Billy Joel and Goldfish Sandwiches

Eugene Mirman, comedian

It's hard to say what my guilty pleasure is. It's probably John Cage. That's right -- I'm so fucking cutting-edge, my guilty pleasure is most people's extreme avant-garde. Normally I listen to foreign art-music -- the sound of people throwing coins at rats, cassettes of babies falling from great distances, songs made of horse noises, etc. However, if I'm in a commercial mood, I'll get in my bathtub, put on a little John Cage, and pee on myself. I also love Jethro Tull (up to Bursting Out), but I don't feel guilty about it. Mad at the corrupt hijacking of organized religion? Jethro Tull is. Society making you be "a million generations removed from expectations / Of being who you really want to be"? Probably. You'll find your somewhat pretentious frustrations articulated in many songs. What the Cure is to lonely goth teens, I found in the orchestral rock of Jethro Tull.

John Roderick, front man of the Long Winters


Artists' guilty pleasures

My life consists almost entirely of guilty pleasures, but the guiltiest pleasure has to be reading both daily papers front to back every morning. For years I've been threatening to subscribe to The New York Times (the paper of record for us high-middlebrow aspirants), or just to quit reading the paper entirely and become one of those "I don't read the paper" snobs, but I keep returning to the P-I and Seattle Times like I'm suffering from the Stockholm syndrome. They paint the city of Seattle in soothing colors of mauve and beige, always sure to describe activists as "loony," transportation plans as "far-fetched" and Dale Chihuly as "visionary." It takes the better part of two hours and four cups of coffee for me to study them every morning. Oh, sheesh, this is embarrassing.

Christian Wargo, front man of Crystal Skulls

I have to say I feel really guilty for taking pleasure in the following things: McDonald's, Disney World, Urban Outfitters, lightning-bug rings, Goldfish sandwiches. The eve of shopping at Wal-Mart is a big one; all those poor little businesses that are being run into the ground by Wal-Mart's giant corporate shadow, like Farm King and Jo-Ann Fabric. It is a crying shame, but one-stop shopping is too easy. Anyway, my biggest guilty pleasure would have to be my collection of ivory shoehorns, especially because most of my shoes are Velcro-strapped.

Chris Martin, guitarist of Kinski

Some things that are not guilty pleasures but some would say I should feel guilty about. But I don't.

1. How much money I spend on buying records.

2. I still have all my old Billy Joel albums (and sometimes put them on when drunk).

3. I used to trade cases of beer, which I got for free from an old job, for records at various local shops.

4. Lancelot Link and the Evolution Revolution.

5. How often I check eBay to see if anyone is selling any Gnter Schickert albums.

6. LiverburstÉ(coming soon).

7. Teenage Fanclub is the greatest band of all time.

8. How much I love the Archies.

9. How much I know about the Archies.

10. Doing online research on French pop singer Lio for so long that I eventually (and inadvertently) found a bunch of photos of her en dishabille (means: sort of nude).

Redneck Rules
Gretchen Wilson's guide to dating and drinking

Howdy, gals. Gretchen Wilson here. Back before I was Redneck Woman No. 1, I was livin' in Pocahontas, Illinois, just tryin' to pay the bills and find myself a good man. A friend gave me that datin' guide, The Rules. Well, these here are The Redneck Rules, taken from the words to my songs. Hell, yeah! Now get out of the trailer and go get 'em, girls!

Rule No. 4: If yer heart's achin' over some jackass who knocked you up, Budweiser is a universal cure-all. It'll leave you one Bud wiser and get you in the right mood to find yer kid a new daddy.

Rule No. 9: There's nothin' wrong with the Bible and sure as hell ain't nothin' wrong with a sinner who finally believes. Especially if he's still up for sinnin' with you -- hell, yeah! God might be politically uncorrect these days, but a man who don't believe ain't worth his Silverado.

Rule No. 17: Men like a chick who drinks beer all night, plain and simple. Besides, who can swig that sweet champagne?

Rule No. 27: Wear yer jeans just a li'l tight, if you know what I mean. Boys come undone when they see a seam ridin' up yer ass. Hell, yeah!

Rule No. 35: Keep in mind, I'm an eightball-shootin', double-fisted drinkin' sonofagun, but I find guys like it real nice when you get a little crazy just because you can. Mud-boggin' topless always does the trick for me. Hell, yeah! -- Cole Haddon

Black Hawk Down

The murder of Hawk last week, like that of Jam Master Jay a few years back, was one of the most stunning of all hip-hop-related killings. Not to say "they had it coming," but you could see why guys like Tupac and Biggie Smalls got capped -- they pushed their beefs to the limit and beyond and played fast and loose with dangerous quantities of other people's women and cash. What's more, Suge Knight was in the mix.

But Hawk? No, he didn't play any of those games. Although he had a Hulk-like physique and occasionally played up that image by scowling in his photos, in person the dude was a teddy bear. We at Wack met him only once, and we spent a good half-hour talking about anything and everything -- we reminisced about the Oilers for a long time. And those infinitely closer to him confirmed that first impression of the guy -- in dozens of interviews with other rappers and his homies in the Screwed Up Click, everybody said that he was as nice a guy in front of the mike as he was talented behind it.

At this writing, there is no suspect, no motive and no clue -- no explanation of his murder whatsoever. And so there's a rash of speculation going on, some of it really dangerous. On the message boards at the local hip-hop site, some hotheads are already pointing fingers at the usual suspects: those boogiemen from New Orleans. One such, "Papa Josh," posted thusly: "I have been reading everyfuckingwhere that HAWK basically had no enemies, no beefs, I can't recall any myself. That this was unprovoked, no reason or motive that can be seenÉ.and what I'm going to say is simply a result of too much thinking all day, and thinking about the last six months of news reports out of the Houston areaÉI have a bad feeling that we may find that this was a case of New Orleans displaced folkÉ"

Yeah, 'cause, you know, pre-Katrina the Houston rap scene was as cuddly and safe as Elmo's World. Was it "New Orleans displaced folk" who shot Lil' Flip a few years back? Did Katrina exiles kill Hawk's brother Fat Pat back in 1998? Was it a really cunning "New Orleans displaced folk" who shot out Bushwick Bill's eye, and then managed to convince the rapper that he had done it to himself?

Ummmm, no. But if Internet tough talk and virtual mean-muggin' are to be believed, there are already plenty of locals looking for an excuse to throw down with the New Orleans kids. "IF N.O. BOYZ HAD ANYTHING TO DO WIT THIS," thundered the caps-lock-crazy "Barrebaby 27," "I FEEL SORRY FOR THE MURDER RATE CAUSE ITS GOIN SKY HIGH NOW CAUSE EVERY NIGGA IN SOUTH PARK GONNA MASH ON EVERY N.O. NIGGAZ THEY SEE ESPECIALLY IN THESE HIGH SCHOOLS LIKE MADISON, WESTBURY, WORTHING, YATES, WILLOWRIDGE, AND GULF SHORESÉPPL THAT DIDNT EVEN HAVE SHIT TO DO WIT IT GONNA CATCH IT TOO JUST CAUSE THEY FROM THE N.O."

Look, Wack won't tell you that the thought that New Orleanians could be involved didn't cross our mind, too, but sometimes you should just leave thoughts where they are: inside your own head. And this is definitely one of those times. -- John Nova Lomax


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