When did pop songs become clown cars?

I know I run the risk of sounding like Grandpa Simpson or SNL’s “Grumpy Old Man”….

… but when did every pop song become a clown car, where you cram in as many artists as you can? “Back in my day” there were solo artists (we miss you John Denver), bands (hello Pablo Cruise) and the occasional duet (Kenny/Dolly or Kenny/Sheena or Kenny/Kim, whichever you prefer). But now it seems like there is some sort of rule (actually “formula” might be more apropos) that a single can’t be released unless it has at least three of the following:

  1. A DJ
  2. A rapper
  3. a pop singer known more for their looks than their pipes
  4. A Disney/Nickelodeon kid show star
  5. Rihanna

Ryan Seacrest must get laryngitis every week just announcing the names of the Top 40. It’s like a music version of The Love Boat.

I think Rihanna just lives in some giant recording studio complex – she steps into Studio A, sings a hook, moves on to Studio B, then C, D, and E… and by the time she gets back to Studio A there’s another disposable band in place working on a song that she can “feature” on. (And I’m using the term “band” very loosely. Most times it’s probably a 22-year old with a laptop.)

More doesn’t always equal better, and the sum is not always greater than the parts. I don’t know how bands and artists can establish any sort of staying power when their identity is based mostly on a Lazy Susan of condiment guest stars. (DJ Khaled, you’re the spicy mustard. Lil’ Wayne, you’re the Dave’s Insanity hot sauce. Biebs, you’re the fat-free mayo.)

Maybe instead of breaking up, the Beatles could’ve just become Lennon & McCartney with George Harrison and Ringo Starr, featuring Yoko Ono and Billy Preston. And they could’ve done the theme song for Matlock. That’s music to my ears.

 

2 Kool 2 B Eclipsed

Not-so-breaking news from the solar eclipse department: My daughter Leah was one of several kids interviewed at school on Monday by a local TV station. Actually, “interviewed” isn’t the right description – the reporter just asked the kids to use a single word to describe the eclipse. (And clearly some kids need a refresher course in math, because they use more than one word.)

In case you don’t know what Leah looks like, I’ll give you a couple of hints to help you spot her in the video below:

A. When she is interviewed, she lifts up her protective eyewear… much like football players who take off their helmet after they score, she knows that you have to show off your face if you want to get more endorsement deals.

B. She uses teen slang to describe the eclipse.

Yes, that’s my daughter… she’s so sick – in the Urban Dictionary sense of the word.

As Casey Kasem liked to say, “keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for those stars.”

Your daily dose of sunshine* (*not available during the eclipse)

Today is the Great American Eclipse.

(Because apparently every semi-major event needs an official name…. and logo too!)

It’s exactly as the prophet Roger Waters foretold in Floyd 73, Chapter 10, verse 6: “Everything under the sun is in tune, but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.”

The official ISO-certified Great American Eclipse viewing glasses are sold out. You can probably still get some counterfeit versions that’ll fry your retinas (not recommended), or you can make your own pinhole projector.

I think I’ll try to dig up my welding mask from when I failed shop class in high school. Damn you, Mr. Nicholls… damn you to hell!

You’ll also need some sort of safety eyewear to view this piece of dazzling brilliance from several years ago:

Happy viewing!

 

Sunday morning scripture… #millennialstyle

This is one of the funniest pieces I’ve read in a long time, a Millennial version of the creation story by Sara K. Runnels

https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/and-god-created-millennial-earth

And thanks to my daily interaction with my teenage kids (which is admittedly limited – they are in their rooms most of the time), I actually got most of the references.

Happy Sunday!

The end of June = the end of an era

No, I don’t have a faulty calendar. I’m talking about June Foray, who passed away recently at the age of 99. If her name doesn’t ring a bell, perhaps this will help:

She was a flying squirrel.

She was an Eastern European spy.

She was Dudley Do-Right’s girl.

She was Mr. Magoo’s mom.

She was Tweety Bird’s owner, Granny.

She was the cutest Christmas kid ever.

And she was the scariest talking doll ever. Just ask Telly Savalas.

June Foray was a voice actor extraordinaire. One of the best… in fact, the late great animator Chuck Jones, who did the Grinch work you see above and worked with Mel “Man of 1,000 Voices” Blanc (Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, et al.) on hundreds of classic Warner Brothers cartoons once said:

“June Foray is not the female Mel Blanc. Mel Blanc was the male June Foray.”  

High praise indeed for a voice actor. And June deserved it. I’ve always admired folks who can bring multiple characters to life with just their voice. When I grow up, I want to be Harry Shearer, or Hank Azaria, or Billy West, or Seth MacFarlane, or Mike Judge. But even in my wildest dreams I could never be as good as June.

Thanks for all the great voices, and all the great memories, June. You gave us something we really did like.

 

 

Nailed it! Then caulked and painted it!

I’ve found a kindred spirit that abhors all those home improvement shows as much as I do. And he’s written a hilarious blog post about it.

Trust me, more than 12 people read his blog, unless there are only 11 other people besides me who appreciate well-crafted sarcastic humor.

The entire post is here. You won’t list it, you’ll love it. And the rest of his Hitting the Trifecta blog posts are well worth checking out as well.

500 channels and nothin’ but the same two guys on

It made my heart so happy  (in a fake Kelly Ripa way) that Kelly Ripa decided to replace one overexposed co-host (looking at you, Michael Strahan) with another overexposed co-host (Seacrest…in).

[Sidebar topic: Kelly Ripa is the black widow of TV hosts – discuss amongst yourselves.]

Seriously, are Strahan and Seacrest on a not-so-secret mission to take over every airwave that exists? Michael Strahan is a host on Good Morning America, and an analyst for FOX NFL games, and hosted the reboot of $100,000 Pyramid. Before he got the heave-ho from Kelly, he was basically on the air about 12 hours of every day. And Seacrest covered the other 12, with American Idol, E! News, all those E! red carpet shows, the annual New Years Rockin’ Eve… in addition to his daily four hour radio show and the weekly American Top 40 countdown. I hope they own stock in 5-hour Energy.

Actually, I kinda hope they get laryngitis.

I’m not a regular viewer/listener to any of the shows listed above — in fact I barely watch any TV at all — but even I can’t escape the two-headed host-beast named Stracrest.

All that on-air time must be cutting into their prep time:

The Boss was right.

 

 

 

Remember when May 4th was just a regular day?

I miss those times. (Sigh)

May 4 has nothing to do with Star Wars, other than sounding like the start of a famous line from the movie… if Obi-Wan Kenobi and friends had just had some dental work done, perhaps.

Or did I miss the sequel that starred Mike Tyson and/or Sylvester the Cat?

But now “May the Fourth” is a thing, apparently, complete with its very own novelty t-shirt.

I have only seen the first Star Wars (I know, it’s Episode 4, back off nerds) so excuse me while I go to sleep.

But please wake me in time for Cinco de Mayo.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Earth Day to You

Hey, it’s Earth Day, the one day out of 365 (or 366) that we actually give a damn about the planet we all share. Each year is the hottest on record. Smog is getting smoggier. Rains are turning to floods. Earthquakes are a fracking nightmare. A 94-year-old engineer may be our last hope.

OK, maybe I’m being overly dramatic. But I’m also being overly Dramarama…

What Are We Gonna Do? – Dramarama from Damian John Spooner – Upton on Vimeo.

What are we gonna do? Here are some ideas.

Happy Birthday, Planet Earth!

Dog days

You know that:

A. You’re of a certain age AND

B. you watched too much Saturday morning TV

If every time you see a German Shepherd dog, you think of Run, Joe, Run.

RJR (as we true fans call it), was a live-action Saturday morning show that ran from ’74 until ’76. The premise was… interesting…

[opening narration] WANTED: Male German Shepherd, Black And Tan. Answers to the name of Joe. Accused of attacking his trainer, Sgt. Will Corey. A crime he did not commit. Only Corey can prove him innocent, but he must find Joe before his pursuers track him down.

So basically the show was The Fugitive as played by a dog. (Fun fact: the narrator was Paul Frees, a voice actor who also played Boris Badenov, Burgermeister Meisterburger and The Pillsbury Doughboy.)

Thank goodness the description told us the German Shepherd’s colors, “black and tan” or else we would’ve wasted a lot of time tracking down all those purple German Shepherds.

Poor Joe was misunderstood, and always got in trouble when he was just trying to help. Like in this episode with Kristy McNichol. He gives a toddler  her milk bottle and chases a fox out of the chicken cage, and gets nothing but grief for it. (Also worth noting that Sgt. Will Corey had a car phone waaay before anyone else did.)

You’d think a single dog was OJ Simpson in a White Bronco the way he was chased by so many authorities. Guess that $200 bounty went a lot further in the 70s.

Read more about RJR here.