Monthly Archives: February 2013

Top 10 Entertainment News Stories of 2006

The world of entertainment holds great fascination for the young and old alike. It is a magical world with heroes, heroines, and rags to riches stories, romance and more. The year 2006 was full of excitement and of the many eventful happenings the most popular stories followed avidly through all media avenues were:

1. Death of Steve Irwin the crocodile hunter who brought the world close to crocs through his many films and talks. His death by a croc a species he loved and as devoted to shocked the world.

2. Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond was trying to break a land speed record which resulted in a high speed crash. The news of his accident and injuries spread like wild fire.

3. The British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen scored a huge box office hit when he shocked and offended ordinary Americans. He was adjudged as one of the “men of entertainment of 2006.”

4. The guerrilla artist Bansky hit headlines when he dared to replace Paris Hilton CD with his own CD of remixes titled “Why am I famous? And What am I for.”

5. Romance turned sour always interests fans and Sir Paul McCartney’s split with Heather Mills was blockbuster news.

6. The Oscars were swept away by a dark horse a Los Angeles race drama Crash which got a late and unexpected surge of support and overtook hot favorite Brokeback Mountain. The win made headlines and created a buzz.

7. Britney Spears poster featuring a nude and pregnant Britney created a furor after which Tokyo subway officials decided to reverse a ban on display of the posters.

8. A fairy tale romance and marriage means news in Hollywood especially when the couple is Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. Scientology and a wedding in Italy added spice to the occasion and the wedding was popular news.

9. Oops mistakes happen even at BBC news. In the Apple versus Apple court case interviewed the wrong “Guy” was put in front of the camera. Instead of IT expert Guy Kewney a newcomer looking for a job Guy Goma was put on air.

10. The world looked forward to and enjoyed the new 007 film. The film created such excitement, that even the Queen of England went to see it.

Entertainment news and views vary and choices depend on individual taste. CNN news, Variety, and MSN have showcased online their choices as also a zillion other reviewers. While some based their lists on expert choices or the number of times a news story was read, others conducted online polls.

Toadies – Play Rock Music

Remember this band?… It seemed like the Toadies ruled the air waves back in the mid 90’s, after the release of Rubberneck in 1994. One song off that album, “Possum Kingdom,” has even achieved somewhat cult status in recent years with new generations. Every song on that album was great, and then they just disappeared. Interscope records put the kabosh on their follow up album “Feeler,” which finally saw the light of day in 2010.

One of the things I always liked the most about the Toadies was the dark undertones in their music. I have frequently heard the Toadies called “alt-rock,” but they really defy most labels. Part grunge, part heavy drinking bar band, part west Texas/ZZ Top boogie, there is a lot to like about this band.

Well, the band from Fort Worth, Texas is back again. This time with Play.Rock.Music. The band has said in interviews that they felt more freedom recording this record than any other, that’s good news for us, as the Toadies are best when they are unbridled and doing what they do best.

The album starts out with “Rattler’s Revival,” a great rockin’ opener that made me very optimistic about the rest of the tracks. I was further rewarded with the next song, “Low.” This is my favorite on the album, a loud guitar rocker that makes you want to push the pedal down while your driving. This song has pumping guitar and rock steady drumming that goes back and forth from bass line only breaks, to dual guitar down strumming. Songs on the album like “Magic Bullet” and “Epic Castles” keep the tempo and energy up.

“Summer of the Strange” has that dark feel, and is all about losing control/hold. Lots of whining guitar and rumbling bass lines throughout.

The closest you get to “Possum Kingdom” on this release would have to be “Beside You.” A creepy song that says even though “you don’t really know me,” that “I’ll always be closer than you know.”

“Sunshine” is a twisted ballad, and another track that takes you back to Rubberneck, this time reminding me very much of “I Burn.” A slower tempo song with a rumbling bass line that builds into Vaden Todd Lewis’s trademark singing/screaming. The whole song keeps building and pulling back, like the New York Dolls classic “Frankenstein.”

The song “Animals” is another classic sounding Toadies tune, about our primal human urge. It’s another rocker that repeats “Tonight we’re just two animals.” Lots of tempo switches and a booming chorus.

“Laments of a Good Man” is a less serious song that is filled with jerky guitar and call and response versus. The chorus switches into a Rollins Band type slow, driving groove… “It’s so hard to be a man, to be a good man.”

Another style stand out is “We Burned the City Down.” This track is a full blown Texas blues/boogie track, complete with slide guitar. The theme is a nihilistic commentary current living, “no longer slaves to modern ways” we burned the city down…

The album ends with the slowest song (the only slow song… ) on the album, “The Appeal.” At over six minutes, it’s also the longest on the album. This track features some chorus effect guitar, and a bluesy backbeat. But don’t worry, there are some good build ups, but it never goes over the top like the rest of the album. You almost need the rest by the time you get to this track.

The Cosmic Law of Generational Music Differences

I heard the strangest of noises coming from my daughter’s room this evening. I blew it off to start with, not wanting to worry unnecessarily, but the noise was becoming unbearable as it continued and I became quite concerned.

“What’s wrong with your computer?” I asked approaching her open doorway.

“Nothing,” she replied. “Everything is fine.”

A terrible sinking feeling then overcame me as I was afraid of what that meant.

“You mean you are listening to that on purpose?” I asked in fear.

“Yeah,” she returned, confused at what I was asking her.

“I’m sorry,” I offered in sincerity. You see as it turned out, that strange, rather offensive noise was something she called music. Now me, I would hesitate to call it music but rather strange beeping sounds layered with annoyingly exotic rhythmic gyrations and some obviously under-educated lost soul mumbling something about his mama.

“What do you mean you are sorry?” she asked.

“You see,” I explained. “There is a well documented cosmic law stating that you, as a teenager, must remain dynamically opposed to my musical sense of taste as a predetermined divider between our generations.”

“Huh?” she asked.

“It is an unfortunate side effect of the rebellious adolescent nature necessary to drive you to move out on your own and create your own subsistence rather than residing permanently at the home roost in a parasitic fashion, which, of course, would drive us both insane and bring a crashing end to evolution as we know it.”

“What?” she said, shaking her head in utter confusion.

“Which, by the way,” I continued, “is one purported, yet wholly unsubstantiated theory of what caused the extinction of the dinosaurs, and possibly why some male grizzly bears eat their own young.”

“What?” she replied in shock.

“In other words, it’s my fault you like this crap because I hate it,” I said more simply. “It seems to be the law of the universe.”

“Oh,” she stated, looking somewhat relieved. “For a minute there I thought you were going to eat me.”

“Anyway,” I went on, “I’m sorry I didn’t hate something that wasn’t quite so horrible. That way you wouldn’t have to listen to… this.” I apologized.

“It’s OK, Dad, I don’t mind. I like it.”

“That’s what I was afraid of,” I concluded. I had to leave at that point, though, as guilt was overwhelming me — not to mention the horrid sound of the so called “music”.

I remember when things were the other way around and it was my dad who couldn’t stand my music. I remember one time while traveling on vacation, my sister and I begged Dad to let us listen to a rock radio station. Finally, my sister got him to agree by telling him to turn off the speakers up front and just play it quietly on the rear speakers.

This was way back in 1982 when Survivor’s “Eye Of The Tiger” was a huge hit. My sister and I were very excited when that song finally came on the radio. We could hardly hear it, however, as Dad had it turned down so low. I remember laying our heads back almost against the rear window trying to get closer to the speakers so we could hear the song.

Then, however, my dad apparently heard a cymbal crash, which, of course, he found seriously offensive, and he turned the radio down a bit.

Not to be deterred from enjoying the song, my sister and I simply pressed our heads further back against the rear window, attempting to get closer still to the speakers.

Again, the cymbals crashed, and Dad, further offended, turned the radio down a bit more. My sister and I pressed further rearward. This continued for a few moments until the car hit a bump in the road and she and I both received a good whacking on the noggin from the rear window.

“Well, what are you doing sticking your heads up against the window anyway?” my dad asked in response to our cries of pain.

“Trying to hear the radio!” my sister returned, rather annoyed.

“Oh, well then,” Dad responded, solving the problem by simply shutting the radio off.

My dad and I certainly had our debates over music back in my teenage years, with little in the way of agreement. As far as I could tell, any music where you could actually hear drums playing, he didn’t like. That, of course, ruled out everything I enjoyed and left me being able to listen to my music only when he wasn’t around.

Now back in those days, that was a lot harder to do than it is now. I didn’t have my own computer like my kids do today. I didn’t have my own stereo until I was 17 and I had to go against my parents wishes in order to buy that from a friend of mine.

Instead, I would listen with friends while away from home, and, on the rare occasion when I was home alone, I would sneak into Dad’s office and crank something up over his stereo. (thank goodness I never got caught doing that!).

Then one glorious Christmas, my grandparents gave me a set of headphones. I was excited, but my parents were not. In fact, I think they were quite irate with my grandparents for giving me such an “evil” thing, but it was too late. I had it in my possession and wasn’t going to give it up.

I remember sneaking those head phones into bed with me at night one time so I could listen to a pirated copy of Bon Jovi’s “Slippery When Wet” album that a friend had given me. Naturally, if I would have gotten caught listening to such devilry, I would have gotten in to serious trouble.

Perhaps that’s why “Slippery When Wet” to this day remains one of my favorites albums? Because it also seems to be written into the cosmic law of generational music differences that the more grief your parents give you over a certain kind of music, the more you like it.

For that reason, I really try not to make too much fuss over it when my kids listen to something I truly can’t stand. Because overreacting just seems to make it all worse and I really don’t want to drive them into further liking that which I cannot tolerate. So, like the time when my oldest daughter turned on some kind of horrible “rap” stuff one day after school, I didn’t do much about it. In fact, I thought I handled it rather well.

By the time it got to the 15th f-word reference, about six seconds into the first song, all I did was run across the room, yank the CD out of the player, and throw it into the deepest corner of the house I could find. I mean, I didn’t even break it first. That shouldn’t have much effect on her now, should it?

Thinking back now, my dad is lucky that at the time I was only listening to Survivor, Bon Jovi, and the like, and was not a huge Metallica fan like I am now. I mean, I can only imagine how he would have reacted to Enter Sandman.