Diamonds are Forver Annoying

This is hardly a timely entry, but it popped into my head today and thought this was a good place to vent about it.

There is a "diamonds are forever" commercial that I’ve always found very annoying and if I were a woman, would find it pretty annoying.  It’s the one where the couple – man and wife, since I believe the ad is for some sort of anniversary-related piece of jewelry – is standing in an Italian piazza, and he starts shouting out "I LOVE THIS WOMAN!!" over and over.  A silly, but dramatic and heartfelt sentiment.  She’s embarrassed to death and basically tells him to shut up.

He then pulls out the diamond whatever (earrings, bracelet, necklace, whatever) and shows it to him.  She suddenly changes character and embraces him and starts to say in a breathless voice "I love this man, I love this man, I love this man." 

WHY? Because he gave you a freakin’ expensive glass-like piece of stone?  THAT’S OK to say "I love you" but not shouting it out to the world?  Is it just me or does that make women look shallow and materialistic?  Or at least THAT woman??  Why don’t they just end the spot with "can’t win her with love?  Buy the bitch with some diamonds" and just be honest with what they are trying to say!?!?

Ready to Admit Something

I like the Gin Blossoms, dammit.  I don’t care what anyone thinks.  New Miserable Experience a great, listenable album.  No, its not Sgt. Pepper’s or Exile on Main Street, or even Tommy or Never Mind the Bollucks or whatever fucking obvious comparison  you want to make.  And yes, its "pop-y".  So what?  They’re good, enjoyable songs, and the song "29" strikes a chord with each passing day that I get closer to that age.

So to all you music elitists out there who hate them becuase they made the alternative popular, deal with it.  Get over yourselves and enjoy the goddamn music.

You Can’t Help a Junkie

In a previous post I talked about music overload, but even given that, I had to share what I think is just one of the coolest services I’ve seen in a long time.  Its called Shazam Entertainment and lets you find out the name of any song or artist that you hear simply by sending a text message to them and holding the phone up to the music.  Their technology recognizes the song and sends you the info.

Seriously, isn’t that just the bomb-diggity, if you’ll allow me to say so?  I wish I had that recently a few times at Bukowski’s Tavern in Boston (follow the link to a great web site, but Bukowski’s deserves a better rating than it gets there.  I think the beer selection is really good, and the burgers are awesome!) and both times some great music was playing that I couldn’t identify and the servers didn’t know since it was some mix disc.  Very cool garage rock type of stuff that I definately would have gone out and bought.  Or downloaded.  Or requested on radio.  Or on satellite radio…. you get the idea.

Anyway – that’s my shout out to Shazam and my wish that they bring the service to the good ‘ol U.S. of A. or that a similar service comes soon.

(Just in case you’re wondering how I found about this, it was through a great web site called

Arrogrance and Frustration

So here’s a work frustration post… I’m in a very frustrating position with my ad agency, of all things.  The manager of the account happens to be best friends with the President of the company I work for, and that personal relationship has gotten in the way of sound business decisions. 

I am trying to pull together a promotion which resonates with family caretakers who find themselves struggling to take care of more than one generation – the "sandwich generation" is what they most commonly referred to, as they try to look after both their children and their aging parents (or granparents).  These are everday people who are stressed out, with too much going on, and not enough resources to do it all.  My goal is to make sure that our products and brand clearly empathizes with them, motivating them to purchase our products as they associate Timex Healthcare as THEIR partner in caretaking.

So how to do that?  Pick a great spokesperson who can address our target audience with empathy, knowledge, experience, and expertise, is definately one way of doing it.  So our ad agency came up with a reccomendation: Deborah Norville.

Yeah… Deb Noville…. New York urbanite sophisticate, former beauty queen, TV news anchor, and host of Inside Edition, TV’s favorite celebrity gossip show.  Now, to be fair, she DOES have two kids, and has written a children’s book and a book about overcoming adversity.  However, her lifestyle and wealth pretty much dictates that she has a nanny of some sort, and her books… ouch… check out the reviews on yourself: Back on Track and I Don’t Want to Sleep Tonight.  Nothing like a childrens book that causes nightmares…  No one here in the office thinks its a good idea, no woman in our target market things its a good idea, and I obviously don’t. 

So why Deb Norville?  Because there’s also a personal relationship between the AE and Deb, and we can get her "cheap."  I’ve tried to fight it, but the AE has gotten to the President, and he thinks its a wonderful idea, and now apparently thinks I’m a brainless twerp, based on the way he’s been acting towards me.  I tried to bring other ideas to the table, but they got shelved in favor of this brainless move.

The worst part is that the AE is not only friends with the President of my company, but he’s simply one of the most arrogrant people I’ve ever had the displeasure of working with.  Things started off on the wrong foot the first time I met him, as I went to check out a recording session for a radio commercial.  He told me to be there at 1:30, and I was.  But when I got there, the ad was already DONE!!  He clearly thinks that whatever he thinks is right, and that there is no other option.  I, as the client, am simply mere interference with his infinate wisdom, rather than a collaborative partner. 

I’m not alone with this – everyone here in the company doesn’t like him (including my boss), and during my due diligence process before taking this job, several professionals in the area either "warned" me about him, or simply refused to give an opinion.  In the end, I couldn’t get a single positive review of him as a person or a professional.

So now I find myself in a very difficult position – stuck working with someone who is nearly impossible to work with on a promotion that I disagree deeply for professional reasons, while trying to look good to a president who has already heard a bad rap about me from the person I’m supposed to be working with. 

Maybe I won’t be around here for all that long afterall…

Its Alright Mama

There was a point while watching the DVD included in Korn’s Greatest Hits during the song "Got the Life" where Jonathan Davis’ lyrics are actually much clearer in concert than they are in the studio version and that got me thinking about the classic old parent’s argument against their kids’ music of "you can’t even understand the words!"

Give me a f’ing break… really… first of all, let’s get the obvious argument out of the way: many of these parents grew up liking Bob Dylan.  Now, I’m as much of a Dylan fan as anyone, honestly, but let’s face it – he sings and it sounds like he’s in the middle of a stroke or an orgasm, possibly both. 

Secondly, how many people who make this brilliant comment about it being important to understand the words actually could tell you the lyrics to their favorite song anyway!?!?   As someone who likes to talk about music a lot, I end up talking about it with a lot of people more often than usual, and my experience has shown that while people identify with certain songs, they really couldn’t tell you the words to them.  Hum a few bars, perhaps take a good guess.  Hell, there’s an entire web site dedicated to misunderstood lyrics.

It doesn’t piss me off that they don’t have the words to their favorite song memorized – it just bothers me that they will discount one generation’s music because of something that obviously doesn’t matter that much anyway.  I love reading lyrics and knowing what they actually say, but I’m the exception to the rule.  So parents of the world – come up with something better, will ‘ya? 

And if you ever catch me saying that to my kids sometime, please remind me that I own the Greatest hits of Motorhead.  Then slap me in the head and tell me to shut the hell up. 

Thank you.

A Cheap Fuck for Me To Lay

I have to admit that for a long time, I couldn’t really like the band Korn, nor any of the numerous knock-off bands that came after them.   It wasn’t for any musical reasons, but rather personal ones involving a former flame and her spring break fling with a drummer from an L.A. rock band that played Korn rip-off music.   Nothing like having your feelings crushed to turn you off a great band….

However, she’s long gone, married with two kids and I’m glad to not be involved in that, so I can now listen to Korn’s Greatest Hits Vol. 1 with impunity.  Listening to them again makes you realize the influence on heavy metal.  I won’t say whether or not that’s a good thing, since the basic elements of their dark, heavy and brooding style of heavy metal appears to be surprisingly easy to duplicate and has resulted in a slew of sound-alikes that concentrate more on gurgling guitars and simple, violent lyrics rather then creating the more unique blend of grooves, heavy metal, and twisted imagery that made Korn so popular.

Of course, there are accusations that the Korn sound wasn’t original to begin with, but then again, most "break-out" bands that popularize a particular style of music tend to get slapped with that accusation.  Whether it be timing, better production, "pop-ier" songwriting, or just sheer luck, there’s almost always other bands that have been doing the same type of music for longer and go unrecognized.  Deal with it.   

So what of the music?  Well, hell, it is good (assuming you like really heavy stuff, of course) – guttural, throbbing guitar and bass lines that cause entire neighborhoods to turn and stare when you drive through them with the windows down and the radio cranked up.  Its satisfying hunks of heavy metal that can cause the floppiest fop to seethe with testosterone. 

The trademark Korn explosion of sound after the teasing feedback-drenched notes is definitely one of the most delectable nuggets of musical satisfaction in recent years.   The ability to create musical drama is what separates them from their brethren – too many bands keep up the dense, high-speed metal going from start to finish in their songs; and definitely too many bands trudge their way through dark, pseudo-scary Black Sabbath rip-off riffs for agonizing, depressing minutes on end (shout out to Timat here). 

The tension and release of Korn is what made them appealing to metalheads everywhere, and expanded the audience for it as well.  Let’s face it – the role of heavy metal is to release energy: work out aggression through headbanging, moshing, screaming, and generally acting in a socially unacceptable manner.   Korn’s build-then-release style of creating songs lends itself perfectly to this, allowing some breathing room, and a chance to pent up one’s energy between sonic blasts.

Granted, this is hardly a new concept – one could say that Korn simply took the "rave-ups" of the 60’s and made it heavier and louder, and you wouldn’t be far from right.  If the Yardbirds were a lot more pissed off and tuned their guitars WAY down low, you have a good basis for Korn. 

The Greatest Hits album itself is a great overview – as someone who as seen them live twice (Once at Woodstock ’99 and once while on tour with Rob Zombie, and yes both times it was with "that girl"… *sigh*) but never owned a disc by them, it gave me the perfect set of songs that were great in concert.  I really don’t want to do the usual song-by-song bullshit analysis of it – I’m not enough of a fan to lend a critical eye towards it all, and I’m sure that the most hardcore fans will be upset at the exclusion of numerous songs, as is the case with any greatest hits compilation.  The mix is good, and offers the perfect sampling for the casual fan or general appreciator of their musical influence.

As good as the music disc is, the DVD bonus disc might be even better.  A six song compilation of their surprise CBGB club performance is what to play for a non-believer.  Its been a few years since I saw Korn live and forgot how intense they are – everything is amplified: the volume, the bass lines, the feedback, Jonathan Davis’ singing, and the just-on-the-edge nature of the songs and their lyrics.  Their songs become a heart-pumping wall of menacing sound, one that will make you wish you were in a mosh pit RIGHT NOW, or that you had that high school bully tied up in a chair in front of you just so you could kick the shit out of him. 

Over the Moon

Well, as some of you know, I’m a former employee of Garelick Farms.   No regrets in leaving them and moving onto bigger and better things, but I had to share a very cool promotion that they are running right now.  $25,000 for a community "Dream Come True" project.  You gotta love this stuff – along the lines of "Extreme Makeover" (admittedly a consistent tear-jerker TV show for me). 

Now that I’m no longer an employee, I plan on passing this along to my mom, a teacher assistant in a kindergarten class, and maybe they can win something for the city of Woonsocket. 

For anyone else interested in it, go to

P.S. Over the Moon milk is also really good – try it!

In Honor of Jimmy Smith

I just read in Newsweek that Jimmy Smith passed away recently, and was saddened both by the news and the fact that it seemed to go relatively unnoticed.  Jimmy was a revolutionary jazz organist, who brought a distinct funkiness to the world of jazz and helped to make the organ a legit jazz instrument.

On a personal level, it meant a lot to me, as he was one of the artists responsible for my interest in jazz in the first place.  His song "Walk on the Wild Side" (no relation to the Lou Reed song, BTW) was on a jazz compilation disc that my dad had.  I heard this song and fell in love with it, and the disc became mine.  It still stands as one of my all-time favorite jazz songs.  The sampler disc is no longer in print, but you can get the song and his other best songs on Jimmy Smith’s Finest Hour, which is my favorite greatest hits compilation. 

Also, if you want to find out more about Jimmy Smith, visit my favorite music info site (anyone got any others as good or better?) at

Keep on jazzin’

Maybe they’re not so bad…

A little update on my Marriot situation – I did get in touch with them and managed to get what I needed and I’m simply awaiting the refund on the hotel AND some additional funds to make up for the overdraft charges.  Two things to learn from this:

1) Marriot is actually OK and their customer service line is helpful

2) It doesn’t do anyone any good to get angry and start screaming and yelling.  I was polite through the whole thing, kept my sense of humor and tried to be cooperative.  The customer service rep actually thanked me for my demeanor and I do think it made a difference.  Now, if they hadn’t cooperated on THEIR end, I would have gone off the wall on them, but I didn’t have to.  Its symbiotic, I guess.