Archive for May, 2009


Heavy Rotation

May 31, 2009

Heavy Rotation is back, and it’s about goddamn time. Am I right?

The selections this time are some old favorites. Not necessarily “old” old, but some of my own personal classics, if you will. But, confusingly, some of these tracks are actually “old.” Like late 1970’s – early 1980’s “old.”

Ah, well. Age is in the eye of the beholder, much like these presumed classics would be to your beholding ear. Now, while you diagram that sentence, here’s today/this week’s/this month’s selections:


Magazine – Permafrost.mp3

From Howard Devoto’s post-Buzzcocks band, Magazine. This is the last track on their synth-driven, semi-critically reviled album Secondhand Daylight. Slower-paced but edged with a misanthropic menace. The punchline is in the chorus, as Devoto tells you the real reason for all the previous meandering:

As the day stops dead
at the place where we’re lost
I will drug you and fuck you
on the permafrost

Like every early spring rave in the upper Midwest!


Happy Mondays – Hallelujah.mp3

Shaun Ryder takes what ostensibly is a club pop hit and makes it unsafe for listeners of any age. Most of the lyrical content deals either directly or obliquely with Shaun’s favorite pastime: heroin. He reaches his moral nadir at this point, with this lazily ugly threat/invitation:

Hallelujah, hallelujah
I’m Shaun Willie Ryder
I’ll lie down beside ya
Fill ya full of junk


Clinic – Distortions.mp3

Clinic is a band that really sounds like no one else. Lots of syncopated drumming, heavy organ usage, a lead singer who relies on meaningless syllables and archaic slang. This song sounds like nothing in their catalogue. There is an organ, but the pace is much more funereal and wouldn’t sound too much out of place in someone’s Leonard Cohen collection, at least musically. Lyrically, however, we’re going a little darker:

It saved me once too often
You’d never know how often
I’ve pictured you in coffins
My baby in a coffin
But I love it when you blink your eyes

Oh I, I want to know my body
I want this out, not in me
I want no other leakage
I want to know no secrets yet


the Mekons – Dancing in the Head.mp3

As one of the most prolific and longest-running punk bands, the Mekons have covered all sorts of ground in the last 30 years. This particular song deals with voodoo rituals and zombies, all narrated over a propulsive guitar and drum shuffle. The Mekons take the high road and avoid tripping over any reggae cliches.

Possession is called dancing in the head.


P.I.L. – Flowers of Romance.mp3

John Lydon’s post-Sex Pistols project, which was at least twice and interesting and a million times as skillful. Ostensibly a kiss-off song to departed bassist Jah Wobble, it can, of course, be interpreted as a bitter sendoff to anyone’s ex. Featuring Lydon on vocals and violin and godawesomely powerful drumming of a pre-Ministry Martin Atkins.

This one’s for Alan.

Now it’s summer
I could be happy or in distress
Depending on the company
On the veranda
Talk of the future or reminisce
Behind the dialogue
We’re in a mess
Whatever I intended
I sent you flowers
You wanted chocolates instead

The flowers of romance
The flowers of romance

I’ve got binoculars
On top of Box Hill
I could be Nero
Fly the eagle
Start all over again
I can’t depend on these so-called friends
It’s a pity you need to defend
I’ll take the furniture
Start all over again

[All music posted on Fancy Plans… is kick ass and too awesome to be contained. All music is also posted temporarily and, due to it’s high level of ass-kicking, should not be distributed without a prescription and care should be taken while operating heavy equipment or dancing around the living room (clothing optional, but do remember that the blinds are open/kids are still awake).
Should you wish to have your brilliant artistic statement forced back into confinement, please email me at Feel free to leave a comment, as that will probably be noticed sooner.
By all means, if you like what you hear (and you will), please support the totally rocking artist(s) by purchasing some music or heading out to see them live.]



Dollar Store Shopping Spree

May 29, 2009
Color costs extra.

Color costs extra.

Ah, the $1 store. Home of non-FDA-approved household items, has-been celebrity-endorsed items and factory rejects from around the world. The following is just a small sampling of the bargains to be found at your nearest buck boutique.


  • Funky Bunches of Oats
  • Prince of Tides Breakfast Cereal
  • Ramen Helper
  • Spicy-Ohs Pasta in Habanero Sauce: Twice the Fun of Regular Ohs!
  • J.Q. Butterkist Popcorn-Flavored Corn Chips
  • Imitation Margarine
  • Michael & Isaac Fruit-Flavored Chews
  • Nerks (Hamish Industries’ foray into the lucrative candy field)
  • Grade A Large Rooster Eggs
  • Speed Freak Energy Drink (Contains essential vitamins and methamphetamines)
  • Gatorade: Fig Rush!
  • Tastee-Aid Colored Beverage Mix (New flavor: purple!)
  • Wintergreen Pepsi
  • Xena!: the Animated Series Fruit Snacks (Flavors include: apricot, tomato, plantain, purple)
  • Donald Mill’s Signature Candy Selection: Black licorice, butterscotch hard candy, Starlite mints, anise chews, butter mints, rye Lifesavers


  • Flounce Fabric Softener
  • Seed Packets: Kudzu, Milkweed, Brussels Sprouts, Mulberry & Turnips
  • $2 Whore Makeup Set (Half-Off!)
  • 3 Pk. Notebooks: Community-College Ruled (Extra Wide)
  • Home Lead Testing Kit (Warning: Contains Lead)
  • Not Pig Shit Fuel: Methane Refill Pack
  • Narco-Leptic Cough Syrup (Drank 2 and Call Me from the E.R.!)
  • 3-Prong to 2-Prong Cord Regression Kit (Contains: tin snips, large warning label)
  • Tan Your Own Pleather Kit
  • Old Navy $1 Flip-Flops (form orderly line, please)
  • Herbal Essence Mouthwash (A refreshing blast of ginseng and nightshade!)
  • Snorks Chewable Vitamins
  • Burlap Swabs
  • Gold Bond Unmedicated Powder (no active ingredients)
  • J.B. Weld Liquid Bandages
  • 8-Month Calendar (Does not include February, June, September and parts of May and December)
  • Dr. Scholl’s Baby Powder
Helloooooooo Branson! Anyone here from the Midwest?

Helloooooooo Branson! Anyone here from the Midwest?


  • Sony Mavica Digital Camera
  • Size “B” Batteries
  • 90 Min. Mem-O-Rexx Audio Cassettes with Patented “Dobly” Noise Reduction
  • “Blank” Videocassette: Contains part of Steel Magnolias recorded off a USA Network broadcast
  • The Best of Oh That Jason!
  • Tracy Chapman’s Greatest Hits (Does not include Fast Car or Give Me One Reason)
  • Tom Daschle Tax Software (2007 Edition)
  • Paystation 3 (The fun of saving money in the shape of the entertainment system you’ll never afford!)
  • Videogame: the Videogame (100 Breakout variations and 1 shitty Tetris knockoff)
  • Faces of Death 3 in a Cartoon Cavalcade package
  • The Chevy Chase Show: Episodes 1-4
  • Uwe Boll’s House of the Dead: the Criterion Collection
  • The Holy Bible on Tape: Read by Kirk Cameron
  • Every album Fu Manchu ever made
  • TimeMaster Calculator Watch (Accurate Up to Twice a Day!)
  • Takin’ Care of Business!: Bachman-Turner Overdrive Live at the Branson, Mo. Civic Center 2009! (cassette only)


  • 1000 Ct. Mixed Caps (Contains Less Than 50% Duds!)
  • Fondle Me Elmo: *giggle* You’re going to jail, shorteyes!
  • Bible Playset: The Book of Numbers Matryoshka Dolls (Beget and beget and beget – the fun keeps shrinking!)
  • John Rocker Talking Doll (Says Nine Offensive Phrases!)
  • Steve Guttenberg Action Figure
  • Zimbabwean Play Money
  • Michael Vick Rookie Cards
  • Lil’ Gardner Kit (Contains: shovel, hat, rutabaga seeds, diazinon, subsidy check)
  • Lil’ Artist Set (Contains: beret, guide for mixing primary colors, burnt sienna crayon, lifetime unemployment)
  • Bingo Cards (No “Free” Space)
  • Eazy-E Lil’ Gangsta Playset (Contains: Oakland Raiders cap, bandanna, plastic Glock, AIDS)
  • Sinister Ducks Board Game


  • All Cows Go to Heaven: the Chicago Meatpacker’s Rebuttal to Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle
  • Pop-Up Book of Intestinal Disorders
  • Where’s Waldo?: Misprint Edition
  • Oprah Winfrey’s Diet of the Month: How I Lost 80 Pounds and Kept it Off!
  • Scary Movie novelisation
  • Mediocrity Complex: the Chad Kroeger Story (by Chad Kroeger and John Updike)
Miraculously turns unlit hallways into lit hallways.

Miraculously turns unlit hallways into lit hallways.


  • $2 Whore (50% Off!)
  • Grandma Brand Sunglasses
  • Herpes Simplex (Free!: See Cashier)
  • Semi-Temporary Tattoos: Contains lysergic acid and caustic soda
  • Ennui for Men (cologne)
  • Moodkiller Bodywash by Axe (5 gal. container)
  • Head Lice (Free!: Master P’s Hat Collection – Aisle 4)
  • Jesus Nightlight (As I went to the bathroom/fridge, I saw two sets of footprints…)
  • Factory Second Bumper Stickers – Includes:
    – Honk if You’re Sexually Frustrated
    – Milwaukee is for Lovers
    – My Other Car is a Moderately Priced Sedan, Also
    – God is My Co-Signer
    – Dick Cheney/Alice Cooper 2012
    – Is That a Restraining Order in Your Pocket, Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?
    – I Can Go from 0-Bitch for No Apparent Reason
    – Beam Me Up, Scotty; I’m With Stupid
    – No Stereo
    – Calvin urinating on Hobbes



Summer Movie Guide

May 27, 2009
So much sucking, so little space.

So much sucking, so little space.

Hollywood’s patented “Blockbuster” season is upon us again and you know what that means: late fees, inarticulate staff and “New Releases” that are still available on videotape.

Will Smith Vehicle #31, starring Will Smith
Having lightly stretched his acting chops in recent years, Will Smith returns to familiar ground for a film dealing with a subject near and dear to Will Smith: Will Smith. Early speculation points to action with a 40% chance of comedy.

Leonard Maltin: The Will Smith of Will Smith movies. Will Smith!

Uwe Boll’s I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream
Boll takes on another videogame title with spectacular results. Boll captures the essence of the classic game and its key elements, including car chases, shootouts and some very questionable humor. Starring Scott Speedman, Yasmine Bleeth and for some fucking reason, Daniel Day-Lewis. Best scene: Harlan Ellison, 75 years young, dismembering Uwe Boll.

Harlan Ellison: I’m the Lou Reed of the literary world!

Anybody seen this? I hear it's a passable way to kill three hours...

Anybody seen this? I hear it's a passable way to kill three hours...

Titanic 2
James Cameron returns with a follow-up to his 1997 sleeper indie hit. This time around, billionaire Arland Hubris (Bill Paxton) builds the world’s largest luxury ship (the King of the World) and retraces the Titanic’s ill-fated route. The cast of Airport ’77 joins him.

Boston Herald – Subtle, understated drama. A welcome change from the usual noisy, big-budget summer fare!

Flick Flick (alt. Movie Movie)
Those cutups from over at the Dimension spoof mill are at it again, having ditched any pretense of a contiguous story line. Basically 1-1/2 hours of skewed movie scenes, like a sketch comedy show without the comedy.

Fox-TV – 2nd unit footage of the year!

I Survived
A tragic story of backpacking gone wrong, ripped from the pages of Reader’s Digest. After being mauled by bears, mugged by antelope and sexually harassed by trout, Ben Campbell hikes 1,250 miles through the Montana wilderness with only his faith and his unicycle for company. Starring Shia Lebouf and Michael Wincott as a rogue bear. Featuring large print subtitles.

Onion AV Club – Disturbingly erotic!

Takashi Miike’s Ichi the Killer remade for American audiences. Originally set to be helmed by “torture porn” auteur Eli Roth, a change in studio heads resulted in a push for a PG-13 rating and a larger box office take. Roth, having disappeared up his own ass, was unavailable and uninterested in the project. Chris Columbus (Harry Potter, Night at the Museum) was tapped to helm the remake.

Shifting the action to an American high school, the story features a mysterious foreign exchange student who is known merely as “Itchy,” as no one can be bothered to find out his real name. Itchy’s soon begins to mete out his revenge, stalking the halls and racking up kill after bloodless kill. Also features a comedic subplot dealing with Itchy’s hilarious accent and routine “murdering” of the English language.

Minneapolis Star-Tribune – Chris Columbus continues to show why he is the master of horror!

Thieves and Liars
Michael Moore investigates the UAW, finding nothing wrong there. Just good old American rabbit eaters. Obviously, the real villains are the GM execs and the penny-pinching government. Not featured: the South’s non-union plants, disgruntled taxpayers.

St. Petersburg Times – The fat man makes a point!

Popped! The Orville Redenbacher Story
The inspirational story of America’s favorite popcornier, Orville Redenbacher. Beginning with his modest Indiana upbringing all the way through his reign as the king of popcorn, including such crucial and little-known elements such as his lab accident that resulted in “popped corn” to his strong-arm tactics that kept him on top of such rivals as Henry Butterkist and Melvin “Pop” Secret. Featuring the reanimated corpse of Katherine Hepburn in the title role.

El Paso Herald-Post – Required viewing for Mr. Hermanson’s fifth-grade class!

Candyman: The Sammy Davis Jr. Story
Directed by Mel Gibson and starring Public Enemy’s Professor Griff and Michael Richards, this biopic takes solid aim at who exactly runs this country. Gibson himself describes it as Conspiracy Theory meets Song of the South in Vegas.

Chicago Sun-Times – Like a refreshing blast of whiskey-soaked breath!

Love in a Time of Mono
Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s classic, updated for the Twilight set. Starring some freshly-scrubbed youngsters fresh off the Disney Genetic Imagineering campus. Oh, and Diane Keaton.

Elk River Fortnightly – Like going to the mall!

One-half of the world's oldest known rivalry

One-half of the world's oldest known rivalry

Remake of the classic 50’s atomic scare film. With rampant nuclear testing no longer a threat, this remake posits the theory that the ants have mutated due to hybrid vegetables and steroided cattle. Highlighting the dangers of tampering with nature, the protagonists hope to calm the rampaging ants with protest songs and “Them! Were Here First” demonstrations.

The ants, showing a startling lack of conscience, destroy everything in their path, following the instinctive pattern of “Eat, Kill, Raise Millions of Young.”

NBC TV – More fast-paced than an Al Gore slideshow, and only half as boring!

Oh That Jason!
Cult-classic 50’s sitcom hits the big screens in a long-awaited update. Transported to modern day through a badly-explained mishap involving a malfunctioning TV and a wrathful God, Jason’s family suddenly find themselves face-to-face with the future. Hilarity ensues as they try to purchase a “flying car,” a “domestic robot” and other modern accouterments.

While they try to make heads-or-tails of this present-day future, Jason’s family bands together to help an alcoholic private detective hunt down rogue Replicants, treat the Eloi to some American barbeque with their homemade time machine and spend some family time in the Ministry of Love.

Alan Moore – A complete piece of shit. Please remove my name from the credits or deal with my long-haired and vaguely menacing lawyers.

The Long Dark Lunch Break of the Soul
Looking to build an Office Space-type franchise, this film features the soul-crushing day-to-day experiences of Hamish Industries’ peon, Adam Truitt. Meet an office full of misfits as Alex deals with rogue refrigerators, bad goth albums, incredibly violent business trips and his unrequited love for Carlita. The despair climaxes as Allen finds himself trapped in subplots that are never resolved and “voluntold” for various unpleasant office social functions.

A note: Although the film tested well, studio execs noted that much of the audience, while mildly engaged in the story, would talk amongst themselves at lengths about pretty much any subject, frequently causing the main character to break the fourth wall and join in.

XM Radio – If you only see one movie this year, that’s just kind of sad.

Action Film
Michael Bay and John Woo team up to present the first film to be shot entirely in slow-motion. Tony Scott stops by to fuck with the color balance and film stock.

Woonsocket Rooster – Heart-rending dialogue and edge-of-your-seat romance!

Oscar Bait
A Merchant-Ivory production of yet another slow-paced costume drama. Starring Dame Judy Dench, Liam Neeson, James Wood and Emo Philips. Featuring luscious cinematography, numerous costume changes, stilted dialogue and long periods of nothing much happening so you can pee without missing important plot development.

Salt Lake City Rabble-Rouser – You could bounce a quarter off Dench’s ass!



Week in Review

May 24, 2009

Last week’s post on the Branson, Missouri Calendar of Events (specifically the 3/5 of BTO announcement) seemed to have drummed up some interest from the readers over at Randy’s Vinyl Tap (All Things Randy Bachman).

While there was a little discussion about how much shit I was full of, little was said about the fact that I completely referenced a song by Thin Lizzy (my bad) while referring to BTO.

However, there does seem to be a very peculiar and somewhat deviant ranking system in play on their message boards:



Also of note: multiple incoming searches for Raffi – remember parents, keep an eye on what your kids are reading on the internet. Hopefully, it’s not this.



About That Car…

May 21, 2009

As you gaze upon the burning wreckage that is our banner, you are probably asking yourself, “The hell does that have to do with fancy plans and/or pants?” I could give you some explanation like the burned car is representative of the world’s crushing effect on even the best laid plans or that my favorite polyester pants do not comply with California’s especially stringent fire codes.

Neither would be particularly true.

Here’s the story of that car:

Are you aware that your brain can be made to panic and make severely wrong choices even if the situation does not warrant that? For instance: you are riding with someone and tell them to go right. As they turn right, quickly yell loudly, “No! Right! Right!” Despite the fact that they are going right, the instinctive reaction is to yank the wheel in the opposite direction.

I didn’t know this. My carpooling passenger did. (He said he did it for a “larf,” which is apparently British for “you almost died laughing, except that you died and I laughed.”)

We narrowly missed the oncoming semi only to t-bone a truck full of Aquanet. The thing went up like a Christmas tree on the 4th of July, taking with it the evening plans of hundred of bums. I was hurled through the windshield and onto the burning wreckage.

It wasn’t pretty.

Have you seen Nightmare on Elm Street? It was like that. Johnny Depp was there. He pulled me from the wreckage, smoothly lit an unfiltered cigarette off my burning shirt and proceeded to give me very full-flavored CPR (I know!).

I thought, “Wait till I tell the guys at work!”

I headed to my job (I work in metal fabrication), still in a fair amount of pain. I don’t know if it was the wooziness or perhaps my excitement, but something got lost in translation. The general consensus became, “You’re late for work because you were making out with Johnny Depp?”

Within 45 minutes, my ass had been thoroughly kicked and my car set on fire.



Great Moments in Stage Banter

May 19, 2009
Morris Day and the Time perform to their largest crowd yet.

Morris Day and the Time perform to their largest crowd yet.

A key part of any concert experience is the performers’ interaction with their audience.  A cold shoulder can lose a fan forever, but a few personal moments will win a fan for life. Some highlights from around the musical world:

The Rolling Stones, Altamont 1969
Mick Jagger: Like Keef said, any complaints about the Hell’s Angels excessive use of force must be addressed to ClearChannel Communications. Use a second page if necessary.

Limp Bizkit, Woodstock 1999
Fred Durst: Yo, we been hearing things about some possible rape going on out there? If there is, could you bring that action a little closer to the front of the stage. Thanks, bros. Alright, this is “Nookie.”

Metallica, Boston 2000
James Hetfield: Shawn Fanning? Mr. Shawn Fanning? Security would like to meet with you by the first aid tent.

U2, Los Angeles 1998
Bono: I’d like to take a moment to discuss the trade deficit…

The Cure, Hammersmith Palais 1987
Robert Smith: As you know, this will be our final tour…

G.G. Allin, Cleveland 1984
If the person in the third row could please return my feces… I’ll be needing them for my next song.

Nickelback, Little Rock, 2006
Chad Kroeger: And if you’ll look at the back of the ticket, you’ll see a coupon for 2-for-1 sandwiches at Subway. Subway! Eat Fresh!

Mozart, Salzburg 1778
Just a warning to the first three rows: you will get wet. This one’s off my latest sheet music, Violin Sonata No. 21 in D Minor.

Robyn Hitchcock, Minneapolis 1993
Fine. Jesus. Just… fine. “I see the birdies in the trees…”

The Beatles, Shea Stadium 1965
John Lennon: Ah. We have a birthday announcement for a Mr. Mark Chapman. Happy birthday, mate! And he’s requested “Happiness is a Warm Gun.” That won’t do at all, especially since we haven’t written it yet. How about “Twist and Shout?” Now there’s a proper party song…

The Cure, Wembley Arena 1989
Robert Smith: As you know, this will be our final tour…

Backstreet Boys, Orlando 1997
The Ugly One: Thank you, thank you. We love you, Orlando. Before we do our last song, we’d like to take a little of your time to talk to you about the trade deficit…

The Jesus and Mary Chain, London 1985

Metallica, Montreal 1992
Lars Ulrich: As our lead singer has burst into flames, we will only be able to perform a couple of more songs. “One” and perhaps one more… Any requests?

Alice Cooper, Venice Beach 1998
Anyway, shot about a 38 on the back nine, well under my handicap. Here’s “I’m 18.”

Nickelback, Austin 2008
Chad Kroeger: And on the back you’ll find a coupon for 1/2 off at your local Jiffy Lube. Trust me, you’ll want to get the Complete Care Package…

Bob Dylan, Newport 1965
Sure, you’re bitching now. But just wait. They’ll be shoving crap at you like Stone Temple Pilots: Unplugged. Over and over. Where’s your Judas now?

2Live Crew, Miami 1986
Luther Campbell: Hell, yeah! You bitches are crazy! Crazy! Alright, we gonna get nasty and get that bitch Tipper all wet! Sheeeit! But first we gonna talk a bit about that fucked-up trade deficit…

Prince, Coachella 2008
I’m gonna close with one of MY songs, Radiohead’s “Creep.”

The Cure, Los Angeles 1993
Robert Smith: Thank you. This will be our final tour. Thank you. See you in 1998.

Eagles, Oakland 1994
Don Henley: I’d like to welcome you to the Eagles’ “Second Mortgage Tour.” In addition to 90 minutes of our harmless AOR, you’ll notice that your tickets can be exchanged for 2-for-1 sandwiches at Subway. Quite a deal for $450.

Oasis, Royal Albert Concert Hall 2003
Liam Gallagher: Since my brother Noel, that cunt, is laying in a pool of his own blood, we have only a couple of songs left. Songs I wrote. And for an encore, I will beat our fooking bassist to death.

Raffi, Denver 1995
I’ll only say this once more: get those children seated and quiet or I swear to God I’ll call it a night. Once more and it is fucking over! Got it? Then you’ll have to deal with their crying asses all the way home. Alright, this is “Bananaphone.”

Garth Brooks, Houston 1996
As you may know, I’m about to surpass the Beatles as the best-selling artist of all time. So, I’d like to take a moment to speak to you about the sale and purchase of used CDs. If this sort of thing continues, I will be forced to record an album of even shittier music under another name to make up the difference. You’re really only hurting yourselves. Cheapasses.

The Rolling Stones, Altamont 1969
Mick Jagger: All right, all right. Cool it. Let’s cool it, please. C’mon. Please. That’s good. That’s beautiful. Keef, play something. Beautiful. Let’s just stay cool and take it easy and everything will be beautiful. Thank you. Let’s stay cool. Keef has somefink he’d like to say about the trade deficit…

Jackson Browne, Charlotte 1991
What do you tell a woman with two black eyes? Nothing. You’ve already told her twice. Hahahahaha. Wooooo. Well, here’s another favorite, “Tender is the Night.”

The Residents, San Francisco 1972
Thank you everyone. And let me take some time to introduce our fabulous band. Rick Wakeman – keyboards, Wolfgang Van Halen – guitar, Don Brewer – drums, Sean Yseult – bass. I’m, of course, Harry Connick Jr.

Toby Keith, Nashville 2007
(While accosting a drunken heckler): I say, could you bring him to the stage? Thank you. Son, what’s your name? A little louder. Preston. Preston, what do you do for a living? You… don’t. Well, what would you like to do for a living? The NASCAR pit crew, how exciting!

Well, Preston, suppose for a moment you were in the “pit crew.” How would it feel for you if I came down to the crew area and insulted you and made it hard for you to do your work? It wouldn’t be nice, would it. You have work to do and I’m getting in the way.

Preston, there’s no need to swear. I feel the devil alcohol has aided and abetted you in your attempt to stop me while I’m at work. We can get you help. Or you can promise to sit quietly while I finish the show. You are enjoying it, aren’t you? You must be. You have paid to get in.

Thank you. That’s very sweet. There’s no need to cry, young Preston. Return to your seat and I will finish this show in style. I shan’t disappoint. A hand for Preston here. And Preston, please see someone about your drinking before it truly gets out of hand…

The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Woodstock
Jimi: Since my last remaining guitar has burst into flames, I’m afraid we will only be able to do a couple more songs…

Grateful Dead Reunion Tour, Seattle 2003
Phil Lesh: Alright, listen up you thieving hippie bastards. The only reason we let you record every show was because Jerry thought it would be “cool.” He’s gone now, so shut off the recorders and hand them over to security. And get rid of that weed, too. That was Jerry’s bag and frankly we’re all sick and tired of never being able to get that “high-school parking lot” smell out of our clothes. I sincerely hope you people don’t vote.

John Denver, Minneapolis 1981
If the good people in the first three rows could possibly give back the feces I hurled in there earlier? Fantastic. I’ll be needing them for my next song, a protest of sorts dealing with a subject near and dear to my heart, the trade deficit.



Upper Midwestern State Community College and Vocational School Courses

May 18, 2009
The scenic Upper Midwestern State campus, located just outside the maximum security prison.

The scenic Upper Midwestern State campus, located just outside the maximum security prison.

Summer’s here and, unfortunately, will soon be gone, much like this rapidly fanned bong smoke. Hopefully more rapid than that, Mom’s almost to the front door. Jesus! Open that window!

Time to apply for college. And not just any college, the cheapest college money can buy. Browse some selections from UMSCC&VS’ upcoming academic year.


  • The Main Entrance Doors Are “Pull” – Key info for new students. Also covered: lining up in alphabetical order, last name first (needlessly complex?), and why are all of our parking spots marked “Handicapped?” (Just park anywhere and help us mount a counter-attack against those Devry eggheads.)
  • G.E.D. Fundamentals – Getting a handle on our only admission requirement.
  • Righty-Tighty, Lefty-Loosey: Introduction to Basic Mechanics
  • It’s Not Rocket Science and Other Phrases You’ll Be Hearing a Lot Of – Also covers: “dangerously underqualified,” “lowered expectations,” “potential liability,” and “You’re 36. Move the fuck out of our house.”
  • Shop Class Basics – Learning to count to ten with fewer than ten fingers; fallback obscene gestures.
  • The 1040EZ: Mastering the Only Tax Form You’ll Ever Need
  • Will It Blend? – What MSDS sheets aren’t telling you.
  • From Airliner Repair to Birth Control: 1001 Uses for Duct Tape


  • VCR Repair – Tape jams, tracking and 12:00. Required course for admission to basic laserdisc repair.
  • How to Take Advantage of Women and the Elderly – Entry-level Auto Repair course.
  • MLM & You: Fallback Careers and Moonlighting – The power of exponential math brought to you by Amway. Also of interest: World Book Sales – Wikipedia for slow children.
  • Geocities Presents: The Future of Website Design – Animated GIFs, multi-colored text, banner ads and other key basics for your Tiffany fanclub website.
  • Basic BASIC: Your “GOTO” Programming Language
  • Copier Repair – Earn up to $30/hour installing toner cartridges and selling extended warranties.
  • If You Want to Spend Time with Your Family This Holiday Season, You’d Better Hope They’re Shopping Here – Essentials for a career in retail.
  • Executive Mailroom Training: Blue Collar in a White Collar World – Stop believing all that Hollywood bullshit. You’re going nowhere.
  • Geek Squad Basics – Earn up to $11/hour selling extended warranties, “installing” pre-installed software and stripmining porn from customers’ hard drives.
  • Sounds Like a Hardware Problem: Microsoft Tech Support basics
  • Game Design – You like games, right? Then you’re perfect for this. You also like low-paid, 18-hour workdays and have a solid background in higher math and computer programming, right? No. Not so much, huh. Go hang out with those blonde morons, then.
  • Quotation Marks and the Commercial Signing Business – Just put “them” anywhere!
  • Security Guard Training – All the fun of being a cop (hassling teens, strip-searching teens) with none of the responsibility (preventing crime, solving crimes).
  • Cable Installation – Throw out your calendars and clocks. You won’t be needed these restrictive items any more!
  • Outsourcing – The Man’s plan to keep you hip-deep in Amway cleaning products; World Book encyclopedias.
  • Shopping Cart Wrangling – Advanced techniques for lines of 20 or more carts.
  • Elementary School Coaching – How to deal with violent parents, inept children and your own sex offender past. Also included: where to get the best buys on those sweet polyester shorts.
  • Everything’s Gone Retarded! – Dealing with suddenly becoming left-handed.
  • Introductory Tuning – Increasing your horsepower through careful decal application.
  • Dental Technicians: Grabbing the Brass Waterpik – With Prof. Shane McGowan.
  • Over-the-Road Trucking – Covers: methamphetamine selection, caring for your two sets of logbooks, and how not to respond to law enforcement (see example).
    Which is the correct response?
    Weigh-Station Officer: “You look like you’re a couple hundred pounds overweight.”
    A. “Well, that makes two of us.”
    B. “This always happens during a lunar eclipse. Simple physics, really.”
    C. “Someone thought the illegals would appreciate a sack lunch.”
    D. “So… you want me to let some air out the tires or something?”


  • Art Appreciation – We have never, and will not ever be using nude models. Please stop asking.
  • Advanced Bong Assembly – How to turn yesterday’s shop class project into today’s “tobacco-only” recreation device.
  • In the End, Does It Really Matter?: The Poetry of Linkin Park
  • Pain Don’t Hurt: The Tao of Patrick Swayze – Includes discussion of “Water ain’t Wet” (Point Break), “Dancing ain’t Dirty” (Dirty Dancing) and “Planes Don’t Crash” (Donnie Darko).
  • Political Science: Diebold invites you to get your crowd-sourced ass to work on designing a better electro-vote machine.
  • Debate Class: Ford vs. Chevy – Who truly deserves Calvin’s urine?
  • Computers and Creative Writing – Covered: how to fail to make your point in 500 words or more (blog pointers), the subtle nuances of Youtube comment threads and the DiggNation citizenship exam [1109 Diggs].
  • Music Appreciation: From Hair Metal to Rap Metal – The best of the last 20 years of rock. Not included: those whiny-ass “grunge” years.
  • Things That Are “Gay” – Open discussion on everything from Kevin Federline’s latest single to that ridiculous shirt you’re wearing.
  • Film Appreciation: Pioneers of the Straight-to-Video Market
  • Bumper-Sticker Philosophy: From “Honk if You’re Horny” to “My Other Car is a Bible” – Making the least out of space limitations. See also: Twitter



Fancy Plans Guide to Rock and Roll (Requests)

May 16, 2009
And here it is, the first batch of requests for further rock and roll education. I didn’t have time to get to all of your requests but rest assured, I will get to them as soon as is personally convenient to me. Feel free to leave more requests as what I don’t know about rock and roll will soon be long enough to fill a book.
These four young men would eventually grow up to be David Lee Roth.

These four young men would eventually grow up to be David Lee Roth.

Sweet was formed in the late 1960’s basically as an excuse to show off their collected pleather jumpsuits. Over the years, the band has split and reformed under different founders’ names, such as Andy Scott’s Sweet, Steve Priest’s Sweet and the Billy Ray Cyrus Experience.

Their first album appearance was a split with local children’s group the Pipkins. With Sweet’s proto-glam on one side and waifish proto-KidzBop on the other, the album was a hit with both schizophrenics and locals who were looking to stock up on round discs in case of sudden zombie invasion.

Their second album, Detonation Boulevard, featured a young Andrew Eldritch on vocals. Eldritch took the band in a new direction, allowing them to show off their collection of large sunglasses as well. During this tumultuous time, the Sweet underwent a series of name changes: Mercy, Sweet Sister!, Sweet Soul Sister, Southern Death Cult and finally, the Matthew Sweet.

Bolstered by an unprecedented 20-year time skip and MTV airplay, the Matthew Sweet toured extensively, greeted by thousands of fans wearing jumpsuits and large sunglasses. Eldritch left the band due to creative differences, citing his irritation with daytime gigs and ill-fitting jumpsuits. Eldritch went on two form two bands, the Mission Region 1 and the Mission U.K., before being kicked out of both and reaching for his lawyers.

The Matthew Sweet reformed as the Sweet in 1999 and resurfaced in 2000 as a tattoo on Seann William Scott’s back in Danny Leiner’s seminal coming-of-age comedy, Dude, Where’s My Car?

An unhappy librarian asks the Prunes to keep it down, there are hoboes trying to sleep in here.

An unhappy librarian asks the Prunes to keep it down, there are hoboes trying to sleep in here.

The Virgin Prunes
Formed in 1977 by Bono’s estranged boyhood friend, Gavin Friday (b. Fionan Apple, son of Sgt. Joe Friday), the Virgin Prunes acoustic stylings won the hearts and minds of Ireland’s disaffected urban youth (is there any other kind?).

A turning point came during their performance at the Newport Folk Festival. The band hit the stage as the Electric Prunes only to be greeted with boo’s and shouts of, “Judas!”

Gavin has stated that the “Virgin” part of the band’s name was facetious and did not reflect the band members sexual prowess or pure, acoustic guitars. In fact, Gavin stated that the band got laid, “at least as much as Kenny Chesney,” making the “Virgin” especially ironic. Sort of like your promiscuous sister who insisted on wearing white at her wedding. You know the one I’m talking about. And then it rained. But I digress…

Alanis Morissette, after a brief attempt to become the next Tiffany (and finding herself losing ground to Y Kant Tori Read), set her sights higher and attempted to become the next Liz Phair. Her timing couldn’t have been better as Phair’s crippling stage fright was quickly preventing her from becoming the first Liz Phair. Morissette quickly staked out her claim as a 4 Non-Blondes fifth wheel and laid the nasal, faux-boho woman-roar that would lay the groundwork for Avril Lavigne’s opus, Sk8ter Boi.

To sum up, America is a land of contrasts.

The Fiends celebrates their 20th anniversary (not pictured: Mrs. Fiend)

The Fiends celebrate their 20th anniversary (not pictured: Mrs. Fiend)

Alien Sex Fiend
Formed by a horrific lab accident involving a post-op Alice Cooper and a collection of Hammer horror films, Alien Sex Fiend became fixtures of London’s Batcave scene. They performed several high-energy gigs and killed time making crude sexual comments and lighting things on fire. Much like AC/DC, only with a sense of humor.

Despite frequently mining the same crude veins as the Cramps, Alien Sex Fiend found themselves lumped into the po-faced goth scene. While initially limiting, it afforded them the opportunity to appear on Cleopatra compilations for the next several hundred years.

Founding partners, Nik Fiend and Mrs. Fiend, may or may not be actually married. Much like the Whites of the White Stripes, the “are they, aren’t they” speculation has led to much flamage on various alt.goth message boards, although more astute fans point out that the first name “Mrs.” would tend to indicate that they are.

Captain Sensible: Crimefighter

Captain Sensible: Crimefighter

Captain Sensible
Co-founding member of the Damned, a fixture of the nascent British punk scene. So nascent was it, in fact, that the Sex Pistols were able to raise the punk flag and steal Pink Floyd’s thunder (and inflatable pig).

The debate about punk origins raged on, until Guiness was asked to step in and sort it all out. After some fact-checking, Guiness declared the Damned “the first punk (sic) band (sic) to release a punk (sic) album.” Guiness would go on to steal scenes in George Lucas’slaughriot Star Wars, as the character “Crazy Old Man in a Bathrobe.” His scenes would be stolen later by the bathrobe’s portrayal of itself during a crucial duel with Darth Vader.

Captain Sensible (born Private Sensible) left the Damned and started a career as a solo artist and producer. He also branched out into vigilante law enforcement, forming the Guardian Angels as a response to the brutal murder of Gotham millionaires, Thomas and Martha Wayne, who were gunned down in front of their son.

He has also become politically active, sort of, forming the Blah! party, a collection of apathetic non-voters (noting that non-voters make up nearly 60% of the voting public). Political analysts have noted that the “No Opinion” choice on recent polls has climbed to nearly 3.8%, threatening to overtake periennial underdog, Alan Keyes.

However, due to Sensible’s disinterest in maintaining the status quo, Britain’s government has threatened to bust him back down to private if he continues with his cheerful disrespect and rampant beret-wearing. If you would like to protest the government’s treatmeant of local hero, Capt. Sensible Sliwa, sign the online petition at Blah!’s website if they ever get it up and running.

Captain Beefheart returns for his lucky charms: this time it's personal.

Captain Beefheart returns for his lucky charms: this time it's personal.

Captain Beefheart
– 3 lbs Beef Heart
– 1-1/2 cups Safe Milk
– 1 cup Water
– 4 tsp Onion Soup Mix
– 2 cubes Beef Bouillon
– 4 Trout Masks (if unavailable, use alternate such as cod or other whitefish)
– 1/2 cup Breadcrumps

1. Trim any fat off the heart and cut each heart into quarters. Cut these quarters in 6/8 pieces. Never mind, you’re doing it wrong. Watch closely. On this quarter, cut right here. On this quarter, right here. Go ahead… No. Stop. On these first 6 quarters, cut here but when you get to this quarter, cut here, then here… OK… And 1, and 2… Jesus Christ! I’ll just fucking do it myself! 6/8 except on these 16ths. How fucking difficult is that.

2. Throw Beefheart in water. Bring to a boil. Add carrots. What the hell do you mean you don’t have carrots? Look, if you’re going to cook with me, you’re going to need to be prepared. I need you to have ingredients on hand that I haven’t even thought of yet. And they’d better be good ingredients, too. I can’t have you half-assing around the kitchen unprepared. Well, go get some. I’ll wait. I’ve got some paintings to bang out while you get your shit together.

3. Add Onion Soup Mix and Beef Bouillon to the boiling water. Not right now. Right now. And now. That’s too late. You missed on the 4th and the 7th. Start over. No, really. From the top. Look, I haven’t slept in over a year and a half. I’ve got nothing but time… Because it has to be perfect. This isn’t just some warmed-over idea. This is art! Start over.

4. Clear a Spot. 3/4 by 9-1/8. I don’t know. Inches, I guess, if that’s what you’re used to working with. Arrange trout masks into a double-helix. A double-helix! Jesus! You remind me of Mrs. Zappa’s boy, all unnecessary questions and movements. OK. That’s close enough. I’ll fix it later. You’ve done enough damage. Make sure the Beast is Shiny. Make sure… Christ! Do I have to paint a picture? No, that’s not rhetorical. I’m a fucking artist, you hack.

5. Get the milk. Is it safe? Is it safe? What do you mean you have no idea what I’m talking about? Is. It. Safe. I’m going to get my tools out. Oh… now it’s “very dangerous, not safe at all.” You’re weak, your father was weak. I’ll work the Beefheart until you can tell me what I want to know. I don’t use novocaine and there’s usually a great deal of blood.

6. Once the meal is complete, serve on randomly selected brand new dishes. Brand new. Those stickers will have to come off. Can’t have those gumming up the works, eh? Go ahead. Not like that. Not like that at all. With your mouth. Watch my humming and follow along. Lick the Decals off. It sounds weird but it will all make sense when we’re done. Let sit for 11.3 minutes to allow flavors to soak in. 11.3… Look, I’m pretty much sick of your constant whining about my time requirements. They’re not irregular. They’re perfectly cromulent.

7. Serve with Ice Cream. Not for you. Not for you at all, you multi-instrumentalist failure. That’s for Crow. It’s purely decorative and melts rather quickly. Well, shove it out on the table. I don’t like how it’s tuned out but I really can’t be starting over again, can I? Just… Oh, just throw it out! It’s not fit for consumption, you retarded Bat Chain Puller. We will start over and over and over until it’s right. We’ll need some fresh ingredients and some other stuff. I’ll let you know when the time is right. Until then, do everything perfectly and we’ll be fine.



Heavy Rotation

May 9, 2009

Hopefully, a soon-to-be regular feature as I release whatever earworms are currently making me ask, “Does this look infected?” 

This week’s contagions are:


DeathSet – Had a Bird.mp3
Those of you familiar with Baltimore’s DeathSet know that they are revered for their shouty, drum-machined punk and relaxed attitude towards the word “fuck.” For those of you that are unfamiliar, Baltimore’s DeathSet are known for their shouty, drum-machined punk and relaxed attitude towards the word “fuck.”

This track contains none of those. Except the drum machine. Tuneful, mildly twee and full of wist, Had a Bird is a happily sad song that conjures up vague nostalgia and hopefulness. It’s much better than I’m making it sound.


A Place to Bury Strangers – Runaround.mp3
New York’s loudest band (you could look it up) with a track not found on their stunning debut album. All machine-gun drums, pulverizing bass and staccato blasts of distortion and feedback. This track combines the best part of two Jesus & Mary Chain albums (Psychocandy for the feedback; Honey’s Dead for the rhythm section) into one brutally cohesive whole.


Test Icicles – What’s Your Damage? (Alan Braxe & Fred Falke Remix).mp3
England’s Test Icicles (wait…test… icicles…no… no… yes… no… yes… I get it!) bashed out some boys’ own dance-punk (emphasis on punk) for a couple of years back in the day (to be specific: 2004-2006). French house producers Alan Braxe and Fred Falke drag the Icicles through some very tuneful synth work and rewire the track into something that wouldn’t sound out of place in your sister’s music collection.

Won’t impress the jocks anymore, but really, the only thing they offered was instructions on how to straddle the line between consensual sex and rape. Fuck em. Play it loud.


Grinderman – No Pussy Blues (Freeland Dub).mp3
Rockier side project of death enthusiast Nick Cave. Adam Freeland, breakbeat producer extraordinare, slices, dices and chops Cave’s ode to not getting any into a dancefloor anthem. Certainly will never be as popular with the ladies as it is with the dudes, but that’s a common issue with blue ball songs and the breakbeat genre. In other words, Mom’s not going to like it.


TV on the Radio – Mr. Grieves.mp3
Nice little ep track from TV on the Radio. A beautiful cover of the Pixies’ Mr. Grieves done in a way that shouldn’t work (accapella/doo-wop) but once you’ve heard it, it seems to be the only way it could ever have been done.

[All music posted on Fancy Plans… is kick ass and too awesome to be contained. All music is also posted temporarily and, due to it’s high level of ass-kicking, should not be distributed without a prescription and care should be taken while operating heavy equipment or dancing around the living room (clothing optional, but do remember that the blinds are open/kids are still awake).
Should you wish to have your brilliant artistic statement forced back into confinement, please email me at Feel free to leave a comment, as that will probably be noticed sooner.
By all means, if you like what you hear (and you will), please support the totally rocking artist(s) by purchasing some music or heading out to see them live.]



Architecture: An Interpretive Dance in Eight Parts

May 6, 2009
Lord help me, I hate this band.

Lord help me, I hate this band.

As a former DJ and constant music fan, I just thought I’d waste your time with some things I find depressing, annoying or just confusing.

Classic Rock
I know a lot of people who are classic rock fans but seem to only be interested in the outer surface. Their CD collections will contain Bread, Meatloaf, lots of Lynyrd Skynrd, Molly Hatchet, Billy Squier, Journey, etc., but nothing from Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones or the Beatles. Not to make the automatic assumption that the listed bands are worse (although they are) but that ignoring some of the greatest classic rock bands seems almost criminal.

The Beatles
Yeah, they were awesome. I just really don’t care for 90% of their output and that do-gooding sonofabitch Paul McCartney’s insistence on staying alive and producing weak music certainly isn’t helping.

mp3 Collections
Nothing wrong with them. I have a huge one. But with all the music out there, how come some peoples’ collections look like the playlist for the last 20 years of radio? There are millions of gigabytes of music out there but their players make me believe that they’ll never enjoy life as much as they did in high school.

Van Halen
See also Classic Rock, mp3. Who are you people who insist that Van Halen improved once they ditched the only member with a personality? I can’t see it, unless Haggar just tapped into the zeitgeist that was clamoring for more power ballads. See also: Aerosmith – the Armageddon years. (Note to Aerosmith: If your name isn’t Lynyrd Skynrd then country “artists” shouldn’t feel comfortable covering you.)

DJs/Electronica Artists’ Full-Length Albums
Why do godawesome DJs insist on delivering shitty full-length albums with radio-friendly four-minute tracks and flavor-of-the-week guest vocalists? The mainstream isn’t what brought you your success, so stop pissing off your actual fans while polishing turd (featuring T-I!) after turd (featuring Rhianna!) in an attempt to impress the easily-impressed.

It’s a little like heading to the club and watching your favorite DJ turn on the radio.

Case(s) in point: Timo Maas, any album past their first three for both the Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim, Paul Oakenfold, the Crystal Method.

Possible exception: the Brighton Port Authority, Fatboy Slim’s new supergroup. His/their debut album features some standout tracks featuring David Byrne (Toe Jam), Iggy Pop (He’s Frank) and Ashley Beedle (Should I Stay or Should I Blow?)

People Who “Don’t Get” Rap
Don’t worry about it, no one’s trying to sell it to you. There are plenty of others willing to pick up your slack. I’m not a huge fan myself, but I don’t wear everyone out with my insistence that it’s not a viable art form. Especially when the entire argument is wholly encompassed in this dandy of a line: “I just don’t get that rap crap.”

For instance, I don’t really care for classical music. Millions of people love it. Millions more pretend they do so they don’t get labeled Philistines. But I would never sum it up with something pithy like, “Whatever. But I don’t see them putting out anything new.”

I Don’t Get Jazz
I just don’t. People have tried to turn me on to it with basically the same persuasive arguments they use to try to get me to drink beer. “You haven’t tried the right beer/band.” “You’d like it if you drank/listened to more of it.” “Drink/listen to it for awhile and you’ll get used to it.”

I’m sure all these beer/jazz arguments also work for anything unpleasant like roadkill removal or terminal diseases.

Music Genres I Think I Like More Than I Actually Do

Prog Rock
Reading reviews and hearing a few select tunes has made me think this would be right up my alley. After all, I like a lot of space rock and that’s pretty much right in the ballpark. I really like the individual members of King Crimson but collectively most of their output sounds like several instruments in search of a tune.

This leads me to believe that proficiency does not equal listenablilty. (It’s a word. It’s my word.) It’s like several gifted musicians all doing their own thing.

I’d much rather listen to bands whose musical fundamentals are severely limited. Like the Jesus and Mary Chain, who shoved one guitar through an amp and made as much noise as they could with the others. Or Suicide, who set their synths and drum machines to stun and wandered around picking fights with their audience. Or, to bring things up to date, A Place to Bury Strangers (JAMC followers) and We Are Wolves (somewhere between Suicide and Death From Above 1979).

And as for the space rock, Hawkwind may be great and all, but they too often (especially in the live recordings) sound like a less-focused Grateful Dead. With more flute.

There are a million bedroom producers creating a million electro tracks. Some are fucking awesome (i-f’s Space Invaders are Smoking Grass, Westbam’s Agharta, Solvent’s My Radio, Zombie Zombie’s entire album A Land for Renegades) but most are a cliche casserole of clicks, bleeps and deadpan vocals. But I’ll still read some blog somewhere that will say nothing more than “Awesome electro track!!!” and away I go.

the Fall
Not really a genre, but prolific enough they could be one. I love Mark E. Smith’s delivery and his lyrics can be amazing, but I think the danger lies in the fact that they’ve released 1,392 albums over the last 30 years. There’s got to be something that could have been scrapped or left in the vault. But as a blogger, I totally get the mentality that “if I created it, it should be released.” See also: Guided by Voices, Prince.

As a theoretical fan of prog rock and an actual fan of repetitive beats, you’d think this would be right up my alley. But with the exception of a handful of tracks by Neu!, I honestly can’t say I’m impressed.

Some of the more contemporary artists, carrying on the proud German tradition of making sterile, emotionless music, have caught my ear. Fujiya and Miyagi’s Ankle Injuries, Stereolab & Nurse with Wound’s Simple Headphone Mind and a few tracks from Death in Vegas’ Satan’s Circus.

It just doesn’t click with me often enough. I can handle 13 minutes of 303-noodling in Laurent Garnier’s Acid Eiffel, but not 13 minutes of drum lessons from Can.

Go figure.