Thursday, November 30, 2006

Monday, November 20, 2006

Turn Me On, Dead Man

I had an idea to write about the "Paul is Dead" rumors from the late 1960's.

Unfortunately, I read about it and concluded that it is far and away the dumbest conspiracy theory of all.

Usually, when I write about this counter-culture stuff (crap), I like to frame the beliefs in such a manner that they seem somewhat plausible.

I don't think I can do that here.

So, I'll just list the evidence.

If you hold the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover up to a mirror, the end "Lonely Hearts" part of the sign reads "He Die" and allegedly points to Paul.

On the back cover of Sgt. Pepper's Paul faces backwards, while the rest of the band members face forwards and George Harrison is pointing to the lyric "Wednesday morning at five o'clock" from the song A Day in the Life, which is supposedly the time when McCartney, leaving the studio after an argument with the band, crashed his car.

The Sgt. Pepper's cover is supposed to be a funeral for McCartney. There are lots of little "clues" that I don't feel like naming because they are so dumb.

There is actual backward masking on Sgt. Pepper's. After the final track "A Day in the Life," a brief, unintelligible blur of sound plays. It is included on the CD version as well. According the McCartney when played backwards it says "We'll fuck you like a superman." (The Beatles were on a lot of drugs.)

(It should be pointed out here that, for some, the McCartney is Dead belief was very real. In the late 60's and early 70's, it acquired a lot of momentum and was talked about excessively on the radio and written about in magazines. The Beatles themselves have referenced it a number of times. McCartney released an album entitled Paul is Live in 1993 and John Lennon talked at length about the rumor in interviews after the band split. In his song, "How Do You Sleep", which is about McCartney, he sings "Those freaks was right when they said you was dead.")

Now, getting back to how dumb it is... In the middle spread of the Magical Mystery Tour album, there is a picture of Paul barefoot. His shoes are next to Ringo's bass drum which says "Love the 3 Beatles." (The shoes thing would come up again on the Abbey Road cover.) Also, in an image reproduced from the Magical Mystery Tour film, Paul wears a black carnation on his white suit while the other Beatles wear red. (I know, so what, I know...look I'm out of ideas.)

Did You Know - In the Magical Mystery Tour film, Vivian Stanshall from the Bonzo Dog Band plays a song called "Death Cab for Cutie" which is about a fatal car accident. This added fuel to the rumor that McCartney had died in a car crash (I think we can all agree Paul was the cute one) and provided the name of the current "Death Cab for Cutie" of Orange County fame.

There is some talk of backward masking on
Magical Mystery Tour, but none that seems very credible. Some people think Lennon yells "I buried Paul" during "Strawberry Fields Forever", which led to the great Simpson's joke of Homer yelling "I buried Flanders" during the opening credits of the "D'oh-in the Wind" episode.

The White Album is the Beatles work that has caused the most controversy.
(And not just in this area. Compared with Charles Manson hearing
apocalyptic sermons about an upcoming race war in the songs "Helter Skelter" and "Revolution 9", the Paul is Dead idea seems rather tame.)

There is without question backward masking on the song "I'm So Tired". The backwards gibberish is easily apparent at the end of the song if you just listen to it normally. Supposedly played in reverse it says "Paul is dead, man. Miss him, miss him, miss him."

The song "Revolution 9" is rife with backward masking or at least theories of it. The repetition "number 9, number 9" throughout the song becomes "turn me on, dead man" played backwards. (That one is the most popular "clue".) " become naked" backwards is "Satan look at me." (This one is accepted as true, although it has nothing to do with Paul being dead.) There are also sounds of a car crash, a voice yelling "Get me out, Get me out" and other instances of chatter that are sometimes identified as references to Paul's death. (The most repeated one seems to be John Lennon saying ""...Yoko, you better go to see he's dead...")

The Beatles were on a lot of drugs.

Another Did You Know - McCartney and producer George Martin fought to keep "Revolution 9" off the album but John and Yoko won out. Maybe if McCartney had been successful we wouldn't know who Charles Manson is?

The cover of Abbey Road is supposed to be a funeral procession with John as the priest, Ringo as the passable drummer along for the ride, Paul as the dead guy, and George as the gravedigger. Again, McCartney wears no shoes and holds a cigarette in his RIGHT hand even though the REAL Paul was LEFT handed. (I mean, granted, you wouldn't be able to SEE the cigarette if it were in his left hand, but that reasoning is much too logical.) McCartney is out of step with the other three. The license plate on the car on the left reads 281f, which has been interpreted as 28 If, as in, Paul would be 28 if he had lived. The car that is driving down the road in the background is in line to have hit McCartney.

What's amazing to me is that the Beatles were only in their late 20's when they recorded Abbey Road.

During the ad campaign for Abbey Road, the Beatles released a poster with four candles in a holder. Three were lit and one was recently extinguished. It was a humorous allusion to the Paul is Dead rumor by the Beatles themselves, leading some to speculate that the entire cover of the album was the same.

Finally, on the Let It Be cover, John, Ringo, and George are facing left with white backgrounds and Paul is facing forward with red. Obviously this means he died.

Oh, I forgot to mention...

McCartney was supposedly replaced by some dude named Billy Shepard.

Here is a website with the full story and lots of photographic "evidence":

Friday, November 17, 2006

Bank of America

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Stuff and Nonsense

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Good Grief

I think, by now, we all agree that television network execs have absolutely no idea what they are doing. (I mean, I'm still doing theater for Godsakes. What is the matter with these people?)

However, in case you need more proof, check out this write up I came across about the original Charlie Brown Christmas special, called A Charlie Brown Christmas, which was the first time the lovably disgruntled character appeared on network television.

"Network executives were not at all keen on several aspects of the show, forcing Schulz and Melendez to wage some serious battles to preserve their vision.

The executives did not want to have Linus reciting the story of the birth of Christ from the Gospel of Luke (Lk 2:8-14); the network orthodoxy of the time assumed that viewers would not want to sit through passages of the King James Version of the Bible.

Another complaint was the absence of a laugh track, a common element of children's cartoons at the time. Schulz maintained that the audience should be able to enjoy the show at their own pace, without being cued when to laugh. (CBS did create a version of the show with the laugh track added, just in case Schulz changed his mind. This version remains unavailable.)

A third complaint was the use of children to do the voice acting, instead of employing adult actors. Finally, the executives thought that the jazz soundtrack by Vince Guaraldi would not work well for a children's program.

When executives saw the final product, they were horrified and believed the special would be a complete flop. "

Of course, the program became a huge hit, with the original broadcast being tuned into by more than half the television sets in the United States. It won an Emmy, a Peabody, and spawned numerous sequels as well as subsequent networks specials and an animated series called Peanuts.

Another interesting fact about A Charlie Brown Christmas are the shots that have been edited out of the show since its original airing.

- The main titles have Linus crashing into a Coca-Cola sign after Snoopy has spun both him and Charlie Brown around with Linus's blanket. In the versions currently available, the viewer never sees where Linus' trajectory lands him.

- In the "fence" scene, where several of the Peanuts gang are attempting to knock cans off a fence with snowballs, Linus is seen knocking down a can with his blanket. In the original airing, this is a Coke can, but was later replaced with a nondescript can.

- The final end credit originally had text and graphics wishing the viewer a "Merry Christmas from your local Coca-Cola bottler." This is why the "Hark!" chorus sung at the end trails off oddly before the song would normally end, as an announcer originally did a voice over at this point in the credits to repeat and reemphasize the local bottler's well wishes to the TV audience.

Considering the show's anti-commercialization theme, I imagine these sequences must have seemed a little off-putting and ironic.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Robby Gates

Absolutely everything it is important to know about the President’s candidate to replace Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense. Thanks Wikipedia.

Robert Gates is from Wichita, Kansas.

He was an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America.

He received a Bachelor’s Degree from The College of William & Mary(!!)

While obtaining his Master’s Degree from Indiana University, he was recruited to join the CIA.

In 1987, he was nominated to become the Director of Central Intelligence but the nomination was withdrawn after it became clear he would not be confirmed by the Senate.


His senior status in the CIA made it extremely possible that Gates was either involved with the Iran-Contra scandal or at the very least “knew many figures that played significant roles in the Iran/contra affair and was in a position to have known of their activities”

In 1991, after all of that nonsense had blown over, Gates was again nominated to be the head of Central Intelligence under George H. W. Bush and was approved.

He is the only person in the history of the CIA to rise from an entry-level position to Director.

He served in this position for two years.

Afterwards, he published a book of memoirs about the Cold War, served on the board of trustees at Fidelity Investments, on the board of directors at NACCO industries Inc, Brinker International Inc, and Parker Drilling Company. (I wonder what they do.)

He also served as the President of the National Eagle Scout Association. (Aww.)

Before accepting the nomination for Secretary of Defense, Baker was the President of Texas A & M University.

(An aside that has nothing to do with this dude - Don't be fooled by the previews for the upcoming movie about Robert F. Kennedy called "Bobby". It was directed by Emilio Esteves. Now, I don't want to disparage the other film making attempts by the Latin son of Martin Sheen, so I will just name them. "Rated X"; "The War at Home"; "Men at Work"; "Wisdom".)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Are you like me?

Are you obsessed with professional sports despite the fact that you haven’t played in an organized league since you were 15 years old?

Do you find yourself watching ESPN at odd hours of the day, railing aloud at some bonehead comment by Merill Hoge, while he breaks down film of last Sunday’s Tampa Bay vs. Detroit match-up?

Do you know way too much about the Tour De Force doping scandal even though you probably couldn’t ride a bike 15 miles?

Do you wonder why Tony Kornheiser and Joe Theisman seem so odd together on Monday Night Football? Or why Harold Reynolds is no longer on Baseball Tonight? Or why there are so many shows about athlete’s private lives, which, from what I can tell, consist mostly of buying expensive cars, gambling, playing video games, and having absurd amounts of promiscuous sex? (Ok maybe I understand that one.)

Do you wonder why Sean Salsbury has a job that doesn’t involve asking his manager if he can knock down the price of a 1994 Chevy Cavalier and throw in a 3 year service plan if you sign the papers today?

Well, for a long time you may have thought you were a lone voice in the wilderness.

I know I did.

However, on my last four trips to Delaware my friend Jake has turned to me and asked a question that began with the phrase “Hey, Toady, did you see on Deadspin…”

And I replied “What’s Deadspin?”

And he told me.

And I forgot.


I finally remembered to visit this website last night during the Seattle Seahawks “victory” over the Oakland Raiders (Although, after seeing the Raiders play a game, I am of the opinion that no team should get credit for beating them by anything less than 50 points.)

Deadspin is an informed sport’s fan’s dream come true. That sounds lame but it is accurate.

Deadspin is funny, insightful, and oft-updated.

It has news stories from all over the country.

It has a wry, personal, and intelligent point of view.

And it’s really great ok so just visit it already at

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

John Kerry and Other Things That Seem Odd to Me

Sometimes I think John Kerry is secretly working for the Republican party.

There is apparently a show on tv about people competing to lose weight.

There was a dude at the Halloween party I attended in a skin tight Mr. Incredible outfit.

The entire cast of the show My Name is Earl are Scientologists.

In Tennessee, there is a radio advertisement for a Republican Senator that somehow mentions his opponents race (black) six times.

The Current Top Ten Albums according to Billboard Magazine belong to Diddy, Evanescence, JoJo, Justin Timberlake, Dierks Bently (whoever the hell that is), Rod Stewart, Hinder, Reuben Studdard, Tony Bennett, and The Killers (From 1 to 10)

Paris Hiltons debut album, Paris, recieved four and a half stars (out of five) on All

The current Heavyweight Champion of professional boxing is a Russian named Nikolai Valuev.