Sunday, September 27, 2009

kiss and tell

Aw, come on now, you gotta be kidding me?!!! Actually in terms of KISS, I'm talking about the band. Last Tuesday, as I was going through my tweets, I couldn't believe my eyes. Kiss has finally been looked at by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame committee and was one of the 12 nominees. This is a surprise because Kiss has been eligible for induction since '99 (10 yrs) and all this time Kiss fans and band members have dissed the Hall for excluding them.

For those of you who have been reading my blogs for a long time, you'll know that I follow on RRHOF activity. In fact, I was once a member for a year, but I dropped it. I still haven't made it to the museum. But as a self-proclaimed historian and music enthusiast, I do care about who deserves the recognition for the RRHOF. The RRHOF has been around for 25 years (the museum opened in '95) and every year they would induct 10-12 bands and/or solo acts. However, in the last few years, that number has been wittled down to 5 inductees. There have been over 200 groups and musicians inducted, which seems like a lot. But again, however, in the last ten years this has generated controversy as several rock fans and critics have noticed several music legends have been turned away and overlooked. In fact, I once wrote a blog about this. According to the RRHOF's website, eligibility for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame includes this criteria:

Leaders in the music industry joined together in 1983 to establish the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. One of the Foundation’s many functions is to recognize the contributions of those who have had a significant impact on the evolution, development and perpetuation of rock and roll by inducting them into the Hall of Fame.
Artists become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record. Criteria include the influence and significance of the artists’ contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll.

So, needless to say, again, this has been very controversial. I can say that every band and artist that is currently in the Hall of Fame is deserving (ok, maybe not Percy Sledge or the Sex Pistols, but oh well....). Going back to Kiss, there has been a long-standing feud with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons vs. the journalists of Rolling Stone and Creem magazine. One of the Hall's nominating committee members, Dave Marsh (former Rolling Stone writer and co-founder of Creem magazine) once made the comment: 'Kiss is not a great band, Kiss was never a great band, and Kiss will never be a great band...and I have done more than my share of keeping them off the ballot'.
So its no wonder that Paul Stanley was very bitter about the RRHOF:

The beauty of America is that you can basically start any kind of private club you want to. This one happens to be called the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It's a very impressive name for a club but it's an illusion. It's the creation of a group of industry people and critics who decide who they deem as qualified to be in their little admiration society. It's their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but it's not the people's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Have you ever voted? I know I haven't. That's why the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, besides having people who very much belong in there, have an abundance of people who most people will scratch their head and not even have a clue who they are. I don't have anything against anybody who's been inducted, but more than a couple of them are a joke. A band or musician's impact is measured by how they change and influence society and other musicians. That and how many albums and concert tickets they sell should be what gets them into the Hall of Fame. As far as I'm concerned it's a private club with a misleading name. It's a sham.

As far as Kiss fans, they can care less whether or not they are in the Hall. Or do they? Who knows. I can see both ways why they haven't been considered an influential rock band. It's easy to say they are one of the biggest 'cult bands'. And I can't take away the fact they are great entertainers and they put on dazzling performances. I have never been to a show of theirs, but TV has shown me. The music is another story. I do like four of their songs, but most of their 'other stuff' is unlistenable because of their lack of singing talents. And most of their songs sound the same. But personality and charisma is always a key, and they got it. And the record sales and soldout shows prove it. So congratulations to Kiss and I hope they get selected for induction in January. And if they pull a Sex Pistols stunt, it can create great publicity for them.

Other nominees include Darlene Love, Donna Summer, Jimmy Cliff, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Stooges, the Chantels, Genesis, the Hollies, LL Cool J, Laura Nyro and Abba. There's no doubt in my mind that the Chili Peppers will get in this year, as this is their first year of eligibility. Controversy is surrounding LL Cool J as he is the fourth rap/hiphop act to be nominated, as other pioneering rap acts have been overlooked.

random observations with a side of guacamole

(This blog was published on Myspace on 9/15/09)

It's been awhile since I've blogged about my workplace, so I thought I'd pump something out here. Yes, I still work midnights at good ole SnS, while trying to create a new life. Whatever pays the bills, right? I know there's a lot of bad things going on no matter where you work when it comes to people at the top not thinking about what the people on the bottom rungs of the ladder feel like. As for me, I try to make my job more enjoyable by simply catching on to what society and people do as far as eating out goes.

In the last few months the latest controversy at SnS has been the new drive-thru times rule. For the majority of the day, each shift must close out with an average 2 minutes, 15 seconds drive-thru window waiting time. It's hard for me to explain this, but if you have worked at other fast-food places you'll know what I'm talking about. We (including all the general managers) know that a place like SnS have never been known for speedy fast service. We were never meant to be a typical fastfood joint like McD's and Burger King. My theory on this is that our CEO (who recently resigned) came to the conclusion where SnS just can't compete with sit-down places like Applebees, Ruby Tuesdays, Red Robin, etc. anymore, so now we're trying to be too different from anyone.

On my shift (from 10pm to 6am), pretty much the goal is at least under 3 minutes. It's still quite a challenge, but sometimes I do succeed. But in the last 2 months I've started to notice something. From Sunday to Thursday and sometimes on the weekends, drive-thru gets more customers than dining room on midnights. We all think its because people are just too cheap to tip, but there's other theories as well. In my opinion, drive-thrus were made to serve people who wanted something quick and fast. Examples include combo meals, a shake, or just an order of fries and a drink. If I'm going to take my family out to eat, I'll take them inside and make ourselves at home. But unfortunately, I've noticed that people are ordering big meals for other people in drive thru, like $20-$30 tickets. And with me and 2 people its hard to keep the times down. And even worse, people act like fools by asking for their food done in a certain way (which I don't have a problem with) but they get mad bigtime if I miss a step. Then they act like spoiled brats and start asking for condiments on the side at the window after I bring them their food. To me, this is not a common thing in drive-thru. What else is not common is that I spot people (without common sense) munching away at their food for 2-3 minutes (at the window) after they receive their food. It's my job to ask if I forgot anything, but they always say, 'Oh no, we're just eating....'. Then I have to politely ask them to leave. I call it 'picnicking' when it comes to people just chillin and eating at the DT window. When I go to Hardees and/or Taco Bell I don't sit there and eat away. Why would I want to spend more time at the window when I'm in my car and I don't have to? When it comes to being picky and snooty, I'm nothing like that. Sure, every now and then I go to Jack in the Box and get 2 tacos for 99 cents without the sauce. But just certain things like how much the bread is toasted or fries not 'burned to a crisp' is just getting out of hand. Last night, I had two guys eating 2 big meals I served them through the drive-thru and they sat in the parking lot for a long time. Hmmmm. Then like 20 minutes later they come in and say, 'Mannn. These fries taste like greasy sh*t. Lemme get new ones...'. There's also times where people can just be rude when they order while I try to say things with a smiling face.

So, I thought I'd get this one off my chest. It is my job to make sure people get their food and they leave SnS happy and well-served. But please, don't be a jerk. After all, I make your food. Watch the movie 'Waiting'. You may think I'm a piece of sh*t, but I am a hard-working honest person like you. Or maybe you're a spoiled rotten person who thinks Barack Obama/Nancy Pelosi are the saviors, and you probably sit around and get stoned watching Family Guy. I don't know. But I'll stop right there.

Monday, September 14, 2009


I know you're all sick of hearing about Kanye's outburst that happened last night at the VMA's, but as a music enthusiast/historian, I'd like to share my two cents. And yes, I know there's more important things to talk about, like the upcoming health-care thing and protests (I hope to finally write a blog about it soon). But first, let's have a moment of silence for Patrick Swayze. Me and him go way back when I idolized him in 'Dirty Dancing' back in the late 80s. He was as smooth and suave as he can be up until the end of his life. He was also one of the very few Hollywoodies that devoted much time to his family while maintaining a career. He's now literally a ghost, and may he rest in peace.

I was hanging out at the radio station when the Awards happened, so I actually didn't watch it and I didn't know 'till this morning. But the first thing I saw as I opened my Yahoo start page, was that picture of Kanye with big headlines, with a stunned Taylor Swift. I had to see what was going on. After reading and watching it, I had to analyze everything. Why? Who? What caused him to do this? Is he on drugs or is he just an attention whore?

I think Kanye West and Taylor Swift are both talented musicians. Taylor is a good role model for her demographics group and she was one of those who worked her way from the anchor to get where she is. She's doing very fine for a Country musician on an independent label. Kanye is a great producer, and sometimes a good rapper (some of it is unlistenable like Twista's 'Slow Jams'). The 'Graduation' CD was a good listen over and over. But the big difference between the two personalities is not just the different side of the musical streets they're on. Without Jay-Z, there would be no career for Kanye. As mentioned above, Taylor started at the bottom and worked hard to get to where she is. And for her to show courage on stage while Kanye is ranting away, that makes me give her extra points.

And yes, I know that this is not the first time Kanye had shown public outrageous behavior. I know the music world will probably give him another free pass, or who knows. I believe in free speech. But free speech has a hefty cost, and to me there is a difference between saying things at the right place, right time.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

remembering '94, part deux

As I was cleaning and going through old stuff today, I found some of my old journals that I used to keep during my junior high and high school days. They totally brought back a lot of memories since I wrote a lot of details about classmates, teachers, student life, etc.

It also came to my attention that 15 years ago this month I entered the 7th grade, or junior high school. It was quite a challenging time for me, and for everyone in that age range. So much has changed since back then. Edwardsville had one junior high school (7th and 8th grade). Today, E'ville has 2 'middle schools' that have 6th-8th graders. And we have a new high school, even though it opened in '97. As for a lot of people, it took a lot of adjusting to being around so many people. While I was pretty much a loser in my post-7th grade years, I still gotta remember some of those were the best days.

I'll never forget my first day of 7th grade. It was after Labor Day (we normally start the 2nd to last week of August but that year we had a long teachers' strike), and I remember meeting all of my teachers that day. Mr. Freymuth was my first teacher, and he was awesome. Freymuth had reminded everyone he taught in that same room for over 30 years. He even reminded me that he had 2 of my older sisters. It wasn't until gym class that it got scary. It would be our first time to change clothes in front of everyone in a locker room for me, but not until the next week. As Mr. Zupanci was giving us a tour of the locker room, he stood there pointing at the bathroom stall and urinal.

'If you gotta take a shit, there's a crapper over there....'

The whole room just busted up laughing.

'...and don't be shitting on those walls. Or you'll hafta clean it up..'.

It was the first time I ever heard a teacher of mine swear, and I'm sure it was the case for everyone else. That's probably why I remember that day as if it were yesterday.

So, just thought I'd share a little more school memories on here. More to come, maybe?

Beatlemania strikes again!

Most of us know that today is 9/9/9 or in Beatles terms: number 9, number 9, number 9....

You've heard it advertised everywhere. The Beatles have now put their name on a video game franchise. I'm not a fan of video games, but I do hope that the Beatles Rock Band Edition will extend their influential lives on this generation. While Paul and Ringo are still around, it will give them a chance to see what it was really like to be in a 'real band'. And with them also releasing their re-mastered catalog of titles on 09/09/09, its very fitting. (By the way, according to most sources, this will be the last day we will experience a single-digit date altogether. It won't happen until January 1, 2101.)

I've had at least 3 Facebook friends ask on their statuses what their favorite Beatles songs are. So I thought I'd share my favorite Beatles songs for the first time, along with why I like them. These are mostly the songs I never grow tired of. Following are my 'bottom 5' or my 'least favorite' Beatles songs. Since the White Album is my favorite Beatles lp, I did not include any of the songs that are off it.

These are not ranked in any order.

1. 'She's a Woman'. Gotta love this early tune. It combines the New Orleans and skiffle grooves.

2. 'Eleanor Rigby'. Me and this song go way back. I memorized the lyrics to this song for a poetry assignment in the 7th grade. Needless to say, I won great points with my English teacher....

3. 'Across The Universe'. I admit I never heard the 'real' version, but as for now, Phil Spector's version stands beautiful in my mind...

4. 'Day Tripper'. One of the best guitar hooks in a Beatles song. Also see down below for best 'covers'

5. 'And I Love Her'. Very smooth, slow paced romantic song, sung very well by Paul

6. 'Nowhere Man'. Very random song, which happens to be catchy. It was also the first Beatles song that was not about love and relationships.

7. 'Hello Goodbye' My favorite #1 hit from the Beatles.

8. 'This Boy' My favorite straight-up vocal song by the Beatles, which was done pre-1964, most notably on the Ed Sullivan show.

9. 'Getting Better'. Tied with 'Good Morning' as my favorite Sgt. Pepper's song, its always a good reminder that things do tend to get better all the time

10. 'Things We Said Today'. It just sounds different from a lot of their '65-'66 work. But awesome song.

My bottom 5:

1. 'Free As A Bird'
2. 'Real Love'
It's just not the same without the Fab Four in the studio all at once. Sure, it was the case in their later years, but at least they sounded like they came from that time. But these two songs (which John Lennon recorded on a tape recorder) just sound oh-so-bland and even Paul's voice doesn't help. The Beatles music belongs from 1970 to before.

3. 'Hey Jude'. Sorry, I just think the song is too long, too overplayed. I know that the song was intended to be about Julian Lennon adjusting to his parents divorce, but still...

4. 'Twist and Shout'. Its just that the song is too weak. I do admit, however, the song only sounded good in the movie 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' with everyone dancing to it. But in general, no.

5. 'I'm Only Sleeping'. Just an annoying song.

Cool Beatles covers:

1. 'Day Tripper'-Jimi Hendrix Experience. This is found on his 'BBC Sessions' album. It's a rocking good version that sounds as great as the original.

2. 'Got To Get You Into My Life'-Earth, Wind & Fire. As performed by them in the disaster movie 'Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band', Maurice White and the gang give the song a fresh new R&B life.

3. 'Come Together'-Aerosmith. Another song off the 'Sgt. Pepper's movie soundtrack', Steven Tyler actually pulls it off well in this cover.

4. 'With a Little Help From My Friends'-Joe Cocker. We all know this as the theme to the Wonder Years, but the whole song (including guitar solos by Jimmy Page) is just phenomenal.

5. 'Helter Skelter'-U2. Bono gives this song a fresh edge to this.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

not cool

This blogs pretty much about me and my vacation that I'm on....but I thought I'd go rant on here too. Last week Ted Kennedy (longtime senator from MA) passed away. They say if I can't say anything nice I won't say anything at all. But I can't take away that he was involved with cases and laws that changed America in a positive way. It's just that I saw him as a complete hypocrite who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth who just drank heavily and was probably a womanizer. And the whole Kennedy tragedy? Big deal. There's numerous families around that have went through tragedy, although I do know there's a big difference between public and private.

And then there's DJ AM. Hmmm. Where to start on this one? I knew that he was a so-called 'celebrity DJ' who was once part of Crazy Town, and he survived a fiery plane crash along with Travis Barker. I've seen him on a couple awards shows spinning records. I'm sorry to say that he was in a profession where he was lucky and he should have been enjoying the ride. Though I do know it takes a little talent to DJ and spin records, pretty much anyone can do what he did. Call me a hater, call me another jealous guy, but I have no respect for a man who didn't live life the way it's supposed to be. I'll explain myself. The dude survived a fiery plane crash (that killed 4) and yet the former drug addict went back to doing drugs! He was given a second chance at life, for crying out loud and he didn't live it to the fullest. Sure, he probably felt like he didn't deserve it, but who knows. I actually read his twitter (I know, creepy...) which had some tweets right before he died. In most of his tweets, he seemed happy and okay. In fact, in one of his last tweets he wrote, "I get to throw the first pitch at the NY Mets game today. Tell me, how many DJs ever get that opportunity....". So maybe he knew he was lucky, I'll never know.

The main reason my blog is titled, 'Not Cool' is because now, of DJ AM's death, the concert I was going to attend tomorrow night has been postponed. I was going to attend the Weezer and Blink 182 show tomorrow night at Verizon, but it was cancelled bc the band wanted to let Travis mourn the loss of his 'dear friend'. The Cleveland show was also postponed too. I didn't really like Blink 182, but I do respect them since they were one of the bands that 'got there first' because of the genre they helped invent 'pop-punk'. I was going mostly to see Weezer, and bc people from work were going. So what to do on a Thursday night? Hmmm.

Anyhoo, I'm going to be out of town this weekend (Hutchinson, Kansas) with my sister Jenny's family to visit a sick great-aunt. She's had lung cancer for a year now, and she's hanging in there. It will be different seeing her since before she had the illness. Hopefully some happy moments here and there. It won't be a vacation, but a change in scenery for once this year.