A friend recently sent me a copy of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” insisting that I listen to it.

I barely got through it.

Of course I’ve heard “Thriller” all the way through before. I think. I’m pretty sure. I think, given the amount of times I’ve heard the hits through my life, I’ve probably lapped the album over and over again. Despite never owning the album until recently, it was a clear part of my childhood. Mostly due to ubiquity, but there you have it. I also consider “Billie Jean” to be The Best, and I constantly rework the chorus to “Wanna Be Starting Something” to fit my daily activities (such as “Wanna Be Carvin’ Pumpkin” or “Wanna Be Fartin’ Something”).

But all of that aside, this album… I can’t do it. And I think I know why:

That musical period — the big rock and pop of the early 80’s — is my least favorite period.

The years between 1981 and 1991 showed the rise of U2 (one of my least favorite bands), Bruce Springsteen (who got started earlier, but became a super-duper star at this time… either way never did it for me), as well as the low-point of the Rolling Stones. The Ramones struggled, the Clash broke up, Van Halen used synth keys AND broke up, and KISS took off their make-up. David Bowie and Mick Jagger made the video for “Dancing In the Street,” arguably the most embarrassing duet since “The Girl Is Mine” by Jackson and McCartney. On the other end, I never got into Metallica, or the underground hard core and punk scenes, or any of the bands mentioned in “This Band Could Be Your Life.”

…I think, technically, “Dancing” is more embarrassing because of a.) the video, b.) the clothes worn in the video, c.) the fact that these were once titans of the industry who clearly seem lost in their strange homoeroticism, and d.) the video again. BUT this last trip through “Thriller” reminded me of how awful (awful awful AWE-FULL) “Girl is Mine” remains. All the things embarrassing (yes, I’m embarrassed for the people involved while I passively listen) elements of “Girl is Mine” actually trickle their way through the remainder of the album, specifically synthesizer. Truth be told, as much as I enjoy “Wanna Be Starting Something,” my eyes almost rolled out of my skull when those “horns” first popped up. Sooooooooooo shitty.

Oh, there are many band and albums I enjoy from this period. “Purple Rain,” much of the early R.E.M. albums, and lots of singles. But there’s always things to enjoy in things you claim they don’t enjoy (like how I hate U2, but I can still list 8 songs I like). I think that era was the height of the pop single, with artists producing radio-friendly hits which play for a few minutes before changing to another artist.

I’m not sure where this leads me other than away from “Thriller.” Maybe someday I will feel differently. But I don’t know how differently I’d have to feel to allow synth horns.

A-Hole Cartoons


I recently came across an irritating cartoon. This one.

Political Cartoon

It irritated me for a number of reasons, mostly for the fact that it assumes people with a liberal arts degree look down on those who go to trade schools (or anyone, for that matter). It actually proves its own ignorance in a couple of ways.

First off, it assumes a grand generalization, which makes them an asshole. Continue reading ‘A-Hole Cartoons’

My Facebook and Twitter feeds are basically “Please Love Me” outlets. I’m totally unique that way. You probably post stuff out of the goodness of your heart, and you don’t want those luscious internet kisses in the forms of “likes” and stars and re-tweets and shout outs. Good for you.

Bad for me. But also good for me. In a weird brain flux, I decided to Tweet for a couple hours about the Hives, one of my favorite bands. And it paid off: long story short, their official feed gave me a shout out. Actually they told their fans I was “on fire tonight,” which feels great.

The whole story, in a long nutshell: Continue reading ‘The Hives and Twitter Power’

I made a serious leap this weekend, when I bought (used) the Nirvana box set “With the Lights Out.” It’s a collection of demos, live cuts, alternate takes, B-sides and oddities. It’s natural for a popular-yet-defunct band to release such sets, but they’re definitely not for everyone. So why did *I* get it? And what does that say about me that I can’t stop humming “Sappy?” Continue reading ‘Demo Tracks: The Gateway to Fanship’

Here are some movies about bands, rock music and the like which I enjoy. Some have authoritatively been called “Great” others have not. I make no apologies for it. It’s just a list, in no particular order. Continue reading ‘I Like Movies About Rock Bands/Rock Music’

I can’t let it go. Maybe *I’m* the crazy one.

Nope. I’m right. I know what I’m talking about. Read on:

Batman is arguably the most popular comic book character of all time. Top 3 easily. Most people know who he is and what he’s about, and most people (I think) like him.

Most people do not like crazy people. Truly crazy people. Yeah, yeah, people followed Hitler, I get it.

But I just cannot get behind the idea that millions of people would be worshiping a crazy person. It calls into question everyone’s bumper stickers, phone icons, etc.

But at the same time, people wear Punisher shirts, so there’s that.

BUT IT STILL SEEMS CRAZY to have so many people love a crazy person. A crazy character, anyway. A crazy HERO. Nobody loves a crazy hero, because there kind of aren’t really such things. There are misunderstood heroes, who appear crazy. The BBC Sherlock Holmes comes to mind.

I just hate it.

He’s not crazy. I think that’s lazy to just say “Oh, he’s crazy.” I don’t think there’s a person out there who legitimately looooooves Batman because he’s crazy. They would love him because he’s human, he’s smart, resourceful, drives a cool car, looks cool, etc, etc.

“I like Batman ’cause he’s crazy.” Bull.

In the recent Scriptnotes podcast on superheroes (and the screenwriters who write their movies), it was stated that Batman’s “crazy.” And this was agreed to by the panelists, either by saying something or silently agreeing. The evidence given was “The Dark Knight Returns.”

And that made me realize that this is a bad example of Batman/Bruce Wayne’s psychology.

Because in “DKR,” he’s 55+ and retired.

That comic is the key influence on every Batman movie of the last 20 years, but it’s never been an influence on anything but the 30-something Bruce Waynes of Burton, Schumacher and Nolan.

Age makes a big difference. At least to me. It’s easier for me to forgive some of his, uh… characteristics because he’s an old man.

If a younger man did those kinds of things, in the way in which he does them, it would seem crazier.

Emphasis on “seem.” Just because someone does something crazy does not mean that he, himself, is crazy.

That’s how I live my life.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 838 other followers