Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Boyz II Men Said It Best... It Is Hard

So, for those of you who don't know yet... I have left my position at Withers Broadcasting and moved back to the St. Louis area to pursue other opportunities. It's an exciting time, yet also a stressful time as I'm still trying to figure out exactly what the next move will be. I could write on and on about the perils/unintentional hilarity/weirdness/good times about living and working in Kentucky but we'll save that for another time. The main point is that I was afforded a tremendous opportunity and my sincere hope is that I took advantage of every moment and use that experience in my journey down the road.

I guess this is the retirement of Cale's Corner. It was a lot of fun and I want to thank all of my loyal readers and listeners. I'm sure a new blog will pop up soon, since I now have more time to devote to one.

In the meantime, enjoy one last link at Fail Blog. It will seriously entertain you for days.

Bye for now.

-Cale Simmons

Friday, December 19, 2008

Top Albums of 2008

If you were wondering why I hadn't written anything in a while, it's because my blog post count was up to 42. I wanted to stay on that number for a while. Because it's the best number on the planet. It's divisible by 3 which makes it even awesomer. 3 is a magic number. Speaking of 3, 15 is also divisible by 3. Let's talk about music and lists and albums of 2008 and pleasure for our ears and run-on sentences.

Top 15 Albums of 2008 as Prescribed by Cale Simmons

15. Albert Hammond Jr. - Como te Llama

Who knew he had it in him? Unless of course you enjoyed his debut album in 2006, which I didn't really ever familiarize myself with. The Strokes guitarist definitely has his own sound compared to his other band's dance rock. He doesn't always have the most pleasant pitch on his tracks, but there's certainly some tunes worth checking out including my favorite GfC.

14. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes

Sarcasm alert: You would ever guess that this band is from Seattle, with their funereal lyrics and often somber tone. Alert off: However, despite the weight of some of the pieces in their full-length debut album the Fleet Foxes suck you in. Known for their musicianship, (Alert back on) they have won over Europe so you KNOW they must be good.

13. Conor Oberst - Conor Oberst

If you notice, people are getting very creative with their album titles. Other than the unoriginal name, the always opinionated Oberst is just showing off on this Merge Records compilation that came out on my mother's birthday in August. If you like Bright Eyes, you'll get about the same thing from the lead man's solo tracks. Talent oozing out of your speakers and also a good bit of political commentary.

12. She & Him - Volume One

I sincerely hope that it's called Volume One because this duo is planning on producing more music in the future. It's been noted before that I have a HUGE crush on Zooey Deschanel, and she can actually sing unlike most other actresses who pretend they they have musical talent. Teaming up with M. Ward, this folksy twosome has a consistent theme throughout Volume One - under-powering presence of instruments and the soulful sound of Ms. Deschanel. Have I mentioned I would seriously marry this girl?

11. Beach House - Devotion

Showing that there's more to Baltimore than Michael Phelps, crab cakes, and Ray Lewis' ego, Beach House is a welcome addition to the subtly electronic craze that has infiltrated the music scene for the past few years. They are a new find for me, and the more I listen to the band the more I find myself listening to similar works such as Grizzly Bear. With no influences listed on their MySpace page despite a Roy Orbison video, you have to admit that this newcomer band has followed the niche that no one really can predict the imminent shelf life. +1 for sleepy time.

10. We Are Scientists - Brain Thrust Mastery

The opening act for Kings of Leon's latest tour, this Brooklyn group has hit the ground running since their arrival in 2006. Touring almost non-stop, they have almost willfully forced themselves onto the scene with a heavy onslaught of live shows and obvious talent that's pretty hard to ignore. Buy We Are Scientists stock now, it's only going to go up.

9. The Raveonettes - Lust Lust Lust

Showing yet again that I am not completely prejudiced against female vocals, this male/female duo from Denmark showed their chops with an eclectic mix that sucked you in from the get-go. Sounding a lot like a more refined version of electronic band M83, you pick up very quickly on The Velvet Underground's influence on this band. I think at one point I listened to Aly, Walk With Me ten times in a row. I have since recovered.

8. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular

Some close friends may be confused by MGMT's standing at numero ocho. With the exception of #1 on the list, this album probably got more plays than any other on this humble countdown. It's fun, simple, and straightforward. My grandpa likes to tap his foot, the kids like to dance. Both can accomplish their goals with this compilation. It's not fancy, but it gets the job done. If you saw the blackjack movie 21, MGMT'S song Time to Pretend was the background to the opening credits. And now you know.

7. The Black Keys - Attack & Release

It's a simple recipe for The Black Keys. A formulaic, blues-driven hodgepodge that once it comes together doesn't really sound too mapped out at all. With seemingly every jam band/blues group that plays in bars across America covering a few Keys' songs, this duo struck another chord with Attack & Release. Finally garnering commercial success as well as appreciation from fellow musicians, this is an album that you can listen to over and over again and get something new from it every single time.

6. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive

With storytelling lyrics that make them sound more like a Southern rock group, this band from Brooklyn made a huge breakthrough in 2008 with Stay Positive that caters to anyone who likes to sing loudly in the car about the trials of being an indecisive 20 or 30s something. Yeah, I can relate to what they're singing about. But not only that, they're just fun. You can get excited about going to one of their shows, which I need to do very soon. Also, did I mention Harry Potter is a fan?

5. The Walkmen - You & Me

If I was a movie director, I would probably not be writing this blog. At least on an unadvertised blog. I would make people pay money to sponsor my blog and then blab on about politics and probably use the word "loathe" often. Also, I would put The Walkmen's music in a lot of my movies. They have the perfect kind of music that's complimentary when people are walking in slow motion or giving each other high fives. That's all I have to say about The Walkmen. Oh, and here's a song for New Year's.

4. My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges

Yet again, another band that has been around for quite some time and finally has earned the praise of mainstream outlets. Not that being recognized is a vital thing, but I'm one of the few that actually enjoys when a band becomes accepted widely as long as they don't completely forget what got them there in the first place. I was *this close* to buying a plane ticket to go see them play live at Madison Square Garden in New York City this year for New Year's Eve. Instead, I'll just have to find a nice librarian at whatever establishment I end up attending and croon to her.

3. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend

If you're not familiar with this band, do not be discouraged by the name. They are as witty and smart in their lyrics as they come. With what some has described as an Afrobeat sound, these Brooklyn boys produced an incredible EP that makes you wonder why more bands don't take a chance musically. It's too hard to pick a favorite song from the album, as every song is another brilliant variation of the next. My pick, however, might be Oxford Comma. How fantastic is this?

2. Okkervil River - The Stand Ins

Rising out of the maelstrom that is the Austin music scene, Okkervil River (pronounced AWK-ur-vil) released The Stand Ins in September of this year equaling an as impressive 2007 The Stage Names. The latest album is meant to be a sequel to the aforementioned album and certainly does not disappoint. With superb vocal harmonies and an much-advertised stage presence, Okkervil River asserted themselves as one of my favorite bands over this past year. Imagine yourself on a beach somewhere with a drink in your hand as you're relaxing to Lost Coastlines. Feel it?

1. Kings of Leon - Only By the Night

Surprise surprise! Following their prime spot on my list last year with Because of the Times, KOL catapulted themselves into bona fide musical celebrities with my birthday gift Only By the Night. I'm not sure what the tipping point with these guys was that made them into a concert must see, SNL hit, festival rock stars, and favorite of B list celebrities. Maybe people just started to realize that this very young family band from Nashville is seriously superb. You know what you're going to get form Kings of Leon. Blossoming prodigies on guitar and a unique, yet convincing sound of leadman Caleb Followill. I'm really happy for their success, despite that it's still a struggle for them to hold time on the radio. Oh well. Buy the album. You'll be glad you did. Oh, and also congratulations on their Grammy nods. Pretty cool stuff.

That's it. I may disagree with my own list a few weeks from now, but that's what I came up with. Here are some honorable mentions in no particular order:

TV on the Radio, Cat Power, Kanye West, Jenny Lewis, & Calexico.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Giving Spanks

Shut up. I know I haven't been around lately. Let's go...

I got a new phone and it scares me. I'm pretty sure it's smarter than I am. Actually, I guarantee it's smarter than me. I can't even figure out how Kerry Collins is on a 11-1 team and why people in Atlanta still wear Michael Vick jerseys instead of rooting for the best rookie QB in, well... ever.

I denied a "Pray for Sarah Palin" group on Facebook the other day. That doesn't mean I don't want to pray for her though, so don't be offended. I just don't want the whole world to know how much I miss her. If only Fox News would go to Alaska and see what she's up to. Send Greta. No one will know the difference between frostbite or a laser surgery on her face gone awry anyway.

Inspired to do so by BFA and B Whitt, I finally watched all of High Fidelity the other day. I'm not sure why I hadn't watched it before. It combines all of my favorite things; being a music snob, making lists, Lisa Bonet, and finding good things in unexpected places. So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving last week here are 5 things that I am thankful for:

1) Health
2) Family
3) Friends
4) Technology
5) Charles Barkley

My status update on Facebook on Thanksgiving mentioned how my holiday in 2003 was a little rough. Several people asked me why. Want a quick recap? Recap is pacer backwards by the way. Did you know desserts spelled backwards is stressed? It's just a coincidence though so don't think that just because you get stressed it's OK to stuff your face with chocolate cake. The wording is all a conspiracy by Betty Crocker anyway.

2003 Recap: I was working at Best Buy so I couldn't go home for Thanksgiving due to Black Friday. I was (dating, talking, kissing, whatever) a girl in Clearwater, FL, so I went to go hang out with her on the beach for a while on Thanksgiving morning. I ate Subway for lunch. That was the highlight. The car my dad bought for me on eBay did not too well on the way home on I-4, only one of the busiest interstates in America. My engine blew out with no shoulder in a part of Tampa you wouldn't wish your worst enemies to be stranded. I ended up being completely broke down at a stoplight in Ybor City. A prostitute steered my car while I pushed it across the street towards a parking lot. A man told me he could help fix it while I was waiting for Triple A. He ended up offering to sell me drugs. He left. A man drove up to the same parking lot and told me he got so baked at Thanksgiving he forgot his dog. He offered to sell me drugs. I politely declined. The Triple A guy finally came. He took me and my car to the shop telling me about how his dad was a jerk and made him work on Thanksgiving and how he couldn't stand his life. I signed the papers. He hugged me and thanked me for listening. I was baffled. I tried for another hour trying to find someone from school to come pick me up from Lakeland. An acquaintance finally did. He asked me to go out that night. I again politely declined. I went straight to my apartment and shook my head in amazement.

Moral of the story: Don't ever eat Subway for your Thanksgiving meal. That, and make sure the car you're purchasing isn't a lemon before you buy one on eBay.

This week's favorite song is Geraldine by Glasvegas. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It's Always Sunny in Paducah

If you're coming here from the Paducah Sun plug, know that I don't put nearly as much time and effort into my blog as I really should. You know how John McCain kept repeating that Americans are the hardest working people on the planet? I beg to differ.

Anyway, for those of you here is today's excerpt from the Current section. The prompted question was "What was the last commercial that made you laugh?" Ha! Laughing. That's funny. So of course I redirected the question into what I wanted to talk about as I do pretty much every week.

I guess this would be an appropriate week to let everyone know that I have no sense of humor whatsoever. It's true. I stopped giving courtesy laughs to others' jokes several years ago after I had broke up with a girlfriend and she told me that my fake laugh sounded like a cross between a hyena and a disinterested bird. (It didn't make any sense to me either.)

So, when others around me are laughing at cavemen who hate insurance companies or Justin Timberlake being dragged down a busy street, I just politely smile. I'm just waiting for a QVC slip-up or Joe Scarborough to drop another f-bomb on live TV. Now that's entertainment!

That happened.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Congratulations to Albert Pujols, winner of the 2008 National League MVP. Well done sir. Well done.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday Broody Sunday

I'm working on a Sunday. I'll come out and say it... I do not enjoy working on Sundays. I'll tell you why. Magical things happen on Sundays. It's true. Just try sitting around on the first day of the week without something unexpected, awesome, inspiring, or maybe a combination of all three happening. I'm a single guy. I live alone. I do not really enjoy being alone very often, so I try to find things to do to occupy my spare time like volunteering for fake charities or writing inappropriate e-mails from patrons' accounts at the library when they get up to print some papers. Sundays, however, are different. Much different my friends. You just sit in a chair and bask in the Sundayness and things will start poppin'. I'm telling you, it's true. But when I have to work on Sunday, it cuts into the basking which I am very disappointed about.

Have I ever told you guys that I absolutely despise the word potty? It's seriously the worst word ever. We play a commercial that prominently uses that word and I cringe every time.

While we're at it, here are some other things that perturb me.

- People who learn a new word and insist on using it incessantly. You'll pick a word like incessantly and accidentally say incestly anyway. There's no need.

- Haters. Don't be a hater. Just because I'm an amazing dancer, you don't have to be jealous.

- Burning something as a protest. Fire is dangerous. Everyone knows spitting gets the point across way better anyway.

- The phrase "golly gee".

- People who insist on rhyming everything. I'm sure there are some Billys who aren't silly and some Barrys who aren't fairies.

- People who ask other people if they've noticed something different about them. That puts too much pressure on the other person. If you want people to know you've lost a ton of weight, wear really baggy pants and a headband.

- Soft phone conversations in public. Can you please speak up? If you're not loud enough, no one can hear what you're saying. It's really rude.

- When girls insist that they are going to go crazy if they don't get chocolate. Suck it up. Boys want a cold drink and to watch a game all the time. But we don't leave work to do so.

- Finally, the lady who has called me non-stop for the past two weeks. I'm tired of listening to your manufactured sappy stories that you think will prompt me to dedicate a song to you. And I don't want to dedicate a song to myself either. That doesn't even make sense. Especially the song titles that you give me. You're kind of gross. Either act like a civil human being or stop calling. It bothers me that I recognize your voice within the first .5 seconds that you start your screeching. And no, I don't want to attend your bonfire. So weird.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

She Moves Like a Breeze

I guess I don't have much to say lately. I've been pretty focused on getting some things done lately. Ya know, important things like playing copious amounts of Scrabble and listening to weird music. Also, of course I always have time for YouTube clips. This is an old favorite of mine. We listened to this constantly the summer of 2005 when I was an intern for the minor league baseball team Savannah Sand Gnats. I had forgotten all about it until today. Notice the fantastic dance moves. Quality stuff...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Snuggie Blankie is Whackie

I had seen this commercial before, but last night I had the wherewithal to write down the name so I could look on YouTube today to find it. I'm not really one for courtesy laughs or laughing out loud at commercials, but this one cracks me up. I'm not even sure why. Maybe it's the black and white depiction of the poor woman struggling so mightily to answer the phone without getting cold. Maybe it's that these people look like they are either wearing hideous choir robes or are in some kind of fleece cult. My favorite moment is right around the 1:05 mark when the entire family is sitting in the stands at a game. No chance I'm sitting by that family if I'm there. I don't want to be handed any propaganda or hear any renditions of 4-part harmony "The Lord's Prayer" while I'm at a sporting event.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Need Your Sticker For Another Coffee

Today is the big day. I've been looking forward to November 4th, 2008, for a very long time now. It's true that presidents don't play as big of a role as most people think. It's as important to vote for your Congressmen or Congresswomen as it is for the next president of our country. However, this is a key election and either way I'm ready for change. I don't think that's out of bounds to say. It upsets me when people assume that just because I'm young I'm uneducated and don't understand the political scene. I would like to think that I do a pretty darn good job of educating myself on the issues and the candidates. Whatever is important to you... the war, the economy, immigration, the environment, shipping American jobs overseas, education, Social Security, health care... this is an opportunity to have your voice heard. So don't be the one to say that your vote doesn't matter. It does. It's important to exercise your right and participate in such a patriotic act. Oh, sorry. Patriot Act. Touchy subject.

Key elections always remind me of the years that I worked at a law firm close to St. Louis in Madison County, Illinois. Let's just say that tort reform is about a foreign word in Madison County as uncontroversial voting is in Florida. Whoops. Both examples I used weren't words at all, rather phrases. You catch the drift. Anyway, the moral of the story is that the law firm had their eyes on particular judges winning the election so everyone could continue making mass amounts of money. (By the way, I'm still not totally sure how I feel about that time in my life. Let's just agree that we won't have an argument about tort reform now, OK? It will just make my head spin. Thank you.)

Anyway, my job on election day was to pick up people and take them to the polls. I actually enjoyed doing this. You never knew what was going to happen and it was at least more entertaining than pretending like I was working all day long. That's hard work! So, I would haul people around in my car and hear from every single one of them how I should put 20's on my Cadillac. People refuse to accept that I'm cool by driving a Caddy until I put bigger rims on my tires. What they don't know, though, is that I'm already cool because I know every single word to R. Kelly's "Ignition" as well as most words to Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire". Umm... scratch the last one. I forgot that I was just bored and wasn't trying to be cool.

So I hope all of my friends in Madison County have a ride this year. I'll be thinking of you. Vote! And try to not get into any fights tomorrow at work.