Sunday, December 31, 2006

"I could be wrong, but I believe Diversity is an old old wooden ship..."

Here we are at the end of another year, and as is always the case they just seem to be flying by. A lot happened to me in 2006, and along the way I had TGWOOfY to help me document it.

I started the blog in January, and did my second post on the road while at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Now we are just 9 days away from the election of one of my favorite sports stars of all time, Cal Ripken Jr. to the hall. In February Inky and I went and saw Hank again, while in March The Geelong Cats won the preseason NAB Cup and in April The University of Maryland won the Women's Basketball title.

In May I received a toy I have been waiting 20 years for in celebration of my 30th birthday, which prompted a party in the beginning of June. By July I finally came to the realization that I was nothing but a corporate whore so in August, after much thought I got a new job.


I took some time to hit the road again with an old Friend in September. And in October I had some great ideas, and some not so hot ideas, all of which make me who I am in the end. As the year wound down I went through a sick spell in November, but came back strong as St. Nick in December. So at the very end, this greazy ole' elf decided to get a present for myself with a gift card I got. So I went out and picked up a playmobil Pirate ship and dubbed it the S.S. Diversity ("If you have to ask, you'll never know") and have added her to my fleet of reclaimed childhood memories.


Now I'm two points of the starboard tack with 2007 under my lee, but as long as I have first Lieutenant Inky on the quarter deck with me I will be fine.

Friday, December 29, 2006

TGWOOfY 25 Records of '06: 1-5

Here they are, my picks for the top 5 records of the year. 2006 was an epic music year for Inky and I. She averaged more than one live music show a month, and I averaged about 5 new records a month. I am pleased to say that my list is very different from the lists you will find on mainstream music media outlets. My top 5 covers three different countries and new acts as well as old. In the beginning of '07 I will post my list of my favorite tracks, but for now here are the top records.

#5. Johnny Cash - America V. In a time where most people couldn't pick Johnny Cash out of a line up Rick Rubin took a chance and signed Cash to his American Recordings record Label. Before his death they recorded 6 records worth of music together and the 5th was released this year. The record is a masterpiece of minimalist music making, and Cash's near death singing drives home words to songs both new and old. His cover of Gordon Lightfoot's "If You Could Read My Mind" shows that a song only has as many lives as it has singers. Try and listen to "Rose of my Heart" with out being impacted and you realize you are thinking about June and Johnny's feelings about her. Favorite Tracks: Like The 309, Rose of my Heart, God's Gonna Cut You Down.

#4. Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins - Rabbit Fur Coat. I am a big fan of all of Lewis' work, be it with Rilo Kiley, or The Postal Service so I ran out in January and picked up this record. Rabbit Fur Coat is an amazing listen, providing ups and downs and filling the spots in between with amazing vocals and lyrics. Lewis isn't just one of the coolest chicks in the music scene, she's also an amazing writer and performer who has a musical style all her own.Favorite Tracks: Handle With Care, Rise Up With Fists, The Big Guns

#3. Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country. It was so hard for me not to make Tracyanne Campbell and Co. my #1 record, because I loved it so much. This Scottish six piece has been at it for years, but they have reached their zenith with this 10 track masterpiece. I can't help think of all the best parts of the 80's when I listen to these songs, although I don't know if that is what they were going for. The slight bleed through of Campbell and Kenny McKeeve's Scot accent just makes their songs more intriguing and rich. Favorite Tracks: Lloyd I'm Ready to be Heartbroken, Dory Previn, The False Contender

#2. Artic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I am, That's What I'm Not. It's not much of a stretch for me to put this record so high on my list. After all not only does it kick ass, but some UK music mags (NME, I'm looking at you) have already called it one of the best British Records of all time. I don't know about that, but I do know that the songs on this record are smart, funny and ass kicking. There has been a bit of a push back, especially here in the US where the general public seems wary of the "new British Invasion" which we seem to be hit with every few years. In this case, I'm willing to play like the French and just surrender to this invasion, because this record is amazing. Favorite Tracks: Fake Tales of San Francisco, Still Take You Home, I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor.

#1. be your own PET - be your own PET. "Have fun, and be safe with it... jut kidding. Fuck shit up!" I think this quote from "Bicycle Bicycle, Your Are my Bicycle" is a good indication of the type of writing on BYOP's self titled debut. A kind of in-your-face, haphazard, and yet exceedingly creative 35 minutes of music. Taken track by track the songs are each great, but much like a Less Than Jake or Ramones record it's best to just put it in, press play and enjoy it as a whole. Before it's all said and done lead singer Jemina Abegg may end up as the face of modern cool, removing Karen O or Meg White types from that spot. The band has already lost two of it's original members, but it is Abegg who is the face, and as long as she is there this group will be a force to be reckoned with. Favorite Tracks: Bunk Trunk Skunk, Bog, October First Account, Adventure.


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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

TGWOOfY 25 Records of '06: 6-10

Just Ten records left on my list of the top 25 of 2005. Just to clarify I'm not saying that these are objectively the best records that came out in 2006, because I only listened to about 70 records this year. I only shelled out cash for 60 and of those there were 3 or 4 that I wish I hadn't. So my sample is smaller than the folks at the big music mags who get a copy of everything free. But these are the records I was willing to lay out dough for, and that counts for something.

#10 Laura Imbruglia - Laura Imbruglia. I first heard Laura while listening to Triple J, the Australian youth radio network. She is a strange one to be sure, but that is what I like about her. She doesn't have the most polished singing voice, or the best range, but she writes incredibly creative songs and uses the English language in a bit more creative way then a lot of pop singers out their (her older and more famous sister included). I have compared her to Liz Phair, circa Girly Sound and I think that is a fair and flattering assessment. Favorite Tracks: My Dream of a Magical Washing Machine, Lettuce & Anarchists, I Wanna Throw Stones.

#9. Neko Case - The Fox Confessor Brings The Flood. This is one of those 'tween records that I loved so much this year. You would be well with in rights to call it indie, country, anti-folk, or even easy listening at times. That's not to say that it doesn't kick ass, because it does. Case has a smooth and rich voice, and her lyrics are thoughtful and evocative. Listening to her songs is a lot like listening to a story or family oral tradition. Favorite Tracks: Hold On Hold On, John Saw That Number, Maybe Sparrow.

#8. Pearl Jam - Pearl Jam. Pearl Jam's "Ten" is on of my favorite records of all time, and I also really love most everything they did in the 90's. They started to lose me a few years ago and I thought they would never be relevant (at least to me, if not to the world at large) again. Then they came out with their Self Titled eighth record they took a page out of Nuke Laloosh's play book and announced their presence with authority. This record never stops giving, be it the amazing guitar work by Mike McCready or Eddie Vedder's sharp and observant lyrics. Coming on the heels of Green Day's American Idiot, this record proves you can rock the boat and still move units. Vedder is a far more suitable rabble rouser that Kurt Cobain could have ever wished to be. Favorite Tracks: Life Wasted, Inside Job, World Wide Suicide.

#7 The Living End - State of Emergency. The first time I heard these guys was in '02 when their amazing labor protest song "Roll On" was used in the movie "Van Wilder." I picked their newest record up this summer when it was released in the states by Billie Joe Armstrong's record label. This record is just pure rock from start to finish, complete with a few really radio friendly songs. Just about anyone who has ever had a job, and hated it, will love the track "Long Live the Weekend" which is about as perfect a song as you will ever hear. I'm hate that I missed these guys both times they were touring in support of this record near my home. Favorite Tracks: Long Live the Weekend, What's On Your Radio, 'Til The End.

#6 Lady Sovereign - Public Warning. I had previously picked up her '05 EP "Vertically Challenged" after reading about this Brit MC in an Aussie music mag, and I loved what I heard. So when Public Warning dropped earlier this year I rushed out to get it too. This is just a fun record to listen to, what with Sov's funny and irreverent lyrics. The beets are amazing, and pretty true to what she had laid down on the UK versions of the songs. Sov maybe tiny ("That girl thinks she's so big... And I'm like, Hold on, I'm only five foot one.) but her impact is larger then life. So big in fact that it only took Jay-Z one listen before he singed her to Def Jam. Favorite Tracks: Random, Love Me or Hate Me, Fiddle With the Volume.


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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

TGWOOfY 25 Records of '06: 10-15

I’m Back from Christmas and I hope everyone who celebrates had a great day, I know I did, even thought I left my hot dogs behind. What follows is the third installment of the TGWOOfY Top 25 Records of 2006. I was disturbed to find that Rolling Stone has 7 of my top 25 on their Top 50. I’m seeking help.

#15. Pretty Girls Make Graves – ‘Elan Vital. For their third record these Indie-rockers from the Pacific North West tried a little something different from their previous two records. And it worked really well. The songs on these tracks are still bold and funky like most of PGMG’s old work, but they also show off all the signs that the group is growing and evolving. Even through a line up change and an extended recording session the group seems to be getting more en sync with one another. This is one of the records I picked up in my brief time on emusic but every time I listen to it I think about going back.
Favorite Tracks: Parade, The Nocturnal House, Pyrite Pedestal.

#14. The Be Good Tanyas – Hello Love.
This is one of the last records I purchased for the year, so I think it’s place on the list is a testament to just how much I like it. My musical taste osculates wildly from classic rock and punk to indie rock and folk, so wanted to show a bit of that in this list. The first time I heard the Tanyas was on an episode of Showtime’s The L Word, and that sent me to their MySpace page. This record makes for good listening on a long drive or at your desk. If some of the songs seem familiar to you then it’s because the Tanyas have large number of covers on this record including Neil Young’s “For the Turnstiles” expertly sung by Frazey Ford.
Favorite Tracks: Ootischenia, Human Thing, When Doves Cry

#13. Regina Spektor – Begin to Hope
. She’s everywhere these days, so why shouldn’t she be on my list. You can hear Regina Spektor on at least 2 or 3 TV ads, on TV shows like Weeds, Grey’s Anatomy, and Veronica Mars and she rules the web. She blew up on MySpace and YouTube and now she’s starting to cross over onto radios around the nation, even being the spokes-song for XM radio. The best part is that the record bares her out. It is filled with creative songs and strange vocal Olympics that are off-putting to some, but loved by others. Favorite Tracks: Better, On the Radio, Fidelity.

#12. The Long Blondes – Someone to Drive You Home.
I like this Sheffield 5 piece so much that I’m putting this record in the top half of my list with out ever owning it. It’s only been out for a month and a half, and the best I can do is listen to tracks on MySpace and click track by tack on fan sites. I have heard 9 of the 12 songs on the record in this fashion and so far I’ve been blown away. I also picked up one of their EP’s earlier in the year, but that just made me want the LP more. I held of on buying the record till now so I could see if Santa brought me a copy. Now I have found one on ebay for next to nothing so it will be taking it’s rightful place among the others I picked up this year.
Favorite Tracks: Weekend Without Makeup, Once and Never Again, Heaven Help the New Girl.

#11. Veruca Salt – IV.
Even thought Louise Post is the only member of this group who was there when I was first introduced to them, I like them just about as much now as I did then. Post just has a great voice for rock music, no matter what sub-genre you want to lump her’s in with. VSIV is a powerful record from start to finish, jumping out of the gate fast with “So Weird” rounding the turn with the awesome some “Closer” and bursting across the line with “Salt Flat Epic”
Favorite Tracks: Closer, Damage Done, So Weird.

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

TGWOOfY 25 Records of '06: 16-20

Time now for the second batch of TGWOOfY's Top 25 records of 2006. After taking Sunday and Monday off for Decemberween, I'll be back with the countdown on Tuesday the 26th.

#20. Clare Bowditch - What Was Left. The first of 3 Aussie acts on the top 25, Bowditch's record came out at the end of '05 in Oz but it took me a while to get it here. I first heard her on a collection of covers of Neil and Tim Finn songs and then again on another cover compilation doing Rufus Wainwright's "Halleluja". All of this was great stuff, so I decided I wanted to hear her sing her own songs, and to the internet I flew like a flash, to order her CD for a whole lot 'o cash. I've listened to this record pretty much all year and i'm sure it will be one I keep going back to over the years. Favorite Tracks: Divorcee by 23, Little Self Centred Queen, Lips Like Oranges.

#19 Ani DiFranco - Reprieve. This woman just doesn't quit. It seems that year in and year out she has a record to offer. That amount of writing normally means that there are a few tracks on each record that could have been left to be a "b-side" or a free net download, and Reprieve is no different. One thing you always know you'll get from Ani is a great group of well written songs. This record is easy to listen to in the background, but also great to take the time to contemplate. Favorite Tracks: 78% H2O, Millennium Theatre, Hypnotized.

#18. The Cardigans - Super Extra Gravity. I may be one of the only people to be excited about the return of The Cardigans. Their new record comes on the heals of continued success in Europe despite nobody in the states thinking about them since '96's "First Band on the Moon." This new disc has a lot of the same feel as the band's older work, but their maturation is evident too. I have always been a sucker for Nina Persson's vocals, and the rest of the band have a truly unique sound that still rings true. Favorite Tracks: In the Round, I Need Some Fine Wine..., Godspell.

#17. The Dresden Dolls - Yes Virginia. I really enjoy the way the Dresden Dolls approach their music, and the style that is pretty much all their own. This record was panned by people ranging from the music media to some of the groups own fans, for not being enough like their last record. I personally found this record to be much better than their other work. Yes Virginia has all of the Cabaret flair and style that made them note worthy, and yet has a decidedly more polished feel to it, which I see as a good thing. They are still very different to other acts in their approach, but now they have a bit more professional sound. Favorite Tracks: Shores of California, Sing, Backstabber.

#16. Cat Power - The Greatest. Inky and I got the chance to check out Cat Power live in NYC this summer, which was good on a few levels. Chan Marshall had a tough year in '05 leading up to a drunken suicide attempt and thanks to the help of her friends she has fallen back in love with her music. She started up the tour again under her performing name Cat Power and you could tell she was loving performing again. Her music is deep, and impactful without being overly pretentious. Which is more than I can say for many of her fans. The record make a great listen even if you hadn't heard about what Chan was going through when she made it. Favorite Tracks: The Greatest, Willie, Lived In Bars, Living Proof.



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Friday, December 22, 2006

TGWOOfY 25 Records of '06: 21-25

Here’s the first installment of the Top 25 Records of 2006. First and foremost I should say that I have purchased almost 60 records this year, and Inky has also picked up a pretty good amount, so we are dealing with a pretty good sample. We don’t buy a lot of CDs on spec, because that’s a damn waist of money these days. If I have dug a few of an artist’s previous records then I will buy a new on with out doing a whole lot of research. But, if it is a new artist then I hit MySpace or try and find a few separate reviews in zines that I trust. Rolling Stone is no longer worthy of my trust, as they have picked Fergie’s London Bridge as one of their top 100 songs of the year.

#25. Flyleaf – Flyleaf. It’s a brave new world out there in music, and I think the best personification of that is this Christian prog rock outfit. I never thought a god group would appeal to me, but Flyleaf is just a really tight group. Their songs are well crafted and their skills well honed. I found myself thinking about the episode of South Park where Cartman starts a Christian Rock group so he can win a bet with Kyle. He points out that to make a rock song a Christian song all you have to do is replace words like “baby” with “Jesus” eg: Rather than “Oh BABY I love your way” it would be “Oh JESUS I love your way.” Likewise with Flyleaf, if you just pretend that Lacey Mosley is singing about a dude rather then the son of god then all is ok. The track “All Around Me” is a great example, with it’s line “I can feel you all around me thickening the air I’m breathing.”
Favorite Tracks: All Around Me, I’m So Sick, So I Thought.

#24. KT Tunstall – Eye To the Telescope. Marking one of two Scottish acts to make it on to the TGWOOfY 25, KT is more than “Black Horse and a Cherry Tree” which has been flogged to death on mainstream radio. Many of the other tunes on this record have seeped into the collective conscious of primetime TV viewers through their presence in the background of some of the hottest shows on now. Tunstall is one hell of a singer and just as good of a songwriter. Her tunes are catchy enough to be put in high rotation but subtle enough to blend almost unnoticed into the background. When you take a time to listen to her words and her playing you find a very mature writer with an amazing voice. And one spin through the whole record will be all you need to forgive her for the number of time you had to hear the single this year.
Favorite Tracks: Other Side of the World, Suddenly I See, Under The Weather.

#23. Morningwood – Morning Wood. There was a month toward the beginning of 2006 when I was really thinking about stalking Chantal Claret, the voice of Morningwood. Funny, when I was young the voice of morning wood was “Lil Greazy. Get up. You have to pee.” But I digress. This Record just kicks ass back to back till you’re spent. The guitar from Richard Steel (get it Morningwood… Richard Steel, dick of steel) is contagious. After one listen you find that you are still rocking, and you start to shake till you can get more. Even though one of my fav’s, Nth Degree, is being used to sell cars this group is A OK in my book.
Favorite Tracks: Take off Your Clothes, Ride The Lights, Nth Degree, Jetsetter.

#22. Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris – All the Road Running. This is a disc I picked up as much out of respect for the individuals involved as for the curiosity of what they would sound like together. I wasn’t the biggest Dire Straits fan, but I did dig Knopfler’s trade mark voice. And although I don’t own any solo Emmylou, I do have a few tracks of her performing in a ton of duets with some of my favorite female artists. So I took a chance on All the Road Running and was very happy with what I heard. What ever you want to call the traditional music of the American south, be it country, folk, or what have you, I am a fan of it when it is done well. I don’t get on board for Toby Keith and his ilk, because they don’t put their back into it, nor do they take a risk. This record is filled with wonderful old south melodies and Knopfler and Harris’ voices create an amazing amalgam of complement and contrast.
Favorite Tracks: I Dug Up a Diamond, This is Us.

#21. She Wants Revenge – She Wants Revenge. Ok Justin Warfield doesn’t have a whole lot of range in his vocal delivery. Granted. But, there’s just something about this record that grabbed hold of me. In conjunction with the new GoldFrap record I found myself swimming in the beat heavy techno pool in ’06. Warfield said of the record he and Adam Bravin put out: “ We just wanted to make a record that would make girls dance and cry.” Mission accomplished! Inky saw a SWR show earlier this year and they sure do have their hooks in the young party girls. I assure you that you don’t have to be a goth mall dweller torn while trying to decide if Hot Topic is too corporate to like this group. And you don’t have to be in a club either, as it makes great driving-in-traffic music.
Favorite Tracks: Sister, These Things, Tear You Apart.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Making, and Checking Twice.

It's that time of year again. The time when every website, magazine and TV show puts out their list of Ten Best, Ten Worst, 100 biggest, or Top 25 of 2006. Here at TGWOOfY I love making lists, and I have posted a good amount of them over the year I've been keeping this blog up. I did my top 50 favorite songs of all time, and my top 25 favorite records of all time. I also did my 50 favorite songs from 2005, along with the ongoing saga that is the top 5 people I can cheat on Inky with.

So why stop now? Starting tomorrow I will be posting my Top 25 records of 2006 which will take me through to just about the end of the year. Then in January I will be posting my 100 favorite songs of the year, which I did a half way version of in June.

Be there, or be two right triangles with their hypotenuse's back to back.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

If a douche bag falls in the forest…

If whiney, overpaid asshole spits on another boastful shithead, but it’s not caught on camera, did it really ever happen?

After Terrell Owens spit in the face of DeAngelo Hall in a game between the Cowboys and Falcons on Saturday night, Owens was sure there was video of it. Why wouldn’t there be? In his mind the camera should be on him all the time. In fact it is my belief that if we all just stopped paying attention to him he would wither and die, and he knows it to be true. So when pressed about the loogie hocking, TO said he did it. In an interview with the NFL network he said: "I got frustrated and I apologize for that. It was a situation where he kept bugging me and getting in my face." And when he was chided for his lack of sportsmanship by Deion Sanders of all people he apologized again. Christ, when Neon Deion thinks you’ve crossed the line, you’ve really gone too far.

Sunday dawned and the whole world saw the clips of TO’s interview, but what they didn’t see was video footage of the spit. And trust me, there was some poor underpaid ESPN intern up all night on Saturday looking at every second of film from each camera to see if they could find the “money shot.” Seeing that there was no evidence TO and his team of “handlers” went to work concocting plausible deniability. The effort is being led, no doubt, by his publicist, who was there to call 911 when he took too many pills. And, also was there at the press conference afterwards to say there is no reason for him to try and off himself because “he has 25 million reasons to live” as if no rich person was ever so self involved that they tried to kill them self.

By Monday TO had come up with this beauty: “When it happened, we were jawing in each other's face, so it wasn't anything intentional," Owens said. "I didn't intentionally spit in his face. He's trying to make it seem like more than what it was by saying I hauled off and spit in his face. I feel like if I spit in his face ... somebody would've seen it.” Of course, because you are TO and that means that everyone must be watching you at all times, right? Folks do yourselves a favor and take a piece of advice from one of the great Simpsons Tree House of Horrors episodes: Just don’t look.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

What my Dad's up to.

It's been more than 4 years since my father died, and in that time I have spent a lot of time pondering what happens when we die. I grew up catholic, so I was always told that we go to heaven (unless we didn't give enough money at church, or jacked off from time to time, in which case we went to purgatory.) I always imagined a sprawling castle in the sky, with a kindly old man with a long white beard and a flowing robe.

No matter what it looks like I now know that there is an afterlife, because my father is making his presence known among the living.

I was perusing the web this afternoon when I came upon a story that had my old man's fingerprints all over it. It seems that as many as 300 people who ate at a north Indianapolis Olive Garden have become very ill. It has gotten so bad that health officials in the area are examining the victims stool to look for possible causes. The health department says they can find no problems in the kitchen which would explain the sickness. They won't find them in the stool either, because it is the ghost of my Pop trying to warn people about the evil that is chain restaurant Italian food. This is the stuff a pig farmer from Nebraska is talking about when he says: "Let's go out for some EYE-talian food."

My father was adamantly against this type of food, and as a man who traveled a lot he ran into a ton of it. After seeing the movie "Goodfellas" my dad adopted Henry Hill's line: "Egg noodles with Ketchup" to refer to this type of affront to the food of our culture. To be clear here, i'm not talking about the Italian culture, i'm talking about the Italian-American culture. They are very different, but the Olive Garden is neither of them. Inky and I went to a place in the Harrisburg suburbs with another couple the other night, that is real Italian-American food. The type of place my father would never haunt.

But O.G. is. And he was at work in the nations heartland, putting the whammy on people who call that garbage Italian food. That's as ridiculous as if the Vice President of the United States claimed that Don Rumsfeld was the best Defense Secretary in our nations history. Oh, shit, Dick already said that. Crap! Well maybe my dad will have to haunt some places in DC next.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

New Changes to the List

The time us upon us to make lists and check them twice. In checking my list of women I'm allowed to cheat on Inky with, I realized it was time to make some changes. (In Casy Kasem voice): Breaking in to the list for the first time, It's our long distance dedication. At #3 here's Scarlett Johansson.

Let's face it, no matter how hot she is, we are all getting just a bit tired of hearing about Angelina Jolie. So, I have to cast her asunder. I know she will be very hurt by my rejection, but it's nothing she can't fix with another hit on her crack pipe of choice: adoption.

Ms. Johansson will take Angelina's spot in the top 5, breaking onto the chart at #3. The rankings are for sport alone, as all 5 women are winners already in the most important way of all. They can do the nasty with me. That makes them one of only 6 woman in the world who are allowed to do the horizontal mambo with the Greazy one. 6 out of three billion: that is one elite group of people.

Scarlett is a special kind of hot, that sets her apart from Angelina as well as so many other high profile women. All you have to do is watch "The Island" and you will realize that she is just as believable as an ass kicking leading lady as she is as a sultry seductress in "Match Point." And she has the versatility to be a voice in the Sponge Bob movies. Of course the first time most of us took notice of her was in "Lost in Translation" which featured her end in one of the best movie beginnings of all times. She may not be as exotic as others, but her natural beauty makes her a perfect fit on my top five list.

The others who are on the list are:

#1 Sheryl Crow. #2 Liz Phair. #4 Christina Aguilera. #5 Lauren Jackson.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

ISO

I like the personal-add abbreviation ISO, or In Search Of. It is an incredibly fast way of saying what you want. SWM ISO HSYF = Single white male in search of hot slutty young female. SWF ISO TONMITW = Single white female in search of the one normal male in the world. Stuff like that. Being as I am all set in the love arena I’m ISO other things. It seems as if we are always searching for something in this world, be it love, money, a feeling of accomplishment, a better body image, respect, or in a more general sense: contentment.

For all intents and purposes I am still in my 20’s, or at least that’s what I tell myself as I cry my old ass to sleep. Seriously, I am 30 ½ and I have no kids which takes 3.14 years off your age. I also play fantasy football which docks 4 months and about 23 IQ points. I still feel unsettled and inexperienced, and I guess I am ISO Direction. I got my first tattoo about a year after my father died, for this very reason. It is a compass rose, and it was supposed to remind me to seek the right direction if not and old direction at all. But I am still seeking; still in search of.

I work on a college campus and in some ways I think it makes this feeling worse. I was flipping through the course catalogue today for my wife who is thinking about taking a class next semester and I found myself jealous. Jealous of the kids here now who are just like I was when I was a student. They don’t realize how much they have at their finger tips, and like me most of them are letting it get away from them. I talked to one of the students who works in my office about being a student the other day and what she had to say may as well have been read back by the stenographer of my life. “I can’t wait till school is over and I’m on my own. I want to be out in the real world.”

Why?

So the search can begin anew? That’s what’s happened to 90% of us who had one idea of what we wanted when we were 20 and either didn’t or couldn’t make it a reality. How many people do you know who are doing exactly what they said they wanted to do when they were 20? I know about 3, and only one who really loves it. (I hate you a little bit ML) So the rest of us are ISO. We hope to find a job, a hobby or another way of thinking that will settle us down. Flipping through that course catalogue I couldn’t help but think that some of the things I am ISO are out there, just waiting to be studied and learned about. If only I didn’t have things to say, bills to pay and a whole generation of lost bloggers to save.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Greazy Claus

First thing's first. I made a damn fine Santa. I got roped into playing the jolly ole elf for an event at a local community center, and I went along begrudgingly. I accused the person I work with who asked me to be Santa of picking me only because I'm fat, because it can't have been for my disposition with kids. I don't like them, but they always seem to love me, kind of like dogs who also love me despite the fact that I would be just as happy if they all died a terrible death. The dogs that is, the kids just need to steer clear of me and we will be ok.

The real question I had was: how does one go about being Santa? I decided to do some method acting and I fully based my performance on the Santa from South Park. I used the same voice and had to fight the urge to sing “Rio” by Duran Druan. In the end I had a good enough time playing Santa, even though I had a bit of a hard time reading some of the kids names and that really seamed to piss their mom's off. I also came into contact with one recipient who may have been as old as 16 or 17 who sat on Santa's lap just long enough for me to see her thong sticking out of the top of her jeans. The best part was that they had this little metal or plastic clasp that held the waist part together with the butt crack part that said "juicy." All in all, however, it was nice to bring some holiday spirit to some folks I don't even know. I've added that Karma deposit to my ledger.

_

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Record Review: The Be Good Tanyas

Much to my wife’s chagrin I picked up the new record "Hello Love" from the Canadian group; The Be Good Tanyas. You see, I’m not supposed to shop for myself around this time of year, but I had to buy this record: The Devil made me do it. And with some of the artists that have work on this record I am in good company. The Tanyas cover songs from the likes of Neil Young, Prince, Jeremy Lindsay, Sean Hayes and Mississippi John Hurt. Mixed in with those great tracks penned by others are a few really outstanding songs written by one or all of the Tanyas.

The first track on the album is “Human Thing” which was penned by lead singing Tanya, Frazey Ford. Ford’s voice reminds me of Allison Eastwood’s chractor from “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” It’s all twangy and southern, which is a bit of a surprise for a girl from the frozen north. You would have guessed that she and Sam Parton, and Trish Klein all grew up listening to their grandpa play banjo on the front porch of their Tennessee home. But in this brave new world why not get great folk and country music from all over the world? The Tanyas and other groups I have delved into this year like Jenny Lewis and The WAiFS, prove that there is so much that can be said with the folk and country mediums. When someone isn’t screwing them up with absent minded patriotism, the same old down home drinkin’ fightin’ and fuckin’ “good ole boy n girl party song or worst of all idle threats of where they might put a boot.

Most country and folk music these days is no better than the other crap out there. Be it R&B, Rap, Pop, Dance, Rock or Gospel. That’s because the big labels shovel more shit then the folks who used to make this music down on the farm. The Tanyas are a group who takes the music back to it’s roots. On “Ootischenia” which all three of the girls collaborated on, those roots are evident. It is a stripped down guitar and banjo driven toe tapper that makes you want to close your eyes and bop your head. Ford seams like she reaches through your speakers as she sings “Bust apart we’ll lose each other. The constellation of my sisters and brothers, I’m spinning out into the darkness. Good bye to you in the sadness of this…”

The amount of covers may cause some people to dismiss this record, but these are the types of musicians who share music like they did in the 50’s and 60’s, not to mention the south. Their version of Neil Young’s “For the Turnstiles” is outstanding and unique in it’s approach and execution. They tackle “When Doves Cry” with the help of Josh Thurston on bass and Mike August on drums. Ford’s vocal approach starts off like Natalie Merchant but takes off to a powerful delivery of a great tune. All in all it is one hell of a record, and I am sure I will be including Ootischenia in my TGWOOfY Top 100 for 2006, and I may even find a place for the whole album on my TGWOOfY Top 25 Records of ’06, and I couldn’t have put them on these lists if I hadn’t gone shopping for myself at Christmas time. Those lists will be out in early January. Not that you care.

_

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Ten Years.

Tuesday the 5th of December 2006 started much the same way as Thursday the 5th of December 1996. For me at least. I woke up a bit before 8:00 AM and then headed out for campus. Then I was a student and now I am an administrator and even though much has changed for me over these last 10 years one thing has remained the same. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Then I was a 20 year old College Junior who was heading on to campus to do my radio show from 8am to ten. We would get up at about 7:45 and throw on a pair of jeans, a sweatshirt and a baseball cap and rush to get to the radio station before we were due to sign on. The show had always just been my best friend XL and I, but that day we were going to have a special guest host. XL and I did just about everything together, and we spent an awful lot of time with one another. So I think he knew that I would only change our routine if it was important to me. Plus he had listened to me whine for a few months about how much I liked our new guest host, and how much I wished she was single so I could “take a run at her” to quote Champ Kind.

So on that day in 1996, the newly single Inky came up to the radio station to join “the Birds Nest” radio show. XL and I had our normal retarded back and forth going on until Inky entered the studio, and at that point XL might as well have just left. I was focused on this woman and tried my best to flirt with her. After the show we both went about our school work, and tried to finish up projects for the end of the semester. At some point in the afternoon I ran into her at the campus TV station and I asked her if she wanted to go on a date with me that night. She said yes. Sadly, the story isn’t all good, because I took her to Denny’s (albeit the “good Denny’s”).

Now I am a 30 year old College Employee who was rushing to get onto campus before work started at 8:30. I get up around 7:45 and shower, shave, and put on a dark suit with a French cuffed shirt and shiny shoes. It’s not an exciting life, and certainly not where the me from 10 years ago saw myself ending up.

In the end, however, it is all worth it. Shitty jobs, thinking about money, bad apartments, long commutes, lack of focus and direction, the loss of loved ones. It all is held in check because for the last 10 years she has been with me. I walked her to her door that Thursday night and gave her a hug and thanked her for spending the time with me. I floated back to my apartment and could hardly sleep that night because for the first time in my life I had been in the company of a woman who set my soul alight. We had another date the next night, and it only took me a few weeks to tell her that I was going to Marry her. And 32 months later I did.

It was, and still is the best thing that ever happened to me. I love you now more than ever baby. Thank you for being you.

_

Saturday, December 02, 2006

I see London, I see France. I see Britney's... uh... Vulva.

There's a track on one of my favorite records of the year, Public Warning by Lady Sovereign, called Random. One of Sov's lines in that song is "I'm droppin'' lyrics like a ho droppin' knickers."

That ho is Britney Speers. There have been three or four stories about Britney's panty deficiency over the last few weeks prompting me to wonder when US Weekly will begin a regular segment on poon spottings. Or maybe the E! network will begin a "Britney snatch watch" soon. I think I heard that Ryan Seacrest was attached to host.

Listen, I know she finally got rid of that stupid husband or hers, and she's out for a little fun. But didn't anyone ever tell her to play just the slightest bit hard to get? Hell, in the picture above you can see that even Paris Hilton is pulling Brit's legs together to prevent her from winking at the camera's again. When Paris is trying to stop you from being a dirty tramp you know you've gone too far.

To make matters worse, there have been all these stories about her shopping spree at a Hollywood lingerie store last week. Some reports put her final bill at five thousand bucks! What the fuck is she doing with those thongs? Flossing? It must hurt the poor people in the world to know that she can drop this kind of cash on drawers and then just not wear them.

Although in the end the joke may be on all of us. After all her good pal Paris is basically famous because she showed the world her cooter. Maybe Britney is just trying to get famous again. Christ, I just hope there's no sex tape with Kevin.

_

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Record Review: Laura Imbruglia

I’ve been waiting for the last month or so for a package from Australia. I got it last week, and I have spent the time since listening to the self titled LP from Laura Imbruglia. I heard one of the tracks from the record while listening to Triple J, the Aussie youth radio station, and was compelled to check out her myspace page. After a few listens to the songs on her page I jumped at the chance to by her record, albeit from a record store in Oz. So I had to wait. The record was worth the wait. It is a different, and willful piece of music. Imbruglia is the younger sister of a pop star and so it is nice that she hasn’t tried to emulate Natalie or ride her coat tails. Progressive Broadcasting Service out of Australia has a standard Q & A that Laura filled out and she didn’t mention her sister once.

I have some experience with this and I can tell you when a younger sibling is trying to milk the older one’s clout they find a way to mention them. I was working as an MC at a club while I was in college and we had a band called Cole on stage one night. I was going to be having this band on my live music radio show “Greazy Tony’s House of Homegrowns” so I wanted to get to know these fellows before the show. I sat down with Adam Kowalczyk the lead singer, and brother of Live’s singer Ed Kowalczyk, to try and get to know him a bit. Being as the club was in York Pennsylvania, about 90% of the people in the place already knew that Adam was Ed’s brother and if I remember correctly Live’s Bass player Pat Dahlheimer’s little bro was also in Cole. So, long story short (too late) Adam says to me that he doesn’t want me to mention Ed, or Live when I intro the band, or ask them about it when I interview them the next week for the college radio station. He says they want to make it on their own, and I really respected them for that. That respect lasted about 90 minuets until Adam stepped to the mic and said ‘this is a song my brother wrote’ and the whole group jumped into their rendition of “Lightning Crashes.” Being as this was late 1995 there were only about 10 people in York County who didn’t know this song, or that it was by local boys: Live. Pathetic, but I’ve yet to see Laura Imbruglia play up her big time sister. In all the interviews I have read, she seems to get flustered when it is brought up, and as best as one can tell it seems genuine.

Genuine is a good word to describe Laura’s music too. Her lyrics are quirky yet imaginative and come across as honest and well planed to evoke a response. She isn’t trying to wow you with existential drivel or political statements but she has something to say. When asked by the PBS Q & A who her influences were, in music and life she had an interesting group. “Queen, Ellen DeGeneres, Bob Dylan, Nirvana, Stanley Kubrick and the film/writing team of Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy… I love all of these people for not only their grasp and execution of their respective arts but for all being brave, revolutionary and pioneering. They all took new approaches to their art and basically did/do what pleases and inspires them and not necessarily the mainstream, critics, labels, film studios, etc.” I think that speaks for itself.

The first song on the record that jumped out at me was “Surly”, the second track. The music in the song is classic Indie rock with a great little piano line. It’ a call and response format with the back ground singers saying “you’re far too surly” and her responding “it picks me up to put you down” and “Why would I smile when I can frown.” Imbruglia’s lyrics are funny and pointed. “You can no longer blame you character flaws on inheritance, I’ve met you parents and so I know these flaws are yours alone. Your awful parents have their own.”

Other tracks range from indie rock like “It’s Getting Worse” to 70’s pop revival on “My Opus.” The first track I heard on Triple J was “My Dream of a Magical Washing Machine” which starts with prominent bass line and describes Laura’s dream that her Maytag could also play tunes. “Instead of swishy noises, I could listen to the Pet Shop Boys” and “This jukebox had every song you could ever want, Thirty Odd Foot of Grunts” referencing a big time 80’s group and a side project of Rusty Crow. It is a fun song, and would be easy to 80’s dance to, if you aren’t self conscious about that type of thing.

My favorite song so far after a dozen or so listens is “Lettuce and Anarchists” which features a driving three chord guitar and a lot of symbols in a manic pace. The lyrics of this song describe a duo of guys that exist on the campus of every college. Luke and Aaron are “the best of friends, but I’m sure they are also gay lovers.” Her descriptions of each of them are hilariously close to two guys of this ilk that were on campus when I was a student.

“Luke is a straight edge punk, which means he doesn’t do drugs. Or smoke or drink or anything fun, but he’s not a Christian, thank god, so he can have all the sex that he damn wants. With lots of different people, yeah he’s a slut. But he has got a ‘primary’ partner too, and that’s a quote.” Who didn’t know the “open relationship” guy who felt that the strictures of a relationship were just a societal invention to keep us from expressing our sexual freedom?

“And as for Aaron, he’s the most devoted vegan I’ve ever seen. He won’t even eat honey cause the bees make it for their baby bees and not for us. He’s really sweat but, I just wish he’s wear deodorant sometimes. But he’s too scared because the companies could be lying when they say they don’t test on animals. Every one also knew that couldn’t use or eat anything involved with animals. They only ate tofu and veggies but still were chunky somehow and reeked of BO. I always found it funny that they all had a justification for their leather doc’s or the old second hand leather coat.

Laura Imbruglia brings her description of these two principled nare-do-wells to another level with the line “don’t offer them McDonalds unless you want a kick in the head. They’ll tell you that Ronald is the reason Che Guevara’s dead” Perfect. It is good work out of Laura and I recommend the record to you.

_

Monday, November 27, 2006

Some things never change.

I took a little trip to the doctors today, because I was on the verge of death. It wasn't a sickness that threatened to kill me, it was my wife. I've been coughing like a chain-smoking coal miner for the last week and a half, and I think she was getting tired of me saying 'I think it's about to pass.'

So off I went to the doctor who, after some tests and listening to my chest, told me I have Asmatic Bronchitis. She gave me an inhaler that I have to hit every 4 hours in addition to the pills and cough syrup I have to take through out the day. The pills are no big deal, and I can handle the inhaler, even though I don't notice a change when I use it.

It's the cough syrup that has me thinking of days gone by. The name on the bottle is Guaifenesin w/codeine, but I know better. It is really just the same old shit we all had shoved in our mouths for years. As I stood in my kitchen pouring it on to the teaspoon I got a flash back to my Mom and Dad's kitchen. I could almost feel my mother's hands around my jaw, forcing my mouth open as I raised the spoon to my lips. And as I stood there making faces and saying childlike words like: yuck, ick and eew, I swear I could hear my mother saying "oh come on Anthony, it's not that bad."

Yes it is.

It was and is the most vile tasting shit on the planet. Back in the days when I used to drink a lot of Jager, we used to joke that it tasted like cough syrup, but it had obviously been a long time since we had this shit. Jager is a fucking walk in the part compared to this shit.

_

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Nuts!

I've been away from the blog for a few days to attend family Thanksgiving. Along with good food, quality time with the fam, and more food we were also treated to a great laugh. As it turns out our 6 and 4 year old nephews both use the word nuts to refer to their testes. I personally heard the 4 year old say in passing "ouch my nuts" after wrestling with his older brother. Out of the mouths of babes. Happy holiday's everyone.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Gimmie a Bobbie.

There are very few reasons I am thankful for having worked for a giant corporate life sucker. On of those reasons, however, it the Turkey Bobbie. The company I worked for was headquartered in Delaware, and so they big wig's there all seamed to like a place called Capriotti's. The special creation of Capriotti's it basically Thanksgiving dinner on a roll, which they call a Bobbie. Take everything from your table tomorrow and throw it on a sub roll with a touch of mayo and you have a sandwich that is capable of inducing orgasm. If you don't believe me just look on your plate when you're done. Those little pools of liquid may look like gravy mixed with mayo, but there not. Gross, sorry. I'm caught up in a sandwich frenzy. I just found out that Capriotti's has come to my home area, now that they have a store in Lancaster PA. I guess I have one more thing to be thankful for tomorrow.

_

Monday, November 20, 2006

Why not just give him the rope?

I think the worst thing a person can do is to profit from a crime. Especially one they got away with. That was what OJ Simpson and Rupert Murdoch were about to do, and the American people were rightfully outraged. So much so that the two divisions of Murdoch’s empire that were poised to unleash his Book and TV special, pulled the plug. We won’t be able to watch his rant about “how he would have done it” nor will we be able to read the book version. Most people see this as a very good thing, and in almost every way I agree.

There are just a few small sticking points for me. First and foremost is a fact some people seem to be forgetting; that OJ still has to pay the Goldman and Brown families a considerable amount of money. Let him publish the book and reap the ill gotten gains so he has to turn right around and give that money to them. Ok, I know it’s not a perfect scenario, but I would love to think about him having to hand all that dough over. The second point is a bit less vindictive, but just as salient. Give him the rope to hang himself.

All the experts say that this book was tantamount to a confession, and being as double jeopardy has attached, he really doesn’t care. He could walk into the middle of a court house and say ‘ok, I did it’ and there is nothing more he can be tried for. I think he wants to tell people that, not only did he do it, but that he got away with it. He’s just the type of macho, hyper competitive asshole who would be caught up in this type of situation. Think Pete Rose: “I didn’t do it. I didn’t do it. I didn’t do it. Ok I did it, please buy my book.”

_

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Thanks, and thank god it's over.

It's been a crazy week for me, and it has come to an end. My work life and my personal life kept crossing over this week which can be a bit stressful, but I made it through ok. Inky and I had a blast doing our radio show at our old College Station on Friday night. We look forward to the time when we may have a full time show.

As for the rest of my weekend, I'm just glad I made it through in one piece. My Alma Mater took a few on the chin this weekend, but we will stay standing strong. I will end this post by saying penalty kicks blow, and they are no way to decide who should advance in a tournament.

_

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Greazy and Inky On The Air

Just wanted to mention once again that both Inky and I will be hosting Alumni radio shows on Friday the 17th. I will kick it off at 11:00 with "An Hour of Oz" playing all Australian music. Inky will follow me at Midnight and as of right now she will be playing all of the best from the acts she has seen over the last 18 months. All you have to do is peruse her blog to see that she goes to a lot of damn shows.

To check us out just click on over to the station's web site and select the live internet stream on the right hand side.

_

Monday, November 13, 2006

Song Spotlight: One (The Bank of America Version)

If any of you haven't seen this on Talk Soup or YouTube then run, do not walk to see it. The best place to see it, is at YouTube where you can also enjoy some of the great comments. I have no love for Bank of America, nor MBNA. But, what I really hate is fake-ass rah rah stuff, and this parody version of U2's "One" is about as stupid as it comes. I have taken the time to painstakingly transcribe the lyrics to the song, but to do it justice you should click the link and watch it.


"One"
Performed by Jim "the Douche" Dubois
Accompanied by Ethan "too much gray hair to rock" Chandler



It is even better
Now that we’re the same
Two great companies come together, now
MBNA is B of A

And it’s one bank
One card
One name that’s known all over the world
One spirit
And we get to share it
Leading us all to higher standards
Ooh Ooh, Mmh, Mmh.

Do you like the Cowboys
Or your University
Do you like the Yankees
Or is NASCAR more your speed
Well it’s your choice
Your right
To pick a card that shows your heart and your pride
Were one
With Affinity
And we’ll carry each other, carry each other
One

Have you come to meet Bruce Hammonds
Have you come to meet Lee McGee
Have you heard about Michelle Shepard
She’s leading a team in the north east
And we’ve got Bank One
On the run
What’s in your wallet, It’s not Capitol One
It’s us
So which card are you
Integration never had us feeling so good

And we’ll make lots of money
Forever I can sing
About trusting in teamwork
And doing the right thing
We’ll live out our core values
While the competition crawls
Because they want what we have got
But it’s only here
At Bank of America

One Bank
One Card
One name that’s known all over the world
One heart
Filled with spirit
With Feeling
We Share it
One Bank
Working every day
To bring higher standards
Higher standards
One
We are one
Yeah
We are one
We are one Bank


12/12/06 - UPDATE! There is now a live version performed by David Cross and Johnny Marr on youtube. It is just as funny even though David needs to come to TGWOOfY to get the words right. I love that this story won’t die, I hate BOA that much.

_

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Fourth Little Piggy demands "Equal Roast beef"

Dateline Washington DC. November 12th 2006.

Investigative reports at TGWOoFY have learned that lawyers for Mr. Quadro Suidae-Sus plan to file a lawsuit in Federal Court alleging mass discrimination. The plaintiff (pictured forth from the right) Is seeking damages in excess of $25 for what he calls "constant and ongoing deprivation of roast beef" and pain and suffering damages due to his ever present exposure to his obnoxious neighbor. "He just won't shut up about the fact that he gets roast beef and I get none. And don't even get me started on Pinky, who is always going 'wee wee wee' all the way home.

It is not know if the shift of power in Washington from the Republicans to the Democrats had anything to do with Mr. Suidae-Sus' suit, but the old leaders in congress have already begun to speak on this subject. "If the liberals want to give this Fourth Piggy some roast beef then we will filibuster the bill." said ousted speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill). Bill Frist (R-Tenn) said "I can't believe the Democrats are already jumping into Pork politics." As for former, and Lame duck members of Congress Rick Santorum (R-Pa) stated "As long as it's not two men, or two women playing 'this little piggy' I couldn't care who gets roast beef." Mark Foley (R-Fla) added "I'll give that little piggy all the roast beef he wants."

This story is full of shit and is not meant to be taken seriously.

_

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Clark Fuckin' Kent

I live two lives. I'm one guy by day and another by night. For instance, today was a beautiful, warm, late fall day so I was sporting a tank top when I went to the dry cleaners to drop off my work clothes. I normally make this trip in work clothes: Suit, french cuff shirt with gold cufflinks, silk tie, highly polished leather shoes and a dopey left-hand part in my thinning hair. This is how the ladies at the dry cleaner know customer Greazytony.

On my own time, however, I sport a much different look. I can almost always be found with some sort of athletic Jersey which may or may not cover my tattoos. When ever possible I will be covering that thinning hair with some sort of fitted hat, and when the weather is nice I will have shorts on. Slovenly would be the best possible word to describe my look in my "personal" life whereas "tidy" or "professional" would be most apt in my work visage.

And so here I was in my personal garb walking into the cleaners dropping my shirts on the counter. "Medium Starch in a box please." I said to which the nice lady behind the counter said "Name please?" This surprised me because they normally recognize me by look if not by the request to get my shirts in a box rather then on a hanger. When I said my name she looked at my face and said "Oh. I didn't recognize you out of your work clothes."

I guess the clothes do make the man.

Which makes me realize that I am "the man" to many who gaze upon me in my monkey suit.

At lunch at work the other day one of my coworkers who, has seen me in non work get up, made a joke about my tattoos. At this point my boss who is clean cut both at work and at home (and one would imagine at a party or a roman orgy) laughed at the notion that his new hire, Mr. Cufflink, would have ink. Others at the table were laughing too, and I took this point to just interject: It's funny, cause you all think she's joking. And went back to my soup. Beneath my suit and tie my cape and tights lay quietly, ready for the chance to spring into action.

_

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Song Spotlight: Lies by The WAiFS

I've spent a lot of time over the last 24 hours watching TV, reading newspapers and listening to the radio. Don't get me wrong, I couldn't be happier about the shift in power in DC, but I am very let down in the news coverage. For a nation that is supposed to have a liberal media the coverage sure sounds like sour grapes to me. I was listening to a song that I will be playing on my radio show (Friday 11/17 at 11:00 PM) and it seemed right on for what I was hearing, seeing and reading.

So here are the lyrics for "Lies" by the Aussie Folk-Rock Band, The WAiFS:

You read the paper, watch the news and think you’re well informed
Well I’ve got some news for you my friend.
That headline that you read.
And that story that broke.
It was a scandal and a scam, a political masterstroke.
They tell you what they want you to hear.
Close your eyes and open your ears.

It’s easier that way
When you don’t have to think for yourself you say
I tell you no lies, I tell you no lies.
I read it all in black and white.
It was on my TV, they were telling me just what to believe.
I tell you no lies, I tell you no lies
And all the while they’re tellin’ you lies.

Everyday you and me, we see what we are shown.
Yes it’s hard to scratch below.
There are people at the top, they are hidden far from view.
They’re not going to show their faces to the likes of me and you.
You never see them on the street,
But you always see the things that they do.

They know that they can get away,
And no price is too high for them to pay.
I tell you no lies, I tell you no lies.
It’s very simple, It’s in black and white.
It’s on your TV, we got everything you need to believe.
I tell you no lies, I tell you no lies.
And all the while they’re tellin’ you lies.

_

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Vote.

Is it really too much to ask? Honestly. Take the time to read a few newspapers, listen to a debate or two check the voting record and take 15 minutes to pull a lever or touch a computer screen. There are people in this world who would fight and die to have the ability to have a representative government like ours. In fact our progenitors did fight and die for the right to chose their own leadership absent of any external pressure. One wonders how we now find ourselves in a situation where not only do a shockingly low amount of people exercise their right to vote; but that some of those that do have to do so in a Church like I will have to today. Our forefathers had this crazy notion about separating church and state… but I’m getting of topic.

There are people in this country who vote with more enthusiasm and regularity for American Idol then they to for the American Government. Meanwhile there are people in the rubble that once was Iraq who risked death to vote. Anyone else see a paradox here? I know it’s hard to pull yourself away from keeping up to date on what Paris Hilton is up to, or who got kicked off the island or out of the Flavor of Love house but come on people! Do the work! Take a few moments to listen to what people say and think about how it will impact your life.

Then go to the polls and cast your vote in either direction, but do it with some knowledge behind it, not just cause the guy on TV or Radio said it was a good idea. For too long now the rich have gotten richer on our backs, and the powerful have become nearly invincible by leading their sheep to do their bidding. Enough is enough, get out there and vote for our best interests and send them a message. I mean all of them, Democrat and Republican, because they have all set up this system that really only serves to line their pockets and keep them in office. Our only recourse is to keep rolling them over in order to keep them honest. Is that really too much to ask?

_

Monday, November 06, 2006

Pulling For My Alma Mater

Right now on campuses in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Florida and dare I say New Jersey, alumni and students are pondering their chances of a national title in the Fall’s greatest sport. Will it be the Buckeyes, the Wolverines, The Cardinals, Gators or even the Scarlet Knights? Ok it won’t be Rutgers, but the chance exists for them to run the table and play in the title game.

All I know is that it won’t be the Spartans, not even in the Amos Alonso Stagg Bowl, the NCAA D-III title game. My school doesn’t have football, a fact that I found most upsetting as a student. I go to see games at my parents Alma Matters be it The University of Maryland or Harvard and in the end I feel no real connection. I follow the State Schools from the states that I have lived in: Maryland, New Jersey and now Pennsylvania. Maryland has a respectable season going, Penn St. only lost 1 game last year and Rutgers will probably only lose one this year. But it isn’t the same.

There is no real link. I don’t want to be one of these die hard losers who roots for a University that I didn’t go to, and I certainly don’t want to be one of those creepy freaks who goes to High School football games 30 or 40 years after they graduated or their kids did. Believe me, in South Central Pennsylvania we have them. Guys driving their car, complete with Penn State flag, sticker and magnetic paw prints, to the Central Dauphin East game. Never mind the fact that they went to Harrisburg Area Community College for two years after graduating from Camp Hill HS.

Where am I going with all this? Good Question.

I guess it is coming back to the playoff hunt my school finds itself in this fall. No we won’t be gathering in the alumni section in the stands aside the gridiron, we will be huddled on the little hill next to the pitch watching our undefeated soccer side. They enter the D-III field of 56 ranked #3 in the nation and having vanquished one of our greatest foes and having tied the #1 team in the land. So while Ohio State and Michigan will battle in a few weeks for the chance to hoist a crystal football sponsored by Sears, The Spartans and 55 other D-III teams will kick it about for ownership of the Chestnut and Bronze. GO SPARTS!

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Movie Review: The Departed

I love mob movies. And since my father was a Wop from Boston, I've long been waiting for one that is set in Beantown. Granted, Boston is more of an Irish town, and that means a lot of people don't think of it as a place to set a mob flick like they do with New York or Vegas. So when I saw the trailer for "The Departed" I was juiced to catch this film.

While not your father's wiseguy movie the Departed has an all star cast and crew. Take Marty Scorsese and add a dream team of actors and you get one of the finest acted movies in years. The list includes: Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen, Matt Damon, Leo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg and a guy who is quickly becoming one of my favorites, Alec Baldwin. Every actor in this movie gives a transcendent performance, which can be hard when you factor in the Boston accents for those who aren't from there.

I can't say enough about the acting, the dialog, or the visuals which were fantastic. But, this story does have more twists then the youngest brother nipples in a family of 12. You almost need a score card to keep track of the breakneck pace of this story, and I found myself longing for my Tivo remote so I could go back. It is almost as if someone tried to make a synopsis of a full season of an HBO show and crammed 13 hours of story into 2:45. I wanted more, which I guess is ok, but in the end there is no more story to be told because almost everyone dies in the end. That's good work out of you Marty.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Inky and Greazy on the air (and the net)


Well the time if nigh. Greazy Tony will once again take to the airwaves high above York Pennsylvania. I will be doing a guest spot on my old college radio station on November 17th from 11 to Midnight. My program will be called “An Hour of Oz” and I will be spinning the best music from the antipodes. I will be mixing the old with the new, but the one thing they will all have in common is the lucky land. So click on over to the station's website and select the “FM server” under listen live on the right side of the page. Friday the 17th of November at 11:00 PM York time, Saturday the 18th of November at 3:00 PM Sydney time. Be there!

Monday, October 30, 2006

If you've got a problem, yo I'll solve it...

Someone once said: there are only two ways to do things. The right way and the wrong way. I am a huge fan of the wrong way. As a matter of fact I take the wrong way to a whole new level. As I have stated in prior posts; I am rubbish when it comes to home repair. I'm the guy the high school dropouts at Home Depot point at and laugh when I walk into the place. I'm the guy every tech, mechanic, and repair guy loves because not only do I not know how to do it myself but I don't know if what they are telling me is bullshit.

And so It came to pass that our heater went on the fritz. In the midst of repairs, part orders and diagnostic check ups I have become very sensitive to little pockets of cold air in my house. One of the windows in the upstairs seems to have a bit of a draft, and even worse is the gap between the front door and the doorjam. I walked by the door the other day an felt a strong gust of very cold air his my naked arm. It has been uncommonly windy over the last few days, but this was above and beyond. I held my hand up and damn if I couldn't see the hairs on my arm sway in this mini jet stream.

So what did I do? I did what any useless, college educated, lazy man would do. I grabbed the duct tape and a roll of plastic wrap. Once I had the plastic film over the crack I taped it to within an inch of it's life. Problem solved! That's some good (if not pathetic) work out of me.

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Movie Review: Running with Scissors

Before any of you even get the chance... the book is better. The book is always better, don't you people know that by now. A novelist can take all the time he or she wants to craft the story in the manner they want. The filmmaker, however, has to get the idea across in between 90 and 180 minutes.

Ryan Murphy does a wonderful job in his big screen version of the Augusten Burroughs memoir. The production value of this film almost outshines it's writing and acting. I found it interesting to watch, as well as funny and provocative.

There are a number of standout performances that bring both Murphy's and Burroughs' genius to life. Both Jack Kaeding (young) and Joseph Cross (teenaged) are spot on as Burroughs. Their seemingly placid portrayal of a young man surrounded by craziness and madness is not unlike a bird sitting calmly on a dock in the midst of a great storm.

The interaction between Cross and the "adults" in his life are at times riotous and at others heartbreaking. Annett Benning simply put does her finest work to date as Augusten's bipolar and underachieving writer of a mother. There are times when you see how important Augusten is to her, and then there are times when you wonder if she is on the brink of unfettered madness. Alec Baldwin is quite the opposite as Augusten's alcoholic father Norman. In his later years, Baldwin has really turned into one of the best actors in the land, and he stood out in this flick even though he didn't have a ton of screen time. The real Augusten Burroughs is planning a new book about the relationship between he and his father. If they ever make it into a movie, they should get Baldwin on the phone.

Where this movie really takes off is in the scenes involving the teenaged Burroughs and his adopted family: The Finch's. Brian Cox takes the roll of Dr. Finch to it's rightful place as the most mad of all the people in Augusten's life. When he summons the family to see the miracle that is his morning shit, it was hard to stay in my seat. Then, when he has his wife, Agnes, (expertly played by Jill Claybaugh) fetch a shoehorn so the turd can be extracted and dried in the sun; you see that the inmates don't need to run this asylum, because it is already run by a crazy person.

Not everyone totally fails Augusten. Agnes ends up being a mother figure to him, and he has connections with Natalie Finch (Evan Rachel Wood) as well. In the time allotted, I think Ryan Murphy was able to tell a truly American story, albeit not the full story that Burroughs is able to tell in his book. Still, as a stand alone work of art, this movie is superb. And in the end, you just might end up feeling that your family is not all that fucked up after all.

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Movie Review: Man of the Year

I checked out the new Robin Williams movie "Man of the Year" the other day and I really enjoyed it. For anyone who liked the film "Dave" this will be right up your ally. In this "what would happen if Jon Stewart ran for office" flick Williams is actually good again. It's been years since I liked him in anything where he was supposed to be funny and the last movie I liked him in at all was "Good Will Hunting." So I was a bit surprised how much I liked his performance.

The plot was just what the ads make it out to be. A smart ass, yet smart, late night "fake news" host gets his name on the ballot in 13 states. With out giving away any of the plot line I will say that the campaign scenes were worth the price of admission. Some of the points that are made couldn't be more right on then if they were brought up in a Poly Sci class. The humor comes and goes, and anyone that is looking for "American Pie" will be upset. Most of the humor requires you to think, but it is added to by some sex, drugs and fart jokes. I say it is good work out of all involved and I think you should check it out.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Congressman Pantiliner (R-Wisc.)

I've often said one of the biggest problems with this country is that there are too many people who just had it all handed to them. These are the descendants of people who actually worked hard to make their millions, and then when they died had no one else to give it all to but their lazy, privileged kids. There was a group of people in this country at one time who made their money through (menstrual) blood, sweat, and tears. Take Frank Sensenbrenner for example who invented the Kotex line of feminine hygiene products almost 90 years ago. He had a good idea that no one else thought of and made it happen. He took all of the money he made from his product and became the CEO of the company that distributed them. That was good work out of him.

The problem is that Frank has a great grandson named Jim Sensenbrenner who has a ton of money he never had to work for, and he is making choices in Congress that impact all of us work-a-day stiffs. There are tons of other privileged kids who have gone on to be lack luster leaders of our country; like our current President, and our former Vice President for example. They have now idea what life is like for 90% of the people in this country, and shit needs to change.

Maybe we should impose a limit on the net worth you can have upon entering public office. Or perhaps we should really just put in the damn term limits people have been talking about for 40 years. Let these second and third generation rich kids ruin America by running big corporations that send our jobs overseas, but not the government too. That's like having a cannibal who is in charge of getting your meat and also cooking it. As long as you give him the steak you can be pretty sure what your eating. But, if you let him get the meat you may be eating Mr. Nichols from next door. And that's not good for you, or Mr. Nichols.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Ouch, My Fucking Foot.


At my last job I got to wear comfortable shoes because I worked overnight and did physical work from time to time. Since I have taken this new suit and tie job I am back in work shoes. I think the shoes coupled with the fact that I don't get a lot of physical exercise during work like I used to have led to a ton of fucking pain in my left foot. Since starting my new job I have been able to eat in the cafeteria each day and I think I may be fighting the freshman 15 again. So add to the uncomfortable shoes with a few extra pounds and the next thing you know my foot is killing me. I guess it's time to hit the shoe store and the gym.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Record Review: Veruca Salt

In the last two months I have picked up two records by bands that I had thought were done. Once it's been a few years since a band has put out a record, and when those bands have lost members you assume they are done. One of those groups was the Gin Blossoms, and I still don't know how I feel about their new record. The other, however, is Veruca Salt who dropped IV this past September. Ok, sure, the idea of a band called Veruca Salt putting out their 4th album and calling it IV is kind of ridiculous. Louise Post is the only one in the band now who was there for all of the lauding of "Seether" and "Volcano Girls." And sure both of those songs were written by Nina Gordon, who broke with the band over a Fleetwood Mac-esque love triangle 8 years ago. Gordon left with the more recognizable voice, and Post got to keep the recognizable band name. We all loose out on their killer harmonies. Gordon put out her second solo record a few weeks before IV hit the stores, or at least the internet. Good luck trying to find IV on the shelf of a record store, because the label: Sympathy For The Record Industry has very limited distro capabilities. But, if you can find it... buy it. Cause it is one hell of an album.

Post does miss having Gordon to play with, but that doesn't mean the songs don't hit hard. She still sounds like a aggressive, powerful 20 something on this record. On "Damage Done" her vocals mesh perfectly with Stephen Fitzpatrick's guitar and sound like vintage 90's indie rock. "Can't you see the damage done? It's all over now. You can't cry anymore girl, cause your tears dried up with the needle and the score, yeah." Just as easy as the anger and resentment come across in that lyric so to do the joy and contentment in "Perfect Love." "I want to be lovely. I want to be cute. I want to make all your sex-kitten dreams come true... perfect love, perfect man, perfect hand to guide me to: perfect you."

The current line up consisting of Post on vocals, Fitzpatrick on guitar, Nicole Fiorentino on bass and Kellii Scott at the drums, is tight. They play well together and really complement one another. Scott and Fiorentino's rhythm section is rock solid through out the 14 tracks and from time to time Fitzpatrick's lead guitar steps up to an awesome level. But in the end it is Post that sells this record. The staple of this genre will always be excellent writing and playing on the instruments but what causes a act to separate from the pack of good musicians is the vocals. Post just flat out sells it to us. On the track "Closer", a sexy, come hither romp, she lays it all out there. She starts off with "I will you to me like a river. Wash away all the war paint from your face." Before coming back with "I waited for you like a lion. Lay you down, weigh me down. You make my limbs ache." In the next verse she takes it over the top by singing "My body's holding your for ransom. Gotta make it happen, honey's gotta get paid. I want you at an angle, I want you face to face." That about says it all.

In short this is just a damn fine rock n roll album. And while I'm sure it would have been better with Nina Gordon in tow, that's not what we have, so why not just enjoy the group as is, which is very easy to do. This is some good work out of Veruca Salt.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

History Stoned.

In my last post I talked about the business trip I was going on. I just got home from that trip and I have thoughts from the trip I would like to share. The first is inconsequential but, in my mind important, and goes thusly. You shouldn't be allowed to put a sign up at a highway exit for a gas station or restaurant if it is not right off that exit. I don't want to take a tour of the quaint Virginia country side with my tank on E and my stomach grumbling loud enough to loosen the lugnuts. Enough said.

The second point is, in my mind at least, a bit more salient. What are the statues of modern heroes(if we had any) going to look like. As I walked around D.C. today I took more time than usual to look at the statues. Here are colonial era heroes on horseback with their full dress uniforms on. They have a sword or cutlass on their hip or in their hand, and the plaque at the base of the visage tells the tales of great deeds or decisive action.

What will our statues look like? first off; they will all have the same goddamn suit on, with nothing to differentiate the 1960s from 2006. The people in these statues will not have any impressive accessories like those from the olden days, let alone a horse. And we can be damn sure that their plaques would have few if any impressive accomplishments.

I can see it now. On the corner of 13th and K St. the statue of President Bush. There he will sit atop his horse (Condie) with a Cross in one hand and a sack of ill gotten campaign money on his hip. The plaque will read:

George W. Bush
President of the United States
2000 - 2008
Starter of the Iraq War
Taker of Civil Rights
Friend to the Religious Right
And that's about all he did.


"George Bush doesn't care about black people" - Kanye West 2005

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Business Trippin'

For years growing up my Dad would be gone for 4 or 5 days at a time on business trips. Some times he was gone for much longer trips, having spent one 10 month period working in DC during the week and coming home to Jersey on the weekends. I thought all Dads traveled for work, but when I got into the work force I began to think I would never be one of those people. For the first 8 years of my career I went on only a handful of work trips, and they were very small. When I was working for a baseball team, I went with a friend from another team to see the Richmond Braves Video display, because we were getting our own. When I worked for a huge corporate bank I went to the headquarters for two nights to learn how to train other people, and... well that's it.

In my first two months on this job I have made a few day trips to Baltimore, DC and Western Maryland. Now I am getting ready to embark on my first overnight trip. I will drive down the Delmarva peninsula and over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel into Virginia Beach. (See a photo of my hotel above) I'll spend the night there and have a big meeting the next morning before heading out to Richmond where I will spend another night. The next day it is off to DC and then back home. This is nothing huge, mind you, but it is a big step for me. Plus the mileage check won't hurt either. So off I go in to the wild biz yonder, just like dear old Dad. (I wish)

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Friday, October 13, 2006

How Are You Supposed to Know When to Not Do Your Job.

You hear corporate zombies talk all the time about thinking outside the box. They go on and on about how the customer is first, and how the company will succeed through good service. But, what always trips them up is their military-like insistence on sticking to policy. This becomes an Iraq (oh, I’m sorry I meant to say quagmire) because the customer gets upset at the person for following the policy that they have no control over, and the boss gets upset no matter what the employee does. If you follow the policy and it pisses the customer off the boss says things like “you have to think outside the box and know when to handle a situation differently, because the customer is always right.” However, if you choose to break a policy to please the customer then the boss wants to yell at you about adhering to all the company’s policies. This is one of the reasons I no longer work for a big company like that.

Here now is the perfect example of the above dilemma. A hotel clerk in Sydney was so excited when she saw John Cleese (of Monty Python fame) enter the hotel that she broke one rule and asked the star for his autograph. He signed it happily and proceeded to check in for his stay. When he presented his credit card, the clerk followed company guidelines and asked him for his ID. I’m sure your thinking: “How stupid of her, she obviously knew who he was.” But, think about it this way; don’t you think she ever got yelled at by her boss for not checking ID every time some one checks in? You just can’t win sometimes.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

They Don't Even Believe Their Own Shit.

This is one of the few times I wish I had a camera phone. I was in DC for work today, and on my metro ride in from New Carrollton I glanced out the window of the train and saw a really funny sign. It was in the window of one of those city storefront churches. You know the kind; with names like Church of the Redeemer LLC, or Holy Church of Christ Inc. This one was called something like The First Evangelical Church of the End Times. A bit of a downer to be sure, but they were still up beat. They had a fundraising sign asking people to donate to their long range capitol project which went from 2007 to 2012. I guess the end times wont come till after 2012 then huh? Good to know.

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