It’s a fact: No one has ever accused the humor at this site of being too sophisticated. We pride ourselves on being moronic, juvenile, and foul as often as possible, or at least I do. For example, I don’t think you can ever have too much dick humor. I know you feel that way, too, which is why this post is just gonna light you up!
Yesterday I was introduced to a French band called Chateau Brutal by the always entertaining Church of the Riff — and if you’re not reading that blog on a regular basis, you’re missing out on some primo entertainment. For example, here’s what the Church had to say about Chateau Brutal’s new second album, Ham Slicer:
This French garage rock duo’s second album is 10 tracks of rump rattling, ear splitting, foot tapping rawk and fucking roll. It’s the drunk guy at the bar who’s lost his pants and is screaming at the half-empty pint on the table to fill itself up again. Noisy, fast and frenetic, it’ll grab you by the nose and shake you until the screaming stops.
Take one porterhouse thick guitar tone, mix in a hammering percussion section and season with everything from turntables to saxophones. Then soak it in beer, rip it’s pants off and stay the fuck out of the way. It goes hard, but not on the sonic destruction front, on the “drink all your beer, then steal some more, then get laid, then find more beer, then steal a zebra from the zoo and get the police to chase you”…front.
Well, fuck, don’t mind if I do!
You just know an album is going to be good when it’s opening track is “My Dick”, and it’s followed immediately by “Meet My Meat”.
And thank you to George Takei for circulating that stunning photo of the first image to be transmitted back from Mars by the Curisoity rover.
I’ve discovered through our previous posts on things like the discovery of the God Particle and verification of the existence of Dark Matter that many of our readers are science geeks, just as I am. So, I decided that what happened last night on Mars really couldn’t be overlooked on our site — though I nearly overlooked it since I was stuck at my fucking day job most of the weekend with my head up my ass (and thank you, Phro, for making me aware of what I nearly missed).
And yes, NASA successfully landed the Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars at approximately 1:30 a.m. EDT on August 6. The more you know about what this required, the more stunning the achievement becomes.
Curiosity is the size of a small car, weighing about one ton. There’s not enough atmosphere on Mars to allow aerobraking, and Curiosity is too heavy to bring it down to the surface by parachute and air bags. So what did NASA do?
Once the aeroshell separated from the rocket, a giant parachute was used to slow the descent, but just below 6,000 feet above the surface, the parachute was jettisoned and the aeroshell began firing its own rockets to slow the descent further. But they couldn’t use rockets all the way to the surface because those eventually would have kicked up a shitload of dust, throwing rocks and other debris back up into the rover’s instrumentation. So they invented the Sky Crane.
(Here we have another of our UK scribe Andy Synn’s collections of five favorite things. The last such post was about five of his favorite guitar solos. This one is going to take us outside our usual stomping grounds.)
Ok, so if you follow the site at all closely, I’m sure you’ve got at least a vague idea of the areas each of the regular writers tends to specialise in. You might even be able to make reasonable predictions about what bands we listen to, and what bands/albums coming up we’d be expected to like and give coverage to.
You’d know, for example, that my bread and butter these days is black metal, the more interesting the better, with a side helping of more melodically inclined (but still heavy as hell) death metal. I’m not so much of a thrash or hardcore guy as I was when I first started my metal journey, and while I still have a soft spot for some metalcore (and its ilk), that’s very much on a band-by-band basis. Overall though, I like metal for its variety, for its honesty and integrity, and for the skill and effort it takes to compose.
So what I’m thinking is that I’ll throw away any remaining kvlt or tr00 cred I have left, and namecheck 5 bands – all peripherally related to rock/metal – who I absolutely love, but who I don’t think any of you would guess at in a million years.
We’re going off topic with this post, but for a good reason: because your humble editor just watched a movie trailer that caused a few thousand micro-strokes, leading to one big fuckin’ head explosion.
Cloud Atlas is the name of a novel by David Mitchell that was published in 2004 to considerable critical acclaim. It seemed like it would be a fascinating read, so I bought the book. I’m pretty sure it’s lying around here somewhere, probably underneath some animal pelts or unread magazines from 2005. Anyway, I didn’t read the book and forgot all about it, until today.
And today a friend sent me a link to the trailer for a movie that has been made from the Cloud Atlas novel. It stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, James D’Arcy, Zhou Xun, Keith David, David Gyasi, and Susan Sarandon. It was co-written for the screen and co-directed by the people who made the The Matrix trilogy (Andy and Lana Wachowski) and Run Lola Run (Tom Tykwer).
Trying to describe the plot is difficult, but from what I’ve read, it involves interlinked stories spanning centuries (and extending into the future) about six characters, including a voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer struggling in Belgium between the wars; a journalist in 1970s California; a vanity publisher fleeing gangland creditors; a genetically modified “dinery server” on death-row; and a young Pacific Islander witnessing the downfall of science and civilization.
I have no idea how these stories connect, though some time travel seems to be involved. Maybe it will turn out to be a confusing mess — some people who’ve read the book are fearful about that. But I can tell you that based on this long trailer, the movie LOOKS fucking awesome.
Okay, I’m gonna show a little bit of my age now: I read Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash when it was a new book, and it turned my brain inside out. It affected a lot of other people the same way. Though not as seminal a work in the cyberpunk oeuvre as William Gibson’s Neuromancer, it was still pretty damned influential.
At long last, Snow Crash is going to be made into a movie. When I say “at long last”, that doesn’t mean I’ve been eager to see this happen. In fact, I think the odds of a book like this being turned into a good and faithful movie are slim. I mean that the movie rights to the book were first acquired by Paramount in 1992, and the project was later transferred to Disney, where it seemed to die.
The development of the movie is now back at Paramount, in the hands of Kathleen Kennedy (Kennedy/Marshall) as producer and Joe Cornish as director. Cornish is the guy who directed a highly buzzed-about alien invasion movie named Attack the Block, which I haven’t seen but which I heard good things about. He seems to be a hot property, and Paramount seems to have made this production a priority, so this is probably going to become a reality.
I hate to be a pessimist (which in fact goes against my nature), but I have some anxieties because there are so many ways this can be fucked up, starting with selection of the actor to play the book’s half-black, half-Japanese, sword-wielding hacker protagonist, Hiro Protagonist. Yeah, that’s his name, and don’t laugh until you’ve read the book.
Here in the U.S., it’s Memorial Day, a national holiday established long ago to commemorate the men and women who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
Even though my own long-dead father was himself a decorated Marine Corps vet and my brother-in-law is a veteran of the Gulf War, I’m embarrassed to admit that it took me a while to separate my feelings about people who served in combat from my feelings about the wars in which they served — or about war in general. About the only time I feel warlike is when I’m listening to warlike metal. I think the last war that was worth fighting (for my country) was the one in Korea, and sometimes I’m not even sure about that one.
I did finally realize what should be obvious to people smarter than me — that soldiers and sailors and airmen do not start wars or decide which wars are worth fighting. They simply do their duty, and they become maimed, suffer mental trauma, and die because of decisions made by others who put them in harm’s way. They deserve to be honored for reasons that have nothing to do with whether the causes in which they sacrifice themselves are worth their sacrifices. They deserve to be remembered and supported even when the conflicts in which they have served are insupportable.
Memorial Day should be a day not only for remembering the dead but also for remembering the living — not only people who are currently serving in the Armed Forces but also veterans. The U.S. has done a piss-poor job of supporting its military veterans. Our government is willing to spend trillions of dollars to finance wars and huge defense establishments, but what we spend to support people after they’ve served their purpose and been discharged — especially those who have been disabled during their service — is shameful.
Even though I live in the Pacific Northwest, I’m not a native of the region. The place where I was born and lived until I finished high school is Austin, Texas. My mother and brother still live there, and I go back there to visit a couple times a year. I’ve traveled around a fair amount, and if I could reverse time and have my choice of places to call my hometown, I’d still pick Austin.
In early April, I flew back to Texas to be at the wedding of a young woman I’ve known forever. The ceremony was performed by a good friend of mine (and hers) who got some kind of on-line minister’s license to perform lawful marriages in the State of Texas. The wedding took place outside at a farm in Brenham, Texas (which is about halfway between Houston and Austin). There were a couple hundred people in attendance on a beautiful afternoon. After the wedding, we partied hard. There was plentiful barbeque and beer and an ass-kicking band who seemed capable of playing any kind of music you could want, and playing it well . . . except for metal. But I had a fuckin’ good time anyway.
Somewhere around midnight, that band started playing a song I hadn’t heard since the Neolithic Era. There was a time when that song meant the world to me. When I first left Texas as a young idiot, I was homesick a lot, and that song reminded me of home . . . not the nasty, right-wing bastion that Texas has become in the minds of most people nowadays, but the tolerant, left-wing, dope-smoking, laid-back, open-hearted, music-loving place where I grew up.
The song was written by Gary P. Nunn. It was made famous (at least in Texas) through a live 1973 recording of the song by Jerry Jeff Walker and The Lost Gonzo Band, which appeared on an album called ¡Viva Terlingua! That whole album is chock full of win, or maybe it’s just chock full of nostalgia for a displaced Texan like myself. Gary P. Nunn was part of The Lost Gonzo Band when the album was recorded, and he, rather than Jerry Jeff, did the vocals on the song that’s the subject of this post. But I have a slight preference for Gary P.’s own recording of the song, so that’s the version I’m going to play for you right after the post.
The lyrics are awesome, so I’m including those, too — though my British friends may not find them so awesome. They’re about a Texas musician finding himself in London and missing Texas.
This is not metal — not even close — but the song has been on my mind since April (the chorus is still one of the catchiest things I’ve ever heard), I woke up thinking about it this morning, and so fuck it, I’m devoting this post to it.
At some point, long ago, my family taught me not to discuss religion or politics with anyone unless I just felt in the mood for a pointless argument in which reason wouldn’t enter into the discussion. Of course, I ignored this advice for a long time, as I ignored all sorts of other advice I got, most of which concerned drinking, drugs, and women.
Hey, I don’t think I turned out any worse for ignoring all this advice, though it definitely is true that almost no one who cares about religion or politics is going to change their beliefs by debating the wisdom of what they believe. For a long time, I just really enjoyed pointless arguing, especially when drunk or drugged. As time has passed, that got boring and/or painful (the part about debating religion and politics), and so now I stick to the advice I got when I was raised (the advice about debating religion and politics).
So, this post isn’t mainly about my own opinions on the subject of religion. I will say that I don’t see much point in believing in a deity who seems just as nasty, vindictive, and cruel as my fellow human beings. I doubt that any such being exists, and if he did, I wouldn’t want to empower him with my belief anyway (or debase myself either). I’d rather just take my chances.
But rather than pontificate about the subject of religion, what I really want to do in this post is play you a video that’s just out-and-out hilarious. Fuck, if you could get past all the “bad language”, it might even be fun to watch if you were a person who believed in an ornery God who punishes people for acting like . . . people. Though I wouldn’t know.
I got nothing. Except I got this. So I got everything.
Translation: I’m short on time these days, so there won’t be as many daily posts as usual. I have ideas and projects under way . . . but not as much time as I’d like to get them done. I will have at least one more post today, but it won’t happen for 5 or 6 more hours. I know that, somehow, you will survive . . . because if tiny monkeys can hitch a ride on a capybara, then anything is possible.
(Thanks to Tommy Wills (RXYZYXR), from whom I stole this photo.)
For reasons I explained yesterday, I haven’t been my usual upbeat self lately, and I’m still pretty down. NCS readers have been really understanding and sympathetic. Some of you have even sent me e-mails with links to videos and music, in hopes that they would prove to be distractions from my grief . . . and they have been.
I’ve collected some of them in this post, in case you might need some distractions, too. I’ve arranged them in order of increasing weirdness and depravity, with the finale being a NSFW video by a band of Finnish deviants named Turmion Kätilöt (pictured above). Nothing takes your mind off grief like depravity.
This item, and the next two, came my way from Ben C. (Church of the Riff). I liked his introductions so much I’m just going to steal them. Here’s his preface to Item One: “Meet Buck. He’s a deer, who’s dating a hunter’s daughter. It sounds tame, but this is seriously some Pixar quality shit.” And so it is.
You can probably guess where this one is headed, just from Ben’s description. The high points for me were the near-kiss in the tunnel, the hunter’s stoic bloodhound, and the final few seconds. There’s a metaphor in here. I think it’s a message about tolerance for interspecies love. What do you think?