Friday, July 24, 2009

"...and returning him safely to earth."

I missed the big 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing while kickin' it in the Caribbean for a few days, but I'm back stateside to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the very important safe return of Apollo 11, which took place on July 24th, 1969, an anniversary that always calls to my mind a curious part of Kennedy's famous "moon" speech.

Kennedy: "First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth."
"and returning him safely to earth"? I always found it odd that he felt it necessary to specify that if we shot a man up to the moon, we'd have to get him back. It makes me think that if he hadn't specifically made a return trip part of the space program's goal it wouldn't have come up in any of the planning meetings.

Would he have gone to NASA and say "Hey, can we put a man on the moon?" and they would say, "sure, no problem. We could do that tomorrow."

"Could we bring him back?"

"Oh crap. That's going to take some work."

If Kennedy never said "and returning him safely to earth" maybe the moon landing, instead of being a worldwide inspirational achievement would have been the most horrible, t.v. disaster ever broadcast as people watched Neil and Buzz say to Houston, "o.k., we're ready to come home."


"Houston? We're ready for the return trip."

"Um, give us a minute Eagle." Dammit! No one said we'd have to bring them back!?!

Perhaps that's the old legislator in Kennedy coming out, making sure you spell everything out exactly so no one tries to cut corners on you. It's like starting a new schoolyard game and you're working out the rules, "I call that if we send a man to the moon we have to bring him back. You have to, I called it!"

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Friday, July 17, 2009

To B**ch Or Not To B**ch?

As I'm finishing up work on my new CD (which will hopefully "drop," as the kids say, the first week of September) I've stumbled upon a quandary. A dilemma, a veritable pickle. I'm trying to figure out whether or not to bleep out a certain word on a certain song, and more to the point I'm trying to determine whether my CD will have to be labeled "Explicit Lyrics" if said certain word is not bleeped out.

In other songs I've bleeped out the F-word and the S-word but I've left in words like "damn" and "ass" figuring if they're in the Bible, Tipper Gore can't storm my house and start slapping labels on me. And I actually think bleeping is can be funnier than actually hearing the word, like South Park on T.V., it's kind of hilarious that 9-year-olds need to be censored.

But in the song in question, I use the B-word 25 times, and 25 bleeps in one song might be a little much. Adding to the problem is the fact that the B-word can be a touchy subject. On the side of not bleeping is the argument that of the 25 times I use the word in the song, 24 times the word is used as a verb, meaning "to complain." The one time it's used as a noun it's said that someone is "going to be a b**ch" not that someone is a b**ch. And in this instance I think it's basically the female version of "a-hole," a word which appears elsewhere on the album in the abbreviated "a-hole" form.

There aren't good guidelines to what should be labeled explicit and what gets a pass. Meredith Brooks has an album from which the biggest hit was a song named "B**ch" and on iTunes there's no explicit language tag. On Goat's Head Soup The Rolling Stones have a song innocuously named "Star Star," the chorus of which uses the work "f***er" 12 times, and with three choruses in the song the f-word count is at least 36. That's way more profanity and sexual content than Green Day, which is always labeled "explicit."

So I'm leaning towards letting it go and not telling iTunes to label it and then dealing with any angry parents who may be upset that their kids heard language on my CD that they can hear pretty much all day on T.V.

But then there's the inherent hilarity of the bleep.

Such are the decisions in a D.I.Y. record project. I tell ya, it's a real bitch.

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Buy This Book!

A good friend of mine, Bob Powers, who's a hilarious (an hilarious?) author has a new book out this week, The Horrible Temp-to-Perm Debacle, the latest in his Just Make a Choice series in which you get to make the decisions for an indecisive slacker, this time an alcoholic temp framed for murder.

Will you end up in jail? On the run? Working full time for the man? It's all up to you and each choice will lead to eff-in funny consequences.

Bob's last book, You Are a Miserable Excuse For a Hero, was a big hit and his first book, Happy Cruelty Day, based on his Girls Are Pretty blog, is a must have for the coffee table or guest bathroom.

So if you want some good hearty laughs this summer, buy this book!

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Monday, July 06, 2009

The excesses of a Rock and Roll Lifestyle--TWO Tambourines!!

Last week I was working on my new CD (coming this fall! new tunes! available on line!) and it came time to lay down the all-important tambourine track. I was pretty sure I had a tambourine somewhere but in the many cleanups and rearrangements of stuff in my (recording) studio apartment I just lost track of it.

I simply had no luck finding an existing tambourine in my apartment, and the track had to be recorded--you can't not have tambourine in a pop song--so I went out and got the spiffy new round maple tambourine seen above on the left.

As you can probably guess, as soon as I got home with the new tambourine I had one last idea of where a previous tambourine might be stashed--with some P.A. equipment I hadn't thought about since an unpleasant, non-tambourine-related gig down at Princeton. Sure enough, within minutes of returning home with a new tambourine I found the old one. Now I had two.

Of course, I could return the new one but that would be sensible, practical, pragmatic even. So not rock and roll. I should have twelve tambourines! I should have a lead and rhythm tambourine! I should have alto, tenor, and barritone tambourines in an entire tambourine section!

And besides, I like the sound of the new, old-style tambourine better. It's got a tighter jingle with a less ringy finish. It's Motown by way of the Carpenters which makes it pretty perfect for a goofball like me. Listen for it on the new CD! (out in early September, stay tuned!)