Faster and Louder Part 3 (To Hell with the Boys)

tohellwiththeboysNobody likes the same music I do.  That’s because they’re stupid.  I like fast and loud songs with funny and intelligent lyrics.  Nothing too long in case you don’t like that particular song.  Then it’ll get over sooner and another, better, louder and faster song, will take its place.  Overamped guitars and just enough of a Johnny Thunders type guitar solo to make the middle 8 kick ass for the chorus and a lively end to the song.  None of that Jazz or Blues improvisation; never a weak fade-out ending, that’s for folk singers and singer-songwriters like the despised James Taylor.  Something you can pogo to and get a nosebleed.  Good times.

Even J.S. Bach knew this way back when (No, I’m not looking it up).  They didn’t have electricity, so no electric guitar; no faster and louder; it was just a dream.  Then they invented pipe organs.  Don’t need electricity.  All they needed was some dumb ass like you to keep the bellows going.  Herr Bach knew what to do with it.  Toccata and Fugue in D minor.  Fast and LOUD.  Creepy too.  You can go beserk to Toccata like Keith Emerson before he became too pretentious (get out your dictionary).  If you can climb into the pipe loft you can really go berserk.  Louder than a Who and Ramones concert together.  Blow your eardrums out.  The pedal notes will make your chest vibrate better than a Kanye West rap in a 2010 Cadillac.

They knew what they were saying when they said:  “Go for Baroque.”  I bet they were sweatin’ in the pews.  Toccata yo’ mama.  Good times that 17th century.  Kicked ass over the Middle Ages.

Fast forward to 1975.  London.  Kids sick of ’70s slower and softer music.  Glam is dead.  People want to hang hippies in effigie (I blame the ’60s for most of your problems).  A bunch of guys come together and want to make some music but it’s gotta be faster and louder.  They want to sound like the Beatles, only the good Beatles pre-St. Peppers Lonely Old Farts Band, or whatever.  They want to make music like the Beatles, Herman’s Hermits, The Who, The Small Faces, all the good bands from the sixties, but it’s gotta be better.  And you know what that means:  faster and louder.  The genesis of The Boys.

Soaring harmonies and punk rock guitars, but with intelligence, tongue in cheek, and what’s most important faster and louder; actual songs that have hooks that you can pogo to or just go wild.  Forget poseurs like the Boomtown Crap or the Dead Boring Boys.  We mean Jam and Who songs with a little Ramones thrown in.  And actually singing, not some sod in a leather jacket screaming into a microphone like Dave Vanian.  Real harmonies and background vocals but still faster and louder.

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The problem was The Boys were too good.  Too punk for the “New Wave” pop poseurs and too pop for the punks.  What else can you say about a group that Joey Ramone and Paul Weller both said was their favorite band?  Weller even had a Boys sticker on his Rickenbacker (look at the cover of All Mod Cons).

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First there were the singles, then the eponymous (Did you put the dictionary away?)
The Boys
.  Next the magnificent Alternative Chartbusters, then their masterpiece, To Hell with the Boys, and finally the undeservedly maligned Boys Only.  How could I forget the notoriously tasteless Christmas Album by The Yobs?  Over the years a number of B-sides and throwaways have been reissued on CD, just proving that a Boys throwaway was a song most other bands would have killed for:  She’s No Angel, Schooldays.

A pitiful lack of recognition by the trendy fruity uninspired synthesizer music industry that became the early ’80s caused the band to break up.  Honest John Plain joined the worthless Lurkers for awhile, he wrote their best song, New Guitar in Town, and then went on to keep the flame alive in other places and with solo work with various backup bands.  Well fast forward again to 2014, The Boys are back.  Punk Rock Menopause.  Great title, eh.  Faster and Louder than even the old Boys.

I wish they would tour the States again.  I’d drive a long way to see ’em, and you should too.  Fly to London right now and catch a gig and pick up a Sigue Sigue Sputnik Electronic show on the side while you’re there.

I once drove 180 miles both ways on the same night to see a band, but that’s another faster and louder story.

toydolls

Fitbit Zip-shit

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Fitbit Zip Tracker

You know I’m here to protect you from the depredations of grifters and tricksters – flim-flam men and snake oil dealers.  You know that.  Well I’ve uncovered one of the most unethical and morally corrupt corporations out there and I’m here to protect you from them today.  My sad personal tale and my suffering should stand as a warning to all of you.  I’m willing to shoulder the shame that comes from admitting I’ve been bamboozled just for your sake.  I’m that big of a person.

Today’s whipping boy is the shameful and corrupt Fitbit corporation, makers of various fitness tracker devices that purport to help people digitally, electronically, track their fitness, steps, diet, and sleep.  Instead I’m going to show how this corporation is responsible for the death and disability of hundreds if not thousands of people here in the United States.

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The Culprit

Although Fitbit makes a number of high buck tracking devices, my particular expose has to do with the “affordable” tracking device called the Zip.  (see picture).  Well, this $50 piece of unadulterated crap and the corporation behind it are responsible for the most shocking lies and one of the most pernicious shell games ever played on people trying to extend their miserable lives.

I had one of these Zip pedometer trackers given to me by my sister for my birthday.  Now I’m carrying a little extra girth these days so I could stand to miss a few meals and take a few more steps.  I know this goes against the lifestyle I’ve laid out for you, but if I die who will take care of you, dear blog reader?  Nobody, that’s who.  So I may need to stick around a little longer than I’d like just to make sure you are okay.  Again, I’m that big a person.  My sister cares for my life and gave me this little canker as a symbol of her affection, so I could lose a few pounds and keep the ol’ ticker going.

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Worthless

Well I received the said device on July 14.  At precisely 10:15 am on August 4 the dog turd purported pedometer called the Zip stopped working.  It would not sync any longer to my Fitbit account.  I tried everything the worthless Fitbit troubleshooting guide website said to do to resurrect this little piece of hell on earth:  reinstall software, reset device, add as a new device, etc.  The computer saw the little thingy, my particular device, but kept insulting me by saying there was no account paired to the device.  I kindly contacted the Fitbit corporation by e-mail (no phone support, this should have started the alarm bells ringing) after doing everything the website suggested.  Little did I know that this would open one of the most damaging experiences in my short stay on this mortal coil.

After giving me a bit of a runaround about taking it back to the store it was bought at (Target), they reluctantly agreed to send me a new Zip.  They even admitted my device was defective.  I was as happy as a clam at high tide.  I even complimented the corporation, a certain Nancy R and the Fitbit Team,  in my e-mail and said I would recommend their company’s products because their customer service was so helpful.  Oh dear reader, did I make a grave mistake.

In due time the second implement of fitness evil arrived, a new Zip.  Groovy.  All is well with the world.  I disable the old device and log into my Fitbit account.  I insert the USB dongle.  I install the software (for the third time!).  The computer sees my new little tracker.  I go to “add a new device” and it asks me for the dreaded four-digit code starting with zero (this had worked with the first device).  To my utter bafflement there was no code displayed below the four little cubes on my computer screen.  I hit the “Try Again” button.  No dice.  I see that it says below to click here for help.  I click.  I see the same worthless troubleshooting guide on the Fitbit website.  Rage ensues.  I rail about the insidious device on both the Amazon and Target websites.

I notice something on the Amazon website, 10% of the ratings for the Zip are one-star, if you add the two-star, 17%.  I read the reviews.  All say the same:  “quit working, wouldn’t sync after X days, weeks, months.” (no more than the number 3 for X)  Is something fishy in Denmark?  Is there a faggot in the woodpile?  You betcha.  Fitbit has been flooding the world with these worthless little defective pedometer trackers for months, and knows it.  How do I know, because each one of these Amazon complaints has the same comment from Fitbit attached to it:

Randolph,

We’re sorry to hear that. We’re always happy to help you get setup. Please reach out (sic) to us at contact.fitbit.com for help. In your email, please include a link to this Amazon review, for reference. We very much look forward to hearing from you.

Best,
Fitbit Support

Here is my Amazon review:

Piece of crap. Stick with Nike products. After my first Fitbit quit working (would not sync suddenly), complained to Fitbit and they kindly sent me a second one. When this one would not give me the four digit zero-code too, I tried EVERYTHING on the Fitbit website to resurrect both devices. The computer sees the device but either won’t give me the zero-code nor pair with my account. Yes, I did everything, I am not computer illiterate. I spent literally hours reinstalling software, etc. My time is worth something too. This is $50 wasted.

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Now here is the really criminal part.  Some people purchased these hateful things for themselves or loved ones because they love and care about them.  Maybe they spent their last $50.  They want them to live a bit longer, be able to spend more quality time with them before they take the big sleep.  Now what happens?  The device fails, not just ruining physical fitness programs but raising blood pressure at the same time.  And where, my dear friend, does this lead? Premature death because of the defective Zip device.  Peoples’ lives ruined as they abandon health regimes the happy Zip face promised them.  Heart attacks and strokes at the frustration of trying to follow the Fitbit “support” advice for the umpteenth time.  Do you see where I’m going?  This is not just having your iPhone break, not being able to text, but your very life essence drained as you despair about your wasted and now hopeless fitness program.  Bingeing on Twinkies now to soothe a savaged soul.  All because of the evil Fitbit corporation.

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Well dear friends, I’m not taking this lying down.  Well yes I am.  Trying to get MY blood pressure under control even as I pass the word on to you.

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Where the Zip will leave you.

I know,I know, I should have taken my own advice and always expected to be disappointed, and I see now how true this is especially when it comes to Fitbit.

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Crap