Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I'm Scrooge, Byutch!

The Patrick Stewart remake of Dickens's A Christmas Carol is on TNT. Somehow I can't get into this modern take on the classic. Stewart just turned away a group of men collecting for charity, and while the acting was passable, I expected him to shout, "Don't you know who I am? I'm Scrooge, for fuck's sake! My name is synonymous with stinginess! There's even a Disney character to explain my penny pinching to children. Now get out of here before you feel my cane!"

On cue, the Ghost of Christmas Past has arrived and Stewart asks, "Are you the spirit whose coming was foretold?" Scrooge is lucky this is the olden times or the specter's reply might be a little less cordial, "No, jackass, I'm just some flamboyantly dressed ghost hanging out in your bedroom at the exact hour that that other ghost is supposed to be here."

Someone should update the remake. Or stick to the adaptation.


Monday, December 12, 2005

Adios, Amigo!

Matt Morris's time with the Cardinals has come to an end. After a record of 101-62 with the "birds on the bats" he's moving on. No longer a young man, but still a damned fine pitcher, he's heading west to rejoin Mike Matheny (who always looks stoned) in San Francisco. The Giants offered him $27 million over 3 years (a lot more than the Cardinals could/would spend) to make him their number 2 starter. Even though he was the number 3 starter in St. Louis behind Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter and Mark Mulder, Morris was an undisputed leader of this Cardinals team.

Here's to you, Matty Mo. You'll be missed.


Sunday, December 11, 2005

Richard Pryor, R.I.P.

Mr. Pryor, you were a funny motherfucker.
Thank you for making that last sentence possible.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Screw Monday

Well, yesterday was a big disappointment.
The Eagles and the snow failed to show up. The Eagles were completely missing in a 42-0 loss in Philadelphia to the Seattle Seahawks. Damn. The snow at least got on the scoreboard with a puny dusting.

Thankfully, I didn’t see the game until the 4th quarter when I got home from the Islands/Hail Social/A Sides show at the Church.

Hail Social have a legitimate reason to grouse about yesterday: their practice space was broken into. The band announced during their set that they are looking for a new place to play. No word on what, if anything, was stolen. If you can't put them up, help them out by buying their album.

Someone has to know something about these constant practice space break-ins that regularly occur in and around Philly.

WTF: Is "Next Great City" status based on having 30-plus Starbucks? They're fuckin' everywhere. So this is how Philly's been garnering the same kind of hype that Seattle had in the early 1990s. Get your coffee elsewhere.

Sports Wrap-up: New York City now has 2 baseball closers who employ "Enter Sandman" as their theme songs when coming out of the bullpen: Mariano Rivera with the Yankees, of course, and Johnny-Come-Lately Billy Wagner of the Mets.

Will Wagner and the Mets defer to Rivera, the elder Sandman in New York? If both closers keep "Sandman" as their themes, this could make for great tabloid fodder. The Daily News and the Post could carry a "Sandman" tally of saves on the back pages. The "Sandman" duel might even add some interest to the annual inter-league subway series, whose novel appeal is waning (coming soon: my rant that inter-league play is bad for baseball because it dilutes existing rivalries and the new rivalries it purports to create aren’t real because they’re forced).

Wagner is overlooking the obvious (better?) choice of entrance music: Richard Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries". Valkyries is some serious impending doom-type shit. Maybe Billy's trying to be his own man and stop living in Richard's shadow.

My man Izzy's choice of Sevendust on this list leaves me scratching my head, but not as much as Todd Jones' selection.


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

In honor of the season, I’ve prepared a feast of BKJ to give you food for thought, something to chew on, or turn your stomach. It’s all good, because I’m thankful for anyone reading and ingesting this curdled gravy skin of a blog.

I suppose the first thing I should do is establish the setting of this entry. I’m out in Lancaster County, where 80s hair metal lives forever on the radio, and Bryan Adams and Def Leppard drew the largest crowd of drunken Amish kids ever to Clipper Magazine Stadium.

Up (too) early after a night-before-Thanksgiving bender, my mom has the TV set so she can flip between the parades in New York and Philadelphia with one button.

9:20 Philadelphia/9:25 New York: After the Cookie Monster balloon in Philly it’s Thelma Houston performing on a float with dinosaurs (hooray for evolution, boo for the unintended implication that Houston’s prehistoric). This beats New York’s parade with cast members of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” by a mile.

9:26 New York: Sticking with the upscale parade, we have a group of kids singing, dancing, and obviously hamming it up in hopes of being discovered. I can’t believe one of the little brats sang that she’s thankful for her cell phone. I’m thankful my mom changed the channel, and I tell her so.

9:26 Philadelphia: Tony Danza’s hosting the parade, but Kelly Ripa’s on the way. Marching band and pre-recorded Thanksgiving wishes from Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, and The View.

9:30 Philadelphia: Bob the Builder balloon and the Brentwood High School marching band from Tennessee. Dave Roberts just exclaimed the Mrs. Incredible is hot and noticed her curves.

9:38 Philadelphia: Grease. God, I hate that musical. Is it too early for beer?

9:39 New York: Jersey Boys is a minor improvement.

While playing with the dog I lose track of time and space.

?? Philadelphia?: Jailbait cheerleaders performing to “Jailhouse Rock” and “Hound Dog”.

Got my bearings back, but I still don’t know what time it is.
Philadelphia is looking great (on TV). It’s a sunny day and the Cow Jumped Over the Moon balloon is bouncing off the Parkway followed by an Alabama marching band. Civic Pride moment: It’s great to see bands from around the country performing in Philadelphia. Cheers Philly.

Philadelphia: Danza’s departing and the Curious George balloon is deflating. What’s up with all the balloon problems? Oh shit, it's Annie. This little girl's shitty lip syncing has destroyed the illusion of the parade. Boo! I’m outta here.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Revenge of the Sixth!

File this one under old news.

Philly's the Sixth Most Dangerous City in America!*

This claim to fame beats that horseshit about being the "Sixth Borough" any day of the week. Yo New York! You don't have shit on our town with your 4th Safest City ranking. Pussies.

Go Sixers!

*Population of 500,000 or more.
Special thanks to all Camden residents who crossed the Ben Franklin Bridge to boost Philly's rating.


Monday, November 21, 2005

Camden: "We're # 1!"

Camden, NJ: Still the 'Most Dangerous' city in America.

Pop the tops on the Mad Dog 20/20, Camden. You have earned the right to celebrate.

In his concession speech, runner up Detroit's Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick spoke graciously, "You have to take your hat off to the city of Camden. They did what was necessary to defend their title."

And what was necessary were sharks. Not resting after their 2004 victory, Camden rechristened the New Jersey State Aquarium Adventure Aquarium and released sharks into the beleaguered waterfront city.

Running for his stripped SUV, one mauled tourist commented, "Holy shit! I thought I had gotten through the worst of it after that mugger shot me and took my wallet, but then a fuckin' shark bit my goddamned arm off!"

Inside Adventure Aquarium it was a party atmosphere.

Amidst a swarm of flipper high fives, one shark noted, "Look, it's simple, if you don't want your frickin' head bit off, don't come to Camden." A tankmate echoed the sentiment, "I live for this shit. All I do is swim and eat and make baby sharks."

Mayor Gwendolyn A. Faison looking relaxed, spoke from behind the 6-inch bulletproof glass surrounding her desk. "It takes a village. I thought Camden's title was in real trouble when they started charging $25 for parking at the Tweeter Center. It turns out my worries were unfounded; they had no intention of investing any of that money into the community."

Owners of the Tweeter Center parking lots were unavailable for comment but released this statement: With the recent announcement that Camden is the most dangerous city in America, we will be raising our parking prices to $30 next summer.

Undaunted by the escalating parking fees, one X-treme sports fanatic was hyped up about his stab wound. "Dude, this town is f'in X-treme! I live for the adrenaline rush!" At press time, at least three travel agencies were putting together X-treme Adventure tours to Camden.

Asked about the possibility of a three-peat, one carjacker was humble, "We’re taking it one season at a time." He added, "It's hard work staying on top with all the parity in the MDC [Most Dangerous City] league. You have to be resourceful. I trust in the mayor though. I mean, who would've predicted sharks. That just takes the cake."

Beaming with pride when told of the compliment, Faison leaned back in her throne, smiled broadly and shouted out the window to a bleeding pedestrian, "Be sure to tell the hospital that Camden sent ya, we have a reputation to maintain."


Saturday, November 19, 2005

Bright Eyes, Dirty Trailer

"I will die for you" is the new "Wash Me"
Bright Eyes at the Academy of Music tonight. Support R5 Productions.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Cease and De-Sixth!

How better to celebrate Philadelphia’s music scene than by calling it a New York suburb?

That’s the thinking over at Plain Parade, which just released a compilation of Philadelphia musicians entitled: Songs from the Sixth Borough.

Note to Plain Parade: The title for your Philadelphia comp is just plain awful. For shame. I expect this kind of misrepresentation from Jessica “My Chin Is the 6th Borough” Pressler, but I didn’t think you would market Philadelphia as a New York suburb.

Philebrity clued me in that Pressler’s fucked up, completely inaccurate NY Times article about Philadelphia was referenced on the Gilmore Girls. Who knew that that pile of dog shit would stink so long?

Memo to Ms. Pressler: Stop misrepresenting my town.

Half-assed letter of application to the
New York Times: Dear Venerable Establishment of the Main Stream Media: I humbly offer my services to cover Philadelphia without blatant distortion of facts or comparing it to New York at every turn. In my coverage, I won’t sell Philly short in order to promote an agenda of mass exodus from the Big Apple (admit it, Pressler was just a tool in your grand scheme to get people to move out of your city, so you have a little extra sidewalk space). Thanking you in advance for the word and liquor money.

Sincerely, Jesse D’s nuts (take that apostrophe any way you like it).

Am I the only person in Philadelphia who rankles at these constant attempts to ingratiate Philly with New York? Does it not dawn on those who call this town the 6th Borough that they are selling Philadelphia’s independence (and indie rock) short? Oh, I get it. It’s just fun and no one takes it seriously, so I shouldn’t get worked up over it. Maybe I should just have a good time and let a $10
appletini at Glam melt my cares away. Horseshit. The joke isn’t funny anymore (and I’m not convinced it ever was). Philly represent.


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

When the Music's Over

November 5, 2005

I grew up with this band; I remember when they were just "The Lovers". I apologize for that joke. It was the nasty biproduct of the Bigger Lovers' farewell all-you-can-drink concert. When the beer ran out, I sobered up, and had the kind of regrets that Richard Lewis knows only too well. That guy is not funny.


Monday, November 07, 2005

Your Slogan is Tasty and Stupid

In its efforts to protect seals, HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) has come up with an incredibly stupid and profitable slogan: "Club Sandwiches, Not Seals"

HSUS wants you to boycott Canadian seafood until the slaughter of seals ends. There has been no call for an embargo on Canadian bacon. The HSUS doesn't believe humane treatment of animals should apply to delicious animals, and they actually endorse the consumption of pigs (adding bacon magically transforms a sandwich into a club sandwich).

Well, if Paris Hilton sports the slogan, how stupid can it really be?


Strike Out

The SEPTA strike is over and employees are going back to work. For the past 7 days, this town was disabled by a lack of public transportation. In comparison, Chicago’s Transit Authority advertises that 100% of its buses are fully accessible to people with disabilities. That’s an ad campaign to be proud of, and it makes SEPTA’s "This is an Eating Town" ad look like crap.

Maybe something good will come out of this strike. I’m crossing my fingers but not holding my breath—except when going into a subway station. Clean up your act, SEPTA. Start with the Independence Hall stop at 5th Street and branch out from there. That station is a hub of tourist activity and sprucing it up would do wonders for your image. The way these subway stations look and smell is completely unac-SEPTA-ble.


Friday, October 28, 2005

(Buzz) Killing Moon

Consumer Alert: Blue Moon Belgian White is a Coors product.

I took a tour of the Coors Brewery in Golden, Colorado a few years ago and sampled Blue Moon. It pales in comparison to the true Belgian beers (with its measly 5.4% apv), so don't get suckered into paying inflated prices for this swill.

The label says it's brewed by the Blue Moon Brewing Company, and unless you search for information on Blue Moon you're unlikely to know it's a Coors product, which says to me that Coors is trying to attract consumers who look unfavorably on their products. And frankly, if a beer has to be served ice cold to be palatable (as Coors Light is marketed), who wouldn't look unfavorably on it?


Save the Seals

Phillybits has called on bloggers to use the Presidential Seal (pictured far right in honor of this administration) on their web sites, so I consider this entry my civic duty for civil disobedience.

Bush couldn’t give a damn about saving seals (or any other form of wildlife), but damned if his tighty whiteys aren’t in a bunch over the Presidential Seal (sorry for that unpleasant mental image).

The White House’s letter to The Onion for unlicensed use of the Presidential Seal has been widely reported. Personally I think it’s another way of drawing attention away from a leaking Cheney (common in older men according to WebMD).

The article in the New York Times about Bush taking issue with The Onion ends with a comment by White House spokesman Trent Duffy, “"Despite the seriousness of the Bush White House, more than one Bush staffer reads The Onion and enjoys it thoroughly," he said. "We do have a sense of humor, believe it or not." Obviously, Duffy’s sense of humor is not shared by Bush. Expect his termination within the month.


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

There's Always Room for Jello...Except Tonight

Check out the dance card for tonight.

Ween at the House of Blues in Atlantic City
Jello Biafra and the Melvins at the First Unitarian Church
Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah! at the TLA

I had a ticket to the Ween show before I found out about Jello and the Melvins. I love Ween (and I can't count the number of times I've seen them), but the Jello/Melvins show is going to be INSANE! Plus, getting to A.C. just isn't as convenient as walking to the F.U.C.

The J/M show is sold out, so if you don't have a ticket go see Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! at the TLA and support Katrina Relief (Philebrity has free CYHSY downloads). Do not be a self-important asshole and show up at the Church thinking you're going to get in. You're not. About a month ago when CYHSY played the Church there was a big "Sold Out" sign in large print hanging outside the venue. Wouldn't you know a bunch of illiterate assholes didn't think the sign applied to them and tried to get in anyway. They were turned away cold, but in the process they blocked the entrance for people with the foresight to buy tickets in advance. They were lucky it was a pacified hipster crowd for CYHSY. Try that shit tonight, and you're going to get your fuckin' clock cleaned.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Paid in "Full"

I read a long story today.*

Finished Tom Wolfe’s A Man in Full (excellent read—an immense, sprawling slice of Americana in league with DeLillo’s Underworld and Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay) that stretches from coast to coast and cuts across all stratums of society.

Although set primarily in Atlanta, Wolfe’s tale parallels Philadelphia (and probably every city in the U.S.—which may explain its vast appeal; people relate to it) with its shady land development deals, shifty politicians, tarnished sports superstars, and social maneuvering at every level (from intrapersonal to interpersonal). It’s a very cognitive novel. The wheelings and dealings that take place on a city-wide scale reflect the internal/personal decisions and motives of each individual. Man tackles issues of race, power, affluence, wealth, social standing, etc.…with everything tying together in the end as neatly (though not as pleasantly) as John Kennedy O’Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces.

One of the best parts of the novel is Wolfe’s ability to capture and contrast the relative insecurities, anxieties, and troubles of the working poor and the fabulously wealthy. It put the Terrell Owens contract in a whole new light for me. I sneered the first time I heard T.O. say he couldn’t provide for his family/children under his current contract/pay scale. This football star makes more money in a season than most Americans (myself included) will ever see in our entire lives, and yet he is crying that he can’t make ends meet. Of course, if Sunday’s game against the Chargers is any indication, T.O. has started waiting tables for extra income (and general consensus is he shouldn't quit his day job).

I probably shouldn’t feel compassion for the financial woes of someone so incredibly fortunate and rich as Terrell Owens, but after reading Charlie Croker’s mental distress over financial problems in A Man in Full, I feel better able to understand the anxiety Owens is feeling (if he’s not faking). Wolfe makes his points without beating the reader over the head with them. He cuts through race, gender, and economic status to render human every one of his characters, which doesn’t necessarily make them more likeable.

*Actually, I read it in early September.


Sunday, October 23, 2005

Mass Transit

SEPTA, our sorry excuse for a public transportation system, has just unveiled a new marketing campaign. I'll leave it to others to question the timing of this expensive new ad campaign in the face of a potential strike on October 31. I'm going to question the campaign itself.

Philebrity had an entry on the ads about a week ago, but it wasn't until Friday that I came face to face with the slogans. The first two ads put the pun in "mass transit" as they both revolve around food and eating.

"This is an eatin' town, and I'm an eatin' man."
"There's no debate. It's called gravy, not pasta sauce."

For years I wondered where the "there" was in SEPTA's old slogan, "We're Getting There." Now I know "there" meant the fucking food trough. It explains everything. Why did that bus fail to stop to pick me up? Because the driver's an eatin' man and he was too damned hungry to stop.

SEPTA: Call us incompetent; don't call us late for dinner.

Dubbed the "Genuine Philly" campaign, SEPTA's website translates the intended message of the ads: "SEPTA is the driving* force and fabric that holds the Greater Philadelphia region together." If SEPTA's holding this town together, then Philly's in a shitload of trouble.

Trading cards based on the ads are available at SEPTA sales locations and feature coupons for Reading Terminal Market, which make them more valuable than David Bell's baseball card.

*Oh those punny bastards.


Thursday, October 13, 2005

I Do Run On

"It's been a long time, I shouldn't have left you/Without a strong rhyme to step to"

-Eric B and Rakim, "I Know You Got Soul"

It turns out I curse too much in my blog to access it from work. Well, fuck. Guess I'll just have to access it from home at 3 in the morning when I'm awake and sick as a dog.

This entry, my first in about a month, is a little gross. If you have a sensitive stomach (one of the few symptoms I don't currently have), but are still jonesin' for a little Bloody Knee Jerk, check out this piece I wrote on Sufjan Stevens a few weeks ago in the City Paper.

Getting back to the point, I am illin' to the point where I'm coming up with nasal metaphors. My nostrils share an appendage (the nose, for those of you who flunked anatomy), but right now they couldn't be more different. The left nostril I've dubbed Philadelphia. It has some problems, but in general it's functioning fine. Just a few centimeters away across a thin membrane (which would be the Delaware River in this metaphor), my right nostril is Camden: full of pain, pressure, and possibly a crack den or two.

My sinus cavities run deeper than the mines of Moria, and right now there's something evil and burning down in the abyss. It has me wishing Superman were real and that I could somehow convince him to shrink himself and fly into my nose (like he does with that city in glass he keeps around) and use his heat vision to burn off all the mucous from the inside of my nose. Chances are Superman would become engulfed in snot, get lost in the dark tunnels, and die.

For all the blowing, kneading, medication, and even punching, "I'm still running" to quote Sleater-Kinney's "What's Mine is Yours". My next step is to get a suction pump, attach some aquarium air hose to it, shove it in as far as it will go, and syphon out the goo. Is there an all-night pet shop around?

This entry is as disposable as a used tissue.


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Down on the Farm

With less than a month left in their inaugural season, I'm beginning to feel some urgency to publish this blog entry on the Lancaster Barnstormers that's been festering for some time as a "draft". This thing's still half baked, but maybe it will inspire baseball fans to take a road trip.

Saturday, August 6, 2005: Clipper Magazine Stadium

I was reminded of the brilliant George Carlin bit "Baseball and Football" when I went home to Lancaster to see my first Barnstormers game. My westward trek wouldn't be the only instance of homecoming at this game. The team's manager, Tommy Herr, is the most obvious example. A Lancaster native and solid second baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals in the 80s (including their 1982 World Championship), Herr was wooed back to the Red Rose city to lead the Barnstormers in their debut season. The Barnstormers entered the game tied for first place in the Atlantic Division (which includes the Camden Riversharks).

Final Score: Long Island Ducks 8, Lancaster Barnstormers 5
This game was over in the top of the first inning when the Ducks jumped out to a 6-0 lead with a whole lotta singles, and while the 'Stormers battled back and made the game interesting (the tying run was at the plate in the 9th), sloppy play and poor pitching doomed the home team (I had to figure out how to indicate the visiting side batted around on my scorecard).

It was Millersville University night at the ballpark, and the ‘Ville gave away free t-shirts and beer cozies. The stadium was awash in gold and black (MU colors), but just saying "Millersville University foul poles" summoned up STD connotations and the Ice Cube lyric, "found you a college boy who was worse than me, and he probably fucked the whole university"*. The Millersville Marauder was absent and the new mascot (the Marauder's parrot) can't dance for shit. He/she/it was out-Roboted by the Cyclo, the orange-red demon cow. Neither were any match for the winner of the Stoltzfus Sausage Dance Contest (the prize: sausages for the entire row).

Nicole Brewer, Miss Pennsylvania 2005 (and a Millersville alumnus) returned to Lancaster to throw out the first pitch. What? The Dairy Princess wasn’t available? They must be so proud at MU. She has a newsletter. sponsored a toothbrush race around the bases between innings. Two girls armed with giant toothbrushes raced in opposite directions from home plate around the bases, stopping to sweep the dirt off the bases along the way. Didn’t anyone tell them never to run with sticks?

Secondbaseman Travis Hake’s coming-to-the-plate music: “Thank God, I’m a Country Boy”.

Another between-innings race, this one sponsored by Herr's, with fans jumping around in potato (chip) sacks. With all these races and activities (rock wall, etc.), why are Lancaster County residents so fat?

Beer cut-off in 7th inning was standard. Not standard were the beers on tap. Selections from Lancaster Brewing Company sold for the same price as domestic drafts. Delicious brews: Hop Hog and a weizen beer (which may not have been from LBC).

Around the 8th inning I got into an exchange with an Atlanta Braves fan (I was wearing a Jim Edmonds t-shirt). The Cards had lost earlier in the day to the Braves (8-1), and Mr. Brave asked, “What happened to the Cardinals today?” I replied, “What happened to the Braves last night?” when the Cards had won 11-3. The conversation ended amicably when I told him, "Just take care of the Astros in the 1st round, if you face them." The Cards won the rubber match 5-3 on Sunday in dramatic fashion (David Eckstein hit a walk-off grand slam).

Guess the attendance contest answer: 7,545 fans. It was the 2nd largest attendance in Clipper Magazine Stadium History. I had guessed 10,500-something. I didn’t win.

Merry-go-round featured chickens, horses, Dalmatians, Raptors, giraffes, etc.

*from "Look Who's Burning" off Death Certificate.


Sunday, September 04, 2005

Woody Allen: Hobbesian

Woody Allen begins Annie Hall by telling a joke about two elderly women complaining about the food in a Catskills resort: "It's terrible"..."And such small portions". He goes on to explain that the joke basically encompasses his view of life.

I didn't automatically recall Annie Hall the first time I read Thomas Hobbes's The Leviathan in which he writes, "the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short", but somewhere along the line I began to wonder if Hobbes was making a joke.

It would help explain that cartoon about a boy and his stuffed tiger.


Burning Questions

Not to get all philosophical, but there were a few questions at the drinking table tonight that I thought I'd throw out to the BKJ readers (yes, I made a fuckin' abbreviation out of the title of this blog a la NKOTB/New Kids on the Block--I feel no shame or anything else at this point).

Elvis Costello vs. The Pixies
"Alison" vs. "Allison"
"Veronica" vs. "Velouria"

If that latter comparison isn't indicative of drunkeness, try this one...

Would you rather live in a House of Pancakes or a Waffle House?


Saturday, September 03, 2005

Yo, Indy!

Attention Raiders!
Need better directions to the lost Ark than the headpiece to the staff of Ra? Look no further. The Ark of the Covenant isn't buried in Tanis, it's on 10th Street in Philadelphia.

Still searching? eBay doesn't have the Ark (yet), but there are all kinds of Raiders replicas, including the headpiece to the staff of Ra and the idol--which would make a great paperweight at work if it weren't a fertility God (too much potential for sexual harassment suits).


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Welcome to the 20th Century, Asshole!

I got a cell phone on Monday.

Things I plan to do with my new phone.
1. Have an obnoxiously loud conversation on the subway.
2. Same as above but substitute "street" for "subway".
3. Talk while taking a leak at a Phillies game.
4. Answer it while in a meeting at work.
5. Take a call during a movie.
6. Download "Holy Diver" ringtone.
7. Drunk dial.
8. Forget to charge it.
9. Forget it at home.*
10. Drop it.
11. Lose it.
12. Repeat.

*Accomplished #9 today.


Thursday, August 18, 2005

Tippin' the 40

This week's City Paper features a piece entitled "Cheap Shots" by Ashlea Halpern. This lady's a connoisseur of low-end liquor with an appreciation for Ice Cube. Damn! Her writing makes a man go weak in his bloody knees. I'm tippin' the 40 to ya, shorty.

In other alcohol-related news, Olde English 800 has some serious competition for the title of "Cadillac of 40s". Dogfish Head has produced a high-end Liqueur de Malt (pictured to the right)* that is delicious and pricey. The Liqueur loses points for its 7-dollar price tag and pre-printed brown bags, which just scream pretention when you're drinkin' on the stoop.

"drinkin' straight out the 8 bottle, do I look like a muthafuckin' role model?" --Ice Cube

*Halpern's article motivated me to get a 40, take a picture of it, and figure out how to put pictures on this damn blog.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Stupidity? It's in the Jeans

A fool and his money are soon parted.

Slate Magazine asks: will people soon stop buying $300 blue jeans?

Stop paying 300 dollars for a pair of jeans? I can't believe people started paying that much for denim pants. Who, besides celebrities, would pay this much for jeans? News Flash, Idiots: these celebrities usually get their clothes and jeans for free from designers who know there are about a thousand morons out there who will pay to wear the same brand.

Shit. Corporate casual dress code be damned, if I had a pair of $300 jeans I would live in them every day for a few years (provided they last that long) just to get my money's worth. But my point is, I will never own or wear a pair of $300 jeans (unless they fall out of the sky and are just my size, or inflation makes the dollar worthless and $300 is the new $20 bill). It is ridiculous. If you own a pair of $300 jeans (or god-forbid more than one pair), you had better be a philanthropist...otherwise you're just a selfish jerk. A friend informed me there are a lot of these "jean jerks" when I showed her this article. Walking home from work, I tried to spot one of these culprits. It wasn't easy. To the untrained eye, jeans look like jeans look like jeans in the well-lit outdoors. It's probably easier to distinguish designer trademarks in a dark nightclub...because you wouldn't want to go home with someone wearing the wrong pair of jeans, no matter how good they look. Right?

The designers behind these jeans are marketing geniuses. The consumers who buy these jeans are stupid with greed.


Sunday, August 14, 2005

The "Sixth" Incensed!

There was an article by Jessica Pressler entitled "Philadelphia Story: The Next Borough" in the New York Times today.

Pressler writes:

Philadelphians occasionally refer to their city - somewhat deprecatingly - as the "sixth borough" of New York, and with almost 8,000 commuters making the 75-minute train ride between the cities each weekday, the label seems not far off the mark.
Who refers to Philadelphia as the "sixth borough"? Writers looking to make a name for themselves in the New York Times? I've heard many people refer to Philly as a road bump between New York and D.C., but that designation still acknowledges that Philly is its own town. Isn't Connecticut already the "sixth borough"? How many damn boroughs does New York need? Allentown has been reclassified as a suburb of New York City. The Big Apple is becoming the monster that swallowed the East Coast. Keep calling Philly the "sixth borough" and see how many bands start skipping our town because they assume Philadelphians will just commute up to New York via train or "the popular Chinatown bus".

They are the first wave of what could be called Philadelphia's Brooklynization.
Let's hope that unfortunate name doesn't stick. At least she compared us to Brooklyn and not Queens.

"everyone knows someone who's moved here from New York," said Paul Levy
No shit? I think that statement is written in the universal truths of every city on the East Coast (and possibly farther, I don't get out of the "sixth borough" much). New Yorkers are like an infestation of locusts.

"We like going to shows here," Mr. Schmersal said. "In New York there are so many people, it's impossible to even get in to see hot bands."
The next time you can't get into the Khyber to see a hot band, blame Ms. Pressler. She's probably inside at the show you can't get into, attempting to score free drinks with her press credentials. Just wait outside for her.

between sips of Yuengling lager at a bar in the Northern Liberties neighborhood, an artists' enclave north of City Hall.
There you have it, the shining obligatory reference to Yuengling. An artists' enclave? Is that what Northern Liberties is now? Well, if it's in the New York Times, it must be true (just like $800 rent in Rittenhouse Square). Northern Liberties used to be such a nice working-class neighborhood, but artist enclave it must be. The next paragraph identifies Fishtown as the working-class neighborhood turned melting pot.

Pressler loses her focus at this point in her story (or maybe I missed a segue), but she stops talking about Philly as a "sixth borough" and focuses on people who move to Philly from New York, but don't commute back to Manhattan for work. Wasn't the commuting angle the whole point of writing this article on Philly as the "sixth borough" of New York City?

Sandwiched between New York and Washington, Philadelphia was a flyover city - trainover really - a place where a mayor had ordered the bombing of a neighborhood and where Eagles fans reveled in booing their own team, its chief popular exports cheese steaks and "Rocky."
What exactly has changed? Eagles fans still boo (most recently, T.O.), and the FCC regulates that every national broadcast of Philadelphia must include footage of cheesesteaks and a Rocky reference (the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall are optional). While she's on the topic of Philadelphia events and personalities with national recognition, she's forgetting Live 8 and Will Smith. Why no shout-out to the Roots?

Want some perspective on Pressler's New York Times schmoozing? Read the first blurb in this column she wrote in November 2004. She is quite the chameleon (Philly isn't Brooklyn, Philly is the new Brooklyn; I refuse to use the word "flip-flop", but the agenda for her Times article probably grew out of this piece).

Pressler can't be faulted for the picture of the Khyber that accompanied the story (that was Ryan Donnell), but of all the bars in all the world... Yeah, yeah, I know the Khyber can't subsist on a small, local scene of hipsters alone, but does it really need to attract jerks? Isn't that the clientele of every other bar on 2nd Street? Here come the bastards. It's a good picture though.


Saturday, August 13, 2005

Philly's Bermuda Triangle: Update

Walked past Dead Fred's (a.k.a. Foggy Ugly, etc.) tonight.
The property is up for sale, again.

What is up with that place? It rivals the Overlook Hotel for eeriness.

Found another rival to the Overlook Hotel through Google. Geek fun.


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Radio Report

My report is entitled: Why I Don't Listen to Top 40 Radio

While driving around Lancaster this past weekend without a tape or CD (and A Prairie Home Companion on NPR), I made the mistake of tuning into a local music station.

Green Day's "Wake Me Up When September Ends" might be the shittiest song of the new millennium (if pressed, I'm certain I could come up with a worse song).

I think deep down people know that Brittany Spears, Ashlee Simpson, and every boy band in the world produce disposable music that won't be relevant within a year; but Green Day used to be a legitimate band. The album (American Idiot) containing this turd won a Grammy for best rock album. This song emphatically does not rock.

The inanity begins with the opening line: "Summer has come and passed/The innocent can never last". Is this not the most overused imagery in the history of overused imagery? Summer as a passing time of innocence? The triteness of it all. They repeat that hackneyed couplet about a hundred times in the song.

How much payola went into airing this crap?

In conclusion: Green Day's new single sucks ass.

Support KEXP in Seattle and WPRB in New Jersey, they play good music.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Washington Square Park

Bravo Washington Square Park.
Today you had the fountain running and the eternal flame the same time!

And they said it would be done in 2000, 2003, and 2005. The squeaky CBS wheel gets the grease. I walk through Washington Square Park regularly, but I can't attest to whether the flame was lit before today.

Click here, here, and here to learn more about Philadelphia's Washington Square Park.

With the flame relit, let's see if we can get rid of those unsightly bike racks around Independence Hall. That crappy looking bunting isn't fooling anyone...the National Park Service is imprisoning our independence and rationing it as they see fit under the pretense of security. Things have improved marginally since this report, but the Park Service is threatening to erect a wall around the building. Maybe proponents of freedom should take comfort in the bike least you can still see Independence Hall.

Fuck that.

The National Park Service has been itching to put Independence Hall in lockdown since 1997. Those opportunistic bastards took advantage of 9/11 to railroad through their agenda (sounds like the war in Iraq, doesn't it?).

This is a sad situation for American liberty. If the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall aren't readily accessible to the public, then the terrorists accomplished their goal on September 11th...defeating the American ideal of freedom.

This guy gets it.

If the bike racks are an essential part of Independence Hall, then why aren't they pictured in postcards? Because they're fucking ugly. Shame on the National Park Service.


Saturday, August 06, 2005


My Ozzfest "Blistered in the Sun" published last week in the City Paper, but there are always more notes than fit in one column. What follows is sort of a b-sides compilation of comments.

Ozzfest 2005
Arch Enemy filled OTEP's usual role as the token female-fronted metal act this year. Still no sign of L7.

As I Lay Dying followed Mastodon on the "Hot Topic" second stage making for a double-dose of metal based on classic American literature. Only As I Lay Dying's literary influence doesn't extend to their lyrics, and they lose metal credibility because their band name landed on Oprah's Book Club.

The sun was baking us like the crew of the Pequod, and it was too hot to move or breathe during the set changes, so I entertained myself by thinking up stories using the names of Ozzfest bands. It was a stupid game, but here's an example:

As the Shadows Fall on a Black Sabbath night, Rob Zombie decides, It Dies Today. Throwing his Arch Enemy into the Iron Maiden ("Excellent!"), he pulled the Killswitch Engage lever. Mama Zombie always admonished him to "Bury Your Dead", and Rob prepared for the Soil Work ahead.
Yeah, that was lame, and that realization eventually cut through my heat-induced delirium and I walked through the crowd to the various vendor booths. As usual, there was a ton of free swag, and the best of it disappeared before noon, leaving only The Devil's Rejects postcards and temporary tattoos. At the Ozzfest table, promotional sampler CDs were free in exchange for your name and e-mail address. Despite the NHL strike, Bill Guerin ( scored again, and unemployment couldn't stop Ron Tugnutt ( from lending his John Hancock to the list.

The Trojan condom booth offered a giveaway that didn't add any additional weight to cargo pockets already bulging with free stuff. In the haze of Camden, the pure oxygen (bubbled through a green, minty liquid of unknown origin) was 5 minutes of heaven for the lungs. In addition to the breath of fresh air, Trojan distributed "Mint Tingle" condoms, which the chap at the booth said had the "same effect as Altoids" (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more!). I was instantly reminded of "Bonita Applebum" by A Tribe Called Quest: "And if you need 'em I got crazy prophylactics."

The set times on the flyer distributed by 94 WYSP were for shit (in all fairness, there was a disclaimer saying that set times might change), so it was funny to see drunk guys turn their abandoned booth by the second stage into a make-shift piss tent.

Rob Zombie's gone Hollywood. He traded in his normally gloomy attire for a sunny Bruce Springsteen "Born in the USA" jeans and white t-shirt ensemble. Zombie seemed genuinely glad to be on the second stage, voicing his approval for "no worries about seats, tickets stubs, and guys eating nachos and slurpees." A slurpee would have been nice though.

Zombie's set with stage banter in parentheses: 1) Superbeast, 2) Supercharger Heaven, 3) Living Dead Girl ("for the ladies"), 4) Demon Speeding ("This girl thinks taking her top off will combat the b.o. rolling in waves to the stage."), 5) More Human than Human, 6) Demonoid Phenomenon, 7) Dead Girl Superstar, 8) Joe Walsh intro into Dragula, 9) Sweet Home Alabama into Thunderkiss '65.

Zombie paraphrased an interview he gave to the New York Times about Ozzfest being for the young, but also like a Brontosaurus never changing... He lost his point in the middle of the talk, and no one bothered to inform him that the name for brontosaurus (once one of the most popular dinosaurs of the 70s and 80s) has recently changed.

The Tweeter Center had the worst crowd control ever! Trying to move from the main stage to the second stage (or vice versa) was damn-near impossible. They funneled everyone through the Walt Whitman plaza and created a horrific bottleneck.

Overheard: "8 dollars for beer!? That's why I take my drugs and laugh at you all."

There was a guy trading beads for bared breasts. No one seemed to notice that this isn't fuckin' Mardi Gras. Women flashing for free (or paying to have their bare breasts airbrushed with paint) got nothing.

Damn! I have to get a pair of those rollerskate sneakers.

The Tweeter Center staff were not prepared for the level of aggression in the mosh pit. The Camden cops augmenting their ranks were off gafflin' free drinks from the concession stands. Instead of wading into the fray of the pit, the staff centered their attention on dragging a guy who scaled speaker tower #3 to the security booth. He was never heard from again (as far as I know).

Worst idea of the day: Mudvayne's singer performed in a gorilla suit. He's not getting his security deposit back from the costume rental shop.

"This is your fuckin' music! This is your fuckin' festival!"
--Bruce Dickinson

Iron Maiden kicked ass! Bruce Dickinson was wired and bursting with manic energy. He brandished the Union Jack and sighted the audience down the flag's pole (like the barrel of a rifle) during "The Trooper", but the most theatrical moment was when Dickinson performed limbering stretches during the guitar solos. There was a different Eddie scrim for nearly every song, and a mechanized beast flailed its limbs during "Number of the Beast". Playing to the crowd, Dickinson paid many compliments to Philadelphia (even though he was in Camden), and set off the mirthless laughter of the damned when he asked, "Anyone here come to see the Dave Matthews Band?" before performing "Phantom of the Opera". An encore was demanded by Zippo salute. Encore: "Runing Free", "Sanctuary".

Throughout the night, the main-stage video monitors aired commercials for Mind Freak on a constant loop. Is this the price to pay for free Mind Freak cinnamon candies? Every time they showed Criss Angel getting shot by a bloated Jonathan Davis of Korn or being suspended from a helicopter through hooks in his flesh, I was desensitized to violence just a little bit more. It was a real nice network A&E once had.

During Black Sabbath's set, I found myself standing next to a very excited young woman who flashed her breasts in time to the music. Having been to 7 previous Ozzfests, I have seen a great many breasts, and I'm fairly non-plussed, but this woman loved Ozzy, and had interesting piercings. They were flaming sun-shaped breastplates that covered the areolas but allowed the nipples to pop through the center. They looked like decorative washers on pink, fleshy screws. There was no way in hell (unless he had binoculars, which he didn't) that Ozzy could see this diminutive woman baring her soul (and breasts).

When she turned to me (breasts momentarily covered) and chastized me for jotting down the set list, I remembered that the main characters (Kate Hudson and Patick Fugit) in Almost Famous had a similar exchange at a Black Sabbath concert. Juxtapose the heights, Hudson was taller than Fugit, and add partial frontal nudity, and it was just! like! the! movie!

Sabbath's set : 1) N.I.B., (let the flashing begin!) 2) After Forever, 3) War Pigs ("Generals gathered in their masses" Boobs! "Just like witches at black masses" Tits.), 4) Dirty Women (lots of flashing for this one), 5) Fairies Wear Boots, 6) Symptom/Sweet Leaf instrumental teaser, Electric Funeral, 7) Iron Man ("Ozzy is so hot!" Flash!), 8) Into the Void, 9) Black Sabbath (Zippo salute, Twin-nipple salute), 10) Sabbath Bloody Sabbath tease, Paranoid (yelling "woo!", holding breasts and shaking them). Encore: 11) Children of the Grave.


Thursday, August 04, 2005

Next, They'll Block Out the Sun

It just occurred to me why Comcast is building a giant monolithic tower in Center City. They want to block satellite TV reception for DirectTV subscribers.

Last month, I paid $12 to ride the elevator to the observation deck of the Sears Tower. To date, that is the most expensive elevator ride I've ever taken--unless you put a value on time--in which case the 30 minutes I spent trapped in the elevator at the Congress Hotel in Chicago missing part of Lollapalooza was the most expensive.

I wonder how much it will cost to ride to the top of Comcast Center.


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

For Whom the Bell Doesn't Toll

As anyone who knows me knows, I am a die-hard fan of the St. Louis Cardinals. So it should come as no surprise that last night I was rooting for the Phillies against the crappy Cubs (and especially Zambrano).

Much to my surprise, the Phillies were pitching well, and going into the 8th inning the score was tied 0-0. Then the Cubs hit a ball past David Bell to score 2 runs.

The Phillies clawed their way to within a run (or rather the Cubs walked in a run), and the tying run was on 3rd with 1 out. Bell was at the plate. All he had to do was put the ball in play and the tying run would score. Bell struck out.

Here's a quote from Bell: "He threw me a pretty good slider. Give him credit."

Give him credit? How about you stop sucking?

The Cubs pitcher had walked the previous 3 batters, including a bases-loaded walk. Why the hell was Bell swinging at balls outside the strike zone? Or swinging at all for that matter?

In true Philadelphia loser fashion, the Comcast Sports Net commentators said after the game, "There's no shame in losing to these guys."

The Phillies have a 55-52 record. The Cubs are 54-52. If the Phillies are ever to be contenders again, they need to beat their fellow .500 clubs.

In a game against the Cardinals earlier this season (a game the Cardinals unfortunately lost), Bell made 3 errors. Chants of "You're not Rolen" rose up from the cheap seats (OK, it was just me being an obnoxious jerk; and my friend quipped, "Yeah, Bell's not the DL.").

Why the Phillies didn't start Placido Polanco at 3rd base instead of Bell, I'll never know. Maybe they just like having a player named Bell to go with the giant bell in the outfield. Well, if that's the case then the Phillies have a couple of ding-dongs.


Sunday, July 31, 2005

Take the Long Way Home

Back from the Manhattan Room after seeing County x County and The Future Tips perform.
Had to leave a little early knowing that I'd be walking home because SEPTA's subway stops running at midnight (shittiest subway ever). After passing through some of the worst parts of Philadelphia (Delaware Avenue and 2nd Street), I passed Dead Fred's on 3rd Street. Never heard of Dead Fred's? It's at 22 S. 3rd Street. It used to be Coyote Ugly. It used to be called Foggy Goggle, Witchita Steaks, Jake and Oliver's, Sanctuary (I think), and about a dozen other names. Now it's just a punchline in a joke that isn't funny. Actually, I still laugh every time the building undergoes a name change. I wonder if they still have the mechanical bull. I've always wanted to ride one.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Public Transportation to the People!

On the hottest day in years (temperatures predicted to surpass 100 degrees Fahrenheit), I decided to walk an extra 4 blocks to work instead of ride the subway. The decision was made after I stepped off the train, the doors had closed behind me, and I realized I had gotten off the train a stop early. Rather than wait for the next train (with SEPTA you never know if another train is coming) and ride 4 measly blocks, I hoofed it 8 blocks to the office.

I was lost in thought when I got off the train, and I believe my premature exit was a subconscious desire to get the hell off SEPTA as soon as possible. In fact, that was precisely what I was thinking about: public transportation.

Ten days ago I returned from a trip to Berlin, where their S-Bahn and U-Bahn systems run with stereotypical (kids, stereotypes are hurtful, don’t buy into them) German efficiency. They were clean, ran on time, and there was a plethora of information readily available for people unfamiliar with the system. Likewise the Metro and trolley systems in Amsterdam. Contrast this to SEPTA’s R1 line I rode back from the airport, which smelled like crap, looked like crap, and cost $5.50 to ride.

I initially dismissed this as simply the difference between the vastly superior European public transportation systems (Berlin, Paris, London, Prague) and America’s car-oriented, look-down-upon-public-transportation attitude. That was until this past weekend when I was in Chicago for Lollapalooza.

The Windy City is my kind of town, and it all started with their Metra train from the airport to downtown Chicago. It cost $1.75. I rode to and from O’Hare airport for less money than it cost to ride one way in Philadelphia. When I had to get to the airport at 4 in the morning on Monday, I was able to take public transportation because THE TRAINS RUN 24-HOURS-A-DAY! Each stop was announced by a prerecorded voice in an articulate and comprehensible manner, and included information on transfer services and which side of the train the doors open.

I could go on and on about the wonders of the Chicago Transit Authority. I’m sure locals know better and have horror stories, but I was impressed.

Then I returned to Philadelphia.

SEPTA’s public transit system is mismanaged, belligerent to its riders, inefficient, late, expensive, sticky, dirty, and routinely smelly. And this is the first thing that many tourists are confronted with when they step off a plane in Philadelphia.

One more cliché: You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and Philly is blowing it with SEPTA.

Want more criticism of SEPTA? Read Duane Swierczynski's WTF column in the June 23 issue of the City Paper.


Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy 4th with a Fifth

Gettin' drunk on our nation's birthday!

Bloody Knee Jerk will be on hiatus for a few weeks while I'm off globetrotting to Europe.

Happy 4th of July!


Sunday, July 03, 2005

Live 8-y 6'd

Long Live Live 8!

(M)TV Casualty
Yesterday I was more thankful than usual that I live in Philadelphia. As the host city to Live 8 in the United States, I was able to actually hear and see the concert when MTV and VH1 dropped the ball and aired pointless VJ prattle and commercials instead of music.

Tuning in at noon, things got started nicely (from published schedules and TV coverage, you'd never know that the Kaiser Chiefs played before noon). Will Smith welcomed the world to Philadelphia, and reminded everyone that even though this was going to be a fun event, Live 8 was being held for a serious cause. MTV stuck with the broadcast for the first song by the Black Eyed Peas...and then it stopped. Cutting away from the music, MTV went to a commercial break. My jaw hit the fucking floor.

Instead of performances, they were showing commercials for The Real World and Smart Spin storage containers. WTF!!?? I feel bad for people living in other cities, towns, and states who expected through television to join the world in the fight against poverty and instead were given an interview with Jimmy fuckin' Fallon. Boo! Give us the music! Either you were on the Ben Franklin Parkway (or at one of the other concert sites) or you missed the music.* Fuck that!

I was able to walk to the Ben Franklin Parkway to catch the end of Kanye West's set on the JumboTron.

*AOL had live video of all the performances and they're still available online.

Return of the Native
Will Smith's entrance (carried on a throne to the Rocky theme and the Ali chant, "The Champ is Here") was only topped by his reunion with DJ Jazzy Jeff on the wheels of steel. Referencing Run DMC's "Run's House", Smith warmed the hometown crowd with "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It", "Summertime", and the theme song from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (plus "Switch" off his latest album). The man knows how to entertain.

We Have a Wiener!
Alicia Keys takes the prize for Performer Who Only Did the Bare Minimum to Raise Awareness. One song. That's it? It was a good song ("For All We Know"), and she prefaced it with remarks to support poverty relief, but c'mon, Alicia. All you could muster was one lousy song? Maybe she felt less would be more? I don't know.

No Surpises, Please
There weren't any huge surprises at Philly's Live 8. None of the rumored special guests appeared (Aerosmith, Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen), and there were no duets to rival Live Aid's Tina Turner and Mick Jagger. London had several notable team-ups: Bono and Paul McCartney performing "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", The Verve's Richard Ashcroft joining Coldplay for their version of his band's "Bittersweet Symphony". One surprise of note was a freestyle rap by Philly's Black Thought before Linkin Park took the stage. Jay-Z's performance (with Linkin Park) was the highlight of the day.

That's a Wrap
So, the biggest concert event in 20 years has drawn to a close, and by all reports it was an unmitigated success. Now the real test will be whether the G8 nations actually help Africa. How much do these leaders risk in bad press if they don't act (I'm not sure that Bush would care: he and his handlers can spin shit into victory)? Sign the petition at or


Saturday, July 02, 2005

Live 8...7...6...5...

5 hours until the Philly kick-off of Live 8.

Live 8-y 5: Bruce Springsteen is still M.I.A., but Def Leppard is back! What rock (of ages) did they crawl out from under? Pet Shop Boys are playing Moscow (the only Live 8 act listed for Moscow, and as of Friday at 2 p.m., they were still unconfirmed).

They're expecting a million people on the Ben Franklin Parkway...and that's just Jay-Z's entourage. Seriously, I'm hoping he and Bon Jovi will collaborate on a mash-up of "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" and "Blaze of Glory".

The Girls Gone Wild (hell no, I'm not linking to their site) bus was in Philly yesterday at Brownie's 38 for a special event. Maybe I'm unfairly besmirching their good name, but I'm certain they'll stick around for Live 8 in order to transform a concert for poverty relief into Boobarama. They're setting a new standard for tastelessness. Maybe they'll donate some of the GGW: Live 8 edition profits to Live 8. To play devil's advocate, the ladies in these videos were going to show 'em anyway, GGW just films and sells it. I blame Girls Gone Wild for all objectification of women.

4.5 hours until Live 8.


Live 8 is Enough

Don't want any part of Live 8? Here's a guide to what else is on between noon and 6 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time)

All-day Events
USA Network has a 4400 marathon.
TVLand has a Bonanza marathon (can't get any further from Live 8 than that, unless you remember that Toby Keith is playing in Philly)
E! has a marathon of 101 Even Bigger Celebrity Oops! (really they're just showing Battlefield Earth and Reindeer Games).

Noon (12:00)
I won't be awake this early, but the Family Channel has a full hour of Full House while TBS is airing Jumanji. Two of my most-hated pop culture icons square off: Robin Williams against the horrific 90s shitcom. Let's hope they destroy each other.

Not participating in the Live 8 experience because you hate charity (you must be a Republican), then turn your attention to QVC's bracelet showcase and showcase your apathy with a lovely diamond-studded band. Love the sun, but hate to go outside (you must be a vampire), check out NBC for beach volleyball.

Sports, sports, sports, sports! NBC leaves the beach and hits the NASCAR (not really a sport) circuit for a preview of some race. Click over to FOX to catch the middle innings of the Phillies vs. the Braves. For the kids, Cartoon Network has Krypto the Superdog. What's better than learning a foreign language from muppets on Sesame Street? Give up? Why learning Spanish from clay-mation monsters, of course! WWSI 62 is airing Clash of the Titans in Spanish! Bueno!!!! Man, I love that movie.

Casablanca on Turner Classic Movies.

A shitty hour for TV. Stick with a flick, a game, or just watch the TV Guide channel and remark, "what a shitty hour for TV." I'll be on the Parkway watching Jay-Z at this hour.

Salvation arrives: Zelig on IFC.

NBC picks up the beach volleyball action.

STYLE Network has a show called Foody Call. How many obese people heed that call?

Want to watch Live 8 performers without all that music? WB17 serves up an hour worth of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Oh, and Robin Williams crushed the Olsen Twins, Jumanji repeats on TBS. Damn.


Live 8 Tracks: Number 1

Today's the day: Live 8, Dead 0 (or so Philly can hope)

#1: Kick Out the Jams
-MC5, Kick Out the Jams (Elektra)

There are some live albums that are masterpieces unto themselves, complete works of brilliance that can't be broken into "best tracks", because every song is fantastic (I would put the Who's Live at Leeds into this category). Then there is the MC5's Kick Out the Jams, the greatest live album ever recorded, but whose title track can be identified and separated as more than just a part of a perfect whole.

Hyperkinetic with more attitude than the current wave of retro garage rock acts could muster in a million years (probably because there's no substance beneath their pretension--specifically The Hives), "Kick Out the Jams" celebrates performing live (even as it is a live performance).

"Let me be who I am...and let me kick out the jams!"

Covered a thousand times, none of the remakes of "Kick Out the Jams" can hold a candle to the original* (even Rage Against the Machine's version falls short), partly because the song is a call for individuality and nonconformity (N.W.A.'s "Express Yourself" is another good one). Wild and uncompromising, the MC5's Kick Out the Jams stands as a pillar of integrity...35 years after its release.


So, there you have it. Eight of my favorite live tracks in honor of Live 8. I'm certain I missed some great songs (hell, I had to pare my list down from nearly 20 favorite live albums including Quasi, Primus, Allman Brothers Band, Talking Heads, etc.), so I welcome listening recommendations.

*I'm not a karaoke wizard, but when in Rome (or Japan in my case)...I scoured several karaoke joints for this song to no avail (had to resort to my stand-by, "Proud Mary"). Probably for the best as my most theatrical moments pale in comparison to Rob Tyner's. Besides, if Zach De La Rocha couldn't pull it off, what chance do I have?


Friday, July 01, 2005

Live 8 Tracks: Number 2

I can't believe Live 8 the whole thing.

#2: Machine Gun
-Jimi Hendrix, Band of Gypsys (MCA)

Sometimes less is more. When the Who's monumental Live at Leeds was expanded, many fans who were endeared to the original (shorter) version of the album were horrified that MCA would screw with perfection by alterring the track order. I never listened to the original 6-song Live at Leeds, but when listening to Band of Gypsys, I can relate. After Jimi Hendrix's death, MCA released more material from the 1969-1970 New Year's Eve/Day concerts as Live at the Fillmore East. Live at the Fillmore East is a good set, but it lacks the concentrated punch of Band of Gypsys.

The version of "Machine Gun" on Band revolutionized the guitar solo, and, in my opinion, there hasn't been a better one since.
I first listened to Band of Gypsys about 8 years ago, and I was finally able to put a name to all the guitar riffs that were sampled in the rap albums I listened to in my formative years. It seems strange that there are a whole lot of hip hop fans out there who know these riffs, but don't know the source (as I didn't). What's inexcusable are the misguided fools who think that the guitar lick from "Come With Me" on the Godzilla (1998) soundtrack is a Puff Daddy/P Diddy original (it isn't, it's lifted from Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir"). At least I knew the rap artists were sampling riffs, I just didn't know the source material.


Thursday, June 30, 2005

Live 8 Tracks: Number 3

Live 8 will consume all.

#3: "Stigmata"
-Ministry, In Case You Didn't Feel Like Showing Up [Live] (Sire/Warner Brothers)

In an era (the early 90s) when slackers were en vogue, leave it to Ministry to call "Bullshit". While the album title takes underachievers to task, the music "burning inside" ICYDFLSU is a blitzkrieg of industrial metal laced with bile. Al Jourgensen saves his most caustic remarks for the final track, and "Stigmata" closes with a flourish of "fucks" that are beautiful in their offensiveness. Just listen to it.*

*Not for the faint of heart.


Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Live 8 Tracks: Number 4

Live 8 is only 3 days away. Buy your beer now.

#4: "Whole Lotta Love"
-Led Zeppelin, How the West Was Won (Atlantic)

Medleys are usually concert cop-outs. A band at the peak of their popularity will string together some of their early material in a feeble attempt to appease older fans. It sucks. "Whole Lotta Love" from HWWW is a rare exception. Instead of cramming their own songs into the medley, Zeppelin dabbled in covers that revealed their influences (most notably John Lee Hooker's "Boogie Chillun"). The inclusion of the four songs in the middle of "Whole Lotta Love" stretches the original song to 23 minutes. Only "Poop Ship Destroyer" from Ween's Paintin' the Town Brown LP boasts greater expansive powers: turning a 2-minute ditty into a 26-minute cruise on the chocolate stew.

Normally I prefer single-date concert discs to the hodge-podge live album culled from numerous shows, but HWWW (recorded over 2 dates in August 1972) has been masterfully mixed to resemble a single performance (except that the 3 discs would be a marathon concert).

After drummer John Bonham's death in 1980, Led Zeppelin broke up...and then reformed for Live Aid in 1985. The results were so disasterous (Phil Collins played the skins) that their performance was excised from the Live Aid DVD/CD.

Pink Floyd is reuniting in London for Live 8. Let's hope they fare better.


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Live 8 Tracks: Number 5

Leading up to Live 8 on July 2nd, I'm counting down 8 of my favorite live tracks.

#5: "Suicide Solution (with guitar solo)"
-Ozzy Osbourne, Tribute (Sony)

Just the fact that Ozzy sang, "Food, glorious food" backstage at the Philadelphia Live Aid concert in 1985 qualifies him for inclusion on this Live 8-inspired list.

"Wine is fine, but whiskey's quicker/Suicide is slow with liquor."

Is there a better song to listen to while drinking in a dive? I don't think so. How many quarters did I spend (notice I didn't write "waste") playing this song on the jukebox at the East End Tavern* in Manayunk? So many fuzzy evenings. So many excellent conversations.

The guitar solo on "Suicide Solution" comes at the very end of the song. The song is essentially over...and then the solo begins. While Rhoads is out there shredding, the rest of the band takes a Spinal Tap break for beers.

The inside cover of Tribute bears this inscription:

"This is a tribute to my friend and my partner. Not a day goes by when I don't think of him. He is dearly missed."

-Ozzy Osbourne

That is a damn fine thing to say about a person. Tribute is a reminder that life is short, and it immortalizes the performances of a brilliant guitarist. Isn't that the purpose of a live album?

Lift your glass to Mr. Randy Rhoads.

*Does anyone remember the show mentioned in this link? I never saw it, but it's creeping me out that it was called Mr. Rhodes and the jukebox at the East End Tavern stocked Tribute. Different spelling of "Rhodes/Rhoads", but still weird.


Monday, June 27, 2005

Live 8 Tracks: Number 6

Leading up to Live 8 on July 2nd, I'm counting down 8 of my favorite live tracks.

#6: "Riot Starter"
-Cypress Hill, Live at the Fillmore (Columbia)

With all due respect to Philadelphia's The Roots and their excellent The Roots Come Alive LP, Cypress Hill's Live at the Fillmore takes the (space) cake as the best live rap album to date.

What makes Fillmore such an outstanding concert recording isn't just the quality of the performance, but the crowd's response to it. They're going absolutely crazy! The band's playing reflects the intensity of their fans' energy. Listening to the crowd's reaction on this disc makes me want to travel back through time and space to San Francisco on August 16, 2000. Along with the Mexico City fans on "Seek and Destroy" from Metallica's Live Shit: Binge and Purge box set, this might be the most vocal audience ever recorded. Crowd interaction is a vital component of live recordings, but the balance has to be just right; too much noise and the music is lost (a common problem with bootlegs), too little noise and the recording doesn't sound spontaneous. Fillmore gets it perfect.

Backed by metal band SX-10, the intensity of the band's performance builds as the night wears on, and on the penultimate track, "Riot Starter", Sen Dog makes a final provacative statement to incite the crowd, "I see a bunch of pussies in the back that don't want to come to the front and get motherfuckin' busy. The fuck you think this is, motherfucker? You ain't in no motherfuckin' gym class. This is Cypress Hill". I imagine all hell breaking loose in the pit as the guitars rip like buzzsaws. If only all rap metal were this potent. Sadly, I can count the number of talented rap-metal bands on one middle finger: Rage Against the Machine.


Sunday, June 26, 2005

Live 8 Tracks: Number 7

Leading up to Live 8 on July 2nd, I'm counting down 8 of my favorite live tracks.

#7: "We Are 138"
-Misfits, Evilive (Plan 9)

The sound quality's poor, but Evilive captures the Misfits perfectly. Not the strongest track on the album, “We Are 138” nonetheless features a guest appearance by “Henry from Black Flag”. That would be Henry Rollins. It was always the subject of debate who would win in a fight between Rollins and Glenn Danzig. My money was always on Rollins: Danzig was muscular, but he didn’t look flexible enough to put his arms down.

Guest appearances at concerts are (usually) a treat for fans and set a live show apart from listening to an album at home. I've been fortunate to witness a couple outstanding guest appearances, but the one I remember best was also the first one I saw. Radiohead's Thom Yorke joined Belly's Tanya Donelly on the stage of the Trocadero for "Untogether". I remember Yorke was waifishly thin and twitched a lot (someone in the crowd yelled, “Get off the smack”). Considering Radiohead’s current level of popularity it’s amazing that in 1992 they were the opening act for Belly.

I'm still hoping for a Danzig-fronted Misfits reunion, but given the general quality of reunion tours, maybe I should reconsider that wish.


Saturday, June 25, 2005

Live 8 Tracks

Leading up to Live 8 on July 2nd, I'm counting down 8 of my favorite live tracks. I haven't listened to every live album ever produced, so I welcome recommendations of songs/albums.

#8: "Paper Thin Walls"
-Modest Mouse, Baron Von Bullshit Rides Again (available at

There are certain obvious things that separate a live album from their studio counterparts. One of these is band-to-audience dialogue. A great off-the-cuff remark (or rant, in this case) can be as memorable as the song being played. At the end of "Paper Thin Walls", Isaac Brock responds to a fan's request for "Freebird". Brock is not modest when he declares, "life is too fucking short to play or hear ‘Freebird’"

Stage dialogue was sadly missing from Nirvana's From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah. I have heard several Nirvana bootlegs (I recommend Roma, if you can find it), and Cobain made funny, bizarre, and insightful remarks in every one of them ("We're Nirvana, and we're from Tokyo!"). By removing all dialogue (save for a faint "Great Caesar's Ghost!"), From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah fails to truly capture the essence of a live Nirvana performance.


Friday, June 24, 2005

Live Blogging as a Last Resort

It's come to this. I'm so out of ideas for how to respond to shitty writing that I'm going with "live blogging".

While I don't endorse the column, it does help to read Neil Ferguson's "Lush Life" review of Doobie's (2201 Lombard Street, 546-0316--the 215 is understood) from the June 22, 2005 Philadelphia Weekly (a.k.a. the weekly that panders to the suburbs) to understand my critique. Cliff Notes version: Neil Ferguson is full of shit.

11:59 p.m.: Sentence 1 and 2--Neil establishes that he's aware that Doobie's, "a neighborhood institution (if nothing else)", has changed its facade. Brilliant observation of the obvious, but let's go on. Ferguson then uses his mental powers to imagine what people who drink regularly at Doobie's are saying, complete with cursing (cuz everyone uses the 'F' word when talking about the local bar). The "if nothing else" parenthetical note is the weak catch-all.

12:00 a.m.: Hooray, it's Friday! Boo! I'm still reading this shitty column. Neil goes on to reveal that he was down with the Doobie's scene before it was spruced up, he even listens to music when drinking (and can read what's in the jukebox). Good for him, his 4th grade teacher is proud.

12:02 a.m.: Damn. It took me 2 minutes to read a couple sentences and write a response. Still haven't changed my mind that this column's a piece of shit. Maybe I should reveal here that I had the idea to "live blog" the column after I read it the first time. This is a reactionary piece, but a live reactionary piece of my second reading. Neil takes a stand on the side of smokers in the proposed Philadelphia smoking ban. Way to go out on a limb. He even cheapens the use of Nazi symbolism to promote an unhealthy lifestyle. Hey, I'm against a smoking ban, too, but I'll save Nazi comparisons for something legitimate. Seriously, he's really going to compare a ban on smoking to mass genocide? "Shithead" isn't a strong enough term for Mr. Ferguson. In his words, "This is a bar, after all, not a health farm", or a concentration camp, right? Asshole.

12:03 a.m.: "Hooray for me!" Sorry, I'm watching Chapelle's Show while I read this shitty column. Needed something to smack the taste out my mouth.

12:04 a.m.: Ferguson makes a "personal criticism": he hates people. There you have it. He doesn't want to drink with people who take themselves seriously. Fine. So why doesn't he just hang out on Delaware Avenue? Because he's a piece of shit.

12:05 a.m.: Ferguson proclaims himself an authority on "cool", and lays out ground rules for how to be cool. He addresses his readers directly by declaring himself a "professional" of cool and declaring: "The basic rule means not trying". Shit. Kids, if you are reading this, be aware that anyone who purports to be an authority of cool is a fuckin' authority figure. Fuck the man. Fuck! The! Man! As soon as you claim to be an authority on cool you forfeit any coolness you may have had. Sorry Ferguson, your cool pass (if you ever had one) has been revoked.

12:06 a.m.: Ferguson can't walk and chew gum at the same time. While sippin' his lukewarm beer and trying to keep his balance on a barstool, he takes issue with people who can drink and knit at the same time.

12:07 a.m.: What a surprise, Neil Ferguson is a belligerent drunk. The Lush Life auteur threatens to, "shove the needles where the sun don't shine." I'm calling his bluff. That's some pretty tough talk for an alcoholic. Guess what, you're not Hemingway. I was talking to some knitting friends of mine and they've proposed a "knit in" at Doobie's. They encourage you to show up.

My prediction is Neil will have more (knitting) needles in his ass than the last time he visited the VD clinic. I've wasted enough time dissecting this turd.


Monday, June 20, 2005

Live 8-Ball

OE 800 declares itself the official malt liquor of Live 8!*

PHILADELPHIA, PA: In a natural merger of marketing and corporate sponsorship, the Miller Brewing company has declared its intention to make Olde English 800 the official malt liquor of Live 8.
In a haze of intoxication, spokespeople for OE released this statement, "The brew, long known as 'the cadillac of 40s' is a uniquely portable (and potable) beverage that fits snugly in a classic brown paper bag wrapper."
Advisors to Philadelphia Mayor John Street stopped short of endorsing the beverage since it's not brewed in the City of Brotherly Love, but were quick to welcome donations from corporate sponsors. The mayor added, "Drink responsibly, kids."
Approximately 1 million fans are expected to clog the Ben Franklin Parkway on July 2nd for the event. Retailers in the area have already doubled their orders for 40s. One area merchant declared, "I'm clearing out the dairy case and loadin' up on liquor. This weekend the milk teat is goin' dry. Who wants milk on a hot summer day? I just hope I have enough paper bags."

*Not really, but I'll be swiggin' the 8-Ball on the Parkway, cuz when you're donating your money to charity (as I am), you have to be economical in your beverage selection. That's where the 40 comes in.


Sunday, June 19, 2005

Live H8

After losing 50 Cent, Philly’s Live 8 concert is getting Linkin Park and Destiny’s Child.
I guess Beyonce and her 2 friends have recovered from being booed off stage during the 2001 NBA Finals here in Philadelphia.
Is it acceptable to boo artists performing for charity? Only time will tell, I guess.


Friday, June 17, 2005

Sight Unseen: Summer Edition 1

Several weeks worth of reviews of movies I haven't seen.

Batman Begins
What exactly is Batman beginning? He's obviously beginning to make money for Warner Bros. again.

Cinderella Man
Is this the worse superhero name ever? To paraphrase Batman Begins, "Anyone who goes around dressed like Cinderella has to have issues."

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Well, they're flying 'cross the land, tryin' to get a hand, playing in their traveling pants. Soon to be broadcast repeatedly and forever on the Oxygen Channel.

The Longest Yard
I can't even count the number of recycled "jokes" that appear in the trailer for this turd. Let's start with the gentle giant who doesn't know how to use his size and seeks coaching from Chris "I'm only funny in stand-up" Rock, who asks the big guy not to eat him. Who the fuck laughs at that old cliche? Now I know why these movies are aimed at teens. Kids are the only ones who aren't culturally literate enough to call "bullshit!" (OK, maybe not the only ones: see also fans of the Blue Collar Comedy Shitfest).

Mr. and Mrs. Smith
Not a sequel to the Jimmy Stewart filibuster movie. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie aren't going to Washington...They're going to hell for adulterous relations (and laughing all the way to the bank). Like Charon, Vince Vaughn will transport them across the River Styx. We'll see you again later this summer, Mr. Vaughn.


Thursday, June 16, 2005

Live 7.50

50 Cent has dropped out of the Philadelphia Live 8 concert, leaving us with Live 7.50.

I'm sure I'm not the first person to make/think of that joke, but I haven't seen/heard it yet, so there it is.


Thursday, May 19, 2005

Sight Unseen: May 19, 2005

Continuing the Friday series of reviews of movies I haven't seen...on a Thursday.

Star Wars: Episode III--Revenge of the Sith
Where is my lightsaber? I don't mean the plastic toy the dorks are playing make-believe with, no, I mean a real lightsaber. Forget the flying car, America's scientists and inventors should be working on developing swords made of light. Isn't that the sole purpose of physics? The lightsaber should be a physicist's holy grail: it features light as a wave, a particle, and a sharp instrument for chopping the shit out of things.

Some crybabies might poo-poo the idea of allowing people to walk around with white-hot cutting tools, but the sabers (or sabres) can equipped with safety switches and licensed like guns; besides a lightsaber is "more elegant than a blaster." Imagine the incredible advances to be made in artificial limb technology that would be necessitated by lightsabers. Lightsabers would create jobs and singlehandedly (no pun intended) save our floundering economy. I'd join the National Lightsaber Association (NLA; if limo drivers and lawyers can share 'NLA', they can make room for lightsabers--or it's choppin' time) in exchange for the opportunity to own a lightsaber.

For all these reasons and more, I urge you to write your member of Congress and demand they push for more funding for lightsaber research and development.

Star Wars: Episode III--Revenge of the Sith opens today.