Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Somehow, my entry got deleted. It was posted, then gone, with only a headline left. This is sad because I spent a long time on that entry. If anyone anywhere knows how I might be able to get it back, I'm in your hands. In the meantime, here's The Weakerthans' "Tournament of Hearts." Songs about curling rule.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Anyway, merry Christmas to all. It's before 10 a.m. and I got up about 20 minutes ago. Right now I'm staring at all my presents, but I can't open them till I eat breakfast, which is being cooked right now. Woo-hoo.
None of this is the reason I'm writing, though. The last couple days, I've been having a discussion with a friend about whether "Die Hard" is a holiday classic. I was on the fence.
Then, last night, I got back from my aunt's house and settled down for a night on the couch at my parents' house. Now, they've got lots of movie channels, and on Encore at like 11 was, of course, "Die Hard." I watched it. And, I have to say, it's awesome and, yes, a holiday classic!
Merry Christmas. It's breakfast time.
Monday, December 22, 2008
I've been told to update this blog by a friend who needs things to read, so that's what I'm going to do right now. Do I have much to say? Nope. Am I going to look for funny things to write about? Yep. Am I busy as all heck this week because of the holiday? You betcha. Am I going to order food when I get home? Heck yeah. Did I just eat a green apple? It's in my belly.
Anyway, so it's the Monday before Christmas, which means Friday's Weekend section can be expected to have tons of year-end roundups. It's going to be a good read. You'll learn about my top 20 albums of the year, Joe Amarante's 10 favorite television shows of the past 12 months, and, of course, Todd Lyon's favorite new area restaurants. Good times will be had by all.
What else? Well, I'm a little depressed by the very real prospect of the Patriots finishing 11-5 and still not making the playoffs. I understand teams can't make the playoffs every year, but after this season of injuries and bad luck, if the Pats still win 11 games, they should be in the postseason. Go Brett Favre.
Is it wrong that I'm jealous of Jeremy Piven? Not for any success or something, but because he ate enough sushi over such a long period of time that he got mercury poisoning. I want to eat that much sushi.
"Yes Man" and Jim Carrey debuted at No. 1 at the box office this weekend, but that $18 million haul doesn't look so good. Blame all the snow that white-washed a lot of the country?
I've come to a conclusion today: Former Giant cornerback Jason Sehorn is far better at impregnating his wife than he was at playing football. Yep. Remember when Angie Harmon was on "Law & Order"?
Maybe the courts aren't pressing charges on Brad Garrett for assaulting a cameraman, but can we please sue him for not being funny, yet still trying over and over? I mean, he abuses me every time he opens that big mouth of his. Make it stop. Please make it stop.
Please, please, please let Sylvester Stallone star in the remake of "Judge Dredd." That movie was so dreadful, so ridiculous that it actually could be considered good.
You know, lots of people find Carmen Electra attractive. That's not a surprise. And, heck, I do too, but what does it say about someone when after she marries her newest fiance, the actress/model will have been hitched to Dennis Rodman, Dave Navarro and a Korn guitarist. I mean, two awful musicians and The Worm.
Here's Pitchfork's take on "Christmas on Mars." Please watch the movie and listen to the soundtrack. Both are great. I suggest drinking alcohol before the movie. Lots of it.
You want to play a fun little game? Well, go (caps for emphasis) ... NAME THAT MUSTACHE!
U2 will release its latest sure-to-fawned-over opus March 3. Yawn.
The Village Voice has published its worst lyrics of the year. Man these are hysterical. Warning, though, some of these are for adults only.
And I guess that's all I got today. Hope this makes everyone feel better.
Continuing my little hobby of posting performances from bands who put on the best local performances this year, at the top of this here blog is The Broken West playing "Gwen, Now or Then." That's Branford's Dan Iead in the middle.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
So Nicole Buffett's surname is a well-known one. No, she's not the daughter of margarita-sipping star Jimmy Buffett, but rather the granddaughter of investor and philanthropist Warren Buffett. Well, sort of. Warren's son adopted her when he married her mother.
Why is this interesting? Well, because I happened to read this profile/story of Nicole in Marie Claire tonight. I obviously know that Buffett is one of the wealthiest men in the world, but is it really newsworthy that one of his grandchildren "struggles" to get by with no health insurance?Well, maybe. But if you were to read the real lede to this piece, you'd think that Nicole, a single woman, was living in poverty. Yet she makes a little more than 40K a year.
I could be just looking for something to write about here, but I just find this story pointless, rambling, self-serving and, seriously, somewhat insensitive. I don't care at all about one of the 1,083,039 32-year-old struggling artists in the world, no matter what her last name is. Of course, Nicole Buffett wants her name out there because she's obviously using it to sell paintings with articles like this. And by appearing in documentaries like "The One Percent."
But anyway, does Marie Claire think its readers are going to care about a 32-year-old artist making $40K a year, a figure most artists would kill for? Especially in these times? That's something to think about.
So what should we care about? Well, first of all let me mention that there will be no video this week. Basically it's a busy week for both me and the online department, so we'll return next week, which is probably the week you may predicted there wouldn't be a video. Well, you'd have been wrong. You just won't get one this Thursday. OK? Sorry.
My list will be out next Friday, the 19th, but if you're in the mood for an early best-of piece, one done by a local paper, head over and read the Advocate's here. Some of their choices I agree with, others I just think are people reacting to hype. I mean, I'm really sick of hearing about how great Metallica's recent effort is great. Really? Um, it just copies the older material and gives it a glossy sheen. I really believe this is a case of certain critics falling for record-label hype. But any list with Okkervil River and Kanye West is good by me.
The Advocate also did a local list, a long one of basically everything good released this year. I've been working on mine this week, and I have to say it's tough to get it down to 10 this year. Usually I don't have any problems doing that. It was a good year for local albums.
And speaking of great, great music, Mohegan Sun has announced another Britney Spears date. She'll be at the Arena May 2. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday. Call Ticketmaster at (203) 624-0033 or log on to the Web site.
And with that, I'm done. Check out the video at the top of this entry. I decided I would start posting live performances by folks who put on my favorite concerts of the year. Enjoy Shearwater's "Rooks."
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
And speaking of dumb names, if you're going to change your name to something inspired by "Teen Wolf," why not go with the name, um, Teen Wolf?
Thursday, December 11, 2008
As you'll see in tomorrow's Weekend, there's a whole lot of stuff going on in the next few days. First of all, two films with clear Oscar buzz finally open here in the city. Those two movies are "Milk" and "Slumdog Millionaire." So that's something to do, of course.
And as many long-time readers know, I'm the only under-30 male on the planet, I presume, that still loves "Survivor." This is the best weekend to be a fan since a new episode is on tonight, and then the three-hour finale comes Sunday. Good times. This hasn't been the best of seasons, but I've seen worse, too.
What else is going on? Well, the Golden Globe nominees were announced. I'm going to refrain from commenting right now because I haven't had enough to go through them, and I really haven't seen enough of the movies yet. The next two months of my life is spent seeing a ton of movies, including the aforementioned couple sometime this weekend. Although I will say that I have this feeling "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" is not going to be as good as the buzz, yet it's the exact kind of film those kooky foreigners who vote for the Globes love. Oh, and why is Heath Ledger a supporting actor? Are we actually going to call Christian Bale the lead in "The Dark Knight"? Come on, now. Really?
As you can see above, this month's issue of GQ finds Jennifer Aniston naked on the cover. Now, I'm not complaining. It's nice to look at. But I do want to mention she's also on the cover of this week's EW, and in that story she complains about the paparazzi, all the while sitting in some posh restaurant in Los Angeles. If you really just want to make movies and live a private life, don't live in L.A., pose naked on magazine covers and visit very public places. OK?
This story about Macauley Culkin's sister dying is kind of weird. Odd stuff.
In my favorite story of the last couple days, a Chilean cardinal thinks Madonna "rouses impure thoughts." OK, buddy. I mean, isn't this dude like 10 years too late? I remember having impure thoughts about Madge when I was like 14 or something, but 15 years later, in 2008, really? Isn't she just some woman who had a whole lot of plastic surgery and looks kind of odd now?
Connecticut made the national news because of Joanne Woodward. Good stuff, and this sounds like a good event.
One of my favorite songwriters, Carl Newman, announced his upcoming tour. Alas, I will have to drive out of state to hear the good stuff. Newman is the mastermind behind one of my favorite bands, The New Pornographers. The new record, "Get Guilty," is just waiting for me to listen to it, something I will do right when I'm done with this entry.
Oh, and lastly, Rolling Stone announced its 50 best records of 2008. Now, when you're choosing 50 albums, of course some of are going to be deserving and all. But some of these? Let's just say the "music" magazine that has recently put Obama, Britney and, next, Brad Pitt on its cover loses a little more cred each year. Yep. The Jonas Brothers, huh? I am seriously laughing.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
One of Mike's favorite artists was Ted Leo, who he booked a few years back (that amazing West Haven show). Mark got in contact with Leo, and the songwriter agreed to do a show at The Space a week from today, Dec. 16, with proceeds going to the charity of the McDonald family's choice.
This is will be a great cause and great music. Make sure to attend. Here's something Mark wrote about the show:
"Mike McDonald was an integral part of Manic Productions, as well as a dear, close friend. In 2004, he booked Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, one of his favorite bands. In memory of Mike and all that he meant to us, we've asked Ted Leo to come back and play a show for Mike ..."
Monday, December 08, 2008
It's been a long 29 months, but I feel like I've persevered, stayed true to my soul and, generally, sucked it up long enough to get to this monumental milestone, which only .0034 percent of blogs reach.
I couldn't have done it without all of you. This here blog should be called Blog Like An Egyptian And All The Readers Who Like To Peruse It Often. Oh, man, what a ride it's been. Now it must it all come to an end.
OK, seriously, I'm done with all that. I have no idea why I just rambled on about nothing. Heck, I don't even know anybody named God, Warren Moon or Academy. I just logged on and when my Blogger front page popped up, it said I had 399 posts.
So anyway, let's talk about something real now. But, I have no idea what something real is. I've been sitting home listening to Red House Painters (for the first time in Warren Moon knows how long) and getting work done, so I'm a little loopy. Pardon me.
I took a break and decided to read Rolling Stone's new "Hot List." What a good time. Did you know that the magazine has decided to name Olivia Thirlby, Emma Stone, Hannah Bailey, Ellen Page and Kat Dennings the "new Winona Ryders"? Um, really?
RS even goes over the top and says this about Dennings: "Both are five-foot-four-inch Jewish girls whose curvy top halves upend their bottom halves, and both, curiously, were home-schooled." So, hey, all you Jewish, home-schooled girls with big boobs out there, you too could be the next Winona Ryder. Yep.
That's really all I have for tonight. My brain is mushy, and I really just wanted to point out that many people could be the next Winona Ryder, department stores be warned. Oh, I joke because I love. Warren Moon that is.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
OK, so before we go any further, I need to admit that I stole the title of this blog entry from the great Rob Neyer, who writes my favorite baseball blog over at ESPN.com. I've been reading Rob for a decade or so now. Good stuff. Check him out, if you haven't already.
But enough with that stuff, let's talk about this stuff. OK, but before we go any further, I need to admit that I don't know what this stuff is. Sorry.
I do know that my biggest pet peeve right now is that twice in print recently I've seen "Scrubs" called a "hit" TV show. You can say that over and over again, but it doesn't make it true. Look, I've seen the show a couple times and it's sort of funny, but not great. Whatever. But the damn show was just canceled and picked up by another network. Can a canceled show be a hit? I think not. Poo on lazy writers. Poo on them.
I'm going to be writing a notebook column for Friday's Weekend section about The Grammy Nomination Special tonight. I can't wait to see the bad choices this year. David Archuleta will probably be nominated for "Best Album By A Prepubescent Boy That Old Women, Tweens And Weird, Angry Dudes From Canada Would Love To Innocently Cuddle With." He might actually deserve that trophy.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I don't agree with Kid Rock or this Georgia judge. They're both wrong. I think the, um, rock star's punishment for a brawl at a Waffle House should be to eat at a Waffle House for 30 straight days. That would make anyone feel bad for what they did. Yep.
And speaking of disagreements, it seems K-Fed says he'd "rather see my kids than Britney's money." Well, sorry K-Fed. I disagree with you. I'd rather see Britney's money than you two's kids. I really don't care to see those kids at all.
Apparently Gary Coleman still makes news. Um, can't we stop talking about Gary Coleman? Dude's short. Dude was on a TV show a while back. Dude gets in fights at bowling alleys. OK.
An Alabama county has just decided to call a day Barack Obama Day. In other news, I wonder when New Haven will come to its freaking senses and decide that March 30, my birthday, should be dubbed Pat Ferrucci Day. Children can get the day off from school, I won't work, the sun will shine ... Sounds like a good idea to me.
So there's going to be a Joan Jett movie, according to this report. And, are you sitting down tween girls? Kristen Stewart is going to play the rocker who hates herself for loving you. Yep. This is a true story. I'm just so, um, happy about this, the top of this here blog entry is adorned with a video from Jett.
OK. That's all I have for you fine people today. I must go home, sit on the couch, eat food and do it all over again tomorrow. To botch a line from the great "Sloop John B," I loved you all so, but now I wanna go home.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Comedian and Howard Stern sidekick Artie Lange will bring his jokes to the MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino Feb. 28. Tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. Saturday. Prices are $45, $65 and $75. Seats may be purchased online at www.mgmatfoxwoods.com, by calling the MGM Grand Box Office at 1 (800) 200-2882, by calling Ticketmaster at (203) 624-0033 or in person at the MGM Grand box office.
Monday, December 01, 2008
I, like many of you out there in the real world, am suffering from a post-Thanksgiving hangover today. Oh, sure, I worked some yesterday, but that doesn't mean I'm at my productivity peak (whatever that may be) yet. I'm just not. I think, mentally, I'm still on my parents' couch watching too many bad movies or at random suburban Boston bars where they weirdly have Okkervil River on the jukebox.
Anyway, I hope you all had a good holiday. I usually see a movie on Thanksgiving, but I didn't this year, so I have no news of that sort to report. It looks like "Australia" is going to tank, which is a good thing because I called that ... and because it looks terrible and pretentious. "Four Christmases," which I've been assured by many is also terrible, looks like a huge hit.
So what else? Well, you can look for some cool album reviews in this Friday's Weekend. I look at the very mediocre new one from Britney, the surprisingly stark and amazing work from Kanye West, the first Death Cab reissue and The Flaming Lips' recent soundtrack. Some interesting things there, and I can't stop listening to Kanye, his drum machine and an old Casio.
Just before I left for vacation, I saw a killer El Ten Eleven show over at Cafe Nine. For a duo, the band put on one full gig. It's been a killer last couple weeks for concerts in the Nutmeg State, just so you know. And that will continue. But, of course, any discussion of shows must begin with Parts + Labor's amazing and too short gig at BAR a bit over a week ago. I still can't get it out of my mind, so I put a video of the band performing on the top of this entry.
I guess that's about it for now since I should start, you know, working. Good luck recovering for those turkey hangovers. I wish Advil made a pill or something ...
Monday, November 24, 2008
While my stuff usually only appears in Weekend, I had two stories in today's paper. Head right here to read my story about McDonald's, and you can go here to read about "Chinese Democracy" going on sale Sunday.
That's it for now. Hope you guys are surviving what I assume is a short week for most.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
And, sadly, Mike died after getting hit by a train Wednesday night. Details still aren't totally known. I don't know his parents or family or friends or anything, but if any are reading, my best wishes are with you. Mike was a great guy.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
You all know my opinion about this: I wholeheartedly believe that the Shubert needs to hire someone just to book rock shows. I think this is an untapped resource that the city would embrace. Many acts won't play Toad's because there are no seats, or it's a tad too small. Why not lighten up a venue that's dark many nights with music? That's the question my friends.
Anyway, tickets for Ryan Adams go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday and will cost you $38. They are available online at Shubert.com, by phone at (800) 228-6622 or at the Shubert Box Office.
Monday, November 17, 2008
You know what is not lame? That would be Parts + Labor's "Receivers," the record that just might be the album of the year. You can read my full review of the disc in Friday's Weekend section, but you should also know that the band plays BAR Sunday. I, for one, can't wait.
I rated the group's last album, 2007's "Mapmakers," in my top-five albums of 2007. At first, I was a little disappointed with "Receivers," but I've come to realize it's even better than its predecessor, that repeated listens were necessary to understand its genius. When I told bassist B.J. Warsaw this during a recent interview, he told me that's what he and the rest of P+L intended. You can read all about that in a feature story Friday.
The reason I am writing though, is to let you know that not only can you attend Sunday's show, but you can be a part of it musically. Yep. I'm not joking. Now, I don't mean that the band will let you on stage or anything, but they've got a pretty cool experiment going on with the "Receivers" tour.
If you caught P+L live last time it played BAR, you might remember the then trio used electronics to go from song to song. Well that changes Sunday.
Here's what you do: From now until Sunday afternoon, call (888) 317-5596, wait for the beep and then make any kind of noises or sounds you want. P+L will then work those sounds into its set Sunday. Every sound. So all you have to do is make the call, leave a message and then head to Crown Street Sunday and listen for your voice/sounds. I've already left a couple messages.
That's it on this end. I just wanted to make sure I got this out there since it's such a unique idea. Mainly, though, I want to put this show on your radar for Sunday. It'll be the best one we've gotten in a little while. Take my word for it.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
So, Jenny, that graphic is hysterical. I took absolutely no offense to it. My headline "Sad and Scary" was very sarcastic. I'm guessing you came across this here blog only because of the review. If you had read it more frequently, you would know that I make a lot of understated jokes. I was not being serious. Honestly, I took absolutely no offense to the photo. I laughed out loud.
Since this review has gotten a lot of attention, and a couple people asked in the comments the process for a review, I'll tell you mine. I think most music critics pretty much do the same thing. Before reviewing something, I will not listen to it less than three times. I tend to review four CDs a week and choose those based on what people are going to want to read about it most. Anyway, I received the David Archuleta album about two weeks before its release date. That's about the norm.
The first listen of any CD for me is in the background. I usually just put it on at home and do other things, while jotting down notes about certain things. The second time I listen to something, I do it closely, taking notes on specific songs. And then third time is when I'm actually writing the review. Sometimes, if I can't get a handle on an album, I'll listen to it more. I only listened to Archuleta's album three times.
Contrary to what you might believe, I had no idea the review would cause a stir. He clearly has a very dedicated fan base. My biggest problem with it is that it sounds nothing like "an album." Every song is so different because of all the various production. You can tell the artist had nothing to do with the record; he just showed up and sang the songs chosen for him from record execs.
Maybe you disagree, but I find that the antithesis of what music should be. If it has his name on it, he should have something to do with the making besides stopping by a studio and lending his vocals. And, to clear up something up, I don't watch "American Idol." Don't like David Cook's upcoming album and hate Daughtry more than you can imagine. The best "Idol" CDs I've heard have come from Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. That's my take. You can disagree, but ...
On a funny note, I watched a screener of "Synecdoche, New York" last night, which we must have a discussion of here, since I'm not sure I understand it. I need to watch it again. But, anyway, it ended and we shut it off. Some late-night talk show on Fox was on, and David Archuleta was the guest. I watched him perform "Crush" and laughed at the irony.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
But I didn't think anything of this week's batch of album reviews. Boy was I wrong.
I think some huge David Archuleta fan got a hold of it, linked to it on the singer's message boards or something, and the folks came a running to post comments. I am amazed. And totally still laughing.
Yeah, I was strong in my criticism, and the word "suck," which I never use, probably prompted a lot of this, but these people are downright crazy. I looked at the comment log on our internal site, looked at IP addresses, and I can see that a lot of people are double posting under different names. For every "Francesca," well, that's the same as "Karen." And there's a bunch of those. Man, nuts.
If you like the CD, more power to you. It isn't subjectively bad on a critical level. It's objectively horrid. I don't think I've seen any good reviews of it, and I just searched. Maybe most aren't as strong as mine, but, man, it is an awful listen. And that's what happens with different songwriters and producers on each track. It's reeks of rushing to get something to the marketplace before the holidays. Mission accomplished.
But, seriously, the comments are priceless. The ones about me being a "Cook fan"? Awesome. Yeah, I love David Cook so I just can't like a David Archuleta album? Memo to those people: The Cook album stinks too, just not nearly as bad. And to the person who has two copies: Why?
And I don't care that he's 17 or a nice person. He is young, and I bet he is a good guy, but that doesn't make the music any good. My Dad's a good guy. If he made a record, I would want to die. What can you do?
Anyway, I just needed to point this out. Go to that story, print it out and you'll have 15 minutes worth of reading. And it's entertaining as all heck.
I've been reading every single entry since a friend of time told me about the site back in late 2005. It was my favorite sports Web site, and now I'm just a little more than sad. If you haven't seen the site, take a moment and read some of the archives. You'll laugh and be informed. It's the two things I try to do here, with way less success.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Yes, I had a life-changing moment here in this office on Wednesday afternoon. And, no, I did not get someone pregnant.
What I did was discover an invention that made me question whether there's a god. Normally, I fall on the not believing side, but how can there not be a God when someone has invented the Back to Basics Egg-and-Muffin 2-Slice Toaster and Egg Poacher?
There's has to be a higher power, one that put this amazing idea into the mind of a lucky, soon-to-be-rich person. I mean, come on? A toaster that makes an egg and sausage at the same time? This is genius. Just thinking about this ... man, I'm getting butterflies in my tummy. I want to yell from the tallest mountaintop, run in the streets and jump up and down on a trampoline while screaming, "I have seen the truth! And the truth is a Back to Basics TEM500 Egg-and-Muffin 2-Slice Toaster and Egg Poacher."
That's right. With this amazing invention, you can cook an egg, make an English muffin and heat some sausage. I've had dreams about such an amazing thing, but never in most wildest — and I do mean most wildest — dreams did I ever think this would be a reality.
It's a Christmas miracle. Yep, the Egg-and-Muffin 2-Slice Toaster and Egg Poacher is a gift from God. Go buy one here.
Anyway, so I'm going off the subject here. And I haven't even established what that subject is yet.
OK, so videos. There hasn't been one for a couple weeks. I know this. You know this, especially since I've gotten 34 e-mails about it. I am sorry. Online and myself are trying to come up with some new way of doing them, something a little better visually. I think the whole "me in front of the camera making poop up" thing has maybe run its course. I'm not finding myself that funny anymore. We should return next Friday (not this coming one) with something a little better, and something that will hopefully evolve into a really good weekly thing. We'll see.
So anyway, what else is new? As some of you might have read, I attended a private opening of the new Margaritaville at Mohegan Sun on Saturday. It was cool because Jimmy Buffett and his band played a whole show from a tiny stage at the restaurant. I'm not the biggest Buffett fan, but seeing him play with only about 400 other people was kind of cool. Oh, and there was an open bar. I would travel to the ends of the Earth for an open bar. The photo above is other people who traveled far for this particular open bar.
I caught "Role Models" this weekend. I am very glad I did. It's the funniest movie I've seen since "Tropic Thunder," which I still consider, easily, the funniest flick of 2008. Nothing's even close. I'm smiling just thinking about it.
I had a friend in college — we'll call her Cait Fitzpatrick — who just had this really unfortunate love of Alan Jackson. It was sad. I prayed for her. Anyway, even back then Jackson was past his prime. But it tells you something about the CMAs when he can nominated for four more awards this year. I also mention this because for the first time ever, I will be doing one of my notebook columns about the CMAs tonight. I am excited.
Um, this is a weird story. What's funny is that I was at a sushi restaurant last week and a Gwen Stefani song came on in the background. One of the people at a table close by kept thinking it was actually a Paula Abdul song. Really?
I guess that's all I got for today. I promise to update this very regularly now that the most hellish part of my November is over.
Oh, and just so you know, here's an inside scoop: There's a free beer tasting at Prime 16 at 7 tonight. I guess the brewmaster from Southampton Brewery will be there talking about his brews. Woo-hoo.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
You can expect a full column about my listening weekend in next week's Weekend, but let me just say this: "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" is my favorite record of all time, and to finally have it in a perfectly remastered version and also in 5.1 channel sound is a dream come true. I've been waiting for a box like this since I was 16. Merry early Christmas to me.
Monday, November 03, 2008
So let's start with a beer pong update. Noted Counting Crows enthusiast Jeff Petrin backed out of this fine event moments beforehand, coming up with some excuse about planning a party. It's OK, though, because former Play editor and current online guru and noted cheeseburger enthusiast Jon Cooper stepped in to play for the team, which we called The Jeff Petrins.
We went one and two, mostly against 21 and 22-year-old college students. Our lone victory was against a team that took things very seriously, bent their knees when they tossed and tried to put spin on the ball. Too funny. We, on the other hand, kind of liked losing because it meant more beer. Yep. This is true ... and sad.
Movies? Well, I saw "The Haunting of Molly Hartley" when my friend Helen called on my day off Friday and wanted to see a scary movie ... it was Halloween and all. To call "Molly" scary would be a lie. It wasn't even as scary as when I sometimes burn my toast in the morning, or when a little bit of shell gets into my eggs. As for "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" and "What Just Happened," well, let's say both of them started off pretty good and then felt like they would never end. And I mean never. Oh, my, never. I won't be recommending any of them to friends. Never.
I get a lot of hate mail, as many of you know, since I've posted some here and talked about this. But over the last couple months, our Web site has started to allow comments on stories. Most of my pieces have been left alone, but please, please go read someone's comment on my album reviews from last week. First, if you're going to post something anywhere, re-read it for grammatical reasons. And, second, don't be dumb.
What else? This is a bit old, but a great story and moral. It seems that if you want to be an effective boxer, a world champion, you might want to have a baby first. Why, you ask? So you can coat your hands in "baby wee." I guess this helps immensely. I wonder if it would help me with my writing and typing? I don't have a child, but maybe could borrow one and let it piss on my hands before I show up to work. I'll try this tomorrow and let you all know how it goes. OK?
I think that's all I got for now. Since I'm very excited to have just received a full copy of Legacy's new "Budokan!" box set, I leave you with this video of Cheap Trick performing "High Roller" a long time ago.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Yes, a tour of beer pong tournaments is coming to the Elm City at 8 tonight. As such, I must be a good entertainment reporter and participate along with noted Counting Crows enthusiast and Play magazine editor Jeff Petrin. The two of us, under Jeff's favorite team name The Lazer Beamz, will compete for a treasure chest of prizes including a free spring break vacation. Now, I'm 29, so I don't think I'll be going on a spring break any time soon, and I've already told Jeff I refuse to travel with him, but we're journalists and must do this for you, the reader.
I will report back tomorrow on how a beer pong tournament goes. Jeff has only played like once, and while I have more experience, let's just remember that I finished up undergrad some seven years ago. We will see.
So what else? I guess the Boss doesn't like Halloween this year. If I went trick or treating at Bruce Springsteen's house, he'd better give me full-size candy bars. Anything less would be very disappointing. And I don't even like candy.
Jimmy Buffett will sing for Obama Sunday. If he could convince all the Parrotheads to vote for Obama, this election may be a landslide. I wonder if John McCain will try to use Obama's connection to Buffett to hurt the Democratic candidate. I mean, Jimmy's like a terrorist. Remember when he tried to bring all those drugs into the country?
I have this feeling, that if Fox ever brought back "Melrose Place," my mother would die of excitement. I've known the woman for a long time, obviously, and I've never seen her so into a television show, and she doesn't get into anything.
Um, why would anyone stalk David Caruso? In other news, why would producers choose Caruso to star in a show set in Miami? The dude would be burnt to a crisp by now.
Oh, poor Colin Farrell is "pained" over "Alexander" failing a few years back. Well, you know what? I was pained while watching the crappy movie. So pained I had to shut it off. So pained that watching half is one of my biggest regrets in life. So pained that reading this blurb is making me upset. Heck, I don't think I've seen more than one or two Farrell movies that haven't pained me.
If this story is true, I'd sure like to meet Monica Cruz. Yep. That's on the to-do list.
I guess that's all I got for today. Wish me luck at beer pong. I'm going to need it.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
So Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann went on "Hardball" and called Barack Obama "anti-American." OK, so that's a ridiculous statement and the Republican sort of beat around the bush and apologized.
But that's not even my real problem.
As the story goes on, you'll see that she claims to have never seen "Hardball." I don't care if you're a Republican, a Democrat, a Whig or a Bull Moose backer, if you're never seen "Hardball," you should not be in Congress. I mean, seriously?
Sometimes things amaze me. It's like me saying I've never heard a Rolling Stones song. I don't particularly care for the Stones, but I've heard everything the band's done. Man, no "Hardball" Michele, really?
Of course, this is a woman who blames any fault in children on public schools, and she's fought to have intelligent design given equal time as evolution in such schools. Yup. Oh, yeah, she's also spent a lot of time recently campaigning for traditional light bulbs over, you know, the ones that are better for the environment. Light bulbs?
Here are a couple of my favorite things that she believes in:
2. Opposes minimum wage increases (screw less fortunate folks).
3. Supports both a Federal and State constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and legal equivalent, and is a critic of any type of gay rights or civil unions for gay couples (so she basically believes that homosexuality is wrong. Even Sarah Palin believes in civil unions). Wow. A real, verifiable quote from Bachmann: the gay community was specifically targeting children and that "our children ... are the prize for this community."
Let's get on with the Hump Day now.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I mean, the current format is a bit cumbersome and harder to read, so why not just make it uniform, allow yourself to print better-quality photos and just lengthen the book to offset any space issues? This actually seems like common sense to me.
I understand that the old format helped the magazine standout, but if something can't stand out because of design and content and needs something trivial like a bigger size, it's something not worth buying anyway. Right?
And so it goes. What else? Well, it seems Marcia Brady did some interesting things after "The Brady Bunch" ended. I guess it would have been helpful for Mike Brady to have been there and said, "You know, Marcia, the thing with being addicted to the cocaine, is that you're going to have to use it all the time, it might make you prostitute yourself or date Michael Jackson. And, Marcia, that's not good for you or anyone else. So when you make those decisions, you're only hurting yourself, and should you want to hurt yourself? Remember these things."
This piece does a nice job summing up my fears about the current ALCS. Basically, the Red Sox need to win tonight. If they don't, I don't have faith that the team can win three in a row with the pitching questions it has. So ... go Tim Wakefield.
And that's about all I've got for today. Have a good one, fine friends.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Would that make for a quality, icnonic horror film? Probably not. It'd be one of those flicks that doesn't get screened for critics and ends up with a $15 million opening weekend and nothing after.
Anyway, so today is Game Three of the ALCS. My Red Sox badly need a win. With Josh Beckett looking injured and Dice-K being a crapshoot, this is about as big of a game as possible. Thank god Jon Lester is on the mound. If the Sox lose, now that's the premise for a frightening horror film.
What else? Well, there was no video this week for two reasons. Online didn't have time, and I had to jet to Boston Thursday for festivities. The picture at the top of this entry is me at a club in Beantown celebrating my friend Jenny's 30th birthday with other friends. I mention this for a couple reasons: The first is that today is actually Jen's birthday. So, happy birthday, Jen.
The second is more interesting. Even though I write about music, I hardly ever get to hear club music. Why? Well, because I never go to clubs and very rarely receive real club-music CDs in the mail. I would like to point out though that a club with a very expensive cover charge, I heard a 10-minute-or-so song that repeated one lyric over and over: "Face down, ass up, that's the way I like (to have sex)." Um, really? People listen to this? I'm no prude, but at first I found it funny, and then it went on for another 134 minutes ... or so it seemed.
Oh, and you know else is a knock on our culture? How about "Beverly Hill Chihuahua" topping the box office for the second straight week. I know it's a slow time for films, but a film about chihuahuas? Really? Um, I'm sad for us.
I guess that's about it on this end. Hope you all had a good weekend and will be rooting for the Sox tonight.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Thursday, October 09, 2008
The venue was about 20 percent more crowded than Okkervil's last gig at the same place, so that's a good thing. Here's my review of the show. The set list is below.
A couple quick notes, though: Crooked Fingers opened and was really good. Oh, sure, the band may never be Archers of Loaf, but Eric Bachman's newest project gets better with each record. And the group's newest, which just hit stores, is really strong.
Providence's The What Cheer? Brigade opened. When I was talking to the Courant's Eric Danton at the show, he called them the Hipster Rebirth Brass Band. I thought that was pretty accurate. It was a bunch of indie folk who decided to make a marching band. For about 10 minutes, it was kind of cool (the group performed not on stage, but in the crowd). But after 30 minutes, I wanted to shoot myself. Yep. Anyway ...
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Plus Ones; Singer/Songwriter; A Hand to Take Hold of the Scene; Black; The Latest Toughs; On Tour with Zykos; Pop Lie; The War Criminal Rises and Speaks; A Stone; Blue Tulip; Starry Stairs; Lost Coastlines; Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe; For Real; Unless it Kicks
Girl in Port; Okkervil River Song; Westfall
Monday, October 06, 2008
As many of you know, I'm just not a real fan of "Acid Tongue," her newest record, and when she played the fast tunes from that disc, they just sounded bad, with a couple exceptions. Anyway, here's the full set list for those of you interested.
Deer Tick opened. I really dug them, even if it wasn't the most original of bands; it just totally did the whole alt-country thing that I just love to almost perfection.
The Next Messiah; Pretty Bird; The Charging Sky; Rise Up With Fists!; Bad Man's World; Carpetbaggers; You Are What You Love; Melt Your Heart; Acid Tongue; Jack Killed Mom; Sing a Song for Them
Love Hurts (cover of Gram Parsons); Godspeed; See Fernando
I was looking forward to this show, but not too much. I like Death Cab, especially "Transatlanticism" from 2003 and the new record, "Narrow Stairs," which will probably have a spot in my best-of-2008 list. But other than those two discs, I just think the rest of the band's output is good, not great. The last time I saw the band on tour was sometime around 2001, in Providence at the old Lupo's. So it'd been awhile.
First of all, singer/songwriter Ben Gibbard lost a ton of weight, didn't wear his glasses and talked to the crowd way more than he did seven or whatever years ago. But bassist Nick Harmer is clearly the star of the show. His low end was basically the lead instrument on more than half of the tunes. He, seriously, killed.
All in all, this was one of the best shows I've been to lately. I feared that the guys would have sounded too much like Coldplay live, like they would have lost too much of their oomph, their masculinity. But that wasn't the case at all. I mean, all Death Cab songs feel like they're on the brink of exploding into heavy rock, but they never do. But the edges weren't cleaned off any of the tunes like I feared. I had a good.
Here's the 21-song set list. I may have missed a song, but I don't think so. Oh, and by the way, after a couple decent songs, opener St. Vincent really failed to grab me in the least bit. I could have fallen asleep. The band, which is a project for Annie Clark, was much better at The Space 18 months ago.
Bixby Canyon Bridge; The New Year; Why You'd Want to Live Here; Photobooth; Crooked Teeth; A Movie Script Ending; Company Calls; Summer Skin; Soul Meets Body; I Will Follow You Into the Dark; I Will Possess Your Heart; Cath; We Looked Like Giants; Long Division; The Sound of Settling; Scientist Studies
Technicolor Girls; Title and Registration; Expo '86; Marching Bands of Manhattan; Transatlanticism
Friday, October 03, 2008
I talked to her. Yes I did. Jenny Lewis is at the Shubert Sunday.
Joe Amarante's column about the CW network.
I wrote a feature on Death Cab For Cutie, which plays at the Chevy Saturday.
Mark Zaretsky wrote a preview of blues legend James Cotton's show at StageOne Sunday.
We've got your weekly dose of album reviews.
Andy Carey from Hand Grenade Serenade is Making A Mix.
It's World Series of Poker time, and our poker column has some hints on how to play.
We look at 'de Blob' in our video games story.
And, of course, there's a poopload of movies opening this week. Harris McCabe tells us about "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist," then there's "Blindness," and "Religulous," and how about "Flash of Genius," or Simon Pegg in "How To Lose Friends And Alienate People," and also there's, um, "Beverly Hills Chihuahua," and, lastly, a "Battle In Seattle."
Oh, how can I forget my column on my favorite band, Okkervil River? I can't.
So that's the Weekend section. Oh, sure, there's more in it, but that's what is online. I'm excited because in a few hours I'm heading to Norwalk to "The Dark Knight" on an IMAX screen. I'll let you know how it is.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Me: I can talk my way into believing any team can win any of these series, except this one. I don't see how the Brewers win this. The team's pitching is all messed up and C.C. can't keep this up; he was bad in last year's playoffs. You know what would be competitive? A hot-dog eating contest between C.C. and Ryan Howard. I'd like that. Pick: Phillies in three.
Me: I think I agree with Little Nicholas, here, but I don't know if I have the guts to pick the Dodgers. Look, both managers are horrible with in-game decisions, so that evens things out a bit. I would pick the Cubs in a sweep if I thought Zambrano and Harden were healthy, but I don't think that's the case. Plus, I desperately want a Red Sox-Dodgers World Series. So I'm going ... Pick: Dodgers in five.
Me: I think I would choose the Angels objectively, but, of course, there's no way I'm going against the Sox here. Nick's right: The Sox absolutely have made the Angels look like little girls in the playoffs, little girls that cry and pout. Even with Teixeira, that lineup isn't that great and even if Joshie is hurt, the Sox still have the best pitcher in the series with Lester. Oh, and Jason Bay is Canadian. Did you know that? Pick: Red Sox in five.
Me: I actually heard Evan Roberts go on and on on the FAN this morning about how Chicago's going to the World Series. I almost laughed too hard to drive. I almost pulled over and had to wipe the sweat from my brow. I laughed, dude. A lot. Maybe the Sox win this series, but that's it. And I don't think that's happening either. Pick: Rays in three.
And, one more thing before I write this entry and then go to bed: The online department couldn't do a video last week, so I'll be back with another of those Friday.
But I'm writing now because I got back from Mohegan Sun Arena a couple hours ago, having just seen a reunited New Kids on the Block. You can read my review of the show here, but I wanted to do a little blog entry about the funny stuff I saw, the things I couldn't include in a straight, mostly positive review.
So here goes:
- I have never seen so many women concentrated in one place. Seriously, not even at a Madonna show was there this many ladies. We're talking 95 percent, easily.
- And with women comes cleavage. I'm a guy, but I think I speak for most of us, ladies, when I say ridiculous, over-the-top push-up bras don't do much for us. Am I right?
- So you're thinking that I could have picked up some women, and you're probably right, but I'm not the kind of guy that hits on grown women who wear shirts that say things like, "MILF's love Donnie." And yes, that punctuation is incorrect because the homemade shirt featured incorrect grammar.
- Besides me and my friend Ryan Thomas Dixon, there were very, very few straight men at the show not with a girlfriend. Of the few I saw, one had a T-shirt on that said, "I support single moms." The back of said shirt had a drawing of a woman on a stripper's pole. Yep, this the kind of dude who goes to a NKTOB show without a lady friend. Sad.
- I did meet Meghan Conlin and Erin Morran of New Britain. Conlin won a radio contest to meet the group before the show. Joey McIntyre broke her camera and then took her name and info to send her a new one. Now that's a nice New Kid. I asked Meghan how the guys looked up close. Her response? "They all look great, especially Joey!" I think Meghan was serious.
- Way too many women were wearing prom dresses. Um, did I miss something? Was "Hangin' Tough" a popular prom song back in the day?
- Two women who saw me writing in my reporters notebook asked me if I was a behavioral scientist. Well, not exactly, but, hey, that'd be interesting. I could figure out answers to deep questions like, "Why are 30something women crying during a song at a concert?"
- One guy had a "Law & Order" T-shirt. I almost ripped it off his back.
- A lot of sleazy scalpers were walking the perimeter of the Arena. I think one middle-school student was actually scalping. It was kind of weird. You know what else is weird? Sweat pants with elastic legs.
- At the merch tables, they were selling different T-shirts with each NKOTB members' name on them. Um, I wonder how many Jonathan or Danny shirts were sold. The answer is not many, of course.
- I wish people couldn't smoke inside the casino. It makes me unhappy.
- Right as the opening act was going to start, I was still waiting for Ryan and overheard an older man, easily in his 70s, walk over to a trio of younger women and say, "I may be old on the outside, but I'm young in some places and on the inside. So do you girls want a drink?" I couldn't listen any longer, but that's what happened. Scary. I have no idea what that quote means.
- It's happening at bars lately, but the concert featured one of those screens that people could text messages on to. My two favorite posts: "Jesus, you were my first love. My husband understands" and "NKOTB, thanks 4 getting back 2together for my 31st, luv U." Um, OK, really?
- During the concert, there was a death montage, just like at the Oscars or something. With Heath Ledger and everything. Why? Well, to fill time, of course.
- Joey McIntyre wore shoes that included three-inch lifts, at least. I'm telling you fans: He's at least three inches shorter than it looked.
- There were so many crotch grabs throughout the show. And each time any member did it, the crowd went nuts. I feel like I know what a bachelorette party is like now.
That's about it on this end. I'll write more tomorrow, including some baseball playoff predictions. Hopefully, I'll have some from Little Nicholas too. I'll also have a photo of Little Nicholas and his friends, who saw NKOTB in Boston. At that show, Paul Pierce of the Celtics came on stage with the championship trophy during "Hangin' Tough." Yep, that happened.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Anyway, so thanks to Manic Productions, it's going down tonight. Yep, The Broken West, Wye Oak and Aeroplane, 1929 will take the stage one by one, beginning at 9:45 p.m. Make sure to be there. To entice you a little bit more, here's a performance from each:
Aeroplane, 1929 with "Original Sin"
Wye Oak with "Warning"
The Broken West with "Down in the Valley"
Monday, September 22, 2008
It all started last Sunday when M.T. Bearington officially released "Cloak of Nouns and Loss." The show at BAR was pretty much great. I truly recommend picking up the record. It's a good one. I also caught the group again Saturday night at Cafe Nine.
And speaking of Saturday night at Cafe Nine, Austin's The Low Lows were much better than expected. I thought the band would sound good, but it came across as an exciting hybrid of The Decemberists and Elf Power, only better — at least live — than both those bands. Check them out.
So what else did I catch last week? Well, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers kicked some big-time butt at Toad's Place last Tuesday. I'm still not sure why it opened for Cowboy Mouth when the bulk of the audience was clearly there for RCPM, but, whatever, it was a killer show.
And Toad's was a big attraction all week. Built to Spill and The Meat Puppets ripped up the stage Wednesday and actually put on one of my favorite concerts of the year so far. Seriously, BTS' performance of "Perfect From Now On" in its entirety was simply breathtaking, cello and all. Really. I went to the show mainly to catch the Puppets and left cursing the fact that Toad's has a dance party Wednesday nights and forced BTS off the stage before it wanted to leave.
Dinosaur Jr. changed some things up Friday at Toad's, actually performing some songs from records that Lou Barlow did not appear on. It was the last in a trio of great shows at the York Street venue last week. Seriously, it was easily the best week of gigs at the place I've seen in my almost five years of being here. Whew.
In other news, I'm going to start putting up a photo of the Weekend cover (like the one above) every Friday with a link to some of the main stories of the week. I think this will make it easier for you fine people in cyberspace to find content.
In that spirit, you can read Harris McCabe's review of "Lakeview Terrace," stroll over and read about my softball team's championship, check out some album reviews, read Dan Iead of The Broken West's Making a Mix, see movie reviews of "Ghost Town" and "Igor," or see what's out on DVD and see about some new video games.
And that's about all I got for now. Remember that tomorrow's show at Cafe Nine will be amazing with The Broken West, Wye Oak and Aeroplane, 1929. Check out my long feature story on The Broken West that ran in yesterday's Arts section.
So let's say goodbye for now. We'll talk again soon, maybe even later today.