Friday Fives – the reality of it all

 

What is something you swore you’d never do, but ended up doing later in life?

Geesh, everything. When I was about 6 or 7, my only goal to growing up was to never get married or drive. Driving was the worst, it seemed. My mom had a stick shift. I noticed once it going to the store a couple miles away she would shift, like, 27 times. Man, did that seem dumb. WAY too much work.  Thanks, I’ll take my bike. I thought driving was supposed to make things easier. And getting married? Dumb! Room-mates are dumb, girls are dumb… there was simply no upside.

What’s something that got extremely popular that baffles you

The reality competitions. Not the reality shows, mind you, but the competitions. I don’t much watch the reality shows, either… but I get the appeal. I like to know how people would react to certain situations… and compare them to how I might act. That is why I loved Punk’d. I thought it was cool to see super successful, beautiful, and rich people be put in super awkward situations. How would they react. At a certain level of success, you are surrounded by ‘yes men’. People who fawn over you and praise you every move. As we know, this is often the downfall of super successful folks who are only surrounded by yes men.

Look at Michael Jackson. How did he not have people who said “listen, Michael, I know you love kids. I know you sleep with kids and you say it is innocent and natural. However, you have already been once charged and arrested for suspicion of having sex with little kids. So, it would be best for you to NOT sleep with little children. I don’t care what your motivation is, you can not do that anymore for any reason at any time.

I also really like aspects of the reality competitions for talent. I like the democracy of it. If you have a tremendous gift, you don’t have to be well connected or rich or have years of training. If you are willing to stand out in the rain or heat for a few hours, these people will give you a shot to show your gift. That part is super cool. To me, it defines what makes America great. Problem is, that is all programming now. We don’t have cable anymore, so I am stuck with the networks. They suck. 80% of their programming is these shows. They do it because there is virtually no overhead. Problem is, most folks (you and I included, btw) are marginal talents at best

Ok, last thing on that. When I see these kids get their hearts broken on national tv, they will say “he just didn’t know what he was saying. I AM better than all those others. I am the next Idol – or whatever. That is bad parenting. Your parents gave you too much self esteem. This is what your answer should be, always – “I appreciate the feedback. I am going to get better and I am going to practice my ass off. I will be back next year, and the year after that. This is important to me, and I will do everything in my power to make that happen. I will see you in one year, America.”

Simon Cowell was absolutely right in dealing with these people. Sure, he played that character up because it was good TV. But, his point was “I am not the villain here. The parents are for sending this kid out when they knew he had no ability”.

What is something that has peaked and is on its way out?

I think all of these reality show are. Do you know why they are so ubiquitous? It is because of the writers strike a few years ago. The networks knew they were going to lose access to their scripted shows for a long time… so they doubled down on these competitions. Then, they saw how cheap it was. You don’t need actors, scripts, unions… any of that shit. Put a microphone out on the street and watch people react. You don’t have to pay them dick, and people watch the shit out of it.

There is a new aspect of that, though, which I really don’t like. Because we are skipping through commercials, the networks have to do product placement. I get that, it’s our fault for skipping the commercials. We broke the social contract. Shows like ‘Undercover Boss’ and ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ are just thinly veiled one hour commercials for mega-companies. What is the take away from every single ‘Undercover Boss’? “Wow, that company really does take care of their employees. Its nice to see someone finally acknowledge the proletariat for a chance. You dumb ass, you just watched a 60 minute commercial for ‘Marriot’. If they are going to do this, they should at the very least not have commercials.

Lastly, on that topic, let me talk to the advertisers for a second here. Hi, come in please and have a seat. Its about your commercials. I DO fast forward them. You know why? It is because they are too fucking loud. I don’t have a DVR anymore, so I can’t zip past commercials. So, I mute them. Some time ago, Congress passed some law that said commercials can’t be louder than the programs. It made no difference. I can prove it, too. Being a musician, I have very and complicated sound meters. Every time the commercials are about 30% louder than the program they are sammiched in.

What’s something you would do if you were the first inhabitant of a new planet?

Food, shelter, fire. Then… or maybe ever before that, ascertain the skill sets of the people around me. Who can cook? Who can grow gardens? Who can build? I was chatting about this with my amazing and wonderful neighbor Jared* (for the purpose of privacy, we’ll call him ‘Jared’. Plus, it’s his name). We were talking about a neighbor who has a survival bunker. He wants no one to know about it. NO ONE. My guess is if the zombie apocalypse comes he doesn’t want a bunch of moochers. To me, that is the worst possible plan. If I am down there, I want diverse skill sets. Who can build, who can weld, who is a really good shot, who wants to handle security, who wants to handle maintenance. We can’t do shit on our own, and it’s a fool’s errand to believe any differently.

What something unwritten that people should know as a rule?

Be kind and nice and helpful. Every single person you encounter is going through serious shit in their life right then. Maybe a love one died, maybe their husband left them. Maybe they have cancer, or just got written up at work. Maybe they are suicidal… or homicidal. Everyone could use a kind word and a smile and a dumb joke. You know the ‘Golden Rule’, but this is better. I wish I could give it attribution. It’s the ‘platinum rule’. Not just ‘treat others as you would like to be treated.’ No. Treat others as THEY would like to be treated.

I keep a clipping on my mirror from a recent Psychology Today. It’s from a article by this gal. It is, without question, my guide to life. I have just never seen it said to perfectly.

“a bare minimum of one kind act a day should be our self imposed cover charge for living in this world”.   That is, in every sense, the social contract.

Friday Fives – more music edition

  1. What album is the first you can remember purchasing yourself

easy, this one   It not only had ALL the hits, but that is very cool album cover.  It was a $59, which to me is cheap on he big internet gigs.er of

  1. What concert stands out in your mind as the best you’ve ever seen?

Well, it isn’t what you would think.  See, I have seen everyone live.  I am sure I have told you that, but it’s pertinent.  I have seen folks that simply don’t tour.  Van Morrison, Page & Plant, Tom Waits, Don McClean, Moby, Richie Havens, Jethro Tull, Nirvana, Timothy Leary & G Gordon Liddy, the Police… it goes on and on.  Now, every dip you know will tell you that Pink Floyd was the best show they ever saw.  Of course, I saw them too.  It was boring as well.  Just David Gilmour playing the obvious hits pitch perfect.  BORING.

One of the best shows I saw was recently, within the last year.  It was in a horrible downpour.  The entire power grid went out for hours.  No music, no lights, nothing.  The band could have, and should have, left.  They didn’t, though.  The singer came out by himself and sat at the edge of the stage in the rain and darkness.  He sat there with an acoustic guitar and did a sing along in the dark of ALL his hits.  We all (20,000) sang along.

That band was touring on 3 new albums, along with a double album of broadway hits.  That is what they played with the power.  When it went dark, Billy Joe came out and did ‘time of your life, when sept ends, when I come around, basketcase… etc”.  All great hits from 20 years ago.  He knew we paid and he wasn’t leaving until we got some kind of concert.  That is a g*damn class act.

  1. What concert stands out in your mind as the worst you’ve ever seen?

Probably Jethro Tull about 25 years ago.  It kinda wasn’t their fault.  First off, the singers live voice is shot.  it’s really bad, and has been for almost 30 years.  He just can’t sing.  So, there was that disappointment.  Then, apparently, he got sick.  So, he played half a show and they left.  no refunds, no apologies.  No thanks! ******

  1. If you could create your dream band, what musicians would you choose? (they can be live or dead, it’s a dream band)

super easy.  Original Guns line up in their day, sometime during or just after Lies and Appetite.  Tried to see them in Phx back then but Axl bailed on four separate concerts day of.  Locked himself in his hotel room and refused to come out and play.  I don’t think they ever made it onstage in Phx, AZ for about five years.  We called them Guns and Noshows.

Axl was SO known for this that when Guns played with Metallica a few years later, promoter Barry Fey was wise to Axl’s bs.  So, when Axl tried to sneak out of Red Rocks that night and ditch their set… Barry Fey pulled a gunn on him and ordered him back on stage.  During that same tour, Axl pulled the same crap in several other cities and called major deadly riots.   See, when you ditch a club with 300 people… no biggie.  Axl did this to stadiums with 25,000 people… a lot.  Not just those venue, but some of those cities were destroyed because of Axl.  Remember, at Woodstock they planned for 5,0000 people.  That is the food and porta potties they had the resources and electricity.  500,000 showed up.  No food, no bathrooms, horrible rainly weather the whole time, dangerous and poisonous acid going aound.  It literally became a Federal emergency.  Everyone lived, and had the time of their lives.  Know now?  No axl

He also, as you may know, still show up to every show at least 3 hours late.  So, you go to see Guns.  It’s a weeknight, mind you.  The opening band plays 8 to 9 pm.  Headliner comes on and 10 pm.  the new Guns won’t come out until at least 1 am .  So, maybe you will get home at 4 am… on your school night.

the worst part is I still LOVE Axl’s early voice, and I regard him as one of the great rock stars of all time.  Appetite for Destruction is the best rock album ever.  Problem is, Axl is the biggest dick in all of rock.  He fired his entire band (the guys who wrote the songs, mind you.  He is a singer, he doesn’t write) and then if he does show up it is 3 to 4 hours late.

 

**** to be fair to Jethro Tull, they have made one of the coolest moments in rock.  So, they get a pass.  In the 70s they were playing Red Rocks.  The show got WAY over sold.  People broke in, and it became a riot.  Helicopters descended on Red Rocks and dropped tear gas.  So, did Jethro Tull run for their lives?  No.  Ian Anderson stayed out there on stage during all of this.  He let everyone know what was happening, and why.  he also promised as soon as they safely cleared some gate crashers out and got rid of the helicopters that they would stay and play a full show.  So, my experience isn’t indicative of them.

The story, one of the most famous in all of rock history, is told pretty well here.  It’s a good and quick read.

**** ppsss > another band I failed to mention both this week and last week as an AMAZING live band.  I swear you won’t believe me unless you have seen them, but I swear it’s true.  This band was better than Page and Plant.  Better than BB King.  Hell, these guys were better than all of them – the Canadian pop band Barenaked Ladies.  Fact!

Friday Fives

When did you get your first cell phone?

           Summer of 1997

How old were you at the time?

I guess that would make me 25 at the time

What type of phone was it?

The i370 “powerphone”.  Don’t laugh.  That phone single handedly revolutionized communications and launched our company ( Nextel).  it was the first and only phone to integrate cell phone and walkie talkie.  That phone paid for my first house and several trucks.  It was a great product.

What type of phone do you have now?

HTC Evo Shift.  tangent alert > Can I tell you about these phones today?  They make terrible phones.  It is a great communication device, web portal, personal assistant… whatever.  But the ergonomics of these phones make them terrible telephones.  You can’t crook your neck and hold it the way you could a real telephone.  They aren’t palm shaped or ear shaped or nothin’.

everyone likes to talk about how they just want a simple phone, and that they don’t need all these smart apps.  Well, I do need the smart apps… but I would like something that was comfortable and designed like a telephone.  Do you remember this?  There is a reason why it stayed unchanged for a 100 years.  It was a great design, just like the toaster.  Don’t fuck with it.

Do you prefer calling or texting/mailing?

I prefer anything to talking on the phone to people.  Go ahead, call me, I dare you.  You won’t get me.  If you text or email me, though, I will reply instantly.  Not sure why, but I really shy away from phone calls.  Its silly, though, because I have MAD phone skills.  See, I have worked for the phone company since 1997… which is why I had a cell phone WAY before you did.  I have been in versions of customer service ever since.  If I got you on the phone, I could get you to confess to killing Kennedy and Bin Laden.

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Bonus - since the fives came up at cell phone questions (and not by me)... you get an extra five.  Why?  I have been in the cell phone business for 15 years.  So, those above were from Live Journal, and these below are from Roy.

1. Could you live without your phone for 1 week for $500?

no.  I was without my phone on Monday, all day.  Not cool at all.  It never happens.  In 15 years, I have forgot my phone maybe three times.  I don’t like it, it was  uncomfortable.

2. Whom do you talk to on the phone the most?

well, the wifey.  Not much of a reveal.

3. Whom do you no longer talk to on the phone but wish you still did?

my dad, who is dead.  happy now?  Actually, he liked talking on the phone even less my myself.  So, bad choice.  I don’t like this question, since I am not a phone talker.  Month to date, I have used maybe 13 minutes total over 3 weeks.

4. If you could get ahold of one celebrity phone number, whose digits would you want?

That guy from new Radicals.  He needs to start a new band.  He has awesome energy and joy.  dig it!

5. Do you even talk on your phone any more?

nope.  prefer text.  Saying that, just a few short years ago, I fully mocked texting.  I thought it was the province of 9 year olds.  Then, I realized I could get the info I needed in record time.  Plus, I don’t have to remember stuff.  See, if the wife tells me to pick stuff up, I will forget half the list.  If she texts it, though, then I have it there for reference… and I didn’t get stuck chatting on the phone.