I have a confession to make. I watch ‘reality’ TV. I watch Duck Dynasty. I find the show to be entertaining, and even though I’m not a religious person, I’m not offended by the fact that they put their religious beliefs out there on the show. Most times I feel like the message brought across is that we should keep our families close, appreciate what we have, and basically try to do the right things. Notice that I emphasized try there. I believe we live in a world where as much as we’d like to think the rules of right and wrong and good or bad are fully formed and written in stone. If you really look around though, can you find any proof that this is true? People’s beliefs and environments will always blur the lines of what’s right and wrong. Do I agree with what Phil Robertson said? No, I don’t. Do I believe that he has a right to express his opinion? Yes he does. Does it make sense to me that A&E would react the way they did? Yes and no. A&E has a responsibility to advertisers and shareholders. In our overly litigious, ‘politically correct’ country anything that could stand out as controversial tends to be dealt with in the strictest manner possible in order to keep from offending any of our fragile sensibilities. God forbid anyone ever be offended, and if I am offended I will sue your ass off! No large corporation or small mom and pop business wants to be embroiled in controversy that could hurt the bottom line. With all that being said, I wonder if there’s not something more to this story though. Rumor has it that Phil was reluctant to even be a part of Duck Dynasty from the start and has wanted to remove himself for the last year. Anyone who has walked into a Walmart, Walgreen’s, Target, or just about any retailer in the last year would have trouble missing the fact that Willie Robertson, or someone he’s working with, is a marketing genius. For all of the ‘aww shucks’ redneck comedy of Duck Dynasty, there is serious marketing going on in every episode. Willie has a business degree and was able to turn a small regional niche company into a multi-million dollar juggernaut, and that was before A&E and Walmart joined the fold. Is letting Phil, who has reportedly bashed gays in his church and the public for awhile, talk to a reporter from GQ Magazine, who should be assumed would broach the subject of Phil’s feelings about gays, (Why in the Hell is GQ talking to the Robertsons anyway?) a way to keep Duck Dynasty in the news while on hiatus, as well as let Phil have a reason to leave the show? The Robertsons have come out and stated that they can’t imagine continuing the A&E show without Phil as a part of it. Is this a bargaining tool for Willie to make a more lucrative deal with a competing network? I’m reasonably sure that A&E knows what a valuable commodity Duck Dynasty is (reportedly the highest rated cable series in history), but pretty much every company is going to try to negotiate the best deal for their side, it’s just good business. Did A&E try to lowball Willie and the gang into a new, less than favorable contract while they still had some leverage? We may never know the whole story here, but my feeling is that Willie is a shrewd business man who knows a little bit about marketing a product to the rest of the country that isn’t LA or NYC, meaning the rest of us who’s lives aren’t glamorous and champagne filled. He has been able to sell an idea that any good ‘ol redneck can be a captain of industry if you just work hard, love your family, and love God. Seems like he knows how to touch the right chords with most of America. I predict this is far from the last time we’ll be talking about Duck Dynasty.
Hey people! I know most of you on the roads barely passed driver’s ed, or were taught to drive from Grand Theft Auto games, so here’s a tip. When you’re behind the wheel, you don’t get ALL FUCKING DAY to make decisions! Things happen quick out there on the roads of the real world. That means that you need to decide to change lanes after making sure it’s clear, and then FUCKING DO IT! When you’re in a parking lot and ready to back out of your spot and it’s clear, FUCKING DO IT! Use of these tips will probably make everyone on the roads’ days much easier, and maybe clear some of the damn traffic jams.
Thanks, from those of us who know how to drive.
Holy shit! I’m probably a little late to the party on this song, but it FUCKING RAWKS! It has a very punk vibe to it, and I’m not talking whiny Green Day/Fallout Boy/Emo/New Punk shit either. Think Sex Pistols or Bad Religion with Eddie Vedder on the mic. Now I’m really wishing they were playing KC on this tour. I may have to trek to OKC or Dallas, ugh.
This got posted alot yesterday. Some of my favorite comedic actors (including Overland Park, KS homeboy Jason Sudeikis) doing a parody of the ‘Mumford Style’. It really is better on mute so you don’t have to suffer through the song, but I’ll give them some credit for making a little fun of themselves. Banjos and monster strumming for all!
I’ve had something weighing on my mind for my whole life. Something that has eaten away at me every day. Something that has ruined relationships with friends, family, and significant others. This thing is not easy to talk or write about. It’s not something that I generally do with any ill will towards anyone. It’s something that I often don’t realize I’ve done until later. It’s something I’ve done to probably everyone I’ve ever come in contact with. It’s doesn’t always start as a big thing, but often snowballs out of control before I know it. It’s often hard to keep track of all of it. It weighs on my mind all of the time. I am a liar. If you know me, I’ve lied to you. You may or may not have realized it. You may have known and just didn’t care. You may have been hurt and never spoke to me again, or it was strained and hard to talk to me again. You probably don’t trust me, and I’ve given you no reason why you should. You may hate me. You may feel sorry for me. You almost certainly don’t understand why I lie. Hell, I don’t understand why I do it most of the time. It is a problem, my problem, and I’m working to fix it. If I could make it up to the people I’ve hurt, I would. Not that you have any reason to believe me.
Let me preface this post by saying Van Halen was one of the first rock and roll groups I discovered on my own, without influence from my Dad’s music tastes. Seeing David Lee Roth strut and kick on stage in videos like Hot for Teacher and Panama helped form my idea of what rock and roll excess was meant to be. The band’s album 1984 is still in my regular rotation. I’ve always felt that without ‘Diamond Dave‘, Van Halen just didn’t have the same swagger and party attitude I loved. Sure, there was still Eddie and Alex Van Halen (the true musicians in the band), and some great songs came out of the Van Hagar days but it just wasn’t the same. All that being said, it’s obvious I am a fan of the ‘real’ Van Halen.
When I heard earlier this year that VH would be putting out a new album with David Lee Roth, I was beyond excited. I had seen the band on the Kansas City stop of their 2008 ‘reunion’ tour at the then brand new Sprint Center. The show was great! Roth and the band seemed to be in synch and having a great time playing all of their old hits. That tour had no new album to promote, and was the beginning of Eddie Van Halen’s son Wolfgang taking over bass guitar duties from Michael Anthony who defected along with Sammy Hagar. One thing that amazed me about that show was how good Roth sounded. It was like he was in his heyday again, strutting around the stage, kicking and doing splits, and singing the songs marked with his trademark squeals and asides peppered in. Most notably, he was singing the right words, and the songs sounded right. Flash forward to last night…
Again, Van Halen took the stage of the still amazing Sprint Center in support of their first new album with Roth since 1984. Ending the intermission, after odd choice opening band Kool and the Gang, a thunder of Alex Van Halen’s drum’s blasted from the sound system, and soon Wolfgang, Eddie, and David Lee appeared on the stage. The band launched into Unchained from 1981’s Fair Warning album. Musically, the band sounded great, but Roth’s vocals were definitely strained, and he seemed to almost speak most of his lyrics. I played this off at first as just Dave ad-libbing a little to start the show. Moving on from Unchained, the band then tore into Roth’s signature song Running With the Devil, one of my all time favorites. I say this is Roth’s signature song because of his improvised squeals, and scats throughout the song that have become synonymous with Roth’s frenetic vocal style (for a sample try this). Dave did none of his signature vocal stylings on the song, and seemed at times to barely know what song they were playing. The band then moved on to a set of songs from A Different Kind of Truth, including the first single Tattoo. I have to say that I generally like the new album, and am constantly amazed by Eddie Van Halen’s guitar skills, but Roth’s vocals on the album were much more spot on than when performing the songs live. Eddie, Alex and Wolfgang were amazingly tight, and their back-up vocals almost made up for the lack of Roth’s execution on lead vocals. There were some bright spots in Diamond Dave’s performance (he can still kick pretty high!), and the band musically executed every song I would have wanted to hear (Panama, …And the Cradle Will Rock, Hot For Teacher, Jump) flawlessly, but at times I felt as though I was watching David Lee Roth – Alzheimer’s Patient instead of Diamond Dave.
I really hope that the reason for VH postponing/canceling the bulk of the upcoming shows on this tour has nothing to do with either Eddie’s battle with cancer, or Roth actually having Alzheimer’s, but I do hope that Roth can rest his vocal chords and study the lyrics for any upcoming shows they actually play.
Sadly, I have to give this show only 3 Stars.
2. Runnin’ With The Devil
3. She’s The Woman
4. The Full Bug
6. Everybody Wants Some!!
7. Somebody Get Me A Doctor
8. China Town
9. Hear About It Later
10. (Oh) Pretty Woman
11. Drum Solo
12. You Really Got Me
13. The Trouble With Never
14. Dance The Night Away
15. I’ll Wait
16. And The Cradle Will Rock…
17. Hot For Teacher
18. Women In Love
19. Beautiful Girls
20. Ice Cream Man
22. Guitar Solo
23. Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love
I’m really not sure why, but I am still amazed at the power of music. In my 30 some years, music has been the main constant. Almost any memory I have has a bit of a soundtrack associated with it, whether it’s just one song, a whole album, an artist’s entire catalog, or a commercial jingle. I think I will always be in awe of how just hearing the beginning notes of some songs can instantly change my mood for the better or worse. Today, I started listening to the album Don’t Tell a Soul by The Replacements and I could smell the interior of my old 1979 Ford Granada, I could remember the anxiety of not having my homework done, and the pain of getting shot down for a date. Listening to Sugar’s Copper Blue last week brought me back to summer nights riding around in my 1986 Escort with my best friend. I could feel the warm breeze, and smell the remnants of a rain storm, as well as feel the heartache of a fight with my high school girlfriend. Hearing an old Pink Floyd or Zeppelin song puts me back in the passenger seat of my dad’s lime green Mustang and him saying “Josh, close your eyes, feel the music, and we’ll be where we are going before you know it.” The opening notes of In the Mood by Glenn Miller will always take me back to a time of my Grandma bopping around the kitchen humming along and my usually reserved Grandpa swooping in from the other room to take her in his arms for an impromptu dance. Then there is the music that often holds no good memories, but can still grab me by the throat and almost take my breath away. Songs that remind me of lost love, friendships, and innocence. I think I could go on for days writing about all of the music that has power over me. I often wonder if all humans have this type of connection to music or not. I really feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t.
The wife and I got to see an early screening of A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas 3D last night. A couple of things I can say first off, check your brain at the door (or alter your thinking with the substance of your choice), and be prepared for some mindless, raunchy fun!
When I heard that Kal Penn was ‘retiring’ from his White House job a while back in order to get back into acting, and that there were plans for a new Harold and Kumar movie, I was pretty stoked. The first two movies in the series make me giggle everytime they come on TV, so I figured this was a good thing. When I heard that the next installment was going to be a Christmas movie, and also in 3D, I was a little worried. For anyone who had similar reactions, I can tell you that you needn’t be worried. This movie is a lot of fun!
The movie starts off showing how Harold (Jon Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) have lost touch since the last film, and how their lives and ‘best friends’ (Amir Blumenfeld and Thomas Lennon) have changed. Kumar is still an affable pothead slacker, living in the same apartment he and Harold shared, but separated from his girlfriend Vanessa (Daneel Harris) from the second film. Kumar cuts in line to sit on a mall Santa’s (Patton Oswalt) lap to the dismay of kids in line, and delivers the first truly raunchy line of the film. Harold’s life has turned out much different. He is now a Wall Street hot shot, dodging egg throwing protesters, and living in the suburbs with wife Maria (Paula Garces). Harold is worried about making a good impression on Maria’s father (Danny Trejo) at Christmas in order to fianlly win his approval. Through a twist of fate, a package delivered to Kumar’s apartment for Harold, the two are awkwardly reunited, and the misadventures begin. The pair are faced with trying to find a perfect Christmas tree to impress Harold’s father-in-law while dealing with virgin daughters of Russian mobsters, smart-assed teenagers, accidentally coked out children, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer style claymation, the ‘gotta-have-it’ Christmas toy WaffleBot, and an NPH 3D Christmas Spectacular. SPOILER ALERT – That’s right, Neil Patrick Harris lives, in a hilariously nasty parody of himself. As the movie progresses, the guys realize that their friendship, though strained, means more to them than the petty things keeping them apart. And the 3D was actually done pretty well.
All in all, this is a very raunchy, funny movie that will appeal most to those that enjoyed the first two films in the series. Anyone looking for a serious movie, obviously stumbled into the wrong theater.
A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas
Starring: Kal Penn, Jon Cho
Directed by: Todd Strauss-Schulson
New Line Cinema – 2011
Yes folks, something most people who know me well thought would never happen actually did happen on October 22nd 2011. This guy got married. It’s not that I was the consumate bachelor, always out getting the ladies and partying all the time, it’s more that no one really thought anyone could stand me long enough to actually marry me. 🙂 Anyway, on October 16th, my beautiful bride and I set off for Las Vegas for a week, culminating in our wedding ceremony. We were joined by a handful of family and close friends who were able to spend some time with us in Sin City. It was a short, sweet little ceremony in front of a waterfall inside one of the resorts. My baby looked ravishing, while I looked like a troll. 🙂 I joke, but she really did look amazing that night. After the ceremony, we had some dinner with our family and friends, and then took some pictures. We were exhausted from the week leading up to our nuptuals, so we did the only thing logical the next day, we embarked on a 10+ hour drive in a rented Mustang convertible to San Francisco. My wife had always wanted to go there, so of course, I obliged. We spent about 3 days in San Fran, and I can definitely say that it is a beautiful city, but I did not leave my heart there like Tony Bennett did. I’m not sure I could ever see myself living in SF. The drivers are horrible, service industry workers are rude, parking sucks, and having to pay a toll every time you turn around got ridiculous. We did take in Alcatraz, which was extremely cool to see, and we got a ton of pictures. The next stop on our trip was a quick one in San Jose to visit the Winchester Mystery House. What an insane place this was. Long story short, the former owner was the heir to the 20 million dollar Winchester Firearms fortune. She moved into a small 8 room farm house in San Jose in the late 1800’s after the death of her husband. She visited a psychic and was told that in order to not be haunted by all of the souls that had been taken by Winchester firearms, she would need to begin building onto her house, but never finish. She had carpenters working on the house 24 hours a day for almost 20 years. The house was never ‘finished’, but grew from 8 rooms to 160 rooms. There are many odd features to the home such as doors and stairways that lead to nowhere, windows in odd places, and hidden rooms. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take any pictures inside, but if you are ever in San Jose I suggest checking it out. After San Jose, our journey took us to Southern California. We stayed in a swanky hotel in Beverly Hills called the SLS. It was a gorgeous, very modern hotel, and we really didn’t fit in. 🙂 First off, the hotel only allowed valet parking, which was fine, and easy to get used to. The valet attendant offered to have our things taken up to our room, and we accepted, not remembering that we had stuffed many of our accumulated belongings into plastic Walmart bags. After checking into our room, there was knock at the door, and a bell-man was standing there holding a couple of our Walmart bags, a half empty case of Miller Lite left over from our condo in Vegas, and a cart with our luggage and several more Walmart bags hanging on it. Talk about feeling like hillbillies! The bell-man was very nice, and brought our things into the room while offering directions to any attractions we were interested in the LA area and asking where we were from. We told him we were from Kansas City, and headed out for the TMZ Tour of Hollywood (HILLBILLIES!!) and he said that the TMZ van went right past his place on Hollywood Blvd. I tipped him and he left, I’m sure he told everyone in the hotel about the yokels he had just helped out. 🙂 With all of our ‘luggage’ in the room, we headed down to Hollywood to hop on the TMZ Tour. We were greeted on the bus by Van, a guy I recognized from TMZ’s daily show. Pretty cool to have a tour guide who is actually part of the TMZ organization, and not just some jackass off the street. The 2+ hour tour took us all around Hollywood and Beverly Hills and showed us the things we wanted to see, like where Hugh Grant picked up a hooker to end his career, and where Britney Spears rubbed her ass on the window of a restaurant for the paparazzi. It was a fun and interactive tour, made better by Van, our guide who was down to earth, funny, and very personable. I highly recommend taking the tour if you are in LA, and obsessed with pop culture like me. The next couple days of our trip included spending some time in Orange County (mainly Huntington Beach) and walking and driving around Beverly Hills and Hollywood. On Saturday, we headed back to Kansas City. While I loved being in SOCAL, and could definitely see myself retiring to Huntington Beach or Newport Beach after we win Powerball, I was very glad to be heading home to our pups, and sleep in our own bed. Unfortunately, we walked into a nightmare upon arrival at home, but that’s another story…
All in all, I’m glad to be married, loved our vacation, but glad to be home. More to come soon…