Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Duggars

It's very easy to pick on the Duggars, especially Josh Duggar. I think I have a different perspective because unlike most people, I've never seen 19 KIDS AND COUNTING. I didn't know anything about the family until Josh was in the news when the story broke that as teenager he had molested his younger sisters. That's horrible enough of course but then the newspaper stories were full of creepy details. Like the fact that the parents tried to cover things up as much as they could and that all the family friends that they went to for help- churchy people just like them- are all now in jail for their own crimes against children.

And of course, when the scandal finally broke, Josh Duggar was employed as some kind of lobbyist for a religious group that is against gay marriage and abortion (his previous job: used car salesman).

When will it ever stop? Whenever people rail against homosexuality they always end up in a sex scandal of their own. Josh Duggar was embarrassed again this summer when everyone found out about his online adultery club. He posted an apology in which he admitted that he had developed a porn addiction (Mark my words: Josh Duggar's next scandal will involve gay sex).

And I love how his parents put out their own statement where they basically threw Josh to the lions.

Anyway, reading about the Duggars I saw a few creepy touches but this one really sticks out in my mind: the sisters were talking about women who dress "immodestly" and they said that the entire family had a routine...if the family was out in public and any of the sisters saw a woman nearby, or a woman approaching, who was dressed immodestly, the sisters were supposed to say the family's code word, "Nike", and when they heard it, Josh and the father were supposed to look down at their shoes so that they wouldn't become aroused. The sisters seemed to think it was a fun game and I guess the readers of the story are supposed to see it as funny or cute, but doesn't it sound like the creepiest thing ever. What kind of parents would make it their young daughters' job to help their father and brother avoid sights that will get the males aroused. Who even wants to think for one moment about their father being aroused.

Then again, I guess now The Nike Game seems desperately necessary knowing how dangerous Josh's arousal could be.

I've been thinking about the Internet...

You know how if you read a local news story online there's a comments section at the bottom page? Well, I can't stand reading the comments (though, a lot of the time I do). The reason I don't like reading the comments is because when you read that you're really seeing people at there worst. Like most of the Internet it's anonymous. And when people can hide behind a fake name they say exactly what they want, regardless of how they could hurt people.

For instance, maybe the article is some kind of accident. Some people will speculate on the cause, not thinking that friends and family of the victim will be reading the comments.

Then there are the comments that clearly come from the white men in their 30s who just bought their first houses and have one or two young children. These guys are the most judgemental people in the world. These posters do everything by the book and they can't understand why anyone would lead a life different from theirs.

A couple years ago I got rid of my Facebook, partly because I felt too old to have a page, but mostly because I didn't like what I saw. I don't mean on my friends' pages, just in general.

Wait. Wait. I'm not saying at all what I want to say and my point is lost. Let me get to it: people talk to, and about, people in a way that they would never do in real life. That's how the news comments sections are, it's how Facebook is becoming, and I don't want to do that here.

I've been thinking about the post I wrote last September about the concert reviews. Was I too hard on that kid? How would he feel if he Googled himself and he came across that post and he read it? And if he felt compelled to respond with a comment here, what would he say?

Well, I think I was fair and what I said was true. Of course when something is published in the paper it's fair game. And I think that my main point was that there was no improvement- I didn't notice the dates on each review; all I saw was that each review was just as bad as any other. They all had the same problems that he didn't notice and no editor pointed out to him.

So if he happened to see my post I would think he'd be embarrassed and upset. If he left a comment I could imagine him writing that I was right and that I made some good points. Then again, I always expect that everyone will take things the right way when I should've learned from experience: most people think that they're right all the time and anyone who points out their mistakes is an asshole. Most likely the guy would leave a comments that my complaints were petty and that I'm in no position to put down anyone else's writing. It's true: I'm writing a glass blog and I shouldn't throw stones. I just can't help it sometimes.

But there are some subjects that I want to write about over the next couple days and weeks and I've decided to write my posts as if the subjects themselves will someday read them. I hope that will keep me fair.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Matt Damon has had the best movie career

Matt Damon has made some really good movies- I'd say The Departed is the best- but the amazing thing is all the directors he's worked with. For comparison, first look at Ben Affleck. Affleck and Damon had similar starts: TV movies, jobs as extras; I think some of their early credits overlap.

In this post, I'm listing directors that are either great directors who have made some of the best movies and other directors who, no matter how good or bad they are or what they've done, we probably all know their names. So here's a list of directors that Ben Affleck has worked with: Martin Brest, John Woo, Richard Linklater, Kevin Smith, David Fincher, Mike Judge, and Gus Van Sant. Not bad. Not bad at all. And Affleck has done some shitty movies (Armageddon, Good Will Hunting- I like GVS and his work, especially My Own Private Idaho and extra-especially Drugstore Cowboy, but GWH is lame and just thinking about "Vickers" and "apples" makes me cringe. I don't believe that GVS cared about the script. I think he was just turned on by Damon, the Afflecks, and Cole Hauser.

But anyway, back to Matt Damon. Whose movies has he starred in? Martin Scorecese, Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, Gus Van Sant, the Coen brothers, the Farrelly brothers, Cameron Crowe, Terry Gilliam, Steven Soderberg, Kevin Smith, Anthony Minghella, Christopher Nolan, Frank Darabont, Kenneth Lonergan. That's not all. He's also been directed by a few movie star directors: Robert DeNiro, Robert Redford, George Clooney, Billy Bob Thornton, and Clint Eastwood.

That's an impressive list, right?

There are a few that Matt Damon didn't get to work with and all of those cool directors worked with another lucky guy instead, and this guy doesnt even specialize in acting- singer Chris Isaak. His "Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing" was in Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut, and Isaak has appeared in movies by Jonathon Demme, John Waters, David Lynch, and Tom Hanks.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

This feels so good

It feels good to be blogging again. There are two blogs that I read: Final Girl' which doesnt get updated much anymore but inspired me to start RJ Battles' and By Ken Levine' which is interesting and is updated every single day. I want to post everyday. And soon I'll have more access to a computer so I'll be able to post pictures. My writing has improved a little since 2008 but I want this to be mostly a visual blog. The record sleeves are still the best part of this blog. Gotta go' good night.

Hi how are you

Its been so long but I dont have a computer anymore and post on my phone is a pain but I really wanna get back into this. There's a lot I wanna talk about: some old obsessions, like Carrie Fisher (in the spring she's publishing her diaries from when she made the first three Star Wars movies. They'll probably do well but I'm not interested. I wanna hear more about Paul Simon and what went on when she made Soapdish. I'd buy a book just for that or to find out stuff about her days as a script doctor), John Landis (I'm interested in Twilight Zone The Movie and what really happened between Landis and Spielberg. And Spielberg bugs me. I hate his movies from the past twenty years, especially War of the Worlds).

There are also some new pictures I wanna put up. There are some cool ones from The Breeders LSXX. I hope I'll see you again soon.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

This is my favorite kind of post

I started this blog so I could show record sleeves that I admire; now I live to write posts like this one.

Now maybe I'm in no position to call some one a bad writer but I'll do it anyway. Nicholas Bolduc of the Springfield, MA Republican is a bad writer.

The other day I was reading the paper and came across his review of a Tom Petty concert and the writing was so bad that I went online and looked up everything he'd had published in the Republican. He's (I think) an intern at the paper and has written around twelve articles over the past couple years.

So, as I understand it, he's a young guy, maybe still in, or just finished with, college, and the newspaper gave him the chance to write some reviews. Of course they're not gonna be perfect. The things that bother me are the way that he seems to be going through the motions and not thinking about what he wants to say or how he wants to say it. Nevermind the typos (there are plenty), I see those all the time in newspapers. I'm bothered by the factual mistakes and way that Bolduc uses words without knowing what they really mean. And the worst thing is how he re-uses words and phrases in all his reviews.

In the online edition of the Republican people can log-in and leave comments that show up at the bottom of the page and a couple times the paper's music editor has had to apologize for Bolduc's factual errors.

Let's get right to the Tom Petty review:

The band then transitioned to some of their more recent releases from their new album "Hypnotic Eye" by performing "American Dream Plan B" featuring a strong set of face melting guitar riffs that helped prove that rock is definitely not dead.

First, the sentence is so awkwardly structured and just wrong in a couple place. Plus, get used to the phrase "face melting"; you'll see more of it.

The band played "you Get Me High" displaying to the crowd a screeching, ear shattering guitar solo and great lyrics, proving that after decades in the business these guys can still produce great music.

It might not seem like a big deal but this just doesn't make sense. Does doing something for decades make you get worse at it? Ok, it might sound like I'm being petty but read on, you'll see.

To no one's surprise the crowd quickly called them back on stage for an encore. The band performed "You Wreck Me"...The band then kicked off the night with the 70's classic "American Girl" making it a perfect ending to a perfect night.

"To no one's surprise"- get ready for more of that. But the big thing: Bolduc seems to think that to "kick off" something is to end it. It's not just here that he says it. Stay tuned.

A lot has changed in music since Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers rose to take the Rock world by storm in 1976, some have even cynically stated that "Rock is Dead". But this band debunked that misconception last night by proving that they are still as relevant and talented as ever.

Do you "debunk" a misconception? Probably not. But I'm sure it isn't "cynical" to say "Rock is Dead". Let's move on to a Bon Jovi concert.

Bon Jovi

Appearing before another sold out crowd, Bon Jovi failed to disappoint the 10,000 loyal fans who showed up to pay homage to the legendary rock band.

"Failed to disappoint"- not wrong I guess, but awkward and dumb. The main thing is "pay homage to". That's not right.

Bon Jovi failed to disappoint as he livened the crowd back up with "It's My Life".

"Failed to disappoint" twice in the same review? Yup.

To no one's surprise the crowd called on Bon Jovi for an encore.

"To no one's surprise". This guy is just cutting and pasting his old reviews.

To wrap up the night the band kicked off their performance with arguably their most...

At first I thought Bolduc was gonna do things right but then I saw "kicked off". How does that sound right to him and how does the editor not say, "Hey, Nick, you know..."kick off" means start or begin."

Third Eye Blind

"Can't Get Along" featured a face melting guitar solo...

This song ("Never Let You Go") is so popular that it should be considered a litmus test to prove to someone grew up during the 1990's.

More "face melting". And this song "Never Let You Go"- I've never heard it, but that thing about the litmus test makes no sense and is so awkwardly written- sentences like this are typical of Bolduc's writing.

To wrap up the night Third Eye Blind sang what is arguably their best song ever recorded "Semi-Charmed Life". The song has had a huge impact on American pop culture, being featured in many movies.

So "Semi-Charmed Life" has been on a few soundtracks? The thing about Bolduc's writing is you can tell when he's done a little "research". He'll mention that a certain song was VH1's 35th greatest metal song or something like that. I'm sure in this case there must be something on Wiki about all the movies that "Semi-Charmed Life" is in.

Glen Campbell

He dazzled the audience with his passionate singing and face melting guitar playing.

Glen Campbell was 75 at the time and he died not long after, but country music guitar playing was "face melting"?

Guns N Roses

The only two songs that really garnished a strong response from the audience...

"Garnished"? Maybe he means garnered.

DJ Ashton gave a face melting guitar solo.

The set list certainly contained a lot of cover songs from some of America's most talented artists and bands. For their sixth song of the night they sang "Riff Raff" a 1978 golden oldie by AC/DC. The band also performed "My Generation" by the Who.

I didn't even notice these mistakes; someone pointed them out in the comments section and the editor had to apologize. Neither of the two bands that Bolduc mentioned are American. AC/DC is from Australia and the Who are British.

The encore was well received and it was a good way to kick off the three hour performance...

Aaron Lewis

Longmeadow's favorite son Staind lead singer Aaron Lewis did not fail to entertain the packed crowd.

The two-hour acoustic show featured several tracks from his debut solo album "Town Line". The album is Aaron Lewis's debut solo album which was released in March of last year.

After the song Lewis gave his last good bye to his New England brethren and the show ended around 10pm.

A reader wrote:
Brethren? Really? Do you mean as in "brothers"...or is Aaron Lewis now a member of a religious sect?

Another reader wrote:
This guy is a hack.

It might seem like I'm being petty but it really bugs me that this guy is turning in these shitty articles filled with the worst clich├ęs of music journalism. And it bothers me that the music editor never bothered to correct any of this. I could show a lot more examples of sloppy writing and reporting but I think you get the idea.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Aimee Mann "Charmer"

Two years ago Aimee Mann put out "Charmer" and like all her other records (other than "Bachelor #2", I guess) it got no attention and sunk like a stone. It's too bad, because she makes amazing music, and most of her songs- not just the singles- would sound great on the radio.

Where I used to live there was a radio station that would play "Save Me" and "Humpty Dumpty" and the place that I worked had the music pumped in from a music service and they played "Freeway", but that's it. So many great songs have come and gone and most people will never hear them.

Her albums "Lost In Space" and "The Forgotten Arm" had great songs but a lot of them were ballads or they were up-tempo but dreary (in a good way, I think) so I can see why they didn't get airplay. But "Smilers" and especially "Charmer" have a lot of fun pop songs on them.

I don't own "Charmers" (or even a CD player) but over the past year when I was in the kitchen or cleaning the house I'd go to Youtube on the IPad or my phone and plug it into the speakers and play songs; my favorites are "Gumby", "Disappeared", "Crazytown", and "Living A Lie". (All four video clips look the same- somebody filmed their turntable with the clear orange vinyl version of the "Charmer" album playing.) These songs belong in heavy-rotation on the radio (plus in the morning on MTV and VH1 (the early morning is just about the only time they play videos anymore).

But, anyway, if you're at the record store and you're looking for something to listen to, try "Charmer". If they don't have it there get another Aimee Mann album (they're all good, even the old ones from the early to mid-1990s). Or, if you wanna test things out first, go to Youtube and listen to "Gumby". If you like that song you'll like the whole "Charmer" album.