Thursday, March 31, 2005

Queens of the Stone Age: Lullabies to Paralyze

I loved the last Queens of the Stone Age CD – Dave Grohl pounding away on drums and Joshua Homme’s cool voice and guitar. It was a great hard rock album and the videos were extremely entertaining.

On Lullabies, Homme started from scratch with an entirely new band. The result is a very diverse, epic rock CD that is a must! Homme gives you some of the sound you’re used to from the last album, but also teases and tempts you with influences from Cream to Pink Floyd to Primus. Heck, the new musicians include Alain Johannes with guest appearances by Billy Gibbons and Shirley Manson! Let me walk you through it:

This Lullaby: The opener is an acoustic number that is reminiscent of Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits – not a typical kicking first track for a band known as a hard rock band. But it’s beautiful and different.

Medication: Now we’re talking QOTSA! This driving tune is very much like the last CD that broke QOTSA out. His voice has a slight distortion on it and the guitars drive one chord down your throat for two minutes.

Everybody Knows That You Are Insane: The intro is very much Pink Floyd influenced. I’m waiting for “the lunatic is on the grass” to be sung. Suddenly, about a minute in, the chorus erupts with pounding guitars and drums. The melody during the verses features guitars that change tone and speaker location on every strum! Crank this in the car, baby! Not to ruin the rest of this review, but this is certainly my favorite song on the album!

Tangled Up In Plaid: This has a Residents intro that quickly moves into a marching beat ala Here Come the Bastards by Primus. However, Homme’s smooth and high pitched voice gives it a completely different complexion. The chorus brings back the power chords and a, dare I say, classic QOTSA sound. Can I really call these guys (this guy) classic? When about every song is so damned cool that it literally brings tears to my eyes, then I would have to agree with, uh, myself! But wait; there’s more!

Burn The Witch: It opens with pounding drums and bass and then adds an in-between riff that gives it again a Primus feel. But Homme’s sweet and haunting voice just takes it to a different level.

In My Head: Wow! I just realized this song reminds me a little of Velvet Revolver! The slight twang to the hammering chords and Homme’s voice really hide it well, but there’s just a shred of VR here. That’s a good thing mind you!

Little Sister: This is the single that’s getting some radio play and the video is getting rotation on FUSE. The cowbell, guitar riff and vocals totally remind me of KISS circa 1978! I can almost see Paul Stanley puckering up while Gene Simmons sings! Again, a good thing!

I Never Came: This starts a bit slow but picks up a bit. I feel like this track never quite lives up to the rest of the CD. Not my favorite, but we’re still 7 for 8!

Someone’s In The Wolf: Back to the down-your-throat guitars to start this song off. Haunting vocals layer over the marching band drums and guitar. At about five minutes, the song switches gears and gets creepy. I can hear a little Primus and The Residents in this song yet again! No wonder I’m enjoying this! It gets back to the driving guitars and finishes in a flurry.

The Blood Is Love: A little bit of a carnival music intro here before it breaks into a slow and heavy jam. This song just drives hard on the same riff throughout with a lap guitar sliding over everything.

Skin On Skin: Can I write another Primus reference? This is a real obnoxious sound with atonal guitar and distorted bass. Frizzle Fry anyone?

Broken Box: Eric Clapton and Cream got back together and recorded this song for this CD – I’m sure of it! I did mention this is a diverse CD at the beginning of this article, right?

“You Got A Killer Scene There, Man…”: This is a slow and groovy trance with Shirley Manson dropping sultry vocals in and out. Homme throws steely, quick solos throughout.

Long Slow Goodbye: Really interesting! This is like something the Beatles would end an album with. It starts with that noise your phone makes when it’s off the hook, but the speed of the beeping gradually changes. Later, the speed of the beat gradually changes as well and it’s noticeable and really kind of cool! You can certainly feel it as the chorus crescendos and then suddenly everything slows back down.

Stay tuned for a hidden track of a horn ensemble playing the riff of this song.

Classic, epic, nearly perfect! Go listen!

4.5 out of 5!

Eyes – CBS Wednesdays

Are you starting to get tired of all of the CSI’s on TV right now? Well, the other networks are finally putting on decent shows opposite them. For instance, on Thursday you can watch Point Pleasant on FOX instead of Horatio “what we need…(pause, put on sunglasses) is a match to this glove” Caine on CSI Miami. And now, on Wednesday you can check out Eyes on CBS instead of Gary “Lieutenant Dan – you got new legs – titanium space legs” Sinise on CSI NY.

Tim Daly (Wings) stars as Harlan Judd, proud owner of a private investigator firm. The place has been in business for about 3 years and is about $3 (remember, million is always implied in company debt – and embezzlement figures!) in the hole. His former boss is trying to trick Judd into selling or going under, but Judd is just to savvy to fall for it. He has a great, sarcastic attitude toward his job and his employees.

Here’s a bit of the unfolding drama so you aren’t completely lost if you missed the pilot. There is a mole feeding info to Judd’s old boss. Two employees are sleeping together, but the girl is married to another employee, and he’s been planting recording devices in her car but hasn’t mustered the guts to listen to them. The guy she is sleeping with is trying to track down the mole, and the mole just might have shot him in his own apartment. There is a file clerk that was promoted when Judd realized she has military experience in the field of investigation. Judd also has a flirtation going on with his new attorney. Daly’s character is great – reminds me a little of Dr. House without the mean streak.

I really liked the way the show flowed and it actually made me laugh out loud a few times. I’m a big fan of sarcasm! I also liked most of the characters and the way they were introduced. I was surprised that it looked as though a main character had been killed off already! But, this is TV and you never know until next week what really happened. And, I know this will sound bad, but it looks as though they have a bit of the Malcolm in the Middle syndrome. Malcolm has a character that is black, in a wheel chair, wears thick glasses, and has horrible asthma – not much more could be wrong with the kid! And now Eyes has a PI who is black, gay, and clinically insane! Why all the picking on the lone black characters? Can’t we give weird issues to the tall, thin blonde chicks? Anyway, it was pretty fun to watch a Nazi skinhead get strong-armed by a gay black man!

The show is a lot of fun to watch and I, Pat Angello, would recommend it! Give it a try and I think you’ll be hooked. I may even replace CSI NY with it, if I can talk the lovely KT into that! It looks like ABC is getting a hold of some well-written, original dramadies this year!

4 out of 5!

Off The Map

Campbell Scott came to the Denver Movie Festival a few years ago promoting this drama he directed. It looks like he finally found someone to buy and release it. However, it’s probably playing at a small independent theater near you. I recommend you go out of your way to see it!

Sam Elliot plays Charlie, a severely depressed man living in the desert with his wife Arlene (Joan Allen) and his daughter Bo (Valentia de Angelis young, Amy Brennan older). This is a Sam Elliott (the voice of “Beef, it’s what’s fer dinner”) that you have never seen before. His performance is simply incredible. As is Joan Allen – I have really enjoyed her in the Ice Storm and Pleasantville. The entire movie takes place in the desert over a summer, which would make some people think there isn’t any drama and nothing to see. However, Elliot and Allen really drive the film. You really feel the pain of Charlie’s friend George (J.K. Simmons) trying to figure out what he can do to help Charlie snap out of it. You can also sympathize with Bo and Arlene, as they can’t figure out what will help. And Elliot says maybe five words in the film, but his performance is amazingly powerful.

The family lives in the middle of nowhere trying to escape the busy city. Because of this, Scott introduces a foreign object, an IRS man played by Jim True-Frost, into the simple life the family lives; the ripples it creates are incredible. It’s like a Godsend to Bo! And let me say right here that de Angelis is an incredible actress – her performance rivals Keisha Castle-Hughes in Whale Rider. It’s like she just got a new toy!

I really don’t want to give away much, mainly because we are going to see this film again on Tuesday with some friends that read this blog. All I can say is don’t expect a typical Hollywood film. Go to see some of the finest actors deliver an incredible screenplay. This is truly a magical, phenomenal film that will make you see there are good scripts and decent movies out there. Do you really want to see something with Ashton Kucher in it? Really? I would rather you gave your money to an independent film like this because it deserves your respect. It’s simple and amazing.

4.5 out of 5!

Life on a Stick – FOX Day (?)

I’m not a big fan of the burnout character. This is a show about burnouts working at a corndog stand in the mall, and it simply isn’t very funny.

FOX can never seem to get people to watch their GOOD shows, and they end up canceling them. Then, somehow, they throw this kind of crap on TV for us. It makes me question who heard the pitch for this show and thought, “yeah – let’s go with Life on a Stick! Two burnouts working at a corndog stand – imagine the possibilities! Oh, and let’s give the ‘smart’ burnout a hot, redheaded coworker to make out with!”

OK, so I’m being a little dramatic, but the show kinda stunk! The only funny thing that happened was when the owner of the corndog stand was out, the employees dipped every item from his desk into a batter and deep-fried it all. When he returned, they all pulled the “I am Spartacus” routine so nobody specifically would get into trouble.

The parents of the smart burnout are divorced and remarried. Neither likes the other’s kid, but they both love the younger boy they had together. In fact, it’s played up just a bit too much – very overdone. And both are afraid of the daughter, though she really shows no characteristics of someone that would annoy and scare their parents.

I think this show is going for zany, but it’s really just over the top stupid. And AGAIN with the painful canned laughter! I liken this to going to a “scary” PG-13 movie on opening night – there are so many screaming and overreacting kids, you don’t know if the movie was scary or not. With bad canned laughter, I can’t tell if this show is funny or not. But, I think I’ll stick with not.

1.5 out of 5!

Sunday, March 27, 2005

PAFC Newsletter 3/27/05

Since my birthday is coming up, I thought we’d all celebrate with another PAFC contest! YAY! My birthday is only 10 days away (April 6th) – and if any of my friends or family members are thinking about buying me something, DON’T! I’d rather have you take that money and donate it in Mark “Smitty” Smith’s memory to either the Hyland Hills Youth Hockey Scholarship Program at 10710 Westminster Blvd in Westminster, CO 80020, or to the American Heart Association. I don’t care if it’s $5.00 or $575.00 – I can’t think of anything I want or need! Thanks!

Also, don’t forget to buy Pat Angello Fan Club merchandise: www.cafepress.com/pafc! For every order placed though the end of April, I will donate $5.00 to the American Heart Association in Smitty’s name. C’mon, give someone a PAFC T-shirt for April Fool’s Day!

So what’s the contest this time? How about a Top 11 List contest! Top 11 what you ask? How about whatever you want! Heck, you can even make it about Pat Angello (wink-wink, stroking the ego always scores brownie points). Top 11 reasons Pat Angello dislikes reality TV. Top 11 things that make you sneeze. Be creative and have some fun! You have until Wednesday, April 6th at midnight to submit. Just email a list to me! I will pick my two favorites (one male, one female) and give the winners $20 in PAFC merchandise! (Previous winners are exempt, but all entries are welcome and will be posted on the blog next week.) So, if you missed your chance on the last contest, get busy!

Here’s a classic Top 11 List to get you in the mood:

Top 11 Rejected Jolly Rancher Flavors

11) Duck
10) Sewer
9) Toilet Water (although it tested well with dogs)
8) Asparagus
7) Lima Bean
6) Manure
5) European
4) Lemon
3) Bed Stain
2) Retirement Community
1) Passed Out Drunk On The Bus

Jamster ads are starting to tick me off! These stupid banner ads with the dancing monster in the pilot hat and goggles with the googly eyes are simply annoying! And who really wants a ring tone that’s some idiot’s voice saying, “Hey – yer phone is ringin’!” Is it just me that’s completely annoyed by this every time I get on the Internet? Seriously, someone back me up here!

Speaking of backing me up, am I the only one that thinks, “What the hell IS that thing?” every time I see a picture of Michael Jackson? And who is the guy that “gets” to play him on Court TV? There’s comedy, and then there’s the Michael Jackson trial reenactments on Court TV. I didn’t realize there were so many out of work clowns these days! It’s like a train wreck that I can’t turn away from.

Speaking of entertainment, I only wish you could hear my wife doing David Lee Roth screams along with the radio in the car. One of these days I’m going to capture it on my cell phone’s voice memo function. Maybe I can get my phone to ring like that. Dude, we can start our own Jamster! I think I’m on to something here!

Purdy is getting hot on the Nuggies, and so am I, frankly! George Karl and Doug Moe have done a fantastic job getting this team into the playoff hunt and playing great ball as the regular season winds down. If they draw San Antonio with a gimpy Tim Duncan in the first round, the Nugs will get to the second round. Heck, they may even give Phoenix trouble depending on where they end up. All I know is they will be fun to watch in the playoffs and could shake up the West – nobody wants to play these guys right now. I can only imagine what the Nuggets will be like next year when Karl can mold them for the entire season! They will certainly be a top 4 seed and get home court in the first round of the playoffs. No place to go but up, Baby!

Miss USA contest redefines “celebrity judges” by selecting a reject from the Apprentice and models nobody has ever heard of. Sure they brought in Sugar Ray Leonard, but the rest of the panel sounds like they were pulled off the street! And nobody knows beauty, skill, grace and talent like a former boxer and a soap opera actor! Let me just take this opportunity to say that reality show rejects are NOT celebrities! They have done nothing to make them celebrities – they are not actors, musicians, politicians, athletes, etc – they are merely the idiots that went to a mall audition and made the biggest asses out of themselves!

I have to say that the high school shooting in Minnesota was just a horrible thing to hear about. And, as the Purdy’s pointed out, when it is called the “worst since Columbine,” it is scary to think that we have a benchmark for high school shootings. What scares me even more is that this story took a back-back seat on the AP to 1) whether or not a woman that has been brain dead for 15 years should finally die, and 2) that Michael Jackson showed up ON TIME to his child molestation trial. This tragedy actually looked like an “oh, by the way” headline on the Internet!

After being acquitted, Robert Blake is now speculating on who really killed his wife. In fact, he has a very important meeting at Augusta with OJ Simpson to discuss a strategy.

Here’s another reason why I love drunken people. A guy in Japan hijacked an airport shuttle bus and demanded it take him to, uh, the airport! See? It’s not always a coyote story! Oh, he had no weapon and even paid for his bus ticket!

Here’s why I never play the lotto. In New York, the paper ran the wrong winning numbers for a scratch match game. Hundreds of people showed up at the newspaper office and they were just a tad upset! I remember when I worked in a CD store and Denver had just had its largest jackpot winner. Everyone was talking about it. One of my customers said he didn’t play the lottery anymore. When I asked him why, he explained that he played the same numbers every week. One week he went out of town and forgot to play – his numbers came up that week. He felt he was never meant to win, so he stopped playing. Somehow he didn’t seem nearly as upset as I thought he’d be! There are some people who would be almost suicidal over something like that!

For the record, I don’t hate all of Iowa, but Council Bluffs is a hole! And it’s the only place where an Easter Bunny can get arrested for harassment! A man dressed as an Easter Bunny at the Bluffs Mall got upset when someone threw water and other objects on him. Nice town – where else do people taunt the Easter Bunny? So, he got mad, stormed out and threatened people on the way. That’s the Easter spirit!

Uh, Happy Easter everyone!

Here’s one way to avoid the steroids issue in baseball – go on the injured list for the season! Barry Bonds, the poster boy for avoiding steroids questioning, has a bad knee and could miss the entire season. And he blames the media for it, saying they “finally brought me and my family down.” Yeah, I remember that gang of reporters going after his knee in December! Or was that when Sammy Sosa hired Jeff Gilooly? Doctors think he’ll be out about 6 weeks, but in Bonds’ mind, he’s out until the middle of NEXT season. Sure he’s 40, but what kind of positive attitude is that? I hope he does go away – he doesn’t deserve the HR record. And how horrible was the media to him anyway? Haven’t they been praising him for the last 3 seasons? “My son and I are just going to enjoy our lives. You guys wanted to hurt me bad enough, you finally got me,” Bonds said. “I'm mentally drained. I'm tired of my kids crying.” Oh, boo-hoo! I’m sure his son is crying in the millions and millions of dollars they have! What’s the matter? Did Daddy buy you the wrong color Porsche?

While we’re on it, I don’t think Wayne Hagin’s comments about Todd Helton should even be discussed. The guy made an extremely stupid statement and then tried to back-peddle out of it. Let’s just let the steroid testing prove itself before we start pointing fingers.

Are you like me? Do you hit the snooze button on your alarm clock 5 times and then realize that it’s no longer going to go off and you’re late for work? Well, now there is hope with Clocky the alarm clock! MIT nerds have created Clocky, an alarm clock on wheels. You hit the snooze button once and Clocky rolls off your nightstand and across the room. When he goes off again, you have to hunt him down. In my house, I think Clocky would get thrown out the window!

Let’s say you are a schoolteacher who is having trouble passing your certification exam. Would you: A) study really hard for the next one, B) bribe a bright teacher to take it for you, or C) payoff a homeless and mentally unstable man to take it for you? If you answered “C” then you must be Wayne Brightly of New York! Amazingly, the homeless man passed, but Brightly was busted. A bad fake ID and a copy of someone’s social security card can get you just about anywhere these days!

I know – it was food poisoning on the plane, right Whitney? So you’ve checked yourself into rehab for…? She had denied using drugs for years, but finally broke down and admitted to cocaine use in 2002. The “power of prayer” has helped her get over drugs. Well, looks like her prayers are losing some power. Am I being cold here? Ya know I would actually feel bad for these people if they could be upfront and honest to start with. Then I could have some respect for them and actually care. But when they try to hide the truth forever and point fingers at others (Pete Rose) because NOTHING is ever their own fault, then I have no respect for them. If I mess up, I’ll admit to it. I’m not going to hide or point fingers. My mistake – my problem! Respect me for being human just enough to help me when I ask for it. It’s really not that difficult!

My wife used to love Wendy’s chili. Now, after someone in San Francisco took a bite of Wendy’s chili only to spit out a human finger, I think KT is done with Wendy’s. “This individual apparently did take a spoonful, did have a finger in their mouth and then, you know, spit it out and recognized it,” said Ben Gale, director of the department of environmental health for Santa Clara County. “Then they had some kind of emotional reaction and vomited.” Yeah they did! Wendy’s chili: it’s finger lickin’ good!

American Idol made a little mistake this week by giving the wrong phone numbers for America to call in and vote, thus delaying the premier of Life on a Stick to everyone’s disappointment (not nearly as disappointing as watching the pilot the next day – ugh)! However, Paula Abdul was charged with a hit-and-run this week! In December she switched lanes, clipped a car, and then took off. The driver she hit took a cell phone picture and wrote down the license plate number, which was traced back to Paula. I really think she showed a lot of poise and confidence in this accident. She looked very comfortable driving off in a hurry and really took that misdemeanor and made it her own. Good job!

I know everyone wants to talk about the NCAA Basketball Tournament and the Final Four, but I’m more excited about the FROZEN Four! On April 7th, the NCAA Hockey Frozen Four will begin, with Colorado College AND Denver University in it to win it! Unfortunately, they are matched up in the first game so they won’t get to play each other for the National Title. However, both teams were awesome this weekend and I can’t wait to see them play each other again – what a fantastic rivalry!

Happy Birthday Renee! We are still thinking about you!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Dork Love: Loverboy!

Musical influences can come from many places. Some say they are moved to play an instrument by anyone from Mozart to Eddie Van Halen. I, however, began my musical journey thanks to Loverboy.

Believe me, it wasn’t the leather or the choice of black and red for their colors. It wasn’t their obsession with sex, as I was only 12 and still a bit wet behind the ears. No, it was the musicianship. Seriously, as soon as I heard “Turn Me Loose” on the radio, I knew I wanted to rock – the intro was just too cool! To a 12-year-old, everything about them was cool – the red and black matching clothing thing was cool, the smoking skank on their self-titled album cover was cool, Mike Reno’s headband was even cool!

I still defend them, only because they are the ones that put me on every instrument I was blessed to have in my basement when I was a kid. I would start “Turn Me Loose” on the turntable and run to the drum set so I didn’t miss the first rat-a-tat-tat on the closed hi-hat. I could play along in my sleep, and often did. But I wanted more! I moved on to playing my brother’s bass guitar (when he wasn’t home) along with the tune. Sure it was simply octaves, but it sounded so cool! I found it difficult for me to slide quickly down the neck at first, but I practiced until I was perfect. Still not satisfied, I tried the guitar. They used power-chords, but I thought just the one string would work for now – I had no idea what a power-chord was. I could tell it wasn’t sounding right. The guitar was close, but not close enough or good enough. I could only do the bass and the drums perfectly. So that settled it, I needed guitar lessons.

Yes, Mr. McGraw, Loverboy is the reason I was in your guitar class in 7th grade – I had to learn. But you know what? It wasn’t enough. I had to move on to private lessons in 8th grade because I didn’t want the sheet music to the “Boogie Woogie” – I wanted to hear the big and powerful chords that Paul Dean was crunching and sliding down the neck of his guitar like a fat kid trying to run up a muddy hill. I was obsessed with getting the big sound.

I moved on to private lessons and learned power-chords and tablature – the keys to rock and roll for the crappy sight-reader. And I kept taking private lessons until my parents were paying $40/month for a guy to sit there and figure out how to play songs off the radio for me. It wasn’t long before I could do it on my own, and soon I was teaching myself how to play “Turn Me Loose” – the ultimate influential tune of my adolescence.

Next thing you know, I’m in a band in high school. We played the popular heavy stuff like Scorpions, Judas Priest, Van Halen, etc. As you can imagine, if I said, “Let’s play some Loverboy,” I’d get booted. So I stuck in there with my band, Annex Redd, and enjoyed our hot play-list. In fact, we were so hot that when we got cut-off early at Spring Fest in high school the crowd started chanting our name to get us to stick around and play more. This was my first live performance and I was blown away! Not only that, but while packing up our equipment back into the truck, I heard a kid talking about how some guy, “nailed ‘Rock You Like a Hurricane’ – the solo and everything!” I remember thinking, “Wow, somebody else must have played that song.” But then the kid saw me and exclaimed, “That’s him! Dude, you were sweet!” Thanks, Loverboy – the kid was hot that night.

College came and I did some personal recording on a 4-track. I was getting pretty good, but I was into the speed-metal genre with the likes of Metallica and Megadeth. Was I forgetting my roots? I mean, sure the guitar was more complex, but these guys weren’t influences, merely challenging.

Alas, I ended up working in a CD store. It expanded my mind and made me realize that there is more to music than machine-gun guitar riffs. I remembered my roots: the Residents, Devo, and, of course, Loverboy. Yeah, I had to purchase something by them – my life was incomplete. So I own and I listen to Big Ones (their greatest hits). It still grabs me, the way “Turn Me Loose” introduces you to the band one instrument at a time. You know it as soon as the hi-hat starts. The keyboard up-slide is as spectacular as ever. The first notes on the bass are as deep as ever. The crunching guitar is as gripping as ever. And I’ll never be embarrassed by it again. I still crank it with the windows down – damn the 20-year-old CSRs that make fun of me in the parking lot at work. This ain’t over-produced boy-band garbage; this is rock and roll, baby!

Break up the Nuggets!!!

This, from a guy who hasn't paid a lick of attention to either the NBA or his favorite childhood team since he moved to the Carolinas to hang out with Carl Scheer. They brought back Kiki, and they brought back Doug Moe. Bill Hanzlik, T.R. Dunn, and Dan Issel have all wended their way through the hallowed basement corridors of the Pepsi Center. So, is it too late to bring back the pickaxe jersey design? Or would that be seen as encouraging children to do violent things with pickaxes?

I think a Monty Towe halftime display of three-point sharpshooting is in order, and it had better be broadcast on ESPN2 (so I could see it, too)!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

PAFC Newsletter 3/20/05

I need to start this week by saying thank you to all of those who read, commented, and forwarded on my tribute to Smitty! I can’t tell you how excited I was to see the hit counter grow so quickly on the blog (http://patangello.blogspot.com)! But now, as he would have wanted it, we’re going to be goofy and have some fun!

Speaking of goofy, go get yerself a Pat Angello Fan Club T-shirt at www.cafepress.com/pafc! Tell you what, for every order of my merchandise purchased from now thru the end of April, I will donate $5 to the American Heart Association in Smitty’s name. C’mon, what else would you give someone for April Fool’s Day than a PAFC sticker?

I am very happy that Renee still went to see Duran Duran with my wife and her buddies last week. I know it was hard for her to do, but they did have a blast! In fact, PAFC member Nichelle got a special treat at the show!

The girls spent $85 each to be in the second row. Now, when Katy said she and Nichelle were going to the ticket office at 5 AM to buy Duran Duran tickets, I thought she was nuts. I know they wanted good seats, but nothing gets my wife out of bed before 10 on a Saturday. And she and Nichelle were very lonely (OK, the only ones there) until about 10 minutes before the ticket office opened. I was home sleeping and wondering how much Duran Duran tickets could really cost – it ain’t exactly their prime anymore. I’m thinking $40 at the most, as was Nichelle’s husband. Well, at Renee and Smitty’s holiday party that night Nichelle’s husband just could not get over the $85 price tag – even if they were in the second row. But the girls were very excited.

I grilled burgers for the ladies the night of the show and played the chauffer so they didn’t have to fight for parking. I dropped them off behind the building near the tour busses. Finally, around 10:45, Katy called me to come get them. She was freaking out, “Oh my GOD! Wait until I tell you what happened! No, I’ll let Nichelle tell you. Just come pick us up right where you dropped us off.” Katy was just a little excited…

Being in the second row is better than the first. When you’re in the first row, people that don’t have great seats flood your row, flash the security guards, and get in your way. When you’re in the second row, you can still see over them and you still have room. And all the little bimbo’s in the front that were flashing the band all night long learned a hard lesson.

Simon LeBon, lead singer of Duran Duran, introduced the band but needed someone to introduce him. So, he walked off the stage, went past the skanks that snuck into the front row, looked and pointed at Nichelle and said, “how about you?” Naturally, Nichelle turtled, but her friends pulled her up and handed her over to Simon. He asked her name, and she sort of responded, and he said, “this is Nichelle everyone!” The crowd went wild. He then said to her, “do you know who I am?” Nichelle gave him a (duh!) look and said, “Yeah, you’re Simon LeBon!” He leaned over to her, whispered in her ear, “all you have to say is, ‘on lead vocals, Simon LeBon.’” Nichelle then proceeded to announce Simon LeBon to the crowd like he was starting in an NBA game. And now her husband (and I) can never, ever complain about how much those tickets cost! This totally trumps the bass player from the Hives throwing me a bottle of water!

I suppose I need to be generic and comment on the baseball/steroids hearings. Exactly what is congress trying to accomplish here? That Sammy Sosa, though he has interviewed on TV and in the locker room for the 10 years in fluent English, suddenly can’t speak English anymore? Or was it that his statement, “I have never used steroids” coming from an interpreter means that the interpreter never used steroids? That Mark McGuire will dance around the question of steroid use for the rest of his life because he doesn’t want an asterisk next to his name in the record books? Or that Jason Giambi is all talk, but a total baby when it comes time to put up? The guy his been pointing fingers and whining about the use of steroids in baseball all off-season, but when called before congress he goes through leaps and bounds to NOT have to show up! How did hockey blow up before baseball?

Webster’s is SO out of date! Can you believe the word “wedgie” just made it in their dictionary? Haven’t people been getting wedgies since 1950? Here it is, “wedgie: noun. a prank in which the victim's undershorts are jerked upward so as to become wedged between the buttocks.” Not nearly as comical, but also added were Al Qaeda, blog, cargo pants, irritable bowel syndrome and partial-birth abortion. Ironically, all of those words pretty much sum up the 2004 presidential election!

Man do we live in the wrong country! In Beijing, safari parks have decided to stop feeding their lions and tigers large live animals, such as horses, in public. Talk about getting your money’s worth for the tour! That would be sweet to watch! I guess you can just turn on the Discovery Channel instead. Mmmm Horsey! Horselicious! What kind of natural safari is it without a little horse hunting? Like kids won’t have nightmares from watching the local news anyway… Or that Michael Jackson trial!

I have found some serious ironicness! (Yes, I know that’s not a word!) Maybe it’s just the lazy south, but when prosecutors in Tennessee summoned the parents of habitually truant children to discuss the laws about children missing school, most of the parents DIDN’T SHOW UP! I wonder where this problem is coming from. Oh, let’s just blame George W. – it works for everything else, right? Besides, nothing is ever the parent’s fault, it’s gotta be society, or video games, or TV, or movies. The fact that the parents aren’t paying attention to the kids has NOTHING to do with the problem. How have we become such a finger-pointing society? Is it really that hard to say, “Yep, I screwed up and I’ll try to fix it?”

Speaking of bad parents, a 5-year-old was arrested in Florida after having an episode/outburst in school. Apparently the little girl threw books and boxes, kicked a teacher in the shins, smashed a candy dish, hit an assistant principal in the stomach and drew on the walls. This all stemmed from a simple project where the kids were counting jelly beans. The girl was acting silly, so the teacher took away her jelly beans – and then it was ON! The kid had to be restrained and thrown in the back of a police cruiser – at the age of 5! So how does the parent react? You guessed it – she’s suing the school!

Lawmakers in Texas are trying to tone down sexy cheerleading in high schools. Apparently cheerleading competitions already penalize for seductive movements, but the football games are a different story. Do we really need to see 15-year-olds bumping and grinding? There are some people on this email list that shouldn’t answer that question.

This certainly wasn’t an issue where I went to college – Creighton University in Omaha, NE. First of all, it was a Catholic school, and most students there came from small Catholic schools. Oh, I know – you’ve got your little Catholic School Girl fantasy from dirty magazines pictured in your head. The knee-high socks, the short plaid skirt, the white Oxford, maybe some pigtails. Now, let’s turn her into a Creighton Girl

First, remember where Creighton is located – Omaha, NE. So, most of these girls are from NE and the surrounding states like KS, IA, SD, ND, etc. There seems to be a little inbreeding in these states, so give your Creighton girl some kind of facial deformity. It can be slight, like one nostril bigger than the other or a droopy eye or one really small ear. In fact, the best player on the women’s basketball team was cock-eyed. We would always yell, “Throw it to the cock-eyed chic! YAY!” She was a sharp-shooter!

Second, remember that all of those states are anywhere from 5-15 years behind as far as fashion is concerned. Many people there still have mullets and wear Buttafuco Zuba pants out in public as recently as, well, today. So your Creighton girl needs either a really bad perm or 5” high mall-bangs.

Third, again because of the location of the school, you need to corn feed her. Add about 40-50 pounds to your Creighton girl and NOW tell me what you see – a large, droopy-eyed, monster with a bad perm. Is this something you want to look at in a dirty magazine or bumping and grinding at mid court? In fact, our cheerleaders were so fat… (How fat were they?)…they were so fat we used to call them the Moo Croo. Yeah, we had a special budget for herding dogs to get the cheerleaders on and off the court during time outs!

What was the best part about a Creighton girl? She liked to play hard to get! Right, you’re “saving yourself” but drinking an Old Mill!

Why do I have a feeling I’ll be hearing from some old female college friends this week?

A turtle that survived a pet store fire in Indiana could be the devil himself! The owner of the store is claiming that Lucky the turtle has developed an image of Satan on his shell since the fire. Keep an eye on ebay…

OK, hear me now, all family and friends: if I ever become a vegetable and can’t feed myself, pull the feeding tube out. Take this as my written living will/wishes – don’t involve the courts, don’t think I’ll be happier sitting in my own filth for the rest of my life while you are burdened with the cost and maintenance of a life I cannot really live. Just pull it and have a great party!

March Madness is certainly living up to its name! Where did all of the 3 seeds go? And what the heck happened to Wake Forest? I bet Purdy wishes Creighton won that first round game after all, because the Demon Deacons would have wiped the court with the Blue Jays in round two instead of barely staying alive into two overtimes just to go down in the second round. I haven’t looked recently, but I think I have 1 Final Four team that’s still alive.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

A Tribute To Smitty

How generic is the name Mark Smith? There’s got to be tens of thousands of people with that name! How can it be special?

I knew a Mark Smith. He was incredible! He was not even close to generic. He was always smiling and greeted everyone he knew with a hug, male or female. He loved to entertain and cook, and he threw the best parties. Everyone loved Mark Smith, or “Smitty” as many called him. He could get along with anyone and he had some of the dearest friends you could find. I feel blessed that I was fortunate enough to know him, although it was too brief.

Some things in life just aren’t fair. For instance, why would a kind, decent, caring man like Mark Smith leave this earth just four days before his 36th birthday? Why would one of my longest and dearest friends have to have her heart ripped out when her husband of only six months dies suddenly? You’re not supposed to be a widow at 35, especially when you haven’t even had a honeymoon yet. This is a situation that makes everyone question God and His decisions.

We’ve known Renee Smith since we were 12. In fact, my wife and I went to jr. high and high school with Renee. Fortunately for us, we got reacquainted with her about 10 years ago. Renee is awesome – always happy and joking, the life of the party and always having fun. She’s just so sweet and cute and fun to be with! However, Renee was missing something in her life. She was pushing 35 and had not had a decent relationship. Then she met Smitty and sparks flew! Renee and Smitty were meant for each other – they had similar interests and really complemented one another when they gathered with friends. This was a match made in heaven.

Renee and Smitty both loved hockey. We sat near them at Avalanche games, back when there was professional hockey. They were both partiers, which was great. They enjoyed having friends over and entertaining, and Smitty loved to cook for those parties. If there was an occasion, they wanted all of their friends over to share it with them - any excuse to have a gathering. They also loved to rip on each other followed by some cutesy smooching. Yeah, they were one of those couples that made you sick because they were so sweet together.

I remember when they had an engagement party. We didn’t really know why we were meeting them out that night, but as soon as anyone walked into the bar, Renee would dance up to them with her hand sticking out to show off her new ring. Of course, the girls would all huddle around and start crying for joy. Renee never thought this day would come, but it had. She was on cloud nine and we all couldn’t be happier for her. She would preach to every women near the age of 30 that it will happen, just be patient. That special guy is out there and he will come to you, just like Smitty came to her.

The wedding was a ball! I swear this was the most fun I’ve had at a wedding since my own. Renee and Smitty left hockey pucks with a sticker boasting their name and date of the wedding at everyone’s seat. And when the wedding party and bride and groom were introduced, the DJ played Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Part II” a.k.a. the song played when the Avs score a goal or the Broncos score a touchdown. It was great! Everyone had fun. Renee and Smitty were both overjoyed to share this occasion with their friends and family. I was not feeling well as the night grew long and I left early – I regretted that decision. The DJ was the same one from our wedding and after I left he suddenly announced, “OK, Katy. Grab Patrick.” He started to play our song and I was already gone. Smitty filled in and danced with my wife. With all of his family and friends and new wife there, he grabbed Katy so she wouldn’t feel stupid sitting down all alone since I had already left. That’s just how thoughtful he was!

In case that story didn’t make my point, Smitty and Renee’s elderly neighbor came by on Tuesday to give her condolences to Renee. I could tell they had not really spoken much as Renee had only lived in the house recently though Smitty had owned it for a few years. Their neighbor lives by herself and told us a story about how she had to go to the hospital one day. When Smitty saw the ambulance pull up in front of her house, he ran outside, helped her collect her purse, keys, and extra clothing, and then he followed the ambulance to the hospital and stayed by her side for a while. Who does that? If your neighbor were being taken to the hospital by ambulance, most people would just peek out their windows and hope everything was OK. But Smitty went there with her and held her hand because she didn’t have anyone else to do that.

For months after the wedding, every time you saw Renee she couldn’t help but tell you how happy she was. Smitty was such a great guy and a perfect fit for her. He cooked and took care of the bills – he treated her like a princess. You couldn’t find two people more excited about being together. When she beamed about her life, you smiled and beamed right back at her – you couldn’t help it! Her joy brightened everyone’s mood.

Smitty was playing hockey last Sunday when he collapsed. By the time Renee made it to the rink, he was blue and paramedics were trying to revive him. Renee followed the ambulance to the hospital, but Smitty passed away before arrival. Smitty died of an enlarged heart, but I think you probably guessed that after reading about him here. Today should have been his 36th birthday, but we’re going to his funeral instead. Certainly not the party any of us wanted.

I guess you question everything when you see this happen to people that you love and care for. You wonder why, and you wonder how. You wish there was something you could say to comfort Renee, but what can you say? All you can do is hug her and let her cry, because she has to. She is supposed to be a mess, so you have to let her. And I can’t understand how she can still be able to crack jokes! A friend brought her Double-Stuffed Oreos because they are her favorite. While crying and hugging them Renee said, “Thank you so much. What, no bubblegum? I’m just kidding.” But that’s who she is and how she deals with things. We are all blown away by her strength.

After spending over 5 hours with Renee on Monday, we saw her go through every emotion possible. She was sad, upset, pissed off, devastated, shocked, and exhausted. She sometimes felt overwhelmed and overjoyed with the support of friends coming over bearing encouragement, food and drinks for her and her relatives coming in from out of town. My favorite gift Renee received was from one of her friends named Erin who is a schoolteacher. Erin had her grade school class make a book for Renee on Tuesday to help her smile. Each page started with, “Dear Mrs. Smith, My name is ______ and I just wanted to let you know I am thinking about you. Here is my favorite joke…” Then the kids wrote their best knock-knock joke or whatever silly thing they could think of. Each page had hockey players in the borders and some even had pictures of the kids making funny faces. I cried when I saw it, and I cried myself to sleep that night just thinking about it.

Renee feels what I think we all feel – robbed. She had the man of her dreams and she was robbed. We were all robbed as well. How could we lose such a great guy so early? Why did we lose such a great guy? Can you think of anyone that does so many unselfish things for people he either barely knows or is extremely close to? I kept expecting someone to tell me this was some kind of sick joke and it didn’t really happen. I think we all felt a little mad. Renee knew Smitty was probably mad as well – she thought he’d be thinking, “What? Are you kidding me? I was just starting to have fun down there!”

Renee has a message for us all – I heard her say this on Monday and I think it will sum things up. She said, “I just want to tell anyone with kids or husbands or wives to just hug and crush each other, because you never know. Don’t take anything for granted.”

I crushed my wife that night, and I plan on crushing her every day for the rest of our lives. Don’t take the ones you love for granted. Let them know every day what they mean to you.

I want to personally thank everyone for being so good to Renee so far. We all know she can’t cook so everyone is bringing food! But I want to remind everyone that we need to be accessible for months to come for her. Today will be very hard, but the months ahead certainly won’t be easy.

I guess we can’t really question God’s motives – He must have a reason for taking Smitty. Maybe heaven was due for a sweet, huggable guy with a smiling face? I just hope everyone in heaven gets to meet Smitty and let him touch his or her life like he touched ours. I hope everyone that he left behind can be a little more like him – unselfish and always willing to help someone out. His parents and siblings are simply wonderful, inspirational, and responsible for molding Smitty into such a great person. They called him their prince. He was a prince, to them, Renee, and everyone he knew! I wish I had known him longer – I wish I had known him better.

Smitty doesn’t want us to be sad today. It is St. Patrick’s Day after all, a day for celebrating. So we’re celebrating his life. On your birthday Smitty, we will raise our drinks and salute you!

I hope this did something – anything – to make you feel what we’re all experiencing. If so, either click on the words “post a comment” way down below and let me know, or click on the envelope icon and forward it on to friends, family, and coworkers that you think should read it.

If you are friends of Smitty and Renee, in lieu of flowers, the family requests donations are sent to the Hyland Hills Youth Hockey Scholarship Program at 10710 Westminster Blvd in Westminster, CO 80020, or to the American Heart Association in Mark “Smitty” Smith’s memory.

Thank you for reading.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

2004 PAFC Awards!

I know y’all can hardly contain yourselves for this – you’ve probably been losing sleep anxiously waiting, but it’s time for my own personal awards ceremony! OK, so the lovely and talented Mrs. Pat Angello (as my grandmother calls her) assisted. Just combine the ESPY’s, Grammy’s, Emmy’s, Oscar’s and Razzies and you’ll see what I’m shooting for. BTW, these are purely based on personal opinion and experience – if you can’t believe I didn’t mention a certain movie, that’s because I probably didn’t see it. Want to comment and give your opinion? I welcome it! You can email me, or you can post them on the blog for everyone to see (comment link at the end of each article). Remember, foul language on the blog is not tolerated.

And now, for strictly my own amusement – it’s the 2004 PAFC Awards!

SPORTS

Baseball
Team of the Year – Red Sox. Seriously, is there any question about this?
Manager of the Year – Terry Francona. Anyone that could hold those guys together when they were down 3-0 to the Yankees…
Player of the Year – TIE: Ichiro Suzuki and Barry Bonds. An amazing hits record and hulk-like steroids – ya gotta love it!
Most Influential Play of the Year – Curt Shilling pitching with a surgically repaired ankle was just plain crazy!
Idiot of the Year – Jason Giambi. Just shut up already! And I thought steroids were supposed to make you better!

Basketball
Team of the Year – Detroit Pistons. They were simply awesome in the playoffs.
Coach of the Year – Larry Brown. He finally won a title – it may never happen again.
Player of the Year – LeBron James. A human highlight reel!
Most Influential Play of the Year – The fight, as if there is a question!
Idiot of the Year – Ron Artest. Don’t let the door hitcha...

Football
Team of the Year – Pittsburgh Steelers. It was amazing to watch them ride a rookie QB that far!
Coach of the Year – Bill Belichick. He’s got Manning’s number and can beat anyone when it matters.
Player of the Year – Peyton Manning. Sure he can’t win in the playoffs, but what a season!
Most Influential Play of the Year – The Jets missing two game winning field goals in a row in the playoffs!
Idiot of the Year – Randy Moss. Anyone that walks off the field during a tight game before the final gun…

Hockey (I’m trying to remember!)
Team of the Year – Calgary Flames. They were amazing in the playoffs as complete underdogs!
Coach of the Year – John Tortorella. Led the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Promised Land.
Player of the Year – Martin St. Louis. Led the league in just about everything!
Most Influential Play of the Year – Was there anything more memorable than the cheap shot Todd Bertuzzi took on Steve Moore?
Idiot of the Year – Todd Bertuzzi. Quit faking the tears!

Miscellaneous Sports Moment of the Year
No Hockey. Sure there are many things to choose from, but this is killing me!

TV

Sitcom
Best Show – Arrested Development. Nothing makes me laugh out loud every single week.
Honorable Mention – Listen Up. Has a former Seinfeld character finally found a new home?
Best Actor – Will Arnett. AKA, GOB (pronounced Jobe and initials of George Oscar Bluth III). The failing magician brother on Arrested Development – best character on TV.
Best Actress – Megyn Price. Even though Grounded For Life was cancelled, she’s still my favorite comedy actress.
Best Show That Was Cancelled Too Early – Wonderfalls. Quirky and fun dramedy that you absolutely must rent on DVD. Do it NOW!
Worst Show – Hope & Faith. I love Kelly Ripa, but WOW is this thing painful to watch!

Drama
Best Show – Lost. I can’t get enough!
Honorable Mentions – Desperate Housewives & 24. Like Lost, you hate that the show has to end every week!
Best Actor – Jorge Garcia. Plays Hurley on Lost – he is my OTHER favorite character on TV.
Best Actress – Teri Hatcher. Looks great for her age and is a delight to watch every week.

Late Night
Best Sketch Comedy Show – SNL. Great cast and always fun!
Best Talk Show – Late Night with Conan O’Brien. He’s the best at interviewing on TV
Worst Talk Show – Tonight Show with Jay Leno (4-TIMER). Does anyone watch this and NOT see his jokes coming from a mile away?
Best Talk Show Band – The Max Weinberg 7 (4-TIMER) from Conan O’Brien. Still the best on TV.
Best Talk Show Gag – This Week in Unnecessary Censorship from Jimmy Kimmel Live. Dumbest thing on TV but it always makes me laugh.

Miscellaneous
Sort of Rip-Off Comedy/Drama That I Love – House. What a bastard he is, but darn it if he’s not funny!

MUSIC

Punk Rock
Best CD of the Year – The Hives: Tyrannosaurus Hives. Go ahead; throw Green Day in my face! This is the best 30 minutes of 2004!
Honorable Mention – Sahara Hot Nights: Kiss and Tell. Yep, more Swedish punk, but with chicks!

Hard Rock
Best CD of the Year – Velvet Revolver: Contraband. This thing gets better and better every time I hear it!
Honorable Mention – Courtney Love: America’s Sweetheart. I can’t get it out of my CD player in my car!

Heavy Metal
Best CD of the Year – Megadeth: The System Has Failed. What did you expect from me? The guy came back from the dumbest freak accident in history and rehabbed his arm so he could play again – still at the highest level.

Somewhat Alternative
Best CD of the Year – PJ Harvey: Uh Huh Her. Oh, how I love PJ – she’s such a great freaky weird woman!
Best Flamboyantly Gay CD of the Year – Franz Ferdinand. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!
A Slight Disappointment – Jimmy Eat World: From a Basement on the Hill. Maybe I was expecting too much?

Unclassifiable
Best CD of the Year – Kaki King: Legs to Make Us Longer. You really must hear this – this is one fantastic CD.
Close Second – Bjork: Medulla. All vocals, with her voice, means awesome!


MOVIES

Drama
Best Movie of the Year – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Absolutely fantastic movie, intriguing from start to finish and should have been nominated for best director!
Other Great Movies You Shouldn’t Miss – In Good Company. Good cast that held it together.

Comedy
Best Movie of the Year – Sideways: One beautiful and fun film – NOT a chick flick (how did that rumor get started?).
Other Great Movies You Shouldn’t Miss – Saved, Mean Girls, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Meet the Fockers: Both my wife and I really enjoyed the first three, and I think she’d like Fockers as well!
Worst Movie of the Year – Dodgeball. This was OK, but you really need to be in the dumb comedy mood – rivals Baseketball.

Romantic Comedy
Best Movie of the Year – Along Came Polly. For the Phillip Seymour Hoffman appearance.
Other Great Movies You Shouldn’t Miss – 50 First Dates. Kinda cute…
Worst Movie of the Year – The Girl Next Door. Even Elisha couldn’t save this film!

Action/Suspense
Best Movie of the Year – Spiderman 2. Just a fun time at the movies here!
Other Great Movies You Shouldn’t Miss – The Village & Collateral. My wife loved the Village, and I really liked Collateral.
Worst Movie of the Year – National Treasure & Open Water. Both were extremely disappointing to me!

Horror/Monster
Best Movie of the Year – The Grudge. A pleasantly freaky movie!
Other Great Movies You Shouldn’t Miss – Saw & Shaun of the Dead. Both are really good! Shaun borders on comedy, but it’s kinda yucky too!
Worst Movie of the Year – Seed of Chucky. Why, God, WHY?

Animation
Best Movie of the Year – The Incredibles. Yes it was!
Other Great Movies You Shouldn’t Miss – Shrek 2. Very fun.
Worst Movie of the Year – Fat Albert. OK, so it wasn’t animated, but can anyone tell me why it was made?

Miscellaneous
Best Movie of the Year That Nobody Really Liked But Me – Anchorman. It really was pretty funny…
Best Special Effects Movie of the Year – Spiderman 2. The train scene + the car coming through the diner = amazing!
Best Stupid Movie – Napoleon Dynamite. Inane dumb humor that is funny and weird…
Worst Idea For a Movie – You Got Served. Honestly, one of the worst movies ever!
Most Inspirational Film – Miracle. They did a great job of recreating the biggest sports upset ever!
Most Disgusting Film That Wasn’t Really Trying To Be – Super Size Me. Made Purdy blow chunks and will make you never want fast food again!
Oddest Documentary – Some Kind of Monster. Watch Metallica fall apart and then come back together to put out their best CD since Ride the Lightning!

Acting and Stuff
Best Actor – Paul Giamatti (Sideways). Again, he was fantastic!
Best Supporting Actor – Phillip Seymour Hoffman (Along Came Polly). You gotta love new terms for disgusting accidents.
Best Actress – Bryce Dallas Howard (The Village). I’ll admit that I didn’t see many films this year with strong female leads, but she was pretty darned good in this film.
Best Supporting Actress – Cate Blanchett (The Life Aquatic). Great deadpan!
Most Annoying Character – Hellboy. I can’t even look at that guy!
Best Director – Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine). Absolutely amazing film – honestly!

PAFC Newsletter 3/13/05

Since I’m throwing back to the old Spooboy days this week with the awards, I thought I’d resurrect a classic Top 11 list!

Top 11 Things That (Almost) Rhyme With the Rock Band Name, 6 Pence None the Richer:
11) My dog’s a mean shape-shifter!
10) Peter Forsberg with the wrister!
9) Limp Bizkit
8) Auntie Em! It's a TWISTER!
7) Those shoes give me a blister.
6) What the heck YOU lookin' at, Mister?
5) I can never find my flour sifter?
4) My favorite show? Sister, Sister!
3) Richter? Damn near killed her!
2) When she's in the Gap - LET'S DITCH HER!
1) Santana

I was having a conversation this week with a friend/PAFC member who is thinking about putting together a CD of great cover tunes. You know – songs that have been re-done by a different artist. She asked me for some input, and I asked PAFC member Purdy Boy to help. We’ve separately complied lists, but I want feedback from all the members as well. Take a look at our lists and tell me what else would work – I can forward your suggestions on. C’mon – it’ll be FUN!

Here’s my list with the help of my adorable wifey (original artist in parentheses):

Dope: “You Spin Me ‘Round (Like a Record)” (DOA)
Eric Gales Band: “She’s So Heavy” (Beatles)
Megadeth: “Paranoid” (Black Sabbath)
Orgy: “Blue Monday” (New Order)
Van Halen: “You Really Got Me” (Kinks)
Annie Lennox: “Train in Vain” (Clash)
Depeche Mode: “(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66” (Nat King Cole?)
Art Of Noise: “James Bond Theme” (John Barry?)
Art Of Noise: “Peter Gunn Theme” (Duane Eddy)
Alien Ant Farm: “Smooth Criminal” (Michael Jackson)
WASP: “Can You See The Real Me” (Who)
Static X: “Burning Inside” (Ministry)
Anthrax: “Got the Time” (Joe Jackson)
Joe Jackson: “Oh Well” (Fleetwood Mac)
Bangles: “Hazy Shade of Winter” (Simon & Garfunkel)
Ugly Kid Joe: “Cat’s in the Cradle” (Cat Stevens)
Stevie Ray Vaughan: “Voodoo Chile” (Jimi Hendrix)
Primus: “Have a Cigar” (Pink Floyd)
Grace Jones: “Demolition Man” (the Police)
Echo & the Bunnymen: “People Are Strange” (Doors)
Urge Overkill: “Girl You’ll Be a Woman Someday” (Neil Diamond)

And check out these full-length CDs of covers:

Various: I Am Sam Soundtrack (All Beatles)
The Residents: The King and Eye (All Elvis)
Various: You Got Lucky (Tribute to Tom Petty)
Various: We Are Not Devo (Tribute to Devo)
Erasure: Abba-esque (All Abba)

Really Good Cover Songs from Purdy:

Pat asked me for a list of good cover songs yesterday, which immediately made me think of my two all-time favorites: The Flying Lizards' "Money," and Devo's "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction." As good as those are, it got me to thinking just how rare a really good cover song really is. It's not that there aren't enough candidates -- rock music is as derivative as any musical genre -- just that so few of them possess even a spark of originality. (How lame: I'm criticizing cover songs for being unoriginal.) I guess what I'm trying to say is that to me, a great cover song strips enough of the original away to leave room for reinterpretation, while leaving just enough of it to pay appropriate homage. In a time when the general public considers both Smashing Pumpkins' and Dixie Chicks' takes on Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" (which to me sound like the original played at varying speeds to alter the pitch slightly) good covers, I think it's important for people to know (by example) what a good cover really is. Herewith, a quickly compiled list.

The Bad Plus: "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
Neo-jazz reworking of the original outshines the BP's other celebrated covers, including "Heart of Glass," "Velouria," and "Iron Man." Sounds different enough from Nirvana's version that it might be unrecognizable to the casual listener until half way through, when a nagging feeling of familiarity begins to creep over you.

Sinead O'Connor: "All Apologies"
Too many people hate Sinead for her (admittedly loopy) politics and refuse to recognize the devastating emotional splendor her voice is capable of carrying. This version darn near brings me to tears every time I hear it, a feat Kurt and co. could never quite pull off.

Cat Power: "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"
The yin to Devo's yang, Chan Marshall mutates the original by excising the chorus entirely -- the result is a completely different song than the original, with beautifully annunciated lyrics that change the song from a celebration of teenage lust to an exploration of love and loss. It passes the ultimate cover-song litmus test: play it for any classic rock fan and see if they can figure out what she's covering. Watch as the blankness spreads across their face.

Nirvana: "The Man Who Fell to Earth"
Personally, I'll take Nirvana's Unplugged version of this one every time over David Bowie's, who I like just fine but who I also think is jezzed a tad overrated.

Iron and Wine: "Such Great Heights"
Used in "Garden State" recently (which you should see if you haven't already), Sam Beam's lilt-folk cover of The Postal Service's 3-year old synth pop masterpiece qualifies for inclusion on my list for the same reason Cat Power does: if you're going to bother covering a song, for god's sake, make it your own.

TV On the Radio: "Mister Grieves"
Acapella version of a Pixies song that was tacked on as a "hidden" bonus cut on TVotR's phenomenal "Young Liars" EP, it soars on its originality and toe-tapping catchiness. When I think of the song, I hear this version in my head -- not the Pixies'. The more I hear TV On the Radio, the better they get.

Schneider TM: "Light 3000"
A strange discovery I found on a promo comp from Muse records, this is an electro glitch update of The Smiths' "There is a Light that Never Goes Out," and it's flat-out gorgeous in its dreamlike simplicity. It's also both a bit spooky and terribly sad.

DON’T FORGET TO SEND SOME SUGGESTIONS TO ME!

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So, who wants to be a judge these days? Again with people not taking responsibility for their own actions – they blame the judges that sentenced them. This is now going to be an ugly trend. First the freak that killed a judge’s mom and husband because she “ruined his life,” now a defendant in Atlanta swipes a gun and shoots the judge during his sentencing. Do you think the sentence for rape is shorter or longer than rape plus killing a judge and two deputies? Great move, buddy!

I can’t hear anything else about the Michael Jackson trail or I’ll vomit – literally! Why are we being given so much detailed information? I don’t want to know! Just tell me guilty or not guilty! And will he ever stop the pathetic, poor me showboating? I don’t care if he shows up in a wheel chair with an arrow through his head – if he’s guilty, he needs to pay! I’m sure Leno is dancing now that his gag order has been lifted, but I still think a 7-year-old can do a better monologue.

Russell Crowe claims al-Qaida wanted to kidnap him. Yeah, of all the people in the world to kidnap, grabbing Crowe would certainly teach the US a lesson. If they know anything, they know that today’s hero is tomorrow’s goat in this country. Just ask the Dixie Chicks! Maybe we can start a suggestion box for who we’d like them to kidnap! Wow, where do I start?

OK, this really creeps me out: A football coach in Oregon is being investigated for licking a bloody cut on one of his players. I didn’t know they had vampires in Oregon? Anyway, this is just gross. I don’t even want to hear about a guy licking his own bloody wounds, let alone one on a 15-year-old boy. Is Michael Jackson coaching this team?

In case you thought YOU had a weird stalker story, see if it compares to this! A guy from LA (of course) tried to sneak into Canada from North Dakota to visit his Internet girlfriend. In the process, he developed frostbite and will have all of his fingers and toes amputated. That should make him very popular! Apparently he couldn’t enter Canada legally because he was arrested for robbing a Pizza Hut twenty years ago. So, who wants to try Internet dating? In case you want to avoid the guy, I think his new screen name is asg]\[234uuiohi aio37tgas435. I wonder if he can kick a 63-yard field goal.

As a follow up to a story last week, because I know you’re dying to know who won the stripper’s implant on ebay! It was the same online casino that won the grilled cheese sandwich that looked like the Virgin Mary! GoldenPalace.com has no idea what they are going to do with the implant, but darn it – it’s theirs! They could start the oddest traveling sideshow in the US! I made over easy eggs for my wife this morning and one of the eggs looked like it had a little skull in it, but she ate it! There goes our mortgage!

OK, so let’s say you live with an elderly person, and that person hasn’t gotten out of bed all day or even moved. Would you be a little concerned? Maybe look for a pulse or call an ambulance? What if the person didn’t move for about 10 years, would that be something strange to you? Three 70-year-old siblings in Tokyo who have been living with their dead father for 10 years, told police they thought their father was still alive but that one of them recently had consulted a relative about the possibility that he might be dead. How could they not get around the smell? Did they think a skunk lived outside? Maybe they just hung a bunch of paper air fresheners like the sloth dude in Seven! Or maybe they thought the other one had gas!

Two women bared their breasts to Prince Charles in protest in New Zealand last week. That’ll teach him! Who is he, Wayne Newton now? I’m pretty sure he turned to his aid and asked if they were in Louisiana. Boy, am I hanging with the wrong royal family!

Another update from a story last week – Rick Neuheisel said he feels “vindicated” after winning a $4.5 (remember, million is always implied in lawsuit settlements – and Elvis fans!) lawsuit against the NCAA and Washington University for firing him in 2003. That’s an understatement. See, you can bet on sports and get away with it! What’s Pete Rose’s problem again?

Can you blame CU president Elizabeth Hoffman for resigning this week? Who on God’s green earth would want to be involved with the University of Colorado? There’s less controversy around a pack of nuns at a Chippendale’s review! The Gov is trying to force football coach Gary Barnett out as well. It’s going to be really interesting to see who’s willing to step in and clean house! And CU is trying to buy out Ward Churchill’s contract. That’ll teach him! Something tells me that if they call my wife again and ask her for a donation, she’d give ‘em money if it was going to that cause!

I don’t really want to jinx them, but break up the Denver Nuggets! They go unbeaten in 8 games since the All-Star break and having George Karl and Doug Moe on the bench has been excellent. These guys really know how to coach a tight game down the stretch. They have simply been masterful to watch!

I know Peter Forsberg thought the NHL was the reason he was getting injured so often and that playing in Sweden would be better, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. After just coming back from a broken hand in the Swedish Elite League, he took a hard hit from Petr Nedved and ended up with a concussion and a broken collarbone! Forsberg’s dad, the coach of his MODO team, thinks Peter will retire now. I can’t even begin to tell you how sad this makes me – he is simply the greatest hockey player in the world right now and I feel robbed that I’ll never get to watch him play again!

I guess I shouldn’t feel too robbed that the NHL cancelled its season when Colorado boasts 2 of the top 3 college hockey teams in the nation. How cool would it be to see Colorado College and Denver University play for the national title? Here’s to hoping!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Be Cool

I know the Oscars just happened and now suddenly everyone is overly critical of movies that are coming out. Ya know, sometimes you just go to a film to escape reality and be entertained! If you go to a comedy and you laugh then it’s served its purpose! And you know what? This comedy made me laugh! A lot!

Be Cool is a sequel to the 10-year-old film, Get Shorty. John Travolta plays Chili Palmer, a former shylock/current movie producer who has now decided to get into the music biz after his buddy (Tommy Athens, a music producer played by James Woods) is killed in the opening scene. Athens had a hot (in more ways than one) and talented singer, Linda Moon (Christina Milian), who he was trying to bring into the recording studio. However, her contract with Raji (Vince Vaughan) that forces her to sing karaoke in a seedy bar cannot be broken. Enter Chili to save Linda and get her on the pop princess track.

I suggest you rent Get Shorty before seeing this film. There are many references to Shorty, such as Chili saying, “Look at me” when he addresses people; Chili ending up in a rental car that is the “Cadillac of (something);” people waking up in the middle of the night to find someone has broken in to the house and turned on the TV; dialogue about how to make the film that you’re actually watching. You’ll “get” more of the little inside jokes if you watch Shorty first, but you probably won’t be lost if you’ve never seen Shorty.

Sure I can give you big names like John Travolta, Harvey Keitel, Uma Thurman, or Cedric the Entertainer (huh?) that should be plenty of ammunition to make you see the film. However, the real people and characters that steal the show are Vince Vaughan, The Rock, and Andre 3000. Vaughan tries to act “black” with ghetto lingo and excessively expensive clothing (a Burberry trench coat?), but he’s not nearly as “street” as he wishes. The Rock is Vaughan’s gay bodyguard who’s trying to make it into films. Andre 3000 is Cedric’s nephew who is also trying to be “street” but is scared of his own shadow. All three are very funny characters and a blast to watch.

So at least go see the matinee and enjoy The Rock’s “monologue” from Bring It On as he auditions for Chili, and his ass-slappin’ fashion show, and his rendition of “You’re Not Woman Enough to Steal My Man” while dressed kinda like Hootie in the new burger ad he’s doing. If I’m crying from laughing at just one scene, it’s worth the price for me. Don’t expect Million Dollar Baby, but do expect to have fun!

4 out of 5!

Sunday, March 06, 2005

PAFC Newsletter 3/6/05

How are nail guns still available? Another guy just had a nail gun backfire on him and decided to pull the nail out on his own. Not sure on his condition, but isn’t it time the nail gun manufacturers answer to this issue? I know, there are thousands of people using these things without incident, but why are these things backfiring? As much as I love the Village People, I’d have to be the Indian right now.

I’m laughing right now because that last sentence made absolutely no sense!

(Insert your own bow and arrow joke right here!)

Whew!

The Pacifier is the number one movie in America? Wow! Whoduhthunk Vin Diesel could draw for a comedy? That’s one fine actor there! Rivals Stallone! FYI, Be Cool review coming to the blog this week.

Can’t the whole CU Football garbage just go away? Now some female trainers are claiming they were sexually assaulted by an assistant coach and coerced to perform sexual favors for the football team. Oh, and that Gary Barnett had created a slush fund with 15+ cash boxes overseen by different individuals. If the guy managed to get through last years’ allegations, I’m starting to think he’s bulletproof, or there’s really nothing there. With all the sexual assault allegations last year and no actual charges brought, what’s the point? If something’s wrong, make it right, but if people are looking to get their name in the paper, find a better way – no more excuses, bring the noise!

As if the show itself wasn’t agonizing enough, the stinkin’ Bachelorette didn’t even pick anyone! I’m so glad I don’t waste time watching this garbage, but those of you that do – and you know who you are – I actually ALMOST feel sorry for you! OK, maybe not! BTW, this is the same girl who was engaged to and broke up with the Bachelor – how many chances does the chick want?

So when rapper 50 Cent decides to release a CD called the Massacre, is there any one surprised when he is “involved” in a shooting? Seems 50 booted a rapper called The Game from his little clique, and then things got nasty. Is anyone still interested in gangsta rap? How can any of these people think they deserve ANYONE’S respect? It’s old and it’s been done – try doing something different like reading to children in the ghetto!

How many levels of “wrong” can you count? A California high school teacher was arraigned at a Sacramento court accused of having sex with a student in a car as her two-year child was strapped into the back seat. OK, read it again: A California high school teacher was arraigned at a Sacramento court accused of having sex with a student in a car as her two-year child was strapped into the back seat. Man did I go to the wrong high school! I mean right – RIGHT high school!

Does it come in a chewable? Alongside life-size posters of Hindu nationalist leaders, Indian political activists can now buy lotions, potions and pills to cure anything from cancer to hysteria – all made from cow urine or dung. Maybe a cure for the common cold is in there! Ask my step-father-in-law to show you the cool cane he picked up at the Colorado Buffalo Company when you get a chance.

I love drunk people! I especially love hearing stories about stupid drunk people! Here’s a good one from Tennessee: A man caught by police last summer on his 23rd birthday running naked and covered in nacho cheese pleaded guilty to burglary and four other charges. Ah, rednecks! Let me just say that if you have any emails titled “Never Get This Drunk” send them to me – I can’t get enough!

It’s not just for kids and hippies at a Phish concert! A 78-year-old woman faces drug charges after police found more than a pound of marijuana stashed in a freezer on her property. I think I saw this woman dealing during a concert at Red Rocks!

OK, this is an interesting standoff. Teachers in Berkley CA have not had a pay raise in two years so they decided to no longer assign homework. They refuse to grade it after school as that is “their” time. They are simply asking for a cost of living increase in pay. Time for Arnold to, uh, terminate their contracts and give ‘em a raise! Nothing like having Arnold in government for a quick easy joke!

Since we’re on the subject of bad jokes and California, Jay Leno has been subpoenaed for Michael Jackson's child molestation trial and wants the judge to lift or clarify a gag order. See, unless the joke writes itself, the guy just simply can’t be funny! And even when he is a little funny, you can see the punch line coming a mile away! Without Michael Jackson’s trial to self-write jokes for him, he’s floundering! I mean what kind of idiot takes silly stories from the news and can’t make something funny about them?

Hmm!

Maybe he just wanted some cheese, but a male kangaroo was found in a barn in Wisconsin and nobody knows where he came from. Nobody has claimed ownership, but I’m having a flashback to The 4400. Why should aliens only take people? And who abducted that show?

Another show being abducted is NYPD Blue. This show has pushed the envelope of prime-time network TV, shown us David Caruso’s lilly white pooty, and reintroduced us to Rick, not Ricky, Schroeder. You may find this hard to believe, but I’m not going to miss seeing Dennis Franz naked right before I go to bed. And you wonder why I can never sleep at night!

I knew the people that used to live behind us moved to Iowa! We used to call the guy Naked Dan because he’d mow his lawn in a pair of running shorts and that’s about it. Now some guy in Iowa was arrested for threatening his neighbors with a sword when they complained about him being naked in his front yard! If I’m hanging out naked in my yard, not that I do, but if I DID, there’s no way in hell I’d be carrying anything sharp!

This week’s sign of the apocalypse: A former stripper is auctioning off her recently removed breast implant on ebay! She’s keeping one of them for keepsakes in a box, but promises to autograph the other for the winning bidder. Don’t worry PAFC members – I have saved all of my used tissues from my latest cold, put them in a pretty flowered gift bag and I will post it up on ebay by the ides of March for you fanatics out there.

I’m just thinking about the fake booby winner, inviting his friends over, pulling out a box and saying, “Dudes, check THIS out!”

As much as I miss hockey, are these Boston companies for real? Why would anyone throw $3.5 BILLION at a dying sport? What the heck, I’m open for anything, and so should the NHL. Sure the league USED to be worth a total of $4.9 billion, but now they aren’t worth anything! BTW, where’s my check Pierre?

YAY – Martha Stewart is home! It amazes me that she actually did her time for a ridiculous crime yet OJ is playing golf. Nothing is fair, is it? I can’t wait to see the outcome of the Michael Jackson trial! After some of the things the accuser’s sister said, I hope the freak gets sent away for good. The clown is dead creepy!

So, would you blame the parents? Police arrested an 8-year-old boy who allegedly had a violent outburst in school, head-butting his teacher and kicking an assistant principal, when he was told he couldn't go outside to play with other students. Wow! The kid even pulled a Bobby Knight and threw a chair and a desk! That’s really scary! This is a total Desperate Housewives moment!

I love this story – a woman drove 10 miles with her cat on top of her car! She didn’t even notice the thing hiding in the ski rack when she stopped for gas! Finally a motorist on the highway forced her to pull over, rolled down his window and yelled, “Your cat!” Didn’t we see something like this in one of the Vacation movies?

March Madness is coming and Pat Angello knows nothing about college basketball. However, his bracket strategy last year earned him a 2nd place finish in the office pool. Why? Cuz I know the trends and what to look for. So, this week I will give you my formula for success! Go Creighton!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Tori Amos: The Beekeeper

Let me start by saying that I’ve always liked Tori! She had me with her first (OK, technically second) CD, Little Earthquakes. I enjoyed Under The Pink as well. However, I do have to admit that I never was a cornflake girl either. Oh I thought about it for a year or so, and I was actually a pre-op cornflake girl for a while. Then my dad had heart surgery and my views and goals changed a little. I even liked the CD Boys For Pele, but that was when things started to get a little weird.

I know, what’s NOT weird about Tori. I just really liked the piano only songs on Earthquakes and Pink, and Pele went in a slightly different direction. Sure the lyrics were still dark and made you uncomfortable, and her voice was breathy and as sexy as ever, but the more instruments that got involved in the songs the less interest I had. This wasn’t the Tori I fell in love with.

You can pretty much expect a new Tori Amos CD every other year, and she’s always changing. The Beekeeper gives us a kinder, gentler Tori. Gone are the creepy lyrics and the heavy breathing. And almost gone are the piano only songs! I read a few reviews on this disc before I bought it and, as always, I was expecting a lot. Honestly, I am always disappointed at first when I get a CD I was anxious to get! That doesn’t mean this is not a good record – it really is, but I might love it the more I hear it.

Let me also tell you that I’m a sucker. Yep, if there is a special/limited/cool package for a new CD, I’m going down like a Mexican ho at Mardi Gras. The Beekeeper comes in a special digipak with a bonus DVD, a cool book, and flower seeds. I’m in!

Tori’s voice is still very pretty, but not quite as sexy as it once was. Or maybe she’s just going in a different direction on this CD. Either way, it will take me some more time to really get into this album. But with 19 songs, you’ll certainly get your money’s worth! If you are a fan of Tori at all, you’ll find at least 8-10 songs worth listening to, which is a decent measure. There is everything from the classic Tori and a piano sound to the full rock band sound. Heck, she’s almost going back to the Y Kant Tori Read days! But since Tori broke up the album into sections in the liner notes, I’ll look at each section for you here. However, it confuses me that the sections don’t have any connection to the order the songs go on the disc!

The Desert Garden section includes the songs Barons of Suburbia, General Joy and The Beekeeper. I’m trying to find a connection between these three songs, but it ain’t there. Even the lyrics are in this order, which is completely out of the track order. Can you tell this is bugging me? Barons is a classic Tori tune with mostly piano, a bass, and drums. Her voice is great and the piano is very pretty. General Joy has adds a guitar, but is piano heavy as well. Then The Beekeeper is COMPLETELY different! Almost Suzanne Vega sounding with some electronics and a techno deep bass line. It’s a slow song, but has a dark feel to it. Again, where is the connection???

The next section is called Elixirs and Herbs and includes Toast, Martha’s Foolish Ginger, and Sweet the Sting. Toast, despite the title, is absolutely gorgeous! Her voice is perfect and the piano is light and haunting. Martha starts with a marching drumbeat, which doesn’t really fit. This is a mediocre song that I can’t really see growing on me. Sweet the Sting sounds like something by, well, Sting. A wah-wah guitar gives it kind of a porno soundtrack feel, not that I would know anything about that – I’ve just heard about it from other people. Really, Mom!

Next is the Rock Garden section, including the songs Hoochie Woman, Cars and Guitars, and Witness. Hoochie Woman is a crack up – as close to hip-hop as she gets! I like it though – it’s really fun! It’s basically about her being cheated on and dumping the guy, because she doesn’t need him anymore – she’s got the house and the dough! Hope my wife isn’t getting any ideas – best she doesn’t hear this song. But Cars and Guitars is a really odd sounding song for her. She sings like a hick to an acoustic guitar at the beginning before the piano jumps in and she’s back to her normal tone. Not sure it’s working for me. Then Witness has an almost gospel feel with an organ heavy sound.

The songs Mother Revolution, Ribbons Undone, Original Sinsuality, and Garlands (DVD only) are found in a section called The Orchard. Mother is again a classic – beautiful. Ribbons Undone is pretty but a little slow for me. Sinsuality sounds a lot like Tori’s early stuff and her voice is fantastic on it.

A section called Roses and Thorns includes the tracks Sleeps With Butterflies, Marys of the Sea and Jamaica Inn. Sleeps With Butterflies is very pretty with acoustic guitar and piano and very light vocals. Marys starts with intertwining piano lines like something off of Abby Road, but takes a light turn half way through. Do you expect Jamaica Inn to have a Jimmy Buffet feel? Well then you’re going to be disappointed. It’s a strumming guitar with light piano.

The Greenhouse section includes Goodbye Pisces, Ireland, The Power of Orange Knickers, and Parasol. Pisces is a another classic Tori sounding song, but Ireland sounds like nothing she has ever done before. Nope, I don’t like it – especially with the “sha-na-na-na” background. Orange Knickers starts out sounding absolutely stupid! It recovers eventually, but you need to stick with it. OK, maybe not because it’s not that rewarding. Can’t we just say panties instead of knickers? Knickers sounds so dumb in this country. Parasol on the other hand is fantastic – sounds like it came off of Earthquakes and it’s a great first track to the CD, but last track to Tori’s strange order of how the CD should flow.

The bottom line here is that you’ve got 19 songs! Enough of it is good for you to spend the dough, especially if you like Tori Amos at all. I know that with more listening time, some songs will grow on me a bit, so I’m thinking it’s worth it!

4 out of 5!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Courtney Love: America’s Sweetheart

For some people, it’s all about sex, drugs, and rock and roll. For Courtney, it’s all about sex, drugs, sex, violence, drugs, love, sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

I fell for Love’s music when her old band Hole released Live Through This, ironically the Tuesday after Kurt Cobain committed suicide. I was working in a CD store at the time and the label rep kept telling me to listen to the CD – she said she wasn’t able to pull it out of her CD player for 3 weeks. So I reluctantly threw it in my car and gave it a shot – and I listened to it for a solid month. The music was great, the lyrics were a blast to scream along to, and her ability to control the way she screamed and sang at the same time was just so cool and so much fun, I couldn’t get enough.

When Hole followed up with Celebrity Skin, I bought it and enjoyed it, but it didn’t quite live up to Live Through This. I think they went for a more popular sound, which made it just a little disappointing.

Now, on her own, Courtney has released a damn fine CD! I know this CD came out last year, but I picked it up in a used CD store this weekend and I felt the need to share it. Besides, unfortunately, it’s really easy to find in a used CD store. Crying shame! This could win a Spoogie for comeback of the year, or at least give Megadeth a run for the money.

Courtney is out to prove that she’s a great musician despite whatever the tabloids say. What, there aren’t any great musicians on drugs? Please! Look at the classic rock bands and find me a sober one! She pours her heart and soul into this CD lyrically and doesn’t hold back. Love her or hate her, you can’t help but respect her after hearing what she’s going through. Sure she’s a train wreck, but isn’t that what we love to gawk at?

The CD starts with a song called Mono (no, it refers to sound, not the sickness). This is a great, driving, hard rock tune that really sounds a lot like the good stuff from Live Through This. As rocking as this song is, it’s really about her pain from Kurt dying too early and her trying to prove that she’s also a great musician. “Hey God you owe me one more song/So I can prove to them/That I’m so much better than him.” Maybe not better, but she certainly comes close.

Track 3 is called Hold On To Me, a slower tune that really describes her pain from losing Kurt. “This life is never fair/The angels that you need are never there/But sometimes he comes to me/In the dead of winter/Dead of night/He’s all that I can see.” It’s heartbreaking and painful and she does an incredible job of sharing her pain. My wife will make me sleep on the couch for this, but she sounds a little like Stevie Nicks on this song and on #4 called Sunset Strip. Just a little!

There are many references to fire and matches in this CD. I really like how she says, “give me one match” in I’ll Do Anything and on a later track called Hello says, “What’s the matter/My baby’s dead/His heart went blind/My dress caught fire/From the one match that you gave me.” Not sure why, but I found that kind of cool. Maybe it’s because I actually caught it?

Let me stop here and let you know that the entire thing isn’t heavy, but the slower songs are great and the heavy stuff is a lot of fun as well. Sure there are songs called All The Drugs and I’ll Do Anything, but don’t take them out of context. Just listen and read along with the lyrics.

The only problem I have with the CD is I’ll Do Anything is the EXACT same riff that starts out Smells Like Teen Spirit, and then she goes as far as adding a “woo-hoo” chorus that you’d hear in a sports arena. But it’s still a great song.

The song Life Despite God starts with a bluesy organ, then slowly moves into power chords. It reminds me so much of a Janis Joplin song, which is great! She really seems to have put a huge effort into this CD by the time you hit this 9th track.

Hello is the 10th track and it’s a jammer! This is one of those songs you need for a long drive to work. Just scream along and have fun. Again, I’m completely blown away with her ability to scream in tune and on key. I love her voice – love it!

If you like anything Hole did, you really need this CD. Besides, you’ll find many copies in used CD stores, like you can with most gems. Do it!

4.5 out of 5!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Cursed

OK, y’all already know how I feel about PG-13 “scary” movies. They are not ever scary, other than a little something to make you jump. Plus, they are not gory enough, there are too many kids in the theater on opening night, and there’s no gratuitous booby shot. Terror, gore and ta-ta’s are what scary movies are all about! So why does Hollywood think they can cut all of that out and make a good scary film? Sorry, but they can’t.

Cursed is a werewolf film starring Christina Ricci, Joshua Jackson, Portia De Rossi, Shannon Elizabeth, and has appearances by Scott Baio and Craig Kilborn. That’s quite the cast for a not very good film.

Premise: A brother and sister, Jimmy (Jesse Eisenberg, the Village, Roger Dodger) and Ellie (Christina Ricci, Adams Family, Pumpkin, Monster), are driving home when they hit something, swerve, and knock an oncoming vehicle off the road. The car rolls down a hill and Jimmy and Ellie go to help. The girl in the car is trapped, but gets pulled out by a werewolf! Eek! Both Jimmy and Ellie are scratched by the monster, and start to notice the next day that they too are turning into werewolves! Darn it, and just when Ellie’s boyfriend is about to open a new nightclub! To break the curse, they need to find the original werewolf and sever his head. YAY!

Here’s what I liked about the film: Christina Ricci is always fun. The Scott Baio as himself role was a riot. The movie has a campy, silly feel to it like American Werewolf in London, but it’s not nearly as good.

Here’s what I didn’t like: Portia De Rossi doesn’t get nearly enough screen time. Also, the film was written by Kevin Williamson (Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Faculty, Dawson’s Creek), but it was not a good script. The opening scene that tried to set up the whole movie seemed very flat and weak. As the movie got going, you started to feel he was going for campy and you had to cave in to that feeling to enjoy it in the least. The visual effects were very weak, if you think about what they can do with CGI nowadays. It took almost the entire film before you saw a transformation, and that scene wasn’t great either. And if you have to sever a head to kill the beast, show it happen! CSI is gorier than this film. I know you’ll find this hard to believe, but it’s pretty predictable as well.

I need to quit thinking a cast can save a movie!

2.5 out of 5!

Oscar Wrap Up!

First, let me say how disappointed I was to miss Melissa and Joan rivers on the red carpet! OK, I wouldn’t say I really MISSED them; I just refused to watch them. I remember last year when they were getting mad at other reporters for interviewing the celebrities that they wanted to talk to – and they would interrupt them in mid-sentence to try to steal them away! They are rude pigs – the only reason they want to talk to the celebrities is so they can bash them later. And everyone has caught on! The only reason ANYONE is pleasant to the Rivers’ is so the media doesn’t rip ‘em. As far as mom and daughter – anyone that looks as though they just walked off the set of Planet of the Apes has no business commenting on other people’s looks!

Whew! I feel much better now!

I’ll admit it – I liked Chris Rock. Sure he did a lot of racial stuff in his opening monologue, but he was funny and he stepped on some toes – that’s what I liked. His bit about how producers should wait for the right actor for their movie was great! Sure he ripped on Jude Law undeservedly, but it’s called comedy! He ripped himself as well! And Sean Penn needs to grow a sense of humor. I also liked his comment about the look on Nicole Kidman’s face when Halle Berry won for Best Actress. He said she “should have won an Emmy for her performance at the Oscars!” That was brilliant! Even his rip on President Bush and the whole Banana Republic/Gap war analogy was fantastic! Not only that, but he did a great job with between awards with quips about acceptance speeches and jokes about the location of Oscar award presentations.

What was that, by the way? I can understand the “group” awards and having everyone on stage – saved the network a TON of time. But the middle-of-the-aisle award presentations were just odd! Did these people not deserve to go onstage because their Oscar wasn’t important enough? I’m all about saving time for the show – whatever, but with the group award nominees all on stage during their build up, this would have saved the network enough time to finish on schedule. They ended up about 20 minutes early instead of 20 minutes late. I’m just saying they should give the Best Animated Short guy a chance to walk on stage and say hi to his mother!

The Awards: There really weren’t many surprises here, especially if you read Entertainment Weekly. I looked back at their predictions last night and they nailed pretty much every category – it was incredible! Because I didn’t see the Aviator, Ray or Million Dollar Baby (and the ending has been ruined for me already), I can’t argue about the awards they received. Cate Blanchett is always good, Hilary Swank is always powerful, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about Jamie Foxx. It does strike me a little ironic how he used to do a comedic impression of Ray Charles on In Living Color, and then he wins an Oscar for it. For the last time, I was disappointed that Paul Giamatti was not even nominated, especially after seeing the scene with Clint Eastwood during the nominations. However, I was glad that Sideways walked away with Best Adapted Screenplay. Also, it was a Godsend to me that Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman won for Best Original Screenplay! How Gondry wasn’t nominated for Director or Film Editing bothered me, because Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is absolutely a magical film!

Fashion: I really don’t care what people are wearing. However, I have to say that Salma Hayek can show up in jeans and a sweatshirt and still look better than 80% of the people there. Hilary Swank’s dress was a bit scary when she turned around, and Renee Zellweger should not have black hair.

I welcome your comments!
Everything you ever wanted to know about Pat Angello - sorry!