Wednesday, June 29, 2005


If you could appropriate any singer's voice for something like karaoke or whatever, what voice and what song would it be?

Here are some of my ideas, but probably none of the songs I would pick would be good for Karaoke - I'll direct you to the Harry Chapin imbroglio at the Schuelke's wedding ten years ago for an example (note to any youngsters out there: puberty and "Taxi" plus peer pressure does not a good time equal).

Morrissey - Every Day Is Like Sunday; in a close second would be Suedehead.
Stephen Malkmus - Rock and Roll (by the Velvet Underground).
Isaac Brock (Modest Mouse) - Once In A Lifetime
Marc Sandman (Morphine) - You Look Like Rain, directed to some drunk/easy/hot girl at the bar.
Gruff Rhys (Super Furry Animals) - Across the Universe.
Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys) - Sympathy for the Devil.
Jim James (My Morning Jacket) - Hey Good Lookin'.
Jeff Tweedy - Summer Teeth.

Friday, June 24, 2005


Before I get into the AFI quote list, Guerilla by Super Furry Animals is fuckin sweet. Northern Lites, Do or Die... damn. Once again, it's proof that Super Furry Animals makes utterly enjoyable experimental pop. It seems like they have a lot of fun when they're putting their sound together. I defy anyone with an open mind to listen to this CD and not smile. Bless those fellows.

Anyway, AFI just came out with the top 100 quotes of all time, and not surprisingly they are the bedrock quotes that have become utterly cliche, even in parody. But, like everyone else, I started to think of which quotes I would put into such a list. Here are a few, and by all means, if anyone reads this, feel free to add your own in the comments.

"If Hate Were People, I'd Be China!"
-Daniel Stern, from City Slickers. It's in the middle of a fight with his soon to be ex-wife. Such bizarre statements are rare in mainstream comedies, I think, especially those written by Bubaloo Mandel. Honorable Mention comes from a depressed Daniel Stern's interaction with Billy Crystal and Bruno Kirby, at the corral: "Where have you been?" Stern: "Over at the corral, watchin' em castrate a bull."

"Oh God, you are so big, so tremendously huge, gosh, we're all really impressed down here I can tell you."
-Michael Palin as a preacher in Monty Python's Meaning of Life. If I went on to use every one of my favorite quotes from their movies, I'd be here awhiles. So, one more, this one from John Cleese in Life of Brian. "But men can't have babies, you haven't got a womb! Where would the fetus gestate, in a box?"

"No. No, Mother, I have not been drinking. No. No. These two men, they poured a whole bottle of bourbon into me. No, they didn't give me a chaser."
-Cary Grant in North by Northwest. This entire scene where he's drunk is still hilarious.

"Drinking don't bother my memory. If it did I wouldn't drink. I couldn't. You see, I'd forget how good it was, then where'd I be? Start drinkin' water, again."
-Humphrey Bogart, in To Have And Have Not, which interestingly was a William Faulkner screenplay loosely based off an Ernest Hemingway novel.

I guess I could add "Look at Me," from Get Shorty, not because some might see it as a bad-ass line from John Travolta ("Harry, look at me. You're trying to tell me you fucked up without sounding stupid, and that's hard to do."), before we knew he was insane, but because of the way the other characters who are so enamored with Chili Palmer try to use it - Gene Hackman's is the funniest, when he's trying to intimidate Ray Barbone, the gangster.

Too many quotes from the Big Lebowski to put them all here, so one will do, courtesy of Jeff Bridges: "God damn you Walter! You fuckin' asshole! Everything's a fuckin' travesty with you, man! And what was all that shit about Vietnam? What the FUCK, has anything got to do with Vietnam? What the fuck are you talking about?"

Another great quote from Jeff Bridges, from The Contender, where he plays a smarmy son of a bitch president, but is likeable anyway: "Who doesn't want a shortcut to greatness?"

Albert Finney: You hear about Rug?
Gabriel Byrne: Yeah, RIP.
AF: They took his hair, Tommy. Jesus, that's strange, why would they do that?
GB: Maybe it was injuns.
-From Miller's Crossing.
Another great set of dialogue from the same movie:

Hitman: If I tell you, how do I know you won't kill me?
Eddie Dane: Because if you told me and I killed you and you were lying I wouldn't get to kill you *then*. Where's Leo?

Mel Brooks:
Auctioneer: Where are you from?
Josephus: Ethiopia
Auctioneer: What part?
Josephus: 125th Street.

Dr. Frankenstein: You know, I'm a rather brilliant surgeon. Perhaps I can help you with that hump.
Igor: What hump?

Taggart: I got it. I got it.
Hedley: You do?
Taggart: We'll work up a "Number 6" on 'em.
Hedley: "Number 6"? I'm afraid I'm not familiar with that one...
Taggart: Well, that's where we go a-ridin' into town, a whampin' and whompin' every livin' thing that moves within an inch of its life. Except the women folks, of course.
Hedley: You spare the women?
Taggart: NAW. We rape the shit out of them at the Number 6 Dance later on.
Hedley: Marvelous.

Dark Helmet: So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.

From Rushmore
Herman Blume: You guys have it real easy. I never had it like this where I grew up. But I send my kids here because the fact is you go to one of the best schools in the country: Rushmore. Now, for some of you it doesn't matter. You were born rich and your going to stay rich. But here's my advice to the rest of you: Take dead aim on the rich boys. Get them in the crosshairs and take them down. Just remember, they can buy anything but they can't buy backbone. Don't let them forget it. Thank you.
-Bill Murray

Gen. Ripper: No, I mean when they (the Japanese) tortured you did you talk?
Mandrake: Ah, oh, no, I don't think they wanted me to talk really, I don't think they wanted me to say anything. It was just their way of having a bit of fun the swines. Strange thing is they make such bloody good cameras.

John Bigboote: Your Overthruster's for shit!
-John Lithgow, in Buckaroo Banzai

Roger: I could tell you that what you think of as your personality is nothing but a collection of Vanity Fair articles. I could tell you your choice of sexual partners this evening was decided months ago by some account executive at Young & Rubicam. I could tell you that given a week to study your father and the ways in which he ignores you I could come up with a schtick you'd be helpless to resist. Helpless
-Campbell Scott in Roger Dodger, but basically the whole movie is one great quote.

Chris: I couldn't wait to see it. After the show I was asked if I wanted to go meet some of the performers backstage. Man, I was thrilled. But when I got back there, they were drunk and out of control. Rumpus Caddem McCavity kept feeling up my leg. I tried to leave, but, Rumpleteaser held me down, and... I was raped by Mr. Mestophiles.
-from Team America

Upton: I'm gonna open up this faggot robe and wiggle my dick at em. And do you know why? Because I want you to have a heart-attack and die so we don't have to do this shit anymore. You and your fucking fashion shows.
-from Slap Shot

I'm all out for now. is quite helpful when you're looking for quotes, by the way.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


I've noticed lately the utter disdain many people have when they say the word "intellectual." Apparently, it belongs in the same gutter as the words "liberal" and progressive" if not "educated." There seems to always have been a distrust for anyone who has bothered to educate themselves in this country - see the 1952 election of Eisenhower vs. Stevenson or either election in the 21st century so far. President Bush - and this is by no means a slander - seems to be embarrassed that he received his education from Yale. Nuance is a dirty word in the national discourse. It is not curmudgeonly to suggest that the masses are unintelleigent, uninformed, and prone to classism. When did this seep into the political landscape? Perhaps I am being idealistic.

Two things have happened so far this week that I have taken interest in. One, it came out that John Kerry and George Bush had very similar grades at Yale, and many people are gloatingly recalling the "intellectual" tag that Kerry received during the election season. Notwithstanding the fact that even the Bush campaign cast Kerry as an intellectual, what does this report mean? That there is a liberal bias in the media? Well, why did the completely unsubstantiated slander of the Swiftboat Vets gain such traction? Two, that Bush is smarter than we think? Well, he is President, but at the same time, he was a C student, and the report reveals that Kerry had lower grades than we all though - not that Bush had higher grades. Also, we have all witnessed Bush press conferences - it harkens back to Mark Twain's axiom - that it's better to appear quiet and dumb as opposed to opening your mouth and removing all doubt. Reagan was a master at applying this. Also, we could say this - Kerry was a C student, hadn't earned his keep, could have gotten a job wherever he wanted, but instead went to Vietnam - whereas Bush was a C student, did get whatever job he wanted, still hasn't earned his keep, and pussed out of Vietnam. Does anyone really want to compare the two? This also reminds me of people like Limbaugh et al who have remarked lately that we could have won Vietnam if not for all those liberal radical pussies. I believe it was in the documentary "The Fog of War" about former Sec. of State and Vietnam War architect Robert Macnamara said that he regrets ever having escalated Vietnam, and that it was the most awful, senseless war America ever got into. Hm. Ringing endorsement, that is.

The other thing I noticed was the Howard Dean statement that the Republican Party is a mostly rich, white group. When has this ever been up for debate? You really want to argue that the agenda of the Republican Party does not benefit rich, white people the most? And still, Democrats are shying away from this. Fucking cowards. Why don't they throw out some rhetorical fire bombs that actually have some substance to them? Is it really controversial to say that the policies this administration enforces help out war profiteers and rich rich rich people? To say that the war is not going well? Fuck it. I'm just going to take my college education and watch this country sink further into stupidity and loathing.

Monday, June 06, 2005

5 CDs

I was listening to a couple CDs I haven't heard in a while, and had forgotten how brilliant some of them were. This leads me to list five or so CDs that are among the best in my collection. It does get annoying, by the way, when you pare a list down to five, and are accused of being some shallow Nick Hornby ripoff. Those who are offended by this: lighten up, five is an easy prime number, not some universal truth.

5. Should I put down Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco? Every person who's heard it holds it aloft (and, for some reason assumes a ten point increase in IQ). The cagey Pot Kettle Black is the track that strikes me the most now, a few years after I heard the CD for the first time, probably because every other track struck me before. Poor Places, lonely and beaten as it sounds, remains one of my favorite songs ever. For some reason, another great album, The Bends by Radiohead doesn't affect me as much as it used to, and I think it probably has something to do with claiming it's brilliance for so long without listening to it for extended periods of time. Maybe it has something to with not being as impressed with Kid A, Amnesiac, and Hail to the Thief as the Pitchfork crowd was (and here's a side-thought - was Pitchforkmedia named as an ironic hipster statement about the mob-induced hysteria surrounding mediocre pop bands? And if so, what of the over-wrought, fifty thousand ways of describing the same drumbeat fervor of the Pitchfork reviewers?)

4. A recent CD - Andrew Bird and the Mysterious Production of Eggs. I recently heard that he used to be a member of the 90s swing band, the Squirrel Nut Zippers. His music now sounds nothing like them. He's a whistler, a fiddler, and a guitarist, and he writes great lyrics: "You're what happens when two substances collide/ and by all accounts, you really should have died."
I saw him in concert (for four songs, before the 90 degree, ass-crowded Off-Broadway atmosphere became too much to bare) last week, and it just didn't capture the orchestral grandeur of his album. Or maybe I was just too swayed by the demure dancing of one Beatle Bob, who has apparently pissed off people in every contiguous state (and that's saying something, with the non-temperament of Wisconsinites - but then, this tidbit is purely anecdotal). But anyway, Bird's CD is gorgeous, lush, blah blah blah, and seriously underhyped (but I guess this type of music does not lend itself well to hype). Eggs is not so nearly touted as one Silent Alarm, by Bloc Party. I just don't get it. I bought the CD based on the hype (a terrible mistake), and I just can't bear to listen to it. The music is OK, I guess, but I can't see how it much distinguishes itself from Franz Ferdinand as the best of danceable British poprock, especially as their lead singer is not as bearable as Alex Kapranos from Ferdinand. In fact, I'd say Bloc Party's lead singer's voice is grating, and you need a voice that is at least melodic enough to match the music for this kind of scene. Someone, please tell me what distinguishes this band from the Streets or Franz Ferdinand if they're so great.

3. Rings Around the World by Super Furry Animals. Gruff Rhys has a strange voice, almost like he has a frog stuck in his throat sometimes, but it can soar when he wants it to ("Shoot Doris Day", for example). There is such great joy in this CD, and this is especially evident with Receptacle for the Respecable and Presidential Suite, and so it is perfect for the summertime. I can see how some would be annoyed by the vocals, but I think they augment the music, and help it with it's distinct SFA personality. Rolling Stone actually had a blurb about them a few years back, and it made mention of how super talented they are as musicians. Sadly, Rolling Stone is no longer with us. I saw an interview with Frank Black, or Black Francis I guess. Anyway, one of the questions was something like "So do you have any stories about writing songs when you were fucked up on acid or etc, etc..." Please. This is right after they wrote a road interview in which Tommy Lee is lionized for how much pussy he gets and Rivers Cuomo is praised for being so God damned weird. Oh well, the magazine has become obsessed with making things properly legendary for the rock and roll annals, but doesn't seem aware of how cliche this is. Really, it's not that cool that Jimi Hendrix choked to death on vomit, or that Led Zeppelin penetrated some groupie with a tire iron or some shit. Just talk about the fuckin music.

2. Thickfreakness by the Black Keys. I've heard of some aficianados call this CD, a heavy blues album by two gaunt white kids from Akron, incredibly derivative. This is entirely possible. It's just that Blues music is not exactly widely discussed unless you're Eric Clapton and you're sucking BB King's dick. So, I have been downloading R.L. Burnside and am looking over the archives of Fat Possum records, but until I find some real Blues albums, I'll keep listening to the Keys. The album does rock, especially with songs like "Midnight In Her Eyes" and "Set You Free." Power chords and drums, and that's about it. I wonder how musically educated we'd all be if we'd actually been taught music in grade school, things like the sound Johnny Cash cultivated, or the late 60s early 70s art-rock scene in New York, instead of listening to awful children-sung renditions of Beach Boys and Billy Joel songs. If you didn't live through this, it was really quite something. And my teacher had a glass eye.

1. Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. There's just something about Pavement's sound that lends itself to the summertime. Just listen to the first track, Silence Kit. The build-up to the epic guitar riff in the very beginning is enough to sustain an album, but it just keeps going. Also notable, the diss on Billy Corgan in "Range Life": "Out on tour with the Smashing Pumpkins/ Nature's kids, aw they don't have no function/ I don't understand what they mean/ and I could really give a fuck"

This wasn't a countdown list, just a list of things that occurred to me whilst writing, and I just wanted a finite number of things to write about, so I'm not saying Thickfreakness is better than Yankee Hotel. And hey, even if this sucked, at least it wasn't another half-figured political rant.