Monday, April 24, 2006

Pimpification, and Penguin Bars

When MTV looks back on its legacy, and by that I mean the complete and utter destruction of western culture, I'd like to think that one of the things they will take particular pride in is their part in the transformation of "pimp" formerly a noun meaning "a flamboyantly dressed individual who protects prostitutes in exchange for a percentage of their profits" into a verb meaning "to improve, in a garish, impractical and ostentatious way."

But if "rides" can be "pimped" why not other things? Why not, say, snacks:

Pimp My Snack

Unfortunately, this is a British website so a lot of the snacks (Iced Buns, Tea Cakes, Pom Bears, Penguin bars, mmmmmmm Penguin Bars) are going to be unfamiliar to an American audience. Still, dumping a pound of icing sugar on a loaf of bread is amusing in almost any language:

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As is making a Ferrero Rocher the size of your head

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Z, your course is clear. You must travel the world, seeking out these pimped foods, and you must eat them. All of them. Godspeed sir...Godspeed.


Friday, April 21, 2006

Oh No You Din't!!!

ummm...Oh No you Din't!!!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

It's Getting Kind Of Hectic

So I am temporarily (I hope) iPod-less, as I have sent it to iPodResQ for a new battery. But I can't live without my music, so I borrowed Jess's iPod shuffle for the gym this morning. I didn't change the music or anything.

First song: "Notorious" by Duran Duran
Second song: "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper
Third song: "Superstition" by Stevie Wonder
Fourth song, and this is where it gets awesome: "The Power" by Snap

I love you, Jess. Song # 4 got me through some rough stuff this morning. After I stopped giggling.

Snap - The Power (mp3)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Count the people

extra man

Count, wait and watch.

This will drive you crazy! WHERE DOES THE EXTRA MAN COME FROM? don't ask me; I haven't figured it out yet, that's why I posted it to here.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Indigo Girls Sign With Hollywood Records

I was just reading the latest news on the IG front:

IG's signed a new record deal a few days ago with Hollywood Records. We are really excited to have a fresh start and quite frankly, thankful that anyone in the music industry still cares.

Hollywood is a small label with a limited number of artist releases each year. They have the staff and time to focus on each project and are not put off by our politics or our queerness.

It's been in the works for a while. We went through a long process of weighing our options. I struggled a lot with the corporate ties of Hollywood, they are owned by Disney. But in the end feel good about the decision. Honestly, I was won over by the enthusiasm and willingness to get creative with a contract that offers us things more important than money, i.e. creative freedom and vast opportunities to grow musically. We did weigh this against other offers, including independents, but didn't find the level of enthusiasm or understanding of our music that Hollywood showed. We did consider putting our own label together, but it just wasn't in the cards. In the end, we felt that for the Indigo Girls, this was the best road. The deal also allows us to pursue our solo interests and specifically for me, gives me the space to focus on my indie label-Daemon Records.

This is fascinating to me. The backstory is that Indigo Girls have been with Sony/Epic Records since the late '80s, and fulfilled their final contractual obligation with them a year or so ago. Over the years, IG have become less mainstream - no real "singles" to speak of, although they still pack houses when the tour - and as such, they've become understandably disenfranchised with the whole "major label" thing. They remained mum after parting ways with Sony, but it was assumed that they'd either go with a small indie or start their own label. So this news is surprising.

I'll have to wait and see how it turns out. I hope it rejuvinates them - not that they need rejuvinating - and that Hollywood can somehow bring them back to the forefront a little. Hollywood Records is the American record label for Queen, so I'm relatively familiar with them in that aspect. They had a solid start on the Queen front back in the early '90s, when they released every Queen album on CD, remastered with various bonus tracks and/or remixes. However, since then, obviously the possible output from Queen has been limited, so Hollywood has put out the following Greatest Hits releases:

  • Classic Queen (1992)
  • Greatest Hits (1992)
  • The Queen Collection (combining the above two) (1992)
  • Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 & 2 ) (1995)
  • Queen Rocks (featuring only uptempo songs, save for a new song by the three remaining members, "No One But You") (1997)
  • The Crown Jewels (box set featuring their first 8 albums) (1998)
  • Greatest Hits Vol. 3 (attributed to "Queen +," as it had to really scrounge around to find tracks for this disc, and as such, picked some tracks without Freddie on 'em) (1999)
  • Greatest Hits: We Will Rock You Edition (I could try to explain this one, but it's really difficult. Erlewine gives it his best shot here) (2004)
And just yesterday, Hollywood Record released "Queen: Stone Cold Classics:"

Now this is pathetic. From the press release:

(Burbank, CA) April 11, 2006, The mighty legacy of rock band Queen is brought back to the fore for a fresh hearing in Stone Cold Classics, a new CD collection of 12 of the band's biggest hits and timeless rock classics, with the additional bonus of two new live tracks performed by Queen + Paul Rodgers, recorded during their first tour together.

Stone Cold Classics showcases original versions of a selection of the songs being performed by the eight finalists of the U.S.'s No. 1 rated entertainment television show American Idol during a special Queen edition of the show which airs April 11 and 12 on Fox.
Do you see why I'm a bit worried about Hollywood Records?

As I said before, I recognize that they really don't have much more that they can do with Queen. Freddie Mercury has been dead for almost 15 years (yes, it's been that long). They're currently touring with Paul Rodgers, and, well...Hollywood has already released a live CD/DVD from that venture. But is the solution to keep churning out the same old hits, again and again (with a truly uninspired, half-assed cover, I might add), in the hopes that someone who hasn't bought them already will now be convinced? And while I do think it is possible - that someone who watches "American Idol" will be inspired to find out more about Queen - unless "Stone Cold Classics" is drilled into their heads during the broadcast (and who knows, it might be), how are they going to know which one to buy? If the answer from Hollywood is along the lines of "Who cares? As long as they buy just one," then I'm not convinced it's the right home for Indigo Girls.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Followup: "Living In TV Land"

Last week, I raved about the debut episode of "Living In TV Land," this one featuring William Shatner:

I had no idea what to expect, but imagined the show would be rather cheesy and gimmick-y like other shows focusing on these types of stars (The Surreal Life, My Fair Brady, etc). What can I say...I was dead wrong. Instead, what I found was a documentary that was interesting, well crafted and well edited, and, most importantly, honest...I can't imagine that all the other episodes will be as good, but I'm looking forward to finding out.

Tonight I watched episode 2, featuring Barry Williams:


To my dismay, it was the polar opposite of what I saw last week: it was scripted, it was full of phony moments, and just disengenous all around. Thankfully, it only lasted 30 minutes (as opposed to Shatner's 60).

The show focuses on the following, as the press release states: TV Land cameras capture Williams when the devoted baseball fan is offered the opportunity to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Dodgers Stadium.

The only problem: there's this whole facade of TV Land just happening to catch Williams when he receives this news. TV Land is there, they tell us. Only problem is, they've got a camera on Williams when he receives the call, and (gasp!) they just so happen to have a camera on famed Dodgers player Don Drysdale as he makes the call to Williams. And it's only downhill from there. Because Williams is not an especially gifted actor, he doesn't sound surprised when he gets the call, he fakes determination as he searches his garage for his old mitt (and magically finds the old Brady tiki idol from the Hawaii episode), and pushes the whole overly stressed bit when he's preparing for his big moment. All in all, the moments are meant, I suppose, to be charming or cute, and they're neither.

There are some guest stars in this episode as well: Shatner's episode featured Candace Bergen, Leonard Nimoy and Brad Paisley, among others. These don't make as much sense. Yeah, there's Christopher Knight, with whom he practices his pitching, but that makes sense; he was a Brady, and plus, I kinda like Christopher Knight after watching the VH1 reality shows I referenced above. But here's where it gets weird: for no reason whatsoever, Williams goes out to a pool hall (Hollywood Billiards, I believe?) and plays pool with the following former TV stars:

Mackenzie Phillips (One Day At A Time)
Jeff Conaway (Taxi)
Julie McCullough (Growing Pains)

This infuriated me, for a number of reasons, but the greatest reason being: Julie McCullough got OLD, man! She's weathered! And it kills me to say this, because when she played Kirk Cameron's girlfriend on Growing Pains, I developed the biggest crush ever. I thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world. And when I found out she was not only a Playboy Playmate but also got nekkid in the brilliant, brilliant Big Bad Mama II, my head damn near exploded. Julie McCullough has always had a special place in my heart. And yes, she still looks pretty good...but I guess I haven't seen her in a while. Yes, a small piece of my heart broke tonight watching Living In TV Land.

Where was I?

So the episode finally ends with Williams throwing out the first pitch. Only we never actually see the pitch. Instead, we see shots of Williams kicking his feet in the mound, wiping his brow, winding his arm up...then we see a horribly animated image of a ball flying in the air, and a shot of it landing squarely in the catcher's mitt. That's right: we never actually see the moment that the entire show has led up to. What a fucking gyp.

There are two moments in the show that are, at least, interesting, but I'll share them here so you don't have to waste your time. The first shows Williams doing a personal appearance at the American Payroll Association. It provides the only real moment in the show: him signing autographs for middle-aged women who had crushes on him long ago. He does seem like he truly appreciates his fans, and is comfortable with the fact that he'll always be, and only be, Greg Brady.

The second moment happens at the gym when Williams is training (inexplicably) for his first pitch. He's on the treadmill. A guy comes up and exclaims, "oh man! Greg Brady! I am such a big fan! You guys traveled around in that bus, singing songs!" Williams responds, "...that was The Partridge Family." The guy responds with, "oh, alright...well, good meeting you, man!" and leaves. The point is that the guy who approaches him is clearly a paid actor, and not a very good one. TV Land felt compelled to manufacture even this, the very smallest of moments, in the hopes of getting a cheap laugh. They don't get it, and they don't deserve your 22 minutes of viewing time.

Next week is Adam West. I'll still watch. I feel obligated to at least report back, now that some of you wrote me and said you were going to watch the series. But if Julie McCullough is in it again, I'm jumping out the window.

Tax Free Clothing!

Thanks, Foxy, for alerting me to the news that clothing and shoes under $110 are now completely tax-free all year long!

Which is really good news for me since I don't think I've ever bought a piece of clothing over $110.

Where is the bathroom on the Millennium Falcon?

All the answers to your burning Star Wars questions can be found here.

I think a few of the answers are bullshit, but that's just me. You gotta give 'em points for creativity.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Secrets of Trader Joe's

So I'm the last person to report on this, but Trader Joe's has invaded New York City. I made my first trip to Trader Joe's a month or so ago, although it was at their Plainview location, out on Long Island. And the next time I go to Trader Joe's, it'll be that location once again.

See, I stopped at the Union Square location last week to pick up some of the guacamole tortilla chips (which rock my world) and the tomato-garlic soup (which rocks Jess's world and makes me shudder from her breath afterwards). I filled up my cart with a good number of items, and only then did I happen to notice the line. The line that lined the entire perimeter of the fucking store.

I put everything back and left. It would have been quicker for me to go back to Astoria, get my car, and drive out to Plainview. Yeah, I'm a Bridge & Tunnel loser...but there's no line in Plainview. So suck it, Manhattanites. Enjoy your 65-minute wait for frozen chicken shumai!

Anyway, the nice thing about Trader Joe's opening in NYC is that I've recently read two great articles about the company.

First: For Trader Joe's, a New York Taste Test (New York Times). And I agree, dill can be very polarizing.

Second: An Insider's Guide to Trader Joe's (Slate). I've only been to the store once, and already I concur with this tip:

More Bags Per Dollar. Here's a fun one, New Yorkers. I'll be surprised if, within your first few shops at TJ's, you don't find yourself at the register thinking, Wow, that was cheaper than I expected. How often does that happen at Whole Foods?
When we were at the Plainview location, I kept chiding Jessica for filling up our cart with shit we didn't need (obviously ignoring the fact that all Trader Joe's sells is shit we don't really need). I figured our bill would be around $150. Nope. $66. Unbelievable.

You Put Your Windows In My Mac

If you haven't heard already (and if so, how have you not heard already?), Apple has released their Boot Camp software for Intel Macs. Long story short: Macintosh computers can now boot up in either Windows XP or OS X. I was planning on writing about what an amazing thing this is, but John Gruber covers it way better than I ever could in "Windows: The New Classic."

One Year!

I started running Plagiarist one year ago today. Thank you to all of you who have taken the time to read, comment and/or contribute. I really appreciate it.

Some really nifty changes are coming to Plagiarist in the next couple of months. I look forward to sharing them with you.

Thanks again!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Everything You Know About Muzak Is Wrong

It's easy to scan the length of this article and wonder if Muzak is really interesting enough to warrant all this information. But this piece is full of fascinating tidbits - too many to list here. All I know is that I need a job as an Audio Architect.

The New Yorker: The Soundtrack Of Your Life

Artists Hatin' On Artists

And you thought the Metheny-Kenny G feud was bad! Well...okay, this one's really not as bad. But I do enjoy seeing Thomas Dolby get his panties in a bunch over...Kevin Federline. (anchorvoice) Stereogum has the story. (/anchorvoice) And in related news, it is still, indeed, Peanut Butter Feder Time, and Thomas Dolby was some kind of overdramatic mime at some point.

And isn't this a nifty poster?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Queensr├┐che Returns

OPERATION: MINDCRIME II electric boogaloo

Needs no words from me, really. Except for a few choice bits from this AllMusic review:

In any case the most startling thing about II is its sound: pure 1980s heavy metal. The band went back to exploring the kinds of technology used on the first segment and basically revisited it, retuned the guitars to A., and let it rip. Shockingly, it doesn't sound cheesy at all.


Tate looks at the current political and social landscape and can only say that "everything moves faster now/living at the speed of light," other than that, it's the same -- which is why a sequel was predicated in the first place.


There are some new factors on II: Michael Kamen is not on-board as the string arranger this time out; Ashif Hakik is.

(that's 'cause he's dead.)

There are guests vocalists here, of course, including Pamela Moore, Miranda Tate, and the voice of Dr. X: Ronnie James Dio!

Dio is a great choice. Dio has rocked for a long, long time.

Go pick up Operation: Mindcrime II today! Ronnie James Dio is standing by.

Ms. New Booty

When your Baby Got Back get's old and tired, buy her a Ms. New Booty.


Saturday, April 01, 2006

Today's Pranks

If you're looking to see what's weird about the web today, this wiki is a really good place to start.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to find a new mate.