Archive for the Videos Category

Why I Watch NASCAR

Posted in Raves, Videos on April 26, 2009 by Eric

Despite growing up in Georgia, I didn’t always watch NASCAR.  I guess I didn’t want to feed into the stereotype.  Same reason I don’t chew tobacco.  I love sweet tea and I speak with a very heavy twang, but I gotta draw the line somehwere (my wife and I are NOT related…promise).  I only became a NASCAR devotee about 4 or 5 years ago, but I’ve become a full-blooded Dale Jr. fan since then.  I know he isn’t the best driver on the track, but he’s one of the last throwbacks to the good old days of “get out of my way or I’ll put you into the wall” hardcore racing.  These days I live in Indiana, which is a hotbed of racing, but everybody in the Hoosier state is more interested in Indy car.  I don’t like Indy (or Formula 1) because there is very little passing.  If I want to watch a group of vehicles drive in a single-file line at 200 mph, I’ll just DVR the Macy’s parade and watch it in fast-forward.  I have people ask me from time to time “how can you watch NASCAR?”  Today, I was reminded.

Talladega.  It’s the biggest, fastest track on the circuit, and every race there has at least one giant wreck.  This one was no different, but the best wreck of the day was on the final lap and only involved two cars.  Carl Edwards, the leader, got spun out on the final lap.  He then proceded to hit the windshield of the third place car with his tire, before spinning upside-down and  airborne into the fence.  We’re not finished yet, hang with me for a second.  After his flaming shell of a car skidded to a stop about 200 yards short of the start/finish, Edwards proceeded to climb out and run across the finish line on foot.  Ladies and Gentleman, Carl Edwards is officially my second-favorite driver of all time.  He could have secured the top spot if he had just done his trademark backflip off the wreckage that was his car.

Video?  You bet.

If you are wondering why I watch NASCAR…THAT is why I watch.  Now where’s my spitoon…

-ES

Name That Tune (in four chords or less)

Posted in Rants, Videos on April 24, 2009 by Eric

I never listen to the radio anymore.  Between my iPod and sports talk radio, there’s more than enough audio in my arsenal to replace any form of conscious thought.  Whenever I’m asked the question “have you heard the latest [insert generic song] by [insert generic band]?”, my response is always “nah, I don’t really listen to the stuff that’s on the radio now”.  The inevitable follow-up question that accompanies the rolling eyes of my unfortunate conversational partner is always “why?”  My answer to that question has always been that if you like one song, you like them all, and if you don’t like one song, you don’t like any of them.  Everything sounds the same.  You’ve heard this before; it’s the classic holier-than-thou mantra of the undiscovered musician (guilty as charged).  It seems that all you need to get on the radio these days are a few chords, a minimal amount of talent, and a reeeeaallly good contact in the music business…preferably someone of whom you posess comprimising photographs.

I always held the notion that this was a relatively recent phenomenon until I stumbled on this little gem from YouTube.  The group is called Axis of Awesome, and yes, they are.

Entertaining?  Yes.  Disturbing?  Well, that may be a little strong, but it definitely makes you wonder how easily we are entertained.  Well, I’ve got to cut this entry a little short…I’m off to write some clever lyrics.  The music has already been written for me.

-ES

Dancing With the American Idols

Posted in Rants, Videos on April 22, 2009 by Eric

Ok, so I get it and I don’t get it.  I understand that American Idol and Dancing With the Stars are the current cornerstones of American pop culture.  I understand that 36 million people can’t be wrong.  What I don’t understand is how these song-and-dance shows became so popular in an era where the attention span of the average viewer is on par with a goldfish’s memory.  In the Golden Age of radio and the infancy of television, 95% of all programs were just song-and-dance numbers.  It was the emergence of vaudeville in electronic form.  It was the primary form of entertainment until the advent of sitcoms in the late 1940’s.  If you wanted to be famous as an entertainer, you were either a singer, a dancer, or preferably both.

But we moved on from that, didn’t we?  We had sitcoms, hour-long dramas, made-for-TV movies, Top 40, and shock-jock morning shows.  The basic form of entertainment became the fact that there was no basic form.  You could find your niche and have an audience.  This was only magnified by the arrival of the Internet.  With the internet, everybody suddenly had access.  To find an audience, one no longer has to plunk down $75 for an hour of cable-access, you can just upload your stuff to YouTube.  Case in point:

Shameless, I know.

So with all these options thrown at us competing for our spare time, how did we come back around to where it all began?  I credit (or blame, depending on how you see it) the bottom-feeding scourge of the entertainment industry, reality TV.  The first reality shows were actually entertaining.  I actually watched one full season of The Real World.  I was never a Survivor fan, but I got why people liked it.  However, once Hollywood saw that these shows got ratings while being dirt-cheap to produce, the bottom fell out.  What followed were the 3-5 worst years in the history of television.  Hundreds of “reality shows” were all thrown at us at once, most of them being nothing more than parodies of themselves.  You’re asking me to believe that a a group of young ladies would fall all over themselves to land Flavor Flav?  Really??  Don’t get me started on “Rock of Love” either.  Memo to Bret Michaels:  You’re bald under that bandana and cowboy hat and we all know it.  Three seasons of that show and he still hasn’t picked a girl, yet he’s “in it for the long haul”…please.

Then along came American Idol, and the happy median was struck.  A show that appealed to our newly cultivated voyeuristic nature as well as provided us with the time-tested form of entertainment in music.  Dancing With the Stars does the same thing.  The “stars” aren’t what drives the show, it’s the dancing.  Now I don’t watch either of these shows because I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be watching.  Do we watch these shows hoping for the people to do well, or are we secretly hoping for the spectacular failure?  The train that derails draws a bigger crowd than the one that pulls into the station.  All I know of these shows are what I overhear other people saying about them, and I hear far more stories of how people screwed up than how they did well.  I’ve never seen an entire episode of American Idol, but I know who Sanjaya Malakar is.  So am I supposed to watch for the tone-deaf wonder, or the eventual winner who inevitably fades into the pop music background within two years?

Like I said, I get it, but I don’t get it.

-ES

Hey, is that Journey?

Posted in Videos on April 22, 2009 by Eric

I can’t decide if I’m encouraged or discouraged by this.

Decision made…that was AWESOME!

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