Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Moon, Mencia, and Minutiae

So first off- Podcast number THREE available tomorrow. It’s looking to be a good one. Perhaps one of the top three of ALL TIME. Nerft.

I recently listened to a great broadcast of the Penn Jillette program on Free FM in New York. He had as his guests both Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer himself, and Joe Rogan- the former host of Fear Factor. (Or the host of the former Fear Factor.)

Joe Rogan is a friend of Penn’s, and though they agree on a LOT of things (atheism, religion, politics) the one thing they COMPLETELY are diametrically opposed on is the subject of the moon landings. Joe thinks they were faked in a movie studio, and Penn of course knows that we DID land on the moon in '69. I guess that Penn figured it would be a decent show to have another friend of his- Phil Plait- come on the show and “debate” Joe. I say “debate’ because this was in reality a much friendlier conversation. Although I completely think Joe is off his nut on this subject, he was VERY entertaining and asked TONS of great questions, while never talking down or insulting Phil. Phil TOTALLY held his own and just kept answering EVERY point that Joe would bring up. It was so GREAT to listen to an intelligent conversation (albeit about a subject that should be a real NO BRAINER), as opposed to the standard name-calling and talking-over that you usually hear at a radio or TV “debate.”

Check out the broadcast here- it’s about 45 minutes long, but is REALLY worth it.

I met Phil at Dragon*Con last year, and had a chance to buy him and Frasier Cain dinner at the local Hard Rock. It was the first night of the conference, and Derek and Swoopy introduced me to Phil and Frasier. The co-hosts of Skepticality decided to call it a night, and the remaining three of us went out and got some chow. Phil could not have been cooler. We had a great conversation about a TON of stuff, and I think that I held my own science-wise, considering I was talking to the freakin' BAD ASTRONOMER HIS-SELF. He ended up signing his book for my Dad, who is also a huge fan of his. (My dad teaches chemistry and biology- so I asked Phil to sign it- “Mr. Hrab- this will DEFINITELY be on the test… Phil Plait.” Ha.)

* * * * * * * * * * * *

On a slightly different subject, if you zip over to Mr. Rogan's site, there's an interesting thread concerning his recent accusations against Carlos "I'm Actually Half German and My Name Is Ned" Mencia. His site has a great video of him confronting Carlos about stealing jokes. It's pretty entertaining.

I have NEVER found Carlos "White People Do Theeees and Beaners Do Theeeees" Mencia funny (his jokes are REALLY easy and obvious) but I wasn’t aware of the joke stealing controversy until I read some of Joe’s posts.


Concerning stealing…I have written melodies in complete innocence that have turned out to be “borrowed” from existing songs. I have a rule that if I have heard the song, I’ll change the melody, but if I HAVEN’T ever heard the song, I won’t. It’s a bit difficult and you have to be brutally honest with yourself, but I think that it’s the best approach.


The guitar riff of the 1st bar of Barney’s In the Vent is IDENTICAL to the 1st bar of the Velvet Revolver song Slither. Slither was released in June of 2004, and I had written the riff to Barney WAAAAY back in 2000. I had never used it until Interrobang because it’s ACTUALLY a rip-off of one of my OWN riffs. Listen to Triage from Minutiae, and you’ll see that although the timing is quite different, the intervals are the same. At the time I though they sounded too similar, so I filed it away. I ended up using it on Interrobang because the context of the tune was so different from Minutiae, and I REALLY liked the melody I came up with. Once I heard Slither I was a wee-bit distressed, but the melodies of the tunes are SO different, AND the second bar of the riffs take very divergent paths so I breathed a sigh of relief.


The only thing I would ever knowingly steal from Scott Weiland would be his pants.

1 comment:

Ric said...


Big fan. Listen(ed) to Penn and Scepticality religiously. (Sorry.)

Riddle me this: am I the only one that thinks Phil Plait sounds remarkably like Max Headroom? He even looks like Matt Frewer a bit.

Just Curious.