Friday Fives – rock star deaths

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Another rock star died today, and by his own hand… again.  It’s time to have the talk.  The big talk.  The one your dad was supposed to have with you when you were 12… but he was afraid to.  So, instead he just told your mom that you two had ‘the talk’ and just bought you a Penthouse from that 7-11 over at 44th & Camelback?  You know, ‘scary Larry worked there overnights?’  Dude was LEGEND, and would sell ciggies and Mickey’s Big Mouth beers to anyone as long as there were no other customers in the store.

Or… am I being too specific?  So let’s just finally have that ‘talk’.  The ‘talk’ about rock stars dying.

ok, let’s get into it, shall we?

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Kurt Cobain – do you think Courtney was involved?

No.  I wouldn’t put it past her, though.  I would not be surprised if we found out she was involved.  In this specific situation, though, I think it was all him.  Totally doesn’t mean she wasn’t planning that very second to have him killed.  It’s like the joke my pal Jeff told me about Kennedy’s killing.  There were so many people out for him:  the mob, the Cubans, the Republican hawks who didn’t want him to draw down Vietnam.  So, his point is more ‘who wasn’t trying to kill Kennedy that day?”

Here is the thing, I am kinda obsessed with Courtney.  I am in love her with, and reviled by her.  I have written about her a lot, and I will admit to you I also have a nude photo of her on my phone which is just fantastic.  She defines the term ‘hot mess’, and I also call her lovingly ‘the original Charlie Sheen’.

Is the ’27 Club’ a real thing, or just a perfect example of confirmation bias?

Yes, it’s a real thing.  Now, let me clarify… I am not saying more rock stars die at 27 than normal people.  No.  What I am saying is that when it comes to rock stars dying… there is overwhelming numbers that show it happens at 27 years old.  Believe it or not, I have a whole web site just about this.  I have been fascinated by this since high school.  That was 25 years ago, and it keeps happening.  I never could find a good site that just focused on this phenomenon.  Plus, I truly believe I know more about rock music that most folks alive… so who better than me to tackle it.

It’s called ‘Remember the 27’.  It’s cool, you should check it out if you are a music person.  I take a look at what I consider the top 5 reasons why this might be happening… and then drill down on each one.

What’s your favorite rock star death?  I know that’s a sick question… let me rephrase it ‘what is the most interesting death… to you’?

Brian Jones (from the Rolling Stones)… his death was listed as ‘death by misadventure’.  You don’t know the name, which is a shame.  He wrote their best early stuff – Paint it Black, Ruby Tuesday, Mother’s Little Helper.  He drowned, and everything about it is suspicious… but we’ll likely never know… since it was prolly 50 years ago.  His sacrifice may have been worth it, though… as we have the term ‘death by misadventure‘ in the lexicon now.

What rock star death hit you the hardest?

Initially, as in “I just can’t believe that happened.  I am still waiting for someone to tell him it was a mistake” – Chris Cornell.  Over a lifetime, though, Jerry Garcia.  Thing is, I wasn’t that impacted when it first happened because I was mad at him.  We saw them on their last tour, and it was terrible.  So terrible we walked out, which I had never done at a Dead show before.  Basically, when it happened, I wasn’t even a tiny bit surprised.  However, the sadness has compounded over the years.  I think he was the greatest guitarist we had.

Who is the rock star that you are most surprised isn’t dead?  Difficulty challenge – other than Keith Richards.  Don’t be so obvious, man!

Courtney.  She doesn’t just love drugs, she seems to have a lot of emotional and narcissistic tendencies.  I would bet her mentality about drugs is that they kill weaker people.  She also seems to possess all kinds of impulse control problems.  When she goes, it will be like Weiland.  We won’t be surprised… except for maybe how she lasted as long as she did.  I am pre-mourning her death in anticipation of the inevitable.

also, honorary mention on the ‘how is he still alive’ definitely goes to Slash.

 

Friday Fives – bookish edition

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 How many of you still read books for entertainment?

I do still read, constantly.  However, I just can’t find time to read a book. I still consume books… daily.  These days, I do it all through audiobooks.  I prattle on about that here.  I read something a few years ago that always sticks with me.  The average American household has less than 5 books in it, and one of those is the bible.

What is that one book you just could NOT put down while you were reading it?

Kathy Griffin’s ‘Official Book Club Selection’.  Also gotta mention Springsteen’s autobiography.  Not just a page turner, but incredibly well written.

Btw, I don’t really read books for ‘entertainment’.  More for relaxation.

What book are you currently reading listening to?

Waging Heavy Peace – Neil Young

What book absolutely blew your mind?

 Lamb – the Gospel of Christ according to Biff, his childhood pal.  This book just blew my mind.  So incredibly super really great.  Mind you, I am not just un-religious… but pretty militantly anti-religion.  I was raised Catholic, though. I would also like to tell you about a near ‘religious experience’ I had with this book.  I was alone in a car for many hours on Christmas day reading it (just by chance) on zero sleep for several days.

This book also turned me on to the amazingness that is author Christopher Moore.  Since this book, I have gone on to read many of his.  Again, I prattle on and on about my love for this guy on my books page.  Just hope over here and do a control F on his name.

and….

Probably how well written that Springsteen book was.  You see how he is the voice of a generation.  I can barely think of my favorite writers who write that well.  He spend 7 years on it, and used no ghostwriter.  No ghostwriter is INCREDIBLE.   All rock memoirs are written with ghostwriters, usually the very impressive Anthony Bozza.  Rock stars don’t generally have the time or attention span or literary capability to do that.  The ghostwriter thing is perfect.  A dude hangs out with you for about a year.  He asks you pointed questions, and you tell him anecdotes.  They put it together for you.  Not the Boss.

Generally speaking, every famous person who has written a book uses a ghostwriter.

If you died today and the last text you received was written on your tomb stone, what would it say?

mostly done

 

 

ew… that is actually pretty perfect.  and… kinda creepy out of context of the conversation  Props to the Arizona Monkey Boy for that gem!  In case you don’t remember, we kinda made the Az Monkey Boy famous here.  As a bonus, we have his answers to this week’s five right below.

*** can I point something significant out here?  I just realized I went through an ENTIRE post about books (not my questions, either.  all from my editor) and I never once mentioned Alice in Wonderland.  That is a breakthrough!

Friday Fives – trust edition

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What do you never trust?

On political ad campaigns… for propositions and such… I don’t trust the side with the most and nicest commercials.  It is simple math.  The side with the most money to spend on an issue is never going to be the side working for the consumer.

What or who do you always trust?

Consumer reports.  Didn’t I just write a thing on that?  Crap, I didn’t.  they are AMAZING.  They are a non profit, they don’t have ANY ads in their magazines.  They purchase outright everything they test.  Even cars… they don’t take cars from manufacturers.  They go to car lots with cash, anonymously, to buy the cars they test.  They don’t let companies use their ratings for endorsements.  It’s like $30 a year, and I get that much value out of EVERY single issue.

know who is out there fighting to keep you safe on the road?  Not the government!  AAA, and Consumer Reports.  Remember those little SUVS that were rolling over in the 80s?  and the Ford Exploders rolling over in the 90s?  Remember Pintos asploding?  Yeah, that was Consumer Reports.  Oh, and they get sued, a LOT.  Companies no likey when you explain their product will fucking kill you.  Guess what?  Consumer Reports has never lost a lawsuit ONCE.

What are some basic mechanics of a car everyone should know?

Glad you asked!  Since I work for AAA, I feel uniquely qualified to answer this.  I don’t think you should be issued a license until you can jump a battery and change a tire.  You would be amazed to know how few people can do that.

I would say less than half of the males under 40 either know how to, or care to, change their tires.  Now, I know its sexist to only point out men.  ANYONE who drives should know how to change a tire and jump a battery.  If you are a man, though… come on!  Don’t you feel an obligation to be manly, and save the day?  I shouldn’t bitch, the wussification of the American male pays my bills.  Ironically, pay for my (rather manly) truck.  Ok, speaking of that… those tires are HUGE.  I have to admit I would prolluy call AAA if I blew a tire on the side of the road.  Thing is, I could change it if I wanted to.  Why are you snickering?  I am fortunate, though, I buy these tires.  Never had a single flat tire in 15 years of running this tire.   and yes, I realize I just jinxed myself, stop tittering.  Stop the tittering AND the snickering.  I work for AAA, I get this shit free.  It would take me about an hour to do with our guys can do in 5 minutes.  You should see it, they are like NASCAR pit crews… its a thing of beauty.  Why don’t you have AAA?  It’s $75, and that gets you 4 tows/service calls a year.

ok. I accept that whole rant got a little preachy.  I apologize.  I ain’t deleting any of it, but I just read that last paragraph and I come off like a dick.  I’m not, I swear.  You are!

sorry, just been informed by my editor that last comment didn’t help.  What a dick!  valuable asset to the team.  (ed note:  he forgot he gave me his passwords.  What a dick!)

What is an odd mechanical/DYI skill you have that has become a life long superhero skill

Stereos.  I can wire anything up to anything, and I have all the cables and attachments for the last 30 years to do it.  Do you want your 15 year old receiver wired up to your new speakers, and your 5 year old blu ray player?  I can do that.  Need your microwave to run in surround sound, using your fridge as the subwoofer?  I can probably do that.

I have a collection of antiquated stereo equipment and connectors and cables that look like Radio Shack threw up in my basement.

What are the biggest product Scams?

I worry about all these pharma drug commercials… where they tell you what you have and the drug you need.  “Ask your Doctor about Fuqitol® today.”  And then they list all the shit in that drug that may kill you.  I don’t think this stuff should be advertised direct to consumers.  This is the doctor’s job.  These ads aren’t going anywhere, either.  Apparently, it is about 25% of television’s ad budget buys.  They rely on this jive.  Btw, your T is ALL fucked up!  You don’t have ‘Low T’, you got no T.  Your T left for Vegas with 2 hookers.  What kind of man are you, anyway.  You need Lono brand dick crème®… stat!

See, ‘low T’ isn’t really a thing. It’s called aging, and it’s natural.  You are supposed to be crazy jacked up on testosterone when you are 18, and not when you are 60.  This is why the military takes 18 year olds, and not 60 year olds.

 

I love you, have a great weekend.  I appreciate this outlet, and you reading.

 

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – a perfect review > and epitath for Hunter S Thompson

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I love this movie, the Johnny Depp one.  The film is perfect.  I think it captures Hunter and that era of his life perfectly.  Johnny Depp goes so deep into Hunter’s persona it’s a wonder he ever made it out.  I can tell you how I think he did it, too.  Not just the craft of acting, he lived with Hunter.  That is no small feat.  Even Bill Murray didn’t actually move in with Hunter.  Hunter and Depp became close friends during this process, and remained life long friends.  The connection was deeper than love of drugs and nonsense and art and great writing and blowing shit up.  They are both from Kentucky.  I own the 2 disc ‘Criterion Collection’ set, which I highly recommend.  It is FULL of hours of featurettes and old Hunter movies.  It’s where we learned about Hunter’s absurd funerary request, which Johnny Depp handsomely and famously paid 5 million dollars to make happen.

You know… the one about shooting his ashes out of a Gonzo fist cannon into space after he commits suicide.  The footage is from when Hunter is in his 30’s, but 30 years later… he up and went and killed himself… almost as promised.

Let’s talk about the movie for a second.  Being a lit grad, and a HUGE fan of Hunter’s writing.  I should tell you the movie does the book no justice.  Wrong.  I mean, you absolutely must read the book… but the movie is fantastic.  I think it’s perfect, and could not have done better.  Heck, even Hunter himself does a cameo.  Probably not as an artistic endorsement so much as to score the per diem, and to keep an eye on the process.  Legend goes, he was kicked off his own set for being a wasted pain in the ass.  Pretty easy to believe, so I shall.

But this isn’t about that.  This is about the movie, and the synopsis I read about it on Rotten Tomatoes.  Of course, the movie was slammed by critics.  Who cares what the critics think of a movie?  Honestly, I NEVER look at that.  I want to know what people thought about it.  Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas has an epic discrepancy between the two, perhaps one of the biggest on all of Rotten Tomatoes.  Critics gave it at 49%, where fans gave it an 89%.  I would argue few people know Hunter’s writing and social impact like me.  Hunter is a BIG part of why I moved to Denver, CO… to be closer to him.  But this isn’t about that.  No sir, this is a quick hit on the review the ‘critics’ left of the movie.

Critics Consensus: Visually creative, but also aimless, repetitive, and devoid of character development.

This is almost too perfect. Those words above are meant to be a slam. There is no character development.  It’s a long movie… and our protagonist never grows?  He never learns?  He never changes his way?  No sir, he does not.  Hunter Thompson defined… nay… deified… that critique.  He never grew up.  He never sold out.  He never played ball.  He continued to live his life like a rich petulant 22 year old who got kicked out of the Air Force in a pretty damn funny story.  Kicked out for what, you ask?  Well… for behaving like a petulant 12 year old who got kicked out of school for savaging a mailbox in a pretty damn funny story.  Like… for behaving like a petulant 27 year old who got fired by Time magazine  for savagely attacking a candy machine (… in a pretty damn funny story).

No.  Hunter never grew up, and certainly never learned from his lessons.  He was, by all accounts, a terrible person.  As an artist and a writer and hipster deity… the man was a genius.  Take that review, and put it no on his movie.  No sir, take that review and put it on his headstone.

RIP Hunter, you twisted bastard!

HST good grave

Friday Fives – about your phone

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What’s the most important thing about your phone

Entertainment for down time.  Games and such. It’s what I use my phone for 90% of the time

What do you wish your phone could do

I miss the actual keyboard.  It’s been about 5 years, but I still hate the virtual keyboard.  When I had a blackberry, I could type on that (while driving, course) without looking down.  it was boss!

I wish my music was better integrated with my media collection.  Its’ probably doable, but too much work.  Think of having your DVD collection on your phone as easy as it is to have your CD collection

What do you think your phone will be able to do in 5 years

The things it does now, but more fully integrated into entertainment and lifestyle.  At Sprint, years ago, we had a campaign calling your phone your ‘third’ screen.  Actually, we had a better vision that we did accomplish.   You used to have go to a phone store for everything.  Our CEO (the wildly likable guy from our commercials, Dan Hesse.  Met him and have chatted with him.  He was the real deal in person, and CRAZY tall.

Anyhow, he made the analogy of banks.  He said ‘remember banks?  You had to go to them for everything.  Now, the buildings are nearly obsolete.  I do everything online.  Can’t remember the last time I walked into a bank. Let’s make the cell phone buying and repairing experience the same’.  We did that.

Also, I can control my home thermostat from my phone.  What would I use that for?  Well, if its particularly cold out when I am headed home, I turn up the heat now.  When I get home, the house is toasty.  It also tells me what the temp is inside the house right now.  This is useful because years ago I was out of town for Xmas.  The heat went out, and had been out for days… in the middle of Winter.  When we got back, almost all my fish were dead.  Another couple days and we would have had frozen pipes and all kinds of badness.  I didn’t have a fancy online thermostat then, but I went out the next day and bought (and installed myself, thank you) a fancy online one now.  Now, if the heat goes out, I literally get an email from my thermostat.

Are you loyal to a phone or brand?  Why?

I am quite pleased with my last few Samsung Galaxies.  Had, and have, some charging issues with my last 3 phones… but they were all replaced quickly and freely.  And, it’s the 5… and they are on the 8 now.  Phone works great, just doesn’t charge for shit.  Its not worth $600 to replace it, though.

But here is something super cool my phone does.  My tv is also Samsung.  I can beam whatever is on my phone right to my TV (and so to my really nice hifi).  Here is a specific way that was really useful.  I wanted HBO, but don’t have cable.  You can get stand alone HBO… but it’s complex.  There are 2 kinds.  Go, and Now.  One of them is for people who have cable, but not HBO.  That one is bundled into my TV’s apps.  The other one, though (I forgot which was which) is for people with NO cable affiliation (us).  That one is not bundled into my TV.  This means I can watch HBO on my phone, but not my tv.  First world problem for sure!

HBO has really great documentaries.  Not so great, though, that I get home from work and want to watch on my stupid tiny phone third screen.  With this simulcast thingy, I play the HBO show on my phone, and then beam it to my TV.  It comes on the TV in full hi-def, and surround sound through my bose hifi.  That was pretty cool.  It was.  Until HBO jacked the price up from $9 a month to $15.95 a month.  Didn’t need it that bad.  We don’t watch Game of Thrones.

Point being… whatever my next phone is… I can’t see it being anything other than a Samsung Galaxy.  Great product.  Plus, since everyone on earth has one, there is excellent access to accessories for it.

Lemme tell you another reason why I LOVE this phone, and haven’t upgraded since.  The ‘sport’ model has a teeny tiny imperceptible ‘bumper’ that goes around the screen.  This means you don’t need a phone case.  I have dropped my hundreds of times… nary once a single crack.  I don’t like the cases because it not only makes it bulky… it makes it tough to keep in pocket.  They make the cases, for good reason, ‘grippy’… so it doesn’t fall out of your hand.  However, it also grips to your pockets when you try and fish it out to answer it.  Of course, I have a little plastic laminate screen protector, too.  Samsung doesn’t make this phone anymore.  In fact, they have gone the other direction and made the edges smooth with the actual screen wrapping around it.  For my lifestyle (a rather droppy, bitey one, if you must know)… that would be the worst possible product.

You have left the house, you are ten minutes away on your way to work.  Just realized phone is home.  Turn around and get it?  What is your cut off point to return for the phone.

Ten minutes?  No.  5 minutes… prolly.  Odds are, I wouldn’t get that far.  When driving, I always listen to either podcasts or books on tape.  Always.  So, I am plugging in my phone the second I get in the car.  Yes, plugging it in.  Why not blu-tooth?  Well, when I do that, it interferes with my blu tooth watch, and headphone ear thingy.

I just love my watch,  Check this out.  Is this my watch?  Or… is this my watch?  Wait… how about this?  I can, and do, change the face every day to match my outfit or mood.  Totally unnecessary… on every level.

Yes, these are douchey first world problems.  After nearly 20 years in the cell phone business, I am pretty hopped up on technology.

If you haven’t had the chance to hop over to this page, let me proselytize real quick.  You need to be doing audiobooks and podcasts on your drive.  You learn, you are entertained… and it’s cheap or free.  FREE?  Yes.  You can borrow books from your library right to your phone.  No need to even step foot into a library.  It’s all borrowed, listened to, and returned… from your phone.  You need this app (which is free) and your library card.  Listening to your music is fine and all, but ever wished you spent MORE time driving?  That is the difference a good podcast or audiobook can make in your life.

I was saying something about my watch, wasn’t I?  Oh yeah, it interferes with the car’s blutooth.

 

 

friday fives – do the jitterbug

On Jeopardy,  they call this category “Pot Pourri:”

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  1. What mistake have you made that the rest of us can learn from?

Getting caught.  Wait… what were we talking about again?  Scratch that answer.  Who is this?  Prank Caller, Prank Caller!!!

  1. What was your high school’s biggest scandal?

Well this is a funny story probably not know to more than about 50 people.  It’s a great, story, though.  I will change the names to protect the guilty.  In high scool, I was in Tech Theater.  We build the theater sets for the play kids.  It was easy, and fun.  Our teacher was this wonderful guy who was super fruity.  Let’s call him ‘Phil’, since that was his name.  Phil accidentally busted his VCR.  Because he wasn’t handy, he asked us tech theater kids to fix it.  Sure, one offered.  Phil said ‘don’t worry about the video tape in there.’

So, my buddy fixed it.  Of course he looked at the tape.  Let’s just say what he found rhymed with ‘gay porn’.  I know what you are thinking… why didn’t he just throw the VCR out?  In 1988, a VCR was a BIG deal.  Not just something you pick up at Best Buy for $50.  Anyhow… story gets back to the school and dude disappears. THAT is not the scandal.  Not to me, anyway.

A couple weeks later, his replacement showed up.  A very cool guy, very Richard Dreyfuss-y guy.  I liked him because he wasn’t so… supergay… like Phil was.  Listen, I have no beef with gay.  In fact, it’s about the only I liked about Phil.  Being gay made him a societal outcast.  Being a longhaired liberal freak… that is a mark of excellence to me.  But… he was SO distractingly gay it was just…creepy.

Fast forward to the day he shows up, the new theater teacher.  Genuinely don’t remember his name, so we’ll call him Richard… for the reason mentioned above… and below.  He is introducing himself to us.  We are all sitting in a close circle in band chairs… like a therapy thing.  Like… ‘we are all equals here, let’s just chat’.   As he is chatting, he is fumbling with his pencil eraser in his mouth.  Funny thing, his pencil eraser is a small rubber dick.  something someone gave to him as a funny prank.  We explained to him the nature of his predecessor’s hasty departure.  He appreciated that, and ditched the eraser.

  1. What’s the worst part about being your gender that the opposite sex might not even think about?

I shall not betray my tribe

  1. What movies NEED to be watched twice to understand fully?

I think Spinal Tap gets better each time.  The first time, you follow the story and are amused by the music.  After a few, you appreciate the ENTIRE movie is made up.  Improvised.  It wasn’t directionless, mind you.  Like Larry David and ‘Curb’, there is a rough outline, but not a single sentence for a character is written.  THEN… you find out they wrote those songs themselves.  THEN you find out they are actually performing those songs themselves.  It is then you know this ‘fake band’ is more legit then just about everyone else on the charts.

  1. What is absolutely never coming back in style again?

That neon shit from the early 80s

.  Was it Miami Vice?  Was it Wham?  Was it Frankie Goes to Hollywood?  I think it was George Michael, whom I forgive.