Saturday, December 30, 2006

Piccu's Top Albums of 2006: The Dirty Dozen Part 2

Well, it's time to reveal my top 6 albums of 2006. These are the 6 cds I enjoyed the most this year and the 6 albums I think you should check out for yourselves. Let's begin.

My number 6 album this year is The Black Keys with Magic Potion. This album is full of gut-bucket, swamp blues rock. The album features drums and guitar and a whole lot of power. The guitar sound is perfect for this style of music and the riffs are very tasty. Just check out track 4, Just a Little Heat, for the best riff of 2006. The Black Keys will force you to love the blues with this album, your power to resist is futile.

My number 5 album could be looked at as my country album of the year, if it were actually a country album, it's Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins with Rabbit Fur Coat. By country I don't mean the "country" music you hear on today's radio, but old fashioned 70's style country mixed with some rock. Jenny Lewis sounds like a woman on a spiritual journey on this album, her lyrics tell her story and The Watson Twins, Kentucky born and bred, back her up with the best harmony vocals in the business. Even if you are not a country fan or a folk fan, I believe this album will break through your prejudices against those types of music like it did mine. If nothing else, go to iTunes and get the cover of The Traveling Wilburys' Handle with Care. It's the best cover of the year.

Now let's get back to the rock with my number 4 pick with Wolfmother's self titled debut. I bought their EP a year or so ago and knew that this band was going to be special when they released a full length album. Wolfmother are old school. They are not exactly metal, but they bring it in some songs. They remind me more of Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, White Stripes, Black Sabbath all rolled into a three piece band from Australia. All the songs hit you right in the face. Their lyrics harken back to Ronnie James Dio circa Rainbow, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. If you haven't heard these guys and are a rock fan, go buy this cd immediately.

At number 3 we have more rock with Tool's 10,000 Days. If you do not know about Tool, then this would be a perfect record to introduce them to you. Tool are what some call prog rock or sometimes math rock because of the extremely long songs and the crazy time changes that sometimes occur in these songs. I just think they are one of the top 3 rock outfits in the game today. 10,000 Days has everything Tool is known for, sludgy, heavy guitars, a tight rhythm section and a lead singer who doesn't lead the band so much as use his voice as just another instrument in the music. The songs range from our obsessions with reality TV to lead singer Maynard James Keenan's mother's passing. Tool's music can be both beautiful and profane all at the same time, but it is always good.

At number 2 we have My Chemical Romance's The Black Parade. I have to tell you I am a sucker for a huge, over the top, rock opera concept album and The Black Parade delivers. I must admit that it seems at some times to be a little too over the top, but rock music is supposed to be big and brash. I am not exactly sure what musical genre My Chemical Romance would fit into, but this album has music that sounds inspired by Queen, T-Rex, Broadway show tunes, and punk music. Every song flows effortlessly into the next. From hard charging riff rockers to somber piano ballads, I think this is THE rock record of the year.

What is number 1? I'm sure you can guess, I didn't buy into the hype, I just think this is the biggest "holy crap, this is so good" album of the year. It's Gnarls Barkley with St. Elsewhere. As far as I am concerned no other album could be as groundbreaking but still palatable to the masses. When I first sat down and listened to this cd the whole way through, I immediately listened to it again after I finished. It is amazing the sounds and styles that are all blended into this album. We have hip-hop, soul, R&B, and rock and anything else you can think of to list. What may be the most amazing thing is that Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo got this right on their first try. I can only imagine what the follow-up will bring. I know you have heard Crazy and are probably tired of it, although it is the best song of the year, but don't let that stop you for enjoying the rest of the album. If there is only one cd you by this year, make this the one.

That's it. I know I am sure I missed some of your favorites and I am sure I missed some that I will buy later and realize I should have included them on the list, but these 12 are as good as you will find for the year 2006. On to 2007, happy new year to all!!

Hard Candy

So we watched the above titled movie last night; it was pretty intense. It was suspense movie like no other that I have seen. It is disturbing on so many levels and of all of them the pedophilia may not even be the most disturbing. The premise is this: a pedophile "convinces" a 14yo girl to go to his house and things are not what they seem. I probably won't watch it again for a while, but I would reccomend maybe even for the Halloween fest.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Why scientists aren't a smart as we had hoped...

I'm not going to waste much time on this subject simply because researchers/scientists shouldn't be spending any more time on this work than I should blogging about it.

The article I have linked is about how researchers are studying the affects of holiday baking on the Puget Sound in Washington. Apparently the Sound is being flavored with cinnamon and vanilla as we speak and the levels rise during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

The sad part about this is that these morons are open and proud of their work. It's the most popular story on Yahoo! today. Unfortunately I'm sure they are too stupid to realize that they are being laughed at by everyone who received it in their email.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Piccu's Top Albums of 2006: The Dirty Dozen Part 1

Back for the bottom half of my Dirty Dozen of 2006. These are 6 of the 12 cds that I enjoyed the most this year. Take note that these are not necessarily in any order.

Leading the bottom half is She Wants Revenge's self titled album. When I first noticed this cd, it was the reviews it was getting. I do not believe I read one good review on it. The funny thing was that every song I heard from the album sounded great. I think some snobs thought this band might have been ripping off other bands, bands that I didn't listen to, and that this was some sort of Johnny Come Lately group trying to make money. Well, what rock band doesn't sound like somebody else? What rock band doesn't want to make money? The music is very synthy and electronic, very 80's sounding. The lyrics are very dark and somewhat disturbing. Not the feel good cd of the year, although I got many hours of enjoyment from it.

Now we come to Under the Influence of Giants' self titled album. This is much different from She Wants Revenge, it is very poppy, bordering on disco. The singing is done in mostly falsetto and I admit I am a sucker for good falsetto singing. I am not a dancer by any means, but I can say that this cd makes me wish I were. Good grooves, great to sing along too, I give it a 10.

Speaking of being a sucker for great falsetto we now come to the Scissor Sisters' second album, Ta-Dah. At first I wasn't impressed by this album basically because it wasn't a carbon copy of their debut. But the more I listened to it, the more I loved it. The songs on Ta-Dah are more mature and less disco-y (what can I say, I lived 6 of my years in the 70s). The songs on Ta-Dah are more Elton John like, good pop songs that you would hear on 70's AM radio. Don't get me wrong, this cd will make you want to dance, but these songs are so much more than dance songs. I highly recommend you get this as well as their debut cd, which had an unbelievable disco cover of Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb.

Now after going disco on you for a moment, let's return to the land of rock. This is not a hidden gem, it is Audioslave's third release Revelations. I have already said I thought this was their best and strongest release yet. They finally found a way to merge Chris Cornell (the best singer in rock) with Rage Against the Machine. You have the soul of Cornell and the funk and fury of Rage without one overshadowing the other. There is not a bad song on the disc. This is a must for Cornell or Rage fans who maybe have never checked out Audioslave or gave up on them after the first two albums.

My next pick is The Raconteurs with Broken Boy Soldiers. This is an old sounding album, very 70's like vibe. Jack White and Brendan Benson make a great lead duo, trading verse and guitar licks. Nothing against Meg, but it is great to hear Jack White backed by a bass player and a more competent drummer. It's a great mixture of blues and rock. I will admit that some of the songs lyrically are a bit silly, but that is what rock 'n' roll is about. This is just a flat out great rock record and I'm sure it will be in many end of year top album lists.

Rounding out my 12-6 picks is the Eagles of Death Metal with Death by Sexy. This is not a very polished or produced cd, it's ragged and raw and it's the fun-nest rock record to come out this year. The songs are so tongue in cheek that you actually believe every word that Jesse "Boots Electric" Hughes says. The music is a punk Rolling Stones sound, bluesy and groovy in parts. If nothing else, go to iTunes and buy the track called Don't Speak (I Came to Make A BANG!). It is the best rock song you will hear this year. Much like Under the Influence of Giants' and Scissor Sisters' music, the EODM's music will make you want to dance, but you will feel bad afterwards. It also features two of my favorite things in music, falsetto singing and liberal use of a cowbell.

There you go, six of my top twelve of 2006. I will be back with my top 6 of 06.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Brush with a "celebrity"

Yesterday afternoon, I went by the gym for a workout in between morning and evening church. As I was wrapping up the weights, I saw a someone walk into the far side of the gym from where I was. It was pretty far away, but the person had a "unique" look that was unmistakable. There was bright red bushy hair and relatively big dude. I think by now you have figured out that it's Carrot Top. I have to say that he is pretty thick, but is much much shorter than I expected. The older men in the gym talked to him a lot. He seemed pretty nice. I heard him say that he was here for family stuff and would be here this week.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Reason for the Season? Roman Pagans

It's the time of year where countless church signs will say "Jesus is the reason for the season." And while most people do celebrate Christmas as the observed birth of Christ anniversary, the truth of the matter is something quite different.

The link above helps to explain how this Christmas came about. When you study up on it you see that Christmas was more about Catholics wanting to establish a festival to rival that of the Roman pagans. Yet some people will fight you tooth and nail these days over the religious signficance.

I am in that minority that doesn't observe Christmas as a religious holiday. I choose not to for several reasons. The first being the aforementioned origin of the holiday itself.

The second is that as a Christian I realize that Christ's birth in and of itself did little for me in terms of salvation. It is His death, burial, and ressurrection that defeated death and gave me and other Christians the hope of salvation from my sins.

And three is for spite. Just kidding. Three is that I am a firm believer in the bible as the word of God. And God has no mentioning of a celebration regarding the birth of His Son. Rather, we are to observe Jesus' sacrifice with the Lord's Supper, which the apostles did on the first day of each week.

I won't bash people who observe the religious significance of Christmas. I think it's ok to think on Christ on Christmas Day, but it's foolish to do it only on Christmas Day.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

It's trailer time!!!

I stumbled across this on the Pop Candy blog, it is on the Rolling Stone website and it is the best re-cut movie trailers of the year. I had only seen two out of the 10 or so that are available to view. You can see a trailer for The Ring, a movie about a woman who is dying and needs to reunite her family. There is a trailer for The Graduate about a stalker; there is also a heartwarming trailer for the movie Shining.

A couple of the them are a little too long but most are very cool and makes you want to send youtube a Christmas card for all the gifts they have given us throughout the year. Click the link and enjoy!!

Just in time for Christmas.

Here is something to put a smile on your face this holiday season. Click the link for My Charlie Brown Christmas, a reworking of A Charlie Brown Christmas by the Scrubs gang. It is really good but it is also about 10 minutes long, so it may take a while to load on slower connections. Merry Scrubs-mas and enjoy!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

What do Merlin, illegal drugs, and Jimmy Hart have in common?

Last post today, I seem to be in a very prolific mood. I saw this on Yahoo, it is an article on marijuana being the US’s biggest cash crop. According to the article, the US produces $35 billion dollars in marijuana, more than corn and wheat combined. It also was concluded that five states produce more than $1 billion dollars in marijuana apiece. One of those states? Ding! Ding! Ding! If you said Kentucky, you are correct. Also among the big pot producers, California, Tennessee, Hawaii, and Washington state.

This brings me to a story, or two, about a cousin of mine and an uncle of Merlin. He went by the name Doc and was a pharmacist of sorts. He has been called a genius by many in my family but he became consumed by drugs. Merlin tells a great story about running into a friend of Doc’s after he had passed away, at too young an age by the way. Merlin said this friend also claimed Doc was a genius. He also gave an example of Doc’s genius-ness. He said Doc was so much smarter than every one else because he brought heroin to the OC instead of everyone always having to go to Nashville to get it. It’s kind of a mountain to Mohammed thing.

I’m sure Merlin could further elaborate on that subject, but I recently found out something else about Doc that I am not even sure Merlin knew about. A co-worker of Bratch’s was talking to him about the Power Team the other day. The Power Team is a group of Christian body builders who travel the land spreading the word of God and crushing concrete blocks and tearing phone books in half. One of the members lied and said he was the Junkyard Dog in the WWF. I guess that guy did not know that the Junkyard Dog died in 1998 in a car crash, but I digress.

This led Bratch and his co-worker into a discussion on pro wrestling, of which I used to be ate up with, and about the Memphis area wrestling promotion that used to travel to towns in the area and put on shows. Bratch’s co-worker talked about a show that we had also attended. One of the “personalities” at this show was a manager known as “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart. He was one of these guys who had no business being a wrestler but had charisma out the wazoo and could fire up a crowd. So Jimmy Hart was used as a mouthpiece for wrestlers who maybe were not quite as charimatic and comfortable during interviews.

Speaking of firing up a crowd, at this show, after a match with some of Jimmy Hart’s wrestlers, as Hart and his wrestlers were heading to the locker room, there was a commotion over near the locker rooms in the small gymnasium where we were watching the show. I could tell something was going on because people were swarming to that side of the gym. I had heard later that someone had pulled a knife on Jimmy Hart and threatened to cut him. But I never had confirmation on that point.

Bratch’s co-worker was apparently in that section of the gym or knew somebody who was because she knew the story of what happened. The story goes that when Jimmy Hart was headed back to the locker room, Merlin’s Uncle Doc, perhaps too high to realize that wrestling was fake, jumped out of the crowd and punched him in the face. Doc, who was no stranger to a jail cell, was then cuffed and stuffed and taken off to the county lockup.

That is the story as I remember Bratch telling me and I am sure he could further elaborate if needed. I know most of you couldn’t give two craps about either of these stories, but I know Merlin, Bratch and I will have many fond memories of a man called Doc.

It looks like Miss USA has turned into Miss AA.

I am sure you have seen the hub bub that Tara Conner, Miss USA, has caused. Donald Trump even had to decide whether to strip her (which sounds good to me) of her crown or give her a second chance. In the end he decided to give her have a second chance and Miss Conner has decided to enter rehab. What?!?

When was the last time you heard anything about a Miss USA or Miss America after they won? Well, at least since the Vanessa Williams debacle. Apparently Miss Conner, who is only 20, had been hitting the bars and clubs in New York as if she were Tara Reid, not Tara Conner. I am a little sad that she wasn’t stripped of her title because I can only imagine where she would have ended up. Ring! Ring! Uh, hello, Mr. Hefner?

I hate to admit that she is a native of my home state Kentucky, but she is. As if Kentucky needs anything else to make us look idiotic. What can I tell you, when a Kentucky girl goes to New York and they wear shoes and have indoor plumbing, that would mess with anyone’s head. You can take the girl out of the trailer park, but you can’t take the trailer park out of the girl.

On what day does Jack Bauer celebrate Christmas? December 24

Here is another video for you, this time it is a holiday piece. If you are a 24 fan, you definitely need to see this. I am also sure those who are not fans of 24 will also like it. Click and enjoy!!

Seinfeld, horror has a new name

The Michael Richards saga will not die. Check this out, it is a mock trailer that has been formed from clips of Seinfeld. This trailer seems to be for a thriller/horror movie and Kramer seems to be the killer. Some of the stuff does not work that great, but altogether it is pretty funny. Click the link and enjoy!!

Piccu's Best Music of 2006: The Honorable Mentions

Well, the end of the year is near and that means one thing, it's time for all those silly best of 2006 lists. So I thought if everyone else is doing it, then why don't I? Because I am a huge music fan, I thought I would list my favorite albums of the year. I admit I haven't exactly listened to every album that has come out, but I have bought anywhere from 40 to 50 2006 issue cds. I know, it's a sad case, but nonetheless I thought if anything, perhaps I could turn someone on to a band they may have never heard of before.

Before I get into what I call my Dirty Dozen of 2006 I thought I would give you a few honorable mentions that just barely missed the cut. While they are not in my top 12, they are very worthy of checking out. I must tell you that I am not a music critic per se, but I know what I like and these are the albums I listened to or enjoyed the most this year. Let us begin.

The first that just missed the cut was a band called Damone with Out Here All Night. This cd was one of those I bought because I heard a cool song on the radio. Damone's cool song was Out Here All Night. When I listened to the whole album it gave off a Rick Springfield mixed with Judas Priest vibe. Sounds weird but it works. The songs are pretty heavy without going over board, with hard driving rhythms and nice solos. To top everything off the lead singer is a very capable female named Noelle. If you are into retro rock you should look into this. Also check out the cool acoustic cover of the Iron Maiden classic Wasted Years, it is unbelievable.

Next we have Bratch's favorite album of 2006, The Killers with Sam's Town. I like this cd but it almost seems too over the top. I also am getting tired of the band's silly mustaches. With that being said it is still a great album. It takes the elements of their first album Hot Fuss and adds better writing and more...well more everything. Sometimes the words get in the way of the songs, which may be the reason it isn't in my top 12. Even though it sounds like am only halfheartedly recommending this cd, I really do think it is something you should pick up, especially if you liked Hot Fuss.

Next is a band called Priestess with Hello Master. I can almost bet you have never heard of this band. I read about them in Spin or Rolling Stone and decided to try them out. I was not disappointed. This is a flat out rock cd, mixing Thin Lizzy with Judas Priest and throwing in a little Steve Miller Band for flavoring. All the songs are intense, with some dual guitar solos, and a lead singer who can sing/scream without being annoying. There is even a healthy dose of cowbell. Priestess is a band you need to know about.

Next is the Yeah Yeah Yeahs with Show Your Bones. This is a supposed alternative/art band but this cd is full of great pop songs. Gold Lion and Phenomena are two of the best songs I have heard this year. This band is a three piece with a drummer, a guitarist, and a Karen O. She really controls this album with her singing, shrieking and some of thee best rock screaming since Roger Daltry in Won't Get Fooled Again. The band may not want to hear this, but I thought this was perhaps the best rock/pop album of the year.

Now we move on to the heaviest cd so far, The Sword's Age of Winters. This group is super heavy. They have a Sabbath-y groove but also have some heavy thrash elements ala early Metallica. This band will literally try to bludgeon you to death when listening to their cd. The grooves are heavy and sludgy, just the way I like it. If you have played a little game I like to call Guitar Hero 2 you already have heard one song by The Sword. Their song Freya is in the game and is the song that bogged down my progress for a time. If you are a fan of old school metal with heavy riffs and lyrics about warriors and wizards then this is the cd for you.

That's it for my honorable mentions, but I would also like to recommend a couple of reissues, if you will. The new Beatles cd Love is excellent and very much worth checking out. You have heard all the songs before, but you haven' heard them in these arrangements. While there are 26 tracks on this cd, I had read that over 100 songs were used to arrange these 26 tracks. It is definitely cool to listen to the demo version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps with a brand new string arrangement behind it. This cd will give you chills.

Also I have to tell you I have been very into David Bowie this year, especially the cd Hunky Dory. This is a pure pop cd that is mostly piano driven and includes my favorite song right now, Life on Mars. If you were like me at one time and thought Bowie was too weird to really get into, take a chance and pick this cd up. You won't regret it. I'll be back with the bottom half of my Dirty Dozen.

We playin' basket-brawl, we playin' basket-brawl.

Did you see this brawl this past weekend? The New York Knicks and the Denver Nuggets decided to go all Pistons-Pacers at Madison Square Garden this weekend. The Nugs were up 19 points and still had starters in to run up the score and the Knicks decided they would start dishing out hard fouls. Then all hell breaks lose. Players are flailing at each other, at one point some players tumbled into the crowd. Luckily they weren’t in Detroit or the crowd would have taken this as an opportunity to degenerate into WW 3.

I think there are many to blame for this, the players are to blame mostly for cementing the NBA’s rep as being full of thugs. George Karl is to blame for trying to run up the score, probably because the Knicks sent his buddy Larry Brown packing after one season. Isiah Thomas is to blame for sending players into the game to be thugs and issue out hard fouls. Most everyone involved got some sort of punishment whether it is fines or suspensions.

The player I want to focus on is Carmelo Anthony, you know, Melo, the guy who is supposed to be the face of the NBA with Lebron and Wade. Melo proved to the world what he really is, a punk. Melo sucker punched a Knick player in the face and then ran away after doing it. He looked like a scared little 5 year old girl hitting and running. Melo wants to be all hard and represent because he comes out of the projects in Baltimore by appearing in Stop Snitchin’ drug dealer videos, by getting busted with weed. Well, he showed how hard he was. It may be hard to go back to the 'hood after his homies have seen him run away like a corn rowed chicken.

I hope this stays with him for the rest of his career. I hope the NBA pretty much locks him out of any kind of publicity opportunities. I hope he loses all those sponsors who want to be involved with him. The NBA wonders why no one really likes their product. I think this little incident shows why you never hear anyone say that the NBA is their favorite sport to watch.

This leads into a whole other issue with athletes packing guns around with them or having an arsenal of illegal guns in their homes. This means you Tank Johnson. These athletes fought their way out of the ghetto to get to the place where they make money and don’t have to worry about drugs or getting shot and they start buying guns. It makes no sense. They want to stay “hard” for their peeps. Well, I heard a caller on the Colin Cowherd show sum all this athlete/thug life up by saying, “There’s not enough hours in the day to be hard AND play sports for a living” And this was from a guy who seemed to definitely know what he was talking about. So please, athletes of the world stop doing stupid stuff and making sports fans embarrassed to be sports fans. And that is specifically directed at the Cincinnati Bengals.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Justin Timberlake at his best...

First off, I'm not much of a fan of Justin Timberlake. His music is pretty much canned crap, but he has my respect for bagging Cameron Diaz while she was metamorphasizing (yeah that's a new word) into a crazy dope smokin' hoochie. You remember, that time she had that MTV reality show where she and her friends traveled the world glassy-eyed and laid out on the beach all day.

Anyway, Piccu mentioned that Timberlake was hosting SNL this past Saturday and I wondered if they ever did another Barry Gibb Talk Show. I don't know if they did since Jimmy Fallon isn't even on the show anymore, but check out The Barry Gibb Talk Show on YouTube. There are three of them, but this is the best one.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Gettin' called up to the big leagues

I am now working with medical students to test them on psychiatry. They have something called an OSCE (pronounce os-key for you those of you not fluent in med school-ese). In this standardized patients pretend to have different psychiatric disorders and then students are tested on whether or not they handled them appropriately. I was staffed to run a VCR and then make sure no one cheated on part of it; however, one of the residents who was going to act called in sick. You got it; I got called up!

I portrayed a person having a panic attack for five twenty minute sessions over a few hours. It was spectacular. At the end of each scenario, students were saying "you were making me nervous." That was music to my ears. The most fun was going from someone having melt down to completely normal breathing and calm when the bell went off.

Now, I am aspiring to reach the pinnacle of OSCE acting in psychiatry: schizophrenia.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Bridal Suite...

So here it is. I can't tell you how many people in our community have asked me about "that hotel room," but it has been a lot.

Our local high school soccer team made the Final Four state championships this past soccer season and we had to make the trip up there to cover the game or games if they had won the first game. The whole reason why I didn't get a hotel room earlier in the week when I'm sure several were available was because of simple superstitiousness.

I figured that if I had gotten a hotel room that they were sure to lose because while we didn't want to make the 3 hour drive home at 10 p.m. at night, it was a possibility. Turns out we probably did jinx it, but I digress.

Anyway, we snagged some lunch shortly before we were going to leave for the game and asked a soccer dad which hotel everyone was staying in so we could pile in with folks that we knew.

We got the number of the hotel and The Don made the call to get a room. The nice receptionist who answered the phone told us that we were in luck and that one room was available. It was $110 and that scared the Don off for a second and he told her he would call back. It was at that point that she gave us a 10 percent discount since we were with the soccer team and folks from the OC had that joint filled.

The 10 percent discount was all The Don needed to hear and we had our room.

About three and a half hours later we get to the hotel and check in. We get up to our room and walk in. I was looking at how nice and somewhat large it was and The Don says, "I don't think I like the bathroom arrangement."

Then I turn around and see the photo that you see above and say, "If you think the inside is bad, you should see what I'm seein'."

It was at that point that we joked about it for a minute and I then said, you are going to have to write a column about this. We pretty much had to use tour bus etiquette because if you "harmed" the bathroom you were harming everything and that wasn't cool and privacy doesn't happen behind a shower curtain. Not to mention there wasn't a shower so if we were going to bathe it was going to be in a stinkin' bathtub that you could see the TV from.

Either way, for the last month all I've heard is cracks about how nice that room must have been for us guys. Some from perfect strangers.

So there is "The Love Hole" in all its glory. It featured a nice queen size bed and a pull out bed from the couch. It was a smoking room and as you can see it had a large bathtub, large mirror and sparkling white toilet that would have been in perfect view of people outside of the hotel window had we not been on the second floor.

So next time you and your buddies are heading out to a hotel and you get the very last room in the joint and it seems a little expensive...

Ask why.

The Shadow returns and Christmas at the Liberty Theatre.

The Shadow is rising from the grave. Or at least from the garbage bin in Hollywood. Sam Raimi, Evil Dead genius and Spider-Man director, has gotten the right to produce The Shadow for Columbia Pictures. The Shadow was an old time radio show that starred Orson Welles for a time. Since Bratch has gotten me hooked on old time radio, it is one of my favorite shows. Click on the link to read more about it.

This brings me to our church’s annual Christmas program. In the past since we were kids, we always did a Christmas play at our church on the Sunday before Christmas. The last play we did was not very good, at all, so last year we did a program of readings. It went a lot better and was so much easier and less stressful to pull off, especially without memorizing pages of lines. This year, we decided to kind of do the same thing.

That is until I had my brainstorm of an idea, and this is where we come full circle to The Shadow. I thought it might me cool to do an old time radio version of our Christmas program. I thought we could record our readings, have a choir sing, and have an announcer to tie everything together. The setting is Hollywood and all of your favorite stars are in the program. Bratch and I are doing a two page play set in a library and the announcer reminds the audience at the end of our piece that you can look for us in the MGM production of Chinese Checkers.

It seems like a great idea, it’s different, it’s weird and it will have a good message. Once we record everything, Bratch will just play it over our church’s speakers. Our aunt will portray a grandmother gathering the kids around the radio for some Christmas cheer. At two points during our telling of the Christmas story from the gospels, there will be a microphone set up off to the side and the kids will sing Away in a Manger and Go Tell It on the Mountain. We even have a great old radio as a prop. Otherwise there is nothing to watch. I am depending on the audience being able to stay focused and not want to go to sleep or wander off during the program.

I can’t say I haven’t had second, third, and fourth thoughts about the presentation. To make matters worse, Bratch’s brand new iBook is cheating us by placing a buzzing noise under our recordings so we only have about 20% of the play recorded, with no choir and we are days away for show time. We think we have the kinks worked out in the recording and hope to get the choir and all the lines recorded on Wednesday. Otherwise we will go live and perform it like I imagine they did in the 30’s-50’s and just do it in front of the audience. But I would still keep my aunt and the kids listening to the radio and just put the actors on the opposite side of the “stage.”

I hope things work out and I hope it is something that people will enjoy. Maybe next year we will pull out the stops and do a whole old school “live” radio show in front of a live studio audience. I am also hoping that we are able to burn the show on cd so anyone who wants a copy can have it. As I write this, it seems like it may have been a bigger production than if we had just done a play. Well, I guess we will find out on Sunday night.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Wii played the We or was it We played the Wii

Little something called eggnog milkshake night, led to bustin' out the Wii this past weekend. Our friends bought the system a while back. I think it is the next step towards the virtual reality room on Star Trek, but it's not there yet. I think it is uique and creative, but I am worried that the limitations of the sensitivity of the system will ultimately limit the sophistication of the games. I hear the Zelda game is off the chain, but I did not experience that one. I did play Ray man which was fantastic if you like slaughtering bunnies reminiscent of Donnie Darko. Overall it was fun, but I am not sold on buying one at this point.

Friday, December 08, 2006

26 Years Ago Today...

John Lennon was shot and killed by a nut.

Peter Gammons was asked about Lennon this morning. For those who don't know, Gammons is a Hall of Fame baseball writer, but also a rock n' roll enthusiast.

Gammons brought up an interesting thought. What would John Lennon have become if he'd lived? He was only 40 when he was murdered and he had already established himself as the most interesting Beatle. He was very anti-establishment. Would that have continued through the 80s? Would he have become an AIDS activist? Or maybe he would have just laid low.

The Beatles were the first real rock 'n roll superstars and they, along with Elvis Presley, crowned the golden birth of rock 'n roll.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The first snow...

I get up this morning to the soothing images of a blizzard. Well, not really but here in Kentucky it was about as blizzard as it gets before we start talking Blizzardo Diablo.

I take off for work and notice that the roads have a nice little layer of snow covering them. Nothing crazy, but there three different types of drivers in this world when snow/ice is involved.

The first type are those of us who will get out, but have enough sense and skill to negotiate the roads without killing ourselves or others. A little common sense goes a long way.

The second type of driver is the one who will go out and buy supplies for a week before the snow gets there and will not step foot outside of their home until the last flake is gone. Which is usually 36 hours after the snow starts, if that long.

The final type of driver is the one who totally disregards the chilly white substance on the asphalt. Usually because they think that because they have front wheel drive or four wheel drive that they are pretty much driving an M-1 tank that can't be stopped. The problems of course arise when it comes time to actually stop and then hijinx ensue.

Case in point. I pull into Wal-Mart before coming to the office so I can snag some blank DVDs and as I pull in there is a 3-way stop that doesn't involve me because I going toward Wal-Mart. It would be a four way stop but they want you to come too them and keep you there not hinder your progress in their direction so everyone else has to stop whereas I can do and go wherever I want so long as it is in the general direction of Wal-Mart.

I see the old Ford pickup heading to the stop sign on my left, but didn't think too much of it because he wasn't going that fast. Little did I know that his method of negotiating stop signs was lock up his brakes at the stop sign itself and not an instant before.

So as I'm entering the intersection this dude is already past the sign and making a B-line toward my door. It was at that point that I weighed my options.

I couldn't turn too sharply to the right because I would end up in a skid. I did, however, happen to check the driver of the other truck as I was cruising into the intersection to see if he was attempting to try and making things worse at the wheel, but he wasn't thankfully and simply looked at me with this "dude, I'm sorry" expression on his face and I returned a look as if to say "you f#$% face."

I was just about ready to jump the curb and he stopped about 3 feet from hitting me as I cruised through, but he had me square if he didn't stop.

There were probably a dozen or more accidents from this first snow that now 3 hours later is almost gone.

Winter is here.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Yee-haw!! Ride 'em cowboy!

Here is something I saw the other day on the Daily Nut. It is a segment from a show in England. The clip is called Big Stranger Rodeo. In it, a guy waits in the background until he sees a “big” stranger and then he leaps on the stranger’s back and sees how long he can stay on before getting bucked. He then runs away. I have to say that I thought this was hilarious, maybe it’s just me. Enjoy!!!!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Safe Sex in a Can!!

Cures for cancer and AIDS can wait because scientists are working on the problems that really plague the world. For example, we may FINALLY be able to rid ourselves of those annoying little condom packages in favor of a spray on latex system that is akin to sticking your Special Purpose into a small (how small is debatable) car wash. It, the aforementioned Special Purpose, will be sprayed with latex from all sides.

No word on whether or not Motel 6 will be installing these devices in all of their rooms.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Are You Happy Sharon Stone?

Years after the most famous crotch shot in cinematic history, the orifice has found its way back into the news.
It's no surprise that Britney Spears is doing anything she can to keep her skanky self in the news, but I must admit that even I am a bit shocked by this one. Purposely opening yourself up for the paparazi to get shots of regions is probably the most desperate cry for attention I've seen.
And of course if you mention the word skank, who else should come to mind but Paris Hilton. The woman who is famous for being famous has been seen with Britney who is the mother of two I might add, drinking, partying, rubbing up on guys and skipping out on wearing underwear.
And that's not enough, why not throw Lindsay Lohan into that mix. My goodness these former Disney Princesses have a way of really hitting bottom don't they? Who would have thought that Christina Aguilera would end up the "normal" one?
So now we've got three skanks walking around allowing any camera with a zoom to zoom in on their "special purpose." And this is what we've come to. This is it. Admit it, you've always wondered where it would get. When it was fashionable to dress slutty, then became fashionable to show cleveage, then fashionable to have a sex tape, now its fashionable to flash your cha-cha.
Back to one point before I leave this subject. Britney Spears is a mother. Think about your mother for a minute. What's the most embarassing thing she's ever done to you? A silly Halloween outfit? Wiping your face with a Kleenex moistened with her own saliva? Maybe she's even the town drunk. But you know what, at least you're not Britney's kids. My goodness there have to be shrinks lining up outside that house like lawyers chasing an ambulance. Good luck kids. We'll be seeing you on E!'s True Hollywood Stories soon enough.