Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!

I hope that everyone is outside today enjoying the day but most of all giving thanks to the men and women who put their lives on the line every single day to protect our basic freedoms. Today stands for a day of remembrance and thanks. Remember those who gave their life for our great country and thank those who still continue to do so.

So today I give you a list of celebrities which you may or may not have known, have served in some sort of armed services during their lifetime.

- Elvis Presley (above)
- Ice T, Army Ranger
- Drew Carey, USMC
- James Earl Jones , Army Ranger
- Bill Cosby, US Navy
- George Carlin, USAF
- Hunter S. Thompson, USAF
- Jimmy Hendrix, USAF
- Pat Tillman, USMC
- Ed McMahon, USMC
- Gene Hackman , USMC
- Paul Ruebens aka Pee Wee, USMC
- Clint Eastwood, US Army
- Chuck Norris (of course), USAF

Not by far all of them, just felt their need to be recognized. And thank you to everyone I know and don't know who puts their life on the line every day so that I can live the free life that I've come to enjoy...

Dear Family That Comes With My Pictures

If you don't already read McSweeney's I HIGHLY suggest you add it to your list IMMEDIATELY. Their internet site is full of short stories. Mostly hilarious, highly intellectual and just amazing. I think that I've read some of my favorite stories from this site, easy. Proof was today. I'm here at work, bored out of my gorge. No volunteers, not much to do. Leaving in one hour. So I decided to do some reading...well I found a gem! It may be long, but its too hilarious not to share so enjoy.

This is a piece called "We are the family in the photo that came with your new picture frame" by Colin Nissan. (Again I was laughing out loud during this entire story!)

"Before you remove us from this frame and replace us with a picture of yourselves, I want you to take a nice, long look at us. We're gorgeous. What are the chances that your family is as happy and aesthetically pleasing as us? I'd have to say four percent, tops.

Do you like our sweaters? They're shearling. That means they're made from lambs. Specifically, lambs from the lamb farm we own. The same one where every summer we invite underprivileged kids to feel temporarily privileged. Does your family own a lamb farm and invite underprivileged kids there?

How rude of me, we haven't even introduced ourselves. We're the Andersons. I'm Evan, the lovely size-zero lass in the floppy sun hat is my wife Amy, and these are our best friends/children, Evan and Amy Jr. As you can see, we're very fit and active. You know what our family's average percentage of body fat is? Three. Yes, really. We got it tested last year when we all became organ donors.

You may have noticed that I'm carrying Amy on my back. We do that a lot. At least once a day, and not just when we're in fields like this; we do it on beaches and in urban environments as well. That's what happens when your love is deep and playful like ours. You should also know that we also dab frosting on each other's noses every single time we eat cupcakes, which is both mischievous and very us. Do you guys even eat cupcakes?

Amy and I continue to reach new heights of sexual satisfaction fifteen years into our marriage. While you guys are sitting around in your sweatsuits fighting over who forgot to pay the gas bill, we're smiling exactly like this through hours of mind-boggling tantric intercourse.

You're probably wondering about the vintage jeep and hot air balloon in the background of our picture. That's our jeep. I restored it myself. You'd think I'd be tired of working with my hands after fixing brains as neurosurgeon all day, but I'm not. We're about to enjoy a beautiful scenic float over the countryside—a little something we do every Saturday. Why? Because we crave adventure and have zero fear of heights, that's why. What's your idea of adventure? Let me guess, a frantic trip to Bed Bath & Beyond a half-hour before closing?

Does your family sing barbershop? Ours does. A baritone, a soprano, and our two little Mensa tenors. We even have a name for ourselves, "The Andertones." I'm looking forward to busting out one of our signature medleys on the ride of home from ballooning.

You may have noticed that Evan Jr. is the only one of us who's Asian. That's because we adopted him from China—not because we have reproductive issues of any kind, in fact Amy's doctor referred to my sperm as "Troops" and her eggs as "Normandy," so our genitals are working very, very well. We simply felt that adopting was the right thing to do because we have a lot of love to give, probably two to three times more than you do.

There's Nippers, our purebred lab, running around in the distance. I love that old gal, had her since I was a little boy. I know that may sound like a physical impossibility but it isn't. Not in this family.

What's your picture of, by the way? I'm dying to know what you're so anxious to replace us with, and please don't tell me it's a shot of you guys bowling. You know the last time Amy and the kids and I bowled? Never. Because it's pathetic and dull and not representative of the enviable lifestyle we've chosen for ourselves.

Let's get real here. It's time to place your picture next to ours and ask yourself an important question. Who's better? Then put your little bowling picture back in the drawer and let the Andersons turn this house into a home."

I promise you will not look at picture frames the same ever again without thinking of the Andersons.

My Way

I don't know if I have admitted this before but I'm kind of obsessed with Frank Sinatra. I don't know if I even need to even explain why. I just find him absolutely facinating. Maybe its the old school Italian from NY in me but there is something about his story. His songs. His swagger. His crew. The way that he did things that nobody will ever repeat.

And then I think to his song "My Way". And all I can think about, is imagine if this was your life. Imagine getting up on a stage and singing these lyrics (below). You gotta be happy with yourself. This song is about living, not apologizing, not regretting but being proud of yourself. Knowing your journey. Appreciating those that are along with it. And know that you did it your own way. How beautiful.

I really don't know but something touches me with this song. His version. His boisterous voice, getting louder and louder, with more and more passion. Its simple. Its complete. He did it HIS WAY.

"And now the end is near, and so I face the final curtain
My friend I'll say it clear, I'll state my case of which I'm certain

I've lived a life that's full, I traveled each and every highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way

Regrets, I've had a few but then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do, and saw it without exemption

I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this. I did it my way

Yes there were times I'm sure you knew,
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out, I faced it all.
And stood tall and did it my way

I've loved, I've laughed and cried. I've had my fill, my share of losing
And now as tears subside, I find it all so amusing

To think I did all that, And may I say not in a shy way
Oh no, oh no, not me. I did it my way.

For what is a man what has he got, if not him self then he has not
To say the things, he truly feels, and not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way.

Yes, it was my way.

RIP Dennis Hopper

RIP Dennis Hopper

It feels as if time passes the more and more we are going to lose some of the greatest entertainers of our generations. Last week after a long battle with cancer, Hopper passed at the age of 74. He will always be remembered in my mind as a great movie maverick, a terrific character actor but mostly just a terrific character of life.

Hollywood is known for having its fair share of "rebels" but Hopper was in a league of his own, he was the real deal. The actor and avid filmmaker never failed to defy all types of authority and the expectations of how he should be.

That and his unshakable commitment to his work was how he single handedly changed the movie business. With the box office hit Easy Rider he directed and co-wrote this counter-culture sensation. It opened the doors for a generation of long haired film brats who would absolutely revolutionize cinema for years to come. The whole tagline for the film seemed to sum up the times (post-summer of love) "A man went looking for America. And couldn't find it anywhere".

Some of his other great work was done in films such as: Rebel without a Cause, The Last Movie, Apocalypse Now, Out of the Blue, Hoosiers, Blue Velvet, True Romance. There are so many almost too many to count. Go check out his IMDB page. Its amazing. He is easily considered one of the best of his generation. Its fitting that his last public appearance was a few months back when he accepted his star on the hollywood walk of fame. I just ask what took them so long?

To me and my generation its safe to say that his most famous work goes down as the villain in the original Speed movie. Yes Speed. His hauntingly disturbing character of an ex bomb squad officer turned psycho gave me goosebumps. He was so intense, so believable. Watching it you felt his character leap through the screen.

Here is one of my favorite clips from the movie: "Pop Quiz hot shot!"

Eat Pray Love

About a year ago I took advice from a trusted friend (Oprah) and picked up this book. Eat Pray Love, And I can truly say that my life changed after reading it. Its one of those books that forces you to open your mind to a new perspective. Its about trying something new, not being afraid to fail, not being afraid to change who you are and most of all about loving yourself.

Eat Pray Love is the story of one womans search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia. This womans name is Elizabeth Gilbert and its 100% a true story. You see after Elizabeths divorce she was feeling lost and confused about life, love and the pursuit of the things in the world that will make you happy.

The story goes that Elizabeth, a writer, was writing an article about a yoga vacation in Indonesia, when she met a seventh generation medicine man who told her that one day it was in her destiny to come back and study with him one day. She didn't think much of it that was until after her divorce. After that was finalized, she decided to spend the next year traveling around the world. She spent four months in Italy, eating and enjoying life (Eat). Next she moved onto India where she spent four months finding her spirituality (Pray). And finally ended her year in Bali, looking for "balance" of the two and found (Love).

This was a journey about self discovery that I was more than willing to make with her. Like I said the book opened my eyes to the possibility of changing who you are, being okay with that and in the end finding happiness. Definitely recommend this one to the masses.

And like most of my favorite books its now being made into a movie. A movie that quite frankly I don't mind being made. Because really its about the message of being happy for yourself and nobody else. To eat, pray, and love your way through this life. And really after watching the trailer, I kind of like the way Julia Roberts is playing her. It feels right.

Here Comes the Sun - Classic

To counter the last song here is a more happy tune. And well, couldn't be played by a better group of guys. Watch below as George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Elton John, Phil Collins, Eric Clapton and a few others have their take on the Beatles classic "Here Comes the Sun" Proving yet again why George is my favorite member of the Beatles.

Grace is Gone

Well I can't believe I'm saying this but for the second time this month my little brother has pointed me towards the direction of good music. The world is certainly on a tilt.

I'm working today. Yes I know, terrible. But really, I don't mind too much. I had a good night with two of my best friends from out of town last night and really thats all that I needed for the weekend. I don't mind being here for a few hours, and then going out to enjoy this afternoon (even though its supposed to be 95 degrees outside).

So during my daily facebook stalking of my brother I found this song and really truly forgot how beautiful the song is. And this version, well I had never seen it before, its pretty amazing. Just Dave and his guitar. So yes, brother you get me again. Please take a picture and make it last, I need to dust off my game and get back in it.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Curse of Love

I love Josh Ritter. He has spent most of his days, carefully crafting folk music that anyone with a soul would enjoy. His latest music video off of his sixth album "The Curse" song/video is a love story between an archaeologist and a mummy. In it, Ritter painted a picture of of a very tragic reality, he told NPR's 'all songs considered' "Sometimes you can find what you think is love, what you think is a sure thing, and in the end it's much worse for you than you ever would've expected".

This is one of the better videos I have seen in a long long time. It is executed by puppeteer extraordinaire Liam Hurley, and its pretty genius. Take a look.

To My NY Friends

This one is for all my friends living in NYC.

I miss all of you... and the greatest city in the world.

Here is a movie tribute to you and your city.

This Weekend

This weekend Saturday- Monday. Vh1 Classics is running an A-Z marathon of 80s music videos!!!

Thats right everything from Thriller to Sledgehammer is sure to be featured on this list.

When I think about 80s music videos (besides Thriller) one video comes to mind. Its such a classic.

You have got to know what I'm talking about...

What Will You Do In 4 Years?

"wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world..."

What will you do in these next four years?

Be the change you wish to see.

I Love My Mother

For more reasons then I can mention,
but most of all for the way we can laugh together...

14 Days....

14 Short Days Until....

perfect timing boys....

Sunshine Song

I absolutely adore this song. I adore the acoustic value of this version. I really enjoy the lyrics that feel like they are slipping off the pages and running circles in my mind. It perfectly depicts some of the feelings of being lost over the last few weeks, but it reminds me that there is a land where we learn and take from everybody. That its okay to feel down sometimes and its okay to have friends around to pick you back up. Because...

"well sometimes the sun shines on
others people's houses and not mine.
some days the clouds paint the sky all gray
And it takes away my summertime
somehow the sun keeps shining upon you
while I struggle to get mine
if there's a light in everybody
send out your ray of sunshine.
I want to walk the same roads as everybody else
through the trees and past the gates.
getting high on heavenly breezes,
making new friends along the way.
I won't ask much of nobody
I'm just here to sing along.
and make my mistakes look gracious,
and learn some lessons from my wrongs.

New Kanye

Its hard to hate on a man that drops songs like this. Very hard...

How I Spent My Morning...

I spent my morning hanging out with these kids at my job. (If you even want to call it that)

How can you not have a good day when it starts with tiny smiling faces?

Thats what I is to a good weekend. And sleep, because well...i'm in need.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Good Music

From a recording on the rooftop of a building in Amsterdam here is Quasi "Live and Acoustic" playing their song "Rockabilly Party". So fun.

Mark Twain

100 years after his death Mark Twain is still doing what he does best. Inspiring people with his words. Twin the author of such classics as the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn died in April of 1910 he left very very specific instructions that his uncensored autobiography would remain unpublished until exactly 100 years after his death. Well what do you know, thats this year!!

The 743 page Volume I has been scheduled for release in November (with two other volumes following within the next five years). They will publish it "in its entirety and exactly how he left it". Twain had always said the reason for the wait was "that he's freed up to say what he wants to say, when he wants to say it, without having to worry about hurting anyones feelings".

Anyone who has ever read a book is going to want to read this one. How can you not? The man was one of the most inspiring authors of our time. He also gave some pretty great advice, check out some gems below.

-Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind it doesn't matter.
-Do the thing you fear the most and the death of fear is certain.
-Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.
-Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.
-The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.
-Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.
-Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with.

And my personal favorite: Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

I know what I'm asking for, for Christmas this year...

Pulp Fiction Soundtrack in Five Minutes

Okay I'm on a roll today. This video is pretty neat. Its two very talented musicians basically playing the ENTIRE Pulp Fiction soundtrack in about five minutes and change. Its amazing and fun!

The song track in order is:
Misirlou - Dick Dale
Jungle Boogie - Kool & the Gang
Let's Stay Together - Al Green
Bustin' Surfboards - The Tornadoes
Lonesome Town - Rick Nelson
Son of a Preacher Man - Dusty Springfield
You Never Can Tell - Chuck Berry
Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon - Urge Overkill
If Love Is a Red Dress (Hang Me in Rags) - Maria McKee
Comanche - Peter Green
Flowers on the Wall - The Statler Brothers
Surf Rider - The Lively Ones

Pure Talent

I have not been quiet about my love for acoustic music. Its just perfect to me on so many different reasons. While on my search for all things acoustic I stumbled upon Carlos Vamos playing Jimi Hendrix's Little Wing... um..its fantastic! This man is talented! Bravo.

I Just Want To Dance...

How do you get me to instantly love your tv show? Feature really good music, mixed with excellent choreography and dancers who can actually dance. And there you have it, a show that will easily get me to tune in.

Its this simple format that has hooked me on to "So You Think You Can Dance" for the last few years. I watch it in collaboration with two ex coworkers and literally its one of my favorite parts of summer. These kids on this show know how to get down and well, I love that. I'm not watching bad singers or magicians (that was for you Daria). But I'm watching actual dancers, trained dancers. The people who go on this show already know how to dance and they have the opportunity to pair with some of the greatest choreographer to make beautiful pieces of art.

I highly suggest you watching this show.

It starts tonight with the audition rounds. And yes, these auditions are a lot like American Idol where they weed out the people who can not keep a beat but it also affords opportunities to see dance styles that are too unique for the actual show. I have seen some bad ass tap dancers, a clogger that was unbelievable and this man who does the robot better than ANYONE. (Yes I know that is a bold statement but just watch below).

This is bad ass.

America Gets It Wrong....Again.

Well last night I did watch the American Idol finale (insert jokes here). I just couldn't turn it off. The people that they brought out last night were just hilarious. Kinda good, but mostly hilarious. I mean Alice Cooper? Chicago? Hall and Oats? Really? It was hilarious. I really did think that the show aimed at middle schoolers? Guess not. I was happy to see Brett Michaels walk out onto the stage and sing again, that man refuses to give up, refuses!

Anyways, for the second year in a row, those stupid middle schoolers chose the wrong idol again. I mean not that it matters, the losers end up having better careers then the winners anyways but still its shocking how wrong America is sometimes. Wait hold on, we did elect George Bush. TWICE. (I take back how smart of a nation we are.)

So I guess I'm not really surprised that they picked someone with very little talent and stage presence over this girl.

Below are my two favorite performances last night.

First is Crystal singing a duet with...thats right Alanis Moorissette. And you know what, Alanis still looks great, rocked the stage and sounded fantastic. Great duet.

The second performance explains exactly why I think this girl should have won. Idol pulled out all the stops last night and brought out Joe Cocker to sing a final song with the two finalists. And all I have to say is wow. First off, Mr. Cocker still has got some soul in him. He looked terrible but actually sounded quite great for a man who has had one hell of a life. And second just take a look at how happy Crystal is with this performance. Its as if she is thinking "who cares about this idol shit, i'm singing with JOE COCKER!". She was smiling having fun, sounded just fantastic!! Lee (i guess thats who won) sat on the side as the third wheel, unnoticed, taking a backseat to two talents. I just can't get over how much fun she is having...i'm so jealous!

Why Do You Do That?

Phish shows. They are one of a kind. They are something that can not be explained only experience. This 14 minute video is one of the best compilation videos that I have found about a Phish festival experience. Its from Festival 8 this past year and its just a compilation of pictures, music, videos of the weekend. Its very well done.

Kick back and enjoy this treat on a Thursday morning and understand the beauty of it all.

Have I told you yet how excited I am for the shows this summer? Cause I am.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

You Look Terrible...I Look Awesome

Here is the Glee version of Bad Romance from last nights episode. It not only starts off with my favorite line of the night (think title) but its just fabulous. Great job kids.

Oh and I also love that the freeze frame of the video is my girl rocking the lobster headpiece. fab.

Oh Muse....

Okay, I have professed my love for the band MUSE on this blog before. I saw them open up for u2 and was super impressed. Impressed enough to go back and buy all of their old albums, listen to them non stop and basically telling the story of their music to anyone who has listened.

I'm afraid that I may have been wrong. Scratch that, I was not wrong about their early music. Amazing stuff. Just amazing rock and roll music. Lately they have gone into the pop range, and well...its terrible. Their new song Neutron Star Collision (Love is Forever) is made for the Twilight Series and well...again...its terrible.

I can't believe I'm even posting it here, but I figured I might as well come clean before I start getting asked about "Hey isn't this the band that you loooove". Yes it is. This is not their best work.

In fact, I will post two videos, one of this new terrible song, and the other, and old yet fantastic showing of what this band is actually capable of.

Come on boys...don't let me down.

First their newest release:

Next their other older video for their song Starlight. It was made over 3 years ago and well it kicks ass.

I need to hear more of this..

Glee went Gaga!

Last night was an epic night of television. For anyone out there that has been living under a rock and has not heard of this new show GLEE, I can not tell you enough how good a show you are missing! This show brings everything you love about Broadway and the theater and smashes it right into 2010's pop culture. Its brilliant, well written, has an exceptional cast of actors and is no surprise the breakout hit of the season. (It won the golden globe for best comedy without even putting out a full season of shows...thats pretty great).

Last night they made history yet again and did an entire episode out of Lady Gaga. The outfits, the bad romance, did I mention the outfits? (I especially loved the lobster headpiece with black spandex) These kids outdid themselves. I was on the floor laughing from the minute I saw them until the final few minutes where they did yet another amazing thing.

They united two of probably the greatest voices of my generation. First there is Idina Menzel who played and won a Tony for her rendition of the Wicked Witch in the Broadway show Wicked, and then there is Lea Michelle who was Tony nominated for a few of her Broadway roles but really hit it big when she was chosen as the lead for this show. The brilliant casting of Glee has allowed them to share the stage as mother and daughter, and well its musically genius. These two are meant to sing together, heck they are meant to play mother and daughter they look identical!

Now I dont know if Poker Face was the most appropriate mother/daughter song they could have sung, but seriously they could have sung the phone book and I would have given them a standing O. Check out the amazing performance below. And go watch GLEE!!!