Amoeblog

REST IN PEACE TO RICE-A-RONI CREATOR

Posted by Billyjam, October 23, 2007 12:11pm | Post a Comment

Rest in peace to Italian-American Napa Valley resident Vincent DeDomenico, who was the inventor of the "San Francisco treat," RIce-A-Roni, and who died in his sleep last Thursday at age 92. DeDomenico's legacy will live on forever and Rice-A-Roni is something that will always be synonymous with cable cars and San Francisco, California. Vincent was born in San Francisco in 1915 to Sicilian immigrants who had moved to California and set up the family business in San Francisco's Mission District -- the very rice a ronisuccessful Gragnano Products, Inc, which supplied pasta to Italian stores and restaurants all around San Francisco and which by the mid 1930's had changed its name to the Golden Grain Macaroni Company. A couple of decades later the invention of Rice-A-Roni would come about when in 1958, apparently inspired by the pilaf recipe of mixing rice and macaroni with some chicken broth, Vincent mixed all the ingrediants together dry: rice and macaroni plus a dry chicken soup mix and voila, "The San Francisco Treat" (its registered trademark) was born. Within four years Rice-A-Roni went national and just took off from there. By the 1960's it had become a cooking staple of US households and is still extremely popular to this day. In 1986 the Quaker Oats Company purchased the family business from the Golden Grain Company and has continued to expand its product line.

The catchy Rice-A-Roni advertising jingle is one that everyone seems to know and has become synonymous with the City by the Bay -- especially to outsiders/tourists -- because it repeatedly identifies with San Francisco imagery (including the sound of cable car bells). Additionally, the jingle has been sampled in many hip-hop releases and also the words "Rice-A-Roni" have been included in rap lyrics by both Bay Area and non Bay rap artists. Some rap songs over the years that have included the words "rice-a-roni" in their lyrics include Timbaland And Magoo's  "Up Jumps Da Boogie" from Welcome To Our World  featuring Missy when Magoo raps, "Eating Rice-A-Roni with Toni Toni Tone/Keep Cindy Crawford, to me she's to boney" and by the 2Live Crew in their take on Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman" (the one that got Luther Campbell in a high profile lawsuit) with the lyrics, "Ya know what I'm saying you look better than rice a roni." 

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coming out today 10/23...dave gahan...

Posted by Brad Schelden, October 23, 2007 11:19am | Post a Comment

So these last couple years have really been all about Depeche Mode. But really, my life has been all about Depeche Mode and Dave Gahan. I still remember the day I first heard "People are People" for the first time. My life was really changed forever. This man named Dave Gahan has influenced countless bands  and artists. And much like Morrissey and the Smiths, I really can not imagine what music would be like without him. I am sure many would  like to imagine music without him, but not me. Generations before had The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Or Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. For me and thousands of others, we had Depeche Mode and The Smiths. Siouxsie and The Cure. I think most of us who grew up in the 80s and 90s either loved or hated Depeche Mode. You were either a proud devoted fan or you made fun of them on a daily basis. The mutual love of Depeche Mode helped to create friendships and bring together countless boyfriends and girlfriends. Really, where would I be without Dave Gahan. After releasing his first solo album in 2003, "Paper Monsters," he went on tour as the solo Dave Gahan. The shows of course included many Depeche Mode songs. But his solo tours really lacked the energy of a Depeche Mode show. I have probably said this before, but there is really nothing like seeing them live. Just watch Depeche Mode 101 again, if you don't understand. Luckily Depeche Mode was not yet done. They released "Playing the Angel" in 2005 and it was really one of their best in many years. I had never stopped loving this band but it was really nice to know that they were still as good as ever. The band released another live album and another greatest hits. They released a great compilation of all their mixes. But most importantly they reissued their entire catalog of albums as deluxe cd/dvd combos. The albums really needed some remastering. The final two albums just came out a couple of weeks ago. They really are amazing. Each album has its own complete mini documentary about the making of the album. Dave Gahan is now releasing his second album today, "Hourglass." Some might say, enough already, Mr. Gahan. But for those of us still in love with the man that brought us "Dreaming of Me" 26 years ago, there can really never be enough.

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(In which Job celebrates Stiv Bator's birthday.)

Posted by Job O Brother, October 22, 2007 03:06pm | Post a Comment

They say it’s my birthday. Happy birthday to me.

You’re like me, right? I mean, you HATE the song “Happy Birthday to You” as much as me. That saccharine dirge that well-wishers croak as they lug out some lit-on-fire, tacky cake smeared with artificially-colored vegetable shortening? It’s the sonic equivalent to that inedible frosting; coating your orifice with a greasy slime, leaving you wondering why you ever tell people when you were born. And then you remember why. Because they pay for dinner.

But that song! Most foul! And you know that it’s copyrighted, right? Someone actually owns that sucker. Warner/Chappell Music, specifically. The company bought the company who owned it (The Summy Company) in 1990 for $15 million dollars.

If I had $15 million dollars, I’d buy the world a piñata, and inside I’d stuff it with hope and love, and when it was busted open it would heal the planet.

Anyway, royalties have to be paid to Warner Music if you want to use that song. It’s why you rarely hear it, in its entirety, in films and TV.


"Happy checks sent to me...!"

I wish everyone had to pay to sing the song. Yeah, you heard me right. I wish every joker who decided to sing that song to me on October 22 had to pay the $10,000 price-tag. And yes, they would still have to pay for my dinner.


Lots of fun, famous peeps share this birthday with me:
Annette Funicello, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme & William IX, Duke of Aquitaine!

Now, because it’s my birthday, I can do whatever I want, no questions asked. I can throw every single 6th grader into a volcano, sew the elderly together into one, great, old-person lei, and chop down every Ikea store in the world to make materials for trees – I could do any of these things and more, since it’s my birthday, and that's the law. Yet, I choose to spend it here, with you, my Amoeblog family.

Lars and the Real Girl -- Finally an Idiot Man-Child Film I Wasn't Crazy About

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 22, 2007 01:02pm | Post a Comment
                 Lars... whoops- David Arquette                                                               The real Lars

In Lars and the Real Girl, Ryan Gosling plays a shy loner who is henpecked by nagging family and friends determined to engage him. He reacts to their attempts to set him up on dates and hang out in familiar and realistic shy guy fashion. Then he buys a sex doll which he falls in love with and all at once we're transported to a world I could only recognize as the familiarly formulaic "quirky indie film." Of course it's in the Middle West (Ontario in real life), the last bastion of quirky, lovable, soft-headed townsfolk with hearts of gold and fresh-baked good intentions.

What I had hoped was going to be a semi-comic observation along the lines of Punch Drunk Love or Chuck & Buck in one contrived bit plunged straight into the territory of an SNL sketch-cum-movie or an Improv skit that goes on for way too long (i.e. over 3 seconds). OK, it's not as bad as those examples, mostly because of the casting and because you don't have Horatio Sanz cracking up at the hilarity of it all. Ryan Gosling goes a long way in making Lars a character we care about even while the script or direction provide almost no insight into what's going on in his head aside from contrived instances with a psychiatrist. We never know if he really thinks the doll is real; does he ever have moments of clarity? What made him change from a believable loner into a delusional cinematic joke? We never know much of anything that goes on inside. You won't laugh, you won't cry, even though it's calculated to make you do just that. Ultimately Lars is just an icon with funny hair, funny clothes, a funny name and a funny relationship with others a la Napoleon Dynamite. Here's hoping he doesn't similarly inspire a legion of "hipster" imitators or else I'm going to have to make a lot more calls to the Redneck Squad.

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AIRBRUSHING OUT CONTROVERSY

Posted by Billyjam, October 22, 2007 01:00pm | Post a Comment
juice tupac
The image to the left is the album cover art from the soundtrack to the film Juice that starred Tupac Shakur as the crazy & wild, revolver-carrying character Bishop (one of a group of Harlem teenagers). At the time of its release in 1992, the film stirred up quite a bit of controversy over said gun in the artwork that was also used in the movie's advertising campaign. I remember back then, as you probably do too, seeing the ad in magazines, on big billboards and also on AC Transit buses driving by. The image was identical to the one at the left with a gun-toting Pac. But soon after, a heated controversy arose over the inclusion of the gun in the movie poster and the artwork was altered, with the gun being airbrushed out of the image altogether.

The whole controversy over the Juice advertising campaign was instigated by reporter Anita Busch at the Hollywood Reporter when she wrote a critical article about Paramount Pictures' advertising campaign for the movie. She wrote that some people feared the ad dipiction would lead to violence around the movie theaters. The article triggered a landslide of bad publicity, which in turn triggered fear, which ultimately led the studios/producers of the juice tupac film to alter the artwork and remove the gun (a revolver) from all movie related materials -- as in the DVD cover art, on the right.  

Among shocked rap fans at the time (myself included), the feeling was that it was a bullshit censorship move, with the real irony being that Hollywood was not airbrushing out guns from other (non rap related) movies. Clearly it came off at the time as a double-standard targeted at black youth and at a genre of music that was prone to controversy. (This was around the time of Ice T's "Cop Killer" and other hot-button controversies.) In fact, just a year earlier Vice President Dan Quayle used his high-profile position to slam Tupac's first album, 2Pacalypse Now: "There is absolutely no reason for a record like this to be published … It has no place in our society," was what Quayle said at the time of the rap album by the former Digital Underground member.

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