Weird Al just had his first #1 album thanks to a brilliant internet marketing scheme where he posted a brand new video every single day for a week before the album came out.
I was never a huge Weird Al fan like some of my friends, because making up new lyrics for already existing songs is interesting only the first time to me. After that, I’d rather hear the originals again.
However, a while ago, I started noticing the originals he wrote, and especially fell in love with the songs that parodied the style of another artist without copying any specific song. It appealed to me in the same way The Rutles appealed to me with their songs that are almost Beatles songs but not quite (and the fun is in figuring out which bits are from which songs — sort of an “insider joke” treasure hunt).
Weird Al is about my age (and in fact is born on my wife’s birthday) and he grew up listening to the same music I did. We apparently have very similar tastes in music based on the styles he has done. Seriously, this list below is like a greatest list of my favorite music.
Most of these songs are not promoted and are album cuts only, but if you like the bands he is imitating, these can be great fun.
As far as I can see, the only one he ever did a video for was the Devo-inspired “Dare to be Stupid.”
My favorite is this fan-created video for “Virus Alert” done in the style of Sparks, back when they were making good music. (The cartoon even features Sparks keyboard player Ron Mael in a cameo just in case you missed the influence.)
They Might be Giants gets the treatment in “Everything You Know is Wrong.”
Not surprisingly, Weird Al is a huge Frank Zappa fan and in “Genius in France” you can hear bits from some of Zappa’s greatest hits. It even features Zappa’s son playing lead guitar.
Talking Heads get the treatment in “Dog Eat Dog.”
Elvis Costello gets his in “I’m So Sick of You.”
Danny Elfman and Oingo Boingo inspired “You Make Me.”
Then there’s the Police-inspired song “Velvet Elvis.”
And “Mr. Popeil” in the style of the B-52s.
And finally, “I Remember Larry” in the style of Hilly Michaels.
These aren’t all of his style-parody songs, but merely the ones he’s done of the bands I really like. So here’s to Weird Al, the Allen Sherman of the next generation.
I’ve voted for Republicans in the past, mostly in local elections. I’ve voted for Republican judges and Republican Clerks of Court and so on, partially because I knew the people personally and partially because in elections like that, ideology doesn’t really matter.
But I just can’t do that any more.
There used to be liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats. Democrats had George Wallace and Republicans had Nelson Rockefeller. I voted for Republican William Weld when I lived in Massachusetts over the more conservative Democrat. But you don’t find that any more. The parties have become distanced by ideology, and that’s one of the reasons we cannot get anything done in Congress.
But mostly, the problem is this: I’m not sure how I could support someone who supports a party that stands for the following:
- Discrimination against gays and lesbians
- Eliminating the Environmental Protection Agency
- Open carrying of firearms and reduction of any gun control laws
- Lowering the minimum wage
- Opposition to equal pay for women
- Tax breaks for billionaires
- Reproductive decisions made by government and employers
- Deporting of refugee children
- Denying of climate change and science
- Creationism taught in school
- Health care only for those who can afford it
- Elimination of unions
If I vote for a Republican Dog Catcher, am I thus supporting someone who believes in discrimination? That thinks my wife is a lesser person who can’t make her own decisions? Who has no sympathy for refugee children running from war and death? Also, why should I help that party at all? Every lower office run by a Republican helps the party raise money for the bigger offices.
And it’s sad that I have to think that way; I prefer reasonable people in both parties who can work things out. (And yes, there are crazy radicals on the left, too, but they don’t run the party — they are on the outskirts, like how the Republicans used to treat their crazies.)
Many of my reasonable conservative friends no longer call themselves Republicans because they cannot agree with the far-right agenda the party now promotes. They still won’t vote for a Democrat, but they also find it tremendously difficult to support the Republicans.
The solution is for reasonable conservatives to take back the party and stand up to these people. And that’s the problem — many Republicans are scared to death of these crazies, and instead of calling them out, they pretend to agree just so they can win elections. That may help them in the primaries, but all that does ultimately is send more potential voters away in the general election.
Here’s Texas Governor Rick Perry, heroically defending our border against unarmed children.
He’s so macho, squinting into the sun — too bad he doesn’t have one of those baseball hats that has a rim to keep the sun off his face. He patrolled the border like that for at least ten or fifteen minutes — until the photographer had enough good shots — so you know we won’t be bothered by any refugee kids coming over here, taking our jobs and voting for Democrats all willy-nilly like the election was a pinata. Or something.
Perry knows that we have to stop these kids from coming here because (1) they’re illegals (duh); (2) we can’t just care for every single child that is unwanted (embryos excepted); and (3) Uh. Let’s see. Hm. I can’t remember the third thing.