Thursday, January 24, 2008

Rose by any other name?

So it's Thursday and Thursday is the day that the Johnjay and Rich radio program does their segment called War of the Roses. Listen to some of the glory by clicking here. I highly recommend it. (I actually highly-er recommend their other segment called 2nd Date Update which you can catch by clicking here. It's better cuz it's less sinister and there's more of a wild card element to it.)

But I don't write in order to discuss the genius and unending entertainment of these two segments. That's self explanatory. I write to point out the idiocy of a certain part of the War of the Roses ruse.

So Roses works like this:
  1. Girl (sometimes it's a dude, but that's like 1 in a million) calls Johnjay and Rich saying that she suspects her dude (sig. other of some kind) of cheating on her.
  2. Carrie (Johnjay and Rich's female counterpart) impersonates a florist, calls the dude (suspected cheater) and offers the dude free roses that can be delivered to anyone anywhere.
  3. Dude (more often than not) does not send the flowers to the girl-caller and instead sends them to whomever he's cheating with.
  4. Girl caller breaks into the call and freaks out.
  5. Awkwardness and intrigue ensue.
My beef comes in on step #2. Clearly this step is the crux of the whole gig. This is the scam that reveals the cheating dude as a cheater. It's basically entrapment. And I think it's pretty clear that the dude has no chance of sniffing out what's being pulled on him. Think about it. He's minding his business, just another Thursday morning and he gets a call saying he won free flowers. What guy says no to that? He gets to score major points with his wife, girlfriend or mistress (depending on how he feels that day) and he didn't even have to do anything. Granted he usually asks "what's the catch?" (worried about committing to some flower of the month subscription or something), but he never ever suspects that Carrie (the girl impersonating the florist) is actually NOT a florist. The dudes fall for the scam every time. And they've been doing it for years.

And yet every week Johnjay, Rich and Carrie spend about 30 seconds figuring out what Carrie's fake florist name should be. And sometimes she actually changes her fake name just before the call. Here's one example.
  • Rich: "Carrie, who you gonna be this time?"
  • Carrie: "I was thinking Victoria, but I think I've already been Victoria." (on a previous segment of Roses)
  • Rich: "Okay, let's go with Debra, then."
  • Carrie: "Okay, I'm Debra."
Huh? What's the the thought process here? Are they worried that the cheater dude will get a call from a florist named Victoria, then think back to a previous segment of Roses and THEN realize he's getting scammed!? "Sure, I'd love some free roses! ... Wait a minute ... florist named Victoria? Where have I heard that name before? Wait. Oh my God, this is War of the Roses, isn't it!? Ha HAAAA, you bitches can't fool me! Shoulda gone with a name you hadn't used in a previous segment of Roses, morons! This is the worst ruse ever!"

No. It will not go like that because anyone who has heard the segment before will realize they're getting offered free flowers on a Thursday morning (the segment is always on Thursday morning) and that'll be that. The gig is up. Anyone who HASN'T heard the segment before is gonna get duped whether your name is Victoria, Debra or Sharonda-Jennie-Lee.

Just to drive this point home, let me give you another example which happened on today's Roses:
  • Rich: "Who you gonna be, Carrie?"
  • Carrie: "I was thinking Brandy, but then I thought that sounds too much like Bridget." (In this segment of Roses, the caller girl was named Bridget.)
  • Rich: "Okay, how about Helen then?"
  • Carrie: "Okay, I'm Helen."
Again think of the insanity of the situation Rich and Carrie seem to be imagining. They're calling a guy and offering him 100% free flowers totally out of the blue, but they're not worried about that being what gives them away. What they're worried about is the cheater dude doing the following: "Free roses, huh? And I don't have to give you my credit card or anything? Totally free, right? Okay, I'm in. Wait, what's your name again? Brandy? Hmmm, Brandy. Br-Br-Br-Brandy. Br-Br-Br- ... Brrrridget!! Oh my God! You know my girlfriend, Bridget, don't you!? Ha HAAAAA!! You're not a florist! You're a radio program that Bridget hired to try to entrap me!! Well, F you cuz I sniffed you out! Shoulda gone with a name that was more phonetically different than that of my girlfriend, morons! This is the worst ruse ever!"

I hope you get the point.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Ok, so I don't know what cosmic forces were involved in engineering a situation where I watched the entirety of "Deal or No Deal" last night, but it happened so let's just move on.

If you haven't seen the show, I'm gonna skip explaining the intricacies of the format or the crucial points of the game.  Let's just say the show works because inevitably the contestants end up TURNING DOWN hundreds of thousands of dollars to often end up with a 4 or 5-digit figure. I know this.  And yet I cannot keep my contempt of last night's contestant under wraps.

First of all, her name is Margarita.  Nothing wrong with it in principle, but when someone like Howie Mandel gets his hand on a first name that also happens to be the name of an alcoholic beverage ... vomit.  But that's beside the point.

The real reason for my contempt is this woman's utterly delusional attitude that she sustained whilst screwing herself and her (apparently) very large and relatively poor family out of a lot of money.   Some key points about last night's episode:
  • NBC has plenty of money to spend since they're not paying the writers so they put up 6 $1 million cases on the board instead of just 1 $1 million case.
  • They also interviewed Margarita ahead of time and discovered that she would like to make enough money to buy her dad a new truck.  So NBC also put up a "Truck" case.  And this is an expensive f'ing truck.
  • It has always been -- scratch that -- recently become Margarita's dream to learn how to fly a small plane.
So Margarita starts picking cases and she's doing well.  And since the board is so f'ing loaded that she sets records for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd offers (which are in the $100K, $200K and $300K range respectively).  In classic fashion she turns them all down.  This is all expected.  So let's fast forward to when her family actually starts telling her to take the deal.  This is always an interesting moment on the show because usually the family says "no deal" forever because, hell, it's not their money.  So you know it's kind of a big deal if even the family is saying "holy crap, this is a jack load of money, you cannot pass this up."  

This moment came with an offer close to $400K.  The family is screaming "DEAL!" but the truck and quite a few $1 million cases are still on the board so Margarita passes.  Well, kudos to the casting directors once again because Margarita proved to be a model participant (as far as NBC is concerned).  She dwindled her offer all the way down to below $100K.

Here's where my contempt comes in.  All the $1 million cases and the truck are now gone.  The offer is at $40K (compared to what once was ~$400K).  During Margarita's fall from riches, she's been going on and on about how she "knows in her heart" that there's a big figure in her case (which at this point could actually be $100K).  She's turned down so many huge offers, it seems likely at this point that she's just gonna go the whole way and pick her case over all the offers.  And I'm fine with that.  Margarita's been so damn bubbly about lucky she is in life and how happy she is, how much she loves her family and how lucky her whole family is, why not go the whole way and see if karma is really looking out for you and you picked a good case from the start?

I'll tell you why not.  Apparently because Howie's gonna throw in $15K worth of flying lessons on top of the $40K.  AND SHE TAKES THE DEAL!!  Let's recap:
  • She's been offered hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Nah.
  • The whole point of the show (according to her was to buy her dad a new truck).  She could have bought him 10 trucks assuming she took the $400K deal.
  • She's gone on and on about how she's SURE her case is big and she's going all the way.
But she forgets about all that crap once Howie throws in some crappy flying lessons on top of a crappy $40K deal.  She has the balls to say "Thank you for making my dream come true" just before taking the deal.  "Thanks for making my dream come true!?"  What about your dad's dream of a new truck?  The dude is sitting right there in the audience and you've already fully f'd him over by passing on money that could have bought him a nice truck.  And now you f him again by taking some crappy deal that they drummed up specifically to tug at Margarita's own personal and selfish heart strings.  And that's it.

She essentially said "f my family and f my so called luck that I've been banking on.  I'm gonna learn how to fly some crappy small plane, bitches!"  And of course to cap it off, there was $100K in her case which would have been plenty of money to buy herself some lessons and buy her dad and a new truck and still have more than $40K left over.


Oh and to cap it off, this girl's from Arizona and I heard her doing a radio interview this morning.  Everyone was congratulating her on her great attitude!  What the hell!?  She was saying crap like "the experience was priceless" and she was so lucky to be chosen, that's all she could really ask for anyway.  Uh, no.  You actually could have asked for $400K and you could have got it.  AND THEN she goes on to say that her family is not very well off and for most of her family, it was their first time ever flying on a damn plane!  And she says THAT'S priceless. No, it's not!  Since your family is so damn poor and you were so lucky to have been chosen for the show, don't you think you sorta owe it to them to cash in on this once-in-a-lifetime experience as best you can?  Apparently not.  According to Margarita, flying on a plane and going through the roller coaster of the show is way better for her family than having Margarita walk with hundreds of thousands of dollars.  And the radio hosts heard all this and said things like "You're a special person" and "You have good karma.  Good things are going to happen to you."  No!  Good things already did happen for her and she pissed it away for some damn flying lessons and screwed her family in the process!

Am I the crazy one here?!  Isn't this girl TOTALLY unlikeable?

I guess I now remember why I never watch this show.

Holy Crap!

You may ask why I felt the need to use a Little-House-On-The-Prairie-style curse word as the subject of this entry.  Well it's pretty simple.  The union of one of my favorite artists with one of my favorite pieces of music in the last couple years is right here:

Monday, January 14, 2008

So ... what do I do?

As I walked around the Phoenix Marathon expo this weekend, I found these banners everywhere:

These signs were typically placed in an arch-like position above what seemed to be a passage way through which people should pass. But as the signs indicated, said passage ways were neither entrances nor exits so I was left to just gawk at the sign and wonder ... "Why didn't they just put up a wall here if they don't want people entering or exiting?"

Luke's 2007 Musical Review

So here's where I post some thoughts on music that came into my life in 2007. Keep in mind this is not necessarily music that was released to the world in 2007, but just music that was added to my library in 2007. But before we get to 2007 ....

2006 Left Overs

Here's some music that for whatever reason I added in 2006, but didn't come to notice til 2007. Here's a link to my 2006 version of this article.

Justin Timberlake - Futuresex / Lovesounds

Most of it's been said before. That being that this album is great. I still need to put it on here because of a little track called "Lovestoned / I Think She Knows Interlude". The interlude is easily in the top 10 minutes of music for the last 2 years. In March of 2007, I even created my own holiday called "Lovestoned Week" where I listened to this song at any given moment. And at that time, I was thinking exactly what John Mayer said a few months later.

Jason Mraz - Selections for Friends

There's no new content on this album, but it's a solid solid collection of the hits. The 30 minute non-stop performance of his first EP is clearly awesome as are God Rests In Reason, Did You Get My Message?, Childlike, Wildlike, Song For A Friend and finally an officially released version of 10,000 Motherf'rs.

Damien Rice - 9

I know I'm not breaking any ground here, but this album deserves my nod. If you can see this simultaneously morose whilst very funny dude in concert, he always brings something great to songs you may feel you already know intimately.

And now ...

The Best of 2007

2007 was a very solid year. I don't think it was as good on the whole as 2006, but there were some serious show stoppers. In general I think the craziest trend of the year for me was ... chicks. I really think I tend to listen to mostly male artists, but 2007, the females were bringing the heat.

The Untouchables
I absolutely could not leave these off the list.

Kings of Leon - Because of the Times

Best album of the year. Period. 14 tracks. FOUR 5-star songs! Three 4-star songs. Five 3-star songs. 7 of these songs have over 100 plays for me. Here's my take on the KoL. If you get there with the Kings, your life will be better. That's all there is to it. Get there, people. "She's at my PARtay-ah!"

Feist - The Reminder

Canadian! Female! Do it! Looking back at her first album "Let It Die", this girl REALLY figured something out from album to album. Lots of different sounds on this album, but it all comes down to some great melodies and Leslie's sweet sweet voice. Oh and I realize the iPod commercials basically killed 1 2 3 4, but that song's not that good anyway. Past In Present, I Feel It All, Intuition, that's where it's at. "This kinda letter is in black!"

Mute Math - Mute Math

New Orleans! Creative instruments! You-yeah! These guys put together a solid album with a full full sound throughout. Put it on and put it on loud. "At least it was never until I noticed / You and your ways ..."

Paramore - All We Know Is Falling and Riot!

Chick Singer! Punk! (I think.) Look. I really didn't see it coming. I kinda sorta liked the acoustic version of Misery Business, but never thought that buying the whole album would be a good investment. But then Andrea and JM reco'd Paramore at the same time. That did it. I bought the albums 12/11/07 and listened to them basically every day of my 25 day trip to Ecuador and Peru. Probably should call 'em PERUmore! Eh!? No? Okay. "This time we're not giving uuuuuuuuuuuuuuup!"

Dear and the Headlights - Small Steps, Heavy Hooves

Phoenix's best band ever as far as I'm concerned. Yeah, that's right. Sit down, Gin Blossoms. This album is wall to wall gold! (Except for "I'm Bored You're Amorous" which is 1,000,000,000 better on the demo version. Find that version if you can. Sorry, DATH.) And just when you thought all these songs were crazy powerful, go see them live and learn about DATH's glory all over again. "Putting on your make up every day before he wakes up, he can stomach YOUR face WELL easier than he could without it!" (Sort of a dark quote I know, but listen to Grace and you'll love it too.)

Must Haves
The next tier of greatness.

K-OS - Atlantis - Hymns for Disco

Canadian! Hip hop! What an MC is supposed to be! K-OS (which stands for Knowledge of Self) raps, sings, play instruments. He does it all and the man lays down some beats. Roll Sunday Morning and Born to Run, fall in love and then roll the rest. "Same old thing on the RADIO!"

Tegan & Sara - The Con

Canadian! Lesbian! Twins! My favorite sisterly duo comes through again. The album didn't hit me hard right off the bat, but after a few rolls, the whole thing is gold. Who would have thought that such depressing content could come across in such a happy fashion. "Dark Come Soon" is great great times. "Everything I love ... get baaaack ... to me now."

Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

Probably the most critically acclaimed artist/album on my list. And while that's all well and good, the album is just great to listen to. My favorite random story about this album is that I have one friend who told another friend that the Neon Bible sounds like it stemmed from and is a semi-tribute to Bruce Springteen. This remark resonated with friend #1 and as a result friend #1 pretty much stopped listening to the album. How's that for a confusing review?

Raul Midon - State of Mind

Blind! Strummer! This guy can play some guitar. I was introduced to him via Jason Mraz and then this YouTube clip was the turning point for me: Good luck not being blown away. I mean, the crowd (an f'ing talk show crowd!) takes time to applaud the damn solo! The solo! I've never ever ever heard such a thing. The album is just percussive guitar gold.

Sara Bareilles - Little Voice

Cutest. Singer. Alive. Love this girl. People are dead set on comparing her to Fiona Apple, but I really don't see it at all. Sara is nice, writes songs that don't make you want to kill yourself and kills Fiona's voice if you ask me. "Love on the Rocks" is my favorite. Buy this album. "We met on a raaaaaainy evening in the summertime."

Gold Plated Diapers
The best of the rest.

Iron & Wine - The Shepherd's Dog

Sam Beam! Sam Beam's sister! The super hairy dude does it again. Another album of gold. This album is obviously much more "Woman King" than it is "Our Endless Numbered Days" but the arrangements are so great. Every instrument adds something to each song. "Carousel" is my favorite by far.

Manchester Orchestra - I'm Like a Virgin Losing a Child

Bearded lead singer! They're very young! Apparently most of these guys are too young to drink at the clubs they typically play in ... which is pretty impressive considering they've already opened for the likes of the Kings of Leon. Anyway, this album is a solid rock album. You might even say rock-solid album. Too cheesy? I agree. "I gotta take what I'm makin' and turn it into something!"

Marc Broussard - S.O.S.: Save Our Soul

Motown! What else do you need to say. One of the already more soulful dudes around decided to do an album of Motown covers. From track 1 (You Met Your Match), you're hooked. And then he gets around to covering my favorite Marvin Gaye song "Make Me Wanna Holler" (previously covered by John Mayer).

Kanye West - Graduation

I dug his first album and then wasn't too crazy about his second album as a whole. But this album serves as a great junior effort. (Are you allowed to say "junior" referring to the third of something? Cuz people say "sophomore" referring to the second of something all the time. I say yes.) I love "I Wonder" and "Flashing Lights". "Somethin' in your blouse got me feelin' so aroussssed."

2007 sleeper hits

Here are some individual songs that I've had for a long time, but man were they workin' during 2007.

One Way Out - The Allman Brothers Band

This one's off the "Almost Famous" soundtrack and somewhere along the line this year I decided the wailing guitars on this song are ... incendiary ... incendiary. Does anyone remember laughter?

Out of the Sky - Van Hunt

I got this album a couple years ago based on someone at SPIN's top 10 list and the album was decent, but not remarkable. This song came on randomly one day and I decided it was awesome. It has three distinctive parts and they all rule.

Shoot to Thrill - ACDC

I know this album has sold like 10 billion copies so I'm not breaking any ground here, but man this song is great. The breakdown is on par with some of my favorite rock breakdowns of all time. "Shhhhhhoot ya down."

In summary ...

It was a big year for Canada. It was a big year for chicks. Can't wait to see what 2008 has to offer.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

1,000 Miles

Apparently, I would RUN 1,000 miles ... and we'll see if I would run 1,000 more. (Corniest joke ever on this blog? Probably.)

Check it out by clicking here.