Saturday, February 28, 2009

America by Joyce Eliason

We just returned from the parents house in Orem after watching "America" on Lifetime, with the teleplay written by Joyce. Gabe was with us and it was an interesting experience watching a movie about sexual abuse with an 11 year old. I don't think he saw anything that he hasn't seen in some form before but the overtones of abuse definitely got his attention. Foster care is something I don't have any direct experience with--can't recall ever meeting a "foster kid" in any school grade and don't remember meeting any foster parents who took these kids in--but the story is a direct hit between the eyes. These kids are in pain and have taken some heavy physical and psychological blows very early in their lives. How they recover (and very few of them do-only about 20% ever return to a normal life without winding up in the streets, in a cell or in a coffin) and how they communicate their pain is the central vein of America. Some kids communicate by cutting themselves, branding their bodies, attempting suicide or try their damndest to never communicate and dull the pain through the other obvious outlets: drugs, drink, and sex.

Rosie O'Donnell is not my favorite anything. Actor, person, talk show host, what have you, she just strikes me as a pitbull bred for getting what she wants, and not caring about how she gets what she wants. This is the priviledge we have as non-celebrity types: we can pass judgement on these people with impunity because they have the lives that we all secretly feel we deserve. (This is a common theme of this blog so maybe it's just me feeling this way...). BUT, back to Rosie. As soon as she came on the screen I was prepared to hate her. I don't think she can act and yet within five minutes I was in. She was Dr. B and she was the caring, attentive doc that these sad kids need. She's not going to reach everyone and she knows it. The pragmatism of Dr. B punctuated with her obvious desire to help got me past the "Rosie Factor".

The kid who played America I'm told was found in a diner just days before shooting. I haven't spoken to Joyce on this so it's a little secondhand, but apparently the producers were going for a no-name with raw skills and raw emotion and I think he delivered. Alll of us were pulling for this character to come to some kind of grip with his past and when the cathartic moment came, it was satisfying. Jil, Gabe and I discussed the movie on the way home and we'll probably discuss it again tomorrow. That is a TV victory for me.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Halloween 1978 and 2007; single of the week; Hey Obama, here's your stimulus package!

A couple of excellent DVD's to rent during the long winter are the Halloween movies; not the sequels, necessarily, but the original Halloween and the remake by Rob Zombie in 2007. Not much can be added to the original that already hasn't been said. It's a great movie and a classic for all the reasons the classic genre exists: it stands the test of time. It is still an exciting, scary movie even after 30 Halloweens have passed. Jamie Lee Curtis is not the scream

queen at all. She is the pragmatic heroine that doesn't do any of the stupid shit most people do in horror movies. She protects the kids, she stays in contact with her friends (until they don't answer because they, well, go watch it, you'll see) and she is smart. The whole movie is like a really good haunted house with a lot of surprises and set pieces. Plus, that freakin' Michael Myers character is just the perfect creepiness.
The remake by Rob Zombie a couple of years ago is also good. It didn't need to be remade and there is nothing added by way of backstory or plot elements. It's essentially the same movie but with some updated gore and character twists. I enjoyed it and taken as a separate movie, it is a good example of the horror/slasher genre. Go check
these out, you will not be disappointed.


"Set To Fail", new single from Lamb of God. When you start the day out feeling like you're looking up into the blackest, darkest void imaginable, this will clear it all up. Great song.

Finally, a word about our new President: I'm with you and this stimulus thing. I know the "wealthy" will be pissed since their taxes are being raised from 33 to 39% and it seems like the classic tax and spend philosophy of former Democratic regimes, but I have faith we will get to where we need to be and the ship will right itself eventually. Why do I know this? Obama is smart, he reads, he even has a website showing where the tax payer money will be going. And, he wants universal health care for all. I don't give a damn if anyone call this health care initiative socialized medicine; it has to be better than what we have. Oh, and for another great DVD, rent "Sicko" by Michael Moore to see what kind of piss-poor shape our health care is in.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Post Oscar hangover; where the hell is spring?

OK, I've gone back to read some comments from Oscar night and it was pretty cool to have the Academy die hards hanging in all night. Shellie missed the clips but Jackie didn't; Hayley called out Beyonce in her bad red dress singing bad Grease numbers and Annie was amazed at how predictable it all was...and yet, she still watched. I think Randy was watching but he bailed, calling the awards 'lame'. Can't say I totally blame him when you have to sit through the tech/sound awards, the production numbers that are related to basically nothing and the Foreign Short Film award. Go French dudes! But, it was a good night and all of us suckers will be watching it next year saying the same things.
WINTER needs to go away. Seriously. The sun came out today and it is getting closer to spring. Let's hurry it up. Jackie, Jil, and I need the sun, our lives are hanging in the balance!!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Actress; Actor; Best Picture; Final Thoughts...Goodnight!!

Actress: This award is going to Kate Winslet, no doubt. She is a heavyweight in a class of welterweights. Just how it is.
Angelina and Brad sighting! They glow!!!
Holy cow, Sophia Loren. What can we say. Aside from the crazy hair, she looks ok. Hang in there Sophia. And, 15 nominations for Meryl Streep. Pretty strong.
WINNER: Kate Winslet, she rules. Jil and I really liked The Reader and it wouldn't have been as good without Kate. She played a very difficult character and now, her dad just whistled and it was totally cool. Back to The Reader: it was hard to figure out where this character was coming from but in a way that moved the story forward without being distracting. Her speech is so authentic and she is so likable. Way to go Kate!

Actor: Wow, there is some firepower on the stage. Jil loves Ben Kingsley. I just watched Taxi Driver again last week and DeNiro was just an animal in that film. So good. DeNiro now talking about Sean Penn. This is why we watch these shows. Moments you won't get anywhere else, and DeNiro nailed his tribute to Penn. Hopkins talking about Brad Pitt which is sorta weird but it works. Kingsley talking about Rourke in The Wrestler. Is this going to be the comeback story of the year?
SEAN PENN! Yay Spicoli!! How cool is Sean Penn? He gives the equal rights speech as he should. And a shout out to Mickey Rourke. Great award.

Motion Picture: This is going to does. No big surprise here.

Goodnight all, thanks for following. Another fun night at the Oscars where we go to bed thinking...why am I not going to an after party with Halle, Sean, Jack Black and Beyonce? Keep dreaming, keep dreaming...

Best Foreign Language Film; Best Director;

Japan wins. Who saw this? Anyone? It's probably pretty good with complex characters, interesting dialogue and introspection on life, death and the purposeful nature of doing a job in the best way possible. Now, the guy is talking. He just made a really bad joke but I can't judge too harshly. I don't speak Japanese, so go director dude!

Queen Latifah is now going to sing during the Memorium piece. This was actually really cool except the camera kept moving back and forth and was very distracting. Paul Newman, the Vampira character from Plan 9, Isaac Hayes, Heath, and Roy Scheider, to name a couple that came up on the screen.

Reese Witherspoon is now on. Best Director. Danny Boyle. Who also directed Trainspotting and 28 Days Later, which are both excellent films. He also directed The Beach with DiCaprio which was uber lame but I'm a huge fan of Danny Boyle. And, nice Tigger leap mister!

Jerry Lee Lewis; Best Song ; Oingo Boingo.

I remember watching Jerry Lee Lewis in The Nutty Professor and loving it. He is kind of an oddball but I would rather have a world with Jerry Lee Lewis than one without it.

Best Original Score: nothing as memorable, so far, as Brokeback Mountain. I did like the Wall E music a lot. Milk by Danny Elfman...go Danny! He was in Oingo Boingo!!! Slumdog wins. Oingo Boingo however was THE band of the early 80's for me. I played their first and second albums so much that Jil, my wife, used to call me (back in high school), Mr. Oingo Boingo Man. They were punk, they were new wave, they were gothic, they were funky, they were unlike any band before or since. I will go so far as to say that Nothing to Fear is the best New Wave album that I ever purchased and to this day, does not disappoint. Jim Pixton and I went to see Oingo Boingo at the Utah State Fairgrounds in 1985 and we slam danced in the front row and I even got a high five from Danny Elfman. He has gone on to be Tim Burton's right hand man for his movie scores (Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow) and is now a respected composer. Still, he will always be, for me, the genious who wrote "Wild Sex (In the Working Class)". Go Danny!
The Slumdog guy is talking again but call me a racist or whatever, I can't understand a damn thing he is saying. Something about love and I agree. Go Love!

Will Smith and geek speek.

Only a guy like Will Smith can wear two earrings and it looks good. Visual Effects award goes to...Button. So, again, Brad gets old and that wins? Try and make a suit or Iron and make a man dressed up like a bat seem like he's flying off a building. Do it. Come on, do it. Making someone look old? A Members Only jacket can do that. Secretly, I would love the job of Visual Effects guy. Sound Editing: The Dark Knight. It was so damn loud that this movie should win just because you can't hear the other movies by comparison. I felt like I was in a rock concert without ear plugs. You could actually hear Heath licking his lips in his Joker character.
Sound Mixing, the superheroes of post production. I'm dozing off...Slumdog wins again. Do I detect a pattern?
"We can't believe this; this is unbelievable." Love this guy. He dedicates this award to his country, to his teacher and to a bunch of other people but he is kind of mumbling. Still a good speech.
Will is really trying to keep our attention here. I admire this. He is trying to make a very geek intensive process accessible to the lay person, or as in this case, the average TV watcher. He's doing a good job. Slumdog wins again.

Best Supporting Actor, Heath Ledger; Hugh dances, not as good as Peter Boyle in Young Frankenstein.

Beyonce is everywhere. Wasn't she just singing to Barack and Michelle at one of the inauguration balls? This girl is everywhere. Nice Grease number. Lame. Oh, Sound of Music...gone. All that Jazz? Bob Fosse? Who cares? Now Jil is singing to that French disco tune. These numbers blow. Bunch of tuxedos and trying to act dramatic.
Oh, here comes the At Last thing and then we go on to High School Musical 3? Bring back Sound of Music!!!! Mamma Mia again. Ok, not doing play by play, they are changing songs too fast and basically it sucks. Why do they have to do these numbers? I didn't get anything from that except that Hugh is dreamy. Other than that, it fell flat.
Best Supporting Actor: First, what is up with Walken's hair? Is that a wig? He is a first class nutjob. One we all love, but a nutjob. Kevin giving Heath's intro. The Joker. This will win. The Oscar goes to Heath Ledger and his family comes up to accept. I didn't particularly love The Dark Knight. It was super loud and the story was kind of convoluted. But, loved every bit of Heath on the screen. He was amazing. We are all missing Heath and wish we could see the future acting roles of Mr. Ledger.
Man on Wire: Shellie saw this twice, she really enjoyed it. So, for Documentary presenter we get Bill Maher. We are fans of Bill Maher in this house. He is a pompous, arrogant, wise ass but he is a searcher for the truth and I always listen when he speaks. WINNER: Man on Wire. Now we have to see it.

Franco and Rogan rule; German dude.

Pineapple Express was ok; not as funny as I had hoped it would be. It was fun to watch James Franco ("all I want to be is a civil engineer like the guy who built Madison Square Garden!"). Best short film: nice Franco!! Totally jacked up the title. Love it. Toyland becomes...speezulguergerlanderner. And now we have a German man thanking everyone and he sounds very serious.
Coming supporting actor. Ledger, bank it!

That dog commercial; Jessica B.

Jessica Biel...oh wow. What the hell is she talking about? This segment is falling flat on its face. No one cares about software, graphical/digital interface, design, etc. All we care about is how hot she is. Oh, and my sister Shellie and Gabe and Jil and Jeff agree that the best part of this award show so far is....the commercial with the dog that gets home. Yay, go doggie!!!

Ben acting like Joaquin; dude with goofy footwear.

Love Ben Stiller. He skewers everyone, even himself. What is up with Joaquin? I think it's all a big set up. Slumdog wins again, best Cinematography. This movie is going to clean up. Is the guy who came up to accept his speech wearing white Crocs? Nice touch hippie. Go back to Australia and when you come back, grab some Kenneth Coles on the way to the awards next time.

Hugh Jackman is dreamy; SJP and the Bond dude;

Art Direction: yawn. Except, the art direction of Bride of Frankenstein. Go ahead, you make a castle from the ground up.
Benjamin Button wins. Whoopee. This is the part of the awards that always seems to go as slow as possible...but these people deserve credit too. However, do they have to do it in our broadcast? Can't they do that in the other show...the technical show where they give awards for Best Grip and Best Ladder Guy and shit? Nice acceptance speech nerds.
Costume Design: Jil's favorite award. The Duchess wins as it should. You shouldn't win an award for successfully dressing someone up in a 1950's suit. Just go to Hugo Boss and grab one of their retro suits and there you go. If you win this award, you need to produce some nifty hair styles and seriously rib restricting gowns.
Makeup Artist: Love this award. Dracula. Wolf Man. and...Hellboy! yay. go Hellboy! and...Dark Knight! Heath looks totally creepy. Oscar goes to...Button. Oh, way to slay 'em old Brad. Big deal, you're old. You're not evil and never will be.
Big Love and Mamma Mia girl, she's cool. Love her. And the Twilight guy. Nice personality Twilight guy. Hold on, let me wake up. OK, I'm back. Oh nice, a Coldplay song. Turn it up baby!!!
ROMANCE MONTAGE. That's sweet. Let's wrap it up.

Best Animated/Animated Short;

Wall-E! Wall-E! Wall-E! I loved this movie. I don't remember who the robot makes it with but it was awesome!! Wall-E means you need to recycle or something like that.
Best Animated Short basically means whcih set of animators took the best drugs...and the winner, THE FRENCH!!! Yay! The French are crazy artists! Who knew? La Maison Petit Cubes. That was a killer time at the cineplex. I think I took some LSD. How cool was it that the dude said domo aregato Mr. Roboto? Even that guy knows Styx rules!!!

Cruz wins, "Milk" guy gives cool speech, first Slumdog award

Way to go Penelope. I will never ever forget you in Vanilla Sky. Me and the two other people who saw it knew you were destined for an Oscar.
Love Steve Martin, love Tina Fey.
Now on are Jenifer and Jack Black. How old is Aniston? Damn.

Academy Awards have arrived--Bring it on Hugh Jackman!!

Alright punks, it's comin' up on the biggest award night of the year. Who cares about the Oscars, you say? With it's lame production numbers, stupid insider jokes and dumb ass actor presenters? YOU DO!! Admit it, you love this show, and here's why:

  • It's LIVE TV. Anything can happen and any thing can, and usually will be, said.

  • We really hate these people because...we want to be them. They are all living the lives that should so rightfully be ours. Bastards!

  • Because Heath is a shoo-in. As he should be.

  • And, we all have to witness the otherwordly presence of Angelina, because she really is from another planet and we'd all like to live there, too, if we could.

Watch in 90 minutes, and make your comments. I will be posting during every commercial break and putting up lists of your most loved and most hated.

More to come...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A-Rod is a Weenie: an Interview by The Wolfman, Lon Chaney Jr.

(this interview was conducted at a shadowy bar in NYC, but NOT under a full moon):

WOLFMAN-L.C.JR.: So, Nimrod, uh, can I call you Nimrod?
A-Rod: Sure! All the guys in my clubhouse call me that. And A-Fraud sometimes! It's awesome! It shows that I'm one of the guys and that I belong and that they don't judge me even though I have a perfect manicure and wear eyeliner.
WM: Um, ok, I guess. So, you have now sort of confessed to using steroids in a couple of your previous seasons with the Texas Rangers, around '01 to '03. Today you had the chance to really come clean and let people know who the REAL A-Rod is and what he is about. This is something I feel strongly about since I have always been misunderstood and have always wanted folks to accept me and my little "problem". In other words, if you give me a venue and let me explain my nocturnal tendencies, I could turn some folks my way. Know what I'm sayin, A-Dog?
AR: Not really! But I'm sorry for whatever it is you said! Have you seen the video, "Like A Virgin"? That chick is dope, son! I keep texting her but haven't heard back in a week or so. Any advice?
WM: You mean, advice for avoiding you since you're a million dollar stalker winey baby or advice for watching better videos like Michael Jackson's "Thriller", one of my personal favorites?
AR: Cool, that works! I need to text my cousin and make sure he stays on post outside her house. I think he has some "special juice" to keep him awake! You know what I mean, Wolfie??
WM: Not really, Nut-Job, and if you call me Wolfie again I'm changing shape and sending your spleen into the upper deck, understood?
AR: I know about the upper deck Wolf Baby! I've hit a few dingers up there, and some right out of the ball park! I feel so good when I swing, like I've got so much power, even though I've been off that yucky stuff for five years now. I mean, talk about a powerful Tic Tac! Whew! That had some kick dude!

WM: Wow, you might be brain dead. What I am trying to tell you, A-Doof, is that you could have had a very serious impact on your image this week,
for the better. I'm trying to impart a life lesson here, one earned by many nights of murder, blood lust and mayhem. I am not proud of what I become, I want to be a better man. I want to change my future and it is so tragically out of my control--I DON'T WANT TO BECOME A WOLFMAN BUT I HAVE NO CHOICE, A-BONER!! You do! Don't you get that? You have God-given talent and perfect hair, like me. You could be somebody, instead of a chump. Am I reaching you? Confess everything, show some remorse, quit blaming your idiot cousin, quit saying you were young and stupid and grow a pair! Or do you want to borrow mine because I have cajones to spare? You understand me now, since I used a word in your semi-native tongue?
AR: Oh arriba, arriba, undalay kimosabe!! I am the great A-Rod, and I think all my teammates and fans will get past this with no problem-o! This year will be the best ever! I'm not young and dumb anymore, Mr. Wolf Guy, I am a future Hall of Famer with lots of money, lip gloss and game!!
WM: Good hell, where is the great Mickey Mantle when you need him? I think he could sort you out pretty good, A-Dip. This is one of the things I long for, just before I grow lots of hair, sharp teeth and begin to howl like Robert Plant on GOOD steroids--I long to get back to that place where we all believed that you were doing all of your amazing feats of baseball athleticism naturally. That innocence is forever gone. We are a Nation of Doubters and you and your sorry ass teammates are to blame. The one thing we could always count on, when the economy is sometimes down, when we are in a war, when life is a true bummer, was the glorious thrill of watching our favorite sports stars doing the thing that no one else in the world can do. And it inspired us, made us feel that with just enough work and luck and focus, we could have success in our own lives; whether in our jobs, our families or our weekend hobbies. We could be great. We could change. But now? I'm just depressed.
What is your response to that, A-Dink?
AR: Loved talkin' to ya Wolf Stud! I am off to discuss the answers for my next press conference with my agent, publicist, hairstylist, manager and real estate agent! Home prices are down, brutha, great time to buy!! You wanna Tic Tac before I go?
WM: No, just a gun...with a silver bullet.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Footloose: A Thank You Letter to Kevin Bacon

Dear Kevin Bacon,

I am sure by now, Kevin, you are deep into your extensive wine collection after getting the news that Bernie Madoff screwed you and Kyra of millions of your hard earned acting doll-hairs. All those crappy movies for naught. BUT, no worries. Because you, dear Kevin, were once...

Ren McCormack, rebel, city kid and, yes, DANCER!

I just wanted to thank you for your performance in that perfect slice of 80's Velveeta known as Footloose. You brought a certain gravitas to the rebel-with-a-cause-and-that-cause-is-to-dance; a kind of crazy, foot tappin and spiky haired flair in playing a nut job that eventually gets to have his wish of hosting a dance for his high school buds and nabbing the hot, preacher's daughter. Oh Kevin, you're just naughty and so perfect for this role. When you get all pissed because the town is looking at your every move as a threat to its wholesome existence and you drive off to the flour mill in your yellow VW Bug to dance your troubles away, I thought to myself: shit, who hasn't done this? Who hasn't just jumped in the car, skeedaddled to a private barn type setting, and jumped, leapt and gymnasticized their way to some kind of teenage catharsis? Hell, we've all done that.

What about when you teach your buddy to find his inner rhythm and the two of you be-bop all over the school, the football field and every possible open aired venue with your cute headphones on? (Chris Penn, R.I.P., by the by). That rocked. I appreciated your sensitivity to your friend's plight and showed him that dancing can be a way of bro bonding. Hell, we've all done that! I remember grabbing a dude friend of mine in high school, heading over to the tennis courts with our boombox, and just dancin' away: around the nets, close to the chain link fence, a-leapin' and a-grinnin' all West Side Story like. It was so sweet. Good times Kevin, thank you for reminding me.

Finally, Kevin, I want you to ponder your legacy of acting left in the wake of your performance as Ren. Incidentally, what is Ren short for anyway? Reniford? Rendaggle? Renhoffer? Weirdest Title Character Name Ever. The only leftover of Ren has surfaced in the 90's with Ren and Stimpy, a totally demented cartoon which has neither Kenny Loggins nor dancing. But, I digress.

Kevin, think of all your roles. Think of the one guy who rides the bicycle, and the one guy who was opposite Sean Penn in that cop show and the one guy who was a child molester and the other guy....ah, who cares. We can't remember any of your movies and neither can you. But, we all remember Ren and how you spiked your hair, and hiked up your freakin' light blue jeans to your nipples, and wore your David Bowie skinny tie on the first day of school and almost jumped off the tractor when you were having that duel with the other dude who wants to nab the hot preacher's daughter. You, sir, have cemented your legend for generations to come. Thank you Kevin/Ren.

"I thought this was a party...c'mon, LET'S DANCE!!!"

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Henry Rollins, Happy Birthday Feb 13th

This is a Happy Birthday shout out to Henry Rollins, former lead singer for Black Flag, spoken word performer, actor and singer for Rollins Band. Pretty much one of my life long heroes. I have seen him in concert about seven times and seen him perform his spoken word at least five times. His work ethic and discipline set him apart as an individual who gets where he needs to go, no matter what. He also has a show on IFC, The Henry Rollins Show, which features artists from many different fields sitting down and talking about their work with Henry. Two of my favorite interviews from the past season were with William Shatner and Joan Jett. He also has muscial guests, not the least of which are Iggy and The Stooges, Mike Patton (Faith No More, Peeping Tom) and Ryan Adams and the Cardinals.

Henry also regularly flies to military posts all over the world to perform for the troops. He vehemently hates the Iraq War and especially hated W, but loves the soldiers and supports them wherever and whenever he can. You can read further dispatches from Henry and his travels at
Oh, and my late cat Hank was named after him (Henry Hoodoo Rollins II).

Friday, February 13, 2009

Doug Wintch at Pat's Bar B Que

We just got back from Pat's Bar B Que here in the SLC, where Doug Wintch, our should-be-famous-cousin, played to a capacity crowd of meat eatin' fans. While eating pulled pork, mashed potatoes, baked beans and, according to Curt Wankier, the best ribs he's had in a loooong time, we listened to The Doug Wintch Band: Doug on guitar, Jamie on drums, Jason on bass and Dan on peddle steel, guitar and fiddle. In attendance at this Texas style juke joint were: Wyatt (luckiest SOB ever), Lindsey, Riley, Hayley and Grant, Angus and Jilly, Wolf and Little Martha and Bob and Jillian (Curt and Jackie, for those of you not 'in the know').

The sound at Pat's was surprisingly good, given the small space. This made for a nice balance between hearing all the instruments and the vocals AND being able to have a decent conversation with anyone at the table. The downside was sitting on hard benches the whole time, but that was a minor inconvenience.

Doug was fantastic, as usual. The last time all of us saw Doug was at Larry's 50th birthday party where it was more of an acoustic show. Tonight's show was all electric. A couple of tunes he dedicated to the Tuckers in the audience, which I think is the first shout out any of us have had from any stage. Except when Snoop Dogg gave a shout to Riley in Vegas, but that's another blog.

My personal favorite was "Manti", a song I don't think any of us had heard. Aside from the personal nature of the song and that both Doug's parents and our mom came from Manti, the song was instantly fun to listen to. Right out of the speakers it was a tune I wanted to hear again and again. Doug is a songwriter for me that is very similar with one of my favorite songwriters, Paul Westerberg of the The Replacements. His sense of humor is sharp and he has a keen eye for detail. What I've always loved about Westerberg is his ability to sum up an emotion or at least the shadow that emotion left in a way that is both humorous and really sad and longing. After hearing "Manti", all I could think of was the times I spent in that town with my grandma, my parents, my siblings, relatives and friends. It's a special place that evokes very strong emotions and memories; a song that can get you to that emotional space in 3 1/2 minutes is gold to me. I believe the last few lines were, "They say you can't go home again/But some towns you can't leave behind."

One other note on Doug: how many people do you know have kept their dream alive for the majority of their whole life? Since I can remember, Doug has played guitar, been in a band, played shows, made records and stayed "in the game" with his music. That is amazing to me considering the graveyard of dreams most of us carry around in our heads, thinking we should have kept doing this or that or what happened to that thing I loved but I stopped doing? Doug has never stopped playing music. That's inspiring for me.

Thanks cuz!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Black Sabbath--Master of Reality, thoughts.

Just finished this book--it's one in a series of books called 33 1/3, which are really intense reviews of certain recordings. I became interested in this series through the first one I read, a review/recap of Slayer's Reign in Blood. What struck me was the track by track breakdown of each song, with comments from the band and from the producers. It takes the listening experience of these albums to a very high level.

The Black Sabbath book is slightly different. It's from the point of view of a teenager who is placed in a psychiatric hospital when he is 17 after he attempts suicide. However, he is not suicidal, just depressed with his home life and doesn't know how to process it. So, as soon as he gets abducted from school and is admitted into this hospital, all he wants to do is retrieve his backpack, which the doctors took from him, and listen to Master of Reality. For 90 pages, through a series of journal entries, he describes this album and every riff, drum beat, lyric and vocal. BUT, it is done with a certain desperation that elevates his commentary from heavy metal puppy love to religious fervor. It is fascinating to hear how each track resonates with him and how he interprets this incredibly misunderstood recording.

Bottom line: Ozzy and his mates are preaching love and peace. On every song. Well, one song is an anti-war song, but the rest, aside from two instrumentals, are about searching for happiness. Oh, and the one about pot (Sweet Leaf). I've re-listened to it three times in the last two days and it has quickly jumped up to one of my favorite heavy metal albums. Listen to Geezer Butler's bass and it sounds like something from another planet.

Monday, February 9, 2009


We have a Keith Urban sighting and Jil is freaking out. Now he's singing and she is making yipping noises. Then she just said, "Oh my gosh, Keith Urban." She did not say that when BB King was playing.

Is there a more boring dude than Gary Sinise? Wow. Oh no, here comes Lil Wayne. Gabe is now dancing and getting his beat going. This is a whole tribute to New Orleans deal which is ok but the energy has kind of left the room...except when the camera goes to Lil Wayne. Maybe it's his teeth.

Katy Perry also kissed a girl (earlier in the show) and we kind of liked it. There was a lot of fruit onstage during her performance. and T-Pain are now on. T-Pain has cool hat. Best Rap Album goes to...Lil Wayne!!! Now, his whole family is onstage. He kept his speech short and sweet, nice job.

Zooey Deschanel looks like a little flying faerie. She's got a nice speaking voice. Robert Plant and Allison Krauss are on and it's sort of muted. Their voices are nice together. Good choice Robert, you who will always be the Great God of the Golden Throated Thundering Viking Voice of All Heavy and Hard Rock Music in the Vocal Universe. He still sounds awesome. Why won't he join the other guys in Zep and do a reunion? He's like the F Bomb, contrarian to the end!


LIL WAYNE aka WEEZY: We like him!

COLDPLAY: Super Lame!!!

OK, first of all, none of us (me, Jil, Gabe) get COLDPLAY. Seriously, can't they put those zippy marching jackets in a duffle bag and send it to the bottom of the Thames River? And the goofy drummer doing one thing the whole time, trying, I think, to get a beat but finding nothing like a groove or a cool sound. All of us watched for 90 seconds and then decided it was ultra lame. Their music is boring, they sound flat and didn't inspire us at all.

We were inspired by M.I.A., Lil Wayne and T.I. doing Swagger Like Us. And, we liked Kid Rock. Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus sounded great (Gabe wants me to point out that he does not like Miley and thinks Taylor Swift is ok).
Other things we liked were the perfomrance of Jamie Foxx, Ne-Yo and Smoky Robinson. The other cool thing we enjoyed was Paul McCartney and Dave Grohl doing I Saw Her Standing There. If you don't like Paul, you might as well not like music. That's like hating on AC/DC. Do you know anyone that can't get with AC/DC? That's just not right to be hatin a Beatle.
Kanye and the woman who sang American Boy had Gabe doing a very high falsetto, which Jil and I enjoyed quite a bit.
NEIL DIAMOND: He's alive...he's trying. Jackie Wankier hates Neil Diamond and there is quite a lot to this sentiment. The music is weak, he has no charisma like Tom Jones and he moves super slow. It's like a bad karaoke night with Neil leading the whole audience in Sweet Caroline. He's almost as lame as COLDPLAY...but not quite.
R.I.P> the dude who composed the Andy Griffith theme--Earle Hagen, and Isaac Hayes. Shaft, you will be missed. Oh, and the father of Christian Rock, Alan Norman died. Leaving a legacy of Christian Rock-dom that will live on for eternity...or not.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Gabe in Arizona: Anthony; Lynea

(Phil is typing, Gabe is talking, here is the transcript):
Anthony is about 1 1/2 and he is crazy. He goes berserk if you don't give him something or if he is tired or ornery. He's been really mad and when he gets feisty, the only thing he knows how to say is "no!". So, he sits there and says no and pinches people and pinches his own self. I have many scratches on my face because of him. Also, Tara and Eric, my dad's friends, child has died by drowning. They were also down there. It happened in Mexico. She was in the hot tub and Tara was the only one home. And she was in the hot tub and there was a plastic tube that would suck in the water and filter it out. She went underwater and somehow her face got stuck to the pipe. Tara soon figured it out and started running towards her. The tile outside was very slippery so she slipped and has scars now from running to save her. I feel very very sad for her, she is a cute little girl and very nice. For her age she was a daredevil. Her name was Lynea. She was cremated. Her little sister Ava still does not get what happened.

Also, I sat by the guy who built the Arizona Cardinals stadium. Also, he built the Phoenix Airport runways and the tower. It was pretty cool!

Gabe comes home today!

Gabe has been in Arizona with his dad and step mom, hanging in the sun and getting some much needed skateboard practice. I dropped him off on Friday afternoon and took him to the gate. He then got on by himself and also got freaked out because of some turbulence. He got through it and is now on his way back. Jil and I are heading off to pick him up this afternoon. It is nice to have a few days with just the two of us; however, we both start to miss Gabe pretty quickly. He's always fun to have around--a very sharp and adorable kid!

Sunday, band practice was shaky

Last night I left the cold confines of my quiet house and met with the sisters-in-law at Oyster Bar in beautiful downtown SLC. They were accompanied by their cool spouses and we had a nice dinner. Although I am somewhat of a Garbageman (that's a shout out to Lux Interior, who died this week. He was lead singer for The Cramps), meaning, I kind of clean up after everyone has eaten. If there is a stray bowl of clam chowder that hasn't been touched, it's the Garbageman's. Not a moniker I'm particularly proud of but for this evening, it fit. We then made our way back to the house and made drinks. Steve Mitchell--guitarist, lead guitar, chief guitar tuner and destroyer of bass drums--then proceeded to the Gig Room in the basement. I accompanied him and got busy laying down a fat drum beat. The groupies were ready to throw various bits of clothing at us while the group photographer and manager, Jeff Nolte, took publicity shots. However, the first rehearsal of Heli, our new band, went worse than planned. We tried Detroit Rock City, Highway to Hell, Bark at the Moon, and even Smoke on the Water. It never came together for us but there were tiny moments of brilliance. Especially when we turned off the amps and put the drumsticks down.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Ode to Jil's musical proclivities--the 70's!!

My wife Jil loves the 70's. She loves the music from the 70's because they remind her of when she was a young Orem girl and when life was so much simpler and full of less feedback.

Ambrosia is one such band (How Much I Feel, etc,). Her other faves from the 70's are Player, Seals & Crofts, Elton John, Lou Rawls and other one hit wonders that appear on 70's compilation CD's. I can't name them all but they are like a lazy, summer day in a park full of dandelions and bong water. So groovy.

Saturday without Gabe, without Jil

So, my family is leaving me...for a night. Gabe is in Arizona with his dad and Jil is going out with her friends. I am at home with: The Ramones, Nancy Sinatra, a drink (which is Evan Williams--the poor man's Jack Daniels--and Coke), our cat O.C., (heretofore known as Kitsee) and Taxi Driver, which I will be watching in a couple of hours. After I post a few more notes about life...outside The Village.
A word about The Village. If anyone saw The Village by M. Night Shyamalan, it's a dog poop of a movie but has one weird little twist (spoiler coming): these folks that live in a 19th century village (they have actually chosen to live a non 21st century lifestyle--they farm, build their own houses, no electricity) but when one of the villagers goes outside of the fence, she realizes that she lives in present day New York.
Now, if you have lived in Utah County, you know that it has it's own weird little world. My brother lives in that world. My sister lives there. My parents live there. They exist in a high walled, sealed off, sterilized existence that consists of: Old Navy clothing, bleached hair tips and people going to Starbucks, not to get coffee, but to get hot chocolate. Yee haw.
So, for those of us who live outside of the Village, these are dispatches from the frontlines of the cultural hub of this great state. Some think the cultural hub exists in Sanpete County at Graceland West, but this is not so.
The epicenter of all things worth a shit