Friday, March 15, 2013

Not to be a total bummer on a Friday...

but this is one hell of a video, and a hauntingly beautiful song.

Sadly, no time for 10 more songs, just too damn busy, although that is not necessarily a sad situation. Have a good weekend.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Friday Random 11

It’s one more random than 10! 

1) “These Are the Fables,” The New Pornographers. I made up a story for Libby at bedtime the other night. I don’t usually do that, sticking instead with reading books to her. But she said she wanted to hear a story about me as a little boy, only she wanted it to be about me fighting a dragon (for real, not with my mind and a 20-sided die). So I created a story where my siblings and I had to slay a dragon who was raiding our village (total Dragonslayer cribbing), helped along by a wizard named Gandalf who gave us some magic weapons. It’s amazing how creative you can be when you have free reign to plagiarize.

2) “Sunny,” Morrissey. I wonder if he sounds sad when he orders carry out (er, take away). Does he say stuff like, Oh, how long for a pizza pie, one that reminds me of your eyes, if they were made of, pepperooooooni.

3) “Unglued,” Stone Temple Pilots. Most annoying junkie in rock history? Seriously, Jimi Hendrix dies after three solo albums, but Scott Weiland has survived long enough to get kicked out of Stone Temple Pilots twice? That just isn’t fair.

4) “Kiss Off,” Violent Femmes. I am no comedy wallflower, as you all are well aware. However, I damn near dropped my phone when I saw the infamous Onion Oscar tweet. However, the worst part to me was the endless MANSPLAINING that it was a joke and not directed at Quvenzhan√© Wallis, as if The Onion is some kind of Iranian nuclear schematic that’s difficult to understand instead of one of the lower hanging fruits on the comedy tree. They also tried to act like intent is all that matters in comedy, which I guess means white people can call black people the n-word as long as they don’t mean it. Imagine sitting at a dinner table with your father and, after your mother left the room, you said, “Boy, mom’s really a cunt, isn’t she?” Granted, this may elicit the occasional grunt of alcoholic agreement, especially if your last name is Lockhorn. In most cases, though, I doubt the intent would convince your father not to punch you and/or write you out of the will. Just remember: if you’re unsure whether you should call a nine-year-old girl a cunt to get a laugh, you’re much better off checking the “No” box.

5) “Oliver James,” Fleet Foxes. If I was named Oliver James, I would have this played at my funeral. But I’m not, so I’m going to go with my second choice.

6) “Cath…,” Death Cab for Cutie. This song always reminds me of a young woman getting hit on by an much older (and creepier) man, and in the wake of the Oscars, that can’t help but remind me a little of Jennifer Lawrence meeting Jack Nicholson. I also had my own old man moment (non-creepy), where I found myself thinking that Jennifer Lawrence is adorable, the way you would talk about a puppy or the grandchild you secretly favor over the other also-rans. Not Jennifer Lawrence is hot or even the gentlemanly Jennifer Lawrence is rather attractive. I am happy I had the adorable thought, because I am old enough to be her father if I a) had made some different life choices and b) were fertile. At the same time, it was like having a platonic hug with mortality that I was too old to have anything remotely resembling a dirty thought about her.

7) “Love My Way,” The Psychedelic Furs. This is a much more age-appropriate love.

8) “Red Barchetta,” Rush. I will spare the usually orgasmic prose about THE GREATEST BAND IN THIS OR ANY UNIVERSE and instead mention something silly that made me feel kind of awesome. I was at wholesale retailer that rhymes with LostMoe with my daughter. They had an 80-inch television on display, which elicited a sound of awe from my little girl that filled me with electronic pride. There was a salesmen who happened to be African American standing by the display. He wore a shirt from a company that rhymes with Erect TV. He asked me who my cable provider was, and when I responded that I was a happy customer of his employer, he smiled, said, “right on,” and offered me an unsolicited fist bump. As someone who is whiter than Wonder Bread, this filled me with a delightful mix of hipness and racial harmony. I felt like the two of us could have come up with a plan for ending racism by the end of the next minority-free episode of Girls. It is a testament to how uncool I feel most of the time that I had this reaction.

9) “Part IV (The Index Fossil,” Bad Religion. Dedicated to the #1 BR fan, fish.

10) “Milkman,” EMA. One of those albums that is really, really good, but such a downer that I almost never play it.

11) “What the Water Gave Me,” Florence + the Machine. In addition to my daughter appreciating epically sized televisions, she has started to really get into music and have opinions on music—especially her preference for “girl singers.” If she knows the song, she sings along, or at least mumbles in tune until the chorus shows up. She really likes anything by Florence, so whenever this pops up, I have Libby + the Machine joining in. I’ll take that, even if she will never, ever sing “Tom Sawyer.”

Have a good weekend!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Random 1+1

A little busy today, so I will leave you with some old Police:

and some new Ex-Cops:

Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Top Ten Tuesdays: What awards are we up for?

Special Extended Walkoff Music Edition!

15) Best Supporting Role in a Threesome

14) Angriest Bird

13) Most Likely to Have a Drunk and Bitter Existence After Ruling Senior Year

12) Best Bullet Point Narration in a Live Presentation or Webcast

11) The High Times Hashiest Tag Award

10) Best Brofist

9) The First Annual Christopher Dorner Award for Most Misguided Attempt to Make a Point

8) Best Performance by an Emoticon

7) Most Desperate Attempt to Use Baby Pictures to Get Facebook Likes

6) Least Convincing Thanking of God in an Acceptance Speech

5) Best Use of Bestiality to Boost Brand Awareness

4) Least Racist YouTube Comment

3) Best Netflix Queue

2) Most Valuable Player Hater

1) Best Awards Categories

Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday Random 11

It’s one more random than 10! 


Sorry, that was what ran through my head when I saw the footage of the meteor that hit Russia. I think comets have been called the Finger of God, but this fucking thing looked like the middle finger of Cthulu. I half expected to see giant walkers emerging and incinerating everyone in sight save for Tom Cruise (thanks for adding insult to injury, assholes).

However, because this happened in Russia, a place with #realproblems rather than #whitepeopleproblems, the populace seemed to react much more calmly than we would have. The first video Gawker posted showed a guy driving along when the sky EXPLODES, and he’s all meeti ori bork bork! or whatever he was saying in his Ruskie Fuskie language. Maybe that’s one of the side effects of having your cranial fluid be 97% Stoli. Or maybe, being Russian, he’s not going to get terribly agitated unless he sees a column of advancing Panzers, agricultural collectivization, or an unattended pallet of blue jeans. Because if this happened in, say, Los Angeles, I’m pretty sure the LAPD would have immediately started shooting minorities on the off chance they had become irradiated space zombies.

1) “Backwater,” Meat Puppets. God apparently hates Siberia almost as much as dinosaurs and uppity archangels who think they know everything. I’m surprised Republicans didn’t issue a press release declaring this a divine endorsement of America.

2) “The Long and Winding Road,” The Beatles. My least favorite Beatles song of the “good” Beatles songs. I feel like this should play at the end of a Bond movie where he drops flowers on the graves of his nemesis Dr. I.M. DeBagge and the sultry femme fatale Gina Spott at the end of Silent But Deadly, before turning and walking away with the bikini-clad German double-agent Uma Schtupewe to cash in the chips he won playing baccarat by the pool.

3) “Metropolis,” The Church. The best one-liner I saw regarding the Pope stepping down was a caption that read, “Pulls out early, like a good Catholic.” Seriously, how sad was it to be funny before the Internet. Imagine at the beginning of the Depression, you take a picture of the president and put the caption, “Nothing sucks like a Hoover,” and all you could do was share it with the other hobos in the boxcar. Sad. Also, you wouldn't be able to find the hard-to-find MTV Unplugged version of this song within two clicks of your fingers.

4) “Starrider,” Foreigner. You know you’re in for a big fat bag of musical suck within three notes. It gets even worse when the goddammed harpsichord emerges out of nowhere like a flare up of classical herpes. There would be less progressive cheese if you made figurines of every single member of Yes out of blocks of Velveta.

5) “Foreplay/Long Time,” Boston. The space intro perfectly conveys the cosmic splendor that is Sib Hashian’s hair, before Tom Scholz’s mullet warps in from the nexus of all party and serious business and sets his guitar phasers to “facemelt.”

6) “Acrobat,” U2. Libby is taking gymnastics, and God help her, she’s already taller than Mary Lou Reton. We just had to retire her size six clothes because she’s too tall for them, and she won’t turn five until June. The good news is that she’s also taking tae kwan do, and she’s got reach on the other kids in her class. When she sweeps a leg, it’s going to stay swept. 

7) “The Sound of Settling,” Death Cab for Cutie. Now that we are squarely in the era of divorce in our lives, any marriage dissolution among friends and acquaintances tends to trigger a discussion of how much it would suck if we found ourselves “back out there.” We would be especially screwed because we got married around the age of 12 (approximately), so neither of us has any clue what you do on a grown-up date. I could probably handle dinner okay, assuming my date likes dick jokes (I’d pre-screen on OK Cupid), but then I’d be like “So, how does a movie and some under-the-bra action sound? Wait, where are you going? Does this mean I can eat your dessert?” A house cat parachuting into the African savanna would have a better chance of survival than I would.

8) “Out of the Silent Planet,” King’s X. I want to get out the part about King's X being a seriously underrated band with a special shout out for finding a perfect guitar sound between clean and crunchy, and take a moment to express a real white people problem: iTunes 11 is awful. This is a dumb thing to rant about, but given that I work at home and I have music on probably 75% of the time I’m working, I use iTunes all the time. One thing I always loved while doing the Random 11 was setting iTunes to cover view, because the album covers would flip like you were looking at a real album collection instead of collection of JPEGs in varying degrees of pixilation. Yes, I am easily amused. Well, not only did that go away, but my library doesn’t even follow the shuffle now, only the tiny little status bar shows what’s being played. Maybe there’s a way to change it, but the M.C. Escher-designed menus all lead to a button that says "Suck it" in an admittedly glamorous sans serif font. Even the side scrolling bar doesn’t show up when you open iTunes, you have to minimize it, then maximize it, something that confused me for hours until I used the Internet to find the solution. (Disclaimer: I’m Polish and will swear my undying fealty if you can change a lightbulb.) Then I get mad at myself for getting mad over such stupid stuff when there are real problems like DEADLY METEORITES HEADING RIGHT TOWARD US, but then I see ABBA being displayed when Warren Zevon is playing and the cycle of rage begins anew. I will not last long when civilization collapses.

9) “A Legal Matter,” The Who. The amount of casual chauvinism in some of the music I like is disconcerting. I mean, if I’m queuing up some Winger, I know that the chorus I’m singing is at least one year removed from legally acceptable if still morally questionable attitudes toward women. You know what to expect from a guy named Kip. But then I’ll hear something like this from a paragon of rock godliness, a jaunty FU to an ex-wife and it’s little jarring. It was worse the other day when I heard Rod Stewart’s “Stay With Me,” which features an irresistible bit of dirty guitar boogie coupled with lyrics about him using an unattractive woman for sex due to a lack of any other serviceable option. So I guess the question is, as long as I know better, it’s still okay for me to sing, right? What if I do the dishes without being prompted?

10) “309,” Russian Circles. Ha, have to hand it to iTunes, it has a great sense of humor. Another thing about the meteor crash: could you imagine the conspiracy theories in this country if it happened here? It would be an alien vessel, a fallen angel, a test of a new UN Gay Ray that turns everyone homosexual so that humans die out and the trees win, God’s rebuttal to the State of the Union, a new marketing campaign to drum up purchases at Sunglasses Hut…anything but a meteor. And if we had advance notice, how many Americans would be on their lawns shooting at it? Because the only thing that can stop bad gravity with a giant space rock is a good guy with a gun.

11) “Wild Horses,” The Sundays. TLB made her famous “horse show” cookies, which are like chocolate chip cookies mixed with orgasm. They are huge and probably have enough calories per cookie to induce a heart attack if saw that number. She made some for her class and left “a few” for us. “A few” in the house with the man who is home all day and has no visible coworkers to shoulder some of the cookie consumption or at least threaten to brand him with a scarlet C on his chest if he was found in the supply room covered in cookie crumbs and shame. I ate four yesterday, and that was with me exercising John The Baptist levels of dietary restraint. We could just bake a batch for the CIA to use during interrogations and we would know every Al Qaeda plan by the second bite.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Marco Rubio Interrupts State of the Union Rebuttal for a Trip to the Bathroom

Florida Senator calls for less government, more air freshener 

BIZZAROWORLD, USA – During the middle of a prewritten Republican rebuttal to President Obama’s state of the union address, Florida Senator Marco Rubio made an unexpected detour when he excused himself to use the bathroom.

After discussing the need to cut taxes, improve Medicare, and enact a number of other budgetary and social welfare policies that are completely at odds with each other, Senator Rubio stated, “In the short time I’ve been in Washington, I’ve been frustrated by…by….uh oh,” as he held his right hand over his lower torso. He then uttered under his breath, “Chipotle before my big speech. What was I thinking? Stupid, stupid!” He took a deep breath, spun on one heel, and retreated to the bathroom.

When the cameras remained focused on the empty space where the senator was supposed to be, he called for them to follow and “continue the dialog.” The crew followed him to the lavatory door, which Rubio had left wide open as he prepared to use the facilities. A quick reaction from a key grip to close the door saved the situation from becoming a national trauma.

“Where was I? Oh yeah, frustrated,” Rubio continued. “It has been….difficult…to deal with the…gridlock…that the president and….Democrats….have used to block the…the…oh, God…passage….of key reforms….whew.” Rubio then laid out five key strategies for successful bipartisan action on America’s most pressing issues, all of which were inaudible due to the sound of him washing his hands and the toilet flushing twice.

At that point, Senator Rubio emerged, took a sip of water, and closed his address by saying, “Thank you for listening. May God bless all of you, may God bless our president, and may God continue to bless America, especially with ample supplies of Charmin and Pepto-Bismal.”

After a moment of silence, he said to the crew, “Wow, I just put the butt in rebuttal, boys. Seriously, don’t go in there if you value your eyebrows. Hey, why is that light on the camera still red?”

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Top Ten Tuesdays: Why are we leaving the papacy?

Special extended homily edition!

15) Feeling more Pontius than papal.

14) Working full time on bath soap line, Pope-on-a-Rope.

13) Starting a new international language club, The Latin Kings.

12) Can’t stomach another month of Filet O’ Fish on Lenten Fridays.

11) After a lifetime of working on canons, want to hit the gym to work on our guns.

10) Finally celebrating Fat Tuesday the way God intended: showing our tits for Rosary beads.

9) Tired of people making infallible jokes when our NCAA bracket goes bust.

8) Starting new death metal band, The Cardinal Sins.

7) The frock and funny hat make it really hard to pick up women.

6) Becoming an image consultant for the Republican party.

5) Feel the Catholic Church needs the strength and energy that can only be provided by a 75-year-old Pope.

4) Lawyers won’t automatically know where we live.

3) Drinking six chalices of  the "Blood of Christ" every day is turning our liver into water.

2) Want to be able to end our papal life with dignity and on our terms, before we become a shell of our former selves.

1) Natural instinct for a Ratso to be the first one off a sinking ship.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Friday Random 11

It’s one more random than 10!

No time for love, Dr. Jones! Just tunes.

1) “Train in Vain,” The Clash. I read a piece on Grantland about Metallica that had a much more interesting subsection on the splintering of rock music. It talked about the divide between elitist taste and mainstream taste, and there’s a tidbit about how, in 1981, CBS Records own president wanted to push The Clash’s Sandinista!, while the PR guys were pushing REO Speedwagon’s Hi Infidelity. Well, it was no contest who won—the public’s going to go for stories about cautionary tales of hearing third-hand gossip from one’s so-called friends over funky six-minute songs about cops kicking gypsies on the pavement. However, as someone who likes both The Clash and REO Speedwagon, I felt like a child caught in a musical custody battle. Here was the productive, admirable parent, the one making me do my homework but also making me a better person. And then there’s fun parent, who loves ripping off guitar solos almost as much as donuts in the parking lot. However, we all agreed that Uncle Metallica had devolved into a bitter asshole.

2) “Pacific Theme,” Broken Social Scene. I would have given a lot to be near anything Pacific yesterday, as I shoveled not only snow, but the water from the rain that fell before changing into snow and then getting covered like a Burmese tiger trap for my lower back muscles. Then again, I’ll take Midwestern weather over living amid rampaging ex-LAPD members who sound like the love child of The Punisher and Ted Kaczynski.

3) “Love, Hate, Love,” Alice in Chains. Seriously, have you read Psycho Cop’s manifesto? It’s disturbing because 95% of it is normal. At least with a Kaczynski or Manson, you know within three sentences/30 seconds that you’ve just sailed into Cape Crazy. Oh, The White Album is really about inciting a race war in America? Say, let’s get you a straight jacket. You look about a 40 Slim. But Psycho Cop starts out with an airing of grievances that’s cogent, lucid, and more polite than any YouTube thread. Except that, after rationally laying out his arguments, he decides the best solution is to murder those who wronged him and maybe their families. It’s done so casually that it’s way more jarring than any Zodiac code. He repeats this approach a few times, especially, after making great points about need for gun control, he says he’s going to illustrate his argument by killing people with his legally purchased guns. But the REALLY crazy part is when he spends a half dozen pages at the end thanking random public figures and celebrities, including this doozy:

It's kind of sad I won’t be around to view and enjoy The Hangover Ill. What an awesome trilogy. Todd Phillips, don't make anymore hangovers after the third, takes away the originality of its foundation. 
That’s A) nuts to include after rambling about using asymmetrical warfare against the police and B) clearly the sign of a disturbed mind if you want to see another Hangover movie after the abortion that was the second. Anyway, in seriousness, it’s fucking frightening and sad that this guy already killed people and that the cops shot up a truck with two women in it. It’s bad when L.A. Confidential seems like a more flattering portrait of the LAPD.

4) “I’m Always in Love,” Wilco. There’s a great old-school synthesizer that really makes this song (and sadly a little buried on the version on YouTube). It’s funny how, in the context of a Jeff Tweedy pop gem, that synthesizer sounds warm and female-friendly, whereas when it’s used to punctuate an immortal man trapped in caves of ice, it’s an airhorn that chases 99 out of 100 vaginas away. Unrelated: I would love to have an old school synth sound be the horn on my car. I would just lay on it traffic and make people think they were stuck in front of ELP's tourbus.

5) “Electric Fever,” Free Energy. Libby has started ice skating, and we had the discussion about how I ice skated a few times when I was a kid. I explained that it wasn’t that hard because I roller skated a lot, and that led to further explanation that I and my friends would sometimes gather for a party and go in circles around an oval on shoes with wheels attached. For the first time in 30 years, I had the desire to slap on some skates and spend the evening listening to 70s rock while trying to get the courage to ask Mary Lou Chestblossom if I could hold her hand while we went round in circles. Anyway, this song would not sound at all out of place on a night like that.

6) “Sierra Leone,” Frank Ocean. I’m surprised that I liked this album as much as I did, because I do not have much hop in my hip. But there’s a death metal parallel that explains it. I loves me some metal, but a lot of speedyblackdeath metal doesn’t appeal to me because the singers sound like they replaced their vocal chords with a garbage disposal. Yet the exact same song with clean-sounding vocals wins me over almost every time. Frank Ocean does the same for me. The arrangements are very hip-hop and R&B, but because he’s got such a great voice, I’m totally won over. I hope he cleans up at the Grammys.

7) “Stepping Out,” Joe Jackson. The Lovely Becky and I see about 1-2 non-animated moves in the movie theater per year. Last weekend, we finally arranged to see Zero Dark Thirty, with one of our lovely friends no less. A real grown-up evening, with unflinching depictions of torture and everything! Even a serious wrenching of TLB’s back a couple days before didn’t stop our quest for mature entertainment that didn’t involve talking chipmunks. In fact, TLB had some leftover Hillbilly Heroin from an earlier malady, so she popped those to get her back into a non-stress position. Well, after dinner and about 40 minutes into the movie, she began to feel an insurgency in her stomach and excused herself. A few minutes later, we got the text that it was time to accelerate our timetable for withdrawal. I don’t think you could have found a pair of parents who more closely resembled dejected four-year olds. Robbed! Plus I have no idea how the movie ended? Did they find the guy they were looking for?

8) “When You Sleep,” My Bloody Valentine. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to get more sleep. I honestly am so much in the Do As I Say, Not As I Do parent camp, especially regarding sleep. Libby is at the age where she often fights or tries to cajole her way out of going to bed. She’ll get up for the third time and, just as my patience is about to end, tells me that the reason she got up was to tell me she loves me. (My heart melts, and I instantly hand her a sixer of Jolt Cola and initiate a Chipmunk movie marathon.) Yet I, the adult, fight going to bed so much, I had to make a specific resolution to go the fuck to sleep. A month in, I think I’ve gone to bed before midnight once or twice, and those were only after collapsing like a broken CIA detainee. I wake up tired and convinced that tonight’s going to be the night for that reasonable 11 pm bedtime, and 60 minutes past that, I’m saving the galaxy, liking status updates, or just flipping two birds at the clock because I’m all growns up and can do whatever I want. I am an idiot. Unrelated tangent: With a new My Bloody Valentine album released after 20+ years, I would not have wanted to be the one cleaning the men's bathroom at the Pitchfork offices this week.

9) “Handsome Devil,” The Smiths. Like a zillion other people, I also resolved to lose some weight this year. Fatherhood has not only made me soft and weak, but my Dagwood Bumstead eating habits have me on medications to dilute the ranch dressing flowing through my arteries. One element of that is to be on a beef ban—I have cut out red meat (MY PRECIOUS!) from my diet quite a bit, saving it only for a couple times a month, tops. I had one of those occasions at TLB’s parents’ house. We had a big family dinner with steaks as the main course. I didn’t want to be rude, so I made an exception. One of the steaks was done very rare, just brown on the top and bottom and the color of murder in the middle. I picked that one, because I wanted to experience every bloody, beefy bit of flavor. My mother-in-law saw it and offered to zap it in the microwave, and I nearly stabbed her with my knife. I wasn’t about to irradiate even one parcel of Beef County in Flavor Country with some dirty bomb cooking. The best was TLB sitting next to me in horror as I savored every bite. It was so sinfully good, I felt like my mouth was committing adultery.

10) “All Day,” Ministry. The old Eurotrash Ministry, back when they would let their songs be used in beer commercials (Old Style, if I remember correctly). Okay, a beef related-tangent: TLB and I were watching Cougar Town (hilarious show), and one of the storylines had a character dishing out hamburgers from a truck stand along with insults to the customers. She became known as the “Burger Bitch.” I immediately had the idea to start a chain called Roast Beef where customers get comedy roasted by the cashiers while placing their orders. Someone would come in and order a double burger, and the cashier would say something like, This will be the most beef you’ve had in your mouth since Fleet Week. If I had the money, I would have immediately drawn up the business plan and started constructing the first of what would be a nationwide fleet of insult food joints. So it’s a good thing I don’t have that money.

11) “I Believe in a Thing Called Love,” The Darkness. Yes! Fire! The first time I heard this, I was surprised at how the singer could hit those crazy falsetto notes. Then I saw how tight his spandex body suit was and I wished I had only heard the record. The Post Traumatic Spandex Disorder has passed, though, so I can once again enjoy this puff pastry of rock ridiculousness.

Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Top Ten Tuesdays: What are we going to do now that football is over?

13) Find out what happened to the wife and kids five months ago.

12) Check Mel Kiper’s Twitter feed every minute for the next 115,200 minutes until the NFL Draft.

11) Try not to get murdered by a very bored Ray Lewis.

10) Clean off the Fathead.

9) Use power of Tim Tebow jersey to change Gatorade into Coors Light.

8) Submit proposal to improve NBA by allowing players to wear helmets and tackle each other.

7) Have blood transfusion to remove mass quantities of dip from arteries.

6) Tattoo our career stats on our arm so we can remember what we did with our lives after we’ve become drooling, concussed vegetables.

5) Start a fantasy league for alcoholic beverages.

4) Throw red challenge flag to overturn custody ruling.

3) Hockey, I guess.

2) Go back to church so we can pray for our team’s chances next year.

1) Whatever Lord Goodell demands of us.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Friday Random 11

It’s one more random than 10! 

I apologize for anyone who is friends with me on The Facebook and saw this already, but I have to share an idea I had for the 30 Rock finale:

Tina Fey wakes up on the set of Saturday Night Live as Lorne Michaels shocks her back to consciousness with a cattle prod and tells her to get back to work. Alec Baldwin is guest starring and is rehearsing the voice for a CEO character he's playing in a sketch with Will Arnett, while Keenan Thompson is in costume as Tracy Morgan. 
She gets up to walk back down the hall, where she bumps into Jane Krakowski, who is playing a dim-witted singer and the wife of Dean Winters's structural engineer/private detective character in NBC's new country drama, "Nashville Bridges." She asks herself if it was all just a dream just as she runs into newly-hired SNL writer Judah Friedlander, who wears a hat that says "IT WAS A DREAM." The camera pans up toward the ceiling, where we see Lutz in the shadows, a Phantom of the Opera mask covering his face, as he says, "Or was it?" before taking a bite of a Blimpie sub. 

I am really going to miss that show. I will not spoil the finale, which was very good, except to say that there was a rant from Lutz that caused The Lovely Becky and I to pause the DVR and spend five minutes trying to stop laughing. I also enjoyed this good piece on race in 30 Rock that ran on Grantland. The slapstick and rapid-fire silliness on 30 Rock could make it easy to overlook the bite of some of the gags, but watching the show in reruns now, it’s easier to see just how cutting the punchlines could be. Oh, how I will miss things like Alec Baldwin playing Thomas Jefferson as Tracy Morgan’s father or Tina Fey’s youth flashbacks or anything involving Lutz.

1) “Communication Breakdown,” Led Zeppelin. We had a power outage here a couple days ago, and every time the power goes out, I immediately think What the fuck am I going to do now? I can’t work. I can’t cook. Approximately 95 percent of my entertainment options are erased, 100 percent if it happens at night and I can’t read. And the stupid Revolution show that I watched for three bulimic Hunger Games episodes now makes me take stock of how well I could survive a world without power, which I would say would be seventeen minutes past sundown. My daughter is better equipped to deal with a power outage because at least she’d think it was neat instead of the beginning of a new age of feudalism. Luckily the power came back on after five minutes and I was safe again.

2) “2 Late 4 Love,” Tesla. I can forgive and even enjoy a lot of social media abbreviations and illiterate LOLCATtery. In fact, TLB loves to give me a kthxbai on text messages just to annoy me. But I cannot trunk numbers substituted for words. It’s cat nails on a LOLboard, and even Prince doing it drives me nuts.

3) “Foolin’,” Def Leppard. iTunes has got the T-top open in the Firebird today. Goddamn I love every song on Pyromania, and this one in particular has it all: super thick drum fills, cowbell, an acoustic guitar that gives it a ballad-fake out before the rocking commences, and an apostrophe’d ‘g. Yes, I hate numerical word substitution, but I love to drop my ‘g’s, because that’s fuckin’ rock and roll.

4) “Hemispheres,” Rush. No other song makes it more difficult to be a Rush fan. This is eighteen minutes of the proggiest of the proggy, a story of Dionysius and Apollo fighting for control of mankind, with the debate moderated by a mortal who arrives via a black hole from a song on the previous Rush album. I have explained this to TLB on several occasions, and each time she stops what she’s doing and does a laughing facepalm while shaking her head in a fashion that says I can’t believe I have sex with this. I would love to have a competition where Rush fans play this for their significant others and then attempt to have sex before the song ends. I guarantee if it doesn’t happen during the first three minutes of “I: Prelude,” before Geddy sings, When our weary world was young / The stuggle of the ancients first began / the gods of love and reason / sought to rule the fate of man, it's over. In fact, by the time you reach the lines The cities were abandoned / And the forests echoed song / They danced and lived as brothers / They knew love could not be wrong during “III: Dionysius, Bringer of Love,” there’s a pretty good chance a woman will become instantly menopausal.

And still I love every 20-sided minute of it. No other song puts me in touch with my inner geek the way this one does. I was ecstatic to find the album not only being discussed during the Rush documentary, but also to discover additional footage about this discussion stuck in the extras, because prolonged exposure to Hemispheres can kill mere mortals who have not been properly conditioned to handle it. If they played this in concert, there is no doubt that Becky would be bailing me out of jail after I was arrested for rushing (ha!) the stage and hugging Geddy’s Taurus pedals.

5) “Daft Punk Is Playing at My House,” LCD Soundsystem. Okay, all systems returned to normal. Oxygen levels stabilizing after overinhaling of Geddium. Gauges slowly shifting from freaky to funky. Booties now shaking impulsively rather than shitting uncontrollably.

6) “Night,” Zola Jesus. I love a good, freaky album cover, and I got this EP precisely because the woman on it (presumably Ms. Jesus) looks like she just tried to break up with the thing from Stephen King’s “The Raft” and he responded by getting extra clingy. My God, this relationship is so suffocating!

7) “Shine Like It Does,” INXS. They just called it quits, but I don’t know how they could have kept it going after Michael Hutchence died. Sometimes a band can pull off the singer switch (AC/DC comes to mind), but usually they should just pack it in, especially with a band like INXS where the singer was the identity of the band. No disrespect to the other members, who wrote fine music, but INXS doesn’t grab you because of Kirk Pengilly’s multi-instrumental talents. If you get another singer, have the courtesy to change the name to something like CHIN-XS.

8) “Amazing Journey/Sparks, (Live)” The Who. Tuesday nights, TLB takes the Libster up to her parents’ to spend the night because my mother-in-law watches her on Wednesdays. I have been using those Tuesday nights to get out and work on my novel, which usually goes very well. However, it was colder than a Hemispheres coitus session last week, so I decided to stay home and write. I grabbed my laptop, sat on the couch, and threw Live at Leeds in the big stereo, getting the proper Entwistling I can only get when I’m home alone with the subwoofer cranked. I also decided to pour a glass of Scotch, because that’s what writers do, right? Well, halfway through The Who’s seminal show, I was grooving and air drumming more than typing, which I think had more to do with fueling up the rock-it ship than with being at home and enjoying the best rock show ever recorded. I will be returning to my regularly scheduled Starbucks-at-7PM writing.

9) “I Might,” Wilco. One of the great 30 Rock lines is when Queen Latifah (as a Congresswoman) asks Alec Baldwin why NBC, “looks as diverse as a Wilco concert?” Hey now, I saw old and young white people of both genders at that show.

10) “Heartbreaker,” Alabama Shakes. I really like these guys, they play great, soulful rock with a ton of heart. But I always feel ten years older when I hear this album, as if I should be in The Big Chill 2: #iStalgia where we put our first-generation iPods on shuffle and reminisce about how we used to be able to check in for our flights at the gate and have affairs without somebody talking about it on Facebook.

11) “Search and Destroy,” Iggy and the Stooges. This song makes me want to be in a Huey screaming over the treetops of a war zone. I don’t want to actually kill anyone, but maybe shoot them with a Gatling version of a T-shirt cannon. Tell me that wouldn’t win some hearts and minds, if a big ass Huey appeared over some mountaintop and rained down a hail of shirts that said "Osama Don’t Surf" and included a free two-month gold subscription to Xbox Live and 10% off a footlong Jihadistrami sandwich at Subway. We’d solve terrorism by next Tuesday.

Have a good weekend, and here’s hoping Ray Lewis can play in a Super Bowl without killing someone.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Top Ten Tuesdays: What are we going to do about gun violence?

Special high capacity 12-gauge edition! 

12) Whoah, back off! You’re way to close to home! Don’t make me shoot you!

11) Oh, it’s just you. Sorry about that. There’s a lot of crazies with guns out there, so you can’t be too careful about who you might have to shoot. Good thing these babies have safeties or I’d have had another “accidental” shooting on my hands. Plus your trigger finger gets really slippery when it’s covered in blood.

10) Look, if we outlaw guns, only criminals will have them. It doesn't make any sense to ban something when you can’t effectively enforce that ban.

9) Except drugs, of course. And national borders. And speeding. And sodomy. And stealing office supplies.

8) It’s also why we should develop more law-abiding gun owners by giving kids firearms. The sooner they start, the sooner they can start acting responsibly.

7) Of course, this doesn't at all apply to drinking. Or driving. Or voting. Or military service. Or buying lottery tickets. Those things are too dangerous for kids, unlike firearms.

6) Besides, look at countries that have a lot of gun ownership and don’t have gun violence. Like Canada. They should be our models.

5) Except for health care. Or social welfare. Or pronunciation. Or milk containers.

4) Finally, it doesn't matter. The Second Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms. The Supreme Court has upheld that. And the Constitution and the Supreme Court are never wrong.

3) Except about slavery. And women's equality. And drinking. And maybe income taxes, ‘cause income taxes suck. AmIrite?

2) Plus, guns don’t kill people. People kill people. Especially people with guns. Wait, that came out wrong.

1) Hmm, looks like we’ve backed ourselves into a corner a bit here about solving gun violence. I guess we’ll just a have to shoot our way out.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Random 11

It’s one more random than 11! 

God bless you, three-day weekend, especially for making said weekend occur on NFL Championship Weekend, the last set of games for actual football fans, before being surrounded by people double-dipping salsa while complaining about how long it takes to get to the commercials. I hope it will be Dreamboat Brady against Butt-Slappin’ Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers in the big game, both because I would love to see the Pats lose another Super Bowl and also see Bill Belichick transform his hand into a blade that impales Harbaugh when he shakes the Belichick’s other hand a little too vigorously.

1) “Hey Ladies,” Beastie Boys. One beauty of Facebook is that I get to crash threads started by my teenage cousins. One of them posted a message asking her friends for music recommendations for her school’s turnabout dance. One enterprising young lad stole my punchline—2 Live Crew’s “Hey We Want Some Pussy”—but I suggested this as an alternative.

2) “Hammer to Fall,” Queen. I had lunch with The Lovely Becky today at a neighborhood place with great cocktails, so I decided to have a drink during lunch, a delicious Maker’s Mark Old Fashioned. After we ate, the waitress brought a desert menu, which featured a section called “Unique Scotches.” You couldn’t have gotten my attention faster if it said, “Free Motorboating” at a Christina Hendricks convention. One unique Scotch later, I felt as warm and feisty as the opening riff to this song.

3) “Untitled,” Interpol. I had to drive out to my actual office in Hawkeye territory this week, and on the way back, I played my “Best of the Aughts” mix on my iPod—the full 200-song mix that I later edited down. This song came up, and I realized that it was not only ten years old, but that I was having nostalgia for early 2000s music. I thought, Wow, this really takes me back to my thirties. That seemed all kinds of wrong. 

4) “Call the Doctor,” Sleater-Kinney. I in fact did see my doctor today. I have added a cholesterol-lowering drug to my high-blood-pressure medication (Wow, this song really takes me back to my thirties when I only took drugs that didn't require a prescription.) The blood pressure stuff is relatively cheap, subsidized by my insurance, but the cholesterol meds are $50 a month after insurance. I feel like my provider is telling me, Hey, we understand that there’s salt on everything, but we ain’t gonna pay for your bacon addiction, Porkins.

5) “The Bends,” Radiohead. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I gained about ten pounds. I was in a perfect storm of fat-assery—TLB cranking out huge quantities of cookies with meth-lab speed, every meal being served in a casing of fried cheese, and lots and lots of fermented holiday cheer. I stepped on the scale after Christmas and was almost at a weight that Louis C.K. used in his act to poke fun at himself of being a fat mess. That actually triggered enough motivation to start losing weight, stepping on the scale and hearing punchlines about how much dong I’d service for a case of Ding Dongs. So using WWLCKS (What Would Louis C.K. Say) works much better as my healthy eating motivation than WWMJMSMWHP (What Would Make Jillian Michaels Slap Me With Her Penis).

6) “Roxanne (live),” Sting. One of my favorite live performances ever, solo Sting on an electric guitar. So good I won’t cock it up with a dick joke.

7) “My Year in Lists,” Los Campesinos!. When (if) I’m 80, I wonder if I will still be list obsessed. I think in lists all the time now. Hell, I spent December trying to get the order of my favorite songs from 2012 in order. Will this ever go away? I guarantee my grandparents never did shit like sit around and list Top Five Abbot & Costello movies or Top Ten Blacklisted Writers You Would Sleep With. Will it fade with age, or will I be telling the orderlies Top Ten Movies About Old People Being Disappeared by Their Monstrous Children?

8) “An Ode to No One,” Smashing Pumpkins. Billy Corgan opened a tea house at the end of my street. Why? Because he’s Billy Fuckin’ Corgan, has millions of dollars, and wants some green tea, motherfucker. Anyway, TLB does her writing there occasionally, and she’s seen BC twice. That made me we want to go there so I could bump into him and tell him how much I agreed with his feelings about Rush, and we’d bond, and then the next time Rush was in town, he’d be like, “I should go with Brando.” He’d of course have backstage passes, and I’d meet the Trinity, and then I could die. Really, it’s a flawless plan. Anyway, today I finally went there, and there was no Billy Corgan. There wasn’t even James Iha bussing tables. I felt robbed and feel like he should post office hours.

9) “Rats,” METZ. Sometimes I buy albums because I want to like them. METZ are loud, angry, and sound like PiL turned up to 11. That sounds like it should be a 7-10 split to my ears. Almost every time I do that, however, I never actually like the album. In fact, I enjoyed listening to Kidz Bop with Libby last night much more than the three minutes I spent listening to this.

10) “1963,” New Order. From Substance, Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying About My Heterosexuality and Love Synth Pop. I had the rock-lover’s reflexive hate of all things electronic, but Substance showed me that it was okay to not only like keyboards and drum machines, but also to elevate my hands from my sides to over my head while dancing.

11) “Sledgehammer,” Peter Gabriel. TLB and I were in the market for a new mattress, as the one we had began to sink in the middle—from all the action happening there! High five! I was online doing some research on different mattress types, and I came across a ranking site that had a bunch of criteria like Durability, Heat Absorbtion, Comfort, and so on. They had not one but multiple rankings for having sex on the various mattresses, including Allows Multiple Positions and Active Sex Friendly, because you definitely don’t want a mattress that’s Inactive Sex Friendly. I couldn’t tell you whether memory foam is a good comfort choice, but I can tell you it gets an A for Sexual Discretion, a majorly important rating when your children are one hallway width away from wondering what that squeaking is and walking into a lifetime of expensive therapy. However, I was really confused by one rating, Allows for Faster Climax, because who is climaxing faster? And if it is for him, does any heterosexual couple ever buy that mattress?

Due to that ambiguity, we had to research this ourselves, and now we have been banned from every American Mattress in America.

Have a good weekend! And here's a little something that football and non-football fans can enjoy

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Favoritist 11 of 2012

With the bonus Extra Padding EP!

If time travel was possible, I would like to go back to the start of 2012, find myself, and punch my face right in the nose. While my 2012 self laid on the floor asking what the fuck my problem was, 2013 Brando would deliver this message: Shut up, you fucking baby!

The reason why I could have used that punch in the nose is because I let way too many things get to me this year. I’ve always had a complex about aging, but this was the first year where I felt aged. I got fatter. I had to turn up my music a little louder. I noticed that the gray-to-dark chest hair ratio was rapidly increasing. I got wigged out enough about my mortality enough that I thought I was having a heart attack.

Then there was the lack of accomplishment list. Not finishing my novel. Letting my blog go fallow. Reading less. Feeling like I wasn’t working hard enough. I was hosting my own negative self image party with an open whine bar.

Why do I make myself crazy? The Lovely Becky thinks it’s because I like to make myself sad, that somehow this makes me “serious” and “brooding” and “artistic” instead of a guy who could literally make every Top 10 Tuesday a list of boner puns (instead of 80% boner puns) and who makes people laugh via boner puns.

Reaching the end of 2012, I realized what an idiot I was (am). Sure, I got fatter, but I also had a stress test done after my heart thingy and found that I was perfectly normal (thank you for lowering that fitness bar, Fat America). My performance review was strong to quite strong. The blog did suffer, but I also produced 150 pages of material for my novel, and frankly, it’s better than Veep (which I like). In fact, I’m already prepping for my Colbert Bump. My daughter thinks I’m hilarious without the use of boner puns, and my wife thinks I’m still a “sex god” (I may be paraphrasing). I went through a psychological Dante’s Inferno, only instead of going through hell, I went up my ass until I reached my head, then lead it back out of my butt. (Maybe that’s more of a Poseidon Assventure.) Now I think 2013 is going to be the best year of my life so far, all by simply telling myself to get confidence, stupid.

Throughout the year, music gave me more comfort than it has in a while, maybe ever. It was therapy, release, a call to arms, an armistice, a fountain of youth, and a reminder that getting older is actually a good thing. So here are 17 of my favorites, a Brando dozen that got me through the year, with long-winded fits of navel gazing to explain why you should look beyond my belly lint at some of these fine tunes.

The Extra Padding EP 

17) “Kicking,” Torche. I had been calling these guys Tor-SHAY all year, because I assumed that the e on the end made it all Francophony. Then in finding a video for this song, I found a clip of the singer pronouncing it torch. That made me feel like a dingleberry and reminded me of the time I pronounced biplanes as bip-planes in front the entire eighth-grade class, which my friend Tom still teases me about, even though he’s the idiot who thought Piers Anthony’s Centaur Aisle was Centaur Ay-sill. I swear, I never have the upper hand on my friends. Anyway, this song by Tor-chuh is as kicking as the title, a lighter Helmet that’s like downtuned power pop.

16) “Turn It Around,” The Men. I had a transcendent fantasy football experience this year. Yes, that sentence is idiotic, and yes, I put way too much time, effort, and importance into the dumbest pastime I engage in, but when it all goes well, I feel like I could slay 40,000 Philistines with Brandon Funston’s Big Board (that is an actual thing). And it went so very, very well, because I traded for Adrian Peterson this season. It involved three teams, took two weeks, and required dozens of cajoling e-mails, texts, and phone calls. It resulted with me having a roster featuring Calvin Johnson, AP, and Robert Griffin III, which in layman’s terms is God, Purple Jesus, and the Holy Shit! Spirit. After that trade, I went on a six-game winning streak where I laid waste to the league like stoner zombies at a brain buffet. Well, this song makes me feel like I did right after I made that trade: shot out of a cannon, through a brick wall, and onto a throne sitting atop a pyramid made out of the other nine humps in our league.

Of course, I lost in the finals 175-to-motherfucking-150 because the lucky SOB I played exploded like Borat after letting his wife out of a marriage sack. I hate fantasy football.

15) “I’ll Be Alright,” Passion Pit. I’m not the only one who was a little nuts this year. The Passion Pit dude also suffered some major freakout, along with the Killers guy and Billie Joe Dookie of Green Day. I wonder if their angst was as manufactured as mine? Is there something in us that, as society has generally gotten more safe, we still feel the need to feel threatened? Did they have ennui back in the Middle Ages, when death lurked around every corner with nasty, sharp, pointy teeth? Was their ever this exchange:

Scene: A monastery in medieval England. Clement the Insecure is farming with Cuthbert the Well-Adjusted.

CLEMENT: I just don’t know what it all means, Cuthbert. Is this all we’re put on this earth for? Sowing seeds, milking cows? I’m 19 and I’ve never even been further than Cornwall. 

CUTHBERT: Cornwall’s overrated. Hey, watch it with that scythe! 

CLEMENT: Sorry. I mean, I used to just dream about stuff like seeing a woman’s naked calf, but now I don’t even care about that. 

CUTHBERT: Dude, you’re a calf virgin? We’ve got to get you some calf. 

CLEMENT: It just all feels so pointless. 

CUTHBERT: Yeah, well don’t look now, but it’s about to get a lot more pointed. Those are the longboats of Erik the Bumstuffer.

CLEMENT: Oh God! I love my life! I want to live! 

CUTHBERT: You won’t if he captures you alive. Run!

Yeah, being 42, married, warm, well fed, and unlikely to be impaled seems like a pretty silly thing to get upset about.

14) “Groundhog Day,” The Corin Tucker Band. Like running into an old friend at the co-op. If I play this back-to-back with Wild Flag, it’s like having my own Sleater-Kinney reunion.

13) “Thinkin’ ‘Bout You,” Frank Ocean. I’m not immune to hype. Channel Orange was probably the most hyped album of the year, and after the Grammy nomination, I decided I should finally see what all the fuss was about. Turns out it was well deserved. There is so much soul packed into this album and especially this song, I think it’s impossible not to be a least slightly moved by it.

12) “Foreigner,” Pallbearer. Twelve-and-a-half minutes of heavy-ass Sabbath prog. The riffs could move mountains, the vocals could soar over them, and the lyrics include the phrase “arcane thrones.” I completely failed my saving throw against swooning when I heard this. It’s the kind of song that makes me wish the back of my wardrobe really opened into a mystical world, just so I could play this on my iPod before I hoist my two-handed sword Nutripper against the Arch-Daemon Cobbagus for control of Brandonia.

The Final Countdown

11) “The Only Place,” Best Coast. It is the equivalent of liking a California tourism commercial, but fuck if this isn’t the catchiest tune I heard all year. After hearing that chorus, indeed, why would you live anywhere else? Although there should be an extended version that says We’ve got the gangs/got the quakes/got the debt/we’ve got the shakes.

10) “The Keepers,” Santigold. Nothing encapsulates America in 2012 like seeing breaking news of a school shooting during a televised discussion arguing against gun control. The conservative solution is apparently this, where everyone is “safe” because everyone is armed. We’re moving toward a future where every performance review will need to be conducted behind bulletproof glass with cover from an HR sniper, lest a firing lead to “FIRE!” This song could serve as the lead single for that soundtrack.

9) “We Can’t Have Nice Things,” Kelly Hogan. A tremendous voice and a terrific attention to detail made this my standout track from a standout album. The quiet resignation in her voice really makes the sadness shout, an acknowledgement that things are probably not going to get better, so why not make the best of them?

8) “Gates,” The Menzingers. The Lovely Becky, who is quite lovely, bought me a pretty fabulous Christmas present: a new receiver with network capability, so I can stream music upstairs from iTunes. Of course, I had to just show her how we can play ANYTHING WE WANT in the living room. This also led to me playing some new tracks for her, because even with my wife, I like to be The Old Guy Who Knows About New Music.

TLB: Who are The Menzingers?

Me: Oh, that’s a great album. Not sure you’d like it, though. They’re a little emo.

TLB: Since when do I not like a little emo?

Quite fucking true. Sure, I don’t want to hear screamo screeds about why she won’t call or they don’t understand or that our love is more broken than our 4G reception. But catchy, lonesome pop-punk song about throwing your soul back to that girl you wanted? Please, sir, can I have some more?

7) “Shivers,” Divine Fits. Nothing says Are you ready to rock?! like an opening line I’ve been contemplating suicide. Jesus Christ, maybe I am living the High Fidelity conundrum of making myself miserable because I listen to pop music. Of course, as our singer quickly explains, suicide is not his style, so we’re all good. This is a cover of a Nick Cave song, whose version feels like Prince covering Bauhaus. I prefer this more earthy version, which feels more smoky bar than empty cathedral.

6) “Pirates,” Jenny Owen Youngs. While I like to be The New Music Guy, I’m pretty obvious in my sources for new music info. I look up stuff on Metacritic, Pitchfork’s Best New Music (because even assholes sometimes produce meaningful shit), the Onion AV Club (which has the comments section Pitchfork deserves), and so on. I don’t really care how I find something I like—the liking is the key—but I do love the happy surprise, the accidental discovery of a musician I wind up loving who had a 95% of going completely overlooked by me were it not for lucky coincidence. That was Jenny Owen Youngs last year. I don’t even remember how I found her album—I think it was just some random browsing on eMusic—but once I heard this song, I was hooked. There just isn’t that much good, straightforward, guitar-driven, propulsive pop music that sounds like stuff I love while still sounding fresh. The whole album An Unwavering Band of Light is terrific.

5) “Comeback Kid,” Sleigh Bells. I have been a Culver’s fan for years, to the point where all other fast food burgers tasted like the horse that finished last. However, TLB and I discovered Five Guys this year, which now elevated shoving massive amounts of beef into my mouth to a quasi-religious experience (that may have come out wrong). This song was Five Guys for my ears. It’s just a burger—no more, no less—but it is delicious and creates an insatiable desire to repeat the experience. In fact, this has to be my most repeated song of the year. I had this CD in my car for the better part of six months, and there were trips where this would get played three or four times in a row. It’s catchy, has great vocals, distorted guitars, and has double-bass drums. And it doesn’t make my ass fat.

4) “Wasted Days,” Cloud Nothings. The hardest hitting song I heard. It’s a nine-minute monster that starts off in angry indie jangle, morphs into Whole-Lotta-Love-meets-SXSW freakout, and then charges back with a screaming punk climax that was my favorite musical minute of the year. There’s a universalism to the shouted line I thought I would be more than this that’s perfect for loan-saddled 20-something graduates wondering how they are going to get their post-college lives going as well as jaded 40-something bloggers. Fuck and yes.

3) “The Descent,” Bob Mould. This song is the 50-something guy at the gym with the gray hair who is ripped like a hurricane current and is doing reverse-forearm-pull-up-squat-shrugs in such a bad-ass fashion that it temporarily gives me a daddy complex. This is how I want to sound in 10 years, lean, mean, and mighty unclean. Well, not mighty unclean, because I’m pretty fastidious and if I miss my daily shower, I feel like a homeless Petri dish. So I want to be lean, mean, and age-appropriately groomed. Anyway, it was refreshing to hear, amid a revival of the 90s rock sound among the indie set, one of the godfathers of alternative show up and show the kids how it’s done.

2) “Headlong Flight,” Rush. When I visited my brother Tickle in October, my cousins Youngblood and Zoolander (aka the Nasty Boyz) were visiting as well. After a night of drinking, we stayed up late playing cards (shockingly out of character, I know). Tickle was taking music requests to stream, so I told him to pull this up. My cousin Youngblood saw it was Rush and then said, “This is seven minutes long!”

That’s right you little shit, and you’re going to sit there and listen to every last second of it, because these guys are 60 and rock harder than your dad after downing a box of Viagra with a case of 5-Hour Energy. They’ve made 20 albums and they are better now than they were when your mom was still wiping your ass. They play for three hours, they can string together complete sentences, and they are nice guys. And this song kicks so much ass that you’d need an army of giant spiders plus a armada of giant squids to have enough appendages to match its butt-kicking awesomeness. So shut your Rumchata receptacle and show a little respect, or else I’ll speaker-fist your ears with 18-minutes of “Hemispheres.”

I didn’t say that, because Youngblood is a good kid. Instead, I just smiled and said, “Yes it is. Suck it.”

1) “The House That Heaven Built,” Japandroids. I knew this would be my song of the year the first time I heard it. The astounding thing is how just two guys are able to pack so much of what I love about rock music into their songs: Monster riffs, epic drum fills, arena-shattering choruses, odes to drinking and being young, realizations that the party has to (and should) end, and Canadian-ness. No other song, not even a tour de force from my beloved Holy Trinity, filled me with as much joy as this song did in 2012. It’s refreshing to hear a rock album in the Age of Irony has such real emotion and isn’t afraid to be genuine. It’s impressive to hear such a huge sound made without much more than a couple of overdubs and a huge force of will. No matter what I’m doing when I hear this, my mental fists are pumping. It’s fitting that they called the album Celebration Rock, because that’s exactly what it is.

So there it is. A good year for music, a good year of lessons for me. Here’s to being happier and healthier in 2013 and accepting the aging process.

Except gray chest hair. Gray chest hair can eat a bag of follicles.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Top Ten Wednesdays: What New Year’s resolutions have we already broken?

Special extra weak flesh edition!

15) Reducing the blow-by-blow in our play-by-play.

14) Using the treadmill without having takeout delivered to us.

13) Avoiding making Piers Morgan look sane and sympathetic.

12) Not using sex as a weapon.

11) Not using Pat Benatar as a weapon.

10) Not using cheap, dated pop culture references in place of original thoughts.

9) Standing firm instead of reaching across the aisle to satisfy a stiff Boehner.

8) Acting like less of a Dickensian.

7) Trying hard to be more sophisticated.

6) Respecting boundaries in the champagne room.

5) Finishing novel instead of converting it to Pinterest format.

4) Using Mapquest to find the gym we signed up for last year.

3) Complimenting minorities without using the backs of our hands.

2) Doing that thing we’ve always wanted to do but have never gotten around to but are finally going to…ooh, Keeping Up With the Kardashians marathon!

1) Writing funny blog posts.