The Clarks; “Producing ire” or “to admire”?


Nothing can polarize a random group of yinzers like discussing the Clarks.  A lot of people love them, a lot of people hate them.  There’s probably even more people that could really care less about the whole issue.  The reason I’m blogging about this is, well, it blew up when I mentioned my distaste for them on Facebook.  Everybody & their mother (literally in my case) has an opinion about the Clarks:

That Clarks commercial makes my butthole pucker...

That Clarks commercial makes my butthole pucker...

English: Gary Busey in Almaty, Kazakhstan in O...

"Wahooooo!"

Have you seen the Clarks’ Toyota commercial, or any of the Gary Busey Kia commercials?  Gary Busey is bat-shit-nuts, and I’d rather buy an inferior car endorsed by him.  OK, I’d really rather buy neither… but the Gary Busey commercials don’t make me want to change the channel, and they don’t make my butthole pucker.

I present to you some video evidence for your review:

Then, I posted a status linking to the first status, asking for help building my list.  It turned into chaos.  Don’t believe Joel below.  He’s a bit mischievous.  Tiffany certainly seems adamant about her love for the Clarks.

Help make a list...

Help make a list...

So, what’s the big deal?  Personally, I find their songs trite, corny, tonally bland, and their vocalist quite annoying.  My general line is that his vocals are the aural equivalent to taking a cheese-grater to my eardrum.  When I hear them on the radio I involuntarily sigh or roll my eyes.  Yet, I know some of their songs because (thanks to local radio) I have heard them ad nauseam.

The Clarks (album)

There's a penny on the floor from our last album sale residuals...

I understand that music preferences are an opinion, and that others are entitled to theirs.  I’m just stating mine.  There’s no need to get your panties in a bunch just because I don’t like the Clarks and you do.  I’ll try hard not to consider you hopelessly tonally-challenged if you happen to like the Clarks.

I get a feeling that a lot of people like the Clarks simply because they’re from the area and mention Fayette County in their songs.  Yinzers seem to like them because they’re on the radio, or because they’ve been in a bar when they played.  They appear to appeal to the lowest common denominator,  I don’t know how many people like the Clarks because they actually like the Clarks’ music.  When I ask someone why they like the Clarks, I get answers like “I saw them at so & so’s bar” or “They’re from here” or something about allegiance to IUP.  It’s never “I really like [name of song here]” or “I really like their song writing/guitar playing/etc.”. Again, this is my opinion.

Also my opinion…  This car has more musical ability than the Clarks:

It’s been told to me repeatedly that people in bands around Pittsburgh simply don’t like the Clarks out of jealousy of their success.  I don’t believe I’m jealous of the Clarks for myself, but I guess I am a hater on certain levels.  I hate that they’re representative of Pittsburgh music.  I hate that people with no grasp of the local music scene ask me if I know/like them when they find out I’m in a band.  I hate that so many other bands around here that deserve wider recognition go unnoticed and go without radio play.  At the same time, a lot of musicians that I know just don’t like the Clarks because they write & perform bad songs.  This undoubtedly fuels the ire.  Perhaps it’s “bandwagon” to hate on the Clarks?  Maybe it’s the “cool” thing to do?  Maybe we’re all just not tone deaf.

A box grater with multiple grating surfaces.

Scott Blasey

So, please, I’d like a discussion on the comments below, not on the Facebook post about this blog.  You can comment using your name/e-mail address/url, your Facebook login, your Twitter login, or your WordPress login.

If you like the Clarks, please tell me why.  If you don’t like the Clarks, please tell me why.  If you don’t care about the Clarks, you can let us know that too.  Let’s not resort to name-calling or devaluing anyone’s opinions.  We’re (mostly) all adults here.

Perhaps I’ll make another blog post soon trying to make a list of Pittsburgh local bands that deserve more attention & a wider audience.

Again…

  • If you like the Clarks, please tell me why.
  • If you don’t like the Clarks, please tell me why.
  • If you don’t care about the Clarks, you can let us know that too.
  • Let’s not resort to name-calling or devaluing anyone’s opinions.

Man stuff.


I have pretty much no mechanical ability.  I know this.  There are certainly things that I can do… like change the oil, but where we’re at now with on-street parking  it’s not worth the minimal difference in price for the convenience.  That’s about the extent of my ability though.  I can change batteries, air filters, maybe an oil filter, and am now confident I could install an alternator… but that’s about it.  I won’t do brakes.

Shouldn't there be a belt there?

Shouldn't there be a belt there?

This morning, on my way to work, I ‘m going down a side street in Mt. Lebanon and the battery light & Brake warning light both come on at the same time.  I know this usually isn’t good.  Two lights generally = “oh shit”.  My power steering was gone.  I checked that level, and the brake fluid level… both were in the good range.  I had pulled over in front of a nice large house on a side street in Mt. Lebanon.

I called my wife to come get me, took her to work, & commandeered her car for the day… so I could figure out what was going on.  In having no mechanical knowledge… I have “a guy” that I trust with all my auto repairs.  Only problem being the auto place is where I grew up, not where I currently live.  I called the guy to ask what the meaning of the battery charge & brake warning light combo could be.  (My wife Googled it on her phone, but I wanted to confirm.)  He was thinking alternator too…  I thought I was going to have to learn to replace an alternator today.  Towing the car to where I grew up and paying a professional to install an alternator weren’t in the budget this week.

After getting prices from several local auto places (& after posting on Facebook/Twitter and maybe Google+ asking for advice, and looking around online on how to install an alternator), I decided to go check my car out again before buying an alternator.  Luckily… I noticed something was missing: a belt.  I have no idea what it’s called… but it connects the alternator & power steering.  (Which I found out after a 2nd call to my “guy” to confirm that all the symptoms would be the same.)

So, a belt seemed easier & cheaper than the alternator.  Sadly, I have no idea where the first belt went.  I traced my route several times… no belt on the road, or on the side of the road.  Someone must have grabbed it minutes after I dropped it.  I had to go on the advice of the helpful guys at Advanced Auto.  I’ve had good experiences with them in the past… their pro-rated battery warranty is killer.

No fit good.

No fit good.

I go to Advanced Auto location one… and get the belt that’s recomended for my car.  I never questioned if it was the belt I needed… I mean, their database wouldn’t be wrong, would it?

An interesting aside, that I will chuckle about until the end of time…  The guy at Advanced Auto location1 tried to sell me a belt that was $18.99, but even thought the computer said there were 2 in stock… he couldn’t find them.  So, he said there was one for $11.99.  I asked if I should be worried about the difference in price… if it meant a great deal of difference in quality.  He said “Well, yeah… but this is all we have.  Basically, the cheap one is made overseas and the expensive one is made here.”  That made me feel better.  It’s a Subaru.  I don’t care where the parts came from.  They’re all probably from Japan or Mexico even though it was all assembled in Indiana.  When I got the cheaper belt… and went to install it, it said “MADE IN U.S.A.” in big white letters.  I literally laughed out loud.  Can we get over this “other countries are inferior to us in making stuff” thing?  It’s 2011.  Advanced Auto ought to put a bullshit meter on that guy.

Well, the physical removal of the bolts, the belt cover, and loosening of the alternator was ridiculously simple.  The belt wouldn’t quite go on.  No biggie, I thought.  There’s got to be something else I can loosen… or maybe I’m not thinking of something else.  I called by uncle who’s a tinkerer and who has shown me how to replace a starter for some advice.  I figured there’s some magic shoehorn kind of move where I can slip the belt on, no problem.  After a chat, we assumed that I had done everything… I just needed a bigger belt.  He even looked up the part number for me online.  Armed with knowledge and confidence, I headed back to Advance Auto location one.  I described my new dilemma, asked for & received the larger belt, and headed back to my ghetto Subaru broken down in a fancy neighborhood.

The new longer belt went on with little effort, and then… wouldn’t pull taught even when the alternator was lifted the while way up.  My patience was being tested today.  I called Advanced Auto… and asked… if there was a size in between the two sizes I had.  I was told that there was, but that I probably didn’t want it.  The guy told me to un-bolt the pulley from the power steering, and move it to make the smaller belt fit.  I could tell that even if I got the smaller belt to fit, there wouldn’t be enough slack to lift the alternator off of the close by A/C belt.  (I learned some new terms today.)

I went to Advanced Auto location #2, also thankfully close by… and asked for the in-between belt.  I was again told that I probably wanted the smaller one again if the bigger one didn’t fit.  I went through my explanation of why I wanted the middle size… and was advised to buy both the smaller and middle size (that all said made in the USA and were the cheaper brand by the way), and to really try to make the smaller one fit “because that’s what the computer says belongs on the car”.  Good logic, but we’re past that.

For poops n’ giggles, I tried the smaller one… again… and ran into the same problem… again.  I used the in-between size, and it fit perfectly.  There’s enough room to loosen it if I need to, and there’s enough room to tighten it if I need to.  It’d Goldilocks’ proverbial “just right”.  Thanks to Advanced Auto’s awesome return policy, I was able to return/exchange all the belts I didn’t use.  I returned the last one again to Advanced Auto location 2.

(Odd aside #2 – the longer belt was $1.07 cheaper than the shorter belt – but also “MADE IN U.S.A.”.)

That’s 4 trips to 2 different Advanced Autos to buy 3 different sized belts to find the 1 that fit.

So, what should have taken me about 5 minutes took all day. and probably half a tank of gas.  At any rate, it’s done.  $11-ish for a belt is cheaper than $129-ish for an alternator and me doing it = more savings.

If you have a 1998 Subaru Legacy Outback and need to replace the belt that goes from the Alternator to the Power Steering… and the prescribed 345K5 doesn’t fit.  Try the 350K5 before you try the 355K5.  I’m not arguing with Advanced Auto’s HAL 9000 or “made in ‘Merica” employees.  I’m just sayin’.

Thanks to everyone who helped today… with comments, advice, and moral support… whether it was by phone or social networking.  I really appreciate it and am glad I had so many people willing to help out!  If you ever need auto advice, don’t call me.  You can call me for cooking or PC advice… maybe even general electronic gadgetry.

Pandora’s Lunchbox


Heh.  Twitter is fun.  So, you may know that I have my W(aL)D Twitter account, and I use it to be goofy.  I think I re-opened the Subway door here.  Mayhaps this time I’ll get some sort of resolution?

Today, Subway Freshbuzz tweeted the following…

Does anybody else out there try to save half of their $5 Footlong for a 2nd meal, only to be called back by its delicious siren song?

So, I posted this in response…

@subwayfreshbuzz Nope. Not when 1 bite is a potential trip to the E.R. thanks to cross-contamination in the food-prep area.

Tonight, I have this in my Direct Message box…

subwayfreshbuzz Thanks for the feedback. It would be great if you could let us know more about this incident on our cust. service page  http://bit.ly/bhSAn

Well, at least I have someone paying attention!  I sent them a link to my original complaint to Subway, but I’d like to list the whole saga here… in case I need them to refer back to the message trail at some point…

Five. Five dollar. Five dollar… foot up your ass.

• October 28, 2009 • 8 Comments (Edit)

Subway Customer ID: 1918316

• October 29, 2009 • 7 Comments (Edit)

Quiznos writes back before Subway!

• November 12, 2009 • 8 Comments (Edit)

So, we have a response from Subway! – Not really a response, if you ask me…

• November 13, 2009 • 2 Comments (Edit)

The Quiznos Toasty Torpedo™ and the diminutive hand model…

• November 17, 2009 • 3 Comments (Edit)

“You never told me you spoke my language, Doctor Jones.”

• November 18, 2009 • 3 Comments (Edit)

If we’re keeping score, that’s Subway 1 and Quiznos 3½. – No doubt.

• November 20, 2009 • 3 Comments (Edit)

Subway®: “First, allow me to apologize.” – Again, this really wasn’t a nice response, or a response at all…

• November 24, 2009 • 4 Comments (Edit)

Allergies, Alliteration, and Annoyance.
– I had to take it somewhere else.

• November 25, 2009 • 6 Comments (Edit)

Allergies, Annoyance, Alliteration, & Acceptance

• December 21, 2009 • 1 Comment (Edit)

“You never told me you spoke my language, Doctor Jones.”


So, Mr. Jones writes back!  Apparently, he’s a fan.  Ha ha ha.

Writes back to what, you ask?  Well, a response to an email about the Toasty Torpedo ads… which stemmed from earlier emails about Subway’s lack of customer respect.

from Jones, Tony <tjones2@quiznos.com>
to ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
date Tue, Nov 17, 2009 at 9:53 PM
subject RE: The Quiznos Toasty TorpedoT ads?

 

Eric,

I enjoy your observations and yes, the Torpedo ads vs. the reality can seem diverse. Of course, with the type of bread that is used in this offering, heavier than most, I have found to be very filling and I speak from experience… I love the tuna torpedo, if properly made, and have a difficult time trying to eat more than one in one sitting. I have tried to order two and ended up about 1 ½ till being way-too-full; The heaviness of the bread, even though it looks like a breadstick, serves to be quite filling; Also, yes, the various forms of our past ads have been quite innovative and sometimes just plain ‘rebellious’. Our image has historically kind of gone down that road… with ‘baby bob’, etc. In fact, we have even had past campaigns of ‘being pioneers’…which is somewhat accurate…. First to toast, first with select breads, and first with gourmet sauces…etc… the Subways, and others competitors of the world, have graciously copied some of these endeavors. Etc…

On a side note though…. You are gifted and creative with the pen… with an edgy insight into ‘areas in need of improvement’ for various businesses; Have you ever thought of getting into an independent consulting capacity… or maybe franchise news journaling? Your giftedness at using humor along with wit, and poking fun at the various misuses, and abuses by brands could end up with a great following; Franchising and branding is such a HUGE industry, I’m sure there would be an equally HUGE following for this kind of venue. Just a thought man,

Have a great week,

Tony

Ah ha! Flattery will get you everywhere, I guess. Consulting? Me? So, people will pay me to do this stuff?  I wonder that the hell franchise news journaling is?  I may have to get to Googling that, or at least asking Mr. Jones where to start.  I still don’t think I can call him “Indiana”, though.

At any rate, I look forward to any comments.  I know you’re out there reading, and I’m getting feedback via Facebook & Twitter… but you can comment here too.  It’s all good, and it helps out my WordPress stats.  Ha ha ha.  You can even get your avatar to show up here if you use Gravatar or (I think) OpenID, or if you’re already logged into your own WordPress account.