Old Farts

Some rock bands don't know when to call it quits, and if you're a fan of music from yesteryear, this is usually a good thing. I love The Strokes, don't get me started on my Decemberists (great), I will cry when I see The Futureheads, and I bought the new White Stripes album today. But I still have a great appreciation for the trailblazers, the oldies, the pioneers. I love my Nuggets box sets, 1970s CBGBs, listening to the 60s XM station at work, and anything having to do with Mod. I've been lucky enough to see some of these artists live, but with this blessing comes the curse of Old Banditis, the disease a performer gets after having entertained the masses for over thirty years. Symptoms include: disavowing of popular material, newer material that is preachy and mid-tempo, embarrassing fashion choices, and the desire to turn a perfectly lovely three minute pop song into an epic solo-fest, wasting dozens of minutes of concert time.

After seeing Television's last show, I've now seen four bands/artists that suffer from Old Banditis, to varying degrees. Here they are, and a diagnosis of each.

Ray Davies (former frontman of The Kinks)
I saw Ray Davies on his tour to promote his first official solo album, Other People's Lives. Ray was extremely lively and generally pleasant (except when he laughed at me for suggesting he play "Victoria"). Ray's Old Banditis was in the early stages, showing up only in his clothes and decision to play his new songs. He changed from one oversized button down shirt to another, even changing his Converse a couple times. And the new songs, the very definition of mid-tempo and preachy, were tolerable since they were broken up by Kinks hits old and newer ("You Really Got Me" and "Lola", perhaps that's really old and old) and a medley of songs from the highly underrated Village Green Preservation Society. Ray embraced his Kinks past and put on a great show.

Diagnosis: Thriving with a mild case of Old Banditis.

David Byrne (formerly of Talking Heads)
I know absolutely nothing about David Byrne's solo work, but I know he didn't play much that I knew. He did a Cole Porter cover, "Like Humans Do" (the one Byrne solo song I know), and one or two Talking Heads songs. He did all this while dressed in seersucker overalls. So, right there, crazy clothes and total disavowment of old songs. I don't recall his songs going on too long and, even though he was probably focusing on new songs, they definitely weren't mid-tempo since I was boogeying on a pew the entire time (I saw the concert at The Ryman).

Diagnosis: Strong, but suffers from one of the worst symptoms of Old Banditis, forgetting your old material.

The Rolling Stones
The greatest rock and roll band on Earth is how they are described and, even from nose bleed seats in an arena, I felt it. The band plowed through their old hits and, since I saw them while supporting their greatest hits collection, they only bored the audience with one of the new songs from that set. The best part of the night had to have been when the band performed on a super small stage (15 x 15, at most) in the middle of the floor seats, right in the center of their crazy, baby booming fans. Mick even had a clothing rack on stage for which to change clothes as he saw fit. Actually, the entire band had many clothing changes, except for Charlie Watts who decided that throwing on a jacket was enough of a change. Still, as entertaining and marvelous as the show was, every single song became an epic; Honky Tonk women fighting in the streets, with devils and dice, solo after solo. Seriously, "Brown Sugar" is not "Stairway To Heaven." And thank God, to get a personal note in there about Lez Zeppelin.

Diagnosis: Ailing from Old Banditis, but gosh darnit their charisma fools everyone.

Oh me oh my. I saw Television, legendary and highly influential punk band that paved the way for The Ramones, Blondie, etc., perform their last concert this past Saturday. All of them were dressed pretty dad-like, which is almost embarrassing considering the other three old bands I've seen went out of their way to just look extra special. But Richard Lloyd's replacement was wearing quite possibly the tightest jeans I've ever seen, adding an extra touch of embarrassment and, well, a big touch of something else. Ugh. The band is known for their, really, one and only album: Marquee Moon. The album is a classic, widely regarded as one of the finest ever made, and the band only sells t-shirts that have the album's title on them. Why the band then decided to only play 2 songs from that album, I'll never know. The grand total of songs I knew came down to 3, which is pretty ridiculous for a band that only has 3 albums and played a full set. The band instead concentrated on, yes, newer, mid-tempo, preachy rock, every one of those songs stretching out to over ten minutes. So, wow. That's all four bases covered. And I was disappointed. The feeling that came over the crowd when they played "Venus" third (third) was so amazing, I wish I could have felt that more.

Diagnosis: Straight up dead from Old Banditis.

So, be careful out there, oldies fans.


My Friend Cecil

MySpace has pretty much devolved into a porn site. If you don't have your profile set to private or a filter on your friend requests, every login is now accompanied by at least five requests from scantily clad women posing in ways that are completely impractical to their location. For real, why are you wearing a bikini in the kitchen, Maggie? Why are your legs wrapped around that teddy bear, Tasha?

But on June 4th at 12:17 PM, this appeared.


Now, believe it or not, I would not put it past my friends to make a MySpace profile for a ventriloquist dummy. If I got one from Dot Miller, my dummy friend who gets laughs out of her mother's cruelty, I'd accept. So, to find out more about Cecil, I clicked on his profile.

A dummy who needs privacy. And wants to be my friend. Whose headline is "Oh licorice sticks."
This has been in my friend request box since June 4th, outlasting the dozens of MySluts that have tried to mess with me.

An enigma. Cecil.


International Lover

I made a pact a while ago, with myself and with this blog, that I would stop doing the crazy catch-all entries and try to focus on one topic at a time. That's been working out fine. I've also stopped blogging about improv as much, not meaning that it's any less a part of my life; I'm just more interested in spreading the love for cheetahs and dead babies right now.

But since the best improv week of my life may be ending tonight (with a nuclear bang), I should probably blog about it.

Last Thursday, returning UCB Cage Match champs Derrick had to retire due to being in LA. Jakijesu, the challenger, waited anxiously as the Cage Match Gods pulled eight names out of the ether to form the opposing teams. That's us, up and to the left. The Golden Bullet Band, as named by the UCB, comprised of eight individuals who became one. And won. Winning was not what I expected to happen, especially since drunken buffoonery reigns supreme where cobbled together improv groups perform (most jams, especially Jammin' With Ralph). Uh, that did not happen last Thursday night. I had, probably, the best improv experience complete with group mind, group games, and multiple running themes all coming together in the last minute.

And all this week, I have been a Cage Match champion.

Tonight we face a mighty challenger and, well, will probably lose. But for real, I'm tickled pink (I could do better than that) to perform as a returning champion at Cage Match, which is something that only a couple dozen/hundred people can say. Or, well, only four other teams from this go-round of Cage.

I've also subscribed to dictionary.com's Word of the Day email. This will not contravene the integrity of this blog, it will only proselytize others to it.

Honests y'alls, more imports, I totes discovved this on Mondaiz. WAAAAI better than xxCagexx!!!11


10% Luck, 20% Skill

You name it, there's a superfan community for it. Sports teams, bands, television shows, all of them have massive cult followings with their own rules and politics. I myself have, since getting AOL in the 9th grade, been a part of many online communities: The Phantom Menace, X-Men, Whose Line Is It Anyway?, and The Features. Under the best circumstances, these online communities only peripherally involve the topic of obsession. The Features message board rarely discussed the band, instead acting as an intelligent forum to discuss the happenings of Nashville and popular culture. The scarier ones I've been to involved making complicated signatures (o-[[[[[]]]\=========================) and creating fan fiction placing the more veteran members of the board into roles in television series (like a Jedi spin off of X-Files).

Online fandom has always fascinated me and, as a recovering MB addict, I can relate to the crushing feeling of importance that the poor souls involved feel. Seriously, if you've ever demanded someone's IP address looked up to determine whether or not they were a real person, I'm proof that there is hope for you.

A couple months ago, my co-worker Todd stumbled across this video. The owner disabled embedding. Wisely, because this would surely be linked everywhere in an attempt to spread the joy of the cheetah. The video is even better when you imagine that it's actually a cheetah rapping about spitting fire, women wanting him, not needing his name up in lights, and knowing the code. It's all about making some noise when you're a cheetah.

But the animal madness does not stop there.

Seriously. People. There is a community of people who get joy out of editing nature footage together to techno/rap songs, celebrating their favorite animals. The comments range from people restating the facts from the video as a compliment to wondering where the music came from. Apparently, the video above is "one of the best cheetah videos out here." Did anyone think there was more than one cheetah video on youtube, let alone many for this one cheetah fan to declare that this is just one of the best?

But vitalioness14 did not stop there.

This is one of the best videos about cheetahs wanting people and/or things to get off of their backs. The author herself (?) writes "These cheetahs are tired of being bothered and they just want us all to get off of their back! This was SO fun to make, and I worked really hard on it, so please keep your comments and ratings friendly!" All that is perfectly encapsulated in the Bryan Adams song playing over it.

Cheetahs aren't the only animal that get immortalized by Windows Movie Maker. Here, experiment900 tells it like it is. He wants people to stop hating on hyenas and start jamming to some P.O.D. Yet again, hilarious if you picture the lyrics from the hyenas point of view.

So, you're welcome for being introduced to this truly fascinating subspecies of YouTube user. Feel free to click around and browse their other videos. I saw some videos about lions that I may need to take a gander at.

In the mean time, I'll be stockpiling my footage of meerkats to combine with "Life Is A Highway."


Sometimes I love my job...

This week I took over doing my work's daily human interest...thing...from Todd. It involves going through various sights of varying degrees of credibility and finding stories that are just too gosh-darn-cute to resist. Oldest couple to bungee jump, longest nipple hair, talking horses, you get the idea. Today I came across one of the most amazing stories I've ever read. I tried to sneak it into the human interest mailer but, alas, stories with headlines like this one don't qualify as cute.

N.H. Man Seeks Return Of Mummified Baby
Man Says Remains Have Been With Family For Decades

CONCORD, N.H. -- A New Hampshire man is fighting state law to get back a mummified baby he said is a family heirloom.

Charles Peavey, of Concord, said that the mummy, named Baby John, has been in his family for decades.

"He was in our family for 90-plus years, and now we have to fight for something that's truly ours," Peavey said.

Concord police took the corpse a year ago after a woman reported hearing someone talking about a dead baby. Police said they were uncertain who the child was or how it died. Lab tests recently came back.

"It's believed to be a male child and very young, possibly a stillborn or a newborn," Detective Julie Curtin said.

Peavey said that there is nothing to prove that the baby is related to him, but he's taking his fight to get it back to court. He said that family folklore holds that his great-great-uncle had an affair with a woman who died in childbirth, and the mummy is their child who died.

"My entire family is behind me 100 percent," Peavey said.

On Thursday, Peavey paid $150 to file a petition to have a judge rule on the case.

"I've been collecting silver since I was 15 years old, and it was to go to my niece, Jennifer," Peavey said. "And she said, 'Just sell the silver. I'd rather have John.'"

His niece, Jennifer Arizmendi, said that she was next in line to get the mummified baby. She said she's just as committed to getting it back.

"They've taken something away that they don't have a right to take away," she said. "Regardless if he's blood-related or not, he's been in our family. He's been passed down."

If Peavey doesn't get the body back, he can have it buried, and a cemetery has offered to bury the baby for free.

Where. To. Begin?

There's a picture here, if you want to.

The guy's name is Peavey, which rhymes with skeevy which is just what this story is. Aside from awkward laughter (which I've had all day when thinking about this story), this is straight up grody.

The grodiness comes from the fact that they aren't even sure if it is their relative. This allegiance to a mummified newborn comes soley from family tradition. My family has a football game every Christmas called The Hoppage Bowl (named after my great-grandmother). This family has a mummified baby corpse named Baby John. Baby. John. So this just flat out says that this nut bag family knows exactly what they have. "What? We thought that was an old chicken!" Nope, can't use that argument. It's in the name. Baby John. And, of course, Baby John has his own folklore. Of course! I guess they had to rationalize keeping a mummified baby around for 90 years and "looks good next to the deer head" wasn't cutting it.

Now, one has to wonder, if it's an heirloom that surely (SURELY) never leaves the house, how did someone find out about it? Because a woman overheard the family talking about their dead baby. Wow. So not only do they keep this lil' bugger around ninety years after...ugh...they talk about it! "How's Little John today?" "Oh, you know, same ol' same ol'! I swear, that is one lazy baby corpse!" What?! If you are stupid enough to keep a mummified baby as an heirloom, stupid enough to name it, then you are stupid enough to brag about it in public.

Lastly, I admire (?) the sick devotion the family has towards Baby John. I mean, the niece was next in line to get the dead baby and is (rightfully?) pissed that she won't get to join in on the fun of having a tiny carcass as a conversation piece on the coffee table. She said "just sell the silver. I'd rather have John." Just sell the silver (silver, really, these people are pirates) that can buy you, uh, I dunno, things that are alive or can keep you alive. I'd rather have....Baby John. The Peavey's need their own reality show, stat. Or at least an episode of Cribs.

If a dead baby is what they brag about, who knows what they keep hidden in the basement.