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Q: Whattya Reading Lately?

A: Thirty-Nine Years Of Short-Term Memory Loss by Tom Davis; yes, he jumps all over the place and spends too much time talking about the Grateful Dead, but it’s still an entertaining read that offers many a colorful Al Franken story (if you can’t handle Al Franken at his worst you don’t deserve him at his best). All I Did Was Ask by Terry Gross; she mines gold out of Albert Brooks and Grandmaster Flash, manages to handle the entitled jackassery of Gene Simmons with grace. Flipped through Growing Up Brady by Barry Williams; apparently he had great difficulty straightening his hair as a youth. Flipped through Titanic: The Ship That Never Sank? by Robin Gardiner; reads like incomplete text book translated from a few different languages.

Just started Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking; so far so candid and engaging.

Mashed Potatoes Can Be Your Friends: The Non-Negotiable “Weird Al” Yank Originals

Below I decree the best original songs (i.e. songs not specifically parodying another composition) “Weird Al” Yankovic has ever recorded. Amazingly, a track from the Post-Mustache Era sneaks its way in (the Mustache Era of course being 1979-1997).

“Happy Birthday”
“I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead”
“Nature Trail To Hell”
“Dare To Be Stupid”
“This Is The Life”
“Stuck In A Closet W/ V. White”
“You Make Me”
“UHF”
“Generic Blues”
“Everything You Know Is Wrong”
“Hardware Store”

These are my absolute faves, obviously, and I think if you stuck ‘em all on one disc and threw that disc into a time capsule future generations would have no problem understanding why we dubbed this frizzy life form “weird” (and why we angled to save his greatest hits). Before anyone pipes up to argue that “UHF” doesn’t work outside the context of UHF the film: yes it does. It’s a song about television as mind control.

Also, “UHF’s” generic rock riff is ten times more satisfying than any other generic rock riff of its time period. That riff, it rustles my jimmies!

Honorable mention: “Let Me Be Your Hog,” which isn’t really a song, just part of a song, but still manages to be fucking hilarious in under, what, twenty seconds? That’s the true mark of genius.

Q: What’s The Best Music You’ve Heard So Far In 2014?

A: All Night Lotus Party by Volcano Suns; “Razors In The Night” by Blitz; Brody Dalle’s Diploid Love (which actually came out this year); Prince’s Black Album; the s/t debut from Orient Express; “River Rock” by Froggy Landers; Anti Everything by Surf Nazis Must Die; Destroyed by Sloppy Seconds; Iron Prostate’s Loud, Fast, & Rapidly Aging.

Don’t ask me how I made it to 35 without hearing some of this stuff prior. I can only blame ex-girlfriends who ate up valuable listening time with ska or Our Lady Peace.

4th Of July Gluttony Report

- General Tso’s serving large enough to stun Dikembe Mutombo

- equally large fried rice hill of the pork variety

- cup of froyo dusted w/ so much graham cracker I now have Wonka Lung

- several “gluten-free” cream sodas (like that makes a difference)

- three tiny pieces of broccoli

- two coffees

- two pieces of toast w/ Nutella just before bed

Needless to say, I do not feel like participating in a Tough Mudder today. This is where I make a defensive joke about how my shitty eating reflects the true values of America. Blah blah blah it’s my constitutional right [fart noise] Jefferson died so I could be an angry marshmallow man are you gonna finish that spiral ham?

Unsolicited Southern Fried Notes & Musings On Athens

- this past weekend marked my first excursion to Athens, Georgia, home of R.E.M. and the B-52s and Jeff Daniels for the first six weeks of his life; it’s not the type of town I expected to have multiple Zaxby’s, but in fact they do (Zaxby’s was actually founded in nearby Statesboro, which helps to explain the proliferation)

- Athens is also not the type of town I expected to lack gazebos, and as you can see from the photo above at least one was very easy to find in the four-to-six block radius I traversed

- I visited the homeland of Stipe for a wedding; ’twas a lovely affair on all counts (yes, they played some R.E.M. during the reception per some local statute I’m sure)

- the day after the wedding a couple friends and I attempted to visit the grave of B-52s guitarist Ricky Wilson, but the Oconee Hill Cemetery office was closed and there were no maps tucked away by the door so we didn’t find jack; this is just further evidence all graveyards should be alphabetized or arranged by birth/death year

- the Last Resort serves up a pretty good cup of joe, and I hear the black bean soup is awesome

- in general Athens offers pretty hilly terrain, so keep that in mind when you look at a map and decide, “Oh, the Dunkin’ Donuts isn’t too far away from this hotel, I’ll just walk there for a treat in long pants and what feels like a thin sweatshirt in this eighty degree weather”

- the guy at Weaver D’s really does say “automatic!” all the time

Things I Thought Oculus Rift Might Be Before Yesterday

- a surfboard company

- a Sharper Image type of place for Hobbit fans

- a character from Demolition Man

I’m still not sure what Facebook will do with virtual reality helmets, but it’s not like they spent my two billion dollars.

An Annotated History Of Never Realized Book Projects (2002-10)

This Music Leaves Stains is the first book I’ve had published but it is far from the first book I’ve tried to get published, or thought about trying to get published. Here now, an annotated history of never realized JG2 works.

Untitled Dead Kennedys Biography (2002) – Stalled during the research period thanks to several factors (college course load, punk rock politics, my debilitating lack of experience). I covered the nuts and bolts of this failure for Crawdaddy! in a feature called “Give Me Convenience, Give Me Death, Just Tell Me Your Real Damn Name.” The most interesting aspect may be that I put a letter in the mail addressed “East Bay Ray, San Francisco” and it actually reached the correct guy. Your tax dollars at work.

Star Wars Ruined My Life (2005) – Ten chapter essay collection covering the weirder aspects of Star Wars fandom, including my own struggles with George Lucas’s intergalactic money printing machine (#firstworldproblems). Hired a literary agent but no publisher on Earth was interested. I didn’t have a “built-in audience,” which meant my blog statistics were not impressive enough to warrant anything. This era was the beginning of “co-opt every popular thing from the Internet to stave print’s death!” I’m sure my medium talent was also an issue (I know the manuscript lacked punch/direction). I absolutely cannot remember why but for some reason I e-mailed Jay Mohr about this book; he sent a very encouraging reply peppered with some of his theories on Boba Fett, which justified my struggle.

Untitled Oral History Of My Middle School Experience (2005) – An interesting twist on the adolescent memoir (I think): interview a bunch of people I grew up with to see how their worldview around that time differed from mine, turning the whole thing into an oral history with several narrative tracks. My lit agent loved this idea and really ramped me up about it, but then Star Wars Ruined My Life didn’t go anywhere. Representation cut me loose and without a cheerleader I cooled on the concept. Compiled about a chapter and a half, though, and several people I hadn’t spoken to since 1994 taught me a lot about where we grew up and life in general.

Untitled Field Guide To Discontinued Soft Drinks (2007-08) – New Coke, Pepsi AM, OK, DnL…I thought the world needed a comprehensive encyclopedia of every soda that’s ever fallen off the figurative/literal map. Unfortunately, the stories behind these drinks are all more or less the same (they failed because they were bad and nobody bought them), and when it came down to pitching this book few people understood what exactly what I was talking about. “Oh, like a coffee table book with pictures of the sodas?” No, a field guide. Like for birds. Maybe this idea is terminally flawed.

Untitled “Gong Show” Episode Guide (2006) – An excuse to track down average weirdos and hear about their experiences on the greatest televised competition of all-time. I think I concluded too many former “Gong Show” contestants/employees would be dead, and I also worried about the book’s marketability. Chuck Barris was hot in ’06, but how long would that last?

Untitled “Simpsons” History (2009) – At the time a lot of rumors were swirling about “The Simpsons” finally coming to an end. That didn’t happen, but I abandoned this idea mainly because I heard Morgan Spurlock was making a “Simpsons” documentary. Had I known his end product would be some gimmicky forty-five minute nonsense instead of the in-depth feature length “Simpsons” doc we deserve maybe I wouldn’t have jumped ship.

My Life Is A Screenplay! (2010) – The high school teacher who semi-successfully sued 20th Century Fox for plagiarizing his Christmas comedy script read my post about Jingle All The Way being a cursed property and e-mailed me with an offer to co-write a book about his life. I had just started work on This Music Leaves Stains so I had to turn him down. There also didn’t seem to be much else in his life aside from “I sued a movie studio and won but then they took the money back.” Also, that title. Woof.

Naturally I reserve the right to resurrect any of these properties at a future juncture. You never know when Chuck Barris might be hot again.

Unsolicited Thoughts/Notes On GD’s Dookie Twenty Years Later

- the Green Day albums prior to Dookie are good but you listen to them and think, “Man, these guys need a budget”; this is that rare breed of punk (hyper melodic) that’s actually hindered by rawer sonic ethics

- the middle of “Burnout” rips off the middle of “Pictures of Lily” by the Who, but “Burnout” is faster, so…all forgiven?

- speaking of the Who, that rah rah ending of “Chump,” the bit that crashes into “Longview”…why were any of us surprised when Green Day became an arena band and started writing rock operas?

- the Green Day backlash (which occurred, what, between 1995-97?) was so intense I still feel residual guilt for ever owning an original cassette copy of this album (which is dumb, because you should just like what you like and love what you love and I’ve since owned far more dubious musical ventures, including a good portion of Leonard Nimoy’s discography)

- I’ve heard “Welcome to Paradise” so many times throughout my life (both voluntarily and involuntarily) that it no longer registers as anything except a sound that is occurring in the vicinity of my ears

- part of me wishes the entire album had the twangy tone of “Pulling Teeth” (seems a little richer)

- part of me wishes the only segment of “Basket Case” they had released was Billie’s vocal track

- people who accuse this album of being (too) juvenile have obviously never heard anything by the Queers or Screeching Weasel

- Dookie producer Rob Cavallo has worked on everything Green Day has done since 1994, including soundtrack stuff and live albums; that kind of job security is rare these days

- Dookie producer Rob Cavallo also worked on Kid Rock’s Rock n’ Roll Jesus, which makes me want to smash a fucking carp right into his face

- Dookie is fun and will always be the Rosetta Stone that made me decide to further investigate this punk rock stuff, but it stopped being my favorite Green Day album the second Insomniac dropped in ’96; they just sound like a stronger band on Insomniac, playing tighter, louder songs with way more frenzy and better melody…I don’t understand why people tend to dismiss that one sight out of hand (or w/e that nonsensical phrase is)

- the hidden song here is the aural equivalent of looking at Pauly Shore

Derisive Names You Can Use For The Super Bowl To Exhibit Your Non-Interest In Sports

The Stupid Bowl
The Pooper Bowl
The Snoopy Bowl
The Grouper Bowl
The Fruiter Bowl
The Cooter Bowl
Bowly Bowl Bowl
The Thing Game
The Super Toilet Bowl
Swan Lake With Hitting
The Ice Capades With No Ice But Hitting
The Oscars On A Field With No Awards But Hitting
That Dumb Shit That Isn’t The Pro Bowl
The Budweiser Frog Variety Hour (With Hitting)

DISCLAIMER: I myself would never use any of these terms as I have the utmost respect for millionaires who run around in tights screaming things like “pork belly option” and “Omaha!”

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