Thursday, February 26, 2009

It took me a minute to figure out what they actually meant.

My new favorite from the Fail Blog:


Monday, February 23, 2009

Go, now, and download.

If you haven't already seen it, Phil Wickham has done a full-length live worship CD featuring him, a single acoustic guitar, and 3,000 fans. It's quite moving, and here's the best part - it's available, absolutely free, on his website. Share it, copy it to a friend, burn it as many times as you want, whatever. As a longtime Wickham fan this was great news, but even if you're new to his music it's worth downloading to hear how amazing his track "Beautiful" sounds live.

The album's called "Singalong," and it's available here.

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You've seen the story before, but it's all just done swimmingly well.

I think if I'd actually seen all of "la maison en petit cubes" before I voted for Best Animated Short, I might have switched my vote. It's quite heartbreaking.

By the way, was Kunio Kato's acceptance speech not one of the greatest you've ever heard? "Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto." Other than Dustin Lance Black's, it was my favorite of the night.

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NY Post Cartoon

I have to know...

Am I the only one who saw the cartoon and immediately thought that the chimp was supposed to represent Congressional ineptitude?

And then was really surprised that it became a huge, massive deal?

In fact, come to think about it, the three things our country has become outraged by in the past month have been:

1. This cartoon
2. A-Rod
3. Octomom

How are these the things that absolutely blow us up? I mean, during this stretch, a food company seems to have knowingly allowed salmonella into our food supply and nobody noticed.

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Oscar Results

I did it. I got over 75%. I'm an expert.

I got 19 out of 24 (79%), and if I'd only stuck with Sean Penn for Best Actor - who I was really rooting for anyway - the only ones I would've missed would've been four completely unimportant categories which I'm totally fine with having missed. So let's review exactly what happened on what turned out to be a really good Oscars in all respects.

Best Motion Picture of the Year
Winner: Slumdog Millionaire

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Winner: Sean Penn for Milk
I Picked: Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Winner: Kate Winslet for The Reader

Best Achievement in Directing
Winner: Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Winner: Okuribito (Japan)
I Picked: Entre les murs (France)

Best Achievement in Music, Original Song
Winner: Slumdog Millionaire - A.R. Rahman, Sampooran Singh Gulzar ("Jai Ho")

Best Achievement in Music, Original Score
Winner: Slumdog Millionaire - A.R. Rahman

Best Achievement in Editing
Winner: Slumdog Millionaire

Best Achievement in Sound
Winner: Slumdog Millionaire

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Winner: The Dark Knight
I Picked: Wall-E

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Winner: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Best Documentary, Short Subjects
Winner: Smile Pinki
I Picked: The Conscience Of Nhem En

Best Documentary, Feature
Winner: Man on Wire

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Winner: Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight

Best Short Film, Live Action
Winner: Spielzeugland (Toyland)

Best Achievement in Cinematography
Winner: Slumdog Millionaire - Anthony Dod Mantle

Best Achievement in Makeup
Winner: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Best Achievement in Costume Design
Winner: The Duchess - Michael O'Connor

Best Achievement in Art Direction
Winner: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Best Short Film, Animated
Winner: la maison en petits cubes
I Picked: Presto

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
Winner: WALL·E - Andrew Stanton

Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay
Winner: Slumdog Millionaire - Simon Beaufoy

Best Writing, Original Screenplay
Winner: Milk - Dustin Lance Black

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Winner: Penélope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona

While I'm thrilled about my results, I changed a few results from my original picks, and all those changes ended up being wrong. But I entered the orginal list into the game, which should put me near the top of their pool (22 out of 24 ain't bad - except that the game glitches so badly that every time you leave the site, it deletes all of your picks. I tried to go on right before the ceremony started, but the game had crashed, so I couldn't get to it to re-enter the picks. It's a shame, because somewhere floating in a sea of data on the site is a near-perfect Oscar list.

Hope everyone did well this year!

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Oscar Predictions '09: Mediocrity Isn't Just a Pipe Dream Anymore!

Before we begin my predictions, let's sum up the important details thus far:

1. In 2006, I successfully predicted 9 of 11 categories but didn't try any of the more difficult categories. Also, I seem to recall cheating (as in "oh, yeah, I totally called Memoirs Of A Geisha winning Cinematography, I just didn't write it down in time").

2. In 2007, I got 15 out of 24 categories (63%) and won my Oscar pool, which I think had about five people in it.

3. In 2008, after talking a big game, I got 13 out of 24 (54%), and went into a period of deep mourning.
4. In 2009, I called 16 out of 25 Golden Globes (64%), which starts to show a definite pattern of not-awesomeness.

5. I really, really hate losing - and unfortunately, in recent years, have been required to acquire a taste for it.

So the bad news is that I've shown a distinct pattern for having a decent idea of what's going to happen at the Oscars but not enough of one to really be considered an expert. That's all going to change this year.

This year, it's 75% or better - or bust. I'm not sure what, exactly, "or bust" means, but I'm willing to take suggestions over what my punishment should be should I fail to meet my quota.

The important thing to remember about the Oscars is that they are not actually an award show to determine which film or actor is superior, but which selection makes Hollywood feel the best about itself. The reason it selects films that are considered more "important" is not necessarily that it feels those films are better but because it feels that they should honor the films that "make a difference." That's why Wall-E and The Dark Knight are pushed aside to make way for films like The Reader and Revolutionary Road, even though voters know - and will acknowledge - that the former two are better films. But honoring a film like Slumdog Millionaire makes voters feel that Hollywood is connected to the plight of the world at large, and that belief is much more important to them than whether The Dark Knight did a better job of sound mixing. So watch closely during this year's Oscars - the direction taken early in the night will domino along throughout the show.

In fact, let's start with the sound categories:

Sound Editing and Sound Mixing: The reason we're starting with these two very unimportant categories is because of the Bafta results from a couple weeks back, which awarded Slumdog "Best Sound." While Slumdog is a certainly very well-mixed movie, it doesn't deserve to win "Best Sound," especially when movies with intensively designed soundscapes (Wall-E, The Dark Knight) are involved. The rule of thumb for awards given for technical prizes and performances is that "best" usually means "most." What movie had the most sound effects? What movie had the most make-up? Who had to do the most acting? When an award is specifically given outside of that, that usually means that there's a strong feeling within a community that a film is deserving to be rewarded as much as possible in as many ways as possible. And I think that's the case this year, Expect Slumdog Millionaire to capture at least 7 out of 9 possible awards (I'm predicting 8).

But not 9, and here's where I'm breaking away from the pack - while Bafta gives out one sound award, the Oscars gives out two - Editing and Mixing. Editing basically refers creating sounds and sound effects, and mixing involves combining those sounds together into the movie. While Slumdog should (well, not should, but probably will) win Best Mixing, there's essentially no sound creation going on, whereas most of Wall-E's whole appeal is hinged on the brilliant sound creation of Star Wars alum Ben Burtt. And I say that the voters see the distinction as well.

Alright, let's cover the acting categories, since that's where the only real debate left this year is.

Actor: This category is completely even-steven. The line between Sean Penn (Milk) and Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler) is so razor-thin that they've actually shared the award at some shows. The debate goes something like this:
A. They're both unbelievably good in these movies, two heavyweights who absolutely tore up their roles.
B. As good as the rest of the competion is (especially Frank Langella's punchy Richard Nixon), everyone knows that the battle is between these two.
C. Sean Penn immersed himself in a role that was unlike anything he'd ever done before, gave the whole movie an effervescent charm, and got you to root for him despite the fact that he's Sean Penn. Impressive.
D. Mickey Rourke reappeared from the dead, bulked up for a year, dominated a movie that hinged entirely on his performance, and made you believe in him as a down-on-his-luck professional wrestler, which almost no other actor could do.
E. The two of them have been exceedingly gracious, doing interviews together, helping promote each other, and so on. There's no real competition here between them, so there's no hard factions arguing with each other.

So no one knows what will happen - none of the precursors give us any clear picture, and neither seem to be fading or suffering from backlash. It's a pick'em. And I'm picking Penn, who gave my favorite performance of the year, in my favorite movie.

No wait, I'll go the other way, Rourke's got the momentum...


No, I'm sticking with Penn, I'll be mad if he wins and I didn't pick him...

No, wait, I'm going for Rourke. He's got the momentum, and I'm riding that.

Actress: Here's a good example of how it's not performance, it's politics. The best performance of the year was Anne Hathaway's. But it's not a strong enough performance to unseat someone who the Academy wants to vote for because they feel that the actress is due - which is the case with both Kate Winslet (five nominations, no wins) and Meryl Streep (hasn't won since 1982, been nominated 10 times since). I think Winslet has the stronger case in that regard - the Academy is famous for having ignored her, she's in a Holocaust movie, she gets naked in the role, she wears aging makeup in the role, she's had a strong couple of years of great performances - and so I think she gets the win. That being said, it's hard to tell what's going to happen because previous award shows have nominated this role as a supporting role instead of a lead role, and so Streep and Hathaway have been winning these awards instead of her.

Supporting Actress: And since Winslet's been nominated so often in this category - and won so many times - it's impossible to know what'll happen here. It's nice to see a race that's actually a 5-way battle for once. I don't think I've ever seen that happen in any category.

The smart money has to be on Penelope Cruz. Her movie came out months earlier than the other contestants, she built buzz around her role for months until everyone knew she was guaranteed a spot in this group even before the nominations came out. And Vicki Christina Barcelona relied heavier on her performance than any of the other movies relied on their nominees, which matters. Of course, if The Wrestler begins to get any sort of momentum, than it could take both Actor and Supporting Actress categories out of sympathy for being ignored in Best Picture. Take note during the night - if Marisa Tomei wins this category, than Rourke is probably winning at the end of the show.

Supporting Actor: Gambling odds on this category have Heath Ledger at -2000. That means that if you want to win $100, you'd have to put $2000 down. That's a strong favorite. I think if Ledger was going to lose this category, we would have seen something in the award shows leading up to it, but that wasn't the case, and the Academy isn't going to want to stand out on this one. Our only hope for this category is that when Ledger wins, they send Christian Bale up there to accept the award.

Alright, let's play Quick Picks.

Animated Feature: Wall-E
Art Direction: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Cinematography: Slumdog Millionaire (though it should be Wally Pfister's incredible nighttime photography in The Dark Knight)
Costume Design: The Duchess
Documentary Feature: Man On Wire
Documentary Short: "The Conscience of Nhem En"
Editing: Slumdog Millionaire
Makeup: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Original Score: Slumdog Millionaire
Short Film, Live Action: "Spielzeugland" ("Toyland") - hey, Holocaust alert.
Visual Effects: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Screenplay, Adapted: Slumdog Millionaire
Screenplay, Original: Milk

And know we'll do things that should be Quick Picks but I can't bring myself to not talk about.

Foreign Language Film: It's The Class vs. Waltz With Bashir, and man, this one is tough. Subtle acting drama with children against an inventive documentary in rotoscoped animation, not to mention that you don't just vote for the film, you vote for the country (France vs. Israel, in this case). I'm gonna say France's The Class will win just because they had such a strong year (Let The Right One In, I've Loved You So Long).

Short Film, Animated: There is an anti-Pixar movement in animation circles (they were recently shut out at the Annie Awards), which leads one to believe that the voters might go the other way - perhaps to the lovingly hand drawn "La Maison en Petits Cubes" ("House of Small Cubes"), about a man in a precarious, nearly submerged house who finds old memories under the water. Still, Pixar-haters or no, I can't see enough people rallying to vote against Pixar's smartly funny old-school slapstick piece, "Presto" (which, oddly, is available for free in HD on Youtube). Pixar might be overrated, but how can you vote against a little bunny who plays tricks on his magician? Have you no soul, voters?

Original Song: I'm not writing extra here because I feel that there's much competion - "Jai Ho," from Slumdog, is going to win - but because I found out how Springsteen's "The Wrestler" didn't get nominated. It turns out during the nomination process, rather than nominating songs and tallying the nominations given, instead the voters rate the songs on a scale from one to ten. That's right - you can assess negative votes to your competion. That's a shady piece of voting structure if I ever saw one - it lets people target the frontrunners and take them out. Worried that Springsteen will beat you out for a nomination? Give your piece a ten and his a one - that should even out all the sixes and sevens you've been getting! I'd've organized a write-in campaign if that was even a slight possibility.

The big ones are of course already decided.

Director: David Fincher's a lightly-publicized but legitimate dark horse (and my favorite) for his work on Benjamin Button, but only if things take a strange, anti-Slumdog turn. This award is almost definitely going to Danny Boyle.

Picture: And, of course, the crown jewel in Slumdog's well-garnished crown. If you're watching the awards this Sunday and want to go to bed after the acting trophies are handed out, I'm sure you can safely do so - Boyle will already have gone to the stage half a dozen times before this award gets handed out, so you won't need to feel guilty for missing it.

Don't feel that I'm knocking Slumdog for winning all these awards because I think it's a bad film - it's not, I think it's fantastic, it's my second favorite film this year behind Milk. But the hype has built to such a level that it seems there's no way for it to be beat, and I don't think it's that good. Also, it's started to win awards it doesn't deserve against more deserving films - in addition to sound awards, it's won acting awards and things like "Best Ensemble" that more accurately would go to Milk or Doubt. And the way it's going to snag things like Best Song over Springsteen nags at me - after 80 Academy Awards, things like that should happen.

One way or another though, I'll be watching this Sunday. I'm nervous for all the usual categories - documentary short, animated short, foreign film, costume design, etc - but I feel I've got at least half a dozen categories locked up. And I feel very, very good about 75% this year.

Though it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to come up with punishments that I could get if I miss my goal. Again.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Why no, I don't want any part of that, thank you.

There's a Facebook ad that keeps appearing next to my profile with a picture taken at a poorly-lit bar of a truly douche-tastic gentleman, flanked by two girls in very small tube tops. The ad reads: "I am lazy and a jerk and I make millions over the internet. Click here and I will teach you how."

Does anyone besides me feel that those two sentences do not naturally go together? And how likely would anyone be to look at this picture and say "I think I can trust this guy?"

Barack Paper Scissors

If you haven't played yet, it's weirdly fun.

I've liked pretty much everything that YouTube has added the past year - the ability to put word bubbles on heads, to make decisions based on videos, plus higher quality (and eventually HD) videos. It's been fun to see them stop resting on their laurels and starting to be the leader in web content creativity.


It's pretty much a lock, right?

Slate has an interesting article on whether Sheldon from "The Big Bang Theory" suffers from Asperger's Syndrome or not. And I'm not an expert, but it's pretty much a lock, right?

This fits right into my "Anakin Skywalker had Asperger's" theory, which I still maintain explains loads about the later Star Wars trilogy.

This is harder than you think.

How many TV shows can you name in two minutes?

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This is why you're fat.

If you've ever thought "y'know, I've really got to start eating better, but that junky, unhealthy food is always so tempting," then this website is for you.

In related news, I think I'm gonna try to drop a coupla pounds again.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

It's not bushy, no.

Today someone referred to my hair as a "fro."

In my entire life, that has never happened to me before.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Before They Were Famous

Hey! Here's a collection of famous actors in TV spots before they were famous!

It's worth clicking on for ten reasons.

10. John Travolta in short-shorts.
9. John Travolta singing about the chemical properties of soap.
8. Leonardo DiCaprio, multiple Academy Award nominee, shilling Bubble Yum.
7. Ben Affleck's cell phone.
6. Ben Affleck's hair.
5. Seth Green's hair.
4. Oh my God, Seth Green's hair.
3. Keanu Reeves really enjoying some Corn Flakes
2. Bruce Willis singing about wine coolers and almost but not quite french-kissing a dog.
1. That amazing commercial for "The McDLT" ('It keeps the hot side hot and the cool side cool!') with Jason Alexander is there.

Trust me, you don't need any reasons beside that last one. Who thought that product would ever be a good idea?

These Boots Were Made For Walken

In 1988, Christopher Walken (never one to turn down a check) appeared in what seems to be perhaps the worst movie ever made. It's a film adaption of "Puss In Boots," and for the record, the syncing issues - and the superimposed cat graphic - were in the original movie.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Jesus Has The Power Of Greyskull

Were you ever forced to watch really terrible cartoons in Sunday School? Y'know, the ones where they didn't even try to sync the mouths with the words, so a sentence will finish and the mouth will just keep going - O - O - O - O?

Well, just be glad you weren't a Jehovah's Witness.

Make sure to click over to the synopsis on Worst Cartoons Ever when you're done.

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Live TV Directing

Over the years I've put up examples of video projects I've put together, whether they were things I was proud of or things I found particularly interesting, and occasionally things I hated that I couldn't believe I'd had to make. And making projects like those are the vast majority of what my job entails, so those are the things I put all my effort into.

But that's really only part of my job. On Sunday mornings, it's my responsibility to direct the cameramen and cut together the live feed that goes to the screen - it's called directing to IMAG, which stands for image magnification.

Now, most of this is pretty staid and it's rare that I direct something that I'm proud enough of to hang on to, but this Christmas I had a pretty good opportunity to direct with a little more flair - our annual Christmas show. Every year we drag our crane out of storage and haul some cameras over from our other sanctuary, and now that our other director has been tapped to work full-time in our other service, this year the directing duties landed on me. I'd never gotten the opportunity to direct more than four cameras before, so it was exciting to go to do prep work on the show - going to rehearsals, listening to the CD, prepping the videos to roll during the show, marking up the sheet music with notes. I actually had a music teacher come in to read the sheet music and cue me off my notes while I was directing. It was quite a production. Unbeknownst to me, one of the pastors wandered into the control room while I was working and stood in the back. He found me later that night and said "I just have to say, I gained so much respect for you tonight - there were cameras going everywhere, and you were shouting orders, and I had no idea what you were doing!" And if that sounds a little self-gratifying in print, you should understand that the pastor's tone made it sound a bit like "I had marginal respect for you before, but this convinced me you actually have some sort of value."

Weirdly, this past Christmas show really raised my profile within our church, which I wouldn't have predicted, but it definitely did. It's ironic because I put so much work into the 3-D film we did this fall, and a lot of the backhanded compliments I got afterwards made me realize that the film had lowered a lot of people's opinion of me more than anything. So it was nice to win back some measure of respect.

Anyway, here's a couple clips from the show which are worth checking out - though, it being past Christmas and into that "if I see anything Christmasy in the next six months, I'll just ralph" time of year. So I'll understand if you don't. But either way, here they are. The first is the piece I'm most proud of.

Make sure to play in high quality: as the video starts to play, click "HQ" on the bottom-right corner of the viewer.

The second is the clip you'll probably enjoy most - the combined kids/adults choir (the kids are adorable):

And the last is the clip that'll tell you the most about our church - it features Elvis, a crying cowboy, an opera singer, and chiquita dancers. Featuring, by the way, Claire's mom as one of the chiquita dancers:

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Grammy Results

Well, this year I did better than last: 51 out of 110, for a total of 46% (for point of reference, random selection would've likely given me an accuracy of 18-19%). This year I got most of the major categories right, too, something I'd completely bombed on the year before (I ended up at 43% in 2008). I feel I could've done better if I'd reworked the rules a little bit. The following standards would've helped out:

1. Whenever it's one female versus four male nominees, always vote for the female. (this one trumps all rules, including the Barack Obama rule)
2. Never go against artists traditionally loved by Grammy voters - B.B. King, Natalie Cole, Mary J. Blige, and anyone named Winans.

The reality is that it's possible to be fairly accurate in the areas that you actually know something about - from the major categories through the end of the Country section, I was 25 out of 43 (58%). Twenty-two categories later, I was 29 of 65 (45%). The sections that killed me were the ones where I knew nothing: Latin, Jazz, New Age, Production. I did random, fun guesses - and went 1 for 19. With everything else, I was solid to excellent.

Mostly, though, I found that the rules worked! The Old Guy rule, the Barack Obama rule, and surprisingly, the Get Drunk and Guess rule, were across the board near-perfect in selecting the winner. I may use these strategy in future for other things - movie rentals, car shopping, choosing friends. Who knows the benefits this system can give?

Frankly, I feel next year I can do even better, come back even stronger. But guessing the Grammys is still a fool's errand - of the 110 categories, I'm really only qualified to guess maybe 30 to 50 with what could be called a valid opinion.

Of course, in categories like the Latin awards, that's half the fun.

Until next year...

Oh! As a final note, I have to say: every year I put my faith in the Grammy voters to get the Gospel section right, and every year I am deeply, painfully disappointed - but this year I found it truly scandalous. That Brandon Heath should have the biggest single in Christian music history and lose Song Of The Year to Kirk Franklin is an embarrassment of epic proportions. The Grammy Foundation should be completely ashamed of itself.

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Sunday, February 08, 2009


If you haven't seen it yet, Wordle is a program lets you throw a bunch of text into their site's engine, and it turns it into a cool-looking word cloud. It gives greater prominence to words used more often, and you can personalize the shape, color, and style however you want.

You can also just type in a site's web address and have it do all the work for you.

Here's mine:
Wordle: Ten-Four, Good Buddy

Turned out to be a little bit too close to the Grammys post, so I went back through it by hand. Came out pretty good, I think.

I did some of your sites, too. Here's Assistant Village Idiot:

 Wordle: Assistant Village Idiot

Random Neural Firings:
Wordle: Random Neural Firings

And Wyman Family History:

  Wordle: Wyman Family History


Saturday, February 07, 2009

Truly, I have reached nirvana.

The Bacon Flowchart.

Thanks, Peracchio.

Friday, February 06, 2009

I want to go to there.

Coming this spring is a new book called Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which features the original text of the Jane Austen novel juiced up with “all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem.”

While I was hesitant at first to embrace the idea of ripping off Austen's most beloved work so ridiculously, I was sold by the first line: "“It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”

My, uh, half-birthday is coming on March 8th, by the way.

P.S. Bad news, though. It turns out that Jesus hates zombies.

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I Can't Eat These! We Have To Go Back!

Here's a short about a guy who watches every episode of "Lost" over the course of three days.

Be warned: it's only funny if you're a huge "Lost" fan to begin with.

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Grammy Predictions #58-110 (I did it!)

Y'know, next year I'm not gonna do one of these. They're not that fun to write, they're not too fun to read, and I don't care about the results. Plus, the Grammy broadcast doesn't show most of the boring categories, so there's no point in picking the lesser known ones since it doesn't make watching the show more fun. All in all, it's a waste of time.

Anyway, I'm gonna try to have as much fun as possible on these last picks. You can do what you want.

Field 12 - Latin

58. Best Latin Pop Album
La Vida... Es Un Ratico ("This Life... It Is A Giant Rat") by Juanes ("Two Guys Named 'John'")

59. Best Latin Rock Or Alternative Album
I love this: Mediocre ("Mediocre") by Ximena Sariñana ("The Fear Of Being Serenaded")

60. Best Latin Urban Album
The Royalty: La Realeza ("The Royalty: No, Really, I Have One!") by Rkm & Ken-y ("We're Not Latin, We're Two Guys From New Jersey With GarageBand")

61. Best Tropical Latin Album
Frutero Moderno ("A Very Modern Fruity Thing") by Gonzalo Grau y La Clave Secreta ("Gonzo the Great and the Clave of Secrets")

62. Best Regional Mexican Album
Desde México: "Cumbia Cusinela" ("Say it in Mexican!: Cum-ba-ya for Cooking") by Huichol Musical ("The Phantom Of The Opera")

63. Best Tejano Album (Is No Tejano Album)
I hate Tejano music.

Well, I gotta pick. Music Lessons ("No Talent Necessary!") by Chente Barrera y Taconazo ("The Cheezy Barrier and his sidekick, the Taconator")

64. Best Norteño Album
Corridos: Defendiendo El Honor ("Come To The Hallway: Sorry, Man, I Shouldn't Have Slept With Your Sister") by Pesado ("The Pessimist")

65. Best Banda Album
Que Bonito... ¡Es Lo Bonito! ("That Lovely Girl... She Is The Only Attractive Person In This Bar!") Banda El Recodo de Cruz Lizárraga ("The Band That Only Records Covers of Songs By The Lizard King")

Okay, maybe next year I'll do the Latin section. That was really fun.

Field 13 - Blues
Oh, good - it's all old guys.

66. Best Traditional Blues Album
Old Guy Of Choice: Johnny Lee Hooker Jr.

67. Best Contemporary Blues Album
Possible Barack Obama Connection: Dr. John And The Lower 911

Field 14 - Folk
Oh good - it's all weird old guys.

68. Best Traditional Folk Album
Old Guy Of Choice: Pete Seeger

69. Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album
Old Guy Of Choice: Robert Plant & Alison Krauss

70. Best Native American Music Album
White Guilt Vote Of Choice: Spo'Mo'Kin'Nan by Black Lodge

71. Best Hawaiian Music Album
Brother Iz Is Dead Choice: The Spirit of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar by Daniel Ho, George Kahumoku,Jr., Dennis Kamakahi, Paul Konwiser & Wayne Wong

72. Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album
Homage Au Passé ("Tribute Albums Are So Over") by Pine Leaf Boys

Field 15 - Reggae

73. Best Reggae Album
Intoxication by Shaggy (He's still making music!) was a strong contender, but how can you go against Let's Get Physical by Elephant Man? One of the best album title/artist name combos I've ever seen.

74. Best Traditional World Music Album
White Guys Getting In Touch With Their Cultural Roots: Ladysmith Black Mambazo

75. Best Contemporary World Music Album:
M.I.A. Was Not Nominated? Who Else Makes World Music?: Global Drum Project by Mickey Hart, Zakir Hussain, Sikiru Adepoju & Giovanni Hidalgo

Field 17 - Polka

76. Best Polka Album
El Maestro Del Acordeón Y Sus Polkas ("A Master Of The Accordian Can Dance My Polka Any Day") by Paulino Bernal ("Vote For Me, I Might Be Related To Gael Garcia Bernal, Who Knows?")

Field 18 - Children's

77. Best Musical Album For Children
Rocker Dudes Should Get Some Votes: Here Come The 123s by They Might Be Giants

78. Best Spoken Word Album For Children
Grammy Voters Love Beautiful People: "Brown Bear And Friends" By Gwyneth Paltrow

Field 19 - Spoken Word

79. Best Spoken Word Album
* An Inconvenient Truth (Al Gore)
Beau Bridges, Cynthia Nixon & Blair Underwood
* Born Standing Up
Steve Martin
* I Am America (And So Can You!)
Stephen Colbert (& Various Artists)
* Life Beyond Measure
Sidney Poitier
* When You Are Engulfed In Flames
David Sedaris

Let's just admit it: this list is kind of a incomprehensible group to make a decision about. You can't even give Al Gore the Liberal Love vote with Colbert, Poitier, and Sedaris in there. I'll give it to Gore anyway, though, because the book has won a Nobel Prize, and it's tough to top that.

Field 20 - Comedy

80. Best Comedy Album
Never Underestimate The Posthumous Choice: George Carlin

Field 21 - Musical Show

81. Best Musical Show Album
I Can't Possibly Vote For "South Pacific": "In The Heights"

Field 22 - Film/TV/Visual Media

82. Best Compilation Soundtrack For a Motion Picture:
Who Doesn't Love Cute Indie Music: Juno Soundtrack

83. Best Score Soundtrack
Only One Of These Is Nominated For The Oscar: Wall-E Soundtrack By Thomas Newman

84. Best Song Written For A Motion Picture or TV
Two Songs From Enchanted Will Split The Vote: "Down To Earth" from Wall-E

Field 23 - Composing/Arranging

85. Best Instrumental Composition
Four No-Names Versus John Williams Choice: John Williams

86. Best Instrumental Arrangement
Seriously, This Is Nominated For An Oscar, Guys: Peter Gabriel's Wall-E Song

87. Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists
Take 6 Is Still Making Music?: "Grace" by Take 6

Field 24 - Package

88. Best Recording Package
Hawk Nelson Got Nominated? No Way!: Uh... not Hawk Nelson. I'll Pick Metallica.

89. Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package
Art Snobs Everywhere: I'll pick the obsessive Nine Inch Nails

Field 25 - Album Notes

90. Best Album Notes
How Is This A Category?: The Aretha Frankin Box Set seems a safe pick - plus, Barack Obama connection!

Field 26 - Historical

91. Best Historical Album
Apparently, I Can't Vote For "Sgt. Pepper": There's a Howard Taft album called "Debate '08!" I have absolutely no idea what that means.

Field 27 - Production, Non-Classical

92. Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
Old Guy Of Choice: Al Green

93. Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical
A Barack Obama Connection Isn't Enough?: produced a lot of his own records, while Danger Mouse produced three of the best records of the Year: The Black Keys' Attack & Release, Beck's Modern Guilt, and Gnarls Barkley's The Odd Couple (though obviously that last one would also fall under "producing your own records")

94. Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical
I Want to Hear The Best Classical Remixes! Sigh: Junkie XL's rework of Madonna's "4 Minutes."

Field 28 - Surround Sound
How is this its own field?

95. Best Surround Sound Album
Though Ringo in Surround Sound Doesn't Sound At All Appealing: A record called "Ringo 5.1" by Ringo Starr

Field 29 - Production, Classical

96. Best Engineered Album, Classical
Yo-Yo Ma Was Involved Somehow: Traditions And Transformations: Sounds Of Silk Road Chicago

97. Producer Of The Year, Classical
He Also Found Time To Interview Nixon: David Frost

Field 30 - Classical

98. Best Classical Album
This One Sounded Most Impressive, Even Though It's Misspelled: Weill: Rise And Fall Of The City Of Mahagonny.

99. Best Orchestral Performance
This One Is From That Silk Road Album, So I'll Stick With It: Prokofiev: Scythian Suite, Op. 20

100. Best Opera Recording
It's Nominated Again: Weill: Rise And Fall Of The City of Mahagonny.

101. Best Choral Performance
Who Knew Kansas City Had a Great Orchestra?: Rheinberger: Sacred Choral Works

102. Best Instrumental Soloist Performance
Who The Heck Is "L'Orchestre De La Suisse Romande"?: Saint-Saëns: Piano Concertos 2 & 5

103. Best Instrumental Soloist Performance
I Don't Know Any Of These Names: "Red Cliff Capriccio," Wei Li

104. Best Chamber Music Performance
This One Sounded Kinda Hardcore: Right Through The Bone - Julius Röntgen Chamber Music

105. Best Small Ensemble Performance
There's No Way This Title Makes Sense, There's Three Colons And A Semicolon: Tan Dun: Pipa Concerto; Hayashi: Viola Concerto; Takemitsu: Nostalgia

I can't even figure out what to italicize.

106. Best Classical Vocal Performance
This Sounds Weirder Than Cate Blanchett Playing Dylan in I Am There: Corigliano: Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems Of Bob Dylan

107. Best Classical Contemporary Composition
And Again!: Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems Of Bob Dylan

108. Best Classical Crossover Album
When Did This Cross Over? And Where Did It Cross Over To?: Baroque by Gabriela Motero

Field 31 - Music Video
I get to go out with a bang!

109. Best Short Form Music Video: "Pork And Beans" by Weezer was one of my all-time favorites, though it'll probably go to Radiohead, just because.

110. Best Long Form Music Video
Peter Bogdanovich Is A God, and Also - The Old Guy Vote: Runnin' Down A Dream, by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.

Oh, man. I made it. I really made it. I'm done. I finished.

I am not doing this again next year. That took forever.

Congrats if you made it this far. Let me know if you did!


Mug Shot Fail

So good!

My favorite part is that, for some reason, this new station had that picture on file somewhere in case they needed it. Really, think about the thought process that takes.


There's an old superstition that forbids this. Now we know why.

This reminds me of that movie with Nicolas Cage and Samuel L. Jackson - wasn't it an "Amos & Andy" remake? - where they're escaped prisoners handcuffed together.

Except they did much better than these two.

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Grammy Picks: #30-110 (actually, #57)

Alright, this time I'm making it all the way through, no matter how badly it goes. I will cut any corner I need to in order to get this done. I will make up any information necessary. I will combine several categories together. I will find a way.

The rules, remember, are this:

A. When it doubt, pick the old guy.
B. When you don’t know which one is the old guy, pick the one who you think is the old guy.
C. When that’s not entirely clear, pick the one with the funniest name.
D. When none of the names are funny, drink until one of the names becomes funny.
E. If that doesn’t work, pick the band you would most like to be in.
F. If you wouldn’t want to be in any of the bands, chose which band you despise so much by virtue of their band name that you would want to see them become the house band in Hell.
G. And finally, if all else fails, pick the band that most reminds you of the world’s greatest band, Bananarama.

Plus, I added a couple rules as it went:

H. No song with unnecessary numbers in it can win a category.
I. No songs with "U" instead of "you" anywhere in them.
J. No one will be selected who has unnecessary "z"s in his name.
K. Vote for any song that can even be tangentially connected with Barack Obama.

However, I felt after writing the first 30, I felt the system needed a minor reboot, so I'm moving K ahead of A, and adding a new rule. It now looks like this:

1A. Above all, vote for any song that can be even tangentially connected with Barack Obama.
2A. At the beginning of every field, you must create a universal voting rule for that field.

3A. After that rule, then you vote for the old guy.

All the rules are the same after that.

Field 7 - Rap New Rule: Vote For Lil Wayne whenever possible.

31. Best Rap Solo Performance
Lil Wayne is nominated for a song called "A Milli"

32. Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group
Okay, since this is rap and everyone is always "featuring" each other: Lil Wayne is nominated twice, Jay-Z is nominated twice, Kanye West is nominated twice, and T.I. is nominated twice. I'm gonna pick the song where all of them are nominated together, a song called "Swagga Like Us."

33. Best Rap/Sung Collaboration
Lil Wayne is nominated for "Got Money" featuring T-Pain.

34. Best Rap Song
Lil Wayne is nominated - twice - for "Lollipop" and "Swagga Like Us." Hmm... Well, I'm gonna pick "Lollipop," because I would like to see Wayne get the win for every single song on Tha Carter III. That would have to be some kind of record, right?

35. Best Rap Album
Lil Wayne is nominated for "Tha Carter III."

Wow, that rule took me through this whole category. I need more rules like that one.

Field 8 - Country

Hmm... I don't know much about country, except that pretty much no one new ever comes in, and no one ever leaves. So I'm guessing that I can say that -

New Rule: Carrie Underwood will win all the female awards, Brad Paisley will win all the men's awards, and Rascal Flatts will win all the group awards.


New Rule: There's some fresh-face star I haven't heard about, and he's nominated for a bunch of stuff, and he get selected instead.


New Rule: If some old rocker gets nominated in a country category even though it's clearly an inappropriate nomination, I will vote for that old rocker any time.

Alright, now we're ready to start:

36. Best Female Country Vocal Performance
And... Carrie Underwood is nominated!

37. Best Male Country Vocal Performance
And... Brad Paisley is nominated! No, wait, who's this James Otto guy? I've never heard of him. He must be amazing if he got nominated in this category - Best Male Country Vocal Performance is a good ol' boys' club and no mistake. I'm picking this guy.

38. Best Country Performances By A Duo Or Group With Vocals
And... Rascal Flatts is nominated! No, wait, who's Lady Antebellum? Isn't she (or, I dunno, they?) nominated for Best New Artist? I'm picking her. Or, um, them.

39. Best Country Collaboration With Vocals
And... Robert Plant & Alison Krauss' "Killing The Blues" is finally nominated! It's not even really remotely country, but who cares?

These rules are working out fantastic.

40. Best Country Instrumental Performance
Hmm... Béla Fleck is nominated again, so I might - oh, wait, Brad Paisley is nominated! But wait, there's a song about America and Katrina! That supercedes the rule, because Barack Obama is going to rebuild New Orleans from that flood that George Bush sent to destroy it.

Taking a poll: how soon before there's a crisis of some kind - a hurricane or a shooting or someone runs over a puppy or something - and we see artwork like the kind where it's a painting of the disaster, and there's an overlaid picture of Jesus, and there's a single tear running down his face, only instead of Jesus, it's Obama? I give it a year and half on the outside.

41. Best Country Song
Huh. No Underwood, Paisley, or Flatts, and so it's all guesswork. We're gonna have to go to rule 3A - The Old Guy. George Strait it is, with "I Saw God Today." Actually, that might actually apply to rule 1A, too.

42. Best Country Album
Well, still no Underwood, Paisley, or Flatts, so back to The Old Guy - George Strait!

I'm actually not sure if George Strait is that old, but he's named "George," so he should be.

43. Best Bluegrass Album
There's a record here called "Cherryholmes III: Don't Believe," and that will win if I ever get to Rule D, so let's just move on

Field 9 - New Age
New Rule: If I recognize any of the names, I will
automatically vote for that person.

44. Best New Age Album
Well, I don't have any idea who any of these people are, so I'm gonna pick the album called "The Scent Of Light." Cause if I get to Rule D, that's gonna be funny.

Field 10 - Jazz
New Rule: Uh... same rule as last time, I guess.

45. Best Contemporary Jazz Album
John McLaughlin. That sounds really familiar. I'll go for that guy. Though I'm probably just confusing him with, I dunno, Sarah McLachlan.

46. Best Jazz Vocal Album
Hmm... both Cassandra Wilson and Kate McGarry sound familiar. Isn't Kate McGarry related to someone else famous? I dunno. Let's go with... Wilson.

47. Best Jazz Instrumental Solo
Hmm... There's two songs named "Be-Bop." I don't know what that means. I'm gonna go with a song called "Son of Thirteen" by Pat Methany. Because none of the rules apply.

48. Best Jazz Instrumental Album
Hmm.. That Pat Methany dude (or, girl, I guess) is nominated again, so let's go with that.

49. Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album
* Appearing Nightly - Carla Bley and Her Remarkable Big Band
* Act Your Age - Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band
* Symphonica - Joe Lovano With WDR Big Band & Rundfunk Orchestra
* Blauklang - Vince Mendoza
* Monday Night Live At The Village Vanguard - The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra

Huh... I have no concept at all. Let's take a drink.






heh. "Blauklang."

50. Best Latin Jazz Album
Hey, there's a band called "Papo Vásquez The Mighty Pirates!" Cool!

Field 11 - Gospel

A category I know!

New Rule: If you don't think they should win it, then they don't.

51. Best Gospel Performance
* I Understand - Kim Burrell, Rance Allen, Bebe Winans, & Mariah Carey
* East To West - Casting Crowns
* Get Up - Mary Mary
* Shall We Gather At The River - Take 6
* Waging War - CeCe Winans

Well, the voters have no idea what they're doing, so it's almost a lock that a song with both Bebe Winans and Mariah Carey will win out, but I'm gonna show a little faith in them. I'm gonna pick Casting Crowns. Prove me right, Grammys!

52. Best Gospel Song
Brandon Heath got nominated for "Give Me Your Eyes." If Brandon does not win this award so that they can give it to Fred Hammond or Kirk Franklin again, I am gonna tear some head off. This one should be a slam-dunk victory.

53. Best Rock Or Rap Gospel Album
Let's honest: the voters have no idea what they're doing. They're gonna give this to TobyMac, or worse, Superchic[k]. The winner should be Sanctus Real, with After Edmund as a runner up. And how great is it that After Edmund got nominated? That's the little band that could. I'm very happy to see them make it this far.

54. Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album
Crud... Chris Tomlin and Brandon Heath are both nominated here - there are two separate TWUMC alumni up for this award! Amazing. I'm gonna say that Chris will win it, because he always does, but I'm feeling good that Brandon's got a very healthy chance here.

55. Best Southern, Country, Or Bluegrass Gospel Album
I dunno. Bart Millard is nominated, which is nice, but his album is called "Hymned Again," which is incredibly lame. If someone sees Bart around, smack him for me. So, let's pick the Gaither Vocal Band! They never win anything, right? They're due.

56. Best Traditional Gospel Album
The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir vs. The Blind Boys of Alabama vs. a bunch of people I haven't heard of. I'll choose the Blind Boys of Alabama. Those guys are cool.

57. Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album
Sigh, all the normal people are nominated - Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary, and so on - and I guess I'll pick Mary Mary.

And... it's time for bed. Come on! How long can it take to go through one Grammy list?

See you tomorrow.


I AM Comcellive

Check out the Inspiratomatic, which gives you a random compiled inspirational poster. Here's the best one I've gotten so far:


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

2009 Grammy Predictions

I remembered that last year I did my Grammy predictions and it took me, I think, five days. This year, I’m starting on Tuesday and finishing on Tuesday. How am I doing it so quickly? It’s simple: a complete lack of research. I am not looking anything up, ever, for any purpose. After all, historically, a lot of problems have been solved by lack of information. For example, Sadaam Hussein is no longer in charge of Iraq. And it made picking Best New Artist in 1990 easy, because it was generally agreed that those boys in Milli Vanilli could really sing.

Now, this will be difficult. As many people can attest to, I cannot in fact do anything without stopping to Google something.

Heh heh. Googling.

Now, normally, it’s my goal to get as close as humanly possible to getting everything right, but this year, it’s my goal to get you to read this entire thing. Even the Zydeco part. And I will succeed. You will love me!

To reach this goal, I will be obeying the following rules:

A. When it doubt, pick the old guy.
B. When you don’t know which one is the old guy, pick the one who you think is the old guy.
C. When that’s not entirely clear, pick the one with the funniest name.
D. When none of the names are funny, drink until one of the names becomes funny.
E. If that doesn’t work, pick the band you would most like to be in.
F. If you wouldn’t want to be in any of the bands, chose which band you despise so much by virtue of their band name that you would want to see them become the house band in Hell.
G. And finally, if all else fails, pick the band that most reminds you of the world’s greatest band, Bananarama.

Oh, by the way, I totally know you're not going to read all of this. There are 110 categories to get through. Nobody's gonna get that far.

Still, a big prize goes to the reader who gets the farthest! Here we go!

1. Record of the Year
* Chasing Pavements - Adele
* Viva La Vida – Coldplay
* Bleeding Love - Leona Lewis
* Paper Planes – M.I.A.
* Please Read The Letter – Robert Plant & Alison Krauss

Hmm… well, I’m torn between “Bleeding Love” and “Viva La Vida” (the latter being a big personal favorite), and “Paper Planes” was a pretty big hit - the first hit world music has had since... ever... so, I’m gonna go with the old guy. Robert Plant it is.

2. Album Of The Year
* Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends - Coldplay
* Tha Carter III - Lil Wayne
* Year Of The Gentleman - Ne-Yo
* Raising Sand - Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
* In Rainbows - Radiohead

Oh, Lil Wayne. So talented. So consistent. So accessible to the casual listener. So beloved by critics eager to prove their street cred. So unlikely to win this award. Robert Plant it is.

3. Song Of The Year
* American Boy - Estelle Feat. Kanye West
* Chasing Pavements - Adele
* I'm Yours - Jason Mraz
* Love Song - Sara Bareilles
* Viva La Vida - Coldplay

Can anyone explain to me what the difference is between 'Song of the Year' and 'Record Of The Year?' If you're nominated for 'Song Of The Year' but not 'Record Of The Year,' does that mean that everyone like the song, but they just didn't want you singing it? And who would ever say that to Jason Mraz? Have you ever heard anyone besides Mraz sing one of his songs? It's painful. This just seems like a really depressing award.

Did I talk about this last year, too? I don't remember. I'll check., wait, no I won't. Crap-piss.

Anyway, I gotta figure Coldplay gets some 'we were rejected earlier so everyone could pour some more adulation on Robert Plant but now we feel really guilty about ignoring this really excellent song' love here.

4. Best New Artist
* Adele
* Duffy
* Jonas Brothers
* Lady Antebellum
* Jazmine Sullivan

Boy, Duffy and Adele have to be pissed, right? They're pretty much cancelling each other out here. It doesn't matter, though, because probably everyone will vote for the Jonas Brothers so they don't look stupid in five years if the Jonas Brothers are the biggest band in the world (though, aren't they kind of already?). Once Rolling Stone got on board, it was all over.

Field 1 - Pop

5. Best Female Pop Vocal Performance
* Chasing Pavements - Adele
* Love Song - Sara Bareilles
* Mercy - Duffy
* That Was Me - Paul McCartney

... hang on.

Oh, I misclicked. Okay:

* Bleeding Love - Leona Lewis
* I Kissed A Girl - Katy Perry
* So What - Pink

Hmm... I'm in doubt. Let's look at the rules. There's no old guy here (did you catch that McCartney isn't actually in this group? Maybe I should go up and erase that), and nobody who I think might be an old guy. Step C is out because nothing's funny, so I'll take a drink and see if something becomes funny. I'm thinking "Pink" might.


Nope. Alright, step E. Whose band would I most like to be in? I'm gonna say Duffy's. She's got soul, with a real pop sensibility. Plus she's from Wales. Pink and Leona Lewis seem kind of high-maintenance, Adele is just like Duffy except not as cool, I'm not that wild about Sara Bareilles, and Katy Perry, who's on Warped Tour right now, seems like the sort of person who plays jokes on band members while they're sleeping involving buckets of water or shaving cream (admit it: you just smacked your forehead and yelled "oh, totally!" right then). So I pick Duffy to win this one.

6. Male Pop Vocal Performance
* All Summer Long - Kid Rock
* Say - John Mayer
* That Was Me - Paul McCartney
* I'm Yours - Jason Mraz
* Closer - Ne-Yo
* Wichita Lineman - James Taylor

Uh-oh. Three old guys. Let's eliminate Kid Rock right off the bat, assume that "Say" is too boring (it is), figure no song named "Wichita Lineman" can win (though, this being a covers record, maybe it already has), then pick Paul McCartney over the two remaining deserving guys because this is the Grammys, after all.

7. Pop Performance By a Duo Or Group With Vocals
* Viva La Vida - Coldplay
* Waiting In The Weeds - Eagles
* Going On - Gnarls Barkley
* Won't Go Home Without You - Maroon 5
* Apologize - OneRepublic

I know there's an old guy, but there's not enough doubt to start going to the system. This one is Coldplay's all the way.

8. Pop Collaboration With Vocals
Ahh, now here's a category where the old guy always wins.

* Lesson Learned - Alicia Keys & John Mayer
* 4 Minuters - Madonna, Justin Timberlake & Timbaland
* Rich Woman - Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
* If I Never See Your Face Again - Rihanna & Maroon 5
* No Air - Jordin Sparks & Chris Brown

Hey, look, an old guy!

Can anyone tell me why every song off Raising Sand is nominated except the best one, "Killing The Blues?" I'm getting annoyed.

9. Best Pop Instrumental Performance
* Steve Cropper & Felix Cavaliere
* I Dreamed There Was No War - Eagles
* Fortune Teller - Fourplay
* Steppin' Out - Stanley Jordan
* Blast - Marcus Miller

Hey! The Eagles! Playing a song about there not being war! Musicians don't rally behind this sort of stuff, do they? Hang on, wait, I'm getting something. It's hazy, but... wait...

"We are the world... we are the people... mmm, yeah!"

Oh, right.

You have to wonder if the Eagles wrote the song just to win this category.

10. Best Pop Instrumental Album
* Sax For Stax - Gerald Albright
* Greatest Hits Rerecorded Vol. One - Larry Carlton
* Jingle All The Way - Béla Fleck & The Flecktones
* The Spice Of Life - Earl Klugh
* A Night Before Christmas - Syro Gyra

I want to say it's gonna go to Fleck, because he's due, but "Sax For Stax" made me giggle, so I'm going with that one. It sounds like a song recorded for a really bad porno.

Kind of a gross one, actually. I'm going back to Fleck.

Let me drop in a little side-note here: Grammy predictions are hard. People really don't know who's going to win what. With the Oscars, there are dozens of lead-in award shows that pretty much tell you who's going to win what, but with the Grammys, you're going entirely off your knowledge of past Grammy voting (which is a problematic voting record if there ever was one) and who you feel most passionately should win Best Jazz Record Recorded Underwater. And then remember that all the people actually voting are probably just as ill-informed as you.

Though they're probably more informed than me, because they get to Google.

11. Best Pop Vocal Album
* Detours - Sheryl Crow
* Rockferry - Duffy
* Long Road Out Of Eden - Eagles
* Spirit - Leona Lewis
* Covers - James Taylor

Crap! Two old guys and an established, talented star people feel a kinship with! Plus two artists already honored in the bigger categories! I'm gonna have to go with The Eagles, because there are four old guys in the band, as opposed to Taylor, who'se just one old dude by himself.

Field 2 - Dance

12. Best Dance Recording
* Harder Better Faster Stronger - Daft Punk
* Ready For The Floor - Hot Chip
* Just Dance - Lady Gaga & Colby O'donis
* Give It 2 Me - Madonna
* Disturbia - Rihanna
* Black & Gold - Sam Sparro

Well, Madonna is old, but her song is named "Give It 2 Me," so I'm gonna add a new rule:

H. No song with unnecessary numbers in it can win a category.

I'm gonna go with Daft Punk, because they might be old dudes under those helmets. You never know.

13. Best Electronic/Dance Album
* New York City - Brazilian Girls
* Alive 2007 - Daft Punk
* Bring Ya To The Brink - Cyndi Lauper
* X - Kylie Minogue
* Last Night - Moby
* Robyn - Robyn

Man, this is tough. Well, I'm not gonna pick the Cyndi Lauper album because, um, just the thought of ever listening to a Cyndi Lauper album named "Bring Ya To The Brink" makes me break out in hives. So that leaves sort-of old guys Moby and Kylie Minogue and possible old guys Daft Punk. It's time to go to rule D.

...mmm. Cheap vodka. So warm and burn-y.


hmm... one more....


Heh heh. "Punk."

Field 3 - Traditional Pop.
I don't know what this title means. Was this here last year? Let me... aw, dammit.

14. Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album
* Still Unforgettable - Natalie Cole
* The Sinatra Project - Michael Feinstein
* Noël - Josh Groban
* In The Swing Of Christmas - Barry Manilow
* Rufus Does Judy At Carnegie Hall - Rufus Wainwright

Aww, an old guy (Manilow), two people who only sing songs by old guys (Cole and Groban), and two artists singing songs by famous old guys that they love - like Jamie Foxx, this one is breakin' all the rules!

Yes, it's sad I didn't have to look up that reference.

Alright, rules A and B don't apply, and neither does C, so we're back to Rule D. Here we go.

Ahh... it burns.


Heh heh. "Rufus Does Judy."


It's funny because he's gay.

Field 4 - Rock

15. Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance
* Gravity - John Mayer
* I Saw Her Standing There - Paul McCartney
* Girls In Their Summer Clothes - Bruce Springsteen
* Rise - Eddie Vedder
* No Hidden Path - Neil Yong

Wait... "I Saw Her Standing There" is nominated? Wasn't that nominated before, like.. forty-five years ago? Let me che... chrissake!

I think "Gravity" was nominated before, too, though there's no way to be sure.

So, three old guys, one aging guy, and one guy who's not old but who's (probably) been nominated for this very song before. So, rules A, B, and C are out. Here we go.



Okay, rule D is out. On to Rule E. And this one is easy: who wouldn't want to be in the E Street Band? They look like they're always having fun. And, without even trying, you'd be the cool one automatically. How crazy is that?

16. Best Rock performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals
* Rock N Roll Train
* Violet Hill - Coldplay
* Long Road Out Of Eden- Eagles
* Sex On Fire - Kings Of Leon
* House Of Cards

Well, if we get to Rule D, I think I know what'll win. Still there's two old groups here, one of whom unfortunately won't stop wearing shorts. So I'm going with the Eagles instead.

17. Best Hard Rock Performance
* Inside The Fire - Disturbed
* Visions - Judas Priest
* Wax Simulacra - The Mars Volta
* Saints Of Los Angeles - Motley Crüe
* Lords Of Salem - Rob Zombie

Hmm. Did you know that Jethro Tull won this one year? It was... um... some time ago. Also, didn't Disturbed used to be spelled "Disturbd," or am I confusing them with every other crummy late 90's nü-rockers?

I don't want to drink until "Wax Simulacra" gets funny, so I'm just gonna pick Motley Crue - sorry, I was getting tired of typing umlauts - and move on.

18. Best Metal Performance
* Heroes Of Our Time - DragonForce
* Nostradamus - Judas Priest
* My Apocalypse - Metallica
* Under My Thumb - Ministry
* Psychosocial - Slipnot

Doesn't this list sound like what would happen if you just told a guy "hey, no one has time to do any research on the Metal category this year. Make up five album titles and two or three bands, and then just throw some familiar names in there to throw people off the scent." I mean, can there really be a band called DragonForce?

I pick Metallica because they're old and respected, as opposed to Judas Priest, who's only one for two.

19. Best Rock Instrumental Performance
* Castellorizon - David Gilmour
* Suicide & Redemption - Metallica
* 34 Ghosts I-IV - Nine Inch Nails
* Hope (Live For The Art Of Peace) - Rush
* Peaches En Regalia - Zappa Plays Zappa Featuring Steve Vai & Napoleon Murphy Brock

Well, if I made it to category C, I know who would win, but I'm gonna stick with David Gilmour because he's the ultimate category A selection.

I've now been doing this for an hour and I'm only up to 19. Holy crap.

20. Best Rock Song
* Girls In Their Sumer Clothes - Bruce Springsteen
* House Of Cards - (a lot of people) and Thom York
* I Will Possess Your Heart - Death Cab For Cutie
* Sex On Fire - Kings Of Leon
* Violet Hill - Coldplay

Hmm... Well, there's an old guy, so I guess I'll have to ignore Coldplay here.

21. Best Rock Album
* Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends - Coldplay
* Rock N Roll Jesus - Kid Rock
* Only By The Night - Kings Of Leon
* Death Magnetic - Metallica
* Consolers Of The Lonely - The Raconteurs

But here I don't have to! Coldplay'll win here.

Field 5 - Alternative

22. Best Alternative Music Album
* Modern Guilt - Beck
* Narrow Stairs - Death Cab For Cutie
* The Odd Couple - Gnarls Barkley
* Evil Urges - My Morning Jacket
* In Rainbows - Radiohead

Man... indie cred all over the place. We gotta go with ultimate in credibility, though, 'cause Radiohead's nominated.

Wow... that was a quick field.

Field 6 - R&B

23. Best Female R&B Performance
* Me, Myself And I - Beyoncé
* Heaven Sent - Keyshia Cole
* Spotlight - Jennifer Hudson
* Superwoman - Alicia Keys
* Need U Bad - Jazmine Sullivan

Well, I'm gonna leave "Need U Bad" out, according to Rule I:

I. No songs with "U" instead of "you" anywhere in them.

So instead I'll pick Wonder Woman over Superwoman in this case.

...that's Beyoncé, in case you've missed out on the casting rumors.

Oh! That reminds me: remember in 1999, when George Lucas was working on casting Anakin for Episode II, and there were all these rumors that it was gonna be Leonardo DiCaprio? And the whole fan base was up in arms since it was such a terrible choice and he was just a pretty boy and a lousy actor and we all hated him and Kate Winslet and Kathy Bates and everything connected with Titanic? Think hard about that moment.

Have you ever wanted to go back in time and take back your emotions?

24. Best Male R&B Vocal Performance
* You're The Only One - Eric Benét
* Take You Down - Chris Brown
* Miss Independent - Ne-Yo
* Can't Help But Wait - Trey Songz
* Here I Stand - Usher

Well, Ne-Yo was nominated for much bigger awards earlier, so he's gotta be the winner here, right? Also, new rule:

J. No one will be selected who has unnecessary "z"s in his name.

Glad we got that taken care of.

25. Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals
* Ribbon In The Sky - Boyz II Men
* Words - Anthony David Featuring India.Arie
* Stay With Me (By The Sea) - Al Green Featuring John Legend
* I'm His Only Woman - Jennifer Hudson Featuring Fantasia
* Never Give You Up - Raphael Saadiq Featuring Stevie Wonder & CJ Hilton

Woah. Al Green. Case closed.

Okay, now it's been an hour and a half. This is getting ridiculous.

26. Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance
* A Change Is Gonna Come - Wayne Brady
* You've Got The Love I Need - Al Green Featuring Anthony Hamilton
* Baby I Know - (Linda Jones) With Helen Bruner & Terry Jones
* Love That Girl - Raphael Saadiq
* In Love With Another Man - Jazmine Sullivan

Okay, there's a big question here - bigger even than ' how did Wayne Brady get nominated for a Grammy?' It's 'why is (Linda Jones) in parentheses?' Is is an affectation, like how we never knew how to type Prince's name after he turned himself into a symbol? Or is Linda Jones imaginary, and the song is nominated on the basis of what the RIAA think it would sound like if Linda Jones had sung it? All interesting questions.

But all moot because classic old guy Al Green has another song dueting with a young guy, always a sure winner. This seems to be Al's big comeback record, like the first Santana record where he had all the duets. Except I've never heard of this album, so maybe not.

27. Best Urban Alternative Performance
* Say Goodbye To Love - Kenna
* Wanna Be - Maiysha
* Be Ok - Chrisette Michele Featuring
* Many Moons - Janelle Monae
* Lovin You (Music) - Wayna Featuring Kokayi

And we have our first category where I only recognize one name! I don't know anything about this category, but I'm assuming most voters don't either. So I imagine their though process probably goes like this:
Huh... I don't know any of these names... hey,! That guy sure is popular right now because of that song about Barack Obama. Wait, is that him or Wyclef Jean? I can't tell the difference. I think it's him, though.

Hey, wait! If I vote for the song with, that's kind of like casting another vote for Obama, right? And if he wins, maybe he'll get on the stage and congratulate all of us for getting Obama elected! "Yes we did!" he'll shout. And we'll all clap for a really long time. And maybe the camera will get a shot of me clapping. Oh, I'm definitely voting for that song.
And scene. Rule K:

K. Vote for any song that can even be tangentially connected with Barack Obama.

Really, that should become Rule A.

28. Best R&B Song
* Bust Your Windows - Salaam Remi and Jazmine Sullivan
* Customer - Raheem DeVaughn
* Heaven Sent - Keyshia Cole
* Miss Independent - Ne-Yo
* Spotlight - Jennifer Hudson

I don't think it is, but I like to imagine that Ne-Yo is covering Kelly Clarkson's "Miss Independent" here. Miss guarded-heart, Miss play-it-smart, Miss If-you-wanna-use-that-line-you-better-not-start, no. Either way, I'm voting for him.

29. Best R&B Album
* Love & Live - Eric Benét
* Motown: A Journey Through Hitsville USA - Boyz II Men
* Lay It Down - Al Green
* Jennifer Hudson - Jennifer Hudson
* The Way I See It - Raphael Saadiq

Well, now that I've added an unnecessary "z" rule, I can't vote for Boyz II Men (though, to be fair, they should probably be grandfathered in). But either way, I'm voting for Al Green. The old guy rule holds.

30. Best Contemporary R&B Alum
* Growing Pains - Mary J. Blige
* Back Of My Lac' - J. Holiday
* First Love - Karina
* Year Of The Gentleman - Ne-Yo
* Fearless - Jazmine Sullivan

I'm picking Ne-Yo, of course, which is a good thing, because if we got to Rule D, would certainly have picked "Back Of My Lac'," hands down one of the stupidest titles I've ever seen, and in strong competition for dumbest title of the year (we haven't gotten to the Ragtime section yet, so I'll hold off here).

Well, I've finished 30 out of 110 titles, using the voting system left me woozy and prone to poor decisionmaking in the mid-teens, and I'm about to hit the Rap section. I'm going to bed. It looks like this is gonna be another year where I'm inventing predictions all the way up to the actual broadcast. Yeesh.

Tune in tomorrow for more.

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