Sunday, August 30, 2009

Andre Williams is the Filthiest Goddamned Old Man on the Planet

One of my older co-workers is really into R&B and blues history right now. He's so ass deep in the subject he actually bought Crossroads on DVD. Yes, that is how dedicated the man is to absorbing everything he can about the genre. He knows his shit (cat blows through like three books a week on the subject) and I asked him if he dug Andre Williams aka Mr. Rhythm.
Andre Williams wrote Stevie Wonders first hit ("Thank You for Loving Me"), the amazing "Shake a Tail Feather" (Ike and Tina rocked the shit out of that song) in addition to some tunes for the P-Funk. He was signed to the legendary Chess Records in 68 and has been a huge influence on the genres of soul, funk, blues and rock n roll for about 50 years in total.
Of course, in punk blues and garage circles he is considered canon, recording with the Compulsive Gamblers, the Dirtbombs, Demoliton Doll Rods and the wicked cool Diplomats of Solid Sound. But y'all don't want to read my ramblings about this insanely cool and pioneering dirty old motherfucker. Fine. Here's the video.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

If Ignorance is Bliss, Then You Must Be the Happiest Person on Earth...

This blurb is in response to my Facebook peeps wanting a little elaboration on my encounter this morning with Stephanie, my corner store gas attendant. As some of you may recall Stephanie is the little ball of sunshine that rings me up for my glutinous drive in pastry and overly caffeinated morning beverage. She has enlightened me with such gems as comparing the "scruffy man god" David Cook to that of a "young, vibrant" Sammy Hagar. Yes. I'll let that soak in for a minute for it only got better from there. She did not realize that Van Halen existed prior to Sammy bastardizing the once great band (not that shows my bias or anything...shit storm incoming.) Let me come to her defense here and preface this with the fact that she's only seventeen. (Too bad she's not a Winger fan...) To this I can give her some leniency. Musical tastes, like opinions, are like assholes. Some are just shittier than others. I'll give her that. Her closeted exposure to the outside world was only being shown to me in these weekly exchanges that tended to tap dance in the realm of pop culture. Until today. ME: So how are you ling that Diver Down I burned for you? STEPHANIE: Eh. I think David Cook is still the bomb. It's ok, but I have been really digging the new Miley Cyrus song. ME: Are you fucking serious? STEPHANIE: Uh. Yeah silly. It's like being played everywhere. Party in the USA! ME: That's her? (People start to come in, so we move to the closed register.) STEPHANIE: Uh yeah. Come on. It's on 104 like all the time. It's the bomb. ME: I think the last time I listened to 104 your mom was in her second trimester. STEPHANIE: Whatever (grabs Seventeen magazine) look. She's hot. Is she not hot? You'd hit that... ME: Dude. I'm thirty one. The only seventeen year old anything I'd hit would be the bottle of scotch I have at the house. And no. She looks like plastic midget. STEPHANIE: You're crazy. ME: If you say so. She looks like she should be wearing a big hat and making cookies in a hollowed out tree. STEPHANIE: What? That's dumb. ME: No seriously. I don't get it. What human trafficking cartel did all you kids come in on that were told this kind of stuff was cool? Were you all brainwashed? And then it happened. I got the look. Not the "screw you guy" look (trust me- I have a Masters in that one,) but the glassy eyed doe stare. She looked like the chip set in her head was trying to process the statement. STEPHANIE: Cartel? you mean drugs right? ME: Well yeah. there are those too. STEPHANIE: What do drug cartels have to do with the mall? ME: Mall? What the hell are you talking about? The mall? STEPHANIE: You know. Like Memorial City... well it's not as bad as, oh man- the Galleria. Oh their traffic is the worst. People just walking all which way and shit I hate that. It's like hello people we walk on the right side here in America. Hello! You know? Sweet baby Jesus on a pogo stick... ME: No. Trafficking... that's not trafficking that's just assholes at the mall. Trafficking is when people not of this country are brought in illegally. Big rigs full of people... sneaking across the border...sold into prostitution..anything? STEPHANIE: Oh that. That sucks. ME: Yeah. Yeah it does. [Silence bordering on awkward] STEPHANIE: Hey. I finished that Catcher in the Rye you told me about. I didn't get it. ME: That's ok. Read it again when you are all old like me. Gotta go. Tell your pops I said hey and give your mom a big hug for me. STEPHANIE: Will do. Be good. As I drove in to work I got to thinking about Stephanie. Not the fact that her blind devotion to her homogenized pop music was what is killing music as we know it, but her innocent facade that was teetering on sheer ignorance to things around her. Is it really ignorance if she is unaware of it in the first place? I'd assume you'd need to know about it in order to ignore it.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Today, I Wish Cancer Upon Sean Gregory

Fuck you Time Magazine. Working in retail is shitty enough and my fellow worker bees and I already deal with loads of cheap ass fucktards but you had to go ahead and encourage them, didn't you? Sean Gregory recently published this article and I hope his magazine folds and he has to work with me for a week or two and experience the horrible treatment retail workers are receiving because of lines like this: Since retailers can't afford to lose you these days, no demand is too peculiar. Fuck off and die.
Sean, let me give you a little info. The company I work for is on the ropes and sure we can't afford to lose customers but we also can't afford to cave in to the incredible demands cheap assholes who have more than enough money to pay the list price. Here is an example. We recently had a promotion that was good IN STORE ONLY. No special orders, not good on the website just shit that our company stocks IN STORES. I get a phone call inquiring about a book that our stores DO NOT STOCK and the guy keeps haggling with me about how I can circumvent the rules so he can score the discount. I keep telling him there is no way and eventually he gets pissed off that I can't even order the book for him (without pre-paying) then let him pick it up and redeem the offer way after the deal has passed. He hung up on me after 20 minutes of whining and saying, "Maybe your manager could do something for me." No, he couldn't, cause it was me! Oh and during this whole ordeal a group of customers waiting for my assistance walked off in frustration. Yeah, you're gung-ho attitude on haggling distracts staff from people who are more than content to buy shit at the list price and supervisors who have more important things to do than tell the customer, "No," again after the staff have already refused their request. Way to make us lose money, dickpig!
And if you are wondering why it would've been so difficult or bad for me to just order the goddamned book and let El Cheapo redeem his discount...we LOSE money on the deal. Yeah, when we special order something (which I cannot even do anymore) the customer pays for it and we break even. When we allow someone to break the rule we LOSE money on the transaction. And if we let all your little deal shoppers out there in on the gig, then the company would go under and a shitload of people would be unemployed just so you could save motherfucking sales tax on your purchase. Does that make you feel better, Mr. Gregory?
Yeah, I know times are tough and sure if you find expired meat and wanna buy it and risk shitting your colon out for a month just for the discount then that's awesome. But getting people pumped up to go out try to force retailers to price match (that's what Walmart is for, buddy) or redeem an internet offer (here's a clue, you want it at the price listed on the net THEN FUCKING BUY IT ON THE NET) means your just making all of our lives more miserable. The customers are already nasty, crude, uncaring and cheap enough that they don't need the encouragement from some asshole who couldn't find a better story to cover. DIE.

The King is Dead. Get Over It.

I got asked to submit 600 words to the Free Press for a recent issue. This is what I wrote. It didn't make it in the mag (truth be told, I don't know if they ever recieved it. I sent to the e-mail my friend gave me and didn't hear anything back afterwards) so here it is for all of you to enjoy. Oh, and I wrote this before Bill Maher did his little rant so don't accuse me of aping him.
One of the many things that agonizes me over the state of humanity is how we react to any celebrity death like it’s 9/11 and the ensuing pop-culture zeitgeist it becomes. It’s not like we lost the fucking cure to cancer, people. Some cat who just happened to sing/act/play sports/write died just like thousands of other folks do every single day. It’s great if their work managed to impact your life in some way. But, really, is that a reason to ignore everything else that is going on in the world so we can pick apart the still warm corpse like the scandal hungry vultures we’ve become? Michael Jackson’s death has quickly become the zenith of this sort of behavior.
While the world was mourning His Royal Badness’ demise, the entire American media seemed to ignore things like the U.S. launching a major military operation in Afghanistan, unemployment levels rising, Massachusetts suing the government over the Defense of Marriage Act, continued civil unrest in Iran (has CNN ended its love affair with Twitter?), the economy lingering in the shitter and the recurring clusterfuck that attempted national health care has become. Is it too much to ask that we get in depth reports on stories that have more impact on our lives and culture than the sordid affairs of a kid toucher who hadn’t contributed shit to music for well over a decade? Sure, his finest albums (Off the Wall and Thriller) are essential and influential contributions to the canon of pop music but in the years since, Mr. Peter Pan had become nothing more than a pop-culture punching bag and had announced his retirement. There would be no further musical endeavors for him and even if he had decided to hit the studio would the world really benefit from experiencing his Chinese Democracy?
Even more upsetting was when viewers tried to call the media out over sensationalism and tabloid muckraking, some of these assholes had the nerve to get offended and defensive about their “journalism.” Jane Velez-Mitchell (you know, Nancy Grace but with a brunette fem-mullet) was the worst of the lot, piously asserting that the media’s coverage of Captain EO’s overdose was bringing attention to this new phenomena of pharmaceutical abuse in this country. Are you fucking kidding me? I haven’t seen one article or heard one talking head delve into The Gloved One’s epic drug use and discuss how it mirrors a greater social ill. I’d actually be open to that. After all, if we’re going to consider his death a tragedy, why not try to make it relatable to the other people suffering from similar maladies? That way the vicious dumpster diving for new “shocking” revelations could possibly serve a purpose other than a boost to the network ratings. But I doubt it. Or how about interviewing some of our fine elected officials in the legislature and ask them what they are doing now to curb the croaker docs from dispatching unnecessary medication to pill fiends if this was such an epic catastrophe? No? Then please give up the ghost. On that note, Sheila Jackson Lee can fist herself with a rhinestone glove. With everything that’s going on in the country it’s nice to know that the most pressing item on your agenda is to attempt to pass a resolution in Congress to honor the King of Pop.
And even after the gaudy funeral, our news outlets just can’t let the story die. Maybe I was wrong in my initial assessment. Michael Jackson’s death doesn’t just serve as the zenith of our pop culture obsession but also the nadir. But, that’s just me being an optimist.