In re: Van Halen’s Brown M&Ms Contract Rider

Heard about this recently on an episode of This American Life talking about the Fine Print in life.  One of the stories was about the story behind Van Halen’s contract rider specifying there should be M&Ms backstage, but the brown M&Ms needed to be removed, and failure to do so resulted in full payment of the contract and no need to perform.  Over the years I had heard about this and indeed thought it was an example of the crazy excess of rock musicians living in their own world.  On the show they had They Might Be Giants explain the real reason behind the crazy restriction on brown M&Ms and it turns out to be sensible and actually pretty smart.

The reality was that Van Halen was bringing into their shows 2 or 3 times the amount of equipment and trucks that a venue was used to, meaning that their floor might not support the weight, the lights, the electricity etc.  There was real danger if the venue didn’t read the contract rider specifying all the minute details of how much weight everything must support and how much power was needed.  How did you know if the venue was paying attention to the fine print and not be putting the band and crew in danger?  Easy check the bowl of M&Ms, which if they could get that right meant they found that strange request buried in the contract and probably followed up on the rest as well.

Snopes the debunking website also has a good explanation of this and has some quotes from David Lee Roth’s biography that explained this as well, including a story of trashing the dressing room when he found the brown ones.

In re: Tim Hortons ads work

For some reason I like the idea of Tim Hortons. Yeah that might sound strange as it’s a big chain and I tend not to be into chains. Well for one I don’t really put my liking the idea into actual visits , but still something about it being Canadian, being formally owned by Ohio based Wendys and the novelty of being started by a hockey player. So like I said I don’t really go there often as I am not that into donuts and usually have coffee at home or in a local coffee shop, but somehow the other day I had what had to be a subliminally induced craving to try their Iced Capp that has recently been heavily advertised mainly discusing the reduced in price. Strangely I didn’t even know what an Iced Capp is, but still I went out of my way on a 90+ degree day to find out. I was right in guessing it is a sweetened frozen coffee drink from a blender or some dispenser and for some reason it hit the spot (strangely as I don’t really like sweetened coffee. It could have been the heat I was enduring as I treked to various ethnic grocers around Columbus who knows). Not sure if I will go get another anytime soon, but on Sunday it sure was great.

In re: Soccer gaining traction?

Thought this was a good column about the US v. Mexico game by Bill Simmons who isn’t really a soccer guy, but claims he is getting into it (and was into it enough to travel down to Mexico to see the game in the Azteca).  I’ll tell you, one of the major attractions for me that he hits on is that the game doesn’t have commercial breaks and ends 2 hours later letting you go about your day

See the column here

In re: Champions league on FSC

While I might not be a huge fan of Fox News (or fan at all),  I think I going to be happy with the move of Champions League Football from ESPN to Fox Soccer Channel this year.  ESPN never made the tournament a priority, didn’t work to get an HD feed even when showing it on an HD channel (I realize there may have been tech issues here, but I know most Champions League had HD cameras on site and I realize to start FSC won’t have HD either being a SD channel).  The other thing was they didn’t show two games live at the same time, possibly due to carriage restrictions on ESPN classic (the WORST CHANNEL EVER I MIGHT ADD, way to buy an interesting channel and butcher it by putting on poker reruns, what a waste).  Anyway, the ESPN Classic games were always on tape delay and looked like they were being produced by a high school tv studio (its crazy, somehow that channel makes everything ‘classic’ looking i.e. dark and crappy).

Somehow ESPN lost out on the bidding to Fox who might not have the big-time ESPN channel for the final, but they do have FX which supposedly has a lot of subscribers and is in HD where they plan to put the final.  What else do they have?  Well tomorrow they are putting the Arsenal v. Celtic game (Arsenal, Arsenal, Arsenal… sorry) on the regular FSN channels that lots of people get (basic cable for a lot), while showing another live game on FSC, wow two LIVE games (actually more, I think Fox Sports Espanol has another and then Setanta has another etc.), but anyway what a concept!  Additionally FSC is supposedly going HD in January which will be great as they will then start carrying around 2 HD Premier League games a week.

But on an interesting side note ESPN has grabbed some Premier league time slots that Fox had subleased to Setanta (who ain’t doing so hot these days, still better then their UK bankrupt sister company).  I think ESPN is testing the waters to make a run at next years up for grabs premiership in the US (ESPN UK has picked up the package Setanta UK had and supposedly did a good job with their first game).  The thing I dread is ESPN putting scores all over the place and ending my days of watching a game when I wanted without it being spoiled.  That said, Setanta is clearly suffering and I wouldn’t mind having some more options for more games, but losing a dedicated channel like Setanta which seemed to be gaining traction until this year will be sad).

Oh well, enough on this.  Here’s hoping the 6-1 over Everton wasn’t a one-off and here’s to posting a bit more often…