Thursday, December 10, 2009

Elvis Costello King of Cool

By Colt

In recent years Chuck Norris has become the image the world things of when in thinks of bad ass. He has received Internet fame that is generally reserved for adult film stars and cats that can dance to a Kelly Clarkson song. Norris Facts include such tid bits of vital information as "Chuck Norris doesn't do push ups, he pushes the Earth down", "Chuck Norris' tears cure cancer, to bad he never cries", and "If you have 5 dollars and Chuck Norris has 5 dollars, Chuck Norris has more money than you do". I will not argue with this(because Chuck Norris would kill me with Swiffer Duster), but he is THE bad ass. I submit that Elvis Costello is the Chuck Norris equivalent of cool. Other possible contenders would be George Clooney , but he was in One Fine Day which just barely lands him the silver medal; Frank Sinatra, is dead but lives on; and Don Draper\Roger Sterling who are fictional and therefore lose by default. Listed below are some of the reasons why Elvis Costello wins.

#1 Elvis Costello wrote a song so amazing that only God can hear it.
#2 Elvis Costello is haunted by the ghosts of George Harrison, John Lennon and Buddy Holly just because they want to hang with him.
#3 Elvis Costello's hat was used by Odd Job in Goldfinger.
#4 Elvis Costello's glasses are made from the windows of Superman's crashed space ship.
#5 Elvis Costello wrote the national anthem for every country that ever was.
#6 Elvis Costello won World War II with a saxophone solo.
#7 Elvis Costello wrote an entire three act opera using only one note.
#8 Elvis Costello dreams in HD.
#9 Elvis Costello is a vegetarian who can grow a Sirloin Steak from a tomato seed.
#10 Elvis Costello songs don't get downloaded they get carved in marble on your hard drive.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

They Might Be Giants, but I was the one who felt out of place

A few weeks back Maggie had to go on a weekend training retreat. This left me home alone. I enjoy my alone time and try to make the most of it. I go see movies that Maggie has no desire to see, get take out Maggie would not like, watch whatever I want to on TV, and try to get out and enjoy the city. This particular weekend I read in City Weekly that They Might Be Giants were doing two shows in Salt Lake. One at the Depot on Friday Night and a Matinee Saturday at the Murray Theater. I purchased my ticket for the Saturday matinee at a discount price and was excited to see TMBG.

I arrived at the theater, parked my truck and walked to the end of the very long line that had formed. While I made this sojourn to back of the line I noticed something was strange. There were kids in line for this show...lots....and lots of kids. I figured that well, this is a matinee perhaps parents are just kids along for fun. I have seen kids at late night shows for the Aquabats and Flogging Molly so it makes sense there would be a lot of kids there. As I stood in line longer it became clear that every adult was attached to a child in someway...except of course for me. This was the beginning of my feeling awkward.

I entered the theater and took my place among the general admission audience. The band has released two children's CDs that talk about things like science, colors, and proper nutrition. I had no idea of this I just wanted to hear Build a Little Birdhouse. There were kids going crazy for songs I had never heard of. I have had fun at children's concerts before. One of the most fun times I have ever had was at a DJ Lance Rock ,from YoGabba-Gabba , concert. I jumped my sillies out, and sang along to Its a Party in My Tummy along with my wife and the several hundred other adults and teenagers there. However, being at a children's concert all on your own is an irony of a different color. I tried to make myself appear less strange by texting my Maggie and my cousin Britta. I was fairly sure that parents thought I was a child molester. This made me uncomfortable.

The saving grace of the concert was that they played Particle Man and Istanbul. The streamers were fun, and I will buy their albums when I have kids. The other highlight was the sang a song about evolution called Your Friend the Ape, and there was a mom in a BYU sweatshirt making her kid cover his ears. This alone might have been worth the price of admission.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Aunt Maggie and Uncle Colt

Mommy and baby

Yesterday my sister Ruth and brother in law Alan had the most beautiful baby girl. I already love her so much and can't wait to meet her over Christmas.

The prettiest little girl

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Texts from Silent Weekend

Maggie is at a silent weekend. This is a weekend where she attends workshops that improve her sign language, and she is not allowed to talk. So she and I texted for the course of the weekend. Here are some of those texts.

Maggie: Sorry, but it was nasty. Anyway the cabin we are at is off the hook! I am in love with the closet in the master bedroom wow it is bigger than our guest bedroom.
Colt: Is it also in 1999, cause that is the last time someone said "off the hook"? Glad you like it.
Maggie: Ouch! I didn't say radical or dope so that makes me a little cooler right?
Maggie: You are up early what are you doing today?
Colt: Eye Doctor. Guitar. Movie. Make fun of people who say "off the hook"
Maggie: Wow you really don't like that.
Colt: I really like being able to make of fun of you for it. BTW this is going on the blog.
Maggie: Fine. Well I guess you will have it word for word. Want to know why I said "off the hook"? It was on Desperate Housewives.
Colt: So, its only 2005 when people still cared about Desperate Housewives.
Maggie: Guess so...2005 it is...YAY! We are young again.

Maggie: How tall is Yao Ming?

Colt: Can I spend next month's rent on a piano?
Maggie: No
Colt: Damn...
Colt: Are you sure?
Maggie: Why don't you clean something if you are bored.
Colt: Who said I was bored I am buying a piano.
Maggie: No no no bear.
(PS I didn't buy the piano)

Monday, November 2, 2009


By Maggie:

Hello blog followers I know Colt has been keeping you call very entertained for the past few months but I thought I would take a turn. I just wanted to fill you in on our fabulous Halloween. I know there are some cynics out there who don't appreciate this holiday but I love it! Candy and costumes what more could you ask for? We started the fun Friday with a last minute movie night. We had delicious snacks. Thank you to everyone for your yummy contributions. Colt prepared a cheese platter of spooky Halloween cheeses. We watched Young Frankenstein. 4 out of the 7 in the group had not seen it before. It was a hit everyone loved the movie and it was a pretty good spider-webbing of friends if I do say so myself.

Saturday we went to Sugarhouse BBQ with Julie and James. Dinner was delicious. Later we popped their Rocky Horror Picture Show cherries. Someone who has never seen the movie before is called a virgin. I am not sure even with the research they had done that Julie and James were quite prepared for the initiations. Julie was a good sport and we saved her from being called on stage and having to participate in more humiliating acts. She was very grateful! The movie was fabulous as always and my friend, Quayle, played Rocky in the stage show and was wonderful. Seeing Rocky Horror has become on of my favorite Halloween traditions.

Maggie as Flo Colt as Caveman

I wanted my Spooky Cheese Platter to receive its due recognition so I made Maggie wait till I could write my paragraph describing it.

French Roquefort: That is aged in a limestone cave. Caves are spooky
Spanish Goat's Milk Cheese: The devil is often depicted as being half goat, so I am saying this cheese was milked from the prince of darkness. Spooky and evil.
Irish Cheddar: Ireland is a very mystical place all on its own. But this cheese had a very nice orange hue that made it the perfect Halloween color.
English Sage Derby: This English cheese has bright green veins running through it that make it just look spooky. It also has a black rind that made the perfect Halloween color combination.

I served this with Castelvetrano olives which are bright green and look almost radioactive, and some marinated garlic to keep vampires at bay.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

For the Ladies Who Rock...We Salute You

I have been contemplating this post for quite some time. I wanted to write a post about girls who rock, because it seems like they are far too few. There are some fantastic female singer songwriters, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell others not named Joan, but they are not what you put on when you wanna "Rock Out" in your pad. Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Diana Krall have some of the most amazing voices ever, but not rock by any stretch of the imagination. The other problem that female rockers unfairly face is that they become a sex symbol, and that sexy symbol status overshadows their Rockerness. No one thinks Bruce Springstein(I am sure there is a better example, but "The Boss" is who I came up with) losses rock credibility because millions of women find him attractive. Some female rockers try to capitalize on this *cough...Pussy Cat Dolls....cough*

Some groups like the The Supremes and many of the other Motown groups come off having too much bubble gum in the their sounds for my rock tastes. Also having a guitar is something of a necessity if you wanna rock. So here are my list of awesome Rocker Girls.

Aretha Franklin-I had actually written a line in the introduction about why she wasn't on the list, but then I listened to Respect and Think and thought about the scene in the Blues Brothers movie, and thought that if Ray Charles would go on my guys rock list because of the way I feel when I listen to Ray, then its only fair to put Aretha on my female list. She does with her voice what a great rock guitarist goes with his six string. Plus she was in Tommy ,the greatest rock opera ever, which was written by The Who so she gets instant street cred for that.

The Donnas-The Donnas do what the Pussy Cat Dolls what us to think they do...nough said.

The Runaways-For those of you who have never heard of The Runaways you are missing out. This was an all-female rock group in the 70s that had Lita Ford, Micki Steele(The Bangles) and Joan Jett in it. This was a band that even the most ardent Jock Rocker would be able to ban his head to. It produced three icons of female rock and is well worth a listen.

Bikini Kill- Hard core rockers from Washington state, that may be the closest XX Chromosome band you can compare to Nirvana. While at the same time starting the Riot Girl movement in music. Political lyrics and feminist themes make Bikini Kill the real girl power band.

The Bangals-Almost didn't make the list because when I listen to most of their popular stuff I think its all pop stuff, but songs like In Your Room made me concede that they earn at least as much rock cred as any new wave band. Plus they have a Runaways alum.

Lita Ford-Slashing guitar that could have made her a stand in for Van Halen any time.

Pattie Smith-One of the first punk rock girls. Blondie and Pattie Smith's solo stuff make her truly hardcore.

Alanis Morissette- As much I and almost every other guy in the late 90s hated her, we can't ignore that Jagged Little Pill was landmark album. And we all had the choruses from this album stuck in our heads for 5 years. She was engaged to Ryan Reynolds which almost kept her off the list, not because I hate him, but because he just doesn't seem like the male equivalent of Tawny Kitaen.

Joan Jett-The ultimate rock girl. When Joan sings "I don't give a damn about my bad reputation." We know she means it. When Avril Lavigne sings a similar sentiment we think she is trying to convince herself far more than she is convincing us. A fun thing to try get someone really obsessed with music talking about girls and rock and when they say "there are no good girl rockers." You say "except Joan Jett." The person will almost always reply "Well, yeah of course I didn't mean Joan Jett" Try it. I promise it works.

There are few names that didn't make it on this list. You are probably asking about Janis Joplin. I was just never a huge Janis fan. I will admit she rocks, because drinking Jack Daniels straight from the bottle is pretty rock n' roll, but I was just never impressed. There are others I am sure, feel free to leave glaring omissions in the comment box.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

15 Thought Evoking Movies

Recently there was a facebook tag rolling around that asked you name 15 movies that meant something to you. You were not supposed to think about it for very long, just type them as fast as you can. I did this, and was really pissed at the list afterward. There where glaring omissions and the inclusions were so weird that the list could have been as bad as the VH1 and Rolling Stone lists(and that pretty bad Rolling Stone left American Pie off of their 500 Greatest Songs list which basically just discounts their entire list). I think what I disliked most about it was the "don't think about it" aspect of the list. That's why so many movies suck, we are not supposed to think about them. I like to think, I like to think about movies. I really enjoy movies that make think about the world differently, or just cause me to become totally immersed in the story. Going to the movies is arguably my favorite thing to do. I love the feeling of the lights going down and the communal experience that is about to take place. I also really enjoy going by myself this ,of course, is one of the things that makes me a total freak. In that vain I am redoing my list of 15 movies, and putting a lot of thought into it.

1-The Lion in Winter: This movie's amazing dialogue, imagine Aaron Sorkin meeting Quentin Tarentino meeting William Shakespeare dialogue. Katherine Hepburn and Peter O'Toole give career performances in the lead roles(O'Toole was robbed of an Oscar by Rex Harrison. Harrison won for My Fair Lady, give me a freaking break). Timothy Dalton and Anthony Hopkins give strong supporting performances. This is a movie that was ahead of its time in terms of theme and pacing.
2-Lawrence of Arabia: Peter O'Toole is far and away my favorite actor and his work will feature prominently in this list. Lawrence is a movie that everyone should see. You will find no better use scenery in storytelling. O'Toole's T.E. Lawrence is one of the finest performances ever caught on celluloid.
3-L.A. Confidential: This movie works on so many levels its hard to describe. The captivating detective story, the complex relationships between people and the imagery of what lurks beneath the surface of all that glimmers. The ensemble cast is simply amazing. The symbolism in this film is nuanced enough that you can re watch it over again and always find something new(pay attention Guy Pearce's glasses when he wears them and when he doesn't).
4-Pulp Fiction: One of the first movies that I watched over and over again, trying to understand what was going on. Its a tapestry whose characters are deep and layered. Its dialogue is crisp and clean. Its soundtrack alone is reason to watch this film. It also two Hollywood icons giving two of their finest performances John Travolta ashit-man Vincent Vega and Bruce Willis as the aged boxer Butch.
5-The Ruling Class: One of the funniest films I have ever seen, and I am one of the very few who have ever seen it. Peter O'Toole plays an English Lord who is convinced he is God, he goes around telling everyone to love one another and preaches peace. This of course means he is a total whack job. This film is an inspired satire of the British class system, and religion. My favorite line is when a women asks O'Toole how he came to know he was God he replies "I realized when I was praying, that I was talking to myself." Highly recommend this film to anyone who loves a smart comedy.
6-The Great Dictator: This showcases the many reasons I love Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin plays Hynkel the dictator of Tomania who bears a striking resemblance to a certain German world leader of the 1930s. Chaplin(who wrote, starred and directed) crafted a magical satire of The Third Reich that infuriated some, scared others and kept thousands in stitches. Its humor as social commentary at its best.
7-The Departed: I love Martin Scorsese. When Maggie and I first moved to Salt Lake I was unemployed, and waiting to start the Police Academy. I watched this movie almost everyday and sometimes twice a day. This made me go a little crazy, but it also made me dissect it(a common symptom of growing crazy is dissecting Mark Wahlberg movies). The themes of identity and fatherhood play heavily in this crime drama. I love the performances and dynamic use of angles and shadows to set the mood of the story.
8-The Godfather(and part II): I really shouldn't even have to list this, its obvious this is one of the most perfect films ever made.
9- Match Point: Woody Allen's comedies are some of my favorite shut in day movies. This drama however had me completely captivated from opening till close. The telling of hard work vs chance make for an intriguing tale that keeps you involved.
10- Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang: Not many people saw this noir comedy, and that's the real crime. Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer both make this movie one of the funniest send ups of Hollywood I have ever seen.
11-The Sword and the Stone: King Arthur was one of my favorite childhood games, in large part because of this film. The Aurthur legends are filled with rich storytelling, drama, and idealism. The animated classic is perfect to watch when young and realize none of us know if we have a king inside of us. As you grow older it connects you with how heavy life can feel, as young Arthur first w deals with weight and responsibility of being monarch so must we all wear the crown of our adulthood.
12-Ratatouille: I love to cook. This movie about reaching for dreams and finding the art inside yourself made it my favorite Pixar immediately. Ratatouille not only teaches us about reaching beyond our grasp, it highlights the art of food and challenges us to find beauty in strange places. The fact their was no verbal communication between the two principals of the movie only add to the depth of involvement we feel watching this "not just" for kids movie.
13-A Christmas Story: This is the only movie that broke my Christmas Movie Time Line Law(Thanksgiving night through New Years Day). Every child(and me to this day) has something they want for Christmas that at some point the are completely convinced they are never going to have. You begin to ponder what life on the 26th will be like with out that special gift, and its a depressing world. Then the magic of finding that gift early in the dark hours of Christmas morning give you the kind of rush you can only have at Christmas.
14-Bowling for Columbine: This movie is a truly amazing piece of cinema. I feel bad for people who think they know what it is, but have never seen it and thus have no clue. Michael Moore asks the question "what makes us America so violent?" This movie is not anti-gun as Fox Noise would have you believe. In fact Moore makes the point very clearly that guns are not the problem. That lots of countries have guns, but are less violent than America. He delves into everything that was blamed for the Columbine attacks, the music of Marylin Manson, violent video games and movies, to guns themselves. He notes that the morning before the shooting the two students went to their bowling class, and asks if we blame all of these other things why not bowling. To anyone with pre-conceived ideas about what this movie is I say see it first, then think, then judge.
15-Star Wars: I watched this and Indiana Jones almost exclusively for several years of my life, and can still answer most of life's questions be referring to Star Wars
15-Indiana Jones: My list I can have two number 15s if I want. He's the reason I love wearing hats, and that I am terrified of snakes.

There are many more that could be on this list. As soon as I post this 15 more will spring to mind.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Great Books

I have read a lot this year. This is not an un-abridged list of what I have read this year, just a few of my favorites. There may or may not be more coming. This is an excellent topic for comment, so please...I need validation.

All of My Friends Are Going to Be Strangers
By Larry McMurtry
I have never ready any thing by Larry McMurtry that I have not loved. All of My Friends Are Going to Be Strangers(AMFGBS) is the story of Danny Deck. Danny is a young writer going to school in Texas. He falls in and out love, and meets many eccentric characters along his life's journey.AMFGBS is a very introspective book from one of America's great writers. The young author deals with his increasing fame and fortune, while still trying to figure out who he is. We get to know a lot about Larry through Danny. The things I love about this book are the vivid charactersMcMurtry creates in all of his prose, along with with the simple yet meaningful dialogue woven in the tale. The book may not have a strong plot element that keeps you from putting it down, but the journey and complicated world of Danny Deck will more than keep you entertained.

Fargo Rock City
By Chuck Klosterman
This book is by another of my favorite writers. Klosterman grew up in rural North Dakota and was a dedicated fan of heavy metal. Fargo Rock City is his attempt to put into perspective the heavy metal music of the 80s and its eventual death at the hands of Kurt Cobain. The book takes a serious look at what the actual cultural impact heavy metal head on society. The book uses Klosterman's wit and general "smart ass" tone to keep the reader involved even if they have never banged their head to Motley Crue's Shout at the Devil(which I also highly recommend you try next time you are stressed). The book also culminates with us understanding what it means to grow older, and how the music of our past can become embarrassing with time(I owned The Rembrandts , theme song from Friends, album), but it is still a part of us. I have read this book twice, and return to it often for a good laugh, and when I need to be reminded why Guns n' Roses rocks.

By Chuck Klosterman
Is a collection of essays and interviews from Chuck Klosterman. I at first thought this book would be nothing more than an updated version of Sex, Drugs and Coco Puffs(Can not recommend this book enough), but IV gives some wonderful interviews with unlikely celebrities. His interview with Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) shows an incredible artists who if you met on a bus(which is entirely a possibility with Tweedy) you would never know he was a rock star. His famous interview with Billy Joel ,that caused the "Piano Man" to become enraged with Klosterman, shows a music icon who really needs to be loved. I was impressed with this book, because it showed a growth in Klosterman as a journalist and as pop culture critic.

Let it Blurt:The Life and Times of Lester Bangs, America's Greatest Rock Critic
By Jim Derogatis
For those of you who don't know Lester Bangs was one of America's great voices on music for the better part of two decades. His album review of Van Morrison's Astral Weeks is better than the actual album. He had legendary verbal sparring matches with Lou Reed, and wrote some of the erudite criticism of rock n' roll ever. He is the gold standard by which all other critics should be judged. He was also a fascinating person, addicted to cough syrup he was far from the typical narcotics user of his day. He would often call aspiring writers who wrote to him with a desire to be a rock critic at all hours of the night and discuss music with them and how to prefect their own craft. Bangs was raised a Jehovah's Witness and the strict religious indoctrination created a strange vision of the world, that permeated his writing. Its wonderful look a brilliant and flawed man, as well as one of the finest eras in music history.

Main Lines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste: A Lester Bangs Reader
By John Morthland
If by chance you read Let it Blurt this is a great follow up. It contains a lot of the famous essays as well as few of the short poems and lyrics Lester Bangs wrote over the course of his life. It can be a hard read, and really recommend reading the biography listed above first. It will however give you a great insight into why Bangs was so influential and should still be relevant today. I actually like this better than Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung, which was a book that was supposed to be the compilation Bangs never actually wrote himself. Robert Christagua (Bang's self appointed successor as America's great rock voice) did a lot of the compilation here, and left out some of the most meaningful parts of Bangs prose and poetry, that help to show the complete artist that never was.

Wilco:Learning How to Die
By Greg Kot
I initially became interested in this book after reading the Klosterman profile of Jeff Tweedy in IV. I have always been drawn to singer/songwriters, and Tweedy seemed like someone I should know more about. This book was an excellent look at one of the greatest songwriters of my life time. The story of a mid-western band carving out a new sound that mixed Nirvana and Waylon Jennings. The drama of two school yard friends bonded by their exclusive love The Ramones and Sex Pistols in St Louis, and the jealousy induced unraveling of their friendship and first band Uncle Tupelo when on the verge of super-stardom. It shows Tweedy's innovation in using the Internet to reach fans, when his record company refused to release his artistic masterpiece Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. The book cemented my already strong fan status of Wilco, and Tweedy. Its a great read for anyone interested in music, or celebrities with a brain.

The Partly Cloudy Patriot
By Sara Vowel
Sara Vowel is best known as the voice of Violet in Pixar's The Incredibles, or as a regular contributor to NPR's long running This American Life. If you have not read her, you are missing out. Especially if you are at the geek level I am at, and stop on the road side to read a plaque placed there to honor where Lewis and Clark stopped to shave and perhaps trap a possum for dinner. Sara is a patriot who loves her country's history in spite of all that she knows is wrong with it. Her essays are humorous and at times heart wrenching for those of us who were utterly pained to be living through the Bush years, but still loved our country with all of our hearts. This books tapped into the zeitgeist of what I was feeling for those 8 long years. She delivers wit and insight on a variety of topics. I don't want this book to come sounding like something only a liberal can enjoy, because its not. Its a book that anyone who loves their country, gets annoyed with its current state or past histories, and just owns up to their own geekiness.

The Omnivore's Dilemma
By Michael Pollan
In the Omnivore's Dilemma investigative journalist Michael Pollan traces four distinct food lines. A modern industrial food line starting at a cattle ranch and ending with a meal at McDonalds; beyond organic farm in Virgina that raises food the way food was raised 50 years ago; the organic food chain with places like Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and even Wal -Mart; and a hunter gather meal made from a boar the author shot himself, mushrooms he gathered wild, and food raised in his own garden. The book is a hard look at where the food we eat every day comes from. How corn has become the grain that ultimately feeds us all, even though animals like cows and fish are not designed to eat corn and this creates some very sick animals. The Omnivore's Dilemma is a book that really challenges you to think and re-think about where your food is coming from. The book has inspired small changes at the Smith household, we use the Downtown Farmer's Market more, buy organic when we can, and I am even planning a day trip to a farm in Wyoming that raises food the same way the farmer in Virgina from the book does. Its a challenging book, that's a fine example of what good investigative journalism should be.

By Larry McMurtry
One of the greatest things I have ever done in my life was a two week road trip with my friend Brad Neve. We made no concrete plans, only to drive east and go "look for America." And America we did find. It showed me parts of the country I had never seen, and was the culmination of a life long love of staring out the window from a car a passing landscape. In Roads Larry McMurtry does much the same thing. He narrates his drives down some of America's great roads, and talks of his life as an author and bookseller. One of my favorite parts of the book comes when McMurtry is looking out the window of his hotel room at the Arkansas River and talks about the death of one of the minor characters in Lonesome Dove(McMurtry's Pulitzer Prize Winning Novel and one of my three favorite books). He writes of the sadness he had when this minor character died, and how often times while writing its the minor characters that you end up connecting with. McMurtry's own love of books is evident as he writes of the great travel books, and authors who dwelled in the places he passes through on his sojourn. I have yet to read a McMurtry book I have not loved, and this is no different.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I don't look a thing like Jesus, but I do look like Sid Vicious: Meditations on The Killers

This is just a quick post about the second concert of the weekend Maggie and I attended.

-The Killers are an excellent live show, even if the acoustics suck at the E Center.
-Pyrotechnics and stage production are only good when adding to music and not distracting from it. The Killers did this well.
-A Mariachi Band is actually a pretty cool opening act, it does make you want to buy nachos though.
-A crappy Jack White wannabe is not a good opening act. They would have been better in a smaller club, but most likely still sucked.
-Getting out of a parking lot after a concert requires you to become a total jerk to the rest of populace.
-People in Escalades with theatre systems watching Futurama should chill the F out and let those of us struggling to make our Ipod FM Transmitters work, while rushing to meet friends afterward leave first. PS: Having a "Support our Troops Ribbon" on the back of your Escalade is like having a "Save Our Forests Bonfire." Idiot.
-Once again old friends are awesome to go shows with. Proving that Journalism really was the best class I ever took in high school, even I remember nothing it other than the Book of Kauer.
-Sprite is still the perfect post concert beverage.
-The Bayou is a perfect post concert meeting place.
-There is just not a Plothow I don't like.
-Brandon Flowers reminds me of early David Bowie meets Freddie Mercury meets Police era Sting.
-I was mistaken for Sid Vicious. I was wearing my Sid Vicious mugshot T-Shirt, and our server at the Bayou thought I had a picture of myself on my t-shirt. I thought this was awesome, Nancy...err...uh...Maggie thought this was scary.
-You have to be very aware of what the bussers are doing at The Bayou or else they will clear your Gumbo before you are done with it, and not allow you to use the piece of French Bread with which to wipe your bowl; this being good for the body and good for the soul.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Thoughts on Flogging Molly

Friday night Maggie and I went to see Flogging Molly play at The Venue here in Salt Lake. We got in as guests of the band because one of my very first best friends from Kindergarten works for the band. I have not seen this friend in at least 20 years. I found him on facebook and we started to chat one day. I told him that I noticed in his status recently he saw Nathan Maxwell ,the bass player for Flogging Molly, solo act. I told him that Maggie and I also saw him perform. He then casually mentions "I work for his other band." I went on to tell him that Flogging Molly is easily one of my favorite bands, and is always in place to be my second favorite band of all time(second place being the most coveted, because The Beatles are number one. There is no way to best them). He offered to get me into the show for free...I accepted. Here are some thoughts and favorite moments.
-Story: Never judge a Zoobie by its cover. A Zoobie for all those who don't know is uber Mormon Utah County type. Maggie and I spotted this Zoobie looking couple at the concert, except he was wearing a Bouncing Souls t-shirt (one of Maggie's favorite bands). We figured they were here to chaperon a kid or something, and we had to investigate a Zoobie who was wearing a Bouncing Souls t-shirt. We talked with them before the show discovered they were from Orem, and that she got patches from every show because she was making a quilt. Once Flogging Molly started this couple that had escaped across Point of the Mountain for the evening went nuts. They were both in the most intense part of the mosh pit. He stripped his shirt to reveal a very intricate tattoo set. He was getting in a fight with security, and his wife shoved the guard to rescue him from thrown out. This taught me two things 1)Never assume someone is a Zoobie by their cover 2)You can still party hard after having kids...also if you two happen to stumble across this you are awesome and we want to be friends.
-Observation: If you have any stress a mosh pit is better than anything to get rid of it.
-Moment: Watching the group obviously from BYU looking shocked that someone would drop an "F-Bomb" on stage.
-Observation: DO NOT WEAR THE T-SHIRT OF THE BAND YOU ARE GOING TO SEE...don't be that guy, c'mon.
-Observation: Getting hit in the mouth, face, head, rest of body does not hurt if the music is loud enough
-Moment/Observation: I always love watching someone fall in a mosh pit, and then seeing the group stop to help the person up. Seeing compassion in a sea of seeming rage show to me that mosh pits represent the best in humanity. Its tribal.
-Moment: Maggie getting hit on by the cute 16 year old girl.
-Observation: Being soaked in sweat(yours and others peoples) is a pretty awesome feeling.
-Moment: The really old roadie with oxygen tank partying in the middle of the dance floor...rock on brotha.
-Observation: Sprite is the perfect post concert beverage(and I never drink Sprite other wise)
-Observation: Make a friend with me, you make a friend for life, and bonds formed over G.I. Joes, Ninja Turtles, Bravestar, and the Karate Kid are stronger than you could imagine.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Where Everybody Knew My Name: Part II the Hawk n' Dove

When I was an intern Washington DC I had a unique experience. I was the first congressional intern to be sent from Dixie State College, and, unlike most interns, was not there as part of a school program. I had to find my own housing and ended up living alone. I had a studio apartment on Capitol Hill on the corner of Independence and Maryland. It was a short walk to my office on the House side of the hill in the Longworth House Office Building. I was however for the first time in my life with out any preexisting social network and totally alone. When I was in the MTC one of my best friends was there at the same time this provided some sense of home. When I went to the mission field I had the district I had just spent three weeks in confinement with. When I was inside the Belt-Way I was alone.

For the first three weeks I explored the city on my own. Maggie came to visit on two weekends, along with friends from California, and a former co-worker of mine who was visiting a girlfriend in Maryland where my only previously known contacts. I did have two friends who were also there for an internship he worked on the floor above me, but he was married and living in Virginia which made casual engagements harder to arrange. For the most part I was alone. I would leave work and explore a Smithsonian museum, walk the great monuments to democracy. I would take sojourns to Arlington National Cemetery stare into the eternal flame that reminded me of the New Frontier and the passing of the torch to a new generation of Americans .I read the words of a little brother who sought to end poverty, and walk the rows of crosses and contemplate sacrifices made by those who came before. It was a great time to find myself and realize what matters most to me. However, in a city that thrives on networking, I wanted human contact beyond my office walls.

This happened at the Hawk n' Dove. I fell in with a group of fellow interns working at various senate and house offices, research groups, lobby groups, and various government agencies. The Hawk n' Dove is the kind of bar I always pictured being in Washington DC. The place where the debate carried over from the cloak rooms, halls and floors of congress to the bar stools, pool tables, and dance floors of DC night life. There was always discussion of the day's events, the latest scandals, and what was happening in "our members" various committees. One of the rules of the Hawk n' Dove was that you never talked about who you worked for by name, per chance the opposition was listening in at the next table. You always used the words "my member" when discussing you day job. It created a wonderful sense of importance.

The bar was long and dark with pictures of politicos past, campaign bumper stickers from across the country (I contributed one from Zion I had, and one with Brain from Pinky and the Brain saying "Put A Brain in The White House" raising his hands in the famous Nixon peace signs) and neon sign informing patrons "Jack Lives Here." The floor was old hard wood that creaked when you walked on it, the walls brick and showing the age of the building. The TVs always had both the Yankees-Red Sox game and CNN (Fox or MSNBC depending on which party gained control of the remote that day). I always felt at home here.

When I was home watching one of my favorite episodes (Dead Irish Writers) of West Wing (which is the fictional world I spent most of the Bush years pretending I lived in). Toby (White House Communications Director) and Lord John Marbury left a White House black tie party to go to a bar and share a bottle of Lagavulin and discuss the president's work with Northern Ireland. They quote Yeats, O'Neil, and Joyce as they battle of policy. It reminded me of my time in DC, and as the camera drew back on the two statesman it clearly revealed the name of the location the two had chosen...Hawk n' Dove.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Broken Nose=Bad Ass

Maggie: I am worried about our kids' noses.

Colt: We don't have kids, and the kids we don't have don't have noses. Do you mean you are worried because they are going to have hideous noses, because you think we both have hideous noses?

Maggie: No, that is not what meant.

Colt: Thanks for calling my nose hideous.

Maggie: I just can't picture my nose or your nose on a little baby.

Colt: My nose is over 20 years old, our kid will not have a 20 year old nose. Plus my nose got this big and crooked after it was broken a couple of times, same with my dad.

Maggie: So we just need to make our kids where helmets with face masks to protect their noses.

Colt: Naw, a broken nose adds character and several degrees of bad ass.

Maggie:...(blank stare)

Colt: Its is.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

It was around 15 Years Ago Today.

This past weekend Maggie and I went to St George and then on to Las Vegas for a weekend of musicals, shopping (Brooks Brothers is doing well I am happy to report) and excellent restaurants. We got into St George late Thursday night and I was still wired from the energy drink I drove down on, so I stayed awake till 4AM watching VH1 Classic (See my running Facebook commentary for details on that.). VH1 Classic was promoting the new Beatles Rock Band Game with a series of specials about The Beatles. This got me thinking about my personal experience with the Fab Four and what drew me to The Beatles.

I was lucky enough to grow up in a house that really loved music despite the fact that none of us could play a thing or sing at all. I got kicked out of more choirs than I care to admit, and am still annoyed with Mr Lister to this day for pointing out my severe lack of talent. The very first artist that I remember requesting be played was Roy Orbison. I think I knew every lyric to every song of Roy's by the time I was 8 years old. This of course lead me to other artists like the Traveling Wilburys, Elton John (though that one took some time), Johnny Cash, and all the artists on the oldies rock station. This background set me up well to appreciate The Beatles.

The earliest memory I have of The Beatles is watching the Saturday morning cartoon on the Disney Channel and thinking it was hilarious. Second only to that was getting up very early in the morning and to watch the Disney Channel to find this very strange movie about this guy who had a ring on his finger that required him to be painted red and sacrificed. I remember telling my mother about how funny the ending where they dedicated the movie to it. My mother finished the line before the words were out of my mouth, and went to tell me that was one of her favorite movies when she was a kid.

I later remember asking for Beatles cassette tape for Christmas. In my family we were allowed to ask for 2 little presents and 1 big present for Christmas each year. I had grown concerned with my cassette collection not having enough real music and wanted to expand my musical horizons. Every teacher, classmate, family member, and even jolly old Saint Nick himself seemed puzzled beyond belief that a kid my age in the late 80s would be asking for a Beatles cassette to fit in his "My First Sony Walkman," but I did. It was one of my most cherished gifts that year. It was a greatest hits compilation and exposed me to an entire decade of Beatle Mania. I loved the song Paperback Writer and tried to get my peers to enjoy it on the same level. I became fascinated with the back story of each song, and pestered my mom for insight into the meanings of the lyrics. I pointed how the music was "about something" that it was important even though I could hardly articulate why. But to no avail, they remained unimpressed. My cousin was getting into R&B and Country; my friends were obsessed with Poison, or Kris Kross. This time was also important because I learned the music you hate, is almost as important as the music you like in defining yourself.

Years later after I had made the transition to CD from cassette and now had a grown up Sony Discman I began acquiring The Beatles catalog in earnest. I had also discovered artists that were more age appropriate Nirvana, Green Day, U2, Counting Crows, Sonic Youth etc, but I never lost my love for the group that turned me into a "serious music fan." One night my mother was going out with friends and I was bummed I was not included. I was going to have to stay home and amuse myself for a couple of hours. My mom promised that if I was good she would give something I had spent months trying to convince her I needed...Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. When it was time for her to go I raced to the car to get my reward that had been hidden in the glove compartment. She went out with friends and I popped on the head phones. I hardly noticed she was gone. I listened to the album over and over again. It was one of the most incredible experiences up to that point in my life. I raced home from school the next day to put the headphones on again. I again played the missionary trying to convert anyone who would listen that this was what great music should be like, but it was for the most part lost on my friends.

Around middle school ABC ran documentary called The Beatles Anthology that was going to run across several days and feature the first new Beatles songs in two decades. The hype for this was huge. TGIF (ABC's Friday Night line up at the time geared to people my age) switched all of the shows normal theme songs for Beatles songs; the ads ran non-stop. I knew this was important, so did my mom, because she let me stay up past my otherwise strict bed time. The first night coincided with the release of Volume 1 of the Beatles Anthology CDs, and the timing could not have been more perfect. I was flush with cash from my recent birthday, so I raced to the mall after school to purchase the double album. I came home and put on the Discman head phones and listened to the album for most of the night. I was able to do this in part because I had also purchased my first cappuccino and that much caffeine in kid that small and with that low a tolerance could have kept me wired for days.

I still love The Beatles, and I believe they opened my eyes to all of the music I have since come to love. I don't have to try as hard to convince my friends of their greatness, and I don't really care as much any more if they like them or not. I like them. They served as a meter for how well any girl and I would get along on a first date with the simple questions "Who is your favorite Beatle?" "What's your favorite Beatles Album/Song?" I could almost always tell if this relationship had a snowballs chance by the answers.

I danced to My Life at my wedding; I sang Fool on the Hill to myself on my mission when I felt dejected; I have strummed along to Blackbird, and listened to Eleanor Rigby when I was sad. The Beatles did what any great artist strives to do: inspire and trigger self awareness. They brought me out of my shell, aided in shaping my identity, made me think, and just taught me be happy.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Things Learned from Watching a Psych Marathon

-That Cybil Shepard is still pretty hot
-That Wesley from the Princess Bride got kind of chunky, and plays an excellent master thief
-That kid who played Fulton in the Mighty Ducks turned into a psycho killer
-That I know, you know, I'm not telling the truth
-That Monk is its final season
-That I really miss the West Wing (Dule Hill, will always be Charlie to me)
-That being inside your apartment all day with the lights off, though cave like it may be, does not turn you into Batman...damn
-That I know, you know, they don't have a clue
-That showering is highly overrated, because Degree really does provide protection longer than the leading other brands
-That Monk is its final season
-That Pizza and Coke Zero are all you need to survive
-That Lassiter is the glue that holds the show together
-That maybe I should be a pretend psychic and solve mysteries
-That Corbin Bernson might be my real father
-That your worst inhibitions tend to psych you out in the end
-That Maggie going out of town kind of sucks
-That Monk is its final season

Now if you will excuse me I am going to shower, resurface, and go fight crime...or go to a movie one of the two.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Yoga Man Needs a Steak

Maggie: I did the yoga class today.

Colt: Oh yeah. How was it?

Maggie: It was good, I liked the new teacher. He was really good at helping me with my form.

Colt: It was a man?

Maggie: That's why I said "he." You would have hated him.

Colt: Why?

Maggie: He said things like "Point your heart towards the earth with this pose."

Colt: hmmm

Maggie:You would have ripped up his "Man Card" huh?

Colt: If any girl has drug her boyfriend/husband there before against his will...that "Man Card" is long gone.

*Please note that doing yoga or teaching does not result in automatic suspension of a "Man Card" but saying things like "let your inner self bond with the trees"(for example) will require action by a committee of men.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Literary Genius is

By Colt

I recently did something that I have never done before on facebook. I requested someone that I have never met, or even have a loose connection to. I added one of my favorite authors. Its his actual facebook page, and not a fan page used to promote an upcoming book tour or article in some magazine I am never going to read. I was a little bit nervous at first that it was going to be a page set up by just another fan that was far from the truth, but after having befriended one of my personal library keystones for a couple of weeks I am convinced its really him.

This is not what this post is about. This recent "friending" got me thinking what would some of my favorite authors use as there status updates if they were alive and/or had a cable modem? Here are some of my musings

Ernest Hemmingway is on a boat

Jules Verene told you so.

Kurt Vonnegut is being monitored by the government through this thing.(He sounds a lot like Brad Plothow)

J.D. Salinger hopes you like this status update as much as the last one

Joseph Conrad is watching Apocalypse Now for the millionth time

Thomas Pynchon is taking his blog private.

Charles Dickens is mad as hell about something he heard on NPR this morning

Jane Austen wants to know who let Mary Shelley get a hold of Pride and Prejudice?

Percy Shelley is attending a rally to support Climate Control, and then off to see "Drag Me to Hell" with Mary.

Shakespeare is emailing Gwyneth Paltrow...again

George Orwell told you so

Harriett Beecher Stowe YES WE CAN!!!

F. Scott Fitzgerald remember when I posted an hour ago I was never drinking again? I may or may not be mixing Tanqueray with a Hi-C Ecto Cooler right now.

James Joyce Bicycle Pump. Gravel Road. Hard Luck Showers.

William Butler-Yeats is listening to the new U2 CD before heading out to dinner with BONO! So, freaking excited!!!

Henry David Thoreau is sitting under a tree (updated via BlackBerry)

Monday, July 13, 2009


Maggie:There is a movie I really want to see.

Colt:Oh! That reminds me I just rented one from the library I have wanted to see for a couple of years now. It was a big Sundance hit I never got around to seeing

Maggie:What is it?


Maggie: Never heard of it.

Colt: Yes you have, I told you about it when it came out. It has the kid from 3rd Rock From the Sun in it.

Maggie: Shut up...the movie I want to see has Joseph Gordon-Levitt in it too.

Colt: That's just beyond freaking weird.

Maggie:I know what are the odds we both want to see a movie with him in it.

Colt: What are the odds of someone knowing his name?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Where Everybody Knew My Name Part 1: Eden Music Paradise Lost

By Colt

There have been many places that influenced the person that I have become today. I think that we all have restaurants, bars, stores, and friends houses that felt like home. Places that not only brought out different parts of our personalities, but helped shape and mold them. I am doing something new with the blog and I am writing a series of posts based around those places. It will be ongoing and in specific timeline. I am going to start with a place that I can never go back because it is gone. It was killed by Target, Best Buy and Itunes. It was Eden Music.

Eden Music was first located in a shopping center on Bluff Street in St George, it later moved to Tabernacle before ultimately becoming another victim of the St George population's love all things corporate. The first album I bought there was a used copy of House of Pain's debut album. This was because I had heard the song a lot on the radio, and watched the video on MTV. This was the main reason behind most the music I bought. I didn't really care where I got, I cared that it was used and therefore cheaper. As I grew older and started to care more about what I listened to Eden became more important.

It was run by someone who became my friend, Adam Mast. Adam took the time to get to know what I liked. He knew I liked movies and would always recommend the best stuff that was being made by independent film makers. He took the time to get know my musical tastes, and over time got to where I would by anything he suggested without listening to it first. He recommended albums that have become my some of my standard rotations on my Ipod. The Magic Numbers, Wilco, Eels, Uncle Tupelo, Super Fury Animals, Blanche, The Shins, and The Vandals are some of my favorite bands that I would never have heard of had I done my shopping at Best Buy. It was at Eden that I bought my first two Elvis Costello records(North and When I Was Cruel). It was at Eden I first heard American Idiot and thus started my belief that Green Day was one of the very very few transcendent bands of my generation. With out Eden Music and Adam I would most likely still be listening to what ever was on the radio, and would never have developed my vast appreciation for all types of music.

Eden was not just a place to buy music though, it was a place to chill and meet new people. You didn't have to buy anything to just hang out and talk music or movies. Who ever was hanging around the counter that day were your new friends. If I had an hour or two to kill before my shift at the Pizza Factory began, I just stopped into Eden till it was time to go.

When I came back to St George from Washington DC one of the first places I went was Eden and that is when Adam told me the store was closing. There was just no longer any room for the small independent music store in the crowded market. He told me that since he had decided to close up shop all of his regulars and stopped in to hear the news. I got in my truck and put the copy of Don McLean's American Pie and listened to those sad lyrics that perfectly fit the soundtrack of my life at that moment:

I met a girl who sang the blues and I asked her for some happy news but she just smiled and turned away I went down to the sacred store where I'd heard the music years before but the man there said the music wouldn't play ...the day the music died.

I have tried to find another place that fits me, and knows what I like. None of them have worked. I can't go to Best Buy and get a recommendation for a new band. I worked corporate retail sales I knew I was going try and sell you a Kenmore the minute you walked into Sears's Appliance section. I don't want to be sold on Katy Perry the moment I set foot in your area just because its whats being promoted this week. There is something just a little to 2001:A Space Odyssey about a Mac computer using Itunes to track my play history and recent downloads and then reading my mind to decide who else I would like. As a result I have had to try hard to find stuff I like. Getting recommendations from friends(who I trust) and listening to KUER(local NPR music station). When Eden closed its doors for the final time was the day the my music died.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Bored on the 4th of July?

I wrote a list of Christmas movie favorites in 2008, and I think that a list of patriotic films would be a nice thing to post for those of someplace way to hot to spend the entire day BBQing and playing baseball.

Johnny Tremain

This is a classic Walt Disney live action film. It is also based on one of my favorite books, by Esther Forbes. It shows the story or a young silversmith apprentice in Boston during the days leading up to the British Army's march on Lexington and Concord where the "shot heard round the world" was fired that started the American Revolution.  This film as a lot of heart and is a great way to get younger kids to understand the reason for the fireworks on the 4th day of July each year.

Ben and Me

This is another Disney film, though is in the vein of the classic animated short that brought Walt his initial success and fame.  The story of a mouse, Amos,  who lives with an unknown printer in Philadelphia. This mouse helps this humble printer named Ben to write some of his most important work, and invent his most famous inventions.  He even takes a ride on a kite during a rather stormy day in eastern Pennsylvania.  This cartoon is one of the first things I remember teaching me about Ben Franklin, our founding fathers, and founding rodents for that matter.  This yet again another great film for younger kids, and younger hearts.

Saving Private Ryan

The opening scene of this film shows us an elderly grandfather figure walking with his family who obviously do not understand the how hallowed the ground they are walking on  during their family vacation is. This is a commentary on how many of us do not understand the history that made us who we are today.  The furtherance of the story shows us the sacrifice that one troop made to save one man and his family whom none of them know.  This is an apt parallel to the sacrifices that so many men and women make in the armed forces for us who do they have never met.

Born on the 4th of July

Oliver Stone is possibly the only director who could have made a movie that both rips the United States Vietnam policy to shreds, and yet still make me love my country more by the end of it. I like this film because it shows that patriotism is not merely waving a flag, it is in the way we treat our veterans, and the way we challenge ourselves to think

The American President

The American President is your 4th of July love story. It asks what were to happen if our single president were to fall in love? Written by Aaron Sorkin ,who wrote my favorite show The West Wing, and directed by Carl Reiner it also attacks the politics of personal destruction.  This film is great if for no other reason than the end speech where fictional President Andrew Sheppard defends his women, his liberal politics, and attacks "swift boat" style politics.

Forrest Gump

This one may seem a stretch for some, but for me this is a quintessential American story.  It chronicles the latter half of 20th century through the eyes of a very simple man, who is often unaware of the importance of the events that transpire around him. *WARNING BUSH BASH FOLLOWING* This movie kind of reminds me of what George Bush would have been like if he had been poor and never met Carl Rove, and not Anakin Skywalkering it.

The Fog of War

This is a documentary and I wanted to put at least one on this list, and this is the one that I selected.  It is essentially a conversation with Robert McNamara who was the Secretary of Defense for both John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson.  The Vietnam War was often called "McNamara's War," because of his heavy influence in the most controversial military campaign in US history(up till the present).  The conversation in this film has McNamara give us 11 life lessons he learned from being one the 1960s most controversial figures.  This film is fits with the 4th because it shows us that though we have made many mistakes as a nation, we can forge ahead. It also reminds us that we can always change course.  

Mr Smith Goes to Washington

I was done then I had to write this one last recommendation.  With the last name Smith and dreams of going to serving in Congress this is one of my favorite movies.  It shows the power that one man can have in the system. It is one Frank Capra's finest films, and Jimmy Stewart's best performances. It is hardly possible to have a movie make you feel prouder to be an American. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Clapton is God

Its been said before, it will be said again...Clapton is God. I have been a Clapton fan for a long time. The first album I bought was a double disc CD of a live concert at the Royal Albert Hall. But, actually seeing the man live was truly a religious experience, and the saying that was first written on a London Underground wall in the mid 1960s was made manifest to me. To watch fingers slide up and down the neck of a black and white Fender-Stratocaster like no man could possibly do was one of the captivating events in my entire concert resume.

However, there were two sure fire signs that I have been reading way to much Chuck Klosterman. that I made two very strange off the wall observations. The first was that I spent a good portion of the night watching the crowd. I was shocked at who was really into this concert. It was not the aging "Baby Boomers" it was the 20 to 30 something "Hipsters" who were standing and cheering. One hipster , who came dressed as Elvis Costello circa the Armed Forces album, was dancing like blues infused Frankenstein most of the show. The hipsters love was not the shocking fact. The shocker was how sedate the Boomers were for most of the show. I would have expected this crowd to react similarly to other 50+ crowds I have seen at other shows, but they were all extremely mellow(and there was not contact high to be found). I think this lends greater credence to my argument that there is void of GREAT rock bands in my generation.

The second odd observation I had was Eric Clapton is still wearing a watch. I don't know many people who still wear a watch. I understand it is more convenient that a cell phone when you are on stage, but I would want as little weight as possible if my hand were sliding up and down the fret bars that fast. I think it lends to his classic stature though, as someone who is from a different time, a time when rock n' roll was relevant, and people knew there was a God on stage not keeping gays from getting married in California.

PS One more Klosterman like observation Eric Clapton looks a lot like House, and vice versa.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Green Day...Are They The Best of What There Is?

by Colt

I am going to do my best Lester Bangs impression by making an argument that Green Day is the greatest band of my generation. I am not stating that Green Day is my favorite band or even the one I consider the best in any one category. But if we were to create an overall matrix of what makes a band greatest of their time. I feel like Green Day would have to rank on top.

First the criteria by which I judge a band. The standard that every band is judged against is The Beatles, and why is that? The answer is easy "Because they are the FREAKING BEATLES!" For purposes of this article however I will need to break The Beatles down into categories that made them THE FREAKING BEATLES.

-Commercial Success

The Beatles are the most successful rock band of all time. They had sold nearly 300 million units by 1969. They still hold the record for most Number One hits on the British pop charts (15). The Beatles and Elvis are the only two artists in history who have sold more than 1 billion units, this clearly puts them in a class all of their own.

Green Day sold roughly 40 million units as of press time on this article. Their current album 21st Century Breakdown is selling well and debuted at Number 1 on the Billboard Top 100 Chart. Green Day is obviously not in The Beatles league, but no one (besides Elvis) is. This means for my purpose is that a band has to be commercially viable to be in the discussion for greatest of an era. This point must be made in order to stifle the belief that a band must be small and a non-economic powerhouse to be a great band. That musical prowess is lost when a band hits the big time. I love indie/small rock, but greatness is measured in dollars as well influence. Because dollars show broad appeal, that the music has reached a cultural mainstream.

This does not mean that all music that sells is good; it just means that all music that sells does have some pop cultural significance. To deny that Miley Cyrus had no impact is ludicrous, to state her music is good insane.

-Contributions to Musical Culture

The Beatles here again would rank 1st on contributions to rock and roll. Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is the single most influential album of all time. This was nothing we had ever heard before. I will further add that The Beatles 'B-Side' music is likewise influential. Songs like Helter Skelter paved the way for early punk rock. The use of feedback on albums like Rubber Soul and Revolver were an obvious influence on such icons as Led Zeplin and Aerosmith which later influenced all heavy metal even if Robert Plant plugs his ears and hums Kashmir every time someone says that. The Beatles influenced nearly every aspect of modern pop music either directly or indirectly.

This is where my Green Day argument becomes hard, not impossible, to prove. They are just now old enough to have younger generations of musicians site them as an influence or for us to hear it in new artists’ music. The problem is that with most new artists what we hear when they site influences is still The Beatles or if you are appealing to hipster audiences Iggy Pop and the Stooges. I have to predict into the future that albums like American Idiot and Insomniac will be influences for future artists.

Personally, Dookie was one of the very first albums I ever bought; the video for Basket Case was one of 3 videos I remember loving in middle school. The other two were both Nirvana and Heart Shaped Box both excited and terrified me.


The Beatles continued to grow along with their audience. The same crowd that teenie-bopped to I Wanna Hold Hand and Love me Do later considered the complexities of the ever changing world they were about to inherit to Let it Be and Revolution. This growth showed that the band not only had substance and creativity, but the ability to stay together.

Green Day has also done this with their two latest offerings they have shown that as band they have moved beyond the sounds of Dookie and Nimrod that fit the way I felt at those times. Much the same way Hey Jude and All You Need is Love were the soundtrack for '60s high schoolers, Time of Your Life will forever be played at my high school reunions. Now Green Day's two latest CDs fit the mood of my mid and late 20s. They match the anger felt at the Bush Administration, and a world we did not create, but our now destined to inherit from our Flower Child Parents. These two new anthems echo the voice of my generation the way that Green Day always has from the first time When I Come Around said to the world how I tried to find myself during puberty.

-Breaking New Ground Musically and Socially

The Beatles and Bob Dylan created the “thinking rock song.” Pop songs were no longer just about holding hands with a girl, a fast car, the beach, or summer vacation. Songs became about real issues and the times in which they lived in. The Beatles were also the first rock band to have a profound effect on the political climate as well as the musical scene. In 1967 when they sang "All You Need is Love" which spawned the "Summer of Love" a critical point in the 1960s and the hippie movement.

This is where I believe Green Day has separated from the pack. The album American Idiot was is masterpiece (I will add the 21st Century Breakdown is almost as good if not better). It merged politics and music in a way not seen in rock during my adult life time. It also served as stirring anthem for the dramatic shift left among the nation's youth today. I am not saying that college and high school kids worked and voted for Obama in 2008 solely because of Green Day, but the fact that best selling album was an obvious attack on the Bush Doctrine, and that it was widely played in both 2004 and 2008’s elections is highly telling of the band’s influence. No other band of my era has had this great an effect on politics.

I know what some of you are thinking " are a moron...U2?" So this next part will show how I eliminated the competition.

U2-Too Old, Boy came out the year before I was born, and I was 6 when The Joshua Tree came out. Plus (put down the pitch fork) I don't know how much they have influenced other musicians.

Red Hot Chili Peppers-Have not had enough social impact. Unless wearing nothing but a tube sock is akin to John Lennon's "Bed In."

Foo Fighters-Dave Grohl is a genius, and a member of two bands that are with out a doubt in the top ten of great bands of my lifetime. However, Grohl is the drummer for Nirvana and that will always define him. Plus, how much social impact do we have from the Foo Fighters?

Nirvana-Here is the band that could have been number one. And if I wanted to go the easy route I would have placed them there, but they released 5 albums including the MTV Unplugged Live Concert Appearance. The did destroy Glam Metal and most forms of heavy metal other than Metallica, but their impact is tainted as are all deaths by celebrities who go too young, not unlike how Buddy Holley has gained mythic status 50 years after his death with present day emo kids who claim he invented their glasses wearing whine rock (you are all wrong and need to be stopped. By the way also we are taking Weezer back they were here before you so they are still ours).

Weezer- A lack of Commercial success, broad appeal, and consistency keep Weezer from topping the list (which I did not discuss, but is vitally important to any bands long term impact).

There are many other bands that could enter into this discussion, but this is where I am stating my position for now. I also wonder if this does not show the weakness that modern mega-music companies have created in our once loved hard rocking country. The debate still rages on Beatles v. Stones, Sex Pistols v. Ramones, Zeplin v. Who, but I am left with Green Day v. ????. There is no clear cut rock rivalry, and this may be the greatest telling sign of rock in my generation. I am always open for a debate, so please feel free to comment, concern, and complain.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Movies to Make You Get Off the Couch

I have been trying hard to get in better shape lately. Its hard because watching TV and eating pure garbage is much more fun, and easier. The way I combat this is by watching movies that make me want to get up off of my ever growing posterior and go the gym. In the spirit of making us all healthier I share these works of film motivation.

Sports Century Montage

Around the turn of the millennium ESPN did a countdown of the greatest sports icons of the 20th century. As part of that countdown the created this montage of the greatest moments of sports. I loved watching and it was one of the first things I ever looked for on YouTube. If you don't love sports this montage shows you why you should. It encapsulates all of the drama and the importance that sport brought to a century. It reminds us of the moments when Jesse Owens and Joe Lewis had two halves of our divided United States cheering together. It shows us Jackie Robinson taking the field even before Rosa Parks took her seat. It shows us the Olympic hockey team creating a miracle on ice, Joe Dimaggio, Muhammed Ali, John McEnroe and Michael Jordan. If you watch only one of my suggested motivational clips this is the one to watch, if does not motivate you to work out it will at a minimum make you cheer.

SportsCentuary -Simply Great.

Rocky IV

I could have easily selected any of the Rocky Series for this article, but Rocky IV has the best training montage in my opinion. I know there is no Mickey, and no raw egg eating, but there is a big Russian and lots of snow. Watching Rocky climb a mountain in knee deep snow, after doing pull ups in a Siberian barn contrasted by Dolph Lundgrin (Ivan Drago) working out in the sterile environment of the Soviet Union's training compound all set to John Cafferty's inspiring anthem "Heats On Fire" just motivates the crap out of me. If you are a man and you watch this and you don't feel like pulling an ox-cart of Russian peasants up a mountain or at a minimum going for a brisk run in the park, check downstairs something might be missing.

ROCKY IV-Training Montage


This film about a small town Indiana basketball team taking on impossible odds to compete for the state championship, plus Gene Hackman receiving a second chance on life reminds all of us who are former athletes(or just were once in better shape) that we can get a second chance on our own lives. Besides warming your heart this movie should motivate you to go run some ladders on your nearest basketball court.

- Brings a tear to your eye

Any Given Sunday

This is a very complex movie. I think its one of Oliver Stone's better films, and one that gets little recognition. It shows a much more raw unsavory side of pro football, but also humanizes superstars. It shows that football is sport of gladiators who actually do love their team and the game they play.

Everyone who views this film will be able to find a piece of themselves in one of the members of the fictional Miami Sharks football team. It might be the young unknown becoming superstar played by Jamie Fox that reminds those of just starting out that we don't know everything, and that we are building on what those who came before us have already created. It might be LL CoolJ's running back who reminds us of the risks we no longer take, Lawernce Taylor's linebacker who is proving his worth, or Dennis Quaid who just wants take his team down the field.

Al Pacino plays the head coach of this team out of control. He is a drunk that nobody loves, but who has a deep passion for the game of football some where in his messed up life. This is one of my favorite Pacino roles and his speech at the end should awaken all of us to "...fight for those inches around us..." by going to the gym. Warning this is Pacino and Oliver Stone so its a little(a lot) crude.

Any Given Sunday-Pacino's great speech(this section is not super crude, but does have a naughty word or two)


For all of us who had to work hard for something we were not meant to have, Rudy is the movie for us. If you have not seen this movie there is a spot in your heart that has been reserved for watching a hobbit trying to play for Notre Dame(of course lately Frodo could may have helped the O-Line or at the least given the QB the ring so he could hide). If watching Rudy does not fire you up to go run under a set of stadium bleachers and relive your own dreams of glory, almost nothing will.

Rudy- A tribute video to movie about Rudy...its okay

Friday, April 17, 2009

Lucky Shirt

My mother is staying with us this weekend, and I had a load of shirts in the dryer that needed to be put away. The only one I cared about was my Yankee jersey that needed to be hung up in the closet in the room where my mom was sleeping. I hung it up and put it in Maggie's closet.

Colt:I am just going to hang this in your closet tonight, so if anyone looks in there they will think you are sporty.

Maggie: Why would anyone look in my closet? And what they will think is that I no longer care about color coordination, you jersey is with all of my pink shirts. Can you put it with the colors it belongs with?

Colt:Its fine.

Maggie: It feels out of place.

Colt: Its a boys sports jersey among a group of girls pink shirts...its having the time of its life.

Maggie: My shirts aren't like that.

Colt: Yes they are.

Maggie: You don't know.

Colt: I had a sports coat in there for three months, you think I didn't hear stories?

Maggie: You're freaking crazy.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wii Fit Can Eat my Shorts

I decided to try the Wii Fit the other night. I have put on a little weight, and have been working out and eating better to try and get down to where I was when I came home from my mission. I climbed on the Wii Fit Balance Bored for my initial weigh in , and when the Wii Fit finished it said in a cute mocking little voice "That's Obese" then I swear to everything I heard it laugh. I then be screamed at the top of my lungs "ITS YOUR FAULT YOU ELECTRONIC BASTARD!!!" I was just called fat by a video game, one of the very things that lead to my newly developed big bones. Anyway the moral of the story is my Wii Fit and I not speaking, and the balance board is being used for Shawn White Snowboarding Road Trip.

Friday, April 10, 2009


This conversation took place on the drive to St George last night as Maggie was playing on her phone, names have been changed to protect the innocent.

C: Mary never became my friend on facebook, so I couldn't poke her.

M:I don't like the way that sounds

C: Its okay you know Mary. We were going to poke each other because we have no idea what that function means.

M: Quaid just poked actually

C: and see thats okay because he's gay.

M:  I was just poked by a gay man...and I have no idea what it means.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


For the past couple of weeks I have been biking the 8 miles from my apartment to work. I have had to get up a little bit earlier and pack the stuff I will need for the next day the night before. I have had to eat wiser during the day because a heavy lunch sits like a stone on the ride home. I have been snowed on, rained on, nearly hit by several kamikaze UTA busses, and I almost run over one homeless man sleeping in the bike lane.

I have gained several things from this new experience. I have more energy at work, and sleep better at night,. I have really enjoyed the smug feeling of being better than other people because I am part of the solution as opposed to those of you who are part of the problem.

More than that I have enjoyed feeling connected to my new home. I have been living in Salt Lake for over a year now, and it has never felt real. When I was in DC for under a year I felt at home. I felt like I was a part of that city. I went to events, met new people there, felt like I belonged there. I never felt “at home” while I was on my mission in Oakland, California, because as much as I strived to, its hard to feel a part of place when you are living with a 9:30 curfew, no dating, no going out, and a having to stand behind the car to back up (what city wants a geek like that anyway?). A mission was a different experience, and not one that can easily compare to living in a new place as part of normal society.

I have done many of the same things in Salt Lake that I did in DC, with out the same results. I have been to museums, attended the Utah Symphony, gone to plays, made new friends, and I have even become an avid skier. All of these did not ever make me feel like I knew Salt Lake or that I was a part of the Wasatch Front Tapestry. I am from St George. I am a Southern Utahan who likes his rocks red, and his homes to be all white stucco. That changed when commuted to bike.

When I started biking I was no longer trapped in my car as just another UDOT stat on I-80 West Bound. I was on the ground level of the city. I rode through the downtown with its high rise office buildings. I biked down South Temple past my future residence, the Governor’s Mansion. I pedal past Temple Square and the Capitol Building. I also see my fellow Salt City residents sleeping on sidewalks, or waiting for a Bus or Trax train to stop. They are no longer moving pictures framed by a car window, they are all real now.

I think one of the reasons I felt so connected to Washington DC in such a short time is I have always wanted to be there, but I also walked to work every morning from my studio on Constitution to my office in the Longworth Building on Independence. I had to bump into my fellow interns, along with reporters, representatives, and various office staff. I had to feel connected because I was. Riding my bike to work has done the same: it has connected me to my home of Salt Lake.