Here’s where I show off how little I know, and that I’m not as clever as I think I am.

I dislike the radio business, but…

…I love being on the radio.

Finally got to talk with Justin about his Make-A-Wish participation, and along the way that included interaction with George & Junior, and especially delighted Gordo stuck around for two really fun segments.  Pretty sure this wouldn’t have been anywhere near as entertaining with out him.

But I think you can tell how much fun I had for a short while.

Thanks to Justin for putting up with my questions.

 

The Original Viral Video?

In the Year 2015 I’m pretty sure the idea of the “viral video” is what we called an “urban legend” way back in the 1900’s.

1Growing up it was pretty common that someone would bring up a goofy, scary, intriguing and/or mysterious story about something no one in the group could ignore.  Example: The Rod Stewart had to get his stomach pumped, or Gene Simmons had a cow tongue transplanted into his mouth, or ‘In The Air Tonight’ is actually Phil Collins telling his ‘true’ story of when he watched a man drown another man, or the one about KISS stands for ‘Knights in Satan’s Service’.

Any of them were totally far fetched, weird and easy to believe, because – really – who wouldn’t want to believe any of that?

Maybe because I’m now a 40something, I just don’t hear urban legends anymore.  What I get are viral videos (or pics).  Viral videos happen pretty much every day.  Their cultural impact varies, but the question of, “…have you seen that “x” video?” is pretty much as common as asking someone about the weather.

Entertainment Weekly currently has an article about the history of viral videos and5 their list of what they think are the best.  There’s even a discussion of origin videos that first went viral.

As soon as I saw that list it brought to mind what, for me, was the original viral video.  But not in the sense of a video I saw on the internet because when I first saw it, the internet was more sci-fi than reality.

It was the moment in my life when the urban legend stopped and in came the viral video.

Back in the late 80’s I was working as an intern at Q102, a rock radio station in Dallas.  It was there I was called into a conference room, one with a TV and VCR, because someone had a videotape they wanted me to see.  What transpired was about 8 minutes of the hardest laughing I ever experienced – before or since – as I watched a grainy, warped VCR tape today is known as “The Farting Preacher”.

Now, part of why this was so funny arrives in two parts: 1) farting is always funny and 2) the person on the video was Robert Tilton.  At the time Tilton was forever in the news.  He was that stereotypical evangelical preacher who was flaunting his riches and yet somehow able to trick a considerable portion of the population into believing whatever connection he claimed to have with God was legit.  Additionally, Tilton was a wonder to watch perform.

So here appeared this video of Tilton doing his thing, but someone had overdubbed a vast selection and variety of flatulence SFX to perfectly, and I mean perfectly, match the numerous ridiculous Tilton facial expressions.  About those.  Long before the video surfaced, these faces were the height of jokes about him.  In the course of a 30 minute rant Tilton could throw an array of faces that would make any Warner Brother’s cartoon character proud.

A new high bar of funny was stamped in my life – that moment two minutes in- when Tilton gets up from the desk and daintily jogs around a corner of the studio to the phone bank … all while a series of matching *poot-poot-poot-poot* blurt out.  I just about popped an aneurysm the first time I saw it.

Tilton’s work was so obviously an act, a put-on of the highest degree, you just couldn’t believe anyone in their right mind would believe the guy – much less send him their life savings.  But they did.  Sadly, an almost uncountable number of people did just that.

Anyway, you can consume all sorts of accounts about Tilton’s rise, fall and everything in between.  That alone is rather fascinating, but the farting video is the best side story.

The video I have embedded here isn’t exactly what I saw back then.  At the time it was without a title screen and the editing was even more crude than what’s here.  Since then a collection of various sequels, rip-offs and versions have popped up with the same or newer content.

Back to 1980something:  As I rolled on the floor, crying, watching the video for the first time there was also a sense that what we had was illegal, bootleg or something we’d get in trouble for having.  When I asked if I could get a copy the reaction was so very pre-Napster.  The idea of pirating any video, but a video goof like this was received like it hovered around a federal offense.  In hindsight all of that was silly and generated from the person who showed me the video.  It would turn out later, sharing it was no different than making a copy of a favorite mix cassette tape.

Because the internet was not something ubiquitous at that time, watching and sharing the video was limited to gathering around a VCR.  It just wasn’t something you could share, so the number of people that had actually seen at first was limited, but everyone had at least heard about it.  Eventually most everyone had a VHS tape with a sticker with some variation of “Farting Tilton” hand written on the spine.  Today, viral videos are championed by how many views they’ve received.  The biggest push into the millions, tens of millions in fact.  For The Gassy Reverend, we will never know how many of these tapes were in existence, much less how many times they were watched.

Duh, I ended up with one too and it was a prized possession until it was stolen during a break-in.  I lost several really great CD’s and videos in that crime, but it was the loss of the Tilton tape that I still hurts most to this day.

The origins of the video are still unknown, at least to me.  There’s the standard wikipedia insight and this mention in a recent interview with Chuck Lorre, Marc Marion and Mike Judge:

CHUCK LORRE: I remember seeing Frog Baseball and laughing my ass off.

MIKE JUDGE: Oh, thanks. It was very weird. I’d just been animating things in my house outside of Dallas. I would send them out on tape — I hadn’t seen them play in front of an audience. I think the “viral” concept sort of happened back then, too. You’d get a VHS that had been copied a million times. Like that preacher, Robert Tilton.

MARC MARON: The farting one?

JUDGE: Yeah, everybody had a copy of it.

MARON I remember the first time I saw it. Louis C.K. took this VHS out of a drawer, put it in, and we laughed hysterically. He put it back in the drawer and said, “That’s the last time I’m going to watch this for a few months. I want it to stay funny.”

JUDGE: I remember when MTV was starting a new show — we were in the second or third season of Beavis and Butt-head — called The Brothers Grunt. The producer also worked on Beavis. He played like a 10-minute video of the show for us at lunch. Everyone was like, “Oh.” Then someone goes, “Put in the Robert Tilton fart tape!” And it was through-the-roof [funny].”

That conversation captures the spirit the video created at the time.  People universally loved it, talked about it, watched it together and if you met someone who hadn’t seen it – worked like crazy to make sure they did.

That sense of discovery is so much different today.

2When my wife finds a new video of corgis doing something cute, or I want to share a video of the new Cayman GT4, or any of the ka-zillion soccer videos that need sharing – its done with a press of a few buttons.  Whatever is shared is done so immediately.

Its hard for me to imagine a world where the Tilton video comes out in 2015.  Ironically we’re probably approaching the video’s 30th anniversary. It very well would be just as funny (assuming Tilton was as media present as he was at that time), but because viral videos come and go so fast in this age its impact, I’m certain, would be far less.  Also because today watching video is soooo much easier – hell we had to actually wait while a tape rewound(?!) to watch it again? – I’m guessing the burn factor would be far greater.  I mean, I watched Rebecca Black’s “Friday” video only two or three times before I was over it.

I’m pretty sure I will again never experience that same feeling I did back on that late 80’s afternoon.  Sure, there will be plenty of videos delivered into my iPhone I can watch, re-watch, share and enjoy….

..but will I ever have that same feeling I got from Poot-ing Tilton?  Not likely.  But I can, and will, enjoy the cat riding a roomba while wearing a shark costume videos just like the other ten million plus other people of earth.

and… we’re back.

It’s been over a year since I paid any attention to this site.

I started it because I was simply interested in having a new place to share and experiment with stuff.  It seemed like a good platform for distributing the nutty stories I read on the interweb.  But then, as do many things I touch, it became a burden and I got tired of it.  For reasons I can’t explain I felt obligated to post multiple things a day, each morning and tried to make it a habitual thing.  But in doing so it also became a chore.

About a week ago my friend that owns the ISP that hosts the site contacted me because he was getting repeated warnings about my space on his server getting pinged by “bots” or whatever nefarious things try to attack WordPress sites to take them over and distribute Kenyan money phishing schemes.  My theme had fallen out of date, its creator had stopped providing updates and I was in need of correcting that.

I dug around for a theme, found something I liked, and decided it was a good time to get back into it.

Oh, and because I’ve got time on my hands.

The theme I’ve picked is loaded with gizmos and features.  It will be in flux for a while as I learn what I can do, can’t, like and dislike.  I won’t be posting lots each day, or even every day.  But, it’s working again and so will I.

Thanks.

Maybe I Can Play for the “Worst Team in Britain”

A wonderful short documentary about my favorite sport.  I’d love to play with this team, if only to enjoy their spirit of the game.

My Underwear: Made in America

I realize a story about underwear, specifically my underwear, is an odd topic and maybe even one you have zero interest. But, I promise, this is not about how perfectly shaped my butt is.

This is about America!

I have no real gauge of how the rest of you care about how your undergarments feel, or to their quality. At some point in my adult life I really began to care about how they fit, felt and stuff. It may be when I realized that I preferred boxer briefs, the longer versions that extended more down the thigh. And most certainly I realized the difference between your standard Fruit of the Loom/Jockey product and something softer and expensive like a pair from Tommy Hilfiger. The latter had been my brand of choice for a long time, but in the last couple of years even that brand had changed their design and lessened their quality. One part of underpants that I really pay the most attention to is the material inside the waste band. I loved the Hilfigers because they used to use a soft liner here and not just the backside the elastic. But that was part of what they recently eliminated.

So as I searched for a new brand I came across a Kickstarter campaign. This was for a new brand of men’s undergarments that promised not only high quality, but the even more intriguing idea of “Made in USA”. The guy behind Flint & Tinder is Jake Bronstein and what I learned from him is that none of the high end underwear products were made here in America. All of it is farmed out to Cambodia, Honduras and places other than here in the good ol’ USA. Bronstein is a bit of a known commodity with his teenage appearance on MTV’s Road Rules, dating 50 girls in 50 states and his part in the desktop toy, Buckeyballs. His Kickstarter campaign resulted in ten times the $30,000 requested funding and 23,000 orders. It is the largest funded fashion project to date on Kickstarter.

I saw the project and at the time had not yet “backed” a Kickstarter project. But I wanted to find a good new brand of panties, was really attracted to the idea of them being made stateside and decided to drop my $36 which would give me three pairs of whatever version and color I wanted.

Now the time that has lapsed since the funding was completed has far exceeded what backers were told at the beginning. While Bronstein did a pretty good job of sending out emails keeping everyone up to date, I’d be less than honest if I failed to admit that the growing list of lost funds from failed or scam Kickstarter campaigns was starting to loom in the back of my mind. There were stories about the difficulties of getting all the equipment and materials in place (manufacturing is being done at a a T-shirt factory in Orwigsburg, Pa) and the date for shipping was pushed back numerous times.

But yesterday I got my tyvex bag with the Flint & Tinder logo and found inside my three pair of boxer briefs in sky blue. I am happy to report the quality of the material, fit, workmanship and attention to detail is exactly as I hoped. The fabric is soft without feeling flimsy, the sewing doesn’t create seams that are uncomfortable and best of all, the inside of the waistband is a wonderfully soft creation that makes me happy. Each pair comes with a nice little box of F&T branded matches and the entire package included a nice print that shows how many different US states (11 to be exact) were involved in the sourcing of materials and services to create the product.

Most importantly Bronstein contends that for, “for every 1,000 pair of underwear we sell per month, at least one sustainable job is added within our supply chain.” Personally, I find this an amazingly compelling reason to purchase from him. There is a growing wave that we can produce high quality goods with competitive pricing here in the states. And I think it’s important to support those companies when you find a product that meets your needs. Yes, $18 for a pair of underwear is expensive, but it is not out of bounds (and even cheaper in many cases) when you compare to any other brand that even comes close to the quality of the F&T product. My most recent pairs of Hilfigers (and the versions that really got me shopping for alternatives) are no where near as nice as these.

So, theres a little peek into the world of “Peet’s World of Undergarment Wonder”. I found a new brand and at the same time got the feel good of buying something 100% sourced and produced here in the USA. Oh, and yes, for those of you reading and wondering – my butt looks amazing in them.

25 Years In the Making

A while ago I posted a couple of blogs about my excitement over Peter Gabriel’s announcements that included the news he was going to do a limited tour of North America to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the tour he did for the album, “So”.

The tour, called, “So: Back to Front”, features the band as it was back in 1987, with the addition of two female singers – one of which sings the Kate Bush part in “Don’t Give Up”.  The show is broken up into three parts: A brief acoustic set starting with a new, unfinished song and then a few favorites stripped down into shiny new pieces of greatness, including a very funky Shock the Monkey and Family Snapshot.  Then an electric set with songs from different parts of his career, especially some lessor heard live songs like Digging in the Dirt, Humdrum and No Self Control.

Then part three was the entirety of “So”, played in the order it was on the remastered version.  This was a rather convenient choice as this version ends with In Your Eyes versus the nutty, This Is the Picture (Excellent Birds) which would have made for a far less dramatic way to end a show.  In fact, if there was anything odd about the show was the fact that the “hits” from So are largely contained in the first half of the record.  And while I love the work in its entirety the 2nd half of this part of the show certainly was a little bit of a mix of excitement and let down.  Red Rain, Don’t Give Up and That Voice Again are songs I came to hear, and I was excited to hear Excellent Birds and We Do as We’re Told performed live – but they are more like performance art and not pop songs that make you want to sing along and jab the person next to you with excitement.  So once the first half the album was done, the rest simply was never going to live up to it.

I should note that I didn’t see the original show in 1987.  I had just left for college and the show wasn’t going anywhere near Lubbock, TX.  The idea that I could finally live that experience 25 years later was compelling.  The 1993 Secret World Live show, that I did see in Dallas, remains probably the best concert I’ve ever been to.  It’s mix of music and stage production was something I’ve never seen repeated.  If you’ve never seen it, a nice recording of it can now be had on bluray.  I chose to see this show in Vegas over Red Rocks or the Hollywood Bowl simply because I didn’t want it spoiled by bad weather.  And while the venue in Vegas was surprisingly small and nice, it turns out that the following night in LA John Cusack rolled out onstage in a long trench coat, holding a boom box and handed it to Peter who then thrust it overhead.  It would have been a great moment to see in person. (Here’s the video of that happening!)

The tickets I bought allowed me access to the sound check earlier in the day.  After all the shows I’ve been to, I realized while sitting there I’d not ever been to a sound check.  This was a nice, mellow experience and we got to hear previews of songs we would hear that night and also “Games Without Frontiers” being prepared for possible insertion into the set list of later shows.  Seeing the band, Peter and the crew all working without the pressure of the actual show was interesting and very relaxed.

That night the show started, went in the order I mentioned above and pretty much without hitch.  Key phrase being, “pretty much”.  The evening was another reason why attending live shows, or even going to a movie, has become an exercise in frustration of human rudeness.  Next to me was a woman in her 50’s who spent the show shopping, texting, emailing and setting calendar events on her iPad.  Not her iPhone, her giant-ass iPad.  And yes, she even took videos with the damned thing several times throughout the show.  Behind me was a middle aged couple who decided a narrative (and not one given in hushed voices into each other’s ears) was on order.  And topping it off is the guy two rows behind us that didn’t understand that we came to hear Peter sign the hits, and not his out of key melon.  You can hear this moron’s signing in the video I’ve posted below.  (I’m willing to concede that the above are all no big deal and I just might have turned into an old buzz kill)

As a rule I am not a big fan of shooting pictures or video during concerts.  First, generally I’m way to  far back to produce an image of any quality and second, I’m there to see a show – not document it.  But because I knew I would be writing a post, and because I was in the 3rd row, I decided to shoot a few brief moments of a couple of songs and some pics.  I was going to video all of Red Rain, but the singing knucklehead heard in the video helped me make the quick decision to stop shooting after only a few seconds.  What I do want you to see are the very cool Vari-Lights mounted in threes to the manually operated weighted cranes.  There were five of these sitting on a track that surround the performers in a semi-circle and run by crew in black jumpsuits and odd fencing headgear.  It was a fantastic and simple choice of effects that was used in very creative ways for each song.

Certainly Peter was paid a fine amount to do the tour and made it easier to justify for a guy who normally doesn’t live in his musical past.  That said, he looks to be having fun, his voice is in amazingly good shape, he gives great effort for a man in his 60’s and I’ll be damned if there isn’t a fair amount of choreography included.  It only took 25 years for me to see this show and it was a nice turn back of the clock.

Everyone has, or will have, an artist or band that they would travel to see one more time.  And while this was the fourth time to see him perform it was the one show I’d missed that I really had wanted to see.  Sometimes waiting pays off.

PG in Vegas from Peter Welpton on Vimeo.

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Here’s Smart Social Media Management

Saw this today and was really pleased to see a company the size of Home Depot working hard to manage their Twitter account.

The Home Depot twitter account is self described as “Hey, this is Kelly and Blake on our social media team, joined by Jon and team from @HomeDepot_Care. Tell us about the project you’re working on!”  A look thru the account appears that 99% of the content are today’s sales and suggestions on home improvement projects.

But today, faced with a satirical tweet from the very funny, usually ‘offensive’ comedian and Mitt Romney nemesis Rob Delaney (@robdelaney), Home Depot replied with a swift backhand serve that deserves to be applauded.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nine times out of ten, a company flat out ignores the original post… But not only did they reply, they did so with a big dose of humor and were rewarded for it with Rob’s retweet to his 543,000+ followers.  (side note, in comparison, Home Depot has 89,200 followers)

By the way, I’m a big fan of Rob and his twitter account.  If you’re not following it, you should, albeit with the warning he can be a bit of a potty mouth.

How I Learned to Love Forced Induction

I love cars.  I have owned so many different cars that I seriously now have to sit, count, think and make sure I didn’t miss any.  While this probably reads as bragging, and maybe it is, I don’t intend it to be.  In fact, I sometimes feel like an idiot for the number of cars I have burned through.

Anyway, my current ride, a 2012 Golf R, has been with me for almost three months and I am still deciding if it everything I really wanted it to be.  Some background:

The best car I’ve ever owned, my 2004 VW MkIV R32, I sold during what I call my “Don Draper Moment”.  I had a perfectly hot, fast ride – but was seduced by a terrifically sexy beast, an Audi RS4 (a car almost as rare as a unicorn).  I had the Audi for about a year and a half and sold it for about what I bought it for.  I sold it because it was just too much car as a daily driver, and the upkeep costs on it were terrible ($3000 for brakes every 15-18 months).  I should have never bought it, but I’m glad that I did for it is one of the great cars ever made.

Those two cars, along with others, set the idea of torque and what I call, “immediate gas pedal reaction gratification” into my head.  Goose the gas, car go fast.  But in this Golf R, which is turbo based, like most smaller engine turbos you gotta get the thing revved up to about 3000 to really feel the push.  Once its in its range the R is a tremendous amount of fun, but in many ways its like learning to drive a car over again, simply because of the difference from what I’ve always driven.

But I have gotten better at it, and as someone told me, “there can be a great deal of satisfaction in driving a turbo correctly”.  The best part is that it really fills my desire to have a limited edition car, something different but still with a level of practicality that the RS4 simply pissed on.  There’s also a quickly growing list of mods that can make the car an even better performer.

Anyway, VW for the first time have made a TV commercial (stateside, anyway) for a R model car.  This is pretty great, and while I haven’t yet pulled the “drift to a stop” maneuver – yet – I have been able to generate some smiles in the thing.

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Dave Chappelle Came to Dallas…

Dave Chappelle rolled into Dallas on his motorcycle (literally) Monday and held a very last-minute announced show at the House of Blues.

First time I saw Dave was when he was a teen and was telling a story about spinach.  Like Popeye.  It was outstanding.

Several people recorded and posted the show online so here it is.  Enjoy…

And Even Better News From Peter Gabriel

On the heels of my last blog post about Peter Gabriel, we get this stunning and unexpected announcement:

He will be touring the US this summer and playing “So” in its entirety, and in the order of the original CD.  Called, “The Front to the Back Tour” he will be joined by several of the original members that toured with him in the “So” tour, and will also include other songs from his catalog.

So will also be released in several different versions including a 3 disc set and then a Super Deluxe Box Set (no idea what that would include).

I now simply have to plan which show to attend since Dallas, or Texas at all for that matter, is not on the list.  Hollywood Bowl anyone?

06-29 Kent, England – Hop Farm Music Festival
09-16 Quebec City, Quebec – Colisee Pepsi
09-18 Montreal, Quebec – Bell Centre
09-19 Toronto, Ontario – Air Canada Centre
09-21 Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center
09-23 Wantaugh, NY – Nikon at Jones Beach
09-24 Boston, MA – TD Garden
09-26 Detroit, MI – Palace of Auburn Hills
09-27 Chicago, IL – United Center
09-30 Denver, CO – Red Rocks
10-02 San Jose, CA – HP Pavilion
10-05 Las Vegas, NV – Planet Hollywood Showroom
10-06 Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Bowl
10-09 Santa Barbara, CA – Santa Barbara County Bowl

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