Finally decided to catch up on "The Wire." Fave moment of season 1 so far: In episode 9, Herc and Carver have to tear apart their unmarked car to find two stacks of missing cash, lest they be shit-canned for (accidentally) skimming dirty money. They dutifully find the stacks -- which they never intended to steal in the first place -- and a crisis is averted. But in episode 11, when they're raiding Avon Barksdale's primary stash house, they find a bunch of dough under a mattress. They look at each other, realize that this pile hasn't been accounted for by anybody, and then grab one stack each, shoving them under their kevlar vests.
JOURNEY ANNOUNCES DEPARTURE OF JEFF SCOTT SOTO
June 12, 2007 -- Journey has parted ways with their recently named lead singer Jeff Scott Soto. Jeff’s first appearance with Journey was July 7, 2006 in Bristow, VA. He had been filling in for Steve Augeri, who had to leave the tour shortly after it began on June 23 due to illness. Jeff’s last performance was May 12, 2007 in Leesburg, VA.
According to guitarist Neal Schon, “We appreciate all of Jeff’s hard work and we can’t thank him enough for stepping in when Steve Augeri got sick last year. He did a tremendous job for us and we wish him the best. We’ve just decided to go our separate ways, no pun intended. We’re plotting our next move now."
Keyboardist Jonathan Cain continues, “We were lucky to have a friend who was already a Journey fan step in on a moment’s notice during the Def Leppard tour to help us out. Jeff was always the consummate professional and we hope that he remains a friend of the band in the future. We just felt it was time to go in a different direction.”
Journey--Neal Schon (guitar), Ross Valory (bass), Jonathan Cain (keyboards) and Deen Castronovo (drums)—is taking the rest of 2007 off to spend time with their families, write new songs and map out plans for 2008.
(UPDATED 6/12) I may be right, or I may be crazy. Here are excerpts from an ongoing e-mail exchange about "The Sopranos" finale. My stuff is in regular text; other people's comments have been summarized and italicized:
That ending really left me dissatisfied.
Life and corruption go on. Closure is a facade.
I wanted the storytellers to tell their story, not leave it up to me.
I think you kinda made his point for him: Because this is a TV show, it has a different set of consumer expectations than a movie, a CD, or some other well-contained artwork. You want to keep people interested so that they keep watching. If you know it's over, though, then there's really no more obligation to meet the expectations of consumers. Chase took two minutes at the end to please himself. He could've taken a lot more, but he didn't. Think about all that you got in that final episode: AJ blowing up the car, that conversation between Paulie and Tony, Phil's head getting melloned, etc. Not to be a dick about it, but if you hadn't made your peace with the show by the time the final three minutes rolled around, then that's your fault, not Chase's. I'm willing to say to him, "OK, I get it, payback is a bitch. Good TV comes with a price, and it's more than just the cost of a subscription."
Yeah, but it didn't live up to the brilliance of the series. It could've ended a million other ways, and all of them would've been better.
If you think about it, though, any of those million other things might've been *easier* than what Chase did. He made it clear, all along, that he wouldn't take an easy way out. If he goes with a tragic ending, then he accidentally validates all of the people who think The Sopranos is Shakespeare. If he leaves it ambiguous, but in a much more forced way, then it looks like he's trying to impart a grand final message about morality or whatever. If he goes sentimental, it would've sucked. And so on. What he did, I think, was say, "fuck you, this was just a TV show, and if you actually wanted something from Tony -- a resolution, a role model, whatever -- you're shit out of luck." You're left to stare at yourself, as a viewer. It's not about dramatic execution. It's about enabling you to get over the show. When is the last time a huge TV show said to you, "fuck it, get back to your life." (And I think it might be Chase's comment on HBO's immediate future, too.) The fuck-you part is Chase's refusal to go easily. It was abrupt. He made you think about the act of viewing the show. It's a good fuck-you.
The inimitable Love says: no, it's not that i think it was a bad fuck you. (i don't think it's possible for my brain to contemplate the existence of a 'bad fuck you'.) it was that this was a horribly executed fuck you. if i thought that the fuck you was well executed, i wouldn't have had a problem with it and applauded the ending for being a fuck you. it's kind of like going up to someone's face and saying "f-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-fuck you" -- it's not the 'fuck you' part but the stuttering that ruined the impact. like i've been saying, having closure was NEVER the problem for me because i didn't want it to end in a neat and tidy way.
The equally inimitable Das Empra handles the comeback: I thought the ending was super-tight. Of course it wasn't meant to feel good. The built tension, the choppy editing, it was all there to make you feel unfulfilled, uneasy, wrong. Like listening to A Day In The Life, but without the piano chord at the end.
And some insight from the Wook: Let's not forget that historically speaking - with the exception of Big Pussy getting whacked in season 2 - the last episode of each season has always served as a denouement to the fireworks of the 2nd to last episode, wherein we lost the likes of Richie Aprile, Meadow's boyfriend and Buscemi on the woodpile. I guess the brilliance of it is reflected in the many reads brought on by each viewer. Personally, I watched it back four times last night, and each time was struck by just how perfect of a resolution it truly was for a show that was always so much more than just your run of the mill "mob"-based production, right on down to the fact that Tony passed by a Tony Bennett number for...JOURNEY! Perhaps the best use of a song since Dirk Diggler lost himself in "Jesse's Girl."
... I have to watch that episode again. I got no impression what so ever of this big ole, sling the balls over the shoulder and bellow "Fuck You" approach of which ya'll be tapping into. If anything, I actually thought it was...gulp...a graceful reminder that these peeps - despite all of the trials and tribulations - haven't changed after all this time. Janice is still a moneygrubber, AJ is still working the system, Paulie's still a wondrous, lazy nutjob, Carmela still can't make eye contact over dinner and Tony still has a job he was born into that only creates a never ending sense of dread and loathing that couldn't - in no way shape or form - be wrapped up easily in what other "TV shows" call a conclusion. I actually love the episode more I type about it.
And last, but not least, the mighty TeZ lays it on us. None of this debate would've been possible without his initial reactions: i think the difference is how we think when we are entertained. for you guys, this was a front-brain activity. for me - it was back-brain (get really fucked up, sit back and ride the Tony).
My final insights: I'm a little less enthralled with the idea of the final scene being Chase's "fuck you." I'm now more solidly in the camp that says, "the more you think about it, the more fitting it is." The whole episode is a fine mess, executed by instinct, inspired by previous messes. Life and corruption go on. Closure is a facade.
The echoes of AM radio gold are like cold-sore herpes. I woke up today with Stevie Wonder's "Part Time Lover" in my head, and I have no reason why. Here's the kicker, though: It wasn't Stevie Wonder singing it, it was an unnamed "American Idol" contestant -- a mental image so distant and fleeting that I was forced to turn to Google. At first I was like, "could it be He Who Cannot Be Named?" Wrong. It was Kevin Covais, probably, but I can't even be sure of that, because I didn't watch much of Season 5. So now I'm having an identity crisis. Did my brain fabricate a horrible performance of "Part Time Lover" just to taunt me? Are my synapses so hopelessly tangled? All-a-sudden I wanna try hypnosis, but I'm afraid that once I'm under, the "Part Time Lover" meme will be overtaken by all sorts of suppressed musical chimeras. Enjoy your day!
More TV violence here.
Because we care, we've been trying to slowly improve the 2.0 steez of the ol' Cesspool, so here's some stuff to use and abuse, if you're into it:
Is it just me, or is Flight of the Conchords already lamer than a popup ad? I'm thinkin' that the dude with the lambchops hit his zenith with those Outback commercials. I mean, I haven't actually watched the debut episode of the show, but if there's one thing that's true about Poppa Cesspool, it's that his gut feelings are always easily validated. So hear me now and believe me nanoseconds from now: Those two Kiwis should be shilling lots of shorts, like Andy Samberg. After all, I don't think I could watch Mr. Dick-in-a-Box for 30 minutes straight, but I love 'im anyway. Some geniuses are built for the Web age, y'know?