12.31.2008

Music Video of the Week: J Arthur


"Hell in a Bucket"

J Arthur

Yep, that's right. This weeks video is a bit of fluff by none other than yours truly. At last I have learned how to record video on the new camera and upload to YouTube. Hope you enjoy it. Be sure to turn off the LastFM player or you may hear a frightening combination of me and someone who actually has talent.

12.28.2008

The MP3 player I got for Christmas is fucked up. I spent a considerable amount of time loading it with music and photos and now it's stopped working. The "initializing" screen comes on when you power it up, then it goes blank and stays that way. Yeah, I'm pretty pissed off about it. I liked it a lot and it seemed to work just fine until now.

God, I hate going to Wal-Mart to return and exchange shit. I'll take a replacement, but who the hell knows how long IT will hold up? I've looked for solutions online with no luck. All I find is stuff from other owners who have the same problem. Not a single word when it comes to WHY or if/how it can be fixed.

Looks like we'll be heading to Wal-Mart tomorrow. If the next one fucks up I swear to God I will never buy another RCA product. I have had no luck with ANY of the last few I've bought in the past.

12.25.2008

Thought I'd take a break from loading my new music player and turn you on to a seriously fun time waster called AUDITORIUM.


12.24.2008

MERRY CHRISTMAS, FOLKS.



From the BBC News:

Warner threatens YouTube on music

Warner said YouTube's terms did not 'fairly compensate' performers or labels

Warner Music Group has told YouTube, the video sharing site, to remove music videos by its artists from the site.

Contract negotiations have ended because Warner wanted more money for having its music on YouTube.

But the Warner channel was still available on YouTube on Monday and Warner is reportedly still keen to reach a settlement.

The original 2006 deal was hailed as a landmark agreement, paving the way for deals with other music publishers.

YouTube also has deals with Universal Music, Sony and EMI Music. Analysts say that Warner's action may prompt other music companies to demand more money.

Thousands of videos from artists such as Madonna, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Kid Rock, could now be pulled from the site.

'Staggeringly' low

The original deal allowed Warner's material to be used legally on YouTube in return for advertising revenue.

Music companies typically get a share of advertising revenue associated with each video and a per-play payment - estimated to be a fraction of a penny - for every video viewed.

"We simply cannot accept terms that fail to appropriately and fairly compensate recording artists, songwriters, labels and publishers for the value they provide," Warner said in a statement.

Sources close to Warner said the amount it received from YouTube was "staggeringly low".

In a statement on the YouTube blog, the company - which is owned by Google - said: "Every day we work with the music community to license your favourite music for you to use on YouTube. But music licensing is very complicated.

"Sometimes, if we can't reach acceptable business terms, we must part ways with successful partners. For example, you may notice videos that contain music owned by Warner Music Group being blocked from the site."

The video sharing site added that its ultimate goal was "to treat everyone fairly".


...Which could put a huge damper on our "Music Video of the Week" fun. I'm not sure how many of the artists I would feature here are owned by Warners, but seeing as how they are such a large conglomerate, I would assume that more than a few are.

Here's what I want to know: Why does Warner expect even a small chunk of YouTube's profits? Only twenty years ago they were shelling out big bucks to MTV for the opportunity to have one of their artist's videos played on that channel. A clip on YouTube is going to get much more exposure than even the ones that they paid into heavy rotation on "Music Television". And it costs NOTHING to get it there.

In case you didn't know it (and Warners evidently does not or has forgotten), a music video is nothing more than a commercial. A commercial for a band. A commercial for a record. And, by proxy, a commercial for the record label that put it out. That's all they ever were. It doesn't matter if it was a cheezy Lita Ford/Ozzy Osbourne epic or a full blown artistic blowout from R.E.M., they were COMMERCIALS. Music video as art form? Okay, I won't argue with that. That's all subjective, anyway. It's the marketing aspect I'm talking about. Warner doesn't give two shits about whether ANY medium is an "art form". Their bottom line is sales and so they use music videos to further those ends, and so that makes them commercials.

I noticed some while back that CBS has disabled the embedding of some of their artists. That's why you haven't seen Springsteen or Dylan here. I think that's a stupid decision on their part because by not allowing bloggers and other Web 2.0 folks the ability to embed they have given up a chance to expose their artists to people who may never hear of them otherwise. Maybe not much, but doesn't every little bit count?





Music Video of the Week: Wire

"Kidney Bingos"
Wire

I love this song so much.

12.21.2008


Another interesting variation on the Floydian "Ummagumma" concept.

Click HERE to experience it.

12.18.2008

A "Some Bizarre Show" music video reconstruction

You hardly, if ever, see anything about the "Some Bizarre" show anywhere anymore. Even in the seemingly infinite world of the Internet. I fear that this awesome program, one of the original "USA Night Flight"'s regular features, will be consigned to forgotten history.

I hope not, though. Maybe someone will get some full episodes to post on YouTube. For now, though, you'll have to use your imagination in pieceing together the following videos, all of which I remember being shown on the same edition of "Some Bizarre". They are incredibly original (some even disturbing) in their own right. But their true power lay in the way they were presented on the program. I wish I could remember it well enough to describe it. I doubt you've seen anything like it or ever will.

Here are the videos from that one unforgettable show, though I've been unable to reconstruct them in chronological order.


Foetus Flesh "Stumbo"


Soft Cell "Frustration"


Test Dept. "Total State Machine"


Cabaret Voltaire "Sensoria"


Renaldo & the Loaf "Songs for Swinging Larvae"


Marc Almond "You Have"


Einsturzende Neubauten "Autobahn"

12.17.2008

As a young child I can remember music teachers telling me to close my eyes, listen to a piece of music, and then tell here what I imagined I saw. This is how it works, I assumed. The music automatically conjures a set of visual stimuli for the third eye. Right? Isn't that the whole purpose of "program music"? To give you some helpful hints as to what the composer would have you think on while the music is played.

I think this is ridiculous, but it really bothered me for a long time that I didn't have these hallicinogenic visions while hearing music. I mean, I am a music lover. So what am I missing?

So you want to know what DOES go through my mind when I listen to Bach? Notes. A lot of notes. A lot of notes that somehow just mathematically fall in their perfect places in a piece of music. Beethoven? I see melodic strains that are not quite corporeal. They waft like ghosts in the dark night behind my eyelids.

I don't "see" music in that way.

I do, however, like to imagine I'm in the same room with a jazz quartet, watching them play and record the date. I can almost see the expression on the drummer's face as it tightens and relaxes in rhythm with his playing. I can put myself right there in the middle with the tenor sax player to my left and the pianist on my right. I just put on the headphones and relax, there I am in the same room with Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Dave Holland, Roy Haynes...It's at these times when I realize that it's the PLAYING that makes the music, not the other way around.

This approach generally, at least in my case, only works with small improvisational ensembles as best exemplified by that good old Blue Note/Verve jazz stuff. Haven't tried it on many other styles of music.

From the Boards

It's the "Halloween", "Nightmare on Elm Street" "Friday the 13th" marathons that get to a man. Especially that last one. You could almost fill an entire 24 hour day watching all these sequels. No sleep. No appetite because all of the blood and gore has you a little grossed out. The lights off and the door unlocked. A six pack of Guiness stout warming up on the coffee table, sharing it's space with a bong, a lighter, and a miniature oak chest just big enough to handle the contents of your drug collection, the contents of which, I think you should know, have been diminishing gradually at a disturbingly rapid rate of speed. Maybe a shot of crack all nice and pre-prepared. That would surely do the trick. That would drive a novice horror film nut into the realms from which there is no turning back. Into a place where fantasy yields for one toxic moment and to live vicariously through these psychos is just not enough anymore. Next thing you know you got your wallet in your back pocket and you're still looking for your key chain. It ain't a big key chain. There aren't a whole lot of keys on it. But the two that a man genuinely needs are there...the house key and the car key.

So what do you do with the keys?

Well, you don't do nothing to the house key, understand? You take the car key to the car. You stick it into the ignition slot. You turn it. You feel the vibration of the vehicle, having been disturbed from a very deep, restful sleep. it grumbles and groans at the mercy of your feet. And then you drive that son-of-a-bitch to some dirty dive bar, abduct some young women, chop them up with sharp butcher knives and throw them from the jeep to the side of the road, for the crows to feast upon. It will be during the 11th installment of the "Friday the 13th" scare-a-thon that your mental stability will stretch past its breaking point. It was that 3rd murder scene that convinced you that there might be a lot of satisfaction in following down the path blazed by the hockey mask wearing bad guy in these movies. During the 4th murder scene you decided that it might be fun to BE THAT GUY, even for only a day or two.

Which is the point to where the very notion of a Rambo marathon could change a man's life, I can only respond that such a transformation could only be described as an inspirational moment of enlightenment that is often missed by people who do not think as highly of the Rambo quartet as others...But there's no comparison with the slasher lock-ins. They'll take you to places as horrifying as the most frightening nightmare landscapes you've ever experienced in your life. They will rob the young of innocence. That one will make an old man beg for death. That one will bring Elvis Presley back from the grave. That one defies description and doesn't deserve to share the same place in history as the span of my lifetime.

I don't recommend it. Not even with your pot party friends along for the ride. You will beg for a Rambo 5.

Music Video of the Week: Boxcar Willie

"Train Medley"
Boxcar Willie


Boxcar Willie, my friends, was one classic son-of-a-bitch. That train whistle noise he makes...that puts the whole thing over the top. You hear that sound and it's all you can do not to jump up and head for the door. Whooo Whoooo! That sucker has got that particular sound effect learned.

Moreover, his fashion sense is ahead of it's time in so many ways that go completely over the head of the whole balcony section of this Branson theater. The badges and buttons that go down the lapels of his jacket combine with those pinned to the brim of his old fishing hat. He's sort of dressed like a hobo but he doesn't look at all like a hobo. He looks like somebody who is trying to look like a hobo, but just barely succeeding.

I'll tell you, John, if you ever get in the mood to hear a train song, just go in my closet and get my copy of his Greatest Hits album and play it in repeat mode for a few hours. You're craving for train songs is going to have it's limits tested, and I put my money on you not wanting to hear another train song for the rest of your life after it's all over.

If you're going to one of Willie's shows you'd better prepare yourself. If you DON'T like train songs I suggest you bring your iPod inside with you so you can tune them out. You'll know them by the powerful and dynamic train whistle blowing skills of Boxcar Willie.

You really get your money's worth when you attend a Boxcar Willie show. Not only do you get the down-on-his-luck train riding miscreant, you also get a shit hot backing band. Second to none in the Branson circuit, these musicians have the talent to pull off this whole train song tribute show that Willie's incapable of doing otherwise.

Boxcar's either a really cool guy in real life, or he's a wife beater. He has a smile that seems inauthentic and it taints his whole expression. It gives him the look of a wanted man. But every time he tries to tell a joke you can practically feel the tension of those in the audience who are wondering if it's appropriate to laugh during some point in this debacle. Someone needs to tell me. I see him smiling. I can tell he's pleased with himself.

Then again, it is just as easy to imagine him as the tough guy in situations which revolve around the torture and physical abuse of a very pretty woman. His raw, bleeding knuckles didn't get there by themselves. He puts on the oxygen mask and breathes in the nitrous oxide, everything looks fine now. It all seems so much nicer. But he breaks the hushed, awed quietness of the moment by screaming at the top of his lungs:

"CLOSURE! CLOSURE! CLOSURE!

From the Boards

OK, I see it now. This is a board where you're supposed to pose a question to the omnipotent entity known as DED, who is understood by many to be an incarnation of Krishna and a damn good philosophizer himself. So you ask this venerable God from outer space a question or two and he's supposed to deign to provide you with an answer on the spot and you expect to get all of this for free. You get everything you bargained for and that's for god-blessed sure.

So I guess I needs a question.

Okay, I gots me one.

Do you think those two couples in ABBA ever did a little wife-sharing...You know. a little swing action. A cold night on the road, a room rented for the four of them. TV doesn't work. No radio. Not a goddamned motherfuckin' thing to do. You're all alone with this other couple who you know so well. Very likely have already had some sexual fantasies that revolve around the various permutations of sexual positions and techniques. So let's have at it, eh? Jimmy Cagney would agree with me. It ain't too big a stretch of the imagination to think that they said "to hell with it, who's going to find out anyway? Let's do this!" and we're off to the races. There are theoretically a fixed number of sexual postions, in accord with the physical make-up of the human body and yours in particular, but I guess I'm just saying that I wouldn't mind one bit and I do mean one bit at all to know that those ABBA chicks was heavy duty deep into the swinger's scene.

DED, clever name you've chosen. It brings to mind HAL, the infamous robot overlord of "2001: A Space Odyssey". HAL's intentions were always noble ones. They just didn't happen to work out in the human's favor very often, now did they? So yes, I will have to grant you that you are incredibly gifted mental genius.

And so I really do want to know your take on this whole ABBA wife swapping idea? If it hasn't been done, is it DO-ABLE? If so, can I be the camerman?

Oh, here's one more questions for you, DED old boy. Here's the main one:

Is there any way you can hook me up to somebody who can get me a job as a camera man for amateur porn films. There's got to be one, you know? He's the tour guide through the whole degrading debauchery. I can do that. I can do that, sure enough, like you ain't never seen done before. I want the job bad and I really do think I'm pretty damn good at it. If you want, I can get you a link to a site where you can watch me licking snot from a crack whore's nose. Anything to get the job. Any and every thing, you gotta know it. Just remember four words whenever you think of what kind of job you should get for me: CAMERA MAN PORN FILM. Can you make that happen?

12.16.2008

You know, that Paul McCartney character is really something else, Did you know that he was a huge dope smoker? Oh, it's true. Probably is to this day. Nothing wrong with that, mind you. But really should be clarified up front and in an appropriate manner that McCartney could more than hold his own with the likes of Snoop Doggy Dog, Cheech & Chong and even Bob Marley on a good night.

He once got busted in Japan for carrying something like an ounce of weed. It was in the news for a little while. I'm probably leaving out an essential detail...the one that gives reason for this particular pot bust to go down in history. Was it because he was in Japan and the justice system over there is, to say it politely, not extremely fond of Western tourists, even former Beatles, one would think.

But who knows, who knows? Certainly not I. Not me. I've no knowledge or understanding on that point whatsoever. I want nothing to do with it. I've just told you more that you needed to be told right then and there. I just thought that it cannot be presumed that everyone knew a lot about the Beatles like I do. But I should recognize the fact that I am getting older and my musical knowledge bank is becoming a more valuable resource than I give it credit for being. Beatles lore is simply not as "in demand" as it has been in the past. Still, guess I should be grateful that I can always look forward to the revivals that come around every four or five years. That's when folks interested in the Fab Four gets piqued to an intense degree. And I got what they want and I got what they need and what they REALLY NEED to know is that Bob Dylan is the one who turned those guys on to marijuana. They all became serious potheads for several years after that. Dylan always gets the killer bud, so it's no surprise that the addictive reaction manifested itself so quickly on the lads.

To the best of my knowledge, and as I would have it, Jesse McCartney is no relation to Sir Paul.

12.15.2008

Juana's was very good tonight, as it always is. We've eaten there at least once a week ever since they opened their doors. All three of us have our favorites. Stacie always orders the chicken quesadillas. Bryan likes the taco salad. I usually get the beef enchilada dinner, but I've been experimenting, trying to put some variety into my choices.

Tonight I had the beef enchilada/quesadilla platter. I wasn't sure I'd like their fajita meat. I don't eat it very often. I figured I'd still have the enchilada to eat if I didn't care for the quesadilla. As it turned out, the fajita meat in the quesadilla was delicious. That means that not only will I be ordering the beef quesadillas in the future, but the fajitas as well.

Their salsa took a little getting used to. I like for mine to be thickened up, not too watery. Juana's salsa is a little bit watery and that was a problem at first. But the more I ate it the more I liked it. It is truly a delicious salsa, watery or not. Seeing as how you can tell a lot about the quality of a Mexican restaurant by how good it's salsa is, Juana's is second only to Rudolfo's on that score.

Not that I've eaten at too many decent Mexican places. Usually it's been the fast food, Taco Mayo/Taco Bell feasts. I should get out more often and see what else is out there.

The atmosphere is nice, with the obligatory Latin music playing softly in the background. The guy who owns it, a little Mexican dude we call Pedro, flutters about from table to table to check ot counter then back again. He's aways wearing this cute apron that's black and has little peppers embroidered into it. He seems like a nice enough guy, though his thick accent and inability to comprehend what I am saying have made for some less than comfortable transactions. I've seen him take tips from waitresses straight off of the table. He jumped down one waitresses throat tonight, because he didn't think she was paying close enough attention to the customers drink glasses. Apparently he didn't think she was refilling them as often as should be done. I don't know what the deal is between them, but she did a fine job waiting our table. That's something I expect at any restaurant I eat at. Good service. We've always gotten it at Juana's.

Every time we walk out their doors I feel like I'm a couple of pounds heavier. They don't skrimp there, that's for sure. You might pay more than you would at most places around here, but I damn sure guarantee you'll get your money's worth in grub.

And as I lead my family to the car I always say, "You know, if I haven't said it before, I'll say it now. That is some FINE food. It's the best place to eat in this town. This town doesn't deserve a restaurant that good. People 'round here better patronize it because I do not want them to go under."

Of course I HAVE said all those things. I say them every time we leave.

But it's all true. The stone truth.

12.14.2008

If we are all agreed that Elvis Presley is "the king of rock and roll" then what do we call Elvis Costello? Can Costello even be considered a worthy contender for the throne? I don't think so.

And if the general consensus is that Michael Jackson, for all his wicked proclivities, is and forever will be "the king of pop", what shall we say of Jackson Browne or James Brown (the Godfather of soul) or even Bobby Brown, for that matter. Bobby Dylan. Bobby Darin. Bobby Sherman. Sherman tank. Tank tops and turtle sweaters. The Turtles. What a shitty band that was. Turtles and the Spoonful. Two half ass mediocre musical ensembles that we would have been better off having never heard of.

Do not forget, for your life depends on it, that Aretha Franklin holds a regal title that denotes her status as "the queen of soul". She is the real deal. Her royalty was bestowed upon her by an adoring public, not like Queen Latifah, who just decided one day that she wanted to be treated like a queen and so she changed her name.

But where did Elvis Costello get lost in all of this? He didn't. No one even knew he was gone. The man has strayed a long, long ways from where he started and let me tell you, friends, those of us who counted ourselves fans of his early work join together in unison in distancing ourselves from everything he recorded after "Get Happy". All those collaborations with Inglebery Humpersnatch or Brian Wilson tributes or neo-classical music recorded for the Deutsche Grammophone label.

And Jackson Browne? Don't you start me talkin'... I'll tell everything I know...


"Brutal Juice"

"What's in that there can?"

I heard these words whilst walking down the sidewalk on my way home from a brief visit to Shadowplay record store. They frightened me a wee bit, not having known from whence they came. Moreover, the gruffness and deep, throaty tones of that voice sent shivers down my spine. There was no denying it. This man wanted information, he craved knowledge, he was not afraid to risk ridicule in his quest to know the key ingredients in the can that I was swigging from.

"Are you talking to me?" I asked, looking in the general direction from which I thought I heard the voice coming from.

"You da only sucka on da street sportin' a can o' beverage!" His tone was slightly condescending. It rang hard on me. "All I be wanting to know is WHAT PARTICULAR BEVERAGE is crossin' yo lips tonight, home slice butter top wheat?"

I called back to him. "Why are you talking that way? You sound ridiculous."

"Now you just wait one goldurned minute. I talk this way because it the way my mother taught me. Are you saying you got a problem with the way my mom raised me or even a grudge against the woman herself? Because if that be the case, m'nigga, you goan have to step to may. Let's get it on."

"What in the fucking hell are you talking about?" I was sincerely inquisitive. "I don't have a problem with yo mother, nor yo father, nor anyone else who had to put up with you during your troubled childhood. I wouldn't call that bitch lucky by any stretch of the meaning. You sound to me like you most probably be happiest in a room, alone with a mirror. Having a conversation with your reflection, for once truly speaking to the only one who gives a damn about anything you have to say."

"You a wordy mutha fucka," he shouted. His accusation carried some merit. "You a little too long in the TOOTH, now ain't ye? You got more to say than there is people who want to listen to it. You wanna know how I know these things? Do you really want to travel so far deep within a mind that, I assure you, is infinitely more depraved than any that you may have ever known before in your life? Is that what you're wanting to do, because if it is I need to know. I got plans tonight and I cannot break them and I will not break them and you have no control over what I say right now you are in a zone right now that has never had to dust your footprints from the welcome mat that lies and lies and lies."

"You got a lot of nerve to call ME a 'wordy mutha fucka'...I ain't even close to being as verbose and, to borow your words, long in the tooth as you are." I felt like I had a strong case to defend my position, if I could only find the right words to state it. Just the right words, you know It's the deal-breaker. "Dude, I don't know why you wanna argue and get into some kind of trouble with me, but if that's what you sought out to do this evening, well I'm fair game. Bring it on. I ain't shying away. If there's only one thing in the world that I have in common, it's that neither one of us is going to back down. Hell, no. Step yo sorry us UP. I don't know how I can say this any clearer. Fisticuffs? That's what you're after? Well put up yer dukes. You put 'em up and I'll be sure to teach you a lesson like you haven't experienced in a long time, if ever. "

"What's in the can, man? Beer or pop?"

"Huh? What? What are you talking about?"

"I want to know the contents of the aluminum can you are currently transporting."

"Well, it's a Dr. Pepper can, as you can see?"

I took him at his word.

"Well, hey, do you think I could get a drink from that, eh, guv'nor? I am on the brink of death by dehydration...you just may be saving the life of this thirsty man."

"Well, uh... you see...it's full..."

"Don't think twice. I don't mind. I won't take too big a sip. It'll still be 'almost' full."

"No, no, it's not that. You see, I've..."

"I see, I see. You may be worried that your germs, a huge lot of them at this very moment having a hell of a great orgy right there on the brim of that can, might be passed on to me and consequntly infect me with all that is ailing you. I assure you, it will not turn out that way."

"You've got it wrong, mister. You're getting it all wrong. You've got to hear me out. It' not about..."

"Silence. Silence, I command. You worry of getting your own set of germs from me. It's only natural, mind you. My only request is that you bestow a swallow or two from your can there. I like Dr. Pepper a lot, actually. I know there are people out there who say they can't stand Dr. Pepper, but I guarantee you this, if the Coke runs out and there are still a couple of Dr. Peppers in the refrigerator, they will lower their tolerance for the stuff right then and there. "

"Okay. I guess so, seeing as how you have put so much effort into making it crystal clear to me. Take it all, I'm being generous tonight, people."

"Thankee, Crown."

And with that brief expression of gratitude he lifted the can up to his lips. You could hear the liguid flow over his tongue and the sound of the swallowing...

...followed by a steady stream of projectile vomit as the guy realized, all too late, that a Dr. Pepper can does not always, and does not of necessity, contain Dr. Pepper.

In this case, indeed it did not.

The Dr. Pepper can had long since been drained of the original 12 ounces of it's name sake. In their stead was about 4 ounces of Skoal spit. It was fresh, pungeant, warm, pitch dark with the gooey gelatinous feel of thick saliva. I'm surprised the cat didn't know what was coming. Maybe he had a cold or something and could'nt smell the stuff. Whatever it may have been, he drank it down long enough for quite a bit to get into his stomach.
This was the root cause as to why he was so sick for the next few days. Though it must be stated, and he would tell you, that the constant vomiting and the foul taste of the tobacco diluted gob was the worst of it and that anything else that migh have happened in the near future, unbearable as it might be, could not hold a candle to the overture of nausea.

"I tried to tell you, you dumb shit. Why are you incapable if taking orders? I assure you that your dignity remains intact. It is not shameful to exist under the tyrrany of a faithful leader. You have my permission to bow down and worship me."

And so he did. I didn't expect him to. Don't go away thinking that I did. It was only a form of expression. But that motherfucker sure took it to heart, didn't he? So I let him do what he wanted to do. I let him get down on one knee and acknowledge that the great god of Baal commanded his sole devotion. I watched him bow, surrendering his integrity to me and my tormenting habits. Crouching, hunched over an altar I'd constructed in my mind for just such an occasion of this. His face expressed nothing less than total sorrow and repentance for what he had done. A tear glistened as it grew into a puddle that flowed down the side of his nose, to meld into the snot that has started running out of your nose...not just one but both nostrils...Having already sampled the taste of the light greenish snot, it will be quite an eye-opener to see what the snot/tear combo tastes like.

"Okay, you can get up now." I was being much more generous than he deserved. "Up with you, Cap'n. Arise from this degrading position you have somehow found yourself in. Bite the bullet. Let's see your face."

He arose and boy let me tell you what. His face looked HIDEOUS. It was a technicolor nirvana mix of teardrops, snot, sweat, blood and a mixture of Skoal spit with dense salival juices.

"My God, good God, O Lordamighty. O, Lordy, lordy. Praise Lordy!"...it was almost as if he was in a religious mood. "That was some BRUTAL JUICE!"

"Yes it is, my friend. Yes, it is. As you say."

"Well I'll be damned. The last time I had Brutal Juice I was living in a facility that provided lodging and health care for the developmentally disabled individuals in the community. I wasn't doing too good back then. I was struck mute, which was the icing on the proverbial cake. I was the target of much abuse, my friend. Never assume that there's a single one of 'em there that don't play with your minds or take out their frustrations on you in cruel, unthinkable ways.

"Had this guy working, he had a mean streak in 'im. Really mean and a drunk to boot. Trouble followed him, especially on nights when he brought in a bottle of the cheap whiskey he preferred to the more expensive brands. You see, Jim Beam had taken his woman away and Jack Daniels had drove him to bankruptcy. He was pissed with those bastards. He drove to the liquor store and became acquainted with a man named Evan Williams. He's a right stand-up guy. He's not quite as fancy as Beam or Daniels. But he knows how to party and his bark is never bigger than his bite. He's got as much proof as either of those spend thrifty SOBs. Class of 80. It's the real deal.

"What I'm tring to say, squire, is that he brought Williams to work with him all too often. He brought that glass bottle one night decided the time was right to risk losing his job and he was in the mood to beat on one of my retarded frtiends.

"Whack! Thwack! Schmack! Crack! Thump, the sound of a fist penetrating the air space of a belly. He made the guy pull down his pants, had him change his clothes in front of him. For years he lived with the realization that the only reason he did that was because he was so in awe of the guys large penis. He was jealous of it It's length and girth held a strange fascination in his soul. He felt he needed to punish the dude because he had this incredible cock and yet he was too fucked in the head to be able to use it.

"He would pour cold water on my back as I lowered myself into it. He would make a special effort to ge water in a cup from the fountain in the hall, as it was much, much colder than the tap water from the bathroom sink. He would pour that ice cold water on my back and laugh at the way my body would tense up and how I would jerk out of the tub. Then he'd say, 'Do you want some more?'"

"I thought I would be punished if I said 'no'. I played along. I nobbed my head. Did I mention that I was mute in those days? I did? Good. Because it's hard to fully grasp the things Im trying to say here without that information.

"He did it again. And again. And yet again, till I could not play along antymore. When I finally shook my head
'no' he erupted into fresh gale of laughter, fueled by scorn of someone who would submit so easily.

"One day he brought me a cup. Some styrofoam vessel he stole from the cafeteria or, more likely, pilfered from trash cans. There were several in the building to choose from. Inside the cup was a thick liquid the color of blood. He told me to drink it. I wasn't so sure, as I didn't like tomato juice very much, and I sort of smelled a waft of pepper or other strong spice.

"Go on. Knock 'er back. You'll like it. It's BRUTAL JUICE!"

"Apparently 'Brutal Juice' was the trade name of a concoction that mixed tomato juice and Tabasco sauce in equal portions. It was hot, hot, so hot I felt like the inside of my mouth was having the flesh melted. I lost all sensation in the back of my throat. I could, however, still taste the crackling flame.

"My friend, with God as my witness, I have no need of keeping secrets. I will not need a priedt at my death bed as all my dues have been paid, forged in the crucible of the real world. I will gladly represent you and spread the word to the Native American masses, THIS WAS, I ASSERT AND ATTEST, WORTHY OF THE NAME BRUTAL JUICE!"

I don't know how it came to this, but by now I almost felt sorry for the guy... I should have kept the can away from him. It really IS my fault.

"If all this is true," I asked. "How did it come to be that you were once a mute retarded man and yet now you converse with those even as lofty as myself? Oh, how you endured years of torture at the hands of a man whose only excuse was 'Because his dick's bigger than mine'. What happened that now you stand before and converse with one whose sheer mental powers are registered with the U.S. Government as lethal weapons. How do you presume to keep up with one such as I?"

"It was a stone cold miracle, that's what it was. It was a god damned stone cold miracle, by God. One day I was living out a Stephen King nightmare existence. Then the next I'm fit as a fiddle."

"Maybe it was the Brutal Juice."

"Hmmm. There's much reason in that. Compelling, indeed. I suppose the more reasonable of us would admit it...it was probably the Brutal Juice."

"Brutal Juice."

"Yeah that's what I said."

"Brutal Juice."

"Uuuhhh, yaw dude. Brutal Juice.

"Brutal Juice"

"Okay, dude, you're really freaking me out here. Why do you keep saying Brutal Juice? What's that all about?"

"Brutal Juice."

"Man, you're making me mad. I'm really getting angry. I can attest to the fact that I am getting very, very angry. A might pissed off, if you've got time to want to know. One more 'Brutal Juice' out of you and I'm gonna remove this switchblade knive from this convenient pocket hidden inside my vest and I'm gonna use it to test the strength of your blood veins. I'll take a punch at your very heart and ram this regal blade into that organ until the damage it inflicts takes you to a place you'd heard about but only seen in dreams. I'll suck the very life out of you, sir. I'll drain you of everything you need to survive. Are you really going to tempt fate by disobeying my most reasonable request that you stop foolishly repeating the words 'Brutal Juice' like a fool. Are you dumb enough to take a chance the I may not be downplaying the situation one bit at all, but that, there may well be the chance that I'm rock solid on the level, and that you're very life is at stake. One wrong move and it's to the gallows with you, my friend. Hang 'em high, high and dry, high and mighty...You better think twice and measure your words very carefully before you answer this here question I'm about to put to ye.

"Answer me, oh by the powers of Jesus Rice Pudding, be honest and forthcoming in your answer. This is life or death. I pray that you answer me when I ask...

"By the love of every living thing, every breathing thing, every moving thing, every wounded thing, every one on 'em...what have ye got to say for yen, Crown?"

"Brutal Juice"

...and so it was.

I'm thinking about removing Leonard Cohen from my LastFM Library. They play his music much too often. I thought I was a fan, obviously, or I would not have added him in the first place. I've heard enough of his songs that I thought were pretty good. But I felt like I should be giving him more credit than was due. The stark truth was that I had a nagging feeling that I was only fooling myself. I didn't really like it much at all, to be brutally honest. Didn't like the sound of his voice. Oh, I suppose some of his songs are quite good. But the ones that keep me from considering him the giant most claim him to be are wretched, indeed.

And it all makes me feel like such a traitor. A dissident from the small congregation of "people who have taste in music. Georgi from Sigur Ros says he grew up listening to Leonard Cohen. I can't count the times I've read, in some music magazine or another, how Leonard Cohen was such a seminal influence in the music of this guy or those guys or those girls and every last one of 'em lined up for two city blocks waiting for their chance to praise Cohen to the skies. I didn't think he deserved to put in the same category of, say, Bob Dylan (who is, himself, one of the artists whose style was a motherlode of material for carrion like Cohen to consume and incorporate into their own inferior sound).

Yes, the Cohen name pulls much weight in the "music snob" community. And so it is very hard for me to make my confession. It is a painful and humiliating thing to own up to. Yet Truth, who walks with the Way and the Life, compels me to get it all off my chest. O, my heart beateth hard, nay, it beateth heavy, and yay, so it do.

So stand down, sit thee down. Hear me out. Conduct yourselfs, the secret is soon whispered, listen...O sweet Jesus, LISTEN:

I'M TAKING LEONARD COHEN OUT OF MY LASTFM LIBRARY.

They play his music much too often. I thought I was a fan, obviously, or I would not have added him in the first place. I've heard enough of his songs that I thought were pretty good. But I felt like I should be giving him more credit than was due. The stark truth was that I had a nagging feeling that I was only fooling myself. I didn't really like it much at all, to be brutally honest. Didn't like the sound of his voice. Oh, I suppose some of his songs are quite good. But the ones that keep me from considering him the giant most claim him to be are wretched, indeed.

Do you feel like you've been here before? Is there something familiar about something you know but you just won't admit it.

And it all makes me feel like such a traitor. A dissident from the small congregation of "people who have taste in music.

There's an expression for what's happening here. DEJA VU. Have you heard about it? No? Oh, man, it's so cool. It's like, you know, you're going along, minding your own business, taking it easy...then you look up and you see something, or you re-experience a sequence of events, whenver you feel like you've been there and done that already, that feeling is called "Deja Vu", dig?

No, I don't know where they came up with the name. It just sounded cool, that's all. It sounded kind of oriental. The whole she-bang has sort of a Hindu feel to it, or Buddhist or some other cool-as-fuck religions from the East. They gave us a lot, that's for sure. The Yin-Yang symbol. The I-Ching. The Tao. "Within You, Without You". The inexplicable concept of a divine cow or a savior with blue skin. The original revelation of "you sow what you reap" in one word: KARMA. Be Here Now. The absolute philosophers embracing the one truth of OM. The sound and smell of 50 sweaty monks chanting hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare hare rama hare rama rama rama rama hari hari...

Truth, who walks with the Way and the Life, compels me to get it all off my chest. O, my heart beateth hard, nay, it beateth heavy, and yay, so it do.

There you go. Perhaps now you will not judge me so harshly for my inability to worship at the altar of Leonard Cohen.

You know what? I am fully formed and in the mood to listen to some of that slick-as-snot jazz music. Them smooth notes so proficiently manipulated into melodies that are as alive as you are. It's a one-sided conversation and I'm speechless. She tells me the same messages but in a hundred different ways. Yeah, I feel like hearing an upright bass playing solos that sound like they belong in another song. There's not a drummer in the world loves the sound of drum sticks tapping a ride cymbal as much as a jazz drummer. It's a sin, in jazzbow Land, to abide by the rules of down beats and the proper time to use the kick drum for it or any other off the cuff placement of it during a particularly long drum solo. I guarantee you're going to get your fair share of ride cymbal tinkling in a jazz man's drum solo.

I mean, how can you compare the music of Leonard Cohen to John Coltrane's? You just can't do it. Even the hardcore Cohen disciples are going to warn you against doing that. Admittedly they are not creating the same kind of music. Cohen can't do jazz, and Coltrane can't do droll lyrics.

And I think I may have just hit that there nail on the head, boyz. It's all that dreadful drollness. Cohen inhabits such a dark place that it threatens to penetrate the defenses I have set up that would keep that particular type of drollness from possessing and ruining me.

12.12.2008

It's hard to believe, but the Bambo Syndicate's "Take You to Hell" is STILL getting reviews at Garageband. Good ones, at that!


These voices from crackertown USA never had it so good until they were embedded in a sparkling electric sound bed of pure ethereal wonder; and we feel like gods looking down through the crystal air of the universe ant the grand mortal drama, seeing them build, glory, damage, decay, and ultimately, fall into oblivion. I always wonder, in these imaginary worlds that some godforsaken genius somewhere manages to contrive, how and why the subject of good and evil becomes so prominent; and I keep wondering until the end, when I hear the random cry again I DON'T CARE!!! The mood is both bleak and hopeful, the mix is impeccable, and it sounds like Melted Rubber Humans.



Okay...a little bit Lester Bangish there, but the important thing is that the guy seemed to "get it" and sincerely appreciate it.

The song is currently perched at #29 on the Experimental Rock chart, which is actually UP a couple of notches since last week. It's best ranking was #25 and I thought it would hit the downhill slide long before now, but it looks like it has more staying power than I first thought.

I do think it's one of my better works, but I could have made it a lot better if I had as firm a grasp then of how the Acid studio works as I do now. Once again, I offer a link to any and all who would like to hear this masterpiece of modern music making:


I haven't listened to "Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust" in a couple of weeks (had to give it a little break), but Last.fm just played "Festival" and it reminded me of just how AWESOME the album is, so I'll have to drag it out sometime this afternoon and give it a spin.

You can listen to "Festival" right now on the Sigur Ros MySpace page. If you haven't yet heard it, by all means treat yourself.
The school's Christmas concert/band queen coronation was held last night. Of course I have no interest whatsoever in who becomes the next band royalty and, truth be told, I would not have even been there except that this is Bryan's first year to play in the high school band (after 3 years in 5th & 6th and Intermediate bands). He was great, as usual, but I don't like all that Christmas music. Who knows...maybe my distaste for the season stems from the fact that it was around this time that my mom left my dad 30 years ago and all the junk that followed. I know, I know. "Get over it and get on with it", right? But I can't and I won't and it doesn't bother me. It's not like I'm out crusading against the holiday. I'm just apathetic towards most of it.

Of course I do get wound up when I hear that stupid B.C. Clark jewelry store jingle, which has embedded itself into the Christmas tradition in Oklahoma every bit as securely as a nativity scene in front of a Catholic church. I'm 46 years old, and they were playing this thing in heavy rotation when I was a toddler. It's the exact same version they play today (of course, for authenticy's sake). Only now they show a variation of it in which several randomly chosen people sing a line each, showing, beyond the shadow of a doubt, just how firmly entrenched this idiocy is in the hearts and minds of the Sooner state's population. I guess the prevailing popular consensus is that "it just wouldn't be Christmas without the B.C. Clark jingle". Which is true. It would be a much BETTER Christmas. I'd be happy to just get ONE YEAR without it's glockenspiel-laden cheeriness. What a nice break that would be.

As it is:

"Jewelry is the gift to give
Cuz it's the gift that'll live and live
So give the gift you know can't fail
From B.C. Clark's anniversary sale

"Most sales are after Christmas
But Clark's is just before
Most everything is marked way down
Savings you can't ignore

"At Oklahoma's oldest jeweler
Since 1892
So give the gift you know can't fail
From B.C. Clark's anniversary sale"

There...that's out of my system. Sheeeeesh . But do you want to know just how ridiculous it really is?

THE JINGLE ITSELF HAS IT'S OWN WEBSITE!?!?!?!?!?!

Insanity.
This ain't yer typical family portrait. But I like it.

12.11.2008

Why can't I stop chewing my god damned fingernails?

It's really disgusting.

I'll stop soon, I hope.
Yesterday I posted about renting the movie "Unspeakable" and discovering a litany of negative reviews at IMDB before watching it. So bad, in fact, that I was actually eager to sit through it, if only to see if it was half as bad as the naysayers made it out to be.

It wasn't as bad as they claimed it was.

It was WORSE.

One of the most awful movies I have ever seen, with few, if any, redeemable qualities. From bad acting (both over- and under-) and bad direction to bad cinematography and bad editing. Bad, bad, bad, bad. Bad writing by the vain bozo who stars in this turkey and whose acting work is cringe-worthy. Did I mention how BAD it was?

I got the feeling that the movie had aspirations of being more than B-grade schlock horror dud. C-grade, anyone? D?

Dennis Hopper turns in a performance that makes you think he's only there for the free dope. He's not as bad as the other lot gathered here in this train wreck of a film. But only because he's so eccentric, always has been, and it's entertaining to see his goofiness. In fact, towards the end, when the villain is about to dance with "Old Sparky", he launches into a fit that comes dangerously close to the genius of his Frank Booth character in "Blue Velvet". It's a sight to see, but as it comes within the context of this convoluted plot it doesn't achieve the creepiness the writer no doubt hoped for. Instead, it's wildly comedic. I laughed my ass off and decided it was worth the time wasted watching "Unspeakable" for that set of guffaws alone. Very expensive guffaws, indeed.
Vid Spilum Endalaust - trailer

I don't know what to call this...the MySpace Video description is "Vid Spilum Endalaust Trailer". And a lot of it is from that particular video, but not all of it. So I'm thinking, a trailer for a music video? Okay, fine. I posted the "Vid Spilum Endalaust" video a few days ago, so maybe you might want to check that out again so you can spot the additional footage.
Sigur Rós - Deluxe Edition DVD Trailer

This is a promotional video for the deluxe edition of Sigur Ros' most recent album...and I am almost POSITIVE that the last section, with the storm and all the rain, was filmed after the band left the stage at the Kansas City show I attended back in June!!! Which is AWESOME, don't you think?

Here's a really nice portrait of Jonsi that Sigur Ros just uploaded to their MySpace page. It's by Alastair Thain, who I had never heard of until now. Having visited his website I can say that he is a very talented photographer, indeed. Perhaps you would like to see for yourself?


12.10.2008

I went to the video store a couple of days ago and rented three movies:

"Hang 'Em High"...I figured I might just get in the mood to watch an old Clint Eastwood western sometime this week.

"Salem's Lot"...not that I expect it to be very good (it's the Rob Lowe version, not the ancient take with David Soul, which was abominable). The thing is, it's been almost 30 years since I read the book. It made a Stephen King fan out of me. I rented this movie because I've forgotten so much of it and I wanted to be reminded, at least to the extent that a movie adaption is able to provide (which is usually not much, but hey...).

And finally, I picked out a thing called "Unspeakable". It had Dennis Hopper's picture on the front of the box so I figured I'd see what he had been up to. Truth be told I get irritated by the man these days, ESPECIALLY that commercial he did that's on TV too often. But I do remember his outstanding roles in "Easy Rider" and especially "Blue Velvet", so I figure "what the hell", maybe he'll get on my good side again.

After I brought the DVD home I looked it up on IDMB and what do you think I saw? Check these review headers:

~~~"Unwatchable"
~~~"Embarrassing on Dennis Hopper's part"
~~~"This movie B L O W S"
~~~"Blarg! Mongo say BAD! BAAAAAAAAD!"
~~~"I wouldn't pay for it!"
~~~"Unspeakably Bad Film"
~~~"Unspeakably awful"
~~~"tried to make a movie but failed"
~~~"A waste on so many levels!"
~~~"could have used a better editor"
~~~"Painful to watch"

These are just a few of the negative comments found in the first two pages or reviews at IMDB. To be fair, there were two or three that said it was okay, but the overwhelming majority trashed it fiercely.

You know what that means?

Now I REALLY want to watch it.

Music Video of the Week: Foxy

"Hot Number"
Foxy


Say what you will about dorky haircuts and cheesy 70s looks. This bass hook is MONSTER.

12.08.2008

Random Randoms

~~~What happened to the Goo Goo Dolls? They put out one phenomenal album, "A Boy Named Goo", and then everything else since then has just sucked big time. Maybe they got pissed at critics constantly saying their music was a bit too remeniscent of the Replacements. So they honed another style that they felt was a bit more original, that suited them better. Then they had a hit or two with that sound and decided to stick with it. Well, more power to them, right? It they like it and it makes 'em money who am I to want them to back to that "Boy Named Goo" sound? But I do.

~~~Attention, Adam Duritz: variety is a good thing. Do you think you might could do something about that hairstyle you've been sporting for the last 15 years? It's weird...I used to consider myself quite a Counting Crows fan until I heard them do their version of "Big Yellow Taxi". I hate that song. So much so that now I can't listen to a lot of CC's material without filtering it through that ghastly performance. I can only hope that Sigur Ros doesn't decide to record it. Ugh.

~~~Those silent Starewicz stop action films I posted last night are AWESOME!!!!! I'd seen "Devil's Ball" on the "USA Night Flight" program back in the early 80s ("Devil's Ball" is an excerpt from "The Mascot" and begins at Part 2 of the post). I had no idea who was responsible for it ("Night Flight" didn't say). I couldn't remember what it was called. But it made such an impression that I've tried to track it down on the Internet for a long time, with no success. Until last night, that is, when the idea dawned upon me that if there were a "Night Flight" fansite there might be a chance of at least getting some information about the piece there. The hunch paid off and not only did I find "Devil's Ball", I was also exposed to other works from this genius animator. Thank God for YouTube and fast Internet connection speeds, eh.

~~~We keep saying we're gonna get a new microwave but we never do. I'm so tired of having to put frozen dinners in the one we have time and time again and STILL coming up with half-cold food.

~~~I had a "flying" dream last night! That's right, I COULD FLY! I've had this kind of dream many times in my life, but it's been a long time. In the dream I'll ask myself, "I wonder what it would feel like to fly?". Or "I think I might be able to fly!" Or something along those lines. Then, with a bit of effort I take off into the sky! Usually I don't know I'm dreaming until I get up in the air. That's when it hits me. Of course, I don't want to come down. I know that when I wake up it will all be over, so I try really hard not to wake up. "It's a dream...stay in the dream...don't even THINK about waking up." But I never stay in the air for too long before returning to the waking world (not nearly as long as I'd like). Last was a slightly different variation on the theme. I'm walking through a pasture or some wooded area and it is SO real. I don't know why but I start thinking, "This isn't a dream. I know it's not a dream. If this were a dream I would be able to fly." And I KNEW I couldn't, that this was no dream. "What the hell," I thought. "No harm in trying"...and voila! I step off and go sailing! I get really excited, thinking, "It IS a dream!!! It IS a dream! Now, don't wake up!" Unfortunately not long after going airborne I did just that. It was a hell of a cool dream, and it wasn't the only one I had last night. Lots of good 'uns. One in particular involved getting out of the shower, towel wrapped around my torso, and bumping into the babysitter, who could not keep her eyes from ogling the spot from which the towel fell. One thing led to another and...of course...that's when I woke up. ARRGH!

Etched in Concrete

When my dad first moved us into this house, back in 1970, one of the first things he did to it was pour a concrete border for a rather large area in the backyard for my mom to use as a garden. When the cement was still wet he had me and my brother press our hands into it so that it would leave an impression (you know, the way it's done at Grauman's Chinese Theater, only with hands instead of feet).

Today, 38 years later, my handprint is still there. My brother's handprint is gone, the victim of erosion or some other means of smashing up concrete. However, his signature is still slightly legible.

My signature is easy to see. It's also very evident that I wasn't much of a speller at 8 years of age.

It's bad enough that I misspelled my name...I JUST DREW A LINE THROUGH IT! Why didn't I just smooth the concrete over and start from scratch? I swear I wasn't THAT stupid as a child. Or was I?

In this shot you can see my hand print fairly well.

This is all that remains of my brother's contribution to this exercise in posterity.

12.07.2008

"Fleur De Fougere" (a film by Ladislas Starewicz)

"Fleur De Fougere" (1949)

Part 1


Part 2


Part 3


MORE from Ladislav Starewicz at YouTube

"The Insect's Christmas" (a film by Ladislaw Starewicz)

"The Insect's Christmas" (1911)


"The Cameraman's Revenge" (a film by Ladislaw Starewicz)

"The Cameraman's Revenge" (1911)


"The Mascot" (a film by Ladislas Starewicz)

"The Mascot" (1933)
Part 1


Part 2


Part 3

Ladislas Starewicz (Wikipedia)

Renaldo & the Loaf: "BPM"


WHOOPEE!

I just found this music video from Renaldo & the Loaf. I didn't know they had even made one other than "Songs For Swinging Larvae". "BPM" isn't nearly as strange as that one, but there can be no mistaking R&TL's experimental sonic craftsmanship. The Residents may have been Ralph Records big success story, but I'll take R&TL over them any day.

Aphex Twin: "Rubber Johnny"


I was going to save this one for the Music Video of the Week but I thought, what the hell, since we're in mega-freak-out mode today I might as well post it. Besides, it offers some comic relief to the awful Jonestown tape heard in the last one.

Plus, I can't rightly call this a "music video". It's actually a short film collaboration between Aphex Twin and Chris Cunningham.

Enjoy!

Hoola Boola and the Jonestown tape


Now folks, I am warning you that this is one of the most bizarre things I have ever seen or heard, and I've seen a lot. The website I found it warns people that it is "sickness inducing", and from the looks of the comments left there apparently some have definitely become queasy or even ill by seeing/hearing it. It doesn't do that to me, but I will attest to it's extreme creepiness.

The video is best experienced, so say the creators, with lights down low and through a good set of headphones. You're also instructed to "look through the image". I did that the second time, but still, no sickness (dadgummit!).

If you want the real deal...something horrible, sickening, evil, cruel, angering, upsetting, saddening...if you want some awful reality to counter all the fake crap that floats around the internet, there is this:


It's the ninth entry on a list of "Top Ten Incredible Recordings" that can be found at The List Universe. The other 9 (with bonus 11th) are interesting in their own way. Especially the Russian exorcism. But there are very few things I can think of that are as disturbing as this tape, made during the last hours at Jonestown, as Jim Jones encourages his flock to "take the medication" and exhorts them to give it to their children. The tension and fear of death is palpable here, as is the fanaticism of the ones who were more than willing, even eager to do as their leader commanded.

I want to say flat out that this is not something for the faint of heart. I listened to it because the subject has fascinated me for a long time. I offer the link here for others who may share this admittedly morbid interest.

Trust me, though. Compared to the Jonestown tape, the video above is child's play when it comes to inducing sickness.

12.06.2008


Interesting.

Fans of Pink Floyd should CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE.

I am constantly amazed at how much music is available for free on the Internet. It seems like every other day I stumble upon something interesting and different to listen to and/or download. Today's discovery is theRADIOcom. It's a lot like Sirius XM only you don't have to pay 15 bucks a month for it.


12.04.2008

Pandora played the second part of "Tubular Bells" from this set yesterday. I had "Boxed" on LP when it first came out...oh, what was it? 30-35 years ago?

For some reason I always give Part 2 short shrift. Maybe it's because I hate that "Sailor's Hornpipe" section at the end. But there's a completely different take on it here, with a prelude featuring an obviously drunk Vivian Stanshell. It is hilarious.

But the crowning glory of "Tubular Bells Part 2", IMHO, is the "Piltdown Man" section. I recall being totally freaked out on first hearing it, when TB first came out. You're about 45 minutes into a modern progressive symphony and then all of a sudden there's this bizarre bit of McCartney-esque pop but without the honey sweet vocals. Instead you've got what sounds like a cross between a caveman clearing his throat and that mumbling, grumbling scrooge who shows up at the tail end of the Beatles' "You Know My Name (Look Up My Number)". When the Piltdown Man starts howling like a werewolf on a full moon night you realize that Mike Oldfield had more up his sleeve than you might have expected up until that point.

One of the biggest disappointments in "Tubular Bells 2" was the revisiting of the Piltdown Man section. It turned a creepy, rollicking slice of weirdness into something just plain childish and stupid. I actually enjoy most of TB2, but I always make sure I've got remote in hand so I can kill that part.

12.03.2008

Music Video of the Week: Conway Twitty

"It's Only Make Believe"
Conway Twitty

Sigur Ros: Interview & Ny Batteri (live)...early stuff


Yesterday was my son's 14th birthday so we were going to take him out for dinner. He could choose the place. Initially he didn't want to go anywhere. He wanted his mom to make some lasagna, but there wasn't really enough time for that so he decided on Pizza Hut, where he could get one of their pasta dishes that he likes so much.

That was fine with me. I love Pizza Hut. Just as long as we don't go to either of the ones in Shawnee that I've boycotted. There's one in Seminole that we've never had any problems with, so that's where we went.

He ordered his pasta. The wife and I decided to share a pizza and I got a salad to go with it. My wife doesn't like the salad bar at Pizza Huts. She says they don't have a very good selection. Which may well be the case, but they do have the absolute best ranch dressing in the universe. I don't normally eat ranch dressing but I drench my salad with it when I'm there. I see it this way: as long as they have lettuce and that awesome ranch dressing they've got a good salad bar. Needless to say, my wife disagrees.

We didn't order an appetizer, but it wasn't too long before the pizza arrived. We began eating, thinking that Bryan's pasta was on the way. But by the time we'd finished a slice each his dish had still not arrived.

Anyway, to make a long story short, it was quite some time before my wife finally asked the waitress if his food was ready. She checked on it, then came back and told us she had accidentally neglected to enter the order into the computer. She apologized. None of us were in the mood to make too big a deal out of it. She asked him if he still wanted it. He was hungry. He said "Yes" and she said it would be about 8 minutes. She apologized some more.

I guess you just can't get good service at ANY Pizza Hut anymore. I don't think we'll out and out boycott this one like I did the ones in Shawnee. It appeared to be an honest mistake, whereas the last time I was at the Shawnee location it was evident that the cooks were fucking around. I wasn't too happy about it, especially as it was Bryan's birthday. But we got fed, so that's saying something. And the food was good, as it always is at Pizza Hut.

12.01.2008


Magnetosphere revisited (audio by Tosca) from flight404 on Vimeo
Magnetosphere Revisited
by
Robert Hodgin
(audio by Tosca)


CLICK HERE to see the original

...more to come...


Go ahead, call me a Scrooge. I've got a mighty "bah humbug" for what Christmas has turned into. Or perhaps I'm the Grinch, plotting and scheming, hatching ways and means to steal Christmas.

I wanted to write a lengthy post about how much I despise concepts like "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday". I decided against is because I don't know if I can adequately express my contempt for them. But here's what I think.

Unfortunately the so-called "Black Friday" has become an integral aspect of the holiday season. This fact nurse my cynical nature and re-enforces my long standing opinion that Christmas has become much too commercialized. Which is certainly not a new idea. But when you consider that people are actually standing in line overnight to be the first to snag a sale item...when you take into account the herd mentality that seems to possess and overcome these bargain hunters...just watch video from store security cameras when the doors are opened. Have you ever seen such a ridiculous mob? The glee on their faces! The palpable excitement! THE COMPLETE DISREGARD FOR HUMAN LIFE!!!

Okay, that's an exagerration. But hey...why don't you talk to the family of the Wal-Mart employee who was trampled to death beneath the feet of one of these hordes last Friday? See what they think about "Black Friday" now.

Do I think the people who trampled him underfoot did it on purpose? Of course not. It could have happened anywhere because this kind of greedy excitement is the culprit. It's nursed and encouraged by retailers who are more concerned with "getting out of the red" than with crowd control.

I guess it all evens out in the long run...I heard that the person who accidentally knocked the unfortunate Wal-Mart employee to the ground was able to get her son a Guitar Hero for just around fifty bucks, so I guess that makes up for not stopping to help the guy up. Okay, so I DIDN'T hear that. It may not have been a Guitar Hero. But that's exactly what happened. And it's a bloody shame.

I understand that this tragedy was not typical. But the "greedy excitement" is widespread. And it sickens me that this is part of what Xmas is all about now.

11.30.2008

This is an album of Beatles songs done in a bluegrass style. I had it when I was young and I'm sure that I thought it was an actual Beatles record when I asked my folks to buy it for me. I probably hated it when I found out it wasn't. I'll bet it's not half bad.


11.28.2008

Last.fm

I mentioned Last.fm a couple of days ago, announcing the Bambo Syndicate's artist page and proclaiming it to be my favorite music website. And so it is, and so it will remain until something better comes along...and to be honest, there aren't too many things that might could be done to improve it, IMO.

First off, their music database is incredibly huge. I have added an incredibly large number of artists to my library and have yet to search for ANY performer/band that didn't turn up there (with several "RIYL"s to boot).

The best way to utilize Last.fm, I've found, is to turn it into your own personal radio station, programming only the artists you like and leaving the song selection to them. If, like me, you are more of a "band" fan than a "song", fan you will fall in love with your "Library Station".

You can also listen to a station that plays recommendations based on the artists that are in your library. I haven't listened to my "Reccomdendation Station" much because, for one thing, I'm too enamored of my own station. But also because the site automatically adds a reccomended artists to your library if you listen to one of their tracks in it's entirety. This is one aspect of Last.fm that is a huge disappointment and will keep me from listening to that station too often. Of course, you can always go back through the list of "recently played tracks" and delete them individually, but come on. There's not even a "mass delete" option. Why would I want to do that when I can go to Pandora to hear new artists?

Not that you can't find cool new stuff on Last.fm. It's easy enough to do on your own without the "Reccomended station". Just check out the "similar artists" of the artist you like and navigate to their pages where you can usually hear at least 5 songs from them. Most are full tracks, but some are only 30 second clips...still, you can get a pretty good idea of whether you'll like a band or not with a few of these half minute samples. If you think you might like 'em, go ahead and put them in your library to add a little variety to your usual. You can always delete them later.

I mentioned Pandora. I've used Pandora and I think it's an excellent service. However, it does have it's limitations. For one thing, you can only skip 3 songs in a limited space of time, so if they're throwing duds at you there's not much you can do other than change the channel. And a LOT of duds will be thrown your way, depending upon how well you know the genre of music or the style of the artist you're wanting to hear. I am not familiar enough with how they decide what makes an artist similar to another, but it matters not...it's a lousy system.

I'm sure I'll continue to use Pandora, but only because I'm too lazy to delete all those artists I don't want in my Last.fm library. I worked too hard on that library for interlopers to find their way into it. And trust me, my library is MAMMOTH. I've tried to represent every genre of music I like. I've got a couple dozen artists that I'm not familiar with thrown in (though I am quite familiar with the type of music they play). But the majority is made up of artists I have known of and enjoyed over the course of the last 35+ years. And there are many that I enjoy, appreciate and respect but did not want to include at this time, for whatever reason (burned out on their music or just didn't want to hear in this mix).

I would reccomend Last.fm to just about anybody who likes music, but especially to those who have "been around the block, musically", so to speak. Those who have already explored many genres and styles and who know what/who they like within them.

One more thing about the music on Last.fm. And THIS is something I REALLY like. Many times they will play alternate versions of songs instead of the ones you're familiar with. I don't know where they get them, but they are a very nice surprise when they pop up. For instance, they play a live version of Joy Division's "Transmission", the lineage of which I am uncertain. I've heard alternate versions from artists as varied as the Rolling Stones to Sun Kil Moon/Mark Kozelek. A couple of Sigur Ros live tracks from who-knows-where. Most of their playlist is the original takes, but it is a welcome change of pace when one of these unique gems pops into the mix.

If you're reading this and your speakers are turned on you are hearing my Artist Station right now. I've got it embedded in the sidebar. This is what I like. It's a good part of what I've listened to all my life.

Go on...make one of your own. You know you want to.