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An Ode To Al 199

bwfcusa16 writes "The Boston Globe has up a feature story on Weird Al in its Sunday edition. The article refers to his staying power as prince of the parody. It's an ode to his determination, talent, and relevance ... and, of course, the funny." From the article: "Novelty artists--and he is one--have a notoriously short lifespan. They age badly, they run out of gags. But Al, by simply refusing to stop, has turned himself into a sort of cultural Geiger counter, ticking and squawking around the hot zones. The oddity of a humorist titling himself like a pro wrestler (there's no "Funny Jerry" Seinfeld) has long since worn off--he's the champ, and he's earned it.
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An Ode To Al

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  • by Salvance ( 1014001 ) on Monday October 23, 2006 @12:42AM (#16542514) Homepage Journal
    White and Nerdy [] - need I say more?

    There's no doubt that Weird Al is seriously funny. How many comedians or comedic singers are around for 25 years, and have people remember their songs? I doubt even funnymen like Adam Sandler will have followings like him in another 10-15 years. My personal favorite song ... 'This is the Life', probably released in 1985 or so. I eat filet mignon seven times a day, my bathtub's filled with perrier and I have women lined up outside my door, they've been waiting there since the week before, who can ask for more, this is the life. Genius =).

    While he had more duds than hits over the past 10 years, it seems like he's had some resurgance ... particularly over the past 2 years. Note: the link above is to a work-appropriate humor site I contribute to ... I couldn't resist, hopefully I don't get flamed too hard, I'm a die-hard fan.
  • by weav ( 158099 ) on Monday October 23, 2006 @01:01AM (#16542662)
    Alfred Yankovic has not only taken the humor and a great deal of the style of Lindley Armstrong "Spike" Jones to new heights, he's surpassed Jones's, Sherman's, Lehrer's and Silverstein's longevity by a good way.

    Al, you rock. And the fact that you took time to see a John Hartford show when your touring paths crossed in upstate New York speaks even more highly for you...

  • err (Score:3, Interesting)

    by riff420 ( 810435 ) on Monday October 23, 2006 @01:50AM (#16542928)
    Granted, I have not rtfa, but I'd like to chime in: I've been listening to Weird Al for close to 20 years now. Sure, I love his parodies, but they are NOT what he does best. The attention to detail that he pays in his original music is staggering. He simply does not get enough credit for his fantastic sense of music, style, and composition. His original works come in two main flavors: A parody in a particular style/genre, as well as fully original compositions. His style parodies are AMAZING. Even DEVO (was it Mark Mothersbaugh who said this?) has gone on record saying how much they simply hate Weird Al because Dare To Be Stupid (song, not album) was EXACTLY the kind of sound they had gone for all along. It's a friggin' great song, to boot. His fully original compositions, however, emulate the thoughts and ideas of his self-proclaimed musical influence, the late and great Frank Zappa. Be it Genius In France (featuring Dweezil Zappa, album Poodle Hat, which in and of itself is a direct reference to Zappa regarding the mention of poodles. This is touched upon more in Zappa's Project/Object theory, sorry, no link), or Fun Zone from the UHF OST, the man simply knows how to arrange a piece of music to appeal to the professional musician in all of us. Obviously, though, if really LISTENING to the music isn't your thing, you won't get it. It's like how Wesley Snipes said, in White Men Can't Jump, you can HEAR Jimmi, but you aren't LISTENING to Jimmi. Maybe it was the other way around, it's been a while, but my point should be fairly clear. I consider myself a severe musical snob, even to the point where I egotistically feel I'm being fully objective about why the music I like is so great. Weird Al has always secured himself a place in my musical interest, and although he is generally obligated to cover what's 'popular' at the time (both for economical reasons, as well as pleasing the majority of the listeners, who themselves listen to that kind of music [rap, most recently], it's his original pieces of work that continue to fill my mind with wonder, awe, and sheer admiration for his skills. I would love to keep rambling about why I think Weird Al is a DAMN FINE musician, but then this post would never end. Weird Al, granted you probably won't read this since you spend 12+ hours a day logged into MySpace, muahaha, you share a place in my mind right up there with Zappa, and I feel that your ingenuity as well as your raw talent is quite possibly equal to Zappa in my mind. I will be a fan of yours always, even if I don't listen to particular tracks off of particular albums because the music does not apply to my taste (for the most part, more recent material than anything else). Keep up the amazing work, and I will continue to buy your music as often as you release it. Please, don't ever stop. I won't even get into how aware the man is of technology, as well as world events, and humor. One last note: For the first time ever, you have grossed me out. Weasel Stomping Day is the first piece of work you've ever made that just seemed to catch me off guard. Then again, maybe I just love animals! Of course, I didn't mind it that time you had a wolverine in your underwear, and suddenly the guy behind you starting screaming evything you know is wrong. Again, I will always be an adoring fan.
  • by QuantumFTL ( 197300 ) on Monday October 23, 2006 @01:57AM (#16542972)
    For me, the proof that Weird Al really impacted our culture and was relevant was walking into a store and seeing, between "Rock" and "Country" an entire "Weird Al" section. I guess you just can't pin that guy down :)
  • by Pseudonym ( 62607 ) on Monday October 23, 2006 @02:37AM (#16543166)
    I wonder what the chances of getting a slashdot interview with him would be.
  • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Monday October 23, 2006 @02:44AM (#16543204) Homepage
    "A local boy kicked me in the butt last week.
    I just smiled at him and I turned the other cheek.
    I really don't care in fact I wish him well.
    Because I'll be laughing my head off while he's burning in hell." - Amish Paradise

    "I just can't understand it
    Why won't you return my phone calls
    Are you still mad I gave a Mohawk to your cat
    If you'd just say the word
    I'm certain that our love would last forever and ever
    Or are you too dumb to realize that" - Melanie

    "Since you've been gone
    Well, it feels like I'm getting tetanus shots every day
    Since you've been gone
    It's like I've got an ice cream headache that won't go away
    Ever since that day you left me
    I've been so miserable, my dear
    I feel almost as bad as I did
    When you were still here" - Since You've Been Gone

    "Well, it's Christmas at Ground Zero
    There's panic in the crowd
    We can dodge debris while we trim the tree
    Underneath a mushroom cloud

    Oh, it's Christmas at Ground Zero
    And if the radiation level's okay
    I'll go out with you and see the all new
    Mutations on New Year's Day" - Christmas at ground zero

    "You make me wanna hang out in a trailer park
    Then take my hamster to the beach
    You make me wanna do my laundry in the dark
    And use a recommended bleach
    When I'm with you I don't know whether I should study neurosurgery or go to see the Care Bears movie" - You Make Me

    And, of course, no discussion of Weird Al would be complete without bringing up Tom Leher, so a few quotes from Al's pop culture predescessor

    "Oh, soon we'll be out amid the cold world's strife.
    Soon we'll be sliding down the razor blade of life. " - Bright College Days

    "On Christmas Day you can't get sore,
    Your fellow man you must adore,
    There's time to rob him all the more
    The other three hundred and sixty-four." - A Christmas Carol

    "Our captain has a handicap to cope with, sad to tell.
    He's from Georgia, and he doesn't speak the language very well." - It makes a fella proud to be a Soldier

    "And we will all bake together when we bake.
    There'll be nobody present at the wake.
    With complete participation
    In that grand incineration,
    Nearly three billion hunks of well-done steak." - We Will All Go Together When We Go

    "Egypt's gonna get one too,
    Just to use on you know who.
    So Israel's getting tense.
    Wants one in self defense.
    "The Lord's our shepherd," says the psalm,
    But just in case, we better get a bomb." - Who's next?
  • by CrazyJim1 ( 809850 ) on Monday October 23, 2006 @02:50AM (#16543232) Journal
    They must have run Fat on MTV like once every 10 videos for what seemed to be a year. I thought MTV was pretty awesome back then.
  • Re:DRM? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:00AM (#16543296)
    That sticker was there because the "CD" is actually a DualDisc [], which contains a DVD side and an audio side. The DVD side conforms to DVD standards. The audio side does not conform to Red Book CD standards because it is too thin, however it should still work with most* drives.

    As far as I can tell there is no copy protection on the audio side, and there is also nothing on the DVD side (well maybe CSS, I didn't try to copy it but it played fine in VLC).

    *It did not work in my LiteOn drive but it did work in my brother's noname DVD drive and all the standalone CD players I've tested it in.
  • by Robotech_Master ( 14247 ) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:15AM (#16543392) Homepage Journal
    I saw a quote in a signature file or blog entry or something that went something like:

    "If someone had told you in 1984 that in 2006 Michael Jackson = flameout and Weird Al = still relevant, you would have laughed your head off."

    It's just so true.
  • by Joosy ( 787747 ) on Monday October 23, 2006 @05:24AM (#16543930)

    In 1980 I was a DJ with Weird Al at KCPR, the radio station at Cal Poly (San Luis Obispo, California). For some idiotic reason the powers-that-be wanted the station to act like a commercial station, playing mostly the same bland hits that the commercial stations played. Someplace I've saved a hilarious interview in the student paper with Al, in which he says "They can tell me I have to play certain songs, but they never specified at what speed, or what direction to play them in!"

    He was a very friendly guy, by the way. Always upbeat and helpful to everyone even though he was already something of a star.

  • by TheViewFromTheGround ( 607422 ) on Monday October 23, 2006 @08:49AM (#16545194) Homepage
    Slate's Weird Al essay [] by Sam Anderson is infinitely more insightful and thoughtful than the Globe's coverage: "He's not like them, he's like us. To the millions of us flitting around the edges of hipness, he is our Geek Bard, our Troubadork. Unlike his prey--the rappers and the rockers, the folk-pop shamans and the techno wizards--Weird Al is, in the only meaningful sense of the phrase, keeping it real."

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"