Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I Want To Be Ben Chasny When I Grow Up

Note to any aspiring guitarists out there: Keep practicing.

Turd Blossom: Now With 100% More Turd

Karl Rove. Why, just saying his name makes me want to brush my teeth to get the taste out.

What can I say about the man that W affectionately dubbed "Turd Blossom" that would or could make him sound any worse than he could make himself sound? Answer: nothing. He doesn't need any help from me to incriminate himself, unfortunately.

Turdy McTurdleston has achieved a new, unprecedented level of evil though, so I did feel the need to mark the occasion. What did fattypants do this time, you ask? Well, you know that Iraq war that everyone's talking about? The one Rove-o-tron helped to orchestrate and profit from? Yeah, that one.

Well, it seems ol' Karl has decided to weigh in on it (emphasis on "weigh" LOLZ!) after all this time, to address the mistakes that have been made and finally take the people who rushed us into battle to task. Because of a select group of terrible, awful, no-good people, we jumped into a battle we had no hopes of winning, occupied a country that does not want us there, instigated civil war that shows no sign of dissipating and, oh, by the way, cost our own country billions of dollars and most imporantly, thousands of innocent, well-intentioned lives.

So who are these as-yet-unnamed warmongers that Rove went on national television and cited as the source of this whole mess? Well I'll tell you! None other than... the United States Congress!

Wait a second... the United States Congress??? Wait, that doesn't make any sense... I'm pretty sure that's not correct at all... and my girlfriend Arianna agrees with me!

The evidence that it was President Bush and Vice President Cheney -- and not Congress -- who were hungry for war is overwhelming. For starters, we have Bush's own words before the vote, when he explicitly told Congress that "it's in our national interest" to get the vote "done as quickly as possible." And the insistence of then-Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld that "delaying a vote in Congress would send the wrong message." And the words of then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle who says that when he asked Bush in September 2002 why there was such a rush for a vote on Iraq the president "looked at Cheney and he looked at me, and there was a half-smile on his face. And he said: 'We just have to do this now.'"

And there is the insider evidence provided by Richard Clarke, who wrote that within hours of the 9/11 attacks, this administration
had its heart set on heading into Iraq. And from Paul O'Neill, who made it clear that invading Iraq had been Bush's goal before he had even learned where the Oval Office supply closet was.

So I was right after all! Karl Rove is rewriting history for his own purposes! Thanks Arianna, you're the bestest gal ever.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, we learned something today: Turd Blossom is decidedly evil and definitely full of shit. He's positively blossoming with it.

Oh, I guess... we already knew that. Hmm.

But... if the GOP has taught us anything, it's that repetition is essential to convincing someone to see your side of the truth.

But... if the GOP has taught us anything, it's that repetition is essential to convincing someone to see your side of the truth.

But... if the GOP has taught us anything, it's that - oh, you get the point.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Greatest Invention Since the Hoverboard

This holiday season, I would urge everyone to remember what's most important: keeping warm.
And right behind that, I'd say: beards.

As someone with a beard who is also trying to keep warm, imagine my delight when I stumbled upon this truly genius creation - The Beard Cap!

Ever wonder what you'd look like with a beard? What your boss, nephew, mom or girlfriend would look like?

Well, wonder no more, with this handy invention! Thanks to a brilliant Scandinavian designer named Vik Prjónsdóttir, Now you (or your mom) can stay warm all winter and still give passers-by a serious case of the chuckles, which will help them to keep warm also.

If you, or your mom, would like to purchase one of these amazing devices, you may do so for the bargain price of $130 (who can really put a price on warmth and beards though?) at a store called Scandinavian Grace, in Brooklyn.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen (And People That Visit This Site)

I present to you, one of my favorite musical acts of all time, the one and only: Six Organs of Admittance!

Also known as the talented Ben Chasny, this constantly shape-shifting music project never ceases to amaze me with its ability to redefine itself with every new release. Chasny is a picker if ever there was one, and his talent and craft are only eclipsed by his sheer humbleness. To see Six Organs play live is to see an artist paint. But he paints in such a way that you never see the brush move - all you get is bursts of color and emotion. Fine by me.

But seriously, folks: BenChasny

Ben/6OoA just released a brilliant new album called "Shelter From the Ash." It's about as cheery as the title might suggest. But what it lacks in glee, it more than makes up for in its ability to roll them stones. The subject matter traffics heavily in paranoia, anger, apocalyptic visions, fear and all out desperation. But something about an album as beautiful and masterfully rendered as this one makes me smile. Honesty like that has to be a good thing.

You know why? In my humber opinion, this world is lacking in artists. Real artists. Those who could care less whether they turn a dollar for any of their effort. Those who create just for the sake of creation. Those who let their work speak for itself. I say without a grain of my usual irony or sarcasm: Ben Chasny is one of these artists, in every sense possible.

Although the album officially dropped today, I actually caught a download of it months ago, and I've been digging on it the entire time. I think it receives The Dispatches from the Ledge Award for Best Reproduction of Hopelessness on an Album. Seriously, it makes perfect sense appearing on a web site masthead as bleak as this one.

And keep an eye out: he'll be touring in January. And as he himself says on track 4: "I'm coming to get you."

Here's a video for the title track off "Shelter From the Ash" for your listening and viewing pleasure. (And if you can guess how many guitar tracks are on this song, you win a free lunch!*)

*I cannot confirm that you will ever receive this lunch.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Even Radiohead Has Fun Once In A While

For a band that has earned a reputation for taking themselves (and the world) rather seriously, Radiohead's appears to be having quite a bit of fun in the studio recently! Following the announcement and groundbreaking "digital-only" distribution of their new (and quite good) album "In Rainbows," they've also been releasing some fun video clips of them in the studio, playing cover songs. So far, we've seen covers of Bjork's beautiful song "Unravel" and now, a rocking version of The Smiths' angry "Headmaster Ritual."

Both are phenomenal songs to begin with, and it's really cool to see Radiohead having some fun working them out - there's actually some smiles and laughs involved! On the Smiths song especially, you can just see that these guys have probably been rocking out to this song since they were 13. It's pretty cool. Check the videos out and enjoy:

The Smiths - "Headmaster Ritual" (Originally from the Meat is Murder album)

Bjork - "Unravel" (Originally from the Homogenic album)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Speaking Of Someone Who Deserves A "Villain Chair"

Is it possible to jump the shark on how many times you can make people think you are an asshole?

President Bush would have us believe the answer to that is a resounding yes. Much like Fonzie, clad in his trademark leather jacket, once water-skied over a shark on Happy Days, thus negating any actual "cool" cred he had attained up until that point, President Bush has now surpassed even his own assholery. See THIS ARTICLE to see what's got my knickers in a twist this time.

I think most people are aware at this point that we are engaged in a war in Iraq. If not, throw that shit in a Google search and talk to me when you have a pulse.

Well, war is - to borrow a cliché term - hell. People die, people get horribly injured, disfigured, emotionally scarred, etc. That's why, when you're thinking of declaring war, you better have a very good fucking reason for it. Otherwise, you are putting lives in peril for no reason, or more accurately, for terrible, selfish reasons. Lives of trusting, honorable men and women, who only want to do the right thing for their country, and trust that their leadership would only have them act for a worthy and noble cause. Instead, they got WMDs and a country that has erupted in violent civil war.

This past Thursday, the president went to visit Iraq veteran soldiers at rehabilitation center in Texas. Some of these soldiers were disfigured and permanently injured in the line of duty. Their strength and fortitude can only be further expressed by how graciously they received a visit by the very man who put them in harms way. The greeted their president with respect and humility. Whether he deserved it is another matter (no), but their gesture is commendable regardless.

For his part, Bush played his "regular guy" card and played video games with them. Video games. And not just any video games. War games. Are you kidding me? If it weren't so horrendously tragic, the irony would be laughable: the man who sent these brave souls off to war, where they suffered terrible injuries, then adds further insult to these same injuries by paying them a visit to "play" at
"shooting the bad guys" (Dana Perino's words, not mine). It's insulting, in every way that an insult can be.

I can't believe this guy still makes me as sick as he does. After 7 years, you'd think I'd have gotten used to his deplorable behavior, grown a thicker skin or just learned to tune him out and ignore it all. But apparently I haven't. Take a look at the pictures of him with these heroic troops, literally laughing in the face of their sacrifices, and I am sure you will feel the same.

He's outdone even himself this time. I can't even believe it.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

This Chair Went To Five Years of Evil Medical School

Have you people heard of this beautiful beast?

It's called "The Villain Chair" and tell me it doesn't look the part!

This is the chair that Darth Vader sits in after a long day running the Deathstar. Princess Leia was probably busting his balls, Palpatine was riding him about keeping the damn thing on budget and then his shitty kid wants to mouth off at him about why he should vote for the Green Party instead of the GOP. So he cracks open a cold one, sits down in his Villain Chair, watches reruns of the time they blew up Aalderan and dreams of a life that does not so closely resemble his own.

Looks pretty god damn good, doesn't it? Want one? It's yours for the bargain price of $7,200!

And you know what? I bet it's totally fucking worth it.

Bill Maher's Wallet Says "Bad Motherf--ker" On It

Quick synopsis: On Bill Maher's final epsisode of "Real Time" this season, a couple of raisin cakes* got loose in the studio audience and started to disrupt the show - shouting things about a 9/11 consipracy. Because, you know, obviously Bill Maher was behind 9/11.

CLICK HERE to watch how readily Maher dispatches the morons.

It's a great moment and a reminder of why live TV can actually still be interesting. Often, "Real Time" falls into a formula (albeit a consistently funny and thought-provoking formula), but this clip shows how easily the balance can be upset. It also makes for interesting television and reminds you that Bill Maher is a seasoned vet when it comes to giving hecklers the hatchet.

* Thank you to Patton Oswalt for the wonderful term "raisin cake" for a crazy person.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Jon Stewart: Patron Saint of the Writer's Room

Jon Stewart, you are a class act.

In the midst of this gi-normous writer's strike that is happening now (and that nobody seems to be able to stop writing about), some refreshing news appears: Jon Stewart will be personally paying his writing staff (as well as those at the Colbert Report) out of his own pocket for the next two weeks, to make sure his team is not hurt by expenses that may come up while their pay is suspended during that time. Read more HERE.

What a guy! Correction: what a smart, generous guy!

Not only is this great news for his writers, but this is a win for him and his audience too, in the long run. A paid staff is a happy staff, is a staff that doesn't quit and go somewhere else! Stewart has an award-winning writing team, and he's smart enough to realize it. This means the show will continue to be awesome, even after the strike ends, because the team will still be intact.

Bravo to Stewart, for showing solidarity and remembering what it was like when he was a writer just like them.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

My Fifteen Site Visits of Fame

Last week, I went to a wondeful concert performance by a gentleman named Sufjan Stevens. The kids love him. He was presenting a symphonic piece he had developed on the BQE (or the Bronx-Queens Expressway to its friends). Coincidentally, it was called "BQE". This all took place at the lovely BAM Opera house in Brooklyn. A lovelier concert experience I could not hope to find.

I wrote a description of the event HERE, for my friend Kristian's musical site.

Pretty neat. Thanks Sufjan, thanks Kristian, thanks Vegans, thanks mom and dad - WE DID IT!!!!!