Monday, August 24, 2009

Tag Team: Amanda and Steve on bad music, politics, celebrities and Steven F'ing Tyler

I tried to find a decent picture of Amy Winehouse, but it was an impossible feat. The Steven Tyler picture that you'll see later in this entry is disturbing enough.

To rip-off the disclaimer for Bill Simmons' BS Report, Tag Team is a free flowing discussion between two adults that sometimes touches on mature subjects. Amanda Jean Meyer was just working at the ads desk, minding her own business, when an entertainment editor saw her not doing anything and made her start writing things. She also had a knack for having weird celebrity encounters that were among the more popular features I ever printed, and that knack continues to this day.

Want to do your own Tag Team with me? Send me an e-mail ( or leave a comment.


Steve said at 4:31 p.m. on August 20:

Heyyy Amanda Meyer! I'll get this party started, as Pink would say. And, by the way, speaking of her, I'm a bit surprised she has had some staying power. I definitely thought she would just be a one-hit wonder, a la Amy Winehouse, but she has now had a couple of hits, so I suppose she has elevated herself past that territory.

Anyway! I am a bit sorry to hear that you haven't had any real celebrity run-ins lately. To refresh some of the new readers here, maybe you could share one of your past brushes with celebrity, like how your friend babysat for Asante Samuels' kids, or another tale. How did you get in on a Celtics autograph session anyway?

Also, since you are politically-motivated at times, being a poli sci major and all, what are your thoughts on Obama so far? There seems to be hellish, crazy opposition to his health care plan, which kind of surprises me. I view America's health care as relationship as similar to a woman locked into a tangle with an abusive boyfriend: The situation is clearly out-of-hand and not good, but yet when they have an option to leave, they just cling on tighter and don't want to quit the person. At this point, I'm in favor of just about any new plan, simply because it's not the old plan that sucks.

I don't want to end this on something so heavy, so I'll ask - What's a good band you can recommend to me? I like the new Taking Back Sunday song, and a Kings of Leon song (but not the other two on the radio). Outside of that, I haven't heard a lot on that radio that has appealed to my delicate sensibilities. And Guster still stinks; it's whiny music that teenage girls listen to when a boy dumps them. Very, very light presence in my iTunes, along with their imitators, like Dispatch.


Amanda said at 12:50 p.m. on August 22:

I am really, really glad Amy Winehouse did NOT stick around... Talk about someone I truly hate to listen to, and seriously, that's rare.

I still have all my celeb encounters saved on my hard drive somewhere, mixed in with school work and the like. I think my favorite is Bob Saget even though it wasn't so much an encounter as it was me freaking out that he was 200 feet away from me.

Actually, I remembered 2 encounters since then: I saw Steven Tyler when I worked at Apple. He bought iPhones for everyone he knows and his daughter (not Liv, the other one) got a laptop. Then he played "Dream On" on a keyboard we had on one of the displays.

Also, when I worked at Flour Bakery in Boston, I served coffee to Conan O'Brien, though I did not actually talk to him (or realize it was him until after he left and I was like "who was that tall man?"). As for the Celtics, a friend of a friend has season tickets and gets to see practices, at which players sign things. I was most thankful for meeting [Celtics' power forward Brian] Scalabrine. He's basically saving the team one three-pointer at a time!

Though really, I think that the Steven Tyler story is the best one here... Did you know he wears those NASTY Croc shoes?? Ugh... And I honestly thought he was an ugly woman sauntering into the store. No joke.

At times I think I may be the only conservative in this wicked blue state... I could write you a whole book of my thoughts on Obama and his health care plan but your liberal readers would hate me!

As far as I am concerned, yes the private health care sector has its issues, but the government's plan has just as many issues. Obama says it will create a competition between the two but I disagree, the second companies find out they can drop health plans they will and no one will pay out-of-pocket for private insurance. It will effectively leave the government options as the only ones there, and I'm sorry but I don't think health care is a right (call me callous, but if you are unemployed why should I pay your health care [keep in mind currently people laid off still get 1 full year to find a job and get a new plan]) but rather something we should be responsible for ourselves.

Hey, the government can't figure out MediCare or MedicAid, what makes you think they can handle insurance for ALL of us? They need to think through a much better system before implementing it... I'm certainly not defending the state of the current private insurers, I think there is most definitely a need for reform, I'm just not convinced Obama is the man for this.

A good band (other than Guster of course, I'll ignore your comment on them) would have to be... Paramore! I'm a big fan lately. I don't usually like female singers but this would be an exception. Other than that most of my music tastes are stuck in the 1980s; I'm not sure if this is good or bad really. As of late one of my good friends has been filling my iTunes library with his band's music, and I think it's really good. They're called The Jims and are on iTunes, if you are into punk music with slightly ridiculous lyrics (their new album has a song called "Face Fuck" as well as a song called "Fuck Face").


Steve said at 9:49 p.m. on August 22:

The odd thing about Amy Winehouse was how popular and yet destructive she is. Given how horrible her life is / was, being addicted to crack and all, it probably was a horrible idea for her one big hit to be about how she wasn't going to go to rehab. So, not only were my ears subjected to that horrible song, someone out there no doubt heard that song and didn't think they needed to get help for their crippling drug addiction. Awesome.

Okay, now see, that Steven Tyler story is SO FRIGGIN' COOL! The most recent pictures of him are... not flattering... So I can imagine that he looks awful with Crocs. And the Conan story is cool as well. Sad thing about him: My friends worked at the Watch Hill cabanas, where Conan's parents have a cabana, so they would see him from time to time roll up in his Porsche. Of course, I never did.

I *still* don't have a good celebrity story to share. The most famous guy I've talked to is Aaron Schatz, who is the head of Football Outsiders, an awesome pro football almanac. That's cool, and he's an awesome guy, but nothing I can brag about. I talk regularly with Marc Normandin, a writer at Baseball Prospectus, but I'm also one of his writers for Blast, so I'm not sure if that counts.

See, my eyes glazed over just a bit as you talked about politics. I used to be in Model Legislature, and somewhat motivated about politics, but as I've aged I've just lost interest. It happened even before I became a reporter, too, so I can't attribute it to that. On the plus side, it does help me in reporting, since I'm not super motivated politically. My voting record skews a bit toward Democrats, but this is normally because Rhode Island doesn't have a ton of strong Republican candidates.

Can I tell you a secret? I enjoy Paramore quite a bit. They are very much bubble gum punk, but they kind of remind me of a female Blink 182 or All-American Rejects. Not in terms of sound, but because they're a band that just plays catchy, melodious music. A couple of their songs are in the Guitar Hero and Rock Band games as well, and while I stink at them, I do like to play on normal difficulty.

I'll give The Jims a chance. Reel Big Fish sings "The Fuck-Off Song", so they do have some competition. By the way, Reel Big Fish is a very underrated band - that song is hilarious, and they have some other funny stuff like "She Has A Girlfriend Now", and "Sell-Out", and a good cover of "Kiss Me Deadly."


Amanda said at 10:07 p.m. on August 22:

I LOVE RBF, and "She Has A Girlfriend Now" is probably one of my all-time favorite songs! My friends were obsessed with them in high school and I think I'm the only one still listening, but I don't even care. I also like their cover of "Take On Me."

Somehow I don't picture you in model legislature... But wait - Didn't you win some election as a joke or something? Receiving as many votes as some fictional character?

I really wish I had noticed it was Conan - I really like him but he came in during the lunch rush! He's so friggin' tall. I would've said something witty... (Okay, NOT really, but I've had time to think about what I could have said.) I would've liked your friend's story better if he had seen him in his Ford Taurus and not the Porsche. You should have more celebrity encounters considering all the cool ones are from New England.

Now down to business:

Amanda's Brush with Celebrity: Steven Tyler
The first thing I did upon moving to the great city of Boston was sell my soul to Steve Jobs for $11 an hour. Working in Apple retail was always exciting, we got some real characters in the store.

One day my friend Chris was unusually excited, he had a "personal shopping" appointment with someone, but of course the manager yelled at me to get back to work before I found out who. About an hour and a half later I could not get over how ugly this old woman was who just walked in. No wonder everyone around wanted a picture. Oh wait, it wasn't an old, ugly woman at all... it was Steven Tyler!

Yes, THE Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, waltzing into the Apple store to supply all of his posse with iPhones and to buy his daughter (not Liv, the other one) a nice new laptop for college. Unfortunately for fans of Mr. Tyler, I have to share some bad news: he wears Crocs, black ones that were really worn in.

Now to make this a "normal" shopping experience, my friend Chris and the managers were the only ones allowed to approach the star, but it's not like the store was all that big, so he was maybe fifteen feet away.

After leaving for the day, he did the cheesiest thing ever: he went up to one of the display computers with a USB musical keyboard attached and played "Dream On" for everyone in the store. I would've rather heard an impromptu rendition of "Sweet Emotion," but I guess you can't be too picky. And as an FYI, he came back at a later date when I was not working to buy more iPhones for everyone on his Christmas list. Apparently he's a huge Apple fan and frequents the Braintree location often when he is visiting his hometown.


Steve said at 10:36 p.m. on August 22:

That story about Steven Tyler is tremendous, and it stands on its own without any needed comment from me. Bravo! Very impressive.

Responding to the rest, yeah, Reel Big Fish got kind of a bad rap when I was in high school. Everyone thought their big single, "Sell-Out", was all that they could do, so they ironically became what they sang about. I actually didn't even hear their other songs until my sophomore or junior year of college, when I noticed the titles and thought, "Hey, these tracks might be worth a shot." You're right about their "Take On Me" cover, that is also wonderful.

I wasn't just in Model Legislature, I was in LEADERSHIP on Model Leg. I'm still not entirely sure how - I think it was because I was one of the few super-left kids who wasn't a huge hesher. Yet ironically, I did want to legalize marijuana (and still do, but purely for tax reasons). Although I wasn't nearly as out-of-my-shell as I was in college, especially at the Cigar, I was loosening up a bit in my senior year of high school, so I probably did a better job with the public speaking interview they make you do than I give myself credit for.

And yes, I did in fact win a URI Student Senate election for the commuter seat, while I was entertainment editor. I did it solely as a joke, and because you needed about five votes to get a seat, since there weren't enough people on the ballot. I won with about eight votes. Here was the sad part - They told me one kid actually wanted to be on Student Senate, yet he lost to me with FIVE votes. What the hell? If you can't get eight other people to vote for you - remember, you can vote for yourself - then I don't really think you deserve to be on Student Senate.

I totally called Conan out on him not actually driving a Ford Taurus. Like Adam Carolla, I always think it's weird when celebrities try to act like they don't have a lot of money. Especially Conan, since his contract figure - about $8 million per year - is out there. It's not like he's a local talk radio guy, who actually makes $100,000+ a year, who is complaining about how much things cost.


Amanda said at 11:04 p.m. on August 22:

Gracias! Not going to lie - I did double check to make sure he was a Steven with a 'v' because I really didn't know. And I wasn't kidding about selling my soul - that place is more like a cult than an employer, and they suck you in! It's insane. But I still use my trusty MacBook despite these findings.

I tend to be of the mindset that music people didn't like in high school was probably a lot better than music people did like... but maybe this is a trend that was only true of my high school. I haven't done terribly much research on the theory. RBF's latest album is still pretty good, the cover art is also really funny and 1980s.

So I noticed on your blog you are a Top Chef fan. I DVR-ed it while I was on vacation and it just finished up. Yes, I am cool, sitting on my computer and TV on a Saturday, seriously.

What do you think of the new season so far? I'm glad that girl went home because I don't like to look at people with huge plugs like that... It seems like it may be a good group and I like the dynamic of the brothers so far. The only thing that sort of irks me about the show is that I don't love Padma... I feel like she isn't entirely knowledgeable about the food and I think it would be easy to find a host who is equally good looking (since I'm sure that's the point) who also knows food! Like that other judge from Food & Wine magazine.

I also enjoyed the Arrested Development reference. Despite becoming one of those shows with a cult following after the cancellation, I still don't know nearly enough people who love it. I just recently re-watched all 3 seasons and it really is better the second time through. I like how it gets to the point where it's just too ridiculous. And I really like Mr. F. Those were my favorite episodes.


Steve said at 11:15 p.m. on August 22:

My friend Chris used to work at an Apple store, and now that you mention it, I didn't really see him that much when he worked for it... hmmmm... It all fits together now. I would have guessed it was "Steven" Tyler, just because I'm narcissistic and wouldn't want him to spell it the same way I do. "No Steven Tyler, PH goes in my name, not yours... bitch."

I don't think I can completely sign off on your music theory. When I graduated high school, the music people did like was trendy, but more trendy-artsy than trendy-popcrap. For example, The Strokes were really big, but so were Radiohead. It was a mix of stuff I loved listening to, and stuff that people were clearly trying too hard to appear cool about.

And yes, I love Top Chef! It is the bomb-diggity. I will admit that I was only half-watching the season premiere, just because the first episode almost always means nothing. In fact, I'd say the first four shows of the season are just filler, where they get rid of people who clearly can't pass the muster. You know, like the silly dietitians who can't actually cook anything delicious, and the head cases who break down sobbing after every challenge.

That being said, in the short time I saw her, Crazy Tattoo Lady was clearly the one who was going home, especially when she got indignant during the judging. The judges don't normally like the chefs who can't tell that they fucked up at all.

The "Mr. F" story arc is probably the best of the show's three seasons, just because it is so bittersweet, funny and poignant. I'm always amazed at how good "serious" actors are at comedy - Charlize was perfect in those episodes, and similarly, Tom Hanks and Alec Baldwin and Christopher Walken always kill on Saturday Night Live.

Okay, one more response, and then this can be posted. My question for you - Do you watch Dinner: Impossible? And if not, why not? Because it's on Food Network, and it's awesome. Even though I think Top Chef trumps anything on Food Network, I still love several Food Network shows: Good Eats, Unwrapped, the crazy BBQ competitions they show from time to time, etc.


Amanda said at 11:25 p.m. on August 22:

What a silly question... of COURSE I watch Dinner: Impossible! I liked the one where he did the New York Times Crossword dinner and all the meals were "puzzles."

I basically watch Food Network and nothing else, switching to Bravo for Top Chef. I have a crazy crush on Bobby Flay so I especially like Throwdown and Iron Chef, but I am also a big fan of Chopped with the guy from Queer Eye hosting, and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

I must say, even if I didn't find Bobby (yeah, we're on a first name basis) attractive, Throwdown still has one of the better premises and I get so many awesome recipe ideas - Like puffy tacos! I'd never heard of them before.

Good Eats is really good, I like the host a lot on that one but I don't think I've seen Unwrapped all the way through. I tend to like the shows with an element of competition in them. Iron Chef always baffles me, how on earth will they get steak into a dessert? Steak ice cream you say! Wow! But the judges LOVED it. The insanity.

I watched The Next Food Network Star but found it to be a cheaper version of Top Chef, which I also rank above the Food Network shows. I really like Tom and I think that the prizes are a lot more substantial - Not everyone can be a TV chef.


Well, considering that this is now about 3,400 words, I think this is as good a place to end as any. Want to do your own Tag Team? E-mail me at


  1. I LOVE the Steven Tyler photo you chose... I think it really helps illustrate the part of my story where I thought he was just an ugly woman. LOOK at that photo- how can you even think that's a man????

  2. I agree! That picture is right before his most recent check-in to rehab. Shooccckkinngggg that he doesn't look so great.

  3. I too enjoy Paramore. "Misery Business," FTW.

  4. She is cute as a button. And legal too! Always an important consideration now.


Try not to be too much of an ass, unless completely necessary. You are subject to tyrannical moderation.


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