Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I Think It's All Right

Unfortunately, we're going to have to shut things down here for at least a couple weeks. Knee surgery is being done today. Probably as you are reading this. It's going to be an unpleasant experience to be sure, but a necessary one. I promise we'll have this site up and running again as soon as possible, including some new features that are under construction - much like my knee.

More details on the injury that caused this.
More details on deep thoughts on the day of an operation.

Monday, January 28, 2008

OWR: Sanjuro

81: Playful

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Unyielding Commissioning on a Saturday

Back in Black - It's been a long while since we mentioned The Arcade Fire in these parts, which frequent readers may find strange. Our obsession with the Quebec group hasn't waned in the time we've been away. Not only is the new video for the Bowie-influenced song Black Mirror creepy and artsy and unique, you can actually play with the tracks. Take out the drums and it becomes a haunting, stripped-down dirge. Remove the backing vocals and it's a more naked, piercing approach. Or mix it up as it plays. You may find yourself spending the better part of a day here. Check it out.

They were holding him back - UB40 singer Ali Campbell is leaving the group after 30 years of reggae-styled cover songs. Firstly, who knew these guys were still alive, let alone still a group? Secondly, if your band's main thing is just to take popular, well-crafted songs (Red Red Wine, Here I Am, Can't Help Falling In Love) and turn them into stripped-down, boring pseudo reggae tunes, does that even make you a band? We say no.
(HT: PMaz)

Your worst nightmare (accounting) - Someone has put together a full list of all the deaths in every Rambo movie. Check it. Though we have to say the analysis is incomplete. There is nothing listed for the death of Richard Crenna's career.

Last Chance to Vote - for the 2007 Kaelin winner. Polls close tomorrow and the race is very tight!

OWR: My Best Friend's Wedding

28: Foolish

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thursday Youtube - Otis

To me, Otis Redding always seemed a lot older than he actually was. With his big face and gravely voice, my image of him long resembled an old bluesman. But I was unenlightened back then. Redding was a passionate performer, full of vivacity and passion. He wrote nearly all of his songs and found a way to make that gravel vibrate with naked soul. Otis died in a plane crash in Madison, Wisconsin just a month after his 26th birthday.

For many people of our generation, our initiation to Redding's music was as the soundtrack to Country Time Lemonade commercials. That song, Dock of the Bay, was by far his biggest hit. Sadly, he wasn't around to see that success as the song was released posthumously.

When people talk about tragic deaths in music, Redding is often the afterthought, perhaps because there's been no movie made about his life. While Richie Valens and Buddy Holly were surely quality artists who had some great hits, neither was building towards the career that Otis likely had ahead of him. This was not a death from drugs or other recklessness, which perhaps makes it all the less poetic.

The older I get, the more of his music I find, the more I appreciate him. Nobody has ever had soul like Otis. There is depth to his vocal tracks. You can listen to these songs over and over and grasp new details and feelings in the music he made. I guess the silver lining is that his music doesn't get old, even if he's gone.

Perhaps the most tragic thing about Redding's early demise was that his best days were ahead of him. And not only a tragedy for him, but for all of us. The music he was poised to make over the next ten years of his life would have made us jump, shout, shake, and weep. We were really robbed. So enjoy these clips. Then watch 'em again if you really want to get it all.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

OWR: Dogtown and Z-Boys

39: Self-centered

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Unyielding Commissioning Expects Low Ratings

The Verve reuinion – As you know, we’ve been out of touch. But we are pleased to discover that The Verve has reunited. Back in 1999, due to tension between guitarist Nick McCabe and frontman Richard Ashcroft, the band broke up much to the detriment of everyone involved. Aschcroft embarked on a solo career that amounted to only minimal success. Without McCabe’s songcrafting, Ashcroft’s work simply wasn’t as compelling. After claiming they are "getting back together for the joy of the music," they've been playing shows in England and are supposedly working on new material. We’ve seen similar reunions from bands before and they’ve almost always been money-making jaunts with little passion or artistic output (we're talking to you, Living Colour, Jane's Addiction, and hell, everybody else). But for some reason we have high hopes for this little-band-that-could from Wigan. The fact that they've all been knocked down a peg is the biggest reason. Of course, Ashcroft and McCabe could start fighting again at the drop of a hat.

Get your Oscar Noms! – As previously stated, we’re totally out of the loop due to traversing the nation for the last five months. Consequently, we haven't seen many of the movies nominated for Oscars yet. Multiplex, here we come. Er - wait a minute. It seems that none of the films up for big prizes are of the multiplex variety. Juno is up for four big awards including Best Picture. Michael Clayton garnered six nominations. Honestly, I don't think anybody really knows how these will be awarded. It should be an exciting ceremony. Well, at least for us and people who like independent film. Spider Man 3, Wild Hogs, and the other big box office winners from 2007 aren't included mean that public at large is probably not going to bother tuning in. That of course assumes that the writers strike is resolved before then.

Zodiac was completely shut out which we here find to be a travesty. Granted, we've seen scant few of the films named, but it should have at least gotten a Best Director nod for Fincher. Outside of Best Actress, it seems like they only nominated five movies across the board. One can't help but wonder if Harvey Weinstein put the fix in.

And of course the other nominees – People, you get to vote. Please weigh in on this year’s Kaelin award winner. Remember, voting is not just a privilege, it’s a duty.

Monday, January 21, 2008

OWR: In Good Company

54: Gimmicky

Friday, January 18, 2008

Unyielding Commissioning Saw This Coming

Good Morning America, Indeed For those awaiting an update, yep, Diane Keaton is still totally crazy. You may recall that when doing a German press conference alongside Jack Nicholson for the offensively silly Something's Gotta Give, she had a complete meltdown. Sadly, no video of that event appears to exist on the internet. We assure you, it was funny. At the last Academy Awards, Diane played the role of a tipsy kindergarten teacher while helping Nicholson present Best Picture.

On Tuesday of this week she blurted out the F-word in front of the entire country. Lucky for her, and for Diane Sawyer, the FCC is powerless to take any action. (We covered this issue in our bonus Schwarzenegger Sunday last summer.) Whether or not she gets fined, it is clear that something has gone wrong in Ms. Keaton's noggin. We write this not to persecute her, but to express concern. It's time for her to stop making public appearances. There's no telling where this will end up. Doesn't she have handlers?

They Look Like Giants Death Cab for Cutie has been working on a new album. Go to their homepage for a pretty kickass psych-up video. It's not exactly Alan Parsons' Sirius at the United Center, but it's got me ready for May. Plus, Chris Walla has finally started to fill out a bit. He's looking more like a grown up every day.

Also Not Exactly Sane Tom Cruise has a new movie out. OK, it's not a movie. And we're not even sure if it's him or he's been hypnotized. It's basically just him rambling on and on about Scientology. He throws down a lot of acronyms in the process making it that much more confusing. Are people being too hard on Tom on this one? Judge for yourself.

OWR: Miller's Crossing

86: Smart

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Kaelin Awards - 2007 Nominees

Yesterday we went through the brief history of past Kaelin Award winners. Because we have been out of touch with pretty much everything for the last five months, we are turning to you, the FtY reader to choose this year’s Most Worthless Person. We’ve narrowed the choices down to nine nominees. People not chosen: Britney Spears – we agree with that youtube lady. Leave the poor girl alone. Besides, she once stimulated the, um, economy and sold lots and lots of Pepsi to foreign markets. So she’s not worthless. Politicians – that’s an entirely different discussion, and generally they’re not shoved down our throats. American Idol – Desperately wanted to put Paula Abdul in the running, but realized that the chubby black guy was probably even more worthless. Then we just threw up our hands. Maybe next year you krazy karaoke kids.

The candidates:

Miss Teen South Carolina Reasons For: For a few weeks, her complete stupidity was big news. Reasons Against: At least she’s really hot. She appeared on only a handful of talk shows afterwards. AC Slater got some much needed screen time. Honestly, we just put her on here because we like maps. Nobody should vote for her. She's the Mike Gravel of Kaelin candidates.

Heather Mills Reasons For: Demanding copious amounts of money from a living Beatle despite only being married to him for a short while. Repeatedly calling the London police to the point where they forbade her from calling any more. Dancing with the B-listers. Going on television to ask the media to stop harassing her and calling her a peedophile. Having no discernable talent, which is kind of a biggie. Compared herself to Princess Diana. Has a funny accent. Squawky. Claims she's done nothing but charity for twenty years. Reasons Against: Outside of the whole dancing with B-listers gig, she hasn’t been shoved down our throats all that much, but might that be enough? She’s not trying to sell things or market them even though she’s been hard to avoid at the same time. Only has one leg. Has done nothing but charity for twenty years.

Kim Kardashian Reasons For: A late entrant into the mix, we don’t know all that much about her. But have a reality show named after you, and you’re going to be in the running. Only famous because of a sex tape and because of friendship with other rich socialites who’ve had sex tapes. The sex tape wasn’t very good (we’ve heard). Appeared nude in Playboy. Reasons Against: We hate to be redundant, and she’s not covering any new ground that Paris didn’t hit two years ago. But Paris two years ago was kind of like the ’96 Chicago Bulls. It’s unfair for someone to have to reach that bar. Appeared nude in Playboy.

Howard K. Stern Reasons For: The K Man, if you’re unaware of his presence, was Anna Nicole Smith’s lawyer and hands down the most despicable Howard Stern we’ve had the displeasure of knowing. A fixture on Smith's reality show, he really took things up a notch when he kinda-sorta married her and then claimed to have fathered her child heir, even though it was pretty clear that he wasn’t one of the sperm donors in the running. Conspiracy theorists believe he drugged both Smith and her adult son. For a while he was trying to capitalize on his celebrity. Reasons Against: Sued Rita Cosby. Beyond that, we haven’t heard much about or from him since August or so. Really, that's the nicest thing we can say about the guy.

Sherri Shepherd Reasons For: Somehow got a sweet gig as co-host of The View even though few people had ever heard of her. Apparently Whoopi wasn’t girthy enough to fill the hole left vacant by departing Star Jones. At one point was unsure if the world was flat, claiming that taking care of her child was the only thing on her mind. Is awfully confused about Jesus. Still kicking around on that damn show. Makes Elisabeth Hasselbeck appear sane by comparison. Reasons Against: Isn’t really trying to sell anything else – yet. Likely in for a very strong ’08.

Anyone from The Hills Reasons For: We haven’t ever seen this show or really know much of anything about it. Our understanding is that it’s a pseudo-reality show where things are kind of scripted, kind of not, and everyone is slutty and beautiful. Whenever a celebrity gets mentioned somewhere and we don’t know who they are, they invariably came from this show. Reasons Against: Nobody gives a damn about The Hills. Or do they? We really have no idea. Is this on Bravo or A&E?

Paris Hilton Reasons For: Made her biggest news when she was forced to go to jail. Then set free by the warden. Then had to go back. Then cried and cried and cried and cried. Poor Paris. Was eventually let go early one evening via obviously staged runway walk to her mom’s car. Another horrendous Letterman appearance followed a totally mendacious Larry King interview. Trying to sell us her clothes with no sense of irony about how she became famous in the first place. Trying to sell us perfume. Reasons Against: Already won this award once, and didn’t top her performance from that year, though that would be a challenge. Got what she deserved on Letterman. We just don’t give a crap anymore.

New York Reasons For: Anyone who made a name for themselves on Flavor of Love really doesn’t deserve to have more attention tossed their way. Is totally insane. Has the most annoying voice on television since Rita Cosby. Reasons Against: Is totally insane. Has the craziest mom on the planet which is probably punishment enough. We’ll likely never hear from her again. Right? I mean, she’s done, right? Please say she’s done. Seriously, we're not even linking to anything.

Tila Tequila Reasons For: Um, ok, so we don’t really know who this is. She’s got a show that’s like a cross between The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, and Rock of Love, right? Aside from the moments when someone says, “Diabeetus,” all those shows are played out. Reasons Against: Did we mention that we have no remote idea who this person is? She seems cute enough.

So there you have it. The nominees for the 2008 Kaelin Award. You decide, America. Vote at the top right of this page. Remember the criteria. We are looking for the person who has no discernible talent or contributions to society at large. They must also be shoved down our throats repeatedly.

Write-in candidates can be submitted in the comments section. We'd like more men in this list, but couldn't think of any. They must be out there. Polls close on Sunday, January 27th. We’ll announce the winner on Monday the 28th. Thanks for your help in this important decision!

OWR: Ocean's Eleven

67: Smooth

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Kaelins - Recent History

We generally don’t present awards here at FtY, but one has been determined in secret over the last few years. It has always been a behind-closed-doors type of thing, something that we fear publicizing because we suddenly become part of the problem. The award in question? The Most Worthless Person of the Year, aka the Kaelin. The Kaelin is bestowed upon the individual who, having no discernible talent or ability, accomplishing nothing to society’s benefit, and lacking any connection to any true art form or even remotely positive endeavor has been nonetheless repeatedly shoved down our ever-loving throats. We didn’t ask for these people. They have been forced upon us. And no matter who we are, we have been unable to avoid their media blitzing.

Individuals who have learned of the previous winners have convinced us to go public with this year’s victor. Despite our initial protests, we have succumbed to the pressure and will come to our current champion of mediocrity soon. But first, let’s take a trip down memory lane as we make public our previous most worthless peoples of the year.

The year was 2004. America was at war in Iraq for reasons that ranged from unclear to murky. Young people tuned in to MTV to escape from reality, turning instead to reality television. Among the network’s hits were Laguna Beach, The Surreal Life, and a show called Newlyweds, featuring the comic stylings of the hot and vapid Jessica Simpson. The somewhat lesser known spinoff starred and was named for her sister, Ashlee Simpson. Throughout the year, Ashlee was shoved down our throats like so much prozac. Despite having no hit single and a complete lack of vocal talent, she trotted herself out on Saturday Night Live, but forgot about the whole “live” part. When her vocal tracks snagged, a la Milli Vanilli, instead of rolling with it, she danced like a brainless marionette and then removed herself from the stage. Afterward, she cowardly blamed her band. Despite this debacle, she was completely forgiven in the press and furthermore was awarded a primo gig playing halftime of the BCS title game. Perhaps you remember how that went. No lip-synching involved there. After being justifiably booed off the stage, she later blamed Oklahoma fans, stating that they were upset because their team was losing. For being a talentless, self-centered, imbecile who we couldn’t seem to avoid no matter how hard we tried, even though her only accomplishment was having a hot, stupid sister, Ashlee Simpson, we awarded you the inaugural Kaelin Award.

The year was 2005. America was at war in Iraq for reasons that remained unclear. Young people were busy gussying up their myspace pages and moved past reality TV for the time being. Meanwhile a young socialite was embarking on her biggest media blitz to date. Paris Hilton, a woman who first gained national recognition for fellating Shannen Doherty’s husband while being filmed by G.I. Joe’s Snake Eyes, went on to star in reality show, The Surreal Life. But in 2005, Paris made serious attempts to go legit, making cameos in House Of Wax, American Dreams, and of course another sex tape. A burger/car wash ad ruffled conservative feathers, but only served to prove her lack of talent. She also put out an album so terrible, it received no airplay and sold only a handful of copies. Despite all this intrinsic failure, she appeared on Leno, Letterman, Tony Danza, and the morning shows a combined 13 times with nothing to say on any of them. For being a vapid imbecile with only one proven talent, yet still being shoved down our throats (yes, I fully grasp the irony), Paris Hilton, we awarded you the 2005 Kaelin Award.

The year was 2006. America was at war in Iraq for pseudo reasons that no one could even be bothered to remember anymore. Britney Spears had shocked the world by marrying long time friend Jason Alexander in a Vegas quickie ceremony. That marriage was immediately annulled so Britney could move on to greener pastures. Kevin Federline, a dancer from her stage show proved to be those pastures. Rampant mocking across the globe followed, but Britney and Kevin seemed happy enough, even displaying some of their more private moments for a reality mini-series, “Britney and Kevin.” Babies were born. But in 2006, someone decided that K-Fed would become the breadwinner and a household name. Nearly every night, pseudo-legitimate news programs treated this disheveled, tank-top wearing goof to serious coverage, with his airtime ramping up upon the release of his album, Playing with Fire. Primo appearances followed, including a gig at the teen choice awards. As if we couldn’t sink any lower, America. Despite nearly saving yourself with a brilliant self-effacing commercial for nationwide insurance, for being an incredibly fertile, yet moronic, jive-talking idiot who was repeatedly shoved down our throats, Kevin Federline, we had no choice but to award you the 2006 Kaelin Award.

Tomorrow, we will cover the leading candidates for the 2007 Kaelins. We of course have plenty to choose from. Being worthless has never been more popular.

Friday, January 11, 2008

OWR: Beer League

39: Slutty

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thursday Youtube

This one is several weeks old, but never more applicable. Please review:

Poll: Bullshit Is Most Important Issue For 2008 Voters

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Unyielding Commissioning is Rooting for the Machines

Whachoo talkin’ ‘bout T-800? Sometime last year, the Halcyon Company revealed that they were planning a Terminator sequel without the participation of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Various people were irate at this news, but in our role as Schwarzenegger experts, we deemed it feasible enough. Arnold is too old to play a non-buttling robot. While that fourth Terminator movie is still in the works, it appears they also have gone in a different direction.

If you’ve watched anything on Fox lately, you’ve no doubt seen the ads for The Sarah Connor Chronicles. One can only assume that James Cameron clearly has nothing to do with this, and neither should you. Based on the commercials, it looks cheap, shoddy, and hastily thrown together. If nobody tunes in to watch, it will quickly go away and we can all pretend it never happened. Not that you needed any extra urging, but please don’t bother with it.

Heads to the Present I had no idea, but apparently The Futureheads are working on a new album which will be out “sometime in 2008.” They cancelled their last US tour two years ago for reasons I can not recall. Illness or injury or something. If you go to their website (look at the bottom right), you can download "Broke Up The Time," a track from the new album. It’s fast as hell and oh so them. Go get it!

The New Chuck Norris Facts You like the idea of Chuck Norris much better than anything about him that’s associated with his reality. Now he’s getting into the political realm because he’s more whipped than a rented donkey. Perhaps you saw his teeth and beard standing behind Mike Huckabee last week. Since when was Chuck into this sort of thing? Since he married his trophy wife who just happens to be way into Jesus. Recently, he and wifey spoke out on Youtube addressing one of the most important issues of our time – that the bible should be taught in public schools as literature. Chuck had somehow revitalized his career thanks to the hilarious Chuck Norris Facts website and the hilarious unintentional comedy of Walker Texas Ranger. But I have to think that by buying into his wife’s campaign so earnestly, he’s going to lose his remaining street cred, even the ironic stuff.

Why did DLP hire a little girl who don’t talk good? It’s the mirrors! Not the Mears! He’s a retired Formula 1 driver. Damn you little girl who can’t talk! Get off my TV!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Never Cry Wolf

Mr. Goodson once advised his son, Joel, “Sometimes you just gotta say, ‘What the heck.’” In that vein, this space has been devoid of updates for quite some time due to the pursuit of something beyond the confines of the internet. As was subtly alluded to in this space, I quit a burgeoning analytics career to pursue other endeavors. Perhaps you’ve been following along on our sister-site, Road Games. If you have, you’ve been privy every mile traveled and each football game attended. When I bolted out of town, we stopped fighting youth, opting to join them in autumn festivities instead. What a trip. I saw the best America has to offer in terms of food, folks, and fun, regardless of how disgusting the McDonald’s was in Clinton, Oklahoma. It was very disgusting for those who are curious.

Since departing, the contributors to this site haven’t watched a movie or purchased an album. Sadly, there’s been no time. Has anything significant happened in that time? And should we care? By all accounts, 2007 was an amazing year in both music and film, and we’ve missed the last third completely. We have much catching up ahead of us. We’ll do our best.

While we’ve been gone, we’ve not forgotten about this place. In 2008, we will have a number of new ongoing features as well as some of the old favorites. Things will restart rather slowly before ramping up sometime midyear. In addition, we are looking for contributors. If you are interested in being a regular, or even a one-time guest blogger, please send a note to the e-mail address above, and we’ll see about getting your words out on our public forum.

2008 is going to be a great year of Youth Fighting. As Fast Eddie Felson once proclaimed so emphatically, “They broke my thumbs!” But then of course years later, he said, “I’m back baby!” Let’s go with that one.