Friday, May 26, 2006

Santa Sangre! Santa Sangre!

Strongwoman seeks phone books to save show

Fri May 26, 9:29 AM ET

BLACKPOOL (Reuters) - A circus strongwoman who rips up telephone
directories as part of her act has launched an appeal for 500 phone
books to ensure her show in northern England can go on.

German-born Sylvia Brumbach, known as The Woman of Steel, says she is
about to run out of books after destroying over 100 at Blackpool Tower

"I just brought 200 over from Germany ... I've used over half of them
already," she told Reuters.

Brumbach, who says she can tear a directory in half in around 30
seconds, has placed ads in local newspapers appealing for more books.

"You have to find the right point to rip, the book must not be too old
and the spine must be tough, not wobbly," she said.

Thanks, Lo. Besos.

"Earth people, I was born on Jupiter"

Another bit of good news from Pitchfork.

Kool Keith Returns as Dr. Octagon

Matt Amis and Amy Phillips reports:Of Kool Keith's many incarnations (excluding perhaps his righteously insane "Black Elvis" phase), perhaps his most celebrated is the scatologically-obsessed Dr. Octagon. In 1996, with the help of Dan "the Automator" Nakamura, he released Dr. Octagonecologyst-- a visit with whom I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy's mother-- and plucked the same kind of critical acclaim that followed his crew the Ultramagnetic MCs around in the mid-80s and early 90s.

Well, it appears the good doctor is reopening his practice and is getting set to clamp all sorts of cold, metal instruments onto (and into) your most private and spongy parts. On June 27, OCD International (part of the World's Fair label group) will release The Return of Dr. Octagon, the full-fledged follow up to Dr. Octagonecologyst. (A shady 2004 CD, Dr. Octagon Part 2, is alleged to be a bootleg.)

For The Return, Keith enlisted the services of the Berlin-based One Watt Sun production crew and recorded at various locales in Australia, Germany, and...a 12th century turret in Prague. Seriously. (Now might be a good time to mention that Keith once did time at Bellevue psychiatric. Just sayin'.)

DJ Dexter, formerly of the Avalanches, stops by for an Egyptian-tinged guest spot on "Ants" and Philly/NYC white-girl rapper Princess Superstar chimes in on "Eat It", a song we wholeheartedly doubt is about pie.

Girl, let me touch you:
01 Our Operators Are Masturbating
02 Trees
03 Aliens
04 Ants (feat. DJ Dexter)
05 Don't Worry MZ Pop Music
06 Perfect World
07 The Turtle Skit
08 Al Green
09 A Gorilla Driving a Pick-up Truck
10 Got Any Kids?
11 Doctor Octagon
12 It's the Morning
13 Jumpstart
14 Eat It (feat. Princess Superstar)

Kool Keith, never one to rest on his laurels, has been keeping busy with all kinds of other projects. He puts in guest appearances on the debut album from Mike Patton's Peeping Tom project, as well as the new disc from 7L & Esoteric, and will perform three live shows as part of next week's Triptych Festival in Scotland. And finally, next Tuesday, on April 25, Insomniac Music will release Nogatco Rd. (yes, that's "Dr. Octagon" backwards), by Keith's Mr. Nogatco alter-ego. The album was produced by Iz-Real (who has worked with MF Doom) and features appearances by Sage Francis and Anticon dude Sole. Oh, and it's an enhanced CD including a sci-fi movie and a digital comic book. Nerds rejoice!

Ready the VCR

"...Patton, Dan the Automator, Rahzel, Rob Swift, Miho Hatori of Cibi Matto, and Dub Trio will all invade 'Late Night With Conan O'Brien' to perform 'Mojo'. Is there even enough room on that stage for all those people?"



Thanks, Pitchfork, you snarky fucks.

Pointless Time Regained - part one

The first in a series of posts about digging through old boxes and bags and finding forgotten "treasures".

I’ve never been an avid reader of Granta, even though I respect the publication because:

They published Martin Amis (London Fields, I think) chapter by chapter just like books used to be serialized in the old Victorian era.

Their small press published Salman Rushdie’s wonderful book Haroun and the Sea of Stories, which should be of interest to anyone who claims to be a Harry Potter fan or an admirer of the 1001 Nights.

The editor, Bill Bruford, wrote Among the Thugs, a great read for those interested in football (a.k.a. soccer, not the latent homosexual sport played by Americans) hooligans, riots, racism and the sucking of a cop’s eyeball out of his damn socket.

For these reasons and more I offer my respect and place them higher in the echelon of literary rags then the all-sizzle-no-steak McSweeneys. But I found a piece of ephemera the other day that reminded me of the real reason why Granta is my favorite literary rag.

I first saw “The Family” issue at the bookshop where I worked, drank and found a million other gems, many of which still sit on my shelves. Granta liked unifying themes. For the family issue, chock full of the typical and atypical O’Neil and Chekhov-style dramas, the genius editors decided to advertise the issue with four simple words on the cover:

They Fuck You Up.

I remember buying this the weekend before Thanksgiving, and deciding that Granta was right and that I would skip the holidays. Now that Memorial Day is upon us, I almost relived my past rebellion by staying home and reading, but hell, I've grown. I'm off to go get fucked up family style. Have a nice weekend eating processed meats and inhaling propane.

Once there was something...

inside. A beauty and grace for which I search daily. Their emptiness suggests my longing.

After a long day

Michigan Ave. Garden

We can taste winter coming in our kiss
And the chill of the air
Like the garden we discovered on Michigan Avenue,
The traffic racing alongside our embrace.

We can feel the return and the memory finds us again.
We are starting to understand that it always will.
You next to me and the music of once,We dance in the water, we sing like the mad.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Angry Corner

Someone keeps calling my office trying to send a fax to the main line, which means that when I pick up I’m forced to hear the sounds of demonic birds chirping through a crackly megaphone. This happens every five minutes or so, and I have no choice but to pick up the damn phone. It’s my job.

There are slow devises of torture in the work world, and this ranks high on the list of most fiendish.

This day could get worse but I really don’t know how.

Will someone send me a plane ticket to L.A. so I can see this:


Friday, May 19, 2006

Political Corner

From Lo, an interesting editorial. Republicans are always going on about the "Looney Left" so it's nice to see someone launch the same accusation at the right.

The politics of lunacy

Molly Ivins, a syndicated columnist based in Austin, Texas: Creators Syndicate
Published May 19, 2006

AUSTIN, Texas -- I hate to raise such an ugly possibility, but have you considered lunacy as an explanation? I mean, you announce you are going to militarize the Mexican border, but you assure the president of Mexico you are not militarizing the border. You announce you are sending the National Guard, but then you assure everyone it's not very many soldiers and just for a little while.

Militarizing the border is a totally terrible idea. Do we have a State Department? How much do you want to infuriate Mexico when it's sitting on quite a bit of oil?

It's quite possible that lunacy and politics are closely related. It's damned hard for the Guard, though, which continues to be heavily deployed in Iraq. And the Army Reserve is "in grave danger of being unable to meet other operational requirements," according to Lt. Gen. James Helmly, head of the Army Reserve. Happy hurricane season to you too.

But right-wingers are very unhappy with Bush right now, and this is a strong, red-meat gesture that will make them happy, even if it does nothing to shut down the border.

You want to shut down illegal immigration? You want to use the military as police? Make it illegal to hire undocumented workers and put the National Guard into enforcing that. Then rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement and invest in Mexico.

Meanwhile, further proof that the GOP is cuckoo comes to us with the passage of another $70 billion tax cut for the rich. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says the average middle-income household will get a $20 tax cut, while those making more than $1 million a year will get nearly $42,000.

President Bush and Veep Dick Cheney are still going around claiming if you cut taxes, your tax revenues increase. No, they don't. Now we're just in whackoville. It's not true. Their own economists tell them it's not true, but they go about claiming it is with the same desperate tenacity they clung to false tales of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. How pathetic.

Speaking of lunacy, the saddest report from Iraq is that American soldiers showing signs of psychological distress and depression are being kept on active duty, increasing the risk of suicide. As I have reported before, the military is unprepared to deal with the flood of head cases coming back from Iraq. How many ways can we mistreat our own soldiers, while the right makes this elaborate show of devotion to "the troops"?

The consistent pattern that runs through all these problems is the failure to distinguish fantasy from reality. Mexican immigrants keep crossing the border because they can get jobs here--and most of those jobs are provided by companies whose chief executive officers support George W. Bush. That's where he can have an impact on the problem, should he choose to do so.

The $70 billion tax cut is part of a continuing right-wing fantasy going back to the Laffer Curve. Of course, clinging to demonstrably false economic precepts is understandable when you benefit from them, but at some point reality does intervene.

As for the Iraq fantasy and those who pushed it on a reluctant country through lies, disinformation and bending intelligence--isn't there a law against that?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

My Jesus Morning

Outside the train station, a man stood handing out little religious themed pamphlets, telling anyone who listened, “He gave us life 2000 years ago. He’s coming back soon.”

I assumed he meant Jesus. Assuming one believes the fairy tale stories of the Bible, it was God the father who gave us life, not Christ the son. He just smoothed over our sins in his father’s eyes by dying for us, which I still don’t understand. The idea that God would sacrifice his son because mankind was so corrupt that someone had to die to pay a cosmic price… he’s fucking God, he can do what he wants. It's silly. How does sending his kid down to Earth to get killed remove sin from humanity? Anyone... ?

All that aside.

After refusing the dogmatic little pamphlet, I hopped on the train and took a seat toward the back of the car. A strange looking woman with dirty blonde hair (which she was violently pulling) started screaming about, guess who, Jesus. She reeked of booze and I think I saw a lit cigarette burning next to her.


I got up and started to walk to the other side of the car. She saw me and screamed:


Wow, is it that obvious?

Two Jesus freaks inside of five minutes. Just my luck. It’s bad enough I’ve had a lifetime of hearing about heaven and hell, but now I have to endure this shit on the train. Could this increase in Christian misinterpretation and zealotry have anything to do with the goddamn Davinci Code movie coming out? Is this a publicity stunt orchestrated by the movie studio? Fuck you, Ron Howard.

I guess living in the city has its price, and that is being shoulder to shoulder with the occasional nutjob; I guess living in the U.S.A. has its price, and they are called Christians.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Conspiracy Corner

Aside from the fact that winning a war against terror (not a country but a concept) is a logistical impossibility, the idea that said illogical war should allow for to the sacrificing of fundamental liberties is egregious. While I am sure, when in my most conspiratorial mind state, that past administrations have overseen spying on private citizens, there is now proof about the Bushites and NSA wire tapping. Proof helps validate one’s concern. International calls are no longer the sole focus; since the laughable justification for spying on over-seas calls (a justification predicated on the idea that anyone not on American soil must be an enemy) was swallowed by far too many, domestic conversations and phone records are being added to the spy list in order to keep the country safe from… well, I don’t know who.

This infuriates me. For some reason, a lot of people don’t seem to care. Alas, I sit by and watch the fire spread and wait for Nero’s fiddle to begin.

Anyway, whatever your thoughts on the issue, a more interesting and “out there” conspiracy theory came to mind when reading this morning’s edition of the Red Eye (rag!), which can be easily found for free at most El stops. The rag’s minions went about town and asked random passers-by what they thought about the NSA spy plan. Of course, four points of view were displayed, two pro and two con. The two who did not care, stating the most obvious and wrong-headed argument, were a couple of white people while the two opposing were minorities. Could this be a subtle way of making minorities look suspicious and guilty? After all, the white folks didn’t mind, citing that they had nothing to hide. I am sure the Red Eye, being the thorough periodical it is [sarcasm], conducted many on-the-spot interviews. Why then did they choose to present only these four? It may be far-fetched, but one can’t help but think the answers, and their correspondence to skin color, fit perfectly into some dubious agenda.

Then again, maybe I am just reading too much into this. Perhaps, but I wish more of my countrymen and women would read, period. Or at least think about the fact that once you give up a civil liberty, such as the right to privacy, you don’t easily get it back.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Misanthrope Corner

The dumbest thing I have heard all day, and actually, for quite some time:

Walking back to work, I spy two women about to exit my building.

Woman One: This is the door?
Woman Two: Yes.
Woman One: You mean this takes us outside?
Woman Two: I think it does.

Can anyone give me a better argument for birth control?