Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Good 52

I apologize that this update has been so long in coming. By the time I finish this thing most of the comics I'm reviewing will be almost four months out. Quite a wait for a fucking follow-up.

We kind of sort of planned to do a follow-up podcast to our episode on DC Comics' "New 52" (which is the wonderfully branded name of the entire relaunch/rebirth of the DC universe), but, like most of our plans that fell apart. So, instead, you're stuck with this blog entry that I've been writing for about a month.

I'm not great at this and its a damn shame.

Anyways, here goes nothing--

Batman #1 and #2


My friend and one of our three confirmed listeners called it very "Batmanly." He's right. I've skipped most of Grant Morrison's run (mostly due to DC's resistance to the idea of people reading their stories in trade) and, now that I think about it, I've maybe bought five actual issues of Batman. The few trades of the Dark Knight that I own are Batman: Year One, The Dark Knight Returns, and Batman: Year 100. Like the X-Men, most of what I've experienced with Batman comes out of movies and cartoons (and internet articles and second-hand information). With all of these caveats in place, I think it's safe to say that this is going to be one hell of a Batman book.

When it does enter into the short list of great recent Batman stories, I know it will be because Scott Snyder is writing the book, he of American Vampire and Detective Comics. That man is a phenomenon. Over the past three or four years he's come out of relative obscurity to write some of the best books on the market and now he might be writing the biggest one. It just goes to show that when you put somebody good on a book instead of somebody well known (*cough*Loeb*cough*) you'll actually get a good book.

Shocking, I know.

Since I started writing this issue two has come out (and by the time I finish this, I'm sure issue three will be out) and I picked it up. Issue two has ramped up what made the first issue good, which was Batman acting like a badass dude against the kind of violent madmen that only he can handle. Unless I'm misremembering it the second issue has slightly

Luckily the strength of the art and the freshness of the story allows me to ignore the fact that Batman can avoid death by falling off of a building by having a time cut in between panels (the same kind of strange cut that allows Batman to ramp a bike off of literally nothing onto the top of a subway train). In this issue Batman continues his battle against a mysterious group of owl-based villains that he simply refuses to exist. It's great because it combines the sort of gritty ass-kicking that makes Batman such a fun character to read with a kind of texture and horror that make it worth reading.

(BONUS: Here's a fun write up on Snyder from an actual real-live newspaper. . . well, a write-up from USA Today, anyways).

Animal Man #1 and #2



More than a few years ago I got into an argument with some cipher on the internet about how good our libraries were regarding comic books. He insisted his was better, I insisted mine was better. The argument, while brief, carried on to the point where he stated where it was-- which I couldn't even believe he had to do, my library was the best, I read Sandman, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Watchmen, and more than a few others, my library was obviously the best.

And, against all odds, he names the Pasadena Public Library as the place where he got his comics. That's my library.

I say this because they had some of Grant Morrison's run on Animal Man there and I'm really trying to stall as long as I can before I tell you that I don't like Grant Morrison. Some of it, I read, and I had this moment flipping though it that I realized that I didn't give a flying fuck about anything between the cover and the back. This moment was when Animal Man stared at the reader and went, "I can see you!" Not for long. I shut the book and threw it back on the shelf. I have rarely ever had the time for post-modernism, especially not in bullshit heroes that are really into peyote.

That has nothing to do with Jeff Lemire's run on Animal Man, thankfully. Like Morrison, he does seem to be interested in breaking apart Animal Man's world and taking him into some new frontiers. Like Batman, this series seems to have a desire to do something new even though it is obviously dependent on the High Grand Shaman's influential run.

I greatly respect Jeff Lemire as his comic book Sweet Tooth is easily one of my favorite comic books running today. He doesn't quite write like anyone else out there and ten years from now, like Jason Aaron and Scott Snyder, he's going to be someone that nerds in high school are arguing about on the internet.

(Again, slight update: The second issue carries on with the same quality and art, and, luckily, the panel layout is slightly less clever than it was last time. It's clearer than it was in the previous issue, which is nice. Despite a few solid jokes, the person I'm going to call "Animal Girl" sounds less like a six year old girl than a person trying to sound like a six year old girl. It's bizarre, but the whole series is bizarre. That's the point, isn't it?)

(FURTHERMORE: I haven't picked up the third issue, but I do plan to pick this story up in trade paperback, which I'm sure DC will be kind of enough to release somewhere towards the end of the next five years.)

(Go to his website, won't you?)

OMAC #1, #2, and #3



When I signed up for comics, this is what I had in mind. OMAC isn't a brilliant or deep comic book by any means, but it sure as shit is a COMIC BOOK. Which is exactly how it should be written when used in reference to this book. COMIC BOOK. All caps. Yelling. Being told to sit down. COMIC. BOOKS. Wall to wall, cover to cover, this thing is bleeding and sweating COMIC BOOKS. It's a head-on collision of Ditko and Kirby which was then hit with gamma radiation. It's a mad aberration of a book and it is wonderful.

The new OMAC ("One Man Army Corps") is based off of a short-lived and well-regarded Jack Kirby comic from, I imagine, the 1970's. This new book carries on the spirit of the idea-a-panel writing of Jack Kirby with more modern and coherent storytelling (which, as much as we all love Jack, let's face the facts, part of the charm is how clunky and operatic his stories are. He's not a god and he is capable of missing the mark, but when he does fail, he's moving at such a pace and moving into such weird places, that by the end of the issue you're waiting for him to stop so you can forgive him. Kirby's storytelling simply doesn't have the room for nitpicking.

This COMIC BOOK follows in that tradition. The first issue catapults from the origin of the new OMAC to the destruction of a secret underground weapons lab to battling genetically altered psychics to OMAC basically turning into DC's answer to the Incredible Hulk if the Incredible Hulk was freebasing William Gibson's medicine cabinet. The second issue moves with the same sort of frenetic energy, but doesn't add much to the whole series besides the reveal of a familiar face as the man responsible for the OMAC having to destroy everything sight.

The third issue has been the worst of the series. I can't tell if this is for real reasons or because one can only maintain this train of insanity before it derails and explodes into the station. I will stick with this comic because weird and psychotic comic books like this are exactly the kind of stories that this world needs. Also: COMIC BOOKS.

The second issue is the first second issue of any of the new 52 comic that I have purchased(did you follow that one?). This is mostly because the first runs of Animal Man and Swamp Thing sold out and I had to wait for a re-print. Regardless, it's a fantastic book and, besides Batman and All-Star Western has the best chance of me seeing it to the end of the arc.



Swamp Thing

Alan Moore's run on Swamp Thing is a book I've heard far more about than I've ever actually read. Besides the rare few reprints that sneak in here and there most of what I know is from the mouths of people on the internet and a documentary on the history of modern comics that I may or may not have imagined. Because of that I always felt bad about not having any real affection for the character. Plus, despite Eric Powell's cover art, apparently the last re-launch of Swamp Thing was pants.

I mean, what kind of an asshole thinks that he could ever follow in the Great Bearded One's Footsteps?

Well, apparently Scott Snyder is that kind of an asshole. Fortunately Snyder (again, the guy behind the new Batman story) is one of the budding young talents of the comic book industry and he has begun to craft an interesting and unique horror story. It seems to be keeping its feet firmly planted in its proto-Vertigo roots while at the same time dipping its toes into the new mainstream DC continuity. It's the right mix that this story needs and its the mix that Moore used to great affect in his run.

I've read the first three issues and while it isn't moving at the pace I want it does have a few things going to it: A compelling main character with both an internal and external conflicts, a shockingly good scene with Superman, a whole lot of crazy dreams, disgusting villains, pedophobia, and a chick with cool hair on a motorcycle shooting possessed humans with a shotgun.

In the same way that this is moored in both the main DCU and its Vertigo line, this is moored in both pure action-adventure stories and sensational pulp horror stories. You half expect a Nosferatu-type to haul a buxom woman off to his underground lair. In fact, I will be mildly disappointed if that doesn't happen. I imagine this is the kind of book that EC Comics would have pissed off so many people with back in the day. It's sensational without being tawdry and, as a guy who isn't really into horror, this makes me start to wonder what I'm missing.



All-Star Western

The only thing I common these books have-- besides the general fact that they're well written, well drawn, and generally smart and entertaining books-- is that with the exception of Batman-- they're two horror books, a western, and a crazy sci-fi Kirby whirlwind. They're all basically old-fashioned genre books, if inflected in slightly different ways. What's odd about this is that for the first time in a long time I didn't have to go to Dark Horse or Image or Oni or anyone else to get my fix. For the first time ever, actually, I'm buying these kinds of books from DC Comics. The fact that one of the Big Two (the other being Marvel) has had this much success selling mostly non-superhero books isn't important, but it's odd enough to note.

For those of you worrying that the Hex-man (that's what I call him) was going to lose some of his edge moving from his pretty-darn-good 70 issue run to this Western/Batman, that hasn't happened. To assuage your worries: Jonah Hex kills a lot of fucking people. And it is beautiful. Hex remains as the same magical gleaming asshole that we know and love, but this time instead of great vistas and Indian-infested deserts, he's in the putrid streets of Victorian Gotham. The only real difference is that the stories are connected this time and they've got a lot more stone work and wrought iron. that's a change I can live with comfortably.

Despite the 3.99 price tag, this is easily my favorite book of the whole run. While OMAC sates my thirst for balls-out super-powered madness All-Star Western simply sates my thirst for blood. And nervous detectives. And Victorian architecture. And secret societies of white men with funny facial hair wearing rings. There is a lot of sating going on in this book is what I'm saying.

I will say that if this book was a woman she would be quite well built and have a good personality and I will leave that at that.

Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti are writing the story, which involves a Jack the Ripper-like murderer running loose in Gotham, the identity of which might be linked to the Lords of Crime, a powerful sect of madmen that secretly run the city. On the killer's heels are Hex and Amadeus Arkham, the namesake of Gotham's famous asylum. Moritat (who is best known for working on Elephantmen, a book I can't seem to quite wrap my mind around) is drawing the ass off of this book.

I won't get into the gory details of each issue, but I will tease you with this: In #2 Hex slaughters an entire gang of criminal cultists dressed like the klan. Hopefully in the third issue he scalps a dude or shoots a dude in armor with a cannon.

The second issue has a back-up from Jordi Bernet, as well, who is one of the great cartoonists of the past couple of decades. Lately, he's been known best for his work on Jonah Hex (having drawn my favorite Hex story of all time, which I can't seem to find on my shelf and I don't feel like looking for) and is currently working on an arc of American Vampire (see how it all connects?). I can't say that I care for the story he's working on in the back pages of this book, but it's Bernet, how bad could it be?

God's holy trousers this book is fantastic.

***

It's funny. The whole relaunch of the New 52 made it seem like it was trying to head in directions that the comic industry had abandoned a long time ago. While these books do seem to be doing new things and exploring unusual territory of all of the books I bought, when you boil them down are still superhero books (with maybe the exception of All-Star Western, but the fact that it's in Batman's haunts tells me they don't want to put this book flying too far out of orbit). They're cleverly concealed superhero books and they're horror books or science fiction books before that, but they're still about super-powered humans struggling against something else that has way too much power for anyone's good.

I'm contradicting myself here, I know it. All I mean is that these books are both genre books in their own right, but at the same time they aren't completely separated from mainstream superhero books. It's a delicate and strange move that DC has managed to make and it's a good one. At the very least if it means that a superhero doesn't have to wear a mask and/or a cape, that's a good thing.

With that said, this makes me realize that the New 52 has fixes something that to comics that I've been lamenting for years. I saw some potential in Flashpoint, which used pre-existing characters to create something fresh and new that wasn't impinged by flabby continuity and ugly preconceptions and, in some cases, it was very good. The New 52 seems to have done this on a much larger scale. It takes the things you know both well and vaguely, and uses that as a launching point for exciting and new books that you wouldn't have picked up if there wasn't this massive swell behind it.

Basically, what I'm saying is that I'm right and DC's editorial and corporate overlords should have been listening to me years ago.

These books are what superhero books should be. They should be more than just men in tights trying to keep people from crashing the moon into China. They can be horror books or inflected with animal rights or environmentalism or David Fincher in sequential panels or Benzedrine-hazed bursts of imagination. They need not be the same old thing over and over again. The market deserves better than that and so do the readers. Hell, even characters I don't like deserve better than being turned into Sisyphus.

I hope that DC can maintain this momentum for at least another year or two. As a comic fans I'm sure Beer, Joe, and myself are aware that sometime soon the reset button on the DCU is going to get hit and we're going to go back to the way things were. Until then I'm just going to enjoy my comics and I'm going to support good comics the only way I know how: By buying them and then complaining about them on the internet.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Spielberg Regains the Little Cred He Once Lost



It takes a big man to admit when he's wrong, and an even bigger man to not talk shit on his friend.

Spielberg regrets altering ET.

The best news from this? The upcoming Blu-ray release of ET will not include the altered, Walkie-talkie infused, sans "penis breath" cut of the flick. Not even as a special feature. Thank Christ.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Where planes go to die.



The sprawling airplane bone yard in the middle of the Mojave Desert isn't exactly new (or news for that matter), but it sure is a cool time-waster.

Is this thing on?

This is Joe. The other guy on the podcast. The one with the weird laugh.

Expect more from me blog-wise in the future.

Until then, enjoy a sample of the high brow content I bring to the WGSG brand:

Sunday, September 25, 2011

We Ain't Dead

We just got a case of the Lazies.

We're planning to do an episode on this movie--

What's up with the font on that trailer?

That's in the works, but knowing us, we'll manage to turn it into a discussion on just about anything else, but I will spoil the episode for you: We both thought it was pretty good. Pretty darn good indeed.

To tide you over until our next episode, here's a GQ article on the costume design in Drive. It's pretty darn cool. Because if you weren't already thinking about nabbing yourself a jean jacket, now you kind of have to.

Until then, I guess.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Talkin' Kanye

Here at White Guys, Square Glasses, we're talking rap music, damnit.

So, this is (irresponsibly) the first of possibly many (definitely more than is necessary) WGSG episodes regarding hip hop, so get used to it.

As to the genesis of the Watch The Throne conversation, it sort of went like this:
1) Joe and other buddies tweet about how great WTT is.
2) Matt tweets that he’s not looking forward to listening to it, because he’ll feel the need to talk about it (and probably say unpleasant things).
3) Matt’s excuse is rejected by Joe, who demands the listen.
4) Matt listens, self-fulfilling his own prophecy of disappointment.
5) Joe challenges Matt to a breakdance competition, which is later rescheduled as a podcast episode politely discussing WTT’s merits.

KANYE: A PORTRAIT
In case you hadn’t figured it out by my tone, this is Matt doing the blog post. As stated, I’ve been on the fence about Kanye for most of his career. His production abilities are some of the best in the business, but his rapping is usually just around par and his singing is… well its hard to call it singing. Anyway, back to some facts. Here’s Kanye’s discography timeline, which we had trouble with during recording.

The College Dropout, February 2004.
Late Registration, August 2005.
Graduation, September 2007.
808’s and Heartbreaks, November 2008.
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, November 2010.

Joe makes reference to “All Falls Down,” which appeared on College Dropout and is mainly about financial irresponsibility and racial self-esteem and just, well, a whole lot of things. Here’s the video (featuring Stacey Dash’s conspicuous nipples):



INFORMATION GANGSTER
Matt makes reference to the American Gangster album, Jay-Z’s concept album, based off of the film, which is based off of the book, which is based off of real life, which is based off of a collective dream.

MAD RAPPERS
Also, hip hop beef is weird. Shortly before we recorded this episode there was word of a Lil’ Wayne diss against Jay-Z on his new album, Tha Carter IV. Your humble narrator believes that this wasn’t a very harsh diss (more just a 99 problems reference), which leads me to the conclusion that its “Diss” status didn’t originate with Weezy himself. Stop starting fights, Twitterverse.

Beef is a great marketing tool, though. 50 Cent made great career strides with his machine-gun spray disses in “How To Rob” (which is rumored to be what may have incited the attempt on his life). Less famous rappers have also tried to use this as a promotional tool by dissing more accomplished rappers in an attempt to anchor themselves to that rapper’s fame. Atmosphere wrote a song about this process called “That’s Not Beef That’s Pork.” Hear it here:



A BITTER SYL TO SWALLOW
In case you hadn’t heard the story, here’s the whole sampling kerfuffle. If the name seems familiar, you might back up to the “All Falls Down” video, which features Syleena Johnson, Syl’s daughter.

TRACK BY TRACK
Okay, I said I judge this album track by track. So here’s my entirely above-judgment judgments. But before that, I suggest you go listen to the AVClub’s review here.

The best part is hearing them try not to say bad things about Kanye, even though they clearly want to.

Anyway, here’s my estimation of WTT--

No Church In The Wild – Sample’s cool. Frank Ocean is confused. I’m confused by Kanye. What happened to the Kanye that needed Jesus like school needs teachers? Not much here to like or hate though. Very skippable, as Joe said.

Lift Off – Whose bright idea was it to have Kanye sing his autotuned verses in between Beyonce’s? Again, skippable. Beyonce sings like an angel, but she’s not given much room to express anything lyrically.

Niggas In Paris – That’s right I typed it out. I love a syncopated beat, and so does Jay. He totally works it to his advantage. Kanye does a good job too with his ironic drawl emphasis. I’m gonna give credit to Ye for putting that sample in- “No one knows what it means! It’s provocative!” This is how I think a lot of people digest Kanye’s weaker musical experiments. Good Call, Mr. West.

Otis – Never has a song fallen so far so fast. The first 30 seconds build it up, then 0:33 to 0:37 seems like it’s about to tear your face off, and then it just fizzles. The looping and looping and looping leaves this one with nowhere to go. It just limps along. Sure, it makes the lyrics seem more exciting to set them against such a lurching and awkward background, but it still hamstrings the whole affair. I bet there’ll be some absolutely showstopping “Otis” remixes though. With like, a backbeat. And some sense of build-up.

Gotta Have It – I wish the producer of “Otis” would’ve listened to “Gotta Have It,” because he would’ve learned a lot about songwriting. This is the first song that seems to have genuine interplay between Kanye and Jay-Z. The one negative? Jay-Z makes a planking reference.

New Day – Question: Was Jay-Z aware of Beyonce’s pregnancy when he wrote his verse? I hope so. Anyways, this is kind of a slow one. I like the vocoder. Its not a stand-out, but its decent.

That’s My Bitch – Nobody but Grandmaster Flash should be able to sample Incredible Bongo Band anymore. I’m a little bummed that Kanye doesn’t chill it on the borderline misogynistic characterization of ladies, but this is his strongest rapping on the album. I guess it makes sense. He’s clearly got lady problems on the brain since 808’s and Heartbreak. Jay’s verses are equally strong, but his lady issues are a little weirder. He refers to some hot ladies as “Beyonces” (plural). Wut.

Welcome To The Jungle – Morse code jam? No thanks. Harmonically questionable chorus synth? I’ll pass. This is a wide miss.

Who Gon Stop Me – Oooh, a little dubstep, eh? I can dig it. It doesn’t have the bro-step skrillex fart breakdowns, though it is a little flatulent. Kanye explains pig latin and references the Holocaust. I like this one for the most part, but again West makes me wince a few times.

Murder To Excellence – WHY. Why wouldn’t you just let Frank Ocean sing this one? This would’ve been absolutely amazing if it didn’t have Kanye’s umpteenth attempt to start his doomed singing career with unsubtle autotune. Someone re-record that part for me, because I really like this song but I can’t stand to hear Kanye’s flailing vocals.

Made In America – Sweet Queen Coretta, this song is weak. Especially stacked next to the song before it. They make very antagonistic points. Great use of the CASIO keyboard demo button though. Joe likes that Jay has to defend his own indefensible actions, but it just sounds weird over the Playskool beat.

Why I Love You – Again, the beat is good and the song is good. It seems to me like the experimental shit is just getting in the guys’ way. Thankfully this one has a solid beat and Jay drops verses that seem frantic and earnest, like an athlete turning in a championship time around the track.

Illest Motherfucker Alive – This is a joke track, right? So I should ignore it? Good. “Zero Zero Zero Zero, a whole lot of O’s.” Kanye is doing a Kanye parody. It’s like when Andrew WK made that song “Party Party Party.” But hey, solid beat.

H-A-M – This song makes me chuckle. The beat is totally biting Waka Flocka’s “Hard In Da Paint,” but that’s not the funny part. Trying to make the word “Ham” slang for cool is hilarious. Not noticing the literal interpretation of “Hard as a mother-fucker” is hilarious. Declaring yourself to be “Ham” is hilarious.

Primetime – Good song. Nothing amazing, but good. The beat works well, and Kanye isn’t saying anything too ridiculous. Top 5 for sure.

The Joy – Wasn’t this released for free like years ago? Oh well. This is the song that has the stolen Syl Johnson sample. Curtis got a shout-out though. I like it though. It’s a good slow one, and this album’s slow ones haven’t been great. I wouldn’t kick it out of bed.

Obviously, this is just my opinion, but I’m totally right. Feel free to disagree, just know that you’re going up against a motherfucking mental giant. Suck on that, haters. More on that laters.

IT TAKES TWO TO MAKE A THING GO RI-IGHT.
I mentioned that I had been listening to hip hop duo albums. Here are some great recent ones:

Ferrari Boyz – Waka Flocka Flame & Gucci Mane
Both of these dudes are great rappers, and they both love drum machines and synth hooks. Pairing the two was obvious, and their stylistic overlapping gives them a great sense of cohesion.

Bad Meets Evil – Eminem & Royce Da 5’9”
I love Royce. I’ll admit it. I totally messed up the song that he declares his inferiority complex, but he’s got a lot of inner demons that he drops all over this record. And Eminem? Well, he’s pretty good too.

Black Star
Black Star isn’t recent, but it’s fucking great. Go get it.

BLACK/GAY NEWS
Peter O’Toole is neither black nor gay.
Huell Howser is neither black nor gay.
James Baldwin was both black and gay.
Langston Hughes was black and rumored to be gay.
Johnny Mathis is half-black and openly gay.
Will Smith is black (possibly birthmark) and not gay.
Jada Pinkett Smith is black and not gay.
Jackie Chan is immortal.
Deal with it.

I was going to post a picture of a giant birthmark, but the ones I found are too horrible to inflict on another human.

[Editor's Note: I'll give Matt Peter O'Toole, but Huell Hauser is so massively gay that he bends light for miles around. Just ask Black Dad luminary Dr. Neil Degrasse-Tyson.]

FROM JOE’S CRAIGSLIST AD
White rap upstart requires black baby for cred. Only needed for photo shoot. Please don’t tell my wife.


YOUNG JUNG
Animus, Anima, Self, Shadow, and Persona are all archetypes. That word has three syllables--say it with me-- “Ark-uh-types.”

DEL’S DISS
From “Disastrous” on Both Sides Of The Brain
“Why you keep acting up? And when the shots fired you’re the last to duck. You’re only worth half a buck, it could be disastrous.”



JAMES AND THE GIANT DOUCHE
“There’s not even leaves!”

STAY TUNED FOR THE NEXT FLOUNDERCAST//

CUE OUTRO
Play my mothafuckin’ theme song--

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

There Was Some Thing in the Air That Night, It Killed Us All

Episode 25: "Werner Herzog Presents Rob Zombie's Port of Call: The Thing: The Final Nightmare"


And here comes the liner notes (or here comes half of them):

First and foremost, apologies to Mr. Sef Joosten. We (I) mispronounced his name. It should be pronounced, in proper Germanic fashion, as "Yo-Sten." As a former scholar of German, Joe should have picked it up. Me, I studied French and Spanish, so I'm fucking blameless. Don't you even look at me.

Also, sorry, Keith Moon is in The Who, not in The Rolling Stones, which brings up a second point: I can't name a single person in The Who- oh wait, Roger Daltrey, right?-- other than the guy who looks like Derek Smalls as seen in The Simpsons.

Now there's a byzantine reference. You sort that out, 'cause I'm not going to.



The first thing we started talking about was how I got my swag (my steez, even) janked by some mother fucker. Not cool, at all. We also mentioned the Honda Accord. A fine car and not a coincidence that I mentioned it. I mention it because the 1987 Honda Accord was my first car and a fine car it was. Her she is, just look at her--


(By the way, this is the same lot where Joe saw that confidence artist/deadbeat that tried to hit up Joe successfully hit up that other guy. Also, this photo was taken by my friend Sam, who I think we mentioned in another episode. Maybe?)


Tangent:

That car went through two people before it ended up in my hands and other than the leaking sun roof (who was the asshole that decided to put sun roofs on cars?) and the lack of air conditioning and the lack of a CD player or working cassette player and that time the battery mysteriously started crapping out on me, it was a fine care. It had over half of a million miles on it and other than the occasional check up, it worked fine until it died somewhere in East LA when I was trying to drive back home to Long Beach.

I wouldn't find out until later, but my trans-axle apparently cracked in half and, for a piece of shit car like the one I drove, it was literally more money to fix my car than it was to turn it into scrap. My favorite part about this whole memory was that I was stuck off of the 710 somewhere at 11 at night, listening to the Love Line episode with Johnny Rotten as the guest. I parked my car in the middle of this neighborhood I have never been in before and, luckily, this guy was walking across the street, so, I ask him the question you would naturally ask anyone when you don't know where you are located.

"Excuse me, what's the cross street here?"

I got a look like I was speaking Martian. Now, I realize that I'm in East LA. English does not exactly fly fast and loose in that part of this county, but I didn't think the word asking where I was on Earth would hit a brick wall that quickly and that soundly. I'm not the kind of guy to try to force English on people who live in this country, but, seriously, dude, how the fuck do you not have the vocabulary to express to a person with a car that is spewing smoke what street you are near? I feel confident that if I moved to another country I would understand the word "where" or "street" or the idea that I lived in a place that has a name. Just saying.

Of course the punch line in all of this is that, naturally, I tried calling my folks to tell them "Hey, my car just croaked" only to get nothing in reply. This ties in with me having to call my mom about mystery charges on my credit card. It is like bleeding a stone sometimes and there is no better example than that night.

I called my home, no reply. I called my mom's cell, no reply. Then I remembered, they close the door to their room and my dad is almost deaf and my mom has ear plugs because my dad snores, thereby completely securing themselves from ever being called by a family member after 9:30 at night. It's a wonder they ever got the call that my sister's water broke (not that we headed out to the hospital or anything).

After calling AAA, I got my tow to my mechanic and a ride home to boot. I'd bitch about that, but, to be fair, my folks do cover my AAA.

Moving on.

The moment of ambiguous noise at 11:30~ is me half-choking on a chicken nugget.



And Escape From New York was made in 1981, continuing my roll of completely incorrect statements.

(This is where I would link something about Wilford Brimley and his famous "diabeetus" ads, but it is honestly harder to find the actual ad than it is to find roughly 700,000 parody videos. You've gone too far, internet.)

And now we get to Sid Ceasar V. Cesar Romero. More butchered names given up to the podcast god (who lives on top of a pile of Zunes and minidisc players).

I don't want to know this information, but for you people, anything.

Here's an explanation of Dog Fort, which is majestic. Thank you, Richard Dawkins for giving us the word "meme," because, Christ knows your run as an atheist fuckhole hasn't done anyone any good. Not to say that you shouldn't keep on talking shit on your fellow man for no fucking reason. People really like it when intelligent people act as bitter as possible for no apparent reason. Keep up the good work, shitwad.

With that said, if David Attenborough* wanted to talk shit on Christianity, I could take it. Or anything else.

Here's a link about Oprah's Oscar. I don't give a shit. I don't even give enough of shit to read the article or what she's received. Oh, and here's a reply from BET about us haters. It could be good, I don't know.

I was also talking about the tenuous thread that connects folk to country to blues to rock to punk, which is something I could go on and on and on about and, frankly, I've done more than enough of that in this entry, already, but seriously, listen to Are You Experienced and listen to Live From Folsom Prison or Bringing it All Back Home and tell me that those albums don't sit at the crux of more than a few genres. Genre is a vague and ambiguous thing. That holds for movies. It's art, there aren't any hard and fast rules about these things.

Unless you're an asshole, I mean.

Here's one movie where Ian McShane plays a gay gangster. Again, not a terrible thing, but a terribly specific thing.

Oh, and Max von Sydow is awesome, even as a Nazi.



Maybe especially as a Nazi.

Haha. The Ian McShane movie with Sean Connery where they play "IRA members" is called The Terrorists. That's right. The movie where Ian McShane plays a terrorist is called exactly that. Also there doesn't seem to be any IRA terrorists in the film. There is something clearly wrong with my brain. And maybe Joe's brain.

Here's the clip of the awesome Ian McShane story--

(Enjoy, or fucking else.)


Ugh. This podcast just keeps on going, doesn't it?

Alright, fuck it. I'm 25 minutes in, but this thing doesn't need to go on any longer than it already has. We'll be doing a part II on this particular episode. Hope you enjoyed this so far!



Also, please, if you find the time, give us a review on iTunes. It's how people find us and it'd be swell if more people listened to us. I'm not blaming you for our lack of renown, but, it's pretty much your fault that we aren't better known or respected. Something to think about.

*Another person I've confused for far too long is Richard Attenborough and David Attenborough. At least they're both old, white, avuncular British men in this case.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

White Guys in "The Great Link Dump Robbery"

“[Mr. Bryant's and Kislingbury's podcast] . . . seem to me vulgar in tone, sterile in artistic invention, imprisoned in the wretched conventions of English society, without genius, wit, or knowledge of the world. Never was life so pinched and narrow. The one problem in the mind of the writer . . . is marriageableness.”
--Ralph Waldo Emerson on White Guys, Square Glasses.

It's another big, fat link dump. Let's get started, shall we?

As for writing, here is a wonderful list of 15 words with no English equivalent. If you copy-edit my work (hi Joe!) prepare to be seeing these words again soon. We have a wonderful haunted house of a language and I see no reason not to drive it further towards the bizarreness that we deserve.

Semi-Follow-up: Here is the most thorough and insightful summary of the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.

(Side note: "GET BIN LADEN" would have been a cooler title, even if it would elevate Bin Laden by reminding us all of how much of a badass Michael Caine is).

Speaking of Get Carter, the man himself is included in the newest League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Since about half of the story is entirely opaque to even the most college graduated of us, Jess Nevins and his dear Irish friend [name] have assembled an annotation of the book-- which is just one of many that Nevins has cobbled together.

Speaking of crime-- 40 years ago, a man by the name of DB Cooper hijacked a plane, extorted 200,000 dollars as a ransom, and parachuted out of the plane never to be seen again. He is at the center of the only unsolved plane hijacking case in American history. And, apparently, the FBI might have finally figured it out.

Ever wonder what happened to all of the places Patrick Bateman used to frequent? No? Well, want to find out anyways? No, huh? Well, fuck off, then.

You know what sounds good right about now? Some poached egg and grits.

I feel partially ripped off by life that I had only been introduced to grits this year. Oh sure, it's really kicked 2011 up into my top years of all time, but that comes at the cost of making all those other years look like beggars at the foot of a king.

You know who is awesome? Ansel Adams. You know what isn't awesome? Japanese internment camps. What do you get when you combine them? Something that is still fairly shitty, but, at the same time is an important document of one of the dumber chapters in American history.

Also, as a supplement to "The Longest Wind" supplement, here's a diary from a Japanese soldier on Guadalcanal. I haven't read it quite yet, but I didn't see the harm in linking it. I've been planning and writing an entry on the WWII episode we did, because I wanted to carry on and extend the arguments we (me, mostly) made on that show-- as well as some of the inaccuracies we (me, mostly) made regarding the Japanese and Germany and so forth. That's a long time away, though-- maybe when we do Part II?

You know who was a fun guy? Nixon.

No, wait, he was an asshole.

As I was saying, I was reading the latest League of Extraordinary Gentlemen this week and I finally made it around to the prose section in the back. I usually save Alan Moore's back matter for a later date because, to be frank, they're denser than hell and the man is a far more skilled comic book writer than he is a novel writer. Thankfully the stories were short and weird enough to catch my attention and, in a rare fit of clarity, I actually recognized several references. Not only is Detective Munch complaining to Rawls about giant ants (which is a rad sentence on its own), but the space ants are basically space Muslims that worship a frozen man encased in ice.

Oh, and there are clangers. What the hell are clangers? Well, since you're probably American, you've probably never head of them until now.

Clangers are these little knitted piglets that live on the moon that speak in whistles. Yup.

The only reason I've ever heard of them is because of Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe, which only rarely ever lowered its bile lever to talk about the works of Oliver Postgate.

And here they are.

Don't you just want to hug one?

The point of all of this is that I recognized a reference to a 1970's British TV show for kids in a comic book about Voldemort and Mick Jagger fighting Sean Connery. It's a rare thing and I'm going to revel in it.

Ah, heck, here comes one more video--

Ten for Grandpa from Pie Face Pictures on Vimeo.



Now let's get the fuck out of here and get some waffles.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"I'm gonna break yo' dick off!"

The Movie Geek's Guide to Talking Dirty from FilmDrunkDotCom on Vimeo.


Now this-- THIS-- is why film isn't only a visual medium.

Also: Why is Julianne Moore in, like, 15% of these scenes?

And another thing: How many lesbian scenes does Mila Kunis have? Two? Because that's still way higher than the national average, right?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ned/11 Truth

Since Joe is out of town with his lovely wife, this episode features guest star/point of fun David Lumb on the mic.

We talk about Game of Thrones.

Let's get this nerd train rolling, shall we?



Here's one of the sites Dave mentions in later in the episode. I don't imagine that it's as terrible as the theories it makes room for. This whole series can become rather labyrinthine in short order, especially if you're terrible with names or, like me, you read it years and years ago. Or both.

Dave and I were talking about the size and scope of the man of Westeros (as opposed to Essos), and here's a super cool hand-drawn map of the entire continent.

And on an unrelated note, here's a comic book page that succinctly summarizes every single one of the Harry Potter books. I present to you, the Summharry.

Hey, that book had some dragons in it, right? People love dragons. Get on that, future fantasy writers of America.

As we said before: Sean Bean always dies.

I think we can all agree that "Death or not to Death" is a funnier title.

Anyways, Brienne of Tarth was cast this past week or so for the second season. This could be good. She's got the right look and while there's that natural kneejerk reaction (in addition to a simple reaction from jerks) who will say, "Oh, she's not ugly enough" (which makes me think what people would say if they cast some poor homely actress in the role), but so what? People can be ugged up far more easily than you can teach someone to act. This should be fun. It should be good.

(And before you ask, clearly a Hufflepuff.)

What else? Oh, yeah. I have a blog of my own. I've been thinking about moving it over here, but for the mean time you can pop over there and check out my entry on comics and The X-Files. Sounds intruiging? No? Fuck you.

Finally, here's a link I missed the first time around and David thankfully corrected me. Check out the Tower of the Hand. It's the only website I've ever seen where you can scale the amount of spoilers in it's pages. Meaning: You can tell pages what books you've read and it'll remove spoilers from all the books after that. Pretty damn snazzy.

Before I roll out, I'll remind you all of one of the other tit-filled intrigue fests that's on HBO. Boardwalk Empire, like Game of Thrones, isn't a great show and it speaks more of potential than it does of actual accomplishment (besides that phenomenal Martin Scorsese directed season premiere), but it's still a pretty darn good show with moments of true brilliance sprinkled through out. Let's hope they both get their shit together come their second seasons.


There sure are a lot of these things.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Link Dump: Link Dumper


Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on November 16th, 1581, Ilya Repin.

It's that time again! It's time for me to phone in a blog entry for White Guys, Square Glasses! Let's begin, shall we?

Here's a fun little website my friend sent me: I Love Bagram.

It's over six-hundred observations of why Bagram Air Base is the best air base in all of the Hindu-Kush. For example:
4.11.11- No joke, last Saturday I asked for Praline and my response was the 1,000-yard-stare. Now if you don’t know who I’m talking about, then it’s about time you reward yourself with a frozen treat tonight at Dragon DFAC. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Russians had a nickname for this guy after he massacred a company of paratroopers back in ’79, because I doubt Mister Softee got those scars from wielding the ice cream scoop… but who knows, after all he does work for Fluor. Maybe one day I’ll work up the courage to ask him... no, no I won't. This man scares me to death.


Delightful.

What I love more than Bagram is one public television host, Huell Howser. And I love him about as much as I am annoyed by him. On the one hand it's always delightful to know that there's a grown man who is still excited by the idea of somebody grinding corn to make into a tortilla and on the other hand, it's upsetting to me that he's been doing this for over twenty years and there's yet to be anything actually exciting happen to the guy.

All that said, this KCRW guest DJ spot is pretty delightful. He talks about Johnny Cash and drinking whiskey in the White House and after all of this, I am convinced that I want nothing more in life right now than to see John Waters and Howser in a one-on-one conversation.

While Roling Stone magazine has a fairly storied history in distorting the truth in order to serve a perconcieved stance and what's good for all of us, if half of the shit in this article is true, than America is in a fucked up scary place.

I don't mind religious folks, but I do mind people-- of any faith-- that see it not only as their right, but their mission, to get all up in everybody's shit. Isn't that one of the reasons why they hate Muslims? Because they have a bunch of bearded weirdos who think they can hear God and tell everyone to act accordingly? And how can you be for the Constitution and for smaller government, except when it comes to inserting the Bible into people's lives? It's madness.

Why can't we nominate Huell Howser for something? I'd be alright with that. Someone start printing out bumper stickers.



Welcome to my nightmare! Now, let's move on to a nightmare of a different kind, shall we?

"A Jurassic Park sex hotel," you say? "How is that even possible.

One word: Japan.

"Oh, okay then," you say and sit back down, staring at your iced tea, wondering where all the time has gone.

As fucked up as Japan might be right now (on account of the tsunami and the earthquake, I mean, not it's bizarre and occasionally frightening pornography), at least they aren't Russia, which is a country about which I ask "What's wrong with that place" about every other week.

With a frightening consistency, most of the time I ask this, it's about the typical Russian themes of graft and corruption. Occasionally, something new and terrible will pop out of the nation that Ivan the Terrible built. One such thing is the drug Krokodil.

It is a drug for the poor, and its effects are horrific. It was given its reptilian name because its poisonous ingredients quickly turn the skin scaly. Worse follows. Oleg and Sasha have not been using for long, but Oleg has rotting sores on the back of his neck.

"If you miss the vein, that's an abscess straight away," says Sasha. Essentially, they are injecting poison directly into their flesh.


So, I ask you, what the fuck is wrong with that place? I mean, it's not like we have that over. . . oh.

Yeah, but still.

I want to say that we rarely talk about Iran on the program, but as I think back I realize that we probably talk about Iran more than most other countries. Anyways, not too long ago the Iranian nuclear program was (thankfully) hit by a computer virus called Stuxnet which, it's safe to say, fucked their shit up quite a bit (technically speaking).

But, why take my word for it when this slick video presentation can do it much more effectively--

Stuxnet: Anatomy of a Computer Virus from Patrick Clair on Vimeo.



When I went and saw Werner Herzog presnet The Treasure of the Sierra Madre at the Hollywood Forever cemetery, someone asked him if he had any work coming out. He said that, yes, he had five movies coming out there year. One of those five movies is about him going to prison.

Good for him.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to imagine Herzog screaming, "I am not locked here with you, you are locked in here with me."

Alright, if the drugs and prison weren't horrible enough for you, I've got one more bit of horror before we get to the light at the end of the tunnel.

In Libya not only does it seem that Momar Khadafi is deploying squads of soldiers to gang rape civilians, in some cases, the civilians are replying in kind by murdering the rape victims.

Because they don't want people to think poorly of them, now do they?

Now time for something light to get the taste of that out of my mouth. How about some Michael Caine? Good call. Here ya go--



Aw, yeah. That does me good.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

BE COOL MAN JUST BE COOL

Episode 20 Notes: Let's go!

(I should actually get around to watching this one of these days. I think it's on Instant Watch.)

Joe and I love heists. We love crime. We love all that shit. I am even willing to put up with the three hours of nonsense and yelling that is Heat if only for the heist scenes. It's all just weird guys meeting in coffee shops and ugly 1970's homes being professionals. It's weird, but in a way the whole heist genre is how I picture adulthood. You look at a guy like Parker, a guy who is well dressed, immaculately skilled, and, in his own way, is the master of his domain. Nobody questions Parker's competency, they take him at his word and in exchange the world takes him at his word. Also, he has a sap and that's pretty damn cool.

When I was younger I imagined being an adult was a whole different world in which I am suddenly in control and I go to a job I'm great at and make a fine living do it. Obviously being older (being old enough to have grandkids by medieval standards) I realize that isn't all that true. The jobs suck and the hangovers just get worse, but I still love the idea of grown men (or women or genderqueer or lycanthropes or elves or whatever) coming together to execute something only they can execute with a frightening and swift efficiency.

In my mind that's what being a grown up basically amounts to, in a weird way. That and having a cabin in a mountainous state, but that's another discussion for another day.


I love hoaxes-- or at least jokes told so straight that they appear to be lies. "When It's Not Your Turn" is one of those things. But, like Joe said and I agreed, it's a pretty good joke that goes on for much too long. After about five or six paragraphs, the essay loses the plot and we're basically stuck with this lecture that we can't wait to walk out of and catch a smoke.


(Of course it has John Turturro in it. Of course.)

For the record Homicide: Life on the Streets was created by Paul Attanasio, but it was based off of the David Simon non-fiction book, Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets.


(If you haven't seen this yet, just keep in mind that there's a of Shawshank before you get to the redemption.)

Joe and I disagree about the movie Punisher: War Zone (page 14). Basically, I'm right and he's wrong. I did see the movie in the best way that you can see a movie as dumb as that, which is blitzed out of my mind. I basically beat the movie to the punch by damaging my brain ahead of time. It didn't work, mind you, but I tried, damnit.


(What a fucking shitstorm that movie was.)

Here's the prison break (or a "self-heist") that started the second half of our program, which I only post to remind you that we're totally fucked and stuck in that crappy country until somebody figures out a way to find something new to replace the national Afghan past time of throwing large rocks at each other until you get bored. It's a strange and ancient country, Afghanistan, but it's a beautiful place, nonetheless.

Lastly, here's a small definition on the idea of baksheesh. It's obviously a much larger concept than an assumed bribe, but more often than not, when you see this phrase used, it isn't referring to showing your waiter gratitude.

Anyways, I'm out of here. Until next time, remember this--
If you got a good imagination, a lot of confidence and you kind of know what you are saying, then you might be able to do it. I know a lot of colorful characters at home that would make great actors.

--Jason Statham

Wise words, indeed.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Not Quite Dead Yet

We've got a new episode out!

It's actually an older episode because we had trouble transferring and loading it. But that's all in the past now! Now we've got nothing but good times and mild racial invectives! Join us, won't you?

Friday, June 3, 2011

It's Been a Way Now

I'll admit, I've been lax about follow ups on the blog. There's been a few problems with the podcast recently, but more than that, I've just been a lazy fuck. Sorry about that. In the future we're going to try to crank out more and more content and, in addition to the ever widening trickle of content, it'll actually be quality. Or at least we'll try for quality.

As much fun as posting videos of Rip Torn being a goddamn maniac, that isn't exactly as substantial as I'd like it to be.

So, with that said, here's a video or Rip Torn being a goddamn maniac.



It is the only way I know how to seal a deal.

And if you haven't checked it out, listen to your new episode "Matthew McConaughey is Gun Dog."

By the way, the whole joke about gun dogs comes out of an old magazine Joe and I found his roommate subscribing to. For whatever reason we thought it'd be hilarious to put America's #1 Hunky Southern Stoner in that position. Well, actually, I know the exact reason, it's hilarious.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Thank You Lumiere Brothers

Rip Torn attacking Norman Mailer with a hammer is why cinema exists.

And I'm betting this scene is one of the reasons why boring hippy-dippy Warhol crap doesn't anymore.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The In Sound From Way Back When

Photos regarding "Enter Sky Pong."

Here's the kind of a thing we ran into outside our apartment on the walkway to and from the parking lot.

My friend Sam and I ran across this one day. Sam is a sweetheart and he was crashing at my place for Spring Break (he's from the gray horror that is Minnesota, the poor bastard). I'm pretty sure this photo is on Facebook and I'm tagged as the condom wrapper. I remember that, one night, after drinking, he apparently vomited all over himself and some sheets and, before I work up, washed everything and remade the bed (they were my sheets). I don't even care that it happened because the only way I would have known that this happened was when he told me not to worry, he cleaned the sheets and everything. My only thought was, "You puked last night?" God bless him.

Here is the "Tri-Pod." Need I say any more?

I will though. It was fucking retarded.

BONUS:
Here is Guest Cat Rocko stuck in a bookcase!

D'aw.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

"Omar Bradley Don't Scare"

Episode 18 is now up.

Sorry I didn't update the blog with an entry about our last episode (but other than correcting that Osama bin Laden didn't use his wife as a human shield, what else was there to post?). I'm going to double down on this week's episode, though. . . mostly because I have a lot of it written already.

Actually, I do have one correction on this episode (that I'll go into later), but the Emperor and the Japanese government actually have apologize or attempted to apologize for WWII multiple times. The quality and the quantity of the apologies is up for debate, but there are significantly more apologies than "none" I have asserted.

Here's another quick link. It's on the Liancourt Rocks, which is this age-old dispute between Korean (which Japan had the lease to for a number of years) and Japan. It's been a lightning rod for politicians for both sides who like to grandstand and say that these islands are "theirs." It's also a big talking point for revisionist historians and right-wing nutjobs in Japan, which is especially troubling. I point this out as an example of the historical territorial disputes that are kind of unique to the Asian Pacific.

A lengthy WWII dissertation to follow--

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Finally!

A new episode! I don't mind saying that this is our best yet. . . if only the damn thing would work. Maybe it's just all on my end. Anyways, point stands. The show is pretty darn good.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"They Call Me Time Wizard"

Episode 15, "They Call Me Time Wizard" notes go!!!



Alternative Titles for Episode 15:
"In the Heat of the Underdark"
"The Organization*"
"Nerd Matters Pt. XII"
"Final Faggotry Tactics"

Anyways, let's get to the real nut meat--

Here are the stupid, stupid, stupid shoes I saw on my way to Long Beach. I still don't entirely believe that these are real. If someone came up to me and was all, "Yeah, that's just an ARG we made tailored specifically to people who watched too many episodes of Married with Children" that would make more sense that there being actual human beings that want to buy shoes with toes.

But, hey, fila, if you people want to send us some free shoes, I'm an 8 and a 1/2.



(Actually you can watch the whole episode on You Tube for some reason. I don't know if it's 100% legal or just Russian legal or what.)

(Ugh. I forgot that the DVD and online releases of Married With Children don't use the original theme. This is the worst thing ever. Worse than time crimes.)

My mistake-- Krull came out in 1983. Conan the Barbarian came out in 1982 (the same year as The Beastmaster, which features WGSG favorite Rip Torn).

Speaking of swords and sorcery, we mentioned Robert E. Howard on the program a while back (and we mentioned him in an upcoming episode), so I figured, I'd maybe talk about him for a bit. Or lazily throw up some links. He's most famous for creating Conan the Cimmerian, but he also invented other pulp heroes like Solomon Kane, Kull of Atlantis, Bran Mak Morn, and El Borak.

(I could probably talk your ear off about El Borak and Afghanistan, but I think we're going to put that one in our pocket for the time being.)

I didn't know this when I first started reading Michael Moorcock's Elric stories (which are direct replies to the brash, brawny barbarian novels that became inseparable from the swords and sorcery sub-genre), but apparently he moved to Texas in his later life, which was the state that Howard had lived and died in. Life is funny sometimes.


Of course, it's a well established fact that the movie of In the Heat of the Night is bullshit because Virgil Tibbs isn't from Pasadena, but from Philadelphia for some reason. What a bunch of anti-Pasadena nonsense.

It's a form of hate speech, really.

Now, let's let ODB play us out in his own words--


*Yeah, that title doesn't work for a lot of reasons.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

"Joe & James Bum You Out"

Give to the Red Cross. Text REDCROSS to 90999 to automatically be billed for ten dollars that will go straight to the tsunami victims. None of us have any reason not to give.

So, lucky episode 13, "Joe and James Bum You Out." Let's get on with it then.



And to answer my own rhetorical question: Haiti is still super fucked up.

Upon a little bit of research, I found out that Mt. Fuji isn't actually dormant-- it's active and it's last eruption was in 1707-1708. Who knew?

I wouldn't take this as a rationalization that allows us to make crass jokes, but the BBC wrote a little something on why we make jokes during awful things. I know a lot of people can't even dream of that sort of a thing and I usually did kind of look down on that sort of thing until I went to a funeral for a beloved family member and I realized that joking around and remembering the good times we had was the best way to remember him. It was just in keeping with the whole rest of his existence.



We mentioned Chernobyl (and that it is used in both the videogame STALKER-- not to be confused with Tarkovskiy's Stalker (which pre-dates Chernobyl)-- and in a level of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare) and how, as fucked as it is, it wasn't the world-ending mess many believed it would be at the time. Here's a bunch of photos of it. Photos of Chernobyl and Pripyat aren't that hard to find, either, so if you're interested, give it a Google search (I'd start with English Russia. That site is pretty wonderful).

Vice Broadcasting System had a pretty fun travel documentary about the Zone of Exclusion, so. . . here it is.


I like Vice because they balance pretty well between wonder, chagrin, and fear, pretty often. They even make North Korea look like a bit of a good time.

Here's an article on the sarcophagus and its replacement. Pretty crazy, yeah? And here's another one from one of my favorite futurist/architecture/anthropology/whatever blog BLDGBLOG.

That BLDBBLOG article is fucking amazing. It really it. I won't spoil it, but it goes on to talk about the concept of an atomic priesthood trained to take care of Chernobyl. This makes an incredible amount of sense when you stop and considering that if we lived to be 100 years old, Chernobyl would still be radioactive for another 9,900 years. That's profound.

To quote Sergei A. Krasikov:
The death of a nuclear reactor has a beginning... But it doesn’t have an end," and that "one had to look at [Chernobyl] to understand the sheer tedium and exhaustion of dealing with the aftermath of a meltdown. It is a problem that does not exist on a human time frame.


ACTUALLY-- One last bit on Chernobyl and I swear I'm done. Warren Ellis found some interesting ideas about Chernobyl (and how it relates back to Stalker, which pre-dates the whole disaster and the idea of "The Zone"). He also quotes the phrase "Radiation Communism." Intruiged? Read the rest of it here.

The casualties we mentioned were 4,000 or so confirmed and 12,000 or so missing currently. I couldn't find anything more recent than this, which I guess might be a good sign.

Here's some photos from The Big Picture if you haven't seen them already. Numbers and speeches are one thing, but it's a whole other thing to actually see what Nature can do to a place.

If you want to read something a little bit heartwarming and an encouraging testament of the human spirit read about this badass dude. His name is Hideaki Akaiwa and he's the man we all wish we were, but pray that we never have to be.

I could link some 9/11 emergency phonecalls here, but I really don't want to. My heart isn't in it at the moment.

You can find those on your own.

I don't know. This whole section speaks for itself, right? It's horrible.

Here's the photo I was thinking of--

It's actually Passchendaele, which is apparently adjacent to Ypres.

Obviously we recorded this before the No-Fly Zone was introduced over Libya. That's been going on for about a day now, with no signs of any real progress (other than the number of bombs, I think).

Here's a brief thing on Libya's human rights record. Here's a bit more (not a wiki). It's not encouraging, to say the least. Qaddafi is an SOB, if nothing else. His fashion choices are also completely insane, but that's another story for another day (plus I've linked multiple stories about his sartorial. . . flare, shall we say?).

Oh, hey, here's a list of all of Libya's airports. Who knew that existed? Ain't the internet grand?

Speaking of the rebels I read this brief snippit "The Rebels Love Us Right?" Well, there's a decent chance that they do not. Benghazi sent more insurgents to kill Iraqis and Americans than any other city in the Arab world. Maybe that's Qaddafi's encouragement at work, but the fact remains, there's a sentiment behind all of this that doesn't just go away with a No-Fly Zone.



Here's another run-down of should we/shouldn't we intervene in Libya.

One last coup de grace about human dignity and struggle. I wouldn't dare use "heartwarming" or anything like that on this one, but if we're going to be in a war again-- and we are in another war no matter how it gets spun-- we should remember what it looks like.

And now, the light at the end of the tunnel: How to improve your ramen.

Play us out, X--


(Bonus: The RZA created a single for Japan. Give it a listen. Or donate. Couldn't hurt.)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Screwballs and You!

Episode 12: "Screwballs and You!" Here come some notes, hot and heavy!

First things first, an apology: We assume that only about four or five of our friends listen to the show and, to our knowledge, none of them are gay, so we have no idea what our demographics are or anything. Apologies to our LGBT listeners. Nothing personal, we just happen to think that no one wants to listen to our show, the queer community, least of all.

Legally I am entirely in the clear on all matters involving sexuality, gender, or the denigration there of. Your move, Joe, you hate filled monster.

Speaking of furbies.

Yes.

We talked about how the US House of Congress voted to defund Planned Parenthood. You can read about it here. If you're like me-- and you don't want to get mugged by unwanted children from stupid people-- sign this petition. I did. And it sure as hell beats making a donation (I kid, I kid).

I did not invent robbing a bank with Dobermans. I wish I had.


This is what Kalie from Battlestar Galactica looks like--

She is also a shrew, kind of, so that works out.


Re-listening to the episode, I don't want to get the impression that we're sexists or misogynists-- I mean, maybe we are. We rag on stupid women a lot in this episode, but it's far easier to rag on women for unwanted, teenage pregnancies because the man's role in this, to me, is implicit. We all know he's an asshole and a deadbeat and, ironically, is so unfit to take care of a child that he couldn't even spend the three seconds to put a condom on. Fortunately for them MTV hasn't made the show Deadbeat Dads (which is half of what Cops is about, anyways).

It's also funny to say awful things about people who deserve it. We're all on the same page on that one, right? Awful people can go fuck themselves, right?

Also, to be fair, being a terrible person about how your name is spelled is a quality I have only ever seen in women. I don't know why-- maybe it's society's fault or the phallocracy or whatever-- but I've never had a guy tell me that I was pronouncing "Bryan" wrong. If there is that kind of a guy (why wouldn't there be?), there's a lot less of them then girls named Alyxanderya.

I hate it when people spell that name with a Y, though. It just looks, ugh, Welsh.

What the fuck is wrong with teenagers having sex? Don't they know how awesome that is? Why do they have to fuck it up? It's like if you were given a brand new car for your 16th birthday, one would assume you'd take extra good care of it because most people don't get new cars for years and years. This is a golden opportunity. Don't ruin it for you or anyone else by being irresponsible. You've got to handle this opportunity like a baby-- oh, wait, that doesn't work, does it?

You're shitting golden bricks and complaining about what it's doing to your fixtures. That is exactly the situation that is going on right now.

People are the worst.

Race war can be funny guys. See?


Hey, apparently we're on Podcast Alley now. That's exciting.

My Podcast Alley feed! {pca-4a3931288a0acccb2bdac4361effda24} (Are we supposed to keep the numbers here? How does this work? I'm just trying to get out there and I feel like an asshole.)