Zillow Finds

My house went on the market yesterday. My office (that I never use and I threw a bunch of old hifi stuff and a midi controller I had laying around into to stage) has now flicked off almost 2,000 people on Zillow.

God Bless the Mats

These Were Great

Here’s all the Get a Mac ads that ran … 16 years ago?!

The original American advertisements star actor Justin Long as the Mac, and author and humorist John Hodgman as the PC, and were directed by Phil Morrison. The American advertisements also aired on Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand television, and at least 24 of them were dubbed into Spanish, French, German, and Italian. The British campaign stars comedic duo Robert Webb as Mac and David Mitchell as PC while the Japanese campaign features the comedic duo Rahmens. Several of the British and Japanese advertisements, although based on the originals, were slightly altered to better target the new audiences. Both the British and Japanese campaigns also feature several original ads not seen in the American campaign.

The Get a Mac campaign is the successor to the Switch ads that were first broadcast in 2002. Both campaigns were filmed against a plain white background. Apple’s former CEO, Steve Jobs, introduced the campaign during a shareholders meeting the week before the campaign started. The campaign also coincided with a change of signage and employee apparel at Apple retail stores detailing reasons to switch to Macs.

The Get a Mac campaign received the Grand Effie Award in 2007. The song in the commercial is called “Having Trouble Sneezing” by Mark Mothersbaugh.

Speaking o’ Memphis

Here’s a radio show of some 60’s-70’s rarities.  I love the ones by the Breakers and Flash and the Memphis Casuals.  I bet they kicked ass live (I’m not old enough to have seen them, although I did see about half of the others on this list).  Unlisted after the Tommy Hoehn song is a pretty terrible cover of “I Walk the Line” by a band called Hot Dogs, who had some good songs;  why on earth was that chosen?  I find Chris Bell’s acoustic version of “I Am The Cosmos” too slow, sludgy, and depressing–which I guess makes sense, as he was chronically depressed.   It’s the sound of Quaalude abuse.  The official single version moves along better, although there’s still about as much sludge as I can endure.

Oh, Not Whoa

Sometimes aesthetics call for an “oh” instead of a “whoa,” as in the chorus of this forgotten Wings song.  This overlooked album track is pretty good, with a good guitar riff, a decent enough hook, and some Stax horns.  Far better than this album’s single, “Listen to What the Man Said,” which is just dishwater.  The post-Beatles careers of Lennon-McCartney revealed that they needed each other, or at least assertive bandmates.

Musician?

I was bored at a relative’s home over the weekend and noticed a copy of the Neil Young biography, Shakey. I started reading random passages and ran across something interesting. Someone (I forgot who) recalls a meeting between Stephen Stills and Bob Dylan. After the meeting, Stills mentioned to the narrator that although he admired Dylan very much, he didn’t consider Dylan a musician. The narrator was horrified. The great Bob Dylan, not a musician?

Stills was correct.  Let’s look at the facts. As a guitarist, Dylan doesn’t display much that you couldn’t teach anyone. As for the harmonica (barely an instrument really, but let’s be thorough), his playing reminds me of why I hid our harmonica from my two sons when they were very young. As for his singing, you could argue that the younger Dylan’s voice gave an appropriate tone to some of his songs. But we’re talking about musicianship here, and his singing has never been good in purely musical terms. And as for his “mature” voice, it reminds me of the noise my stomach was making a couple of weeks ago after I ate too many ribs.

Then there’s songwriting. I won’t deny he’s written some good ones (hard not to do when you’ve written several million). At best, they are effective support for the main ingredient, his lyrics. Musically, there isn’t much going on in them. You can find great instrumental parts, but they’re the work of others such as Robbie Robertson, Al Kooper, et al.  Well-known covers of his songs are always better than the originals. Well, maybe not always.

So is Dylan a musician?  Nah.

Dylan’s talents lie in lyrics and self-promotion. But as a lyricist, he is not the infallible god of his most ardent fans. It’s been pointed out elsewhere that you can’t be “along” a watchtower. You can be in, on, around, or even buried under one (which might have been a better premise), but not along one. Nit-picking perhaps, but it has a reputation as a great song, and great writing must be precise, even where the meaning is obscure. Then, there are some real clunkers. “Mr. Tambourine Man” is just plain dumb. But to be fair, everyone has bad days, and you can’t write as much as he has without misfiring. I find the protest songs to be overly earnest and boring, but my anti-folkie bias might disqualify me as a judge of those.

His real genius has been in nurturing the cult of his own genius. I can’t think of an artist who has more deftly used aloofness and contempt to rope fans into a sort of narcissistic codependency. It has enabled him to carve out a career on his own terms, so good for him.  It has also worked so well that there will be no clear-sighted reassessment of Dylan until most boomers have downsized to the cemeteries.

That said, I’ve always liked his Live 1966 album where he gave a middle finger to the folkies by going electric. There’s real rock’n’roll tension there, and The Band play like gods. I also enjoyed his Theme Time radio show back in the aughties.

Do Ya Think I’m Sexy

Not really. But unintentionally funny? Yes!

“By now, you and I are very used to watching some of our most elderly and most British celebrities go insane. So allow me to introduce a new and oddly refreshing entrant into the English Boomer cinematic universe: Sir Rod Stewart. As far as I can tell, Rod isn’t against transgender people, or vaccines, or whatever Morrissey happens to be against at any given moment. He just wants to be horny… truly it’s an arse state of affairs when Rod Stewart — a 76-year-old man who has had eight children with five different women and marries a new supermodel once per decade — feels as if his resting libido is being held down. Luckily for us, the old geezer has decided to rebel against all of this millennial prudishness with a new album and a new video. AND WHAT A VIDEO.”

– Drew Magary, in a magnificent article.