Monday, July 25, 2011


Things always take time to soak in. When something is spilled it immediately gets our attention and it's negative. We're either mad that we spilled it or we're mad that somebody else spilled it. Ultimately the moment passes and you can start cleaning it up. Occasionally it's a nasty product and you're left with a lingering stain. The more you look at it the more you understand it.

I hate that I'm still pondering the life and death of Amy Winehouse because all I really knew about her was gleaned from her music and public conduct. That doesn't mean I don't know about addiction. Everybody knows somebody that deals with addiction be it they themselves or an acquaintance. The side you see is only part of the picture but the addiction is overwhelming so it's a big part. The individual is medicating via whatever their particular vice is.

Winehouse was a public addict which I think made it easy for her to be an addict. Her celebrity provided the emotional and financial shelter that ultimately prevented her from hitting rock bottom. There were enough people around her to reinforce her destructive behavior. She flaunted her excess in her music and in the tabloids. This is probably what offended most people. "Normal" folk are certainly offended when the addicts in their lives refuse help. It's a slap in the face.

In retrospect, I'm more disappointed in how her story ended up than I am with her because she didn't do anything with me. While I'm sure she had her demons she also had the world at her fingertips. For every person that wants help there's somebody that doesn't and I can't feel sorry for such a person. There is a silver lining here and that's the message she sends to the young people out there. Not everybody wins.

Here's Neil. He's right about a lot of great art going down the drain.

Short Blog Monday

Florida... sheesh.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Horse With Giant Penis

I've always wondered about native Americans with cool sounding names. Do you think they were really given the name at birth or did they come up with it later on like Sean Combs does every couple of months?

A (very) little bit of research determined that they don't just stick their head out the door (or flap depending on the tribe) and whatever they saw would stick. If that were the case there would be a lot of people named, "Lawn with Weeds" or "Licking Dog." They let an elder choose based upon a dream or vision. Most likely they just pick something creative while daydreaming. I'd hate to name a kid after the stuff I dream about. My poor child would end up being called, "Running Monster With Knife Hands" or "Charlize Theron's Tits."

Generally it's a simple name like "Sweet Corn" or "Running Bunny" but those won't serve you well in life especially if you want to be chief or the accountant for the local tribe casino. This is where the nickname comes in.

The beauty of a nickname is that it can be self applied. If you establish a cool one before your friends can come up with a BS name like "Chubby Wolf" you'll be able to strut around, calling yourself "Horse With Giant Penis." Nobody is going to respect, "Cries Like A Girl" so if you have a propensity to cry at the drop of a hat you better take to calling yourself, "Macho Bear" as early as possible. The nickname kind of takes the mystique out of it all but I can understand why they do it. Nobody wants to go through life with a dull nickname.

Native American or plain old schmo, you can do a lot with a good nickname. I've been saddled with "Cracker" because I lacked the ingredients required to get you a cool nickname. If you find yourself without a moniker that suits you or somebody way cooler than you, I strongly suggest self applying one before the tribe has spoken.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Refillable Mugs At Disney World

I don't blog about Disney World ever really unless I'm recapping a recent trip but my wife shared a pretty hilarious story with me.

Refillable Mugs

Jill and I purchase the very reasonable, refillable mugs when we visit Disney World. They're a very reasonable $14 and can be used your entire trip. Some people think the price is outrageous and offset the dent in their wallet by keeping the mug and using it for years shamelessly. Some don't even bother purchasing a Disney mugs and bring their Sbarro mugs for a free drink.

Now that Disney has figured out a way to combat the sneaky individuals. They'll be putting RFID tags on the cups so after your trip is over you can't bring them back. There will also be a time limit between refills. Needless to say this upsets the cheapskates.

Disney pays absolutely nothing for the beverages (they make their profit on the mugs) thanks to an advertising agreement with the Coca Cola Company. That detail would probably make them even more irate. There are costs associated with the distribution of the beverages though. The machines have to be maintained so again they need a source of revenue to pay for that maintenance.

Let's examine the pros and cons.

This will keep the price of the mugs affordable as the abuse has resulted in higher mug prices.

Fatty will have to pay for a mug every trip.

Let's leave the parks for a bit and look at the rest of the world. As long as mankind has been exchanging currency for goods there have been individuals looking for ways to get said goods without paying for them. Theft has always been the most popular method.

The price of items was once based upon what the product was worth along with the cost to get it to market. Those costs have been increased by theft.

I think people tend to get most angry when they suddenly have to pay for something that used to be free. People like me get angry when prices increase due to people circumventing the system. It's like hobos and other disgusting people destroying public bathrooms. Thanks to them this basic luxury now costs $.25 to offset what it costs to clean up after those scurvy people that absolutely must poop in the sink. There's always been an honor system in place for things like that. You treat it with respect and obey simple rules.

I'm happy about the new mugs and I hope the pilot program takes off. It will be stressful for the staff until people learn to read signs but the long term effects will hopefully be less expensive beverages.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Short Blog Monday

A writer writes. I'm no writer.
End of blog.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Double Cross

By now Sloan's most recent album "The Double Cross" is out so I figured I'd talk about it because it's really good and there's an off chance that one of the three people that read my blog will give it a whirl. Jill's already heard it though so I guess it will go unnoticed for the most part. Anyhoo here's my review.

Sloan has been on the scene for two decades now which is no small feat considering what happens to most groups after twenty years. They either get a little better or a lot worse. The latter is usually the case. Sloan is fortunate to be comprised of four exceptional songwriters that each bring their unique vision to their albums resulting in an even mix of tunes. Always regarded as one of those "Why aren't they bigger?" bands they're reasonably popular in their native Canada and enjoy a cult following in the U.S. Calling "The Double Cross" more of the same would be a compliment. They've had their near misses but even those have come to be highly regarded in my library. That's not the case here. It's near perfection. Here's why.

1. Follow The Leader
I heard this song early and was immediately smitten with it. It actually filled me with dread for the rest of the album since something so good is usually accompanied by crap. Not so. It's actually the perfect lead track in that it sets the tone.

2. The Answer Was You
I go nuts for Jay Ferguson and he's on top of his game with every track on this album. "Answer" is so sugary that many might dismiss it after the first listen which is unfortunate because the song is a master's course in how to wright a pop song.

3. Unkind
I give Patrick a hard time for writing habitually writing my least favorite Sloan songs. He's like their Paul McCartney in that he's penned some of their very best songs as well as some of my least favorite. This track fits in perfectly following up "Answer." Every time I listen to this song I find another little thing that I like.

4. Shadow Of Love
This is another song I wanted to hate but thanks to Beverly Terrace it takes on a whole new life. It's frantic riffs and bass runs are perfect. Easily the best use of a clap track I've heard in a long time. I think a bridge or heavy guitar solo would have ruined this song. I'm glad they showed some restraint.

5. She's Slowin' Down Again
Andrew is the whiskey of the group. Easily an acquired taste his songs ask a lot of the listener. There's an air of maturity that can be alienating but once you learn to appreciate what went into a song like this you gain a whole new appreciation for it. I hate to call this a musician's song because that's a little pompous but I think he likes to season his tracks with just enough subtle bits that those who catch them can really appreciate them more.

6. Green Gardens, Cold Montreal
I get stupid for songs like this. You can tell it started as an instrument heavy song that was gradually trimmed down until only the most essential pieces were left. It could have easily been A Capella and still had the same depth.

7. It's Plain To See
After "Green Gardens" grounds us we're abruptly pulled out of our seats for the first Sloan song you can actually dance to. I'm talking Kevin Bacon in "Footloose" dancing. It's less than two minutes so if you don't pay attention you're going to miss it.

8. Your Daddy Will Do
This is one of those "carrot on a stick" songs. It's very similar one of Jay's songs from "Between The Bridges" but as soon as you think you're hearing a reprise to "Don't You Believe A Word" it goes in the other direction. When the flutes give way to an ethereal organ track you realize that there's way more happening.

9 I've Gotta Know.
Originally, I wasn't sure what this song is doing on this album. It's very similar to "Shadow" which is the 4th track. Having this one 4th from the end does create a bit of a book end which almost cleanses the palate for the next track.

10. Beverly Terrace
This is easily the best song on the album. It's got sentimental value to me since I've seen almost every live, Sloan show at The Troubadour in West Hollywood which is almost adjacent to the Hotel Beverly Terrace. It's very attached to the album without getting lost in the mix. The reprise to "Shadow Of Love" is incredibly well placed making you wonder which was written first. I can't say enough good things about this song.

11. Traces
You'd miss Andrew's songs if they weren't there. Definitely not part of a group effort I'm brought back to my whiskey metaphor. The song is crafted with an emphasis on lyrics placed over an easily forgettable backing track that moves between the verses and chorus so effortlessly you'd miss it if you weren't looking for it.

12. Laying So Low
I can't think of a better way to end an album. If they were to play this live from start to finish there would be no need for an encore since this song wraps things up so well you don't want a PS on the end of it for fear of tainting what you've just listened to.

I'm not just going nuts for this because I love Sloan. It's just such a solid album that I can't help but go on and on about all the little bits I appreciate. There are caveats to it. You have to listen to it from start to finish. No skipping and no shuffling. There's never a bad time to discover Sloan. The only reason people haven't is because they've quietly done their work and succeeded without sex tapes, run-ins with the law, or the general douche-baggery that sells millions of records for other pop stars. They're like a great restaurant that not everybody knows about but those that do love and protect it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Short Blog

TV Show Pitch: A bunch of studio execs fuck up good programming ideas. It's shot from the perspective of the executives.

Monday, July 4, 2011


I'm not sure how Google+ works but I'm not about to be left behind by all the hip people leaving Facebook.