a failed attempt to balance to karmic implications of the Carradine imbroglio have changed the name of Butt Hole Road to Archers Way.

Hopping on the Bandwagon

The day after the election, I went to a local fabric store with my wife.  While she was browsing, and I was futilely looking for something to catch my interest, I looked up and saw four full bolts of Barrack Obama fleece that I assume people were supposed to make blankets with.  I was confused and appalled.  Since that time, I have felt like I was being bombarded with Obama products.  The latest Obamination being the Obama Chia Pet.

So, in a effort to add my own instrument to the cacophony, I decided the time had come to bring together America’s new savior and the Savior of men.  Enjoy.

imga0262

Hold on,…Back the Lincoln Up!

Obama has been President for ony two weeks, and today we are being told that ‘historians’ are comparing his presidency to that of Lincoln.  Really?  I don’t for a minute believe that any serious historian would lower himself to such a comparison.  Historians deal with history, and two weeks doth not a history make.  I hope the guy is great, but let him be great first.  Please stop this hack job love affair.  And, give Lincoln a little more respect.  He deserves it.

I don’t know if I can take four years of this.

Group Day, American Idol Season 8 (2009)

Find my latest American Idol Article here.

Group day is like the drunk uncle that shows up once a year to ruin everyone’s Thanksgiving.  I started to cut the producers of the show a little slack, and defend the need for them to be sure the contestants can function in a group dynamic, but that has little to do with it.  Their purpose in this show is to engineer a train wreck because they know that no one can take their eyes off a train wreck.  It has nothing to do with making the final product better or helping the contestants.

This year, they got exactly what they wish for.  By putting less talented people with obvious social deficiencies through in the early round, they created the perfect storm of conflicts between a group of self-centered young people who want nothing more than to have someone else to blame for their personality failures or lack of talent.  In fact, I would say that this was the biggest ill conceived coming together since Michael Vick tried to play match-maker with a bunch of pit bulls.

I have made a few predictions up to this point, and I may have to do some early backtracking on my David Osmond prediction.  However, if I am going to take the hit for that, I am going to take credit for predicting that social misfits like Tatiana, rat haired Rose, Tatooed Emily, and Bikini Girl would have problems functioning in a group dynamic.

To prove that the train wreck was the point of the show, Idol spent about seven minutes of the show actually showing people singing.  So, I will address the train wreck.

Tatiana- She is obviously a clinical psychopath.  It took her about five minutes to begin to destroy one group, and then she decided to destroy another.  I do not believe she could ever be mistaken for a team player.  She is her team, and the only reason that she was able to function in her group at all was because she loved herself too much to allow herself to fail.  At the end of the show, she showed that she may be the one person on the planet that is more egocentric than Paris Hilton, when she thanked everyone there, and announced that they were “all part of me.”  I can’t wait till that personality of hers fails to get her one vote if she makes it to the top 24.

I felt a little sympathy for Tatooed Emily as real tears flowed down her face after she forgot the words to her song.  I found her quote, “This is the only thing I know how to do” to be a little odd.  Having your two days on Idol as your only aspiration and the only thing you can put on a resume is probably not a good thing.  I recommend the GED, hard work, and perhaps college as a way of learning how to do something that is both profittable to yourself and society.  But alas, this would be infinitely more dificult than singing a few times, being famous, and being given lots of money.

Rose climbed to the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs when she looked in the mirror with complete self-actualization and announced, “I look like a big pile of crap.”  In that moment, she indeed saw herself as she actually was, and she left her room without changing a thing.  Her loner attitude was a red-flag for the group competition, but she got lucky when Bikini Girl join the group, and became the focus of everyone else’s angst.

Speaking of Bikini Girl (also a psychopath), it’s a toss up between her and Tatiana when it comes to egocentrism.  She showed her ass to America when she would not even congratulate Jasmine, the only nice person, and the only good singer in the group.  At least we do not have to look at her crossed eyes and Rose’s ratty hair any more.

Finally, the ironically named ‘Team Compromise’ showed that every now and then a group has no hope at all.  The guy was a useless crier, and the girls hardly even tried to get along.  However, in the end, the problem with the group was apparent, and it was Nancy.  Her very aggressive, passive aggressive attitudes early in their practicing were a truly destructive force.  And, in the end, she needs to look around, only one person in the group did not go through to the next round, and it was her.  She was the weak link in the group, and she only has herself to blame, but don’t count on that ever happening.

So, at this point, it’s best to put last night behind us all, and act as if it never really happened.  We’ll move on and hope that the judges can effectively separate the wheat from the chaff.

p.s. Evil Paula was funny.

Google Crawls into Bed with Al Gore (Yuck!)

Thank goodness for Google!

It seems Google has teamed up with Algore to make the world safe for everyone.  They have decided to add the ocean floor and Mars to Google Earth.  That’s cool.  I’ll probably poke around a little and try to learn something from this.

But wait!  What was Algore  doing there?  Oh yeah, he was there to show his support for their new ‘Global Warming Add-on’ feature.  It seems they will use mounds and mounds of satellite data (sometimes dating back as far as a decade) to us how we are destroying the Earth.  This is a new low in the shallow-data scientific propaganda that is the favorite weapon of the Greenies.  Maybe, they drove up and down my street last week to get updated maps of how Global Warming was effecting the ice from the storm we had last Wednesday.  I do live in Texas so the effects of Global Warming were pretty apparent the next day on that ice.

They intend to focus on ‘evidence’ that will support their view.  For instance, they will show the melt off of the biggest glacier in Glacier National Park over the last decade.  They probably will not focus on the glaciers that are growing in Norway, the Himalayas, on Mount Logan in Canada, on Mount Shasta and other places.  This would not be good for their agenda.  Just in case, however, people are not able to interpret disaster from the images, Google will provide videos ‘contributed by scientists and organizations around the world.’   By doing so, they will explain how the images support their Global Warming contentions.

I find it irresponsible and disingenuous for Google and a group of people who claim to be scientists (Al Gore and Jimmy Buffett are definitely not scientists) to put this out as if it will educate people about global warming.  There cannot be enough data at Google’s disposal, at this point, to allow anyone, even a scientist to draw a conclusion about Global Warming, Earth warming trends or the possible effects of either.

The clincher was at the end of the FoxNews article where Google CEO Eric Schmidt said, “What it really is… is a platform for science and research and literally understanding the future of the world.”  Isn’t that statement a little much?  I buy that having this data as a repository for future study could be beneficial down the road, but a good scientist does not draw a conclusion, or ‘predict the future’ when only 1% of the data is available to study.  Truly, you might as well use the melt off from my lawn last week to predict the future.

Top 20 Pop/Rock Songs from 1984

1984 continues the run of great hits that came with the middle of the 1980s.  I had real problems narrowing the list down to 20 for this year.  As a result, from thus point, at least through 1986, I will give a list of songs that almost made the cut at the end.

20.  “Uptown Girl”, Billy Joel– This song was one of the many hits off his Innocent Man album.  It continues the be-bop style that was found in “Tell Her About It”.  The video featured his then wife Christy Brinkley looking very nice, and Joel as a mechanic.  It’s a fun song, and I chose it over his other hit from that year, “An Innocent Man”.

19.  “Say Say Say”, Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson– This is the third duet featuring McCartney to chart in a two year period, and the second for the team of Jackson and McCartney.  The other Jackson/McCartney song was “The Girl Is Mine”, and the third duet was the Stevie Wonder/McCartney hit “Ebony and Ivory”.  “Say Say Say” is a fun song, and it stayed in Billboard’s #1 slot for six weeks which was impressive considering the other great music that was out that year.

18.  “Here Comes The Rain Again”, Eurythmics– This is the second song from the Annie Lennox led band to make one of my lists.  It carries on many of the qualities of their earlier hit, “Sweet Dreams” including great vocals, keyboards , and a prominent use of stringed instruments (not just guitars).  Lennox’s voice has a smoky affectedness to it that makes it interesting to listen to.

17.  “I Can Dream About You”, Dan Hartman– This is definitely a one-hit-wonder from a guy I could not have named if you had paid me, but I could easily sing the song a the way through though.  It has a very catchy melody that moves along briskly and is easy to follow.

16.  “Easy Lover”, Phillip Bailey duet with Phil Collins– This is one of my top three duets of the 1980s.  The two Phils’ voices sound great together.  Collins is great as usual, and Bailey shows that he really has some pipes and range when he takes over for his verses.  For those who do not know, Phillip Bailey sang with Earth Wind and Fire before he teamed up with Collins.  He later had a solo career in Christian Contemporary Music, and finally rejoined his old band, re-billed as Phillip Bailey and Earth Wind and Fire to continue releasing music on the Christian charts.

15.  “Sister Christian”, Night Ranger– This was a great Power Ballad by a one-hit-wonder band, and recounts the coming of age of a young woman.  In the video, the band is stereotypically 80s from the hair to the dress.  The song is a very good representation of a power ballad sung by a ‘hard rock group.  It begins with a nice, soft keyboard and vocal, but by the chorus has developed into a full-fledged power ballad.

14.  “Wrapped Around Your Finger”, The Police– This is one of my favorite Police songs.  It has a subdued sultry tone that at times seems almost haunting.  The main instrument in the verses in the chime, and it sounds great as a punctuator for Stings voice.  The melody is easy to sing and memorable, and video looks great with the candles everywhere in a sort of maze.

13.  “Hold Me Now”, Thompson Twins– This is a very nice, easy to sing song by one of the many semi-androgynous British New Wave bands of the 80s.

12.  “Oh Sherrie”, Steve Perry– Steve Perry finally decided that the best way to showcase his great vocal ability was to dump his band, and in 1983 he released his first solo hit, “Oh Sherrie”.  It is a great song that begins with him belting out the first line a cappella.  The background vocals are also nice on this song.

11. “Legs”, ZZ Top– This was the biggest in a strong if hits by the iconic and very hairy guitar band.  Even their guitars were hairy, but ZZ Top was just cool.  I remember the video with that super-hot girl in it.  Nice.  I went to their Eliminator tour, and saw them on the fourth night of four sold out shows at reunion arena in Dallas.  It was great, even though they played a lot of old stuff I had never heard before.  The stage was the dashboard of the car from the video, and halfway through the show it morphed into the control panel for the space shuttle.  This concert was my first exposure to large groups of people smoking pot.

10.  “Pride (In The Name Of Love)”, U2– I have a confession.  I did not like U2 in high school.  I don’t even know why.  As a result, I do not know a lot of their stuff, but as the years have gone by, I have been confronted with the undeniable truth that they recorded some of the great songs of the 80s.  Today, I have a reason not to like them (I don’t see eye to eye with all of Bono’s politics), but I realize that songs like “Pride” are great, and deserve to be in any 80s list.

9.  “Like a Virgin”, Madonna– Madonna made my high school pants go crazy.  Her music before this “Lucky Star” and “Borderline” had a lot more of a be-bop quality.  “Like a Virgin” had a different quality, sexuality, and it worked.  Her slightly nasal voice fit in well with her new attitude.  I still remember her singing this on the VMAs while wearing a hot wedding dress.  Nice.

8.  “Shout”, Tears for Fears– This was the first mega hit for the British pop band.  It has a driving beat that I can still hear as a ‘Boom, Boom, Boom” of the rim-shots in my head as I think about this song.  It is right in a teenager’s wheelhouse with its angst-ridden lyrics that are all about expressing your rage at that age.  Oddly, the angry lyrics and beat are backed up by a very nice vocal, especially in the verses.

7.  “Drive”, Cars– The slow cool sound of this song is a departure from the normally quirky, syncopated style that the band normally put forth.  It showcased Rick Ocasek’s unique vocals, and tackles the unusual subject, for a pop song, of drug abuse.  I chose it over “You Might Think”, which is undeniably a more traditional Cars’ song, simply because I like it better.

6.  “Hard Habit To Break”, Chicago This was the second release (the first being, “Stay the Night”) from the mega-album, Chicago 17.  It featured dual vocals from Bill Champlin and the rising star, Peter Certera.  This song recaptured the more traditional Chicago big-band sound with a great horn part in the middle while retaining their new Power Ballad style that was seen on Chicago 16.

5.  “If This Is It”, Huey Lewis and The News  This was the hardest choice that I have had to make between two songs by the same band in the same year on these lists up to this point.  In the end, I chose “If This is It” over “The Heart Of Rock ‘N’ Roll” because I like to do-wap sound in the first one better than the “Rock Around the Clock” style of the second one (though as I write this, it does not sound like a very good reason).  They are both great songs, and Lewis shows his versatility by being able to sing the ballad or the rock song very well.  In the end, I’ll just flip a coin.  Heads it is, and I still choose “If This is It.”

4. “Owner Of A Lonely Heart”, Yes– Guitar is the star instrument in this progressive rock anthem by the British band, Yes, from the distorted guitar at the beginning to the long guitar solo in the middle of the song.  The vocals, provided by lead singer Jon Anderson have an almost hard rock quality which would have worked with a band such as Poison, Metallica or Def Leppard.  The back-up vocal, provided by Trevor Horn, who wrote the song, provides the familiar refrain “Owner of a Lonely Heart!” in the song.  The whole tone to his vocals is a nice contrast to the rocker sound of Anderson.  The video for this song is a surreal journey into the mind of a crazy person, and could have been a predecessor for the Fear Factor show.

3.  “Time After Time”, Cyndi Lauper– Lauper’s persona at the time was a big turn-off to me, but I’ll have to admit, she could write and sing a song very well when she really wanted to.  I still like this song today, and am pleased when I hear it on the radio or in a restaurant.  It gets tons of play, and is often heard in the score of a movie.  It has been covered on about 50 albums including artists such as Willie Nelson and Christian artist Phil Keaggy.  The most memorable appearances in movies include Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion and Napoleon Dynamite.  It was easy for me to choose this song over her other 1984 whip of a hit “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.”

2.  “Hello”, Lionel Richie– After making his mark with the Commodores’ “Three Times a Lady,” and “Still,” and again later with his smash duet with Diana Ross, “Endless Love,”  Richie released his first solo album in 1982 which included the hit, “Truly,” but was otherwise unremarkable.  In 1983, he released his super-album, Can’t Slow Down from which six of the eight songs were released and did well.  The best of these songs was unquestionably “Hello.”  It’s a beautiful love song, and the video featuring Richie who is in love with a blind woman is very memorable. 

I went to see Lionel Richie in concert when I was in high school.  It was a good show with Sheila E. singing in her underwear (hot!), and a superior technical performance when Richie took the stage.  Back then, you had to buy a T-shirt every time you went to a concert, and I bought one that was black with a big Lionel Richie face on it in some puffy raised-up synthetic paint (so gay).  I remember wearing it to Sunday night church (Sunday night was less formal in our church of about 800 regulars).  At the end of the service, I was standing there talking with my buddies when the preacher walked up to me, and tapped me on the back.  “I was just wondering who the black guy was that was staring at me the whole time I was preaching.”  I’m sure I turned red, and I was never quite sure if it was the fact that I wore a concert T-shirt to church that he did not like or the fact that there was a black man on it that he did not like.  In any case, I did not wear that shirt to church again.

1.  “Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)”, Phil Collins– I know I am fudging on one of my rules by having “Easy Lover” at #16, and this at number one, but I chose to look at the duet as a different group in this case, much like I would not have a problem putting a Genesis and a Phil Collins song on the same list.  This is one of the most soulful love songs (or ‘my heart has been ripped out’ songs) that you are ever going to hear.  It’s perfect.  The piano part is memorable, and the vocal is great.  I would love to sing along with it, but I can’t make my voice do the kinds of things that Collins can.  This is another song that came on the heals of Collins’ messy divorce, and his pain is evident in the lyrics and vocal.  The song was released as the title song of a movie starring Jeff Bridges and James Wood which was a remake of an old Robert Mitchum movie called Out of the Past.

 

Here is a list of songs I liked that did not make it onto the list in 1984:

“The Warrior”, Scandal

“Almost Paradise”, Mike Reno and Ann Wilson

“Say It Isn’t So”, Daryl Hall and John Oates

“I Just Called To Say I Love You”, Stevie Wonder

“Cruel Summer”, Bananarama

“Missing You”, John Waite

“On The Dark Side”, John Cafferty and The Beaver Brown Band

“Footloose”, Kenny Loggins

“One Night In Bangkok”, Murray Head

“Joanna”, Kool & The Gang

“God Bless the USA”, Lee Greenwood

“Jump”, Van Halen

“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”, Wham!

 

Top 20 80s Pop/Rock Songs (Category)

Top 20 1980’s Pop/Rock Songs By Year (Criteria)

Top 20 Pop/Rock Songs from 1980

Top 20 Pop/Rock Songs from 1981

Top 20 Pop/Rock Songs from 1982

Top 20 Pop/Rock Songs from 1983

Top 20 Pop/Rock Songs from 1985

Top 20 Pop/Rock Songs from 1986

Top 20 Pop/Rock Songs from 1987

American Idol Week 2 Auditions Season 8 (2009)

Find my latest American Idol article here.

As I watched this week’s American Idol tryouts, I was struck by the fact that they have become tired.  This, of course, is not good for the show, and may be the first chink in its up till now platinum armor.

The theme this year is definitely ‘style over substance.’  The producers have shown us three things so far, idiots, people with nice personalities and people with good back stories.  I have not been overly impressed the the singing ability of one person that they have shown so far (there have been three or four decent ones though).  I hold out hope that the really good singers just do not have the back-story or personality that the producers of the show are looking for this point.

I am going to take a preemptive shot at Idol here.  I have always disliked the group performance once the contestants make it to Hollywood.  There are always a few people who simply refuse to work with other people or do not have the talent to do so.  It just is not fair to send some good singers home because they are forced into a group containing someone who has a bad attitude.  Mark my words, that full-of-herself little girl from Puerto Rico with the irritating laugh will not be able to function in a group.

Speaking of her, that brings me to another point that is getting under my skin.  Last night the irritating little Puerto Rican made a statement that is being said on a regular basis by those who are trying out for the show, and some others who are dismissed from the show.  She said when asked why she was there, “I deserve to be the next American Idol.”   Look, I do not have a problem with a person having a positive attitude.  If she had just said, “I am going to be the next American Idol,” it would have been great, but hearing these kids many of whom are not even out of high school imply that they deserve to become the Idol is just wrong.  As the great Clint Eastwood once said, “Deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it.”  All these kids deserve is a high school diploma if they have earned it, and a swift kick in their asses to encourage them to get out of the house and become a productive member of society.

Finally, to Kara, shut the hell up and let Simon finish what he is saying.  Your bitchy little attitude that expects him to let you ramble on like Paula while at the same time expecting to be able to cut him off dissmissively whenever he comes close to criticizing someone you like (even if he’s trying to be constructive about it), is not going to fly.