Saturday, March 06, 2010

A Feeble Attempt At Humour

My eldest child is given to setting impossibly convoluted puzzles for me to solve. (We think he may be slightly autistic.) One of his favourites is to give a crossword-style clue for a word, along with the "weight" of the answer. (Each "a" is worth one ounce, "b" two ounces and so on.) This morning over breakfast, he tested me with "The carcass of a dead animal, four pounds and fourteen ounces." I thought for a moment before replying, "'Carrion', my weigh-word son."

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Lyrics Quiz: Mystery Theme

This one comes from Eric, who obviously has a lot of time on his hands. So how come he doesn't have his own blog, huh? Anyway, name the 9 artists and songs - and then identify who comes next.

  1. "So I took a big chance at the high school dance, with a missy who was ready to play."
  2. "I see the dust cloud disappear, without a trace."
  3. "A year has passed since I wrote my note, but I should have known this right from the start."
  4. "Are you feeling me? Let's do something. Let's make a bet, 'cause I gotta have you naked by the end of this song."
  5. "But if this ever-changing world in which we live in."
  6. "Well he can't be a man, 'cause he doesn't smoke the same cigarettes as me."
  7. "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life."
  8. "Me and Del were singing, 'Little Runaway'."
  9. "I hope when I get old I don't sit around thinking about it, but I probably will."

Friday, November 27, 2009

Sports: American Football

After watching three games, I have some suggestions to improve American Football. A copy will be sent to the Commissioner of the NFL.

  • Increase the value of the "2-Point Conversion". You've just scored 6 points for a touchdown. Now, you try to do it again - but only get 2 points? That makes no sense. No wonder teams only try the 2-point conversion when they're desperate. Make it 3 points and now you've got some very interesting decisions!
  • Run, Throw or Punt. What's the most exciting play in Football? The punt return. Let's give the Offense an extra option - the quarterback can punt the ball. Whoever catches the ball, keeps it. This will revolutionise the game.
  • Negative Yards. What's the least exciting play in Football? When a Running Back gets stopped at the line of scrimmage because he foolishly runs into a pile of big fat men. Let's penalize teams for these plays that go nowhere. If you only gain 2 yards, you're sent back to the line of scrimmage (so you've just lost a Down for nothing). If you gain one yard, you're pushed back 2 yards from where you started. If you gain zero, you lose 4 yards. This guarantees we'll see more throwing (or punting).
  • No Injury Timeouts. There are too many timeouts anyway. Let's scrap them when a player is down and can't get off the field. Just throw some temporary barricades around the player and the medical staff. This area is off-limits to both teams until the player can be stretchered off at the next (real) timeout.
  • Better Names. Every team must have at least one player with a Football-appropriate name.
  • Real Grass. All stadia (even indoor ones) must use real turf - until they come up with an artificial turf that can break apart into clumps that stick in players' helmets. That is always so cool.
  • Coors Light Ads. Those ads that edit actors in with actual coaches' press conferences? They can only use the Romeo Crennel ones. The others are too mean, but Romeo is so jolly, he seems to be in on the joke.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

TV: "The X Factor"

What an awful week for Ireland! First, cheater Thierry Henry cheats us out of the 2010 World Cup by cheating. Then he runs onstage during Jedward's performance on the X Factor live show, causing them to be eliminated. Shame on you, Thierry Henry!

Please sign the petition asking ITV to re-run the show. It's the only fair way to resolve this. We're having a march in Clones on Friday. Tell all your friends.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Radio: KXT 91.7

I've been analyzing the playlists at KXT after their first work week and I see a disturbing trend. (And it's not that I have too much time on my hands.)

But first, I want to talk about the timing of their launch. Is it a coincidence that they waited until after the KERA Fall pledge drive was complete? I can imagine some potential Public Radio donors would say, "Wait a minute, if the parent company of KERA can afford to set up a sister station during an economic downturn, do they really need my $60 in exchange for a Diane Rehm Tongue Depressor?" Man, you really miss Al Brumley at a time like this.

Back to KXT. (Not KTX, or KXTX, and it's at 91.7, not 97.1 - and that's from one of their own DJs. This station is a nightmare for DFW dyslexics.)

KXT describes itself as "an incredible selection of acoustic, alt-country, indie rock, alternative and world music, hand-picked just for you - the real music fan." That sounds great - right up my alley. So I set my alarm for 6:59am on 11/9 to hear the station premiere with...Santana's "She's Not There". That song (as fine as it is) does not fit into any of KXT's self-proclaimed categories. After all the time they had to prepare, that was the best they could come up with?

Robert Wilonsky at Unfair Park was being polite when he called it "probably a little too classic-rock for a new-station kick-off". Pete Freedman at the same blog expressed his incredulity: "Explain that to me. Please." But hey, Steve Blow liked it, so I guess that's okay.

Later that first morning, KXT played Queen's "Somebody To Love" (this after Van Morrison, Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix had already been played). Why is this station playing "Classic Rock" when we already have radio stations that play that stuff?

I saw a comment praising KXT for playing the Stranglers' "Golden Brown", and yes, it was good to hear it. But it made me realise that "Golden Brown" is my generation's version of Classic Rock. It's hypocritical to praise KXT for playing "Making Plans For Nigel" and then slam them for playing Paul McCartney and Wings. If you want Classic Indie, go to WOXY Vintage. (Thanks, Robb.)

The real problem is that KXT plays the same songs over and over again. ("Golden Brown" was played four times this week.)

There may be "joy in repetition" but there's no joy when you hear the same songs twice a day. There were 49 songs played twice in one day, and 4 songs played three times!

The most-played song was "Little Lovin'" by Illinois artist Lissie. It was played twice on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, and THREE TIMES on Wednesday and Friday. It's a catchy song, but it's no H1N1.

KXT loves Devendra Banhart. They played his "Baby" twice a day, every day. And they acknowledged he has released at least one other song. "Foolin'" was played twice.

The following songs also got got two plays per day, every day:

These are inoffensive songs (apart from the insipid Matisyahu song - it reminds of some fake reggae song that might have come out of Luxembourg in the '90s). Ingrid Michaelson with the horrible, "Grey's Anatomy"-ready "Maybe" just missed out on going 10-for-10.

KXT has a nasty habit of reducing everyone to "One Hit Wonders". I count 41 artists who were played three or more times, but had the SAME SONG played every single time. This includes artists with long careers and many albums to choose from: Bryan Ferry, Grant-Lee Phillips, Pearl Jam, Ray Davies, Rhett Miller, Rosanne Cash, Yo La Tengo.

Overall, KXT played about 647 tracks from Monday to Friday: 334 artists and 373 unique songs.

By the way, I didn't count the times that KXT played unscheduled excerpts from John Cage's "4' 33"".

As for the DJs, Gini Mascorro still seems a little nervous. And do I detect a little wheeziness in her voice? As an asthmatic, that makes me uncomfortable. I really hope she loses the habit of saying we just heard a "little bit of" some artist. This is technically untrue (unless she has been hitting the Def Leppard drummer's arm off the microphone). Joe Kozera seems altogether more at ease.

So what have we learned? I think Shell put it best: "The occasional classic rock song won't kill them. Having a rotation will ruin both them and the songs they overplay." KXT is definitely a good thing (especially for the exposure to local bands), but needs a LOT more variety to keep me listening.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Music: Tori Amos

Who knew that Tori Amos had such boring taste in music? Her fantasy band would have Stevie Ray Vaughn on guitar? Is that hack still going? Anyway, Tori should get back to what she does best: grinding her crotch into piano stools.

For what it's worth, my fantasy band would feature:

Or you could just have Prince do everything.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

TV: Midseason Replacement Shows

Why are the midseason shows always better than the Fall shows?

  • "Briers' Remorse - genial English actor Richard Briers apologises for all the terrible, terrible things he's done through the years ("Spice World", this Polaroid commercial, killing a hobo).
  • "America's Next Top Hat" - young milliners compete to design a "Topper" that will make this headgear fashionable again.
  • "Camo Mile T" - contestants must catch Mr. T before he travels a mile-long course dressed in camouflage.
  • "Beck And Caul - arch-conservative Glenn Beck and ultra-liberal Simon Caul debate the issues of the day. (Need to find an ultra-liberal named Simon Caul first. Or Billy Caul. Or Cawl or McCaul.)
  • "Chippendale's Sketch Survivors" - Jan Hooks, Kevin Nealon and Mike Myers, as the last surviving cast members of the cursed comedy sketch, sit around waiting for the inevitable.
  • "Camo Meal T" - Mr. T tucks into a hearty three-course dinner dressed in camouflage.
  • "Jay @ 25" - NBC tries to save face by moving Leno's show to "25 o'clock", and explains that viewers need a special TV antenna and time-space continuum to watch it.