Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Shat is the Shit

Hola amigos,

I was hoping to post something really substantial today, but unfortunately my cyber-assistant LABRUSCA wasted away most of the past week watching robot porn. So the only thing I have to offer you is a couple of classic clips featuring the one and only William Shatner. Before the Priceline ads, before "Boston Legal," before even "TJ Hooker", there was this:

...and this:

Finally, I have some great news for blog-heads everywhere: my fiancee, Cindy, has started a new blog called Echo and Hum. I can guarantee that it will be just as entertaining and informative as Concords Are Better, only a lot cuter. Maybe you should check it out.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Replacements Revisited

Hello friends, and welcome to another edition of Concords: Behind The Music. This week's subject is the Replacements, one of the most influential rock groups of the 80's. Four of their albums are being reissued this week, so it's a good opportunity for me to pay tribute to these guys. No other band at the time was better at combining the raw energy of punk with first-rate songwriting. If you aren't already familiar with their music, now's the time to take a closer look.

The Replacements had a huge impact on me as a teenager. They were the first alternative band I became obsessed with, and they shaped my musical tastes more than anyone else that I can think of. I still consider their album Tim to be one of the great rock-n-roll records of all-time; it's a perfect balance between the noisy thrash of their earlier records and the more mainstream pop that they made later on. The albums being reissued this week are from the pre-Tim era, which means that the songs might sound a bit rough to the uninitiated, but there are plenty of inspired moments nonetheless.

Here are a couple of tracks from those early records. The first song is one of my favorites from their album Hootenanny. It's a good example of the kind of loud, tuneful rock that they were known for. The second is an older song that finds them in mock country mode, which is unusual given that they were primarily a hardcore band back then.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Automatic For The People

Hey there,

Another week, another blog post. That's my new resolution, anyway. You wouldn't believe the piles of mail I get begging me to blog more frequently. I won't argue the fact that I'm probably lazier than most bloggers, but you've got to admit that the quality of my posts is pretty freaking high. So in order to calm the rabid hysteria of my readership, I will try to write a new entry every week from now on. Now, I know what you're thinking: how can Mr. Grape Boy find the time to produce online brilliance every week? Read on.

Some of you may have already read the article in yesterday's NY Times about Philip M. Parker, the guy who's written 200,000 books. If you haven't, I encourage you to read about him here. The gist of the article is that he doesn't actually write anything; rather, he's programmed a computer to create books using complex algorithms which require very little human input. Search his name on Amazon.com and you'll find a seemingly endless list of books on topics ranging from acne rosacea to Indian bathmats. Apparently, these books are little more than lists of references and internet databases with some generic text inserted to make them feel like they were written by a person. It's a great idea, even if the result is not exactly compelling literature.

Here's where Concords Are Better comes in. In order to keep up with the demands of my devoted fans, I have designed a computer program (code name: LABRUSCA) to write all future entries for this blog. From now on, you will be reading a computer-generated post each week on a variety of subjects designed to appeal to the average Concords reader. LABRUSCA will choose a topic at random, link to a YouTube video, steal an image off the internet and upload it, throw in a few references to grapes or donuts, and tie it all together with some half-assed, sarcastic comments. In other words, these new posts should be virtually indistinguishable from ones I've written in the past. Hold on to your mousepads, my friends- the future is now!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Two for One

Hello grape-heads,
I don't have any major revelations this week, so I thought I'd just share a couple of random things I found on the web. First is an online quiz that will tell you how many 5-year-old kids you could take on in a fight. Not exactly indispensable knowledge, but you never know when you might be ambushed by a gang of crazed kindergarteners. Or when you might feel like kicking some ass at the local playground.

Second is a map of the U.S. showing the regional nicknames for soft drinks. I've seen this before, but it still amazes me that people in the South will refer to any brand of carbonated beverage as a "Coke". Also, the map is really pretty to look at.

What do these two websites have in common? Not much, except for the fact that you'll probably be pretty thirsty after fighting all those 5-year-olds.