Thursday, January 29, 2009

I Can't Write My Feelings On Facebook!

So, I re installed my computer. I'm still in the process of fixing it up. I haven't installed all the software I wanted. The problem is mostly due to the fact that I am one step behind in my IMac set up. I can't get my Firefox working again and I can't get the latest I-Tunes set up. Safari sucks as a browser and I'm not gonna do the Internet Explorer.

I guess this is when I go to the Mac store and buy updated software that was available to me when i was living with my last girlfriend. I'm on my own again and I succcck. So both the blog and my Facebook account is gonna be weak for the upcoming future.

Karaoke and Komputer Krashes

So, in between trying to fix my computer after trying futilily to speed it up, I went out to sing at Mad Hatters to deglaze my eyes. I got there at about 10pm, it was cold and for some reason not many pwople were there at the beginning.

I still showed my true colors by being afraid to talk to "red" when she walked in but I did chat with "blonde" and settled in and drank a refreshing glass of Flying Fish Ale.

I sang four times, two songs I hadn't done before, one "go to" song and one popular 80's song in hopes to at least get "red's" attention.

"Blonde" usually sings two of the "forbidden" songs from my list but she challenged herself with new songs, good for her. As a matter of fact, only two forbidden songs got sang that night. "Baby Got Back" and "Living On A Prayer".

I batted .500 that night. the two I did badly were the new ones, both R&B lite songs I thought I would do better.

When I got to the Mad Hatter I had no clue what to sing. I saw the song "I'm Losing You" by the Temptations. I prefer the Rod Stewart version but I have yet to do a good Rod Stewart song, so I did the Temps version because I have done them in the past. Except I never done a Temptation song with David Ruffin on lead vocals. So, I did a very toothless version of the song.

The Temptations - I'm Losing You

Since I was having a hard time finding a good song to sing that I hadn't done before I went to a "go to" song "Possum Kingdom" by the Toadies. It wasn't my strongest version of it but it went over well. I felt like a tool though.

The Toadies - Possum Kingdom

I was watching an 80's retrospective on VH1, and was getting an earful of that era's music. I'm not a fan of the era but there are good songs, one of the most popular is "Melt With You" by Modern English. A classic if ever there was one. I've only done it once before and I did it better this time. It was the highlight of the night for me.
modern english- i melt with you

Soooo, comes time to sing another new song. A song I was singing at work as a joke. Whoops, my voice has been pretty hoarse recently and it's not good for horse singing. Plus, I didn't know the verses well, mainly because I didn't really like the song when it came out. Oh well.

Billy Ocean - Caribbean Queen


I thought you might be interested in seeing what he looks like now.


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Republicans Still Hate America

So, the election of 2008 brought about the biggest change in government style since 1932. The election made it clear that the then current style of governing does not work and the American electorate demanded a new approach.

President Obama and the Democrats in Congress are listening. The economy is in its worst shape since the Great Depression, mostly because of the "trickle down" economic philosophy that has been shoved down our throat by conservatives for the better part of thirty years.

The election was the worst showing for Republicans since 1964. President Obama won the biggest percentage of the popular vote with a party change since Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. That means the conservative Republican way lost.

That means the Republicans need to do the right thing. Obama won for the most part because he set out an economic stimulus plan that would deal with the crisis. A stimulus plan that would put people to work. That would encourage real growth in the economy, not tax breaks for people who don't need it.

Obama went out of the way to meet up with the losers (Republicans) and allowed for some of their ideas to be put into the plan. Bush never did such a thing. So, how do the Republicans respond to this gesture?

By responding "nay" to the plan. All of them. Not one Republican voted for it. The Neocon haters of America like Michelle (Crazy Eyes) Malkin, and Rush (Bloated Junkie) Limbaugh are cheering for our downfall. They want the US to be like the slums depicted in the movie "Slumdog Millionaire" The rich getting richer and the rest of us to live in garbage.

This vote is a repeat of the 1993 economic stimulus plan that also had no Republicans voting for. That plan needed Al Gore's vote in the Senate to break a tie. Thus the largest most sustained economic growth the country ever had was without any conservative help.

This decade (whatever we call it) has shown that the NeoCon way doesn't work. Rush is always wrong and the Republicans need to man up and do right by the American people or they will give an opportunity to a third party like the Greens to become the second party.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Karaoke Songs I Can Do Without Hearing Ever Again

I love the karaoke.

Oh, you knew that already?

Okay, then.

One of the things you have to deal with when you go to a karaoke place on a regular basis you have to endure along with bad singing is songs that suck that everybody likes to sing or songs that may be good but should never be done by even good singers.

My top ten list in no particular order.

1."Don't Stop Believing" by Journey- I never liked Journey, the only song I like from them is "Lights". Part of the problem is that Steve Perry is an incredible vocalist that most people should never attempt to do. In the karaoke world this song gets "sung" at least once a night, one host I go to will not allow it to get done more than once. I hated this song from the day it was released in 1981. Usually a group of three or more people would get up there and sing it out of tune in at least two different ways. Time to pee.
Journey - Don't Stop believing
2."Piano Man" by Billy Joel- I used to like this song until it became to "go to" song to play on the jukebox especially at the end of the night in the 80's and 90's. In karaoke world this almost always gets sung by a drunk who's either a Fratboy or a Wall Street douche bag. They always call out for the audience to sing along but if it's early enough no one is drunk enough to be in the mood. I accept is as a closing song of the night, because I can then leave.
Billy Joel Piano Man

3."What's Up" by Four Non Blondes- I hate this song with a passion! Always. First of all, Gee, what a clever name for a band "Four Non Blondes". They weren't blonde! And the insipid lyrics the song contains doesn't improve on the wordplay. Using words like institution and revolution doesn't make for a good song. In karaoke world the girls love the song. They feel its uplifting, with feminist leanings I guess but it's just a stupid song.

period.

4 Non Blondes - What's Up

4."Killing Me Softly" by the Fugees version changes its meaning by giving a light hip hop beat to it- The original song by Roberta Flack is a decent "smooth jazz" song. You feel for the protagonist's feeling about being betrayed. The Fugees. It sounds like a spoiled little girl is singing it. Plus, I rarely go a night of karaoke without hearing it. It has a "cold start" whose cue almost everyone misses. I'm amazed that I have never heard anyone do the Lauryn Hill song "That Thing" in all my years doing karaoke. It's the same singer, it was a huge hit back in the day. It would be a refreshing change.
Killing me softly - Fugees

5."American Pie" by Don McClean- Is there a longer hit song on record that doesn't feature a 10 minute drum solo? No solos at all, and yet this song is 8 and a half minutes long. a very slow beginning , a very slow ending and a mid tempo middle that doesn't vary for 6 minutes. It starts off with him finding out about the death of a rock musician (Buddy Holly?) and everything that has happened from then until 1971, the year the song was written. It's a good thing he didn't write it in 1986. This song has the DJ walking away to smoke at Mad Hatters. It's a good time to take a piss, heck it's a good time to take a shit when this song comes on!
Don mclean - American pie (live)
6."Paradise By The Dashboard Light" by Meatloaf- It's yet another 8 and a half minute song but at least this one is a duet with male and female lead vocals. It goes on and on but does feature a nice little baseball play by play by the late great Phil Rizzuto in the original. Now this song could be fun and is the only one I have done on the list if both singers are good and if some one does a good Phil Rizzuto. That almost never happens, although when I did it with a Icelandic girl with missing teeth, it was pretty good. Another time A girl asked me to do it in reverse. I was the female and she was a male. That was a hoot. Otherwise, the song is butchered from the start and 8 minutes is a long time to wait for it to end.
Paradise by the dashboard light

7. "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" by Bonny Tyler another long song also written by Jim Steinman for Meatloaf who couldn't do it. In karaoke world this always gets sung by men who love to shout out "fuckin" throughout the song. They play by the rule if I can't sing it good normal, I'll sing it LOUD! Apparently there's a scene in "Old School" that does the song with the "fuckin" words in it. People recommend that movie to me, doing the song that way is not an endorsement.
Bonnie Tyler - Total Eclipse of the Heart
8. "Before He Cheats" by Carrie Underwood- American Idol. Has there been a worse pox thrown at the American public than this? The ultra popularity of this show has baffled me from day one. Bland singers singing even blander songs. Sure, there has been popular records that have come form the show but once the singers get out of the American Idol cocoon and strike out on their own, the success is fleeting. Carrie Underwood is an exception. Still she went from one cocoon to another. (Nashville) This song was a big hit for Underwood. Women like to sing it because it's a revenge song. A revenge song that in reverse, would get a man arrested if he did what the female singer in the song says she did. The lyrics are a celebration of red neck trailer trash culture. It's an annoying trend similar to the annoying trend of hip hop artists celebrating ghetto life. Also this song usually gets sung by a group of women singing high pitchily out of tune.
Carrie Underwood - Before He Cheats

9. "Living On A Prayer" by Bon Jovi- I grew up in New Jersey but I don't like Bon Jovi. To me they're still a relic of the 80's, a decade of bland music that pales to the 70's, 60's, and even 90's. Bon Jovi has a voice that tries to be Springsteen but with less passion. This song gets done in karaoke because it allows the audience to join in, which for most people is a plus. Not for me.
Bon Jovi - Living on a Prayer
10. "Baby Got Back" by Sir-Mix-A-Lot- This is probably the most popular rap song done in karaoke, or at least it's the most popular one done in white karaoke bars. It gets done by white guys who want to be down with their brothers, who aren't there of course. Almost every time this got sung at Ozzie's in Seattle all the skinny girls got up to shake their toothpick tushes as though they represent the desires of the singer.

Sir Mix-a-Lot - Baby got Back (I Like Big Butts)

Honorable Mention: Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen- Oh how good this song is. But it should never have been made for a karaoke song. It's too complex, involves too many studio tricks to make the song work, and Freddy Mercury's vocals are too good for it to be tainted. How I cringe when I hear some one attempt it on the auditions for American Idol (Every year the promos features at least someone doing it). I've heard some damn good singers do it and it still kinds sucks. Queen didn't even try to so it completely live. I think in the future the karaoke hosts should prudently pretend they don't have it in their collection. And just because they did it "Wayne's World" doesn't mean you should do it! They didn't sing it, they lip synced.Queen - Bohemian RhapsodyQueen- Bohemian Rhapsody(Live)

Sorry,


My computer has been really screwed up recently and I have needed to do some radical revamping of it. I think I got a virus from a "friend" who is no longer a friend because of what he sent. He lied about what he sent and since it probably contained a virus, I may be screwed. I guess he thought it was a funny joke. He has a sick sense of humor...


Thanks a lot.

Orrr, it may have to do with some (ahem) "art" films I occasionally view.

Either way, no new cartoons until this gets fixed. I hope I don't have to get a new computer, as it turns out I may have to totally reinstall my computer from scratch. I have to back up eseential files. The main thing I have left to back up is my I-Tunes account.

What sucks is that I have a Mac. I bought it new in 2005. It was the current generation platform buttttttt I never went beyond the initial "Panther" platform which denied me that opportunity to have the latest update of I-Tunes that a person with a PC operating on Windows98 can upload. This has been the case since 2006, a mere year after I bought my Mac.

I don't live near a good Mac store that repairs old Macs like I did back in Seattle. So, when I go to an Apple store I am stuck with a very limited supply of products that only are good for an OS 10.4 or higher. Mine is 10.3, they came up with the 10.4 a few months after they introduced the I-Mac platform. They had a product I thought would be ideal to clean up my Mac. It was only for OS 10.4 or above.

Thanks for the customer service.

Either way, thanks to that rube that sent me the virus I'll be out a few hundred dollars at least.

So, my blog is gonna be weak for the forseeable future until I can figure it out with my feeble computer skills.

I wish I was still with my old girlfriend who knew how to fix computers, although we had a PC at the time.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ronald Reagan is No Longer The Worst Rated President...


















...that is to say, Reagan no longer has the lowest approval rating of those presidents who served two full terms. George W's rating of 30% makes him only better than Nixon since polling data began during the Truman years.

Which brings me to a common myth thrown in our face about the popularity of Ronald Reagan. You see, when he died, The Mainstream Media (MSM) kept telling us how he was the most popular president in modern times at the time he left office with an approval rating of 57%.

Note the italics.

They had to quantify it with these words to give Reagan the most popular rating. If they said since the beginning of poll taking you would have to include Eisenhower, who left office with an approval rating of 59%. So I guess for the Reagan worshippers, Modern times didn't start until after 1964.

They also said he was the most popular president at the time he left office in 1989. This would then not include Clinton who had an approval rating of 63% when he left office in 2001.

So that would put Reagan in third place in popularity since polling data began during the Truman years. Let's look at the data...


Harry Truman had an approval rating of 31% when he left office. He knew he wouldn't win the 1952 election and chose not to run.

Dwight Eisenhower left office with a 59% approval rating.

John Kennedy was assassinated, you can't get a fair approval rating after he left because of martyrdom.

Lyndon Johnson screwed up in Vietnam, so much so that he didn't run in 1968. His approval rating was 45%

Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace and his approval rating was 24%

Gerald Ford wasn't elected, even as vice president, lost the 1976 race and still, his approval rating was 52%, a mere 5% points down from Reagan.

Jimmy Carter lost re-election and left office with a 33% rating.

George Bush Sr. followed Reagan, lost re-election and left with an approval rating of 49%.

Bill Clinton left with his 63% approval rating

and now George Bush Jr leaves with his 30% approval rating giving him the worst rating of those who served two full terms.

So, until yesterday Reagan was only ahead of those who lost re-elections, died in office, resigned in disgrace and those who chose not to run for re-election.

In my book that's last place for Reagan.

Until now.

And Bush basically was Reagan without a strong Democratic Congress to challenge him. Thus Reagan's legacy takes another hit. I don't think the MSM will see it that way.

Now some polls had Reagan ahead of Eisenhower but all had him behind Clinton.

Bush can always cling on to the fact that he had the highest approval rating at 92%. Of course that was when 3 thousand people died. We like it when that happens, I guess. Still, I did get polled on the 14th of September 2001 and I guess I was in the 8%.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day











I spent all day sitting on my ass, switching over from the TV to the computer to take in the festivities. What a relief to have a real man in the White House leading our country out of the quagmire that our slumpy, smirky previous frat boy put us in.

I started the day going to the grocery store to pick up more corn oil to make my hot wings. I commented on the higher price for corn oil and I got an earful about how it's because of the new administration.

She must watch the Fox News because of course at 7am, Barack Obama was not president yet and the price of corn oil and other food items have been high since way before he won the election.

This leads to a recent Fox News talking point. During the Bush years we have had 2, count them 2 recessions. One of the recessions has been going on for well over a year, it's the worst since the Depression. It's even worse than the Reagan Recession that devastated our economy after his massive tax cuts.

Now, Bush has had two recessions on his watch but Hannity will try to have us believe that neither of them were his fault. Of course the recession in 2001 that immediately followed Bush's first tax cuts was Bill Clinton's fault.

Well, it's not the most disingenuous argument. A recession can come about because of what happened before but history shows that massive tax cuts, especially in a recovering economy has given us many a recession.

So the economy recovers eventually in a sluggish way thanks to the real estate bubble that crashed us into the horrific economy that we are now experiencing. But since it started well over a year ago it is of course Obama's fault. Never mind it started when it looked like the 2008 election was going to be between Rudy and Hillary in an almost replay of the 2000 New York Senator race. (Almost, because Rudy dropped out)

Now Hannity used the argument that the recession happened in anticipation of a new Non-Bush president. And according to Hannity the tax increases that Obama is gonna do is the reason that we're experience the second recession Under Bush's watch.

So, I watched the festivities mostly on the C-Span, occasionally watching MSNBC after Joe Scarborough was gone, and Fox News to see what kind of spin they were going to put on it. They are just warming up. Got to give the Right Wing Sheep something to cling on to.

I love the rituals. From the church attendance, the coffee at the White House, the drive to the Capitol, the car with the MASSIVELY thick doors. The introductions of all the past presidents and vice presidents and spouses. The only one missing was Nancy Reagan. One thing I noticed is how cold Jimmy Carter is to Bill Clinton and vice versa. What's that about? Clinton is much warmer to both the Bushes. crazy. It was interesting to see Dan Quayle, though. I mean, who da thunk how much better this country would have been if he was president instead of Bush. That's how absurd it was to have W Bush president.

Bush has been talking about his "accomplishments" recently. One of them was his two Supreme Court appointments including Chief Justice John Roberts. Some choice, his highest profile duty is to swear in the new president, his first. He royally screwed it up, (Maybe on purpose) denying Barack Obama's moment in the historic sun. It was 4 minutes past noon. They had to have Yo-Yo and friends play first, thus giving us four minutes more of Bush as president.

Oh well, President Obama's speech was solid, straight to the point and not too long. He's no William Henry Harrison (I Died In Thirty Days!) in that department.

It was good to see that helicopter take away Bush. Dick Cheney was lucky Richard Widmark passed away recently.

The amount of people there was amazing. The most ever, beating of all people LBJ's 1964 Inauguration.

Obama looks very presidential. I won't gag every time I see a press conference for the next four years. And Joe Biden...Man that man is having the time of his life and is married to a doctor.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

New Pipe Dreams cartoon!








This actually was something that a former girlfriend was able to do to me but I wasn't able to do to her. Was I too weak or was she too heavy?

Friday, January 16, 2009

RIP Andrew Wyeth














Famed American painter Andrew Wyeth died at the age of 91. He was in the middle of a Wyeth family painter dynasty. He was the son of illustrator N.C. Wyeth and the father of Jamie Wyeth. Andrew was probably the most famous particularly for the painting "Christina's World" and his series of paintings of his muse Helga. He was a classic.












Thursday, January 15, 2009

KHAAAAANNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!














Legendary actor Ricardo Montalban has just died. He was one of the last stars from the studio system era. He was well known for his "Latin lover" roles in the 40's and the 50's. His look was so exotic he sometimes played Asians and Arabs in movies. He was in such top shape through his life that the women swooned.

But that's not really what he was known for. In the 60's he was relegated to supporting roles in the movies. He started doing guest roles on some TV shows, including an episode on a low rated science fiction show.











He had appeared in two sequels of the Planet of the Apes movie franchise in the early 70's. By the mid 70's he started doing television commercials for the Chrysler Cordova. His reading of the term "Corinthian Leather" made the car a big seller. This also helped him get the lead in his most successful role, Mr. Roarke of "Fantasy Island." This was a silly show that was a huge hit. It was a Saturday night staple from the late 70's to the early 80's.



















Due to his new popularity, he revisited the role from that sci-fi from the 60's. The low rated series was Star Trek. The role was Khan from an episode called "Space Seed." Star Trek was making a series of movies to capitalize on its growing popularity. So the second movie in the series featured Ricardo Montalban as Khan in what is widely regarded as the best movie in the franchise.



















He continued to work constantly even after we was mostly confined to a wheelchair. He did a lot of voice work towards the end of his life.

I like the guy. I get a kick watching old movies on TCM and seeing his dashing presence. He projected nobility even in his villainous roles. Another legend gone.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Rain Won't Stop Me, Now!

Okay, I skipped karaoke last week because I didn't get finished with my friends in the city until nearly 10pm. that meant by the time I got to Mad Hatters it was midnight. I was hoping to continue my fun day but when I entered the Hat it was too crowded with unfamiliar faces and wouldn't you know it, I hit the wall with my tiredness. I crashed so hard that the next day, New Years Eve, I was pretty much bed ridden the whole day.

So, a week goes by and I recovered from whatever it was I had, I was ready to go out again. When I went out, the rain, or was it sleet? was falling. My Hyundai was an ice car. My need to go out overwhelmed my sense of reason. I figured because of the bad weather and the fact it was Tuesday, The Hat wouldn't be crowded. I was wrong. Word must have gotten out, that the Mad Hatter is the place to be to do karaoke on Tuesdays.

I walked in, planted my ass near someone I knew from another place and waited my turn. Yes, SHE was there. We looked across at each other a few times but my throat was still sore, so I didn't think it wise to have close contact with her. My sore throat prevented me from doing an exceptional job singing. though I've noticed that when I feel I don't do well, people praise me more.

I must be a lousy judge of my abilities.

Anyway, It was crowded, but since this host doesn't take "DJ breaks", I was able to get up there 3 times which is the ideal minimum times I like to be up there. 6 is usually the ideal maximum. Any less than three seems incomplete, and any more than six gets redundant.

Three songs is ideal in that I can to a "go to" song, this night it was "Tempted" by Squeeze. A song that's challenging or crowd pleasing i.e. "Young Americans" by David Bowie. and if a third song comes up I can do either a new song if I can find one, or a song that is not really in my abilities as a challenge. I found a new song "Don't Look Back In Anger" by Oasis. My evening is set.

One reason I like going to the Mad Hatter is that the crowd is supportive even though there is a gong behind the bar that gets used every once in a while. I have yet to be gonged, though I might have deserved it sometimes.

So, I do my "go to" song "Tempted" by Squeeze. It's a little out of my normal range but I usually nail it. This night my voice was rough, but since I am used to the song, I can navigate the bumps relatively smoothly. The supportive crowd gave me a boost of confidence. The video is a favorite of mine I posted in previous blog entries. I can't get enough of the trashy blond dancing at the end near Paul Carrack.

Tempted Squeeze HD

The second song I did is one that I like to do every once in awhile. I prefer doing it in a bigger place complete with a wirefull microphone on a stand. I use both the wire and the stand as a dramatic prop especially with songs like "Young Americans." It's a song that's a mouthful with the words. It's in my vocal range but some of the non sequiturs in it makes it a challenge to sing especially with my voice being rough, though the falsetto parts were clear voiced.

That's why I don't need anyone to jump on stage to sing along with me. It's beyond a pet peeve of mine. Frat boys, Never interrupt someone who is singing, I don't want you. I don't need you. I am quite capable of handling it myself. Heck, I don't even want the girl I have a crush on the stage man, why would I want a lunkheaded frat boy singing off key to join me?

Anyway, I found a vintage Bowie clip from the Dick Cavett show on the YouTubes. I'm proud to say I hit the falsetto "Break Downnn and Cryhiiiii!" part better than Bowie but man I wish I could be as skinny as Bowie.

Yeah I know.

My shoulders are so huge I don't need the pads that the "Thin White Duke" needed.

David Bowie - young americans - the dick cavett show newyork

So, I get a third chance to sing. Now, I found yet another song I haven't done before courtesy of my Ipod in shuffle mode. I love Oasis, They, like Guns and Roses had one superb album amongst other not so good albums. The album (What's the Story) Morning Glory? is one of the best albums of the 90's. It has the song "Don't Look Back In Anger." I had not done it before. I heard it on my Ipod and thought it would make a ideal song for me to do. It starts exactly like John Lennon's "Imagine." and turns into a Beatles song. In other words it's an Oasis song.

I got distracted by some of the audience singing along, but here's the rub. They knew the song better than me. I was improvising the parts I didn't know but I eventually was able to figure the right way to do the song. My voice was cracking throughout and I cleared my throat many a time during the song. Next week if my voice is intact I'll redo the songs I have had problem with the last month or so.

Anyway, The video is the official one which features guitarist Noel Gallagher singing lead vocals. now, I get amused watching Liam Gallagher doing whatever he does whenever he's not singing. He's the Britpop version of Mike Love.

Oasis - Don't Look Back In Anger (US)