Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Redefining a Joke

You've heard the old line "Take my wife, please!". Well....this German couple took it one step further. Read on...

(found here)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Raines on Hulu

I've talked several times before about the tv show Raines - another brilliant but canceled show. Imagine my surprise and delight when I stumbled across it this weekend on Hulu! They have all seven released episodes up for your viewing pleasure. If you never saw it or just miss it like I do, do yourself a favor and check it out here.

I still love the opening of the pilot episode. Quote the Goldblum:

"Maybe I read too many detective books when I was a kid. Chandler, Hammett, Macdonald. All the great California guys of the '40's and '50's. Even tried writing a story once. Couldn't get past page one...."

Here's a direct link to the ep. Goldblum's narration goes through the first 1:15 and it's awesome.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Best MST3K not on DVD

Topless Robot has a list today of their best MST3K episodes not on DVD. Some of my faves are on there ("Pumaman", "Gamera") and there are some I'm not familiar with. Luckily, I have some of these taped (yes.....taped) off of SciFi before they stopped airing episodes. I'm not in complete agreement with the list, but there are some goodies on that one ("Neptune Men"...I'm looking at you). After I take a close look at the episodes available, I might post my own version of this list.

Friday, March 20, 2009

MST3K Friday: Using Your Voice

"Won't people think I'm peculiar if I start speaking differently than I ever have before?" "People think that already, you big dope."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Political Comedians

I’ve talked before about politicians using humor to get a point across and relate to voters. Yesterday, there was a column on Big Hollywood dealing with humor and politics in the other direction.

Author Ben Shapiro shines the light on political operatives using comedy as a cover to promote a specific agenda. In this case, he’s specifically looking at Jon Stewart and Bill Maher. I agree with Shapiro for the most part, but feel the conclusion to the column was a bit weak. Instead of taking the opportunity to make a suggestion or further the case against these unfunny hacks, he stoops to their level. Instead of exposing their agenda and blatant hypocrisy, he asks the same type of gotcha/smug questions that they always ask of their “interview” subjects.

I agree that part of a comedian’s job is to poke fun at social norms. Some of the great stand up comics in our history have changed the world with their social commentary. But the difference between them and the current crop is they were actually funny. Liberals and conservatives can both laugh at guys like Carlin, Pryor, and even Chris Rock. They poke a finger in the eye of both sides of the political spectrum, but do it with actual humor and not a goofy face or repetitive shtick. They saw their job as being entertainers, not as promoters of their own political agenda.

Lots of people have lamented the apparent death of civility in our world, and it seems we may have also lost our sense of humor along the way.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Review: No Line on the Horizon (2009)

Here are a couple quick reactions to U2's latest album. With their previous album (2004's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb), I liked the first half much more than the second half of the album. With No Line on the Horizon, it's exactly opposite in that I like the second half is much better.

We start off with the title track, which has a driving bass beat but not much else. The lyrics are repetitive and I just couldn't get into it. The second track "Magnificent" is fantastic (though I prefer the live Letterman version to the album version). This sounds a lot like classic U2 from "With or Without You" era. Then the album goes back into sleepy mode. "Moment of Surrender" and "Unknown Caller" left little to no impression on me. Maybe on repeat listening they'll grow on me.

Track five is "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight". When I first heard it on Letterman, I didn't care for it. But when hearing it in context, I really dig this tune. It serves as a bridge between the two parts of the album. It starts off as an uptempo ballad then builds to an rock-like anthem. At this point, the album kicks into high gear with the single "Get On Your Boots." Like I mentioned previously, this song has grown on me. "Boots" leads into another great rock track in "Stand Up Comedy". Adam Clayton's bass work and Edge's guitar are great on this track. It's classic rock and rock and roll all the way.

Track eight, "Fez - Being Born", takes a step back. After getting everybody up with the previous tracks, the boys put in this slow, experimental number. I guess I didn't "get" it, but this is my least favorite track on the album.

"White as Snow" is another slow one, but really displays the poetic gifts of Bono as a songwriter. I found the lyrics and the story behind the song at this great site. "Snow" and the closing track "Cedars Of Lebanon" are almost like brother songs. They're light on tune, but that lets you focus on the lyrics. Bono said in an interview that this song is the thoughts of a soldier dying in Afghanistan after a roadside bomb. If you keep that in mind while listening to it, this is truly a beautiful song.

"Breathe" takes you back up into rock, almost rapcore mode. It was my favorite of the new songs they played on Letterman (YouTube clip here). Bono is really playing with lyrics in this one seeing how many words he can string together per measure. They create such a groove that you can't help but bob your head in rhythm.

The album closes with "The Cedars of Lebanon". Do yourself a favor and check out the lyrics. This one is presented in almost beat poem mode with Bono speaking the lyrics instead of singing them (except the refrain). The other boys just keep a beat in the background and really don't play any sort of melody. Like with "White as Snow", it's all about the lyrics. It's a great song to close out the record.

It's a new direction for U2, but they keep in mind what got them to where they are at this point in their careers. I've only gone through the album in sequence once, but I think on repeated listenings the whole experience will grow on me. My only wish was the first half was stronger. I'd probably give the whole thing a B+ with the chance of it going higher.

I'll leave you with a clip of U2 doing the Top 10 list from Thursday night's show:

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Random Album Game

Apparently, this is a Facebook thing, but I got it from Jason Boyett. It's a short little timewaster that has the potential to be really, really entertaining.

Here are the rules:

1: Go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
The first random Wikipedia article that comes up is the name of your band.

2: Go to http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
The last four or five words of the very LAST quote on the page is the title of your first album.

3: Go to http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days
The third picture in the top row, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4: Use Photoshop or whatever to put it all together.
I used GIMP.

5: Post it.

Here is the one I came up with:

And here's one from a co-worker I sent it along to:

Post your contributions in the comments or on your own blog.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

No Line on the Horizon

U2's new album hits stores today. I wonder what it's going to be like. The first time I heard the single "Get On Your Boots" I was underwhelmed. But it has grown on me. Like a lot of U2 songs, the lyrics make no flippin' sense ("Candy floss ice cream", "I've got a submarine/you've got gasoline"?), but has catchy guitar riffs and a complex melody.

Here's their performance of the song from Britain's music awards last week: