The Best and Worst of 2002 in Attack World

Another interesting year has come and gone, and, as usual, we can't miss the chance to comment on what went on. You may note that this assessment was written some ninety days after the year actually ended. Well...that is fine because it took us some time to come to a consensus on what it was that we were going to write! Kind of like waiting for lacquer to dry over that huge repair on that nice Les Paul -- sometimes it takes a while for the obvious to show itself.

So here you go...ATTACK!

Best movies we saw.
Austin Powers in Goldmember. It was great to see Sir Michael Caine in such a good role. We also liked Spiderman, which was a complete surprise. Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones was killer -- Yoda was the man in the movie. Incredible effects. As aficionados of the first Star Wars back in the day, it was really great to see how far the movies have come -- looking for a little more dialogue next time. Our friend Kerry will harangue us for not mentioning Lord of the Rings, the Two Towers, so here it is, hombre!

My Big Fat Greek Wedding: We liked this one because it was an independent film, and had some great actors in it -- some very familiar faces. This is the dream of all artists with little recording rigs out there -- produce something without "The Man" standing over you and become successful.

Worst movies we saw.
I Spy. A true Eddie Murphy disaster. This wound up taking my fond memories of one of the best ever TV espionage series down with it. I believe Mr. Murphy needs to catch a break more in 2003. He was really awesome in Bowfinger.  If you haven't seen that one with Steve Martin, rent it.

Minority Report. We are not Mensa members, so this fantasy epic, set in the year is 2054 (or was it 2002?) was a little confusing. The plot had the government rounding up citizens before they can commit a crime. Tom Cruise was the lead mind-cop, and, combined with the gritty look of the movie, I thought it was going to be great. It really wasn't. Hey David Lynch -- it's time for a new Twin Peaks movie?

Best Albums. The Donnas. They were killer on Saturday Night Live, and they have done well in the guitar magazines. The band has gone mainstream via Atlantic, they actually put out a very good album. Good job, ladies. See what you can accomplish when you sell out? Come Away With Me by Norah Jones. Is it jazz? Is it pop? Who cares? What matters is that singer-pianist Jones has created this one from the heart, and it hangs around long after the CD has finished spinning. This will be a classic.

Worst Album. The Eminem Show by Eminem. Not much to say here. I don't expect many Eninem tribute acts 20 years from now. He is an everything-baiter that the press just won't take on. We heard some of this at friend's house, and we decided then that this will never be in any house in the GuitarAttack camp.

Best Discovery.  Robert Randolph. Have you ever heard of "sacred steel"? If you haven't, you need to check it out. We are jaded -- we've about heard it all, but this stuff sounds fresh and is just killer. A coworker let me borrow a live recording of Robert and the North Mississippi All-Stars. When the CD started with a killer steel version of Voodoo Chile (Slight Return), we were hooked. You will be too -- seek out this artist and buy something of his.

Best Sports Moment. The Anaheim Angels win with style in a World Series without the Yankees!  The Angels not only manage to overcome the former kings of the American League, but they also defeat the home run guy Barry Bonds & his Giants in a 7 game series that's about as dramatic as a baseball game can be.  Hey fellas...we want to believe, but you've got to do something about that payroll.

Best Trend. More guitar bands. Just when we thought we were turning the corner, our friend Ken said he did not sell a single guitar at his annual preferred customer sale -- maybe some of the new guitar bands can help this trend.  Can somebody please take a solo?

Worst Trend. The Anna Nicole Smith Show and all of that reality stuff on TV. Shows kids it is actually OK to really use bad language constantly and really act stupid. That includes that Dell guy that got busted trying to buy some dope. When art imitates life... However, when I start feeling sorry for myself and think my life is stalling out, I check out something insane like Married By America and instantly perk up with a renewed sense of purpose. 

Lingering Problem: Stock brokers. Check out this article...we did not make this up.

Downward facing Dow

War jitters and a dour view of earnings mean the market could lose all its January gains.
January 22, 2003: 8:51 AM EST
By Justin Lahart & Meghan Collins, CNN/Money Staff Writers

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Red screens in the morning, traders take warning.

Yes, stocks were cued for a fifth down day Wednesday. Fourth-quarter earnings have been mostly better than expected, but investors continue to focus on the negatives, like the morning's disappointing report from Eastman Kodak. Meantime, geopolitical jitters have prompted many to view the action from the sides.

"It's more of the same today," said Jack Baker, head of U.S. equities at Putnam Lovell. "How can you step in front of this freight train? How can you convince anyone to buy anything? There are lower prices ahead and I don't know what's going to turn it."

Yes indeed can you convince anybody? I thought buying stocks was a self-evident proposition? Guess not. By the way -- these guys are managing your 401(K) and convincing you what a great deal it is.  It's the same old "pay yourself first" and "don't you believe in America" junk we are fed by these professionals.   Let's face it -- they are salesman, and caveat emptor.

Most Creepy. Michael Jackson, for sure. The King of Pop is still missing in action, and we still have no idea who the man in the Skeletor mask is, or why he's pretending to be Michael Jackson. What was up with the "dangling baby episode" in Europe? Can somebody please criticize him?

Worst Consumer Product. Pepsi Blue. We sampled this bizarre drink after a Course Of Nature concert in Dothan, Alabama. Imagine -- a cola with a Gummi Bear taste and aftertaste. Pepsico probably hired an ex-Enron guy to design this stuff. Unbelievable.

Something we don't Understand Award. That John Edward guy, who talks to dead people. Wow. We're not sure what the deal is, but it is tough to take. I can't help but think he makes a lot of money from some pretty desperate people.

Favorite Guitar Product. ReRanch paints from Mr. Bill Lester. It is great to be back in the States for obvious reasons, but one of the greatest is that these products are just a few clicks away. When the Brown Truck shows up with the paint, it is time to create another masterpiece. OK...not exactly a masterpiece, but you get the idea.

Worst Guitar Product. Those bizarre finger exercise machines. I bought one and wound up feeling the onset of carpal-tunnel in one session. I thought it would be great, but it wasn't. I prefer actually playing the guitar. But hey -- nobody solos anymore anyway, so why bother?

Best New Guitar I tried – Here is a direct lift from last years' tome...

None noted. All of the instruments I've tried in the past year seem like a rehash of some 50 year-old designs. I'm afraid guitarists are so entrenched that they'll never try anything new. When a moron will pay $2000 for an old PAF pickup on eBay, we may be in real trouble.  As General Shinseki says, "If you don't like change, you'll like irrelevance even less." Hooooaaaaahhhh!

And in the Unbelievable Department.  We bought an old SG/Les Paul from a guy in the local area.  You can read about it on the Opinion Page under Random Thoughts for 2002.  We fixed the "original" PAF while it was in our possession -- the other pickup was an old T-Top.  We took it back when we figured out the neck had been broken off and cleverly reattached with wood screws.  The seller wound up selling it on eBay for significantly more than we had paid for it.  Anyway, whoever bought it should be aware -- it appears that the PAF was not stock and had been taken apart more than once.   It also had a non-original cover on it and had gobs of solder, indicating a number of solders.  The four brass screws attaching the bobbins to the base were pretty rounded, and it sounded like crap.  Oh well -- "'s a PAF."   Beware -- lots and lots of fakes, bad repairs, and mods out there.  And we really cleaned that guitar up, too...and the reward was being able to get a refund on a broken guitar.  How is that for gratitude?

By the way...too bad the Dixie Chicks tubed in 2003 instead of 2002...there is always next year, though!  We called it: the Chicks, along with the rest of Nashville, have forgotten who their core audience is, and they are going to continue to pay for it.  They are the big losers in the "Did you support Operation Iraqi Freedom" sweepstakes.

And we're are still angry...We bought a very expensive Yngwie Strat from Fender in 2001, and dutifully registered it like they said to.  As of this date, Fender Inc. has never acknowledged our registration, has never sent us any mail, and has not updated us on any new products.  Gee...I wonder why these companies are losing market share?  We new Fender products at GuitarAttack until they get on the ball.

Something Strange. Where is Van Halen?  We all agree that Van Halen III was a real loser, but hey Ed...time to get something going.  We still love the legacy that is Van Halen, and we can hardly believe that they still aren't cranking out product.   We are waiting.

So what do you think?  Let us know what you think. Have a great 2003!

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