Sunday, February 27, 2011

Da Uomo a Uomo

This being Academy Awards night, my co-worker took off to attend an Oscar-viewing party that his daughter throws every year. Being a curmudgeon, I am totally uninterested in the proceedings- indeed, the only movie I've seen in a theater this past year has been True Grit. I have no idea which movie theme songs are in the running for an Oscar, but one of my all-time favorite pieces in any film is Ennio Morricone's "From Man to Man" from Death Rides a Horse. The monotonous rhythm is punctuated by jagged-edged flute trills and a choral group, building up a suspense-enhancing intensity:

It's not a good song to drive to, as it tends to leaden up the foot. A snippet of the piece was also featured on the Kill Bill soundtrack as a musical prelude to the "House of Blue Leaves" fight sequence. For completeness' sake, here it is in its original setting.

Lee Van Cleef ranks high in the pantheon of cinema badasses, whether playing a sadistic villain such as The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly's Angel Eyes, or the justice-seeking Colonel Mortimer in For a Few Dollars More (the linked video features the beautiful-yet-creepy Musical Pocketwatch theme, a piece which sounds gloriously incongruous with the sun-washed, bright setting of the scene in which it features).

A couple of years ago, I saw TGTB&TU (the good, the bad, and the truculent & unreliable?) on the big screen, and I noticed that Monsieur Van Cleef was missing the tip of one of his middle fingers. Damn, that's badass... did it happen in a brawl, or a horse riding mishap? Alas, nay!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Weekend, Brought to You by, You Got It, Unions

This weekend, let's remember that the weekend was brought to you by unions. Our typical weekend tradition often involves posting a music video, so here's a golden oldie that is sadly missing from the airwaves in this "race to the bottom" era of union busting and outsourcing:

Regarding the idiocy of anti-union troglodytes, zrm posed this question in a comment at the House of Substance:

Why is the fact that union members receive decent benefits seen as a criticism of unionized work, and not as a criticism of non-unionized work?

Are all of us supposed to aspire to crappy wages,lousy hours and non-existent benefits?

Why indeed? Riffing off of one of the greatest comedic scenes in film history, and Australian satirical bit poses the question, "What have the unions ever done for us?" Yeah, what?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Product Development

Dear Messers Cohen & Greenfield:

How are you gentlemen? I have noticed a vexing lacuna in your otherwise stellar line of products. I believe that your organization would benefit from a product for ice cream lovers who are suffering from sore throats and nasal congestion. A tea, lemon, and honey ice cream swirled with crushed menthol-eucalyptus cough drops would be a good addition to your family of products, and would represent your entry into the burgeoning "nutraceuticals" market. I have no doubt that you will begin production as soon as possible- you know what you doing.

In keeping with your whimsical product-naming conventions, I propose that this new product be called "Snotty Hottie".

Thank you for your consideration in this matter. I await your coming check, preferable an oversized novelty check.

Very Truly Yours,


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ceci N'est Pas une Peep

In comments to my last post, former NYC resident Thunder asked the burning question:

Was it teh prudes/Disney that put Times Square porno outta bizness? Or the internet.

My response in the comments was:

It was the gentrification/Disneyfication combo that put the venerable Peep World out of business.

The main impetus to close the peep shows in Times Square occurred in the 90's when gentrification and the "Tough on Crime" Giuliani Time was in full swing. Show World was one of the larger venues, and died a slow death as tighter regulations forced all of the "blue" venues to devote a certain percentage of their space to non-pr0n product. If I recall correctly, the theaters started showing wuxia and cult films (I have to admit, I never liked Times Square, so my memories of the neighborhood aren't very vivid). Judging from this photo, it seems that Peepworld is still a going concern- gotta dig the juxtaposition of the sacred and the profane (and I leave it up to the reader to determine which is which).

In the modern, sanitized Times Square, in which a store like M&M's World can exist, I think a revamped Peep-O-Rama would be a logical addition.

Gadzooks, if there's one thing I find more repulsive than Times Square, it's marshmallow peeps... make that two things, that candy corn that comes out around Halloween is even more off-putting than peeps, and this is coming from a guy who eats kidneys and tripe.

UPDATE: Having mentioned Giuliani in the body of the post, I just want to comment about the kerfuffle over Gov. Cuomo fils receiving communion during a Roman Catholic Mass. I don't recall this ever coming up with regards to the thrice-married Giuliani. Why do only Democratic politicians have to put up with this bullshit? This kind of nonsense is what turned me from a Shane MacGowan Catholic to an apatheist. Well, this kind of bullshit, and the whole child-abuse nightmare.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It Takes a Lot to Get Me to Times Square

Times Square is a tourist trap, filled with chain restaurants uncommon in the rest of NYC and slowpoke tourists so I usually avoid being in the vicinity at all costs. It's a tribute to the awesomeness of Secret Science Club goddess Dorian Devins (one of a pantheon of two) that I schlepped down to Times Square last night for her open mic night at Tagine Dining Gallery. Tagine is behind the Port Authority Bus Terminal near the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel, in a somewhat grungy area behind the touristy section (there are even a few holdout porn shops in the area, which gives it a nostalgic vibe for longtime New Yorkers). As usual, Dorian was holding court, and playing M.C., lining up the night's singers. House band Lou Rainone, Alex Gressel, and Kevin Leon kept the beat and kept it strong. I took my place on stage, and did my schtick (future blog post), then had a pot of strong coffee and some baklava. Fortified, I went back to brave Times Square.

Times Square is kinda weird... it's a glitzy neon candyland with a lot of generic entertainment options that I find singularly unappealing. Because it's a magnet for tourists, there is a heavy security presence. In front of the theater hosting the Mary Poppins revival, there was a police officer in body armor, toting an automatic rifle. Even though I know the guy's just an ordinary working Joe who probably has a modest house in Rockland County, and would be a good guy to have a beer with, the automatic rifle gives off a pretty aggressive vibe. All the while, a sound system is playing music from Mary Poppins... I found the phrase, "A spoon full of sugar makes the fascism go down" running in my head. I've got nothing against cops, but I sussed out that "security kabuki" was a sham soon after 9/11- back in October of 2001, I got on the train at the security-free station at 238th St in the Bronx, and got off at 42nd St, where I found that the majority of the subway entrances (and, this is key, exits) were blocked by steel gates. Way to go about not preventing anyone from carrying anything into the station, while preventing an evacuation if the shit hit the fan.

Returning to the Times Square subway station, I saw a crowd exiting the theater that will show the accident prone, critically lambasted Spiderman: Take Back the Dark musical (a preview? couldn't be arsed inquiring). I'd be more interested in seeing the musical Spaderman: Bring out the Dork, a musical based on my favorite bootleg toy... if such a musical existed. Hmmm... gotta get Saasha Foo on the horn, and make it happen.

Just outside the subway entrance, a young lady was asking passersby, "Are you American?" She didn't seem to be xenophobic, but I had a train to the Bronx to catch and didn't have time to find out what her deal was.

"Are you American?"
"No, baby, I'm a New Yorker."

As a New Yorker, nothing short of a show of support for a good Friend of the Bastard can get me into Times Square.*

*Checking upcoming calendar of events at Nokia Theater for bullshit detection

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Endless Rumspringa

As is often the case, I've been keeping apalling hours lately, between work and... uh... not work. Monday being a holiday, I headed out to a local pub on Sunday night for a libation. The place was packed, rush hour on the Lexington Avenue subway line packed. The combination of a Monday off and a winter's worth of cabin fever had people heading out in droves.

Around 10 P.M., the band took the stage- a cover band called Amish Outlaws. Yeah, a bunch of guys in traditional Amish attire playing a hodge-podge of late 20th and early 21st century pop music- interesting schtick... or so I thought. I ran into one of the band members in the pissoir, and told him that the gimmick was great. He very politely told me that a bunch of the founding members of the band were actually Amish. Amish teenagers are given an opportunity to experience life outside the Amish community, a period known as Rumspringa. The majority of Amish youths return to the fold after this period of freedom. Luckily, some of them decide to leave the community and form hilariously entertaining bands. Plus, the lead singer of the band is a big, bad baldie... I didn't ask him if he were a bastard, though. Here's a sample of the band playing a song by some local girl who managed to hit the bigtime:

Last call in New York state is 4 AM... I managed to make it to about 3:30 before the mounting accumulation of snow convinced me to get my ass home. I pretty much spent the holiday nursing a hangover and some serious muscle aches- all the while lamenting the fact that, while I can still cut the rug for hours, I always end up paying for my corybantic endeavors the following day.

The best thing about dancing your ass off is that, at the end of the day, you've still got your ass.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Post Lecture Recap: Hail to the King, Baby!

Alright, you primates, here's a blast from the past, the Cretaceous, even! Thursday night's lecture was all about the care and feeding morphology and descent of the tyrannosaurs. Stephen Brusatte of the American Museum of Natural History and Columbia University delivered a barn-burner of a lecture, one of the best in an amazing series.

The lecture began with a discussion of Tyrannosaurus rex, and an image of the iconic "Sue" of Chicago's Field Museum. Mr. Brusatte (he's working on his doctorate) listed the characteristics of T. rex, such as the huge, deep, robust skull (the nasal bones of which are fused, unlike those of most other predatory dinosaurs), and regions for the attachment of massive muscles. In the image below, the "space" in the mid-region of the skull is the antorbital fenestra, which reduces the weight of the skull. The "keyhole" shaped opening behind it is the orbit (known technically as the "eyehole"). The teeth are not blade-shaped, but are sharpened pegs, which combined with the incredible bite force, were capable of crushing bone. CT scans of the skulls of T. rex indicate that the animal had well-developed olfactory lobes, suggesting a good sense of smell. T. rex also had binocular vision- the animal had highly developed sensory organs, and wasn't the pea-brained brute of popular conception.

While the tyrannosaurids had long hind limbs, T. rex was almost certainly not a fast runner(sorry dinosaur/car chase fans!). Studies of tyrannosaur histology indicate rapid growth rates (as much as four pounds a day in some genera), which suggest a high metabolism.

The tyrannosaurs are a member of the coelurosaur clade, and evolved from smaller forms with proportionally smaller skulls and larger forelimbs. Primitive tyrannosaurs were extant as far back as the Jurassic Period Another relatively primitive genus Dryptosaurus (formerly Laelaps) had large forelimbs for a tyrannosaur (make sure you check out the painting by the brilliant Charles R. Knight in the Dryptosaurus link.

A recent discovery of Raptorex, a mini-tyrannosaur with the characteristic robust skull and tiny forelimbs of it's huge relatives, demonstrates that the increase in skull size and forelimb reduction could have evolved separately from the gigantism of the late Cretaceous tyrannosaurs. The evolution of extremely large tyrannosaurs was probably a result of the decline of large theropod lineages. Another recently discovered tyrannosaur, Dilong paradoxus exhibited evidence of feathers. Another recently discovered tyrannosaur, Alioramus altai, while closely related to late Cretaceous forms, had a lower, longer skull... oh, hell, I'll let the guy who described it tell you about it. Take my word for it, he's a guy you'd want to have a beer with.

I've been rambling on for a bit, so I'll pick up the pace...

In the Q&A session, the issue of feathers was raised- since feathers evolved before flight, their primary purpose was probably either insulation or display. Some bastard asked if the large theropods of the southern continent of Gondwana showed evidence of the sensory sophistication of the tyrannosaurs. While their skulls haven't been studied in as much detail, they probably weren't as sophisticated in this regard as the tyrants. The tyrannosaurs were limited in range to the Laurasian (Northern Hemisphere continent. The issue of dinosaur sex came up, but the mechanics of Mesozoic lovin' are still a mystery, so throw Rule 34 to the wind, and do an image search (good luck!). Paleontologist Mary Schweitzer has figured out a means to determine if a dinosaur is an ovulating female by seeking out a particular bone type peculiar to ovulating female birds.

To get away from the tyrannosaurs, the tyrants weren't the only dinosaurs to have drastically, almost comically, reduced forelimbs. Carnotaurus was mentioned briefly, but the crowd just wasn't that into it.

All told, the lecture was an amazing one. I was also privileged to ride the subway to Union Square in the company of Stephen Brusatte, who is an all-around great guy.

Friday, February 18, 2011

About Last Night

The lecture was better than a mountain of ice cream, and the beer flowed as if from a fountain. Even better, I was able to talk at length with Stephen Brusatte after the lecture, as we traveled to Manhattan together on the N train. Stephen's a great guy, his main field of inquiry regards "stem dinosaurs" of the Triassic Period, so we totally geeked out discussing the efforts to parse out dinosaur cladistics and to get rid of polyphyletic groups. Good times!

I'm going to be working a graveyard shift tomorrow (which is to say tonight), so I'll work on the post-lecture recap when I have enough time during the quiet moments to do it justice. Right now, I wouldn't say that I'm hung over, but I wouldn't say I wasn't hung over. My plan is to get some fresh air for a couple of hours (it's supposed to hit the 60's this afternoon), throw some more cabbage and pork products in the "perpetual" choucroute garni I've been working on all week, and get some shut-eye.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Happiest Boy in the World!

Tonight, I'll be happy as the proverbial clam because tonight's Secret Science Club lecture concerns... wait for it... TYRANNOSAURS!!!! Oh, baby, I am going to be like a six year old boy with the ID of a considerably-older-than-21 year old man. Booze and theropods, how could I not be ecstatic?

Speaking of booze and theropods, Ogden Nash, who ranks among my favorite poets (he's in such august company as Egil Skallagrimsson, Another Kiwi, and the Dragon-King of LEAFS SUCK!) had this to say about theropods:

Tiny tots of either sex
Adore Tyrannosaurus Rex
Indeed, all little ones adore
Any savage carnivore
Of which, O Rex, though rightly boastest
Thou art not only first, but mostest

And this to say about booze:

Is Dandy
But liquor
Is quicker.

To cap it all off, it's pushing 60 degrees today, so the piles of cruddy snow are melting in earnest. This could very well be the best day of the year, so far.

UPDATE: How about a little T. rex as a consolation prize for those not Brooklyn-bound?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

As Von Would Say, Fridge Note

Went out and bought a cruciform lug wrench today... it's a multitask tool, good for removing tires, and for repelling vampires.

Haven't heard a goddamn thing on the "all news, all the time" radio station about the pro-union protests in Madison, Wisconsin. Protests in the Middle East get coverage, protests in the Midwest don't. That being said, I really think that Wisconsin is the proverbial "line in the sand" as far as workers' rights go. If the odious Scott Walker is successful, the assault on labor will contine with renewed fervor.

I think a lot of the hatred of public employee unions is based on racism. Just as Reagan's "Cadillac-driving, fur-coat wearing welfare queen" was a dogwhistle meant to conjure up an image of a black woman in the troglodytes' minds, "lazy public union worker" is meant to conjure up an uncooperative, African-American DMV clerk, making the poor beleagured white Heartlander wait on line for hours. Employment by the public sector has been a gateway to prosperity for minorities and women who were scorned by private sector employers for much of the nation's history, and this drives the knuckle draggers crazy.

The doctored video of Shirley Sherrod's speech, which led to her ouster by the USDA was, in part, an attempt to foster this antagonism against African-American public sector workers. The image of the uncooperative, "uppity" black bureaucrat, using her authority to keep down the beleagured white man, plays into the conservatives' narrative of victimhood. Hopefully, the woman who saved a white farmer's home can take a white framer's home.

It's forty-odd degrees out today, and will hit the fifties tomorrow... damn, I never knew I'd be so disgusted with winter.

Finally, I found the "Riddled" post I was referencing in my post about weaponized Brussels sprouts. I was looking for a post titled "Martial Rose Library", when I should have been looking for Winchester, England. Winchester, whodathunkit?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

This Time, I Am Complaining!

Last night, on my way home from work, my tire went flat. The pothole situation here in the Empire State is abysmal- literally, and motor vehicles are taking a beating. I pulled over to the side of the road, and busted my ass dealing with the problem. I'm no junior petite, but cracking the damn lug nuts was a hassle because the guy who rotated my tires went nuts with the impact gun and, foolishly, I don't have a cruciform lug wrench. So, I had to wrestle the nuts with a tire iron for a good half-hour before getting the damn lug nuts off. Luckily, I always keep a full-sized spare in the car, so I didn't have to dick around with a donut.

Today, I had to replace the spare, which cost almost a hundred bucks. This brings me to the topic of my rant. As noted by my Antipodean chum, the "libertarian" (yeah, they're really authoritarians who don't want their social betters to be burdened with responsibilities) position eschews any government efforts to improve the infrastructure. I'd rather pay my share of taxes than to be subjected to the financial fallout from poor spending choices. Yeah, I'd rather pay a hundred dollars more in taxes than to spend that self-same hundred and a couple of hours of time dealing with the consequences of deteriorating infrastructure. Recently, there has been talk to turn over major infrastructure overhaul to public-private partnerships- hey, why not hand the keys to the coop to the foxes? Foxes know how to manage chickens, don't they?

The time to demand that the ultra-wealthy to pay their fair share is long past due. What the fuck does a schmuck like, for example, Michael Bloomberg know about getting his hands dirty on the side of a goddamn road at night, when the temperature is dropping and the wind's clocking in at 30 MPH?

Oh, and Libertarians, you're not the ultra-wealthy, and you'll never be. Libertarianism is aspirational capitalism. Real wealthy people love big government, as long as it's handing out subsidies and no-bid contracts. Libertarians, you're just a bunch of sociopathic fantasists frittering your time away carrying water for a class of people who don't give a rat's ass about your, or the freedoms you claim to espouse. You're "useful idiots" in a way that the kid in the Che shirt will never be, because the policies you agitate for actually have a chance of being enacted in these United States, and you'll never benefit from them.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Today marks the celebration of the solemn Feast of St. Valentine, a day devoted to the celebration of gang violence. On this feast day commemorating a celibate martyr, we celebrate love and passion by purchasing lumps of carbon gathered by desperate, brutalized peasants and the fermented embryos of a tropical tree. On the topic of love, a wiser man than I said:

Love crops up quite a lot as something to sing about,
cos most groups make most of their songs about falling in love
or how happy they are to be in love,
you occasionally wonder why these groups do sing about it all the time -
it's because these groups think there's something very special about it
either that or else it's because everybody else sings about it and always has,
you know to burst into song you have to be inspired
and nothing inspires quite like love.

These groups and singers think that they appeal to everyone
by singing about love because apparently everyone has or can love
or so they would have you believe anyway
but these groups seem to go along with what, the belief
that love is deep in everyone's personality.
I don't think we're saying there's anything wrong with love,
we just don't think that what goes on between two people
should be shrouded with mystery.

Of course, I'd remiss (un-loving even) if I didn't post a video for the amazing Anthrax by Gang of Four:

Now I feel kinda bad... like I came across as bitter and cynical. That's no way to spend Valentine's Day. How about something tender? Here's a little number that's sweet, yet fuzzy- like a piece of bubblegum that was idly stuck in one's pocket, and is covered with lint:

Last night, the Ramones won a lifetime achievement Grammy award, almost ten years after the death of Joey Ramone. Effin' Grammys, how do they work? To show how out of it the Grammy nominating commission is, this guy damn near swept the Grammys in 1981. Gadzooks, the music industrial complex cannot crash and burn quickly enough.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Complain? HELL NO!

This morning was a bit of a clusterfuck... I got up around 7:30, and was dragging my feet when I should have gotten my ass in gear. I had to do a loop around the block on which I typically park to find a space (mountains of gritty, grungy ice are still in profusion all over the region). I finally get on the 1 train, and the train stops just past 103rd St. The conductor of the train announced that, due to a police investigation, the train would be stopping at 96th St, and that there would be no downtown, or uptown, service on the 1,2,or 3 lines. Fuh-huck... not only was I supposed to be at my volunteering gig, but I had to think about getting back up to the Bronx so I could get to work this afternoon. I called two of my fellow coaches, Frenchy the Paisan and Morocco's Answer to George Clooney, and left them messages indicated that I was running extremely late. Then I called the director of the program, and he told me that the whole system was a mess, and that I should just do a U-turn. I trudged over to the 8th Ave line, and took the C train to 168th St, where I was able to catch the A train to 207th St. I made a quick stop at Carrot Top Pastries, where I picked up a slice of carrot cake, and a cup of coffee, then walked up to 238th St, where I had parked my car, after a multi-hour misadventure.

I'm not complaining!

The Dynamic Duo 19th Century Style

As Smut Clyde's sane sister tells us, today is Darwin Day. The original Chuck D. was born on this day in 1809, as was Abraham Lincoln. Linoln and Darwin would have made a great costumed crime-fighting team (the Beard Brothers?), riding around the world in a tricked out Conestoga wagon, giving claim jumpers, cattle rustlers, and goat shaggers (WHAT?!?) the old HOO-HAH! Of course, their trusted valet would be a well-trained chimpanzee wearing a stovepipe hat... naturally!

Sadly, there is no indication that the two ever met, but this is my dream. I'm not the only one to give an aesthetic redo to these figures... I'm not going to say that Steampunk Lincoln isn't awesome, but (truth being stranger than fiction) terraforming Darwin is even cooler.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye!

I have been holding off on posting about the situation in Egypt, because it is still fluid, and I have a nagging fear that the U.S. State Department will botch things up, but I have to say that the departure of Hosni Mubarak is an exciting development. I'm working on a more elaborate post about these developments, but I think that now is the time to celebrate. Shaabi is a popular Egyptian musical style, one which most likely formed the soundtrack to the lives of the young demonstrators. While I'm not knowledgable about Egyptian pop culture, this video is pretty damn easy on the eyes, and one particular lyric (translated) seems to be appropos. While the original seems to be about unrequited love, the questions it poses, "Why is he hiding like this? I don't know what's going on, why is confusing me like this? Why does he run away, and I never cross his mind?" can now be answered... he's hiding because his ass was run out of town!


Congratulations to the people of Egypt... they've got sexy down pat, let's hope that whisky and (especially) democracy follow.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Another Quick Post

Again, I will be working at a site I typically work at only a handful of times during the course of the year (though I love the staff, and the site is gorgeous). Before heading up to the site, I am planning on doing a little eagle watching (although I saw at least two eagles on site last Tuesday). While I am the sort of person who seeks novelty, there are a couple of yearly pilgrimages I conduct as a matter of routine.

Gotta bundle up- with the wind chill, it's in the single digits (Fahrenheit), and the wind off the Hudson is particularly biting. It's a pity I have to go to work, 'cos a wee nip of brandy would be just the thing to take the edge off the chill.

UPDATE: I saw at least three (2 adults and 1 juvenile), and possibly five eagles (those suckers cover a lot of ground) at the park- seeing two enormous, predacious be-winged beasties cooing to each other like lovey-dovey budgies is an inspiring, somewhat comical sight. I also need to get a decent camera, like that Thunder guy. Yeah, it was my New Year's resolution last year... at least I kept the "100 pushups a day" one. When I got to the work site, I saw one, possibly two, adult eagles. Life is pretty damn sweet.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

With Apologies to Mark Knopfler

I hope this doesn't ruin one of the the classiest, loveliest popular songs of the late 20th Century, but I heard the line, Juliet, when we made love you used to cry, and couldn't help but think of the allegations that America's Oompa Loompa had an affair with a lobbyist:

A lovestruck congressman sings K streetsuss serenade
Laying everybody low with the policies that he made
Finds a convenient scapegoat, "Public workers are overpaid!"
Says something like, "GOP babe, how about it?"

Lisbeth says, "Hey Boehner-boy, you nearly gave me a heart attack"
He's Speaker of the House now, she's singing, "Hey I'm a corporate flack.
You shouldn't come around here, unless the rich folks' taxes are flat.
Anyway, what you gonna do about it?"

Boehner-boy, the dice was loaded from the start,
I love you like the checks I get, playing a lobbyist's part.
There's a place for us, you know the movie song
When will voters realize, the guy they voted for was wrong?

Yeah, I kinda hate me now as well. Sorry folks, but I couldn't let good taste or respect for one of the most distinctive guitar stylists get in the way of a joke. Hopefully this will help to clear the image of Boehner's teary "O" face from your brains.

Good luck with that!

UPDATE: I totally *yoinked* the Boehner as Oompa Loompa thing from Thunder. Gotta give props when they're due!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Rivers, You Know How Is the Story

Today is one of those days where I have to hotfoot it from one worksite to another, so I'll fall on the old "Post a Video" gambit. Being a big bad bald bastard fan of spaghetti westerns, and a huge Ennio Morricone fan, I'm posting a video for the gorgeous, though unintentionally hilarious, A Gun for Ringo. Singer Maurizio Graf has a rich voice, but he sounds like he's working from a poor phonetic rendering of the lyrics:

Mind you, I'm not knocking Signor Graf's performance- his English performance is a lot better than my rendition of, for example, Una Spina e Una Rosa would be.

UPDATE: Re-listening to the instrumental portion of the song, it sounds like something that could have been played as a "slow dance" at a late 50's/early 60's high school prom, much in the same vein as Sleep Walk.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Society of Spectacle

So, last night I headed out to a local pub (I live in the Tavern District) to watch some OLD TIME (American) FOOTBALL!!! Of course, copious amounts of beer and free chicken wings and ziti during halftime figured into my plans as well. The game itself was a great one- the last quarter was amazing, with the Steelers almost catching up to Green Bay... a little suspense always makes for an interesting watch. Of course, I was cheering on the Packers, because I can't stand Ben Roethlisberger, and because the Packers are a bunch of socialists. Yeah, an exciting game that the good guys won- USA!!! USA!!! WISCONSIN!!!

As for the half-time show... well, I was in a noisy bar, drinking dirty big pints of stout Smithwick's, so the audio wasn't so hot. I have no animus toward the Black Eyed Peas, they seem like they're likeable people- I just have no familiarity with their ouvre. though I am sure I'd heard some of their songs, I couldn't name one besides that really silly, one may venture to say st00pid, Humps song. Yeah, I really don't know about the Black Eyed Peas, and I will readily admit to preferring gandules at any rate.

So, the half time show starts, and the group is dressed up in outfits which reminded me a bit of KISS' getup, though without the kabuki style makeup. One member of the band (I can't be arsed looking up who he was), was wearing headgear reminiscent of Devo's plastic hair- for me, the costuming evoked an image of an parallel universe Devo which originated in a multi-culti coastal city rather than a rust belt town. Of course, I am a huge Devo fan, so my inability to hear much of the music was a plus. The dancers in glowing suits and the appearance of performers wearing large white plastic cubes on their heads gave the impression of a Tron/Legoland mashup. I have to say that a multicultural KISS/Devo mashup playing with a Tron/Legoland mashup as a backdrop should have been incredible, but I just couldn't get too excited about it all. I guess I am just not a fan of big, intricate spectacles (no offense to Elton John intended).

As a coda to this post, I can mimic Average Joe customs and mores pretty well, being a big, thick-necked galoot, but I always give myself away... not too many Average Joes name-dropping Guy Debord. Pity, that!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Blogroll Amnesty Day?

I dunno about "amnesty", but to memorialize the late, lamented Al Weisel, who really made Blogroll Amnesty Day a going concern, I updated the blogroll. I added Brando's blog, because he has been so kind to post some great comments here (plus, I think Von would kick my ass if I didn't add him), and I added Ghosty's "That Modern Rock Show" blog, because I have listened to the man on the radio for years.

So, the neighborhood grows, and the "over the fence" chit-chat just gets better. Thanks, people!

UPDATE: I have added both of Smut Clyde's siblings to the blogroll. Got the Euro-Kiwi Alliance on one hand, and SCIENCE! on the other... what's not to dig about that? I also added Truculent&Unreliable's new blog to the roll. Like I wrote, the neighborhood grows.

SECOND UPDATE: I added MenD to the blogroll, because I didn't have enough Canuckistani representation, and I didn't want to run afoul of Canadian Content laws. Plus, that guy's hilarious!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sing, O Muse

A couple of threads ago, vs raised the issue of "badonadonks" with this comment:

And by "dowry" I'll assume you mean badonkadonk.

My hasty supply, before the poetic muse kicked in was:

Bubeleh, I live within walking distance of the Bronx- badonkadonks are not in short supply!

Now, the poetic muse has infused me with inspiration:

The girls who live right here in Yonkers
Are so cute, they drive guys bonkers.
I live a stone's throw from the Bronx,
The home of big badonkadonks.
My problem is, you have my word,
That I'm a major, epic nerd.
To make my head go all a-whirl,
Ya gotta be a geeky girl!

That being said, I typically do really well on Superbowl Sunday. I head out to the local pub, and there are a lot of ladies drinking while watching big bastards of all sorts of follicular development bashing the hell out of each other. It's definitely a good night to go out. A couple of years back, I actually had my best "line" ever, when I started chatting up an extremely cute Nicaraguan girl whose friend was rather buxom:

"Most guys hit on my friend Jenny, because she's a lot bustier than I am."
"What do I look like, some kind of baby?"

That night, I must have been inspired by Chaterup, muse of pick-up lines.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Perils of Prognostication

Today is Groundhog Day, which people in Dunwich curiously observe under another name- a day on which the Great Groundhog brings gifts of stolen apples to bad bastards with scrumping habits. Of course, the superstitious among us believe that groundhogs have the ability to forecast the weather trends for the second half of the winter. Having a premonition that this season would be characterized by such bizarre weather, our local prognosticator became despondent and took his life before the onset of winter.

At least he's ceased to stink up the joint.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Trebuchets in the News

Narcotraffickers are now using a trebuchet to launch bundles of cannabis across the southern border of the U.S. An attempt to use the trebuchet during the Siege of Tenochtitlan was unsuccessful, so the trebuchet was shunned by the people of Mexico for centuries. The sophisticated design of the modern potrebuchet would suggest the involvement of a coterie of New Zealanders in this caper, a connection which Interpol should investigate.

If Cortes' forces had successfully deployed their trebuchet, the weapon could very well have been adopted by other conquistadores. Think of it, if this guy had had a trebuchet, he could have used it to hurl his steamboat over the Andes mountains.

For an overview of narcotrafficking on the border, the latest edition of Playboy has an article by T.J. English, an organizer of the benefit I attended in December. Buy the issue for the article, not because the cover girl on the left has thighs that look like they could crack coconuts my poor poor head. Uh... I'll be in my bunk, reading the article.