Archive for November, 2007

Vox Hunt: Like No Other

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on November 30, 2007 by tom

Show us what makes you unique.

(taken with the new Motorola Krazr MRI)

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QotD: Vox Potluck

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on November 30, 2007 by tom

If your Vox Neighborhood had a potluck dinner tonight, what dish, drink or dessert would you bring?

In case the kitties get hungry (or people are really high).

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Thursday night brain tapas

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on November 30, 2007 by tom

It's PBS pledge drive season, and that means they break out all their big music specials.  One I watched was Elvis Lives: The 25th Anniversary Concert.  This show was fascinating, recorded live August 16, 2002, the 25th anniversary of Elvis' kingly demise.  Elvis' band was sharp and tight, despite their advancing age, and the King himself was young and thin, his voice sounding better than ever in his 66 years.

Especially since he'd been dead since 1977.  Elvis' performance came from 1973, and the legendary Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii concert, which was seen live by over 1 BILLION people, plus another 500 million on delay.  Over 50% of the American tv audience tuned in; and it's still the most-watched entertainment program in history. 

The producers of the 2002 show took Elvis' filmed performance from 1973, then hired his 1973 band to play live as the King sang on a giant screen.  Their hair had gone gray, but they could still rock.  It was an amazing effect, kinda creepy, really, because you couldn't really tell that Elvis wasn't there.  I understand it was all editing and incredible synchronization by the musicians, but you could almost believe Elvis was there singing. 

Again, except that he'd been dead for a quarter century. 

It was interesting that almost all of his band was still living and still performing all those years later.  One exception was J.D. Sumner, leader of The Stamps Quartet, one of E's backup vocal groups.  (I noticed this only because I'd interviewed J.D. before he died, ironically in a feature marking Elvis 60th birthday (also because he had the deepest voice I've ever heard anywhere–he made James Earl Jones sound like Conan O'Brien))

All of that leads me to this thought: I think it would be just cooler than hell if I could take an earlier, younger, thinner, hipper version of myself and have it do things here in the present.  What if I could have, say, the 17 year-old Tom go out and play golf or racquetball or basketball for me, or the 22 year-old Tom go out on a date? If we could pick ourselves at some point in our lives, and substitute that self for today's self, would we do it? Interesting concept, although I doubt the 17 year-old me could handle it were he suddenly transported to the age of cell-phones and easily accessible internet porn. 

Elvis, Part Two:

I know more music by Elvis than by Pearl Jam, Beck, and Britney Spears combined.  My mom played him a bunch when I was a kid, then I ended up as Production Director at an Oldies radio station.  I always liked the 60's and 70's Elvis–the Vegas Elvis, if you will–better than his earlier incarnation.  Maybe it's the kitsch factor, but I turn it up when I hear "Burnin' Love" from 1972.  I've never bought so much as an Elvis single, but I dig the guy.  He had style.  I doubt anyone will put on a similar show 25 years after Kid Rock dies.

Elvis, Part Three:
If you like non-mainstream films, check out Jim Jarmusch's Mystery Train.  It's a haunting trilogy of stories set in a rundown Memphis hotel, and Elvis makes a ghostly appearance.  Plus, I like just about any film with Steve Buscemi in it, especially when Screamin' Jay Hawkins plays the hotel night clerk, and Joe Strummer of the Clash appears as a hot-tempered drunk guy. 

Stupid TV Commercial Update:
Lord help me, the X-mas holiday shopping season is well underway, and I'm about ready to scream from all the happy snowy besweatered idiots in TV ads.  Two people I really want to smack are in jewelry store ads.  One has a man walking through the mall with a shiny black Zales Jewelers bag in one hand.  Another man walks by, sees the bag, and high-fives the guy for his exemplary taste. 

I'm sorry, but in the real world, whatever's in that bag would be in a pawn shop vault before this doofus made it to his Lexus.  If I were to buy diamonds in the mall, the last damn thing I'd do would be walk around with the bag hanging casually from one hand.  I'd probably put the Zales bag inside a sack from Taco Hut or Ptomaine's Ptasty Sub Emporium.  "Sorry it smells like peperoncini and salami, sugar-booger, but Merry Christmas! (burp)"

Come to think of it, I think the other dumb commercial is also for Zales.  In this one, a man and his wife are walking up their driveway, when the woman notices a Zales bag hanging from the snowman's arm. 

Again, I don't know where these people live, but it's no neighborhood where I've ever lived.  

OH! A third offender, also a Zales ad! A man and his wife are walking through a Christmas tree lot, when the man points to a tree.  "This is the one."
"Why this one?"
"Because it comes with a present already under it."

The present? Of course, a diamond whatnot from Zales.  The most likely way for this to play out would be for the man to arrange with one of the Christmas tree merchants to place the present beneath the tree, and guard it somehow.  I understand that I live in a strange part of the world, but most of our Christmas trees are sold by Christmas tree gypsies.  These folks come down from the mountains for one month a year, and set up camp in the Kash n Karry parking lot.  The whole clan–ma, pa, and the young'uns–sell trees and live in a camper right there along the busiest road in town.  You give one of these folks a diamond to guard, and they'd be out of town before you could say "yee haw, everybody gets shoes this year!"

I know, I'm far too cynical.  But these things just get to me with their inane cuddly happiness.  Plus, it's pathetic when I realize that next to these, Chad and the dorks from the cell-phone commercials look positively intellectual. 

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Life is short, and you never know

Posted in Uncategorized on November 28, 2007 by tom

I typed "life is short, and you never know" into Google, and it returned 5420 hits.  It's a popular sentiment, certainly not an original one, but one that hit me tonight.

I was over at Puddin's house, helping her put up Christmas decorations.  Our friend Hope was helping, and we were all having fun, laughing and joking and sitting around, when Hope's phone rang. It was her boyfriend, telling her that his dad had been in a motorcycle wreck and was taken to the local emergency trauma center.  Hope, understandably, went from giddy and happy to flat-out panic in seconds, and Puddin' and I sprang into concerned friend mode.  We made sure Hope was calm enough to drive, and we agreed to drive over to her boyfriend's job and explain to his boss what had happened. 

Just like that: from happy and goofy and screwing around, to full blown crisis.  Naturally, nobody knew how bad the dad's injuries were–a broken leg, or major head damage? Minor boo-boos, or lost limbs?–so we all assumed the worst. 

It turns out that he was riding without a helmet, but he ended up with just a broken arm and a broken leg.   He was lucky.   It could've been much worse.  Thank God our worst fears were unfounded.  And a few minutes before, we had been worried whether the stupid lighted inflatable Santa was set up correctly.  It goes to show, life…well, you know.

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Impression: X-mas Cheer, Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on November 28, 2007 by tom

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In a parallel universe, on Nick at Nite…

Posted in Uncategorized on November 25, 2007 by tom

(scene: around the dining room table at the Brady house)

Mr Brady: Now, Cindy, you know it's not nice to tattle.  Greg is your brother, and he deserves his privacy.

Cindy: But, Daddy, I couldn't get him to play with me!

Mr Brady: Cindy, if you stick a cattle prod up their ass, you could get a horse to deal cards.  It's just a matter of voltage.*

Cindy: What? I don't understhand.  I'm telling you Greg was playing thtrangle the bishop, and you're thaying thomething about cattle prodth.  He wagged hith–

Mr Brady: Cindy, I'm the captain of this ship, now SHUT THE FUCK UP! *

Harrowing, no? Much as we'd love it, the Mike Brady we all know would never speak that way to poor, tattling, lisping, be-curled Cindy.  Mike Brady was played by the amazingly well-trained Robert Reed.  You might not guess it from watching him as the unflappable, perpetually optimistic wuss with the man-perm, but Robert Reed was a Shakespearean actor, who even taught classical theater at UCLA.  Robert Reed hated The Brady Bunch, and he battled constantly with creator Sherwood Schwartz over the show's insipid writing.  Sadly, that show he hated so much defined him, and that's how he'll always be remembered, for craptacular scenes like this:

[Carol walks into Mike's den to show off her new ensemble for their weekend vacation at a dude ranch]
Carol Ann Brady: What are you going to wear, Mike?
Michael 'Mike' Brady: Oh I don't know… my cowboy boots…
Carol Ann Brady: [in her best John Wayne impression] Well ya better wear somethin' else, or you're gonna get arrested!
Michael 'Mike' Brady: Not to mention sunburn!  +

HAR! (sfx: projectile vomiting)

But it almost didn't happen for Robert Reed.

Producer Schwartz's first choice to play Mike Brady was Gene Hackman.  Yes, the same Gene Hackman who won Oscars for playing uber-badasses Popeye Doyle and Unforgiven's sadistic sherrif, Little Bill.  It boggles the mind to think how different the Brady Bunch would've been had the studio not considered Gene Hackman to be too unknown at the time. 

In a parallel universe, maybe Gene Hackman did get the job.  And maybe, since he would've been too busy shooting The Brady Bunch, Robert Reed would've played Popeye Doyle in The French Connection, or Superman's Lex Luthor. 

Imagine Mike Brady as we know him saying, "All right! You put a shiv in my partner. You know what that means? Goddammit! All winter long I got to listen to him gripe about his bowling scores. Now I'm gonna bust your ass for those three bags and I'm gonna nail you for picking your feet in Poughkeepsie." +

Tough to visualize, no? Gene Hackman went on to turn down starring roles in Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, four film classics.  If you extrapolate, we could've had Robert Reed playing Indiana Jones.  Yikes.

Then again, I was always told that if I extrapolate, I'll grow hair on my palms and go blind, so I won't do that.  And thank God we don't live in that parallel universe, because maybe I'd have married my college girlfriend and had kids and sell insurance and play bridge and watch horrible children's soccer games and live in suburbia and have a white picket fence.

Worse yet, I might live next door to those insufferable Bradys and their saccharine goody-goody spawn.

Although, I'd love to run my hands through that Jan Brady's "hair of gold," and help her get over her Marcia fixation.

*- Gene Hackman's lines from Crimson Tide (1995)
+- excerpts from

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I couldn’t make this up

Posted in Uncategorized on November 24, 2007 by tom

From the Christian Science Monitor:

47% more calls come in to Roto-Rooter, the nation's largest supplier of plumbing services, on the day after Thanksgiving than a normal Friday. It's typically the busiest day of the year for plumbers.

Sure, people dumping grease, bones, vegetables, giblets, and Lord only knows what else down the garbage disposal accounts for a lot of the extra activity.  But another huge source? Think about it: if you have a house full of company gathered for the biggest, starchiest feast of the year, what would cause massive plumbing overloads the next day?

That's right.  All of the added people in the house taking big, steaming, holiday…

…showers.  Roto-rooter advises allowing at least ten minutes between showers, just to allow the drains to do their jobs. 

And for God's sake (and your plumbing's), don't let my Uncle Jerry use your bathroom. 

(In case you don't believe me!)

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