Mark Hamill's eMail to J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan After Reading the Original Star Wars: The Force Awakens Script

Here's a recently unearthed email from a few years ago from Mark Hamill to JJ Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan (and George Lucas et al), the writers of the "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" script, regarding a difference of opinion about the direction of the storyline. If you haven't seen "The Force Awakens", be warned, there are **SPOILERS**. Here's the email:

Guys, 

Just received the new script. Pretty cool! I think there's a lot of "interesting" stuff going on. Seems like there's something missing though, and I think that's a little unfortunate, ha ha ha! ;) But I DO think there's some ANOTHER direction we could go with this, just hear me out!

First of all I appreciate that you guys mention my character Luke's name so often throughout the film, but it does seem a little disappointing that we only actually see Luke for the last 27 seconds of the film. (And I'm sure I'm not the only one who'd be disappointed ha ha ha!! What about all those millions of Luke fans out there? ;) ).

After reading the script I spent some time being disappointed and a little sad with this direction, and I thought "*sigh* another year before it's Hamill-time again" and I sat around eating cheetos and looking at production stills of me and Carrie during Empire like I always do on Sundays, and then I had a thought...

WHAT IF instead of only showing Luke for the last 27 seconds of the film (I know I said that already but I'm really trying to just let it hit home with you guys, ergot the bold) it goes a little more like this:

(note: I'm not good at writing scripts so bare with me)

WE OPEN with me on the cliff, like you have it at the end. then we close up on my face, and then there's a weird kind of reverse sound and we FLASH BACK to a different close up of my face, this time with me just awaking. (The Force Awakens!). (J.J., you should be familiar with that sort of transition from Lost.) Now we go through my back story, what I've been up to since the end of Jedi. You show me doing a bunch of awesome stuff with my lightsaber and maybe I got married or I'm hooking up with a few chicks (to play up my sex symbol side).

Then we show me getting more Jedi training from ghost Yoda (who is still a complete pain in the ass ha ha!) but I'm able to do even more cool stuff than I even could do in Jedi. I can maybe take like two lightsabers and twirl them around above my head and take off like a helicopter (that's just an idea). 

Maybe we can also have me have some kind of drinking/drug problem that I have to overcome in order to become a great Jedi again. I had a difficult relationship with my father, that could be the root of it. There might even be some Oscar bait there! Do I hear best actor bells ringing? Ha ha. 

That takes up something like the first hour, hour and a half. THEN we cut back to me on the cliff with Rey and I say something like "I will teach you". And then we basically start the story as you have it in your version of the script (let's call it the "old" version). It's just shorter. (and I'm in it obvs) Maybe reduce Han's role a little bit, Harrison's not looking too hot these days (don't tell him I said that). 

OOOH also those yellow floating letters at the beginning should reflect all of this stuff I've said. Don't forget, George, the original movie was supposed to be called "The Adventures of Luke Skywalker" so  let's keep that in mind OK???

Think it over, LMK!!!

Best, 
Mark.

ps if you decide to use any of this we can talk about royalties, i'm flexible!






A Critical Companion of the Video for Starship's "We Built This City"

Today we will over-analyze the video for Starship's "We Built This City", their 1985 hit, in an effort to understand what the group and those responsible for creating the video may have been thinking:

We open with a pastoral scene; it is dusk, and we are looking out at the hills beyond a rural town. A church steeple in the foreground penetrates the azure sky. All is peaceful.

Suddenly, piercing through the quiet comes a blast of terrifying rock and roll that is sure to shake the very foundations of this tranquil hamlet; the opening lines of Starship's "We Built This City".

Then day turns to night and a giant Mickey Thomas, singer, fades into the foreground, hands in his pockets. He is quickly overshadowed by Grace Slick's enormous floating head. A flying saucer whizzes by in the background. What any of this means is unclear.

The bassist and guitarist, both of whom look like they'd clearly rather be doing other things, replace Thomas and Slick. A pair of drumsticks wave in front of them.

Now we dissolve back to Thomas. He is in good voice as he sings the first verse of the song, and he is joined now onscreen by a pair of random floating heads with 80's haircuts. They look like pictures that could have been ripped from the walls of a nearby salon. We wonder what it means.

Now another person appears in the background, wearing some sort of hat and pantomiming being on the phone. We cut to a young man, wearing sunglasses, frozen. We cut again to a young woman, wearing an expression that looks like she's being yelled at by her dad. Now we're back on Thomas, again surrounded by the floating haircut heads.

We close in again on Thomas, he turns his head to the right. He is replaced onscreen by the turning head of some other haircut model, then another turning head, then yet another and then we quickly cut to, for some reason, the Lincoln Memorial. Where are we going with this?

We cut to another turning head, and now back to the Lincoln memorial, with all the haircut models moving slowly toward it. Mickey Thomas sings the chorus of the song to Lincoln, who suddenly comes to life and begins singing along. What any of this means is unclear.

Mickey Thomas and the haircuts look on, apparently unimpressed by a 40 foot statue suddenly coming to life in front of them. Why the non-reaction? Are they in a state of disbelief? Or are they just a symbol of the ennui of the teenage years?

These questions go unanswered as we cut to Grace Slick in Las Vegas.

The setting, actually, does not appear to be actual Las Vegas but a faux-Las Vegas from future times.

"Someone's always playing corporation games/who cares, they're always changing corporation names" sings Slick, wisely choosing this video as the perfect forum to speak out against corporations.

Not to be outdone by Mickey Thomas, she is also being joined by her own steady gathering of floating heads.

Things slow down a bit for the meantime as we watch Slick sing, intercut with shots from various faux-Las Vegas locales. "Marconi plays the mamba" she sings. Is she talking about Marconi, a pioneer and key figure in inventing radio? But why would Marconi be playing the "mamba"? Does she mean the "mambo"? Mambo is a style of music, as is "samba". Mamba is a snake. Modern mambo had yet to be invented by the time Marconi died. So the only conclusion we can reach here is that a dead man has come back to life and has learned how to play the snake.

Once again anticipation begins to build. We cut to a casino sign that says "Uncle Sam's" with two giant dice hanging underneath. "Uncle Sam's", we think to ourselves. That can't be good. Out of nowhere, the dice begin to fall to the street below. We cut to the haircuts, heads quickly turning to see the falling giant dice.

And now it's chaos.

One of the dice pursues the haircuts down a strip of casinos; they scramble to get clear. Now the mob runs past the buildings to a clearing, and by a foursome that looks on, for some reason unimpressed by the madness. Perhaps they are trying to figure out what the hell "Marconi plays the mamba" means.

The symbolism here is obvious: "Uncle Sam" is obviously the U.S. government, which is trying to kill the youth of America by dropping giant dice on them.

Guitarist and Carvin instruments endorser Craig Chaquico dissolves in and rips a solo that last for six seconds. Now united, Slick and Thomas appear onscreen.

"Who counts the money underneath the bar? Who rides the wrecking ball into our guitars?" Who indeed. Not a very sensible person, that much we can say. It would make more sense to count the money on top of the bar, since there's assuredly more light there. And there's probably better ways to destroy a something as small as a guitar than renting a wrecking ball (I assume that's expensive). Why would you need to ride it? That sounds dangerous.

Now the entire band is playing on top of a skyscraper. The throngs of haircuts watch from below, expressionless. Can they actually see or hear a band playing on top of a skyscraper? It is unclear. Most of the answers we're seeking never materialize: the video ends.











Distilled Water FAQ

Disclaimer: After reading this, do not leave the house for at least three weeks.

Lately, a lot of questions have been coming up about distilled water and its uses, due to the discovery of pollutants in tap water that have been reported to cause diarrhea and cancer of the spleen. Here is a helpful FAQ to help answer your questions and concerns.

What is distilled water?

Distilled water is water that has been distilled using a distillation process to distill it.

Should I drink distilled water?

You should only drink distilled water. According to unconfirmed, possibly untrue reports, all other water is unsafe and may cause swine flu, and possibly immediate death. The EPA is working on it, but the house has voted against any action, and also, to end the EPA.

How is distilled water different than regular water?

Distilled water is just regular water with all of the cancer and diarrhea filtered out.

Should I bathe in distilled water?

People have been bathing in distilled water for centuries with no problems. George Washington used to bathe in it, and he got the idea from Ben Franklin. Thomas Jefferson bathed in it when he wrote the constitution, and Einstein discovered electricity just after a distilled water bath.
John Adams refused to try it because he thought it was silly.

Should I used distilled water to boil my spaghetti?

You shouldn’t eat pasta at all. It has a lot of carbohydrates which turn to sugar and you’re already fat. Lose some weight.

I heard that distilled water can cause kidney failure. Is this true?

There is no known link between kidney failure and drinking distilled water. The only known side effects of drinking distilled water are 8 hour boners, acting silly, and lung cancer.

Should I give my cat distilled water?

You should only give your cat milk. Contrary to popular belief, cats don’t like water, and don’t need it. I only give Senor Meow Meow cow’s milk. My friends claim this is the reason he weighs 57 pounds and is basically immobile, but I am scientist.

Hopefully you will find this FAQ. But if you have further questions please post them in the comments section and I’ll try to get to them when I can. However, commenting has been disabled. That is your conundrum to face. I am very busy blazing trails.

Bottle up!

A Critical Companion to the Video for Huey Lewis And The News' "If This Is It".

I

A magnificent day, just like the day before it and the day before that; the magnificence of these days is only oppressive. These days only serve as a reminder: I am not where I want to be, I am not who I want to be. How can I enjoy such a magnificent day as this when I am so incomplete? 

Look at all the perfect people lying on towels with their suntans and their hideous sunglasses. Believing their illusions. Believing in their happiness. And because they believe it, it is so.  

Just like Suzanne. All her life, people have only said yes to Suzanne. She is completely oblivious to that fact, of course. She has no comprehension of how an ugly person walks through this world. She is simply unable to fathom why her less attractive friends make such a big deal about what seem like infinitesimal trifles; she tells them that “everything will be OK” and skips off into the night. 

Due to her beauty, she never has to make any real effort in a relationship, in our relationship, since there are so many male suitors waiting in the wings. She does as little as she needs to do to avoid unpleasantness, so she can float through the shallow waters of her existence without getting wet. Once unpleasantness rears its ugly head, she allows the threat of leaving me to loom without ever verbalizing it, which allows her to look like the victim when I raise my voice. 

Suzanne is incapable of understanding things are harder for someone like me, someone who thinks; who can recognize the unfairness of things, and who is unable to view every asshole they come across as “so nice”; I am not a recipient of such constant obsequiousness as she. She will never understand desperation until her looks start to go.

Granted, she and those of her ilk are just ignorant slaves, doomed to a life of banality, repeating back things the thought leaders say in the office every day. Perhaps I should pity them. But the awareness I have of everything is a far greater blight than ignorance. 

It is a crushing responsibility. A curse.

I am wearing jeans on the beach, goddamn-it. I’m not going to wear a bathing suit and slather myself with suntan lotion. That is not the way I feel inside. That is something Suzanne would do. In fact she is probably doing it right now. Bitch! You would like it if I was like these other drones, bouncing balls of various sizes, wouldn’t you Suzanne? You care not for my mind.

You have been exposed as a fraud. You’ve been thinking, and I’ve been drinking.

I know you don’t love me anymore. Why won’t you say it?”


II

Huey Lewis (Hugh Anthony Cregg III) was born in New York City in 1950, although there are those that would argue that he comes from the future. In his formative years he scored 800 on the math portion of the SAT, which is the highest possible score. He went on to travel the U.S. and Europe extensively, hitchhiking, playing his harmonica, sometimes sleeping in the bushes, sometimes juggling torches for money. It is possible the last part of that sentence is inaccurate. These years of his life are somewhat of a mystery. Certain sources have him living underground in the New York City subway system in 1975. He may also have briefly married a Vietnamese transgender prostitute named Pauline.

He is considered by many to be a man of formidable penile girth.

Perhaps owing to that fact, perhaps not, in 1978 he resurfaced briefly to play harmonica on Thin Lizzy’s “Live and Dangerous”. 

Thin Lizzy’s dynamic front man Phil Lynott no doubt had a profound influence on Huey Lewis’ vocal delivery as Lewis sings with a similar husky, easily understood, blue collar style. 

What exactly occurred between 1978 when “Live and Dangerous” was released and 1980 is difficult to ascertain; there are so many varying accounts of Lewis’ life, most of which contradict each other. It would have been impossible for him to work in a restaurant on Bourbon Street in New Orleans and simultaneously cross the Atlantic Ocean on a specially made boat which allowed him to use only his enormous member as a paddle in June of 1979, for example. There are those, however, that believe Lewis is able to split himself in two, which would have allowed him to do those two things at one time. Some allege that he even engaged in time travel during this period, while others argue that is far fetched. 

Whatever the case may be, sometime shortly after that, Huey Lewis and the News was born.
Their eponymous debut was released in 1980 to little fanfare. 

In 1982 the band broke through with a top ten hit “Do You Believe In Love” on their album “Picture This”, which eventually went gold. 

Mega-stardom awaited. 

In 1983 the band released “Sports”, which went on to sell 37 million copies. Every song on the album was a number one hit. 

Five years of decadence ensued. They were a non-stop debauchery machine. 

Each member of the band developed various rather beguiling addictions. 

Keyboardist Sean Hopper was known to inject b vitamins directly into his spleen; exactly what pleasurable effect was derived from this activity is difficult to divine. 

Drummer Bill Gibson Jr., son of William Gibson, author of the now classic science fiction novel “Neuromancer”, once disappeared in the middle of the tour for “Sports” for several weeks; he was eventually found lying in the middle of Commonwealth Avenue in Boston’s Back Bay cradling a stuffed animal version of Fozzy bear from the Muppets, which he repeatedly referred to as “Fuzz Fuzz”. It was later determined that “fuzz” was the only word Gibson seemed to want to say, so no one was really sure if that was indeed the name of the bear or just a sign of his increasing dementia. He refused to let anyone take the stuffed animal away from him, which had grown filthy after weeks of being God-knows-where with Gibson, so it had to be cropped out of publicity photos and hidden during live appearances. Gibson had to be replaced sporadically during the tour by Yes’ Alan White. 

Saxophone player Ron Stallings spent an obscene amount of time perfecting his polished, pop saxophone style; he could not have known then what a waste of time that would end up being. 

Lewis himself developed the peculiar habit of standing on the edges of skyscrapers and urinating while hookers ate pie in the background. He was arrested nine separate times for this, but never prosecuted.
Today, the band is perhaps more known for this constant debauchery than it is for the music they produced, which of course explains the ubiquitous catch phrase “partying harder than Huey Lewis”.


III

Finally, we will discuss the video for “If This Is It”, the third single from “Sports”.  

Huey Lewis had lived a hard 34 years by the time the video for “If This Is It” came out, a fairly advanced age for a budding rock star, but still slightly younger than the author of this piece, who once viewed Huey Lewis as the oldest person conceivable.

On the surface “If this is it, please let me know” seems like an entirely reasonable request. What kind of cold bitch would keep poor Huey Lewis hanging on when he would be amenable to a breakup? All he wants to do is talk about it. Isn’t that the kind of thing she once asked of him; to be open, sensitive, communicative? Look closer, though, and it is easy to see that Huey Lewis has all the evidence he needs to determine that “this” is indeed “it”. 

For example, if it’s true that Huey Lewis has “been phoning night and morning” without getting any of his phone calls returned, and he also heard his lover in the background saying "tell him I'm not home", we can assume he is not very good at taking a hint. He goes on to say that his lover is “confessing” but he’s “still guessing”. One wonders why guessing is necessary when the confession has already been made. She has told him the truth, but he will not hear it. 

He goes on to say that his lover has “been thinking” and he has “been drinking”. This makes Lewis a bit difficult to empathize with; his lover has given their issues a lot of careful consideration while Lewis simply endeavors to get obliterated on white wine spritzers at the Rusty Seagull.  

After the somewhat pointless montage that introduces the video, we find Huey Lewis walking on the beach, looking tortured. He’s practically goth; he doesn’t don all black and wear ludicrously baggy pants covered in buckles, but he does walk around the beach fully dressed on a 90 degree day wearing a forlorn look, pining for his lost love. We can only assume he has just come from his darkened bedroom where he listened to Bauhaus, read a novel by Anne Rice, poured hot candle wax on his genitals and wept softly. Perhaps eyeliner was involved in some way, although there is no visible evidence of it.

Suddenly Huey spots his lover. He freezes. What are the chances she would have chosen the same beach at the same time? His chest cavity feels as if it has been emptied of its organs and replaced with dry ice. Peter Murphy’s desolate baritone echoes around in his head. He shuts his eyes, remembering......

A tender moment on the beach at night, by a modest bonfire. Hands finally allowed to search, explore. A moment so perfect. She touched my face. A kiss and then another, and then another, each probing deeper than the one before. She held me, I laid in her lap; it seemed like it should have been the other way around but it was too late. The position had been determined, switching would have been awkward. Oh, the lightness. The sublime oppression of love......

But now here is his lover on the beach, getting oiled up by two muscular dudes, and then she is oiling them up, giving Huey an icy look. “Why won’t she let me know if this is it?” he wonders.

Now we follow Huey into a fortune teller’s shop. His face betrays surprise, he doesn’t seem to have been expecting to enter this place. Yet coincidentally his entire band has also happened by and is now seated around a table with the fortune teller, performing a seance. Huey briefly joins hands with them. Everyone looks like they’re really into it except for Huey, who abruptly leaves. 

He decides to take out some of his frustrations by throwing baseballs at a giant clown, a carnival game. The goal is to knock the clowns teeth out, which he does on the third try. The elastic faced carnie throws him a stuffed animal. Perfect for his lover. 

This moment of hopefulness is quickly erased as he spies her, walking along the boardwalk with two different muscular men in sailor suits. She carries with her two much larger versions of the stuffed animal he has just won. He has been outdone, two-fold, and possibly more-fold if you count the comparative size of their stuffed animals to his. 

A pretty blond woman walks behind the group, and casts an empathetic look his way. Perhaps a foreshadowing. 

After having seen his lover with four different male suitors over the course of an hour, Huey Lewis still wonders aloud if this is it. He sits on a beach towel, a brief conformity, while his cut-up band-mates sing in front him, buried neck deep in the sand. 

Finally Huey Lewis sees his love once again with yet another two male suitors. They are bronzed, muscular, oiled; teeming with latent homosexuality. 

Huey makes a decision. He forcefully escorts his lover away from the two men and demands an explanation. Words are exchanged, we cannot hear them. But we can easily read the body language, and eventually she pulls away, leaving Huey Lewis standing there in the rain (metaphorically). He sits down on the sand in his blue jeans, the picture of non-conformity. Time passes, and he continues to stare out at the sea. 

There is only one other person left on the beach. It is the blond woman from earlier on the boardwalk; the foreshadowing we saw earlier has materialized! Their eyes meet. And Hugh Anthony Cregg III is in love again. 

Important note: Most of the facts in this article are not facts at all, but things I made up.

A Critical Companion of the Video for Hall and Oates’ "Out Of Touch".

Today we will focus on Hall and Oates’ “Out of Touch”, their 1984 hit, in an effort to understand what the duo and those responsible for creating the video may have been thinking:

The video begins with Hall and Oates inside a giant bass drum. Ostensibly trapped, they helplessly bounce around inside as it vibrates, struggling to maintain their balances. Above them their drummer plays the giant drum kit the bass drum belongs to with giant drum sticks. For some reason unknown to the viewer, he hits the toms when he should be hitting the snare. No toms play on the track. Do you think that we don’t know the difference between toms and a snare drum, sir? We do. 

Meanwhile, back in the bass drum, Hall and Oates look for a solution to their dilemma. “Help us, we’re hopelessly trapped in this bass drum!” their movements suggest, but then they realize the solution is simply to exit the bass drum to safety. The exit was just a few feet away all along, at the front of the bass drum. Why had Hall and Oates decided to enter the bass drum in the first place? It does not appear a very welcoming place to have a conversation. It is impossible to say. 

What any of this means is unclear. 

How have Hall and Oates managed to enter this world, where either a) they are unnaturally small or b) the world around them is unnaturally large? 

In this world, the answers are hard to come by. This world is a slick 80’s version of Lewis Carroll, without the logic problems and political metaphors, and other things that would make it interesting. 

The safe haven Hall and Oates had hoped to find when they exited the bass drum is only an illusion. Eventually the bass drum, set in motion by forces unseen, steam rolls over them, leaving them flattened. How the bass drum managed to break free of its armature and lose the toms mounted atop is unexplained. Something fairly catastrophic must have occurred given its size. 

Suddenly Hall appears, reanimated. We cannot say what provoked his quick recovery. 

Now he is dancing and lip-syncing in front of giant letters which spell out “BIG BAM BOOM”. One of the letters contains the smaller dancing Oates. Oates is commonly viewed as an afterthought in this band, but he would probably have you know that he is in fact a very good and soulful backup singer and an excellent guitarist, and he also sings lead from time to time. Next to Daryl Hall, the man with the golden pipes, almost anyone would look like an afterthought. Still, it’s hard to imagine any creative meeting about a new Hall and Oates video would have occurred without someone saying “Does Oates have to be in this one?”. 

It’s impossible to divine what Oates might be thinking. He appears to be enjoying himself, but does he question his own purpose? Does he ask what contribution he makes that couldn’t be made by many others? Or does he just sit back and count his millions? He is unknowable. He sits in his castle with his moustache, and no one bothers trying to cross the moat, filled with giant eels. 

If Oates is resentful, he does not show it, as he dutifully dances behind his partner. He seems to favor a crouched over style, while he moves his arms back and forth in front of him, as if working some imaginary old machine. For his part, Hall, who is not known for dance moves (he is usually standing behind an electric piano in a live setting), does an admirable job with his dancing. However, he lacks the cohesive style of his partner.

We continue to explore this mysterious world in which Hall and Oates find themselves. 

At the top of a flight of stairs that leads to nowhere hangs a giant screen. On it, a movie of a Daryl Hall and his hairstyle. On the staircase in the foreground, the real Hall sex-lessly writhes. The screen version of Hall suddenly notices smoke coming out of his finger. Unconcerned, he simply blows the smoke away and gives us a wry smile. “That is the sort of thing that happens to me; I have become accustomed to it”, he tells us with his eyes. 

After a time we move back to the bass drum, in which Hall now safely plays guitar. Whatever prompted the reconciliation between the duo and the bass drum is never made clear to the viewer.

Soon after, we cut away to see what Oates is doing. He vents his frustrations by jumping up and down atop the giant bass drum pedal, thus pounding the giant beater into the giant bass drum which undoubtedly still contains his partner Daryl Hall (Hall is not shown, so this is impossible to verify). 

Perhaps Oates vents his frustration through this aggression because he is unable to express his feelings in a direct verbal appeal to Hall. Or perhaps Oates realizes his talent is inferior to that of Hall, and there is nothing that can be said about it, and so his frustration manifests itself physically. It is never made clear, due to the aforementioned mystery surrounding Oates, whose rage is now palpable as he grips the rod the beater is attached to and pushes it forcefully into the bass drum.

As the video draws to a close, we learn that once again Hall and Oates have once been seduced by the bass drum, only to see it once again cause their demise, this time by suffocating them.  The bass drum has grown itself a front head, which nullifies their earlier solution of simply exiting to safely out the front. Perhaps this will not end well. The only way out involves the duo breaking through the head. And, of course, they do just that. They are Hall and Oates, after all. They are unstoppable. 

---------------------------------

The comments on the YouTube video for “Out of Touch” demonstrate some noteworthy things. 

One comment says “Gotta love the 80’s!”. This sentiment seems a little unfair to Hall and Oates; it would seem to diminish their importance to simply lump them into the same category that houses Oxo and Wang Chung. Yet 11 youtube users give the comment the thumbs up. It is not unreasonable to conclude that all 11 of those people are fat. 

The next one says “Get back together, the world needs you”, which is not necessary since Hall and Oates are, in fact, still together. Despite this ignorance, or perhaps because of it, 8 youtube users give the comment the thumbs up. 

On both points these youtube users do a disservice to Hall and Oates, and their ignorance is symptomatic of today’s political landscape in the US, where if a sentiment is repeated often enough, it becomes true, regardless of the evidence at hand. 

Here again Hall and Oates, although indirectly in this instance, continue to teach us lessons.

A Term Paper on Billy Joel's Greatest Hits Volume I by Steven Stadalnik; Berklee College of Music Songwriting Major

BILLY JOEL'S GREATEST HITS VOLUME I: A DISSERTATION

Here we will discuss the greatest hits of Billy Joel, in an effort to prove the fraudulent nature of his entire catalog.

Billy Joel has sold millions of records, and has millions of adoring fans around the world. But take a closer look at the celebrated songwriter's works and I believe the house of cards begins to fall.

For example, all of the song lyrics on his Greatest Hits Vol 1 album begin to unravel into an incoherent mess when one examines them more closely. Let's dissect some of the selections..

Piano Man

"It's nine o'clock on a Saturday/the regular crowd shuffles in/there's an old man sitting next to me/making love to his tonic and gin". 

One can accept the premise that it's nine o'clock on a Saturday. That's the only part of this stanza that makes any sense. But why, if Billy Joel is playing the piano, is there and old man sitting next to him? Pianos are not normally situated in a way that drunk old men can just have a seat at them when there's a piano player sitting there.

This is followed by the extremely cheap rhyme, "making love to his tonic and gin". Nobody calls a gin and tonic a tonic and gin. You always name the base alcohol first; that is a stone cold fact, sir.

And this old man is "making love" to his drink? Is it being suggested here that this individual is fucking his cocktail? Even if you grant Billy Joel poetic license here, it's a stretch. It's just not something people say. "Hey Stan, quit fucking your daiquiri over there and give me a hand with this charcoal".

"He says 'son can you play me a memory'/I'm not really sure how it goes".

Billy Joel knows how to play someone's memories? Memories that belong to a man that says he's not sure how it goes, meaning he can't remember it? How is a memory a memory if you can't remember it?

"But it's sad and it's sweet and I knew it complete when I wore a younger man's clothes". 

Where is this guy from? "I knew it complete"? Who talks like that? Then you realize that this old man weirdo seated on at the piano next to Billy Joel could have been wearing a younger man's clothes yesterday afternoon (he's obviously gay) and it's just another cheap rhyme.


"Sing us a song you're the piano man"

Even this famous line doesn't really make any sense. If one is known for playing the piano to the extent that he has even been dubbed "piano man", why would people ask him to sing? Wouldn't they ask 'play us the piano, you're the piano man'? It's a bit like saying "Flute us a song, you're the cellist". Or "paint us a fence, you're the plumber".

Let's skip ahead a bit past a couple less offensive stanzas, ignoring the fact that there are tenses that don't match and other incongruities, to this gem:

"Now Paul is a real estate novelist"

Paul is a real estate novelist? A novelist that writes about real estate? I imagine fiction about real estate would stand very little chance of ever getting published. That occupation does not exist sir. It's just pure laziness to make up an occupation when there are literally hundreds to choose from that have the right cadence for this line.

(side note: watch the video they made for this song in the 80's. Think about this while you watch it: most of the extras in that video were convinced they were going to be famous. Think about that. How many became famous? Zero. I assume anyway, maybe George Clooney or someone is in there somewhere, it's hard to say.)

Skip ahead again:


"Now the waitress is practicing politics"

The waitress is practicing politics. You see that all the time, waitresses practicing politics. So many times I have to say "hey waitress, quit practicing politics and bring me my lasagna!".



Captain Jack

"Saturday night and you’re still hangin’ around/Tired of livin’ in your one-horse town/Like to find a little hole in the ground/For a while"

If you're tired of living in a one horse town, why would you aspire to instead live in a hole in the ground? Is that preferable? The only answer is the same answer to any question as to why Billy Joel says what he says: it rhymes.

"So you go to the village in your tie-dye jeans"

Now it is revealed that the one horse town is in fact New York City. I think we can safely count those who hold the opinion that New York City is a one horse town at one: Billy Joel.

"And you stare at the junkies and the closet queens/It’s just like some pornographic magazine"

That would be some pretty disappointing porn. I can't imagine they would sell much of that magazine, if it somehow even got by the publisher in the first place. "Hey Stan (everyone is named Stan) have you seen this issue of "Junkie Porn"? I'm thinking we shelve this and not send it to press. Seems like a bad idea".

"Captain jack will get you high tonight/And take you to your special island/Captain jack will get you by tonight/Just a little push and you’ll be smilin’"

This apparently is a reference to heroin. Heroin doesn't really make you smile though, does it? No one ever says "that Dave, always smiling. It must be the heroin".

"Your sister’s gone out. she’s on a date/You just sit at home and masturbate"

Now you're back home masturbating, thinking about your sister on a date. You certainly are unique. Shouldn't you be out looking for a hole in the ground to live in?

"So you stand on the corner in you new English clothes/And you look so polished from your hair down to your toes"

Again here is a quality that is not normally associated with a heroin addict. In this case it is looking "polished". "Dave is such a polished looking fellow, especially for a heroin addict. And always smiling."


Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)

Right off the bat the title of this song is ridiculous. Why is it parenthetically titled "Anthony's Song" when there's like 7 different characters in it? Is it because parenthetically titling songs "_____'s Song" was fashionable for a hot minute in the 70's? Yes.

Sergeant O'Leary is walkin' the beat/At night he becomes a bartender

That's a difficult premise to go with: a policeman, a sergeant no less, moonlighting as a bartender. I won't say it's never happened, but I imagine being a Sergeant in the New York City area keeps you pretty well busy, not to mention well compensated. (they make 6 figures easy)

Yeah and [Sergeant O'Leary is] tradin' in his Chevy for a Cadillacacacacacacacac/You oughta know by now

We oughta know what by now? That Sergeant O'Leary is trading a Chevy for a Cadillac? I think Billy Joel overestimates how many of us are familiar with Sergeant O'Leary and his car ambitions. 

And if he can't drive with a broken back/At least he can polish the fenders 

That makes very little sense. How has Sergeant O'Leary broken his back in such a way that it prohibits him from driving, but not from polishing the fenders of his Cadillacacacacacacacac? And why would you polish only your fenders? That would be the last area of polishing focus for most people I imagine. I am starting to get angry now. 


Scenes From An Italian Restaurant

Again, if you're not violently vomiting from the title of this song alone, you have an iron constitution, sir. The amount of times Billy Joel says "Brenda and Eddie" in this song is in itself infuriating. Billy Joel just wants to write songs with characters in them because he fancies himself as a Bob Dylan, but he doesn't bother to make them interesting enough to care about in any meaningful way. And they always have to have to stupid names like Brenda and Eddie. Really have you ever met anyone named Brenda? BRENDA!?!?!? Where are the Stans? I am going to figure out where Billy Joel lives and stab him in the asshole.


New York State of Mind

This song is Billy Joel saying that he, unlike some folks who vacation in Hollywood or Miami Beach, prefers to vacation in New York City. To make this point he goes on to say that he is "taking a Greyhound on the 'Hudson River Line' " which is a Greyhound line that doesn't exist and never has and doesn't really make any sense anyway since he follows it up by pointing out that he doesn't "care if [his eventual destination] is Chinatown.." - Chinatown is not on the Hudson River; it's on the other side of Manhattan closer to the East River, not to mention the fact that it would be a TERRIBLE vacation spot by nearly any standard. "You know where I want to go on vacation? Somewhere there's no trees that smells like piss and grease, and I'm more likely than not to get mugged." The song is a mess. It's an absolute mess. The fury I am feeling. It's indescribable.


Only The Good Die Young

Starting with yet another stupid, shallow character named Virginia (because she's a virgin, get it?) who is one of those "Catholic girls", we somehow get to this:

Well, They showed you a statue, told you to pray/They built you a temple and locked you away

Temples are not structures normally associated with Catholicism.  I don't think Catholics normally lock young girls away either; someone probably would have blown the whistle on that a long time ago. IT'S NONSENSE.


-------------------------

I could go on. But now I am going to go back to working on my own brilliant and criminally under-appreciated masterpieces, and then I might take a Greyhound out to Billy Joel's house on the Hudson River Line and throw my poop at his windows.


- Jake Zavracky 2011

Tricks of the Eye

I.

Look at these two lines. Doesn't one appear to be longer than the other? Is the one on the bottom actually longer than the one on the top or is it a trick of the eye? No, your eyes aren't deceiving you, they're different lengths.








II.

Stare at this circle for a minute. Actually several minutes. Seeing anything? Perhaps several minutes more. Excuse me while I go to the bathroom. I'm back. Still staring? Be patient, this could take hours. Still not seeing anything? Perhaps something is wrong with you.











III.

Look carefully at this square. Now close your eyes. Now open them again. Now close them again and then open and close them again. Look at the square again. Notice anything different? No? That's because a square is not an optical illusion, no matter how much you open and close your eyes.














IV.

Try this. Study these two arrows. Do you see a third arrow? That arrow is not really there.










V.

Look at this perfectly straight line. Does it appear all wobbly? It isn't! That's just your eyes playing tricks on you.








VI.

Look at this semi-circle. Do you notice anything extraordinary about it? Is it even there at all? It's all about your perception of reality. When I see a tree, I ask myself "Is that tree really there, or has this whole world been created in my mind just for me?". I am constantly questioning. Maybe you should do a little more of that.