My new hero in journalism

One reason I couldn’t have been the music journalist I dreamed of being in high school — it has little to do with the logical skills I developed as a teen and everything to do with shrewd schmoozing.

I’m generally not a fan of the latter, but when it’s a creative way of playing overdeveloped egos against each other without hostility, I like it. And that’s why I’m now a fan of Jancee Dunn:

Inevitably, however, your exhaustively-researched questions will produce grunted, monosyllabic answers, for the band members will not want to seem like some eager teen pop group. Their goal is to make music, they will tell you pointedly, not to bone chicks or make videos or have their drinks paid for or stay in plush hotel rooms. Thus it is their duty to convey that these interviews are a nuisance, and they would be just as happy rehearsing in a garage somewhere. At this time you must roll out the heavy artillery. Pay attention only to the drummer. Laugh uproariously at his jokes. Stare with dumbfounded awe as he offers up his philosophies. Say things like, “I never thought about it before, but you are absolutely right – drumming is a metaphor for life!” Listen, rapt, as he explains to you the genius of John Bonham’s skinsmanship. As the puzzled but excited drummer blossoms under your admiring gaze, his other band mates, particularly the heretofore-mute sunglasses-wearing lead singer, will at first be confused, then annoyed. Finally, their competitive spirit will take over and they will enthusiastically jockey for attention, offering amusing anecdotes about groupies and telling off-color jokes.


Then there’s my other media hero:

“Morbo demands comment!”


Lyrics answers

You all failed. Except Lex, who got four out of five.

  1. She lives in the place in the side of our lives where nothing is ever put straight – Pretty in Pink, Psychedelic Furs
  2. We are the goon squad and we’re coming to town, beep beep – Fashion, David Bowie
  3. You’re honorable, more honorable than me – Exhuming McCarthy, R.E.M.
  4. I ditched my lecture to watch the girls play soccer – Going Away to College, Blink 182
  5. How can this power be bought and sold? – Powerline, Husker Du

#1 is probably tough without hearing it. #2 should’ve been easy, and #4 wasn’t much harder. #3 requires you to be an early-R.E.M. collector, and #5 was admittedly next to impossible.

Let’s try some more:

  1. Steal a little and they throw you in jail / steal a lot and they make you a king. (Yes, that one’s hard, but partial credit if you think about who might’ve written it and come up with the writer without knowing the song)
  2. I try to discover a little something to make me sweeter (Easy!)
  3. This was a Pizza Hut / Now it’s all covered with daisies (Easier!)
  4. They’ve got to catch me if they want me to hang (Try screaming it)
  5. I wonder if we’ll meet again, talk about life since then, talk about why did it end (Moderately hard)

Good timing

On the same week that Will & Grace bows out, Family Guy makes a reference to Soap.

Why does that matter?

Because, as we older farts know but everyone writing about television has forgotten, Soap prominently featured …

… you guessed it …


OK, fine, he didn’t act that much like a gay guy, and he had a couple of heterosexual relationships. But he seemed more adept at dating than Will, at least.

Anyway, it’s nice to see something aimed at my very narrow demographic. Thanks, Seth.


What’s your ringtone?

Mine is Ace of Spades by Motorhead. Two reasons:

1. I have a good association with it from The Young Ones.

2. There’s something funny about hearing a song that could be classified as “death metal” in that cheesy 1980s Casio tone that my phone offers.

What’s yours?


Stuff you don’t see in the American media

A documentary on time itself: “In today’s technological age, the body’s natural clocks are being hijacked by timetables, schedules and diaries. By paying more attention to our watches, rather than our internal clocks, could we be losing touch with time as it should be perceived?”

And a take on The Simpsons as a philosophical landmark. Granted, I think a bunch of Americans wrote the book on that subject, and the BBC writer fails to credit it, but …


Office reconsidered

The more I think about it, and the more I read clever blog dissections of The Office season finale, I think I was too negative in live-blogging the show. Moral of the story: Just sit and watch, THEN blog.

The best surprise of the show was that they surprised us. Like an old-school football coach calling a misdirection play, they had us all looking in different directions. We were wondering if Jim and Jan would have a pity hook-up. Or if Jim was about to tell Pam he was transferring. We’ve known all along that they couldn’t simply leave Jim and Pam in mutually unrequited love forever, but at the moment Jim said something, we were still surprised. That’s brilliant writing and directing.

I’m not completely convinced that a cliffhanger was the best way to go, but the powers that be have given themselves several good directions to go next season. My pet “if I were writing” scenario: We pick up next season during a workday, and we’re not told right away what, if anything, has happened between Jim and Pam. Only at the end of the episode do we find out that they’re together and trying desperately to hide it from the rest of the group.

The Jim-Pam tension was fun but had clearly gone as far as it could. I’m not quite ready to see them settle into a happy, open relationship. Keeping it secret could give them a new story arc that has a lot of potential.