Sunday, December 30, 2007

Just Cause She Dances Go-Go, That Don't Make Her a Ho, No.

I grew up 25 miles from the biggest, best city in the world: New York. I now live 25 miles from the small town that was embroiled in the "Intelligent Design" kerfuffle a few years back. I kind of went from the penthouse to the outhouse so to speak, but, I did it to myself. It's not as if I was sentenced to to 10 years hard time in this place or anything, I moved of my own free will... twice! This is the problem that confounds me whenever something overly redneckie occurs in my small town in the middle of Pennsylvania. Whenever I shake my head at the religious hypocrites in York County, I try and remind myself why we moved back in the first place: cost of living.

Inky and I bought a 2200 square foot town house for less then a lot of people in New Jersey pay for their car. Our taxes are low (by Pennsylvania standards) and we are in close proximity to the necessary retail opportunity's needed to live the American Dream. All in all it think we still come out on the positive side of the ledger, but when I read a story like this one in the local paper, I'm ready to up and move. The Right are all about the chasing the almighty dollar, and normally they don't have a problem how you do it. You can make products that kill, just don't get someone hard. You can systematically ruin vast tracts of land, just don't facilitate breast showing. This guy wanted to make a few greenbacks and he was cockblocked. (The Paper also used a flawed simile when the compared him to Larry Flynt who started in published pornography before eventually opening strip clubs years later, but I digress)

They're just boobs people! I don't know what these folks think goes on in a strip club, but, I like to refer to the seminal (no pun intended) work of Mr. Chris Rock: There is no sex in the champagne room. That is reserved for rub and tug massage parlors, of which York has scores... and not the good kind of Scores, which is ultimately my point. In a free country, who are you to tell me I can't watch a grown, consenting woman pick a folded dollar bill up with her ass cheeks? What is so tawdry about a naked woman, or man for that matter, that gets these people all rilled? They don't seem to have a problem sending their kids to school looking like hookers in training, and I'm talking about grade school kids here not just trampy high school girls.

What I wouldn't do to live in a more progressive state, county or town. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I want everyone's town to look like a red light district. I don't think you should have to explain what goes on in side that building with the giant neon breasts that flash between red and green, a little discretion is in order. That said, I also think if a guy wants to get a lap dance he shouldn't have to drive to Baltimore, Harrisburg or Lancaster County. Lancaster! If you are more strict with your zoning of a tittie bar than Lancaster you are in trouble.

Until I figure a way to balance cost of living, my lazy lifestyle and my desire to be near sordid places of employ, I will go on living in this bastion of unfocused moral outrage.


Friday, December 28, 2007

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha....

I'm a simple creature, and I take delight in simple things. While on my daily romp through the Internet I came across a great story to distract myself from the potential destabilization of a nuclear power in Pakistan. Distraction is all we have sometimes. Seems Barron Hilton, now doesn't have a problem with his father's money going to charity. When Conrad Hilton died in 1979 he tried to leave all that hotel money to charity, but Barron challenged the will and ended up with the loot. He parlayed it into nearly two and a half billion bucks, 97% of which he now says he will sink into his old man's foundation.

That means Paris and the legion of Conrad's offspring will get very little, proportionately. Conrad had 7 siblings and four kids, and 8 Grandkids by Barron alone. There were a whole lot of already rich folks that stood to get richer when Barron kicked, one of which of course was Paris Hilton, Great Granddaughter of Conrad, Granddaughter of Barron and daughter of Rick. Rick? What happened to famous people's name in the 50? It was like a hiccup in hoity-toity names that may have stemmed from the sobering effects of WWII, but I digress.

One has to imagine that Paris has just been biding her time till Granddad went to the great hotel in the sky. At which time she would be above the law like Ernie "Big Ern" McCracken before her. Now Paris will have to depend on the money her dad, Rick, leaves her which should be a paltry 100 mil or so by the time he bites it. That is unless he give all his dough to Conrad's foundation too? Intriguing.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Fuck Lawyers: Where is the Xmas Spirit, Toby Keith is a Dick and other Musings

Even watching the kids rip into their presents couldn't fully restore my Christmas spirit. I tried to get myself into the Christmas swing the same way Roger the Alien did: "I stole his holiday spirit. And that made my holiday spirit grow stronger, because tha... that's how it works right? Like Highlander... there can be only one... I, I've ha... I've had like eight cups of egg nog AND THIS MAKES TWELVE!" But alas that didn't help either, since there really isn't all that much true spirit out there.

Why is that Greazy?

I'm glad you asked, the answer is Lawyers. People in general suck pretty bad, but they are limited in their scope. Without the skilled services of a barrister there is only so much trouble they can cause on their own. But, if they have council, they can really act a fool. Take as example A the case of a few folks in Boston who are embroiled in a legal showdown that involves a lotto ticket, a Christmas celebration among friends, and the niggling issues of verbal contract law. This story reads like O. Henry on acid, or an episode of The Maury show:

While participating in a Yankee Swap amongst friends a Homeland Security employee, Franco Sapia opened a $5 Lotto Ticket. As per the unflinchingly ridge rules of Yankee Swap, his gift was fair game to anyone who picked after him. And so it was that Brenda White took the ticket from him, saying at the time that she would split any winnings with Sapia. When she scratched the ticket off, she saw that it was a $200,000 winner. Now they are embroiled in a court showdown because Sapia wants his 100K and he is using his girlfriend, Karla Sciuto, as a witness that White entered into a verbal contract. Oh yeah, Karla Sciuto is Brenda White's sister. Damn!

That is a case of a few normal people getting caught up in the craziness that accompanies large sums of money. Don't get me wrong, if a fifth of a million is on the table there are a lot of my "friends" I would kick in the ribs to get at it, but, that's because I'm po'. What's Toby Keith's excuse? He just won a multimillion dollar judgement against the owners of a bus company who's bus was involved in an accident that killed Keith's father. The 2.8 million is intended to clear Keith's father of being at fault in the accident that killed him. That's great, but what the hell does he need that money for? If Toby wants to set the record straight that his dad didn't die because he was bumped from behind and went across the median, but because when that happened the bus couldn't stop in time, then that's fine. But, did he really need more money? I bet it was the lawyers idea to "put a boot in their ass" and by there I mean Pedro and Elias Rodriguez who own the Bus Company.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Top 100 Songs of 2007: 10-1

Happy Christmas Eve Eve Eve e'rybody! As my gift to the world at large I've decided to stuff your proverbial stockings with music! Not just any old music either, nay the best music of the year that was Two Thousand and Seven. With our further delay my bitches, here are the top 10 songs of 2007.

10) Straight Lines-Silverchair. Back after a 6 year recording hiatus the boys from Newcastle NSW didn't lose a step. Straight Lines is an amazingly catchy song that retains some of what made the group popular back in the mid 90's. Of course they were all just past puberty then and now as mid to late-twenty-somethings they are bound to have a fresher, more grown up sound... and they do.

9) The Picture-Son Volt. Did someone say 1995? Just like Silverchair above, I rocked to Son Volt back in my college days. I'm happy that most of the songs off their 2007 release "The Search" harken back to the sound they had in the mid 90's. Each track off the record is fantastically written and performed but this one was the stand out in my mind.

8) Everybody Knows You Cried Last Night-The Fratellis. This record hit with the force of a thousand feet on a barroom floor. The Fratellis are an undeniably talented group of lads who put out a record filled with songs that make you want to grab your mates and head to the pub. While "Flathead" grabbed most of the attention due to it's turn as the iPod spokes song, I couldn't stop listening to this track.

7) 15-Rilo Kiley. I'm Chris Hanson, what are you doing here Jenny Lewis? This song probably scared off a whole lot of people, and who could blame them? Any song about a 15 year old girl trolling for older dudes is bound to ruffle some feathers. I, however, couldn't get the idea that this was the modern answer to "Son of a Preacher Man" out of my head. Never mind the fact that it is a great fucking song, it's not like it condones statutory rape or anything.

6) Love Song-Sara Bareilles. Thanks to a good friend of mine, I've been into Sara for the last 3 years. In fact she had a place on my top 100 in '05 with "Gravity" at #46 and "Little Voice" at #45 in '06. Sara is an amazing talent, and I almost wish she didn't end up getting co-opted by the music machine, but kept going as an Indie. I'm comforted by the fact that there is little more they can do to her other than overexpose her, and she has far too much substance and far too little flash to become a hit in a world devoid of widespread taste. I am excited to see what Sara will write for her next disc, which should be more new tunes rather than re-recordings of indie tracks.

5) Sons of Cain-Ted Leo & the Pharmacists. I had never been a big fan of Leo, but this record just kept popping up in my head after I reluctantly bought it in the spring. I spent the summer pumping the whole disc, but this song in particular grabbed me and didn't let go. From the second it's drum beets start you're hooked and by the time Leo starts to growl his prolonged hey's it's all over except the crying.

4) Young Folks-Peter, Bjorn and John. This is one hell of a catchy tune, and not just because once I hear it I end up whistling it for hours. It's another song that grabs you with a cold open on the drums, joined by maracas and the infectious whistle. Peter Moren and Victoria Bergsman (# 64 on this year's list) play so well off of one another that they make this song an all around gem. While I first noticed it because of Bergsman, when I bought her Taken By Trees disc, I loved the whole record too, but none more than this song.

3) I Feel It All-Feist. Here's another example of an act that was catapulted to mass success by a combination of TV placement and a shot on an iTunes ad. While I think 1234 is a great song (written by Sally Seltmann who hit the list at #69) "I Feel it All" is just so much better. The song is remarkably ear catching to me, and I have delighted to it all year. If I could dance, or was ok with the idea of dancing like a white boy with no rythem, this is the type of song I would dance to.

2) One Crowded Hour-Augie March. There are so few songs I have ever heard that are as well written as this '06 Aussie release. I didn't get my copy until it was released in the US in '07 but I had heard it on Internet radio and knew how good it was. The lyrics are like something out of a 60's song, with amazing imagery and turns of phrase. I've heard that when Augie March wrote this song, they thought it was just a throw away, which goes to show you that you can't set out to write an all time great song, it just has to happen for you.


1) Going North-Missy Higgins. I don't think I know of a better singer/songwriter out there. Missy topped my chart back in '05 with her US release of "The Sound of White" which delivered my favorite song of '05: The Special Two. Going North is a song that anyone who ever wanted to break out of their normal life patterns and try something new can identify with. I love the line: "So goodbye for a while, I'm out to learn more about who I really was before. Yeah I'm going north." When I first heard this song it resonated with me right away, and can't stop listening. Each time I listen I get another idea of how to break the chains of my everyday life and head go out into the world. Maybe one day I'll do it, but if I can never make that grandiose move of picking up and changing everything, then I hope to do it on a smaller scale. This song is the ultimate 'stop and smell the roses reminder' and I try and think about that every time I hear it.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Top 100 Songs of 2007: 40-11

I've given you 60 songs over the last two days and today I'll hit you with 30 more. That will leave tomorrow for my Top 10. As usual an asterisk indicates a cover song, enjoy peoples:

40) Teddy Picker-Arctic Monkeys
39) Whole Lotta Love-Lez Zeppelin*
38) Bitches in Tokyo-Stars
37) Bomb. Repeat. Bomb.-Ted Leo & the Pharmacists
36) The Ballad of Queenie and Rover-Paul Kelly
35) (Antichrist Television Blues)-Arcade Fire
34) Secret-Missy Higgins
33) The Henrich Maneuver-Interpol
32) People in Love-Art Brut
31) Anything But Disco-The Affair

30) For a Pessimist I'm Pretty Optimistic-Paramore
29) Idecide-What Made Milwaukee Famous
28) The Road I Must Travel-The Nightwachman
27) The Little Things-Colbie Caillat
26) Australia-The Shins
25) How Many Miles-The WAiFS
24) Fullwood Babylon-The Long Blondes
23) La Ti Da-The Icicles
22) Love Me Like the World is Ending-Ben Lee
21) Let it Die-Foo Fighters

20) Money-Jesca Hoop
19) You Know I'm No Good-Amy Winehouse
18) The State of Massachusetts-Dropkick Murphys
17) Make it Last-Kate Miller-Heidke
16) So Many Nights-The Cat Empire
15) Hey Boy-The Blow
14) Droving Woman-Augie March, Paul Kelly, Missy Higgins*
13) Sex-The Pipettes
12) Ruby-The Kaiser Chiefs
11) Don't Stop Now-Crowded House

Stay tuned for the TGWOOfY Top 10....Tomorrow Bitches!


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Top 100 Songs of 2007: 70-41

I listen to a lot of music, I mean, a whole lot. I'm not saying I'm better than you, because I'm not. But I listen to multiple sources of music at my desk all day: My iPod, college radio, British stations, Australian Stations and the odd occasional CD. I listen to WXPN, and WVYC in my car, and I troll indie blogs and MySpace looking for new shit. I purchased, downloaded or ripped in excess of 70 records this year not to mention quite a few single tracks (gotta love emusic and cashing in change for iTunes gift cards) and when it all shook out I came up with a list of my favorite music of the year. Cast your eyes on the next 30 on my list bitches:

70) Sex Bandaid-Antje Duvekot
69) Cheer Me Up Thank You-New Buffalo
68) Vermilion-The WAiFS
67) Wise Man-Liam Finn
66) Northern Whale-The Good The Bad & The Queen
65) Methamphetamine-Son Volt
64) Lost and Found-Taken By Trees
63) Warm Sound-Jill Cunniff
62) Queen B-Puscifer
61) Victoria's Secrets-Augie March

60) Albertine-Brook Fraser
59) Chelsea Dagger-The Fratellis
58) Near and Far-Sarah Shannon
57) Amsterdam-Peter Bjorn and John
56) Gone Gone Gone- Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
55) Nineteen-Tegan and Sara
54) The Way I Am-Ingrid Michaelson
53) Shine Over Babylon-Sheryl Crow
52) Lord Don't Slow Me Down-Oasis
51) Comrade Jesus Christ-The Heard*

50) Four Winds-Bright Eyes
49) Eternal Flame-Joan as Police Woman
48) You Picked Me-A Fine Frenzy
47) Holidays-The Versus
46) Teenage Hustling-Tori Amos
45) Good Enough-Girlyman
44) Freckle Song-Chuck Prophet
43) One Sweet Love-Sara Bareilles
42) What Light-WILCO
41) Much Like Falling-Flyleaf


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Top 100 Songs of 2007: 100-71

I've seen a lot of other "top music" lists over the last few days, so I figured I'd go ahead and add mine to the pile. Rather than throw the whole thing out there at once, I like to break mine down over 4 days, listing 30 each day for the first three days and then giving the top 10 it's own list. To look at last year's list click the links for 100-71, 70-41, 40-11 or 10-1. The list this year breaks out like this: 48 songs from American acts, 29 Australian/Kiwi, 12 English, 6 Canadian, 3 Scottish and Swedish and 1 each from Brazil and Germany. There are 53 songs by female solo artists or groups, 44 by male voices and 3 male female duets. The list also includes 5 cover songs, which will be marked with an *. Enjoy the music hookers!

100) I won't disagree-Kate Voegele
99) Music-CSS
98)Sylvia-Cath Petocz
97)Love Like This-Natasha Beddingfield
96) Maggie's Farm-Stephen Malkmus*
95) Low Happening- Howling Bells
94) Into Action-Tim Armstrong
93) Dusty Road-Missy Higgins
92) La Costa Brava-Ted Leo & the Pharmacists
91) Pornographer's Dream-Suzanne Vega

90) Funnyman-KT Tunstall
89) 1234-Feist
88) Missed the Boat-Modest Mouse
87)The Pretender-Foo Fighters
86) The Search-Son Volt
85) Better Than-John Butler Trio
84) All of the Things-Butterfly Boucher
83) Waiting for the Sun-Chantal Kreviazuk
82) The Futurist-Something for Kate
81) Phantom Limb-The Shins

80) Bridge to Canada-The Noisettes
79) Blood Red Rose-Clare Bowditch*
78) Pull Shapes-The Pipettes
77) Say-Girl in a Coma
76) I Got the Way-Kate Miller-Heidke
75) Hallelujah-Paramore
74) Someone to Love-Fountains of Wayne
73) Kill! Kill! Kill!-The Pierces
72) The Underdog-Spoon
71) The Moneymaker-Rilo Kiley


Sunday, December 16, 2007

TGWOOfY Top 25 Records of 2007

Well folks it's about that time for me to throw in my $.02 and give you my favorite albums of the year. As a point of clarification, I am a music user, not a music critic. I pay for the music I buy through the year, and so there are some records I don't hear either because I never heard about it or I didn't deem it worth spending my hard earned cash on. This list isn't meant to impress anyone, or extol my musical taste. It is merely the 25 records I liked most from 2007 (some are '07 UK or Australian releases that will come out in the US in '08 others are '07 US releases that came out elsewhere in '06, a brother can only spend so much dough on imports.) To take a gander at last years list just click the links: '06 1-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-20 or 21-25

25) The Pipettes - We Are the Pipettes. Great throwback sound on this English girl group. They have gotten a ton of pub for their new/old sound, and I can't get enough of this breath of fresh air. I can hardly resist smiling and tapping my foot along when I listen. Best Tracks: Sex, Pull Shapes, ABC.

24) The Blow - Poor Aim: Love Songs. Yet another in a long line of band name alter egos for one person, in this case Khaela Maricich. Bringing a great combo of Punk, Folk, Pop and Electronic to us from the Pacific Northwest, Maricich simply kicks ass. Many thanks to the College Radio station at my alma mater for hipping me to this. Best Tracks: Hey Boy, "Come On Petunia"

23) Paul Kelly-Stolen Apples. In my eyes Kelly is a god and can do no wrong. Some call him the Australian Bob Dylan, but I simply think of him as an amazing singer/songwriter and storyteller. His latest release contains some more fantastic examples of each of those gifts. Plus, how great was he at Live Earth: Sydney? Best Tracks: The Ballad of Queenie and Rover, Right Outta My Head, You're 39 You're Beautiful and You're Mine.

22) Arctic Monkeys-Favourite Worst Nightmare. These Sheffield boys held the #2 spot on last year's list with their freshman effort, but couldn't place quite that high this time around. That said, to release two records in two years and to have both of them shine like this is almost impossible to do these days. Best Tracks: Teddy Picker, Fluorescent Adolescence, Brainstorm.

21) Paramore-Riot! This is just a good fucking record, and I don't care who want's to make fun of me for liking it as much as I do. Last year the Tennessee group that I fell in love with was Be Your Own Pet, this year it's Paramore. Hayley Williams has the same barely legal rocker chick thing going for her as Jemina Pearl does, and just like byoP, Paramore really rocks. Best Tracks: For a Pessimist, I'm Pretty Optimistic, Hallelujah, That's What You Get,

20) Girl in a Coma - Both Before I'm Gone. This is just a fantastic young, talented group out of Texas. Take away the fact that Nina Diaz is an amazing singer and songwriter and you still have three amazing musicians who are all great on their instruments, which is a rarity these days. I'm so upset they didn't join Morrissey's tour until after we saw him in Philly. Best Tracks: Say, Their Cell, Celibate Now.

19) Kaiser Chiefs - Yours Truly, Angry Mob. Speaking of Morrissey, it's kind of eerie how much Ricky Wilson sounds like Moz on a few of these tracks. I didn't want to like this record when it came out, but I took a flier on in and was more than pleasantly surprised. Best Tracks: Ruby. The Angry Mob, Boxing Champ.

18) Kate Miller-Heidke-Little Eve. First things first: some people will downright loath this Aussie songstress because she has a quirky voice a la Regina Spektor. I, however, love the way her voice sounds almost as much as I love how fun and light her songs are. That's not to say they are throw away tunes, because they are just as deep as most pop music is these days, but they have a fantastic Aussie feel to them. Best Tracks: Make it Last, I Got the Way, Delay.

17) The WAiFS-Sundirtwater. I'll admit that the WAiFS could put out a record a month and I'd buy it, but there was no way I was going to miss the first record from the Aussie threesome in more than 4 years. They spent their time off supporting a live record, having kids and working with other artists, and it sounds like the change of pace did them good. The tracks are fresh and new while also sounding true to their past work. Best Tracks: How Many Miles, Vermilion, Eternity.

16) Arcade Fire - Neon Bible. There is literally nothing I can say about this record that hasn't already been written or blogged about at some point this year. I put off buying it, mainly due to the hype, until I had heard a bunch of the tracks on WXPN out of UPenn. God bless independent radio! Best Tracks: (Antichrist Television Blues), Neon Bible, No Cars Go.

15) Amy Winehouse-Back to Black. I know she the British answer to Britney Spears but I can't help but love her music. I wouldn't pay for a live show anytime soon, and if you don't know why, just check a London newspaper article about her and you'll find out. That said, this is one hell of a great record. Best Tracks: You Know I'm No Good, Rehab, Love is Losing Game.

14) Crowded House-Time On Earth. This record just proves that old rockers don't die, they just take a break. For any of us who saw their live show, we know that Neil and the boys are still just as good now as they were in the 80's. Time On Earth is filled with many new songs that were first planned for a Neil Finn solo record, but he called up Nick and the other boys and put together a stand out record. Best Tracks: Don't Stop Now, She Called Up, Silent House.

13) Stars-In Our Bedroom After The War. Last year I reveled in Amy Millan's solo record, and this year I have been loving Stars newest release. There are so many levels and so much texture to their songs and it makes for a wonderful listening experience. Best Tracks: Bitches in Tokyo, The Ghost of Genova Heights, Today Will Be Better I Swear.

12) The Good the Bad & The Queen-Self Titled. While I love the Clash, I've never really been a huge Blur or Gorillaz fan. So when the Clash's Paul Simonon teamed up with Damon Albarn I didn't know if I would like the result. Well, I did. This record is great from start to finish, and is easy to listen to over and over again. Best Tracks: Northern Whale, History Song, The Bunting Song.

11) Rilo Kiley-Under the Blacklight. Last year Jenny Lewis was in my top 5 with her solo effort and with one or two more top notch songs Rilo Kiley's fourth record would have been there too. I loved 7/8 of this record and play those parts to death. I can never get enough of Jenny's singing and even enjoyed Blake's vocal contributions. Best Tracks: 15, The Moneymaker, Silver Lining, Give a Little Love.

10) Foo Fighters-Echos, Silence, Patience, Grace. There's hardly a more solid band in the world, and this record is every bit as good as their past work. I sometimes marvel at how well this band has held up over a decade, but alas they are just as good now as ever... and a million times better then what Nirvana would have been at this point. Best Tracks: Let it Die, The Pretender, Statues.


9) Augie March-Moo, You Bloody Choir. This is one of those '06 foreign releases that I didn't get my hands on until early '07, but it was released in the states this year so I'm putting it on the list. It contains one of the two or three best songs of the year, and one that may be one of my favorite songs of all time when it's all said and done. If you've never heard this Aussie group you are missing out. They are a must download! Best Tracks: One Crowded Hour, Victoria's Secrets, Thin Captains Crackers, The Cold Acre.

8) The Fratellis-Costello Music. The iTunes ad may have made them famous here but they were already kicking but before that. I can't think of a much better group to serve as the house band at the best bar party ever. Their songs are like the audible manifestation of a drunkin good time. Best Tracks: Everybody Knows You Cried Last Night, Chelsea Dagger, Flathead, and really all the rest too.

7) Sara Bareilles-Little Voice. This woman has one of the most beautiful voices I've ever heard, and is also an amazing writer to boot. Most of the songs on this record were on Careful Confessions which came out back in '04, but they are still wonderful. I still have no idea why the title track isn't on the record, but only available via iTunes download. Best Tracks: Love Song, One Sweet Love, Vegas, Many the Miles...

6) Son Volt-The Search. Goddamn this is one hot record. Son Volt are one of my favorite bands of all time, and I have been OK with some of the changes in the sound over the years. On The Search, it's like going back to 1995's Trace. Jay sounds just as good as ever and the new lineup backs him very well to complete an amazing sound. Now, if only I could look as much like I did in '95 that would be great. Best Tracks: The Picture, Methamphetamine, The Search.

5) Various Artists-Cannot Buy My Soul. Were it not for this being compilation of covers I might have made it #1, because it really is an amazing collection of work. The songs of Aboriginal singer and songwriter Kev Carmody are powerful and insightful works and they find new legs when sung by some of Australia's best. Quite simply: these songs are storytelling through music at it's absolute best. Best Tracks: Droving Woman, Comrade Jesus Christ, Blood Red Rose, I've Been Moved, Images of London, Darkside, From Little Things Big Things Grow...

4) The Shins-Wincing the Night Away. This is another album that I resisted at first due to it's overwhelming hype. But, since I've liked the Shins past work, I picked it up and really fell in love with it. Although each of the songs are strong on their own, it is really best enjoyed when listened to all the way through. James Mercer is the prototypical Indie Rock frontman and he makes you buy into his performance. Best Tracks: Australia, Phantom Limb, Sea Legs, Girl Sailor.

3) Feist-The Reminder. Feist is like liver and onions, you either love her or hate her but you rarely have no opinion. I, for one, loved this record and have worn it the fuck out. It got most of it's pub for 1234, thanks again to iTunes, but the best of the record can be found in the other tracks, and when listened to straight through. She just makes you want to dance, or for us dancing challenged, wish we could dance. Best Tracks: I Feel it All, 1234, Brandy Alexander, My Moon My Man, So Sorry.


2) Ted Leo & the Pharmisists-Living With the Living. It's been a few years since Ted Leo graced us with a record, and it sounds as if he was saving up a lot of great material. Living is 58 amazing minutes of music where the foot never comes off the acelorator. This CD has been in my car since March and I don't think I'll be taking it out anytime soon. Best Tracks: Son's of Cain, Bomb Repeet Bomb, La Costa Brava, Colleen, Bottle of Buckie.

1) Missy Higgins-On a Clear Night. Among all the wonderful things I discovered on my last trip to Australia, Missy Higgins ranks right at the top. She is a masterful writer, who seems to be able to take deep and involved topics and craft the emotion into incredibly moving songs. In addition to being a gifted writer, she has a simply beautiful singing voice, made even more authentic by the presence of her Australia accent. This record is filled with songs I had already heard at live shows and on the internet, but that didn't lessen it's impact on me when I finally got my hot little hands on it. Some artists just speak to you, and I can't believe there are too many people out there who can't take one, if not all, of her songs to heart. THE BEST! Best Tracks: Going North, Secret, Steer, Where I Stood, Forgive Me.

Friday, December 14, 2007

TGWOOfY 101?

With two weeks left in the year, the time is nigh for me to release my TGWOOfY Top 25 records of 2007, and my TGWOOfY Top 100 songs of the year. I had a hard time narrowing the field down to both 25 records and 100 songs and in the squeeze this song didn't make the list, so I figured I'd spotlight it. Infidelity is an issue that is enough to scare just about anyone in a relationship in to doing something crazy and drastic. Allow me to introduce: Riskay with "Smell Yo Dick."

Nigger this the fifteenth motherfucking time that I called and left yo ass messages.
I done text yo bitch ass and you ain't responded or nothing.
What the fuck is you doin'?
Who the fuck is you out there wit?
You think I'm stupid?
My girls already done put me up on yo ass tonight nigger
When you come home,
I got news fo yo bitch ass

Why you comin' home Five in the mon'
Somethings goin' on
Can I smell yo dick.
Don't play me like a fool
Cause that ain't cool
So what you need to do is
Let me smell yo dick.
Why you comin' home
Five in the mo'nin
Somethings goin' on
Can I smell yo dick.
Don't play me like a fool
Cause that ain't cool
So what you need to do is
Let me smell yo dick.

It's four o'clock and I'm sleepin'
It's late night and you creepin'
You could've told me "I'm leavin'"
Now I know your out there cheatin'
Why you gotta do me like that?
When I call you don't call me back
I'm textin' you like 'nigger where you at'
That's fucked up. Why you do me like that?

I can't sleep and you trickin'
In the club with dirty foot bitches.
My girl was there and she witnessed
She had a camera phone and took pict'as
You was on the dance flo grindin'
With a stripper ho named Diamond
You was flowin' so hard you was shinin'
Everything she drank you buyin'.
But nigger you need to stop lyin'
Before I get mad and pull out my nine
You want a new bitch to fuck? Well that's fine
But don't fuck hers and try to fuck mine
You keep telling me that you ain't touch her
But something keeps telling me you done fucked her
And I ain't that bitch you wanna play wit
nigger drop them boxers and let me smell yo dick


Smell my dick? Wait a minute hold up
See that's how bitch and get her eyes swoll' up
And I don't give a damn what your homegirl seen
When I was in the club, what the fuck you mean?
They ain't got no biz'nes eyein' me like that
You ain't got no biz'nes tryin' me like that
I wasn't even feelin' Diamond like that
I was wi'lin but I wasn't clownin like that
That's alright, that's ok don't "nigger" me with what your homegirl say
A nigger like me drink a lot of liqua'
Meet a lot of bitches, take a lot of pitcha's
I might break bread, with one or two strippa's
But that don't mean you got to pull my zippa
Thinkin I sneak round the hole town
Even thought I got dick to go round



Wednesday, December 12, 2007

150 Days to Go...

Today is Wednesday December 12th, exactly 150 days until Sunday May 11th. That is the day when Inky and I leave for Australia. To say that I'm obsessed with this trip is probably too strong a word, but only just. Every day I think about some facet of the trip, be it a new idea from an on line friend or something I've read about that I now have to see. The trip is always on my mind. Even though those 23 days in May are just 6.28% of our year, they are star of 2008 for me.

Sydney, Tasmania, Melbourne, Uluru and back to Sydney. That's the plan, and I keep running the possibilities over in my head. Will we drive along the Ocean Road for one long day or 2, will we hike for 2 days in Tazzy or for 3. When I first see Uluru will it give me the same feeling as when we crossed Alfred St and saw the Opera House for the first time? What will it be like to watch the Cat's live at the MCG rather then listening to them on radio in the middle of the night? They're all great questions but I know that the best parts of the trip are the things I don't know about yet, and that we've yet to discover.

Five months seems like a really long time right now, and trust me it is. But, the way life is these days with so much to do and so little enjoyment gleaned from work, it's what I'm living for. And really for me, it's right around the corner!


Monday, December 10, 2007

2496 Bottles of beer on the wall..

Far be it from me to criticize the way other people spend their free time, but there is a dude in my neighborhood who needs check himself. Mondays are trash and recycling day and every Monday he has two cases of Miller Light out on the curb. At first blush that is only about 6 3/4 beers a day, which doesn't seem that bad. But, then you think of the consistency and it becomes a bit staggering. This dude drinks a 6 pack a day, every day. Or, somewhat more disturbingly, he could drink a case each day on the weekend! Or, a 12 pack each day Friday through Monday. Either way, you get the idea.

576 Ounces a Week. Almost 30,000 ounces a year! And it's about $40.00 a week, for a total of more than 2K a year... only on beer at home. You know this guy drinks at the bar too. Jesus! Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against people drinking, it's as American as apple pie, and some may argue even more so. I myself did my fair share of drinking at one time too, but I never got close to 2 cases a week, not even in college. I would think this guy may be on his way to having a problem, if he's not there already.

Most of the people I know don't understand why I decided to quit drinking. If truth be told, money factored into it quite a bit. Just like when I quit smoking in high school, it didn't have anything to do with health or moral and ethical objections. Back then I couldn't afford to keep up a smoking habit, and so I just quit. It was easy for me, because I never really got anything out of smoking, epically once I realized that it didn't make me look cool.

And so it was with drinking. One day I acted as the designated driver when I went out with my wife to see a band we used to see on a regular basis. I still had a great time, but I didn't drop $30 bucks on 6 drafts. I took some time to try and think about what drinking did for me, and the answer was: nothing. I still had as much fun if I didn't drink, and trust me, I didn't need all the extra calories if it wasn't enhancing my fun. I don't need the help of beer to cut lose and act crazy, I can do that just fine on my own thank you. Plus, the added bonus was: I was always there to be the driver.

Once I decided that I didn't need beer to have a good time, I made the choice to go cold turkey and not drink anything in any situation. Not surprisingly, I never missed it. I never found myself saying "boy, I sure could use a drink right now" which is even better because I have a history of alcoholism in my family.

Now, if I could just give up pasta, cookies and cheese steaks as easily as I gave up drinking I'd be all set.


Sunday, December 09, 2007

Bah Humbug

Inky touched on this a few weeks ago, and now I'm chiming in. Fuck Christmas! It's really hard to spend anytime with the general public and not end up feeling like all this time of year has become is a line item in the earnings statements of big companies. Inky and I met Mr. and Mrs. XL for dinner yesterday at a bastion of shopping down in Maryland. People were rushing about to lay claim on another piece of crap that was made for slave wages in China and will serve to prop up the salary of some retail outlet's CEO.

People tell me to look past this ridiculous exercise in consumerism, and focus on what Christmas is really about: Spending time with one's you love. Pardon me for being a dick, but I take the opportunity to see the ones I love whenever at all possible, I don't need Jesus' fake birthday to do that. Not to mention that no one really spends time with those they love at the Holiday's anyway. Most everyone is forced to spend at least some time with a group of people they can't stand be they in laws, family or coworkers. I hardly know a person who doesn't exhale in the first week of January and say "Damn, I need a vacation from the holidays."

This year I haven't been able to think of anything I want, and I'm pretty happy about that. I asked Inky for some gloves, and there's one DVD I was going to buy a few months ago, but I put off so I would have something to ask Inky's Mom for. Last year I struggled to think of something I wanted, and I never really used the shit I ended up asking for, so this year I just told everyone to leave me be.

All I really want is to get on that plane in May and go to Australia. If I'm being really greedy, what I would like the most is to get the fuck away from what our socity has become. I neerly got killed in the parking lot of Toys R Us today by some old dickwad who was in too much of a hurry to load his booty in the trunk of his Buick. He's lucky he didn't get his butthole pushed in, but I had somewhere to be. There isn't an ounce of Christmas spirit out there, and if you think there is, you haven't spent enough time with the general public. I'm fine with the fact that Christmas has become an excuse to spend money, but let's stop pretending it's something magic and special, because being fake and forcing it is way worse then the reality. Ho Ho Ho bitches.


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

This Relationship Goes to 11

There are a few days each year that we take notice of. For me they are: birthdays (mine, Inky's, XL's and my family's) Life changing moments (The day we lost My Father, my brother, my father in law or other big events like September 11th or the day St. Joe's was closed) And of course the big ticket items like Christmas or our anniversary. While Inky and I were married on August 14th, today is still one of my favorite days.

On December 5th of 1996 we started dating. Even though our date didn't start until almost midnight (oh to be a college student again) the whole day was important. As I reminisced about last year, she came up to my radio show, and that began a day long flirt that turned into me asking her out and her saying yes.

Sure, we were poor, and we went to Denny's, but, it was the single most important day of my life. All the rest of it pales in comparison. As we drove back to our apartments in the snow I had a totally different feeling then I had ever had on any first date. I still feel differently about her then I have ever felt about any other person in the world, even now, 11 years later as I gaze out at the snow falling on campus.

It all stemmed from that day 11 years ago when I sheepishly asked her out, and took her to split the appetiser sampler at Denny's. So this is one of my favorite days of the year... I love you baby.


Sunday, December 02, 2007

Greazy Law #3

I am a man of limited power, but of limitless opinion. From time to time I find it necessary to put forth a Greazy Law, and today is one of those days: Twins can no longer dress in the same outfits, or have similar sounding names. OK, so your egg was fertilized and then split in two... good for you. Don't name them Ted and Todd, or Frank and Hank. Just don't do it.

Do what ever it takes to foster a sense of individuality in them, so when they grow up they don't dress alike, live together as adults and finish each other's sentences. All of which only serves to creep me the fuck out. Inky and I were flipping through channels the other day and we went past that American Idol Rewind show, where two 18 year old chicks were singing in harmony. Others were impressed, I just thought it was creepy.

Don't get me wrong, I love that I can finish Inky's thoughts, and that from time to time she will answer a question before I even ask it. But, we picked each other as adults in college, not as Zygotes in the womb.

Twins just breed creepy vibes. If it's not them living together as adults, having only one Myspace profile for both of them, or dressing alike, it's peoples' sexual fascination with them. OK, I guess I shouldn't say people, I should say guys. Try this out: Do a google image search on the word "twins" and you'll find that most of the pictures are of The Milton twins (Melissa and Marissa UGH!) who both have sex with other people together........give me a second, I feel dirty, and not in a good way.

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? Two sisters in the same zip code during a sexual act isn't sexy, let alone the same room, bed or dude's lap. It's times like these that I'm ashamed to be a man. Worse yet (and I can't believe I'm going here) but there is another set of twins, The Texas twins who do the same thing... and they're butt ugly. Guys will really stroke off to anything if it seems sexy to them wont they? Fellas, look at their faces, not to mention the above point that THEY ARE FUCKING SISTERS YOU DOUCHEBAGS!

It is for that reason that I must insist that all twins be split up and forced to grow up on opposite sides of the country, it's the only way to be sure that we don't offend the natural order of life.


Saturday, December 01, 2007

Thinking About Sick Days

I'm feeling a whole lot better this Saturday morning, but the past week was really a trial. I did next to nothing, but lay about and let my body fight what ever it was that was attacking me. I like to think of my body as a Naval Ship, and when I'm sick I often imagine the Captain on the bridge, in my brain, barking out orders to crew all over to fight the invading marauders.

If that sounds ridiculously childish, it is. I think I first started that thought process when I was a kid, either due to my Father's stories about the Navy or the Martin Short movie Innerspace. One of my other memories from the sick days of my youth was being able to spend the day at home with my mom. Sometimes it can be tough growing up with a Mother who's a nurse, but it also had it's definite advantages, namely putting your mind at ease. She had a way of making me feel like I'd pull through that vomiting spell, those chickenpox or my many bouts with strep throat.

The added bonus to her bedside manner, was the perks of a sick day, namely company and entertainment. I would get to lay on the couch while she watched Password, Wheel of Fortune (they used to air it in the daytime too) and the holy grail of game shows: The Price is Right. Mom would whip up some lunch, or run out and get my favorite meal in the world at the time: a fish sandwich from Micky Dee's.

Of course the only thing better than having someone take care of you when your sick, is getting to hangout at home when you are perfectly well. From time to time, I would approach my mom and tell her that I had a project due that day that I had not done. She would tell me to go wait in the basement until my father left for work. Then we would sit at the dining room table and finish the project, allowing time for a visit from Bob Barker and a good lunch. Those were the days!


Friday, November 30, 2007

Bull Shift

As November comes to a close, I think about the book I wrote a few years ago for National Novel Writing Month. I called it "Daytime at Night" and it was ostensibly about at guy who is trapped by life in general, but by the night shift specifically. And I know of what I speak. When I was 21 I worked overnight for a summer at a can factory. Our shift was 6 PM to 6 AM for four straight days, with four straight days off. I was young, and money hungry so I regularly worked on a few of my off days as well, and it was no surprise if I worked 72 hours in a week.

Then in the summer of '04 I changed departments at work, to a midnight to 8:30 am schedule. From August of 2004 to August of 2006 I worked those hours, and in order to spend as much time as possible with Inky I would come home and try to go right to sleep. I would try to sleep from 10 AM to 5 PM when she would get home, and then we would have our meal together, dinner for her, breakfast for me. At 11:00 I would go to work and she would go to sleep, and while she slept I would eat my dinner, all too often something bad for me from a fast food place or an all night convenience store. Along the way, I would jack myself up with sugar and caffeine to stay awake, and on more than few occurrences I would go 40 to 50 hours with no sleep at all.

I'm no different from millions of people world wide who work graveyard. Some do it for opportunities that wouldn't exist for them in the daylight, others do it for family reasons. No matter why, and for what benefit, it takes it's toll on everyone. An added dimension to the disruption of the circadian rhythm, is the fact that most jobs that are done overnight are physical in nature, or mind numbingly boring. (Mine was a little of both) Some overnight jobs, however, are truly matters of life and death. The next time you go to the ER at 3:30 AM, think about how long your doctor has been up.

No matter why people work over night, the truth is it is terrible for you. When I first started it in '04 my family doctor told me that studies suggested that working graveyard took years off your life. Now there is a study out from WHO that says that Third Shifters are more likely to get cancer. Great! The story points out that a lack of sleep could contribute to a weakening of the immune system, which made me wonder if that may have something to do with why I am sick all the time these days.

In the 15 months since I left third shift I have had Asthmatic Bronchitis, Acute Sinusitis, four or five colds and a few wicket bouts of a stomach virus. I know that I'm not in the best shape, but I wasn't all that much more fit back in '04 and I didn't get sick this much then. When I used my sick days then it was to hang out with friends, or as a mental health day. Now I spend 3 days on the couch with multiple boxes of tissues while coughing loud enough to wake the dead. I miss the old days before internal clock got clocked.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

This Blows

The only thing worse than being sick, is being sick on a vacation day or a holiday. I've managed to do both this week. I started feeling under the weather the day after Thanksgiving and I got the full brunt of it on Sunday. One of my friends from out of town was visiting for a few days, so I took Monday off to spend time with him, and there I was coughing, having trouble swallowing and basically feeling like shit warmed over.

I used to think the worst thing in the world was taking a sick day because I was actually sick, but that was when I hardly ever got sick. Now, I seem to get 4 or 5 bad colds a year and the flu every other year or so. I hate getting older.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

There's a Change a Comin'

First it was the US House and Senate. Then it was Tony Blair, and now it's John Howard. Next to go: W and his Dick. Kevin Rudd and his Labor Party toppled the Howard Government in today's elections in Australia meaning another of Bush's allies has lost his job. Howard may have lost his seat all together, meaning that not only will he not be Prime Minister any longer, but he may not even be in the government. This would be the first time a sitting PM has lost his seat in almost 100 years.

This is not so much an outright win for Labor as it is a loss for Howard's Liberal Party (read: conservative, as apparently the word liberal is reversed in the southern hemisphere) Howard was seen as Bush's lap dog and the people of Australia were sick of it. There's only so long we, the common people, will let you push us around.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I'm Chris Hanson, What are you doing here Neil Diamond?

So I'm sure everyone has heard that Neil Diamond has finally reveled that he wrote "Sweet Caroline” about JFK's daughter. On the surface that sounds sweet indeed; a struggling young singer who sees an adorable picture of Caroline Kennedy and her pony and writes a song about it. Unfortunately, I'm a cynical a-hole, and this grossed me out to no end.

"Hands, touching hands. Reaching out. Touching me, touching you."

Eww! This song was written 40 years ago, and Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg is 50. So Neil saw this picture of a 10 year old girl and her horse and he was compelled to write these lyrics? I know things were done differently back then, but I'm pretty sure a 27 year old man writing "touching me, touching you" about a 10 year old was still fucked up. Plus, I'm pretty sure I've heard Neil tell a whole different story about how he was inspired to write this song:

"I wrote this song after a big show at the Forum. Gary and I had been drinking pretty heavily and we'd been driving. We were driving down this dark road and I hit a kid. So we got out and sure enough he was dead. So, we took off... pretty fast, and two hours later I wrote "Sweet Caroline."

Some how I find this version of the story less offensive then the dude who had a bone for the President's daughter and her horse. So Neil Diamond is not only a pedophile but also a horse fucker? Wow, that is big news indeed.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Leavin' On a Jet Plane

Inky and I have been close to pulling the trigger for weeks, but we had to wait till we were 100% sure of our itinerary. I had to find out the NRL and AFL schedules and we had to decide on how many days to spend in each city. That's all done now, and we have booked our trip to Australia. In 173 days we will be boarding a Qantas wide body Jet and heading over the Pacific. Our first stop will be Sydney, but only for a few days. Then it's on to a long weekend of hiking in Tasmania (and perhaps a Footy match too). From Tazzy we'll fly to Melbourne for a week of further exploring our favorite city in the world. We hope to catch a few live music shows, eat some great grub and spend and evening or two at a pub making freinds.

I am also beside myself with excitement to see a Friday Night Footy game at the MCG between the Geelong Cats and their rival Collingwood Magpies. We're also going on jaunts along the Great Ocean Road and through Western Victoria. Following Melbourne we will go to the Northern Territory to see gigantic orange monolith Uluru, which you may know as Ayers Rock. Finlay, it's back to beautiful Sydney to wrap up our trip and to set me up for the worlds longest birthday.

We'll fly home on my 32nd, leaving Sydney at 1:00 in the afternoon, and then landing in L.A. at 9:45 AM...earlier in the day on my birthday. Thanks to timezones, the International Date Line and flying from West to East I will have a 41 hour birthday from the time it strikes midnight in Sydney till the time it strikes midnight in L.A. Of course the best present in the world isn't a nearly two day long birthday, it's the very fact that when I open my eyes that day it will be the Sydney skyline I will be seeing.