Hurple Hoopla

Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Okay, this is funny!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Synergy and History

My post today is all about my lovely wife's very own blog. You can see it here:

When I arrived home from work todaym she told me that I HAD to stop by her blog and click on the link under the WOW! posting. I love history, and love when new historical 'discoveries' are made and released for public consumption, whether it be ancient texts, believed lost master tapes of hundreds of 1920's era blues recordings, or something like what she's posted. I love it all, and I urge everyone that reads this to go have a looksee and relive a turbulent, but important, time in the history of this great nation.

And, while there, I looked down at the item she posted previously. There I found a link to a media file at which is a site I used to visit regularily, before the owner abandoned it. I visited because Eric Szulczewski is one of my favorite on-line columnists and he posted there semi-regularily. Odd synergy, that.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Very Nice

Once again, proving that his relationship with Who fans goes above and beyond the usual casual relationship that artists have with their fans, Pete Townshend has personally created a video and is dristributing it free. Any question as to whether the Bit Torrent site I posted earlier, which claimed to be the official Who Corporation Bit Torrent site, is legit should be answered now.

Townshend personally filmed and edited an in-depth interview in his oen home recording studio, and is disributing it, free, via the Long Live Rock site. You can get the NTSC version of it here.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Quote of the Day

"Do you care enough about me to beat the hell out of the one who loves me the most?"

-- Bobby Bare Jr "The Most"

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Ray Davies: Other People's Lives

The first new material written by former Kinks frontman since 1997's American release of The Kinks "To The Bone" is, honestly, years overdue. Truth be told, 8 years with no output slipped by quietly. The 2 new songs on "To The Bone" were decent ("To The Bone" and "Animal"), but nothing to be overly excited about. And, since those two tracks represented the last I'd heard from Davies' pen, it's what one could expect to hear on the new album, too.

But, I couldn't be further off the mark.

I love this new album!

From start to finish "Other People's Lives" is chock-full of what Ray Davies does best, writing ditties which examine a little slice of another's life, as seen through his eyes. Wonderful. And, even better, the tracks emotional range swings from whimsical and poignant ("Next Door Neighbor") to flat-out pissed-off ("Stand Up Comic"). Ray Davies excels at both approaches, his only weakness as a songwriter is when he tries to incorporate politics, which, thankfully, is completely missing from this album. Although, nobody could blame him if he had, after being a victim of random street-crime (stabbed by a mugger) and victim of the combination of natural disaster and government failure that was Katrina (Davies has been a resident of New Orleans for a decade). Neither topic is addressed, although he has promised a portion of the profits from this album to various New Orleans charities.

Ray Davies has not been on the musical radar for quite awhile. After the disappointment of his last songwriting efforts, I didn't expect much this time around. He greatly exceeded those expectations. I'm glad he's back. I've missed him, and didn't even realize it until I heard this recording.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Big Finish: Doctor Who Audio Adventure #79 - Night Thoughts

The most recent Big Finish Doctor Who audio adventure is a great example of one of my biggest complaints of the property. Well, not really of the property, but of the creators. Doctor Who is a science fiction program. That is true. However, from it's very foundation it is a science fiction property that can be, quite literally, anything at any time. Because the main character is a being capable of traveling through time and space, the program can be of any genre set in any time. Spy serial? Sure, look at Jon Pertwee episodes. Hard futuristic sci-fi? Sure, the Peter Davison episodes match that pretty well. A Holmsian murder mystery? Sure, been there done that. Comedy? Why not? The show can be anything at anytime. And my complaint is that the creators do not take advantage of that anywhere near as often as they should.

And "Night Thoughts" is the perfect example of that.

The first three episodes of the story are a great Christiesque murder mystery. A group of people stranded in a mansion (well, I assume it's a mansion, that is not made absolutely clear) on an island. They all share a secret, and because of that secret someone is picking them off one by one. It's into this situation that the Doctor (Sylvester McCoy), Ace (Sophie Aldred) and Hex (Philip Olivier) materialize.

Like I said, the first three episodes are great, very moody and atmospheric. The killer is a non-speaking, shadowy figure skulking in the darkness and luring people to their deaths with a tape recording of the Doctor. As the plot unfolds, relationships are established, motives are explained and secrets are revealed... but then comes episode four, when it all becomes one great big flubber of a clichéd sci-fi time travel story. Even worse, it's a cliché-riddled muddled mess of a time travel story that doesn't make any sense. I mean, when all the clues are added together, one character clearly stands exposed as the murderer. But, that is all destroyed in a completely throwaway moment when he's confronted with that fact and he answers saying that he knows nothing about the murders.

So, why, other than to provide that one last twist, and to justify the "Science Fiction" label would they add the whole muddled mess of a time travel story. The program has done similar things throughout it's history. There have been plenty of possible murder-mystery or historical stories ruined because the writer decided he had to throw in some aliens, or time travel, or some other sci-fi cliché, just because it's Doctor Who.

And even worse, the plotting of the "evil mastermind" in this story is asinine. I don't want to ruin it, but he's trying to use time travel to create an army of zombies, just to wreak havoc. Don't ask how this might make sense, it doesn't to me either and I've heard the story explanation. Unfortunately, his prototype is not pleased and decides to take out those responsible for her existence.


Well, three-fourths of a great story is still a good ride. Just switch off episode four and write your own ending, it'll probably be better than the one on the CD.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Hunting in the News

The big news on CNN today is that Vice-President Dick CHeney shot a fellow hunter yesterday, by accident.

Of course, just like in the Animal-Human hybrid controversy I documented right after the State of the Union address, the press is completely missing the real story.

The real question is, why was Cheney and his party carrying guns while they were hunting for former Vice-President Dan Quayle?

I mean they mention it in the story and everything:

Vice President Dick Cheney speaks to the Conservative Political Action Conference dinner at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2006. Cheney accidentally shot and injured a man during a weekend quail hunting trip in Texas


Friday, February 10, 2006

The "Should Have Been" Files, Part 1

The Greenberry Woods

I spent some time over the past weekend going through some old CD folders, y'know those big notebook looking things that hold 120 CDs in pouches on "pages." Anyway, while flipping through, I found a CD on which I'd stored some old MP3s. This particular CD of MP3s was of some old albums I had to get rid of, at one time or another, to clear some space for newer albums. See, space is limited, and with thousands of CDs, I sometimes have to weed out a few things. Sometimes, the weeding costs me things I love to listen to, on occasion, but just doesn't seem special enough to keep. My David Baerwald "catalog" fell into that category, until I rescued it from the "garage sale" pile after getting to hear the genius of "Here Comes The New Folk Underground." Of course, here are some that are immune to weeding, The entire Beatles catalog, Tom Petty (well, except for the last few albums... Those suck badger balls!), The Who, and a few others.

I look at the titles on the CD I found, and one artist name catches my attention, The Greenberry Woods. I remember getting their CDs while working at a record store in Tullahoma TN. The store got them as "promotional" items, and I was the lucky employee who got to keep them after their promotional period was over. Looking at the CD, I recalled actually finding their CDs quite entertaining. I plopped the CD into my computer drive and fired up WinAmp. Soon, the Beatlesque music and harmonies (the guys sounded rather like Jellyfish, but leaning more toward the Beatles end of their influences, instead of the Queen influence) filled my ears. Wow! These guys were a great band.

Suddenly, I was hit by the urge to know what ever happened to this bunch of musicians. I typed their name in at Here's what they have to say:

Although Maryland power-poppers the Greenberry Woods seemed to have the right ingredients for success -- songwriting and musical talent, a quickly secured major-label contract, and a positive reaction from power pop fans -- the band self-destructed after only two albums. Songwriters/vocalists/guitarists Ira Katz and Matt Huseman formed the Greenberry Woods at the University of Maryland after meeting in 1988 as sophomores and forging a songwriting partnership. The lineup was completed by Huseman's twin brother Brandt on bass and drummer Miles Rosen. After Katz and Huseman graduated, they moved back to Baltimore and made an immediate splash on the local scene. Band manager John Lay, whose previous clients included Squeeze and Robyn Hitchcock, was well-connected and able to secure the Greenberry Woods a deal with Sire in February 1993 after a show in New York. Their debut album, Rapple Dapple, was released in 1994, and the single "Trampoline" garnered a fair amount of radio airplay. Supporting tour slots with such acts as Deborah Harry and the Proclaimers followed, but inexperience hurt the band, as their live rapport had not quite been developed enough prior to their signing. Support from Sire dwindled following its move from Reprise to Elektra, and tensions arose in the band due to the Husemans' side project Splitsville, undertaken with Woods guitar tech Paul Krysiak. Matters became worse during the recording of 1995's Big Money Item, as the presence of three songwriters with their own individual ambitions took its toll on group harmony. Sire released the band from its contract in 1996, leaving the Husemans free to pursue Splitsville; meanwhile, Katz formed a new band, Wonderfool, while Rosen quit music to become a mortgage banker.

That's too bad, because the "review" is right on, these guys did have everything necessary to "make it." If you can find either of their CDs, "Rapple Dapple," or "Big Money Item" somewhere for a few bucks, pick them up. I've rescued mine from the "garage sale" pile, myself. Yeah, they've been in the "garage sale" pile for about 3 years now, but this stuff is just too cool to get rid of...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Talking Heads

I've always been a casual fan of the Talking Heads. I owned their hit albums on cassette, and got Sand in the Vaseline, their first anthology release on CD. I remember that the first time I sat down and listened to that, I actually called "Boxset" Johnny* and said, "WOW! This stuff is fantastic!" But, for some reason I never went down the path of wanting to actually own everything they released.

Until now.**

When the Once in a Lifetime box was released, I seriously contemplated buying it. I really did. But, I ended up not purchasing it. Why? The horrible packaging. Bleh! Bleh! Bleh! See, that's what happens when you let artsy-fartsy intellectuals design your packaging instead of someone who cares about the target audience's preferences. Sometimes commercial viability is actually more important than artistic integrity (but not all that often, just when the "artistic integrity" exposes such an obvious disdain for commercial sensibilities.)

And, besides, I knew that the only reason the box was compiled and released was as a teaser for a future full-catalog reissue campaign for the band, like most boxset releases anymore. Finally, after more than a decade of knowing I'd love every note these guys made*, I'd have my chance to make right and actually get it all.**

First came the 1st ever CD release of The Name of This Band is Talking Heads. Wow! As much as I loved Stop Making Sense (the band's other live album) this one is that much better. As good as Talking Heads could be in the studio, it's obvious that the live stage was their optimum venue.

Then came the "BRICK" containing every CD in one, very nice, package. I passed, mainly because of price... $150!*** Yeowch! Well, I did put it on my Christmas wish list, but nobody seems to love me $150 worth of Talking Heads enough. (Full disclosure: that line was just a joke... I got much better than this all around, so no complaints)

I have been buying the individual releases as they trickle out to retail. And I was right, I love every note!** I think Fear of Music is fast becoming my favorite Talking Heads album, with More Songs About Buildings And Food coming in a close second.

If you're looking for music that's intellectually challenging, funny, musically impressive yet still gets funky and rocks... Well, then you'll probably love the Talking Heads, too.**

* - Okay, he doesn't update his blog very often but he's still a great guy.
** - except for the album Naked, which still sucks monkey nuts.
*** - Plus, if I bought the brick, I'd actually own Naked and I'd not wish that fate on my worst enemy.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Bone-Headed Decisions #1

Armageddon 2001

In 1991 DC comics was mostly an also-ran in the "comics wars." Marvel Comics titles far outsold anything DC had, with the exception of Batman. So, in an attempt to shake things up and change the status quo, DC announced a major event, one that would shake the very foundation of their "universe." A massive storyline which they promised would culminate in one of their premier heroes turning evil to become their universe's ultimate villain.

The story was, in summation, this:

In the years between 1991 and 2001, a supervillain named Monarch had subjugated the entire planet, and ruled it with an iron fist. He had managed to wipe out all the other superheroes because he was one of their own, one they all trusted until he betrayed them all. Unfortunately, the true identity of Monarch was unknown, lost to the ravages of history. Into this 'reality,' in the year 2001, a new hero was born, Waverider, who had the power to "surf' the timelines. He decided to travel back to 1991, the time of the "birth" of Monarch, and track down his true identity.

This storyline ran through every title that DC published. Waverider would show up and "mind-meld" with the hero appearing in the book and look into his or her future, to see if he could find Monarch.

So far, that sounds pretty cool, doesn't it?

Well, yeah, it was a cool idea, but as so often happens the execution was not as good as the idea behind it. Most of the stories were a bit, shall we say, silly. But, as silly as the series got, it was the grand finale that was truly a monumental boner.

You see, the identity of Monarch, the big earth-shaking secret of the entire series, slipped out to the press about halfway through the publication of the series. DOH! Monarch was Captain Atom. DC immediately denied it. Then, they went back and re-wrote the second half of the story. Quickly. And badly. Very badly. Then they rushed it to printing, and it showed.

The re-written ending found Monarch chase Waverider back to the past, and putz around for awhile, before deciding it was time to "make himself."

Now, there were two minor DC heroes who had been recently given their own title, the team of hawk and Dove. Originally, Hawk and Dove were brothers. They were granted powers by the "Lords of Order" (Dove) and "Lords of Chaos" (Hawk) and were to act as their "agents" on Earth. Dove was killed in the Crisis on Infinite Earths story back in 1986. The characters were resurrected in the late 80's when the "Lords of Order" found a new Dove, a female, who was not related to Hawk. Okay, here's where it all goes nutty.

The new ending for the story saw Monarch track down Hawk and the new Dove (who had both previously been "cleared" by Waverider) and tell Hawk that HE was Monarch. Hawk proclaimed that could never be true and moved on Monarch... who casually shot and killed Dove before being bludgeoned to death by Hawk.

This, naturally, drove Hawk insane and he became Monarch. And was then chased through time and soundly trounced, in prehistoric times, by... Captain Atom. Huh?

It's enough to make you want to chew your own legs off, isn't it?

My Hair

My hair exists in an area unconcerned with the rules and laws of reality. That's the only way to explain the things it does.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Breaking News Update!

In my continuing quest to warn the American population of the looming trouble with zombies, earlier today I contacted the one man in this country who can cut through the crap and actually get something done; whether that something is outing an undercover CIA operative in an act of vengeance, or "SwiftBoating" a popular Presidential candidate out of malice, or mounting a campaign to convince an entire region that a great candidate is unfit just because of a black baby (that really wasn't even black!) out of pure lust for power. Of course, I am talking about the svengali known as Karl Rove. I knew before contacting him, that once I got through I'd have to talk fast, so I could get everything out before Patrick Fitzgerald came to arrest him.

Here's how it went:

Me - Hi, Karl, I want to discuss the looming menace of a future zombie attacks.

Karl - Who are you and how did you get this number? (Click - dialtone)

Finally! I seem to be getting somewhere.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Photographic Evidence!

So, the masses scoff! Well, they scoffed at, um... well... somebody else who turned out to be right in the end, too!

So, here, now, I present photographic evidence of zombie hordes on the attack!

Scary, huh?

Protect Yourself!

Since the American government will not stand up and admit the truth about the biggest problems facing the country today (no, not the economy, nor the Iraq War, nor Social Security woes, nor Bears (no matter what Stephen Colbert says)) it's up to each and every one of you to take it upon yourselves to prepare and be ready.

Yes, I am talking about the twin disasters that are looming large on the near horizon, Zombie Attacks and a Robot Uprising! I briefly mentioned them in my last post, which was about the President finally admitting that the third problem, an animal-human hybrid mutant army, actually exists. But, he still will not admit to the other two. Here's an example:

Reporter - What about zombie attacks? What are you doing to prepare the nation in case of zombie attacks?

President Bush - Huh?

Reporter - Or robot uprisings, what about that?

President Bush - Are you retarded or something?


So, because of the government complacency, it is up to you, yes you, to arm yourself with information and be ready for the day that these events will, not if... WILL occur.

You can start here (click cover to be transported to

and here:

After purchasing and perusing those tomes of invaluable knowledge, you, too, will be ready for the coming onslaught! Because knowing is half the battle! GO JOE!

Oh, and just in case you wake up tomorrow able to shoot laser beams from your eyes, or suddenly find yourself able to toss cars around like balloons, here's another useful tome:

The Government Manual For New Superheroes

Be prepared, America!

The Big News

Lots of blogs, today, will be discussing the President's SOTU address last night. However, I think every single one of them, both left and right, will miss the truly Earth-shattering announcement made last night.

Yes, last night, during his 2006 SOTU address, President Bush promised... no, he VOWED, to keep us all safe from the growing army of half-human mutant monsters that is currently holed up... somewhere... making its plans to take over the world, starting with America, of course, and use us 'normal' humans as their food source.

Don't believe me? Here it is:

Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research – human cloning in all its forms … creating or implanting embryos for experiments … creating human-animal hybrids...

See? Told you so!

Now, if he could just get around to providing adequate protection in case of a zombie attack, or a robot uprising, then I could feel this country was truly safe.