Friday, July 11, 2014

Glasontbury 2014: The Black Keys

Who: The Black Keys
Where can I see them: BBC, YouTube
Have I heard of them: Yes
Style: Rock

The Black Keys remind me of the Stranglers in that they scratch an itch for driving-guitar rock that I didn't know I had. It's not dinner music, but something you want to play late at night in the vain hope of driving the morning away.

Glastonbury 2014: Dolly Parton

Who: Dolly Parton
Where can I see her: BBC,Youtube
Have I heard of her: Of course
Style: C&W

Dolly could and should give lessons to every other performer on how to connect with a crowd. Sure, she's a little corny, sure the bit is worn a little thin, but she's charming and delightful.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Chu Ben Ben Proud De Ce Blog Post

If you aren't weeping with laughter, then I don't know what to say to you. Go east young man, go east.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Glastonbury 2014: Bleachers

Who: Bleachers
Where can I see them: BBC, YouTube
Have I heard of them: No, but evidently I should have known Jack Antonoff.
Style: Little River Band meets college music nerds meets The Fabulous Stains?

Part Springsteen, part Modern English, Bleachers set my foot to tappin'. Yes, I'm embarrassed for that sentence. But it's true. They reminded me of that song at a high school dance that got you to finally get up and dance your ass off, not caring what anyone thought. The Bleachers have evocative lyrics that were never buried under the music and guitar work and keyboards that sometimes reminded me of the best pop efforts of Tom Petty and Asia. They're delightful, delicious jello, and won't be nailed to any wall. And just as I write that, they cover "Don't Come Around Here No More" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Is "Name That Tune" still on? I would kick ass on that show.

Try to see their whole set; the one song on YouTube does not do it justice. Excellent work from Mr. Antonoff and friends.

Glastonbury 2014: King Charles

Who: King Charles
Where can I see them: BBC, Youtube
Have I heard of them: No
Style: Bluesy, almost-zydeco jazzy pop/folk. You know.

Visually and lyrically interesting, King Charles showed few hard edges in a smooth set that reminded me of Juluka mashed up with zydeco blues as intrepreted by a cello virtuoso. Or modern prog-rock meshed with Irish folk music. Hell if I know. Not have words for describe. Enjoyable is a word I would use. So is fun and pretty. I was going to mention Paul Simon, but that felt too on the nose. Then, at the end of the set, they covered parts of "Call Me Al". Pitchfork would be lucky to have me.

Yes, listen to them unless you need squealing metal to get your motor runnin'.

Apropos of nothing, my kids love this book. Don't know why I thought to mention that.

Glastonbury 2014: The Kooks

Who : The Kooks
Where can I see them: BBC , Youtube
Have I heard of them: No.
Style: Fun. Good, kicky fun. Put this one on the speakers and dance around the kitchen

The Kooks personify pop music with this bright and lively set. Even their sad songs seem happy. The crowd obviously knows them well. I live in a closet and have never heard them before. They are a good reminder of the vibrant music scene in Britain and Europe that doesn't get wide exposure here in the colonies. Luckily for you, I'm reviewing them and now you're in the know. And knowing is half the battle. Or all the marbles. Some amount of something.

You should definitely put this one on and give it a spin. Unless you hate good things.

The Answer To The Question Nobody Is Asking

That question is "Why doesn't the staff at Jim Dandy Goodness review the Glastonbury Festival?"

Good question. Probably because I'm lazy and holy hell, do you know how many acts perform at Glastonbury? All of them. All the acts ever.

Still, this is a blog, and one should never shy away from reviewing things outside of one's area of expertise. On the other hand, I own two guitars, an ocarina, and three harmonicas and can play them all (somewhat badly) so this is obviously my bailiwick.

All reviews will be of full sets available on Youtube or the BBC, and will be significantly shorter than the actual set. Music is ephemeral and should not be constrained by an overuse of words to describe it. Something Dick Clark knew well. As far as possible I'll avoid learning anything about the band in question as I really don't care and I like consuming art for art's sake and not get consumed by shit like "motivation" or "intent" from the creator.

The Dumbest Thing You'll Read Today. Yes, It's From the Yodeller.

Maybe the dumbest thing you'll read today, tomorrow, or this month. Courtesy of  Mary Lou Ambrogio and the London Yodeller's crack squad of fact-checking editors:

It seems fitting that in an increasingly socialist world, we’d experience more parasites and pests while at the same time lose the ability to deal with them.

Holy non-sequitur Batman. Sweet cerulean fuckballs, but this person is dumb and cruel. Socialists are parasites. Nice. Fuck you too Mary Lou.

While a resurgence of bedbugs is annoying, the resurgence of malaria in some
parts of the world thanks to environmentalists who caused the banning
of DDT, has been deadly to millions of pregnant women and children in the
developing world. In a just world, these Malthusian morons would be held to
account for the pain and unnecessary loss of human life they have caused but
instead, they are celebrated and allowed to continue influencing policy makers
despite the deadly outcomes they’ve caused.

So much error. I feel like Nomad trying to escape Kirk's mind fuck.

DDT is not banned worldwide. The use is restricted to things like, what now, pest control.

"Today, about 3,000 to 4,000 tonnes of DDT are produced each year for disease vector control.[16] DDT is applied to the inside walls of homes to kill or repel mosquitoes. This intervention, called indoor residual spraying (IRS), greatly reduces environmental damage. It also reduces the incidence of DDT resistance.[38] 
The World Health Organization still recommends the use of DDT to control mosquitoes and therefore malaria. The WHO, along with countries who actually use it all the time, would like to discontinue using DDT as it is toxic to humans (and ends up in breast milk), plants, and animals. Oh yeah, and mosquitoes become immune to it.  The claims that millions have died due to the worldwide ban on DDT are more than wrong. They're part of an anti-environmental, fake grass-roots movement funded by Exxon and a few mining companies.

Either Mary Lou Ambrogio is too lazy to do research, or her editors are too lazy to edit. Or both. Probably both.

On energy:

Call me cynical but I think the real goal of earth hour is to redistribute wealth, reduce human population, eliminate individual property rights, impede and reverse human progress, corral us into tinier and tinier living areas stacked on top of each other and take us backwards.

I won't call you cynical Mary Lou, that might infer intelligence on your part. This nonsense is just that; pure nonsense. We are so far from any of those things you worry about, and moving away from them so rapidly, that your complaint is obvious in its attempt to troll the reader and to move the conversation further right than needed.

You're terrible at what you do, unless what you do is push a cruel form of conservative ideology that truly does aim to take us backward and impede any human progress that doesn't come from oil companies. If so, you're awesome!

Massaging the Medium

Why yes, I do think layout and colour should be aggressively antagonistic toward the reader. Why do you ask?

Study after study purports that the quick, bite-sized literary meals we take on the internet are making us less attentive, and less able to concentrate. I'm just  doing my part. Either you take what you're given, consume it all and be better for it, or you click in, click out, and your brain turns to mush.

I see that as a win for me either way.

Brazil and Bad Flashbacks

On Sunday, September 13,  1981, I settled in to watch the finals of the Canada Cup with my brother and my father. We had been glued to the TV for the entirety of the tournament, smug in the knowledge that Canada would once again assert its dominance in the hockey world.

The final was as expected, Canada vs. U.S.S.R. This was an imposing version of the Soviet national team, led by the KLM line of Vladimir Krutov, Igor Larionov and Sergei Makarov on offence, as well as the incredible Vyacheslav Fetisov and Alexei Kasatonov on defence. With the legendary Vladisav Tretiak in net, this was a team born of nightmares. Constantly circling, swooping in from the red line, always on the prowl for a loose puck or some free ice, this was a team to be feared.

 But we weren't afraid. Our boys included legends like Borque, Gretzky, Lafleur, Bossy, and Trottier, and when they thumped the Soviets 7-3 in the round robin, the final seemed a foregone conclusion.
Team Canada Coach Scotty Bowman called it a "must win game" for Canada: "We really are favorites in the final. Nobody in this country will tolerate a loss."

So they we are, on the couch, waiting for history and fate to crown our country "King of the World" in our beloved hockey. After a scoreless first period, the Soviets opened up a 3-1 lead going into the the third. But this was not a problem that 20 minutes of hard-nosed hockey couldn't solve.

The solution, unfortunately, was a closely guarded Soviet secret. Two more goals put Canada 5-1 down and it looked bleak. The moping in our house was severe. The three additional goals the Soviets scored in the last four minutes were daggers of ice into our hearts.

Sometime you win and sometimes you lose. Sometimes, your national team gets embarrassed on an international stage in a competition you thought you had in your back pocket. Make sure you savour the wins.

Monday, June 23, 2014

One of the Unspoken Truths of Doping in Sports

From Robert L. Kehoe III and his excellent article on Lance Armstrong and the doping culture of cycling, comes this this salient bit of information:

Many riders and commentators (Malcolm Gladwell among them) have advanced the notion that although doping may be unpleasant, it levels the playing field and creates the conditions for a fair fight. Leading doping expert Michael Ashenden exposes the laziness of that position. For Ashenden, “the winner in a doped race is not the one who trained the hardest, but the one who trained the hardest and whose physiology responded best to the drugs.”

 From recreational juicers on Reddit, to baseball fan boys, they all want to focus on "hard work". You still have to do the work! they cry. Actually, no, but that moves away from the fact that the "best" are also the one best able to handle either lots of drugs, or get grains/results from a minimal amount of drugs.

This is why I've always contended that the Mr. Olympic contest need not be settled on the stage, but in the lab. 

You can make these guys lift for years and take tons of drugs (some of them aren't even healthy!), or you could just devise a test to see who can withstand the most anabolics and diuretics without fatal side-effects. It's not like you end up with 16 radically different physiques at the end of the day. With the aid of chemical-hypertrophy, all the guys pretty much end up in the same place, attachments aside.

As for cycling, let's just put them on an erg or a stationary bike, see who can generate the most watts per hour (or whatever metric cycling uses), and declare a cycling king for the year.
The other option, is to finally accept that sports that attract fans, or charge a fee to be watched, are entertainment. As such, we can stop worrying about whether or not it's pure and focus on the entertainment value, snug and smug that we know it's all special effects.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Modern Geek Culture Properly Curated

Whadya like? The vidya games? The funny books? Loin cloths and lances literature? Sure ya do, but ya don't gots the time to sort through all the choss for a few grains of delight, do ya?

Bugbear Bingo has come to your rescue. Every week the author, pictured below in what I assume to be his, or her, truest form, puts a few pieces on display from the modern geek culture catalogue. Peruse them and then pursue them, content in the knowledge that it's all you need.

Gather close children, he has a story to tell.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Apes Fighting Alongside Humans? Insane!

Crazed mutant leaders attacking a brotherhood of primates? Little did this 1976 comic know how well it had presaged our current predicament. Don't worry about the apes though. They dither in council until one brave ape decides that attacking the mutants armed with nuclear missiles is a good thing. You know that old adage, "Never bring a horse-mounted ape with a bolt-action rifle to a nuclear missile fight"? Never truer.

Planet of the Apes, Vol.1, No. 25, October 1976. Script by Doug Moench. Art by Sonny Trinidad, Yong Montano & Dino Castrillo.

Monday, April 07, 2014

You Greedy, Rapacious, Bastards

MLB goes through over 113000 balls per season. Each ball lasts about six pitches. These things are not special. Sit down, all of you, have some dignity, and let the little kid have a goddamn ball.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Click on Something Good Today

Here is Creighton Connor. He posts videos of his original material. Nobody watches. Which is sad because he's excellent. And in world filled with endless half-wits recording their every useless utterance, excellence can be hard to find. You can listen to isolated audio on his Soundcloud page.

If you're a struggling actor looking to make a comeback, or if you're a local e-weekly giving interview time and space to racists and hate mongers, just stop. Stop what you're doing until you suck less. Right now you suck way more than Creighton Conner. Until you're at least this good at what you do, stop. Just because people will pay to have you shit on them doesn't mean you have to.

Friday, March 14, 2014

When in Doubt, Run it Out. Or not.

If you're going to climb on gear you bought at Willi Unsoeld's 1971 garage sale, maybe make sure you aren't gripped and pumped out before you head up and run it out. Especially if you're teaching. Maybe a helmet too.

Second thought; how is this an artificial wall? I think there must be a translation problem. If not, awesome fake wall.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

This Little Light Of Mine, I'm Gonna Let It Shine on a Hateful Homophobe!

I wish he were simply a Poe, but that would require ignoring the rest of his semi-articulate oeuvre.  Reminds me of Ezekiel 23:20. Except that his issue is videos and not semen. But he is a jackass.

I guess I will use the retort best afforded me by virtue of Youtube and laziness. Cue the cliché!

Citizen Journalism At Its Finest

It's a shame the Canadian Pizza Reviewer has gone silent. I was honestly looking forward to all 170 reviews. Anyone who puts that much thought into pizza reviews should be listened to.

Heck, anyone who puts that much effort into a pizza review spreadsheet should be adulated.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Brain Game - Name the Song From the Vaguely Related Pictures

Here is some iconography from the second verse of a #2 hit from sometime in the 70's. First to guess gets a brand new bicycle. Or a brand new pair of roller skates. You'll have to supply your own key.


There you go. Literally the easiest thing you will do today. Operators are standing by.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

When You Get The Right Combination of Cheese...Magic Happens

Lee Hazlewood Lives Again in the Music of Brett Sparks

"Far From Any Home" by the Handsome Family provides the perfect emotional base for the start of True Detective. Does it remind you of anything? If the commenter claiming to be Brett Sparks is right, it contains a tiny sliver of homage to "Summer Wine" by Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra.


Here's another from Nancy and Lee. Not in the same vein, but certainly haunting in it's own right. It's no wonder Art Bell used it for years as his signature bumper music.


Lee is going to tell you about Phaedra. True Detective wants to tell you about The Yellow King and Carcos. It's almost like reading still has value.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Men's Figure Skating -- Trapped by Stereotypes

Men's figure skating, which should just be called Skating, Mens, is trapped by it design sense. These old Russian woman and bitter old French men who seem to run the sport have trapped the athletes in one of two stereotypes:

The wounded/painted/ethereal bird/dove/butterfly:

The other is the 20s gangster/dancer:

There are some pirates, but only the French guys do that. Otherwise it's all butterflies and wise guys. C'mon Olga, freshen things up a bit.

Olympic Musing As Pointless and Irrelevant as Any Mainstream Rag

Shameless cribbed from my e-mail and texts, because content is king, and I am a pauper. The smart people are in red.

Two Olympic ovals, coaches, therapists and psychologists out the ass, and all we have so far is one lousy medal? Time to pull the funding from speed skating. Alright, keep short track.

Maybe they should add some moguls to the ice and a couple of jumps to do some tricks. We would crush that sport.

Absolutely. More new and goofy sports that don't have a century of European club talent behind them.

 Even better, bring the Red Bull event where hockey players skate downhill on a course roller derby style. Or, let's just combine the red bull evnets and x games and call it the new Olympics. Would have more underemployed dudes than most poor countries where they look for food rather than working on mctwists.

Holy. Hell. That is a fantastic idea. I was wondering why they don't skate down the luge track, but your idea is much better.

 I like your thinking. Keep the red bull track for the "skater cross" event and then use the luge for a "pursuit" speed event using speed skates. For fun add rifles and make it like biathlon only you can frag your competitor. Single shot rifles so you only get one crack at it.

How about a Temple of Doom boulder to chase the slower competitors? Set it at fastest speed plus 10%.

 Eventually they will figure out how to make bobsleigh, luge, and speed skating more slope style (albeit dulling the blades) or half pipe.
I like the boulder idea a lot. For cross country what about releasing some hounds/guard dogs?

Think Olympics and "hunger games" and how you would alter events...

So, in the pairs, the 3rd place team fell twice and missed and element. Got a medal. The apologists say that we can't understand the scoring system 'cause we're dumb, and that failing a big jump is better than landing an easier jump.

Italian man just fell on on a quad salchow and got punished. Shouldn't he get big points for trying the hardest possible jump? Or just when you're German and a former world champion?

That is because you don't understand class systems. Those of lesser breeding need to have "character score" adjustments otherwise order will be destroyed and anyone would have a chance to win.

Really? I think I wrote exactly that.

But that is exactly why skating belongs with cooking and painting in the art Olympics.


Skating judging? Turns out economists are all over it. Should have known.

 Nice to know that while the US economy crumbles, economists are working on the hard problems... optimal scoring systems for judged events americans watch once every four years... if an american is contending...

He does work at Dartmouth. It's not like he's even aware there are economic problems, other than in theory.