Thursday, June 28, 2007

Is There Hope?

We have a promising “new’ radio station in Philadelphia – 104.5, which now has a modern rock/alternative format, finally filling the vacuum that Y-100 created when it switched formats 2+ years ago. I’m excited about this, but in the long run, I know it will fail. How? Let me count the ways.

First, and most importantly, the station is part of Clear Channel, the mega-company that has largely been responsible for the decline of terrestrial radio. They bought up tons of radio stations nationwide in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, and basically tried to create vanilla formats that they hoped everyone would listen to. Creativity was for all intensive purposes thrown out the window. We began hearing the same few bands playing the same few songs. Clear Channel ended up hurting itself, as it invested so much money in doing this, that when the backlash happened, the stations were practically worthless. (not to mention the whole Howard Stern debacle). They tried selling a bunch off, and I think they still are.

Another reason this won’t last in Philly is because any radio station that tries something new and makes a niche for themselves, ends up refusing to get creative. Case and point – we had an 80’s station here a few years ago, and it was cool hearing those songs again. However, this station had a very narrow playlist that consisted only of top 10 hits. People got bored with the music. I e-mailed the program director, foreshadowing this, and offering suggestions like having “Freestyle-Fridays,” or “80’s rap night,” or even trying to rediscover forgotten 80’s classics. I received an e-mail back from the program director thanking me for my input, but assuring me that they knew what they were doing … it didn’t take long for them to change formats. I fear the same issue will happen to 104.5 – I’ve already noticed that they repeat songs far too often.

104.5 also seems to be playing far too much emo-music (look it up), relying on bands like AFI, Fallout Boy, My Chemical Romance, and Taking Back Sunday, Breaking Benjamin, and Jimmy Eat World … the sound of these bands is far too overproduced and quite frankly, far to similar to each other. My hope is that they’ll discover other sounds and rely less on emo … and yes, I’ve e-mailed them about this as well.

At least we have modern rock in Philly again. I should stop complaining and enjoy it … while it lasts.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

No, Chris, No!!!!!

As many of you know, I am a pro wrestling fan … sure, I’m not as big of a fan as I used to be, but I still follow the “sport.” You can imagine how shocked I was to find out about Chris Benoit last night whilst tuning into RAW. I’ve been a fan of Benoit’s for quite a while … in fact, I remember when he teamed with Bobby Eaton during one of the last Crocket Cup tag team title tournaments back in the NWA (yeah, I’m old).

The guy never had the “charisma” on the microphone, which, along with his lack of size, probably hindered his career … or at least prevented him from dominating the sport like Austin or the Rock did. His in-ring skills were never questioned. The guy always gave 110%, and the fans loved him for it. Which gets me to the crossroads of this post.

How will Benoit be remembered? I mean, he killed his wife and his son before killing himself. It is rumored that the guy used to beat his wife (who, by the way, I had a major crush on when she was the “Woman” character on WCW in the late 80’s and early 90’s). Does he go down as another O.J.? Of course, we probably would’ve respected O.J. more if he would’ve just had the decency to take his own life as well (Hey Barry, ya listening?).

The guy had a tremendous career, winning the world title, and numerous other titles in many wrestling organizations around the globe. He was immensely respected by everyone he wrestled against, and was one of those rare wrestlers that could wrestle a broomstick, and make the broomstick look like a seasoned professional. I wouldn’t say that I’m sick to my stomach over this, but this is very disturbing … disturbing enough to bring Vince McMahon out of character last night (he was actually in the middle of a ‘Vince McMahon is dead’ storyline, so this was a pretty big deal).

I just wonder what drove him to do it. I'm guessing it was some sort of debilitating combination of steroids, speed, and pain killers ... seems like a lot of wrestlers have run into difficulties with this. Benoit did have a severe neck injury a few years ago - one in which he needed to get some vertibrae fused together ... not trying to make excuses for the guy, I'm just trying to make sense of it.

I know most of you guys and gals aren’t wrestling fans, and that’s o.k. I just wanted to get your opinion on this. Did I waste too much of my life writing this post?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Semi-Regular Reviews

Once every now and again, I feel the urge to share some reviews on recently purchased movies, music, video games, etc. This is one of those times. Enjoy:

Recently Seen Movies:
* Knocked Up – This movie is chocked full of one-liners, many laugh-out-loud scenes, and some embarrassingly funny moments. This will most likely be the most quoted movie of the summer … unless Superbad steals this title away.

* Pirates 3 – The writers seem to be going with more and more theatrical moments, and relying less and less on creating a story. Still, it was a relatively good movie, and the Keith Richards cameo is worth the price of the ticket itself (yeah, I’m a Stones fan).

Recently Purchased Movies:
* Crash – Yep, this was in the discount rack, but man, what a great flick. If you can find it for $5 or less, it is definitely worth it. Lots of great acting, even a surprisingly good performance from Brendan Frazer.


* The Bravery, The Sun and the Moon – If you liked their first release, you’ll love this one. This could be the band that challenges the Killers, much like The Beatles had the Stones rivalry. They definitely got a 1980’s Psychedelic Furs sound, with touches of techno in some songs, but most of the album gets your toes tapping.

* Razorlight, by Razorlight – Surprisingly good album that doesn’t jump out at you right away, however, the melodies seem to stick in your head for hours. Lots of influences here – U2, The Pretenders, Springsteen, Squeeze, and maybe even a little INXS if you listen closely. Delicate songs are interwoven with some really catchy rockers.

* The Kaiser Chiefs, Yours Truly, Angry Mob – Much like the first release, very incomplete. There are some really good tracks, but it seems like I keep hitting the next song button entirely too much. If you like Britpop, you’ll probably dig this album, but much like the first one, there are too many throw-away songs.

Video Games (for PS2):

* Guitar Hero 2 – In a word, amazing! I’m speechless on how cool they made this game. A friend of mine and I were talking the other day and he said, “I know I’m not actually playing guitar, but this game makes me feel like I am.” The choices of songs used in this are interesting, yet cool. The characters you can unlock, the encores that you play, the multi-player options – just plain crazy. I went out and purchased the wireless guitar, as well as pre-ordering the Guitar Hero 1980’s edition which comes out towards the end of July. You HAVE to get this game.

* Hard Rock Casino – I got this one in the discount rack for $9.99. Worth every penny and more. Not only do they have just about every slot and table game you can imagine in the casino (including War), they have sportsbook betting. Plus, the adventure mode offers you the thrill of trying to complete specific tasks to get to higher levels.

* Mark Davis Pro Bass Challenge – Got this one for $4.99, and again, worth every penny. The only issue I have with the game is that there isn’t a huge variety with regards to places to fish. However, the tournaments are great, and adds the interesting aspect of having to qualify for these tournaments. Plus, trying to find the big bass, while trying to avoid those annoying bluegills is a lot of fun.

* Pro Stroke Golf – Another $9.99 purchase, and another great buy. Sure, it’s not Tiger Woods golf, but the graphics are good, the complexity of the game is a nice touch, and qualifying for specific golf events and beating a ton of challenges makes this game very playable for quite a while.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


A coworker and I got to talking today about an interesting news story. Apparently, there was some sort of vandal who was spraying graffiti on cars (I think) … The “interesting” note about the story is that he got caught when cops found a digital camera in his car with pictures of each of the cars he vandalized … I mean this has “wet-bandits” written all over it (look it up).

It amazes me how some people can just be that stupid. I mean, there had to be a point that this guy had to have thought to himself, “is this really the smartest thing to be doing?.” Am I right? Or, is this guy missing a chromosome … or gray matter?

My coworker had a similar event happen to his neighbor just a few days before. Some kids had driven by and spray-painted “420” on the side of his white van. Nobody got a good view of the vehicle or the perpetrators, but thanks to sheer stupidity that even O.J. would wince at, one of the kids got caught. How? I’m glad ya asked! Apparently, they found his ID on the ground near one of the cars that was vandalized. I guess stupidity knows no bounds sometimes.

This story reminded me of one I heard in which somebody held-up a potential victim and asked for all his money. The “victim” said he didn’t have any money but he could write him a check. The robber gladly agreed to this, and ended up trying to cash the check … he was apprehended immediately.

If you have any interesting stories to tell, please, share!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Cleveland Really Does Rock!

Well, I survived Cleveland … in all seriousness though, what a great town! It is very clean, and is small enough that you can walk just about anywhere. Plus, it is very reasonably priced. Just a few highlights from our trip:

* Did you know that Cleveland has the country’s 34th biggest airport? Seriously, they promote this.

* The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is really cool … shame that Philly and its unions screwed this one up. Big victory for Cleveland.

* The entire city was pretty bummed with the Cavs getting swept in the NBA finals. They really loved the fact that I was asking if anybody had extra tickets for game 5. They really got annoyed when I said, “If the Cavs can win game 5, the first 4 games won’t matter.”

* Christie’s was our gentleman’s club of choice … thanks to my one friend’s ability to find free passes online. One problem though – the service charge for an ATM in this place was $12 … don’t ask me how I know this.

* A cool bar to visit in Cleveland is called Little Jimmy’s. They had great food, good music, good prices, and great employees. We couldn’t ask for anything more.

* Jacobs field is a great venue to watch baseball. It was a shame that the Tribe lost to the Braves. We still had a lot of fun.

* The Residence Inn was where we stayed – right in the center of the city, and really nice rooms. Plus, they had a complimentary breakfast, and although there was no bacon included, we still enjoyed this.

* Another cool bar to visit is the Map Room … just don’t go there if you are in the mood for anything to eat but pizza … I warned you.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Cleveland Rocks .... I think.

This Friday morning, I, along with two other college buddies, are heading to Cleveland … that’s right, Cleveland. I’m not really sure how we came to the decision to go here, but what the hell. Maybe it’s because the rock and roll hall of fame is located there … maybe it’s because they have a really cool ballpark … maybe it’s because I have a strong resemblance to Drew Carey.

So, here are some things we’ll be doing in Cleveland (please, add some, if you have any other suggestions):

* Sometime on Friday, we’ll visit the rock and roll hall of fame, and pay homage to Mick Jagger … well, at least I’ll be paying homage to Mick.
* We have tickets to the Indians vs. Braves baseball game … I’m hoping they have a pregame wrestling match between Wahoo McDaniel and Chief Jay Strongbow.
* My one friend, who is a certifiable pervert, has already come up with a list of “gentleman’s establishments” in the area.
* There will be much drinking … which will lead to “conversations” with other Clevelandites on the following:
* How they’ve managed to survive living in a dumpster like Cleveland for so long.
* When they plan on fielding a real professional football team again.
* When the next time they plan on setting that lake on fire would be.
* If they can explain the Craig Ehlo experience.
* How long they plan on riding this Jim Brown thing.

Yep, we’ll be just fine.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

DBT 2K7!!!!

This past Saturday was year three of our public transportation dive bar tour. This was my brother’s brainchild – instead of renting a van or bus to travel to local bars of, let’s just say, questionable standards, we would instead journey to bars via Septa. We discovered that it was certainly much cheaper, both because of Septa as well as these bars fantastically low beer and food prices.

However, this year, we added a new twist. Instead of just using the Septa busses, we actually used the train as well. Once again, we had a fantastic time. Here are some of the highlights, other than the train.

* The first bar we went to, Max Magees, had just opened (noon), and we were the first customers. The owner was so happy we were there, that he gave us a round of Southern Comfort shots … ok, maybe he wasn’t happy with us, and that’s why we got the SoCo.

* The Burgundy Lounge, probably the dankest of stops this year, decided not to use air conditioning … it certainly got us out of there quicker.

* We stopped at Pogue Mahones, which used to be Maximillian’s, the bar that Vince Papale used to tend at (if you don’t know Papale, you need to rent Invincible.)

* One of our stops was The New Moon, which used to be called the Blue Moon ... the first U.S. bar I ever had a beer in … a few years before I was 21.

* We had a dinner stop at the Italian Delight … which was once in the MacDade Mall, and then moved to an old Pizza Hut location. What is noteworthy about this is that the owners of the Italian Delight spent about $0 renovating this place … but hey, the pizza was really good.

* One of our last stops was Rick’s, and they were having a high school graduation party … I found it interesting that a bar would host something like a high school graduation.

* The last bar on the tour was Durty Nelly’s, about a block from my house (great planning!). The interesting part about this bar was that we met two women who had obviously been there for a while. In fact, one of the women showed us a picture she took on her cell phone. This is normally not a big deal … but, the picture she took was of her genitals … I kid you not. She had three piercings, so it made it look like some sort of fleshy Christmas tree … ah, good times.

* We finished the night out by going back to my place (not with the women), and playing Guitar Heroes … I have to say that I am probably better at playing this game whilst drunk … weird. The unfortunate thing is that we played for about three hours, and repeated quite a few of the songs, which was all that ended up being in my head while I was trying to sleep.

All in all, a great day/night … nothing like 13 ½ hours of drinking … my liver thanks me.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

This and That ...

Since I can’t think of anything to write, here are some weird things I’ve noticed about myself:

1. I feel like I could sleep late on weekdays, but on weekends I get up early.
2. I am left handed at hockey but right handed at golf.
3. I dislike reality shows, but I like pro wrestling.
4. I enjoyed the Godfather movies, but I can’t get into the Sopranos.
5. I love to play the hand-held Yahtzee game whilst taking a dump.
6. I get upset when somebody uses the urinal right next to me when another urinal is open.
7. I enjoy having the fan on when I sleep … even in the winter time.
8. I am obsessed with infomercials … probably because of the poor acting.
9. In my circle of friends (or circles), I feel like I’m Jerry Seinfeld.
10. I get annoyed with people who always try to one-up me with stories.
11. I have a problem with steak and eggs, because I feel that one is for breakfast, and the other is for dinner, and the two should not be mixed.
12. People collect lots of things – baseball cards, Hummel figurines … I collect cds.
13. I think I would be a far better program manager than just about any in the Philadelphia radio market.
14. I like the smell of hot asphalt when it rains.

Monday, June 04, 2007

I Got Your Low Car Diet Right Here!

This past Saturday was my 35th birthday, and … oh man … I’m crossing into a new marketing demographic now … sigh! However, leave it to me to welcome in such a traumatic situation with style … mainly a keg party with burgers, dogs, wings … and of course friends and family (and whoever else decided to show up). First and foremost, let me once again thank all that attended for helping me to celebrate such a momentous occasion.

Next, let me highlight some of the moments of the afternoon/evening/night/early morning:

* First, I barbecued for around 3 hours … sure, I started off sober, but that’s not how I finished … somehow I only burnt myself one time. And thankfully, it was extremely hot and humid … just good times all around.

* My brother brought over his Baggo game … I think they changed the original name of it, as the true name of the game is “Corn-Hole.” And, no … this wasn’t some weird sex party …

* I got a lot of really cool gifts … lots of liquor and beer, the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time book, and Guitar Heroes 2 for Playstation 2 … if you haven’t played this, you must stop reading this blog right now, go to the nearest Best Buy, and try it out … we ended up playing this for the better part of 4 hours towards the end of the night/beginning of the morning … not an easy task whilst intoxicated.

* A good cheese to put on burgers is Pepperjack … it works much better than American cheese.
I had to wake up bright and early the next morning to pick up my parents … this in itself was a feat of strength … I think.

* People were upset that I didn’t cook up any ribs, like the ones I had last year … truthfully, I forgot all about them … didn’t realize that they were so popular … they’ll be back next year.