Trust the Gene Genie

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Back to the lab again

Long time, no see. But the next time someone asks you if Rob is lazy, you can proudly respond, "Yes. Yes he is."

But let's jump right into things. There's a fun little music website I check out from time to time. They posted a New York Post interview with some musicians, asking them to offer up perfectly good songs they once loved that had been ruined because of the circumstances under which they heard the song. The musicians' answers were boring. The stories related by readers in the comments section were hilarious. The best by far was this one:

"'The One Thing' by INXS... granted it's not the greatest song, but it WAS my favorite song (that wasn't by Prince) when I was 14.

"But that was all ruined a year or two later when I discovered a video tape of MY MOTHER STRIPPING TO THE SONG."

I can't top that. But it's great item for discussion. What great song has been ruined for you forever?

For me, it's a tragic tale. In an apartment across from ours, there's a group of guys, beefcakes we call them, that spend most waking hours working out in their garage. They literally all look like Kevin Federline on stereroids -- you know, hip-hop, urbanite wannabes. Anyway, they've always got their techno Eurotrash dance club music booming out the garage while the work out. Well, one day, a couple weeks ago, I came home from work and what song was blaring from their so-large-it-may-be-componsating-for-something-else soundsystem? Rev. Al's "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart." I loved that song. It was Al Green at the top of his form. And now I hear it and think of a couple beefcakes working each other out in their garage.

I know you've got your own story. Feel free to share it here.

A couple more things to pass along. Bono confirmed on Sarajevo television that a new U2 album would come out in 2007. So look for the disc to be out sometime in late 2008.

And, saving the best for last, is a link to one of the driest, funniest, most satiric websites I've recently come across: Joe Mathlete Explains Today's Marmaduke. If you're like me and hate, and I mean absolutely loath with every cell in your body, insipid, pointless, smaltzy, lazily written and stupidly concieved comics like "Marmaduke" (or "The Family Circus," "Rose Is Rose," "Dennis the Menace" and "For Better or For Worse" just to name a few examples) than this site is for you.

But just a quick warning, of the 50 or so "Marmadukes" explained, a couple have some salty language. Here's one of my favorites.

Anyway, life is good. Claire and Leigh started school this week and both seem to really enjoy it. I'll get some photos up with a couple good stories later on in the week. You know, to prove to you all that I'm a good father.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

T-shirts are cool

Let's have some fun. No more boring U2 posts or talk of politics. I'm a T-shirt guy. If I could, with the exception of my guayaberas, I'd wear T-shirts all the time. Of course the coolest are usually the most expansive or hardest to get a hold of. So, the following is a list of cool T-shirts that I'm sure I'd buy in bulk and pass out like Milk Duds if, like Tevya, I were a rich man. Keep checking back, I'll probably add to the list over the next few days.

First, my own ode to Jeopardy. Answer:

Question: Who's Alex Trebeck?
Next, a shirt that proudly proclaims "I understand the digestive system!":

Here, a statement of my undying affection for Shatner:

How about this one for proclaiming pure truth. Seventies sci-fi was all about the hexigons.

This is good for now. Post your faves in the comments, or, if you've got recommendations, pass those along, too.

Friday, August 04, 2006

News you can use

Well, so far, no one's getting any Whatchamacallits. And Becky and I are no closer to naming the baby. Get cracking, people!

Believe it or not, I do have some intriguing news from the U2 front. The band, which spent all last year touring, have been off the road for most of this year. And lately they've been at their digs in the south of France, apparently recording new material. But that's not the real news. The real news is some very enterprising fans, standing outside the band's house, managed to get close enough to get some recordings of the rehearsals. Don't get me wrong, it's not high quality stuff. It sounds like it was recorded by someone standing outside a house holding a taperecorder. But, it's pretty clear, all things considered, and you get a pretty good sense of what the band's doing.

It's also another blow for what was once my favorite U2 fansite, (now just a hollow shell of itself). Neither u2log nor the embarassingly earnest posts the news of the recording on their sites. Sanctamonious jerks.

There's also rumors that, with the band's release of the Zoo TV concert DVD and their new band history "U2 By U2" in Septmeber, there'll also be a new single released. That would be pretty cool. Maybe. A little while ago I found a review online of the band's last album, "Atomic Bomb," that for me, summed up perfectly what was wrong with the disc:

"'How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb,' like 'All That You Can't Leave Behind' before it, is so classy and classic-sounding that it's utterly boring. Bono and his childhood pals still make competent, sturdy records, and they still sell in bundles. But these albums are also oddly neutered, so polished and vaguely rousing that they don't challenge you in the least. The idea of U2 as adventurous, searching, sometimes pretentious souls trying to take over the world? Well, they've done that already, I suppose. And now they want the peak to last as long as it can. Which means you won't ever ever hear another 'Pop' again -- or even a 'Zooropa.'"

The critic has a couple great points:

"Mortality has replaced lost love and spiritual hunger as U2's reason for being."

"Beyond "Vertigo," precious little else on HTDAAB rocks or rolls or breaks much of a sweat. Instead, we again find ourselves elbow-deep in stately mid-tempo songs, blithely pretty but missing the indelible moment that great U2 ballads always possess ... By comparison, U2's last two records are probably their most sonically conservative, recycling the same solid riffs and melodies we've come to expect from them. Maintain the brand, maintain the brand."

Then he closes with this, which I thought was great:

"Don't call the album awful or terrible or anything so harsh. Be objective and say that HTDAAB is a solid if unsurprising U2 record, another of their late-period attempts at consensus and craftsmanship. But if this is a throwback to 'classic' U2, which '80s record of theirs does this sound like? 'War' was more violent, 'The Joshua Tree' more bracing, 'Rattle and Hum' more weary, 'Boy' more yearning. No, HTDAAB longs for a past U2 has long since outgrown. It's all right: Their fans have too, and if the band won't say anything, they won't either. At a time when Radiohead are too 'weird' and the White Stripes too 'loud,' U2 are getting dangerously close to Sting territory -- comfort music at a high level of sophistication. And, hey, who doesn't love the idea of Sting?"

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