Friday, December 19, 2008

Midnight Turkey

So Leah's mum gave us a turkey on Sunday. I've been waiting to eat it, but Leah insisted that we thaw it naturally. Which takes time...

A lot...of freakin' time...

But today it was nice and ready! She put it in the oven around 5:00PM when we got off work. And in the oven it sat...until a few minutes ago. So tonight, at 12:08AM--I ate two delicious turkey sandwiches. Seriously, they were good. The meat is falling off the carcass (or so Leah tells me, I'm afraid cooking turkeys is too much like those nasty frog dissections in High School biology for my delicate sensibilities).

Anyway, it was a long wait...but we have meat. Oh yes! WE HAVE MEAT!!! Turkey 'till X-Mas!!!! YES.

If I look a little bleary-eyed (and naked) it's because I am. Both.

"Holiday Bush"

Me and Leah are a zany, mix-matched couple. And as such, we can't agree on ANYTHING!!!

*Old-School Laugh-track*

Case in point: This Sunday is Chaunnakhahahas (which Leah celebrates). And I was born in a Hallmark Home, so I've always had Christmas trees (and Kwanzaa candles). What are we to do? She's a Jew, and I'm a Jason-ite.

The answer is compromise my friends. Behold! The Holiday Bush!!!

Yes folks, snowmen are holiday-neutral...and it may be hard to tell, but that's a Wookie warrior at the top.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The "blahs" turn into "fuck you, go away world"

Who'd have thought that 18 degree temperatures and trouble at the office would SOUR my mood? Things have not gotten better. Last weekend was fun, but it was only a brief respite from the horror that is my life.


The only positive thing I can report is that I'm working out every day--which is making my feel physically better.

My workplace has degenerated into a quagmire, one where I spend 1/2 my time arguing what the definition of "bill of lading" is. Or where I engage in 20 minute battles over the professional aesthetics of a free wall calendar. These things make me want to puke, but I don't dare because it's like 50 degrees in the office. Thankfully, the rats seem to have vanished with the onset of snow. One can only hope those fuzzy bastards have succumbed to the weather, and are in a better place (i.e. not here).

I'm going to try and work on some writing tonight, because work of that nature usually cheers me up. Anyway, that is what's up with me--hostility at work, stress, and the hope that all those rats are dead.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Back in STL-Land; Post-Oasis Wrap-Up

Back home in STL. Oh man, am I tired.

Yesterday was hard. Yesterday was awesome.

We got out on the road around 11:30AM. Using magic internet directions, we had no real difficulty finding Chicago (kinda hard to miss) or the venue--the AllState Arena in Rosemont. Okay, we DID have to stop and ask for directions once (we were on the right street, heading the wrong way....we corrected our mistake, but wanted to be 100% sure).

Got to the "arena" early, at 5:30.

The Allstate Arena was NOTHING like either of us expected. I was expecting a venue like STL's Saavis Center (whatever they're calling it now) or something like what's downtown in KC (what is that thing called? The Sprint Center???). This place looked like a skating rink. It looked like a movie theatre. It was very small.

At first we were pissed, then we thought: "Wait. This is a GOOD thing!!!"

It was. Our seats were kick-ass, leftside of the stage...lower-level. Having gotten their so early, we were able to kick back and relax. At 7:00, Matt Costa took the stage. It was an unplugged set, with just guitars. It was alright. I have Costa's first album, but not his most recent one. He's a singer-songwriter guy, in the vein of Jack Johnson. The placed filled up (mostly, it wasn't quite a sell out) and around 8:30 Ryan Adams and the Cardinals came out. I like Adams a lot, but I only have one of his records, 2003's ROCK 'N ROLL (which, by the way, f-ing rules). That album was hard-rock, and was a bit of a departure from the indie-rock/country that he normally puts out. The Cardinals were a tight band, and sounded great.

Oasis came out around 9:30--and they were awesome. Though they looked much shorter in person. Liam was wearing this rad coat and was rockin' a pretty cool tambourine. They opened with "Rock 'n Roll Star," which was great. Me and Amber both were amazed at how good they sounded live (we had been worried about their sound quality prior to the show). The only song I wanted to hear was "The Masterplan" and when they busted that out--I was in hog heaven. For the most part they played stuff off their first three albums, with some new stuff off DIG OUT YOUR SOUL thrown in. Amber was sad they didn't play much off HEATHEN CHEMISTRY (other than "Songbird") but if you were an Oasis fan, you were pretty happy with the setlist (i.e. they played all the hits). I can now say that I've sung "Wonderwall" with a 5,000 people. What more can you ask for?

The show ended around 11:00PM (which, for those keeping score--means the show was an hour SHORTER than the DRIVE out to Chicago). We got in the car, and I promptly drove us home. Actually, it wasn't that prompt. In fact, it kinda sucked and I had to turn around once when I took a wrong turn because I was so tired.

But I maned up and drove the whole way home. Oh, and I listened to the new Alannis Morrissette album FLAVORS OF ENTANGELMENT (which I am ashamed to say is great). This admission is, of course, a private joke I have with Leah's sister--but nonetheless true.

We got home around 4:30AM, I was crazy-tired. But the 10 hours driving was worth it, because the concert was great.

The End.

(What's the Story) Morning Glory?

It's Saturday...time again for another long nerd-essay about a great album from the past!!! Last week I took a dark (and twisted) journey into the mind of Alice Cooper...this weekend I'm in Chicago seeing Brit-Rockers Oasis with my sister Amber. In celebration of this historic, monumental, occasion I'm talking Oasis this weekend.

The most famous Oasis album, the most well know, the most overplayed, the most sing-a-long-able...(WHAT'S THE STORY) MORNING GLORY? was (and still is) a titanic achievement of brash bravado and good old-fashioned working-class elbow grease. So sit back and enjoy another installment of Classic Albums Revisited:

Something interesting happens when you play (WHAT'S THE STORY) MORNING GLORY? You pop it in and press play--a the faint opening of the single "Wonderwall" begins...before being overwhelmed by a tidal wave of guitar ushering in "Hello" (which is the albums true first track). I've heard the reason this happens is because the band wanted to trick listeners expecting the hit song into cranking the volume up: thus getting konked on the head by "Hello." This bit of trickery, on the band's second album, is evidence that even in the early days--Oasis had both balls and little regard for the record buying public.

(WHAT'S THE STORY) MORNING GLORY? is both loved and hated worldwide. Beatles rip-off? Not as good as Blur? Self indulgent? People can say a lot of negative things about this record (and every other Oasis album), but one charge that just won't stick is "boring." MORNING GLORY? is a varied, well-produced album by a hungry young band eager to prove their brash boasts. The fact that this album was a MONSTER hit back in 1995, and yet you can hardly spend a day listening to the radio without hearing at least ONE of the record's SEVEN hit singles (that's right, over half of this album was released as a fucking single. I challenge you to find another modern band who can top that level of success).

But just because something is well received does not always mean it's great. MORNING GLORY? could have been a huge commercial flop--and it still would have been a damn fine album. The lyrics are both interesting and very simplistic. Sometimes I groan hearing how basic the rhymes are at times--but they work. Usually because they are sung with what has now become the band's trademark "soaring sincerity." It's all bigger than life, which somehow makes it all the more believable. At the same time, Noel and Liam Gallagher (the real Oasis, in my opinion, as the two brothers have pushed away and alienated everyone from the original lineup at this point--but it's all good, as they are the principal singer/writing talents) know exactly what they are: they're a stupid rock 'n roll band. There's this great line in "Don't Look Back in Anger" where they even point out that not only should we not take them too seriously, but we also shouldn't put all our hopes and dreams in them:

"Please don't put your life in the hands
Of a Rock n Roll band
Who'll throw it all away"

This bit of honesty helps make the stupid bravado stuff go down smoother. These little bits, where their guards drop are what make the record.

I don't need to tell you that "Wonderwall" is a great song. It's one of those great songs that's been waaay to overplayed, but I don't care. It's still great, and I can't help but sing along with it every time I hear it on the radio. But for me, "Champagne Supernova" is the standout of this record. The soft bubbly sound at the beginning...the carefree guitar strumming...the Lennon-esque lyrics. It's all great.

"Slowly walking down the hall
Faster than a cannonball
Where were you while we were getting high?
Someday you will find me
Caught beneath the landslide
In a champagne supernova in the sky "

And that title/lyric is such a great image. I don't know exactly what a Champagne Supernova is, but I totally love it. There's a great solo midway through the song, it's a fantastic, understated affair--that totally fits the laid-back vibe of the song. That's something else I love about this song, and in fact this record--Oasis in general...NO MATTER HOW INTENSE THE SONG Oasis always seems to play with a carefree effortlessness. It's a joy--a FUCKIN JOY to hear them. "Champagne Supernova" caps off a classic record, by an amazing (though underrated) rock band. Brit-Pop may be dead, it may have been a fad--but there was some amazing music created under it's tattered banner.

(WHAT'S THE STORY) MORNING GLORY? is right up there with SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND or PET SOUNDS. It's awesome. Even though you've heard these songs 1,000 times, go back and give them a listen. They still hold up. Oasis still rocks.

Interesting fact: the two dude's walking on the album cover aren't in the band (i.e. they're not Liam or Noel, like I thought when I was younger). Nope--they're actually a couple of famous British radio personalities (Owen Morris and Sean Rowley). And the street they're walking on? It's Berkick Street Soho, London. Wow, right? Now ya know!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Chicago/OASIS Bound

Last night my sister Amber came out here to STL-Land. I got up early and made breakfast for the 3 of us, then played DEAD OR ALIVE 4 (which my sister bought and brought out for me). It's an pretty rad fighting game (in a cut-scene, a guy punches a T-REX).

Anyway, we're planning on leaving in an hour and a half. It should take us around 5 hours to reach Chicago. I'm gonna try to drive most of the way OUT myself, and save Amber for the ride back (once we get out of the city).

We're excited, and both of us are glad to have a distraction as our professional lives are in the toilet (her situation is a little better than mine, to be fair). We've got money for a cheap motel room should we get too tired on the way home...but I'm gonna try to make it all the way back (and save a little more money). We'll see how that works out...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Yes: I am ignoring you

Hey everyone. Yesterday I reached out for help via email...and then proceeded to not take any of your calls. To everyone who called: I'm sorry.

I just can't talk about this stuff. I can't even talk about it with Leah (which I know is wrong). I just can't. I have a jumble of emotions right now. Most are not good.

I took one call yesterday from my Dad and I ended up freaking out.

I am currently in the midst of 2 horrible legal issues here at work...and am freaking out.

Just stand by.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Trying to be positive...

Oh boy.

Today my workplace received an inspection from a major government institution. I won't get into the details, for privacy issues...and the fact that I know people from my family read this blog--but I will say this: we DID NOT PASS our inspection.

Things are crazy up there, and we may all soon be in a lot of trouble.

That's all I can and will say at this point. There are some people I was discussing this with, but I've decided I'm not going to talk about this. With anyone (including my wife).

A new job is becoming increasingly less of an option...and more of a requirement.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Attempted Rape

So today was shitty. Yeah, it was Monday...but it was more than just that.

I woke up, determined to get my car's heater working properly. Friday me and Amber are *gulp* driving to Chicago to see Oasis (have you heard?) and I wanted my car in tip-top shape. So I made an "appointment" at Weber Chevrolet on Olive.

Now, I debated on whether or not I should actually use their business name on this blog--but frankly, the way I was treated today they deserve the (minuscule) bad P.R. My "appointment" turned out to be a joke (they don't have appointments--it's all first come, first serve). I got there and had to wait FOREVER just to get checked in. This was partly my fault, as I'd never been there before and didn't know you just DROVE right on in. By the time I figured it out, three others had "come first" and been "served" before me.

The long wait meant I had to go with Leah downtown for her court date (stupid traffic cameras). She got off, by the way, without having to pay a dime (thanks to her lawyer, who is also her mother).

Anyway, I eventually got to work and a few hours later Weber Chevy (aka the Rapists) called me to let me know that "a wire had gotten twisted up" (how they could not tell me) and that they'd have to run a "new wire in." Now, before I give you their price--let me explain. A year ago, almost to the day--one of my car's knobs came off in my hand. You know the knob that let's you switch between front/main defrost and the blowers? Yeah. THAT KNOB. So basically for a year my car's been stuck on "blowers." It's sucked, but I've dealt with it because it's only a problem in the winter (when it takes FOREVER to defrost the windshield and you have to drive around with the heater blazing and the windows down to avoid fogging).

The heater works just fine. It's just the part (this "wire" they spoke of) that connected the knob to the heater part was messed up.

To fix this, Weber quoted me $360.

I was shocked. I had expected to get off for $75-$150 range...not $360!!! Yikes. But, I was at work--totally mobbed and unable to talk, so I told the guy I'd pay it. A few minutes later, when I was able to think, I changed my mind and called them back. But of course, I couldn't get through to anyone other than the lady who answers the phone. I told her to tell my mechanic to stop fixing my car because I didn't have the money. When over an hour passed, I decided to call again--I figured my mechanic would have called me by then, and I wanted to make 100% sure I wasn't about to be taken advantage of.

Same luck though. Couldn't get a hold of him, so I settled for his voicemail. I was like: "Hey man, I can't afford no $360 don NOT have my permission to fix my car! You hear me chief? NO me."

He soon called me back to tell me that he was "at lunch" when I'd tried to call earlier, and that my car was currently in pieces and that he'd talked to "the man" (whoever the fuck that was) and his "man" had said:

"Well what can we do? The guy can't pay us what he don't have."

Which is a really GOOD fucking point I might add. Anyway, his "man" decided that because I was poor, I'd only have to pay $100 to get my car fixed.

NOW WHAT KIND OF BULLSHIT IS THAT??? Hell, maybe I should try this more often. Maybe at the checkout line I should say "No lady, $30 for beer and Coca Puffs is too much...I don't have that kind of money!" Maybe the Shop 'N Save lady will talk to her "man" and get me a 75% discount.

Weber Chevrolet treated me like an ASSHOLE, which I am...but still. Had I not threatened to leave, had I just rolled over...they would have STOLEN $260 from me. I know the dealership is always pricey, but I figured getting the job (which I thought was minor) done correctly and quickly, was worth an additional cost.

I was wrong.

Today I was almost raped by Weber Chevrolet. I got away, but you might not be so lucky. Stay away. Stay away.

Sunday, December 07, 2008


Today I finished reading Malcolm Gladwell's excellent book OUTLIERS: THE STORY OF SUCCESS. My mom turned me onto him back when his last book TIPPING POINT came out a few years ago.

The book is a brilliant argument against the notion of the "self-made man." Apparently, Mrs. Clinton was right--it does take a village. People profiled in the book include Bill Gates and The Beatles. All of whom stand out as above-average success stories. All of whom had help from their environment/up-bring that led to their success. But it is, of course, more complicated than that.

You also have to practice. One of the most intriguing parts of the book is on the subject of practice. Apparently, no matter what it is you're trying to after study has determined almost the exact amount of time it takes to reach "master level."

That number is 10,000 hours (roughly a decade of strict practice).

And speaking of "practice," I finally got around to working on some writing this weekend. Leah wants me to enter this local Micro-Fiction contest sponsored by local brewing company Schlafly's. The top prize is $1500 and a case of beer (guess which one I REALLY want).

It was TOUGH going from 90,000 page novel to 500 word "stories." In a way it was a good exercise. In the process, I came up with some interesting ideas for future projects (so even if I don't win, which I probably won't--I got SOMETHING good out of it by brainstorming). You're allowed to submit three stories, I wrote two new ones and re-worked an old one:

"Loco" is about a spectral train that smashes into this lady's house.

"Forty-Three Cent Zombies" is about the infamous "dead-letter" office at the Post Office.

And I re-worked/shortened "Homeless" which is about...a homeless man. I posted it a long time ago here on the blog. You can read it here.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Billion Dollar Babies

It's Saturday...time again for another long nerd-essay about a great album from the past!!! Last week I wrote a short little piece on The Traveling Wilbury's (because I was traveling myself, in KC for Thanksgiving). While I was there, I had my annual phone call with my crazy Uncle David (hi David!) who suggest Alice Cooper's 1973 release BILLION DOLLAR BABIES as my next CLASSIC ALBUM REVISITED.

So, I went online, found the album and downloaded it. Then I listened to it over and over and over and over...and boy was I in a weird place. Alice got his freak on, that's for sure. BILLION DOLLAR BABIES is both kick-ass rock AND mind-fuck. So sit back and enjoy another installment of Classic Albums Revisited:

Alice Cooper made "sick in the head" an art form. Before Marilyn Manson, before rap music was making parents shit themselves...there was Alice. A lot of people plop Cooper into the same category was Ozzy--bumbling, brutish, pseudo-satanic weirdos. But Cooper is much more than that, he's more dangerous than Ozzy, because unlike the "Oz-man," Cooper is actually very well-read, smart, and witty.

I know, some of you reading this will think I'm crazy. Maybe you'll think I'm being overly generous, but listening to BILLION DOLLAR BABIES, Alice Cooper's fifth (and greatest) album--I had to look some stuff up. For instance, do you know who Saint Vitus is? I didn't either, but Cooper makes a passing reference to him in "Unfinished Sweets," the album's fifth track. I had to look it up. Turns out Vitus was this dude who is supposed to have driven a demon from this Roman Emperor's son. He was drove the demon away and was killed (because he wouldn't renounce his Christianity). Before performing this task (and then being rewarded with death) Vitus is said to have been tortured by his father (who was a Roman Senator and wasn't cool with his son's religious views).

Or something like that. The point is, Cooper put this strange, educated reference into a song about being tortured in a dentist's chair.

Alice Cooper's popularity was at an all time high in 1973. The band's last album SCHOOL'S OUT, had been the band's biggest hit and catapulted them into the ranks of rock glory. BILLION DOLLAR BABIES was the follow-up record, and proved to be more popular than SCHOOL'S OUT, spawning four hit singles.

While not quite metal, Cooper walked a thin line between hard-rock and mainstream rock 'n roll on BILLION DOLLAR BABIES. The songs are darker sounding, the guitars are heavier than what most people think of as typical 70's rock. But beyond being "heavy" or just being loud...Cooper was very theatrical. There is this sinister, "evil-carnival" type vibe flowing throughout the album. I'll admit, some of it is ridiculous. Some of it is even pretty damn stupid. But most of it is kinda awesome, like one of those cheesy black-and-white rubber monster movies. BILLION DOLLAR BABIES works because Cooper is smirking through the coarse growls and dark ambiance.

Let's talk first, though about the track that most disturbed me: "Mary-Ann." This song is a freakishly-normal sounding love song. It comes in near the end of the record, just after the absurdly dark/satanic-ish "Sick Things" (which I'll get to). "Mary-Ann" is a breath of seemingly-fresh air. Think 1930's piano ballad or early Elton John. But somewhere, something goes wrong and the about half-way through the song (after going on and on about how much he loves his girl Mary-Ann), Cooper wails: "Mary-Ann...I thought you were my man!" The first few times I listened to the song, I totally missed this. Before your brain can make sense of this bizarre phrasing (or is it a revelation?) the song degrades into a funky-fucked up piano solo that starts sweetly in heaven before dropping back down to Earth (where is stutters and dies).

It's a short, two minute song...but it freaks the hell out of you at three AM...when you're wearing headphones and the lights are out. That's the power of Cooper--he can make the most innocent thing strange and sorta creepy/terrifying. And yet, at the same time he can take something godawful, something say, necrophilia and make it happy and sunny like on "I Love the Dead." This song, which is both unabashedly about violating corpses (and yet very innocent for the most part, lyrically) is also very up-beat sounding. There's a strange, explosive sing-a-long quality to "I Love the Dead" that makes It's damn near a Beatles song at the end, it's so fucking sunny. And yet, it's about fucking someones dead loved one: "While friends and lovers mourn your silly grave/I have other uses for you, Darling." There's a beautiful horn and string arrangement at the end (there's also a sick groaning sound, too). I know, intellectually, I should find this song horrid...but I love it. That, too, is the power of Cooper.

BILLION DOLLAR BABIES opens with "Hello Horray!" which pretty much sets the scene for the entire forty minutes of the album. The song is the declaration of a mad carnival barker, the loudmouth announcer who's preparing himself as much as he is his captive audience ("I've been waiting so long for this thing to come/Yeah-I've been thinking so long I was the only one"). "Hello Horray!" also mentions the "American Dream" which is a theme that Cooper seems preoccupied with at various times throughout the album (most notably "Elected" which I'll attend to in a moment). It's as though "Hello Horray!" is a kind of cry to everyone--including the disenfranchised (youth) of America. Cooper's swagger, his affirmation that "God, I'm so strong" at the end of the song appears to be brash arrogance...but by the end of BILLION DOLLAR BABIES you realize it's not arrogance, it's a natural fact.

I haven't talked much about the music of this album--BILLION DOLLAR BABIES is very much a "guitar" album. There is some killer guitar work on this record. The title track "Billion Dollar Babies" (which yes, was in GUITAR HERO 2) is the most technically impressive track on the record, but the album abounds with awesome (and catchy) guitar licks. Cooper's band is not big on the guitar solo (which was HUGE in the 1970s), expect on "Billion Dollar Babies" which is like 80% solo.

"Billion Dollar Babies" is a fucking fantastic song. Again, it's not so much anyone thing that makes this song so creepy--it's everything added up. First off, there' s the creepy lyrics. I have no idea what this song is about (Cooper makes another reference to the "billion dollar babies" in a later track, "Generation Landslide") but the lyrics are all "attics" and "moonlight." There are some weird images too, like "Rubber little lady, slicker than a weasel." Uh, okay. The song is supposed to be about the dangers of over-indulgence...but I don't see it.

But anyway, back to it being creepy.

"Billion Dollar Babies" is also so strange because it's a duet--between Alice and Donovan (yes, the dude that sang "Mellow Yellow" and "Sunshine Superman"). Donovan's sweet, angelic voice combined with Cooper's creepy growl makes for an unusual pairing...that both delights and unnerves. This mixed with a blistering guitar tone, makes "Billion Dollar Babies" truly awesome...and really messed up. It's one of those things that must be heard to be understood.

"Elected" is Cooper at his most satirical, taking a stab at both vanity and the American political machine. This song sounds like a strange-hybrid of the Rolling Stones "Sympathy for the Devil" and The Ramones "I Wanna Be Sedated." There's a brilliant, chugging guitar lick that pervades the song (along with Cooper's trademark howl). Supposedly, this song is a reworking of an older song "Reflected" (but as I am unfamiliar with this song, I cannot comment directly on this). What I can say is that the song is, in the words of my uncle "the perfect November song." Though he never says "president" in the song, it's inferred that Cooper is demanding that he be elected Commander-in-Chief. It's surreal to hear a man how sings about corpses croon that he wants to be elected President. Once again, like on "Hello Hooray!" Cooper seems to be reaching out for that all-important disenfranchised youth rock-demographic. He calls out that "Kids need a savior, don't need a fake" and that "I never lied to you, I've always been cool."


My personal favorite off BILLION DOLLAR BABIES is probably the record's most famous single, "No More Mr. Nice Guy." First off, this song has an awesome Stone-ish vibe right at the beginning. It's instantly recognizable, and awesome. "No More Mr. Nice Guy" is a great satirical stab at Cooper's own infamy. I love all the crazy, outlandish things that happen to him because people think "he's sick, he's obscene." Like the reverend punching him on the nose in Church. Or how his own dog turned on him (and bit him in the leg). Not to mention how his parents have been effected (his dad's in hiding and his mom was kicked out of the "society circle"). Awesome chorus. Awesome chorus. This song is catchy and insane (and I love the fact that he's only now bad because the world has made him that way). "No More Mr. Nice Guy" is fantastic and definitely on the best songs Alice Cooper ever recorded.

Speaking of catchy, "Generation Landslide" is super-catchy. The song, which as mentioned before is the second on the album to mention "billion dollar babies" is about spoiled rich kids. The song is also noteworthy of the guitar solo at the end (which as mentioned before are kinda rare on the album). The album's other two tracks, "Raped and Freezing" and "Sick Things" are both two differing examples of Cooper's bizarre songwriting. "Raped and Freezing" is a more traditional rock-story-song about a role-reversals (Cooper's narrator-character ends up getting raped and left "naked, stranded in Chihuahua." Meanwhile, "Sick Things" is a strange near-spoken-word song that's really freaky...and is apparently, about...sick...things??? I haven't a clue. Honestly, I think this song is a bit of a turkey.

But hey, nine out of ten ain't bad. That's a 90% (which is an A-). So Cooper makes the grade.

One final note, about "Alice Cooper" vs. "The Alice Cooper Band." You may have noticed that earlier in this essay, I referred to this album's artist in both the singular and the plural near the beginning. The reason for this is because, in the beginning, Alice Cooper was the band's name (and not just it's lead singer's stage name). BILLION DOLLAR BABIES is the final album of Alice Cooper THE BAND (as it was originally formed). Alice Cooper the man went on to make a bunch of records, but not with the same backing band.

Just thought I should clear that up. As a youngster I was often confused when I heard people say "Alice Cooper were great" or "I like The Alice Cooper Band." Both of these things sound weird (especially coming from the mouth of a drunk person) but actually make sense when you are aware that...oh, never get it...

So, what does it all mean? Well, bottom line: BILLION DOLLAR BABIES is an interesting romp through the strange, dark, wilderness of rock. It's a fantastic October album (though it is a good November album, too) because it's plenty spooky. BILLION DOLLAR BABIES is also an interesting historical piece. It's funny to listen to it because, compared to much of what I hear--it's actually very tame. Unlike the "dumb" wrap that most music like this gets, Alice Cooper (the man and the band) are pretty clever and merge rock with the theatrical unlike any band this side of Queen.

BILLION DOLLAR BABIES is essential rock. Period.

Have a favorite rock record from the past that you thing I SHOULD REVISIT? Drop me a line electronically at: Give me your album suggestions and maybe I'll gush over YOUR favorite record.

Friday, December 05, 2008

It's called ROCK Band...not COUNTRY Band!!!

So I woke up today, and for the most part everything was okay. Oh sure, my life is kinda shit right now (what with the Great Depression I'm facing...oh, and the economy is bad)--but for the most part life was livable.

Then I go to the computer and head over to (as I sometimes do). To my horror I find that CMT has announced that on December 16 of this year, a muther-fucking god-damn "Country" track pack will be released.


Though no song titles have been announced, the artists have. Behold, the dumb-ass jug-bands that will soon grace Rock Band:

1. Brad Paisley
2. Brooks & Dunn
3. Dixie Chicks
4. Dierks Bentley
5. Miranda Lambert

These red-neck hillbillies must be stopped. Sure, I don't MIND that crappy country music exists...just so long as it stays out of my ROCK BAND game. But why Jason? You don't have to download it! True, but instead of releasing a cool rock song, on December 16 they're going to put out a crappy country music pack. Harmonix (the game developer) only puts out new music once a week (on Tuesdays). Ergo, this crappy-ness IS GOING TO HURT ME!!!

Possible "country" artists I could have tolerated:

1. Johnny Cash

The Dixie Chicks? You gotta be joking...

P.S. Everyone knows Country music sucks...

Monday, December 01, 2008

One of those days...

I just had one of those days...the kind that make me want to give up.

It's been awhile since I've had one this bad. Usually the novel helped--because I knew that, regardless of what happened to me during the day, I had that to come home to. I don't have that right now. Instead, all I have is a cold, empty, apartment.

The news is depressing. I need to stop watching it.

I'm trying to gather the "oomph" to apply for some jobs--I'm not really excited about any of them. Some of them, the best prospects, are in the "security" field. I know a lot of people will be disappointed to hear that...but when I got to the office today, I almost threw up it smelled so bad (a foot long rat had died over the long weekend). Then a government agent showed up (not law enforcement) and started nosing around...

I foresee much turbulence on that ship (that "ship" being the S.S. Titanic where I now work). I work as hard as I can--this past week or so I've been getting there early and staying much later than I normally do (6:30 at night) because my boss if out of town...but it seems that it doesn't matter.

I'm becoming depressed.