Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chris Brown: Work or Shoot?

A note before going on: After a well-deserved facepalm, I should probably apologize. About a week ago, I set the ‘ground rules’ for this blog. After seeing the last few (non-Examiner-related) posts, a statement I made jumps out at me:

Oh, and I’m not the type to post a lot of pictures for the attention-span deficient. Sorry, but you’re going to actually have to read.

So, what do I go and do? I put up several posts that are
almost all pictures. Good job, genius.

I can excuse two of them. In fact, I’ve gone back and renamed them to do just that. I figured out how to update this thing directly from my phone. And yes, I’ll be using that quite a bit. The other was more of a gag than an actual post for the wrestling-savvy among you.

But still, I went back on something I said and I don’t like that. And an apology is in order for such, so I apologize. When I’m writing, I try to refrain from dumbing it down, and, to me, that’s what a gaggle of pictures do. I don’t like feeling I’m catering to the ADHD, blink-and-you-miss-it-because-it’s-so-much-easier-than-thinking crowd, but sometimes a picture says a lot. So, I should rephrase that to read:

If you’re lucky, I’ll throw in some pretty pitchers once in a while, but for the most part, you’re going to have to read.

There, now I feel better. Now, with that off my chest, it’s time to dig in to a perfect example of where this Blog got its name...

I was all set to look at the Chris Brown Incident objectively. In fact, I even kept the original title to this post based upon simply seeing the video of--

Aw, son of a...Viacom already got to it. Great, now I have to use the *official* video for--

Whoa. It’s not even on BET’s site? Something strange is going on here...

...and now that I’ve had a chance to look in to this a bit, it doesn’t surprise me in the least. See, when this all blew up, reaction was split 50/50 between, “You know, Chris has been through a lot, he’s paying tribute to his idol, it all just got to him, he’s human just like everyone else, maybe it’s time to forgive and forget,” and “Are you bloody kidding me? This has ‘PR masterstroke written all over it, this isn’t even genuine, he’s only trying to save his career.”

Looking at most places online - even among ”reputable sources” - everyone is split as to whether this was a Work or Shoot. One thing was for sure, over a returning Kanye West (who did a LOT less and still hasn’t been forgiven), Prince being handed a (LONG overdue) Lifetime Achievement Award, and the return of (wait for it...) El Debarge (and the idiot that called him a legend has a little something coming his way in a day or 2), what everyone was talking about is Chris Brown. And, for once, his name isn’t proceeded by, “the clown that made his MMA debut against his girlfriend in a moving Porsche.”

Whether this was real or staged, the performance had already done its job. Chris Brown is back on everyone’s lips, and this time it’s in a positive light. And, of course, many are either too willing to see a happy ending to think they’ve seen a miracle or dumb enough to believe that they’re not being played to play right in to what they’ve been fed.

Me, I almost bought it for a second. Without being able to see the video very clearly, I couldn’t tell one way or the other. I was honestly torn on whether we had witnessed a sincere music moment or not--

--until I saw this. “This night saved my life, and my career”? Does that not sound a tetch too calculated?

If you’re the type that think Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag (Lord and Lady Douche) are actually splitting up and that Lindsay Lohan has any desire to go clean, then it probably doesn’t. A lot of the reason the pop culture now kowtows to the lowest common denominator is, simply, because it can. Why try to reach out to and enlighten an audience when you don’t have to? Hell, why not completely hoodwink them with a “performance” that features a singer “spontaneously” breaking down, snotting and bawling so badly that he can’t even finish the performance while the camera knows exactly where he will be and when so it can follow his every “emotional” move?

Sorry, I’m a little smarter than that. I’ve seen from the inside the miracles that PR people can construct and calculate. And America just fell for another one. It never gets old, especially if your prey is still so gullible.

Chris, I’m not falling for this one. What you did to Rihanna aside, I can’t stand some fool putting on an obvious show and trying to tell me his emotion was real when it’s not. The first thing on your mind is saving your career - and the pathetic thing is, you probably succeeded because the fans you wanted to like you again have a reason to. And they’re too stupid to see that you played them like so many of the girls you sing about.

So, to quote the late Ric Flair--wait, he's still alive? Oh, hold on, quote "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair, "Tell your story walkin'."

Oh, yeah - if I have to spell it out for you, the answer is “Work.” Totally. I just hope that enough people think the same thing to give this jackass a one-way ticket to Celebrity Rehab in about 5-7 years.

Sci-Fried makes "Con-tact" at Nerdapalooza

Sci-Fried has gained an unstoppable momentum by marrying rock and roll with all things geek in heretofore unheard of ways. This is their story.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mobile Post 02

"True love" lost on a reality show expressly designed for that purpose...and it's big news when it doesn't last because the love of fame was probably more important? And you wonder why I ask the question...

Mobile Post 01


Tuesday, June 22, 2010


As I write this, I’m listening to my guest appearance on The Real Congregation (airing every Tuesday morning from 3 am to 6 am on WPRK 91.5 FM Winter Park, FL, The Best in Underground Radio, in case you’re wondering). Before anything else is said or done, I owe a HUGE thanks to Marc (with a C) for having me on the show. I had a great time on my radio debut (!) and I still feel a little humbled by the experience. As I told him as we were leaving the studio, the best I could have hoped for was not sounding like an absolute fool – and I think I accomplished that, so all in all it was a pretty good experience.

And while we’re on the subject of Marc (with a C), I HIGHLY suggest picking up a copy of his compilation, RetroLowFi: Ten Years of Marc (with a C). The link provided could score you a vinyl pressing, which sounds great. Because it’s vinyl. And it’s Marc. If you prefer CD, those are available, too. Either way, getting to know a great musician, superb songwriter, and awesome performer is well worth the spare change.

With my thanks given and that off my chest, it dawns on me that, after last night, a few people may be coming here after we talked about the Blog. Granted, there’s an idea of what to expect in the bio to your right, but a little more explanation may be in order.

(On a personal note, I have to admit I’m actually not too comfortable putting myself over like this, which is what a lot of this entry feels like to me. That strikes me as weird that I feel like that in just explaining myself, but I feel it’s a necessary step before I really push this thing down a hill and watch it roll where it may. I have to take the self-congratulations with the self-deprecation and just deal with it, so this is an exercise for me as well.)

Before getting to the nut of this thing, the bio states that I’ve done this sort of thing for a combined ten-plus years. And that’s completely true. I’ve done quite a few-—hell, a lot of interviews, feature pieces, news bits, you name it. I’ve covered a large bit of ground in my decade of experience, and I’ve loved every bit of it. And yes, I plan on continuing all of it.

First: the title of this particular post is somewhat of a misnomer. I don’t really get Frequently Asked Questions. Hell, I don’t get many questions, period. I’m used to asking them. It suited what I wanted to do, though, because it gives the impression that it’s a catch-all for what you can expect from the Blog from this point forward.

Let’s start with the aforementioned bio. The whole idea behind this was a revulsion and ultimate rebellion to being force-fed mediocrity and expected to fall in line and accept it all as gold. After a little prompting from Marc, I decided to let that side of me out in public to terrorize the countryside simply because I can’t hold stuff like that in. For good or ill, I have to say what I feel. If it offends you, fall back in line and pretend Lady GaGa is actually doing something new like everybody else.

Before you do, though, I have a very clear point to make: if something I say does offend you when I’m calling out idiocy, then you’re probably the person I’m actually after. I’m a HUGE proponent in the idea of thinking for yourself and not repeating what everyone else loves because, God forbid, you be labeled as weird, strange, or, my personal favorite, “creepy”. The ills of Political Correctness and how it has bled in to popular culture to completely destroy the idea of anything original or new is what spawned this thing in the first place and pervades a LOT of my everyday thinking. Consider this the warning show across the bow. It’s the only one you’ll get.

Oh, and I’m not the type to post a lot of pictures for the attention-span deficient. Sorry, but you’re going to actually have to read.

Second thing is you’ll notice not a lot of four-letter words to be found here. Yes, that’s deliberate. Anybody can curse. It’s easy. I pride myself on making a point and dressing people/situations down without being profane in the least. Or, as my wife puts it, “cussing somebody out without cussing them out.” Not only that, but I like the idea of offending people not with language, but with subject matter. And no, talking about Perez Hilton posting pictures of an underage singer without her underwear on and then putting Olympic athletes to shame by backpedaling his way out of being charged with child pornography is not what I consider offensive subject material.

Which brings us to number three: If you came upon this because you typed “pop culture” in to Google hoping for the same sycophantic gossip everyone else is spreading just to get readers, you’re in the wrong place. The only thing you’ll hear me say about clowns like Perez Hilton is how ludicrous they are in thinking they actually matter just because many are too dumb to realize the celebrity he cares about the most is himself. The fact that he even became somewhat famous and that he’s able to make that 15 minutes last forever because people are too dumb to ignore this loudmouth makes me want to puke up every chocolate cake I’ve ever eaten. And that’s just a small (but obvious) example of the absurdity I’ll be calling out here.

Leading right in to number four: this will not be an all-negati—hold on. I really need to emphasize this one. THIS WILL NOT BE AN ALL-NEGATIVE BLOG. I may have quite a bit of venom to unload, but it’s not all I am. Besides, that gets a little boring, too. There’s plenty of stuff out there I absolutely love, and I’m a firm believer in praising right moves as well as damning wrong ones. So, between the two, expect to gain a lot of insight to my overall tastes if you’re paying attention.

Five. There will be links to my stuff on, 411 Mania, as well as wherever else I may pop up. I would like this to be not only a place to be myself, but a place to archive my writings overall. It also gives you more of a complete picture, because this vein of writing overall is my passion, and they're just as much a part of that as this is.

…all of which, 1000+ words later, is a way of saying something I probably could have done in a paragraph. Did I say I feel weird about talking about myself? I meant it, really. It was necessary for me, though, to go through all that trouble to explain that this is me being me. For better or worse, ‘til death do I part, if I am to have a voice at all and be myself on a planet that seems to frown on that sort of thing anymore, this is the place I have to do it. And yes, it is something I have to do.

Besides, if douchenozzles like Perez Hilton can become famous doing this sort of thing, who am I to shy away from simply picking my own little corner of cyberspace to talk about what I want to?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

R.I.P. VH1

I can officially add VH1 to the list of networks that can, to paraphrase the incomparable Ice-T, “suck the sheets up my buttcrack.”

It happened during their “100 Most Shocking Moments In Music” countdown show. Chris Jericho was hosting, which was, admittedly, a reason to tune in. And I love these sort of countdowns. The ones that E! does about Hottest this, that, or the other…not interested. Good music countdowns? Ones about, you know, what VH1 is about (or so I thought, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself)? Sure, I’m game. So, I settled in and caught it from #30.

Ball one came from seeing the Rolling Stones/Altamonte debacle at #22. Really? The incident that marked the end of an era of music that produced some of the most notable work in history didn’t even crack the top 20? The skepticism set in, but I was still willing to play along.

Strike one came in seeing the commercials for new shows on VH1. Remember the thing about VH1 being about music? Yeah, forget it. I learned – and maybe I’m late to the party here – that, except for special occasions, VH1 apparently gave that up. “Dad Camp”? “The OCD Project”? What the hell does any of this have to do with music? I was crestfallen that the last bastion of music on basic cable was about to go the way of the dinosaur. I turned to my wife and said, “My God, VH1 is turning in to MTV.”

Time for a sidenote. For those that don’t remember when MTV was more than “The Hills” or “Laguna Beach” or whatever crap is on there now, this is not a good thing. This is the channel that once revolutionized music. Because of that, this is the channel that the world of music revolved around for a long time. MTV used to matter. Now, no matter how many Heidi Montags they give us (along with Douchelord Supreme Spencer Pratt), they can no longer make that claim. And to see VH1 going that route is truly a reason to mourn.

Strike two came with another commercial – this one, at least, for a music-related special. I’ll give them that little credit. The special, however, is about Bret Michaels. As a guy that covered his health issues in detail for Examiner, this may sound a little strange coming out of me. But, let’s face facts here for a minute: aside from making this generation’s panties wet when they were teenage girls (and how he did that IN FULL FRICKIN’ DRAG I still have no clue to this day), Bret Michaels has contributed the square root to diddly-squat to music. Period. For each “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”, there’s a “Don’t Know What You Got (‘Til It’s Gone)”. For every “Talk Dirty To Me”, there’s a “Seventeen”. Nothing groundbreaking, nothing no one else didn’t do first, not even anything original. There is NOTHING that Poison – or Michaels – did that contributed anything to the lasting legacy of rock music. Anyone who cons themselves in to thinking that because he’s had a hard time with his health lately is nostalgically delusional.

As far as his health goes, you’d think a guy who’s fought with diabetes and has now had two serious health scares involving his brain would stop to take it easy for a minute. Instead, this clown sees this as his last five minutes of fame! He admitted that his doctors didn’t know he would show up on the “American Idol” finale to perform. Of course they didn’t, because they would have asked him, “Dude, is pushing yourself to sing that lousy ballad really worth risking your life?” Now, he’s back on television after hobbling out to become the new Celebrity Apprentice. Again.

The sad thing is, once he drops dead, everyone will rally around how great and important he was to music when that theory was already shot to hell two paragraphs ago. Every one of them will also overlook how much of an idiot he was for pushing himself back in to the limelight when he was literally risking his life to do so and hail him as a hero or a survivor. He’d actually be a survivor if he just stopped for a while, made sure he was healthy, and then resumed his career when he’s in better shape to do so. But, like every other rube that can’t stay out of the spotlight (once again, Montag, this has you written all over it), he refuses to do so.

Strike three – as in you’re out, and what finally pushed me to renounce VH1, even as a credible source – was their #1 pick for Most Shocking Moment In Music. SPOILER ALERT: it was the death of Michael Jackson. An incident not even a year old and, considering all the troubles he’d had post-trial and the fact that it’s out now that he was eating Prozac (among MANY other things) like the Foo Fighters ate Mentos, they still had the audacity to call “shocking”. Meanwhile, John Lennon, who was gunned down out of nowhere, was relegated to #2.

There’s no tirade about Jackson to be had here, because it’s already been done. I’ll snatch a few paragraphs from it, though, to basically illustrate what all the talking head comments on the show were about (and probably why he made top spot):

Then a funny thing happened. In the midst of a comeback staged because Jackson had found a set of financiers to bail him out of his personal debt, Jackson blindsided his fans and foes alike with the ultimate career move – he died when no one saw it coming. No one even knows how yet, let alone why. Maybe the stresses of a life no one would wish on their worst enemy. Or years of prescription medication abuse (to which Jackson himself has admitted to several times) catching up to him. Hell, between the debt and facing a world that hated his guts, it may well have been deliberate. Putting aside a lot of unanswered questions, the world stopped for a moment and realized that an immense talent had left this earth, never to be heard from again.

Then, the world did something equally strange. It forgave him. At long last, everyone believed his stories of being abused as a child, and how he was just a simple kid at heart who only ever wanted to laugh and play with other kids like he never could when he was a child himself. Everyone talked – after 18 long years – about how talented of a musician he was, and how that gift and the music it produced would never be forgotten despite the fact that it had been almost two decades since anyone thought to remember that fact in the first place.

Phrases were thrown around the internet like how "THE DEATH OF MICHEAL WAS LIKE 9/11 EVENT IN WORLD TRADE CENTER". And that was just the beginning, as those very same people that mocked and condemned the one-time King Of Pop now stood among those who voiced their desperation and sadness that Jackson had suddenly passed away. Hands were held and people sang the praises of one of the greatest careers in music history and bemoaned the star-crossed life that Jackson lead, feeling pity for the man they had once derided so openly.

So, basically, because America is alluva sudden in love with Michael Jackson again, he makes top spot. Not because, in taking the context of their countdown literally he deserved it (once again, Lennon’s death and a few others – like Kurt Cobain – came as more of a shock than this), but because everyone would have been mad if he didn’t.

I’m sorry, I’m not buying it. I don’t like being told how to think and feel. Between that and the fact that this is all coming from a trusted source for music yet another reality channel, VH1 and I are done. Thank God.

Eagles of Death Metal bassist diagnosed with cancer

Eagles of Death Metal bassist diagnosed with cancer