Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Chick Songs: A Little Help From My Readers?

I'm working on a list for an online publication, and I need your help. I'm short one song, since you'll see that I make a joke about a certain band with swishy twins, long blond hair, and a famous father. Although I'm keeping the joke in no matter what, I'd love some input from my readers, who are the muthafuckin' shit, no two ways about it. Here is the rough cut:

Top 10 Songs Sung by Women in the Rock Era:

To clarify what the “Rock Era” means, there will be no Etta James, Billie Holiday, or Patsy Cline; basically, the list contains the most moving, powerful songs with female vocalists from 1960’s to the present, according to males here at Name of Publication Here.

10. Nothing Compares to You by Sinead O'Conner
Written by Prince, but knocked out of the park by Sinead O’Conner, this song was everywhere in 1990, and deservedly so. The video’s image is almost entirely a passionate, bald woman singing directly into the camera, and because the song and the performance are so strong, it manages to be highly effective. Indeed, just singing the song, she mustered up some real tears for everyone to see on their MTV.

9. Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin
Although written by Roger Miller and Chris Kristofferson, an on again off again lover of Janis’, it was based partly on her, and while sang by many others, it was performed most memorably by Janis herself.

8. Fade Into You by Mazzy Star
Fade Into You is a wonderfully melancholy song that you can just zone out to; it literally fades right into you.

7. Heart of Glass by Blondie
This is a funky song that makes you want to dance, but when you stop doing the hustle for a moment and listen, it’s also impressive musically and lyrically.

6. Love and Affection by Nelson. Great song, and those chicks are hot! Wait, this just in: They aren’t chicks. Moving on . . .

5. Crazy On You by Heart
Heart had two amazing artists in the Wilson sisters, Nancy on guitar and Ann on vocals, and both of their talents are showcased perfectly on Crazy on You. It’s a sexy song too, but it’s hard to tell if that’s just since seeing The Virgin Suicides*. After that kiss, Josh Hartnett is left thinking “What the hell was that,” he reaches out for her, she’s gone, and he’s left never so turned on in his life and her gum in his mouth. The song adds an amazing intensity to the scene, but it’s plenty exiting on its own.

4. Doll Parts by Hole: There are rumors that Kurt Cobain and/or Billy Corgan wrote all of Courtney Love’s songs, much like the rumors of Truman Capote writing To Kill a Mocking Bird. Is it possible that a female artist simply hanging out with a talented male artist is enough for people to jump to the conclusion that the male must have written her work? If there’s no truth to it, then it’s a sad state of affairs that these assumptions were made. Any way you slice it, this is a rocking song, and Courtney downright nails it at the end when she belts it out, like only her crazy ass can. The guy that one was written about must be thinking, “Man, I hope that some day I don’t ache like she aches, cause she sounds like she’s feeling downright miserable.”

3. Fast Car by Tracy Chapman
This is one of the saddest songs ever, or is it? It sounds at first like it’s a somewhat happy song about a woman running away with someone, perhaps a lover, to escape her lousy life in the lover’s “fast car,” but after repeated listens, it becomes evident that they merely started up a new, crappy life somewhere else. Now she just longs for that exiting day when she first fled, blind to the knowledge of the fact that the getting away wouldn’t make her life any better. Ouch!

2. Gold Dust Woman by Fleetwood Mac:
It’s a heavy, dark song that sounds positively evil, yet so subdued, and Stevie Nick’s vocal is raspy, sexy, mysterious, and perfect. "Take your silver spoon and dig your grave” is a great line that, quite obviously, alludes to Stevie Nick’s drug abuse, that would only get worse in the years following Rumors, the band’s break-out success and the album that contains Gold Dust Woman, as its final, haunting track.

1. Feel Like a Natural Woman by Carole King
No one would dispute the fact that Aretha Franklin is technically a better singer than Ms. King, but in this case, the version sang by the woman who wrote it is more powerful and moving. Carole doesn’t need the vocal range of the Lady of Soul when there’s that much emotion behind that voice of hers.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Gancer Gets Groceries! That's Fascinating!

Is it all the writing and blogging that makes me have an internal monologue running through my head, thinking what's funny about the world, what would be good to write about, rather than living in the actual moment? Do any of you do this too?

So, I thought about lots of things while I got groceries today, and I must warn you: Nothing all that interesting happened. Sure, if the store was robbed or Marv Albert came in wearing crotchless panties and bit a woman's ass, then the thing would write itself, especially that second one. However, to me, writing a blog and attempting to make it funny and/or interesting, without embellishing details, when nothing all that noteworthy went down, was seen as a challenge in my eyes. Is this exactly what's wrong with blogging? Maybe so. Well, if you'd rather move onto something more sexy like that New York hooker's myspace who blew that Governor right out office, go right ahead.

Do you care what you look like at your grocery store? As I'm talking to my roommate and tweaking my hair, he asked me if I was going out. "Nope," I said. "Just going to Club Jewel." Let me explain. We call the Jewel, may be called Albertson's by you, across the street from our place Club Jewel, because the people are so darned pretty there. We used to call it Hot Girl Jewel, and then met some girls who called it Hot Guy Jewel. How odd that this shop brings in all the hunks and babes, right? That being said, you actually have to get dolled up a little before you go, because the women in there look like TV Spokes Models on Star Search*.

Do you eat like a grown-up or like a kindergartner during snack time?
A young couple in the same aisle as me was talking about cooking something, what should be used to marinate it, or whatever, and I started to think how I need to eat more like a grown-up. My dad is one hell of a cook, I'm sure I could learn a lot from him, impress women by cooking for them, be a lot healthier, and maybe a little happier. I thought all of this while I stealthily grabbed my six pack of beef ramen noodles and ducked out of that aisle.

Have you met, have you tried, or do you hope to one day meet memebers of the opposite sex while grocery shopping? I did see some good looking birds eye balling produce and comparing unit prices*, but I have a girlfriend right now. That's right, I said the GF word, it's kind of a big deal that I'm using the words, being that it's a promotion from Special Lady Friend, which would probably be an interesting subject, but we're not here to talk about anything interesting and nothing personal on this blog for a few posts. We're here to talk groceries, damn you! So, I wasn't macking on any of the Grocery Girlies, but even when I was single, that's a tough approach, right? I think that in other countries people converse more with strangers, but here in America, especially in big cities, we're taught and/or conditioned not to make eye contact at any cost. It's to the point where if you just try to point out a better deal to a gal, she may freak out, mace you, and kick you in the balls. Well, it's not to that point. I'm just saying it's a tough opener.

When you put your items on the conveyor belt, do you look at what the person in front of you is buying? Why am I even asking? Everyone does. Do you then make inferences based on what types of things they buy? For instance, if they have lots of lean cuisines, then they're probably single. If they buy lots of organic shit, then they're tree hugging hippies. If he buys a bottle of Jack and a 20-pack of rubbers, then he's Gancer. You know, just little inferences like that. Anyway, the gal in front of me had some high class items, but I had too many man-child items to hide. I looked to hide my ramen noodles, but when I moved some items to hide it I saw my Chef Boyardee in plain view.** She's going to be making some very obvious judgements, and they will be dead on.

Do you like paper or plastic? Wow, this is getting flipping boring, but seriously, I'm a paper man. When I walk home from the store I always have way too many things to carry and no little cart thing, cause I'm not quite old enough to be That Guy, so all those plastic bag handles burrow into my hands. Today I had two real heavy, double paper bagged loads, perfectly loaded by yours truly. I exercise a fair amount, but I never do any kind of weight training. Is it bad that one of the only times I feel the burn on my triceps is when I waddle home with twenty pounds of groceries in each hand?

Your turn, readers. Answer one or more of the questions in bold type at the start of these boring paragraphs.


*A very dated reference, but well worth it for the people who remember. Do you think Ed McMahon got on any of those models? If I had to guess, I'd have to say, "Ha ha! Yes! You are correct, sir."

**They were on sale for $.79 a can, since you asked.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Tom Petty Debacle

I can't sleep because I'm amped up from too much coffee I sucked back while trying to stay awake during a focus group about pens, so I figured I might as well use this nervous energy to write something. The only spare topic that I have in my handy-dandy notebook* is The Tom Petty Debacle. Now, readers, I'm going to post this, but keep two things in mind.

1. It may read like a crystal meth addict** with AD/HD wrote this thing, but I'm not changing anything. It will be a stream of consciousness of goodness like Kerouac on "the crack," so you and I will just have to make do with what will more than likely be mixed results.
2. I know that I had an "I swear I'm not a sleaze" disclaimer for my last post, but I'm doing it again, damn it. I was wronged by a woman I loved, I had a real bad selfish phase, and I acted like a thoughtless, drunken child for a little too long. I'm all better now, but it would be a shame not to write about these days, right? I mean, it's therapeutic and cathartic for me, and it's, with any luck, damn interesting to you folks.

Cast of Characters With Names Changed to Protect the Innocent:

Abigale: I met her at a hair metal cover band show. She had a white tank top/wife beater thing on that had a small, subtle picture of a cassette tape nestled on her chest. We got to talking, and I shared with her my theory about dating as it relates to cassette tapes: I won't date a woman if her first album was in CD format, because that would make her far too young for me. We went on a date, she must not have had a first album in disc form, but regardless what media type that all-important first album was in, I never called her afterwards. We connected weeks later, she asked me if my not calling was due to the phone difficulties she was having, and rather than come clean, my passive ass found itself saying, "Yes. That must have been it." In the coming weeks we became more of friends/drinking buddies than anything else, I enjoyed her company quite a bit, but she was getting fond of me, believe it or not. One time she said her mom was like, "How's Dr. Kenneth?" I was weirded out, but rather than establish what we were doing, my, again, passive and perhaps a little needy ass kept things at status quo, which was probably as good as leading her on. I know, I was fucked up and immature. I swear I'm better now.

Delilah: This is the first woman I dated after my divorce for whom I had strong feelings. It was way too soon to like someone that much. I would feel weird when I'd open up to her, and then I'd clam up. She had some commitment issues at the time too, may still, and she'd shut down and get wicked distant, borderline cold, which was NOT good for me at the time. As tumultuous as our thing was, I was resolved to be in a committed, dating relationship with someone for the first time since my Devo, which is a hip way of saying divorce, as if divorce could ever be considered hip or anything other than shitty, awful, or awfully shitty.

I get a call from Abigale one day, and she has an extra ticket to Tom Petty with The Black Crowes opening at Alpine Valley, which is in Wisconsin and quite a drive. I remember getting that call while on my bicycle, and thinking, "All right, this is a road trip with a gal who really likes me, and she will probably see it as a bonding type of deal, which really isn't a good idea, cause she, to take a page out of Kevin Arnold's book, "like-likes" me while I merely "like" her. But, I've never seen Petty, and I really like The Crowes," so I said, "All right, American Girl!"

On the way down we got caught in horrible traffic, and we ended up missing ALL of The Black Crowes and we only saw like six Petty songs. Just before the end of his set, a biblical flipping storm*** hits, we exit the stadium the wrong way, have to walk all the way around the thing through the rain and mud, and by the time we get to the car there's literally**** not a dry spot on us. I was driving her car home, and it crapped out on an exit ramp. She's panicking and crying while I'm trying to tell her that we need to get it off the road before someone hits us. Finally, she puts down her phone, and steers it while I push, which is when a guy with a tow truck comes by and says, "Hey, I nearly hit you guys. Do you need a ride?" Turns out this cat works for an auto body place and was on his way home when he saw us, so he towed the car to his shop and drove us to a hotel. As a quick side note, I love the city, but on the whole people are, if you're a city slicker like me, embarrassingly, eye-opening nicer in small towns.

We both have to shower in the room, but since we have no dry clothes to put on afterwards, we both have to sleep in towels. Now, picture Dr. Kenneth doing his darndest to stay faithful to Delilah, but next to him is an emotional, nearly naked, good looking woman who is nuts about him. Plus, they had both managed to get pretty high from a too tightly rolled joint***** his roomie rolled. Also, I'm sure you'll know what I'm talking about here, but when you have a stressful, emotional day with someone of the opposite sex where there's some attraction, there is a certain exchange of pheromones and vibes that tend to make both parties pretty randy. Believe it or not, despite being painfully exited beneath my towel for hours upon hours, I did not lay a hand on her, except to console her, since she was crying from some sort of Tom Petty Debacle related melt down.

Here's the worst part: About a week later Delilah broke up with me, I said "what the hell," and slept with Abigale after too many quarter beers at The Horse Shoe. Part of the moronic, sick-fuck thought process of mine was that I was somehow entitled to, not only because I was reeling from the break up, but because I white knuckled and blue balled it through that TP Debacle night, when I really didn't need to, since Delilah already was no doubt ready to dump me by the TP night. So, in my mind, not now but at the time, I was thinking that sticking it to Abigale would be, in a sense, sticking to Delilah. Abigale thought our quarter beer lovin' meant we'd start dating, but of course, I wasn't ready or willing, which I knew before I slept with her. It's quite sad actually. Sad for her, and sad for me that I would do something so downright shitty, just because I was hurting from the divorce, and then rehurting from the Delilah deal.

Midway through this thing I thought about not posting it, and usually when I have that feeling I'm right, whether it's someone reading getting pissed or myself feeling equal parts ashamed and stupid. Well, I'm posting it, because I've been going with an on again off again emotionally naked, cathartic, therapeutic writing style for some time now, and I think my blog buddies who have been in it with me for some time know me to not be the turd I once was. I'm going to get back to posts about silly stuff like nude field goal kicking and Flashdance, because I feel drained after writing this thing. Fortunately, I'm Drained enough to sleep, finally, so I'm off to catch a quick couple of hours of sleep before work. Thanks for "listening" everyone. Good night.


*Yes, I got the "handy-dandy notebook" from Steve on Blues Clues. I watched a lot of that stuff with my nephews. That guy did the least convincing running in place while the background moved, but I always gave him credit for being funny on such an F'd up show. Big ups, Steve.

**Just as I typed that sentence about typing like a crack head, I typed attic instead of addict. Yikes. Hey, when you were in junior high, did you ever ask girls to look down the front of their shirt and spell attic? "A titty I see (A-T-T-I-C)" I'm going to try it, but not in the work place this time. I'll leave that to Dyckerson, who, as an experiment, is going to try that gag on ten women at random next week. Best of luck to you, Dyckerson!

***The electrical storm before the crazy rain came down actually provided a beautiful backdrop during his surprisingly impressive set of the six songs I saw. It's something I'll never forget, much like The Tom Petty Debacle itself.

****One of my roomies is an editor and a real bright guy. He pointed out once that literally is overused, and often doesn't make sense the way people use it. For instance, "I was so hungry I was literally ready to eat my foot." No, not literally. If you meant that literally I'd call the funny farm on your ass cause you are a kook. Well, in reference to how wet we were, this time it's used correctly, because there honest to God wasn't a dry spot anywhere to be found, like we had just done fully clothed cannon balls into the neighbor's pool.

*****Sorry, mom, if you're reading. Yes, my mom reads sometimes and she's awesome. I'm more sorry about the overall content of this piece, but for some reason I'm sorry about the joint thing too. I swear I"m not a druggie, it's been over a year since I had the wacky tobacky, and I've never been a regular puffer.

Monday, March 10, 2008

On the Road Again

Disclamer: Okay, all. Please don't take this post as sleazy. Many of us had days of one-nighters, and this is merely meant to educate, not to offend.

On Saturday, I had an all-day bachelor party deal for a good friend. In between shooting each other with paint balls and shooting down shots of Jager at a bar, we had some time to drink some beers at my place and shoot the proverbial shit. While discussing what the night may entail, someone inquired about how many of us were single. The answer? Zero! Zero out of eight of us considered ourselves single. What did that leave us talk about? Our glory days . . .

Here's one thing we learned: When it comes to a one nighter/hit it and quit it situation, most guys prefer a "road show" to a "home game." Here's why:

3. Miss One Nighter will never know where you live, or that you're 31-years-old and live with 4 other guys, not that I know anyone like that. Also, if she's nuts, she can do a lot less damage to you and your property at her place, in theory, unless she has a Buffalo Bill, "It puts the lotion in the basket-esque" dungeon where she locks men in for weeks on end, but how many women like that do we meet? One, maybe two lifetime?*

2. No neighbors, roommates, land ladies, wives (?), or anyone else are privy to anything that transpires during a road show. Sometimes we have weak moments and take home something that's not looking so good, or even if she is looking good, maybe we're just not comfortable letting people in our immediate area in on the fact that we make a habit of this. For lack of a less overused phrase, what happens at a "road show" stays at a "road show."

1. When you wake up, all you have to do is excuse yourself. You know, I have to get my oil changed, take my grandmother to the zoo, have my testicles laminated**, whatever; just make an excuse and go. During a home game, you feel rude making an excuse, cause you're basically throwing her out, so, if you're like me, you end up driving them home. That way you save them the walk of shame by offering the slightly less embarrassing drive of shame. Even still, when you say, "So, I can drive you home?" What they hear, and rightfully so, is, "So, get the F out of here?"

How's about you, my beloved readers? Which do you prefer and why? Anyone out there prefer a nice home stand?


*Got this pic off of a picture of a t-shirt! What sick son-of-a-gun is going around with that guy on his/her shirt!?

**Borrowed that awesome little phrase from George Carlin when he's talking about how when it gets quiet suddenly at a party you're always saying something stupid, like telling someone you're having your testicles laminated.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Campy, Borderline Shitty, Soft Rock Cures Road Rage. Who Knew?

I exited Lake Shore Drive today, got behind the slowest, dumbest cab driver ever, and I was stuck behind the nimrod for way longer than I wanted to be. I think I ordinarily would have gotten ticked off and cursed his unborn children, but today I had "Maneater" by Hall and Oats on, so instead of yelling, "Come on, fuck face," I softly sang, in my best Daryl Hall, white-boy, soul voice "You're the worst driver" to the tune of the phrase "She's a man eater." I made myself chuckle, so then I couldn't be mad. Try it some time.

If the song is equal parts goofy and soft rock, then there's no way you can stay mad. The next time a motorist makes you want to get your nine or your deuce-deuce out of the glove box, before you pull out your strap and lay that buster down like Nate Dogg, just throw on Eric Carmen's 1975 hit, "All By Myself," and instead sing:

"You can't drive for shi-it.
I swear to God
You can't drive for shit."*

If you can't fit the thing that angers you into the lyrics of a not at all agro song, since an angry song might just make you angrier, simply substitute the words penis and/or vagina, because that's invariably funny, if you share my middle-school sense of humor.

Just trying to make the world a happier place, teach the world to sing, and buy the world a coke . . .


*A couple things about Eric Carmen. One, I never noticed this before, but does the vocal melody of the versus and some of the chord progressions of the piano rip off David Bowie's "Life On Mars?" Secondly, has there ever been a guy to pop the collar of his chest-exposing, Electric Horseman shirt, sport a terrific, white-man's afro, and just sing all serious, like he has no idea how ridiculous he looks, quite like Eric Carmen?

Monday, March 03, 2008

I heard At This Moment by Billy Vera and the Beaters today, and I immediately got sad for a relationship I wasn't in when I was nine.* Allow me to explain. When Ellen broke up with Alex on Family Ties I was as crushed as him. I really identified with Alex P. Keaton, probably because he was portrayed so well by Michael J. Fox, who was also Marty McFly, which didn't hurt.** I even wanted to be a Republican because of him, but thank God I didn't go down that road. For whatever reason, maybe I just wanted to be grown up, which I'm still waiting for, but I was jealous of him. I wanted to wallow in some of that sweet, sweet misery and then run desperately through the airport like O.J. Simpson, in the commercials, not like when he was stabbing people, and try to get my mythical girl back.

I did the same thing with What It Takes by Aerosmith. I'd sit in my sister's room, because I was yet to get my own stereo, and listen to that song off their 1989 release, Pump. I'd stare at the cover of the disc with the two trucks fucking, and I'd get sad. Sad for a girl that may or may not dump me when I'd have a legitimate girlfriend, which I had to wait some time for. What it Takes to get a girlfriend turned out to involve confidence and talking to them, which was a little more than I bargained for at the time.

Why am I drawn to misery like that? Why do I love wallowing so? I used to have a playlist on my itunes called Depressing as Hell, and it had over one hundred songs on it. I'd throw that bad boy on random and have a good cry when I needed one. My mood can be so affected by music. For instance, I could be in a great mood, throw on Jar of Flies by Alice in Chains, the best shoot up a big pile of heroin*** record of all time, and my mood will immediately shift to sadness, but it feels good to feel down when the music is good.

Hey readers, does anyone else do stuff like that, or am I just a masochist nut-job? I mean, I know some people enjoy a good tear jerker movie, so I'm no nuttier than them, right?

* Does anyone recall the talk show for which they would later become the house band? Also, make sure you stick around for the extra awkward interview at the end of this clip. I'll be damned if he doesn't look right at the camera and say that the way to a woman's heart is through lots of meatballs and sausage.
** Ever since Michael J. Fox got sick, now this song makes me think of him shaking from his degenerative disease, and that makes me sad too.
***No, I've never done heroin. But if I ever decide to start, this would be the perfect accompaniment.