Monday, October 31, 2005

Rejected Bond Girls

I coughed up my smoothie reading this one.

McSweeney's: Rejected Bond Girls

The Worst College Halloween Costumes

Happy Halloween, everybody! has a great article today on The Worst Halloween Costumes. I can think of tons of other lame excuses for costumes (okay, maybe just one), but what makes this article a winner are the comments on each costume. Like this nugget.
If every wife lost her husband on the same day, and then the aggregate sadness of every single widow were to manifest itself into a costume, I could only imagine it would resemble exactly what you are currently wearing.
But I agree with them. Not this above point, but the fact that if you're going to be half-assed about it, just don't bother. And that's why I'm not dressing up this year.

But next year....I have a great idea. Now all I need to do is be invited to a party.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Steve Jobs, Dark Lord of the Sith

Every year Forbes pokes fun at captains of industry by turning them into Halloween masks. This year, Steve Jobs is cast as Darth Vader because of his recent turn to "the dark side."
Steve Jobs as Darth Vader. Net worth: $3.3 billion. Source of wealth: Apple Computer and Pixar. Steve Jobs was the chosen one who promised to make things right in the computing world. But as time passed, his hunger for power took over, leading him to sue hapless bloggers and embrace dark arts, like digital-rights management.

Yesteryears Missed Connections


In this age of craigslist (and soon Google base?) it can be easy to forget the long and varied history that the classified has had over the years. Which is why there are people like Sara Bader out there whose new book, "Strange Red Cow: And Other Curious Classified Ads From the Past", serves to remind us what has and hasn't changed in the wonderful world of the personal ad. Some selections from the excerpt in today's Times:

MAY MINNIE - FAREWELL, CRUEL GIRL! If not drafted, I will go as a substitute. Your scorn is harder and more pitiless to me than any Southern bullet could possibly be. - John No. 1 (Aug. 3, 1862)

X.Z. - IF YOU MUST HAVE A REASON why I refuse you, understand, then, that I cannot marry a man who wears soiled linen, has foul teeth and breath, and uses tobasco and whisky. Faugh! - GENERRA (Nov. 16, 1862)

TO PATRIOTIC UNMARRIED LADIES. - I am a soldier, just returned from the wars. Have lost a leg, but expect to get a cork one; have a useless arm, but will be called brave for it; was once good-looking, but am now scarred all over. If any patriotic young lady will marry me, why fall in line! The applicant must be moderately handsome, have an excellent education, play on the piano and sing; and a competency will not be objectionable. One with these requirements would, doubtless, secure my affections. - Address Capt. F.A.B., MERCURY Office. (Nov. 9, 1862)

Not to mention our favorite historical Missed Connection:

ON WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON A LADY WITH black silk quilted hat walked nearly side by side with a gentleman in a drab overcoat from Tenth to Fourteenth Street, in Broadway. Both were annoyed by the wind and dust. Her smile has haunted him ever since. - Will she send her address to Carl, Union Square Post Office? (March 8, 1861)

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Baile de Yoda

Yoda kicking it freestyle.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Only in New York...

I usually hate that phrase, but it was all that came to mind today, when reading about a sweet, maple syrup-y smell that overtook NYC the other day, and worried so many people that the Office of Emergency Management had to investigate.

You have to love a city where any scent that isn't vaguely reminiscent of urine and rats causes concern.

Gothamist: Maple Sugar Smell Mystery!

Billy, Izzat You?

Came across a website with some great, early-70s concert photos.

Can you recognize this man?

Image hosted by

Believe it or not, he became this guy.

More cool photos here.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Most Sensational, Inspirational, Celebrational, Muppetational Reality TV show?

The Most Sensational, Inspirational, Celebrational, Muppetational Reality TV show?


It was only a matter of time before the reality TV craze hit our little plush friends. Variety reports that ABC has ordered five episodes of America's Next Muppet, a "reality" series parodying American Idol and America's Next Top Model in which viewers choose a new colleague for the now Disney-owned Muppets. While some remain skeptical about the Muppets' new venture, we're excited that our childhood favorites will be back on air for, of all things, a reality TV spoof. Though we wonder -- will aspiring muppets break down crying in each judging as in ANTP? Who will judge -- probably Statler and Waldorf? Maybe Miss Piggy for the diva factor? We can only hope the Swedish chef at least merits a guest-judge spot.

New Rules for Streaking

New Rules for Streaking


We'd like to lay down some new rules for streaking... Streaking has been OVER for 2 decades. Running around at soccer games with corporate logos (or tennis matches with "got balls?") is beyond boring. But here are some exceptions...
1) It's all been done. So the # 1 rule is, if you're going to do it - make it interesting! like this HYSTERICAL video of a guy streaking past a camera woman, on-air, and blowing a giant fart as he runs by! a perfect 10!!

2) Concert streaking is not fun anymore. Unless it's done by the performing band, this is always fun.

3) Sporting event streaking is the most over-done of all. There are a few exceptions like causing people to turn away in pain at the site of your ass-crack (like the shot above) and flashing uptight people never gets old.

4) Tackling streakers is over, but the gentle cupping of streakers adds a new twist.

5) And hot girl streakers always rule.

Bonus: if the streaking girl KICKS A GOAL while running across the field during a live game (with the goalie on guard!) is you've got STREAKING GOLD!

(Photo via

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


There is a restaurant downtown staffed entrely by Ninjas? Why am I just hearing about this now?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the NYTimes is less than enthusiastic about this establishment. In fact the writeup is one of the more savage reviews I've ever read. Doesn't Mr. Bruni understand that the purpose of the ninja is to flip out and kill people? Ninja's are too busy fighting, stealthily sneaking about and generally being *awesome* to worry themselves with trivilaities like the texture of Mr. Bruni's Creme' Brulee. He should be thankful to simply be in the presence of Real Ultimate Power. In fact the whole review seems to be begging for the ninja to flip out and start cutting people's heads off. The nerve.

High points from the snarktastic review:

CONFUSING the point of a restaurant with the mission of a "Saturday Night Live" skit, Ninja New York deposits you in a kooky, dreary subterranean labyrinth that seems better suited to coal mining than to supping.

Ninja acts like a Disney ride - Space Mountain under a hailstorm of run-of-the-mill or unappealing sushi - but charges like Le Bernardin. It has a stringy crab dish served on a grapefruit that belches smoke, a ridiculous dessert in the shape of a frog and a whole lot of nerve.

A "fatty tuna steak," available à la carte for $45, was no larger than a cutlet, and while I expected o-toro, I detected no toro.

The review says the price for an evening at Ninja can top 100 per person. A small price to pay for Ninja-prepared cusine if you ask me.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

How much does it cost to get Star Jones to stuff her face?

OMG! This is the funniest shit I've ever read!

How much does it cost to get Star Jones to an eating-contest? Radar fucking called Star Jones's agent to get the answer. This shit is HILARIOUS! The shit about Gay Al is priceless!


RADAR: Hi, this is David Steven calling about Star Jones making an appearance at the Short Hills Country Club in New Jersey.

Her appearance fee is $25,000. She also needs a car from New York. This is just for a meet-and-greet?

No, it’s our annual ‘Bring in the Fall’ gala. We’d like her to give a speech about why fall is the best season. Last year Leonard Nimoy did 25 minutes.

On that topic? Well, if you’re willing to write it, make it as long as you need.

Would she dine with the guests?

I don’t know if she’d sit through a whole dinner.

How much would it cost for us to have her for the entire dinner?

Could she come for the cocktails, dine backstage, then come out for the speech? It’s hard to chitchat when you’re about to get up and give a speech.

Let’s say we do the speech before dinner.

Okay. Better.

Would she come alone, or does she go everywhere with the people from The View?

No, she’d probably be either by herself or with her husband or assistant.

Now, there is a casino theme. What would it cost us to have her work as the guest dealer?

Oh, probably another 10 or so.

So, $35,000?

Probably. Yeah.

Would she dance?

No. I mean, she might, but I wouldn’t put that in a contract.

The dancing would cost more?

No, no. [Laughs] How can you predict if somebody’s going to feel like dancing?

Well, I mean, we’re paying her to speak for half an hour.

She doesn’t get paid to dance.

She won’t dance with her husband?

She might. But what if she’s not with her husband? She might come with just her assistant.

Would she dance with her assistant?



I wouldn’t even ask that question. [Laughs]

What if we added another $10,000?

If you want to add that into the offer, you can. It’s an odd request.

So we’re up to $45,000. A half-hour speech with dancing.


Would we have to pay extra to have her husband there?


How much would her husband cost?

I don’t represent him, but I understand he gets around $10,000 for an appearance. He has his own career.

What does he do?

You got me. I’ll make it really easy: Make her an offer at $50,000 and say, "In exchange for this we would expect the following: a) 30-minute speech, b) dinner with guests, c) bringing her husband, Al Reynolds, and dancing, d) participating as a celebrity guest dealer," or, you know, whatever.

At the end of the night, there’s also an eating contest. It’s paella. What are the chances we can get her involved in that?

In an eating contest?

It’s tastefully done.

I’d leave that out of the mix. She’s just lost over 100 pounds. I don’t think she wants to get into an eating contest.

Let’s say it’s fat-free sorbet.

Like a tasting thing?

Well, no. More of a speed-eating thing. Like, in half an hour, who can eat the most. Usually we do paella. But we could change it to fat-free sorbet, since she’s watching her weight.

You could request that, but I can’t guarantee she’ll want to do that.

Would she do it for another $20,000?

Hey, you know, [Laughs] it’s worth asking. But she doesn’t eat a lot, so I don’t know if she would want to be in a contest about eating as much as you can.

Would she eat at the party?

If she was expected to dine as part of this, she would. Yeah. She would eat.

She wouldn’t just play with the food on her plate?

No, no. She eats.

Let’s say there’s a brunch the next day.

What’s the date?

November 15.

That’s a weekday. She’s going to have to be on The View the next day.

Oh, I’m sorry, it’s actually the 19th. I was looking at the Spielberg event. Anyway, there’s a brunch…

You’re into another day now. She’s going to want another $20,000 or so.

What could we do to guarantee her coming to do all this stuff? Like, what kind of number are we talking?

Make a hundred-grand offer and I’ll get her to do everything on your list except strip.

Oh, we don’t want her to strip. Please, no.

I was kidding.

Would she sing a cappella at the brunch fully clothed?

Maybe. Sounds like an easy thing.

Arm wrestling?

Okay, now you’re messing with me.

No, I’m not. It’s just a fun thing we do, you know, to bring in the fall.

Arm wrestling? What else is coming at me?

That’s it. The dining with guests, the eating contest, working as a dealer, dancing, singing a cappella at brunch, and arm wrestling. So what’s the number? I want her to say yes.

I’d say $125,000.

And that’s with her husband…. What’s his name?


Not Al Roker?

No, Al Reynolds.

How did she lose her weight?

I cannot say.

Did she do what Al Roker did, or we don’t know?

She doesn’t talk about it publicly. She looks great. She will tell you it’s from diet. That’s why the eating contest is tough.

But for $125,000…

She’ll eat as much as she can…

Frustration with subway delays goes to whole new level

Overheard in New York

October 25, 2005
Dude, He'd Totally Rip You Open
Announcement: Ladies and gentlemen, we apologize for the delay. We should be moving momentarily...Please be patient.
Guy #1: They always fucking say that! We should be compensated for our time.
Guy #2: Yeah. They should have a coin dispenser that gives back quarters.
Guy #1: Fuck that. That robot voice should give us robot sex.

--6 train

What A Fool Believes...and Yacht Rock

For my money, "What A Fool Believes" is, like, the greatest song ever written. The most well-known version was recorded by the Doobie Brothers in 1978, although I've always considered it a Michael McDonald solo song, because it was McDonald that really shaped the Doobie Brothers sound of that era.

Michael McDonald is the most soulful white guy on the face of the planet, bar none. "What A Fool Believes" is one of the best examples of his talents. It's that scratchy, I-Can't-Believe-He's-A-Cracker voice with that unbelievable falsetto, combined with unbelievable chord structure. Plus, the harmonies on the chorus, with that funky drumbeat and the handclaps...GREATEST SONG EVER WRITTEN.


So I finally purchased the sheet music online in digital format. Here's where I really became impressed with Michael McDonald. (Okay, and co-writer Kenny Loggins too).

Take a look at this screenshot of the sheet music. Admittedly, I am a simplistic piano player, so I find this quite difficult. This specific screenshot shows the transition from key of D(five flats) into E (four sharps), plus tons of naturals in order to properly transition. Yes, I know I can play this if I practice it. But it's like a Stevie Wonder score: just looking at it makes me want to crawl under the bed. (Plus, playing the first stanza repeatedly is not helping my marriage any.)

The bass part doesn't seem to be too difficult - but it's the syncopation between that part and the treble that really makes it a challenge. Oh, and you want me to SING, too? Jesus. This is why I'm in awe of "What A Fool Believes."

Mike (of DWS) and I have become devout fans of "What A Fool Believes." We sing it all the time. Then we sing other songs as if Michael McDonald were to sing them. (Mike doees a great Michael McDonald and an even better Tom Waits.) But we're fans of this entire genre of music - the smooth, funk (and funk-lite) music of the later '70s and early '80s. This is the stuff my mom loves. It's the stuff that I listened to on FM and AM radio stations during our road trips to the Adirondacks. The stuff I heard during our 6 AM drives to the ski slope. The stuff that seems to keep playing on Time-Life commercials.

I have a 2 CD set of these tunes; it's called "Easy N' Cheesy Rock" and it includes the aforementioned gem, as well as "Reminsicing," "I'd Really Love To See You Tonight," "Summer Breeze," "Steal Away" (which steals its chords directly from Michael McDonald) and about three songs apiece from Stephen Bishop and Christopher Cross.

I recently came across a new term for the music that hold so dear: Yacht Rock, as termed by these guys. (I found them via this article.) I'm so happy to find other people who are crazy obsessed with this very specfic period of music.

I've only watched Episode 1 so far, which was hysterical (and focuses on "What A Fool Believes"). The only fault I can find so far is that the dude playing Michael McDonald makes the same mistake just about everybody on TV makes, which is that nobody taught him how to fake playing the piano. But having Hall & Oates portrayed as bullies and Jim Messina as a street bum is just priceless. I can't wait to watch the rest.


Oh, and here are some fascinating trivia tidbits about "What A Fool Believes."

P.S. I really like this song.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Sometimes the Chicken doesn't cross the road

Dead Chicken, Northeast corner of Marcus Garvey Park

I spent much of yesterday hunting and eating wild mushrooms in Connecticut. Walking home from the MetroNorth stop I see this dead chicken in the street. Are there, were there, chickens living in the park? I don't know. Too tired to write more now. Soon, though, I'll put up photos from my DC trip, mushroom foraging pictures, and even a few hot booty action photos! Oh, where to

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Spreading The Gospel Of Tommy

Image hosted by

I know, all I do is spread the gospel of guitarist Tommy Emmanuel. But I just came across a great article and an even greater video.

The video is a big download (88 MB) and is about 30 minutes long, but I promise you, it's SO worth watching. (We're all on highspeed connections anyway, right?) If you're interested in guitar, fingerstyle, and showmanship - this video illustrates why Tommy is such an unbelievable performer. It features a few stories, a lesson on his playing and composing style, an UNREAL live performance of "Tall Fiddler" (try watching his hands, but it doesn't matter because you won't be able to follow them) and a performance of "Classical Gas" with a string quartet (and about 10 false starts which show why Tommy is so much fun to watch live).

Here's the article:

And here's the direct link to the video, on page 4 (requires QuickTime)

or, if that link is too long for you:



Friday, October 21, 2005

Woman promises to pay boss for breasts

Okay this was just too much to not bother to post. I've passed on several ones that may be questionable and ones that someone crooks an eyebrow as they look at you like the guy who spent $241,000 at the Scores Champange room or even the new ways of playing pocket pool with your ipod.

Woman promises to pay boss for breasts
By Bill Fonda/ The Cape Codder
Friday, October 21, 2005 - Updated:
02:07 PM EST

A wild $55,000 spending spree, including a loan for breast implants, is not inflated, a Cape woman admits.
Kari Monillas, 27, of Bourne, promised the court she will pay back her former boss for running up the bill on a 52-inch television, furniture, a washer and dryer, a motorcycle and motorized scooter, video game systems, a painting and two air conditioners and that implant loan.
She has pleaded guilty to two counts of larceny over $250 and one count of fraudulent use of a credit card, receiving an 18-month suspended sentence and two years probation.
Now, she must pay the bill.
``She stayed out of jail, which was good, and she was in agreement with the amount agreed to with the Orleans police,'' said her attorney Matt Bober.
Monillas is required to pay a minimum of $150 per month for the next two years.
``She can pay that, and she's going to try to pay more if she can,'' Bober said.
Monillas worked as office manager for Scott Concrete in Orleans this past spring and summer when she went on her spending spree.

The BNL Blog

A lot of artists are blogging now (here's a starter list), or at least keeping an online journal. One of my favorites is the Barenaked Ladies' blog.

It was started during the recording of the excellent Everything To Everyone, and has been updated sporadically during that time - usually by Steven Page and usually around recording sessions.

Additionally, there's a Q&A page where the band (again, mainly Steve) do yeoman's work in answering tons of questions from fans. I'm impressed, but not surprised, that Steve doesn't only post the "drooling fanboy" questions but also the ones that challenge them. For example, here's a recent question:

So, after ticketmaster charges and stuff, I would wind up paying over 60 bucks for one of the "good" tickets for your upcoming tour. I already paid 40 bucks to see your last holiday tour. What's gonna be so special about this one, Steve? Or should I call you Don Henley?

btw, you're one of my favorite songwriters. I dunno why I keep writing you such dickhead questions. Might have something to do with hiding behind the anonymity of the internet though. Take care (but seriously, 53 bucks?).

If I were Steve, I'd either ignore the question, or go to great lengths to find out his IP address and just start spamming the crap out of him. (Calling him DON HENLEY? WTF?) But instead, Steve went to Fin, their tour manager, who broke down the costs of touring, and where all that ticket money is going.

Check out the blog for 10/20/05 under "Conscientious Objector" for Fin's breakdown. It's really interesting.

Oh, the other reason I love the blog is because Steve gave DWS and I permission to rip off their "Material Girl" cover. Search around, you'll find it.

Madonna's late show

Madonna's late show
if you LOVE Madonna AND missed her on Letterman last night... then Malcontent is your man today! he's captured all 12 minutes of her FABULOUS appearance and at a bit rate that comes in crystal clear with no blips - PriMa-donna: Her Madgesty on a High Horse (vid link at bottom)


Madonna and David Letterman ride horses on NY's West 53rd St. (Madonna's first visit to the Late Show since Nov. 2003. photo credit: CBS)

Tommy Photos

/begin droolingfanboy

More excellent pictures by Marcel Rozenberg here.

/end droolingfanboy

Same Old Story, Same Old Headline

Yesterday's New York Post has an article about how Saturday Night Live is no longer funny. Can you guess what the headline is?


(Link here, although you probably have to register, 'cause the Post sucks. Try BugMeNot to get a login/pass.)

I swear to you, I've read Chris Erikson's article at least three times before in the recent past. The argument (with the same damn headline) is made approximately once every three to four years.

Do I agree with him that this season of SNL has, at least so far, been unfunny? Yes. Do I agree with him that it's now time to cancel SNL? Not in the slightest. And frankly, he's an idiot for suggesting it.

SNL is a comfort zone for me. I've been a relatively constant viewer since the late '80s - I love its format, I love that there's always the old favorites and the new talents, and I love, love, LOVE "Weekend Update." Always have, with the exception of poor Colin Quinn, who is a talented comedian but sadly never learned how to read.

One of the things I love the most about SNL is that NBC has allowed it to run consistently for 31 years, through all highs and lows. Yes, the show is unfunny at times. But it always rebounds. Always. It always comes back with someone, or something, that enters the zeitgeist. (Our beloved Cowbell sketch arrived in 2000, probably just a year or so after the last "Saturday Night Dead" headline.) It's cyclical. Cast members change, writers change, and an influx of new energy often brings great comedy. And as frustrated I get when I sit through 90 minutes of an unfunny episode (usually pared down to 60, thank you TiVo), I understand that they can't all be winners. I find it a comfort to know that they're allowed to suck sometimes.

Should Lorne step down? Perhaps. I would agree with the sentiment that 31 years is a long time to be running the same show, and perhaps some new energy is what's needed. But canceling SNL would be a mistake.

Required reading: Live From New York. It's a fascinating account from many cast members, writers and guests on everything from the show's inception to its day-to-day moments. It's amazing what a god-like figure Lorne is to all of them. I couldn't put it down.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Rockstar: Van Halen

Really? There's so many other groups that I'd love to see do this before VH, but hey.. whatever...not my target demographic.

I just wish they would stop because it is so distracting to want to watch them only to be sadly disappointed that the show sucks, the band sucks, and then 23 episodes rolls by and I've wasted my life away.

MTV reports Van Halen ready for CBS
Los Angeles October 20, 2005 12:01:13 AM IST
If CBS brings back its successful Rock Star: INXS for a second season, rumor has it the next band in line is California's Van Halen.

This summer's inaugural season was a ratings winner for CBS and a reputation enhancer for reality TV producer Mark Burnett -- and it gave INXS a new singer, a new hit single, an upcoming album and a world tour.

CBS has remained hush-hush on whether Rock Star will return next summer, but MTV reports if it does, look for Eddie and Alex Van Halen along with bassist Michael Anthony in the judges' chairs originally filed by INXS.

A band rep refused to comment on the report given to MTV by a source close to the show.

Van Halen certainly fits the mold -- a former rock 'n' roll powerhouse that has been floundering without a frontman since the departures of David Lee Roth, Sammy Hagar and Gary Cherone.


land of the giant food

land of the giant food
we're not sure what this site is about, but we love minature stuff and food, so we loved it - Minimiam! (click the dot in the lower right corner, there are 5 sections under gallerie, each with a series of images)




link via the very cool site Meet Me in Ataxia, Baby!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Kermit in New York

Image hosted by

This is apparently from February '05, but Gothamist posted it the other day, and it's cute enough that it deserves more promotion. See the whole set of creative photos here.

Church Sign Generator

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More chances to write evil things at Church Sign Generator.

Yesterhits 10/8

It's time for another edition of Yesterhits, plagiarized from Tom Travers' biweekly e-mail. Wheee!


1. Bad Blood - Neil Sedaka with Elton John
2. Calypso / I'm Sorry - John Denver
3. Fame - David Bowie
4. Island Girl - Elton John
5. Miracles - Jefferson Starship
6. Ballroom Blitz - Sweet
7. Dance With Me – Orleans
8. Ain't No Way To Treat A Lady - Helen Reddy
9. Rocky - Austin Roberts
10. Lyin' Eyes – Eagles

Okay, I'm coming clean right now. My '70s hit single retention is much less than my '80s retention. Anybody have anything to comment on #1, #2, #5 and #9? I can't believe I don't know #1. I didn't even know that Neil Sedaka and Elton John duetted together. Oh well, I'll tackle the rest.

3. Fame - David Bowie A fine song. I'm going to come clean and admit that I really hadn't heard this song before "Fame '90" which was on the (shudder) Pretty Woman soundtrack. And while I'm admitting shit, I might as well admit that it's the first CD I ever owned. I got it for my birthday along with my first CD boombox. (Along with Richard Marx's Repeat Offender and, well, I'll shut up now.)

4. Island Girl - Elton John Shows how much I know. I thought this was an early '80s Elton song, because it doesn't strike me as being on par with any of his other mid-'70s output.

6. Ballroom Blitz - Sweet Showing my age again, I didn't know this song until I heard the god-awful remake in Wayne's World. Yoinks.

7. Dance With Me - Orleans Yes! Now THIS song signifies all that I love about easy n' cheesy '70s music. Orleans had one other big hit, "Still The One," which you probably thought was by the Doobie Brothers. Orleans made news in 2004 when songwriter John Hall complained about it being used for Bush's re-election campaign. Oh man. When Orleans has a problem with you using his song, but has no problem with selling it to Burger King, Applebee's and ABC, you know you're one evil fucker.

8. Ain't No Way To Treat A Lady - Helen Reddy I have only heard this song once or twice. I avoid all Helen Reddy like the plague. It has something to do with "I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar."

10. Lyin' Eyes - Eagles This song has Glenn Frey written all over it, in the same shuffle vein as "Tequila Sunrise."

Okay, on to the fun stuff.


1. Money For Nothing - Dire Straits
2. Cherish - Kool & The Gang
3. Oh Shelia - Ready For The World
4. Take On Me - A-Ha
5. Dress You Up - Madonna
6. Saving All My Love For You - Whitney Houston
7. Freedom - Wham!
8. Lonely 'Ol Night - John Mellencamp
9. Dancing In The Street - Mick Jagger / David Bowie
10. Part-Time Lover - Stevie Wonder

Oh, I actually know ALL of these! Let's go.

1. Money For Nothing - Dire Straits A brilliant Mark Knopfler guitar lick and fantastic contribution by Sting on those backing vocals. Despite its greatness, I still can't believe this song became a hit, though, for two reasons:

1) See the little faggot with the earring and the makeup
Yeah buddy that’s his own hair
That little faggot got his own jet airplane
That little faggot he’s a millionaire

I know it was 1985 and the world was still in denial about homosexuality in general, but I can't imagine this song getting such heavy airplay if it had been released in 2005...can you?

2) Anybody remember the "This Note's For You" by Neil Young? Probably not, because despite its 1989 win for MTV VMA Video Of The Year, it was actually banned by MTV for its mocking of musicians appearing in commercials, and its outright mention of Miller, Pepsi, Budweiser and Coke. MTV made a statement at the time saying that they wouldn't play any video that outright mentioned any specific product, good or bad. Which immediately brought up questions of the heavy rotation of a song that featured the line "I want my MTV." MTV reversed the decision. (The idea that a song could be banned based on product placement is, of course, ludicrous at this stage of the game.)

2. Cherish - Kool & The Gang Much like Chicago, Genesis and The Doobie Brothers, it's hard to believe that the same band that produced kick-ass songs in the early '70s produced pop like this in the '80s. Still, this one was catchy, and had those kick-ass falsetto notes at the end.

3. Oh Shelia - Ready For The World Ready For The World, of course, went on to super stardom and a chain of hits faded into obscurity after this song. I don't remember too much about it except a spoken intro in a bad British accent.

4. Take On Me - A-Ha There's just about nothing to say about this song that hasn't been said before. Great song, indecipherable lyrics (even when you know the last line of the chorus - "I'll be gone in a day or two" - it still doesn't sound like it) and a groundbreaking video. See this previous Plagiarist post for a great tribute.

5. Dress You Up - Madonna Before Madonna dressed like a hooker, she just dressed like a hobo.

6. Saving All My Love For You - Whitney Houston I really have nothing productive to say about this song. It's nice but not groundbreaking, back when Whitney was like 18, a newly discovered Clive Davis gem, and crack-free.

7. Freedom - Wham! Please, please, please, don't get me started on Wham! and what a ridiculous fan I was back in the '80s. You know how people always ask musicians, "What was the first record you ever purchased?" I really can't remember the first record I purchased with my own money. My mom always bought records and we shared them - listened to them together. I think the first one she bought specifically for me was Big Bam Boom by Hall & Oates, but I digress. My point here is that the 12" remix of "Freedom" is the first record I ever remember specifically ordering. Record World (anybody else remember this store in The Americana in Manhasset?) had this huge yellow book at the back of their shop that listed all the different releases of various albums by artists. It was really only meant for employee reference.

Having already become one of those completely obsessive music fans (at the age of 11), I had all the Wham! releases on cassette and used to peruse the yellow book to see if there was anything more I could buy. I found the single release of "Freedom" with an extended mix, and asked Record World if they could order it for me. I forgot about it until four months later, when I was at the store and randomly asked if it had ever come in. I still remember being ridiculously excited to see them pull that record out from behind the register. So I don't remember the first record I ever purchased, but the first one I ordered comes back to me as clear as day.

As for the song itself - well, I really do like it. Come on, it's catchy. The extended mix was nothing substantive - a few added horns and vocals, but other than that, just a way to get me to plunk down my money twice. Well played, Andrew Ridgeley.

8. Lonely Ol' Night - John Mellencamp I'm confused about the lineage of the whole John/Johnny/Cougar/Mellencamp/Cougar Mellencamp thing. I guess he had already dropped Cougar by '85? I don't know. Anyway, this song sucks. Just kidding. It's a fine country/rock song that sounds like...all of his other songs. Good enough.

9. Dancing In The Street - Mick Jagger/David Bowie Okay, not that I should talk after my long, passionate post about Wham!, but this video easily qualifies as one of the gayest videos ever. I don't mean "gay" as in "lame," but "really, really homoerotic." Don't believe me? Here's a screenshot:
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Here's the cover of the single:
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See what I mean? Now, I know it's no surprise that Bowie and Jagger probably had a thing back in the '80s (didn't Bowie's wife write a book about it or something?), but at the very least, how are they standing each other's breath? What were they going for with this video? And there are many other blogs out there that echoed my sentiments, but none better than this guy. Bold/italics mine:
Strange bedfellows for a good cause, Bowie and Jagger teamed up for a retelling of the old chestnut, “Dancing in the Street” (popularized by Martha and The Vandellas). Followed in a few months by Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” this was a holiday fruitcake come early for famine relief in Africa. During the televised Live Aid performance, this video was shown featuring the two frontmen prancing about like a couple of, well, like a couple of guys who prance a lot. If music be the food of love, that whole “save the world” phase was starved for affection. The 12-inch I own features this song in an extended dance remix (only two people ever danced to this song, and I’ve already named them), a dub mix and (in the true spirit of relief) an edited version. An instrumental version appears to grace the B side of the 7-inch single, which obviously removes whatever appeal the song had in the first place.
I can't match that snark level, so I'm leaving it at that.

10. Part-Time Lover, Stevie Wonder - it says a lot about my buddy Adam that this is his favorite Stevie Wonder song. Forget anything from his prolific 70s-era like "Living For The City," "Visions," Sir Duke," "I Wish," "As," "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life," even "Master Blaster (Jammin')." No. "Part-Time Lover" is his favorite fucking Stevie Wonder song. At least that's the only one he ever plays whenever we're in his car. That being said, "Part-Time Lover" is not a bad song. It's from his last really good album, In Square Circle, and it has a good beat and clever lyrics; but whenever I think of the "ba da da da da - badadadum" hook, all I can think about is Adam bopping along to it while driving, lacking any and all sense of rhythm.

That's Yesterhits for this week (and last). More plagiarizing to come.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Plagiarist Links - Illustrated Third-Person Edition

I've noticed that a lot of blogs (Coolfer being one of the most guilty) write in the third person, with the third person being the name of their blog, when they're really only written by one person. I think this is rather pretentious. So obviously, I'm going to imitate it for today.

The New Yorker's profile of Sarah Silverman. Plagiarist saw the preview for Jesus Is Magic when Plagiarist went to see The Aristocrats, and Plagiarist laughed Plagiarist's ass off. Plagiarist can't wait to see it.

(too much third person? Plagiarist will tone it down. Plagiarist MAD! URGGGH!)

The American Society of Magazine Editors has released its list of the Top 40 magazine covers over 40 years. Annie Lebovitz' Rolling Stone cover of a naked Lennon embracing his clothed wife Yoko Ono is #1. The whole competition leads Plagiarist to wonder what the criteria really should be for judging a magazine cover. (Judges were allowed to make up their own criteria.) Are we looking at mere composition? Or are we taking into account the culture surround the cover? Can any of us judge this cover fairly on its own merits, without taking into account that the photo was taken mere hours before John was killed?

Speaking of objectivity, Stevie Wonder's new album is out - his first full album in 10 years - and while the reviews seem to be mostly positive, Plagiarist can't tell if it just has more to do with his long absence than anything else. A few negative reviews have surfaced (and you should see the comments on Plagiarist's Stevie Wonder mailing list. They are a defensive bunch.) Plagiarist will probably get it, but won't listen to it more than once or twice. Just a hunch.

A list of words made up by The Simpsons. The ones Plagiarist has used the most: boo-urns, Gamblor, meh, saxamophone, Yoink!, and of course, Glayvin, which Jess and Plagiarist have apparently been mispronouncing as "Blayvin" all these years.

Finally, the NY Times has reviewed the Queen + Paul Rodgers concert at the Meadowlands Continental Airlines Arena. Kalefea Senneh is clearly a Queen fan, as seen by the quote "He even sang Bad Company's "Bad Company," though he declined to follow it with Queen's "Good Company."" Only a music geek would know "Good Company." Plagiarist used a quote from that song in his high school yearbook.

Anyway, Plagiarist was at Sunday's concert, along with Down With Snark, who was nothing but snarky the entire night. (To be fair, Plagiarist was plenty snarky as well and only encouraged DWS.)

It's not that Paul Rodgers was horrible; he just wasn't Freddie. Not sure what Plagiarist was expecting, come to think of it. He did do a good job on a few of the numbers, most notably "I Want It All" and...well, Plagiarist can't think of another one. He just wasn't Freddie.

Highlights, though, were Brian May's singalong of "'39" and "Love of My Life," as well as his guitar solo. And "Bohemian Rhapsody" was done quite tastefully: the entire opening, up to the opera section, featured huge video of Freddie singing and playing piano in 1986, stripped of all other prerecorded tracks, with the band backing him live. The studio, pre-recorded opera section was played, as it always has been, but this time it was accompanied by a wonderful compilation video of Freddie. Plagiarist would be lying if he said he didn't tear up a little during this song as well as "These Are The Days Of Our Lives."

The ultimate highlight for Plagiarist and DWS was, as predicted, the "clap-clap" part of "Radio Ga Ga," which was more fun than it had any right to be.

That's all for now. Plagiarist has another Yesterhits in the works, which got sidelined due to a show opening and a bad migraine last week. Expect that soon.

Third-person experiment over. Annoying, perhaps, but oddly empowering for Plagiarist me.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Responsible Beer Pong

Sunday's New York Times has an article on popular drinking games and their inevitable encouragement of binge drinking. Jeffrey Gettleman, I applaud your journalistic skills. The fact that you were able to get so many ridiculous, unintentionally hysterical quotes and factoids and presented them all with a straight face is commendable. Ones like these (bold & italics mine):

This past summer, Anheuser-Busch unveiled a game it calls Bud Pong. The company, which makes Budweiser, is promoting Bud Pong tournaments and providing Bud Pong tables, balls and glasses to distributors in 47 markets, including college towns like Oswego, N.Y., and Clemson, S.C.

Bud Pong may soon expand into more markets, said Francine Katz, a spokeswoman for Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc.

"It's catching on like wildfire," Ms. Katz said. "We created it as an icebreaker for young adults to meet each other."

Beer companies like Anheuser-Busch have made promoting "responsible drinking" a matter of corporate philosophy, partly as an answer to criticism that they market to youth.

But Ms. Katz said Bud Pong was not intended for underage drinkers because promotions were held in bars, not on campuses. And it does not promote binge drinking, she said, because official rules call for water to be used, not beer. The hope is that those on the sidelines enjoy a Bud.

Oh my god, I'm crying. This is so funny. But wait, there's more:
After he won his game and drifted off to the bars, Mr. Field confided, "The point of drinking games is to get as lit as possible."

But, he added, friends make sure no one drinks too much or chugs alone.

Okay okay okay. Just one more:

While the Miller Brewing Company has no companywide campaign for beer pong, its distributors are getting in on the action. Aimar McQueeney, a sales representative for a Miller distributor in Smyrna, Ga., said Miller supplied her with prizes and "Miller girl" models for a four-day beer pong tournament in Atlanta in May, which drew hundreds of people.

"It's the perfect demographic," Ms. McQueeney said. "It's mostly college kids pounding pitchers of beer."

Aimar, you are so fired.

There's more. Read the article. Unsurprisingly, I didn't even understand the rules of beer pong, as described in the article:
In beer pong, each team stands at the end of a table in front of a triangle of cups partially filled with beer. Players pitch the ball into the other team's cups. When a player sinks the ball, the other team must chug the beer and remove the cup from the table. When a side runs out of cups, it loses.
This game is ludicrous, people! You're asking me to drink a cup of beer that just had a ping-pong ball in it? UGH! I don't know where that ping-pong ball has been! Did it ever touch the floor or another ping-pong paddle? At the very least, the pitcher's fingers have been on it! Doesn't anybody give a damn about sanitation anymore?

Kids these days.

And another thing: I think that it's....oh wait! It's beer-thirty! Gotta run.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Mr. T To The Rescue!

Gothamist reports on Mr. T's new reality show, currently looking for participants.

I need to find a way to make this happen.

Maybe I should tell him I've been treating my mother poorly?

Personal Outsourcing

Esquire features a fantastic article by A.J. Jacobs about outsourcing pretty much his entire life to India. Kottke has a great, concise write-up with additional links, so check out his entry.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Survivor goes to Toyland

Toys seem to be the rage....

Survivor goes to Toyland even if you're not a Survivor
fan you're gonna love this hilarious season acted out by the hottest dolls in: Survivor Toyland
(via the kickass All Things Christie!)




more Toy fun: Jesus & HeMan roll a joint

(photo credit: Survivor Toyland/Copyright © Buchanan 2005)

2 Legit 2 Google

MC Hammer Visits Google HQ

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Overheard in New York

I seem to forget about this site... but because it's on my regular reading list it does get a read or two here and there, just never a daily read.

Man: Wow, that woman looks exactly the way Nina is going to look in about ten years...Oh shit, it is Nina. Don't tell her what I said, okay?

--Emerald Planet, Great Jones Street

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Meeting Rachel

I had the opportunity tonight to chat with Rachel Fuller a bit at an event at the Time Warner Center. Rachel is a classically-trained pianist who has recently released her debut album, entitled Cigarettes and Housework. It combines both her classical and pop sensibilities and is one of those records I listen to when I'm trying to get into a relaxed state. Her voice is smooth and gentle and the piano is (obviously) exquisite. If you like Vienna Teng (and you should, damn you) or some of Sarah McLachlan's more piano-based tunes, you'll really like Rachel.

Anyway, she was gracious and quite sweet to me, despite the flurry of activity around us. I missed her show at Joe's Pub earlier this year - I'm hoping she'll return soon to that venue or perhaps one like The Living Room. Something small and intimate would obviously suit her. Being a pianist myself, I wanted to ask all sorts of nerdy questions about song choices, but I was on my way to my play's dress rehearsal (which also caused me to miss Nickel Creek tonight, but I digress). I appreciated her honesty in person just as much as I do on her blog. It's that kind of honesty - where you know she's not faking any emotion for the sake of a camera or other publicity - that sets her apart as an artist. Most people (myself included) came to her music via Pete, but I'm hoping that most are staying around for her very individualistic ride. (And not for disengenuous reasons.)

Thanks for the blog shout-out, Rachel. I look forward to seeing you the next time you're in town - I hope it's at one of your gigs. Drop me a line if you feel like being bored with music questions.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Plagiarist Links

Kottke discusses The Matthew Effect. I hate buildings with doormen. (Mainly because I don't have a building with a doorman.)

Also via Kottke: The Joy-to-Stuff Ratio.

Craaaaazy Nic Cage has a son. No word yet on whether he can fly and if he's allergic to the green stuff. Why do parents do this to their children?

Here's a commercial from way back when - The Flintstones advertising Winston cigarettes. That's a far reach from Fruity Pebbles and vitamins. I love commercials like these, with their clever songs and slogans to advertise their tobacco. The Abbott and Costello radio show used to advertise that Camels appealed to your T-Zone ("That's T for Taste and T for Throat!"). More about Camel and their T-Zone.

The Ballad of Linda Perry, as I'm calling it - the rise, fall and rise of the lead singer of 4 Non Blondes, and how she reinvented herself as a popular songwriter. I was right - it really was all about Pink. Good to know that Linda herself despises her "What's Up" singing voice from way back when as well.

Billy Joel has a new box set coming out. I haven't seen a full tracklisting, but it seems as if Columbia is being smart about it and including enough rare stuff to entice schmucks like me who already own all the previously-released stuff. I'm sure it won't include any original pop songs post River of Dreams, but some of the covers sound interesting. I'm assuming the Brian Wilson cover is "Don't Worry Baby," which he performed at the BW Tribute a few years back. He did an unbelievable job singing the hell out of it. I hope they include his cover of Del Shannon's "Runaway" as well. He still has "it," he just needs to figure out what to do with it.

Apple's releasing new stuff next Tuesday. I'm hoping that Think Secret is right and it's finally the 80 gig iPod. My iPod has about two hours of continuous use at this point before the battery craps out.

And finally, no thanks, I'll just spend the three dollars.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

TiVo Stampede

I imagine that's what will happen in NYC next Friday. Here's part of the e-mail I just received.

The #2 requirement, which I inexplicably cropped out, is that you have to sign up for TiVo service.

Anyway, this is a cute lil' stunt - but I have a funny feeling they're likely to be absolutely overrun with people. When I first read it, I instinctually thought, "should I take off of work?" And I already have freaking TiVo.

Seeing as you can currently buy the 40-hour box for $50 after rebate, it's really not that much of a savings - and much more hassle.

I hope people beat each other up.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Leak

Hot trend: The Leak
ok we take it back, Hollywood's hottest trend isn't implants, it's The Leak! started by Fergie, copied by Jenny McCarthy, and now it's hitting middle America! it's the in thing.




UPDATE: Lindsay Lohan seen sporting The Leak!!!

UPDATE PT 2: "The Leak" has been spotted on PARIS HILTON!! this trend is officially OVER!

(images via: Gabsmash, TheDList and AttuSeesAll)