Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Please Forgive Me: The Anthology Reviews #7B: "Somebody" Pt.2

Photobucket
Please Forgive Me: The Anthology Reviews is a track-by-track in-depth analysis of Bryan Adams's legacy in 36 installments.

Disc 1 Track #7: "Somebody" (1985) (Pt. 2)

Well, the previous post gave short shrift to the in-depth analysis that this series strives to stoop to (and generally succeeds!). But that previous post really kind of mis-dicked it, so to speak, so here I am for the bonus round retry.

Now might be as good a time as any to note: for the purposes of these reviews, I pretty much refer to Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance as if they were one person, named Bryan Adams. I want to be clear that this isn't to stint Jim on the credit for his substantial contributions to these songs. Hell the fuck no: Adams & Vallance are up in the epic pantheon of songwriting partnerships, as far as I'm concerned. Perhaps not quite up to the Lennon McCartney level, but dead even with John Taupin and a fine sight ahead of Loggins Messina. How's that for lofty company? Still, for the purposes of these reviews, the decision was made to treat Adams Vallance as one man, and for the sake of simplicity, to call him Bryan.

Not only is this approach significantly less confusing to the readers, who would be wondering "who is this Adams Vallance cat?" Screenwriters do this sort of thing all the time: composite two characters into one. It's just good writing. Economy of characters. You must ask: were two people really necessary to write these songs? In real life, maybe. For the purposes of these reviews, though, definitely not! But also, apart from just plain good writing habits, I'm after a certain epic mythologization, here. To set up this "Bryan Adams" figure as a sort of noble hero, in the tragic mold of yore. So that as mightily above us as he towers in his peaky peaks, we can yet see ourselves in him, and feel for him in his foredoomed fall. The fact is, it's next to impossible to yank out that kind of empathy over two dudes.

But then, that's me: versatile. In addition to my stringent, in-depth analysis, a bit of epic mythologization. Balances it out!

Okay, that's it for "Somebody."

Draw Something Meme!

First, it really cheeses me off to call these things memes. A meme is a self-replicating thought or idea that catches on and spreads throughout an intellectual population by virtue of its intrinsic catchiness! A meme is not (in my view) a chain letter. A thought or idea that only propagates through the addition of a coercive element should not properly be regarded as a meme. At best, the coercive element could itself be looked at as the meme - it is severable. The rest of the idea content is inert, non-memetic material, merely along for the hijacked ride.

So anyway, it cheeses me off to call these things memes, except when I'm making fun of the idea. But I'm not making fun of this one. I'm participating in earnest! Why? Because I can, because its originator wrote it up so as to be non-coercive. The tagging clause was optional, you could tag a few as -12 people. I suspect, this was a deliberate experiment to see if it could catch on without the arm-twisting. Well, I'm on board with that! I've kind of streamlined the rules a bit but I believe the spirit is super-intact.

The rules are these:

  1. Take the drawing below.
  2. Draw something on it. Anything you wish, using any tool you wish. You may print out, draw, and scan back in; or you may use MS Paint or some other doodling app. HINT: TRY TO LEAVE SOME ROOM FOR FUTURE ARTISTS
  3. Post it onto your blog with these same 4 rules, plus a list of all the artists who have gone before (adding your name at the bottom of the list).
  4. Anyone who chooses to pick up where you left off can do so, adding their own element to the drawing!

Here's the list of artists so far:

1. Allie from http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/
2. dogimo from http://asurfaceofinfiniteshallowness.blogspot.com/
3. YOU???

memeofindescribablyawesomeness

If you take up the gauntlet and let me know in comments, I'll also link you here. I'll link to as many "artist #3s" as participate!:

3. Alice from http://www.skyblue-pink.com/
3. limom from The Flat Tire! http://theflattire.blogspot.com/2009/11/blogger-special.html

Please Forgive Me: The Anthology Reviews #7: "Somebody"

Photobucket

Please Forgive Me: The Anthology Reviews is a track-by-track in-depth analysis of Bryan Adams's legacy in 36 installments.

Disc 1 Track #7: "Somebody" (1985)

"I need somebody! SOMEBODY LIKE YOU! Everybody needs somebody! OOO YEAH! I need somebody! YEAH SOMEBODY! Yeah what about you! WE ALL NEED SOMEBODY! Oooe yeahahh!"

That really does about cover it.

I need somebody! HEY! WHAT ABOUT YOU?

We all need somebody.

In Secrecy: A Sentinel For Vigilance!

My name is Alex Dangerways, but people call me Axel. I run a tiny, top-secret shadow government, nestled within the nooks and corners of the corridors of established power. We run our own checks and balances upon the supposed keepers of secrets. We stand ever-ready to ferret out the secret abusers of power. We keep tabs on those who operate behind the shadows...those who must answer only to no one. But when they refuse to answer - they often find that they will answer to us.

In general, the report is good. People seem to be pretty much doing their jobs. Nobody getting too out of hand. Which is good, because: if they did get out of hand - that's when we have to step in, to apply sanction to the sanctionless. But overall, yeah, we've pretty much got a lot of dedicated public servants, doing the best they can without overstepping bounds, operatives operating responsibly, administrators working hard to foster an environment wherein expectations are known, careful checks are in place, and there are mechanisms to deal internally with those who do overstep.

That doesn't mean we will ever relax our vigilance for a second! Far from it. We will never cease our relentless activity: monitoring, ensuring, protecting. We move our nerve nest of hi-tech taps and sensors from place to place without a trace. Last week, we occupied a walk-in refrigerator in a decommissioned Pentagon commissary. The week before, we operated out of a suprisingly spacious supply closet in Langley. Next week: who knows? Even I can't say. Secrecy is our best defense against those who would use it for evil purposes. And by "it" I do mean: secrecy.

But yeah, as I was saying, we're looking pretty good on that front. Things seem to be pretty seemly overall. Which is good to know!

Which is why we're here.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I Didn't Do It!

Yesterday, one of my favorite sites to check in on from time to time was down. I clicked on it, and after an interminable hourglass, I got this -

Internal Server Error


The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.


Please contact the server administrator, webmaster@_______-____.com and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.


More information about this error may be available in the server error log.


Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

Now. As you can well imagine, I was all set to follow the directions and e-mail the webmaster. But then that "...and anything you might have done that may have caused the error" bit sort of stopped me cold, for a minute. What's being insinuated here? I don't know if I like the idea of volunteering myself for this sort of implied inquisition!

In the end, I ended up sending it anyway. But it bounced back undeliverable.

Whew!

A Call for Whimsy!

I'm feeling whimsical. Very fucking whimsical. But yet, the ideas I've got right now, not too whimsical for whatever reason. They're more sort of drily absurd. Which is fine, but I want whimsical.

So: anybody got any whimsical ideas they'd like me to take and run with?

Put 'em in comments. And then just sit back and wait for them to get justice done to them! Whimsical justice. To the best of my ability, at least.

Art Vs. Evidence

Art vs. Evidence. Can there even be a point in debating the question? Art is knowable immediately, without recourse to systems of classification, forensic identification, credibility of testimony or any consideration of motive. Art's impact is direct: the senses have been hit, before the mind can say by what. The mind can of course then resort to contextual structures - can place the Art within a conceptual framework that helps to explain its meaning, or within a theoretical paradigm that attempts to dissect the means by which its effects were achieved. But these are all concerns after-the-fact. Criticism is ultimately a form of artistic expression in its own right, but it is a secondary and dependent form. Criticism cannot justify art; Criticism comes after Art and attempts to justify itself. Where Art kills, Criticism is itself neither murder nor weapon, but autopsy.

But all of this does not mean that Evidence has nothing to say to Art! Or that Art has nothing to say to Evidence. The very Question Of Evidence has a critical role to play in the development and understanding of artistic themes within a progressive culture. For while Art is not beholden to Evidence, Art itself leaves its own clue upon the scene: once the mind of the engaged observer has

You know what, I don't know where the fuck I'm going with this. Or even particularly, why I started out. Just typing merrily along!

I can't blame myself too hard when that happens. Half the time I get all the way to the end of one of these extemporaneous posts, only to read it through and find it makes perfect sense. So while occasionally it doesn't work out, it has to be considered: worth the risk.

Art vs. Evidence. There it is.

My Anti Shopping List

I've got to stop buying so many cans of soup. Not that I don't use them, but it's just that if I have soup, I'm probably not going to go grocery shopping. I'm a heavy procrastinator on certain tasks, and if the choice is between living on soup and going grocery shopping, my decision will be, what the hell! Soup is good food! I can go shopping tomorrow.

But one can always go shopping tomorrow, and one doesn't. Not as long as the soup holds out.

(now don't worry, I don't live on soup - I supplement my home diet with plenty of eating out and sumptuously catered work meetings)

I live so long between shopping trips, that I forget what I'm there for when I go. It's usually just: we're out of everything. Replenish the staples!

But there are certain items that, judging by how often I bring them home from the store, only to find out I have way plenty already...I just must be paranoid about running out of them, or something. I usually do fine without a shopping list, getting what I need, working off the top of my head. But I need to give serious consideration to bringing with me to the store a list of things that I don't need.

So for next time, Don't Forget Not To Get:

  • name-brand transparent cling-wrap
  • light bulbs
  • paprika (I tell you, I ran out of paprika once, and I've been paying for it ever since!)
  • bar soap
  • beer (I always seem to think I'm out of beer. I'm never out of beer! Possible cause-effect, there)
  • big black name-brand trash bags

I actually got all of these items when I went to the store today, except for the light bulbs. In fact, I think that's part of the pattern: because now that I think about it, for a while there we always kept forgetting to get the light bulbs (and I believe the cling-wrap as well had a period where it was a much-needed-but-much-forgotten item). At some point, the "GET LIGHT BULBS" message of frustration finally got etched in, and finally the light bulbs got gotten! But then somehow, the message stayed etched in. And I keep getting them. Now I need to buy more lamps!

I've got so much bar soap now, I have to find a new place to put it. There's no room left in the usual cupboard.

I'm cool with the paprika, though. I'm sure to get through all this current supply just fine. As long as I stop buying more.

Word of the Day: Serendipity

Serendipity is when two things that couldn't possibly happen together without it being a coincidence, but then they do, and it isn't. It's serendipity.

Example: let's say all this stuff happens, and you're like "No way! I wasn't even expecting it, all this good stuff that just happened. It's a coincidence!" And then some guy coming by said "No it isn't - it's serendipity." And him coming by and saying that was also serendipity of a sorts, because how would you have known otherwise?

Serendipity. It's hard to explain, except if you see it...and know what it is.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Say That Again



"Go on making moments last a lifetime
we live on in the promises we keep"

Jung!

Jung. Jung Jung Jung.

Fun to say, especially if you pronounce it like it's spelled, rather than how it's pronounced. I'm probably not what you'd call a Jung follower, but I'm familiar with his collective unconscious bit. As a theory, I like it as much as I like Plato's separate reality of ideas. I'm pretty gullible on hypothetical mechanisms, perhaps, but I always like 'em a little better if someone can take a crack at describing what the operating principles might be.

I think the shared Jungian archetypes concept works, as long as we limit it to working forwards (as Jung did, far as I can tell). To having its influence proceed from our collective past and shape us. That way, it needn't be conceived as some separate, mysterious field that binds us together, but rather as something consistent that has been stamped into each of us, more-or-less equally. The conditions of our species' shared experience of thousands of generations prior to history kicking in may well have stamped themselves pretty deeply into the grain, so to speak. That we can all tap into that shared well, I find plausible enough. Certainly less-complex animals exhibit behaviors that are not "taught," but that appear to bolster the idea of some collective or genetic memory.

But I am not convinced we can add to or influence the collective unconscious - at least, not at a pace our modern mind would consider efficient. I don't believe that a new idea today can be put down into the collective unconscious, where it will then become available for all humans to tap into (italics mine). I mean, even if it seeps in through the collective eyes via the collective television set, that's going to leave a whole bunch of us out.

On the whole I like Jung a whole lot better than Freud. "Jung" is fun to say! "Freud" is just kind of unpleasant, like you're eating some vinegary european marinated lunchmeat delicacy and then they tell you what's in it.

Quote of the Day: Inadvertently Controversial, Depending

"I just thought, run it up the flagpole, see it it catches fire."

Man. This Bacon Looks Crazy.

Man. This bacon looks crazy.

And the eggs...I ordered them "over medium," but...they look more "over slightly deranged." They have...the yolks, they're...looking at me. They are looking at me, and there's nothing right about it.

I didn't order the potatoes this way. This is neither home fries nor hash-browns, it is like...some kind of schizophrenic, unholy mid-way point between the two. What on earth! Is that...are there, is that a french fry in there...??! Disturbing. Disturbed.

And what the hell is this toast's problem...?

This is an unbalanced breakfast.

Okay:

I ran across this a long time ago before anybody else did, and I laughed my ass off except I never posted it on here at the time (at least, I think I didn't) because I said: "It's totally faked!" And I didn't want people to think I was stupid to not know that, even though I did know but I just thought it was funny! Sometimes fake stuff is funny, but not if people are stupid and they think you think it's real.

Anyway, long story short, I came across it again and this time I ended up finding the guy's website and I read an excerpt of his book and no WAY is it faked! So now I'm posting it here, way after the fact even though I was practically the one who discovered it, and I'm going to the bookstore tomorrow and ask them to stock me in a copy of GHOSTS/ALIENS because that's my next book to read.

And here's the video, sorry about the crisis of self-confidence and the consequent delay:

Friday, November 27, 2009

My Culinary Skills: A Very Choosy Retrospective

Whether by innate gift or having simply lucked out, I have certainly had some pretty impressive triumphs in the kitchen over the years, and yes, I do mean non-sexual ones. Get your mind where it belongs!

How about those pretty intense Meatloaf Burgers back in the nineties, when I was living in Margate? Baked-on ketchup glaze! Side of whipped fluffy mashed potatoes with home-heated beef gravy? "Perfect!" we all declared.

Or that roast chicken with the amazing mixed whipped root-tuber concoction? I believe it was one turnip, two smallish white potatoes, and a decent-sized beet, all roasted and then mashed into a smooth, red-golden concupiscence of hot deliciousness. But here's the really amazing part: the chicken stood up to it. I did the right thing by that chicken!

Or that time I mashed two sets of leftovers together and passed it off as "hungarian skillet."

All told, a pretty meaningful and varied career. And, I hasten to add: "so far...!"

Another Remarkably Astute Critical Assessment! From The Master Of Them.

"That takes dumb right up to the edge of awesome and then shoves it.

Hard."

The Riddle of Ye Magickal Faerie Porne Pt. 2: Now THAT'S art!

This post is part 2. There was also a part one. But they're both pretty self-contained. And possibly, redundant.
What's that - a naked, glistening, butterfly-winged faerie mermaid with a UNICORN'S HORN?? And come-thee-hither bee-stung lips! Showing a little slip of tongue, running along the top row of her supernaturally white, even teeth.

Aw, man. Now that's art. That's detail, with a delicate touch. Look at those wings! Spun out of pink, gleaming mother-of-pearl. The craftsmanship on this piece alone renders the rather disproportionate titties almost...almost...tasteful. Almost. Not really, though. Not even close, honestly. To be frank, this statuette is an embarrassment to women, fish, butterflies, everything with a horn, and anything that ever sunned itself on a rock.

Honestly, I never understood the dweeb fetish for sexy mythical beings. Yes, there are plenty of people who admire the mermaid or the faerie for pure and sentimental reasons, to do with otherworldly beauty and mystical significance. There's nothing wrong at all with that. That's perfectly cool and/or sweet, as long as you keep an eye on it and don't let it develop any unwholesome levels. And perhaps others identify with them for more symbolic reasons: the allure of what they share with us - certain human attributes - admixed with an unknowable and alien otherness. A hint of danger, but also a hint of a higher-than- or deeper-than-human perspective. Nobody whose love of faeries and mermaids and such is based on those things, would I ever call a pervert! At least, not on that basis.

But then you've got...these people. Who...I don't know what to even say, here. You've got people who deliberately produce and consume statuettes and artistique portraits of nude, female, mythological beings in various tortuously erotic poses and attitudes.

OK: I've got nothing against the nude human form. It has it's practical uses, as well as its undeniable aesthetic points. But I'm sorry, with the sexual faerie and mermaid fixations, I just don't get it. Surely even for the most...daintily-endowed lewd magic-creature fan, a faerie has got to be way too tiny to work with. Even for fantasy purposes! And mermaids have no place to put it. So what the heck is the hook upon which these various fetish pervs can hang their prurient fascination? And at some point, doesn't it sully the pure and magical beauty of these beings, to rampantly sexualize them in this way? I'm not trying to get all graphic about it, but come on, people: grow up.

Yeah, that's right. I am the victorian prude of the faerie realm.

More Actual Comments from Actual You-Tube Videos! #4

"was it the 1986 MTV video awards? i have all thier stuff..and im 36...i heard bands like PSB depeche mode...erasure..and i really loved how they used machines..in the 80s dance music was all over the radio..and now no one dances anymore..i miss those days..the woman were absolutly stunning, they went all out..dressed very sexy...and now? You tell me..."

"why is everyone talkin ish.. dont leave a comment if its negitive losers..this guy is high on life and looks like his love is dance.. you go guy!!!!"

"What the fuck? do we live in a communist country? I want to see all the bad shit people say."

"It's official. This video has achieved two distinctions. First, it is the gayest thing I have ever seen. Second, it is the gayest thing I have ever heard. Seriously, did this guy really think he was fooling anyone with all the chicks? He's gayer than Prince's hairstylist. The only thing that's not gay about this guy is the company he keeps. Beyond that, total hiney-miner."

"why dont you research what you are saying before you say it. it will save you the hassle of looking like a jackass."

I Just Wanted to Say While I Had the Chance

It's been a pleasure working with you. I just have that to say. Whatever else may happen, may I get hit by an exploding bus, or may I win the lottery, or achieve enlightenment and run away to Tibet. Not necessarily in that order. But what are the chances of that happening.

Anyway, I figure: better to be safe.

thought of the moment, not yet passed by

You're the only one who can do your best.

I miss Frank so much.

Man. Every ounce of joy has gone out of my cat website idea. And so many other things besides.

I miss you, Big Booga.
Frank Likes Helping
"Frank likes helping."

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Chief In The Studio!


...or in...some kind of church hall tricked out like a studio!

Word is, their forthcoming album will be released early next year. I'm psyched!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

No Comment


"there is no one right these days, and all that.

what's pretty good is pretty gone..."

Thought of the Immediate Instant

I'm better, but I'm biased.

Do You Dream of the Day When We Invent a Time Machine and Can Sneak Back to Browse the Library of Alexandria?

OK, I didn't want to get into this, but that's pretty much exactly what happened. Or to be precise, what happened and is going to happen. Some graduate student wahoos in the Temporal Intervention Studies Lab at USC (Fall 2076 semester) came up with the idea to go back to the Library of Alexandria before its destruction, and cart off as much as possible in the dead of night - considering that it was all going to be lost anyway.

Long story short, they nailed the chronal procession : spatial coordinate calculations spot-on (no mean feat). But they neglected to compensate for abnormally high chronolocal sunspot activity, which caused their insertion bubble to destabilize by 0.0067 GigaBrowns. The resultant ambient heat flare ignited most of the library.

As usual, history ended up weaving its own tale to explain the otherwise inexplicable.

Luckily, the destabilization wave impacted back upon our intrepid chronoarchaeologers, preventing them from materializing in the middle of the inferno. They suffered nothing worse than migraines, nausea and nosebleeds.

Which they would have had anyway. Standard side-effect for that model chronopult.

doot-de-doo!

There's an expression I use all the time in life, and I wish I could use it more here! But I'm not sure the meaning would come across without the delivery, the vocal inflection.

That expression is "doot-de-doo!"

Perhaps some of you could help me out with a little feedback. If I were to use that expression here ("doot-de-doo!"), what would you think it means?

I'd give you an example, say, use it in a sentence, but in most cases it functions as a standalone sentence. doot-de-doo!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Simple As That.

Theist: "God exists."

Atheist: "God does not exist."

Agnostic: "Proof of God does not exist."

Which are you?

You know, you can be more than one. Each of the top two has taken a big leap of faith, that neither one can back up with proof.

You can just about guess where I stand, I'd guess.

Manifesto

The artist is nothing. Unimportant. Trivial.

If you are an artist: you are nothing. Unimportant. Trivial.

Is the aim of your work to express your self? It is worthless, then. It will die with you, after you have finished wasting your small life upon it.

Sacrifice the self. The work must be all.

The work is all.

If you cannot create something greater than yourself, you are no artist. If you cannot create something greater than yourself, what you do is not art.

Live with that in mind.

My Ongoing War On Fashionably-Quirky, False Noncomformists

For my part, I try to do my part to discourage such sham quirkiness. If I pass a group of willfully, stridently quirky dressers, I take them one at a time: loudly critiquing each person's fastidiously-assembled quirk collage, pointing out how their various pieces of quirk flair clearly don't hang together, clearly don't proceed organically from one quirky soul but are merely accessories after-the-fact, inadequate attempts to pass: quirk bling. Their quirkiness is not an expression of personal truth, but an affectation - an aggressively acquired and self-consciously flaunted commodity.

However, if I pass one lone quirker of that affected sort, I dispense with the critique. There's no point - it simply won't have the same effect without the whole crowd of affected quirksters standing there helplessly awaiting their individual humiliation and enlightenment, while simultaneously feeling the vicarious bite of each plain, stinging truth that I deal out so candid and calm to their comrades. The approach won't work at all if it's just one quirky person. So in that situation, as I walk past I just shove them as hard as I can to my left (their right). Most of these folks are pretty slight, so they go pretty far.

See, I have no problem with real true bone-deep natural quirk. But that kind of quirk tells. It's not something that a person can fake, just because they decided that they look up to Napoleon Dynamite. Real quirk vibrates out from a serene disregard of convention. The current phase of quirk-chic is no such thing. It is affectation, pure and simple. The new trend amongst sheep: conform to the uniform of the abnormal. Real noncomformists will have None Of It.

I'm not a noncomformist, by the way. I refuse to be labeled.

Endless-Repeat Shortlist Pt.2: The Trouble with iPod

This is part 2 of 2. There was also a part one.
The one problem I'm running up against with this little iPod shuffle or micro or nano or whatever it is, is - it keeps counting my songs. Every time I plug it in to charge, it keeps counting how many times I played which song. Do I really want to know that? Do I want to know that on an album I bought Saturday evening, the Tuesday after which it now is, there is a song that I'd never previously heard, which I've now listened to 42 times already?

I'd almost rather not know that. It seems excessive. Okay, borderline excessive.

Man, I wonder how the rest of that album is. I have to look into it at some point.

Another Hot Health Tip from Dr. Crazy Talk

You've got to be extremely careful dealing with ants. Your skin is not the impermeable barrier it seems! If an ant can get into your bloodstream, it will multiply out of control. If you find the sensation of an ant crawling on your skin to be unpleasant, imagine teeming rivulets of ants, crawling over your internal organs. Loose ants lodged in capillaries, their little tickling legs working to get through.

The fact is, your immune system is simply not equipped to deal with ants.

Impossible as it is to believe, there are almost no medications on the market, over-the-counter or prescription, that are truly proven or effective against ants. Ant stakes and many other conventional ant remedies are either ineffective, or contraindicated for internal use. If you think it's hard getting rid of ants in your kitchen, or in your bathroom, just wait until you have an infestation in your respiratory system, or up in your sinus cavity! Imagine streams of ants trickling from your nostrils at the most socially awkward moment possible, glistening with residual mucus.

Better to be take precaution up front, and keep your circulatory, respiratory, and other systems ant-free! The first step: eliminate the source of ants. Do your best to keep ants out of your home and work environment - don't give them the opportunity to infiltrate! If you're in an environment where you simply must be around ants, wear long sleeves and long pants, tuck your pants cuffs into your socks and pull your socks all the way up, wear tight spandex underdrawers (to seal the more delicate openings!), and be ever-vigilant for any stray ants on your face and head, who may be trying to work their way to your unprotected ears, mouth, nostrils or eyes. Keep any cuts or breaks in your skin well-covered.

There's no way to be 100% safe, where these persistent and insidious vermin are concerned. But as long as you are careful to take appropriate measures, you should be able to rest easy knowing that at least, you've done what you could to prevent ants from becoming a medical problem - for You.

I'm a Bit of a Bible-Thumper

I'm a bible-thumper. I find it to be a real comfort. I admit it! Some would be embarrassed to admit that. I'm not. I'm comfortable standing forth and telling the world that I'm a bible-thumper! It's a little hard on the bible, though. The cover's all...dented in and the pages are kind of compressed together a bit. From the impact.

I thump my bible with great fervor and zeal. Any time I really feel the urge to tear into a book - well wait, no, I'd never do that to the bible! I'm not going to tear into it. Thumping, yes. Tearing, no! Those pages should remain un-torn. If I want to go tearing into a book, I'll choose a secular one. No tearing the bible! Whereas, with thumping, if the cover gets a little pounded in, well no big. As the saying goes, the book, versus the cover - what's important, right?

It's the book.

That's what's important. And for me, the bible - hey, I just find it very comforting. I get a lot of solace, there. Anytime I feel the need to start pounding the books, the bible is most absolutely the very best one for it. I don't know why, there's just something about it that is very solid and substantial and rewarding. Hefty, but yielding. Spiritually inspiring, but as a physical object, very large and square and indisputably grounded in the real. I've been a very enthusiastic bible thumper, ever since college (which is when I got this particular bible!). I find it a form of meditation.

I don't want to come off all preachy, but: you should try it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

These Little Black Sandals...



What's up with the camera man, man?

The sound quality SUCKS! And then intermittently, it doesn't. But you know, it's about the vibe, it's about the vibe, not the other part apart from the vibe. It's not about the non-vibe portion.

FAQ Deadline Approacheth!

If anyone else wants to submit a Frequently Asked Question for my FAQ list, better get it in quick, because the deadline is one week away!

After November 30th, that's going to be it. So get your FAQ in gear and your Frequently Asked Question in here!

Not "here" as in, this post. No, you want to click on the other one, leave it there.

Thanks!

Forget Romance Novels!

Forget Romance novels - that's not how it works. That's not how Romance works! Romance works on a Grander scale! Two people find themselves flung together at the simultaneous midnight of each other's soul, illuminated by fitful lightning flashes on a wind and rainswept cliff, clinging to and against each other in defiance of God, Nature, the World, the Devil and All Mankind, and then suddenly their eyes light, and smiles crack wide with a charged-spark shock upon the realization that as long as they hold each to the other...the strength of One in their Two Combined, is strength enough to withstand All Of These Things.

Save only Time.

Then they go price Starter Homes.

More Little Known Facts About Me

I can kick my own weight in ass.

This New 2012 Movie Took a Radically Wrong Turn, Somewhere

Okay, 2001 was a warped, deadpan classic. I loved it. I have sat through the entire thing, more than once. And, perhaps in the minority, I also really loved 2010. I thought they did a great job of making a sequel that seemed set in the same universe, while also somehow coming across as almost a completely different genre from the first one. It was a high-wire balancing act, to strike the tone the way they did. A gamble, but I say it paid off.

So when I heard about this new one, and that it featured your boy, mister John Cusack - well hell. I was ecstatic! But a bit worried. Because...what more is there to be told, to this story? Where can they go from where we last left off? My curiosity was piqued, to say the least!

And at this point, well, I hate to say more than the least. I hate to have to say more. I hate to say this, I hate to be the one to report it - and I guess I should first say ***SPOILER WARNING*** as well, but it just breaks my heart to have to say this: they have completely lost the plot. This installment totally violates the spirit and aesthetic of the earlier films. It's just...oh, man. Where to even start?

There's like, next to zero outer space activity. I don't even understand how this catastrophe crap is supposed to tie in. This isn't a space odyssey of any kind, it's nothing but an earth-bound, well-crafted, but ultimately vacuous disaster flick.

I can't even get across how let down I am. John Cusack - hell, John, great job as always with the character you were given. You nearly save this colossal miscalculation of a film. But why on earth did you even sign on for this?

Roland Emmerich - well, I can't say I'm surprised. Skilled technician, you are. Stanley Kubrick, you ain't. Nor even Peter Hyams, for that matter. But you could have done better than this. Why bother revisiting an iconic concept, just to chuck out the whole spirit of the original?

Worst. Sequel. Ever.

Just. About.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sweet Dreams, Every Once In A While

"Cunning as a con-man, shrewd as a liar, I went weak in the knees, the first time I saw you. Deep inside a day-to-day ritual, I'm giving it a try! Do what you will."



"well you wouldn't
know me
from a bar
of soap
a part of the furniture, an ornament, a rocking-chair

well it's all very well

to cry now

sweet dreams

every once in a while"


- "Sweet Dreams" (P. Judd)

We All Say Hallelujah Pt.2: Labels Are Back!

Wow!

Thank you so much, Google! AKA, the parent company of Blogger.

After instituting a 2,000 label limit right at the moment while I was at something like 2,207 labels, I was pretty much forced to stop labeling. If I'd come up against it at 2000, at least I could have pruned. Consolidated, made some room for myself under the limit that I'd only just hit. But to be given the limit at 200+ over it already, there just was no way. I wasn't going to kill 200+ labels just to get to the point of being able to prune!

So I pretty much decided to stop labeling posts. Preserve the previous posts as they were, a testament to the unleashed power of the labeling function. But going forward: to do without. A real bummer, because my canny use of the label function had become something of a hallmark, for me. A calling card. A greeting card. Like I said: Hallmark.

Well, Google has taken mercy! Has heeded the cries of myself and others with umptabajillion posts and consequently, a veritable quenticentiary of labels to go with them. Google has upped the limit to 5,000! With the stern proviso: that's as high as it goes, folks.

Well that's more than fine by me, Goog! Thanks a buncha!

This is awesome. I'll tell you why: now I can go back and prune the unnecessary ones, be more disciplined going forward, but still be able to add a new label or two on a post where it really counts! Where it really adds value to the blog's content indexability (indexibility?), and/or the post's impact! Sometimes, comedic impact. Yes, I know that the latter is not the purpose of the label function. But oh how versatile a tool it was in that regard! And now it's back! Did I say awesome already?

Now onward.

Discipline, lads. Let's have a little discipline.

We All Say Hallelujah

You can't hear what he's singing, at parts, but the sound conveys the right shimmy-shimmer and gauze. And since there's no video for this:


I guess I can put the lyrics right here (best as I can make out), since the post is otherwise empty: And go a day, not believe in God. The gray sky fell, we felt the pressure drop, and we were feeling down. Some eyes were looking down at us, and those that made the call. The judge what when they spoke said, "Not at all!" The words that came made not a sound. A mouth said, "Not a sound at all." What someone said, "We wrote a book," and rearranged the signs and forms to look like something understood, like something we had seen before - and waiting pensive, sad, and look up to the stars and counting all the suns and all the moons, how sad it was that we could not believe.
And everyone who believes, and everyone moved with ease and they said, "We all say hallelujah, we all said hallelujah" and everyone move around with ease, and everyone move with ease around and then, "We all said hallelujah, we all want answers anyway."
Still, we could not conceive the call. The midnight fell, we felt the measure fall and we were feeling down. Some eyes were looking down at us, and waiting pensive, sad, and look up to the stars and counting all the suns and all the moons. How sad it was, that we could not believe. And everyone who believes, and everyone who believes - and they said, "We all said hallelujah, we all say hallelujah" and everyone move around with ease, and everyone fell right to their knees and then, "We all said hallelujah," we don't want answers anyway.

We don't want answers anyway
.

God Vs. The Smog Monster

I've got to stop picking these God Blog Sunday titles a week in advance. Look at that. That's just ridiculous. How am I supposed to turn this into a topic for a serious theological disquisition?

But maybe that's just the point. Maybe I'm trying to tell myself, hey, take a lighter take on it this time maybe. No need to be so heavy all the time.

Or maybe past me hates future me. I've suspected that in the past, but I've not been able to prove it, plus, since it was past me doing the suspecting, I question my motives.

OK. God Vs. The Smog Monster. We can cover this a number of ways. Some half-assed enviro angle, maybe. Or, I don't know. Wait! OK. I got one. Here comes theology!

Godzilla Vs. The Smog Monster is my favorite Godzilla movie, bar none. I loved watching Godzilla movies when I was a kid. They were even better than kung fu movies, to me. But there was always this frisson in my solar plexus over the monster's name. Because...it has "God" in it! There was something about Godzilla, that was a delicious mix of indescribable fury and blasphemy-by-association. Right there! First syllable: "God"!

How much more blatant can you get? You can't say "God!" Right?

Well, at least, we kids couldn't. Not in the house.

Wait again. Pardon, beg pardon, that is a complete and utter misrepresentation of mom policy. Of course we could say "God." But we could not say it in vain. Which, at that tender height and age, I don't think I ever quite trusted myself with the judgment call involved, there. I mean, I still would go for it! As needed. And even at that age, I could rationalize pretty slick and smooth as to how a given questionable utterance may have had a prayerful component to it ("God, I want one of those!"). I was so slick and smooth with it because to me, it wasn't even a dodge. I was constantly engaged in an open dialogue, straight to the deity. But mom wasn't necessarily buying that, every time. So eventually I had to internalize most of those. Which is fine: God still heard 'em!

Bottom line: with the ambiguity and prohibition involved, "God" took on (in my then still single-digit mind) the same sort of illicit thrill that cuss-words had. And I never could quite understand how Godzilla got away with it! Why didn't mom make us turn that off? This giant, stomping, sacrilegious affront to Thine Holy Name? I mean, seriously: if the big gray scaly one's name had been "Fuckzilla," how well would that have gone over?

Not that I was acquainted with the f-word that early. But I knew damn enough to feel that there was some fun line-crossing going on.

Of course, even then I never really bought the idea that God minded stuff like that. I would suspect - now this is some very speculative theology, here - but I suspect God is the biggest Godzilla fan there is.

Smog Monster loses this one, folks.

ON THE NEXT INSTALLMENT OF GOD BLOG SUNDAY: Damn It, God! What the Hell?

Featured Website #5: The Irish Pub in Atlantic City, NJ

Welcome to the Irish Pub. This is practically the WORST-looking website I have EVER SEEN.

- - > NICE, RIGHT?< - -

Somebody would have had to have put a ton of work into this, just to make it so bad. Oh my lord. What a blessed quintessence of crap.

There is amusement in every nook! Navigate around. Poke into the corners. Don't forget to go upstairs! (I'm surprised there's no click to the restroom. Surprised and possibly, relieved). The reviews page is festooned with such ringing endorsements as this The New York Times rave: "...where an Irish balladeer sings Irish songs nightly."

I'm not kidding. That's the entire blurb they saw fit to include.

Atlantic City magazine notes "..with prices like these, who can afford to eat at home?"

The Philadelphia Inquirer claims "...has the best and most reasonable Irish coffee I have ever tasted." More to the point, Philadelphia magazine observes: "...the pub sells more beer than any bar in town..."

Oh yeah...they let rooms over the bar! Now how's that for class. At the place itself, you can let your head loll back and look up at the paneled ceiling which is plastered with various old time Irish memorabilia, including photos of old time Irish silent film stars from the 20's and earlier. There was this one actress, I swear I was falling in love with her. Then my neck started to hurt and I had to avert my gaze, forced to look earthward for companionship. Now I can't even remember what her name was. Though it haunted me for years.

As her eyes do still.

Seriously, I love that place. Plus, if a fight ever breaks out, practically everyone in there is already a cop! Especially after shift changes.

For sheer entertainment value and comedic impact, I'd say this website is on a par with the vaunted homestarrunner.com. But not for depth. Homestar has way more going on - no offense, Mr. Leprechaun!

Road Safety Corner #14: An Undercover Driver When I Walk

I've been walking a lot more lately, since I moved closer to work, but it hasn't changed my attitude. All my life, any time I've been on foot, I have never remotely been a pedestrian-sympathizer. When on foot, my entire intent and sympathy has always been on the side of the motorist. I've never in my life been a pedestrian, except literally.

When I walk, I'm keeping an eye out for the traffic flow. Making sure I'm not busting some stopped car's window to roll, or interfering in a much-awaited turn attempt. That doesn't mean I stand at the curb waving cars to go when they've already stopped. No, the people who do that are inexcusably retarded.* If I see I've got the right of way I step brisk to clear on through. But I also keep my eyes open in-between curbs, and I manage my stride to minimize my effect.

Motorists rarely ever need to notice me. If there are two big clots of ambling walkers, and I find I'm walking in the gap between, I'll either step it up lively to join the rear of the front pack, or slow my stroll to take the lead on the back pack. I am most definitely never that one lone stray dude, obliviously screwing up your chance, on what could otherwise have been a free shot through the perfect parting-of-waters. At four way stops, I am ever mindful of my role as "the screener," making a conscious decision as to whose turn it is, who I am assisting and who I'm obstructing.

I can slap all sorts of justifications on this mindset of mine now, and there are plenty: first, it's just considerate. It just is. Second, it's environmentally sound. Very chic right now. These cars use up far more non-renewable energy coming to stops and adjusting their course for you than you do, adjusting a little for them. Third, any extra energy expenditure you have to put out is probably welcome - beneficial! It's exercise (and damn it, the next time I see a bicyclist speeding through a stop I'm going to trip his spokes with a thrown stick! What's the problem, pal? You don't want to stop? It's too hard to get back going again? Well shoot-fire - aren't you doing it for your health? Newsflash: coming to a complete stop at a stop sign is not just better exercise - it's the law, you spandex-pantsed ass. Unless you step down and walk that thing through the crosswalk, you are a vehicle - which means you must obey all vehicular codes. So you've got the stop, come to a complete stop! Then, crank back up the burn. Consider it 'more reps' and a blessing in disguise for your sculpted thighs).

Fourth, (compared to you) a car is an enormously hard and heavy piece of machinery. And even if it's moving under 25 mph, it can kill the living hell out of you if its driver happens to be as oblivious as you were, when you stepped out in front of it. So there's a strong self-preservation aspect: flesh is always far more at risk than onrushing metal.

So yes. As you can see, plenty of good reasons for we on foot to keep every car in mind, and practice consideration and deference to the motorist. But the fact is, those justifications are all after-the-fact, for me at least. Because I've always had this undercover-motorist mindset. When on foot, my sympathies have always been with the wheels, even before I could drive. I don't know why. Perhaps my dad took me aside at an early age and explained justification #4. In fact, I'm sure he did - that's a dad duty, dereliction of which would constitute malparentage, I'm pretty sure. But on top of that, it always just seemed like the right attitude to have.

Still, here's something weird: as soon as I slide behind the wheel of my bad sweet ride, that attitude ends. My mind clicks over, and I am on high-alert pedestrian watch. Also because of #4: it's up to the strong to protect the delicate. Driving is a privilege and a responsibility.

But so is walking, though. At least, it is how I do it.

An In-Depth Treatise on the Structure and Composition of the United Kingdom

England is always trying to act all "Britain" and shit. Why can't they just be like, "England" instead? Who else do they think is buying into this, are there self-respecting Welsh and Scots going around, looking down, hand-behind-neck to the ethnicity question responding, "I'm, ah, British." Well hell no. They call it like they are, not this supposedly inclusive envelope of the next highest organizational level upwards. That's like an alien comes down and asks a dog, "what kind of animal are you" and the dog goes "vertebrate!"

The alien wouldn't be surprised at all, because he wouldn't know dogs can't talk. But why should the dog put him on like that, with such a deliberately vagued-up answer? And before you take me to task on the "he" for the alien - this particular species of alien is all male. No females whatsoever. So it wasn't an ignorant, sexist assumption on my part! Rather, the ignorant assumption would be on the part of whoever went ahead and accused, before they even knew the first damn thing about this alien and HIS species and culture.

Meanwhile, Ireland's all off to the side. And rightfully so! There's no doubt they're Irish. Right on, Ireland! Leading the way, as usual. To the side.

Now if only England had the stones to follow that lead in their own direction, own up to what they rightfully are, and stop squeaming around with the euphemisms. Come on, John Bull. It's a slippery slope you're on, better call a spade a spade while you still can or generations hence, your descendants will be all "we're Europeans."

Make-Your-Own Album Review #1: Sia Furler's Some People Have Real Problems

I never got around to reviewing this album. Yet I feel as if I have, since I've been littering all sorts of places with raves. Put 'em all together, maybe it makes a review! You could edit out the redundant parts if you like, shape it up a bit, and stick your take on my cohesive album review right in the comments.

"Thank you for pointing me in the direction of this fantastic musician! I love the musical style she works in, and I love her songcraft.

She's clearly some singer as well, but I'm not convinced she won't drop a few of the more...overt stylistic quirks? as she matures. But what a ridiculous quibble - there's nothing in her delivery that truly mars what she has to offer."

"I love Sia. I love the musical style she works in, and I love her songcraft. She's clearly some singer as well, but I'm not convinced she won't drop a few of the more...overt stylistic quirks? as she matures as an artist. But what a ridiculous quibble - there's nothing in her delivery that truly mars what she has to offer.

I listened to Sia's Some People Have Real Problems second, after Chickenfoot, because I'd never heard any of it before and I wanted to give her a chance before Jarvis came in and blew away the foundations of the stage. Well by the end of Sia's album I was more worried about Jarvis! I cannot recall the last time an unheard person has come on and blown me away like this before, track after track, great tunes, melodic, funky and soulful. This is good music. I mean, real good. A real grabber, first time through."

"I'm willing to concede that perhaps Sia's a bit of an odd bird - but only, I think, in the degree to which she's retained her sense of goofy play into adulthood.

And her accent.

She does go in for those odd music twangs! Most of her stuff is quite soul flavored, this one is almost bordering on post-funk neo-disco."

"Well I think I should say, I do feel quite a bit smitten with Ms. Sia Furler. What a great songwriter."

"Hm. My descriptions don't amount to much. Sense-wise. But anyway, I love it! Some People Have Real Problems, Sia Furler, used to sing for Zero 7 at times, back in the day. This is several albums in for her solo career, but the first that's caught my ear in a major way. Solid through and through. Great songs, beautifully sung, cool arrangements. She's like the cool chick in the proverbial black turtleneck, only minus the latte and bongos. Maybe a kazoo instead. And I don't think a turtleneck either. Not really her literal style, actual fashion-wise perhaps."

As you can see, I pretty much copied whole chunks from one area and used them to kick-start a post in another. I do that a lot. If I like the way I say something, it's going to turn up again! Next time I need to say it. Anyway, I was sure I had more description of individual songs elsewhere, somewhere, but I can't find it.

The Shortlist of Songs On Endless Repeat

There seem to be a handful of songs that I can listen to over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over, and over, and never get sick of. Or rather, the opposite - I love it more and more as it plays and plays. I sit there like an idiot and just grin.

In most cases, the song will grab me immediately. Sometimes I'll stop whatever sequence was playing, and just put that one song on repeat for a couple hours. Other times I can make it through the rest of the album, but then I'll say "I've got to go back to track 3!" And it's all history from there, for me: away we go, on endless repeat.

I get the sense that others don't listen like this. If true, then call me unusual! But certain songs just grab me, and I grab them back, and too bad for you, song! Because I refuse to let go.

Now sometimes of course, the effect slowly fades - it was just an introductory thing, and the extra super sparkle mojo slips a bit as years pass, and the song withdraws into awesome, just awesome. Into "Great song! I'd listen to it anytime." As opposed to, Great song: I must listen to it for hours, right now.

But for now anyway, and for years with some of these, this is the current crop of ones that reliably and continuously do it to me:
"Flamboyant" - Pet Shop Boys

"Little Lover's So Polite" - Silversun Pickups

"Run" - Snow Patrol

"Buttons" - Sia Furler

"Twice If You're Lucky" - Crowded House

"Sick Muse" - Metric

"Rock 'N' Roll Damnation" - AC/DC

"Punch 'Em In The Dick" - Juicy Karkass

"Reptile" - 7 Worlds Collide

"Fixer" - Pearl Jam

"Favourite Girl" - ALT

"Hallelujah" - The Helio Sequence
- in no particular order. No common denominator, either, really. Not that my ears can see. I don't know why for some particular song, I will love love love it! - yet it doesn't seem needful to pummel myself with it for endless, giddy-stupid grinning repetitions. It's not a question of quality! That's for certain. For most of those bands listed above, the song in question is not even their best song. But there's just something about that song. I have no idea what it is.

There are others, other songs that have fallen out of the rotation, but remain lurking ever-potent, to hijack the playlist the instant they get so much as an earhold. And a few of those listed above seem to be slipping out a bit, in that they may not be getting listened to as regularly. But for now at least, whenever they do, they stick like glue.

I can't get sick of these songs. Can't get enough of them.

Sometimes when it's really bad, I can't even get to the end of the song. I'll be at a minute-fifty, "man, I've got to skip back - hear this baby from the start!"

Oh, yeah. You got to!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mt. Rushmore's Got Room For One More!

Hey, have you ever taken a good look at Mt. Rushmore? There's a pretty big gap, there - right between TR and Lincoln? You could fit one more dude back there.

I think they should put JFK in there. Everybody loved that guy. Him and Lincoln could totally commiserate!

It'd be a bit of a squeeze, admittedly, but there's totally room. They'd have to just, carve him back into the gap a bit. TR would kind of be kissing his cheek a little, but that's a perfectly sweet and innocent gesture between gigantic granite president heads.

Go google a pic of Mt. Rushmore! Look for yourself. Take a look at that gap, and then just picture JFK peeking out from there! They could put a sort of awe-shucks grin on him like, "Well, here I am!" "Told you suckers we'd get to the moon."

I think it's a shame to waste the space. Lincoln's all off to one side. Stoic and lonely. Let's bridge the gap, shall-we?

Splitting Life's Little Differences

Tomato...tomahto. Okay. Both, I would say, are technically acceptable.

But let me tell you: if anybody ever says "potahto" - IT'S OFF. The whole thing's off. Don't think about calling it off - leave immediately and, if followed, proceed to the nearest police station! That person is not safe. NOBODY SAYS POTAHTO.

There's no room for vacillation on this. You say "potahto"? I say restraining order.

Self-Quote of the Day: Rhetorical

"No, you don't need to think of a comeback. That was a rhetorical insult."

I'm Always Writing Screenplays

I'm always writing screenplays about shit that happened to me earlier in the day, but I can't seem to get a finished film out of it. It always bogs down right about the point in the story where I get home and start writing the screenplay.

Plus, other difficulties, even when I try my hand at my forte - fiction, of course! I'll get a great story rolling, but I keep getting hung up on the fact that I'm just not very good at the form. Screenplays are hard! They require a specialized set of writing skills that I'm too ignorant or incurious to research and develop. Probably all I'd need to do is purchase and read a few really good screenplays, get a feel for the format and the vernacular. But I can't be bothered to do school-work, when I'm too busy writing! Right? What's more important!

The trick I hit upon is this: finally I decided, screw the screenplay. Skip straight to the novelization. Write a damn good novelization of your film, and then hand it off to a qualified screenplay technician to reverse-engineer a shooting script out of it. Pow. See, that's what's called "lateral thinking." I took it from inside the box, to right way the hell out of the box, thinking-wise.

And these novelizations are coming along great! Let me tell you. I've got three main ones going right now. One problem I keep running into is the characters from each novelization keep getting mixed up. Appearing in each others' scenes, and such. I get really deep into it, writing furiously, and temporarily forget which book I'm working on. But all that really matters is the end result, right? And sometimes, something like that is how serendipity knocks. You can't argue with what works, and sometimes a noir bar scene can get punched up nicely, with just the simple introduction of a barbarian wizard.

Please Forgive Me: The Anthology Reviews #6: "Run To You"

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Please Forgive Me: The Anthology Reviews is a track-by-track in-depth analysis of Bryan Adams's legacy in 36 installments.

Disc 1 Track #6: "Run To You" (Oct. '84)

After striking a deep rich vein of coming right straight at you with hard-hitting rockingness, tempered by softer verse-y parts and bounding into a pounding chorus with "This Time", a switch of gears was in order. "Run To You" comes right straight at you with its softer verse-y parts, then cranks up the harder-hitting rockingness and bounds into a pounding chorus.

You know, it's funny. Before I started trying to describe them, the two songs seemed totally dissimilar in my mind! It's a tribute to Adams and his band that they don't bear much if any resemblance, despite the structural similarities. The tone struck by each song is markedly different.

At the time of its release, "Run To You" seemed like more than just a change of pace. It was a big step up, a revelation, a maturation. The darker lyrical mood, conflicted passion, hints of infidelity - angsty business indeed!

Another big point in its favor at the time was the video. The "Run To You" video was deemed to be pretty deep. At its time. To my recollection, this was the first of Adam's videos to really draw notice on its own merit, rather than just the song's (okay, "Heaven", with its concert hall with all the seats filled by tv sets, was impressive as well. People were like, "holy cow, that must have taken them all day. Dragging in all those tvs. Hooking them up!" Videos were so much less contrived then). While the focus of this series is foursquare on the songs themselves and not their videos, I will note in passing that clip for this one was most definitely a groundbreaker. Because, in the video, he's standing there singing the song, and then running through studio sets dressed to represent Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter - fake leaves, fake snow - the four seasons, all right there in one clip! It was all considered quite ballsy, quite symbolic, by the viewers of the day. A mark of maturity, at a time when many of the clips on MTV had next-to-zero concept, and were pretty amateurish in the execution.

The production values on this video were quite high. These days, all the fake leaves and fake snow would have been done with CGI, and it would have just ended up looking fake! But you watch this video even to this day, and it can't help but impress you. You'll be like, "Whoa. Those are real fake leaves!"

Friday, November 20, 2009

Overheard In An Empty Bar

"Hittin' it pretty hard, there."

"I'm celebrating."

"Yeah? Congratulations."

"Thanks."

"What're you celebrating?"

"I'm celebrating the fact that I'm celebrating."

"Favourite Girl" by ALT

ALT is (/was) Andy White, Liam O'Maonlai, and Tim Finn. I saw them live in '95 at San Francisco's Great American Music Hall, and they were fan-flippin'-fucktabulous. Stellar show.

This video is not a good representation of them at the peak I saw. But I love love love the song, and this is the only clip I could find of them doing it! So, "Favourite Girl" by ALT (lyrics in the comments queue as usual!):

I don't know what to say about that performance. There was this comment underneath it on You-Tube, however - sitting at -2 after seven months and surely about to vanish:
Elbemarle (7 months ago)

wow, they suck. All over the map! Tempo flapping in the breeze. Voices weak and quavering, gum-chewing, falling asleep at the keys, what the crap are they thinking? This is like talent-show reject bad.

Crazy, each of these guys is a world-class musician!

Well okay. Maybe not Andy.

That comment seems needlessly mean. Before you watch the video.

Anyway. Anybody who knows me knows, a stauncher support of these guys you will find it not easy to find. But even the greats have off days when, to take a line from the song itself, they are not "feelin' it."

The Emergence, Ascendancy, and Continuing Relevance of the Term "Asshat"

Seems everyone is onto "asshat" now. I've been throwing that one into my speech - sparingly - for years, and I'm not going to stop using it now -

"Asshat!"

- because I'll tell you something. I'm not one of those weird avant-conformists who wants to do everything everyone else is doing, only do it a little ahead of them, and then stop doing it once they catch up. No, I am not one of those. Those people are quite frankly, asshats.

But in addition to my non-eschewal of the now very well-established pungent and descriptive phrases I've long touted and would never abandon while their descriptive power holds - and don't let anyone ever tell you that one word's as good as another! One of the two is always going to fit the situation just a little bit more bang-on, for what you want to say. So as I was saying, while I like to keep every word - no matter how ostensibly "passé" - in my repertoire, for when it suddenly becomes 'the perfect word', I do also like to get out ahead of the curve a bit. I like to participate in the forward fringe - I just don't insist on leaving behind the trail I blaze. So to speak. So on behalf of that, here's these that I've been making good use of:

"Watch it, assglove!"
"Could you please move your chair a bit to the side, assrug?"
"You're a real assbag, buddy. A real assbag."
"That guy's an assbox."
"Why is it that every girl I fall in love with turns out to be an asscase?"
"The difference between an asschair and an asscouch is, the asscouch thinks he's only an asschair."
"Who invited that assharp?"

You can glean the proper usage from context pretty easily on these, as you can see. I don't claim to have invented any of the above terms or usages, myself. The evolution of a living language is far more collaborative than personality-driven, despite what certain asshoops would have you believe.

Tough Moral Quandary? For Some, Maybe.

If I had a robot suit, that looked exactly like a real bear but would give me super-powers?

I'd sell it.

I'd be careful, though - I wouldn't sell it to a villain. That'd just be suicide. Those guys will always kill you right after, just to prove to the audience they're a badass. No, I'd be a little smarter than that - and do the right thing, too! I'd find a real, modern-day hero and sell it to him, for about 7.2 million dollars.

Or her, of course.

What the Hell Is a "Blog"??

What the hell is a blog? What is the purpose of this activity? Again and again I feel positively shown-up, slapped in the face by the fact that others doing this seem to know something I don't, have something I lack, and/or they are PRETENDING TO. Because they seem to have definite aims. Or if not aims, I don't know. Goals? Motives? A bit of the old je ne sais raison d'être?

Whereas I, I have no idea what I'm doing! I'm out here, "winging" it! I'm like a kid, playing with a big cardboard box that I've cut windows in - but with no real conception of what that box is really for.

Well, wait - that might be a bit inaccurate. I was kind of a bright kid, as I recall. I'm sure I had a decent grasp of the purpose of a box. But that early head start hasn't prepared me for life! Or for blogging.

I like doing it. But is that a reason? That's kind of self-serving isn't it? Others seem far more virtuous and focused on the needs of others. On blogging as if providing a service. What the hell kind of service can I provide? Here, on this blog, I mean. I'm plenty useful in other areas. This crisis of purpose is very much blog-specific.

I don't know. What kind of service can I provide? How can I take my native talents, how can I adapt them to this milieu? And for whom am I doing it, ultimately?

Maybe I should focus on the talents. I have plenty of talents. Still, in terms of converting them into blog ideas, it all seems so scattershot, so very far from cohesive. Here, let me to offer you all some services! Pick as many as you like, and watch me come through in SPADES:
  • E-mail me a picture of yourself in a hat. I will post it on the blog tell you if it looks good on you or not.
  • E-mail me a drawing you made, I will post it on the blog and absolutely tear it into its constituent aspects with my most stringent fine-arts critique! You will be left feeling unspared, but dealt with fairly.
  • Ask me my take on ANY MOVIE. I'm not going to craft some full scale in-depth review, but if I've seen it, I'll pull out the single most interesting aspect or two for you and make some observations you might find surprising. If I haven't seen it, my observations will seem potentially even more surprising.
  • Give me three telling facts about yourself and then ask me to guess your sign. I will reply back with a long, previously-written pasted-in rant explaining exactly why you should definitely not put any stock in astrology. Or something similar. I haven't written it yet, so maybe I shouldn't judge before I do. But I suspect that's about where I'd end up coming down on the issue.
See, I'm all over the map, here. My talents don't suit me to be doing this! I constantly find myself embarrassed and ashamed when I see other bloggists out there doing their thing, and they seem to know who they're doing it for and why they're doing it, and they have a level of dedication there. And what have I got? In a word: smartassery.

Is that enough? Hell, peoples. I don't know. Y'all tell me.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Don't You Hate It When Someone Keeps One-Upping You...?

Don't you hate it when someone keeps one-upping you, when in reality they aren't even paying any attention to you at all?

"I Have Read Your Whole, Entire Blog, And..."

This post is a special post. It is a special place to honor those who have read my whole, entire blog. If you're one of those people, you can leave a comment here and tell me: what did you think about my whole, entire blog? And please, do begin your comment with the phrase "I Have Read Your Whole, Entire Blog, And..."

But ONLY if you are one of those people! One of those select few who can indeed make that a truthful statement! Otherwise, don't comment here (on this post)! Comment elsewhere, until you've finished staking your claim to being deserving of the accolade due to those who truly do deserve to post a comment on this post, which has been set up specifically to honor them.

Please don't toy with me. Don't post in the comments of this post unless you really did read my whole, entire blog. I don't want anybody to pretend and then lie about it. You don't need to butter me up, baste me with chicken gravy and slide me on a baking pan - limbs and loose parts tied in tight with butcher's twine - into an oven preheated to 350 degrees. I would rather just take the straight truth than some lie. I would rather have someone give it to me straight than stab me in the back.

I would rather somebody tell me one sweet, golden truth that makes it all worthwhile, than have that person grab and pull my hair so hard that strands pull loose at the roots, as they kick me repeatedly in the knee and shins, and viciously stomp my insteps. I would rather have to simply deal with the silence that honestly says: no one has read your whole, entire blog. Better that, than to have the humiliation of being chased down and beaten to a bleeding pulp by a Catholic high school girls field hockey team, even though I'd take a few of them down in the course of the losing effort, plus I'd know they only beat me because there were like fifteen of them and they all had those wicked sticks.

The plain truth. That's what I'd rather have. Even a hard truth is better than the alternative.

Spidey Meets The Yeti!

That kid narrator sounds just like Stan Lee!



Is it just me, or is that woman singing "Happy Birthday" to the tune of the national anthem?

I Hope Your Life Is Awesome

I hope your life is awesome. Seriously! I hope it is. Are you married?

I hope your marriage is awesome.

Did you skip breakfast today? I hope you didn't - it's the most important meal, of every day that you have it. If you skip breakfast, lunch by default becomes your breakfast - and that can be an angry adjustment for lunch to make! So don't skip breakfast. Oh, you didn't skip breakfast? Good! How was it? Was it awesome?

I hope it was.

Seen any good movies lately? Read any good books? How about...any awesome ones? I sure hope so. Nothing quite like that feeling of walking out of an awesome movie or closing the book on an awesome read! Except, are you like me? Finishing the best (i.e. most awesome) books, don't you feel a little sad? Sad it's over? Because it feels like it could just keep on going and going, when it's a book! Which, in the case of an awesome book...would be awesome. You've got to admit, it would be pretty awesome. But that "story's-over" regret is less common with a movie, I find. Perhaps because in addition to the sweet triumph of witnessing filmmaking at its highest orders - a truly all-time-awesome film, it feels like "humanity did it," we all are ennobled - but in addition to that, you're also kind of glad to be back on your feet, your ass has gone numb.

Anyway, in those ways and in all sorts of other ways, as you go about your life I'd sure like to think you might occasionally stop and imagine me there, with a hearty positive hand gesture (such as "thumbs up," "A-OK!" or "Peace") and perhaps (if such would be welcome) a wink. The kind of wink that says "Atta boy!" or "Atta girl!" I'd love to think that you might think of me in that sort of encouraging way. Because I don't know, that's just how I'd like to be thought of.

So anyway, you go do what you have to go do now, and please just know that as you go do that, I'll be here.

Wishing you awesome in general.

How The Blob Reproduces Pt.2: How The Blob Reproduces

This is part 2 of 2. There was also a part 1, but it didn't actually get into much more than just introductory comments. Whetting the appetite, as it were. Setting the table.

Now! We get into the particulars: How The Blob Reproduces.

Don't ask me for my sources on this. It's something I can never reveal.

The Blob that we see on a rampage in 1958's classic The Blob is just the incipient stage of the organism. Albeit, every stage looks pretty much the same - a big ol' blob. But at each stage, how The Blob behaves - and what it consumes, and what it excretes - can be very different. The color varies as well, depending on diet.

Stage 0 Blob (spore): a small meteor with a thick shell makes planetfall, and cracks open. The meteor is a spore of The Blob. The shell is composed of dead protoplasm - hardened, thickened as all the moisture is drawn into the interior where the dormant organism waits.

Stage 1 Blob: this is the most active and fastest-growing developmental phase. Upon cracking open, The Blob begins foraging for prey. Soft-tissue organisms are sought out, engulfed and digested - their mass added to the rapidly-growing mass of The Blob. Its ability to convert carbon-based or silica-based life into its own biomass is disturbingly efficient, with apparently the entire organism digested and little or no waste excreted. Despite the clear advantages that splitting into multiple Blobs at this stage would give, The Stage 1 Blob exhibits a strong preference for remaining whole. If portions of The Blob are forcibly separated from the main mass, they appear to be unharmed, and are able to act autonomously, but they will rejoin the main mass at any opportunity. Unchecked, The Blob will continue growing and absorbing all soft-tissue life it can, becoming one enormous mass, sliding over continents and across sea beds.

Stage 2 Blob: Eventually there will be little to no soft-tissue life remaining. The Stage 2 Blob thickens, slows, and spreads out as it begins to digest harder cell-walled life forms such as trees and other vegetation. Stage 1 Blob may be red, on a planet where it gorges on carbon-based life with red, oxygenated blood. Stage 2 Blob on our world would probably have been tar black from the resins and compounds of our forests and plains, as it scoured every last vestige of natural life from the surface. It remains deadly to any animal life it encounters during this time - while slower to react, its continuous spread will eventually engulf any area within the temperate zone. During Stage 2, The Blob's metabolism no longer seems as efficient: there are now considerable waste gases being vented from the bubbling Blob. As time goes on (it can take decades), the buildup of these gases raises the global temperature. Icecaps shrink. The temperate zone - now The Blob's undisputed dominion - expands.

Stage 3 Blob: When there is no more sustenance to be had upon the planet's surface, a marked transformation occurs. The darkened, thickened Stage 2 Blob begins to aggressively seek the ocean. As more and more of it submerges, it begins soak up the sea water and expand many times in volmue. Its outermost portion seemingly dissolves out into the water, sending out thick, deadly, mucous-like tendrils that float everywhere and ensnare all aquatic life. When a creature sufficiently large is caught, there is a temporary reversion in appearance to Stage 1 Blob - fast-growing, all-consuming - but only until the unfortunate whale or shark is incapacitated, and sinks down into the deadly fathoms-thick ooze that now carpets the sea floor. Stage 3 Blob continues drawing in more and more water, binding it with the matter absorbed from the planet's biomass, until almost the entire mass of the planet's oceans have been replaced by a watery, bulbous, dilute and gelatinous Blob the color of mud and dreck.

Stage 4 Blob: By now the planet's global climate is tropical. Both the surface and the depths have been scrubbed free of life. Only the birds remain. No I'm kidding, those dudes would totally have died earlier! No safe place to land. Poor birds. Anyway, Stage 4 Blob pours from the oceans like an all-engulfing tsunami and begins to eat the planet's very surface. The Blob is now converting minerals to biomass. It is a far less efficient conversion process, but what it loses in efficiency, it makes up in savagery as it furiously attacks the land - sending tendrils deep into cracks to draw forth whatever substances can most readily add to its own mass. Cracking and pulling apart mountains. Inhaling lava. Its rippling surface now pocked with gas craters and crusts, The Blob itself resembles almost a congealed lava flow as it continues to eat into the crust, forcing fissures wide, consuming peat and sands and soils and oil and coal and breaking them down into elements it can either use or extrude into its crust. And it grows. It covers the entire surface of the planet. And as it digs deeper, and grows thicker, it begins to squeeze - a planet-girdling mass, miles-thick, squeezing and compressing the mantle and core, muffling the cataclysmic shocks that result while continuing to build up, increase the pressure - as if trying to rip the world apart with a planet-sized explosion.

Which is exactly what it is doing. As seismic shockwaves build up - the planet's tectonic forces seemingly trying to fight off this new, alien crust - the planet grows less and less stable and The Blob seems to be stoking the cataclysm while patiently awaiting its chance. Titanic forces are built up under the over-stressed and dwindling crust. At the moment of greatest instability, suddenly The Blob shifts all of its pressure to one side of the planet - releasing the other side. The crust buckles and ruptures like a popped balloon, cause the whole world to fly apart. Leaving very little behind: a debris cloud. A dead, spinning core of nickel and iron, perhaps.

The Blob itself is disintegrated in the explosion. Atomized into billions upon billions of particles flung out into space at incredible velocities - most of them ejected straight up and down relative to that solar system's planetary disc. The particles cool, then harden, into spores. Space is absolutely littered with them.

Know this: The Blob has been around far longer than any currently-existing sentient life. We search the skies for reasons why we find it so hard to locate planets that either harbor life, or appear to be suitable for harboring life. In many, many cases the answer is as simple as it is grim: The Blob has been there first.

The Blob is the dominant form of life in our galaxy.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

More Mind-Provoking, Unverifiable Statistical Facts

Right now, at any given point in time, within X number of miles of where you sit reading this post at this very instant, there are at least...

...6 people doing a Clint Eastwood impression.

...8 people not having an orgasm.

...1 person sitting alone, laughing at you.

...9 people thinking about a movie they saw that you did not see.

...7 people eating delicious fast food from their neighborhood McDonalds.

...5 people sleeping.

Think about that for a minute. Think about all those people, and what they're doing.

What are you doing?

The Final Verdict On Obama's Legacy

Yeah, that's right. I'm here to make that BOLD CALL - RIGHT NOW!!

Here's how it's going to go down. Repubs are gonna say: he SUCKED. A disgrace. Dems'll say: he did a hard job well during a tumultuous time, he missed some opportunities perhaps, maybe made some mistakes, but history will judge him kinder than the histrionic cries of his ideological opponents would have you believe.

In other words, pretty much the same as the last two guys. Flipping the parties involved as needed.

I pretty much see every president from here on in ending up with about that same legacy. But of course, once we're all dead they'll change it around on us.

Depending on who writes the most history books.

Some Troubling Accusations Re: My Recent High-Performance Surge of Poems: And My Response

So, now that the Drive For 365 is over, and my original poetry blog A Pocket Full Of Poesy has been declared officially to be a Poem-A-Day(-On-Average)-Blog, I can slack off a bit for the remainder of '09 and just enjoy the feeling of triumph. Now, some might say: "Bull shit. 94 poems in a 15-day stretch? Including at one point 44 poems in 24 hours?? All while maintaining a very specific level of quality! There's no way you composed all those poems you've been posting. Surely not in so short a span!" So the accusation goes.

Well EAT IT, buddy, because I have and I did. No banned substances, no performance enhancing drugs, well maybe a little fine red wine or a tipple or two of golden suds, but of such libations are the poetic stuffs traditionally made! Poets are notorious drunks. Ain't no shame there. I mean, as long as you're a poet with it. You can't just be a drunk with no excuse, you need a creative angle with a sort of a spiritual side, to give it that heroic aspect.

Furthermore, rumors that all these poems (clearly all with my inimitable stamp, for those who have eyes to see) sprang forth, not from the present-day fecund fecundity of my fecund mind, but rather from say some old high-school creative writing notebook of mine that I just unearthed - WELL, NOPE. Every one of those poems was either fresh from scratch, or forged whole from meager materials set inside in drafts from earlier in 2009, drafts that have only just now been completed! And let me tell you, those drafts were mostly nowhere close to done, or I'd have just published them at the time. Most of them were less than sketches. Barely ideas. Okay, two were pretty much done. But the point is: they needed work. And I got in there with my poetic hammer and tongs and made metaphorical shit into literal diamonds, albeit, I do exaggerate there. I wouldn't say they were shit. But I exaggerate to make a point: none of what I just posted has been old, just dug-up stuff.

Still, the timing of that last accusation is apt. In that I did just happen to find my old high school creative writing notebook. So in 2010, maybe I will mix a few of those in. Ease the load a bit, keep myself from putting myself in a situation where I have to make this big impressive run to hit the year's goal.

Anyhow, a lot of people also look at the way I brag and boast and say, dude, a bit unseemly for a poet. To which I reply: who's your role model for a poet? Mine's Mohandas Dewese.

So what that let you know.

Coins Are Like, Magical

Coins are like these magical talismans, that you can carry around jingling and clinking in your pocket, that can be magically transformed into goodies when the stars are in the right alignment, the barriers between dimensions grow thin and the damn machine is actually stocked. Coins are like the material components of a candy/soda summoning spell! "Presto! Eighty fiveo centivissimus! E-4!"

I summon Peanut Butter M & M's! By the hand-biting theft-proof door portal I summon thee! By the red gleaming wrapper of Wahtoon I grasp and bind and rip thee open! Now do my bidding, by dint of thine satisfying deliciousness!!

Whoa. Sorry about that. I in no way intend to imply by the above that candy is Satanic. The above is a fantastic scenario, that takes place in a magical realm where fictitious forces duel. It's kind of an allegory that way.

Hey, Knock It Off With The Generalizations, Unless They're Valid Generalizations!

The generalization that feminists lack a sense of humor is no more accurate than the generalization that humor is funny.

That's not a wisecrack. Be honest. There is a shit load of humor out there, that is simply not funny.

Or it could be me. People who have the most sophisticated and refined senses of humor miss out on a lot of laughs.

Plus...I am a feminist.

I saw a bumper sticker: TRUST THE TROOPS

I saw it in my mind.

It made me think, though.

Google Earth: Nights

Google Earth: Nights.

I'm telling you, that would be one classy option. The whole world looks so different in the dark, lit up! It'd be like a dazzling art installation, seen from space.

Admittedly, the show out in the boonies might not be as spectacular. Maybe if the angle's right - catch that sweet reflection of the moon off the Terksons' pond!

Poetry.

Ah! Le Sabrage: C'est Tres Classy



This looks so much easier than the way I've been doing it!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How The Blob Reproduces

I'm referring to the original The Blob from the 1958 movie The Blob, the Earl Rowe version. I know, everybody says "The Steve McQueen version" and true enough, Steve's in there pulling his share. But for my money, convincing as he is as a callow youth, as a leading actor he hadn't quite yet grown into his boots here, and it is the kind yet stern turn from Earle Rowe as Lt. Dave that provides the film's moral center.

I'm most definitely not referring to the 1988 movie The Blob featuring Kevin Dillon and Shawnee Smith, with the appalling performance of Jeffrey DeMunn as what I can only assume was meant to be this film's "Lt. Dave." But that's not why I'm most definitely not referring to this version for my little thesis. For one thing, in this film we're expected to believe that The Blob was the result of a low-earth-orbit germ-warfare experiment gone awry. Oh, I'm sorry, did I spoil the twist for you? Screw you, Blob remake! I will spoil your twist every damn day it occurs to me to do so! You're lucky Michael Crichton didn't sue you for a "story by" credit. No amount of Shawnee Smith in that sweater can redeem this.

Since I'm being so hard on it, I should include a contrary viewpoint from another reviewer, for balance:

I agree with him on this: if The Blob met another movie character I think The Blob would probably win, because it eats people up. It probably could eat Chucky or anybody up.

But I've gotten sidetracked. I wanted to explain how The Blob reproduces. You know what, I'll get into that in my "Pt. 2." It's more involved than you might think.