Thoughts, notes, observations on the everyday nonsense of American Pop Culture from one of the most not-hip people on the face of the planet...

Thursday, December 18, 2003 your back!

We all knew it would happen sooner or later. Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog, has released a song.

The randy pooch puppet, who got his start on Conan, has been getting more and more press over the past few years. From harassing Eminem at a few awards shows to appearing at the Westminster Dog Show, this pooch is a celeb's worst nightmare.

"I Keed" is a masterpiece among puppet-produced rap. Skewering everyone from J-Lo to Snoop Dogg, Triumph pulls no punches. In fact, he asks many burning questions and says what so many music fans and critics alike have been dying to say all year...

He seems to be clearing his system of all pop music-related insults. And God love him for it. Personally, I'm just glad he didn't do it in my yard.

Lyrics to "I Keed"

I thought my CD was done,
But that's not what they say
Do an insult track,
We need it for radio play

[Verse One]
American Idol, that's what I look for,
In the poop section of my local record store.
Ruben or Clay, oh which one should I pick?
It's like choosing which puddle of vomit to lick.
And when I want something even more fruity and fit,
I look up N for NSYNC or T for Timberlake.
So many skills Justin's making a buck at,
Does he rap, does he sing, he doesn't know what to suck at!
Now as for the bitches, lets give Britney thanks,
For the face that launched a million preteen skanks.
You were a virgin, that had to be hard,
You had more bones in your mouth than a St. Bernard.

I Keed, I Keed
He's just making little jokes,
I joke with you,
Little dog, Little jokes,
I Keed, I Keed,
He's just making little jokes,
and your a good actress too.

[Verse Two]
Now lets go to Walmart,
Where they won't sell me CD,
Those company's nuts are in a jar in aisle three.
But you can see Christina in all her sluthood
It's like watching porn but the music's not as good.
I want to stuff my TV's crotch with a dollar
Still I would hump you if I could wear my flea collar.
You're looser than my poop after eating honeydew,
Only 50 cents can flunk more than you!
And yet you're too old for Fred Durst to desire,
He's checking out the cast of Lizzie McGuire
Soon Fred will try to get Mandy Moore,
To open for him and I don't mean on tour!
You're not the first person for R Kelly
His video's premiere in the LAPD.
I believe they set up an innocent guy.
You know what Kel? I believe I can fly


Now look how frickin cool those guys from the Strokes are
Their rifts are three times as old as my jokes are
The white stripes guy, is that your wife or your sister
Shouldn't you be playing country music mister.
Hey Coldplay, maybe you should be Coldsore.
Back when you were U2, I liked you so much more.
Somehow your song yellow reminds me of pee
I think that when it's over, it's a big relief to me
Yo Pink, is that your hair or a tattoo?
I didn't know Supercuts had a drive through
Yo Nelly, what the hell kinda name is that?
That's about as gangster as an Easter Bonnet hat.
And Snoop says he clean, well you make the call
The guy's higher than Billy Joel's cholesterol,
Snoop there's only room for one dog putz,
And I can rap, can you lick your own nuts?
Poop Diddy, are you in show business still?
I didn't know wearing a suit was a skill.
J.Lo, J.Lo the giant tail-o
For a doggie's nose, that's the holy grail-o
Shakira's butt's fine, but it won't hold still.
I sniffed Elton John's butt for a thrill.
I sniffed J.Lo's ass and got too touchy feely
She let loose a bomb that was bigger than Gigli.


Avril Lavinge, punk queen, now there's a kidder,
Go back up north, Celine needs a baby-sitter
Philip Glass, hey tunnel ass, your not immune
Write a song with a f****** tune
And on the list of pooches, don't leave off MTV,
I scared Emineminem, so they gave the hook to me.
Slim Shady, why do you find me scary?
We are just two regular dudes who banged Mariah Carey.
Wipe off that frown, just do without
Hey my mom was a bitch too, but I don't go writing songs about it.


Genius. Simply genius.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Christmas Mix CD

With every token holiday season, there is, predictably, the flurry of holiday-themed compilations feasted upon the Wal-Marted masses. Instead of running out to pick up Ashanti’s Christmas or American Idol: The Great Christmas Classics (*shudder*)…channel your inner Martha to create…your own lovely holiday music compilation.

*Cue applause*

-“2000 Miles” —The Pretenders
Chrissie Hynde and a “home for the holidays” theme go together like cheese ball and crackers.

-“Hallelujah Chorus” as part of Handel’s “Messiah”
Nothing makes this recovering Christian quiver like a dumbfounded child in a Midnight Mass like this haunting and absolutely timeless tune.

-“Santa Claus is Coming to Town” — Bruce Springsteen
One has to wonder if the Boss ever regrets this one…

-“White Christmas” — Bing Crosby
The master of too-much-eggnog sing-along fun.

-“Blue Christmas” —Elvis
Maybe I jumped the gun a bit there…this song is great for men and women alike at that holiday office party gone horribly awry. Woo-hoo-hoo…

-“Christmas in Sarajevo” —Trans-Siberian Orchestra
This modern classic still brings goose bumps: Keyboards, strings and electric guitar bring an impeccable arrangement to a generation that forgot how to appreciate “songs without words.”

-“All I Want for Christmas is you” — Mariah Carey
A fine little gem from those not-so-long ago days when Mariah didn’t massacre every single note she uttered.

-“The Grinch” — Boris Karloff
Holidayers of all ages can remember this one from year to year. Not that anyone can mimic that bass…

-“Fairies” — Manheim Steamroller
Much like the ballet in which it is featured, “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” is one of those melodies that makes you think Christmas all year long. This darker rendition (it sounds as if they used larger chimes instead of a glockenspiel for the chorus) is heavier, but has that mysterious, “Twas the Night Before Christmas” feel.

-“The Hanukah Song” —Adam Sandler
Lorne Michaels probably never predicted this SNL-debuted tune would ever be as popular as it is today. Best line: “OJ Simpson…. not a Jew…”

-“O Holy Night” —Kenny Rogers
And why not? You know you love Kenny.

-“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” — Burl Ives
You want the version sung by the Sam the Snowman in the TV classic—trust me.

-“The Christmas Song” — Nat King Cole
No one does the song that no one knows the correct name to better than the ballad master himself.

-“Go Tell it on the Mountain” — Blind Boys of Alabama
You don’t have to be Christian to like these spiritual-soul brothers (you’ll remember them from “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”) sing out on this Sunday School staple.

-“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” — Brenda Lee
Feel a little bit 50s as you be-bop your way through the Christmas wrapping.

-“Feliz Navidad”
I guarantee that if you hear it once, you’ll be convinced you know Spanish the rest of the day.

-“Christmas Canon” — Trans-Siberian Orchestra and the London Boys’ Choir
A stirring take on Pachelbel’s Canon in D with Christian-themed lyrics, this time, provided by a hauntingly beautiful children’s choir.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Not just your everyday TV movie

Angels in America may be both one of the best and worst experiments in movie history.

This film, which airs in two parts on HBO, is incredible, however, one wonders how much more impact it would have had on the "big screen."

The movie, based on the book by Tony Kushner, is a stark portrait of faith, AIDS and homosexuality in Reagan's 80s. While the dating of the film and its "beware the new millenium" message could have ended up sounding dated, it instead gives the viewer a documentary-style view of the America that was.

But of course, when the story hit Broadway in 1993, the world really wasn't ready for it. Of course the theater-goers could enjoy it, but the TV audience at that time would not be able to handle the closeness of a gay couple or, God forbid, off-camera gay sex.

But America may be as ready as it can be for this story that needed to be told.

And what a cast to tell it with! With Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Mary-Louise Parker and Emma Thompson, this movie is as star-studded as TV could ever imagine.

But even the cast doesn't outshine the pure scope and ambition of the text itself. These characters are iconic in that they each serve a specific lesson and story of their own. While this conglomeration of characters and plotlines can get a little confusing, thankfully, it IS TV...and served in small doses.

The film revolves primarily around the stories of three homosexual men. Justin Kirk plays Prior Walter, an instantly likeable hero brutally dying of AIDS and who constantly gets harassed by angels and ghosts. Jeffrey Wright plays a Mormon who has tried living the "straight and narrow" but who must confront his homosexuality. Then there's Pacino as real-life historical figure Roy Cohn.

Cohn is simply larger than life, though he was real. As the lawyer who railroaded Ethel Rosenberg to the electric chair, Cohn has a chip on his shoulder and knows he can shut down career with the dial of a phone...but that even his staggering reputation and questionable ethics cannot save him from his impending death. Cohn is a closeted homosexual...and he is infected with AIDS.

Pacino's best lines come from this staggering revelation. He tells his doctor (James Cromwell, luminous when cornered) that he is not a homosexual because "homosexuals are people without clout. I have clout." He swears that he "just has sex with men." He even threatens the doctor's job by saying that a diagnosis of AIDS is nothing more than calling him a homosexual. Instead, Cohn says he is dying of liver cancer.

The side stories in this saga are just as engaging.

Parker plays the troubled, pill-popping wife of the closeted Mormon. She meets Walter in their shared visions of angels and dreams. She wishes to escape her nightmare of a sham marriage by escaping into her own imaginary world.

Then there's Walter's boyfriend (played with mass Jewishness by Ben Shenkman), who doesn't deal well with sickness and runs as soon as the going gets tough. Though he feels guilty about abandoning his lover, he cannot escape his cowardice of mortality.

Though it was only the end of the first part of the film, this amateur critic believes this movie is worthy of the higest of honors. Honestly, had it been released in theaters, it could have swept the Oscars. Of course, it would have been rated NC-17, however, which is probably for the best it reamined on cable.

But it makes one wonder if more people could have been reached on the big screen. This is a movie that could teach so much to so many, but so few have the pleasure of HBO. The money, the much more could have been garnered from a big screen release.

But at what cost? Would the audience still get the dumbstruck awe of seeing Shenkman test his own mortality with a broken condom and a Central Park prostitute? Would the revelatory scripture references make as much sense without the stark language that is/was real life?

Who knows? But it's good see these actors and HBO taking on a project so grand in scale and so risky in its acceptance. If only everyone had a chance to see what film-making really should be.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Rolling Stone's top 500 albums

Everything baout this list saddens me, and it isn't the fact that I don't agree with it. Every album on this list is deserving.

No, the sad thing is that only ONE album in the top 20 were even made in the last 20 years: Nirvana's "Nevermind." There are only four in the entire top 100 made since 1983.

The top 20 alone contains 5 albums by the Beatles and three by Bob Dylan.

What does this say? Does it say, as my parents usually lament, that music "isn't as good as it used to be?"

No. It means that good music simply isn't popular anymore. We would be foolish to suggect that music the caliber of the Beatles, Dylan, Marvin Gaye and Jimi Hendrix isn't being made today...but it would be right on the money to say that that modern music would never make the pages of Rolling Stone.

RS needs to take its own share of responsibility for the fate of modern music. RS hasn't sought out a little-known band or genre sine the 70s. It stopped being a source for those who love music and started being a combo of Maxim and Teen magazines with its neverending adoration of pop stars and overblown talents.

Which female has been on the cover of RS the most in its storied history? Not Aretha Franklin, Tammy Wynette, Grace Slick, Chrissie Hynde, Annie Lennox, Patti Smith, Diana Ross or any number of incredibly talented women.

Nope. It's Britney Spears, who has made four albums with very little lasting contribution to our culture. But, she's popular and attractive, so that must be enough to warrant the coveted cover of what used to be America's pinnacle of music publishing.

Rolling Stone, in its usual publishing , gives very little credit to musicians like those it canonized in this list. Instead, we have Britney, Justin, Beyonce and Blink 182 on the covers and hailed in its stories. As if anyone will still listen to their music 20 years from now.

There are people in their 20s that love the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, the Doors, Bob Dylan...even though they did not live through the eras of these band's orginal popularity. I doubt my children or their children will crowd each other at used record stores to pick up "Baby, One More Time."

There are planty of extremely talented individuals who could carry the torch of great music, but you hear so little about them in RS. You have to seek out alternative press to hear about the likes of Cody ChesnuTT (a guitar player/singer in the vein of Jimi himself).

Is this a sign of the times? Most deifnitely. But it isn't a reflection on the music of the past 20 years so much as the perception of it.