The Rule Of “The”

Bands whose names have the word “The” in them were created by unimaginative, talentless people and always suck.

The 69 Eyes
The Alarm
The Alkaline Trio
The All-American Rejects
The Andrews Sisters
The Archers of Loaf
The Proclaimers
The Killers
The Gorillaz
The Animals
The Wallflowers
The Bangles
The Cranberries
The Monkees
Sixpence None The Richer
Toad the Wet Sprocket
The Indigo Girls
Florence and the Machine
Hootie and the Blowfish
The Rembrandts
The Queens of the Stone Age
The White Stripes
The Andrews Sisters
The Babys
The Bacon Brothers
The Band
The Barry Sisters
The Beach Boys
The Beatles
The Beekeepers
The Beloved
The Berzerker
The Blue Hawaiians
The Blue Nile
The Bluetones
The Brand New Heavies
The Buggles
The Byrds
The Calling
The Cardigans
The Chieftains
The Church
The Clash
The Commodores
The Cooper Temple Clause
The Coral
The Corrs
The Cowntdown Singers
The Cramps
The Cross
The Cult
The Cure
The Dandy Warhols
The Darkness
The Datsuns
The Dave Matthews Band
The Delays
The Devils
The Dillinger Escape Plan
The Diodes
The Distillers
The Doors
The Doves
The Drifters
The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa
The Emotions
The Fabulous Thunderbirds (which turned out to be neither Fabulous nor Thunderbirdy at all)
The Faint
The Farm
The Fevers
The Flaming Lips
The Four Seasons
The Four Tops
The funky lowlives
The Gallery
The Ganja Kru
The Gathering
The Gods
The gordon highlanders
The Great Kat
The Guess Who
The Happy Family
The Haunted
The Herbaliser
The Hollies
The Housemartins
The Isley Brothers
The Jacksons
The Jerusalem Xperience
The Jimi Hendrix Experience (so overrated)
The Killer Babies
The Kills
The Kinks
The Last Emperor
The Law
The Legends of World Rock
The Lettermen
The Levellers
The London Suede
The Lords
The Lords of New Church
The Lost Boyz
The Mamas and The Papas
The Matadors
The Matches
The Mccoys
The Meditations
The Merlons
The Mighty Diamonds
The Mighty Lemon Drops
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath a Cloud
Mott the Hoople
The Move
The Music
The Neptunes
The New Radicals
The Notting Hillbillies
The Osmonds
The Pan Pipers
The Pogues
The Polyphonic Spree
The Postal Service
The Pretty Things
The Psychedelic Furs
The Rapture (Doom Metal)
The Rapture [indie Rock]
The Rasmus
The Raveonettes
The Real McCoy
The Red Elvises
The RH Factor
The Roots
The Rutles
The Sabres of Paradise
The Shadows
The Shamen
The Shins
The Shirelles
The Silencers
The Simpsons
The Sins of Thy Beloved
The Skatalites
The Smithereens
The Smiths
The Sound
The Source
The Specials
The Stands
The Stills
The Stone Roses
The Stooges
The Stranglers
The Strike Boys
The Suicide Machines
The Tangent
The The
The Thrills
The Tiger Lillies
The Timewriter
The Tin Machine
The Tragically Hip
The Trammps
The Traveling Wilburys
The Tremeloes
The Turtles
The Underdog Project
The Used
The Vandals
The Velvet Underground
The Verve
The Vines
The Von Bondies
The Walkabouts
The Waltons
The Watchmen
The Weeknd
The Whitlams
The Who
The Wildhearts
The 5678’s
The Beau Brummels
The Brogues
The Cardigans
The Celibate Rifles
The Charlatans
The D4
The Datsuns
The Elastic Band
The Five Americans
The Fun Things
The Gants
The Gourds
The High Speed Scene
The Hitmen
The Hives
The Human Beinz
The Jeevas
The Lipstick Killers
The Litter
The Merry Go Round
The Misfits
The Neptunes
The Passengers
The Psycho Surgeons
The Roots
The Saints
The Scientists
The Seeds
The Shadows Of Knight
The Sonics
The Sparkles
The Squires
The Streets
The Strokes
The Sunnyboys
The Turtles
The Victims
The Vines
The Visitors
The Wannadies
The Rocks
The Bamblefog Collective
The Nice
The Hidden Cameras
The Mars Volta

Except The Firm, The Cars, The Police, The Crystal Method, Temple of the Dog, and The Ataris. You guys get a pass.

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A Spelunking Adventure

It’s been several years since I’ve posted anything here, but I recently had occasion to retell an abbreviated version of this story to a friend, and I decided I would repost the full story here as well.

When I was in college I went on a hiking trip in underground limestone caves in upstate New York.  Cell phones don’t work underground, and it was so wet that all electronics that weren’t waterproof had to be left behind. We used head lamps that were powered by calcium carbide, or what’s just called carbide, which is a mineral that when mixed with water produces flammable acetylene gas, and burns brightly against a reflector when ignited. It has a flint igniter similar to a Bic lighter. You bring a bag of carbide rocks along and you’ve got a light whose batteries won’t run down when you need it most. It needs only water and gravity to work.

We brought some friends from McGill University and it was a total of about 10 people. It was NOT a public tourist attraction. Getting to it involved driving to a large farm in the middle of nowhere in Schoharie County, asking the owner’s permission, getting yourself rigged up and rappelling down a couple hundred feet through a small hole in the ground covered only by an iron sewer drain cover.

Once down to the bottom, we worked our way through rocky passages for a couple hundred yards that were narrow enough to stop someone who didn’t skip dessert that day, and then into a massive cavern with hundreds of sleeping bats hanging from the ceiling. Well, not all of them were sleeping. A dozen or so were flying around, and the ones that were sleeping could wake up from a tiny rise in temperature – so it wasn’t wise to get too close to them. After resting there and taking it all in for a bit, the senior spelunkers pointed to the next phase of the journey, a small opening at the far side of the cavern through which a small stream flowed.  At the other side, they said, was a beautiful crystalline waterfall composed of stalactite formations that were millions of years in the making.

Stalactite formations The opening was only about two feet high, so you had to crawl on hands and knees in the streambed to get there.  Since we were using those carbide-powered head lights mounted to spelunking helmets, you had to hold your head up or your light would go out. This was no small challenge.

They said it was about 400 yards away and was a tough crawl, and recommended only those who were brave and strong enough attempt it.  Since they’d already done it, they stayed back and two teams of us decided to attempt it.

I led the first team of four of us and began the arduous crawl down the streambed into the cave-within-a-cave.  At times the ceiling was down to no more than a foot and a half and my helmet scraped against it as I moved forward.  After what must have been about 300 yards I was really cold, wet and worn out, and as I paused to regain my strength my head accidentally dipped into the stream and my light went out.

The darkness in an underground cave is the darkest dark you will ever experience on planet earth.  I was a good distance ahead of the next guy behind me, and when that light went out I got to experience it first-hand.  You start seeing things that aren’t there, as your brain struggles to figure out how to adapt to the complete absence of any light whatsoever. The igniter had also gotten wet and would no longer spark, so with no way to restart my carbide lamp in the cramped quarters I let the next person behind me know, and let him squeeze past to go ahead of me as we continued on.

With only the dim flicker of that light ahead of me to go by, I crawled on with the expectation of something awesome up ahead that few people had ever experienced.  It better be worth it, I thought, this is hell getting there.

My crawl to paradise continued, until I heard the guy ahead of me say that the ceiling had completely closed down on him and there was nowhere else to go.  It was a dead end.

And it was so cramped there was no way to turn my 6’2 frame around, either.

So, with no light, soaking wet, freezing cold, and nearly exhausted, I along with the rest of the team got to crawl back out of the passage backwards.

When we got back to the cavern the senior spelunkers were having a good laugh at our expense.  “We tell all the first-timers about the crystal waterfall,” they said.  “You guys always fall for it.”

The lesson is, don’t trust the senior guys, and when the ceiling’s headed for the floor, you gotta know when to bail.

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Quote of the moment

“Car guys are the only ones who actually get excited when the engine in their car dies, because it means it’s time to upgrade!”

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Two Fiero GTs


I was out running errands in town in my blue Fiero yesterday, and ran into this white ’87 GT.  Always nice to see another well-cared-for GT!

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