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Unsolicited Thoughts/Notes On 30 For 30: The Price Of Gold

- sometimes you read stories about our armed forces blasting heavy metal at foreign dictators to ferret them out of fortified compounds but what they really need to use is the audio of Nancy Kerrigan reeling in pain during the aftermath of her 1994 attack; that unhinged wailing jostles the moorings of my soul

- Tonya Harding’s mom dressing like a nefarious super villain (mink stole and a parrot on her shoulder?) would be funny if she hadn’t been so terrible to her daughter in her youth

- whether or not you believe Harding was in on the pre-attack conspiracy I think we can all agree the men involved made the Sweathogs look like Rhodes Scholars

- if Harding masterminded the attack, what a shame she didn’t believe in her own talents (she had already bested Kerrigan once in a 1991 World Championship); if Harding had nothing to do with the attack, what a shame she couldn’t put her issues with Kerrigan aside and reach out immediately to say, “Hey, I’m sorry, I married this clown but I want to make sure we’re square before things go any further” (Harding tried to apologize much later during an Olympic practice but Kerrigan made her talk to the hand ’cause the face wasn’t listenin’)

- the person my heart goes out to most in all of this is Michelle Kwan; Kwan won her right to compete in the ’94 Olympics by placing second in the U.S. Championships, but the ice skating powers that be decided Kerrigan would have clinched that spot had she not been clubbed…so they gave Kerrigan Kwan’s spot and sent Kwan to Norway as a non-competing alternate, which is a supremely shitty thing to do to a thirteen year old, if you ask me

- shady character Shawn Eckhardt (Harding’s bodyguard, now deceased) sort of resembled William Hootkins, the actor who played shady character Max Eckhardt in the first Batman; Shawn later changed his name to Brian Griffith, which is so very close to the name of portly “Family Guy” character Brian Griffin (whom he also sort of resembled)

- Harding’s ex-husband Jeff Gillooly changed his name to Jeff Stone, which is boring as hell and robs us of our god-given right to enjoy the mirth that inherently surrounds “Gillooly”

- this documentary takes the high road, making no mention of the Tonya Harding sex tape or Harding’s “foxy” boxing bout against Paula Jones

JG2’s Top Ten Albums & Singles Of 2013 (Annotated Edition)

Here they be, the same exact lists I submitted to Village Voice for their 2013 Pazz & Jop poll, expanded with my useless piddling thoughts on each entry. You should still wade through Pazz & Jop when The Voice posts it, though, for my point breakdown (yes, they force us to assign our album selections a specific point grade, because life is one big knuckle-chewing exam).

I hereby dedicate this year’s best of balderdash to the late Bonnie Franklin (pictured above). We lost this small screen pioneer way too soon. Bonnie was Iggy to Roseanne’s J. Rotten; on top of that, she seemed like a real together person offscreen. Respect and rest in peace, Bon.

JG2’s TOP TEN ALBUMS OF 2013

1. Ghostface Killah/Adrian Younge – Twelve Reasons To Die

I’m sure Robert Rodriguez is going to waste the next year of his life working on Machete Kills One More Time With Feeling but he really should be trying to adapt this taught, soulful comic book concept album for the silver screen. Not that he could actually improve upon Ghostface/Adrian’s grit-streaked narrative—I just want to see the phrase “BASED ON THE GHOSTFACE KILLAH ALBUM” blown up for IMAX 3-D.

2. Superchunk – I Hate Music

Speaking of movie trailer talk, James Greene, Jr. of Orlando Weekly gives Superchunk’s I Hate Music four stars, calling it “gorgeous [and] liberating…indie rock candy” and the “perfect soundtrack for any spontaneous new adventure.” Hope to see that printed on future editions of IHM.

3. Kanye West – Yeezus

In the words of R. Nixon, “Do you want to make a point or do you want to make a change? Do you want to get something off your chest or do you want to get something done?” Kanye’s never had an answer for these questions, which is why his music is so consistently electrifying. Is it also overblown and self-indulgent? Totes, but no more so than anything U2’s ever done—and Kanye cracks wise way better than Bono.

4. Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels

This album pretends to hit you and then gives you two for flinching. Dirty, loose, threatening, thrilling…Run The Jewels is the playground bully you secretly want as your BFF. Sure as Pepperidge Farm remembers a bunch of corny Norman Rockwell shit, RTJ remembers when rap was a distilled menace, a simpler time when being from “the streets” carried no irony.

5. Bloodlights – Stand or Die

It’s hard rock, it’s pop, it’s a bruised apple of both genres boasting no worms but plenty of heaving hooks. Bloodlights are more cohesive here than on their last effort, 2010’s Simple Pleasures; the additional muscle is greatly appreciated when that middle eight kicks in toward the end of sour anthem “Time to Kill.”

6. The Stooges – Ready to Die

James Williamson returns to the fold after dog knows how long to produce, co-write, and play killer guitar on the most exciting thing Iggy Pop’s put his name on since 2001’s Beat ‘Em Up. Is it really the Stooges? Look, I know people who think Raw Power isn’t really the Stooges. All I know is Ready to Die is more crisp, sexy, and fun than it has any right to be, and I sure ain’t mad this fucker is now in the same lineage as Fun House.

7. GWAR – Battle Maximus

Never mind all the foam rubber, these guys can groove. Shades of classic era White Zombie color GWAR’s lucky thirteen studio release and I’ll be a maggot-sucking space zombie if “Madness At The Core Of Time” isn’t the best rock album opener of the year. My teeth are still clenched.

8. Future of the Left – How To Stop Your Brain In An Accident

Feels like a band-aid slowly peeled from a very hair patch of flesh, or “How To Orgasm Through Rug Burn” starring your favorite sulphuric post punk misanthropes. Nobody puts a musical button on cynicism quite like Future of the Left. A pox on any who previously called for their disbandment.

9. Melt-Banana – Fetch

This furious and spastic platter is what people mean when they say “taste the colors.” And yet, Melt-Banana’s been at their brain-bending game of rock disintegration for so long it felt comforting when Fetch dropped. What a treat for us to get this synapse pounding!

10. The Lonely Island – The Wack Album

The Wack Album deflates the tag of “joke rap” by cushioning its yuks with some of the most invigorating, inventive beats of 2013. If I said “‘Saturday Night Live’ rap album” to you in 1991 you would have laughed for very different reasons. Be glad someone can bankroll this reality.

JG2’s TOP TEN SINGLES OF 2013

1. Babymetal – “Ijime, Dame, Zettai”

Metal grinding swirled with J-pop continues to be the aural equivalent of chocolate and peanut butter. May these sweet children never stop.

2. Kanye West – “Bound 2″

Profane and anti-romance, yet still romantic. Honesty is the best policy (at least for Kanye).

3. Britney Spears – “Work Bitch”

No one parodies Britney more deftly than herself. I don’t want to spend any time debating whether that’s intentional or not, I just want to bathe in this glorious stupidity and let its subliminal messages amuse me.

4. The Adolescents – “Forever Summer”

It can be July in Orange County whenever/where ever you are, brah.

5. The Oath – “Black Rainbow”

The voice of Johanna Sadonis floats like a benevolent angel over the most turgid and spine-tingling of Sabbathy reinterpretations. Trad metal lives thanks to this Euro quartet. What are you wearing to the black mass?

6. GWAR – “Madness At The Core Of Time”

Sure, it’s cheese metal, but a fine gruyere. Listen to how that chorus bounces around like a tennis ball between two excited golden retrievers!

7. Sleigh Bells – “Bitter Rivals”

The frenemies anthem that needs to be in the next direct-to-vid Mean Girls sequel/reboot.

8. The Lonely Island – “Diaper Money”

Everything you could want in a club banger—throbbing bass, throbbing exuberance, and coffin jokes. “Wobblty wobblty drop / into my grave plot” gets my vote for lyrical couplet of the year.

9. Kid Cudi – “Unfuckwittable”

Denser than dark matter, a blurry bleary drug trip that doubles as an empowerment anthem. Kanye would have created this if he had more confidence.

10. Run The Jewels – “Banana Clipper”

“Surprise, bitch,” Ice Cube’s 1993 attitude said as it walked through the door. “I bet you thought you’d seen the last of me.”

Unsolicited Notes/Thoughts On We’re A Happy Family

Yes, the Ramones tribute album that came out in 2003, featuring such heavy hitters as Metallica, Garbage, Green Day, and Pete Yorn. Picked up a copy for my birthday after a decade of not really listening to it.

- wish I could say I read/enjoyed Stephen King’s liner notes but it’s four center-aligned pages with no paragraph breaks and he uses the phrase “tuff titty” in line three

- the ratio of artists who perform the songs in the style of the Ramones to artists who perform the songs in “their own unique interpretation” breaks down roughly 40/60; this is fine, as I didn’t expect Rancid to add tuba to “Sheena IAPR” and I sure didn’t expect Marilyn Manson to just plug into a Marshall to play “The KKK Took My Baby Away” at its normal tempo

- the top gun here is Tom Waits’s repurposing of “Jackie & Judy” as greasy juke joint blues howl (which has extra glow b/c it feels like Tom’s thank you note for the brilliant cover of his own “I Don’t Want To Grow Up” the ‘Mones slapped on Adios Amigos); second best is any cut where the artist commits to the melodic genius of the source material (Rooney’s “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow,” the Eddie Vedder/Zeke stuff)

- how do you sexualize “Havana Affair?” I don’t know, but the Red Hot Chili Peppers found a way

- Rob Zombie’s “Blitzkrieg Bop” is just as awkward and ham-fisted as my memory suggested; speaking of precious moments, I remember VH-1 did a special on Johnny Ramone while he was co-producing this album and the cameras were a’rollin’ when this Zombie-fied version of “Bop” first hit his ears…Johnny’s face wore a perfect mix of deer-in-headlights confusion, faint disgust, and slight arousal

- Eddie Vedder’s decision to do “Daytime Dilemma (Dangers of Love)” with America’s best punk n’ roll band is why he’s Eddie Vedder; the Offspring’s decision to turn in a copy of “I Wanna Be Sedated” they recorded five years earlier for a Seth Green comedy is why they’re the Offspring

- I don’t think U2 could do a more “U2″ version of “Beat On The Brat” but I won’t bust on them because I know Bono’s heart is in the right place when it comes to Da Bruddahs

- the inclusion of Kiss is curious, not just because they were contemporaries of the Ramones (and not part of some subsequent musical generation) but also because Johnny Ramone made a big point in his autobiography about how much he never liked the music of Peter, Paul, & the Demon; whatever the reason behind it (tax write-off?) Kiss transforms “Do You Remember Rock n’ Roll Radio?” into the Best Buy jingle you always knew it could be

- surprisingly, the tender rendition of “Something To Believe In” by the Pretenders is not the most recent thing that band has done; they had a record out in 2008!

- leave it to John Frusciante to turn “Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World” into a hippie hymnal (and a fucking good one at that)

- no photos of Richie Ramone in the booklet :(

Artisanal Lifehack (Sorry Not Sorry): JG2’s 2013 In Review

JANUARY

Astronomers at Caltech suggest our Milky Way Galaxy is comprised of one planet per star, i.e. 100-400 billion exoplanets. Meanwhile, I’m vigorously testing the “man can survive on fried chicken and Mountain Dew alone” theory. Results are inconclusive, but local deep fryers applaud my efforts nonetheless.

FEBRUARY

My first book, This Music Leaves Stains: The Complete Story of The Misfits, is released in hardcover. More importantly, the news announcing this fact gets over ninety-two “likes” on Facebook, instantly validating the book’s very existence.

MARCH

Paul Bearer dies.

APRIL

Record Store Day is celebrated at Goodwill, where I swoop up unwanted copies of X’s Wild Gift, Sonic Youth’s Experimental Jet Set, and the White Stripes album with “Seven Nation Army” on it. White Stripes end up getting more spins than Sonic Youth, which surprises me. I submit my taxes at the last possible second; the endorphin rush lasts for days.

MAY

I decide to visit King Oliver’s grave in the Bronx on an unusually rainy day. The ground in the cemetery proves to be so moist I almost lose a shoe. It is during this trip that I spot the graffiti of the year: upon one of the many ads that hang in the subway tunnels promoting “Seinfeld” reruns someone has scrawled “racist pig fuck” over the otherwise unassuming face of Michael Richards. #neverforget

JUNE

I try all three flavors of Shaq soda and they all taste like carbonated dessert plates. Man of Steel barnstorms its way into our lives and our pop culture think-pieces. The theater where I see it holds a Superman trivia contest before the screening and a minor uproar occurs when the winner (who must stride forward to claim his Henry Cavill poster) is discovered to be wearing a Batman shirt. Amy Adams makes me fall in love with Lois Lane all over again, but more importantly she briefly makes me fall in love with Amy Adams. I come dangerously close to watching Enchanted.

JULY

The Great Ear Clog of 2013 besieges me in a waxy hell. Somehow I find a way to blame this malady on Grown Ups 2.

AUGUST

Labor Day Weekend is spent in the Twin Cities. I do not see Prince, I do not see any Replacements (living or dead), but I do see someone in a Bigfoot costume at the state fair.

SEPTEMBER

It’s a tacky roadside bonanza as I visit both Flea World and Gatorland in beautiful sunny Florida. Both experiences are underwhelming on many levels but at least I can say I was there in 2013. Speaking of junk culture, bottles of Moxie are spotted at an Orlando-area grocer. Having never seen this medicine-flavored treat south of Connecticut, I immediately break out into the Boogaloo, the Roger Rabbit, and yes, even the Patty Duke.

OCTOBER

The softcover of This Music Leaves Stains is released, which means it is finally cheap enough for my friends to buy and read. While in San Francisco on business I somehow avoid any and all Rice-a-Roni jokes. I also make zero references to the Zodiac Killer. I take pause as I realize this and consider seeking medical attention.

NOVEMBER

My book tour takes me from one end of the country (NYC) to the other (Oregon). I regret not spending more time in Ohio.

DECEMBER

[Christmas joke]

If you’ll allow me to be nakedly sincere for a moment, 2013 was a fantastic year for me (even with the ear thing). Thanks to all who supported/saw me through it. I really do love you all.

Uncle Jim’s Bathroom Snoozer: The Best Of JG2Land 2013

I posted a lot of stuff on the blog this year; the following pieces are those of which I am most proud.

Joe Flaherty Is Always Behind Us, Metaphorically Speaking
Awesome Ideas For Gremlins 3
Q: What’s The Worst Concert You’ve Ever Attended?
Q: What’s The Best Concert You’ve Ever Attended?
Area Man Has Opinion On Oscar-Nominated Short
Q: Why Don’t You Drink?
White Zombie’s Sean Yseult: The JG2Land Interview
“Duckman” Creator Everett Peck: The JG2Land Interview
Unsolicited Thoughts On This Video Of FLAG…
Unsolicited Thoughts On Marky Ramone’s Gelato Commercial
Jeff Hanneman: 1964-2013
The Force Will Be With You, Emma Greenway Horton, Always
Kid Gets Job, America Outraged
Thirty Years Of Jabba The Hutt’s Bitchy Admin Assist
Q: So, You’re A Writer…Like, What Do You Do All Day?
Unsolicited Thoughts On Racist Celebrity Chefgate
Today’s Mental Debates (Larry David Edition)
Unsolicited Maxwell’s Memories
Q: Have You No Rant On The Black Flag Lawsuit?
Area Man Shocked By Insignificant Cartoon Factoid
Unsolicited Thoughts/Notes On Everybody Loves Our Town
Liver Shunt And Butter Queens
Twenty Years In The Cone Zone
The Last Time I saw That Guy…
Undead Singer/Guitarist Bobby Steele: The JG2Land Interview
Drive-In Totals For Metallica: Through The Never
Adrenalin O.D. Guitarist Bruce Wingate: The JG2Land Interview
A Glimpse Into My Gatesgiving
This Music Leaves Stains Book Touro Recappo
Jockin’ Fair Use To Their Dismay

In the coming days I will probably curate similar lists for every previous year JG2Land has existed, because the time for self-reflection is always and it’s important you readers have some way to separate four years of wheat from four years of chaff.

Thanks for reading, y’all. Enjoy your nude ears.

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