From the monthly archives:

March 2011

Editor’s Note: I fully realize that posting email forwards on your blog is the height of laziness – but this is profound and I have to share.

bratty-teenage-girlA little over halfway through my 30s it’s only natural that nostalgia, mortality and violent curmudgeonliness are setting in – which is probably why I’m drawn to these thoughts on how not all “progress” is… actually any sort of progress. I’ve edited this for length and into a list format which also deep-sixes some religious content. And I removed several negative references to movies, cable TV and video games – because that’s just fucking crazy talk. Apologies to the original author, but if you’re that annoyed are you any different from the whiny, lazy and entitled gluttons your original work indirectly bemoans? Let’s get down to the reminiscing…

To Those of Us Born Before 1980

  • First, we survived being born to mothers who may have smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes.
  • We were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes we had baseball caps, not helmets, on our heads.
  • As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes. Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.
  • We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.
  • We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter, and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And we weren’t overweight. Why? Because we were always outside playing!

      

“And This is What We Call Progress”–by Montreal’s The Besnard Lakes

  • We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. And we were OK.
  • We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes.. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
  • We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth – and there were no lawsuits from those accidents..
  • We would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping-pong paddles, or just a bare hand, and no one would call child services to report abuse.
  • Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment.
  • The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. In fact, they usually sided with the police.
  • These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers, and inventors ever. The past 50 to 85 years have seen an explosion of innovation and new ideas.
  • We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

What did you think? Seems thematically appropriate after my recent Chris Brown-related “what’s wrong with kids today?!” post [chases lost, crying infant off front lawn while wearing sandals with socks]. Should we wind the clock back on a few of these points? I look forward to your thoughts.

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Preface: I’m not as mad at Chris Brown for beating the living daylights out of Rhianna as I am because he’s acting like it was no big deal and should be forgiven simply because 2 entire years have passed. That is a long time when you think about it. Maybe she was attacked by a Pterodactyl.

 

Chris Brown is sorta-talented, in a “Michael Jackson’s corpse isn’t even cold yet” kinda way. I’d give credit if credit were due – his recent SNL performances made me long for Sinead O’Connor’s pope-tearing technique. There’s a big talent pool out there and he’s no big whoop. It must suck when you lay low for a couple of years and no one even notices. Although I’m sure his P.O. was proud of him.

pterodactyl_fncarHe’s also in possession of the humility of a peacock and definitely in serious denial as to the seriousness of the physical attack he launched on Rhianna. He’s not ducking half-assed domestic violence accusations from an unknown forlorn lover who hasn’t got the pictures to prove it. He beat one of the biggest stars in the world like she was a red-headed step child. A red-headed stepchild who’d just set fire to his Michael Jackson CD collection. His little episode at the Good Morning America studios today speaks volumes about Brown’s weak, narcissistic character and I absolutely cannot believe how well his album is selling (Currently #1 in iTunes). How soon we forget, people…

Exhibit A: Some randomly selected tweets from this evening:

leave-chris-brown-alone

Leave him alone? Who are we to judge? I’ll answer those questions with a question: What fucking planet are you kids on? I was speechless even before I realized that the vast majority of Tweets in support of Brown come from women – albeit young ones. And let’s not overlook the other above gem, “…that bitch provoked a lot of what happened.” That statement scares the heck out of me. Future of America, do you need a wee refresher?:

rhianna-beaten

This isn’t even the worst of the photos, but I’m sure you’ve all seen them. Actually, after my little sojourn on Twitter tonight – I’m not sure at all. What the fuck is going on right now?

mitch-green-eyeIn my younger days I was jumped, kicked and beaten unconscious by a bunch of jerks at a party (in the interests of full disclosure, I might have knocked out their “leader” first) – and I looked better than Rhianna did after her final car ride with Brown. Remember when Mike Tyson punched Mitch Green, bare-knuckled, back in 1988? Ever see that picture? The damage to the man’s face is so bad it’s almost revolting – but it still seems like nothing when compared to Brown’s inflictions. By the way, that’s Mitch Green on the left. Not me. It’s OK. I get that a lot.

You’d think Brown’s record label would have a veritable army of publicists and temper coaches following this juvenile clown around. They mustn’t, however, because I’m sure that “frightening female staffers to the point they call security, ripping off one’s shirt and then smashing a dressing room window sending huge shards to the sidewalk below” probably aren’t featured tactics in the arsenal of many PR firms who have a client they’re trying to make the public at large forget is a merciless woman-beater [takes a deep breath]. I wish the youth of America had a memory as long as that sentence. At least I can take a little solace in this guy:

chris-brown-is-a-douche

There are two types of men in this world, Chris. Those who hit women and those who don’t. You’ll likely be haunted by this to some degree for the rest of your life. You screwed up, big time, and showed the irrationally forgiving world what you’re capable of. I hope ABC bans you from their building after your little hissy fit today and cancels your scheduled appearance on DWTS next week. If the tantrums continue may many other networks/shows do the same. Resume the low-laying at your nearest possible convenience.

You have one hope… one option if you’re ever to be taken seriously again or redeemed in the eyes of anyone old enough to vote. And that is to simply answer people’s questions and accept responsibility for what you did for as long as it takes popular culture to let you off the hook (and apparently many already have). Someone else will batter the teeth out of their unfortunate girlfriend’s superstar face and the media will forget all about you. In the meantime, show a little humility. At the very least leave your shirt on, Bruce Banner.

What a strange story and stranger world we live in. Do you agree with my reluctance to simply forget about the violent actions of this this hugely influential role model? Or are you on Team Brown? Believe me when I say – I’d love to hear you explain why he should be forgiven so quickly and in spite of the fact he shows no signs of changing his violent, hair-trigger ways. Fascinated. Fire away. Just don’t hit any girls while you’re at it.

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Let’s Immortalize RoboCop

by Dave on March 3, 2011

in Movies

There’s always time during a busy day to help endorse a proposed plan to build a statue memorializing the main character of an uber-violent sci-fi movie I saw in a theater my Dad snuck me into in 1987. Always.

This video starring the law-enforcing cyborg himself, Peter Weller, is a slap-happy, nutty goof. The proposed plan to build a statue of RoboCop somewhere in downtown Detroit (where the truly awesome film and it’s far less awesome sequel are set) is not. Initially the Mayor said “no”. Then a surprising number of citizens countered with a resounding “yes”. Then a local businessman took it upon himself to raise $50,000 fricking dollars to see Officer Murphy’s titanium-encased remains immortalized for all time.

With both a healthy budget and positive public opinion behind the idea, which apparently started as a silly-natured Tweet, it’s not up to Mayor Bing anymore. But let’s get back to that businessman for a moment. I’ve since learned via his website, which just happens to be named after the evil corporation which first funds but eventually tries to kill Robocop in the film, that it isn’t his first foray into movie tie-ins.

”What did you do, Ray?!” – Dr. Peter Venkman

Also in Omni’s repertoire of phony products from movies made into the real thing for real world consumers?:

  • Stay Puft Marshmallows from Ghostbusters. Try not to think about them when facing a Gatekeeper of Gozer.
  • Brawndo Energy Drink from Mike Judge’s unsung Idiocracy.
  • Tru Blood beverage from HBO’s True Blood. In case that wasn’t abundantly clear.
  • Sex Panther cologne made famous, of course, by Mr. Brian Fantana in the modern comedy classic, Anchorman.

At first glance, raising money to build a statue of Robocop seems like Pete Hottelet’s nerdtastic labor of love. As I’m sure you’ve realized by now it’s also a brilliant viral marketing scheme. This probably isn’t the first you’ve heard of the statue – it’s been getting a ton of press over the last few weeks and I hope it happens. Because you can’t deny that fact that this actual prototype exudes class…

robocop-statue
"Sign the petition or there’ll be… trouble."

It’s breathtaking, and I’d definitely buy that for a dollar. Though I can’t picture something like this happening in too many other cities – take Boston, for example. No matter how enthusiastically people tried to sell it to the population as “art” it would fly about as far as one of those bronze ducklings. But we’re talking about Detroit here. A place where statues of fictional robotic peace officers, lesser-known Norwegian superheroes and maybe even one (possibly all four) of the Teletubbies will almost certainly raise property values. I don’t have anything against Detroit… I’ve just seen pictures. And that picture was 8 Mile.

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This is one of the best tunes I’ve ever heard. Period. I absolutely love it. It has been on my “must blog” list since the first time I came across it 6 months ago. Lack of the baseline for more than a week sends me into a sweaty withdrawal and the late-arriving chorus is sung aloud in my house on a daily basis. My appreciation is so all-encompassing that I almost feel like further explanation isn’t necessary. Get the picture? I’ll put my pants back on. Just listen…

It’s Not Meant to Be, the opening track, has son-of-Stone Roses written over its sun-dappled, almost drawling psychedelia that lolls about and lets the whammy-bar guitar prod its warm form. This is an afternoon song. – Sydney Morning Herald

Quite possibly the best Australian song, ever.

Tame Impala hail from Perth, Australia. They’re a brash young bunch of longhairs and the remarkable music they produce in between fish bowling studio booths is commonly called “psychedelic” or “trippy”. People used to say that the Madchester music scene of the late eighties/early nineties was trippy, but that was largely due to the Everest-sized mountain of drugs everyone was taking. This is a different animal. This is… an Impala.

Were you alone in a dark room with lead singer Kevin Parker, and you asked him to sing, and he could actually oblige because a ballgag wasn’t also part of your weird little fantasy – you’d think you were sitting beside… Let me start over: he sounds exactly like John Lennon. He’s not trying to, so it shouldn’t ruin the experience… Just be forewarned. It’s really just a pleasant coincidence considering the Beatles’ own hallucinogenic get-the-spiders-off-me phase produced their best work.

imageEmo Hoodoo Gurus

Their debut album, Innerspeaker, is full of gems and was apparently recorded in a shed several hours outside of Perth. Although “It’s Not Meant to Be” is still my favorite, it was also a gateway to “I Don’t Really Mind”, “Solitude is Bliss” and “Make Up Your Mind”. Do these boys ever love singing about minds. And using contractions.

"Innerspeaker" is what The Beatles would sound like if they took EVEN MORE drugs with a dash of Led Zeppelin and Cream. The albums nostalgic lo-fi spaced out psychedelia, while nothing groundbreaking, does a lot of things pitch-perfectly right. – SputnikMusic.com

I have linked the aforementioned songs to YouTube videos for your easy and free listening. I’ll be in attendance when they play Toronto on May 1st and I can’t say enough good things about this record. Let’s hope they stick around a little longer than Silverchair.

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