the Buzz for May 2008



a stanza of innocently foreboding prose (swathed in a brilliant beat, no less) courtesy of good ol’ Gordon Sumner:

“There’s no religion / but sex and music
There’s no religion / but sound and dancing
There’s no religion / but line and color
There’s no religion / but sacred trance


There’s no religion / but the endless ocean
There’s no religion / but the moon and stars
There’s no religion / but time and motion
There’s no religion / just tribal scars….”


— from Sting‘s 2003 smash “Send Your Love”


Coming soon: the mission statement hits a (roughly) thrilling crescendo.



According to the stats provided to me by WordPress (and lord only knows how credible they are, but I take them to heart nonetheless), the Buzz will be viewed for the thousandth time at some point today. (As I type this, we currently sit at 996 “hits.”)

We’re not even flying at 30,000 feet yet, but this crazy, demented exercise in loquacity — love ya, Mike! — has already been far more successful than I would ever have dreamed a month or two ago.

So to all of you who have allowed my madness to touch your life on even the most superficial level, I offer a sincerely heartfelt word:



“Oh, look at this, it’s 96% fat free ham. Ham is fat free? Ham is fat free?! Did you know that ham was fat free? Oh, it’s a what? A pig? Isn’t that the universal symbol for fat?”


— the always welcome Susan Powter, with one of a multitude of worthy pullquotes from 1993’s original Stop the Insanity infomercial



just don’t wear white

posted at 2:30 am by brandon in in a lather

“You can actually, on a soap opera, marry eight to ten men and not be considered a tramp at all.


— the marvelous Kelly Ripa, explaining to David Letterman in 2001 why her oft-wedded “All My Children” character isn’t, ahem, easy



requiem for a doofus

posted at 2:11 am by brandon in idolatry

Notwithstanding, for sure, your ingeniously flukish performance of Jeff Buckley’s (by way of Leonard Cohen’s) “Hallelujah,” I never had much use for you, Jason. Your dull, dirty hair — which, I swear to Jesus, I want to wash for about three or four days — is easily the most fascinating thing about you. You’re almost certainly not cognizant enough to feel guilty about robbing my beloved Brooke of another shot to build on the momentum of her sensational comeback last week; after all, sir, you couldn’t even summon, when you needed it most (!), the ONE lyric from “Mr. Tambourine Man” — the one about the jingle jangle morning, natch, and something tells me you’ve known a few of those, am I right? — that even people who can’t sing that song on a bet know!

Not since the outrageously outmatched Nikki McKibbin squeaked into season one’s top three has a more obviously underqualified contestant reached “Idol’s” vaunted upper echelon, which I s’pose proves as handily as anything could that old canard about fooling all of the people some of the time. Chin up, Jase: in time, you’ll become the most famous opening act at luaus the world over, and you’ll recall — no doubt with wistful, flippant fondness — the season you and your stringy, matted mane magnetized a nation’s entire electorate toward voting with its thumbs for the happy busking hobo.

Fare thee well, Mr. Castro. Your pumpkin awaits.


“I’m a fan of science. I believe in science. I’m… humility before the facts… I find that a moving and beautiful thing. And belief in the unknown, I find less interesting. I find the known and the knowable interesting enough.”


House star Hugh Laurie, discussing whether or not he shares his character’s skeptical streak, on Inside the Actors Studio.


I ask you without a trace of insincerity or jest: when was the last time you turned on the radio and felt like you were hearing a true musical event?

Those righteously brilliant mavericks Sugarland are yet again tossing country radio on its tin ear this spring, and this time, they’ve gotten a little help from their friends. Last fall, the duo — led by the divine and fearless Jennifer Nettles, who may well be the finest, most striking vocalist to be found on the current dial — toured with up-and-comers Little Big Town and Jake Owen, and all three acts decided to corral their disparate voices and close each show with a thrilling, towering cover of The Dream Academy’s 1985 classic smash “Life in a Northern Town.”

A video of the spectacular performance has been streaming at (and playing on the network) for months now, and in the last few weeks, thanks solely to a series of enterprising program directors poaching the audio directly from said video, the song has become a sensation at radio and is skyrocketing up the country charts. Sugarland’s label, MCA Nashville, continues to insist there are no plans to make “Northern Town” commercially available, but we’ll see how long that lasts as this thing continues its brisk march toward #1. When record labels realize they’re leaving gobs of money on the table, they tend to overturn their own dumbass decisions real quick-like.

Sugarland, Little Big Town, and Jake Owen,
in a special performance from April 2008’s CMT Music Awards:

The Dream Academy’s wistful 1985 original:


While honored and flummoxed to have set off such a brush fire — a compound noun, that — with her grammar woes, Sherry Ann has requested that I kindly clarify some remarks from last night’s post.

Her take on the situation is as follows:

“Please let everyone know I was capable of doing my own homework. I was just unmotivated!”

And, of course, my rebuttal:

“That crazy heifer only wishes she could have survived Calculus and AP Chemistry II without me! Can you say pie in the sky?”


This song popped up today in an iPod shuffle. I hadn’t heard it in months. A line from its second verse grabbed my ear.

“…love is scattered and hungry / but it is the only real thing….”


Kacy Crowley, “Hand to Mouthville”


Damn, I love her.


groovy grammar

posted at 9:57 pm by brandon in riddle me this

My best friend on this planet, the wondrous Sherry Ann — every ounce of whose homework, it must be noted, she copied verbatim off of my paper, from the eighth grade forward — most randomly had me diagramming sentences via text message today (don’t ask), and she presented me with an interesting conundrum which continues to haunt me hours later.

Word for word, the question she posed:

“In the sentence ‘He had a paper clip,’ is ‘paper clip’ a noun? Or is ‘paper’ an adjective describing ‘clip’?”

I immediately answered back that ‘paper clip’ was a noun, but then I started thinking, is this a trick question? Half a day past, I’m still wondering.

Grammar freaks unite. And discuss.


“Sometimes you write about the exact thing you saw, but other times you take something that happened over here and put it with something over there…. It’s a hybrid, but all together, it makes a whole truth.”


— the ever-estimable Joni Mitchell, vehemently disabusing Mojo Magazine of the notion that she is a “confessional” songwriter


Admittedly, Brooke, I’m biased.

Sixteen years ago this August, an astonishing flame-haired raven name of Tori Amos cajoled her incomparably seductive self into my life and instantaneously hurled my very being straight and plumb off its axis. For reasons that aren’t remotely relevant to this particular conversation — though they merit (and will almost certainly eventually win) their own future blog post — 1992 remains, in its own way, the single most important and noteworthy of my 32 years on this planet. Thanks wholly to unrequited, emotionally draining crushes on Craig Doughten and Annie Lennox — and, all these eons later, it remains a fair toss-up which of those two people was more unattainable, despite my daily access to no fewer than one of them — it was the first year I got really serious both about writing and about music appreciation. Quite true, I had always loved music — hey, I still remember, and with the fondest grace in my heart’s most sacred quadrant, Dad driving his downright giddy eight year old son up to the TG&Y to buy anything that contained “Karma Chameleon,” and trust me here if nowhere else: yes, Brooke, an eight year old’s palms can sweat, honey — but ’92 tore across my mind like a gale, like an huracán.

Nothing was left standing.