Friday, June 26, 2009

2 passings of pop culture icons on same day

...or 3 if you count Ed McMahon's death which happened a few days ago. I admit I wasn't a fan of his. Don't get me wrong. The man served his country good and he had the right personality to be an announcer. Every broadcasting student dreamed of having his job(s). But Ed came at the right place, right time. In the late 1940s and 50s, it seemed easy to get an announcing/hosting job. After reading Howard Stern's Private Parts years ago, my attitude towards him changed as Howard made him sound like a complete, well, you know. I couldn't help but agree that Ed had the easiest job in the world (besides Vanna White), just sitting there laughing at Johnny Carson's jokes. But that's Howard Stern for ya. Farrah Fawcett passed away after a long battle with cancer. She is best known as the Charlie's Angels lady. She was pretty much a 70s icon, or a 70s reincarnation of Marilyn Monroe, but with a hero-like twist.

Last night I woke up at 9 and checked my fb and several statuses mentioned Michael Jackson. So I had to see what's up. Obviously I knew he was dead, but I had to see it in real journalistic print. Of course, I was shocked like very many. And believe me, I'm so sick of hearing about it and I know it won't end just yet. Him and Farrah (and maybe Ed) will battle it out for the tabloid and magazine covers next week.

So, going back to the King of Pop, where do I start? Of course, I was sad to hear about it since it was sudden. Here was a guy who America watched grow up and who saw mega-fame and saw his career go down the toilet. For the longest time, I was hoping he'd make a great comeback and all of his troubles would go away in people's minds for once. One of my earliest memories was listening to Thriller, which at one time was the best-selling album of all-time. (It is safe to say that it's the best selling non-compilation lp) In fact, I was once afraid of the album cover due to its striking nature. I remember listening to Bad and all the hit songs off of it, especially that one day I came out of Children's Hospital and I heard 'The Way You Make Me Feel'. And I remember getting the Dangerous cassette tape from my aunt for Christmas. The guy was also known to be selfless, giving away chunks of his dough to charity, as well as co-writing 'We Are The World'. I even read about the down-to-earth guy Michael was in Ryan White's autobiography.

It is sad to say that the generation below me arguably knows Michael as a freak. He's mostly known to generations for his eccentric behavior and bizarre mannerisms. The last 15 years of his life had to be tough on the guy. He was also known for his outrageous spending, especially on art and his Neverland ranch. Michael was reportedly going broke, but I knew he was still rolling in the dough. After all, he owned all the rights to the Beatles songs. I believe that was one of the first things that led to MJ's downfall, was outbidding his friend/duet partner Paul McCartney for the rights to the Beatles catalogue. According to the Jump the Shark! book, Jon Hein notes that he 'jumped the shark' when a sudden pale-skinned Michael showed Wesley Snipes 'who's bad!'. Most people have come to Michael's defense. Wanya Morris of Boyz II Men backed MJ up saying that Michael spent his childhood performing in strip clubs and never did hang around kids his age. In other words, he would not grow up like a normal guy and lived it in his adulthood.

Dick Clark once said in an interview, "You either love and appreciate Michael Jackson for his music, or you dislike him for his personal life'. I will say Michael did more than his share to contribute to the entertainment industry. MTV (which he arguably single-handedly built) did the right thing doing a video marathon tribute to MJ. On my part, I will do a one-hour tribute to him on WLC80s. I'll play his stuff off Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad, and possibly some stuff he did with the Jacksons in the 80s. It'll be this Sunday night.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

2015 according to Back to the Future II

Since I'm on a roll with this movie thing, I might as well write another movie-related blog. Another franchise that I am/was obsessed with is Back to the Future. The one I watch the most is the second one, which came out in 1989. Even though the story line throughout the movie is weak compared to BTTF I and III, for some reason I guess its the special effects and the story at the beginning that grabs me. The film takes place in 1985, then to 2015, and 1955. So '89 is out of the question.

Probably the most interesting is what the writers and producers thought what would be there in 2015. Remember, this was 1988/89, not even 25 years to that year. Obviously, today we're almost halfway done with 2009, so 2015 is only 5 1/2 years away.

So let's take a look at what is seen during the 2015 scenes:

-Hoverboards. According to the FAQ portion on the dvd set, these are not real and these are waiting to be invented.

-Flying cars (or supersonic jets). Apparently these are supposed to take care of the cars that we drive everyday. I remember asking someone this back in '01 (if these things would exist by '15), and he said "Hell no, the way we're going...". You would think by now GM (especially if its now 60% owned by us...) would plan on something like this. But I can dream can I?

-Weather prediction devices. I'm not sure what Doc was using to predict the exact weather.

-3D signs replacing just plain signs. Ex: the Jaws one and the Mayor Goldie Wilson one.

-Doors with no knobs. Who would think of this one? I forgot how they could open in the movie. Perhaps mind control?

-TVs with more than 2 channels seen at the same time. This was tried a decade ago with those 'picture-in-picture' tvs and these did not sell very well. Obviously, they've been pulled from the market.

-Fax machines in every room in the house. Looks fun, don't it? Just don't tell your wife you've been fired.

-Voice command stuff. In the kitchen/dinner scene, you can hear most of the characters verbally requesting different items.

These are just a few observations that I made about what to expect in the year 2015. I also really dug the automatic drying jacket as well as the automatic velcro shoes. And of course, the Cafe 80s. But will any of those exist 5 1/2 years from now? We've got some crunch time to do!

what? Ghostbusters 3?

I happen to stumble across this one after doing research on Harold Ramis and Bill Murray (you can watch some of their movies on for FREE, yes free) on imdb. I was once obsessed with Ghostbusters when I was young after I bought a Ghostbusters trivia book at a yard sale. I still watch the movies time to time, and the original just came out on BluRay yesterday. I dreamed of a reunion back in the early '90s, having a new Ghostbusters movie while the 4 exterminators were still young. It would have made perfect sense to do this back in '94, which would have been 10 years after the original and 5 after GII. But I know about reunions, as people have to stop in the middle of what they're doing to make it happen.

According to imdb, the second sequel is due to come out in 2012. So that's 3 years from now. Will it be the summer blockbuster? Will Egon, Peter, Ray and that other guy show their age? Will there be a great story line or will it suck? Will Sigourney Weaver return as Dana Barrett? If Jack Black DOES appear in this movie, will it make the franchise go downhill?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

the rain, Aerosmith, and other things...

So as most of you may know already, I finally got to see Aerosmith last night! It was an exciting time yet kind of odd, too. They've come to St. Louis several times, but yet I kept missing my chance. I remember in 6th grade ('93) they came out with Stone Temple Pilots and I was too young. I've been listening to Aerosmith since about that time when I remember my sister buying their old Greatest Hits. I soon turned to Toys in the Attic and their earliest stuff as well as their then-current material like Get a Grip. Since then, off and on, I continue to listen to them.

Speaking of Toys In The Attic, I heard on KSHE (on the way over there) from Favazz that they were going to play the whole album front to back. That's exactly what Steve Tyler and crew did later on. The only exception being the last track 'You See Me Crying' but I understand they were trying to hurry through since they were on a time schedule thrown off from the rain delay. I felt honored to hear Tyler say 'We haven't played most of these songs in several, several years so check this sh*t out!'. We were also the first to hear an upcoming song with Joe Perry on vocals. They managed to sneak in their 80s 90s stuff but mostly their 70s classics, which was alright with me. In fact, the most recent stuff they did was 'Livin' on the Edge' and 'Cryin'. I honestly don't like very much of their post-Get a Grip material, with the exception of some of their Honkin' On Bobo material. The rain delay (because of the storm) was not so fun, simply bc everyone was panicked and most people were encouraged to go to their cars and sit. It was almost an hour and a half's wait and finally by 10:30 Aerosmith hit the stage.

Opening act was 3 Doors Down. They were okay, and they performed just about every song that I've heard of from them. I'm sure they've done better shows. In fact I remember when they toured with Breaking Benjamin 4 years ago. Aerosmith's regular touring partner this summer is ZZ Top for 90% of it. I believe ZZ Top would've been 10 times better than 3DD, since they are well-known for their performances and tours. But 3DD was I guess better than no opening act.

A lot of you may wonder why I've been going to several concerts this year. Well, maybe not several, but big ones. One of my new years resolutions was to go to as many shows I can, as long as I can afford it. I know there's several great concerts this summer and I definitely don't wanna miss out like I usually do. These rock stars aren't getting any younger, and only time will tell when they'll ever tour together again. I've only been to Billy Joel/Elton John, CSN and Aerosmith so far this year. My sister and her husband are talking about going to Coldplay and possibly U2 this year so I might save up for those.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

summer songs

This blog was originally published on Myspace on June 1st.

It's June 1st. To me, it's officially the start of summer. Forget what the calendar says. So time to crank up the music and enjoy fun in the sun. I thought I'd share a list of my favorite summer-themed songs:

'Cruel Summer' - Bananarama
'In The Summertime' - Mungo Jerry
'Theme from a Summer Place' - Percy Faith
'Walking On Sunshine' - Katrina & the Waves
'Summertime Blues' - Eddie Cochran
'Summer Of Love' - The B-52's
'The Boys Of Summer' - Don Henley (I really don't like the skate-punk cover by the Ataris, put out a few years ago)
'Summer In The City' - The Lovin' Spoonful
'Summer Breeze' - Seals & Crofts (I also dig the R&B version by The Isley Brothers)
'Summertime' - Miles Davis
'Summer Love' - Justin Timberlake (I know, I had to slip this one on here...)
'Hot Fun In The Summertime' - Sly & the Family Stone
'A Summer Song' - Chad & Jeremy
'Summertime Rolls' - Jane's Addiction

I also dig the intro to Meatloaf's 'You Took the Words Out Of My Mouth' where the guy says 'On a hot summer night....'

Notice I didn't put any Beach Boys songs on here. I decided to separate my favorite Beach Boys from the rest:

1. 'All Summer Long'
2. 'California Girls'
3. 'Feel Flows' (from the Almost Famous soundtrack)
4. 'Summer Of Love' (probably their last hit from '92; it was featured on Baywatch and I think Uncle Jesse was on drums)
5. 'In My Room'
6. 'Sloop John B'
7. 'Wendy'
8. 'The Warmth Of The Sun'
9. 'You're So Good To Me'
10. 'Be True To Your School' (the Endless Summer version, not the radio version w/ the cheerleaders)

change of heart for Twitter

This blog was actually published on Myspace on June 4. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with the whole copy/paste thing here on Blogger but things are ok now.

A couple months ago I started an account for Twitter, naively. I sorta knew what it was about. I knew that Myspace was so '07, Facebook was so '08, and Twitter was so '09. I thought it was so bland since you just put your status. You could only use 140 characters in your tweet, and you can't really describe yourself in many characters. I even blogged about it at the time, saying it could be a waste of time. But, me, wanting to me more redundant, I kept giving in. Now, I'm addicted.

I've pretty much got Twitter all figured out by now. The good part is that so fewer of people I know (and some I regularly see) are on twitter now. The bad news is that there's not enough people I know. Or maybe its good news. I only follow 30 people, because depending on who you 'follow', they can easily clog up your newsfeed page. For example, I followed DrudgeReport for 2 days and they took up half my page and I pretty much kept hitting the back button many times, which I don't like to do. I can understand why people think its useless, and why people think its addicting. In other words, you either love it OR hate it.

I think why I like Twitter so much is that sometimes I can just put random crazy stuff as my status, or I can at least say my two cents on current events. Some people call it 'microblogging'. I'm not really 'down' with the symbols and reply things, and those ugly looking links (.. or bb.may.somepointlessnamehere). I can also followup on people who I look up to. Like my coach or Tony Robbins, for inspirational tweets. Even my favorite conservative author, Bernard Goldberg, followed me after I started following him. I guess I can feel special that he can see what I'm tweeting about. But there are also creeps and people who try to sell you stuff that 'follow' you on purpose. But, that's the Internet for you.

Sorry I haven't blogged much in the last few weeks. I've had so much on my mind, about everything. Whether its trying to make the Summer of '09 special, planning my new career, sleeping and working at S'n S, yada yada. Speaking of which, yesterday was my 11th anniversary at Steak 'n Shake. I thought 10 years looked cool for me, but the number 11 makes me wanna gag. Needless to say, I decided to break tradition and not write a celebratory blog. I got to see CSN last night, and despite of those guys showing their age, they put on a great show. Aerosmith next week? We shall see

Saved by the Bell reunion in the works?!

If you know me well and about my past, you know that I've obsessively love Saved By The Bell. I've always dreamed of moving to California so I can live the lifestyle of an LA teenager. Of course, having been to Los Angeles, it's not so bad but nothing like what you see on TV...... Anyway, I see on the Internet where Jimmy Fallon is trying to reunite all cast members of the classic show on where else? His talk show late at night. As of this writing, Mr. Belding (Dennis Haskins), Lisa (Lark Voorhies), Awesome Cool (or Albert Clifford) Slater (Mario Lopez) and just recently, Zack Morris (Mark Paul Gosselar) are 'in'.

I don't really like Jimmy Fallon, especially during his years on SNL. To me, he's just a wannabe funnyman and a Mike Myers ripoff. But given that he wants to reunite the cast in time for the show's 20th anniversary, that may change. He has also recreated some crazy stuff from the SBTB show, like the KKTY episode (watch it here. For those who love the show as much as I do, I would definitely watch the night where Mark Paul Gosselar got into his Zack Morris character here. It's absolutely hilarious.

So, we shall see what happens.