The Wounded Mosquito

"Blogging your world for a little while now."

July 26, 2005

BON JOVI: SLIPPERY WHEN CLUELESS

I think iTunes is the greatest: a perfect compromise between the side of you that doesn't want to buy a whole album for one song and the side of you that still thinks it's wrong to rip the whole thing off on the net.

Yet a few artists just don't get it. I imagine that AC/DC, Zeppelin, and of course, The Beatles are deeply embroiled in licensing negotiations, and in some cases will never make their songs available. I honestly don't know if it's the band's fault or not.

Those guys are completely hands off, but the ones that really throw me for a loop are the bands like Bon Jovi. Most of the Jersey boy's songs are available, but if you want a copy of "It's My Life", you have to download the whole "Crush" album--it's not available for individual sale.

Now Jon, I don't know if this is your doing. After all, they cut your head off at the beginning of "U-571", so you may not be in the best position to call the shots right now. But let me explain something: iTunes did not REPLACE Napster and it's kind, it merely provided an honest ALTERNATIVE. If you hold back the one song the average non-die-hard-Bon-Jovi-fan wants, they will just go download it illegally somewhere else. The whole point of making your music available on iTunes is to avoid that.

Now, the honest fan won't. So, who are you giving the shaft? The honest fan. And I'll tell you what, Jon. That's no way to go out in a blaze of glory.

AND WHILE I'M AT IT…

I realize that in making my previous point I inadvertently admitted that at least to a small degree I am a Bon Jovi fan. The ten-year-old Josh would never forgive me. That Josh was a dedicated Beatles fan that religiously hated Bon Jovi, Metallica, Poison, Def Leppard, and all their ilk. With the exception of a strange fondness for Junk Yard Dog, he even hated Professional Wrestling. He would be horrified to know that fifteen years later he gained a sort of nostalgic affection for some of the crap-rock that was playing in the background of his youth. All I can do is assure him that while his later self might play a little G'N'R from time to time, it's purely out of quirkiness: the Beatles will always be tops.

Still, I should probably take the chance to confess a few more things that will no doubt alienate me from my peers (and maybe even my three readers). If you choose to shun me for this, have a nice life, cause I'm not changing.

  1. It's well-established that I despise contemporary Country Music, so much even that on two occasions last summer I almost quit my job because I couldn't take listening to it any longer. But while there are a lot of anti-country folks out there, I also greatly dislike the Dave Matthews Band. I've got a number of good friends that have traveled great distances to see this guy, and granted, I've got nothing against him. But after suppressing the truth for years, I finally realized that I don't like his music. Mostly I think it's his vocal style.
  2. I also hate "The Princess Bride". "PB" is one of a short list of elite films that you will hear quoted ad nauseum growing up along the Wasatch Front. ("Monty Python and the Holy Grail" is yes, the Holy Grail of this short list, and "Napoleon Dynamite" seems to be the LeBron James heir-apparent to Python's Air Jordan.) I've often thought that my dislike of this film was rooted in the fact that I had to listen to years of bad impressions of characters before finally seeing the source material myself. But it just isn't true. It's not funny to me. I don't like it. It's not my thing. Even in a social vacuum, I would not be a fan.
  3. Now the big one. This confession comes on the tail-end of the holiday fireworks season, when these things seem to flourish like manna from heaven. I hate Pace's Dairy Ann Astro Bars. From the first time they handed the things out on Sports Day at Tolman Elementary, I have fought the inner conflict of feeling like I was supposed to like the things, even though I most certainly did not. I hereby apologize to anyone who in their most sincere affection has offered me one of these things, because I certainly don't mean any offense. I just really hate those things. They taste like chalk. As for me and my house, we will be Otter Pop people.

Within 24 hours of publishing this I will fall hopelessly in love with a country dancing Dave Matthews fan who watches "Princess Bride" every Christmas Eve with the other members of her Pace's Dairy Ann-owning family. Just watch.

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July 24, 2005

KEEPING IT RE-AL

Last night I finally made it to a Real Salt Lake game. Didn't even get seated before they went up 1-0 two minutes in. It was a great way to cap a week that saw my first return to the playing field since early May, plus I got to enjoy two fine stables of the athletics concessions world: bratwurst and soft pretzels.

Real went on to win 3-0, and after a few annoying promotional games, my dad, my sister and I got treated to a nice fireworks display that marked my fourth within the last month. My final fireworks rankings for 2005 would have to be:

  1. Davis High show (featured classic music and well-timed explosives)
  2. Real Salt Lake show (quirky music and persistent explosives, just a hair less effective than Davis)
  3. Mueller Park show (no music, explosives plentiful but erratic)
  4. Eaglewood show (had to provide own music, mediocre show lasted twelve minutes, most of the time I was shooting the bull with my buddy Tyler about ESPN.com anyway)

The thing I find funny about the Real game is that 15,000 ex-South American/European returned missionaries start acting like they're back in their foreign countries. We kept singing some "Ole, Ole" song all of the time. I kept waiting for the crowd to burst into the "Vic-toir!" chant that finishes that great soccer movie from the 80's called "Victory". You remember, this is the one that pits Michael Caine, Pele, and Sylvester Stallone in a soccer match against the Nazis in WWII. Writing about that never gets old.

I had a great time at the game, but there is one element that I really wish we would Americanize: the whole parade out onto the field thing. Who on Earth WALKS their team out onto a professional playing field? That's absolutely insane. They tried to pump us up later with "Thunderstruck" and all that, but the moment was lost. You charge onto the field, and you run off like Namath after Super Bowl III: it's as simple as that.

"BEAM ME UP, SCOTTY…HELLO, SCOTTY?"

My hopes for a seventh Star Trek with the original (and one TRUE) cast keep getting dimmer and dimmer. Last week James "Scotty" Doohan died at the age of 85. The one and only "miracle worker" was the Scotsman with the most, baby. Rest in peace.

"McDONALDS-FOR ALL OF YOUR ONE-STOP MIND NUMBING NEEDS"

So I finally see "Super Size Me", that documentary about why McDonalds is trying to destroy the universe along with Wal-Mart and Major League Baseball, and less than a week later I see the newest and most obscene crossover promotion yet: DVD rentals at the Golden Arches.

I stopped eating at the big MD years ago, some time around age 18 I started picking up this unsettling aftertaste about halfway through my meal that left me feeling like I had just been pounding toxic waste. Years of loyalty to Mayor McCheese and the Hamburgler, fond memories of the unprecedented McPizza, and even a vague memory of a rookie year version of Karl Malone humbly signing autographs for free in the sunshine soaked corner of the then-outdoor McDonalds playland off HWY 89 in Bountiful were gone. In their place was this curiosity as to why I ate the stuff for years, and why I never listened to my father, who used to check the bottom of his McPizza for an elusive "Made In Taiwan" stamp.

I've never carried a grudge against Ronald and Co., and certainly don't blame them any more than any other franchise for our community's nasty eating habits, but someone in McDonald's management has truly gone bye-bye in the last two years. After decades of great commercials, we've been enduring perhaps the worst campaign of all time in the "I'm Lovin' It" spots (see Conan O'Brien for a second on that motion). And now they're trying to rent DVD's, too? Did they just figure they'd corner the market on "things that are collectively moving the United States into a general vegetative state?"

My only real question is this: are they renting copies of "Super Size Me"?

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July 13, 2005

"IT'S TERRY'S WORLD, BABY!"

I've never been much of a guy to rotate funny e-mails, especially if they come in at about 21 MB. But even though I won't be trying to forward this to any of my four readers, I wouldn't feel right without giving a vote of praise to the Reebok people for their "Terrible Terry Tate: Office Linebacker" videos.

I came across them yesterday, in typical social laggard fashion, while doing my daily scan of ESPN's Page2 Web site. Without belaboring the point, let me just say these things are hilarious. Link to them here: http://www.terribleterrytate.com/watch.asp

My only criticism is that I didn't think of the idea first.

MY BEST FRIEND'S BIKERS

Whether in the overrated Julia Robert's movie or in the conversations I've had with various love-frustrated friends over the years, from time to time I've heard about these pacts that go along the lines of "if neither of us is married by 30, and neither of us has made any kind of long-term commitment to an Idaho survivalist cult, let's get married to each other and call it good." Now I'm not criticizing them--in fact I've considered the option myself at times--but I think I've got a better idea.

Over the last few years I've seen most of my "contemporaries" enter the hallowed realm of officially sanctioned relationships, and most have already produced a kid or two to show for them. Yet I've still got a concentrated following of long-time friends that haven't seen such good fortune, and even though they're a sharp group of good-looking fellas, well, let's just say Julia Robert's deal just ain't gonna work for us. (I'll spare them the humiliation of being named…"I have here a list of fifty known single adults…!")

That's why I think that whoever's left by the time we all turn 31 should form a biker gang.

Think about it: at 31 we officially get bumped from the first phase of the singles scene, a solid fifteen years after we started in on the dating scene. If it hasn't happened by then, I say we liquidate our assets, buy choppers, and hit the road.

We may not be the most credible of biker gangs; Hell's Angels we are not, though we could be considered "Menaces to Society" in "Brigham Young-ian" philosophy.* In fact, maybe that would be the best name for the gang--"The Menaces to Society". But at the very least, as young men in the theoretical peak of our physical and mental development, we would have to be considered more macho then the fifty-five year olds that trade in their three-piece suits and Lexus's for Official Harley Leather Chaps and Low Riders on the weekends. "Accountant by day, Biker by night!" Come on.

It's not that I'm advocating "giving up". It's more of a "siesta" concept. Hit the road for a few years, take in both coasts and a lot of pavement in between. Wear my suede leather fringe jacket on a daily basis and listen to a lot of Creedence. Make the best of where we're at. Then we settle back into the responsible world around the age of 36, shave off our ill-gotten beards, and try to remember everything we learned back in college, this time with five years of solid experience out at the mercy of the cold, hard, world.

Yeah, maybe I'll just try to get a date for Saturday…

*Much has been made about President Young's infamous "Menace to Society" quote. I've had people ask me on more than one occasion whether he said it was age 25 or 27 at which this distinction takes effect. Nowadays I say it doesn't matter, not because I'm 28, but because when President Young made his statement, guys were living to an average of fifty years old. By that reckoning, I've got until my early forties till I qualify, right? Right?

NOTHING MORE DANGEROUS THAN A WOUNDED IDLE…

Now it's time for my first official retraction/correction/apology for this Blog: the whole time I've been doing this thing, I've had the wrong quote attribution on the header. "There's nothing more dangerous than a wounded mosquito" was not uttered by Graham "Hank Spim" Chapman, it was spoken (in brilliant Aussie) by his one-armed brother, Eric "Roy Spim" Idle, loyal ex-Python and current keeper of the flame through the "Spamalot" Broadway Musical. What kind of pseudo-fan hack am I? Sorry, Eric. Rest in Peace, Graham.

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July 12, 2005

REFLECTIONS ON ONE VERY LOOOONG DAY…

I put it off for a long time, but three weeks ago I finally caved in and rented the first season of "24". As I mentioned before, I liked it quite a bit, and felt it could have lent some credibility to the "Hardy Boys" books of my youth.

Last week I finally polished off the last episodes of the first season, and thought I might share a few thoughts here:

  1. Throughout the entire series, I was impressed with the writing, specifically how each episode was designed to come to a head with a mini cliffhanger to get you excited for the next one. The drawback here is that if you are watching the original broadcast, you have to wait a week for the next installment. But if, like me, you are watching on DVD, you go through a battle to decide whether to just watch the next one immediately. Then suddenly you realize you've watched eight episodes in a single day and you wonder what has happened to your already meager social life.
  2. At the same time, there was one story twist that had to be considered a plot "hiccup": Having Jack's wife get amnesia? Sure she's stressed; sure crazy things have been going on all around her, but amnesia? It felt way too soap-operaish. It was the only time in the first season I went "whaa-?"
  3. I think the girl that plays Nina was in that Volkswagen commercial for either the Jetta or the Passat (I'm thinking Jetta) where the couple is driving the car (black) down the street in the rain and everything outside (people walking, basketballs bouncing) suddenly becomes timed to the bass line of the song playing in the background.
  4. Having Dennis Hopper play the head bad guy brings up an interesting issue for me: given the option, do you benefit or suffer from bringing in a celebrity lead? Nothing against Dennis, but sometimes I feel more drawn into a fictional world when I don't recognize the people in it. This was one of them. Sure, I've already commented on Kiefer's "Stand By Me" appearance, but that was twenty years ago. "24" seemed more real because it used no-names. Having a guest shot from Dennis (and the "La Bamba" guy) was nice, but I would have been just as happy with mean-looking no-name guys.
  5. Last thought: How many people, after buying "24" on DVD, actually re-watch individual episodes? Can you start in the middle with this thing? I loved it, but I don't know that I'll ever actually pull the whole thing out and re-watch it again, it was exhausting the first time. It's not like "X-Files", where you blend long-term storylines with short-term ones. With "24", it's kind of all or nothing.

So now, after all that, I have one final question to address: do I dive into Season Two right away, or do I try to re-enter civilization as we know it?

REVENGE OF THE FIVE-DOLLAR SMOOTHIE

Continuing with the "new addictions" theme, I may have found a new candidate for "best smoothie". After enjoying the Peach Treaty at Keva Juice and the unprecedented five-dollar offerings at the Gateway's Ben and Jerry's place, last week I had a Strawberry Citrus Smoothie at Baskin Robbins. Two days later, I had another. I don't even know where to start trying to describe the taste of these things.

Another thought: am I pretty much the only non-ice cream enthusiast Mormon guy on the Wasatch Front? Between my general ambivalence for ice cream, chocolate, and mayonnaise, I'm beginning to wonder if my Midwest-rooted genetics are a little more taste-specific than I thought.

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July 2, 2005

PHOENIX STEALS SALT LAKE'S DINNER BELL

Just found out this morning that Raja Bell is leaving the Jazz to sign with Phoenix next year. The only thing that surprises me is that Dwight Manley isn't his agent.

Still, it's tough to feel sore at Raja, and not just because he's aging or that Phoenix has a much sooner shot at a title. (The guy's only a year older than me, for Pete's sake.) Most people are lamenting the loss because they remember Raja as a fiery leader and tough player, and while that's true, that's not what I'll remember about Raja Bell. Two years ago, when the Jazz were reeling from the loss of Stockton to retirement and Malone to La-La Land, Raja Bell was pretty much the only guy willing to sign with them as a free agent. And he left a good Dallas team to do it, too. He was one of the key members of an overachieving Jazz team that was the funnest to watch since the Jazz took LA to Game 7 back in 1988. For that alone, I'll always remember Raja Bell fondly.

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July 1, 2005

CALLING FRANKLIN W. DIXON…

Well, I've gone and gotten myself addicted to "24". Best Kiefer Sutherland work since he played Ace in "Stand By Me." Now, if only The Hardy Boys could have enjoyed the "real-time" format.

See, as a kid I read about fifty of the 200+ Hardy Boys mysteries, and even after a couple of dozen stories I began to wonder how two teenagers could have so much happen to them in a single year. From book one to the very end, Frank was 18 and Joe was 17. They never seemed to be in school either, though the books always mentioned the "flying football tackles" they used after developing their skills on the school teams. All I can think is that must have been one long summer.

The frozen time concept was one of the constant thorns in my side I could never remove when it came to the Hardy's. That and finding out at the age of twelve that all my favorite preteen-macho Hardy Boy stories were really written by a woman. I don't care how progressive you are, no kid wants to hear that at twelve. But if the Hardy's had real-time, each story could have taken place in a single day. All their stories could have happened in the same year, and they'd still have time for the crossover books with Nancy Drew!

I wonder the same thing about "The Simpsons" sometimes. You can get away with a lot more when you're a cartoon--look at "Peanuts"--but it just seems strange that sixteen years later, Bart is still in the 4th Grade and Mr. Burns isn't dead yet. At the same time, when I remember what happened to shows like "Moonlighting" and "Cheers" when they tried to move on, maybe you shouldn't mess with a winning formula.

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