Friday, May 30, 2008

A couple of WONDERFUL examples why major websites shouldn't hire just anyone to blog on subjects....

For this exercise in "What were they thinking?!?!?," I turn to the currently under-fire internet mainstay called Yahoo!

Now, I can totally understand the longtime search engine/information provider wanting to get into the heart of the blogosphere and having people on staff to write about all kinds of subjects. It only becomes a problem for me when said staff members demonstrate that they have absolutely *zero* idea of what they are talking about. Sadly, Yahoo! has this happening in multiple blogs within their music subsection.

The latest in a string of offending blogs comes in the form of a list of what music blogidiot Rob O'Connor states in his body text as follows:

But to celebrate, List of the Day undertook the task of picking out 25 infamous guitar riffs that depending on your era were among the ones you mangled when you joined your first band.

Uh, Rob.... unless I missed something, the word infamous has a negative connotation. And to prove I wasn't missing something, the folks at backed me up with the following:

in-fa-mous adj.

1. having an extremely bad reputation (e.g. an infamous city)
2. deserving of or causing an evil reputation; shamefully malign; detestable (e.g. an infamous deed)

He then lists, *as infamous*, his top 25 all-time guitar riffs. So, Mr. O'Connor, what exactly is detestable about the opening riff of Deep Purple's Smoke on the Water? Does the fact that it holds a place as one of the earliest riffs that any beginning guitar player learns offend you that much?

Sir, if you are going to write a blog and actually get paid for doing it, do us one small favor and *LEARN BASIC ENGLISH!!!!*

Now, since it is clear that you don't understand what a dictionary is, it makes you seem that much less credible. Helping that along in the same blog was the entry at #16, I Feel Fine by The Beatles. Now, anyone that knows me knows that I am a big Beatles fan, even though I wasn't born until roughly six months *after* they broke up. Being in this position offers me a chance to chime in on this entry in a way that O'Connor could never comprehend.

He hit it on the head by listing Day Tripper above all other Fab Four riffs, however, listing this song second merely because of the feedback? Come on, now. If I were to play an eight-note riff from side three of The White Album and then follow it with the opener of that song, what would most musicians and music fans recognize first? Guarantee you it would be the former, which happens to be a little song called Birthday. Further, he opted to list I Feel Fine instead of classics like Crossroads by Cream, and ahead of Metallica's Enter Sandman, G-n-R's Sweet Child O' Mine and Skynyrd's Freebird.

Even more offensive, where in bloody heck is Stairway to Heaven at? The one guitar tune that my dog could recognize if he was able to speak English and it's not on the list???? So what if it's an acoustic start, nobody, and I mean NOBODY with any kind of music exposure hears those notes and doesn't recognize the song immediately.

As if this list wasn't bad enough, O'Connor goes one better in his list from a day earlier about what he categorizes as "The 25 Most Successful Solo Acts".

In this list are deserving folks, such as Gwen Stefani, Sam Cooke, Ozzy, Diana Ross, etc. He even gets it right in relation to the Beatles, putting Paul McCartney on the list but leaving John Lennon off it. Before fans of John get into a tiff, hear me out. Lennon absolutely wrote the more important work as far as historical significance, etc. HOWEVER, the list wasn't about importance, it was about success, and Macca was BY FAR the most successful of the foursome commercially.

That being said, O'Connor really screwed the proverbial pooch on this list with a glaring omission: Michael Jackson.

Sorry, but a solo act list without the self-proclaimed "King of Pop" is just junk, no matter how good the rest of it is. Jackson, who was put in front of the family group by Motown in the 70s, merely released two albums in the 80s that half of the solo artists on O'Connor's list would have killed to have had one single off either of them. Off The Wall is a fabulous album in its own right, but the early part of the 80s were defined by the release and sheer brilliance of Thriller.

That album, released 26 years ago (has it really been that long), was the quintessential pop, dance and funk album of the decade, spawning a mind-boggling *seven* Top 10 singles. Yet, for all that, Jackson is not on the list and David freakin' Johanssen under the stage name of Buster Poindexter is sitting on the list at #22. What a joke.

Message to Yahoo!: either get bloggers who actually understand music and its historical background or get rid of all the blogs and stick to search engines and sports.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Surely, you can't be serious.....

"I am..... and don't call me Shirley." -- Leslie Nielsen in Airplane!

The above quote is funny for legitimate reasons: it was meant to be so.

Not nearly as funny has been the events of the past two days when it has come to Dunkin' Donuts and a commercial featuring cook extraordinaire Rachael Ray. In the spot for Dunkin's iced coffee drinks, Ray is wearing a white scarf with a dark blue paisley pattern. Pretty harmless when a reasonable person looks at it. However, right-wing freak show blogger Michelle Malkin has never been called reasonable.

In her column published via the Creators' Syndicate yesterday. Malkin (and the rest of the right-wing wackos) takes issue with the scarf and consequently write to Dunkin' Donuts suggesting a boycott because the scarf, in her opinion, looks like the keffiyeh headdress worn by former PLO leader Yasser Arafat and therefore has a connotation that DD is secretly supporting the terrorists. Malkin further suggested the possibility of a boycott of the donut chain because of the scarf.


When I first heard this nonsense during Tuesday evening's broadcast of Countdown with Keith Olbermann, I laughed because I not only knew that Malkin's credibility ranked right up there with the now infamous Swift Boaters of 2004, but that no reasonable person (my mother included) would seriously consider this.

Boy, was I mistaken, because earlier this morning Dunkin' came out with the following statement to Malkin and others:

“Thank you for expressing your concern about the Dunkin’ Donuts advertisement with Rachael Ray. In the ad that you reference, Rachael is wearing a black-and-white silk scarf with a paisley design that was purchased at a U.S. retail store. It was selected by the stylist for the advertising shoot. Absolutely no symbolism was intended. However, given the possibility of misperception, we will no longer use the commercial."
There is only one way to describe this response by Dunkin' Donuts: wussy-like.

Rather than stand up to a small group of people who have no purpose in life but to hate in a manner that would make right-wing dictators throughout history proud, DD instead opted to throw Rachael Ray under the bus over *a scarf*.

Perhaps it is time for those of us who actually are capable of the use of reason and rational thought to send a message to the far reaches of the both sides of the political spectrum. Since we must start somewhere, let's begin here. Sending an email to Dunkin' Donuts and chastising them for kowtowing to a group of extremists is a beginning. Suggesting a boycott of our own for aligning themselves with those same extremists is even better.

Maybe then Corporate America will get the message that there are vastly more people on the outside of the intolerant subgroup than there ever will be in it.

It is these groups that got legitimacy 14 years ago during the congressional upheaval that gave us Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich in leadership positions they never deserved. It is now these groups that are seeing their influence continuing to erode as more Americans wake up and realize that it is not okay to be intolerant of groups based solely off a single event in history.

My hope is that come November, when the Democratic majorities in Congress are not only the same but strengthened, that those who have peddled hate for the past seven years will finally go away once and for all and that the healing process can truly begin for our country.

And to those who would call me a sympathizer and label me an an extremist to the left, I will leave you with this statement:

Call me what you feel you need to in order to justify your pathetic existence, but keep this in mind when you do. Like all Americans on 9/11/01, I was angry at Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden for having the nerve to not only attack our country, but to do it in a manner that killed thousands of innocent people in a place that when I lived in New York, I bought my half-price theater tickets, caught subway trains and ate in restaurants at. The WTC was a personal thing for me. The only thing more personal would have been if they had taken out Rockefeller Center, since I worked in the building with the address number 50 during my time there. It is still my hope that someday we succeed in taking out bin Laden and his hatemongers once and for all. However, it is equally my hope that the extremists on both sides of the aisle finally figure out that they are the minority of all Americans and don't represent the vast majority of reasonable people in the United States.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hillary's goose cooked for more than just this year

For me, Friday was a day to recover from working the first of what may be as many as three or four "Grad Nites" at Disneyland. So, to come home from a shift and see all of the furor surrounding the comments made by Democratic Party presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) was a major wake-up call to say the least.

After seeing all of the analysis and reading a good chunk of the news stories and blogs out there, I have come to the following conclusions about the former First Lady.

1) I believe that her intentions behind the comments were not the dark extreme that some people have stated.

However, despite that belief I truly feel (like the vast majority out there) that the comment about the late Sen. Robert Kennedy's death at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles in 1968 was offensive and has no place in this or any other campaign. Nobody with any common sense truly believes for a second that Hillary is wishing for Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) to be killed. However, you just don't bring up the specter of assassination into the campaign for an office that has seen a number of sitting presidents killed and several others survive only by the sheer grace of God and fortuitous timing.

2) Her candidacy in this race is over, regardless of how much she wants to fight on over the next 10 days.

This was a gaffe that ranks right up with some of the biggest scandals in political history. Think of Gary Hart in 1987 after his affair with Donna Rice or vice presidential nominee Thomas Eagleton's revelation of electroshock therapy and this not only eclipses those, it leaves them both in the dust.

This also effectively ends any slim opportunity she may have had to be Sen. Obama's running mate because it would be a severe blow to the ticket to have a candidate on it that said it not only once, but twice (she also said it in an interview with Time back in March).

3) Any future she had beyond remaining a member of the U.S. Senate is done.

She clearly is her own person, and if Obama ends up losing in November, she may well decide to give it another try in 2012. However, this gaffe showed that Hillary is a person who is well out of touch with the times. In addition to this flub, there has been the "moving of the goalposts" that has continued since the coronation she expected on Super Tuesday in March never materialized, an 11-state losing streak the stark reality she ended up having to deal with. This has brought gaffe after gaffe from her campaign, has gotten Hillary nothing but indifferent press and has shown that her base group, women over 50, are a group so desperate to see the first woman with a legitimate shot at the presidency succeed that they will ignore the reality of the first black candidate with that same shot doing much better and with much broader support. In addition, I firmly believe that this will stay with Hillary beyond this year, making it harder for her for be anything more than a U.S. Senator from the state of New York.

Up until Friday, I had understood a couple of Hillary's reason's for wanting to stay in the race until June. After her statement and pseudo-apology, those reasons are gone. Call it fatigue, call it whatever you want, but that is the reality of just how bad touching a political third rail is.