Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Aristocrats - Reviewed by the Five Paragraph Bitter Film Critic

This is the movie I have been waiting my whole life for.

As a former stand-up comic, I was introduced to the world of the titular joke in the late `90s, at a comedy club in Iowa. I had heard the joke before in it's basic sense - guy walks into the agent's office, tells him he's got a great act, a *family* act, and then proceeds to have sex with his kids. The act's name? "The Aristocrats!" In itself, it's not funny.

However, when told by a professional funny person, the joke takes on a life of its own. The sex gets naughtier, kinkier and, depending on the jurisdiction, probably illegal. The kids get younger, the man gets nastier, animals are involved. Nothing is sacred from the lengths this man will go to impress this agent - no religious, historical or political icon can escape the power of the Aristocrats.

This movie examines this truly tasteless joke, and is told from old-time funny men like Don Rickles and Larry Storch to guys who made their names during stand-ups boom in the 1970s and 1980s - Robin Williams, Taylor Negron, for example, and current stars like the South Park gang, Dana Gould and Doug Stanhope...whom I've seen naked. Thrice.

This is not a family movie. This is not a feel-good film. There are no heroes, no plucky young orphans fighting an evil lord. There is Sarah Silverman, though, and she's close. If you like raw, crude, in-your-face humor and can swim in a pool of profanity, and don't mind hearing Bob Saget use words he NEVER used on "Full House," then this is the film for you.

---------------- 4.7 Whammies out of 6. 1 whole Whammy was deducted for having WAY too many Eric Idle and Billy Connolly scenes, and not nearly enough Bob Saget and Emo Phillips. A second Whammy was deducted for having the completely unfunny Paul Reiser dominate part of the film. However, a .7 of a Whammy was added because I've met seven of the performers in the film, and each one of those bastards is worth a tenth of a Whammy. ----------------------

Friday, August 26, 2005

Put the beer can down, Sidney

From the A.P. :

Orioles' Ponson arrested, charged with DUI
Pitcher stopped on I-95 early today for following too closely
The Associated Press
Originally published August 25, 2005, 7:12 AM EDT

Baltimore Orioles pitcher Sidney Ponson was arrested early this morning for driving under the influence and driving while impaired, WJZ-TV has reported.

The arrest was made after a traffic stop at 1:31 a.m. on southbound Interstate 95, south of I-395, said Maryland Transportation Authority Police Corporal Pamela Thorne.

Thorne said Ponson was driving a 2005 Mercedes-Benz and was stopped for following to closely. He was subsequently arrested for the traffic violation, DUI and DWI and has been released.

------------ SNIPPED --------------

Sad thing is, though - this isn't the first time, second time, or even fifth alcohol-related incident he's had.

When I lived in Canton, I saw him and Scott Erickson come into Looney's on a Sunday night, and Sidney was *BEYOND* plastered. Couldn't walk down the stairs. He slurred his words, babbled, spit up, punched at a stripper - all in a night of fun. He was scheduled to pitch in 36 hours.

I've seen him out at all sorts of Baltimore hot spots - Club One, Power Plant, Bay Cafe - and each time he was just buttered up. He can drink a goodly amount of booze, and he's the life of the party, but he's doing way too much. He's now no longer a talented pitcher pissing away his talent - he's an alcoholic pissing away his LIFE.

He is literally the life of the party when he gets going. Absolutely hilarious guy, boisterous, fun-loving - the kind of dude you want to have a beer with. He's a laughing sort, always friendly, kinda like that fat drunk fraternity guy who you just couldn't help but to like. He'd have been a fantastic Baltimore Colt, circa 1959, when you could walk into the corner bar and guys would buy you a Premium because you were a Colt. Well, Sidney's in that mold, but he's also getting the Grey Goose to chase his beer. He's got great taste in drinks, but an unquenchable thirst.

But, just like the fat drunk fraternity guy, you also have to pity him, because fat drunk and stupid is no way to get through life, son.

If the O's are smart, they shut him down this year, and put him in detox. They can't mandate it because of the player's union, but if there's ever been a guy who needs it, it's Sidney. He needs to get off the sauce. If he wasn't a baseball pitcher, he'd be in jail for a while. This has been a bad year for him, and he's hitting rock bottom. This is the moment of clarity for an alcoholic, if he has one, because he's really in trouble now. 2 drunk driving charges, an assault on the beach and a fight at the bar, and that's just the stuff we know about in the past 12 months. He also had a charge against him in the minor leagues. What else might be lurking on his rapidly-expanding rap sheet?

Sidney doesn't need to go to AAA, he doesn't need to go on the DL - he needs to go to A.A. and the Betty Ford Clinic before he kills himself or somebody else. Wasting baseball talent is one thing; wasting lives is another.

- - - - 30 - - - -

Monday, August 15, 2005

Stewie Griffin - The Untold Story - Reviewed by the Five Paragraph Bitter Film Critic

Allright, I can hear you griping already, my fine audience of morally-upright folks. "How dare you review a DVD movie that hasn't come out yet? Why would you support illegal file sharing and the theft of intellectual property? Why, I never!" Why yes, my sin-free flock, you are right. I am bad. I am naughty. I downloaded a movie that hasn't been released yet. Do I feel guilty about it? Not one bit. See, because I love the Family Guy, I will buy at least one copy for me, about 5 copies as gifts, and, thanks to people like me who downloaded the original tv broadcasts, the show is back on the air. So, I'm sorry if I don't see where I'm exactly harming anybody, as I wear my Family Guy-licensed "Evil Monkey" t-shirt. Now, on to the movie.

First things first - it is DAMNED funny. The story appears to be three seperate stories about Stewie, the maniacal omnisexual baby, and his quest to find out his place in the world. After a near-death experience sends Stewie briefly into Hell, he decides to become, once and for all, a "good boy." One day, he sees on TV a man who looks a lot like himself in San Francisco - could this be Stewie's REAL father? So Brian and Stewie hit the road in Quagmire's Winnebago (a.k.a. the Wanna-Bang-O) RV and go on a roadtrip. Glen's goal is to do a chick in each state, and the three head westward.

The best line in the movie comes from Brian looking at the sign Quagmire put on the side of the Wanna-Bang-O - "Cross Country Trip" BRIAN: Shouldn't there be a 'U' in Country?" QUAGMIRE: "Nope!"

Then again, hearing Stewie, Peter and Lois all drop the "F-Bomb" without that annoying little beep is pretty much up there, too. Peter's almost nonsensical rant about that damned Lindsay Lohan, "and her outfits, all up there, in her little outfits. What do you want, Lindsay, do you want to go out with me, is that what you want?" And, by the way, Meg gets a sex change, Stewie shaves his ass, Brian gets him drunk, Chris becomes a cop, and Asian reporter Tricia Takinawa love David Bowie long-time.

In short, it's an hour and a half of Family Guy. There are just a couple of stretches of slowness, and a couple of jokes that just don't hit, but, it's yet again a brilliant slice of hilarity from Seth MacFarlane and his crew. 90 minutes of Family Guy is works quite well.

----------------- Total Rating : 6 out of 6.5 Whammies. A 1/2 Whammy was deducted for an extremely long download time. -------------------------------------------------------------

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Why I'm Bailing on online dating

A few random reasons over the past couple of months why I'm giving up my Match.com ad:

1) If you're mad at your current boyfriend, and are reading this site out of spite, please don't go so far as to create a profile, respond to a few ads, go out on a couple of dates, and then decide you're not mad at your boyfriend anymore. You wouldn't trust a guy who would do that; so why do it yourself?

2) If you then get re-mad at the boyfriend, don't call up one of the aforementioned dates, and beg forgiveness, and then get back with the boyfriend anyway.

3) If you hear voices in your head - not like an inner dialogue, but, seriously, multiple voices - please don't reply to an ad. You need to go to therapy.

4) Please don't tell a guy you've fallen in love with them after the first MEETING. I'm not a bad guy, but I'm also not that dang sexy.

5) If you tell a guy that you like them, and can't wait to see them again...don't wait over a month to even talk to them again, let alone even reply to an email.

6) Do not spend your entire time ont he first date telling me about how there are no worthwhile single men in the DC area anymore. Please. I don't have time for your psuedo-drama.

7) Simply be honest - be honest in your emails, be honest on your phone calls, and be honest if and when we finally meet. If you lied about your pictures, your profile, your status - it'll all become painfully obvious in person. So, just be yourself.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Are We Not Men? Or, Are We Devo?

From a discussion on another board, in which the male role was debated...


Men aren't becoming more feminine, per se; we're simply the first generation in ages in which men are expected to be less manly. I know, I know, Loocy, I gots some 'splainin' to do. But, since I'm a history nut, my 'splainin' should (hopefully) make sense.

Ever since the women's suffrage movement in the United States, men have felt like they were under attack by women. For every perceived threat, real or imagined, men have tried to rally against women's advances - for every Elizabeth Cady Stanton or Susan B. Anthony, meet psychologist H.W. Frink and anti-Suffragist William Cremer. Frink thought feminists were crazy, and were simply hiding their masculine desires. Cremer lauched a campaign against women's voting rights, and collected 250,000 signatures. That was pre-WWI, too - no e-mail petitions for this guy!

For every group that was women-centric - the Abolitionists, Labor movement, Prohibitionists, for instance - there was an equally large male-centric group who supported them, and at least one male-centric group who opposed them. So, as society was changing, lifestyles changed and mindsets began to as well.

There was one constant in all this, though. Traditional gender roles within the home were still fairly stable. Eventhough women could vote and have jobs and political power, they still took care of the home, and the man was responsible for lifting heavy things and killing icky spiders. Mom was the caregiver to the children, and Dad was the disciplinarian. One of the most dreaded phrases in the 20th Century - "Wait until your father comes home!"

Nowadays, roles are reversed all the time. Of my last four girlfriends, I've made less money at that time than they did, and I wasn't exactly homeless, either! (came close once, though...) Had any of those relationships progressed, I wouldn't be the primary income source for the household, a BIG difference over life 20 years ago. Every day I go to work at my DoD building, I see at least 30 female soldiers who are trained to be better fighters, better shooters and in better shape than most men on the planet. Meanwhile, poor little civilian bachelors have to figure out what to cook for dinner, what tv shows to watch, and what to wear in the morning. Female soldiers go back to the base, go to the mess hall and then wear the same outfit tomorrow.
Between medical science extending our lifespans, our potential for health and increasing our child-bearing range, a girl who's 23 and not married isn't an old maid anymore. That wasn't the case in 1905. She's got 60 more years of life expectancy now; then, she had maybe 20. There's less pressure now to settle down at a certain age. Also, more people are opting to simply not have kids at all, futher reducing the need for marriage.

All the stereotypical male events of the past are a lot harder to do nowadays. My grandfather and my great uncles in Pennsylvania loved to hunt and fish, and the living ones still do, and have passed that love to their kids. Now, we have to watch for endangered species and toxic lakes and Blinky, the three-eyed fish. Guys used to be able to hang around a garage and fix up old cars. Have you SEEN Pimp My Ride or Monster Garage? Can't do that anymore. Computer relays, anti-lock brakes, airflow control modulators - you not only have to know advanced diesel physics, but also electronics, computer science, art and welding. Old time farmers used to know how to fix everything on their ranch - the tractor, the truck, the plow, the windmill. Hell, if my circuit breaker trips, I'm sitting there like a dummy, poking my George Foreman grill, wondering how it shut off my microwave AND my lights.

The male role is just different than it was. We're expected to me more involved in the raising of the children. We're expected to be at least somewhat capable in the kitchen and the bedroom. We can dress ourselves, and do our own laundry, and even buy clothes that sort-of fit. We're not supposed to be non-communicative all the time. We are still supposed to kill icky spiders, though.

However, we're a lot manlier than those fops of the 17th and 18th Centuries. Have you ever seen paintings of those guys? With their little waltzes and harpsichords and merkins? Their little kerchiefs and frilly collars and make up and wigs? That's pretty damned womanly, and I'd even be scared of a woman who dressed like that. Whole damned generations of men dressing like dogs with weird collars so they don't chew their neutering stitches out.

And while Grandpa may have been able to shoot a defenseless deer with a high-powered rifle, and catch trout the size of couches, I'm able to turn the venison into a stew with rosemary and red potatoes in a sourdough bread bowl and that fish into a filet pan-seared in extra-virgin olive oil with a garlic-peppercorn crust over a bed of wild rice and spring vegetables. Grandpa would burn ice. I do what he couldn't, he did what I didn't want to - both sides of the equation are important if you want to eat.

What does that mean? Simply put - we can literally be anything we want to be. All those ads at Lady Foot Locker and inside Jane magazine, showing women they can be empowered to do anything and aspire to greatness - they can be aimed at guys as well. All those mixed signals that womens' magazines have been giving them for decades - Be Strong! Be Demure! Be Smart - Men Like Smart Women! Don't Be Too Smart, or You'll Sound Like a Bitch! Be Thin! Lose Weight! Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin! Be Happy Who You Are! Be Better and Happier Than You Are! How to Get Your Ex-Back! How to Get Back at Your Ex! How to Look Better! Look Your Best! Hairstyle Do's and Don'ts -Guess what? They're all hitting us now, and we don't have the experience in how to deal with this. Are we supposed to be Jack Black or Jack White? Kyan Douglas or Hugh Douglas? Chippendale or Dale Earnhardt, Jr.? Man or Astroman? Ice-T or Ice-Cube? Will Farrell or Colin Farrell?

Which Keanu character are we? Little Buddha, Neo, Ted Logan or the doctor who schtumped Diane Keaton? Some days we're more Jack Traven (Speed), others we're Donnie Barksdale (The Gift), and others we're more Johnny Utah (Point Break). A few of us are Scott Favor (My Own Private Idaho), and are fine with that.

I just pretend Johnny Mnemonic never happened.

The correct answer to all of those is "yes," if we're to believe pop culture. They're all just trying to sell us something, after all.

So, simply view these conflicting roles and messages as a buffet table. Take the foods you like, avoid the foods you don't like. If you hate beans, don't fill up your plate with beans and get back to your seat and bitch about a plate full of beans. However, if you've never had beans, take a sample. See what you think. Might be the best dang foodstuff you've ever had.

At the end of the day, we still have our sticky-outty parts, and girls have the sticky-innie parts, and no amount of spackle in the panties can change that.

Though surgeons in Sweden can.


Monday, August 01, 2005

debate me baby one more time.

On another board, we've been discussing the best rock band of all time. I posited "Spinal Tap" but only semi-in jest. I didn't come up with the list of finalists, merely used the most frequently mentioned ones. Post follows as below:

The Best Rock Band can be proven scientifically. Simply list the major factors of Being A Rock Star, and proceed from there.

Or, maybe I've been watching "Rockstar - INXS" too much.

The categories are:

A) Career Longetivity and Productivity
B) Critical and Consumer Acclaim
C) Stage Performances
D) Drug Abuse
E) Turn towards Eastern musical and religious influences
F) Band member fight with life-threatening disease or early death.
G) Progeny in the rock world.
H) Midwestern State Fair Factor
I) Tribute Bands

Let's take the most mentioned bands, and plug them into the Rank-O-Matic - the Beatles, the Who, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, U2, The Beach Boys, Pink Floyd, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Barenaked Ladies, Dave Matthews Band and REM.

A - Longetivity and Productivity

The Beatles - From the 60s through the 70s, Meet the Beatles, Abbey Road, Hey Jude, White Album, Sgt. Peppers, Revolver....wow. Plus, each band member made good solo albums - Paul McCartney and Wings were really, really good.
The Who - Tommy alone is all this band needs.
Led Zep - Albums so cool, they're listed in Roman Numerals like Super Bowls - plus Houses of the Holy and Physical Graffiti. Very productive ten years. T
The Rolling Stones - Exile on Main Street, Tattoo You, Beggars' Banquet and they've been recording together for 40 years. They've got the longetivity part down pat
U2 - Boy. War. Joshua Tree. Achtung Baby. 20+ years recording together. No line up changes.
The Beach Boys - Little Deuce Coupe and California Girls changed to the highly-influential Pet Sounds. Even came back from the grave with Kokomo. Try to resist that songs' power. Aruba, Jamaica, ooh, I wanna take you to Bahamas, Montego, baby why don't we go down to Kokomo...
Pink Floyd - The Wall and Dark Side of the Moon and the best album art.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience - A rock tornado - didn't last long, but recorded some great albums really, really quickly.
Barenaked Ladies - They've been together for over 15 years, and it doesn't seem possible. Gordon, Born on a Pirate Ship, Maroon, Stunt - good stuff. I pretend that Postcards with Chimpanzee's song never existed.
Dave Matthews Band - They peaked really early - Under the Table and Dreaming is a must-own for most people under the age of 40 - and Ants Marching still gets feet tapping.
REM - If only the Reagan Years lasted for them, as they kicked out some good albums, like Reckoning, Life's Rich Pageant and Document, plus Fables of the Reconstruction. Sadly, once Bush the Elder came to office, they went and made Shiny Happy People, possibly my least favorite song until that damned BNL Chimpanzee song.

B - Critical and Consumer Acclaim

All of these bands have sold well, but, the Beatles only had one #1 album while they were producing albums. They had sustain, but never turned it up to 11.
Barenaked Ladies' "Gordon" is one of the best-selling albums in Canada. Selling over a million copies of anything in a country with less than 30 million people is amazing.
Pink Floyd - Wasn't Dark Side of the Moon on the Billboard Charts for 15 years or something? Amazing!
The Beach Boys' Smile was supposed to be released after Pet Sounds but the success of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's and Brian Wilson's complete looniness shelved the project for over thirty years. Of the few people who heard the studio tapes back then, it was regarded as the most technologically advanced album in terms of techniques, use of many layers of sound, and, even sampling!

C - Stage Performances

While I can certainly see a debate between the Beatles, the Who, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, U2, and The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Black Sabbath, and even Barenaked Ladies as the Best Rock Band to See Live, I really can't see where REM merits discussion because they weren't great live. Influential - yes. Between "Radio Free Europe" and albums like Murmur, they definitely brought in a lo-fi, DYI sound that later propelled bands like Pavement. However, to be a truly great band, you simply have to rock out on stage.
Every great band has to have a defining moment at a concert. To wit - Black Sabbath. Not the greatest rock band, but, they raged on stage.

Beatles - the kids screamed so loud at the Ed Sullivan Show, nobody could hear the music.
The Who - Smashing guitars to the point of hearing loss
Led Zeppelin - 3, 4 hour concerts and people STILL wanted more Zep
The Beach Boys - Getting banned by James Watt from the 4th of July concert in DC is pretty funny
The Rolling Stones - They've been touring since the `60s and are still a must-see
U2 - One of the few bands to still rock as they enter middle age.
Pink Floyd - Originators of multimedia experiences at concerts. They did laser shows before they became dumb laser shows.
DMB - They have followed in the Grateful Dead's tradition of jam band shows quite well. No real trascendental moment, but good concert recordings. Maybe their take of "All Along The Watchtower" would classify if it had gotten more support.
Jimi Hendrix - Woodstock. Star Spangled Banner. Fin.
Black Sabbath - biting a bat's head off at a concert in Des Moines is legendary.
BNL - A rumour of a free show brought over a quarter million fans to the streets in Beantown. That's rockin'
REM - uh...well...it was cool when I saw them and Kate from the B-52s came out and sang "Roam" with them.

D - Drug Abuse

It could also be argued that drug abuse is vital to the Total Rockstar Experience. To that end:
The Beatles - "They were so high, they let Ringo sing a couple of songs" - Bill Hicks
the Who - Keith Moon alone is legendary
Led Zeppelin - Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll was pracitcally named after these guys
The Rolling Stones - Keith Richards has become a drug-addled cliche'
U2 - Is Guiness a drug or a foodstuff?
The Beach Boys - Brian Wilson could have taught Elvis things.
Pink Floyd - What ever REALLY happened to Syd Barrett? And, you can't listen to a Pink Floyd album without coughing.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Jimi didn't do drugs. Jimi lived drugs. Allright...
Barenaked Ladies - OK, probably too straight-laced. I'm sure they may have had too many Molson's one night, or ate one too many Tim Horton's donuts. Definite points off.
Dave Matthews Band - Contact highs alone from their shows and Bonaroo would elevate them to epic status. Plus, since nobody's ever really deciphered what the hell Dave is singing, I'm guessing crack would be involved.
REM - Michael Stipe acts like he's on drugs, and has the haircuts to prove it. That's gotta count. The one dude got busted on a flight with some dope. Not in a Led Zep class, but not too innocent.
Honorable mentions go out to Motley Crue and the Doors and Cypress Hill, purely for their sheer devotion to partying.

E - Turn Towards Eastern Musical Influences:

the Beatles - Check. Practically invented this.
the Who - not unless the Japanese used electric guitars 500 years ago, no.
Led Zeppelin - some influence, mostly on the album cuts
The Rolling Stones - pretty much steered clear of it musically. Maybe used a sitar a few times, never OD'd on it.
U2 - Dancehalls in Hungary are technically east of the UK, and that Pop album had a lot of dance music on it...
The Beach Boys - Ravi! Ravi! Ravi!
Pink Floyd - A bit, yeah, sure. Not oppressively, though.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Some chimes and woodwinds, sure.
Barenaked Ladies - Two of the guys are Jewish. Israel is east of Canada. Sure, I'll count it.
Dave Matthews Band - Oh yeah, I'll count Africa for this.
REM - Not much musically, but they have some very Eastern influences in their lifestyles.

F - Band member fight with life-threatening disease or early death.

the Beatles - Two are gone, two are alive. John Lennon is still missed.
the Who - Keith Moon = Gone
Led Zeppelin - John Bonham = Gone
The Rolling Stones - mostly alive, how, we'll never know.
U2 - Alive and Kicking
The Beach Boys - Brian Wilson might as well have been dead for years.
Pink Floyd - Living, but Barrett scares me.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Gone
Barenaked Ladies - Kevin Hearn survived a scary bout with leukemia. If the band survives that Chimpanzee song, it'll be a miracle.
Dave Matthews Band - Alive. No known scares. Points off.
REM - brain tumor definitely counts.

G - Progeny in the rock world.

The Beatles - every pop band from England. Keane, Travis, Coldplay, Radiohead, The Wonder Stuff, XTC, etc...
The Who - Any kid who played the guitar wished they could do the windmill. Queen, Styx, Kiss - all used the Who's bombast and sense of style.
Led Zeppelin - The same kids who tried to windmill tried Stairway to Heaven - White Stripes to Motley Crue to Metallica.
The Rolling Stones - Liz Phair to David Bowie to the Replacements.
U2 - Coldplay, The Alarm, Simple Minds
The Beach Boys - Cheap Trick played the guitar part, and all those damned boy bands picked up the four part vocal harmony
Pink Floyd - Radiohead. Grandaddy. Garbageland.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Lenny Kravitz is a prime example, as is any band formed after a guitarist - Will Sexton to Robert Cray and Living Color all worship the man.
Barenaked Ladies - Moxy Fruvous, Arrogant Worms.
Dave Matthews Band - they have bands who are contemporaries, like Big Head Todd and Widespread Panic. Maybe Carbon Leaf? Jason Mraz has mentioned him as an influence.
REM - Pavement. Nirvana. The Replacements. Any band I played when I was a deejay in the `90s.

H - Midwestern State Fair Factor

If an aging band plays in any of the Midwestern State Fairs - Iowa, Nebraska, Indiana, Kansas - they can't be considered the best rock band ever. They just can't. Nothing is more pathetic than hearing a bunch of fifty year old fat dudes trying to rock out. I love Buffett, but, he's eliminated, too.

This eliminates Bachman Turner Overdrive, The Allman Brothers, Skynrd, Cheap Trick, REO Speedwagon and Chicago, plus countless others.

the Beatles - Broke up before it could happen
the Who - Well, this category eliminates one contender...
Led Zeppelin - This would eliminate Led Zep, who played the Wisconsin State Fair, but that was back in 1969, when they were just starting out. That show probably rocked.
The Rolling Stones - San Antonio State Fair (funny, I thought that was a town) back in 1964. Doesn't count.
U2 - Puh-leeeze
The Beach Boys - Bum bum bum, another one bites the dust.
Pink Floyd - Played in Louisiana's State Fair back in the day. Doesn't count, either.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Died too soon to be washed up and playing that circuit.
Barenaked Ladies - I could totally envision them doing that one day, except it wouldn't be Iowa or Nebraska, but Manitoba and the Northwest Territories.
Dave Matthews Band - Adios. But, they're not washed up yet. So, this may not count.
REM - Not yet, but I wouldn't be surprised...

I - Tribute Bands!

You can't be a legendary rock band without a tribute band, or three!
the Beatles - Apple, Beatallica, the Fab Faux, Rubber Soul
the Who - Who's Who
Led Zeppelin - Dread Zeppelin, Led Zepagain
The Rolling Stones - Satisfaction, Sticky Fingers, The Rollin' Clones, The Stolling Rones...
U2 - Named, appropriately enough, 2U. Unforgettable Fire and Even Better Than the Real Thing. Also, these guys - Clicky!
The Beach Boys - The Sunny Boys and The Beach Toys (worst. name. ever)
Pink Floyd - Bricks in the Wall, Comfortably Numb, Pig Floyd, The Wall and Think Floyd
The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Voodoo Child, Purple Haze, FIRE
Barenaked Ladies - Gordon, and, fittingly, the Fully Clothed Gents.
Dave Matthews Band - One Sweet World, The Dreaming Tree, and the perfectly named Dave Matthews Tribute Band
REM - Reckoning, The REM Experience (new worst.name.ever.)

So, when all of these factors are considered, it's obvious that Spinal Tap remains the best band ever...

Seriously, though - if longetivity is rated, bands like Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix can't be counted - they had an incredibly prolific period early on, but later stuff sucked...or, they died. Zep had seven years of rock brilliance (`69 through `76), and then puttered around a few years, and then disappeared. The Doors would be in this level, too - brilliant when they were around, but the magic died in Paris. Dave Matthews and the Barenaked Ladies haven't been around long enough. REMs newest material has been borderline unlistenable, as has been the Stones. Running on reputation and history. The Beach Boys haven't updated their sound, and still do the same tunes they did back in the `60s. Pink Floyd and the Who, while great, were never as popular as Led Zep or the Stones. The Beatles and U2 had a 15 - 20 year recording period of consistently good material, with only a couple of clunkers sparsed between.

So, I'll go with :

1) Beatles - longetivity + brilliance + consitency + good solo projects. Ultratalented individuals.
2) U2 - see above, slightly shorter career, so far. Saving the world one issue at a time.
3) Led Zeppelin - too short a career to be the best, but damned good. Incredible 7 year run.
4) Rolling Stones - long, brilliant career, but a 20 year drought with one so-so hit. Should have retired years ago.