Welcome to Top 5 Fun Friday, a regularly-occurring blog feature where I give you a list of extremely specific pointless shit from my life no one asked for. Why? Because it’s now 2022 and I still find myself BEGGING the internet for fun little diversions to read, so I have to create some of this shit myself. This week’s list…
Top 5 Fun HAPPY Friday: April 15, 2022
I have an uncanny memory, and if asked, I assume this is my superpower. Maybe it is. But my good friend Kersti tells me my actual superpower is my voice, an argument I’m more willing to entertain given that I’ve had to put the show on hiatus for an indeterminate amount of time thanks to an aching throat that won’t go away and gets worse if I talk too much during the day. I took for granted just how much I talk in any given day until I had to put restrictions on myself. The steak of my business is all the bullshit I do behind the scenes that no one else wants to do, but the sizzle is any time I’m in front of an audience, something a vanishingly small number of people are comfortable with and/or good at.
It wasn’t always this way. I realized recently that as of this summer, I will have been writing on the internet for 22 years, which is more than half my life. That’s a long ass time! Of my many stops on the internet, and of the many types of articles I’ve written, my favorite is probably the Cru Jones Society staple Happy Friday.
For those of you new here, Cru Jones Society existed from 2008-2012(ish) and was the first thing we ever tried on our own. Happy Friday was where we (yes, we, as in the Royal We) found stuff on the internet we liked and shared it with you in one easy place. Of course, that was before Facebook, Twitter, and a shitload of other social networks allowed you to do that for yourself and then weaponized that data into a predatory algorithm and sold your info to anyone who wanted it. Isn’t the internet cool now?!
Anyway, here’s 5+ things we really liked from the internet we discovered, re-discovered, or just feel like sharing here for your enjoyment and amusement. Happy Friday!
Approximately 30 years ago we were in our neighborhood video store called The Movie Merchants. This place ruled, and so did all of our other favorite independent video stores like Westland Video, Video City, and Westside Video. These stores always had great selections of wrestling tapes. Then the asswipes at Blockbuster came along, corporatized and homogenized video rental, drove these cool ass places out of business, and then went out of business themselves like total chumps when they failed to buy Netflix. Cool story, bro!
Anyhoo… we were in that video store and they had a promotion. If you made a shot with a Nerf ball into their toy hoop, you’d win a White Men Can’t Jump poster. They gave us 3 shots to do so. If we missed, our dad had 3 shots, but had to make it FROM WAY DOWNTOWN – BANG (aka behind the rack of video games). It only took us one shot. Swish – or whatever sound a Nerf ball going through a shitty toy hoop makes. We hadn’t seen the movie, but free shit, no matter how pointless, is pure catnip to 10 year-olds.
Once we actually saw the movie, it was impossible not to fall in love with it which is why this 30-Year Reunion of White Men Can’t Jump from ESPN.com was so fun to watch. We’re suckers for this kind of nostalgic trip as it is, and the shit we grew up with is now en vogue to reminisce about, which has us fearful that the second coming of The Big Chill is overdue, which will all but cement a whole new wave of generational hatred toward us from young people. That’s inevitable, but no need to overdo it.
One thing this reunion reminded us of was that Rosie Perez truly is the glue of this movie. Apparently the role of Gloria was written for an upper-middle class, generic white chick, which wouldn’t have worked at all. Rosie was a unique force of nature – beautiful, explosive, anachronistic – and that threw Billy’s haplessness into perfect relief. He would never totally understand her in a million years despite unconditionally loving her, which gives the relationship a tragically beautiful sense of ultimate doom. There’s not a bad performance in the movie, but Rosie Perez truly stands out. Check out the full reunion and smile all the way through.
We’ve spent a lot of time listening to Chris DeMakes a Podcast, one of the few we make time for outside of the shows we produce. On it, Host Chris DeMakes talks to songwriters about the process of making one of their notable songs. Invariably talk of producers becomes part and parcel to the discussion as producers become an integral part of what a song ultimately becomes. On the very first episode of Chris DeMakes a Podcast, John Feldmann of Goldfinger told a story of encouraging The Used to write a chorus for their monster hit “The Taste of Ink” while sitting on his couch.
It’s with this background that we loved the everloving shit out of this Pitch Letter from Steve Albini to Nirvana about producing their album In Utero. Literally, there’s nothing we didn’t love about this letter as it’s fascinating from start to finish, but we’ve pulled a few key quotes for you here.
I like to leave room for accidents or chaos. Making a seamless record, where every note and syllable is in place and every bass drum is identical, is no trick. Any idiot with the patience and the budget to allow such foolishness can do it.
I do not like remixing other engineer’s recordings, and I do not like recording things for somebody else to remix. I have never been satisfied with either version of that methodology. Remixing is for talentless pussies who don’t know how to tune a drum or point a microphone. [emphasis ours]
I would like to be paid like a plumber: I do the job and you pay me what it’s worth. The record company will expect me to ask for a point or a point and a half. If we assume three million sales, that works out to 400,000 dollars or so. There’s no fucking way I would ever take that much money. I wouldn’t be able to sleep.
We don’t make music, but this dude’s ethos is exactly on-point in our opinion, and we strive to be the same in our daily professional lives.
Opening Day was a week ago today, and that officially kicks off The Good Part of the Year! Hooray! Baseball is back, the weather is changing for the better, tons and tons of cool shit lies ahead, and the goddamn sun has returned, which is great news unless you’re trying to join a very specific cult. If that’s the case, then fine, fuck the sun, we fuckin’ hate it too, long live the fuckin’ beast.
Also great about this time of year? The Rockies are in first place! We don’t expect it to last, but as a fan of this godforsaken franchise, we take what we can get. One of the best ways of keeping up with this team is with a subscription to The Athletic, the only sports subscription we maintain along with Defector. It’s nice to pay content creators directly (more on that below) for their high quality work and embolden a model we hope shifts the balance of power from C-suite shitheels and focus grouped pabulum to content creators earning a decent wage from the very people they write for.
In the 2nd inning of the Rockies/Dodgers matchup, Jose Iglesias fired an absolute missile back up the middle for his first hit of the year. Upon reaching first base, he broke down crying because his father had died two weeks earlier and it was the first of his son’s games that he missed. This Story from The Athletic about Freddie Freeman consoling him is worth the price of subscription alone. And if that’s paywalled for you, here’s a Tweet that captures a bit of what we’re talking about. Freddie Freeman seems like an awesome dude. Here’s what he said after the fact: “In that moment all I wanted to do was hug that guy … Time will heal for him. It did for me. You never forget your dad. All I could do was just give him a hug.”
It’s dusty in here, bro.
Speaking of subscriptions we pay for, let’s talk about Substack for a minute. We never charged for Cru Jones Society, but there’s no way we could in 2008 when websites were still actually viable, free, and not beholden to whatever provably false bullshit the social networks were peddling. We paid roughly $100 per year for hosting, put some crappy rinky dink Google ads on the site, tried to sell merch through Zazzle, and never, ever, ever were even close to turning any kind of profit. We had somewhere between 2,000 and 10,000 daily visitors to the site (depending on whose analytics you believed, Google or GoDaddy), which, if we were able to monetize even a fraction of that through Substack, means you might still be reading Cru Jones Society today. Probably not, but maybe!
One of our absolute favorite Substacks is The Band Name Bureau. Borne out of The A.V. Club’s annual “The Year in Band Names” feature founded in 2005 (!!!), writer Kyle Ryan has kept this thing alive through his own Substack, which took us way too long to subscribe to. It’s a long story for why we didn’t subscribe to this immediately, but it involves depression, a downturn in business, a global pandemic, and general dereliction of duty. Thankfully, our esteemed colleague Jason was there to remind us to subscribe.
And it’s already proving its worth. Do you wonder what’s going on with the band Fartbarf? Or if the band Angry at Numbers got their name from a line of dialogue in an episode of Beavis and Butthead? We personally became interested in Beercan Pentagram based on the name alone, but why wouldn’t we when they self-identify as “4 dudes that love to drink beer?” More than we love the actual band names, we love the attendant copywriting that necessarily has to accompany any band’s public-facing materials.
Jesus Christ, Fartbarf has been a band for more than a decade. Can you imagine living with a name for that long that Kyle Ryan astutely points out is “so objectively idiotic that it makes Diarrhea Planet sound intellectual?” This subscription is worth every penny.
And finally, since we’ve given you way more than 5 links (as we are wont to do), here’s a brief one. Something that’s terrific (and free!) on the internet is Tom Breihan’s column at Stereogum called The Number Ones in which he reviews “every single #1 single in the history of the Billboard Hot 100, starting with the chart’s beginning, in 1958, and working [his] way up into the present.” We’re about in the summer of 1996, which means there’s a SHITLOAD of articles about Mariah Carey, who is actually tied with The Beatles for most #1 singles of all-time. We didn’t know that, but we had forgotten about the depth of her talent and the ubiquity of her music at the time.
One nice interlude was the article about Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose” that improbably rose to #1 after being released years prior and then getting included on the Batman Forever soundtrack. The whole article is worth a read, but probably our favorite part comes at the end where Breihan links to a related video he hilariously describes as “the very relatable 2012 viral video where a drunk guy sings “Kiss From A Rose” to his alarmed cat. Here’s that video.
Outside of a couple of flat notes, homeboy is pretty on-key there. And who hasn’t drunkenly serenaded an unwilling pet?
Until next time…