Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Weekend Warrior, Monday Mourning Malcontent

This past weekend I celebrated my 49th birthday. I was not looking forward to it. In fact, I was all set to cue up Morrisey's "Unhappy Birthday" in my boom box and lament the remarkable passage of time in my unremarkable life. But I have to say, it was smashing! For starters, I actually didn't have to work a weekend shift at my job. My two favorite tennis players (Justine Henin-Hardenne and Roger Federer) made the finals of the Australian Open and one of them (Federer) won. My girlfriend gave me sexual favors (thanks sweetie!), a Kinks CD, a Dylan book and last, but not least, a Magic Wand and Mirror Playset from the Family Dollar store (to assuage my Inner Princess). My non-erotic companion Big Dave Cawley (King of Men) gifted me with Jerry Beck's awesome new scholarly tome, The Animated Movie Guide. My "Classroom Scare Films" program got reviewed in the paper and a record number of people turned out see it at the Pratt Library. I got to see some crazy experimental films by my favorite crazy experimental filmmaker, Martha Colburn (pictured below), when she made a rare pitstop in Baltimore at the Ottobar. I also got to see a great documentary on the Ballets Russe at the Charles Theatre (and learned that Yvonne Craig - who portrayed Batgirl on ABC-TV's 1960s series Batman - was a member of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo from 1954 to 1957!). And I dined like a diety on a mortal's equivalent of nectar and ambrosia (in this case pan-seared oysters in a delish fennel and pernod sauce, savory grilled salmon and soul-soothing Shiraz wine) at my favorite restaurant, Henninger's Tavern (where genial host-with-the-most Kenny Veith spoiled me with a bottle of Macallan single malt Scotch, hmm-hmm good!). For two fleeting days during my birthday weekend, I was King of the Hill, Top of the Heap, A-Number 1, Ichiban, Da Man!

But that was then and this is now. Come Monday morning, I had plummeted helter skelter from the top of the heap down to my rightful place as a subterranean bottom feeder, once more resuming my ineffectual and Sisyphean efforts to roll my mortal coil back up the hill of existence. My weekend pass was over and I had to return back to the base. Back to my 364-days-a-year So Called Life. In other words, back to the Daily Axe to Grind for me, The Angriest Librarian in the World. The new year is young and I've already sharpened my scythe to the point where it can cut the wind and make it bleed.

Things That Annoy Me Already in the New Year, 2006

I'm sure I'll have more as the year progresses. These will have to do for now.

1. Slammin' the Slams -
I love how there are only four Grand Slam events in professional tennis and yet coverage of this much maligned sport is relegated to ESPN2 (meanwhile the main ESPN will cover everything from Women's Colege Baseball to Competitive Eating Contests). I can live with that, as I understand how tennis is a love that dare not speak its name and must resort to alternative communication channels, like pirate radio in the UK back in the 70s. But ESPN2 had the nerve to cut away from the Australian Open final this year immediately after the final point to cover a meaningless indoor track and field competition. I read in the paper the next day that my boy Roger Federer, who normally shows as much emotion as The Terminator, broke down in tears at the award presentation. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see this historic event, as ESPN immediately cut to the breathtaking excitement of showing a bunch of gazelles in short shorts doing endless laps around a non-descript indoor facility. Hey ESPN, If I want to watch people jogging, I can go to the park. A Grand Slam is a big deal, whether it's in Tennis or on the menu at Denny's! Don't treat it like it was as routine an event as a best in show dog competition or a bowling match!

2. Chain-smoking Hipsters at the Ottobar -
I reluctantly went to the Ottobar last Friday night to pay homage to Martha Colburn, erstwhile Baltimorean and filmmaker genius, whose experimental shorts will one day will required watching in film study courses and whose name will no doubt appear alongside Mekas, Kuchar, Baldwin and her other experimental film idols as required reading in film history textbooks. I wasn't much interested in seeing the headlining band, Deer Hoof, but I figured if Martha liked them, they must be pretty cool.

But my Spidey senses started tingling the minute I approached the Ottobar. I swear I could SMELL the smoke OUTSIDE the club before I even stepped through the side door, a billious cloud of foul odor seemingly surrounding me like Pigpen in Peanuts. Every single person in Baltimore's indie rock Mecca smokes. Incessantly. And rudely. You'd think that if you were 6 foot 5 inches tall and brandishing a red hot fuming stick of tobacco nitrates that you'd be slightly cognizant of your immense presence and your close-at-hand surroundings. But no, people just light up and stand in front of you with no regard for your existence, without even a passing attempt at manners like, "I'm sorry, am I in your way" or "Sorry, is my smoke bothering you?" These people also like to stand near fans which ideally would suck the smoke upwards but instead tend to whip it back into your face, where it wreaks havoc with contact lenses wearers. I know I sound like an anti-smoking crank but lemme tell you, I smoked for 17 years! I was good at it. And I LOVED it while I smoked. But I was always defensive about it, always worried that perhaps my pleasure and enjoyment was infringing on the comfort level or health of others. These were the days when one could smoke in restaurants and office buildings, when it was a voluntary decision to refrain from smoking around those who didn't care for it. And I liked to have some personal space around me when indulging my dirty sweet little vice - I really believed in those Salem Country ads where my smoke was wafting away in the clear blue country skies. But how can Ottobar scenesters enjoy their smokes when they're packed in like sardines and the smoke billows up in your face? It's like farting in an elevator.

Now that it's legally mandated, smokers tend to light up with abandon in the few places they're allowed to indulge in their pleasure, like addicts in an opium den. But just because you're in a roomful of frat boys doesn't mean everybody has to fart and act retarded. Likewise, hipsters should exercise some moderation in their drinking and smoking regimen. Just as drinking until you pass out doesn't make you any smarter, any sexier, or any more interesting, smoking non-stop doesn't make you any more of a rock star, a writer, a bohemian, an intellectual or Serge Gainsbourg. It just makes your voice raspy, your clothes (and those of anyone near year) stinky and your eyes dry and irritated. Forget about the health issues. I'm just talking superficial skin-deep surface impressions here. Or as Martha Colburn commented to me about the Twentysomething Ottobar scene, "Geeze, the bar scene here is like Puberty!" This from a wizened old 31-year-old! Hey hipsters, here's a suggestion: instead of reflexively reaching for your ciggies during those awkward moments when you're not sucking down Natty Bohs screaming "Yeah!" at the band, try this - try doing something else with your mouth, like maybe having a conversation. Groucho Marx loved his cigars but, as he once responded to a young father who told him he had a half-dozen kids, even he took his cigar out of his mouth once in a while. And at over $30 a carton, wouldn't you wantto be a little more frugal with your dough so you can buy more tunes for your iPOD? (In today's Nouveau Boho Economy, hipsters will dress down like bums - donning the doughty ski caps favored by hip-hop gangbangers, the torn cardigan sweaters of the Grunge movement, and the ever-popular gas station attendant and bowling shirts favored by urban hillbillies - yet spend a small fortune on iPODs, cigarettes. Yet they drink Natty Bohs. Go figure.)

3. Attention-Deficit Indie Rock Bands Like Deer Hoof -
I can be still be hip (or almost hip),
I thought, as I prepared to take in the Deer Hoof show at the Ottobar Friday night. And these guys are supposed to be good, what with the City Paper writing them up, and Martha Colburn endorsing them and all. But the minute the show started I smelled an egg. For one thing, they just started into to playing, not a "Hello, Cleveland!," not a peep, just bang off right into it. So much for showmanship and stage charisma. I then I had that uneasy feeling you have when you realize something isn't what you think it is, that you will have to suffer through something others find appealing (like when I bite my tongue while jocks talk about football). All of a sudden all four Hooves started playing different out-of-synch sounds and I felt like I was at one of those cacphonous High Zero art jams. then the realization came, They don't play songs, they just make noise. And noise annoys. Like so many indie rock bands these days with the weird names - Goatfish, The Shitheads, and so - they noodle, they jam, they go in about fifteen different directions all in the course of one "number," like they're practicing or playing jazz. And the minute a pattern starts to emerge, the second a melody starts to emerge from the cacaphony - WHAM, back to the JAM! Don't get me wrong, I think the drummer's aces - this guy had passion and was unbelievable to watch as he kicked out these off-kilter 7/11, 11/7 jazz counts, anything but 4/4, getting a huge, driving sound out of the most stripped down kit - a snare, a pint-sized bass drum and a high-hat - imaginable. But no songs! The Asian guitar player chick did her whispery "La-la-la" thing into the mic and I'm sure there's a market for that, but Kahimi Karie and a whole slew of J-Pop singers have done the Claudine Longet whisper chant before, and the bass and lead guitarist just worked their way up and down the frets riffing aimlessly. With a kick-out-the-jams style like this, who would know if they were messing up? It's too easy to be free, it's much harder to be tight and constrained to the beginning, middle, end structure of this thing we call "songs."

Of course, I could see why Martha liked these guys. Their music is a perfect soundtrack for the visual anarchy of her films. And I can see stoners listening to this stuff while they nod out. It's basically background music, something to listen to while doing the dishes or while sipping coffee at hip cafes. It's just not something I enjoy watching or listening to live as a performance

4. Being Underwhelmed by Wilco -
I was listening to a WTMD theme song block about drinking and driving (I guess it was because Towson University students started back to school on January 30) and heard some song that sounded like the Replacements, "something about hold the wheel while I'm drinking." The vocalist had a raspy voice like Paul Westerberg, the band sounded like a more polished 'Mats, and the subject matter was pure Replacements/Rock 'n' Roll Bad Boys. In other words, it's all been done before. The DJ said the band was Wilco, whose name I would venture comes from that "Roger, Wilco" protocol pilots and other uniformed professionals use, which means literally, "Yes, I will copy." And how! Color me unimpressed. I do like the fact that the leader's last name is Tweedy. Like Mr. Tweedy in the newspaper funnies. Now that was a cool dude!

Hearing it on Towson's radio station made me think back to last year, when I overheard two returning-to-TU jocks at Panera Bread talking about the back-to-school grind. "What is it about this town?" one baseball-capped yahoo whined. "Another semester, another DUI!" Yeah, that is a shame about our quaint, provincial laws that tyrannically impose their quaint, provincial smackdown on irresponsible self-indulgence. How L7. How un-Rock 'n' Roll!

5. People on Cell Phones Anywhere, But Specifically at the Grocery Store Talking Into Hands-Free Units
"Hmmm, I think I'll have a Spinach Salad. haven't had one of those in a while." When I heared this, I started to respond to the woman behind me, because I'm a big fan of this food genre as well. But I saw she was not talking to me, ambling by and keeping up a steady conversation with herself. Or so I thought. People who talk to themselves are usually demented, and I thought the poor woman was retarded (sorry, "special"). But now, she was talking into one of those wireless, hands-free cell phone attachments, regaling her friend on the other end of the phone with the most minute and mundane details of her eating regimen. How fascinating it must be for her friend, and everyone else in Eddie's Supermarket, to hear how the "Fresh fruit is good, helps my digestion." Thanks - as always - for sharing, Public Cell Phone Users Everywhere! What's next, discussion of your wiping technique in the Toilet Paper aisle? ("I like the Charmin with Aloe and Vitamin E, it's kind to my ass.")

6. People That Say "Excuse Me!" As an Excuse To Rudely Interrupt Others -
A day doesn't go by that I'm not interrupted with this faux pleasantry, usually accompanied by a waving hand or the verbal assailant's face thrust inches away from mine, while at my library gig. What is it with people today? When I'm on the phone or in the middle of a conversation with a patron, or when there is a line of people who are patiently waiting to be "next in line"...why do you think you're not annoying The Harried Librarian by your interruption. Wouldn't you hate it if I was answering you're thrust-upon-me question by someone else interrupting you with an "Excuse me!" No, I won't excuse you. Take a ticket and get in line. You are not special and your needs are not any more urgent than the next person's. So get over yourself. Really, this is a valuable life lesson in You Can't Always Get What You Want When You Want It. Don't believe me? Try being impatient the next time a cop pulls you over. It doesn't go over very well. In fact, chances are the cop will take even MORE time if you act all bothered and in a hurry. You'll learn what you should have learned in kindergarten when they taught you all about "Yes, please, thanks" - the Manners 101 part of Society's Social Contract.

7. Taco Bell's "Good To Go Guy" -
I actually don't hate the Verizon "Can You Hear Me Now" Guy any more because of this new irritation, whose bell I'd love to ring. But my words can't do justice to the Taco Bell beatdown done by the good folks at This Is What We Do Now, so please check out their hilarious posts at: The only thing that's "good to go" is your worthless existence.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Baltimore Guide Reviews "Classroom Scare Films"

Below is a reprint of Mary Helen Sprecher's review of my "Classroom Scare Films" program at the Enoch Pratt Free Library. It originally appeared in the January 27, 2006 issue of the neighborhood newspaper The Baltimore Guide.

Run for Cover but be Polite—
Classroom Scare Films Return

by Mary Helen Sprecher

It’s a celebration of movies, but it doesn’t feature a red carpet. Nobody will show up tottering around on skyscraper-height stiletto heels and dripping designer jewels while wearing a gown that stays up despite its blatant defiance of the principles of physics. And if there are any VIPs in attendance, they’ll be there in spirit only.

VIPs like Soapy The Germ Fighter and his protege, Billy Martin. Mr. Bungle, the puppet of rudeness. Woody, the socially inept student. Bert The Turtle who could survive nuclear catastrophes only because he was prepared. And all the other characters used by educators in an attempt to keep students neat, clean and out of trouble.

It’s all waiting at the Classroom Scare Film Festival, to be presented on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2 p.m.-4 p.m. at the Enoch Pratt Free Library at 400 Cathedral Street.

A classroom scare film, by definition — well, there is no real definition. At least not the kind one would find in Webster’s. But it’s the kind of film students are shown over the years in order to teach them good hygiene, proper posture, acceptable manners, sex education, safe driving, and so many other important lessons in life.

“I think ‘classroom scare films’ is just a fun, convenient term for cautionary/instructional/educational films that attempted to indoctrinate captive audiences in the proper ways of mental hygiene and physical safety,” says Pratt librarian Tom Warner, who developed the film fest.

The films, he adds, were made to teach the behaviors that could make children into better citizens and, as a result, into responsible adults. “They just cut to the chase rather quickly and bluntly because young audiences are impressionable and have short attention spans.”

The common denominators? Bad acting, laughable fashions, terrible special effects and sometimes, completely incomprehensible messages.

Which only makes them even more appealing to Warner.

“I collect these things,” says Warner, who works in the Media and Audiovisual Department of the Pratt. “They have a real kitsch value now.”

Warner refers to his collection as “ephemeral films” — things that touch the lives of students without making a lasting impression on culture.

“I remember seeing the sex-ed films,” he says. “We had to relate to why we were watching pigs coupling. “

Most of the classroom scare films came from a bygone era in education when fewer teachers or schools were comfortable with providing direct instruction in taboo subjects like sex or hygiene. The films, therefore, were an easy way to satisfy the requirement of providing an education in a nonconfrontational manner.

“I think (scare films) are still being made today, but they are not as blunt and corny as they were before. It’s an evolving genre,” says Warner.

These days, safe sex, political correctness and good hygiene are topics that students become intimately familiar with at a much younger age, and many of the so-called educational films have gone by the wayside.

Or they’ve wound up in the collections of aficionados like Warner. Many of the films, he notes, are now in the public domain, and are available for sale, or on the Internet.

“A lot of them,” he adds, “have become culturally significant. Remember Dick York from “Bewitched?” He was in (a classroom scare film entitled) “The Last Date.” It was where he got his start.”

In “The Last Date,” made in 1949, York played a reckless, fast-driving bad boy whose blatant disregard for the principles of road safety led to a new fad the film’s narrator referred to as ‘teenacide.’ (Yes, that Dick York, who played the buttoned-down ad exec who routinely got appalled when his witchy TV wife Samantha wiggled her nose).

Something all classroom scare films have in common, says Warner, is their philosophy that risky behavior invariably begets bad results.

“If someone runs with scissors, they’re going to fall on them. If someone has a B.B. gun, they’re going to shoot their best friend’s eye out. If someone works around machinery and is careless, they’re going to lose a finger. If someone drives fast, they’re going to get killed.”

And if someone doesn’t wash his hands, he’s going to wind up getting a late-night visit from Soapy the Germ Fighter. In “Let’s Be Clean and Neat!” (1951), a young boy named Billy Martin was introduced to a talking bar of soap who showed him that good hygiene wouldn’t make him a sissy, and that the two could become partners against slime.

Most of the films are 10 to 12 minutes long, with some being as short as three minutes. One entry, “Stoned: An Anti-Drug Film” (1980) was an ABC After School Special (remember those?) that has been edited down to 30 minutes. (Bonus fact: It features Scott Baio of “Happy Days” and “Charles in Charge” fame as a high school nerd who turns to marijuana in order to achieve popularity — with predictably near-tragic results.)

The camp factor, says Warner, cannot be underestimated. In the 1959 classic, “Lunchroom Manners,” for example, children learned how not to behave through the bad example of a puppet named Mr. Bungle. In “Dating Do’s and Don’ts” (circa 1949), an announcer with a sonorous voice instructed Woody the socially clueless nerd on the fine art of asking a girl for a date.

And then there are the movies that can be described only as a product of their time. In 1951’s “Duck and Cover,” Bert The Turtle showed school children survival skills to be used in the event of an “atomic attack.” (Curl up under your desk in a fetal position and protect your head with your hands).

Another film, “One Got Fat,” was, according to Warner, “just the strangest bicycle safety video ever made. It was these kids riding around on bicycles and they were all wearing ape masks. You didn’t really know what it was about. It was like a Devo video or something. At the end of the film, the message is ‘Don’t monkey around with bicycles,’ but you don’t really get that while you’re watching it.”

(Oh, and the significance of the title, “One Got Fat?” Well, in a nutshell, a group of kids all pedal out together with the goal of having a picnic lunch in the park. Along the way, they (yes) monkey around, disregarding the rules of bicycle safety and one by one, fall down a manhole, are run over by a steamroller, hit by a car, ram a pedestrian, etc. — leaving the one safety-conscious child to eat the entire picnic lunch alone).

“The great thing about the classroom scare films or mental hygiene films is that they are a period piece, I believe,” says Warner, “in the same way you had the silent era, talkies, screwball comedies, epics, travelogues, and so on. They were of their times, a time of Cold War paranoia, of post-war middle class affluence when families believed in the American Dream of manners, affluence, prosperity, health — the whole social utopia that came with the end of the war.”

The two-hour-long film fest, says Warner, is something he has wanted to pull together for a long time. And it’s not all he has up his sleeve.

“I’m thinking of doing an April Fool’s Day special,” he says. “It’s going to be a series of parodies.” His voice starts to gain enthusiasm. “You know, movies like ‘Hardware Wars.’ It should be a lot of fun.”

Note: The Classroom Scare Film Festival is held at the Pratt Central Library, 400 Cathedral Street, in the Wheeler Auditorium, on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Info: 410-396-5430.

Related links:
Classroom Scare Films program guide
Baltimore Guide
Ben Korman's Blog Review

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Fortysomething: End of An Era

The woods decay, the woods decay and fall,
The vapours weep their burthen to the ground,
Man comes and tills the field and lies beneath,
And after many a summer dies the swan.

- Alfred Lord Tennyson, "Tithonus"

This week I turn 49, entering my last year of eligibility as a Fortysomething. And while some have said that Life Begins At Forty, I'm here to say nay, Life Begins To Deteriorate at Forty. As a wise man once said (well, actually it was my brother-in-law Bill, who qualifies as a wiseguy, if not a learned sage, and who is a chronlogical contemporary of mine), "At our age you gotta remember three golden rules:


1. Go to the bathroom whenever the opportunity arises.
(Sound advice, for Fortysomething is the Prostate Decade when you have to pee frequently, so if you don't, you'll need to pee in the middle of a movie, in the middle of the night, or in the middle of sex - whichever comes first or or most inconvenient. So learn to dance the Incontinental)

2. Never trust a fart.

(Another trusty truism. Fortysomethings who think they can release a little bowel ballast should be warned that it could lead to "Baby made a boom boom" accidents and a potential surprise in their adult diapers. Or the opposite - the false start of an IBS moment that will require a later amendment to the Constipation.)

3. If you get an erection, use it - whether you 're alone or with company.

(Ah yes, the dwindling sex drive. After decades of the old T&A bait and switch, sex tends to become an I've Seen This Movie Before - probably on the Spice Channel or Skinamax - so that when you get the urge, you should use it, even if you know there's a string attached to the end of that dangling carrot. And if you're alone, well, practice makes perfect. This is the point at which Internet porn becomes your young and titillating friend. And you'll be amazed at all those years you wasted having straight sex without the fun props - like Mardi Gras masks and a Batman costume - that make it so much more interesting!)(Just kidding!)

I can't argue with these rules. And, looking back on the decade, I can add a few more Forty Facts. This is what the Life Begins at Forty decade has been like for me.


1. Diminished vision.
My glasses and contacts prescription changed for the first time in 20 years. At work one day, I actually mistook a vase of flowers down the hall for a blonde co-worker who I thought was waving at me. "How's it going?" I reflexively blurted to the flora arrangement.

2. Reading glasses.
Not content to be myopically nearsighted to the point of legal blindness, now I can't see my own signature when writing checks without resorting to the half dozen pairs of reading glasses I keep scattered around the house and in my jacket. In restaurants, what was once considered a romantic candle-lit ambience is now seen as menu-reading eyestrain, necessitating pulling out my reading specs and a small flashlight.

3. Brittle bones.
Arthritis is a given, as are calcium deposits and bone spurs as the old skeleton starts to creak (and it's too late to start drinking milk, which is disgusting in anything other than coffee anyway!). I've already had elbow surgery for tenditinis when I was 43, I was supposed to get surgery to repair torn cartilege in my ankle when I was 46 but I couldn't stand the idea of being in that ridiculous-looking "boot" for 6 weeks, and I am currently writing my blog with two sprained wrists resulting from tendinitis in the left wrist while lifting an Ikea bookself and probably a bone fracture in my right wrist resulting from smashing my PC monitor in frustration. Don't ask.

4. Muscle Pulls.
The Forties are the decade of low-impact aerobics and the exciting activities of WALKING and STRETCHING. I may actually take up Yoga next, as I've learned that even a routine bout of sex can leave me with a charley horse the next day. I actually had to go the the doctor to get treatment for a groin pull from overly strenuous sex last year. How embarassing! It makes you appreciate a little jiggle in your girlfriend's buttocks not just aesthetically, but as a healthy buffer for safe sex. Bony girlfriends can hurt you. Trust me on this one.

5. Ice packs and heating pads.
Applying these items becomes part of one's daily regimen, like setting the alarm and brushing one's teeth. In fact, it's an unusual night when I watch a movie or ballgame WITHOUT one of these applied to an injured area.

6. Drugs.
They are your friend when you turn 40. You don't have time to "let things work themselves out" when you get injured in your Forties. And it takes your body a LONG TIME to recover from the smallest of injuries, like a twisted ankle. It took me 10 days to get over a LEG CRAMP I suffered when I played tennis for the first time this year. I had to get out the crutches I got when I had my knee operation years ago (when I was a brittle Thirtysomething). Ibuprofen, painkillers, nightcaps of Scotch, all become part of your regular routine. And cortisone injections are the equivalent of orgasm. After all, the Forties are less about pleasure seeking and more about the cessation of pain. Ah, the cessation of pain: The New Pleasure!

7. Cantankerousness.
Also known as Old Man Syndrome. "In my day..." "These kids today!" "The Beatles were better than any of this indie shit today..." And so on and so on. See also: Road Rage and Grumpy Old Men.

8. Watching and Reading the News

I used to watch a lot more movies and TV shows and to go straight to the Arts section of the newspaper. But now I tend to switch to CNN or MSNBC to watch news reports and the Op-Ed page is the fisrt column I turn to in the newspaper.

9. Crowning Achievements.
The Forties are the beginning of the end of far as teeth and gums go. I got my first crown last year - finally giving me something to relate to with my parents. I used to think they were obsessive about their teeth, but now I understand why they were always using waterpicks, and flossing, and eating soft foods. I stopped chewing gum and gave up eating hard pretzels as a result of my crown. I've learned to like yogurt and apple sauce, as well. They are "kinder and gentler" crown-friendly foods.

10. Slower Metabolism.
You can't get away with eating whatever you want anymore. A few extra donuts or french fries here and there go straight to the love handles. Same with beer. I tend not to drink as much, or to drink the dreaded "lite" beers because if I don't, well I have to go running the next day. And that means I will probably pull a muscle, twist an ankle, apply the aforementioned ice packs and heating pads, and nurse my injuries while watching the latest news on CNN that night. Plus the slower metabolism means you need to drink more fluids because you dehydrate easier, and this makes it harder to digest what you've eaten, necessitating taking a fiber supplement or Metamucil or eating more roughage to avoid IBS.

11. If You Want It, You Can't Have It
Kenny Vieth's Aging Axiom for the Ages holds true. Everything I like is bad for me. Spicy foods and caffeine overstimulate the prostate, making me pee. Thai and Indian ciusines are high in sugars, sodium, and carbs, adversely affecting my blood pressure, which is currently borderline high. Alcohol also contributes to high blood pressure and too much, without exercise, leads to middle-aged paunch - just look at the formerly lanky Jimmy Page's bloodhound jowls from drinking all that whisky (it finally caught up with him and now he looks like McGruff the Crime Fighting Dog)!. And I love coffee, but in addition to the debilitating effect it has on my ability to hold water, it also dyhyrates me, leading to IBS issues as well as making me more prone to sports injuries like cramping and muscle pulls. And another thing you can't have: young girls. Leering at them when you're Thirtysomething is expected, but by the time you're Fortysomething, leering at co-eds is considered the perverted behavior of a dirty old man going through a mid-life crisis. Unless you're Mick Jagger (then it's expected).

12. The Future's So Bright I Have To Wear (Prescription Bifocal) Shades
Things to look forward to next year, as I hit the half century mark: mandatory prostate and colonostomy exams. Also, hair starts to fall out where you want it (scalp) and proliferates where you don't want it (nose, ears). Lovely!

Related Links:
Fortysomething (Brit TV Sitcom)
The Deathclock: When Am I Going To Die?
Removing Ear & Nose Hairs
Urinary Incontinence
Reading Glasses

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Glam Slam

Glamour Returns To the WTA
I've been staying up way past my bedtime to watch the late-night broadcasts of the Australian Open - 2006's first WTA Grand Slam tournament - and for a tennis fanatic like me, it's been great. Amidst all the blowhard blather by broadcasters like Mary Joe Fernandez and Luke Jensen about the heat, the Swiss success story (Roger Federer, as usual, on the men's side and now the return of 3-time Australian Open champion Martina Hingus on the ladies' side), and the lack of fitness/dedication regarding the Williams Sisters, the big story for me has been the return of Glamour to the women's game. No, I'm not talking about Maria Sharapova. That's too obvious. I'm talking about how the Iron Curtain has been pulled back to reveal its crushed blue velvet lining, one covering a model's runway of attractive Eastern European divas clad (rather skimpily, at that) in style and beauty. Like Daniela Hantucho (pictured above left). What's love got to do with it? Everything.


I used to think the most photogenic women on the WTA Tour were Russians, but after seeing the ascendence of two model-pretty players from the former Czechoslovakia, Iveta Benesova (Czech Republic) and Daniela Hantuchova (Slovakia), I think the Hottie Torch has been passed. To a new generation of long-legged Hip-sters whose dearth of clothing has gained them, and their games, an excess of exposure.

Hips Hips Hooray!

At 5-11 and 121 pounds, 22-year-old Daniela Hantuchova (shown at left and above) looks light as a feather - almost anorexic - and many pundits thought she might be blown off the court by her gargantuan Third Round opponent, Serena Williams. But lean prevailed over mean, as she proved Giant Killer in her 6-1, 7-6 dethroning of the defending Australian Open champion. And for all the press given Serena's tres gauche fashion over the past few years (the boot sneakers, the self-designed jewelry-adorned tops), I was surpised that no one commented on Hantuchova's sartorial splendor.
Wearing a halter top with low-rise, hip-hugging Daisy Duke hot pants, the first thing I noticed was her exposed, taut tummy and - the truly sexy part - the Pelvic V. Yes, you could actually see her pelvic bones forming a V, pointing down to reveal the upper-most region of her pubis zone. I felt like I was watching a teen at the mall. I'm talking about hips, gentlemen. The new Erogenous Zone. In fact her outfit was the same as the Nike ensemble worn by Anastasia Myskina in the second round (see photo), though Myskina didn't show as much Pelvic V.

Then 22-year-old Iveta Benesova, Second Round upsetter of the resurgent Mary Pierce showed early promise (going up 3-1 in the first set) - and inimitable sexiness - in her Third Round loss to the newly resurgent Martina Hingus before succumbing to the heat and erratic serving in a 4-6, 2-6 loss to the Tour Comeback Kid.

Just like Hantuchova, Benesova wore a tiny halter top that showed off her flat belly and Pelvic V area, though her bottom of choice was a miniskirt in place of hot pants. Benesova is a tad meatier and curvier than her Czech mate in the hip area, possessing what what one might call "child bearing hips" on her slender frame. She comports herself with a laconic grace, carefully arcing her swan-like neck up as she prepares to toss and serve, and moving with a elegant, stately composure between points. Facially her Slavic square jaw and the steely-blue intensity of her eyes make her resemble Charlie Sheen (stay with me here, it's not what you think and I'm NOT gay!), but her physique and the way she wears her hair made me think of a another Czech beauty, Mrs. Ric Ocasek, Paulina Porizkova.

Reet & Petite

Beyond their Eastern European good looks, these women also are incredibly fit and share an attractive style of play. I think the message is clear: fitness matters and will be rewarded. (Are you listening Serena? Let me spell it out for you: GET FIT, FATTY! You've got youthful vigor and talent, but it only goes so far. At a certain point, a hurler has to become a pitcher; a big swinger has to become a hitter. Tennis is a rhythm sport and you can't just play an intermittent schedule and hope to blow people away with your raw physical power and abilities. Practice does make perfect!)

Martina Hingus retired from the game in 2001 mainly because of her foot and heel injury problems, but also because the Swiss Miss sensed she was unable to compete at the highest level with the big heavy-hitting gals like the Williams Sisters, Lindsey Davenpprt, and Jennifer Capriati. But the heavy guns have been inconsistent over the last few years as the little gals have caught up with fitness and wiles - some even beefing up, as Justine Henin-Hardenne did, when she hired a personal trainer and added some muscle to her diminuitive frame. Henin-Hardenne was the first Giant Killer, knocking off Serena Williams to win the French Open several years ago, an unthinkable accomplishment at the time. She was petite, had a one-handed backhand and did not have an overpowering serve. Yet she found a way to knock off a number of hard-serving, baseline bangers. The door was opened.

Anyway, here's my list for the Top Tennis Hotties currently on tour. And yes, I included an Argentinian and some Swiss Misses. And no, there is no mention of Anna Kournikova because that fat-faced little prima donna under-achiever never won a WTA singles title in 130 attempts - what a loser! (OK, she did win 16 doubles titles, including one of her two Australian Open doubles titles with Martina Hingus, back when they were known as the "Spice Girls of Tennis." But doubles titles are shared and she couldn't win a title herself other than "best looking" - and that only from men's magazine hacks!)

THE WTA GLAMOUR GALS: Tennis' Top Hotties

1. Elena Dementieva (Russia)- Her glutes are maximus and miraculous (there is no female tennis player who I enjoy watching more as she receives serve), but it is her long legs that are to die for. Alas, she is plagued by a serve to die from, the weakest first serve on the circuit.

2. Daniela Hantuchova (Slovakia) - From Apechild.com's Blog: Daniela, the Slovakian hottie who is often compared to Anna for her good looks as much as her game, is often considered the supermodel of tennis due to her height and beauty. But unlike Anna, tennis seems to be the number one priority for Daniela. "I'm just enjoying every minute on the court. I know what it takes to be the best, to work hard every day. That's what I'm trying to do ... And yes, I'm single." For a great profile of Daniela, see ESPN Magazine's "Glam Slam" article.
3. Iveta Benesova (Czech)
4. Maria Kilienko (Russia)

5. Maria Sharapova (Russia) - She is cute, I'll give her that.

6. Anastasia Myskina (Russia) - I loved her when she won the 2004 French Open, a rail-thin gazelle with that beautiful backhand and quick as a hummingbird, but lately she's starting to remind me a little too much of Marilyn Manson. Like her namesake, Anastasia has run into a little trouble in her past. Like a nude photo session when she was 20 that included a tribute to Catherine the Great. To see these equestrian photos, click here: Useless Junk.Com. Below is a photo from the session that looks like a tribute to the import cover of 1969's Blind Faith album.

I like this pensive photo, as well:

7. Martina Hingus (Switzerland) - Still rather cute at 25,especially when she smiles.

8. Gisela Dulko(Argentina)

9.Ana Inovic (Serbia)

10. Patty Schnyder (Switzerland) - Since her 1998 breakthrough, the nutty Swiss Miss fell under the influence of not one but two German rogue boyfriends (including bogus "faith healer" Rainer Harnecker), fired her coach, alienated her family and friends, and put her career in jeopardy with weird training regimens like a diet consisting of nothing but orange juice. But hertalents are undeniable and she has great legs, possibly second only to Dementieva's. For more on her troubled past, see Patty Schynder and Her "Faith Healer" Coach.

11. Tatiana Golovin (Russia) - Here she is showing camel toe at the Dubai Open.

12. Nicole Vaidisova (Czech Republic) - Another model-pretty, soft-skinned star from the land of the Velvet Revolution.

13. Karolina Sprem (Croatia)

14. Barbara Schett (Germany) - She looks like a young Nicole Sheridan in the first photo below:

15. Jana Kandarr (Germany) - I say "Ja!" to Jana!

Related Links:

Daniela Hantuchova "Glam Slam" article (ESPN Magazine)

The New Babes of Tennis (Apechild.com Blog)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Attack of the MySpace Sex Scam Girls

I knew it was just a matter of time. I joined MySpace to meet new friends and touch base with old ones, and to share our mutual likes, dislikes and pop cultural arcana. Like the Internet itself, though, it was just a matter of time before a great idea for communicating with others became subverted to the new high-tech Powers of Evil: Spam Marketing and Sex Scams.

That's why my new "friend" Kelly - pictured above in her "I can't possibly show you my nipples...we just met and I 'barely' know you - lol!" pose) just sent me (and no doubt a few hundred of her other close personal friends) this unsolicited message that appeared in my Bulletin box:

Hey guys, hope everyones doing good. Just wanted to say love u all and thanks for being my friend. Im live on my cam right now. so all of you who wanted to watch me and chat with me, im on cam now. Remember my cam is all free but you need to sign up first to verify age. Hope to see you guys soon
love ya

I don't know much about Kelly or even how she became my friend. But I do know this:

1. Kelly is very attractive. Not outrageously so. But enough that it is safe to assume that Mick Jagger would have sex with her. And about 1,124 of the 1,124 men listed in her Friends box.

2. Like all attractive girls in MySpace who post "revealing" pictures, Kelly fits the cookie cutter sex scam profile: She is 18-21, likes populist mainstream culture, and is a model/actress/stripper/self-styled "celebrity." All it takes to achieve the latter status is a Webcam, apparently. The only twist (and it must be for some purpose, perhaps to prove that she's an All-American Midwesterner), is that she's from Cleveland. Most gals claim they are from Southern California.

3. Like all the other 18- to 21-year-old girls, Kelly has a side service to offer. In her case it's a live Web Cam. It is NOT free. Other 18- to 21-year-old Hotties have Photo Clubs you may join. Many are the provence of their professional photographer boyfriends or employers.

4. Kelly has many sexually suggestive pics in her Pics Profile. They elicit almost exclusively male, totally dim-witted, testosterone-driven and obvious responses ranging from "Damn girl, that azz is phat, I wanna hit dat!" (from a charming lad named mike-wanna-cum whose picture showed him wearing a backward baseball cap while flexing his biceps) to "how u doin sexy jus came by to show u da lovin dat only way i kno how" from a hip-hoppin' text-messagin' e.e. cummings wannabe whose method of showing his "lovin'" was to post a picture of his upwardly mobile reproductive organ clad in a leather thong (how this pic got past Tom the Myspace Gatekeeper is beyond me!)

5. Kelly's pics indicate that she likes to take baths in heels, bra and panties, as shown below:

6. Kelly's pics attract men who all seem to look like Vin Diesel. Frat boys, basically, who think they have more class than their Animal House ilk because they have wear a hip-hop doo-rag or shave their tiny craniums like the action stars they've seen on the big screen at the Cineplex. And these would-be "playas" either work narcisistically building up their biceps and abs to attract the ideal opposite sex partner, or are rockers testing the potential stripper girlfriend market. The latter invariably post a pic ofthemselves playing guitar and looking like they play in Limp Bizkit. Charmers one and all, to be sure. They have obviously studied the art of the modern courtesan - as depicted on, say, The OC - all too well.

7. Kelly opens up a little and sheds her barely clad shyness once you leave her MySpace profile and access her Web site. She also appears to have aged (one mouse click later and she's suddenly 20!). And to look like another completely different girl. Who gets down. Here's her/their Webcam profile:
Comment: Hi guys, Im Kelly im 20 yrs old and Im always horny. I just got my webcam a couple months ago because my friend talked me into it, now im addicted. I am on it all the time getting wild and crazy, even my girlfriends even love coming over and joining me on my cam. Just sign up and watch me for free.

8. While I enjoy looking at Kelly's FREE pics, I would never pay to see her Webcasts or even fantzsize about her because of her ATROCIOUS "About Me" profile. Can anyone be this stupid? Dave Matthews? Country Music? Adam Sandler? See full, distasteful profile details below:
General Interests:
My webcam .. My coach bag .. The color pink and white ... movies, dinner west 6 th donwtown cleveland... Shooters , yes I can get in! hahahha.... i dont know my guess jeans and my coach purse? lol

Dave mathews... john mayor.....paul van dyk ... oakenfold... d fuse... coldplay.... faith hill... anything country i love country .. save a horse .. ride me.. :)~
Movies cruel intentions.. legally blonde 1 @ 2 .. harry potter ... anything adam sandler and anything where they think blondes are stupid :) he he he ... And I love lifetime movies :)~

Television: Oc Oc OC OC OC OC OC OC OC .. ok and sex in the city ... and well cartoons on Sunday when I actually wake up... watching myself on mywebcam .lol

Not surprisingly, she left the Books column blank. (But that's probably OK to her 1,124 male friends because, as we all know, books are for nerds while "hot girls" are too busy doing shooters and dancing in clubs to bother with stuff like, um, ideas. Except in the bedroom, of course.)

Sorry Kelly. You plugged your Web Cam twice - as many times as you used that irritating "lol" e-mail convention. And you like Adam Sandler. Even if you stepped right out of my Libido and fit my Ideal Fantasy - i.e., showing up at my door wearing nothing more than knee-high go-go boots, a Hello Kitty thong, and a smile, while holding a carry-out order of Thai Green Curry with Chicken, a bottle of single malt Scotch, and a pack of Kimono condoms while pleading "Please let's stay up late and watch tennis results from the Australian Open," I'd STILL have to say no and send you away. Dave Matthews, Country Music, and Adam Sandler?

C'mon. A man's got his pride. Can't go for that, no can do!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Why I Hate Mick Jagger

I never bought into that rock-yahoo sloganeering that proclaimed The Rolling Stones to be The Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band in the World (hereafter: TGRNRBITW), maybe because I was always first and foremost a Beatles fan. They seemed to do everything first, and better, than the Stones, who always seemed to play a game of catch-up, of following the (undisputed) Leader. And, quite frankly, I never thought it was a Hertz vs. Avis, or No. 1 vs. No. 2 battle of the bands anyway - heck, I'd have the Kinks, the Who, the Small Faces, maybe even the Zombies ahead of them in the No. 2 queue. But because friends whose opinions I respect kept telling me to reconsider, I have recently immersed myself in Stones films, books and records to reaccess their oeuvre and see if perhaps I missed something. And I've been able to put my finger on why I never bought into the TGRNRBITHW rap: Mick Jagger. He's a dick. Plain and simple.

But what about longevity, you say? The Stones have spanned 5 decades, therefore they are truly TGRNRBITHW ! Well, the Holy Roman Empire lasted nearly a millennium and the word on the street is it wasn't so hot as empires go. And how long has Cats been running on Broadway? I rest my case! Merely sticking around isn't a guarantee of fame and acclaim. If it was, the bums loitering outside my library would be celebrities and Generalissimo Franco would have been inducted into the Dictators Hall of Fame by now.

But before I take the piss out of Mick, let me mitigate my rant with a few kind words about the others...I pretty much like all the other Stones.

Keith - Keith is a guy who, while he probably deprived the world of greater musicianship and a foil to make himself play better by letting superior guitarist Mick Taylor go and be replaced by his no-threat drink-and-drug buddy Ronnie Wood, always did what he wanted. Where Mick wanted hits, Keith never followed the prevailing winds of musical fashion, instead playing whatever he liked, which just happened to be recycled R&B and Chuck Berry riffs, much like another guitarist I respect - Marc Bolan. Bonus Points: Keith ripped his singer an extra orifice when he became Sir Mick in '92 and also shattered the urban legend about Mick's Priapic proportions in August 2005 when he said, "His cock's on the end of his nose. And a very small one at that. Huge balls, small cock. Ask Marianne Faithful."

Brian - Though his Buster Brown bowl cut hairdo inspired a generation of pedophiles and though he never understood the concept of birth control (having sired 5 illegitimate children by the time he was 24!), I give Brian props for being a flash dresser, for being the most articulate Stone in interviews, and for inspiring Anton Newcombe to name his band the Brian Jonestown Massacre. And by dying young (at the ever popular rock star expiration date of 27, a la Hendrix, Joplin, Morrison), he became a cult legend.

Mick Taylor - Classic tall and silent type, i.e., a total boor. But the Shy Guy sure could play guitar! Probably the most musically accomplished Rolling Stone ever. Sadly, he wasn't much of a writer, being strictly a gifted sideman.

Bill Wyman - The only Rolling Stone to have served Her Royal Majesty, the tiny-fingered, cradle-robbing (remember his anorexic teeny bopper wife Mandy Smith?) ex-RAF airman came up with the uncredited riff to "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and did the music for my favorite Dario Argento film, Opera. More importantly, Wyman had a sense of history, keeping diaries and collecting Stones memorabilia that he ultimately shared with the world in the form of his awesome coffee table book, Rolling With the Stones.

Charlie Watts - Rock solid drummer with great deadpan humor (after introducing a Stones gig in Toronto with a perfunctory "Hello Toronto," Charlie quipped afterwards, "Perhaps I could work up some material with a little more punch"). And because Charlie is my celebrity lookalike, this handsome hunk automatically gets a passing grade! Bonus Points: Charlie once punched Mick when a drunken Jagger swaggered into their hotel room and called out, as if ringing his bell for a servant, "Where's ma drumma?" Charlie, a man of few words, put it to Mick clear as crystal: "Don't ever talk to me like that again." Drum roll, please! (Update - My pal Scott Wallace Brown adds: What he actually said to Mick when he decked him was "Don't ever call me your drummer boy again. You're MY fuckin' SINGER.")

Ronnie Wood - Keith had Woody's essence perfectly: "A perfect blend of talent and bullshit." Woody was a rock 'n'n roll good time guy, not a great guitarist, but complimentary to Keith. And not a boor like Mick T. He and Keith certainly had the rock star guitar moves down. And the hair - he had that great Rock Rooster haircut which complimented Keith's unkempt tonsurial look (though not as much as it complimented Rod Stewart's 'do when they were both in The Faces!).


1. Prancing with Mr. J.: I never liked the way Mick pranced around stage like a Twink. It's downright laughable. Monkey Man, indeed. Worse than Elaine Bennis busting a move on Seinfeld. Everyone from James Brown to Tina Turner claims he stole moves from them, but I guess Mick had the last laugh, getting way more groupies than all his dance role models combined. Chicks love that lonmg-haired, eye-shadowed, glittered androgyny thing, go figure.

2. Cry-Baby! At the sentencing hearing for the infamous 1967 drug bust at Keith's Redlands residence (where Mariane Faithful was in her birthday suit and where Mick was found in possession of "anti-fatigue" Bennies), Mick almost fainted and started to cry like a little baby when the judge handed him a 3-month sentence. What a fucking pussy! At least Keith took it like a (stoned) man, in stoic, Stone-faced silence. Mick was probably distraught at the prospect of going 6 months without coochie - As Tears Go By.

3. Betraying the Faithful. Mick destroyed Marianne Faithfull, soaking up her culture and class, then throwing her away like trash when she became a bother. While in Australia to film Ned Kelly, Mick chose to give an interview to the Australia press while in the next bedroom, Marianne continually called out to him. Later that night it was discovered that she had attempted to commit suicide by taking an overdose of Barbituates. Mick initially poopoo-ed the idea, saying she was overly tired and that it was accidental. How inconvenient for Mick's ego to have to deal with Marianne's fragile mental state as she went into a coma for three days while he had to film his movie.

4. Self-Love: Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the greatest Egotist of them all? Narcissism reached its apex when Mick married his mirror image clone, Nicaraguan hottie Bianca Perez Morena de Macias. Ever the womanizer, Mick quickly forgot his vows when on tour, the most notorious indiscretions occurring in Chicago at Hefner's Playboy mansion. The whole marital incident had shades of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry realized his GF looked just like him. Jerry bailed. Mick jumped right in. Recent pics of Bianca make her look like a cross between Mick and Lauren Bacall. In a bad way.

5. Altamont: Jagger's street cred bottoms out as his panicky, yellow-bellied reaction to Real Life Going Down Bad Around Him is captured by the Maysles Brothers in living, bleeding color in Gimme Shelter. Only "Brownie" and the FEMA crew could have handled a disaster more poorly. Mick's pathetic limp-wristed plea for peace?: "Brothers and sisters, come on now! That means everybody just cool out. We can cool out, everbody! Everybody be cool, now...Okay, I think we're cool, we can groove." The whole idea was rushed, poorly planned, and unnecessary...kinda like another bad idea happening now in Iraq! And to what purpose? Self-promoting publicity and jumping on the Woodstock bandwagon. Deplorable.

6. The Voice: Elvis Costello had it right when he called Mick "not so much a singer as a cheerleader." It's a vocal style that relies mainly on gestures - the aforementioned prancing that masks his woeful warbling with the semblance of continually being out of breath. In fact, Mick the Mumbler has one of the worst voices in the history of rock - comparable to Marlon Brando's singing in Guys and Dolls - and it never improved even when he had the money to get lessons. Probably inspired other mumblers, like Michael Stipe (though thankfully he didn't inspired the prancing dancing).

7. Word Turds: The Lyrics: I always had the feeling that Mick was trying too hard to write "important" lyrics. Dylan said he never tried to write "message" songs and, in fact, turned his back of the Folk Movement for that very reason, of being locked into topicality. Mick always seemed to want to be topical. The songs suffered as a result. Mitigating Factor: I liked the Some Girls songs. I got the feeling that in their vulgaity and misogyny, at least Mick was being free and easy and not caring how it sounded - perhaps this was the influence of punk rock.

8. Under His Thumb - Mick the Misogynist: You'd think somebody done him wrong instead of the other way around. Poor Chrissie Shrimpton gets peeled apart on many a Mick tune, especially on Aftermath. "Stupid Girl," "Under My Thumb," "Play With Fire," "Star Star," "Some Girls," are but a few of his love ballads, and the list goes on. And the original S&M cover of Black and Blue was a doozy, too, lest we forget. Ah, but paybacks ARE a bitch. Especially ones named Luciana Gimenez Morad (pictured above in her "Luci in the Sky with Implants" pose). You might recall that in August of 2000, this Brazilian underwear model gave birth to a little Micky - Mick's seventh child to date (and second illegitimate progeny) - and sued to get child support payments of up to $35K a month. More importantly, she finally got the notoriously tight-fisted and financially (if not sexually) discreet Mick to disclose his exact income and net worth. Dispense with Sympathy for the Devil, as this man of wealth and taste is reportedly worth close to half a billion bucks! That could buy a lot of condoms, Mr. Jagger! You could ever spring for Economy Class flings in future by means of an inexpensive vasectomy!

9. Screw Stu - The Ian Stewart Dust-Off: Waiting on a Friend? Hardly. The Kid Stays OUT of the picture. Mick and the boys never gave it a second thought when long-time friend and ORIGINAL MEMBER Ian Stewart, who played boogie-woogie piano, was kicked out for looking like Jay Leno. Andrew Loog Oldham and the record company suits told the boys that he didn't look the part and, as we all know, image is everything. Especially the bad boy image so carefully crafted by AOL, and Stu, with his golf shirts and khakis, never fit that part. He was too cool to care about image.

10. The Man Dress: What was Mick thinking when he wore that ridiculous and foppish dress at the 1969 Hyde Park Concert? Besides the sartorial transgression, Mick was also guilty of the even greater crime of pretention when he unleashed hundreds of butterflies and recited - or attempted to recite, in between mumbles and mispronunciations - a Shelley poem in memorium for the recently deceased Brian Jones. All very pretentious and disingenuous, considering the shabby way Brian was treated by Mssrs. Jagger (who slept with Brian's girlfriend Anita Pallenberg during the filming of Performance) and Richards (who added the final nail in the coffin by stealing Brian's old lady later that year).

11. The Rock and Roll Circus: For nearly three decades, Mick held up the release of Stones' 1968 TV special The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus. Director Michael Lindsey-Hogg (isn't that a wonderful British hyphenated name?) had been hired to film the Beggars Banquet-era Stones performing with The Who, Taj Mahal, Jethro Tull and The Dirty Mac (an impromptu supergroup comprised of John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Hendrix drummer Mitch Mitchell, and Keith Richards on bass), with midgets, fire-eaters and other sideshow diversions. It was initially rumored that the Stones held up release because they felt their performance paled when set against that of The Who, whose performance of "A Quick One While He's Away" was later allowed to be excerpted for the 1979 documentary The Kids Are Alright. The film was finally released on video in 1996 and the DVD version came out in 2004. But according to Bill Wyman's commentary track on the DVD, it wasn't the band's performance that made Mick hold up the release - it was Mick's own performance that he felt was subpar. Apparently, there wasn't room under the Big Tent for Mick's considerable ego. And hence, Stones, Who, Jethro Tull, Lennon, Clapton, and Taj Mahal fans had to wait 28 years to see this historic film. Thanks Mick! You can put down your vanity mirror now!

12. You're So Vain - The 1969 Rainbow Room Press Conference: Glib Mick answers a reporter's query on whether the "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" Mick is now satisfied. "You mean sexually?" Mick counters, ever the carefully planned provocateur. "Sexually yes, financially no, philosphically trying." It's a famous line, but comes off as trying too hard to be witty. The Beatles were great at this sort of thing, as was Dylan, because they said what came naturally. They weren't TRYING to be clever. They just were.

13. The Disser of Oz: Mick's dis of the Land of Oz in July 1969 while filing Ned Kelly, about their national hero, was a doozy. "Huh! Those Australians. They really are dummies! They're so pathetic. When it comes to acting, they make out it's something special. It's not. It's just as natural as singing. You either can do it or you can't." Yeah, right. Like he would know!

14. The Sullivan Sell-Out: When Ed Sullivan asked Mick to substitute the line "Let's spend some time together" during the performance of the song "Let's Spend the Night Together," he willingly agreed. What a rebel. What Would Lennon Do? YOu know the answer. And we know what Elvis would do - Costello, that is. He'd change the tune to his terms. That's only the spirit of rock 'n' roll - but I like it, yes I do.

15. You're So Respectable: Sir Mick, a convicted drug felon and wanton womanzier, was knighted back in 1992 (with creds like that, one wonders why it took so long!). Back in 1969, a reporter asked Mick how he felt about John Lennon returning his MBE from the Queen, and the Mickster replied that he should have done it sooner, and that that's what he would have done. How ironic, as Alannis Morrisette would say. I say, what a hypocrite.

I like that Mick wrote a song that ticked off Fox TV and the NFL. In fact, Fox TV is trying to get the NFL to cancel Mick Jagger's Super Bowl performance contract because he wrote "Sweet Neo Con," which they consider anti-Americain (hey Mick, the Prez says if you're not with us - like Hank Williams, Jr. and all those Country & Western Redneck Patriots - you're against us). Fox, the NFL and Mick: The Axis of Dickdom.