Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Buy American

You know, I'm one of the tree hugging liberals who went 14 years of living in Seattle and one year back in New Jersey without owning a car. I have one now, A Hyundai Elantra. I like the small cars, most of the good ones are made by foreign companies.

I never wanted an SUV or a pick up. I'm not that kind a guy. Give me a mini, a VW Jetta or Scion.

These days we see the American auto makers struggling with many Americans not buying cars. The era of the SUV and huge pickups that kept the US auto makers afloat the previous decade are over. Now I can get mad at the American auto makers for being short sighted with not making decent, affordable, fuel efficient cars. But the consumers drove the market for SUVs in the last decade.

Maybe I'm excusing myself of guilt for buying a foreign car because it fits the bill that American cars don't. But what is the excuse of Americans who buy huge pickups and SUVs made by Toyota and Honda?

Seriously, isn't the whole point of buying huge SUVs and pickups to rub it in the face of us "unAmericans" tree huggers?

The right to say "I want my freedom, and America represents freedom and I want the freedom to pollute as much as I want and take up as much space I want, and make as much noise I want because I'm a American dammit."

But the statement of patriotism seems empty when you buy a car from a foreign company, burning foreign fuel in the name of freedom.

If you are going to be an obnoxious SUV or pickup driver, buy an Escalade or a Navigator not a Titan or a Tundra.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Soft Rock Loses One Of Its Own...

Dan Seal died, He was the younger brother of Jim Croft of Seals and Croft. More importantly He was England Dan of the group England Dan and John Ford Coley. They had one major hit "I Really Like To See You Tonight" in 1976. It was one of those songs that was constantly on the radio. you waited it out hoping that "Disco Duck" would be next.

It's an okay song. Very mellow suited for an older demographic. I just posted the video to stir up people's memories.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Oh It's Just Getting Boring.....

Yeah, I did the karaoke this Tuesday at the Mad Hatters. I was denied the opportunity to sing on St. Patrick's Day. But I was bored. Mad Hatters is a better environment than Jack's but it's losing its luster. But still I must sing, I must do karaoke, I must fool myself in thinking I am more than my job, more than a struggling cartoonist, more than a loner who doesn't want to be alone, Oh, and I need to control my snob factor too. so I do the karaoke.

I went in not knowing what I would sing, but that makes it fun. I went for safe for my first song. A Stones song. "Beast Of Burden" is a song I've done only a few times, but it's a song that other people, many people have done and usually badly. But that was in Seattle. I'm in Jersey and it's been more than three years since I heard anyone do it, so I thought I'd do it. It's a crowd pleaser. I pleased the crowd, and you see, three's a crowd. I pleased three.

Anyway, here's a clip of the Stones doing it in 1981, a lousy tour.

My voice was strong but the falsetto was off. The second song I did was "Sara Smile" by Hall and Oates. I love two songs from Hall and Oates. "Sara Smiles" and "She's Gone". Both were songs that other people performed better than me. Of the two, I do Sara more. When I was in a maudlin mood over a failed relationship with Sonya, I break out "She's Gone". I sang it when another girlfriend I had had left me for the other coast but felt no need to sing it when SHE left me.

I digress. "Sara Smile" went well. I was able to hit the tenor key. I squeaked once though.

Here's a clip of Hall and Oates doing "Sara Smile" in their MTV heyday. They do it like they can't wait to get to their new hit "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)"

So I saw the movie "I Love You, Man" Tuesday. It's a Judd Apatow like movie with no involvement from him. The band Rush, not the fat man Rush, figures prominently in the movie, as a matter of fact they appear in movie performing "Limelight" from the album that is widely considered their best, Moving Pictures.

I like Rush, the band and really respect them but with Geddy Lee's weird voice, I rarely do Rush songs at karaoke. "New World Man" is one and "Limelight" is another. My voice was able to handle the high notes of the song, but once again I squeaked. I got cocky.

Here's a video I saw on the USA Network show "Night Flight" back before we got MTV. It's so Canadian. I love this video because it shows a great band at their peak recording a classic.

It wasn't busy at Mad Hatters. A few of the regulars I don't talk to are there, including a cutie pie who likes to flirt with my buddy Wayne. I try to get her attention, but alas, I don't have Wayne's charisma. So I wasn't caring what I sang so I threw in a Who song I hadn't sung before. "The Seeker" had escaped my notice. I've done most of those that are available. I hadn't done this one. No one knew this song, even the old drunk who knew "Limelight". I didn't care.

Here's the most excellent clip from German TV.

So, I reveal my old fogeyness with the songs I sang, so it was time to do one from this century. That means White Stripes. This night it was "Denial Twist" a song from the "Get Behind Me Satan" album. I love the song and the video is very trippy.

I continue to have a crush on Meg White.

I love Nirvana. I know a lot of people think they're overrated, but they were THE band of the early 90's. It's been 15 years since Kurt Cobain killed himself and I'm still pissed. Their first album "Bleach" has the song "About A Girl" that is a favorite. When Nirvana did it for MTV Unplugged, it became a hit. I will never sing "Smells Like Teen Spirit" because I don't do the scream well. This song doesn't do the Kurt scream. So I do it.

Everyone left when I sang it.

Maybe it was late...here's the video.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

New Pipe Dreams

Kreepy Karaoke

I love the karaoke, especially if I'm lucky to find a place where I feel comfortable. But then there are the places I've been that are this side of creepy especially in Jersey. One place is one I go to on Wednesdays. I won't mention its name, but suffice to say I don't go there much these days.

For one, the beer taps are screwed up, warm beer comes out as has been coming out for over a year. When it's Guinness it's acceptable to be less than frosty cold but not with other beer.

They also have the most rude staff with one exception, and if she's not working, well I night as well slam a shovel against my face.

The patrons are old school "professional drunks" without enough karaoke junkies to ignore their presence. It's their bar and I'm reminded of it every time I go in.

The host is a nice guy with the worst breath in the world and he likes to get in your face when he talks to you. He has a good collection of songs but the most haphazard way of displaying them. Each book has a different selection.

Why was I there? Well, I didn't get a chance to do it on Tuesday because the Mad Hatters was doing a St. Patrick thing, which I would have done but there was too many people in cheap green t-shirts and plastic bowlers. I've never been into a huge crowd being served beer in plastic cups. So I had to have my karaoke fix.

The creepy place gives me ample opportunities to sing, anywhere from 4 to 10 times a night. It's a good place to practice but gets boring because there isn't enough people there to wow. It's like renting a room to sing with a small group. Okay, but not thrilling. I sang 7 times last night. I was anywhere from pretty crappy to damn good, but it didn't matter. I was bored.

Anyway here are the songs I sang:

The Cars "Let The Good Times Roll"

George Harrison "Give Me Love"

Paul Revere and the Raiders

Gordon Lightfoot "Sundown"

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

No More Ink Stained Fingers...

I'm sad to say that the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is no long available as a broadsheet newspaper. It will only be available on-line. It shouldn't bother me much because I don't live in Seattle at the moment, and the online version is the only way I read it now.

Why am I grieving? It was the oldest newspaper in Seattle. It was founded several years before Washington became a state. It leaves the Seattle Times the only daily newspaper available to read without using an electric current. Besides, The Seattle PI is one of the few in the nation that doesn't use the word "Times", "News" or "Chronicle" on its masthead. And are they going to keep the iconic PI globe spinning on its headquarters overlooking the Puget Sound?

I became familiar with the PI even before I moved to Seattle in 1991. I was doing research on Seattle before I moved there by grabbing some out of town newspapers at a stand in New York City. I looked over the job listings and apartment listings to get an idea what my new home would be like.

When I got to Seattle, I would see the two dailies in newspaper boxes side by side. The Seattle Times won me over first because Calvin and Hobbes, the Far Side and Doonesbury were in it. The Seattle Times were also independent, while the PI was owned by the Hearst Corp. Still I found myself reading both of them most of the time because with the two newspapers the daily comic strip reading was phenomenal, 57 in all! The reason was because the PI was a morning paper and the Seattle Times was an afternoon. I thought that was a neat throwback to an earlier era.

The Sunday paper was actually a joint operation between the two newspapers made necessary back in the 80's to keep Seattle a two newspaper town. The PI only contributed the editorials and their comics. So it seemed to me that the PI was the Times lackey.

When Calvin and Hobbes and the Far side ceased to be and the PI picked up Zits and Mutts, the PI would be the go to newspaper. The Times also got rid of its house editorial cartoonist Brian Bassett while the PI still had David Horsey. I also noticed a conservative shift at the Times that pushed me away to the PI. When the Times went to a morning paper in 2000, it was only a matter of time before the day of reckoning would fall on one of the newspapers. The Times has the better operation while the PI tried to count on the powerful Hearst corporation. The Times sure lived up to the reputation of a morning newspaper by not having late night sports scores and continued to make cuts that made it unappealing.

Still, I continued to read it and the PI at the coffee shop down the street from me. The patrons of Cafe Ladro would read their newspapers and leave it behind. this gave me the opportunity to read the PI, The Seattle Times, USA Today, and if I was really lucky, the New York Times. My favorite morning routine of my life was made pleasurable due to the good coffee and the PI. I missed it when I moved back to Jersey and when I decide to move back to Seattle I'll miss getting my fingers stained by the PI.

It'll still be around online, which is how I read it these days. It is definitely one of the better websites based on a printed newspaper, so it should thrive on the internets. It's a sign of the times, it seems it happens in 20 year cycles. Many newspapers folded in the 60's, making multiple newspaper towns into two newspaper towns. the 80's had many two newspaper towns into one newspaper towns. Now we're going through another phase of losing newspapers and I dread who's going to be next. But if they follow the PI path at least there will be some content on the web we can trust.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I have a blood stain on my favorite set of sheets. I have now washed it 8 times, and it's still there. I tried a lot of things but still have been unsuccessful. It's nothing to have a coniption and go ballisatic about, but it is annoying.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

A Gratuitous Picture of my Nephew

What can I say? The kid makes me happy.

I Know The Story Is Old...

But it bugs me how the defenders of that racist cartoon were telling those of us who were offended that the intended joke was obvious. Well, if it was so obvious why did could they not make up their mind whether the monkey was Nancy Pelosi or that the stimulus bill was written by the monkey.

Well, let me give a punchline for the cartoon that would make it clear what the intended message was...