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THE URTHLINGS - Section 66




August 29, 2009


Geez, whatever happened to originality in modern music? Or better yet, what the heck happened to creativity? A disturbing trend has been in the works since the late-1980’s and has now spilled over into the new century…

The fact that no one has an idea for an original musical composition anymore.

No one.

Ok, scratch that…there are exceptions. But with that said, please allow me to try and make my point:

I still cringe when I hear samples of old songs that were incorporated into 'new' songs. (i.e. Rick James’ hook on “Superfreak” being the main drive behind M.C. Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This” or David Bowie and Queen’s collaboration on “Under Pressure” used on Vanilla Ice’s “Ice, Ice Baby”).

In 2001, Mariah Carey released her first single from Glitter entitled "Loverboy" which featured a sample of "Mary Jane" by Rick James. Soon afterwards, Jennifer Lopez released "I'm Real" with the same "Mary Jane" sample, Mariah quickly discarded it and replaced it with "Candy" by Cameo. So, coming up with a brand new melody was just too difficult? Groundbreaking artists? Please.

Then in 2004, Danger Mouse with the release of The Grey Album, which is a remix of The Beatles' 'White Album' and rapper Jay-Z's The Black Album has been embroiled in a situation with the record label EMI issuing cease and desist orders over uncleared Beatles samples. I guess they couldn’t just steal from a no-name band or a one-hit wonder. Why fly below the radar? We’ll just steal from the most recognized band of all time for our ‘new’ material!

Yeah, yeah...yeah?

On March 19, 2006, a judge ordered that sales of The Notorious B.I.G.'s album Ready to Die be halted because the title track sampled a 1992 song by the Ohio Players, "Singing in the Morning", without permission. Karma may have been in play here…ooh, harsh! I’ll take that back out of respect of the deceased. Or not.

Am I crazy or did some people just plain forget how to write their own music?

There are artists that continue to put out new and refreshing styles don’t get me wrong. Much kudos to all of those gifted musicians. It’s just that there are more wannabes out there that are just trying to cash in on the tried and true. And please don’t get me started on Remakes!

With that said...I do want to take this opportunity to present my list for the 10 worst song remakes, in my opinion, and they are as follows AND in no particular order:

(Original Artist in RED)

1.) Behind Blue Eyes - Limp Bizkit (The Who)

2.) Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds - William Shatner (The Beatles)

3.) Stairway To Heaven - Dolly Parton (Led Zeppelin)

4.) Sweet Child O' Mine - Sheryl Crow (Guns 'n Roses)

5.)American Pie - Madonna (Don Maclean)

6.) Dock Of The Bay - Michael Bolton (Otis Redding)

7.) I Love Rock 'n Roll - Britney Spears (Pat Benetar)

8.) Feel Like Making Love - Kid Rock (Bad Company)

9.) Hotel California - Al B. Sure! (The Eagles)

10.) 911 is a Joke - Duran Duran (Public Enemy)

People, people...obviously you've got the talent. Why remake a hit? The room for error is TIGHT.
Oh well...They are the money makers, so they could do whatever they want. (I guess.)

Anyway, I’m thinking of creating a love song song revolving around a sample taken from the Main Title Theme from “Star Wars”, do you think anyone will notice the bite?

Next week: My take on the originality in today's movies. (Great...)

THE URTHLINGS - Section 65


THE URTHLINGS - Section 64


THE URTHLINGS - Section 63


THE URTHLINGS - Section 62


THE URTHLINGS - Section 61




August 22, 2009

Listen up servers, hosts, restroom attendants, etc...

This is just a pet peeve of mine...

Do you provide above average quality customer care? Are you honestly going above & beyond what is expected of you? Do you really expect a tip every time?

Those are the questions I ask myself when I’m faced staring at the tip jar. For the record, I'm not trying to be a jerk, I'm just trying to pick apart this particular phenomenon.

When a waiter, waitress or the order taking sentient from the donut shop gives me mediocre service, something I’m okay with by the way, I always wonder if they feel they deserve a tip. I question whether or not they feel they did their job well enough to warrant some extra coin.

Of course, I would never think twice to stiff those service reps who are truly obnoxious or oblivious to their “customer service” title.

Shouldn’t a tip be left for those who do more than what their job asks?

Maybe I should walk around with a tip jar and jingle it around every time I give someone advice, bad or good.

Now will I?

No, of course not. But you can bet that me and countless other customers would definitely want to.

I honestly feel that an average rep that performs the basics of what his or her job asks should not get praised. After all, it's their job and they are getting paid to do just that. Those who add extra cheer or make your coffee exactly to your overly-detailed specs should be applauded and awarded. And those who just plain do it half-assed should get a reboot in customer service skills.

Unfair? Sure, but oh well...

When you visit a place religiously, you SHOULD leave a tip. They WILL remember you and the correctness of any future orders most likely will depend on your last tip.

When all is said and done, it’s only spare change for that guaranteed sweet mocha bliss from my friendly neighborhood Barista!

Oh, for the record... Yes, I do tip. Sometimes very generously. So step it up!

Great...now I have nothing left for the parking meter.

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THE URTHLINGS - Section 56




August 15, 2009

Was it that long ago when a certain film ultimately changed the lives of so many people? The images of spaceships racing across the stars in a galaxy far, far away captured the imagination of moviegoers and hasn’t let go since. All through my childhood, images so wild were only seen in fragmented views in my craziest dreams. Yet in an instant, I was literally beside myself as explosions rocked the speakers of the movie theater while the heart-thumping soundtrack made my heart race from anticipation with each passing scene.

May 25, 1977...

Until that unforgettable day, my impression of an “out of this world” character was found in the form of a 25-foot mechanical shark named “Bruce” that terrorized the shores of Amity, Long Island. Or a troubled young office worker who commanded rats and even an African-American Dracula! Now who could have ever imagined what was in store for us next?

There were so many movies that dealt in harsh reality or the dark side of the human mind during the mid-1970's. Now don’t get me wrong, there was absolutely nothing wrong with many of those films. Who wasn’t entertained by watching the lives of the Corleone family, or to witness the horror of the effects of demonic possession in a little girl? But unfortunately, that was it. Somewhere along the line, we lost our innocence. The eyes that we used to view the world as a child was slowly closing shut. Our ability to dream of far away places, rescuing damsels in distress and to cheer on a band of heroes that were determined to defeat a powerful villain were close to non-existent. It wasn’t fashionable anymore, I guess.

The closest thing we got to a Science Fiction or a Futuristic based movie was watching a space station’s computer go berserk on it’s crew, a band of white suited, black bowler hat-wearing thugs that bathed in a cesspool of Sex & Ultra-Violence and a planet overrun with a civilization of hybrid primates. (…ah, those damn dirty apes.)

After so many movies showing a bleak or a post-apocalyptic view of a possible future, we needed an alternate view to lift our spirits, even if it meant watching campy television reruns of the voyages of the U.S.S Enterprise. Even though it’s 5-year mission only lasted 2 seasons. =)

The irony of this particular science fiction movie was that it was set not in the future, but in the PAST! Now how’s that for a twist?

In one afternoon, everybody became a kid again. We remembered how to dream and to actually feel good in the post-Vietnam years. It was hip to root for the “Good-Guys” once more. There was a breath of fresh air and optimism for the future of our children, as corny as that may sound. How many kids were inspired from what they had seen ultimately became Astronauts, or Scientists? Not to mention countless others that went on to become Movie Makers, Designers, Computer Programmers, Illustrators and even Toy makers?

Well, I was one of those kids.

Over 30 years ago, a dreamer from Northern California with a far-fetched idea turned his vision into reality. Thanks to that man, I am proud to say that my own little world, called the CYNIK UNIVERSE, is a result of my childhood experiences, and subsequent inspiration of events that happened A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

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August 7, 2009

In this day and age of televised programming on your planet, I have noticed a disturbing number of Reality-Based shows, Infomercials and other mind numbing concoctions. The basic formula that was the staple of your culture since the advent of the first fully functional television set is almost, if not already, extinct. In the battle for ratings and the need for instant gratification, a great number of gifted writers are forced to crank out what studios think will be ‘instant hits’ or ratings juggernauts. Thus, compromising and ultimately weakening the creativity of said writer. As evident in the shows viewers are exposed to today.

I have no interest in worrying about some Jabroni who wants to marry another Shmendrick who in turn wants to become a gazillonaire or the next universal icon.

Geez, I’m still trying to figure out how to make ends meet and make sure my family is solid. I shouldn’t need to be getting caught up on watching other people try to get over on each other just so they can achieve their 15 minutes of fame.

Apologies, People...I just had to blast that out there.

Anyway, the real reason I’m writing this article during these dog days of Summer is to say that few shows in the past few years have captured my imagination. There are a few, but I have to say that my favorite right now is the show titled: SUPERNATURAL.

Go ahead and call me a Geek or a Fanboy, but this show is seriously pretty bad ass. I mean, I expected a revisit to the Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew -like adolescent EMO stories of mystery and suspense. Well heck, when I see commercials and billboards that show two young actors that are clearly going to grab the attention of many a female and then add to the fact that it’s on a network that gives us lucky viewers some masculine works as GOSSIP GIRL and ONE TREE HILL, what was I supposed to expect?


Would these 'studs' vanquish the villains by giving them hugs, hot cocoa and a shoulder to cry on? Can anyone tell me?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Well then, nuff’ said.

Ok, I was wrong in my assumptions. I gave this show a look a few seasons ago and have been hooked ever since.

“SUPERNATURAL is paranormal drama television series. The show follows brothers Sam and Dean Winchester, who travel across the United States (that country, so far) in a black 1967 Chevy Impala investigating and combating paranormal events and other unexplained occurrences, many of them based on urban legends and folklore, as well as classic supernatural creatures such as demons, vampires, werewolves, and ghosts.

Ok, in a nut shell…testosterone, a plethora of weaponry & various firepower, hand to hand combat, bad jokes, eye candy (for males AND females), that 67’ Impala and to top it all off, 1970’s classic rock selections for the show’s soundtrack????

Cheese & Rice! It doesn’t get any better than that!

Well, ok... maybe a few other things are.

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THE URTHLINGS - Section 47


THE URTHLINGS - Section 46




August 1, 2009

You know what drives me nuts? The fact that you Earthlings, especially American Earthlings, cannot seem to take responsibility for your own actions. Now, that does not apply to all, but to a vast majority?


So, if you are one of those sad few that do blame yourself for everything, then obviously I'm not talking about you. But please try to get help, for your own well-being.

Ok, for the rest of you guilt-less freaks...

If your child is fat and does NOT have any health issues to make him so, why would you blame McDonald's for it? Aren't you the one feeding him the food? Why not feed him something else? And if you are on low-income housing and welfare, Ramen Noodles are about 4 for one earth dollar. If not, go into into the kitchen and feed him real food. Third plates? Tell him NO! It's your child. Take responsibility for him.

Let's say you are holding a hot cup of coffee. You know it's hot because that's what you ordered. You take a sip and burn your tongue. Are you really going to hold Starbucks accountable for selling you the hot coffee? You ordered it! You knew it was hot from the get-go. But even though that was your own blunder, you conjure up some lame lawsuit to gain some extra cash to pay your gambling debt. Again, the debt is your own fault.

Lastly, imagine this hypothetical scenario: You're driving in your car juggling between chatting on your cell phone and munching on breakfast before work. You rear end the guy in front of you. You jump out of the car, scream at the other driver, and cry about how you'll see him in court. Another situation where you should be held liable for your own actions. You want someone to blame? Hold up a mirror and smile in it.

I'm not saying I do not understand you. It's much easier to criticize and condemn someone else for your own actions. Blame is a hard thing to accept.

What I am saying is simply this: YOU did it! YOU should be held responsible! Grow some balls and take it, just like everyone else.

So please, Earthlings, frivolous lawsuits and inconsiderate actions are what make us (advanced lifeforms) wonder how you can all coexist without killing each other. Oh, wait...

You do that, too.