At the stifling, overly loud office I’m currently sharing with three other knuckle-draggers, humor comes in dumb, blunt, unexpected ways, and usually at the very moment you have committed to the idea of putting a bullet in your head. It keeps a guy going. Yesterday afternoon, the cure for our collective food coma was the discovery and hour-long enjoyment of midi files (like these — in particular, listen to “Aqualung” by Jethro Tull). They are so simple-minded that you are almost required to laugh, in that same way most of us can’t help but bust a gut, counter to our professed respect for human decency, at the sight of someone slipping on ice or puking in public. Other dimwitted diversions have included “Golditchhole,” a game in which competitors must sit in a chair roughly ten feet from a 2x2x2 space in the shelving unit above one writer’s desk and attempt to make a thrown rubber-band ball stay inside the hole — a much trickier endeavor than it should be. But my favorite paid distraction so far came the other afternoon, during the World Cup match between Portugal and the Netherlands, when my coworker JM fired up “Sweet Georgia Brown,” best identified as the theme song of the Harlem Globetrotters. All of a sudden, the tense, deadlocked soccer game became a farce; it was the most ridiculous thing in the world. The carefree whistling would turn a simple header into Meadowlark Lemon doinking one off of a Washington General’s melon. I urge you to try it out yourself this Friday using this link.
(Actually, just as I wrote that, the ante has been upped: The Benny Hill Show theme. We’ve only tested it out so far on the Yankees, but the results are promising. In the much anticipated Germany v. Argentina match this Friday, it’ll no doubt work wonders when one of those whiners does a flop and tries to sell the ref on it by rolling around on the field in mock agony, easily the worst thing about the sport, as discussed in a smart George Vescey article yesterday.)
Not funny at all, but endlessly entertaining nonetheless, are the four Guided By Voices videos I discovered yesterday while trying to talk myself out of jumping out our 15th-floor window. I hope you enjoy them, but if you don’t, I don’t give a shit.
“I Am a Scientist”
“The Official Ironman Rally Song”
“Auditorium”/”Motor Away” (stick around until 1:02)
Finally, on Saturday night, after watching Dinosaur Jr. perform on The Henry Rollins Show, I launched into a rant about power trios. Before moving on, let’s get the definition squared away: To be a power trio, a band must be exactly two things: 1) a trio and 2) powerful. For those of you keeping track, this eliminates the Jon Mayer Trio straight away. In the very best power trios, each member pulls his own weight — think of the virtuosity of each member of Rush, or Primus, or The James Gang. And each member of a quality power trio is proportionally more powerful than each member of a four-piece, and is that much more powerful than each member of a five-piece, and so on, because if you divide the rockin’ by the number of rockers, you necessarily get a higher score. Thus it is my opinion that if you are in a sextet and you somehow rock just as hard as, say, Rush, you are actually just rocking half as hard. Therefore, Geddy Lee is at least twice as powerful as the bassist of The New Pornographers.
Here are my top ten power trios of all time:
2. Dinosaur Jr.
3. Hüsker Dü
5. The Jam
7. The Police
8. ZZ Top
10. The James Gang
Who did I miss? And please don’t say Cream. Or the Beastie Boys.
Meanwhile, I can think of only four power duos: Tenacious D, Steely Dan, Lightning Bolt and The White Stripes. Who am I forgetting? And can Steely Dan even be considered a power duo? I could go either way on that one. At any rate, the D is the best of the bunch, as demonstrated right here.
WHY I’M ANGRY TODAY
It’s very hard to get mad when the Detroit Tigers are 29 games above .500 in late June. But how about this: The sad Kelly Clarkson ad for Ford, where she’s singing her lame “Go!” song at the wheel of a car and then turns and looks at the camera during the “Come on, baby, let’s go” refrain. Zero integrity. FYI: “Since U Been Gone” has never been acceptable to like, even though many sensible people have probably tried to tell you otherwise. These sensible people should all be very embarrassed.