Friday, July 24, 2009

Let's Separate the Message Rockers from the Real Rockers

Are you ready to rumble? I heard the song "Sober" by Pink this morning on the radio and I found myself getting pissed off. Don't get me wrong; I don't have anything against her, like some other musicians I could name coughJohnMayercough. I appreciate her swagger and her semi-aggressive stance. I like her anti-airhead campaign; it sends a good message to young women and girls that may not have heard that it's a bad idea to be an alcoholic or a slut, but it's ok to have a good time.
And that's also a problem.
Message Rock rubs me the wrong way. I really don't want to take my cues from message rockers. Even if their message is a good idea. This is probably why I can't even open the door to the room full of Christian Rock. Rock and Roll is not the place for self help or spiritual development. It's supposed to be primal and emotional. Or devil-may-care rebelliousness. If there is a message, it should be buried or backmasked. Am I alone in all of this? Let's look at some samples. Please let me know what you think.

Message Rocker v. Real Rocker

Lyric Smackdown


Pink’s Sober


Amy Winehouse’s Rehab

No pain inside, you’re like perfection…But how do I feel this good sober?

I don’t ever wanna drink again
I just, ooh, I just need a friend
I’m not gonna spend ten weeksHave everyone think I’m on the mend

The question is, do addicts really want to know how to feel this good sober? No. I don’t think so, though I’m open to information to the contrary.

In my personal experience, I’ve actually heard alcoholics say: “I don’t want to drink.” It’s not about feeling good; it’s about not wanting to fuck things up further and believing that not being drunk is the first step.

Judgment: Sober is bullshit and throws in the towel at the mere sight of Rehab.

Green Day’s American Idiot


CCR’s Fortunate Son

Well maybe I'm the faggot America.I'm not a part of a redneck agenda.Now everybody do the propaganda.And sing along to the age of paranoia

Some folks are born made to wave the flag,Ooh, they’re red, white and blue.And when the band plays hail to the chief,Ooh, they point the cannon at you, lord,

I think these two are saying the same thing; however, I appreciate the directness of CCR. I think that Green Day is being too abstract here. It’s not personal enough, damn it. Stop tossing off half-baked imagery.

Judgement: CCR by a nose.

Lee Greenwood’s Proud to be an American


Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA

And I gladly stand up,next to you and defend her [America] still today.‘ Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,God bless the USA.

Come back home [from Viet Nam] to the refineryHiring man says "Son if it was up to me"I go down to see the V.A. manHe said "Son don't you understand"

I don’t have to tell you that Greenwood’s song is a pile of sugar-coated pablum pops for the masses. I’ve probably told you this before.

For instance, one can’t gladly stand up and literally defend her and still be honest. I mean, Are we talking about defending her at the water cooler or in Afghanistan? Because I’d gladly defend her at the water cooler but I’d have to say I wouldn’t be so happy about the prospect of tromping through the Hindu Kush mountains to defend her.

In my opinion, People probably have similar reactions to her as Bruce Springsteen’s protagonists do to a country that keeps closing doors on them until they have no choices or opportunities anymore.

Judgement: Shut it, Lee Greenberg; life is not a parade down Main Street. Bruce Springsteen wins by a mile.

Nickelback’s Rock Star


Dr. Hook’s Cover of the Rolling Stone

‘cause we all just want to be big rock stars
And live in hilltop houses driving 15 cars
The girls come easy and the drugs come cheap
We’ll all stay skinny ‘cause we just won’t eat

We got a lot of little teenage blue eyed groupies
Who do anything we sayWe got a genuine Indian Guru
Who's teaching us a better way
We got all the friends that money can buy
So we never have to be alone
And we keep getting richer but we can't get our picture
On the cover of the rollin stone

Nickelback are basically lying here. They are claiming that WE all want to be rock stars. Well, maybe we don’t, Nickelback; but sadly, you already are. So why are you patronizing us pretending to want what you already have? Is this supposed to build kinship for with your fan base? Or is this supposed to be ironic? If so, nice work, Alanis.

Now Dr. Hook’s take on the celebrity experience is funny. And true. It’s honest and it doesn’t try to pander to the fans. It’s art not propaganda.

Judgement: Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show by a TKO.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bitchin' Camaro Vermont Style

I've landed in Vermont and this is the view out of my window. Don't get me wrong, I'm in one of the best places I've ever stayed at:

  • Kitchenette
  • King Sized Bed
  • Two TV's
  • Leather furniture
  • A chair with wheels and a wood floor to roll it on


Sadly, though, I'm sitting here working, watching a Friends Christmas episode. Ah well...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What we have here is a failure to communicate

I don't know, my frequency modulations must not be squelching properly. I can't seem to convey very simple thoughts in a way that others can understand today. It's not a full moon...the weather is clear...I'm still speaking English...I got a decent night's sleep last night.

What the heck is wrong with me?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Things You Don't Hear Much Anymore

  • Nobody move! I dropped my contact lens!

  • Mind if I smoke, Doctor?

  • Can you please adjust the TV antenna?

  • Hold the record by the edges!

  • Honey, where'd you put the Jarts?

  • I just got my Edsel back from the service station...

  • AM Radio plays the best music!

  • I've never seen this episode of the Brady Bunch!

  • Leaded or regular?

  • Ok, kids, hop in the back of the truck!

  • Ginger, would you please get me the Peterson file and a cup of coffee? Thanks, doll!

  • I went to New York City and paid three dollars for a hamburger, can you believe it?!?

  • I've got to hurry or I'll miss my trolly!

  • Welcome to Sears, Mr. and Mrs. Jones...for newlyweds like you, I recommend this handsome twin bed set.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Things To Do When You're Sleep Deprived

  • Recite tongue twisters

  • Stare thoughtfully at your calendar and try to replicate REM condtions with your eyes open

  • Play a guessing game with yourself: "Who's real and who's a hallucination?" or "Did that happen or did I dream it"

  • Take a typing test, save scores as a baseline so when you've had a good night's sleep, you can take the test again and win a "Most Improved" award

  • Hone your old man/woman face by pursing your lips and frowning

  • Really try to listen, you'll be surprisd at how much you miss!

  • Think about Pitfall for the Atari 2600 and try to remeber how to get over those ponds

  • Talk in a southern accent (if you're already southern, try a midwestern accent)

  • See if you can pass a roadside sobriety test


Thursday, July 09, 2009

I'm a Sheep Dog

No, that's not my photo snapped at the latest "Furry" convention. Actually that photo has been doctored with my face on a sheep dogs body. (I know! It's amaizing how real that looks!) As a rule, I don't dress up as a Sheep Dog. But I am of their ilk. I'm a herder. I know I've mentioned this before in passing, but I wanted to get into more detail to see if any of you are herders too. Or am I just abnormal.

My tendancy is to be in constant contact with my loved ones. I'd prefer that we all be in the same room, if we are all home. If one of us is gone, I need to hear from that person, usually if he or she is going to be late. I'd really like a call when anyone is about to head home so that I know when to expect him or her and I don't have to watch out the window and worry that he/she is dead in a ditch.

I suppose I can dispense with the vaguries of him/her...I'm talking about Doc here. He's more of a cat. His philosophy is "If the phone doesn't ring, it's me." If I don't hear from him, I should assume all is well. Which is kind of a logical leap for this pup, because I also wouldn't hear from him if he were dead. So, really? Not helpful for herding purposes. There's also a matter of our different interpretations of what "I'll be back in about 20 minutes" means (See this post, #3 for more information).

I know he hates the phone and would rather never have to use one. And in general, we're an awesome team; I have no complaints. For example, when we cook in the kitchen, we communicate almost completely implicitly; no words are necessary. I aspire to this level of communication with the people in my life and I'm lucky to have it. But it would be nice, for me, if he would just call on his way out the door from work to let me know he'll be home soon and to check to see if we need anything. Or let me know if he was going to be late or off on walk-about.

But that's an old saw and really off the point.

I was talking about me.

My herding instincts really come out at night. It's very difficult for me to be the first one to go to bed. I really can't settle down until I know that everyone is home, safe and out like a light. This is tricky for me and Doc, him being a night owl and working afternoons and me also being a night owl but on the early shift. I want to stay up with him, but it ruins me for the next day.

Last night, however, I had to go to bed first, even before the girls. I had the world's worst stomach ache, complete with cramps and chills. I hadn't slept well the night before and I was just worn out. I slugged down some Pepto and reluctantly headed off to bed. I should have been comforted. I had the bed to myself, I had the heated mattress pad turned up to ward off the chills, I popped in a Bob Newhart Show DVD, but I had this feeling of fear/emptiness.

Everyone was still up. My herd could drift while I'm in here. What if Lucy sleep-walked again? What if Riley runs away? What if Doc scarpered off to the back yard for a whiz and slipped and fell and cracked his head open?

Stop it, I told myself. Just enjoy sprawling out and drifting off. I did, eventually. Then at about 4 a.m. I woke up, still alone. I experienced a sheep dog frisson of fear. I got up and wandered through the house, eventually discovering the girls on the couch and Doc sleeping on they chair with his legs out on the ottoman. I thought about waking him up and dragging him back to bed. And then I thought better of it. They were fine. They were herded. I could go back to bed.

Still...what if...

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Three Minute Posts: John Cleese Loves To Teach

I'm not sure if you're aware of this or not, but John Cleese from Monty Python fame has a long list of training videos on his resume, including "Meetings, Bloody Meetings." I've seen a few of them here and there, but they are prohibitively expensive. The last time I looked MBM was close to 800 smackeroos. Ah, now I see it's almost a cool grand.

The other day, I was cruising Netflix's Watch Instantly list and found two more teaching videos: "Wine for the Confused" and "The Human Face." The former is probably more overtly instructive while the latter is more of a documentary. If you ever want to do any training, I recommend watching "Wine for the Confused" to see a great facilitator in action. He knows how to probe for deeper responses and he also knows how to sum things up. There's also a good blend of humor and instruction combined with good transitions. I'd say it's a master class in Training and Development. Hmmm...maybe I should share it with my team at work...

Check it out if you get the chance.