Monday, November 24, 2008

Busy, Busy Week

My guess is that I won't be posting much on here in the next couple days because of early deadlines with the holiday and all, but I thought I'd make note of a couple things.

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

Friday Video!

It returns. Here it is. Let me know what you think of the new format.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

R.I.P. Mike McDonald

I just wanted to take a moment and say something about Mike McDonald. For those of you who don't know, Mike, 23, worked with Manic Productions, and I'd met him more than a few times. We probably only had a long conversation once or twice, but Mike was a good guy who really loved music. Loved it.

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.

Um ...

I am listening to Guns N' Roses' "Chinese Democracy" as I write this. I have no idea what to say. It's here. Or, I guess, it's coming Sunday. I have it. A full review will run next Friday; you can read it while you digest your turkey. Um, I really don't know what to say. I'm hardly ever speechless. It's good. Really.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Shubert Strikes Again

Yep, the good ol' Shubert Theater on College Street in New Haven will once again host a real rock show come Feb. 20. That's the day when Ryan Adams and the Cardinals will play the venerable venue.

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, by phone at (800) 228-6622 or at the Shubert Box Office.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday Is Funday

I have no idea why I wrote that headline. I think I just wanted something that rhymed, but now that I look at it, I'm kind of ashamed with my lameness. That's OK. I'm kind of lame. I know this.

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

Clearing It Up

OK, so instead of responding to a few different comments with more comments, which are more difficult to read, I thought I'd just say it here. Another post. Woo-hoo!

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

Scary And Sad

One of the comments on the last post makes mention of this. I went to the site, a fan page of David Archuleta. This was posted. I don't think I need words, it's absolutely hysterical:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Wow. Just Wow

OK, so I am completely floored. Sometimes you write something and you know that you're going to get plenty of hate e-mails, voicemails and, now, comments. And I actually thought some people might really love certain country stars and get on me for certain jokes in my Clearing the Desk column from this week.

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 just want to take a moment to celebrate and mourn the death of my favorite blog, Fire Joe Morgan.

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

More Proof ...

Wow, I am posting a lot today. But, this is very much worth mentioning. I don't have a copy yet, but I guess this is more proof that "Chinese Democracy" will, in fact, be out soon.

Simply Amazing

Sometimes something happens and it makes you question everything. I have no children, but I hear that's some kind of experience. Actually, I've never had a moment that shook me to the bone until earlier today.

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.

It's Hump Day

Well, actually, it's Hump Day for you maybe, but for me, that happened yesterday. I don't work Fridays. I just thought "It's Hump Day" was a snappy headline. And, yes, I just described something as snappy. I guess all these years of sitting next to Joe Amarante is wearing off on me. Next thing you know, I'll be sitting next to a photo of Derek Jeter and forcing myself to believe that Eli Manning is as good as Phil Simms ever was. Not going to happen.

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

Woo Hoo

This came for me today. I cannot explain how positively giddy I am. Really, it's quite embarrassing and sad. But that's OK by me. I'm going to spend my weekend listening to old Peter Gabriel-era Genesis albums, and there's nothing you can do to change my mind. I can't wait.

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

A Monday Miracle

Yes, it's been four days or so and I am posting an update. Woo-hoo. I had a busy end of the week and weekend, seeing many movies, helping people move, moving around and, of course, moving on from Halloween. Yes, my weekend was filled with a lot of things with letters "mov" in them. Amazing.

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.