Monday, January 30, 2006

Life After The Stones

A friend of mine went to a Sevendust concert this weekend – now this is a band that is generally loud and falls into the genre of music that this friend would typically like. However, he ended up not really enjoying the show, and said that he thinks he is getting too old for this.

It got me thinking. There was a time, when I would only really listen to the Stones, The Who, and some selected classic rock. This was basically high school through college, for me. Prior to high school and middle school, I listened to pop music, which included such musical stalwarts as Kool and The Gang, Lionel Richie, and Nena.

Thankfully, a middle school bud rescued me before Janet Jackson could claw her way into my soul, and introduced the Rolling Stones to me. I was immediately hooked, after hearing the addicting piano intro to “Let’s Spend The Night Together,” and immediately tried to soak up all the Stones music, like a sponge. Luckily for me, the Stones have a vast library of music – so it has taken me a long time to search and find all of their music (a task I probably will never finish).

However, this task retarded my musical growth. I am not saying that the Stones are not musically talented and diverse – I think they are the most diverse rock band of all time (as well as the best). However, the sheer excellence of the Stones would keep me from experimenting with other music throughout high school – and through most of college.

However, beginning junior year, I began to musically thaw, thanks to the wide-ranging musical tastes of my college roommates. My world began to appreciate other types of music – alternative, heavy metal, industrial, rap – and I began to slowly thirst for this. Now, this was a very slow process, mind you. I didn’t just open-up and gorge myself on these various new (to me) musical genres.

In fact, I don’t think I truly 100% opened up until just a few years ago. I began to openly search for new music – finding bands like the Strokes, The Killers, The Bravery, Hot Hot Heat, The Rakes, The Capes, Franz Ferdinand, The Automatic, The Vines, and the Hives – just to mention a few. Maybe it’s just that I’m enjoying the current garage-rock phase.

Friday, January 27, 2006

More Snippets

1. Ford is now the latest U.S. car-maker to announce cuts in order to save the company. Is this a surprise to anyone? Is a Ford on the top of your list when you think of buying a new car (and don’t live in the hinterlands)? Finally, somebody got the hint that creativity was an afterthought with these automobiles. Yes – there are other issues with regards to the unions, pensions, too many layers of management, etc. that play into this, but the bottom line is that people don’t like boring cars. President Bush even said this (sort of) when asked about it a few days ago. In fact, he went on to say that Ford and GM should really look outside the box and MAYBE focus on researching alternative fuel technologies to maybe get a leg up on the competition (or at least try to catch up to the competition). The large thud heard was of the many big oil company people’s jaws hitting the ground.

2. Rumor has it that Google may be on the verge of entering terrestrial radio. My God, finally some potentially positive news for people who haven’t switched to satellite radio! I’m guessing that Google will take a very different path than all of the other big, boring, risk-averting companies that currently have a strangle hold on the radio market (especially in Philly) – and may offer a new, refreshing alternative … at least, I hope so.

3. I saw previews for the new Pink Panther movie a bunch this week. Now, I’m a big fan of the Pink Panther franchise – I loved the work that Peter Sellers did. Consequently, I also like Steve Martin. But, man, do those commercials look horrible. I have a feeling that this movie may be a step BELOW such flops as “Dude, Where’s My Car,” “Dumb and Dumberer,” and even “Gigli.”

4. Has the Super Bowl been played yet? Isn’t this usually more hyped? I almost forgot about it this week. Maybe it’s because the Eagles aren’t involved – although with the exception of last year (and 1981), they are never involved, and I still feel super-saturated with Super Bowl matchup knowledge. But not this year. Maybe its because the Seahawks are in it – which makes it almost feel like the Canadian Football championship, or a division 3 college football game.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Say It Isn't So, Super Mario!

Yesterday, an icon of the NHL officially announced his retirement. Mario Lemieux, a player who single-handedly rescued the Pittsburgh Penguins from imminent death, and won them multiple Stanley Cups, finally revealed that his battered body would no longer allow him to continue to participate in the sport that he loves.

I am a Philadelphia Flyers fan, so it is often hard for me to say nice things about other hockey players (actually, that is not true, because I am a hockey fan, as well). However, there are a few athletes (in every sport) who deserve accolades from everybody. Lemieux is one of those.

I was lucky enough to have been able to see both Lemieux and Gretzky play – not that it was a joy to watch them, especially against the orange-and-black. Every time they were on the ice against the Flyers, I felt helpless. I knew that sooner or later they would find the twine. They were magicians with the puck, and when they came to Philly, it always felt like more than just a hockey game.

Lemieux was more of a thorn in the Flyers side (even though Gretzky helped defeat the Flyers in two Stanley cups), probably because the Flyers face him more often. From the start, the Flyers seemed to be Lemieux’s bitch – even in the early years, when the Flyers won most of the games.

Philly fans who get a bad rap (see any article about throwing snowballs at Santa, or Michael Irvin) actually probably showed Lemieux the most amount of respect – twice. The first time was when Mario came back from Hogkin’s Disease treatments – his first game was in Philly. Flyer fans, for a few minutes, became Penguins fans (actually, Lemieux fans), giving him a standing ovation for what seemed to be ever. He was visibly choked up (funny how we don’t hear about these things in the national media). The second time was when he announced his first retirement – again, it was against the Flyers, and again the fans showed their appreciation.

I will miss him, and I hope that the new stars of the NHL will reach those heights – a tall order for anybody.

Monday, January 23, 2006


Some More Morsels (love that word!)

1. We had some interior designer friends over this weekend, and I realized how much I don’t know about interior design. They were talking about window treatment at one point. If my wife told me to go get window treatment, I would probably come back with a case of Windex and some caulk. Actually, window treatment is the more “hip” term for curtains. So, don’t say you didn’t learn anything today.

2. It should be an exciting Super Bowl this year. I watched both games and was impressed with the Steelers and Seahawks on both sides of the ball. I really admire Bill Cowher, even though I’m not a Steelers fan (hard to be one if you are an Eagles fan). However, he does look a lot like Sgt. Slaughter. He spits when he talks too (just like Sarge). The Super Bowl would be awesome if (A) the NFL had a microphone on Cowher the entire game and he said things like “You puke!, You maggot!,” and (B) if they could convince coach Holmgren to dress up like the Iron Sheik. BTW – if you think I lifted the Sgt. Slaughter reference from the Sports Guy, you are wrong – I have e-mail evidence to prove that I had called him Sgt. Slaughter before last week’s article came out.

3. I watched Shawshank Redemption AGAIN last night. It seems like (A) TNT, Spike, TBS, and every other station has a rule that they must play this movie at least once a week, and (B) anytime that I know it is on, I feel compelled to watch it. What a great movie.

4. My wife is now a huge Johnny Cash fan. We saw the movie about a month ago, and she is totally enamored by him. Prior to seeing the movie, my wife would never have listened to his music – I even tried playing a song in the car once, and after 30 seconds, she asked me to change it. Now she knows a bunch of his songs by heart, goes to his website just about every day, and probably knows more about him than I do.

5. I watched part of 60 minutes last night (the football game was on commercial), and saw that there are these gaming tournaments all over the place now – with sponsorship deals, and major prize money. Where was this when the Atari 2600 was all the rage? I would’ve beaten anybody in Yar’s Revenge, and Megamania.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Odds and Ends

1. I got an acoustic guitar for Christmas. I figured that since I’m so good at air guitar, that I should probably learn how to play real guitar – I’d probably be a natural, or something like that. Well, after 4 weeks, I’m not a natural. In fact, I stink. But, I love it, and I think I hear improvement. In fact, I can play such classics as “When the Saints Go Marching In” and “Jingle Bells.” Ever onward!

2. If you are jonesing to find some new music, I have some suggestions for you. First, listen to internet or satellite radio (forget about terrestrial radio – but you already know that). One of my favorite internet radio stations is It is actually two stations – one with vintage modern rock, and the other has new modern rock. It will open a whole new world for you. If you don’t feel like listening to internet radio, let me suggest a few bands for you to research. First, the Capes are a new band out of the U.K., and they sound like a mix between the Cars and the Beach Boys. Second, the Automatic, another British band, has a little more edge, but still employs great harmonies and upbeat music. Finally, give a listen to the Rakes – very upbeat, and lots of fun.

3. Just a few other tidbits:
* My current favorite movie quote – “I love lamp! I love lamp.” From Anchorman.
* My current favorite song – “Super Girls” from the Capes.0
* Least favorite household chore – Cleaning the bathrooms. It is literally a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it.”
* Least Favorite Commercial – Oh man, this is a toss up. Right now, I hate the Ebay commercials. I want to massage my head with a porcupine every time I hear the “Sleepy Jean” song.
* Coolest Show I Just Discovered – There is a show on WYBE (public television station – channel 24 on my dial), called “Later with Jools.” It was some sort of rock and roll show (reminded me of Ed Sullivan Show but much, much cooler). The host was standing in the middle of the rather large studio, and he would introduce a number of bands – these bands were all around him in corners of this studio. He had some unknown bands and some rather big bands (The Pretenders and the Cardigans). He would introduce one band – they would play one of their songs, and then he’d introduce another band who would play one of their songs – then he would interview the first band, and then introduce a third band, and so on. Very cool – something the U.S. would never try (it was a British show). It was on this past Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m. I hope it is a weekly thing.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

I Hate Trucks

I would personally like to thank the douche-bag who flipped his truck on I-95 yesterday, spilling part of the apparently toxic and flammable load, and causing the closure of I-95 (by the stadiums) for nearly 15 hours. It certainly made my commute much more interesting and I was able to “enjoy” it for almost 1 extra hour.

You know, I’m starting to understand people with road rage. No, I didn’t get road rage yesterday, but I felt my blood begin to boil. I’ve always had problems with these big trucks. I know that many of them are under time constraints – having to transport supplies across far distances in ridiculously short amounts of time. But, when transporting hazardous material, I would think a rational driver would make sure not to drive his truck so erratically and dangerously, that he puts himself and many surrounding people in jeopardy.

I felt like finding this guy and kicking him in the balls repeatedly for his move during the early part of rush hour yesterday morning. It seems like we see this every day – a truck going too fast to negotiate a turn, tipping over, and tying up traffic. Something needs to be done about this. I propose that the offending driver AND company pay each person who was affected by the delay (I’m talking everybody – people late to work, others who miss a favorite t.v. show because of it – everybody) some sort of “fee.” If we do this, then maybe the companies and drivers will act a little more responsible.

I’m not done with my rant, however. I’m finding it hard to understand why I-95 had to be closed for 15 hours – especially in a major city like Philadelphia. I understand that the truck flipped over the railing and dumped some hazardous chemicals onto the highway, and still had a bunch of chemicals in the tank. But 15 hours? Shouldn’t there be a plan in place that ensures an accident like this can be cleaned up in less time, especially on a major highway? Maybe I’m just not speaking rationally here, because it did inconvenience me a tad. But, I want to know. There must’ve been accidents similar to this one that have occurred elsewhere that we can compare this to. Did they take this long? Should I just let it go and get on with my life?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Dog-Gone Fun!

A friend of mine came over on Sunday to watch the NFL games. It was interesting, because neither of us really had a vested interest in any of the teams playing, so we actually got to sit back and objectively watch the games … however, because there are so many gosh-darn (trying to keep it clean) commercials in a televised NFL game, we did quite a bit of channel-surfing … and came up with some interesting points.

First, and foremost, what the hell are we going to watch on Sundays when the NFL is not on. I’m hoping that quite a bit of college basketball and NHL hockey will be on … but this was not the case yesterday … especially for the 1:00 game. Quite frankly, it probably would’ve been easier to find the Holy Grail than to find good sports yesterday.

As we surfed, we came across two networks that had FIGURE SKATING on … c’mon, guys, I think that one channel is probably too much for figure skating, let alone two. Is there really that kind of demand, or were you guys giving up because you knew that most people would be watching football?

Another channel had women’s college basketball. You know how I feel about this. I’m all for equal rights, but if it is boring, it shouldn’t be on TV … or at least not on a major network.

Then we luckily came across a channel that was showing a dog competition. No, this was not one of those boring American Kennel Club “Let’s see how much we can inbreed our dogs” show in which the owners primp their pooches to the point of folly, and then run around a circle as femininely as possible (and, of course the owners love being flamboyant).

No, this was much cooler – the cooler dog competitions that, in my opinion, should be on every week. You know the ones – the Frisbee competition with the owners who probably blazed a reefer minutes before (man, those Australian Sheep Dogs are amazing); the obstacle courses where the dogs jump over small fences, and go through all kinds of mazes (I’m not sure how owners can train dogs like this); the one were the dogs run and jump off a ramp into water (and the judges estimate the distance).

I am not lying here – I actually missed quite a bit of the football game, thanks to this show. I was enamored by the dogs so much, that I think this has a future. This could be similar to pro wrestling, in my mind. You can add storylines, and interesting owners, and have weekly competitions, that go towards point totals (much like NASCAR), with the events going into major towns (again, like NASCAR). I am excited about this. There could be a minor circuit for dogs and owners who aren’t ready for the big time … gosh (still trying to stay clean), my creative juices are flowing!!!!

So, just to recap, I think that dog competitions are more exciting than figure skating and women’s basketball.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Two Tidbits

1. So, the state of New Jersey is seriously considering banning smoking in public places … well, not ALL public places, but ones that are not considered casinos. In my mind, this is wrong on soooooooooooooooooo many levels. Look, I’m not even going to get into the damages that smoking can cause on the human body, because this has been well documented. And, yes, I know about the problems of second-hand smoke (so, please, don’t bring it up).

I think it should be the choice of an establishment on whether to allow smoking or not. If there are so many people up in arms about smoking in public places, there should be plenty of opportunities for them to open up their own places and make them no-smoking havens. And, if the government is so hard-up for this, why not offer tax breaks or incentives to these types of establishments?

Secondly, you start to understand what makes the government tick when you find out that Casinos are not a part of this ban. As always, the lesson here is that money talks. Man, the lobbyists and bribe-givers must’ve been working overtime on this one. How is this not an issue?

You know, if this keeps up, there will be a ban on drinking alcohol at bars eventually. Certainly, there will be a limit on how much beer or alcohol will be able to be consumed per person … except for at the Casinos.

2. Every now and then, a character on television comes by that just seems to steal every scene. It happened with Kramer on Seinfeld, Woody on Cheers, Homer on the Simpsons, and the Fonz on Happy Days. Well, let me introduce you to the next “guy.” His name is Dwight Schrute, and he is the assistant to the manager on a show called “The Office.”

Schrute’s mere face in a scene can make one wet his/her pants. He is anal retentive, a butt kisser, obnoxious, and a little bit crazy. He loves Dungeons and Dragons (a geek), Star Wars, and karate. People goof on him behind his back all of the time, but he thinks that he is well respected. The writers do a fantastic job with his character, but I think the actor himself (Rainn Wilson) adds something that nobody else can – kind of like Michael Richards did with the Kramer character.

Give the show a chance – it is on Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. on NBC. I bet your favorite character will be Schrute as well.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

More Snippets

1. Kevin Federline, or K-Fed (as he wants to be called) has a new cd out. Now, I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but do you think that he may have possibly (hear me out) used Brittany Spears to try and jump-start his career? I know, I know, I shouldn’t be taking such a stance when it is obvious that the two pieces of white trash are happily in love, but it bothers me (I’m not sure why, because I really can’t stand Brittany). I guess it gets my goat (there’s a saying I haven’t heard or used in a while) because a no-talent piece of crap used another no-talent piece of crap to make money (and I’m not sure how the first person made money). Also, anybody who gives him/herself a nickname is a loser.

2. I saw a commercial for Big Mamma’s House 2 … are you kidding me???? Has all of Hollywood decided to mail it in? Was the first one really that good? I watched parts of it, and it couldn’t keep my interest. Is this Hollywood’s marketing ploy – to raise ticket prices AND release really crappy movies? Who was the guy that thought this was a good idea?

3. Anyone else getting sick of the name Alito? I’m not sure if he is going to be good for the supreme court or bad - my guess is that he is just another pawn in the struggle between liberals and conservatives … and that is probably why I am sick of his name, his face, and any news story about him. Again, I am not giving any opinion on the guy, but I am sick of hearing about him – and obviously, I’m also very sick of crap-slinging going on between both parties - I know – some of you will say it is all one sided – depending on which side you are affiliated with, but I’m telling you, it is happening on both sides … I hope that some day (and I’m not holding my breath) that both parties DECIDE TO GROW UP AND (A) WORK TOGETHER TO MAKE THIS COUNTRY BETTER, AND (B) ACTUALLY PUT FORTH CANDIDATES THAT HAVE THE INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE IN MIND INSTEAD OF THWARTING THE OTHER PARTY IN MIND. I will get off of my soap box now.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Some Random Thougths from the Guy with the Big Mouth

1. Congrats to Smokin’ Steve for popping the question on Friday night. Thank you so much for including me in your special night (no, he didn’t ask me to marry him – but invited me to come out and watch the special moment). If you ever need any of my marital “wisdom” that I have gained over the past few years, (a) I’ll be glad to pass it on, and (b) you would be one desperate individual.

2. I saw a Listerine commercial yesterday, and it got me thinking. Why hasn’t there been an advance in technology to replace flossing? Not that I ask my friends about their hygiene habits, but I’m willing to bet that not many of them floss. I certainly don’t. It is time consuming, and just feels awkward. Seriously, we sent rovers to Mars – don’t you think that we should be able to come up with a better way of maintaining our gums?

3. I watched Serendipity and Sleepless in Seattle yesterday … this is what happens when the Eagles don’t make the playoffs … SO MR. REID, GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER, SO I DON’T FIND MYSELF IN THIS POSITION AGAIN!

4. N.O.W. is after Joe Paterno, because he “sort of defended” a Florida State player who was accused of rape. People, please. He didn’t defend the kid. All he said was that people are jumping to conclusions too quickly before hearing what actually happened. Let it go. There are other people you should be going after – not a legendary coach who has donated millions of dollars over the years to education at the campus he coaches.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Tagliabue, the Dictator?

The NFL got some bad press this week … and shockingly enough, it had nothing to do with Terrell Owens. Tagliabue and his cronies decided that during the half-time show – a show featuring the greatest rock and roll band in the world, that the 2000-or-so fans that will be enjoying the show on the field must be between 18 and 45 years old.

Now, I understand the logistics of this. The NFL (and the Stones) want to project themselves as young and hip. Having octogenarians keeling over on the field would be unsightly, and would probably add another15 minutes to the half-time show (what, with the removal of said carcasses).

However, the Stones have been around since 1962, and gained most of their popularity (and fans) in the earlier years. Sure, they continue to gain fans on a daily basis, but I’m guessing they have a large chunk of fans that are over the age of 45 (Mick is 62 for crying out loud).

Isn’t there grounds for some sort of lawsuit here? Has the NFL overstepped its bounds with this? Will this whole situation make people forget about the Janet Jackson “flat-tire” half-time disaster?

I’m sure the NFL will come through this fine, and yes, I’ll still watch the show (and no, I’ve lost no respect for the Stones – I mean, hey, I still think Mick is cool, even though he slept with David Bowie). I just get this feeling that Tagliabue is getting increasingly more drunk with power (I still have an issue with the NFL for strong-arming ESPN in canceling Playmakers). Someday, and it may be soon (see all the news stories about the problems the NFL is having with the players association over the new CBA), Tagliabue may find himself in a position similar to Hitler’s and Saddam’s last days (ass-up, ready for penetration).

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Colds Make Me Say Nasty Things

Well, we finally reached 2006. And, I brought the New Year in with style … as I contracted my annual cold/flu over vacation. A new year couldn’t go by without me hacking up enough mucus to fill a swimming pool. So, because I’m not feeling great, I decided I would put a list of things I hate together:

1. Can somebody please explain to me the “philosophy” the NFL uses when they go to timeout after a score, then come back for the kickoff, only to immediately go back to commercials? It’s ONE PLAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! Do we seriously need another commercial after 1 frickin’ play? Seriously, if you need to run the commercials, why not spend the extra minute after the score, so that you do not have to break up the game anymore, you corporate whores. I’m sick of it.

2. Skating with Celebrities????? Are you serious? I can’t wait for “Baking With Celebrities,” “Sleeping With Celebrities,” and “Off-roadin’ With Celebrities.” Enough, already. And please, take American Idol, and shove it up your ass.

3. Did the NFL regular season end? I didn’t notice. I watched part of another poor excuse for an Eagles game, and Joe Buck mentioned that the Eagles season was mercifully over. It was a very depressing season. Last year, before the Eagles even got T.O., my friend from Baltimore called to gloat (when it was reported T.O. was going to the Ravens). I told him that T.O. would not be the ticket to the championship, and that he would ultimately shake the organization to its foundation. Boy, what a prognosticator I was. The only thing was, that he ended up coming to Philly and doing this. Ugh.

4. Arrested Development is getting canceled? Why? Apparently, the show is too good for a channel like FOX. Of course, this is the channel that canceled Family Guy a few years ago, and replaced it with the blockbuster Tucker show.

5. Can we all get on with our lives, please? I am sick of hearing the “Nick and Jessica” gossip, and the “Brad and Angelina and Jennifer” triangle. Surely there must be something more important to discuss at the water cooler than a bunch of over-priced prim donnas having marital problems?

6. Can we finally put Dick Clark back in the freezer? I think it is time to get a new host for New Years, and no, I don’t think Regis is the answer. Isn’t he older than Dick Clark? Why not try Adam Carolla or Jimmy Kimmel? How much worse could it get?