Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuesday Top Ten: Bands I'm Most Excited to See at Lollapalooza

The lineup for this year's Lollapalooza (August 5-7; Grant Park; Chicago) has been announced, with Eminem, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, and Muse as the headliners. Here is a link to the full lineup.

Of course, one of my favorite things about Lollapalooza is discovering new bands and artists, so I'm sure the list below will not be identical the list of the best shows I see at Lolla this year, but, given that caveat, here are the ten bands or artists I'm most excited about seeing (in no particular order):

1. Eminem
I've never seen him, other than in my dreams.

2. Foo Fighters
Last time I saw Foo Fighters was my senior year at IU when they were teamed up with the Red Hot Chili Peppers for the Little 500 concert. Needless to say, it was a great concert, although Foo Fighters were the first band to play, so they only played for about an hour. I love their new album (and their other albums since 2000), so I'm excited to see them.

3. The Cars
I'm probably not going to be able to see them when they play at The Vic in a couple weeks, so I'm glad they're coming to Lolla.

4. Cee Lo Green
I've seen him a couple times at Lolla as part of Gnarls Barkley. As my friend Greg says, his voice is "velvety."

5. Arctic Monkeys
They're one of my favorite bands over the past five years, and they have a new album coming out within the next month or two called Suck It and See. How lewd.

6. Flogging Molly
I saw them a couple years ago at Lolla, and they put on a hell of a show. Interesting tidbit: lead singer Dave King was the lead singer in early '80s metal band Fastway, who famously recorded the soundtrack to the 1986 metal-infused horror movie Trick or Treat (note, that's his voice, not his body in the movie). For a solid shot of King in his metal glory, watch this video.

7. Cage The Elephant
They put on a pretty good show opening up for Stone Temple Pilots last year, so I'm excited to see them again, especially now that they have a new album.

8. Ok Go
This Chicago-based group is known for their innovative videos and stage shows. I think I saw them 5 or 6 years ago at Lolla, but I may be wrong. I just hope there are treadmills involved.

9. Beats Antique
I missed their show last year, which was apparently awesome.

10. Grace Potter and The Nocturnals
These guys are part of the neo-classic soul movement, and I enjoy their most recent eponymous album. You've probably heard their song "Paris (Ooh La La)" in several commercials for TV shows.

Anyone else you recommend?

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Easter Bunny Cometh

Happy Easter, Christians. I can eat red meat and fried food again, which probably isn't a good thing. Thanks for nothing, Easter Bunny. Yesterday, we discovered that Daughter, while interminably adorable in an Easter dress, lacks the proper coping mechanisms to deal with a dropped plastic Easter egg that splits open, expelling the jelly beans inside. Dude, the jelly beans are right there on the floor. You can just pick them up and eat them. No one is disappointed in you. Now calm down and do your impression of an elephant because that shit's funny.

I don't know if it was the effect of consuming an unhealthy amount of sugar, my inability to come down after the Blackhawks' OT victory, my near-fever-pitch excitement over the upcoming royal wedding, or a combination of the three, but I was tossing and turning all night last night. At one point, I woke up laughing with knowing why. Has that ever happened to you? It happens every now and then to me, and I always wish I knew why I was laughing out loud in my sleep. Presumably, I heard a good Polack joke, witnessed a good t-ball liner to the coach's crotch video, or read a cartoon from The New Yorker.

At another point last night, I kid you not, I woke up to find myself scratching my wife's quadriceps, while wondering out loud whether Jake and The Fatman has been released on DVD. (After some quick research today, I was amazed to learn that it is, in fact, available.) Thankfully Jester is a pretty sound sleeper. I only wish I could remember the dream that led to that, since I hate touching anyone above the knee and I have never seen an episode of any show starring William Conrad.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Holy Ship!

I only consider myself somewhat into pirates, but this might be the coolest bedroom of all-time. When I grow up, this is what I want my bedroom to be like. Of course, this begs the question: does a pirate child want a landlubber house-themed bedroom? And of course, that was a trick question because there are no such thing as pirate children because pirates are married to the sea, and she is an unforgiving, hermaphroditic, barren wench.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Happy Monday

This weekend, I mixed linguini with clam sauce and Jameson. The results were disastrous. I also purchased William Hung: Hangin' With Hung at Salvation Army for $1.06. That was a markedly better decision than what I am now calling Irish Clams. Tonight, I'm watching Elmo Saves Christmas because that's apparently what you do on Monday nights in April when a 16-month-old rules your existence. Moral: Christmas everyday is a bad idea. It's taken that fucking puppet 46 minutes to realize that, even though numerous people -- including Santa (although I guess he's more demigod than human) -- have been telling him that all along. After this debacle gets sorted out, I'm heading to the Bulls game, hoping that they can contain or concuss Psycho T. Tomorrow, I'm going away for several days for my annual journey to Colombia for 4/20, so please don't be alarmed when I don't post anything until Thursday or Friday.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tuesday Top Ten: Favorite Quotes from Tombstone

I meant to post this last night, but I went to the Sox game, which went to extra innings, which meant that when I got home, I just went straight to bed. Anyway, here you go.

Saturday afternoon, I was home with Daughter. She sleeps every afternoon for a couple hours, which is nice because it gives me time to work on my scrapbooks. Jester was at her dojo, teaching bōjutsu to the blind, as she does every Saturday afternoon. I was flipping through channels trying to find something to watch while working on my Tribute to Animal Hoarders scrapbook, when I came across Tombstone on AMC. Tombstone is one of my favorite movies from the '90s. It's one of those movies that I can watch at any time and never get sick of it. What a great flick, with a star-studded cast. Kurt Russell as the ultimate badass lawman, Wyatt Earp. Val Kilmer in his greatest performance ever (apologies to Real Genius) as Doc Holliday. Sam Elliott as Wyatt's mustachioed older brother, Virgil. Bill Paxton as Wyatt's nonpolygamist younger brother, Morgan. The chick from Fletch as Wyatt's wife. Dana Delany as the chick Wyatt wants to bang and order room service with. Powers Boothe as the fantastic asshole, Curly Bill. Micheal Biehn as another fantastic asshole, Johnny Ringo. Jason Priestley as the wannabe hardass deputy who has the hots for Billy Zane, who plays a teen idol type traveling actor named Mr. Fabian. Thomas Haden Church as Billy Clanton. And of course there are the minor roles: Billy Bob Thornton as a faro dealer (presumably also the town alcoholic Santa and/or murderous retard), Michael Rooker as McMasters (presumably a serial killer who hates stink palms), John Corbett as one of the Cowboys Wyatt wastes near the river (presumably after his time banging Carrie), Frank Stallone as Ed Bailey (who presumably moved back to Bedford Falls after ), Charleton Heston as Henry Hooker (presumably a pimp), and Robert Mitchum as the narrator.

More than anything, though, Tombstone is a movie of great quotes. There are so many fantastic lines in the movie. It's tough to narrow them down to my favorite ten, but that was my task at hand, so I did. Here they are:

10. Doc: "Why Kate, you're not wearing a bustle. How lewd."

9. Ike Clanton: "What is that now? Twelve hands in a row? Holliday, son of a bitch, nobody's that lucky."
Doc: "Why Ike, whatever do you mean? Maybe poker's just not your game, Ike. I know! Let's have a spelling contest!"

8. Wyatt, to Ike Clanton after shooting Ike's friend: "You called down the thunder, well now you've got it!"

7. Wyatt, after slapping a man in the mouth several times: "You gonna do somethin' or just stand there and bleed?"

6. Doc: "I have not yet begun to defile myself."

5. Wyatt, to a fleeing Ike Clanton: "You tell 'em I'm comin'. And hell's comin' with me, you hear?! Hell's comin' with me!"

4. Doc, to his lady friend Kate: "It's true, you are a good woman. Then again, you may be the antichrist."

3. Doc: "It appears my hypocrisy knows no bounds."

2. Doc: "You know damn well who. That dusky-hued lady Satan."

1. Wyatt, holding a gun to Ike Clanton's head while Clanton's gang points their guns at Wyatt: "Your friends might get me in a rush, but not before I make your head into a canoe, you understand me?"

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Beer Is Proof That God Love Us and Wants Us To Be Happy

Lent is a time of self-sacrifice for all of us who succumb to Catholic guilt. Some years I give up harder things than others. For instance, one year I gave up drinking. I thought that was pretty hard, until I heard about J. Wilson, an Iowa newspaper editor and beer blogger who went in the opposite direction and made the bold Lenten decision to subsist on only beer and water. Apparently, German monks used to make the same Lenten sacrifice, so that seems like a reasonable example to follow. Next year, I'm going to give up speaking anything but German. Anyway, this beer-only thing seems damn near impossible, although it sounds like Wilson has been going to the doctor regularly and has somehow not been getting sloshed. He's also lost a ton of weight, as you might expect when one doesn't eat for several weeks. Needless to say, I'm very impressed, a little curious, and slightly terrified.

Riders on the Storm: My Life with Jim Morrison and The Doors by John Densmore

I finished reading The Devil We Know: Dealing With the New Iranian Superpower by Robert Baer a couple weeks ago. It was fascinating, especially given what's been going on in the Middle East and North Africa the past several months. As I mentioned before, Baer is a former CIA officer who spent a lot of time in the Middle East and still has a lot of contacts in the Middle East. The book looks at how Iran has transformed from what we Westerners would consider a terrorist state into a rational state set on becoming the superpower of the Middle East. It's amazing how little Americans (myself included) know about Iran and Iran's role in the Middle East, and, from what I learned, that may have a lot to do with the fact that a majority of Iranians are Shia Muslims, and the Shia have a tenet (if you can call it that) of secrecy. Baer explains how the fall of Iraq essentially cleared the way for Iran to swoop in with proxies, as it did in Lebanon, and slowly take control of Iraq from the inside. He explains the difference between Shia and Sunni Muslim beliefs, and briefly talks about the Kurds as well. At the end of the book, Baer puts forth some good strategies for American relations with Iran, most of which include increased dialogue and more cooperation. I highly recommend the book for anyone who is interested in foreign relations, and certainly anyone interested in Middle Eastern affairs.

I have moved on to Riders on the Storm: My Life with Jim Morrison and The Doors by John Densmore. For those who don't know, Densmore was the drummer for The Doors -- who I consider to be the greatest American rock and roll band of all-time. Frankly, I'm surprised I haven't read this book before now. I'm about 100 pages in, and it's great so far. Better yet, it has made me listen to some Doors albums that I haven't listened to in a while.

Books read in 2011:
Life by Keith Richards
Delta Blues: The Life and Times of the Mississippi Masters Who Revolutionized American Music by Ted Gioia
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Devil We Know: Dealing With the New Iranian Superpower by Robert Baer

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Tuesday Top Ten: Most Memorable NCAA Tournament Mid-Majors

I didn't have time to write a Tuesday Top Ten this week, but thankfully the good people at Online College Blog sent me a link to their countdown of the Ten Most Memorable NCAA Tourney Mid-Majors and asked if I would post it. The answer is yes. The list itself is a pretty good one, although there is one glaring omission: the 1979 Indiana State Sycamores. Then again, the list was limited to the "modern era," which may mean when the NCAA expanded to 64 teams in 1985. Of course, this year's Butler team may deserve a spot on this list. The worst NCAA championship game performance of all-time is certainly "memorable." That was brutal.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Song Dissection: "Promises" by Eric Clapton

At the request of Dan, an old friend of mine who moved to the Great White North last weekend because he loves some chick, I am going to dissect "Promises" by Eric Clapton.

Having spent several months in Minnesota in the late '70s, I can assure you that it's a cold, heartless place. There are no second chances in Minnesota – only frostbite and lefse.

I love Eric Clapton. While it's not exactly what we're talking about, on the plane home from New Jersey last week, I listened to Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs -- which is my favorite album of all-time -- front to back for the first time in years. What a devastatingly great album. If you don't have it, you are doing yourself a disservice. (On a side note, on April 26, they are releasing a 40th (yes, 40th) anniversary 4-disc/2LP/DVD Derek & The Dominos Layla box set and a 2 CD set that appears to have a lot of the songs that are already on the Clapton Cross Roads box set.) Frankly, though, I'm not too fond of a lot of Clapton's mid to late '70s stuff. I think a lot of it was too soft, especially after Cream, Blind Faith, and Derek & The Dominos. But hey, that's between Clapton and himself (Get it? Because he's God. Oh, fuck off.).

"Promises" was a top ten hit in the U.S. in 1978, appearing on the Backless album. It was written by Richard Feldman and Roger Linn. Feldman has written other songs for Clapton, as well as songs for Ringo Starr, Joe Cocker, The Pointer Sisters, Belinda Carlisle, and Taj Mahal, among others, and Linn had a relatively brief career as a musician and songwriter, but is better known for revolutionizing the electronic drum machine. The fact that it was not written by Clapton makes the lyrics slightly less interesting to me. However, he did choose to record it, so something about must have struck a chord. Guitar pun intended, motherfuckers!

At that time in Clapton's life, he had been with Pattie Boyd Harrison -- the then-ex wife of his best friend, George Harrison, who inspired the Layla album –- for about four years. They didn't get married until 1979. Of course, this didn't keep Clapton's dick in his pants, as he had two children by two different women in the '80s, resulting in his divorce from Pattie. And maybe his philanderous nature is what caused him to choose this song. It might have been a subtle warning to Pattie. By the way, the female singer on "Promises" is Marcy Levy, who Clapton did not impregnate.

Enough nonsense. Let's delve into the lyrics to try to figure out what this song's about. I never really paid attention to the lyrics before, but upon further inspection, it's pretty obvious what this song is about. It was written in the mid to late '70s, when swinging was at its height, and pirate culture was in its infancy.

Lyrics are in yellow, and I won't repeat identical verses.

I don't care if you never come home.

Double negative, which implies that he cares if she comes home. But why would her coming home be an issue?

I don't mind if you just Keep on rowin' away on a distant sea

Ahh, because she's a pirate.

'Cause I don't love you and you don't love me.

"Because we're fuck buddies. And you're a pirate."

You cause a commotion when you come to town

"Because you're a fucking pirate, and that weirds a lot of people out."

You give 'em a smile and they melt Having lovers and friends is all good and fine But I don't like yours and you don't like mine.

Now, I get it. They're more than just fuck buddies; they're swingers. More appropriately, he's a swinger, and she's a pirate swinger. She rolls into town with her peg-legged husband, hangs out with this dude even though they're from different worlds -- probably because he's got a giant dong -- and bangs him and his wife. Sometimes, though, they have key parties and other pirate couples show up, and things get weird. That doesn't mix well with his stodgy, upper-middle class Connecticut swingers' set. One pirate couple, sure. These Connecticuters are open minded. Some of them even voted for Carter. But you start mixing too many pirates with too many WASPs, and there's bound to be some tension. And some crazy sex.

La la la la la la la la La la la la la la la la

This means sex. Pirate swinger sex.

I don't care what you do at night Oh, and I don't care how you get your delights

Of course he doesn't, because he's also banging other people, unless "delights" means his flatware and china, which has happened on occasion. Then he does care. She already has several treasure chests full of silver dubloons. Why does she need his sterling serving spoon?

I'll leave you alone I'll just let it be

Oh yeah, because she's a pirate. That's just the way she is.

I don't love you and you don't love me.

See, I'm beginning to think that while she may not have feelings of a nonsexual nature for him, he does have feelings for her. Love? That's debatable. Otherwise, he wouldn't have his silk underwear in a bunch over this chick. Sure, she's a pirate and he's a banker, but that's always been part of the allure. Were it not for the eye patch -- and the perky tits and billowing bush -- he probably wouldn't have approached her at Plato's Retreat and asked for her number and a handy.

I got a problem


Can you relate?

Absolutely not.

I got a woman Callin' love hate.

It's a thin line between love making and hate fucking.

We made a vow We'd always be friends.

This is the inherent problem with a recurring swinging relationship. Someone inevitably starts to have feelings other than friendship. And the minute you bring another couple (especially friends) into your bedroom, things are bound to get awkward. Haven't they seen Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice?

How could we know that promises end?

Because the only promise a pirate ever keeps is to steal your shit.

La la la la la la la la La la la la la la la la

More sex, nonetheless.

I tried to love you for years upon years

That's his issue. That's why he keeps inviting her back to southwestern Connecticut. He thinks the more they bang, the more likely she'll fall in love with him. And his wife doesn't mind because she gets a ride on that peg leg. But through all this swinging, this guy thinks one day this pirate chick going to come to her senses and leave ol' peg leg, and then he'll leave his wife, and they'll form an unbreakable banking pirating union the likes of which Greenwich has never been seen.

But you refuse to take me for real

"Have you seen the size of your collars? Argghhhh."

It's time you saw what I want you to see

The old dead squirrel trick. Classic.

And I'd still love you if you'd just love me.

There it is. He's always loved her. Rookie swinger mistake, but he's no rookie, so he should know better. You know what they say about pirate swingers: you can tie them up, but you can't tie them down.

There you go, Dan. The Windy City will miss your insatiable wit and unwavering love of dude-on-dog-on-chick porn.