Category Archives: The Simpsons

Is This Strange To You?

Hi folks. I’m back from my break from blogging! I actually stopped posting on July 31st, in my blog related to The Simpsons. In my last post here I recounted my tale of the frustration I am going through, while my apartment building is being renovated and the problems that have come up with it. I also mentioned having new windows being put in the next day and well… they are in and I will reserve comment on how good or bad they are in this blog… for now.
Today it is all about strange things in my iTunes Music library. I recently acquired a new iPod Touch because of iOS10. I mentioned why in a previous post about iOS10 earlier this summer, if you are interested in looking!
When I downloaded all of the music I wanted on this pod, I checked it all out the next day. I found something rather odd about one of the songs. It was the song N.W.O. By Ministry from their 1992 album Psalm 69: The Way To Succeed & The Way To Suck Eggs. The version I downloaded and purchased originally had a more thrash metal style and this new updated mix, had some of it taken out and replaced with some words from George W. Bush. Both the original George Bush and W Bush speeches about a New World Order are in this version, with George’s Father’s original samples intact at the end of the song. I also found it on the compilation Greatest Fits and a 2005 compilation, which listed the same mix as the “Updated Mix.”
I don’t know why this happened but I guess that it may have changed, dew to the current American Presidential Election going on now. I wonder if there will be any Donald Trump samples in any further updated mixes of the song in the future. If so, it would be very interesting.
Something else that is rather strange is the song Back In The U.S.S.R by The Beatles, from their White Album. At first it ran together on the album, with the next track Dear Prudence but lately, it has faded out like the version that appears on The Beatles 1967-1970. As Dear Prudence starts the airplane in the previous song is heard, as if it ended normally. I wonder why this is.
I also noticed a similar situation with the Cheech & Chong albums Big Bambu with the tracks Let’s Make A Dope Deal and Unamerican Bandstand. Dope Deal fades out, like it does on Cheech & Chong’s Greatest Hit and then goes into Bandstand, somehow with out missing a beat. There are 2 other examples with the Greatest Hit album that are Noteworthy to mention. The bits Sister Mary Elephant and Sergeant Stadanko are separated on the iTunes version of this album. Along with Cruisin’ With Padro de Pacas and The Continuing Adventures Of Padro de Pacas and Man are also separated. Those two beds along with the previously mentioned pair are normally linked together with each other. However, the rest of the album remains as it was released. So, why? Not that it’s bad but it does sound like someone put it together on their own iOS device, as a playlist. Then someone at the record label decided to take hold of it and put it out that way.
I noticed it very soon after purchasing both albums on iTunes and I find all of these examples very strange. Do you know of any examples in your iTunes collection, VS. Your cd, cassette or vinyl collection? There are probably more out there but I just wanted to point out the most obvious ones to you, that you would notice on first listen.
Well, that’s about it for today.

Names For Siri

Hi folks. Today’s post is all about names and specifically Siri voices.
Ever since iOS9 has been issued we have been allowed to use the voices which have been used for Siri as voices for Voice Over, which is a xcreen reading option for blind and visually impaired people on the iPhones. It is also available on all iPods, iPod Tuch and iPads for use by everyone! In the past we have only been allowed to use voices that were given to us for our use for this app. The English speaking voices are: Samantha (American), Karen (Austrailian), Daniel (British), Moira (Irish) and Tessa for the south African voice. We have all the same options as before, with the addition of male and female Siri voices for: American, British and Australia. Other languages also have male or female Siri voices too but I’m focusing on the English speaking ones because that is the language I primarily speak and understand on an everyday basis.
for some reason the Siri voices don’t have names attached to them and that puzzles me.At least, they aren’t acknowledged as such on iOS but some people have given names to some of the voices. For example: the American male voice has Been called Darren and I personally think the female American voice for Siri is named Allison, after the actress Allison Duff. Or, she just might be another one of the voices for Nuance software. I think so because there is a YouTube video which I will provide the link to here, with a voice which sounds much like her, in how deep it is and the timber. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wu-tIqnUUX8 as we know by now, Susan Bennett voices Samantha as the original American Siri and voice over, Karen Jacobsen voices Karen as the original Australian Siri and voice over and Daniel is voiced by British TV presenter John bricks. As for the voice of Alex? well, I don’t know but I know that the late film critic Roger Ebert used him as his speaking voice before he passed away a few years ago.

Okay, I’m going to put it out there and say that my favourite Siri voice right now is the female Australian voice. She doesn’t have a name but I call her sheila because, apparently that’s what they call nice looking girls in Australia. I like her voice and well, I must admit that I have a crush on her. I hope the real person behind the voice is as nice as she is as Siri. I have her voice as one of my options and I use her every day, to read me fan fiction stories and well, she loves me because I said so. 🙂
I wonder if there will be new voices for Siri in the future? Not just for foreign languages but for English speakers as well. I think the new male and female British Siri voices don’t really compare to Daniel because of his delivery and the 2 newer voices sound rather uninspired and unemotional. The female British Siri voice sounds like she is reading a news story and only shows emotion when you type in Oohh. The male British Siri is okay but is also equally unemotional. However, he sounds less like he is broadcasting the news than his female counterpart.
The male Australian Siri also has some work to be done on him. For some stupid reason, even the enhanced version cuts off the h on the word home, while sheila doesn’t. No wonder I like her much better than him! Also, he sounds much like Julian Assange, the guy behind WikiLeaks. I know this because he guest starred on The Simpsons 500th episode At Long Last Leave and I have it in my iTunes collection. Anyway, hopefully the male Australian and British Siri voices get an improvement by the time iOS10 shows up.
As for the female voices of the English speaking Siri, keep up the good work and you can always improve the voices in their speech and inflections. The British female voice is fine as it is, despite what I said earlier. As for my Australian girl friend, I mean the Australian Siri voice, keep up the great work. I wish I could make her laugh more though and it would be fun if you could add kissing and other sounds to it. The only problem is how would you spell the sound of a kiss or a hug?
Well, that’s about it for this post. As I write this, I am using the Australian female Siri as my screen reader.

Looking Forward To iOS10

Hi folks. This post is about iOS10 and my own thoughts on what it should include. This of course will depend on any changes made to various apps in the next updates in iOS9. For example: last year the music app was completely redone and fixed by the end of 2015.
I hope that iOS10 will continue to allow us to download the Siri voices, as screen reading voices because, in some cases they actually use more inflections that we would use in real life, while speaking to each other. Also, I think the variety of voice options is good in that, we can have a female Australian voice read a story to put us to sleep. We can change it to what ever we want to hear, depending on what it is we are doing at the time. If they could talk to each other, that would be fun, while it is reading a fan fiction story. For example: if Samantha narrated and the male and female American Siri acted out the dialog in such a story it would be really interesting to hear. The only thing that would be a problem is if the wrong voice did a character of the wrong gender. Could you imagine a man talking like a woman in his deep voice as part of a dialog? Well, maybe this would require even more intelligence on the part of Siri, as to the character that is being portrayed in the story.
something else up and thinking about is if music can allow for playlists, why not video playlists? If you have downloaded and purchased TV shows and you want to watch certain episodes in a particular order, while on a trip or for marathon viewing, why not have video playlist which you can create just like you create a playlist of your favourite songs? For example: I like to watch my Simpsons episodes in a chunk and not just the whole season during a particular day and I would love to divide up a season, without having to delete any episodes or put others on other devices. I think that would be a real bonus for not just a long trip with the kids but for those of us at home, who would like to watch episodes in an order we choose.
I have also been thinking about the clock and the use of music as an alarm. When iOS8 was around, you could use music as your alarm to wake you up and it would play the song once. This time with iOS9, the song plays continuously until you unlock the screen or press the sleep button on your iOS device. I hope that for iOS10 we will go back to the alarm clock playing a song once, then silence until the next song you would use to alarm you to wake up or whatever. If you have more than one device you could create a possible mix of music, to wake you up or whatever with iOS8. You can’t really do that now!
That’s about all I can think of right now, for my thoughts on the upcoming iOS10. I will be checking out the Internet for more updates on it and I am looking forward to what will be in store for us this September.

Slipknot Tuesday

Hello and welcome to a Slipknot Tuesday. It’s my 3rd annual Slipknot post, outside of reviewing or retro reviewing one of their albums. This post is simply to comment on how one of my favourite metal bands is doing from 366 days ago. The following are my own opinions and I don’t give a shit what anybody else thinks.
Since the last post they have continued touring .5: The Gray Chapter and things seem to be going alright. It is also the 6th anniversary of the death of basest Paul Gray and if you think about it, the band hasn’t been the same since.
When Paul died there was some talk about whether Slipknot was to continue and thankfully, they have. However 3 years later, drummer Joey Jordison was fired from the band, for the bands reasons. Corey has said that they going about it the right way, in order to be able to talk about why he was kicked out of the band he co-founded, along with Paul Gray and Shawn Crahan, better known as Clown. I think that they should try to patch things up and grow up and reunite. You can’t really replace Paul Gray but Joey Jordison brings his drumming style to the table and nobody else can coppy it and make it sound like Slipknot.

Now that I’ve mentioned Joey no longer being in the band, I have changed my review of .5: The Gray Chapter too. I gave it 10 out of 10 for being a Slipknot album and now, it has dropped significantly. It sounds like Slipknot only because Corey Taylor is still the vocalist but other than that, most of the album sounds nothing like what Slipknot should sound like. For example: the song Lech sounds less metal and more punk. The track Custer sounds way too much fun to be a Slipknot song and fun is not what Slipknot is about. It is about letting out all your anger and going nuts without any regard for yourself or other people. This goes for the band and the fans and I think that has been toned down somewhat, even if it is inadvertently so.
Something else I have been thinking about for a while is the trend towards songs which have acoustic guitars or conventional song structure to them. When Slipknot released their debut album in 1999, this was not what the band was about musically. I think that the influences that have come from outside projects other members have been involved with have confused the sound and some rather uninformed fans. For example: The Devil And I was thought to sound like Corey Taylor’s other band Stone Sour and both Corey and myself agree that it doesn’t at all and is purely a Slipknot song. The difference is that there is less double kick drum in the songs Corey writes for Stone Sour then what he writes with Slipknot. The other thing is that the song is in the key of a, which is not a typical key signature for any Stone Sour song. The exception to this is the song Red City from House Of Golden Bone PT 2 but that is rare. I hope that at some point, Slipknot decides to drop the acoustic guitars and just concentrate on playing heavy, thrashing, angry and violent music. This slow trippy stuff is fine but I would rather hear stuff like Sic or Eyeless then a song like Killpop or Snuff. Not that those songs are bad, they just don’t fit into how Slipknot started and how they should stay, in my opinion. I have all their albums and I know what I’m talking about.
As for the members, well, Corey Taylor has released another book and his other band Stone Sour are continuing to release the Burbank Trilogy., I’m sure everyone else in the band has other things on the side and can go back to them, when Slipknot goes on hiatus again. As for Joey Jordison, I really hope that he and the band try to patch things up and get back together. Then maybe, we can get back to the next Slipknot album sounding more like Slipknot, the whole way through. don’t get me wrong, I like Jay Weinberg as a drummer but he is not Joey. There is a certain feel that Joey has when he is playing and it makes Slipknot sound like they have, before .5: The Gray Chapter. Jay is close and The Negative One is a great song but I would like to hear Joey playing the same beats and fills. I think he would make the song sound even more like what Slipknot should sound like and that’s that. As for Joey, I think he also has to be less of a creative force and allow more of the other people room to have their say on future material. Maybe they have but I hear too much Joey on a song like Dead Memories. It reminds me of a song like Tired And Lonely, which appeared on the Road Runner United compilation back in 2005. If you have bothe the compilation and All Hope Is Gone, just take a listen and you will understand what I’m talking about. However, I also think that Joey is a great song writer and has given us great songs like the aforementioned Dead Memories and others, which he had a hand in writing on the first 4 albums.
Well, that’s about it for this years Slipknot post, unless a new album comes out. I have heard that it may be a concept album and that is a bit worrisome because that may take Slipknot into a less metal direction and into a more arch rock for progressive rock direction. Again, not that it’s bad… It’s just not what I would like them to do. I’ve said what I would like them to do above and if they have other ideas, I’ll follow but I may not necessarily like them screwing around with their sound. Obviously it’s good to develop and expand but please don’t forget where you came from. Slipknot are a metal band, with other elements which make up the sound. They have had 3 albums under their belt, in which they have expanded on their original sound and it is time for them to go back and kick ass, on record as well as live. The only thing I hope they will do that is in any way a nodd to pop culture is to appear on The Simpsoons. for Bart. Hay, Lady GaGa did for Lisa, so why not Slipknot for the character who loves to be a pain in the ass to people who are in a position of power.

Happy Belated Birthday

Hi friends. It’s better late than never to wish a happy belated b-day to Trent Reznor, who basically is Nine Inch Nails. He has been one of my favourite artists since 1994. He showed me that electronic music doesn’t have to be all bouncy drip, drip, drip. You can make it harder by distorting vocals and other sounds can be added, like the electric guitar.
I first heard Nine Inch Nails during a radio spot for a show with them on a bill with Soundgarden and Marilyn Manson. The first snippets of songs I heard was from March Of The Pigs and Head Like A Hole, highlighting the heavier parts of both songs. I went out and bought The Downward Spiral in December of that year and apart from the music, the packaging made me stand up and take notice. It was packaged in a Jewel case fit for a CD single, with the booklet in a cardboard package. Everything else I had bought, with the exception of Pretty Hate Machine, Further Down The Spiral and Things Falling Apart were packaged in anything but a Jewel case.
Now, the music is something else to talk about altogether. I mentioned earlier that he has added distorted vocals to the mix but he has used distortion in general as a creative tool, to enhance the mood of The music. He has even used instruments that wouldn’t be normally heard on a Nine Inch Nails album like: slide guitar and strings. The Great Below, which appears on the 1999 album The Fragile is interesting in that the singing is still Trent’s usual style but it is more melodic and the instrumentation reflects it.
When he writes instrumentals he likes to use out of tune melodies and notes, probably to enhance the mood of the music or for his own, or the listeners amusement. The all instrumental album Ghosts I-IV has loads of examples of this. It drives me crazy to hear that but I can let it go with Trent because if you think about it, it does add a rather strange element to the song, not to mention a peculiar dissonance to it. 
As a singer, Trent can sing a decent pop song if he wants but he doesn’t have to and he doesn’t. The closest he has come so far to singing normally is the song Find My Way from his 2013 album Hesitation Marks. He even goes into an almost bluesy vocal at times, which doesn’t bother me at all. I grew up on classic rock and Trent has covered such bands as Garry Newman and  Queen and sampled Queen a couple of times.
Speaking of sampling, I don’t hear that many obvious samples in Nine Inch Nails music, with the exception of the funky drum sample used in Perfect Drug, in the form of the Amen Break and his remix of I’m Afraid Of Americans by David Bowie. The only other obvious samples I can hear are from David Bowie in two remixes for Mr. Self Distruct and at the end of a remix of Head Like A Whole, where he samples Body Language by Queen. Oh, he even covers Get Down Make Love by Queen too, in a style more in step with where Nine Inch Nails was going musically. He even sampled both the song itself and the ending guitar of We Will Rock You at the end of the song, which I thought was kinda cool.
As for the remixes and remix albums he has released, I don’t have any problem with them. I’m actually more interested in remixes he has done for other artists. I have 2 from David Bowie: I’m Afraid Of Americans (NIN V.1 Mix) and The Hearts Filthy Lesson (Trent Reznor Alternative Mix). I like the remix of I’m Afraid Of Americans better than the original and the remix of The Hearts Filthy Lesson brings out more of the vocals in spots. If you know the song, you know what I’m talking about. You can find the original and the remix on David Bowie’s 1. Outside (Expanded Adition). You can find the original and remix of I’m Afraid Of Americans on the expanded Adition of David Bowie’s Earthling album and also on the iTunes version of the album, as a bonus track. However it isn’t listed as such on the normal Adition of the album.
As for his production credits, I haven’t actually bought that many of the albums he has produced over the years. The one that stands out for me, despite not being a big cellar and remembered by many people is the album by Two called Voyeurs with former Judas Priest and Fight vocalist at the time Rob Halford was pretty cool too. It’s a shame that it didn’t do as well as it should have but unfortunately, it didn’t have any Classic Halford operatic high-pitched vocals on it and the vocal style and dialect was unlike what Rob Halford would use normally. He actually stayed for the most part in a baritone range.  That may have been both the band and albums Achilles’ heel but I thought it was coo, bringing both the Trent Reznor production, together with the classic voice of Rob Halford. I think it should be rereleased on iTunes worldwide, just because. 
My favourite albums by Nine Inch Nails are a bit hard to pin down because they all have their moments of glory for me. However, if I had to pick 3 I would have to pick: Pretty Hate Machine, The Downward Spiral and The Fragile, with honourable mention going to Year 0. I would have loved to have listed Broken as an album but it is only an EP but is still great in its own right.
As for books on Nine Inch Nails, my favourite and only comprehensive look at the band and Trent Reznor outside of Wikipedia  is done by Canadian radio host  Alan Cross. Just look up either Alan Cross or Nine Inch Nails on iTunes and you may find the audiobook. I learned more about Trent than I ever did with Wikipedia or hearing about Nine Inch Nails on the radio.
Well, that’s all I can say about Trent Reznor at the moment. For my Simpsons fans, check out my new Simpsons blog Simpsons Sunday at https://simsonssunday.wordpress.com/ and I did mention Trent last year during one of my Simpsons Sunday posts in this blog too. In fact, I published it when Trent turned 50.
Anyway, I hope that Trent had a great birthday on Tuesday and the wife and kids are doing great too.

The Voice Of Hank Azaria

Hi friends and welcome to another Simpsons Sunday. This week I would like to say right off the bat, happy birthday tomorrow to main cast member Hank Azaria. He of course voices many male characters including: Moe Szislak (bar tender at Moe’s Tavern), Comic Book Guy aka Jeffrey Albertson, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon (behind the counter and target of being robbed at the Quik-E Mart, Chief Wiggum and many other minor characters. One of his most memorable one time characters is Frank Grimes and he played that part tremendously well and it’s a shame that he was killed off at the end of the episode Homer’s Enemy.

We also get to hear Hank’s real speaking voice from time to time, as mostly minor characters, who are trying to cell something or as a one time character. For example: The schoolteacher Zachary Vaughnn in the season 21 episode Bart Gets A Z. This is when Bart and the rest of his class accidentally gets Mrs. Krabappel fired, by lacing her coffee with booze, because she took their cel-phones away. This was hoped to make her much more laid-back and well, nicer. Obviously, this backfired and she got canned and Mr. von replaced her, for the episode. We find out that he actually has a drinking problem and he declares that he hates children at the end of the episode and is fired. He is heard to be chanting “I hate children, children suck” in the hallway. So, he is gone and Mrs. Krabappel returns, with muffins. For more on the episode you can find it on iTunes.

That is just one example of Hank’s real voice coming out. Another more obvious example is Duffman, when he isn’t referring to himself in the third person and uttering his catch fraise “OH YEAH” he uses his normal voice for the character. An example of this is in the episode Eternal Moonshine Of The Simpson Mind (Season 19) where he hosts Marge’s surprise party for Homer. He does his usual third person reference but his watch alarm goes off. He says “Um, it’s 11:00. Do you wanna pay for the extra hour. Or…” and the party continues when Marge says “okay.” There are many more examples, with and without his own natural dialect. For example: Krusty The Clowns agent is voiced by him in a New York accent. There are many other examples of his voice in the series and I can’t name them all here because there are that many.

Well that’s about it for this weeks post. Check out Chris Ladesma’s blog. He is the Music Editor for The Simpsons and has been since day 1.
http://simpsonsmusic500.wordpress.com/author/simpsonsmusic500/
Also, check out Yeardley Smith’s blog at http://gobbingoff.tumblr.com
Don’t forget about Marchez Vous, which is her women’s shoe designer company, which she started earlier in the decade. You can check out their website at
http://www.marchesvous.com
Additionally, for more news on The Simpsons, you can go to http://news.simpsonswiki.com/
You can also comment here or you can email me at blindgordie@gmail.com and I will reply as soon as I can to all messages I receive. If you follow me on Twitter or are my friend on Facebook you can comment directly to me that way too.
You can follow Simpsons Executive Producer Al Jean on Twitter and his Twitter handle is @AlJean.
He has ran the show since Season 13 and has ran it during Seasons 3 and 4.
Anyway, that is it for this weeks post. Talk to you again next Sunday

The Simpsons and The Canadian iTunes Store

Hi folks. Yes, it’s a Monday and an unusual day for me to post but, I have something to get off my chest. If you are a Canadian cidisen and you use the Canadian iTunes Store and are a fan of The Simpsons and you have purchased the latest season Season 27, you may notice that a couple of episodes have since aired. The last one available on the Canadian iTunes Store was The Marge-Ian Chronicles, which aired on March 13 and was available on Saturday March 19th. This was the last episode which has been available to those of us in Canada, who have purchased the Season Pass. I have checked on Google and all episodes so far are available on the American iTunes Store, Hmmm!

Clearly, something is wrong and I want to know what is going on and why, I am not receiving the episodes in a timely manner. I may not necessarily like every episode but it is important that they become available in a reasonable amount of time, after airing in all iTunes Stores world wide. I have contacted iTunes Support on this issue and nothing so far, has been said about it to me in my email. I certainly hope that this post will get the attention of certain people and that this issue, what ever it is can be resolved quickly.