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Archive for February, 2008

Friday Rockumentary

Posted by bmac on February 29, 2008

Regular readers of this blog know I love Roc Docs. I like to feature them here occasionally for a little fun, so this time I give you: “Tribute-A Rockumentary.”

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Produced by Steven Soderbergh, this is a doc about tribute bands. I’ve seen it several times on the Sundance Channel, but to my knowledge, it’s totally unavailable. The official website has removed the trailer for “legal reasons” so I’m guessing there’s some kind of licensing problem with the music. The website hasn’t been updated in forever, so it’s kind of a mystery why this movie is in limbo, but if you get Sundance, keep an eye out for it, it runs occasionally. The website has some clips, but they’re not great, just kind of random with no explanation.

The film follows four tribute bands, a Kiss, a Queen, a Judas Priest, and a Monkees. Generally, the tribute band is the last refuge of aging never-were’s who just can’t quit. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it can be kind of sad, as we see in this movie as some of these guys (most in their late 30′ and 40’s) hold on to the false hope that they might get to be a replacement for the real thing in the real band they’re aping, ala Ripper Owens who was called to join Judas Priest. The movie “Rock Star” was based on his story.

The tribute band thing is kind of weird to me, but I can understand the allure. You can be a nobody and have an instant following of rabid fans. No worries about writing songs or building an audience. In a way, it’s like cheating. You get the benefits of somebody else’s work. Some of these guys get so far into the fantasy they actually begin to believe they are the guy they’re portraying, which is what happened to one of the guys in the film. He was “Gene Simmons” and ended up having a nervous breakdown as a result of starting to think he really was Gene Simmons.

That’s him in the picture above, before the breakdown. His replacement doesn’t fare much better, a guy who’s obviously got issues, and sees playing Gene as a way to feel like he’s important, after being abused as a child, and having some kind of addiction problem.

There’s also some obsessed fans featured that are just too…..strange to even explain.

Much of this film is almost painful to watch, it’s a strange little sub-culture of obsessive fanbois, washed up almost were’s, nerdy wannabes, and guys struggling with their dreams of stardom in their own right, fading away.

Great stuff, try to see it if you can, but it probably won’t be easy.

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Posted in It's Friday, Music | 10 Comments »

Would Obama Be The Nominee If He Were White?

Posted by bmac on February 28, 2008

Why are Democrats flocking to a guy that has said nothing, done nothing, and has no real policy? A guy that offers nothing every other Democratic candidate didn’t also offer. A guy with far less experience than just about everybody that was in the running.

White guilt. White guilt is driving Obama’s campaign.

A vote for Obama is a vote against racism. A vote for Obama gives white liberals, especially wealthy white liberals, a chance to atone for the sins of their fathers. It gives them a chance to assure themselves that they are not a racist.

For a typical white liberal, Obama is the dream candidate, for not only do they get to prove to everyone that they are not a racist, to them it’s also a chance to spit in the face of all the rich white men they believe to be oppressors and imperialists, and to have a President with a Muslim name directly following the blashemous invading infidel, George Bush.

For liberals, it’s all about posturing, they rarely walk it like they talk it. For example, conservatives and registered Republicans routinely give more to charity, and donate blood much more than liberals and registered Dems. We all know how hypocritical they are about the environment and global warming.

Obama is the perfect guy for these people. All talk, no action. All image, no substance. To steal a line from a bunch of people smarter than me, he’s the perfect blank slate that every liberal can project their idealistic fantasy onto. With the added bonus for whites of finally getting their non-racist Bona-Fides, and a chance to really prove to the Muslim world that we like them, we really like them. We’re not afraid to have a President with a Muslim name, so hey, we’re cool now right?

When people say race is not an issue in this election, well I’m sorry, with Obama as the nominee, it’s the only issue in this election. Nobody will vote for Obama based on his policy. Republican strategists will have to walk on eggshells when ( and if ) they begin attacking him. This will be the kindest and gentlest Presidential campaign in history. McCain is already holding back, and if Hillary was the frontrunner, his guns would be blazin’.

If you think I’m wrong, ask yourself, everything else being the same, would Obama be the nominee if he were white and had a name like…..Joshua Stein? If he said all the same things, and did all the same things Obama does? If he promised hope and change? Would the media love and praise a Joshua Stein the way they love and praise Obama?

How do you think it would have gone over for John Edwards or Joe Biden if they refused to put their hand over their heart during the national anthem? Or if Bill Clinton said his wife having a shot at the Presidency was the first time he’s been proud of America? Or if Farrakhan had endorsed Hillary?

I think these are reasonable questions to ask, if anyone thinks race is not an issue in this election.

Posted in Politics | 4 Comments »

Kid Used As Prop To Prove Mother Is Edgy

Posted by bmac on February 27, 2008

This kid should be taken away by child protective services.

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I see this all the time. And it always disgusts me. The kid was suspended from school after three warnings to the mother to change his haircut.( I believe a single mom). Here’s what she had to say:

Rather than request a hearing to appeal the suspension, Barile said she’ll enroll him at another school. Changing the hairstyle is not an option, she said.

“It’s something that he really likes,” Barile said. “When people hear Mohawk, they think it’s long, it’s spiked, it’s crazy looking, and it’s really not.”

Yeah, changing the style is not an option, and it’s something he really likes. You know what else six year olds like? Eating glue.

Update:

I should add that I don’t really believe child protective services should take away the kid, it’s just a hyperbolic headline that grabs attention, and highlights how ridiculous I think it is for a parent to take a kid out of what would seem to me to be a good school, to put him in a school with lower standards over a fucking haircut.

I know lots of parents that can’t get their kids into these kinds of schools due to money or zoning issues, so obviously, this mother cares more about the haircut she wants her kid to have than having him in a good school.

And I think that’s despicable.

Posted in I'm Pissed, Idiots, We're Doomed | 20 Comments »

American Idol Nearly Beats Oscars

Posted by bmac on February 26, 2008

Smallest audience since Nielson began keeping records in 1974.

Ha! Newsflash Hollywood, the only people who care about the Oscars are gay guys and single women. That’s it. Nobody has seen any of the movies nominated, nobody wants to see any of the movies nominated, nobody really cares “who the stars are wearing.”

Maybe get Peter Jackson to do Lord Of The Rings again, or perhaps a sequel to Titanic if you want anybody to watch your self congratulatory circle jerk again.

Don’t try to blame it on the writers strike either.

And Jon Stewart is not funny. The people who write for Jon Stewart on the daily show are funny, Jon….not so much. In fact, he borders on horrible, and I offer his standup career as proof. Never seen his standup? Jon would like to keep it that way. Because it sucks. Because he’s not funny. At all. Without a team of writers.

Actually I’m shocked there were no Michael Moore Moments, I totally expected some kind of Hillary pimping to go down, but as far as I know, that didn’t happen. And none of the anti-war movies won anything that I know of.

So maybe this was the best Oscars ever!

Posted in Pop Culture | 5 Comments »

Before The Music Dies

Posted by bmac on February 22, 2008

I caught this documentary the other day on IFC, “Before The Music Dies.” A doc about the current state of the music industry. As a musician and hard core music fan myself, it hit all the points I’ve been complaining about for many, many years, and specifically, the corporate takeover of all the major record labels, and radio stations.

I’m old enough to remember free form FM radio, that allowed the DJ’s to play just about anything they wanted to. Requests were taken and played. It was really pretty great. That would never happen today. The playlists on radio are now computer programmed, the DJ’s only role is to provide some local flavor so you know what town your in, because the music is exactly the same music, in exactly the same order, by exactly the same ten “artists” as in every single other city or town in the entire U.S. Thanks Clear Channel.

Same with record labels. All the majors are owned by 2 or 3 mega corporations. This is why you can’t go to a record store anymore. Downloading music didn’t kill Tower Records, the insatiable greed of Seagrams Corp did. (they own most of the major labels)

Why are we paying 16-20 dollars for a Cd in 2008? When they were first introduced in the early 80’s, they were $25, and at that time, it probably cost 5 or 6 bucks to make one. It costs a label pennies to produce one today, artwork, jewelcase, distribution and all. Artists get about 7-10% of physical sales. Recording costs today are nothing, I know, I’ve made three albums myself. The only realistically high cost is promotion, and the label recoups that money from the artists. $16-20 for a cd today is outright gouging, and everybody knows it, hence, goodbye Tower Records, hello downloading. The irony is, if someone downloads a song they like, they’ll be happy to go buy the cd, they just don’t want to pay $20 for it.

No more developing artists, it cuts into profit. If your first song is not a hit, your career is over. With todays major label attitude, we never would have gotten “Dark Side Of The Moon,” because Pink Floyd had a shitload of albums that tanked before it. Same with Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” or “Frampton Comes Alive” or anything by Springsteen, or Aerosmith, or Aretha Franklin or Marvin Gaye, Black Sabbath or Kiss. Well, we could have done without Kiss. But all these artists had albums that flopped before they found their voice and became huge sellers. How many Marvin Gayes are out there that we’ll never get to hear because they got dropped?

The music industry as we knew it is over, major labels are the Walmart of music now. Just the hits. In fact, practically the only place you can find cd’s now is Walmart. Radio is worthless.

In a way, it’s good, because the internet has made it possible to find new and interesting music again, but I feel like we’ve lost something. It’s insular now. I miss going into record stores and trying to figure out what I might like, hearing something cool being played in there, seeing stuff I never would have looked for and getting it before my friends. You had to put a little effort into it, as opposed to just typing in “Metal” or “Acid House.”

Anyway, here’s the trailer, but the trailer kind of sucks, the movie is way better than it looks in this. It’s probably available on Netflix.

Oh, and this movie features a guy that I had kind of forgotten about but used to love, Doyle Bramhall, so I immediately went and downloaded his stuff. He’s great, check him out if you like soulful, bluesy stuff with a hint of country and some kick ass guitar playing.

Posted in It's Friday, Music | 9 Comments »

I’m Back (Mostly)

Posted by bmac on February 21, 2008

Howdy Y’all!

Things are starting to return to normal around here, although the definition of normal would be more like: no major life-altering developments in at least two whole weeks, as opposed to “normal.” We have to establish a whole new normal before things can actually be normal, if that makes any sense.

Let’s see, what’s happened since I’ve been gone?

Universities seem to be one of the most dangerous places to be these days. If my wife and I had kids in college, they’d be armed. “Gun free zone” or not. What exactly are universities doing to reassure parents that their kid won’t be assassinated during English Lit? College campuses are becoming fucking killing fields, and campus security ain’t gonna risk their $10.00/hr asses to do anything about a murderous kid with a death wish.

Hell, the police won’t either. By the time they’ve finished their “risk assessment,” 500 rounds have been fired.

I’ll never forget a video I saw from Columbine of the SWAT team inching their way across the cafeteria with full body armor and shields. It must have taken them a full half hour to cross that cafeteria the way they were moving. Pathetic. Am I insane, or when kids are getting shot, should some cops have enough balls to run in ala Jack Bauer and fucking handle it? 400 cops outside staring at maps while kids are being picked off like bugs. Has bureaucracy taken away all the basic instincts to help people that are being murdered while literally hundreds of law enforcement stand there and listen to it happen?

Let’s see, what else? Obama’s gonna be the Dem nominee. The Paris Hilton of politics, famous for doing nothing. Even his biggest supporters stumble when asked what he’s ever accomplished. I gotta admit, I didn’t see that one coming. It does make sense though, who really thought that screechy, shrill, awful woman could get elected? Above all else, a Presidential candidate has to have a likeable personality. Well, except maybe Nixon. But every other President in my lifetime has been someone the average American would like to have a beer with. Or a cigar (IYKWIM) It’s a popularity contest more than anything, and Obama is the cool, good lookin’ head of the debate team guy, to Hillary’s dorky, angry, band-camp chick.

Obama will be crushed in the general. Crushed. But the media will fudge the numbers somehow, so it doesn’t look like America is full of redneck hillbillies.

Eventually, he’ll have to talk about something other than vague platitudes, and that will do him in.

That, and the fact that he’s black. With a Muslim name. Trust me, even Democrats will think twice when they step into that voting booth and see the name “Barack Hussein Obama” on the ballot they’re about to cast. And then they’ll promptly lie about it to pollsters.

Obama will have the highest exit poll numbers in history.

The media will be scratching their collective heads when the actual numbers get tallied. It’ll be the old “but everybody I know voted for him.”

Posted in Politics, Sarcasm | 9 Comments »

Kramer

Posted by bmac on February 14, 2008

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This was a tough one. Losing Kramer totally wrecked Mrs bmac and I. In a strange way, it was harder than losing my mother in law, and I hope that doesn’t sound callous. I think pet people understand. Or maybe we’re just like exposed nerve endings right now, I don’t know.

We’re involved with a German Shorthair Pointer rescue in California, and one of the people there told us that when you lose a pet, there’s no bad memories, there were no harsh words or hurt feelings. It’s probably more like losing a child than losing a parent. That helps make sense to me as to why we’re so crushed.

Kramer was a tough little son of a bitch. He beat cancer twice. He also had sedacious carcinoma (not sure if that’s what you call it) cancer when he was younger, which were lumps just under his skin that we got removed fairly easily. He had a lot of scars. When he was younger, he ran chest first into a piece of rebar, and punched a hole in his chest, and promptly wanted a cookie. Like I said, he was tough.

The life force in this dog was incredible, and even though we still have two dogs here, the house seems empty without his energy. While most dogs came out of chemo treatments sluggish and tired, Kramer came running out, ready to go for a ride and play.

Cancer couldn’t take him, injuries wouldn’t faze him, and ultimately his heart just couldn’t keep up with how big it needed to be for his boundless energy and will.

Thank you guys for all of your kind words. Many of you helped us get 6 more months with Kramer, and for that we’re forever grateful.

I’m just gonna take a little break from blogging, maybe a week or two. The last month has been a bit overwhelming, and we have a lot of stuff to tend to.

Thanks again you guys, and I’ll see ya in a week or so.

Posted in Personal Stories | 5 Comments »

Thank You Sir, May I Have Another?

Posted by bmac on February 8, 2008

What a week. The Republicans finally did it. They finally removed the thorn in their paw, otherwise known as conservativism. It didn’t just work out that way, this was a coup. They saw an opening, and ran for daylight. We have been disenfranchised, pushed out, cast aside.

Do we now reward them by doing our duty and voting for the R? Do we “suck it up” and “get in line,” “hold our nose” for the “lesser of two evils?” Do we give them the green light, and send them the message that we’ll grudgingly take whatever they choose to piss down on us?

Thank you sir, may I have another?

Ok, let’s say we do that. In four years, we’ll have an entire party of McCains. How would that be? Someone on talk radio put it in a term that made sense:

Do you vote for the guy that’s 100% for slavery, or the guy that’s 95% for slavery?

We lost something on Tuesday that we’ll never get back: Choice. One more step toward not having a say in our own country. As conservatives, we no longer have a voice in American politics, and that’s no accident. This was a well orchestrated ousting of conservatism.

I’m so disgusted by Republicans. They’ve been cowardly hiding for the last four years, not standing up for any of the principles we elected them for. Perhaps they had a plan all along, and I said as much last May.

This is it. This is the moment. If there ever was a time for a realistic third party, the time is now, or forever hold your tongue. It’s make or break time in American politics.

If we just put McCain in the White House because he’s 5% better than Hillary, then we accept and deserve the one party system we’re gonna have.

I can’t do it. I will not vote for McCain, and I will not vote Democrat. I’m not going to sell out my country and my soul by inches at a time.

All I can do, is try to convince people that we need a Conservative Party in this country. How do I do that? I have no clue. But I can’t participate in the willful destruction of what I believe is the essence of America: Choice. I won’t.

If Hillary gets elected, so be it. Things are gonna get a lot worse before they get better, and we just have to deal with that. We can sit and watch, or we can do something about it, and voting for McCain ain’t gonna fix anything.

The reality is, for conservatives, there is no “lesser of two evils” here. We lose either way, and losing is losing.

So you guys tell me, is it possible to start a Conservative Party? Can conservatives stop attacking each other over small differences? Can we agree on enough to be a viable third party in this country? And by the way, Libertarians need not apply.

Or do we just accept that this country is on it’s way to becoming France.

Without the culture and stinky cheese.

All the anger and frustration we all feel could be put to a better use than hoping a McCain victory will somehow work out for us in the long run. Because it won’t. And I think we all know that.

Posted in I'm Pissed, Politics | 11 Comments »

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Posted by bmac on February 6, 2008

Conservatives, we’ve been dumped.

The immigration debacle last summer was a precursor to what we got on Tuesday. The Republicans foot dragging, elitist attitude, and ultimately their very reluctant killing of that bill was like an old girlfriend that agrees to fuck you one more time right before she runs off with her new boyfriend she’s been seeing behind your back for six months. And if you call her again after that, she’s gonna get a restraining order.

Just like that old girlfriend, we can’t make the Republicans love us anymore, they’ve moved on, and they’re happy. We’re gonna have to accept it. They don’t miss us. They threw out all our old letters, all the old pictures with us in them are gone. They have a new boyfriend with a bigger dick, a better job, that treats them better, opens the door for them, and sleeps on the wet spot. Their new boyfriend doesn’t get mad at them for doing all the silly things they do, and he likes watching the Lifetime channel.

Sure, we can hope that one day they’ll realize how good we were together, that they were wrong for leaving us, that one day they’ll understand we were the ones who truly loved them for who they were, and not just their pretty face and slammin’ body.

But we know that will never happen. They’re gone, and they’re not coming back. Ever. We can just sit and wonder how we could have been so wrong about our relationship, how we didn’t want to notice how it was changing, how they kept snapping at us for every little thing. How they didn’t want to do all the fun stuff we used to enjoy so much.

It’s over, so let’s have a beer with our buddies, go to some tittie bars, screw anything with a heartbeat, and leave the toilet seat up.

Oh, and start a new party.

Posted in Do Something!, We're Doomed | 9 Comments »

R.I.P. GOP

Posted by bmac on February 5, 2008

Goodbye old friend.

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Posted in Politics | 6 Comments »