Category Archives: history

a very special christmas special, “John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together” (1979)

As you are probably aware, based on my previous posts about A Muppet Family Christmas and The Christmas Toy, and my yearly exultations that The Muppet Christmas Carol is the best and most faithful film adaptation of the original book A Christmas Carol despite being narrated by Rizzo the Rat and Gonzo the Great, the Muppets and Christmas occupy roughly the same spot in my brain.  It’s that soft, gooey, marshmallow-like cluster nestled at the back of my hippocampus, near the base of my occipital lobe.  If you were to poke it, I would involuntarily start waving my arms around like Kermit.

However, I have never actually seen John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together until today.  Part of this may have to do with the fact that it has never been officially released on VHS, and part of this may have to do with the fact that it came out the year I was born and I was too busy spitting up strained squash and eating stuff I found on the carpet to notice.   Either way, I found it on the Youtubes, and have decided to write about my experiences watching this holiday gem for the first damn time.

Aaaaaaand… push play.

Fade in on the late John Denver, sprightly and alive and in the middle of his “Oh, God” heyday.   Because ‘tis the glorious season of Yuletide, he’s dressed like a Dickensian gent, resplendent with his purple top hat and all.  At this point, things could really go either way – of all the M.O.R. artists ever to walk this Earth, John Denver is the M.O.Riest.  For every heartfelt, aching ballad like “Leavin’ On A Jetplane,” there’s an “Annie’s Song.”   For every “Rocky Mountain High”, there’s a Coors beer commercial where a bunch of people start singing “Rocky Mountain High.”   And, of course, there’s that big old slice of bitter irony pie you have to mention when you’re a heartless bastard like me and someone brings up John Denver: “Leaving On A Jet Plane” was written by a man who died when his private plane crashed.  Either the jokes make themselves or they really, really don’t.  I’m still not sure how I feel about it.

And, either this is going to be the most goddamn heartwarming thing I’ve ever experienced, or it’s going to be 2 solid hours of molten Velveeta cheese.  Things don’t look so good when ol’ John starts singing “The 12 Days Of Christmas”, a song that’s only tolerable when Muppets are involved.

Thank God there are Muppets involved.  Fozzie screws up his lines, Miss Piggy adds some “ba-dump-bump-bumps” to her FIIIIIVE GOOOOOLD RIIIINGS line, and all is right with the world.


There’s more, after the break.

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songs you don’t know: “Apologize (Revolutionary War version)”

Some amazing people, with too much time on their hands and access to some nifty costumes, did this parody of the OneRepublic tune “Apologize”, but, you know, about the American Revolution and stuff.   Enjoy.  Happy day-after-the-4th!

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Posted by on July 5, 2010 in history, music, youtube


Dude! It’s The 90s!: Butthole Surfers, “Pepper”

Butthole Surfers – “Pepper”

Summary: The Butthole Surfers are arrested by the Dallas police department for the assassination of President River Phoenix.  Then they eat some chili.

Things To Notice: Dallas PD cars, Cops in cowboy hats, black and white footage…   (0:15) There’s a lot of JFK assassination imagery here, and a lot of ’60s commercial parodies.  We can assume that this is sort of supposed to be about Lee Harvey Oswald.  A little.  Maybe.   See, Gibby was there the night River Phoenix died, which was the closest thing our generation had to a JFK moment until St. Kurt died for our sins.   Methinks he’s got some survivor’s guilt to work through.

WTF Erik Estrada?  (0:48) Yes, that’s Erik “CHIPs” Estrada, being questioned by the cops, perhaps about a shady time share deal.

…or is Gibby saying he’s Charles Manson? (1:18) It’s gotta be said, the lyric  “some will die in hot pursuit while sifting through my ashes” is a pretty pseudo-messianic thing to say, and Gibby sure looks like Charlie.  It should be noted that Gibby’s not a bad actor for a rock dude – he’s giving a very convincing performance of someone who’s distraught after having been rudely woken up.  Or he could just be coming down hard.

Chili, guy? (1:59) I don’t know what the significance of the canned chili is, but Erik Estrada seems to be enjoying it.

This YouTube clip was recorded off of MTV2 in 1999 or 2000. (2:20) You will note that “rapist”, “bullet” and “shot” have been removed from the lyrics.  This is because some kid might watch this video, hear the word “bullet” and go SHOOT UP HIS GODDAMN SCHOOL because he heard the word “bullet” in a video, alas alack etc.  Nowadays, this seems to make as much sense as protecting our daughter’s virginity by shooting Elvis from the waist up, but Columbine really freaked people out.   Everyone was looking for someone to blame, and they settled on music.   Especially dark alternative music, because a kid in a spiked dog collar is an easier target than a faulty education system/parents that don’t give a shit/poor gun control/the deadening and hopeless future left for us by all of the above.   So: MTV removed all references to anything violent from every video they played, and radio followed suit, and now, in the glorious future of 2010, we have eliminated all forms of violence and all international disputes are settled with games of Beer Pong and Don’t Wake Daddy.  You’re welcome.

Final Judgement: Well, look – I love this song.  I love this band.  And if they want to play fast and loose with one of the darkest chapters in American history, then they can damn well play fast and loose with one of the darkest chapters in American history.  Enjoy the chili.  (B+)

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Posted by on March 12, 2010 in history, music, nostalgia, youtube


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i made a music video!

This is the official video for “Nikita Says Love”, by my band The Pluto Tapes.   I made this.  Enjoy!


Posted by on August 30, 2009 in history, music, nostalgia, the pluto tapes, youtube


WBCN: requiem for the rock

This Guy Right Here, at a WBCN event at Harper's Ferry

Note: In case you hadn’t heard, WBCN, the Rock of Boston, is closing up shop in mid-August after 41 years of broadcasting.  You probably know this, but I’m a DJ there.   This is mostly about my experience at the station – there have been plenty of obituaries written about 104.1 in the last few days.   Go read them, especially Danny Schecter’s.

It was January 2003.  I was driving back home from work, with a take-out order of egg lemon soup from the Greek place that I had ordered in hopes of fending off one of my nasty sinus infections.  I was driving on 495, it was about 5 o’clock at night, it was snowing lightly, and my phone rang.  It was my mother, telling me that she had received a phone call from Steven Strick at WBCN.

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Happy belated 4th!

Yep, it’s from 1776.  Music starts at about 2:48.

“I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is a disgrace, that two is called a ‘law firm,’ and that three are called ‘a congress!'”

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Posted by on July 5, 2009 in history, music, theatre, Uncategorized


why killing abortion doctors and museum security guards is so lame

You know, there’s a vast difference between throwing red paint on people with fur coats, or sneaking into an animal testing facility and setting all the monkeys free, or holding up a picture of George W. Bush with a Hitler moustache drawn on…. and, well, pretty much anything your average right-wing extremist has ever thought of doing.

I bring this up now because of what happened last week to Dr. Tiller, and what happened two days ago at the Holocaust Museum.  I bring it up because of what the Department of Homeland Security said earlier this year, when they said that the combination of “financial crisis” and “first black President” could spark a surge in acts of violence committed by scared old white men and luckless bull-headed neo-Nazi boys.   I bring it up in particular because of Rush Limbaugh’s instant reaction to the DHS report, which was to ridicule it, and I bring it up because of his current reaction, which was to blame it all on the liberals anyway.

Yeah, Rush, it’s one of those liberal/Nazi conspiracies we’ve been hearing so much about.  See, all the liberal Jews in Hollywood got together and decided to hire a guy to shoot a security guard at the Holocaust museum, because that all makes sense.

People actually buy this crap.

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Posted by on June 12, 2009 in history, politics