The Oscars are tough to sit through. One half is commercials. The other half is Wolverine prancing down a flight of stairs and that girl from 'Doubt' talking about how fabulous her shoe designer is. It's mostly mental junk food, so let's all turn to the honorable Clint Eastwood for a healthy dose of cold, harsh reality. The following Eastwood quotes were published in the January issue of Esquire. So listen up - you might just learn something about the old days, back before people became such damn pussies.
"My father had a couple of kids at the beginning of the Depression. There was not much employment. Not much welfare. People barely got by. People were tougher then."
"We live in more of a pussy generation now, where everybody's become used to saying, 'Well, how do we handle it psychologically?'"
"I don't know if I can tell you exactly when the pussy generation started. Maybe when people started asking about the meaning of life."
"I remember going to a huge waterfall on a glacier in Iceland. People were there on a rock-platform overlook to see it. They had their kids. There was a place that wasn't sealed off, but it had a cable that stopped anybody from going past a certain point. I said to myself, You know, in the States they'd have that hurricane-fenced off, because they're afraid somebody's gonna fall and some lawyer's going to appear. There, the mentality was like it was in America in the old days: If you fall, you're stupid."
"As you get older, you're not afraid of doubt. Doubt isn't running the show. You take out all the self-agonizing."
"Children teach you that you can still be humbled by life, that you learn something new all the time. That's the secret to life, really - never stop learning. It's the secret to career. I'm still working because I learn something new all the time. It's the secret to relationships. Never think you've got it all."
Last Lights is a hardcore punk band that is unfortunately now defunct due to the untimely passing of 24 year old lead singer Dominic Mallary in December (apparently from complications resulting from his last performance, The Boston Globe reports). I am just familiarizing myself with the band, but they seem to epitomize the ideals of hardcore punk: full of dizzying guitars and caustic lyrics railing against complacency and mediocrity. The best hardcore is clever hardcore, and Dom's writing is proof: song titles like 'U.S. Out of New England' and 'Everybody's Working for the Weak End' reveal wit, anger, and intelligence (the latter especially can be rare in a genre with its fair share of testosterone and rage). I also love his approach to lyrics - he's not afraid to raise more questions than he answers and some of the lyrical content reads on its own as poetry: "the lack of meaning is also a meaning / the lack of feeling is also a feeling / but don't press my face to the floor and call it a ceiling" (from 'Love + Rent'). Last Lights will play a final performance (with friends on vocals) at a memorial benefit for Dom's family on February 21st in Worcester, Massachusetts.
In the Skeleton Boy video by Friendly Fires, infectious dance pop meets the skeleton-costume-clad Cobra Kai from 'Karate Kid' (some of their work owes a heavy debt to 'Off The Wall'-era MJ, which rules). I finally overcame a recent addiction to My Delirium by Ladyhawke. There is new music to hear from Yeah Yeah Yeahs (still have my hopes up for a comeback, but if the new single is any evidence, it's not gonna be in 09) and Lady Sovereign (ditto). Also, I can't tell the difference between my pleasures and my guilty pleasures anymore. They have finally merged into a sublime union. Glorious!
So I had a lot of ideas today, and one of them is an idea for a rock band. You know that guy Greg Gillis, aka Girl Talk, who makes infectiously catchy songs from mile-a-minute samples of everything from Nirvana and Pixies to Biggie and Elton John? What if there was a rock band that operated under a similar premise? You could construct cover songs out of dozens of songs from different eras and rock artists - they'd be more like collages then medleys. Maybe one song would start with a verse from The Police, enter a chorus from an Elvis Presley song, go into a verse from The Ramones that has a similar chord structure to the first Police verse (thereby highlighting the inherent similarities of most rock songs), then into the Elvis chorus again but this time with Neil Young lyrics in place of the Elvis lyrics, and then conclude with a breakdown from a Black Sabbath song. You could even make a Frankenstein song that had a single theme (heartbreak, for example) and assembled verses and choruses from six other songs about heartbreak into one. In the future, originality is going to have just as much validity as using our shared cultural past as fuel for your assemblage (because they're actually the same thing when done in a spirit of inventiveness and honor). If you don't feel like starting a rock band and would prefer to start a comic book franchise, see below.
So I was thinking about Batman's enemy The Penguin and how a penguin is the least intimidating animal and therefore terrible inspiration for a supervillain. And then I thought, What's the nastiest animal? The answer, of course, is roadkill. Roadkill is the nastiest animal, and that's why my idea for a supervillain is a criminal mastermind named Roadkillhead. He has a regular body but his head is a gory roadkill head with tire tracks on it, and his power is that when he sneezes (which happens often, especially when he's in the vicinity of a nemesis), he sneezes bone fragments and roadkill gore all over you. All right, so maybe he needs an eviler and more villainous superpower (so far it's more disgusting than deadly), but I was hoping that some comic book artist or mad scientist out there would kind of take the seed of the idea and run with it and then make a fortune and give me credit (and part of the fortune). You're welcome.
Everyone knows that the internet is nearly perfect and the only missing ingredient is breakfast. Well, hunger no more, because now you can add a sizzling strip of bacon to any website by typing http://bacolicio.us/ before the site's url (to add bacon to Magnet Cat, you'd type http://bacolicio.us/http://www.magnetcat.com/). It even comes with it's own fatty favicon in the browser bar and changes the title page to read "Mmmm Bacon." I don't what's behind the bacon craze as of late (bloggers had a field day with the appalling Bacon Explosion), but bon appetit!
Should I watch this video a dozen times, each viewing accompanied by a fit of laughter? Don't mind if I do! According to the YouTube description, "This was a PSA that the voice-over person decided to record an 'alternate' version of for fun. This comes from the archives of a local tv station." You got that, asshole? (repost from Watchin Things)
Check out these gorgeous album covers I spotted on this list. I did some research on these artists and was startled by what I found:
Yodeling legend Joyce Schwartz was inspired to write this record (titled Full Throttle Yodel) by her producer and lover Mike Adkins (see below), who she claimed once visited her in a dream and demanded that she "get up and yodel." Standout songs: 'Picnic People' and 'Fondue Party'
Seminal reggae artist Mike Adkins ("The Godfather of Funky") was inspired to write Thank You For The Dove after his muse Joyce Schwartz (aka 'Joyce') gifted him with the titular bird. Channeling the sounds of Jamaica by way of Wisconsin, Adkins invented the hit dance 'Ganja Strut.' Standout songs: 'Jah's Adopted Stepson,' 'Ganja I Jah Dub'
I am impressed by the animated videos at the website of fashion label Shipley & Halmos ("geeky-preppy sportswear cited by GQ this month as one of the six new men’s labels you must know," according to this New York Times article). Anyone who has ever seen 'The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb' knows that stop-motion animation can be very striking visually, especially if you animate something that doesn't require stop-motion to animate itself - like a human.
Pizza Hut Japan's 'Double Roll Pie' (rejected names include 'The Kitchen Sink' and 'Instant Death') is topped with bacon-wrapped sausages, mini hamburger patties, mushrooms, soy beans, corn, paprika, garlic chips, green peppers, pepperoni, mozzarella, parmigiana, and fucking cheddar! Oh also, it's served with ketchup, maple syrup, and a vigorous slap across the face. Oh, the gluttony and audacity. The shame and sheer thrill of it all!
My favorite part is that the design of this ad truly reflects the overbearing attitude of the pizza (not that it should qualify as a pizza by any stretch of the imagination). It's a traffic jam for the eyes that would precede the ten-car pileup that would occur in your gut if you had the gall to step near this monster. Check out the cute little tomato icon (ketchup!), the maple leaf (syrup!), and the kinda-smiling, near-comatose boy and girl (kill your kids!). And of course, the ad is absolutely drenched in text, because this pizza requires a fucking explanation. Paradoxically, I'm quite sure that no explanation is sufficient.
Divert thine eyes. Staring at this thing for too long might turn you to stone.
Last Friday, David Letterman broadcast a controversial lost clip of the late, great comedian Bill Hicks performing on Letterman's stage in 1993. Dave also apologized personally on-air to Hicks' mother for censoring the performance (which was likely considered controversial by the network or its sponsors due to Hicks' material about pro-lifers) at the time (read more). Hicks has been a hero of mine for years and I found this quite moving. His performance, of course, is hilarious, and as usual, his material remains quite prescient even fifteen years later. He rails against mediocrity (one of his favorite themes), suggesting that he'll host a television show called 'Let's Hunt and Kill Billy Ray Cyrus.' He also speculates on the amenities in Heaven less than a year before his death. I think Mr.Letterman's gesture is an example of his integrity and character, and I think Bill would appreciate it greatly. Enjoy!