Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Assholes Don't Vote

I recently read that Cormac McCarthy does not vote because "poets don't vote." Basically, politics are for the rest of us morons - he has better things to think about, like denouements and tragic flaws and character motivation. I always knew this guy was a humorless old curmudgeon, but he had my respect as a writer. Well, that's over now. I looked into his biography, and of course, as I suspected, he grew up privileged and has never had to worry about a damn thing a day in his life - his father was a successful lawyer, so he had a good education and was able to apply for all sorts of grants and travel around the world studying literature. Sure, talent comes into play here, but I can guarantee he would feel very differently about being politically involved if he had to engage with the real world and struggle to get his voice heard as most writers do. His wealth and success have further enabled him to live as a Salinger-esque recluse for most of his life, so it's probably a good thing that he doesn't vote because he probably knows dick about what's going on out there. But I find it reprehensible that anyone - especially an educated person - would not get involved in politics at the most basic level by voting. I know most people don't, but most people are idiots. The fact that McCarthy's books are generally about how fucked up life is and how evil people are only makes it worse. His books clearly say that you can't expect much of people and we're all screwed, which is kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy if you don't do anything to change the world. I find it so offensive when someone who has the chance to influence so many people to do the right thing is an asshole and acts like they are too good for politics, especially when their work is so blatantly polticial. Gerhard "These Paintings of Terrorists Aren't Political" Richter is another shining example of this type of reified assholery. Basically, these guys are leeching off of all the evil in the world, using it as subject matter and making us all think about it and then doing nothing to fix it. It basically amounts to exploitation, which, if you think about it, really takes away from the quality of their work. Fucking pricks.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I Love This

I was just listening to this song and felt like I should post the clip from the movie because it is so awesome. This is Bing & Frank "acting" drunk (I'm pretty sure they were really plastered) in The "Well Did You Evah" scene from "High Society." They probably trash-talked women (Frank) and Jews (Bing) between takes, but I really don't care because this whole movie is genius and a testament to the perennial awesomeness of Cole Porter.

Silly Cat Picture Starring Orangello

Separated at Birth: Mike Damone and Alex Van Halen

The selection of Alex Van Halen pictures is limted thanks to the serial camera-hogging of Diamond Dave and EVH, and most of the photos of Mike Damone (aka Robert Romanus) I could find are small, but trust me, they look alike. Everyone knows what Mike Damone looks like, anyway. At least I hope they do. If you don't please stay home from work today and watch Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Do it at least as a favor to Sean Penn, because the memory of his performance will be the only thing that stops you from serving his pompous ass a knuckle sandwich if you ever see him in real life. Asshole. Is that my ego in there?? IS IT?????

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Yet More Extremely Exciting Concert News

This is a good one. Van Halen, man!!!!! I mean, shit, Van Halen!!! The first time I ever bought an album with my own money, it was 1984. Not the year, the album. And the year too, I guess. I have been wanting to see Van Halen in theory ever since (I was 9 at the time), but it was never even really a fantasy because it seemed like such an impossibility. First of all, they broke up - that kind of puts a nail in the cofin. Then they got a new singer. Then they gotr another new singer. Occasionally, they tried to get their shit together and regroup, but Diamond Daveand Eddie just couldn't help themselves from morphing into Brian Wilson and Mike Love whenever they entered the same room. So I just figured it would never happen. Fast forward to 2007, when I hear that not only are they back together and touring, but they are all sober, in shape, getting alonmg, and rocking the fuck out. Oh, except for poor Michael Anthony, who is still trying to remove his Jack Daniels bottle bass guitar from his rectum, where it was placed by the rest of the band when they fired him so they could hire Eddie's teenage son. Nice to see they're still dicks!!! Okay, so moving on, the next fly in the ointment was the nonexistence of Atlanta or anywhere even close on the itinerary. Well, I guess they finished that rather brief itinerary and decided that they were so awesome that they would keep going. So now, on February 13, I will be in a primo seat at Phillips Arena watching VH with three of my closest friends and Russ Sr.

Let me just say that it is with great reluctance that I post the above picture. I really wanted a still of Diamond Dave being arrested in a towel and cowboy boots from the "Panama" video. That really happened! He's my main Jew. He does our people proud. And we need all the help we can get these days, when it seems like every prominent Jew I read about who isn't polluting the earth with subpar "entertianment" (eg Spielkatzengeffen) is another slimey mono-issue Israel-brainwashed neocon Iraq War architect coming out of the woodwork to justify himself. For shame!!!

However, it is with great enthusiasm that I post this, the video for "Hot for Teacher" - quite possibly one of the greatest vidoes ever made and my hands-down favorite VH song. It is a wonderful example of the Nerd Bullied by Rockin' Cool Kids subgenre of 80s videos (see: "Fight For Your Right to Party") (fyi, the genre is the Nerd genre - another key subgenre is the Nerd Transformed - see "She's Got Legs" or "Goody Two Shoes" or "Blinded Me with Science" - and note that the nerd being transformed is usually a lady who takes off her glasses and lets down her hair and becomes sexy). The best part of the video is the kid versions of each member. No., the best part is the little choreographed chorus line routine the band does - and which my friends and I are already practicing for the show. Thanks god I am second tallest so I get to be Alex Van Halen. Eddie is cool but being shorter means running a risk of being cast as Michael Anthony and we all know where that gets you. Alex Van Halen is a serious badass and an underrated drummer. Ever notice how he looks like....? Oh, is it time for a separated at birth???!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Fighting Bob II??

There are certain figures I learned about in high school from US History who I thought were really badass and who continue to stand out in my mind. One of these is Robert M. "Fighting Bob" La Follette. La Follette was governor of Wisconsin and served in the senate for 20 years, from 1905-1925. He ran for president in 1912 and 1924, winning 17% of the vote in 1924 as leader of his own Progressive party. This makes him the third most successful third party candidiate since the Civil War, behind only TR and Perot.

La Follette was definitely a little bit crazy, and the reception he recieved in 1912 was kind of like that being received by Kucinich and Gravel nowadays. But he said exactly what he thought and didn't take shit from anyone. His primary concerns were preserving civil liberties, stemming the tide of American imperialism, lessening the influence of big business on politics, limiting presidential powers in terms of declaring war, and protecting workers' rights. The magazine he founded, The Progressive, is still going strong. He was a leading campaigner for women's suffrage, child labor laws, social security, protection of freedom of speech, and the strengthening of unions.

Here are a couple of choice Fighting Bob quotes:

"In times of peace, the war party insists on making preparation for war. As soon as prepared for, it insists on making war."

"The underlying reason indeed why both parties have failed to take the people's side in the present crisis is that neither party can openly attack the real evils which are undermining representative government without convicting themselves of treachery to the voters during their recent tenure in office."

"Every nation has its war party. It is not the party of democracy. It is the party of autocracy. It seeks to dominate absolutely. It is commercial, imperialistic, ruthless. It tolerates no opposition. It is just as arrogant, just as despotic, in London, or in Washington, as in Berlin. The American Jingo is twin to the German Junker…. If there is no sufficient reason for war, the war party will make war on one pretext, then invent another."

"The purpose of this ridiculous campaign is to throw the country into a state of sheer terror, to change public opinion, to stifle criticism, and suppress discussion. People are being unlawfully arrested, thrown into jail, held incommunicado for days, only to be eventually discharged without ever having been taken into court, because they have committed no crime. But more than this, if every preparation for war can be made the excuse for destroying free speech and a free press and the right of the people to assemble together for peaceful discussion, then we may well despair of ever again finding ourselves for a long period in a state of peace. The destruction of rights now occurring will be pointed to then as precedents for a still further invasion of the rights of the citizen."

How fucking appropriate to today are these words? It's amazing. Do any of the present candidates remind me of Fighting Bob? We need a Fighting Bob II! I think John Edwards may be the closest, with this current revival of his angry populist trial lawyer persona, which I think is the Real Edwards, or maybe I just hope so...all I know is that anger is appropriate right now.

Russ's Collage du Who Knows What Jour

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Ru-roh Raggy

You all know I love Wu-Tang Clan. Like, love love love top ten all time love-style loving. So it is with great excitement that I have been awaiting the December 11 release of their first album in YEARS, the 8 Diagrams. The other day I became tired of waiting and got my hands on some leaked tracks. I hate to say it, but so far I am underwhelmed. Who knows how close what I have is to the finished product, but it's kind of weak. There's a lot of R&B to it, which is what I tend to dislkie about most hip hop. If I want R &B, I'll listen to R&B. Basically I listend to the 8 or 9 tracks I have and swiftly ejected the CD and put the oure genius 36 Chambers in instead. I have this thing where I really don't like very loud music but I cannot play that CD loudly enough. I'm going to chalk the wishy-washy-ness of 8 Diagrams up to the death of Ol' Dirty Bastard. I think each member of the Clan has his own appeal and RZA is for sure a genius producer, but it was ODB who brought the crazy dangerous vibe. This is their first effort sans ODB and I think it's a testament to his memory more than anything else. I will update this early review once I have heard the official release. RIP ODB. Oh, and there's a picture of Method Man up there because he's so damn handsome and he was on The Wire, which makes him the coolest living Wu-Tang member.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

My Increasingly Philistine Stomach

As of this weekend, I have a new favorite restaurant: QuikTrip. For those of you who don't know, QuikTrip is a chain of service stations/minimarts. I generally try to get my gas there since it's usually a few cents cheaper than the other dudes, but I never really go inside. You pay at the pump, so why would you? However, the other day I ventured in as Ed gassed up while we were out driving around the sticks looking for a fucking couch for like the 17th weekend in a row. I figured I would get a bag of chips or something. However, in my giggly and hungry state (you try driving around Acworth, GA looking at couches for 4 hours while stone cold sober), I was drawn to the prepared foods section - a huge long table of those hot rolling metal rods on which sat various cripsy delights, and a wall of drink machines. They seriously had 15 kinds of soda on tap. About 7 minutes later and a mere $6 lighter, I emerged with three taquitos (2 chicken and one beef), a corn dog, and an HORCHATA SMOOTHIE, which was really more of a slurpee. This last item is seriously one of the most exciting things to happen to me in a long time. God bless the 800,000 illegal Cebntral Americans in Georgia who, despite a constant attempt by everyone but me to drive them out, have established themselves so much here that the QT has a special smoothie just for them. I LOVE horchata. To have it in giant slurpee form was almost too much for me to bear. So exotic and yet so mundane at the same time!!! Truly a symbol of the melting pot that is America. Horchata smoothies and taquitos and corn dogs rotating side by side (with egg rolls, but who wants those, R2?) - to quote John Cougar Concntrationcamp (a fellow John Edwards supporter, FYI): Ain't that America?

As if this new obsession weren't enough, I also discovered that I like Krystal. Krsytal is like White Castle down here - I have to say it's more like White Castle's poor hick cousin, with smaller, greyer, squarer, and altogether more frightening burgers. I have long protested any suggestion of going to Krystal, but the other night after the Black Lips show I had to take two hungry squawking drunks there and I tasted a burger and that was pretty much that. I also tasted this tiny little perfect chilli cheese dog and then that really was that, done, stick a fork in me and call me Krystal. I was back there again at 11:30 Saturday night, giggly and hungry and having just watched Spies Like Us (which I now own, awesome!).

White Castle is still better, by the way.

Badass Political Posters

I love a good badass political poster. It's a true art form. There isn't enough politics in fine art these days, so it's nice to see the tradition of politically engaged creative expression is alive and well. The above-depicted posters being carried by pissed-off Palestinians are seriously badass and I would like to see more. How to google "Palestinian protest posters" without winding up in a naked pyramid at Gitmo with Cheney giving me noogies and indian burns?

By the way, these particular Palestinians are pissed because Israel is now allowing bids to build homes on disputed land in East Jerusalem. Give me fucking strength. I want to be a good Jew and support Israel but they really make it hard. I mean, WHY??? Is it manadatory to take three huge steps back every time the peace process shuffles forward one millimeter? I guess so.

Anyway, returning to happeier topics: political posters. Some of my favorites are those from the May 1968 student protests in France. Here are a few choice ones. Check out that awesome rat!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Follow-Up Report on Sophia and The Black Lips

First things first: Sophia is basically fine. She has to stay on her antibiotics for three weeks which means I have to spend approximately 45 minutes each evening tricking her into taking a pill. I have resorted to constructing a sort of layer cake made out of layers of wet cat food, crushed cat pill, Healthy Choice honey baked turkey breast, repeat layers. But of course I would rather do this every night for the rest of my life than have Sophia be sick. I'm posting a picture of Orangello with Sophia since he has been thoroughly neglected this week and is such a good boy. Look at them. They are so fucking cute.

Moving on: Black Lips show. The opening bands, The Selmanaires, Snowden, and Deerhunter ranged from dire to occasionally tolerable. Selmanaires pretty much had the market cornered as far as dire goes. Oh so dire. They are really popular on the local scene here and I'm damned if I can figure it out. Oh well, hopefully their mojo will continue to extend no further than the metro Atlanta area and none of you will have to speculate about this with me. Black Lips pretty much rocked. A lot of their songs sound the same but they sound great and it's a good same. Not everyone can be Ariel Pink and the Black Lips are fucking awesome for what they are - a retro garage punk band. Those are a dime a dozen these days and Black Lips stand out in the pack. They are tight and charismatic and they pound it out with major rock n' roll gusto, old school, which is important. They are HAVING FUN and don't look like a bunch of dorks who you want to give wedgies too. I am fantatsizing that's how they feel about the other 3 bands on the bill. They are cool, cool dudes who you want to party with.

However, the best thing about them is Jared Swilley - the bassist/sometime singer with a mustache. Now you KNOW I love good facial hair and it's so hard to find. You know I've been looking (looking, not buying!) for a mountain man with a beard and stache and long hair like George Harrison late 60s/early 70's. I've also been looking for anything even close to Chef from Apocalypse Now, who is the Holy Grail of hot mustache men (above, right, shortly after leaving the boat, which you should never do, and shortly before having his severed head dropped in Martin Sheen's lap). Jared Swilley (below) comes the closest of anyone I have seen.

He also throws in some young Donald Sutherland and - even better - a healthy sprinkle of David Thewlis in Naked (below - oh man that movie is so good. god love Mike Leigh. I don't think about him enough. Thewlis tore that role up and spat it out and it was beautiful and horrifying and do you know that Katrin Cartlidge died from some heart defect? Sad!).

Point being, I spent half of the show dancing like crazy and the other half staring at this guy's mustache in a pure state of rapture. I hate to say it, but I think if he shaves it, I will like them a lot less. Please don't shave it. I really hope he goes around like Ramathorn in Super Troopers (hot mustache on hot Indian comic genius - grrrrrrr), asking people "who wants a mustache ride?"
Finally, let me give it up bigamatime for Atlanta. When it comes to seeing shows, Atlanta kicks NYC's ass all the way to Fresno. If this were New York, I would have been lucky to even get a ticket because the show would have been at The Bowery Ballroom and Parker Posey and Sophia Coppola would have gotten themselves and all thier indie hipster celeb friends comped and eaten up half the tickets before they even went on sale. Then it would have been freezing and I would havr worn gloves, hat, scarf, coat and taken the subway and been detoured and delayed by weekend track work, and then would have waited in line foever to get in, forever again to check my coat, and then forever again to get it back, whereupon I would find that my scarf, hat, and one glove were all gone. And the ticket would have been twice as much. And there would have been nowhere to blaze a fatty. Hmmm. Let's see - last night I paid $15 for a ticket, got in my car at 7:15, picked up Kristy at 7:45, hung out, left her house at 8:15, arrived at the venue at 8:30, waltzed in comfortably dressed for the 50-ish degree weather with nothing to check, and smoked a joint twice. Next show on my calendar: MF Doom!!! Out of hiding!!! Crazier than a bag of angel dust!!!! December 13!! I bet Danger Mouse shows.