Under 30

I can't complain but sometimes I still do

Friday, May 05, 2006

Post-Cobain Rock: My top five underrated mid-90s alt-rock albums

For a while there, it looked like the 1990s were going to be something special. Then, on April 8, 1994, Kurt Cobain killed himself, the decade’s most important band was finished, and the alt-rock music scene spiraled into a three-year decline.

By 1997, the Candleboxes and Collective Souls of the world were relegated to the county fair circuit as boy bands and happy-go-lucky pop groups like Smashmouth reclaimed the radio airwaves. Alt-rock, which seemed poised to take over the world in the heady days of “Nevermind” and “Ten,” was so over. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t great music made between Cobain’s death and Smashmouth’s birth. In fact, there are a lot of quality albums from that period that have been unjustly forgotten.

Here are my top five underrated mid-90s alt-rock albums:

1. Stone Temple Pilots, “Tiny Music … Songs from Vatican Gift Shop” (1996)
Just as Nirvana was defined by its first hit, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Stone Temple Pilots made a strong first impression with “Sex Type Thing,” an anti-rape song that went over the heads of rape-loving meatheads who dug the mookish-sounding chorus. It’s too bad, because all the subsequent “Pearl Jam poser” slams STP weathered in the press obscured the fact that it was one of the era’s finest hard rock bands. STP’s first album is garbage, but 1994’s “Purple” is loaded with brilliantly hooky arena stompers. Even better is “Tiny Music,” an addictive sugar rush of Beatles and Bowie-inspired rock. Compare it with Pearl Jam’s “No Code,” which came out the same year, and it’s clear which is the more exciting rock band.

2. Counting Crows, “Recovering the Satellites” (1996)
Counting Crows is the quintessential ’90s alt-rock band: They scored early and often with their debut album, 1993’s “August and Everything After,” quickly built a sizable following, and then just as quickly wore out their welcome with their second album, “Recovering the Satellites.” More rocking and less musically direct than its predecessor, “Satellites” also holds up better a decade later. (It’s also a cheap purchase. I recently found it used for a buck.) Perhaps helped by the absence of overplayed songs like “Mr. Jones,” “Satellites” also boasts greater lyrical maturity and fewer vocal hysterics from embarrassingly-dreadlocked singer Adam Duritz (who actually is a pretty good songwriter if you can get past his resemblance to Sideshow Bob). It’s still not cool to like them, but Counting Crows made a fine, fine roots rock album with “Recovering the Satellites.”

3. Supergrass, “In It For the Money” (1997)
British bands like Oasis, Blur and Radiohead stepped in to help fill the alt-rock void once grunge died, and while they enjoyed some success, they never captured the zeitgeist like Nirvana. One British band that deserved a shot at stardom was Supergrass, which put out one of the decade’s great “lost” classics with “In It For the Money.” A witty and inventive tour of British rock styles, including glam, punk, Merseybeat and psychedelia, “In It For the Money” is an incredibly likeable album nobody outside of music geeks has any chance of liking. It is blissful pop music for non-pop music fans. But what bliss.

4. Soundgarden, “Superunknown” (1994)
I’m not sure whether this should be called underrated. Critics loved it and the album sold millions. But whenever pop culture historians talk about classic albums of the time, “Superunknown” never seems to get mentioned. Soundgarden, in general, is ignored in favor of fellow Seattle brethren Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains. But neither Pearl Jam nor Alice in Chains ever put out a record as consistently great as “Superunknown,” a record USA Today said sounded like Lennon/McCartney writing songs for Black Sabbath. Yes, Chris Cornell’s voice can be grating. And there’s loads of grungey lyrical prattle about rabid dogs and suicide. But overall, “Superunknown” deserves a place on the shortlist of grunge’s greatest albums.

5. Son Volt, “Trace” (1995)
Poor Jay Farrar. When his band Son Volt put out “Trace” in 1995, most people agreed the former Uncle Tupelo star was more talented than his former partner, Jeff Tweedy. Ten years later, most people are like, Jay Who? Nevertheless, “Trace” is a defining alt-country album, and still one of the genre’s best. Farrar is nowhere near as adventurous as Tweedy, so “Trace” can be a little samey. But Wilco doesn’t have many songs that are as good or heartfelt as “Windfall” or “Drown.”

Sing it or leave it

What does it mean to be an American? Some might say being American means having control over your own destiny, whether it's getting the career you want after years of hard work or believing in whatever religion or philosophy you choose. Others might say being American means believing in an abstraction that encompasses ideas of liberty, justice and personal responsibility.

These people, obviously, are wrong. Americans are defined by two things: (1) Our flag and (2) our National Anthem. These inanimate objects animate the souls of real Americans. And real Americans will fight like a rabid pitbull repeatedly stun-gunned in the testicles to protect both.

As you know, our National Anthem is under siege from those who want to sing it in Spanish. Real Americans know the Anthem is supposed to be sung in English. Or, perhaps more accurately, mumbled in English between gulps of domestic beer before baseball games.

If we let people sing the Anthem in Spanish, what’s next? A Russian translation? How about French? Pretty soon some yahoo will want to sing it in Canadian. We’re talking about a slippery slope, folks. Sure, some of you won’t think this is serious. But that’s what they said about Nazi Germany!

Look, should we make America’s official song accessible to as many people as possible, so it can move and inspire them and make our dreams of freedom their dreams of freedom? Or should we blow this out of proportion and look like overreacting jackasses?

The answer is obvious: Learno Englisho.

P.S. If I can be a non-moron for a moment, I'd just like to point out that most of the world has been complaining about American cultural imperialism for years. It's one of the main things driving anti-American feeling in the Middle East. I always thought that was stupid. If people in Egypt want to play PS2 and listen to Metallica, why shouldn't they?

This is an instance of another culture "invading" ours, so to speak.

I ask this somewhat ironically, but somewhat not: What's wrong with destroying each other's cultures? Wouldn't we better off if we weren't so concerned about being "an American" or "a Christian" or "a Muslim" or an "African-American" or an "Irish-American" or whatever? These labels build walls that keep us apart and inevitably cause us to shoot at each other. We're so concerned about preserving the past that we never ask whether the past is worth preserving.

Just a thought I'll probably discount in 15 minutes.

Suck/lame results

First off, thanks for voting. I counted 28 MJ-related posts and 18 votes, a higher tally than Michael's recent album sales.

There must be a lot of "Thriller" fans out there, because Jackson was voted as not sucking by a 10-8 margin. I also vote not suck, so that's a final tally of 11-8.

I'm mildly surprised because the man has been accused of sexual molestation of young boys on two occasions. There's also the picture I posted here. And, yet, people (including me) put (former) artistic brilliance over personal weakness. Of course, if Michael were arrogant, he'd be a goner, right Kanye West?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Check out Wolfmother

The debut album by Australian power trio Wolfmother came out this week, and before I say anything more about it, let me get the obvious out of the way first: Wolfmother sounds a lot like Black Sabbath. Wolfmother also has a singer that sounds a lot like Robert Plant (and a little like Jack White). Wolfmother is not a very original band.

OK? Got it? Everything you will read about Wolfmother (if you haven’t read or heard about this much-hyped band before now, you will) will repeat a variation on the previous paragraph over and over again. Wolfmother is so derivative, it seems, that the band inspires music writers to be just as derivative when writing about it.

Anyway, back to the CD. “Wolfmother” is the early front-runner for my album of the summer. I was driving around this week and blasting the choice second cut “White Unicorn” (awesome title), and the fuzzed-out guitar and big, dumb drums sounded even cooler with my nostrils filled with spring air and grill smells. This is arena rock, pure and simple, and if you like the sound of smashing guitars and drumsticks being tossed in the air, it is so for you.

No, Wolfmother is not very original, especially when you consider other recent classic rock revivalists like the Darkness and fellow Aussies Jet. But how original is it to drive around in the sun and blast crunchy rock riffs out your car window? And who cares when you’re having this much fun?

Bob Dylan, DJ

I completely forgot about Bob Dylan's XM radio show, which debuted yesterday. This story makes it sound really awesome. And check out this amazing playlist:

Blow, Wind, Blow, Muddy Waters
You Are My Sunshine, Jimmie Davis
California Sun, Joe Jones
Just Walking in the Rain, Prisonaires
After the Clouds Roll Away, Consolers
Let the Four Winds Blow, Fats Domino
Raining in My Heart, Slim Harpo
Summer Wind, Frank Sinatra
The Wind Cries Mary, Jimi Hendrix
Come Rain or Come Shine, Judy Garland
It's Raining, Irma Thomas
Stormy Weather, Spaniels
Jamaica Hurricane, Lord Beginner
A Place in the Sun, Stevie Wonder
Uncloudy Day, Staple Singers
I Don't Care if the Sun Don't Shine, Dean Martin
Keep on the Sunny Side, Carter Family

With all the committed Dylan bootleggers out there, somebody must have taped this. If anybody out there has a hook-up, let me know.

Shameless self-promotion

Here is the latest Under 30 on gas prices. Enjoy!

Keef OK

So says Mark Caro of The Chicago Tribune. Whew!

I like what Caro says about this on his blog. First off, you're glad The Living Embodiment of Rock 'n' Roll is OK. But secondly, you don't want Keef to perish from a coconut tree after all he's been through.

After all of the well-documented self-medication that his body has endured, it’s almost as if he just had to come up with a novel way to tempt fate again.

In a few years we’ll probably be reading this story: "Keith Richards was stomped on by an elephant today…but he’s OK."

As for Wood’s presence in the tree, my theory is that Ronnie was doing most of the work while Richards just looked cool.

Rolling Stone turns 1,000...

And it feels like 1,000,000. Yep, the granddaddy of music mags has hit the millenium mark. And who cares? Um, well, The Washington Post does.

Actually, let me peel away the thick venner of cynicism for a sec. I grew up reading Rolling Stone and, for better and for worse, it helped shape my music taste in the early going. As a teen, I was as serious, thoughtful and humorless when it came to music as Rolling Stone. I was also as obsessed with classic rock as Jann Wenner, who made his 1,000th cover a Beatles homage. What a shock! Is there also a pre-emptive five-star review for the next solo album Mick Jagger makes?

According to the Post, RS doesn't suck as much as it used to. I wouldn't know because I stopped reading when they put Jar Jar Binks on the cover. But maybe I'll check it out now.

Rebounding from a period frequently described as "all Britney all the time," Rolling Stone is enjoying a renaissance. The biweekly's circulation is up to a record 1.4 million -- far above such rivals as Blender and Spin -- and in the past few months, it has published a long exposé on Scientology, plus excellent articles on Iraq, Congress, Hurricane Katrina and, of course, pop culture.

In 2004 it won a National Magazine Award for its Iraq coverage, which the judges called "brilliant down to the last detail." This year, it's been nominated for three more of the awards, which will be announced Tuesday.

At this point, Rolling Stone is a bit like the Rolling Stones: rich, successful and reliably entertaining but no longer as innovative or exciting as in their heyday.

"It's certainly not as novel as it once was," says Abe Peck, a former Rolling Stone editor who teaches magazine journalism at Northwestern University. "But short of blowing itself up, how could it be?"

Whoops! The media blew it!

Salon.com's Eric Boehlert has written a devastating piece about the media's ineptitude during the lead-up to the Iraq war. It's a fascinating story, but also pretty infuriating, so be careful. (It's also pretty long, so make sure the boss is away in the bathroom or something.)

Boehlert details the fear reporters felt about being percieved as biased and unpatriotic by the Right on the march to war. A lot of what he writes rings true for me. Conservatives have successfully "worked the refs" in the past several years, convincing many in the media to overcompensate for the right because they don't want to appear liberal.

In other words, crying babies get their bottles.

Battered by accusations of a liberal bias and determined to prove their conservative critics wrong, the press during the run-up to the war -- timid, deferential, unsure, cautious, and often intentionally unthinking -- came as close as possible to abdicating its reason for existing in the first place, which is to accurately inform citizens, particularly during times of great national interest. Indeed, the MSM's failings were all the more important because of the unusually influential role they played in advance of the war-of-choice with Iraq. "When America has been attacked -- at Pearl Harbor, or as on September 11 -- the government needed merely to tell the people that it was our duty to respond, and the people rightly conferred their authority," noted Harold Meyerson in the American Prospect magazine. "But a war of choice is a different matter entirely. In that circumstance, the people will ask why. The people will need to be convinced that their sons and daughters and husbands and wives should go halfway around the world to fight a nemesis that they didn't really know was a nemesis."

Not wanting to appear biased is a legitimate concern, and indicates reporters really do take their jobs seriously and aren't part of some paranoid conspiracy for either side of the political chasm. (Didn't I sound smart there? Actually, I'm not sure what chasm means or whether I used it correctly.)

Here's another passage about the 2004 Radio and Television Correspondents Association where W. joked about the government's failure to find WMDs. Some on the left had the nerve to find this offensive since, you know, we supposedly went to war over WMD and more than 2,000 Americans have died in the process. Lighten up, libs!

Tradition held that sitting presidents took the opportunity at the Correspondents dinner to poke fun at the press as well as themselves. Bush did just that during his ten-minute, professionally written monologue, delivering some topical zingers: "'Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.' My Cabinet could take some pointers from watching that show. In fact, I'm going to have the Fab Five do a makeover on [Attorney General John] Ashcroft."

Then Bush turned to the "White House Election-Year Album," as photos flashed on the screen behind his podium. One showed Bush gazing out an oval office window as he provided the narration: "Those weapons of mass destruction must be somewhere!" The audience laughed. Then came a picture of Bush on his hands and knees peering under White House furniture. "Nope, no weapons over there!" The MSM audience laughed harder. And then came a snapshot of Bush searching behind the drapes. "Maybe under here?" The audience roared in approval -- Bush couldn't find the WMDs!

The next morning, newspaper reporters who laughed out loud themselves at the Correspondents dinner dutifully typed up the jokes. It wasn't until some Democratic members of Congress, along with parents whose children had been killed in Iraq, expressed their disgust that it dawned on some members of the MSM that Bush's jokes might be considered offensive. Even after objections were raised the MSM rallied around Bush arguing the jokes were no big deal. In fact, it was telling how the MSM were reading off the exact same talking points as the Bush supporters in the right-wing press. Their mutual message was simple -- lighten up! On National Review Online, conservative talk show host Michael Graham, who attended the Correspondents dinner, mocked the critics: "Somehow, over the past 30 years, liberalism has mutated into something akin to an anti-comedy vaccine. The more you're Left, the less you laugh."

That's right, conservatives are hilarious! Here's a good conservative joke: Why did the abortion doctor cross the road? Because protestors set his clinic on fire! Hey-oh!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Keith Richards goes from "ha ha" to "oh#$%!"

Like everybody else, I laughed when I heard Keith Richards fell out of a tree while climbing to get coconuts with Ron Wood. Oh, that Keef! What a drugged-up free spirit. But now his condition sounds much more serious than originally reported.

ROLLING Stone Keith Richards is due to have his skull drilled after suffering a brain haemorrhage falling from a palm tree, The Sun can reveal.

The rock wildman, 62, has been told by doctors he needs to have blood drained from his brain after bashing his head in the tumble in Fiji last week.

Keith was originally diagnosed with mild concussion.

But he continued to complain of dull headaches and tests revealed a small haemorrhage.

A close pal said last night: “Keith’s accident has turned out worse than everybody feared.

“After the tests doctors decided they should drain his skull. It has given him a scare but he has been told that he should make a full recovery once it’s done.”

We're talking about The Living Embodiment of Rock 'n' Roll here. Jeez, I hope he's OK.

The worst Broadway musical ever

I had always heard "Cats" was awful, and never had reason to doubt it, but finally seeing the show in its entirety last night at the Fox Cities PAC made me a believer.

I feel like I have been ranting about "Cats" constantly ever since, and frankly, neither one of us wants me to go off about it again. (Seriously, though, if I hear the phrase "jellicle cats" one more time, I'm going to get crazy, Iran-style.) Here's a link to my review and here's an excerpt.

The 25th anniversary tour plays at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center through Sunday. Watching the opening night performance Tuesday, I was amazed "Cats" lasted 25 minutes.

"Cats" could be the lamest of all the major Broadway blockbusters. It certainly is the silliest creation ever to come from Andrew Lloyd Webber, which is saying a lot when you consider dreck like "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" haunts his back pages.

If "Cats" hadn't been such a huge hit, I imagine Webber would have let it fade into history like leg warmers, Michael Bolton and every other regrettable product of the 1980s. Instead, it remains the Maestro of Middlebrow's most lasting legacy after being seen in 26 countries and more than 300 cities over the past quarter-century.

Pardon me for not getting it.

No matter how hokey "Cats" is, only a hardcore dog person would deny the cast its proper kudos.

You have to admire a group of actors for performing so admirably with such rank material.

It's one thing to be great doing Arthur Miller or Eugene O'Neill. But to commit yourself to donning the same ugly cat suit and singing "Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats" night after night with conviction is another, much more impressive thing that is certainly deserving of some sort of acting award.

If "Cats" ends up winning you over, it will be because of the actors. I admired them for their energetic elasticity and pitied them for having to go through this indignity to pay the rent.

Suck/lame: Michael Jackson

We continue our mission of clearly defining those people, things, ideas, thoughts, actions and other nouns and verbs of questionable suckitude with the King of Pop, Michael Jackson.

If you grew up in the 1970s and ’80s, Jackson probably was a big part of your childhood. “Thriller” wasn’t merely a popular album that spawned a number of hit singles that got played on the radio and MTV a lot. It was the rarest kind of pop culture phenomenon: An inescapable presence that still was incredibly likeable. It seemed for many years that the Gloved One could do no wrong. He was, without question, the coolest mamajama on the planet. Of course, it’s shocking how ridiculous it seems to call Michael Jackson “cool” in 2006. Today’s middle school kids must find it inconceivable that the twice-accused child molester was once the biggest star in the world. The singer hasn’t made headlines for his music since the first Bush administration. As great as a song like “Billie Jean” is, it’s difficult not to think of the man’s proclivity for the company of children when he sings about adult sexual relationships. Yeah, I'm as disgusted writing that as you are reading it.

So, is Michael Jackson still a great singer despite recent controversy, or a scary freak who had a few hits long ago? In other words, does he suck? Vote until noon Friday.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

iPod journal for April 2006

A few years ago I started making mix CDs of songs I was listening to a lot during a particular month. It was an idea I stole from Cameron Crowe, who kept monthly mix tapes as a sort of musical journal. I like it because music is my best memory jogger, and I can listen to a disc I made in Sept. 2003 and remember exactly what I was doing that month.

I started doing monthly iPod playlists last month, which affords more song space and better access. Here's my playlist for April 2006.

1. Built To Spill, "Goin' Against Your Mind"
2. Phil Collins, "Inside Out"
3. Elf Power, "Come Lie With Me"
4. National Eye, "Silver Agers"
5. Beck, "Girl Dreams"
6. Robert Pollard, "U.S. Mustard Company"
7. Gin Blossoms, "Pieces of the Night"
8. Eagles of Death Metal, "I Like to Move in the Night"
9. Devin Davis, "Sandy"
10. Nada Surf, "No Quick Fix"
11. The Figgs, "Reaction" (Live)
12. Mylo, "In My Arms"
13. Elliott Smith, "Junk Bond Trader"
14. The Jam, "Monday"
15. Pearls Before Swine, "Butterflies"
16. Tom Waits, "Hang Down Your Head"
17. The Reigning Sound, "I Don't Know How To Tell You"
18. Spoon, "Lines in the Suit"
19. Marah, "My Heart is the Bums in the Street"
20. Robert Pollard, "Release the Sunbird"
21. Cream "N.S.U." (Live)
22. Derek and the Dominoes, "Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad?"
23. Talking Heads, "Uh-oh Love Comes to Town"
24. Elton John, "Honky Tonk Woman" (Live)
25. Dwight Twilley Band, "Lookin' for a Magic"
26. Death Cab for Cutie, "Crooked Teeth" (Live iTunes Version)
27. Devin Davis, "Transcendental Sports Anthem"
28. Counting Crows, "Mrs. Potter's Lullabye"
29. Bright Eyes, "The Calendar Hung Itself ..."
30. Built To Spill, "Liar"
31. Spoon, "Metal School"
32. You Am I, "What I Don't Know About You"
33. Joe Cocker, "The Letter"
34. Keith Richards and the X-pensive Winos, "Take it So Hard" (Live)

"Nonconformity is now the accepted norm of society"

Here is an interesting story about an interesting-looking book, "Hello, I'm Special" by Hal Niedzviecki, a Canadian essayist and fiction writer.

The thesis of Niedzviecki's book is something I've always believed and often written about: We all think we're special and individuals, and about 98 percent are dead wrong. What we choose to express our "individuality" -- whether it's getting a tattoo, going snowboarding, listening to "underground" music, engaging in salty (if ultimately empty) anti-corporate sloganeering -- is actually a new kind of conformity.

Today's avatar of success has abandoned the bowling leagues, country-club parties and Presbyterian church socials that supposedly occupied the organization man's leisure time. His signifiers are different: He plays Texas Hold 'Em in Vegas, BlackBerrys his broker from his whitewater kayak, hits all the best spots for mojitos in South Beach, chaperones models to the Croatian Riviera and leaps from job to job in a lonely, lustful quest for accumulation and domination. At least, he aspires to do all those things. He (or, increasingly, she) has upgraded from an old version of conformity to a new one, whose central oxymoronic commandment is: Be yourself. If "yourself" turns out to be nothing more than an amalgam of brand names and images plucked from TV shows, movies and magazine layouts, so much the better.

That's his argument in a nutshell: Those of us who grew up in the post-industrial, pop-culture-saturated West (and a whole lot of people who didn't) have been raised to believe that we are unique individuals with special destinies. When it comes to imagining that destiny, however, all we have are the mass-produced images of fame and success that everyone shares: Donald Trump in his corner office with its vulgar but expensive furniture, Howard Stern partying joylessly amid pneumatic boobs, pop stars and movie actors trying vainly to imitate the more real-seeming pop stars and movie actors of the past.

Salon's review is mixed but the book definitely sounds like an interesting read. Pick it up the next time you get a tribal armband tattoo.

Is this hate mail?

OK, I'm finally back at work and ready to blog your freakin' socks off! For my opening number, I present an e-mail I recieved this weekend in re: to my column on stupid baby names.

Some of you thought the column would inspire reams of hate mail. You were mistaken. It's my experience that columns you think will tick people off almost never do, while those columns you assume are relatively harmless stir up a shuckstorm.

Response was muted for the most part, except for this e-mail:

To: Steven Hyden c/o shyden @ postcrescent.com

Dear Steven: Thanks for informing your readers (all three of them) about the secret meanings of names like TomKat and Suri. Analogous disillusionment attaches to practically every name, including unpronounceable ones like Mschwschw.

While “Steven” may boast of noble Greek derivation (crown?), it could mean something less flattering (clown?) in a Wysturian, Swabanonian or other dialect. My own epithet at birth (Kurt), short for Konrad, originally indicated a courteous chap, except in Magyarul, where it stands for something unprintable.

By the way, name-giving as a first exercise in name-calling (eponymy) is a prehistoric skill, possibly a precursor of diplomacy, inasmuch as the first Neanderthal who hurled words at his opponent instead of arrows was the Urbild of a politician. Future historians will have a hard time explaining 21st-century warfare as a step up from cavemanship.

I really like this e-mail, mainly because I have no idea what it means. I think he's ripping me a little bit, but he does it in such an obscure, almost charming way that I can't tell.

So, help me out: Is this hate mail or what?

Monday, May 01, 2006

Suck/lame results

First off, thanks for voting (and your patience waiting for results). There were 40 Favre-related posts and 21 votes, our best showing in weeks. Yeah, I know we're all sick of No. 4 and the Pack. But the dude brings the voters.

Before I give the results, I gotta admit I had reservations about putting Favre on the chopping block. As far as I'm concerned, his non-suckiness isn't worth questioning. OK, so announcers lick his crack to an embarrassing degree. And maybe he's not as good as he used to be. But this is BRETT FREAKIN' FAVRE. I'm pretty sure the entire city of Green Bay would have been condemned in the early 1990s had he not completed the holy triumverate started by Ron Wolf and Mike Holmgren. He is my favorite football ever, and he always will be. I only posted him because I thought it would inspire debate. And it did.

But, seriously, what kind of person thinks Brett Favre sucks? To the haters (especially the ones from Wisconsin), I ask this: What fills the hole in your chest where the heart should be? Human excrement or dog excrement?

When you die, Irv Favre will be waiting at the pearly gates with a sickle.

BTW: Favre sailed to Not Suck status by a vote of 15-6. Sanity prevailed. Thank god.

Remember there's another election starting Wednesday. Please post your suggestions.

Sorry for my lack of blogging but ...

...I was out of the office Friday and won't be back until Tuesday. And while not working rules (I'm typing this in my pajamas bottoms and ever so stylish IfIHadaHiFi T) I miss my blogging peeps. Just remember that The Management needs a break every now and then to think up clever placenta related posts.

Speaking of which:

I'll get Suck/Lame results up shortly.