I hope that the creators of VH-1’s new show rock and religion are filled with even more self-loathing than their brethren who are responsible for the rest of the “programming” on their channel. Yes, Behind the Music is crap, but it’s addictive crap that is sometimes able to screw around – albeit briefly – with your short-term memory, occasionally causing you to wander around the house believing that Hall and Oates really were the best musicians. Ever. Luckily, you snap out of it pretty fast and get on with your life. I like the ones where band members stare straight into the camera and say things that are clearly ridiculous but that VH-1 allows to stand as the truth. The smirking looks on the subject’s faces as they go about their business fully aware what BS this is makes it all worth while. (my personal favorite example: members of Metallica looking earnestly into the camera and saying “Metallica was never a drug band.”)

But rock and religion transcends VH-1’s usual triviality. It’s a tired concept, put together in an uninspired way. There’s something about the unrelenting banality of it that makes it hypnotic for about 10 minutes at a time, but the complete lack of enthusiasm on the part of everyone involved soon comes crashing through and you just turn it off and walk away. It’s not even good background noise.

My coworker gave me today’s goal: work the phrase “spicy suction cups” into as many conversations today as possible, as naturally as possible. Didn’t work. I had a perfect opportunity, but when I opened my mouth I found myself speaking only in Blondie lyrics. Then I couldn’t stop doing it. Clearly, it’s Monday.

Incidentally, I continue to believe that “Rapture” is one of the dumbest songs of all time.

Fade away and radiate, y’all.

“Indy Chief Apologizes for Anthem” [link dead]

I saw this headline and I was so pleased. I thought that they were actually apologizing for allowing Steven Tyler to sing the National Anthem in the first place. I had my hopes up this would lead to an apology from the entire music business for inflicting Tyler’s voice on an unsuspecting public for years.

Tyler, for those who missed it, proved that O-Town’s rendition of the Anthem at the start of the Daytona 500 could in fact have been much, much worse. I don’t have any particular attachment to the Star-Spangled Banner and even I find these little celebrity appearances revolting.

Sadly, it wasn’t what I expected. According to Reuters Indy 500 official Tony George was only apologizing to individuals who may have been offended by Tyler’s decision to change a phrase.

You know who scares me more than your garden variety True Believers? Converts. I don’t care if it’s Weight Watchers, Religion, smoking, alcohol, you name it. The people who’ve Seen The Light are the ones you have to watch out for, and the ones who are often most difficult to avoid.

On the other hand, they can provide you with a lot of entertainment bang for your buck. John Travolta’s tribute to scientology (aka Battlefield Earth) was so ham-fisted and awful that it was awe-inspiring. And it pleased me no end that other people finally realized why this guy’s career tanked the first time around. He sucks! Holy crap! How come we didn’t notice that before?

Here’s my new favorite example, “Prince Swears off Cursing”. [link dead] The article ends with the sentence “Jehovah’s Witnesses are an apocalyptic group that interprets the Bible differently than traditional Christian organizations.” That’s a pretty good spin on the whole JW thing. That statement shows some journalistic craftsmanship that’s been pretty lacking lately. I’m not sure what I expected to be at the end of the article.

It could have gone a couple of different ways. Usually, reporters take the snarky post-religious tack and write something along the lines of, “Jehova’s Witnesses are raving nutcases who have ridiculous beliefs, dress badly, and are fun to torment on Sunday morning when they show up at your front door to witness to you.” Or, they engage in old-fashioned fear-mongering, “Jehova’s Witnesses plan to sacrifice your virgin daughter on Halloween in anticipation of the second coming of Jesus.” Frankly, I was more prepared for the doomsday/lock up your daughters scenario.

Maybe we’re done seeing cults – satanic or otherwise – under every rock? Maybe someone finally figured out that you give a group power by demonizing them and giving them an “us against them” mystique to build up their believer base? Maybe mocking religious choices will loose it’s appeal as a journalistic hook? No, all of that sells papers. Prince supplies such an abundance of material for mocking that religion doesn’t even need to enter in to the equation.

“When I sold 100,000 records, I got chicks that were maybe 130, 140 pounds. Now that we’ve sold 10 million records, they’re supermodels, Playmates.”

– rock musician KID ROCK, in Gear magazine.

(as noted on yahoo news)

Apparently many news organizations chose to broadcast a report yesterday that Lou Reed was dead.

They did so without any fact checking because they thought the report was from Reuter’s and was legit. Yesterday I thought this was odd, but I hadn’t seen the actual message. I didn’t really know much about the whole controversy, to tell the truth. The first mention I heard was from Ed when he forwarded me a message from Reed’s manager’s friend that said Reed was alive and well. At that point I didn’t even know he was supposed to be dead. Very confusing.

Today, of course, my inbox was chock full of copies. I mention this whole thing because I am astounded that the contents of the message apparently didn’t send up a single warning flag to anyone. I find that hard to believe. No one got suspicious when reading the line in the message where it says [Reed’s] “long-time companion and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright had no comment.”

Hi. Hello. The half-witted dog down the street could have sniffed out that this message was a hoax.

But what do I know? Maybe Reed and Albright are an item and I’m just the last to know. I don’t know if I’m fascinated by that idea or completely creeped out by it.

Lou Reed Correction
Okay, so I stand corrected. Apparently, I was the only one in America who was unaware that Lou Reed and Madeleine Albright are friends. I stand by my assertion, however, that Laurie Anderson is his longtime companion and not Maddie.

If anyone has proof to the contrary I simply do not want to see it.

Eric and Rebecca are pleased to announce that they were married on Friday, August 6, 1999 in Orange County, North Carolina. After the ceremony, they celebrated with 150 of their closest friends who they only see once a year. This involved two days of loud music, rampant public drunkenness, a man sitting in a large vat of banana pudding, and a six foot tall female bass player who breaths fire while she plays. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here…

We know this is the equivalent of a Christmas newsletter in August, but it seemed the best way to share some of the highlights of our wedding weekend with those of you who either weren’t able to attend or have no memory of attending.

Friday, August 6th we packed the car and headed for North Carolina. Debbie and Bryan, Eric’s sister and brother-in-law, met us at the Orange County Courthouse in Hillsborough, NC. After procuring our marriage license and a mysterious sealed bag labeled “Newlywed Sampler” from Joyce, the Registrar of Deeds, the wedding party changed clothes in the courthouse bathroom and headed for the Magistrate’s Office, conveniently located in the County Jail.

There were 3 groups present when we arrived: heavily armed law enforcement officers, men in leg-irons, and us. After the deputies paraded a dozen Guests of the County through from the jail to the courthouse, we were able to enter the building. Each Guest, as well as the deputies with the shotguns, wished us well. We thought that was real nice.

Then we met the magistrate, Amy. She was extremely cool. The ceremony was held beneath a tree in front of the Courthouse.

The wedding party then dined at the Hillsborough Waffle House. The Newlywed Sampler was opened. It contained: paper towels, dishwashing liquid, Nyquil, Bounce dryer sheets and coupons for pregnancy test kits and cleaning supplies. It was truly a thing of wonder.

Debbie and Bryan headed home and Eric and I located our hotel. In an interesting mix-up, we were assigned a Handicapped suite instead of the Honeymoon suite. We’re probably lucky we got a room at all after my call earlier in the week to inquire about whether the bed in the honeymoon suite could sleep 4 (in the event Debbie and Bryan decided to stay the night).

It was now time for: Sleazefest, day one. For those of you who don’t know, Sleazefest is 3 days of beer, bands, bbq, and sweat held at Local 506 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The music starts each day at 4 p.m. and ends somewhere around sunrise. Happy Hour is at noon. (www.sleazfest.com) Local 506 owner Dave Robertson was thrilled that Sleazefest was our wedding reception. We’ll be having a party in DC for those of you who could not attend Sleazefest, but I’m sorry to report that Eric continues to veto my suggestion that we build a go-go cage in the basement.

Our fellow sleazefesters (old and new friends) were thrilled with our wedding plans. Several of them had also been married at the jail, while others of them had served time there.

As the sun rose on the end of the first day of Sleazefest, we realized something important: you are supposed to have strippers at the bachelor party, NOT the reception. Live and learn.

One of our friends, a sometimes-member of Southern Culture on the Skids whose name I have forgotten, pointed out that it’s stilly to have one mediocre wedding band when you can have 20 or 30 really good bands. We agreed, especially when two-thirds of Jack Black joined Billy Joe Wingehead for a showstopping rendition of “Freebird.” It was magical. Or we were drunk, because we both really hate that song.

One of our friends, Linda, is a librarian and drummer from Baltimore. Linda and Rebecca danced a few sets away in the go-go cage, joined by 506 Dave and an occasional Drive-By Trucker. Eric may or may not have joined them. He refuses to confirm or deny these rumors and in the interests of marital bliss Rebecca will do the same.

506 Dave then put Rebecca in charge of Cage Recruitment for the rest of the night. She did a poor job, because she and Linda had by then decided to keep the cage to themselves because they are such great dancers (or because it was under an actual A/C vent. Probably that second one).

Around midnight, Linda and Rebecca vowed to form a band.

I’m sure there were details about the second day, but you’ll have to use your imagination because things get a little hazy.

As the sun rose on the end of the 2nd day we knew that it was time for a little sleep and the long drive home.

We learned valuable life lessons this weekend. We were reminded of the importance of proper facial protection when slicing bologna with a chainsaw. We learned that throwing fried chicken during a Southern Culture on the Skids set is serious business. We learned that the men of Truckadelic should keep their clothes on. (No offense, guys). We learned that it can actually get hot and humid enough to rain indoors in a North Carolina nightclub in the summer time. Mostly, we learned that you should never let others foist their image of the ideal wedding on you, because we think ours was just fine.

(original post date verified when archives recovered from old hard-drive, 2010, but it was definitely edited after that time)