The Tuesday Twelve: Music Artists That Should Have Retired Tuesday, Nov 30 2010 

Brett Favre, man. This guy, once a storied “future Hall of Famer,” is now a cautionary tale of pathos and hubris. An individual less self aware could not be found outside of the Montag/Pratt household. Why play into your golden years? Why undo all the good memories of your prime play? Why not take the advice of Jerry Seinfeld and quit when on top?

But this isn’t about the crybaby quarterback. I know a bit about baseball and the 1984 Olympics, but other than that my sports knowledge is stereotypically girly. So take the Favre tale as a metaphor for a topic on which I have a better base of knowledge and a definite opinion — the world of music.

For every Favre or Steve Carlton or Michael Jordan that plays pro sports a little too long, there is a once-iconic rock and roller who loses luster by merely BEING SUCCESSFUL for too damn long. The whole Stones/Beatles debate is a tale for another time, but suffice to say the four lads from Liverpool are in PART “fab” because their time was so fleeting. 1970, they start to enter their 30s, and they’re done. No more new Beatles music. Nothing to kill the sweet taste left in everyone’s proverbial mouths by Abbey Road and SPLHCB.

Then there are Mick and Keith, still strutting around arenas and charging $300 a head despite the fact that all albums in “recent” years (i.e., since 1983) have been non-events at best and lambasted at worst. And in addition to the Stones, there are 11 other artists (and certainly more) that should have quit while they (or he/she) were/was ahead. (more…)

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Lyric Quiz Friday, Number 401 Friday, Nov 26 2010 

Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving with family and/or friends!  Today’s quiz, while it should be about potatoes or pilgrims, is actually just a potpourri of various songs. Back next week with a theme!

Got answers? Send them my way.

Friday Lyric Quiz – #401

1. “Well, I ain’t superstitious and I don’t get suspicious, but my woman is a friend of mine” (mid-70s)

2.  “I was wrong, now I find just one thing makes me forget” (late 80s)

3.  “And your friends have left, youve been dismissed I never thought it would come to this and I, I want you to know” (late 90s)” (more…)

The Tuesday Twelve: Things For Which I’m Thankful Tuesday, Nov 23 2010 

Yesterday’s 65-degree weather notwithstanding, it’s almost time for Thanksgiving. So in a rare flash of optimism and goodwill, I thought I’d think quickly about what I’m thankful for.  Now of course I am grateful for my family, my relatively decent job, and my friends both new and old, near and far.

I’m glad I have shelter (that is lovelier than I deserve) and nightly food and drink. A closetful of clothes, warm snow boots, ample toothpaste, and all of that stuff that most people I know have without worry and take for granted.

But this list isn’t about all of those super-important things.  It’s about the little things in life I wouldn’t want to live without.  Here are the first 12 of many that crossed my mind.

12. Amazon prime. This was a “free trial” that I forgot to cancel but I have been rewarded by this flash of irresponsibility.  80 bucks a year gets us free two-day shipping on every order?  Such a deal. Comes in handy, well, almost always, but especially when a birthday gift is in danger of being late.

11. The Whole Foods deli. We are fortunate enough to have three grocery stores in walking distance.  The closest of these is Whole Foods, which is all of two blocks northeast. And although I love cooking, it’s nice to know that mere minutes away, is a truly amazing deli.  Six kinds of New York-style pizza, dozens of prepared salads, BBQ’d chicken breasts, enormous panini, sushi rolls. A great shortcut that doesn’t inspire too much guilt.

(more…)

Lyric Quiz Friday – Number 400 Friday, Nov 19 2010 

As promised, these are song titles with men’s names but only dating back to 1980 (which was, actually, quite a bit of time ago). It’s also quiz number 400.  400 weeks of lyric-quiz goodness and I have yet to find a way to make them profitable … any suggestions?

Got answers? Send them my way.

Friday Lyric Quiz – #400

1.  “Daddy didn’t give attention, oh, to the fact that Mommy didn’t care” (mid-90s)

2.  “I open up the paper, there’s a story of an actor, who had died while he was drinking, it was no one I had heard of” (early 90s)

3.  “Everytime you move I let a little more show” (early 80s) (more…)

Reunited … and It Feels a Little Mysterious Wednesday, Nov 17 2010 

For those of you following the exciting missing-mug saga, the whimsical pig mug has been returned to its owner.  It appeared, as quickly as it had vanished, in a little-used cabinet in my work kitchen. Granted, I had checked this cabinet multiple times, as had other mug investigators.

I hope the little piggy had fun on his fortnight-long journey, wherever he may have been.  But I said no questions asked, so I am happily enjoying my Cinnamon-Stick tea.  It’s going to be a good day.

 

The Tuesday Twelve: Best 90s One-Hit Wonders Tuesday, Nov 16 2010 

I’m planning a little soiree for next month that has nothing to do with Christmas. It’s adjacent to my birthday, but I’m not letting anyone know that. Several of my best mates from the 90s era are making the trip in so I’m giving the party a 90s theme. Doc Martens on the feet, Clearly Canadian in the glasses (I wish – those little blue bottles are tough to track down). The biggest challenge, aside from finding unexpired Zima, is whittling down the playlist to a rocking, solid five or six hours.  Right now, I’ve got an iTunes playlist that is roughly twice that.

This decade, while somewhat underrated, was SOLID.  It signaled the beginning (or at least the mass appeal) of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Counting Crows, Nine Inch Nails, Green Day, Dave Matthews Band, and Dr. Dre. It had Achtung Baby, Nevermind, and the second-best Duran Duran album to date.

It also had a solid slew of one-hit wonders. It took quite a lot of soul-searching to get this list down to 12, let alone trim the entire decade to just 90 or so songs. Ain’t no party like a 90s party because a 90s-party playlist never stops.

Honorable Mentions: Cannonball, The Breeders; Got You Where I Want You, The Eels; Save Yourself, Stabbing Westward; The One and Only, Chesney Hawkes.

12. Cantaloop, US3. Funky and catchy. The horn section and the crisp, staccato rap made this one a unique song for the early 90s.  Perhaps the most soulful of all earworms.  It’s the song Tony Toni Tone only wishes they’d recorded first. Bitty bitty bop.

11. Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm, Crash Test Dummies. From the first note out of Baritone Brad Roberts’ mouth, one knew this song was going to be different.  The vaguely creepy verses crest into a senseless chorus.  Their follow-up single, “Afternoon and Coffeespoons,” was much livelier, if not outright better, but it never charted.

(more…)

Lyric Quiz Friday – Number 399 Friday, Nov 12 2010 

Happy Friday, everyone!  Just so we’re clear … including a song in my quiz in no way endorses it as quality.  There is no accounting for the taste of the masses that put these songs on to the charts.  End of disclaimer.  Enjoy!

Got answers? Send them my way.

Friday Lyric Quiz – #399

1.  “Riding on anything, anything’s, good enough. Who would’ve thought it of, someone like you” (mid-90s)

2.  “You could travel the world, but nothing comes close to the golden coast” (early-2010s)

3.  “If you go a million miles away, I’ll track you down, girl”(mid-80s) (more…)

First Names That Are Ruined Forever Tuesday, Nov 9 2010 

As we know, I am 35 (and 49 weeks…) so most of my contemporaries have entered the wild world of child-rearing.  One of the most important decisions faced during those nine months (after, of course, the big “should we or shouldn’t we?!” plunge-taking step) is what you are going to name that child.

Do you opt for a family name or something more contemporary?  Popular or fringe? Androgynous or no?  Presidential (Harrison, Madison, Reagan) or soap opera (Brandon, Tanner, Dawson)?

As my wise cousin @blathering once said: “When naming a child, especially a girl, couple that name with ‘Dr. ______’ and ‘President ______’ and chuck anything that sounds ridiculous.” Dr. Destiny, for example, might not inspire confidence in someone getting their first colonoscopy.

There is a list, however, that most parents can feel fairly safe in avoiding.  In some cases, for completely opposite reasons.  Maybe in 50 or 100 or 500 years we’ll see these names crop up in elementary school classrooms again, but not until Olivia and Sophia and Ethan and Jacob have had a damn long run at the top.

12. Jeeves. Before its second life as an oft-mocked pre-Google search engine, Jeeves became known as the go-to stock name for butlers. Certainly, a butler is a noble profession (one that can segue into Lieutenant Governor, no less), but perhaps not one to which parents want to preordain their little boys.

11. Casper. He’s a ghost!  And he’s friendly!  See the irony?  He’s also a super creepy rapist (spoiler alert!) in the harrowing and indelible movie KIDS, which haunts me to this day 15 years after the fact.  Casper the ghost haunts far less than this movie, as a matter of fact.

10. Dora. The Dora the Explorer cartoon may have elevated this name for a brief period, but the show’s ongoing popularity and guerrilla-style marketing is so prevalent that the name is becoming hard to associate with anything else (just like a few more names on this list).  (more…)

Getting Mug’d at the Office Saturday, Nov 6 2010 

In 2005 or so, I bought a bug at discount-department retailer Kohl’s.  I spent about $3 on it, perhaps less.  It’s a fun upsloping conical shape and it has smiling cartoon pigs on it.  In fact, here’s a picture of it, full of Starbucks hot chocolate:

I kept said mug at my office.  It made me cheerful, be it filled with green tea or cocoa.  I got lots of compliments on it. Sometimes it was the brightest spot of color in a dreary work day.

Last Friday, I saw this mug for the final time.  (And I didn’t even know it to say anything!) Monday, it was no longer in the cabinet at work. All week, I trolled both floors of my office space, peeking into private offices, walking through cubicles, hoping for a glimpse of my familiar mug.  I sent the above picture to friends in all corners of the office so they could watch their respective areas. I obsessively checked the dishwasher, like, six times. This little piggy went somewhere other than the kitchen.

So stupid I was to not keep it at my desk under lock and key!  But how stupid someone else is to assume clearly whimsical mugware is the property of our company and there for anyone to use; the initials on the bottom of it are also a clue.  Or maybe it was broken being unloaded from the dishwasher and no one had the heart to say anything.  Point being: either it has ceased to exist or has been sitting on someone’s desk coated in half-and-half and who knows what else for days.

The mug was $3 and is half-a-decade old.  But it is irreplaceable.  Google “Pig mug Kohl’s” and the results are vaguely terrifying. If it’s gone forever, it’s truly gone forever.  And while cheap and silly and ultimately trivial, it does make me sad. I may just have to print out the picture above and keep it in a frame on my desk while I drink out of my cheerless paper cup.

Or maybe some good Samaritan will return it to the kitchen sometime soon.  No questions asked.

Lyric Quiz Friday, Number 398 Friday, Nov 5 2010 

The theme of this week is “men’s names,” but with a generational twist. All of the song titles below charted before 1980. So while our Gen-Y friends should be familiar with all if not most, they’ll have to wait for next time’s later-dated quiz to be able to guess Concrete Blonde.

Got answers? Send them my way.

Friday Lyric Quiz – #398

1.  “He got a custom Continental, he got an Eldorado too.  He got a .32 gun in his pocket for fun, he got a razor in his shoe” (early 70s)

2.  “The first mate he got drunk, and broke in the Captain’s trunk.  The constable had to come and take him away” (mid-60s)

3.  “I can see it in your eyes how proud you were to fight for freedom in this land”(mid-70s) (more…)