Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Rocktober Deep Cut A: "No More No More" by Aerosmith

1975's Toys in the Attic is perhaps Aerosmith's best album of the '70s, if not ever, featuring two of Aerosmith's most famous songs, "Sweet Emotion" and "Walk This Way," as well as the title track and the innuendo-laden cover of "Big Ten Inch Record," all of which you're going to hear on classic rock radio with some regularity (more so with respect to the first two songs, of course). Overshadowed by those four songs is track 7 off of the album, "No More No More," which, for some reason you rarely, if ever, hear on the radio.  I think that's a damn shame, but then again, I suppose you can't play every Aerosmith song regularly, or else your entire radio station would be devoted to Aerosmith.  "No More No More" is a great rock song lamenting life and temptation on the road as a rock star.  Joe Perry has a nice little solo near the end of the song, and Steven Tyler's vocals are perfectly strained, as they often are.  Maybe it's just me, but when I hear this song, I can hear a lot of hair band songs from ten years later, especially by bands who employed that kind of honky-tonk hair metal, like Cinderella and Great White.

Retro Video of the Week: "The Bad Touch" by Bloodhound Gang

This week marks the 15th anniversary of the release of Bloodhound Gang's seminal (?) album, Hooray for Boobies.  Of course, the most famous song from that album is "The Bad Touch," which managed to make it up to #52 on the Billboard Hot 100 despite its blatant sexual subject matter.  It also hit #1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs and Hot Dance Music charts (not sure why there are two different dance music charts) and UK Dance chart, #6 on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart (it has to be one of the few songs that was top 10 on both the dance charts and modern rock charts), and #1 on the pop charts in seven European countries.  The video is everything you'd expect from a song with the lyric "You and me, baby, ain't nothing but mammals / So let's do it like they do on the Discovery Channel."

Rocktober 2014

Rocktober is upon us.  Rejoice!  I'm sure I don't need to tell you, since you are a living, breathing creature capable of elementary observation and emotion, but October is the greatest month of the year.  For several years, I reviewed a rock album every day in October, but that got too time-consuming with children, work, and my parkour club, so in 2012, I posted a rock video each day, and last year, I posted videos featuring live music. 

This year, I'm switching it up again.  Each weekday this month (that I'm in the office), I'll be posting and discussing a "deep cut" song by a different artist, meaning a song by a relatively famous artist that (1) you're not likely going to hear on the radio, (2) didn't chart on the Billboard Hot 100, and (3) isn't on an artist's greatest hits album and/or isn't considered a signature song by the artist.  For instance, I'm not going to play "Master of Puppets" by Metallica, even though you barely ever hear it on the radio and it didn't chart, because it's one of Metallica's signature songs.  These will be songs that a casual fan of the artist probably won't know.  The goal is to help people discover songs other than an artist's most famous songs.

Also, to keep myself on edge, I'm going to be doing this in alphabetical order by band name.  Yes, I realize I won't be getting past "W," based on the number of business days in October, but it'll still be a zesty exercise in musical agility.  I have no idea what that means.

As in Rocktobers past, there are no set genres I'm going to use, but the music must generally rock, whether it's metal, hard rock, classic rock, grunge, punk, garage rock, or any other genre or song that rocks. I'll try my damnedest not to overlap with anything I've posted in Rocktobers past, although that may be difficult given the breadth of previous years' posts.

Fridays will, as always, feature songs by hair bands because Friday without the Hair Band is like Road House without Dalton. As always, the week of Halloween will feature songs that have evil or dark themes. Rest assured, everything song featured will, in fact, rock.  Because I like to challenge myself, unlike the last two years, the Retro Video of the Week will be not suspended during Rocktober.

Get ready, people.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tuesday Top Ten: Swayze Party Costumes

Jester and I threw a Patrick Swayze-themed party Saturday night.  Why?  Because this is America, and it seemed like an awesome thing to do to remember a man five years after he became a real ghost.

Attendees were strongly encouraged, but not required, to dress up as any character from any Patrick Swayze movie or TV show.  Only songs from Swayze movies or TV shows were played during the party.  I made homemade Zima, which I dubbed SwayZima, although it tasted more like vodka and lemonade than anything else.  

I even got a cake made for Jester featuring the climax of Dirty Dancing. 

The whole night was great, although unfortunately Son was in bed by the time the party started, so I did not get a chance to put a baby in a corner.

There were some fantastic costumes from a variety of Swayze features.  Because each costume was awesome in its own way, I can't really rank them, so I'm just going to go chronologically by movie or TV show.

1.  Greasers (The Outsiders)

2.  Socs (The Outsiders)
I didn't have the heart to tell Daughter and Lollipop that they were probably going to get shanked later.

3.  Jed (Red Dawn)

4 and 5.  Baby and Penny (Dirty Dancing)
Complete with a coat hanger for Penny.  Hiyooohhhh!

6.  Double Deuce staff (Road House)
No one seemed to notice the boot knives several guests were wearing.

7.  Brad Wesley (Road House)
What an asshole.

8.  Jimmy (Road House)
When I still had my throat.

9.  Dalton (Road House)
Jimmy used to fuck guys like him in prison, which is probably why he didn't want to show his face.

10.  Molly (Ghost)
Complete with homemade pottery.  Several people who couldn't make it informed me they were in attendance as Sam from Ghost.  That's either the best costume or the worst cop-out.

11.  Chippendales (Saturday Night Live)
Everybody's working for the weekend.  The sketch itself is embedded as well, for your viewing enjoyment.

12.  Bodhi (Point Break)
If I had to choose a winner, this would probably be it.

13.  Pappas (Point Break)
Your focus is probably on the Swayze-on-Swayze action in the foreground, not even realizing that Gary Busey is hanging out in the back, waiting to do what he and Utah couldn't do in the movie:  kill Bodhi before the 50-Year Storm does.

14.  Jack Crews (Black Dog)
Both of these guys thought that this was obscure enough that no one else would possibly be coming as Jack Crews.  Both were wrong about that, but right about their choice, driving gloves and all.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The OC Episodes Ranked and The Cast Then and Now

It's been over eleven years since the greatest show in TV history, The OC, debuted, and over seven years since it was so ruthlessly taken from us.  My love of The OC is no secret, and frankly, it provided this blog with a lot of energy in the early years.

Today, Gawker released its rankings of every OC episode ever.  (Thanks to Jaleh for the link.)  I'll let you take a look and reach your own opinions, but the fact that The Rainy Day Women -- an episode that has been deemed by some to be the single greatest episode in any television program ever -- came in at #57 calls into question the integrity of the entire list.

Also, frienemy and fellow OC connoisseur, Ryan (no relation to Atwood), sent me a link to a Buzzfeed article entitled "Here's What The Cast Of "The OC" Looks Like Now."  It has a cool little feature, where you can slide a line across a picture to see what the actor or actress looked like then and now.  Included are:

1.  Mischa Barton (Marissa Cooper).  She still looks pretty good.  I still wish Jester and I would have had the courage to ask her to be our nanny when we saw her at the Troubadour in 2010

2.  Rachel Bilson (Summer Roberts).  She pretty much looks the exact same.

3.  Adam Brody (Seth Cohen).  He looks like was was stoned to the Bejusus belt in the "before" picture.  More than anyone, I think he was the character who made The OC.  Fans of The League, of course, know him as Ted, the guy with AIDS in the league who got hit by a car and died in the season premiere this year.

4.  Benjamin McKenzie (Ryan Atwood).  He won't allow God to let him age.

5.  Peter Gallagher (Sandy Cohen).  TV's second-greatest dad ever (behind Cliff Huxtable) still has his eyebrows.

6.  Samaire Armstrong (Anna Stern).  In my opinion, she looks better now, without that pixie cut.

7.  Logan Marshall-Green (Trey Atwood).  Apparently that scruffy, patchwork facial hair was not grown only for his role as Trey.

8.  Autumn Reeser (Taylor Townsend).  Maybe it's just a bad recent picture, but she looks a little crazy-eyed.  Then again, perhaps that's why she played Taylor Townsend so well.

9.  Tate Donovan (Jimmy Cooper).  I still wish Jester and I would have had the courage to ask him to be our nanny when we saw him at a diner in Santa Monica in 2010.

10.  Kelly Rowan (Kirsten Cohen).  Probably drunk, if I know Kiki.

11.  Melinda Clarke (Julie Cooper-Nichol-Bullitt).  She still looks pretty good.  And diabolical.

12.  Chris Carmack (Luke Ward).  Probably still playing water polo.

13.  Olivia Wilde (Alex Kelly).  Those couple months where Marissa and Alex were kind of hooking up were some of the happiest of my life.

While I was happy to see all of these shining faces, I thought there were some egregious omissions (with "before" pictures):

1.  Kaitlin Cooper.  When she heard she was left out of the article, she probably said, "Er yaw kedding may?" and then pouted her lips and crossed her arms.  Then she probably said "Gay dad trumps slutty mom" to the wall in her prison cell.  I assume she's in prison.

2.  Oliver.  I want to see what years of pill popping and punching oneself in the head does to a man.

3.  Volchok.  As Ryan pointed out, I suppose we don't need to see a "now" picture of him because vampires don't age.

4.  Johnny.  I could have reached right through the screen and punched him in the face every time I saw that hair.  Sure, he was killed off, but I need to know if he cut his hair because I can't live with the thought that he is out there, somewhere, with that floppy hair just waving in the California breeze.

5.  Che.  Yes, I know he eventually graduated from Brown, moved to Pawnee, Indiana, and formed the band Mouse Rat, but a picture would have been nice.

6.  Gordon Bullitt.  The oil tycoon who wooed Julie was a much-needed spark in the last season supposedly got engaged to Julie.

7.  Dean Hess.  I just have to know that he's dead, and I want pictorial proof.

8.  Theresa.  Perhaps the greatest plot line that was never closed up was the fact that Theresa had birthed Ryan Atwood's child (even though she lied and said it was Eddie's son).  What happened to Theresa and the child?

9.  Ryan Atwood, Jr.  I need to know that the aforementioned child of Ryan and Theresa has now matured into the adolescent cage fighter I know he can be.  Here's what I imagine he looks like:

10.  Hailey Nichol.  She was a stripper who appeared to have moved to Japan for a fashion job instead of sailing with Jimmy to Hawaii.  I'd like to see her face again to know that she's okay.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Retro Video of the Week: "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" by Paul Simon

To continue yesterday's lovefest for my wife, one of her favorite musical artists is Paul Simon.  So, in honor of Jester, here's a Paul Simon video.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tuesday Top Ten: Reasons My Wife Is Awesome

Today is the anniversary of the birth of my lovely wife, Jesterio the Magnificent.  She likes candy.  Here are the top ten reasons my wife is awesome.

10.  According to at least one sealed police report, she can hot-wire a Bobcat.

9.  She's really good at making homemade costumes of animals that fly, even though she hates Halloween.

8.  She didn't mind that I sold the rights to the story of how we met to Carter Bays and Craig Thomas.

7.  One time, she got into a fight with a dumpster and lost.  Big time.  Yet she still goes into alleys from time to time.

6.  This:

5.  She honestly wants to get into falconry.  What's with the bird fixation?

4.  She understands and enjoys Wed Anderson movies.

3.  She encourages me to speak like Vampire Monet in the bedroom.

2.  She birthed me three lovely children:  Daughter, Lollipop, and Son.

1.  When I suggest on her birthday that we throw a Halloween party on the Saturday before Halloween, she says no, but suggests that I should instead dress up and go out, as long as I trick-or-treat with the kids on Halloween.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Dire Consequences of Scottish Independence

As you may know, Scottish voters head to the polls today to vote on whether Scotland will break free from the United Kingdom and become an independent country.  As a Scotch lover with a small amount of Scottish blood in me and as someone whose inner monologue was once in a Scottish accent for a year or so after seeing Braveheart, I tend like anything Scottish, but I am a wee bit torn about this vote.  I can see the advantages and disadvantages of independence.  

However, I read an article today that put me firmly in the "No" camp.  The article is entitled "Independence would hit Scotland's whisky sector: bank," and it explains that independence would cause short-term (although the article doesn't define "short-term") problems for the Scotch industry thanks to uncertainty about access to international markets, the applicability of EU agricultural policy (which currently helps farmers who supply grains to distilleries), and what currency an independent Scotland would use.  Please, Scotland, think of the Scotch drinkers above all else when you vote today.