Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Crazy Light Show

Ok, for the first 30 seconds, you're going to be thinking this is pretty weak. Then for the next 20 seconds, you're going to debate moving on. I suggest you don't. Because after that, you'll be impressed.

And if you're not, your soul has been eaten by anti-light show corporations.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Must See for Allman Brothers Fans

Awesome animation of The Allman Brothers Band through the years and how each lineup sounded. Kudos to Brett Underhill for piecing this tribute together...!

The U.S. Open Starts Today - and Lil Wayne Has Got the Goods!

Who am I to suggest Lil Wayne doesn't know tennis?

From prison, he still gives us (courtesy of Sports Illustrated) his picks for the championship (as well as some commentary about the other players) right here.

Care to take Lil Wayne's breakdown and apply it to your own U.S. Open bracket? Go for it! (Quick aside - the user interface for the brackets might be the worst thing I've ever seen. Still, it's also the only tennis bracket online I've seen, so I guess I can't get too mad.

I Just Got Hypnotized By National Parks

Called the Infinite Photo by National Geographic, simply click on it to see more photos of more national parks. I stopped after like 6, but I encourage you to continue the sojourn.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

My Inspiration: Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali was many things: artist, provocateur, stylish bon vivant.  But we can now add another entry to his curriculum vitae:


Awesome Game Show Contestant Who Thinks He’s Getting Paid By The “Yes”



Most importantly, without Mr. Dali, these pictures might never have existed.  You’re welcome, Internet.






Friday, August 27, 2010

Revisiting Marah v13.5a

Marah, I have not come to bury you, but rather to damn you with faint praise.

Last night's Marah show at Johnny Brenda's was…


The Wistful Rant

It was full of energy, frequently fun, and I will never get tired of singing along to almost their entire catalog.

But missing are the outlier adjectives that would previously fell regularly from my lips like sweat from my brow. Words like, "great", "transcendent", and "unfuckingbelievable" never even bought a ticket for the notoriously short trip from my brain to my mouth. 

And I'm beginning to doubt whether they'll ever will again.

I take no joy in this. I want to be blown away by them again. I want to sit in a puddle of my own joy, rendered speechless except for silently mouthed "wow"s. 

I've tried like hell to keep an open mind, which hasn’t been easy. After seeing Marah at WCL last May, I wrote extensively (http://bit.ly/k8ZqA) about the baggage I brought to a Marah show and how it affected my experience.  I won't rehash that, but suffice to say I haven’t lost all that baggage in 15 months.  In a nutshell, they were a band with an already turbulent history who, in one fell swoop, lost 4 of their 6 members at a creative & performance peak.  Not an easy hole to dig yourself out of.

But right now? Comparing Marah 2009 with Marah 2010? They’re moving backwards, not forwards. 

This is yet another new lineup. Same drummer. New bassist and guitar player.  So it’s possible I’m being too hard on them. 

As erratic as the WCL show was, they were at least trying new things.  Classics were reimagined, some even with the interesting tinge of funk.  That incarnation at least had the balls to swing for the fences.  I may not have loved the path they had chosen, but I respect them for not sticking to the one with all the picket fences and pavement.

Look, I realize they're in a tough spot.  They have to win over new fans, while not alienating the old ones.  That's a tough line to walk for any established band. But what I saw last night at Johnny Brenda's was they type of show I never thought I'd see from Marah:


The "hits" were front and center and only "Formula" seemed to have some imagination to it.  The new stuff was sprinkled capriciously throughout. One could even pedantically debate whether or not "Muskie Moon" even counted as a new song.  Hell, it’s practically old enough to get a learner's permit and subsequently get to 3rd base with half of the drama club.

The new album leaves me cold. It’s not like I dying to hear a lot from it.  But the old/new ratio does not speak highly of their confidence in the new material.  I would have respected them more if they came out with a big chunk of LIAP songs and said "Screw you and your expectations, these are our latest and greatest babies. We’re going to play the hell out of them and make you love them."  Whether in the dark days of “Float Away…” or buoyed by mainstream recognition, the hell bent for leather Marah I've come to know and love like a blackjack dealer with poor math skills would do.


The Disjointed Critique & The Backhanded Compliment

You'll never convince me that every single song of theirs needs keyboard.  It works slightly better on the AOD & LIAP material. But I've never once listened to Tyrone or Catfisherman and thought, "Boy, I wish there were more keyboards on this song."  I realize it’s not changing any time soon.  Christine is here to stay. She’s talented (I liked her solo album), but miscast in her current role.

I really enjoyed the stripped-down acoustic stuff, which is not something I thought I would ever say.  More of an indictment of Electric Marah than an endorsement of Acoustic Marah?  Possibly.

Sloppiness on Dave’s part reared its head several times. He skipped numerous chunks of lyrics.  At first, I was willing to chalk it up to a certain level of ramshacklitude, which has been part of their charm. But it happened enough that it the charm quickly wore off.

The new band lineup was solid, if unspectacular. The drummer is rock-solid. I liked the addition of the horn on several songs, one of which, gloriously, was Christian St.  Takes me back (in a good way) to the shows with the Hopping John Horns.

And I’ll be dead in the cold, cold ground before I can hear “The Closer” and not dance a jig.


A snippet of “Baba O’Reilly” was teased early on, but thankfully, it was not played.  To me, that’s indelibly a Serge moment and decidedly not kosher if he’s not singing it.


The Closer

I'm coming to grips, sadly, with the fact that the primary enjoyment I get from a Marah show will likely be rooted in nostalgia and camaraderie going forward.  I’m not quite ready to foreswear the slack-jawed, googily-eyed awestruck transcendence I’ve come to expect. 

So I'll probably stop being publicly crotchety about how much better things used to be.  Because it quickly becomes a broken record that’s dead horse-adjacent.

I’ve bent over backwards to avoid getting embroiled in Marah’s soap opera over the years. All I’ve ever cared about is the music on the CDs and on stage.  The elusive “it” that bands and fans spend years trying to find?  They had it, regardless of personnel changes or backstage drama.  I was able to keep a blind eye to because of it.

Maybe I'm tired of rationalizing yet another lineup change, or maybe they just don't have "it" anymore.

The bottom line is that if they put forth the effort, with the songs they have in their arsenal, Marah can hit a bloop double every night.  But home runs seem further out of reach than ever before.

And that's a goddamn shame.

p.s. If they ever brought “After the Implosion” out of mothballs, I take back everything I wrote here.

Making the Game of Football Better

Chuck Klosterman, author of a number of pop culture books, and semi-frequent contributor to GQ, offers up five ways he would tweak the NFL to (in his eyes) make it better. Number three certainly intrigued me...

3. Microscopically increase the success of onside kicks.
Onside kicks work about 24 percent of the time. But that's a misleading figure; they rarely work if the opponent knows they're coming. From an entertainment perspective, it would be nice to increase the likelihood of the kicking team recovering its onside attempt, but not by too much—if teams suddenly recovered 40 percent, the game would become a farce. So how do we slightly increase that possibility? By changing where the receiving team lines up. Right now, it's ten yards from where the ball is kicked. Make that fifteen yards, which would force the receiving team to charge forward once the ball is kicked. It wouldn't change the metrics dramatically, but it would give the trailing team slightly better odds.

While I agree with him that this would probably make onside kicks more challenging for the teams involved, I think it would also drastically increase injuries, since you've now introduced the element of charging athletes to both sides of the ball. I can't imagine their collisions wouldn't cause some significant damage. And in this world of concussions under the microscope, I think we might want to rethink this one.

Storm Chasers!

In another life, or when I become independently wealthy, I would love to chase storms. I'm not sure of it's the danger/excitement of being so close to storms or what, but it fascinates me. I remember driving cross country, cruising through one of the Dakotas (really, we can't just put them together and call them Dakota? Are the 12 inhabitants really going to put up that much of a stink) and watching storms come across the plains. Living on the east coast, it was an awesome phenomena to witness.

Regardless of my puny exploits, these pictures show what a true storm chaser gets to see a lot more often. Check it out.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Power of Women Tennis Players

The influence of the Williams' sisters on the game of tennis is pretty obvious. Gone are the days of Chris Everett bounding like a graceful gazelle on the expanse of green. Today, women's tennis is a mixture of power and movement, balls exploding off the rackets and screaming over the net.

This is certainly what this New York Times article is suggesting. But what else is the article suggesting? Or is it possible the article's existence is to simply video some of the game's best in weird clothing and slow motion?

You be the judge.

Personally, I find it a little weird, specifically some of the outfits being showcased. In fact, this Salon article goes into a little deeper. But I also understand the appeal of slow motion video - everything looks better in slow motion - and so I can't 100% fault the Times for making this play.

However, I also would have maybe, you know, focused a little more on the idea of tennis, and not on the sculpted bodies. But that's just me.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Walking Dead

One of the more anticipated television series coming this Fall to AMC, is The Walking Dead, based on a graphic novel of the same name. Gory, unapologetic, and downright gnarly, the show is about how a small band of human survivors cope with a zombie world.

Reading the first 10 issues of the comic, I can't imagine how a lot of scenes will even be dealt with, due to the graphic nature. At some points, I thought the author (Robert Kirkman) was simply trying to create the most absurd, violent scenarios to see how far he could push the envelope. So we'll see. Here's a trailer for the upcoming series...

Not sure how I feel about it so far. As I said, the comic is blunt, stark, and in your face. To me, this trailer doesn't capture that exact feel. The soundtrack especially feels off. Still, I'm excited to see what they do with this, and how much is faithful to the comic and how much they change. It does seem they're trying to push as much as they can (the little girl zombie is a start) so I'm cautiously optimistic.

Still, there are only so many things you can show on television. Even if it is cable.

Numbers Stations!

It's no secret that I love the mystique around Numbers Stations. So when I hear that one of the more famous numbers stations has changed its message, it's exciting. Why it's exciting - I can't really explain, since few people truly know what numbers stations are.

Ok, so yeah, it's a weird fascination and I'm crazy. Still, I dare you to take a listen to this when you're sitting all alone in the dark one night.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Top Recurring Characters from Kids in the Hall

While I'm a huge Kids in the Hall fan, I never thought their recurring characters were that great. I was a bigger fan of their original skits and weirdness they brought out. Still, I realize Lorne Michaels' bread and butter is repeat characters, so I assume he pushed the idea hard as the producer of the show.

Also, looking at this list, I'm having a hard time coming up with any other recurring characters. I'm sure they have them, but...

Ridiculous Time Lapse Photography

I know what you're thinking - "how can this possibly all be still shots?"

Well I'm thinking the same thing too. Also, I have no idea what "hyper lapse" is.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Viral Marketing for The Last Exorcism

For those of you unfamiliar with Chat Roulette, it's basically a site where you can go "chat" with someone at random with your video cam. Of course, "chat" in this case means "see teens/adults masturbate.

Regardless of whether you find this tasteful or not, the upcoming movie The Last Exorcism took the concept and ran with it, producing some great results...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

2010 Newport Folk Festival: Adding a Smidgen of Harsh to the Mellow

I decided to go to the Newport Folk Fest this year after seeing the killer line-up (Felice Brothers, Levon Helm, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, O’Death, and many others). 

Also, I heard Dylan might be going electric again.

My previous experience with big music festivals was limited to the very fun, very well-run 2005 Austin City Limits Festival.  My annual schedule of Ultimate Frisbee tourneys has made getting to some of the ones that look intriguing (Mountain Jam, Bonnaroo, another ACL trip) tough to line up each year.

But this year, I’ve been easing into club Ultimate retirement like Madonna eases into a hot tub full of goat placenta she uses to stave off grim death for another fortnight. So the schedule has loosened up a bit, like Madonna loosens up her outer…

…um, you get the picture. And quite a picture it is.


I tried to get some fellow music fans to join in, but was unsuccessful. So I drove solo up to Fort Adams State Park just outside of Newport, RI.

The ride up Friday was long and arduous.  What Google said would take 6 hours, instead took 9.  Part of it was my fault because I left later than I planned and it was hell getting through the George Washington Bridge.  I should have known better and gone 287/Tappanzee, but even that wouldn’t have spared me the 25 miles of 5 MPH traffic for the first 25 miles of 95 in Connecticut. 

I was bleary-eyed and wobbly by the time the traffic mysteriously opened up (another Madonna joke? nah.) pretty much where the signs said it would. 

The end of my trip was no picnic either, as I couldn’t find the campgrounds where I had reserved a spot. The locals at the Gas ‘n Gulp being condescendingly surprised that I could miss the sign didn’t help my mood.

Screw you, locals.

Anyway, I was able to luckily check in to my site even though the office had closed 15 minutes earlier.  I set up my tent by headlight and passed out.



The next morning I met up with my companions for the weekend (Jarsh, Rachel, Chad, Courtney and their 3-4 more charming than annoying offspring, of which only Teague has a Twitter account).  Later on, we met up with the irascible parents of Rachel and sadly absent Nic, who later on shared my campsite.  And they didn’t know it, but I tweeted something funny but simultaneously false and terrible about them.  Mostly it was to freak Nic out.  He hasn’t brought it up, so it was either no big deal, or he plans on murdering me in my sleep.

The vibe was very laid back.  Lots of older XPN types who found their spot in front of the Fort stage and settled in for the long haul.  Lots of younger fans too, who bopped from stage to stage.  It was a pretty good mix and as far as I could tell, nearly douchebag-free.

We were surrounded by ocean. I looked with a tinge of jealousy at the hundreds of boats, floats, and one guy standing on a surfboard poling himself through the water who were able to listen to the music on the Fort Stage for free.  A few people may have even snuck into the show for free. Not a bad way to spend 2 beautiful days, floating along with coolers full of beer.

Most of the food offerings were pretty good and only mildly overpriced. They had Magic Hat (who gave me awesome pink and black sunglasses), at least until they ran out on Sunday and had to sell hurriedly purchased Bud Light to placate us.  I guess they wanted to keep a lid on the drinking because you were only allowed to drink in a tent at the very top of the map below.  You could kinda hear the music if you weren’t in the tent, but not at all inside when the tent was full.

The setup of stages was a bit odd, especially on Sunday when a # of high-profile sets were scheduled back-to-back-to-back at the small Harbor stage.  Preservation Hall Jazz Band, The Felice Brothers, and Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes all had that place overflowing with fans.  Especially Edward Sharpe.  That set was delayed for 20 minutes while the local fire marshals forced everyone out of the center aisle and the area right in front of the stage.  Meanwhile, the Quad Stage had a TON of room and mostly lesser-known acts.  The only reason I can think of is that there was only one entrance to the Quad area and maybe they were afraid of a bottleneck. 


Overall, I wish it was a little less laid back.  Acts like O’Death, Felice Brothers, and Sharon Jones were not meant to be enjoyed sitting in a plastic chair or on a blanket.  I think they recognized that and added a section to the Fort Stage right in front of the stage that was only for standing/dancing. That came in handy for Sharon Jones’ set.  My feet were as black as an ill-conceived metaphor involving the color of Miss Jones’ skin by the end of her set from dancing non-stop in the dirt.  But I would hope they include a section for the other stages for dancing as well.  Or have seats on one half of the tent and an open area for whatever on the other half.  Something.



Enough blather.  On to the music.  While the batteries of my Kodak Zi8 lasted, it's 1080p video captured some pretty cool moments.  Apologies for the shakiness of some of them as I was holding the camera as still as I could.

NPR has audio of most of the sets here.



O’Death is a truly unique band.  They play what I dub “turbo bluegrass”, but that doesn’t do justice to the hell they unleash when they perform.  This guy does a better job at both describing O’Death and the Newport Folk Festival.  Hats off, brother.

I was bouncing around in my seat the whole time. I got there early enough for a 2nd-row seat, so I sacrificed a bit of room to move for the awesome vantage point.  Didn’t think I’d get another chance at seats that good the rest of the weekend.

There were signs everywhere about video recordings not being allowed, so I was paranoid about recording stuff. Hence the preponderance of heads in these clips.  Sorry.  I got over that paranoia pretty quickly.



The What Cheer? Brigade performed at the gates each morning, and then wandered around performing impromptu sets throughout the weekend. They were a kick-ass Goth/punk marching band.


It’s amazing what Andrew Bird can with his just a violin, a feedback loop (or whatever you call it), and his love of the whistle.


I saw Dawes open for someone at Johnny Brenda’s recently and have been digging their kinda laid-back California rock vibe.  This one even name-checks LA. 


Wasn’t planning on recording this, but it was a very cool moment. It was Dawes’ last song, a simple sing-along (“I gotta feeling… Everything’s gonna be alright…”).  Midway through the song, the lead singer called his father to join him on stage.  This was apparently not his dad’s first time upon the stage.  He bolted down and belted it out.  Sadly the bright sunshine meant I couldn’t really see what I was recording, so you get a lot of the backs of people’s heads. But trust me, it was rather sweet.


I was beat and just lying on the grass during the final set of the day (John Prine). It was a relaxing way to end the day.  Am lukewarm on Prine, but he matched my mood.  In my line of sight was an American flag on top of Fort Adams, so I decided to get artsy.  Entirely coincidentally and ironically, the song I recorded was “Flag Decal” which has lyrics like “Your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore; It's already overcrowded from your dirty little war.”


I did take a break from dancing my lily-white butt off to Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings so I could record this song.  They were a breath of funky air amidst an otherwise fairly white bread weekend (at least the acts I saw).


The Preservation Hall Jazz Band put out a great compilation album earlier this year with guest vocals from a fantastic roster including Tom Waits, Jim James, Andrew Bird, Jason Isbell, and many others.  They continued this collaborative streak in the second half of their set.

Ben Sollee helped out on “Between The Devil & The Deep Blue Sea”, and Jim James tore the roof off with a tent-revival-preacher-on-5-hour-energy take on 2 songs (“Shake It And Break It” and another one I didn’t know).  These 2 songs left a much better taste in my mouth than JJ’s solo set from the other day. I was bored silly and left halfway through. To be fair, I’ve always preferred MMJ’s epic stompers to their quiet hushes, and I was in the minority based on discussions with other folks who saw his set. 




I used up the last of my battery on the last PHJB tune, so the rest of the vids are taken by other folks.

The first time I ever saw Felice Brothers was at a house concert at Drew Eckman ’s beautiful house on Lake Cupsaw in North Jersey.  And that’s one of the few times you’ll hear me use the words “beautiful” and “Jersey” in the same sentence.  I took a bunch of videos from that fantastic afternoon, and they can be found here.

At Newport, they tapped into a deep vein of raucous energy as people filled the aisle to shout along.  They killed that momentum a couple times with too many slower songs, though.  It didn’t help that there was some confusion about when their set was over.  They left the stage at one point and seemed confused about whether they were done or not before coming back.


The audio on this one starts sucking a quarter of the way in, but I include it because I make a cameo at the 1:45 mark:


I was torn on Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros going into the festival. Loved their first single “Home”, but the album didn’t do much for me.  They won me over with their set on Sunday. I was crashing a bit and smack dab in the middle of a rabid crowd that was way into them.  That’s usually a recipe for me being turned off, but they delivered a wide-eyed, energetic set.  My shorthand description of them being The Polyphonic Spree – 4-5 members + a Björk look/singalike isn’t that far off, but I dig them more than I did before.



Levon Helm is a legend and should probably be declared a National Park or something similarly meaningful.  Erect a gift shop in his belly button. I’ll man the old-timey photo booth.

It’s just a shame that his voice has been weakened after numerous health problems including throat cancer. He’s a scrapper, though. I've added his name just below Buddy Guy’s in my People I Hope I’m Rocking As Hard As They Are When I’m That Old pantheon. I saw him at the Keswick last month. It was a good show with a killer band, but Levon only sung one song entirely by himself.  It’s OK, because “It Makes No Difference'” kills me every time regardless of who’s singing it.

Unfortunately, I didn’t see much of his weekend-closing set due to my ride leaving with their baby in tow.  If I wasn’t fighting a cold and feeling like crap, I may have struck out on my own and figured out a way back to the campsite. As it was, I was happy to head back, though it looks like I missed a good show.

This is an incredible vantage point for the all-star take on “I Shall Be Released”. I just wish the person taking it would keep his damn mouth shut the whole time. I’m guilty of that sometimes when I take video, but this is a reminder that it can nearly ruin a great song.  But I still love seeing not just a beautiful song, but the awed reverence everyone has for him.


And finally a shout-out to a new artist I’ve been digging, April Smith.  Hers was the only set I was specifically looking forward to that I missed.  I only saw the last few verses of her cover of Melanie’s “Brand New Key”.   And unfortunately, I couldn’t find vids of her from Newport, so this will have to do.

Cheesy Movies? Ha!

I really wish Wired did one of two things when creating this list of cheesiest movies (in honor of Piranha 3-D coming out tomorrow), not use the superlative for cheesy, or at least have the decency to speak to me about cheesy movies.

I mean their list is obviously good, but is it definitive? Of course not. Off the top of my head I thought of three they missed...


No, not the 1995 movie with Christopher Walken as the archangel Gabriel. The 1979 movie with no name stars and a mutant bear killing campers.

Kingdom of the Spiders

Why Wired wouldn't immediately go to a movie starring William Shatner as a veterinarian trying to save a small town from a plague of tarantulas...well now you can see why I was so angered by their list.

Night of the Lepus

This might be my favorite trailer of all time. The narrator's affected voice...the gore...the unknown terror...yes it's about giant bunnies terrorizing people. And no, I have no idea what a lepus is.

Movie Trailers: Black Swan

What's that? I couldn't hear you. I was watching Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman make out.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Movie Trailer: Monsters

Apparently made for $15,000 (I'm having a really hard time believing that) the movie Monsters looks like this year's District 9 - even down to some of the plot points. But don't take that as a bad thing, as this one seems to ignore some of the societal and sociological questions District 9 brought up (at least in the first 15 minutes before it became another 80s action movie) and goes right for the freaks and screams.

Television's Fall Preview

Over at the A.V. Club, they've put together a preview of the upcoming Fall television season. And let's just say things don't look all that stellar. But there do seem to be a few shows with potential. Here's what I'm looking forward to...

Boardwalk Empire

It's on HBO, and that immediately gives it some cred in my book. Yes, I know HBO has stumbled a bit (but fuck you, I'm a John from Cincinnati fan and wish it was still on!) but this has some power horses (yes I just made that up) behind it including Martin Scorsese. And it looks like it's the Goodfellas Martin Scorsese and not the Kundun Scorsese so I'll definitely give my attention to this.

The Event

Ok, so yeah, this is probably going to suck, but I'm a sucker for conspiracy shows and I'll give it a chance. Besides, NBC has been promoting it so heavily I think they bought airtime to my dreams, so I'm actually programmed to watch it. I'm sure I'll get sick of it by season 8, when they still haven't completely explained what the event was.

Running Wilde

I love Arrested Development. I love Will Arnett. So I want this to be good. I really do. But after seeing this trailer for it...

...I've lowered my expectations. It's as though Mitchell Hurwitz basically figured his Arrested Development was too smart for the masses, and so he went out and created a dumb version of it. I hope I'm wrong. I'll tune in to see if I'm wrong. But I don't think I'm wrong.


Have heard absolutely nothing about this until I read the A.V. Club preview. Stars Donal Logue so that's intriguing (he was in Life - a criminally underrated show). Also one of the Ocean's 11 writers is behind it, and I love that movie. It is on FX though which might be trouble. I have no idea what number that is on my cable box, and I fear I might lose interest in whatever show I'm looking for before I can actually find the channel. I have a relatively short attention span. Oh look, porn!

Body of Proof

Sure, it sounds like 10000 other shows. But it also boasts Dana Delaney, and for that reason alone I will tune in. My Dana Delaney admiration goes way back...no not all the way back to China Beach, but to Exit to Eden. Sure, watching that meant witnessing a Dan Akroyd/Rosie O'Donnell potential romance, and that alone should be enough for the film and all copies to be destroyed, but it also boasted Dane Delaney as a dominatrix ruling a sex island. I think. Maybe I'm not so clear on the plot anymore. And I'm not going to imdb to check it out for fear of glimpsing the Akroyd/O'Donnell coupling.

Sure, the plot sounds convoluted (something about a car accident and she loses her ability to be a surgeon but gains the ability to become a medical examiner - a super smart medical examiner that solves crimes?), but I've heard of weirder plot devices. Ok, maybe I haven't. But did I mention it stars Dana Delaney? In a Quincy-esque role?

Wait a minute - did someone mention Quincy? You know what that means...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Saga of Tila Tequila and the Juggalos

This past weekend was The Gathering of the Juggalos, a festival Insane Clown Posse runs. I'd like to explain it in more detail, but I'll never to be able to do half as good a job as this video.

Anyway, by now you may have heard not only that Tila Tequila made her singing debut at this event, and it did not go well. (That that is a shock to anyone might be more of a shock, but hey.)

Nathan Rabin, contributor to the A.V. Club (and a great follow on Twitter) was there, and saw the whole thing go down. It's an article you won't want to miss. Don't believe me...?

“Juggalos don’t play,” insisted a young man by a trailer. “If we don’t like an act, if they don’t bring the wicked shit, we’ll throw shit at them. When Andrew W.K played here they were chucking all these water bottles filled up, like 90 percent with piss, and then partially unscrewed so it fucking got all over him.”

If Andrew W.K, the human personification of partying, got abused at the Gathering, what chance did Tequila have of making it out of a nightmare gig with her dignity intact? For that matter, did Tequila have any dignity to imperil? (Quick answers: very little and no.)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sometimes, advertising gets it!

Who would have thought a large company such as Dodge would have made this brilliant response to an angry PETA protest against them?

Bravo Dodge. Bravo.

Friday, August 13, 2010

What Star Wars Might Have Been...

If you loved the original Star Wars, but thought the new trilogy, or "prequels" left little to be desired, you're probably a Gary Kurtz guy, even if you don't know who he is. You see, he was the guy that was Lucas' partner, way back when they were at USC, who helped dream up the Star Wars universe, and simply left when he felt it slipping away. Among the many revelations from this this interview he gave to the Los Angeles Times are:

  • Han Solo was supposed to die in Return of the Jedi
  • George Lucas was supposed to direct Apocalypse Now
  • Star Wars was never supposed to be multiple movies

There's plenty more reason to read the article, especially if you're a Star Wars fan. And I'll leave you with this quote...

“I took a master class with Billy Wilder once and he said that in the first act of a story you put your character up in a tree and the second act you set the tree on fire and then in the third you get him down,” Kurtz said. “ ‘Empire’ was the tree on fire. The first movie was like a comic book, a fantasy, but ‘Empire’ felt darker and more compelling. It’s the one, for me, where everything went right. And it was my goodbye to a big part of my life.”

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A History of Video Game Football

It must be video game day here at The Popcorn Trick...take a walk down nostalgia lane with the slide show of football video games of the past 30 years...And scoff at George Plimpton making the poor choice backing Intellivision:

Everything You Wanted to Know about Pac-Man

Ms. Pac-Man was my favorite in the Pac-Man world, but I'm not going to tell you you're wrong if you went with the original of Pac-Man. And now, you can know just about everything there is to know about it here.

Welcome to The Pac-Man Dossier! This web page is dedicated to providing Pac-Man players of all skill levels with the most complete and detailed study of the game possible. New discoveries found during the research for this page in December 2008 have allowed for the clearest view yet of the actual ghost behavior and pathfinding logic used by the game.

Not sure why the recent 2008 discoveries weren't covered more by the mainstream media.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Bermuda Triangle - Exposed!

Sure, an article explaining the reasons for the disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle is cool...

The methane—normally frozen at great pressure as gas hydrates embedded within subterranean rock—can become dislodged and transform into gaseous bubbles expanding geometrically as they explode upwards. When these bubbles reach the surface of the water they soar into the air, still expanding upwards and outwards.

Any ships caught within the methane mega-bubble immediately lose all buoyancy and sink to the bottom of the ocean. If the bubbles are big enough and possess a high enough density they can also knock aircraft out of the sky with little or no warning. Aircraft falling victim to these methane bubbles will lose their engines-perhaps igniting the methane surrounding them-and immediately lose their lift as well, ending their flights by diving into the ocean and swiftly plummeting

But it's not half as cool as the comments such an article attracts...

This is in the same league of lame explanations like the face on Mars being a natural formation. But they can't explain away the pyramids next to it. Can't CIA scientists do any better than this?

But this theory doesn't explain the ships that were found fully in tact with no signs of any type of disturbance, half eaten meals still on plates, etc. but NO PEOPLE ANYWHERE. Sorry by methane can't do that. It also doesn't explain the stories of pilots who entered funnel shaped clouds over the Bermuda triangle at least 200 miles from Miami and when they emerged from the funnel shaped cloud only 30 minutes later, THEY WERE IN MIAMI. Methane can't do that either. Sorry I don't buy it.

RIGHT! They do this kind of crap and think people are stupid and buy their dumb misinfo. But then again it sounds like people are dumb and buy their misinfo. Methane bubles are all over the ocean and they come up every day. But not many destroy ships or planes for that matter. Most importantly they HAVE NOT FOUND THE SHIPS OR THE PLANES IN THE BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN. Now how do these goofs explain that? Oh my good god. They need to get a real job like washing dishes or something stupid rather than waisting grant money on disinfo.

"If the bubbles are big enough and possess a high enough density they can also knock aircraft out of the sky with little or no warning" So basically you're telling us that the earth just farted them away... This article is worthless.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Need Help Solving a Crime?

I'm really not sure where to start with this one, so I'll just let the article do the talking...

There are an estimated100,000 uncaught killers in the United States. Cops are overworked, departments underfunded, and as many as one in three murders goes unsolved. But the Vidocq Society — named after Eugene Francois Vidocq of Paris, the world's first detective and founder of France'sBrigade de la Sûretépolice force — hunts down the murderers, frees the innocent, and succors the families victimized by crime.

So it's kind of like the Hall of Justice, but the superpowers these men possess are of the mental kind. Cool! So, what would kind of person would be part of such an awesome, exclusive group?

"I call Frank [Bender] with the tough cases," says America's Most Wanted host John Walsh, who considers him brilliant. (Bender is also happily sex-addicted, having slept with some 300 women — his wife had no objections. He is dying of mesothelioma that has eaten two of his ribs, and doctors can't understand why he isn't dead yet.)
Wow - is there anything else they can lay claim to?

They are besieged with requests from cops and victims around the world, including a congressman who wanted to solve a murder in his family, and a young, small-town Tennessee cop overmatched by an elderly millionaire serial killer who moved from state to state killing his wives. However, a case must be cold for two years before they will touch it. (Walter claims to know who killed JonBenét Ramsey, and the identity of Jack the Ripper, but won't tell anybody.)
A super group of people that solve crimes AND know the identities of two of the greatest unsolved mysteries of all time? Yeah, these guys are badass.

These are just a few snippets, I really recommend you read the whole thing here.

Getting Off the Grid

What's living off the grid, you ask?

For most Americans, tap water, electricity and heating are not only staples of modern convenience -- they're absolute necessities. A small but growing number of Americans, however, have ditched the comfort and convenience of their utilities and chosen instead to live off the grid -- unconnected to gas, water, phone and power networks, and, in some cases, making their life from whatever they can grow or hunt on the land. In 2009, British journalist and documentary filmmaker Nick Rosen traveled around the United States visiting these unplugged Americans to find out what it means to live an off-the-grid life.

I'll be honest - the thought of leaving the wired in lifestyle has a romantic appeal to me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not stupid enough to believe I could ever do it, but a part of me envies the people who are giving it a go.

If you're interested in at least learning more about living off the grid, buy Nick Rosen's book, "Off the Grid: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government, and True Independence in Modern America."

Friday, August 6, 2010

Juke Joints!

One of my dreams is to head down south and hit up every juke joint I find. Until I become independently wealthy however, I'll just have to read this article. Of course, by being listed there, it probably means these aren't the honest to goodness deep south juke joints that I crave, but it will have to do.

Celebrity PSAs

I'm guessing most of these celebrity PSAs were done because of community service obligations. Whatever the reason, take a walk through nostalgia and enjoy them.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Secrets of Lost...Ignored Some More

Not sure how everyone felt about the series finale of Lost. To me, a lot of people simply tried to convince themselves it was good. To a degree, they were right; as a season finale, it was strong.

But a series finale? No.

Look, I realize it was impossible to answer all the mysteries of the island. There were way too many loose ends that couldn't be tied up. And, besides, answering all the mysteries wouldn't have been as much fin. However...

I think the major flaw of the end of Lost was that the storytellers (whoever you think them to be - producers, writers, etc.) "lost" many of the ideas that they set up in the seasons before the final one. The last season almost seems to completely ignore all of that in order to force itself into the ending they created. Which is kinda of a copout and insults the dedicated viewers a bit.

I mean they set up Charles Widmore so early, and to discard him so casually seemed a bit cavalier. I realize they continually said the show is about the "characters" but that wasn't the case in seasons' past. That mantra started coming out later in the show's run, and conveniently enough to help explain the last season.

Anyway, because there were so many unanswered questions, news came out that there would be some unaired extra footage that would at least fill in a few of the blanks. The first of this extra footage has been released on the Internet.

So if you couldn't sleep at night because of your burning desire to know about the Dharma airdrops, here you go!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Seeing Mt. Everest - Blair Witch Style

While it gets a little shaky and tiresome after awhile, this is still probably the closest most of us will ever come to experiencing what it's like to climb Mt. Everest...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Beck Interview

Regardless of what you think about Pitchfork, they're very much relevant in the overall scene. So much so that they scored this interview with Beck. The most interesting thing to me was talking about some recent stuff he was doing and what it may or may not sound like, going all the way back to Odelay...

Pitchfork: I was wondering if the schizophrenic, 10-minute "Harry Partch" tribute song you put up on your website earlier this year contained bits of new material.

BH: I don't know-- I'd actually have to ask somebody. That song was maybe a bit more hyper. But it's similar to this other project that I've been working on for years, which started with a song I did in '95 called "Inferno". We left it off of Odelaybecause it ended up feeling like this weird rap-rock thing. A lot of the tracks we turned in for that album were pretty confusing for people at the record company, so we thought "Inferno" would just alienate them completely [laughs]. We ended up putting it on the Odelay deluxe reissue. But I'd always wanted to do a longer piece of music like that with all these different sections.

Yeah, I hate the fact that there might be record execs out there that have a say in what Beck music I can and can't hear.

The Russian Forest Fires - Close Up and Personal

Quick - when you see an out-of-control wildfire, what do you do?

If you said "run the other way," I guess you might still be alive, but you wouldn't have an awesome youtube video like these guys...

Here's the Big Picture's take on it, giving you an idea of the scope of the fires.

Awesome Photography from the Forgotten West

Really cool website from photographer Troy Paiva, who specializes in abandoned stuff out in the west. I hope you check out some of his photography.

And speaking of abandoned stuff, check out this cool website, documenting photos of abandoned swimming pools!

Monday, August 2, 2010

? From ? and the Mysterians

I knew the leader singer (who goes by ?, Q and Question Mark), from ? and the Mysterians was a little loopy, but I didn't know it was this loopy...

Yeah. When we were playing there she came up to me and this was like, what, ’97, right? And naturally she wanted me to come to her studio and I said, “Uh-oh.” I said, “Well, it’s shaped like a question mark, you know? But when it gets excited, it’s an exclamation mark.” There were tons of kids around there, right? She says, “Oh, I’d like to have a plaster of your cock.” And I said, “Well, at the moment it’s shaped like a question mark.”

Read the entire interview here. And then come back and explain it to me. Any of it.

Stuff you Might Have to Think Twice About Trying to Bring Into the Country

The heroin I understand, but the pitcher full of salami? There goes my idea of attempting to start a deli using third world meat!