Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Fat Tuesday

Happy Mardi Gras!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Lundi Gras

All weekend long, I was sitting around my apartment in Nashville thinking about how I would like to be back home in Louisiana for Mardi Gras this year. It's been two years since my last Mardi Gras and I didn't miss it too much last year since Roxi came to visit me for the week. But this year is different. I miss it because of the year that Louisiana has had and the recovery that it helps provide. Despite all that happened in New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina and in the Lafayette area with Hurricane Rita, Mardi Gras is happening as it should.

I've read some stories about people thinking that it is "too soon" and inappropriate because so little recovery has taken place in the hardest hit areas, but I think that is exactly the reason it should go on. Like it or not, Louisiana's economy is dependent on tourism and the revenue generated from Mardi Gras. Sure the economy has other revenue streams, but for places like New Orleans and Lafayette, tourism is one that dominates. All people in Louisiana want is for things to go back to normal and having Mardi Gras is a necessity for such normalcy.

I can understand the frustration of refugees of New Orleans who feel resources are being wasted on a party when there is infrastructure that needs to be rebuilt. But what if there were no celebration this year? What kind of message would that send? To me that would send the message that Louisiana was defeated and New Orleans has an uncertain future. The loss of life and property was truly tragic, but what of the living and those that are ready to move forward? It is for these reasons that I am happy to see that Mardi Gras is happening, even if it is a scaled down version. I only wish that I could be there to help inject some dollars into the economy.

So to all those that celebrate this Carnival season, "Laissez les bon temps rouler!"

Sunday, February 26, 2006

RIP Don Knotts

I used to watch the re-runs of Andy Griffith show a lot when I was a kid and thought Barney Fife was funny. But as I got older I transitioned to re-runs of Three's Company and so I'll really miss the lovable and constantly befuddled Mr. Furley the most.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Olympic Streaker

The most exciting event of the Winter Olympics occurred today and it had nothing to do with a dramatic win by an athlete. Today's curling bronze medal match was interrupted by a streaker advertising for Golden Palace.com. I'm not sure if their guerilla marketing strategy actually gets them any more business, but I'd pay someone to wear nothing but a rubber chicken while streaking through the Olympics if I had the money!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Great News for fans of "The State"

In a recent interview, "Reno 911!" creators Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon have revealed that all eleven members of "The State" will appear in the upcoming "Reno 911!: Miami" movie!

I love "Reno 911!" but when I first heard about this movie, I was skeptical because all I could really think of was "Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach." But then on second thought, I realized that the Reno cops in Miami was the prefect parody of the ill-fated Police Academy sequel. Furthermore, this news of a full State reunion makes the project that much more appealing.

I fondly remember "The State" from my early high school days. MTV still showed music videos a majority of the time although with shows like "The State" and "Beavis and Butthead," the current non-musical programming of the channel was beginning. I loved the absurdity of comedy troupe and have not seen any sketch shows like it in the ten years since with the only exceptions being the "Upright Citizens Brigade" and criminally short-lived "Dana Carvey Show."

Since The State disbanded, several members have collaborated on Comedy Central shows such as "Viva Variety," " Reno 911!" and "Stella." Many members also appeared in the great summer camp parody "Wet Hot American Summer." But all of the near reunions were only prelude to this.

One can only hope that this reunion precipitates a full blown stage tour in the near future. I twice enjoyed "The Kids in the Hall" reunion tour and I can only imagine how I would enjoy a reunion of "The State."

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Will the RIAA ever learn?

Continuing in it's campaign to alienate every music consumer in the United States, the Recording Industry Industry Association of America (RIAA) has declared that making copies of your own CDs for strictly personal use can be considered copywrite infringement. This could be applied to any copy that you choose to make, be it onto another CD, your computer hard drive or even your iPod! With statements like these, is it any wonder that the major market (CD) business is in the crapper? What is it going to take for these a-holes to realize that they are destroying the business, not some kid copying his CDs onto his mp3 player. These executives are doing so badly, they can't even afford to hire much needed public relations experts and consultants to advise them to cut their losses and embrace new and emerging technology. The clock is ticking for these guys and they are feeling the heat yet they continue the Sisyphean task of stopping technological progress.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


A Muslim institute in Germany has finally voiced its opinion concerning Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's comments proclaiming that the Holocaust is a myth. A spokesman for the institute has challenged Ahmadinejad to visit Auschwitz and repeat the claim.

By denying the Holocaust, Ahmadinejad not only denigrated the Jewish victims of the genocide but also the 200,000 Roms and Arabs murdered in the "gypsy camp" of Auschwitz-Birkenau and other camps, the institute spokesman said.

I am glad to see a publicized statement against the well covered fanaticism that has been rearing its ugly head throughout the Middle East and Europe lately. All we seem to hear about are the small groups of fundamentalist Muslim demonstrators burning foreign embassies over cartoons while we hear little, if anything, from the millions of peaceful Muslims around the world who are disgusted by what these displays say about their religion. I know that there are more Muslims who disagree with Ahmadinejad and his ilk but it is incumbenet upon them to make their presence known by speaking out against the hate.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Minister of Sauna Inspections

Conan O'Brien is in Finland this week seeking a cabinet post in the second term government of president and O'Brien doppleganger Tarja Halonen. The result: hilarity!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Seattle "12th Man" Meets Karma in Detroit

There has been a brewing controversy over the past several weeks between Texas A&M University and the Seattle Seahawks. It's not about football recruits, but rather about the use of the term "12th Man" to describe their fans.

A&M has used the term since 1922 when former player E. King Gill suited up to play in the Dixie Classic when the Aggie team's injuries were mounting. Gill never had to play, but he was standing on the sidelines at the ready. From then on, the Aggie student section began the tradition of standing during all games at the ready in case they were called on to play. Thus was born the true 12th Man.

Seattle began calling it's fans the "12th Man" in the 1980's. Enough said. Plus A&M has a trademark on the name and has defended it successfully against the Chicago Bears and the Buffalo Bills. Seattle fans can bitch and complain all they want, but the fact remains that we have laws governing trademarks and if this was an unrealistic trademark, it would have never been granted to Texas A&M. But it was and so it is only right that corporations respect one another's trademarks. I'm sure Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen would have his laywers jump in to sue Texas A&M if we started using Microsoft trademarks.

While watching the Superbowl tonight, I do have to give Seahawks fans credit for making a lot of noise in the first quarter, but they didn't sustain like the 12th Man does. They are pretenders. They crapped out when their team was having trouble and they lost.

Here I am (on the far right, above the "N" in 12th Man) at Kyle Field at Texas A&M on November 26, 1999. Despite being behind at half time, the 12th Man helped the unranked and struggling Aggies defeat the No. 5 ranked Texas Longhorns that clear day. That's what a real 12th Man does!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Music fans have spoken...

...and they have declared that most new music sucks! Personally, I don't see how you'd need any type of poll to prove this. Just listen to three Top 40 radio stations for thirty minutes each. Not only will you hear the same songs on all three stations, but you will probably hate about 80% of them.

The greatest thing about this survey is how music fans come out and say that record companies need to get over this obsession with blaming illegal downloads for poor music sales. Hopefully the powers that be will actually get their heads out of their asses and address the root cause of the problem: excrable music!

The survey goes on to cite outrageous CD prices as a problem as well and how more and more people are turning to digital download services like iTunes to pay for only the songs they want to hear. Couple that with the fact that digital music downloading dales increased by 65% in 2005 to account for $1.1 billion (with a B) of sales. I don't know how much music industry consultants are being paid to try to improve sales but it's obviously too much. It's funny because all the information they would need is already out there.

So today, I'd like to formally submit my application to be an advisor to the record industry. If hired, I would give them a simple, easy to understand presentation. I'd start with these facts and survey results, then I'd move on to discuss artist longevity and how current pop acts will never have any, and then I'd finish with a Power Point slide that says:


It's about time to start Smashing Pumpkins again!

Just a few months after the release of both his solo album debut and a full page ad in the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times begging his former band mates to reunite, Billy Corgan has announced that he and drummer Jimmy Chamberlain are set to enter the studio to begin work on the first new Pumpkins album in more than five years. Their last official release was Machina:The Machines of God although that was followed up by the vastly superior Machina II: The Friends and Enemies of Modern Music which the band allowed fans to download for free from their website. I'm not sure what kind of musical direction the new Pumpkins will take but my good friend and uber-fan Chris hopes that it is different from Billy's solo album which was "so unbelievably terrible that I would've been surprised if there was no reunion." Billy's post-Pumpkins band Zwan was pretty good so hopefully the new material can at least match that but I think all fans of 90's rock would be in heaven with something more akin to Siamese Dream or Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Dave Chappelle cries on Oprah

Or maybe not. I don't watch Oprah. But if you are part of the "O Army," today you would have seen Dave Chappelle give his first interview since quitting and disappearing in the middle of production of the third season of "Chappelle's Show." He claims to have not been on drugs or in the midst of mental problems, but rather he was just stressed out.

"I felt in a lot of instances I was deliberately being put through stress because when you're a guy who generates money, people have a vested interested in controlling you," Chappelle said.

Chappelle didn't rule out completing the contracted third and fourth seasons of his show, but he said that the circumstances would have to be right. As far as I'm concerned, his show was funny but it was never "$50 million funny." So I could take or leave his return but I'm just a firm believer that celebrity healing can't begin without a tearful apology for/admission of something/PR stunt on a nationally syndicated talk show. Anything less is just half-assing it!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Another casualty of childhood stardom

Jodie Sweetin of sappy family show Full House discussed her methamphetamine addiction and recovery on Good Morning America today. The good news is that she is recovering and hasn't ended up like Dana Plato or other former child stars.

The article tells about how she became involved with meth and how an intervention by former castmates saved her:

But two years ago, she found herself dangerously addicted to one of the most debilitating drugs, methamphetamine. She said she was unemployed and bored and began simply by experimenting. Soon, she was using meth everyday.

The tabloid press reported a three-day bender as well as an intervention staged by her "Full House" castmates -— including the (sic) Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, John Stamos and Bob Saget.

I don't want to make light of the horrors of Jodie's addiction, but to have Mary-Kate Olsen tell you that you have a drug problem has got to be a serious reality check!

Having seen most of Full House in syndication after school in the early nineties, I can honestly say that I wish Jodie the best in her recovery and hope that she can avoid the adult life that most child stars end up having.