Friday, December 25, 2009

The Lost Wisdom of the Three Wise Men

Almost by chance I recently happened to witness two similar scenes: a 15-year-old girl who was engrossed in a book of art reproductions, and two 15-year-old boys who were enthralled to be visiting the Louvre.

The parents of all three were nonbelievers and the teens were raised in secular countries; that lack of religious background clearly affected their ability to appreciate the art they were viewing.

The teenagers could understand that the hapless individuals in Theodore Gericault’s “The Raft of the Medusa,” had just escaped a shipwreck. And they could recognize that the characters portrayed by Francesco Hayez in “The Kiss” were lovers.

But it was difficult for them to fathom why Fra Angelico portrayed a girl talking to a man with wings in “The Annunciation” or why in Rembrandt’s “Moses Breaking the Tablets of Law,” a gentleman who looks rather down-at-the-heels but has beams of light shining from horns on his head, is bounding down a mountainside carrying two heavy stone tablets.

Some parts of Nativity scenes were familiar to these young people because they had seen similar icons in the past, but when three men wearing cloaks and crowns were included in a crèche, the teens had no idea who these men were or why they were there.

It’s impossible to understand roughly three-quarters of Western art if you don’t know the events of the Old and the New Testaments and the stories of the saints. Who’s that girl with her eyes on a plate? Is she something out of “Night of the Living Dead”?

In many countries, schoolchildren are taught everything about the death of Hector but nothing about St. Sebastian, and perhaps everything about the marriage of Cadmus and Harmony but nothing about the wedding at Cana. In others, they cram students’ heads with the Stations of the Cross while keeping them in the dark about “the woman clothed with the sun” who appears in the book of Revelations.

The worst cases of befuddlement often occur when Westerners (and not just 15-year-olds) come across religious icons from other cultures — which happens increasingly often today as they travel to distant countries and people from those countries settle in the West.

I’m not talking about Westerners’ puzzled reactions when faced with an African mask or laughter at the sight of an enormously fat Buddha. The fact is that many shake their heads in disbelief when they learn that Hindus worship a deity with the head of an elephant, yet find nothing odd about portraying Christianity’s divine personage as a dove.

Much of the confusion could be avoided if schools would provide students with basic information about the teachings and traditions of the various religions. To say that this isn’t necessary is tantamount to saying that we shouldn’t teach children about Zeus and Athena because they’re just characters from fables meant for little old ladies in “ancient” Greece.

Limiting religious instruction to the point of view of a single creed (for example, as happens here in Italy) is dangerous. Pupils who are nonbelievers (or the children of nonbelievers) will opt out of such lessons and thus miss out on learning even a minimum of fundamental cultural elements. And usually any useful mention of other religious traditions is excluded from the lessons.

In Italian public schools, the weekly hour of optional religious instruction is led by Roman Catholic teachers paid by the state. It could be used to hold ethical debates on respectable subjects such as our duties toward our fellow man or the nature of faith, while still omitting the kind of information that would enable students to tell Raphael’s Fornarina from a repentant Mary Magdalene.

My generation in Italy studied much about Homer and nothing about the Pentateuch (the first books of the Hebrew Bible). In high school the lessons on the history of art were awful, and in lit classes they taught us all about the Florentine poet Burchiello and nothing about Shakespeare. But despite this we got by, because the people and culture enabled some of this information to reach us.

That said, the plight of those 15-year-olds I was talking about, the ones who didn’t recognize the Three Wise Men, suggests to me that our vast information network conveys fewer and fewer facts that are truly helpful and more and more that are totally useless.

Umberto Eco via NYT

Monday, December 14, 2009

Give It A Ponder



James Lipton is a funny man with a magical beard.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Walking the Walk, Talking The Talk




























This 45 minute collage of Fugazi stage banter is amazing. Really.

Originally posted by the very cool Henry Owings on Chunklet, it's well worth a listen to anyone interested in live music but especially if you've ever been been a fan of the band or the scene or shit talking.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Truth About Thanksgiving

~ Excepted from Donald Barthelme’s "At Last, It Is Time"
from the collection: The Teachings of Don B.


At last, it is time to speak the truth about Thanksgiving. The truth is this: it is not a really great holiday. Consider the imagery. Dried cornhusks hanging on the door! Terrible wine! Cranberry jelly in little bowls of extremely doubtful provenance which everyone is required to handle with the greatest of care! Consider the participants, the merrymakers. Men and women (also children) who have survived passably well through the years, mainly as a result of living at considerable distances from their dear parents and beloved siblings, who on this feast of feasts must apparently forgather (as if beckoned by an aberrant Fairy Godmother), usually by circuitous routes, through heavy traffic, at a common meeting place, where the very moods, distempers, and obtrusive personal habits that have kept them happily apart since adulthood are then and there encouraged to slowly ferment beneath the cornhusks, and gradually rise with the aid of the terrible wine, and finally burst forth out of control under the stimulus of the cranberry jelly! No, it is a mockery of a holiday. For instance: Thank you, O Lord, for what we are about to receive. This is surely not a gala concept. There are no presents, unless one counts Aunt Bertha’s sweet rolls a present, which no one does. There is precious little in the way of costumery: miniature plastic turkeys and those witless Pilgrim hats. There is no sex. Indeed, Thanksgiving is the one day of the year (a fact known to everybody) when all throughts of sex completely vanish, evaporating from apartments, houses, condominiums, and mobile homes like steam from a bathroom mirror.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

How To Beat The Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Blues





















So the Islamo-Fascists are coming back to New York and people are actually afraid? Talk about providing comfort to the enemy. I can’t fathom an America where we’ve sent the posse out to catch the bad guy and when they’ve brought him to justice, we’re scared his friends might interrupt our public hanging. John Wayne is surely spinning in his red, white, and blue grave.

On the evening of 9/11, I suggested that if Osama bin Laden was really concerned about the plight of downtrodden Muslims he would surrender to US authorities on 9/12. He could then present his complaint to the world at a trial in NYC. He’d never have a bigger stage, his martyrdom would be assured, and he might effect some positive change for his tribe. But my tune has changed. The endless violence at the hands of this bunch of ignorant, psychotic fiends has negated any and all concern for their side of the story.

(ASIDE: Wasn’t the cowardly car bomb popularized by Colombian drug cartels? Yet another feather in cocaine’s cap.)


How can a public trial judging OBL’s criminal sidekick, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, be seen as anything but a good thing, a necessary finale? True, the interim clusterfuck has armed KSM with an ammo dumps worth of defense and the fear that “water boarding” may offer a get out of jail free card is sadly a trending topic. A topic off radar is that a Texan named Charlie Wilson primed OBL with his first taste of violence while another dipshit Texan armed KSM with the kryptonite that might blow him free of American justice. Maybe we’re overlooking another enemy here: Fucking Texas.

The “unlawful combatant” designation was a bullshit play from the start. We, the people, need these terrorists indicted and tried in US Federal Court. I don’t care what the suddenly skittish chicken hawk crowd says. We deserve to have justice meted out in our presence. No one wants KSM slipping away under the cover of an American flag but I refuse to be one of those conservatives who line litter boxes with the Constitution. Even if Al-Queda is the bearded fox in our legal hen house are we really scared to fight them on our home court? The implication that we’re made strong by acting like Chicken Little is fucking pathetic, if not “Fox News’ traitorous.” So on behalf of Americans proud of our Republic, I say bring it motherfucking on.

KSM is going to be found guilty in NYC, so put that fear out of your pretty little heads. All Americans should know our legal system is the best the world has to offer and perfectly capable of putting anyone it wants to behind bars. US Federal prosecutors don’t lose and I’m looking forward to seeing our book thrown at these twisted shits for a change. I’m sick of their book. And could someone please remind me when Republicans become the party of pussies?

In the fall of 2001, before the invasion of Afghanistan, I approached US Senator Charles Schumer at a party. Head full of Ritalin, I proposed a couple of avant tactics. First, that bombing Afghanistan with nothing more incendiary than canned American hams might provide a satisfying irony as well as a boon to the homegrown cannery industry. Kabul was already a city lying in Stone Age rubble and the “Rods from God” theory allows that any projectile launched from earth’s orbit will detonate at just this side of thermo-nuclear. So these canned hams would fuck shit up and pork seemed a magnificent thematic choice of advance weaponry. Secondly, I suggested locking a red laser beam on the Kaaba at Mecca and saying you guys have a week to give us OBL or we're gonna vaporize your goddamn black rock. Schumer excused himself, but then Jews are a little weird about pork too.

While it might have been outlandish to suggest effectively nuking Mecca at the time, I think as a coercive measure, it’s a viable option today. The threat of obliterating the Muslim world’s #1 tourist attraction would hit these bastards where it hurts. The wallet. And don’t give me that shit about Saudi Arabia as our Arab ally in the “war on terror.” It’s the Al-Saud Wahhabists, not the Muslim Brotherhood nor the Tehran Twelvers nor even the Taliban, who are at the root of all this jihadist/al-Qaeda evil. The House of Al-Saud is a cabal of liars, thieves and cutthroats whose cult of extremism doesn’t revolve around religion but rather around money. So fuck those pigs.

The Hajj begins this week in Saudi Arabia. My suggestion is, as before, to target the Kaaba with an unmistakable red beam from outer space. For the whole week at Mecca, the tribal pilgrims flocking to and orbiting around the most revered touchstone in Islam will be aware of the implied annihilation. That’s how you capture an audience’s attention. My news cycle headline will be “NOT A SINGLE BLACK EYED VIRGIN HARMED, NOT A SINGLE BEARDED BASTARD SPARED.” The whole of extremist Islam will have been forewarned that unless they immediately corral their superstitious & murderous factions we’re going to blow the whole of their shit to kingdom come. No more nation building. No more hand wringing.

The endless bait and switch of fighting these prehistoric warlords in a place called “the Tribal Lands” has gone on long enough. To think Blackwater "snatch and grabs" or secret military drone bombings are going to end this thing is nuts. We the people have to get our kids home and out of this hopelessly deadly and never-ending engagement. Talk - Action = Zero.


As an advance warning, I still can think of nothing more apropos, than a misdirected and plausibly denied, preemptive humanitarian airdrop. < Raining canned hams upon fasting hoards of fundamentalists busily embracing pseudo-science and fairy tales might just give us the psychological impetus needed to snatch victory from the jaws of history. Regardless Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, I’m excited to have you in the Big Apple and as a hedge Wall Street America, I suggest you buy Hormel, sell KSM, and call your fucking Senator.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

The Infinity Factory w/ Richard Metzger

From early 1997 to sometime mid-1999 I had a talkshow called The Infinity Factory that was produced at Pseudo.com, the increasingly legendary “Internet TV Network,” creative madhouse and party central of downtown New York during the high-flying Silicon Alley dotcom years.

The Infinity Factory was taped every Sunday evening at 8pm with a few exceptions. It was produced by Vanessa Weinberg who also DJ’d and mixed the show live. Vanessa was extraordinarily in tune with how the conversations were flowing and added an intricate bed of trippy music, samples and sound loops under what were often extremely psychedelic conversations to begin with—like this episode, with Robert Anton Wilson and Genesis P-Orridge.



This show dates, I think, from Fall of 1997. When it was originally netcast it was when most people still had 56k modems and the video quality was fairly awful. Don’t get me wrong, it was pretty cool to be able to do something like this back then and there was a real “pirate radio” aspect to it as well that greatly appealed to me, but in truth it looked more like flickery animation than it did actual video. And it was the size of a postage stamp. There were probably well over 100 shows, each of them around 50 minutes, but I really can’t say for sure how many there were. Most of them are probably lost.

Ondi TImoner’s new Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning documentary, We Live in Public chronicles the rise and fall of Pseudo founder Josh Harris and it’s a fascinating film, a movie well worth going out of your way to catch. Watch my interview with Ondi here. MUST WATCH!

More via Dangerous Minds

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Clash: 16 Tons Tour 1980



A great example of the Clash at work. Here they're dominating a Saturday night in New Jersey as only they could. Funny to hear Strummer prepping the crowd with the first lines of London Calling, which they've obviously never heard. This makes me smile at the thought of turning rebellion into money. Not much money perhaps but fuck it. Recorded at the Capitol Theater in Passaic on March 8, 1980. The embed should play the whole concert continuously and its worth letting it roll all 23 songs straight through. You can also tweak the tabs at sides of the video player to advance through the songs.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Reach For The Lasers!



The brilliant Jeremy Factsman exploring the
inner workings of a Welsh clubs ecstasy traffic.
Absolutely hilarious by my measure.

What's your name? What have you had?
Reach for the lasers. Safe as fuck!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Great Moments in Drugs!



This amazing story needs nothing from me.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Freddie King at the Travis County Jail



Freddie and his brother Bennie to play for the inmates at the Travis Co. Jail. The prisoners loved it. So did the musicians. It is funky old video but a record of a terrific performance and selfless act by the late great artist, Freddie King.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Hate LA



I love Suzi Barret

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Collider, the Particle and a Theory About Fate

When the Large Hadron Collider fires up again in three weeks it will be time to test one of the most bizarre and revolutionary theories in science. The notion that the troubled collider is being sabotaged by its own future. A pair of otherwise distinguished physicists have suggested that the hypothesized Higgs boson, which physicists hope to produce with the collider, might be so abhorrent to nature that its creation would ripple backward through time and stop the collider before it could make one, like a time traveler who goes back in time to kill his grandfather.

Read Dennis Overbye's essay @ NYT

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween with Frank Zappa


That Zappa endured the douchery of this MTV intro is testament enough to man's genius. If you can push through the uncomfortable begining, there's some cool stuff with amazing musicians. Have a weird Halloween.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Morning Veneration




























François Boucher, Autumnal Pastorale (1749)

Blake—To Autumn
O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stainèd
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou may’st rest,
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.

The narrow bud opens her beauties to
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;
Blossoms hang round the brows of Morning, and
Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve,
Till clust’ring Summer breaks forth into singing,
And feather’d clouds strew flowers round her head.

The spirits of the air live on the smells
Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.’
Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat;
Then rose, girded himself, and o’er the bleak
Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.

–William Blake, To Autumn from: Poetical Sketches (1783)



Listen to the music of autumnal dusk: Wilhelm Friedemann Bach’s Sinfonia in D Minor, F. 25, here in a performance by Concerto Cologne. This work was, according to court records, performed at a birthday celebration for Frederick the Great in January 1758 and was probably composed sometime late in 1757. Its two-movement structure, first an adagio and then a fugue, reminds strongly of the prelude and fugue style of Friedemann’s father, Johann Sebastian, who was long supposed the work’s author. Yet it also shows flashes of South Italian (Neapolitan) style and is composed for an orchestra associated with the Dresden court. The opening theme is restrained and introspective and this fades after some 54 bars (roughly four minutes) to a fugue which is clearly more joyful and optimistic. It’s a good example of Friedemann’s use of winds as a vehicle for introspection. This sinfonia has long been associated with autumnal change and nightfall.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

They Don't Build Big-Box Stores Like They Used To



Cool documentary on the art inspired chain of Best retail stores designed by Site architectural firm in the '70s and early '80s

Monday, September 07, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Heroic Evil

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Nat Cole's Nature Boy

In 1948, Nat King Cole had a hit song written by a mysterious long-haired wanderer living under the L in the Hollywood Sign. A hippie before hippies existed, eden hbez went so far as refuse to use capital letters in names because he didn't feel like mankind was worthy of using them. So when Nat Cole and eden hbez did meet, let's just say it was a made for TV moment. Watch them tell the story of "Nature Boy" getting recorded. Part 2 of the video is a trip with Cole and his hippie muse reading from scripts unaware that this early TV moment would mark the birth of the ginormous 'Nature Boy' industry that dominates markets to this day.


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Friday, August 07, 2009

A Good Postmodernist Is Hard To Find



Although Borges could justifiably be considered the most erudite writer of this century, his works frequently provide the reader with moments of intact emotion or simple entertainment. Fantastic ontologies, synchronic genealogies, utopian grammars, fictional geographies, multiple universal histories, logical bestiaries, ornithological syllogisms, narrative ethics, imaginary mathematics, theological thrillers, nostalgic geometries and invented remembrances, are part of the huge landscape Borges' works offer both to the academic scholar and the casual reader. And over all things, the philosophy, conceived as perplexity, the thought as conjecture, and the poetry as the deepest form of rationality.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Disgusted?

Why do meat-eating men and women love shoulders, but not lips? Ribs, but not ears? Chowing down on pig’s feet causes many to recoil, yet cheese that smells like feet is delectable? There’s often a disconnect between our taste in food and the taste of food, and that’s just one of the topics celebrity chef Mario Batali and University of Pennsylvania professor Paul Rozin discussed earlier this month during a conversation about disgust. A follow up with even more wild talk of munching nuts is hilarious and quite appetizing. (via WNYC)

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Factory: Musicians Are All Tossers


This is the story of how a TV presenter, an out of work actor, an art student, a DJ and an aspiring record producer pioneered Britain's independent pop culture and that's a FACT.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Kill The Messenger



Most Americans have never heard of Sibel Edmonds, and if the U.S. government has its way, they never will. A Turkish-American, Edmonds was hired as a translator by the FBI shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 because of her knowledge of Middle Eastern languages. She was fired less than a year later in March 2002 for reporting shoddy work and security breaches to her supervisors that she felt could have prevented the attacks. An interesting analysis by former CIA Officer Philip Giraldican be found at The American Conservative.

The bombshell Edmonds keeps dropping is that the US maintained 'intimate relations' with Bin Laden, and the Taliban, all the way until that day of September 11. These included using Bin Laden for operations in Central Asia, including Xinjiang, China. These operations involved using al Qaeda and the Taliban in the same manner as we had during the Afghan and Soviet conflict, that is, fighting enemies via proxies. Not really so surprising but there is more to the story, I'm not sure what it all means, but you should give it a read at today's Daily Kos if you like talking shop.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Stockbauer: Sui Generis

James Stockbauer is a genius. Trust me. His light just shines a little brighter and his dazzle runs a little deeper than your typical hipster. You can probably spot him in the picture.

But what specifically makes him so special, you ask? Well, David Cross hates him, he's a messiah to hundreds, and he single handedly invented modern Tourist-Businessmanship. After a contentious period between us, involving a drunken cab ride from NYC to Philadelphia, a slew of litigious mexican mall-lawyers and the oh so problematic Operation Condor prank, he's back sharing his wisdom with The Running Mule. Enjoy him on Twitter @stockbauer as well.


Travel Tips - Lesson #1: The Airport
Repetitive, obvious tips from flunky Yahoo sites and newsreels abound. Apply sunscreen and pump gas after 6pm? That's the predictable drivel keeping lame brains like Rick Steves and Tony Bourdain in business. Here's some real world advice accumulated by a successful Tourist-Businessman on the make. Don't leave home without it.

10. Skip Cinabun, prezzel shops and fatty eateries at the airport. They slow the heart and mind. Grab an apple and some flying V's (Vivarin) at the gift shop and hit the water fountain. You will be real-time streaming through the airport with ease; Don't risk your trip or a felony by trying to sneak in BC powders or other lame disco danders onto planes or fleet vehicles.

9. Pre-navigate your next gate departure in two simple ways. Tear your destination airport plan out of the back of airline courtesy magazine. Once off the plane ask tons of questions of the airline employee with the clipboard. Confirm future gate is correct. Time permitting, plot by hand your course, noting time and airport bars along the way. Stop for a spell and have one drink at each of a few drinking holes. Don't seem hurried, lounge like you are really staying awhile so you get better service. Have a fat money clip out on the bar at all times. Fat Cats do this and get fine service all the time. Bartenders salivate over cash and can't wait to get off the JOB and burn a few so they will notice this at once. Don't look rotund and lame with your tie undone and shirt pulled out of trousers. These are looser businessman that have failed deals and lives.

8. Spend $400 a year fee on a decent credit card and don't travel with cheap reward gift cards or lame debit cards that show you are ghetto. AMEX Platnum or Plum are best since you get to use the executive lounge for free! And the luxuries just start to unfold. No more having to look at unkept Puerto Ricans or low- jean wearing numbsculls struggling to travel. You will have a polite smile and "Mr. Right, right this way" and off to the bar. Take your iPhone off airplane mode and set to Wi-Fi and start to suck up bandwidth. Play porn in one of many private executive covies, or Twitter till your hearts delight. Drinks are free and you may not have much time so go with drinks that contain multiple top shelf hooches. Grand Marnier, Stoli, and Dramboui,? Why the hell not! You are getting drunk, not trying to hold a stylish drink. Hit the bathrooms where you will be lathered by well dress attendants to your every desire. Fresh towels, mists, fragrances, and toiletries abound. Hit the snack counter for Swiss baby cow cheeses, exotic table crackers, cattered cookies and the like. Grab a banana for the road they don't care. Airport lounge employees have the best job in the world. They pool tips on free drinks and their customer have class and appreciate their services.

7. Smile widely at all cute women they will remember you; Who knows if you are single you may get real lucky and sit next to one on your other leg;

6. Carry multiple business cards for every conceivable business angle. Industrial sales, financial consulting, retail associate, rolphing specialist, and misc services. Pop these on prospects you may believe to have some future chance of bringing you wealth. Your are not lying, you are just flexible. Rich people like to talk to other rich people and notice even the smallest details. Set your self apart by investing in really nice shoes that are well shinned. Don't buy cheap mall shoes they will cost your more than you have saved believe me. People size you up from the bottom up so don't be a dump in this department. Also that smartly placed lapel pin or studded cuff link can be the sparkle in the eye of a future rich buddy:

5. Always join "Gold this" and "Gold that" memberships especially at rental car agencies. Once again you will skip stupid lines where stupid people wait. They will always drop "you" off first on the shuttle while other lame - o's sit there and watch them fetch your expensive and important luggage, and then take you straight to your luxury car that is already running with the keys in it and a mint on the dash; Enough to make OJ blush.

4. Don't be shy of Airport Hotels. They are right there and are the same damn hotel you might use in another ugly and useless part of the connecting city. Besides you can get a 30 minute wake up call prior to departure and get every hangover minute of sleep you can. Set ice bucket, small airplane bottles of booze and a mixer right by the phone ready to be made quickly on your way out. No one ever suspects an 8 am drinker with a orange colored beverage.

3. Cut hair very short or go bald and have no hair at all. Hair has cost many a delayed flight, careers and /or business deals. People don't care about other peoples' hair, just their own. The ones that fiddle with it are loosing money every second and are vain ninnies.

2. Walk fast on moving floor trams and stay left. Always bark ahead at the assholes on the wrong side blocking your way. People are paranoid at airports and will rarely put up a fuss or try to wrangle with you. Take advantage of this and alway be very aggressive. Time is money and some people just burn it. Don't even let handicap people break the rules. We are all human and have places to go.

1. Save our water resources. Don't waste more time and Never worry about washing hands after using the Jon. You already have your handsanitizer and that's what it's for. Sans Swine flu boyz!


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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Have Beer We'll Talk

Former President Lyndon Baines Johnson loved to take reporters on "speed and beer" drives around his Texas ranch. Talking politics while drinking Lone Star beer and flying across the countryside in a Cadillac convertible was the way he brought disparate points of view together. The cadgy old bastard liked a captive audience. When a reporter once complained about how fast the President was driving he simply covered up the speedometer with his hat. President Obama could do the same tomorrow at the Gates-Crowley Pow-Wow but without a proper "Open Road" Stetson for coverage, Crowley would probably have to arrest him.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Death By Misadventure: Malcolm Lowery



If you've read Under the Volcano, this documentary will trip you further fucking out. If you've ever been blind drunk on mezcal, you'll empathize with the boozy excesses and if, per chance, you're a muscle-bound, chronically constipated lad with a laughably tiny penis, Volcano: An Inquiry into the Life and Death of Malcolm Lowry, may very well spiral you down the very same nightmarish path below Popocatepetl. It's that crazy a flick.

Called by some the "Ulysses for Alcoholics," Under the Volcano is a monster of a book. I think it true Lowry was a more profligate drunkard than even the boozehound Joyce but to my mind his might just be the better book and therefore deserves it's own headlines. Give Under the Volcano a whirl with plenty of gin and ice and xanex and if you make it through the night, call me in the morning. We'll get some more gin.

Malcolm Lowry
Late of the Bowery
His prose was flowery
And often glowery
He lived, nightly, and drank, daily,
And died playing the ukelele.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

The Sway of the City

Friday, July 24, 2009

Gathering Of The Juggalos



I am not sure what Rockville, IL has done to deserve this but clear your schedules losers. The location of The 10th Annual Gathering of the Juggalos has been announced and it's just a few weeks off. Over the years, the Juggalos have had to secret The Gatherings' location, so no one gets wind in advance. People can't stand these guys and until the date and location is announced, it's like Heisenberg's Principle of Uncertainty waiting to be flash mobbed. Obama's election may have cooled the nation's hate jets a bit but it's still perfectly acceptable to discriminate against a weekends worth of Juggalos.

When Violet J of the Insane Clown Posse describes the experience of attending the Gathering of the Juggalos for the first time, it makes me sad, I'm not into it
It sort of like, what I imagine it's like, for Muslims to visit the holy land of Mecca, that's what I'd imagine it would feel like, for a Juggalo to visit the gathering.
That sounds cool but I don't think I could even fake it. One of my all-time heroes, Richard Francis Burton, was a great faker. He was the first white man to cage his way into Mecca. Thomas Morton, on the other hand, was the first journalist crazy enough to immerse himself in Juggalo culture. Read about his experience at the Gathering 2007, let it inspire you, then grow some balls and get there, ninja. You'll be welcome to as many free cheeseburgers and hot dogs as your fat ass can handle.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pub Man

Of all English institutions, the one to count on would surely be the pub. Shelter to Chaucer’s pilgrims, home to Falstaff and Hal, throne of felicity to Dr. Johnson, the pub — that smoky, yeasty den of jollity — is the womb of Englishness, if anywhere is. Yet in the midst of this national identity crisis, the pub, the mainstay of English life, a staff driven down into the sump of history, old as the Saxons, is suddenly dying and evolving at equal rates. Closing at something like a rate of more than three a day, pubs have become scarce enough that for the first time since the Domesday Book, more than half the villages in England no longer have one. It’s a rare pub that still thrives, or even limps on, by being what it was meant to be: a drinking establishment. The old idea of a pub as a place for a “session,” a lengthy, restful, increasingly tipsy evening of swigging, is all but defunct.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Does A Bear Drink Alone in Woods?




























When said bear is on the property of Gavin,
the answer is undoubtedly no.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Giant Steps Are What You Take

Forty years ago today, I was in Houston with my mom and pop watching footage of Apollo 11 on a B&W broadcast tv. It was heady stuff for a 1st grader. Neil Armstrong's words to Mission Control from the lunar surface, "Houston, The Eagle has landed," have been hardwired into my vernacular ever since. Doubts are also hardwired in my thinking so if the moon landing was faked, I'll be damned.

In that vein, I find Richard Hoagland's moon talk a-go-go endlessly entertaining and sometimes pretty smart. I'm not offended that he thinks I didn't see what I saw. Though Buzz Aldrin might be. Here's Hoagland talking dark missions.



While his insane double speak is beguiling, ultimately it remains a flawed, however fervent, fraud. If you're watching the video be patient, he'll get there, just be prepared to embrace your inner Moon Unit Zapata. Giant steps are what you take, walking on the moon. Happy Anniversary to all.

Related Posts~
We Chose the Moon
Art Bell Finally Gets His Just Deserts

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Brink Of Apocalypse



On November 8, 1983 World War III almost erupted by accident. That evening, Ronnie Raygun's cowboy schtick convinced the old ass bastards in Moscow an imminent nuclear attack by the West was in the cards. Soviet fingers hovered over the nuclear button as their mammoth fucking arsenal of missiles, bombers and submarines were put on maximum alert in anticipation of a full-scale retaliatory attack. Demented authoritarian cocksuckers on high alert are not a laughing matter. (see Kim Jong Il) Thankfully cool heads and a couple of double agents combined to avert the war games about to go mad scenario. This amazing flick set to a jaunty 80's soundtrack brings to life the very real moment when everything nearly went up in radioactive smoke.

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Dead Souls: Not Just A Pop Culture Reference
Has Kim Jong Il Left the Building?
The Spy Who Came In For The Gold
Vodka Baths and Secret Police Dreams

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pie Of Life



















Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld have unleashed their long-in-the-works survey of the new wave of pizza parlors in The Great New York Neoclassical Neapolitan Pizza Revolution. Check the Top 20 pies and read the tweaked out yet fascinating profile of the latest and greatest pizza savant, Anthony Mangieri of Una Pizza Napoletana. Then give baking Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Pizza Margherita a whirl cuz pizza this good fucking rules.

Related Posts~
The Pizza Pie Conspiracy

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

We Chose the Moon


The JFK Library and Museum has just launched an interactive web experience using archival audio, video, photos, and recorded transmissions to re-create, in real time, the July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 mission to the moon. Houston, We Chose the Moon is damn nifty.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The League of Ceiling Starers: Dopes on Bikes

Bike racing in Europe is what boxing is in the States -- a poor kid's way out. A chimney sweep won the first Tour de France, and since then honors have gone to carpenters, plumbers, bricklayers, welders, baker's apprentices and metalworking trainees. (One of the greatest, Italy's Fausto Coppi, wasn't even a butcher, but an errand boy for a butcher, which is how he learned his way with a bike.) The European peloton is a clan with a code, a sweatshop on wheels that doubles as a testing lab for designer doping products. Fans make the biggest heroes of those who suffer most; the founder of the Tour, Henri Desgranges, believed that the ideal race would be one survived by a single rider. If these hero-sufferers take drugs, goes the continental line of thinking, it's because no one can be expected to survive such an ordeal without palliatives, and besides, cheating has been woven into the Tour since its second staging in 1904, when the winner of the first, that chimney sweep, hopped a train for part of the route.

Why are Americans outraged by riders doping to gain edge when European fans expect it and I love it? Read Alexander Wolff. Liberte. Egalite. Fraternite.

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Better Hitting Through Chemistry
Coasting Is Not A Crime
Jacked To The Gills

Monday, July 13, 2009

Good Ol' Daze



The reason the good old days are referred to as good, is cuz they killed! Thirty years ago yesterday, Steve Dahl’s Disco Army, which was dedicated to the eradication and elimination of disco joined forces with baseball wiseacre Bill Veeck to promote the infamous Disco Demolition Night at Chicago's Comiskey Park. The plan:
All fans bringing a disco record to the stadium would be charged 98 cents admission (as in 98.3 FM, The Loop’s radio frequency) for the doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers. The records would be collected in a large trash dumpster by the main gate, and the dumpster would be relocated to center field after the first game of the doubleheader, to be blown into smithereens by the commander himself, Steve Dahl. “Stayin’ Alive” and “I Will Survive” would do neither-this was to be the death of disco. On July 11th, Disco Demolition Eve, the White Sox drew just over 15,000 fans to Comiskey Park, filling less than a third of the roughly 52,000 seats in Comiskey Park. By all accounts, the hope was that the promotion the next day would draw an additional 5,000 to 10,000 fans. Three hours before the first game, it became astonishingly clear that all expectations would be exceeded. Read more >>>

The 70s were filled with good old days, in part, because people were less concerned with lawyers and insurance underwriters. Take Ten Cent Beer Night" at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in '74. It ended when "a large number of intoxicated fans – some armed with knives, chains, and portions of stadium seats that they had torn apart – surged onto the field, and others hurled bottles from the stands." Party!

In stark contrast to today, sporting events of yore were fun. Veeck once said, "you can draw more people with a losing team, plus bread and circuses, than with a losing team and a long, still silence." Bravo for circus. Today, everything in sports is too well managed, branded and spun for anything promotionally 'off-point' to occur. The era of flamboyance in sports ownership is gone. Al Davis is finished and should soon be going the way of Teddy Baseball and Mark Cuban couldn't carry Bill Veeck's jock. I still love the soap opera of athletics but professional sporting events suck. Blowing up disco records and having cheap beer brouhahas is more my jelly-roll, and if that ain't American, I'll kiss your ass.

Listen to Steve Greenberg, CEO of S-Curve Records and a former president of Columbia Records, trace the impact of that night.


Related Posts~
Every Day is Like Sunday
America's Funniest Team: The Dallas Cowboys

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

123, ABC, I'm On LSD

I watch a lot of Sesame Street this days with Bratzo.
The welcome escape from the world of morning
political baby talk (see Joe Scarborough) has had
the added benefit of shining a lapsed light on the
profound mysteries of numbers and the alphabet.

Letters have a kind of genius for showing the sounds
of speech and its seems to me the alphabet is the
supreme human creation. The ability to represent
even the smallest nuggets of sound allows for written
words. And words are magical. They're the alchemical
sleight of hand creating gold from nothing. Like God
did in the beginning.



Numbers are also quite mystical if you have time
to consider them. Bertrand Russell famously said
Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth,
but supreme beauty – a beauty cold and austere,
like that of sculpture, without appeal to any part
of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of
painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a
stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show.



So the next time you're bored cuz their aren't
any cool bands playing or no one's invited you
a hip party remember that it was Pythagoras,
the "Father of Numbers," who said "the power
of the number 10 lies in the number 4."
Put
that in your pipe and smoke it. Or come fucking
babysit.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Can You Dig It?

I've been dreaming all night about the crazed loons who'll be crashing Michael Jackson's Memorial at the Staples Center in a few hours. LA is already nuts and if you've never been to Downtown LA, spare yourself. It's like a cliched skid row/tent city that changes into a zombie town of homeless junkies when the sun goes down. Throw in say 250,000 Jackson worshippers, 50,000 crooks, plus at least 10,000 pornographers, all converging on the world's epicenter of grief at once, and you've got the makings of a helluva party. With only a 2000 cops to manage this, I am reminded of the classic film The Warriors, and not just for the multitude of nutty and impeccably dressed characters. But rather the moment, when Cyrus, the leader of the most powerful NYC gang, rallys the city's factions pointing out how they now outnumber the police. It's a heady moment for those in attendance, yet brief, as the infighting commences almost immediately. Odds are against this happening but kids do love to take inspiration from the silver screen and there's an opportunity here to make a very big splash mediawise.

At the same time, the City of Angels IS the thuggish burnt-out place, skewed note perfect by the music of NWA. Bullshit cops and gangstas are the first things that come to mind when I think of LA, besides the weird Christianity of In & Out Burger. The confluence of insanity will be mesmerizing. It's approaching the magnitude of a papal event though assuredly the only latin likely spoken will be by Latin Kings. Because Michael, The Warriors and NWA are all classic Americana, this get together should turn out to be the thing of legends. Can you dig it?

Monday, July 06, 2009

Conquerors of the Useless


When I was kid, my dad used to contend that one could learn as much traveling the world as you could in college. It was a bug that has come back to bite me, time and time again. 180° SOUTH by Jeff Johnson promises to be exactly what the old man was talking about. So as I pass on the idea that the world is a place you should begin exploring asap, let me drop these two starter notions on you-- Books to master: Rick Berg's out of print classic, The Art and Adventure of Traveling Cheaply; idols worth emulating: Yvon Chouinard. Innocents abroad now!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Time Wastes Too Fast























Maira Kalman's fantastic illustrated blog, And The Pursuit of Happiness offers a whimsical, yet profound, look at Thomas Jefferson, easily the most intricate character of the American Revolution. It's an easy history primer to set your course to an authentic Independence Day celebration. Gifted as writer, architect, farmer, and inventor of the Baked Alaska (sorry Sarah), Jefferson was a noted deist and responsible for what I consider to be one of the defining American public utterances "I have never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as a cause for withdrawing from a friendship." Fuck art, lets dance.


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I Wanna Thank You Mr. Madison
A Modest Proposal for a New National Anthem
The Counter Punch Kid: Thomas Paine
Why America Fuckin' Rules
Happy Birthday Texas

Thursday, July 02, 2009

The Man in Our Mirror


The flood of eulogies for the King of Pop let us resurrect his own best self. Greg Tate's smartly crafted article on Michael Jackson and America over at Black Power is well worth the investment of your intellectual time. Here's a taste:

Real Soul Men eat self-destruction, chased by catastrophic forces from birth and then set upon by the hounds of hell the moment someone pays them cash-money for using the voice of God to sing about secular adult passion. If you can find a more freakish litany of figures who have suffered more freakishly disastrous demises and career denouements than the Black American Soul Man, I’ll pay you cash-money.

Go down the line: Robert Johnson, Louis Jordan, Johnny Ace, Little Willie John, Frankie Lymon, Sam Cooke, James Carr, Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix, Al Green, Teddy Pendergrass, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield. You name it, they have been smacked down by it: guns, planes, cars, drugs, grits, lighting rigs, shoe polish, asphyxiation by vomit, electrocution, enervation, incarceration, their own death-dealing preacher-daddy. A few, like Isaac Hayes, get to slowly rust before they grow old. A select few, like Sly, prove too slick and elusive for the tide of the River Styx, despite giddy years mocking death with self-sabotage and self-abuse.

Michael’s death was probably the most shocking celebrity curtain call of our time because he had stopped being vaguely mortal or human for us quite a while ago, had become such an implacably bizarre and abstracted tabloid creation, worlds removed from the various Michaels we had once loved so much. The unfortunate blessing of his departure is that we can now all go back to loving him as we first found him, without shame, despair, or complication.


Related Posts~
Ding Dong The King Is Dead

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

In Rainbows

The symbolism found in the US Capitol Building suggests it's both the center of our federal government and an esoteric temple. A temple built to deify George Washington. The similarities between the image of Washington sitting in a rainbow and traditional depictions of Jesus are uncanny. Painted in true fresco on the ceiling of the Capitol dome, by former Vatican painter Constantino Brumidi, it’s called The Apotheosis of George Washington. The message is clear, George Washington is the American Christ ... and the US Capitol is his temple. Historical meaning is a wild goose chase so why not embrace a story with cool pictures and underground entrances?
Me, I've always preferred cherry trees to gallows-crosses.

واشنطن كبيرة

Read the full tilt imaginings of William Henry in The US Capitol and the Temple In Man

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What is that Damned Thing Lurking in the Shadows?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

It Ain't Paranoia If Everyone's Out To Get You

According to The Death Of Macho, my time is up before it even began. The heavyweight journal Foreign Policy breaks the news that the era of male dominance is coming to an end. And before you shake this off as some cultural tale of extinction akin to the disappearance of the handle-bar moustaches from straight faces or gentlemen losing the willpower to dress in suits and ties for football games, think again. It's the end of men as the bosses of men. Holy Nancy Pelosi, Batman, please say it ain't so? Thanks to Yaweh's primordial conspiracy, dudes have been running the show since creation, and it's just my luck, that just as I'm about to get called up to The Show, the whole goddamn league flames out. These are the times that try men's souls.

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White Fright Flight

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Pizza Pie Conspiracy

So the MTA sneakily raised the cost of a subway ride to $2.25 yesterday. The theory that the price of one subway ride moves in lockstep with the standard price for a slice of cheese pizza doesn't bode well for depression era budgetary constraints. Pizza is simply bread with a schmear of tomato and a little cheese, right? So how the heck can those ingredients effect the price of my mass transit? Or vice fucking versa. Though no one seems to be 100 percent sure which change causes the other, I have to wonder if any of the guys running the MTA are named Grimaldi or DiFara or Lombardi?

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Lesson of the Little Man



Little Man is a hilarious short film, the cinematic
realization of a story born on the day Adam kicked
down a rib to Eve. It's a real kick in the pants fellas.
Have a nice weekend with sexual tension.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ding Dong The King Is Dead



Long before the King of Pop took over the world there existed a dance called the backslide. It was a slide step perfected most famously by Bill Bailey. The backslide would become even more famous as Michael Jackson's moonwalk. In the end, Jackson was so goddamn weird that his non-performer personality overshadowed many of his contributions, but when he busted that moonwalk out at Motown's 25th anniversary Special, I was floored. The dance was back, back in a body openly receptive to the old masters as well as the latest patchwork offerings of plastic surgery.

As one who's witnessed the complete tragic-heroic arc of his career, I'm at loss to derive much meaning from his death. Only the most innocent or sadistic could have hoped for his shape-shifting delusions to carry on much longer. It was an act both unsustainable and intolerable. Michael Jackson could never have been that crazy without first having been that rich. And he was rich because he was an amazing dancing and singing automaton for most of his life. That said, I can't imagine anyone truly thinking a return to performing was about to revitalize him or his career. The O2 gigs were fated. Destiny tinged with any glory was out of the question from the first announcement. Michael Jackson might have been a pop culture superman but in the end, he was just a cartoon.

*For a more astute point of view, check this superfly riff session about the Life & Death of Michael Jackson.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bronson



Tom Hardy is mesmerizing as Bronson. It's a bizarre turn by a dude well known to be a pretty crazy fucker in his own right. Dramatic role play always make me question how much acting is really going on and characters like Hardy, as Bronson, reinforce my position that acting apples don't fall too far from actor trees. In short, nuts know nuts. Don't get me wrong, I think it's wicked work but if you happen upon Hardy and Eric Bana discussing method acting over pints, you might oughta steer clear.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jonny's Quest

I'm not an animation nut but this documentary about the birth
of televised cartooning is fascinating. The focus is on Jonny Quest,
which at the time, was the most ambitious animated series ever
undertaken. With its international story lines, hi-tech gadgetry
and cool cat music, it was a revelation to a world of kids
previous geeked on physical dust-ups and talking animal hi-jinx.

It was one of my favorite cartoons as a kid. I wanted to roll with
J. Quest. So finding this amazing (fan-made?) documentary
is a mind-bender since all that's known is that it was “supposedly
made for a one time screening at a private function.” Hmm?
Doesn't matter. This is a seriously cool history trip down memory lane.



In the 1970s, Jonny Quest became one of the main targets
of parental watchdog groups such as Action for Children's
Television (ACT). With its multiple on-screen deaths, murder
attempts, use of firearms and deadly weapons (especially by
children, notably Jonny), frequent use of racial stereotypes,
and tense moments, Jonny Quest was decried as the epitome
of what was wrong with Saturday morning cartoons.
Today, Jonny Quest shall have his revenge. This whole video
clocks in at about 2 hrs and 20 minutes, broken down into 27
short chapters on YouTube, and assembled into this single
playlist. But if you’d like to create a single file, you can down
load all the clips from Chris Webber’s blog, his only caveat:
The original creators of the documentary have given me
permission to share this unique documentary but ask once
again that if you do download it and decide to copy it or share
it, please do not sell it or in any way create profit with it. This
was their sole requirement for posting it on YouTube.


If in these troubled economic times you can't afford vintage
clothes there's always this. Enjoy it some retro Saturday morning
with Bailey's Irish Cream in your coffee. And for god's sake,
if not mine, show it to some kids. Just please don't charge them.




Related Posts ~
When Times Get Tough, The Weak Turn Weird

Monday, June 22, 2009

Henry Rollins: The Problem of Argument From (Celebrity) Authority

Celeb blowhards are ubiquitous. In most cases, it's fine by me if they wanna chime in on the state of the world. After all they're outfitted with scads of personal assistants keeping them in loops, narrowing down endorsement opportunities and apprising them of trending cognoscenti. Use it or loose it logic, I suppose. Well, my friend Brian Clark is not feeling quite so generous. His reaction to discovering Vanity Fair employs Henry Rollins to write “Change You Don’t Have To Believe In, Just Deal With” is a well placed stick in the spokes of the authority vested in the Black Flag franchise's 4th singer.

Happening across ... Rollins’ column while sitting at my computer, sipping on a cold can of beer, I was shocked (yes, shocked!) at how mind-bogglingly terrible it was. How poorly written. How intellectually lazy and misguided. How directionless and pointless. How utterly juvenile. Most importantly, how undeserving of the imprimatur of legitimacy that comes with being a columnist for a magazine like Vanity Fair, having one’s work presented alongside that of real writers like Christopher Hitchens. Rollins’ piece was so bad that after I finished it I put down my beer and read it again, just to make sure I hadn’t missed something the first time around (nope – it was still terrible).


Read Brian's essay {henry rollins, the problem of argument from celebrity authority & other stupid-yet-common logical fallacies} and then buy this book, Standing In Two Circles: The Collected Works of Boyd Rice.

Gimmie, Gimmie, Gimmie.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Daddy's Proud









On this, the 2nd anniversary of my first Father's Day as a father, I was invited to type along with a daddy advice blog. The select staff of opinionated nut jobs launching this venture will certainly shake up the world of baby raising traditions. If not the babies themselves. Captaining this monsterssori ship is Gavin McInnes. Beyond yours truly, the cast of characters include luminaries Chris Nieratko and Jim Goad, plus some jewish dude named Benjamin who's there, I assume, to provide a more circumcised perspective.

Had I drawn the assignment in time to actually write for Father's Day, I would have fleshed out the thinking behind this morning's Tweet: "Wondering how many father's would promise to never have sex again just to get through this day?" Snappy fatherly thinking, eh? I'll try better for Gavin, the gang and you, so check My Dad Homies from time to time for the latest in child rearin', rip roarin', fun stuff.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Legacy of A Revolution: The Iranian Gambit

Fantastic documentary on the skeletons filling the Iranian revolutionary closet by the underappreciated Al-Jazeera English.


In four parts, the documentary sets the stage for Revolution, profiles the man chosen by God to be their Supreme Leader and lays bare the backstory for the current Iranian political/religious maelstrom. It's some real P.K. Dick meets John LeCarre styled-shit with copious opiates and gender bending.

Follow up with Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 and you'll assuredly know more about Iran than anyone in your political district.

BTW: God has chosen Me to man this screed of a blog, with sincere apologies to Strunk & White and my religious diety of the day, Zoraster. Enjoy some manna today if you can source it.

Related Posts ~
Sic Semper Tyrannis!
Nothing Is Sacred, Thank God
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie For Fuckin' Godsake

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Why America Fuckin' Rules

If you grew up in Southern California, you likely spent more time watching Cal Worthington grinning broadly through a picture tube than Three Stooges or Little Rascals reruns. Worthington was on TV for only one reason, to sell cars, and he became a living legend in the process. He is probably the nation's longest-lived TV pitchman of any sort, and during his remarkable career, he single-handedly invented the practice of big-time car selling -- or at the very least, made it an enduring success.

Old jalopy on the brink? Go see Cal

[via Hemmings Classic Car]


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

It Was a Bit of a Blur


In his autobiography, Blur bassist Alex James admitted to blowing a million pounds on champagne and cocaine. This confession led to an invitation from Colombia's President Uribe to visit the country and see the damage being caused by the drug trade. He went, and the BBC filmed it as The Cocaine Diaries. While the BBC series is great, the book Bit of a Blur is real wallop of sex and drugs. Mix the media; it's a surprisingly pleasant cocktail.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Manhattanhenge



Twice a year, the sunset lines up with New York
City's street grid — making for spectacular views.
Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden
Planetarium in New York, identified the cosmic
event over a decade ago and coined the name
Manhattanhenge. Next time you can check it out?
July 12th.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Legendary Satchel Page

One of the greatest baseball characters of all time was the outrageous Satchel Paige. Without his relentless showboating and barnstorming through an America tainted by Jim Crow there could have no Jackie Robinson in MLB. Period.

His life was something, totally screwed and completely amazing at the same time. For me he'll always be the greatest baseball pitcher ever. The rest can hang fire. He was a trickster so crazily confident that he'd pull his teammates from the field and challenge the opposition alone. Whether white or black, those dudes had no chance against his 'titty,' 'nightmare,' or 'four day creeper' pitches. Satchel page was as great as they get. Do yourself a favor and listen to Larry Tye talk knowingly about Satchel Page on Fresh Air.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Broadcasting Be Gone, Bye Bye TV

Analog TV signals will cease forever today. I imagine all the Extra-Terrestrials out there monitoring our convoluted radio frequency transmissions are gonna wonder what the hell happened. Saucer captains might just mistakenly launch a land rush at the infotainment void, so keep an eye on the night skies friend. And turn your radios on.

As many of you know, I lived without a TV until 9/11 made me desperate for images to corroborate the ones I'd personally witnessed. TV's changed the world but it's changed us too. We're addicted to the comforting HALesque modulation of the boob tube as it glad-hands us through the fun and not so fun stuff of life beyond our rooms. Today, in solidarity with my brothers in analog, I've decided to revert back to TVless Trace. It's not really such a deprivation with the interweb at hand but I like to think of it as a small protest against the end of free TV. Fuck cable and its narrowcasting ways.

I admit I'll miss the company and, in particular, the fast forwarding through recorded sporting events. My eyes glued to the box score graphic as the images hurtle by, on the look out for the slightest tic of a score to signal hitting the rewind and replay buttons. This rapid grab approach to TV made possible by the DVR was a time saver to be sure but may just be have been the fuel charging the adderall revolution. Saying bye bye to my TV won't change much, other than getting me out of the house more often. So look for me on a couch in front of a TV near you soon.

UPDATE: If you find yourself falling out of love with TV like I did, but are starved for video based news, use Livestation. It's pretty nifty.
 

the running mule

the running mule