25 years of MTV on VH1 Classic

Time to take a step back in time to when MTV played videos, and mostly cool rock and roll videos.

No, they didn't come to their senses at MTV, but VH1 Classic is celebrating the 25th anniversay of MTV's kickoff this Tuesday and next Saturday by running the first 24 hours of the network.

I remember being an MTV junkie back in the days when cable was 40 channels of analog programming, including MTV.

This was back in the day when videos were focused on the performers with the other action intended to play along with the song. Today's videos are a lot more ego-driven, and about making appearances instead of presenting music, with performers and floozies (and floozy performers) posturing in front of the cameras.

I need crap like that like a hole in the head. Needless to say, I haven't really watched MTV in years. Probably since they pulled Headbanger's Ball in the early 90s.

Ego and style is more important than music. But in a visual medium, I guess that was bound to happen. What a shame.

But for a few days, you can go back in time and live in denial, before Video Killed the Radio Star. So go do it and have a good time.

... if you want to watch the classic astronaut station ID clip, click here.

Miami Vice: The movie

Twenty years ago, Michael Mann took us to Miami, with a show that pushed the limits of what a TV action series had done before in so many ways, with fast action and intense characters, combined with hit music and style.

Sonny Crockett and Rico Tubbs were not your traditional television by-the-book gumshoes. They lived on the edge, pushed the limits, and for five years in the 80s, they took us along for the ride.

Last night, I went to see the Miami Vice movie.

Last night, Michael Mann took me back to Miami, only deeper, faster, and harder than ever before. The movie took everything the television series had done, and put it into overdrive.

Clearly, the world has changed since the 80s. The Medillin cartel is history and syndicated crime is international, with players who had been unheard of back then, using high-tech in ways unimagined. Mann combined these new realities with the characters and concepts he introduced us to in the TV series flawlessly. If Miami Vice had been on the air now, this is exactly what it would have been.

But there is a big difference between imitation and inspiration, and Mann understood this. He reached back for what made the TV series groundbreaking and powerful, and used it as a starting point for the movie, without letting his vision be constrained by it. Nevertheless, there were still times I caught myself expecting Don Johnson or Philip Michael Thomas to come out of the shadows or alleyways.

In the Miami Vice movie, Mann takes us back to Miami, and closer to the edge than ever before. It was a ride worth taking, and one you shouldn't miss.

Moderate Aryanism?

This weekend, South Carolina is host to an international event, with the Aryan Nations World Congress hosting a convention in the Columbia area.

Originally, I started out just posting a response on Joshua's blog, but I felt inspired to take it a little farther, in my frequent satirical style.

According to the story in The State, "Kreis (the organizer of the event) casts himself as moderate Aryan."

Wait a minute ... a MODERATE Aryan?

Just so nobody confuses them with the run-of-the-mill skinheads and Kluckers, here are some key differences in the moderate wing of the Aryan movement that you need to be aware of:

1) No more shipping the minorities back to where they came from. They support paying for first-class airfare back to Africa and Asia,
2) They can usually spell racial slurs correctly, and host education programs to teach these proper spellings,
3) Use of soap (a major difference here), as well as a dental plan for members,
4) This bunch generally has a clean-cut, but more "moderate" appearance, where they shave their faces (progress for some), but not their heads,
5) A renewed committment to providing quality, first-class entertainment at their events,
6) Felt Hitler's concentration camp guards could have been more courteous to the prisoners,
7) Distribute full-color propaganda, not the usual cheap black-and-white stuff,
8) Believe the holocaust happened, but "we must seek to understand the difficult choices faced by Hitler and respect the values and decisions of cultures other than our own", and, last, but not least ...
9) Relatives must sleep in separate beds at events.
As the event promises "a good time for ... all racists and White Supremacists", I'd like to recommend they have a choral review, including this peppy number "Springtime for Hitler" from the musicial and movie "The Producers", which featured Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane.

I just loved the gay Hitler in that movie (pictured above) ... his character was hilarious:

Heil myself
Heil to me
I'm the kraut
Who's out to change our history
Heil myself
Raise your hand
There's no greater
Dictator in the land!
Everything I do, I do for you!
Normally, I'd wish them, like any other group of visitors, a warm welcome to the Palmetto State, but in this case, I don't wish them well at all.

'74 Jailbreak: Classic AC/DC

On the heels of several titanic albums in the late 70s and early 80s, AC/DC released their '74 Jailbreak album. This album was a short one, with just five songs from the Bon Scott era, which had ended several years earlier when Scott died at the end of a wild night of excess that had been his method of coping with the band's sudden rise to stardom in the late 70s.

These songs had previously only been in available in the band's early Australia-only albums. One can definitely tell there is a strong blues influence, as was more present in the earlier AC/DC material.

This album also came at the end of one of the most productive streaks of album releases by any band in the metal scene. The band put out a dozen albums in its first ten years, sometimes more than one in a year, up to 1985's Fly on the Wall album, but only nine albums since then in an ever-slowing pace.

My favorite song on the album?

Definitely Jailbreak, a story of a man breaking out from jail, which included a rare video with Bon Scott, which included this very well-orchestrated narrative of the escape, complete with a thumping bass in the background sounding like heartbeats, and a screeching guitar for sirens and rifles.:

Heartbeats they were racin'
Freedom he was chasin'
Spotlights ...
Sirens ...
Rifles firing...
... but he made it out ... with a bullet in his back

All these songs are great, and give a good look at the early days when these guys were just the biggest hard rock act in Australia. Definitely a must-have album for you headbangers out there.

Clean up time

After an election day passes, most candidates and campaigns do the responsible thing and take down their signage. Of course, some volunteers don’t always track what they put up and where, so a few stragglers are left behind, but they seem to take on new life when used for yard sale signs, so before long, it’s like they were never there.

Which is how it should be.

But there are always a few candidates whose signs never seem to go away, even though they usually have blown it and their signs remind us of those most people never even heard of.

This spring’s worst offenders are Jeff Willis and Mike Campbell. Much of their signage, especially their larger signs, are still around. Dis-honorable mentions also go to William Bell, Bill McKown, and Oscar Lovelace.

There is a certain irony in the Campbell campaign leaving their signs up in my neck of the woods, since they had accused me of tearing their signs down weeks before they actually got around to putting any up around here. That included his campaign manager with a “scandalous” now-defunct MySpace webpage and the little runt of kid who went around like Hitler’s Youth’s finest, praising Campbell as God and calling Andre Bauer a liberal.

Hey kid, I never did get how Andre was a liberal. Wanna explain that one to me?

You may have seen those Campbell signs – small, barely tall enough to be seen over the weeds that have grown up around most of them. Maybe that’s a good thing, so even when they never get picked up, we’ll soon see the last of them.

Come on guys … if you have any respect for us and this state,

Landis gives US 8th consecutive Tour de France victory!

A year ago, when Lance Armstrong announced his seventh Tour de France win would be his last bid, many expected that, as with Greg LeMond's wins in the 80s and early 90s, it would be a long time before another American would win the Tour.

Today, news from Paris showed that Pennsylanian Floyd Landis pulled off an 8th consecutive Tour win by an American cyclist, contining Armstrong's winning streak.


Like Armstrong, Landis has dealt with major health issues that would have sidelined lesser contenders, remained in the race, took the lead, and then fought to regain it.

There are hopes that Landis, who left the team that Armstrong led, the Discovery team, will return to take the leadership of a team which has been struggling to fill the void left by Armstrong's retirement.

While I hope he will eventually accept this opportunity to rejoin his old team, for right now, Landis deserves our respect and gratitude for a tough job done well!

Behind the Blog: Bloggers speak out

Just who is the real person behind this blog? While blog visitors have read an odd, eclectic, and sometimes confusing collection of postings, many are still left wondering "who the hell is this flake?".

That's a really good question.

According to reports, Earl survived some very challenging times in his life. “I’m so glad that Earl’s blog has actually survived a full year, " said Joshua Gross of The Body Politic, who left behind years of partying, surfing, and chasing attractive blondes in Hollywood when he moved to South Carolina. "He’s come through his dark times... especially the obsessive compulsive binge drinking that led to the downfall of the ‘Icons of Rock - Melkite Metal World Tour’ a couple of years back.”

Not much is known about his early years, but rumors abound about his roots. “I heard that Earl Capps is a closet Duran Duran and Wham fan,” said Brian McCarty, Columbia attorney and author of the blog Voting under the Influence.

Mike Reino, author of the SC6 blog, offers this insight into what is allegedly his background:

He led a rough and tumble life, from the dead end streets of South Carolina, often eating bologna on hand sandwiches 3 times a day. But destiny had Earl in mind, when a chance meeting with Lee Atwater at a Cinderella concert gave Earl the big break he needed in politics.

But eventually, the ride would come to an end. Women, inflated egos, and a raging addiction to Heroin left him insane and destitute.

Presently the author is twice-divorced and lives in Summerville, where he works by day, doing corporate communication, research, and special projects for a major construction general contractor. He is also working on his Master's Degree in Communication, as well as lecturing undergraduate courses in Political Communication and Communication Ethics.

"Being a grad school student, I started the blog as a way to make myself write, think more, and have a creative outlet to share my academic work with a wider audience," Earl said. "But in the end, I just got more confused and lost my way." The author of the Faith in the Sound blog shared his view, recommending the Blogland as "must-read material for anyone looking to become an even bigger idiot than they already are."

Some have voiced concern over Earl’s professed relapse into 80s pop culture, as evidenced by his taste in music, addiction to the 80s television program Miami Vice, and his ever-so-cool checkerboard shoes. However, he does have his defenders, including Wag the Blog: “What's wrong with 80s obsessive tendencies?"

However, there is great concern for his recklessness. McCarty offered one last bit of advice: “Take it easy on Jakie, those folks from Red Bank will hunt your ass down.”

How NOT to deal with utility companies

I was a little taken aback at this report of an incident between James Island's state Representative Wallace Scarborough and some SCE&G workers. This bizzare Post and Courier story, with reports of yelling, gunfire and jail, sounds a lot more common on the East Side or somewhere in North Charleston ... WOW!

Scarborough had gotten a reputation of being far more low-key, less controversial and a lot less of a loose cannon than his predecessor, Lynn Seithe1, who he'd ousted from House District 115 (James Island and Folly Beach) in the 2000 GOP Primary.

I'd say this incident does NOT help him maintain that low-key, thoughtful image.

As the current chairman of the Lowcountry Utilities Coordinating Committee, I will go on record by saying that in no way whatsoever do I endorse this method of dealing with utility companies and their employees, no matter how bad the dispute may be:

State Rep. Wallace Scarborough took a gun with him late Saturday when he went outside to investigate flashlights in his parents' backyard. He spent the rest of the night in jail.

Scarborough, 47, was arrested after brandishing and pointing a pistol at utility workers and then firing his gun at about 9:45 p.m., according to an affidavit. Two South Carolina Electric and Gas employees were in the yard checking equipment after storms passed through the area, SCE&G spokesman Eric Boomhower said.

Scarborough, who was house sitting at his parents' home in the Crescent community in West Ashley, was charged with two counts of assault with intent to kill and released Sunday on a personal recognizance bond, according to jail officials.

-Nadine Parks, Charleston Post and Courier

Remember, the utility workers you see out there, especially after a bad storm, are just trying to do their jobs. If you let them do that, the public will benefit and they'll be able to return to their homes a little sooner.

Behind the Blog: The FBI's most unwanted?

Some of you who've visited my blog and seen my quote have probably wondered about it's origins:

"There's nobody down here but the FBI's most unwanted"

For those of you who've wondered where I got that from ... these were the famous first words of fellow-geek Fox Mulder on the first episode of the X-Files series.

Yes, I was an X-Files fan - are any of ya'll surprised to hear that?

As I've gotten older, I've come to realize that among the many things I am at heart, one of them is a scholarly book-worm loaded with obscure information, and intent on seeking irrelevant truths. Also, I don't always do a good job of relating to people on a personal level and have become increasingly-reclusive. Just like Fox Mulder.

But I never had a sister kidnapped by aliens. Until four years ago, I didn't even have a sister.

Yes, I have a four-year-old sister named Kelly ... who is younger than all of her nieces. Ain't that something?

Behind the Blog: Beers of the Blogland

Today, we bring you the first installment of "Behind the Blog", in which you are taken on exclusive, no-holds-barred looks behind the scenes of the Blogland of Earl Capps.

These days, we hear a lot about the need to consider alternative fuels, including grain alcohol. Always wanting to be on the cutting edge, this blog is doing its part to contribute to this effort.

That’s why BEER is an important part of fueling the creative energies behind this blog.

Modest, but reasonable and responsible, consumption of this vital energy source is an important source of energy for the operation of this blog. Specifically Corona, Bud Ice, Miller Genuine Draft and Killian’s Red.

When married, I drank very little. When I became single again, especially right after graduating with my B.A. degree in 2004, where my evenings became free again, I drank quite a lot.

When I thought I might be getting married to someone with ceiliac (they can’t consume anything with wheat products), I pretty much cleaned out my stock of beer, and even tried to get rid of bread so as to be supportive.

For those and other efforts I made, in the end, I got the treatment many twice-divorced single parents get a lot of in the dating world - kicked to the curb as “damaged goods”.

That’s when I rediscovered beer. Believe me, it sure made the reality of being damaged goods feel a lot better.

So beer is back, and beer is good. Beer helps make this blog possible, and it’s a far better fuel source for human consumption than gasoline (not to mention far less flammable). I recommend it highly, and for that matter, so does Homer Simpson.

Would Homer Simpson lie? Of course not – it’s not like he’s running for office. Only politicians lie, so Homer has to be telling the truth. Even if you can’t believe me, you can believe Homer.

So now you know, and like they say on G.I. Joe, “knowing is half the battle”.

... stay tuned for the next upcoming installment of
"Behind the Blog" ... and have a great weekend!!!

The high price of messing with Israel

From the looks of it, the Israeli government is waging all-out war on the terrorist groups which have been attacking it.

Having shut down the Palestinian territories, they are now shutting down southern Lebanon by dropping a number of key highway bridges and cratered highways, essentially making travel out of the area impossible. They've also shut down the main airport in Beirut in a similar manner.

Next, they suggest they'll track back the chain to Syria itself, with strikes against targets in Syria. With Syria facing the U.S. military presence along its Eastern border in Iraq, they'll be a lot less able to do anything about it than in years past.

Millions of dollars of damage (I work in highway construction, so I have some idea of what that kind of damage costs), the paralysis of the Palestinian government, and the near-total silencing of Western voices that once advocated a moderate course of action by Israel. All this for three Israeli soldiers taken captive.

Was this really worth all the trouble it's caused?

South Carolina Presidential Conspiracy Theory?

Tonight's conspiracy theory ...

The real motives behind the massive influx of out-of-state campaign cash and outside organizations that showered cash on a whole slew of legislative candidates, as well as the Education race, have been a subject of great speculation in the media and the blogosphere.

A thought I'd like to throw out there for discussion ...

"What if these groups are looking to build up experience at how to win South Carolina voters, with an eye on winning the crucial 2008 South Carolina GOP Presidential Primary for the candidate(s) of their choice?"

From the looks of it, the 2008 Presidential GOP fielding looks wide and active. We could well see a half-dozen or more candidates actively campaigning for South Carolina votes and the delegates they would assign.

In SC, the first place finisher gets the delegates. In a field of four or five contenders, getting 30 percent of the vote could be all it takes to win. By fueling races that toppled two GOP state rep's and gotten their pick for Education Superintendent nominated, one could say they were off to a good start.

While it may be hard for a group of conservative activist groups and contributors to get a candidate over the fifty-percent mark, winning in a best-out-of-five (or six or seven ...) scenario is a lot easier. Of course, this presumes all these people would support the same candidate, which is by no means a given. If these people couldn't agree on a single candidate, it could become a massive escalation like the slug-fest we saw here in 2000, and we end up at the same point, with just a lot more money being spent to get there.

Having put that question out there, I'll wait and see what everyone has to say. Am I crazy or what?!?

Thanks everyone!

No special occasion needed ... I just wanted to thank all my posters, who've been especially active on my blog over the last few weeks and let you know I appreciate the time and interest ya'll have shown.

Even though the topics swing all over the map, from politics and current events, to religion, and over to 80s metal and punk rock, ya'll keep tuned in, sharing your thoughts. That's not an easy feat.

Ya'll are truly ...

Charleston vs. Rock Hill, Round Two

The war of words between Charleston and Rock Hill escalates today, with a stinging rebuttal from Terry Plumb of the Rock Hill Herald:

I remind my colleagues from the Fourth Estate that the last time their city launched an unprovoked attack, it touched off a war that lasted four years, caused millions of deaths and plunged the South into crippling poverty for a century.

Of course, Charleston survived the Civil War in better shape than either Atlanta or Columbia because its city fathers surrendered to Gen.William T. Sherman as soon as he showed up with his Zippo.

Charlestonians didn't do a whole lot better during the American Revolution. The British waltzed through there and had their way in the Carolinas, until they ran into backwoods settlers up this way.

Rock Hill is named for a granite outcropping that had to be blasted to make way for a railroad between Columbia and Charleston. This city has a foundation of granite. Charleston's Battery was built upon a landfill.

When the British Army approached the city in 1780, Charleston high society, who looked down upon the "less civilized" people of the Upstate, seemed content to surrender their city without much of a fight, and make the best of occupation. While Charleston became a center of power from which to fight and oppress the rest of the state, some of the better people of the city chose to stick up for their fellow South Carolinians in the Upstate, who regardless of how they lived, deserved better.

One of those better Charlestonians, Isaac Hayne, even went to the gallows for defying the arrogance of those who ruled Charleston.

Likewise, the better people of the Lowcountry have spoken up in indignation at Hicks' unjustified attack. My letter is also awaiting publication, and the lady I spoke with at the paper who called to verify my letter said they had at least fifty of them.

Good Charlestonians, gracious, respectful, and considerate, are above that trash that was published in the Post and Courier. I'm glad I'm not the only one.

Charleston vs. Rock Hill?

It's no wonder Gregg Marshall couldn't leave this place for Charleston.

After all, this paradise of the Piedmont is virtually awash in history, culture and interesting attractions - even if most of those things are technically in North Carolina.

Who needs College of Charleston basketball, The Battery or the beach when you have regular access to exciting Catawba Indian bingo and, just 10 short miles outside of town, a county history museum filled with the stuffed carcasses of dozens of animals killed by a Nixon administration official?

Rock Hill, a suburb of Charlotte, is a proud town that warrants no less than six exits off of Interstate 77. In its own honor, the city in the 1990s commissioned four statues called "Civitas" along four corners on Dave Lyle Boulevard to represent various attributes of the town. Civitas, which may be Greek for "Our Golden Lady on the Corner," exalts Rock Hill's lofty goals of being a "functional city."

This brief moment of civic self-congratulation came just years after the town landed its first fine dining establishment, an Applebee's.

This story was written in the wake of the recent decision of Marshall, who coaches basketball at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, to reconsider accepting a job offer from the College of Charleston.

In addition to being insulting, Hicks should have based his driveling broadside on a little more knowledge of the community than a quick commute up there for a story, as well as the reasons why Marshall may have chosen to remain at Winthrop. I can understand one being confused or even a bit disgruntled (even though I'm an active CofC alum, I couldn't give a hoot about their athletics program), but this was really too far.

I don't know what the people of Rock Hill did to deserve Hicks' swipe at them. This issue was between Marshall, the College of Charleston, and Winthrop University. Frankly, I was stunned to see that the Post and Courier allowed this arrogant broadside to go forward.

As to what to do in Rock Hill, having lived there, I can assure Mr. Hicks there is plenty to do there. If he would take a minute to check the Rock Hill/York County Visitor's Bureau website, he'll find there's lots to see and do there.

All I can say is that given Hicks' stated attitude towards smaller Southern cities, I hope he never tries to find a job with a small-town newspaper.