Saturday, February 10, 2007

10,000 Hits and Counting

Heya Claimers, thanks for the 10,000th hit!
Keep 'em commin!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Friday Afternoon Funnies: Heat Vision and Jack

It's four thirty in the afternoon. You've done your week's work, and there's still an hour and a half to kill before you go home for the weekend. Throw on your headphones and kill some time with Totally Claimin's "Friday Afternoon Funnies!" The boss won't know. And you'll be thankful for it! Today's funny never made it to the television airwaves, but has developed quite a cult following on the net and bootlegged dvds, and with all this talk of crazy astronauts lately, I thought it was an timely pick. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the wonder of "Heat Vision and Jack!"

As a testament as to why Network television executives suck, read the following description about the pilot, and try to figure out how, with all that talent involved, this show never made it. Perhaps in retrospect I'm glad it didn't. Tenacious D might not have ever been the best band in the world, and Ben Stiller might not have, ummm, let's just stick with "The D" part, ok?

"Heat Vision and Jack was a proposed 1999 comedy/sci-fi television show starring Jack Black, Owen Wilson, and Ron Silver. Christine Taylor and Vincent Schiavelli guest starred in the pilot episode, the only episode filmed. The show was directed by Ben Stiller.

While the Fox Network didn't pick up the show, the pilot gained an online following. The show was written and executive produced by Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab, of Scud: The Disposable Assassin, Channel 101, and "Dead Alewives" fame.

Black plays Jack Austin, a former astronaut who was exposed to inappropriate levels of solar energy, giving him superintelligence. His catchphrases are "I know EVERYTHING!" and "Knowledge is power... for real. Wilson voices Heat Vision, a talking motorcycle. He was created when Jack's roommate Doug was shot by a ray, causing him to merge with his motorcycle. He is capable of speech and can fight by ramming into opponents. He is unable to use doorknobs and is unable to right himself if pushed over, however. Ron Silver, portrays "Ron Silver" the main villain. He works for NASA, and will stop at nothing to capture or kill Jack Austin." Wikipedia

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Bonus Tracks: Beck & The Hold Steady

I want you to look very carefully at these two covers for The Hold Steady's album "Boys And Girls In America." Do you see a difference between the two? There is. Look again, I'll give you a sec. Ok, do you give up? I know what you're sayin... dude, this guy's claimin there's a difference between these two albums and I swear to god I don't see it! Well, here's the difference, the album on the righ
t is the "Import" version, and contains four bonus songs for your listening enjoyment. Pissed? Good.

If there's one thing that really grinds my gears (yes, that's a "Family Guy" reference) about living in America, musically speaking of course, is that we don't have the same access to the bonus tracks from an album's release that the rest of the world has. I mean, what's the deal with that? Why is it that someone in England or Australia gets to hear more from an artist than we do? Really, why do we as hard working Americans have to buy an "import?" My assumption on this issue of different versions for these releases is to get the consumer to buy more of the product. It always comes down to money, right? If I love Beck's music that much, why wouldn't I buy the Japanese version of cd with the extra music on it, right? If the Foo Fighters have a bonus cover song and a couple live tracks on their Australian release, shouldn't I buy that one for ten dollars more instead?

Another excuse, err, reason to add songs to international releases is perhaps because cds cost so much more in those countries and labels and artists feel customers need to get more value for the exorbitant price they paid. That's so noble of them to take their
fans into consideration. But what about those of us in America? Hey, I wanna hear those Beck tracks too. You already got my fifteen dollars at Best Buy for the commercial release without the bonus tracks, do I really wanna shell out another thirty for two extra songs?

There is a whole ball of wax, I'm opening up here, aren't I? And I haven't even mentioned the "bonus dvd" movement, which is another monster altogether
, isn't it?

I just have never understood this practice of the import cd, and now thankfully with the Internet, we have leveled the playing field. By the way? The Hold Steady aren't the only ones guilty of this practice either. From a quick glance at my iTunes library, Beck & The Foo Fighters, Snow Patrol, The Flaming Lips, and Jet are all culprits as well. So for you my dear readers and musical completest (from all over the world), I post to you what you're missing from two of my 2006's best albums list, bonus tracks from The Hold Steady's "Boys And Girls In America" and Beck's "The Information."

The Hold Steady "Boys And Girls In America" Bonus Tracks:
For Bost
on (Bonus Track)
Girls Like Status (Bonus Track)
Arms And Hearts (Bonus Track)
American Music (Bonus Track)

Beck "The Information" Bonus Tracks:
O Menina
Dark Star (TV On The Radio Remix)
Inside Out (Totally Claimin' side note: This track is highly recommended and should have been included on the original release of the album. Yeah, it's that good.)
This Girl That I Know

For Your Consideration:
The Hold Steady "Boys And Girls In America" Bonus Tracks Mp3s
Beck "The Information" Bonus Tracks Mp3s

Prince Finds A New Controversy

From the "So What Else Is New?" files, Sunday's Super Bowl Halftime show featured a bit of controversy. Apparently there has been some uproar over the shadow cast by Prince and his guitar during “Purple Rain.” Claims are being made that the shadow is unmistakably phallic. Look folks, sometimes a guitar is just a guitar. Put it to rest already. Actually, I take that back. Instead of rallying against Prince and the same guitar he used during his performance on the Grammys a few years back (pictured below left) and countless other performances (was it phallic then too?), how about directing your furor over to the Snicker's commercial that aired during the game!

Seriously, how did this commercial even make it on the air? As Jerry Seinfeld once said, "Who were the ad wizard's that came up with this one?" Since it's airing Sunday, GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) protested, saying the ad infers that it's not manly for two men to kiss. In the commercial, two guys start eating the same Snickers bar and when they come to the middle, their lips touch. Then they have to do something "manly" to erase the memory of said kiss by apparently ripping off a classic scene from "The 40 Year Old Virgin." Stooopid.

So here for your consideration, is the entire Prince Halftime Show, and the totally claimin Snicker's bar commercial. Seriously, which one is worse? The answer is pretty clear, right? Oh and hey, don't forget to check out my older post "Super Bowl Halftime Preview: Prince" which features a great concert to download!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Astronaut or AstroNUT?

Wow. So it looks like we have a late breaking nomination for this week's edition of Totally Claimin's "Crush Of The Week." The nominee? Please welcome U.S. Navy Capt. Lisa Nowak's object of desire, NASA astronaut Bill Oefelein! He's outta this world!

It appears that Nowak (pictured below with her mugshot) has a serious crush on Mr. Oefelein. So much so that authorities say she attacked a rival for his affection at Orlando International Airport on Monday after driving more than 900 miles from Houston to meet her flight. Apparently she intended "to do serious bodily injury or death” to Colleen Shipman, a captain in the Air Force, because she considered Captain Shipman to be a rival in her romance with dreamy NASA astronaut, Cmdr. Bill Oefelein.

When the police arrested Captain Nowak, they found in her possession a steel mallet, a buck knife with a four-inch blade, a BB gun and a map to Captain Shipman’s house, they said. Wait, it gets better. Here's the evidence, the hard evidence, that Cmdr. Oefelein should be our Crush Of The Week: She told the police she had worn diapers on the journey so that she would not have to stop to use the restroom so she could arrive in time to meet Captain Shipman’s flight at the airport. Now that's a crush! 900 Miles and not a single stop at a Cracker Barrel? She wins! Move over Brooke Burke, NASA astronaut Bill Oefelein is our "Crush Of The Week!" Enjoy the aptly selected Mp3's ya claimers.

For Your Consideration:
David Bowie - Space Oddity Mp3
Buckcherry - Crazy Bitch Mp3
...and a real treat,
Sid & Marty Krofft Favorites - The Far Out Space Nuts Theme Mp3

Crush Of The Week: Brooke Burke

Our latest edition of "Crush Of The Week" belongs to model-turned-TV presenter Brooke Burke. Get a good look at her.

Did you take it all in? Good.

Now I have to inform you that this 35 year old cutie just had her third child in January, and named her newborn daughter Heaven Rain. So be sure to check back in 18 years for that posting, but for now, enjoy this week's "Crush Of The Week!"

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

America: Here & Now?

One of my guiltiest pleasures on a hot summer day in Los Angeles is to roll the windows down in the car and crank "Sister Golden Hair" and "Ventura Highway" by 70's soft rock icons "America." The twang of the guitars and the harmonies of the vocals, combined with the wind blowing in my hair, take me back to my childhood every time.

Well, it's as if my childhood has returned to the "Here & Now," as America has released an cd of new material with the help of some new friends. The album definitely has a vintage "America" feel yet doesn't seem old at the same time. Most of that can be credited to producers Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne and former Smashing Pumpkin James Iha, who helmed the sound of the record. They made no attempt to alter the music to our times (like say Sting or Elton John would), instead they have brought Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell back to America's signature sound: harmonizing vocals and a soft acoustic vibe. Here is the promotional video on the making of the release. Enjoy.

Making guest appearances on the record are Ben Kweller and Ryan Adams, S
chlesinger and Iha. For your consideration, here are a couple of tracks from the album. "Ride On" features Kweller and Adams, and "Golden" is a wonderful cover of the My Morning Jacket tune and I believe features Jim James on guitar. Finally, from the bonus disc, enjoy a live version of "Sister Golden Hair."

For Your Consideration:
America - Ride On Mp3
America - Golden Mp3
America - Sister Golden Hair (Live) Mp3

Oscar Leftovers? Best Original Song

When the nominees were announced for this year's Oscar for Best Original Song, three of the five slots went to tunes from Dreamgirls. You can read my previous post on the topic here. So naturally, once again, the Academy neglected some well deserved tracks from other movies that could have slipped in. Here are three that should have made the cut:

Chris Cornell's "You Know My Name" from "Casino Royale" was the best Bond song in years. It put the recent movie franchise's offerings from Garbage, Madonna, and Sheryl Crow to shame. Seriously, does anyone remember Shirley Manson belting out "The World Is Not Enough?" Eww. Cornell pounds out a rock tune that sets the tone for the new generation Bond, and that should have been recognized.

Jack Johnson's "Upside Down," from the animated children's film "Curious George," was totally overlooked. This breezy tune from the surfer turned singer has a mellow vibe and charm to spare that fit perfectly with the movie it accompanied.

Devotchka's "Til The End Of Time" epitomizes everything that the movie "Little Miss Sunshine" was supposed to be. Light hearted with a touch of whistle, it practically feels like the musical equivalent of a dysfunctional family road trip.

*Originally I was not going to add another song to this post, but this is just too good not to share it with you. I had been looking for this track for quite a while, and I finally found it. Giorgio Moroder won the Academy Award for Best Music Original Score for 1978's Turkish prison drama "Midnight Express." The first song on the soundtrack is called "Chase." It has everything you'd expect from a Moroder dance track, a pulsating beat, and a catchy hook. If you are not already familiar with the song by name, I guarantee you, you'll recognize it when you hear it. Just close your eyes and picture any montage of 70's sports highlights while you listen to it (it was always used as the background music) and it'll all come back to you!

For Your Consideration:
Chris Cornell - You Know My Name Mp3
Jack Johnson - Upside Down Mp3
Devotchka - Til The End Of Time Mp3
Giorgio Moroder - Chase Mp3

Monday, February 05, 2007

Covering Nirvana Unplugged:
The Original Versions

I must admit I was a delighted to hear the news that Courtney Love is in talks to make a movie about the life of Kurt Cobain. According to Access Hollywood, Courtney has acquired the film rights to the book "Heavier Than Heaven" - a biography of the Nirvana singer written by Charles Cross. She also posted the following message on a fan site: "It has no script and no director attached, let alone stars. But if the movie is made it will of course be an A list and high end film." My pick to play Kurt? Ewan McGregor. The guy already proved he had the pipes in the 2001 movie, "Moulin Rouge." And how about Rachel McAdams as Courtney?

So in honor of the news, I decided to put together a 6 pack of the original versions of songs Nirvana performed from their Grammy Award winning "MTV Unplugged In New York." By the way, it's been 14 years since the performance. My how time flies. Check out my favorite take from the special, Nirvana's cover of "Jesus Doesn't Want Me For A Sunbeam."

Here's the list of songs included in the six-pack:
The Vaselines - Jesus Doesn't Want Me For A Sunbeam Mp3
David Bowie - The Man Who Sold The World
Meat Puppets - Plateau Mp3
Meat Puppets - Lake Of Fire Mp3
Meat Puppets - Oh Me Mp3
Leadbelly - Where Did You Sleep Last Night? Mp3

For Your Consideration:
Nirvana Six-Pack (The Original Versions of MTV's Unplugged) Mp3

The Church Says Hallelujah Here U2 Comes

Bring your Bibles and your lighters, U2 is hitting the pews. It was reported recently that the music of U2 is replacing traditional hymns for upcoming services to be held at a Church Of England. And they are not the first ones to do the switch.

"Churches all over the world are starting to replace hymns with the songs by the rock band in a bid to attract younger worshipers. Informally dubbed the 'U2-charist', after the rite of eucharist, it is an adapted version of the Holy Communion service where worshipers sing along to U2 hits like Beautiful Day and Mysterious Ways instead of traditional hymns." according to a report from The Electric Newspaper.

The Bishop Of Reverend Timothy Ellis, who is organizing the first 'U2-charist' service in St Swithin's church says, "They have demonstrated that they believe there is sanctity to life that has to be protected. If that makes them saints, then I would go along with that. We are hoping the service will be a fresh way to look at worship, less formal, and less rigid. This is not designed to replace traditional services but to enhance the worship provision of the Church."

There have even been books written about the subject. Get Up Off Your Knees: Preaching the U2 Catalog by Raewynne J. Whiteley, Beth Maynard is "A thoughtful and provocative collection of sermons by a group of preachers from across the international church spectrum who have been moved to theological reflection on the art and work of U2."

On A side note, a similar trend is happening at Jewish Synagogues across the country. Apparently the music of Barbara Streisand is replacing the traditional music af Temple services. Instead of the Haftorah, Jews will now sing selections from the soundtrack to "Yentl." (Yes, I'm kidding, but it wouldn't surprise me if they were looking into the music of Neil Diamond.)

So what U2 song helps you find what you're lookin for? Leave a claim!

For Your Consideration:
U2 - Beautiful Day [Live @] Mp3
U2 - Mysterious Ways [Solar Plexus Extended Remix] Mp3
U2 & Green Day- The Saints Are Coming Mp3
Neil Diamond - Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show Mp3

Super Bowl Commercials: My Winners

So who won the battle for the best spot? Well, here are in my humble opinion, are the two best commercials from yesterday's Super Bowl telecast:

Taco Bell Safari

Description: New carne asada food at Taco Bell becomes the prey for two lions scoping out a safari camp. Watch the lions discuss their hunting strategy.

Description: Very funny commercial involving a robot who gets fired and goes through depression.

Which ones did you like? Be a claimer!