Thursday, August 25, 2005

Work is work. Not much to report from back at League HQ where I've been getting up early for work and arriving home late this week as it's the first week of the semester and that makes The League a busy bee.

Last night I sat down on the bed to prevent Jamie from reading her book, and fell asleep at 9:20. I woke up again a fe wminutes later, but I was asleep by 10:00, and that is not assisting me in my contribution to the world of blogging.

Randy over at has not only given up on, he's re-directed his blog to this page. Which makes me wonder... If I redirect to Well, I'm pretty sure it would mean the end of the universe.

I am supposed to interview Nathan Cone in short order. Nathan, expect your questions this weekend.

There's been a lot of e-mail discussion about Six Feet Under concluding, and I'm proud of the producers for not trying to go on for ten years and just make a buck. It sounds like the show maintained its integrity right up to the end. Aside from "Small Wonder", I can't think of too many shows which went out on their own terms in quite the same way.

I did watch Six Feet Under for the first season and one-third of the second season. I missed an episode somewhere along the line, and when I came back to the show, I had no idea what was going on. Seriously, like one episode. Anyway, I moved shortly after that, didn't have HBO for a while, and never got back into it.

I also don't watch Sopranos, Deadwood, Lost, or any of the other programs which some people are hooked on like $5 crack. I'm just not much of one for episodic, hour-long TV. I even gave up on X-Files for the last season or two. Something about dedicating an hour a week to a show doesn't bug me. Dedicating 22 hours of my life to a network show or two... that sort of bugs me. That's the equivalent of half of an entire credit-bearing course at a semester-based university.

Watch two or three shows like that, and suddenly you should be getting some sort of associates degree.

Don't get me wrong, I am a bitch to the TV. Sadly, my favorite show right now is probably "Mythbusters" on Discovery. I also watch a lot of "Soul Train" on Saturdays on WGN. On Sunday mornings I try to tune into "Breakfast with the Arts" on Bravo rather than watching Russert, which I should probably be doing if I were more responsible.

I also will sit and watch an entire program simply because I can't believe it's on TV at all. "So You Think You Can Dance?" has almost drawn me into it's gyrating spell on numerous occasions.

Last night VH1 was running some programming from it's sister channel, VH1 classics. The show was called "Alternative" and featured videos pretty much from my middle and high-school era. Echo and the Bunnymen. Pixies. Love & Rockets. Basically, somebody raided the locker they kept the videos in from MTV's Sunday night show, 120 Minutes.

120 Minutes ran at a time when MTV figured its audience was probablya sleep, anyway, and they figured there wasn't much to lose by airing these videos that the "college rock" fans of the time could enjoy.

Younger Leaguers will be shocked and dismayed to learn that until 1992ish, there was no such term as "alternative rock". There was just rock. And some of it sold, and some it didn't. And some of it did well with college audiences, and it had it's own chart and everything. And then one day people quit sniffing glue long enough to realize that Vanilla Ice was just a horrible idea, and for some reason everyone decided to buy Pearl Jam's debut record and the album by the band with that "Teen Spirit" song, and voila! A new genre was coined by some coked-up record exec.

The funny thing about the show on VH1 was that it was referring to the videos they were showing (all of which were incredibly cheap looking by today's big budget standards) were incredibly unpopular at the time. Go back and check your Yearbook. Your school didn't vote for "Jesus Built My Hotrod" for class song. You guys all got together and voted for "End of the Road" by Boyz II Men. Shut up. Yes you did.

VH1 Classics is talking up some video by Peter Murphy, like this was what we were all listening to, but meanwhile "End of the Road" is popping up on one of VH1's endless "100 Worst Break Up Songs" specials, and everyone is having a good laugh, like that album wasn't flying off the shelf at every Sam Goody in the country in 1991.

But The League has a long memory. And we remember that you couldn't flip channels in the latter days of the Bush-41 administration without Garth Brooks or Color Me Badd lurking around every corner.

This was pop culture at the time. Only dusty old copies of Billboard Magazine survive to back up what I remember with crystalline clarity.

So is it great to see these videos? Sure! Is it somehow dirty and disingenuous of MTV Corp. to suggest they always backed these bands? I dunno. Somehow I really miss Dave Kendall sitting in his dark little studio trying to get you to stick with him for a full two hours.

And, hey, I found some bands I liked at the time through 120 Minutes. Lush. Charlatans UK. A few other things which never made the transfer from cassette to CD.

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