Friday, November 30, 2007

An alternate Dubstar video

I had no idea this existed -- a second video for Dubstar's Stars. This one seems to be some sort of riff on the movie Contact, which came out the same year. (And which I did not see, because I was so freaked out by Close Encounters and the TV show Project UFO as a kid that I simply can't handle anything about alien visitation. Though I somehow watched Independence Day, and I loved Men in Black.)

Here's the video, if Yahoo's weird embedding tool works:

I embedded the other version a year ago. It's low-budget but much better, capturing the dream state of the song.

If you don't care about the video, just click and listen. As I've said at least five times, it's just gorgeous.

Back to the earlier post from the week -- thanks for all the well wishes. I feel a little embarrassed by it, since it's really all about my hypochondria rather than anything actually wrong with me. But it's nice to know that if I ever were facing some serious shit, I wouldn't be going through it alone. This week, spending 90 percent of my time with a kid whose temperature looked like an old-school Loyola Marymount basketball score, that was easy to forget.

Besides, I'm sure this song would be one of the first things I'd hear in heaven.

Return of the VH1 Classic live blog

Enough brooding over medical conditions I don't have, enough playing out worst-case scenarios in my mind, enough taking MMM Jr.'s temperature. (He's getting better, but he and I are both beyond stir-crazy, even after a trip to Wendy's and the grocery store.) Let's have some fun.

Motley Crue, Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away): Haven't heard this in years, and I was fully expecting a good laugh. But it's not half-bad. Vince Neil has the perfect voice for this sort of testosterone-fueled tale of breakup survival.

Bon Jovi, Livin' on a Prayer: Never liked this one. Bon Jovi's recent efforts at social relevance come across with much more sincerity. Perhaps it's because he's an elder statesman of rock, perhaps it's because Richie Sambora ditched the souped-up wah-wah effects, perhaps it's because his more recent charity-minded videos show acts of charity, not four minutes of the band clowning around with its concert rigging. Also note the most absurd truck-driver modulation in recorded history, just to make Jon strain that voice a little harded.

Aerosmith, Walk This Way (live at VMA '94): I doubt Aerosmith could do a terrible version of this classic. They cut loose with panache for the last minute or two, which was a lot of fun.

Kansas, Dust in the Wind: Abrupt change in tone, isn't it? I know Kansas had a bit of internal conflict over the years as some members veered toward Christian rock and others didn't, but aren't this one and Carry On My Wayward Son already as "Christian" as you can get? It's a deserved classic with sobering thoughts. "All your money won't another minute buy" is sound advice.

Stevie Nicks, I Can't Wait: What? Have I heard this? Oh yeah -- I recognize it at the chorus. For a while, I wondered why Stevie was doing a Belinda Carlisle cover. Can I hear Belinda instead? This sounds like a bunch of guys on speed with a bank of synthesizers while Stevie bellows something incomprehensible. The chorus is "I can't wait / Blah blah spinoo when I'm eighty blah two." Geez, all this song needs to be a stereotype of everything wrong with the '80s is a tuneless, screeching guitar solo ... and there it is!

Clash, Train in Vain: Funny how the Clash roared out of England with all sort of punk political hype, and yet they're best remembered for two gleeful romps through tattered relationships. And I'll always remember this for Keith Olbermann's best SportsCenter moment, passing along the score of a San Jose Clash victory and saying the Clash, of course, didn't train in vain.

.38 Special, Hold On Loosely: These guys had a few good songs, even if I'll never understand why they needed two drummers and ... four ... five? ... guitarists to play them. It's not like they're playing Blue Man Group tunes here. They apparently have a single drummer now. The video ends with a shot of the album cover, which was probably racy at the time -- a woman in a tight short skirt, visible only from the waist down, facing the appreciative band. From what I hear, though, the situation didn't go well. She asked which guy is the drummer, two guys answered, and she assumed one of them must be lying.

Queen + Paul Rodgers, We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions: I sense a theme here. We've got three drummers this time -- Foo Fighters' Taylor Hawkins and ... Dave Grohl? Chad Smith? I know Smith joined them for Live Earth, but that looks more like Grohl. Someone has to hold up the drumming while Roger Taylor is wailing his horrifying backup vocals. Sounds great, though.

Bruce Springsteen, I'm On Fire: A forgotten classic from Bruce. Those of you who read the blog often know I love understated passion, and this song has it. Simple taps from the drums, subtle guitar arpeggios and Bruce letting the lyrics do the talking: "Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby edgy and dull and cut a six-inch valley through the middle of soul / At night, I wake up with sheets soaking wet and a freight train running throught the middle of my head."

Bruce Springsteen, Radio Nowhere: Once again, it's a classic/current. Get well soon, Danny.

With that, I'm switching over to Fox Soccer Channel, broadcasting an FA Cup game from a stadium has maybe 500 seats but squeezed in 3,300 or so for the first round game. First camera shot has someon wiping the lens.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Song du semaine: Men at Work, "Overkill"

Do you ever think about death? Yes. Sure you do. A fleeting thought that drifts in and out of the transom of your mind. I spend hours, I spend days... - and you think this makes you a better person? Look, when the shit comes down, I'm gonna be prepared and you're not, that's all I'm saying. And in the meantime, you're gonna ruin your whole life waiting for it. (Source)

I had a bit of a health concern this week. To call it a cancer scare would be a little melodramatic. Narcissistic, even. Perhaps even Malignant Narcissism.

The ingredients for this week's disaster: A twinge in my belly that felt like it could be a hernia, a trip to urgent care, a lonnnnng wait there, a rushed visit with a doctor who ordered a CT scan, a resulting tender spot, a history of atypical moles and a 21st-century phenomenon called cyberchondria.

See, with the Internet now providing a ready source of mildly reliable medical information, all of our worries can be magnified. Every Web site has to list the worst-case scenarios in this litigious society. That headache you have? Well, it could be from the bump to the head you got a few minutes ago when you were in the kitchen and didn't notice a cabinet door was open. Or it could be an advanced metastatic cancer that originated in your pancreas. Sure, one is more likely than the other by a factor of a few hundred thousand, but susceptible minds have a hard time absorbing the odds.

Here's another factor -- as someone who spends far too much of his personal and professional time following sports, I've grown accustomed to happy endings in medical dramas, and that didn't happen this week. Basically, if an athlete survives the initial trauma, he always exceeds medical expectations. Bobby Hurley not only survived his traffic accident, he returned to the NBA for a couple of years. Kevin Everett is apparently taking a few steps. So I went to sleep Monday night fully expecting to read the next morning that Sean Taylor had awakened in the hospital and was identifying his assailants. When that didn't happen, it threw my sense of medical reality all out of whack.

I knew I was being ridiculous. Yet I couldn't quite convince that loud nagging voice in my head. When I stopped listening, it metastatized to my stomach and claimed most of my digestive system. That gave me a good excuse to call for an appointment with my actual doctor.

She was able to take a better look at the situation and reassure me that it couldn't possibly be what I was fearing. We had a good talk about cyberchondria, Sean Taylor, the Washington sniper and actual medical conditions.

So I'm glad I held onto this song for an appropriate week. It's an ode to paranoia with tasteful understatement and one of the most beautiful choruses ever written. Ghosts appear and fade away ...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fun with Office themes

I had a sudden urge to download Handbags and Gladrags, an oft-covered English tune used as the theme music for the British version of The Office. A Ricky Gervais fan came up with a staggeringly comprehensive history of the tune and offers an explanation of why it works so well as the theme:
One reading of the lyric is as a commentary on the futility of fashion and the irrelevance of outward appearances. In this sense it is well chosen as the theme for The Office, as David Brent is a man concerned, above all, with image, status and perception.

I can't possibly improve on that.

I searched for video of The Office credits, but what I found instead was equally interesting. At least, it's interesting if you, like me, did a senior recital on percussion and spent significant time behind a marimba. Yes, it's the American theme song ... on marimba.

Too short, but pretty sweet.

I've only seen a couple of episodes of the UK version, but I know the consensus is that it played up the pathos a bit more than the American version. I think that opinion stems from two brilliant scenes with Tim and Dawn, the predecessors of Jim and Pam.

The first, which is one of the most perfectly directed and acted moments of TV I've ever seen, was near the end of the series finale. But since the series didn't really end there, we get another one near the end of the Christmas special. (The background you need to know -- Dawn, like Pam, was always interested in doing something with her artistic skill, which her warehouse-worker fiancee didn't appreciate. And in case you can't hear Gareth -- the blonde guy -- in the pivotal scene here, he says, "She's got a fiancee." Dawn's response says it all.)

And yes, you do have to love Yazoo's cheesy synth-pop love song Only You bubbling through that final scene.

Skipping "denial" -- moving straight to "anger"

If you live near Washington and aren't one of those total *^&#@s who despise all things relating to the Redskins, you're grieving today for Sean Taylor, whose utterly senseless death has shocked the region.

But another death in the news caught my attention as well. Quiet Riot's Kevin DuBrow, not an old man by any reckoning, suddenly passed away.

It's easy to think of DuBrow and company as a little cartoonish. That was their image for a while, and it worked for them. But these are very real people. If you want a reminder, check the official site of drummer Frankie Banali, who shares his pain with an eloquence you might not expect from a guy whose band bashed out Metal Health back in the day.

I've been home with MMM Jr. today, and as entertaining and lovable as he is, I've been feeling kind of angry. The way I figure it, death and decay are always going to be in greater supply than any of us want. The great idiocy of mankind is that we invite more of them into our lives.

We don't know the details of why Taylor was shot. We don't know anything about DuBrow's death. But at some point, the message has to sink in. We as a species are absolute failures in the most basic need of living creatures -- taking care of each other.

I don't hear any politicians talking about such things -- they're all reciting the same banter we've been hearing for decades, and the "citizen journalists" that are supposedly replacing those of us who are being bought out and laid off (speaking in generalities here -- last I checked, I still had a job) aren't doing any better at broadening the conversation beyond the same rhetorical tricks carefully coached by the Vogon warlords who serve as their strategists.

Can we do better? I sure as hell hope so.

(Back to more uplifting fare tomorrow.)

Monday, November 26, 2007

And more classic comedy

If you're a Monty Python fan AND a philosophy major AND a soccer fan, then this is your ideal sketch.

And possibly the only time I'll concede that Marx was right.

Nee pudak poy Feelyat!

I've always been fascinated with the creative process. As a kid, I read a lot of music magazines. Today, that interest extends to technology and even some Food Network shows. In between, I majored in philosophy, which technically means "love of wisdom." In retrospect, I think the wisdom is OK but the ideas are the key. The Socratic method of refining and revising ideas through frank questioning by guys in togas is fine and necessary, but without the initial ideas -- from systems of government to methods of cooking -- the human species is no better than any other.

Sometimes, I wonder how a particularly offbeat idea survived the Socratic method. Every idea has to be pitched to become reality -- even on a blog, the idea doesn't really take off unless someone reads and appreciates it.

And so I sometimes picture the members of Kids in the Hall, pitching ideas for their fifth and final season, having some sort of conversation like this:

"OK -- imagine a game show in which you're suppose to feel an object with a pair of oven mitts and guess what it is."

"Hmmmm. Could be interesting. So what happens?"

"Well, Scott could play an old contestant who's not really aware of what's going on. Mark could do his Darill character. And then we could have a young kid whose head is too small for the bucket."

"Um ... bucket?"

"Yeah -- when you get an answer wrong, you wear a bucket with a sad face painted on. And we could introduce that when we return to the game after an interruption for a news bulletin about flooding on the Rhine, mixed in with some footage of hammerhead sharks."

"Wait, wait ... sharks? And why are they on the Rhine?"

"Oh, did I mention this is in Europe?"

"OK, I suppose we can get away with that. Might be one way to explain why it all seems so weird."

"Yeah, and they'll be speaking some language that falls somewhere between Dutch, German and gibberish."

(long pause) "A whole sketch. In which language? German?"

"Not exactly. It's sort of German, sort of Dutch. We'll have a bunch of people counting the time remaining by clomping wooden shoes -- let's call them the Nederlander Foot Choir."

(longer pause) "Sort of German, sort of Dutch?"

"Sure! I've even got a catch phrase."

"A catch ... in Dutch? German? ... (sigh) ... OK, what is it?"

"Und specifica, ut kunder meat?"

(blank stares) "Do you think our entire audience is high or something?"

I'm not sure what impresses me more -- the open-mindedness of the other Kids in seeing just how funny this sketch was going to be or the devotion of some fan who took the time to transcribe the whole freaking thing phonetically.

Whatever your expectations are at this point, you won't be disappointed. Here are The Kids in the Hall circa 1993 with "Feelyat!":

Saturday, November 24, 2007

This land must change or land must burn

The Australian election results are fascinating on so many levels -- a vote in favor of the Kyoto Protocol, a rare defeat (unofficial) of a prime minister in his home district and another electoral repudiation of a Bush/Iraq War ally. Yes, they're taking their 550 troops and getting out, if the new guy lives up to his campaign promises.

This being a mostly music/media blog, our primary interest is the current Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Environment, Heritage and the Arts. He has indeed been re-elected.

You guessed it ... he's Peter Garrett, former lead singer of Midnight Oil, currently awaiting likely nomination to the equivalent of a U.S. Cabinet post.

Let's see someone from Rage Against the Machine do that.

Title source: Warakurna)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Song du semaine: Police, "Synchronicity II"

"I would like all of you to come out and support my new band, Scrantonicity II. We are in no way associated with Scrantonicity."

Synchronicity II was much more than a convenient pop-culture reference for Kevin's band on The Office. It was the Police's hardest-rocking song, a distinct departure from their playful punk and righteous reggae. Andy Summers cranked up the squealing guitar, Sting's bass brooded like Roger Waters (the man, not his bass), Stewart Copeland went for full power, and Sting's lyrics unleashed the inner demons of a family bring crushed by an unfulfilling life.

It's brilliant. And everyone loves the video, which seems to be set in a post-apocalyptic trash heap:

Sting's way with words is on full display here. The narrative -- a simultaneous telling of suburban frustration and a monster rising from a dark Scottish lake -- is compelling in its own right. But Sting makes it better with impeccable word choice. Mother chants her litany of boredom and frustration. They're packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes. The factory belches filth into the sky.

Surely there's a grammatical term for using a verb as a metaphor as he does with the factory belching. Sting uses that technique beautifully in The Wild Wild Sea: "The grey sky, she angered to black." This is why I finally realized, somewhere around my senior year of college, that I'd never be anything but a hack songwriter by comparison, thereby sparing the world some awful late-80s whiny alternative bullshit about 20something angst.

(Sting does use two references to suicide. I'm not nit-picking. I'm just looking for an excuse to reference a great Robert Wuhl bit on making Born to Run the state anthem of New Jersey. He notes the double references to suicide and builds up to the great line of any state anthem, "We gotta get out while we're young!")

Brilliant stuff, brilliantly delivered by a sneering Sting while Copeland and Summers thrive outside their punk-reggae comfort zone.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Season's end

Rough count of the past year: 45 stories, 39 of them about MLS. Quite an increase from 25 over the two preceding years (not counting Olympic Athlete of the Week, which was a quick roundup that has since been folded into the blog).

It's not as if I won't know what to do with myself now that it's over. I've got plenty of projects lined up for the next few months. Some of them could be affected by the present uncertainty, some won't.

There's something melancholy about the end of a season, particularly if you're one of the last people to leave the stadium. It wasn't like the end of the Salt Lake Olympics, where the crews taking down the media center were so efficient that I was scared to step away from my "desk" (table) for even a minute, lest it be stripped like a car parked in a bad neighborhood. In this case, we all settled for listening to the revved-up leaf blowers that clean the stadium. RFK's main soccer pressbox, unlike the boxes in newer NFL stadia, is not enclosed.

For almost eight months, I've been in a routine. Call Monday. Interviews Tuesday. Write Tuesday night and Wednesday. Gauge reaction Thursday. Watch Thursday night game. Then on Saturday, with the kids in bed, flip around to see more games and think of a story for next week.

So now it's over. I'm relatively pleased with the tens of thousands of words I wrote. I'm going to miss my Tuesday conversations with Landon Donovan or Fernando Clavijo or whoever was willing to chat for the weekly story, though I have roughly 17-18 hours of archived conversations in case I want to hear that awful voice I have while I'm formulating questions. There's no guarantee it'll happen again next year.

But on the bright side, I'm looking forward to a leisurely lunch tomorrow.

Wonder if there's a European game on ...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Skill or sentimentality?

No time to live-blog VH1 Classic this morning -- deadline looming for Friday's MLS Cup preview, and there's some serious shit going down career-wise (more on that when appropriate) -- but something caught my eyes and ears while working in front of the TV ...

AC/DC's original drummer was a guy named Phil Rudd. He's beloved by the fans and surely by the band.

But he was fired in 1983, a couple of years after vocalist Bon Scott died. The band went through a couple of drummers that only nerds like me would recognize.

One of those guys is Chris Slade, whom I recognized from the short-lived Page-Rodgers supergroup The Firm. He's an old pro -- hard-hitting but technically sound. It's easy to spot him in a crowd -- he's a big, bald guy like Peter Garrett.

AC/DC called him in for The Razor's Edge, which you'd have to say in retrospect was sort of a last hurrah in terms of getting any songs -- in this case, Thunderstruck -- into the public consciousness. Slade's booming drums didn't hurt.

A couple of years later, the band reconciled and reunited with Rudd. In the link to Slade's name above, the Wikipedians attribute this to Angus Young: "Chris was probably the best musician in the band. We hate to lose him, but getting Phil back is worth asking him to leave."

Maybe so, particularly if you've hit the stage at which you don't really need to push any musical barriers. At their age, they've earned the right to tour with their best buddies. The hard-core fans will still show up and pay top dollar, and perhaps they'd rather see the old guys.

It's only natural. At some point, nostalgia takes over. That's why some of us are happy to see the original members of Berlin on Bands Reunited even though the session pros Terri Nunn recruits for her tours are surely more technically proficient than a bunch of guys dragging their keyboards from the attic.

What brought on this rant? I saw AC/DC, with Slade, playing Highway to Hell. And it was roughly 3,232,798 times better than it ever was with Rudd. Slade's subtle but powerful fills give the song an energy you're not going to hear on the studio version. He's not playing with cold precision. He's skillfully revving up the song.

So it's a pity in a way that the band let him go. But AC/DC fans are surely happy to see Rudd. And Slade hasn't been hurting for work.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

To take the impossible quiz

UPDATE: Yeah, P, the link would help, wouldn't it? Thanks!

I got a 30 out of 58 on Rolling Stone's "Almost-Impossible Rock & Roll Quiz." But even that was lucky. This quiz must have been the inspiration for the Queens of the Stone Age ditty No One Knows.

I won't reveal the answers, but I'll tell you how I did, question-by-question:

1. X - should've known
2. X - no idea
3. Semi-educated guess
4. X - no idea
5. Knew it
6. X - should've known
7. Lucky guess (all four parts)
8. Educated guess
9. X - maybe should've known
10. X - 50-50
11. X - no idea
12. X - no idea
13. Knew it
14. X - whatever
15. Knew it
16. Knew it
17. X - really?
18. Knew it
19. Knew it
20. X - only knew one part
21. X - 50-50
22. X - wild guess
23. Semi-educated guess
24. X - no idea
25. 50-50
26. Semi-educated guess
27. X - are you kidding me?
28. Knew it -- it's Yes, after all
29. Knew it. Really
30. Educated guess.
31. Educated guess
32. X - no idea
33. Knew it
34. Knew it. Pretty sure, anyway.
35. Educated guess
36. Process of elimination
37. Knew it
38. Knew it
39. X - been a while
40. X - been a while
41. Knew it
42. Knew it. That's Simpsons trivia, not rock trivia
43. Knew it
44. Knew it
45. Knew it
46. X - no idea
47. X - no idea
48. X - no frigging clue
49. X - no idea
50. X - just couldn't run through the whole bloody thing
51. Knew it
52. X - oh well
53. X - no idea
54. Knew it
55. X - brain fart
56. X - who?
57. X - 50-50 guess
58. Knew it. Duh.

Hey! I'm in a government database!

If they've done their homework on who's likely to be in this group, anyway.

Oh, it's not the U.S. government, by the way. It's China's.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Song du semaine: Missing Persons, "Mental Hopscotch"

Apologies for being rather late with this one. For those of you who don't know high school French, a "semaine" is certainly not 17 days.

One reason for the delay: I've been trying to think of a 2007 analogue to Missing Persons, in which a couple of Frank Zappa sidemen got together with one of their wives, a former Playboy Bunny (though she apparently didn't pose nude for Playboy -- only for Hustler, which is actually much worse), and a couple of future New Age musicians to form a synth-rock band.

So that's like ... hmm ... a couple of guys from Dream Theater and some future hip-hop moguls forming an R&B band with ... I don't know, Amanda Beard? Can she sing?

Dale Bozzio could -- her voice was unique but effective, and Zappa enlisted her talents as well as her bandmates. Her husband at the time, Terry Bozzio, is an enigma among drummers. With Missing Persons, he's an awkward mess of hair, grimaces and spindly arms, even as he shows off far more talent than you'll see behind a typical New Wave drum set. These days, long divorced from Dale, he's some sort of YouTube curiosity, with more than 240,000 page views for what appears to be an ancient drum solo (with primordial synth sounds) and nearly 120,000 page views for a narrated time-lapse animation of a bunch of people setting up his drums.

Dale and Terry don't seem to have one of those friendly post-divorce relationships, so any "Missing Persons Featuring Dale Bozzio" concerts are likely to feature another flashy drummer like Mike Mangini, who has a bit of a YouTube following himself for showing his freakishly fast hands and feet along with a maniacal sense of humor.

Most Missing Persons songs I've heard aren't showcases for Bozzio and fellow Zappa alum Warren Cuccurullo, later heard in Duran Duran. Their hits are amiable songs like Destination Unknown and the philosophical Words. Later in their career, they funked it up for Give, in which Terry plays an electric kit far more minimalist than the one drawing the YouTube eyeballs.

That's a not a bad collection of songs, but as AllMusic tells us, the band burned out pretty quickly without building on its successes.

Their first notable song is their best, full of intertwining guitar and synth riffs along with some Terry Bozzio fills that still make me rewind and wonder what the heck he's doing on the cymbals. You may have heard some of these riffs sampled elsewhere -- I'd surely plunder it if I were a hip-hop producer.

Dale seems right at home with her vocal style, which probably wouldn't impress Simon Cowell and company but effectively delivers the message here -- basically, she's sick of the bullshit and getting out.

Enjoy the video, but beware of preening Bozzios ...

Blogroll adds

I haven't formally welcomed the newcomers, so here goes ...

Py Korry is a regular at Jason's blog and an entertaining music-and-whatever-else blogger in his own right, spanning several styles in his clever "Mix Six" features.

Wings for Wheels is Dave Lifton's attempt (successful, I'd say) to prove that at least a few people in the Screaming Eagles, the boisterous D.C. United supporters group, have actual lives outside soccer. He does a good podcast, too, interviewing musicians and playing some selections from their catalogs.

At some point, I should add some TV and journalism blogs. In the meantime, get acquainted with these guys.

And yes, the blogroll reflects the hiatus for Down With Snark and Jefito, who is rumored to be making some sort of return like that female X-Men character. What was her name?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

It's just overkill

Catching up on Saturday Night Live after a particularly disappointing Family Guy (memo to Seth: Shout-outs to movie scenes are not inherently funny. You still need a joke) ...

The musical guest is Feist, whose 15 minutes have apparently coincided with this appearance. She, like so many musical acts these days, has about 20 people onstage in her band.

Two rows of backup singers/clappers? Did I wander back to I Want to Know What Love Is?

And not one banjo player. Not two banjo players. Three freaking banjo players.

An unscientific survey

Far be it for me to question the methodology of polls, particularly as a proud employee of a company that relies so heavily on them.

But the current polls have me confused and wondering if I'm completely out of touch with real Americans.

And so I'd like to take an unscientific survey of my own, just for my edification.

First and only question: Do you know anyone who actually plans to vote for Hillary Clinton?

Disclaimer: I'm not intending to reveal anything about my own political views. I'm just wondering if and how the people I know and read about, with the exception of a few Hollywood types with big checkbooks for political donations, intersect so little with the apparent political majority at this point in time.

Friday, November 02, 2007

An Office smackdown

Two traits of public discourse I'd like to stamp out in my lifetime:

1. Trying to get ahead of the cynicism curve. If possible, these guys would go back to Season 5 of Saturday Night Live and declare that it's jumped the shark. They'd confuse a lot of people, since "jump the shark" had not yet entered everyday conversation in 1980, but that would only add to their feeling of superiority.

2. Dittoheads on blogs who just reinforce the blogger's arrogant worldview.

That's why I find the commenters' mass revolt against the TVSquad guy who keeps dissing The Office so rewarding. It's not just hostility -- it's a point-by-point dismantling of every point the guy even thought about making.

Between that and the first 15 minutes of Friday Night Lights, I feel better about the world at the moment.