Archive for the pop culture Category

R.I.P. Gerry Rafferty

Posted in music, news, obituaries, opinion, pop culture, r.i.p., stars with tags , , , , , on January 5, 2011 by seehoweasy

The first time I heard “Baker Street,” I was in my Aunt and Uncle’s RV with them and my cousins and some of their friends. The lot of us were going to the desert to ride ATCs. Being an 8 year old tremendously moved by music had an endless bouquet of advantages in 1979, and Gerry Rafferty’s constant airplay was just another one of them. Ensconced in all the music American society now deems “classic rock”, songs like “Right Down The Line” and “Baker Street” chilled me to my bones in the best of ways. Melodic and downright inventive in ways pop or rock or whatever you choose to call it rarely is these days. I have grown up to become a musician myself, and have found success that is beyond my mother’s wildest dreams. Being a songwriter, I have come to learn that what Gerry Rafferty accomplished is one of the rarest things in life; to have even one song become a part of American culture is almost impossible, but to have, arguably, two or three, and have them being original works with artistic integrity, well, that is something musicians/music fans like myself consider to be a jackpot of all kinds of sorts that is difficult to wrap one’s brain around. (A quick note to anyone unmoved by his body of work from a creative perspective, as I am sadly and frustratingly aware of the fact that he was not considered as “cool” or “important” by the media or the masses at the time of his passing as I find him to be: he made over $100,000 a year, up until he left us, from the royalties of “Baker Street” alone.) In my twenties, I was the chief songwriter in a rock group, and I studied his songs, finding them to be compositions and not just songs, works of art and not merely forced creations with which to make money and please (the countless and revolting) rattlesnakes in the music industry. His songs inspired me to try and do something as good, and his career was something of a template for what I wanted my band to accomplish. (His songs are currently playing in grocery stores and casinos as I write, so who really cares how “cool” or “important” anyone says he is on Facebook or Myspace?) I later learned that he had fronted Stealer’s Wheel and had success there too with “Stuck In The Middle With You.”

 

I bought his solo efforts, City To City and Night Owl, and the former became one of my favorite records of all-time. The entire album is fantastic, and songs like “Whatever’s Written In Your Heart” and “City To City” are so instantly likable, I am still surprised they are not widely-known. Anyway, he passed away yesterday. He has been out of the public eye for ages, but no one has ever replaced him. I am far from ashamed to admit that I have been listening to his songs all morning and crying my eyes out.

Parenthetically, I had the great honor of meeting Walter Becker a few years ago. (Becker and Donald Fagen had wanted Rafferty to be the vocalist for their new band, Steely Dan, way back in 1971.) I got to tell Mr. Becker what his music meant to me. I tried to, anyway. It was impossible to actually do, but what I said had reached him and it gives me a lot of peace to know I told him. I never did run into Gerry Rafferty, so I have posted this blog instead, and I will pretend I ran into him on the street: “Thank you, Gerry. You don’t see it on Entertainment Tonight or anything, but what you have done is important, and it really matters.” Rest In Peace.

No One Has ADHD. Sorry, It Is Complete Bullshit

Posted in Cheating, crime, lindsay lohan, news, opinion, politics, pop culture, total bullshit, Uncategorized with tags , , on January 3, 2011 by seehoweasy

(NRB Opinion) The other night, a couple of teenagers came over to my house. I had never met them before, they were tagging along with a friend of mine. They were dressed like they had money – and real spiffy, like a lot of thought went into their outfits. They were also two of the rudest people I have ever met. No big deal to me – I am used to rude people, and I don’t take it personally. Besides, they are kids and I am almost forty years old. Anyway, they were a couple “in love.”  She seemed to be the nicer of the two, but it was hard to tell, as she rarely got to finish a sentence. He interrupted her endlessly. He really had a lot of opinions. He knew a lot of things about a lot of things. Then it came out: “I have ADHD,” he informed us, almost like he wore it as a badge of honor. So did she, she told us. They both had ADHD.

I’m no doctor, but I will tell you a story. Years ago, in about 1995 when everyone I knew started getting diagnosed with ADHD, I met a kid who told me about every ten minutes that he had ADHD. We became friends. One day I pointed out to him that whenever we talked about him, or some band he liked, or some girl he wanted to nail, he was all ears. There was nothing medically wrong with him. He was just a selfish dick. Those wound up being his own words he used to describe himself.  A selfish dick. After a while, he proudly exclaimed on a regular basis that he had never had ADHD.

I was thinking while I was talking to these kids last night that their parents just didn’t want to deal with them. “My kid is being difficult. I will put him on some medicine.” It all probably has to do with the fact that both parents commonly work these days. Kids hate that. I promise. But that is for another blog, another day.

I still do not know anyone who has been diagnosed with ADHD who gets distracted when they are talking about themselves. The whole sick thing seems like an excuse to not learn manners, politeness or decency. Like a license to be self-centered to the extreme. Just my opinion. And my apologies to the few people out there who really have it. But they wouldn’t be still reading this, would they?

“I’m On The Toilet” a Good Text Defense Against Unwanted Calls

Posted in crime, lindsay lohan, odors, opinion, pop culture, sluts, texting, total bullshit with tags , , on July 23, 2010 by seehoweasy

(NRB Study) You text someone hello, and suddenly you have an unwanted, incoming call from that person. It has happened to all of us. There are some relationships that just don’t require actual conversations. A text check-in here and there is more than enough, as far as we’re concerned. The other party, upon calling and not getting an answer, is baffled and texts us one of these:

“u there?”

Or…

“wtf”

Or…

“Call Me”

I have learned that a terse “I Am On The Toilet” text scares them away.  The only con is that you will undoubtedly get a really unfunny text or comment from them about how you only contact/think of them while you are taking a shit.

Kissing Like It’s Love by The Voyces

Posted in facial hair, funny, music, music video, pop culture, sluts with tags , , , on June 15, 2010 by seehoweasy

Thank You, In-And-Out Burger, For Not Selling Chicken

Posted in food, lindsay lohan, news, opinion, pop culture, sluts with tags , , , , , , , on June 8, 2010 by seehoweasy

They are the only restaurant left that has not fussed up their menu. They just sell hamburgers and fries. That’s it. They have not added fajitas, or chicken droppers, or apple caddies. They just sell burgers. Thank God.

Remember when the menu at McDonald’s was simple? They had some variety, sure. They had apple pies and fish sandwiches – and a few different kinds of hamburgers. But to walk in there now – I don’t even know where to look anymore.  (Apples?! Seriously? Is anyone going to McDonald’s for fresh fruit?) I get it, so don’t try and school me about our unhealthy American culture, or money, or any of it. I get it. One thing is for sure, and I am using the word very specifically: it is all very, very dorky. Analyzing linguistics and everything – yes, dorky is the perfect word for it.  I mean, have you gone to Taco Bell lately? They frigging sell Doritos. It is so lame (it is not unlike Captain EO at Disneyland).

Jack In The Box, Carl’s Jr., Wendy’s, Burger King – they all need to settle down. Keep it simple.

In-And-Out certainly does not appear to be struggling, despite the fact that they haven’t started selling “jalapeno dippers” or anything else out of their wheelhouse.  Every time I go there, the line is huge. They can call it In-And-Out-In-An-Hour. Doesn’t bother me. The line takes awhile because some people are probably ordering things off of the “secret menu.” Nothing dorky about that.

Gum Sucks Now

Posted in food, lindsay lohan, news, opinion, politics, pop culture, sluts, total bullshit with tags , , , , , , on December 6, 2009 by seehoweasy

Why is it so hard to find good gum anymore? I don’t want to buy three packs of gum. I don’t want some slender box of johnny-come-lately-gee-I’m-good-for-your-teeth gum. I want a solitary, rectangular box of bubble gum. It’s not so simple to get, let me tell you. I know one can find them still. But it’s getting harder.

Often, if I want plain bubble gum flavored bubble gum, I am left with one option. A three-pack of Orbit, which doesn’t even let you blow bubbles! Does it? I wouldn’t know. Their commercials have prevented me from supporting them.

I don’t want toothpaste. I don’t care if it doesn’t promote cavities.

I don’t want mouthwash. I don’t give a flying crap if it freshens my mouth. I mean, the smell of a gumball is pretty awesome all on its own.

I want a pack of gum that doesn’t look like a cigarette case from the 1940’s. With gum in it that promotes tooth decay. And I want to blow huge bubbles.

Stop policing me! Who is doing this? Everything is just getting lamer and lamer now, and gum is just a microcosm of our whole social paradigm: “Ehhhhh, let’s put whitener in the gum, ehhhhhhh.”

Oh sorry, guys! I just wanted to blow a bubble! I’m sorry. I’ll go home and brush my teeth instead. With my toothpaste that a) whitens b) straightens my teeth c) gives me fresh breath d) contains antioxidants e) acts as an appetite suppressant.

Our teeth may be whiter, but who cares if nobody’s smiling.

Grammys 2009: A Detailed Analysis On Why They Sucked

Posted in crime, lindsay lohan, music, news, odors, opinion, politics, pop culture, sluts, stars, total bullshit with tags , on March 4, 2009 by seehoweasy

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I have been meaning to blog about the catastrophe that was the 2009 Grammy Awards since the morning after they aired.  I had a bunch of notes and everything.  I had decided that, since I could not move myself to blog for a couple of following weeks, I would never get around to it.   But it has been nagging at my soul, because music is my favorite thing in all of life, so here goes:

First, some back-story.  I have been watching the Grammys since I was nine years old. To put that into focus, Christopher Cross cleaned up.  Even when rock music started to lift itself onto a gurney, and hook itself up to an i.v. in about 1987-88, I continued to make my watching these awards an annual event.  By the early 90’s, it was commonplace for me to watch them alone and with guilt.  Everyone in my life panned even the concept of watching.  And most of the people in my life have always been artists and musicians.

Me: “Are you gonna watch the Grammys?”

Someone: Why?”

Someone else: “Fuck no.”

I was used to it.  And I couldn’t blame them for reacting that way. The show has ALWAYS mostly sucked.  I have always known this going in. I watch for two primary reasons: First, it is to be awestruck by the possible attendance of any “gods” or “goddesses” in the world of music.  Even if he or she is simply sitting in the crowd, it excites me to see them.

“Rewind! They just showed Prince!”

Or…

“That was Paul Simon!”

Or…

“Holy Shit! Dave Brubeck!”

Or…

“Aretha Franklin!”

Or…

“JIMMY PAGE!!!! Are you KIDDING ME?”

Stuff like that.

The second reason I watch is so I can deride the hacks.  Man, that is fun when you are watching with other people. (I notice that males like to put down musicians and females like to make fun of others weight.)

Me: “Does Billy Corgan ever write melodies?”

A guy: “Who?”

Another guy: “Exactly”

A girl: “His date is fat.”

Although there has been, in my opinion, no legitimate musical “happening” since Amy Winehouse (before that, Outkast), this year I put out a tray of snacks and tuned  into CBS with bated breath.

Again, I do not have my notes, but I will go by memory as best I can.

U2 opened the show.  (I am not a fan exactly, but I think “Stuck In A Moment”, “Sunday, Bloody Sunday”, “New Years Day”, and a couple of others warrant their entire career. )

It was fucking terrible. Way less there than meets the eye. Big lights. A lot of jumping around. It seemed very loud. But I could not find an actual tune of any kind. I muted the TV.  One minute into the 2009 Grammy Awards, and I am muting the TV. Yikes.

And I am well aware of all the pro-U2 arguments.  Shove ’em.  U2 was awful.

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Next up was Carrie Underwood.  I guess she played a Country song. It sounded like Rock and Roll to me, and sadly, it was a highlight of the night. Her guitarist was great. She flirted with an actual melody. It sucked, but compared to most of what followed, it was a highlight. Jesus, that is sad to write.  Parenthetically, my father has more stage presence than Bible-toting Carrie. And the last time I saw eyes that vacuous, I was talking to a teller at my post office here in New York.

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Oh yeah, sometime pretty early on, Whitney Houston came out.  But is was not to sing some new masterpiece.  She looked healthy. (Coughing loudly.)

Al Green sang a song from 1972.  Nailed it! (Coughing even louder.)

See, I need my notes. I forget the order. Ah well…

At some point The Jonas Brothers played.  They are The Bay City Rollers of the day, and I oddly have no problem with them.  Cringing as I write…another highlight.

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At least they flirted with a melody.

Oh yeah, and they wheeled Stevie Wonder out so he could try and class things up. He played a song (with The Brothers Jonas) from 1971.

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Then there was Coldplay.  I can’t get a Coldplay fan to hum me one of their songs. Watching them win an award is bewildering and agonizing.  Watching them try to “bond” with Paul McCartney was funny.  Yeah, aside from the Sgt. Pepper-ish suits, you guys have nothing in common with any former Beatle.

Some people swear by this band. I don’t know. When they won, it marked the first time during the ceremony that I started thinking that the whole thing is “fixed” and political.

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At some point Justin Timberlake came out and sang in the right key.

Warning: I am about to dis the beloved Radiohead.

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I know that their fans and the band could care less about my opinion, but here it is anyway.  Just because a group does not write songs in a traditional mold, it does not automatically mean they are geniuses.  It just doesn’t.  Sorry.  Like Coldplay, I can’t even get one of Radiohead’s own fans to hum me a tune.  I can’t help it, this bothers me.

Suffice to say, I watched these ceremonies with a Radiohead fan, and they too thought this was dogshit.

Fleetwood Mac used the USC marching band on “Tusk” in the 1980 recording, and on stage during 1997’s “The Dance.”  The difference there was that all of the hoopla created by the drummers, etc., transpired over an actual song; the horns had a melody to play.

So, summing up about Radiohead: BOOOOOOOOOOO!

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At some point, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss sang a song that everyone was jizzing over.  To me, it was just okay.  But I won’t say anything bad about Plant. He is WAY too cool and real to be there at all, I kept thinking.

Adele was the genuine highlight of the night.  Hers was, far and away, the best song I heard. adele-431x500

So of course, she was not allowed to play the whole thing. And her song did not win.

Her loss caused me to start to watch with one eye.

With one eye, I saw Jay-Z making shit up as he went along.

I saw Paul McCartney sing a song he wrote in 1963.

I saw some Smokey Robinson casino-style revue of songs even older.

I saw movie stars announce awards, because they could not find enough musicians who wanted to attend.

I left the TV on mute for about the last hour or so.

I was busy having a conversation about how “this is what happens when the wrong people start running the music industry.”

Me: “The worst Grammys ever.”

A guy: “Totally.”

A girl: Gweneth looked gaunt.”

Next morning, I see that the ratings were up from last year. That was when I threw out my notes.