Jim Nabors (1930-2017)


(You’ve Got to) Fight for Your Rashomon (of a Party)

Last night’s episode of Wisdom of the Crowd featured a Rashomon sequence. For anyone not familiar with the classic Akira Kurosawa film, or the Ryūnosuke Akutagawa short stories upon which it’s based, Rashomon presents the same story from four different perspectives, without ever revealing which is true. Wisdom of the Crowd added the interesting variable of using three versions of the same song to further differentiate its retellings, even if “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party)” was a bit on the nose to soundtrack the party sequence under contention.

First, we heard the classic Beastie Boys original:

Then, we heard an acoustic version:

And finally, a rockabilly rave up version:

Of course, as a major network TV crime show, Wisdom of the Crowd resolved the question of whose story was true (none of the above; oops, spoiler!), but the show’s use of music to expose the personalities of the story’s different tellers was a nice touch.

It’s a Man’s Half-Time

So the guy who ripped off her clothes is forgiven, but the woman whose clothes he ripped off is shamed for life?

Yup, that’s a great way to issue in the “post-Weinstein era.” It’s still a man’s world.

Don’t get me wrong, I totally believe the Super Bowl 2004 halftime half-striptease show was staged — as any man who has struggled with a woman’s bra knows, they do not come apart so easily — but if one is forgiven, both should be.

We can, however, thank “nipplegate” for YouTube. It was Jawed Karim’s frustration over having missed the 9/16th of a second flash and not being able to find the video online that inspired him to co-create YouTube. Thanks to him and his partners, anyone can now see Janet Jackson’s right breast any time they want:

Is It Really Steely Dan without Walter Becker?

This week’s episode of Modern Family revolved around Phil and Claire trying to get errands done in time for a 3 pm concert by Steely Dan:

When Phil asked why it was so early, Claire responded, “They are not young men, Phil.”

They are not. In fact, co-founder Walter Becker died just last month. Which made that joke, indeed, the whole episode with its series of references to Steely Dan in concert seem like poor taste to me. Couldn’t they have simply dubbed in the name of another old band?

But when I clicked on Steely Dan’s official website, I was shocked to find that the band is indeed in the midst of a nationwide tour (though no afternoon shows). “They” are playing near me in a couple weeks, Baltimore on the 24th and National Harbor on the 25th. But wouldn’t these shows be more accurately credited to Donald Fagen, solo, . . .

. . .  or will he be touring with a “hologram” of Becker, like Tupac’s at Coachella 2012:

Cheese Samples at the Mall

My friend Tracy was deeply dismayed by my featuring the great Debbie Gibson song “Only in My Dreams.” Clearly, she does not recognize the appeal of cheese.

I’ll let Cartman respond for me:

I’ve written before about age largely liberating me from worries that others might not think my musical choices are “cool.” So I am free to enjoy a cheesy pop tune like “Call Me Maybe” without fear of being judged:

I’ve also written that many songs teenage-me once hated now make grown up-me smile. I was reminded again of this phenomenon last week when I got a nostalgic kick out of hearing King Harvest’s “Dancing in the Moonlight” in kinda cheesy The Hitman’s Bodyguard . . .

. . . even though I vividly remember quickly switching away every time it came on the car radio during one summer vacation with my family.

But neither of these explains my response to Debbie Gibson’s “Only in My Dreams” when I heard it again this week on the cheesy spoof Blood Drive. I liked that song when it first came out in 1987 and bought the album Out of the Blue to listen to it and the title track:

And even though they were often cast as Beatles vs. the Stones (Stones, all the way, baby!) rivals, amusingly spoofed in Sci-Fi’s cheesy movie Mega Python vs Gatoroid, . . .

. . . I also liked Tiffany’s Tommy James cover, . . .

. . . even though it does not come close to the original.

And then there’s Robin Sparkles’s more recent is-it-homage-or-is-it-spoof (it’s two, two, two songs in one) “Let’s Go to the Mall” on the often cheesy How I Met Your Mother:

So let’s all go to the mall for some cheese samples!

Speaking of cheese, whatever happened to Rebecca Black?