The Simpsons

I could write pages on this show but I’ll keep it short.

I’ve covered a lot of cartoons but this one is special. This Simpsons is probably my favorite of all time. It has influenced countless TV shows. This show appealed to young and older audiences alike.

The Simpsons was created by Matt Groening, who thought of the idea for the Simpsons in the lobby of James L. Brooks’s office. He named the characters after his own family members, substituting “Bart” for his own name. The family debuted as shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987. In 1989, the shorts were spun off into the series The Simpsons which debuted on December 17, 1989.

The family members’ animated bodies have changed shape a bit since, but they have not aged much, aside from shows that looked into characters’ futures. In fact, most people would agree that Matt Groening’s goofy humor hasn’t gotten old either.

The town of Springfield has a cast of characters that really made the show. You get to know them weekly from Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Disco Stu, Barney Gumble, Krusty the Clown, Moe Szyslak, Marge, Lisa, and the list goes on.

Other shows such as Family Guy, American Dad, and South Park were influenced by The Simpsons but they are cruder and use more shock value. Nothing wrong with that but I always thought the Simpsons was more clever. The two cartoons that I have really liked since the Simpsons started are King of the Hill and Futurama, the later also created by Groening.

In the early stages, the show revolved around the young Bart Simpson’s trouble-causing antics, making it appeal to a younger crowd. Over the years, however, the writers, which have included Conan O’Brien, found viewers responded more to the father figure Homer Simpson, and he became the show’s main character.

In 2007, the family finally made its way to theaters in the Simpsons Movie.

The Simpsons have ran for 31 seasons and nearly 700 episodes (676 as of this writing). The show is the longest-running scripted series in TV history.

A few of the Catchphrases that have worked into our everyday life.

Don’t Have a Cow, Man

Eat My Shorts

Mmm, donuts

Release The Hounds

Hidely Ho…Okily Dokily

D’oh!

Woo Hoo!

Eeeeeeexcellent

Sheryl Crow – Soak Up The Sun

I was reading Jeremy in Hong Kong’s post about Negative Visualisation which was really interesting. It made me think of a line in this song “It’s not having what you want
It’s wanting what you’ve got.” Check out the post if you can…

The song peaked at #15 in the Billboard 100, #24 in Canada, #19 in New Zealand, and #16 in the UK in 2002.

The song was on the C’mon, C’mon album that peaked at #2 in the Billbord Album Charts. During the Glastonbury Festival in June 2019, Sheryl Crow dedicated the song to Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg.

In the video, Sheryl Crow showed off more skin than she ever had before. She also posed provocatively for the cover of Stuff magazine around the time this was released. She said she did it to prove that women over the age of 40 could still be sexy.

Image result for stuff magazine sheryl crow

Songfacts

Crow’s co-writer, Jeff Trott, came up with the idea for this on a flight from Portland, Oregon, to New York. He told Songfacts: “I’m thinking this is really ironic that I’m leaving Portland being soaked in rain, and I’m actually going to New York to soak up some sun. I’m going to New York to soak up some sun. That’s got a ring to it. That’s kind of cool.

Then I started thinking about the sun, and I started thinking of these Beach Boys-style harmonies. On that five-hour flight, I had come up with the whole song completely in my head, not all the lyrics necessarily. I had a good chunk of the chorus of ‘Soak Up The Sun,’ but I had harmonies and everything all in my head, and I’m just having to scratch it down on a piece of paper.”

As Trott and Crow started working on the song together, they started talking about the then-recent Columbine shootings, where two students went on a killing spree at their high school before committing suicide.

“We kind of carried that over into the song as the voice of Sheryl as a young teenager with a lot of oddball friends who can’t really quite make out why people are the way they are,” Trott told us. “There’s a reference to ‘I’ve got my 45 on so I can rock on.’ The 45 on was like a kid with a gun, originally, and then we thought that’s a little scary.

We were talking about Columbine and we’re like okay I’ve got my 45 on, so I can rock on, like I can blast you guys. I’m going to blast all the people that are bugging me. That’s kind of where we were at with it, and then we said that’s just a little too… over the top.”

The video was part of a promotional deal with American Express. During the shoot, footage was also collected for an American Express commercial, which came out looking very similar to Crow’s video. American Express helped pay the production costs, hoping that viewers would remember their product every time they saw the video, since it looked so much like the commercial. MTV does not allow sponsors to pay for videos, but because the card never appeared in the video, they didn’t know about the deal and gave it plenty of airplay. Sting had a similar deal with Jaguar in his video for “Desert Rose.”

Crow had some high-profile help with the backing vocals on C’mon C’mon. Liz Phair sang backup on this track, and Stevie Nicks sang on the title track and “Diamond Road.” In 2001, Sheryl helped Stevie write and produce some of her album Trouble In Shangri-La.

This casual song about enjoying the simple things in life was very marketable for Crow, as it enjoyed success on pop radio and was a #1 on the Adult Top 40 chart.

Trott was shocked when he first saw the music video, which completely dulled the song’s edge and transformed it into a fun-in-the-sun surf song. “I thought, ‘Oh my God, Sheryl’s surfing. What the hell is that? It’s not even close to what it’s about.’

I think having Sheryl on a surfboard, being at the beach, is probably more palatable then having her in a trench coat shooting people in a lunch cafeteria. Not that I thought that that’s what the song was, but my impression from writing it was that it was much edgier than what came across. The video of course is like, hey, we’re having a holiday. We’re surfing. We’re catching some sun. Everything’s cool. Strum acoustic guitar. Like, wow! That’s not even close to what we thought it was about.”

Best Buy used this song in television commercials to pitch their electronic consumer goods, conveniently ignoring the song’s message of enjoying the simple things in life:

I don’t have digital
I don’t have diddly squat
It’s not having what you want
It’s wanting what you’ve got

Crow performed a kid-friendly version on Sesame Street in 2003, joining Elmo and the gang to sing about the adventures of the letter I in “I Soaks Up The Sun.”

Soak Up The Sun

My friend the communist
Holds meetings in his RV
I can’t afford his gas
So I’m stuck here watching tv

I don’t have digital
I don’t have diddly squat
It’s not having what you want
It’s wanting what you’ve got

I’m gonna soak up the sun
I’m gonna tell everyone
To lighten up, I’m gonna tell ’em that
I’ve got no one to blame
For every time I feel lame
I’m looking up

I’m gonna soak up the sun
I’m gonna soak up the sun

I’ve got a crummy job
It don’t pay near enough
To buy the things it takes
To win me some of your love

Every time I turn around
I’m looking up, you’re looking down
Maybe something’s wrong with you
That makes you act the way you do

I’m gonna soak up the sun
I’m gonna tell everyone
To lighten up, I’m gonna tell ’em that
I’ve got no one to blame
For every time I feel lame
I’m looking up

I’m gonna soak up the sun
While it’s still free
I’m gonna soak up the sun
Before it goes out on me

Don’t have no master suite
But I’m still the king of me
You have a fancy ride, but baby
I’m the one who has the key

Every time I turn around
I’m looking up, you’re looking down
Maybe something’s wrong with you
That makes you act the way you do
Maybe I am crazy too

I’m gonna soak up the sun
I’m gonna tell everyone
To lighten up, I’m gonna tell ’em that
I’ve got no one to blame
For every time I feel lame
I’m looking up

I’m gonna soak up the sun
Got my 45 on
So I can rock on

Where is…the Shark from Jaws?

Unlike the Partridge Family Bus, I had better luck on this one. The story on the mechanical sharks they used…approximately 25 feet long is clear.

Everyone knows the great 1975 movie Jaws that made people think twice about going into the water. The movie stands up today. They had no CGI back then and had to use a mechanical shark for the scenes. All together they used 3 of them. All of them malfunctioned but they called all three of them “Bruce” after Steven Spielberg’s lawyer, Bruce Ramer.

When the movie was over they dumped all three fake sharks on the backlot and let them rot away…however they kept the mold and made a fourth Bruce out of fiberglass and hung him up at Universal Studios in 1976. It stayed there until 1990, that is when Universal cut him down and sent him away to the junkyard.

Image result for bruce the shark universal studios

The junkyard (U Pick Parts) owner Sam Adlen didn’t consider Bruce junk and mounted him on poles until 2016 at his junkyard. Sam had died but his son Nathan Adlen sold the business and donated Bruce to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.

No photo description available.

Bruce mounted at the junkyard

Greg Nicotero had been a Jaws fan since the day he watched the movie with his mom in 1975. He had his picture taken with “Bruce” at Universal Studios in 1976 before Bruce’s journey to the Junkyard. He had been inspired to be a special effects person because of it. He took the job of restoring Bruce to his former glory.

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures plans to unveil Bruce to the public soon. Although this Bruce wasn’t in the movie he was the last made of the original mold.

Image result for bruce the shark jaws restored

Bob Dylan – Must Be Santa

I would never bet against Bob doing anything. When one of my friends told me at the time that Dylan released a Christmas album…I thought he was kidding. Nope…and I liked it when I heard it.

Must Be Santa” was written by Hal Moore and Bill Fredericks. The song was first released in 1960 by Mitch Miller. In 2009, Bob Dylan covered Brave Combo’s arrangement as part of his holiday album, Christmas in the Heart.

All of the profits from this album went towards Feeding America, Crisis and the World Food Program. In 2009, Dylan told Bill Flanagan that he had intended to make a Christmas record for sometime: “Yeah, every so often it has crossed my mind. The idea was first brought to me by Walter Yetnikoff, back when he was President of Columbia Records.”

Bob Dylan: “This version comes from a band called Brave Combo. Somebody sent their record to us for our radio show [Theme Time Radio Hour]. They’re a regional band out of Texas that takes regular songs and changes the way you think about them. You oughta hear their version of ‘Hey Jude.'”

From Songfacts

This song is reportedly based on a German drinking game, with the lyrics taking on a ‘call and answer’ structure: “Who’s got a beard/That’s long and white?/Santa’s got a beard/That’s long and white.” Dylan’s version intersperses the names of former US presidents into the list of Santa’s reindeers: “Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen/Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon/Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen/Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton.”

The official video for this was directed by Nash Edgerto and features Dylan singing in a gray wig in the midst of a rather raucous Christmas house party.

Even though Dylan is Jewish, he told Flanagan he never felt left out at Christmastime: “…it’s so worldwide and everybody can relate to it in their own kind of way.” Dylan added his ideal Christmas dinner would consist of “Mashed potatoes and gravy, roast turkey and collard greens, turnip greens, biscuit dressing, corn bread and cranberry sauce.”

Bob Dylan – Must Be Santa

Who’s got a beard that’s long and white?
Santa’s got a beard that’s long and white
Who comes around on a special night?
Santa comes around on a special night

Special Night, beard that’s white

Must be Santa
Must be Santa
Must be Santa, Santa Claus

Who wears boots and a suit of red?
Santa wears boots and a suit of red

Who wears a long cap on his head?
Santa wears a long cap on his head

Cap on head, suit that’s red
Special night, beard that’s white

Must be Santa
Must be Santa
Must be Santa, Santa Claus

Who’s got a big red cherry nose?
Santa’s got a big red cherry nose

Who laughs this way: “HO HO HO”?
Santa laughs this way: “HO HO HO”

HO HO HO, cherry nose
Cap on head, suit that’s red
Special night, beard that’s white

Must be Santa
Must be Santa
Must be Santa, Santa Claus

Who very soon will come our way?
Santa very soon will come our way

Eight little reindeer pull his sleigh?
Santa’s little reindeer pull his sleigh

Reindeer sleigh, come our way
HO HO HO, cherry nose
Cap on head, suit that’s red
Special night, beard that’s white

Must be Santa
Must be Santa
Must be Santa, Santa Claus

Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen
Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen
Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton

Reindeer sleigh, come our way
HO HO HO, cherry nose
Cap on head, suit that’s red
Special night, beard that’s white

Must be Santa
Must be Santa
Must be Santa, Santa Claus
Must be Santa
Must be Santa
Must be Santa, Santa Claus

Vinyl or Digital?

I’m not writing this to put down CD’s/Mp3’s or Vinyl…just wanted to know your opinion. There is room for both in today’s world. When we are on the go so much…the answer is easy…digital. When I take a walk every day I have my iPhone with my music and audiobooks. When I’m at home…I’m starting to more and more listen to vinyl.

I had a huge collection of albums and singles when I was younger. Unfortunately, many were lost during my early twenties moves from apartment to apartment. In the late nineties, I started to work in the IT field, so I drifted to CD/ digital for convenience if anything.

Slowly in the 2000s, I started to pull out the albums I still had and bought a turntable. Yes, I heard some scratches but some were immaculate. I noticed a difference right away and I then realized what warmth I had been missing with CD’s/mp3’s. I’ve heard some people say Digital serves the music. Vinyl serves the romantics…I don’t really agree with that. Yes, digital is clear…so clear you can hear things that weren’t meant to be heard…some sounds (tambourine, handclaps etc…) were meant to be lower in the mix to be felt more than heard.

One song that I noticed a lot of difference was “I Want To Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles. The vinyl single when played, jumps out at you. When I heard it on CD it was flat and sterile. It’s hard to describe it in words but there was a sharpness and a rawness that was missing on the CD.

Earlier CD’s were heavily compressed…they have come a long way but it’s still a difference. The below video is quite long but he does mention that the record companies are making CDs more about high-end quality now than “loudness.”

I know MP3’s are not the ideal format for quality. Flac is one of the best formats I have found.

I am not an Audiophile nor do I play one on TV…I can listen to either format but I do know what vinyl lovers are talking about…what about you?

 

The Red Button – Cruel Girl —-Powerpop Friday

The Red Button is the collaboration between singer-songwriters Seth Swirsky and Mike Ruekberg. Their original songs have catchy hooks of the pop music of the ’60s and ’70s, yet still sound modern. They have released two albums – She’s About to Cross My Mind (2007) and As Far As Yesterday Goes (2011).

Cruel Girl has a sixties sound. charted at #1 on Little Steven’s Underground Garage radio show for the week of July 22, 2007, and was named the 2nd Best Song of 2007 by Popbang Radio

The two met in 2005 and hit it off immediately; both of them admiring each other’s songs and sharing a taste for vintage pop.

Cruel Girl

Cruel Girl why you gotta treat me like a fool girl
Bring me down with everything you do girl
Break my faithful little heart in two girl, cruel girl

I know that I should go I should walk away
But when I think of how things were only yesterday
It makes me stay
You were so sweet when we first met
Now you’re so bad to me I just can’t forget

You’re a cruel girl
I’ll do anything you want to do girl
I’ll believe that every lie is true girl
I could never settle for a new girl, cruel girl

What keeps me standing here staying by your side
When the way you treat me girl only hurts my pride
I can’t lie
I can’t forget the words you said
You used to hold me now you hurt me instead

Everytime I walk away I end up running back to you
It’s true
Other girls would treat me better
Why you gotta be so cruel. So cruel

You were so sweet when we first met
But then your pretty face went straight to your head

Oh you’re a cruel girl
No one else can hurt me like you do girl
But you know I’ll always be your fool girl
I could never settle for a new girl cruel girl
You’re so cruel, you’re so cruel
Just don’t ever tell me that we’re through
Oh, you’re so cruel

Who was the Last Rock Star…Post Cobain?

This is more of a question than a post…just curious what you think.

I was commenting on A Sound Day and I asked Dave a question on a post about Michael Hutchinson of INXS. Who was the last Rock Star? Since Kurt Cobain died has there really been a rock star like we knew in the 60s and 70s to come along? Not counting older ones still around.

When I say rock star…I mean one comparable to the legends that we know… Between 1955 and 1994 there were plenty to pick from…Elvis, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Roger Daltrey, Keith Moon, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, Elton John, Sly Stone, Roger Waters, Prince, and the list could go on…These artists spoke to generations.

So no… Nickleback’s lead singer would not count.

The only two names I could think of was Dave Grohl and  Jack White of the White Stripes. Someone who is known outside the world of Rock and Roll. I’m not sure Grohl and White would count either.

Johnny Depp has the image but is an actor mostly.

Anyone else?