Archive for June, 2009

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A Documentary for Gen X — Anvil! The Story of Anvil

June 22, 2009

Here’s the deal, Gen X:  You gotta see the documentary Anvil!  The Story of Anvil. The movie was released nationally last Friday (June 19, 2009), and it’s the story of the Canadian ’80’s metal band Anvil — a band that, according to the experts in this field, came this close to making it big, and influenced many of the ’80’s metal bands that came along right after and alongside them (Slayer, Scorpions, etc.).   All of the other bands went on to sell millions of records . . . and Anvil did not.  Fast forward twenty years, and the documentary finds the primary members (lead singer Steve “Lips” Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner) still trying to become rock gods while balancing families, jobs (Lips works delivering school lunches, Reiner works as a home contractor) and their own mental health and stability as they follow thier dreams into their 50’s. 

Now . . . don’t get me wrong.  I’m not telling you to see this movie because I’m a huge metal head from way back.  I couldn’t tell the difference between Slayer and Scorpions if my life depended on it.  I was always more of a Brit Rock kid in the ’80’s (Duran Duran, The Alarm, etc. . . . okay The Alarm was from Wales, but you get my point . . .).   I’m telling you to see this movie, Gen X, because it is a gift from the generation before us about what we should expect from ourselves and from life over the next twenty years.   This isn’t a movie about metal music.  It’s about what is important in life:  friendship, passion, love, fear, doubt, commitment, experience, expression, kindness and faith.  These are the words we swore we’d live by when we were kids.  Real kids — like when we were 12 — before the high school peer pressure and hormones kicked in, before the self-obsession of our college existences and the cluelessness and greed of our early twenties. 

Don’t worry.  I’m not telling you to quit your job or leave your spouse or (for heaven’s sake) go join a metal rock band.  What I am telling you is that Anvil!  The Story of Anvil will remind you of what really matters in your life, and should help you think about what cards you’re going to play before time’s up.  For Lips and Robb from Anvil, they decided put all of thier cards on the table for the chance for fame and fortune of being heavy metal gods.  For you — and for all of Gen X, I’m only asking that we have to at least put some of our cards on the table.  If we continue to hold back, I’m concerned that we’ll stop taking any chances at all  — in the name of security, our personal obligations and, yes, granite countertops.  See Anvil!  The Story of Anvil and think about the calculated risks you can take (however small) to pursue your dreams and face your fears and doubts.  If you don’t, how will you really make your mark?  The irony in Anvil! is, in the midst of the anguish, pa and pursuit . . . Lips and Robb are participating in the fullfillment of their dream because the documentary itself is becoming the vehicle for their ultimate success.  And therein lies the true lesson for Gen X:  we’ll only achieve our goals if we’re willing to participate (indeed, cherish) the struggle.

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ITT Technical Institute — Punch In The Face

June 18, 2009

I had such great expectations for me.  I really did.  Me was a great guy. Full of spunk and verve, and a bod to match.  Maybe not so much the bod part . . . but you get the point.  But then I see those guys in the ITT Technical Institute commercials, and I realize that I’ve gone wrong somewhere.  These guys get a 9-month certificate in computer diagonostics, and they’re living the dream.  You’ve seen the commercials.  These guys are winning stuffed animals at carnivals. They’re riding 4-wheelers through the woods and flying remote controlled airplanes with their sons.  Most impressively, their wives make grand and sweeping statements about them that can’t possibly be true:

ITT TECH GRADUATE’S WIFE:  “After attending ITT Tech, Gerald has become the kindest, most compassionate and — at the same time — most driven and successful man that ever walked the planet.”

Why didn’t anyone ever tell me about the life oasis that is ITT Tech?  I’d love to win a prize at a carnival.  Dirt biking in the woods looks like a blast.  I could fly a remote airplane, I think . . .

Oh, what’s the point?  Why should I even dare to dream an impossible dream?  Some people got it, and some don’t.  I guess me . . . just . . . . don’t . . . got . . . it.  Wait a minute, I just connected my Wii to the television.  Maybe I do have the elusive “it” factor.  Somebody get me an ITT Tech application.  I’ll be living the dream in no time.

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David Carradine’s Death — Punch In The Face

June 8, 2009

A few thoughts upon hearing about David Carradine’s death.  For the uninitiated, Carradine starred in the 70’s television series Kung Fu and more recently as “Bill” in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Billmovie series.  Carradine’s body was found hanging from the closet of a hotel room in a luxury hotel in Bangkok with a yellow rope tied around his neck and a black rope around his (ahem) genitals:

  • Didn’t that already happen, like, 5 years ago? I could’ve sworn Carradine died from autoerotic asphyxiation in a hotel in Thailand in 2004. Are the news reports certain this just happened?  Is it possible the media is recycling the tragic deaths of low-profile actors?
  • Even if his death did just happen this past week, everyone who heard the news had the same first reaction:  “The scary, creepy guy from Kung Fu was found dead by autoerotic asphyxiation in a Bangkok luxury hotel? [thoughtful pause]  That sounds about right.” 
  • Everyone’s second reaction:  “So that’s why they call it Bangkok.” 
  • Apparently, Carradine was 72 years old. 72?  That’s it?  He looked like he was 72 in ’72.  This guy always looked old enough to be Yoda’s uncle. 
  • Finally, what is it about quality entertainers and autoerotic asphyxiation?  First, it was INXS’ Michael Hutchense.   Then, it was the guy who played Mikey from the Life Cereal commercials.  Now, its David Carradine.  (Okay, the kid from the Life Cereal commercial did not have an autoerotic asphyxiation issue.  But he was a quality entertainer, wasn’t he?)  What is the possible connection between Hutchense, an Australian heartthrob rock star, and Carradine, a reclusive sometimes Hollywood star of the martial arts genre?  Let’s see:  INXS’ most popular album was “Kick” and Carradine starred in movies that featured a lot of kicking . . .  Wait — I got the connection!  When they both tried getting their kicks, they ended up kicking the bucket.