Friday, April 17, 2009

Signs of the Impending Apocalypse Part II

OK, I saw another commercial that caught my eye and made me laugh with the absurdity of it all. Perhaps you've seen this one as well. It's a Dunkin' Donuts commercial that begins with three little children in a darkened room with zombie like looks on their faces as they are watching cartoons. The TV is holding them in some sort of zombie-making tractor beam and it's actually drawing them towards the TV.

Then the door opens and this bright light fills the room and it's their dad holding a box of donuts beckoning the imps to come get one. Upon hearing this they awaken from their cartoon slumber and head out to the kitchen all jazzed up at the tasty sugary sweets that await them.

The only thing wrong with this was that the kids did not have sunken eyes nor expanded waists. I mean what were the people of Dunkin' Donuts thinking with this commercial. "Hey if you have couch potatoes for kids just feed them these empty calories to keep them tuned in the Cartoon Network all day long!"

That commercial is a far cry from this.

Now go out and do something creative!

Monday, April 13, 2009

10 Songs

I have been doing a tremendous amount of work online for the past month or two and during that time I've come to use and really like Pandora Radio, which is an online web-based radio program. What is nice about it is that whatever your preference in music Pandora has it and you can program a specific station with just your likes. Some of the music, however, is repetitive but the longer that you listen the more you find that that is cyclical. The station that I've created has an emphasis on Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, and Van Morrison. Other groups such as U2, Queen, Journey, and Tom Petty are mixed in here and there as well as others.

What I like about Pandora is that a lot of the songs are different versions of popular hits, or just great songs from albums that didn't get a lot of air play over traditional radio. So, from using this service I have come to hear some songs that, sadly I must admit, I did not know but should have. Some of those songs make this month's 10 Songs.

1. Highway Patrolman-Bruce Springsteen
This song is off of his Nebraska album which is underrated in my opinion. I was not a big Bruce fan when I was younger, but now, older, having lived life a bit, well his lyrics strike a chord with me and I am really getting into his music. I love this song about dealing with troublesome family members, here a wayward brother. The line that sticks with me is, "Nothing feels better than blood on blood." Great song! Johnny Cash did a cover of this song that is just as good.

2. Devils & Dust-Bruce Springsteen
The title song of the album. Is there any better American song writer right now? I am amazed at these nuggets of gold that I mine from Springsteen's discography. I love how it starts low and soft and builds throughout the song. The lines that get me are:

We've got God on our side
We're just trying to survive
What if what you do to survive
Kills the things you love?
Fear's a powerful thing, baby
It'll turn your heart black you can trust
It'll take your God filled soul
Fill it with devils and dust

Check it out. Great song.

3. Fire-Bruce Springsteen
Bruce got his career going as song writer, and some of his songs-as good as they are-were made famous by other performers. Blinded by the Light was done be Manfred Mann, Because the Night was done by Patti Smith, and Fire was done by The Pointer Sisters. The Pointer Sisters?! Bruce's version is much better.

4. I Wish I Were Blind-Bruce Springsteen
I will admit that while I have found love unexpected and welcomed recently after a tough divorce this song hit me a couple weeks back. I guess that there's a part of my heart that doesn't want to see my ex with another man, though she's found love and is on the verge of marriage. I heard this song and it brought up some feelings I didn't know that were still there that I am working on. Not feelings for her, but feelings at failing in a marriage and not liking to fail at anything it made me ponder my heart and where I had gone wrong. I wish her well, but when I see them I know that I failed, along with her, but the failure is there nonetheless.

5. Call it a Loan-Jackson Browne
I love Mr. Browne and his lyrics are so touching. I have quickly fallen in love with this song.

6. Sky Blue and Black-Jackson Browne
Another song of his I hadn't ever heard, but I love the melody and the lyrics. Good stuff.

7. Lawyers, Guns, and Money-Warren Zevon
I used to listen to this album, Excitable Boy, back in the day when I had a turn table and records. It was one of those records that wore out through use, so I'd have to buy another one within months. Not only was this song on it, but so was Excitable Boy, Werewolves of London, and Johnny Strikes up the Band. He left this world far too young.

8. Wake Up-The Arcade Fire
I watched the trailer for the Where the Wild Things Are movie (Looks really good btw) and I loved the song that was playing throughout it. Found out that it was this song by this group. I really like the song a lot.

9. Shining Star-The Manhattans
This song has special meaning to me because of someone who is back in my life now and that person has brought a lot of light to mine and I am eternally thankful to this person.

10. Emotional Rescue-The Rolling Stones
What can I say? I will be your knight in shining armor, Riding across the desert with a fine Arab charger.

Click on a song title and it will take you to iTunes. Give them a listen.

Chitty Chitty Hee Hoo

I was taking a break from running around Saturday in preparation for the feast and festivities of the following day which was Easter Sunday. My oldest son was flipping through the TV channels when we spotted Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which was a favorite movie from when I was a child and is a movie my children have fallen in love with as well. What's not to like? It was written by Sir Ian Fleming of James Bond fame, had Dick Van Dyke and Benny Hill in it, had songs about candy and toys, and also had a car that was the benevolent version of Stephen King's Christine.

Yet, I always was afraid of the Child Catcher in the movie. He scared the bajeepers out of me and still makes me feel uneasy. The thing that struck me upon viewing him this time was that he was reminding me of someone whom I couldn't place. It bothered me. Gnawed at me. It even kept me up a little too late thinking about it that night. Then, as I fell asleep I found myself back at a dance in high school and over the speakers the song Billie Jean came on and it hit me: the Child Catcher looks like Michael Jackson!

Then the irony of Michael Jackson playing the role of the Child Catcher hit me and I started to laugh. I mean, hasn't he been playing that role for years now? I guess Boy Catcher would be more honest. But honestly, both have that funky looking nose, are pasty white with jet black straight hair, dress in extravagant attire, and are sickly thin. Come to think of it I have never seen both people in the same place at the same time. Hmmmmm. Makes one scratch his head and wonder. Oh well, I will never look at either person the same, and both do give me shivers down my spine.

Just something that I thought that you'd like to know!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Sign of the Impending Apocalypse, Kinda Sorta Maybe

I was watching the tube the other day and a commercial came on for Burger King. It caught my eye because I heard Sir Mix-A-Lot's Baby Got Back whilst watching the King boogie with some female dancers with interspersing images of Sponge Bob Square Pants flashing across (or acrost to those of you from Dixon, Illinois) the screen. I thought, what the heck is going on?

Well the deal that BK is offering is that if you buy any value meal you can also get a kid's meal for 99 cents with a toy included. However, nowhere in the commercial do you see the regular meal advertised until the end. OK, so call me a fuddy-duddy (Latin origin Fuddias Dudditum meaning concerned parent), but I find it inappropriate that an extremely popular kids cartoon is flashed on the screen with Baby Got Back blaring throughout the commercial. I really don't know what they were thinking with this one. OK, I've said my piece. Comment if you've seen the commercial and tell me what you think. I really want to know.

Now go do something constructive,