Thursday, July 28, 2011

Has Marriage Changed "Weird Al" Yankovic’s Music?

I’ve been a fan of "Weird Al" Yankovic (WAY) for almost my whole life. And being the obsessively analytical guy that I am, I have analyzed his music many ways. His Al-bums typically have a polka-arrangement medley of recent hit songs (interesting how funny the actual lyrics of "serious" songs can be, especially with the WAY treatment) and the rest of the songs are an even balance of direct parodies of hits and original compositions by Yankovic, though often meticulously done the style of a famous musical act.

Some common themes of Al's lyrics, either for the direct parodies or the originals, have been...

television (and now emerging communications technologies),

I perceive that there has been a change in that last theme since Al finally got married (to a very lovely woman) and became Daddy to a girl.

Recently (7/25/2011), the Grammy Museum hosted Yankovic for an interview, followed by Q & A, and my wife and I were blessed to attend. Although this wasn't the usual WAY public event (concert or al-bum signing), the typical Al crowd, albeit only 200 of us, was there: people of very shape, size, color, age, style, and I'd guess religion, too. I wanted to ask him a question I haven't heard him answer before, and I think I succeeded in asking him something he hadn't even considered before – whether or not he perceived a change in his lyrics since marrying.

At first, Al thought maybe I was accusing him of going soft, because he mentioned that he's always been fairly family-friendly. But that wasn't what I was talking about.

Here's what I perceive. Sometimes the female characters in his songs were the ones who were dysfunctional or horrible people, and sometimes the males were. Since getting married, it has only been the males.

Let's go chronologically through the relevant songs...

Al-bum: "Weird Al" Yankovic

Song: "Such a Groovy Guy"
The song is about a guy who thinks he's all that, and he treats women like crap.

Al-bum: "Weird Al" Yankovic in 3-D

Songs: None relevant.

Al-bum: Dare to be Stupid

Song: "One More Minute"
About all of the painful/irritating things he would rather do than spend one more minute with the woman who has dumped him.

Song: "Girls Just Want to Have Lunch"
Women want nothing other than men to treat them to lunch.

Al-bum: Polka Party!

Song: "Good Enough for Now"
He tells her that he's not all that into her, but he'll use her for now.

Al-bum: Even Worse

Song: "Melanie"
He's a delusional, rejected, suicidal peeping Tom and stalker.

Song: "Alimony"
She's taken everything and is bleeding him dry.

Al-bum: UHF – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack and Other Stuff

Song: "She Drives Like Crazy"
She's a very, very bad driver.

Al-bum: Off the Deep End

Song: "I Was Only Kidding"
His professions of commitment and love were lies, and he rubs it in her face, mocking her.

Song: "Airline Amy"
He's delusional and thinks he has a relationship with a flight attendant because she's doing her job.

Song: "You Don't Love Me Anymore"
Despite her repeated attempts to kill him, he thinks she loves him.

Al-bum: Alapalooza

Song: "She Never Told Me She Was a Mime"
He was clueless about how annoying she was.

Al-bum: Bad Hair Day

Song: "Since You’ve Been Gone"
He is miserable... but it was worse with her.

Song: "I'm So Sick Of You"
She's repulsive and annoying and clueless.

Al-bum: Running With Scissors

Song: "My Baby's in Love with Eddie Vedder"
His girlfriend/wife is obsessed with an unobtainable other man.

THEN....***Al got married.***

Al-bum: Poodle Hat

Song: "Wanna B Ur Lovr"
He offers a series of horribly lame and tacky pick-up lines.

Al-bum: Straight Outta Lynwood

Song: "Confessions Part III"
He forgets her name, is an unhygenics, disgusting liar who confesses to cheating and making a child with his "skank".

Song: "Close but No Cigar"
He doesn't think any woman in the world good enough for him, so he stupidly rejects women who are both highly attractive and intelligent women.

Song: "Do I Creep You Out"
He's an obsessed stalker.

Al-bum: Alpocalypse

Song: "If That Isn't Love"
He's self-centered, inconsiderate, clueless, but thinks he's helpful and loving.

Bad Hair Day is my ultimate example, as there are two songs strongly and clearly about lousy women and none about the man being bad. Dare to be Stupid is a close second, but Bad Hair Day is much stronger in this regard. Other songs that depict the female partner in a negative light are: "Alimony", "She Drives Like Crazy" (and there’s no counterbalance on UHF), and "My Baby's in Love with Eddie Vedder".

Contrast Bad Hair Day with Straight Outta Lynwood, which has three songs about the male partner being horrible, but, none about a female partner. It is noteworthy that he gives tribute to his daughter on the cover.

Now, the anomalies or exceptions would be the first, eponymous Al-bum, and Polka Party!, each of which have the one song about the bad male with none about a bad female. Off the Deep End has two bad male songs to the one bad female song, but the bad female in that song is homicidal.

I consider "She Never Told Me She Was a Mime", the one love song on Alapalooza, a wash.

Notice that since he married, there hasn't been a single song on any of his three Al-bums in which the woman has a problem; only the male.

This could be because when Al was a longtime bachelor, he (and his buddies) dealt with a lot of bad dates or difficult women, and that changed when he married. Now, the woman he loves has probably told him about some of the horrible dates and men she dealt with over the years. And as a father to a daughter, he's no doubt thought of what social scene his daughter is facing in the future.

Fortunately, WAY's songs as funnier than ever.

If anyone wants to pay me to lecture about subjects like this, I'm definitely open to making money.

 There I am, with Mrs. Yankovic.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Dropping Someone Off at Disneyland

I am going to note again that this disclaimer applies to things written on this blog.

Once upon a time, Disneyland (Anaheim, California) had this big, flat parking lot in front of the theme park entrance. If you were spending the day there, this is where you would park (presuming you drove there). If you were dealing with a disability, you were able to park right there in front of the entrance of the park. If you were just coming in to buy tickets or something at the outside souvenir counter, you could come it and use the 15 (10?) minute parking without paying. Same thing applied if you were dropping someone off or picking them up.
It was very convenient.

But in order to expand Disneyand from a park/hotel into a... ***RESORT*** ...the parking lot had to go. It was repelaced with Disney's California Adventure, a theme park themed around California, which is now Disney California Adventure, a theme park themed around... Disney... stuff. Also, there's the (Disney's or Disney... not sure anymore) Grand Californian Hotel/Resort/Spa/Whatever and Downtown Disney, which has shops and restaurants and live performers... like the theme parks do... but it doesn't have rides or the admission prices.
A large parking structure and several outlying parking lots have replaced the Giant All Inclusive Parking Lot (where many Disney cast members parked, too).
Now, if you're just dropping someone off or picking them up, you are presumably supposed to use the 15 Minute Parking Lot located along Harbor Boulevard, near where the entrance of the Giant All Inclusive Parking Lot used to be.
But there's a problem.

At least as half of the instances I have tried to use that lot, it has been closed off with orange cones. It wasn't closed for the day... as evidenced by the vehicles already parked there. But it was closed at the moment in time I was able to pass by in the thick Harbor Boulevard mix of vehicle and pedestrian traffic. This means I (and anyone in the vehicle with me) wasted time, gas, added to our carbon footprints, and added to Anaheim Resort area traffic... needlessly.

My guess is that the lot is temporarily closed so as to note which cars are still there fifteen minutes after it was closed, so those vehicles can be issued tickets.
I can't be sure, though, because apparently nobody is responsbile for the parking lot. I had long presumed Disney owned it. But Anaheim officers (police?) will be standing in there during the closures. When I've asked them, they have said it is Disney's responsibility... even though they are standing there... in unform. When I've asked Disneyland Guest Relations, I have been told it is the City of Anaheim's.

I guess that means nobody owns the lot. Which would make it a great place for Disney enthusiasts to set up tents and squat, or maybe build a house. Or protest something or other, or advertise for a nearby gentleman's club. Bet you'd find out who owns the lot if you did any of those things!

This brings me to my ultimate point: Pretend that the lot doesn't exist.

If you are dropping someone off at the Resort, or picking someone up, I recommend clogging up the entrances to any of Disney's three hotels, the closest (and most expensive) being the Grand Californian. When you are approached by a friendly, helpful cast member (they are still Disney cast members, right? Or has that been outsourced), just let them know you are dropping someone off or picking them up. If they ask if you're checking in, say, "Not right now." It is the truth. If they notice you doing this on a regular basis, and ask you about it (has yet to happen to me), and they recommend the 15 Minute Lot, nod, don't argue. They don't make the rules, after all. Nod, and keep doing the same thing over and over again. Because if Disney really wanted people to use the 15 Minute Lot, they'd keep it open. They don't need to close it to do enforcement of the parking. I can think of three different ways to enforce the 15-minute limit off of the top of my head that have to be no more expensive than using a uniformed Anaheim officer.

You can also use Downtown Disney parking for dropping people off or picking people up, clogging those lots up and taking up cast member time, but the Grand Californian is closer, and a nicer atmosphere.

I'm not bothering to write directly to Disneyland about this. I know from past experience that if I rant about something online, enough people in power there will read it. Maybe Disneyland Resort Transportation and Parking is actually responsible for the 15 Minute Parking Lot, and maybe they will change tactics. Or give me a real explanation. I wouldn't be bothered as much about this whole thing if Disneyland was typically a poorly run operation. But it is usually a very well designed and operated place, and I like the Anaheim Resort upgrade in general. That's one reason why this matter irks me so much. It is an annoying, ugly blemish on an otherwise beautiful masterpiece. It shouldn't be an ordeal to drop someone off there, or pick someone up.