I'll Probably Get Cursed For This...

I have been sitting here trying to figure out how to relate what happened in my restaurant the other day, but it was so weird that I just can't condense it into a coherent narrative. The event in question was a, and I really wish I was making this up, Gypsy Baby Shower. In case you were wondering, Gypsies are not the nicest people in the world and they drink staggering amounts of Coke. I mention the Coke because they had pre-ordered a lot of wine and beer that didn't get drunk. I guess I find this interesting because they run the fortune-telling store across the street.

The Replacements

So The Replacements are getting back together to record a few new tracks for their upcoming greatest hits cd. While I love the Replacements, I have to wonder whether this is a good idea. I have no problem with Paul Westerberg and company wanting to get paid, but I think part of what made the Replacements great was their youth and drunken mayhem.

For example, part of the fun of the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac reunions is watching people who can't stand each other play nice to get a paycheck. I worry that The Replacements might actually like each other, when I want them to get drunk and fight each other for their paycheck.


Cleanliness is Godliness!

I think most people who know me know that I am a very clean person. I could probably be OCD, but my particular compulsion is so useful that I don't think anyone has an interest in having me treated. I am constantly wiping down surfaces and straightening things. When my sister was visiting me at college she remarked that she could tell which bookshelf was mine because all the books were placed in descending order by height. Also, I could never have a kitchen with mostly stainless steel because I would constantly being wiping it down.

This cleanliness seems to follow the men in my family. My father, uncle and myself all have particular things that just need to be kept clean. Fortunately, I enjoy cleaning so I don't have a problem doing it. As a hyper-cleaner, I think that I notice mess more than most people, and I am constantly amazed by the way people act in public.

Take the bathroom in my office for example. There are constantly used paper towels on the ground right next to the garbage can. I assume, although I don't have visual proof, that after washing hands people just toss the paper towel near the garbage can. Great if it goes in, but who cares if it doesn't, there will be someone else to come along to clean it up anyway.

Similarly, I am blown away by the way people treat their tables in restaurants. I serve a lot of hamburgers at my restaurant, and they all come with lettuce, tomato, and onions on the bun. People will consistently take whatever offending item off their bun and just put it on the table. This behavior baffles me more than the ubiquitous salt/sugar/ketchup left all over the table with a used napkins residing underneath.

What I find amazing about both behaviors, leaving paper towels on the ground and tomatoes on the table, is that I know these people are not acting like this in their own homes. Sure, some people are just slobs, but not with the frequency that I witness these actions.

I have always assumed that people decide that because there is someone paid to clean up after them, be it a janitor or waiter, that they are not responsible for the simple act of cleaning up after themselves. Maybe it is because I am crazy about cleaning, or because I have to clean up after people as a waiter, but I find this attitude completely abhorrent. To be clear, I am speaking of people who are otherwise fairly clean at home, but don't perform these actions in public. This complaint doesn't apply to people who have paper towels strewn across their home bathrooms and tomatoes rotting on their kitchen tables. This also only applies to simple acts of cleanliness, not taking out the garbage or vacuuming and the like. The mere presence of a janitor does not absolve you from putting your garbage in the garbage can.


An Old Enemy Returns...

Alright internet, I thought we had reached an agreement. I have made my position on ringtones very clear. So imagine my surprise when I see this article this morning. For those too lazy to follow the link, the American Composers Orchestra are having an online auction to raise money and some of the items being auctioned are ringtones. But not any ringtones, original ringtones by such composers as Danny Elfman, Laurie Anderson, and Phillip Glass.

Here is a link to the auction site for Phillip Glass's ringtone. A couple of quick things to note, bidding doesn't begin until April 10, but the opening bid is $100.00. Also, the estimated value of this ringtone is Priceless. Mirriam-Webster has many definitions for the word priceless, I hope the American Composers Orchestra intended "delightfully amusing, odd, or absurd," but I doubt it.

Unfortunately you can't listen to this masterpiece, but one has to imagine that it is spectacular. A work so brilliant that one will never answer their phone again! Although, after all those unanswered calls, the winner is going have to call themselves and that is just sad.

Here is the problem. The only people who will be impressed, or care, that you have an original ringtone by Phillip Glass are all hanging out at the opera house, where they make you turn off your cellphone. I guess you can gloat by leaving your phone on and dramatically interrupt a performance of Dr. Atomic, but that is probably a little uncouth for this crowd. In fact, isn't the whole ringtone phenomenon a little uncouth for this crowd?

Anyway, I can't wait to see how much this monstrosity actually goes for. Someone is guaranteed to pay at least $100 for a ringtone, but I hope it goes considerably higher. I mean, this is a priceless work of art we are talking about.


Arctic Monkeys

Why does the British music press hate British music so much? I ask because after listening to the Arctic Monkeys debut album "Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not" that is the only conclusion I can reach.

Let me say that the "Whatever People Say..." is a good album. It is a strong debut from a young band, and under normal circumstances one could enjoy it and look forward to seeing how the band matures. Of course these aren't normal circumstances. I know a lot of people have seen this list, but the absurdity of it can't be overstated. According to NME, the Arctic Monkeys debut album is better than: every Beatles album, every Clash album, every Rolling Stone album, and every Radiohead album. In fact, "Whatever People Say..." is apparently better than every British album released before 1977. This is obviously false. So obvious in fact that I have to assume malice towards the Arctic Monkeys. If the writers for NME really believe that the Arctic Monkeys are this good, then they should be fired.

This kind of press evokes only one kind of reaction, put succintly by The Ghost in this post, "I preemptively dislike the Arctic Monkeys. Am I being unfair?". I don't blame The Ghost, I had the same reaction and I think it is rational. Even if one doesn't decided to pre-dislike the album, they are going to judge it with a harsher eye.

I just think this does a disservice to a young band like the Arctic Monkeys, particularly on a debut album. This album doesn't stand up to level of scrutiny that follows from the British music press's bold proclamaitions, and that can only result in backlash. We all know that the backlash is coming, and it will be bad. This is a shame, because I think that given time, the Arctic Monkeys could develop and make some great music. This is where I see malice by the British music press. They have set this band up to disappear in a year.

Maybe I am wrong, but I was thinking of the DCeiver's review the Clap Your Hands Say Yeah show in October, 2005. At the end, he writes:

"What I'm trying to say, is that if you live in New York City, and you love a band dearly, set them free. Get them on the road. Get their shit tested in front of crowds that don't have a stake in their music."
I think the point is a good one. Musicians should go out and play and get some experience before they are carved on Mount Rockmore. I just think it is easier to learn sitting at your desk than standing at the blackboard.

So after "Whatever People Say..." lets you down, remember that the British music press told you it was one of the greatest albums of all time, and not the Arctic Monkeys. Not that any of this is surprising, these people still believe that Oasis matters.


I Hope I Die Before I Get Old...

Rock and Roll is clearly a music for young people. In that vein, let me present a list of songs/albums that were recorded or released before the artist turned 26. While this list is hardly exhaustive, I think it gets the point across.

  1. Born to Run
  2. Astral Weeks
  3. Moondance
  4. Nevermind
  5. Axis Bold as Love
  6. Electric Ladyland
  7. The Clash
  8. My Aim is True
  9. This Years Model
  10. Armed Forces
  11. Otis Blue
  12. Illmatic
  13. Let It Be (Replacements)
  14. Purple Rain
  15. Murmer (Michael Stipe at least)
  16. Walking After Midnight (Patsy Cline)
  17. Lalya and Other Assorted Love Songs
  18. Led Zepplin IV
  19. Blonde on Blonde
  20. Highway 61 Revisited
  21. Pet Sounds
  22. Revolver
  23. Velvet Underground and Nico
  24. The Chronic
  25. Thriller
  26. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday Antonio Vivaldi. Vivaldi is one of my favorite composers. I don't know if it is because I associate him with driving around the hills of Tuscany, or because of this cd by the Amsterdam Guitar Trio. I know that he isn't considered quite the heavyweight as Bach, but Bach transcribed some of Vivaldi's concertos for solo keyboard and was clearly influenced by him. I love Vivaldi because there is a lot of substance in his compositions, but his work is very listenable and likeable.

If you get a chance, pick up "The Four Seasons" by the Amsterdam Guitar Trio. You certainly know most of the music, and the guitar playing on this cd contains some of the most impressive guitar playing I have ever heard.



The first sporting event I remember going to was a Capitals game when I was 8 or 9. After that game, I was hooked and became a huge Capitals fan. They were my favorite sports team in Elementary School. When the Caps made the playoffs, I would watch the games with a little shrine of pennants and pucks, including one signed by Pete Peeters! My mother grew to hate the Capitals because they made me cry when they lost in the playoffs. Hey, I also cried when Optimus Prime died in the Transformers movie, I am sensitive, BACK OFF.

Over time, I started to pay less and less attention to the Capitals. I guess my heart just couldn't take the abuse. I still root for them, but I don't really pay attention anymore. I saw this post on DCist today, and was shocked to learn that the Caps are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs with 1/3 of the season left to play. Everyone makes the playoffs in Hockey, I would be surprised if Hamilton's hockey team had been eliminated from the NHL playoffs. Seriously, 16 teams, out of 30, make the playoffs. They shouldn't even call it a post-season given how easy it is to make it. The Capitals are eliminated with a third of the season left, and more than half of the total teams in the league continuing on to the playoffs. It is one of the saddest things I have read in a while. They are not a good hockey team, or even a mediocre hockey team.

So I guess it is good that I moved on. Yup, good thing the Nationals are here, no chance for heartbreak there.

Too Many Choices, All Of Them Offensive

I am sure most of you have seen "Zoolander." When Derek goes to Hansel's he is introduced to a midget band called the Little Kingz. It is a good joke and all, little people are funny etc., except that they were (are?) a real band. I know, because I played a concert with them are the Grog and Tankard.* I can't find much information about them now, but they played punk music on miniature instruments. The whole concert was a zoo, filled with people in weird costumes who came to laugh at the little people. One of the band members name is Scott F-Word. I must admit that I don't understand why he only hints a profanity, given that he told me that they normally play strip clubs.

While searching for information on the Little Kingz I found this article. In it, the Kingz reveal that they thought of themselves as "the Jackie Robinsons of rock and roll." I understand if you need some time to fully digest that, I'll wait.

So who, you may ask, have bravely followed the path that the Little Kingz blazed. Well how about these guys:
This is MINI-KISS! I am not sure that I need to explain them, but they are a midget kiss cover tribute band. I wish them luck, although I am not sure you parody a band known mostly for make-up and comic books.

*I think the truth in advertising award should go to the Grog and Tankard. Their website perfectly illustrates what the place is like, and what you can expect when you go/play there.