Thursday, July 28, 2005

If DJs are the worst thing about weddings,
Then what's a wedding full of DJs like?

My friend Sean is a radio imaging director in Miami. What do images have to do with an aural medium, you ask? "Radio imaging" is creating all the annoying jingles and stings you hear on a given station (NEAL AND BOB IN THE MORNINGS...102.1 HOT FM!). Yeah, so maybe it's The Man, and what's worse it's ClearChannel, but it's a nice, good soul that he sold, whereas mine is small and worthless, and I hardly ever use it.

So Sean just got back from the wedding of another radio personality, and actually made jingles for the reception (his on-air name is Jake Redman). I might listen to #2 every day before I eat dinner.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Next Outing: Brew & View Thursday: Hitchhiker's Guide and Sin City. Yeah, it's a school night. Who's in?
And the toll: two mosquito bites on my hand.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was better than we had anticipated. Steve had said the songs sucked, which none of us found to be true. Elfman's score, on the other hand, was his usual mishmash of his two or three scores. The thing that did suck about C&TCF was the unnecessary backstory about Wonka and his father.

Fantastic Four was not the cinematic crime I'd been led to believe it was, but nor is it worth seeking out under circumstances not involving drive-ins, beer, or both. Johnny and Ben's personalities and relationship were right, anyway. Part of the problem is the FF themselves. They always operated completely in the open, without even mild-mannered secret identities to protect. Which right away makes them the least interesting outfit if you prefer, say, Spider-Man or The X-Men.

Friday, July 22, 2005

We're going up to the drive-in in Kenosha tonight! I was surprised to hear it was still open; it was threatening to close more than 10 years ago when I lived in Kenowhere. The last time I was at this venue I saw True Lies, Airheads, and Serial Mom.

There's an Eddie Cochran song called At the Drive-In. It's a silly song about a first date, but there's a lyric that was nigh-indecipherable. I swear it sounds like he's saying "tie my penis to a candy bar." What the HELL!? I mean there's the popcorn scene in Diner, but this is ridiculous! In another song, he sings that guys "gotta wear ties on the weekend," which I always hear as "gotta wear tights." Neither option sounds appealing.

Anyway, it turns out the candy-bar couplet is:

Bet my peanuts to a candy bar
You'll be cuter than a movie star

Okay, so that actually makes sense.

But I'm bringing string just in case.

Monday, July 18, 2005

CD Exchange: Disc#1
Today I chose to listen to and critique the first of the CD-exchange discs. Also today, this teacher's legal team announced she'd plead insanity for having sex with a 14-year-old student. Why is this significant? Because Alexis's disc is first. She's a teacher, and all of her songs include the word "teacher" in the title. Most songs with "teacher" in the title are about instructions in the ways of luuuuve, which is a theme I find rather squicky. Why? Because none of my teachers looked like Lafave, for one. So, with a bagful of "eeww!" at the ready, I delved in...

.38 Special, "Teacher, Teacher" - This is probably one of the better .38 Special songs, and that's not saying much at all. But I have slightly fond memories of Teachers, because it depicted teachers who were neither Crusaders Who Made A Difference or malevolent evil bastards (see Heaven Help Us) -- they were mostly glorified babysitters, just as C-plus as most

Louis XVI, "Hey Teacher" - Louis XVI reminds me of early Iggy Pop. I like early Iggy Pop. The pitch-shifted vocals don't work entirely.

Doris Day, "Teacher's Pet" - Creeps me out. Maybe less so than if it was Hilary Duff or someone singing, but the skeevy thing about it is that I'm pretty sure Doris Day was 30 years old when she popped out of the womb.

Electric Flame, "Preacher Teacher" - Utterly forgettable.

Elton John, "Teacher I Need You" - This is basically an endurance test for me. Can I stand 4:11 of an Elton John song? Oy, why do people hold Bernie Taupin in such high regard? Coupling "inspiration" and "graduation"? Oh, and a mention of birds and bees; no one's used that before. I got through 3:14.

Extreme, "Teacher's Pet" -Aw, man, I was hoping it was a cover of the Doris Day song. So far I'm most entertained by this track. Singing about MILFs is distasteful to me the same way "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" is. But this song thankfully injects the proper amount of sleaze. "Purely scientifically/Studied her ana-to-my" is pretty funny. Oh, hey, birds and bees again! Yeah, Taupin and Cherone, birds of a feather.

Johnny Mathis, "Teacher, Teacher" - Mathis trying to swing, Sinatra-style; not too bad. No B&B. Again though, bad images...I only know Mathis as older'n dirt, so I can only picture the teacher from my experience old enough to "make him teacher's pet" -- Miss Kougl, the 4th-grade crone at my grade school who smelled of band-aids. Yuck.

Leonard Cohen, "Teachers" - As to be expected, that was a big bummer.

Magnum, "The Teacher" - Ah, more Spinal-Tappish rock, but this time with the 10-sided dice instead of the double entendres.

Paul Simon, 'The Teacher" - Surprisingly insubstantial for Paul Simon.

John Matthews, "Teacher Teach Me" - So this guy wants the teacher to teach him how to write a song. okay, uh...I'll come back when the lessons are complete. This tops Elton for most annoying song on the CD.

Van Halen, "Hot For Teacher" - needs no introduction. This time around, I just listened to the drum intro and the guitar solo.

Boogie Down Productions, "Come to the Teacher" - KRS-One calling himself a "teacher" prompted a rap feud between him and of all people, PM Dawn. In this song, we learn...ah...that KRS is a vegetarian. And now my head is so full of knowledge I'll have to sleep sitting up, like the elephant man.

Mister Billy, " Creature Teacher" - cute kid's novelty song.

Screaming Headless Torsos, "Jazz is the Teacher" - A not-bad jazz/funk raveup. A little too jammy for my tastes, but they sound like their live set (this is a live track) is pretty entertaining

Big Country, "The Teacher" - I liked Big Country's first two albums a lot, but was unfamiliar with this track, from "The Seer." I never noticed it before, but take away the guitar heroics and Stuart Adamson's a male, scottish Stevie Nicks.

ABBA, "When I Kissed The Teacher" - I was just about to bail when I heard Agnetha and Frida sing "he was trying to explain the laws of gee-oh-metry" in very thick Sveedish accents. That amused me enough to finish the song. This must have been an early, phonetic-English song.

Big Mountain, "Soul Teacher" - Remember them? They had that unnecessary reggae cover of "Baby I Love Your Way" from the Reality Bites soundtrack? Hm. "I and I" are one of those people who believe you really only need one reggae album. This shouldn't be on it.

Burning Spear, "African Teacher" - See above. Well, okay, this is better. Or am I saying this only because I know Burning Spear has more cred than Big Mountain?

Rufus Wainwright, "The Art Teacher" - Pretty good. I know a bunch of people who really dig Rufus. In fact, I see he's on the second disc I received I'll keep an eye out for cheap used stuff. Actually what I think of when I hear Rufus is that I used to have a CD by his dad Loudon (the one where he's wearing an Islanders jersey on the cover) which I sold in a bout of college poverty. In hindsight, that was a mistake.

The German Art Students, "Science Teacher" -okay, this is up my alley. Looking at their Allmusic page, I see that they have songs called "Bjorn Borg" and "Disgruntled Figure-Skating Judge," and do a cover of Joe Jackson's "Happy Loving Couples." They're on the list to investigate further.

Adam Sandler, "The Beating of a High School Spanish Teacher" - heh...a 30-second comedy bit that's just the right length, and funny despite all my better judgment. Our high school Spanish teacher was rumored to come on to various athletes at school. Yuck.

So that was entertaining. I was most impressed with German Art Students. I suppose there are only a few other jobs that you could construct a similar theme around...doctors, cowboys, and folks in the military. Oh, sucka MC's, too, can't forget that noble profession. Anyway, thanks, Alexis, I hope you enjoy my ode to Production Coordinators as much as I enjoyed your disc.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

two movies
Mark's already talked up March of the Penguins, and I heartily concur. Really begs to be seen on a big screen, and it's one of those movies where you want to sit through a making-of doc immediately after watching.

Speaking of making-ofs, we finally got to see a movie I've always been intrigued by the story of: Peter Bogdanovich's first film, Targets. Roger Corman decided to let PB make a movie, with the following conditions:

1. Shoot approx. 20 minutes of footage with Boris Karloff, who still owed Corman two days of work.
2. Use approx. 20 minutes of stock footage from The Terror, a period Corman/Karloff film, also starring a young Jack Nicholson.
3. Do what you like for the remaining 40 minutes.

I suppose from this, the fact that the end product is at all tolerable is impressive enough. But it's actually a solid film through and through. Bogdanovich cast Karloff as essentially himself, an aging actor ready to retire, and wrote a suspenseful B-story inspired by Charles Whitman. The Terror footage became "Byron Orlok's" intended swan song. The whole thing holds up remarkably well.
Here is an interesting article on the new-look Battlestar Galactica. If you're not watching this show, you probably should.

Somewhat related, I'm surprised that searching on this earworm yielded as little as it did. Now I'ma have that damn jingle in my head all day.
As you may know, I'm a medium-to-large fan of mental hygiene and other ephemeral films. Thanks to the Prelinger Archive, I recently found the first social-instruction film I ever remember seeing, in kindergarten. My 30-year-old memories of it were naturally hazy, but I don't remember it being particularly effective. Here it is!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Stockholders approved Federated's (owner of Macy's) purchase of May Department Stores (owners of Marshall Field & Co. and Lord & Taylor). The contrivoversy (thanks, Jon!) in Chicago is whether or not the new owners will retain the venerable Field's name. According to this story, Federated is polling "customers in Chicago, Minneapolis and Detroit about the importance of the Field's and Lord & Taylor names."

Don't hold your breath, Field's fans.

Only one-third of the people polled will consider the MF name of value. The name is relatively new and still unwelcome to people in Michigan and Minnesota, who shopped at Hudson's and Dayton's stores until 2001. That was when then-parent Dayton Hudson (now Target Corp) changed the names to the more nationally-known Marshall Fields. I can't speak with much authority about Hudson's, but I can attest that Minnesotans looooved their Dayton's. Fierce brand loyalty. Pretty much everyone's first charge card -- you could get 'em at 15 or 16. People still insist on calling them Dayton's, especially the 7th & Nicollet flagship -- "It still says Dayton's on top of the building," my mom says.

They're going to do this poll and most people are going to pine for one of the long-gone names. Respondents aren't going to prefer Field's to Macy's, since the old faves are not an option (Target still owns Dayton's and Hudson's trademarks). They're gathering data designed to lead them to the decision they've likely already made. So with the possible exception of the landmark State Street store, kiss Marshall Field's goodbye.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

So that's what was going on
The building where I work is situated right between the Davis El and Metra stops, and I live two blocks from the Dempster El stop. When we left work yesterday we noticed a number of helicopters flying around the area (and if you've been here, you know that Evanston is maddeningly far from the interstate, so I knew it wasn't the usual Shadow Traffic brigade). Once home, I could still see them hovering in the south. Turns out there was a bomb threat on the Purple Line.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Dean's Chicagoland Vacation has come and gone. The trip went something like this:

Sat: Arrival. Lunch at Superdawg, which he seemed to enjoy, although what's the point of a Chicago-style dog when you're at the age where you only like ketchup. Bought some groceries. Hit the beach. Play some PS2.

Sun: more PS2. Back to the beach. Party at the Haus house. Copious amounts of food consumption.

Mon: Six Flags with Scott & JC. This turned out to be a perfect day to go, despite (or perhaps because of) the ominous weather forecasts. Lines were short all day. Dean was just tall enough to go on everything, and he did. When the sky did open up for a few hours, we went to S&J's place nearby, got some dry clothes, and went out to lunch. When we returned, the rain had finished and our clothes were dry, so we went back to the park. S&J bailed around 8, but we closed the park. Near the end of the night Kirsti and I watched the park's (quite good) fireworks while Dean went on Batman again. Eventually there was no one else in line, so he got to jump to the front of the ride and go about 4 times that way. He ended up riding it about 8-9 times all day. I ended up on it twice, Superman and the giant-drop thing twice, and the other coasters once each.

Tue: Museum of Science and Industry. We finally got to do the coalmine, and also took in Game On (videogames, a nobrainer for the three of us), U505 sans guided tour, and BodyWorlds, which was interesting but creepy. I think Dean liked it the least of the three of us. In retrospect, we should have skipped BW in favor of the sub tour.

Wed: Lunch at Ed DeBevics (look, he's 10, okay?), then Shedd Aquarium, where we leeched off the generosity of Alexis and her membership.

Throughout the week was much Playstation. The little monkey beat me at whatever NFL and MLB games I have, but I won the home run derby and consistently thumped him at Katamari. So there. I should have hidden my GTA games, because about Tuesday he started begging to play them. He called his mom, and she caved, much to my surprise -- he could play it for a half hour. He had said something about how he was allowed to play if "he was good": no jaywalking, no instigating violence, only jacking parked cars. This of course went right out the window once he started playing. I tried to guide him to the innocuous taxi and pizza missions, but he wanted no part of them. Once he started chainsawing passersby, he was done. No more Rockstar Games until he's at least 11, I say.

Overall he's a pretty good kid, and I suppose he was easy to host. I was surprised how good he was with his spending money; some snacks here, souvenirs there, but frivolous stuff held no interest. I was worried about the games at Six Flags, but he didn't even look twice at them.

Thu: Drive to MN.

Fri: Hang out with my dad & stepmom. Attend a bookfair where we're surprised to run into a coworker.

Sat: Family reunion. It was okay. Grandma wants us there, and she's the last grandparent I have left. Plus you don't mess with grandma -- she killed a rattlesnake when she was a girl just to get the rattles. But the pattern is pretty evident that as members of her generation have passed away, the descendents in the given wings have stoppped coming. So under those circumstances, I hope to go to many more.

Sun: drive home, play with cats. sleep the glorious sleep of the childfree.

Friday, July 1, 2005

Today's lesson: always use the voicemail option indicating you're spending money.

I had to call the airline today to confirm Dean's info, which both Katie and I had misplaced. On hold for over an hour. Eventually I put that line on hold, used the second work line to call again, and this time hit 1 for Making a Reservation. I was connected in less than two minutes. I got what I needed, hung up, and sure enough the first line was still on hold. On the lighter side the office closed at 2, so my important afternoon slacking schedule has a venue change.