Thursday, December 31, 2009

See you next year

God damn, American pop culture is creepy.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Favorite Films '00 - '09

Far from being a film expert, I am just a man with a keyboard and a keen enjoyment of films. That makes me one of thousands, but I only get to do this once every ten years, so I'm not going to stop. I first did my "Favorite Films" list in 1919 for the "United Liberation of Working Men" quarterly newsletter, published by the Greater Newark Communist Party. In my list, I picked the 1915 "The Italian" as my best of the decade, which caused quite a stir against such expected victors as "Civilization" (1916) and the Chaplin classic "The Immigrant" (1916).

When reviewing my list, keep in mind that 1) there are many movies I have not seen, 2) although these are my favorite, or most impressive, movies I have seen in the past ten years, some of these films I have not seen in years. What I would like to do over the next few months is re-watch all of these cinematic masterpieces and see if they should remain in my upper tier for the decade.

On a quick aside, 100 years ago they called their double zero decade "The Aughts." In the UK, they referred to this recently past decade as "The Noughties." Why couldn't America settle on either of those very simple, easy to use terms? No, we had to hem and haw and wax philosophical about the struggles we endured to come up with a good nickname for the decade.

I will tell you up front that you will not find "The Dark Knight" or "There Will Be Blood" on my list. There are none of the Lord of the Rings trilogy on here. Indie favorite "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and movies based on Frank Miller comics will not greet thine eyes. So, what in God's Latin name is left? Well, in alphabetical order, my "Delightful Dozen of the Decade"...

Amelie (2001) - There is a lot to be said about this quirky French comedy, but I won't be the one to say it. Just let it be known that Audrey Tautou is beautiful, the soundtrack by Yann Tiersen is one of my favorites of all time, and director Jean-Pierre Jeunet makes up for Alien Resurrection with one of the most delightful and unusual films of the decade.

Collateral (2004) - Tom Cruise gets more criticism than Nicolas Cage, yet Cruise has made many consistently enjoyable films (The Last Samurai, Minority Report, and Valkyrie were all easily in the top 50 of the 00s). This is at the top of the list, a dark, brooding film complimented by Jamie Foxx's gifted acting and Michael Mann's deft direction.

Everything is Illuminated (2005) - This film came out of left field for me. Knowing nothing about it, I sat down and was enthralled by the humor and captivated by the humanity. This is easily the most underrated movie of the past ten years. I love Liev Schreiber's directing in this film, and I wish he would duck behind the camera again soon.

Letters From Iwo Jima (2006) - Clint Eastwood has shown himself to be the Orson Welles of the past 20 or so years by contributing his acting, directing, composing, and writing to some truly wonderful movies. War movies are as numerous as the hairs on my arm, but so rarely do we get a film from the perspective of the losing side that is respectful without being apologetic or patronizing. The film is also filmed in Japanese, so give credit to Eastwood for crafting such a fine piece of cinema outside of his native tongue. Ken Watanabe starred in a number of quality American films in the 00s, including this one, the aforementioned "The Last Samurai," and "Batman Begins."

Matador, The (2005) - This film's protagonist got a lot of comparisons to a lonely, lowly James Bond, mostly because of the actor Pierce Brosnan, but Bond was a debonair spy, and Julian Noble is an isolated assassin who comes across a tourist in a Mexican bar that he latches onto as his one and only friend. Writer/Director Richard Shepard deserved any accolades he received for giving us an action film with substance, heart and realism.

Memento (2000) - This is one of those movies that is pretty much on everyone's list. It's #27 on IMDB's top 250, and the reason is that you have a finely paced film, woven with layers to make you want to go back and watch it all over again as soon as you're finished. Although not one of Ebert's top films, I do think this quote works: "The movie doesn't supply the usual payoff of a thriller (how can it?), but it's uncanny in evoking a state of mind."

Million Dollar Baby (2004) - This may be Eastwood's greatest masterpiece, in which he directs, stars in, and even writes the soundtrack for the Best Picture winner of 2004. The film also stars Morgan Freeman, the cherished but often overlooked actor of so many stellar roles, and Hilary Swank, who has the acting chops that, let's be honest, prettier actors couldn't even come close to matching. I normally find boxing movies boring and sports movies played out, but "Million Dollar Baby" is so much more.

Mystic River (2003) - Eastwood. What can I say? I won't say anymore. Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Laurence Fishburne, Kevin Bacon and a roster of talent orchestrate a tale of humanity's nastiest echoes (sidenote: what did I just write?). Although set in Boston, you don't drown in it like "The Departed." The movie is a mystery that not only offers a solid story, but a rich creamy filling of characters, real characters, not two dimensional stereotypes to make the plot work.

Shaun of the Dead (2004) - I may have cracked up more during "Borat," but "Shaun of the Dead" has a fun story that stands up to repeated viewings. A British import starring Simon Pegg, the movie is a send up of the proliferation of zombie movies that we have seen in recent years. It's smart, though, and embraces the genre as much as it makes fun of it.

Terminal, The (2004) - It could be argued that Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks have been phoning it in for a while now, but there was just something very touching about this bizarre little story about a man stranded in an airport. It was funny, endearing, and even a little bitter to balance it out. It's humor that rises up from the sadness of everyone's lives.

Thank You For Smoking (2005) - Despite the distraction of Aaron Eckhart's butt-chin, I was delighted with "Thank You For Smoking" when I first saw it. The plot and dialog could have become dizzying and nonsensical if not in the right hands, but Jason Reitman, who went on to direct mega-popular "Juno" and "Up in the Air," took a talented cast and turned out a sterling film.

Wrestler, The (2008) - Director Darren Aronofsky created a captivating look at life on the downswing, when everything isn't coming up roses. Mickey Rourke received deserved praise for an erroneously described "comeback" (he'd had big roles in "Spun," "Once Upon a Time in Mexico," and "Sin City," where he basically wore the same cowboy boots in each film), but it's hard to tell if Rourke was just playing himself. Marisa Tomei is delightful as the supporting actor.

And now for some random awards:

Best Superhero Flick - The Incredibles (2004)
Most Unfairly Maligned Flick - Hancock (2008)
Best Use of Nicolas Cage - Lord of War (2005)
Most Enjoyable Use of Special Effects - Moon (2009)
Best "Chick Flick" - Cold Mountain (2003)
Most Disturbing Animated Movie - Spirited Away (2001)
Best Movie With Too Many Endings - The Last Samurai (2003)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas at Ground Zero

As the rain washes away another Christmas, I wanted to take some time to reflect. Growing up, Christmas was my most treasured holiday. What a joyous time of year! Family, friends, presents, cheer, food, fun, laughter and merriment. Of course, for some, it's a painful if not crippling reminder of what they don't have. Maybe Christmas was a little thinner for some children this year. Daddy lost his job, mommy is racking up the doctor's bills. I guess Santa couldn't find all of those great Mattel toys this winter.

At least we have family and togetherness...or do we? Feuds, divorces, distances, overtime, and so much more keep us all apart. Then there's old faithful, Death. Death is the great divider. I remember many a Christmas with my grandparents, but they've long been dead. I am friends and acquaintances with a number of people older than me. They'll be dead someday. Fuck, I'll probably be dead someday soon. We'll all be dead. On his birthday (observed), we celebrate the birth of the savior that died so he can save us. Christmas is truly magical, isn't it?

On a closing note, I direct this wish to you, the person staring at your monitor: I hope someone gave you a gift you can really cherish and treasure, even...or especially didn't come with a receipt. If Christmas means anything to me anymore, it is the sincerity of love that can still be found if you dig beneath the surface.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Birds are assholes

I know what you're thinking, presuming you think in English - "Birds are pretty and they sing nice songs!" Yeah, sometimes. It's time for a little lesson in reality, my internet friend. The truth is, birds are the biggest jerks in the animal kingdom. These are some facts about birds:

1) They shit EVERYWHERE, ANY TIME, no matter what is going on
2) "Screaming in parrots, or just excessive vocalization, is normal"
3) They chew everything
4) When they are deep fried, they clog your heart

Birds may take to the skies, but they are menaces to those of us on land. Seagulls steal food from children. Probably even candy. Have you ever been awoken at 5 o'clock in the morning by chirping birds? Or a rooster? Those fowl fiends terrorize city streets, too:

Just say no to birds.

Update: Their feces is fatal to humans.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Don't Diddly Doddly Die, Doomy Dio

One of my heroes (with "heroes" being "someone I enjoy in a non-sexual manner"), Ronnie James Dio, has been diagnosed with stomach cancer. According to a press release, he will begin treatment at the Mayo Clinic. Hopefully he recovers, as he still has one of the great rock voices of all time, even though he is older than rock and roll itself.
Ronnie James Dio, 67, has performed with ELF, RAINBOW, BLACK SABBATH, and his own band DIO. Other musical projects include the collective fundraiser "Hear 'n Aid". He is widely hailed as one of the most powerful singers in heavy metal, renowned for his consistently powerful voice and for popularizing the "devil's horns" hand gesture in metal culture.
Then (Rainbow)...

...and now (Heaven & Hell)...'re hearing the voice of a god.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans alive

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Your mother's anus

Two of my newly increasing interests, Jay Z and Rihanna, have merged in the immensely popular song and video, "Run This Town." Although hip hop and/or rap...look, I know there is a difference, like the contrast between heavy metal and hard rock, but I don't know what the difference is. Anyway, although hip hop and/or rap are known to have a heavy focus on words, the lyrics in the songs are often nonsensical. It's all in good fun, at least when it isn't vicious and furthering feuds with other musicians.

And hey, it teaches kids what they need to know - the easiest way to get rich is to become a celebrity. Jay-Z has his own clothing line, he owns his own basketball franchise, he hangs out with the top names and rolls in the finest fabrics. He wasn't born rich like Donald Trump, and he wasn't smart and lucky like Windows creator Bill Gates, so he wrote some lyrics, dropped some rhymes and made it to the top.

The rest of us? We'll fight tooth and nail to keep jobs that don't pay us, vote against our own self-interests (if we even bother to vote), stoke the same prejudices that have always kept the people divided, and listen to Jay-Z's music on YouTube.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fishing the one you love

I wrote my first article for Nintendorks since, oh, 2007 or something (to be fair, the site did go down for over a year). I wanted to make some kind of fisting/fishing pun and went to Wikipedia for inspiration. It didn't inspire me, but it did make me laugh:
The Silent Duck is the technique most often used, where the person engaging in hand insertion makes a beak-like shape with their hand resembling a duck. Double Fist/Side Prayer is a very advanced technique which only few are capable of achieving. [emphasis mine] The person engaging in hand insertion (the fister) places their hands palm to palm forming a position similar to one used when praying. Handler then turns theirs parallel to the floor, pointing fingers towards subject's vagina and/or anus.
Thank you, anonymous tool that made fisting sound like some kind of ancient Eastern martial art.

I like how that one paragraph on vaginal insertions is better than my entire article.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Six from the Sixties

Don't be like Tom DeLay and break your foot dancing to these tunes.

How out of shape and inept do you have to cause stress fractures in both feet?

It's dancing. I know he spent most of his life stepping all over the working and middle class, but you'd think his bones wouldn't be as brittle as his ethics.

What a freakin' loser.


John Edwards wouldn't have broken his feet.

He would have made sweet, sweet love to the dance floor.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I missed you. No homo.

I haven't been paying attention to blogging, so like most lazy people, I'm going to let youtube videos of television take care of content.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Last rose of summer

Saturday, September 19, 2009

People who died III

If you were wondering if there was a list available of people who have been tasered to death in Canada, wonder no longer. There is such a list for your perusal.

Don't add your name to that list. Stay in school.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

People who died, part deux

Mary of Peter Paul and Mary dropped dead. The trio had many hits, but the one most significant to me was the song Puff the Magic Dragon, which inspired the cartoon of the same name. Like most 70s children's fare, it was disturbing, unsettling, but still beautifully composed.

The story is about a boy named Jackie Draper who meets a dragon named Puff. The child is severely depressed, possibly suffering from the affects of molestation (which I wasn't aware of at the time), so Puff creates "Jackie Paper" and steals Draper's soul. Puff offers to take Paper to the magic land of Honalee, but Paper does nothing but cry about being scared. This may make some sense, as Puff is voiced by Burgess Meredith, also known as the Penguin, the avian avatar of avarice. Paper and The Penguin cannibalize Paper's possessions and create a boat to sail away. Paper nearly pisses his pants because he is so afraid of pa-pa-pirates. Gigantic, fucking pirates (fucking as an adjective, not a verb).

"I'm scared to have no fear." "Jackie, the first step to not being afraid, is to see things the way they are." So Puff lights up some fragrant weed and blows it in Paper's face. He gets the munchies and starts to ask the pirate for pie. Everyone then sits around and eats and laughs and eats. Then the pirate starts crying, but then he starts laughing. Some people just get weird when they're high. Later, Puff gets philosophical about clouds and stars, and it's either a metaphor for small, ugly people, or Puff just had some really good weed. Puff then jumps out of the boat and Jackie flies the sea vessel into the sky, where he throws a ball of light into space. I mean, God damn, that is some fantastic herb. But all is not great. The duo arrives in Honalee to find it in disrepair, which is what happens when you're always on a trip, so to speak. The new inhabitants of Honalee are suffering from the swine flu, 30 years before it was trendy. Paper asks Puff to help the "Sneezes," but Puff tells him that the filthy immigrants have ruined both his homeland and his magic powers.

Paper then finds the former pirate, now an Italian chef, to make-a da nice chicken soup for whatevah ails youse! Golden showers rain down on Honalee, and everyone proceeds to have the most amazing acid trip of all time. "Weave me the sunshine," indeed. The fun must end, however, and Paper wakes up back in his room. Puff tells him that his childhood is gone, that Uncle Bob diddled his wee wee, but now he must face this and overcome his problems. Time to be an adult, Jackie. Jackie concedes, so Puff gives him back his soul. Paper returns to being Draper, starts spouting gibberish, and reunites with his parents. Meanwhile, Puff, green dreadlocks frayed and tangled, walks by and asks if anyone has seen a dragon. He then realizes he saw himself in a mirror. Jesus, Puff, sober up for once.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

People who died

Kurt Vonnegut lived in his Manhattan home
Until one day he fell and cracked his skull bone
Mayor Bill Welch needed surgery on his leg
Went under the knife and didn't get out of bed
Jim Carroll was at his desk 'cause he loved to write
But his heart gave out, his world went black, he turned white

Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
They were not my friends, and they died

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Disney to purchase Marvel Comics

Although this should have very little impact on the actual content of Marvel products, I would like to see Disney's "Imagineers" re-imagine some classic Marvel work.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I blog at you from beyond the captain

I'm going to squeeze out what I can from this holiday weekend, so blogging will be pretty much status quo. In the meantime, I leave you with Captain Beyond, live in 1972. C.B. is a forgotten hard rock group of the early 70s, and was in fact a supergroup, comprising former members of Deep Purple, Iron Butterfly, and Johnny Winters. Enjoy.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Summer is sailing away

All things considered, it's been a good summer for me. Pretty much every weekend was occupied, I got to hang with my various groups of friends (which rarely mingle, so good thing I had a whole summer), I gained 10 pounds...okay, so that last part sucked. At least it kicked my ass to get re-focused on diet & exercise. Less fatty foods, more bicycling, less calorie bombs, more lifting (note: the 4 1/2 kilograms I added were blubber, not muscle), etc. I also got to see two pretty good concerts this summer, but more on that later in the week.

Well, now the days get shorter, the wind gets colder, and the trees start shedding their colors, each leaf going from green to yellow to brown, falling to the earth and then crumbling to dust, like all memories must do. So get out there and enjoy what's left of the summer, because tomorrow you may be somebody else's memory.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Wibberleys

Cormac and Marianne Wibberley are a writing team responsible for movies such as G-Force (2009), National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007), The Shaggy Dog (2006), Bad Boys II (2003), and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003).

That they continue to get paid to make the worst movies in Hollywood is further proof that there is no God.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Twat on your face

Although I dug my heels in like I do with most new technology and fads, I have joined Twitter. You can follow me and watch as I twit. You'll say, "man, he just twote the hell out of that twort."

Twitter is stupid. The whole human race is stupid. I'm in.

Lightning Edit: You can also read my latest twuts to the left on the sidebar.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Great headline

AP: "Lockerbie bomber freed, returns to Libya to die"

Monday, August 17, 2009

We're in a blue condition

President I Will Claim Victory No Matter What Happens Because I Refuse To Present Any Plans (we call him Obama for short) had this to offer:
Bowing to Republican pressure and an uneasy public, President Barack Obama's administration signaled Sunday it is ready to abandon the idea of giving Americans the option of government-run insurance as part of a new health care system.

Facing mounting opposition to the overhaul, administration officials left open the chance for a compromise with Republicans that would include health insurance cooperatives instead of a government-run plan. Such a concession probably would enrage Obama's liberal supporters but could deliver a much-needed victory on a top domestic priority opposed by GOP lawmakers.
* * *
A day before, Obama appeared to hedge his bets.

"All I'm saying is, though, that the public option, whether we have it or we don't have it, is not the entirety of health care reform," Obama said at a town hall meeting in Grand Junction, Colo. "This is just one sliver of it, one aspect of it."

It's hardly the same rhetoric Obama employed during a constant, personal campaign for legislation.

"I am pleased by the progress we're making on health care reform and still believe, as I've said before, that one of the best ways to bring down costs, provide more choices and assure quality is a public option that will force the insurance companies to compete and keep them honest," Obama said in July.
Fortunately, the guy that lost the presidential election because he once elevated his voice to that of a human being is not letting Obama waffle out of this:
Former Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean, a leading figure in the liberal wing of his party, said Monday he doubts there can be meaningful health care reform without a direct government role.

Dean urged the Obama administration to stand by statements made early on in the debate in which it steadfastly insisted that such a public option was indispensable to genuine change, saying that Medicare and the Veterans Administration are "two very good programs that have been around for a long time."

Dean appeared on morning news shows Monday amid increasing indications the Obama White House is retreating from the public option in the face of vocal opposition from Republicans and some vocal participants at a town-hall-style meetings around the country.
Others are joining in:
The White House insisted there had been no shift in position, adding the president still favors a federal option for the sale of health insurance. "The bottom line is this: Nothing has changed," said a memo containing suggested answers for administration allies to use if asked about the issue.

But some supporters of health care overhaul sounded less than reassured.

"You really can't do health reform" without allowing the government to compete with private insurers, said Howard Dean, a former Democratic Party chairman. "Let's not say we're doing health reform without a public option," he added in a slap at the administration's latest move.

His remarks were echoed by lawmakers as well as AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, who said the option was the only way to force "real competition" on the insurance industry.
I'm not sure any of this matters, though. Obama thinks he can be successful on health care reform if he sits back and let the chips fall where they may. At least Clinton had a plan when he failed. Obama is going to lose due to indecision and incompetence. That, and good old fashioned American ignorance.

I happened to be in the same room as a television playing Who Wants to Be a Millionaire last night. Ellen Gaines from Dunnsville, Virginia (heart of the Confederacy), was asked this $1,000 question - "In a New York Times Election Day crossword puzzle, which of these answers had the clue “Blue State” and not “Red State”?" Her choices were Melancholy, Communism, Outrage, and Insolvency.

She chose communism.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Do you want what you need?

Problems afoot:
LEBANON, Pa. – Jeers and taunts drowned out Democrats calling for a health care overhaul at town halls Tuesday, and one lawmaker said a swastika was spray-painted at his office as debate turned to noisy confrontation over President Barack Obama's plan. The president himself was treated more respectfully.

"You'll be gone, by God the bureaucrats will still be here," one man told Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., at a town hall in Lebanon, Pa.
It is utterly amazing how Americans constantly fight against their own self interests. "By Gawd I am an Amurrcan and I will fight the communists with mah guns!" For-profit bureaucrats that are employed by the insurance company already tell us what procedures we can and cannot have, bill us and our doctors exorbitant amounts, and require us to go through endless hoops to get what we need. At least, that's what happens for the healthy. If you're actually sick, or if you're ill/poor/unemployed/working class, chances are you probably are not able to have insurance.

So yeah, fine America, fight against health care. Who needs it?

What is the Bozo in Chief doing about this?
Obama answered his critics indirectly. At his town hall in Portsmouth, N.H., he urged Americans to ignore those who try to "scare and mislead the American people," telling a cordial audience, "For all the scare tactics out there, what is truly scary is if we do nothing."
* * *
The passions of the crowd illustrated the problems for Democratic lawmakers around the country as they try to use the month long August recess to promote Obama's agenda. There's not a single plan to promote, which Specter later told reporters made his job harder, along with the complexity of the issue. The House bill is more than 1,000 pages.
Yeah, great, thanks for that. Have you brought any ideas to the table, or do you just one of those helpful guys that points out problems without offering solutions?

He's created a vacuum that has allowed the empty heads to thrive.
At a crowded community college in Pennsylvania, [Pennsylvania Senator Arlen] Specter heard from speaker after speaker who accused him of trampling on their constitutional rights, adding to the federal deficit or allowing government bureaucrats to take over health care.

"My children and grandchildren are going to pay for this," said another.

"One day God will stand before you and judge you!" shouted a man before security guards approached and he left the room.
* * *
One woman tried to make it personal for Specter, alleging that the Democrats' plan would not provide care to a man in his 70s with cancer, like Specter had.

"You're here because of the plan we have now," she said.

Specter, 79, who has battled cancer twice since 2005, showed some heat at that.

"Well, you're just not right," he said. He called her claim a "vicious, malicious" rumor.
Actually, I think Specter, as a senator, had government health care. But let's not let logic get in the way of anger.

Is there a good way to wrap things up?
In Georgia, Democratic Rep. David Scott's staff arrived at his Smyrna, Ga., office outside Atlanta on Tuesday morning to find a large, black swastika spray-painted on a sign out front bearing his name. The vandalism occurred roughly a week after Scott was involved in a contentious argument over health care at a community meeting.

Scott, who is black, said he also has received mail in recent days that used N-word references to him and that characterized Obama as a Marxist.
Stay classy, America.

Monday, August 10, 2009

He died a gentleman

Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft shared numerous letters with each other, including one Howard wrote sometime in July of 1935. At the Museum of Fine Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Howard studied a painting called The Stoic by Joseph Henry Sharp. Howard wrote,
It portrayed a scene the artist had witnessed in Montana, many years before. An old Crow chief had word that his favorite son had died in Carlisle University; he killed the boy's horses, cut off their heads, gashed his back and fastened rawhide thongs into the raw flesh, and dragged those skulls all over the mountains all day long, to show that neither grief nor physical agony could shake his fortitude.
It seems like there must be an easier way to show how tough and resolute you are. I mean, sure, we've all thought about tying severed horse heads to some rope and attaching them to our skin with various hooks and pins, but we don't actually do that. Besides, what did the horses do to deserve that? Dragging various animal parts does less to show you are not affected by grief than you might think.

Howard goes on to write,
When the world cracks under a man's feet and the sky breaks and falls on his head, if he can clench his jaws and keep on his feet, and keep his head up, if for no other reason than the stubborn pride of fighting, then that's something, at least, and if he can't do that, he'd better blow his brains out, like a gentleman.
Sitting in a car on the morning of June 11, 1936, Howard put a .38 automatic to his head and pulled the trigger.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Oh hell yes

It appears Christmas has come early for the human race. And just who is that jolly old elf delivering gifts for all of the good boys and girls? William Shatner.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Focusing on what matters

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Last man from the trenches

A little late, but worth noting:
Harry Patch, Britain's last survivor of the trenches of World War I, was a reluctant soldier who became a powerful eyewitness to the horror of war, and a symbol of a lost generation.

Patch, who died Saturday at 111, was wounded in 1917 in the Battle of Passchendaele, which he remembered as "mud, mud and more mud mixed together with blood."

"Anyone who tells you that in the trenches they weren't scared, he's a damned liar: you were scared all the time," Patch was quoted as saying in a book, "The Last Fighting Tommy," written with historian Richard van Emden.
* * *
Patch was one of the last living links to "the war to end all wars," which killed about 20 million people in years of fighting between the Allied Powers — including Britain, France and the United States — and Germany and its allies. The Ministry of Defense said he was the last soldier of any nationality to have fought in the brutal trench warfare that has become the enduring image of the conflict.

There are no French or German veterans of the war left alive. The last known U.S. veteran is Frank Buckles of Charles Town, West Virginia, 108, who drove ambulances in France for the U.S. Army.

Patch did not speak about his war experiences until he was 100. Once he did, he was adamant that the slaughter he witnessed had not been justified.

"I met someone from the German side and we both shared the same opinion: we fought, we finished and we were friends," he said in 2007.

"It wasn't worth it."
* * *
Patch's war had ended on Sept. 22, when he was seriously wounded by shrapnel, which killed three other members of his machine gun team.

"My reaction was terrible; it was losing a part of my life," he said.

"I'd taken an absolute liking to the men in the team, you could say almost love. You could talk to them about anything and everything. I mean, those boys were with you night and day, you shared everything with them and you talked about everything."

Ever after, he regarded that date as his Remembrance Day instead of the national commemoration on Nov. 11.

He and the other survivor agreed that they would never share details of the incident with the families of their comrades. "I mean, there was nothing left, nothing left to bury, and I don't think they would have wanted to know that," he said.

Patch recalled being unmoved by the excitement that swept his village of Combe Down, near Bath in southwestern England, when war broke out in 1914.

"I didn't welcome the war at all, and never felt the need to get myself into khaki and go out there fighting before it was 'all over by Christmas.' That's what people were saying, that the war wouldn't last long," he said.

His most vivid memory of the war was of encountering a comrade whose torso had been ripped open by shrapnel. "Shoot me," Patch recalled the soldier pleading.

The man died before Patch could draw his revolver.

"I was with him for the last 60 seconds of his life. He gasped one word — 'Mother.' That one word has run through my brain for 88 years. I will never forget it."

When he was wounded, Patch said he was told that the medics had run out of anesthetic, but he agreed to go ahead with surgery to remove shrapnel from his stomach.

"Four people caught hold of me, one each leg, one each arm, and the doctor got busy," he recalled. "I'd asked him how long he'd be and he'd said, 'two minutes,' and in those two minutes I could have damned well killed him."

After the war ended in 1918, Patch returned to work as a plumber, got married, raised a family and didn't start talking about his war experiences until the 21st century. He outlived three wives and both of his sons.
I've always found World War 1 fascinating. It was essentially the first "modern" war, very gruesome and horrific. It was so appalling to the world that people claimed it would be the last war, which obviously it was not. Trench warfare may remain the most nightmarish remnant of the war.

Monday, July 27, 2009

She sells Obama

I keep feeling like I should talk about Obama. His health care plan is just to ask other people to come up with a plan. He mentions that single payer is the best system and then breezes past it like it's some impossible idea. He has backtracked on foreign and domestic policies.

It's hard to get upset, though. The reservations I had a year ago are justified. It's not unexpected, just...disappointing, I guess. For example, Obama makes the most lawyerly (i.e. non-committal) answer about the whole Gates/cop controversy and he is accused of being racist. So what does he do? Apologize, appease the angry white contingent, and invite the cop over for a beer. Now, don't get me wrong, I like beer, so long as it isn't Miller/Bud/Coors, and Gates has also been invited for a brew. But you'd think at some point Obama would stand up for himself and say, "hey, that's my opinion, and it's a good one, go piss off."

No, the only people he ever stands up against are his own supporters.

Music makes me feel better. Let's listen, together, as a family:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Penis? Don't make me laugh

In the past few months, I've seen three films with exposed male genitalia. I doubt I will be giving any spoilers to say that Observe & Report, The Hangover, and Brüno all show the penis. They are all shown with the purpose of laughter, but only once did I laugh, and not coincidentally it was with the movie I enjoyed the most.

Observe & Report (2/5 stars) was funny enough, but it suffered from a moronic script, flat characters and stupid gags. The Hangover (4/5 stars) was not only funny, but it had a reasonable plot. I mean, I know these films are all fantastic, but at least make it mildly believable with characters that have a little personality. Finally, there was Brüno (3/5 stars), which made Borat seem cohesive. Brüno had many good sketches that just did not fit well together as a film.

It did get me thinking about nudity in film, either to titillate, to cause chortles or to enhance the art. Breasts are a dime a dozen. You practically get those in children's movies. Asses are also common, of both genders, men slightly less so. The penis is rarely shown in artistic contexts, and is almost exclusively used to shock and guffaw.

It is common to think that vaginae make a number of appearances in film, but that is confusing public exposure with pubic exposure. As Dimitrios Otis wrote, we often see pubic hair during "full frontal" scenes, but rarely do we see the vaginal lips outside of porn.

I can really only think of one film that had both vagina and penis used in a serious context is The Dreamers, the 2003 film from Bernardo Bertolucci. Bertolucci mixed his love of film with filming of love to show the lives of three youths in Paris during the 1960s, obsessed with cinema and sexuality. It's a curious film, but worth watching, especially because Eva Green holds nothing back. There are no secrets on my DVD.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Movies are awful

Before I was able to watch Moon, which is not a perfect film but definitely enjoyable and creative, I had to endure a ton of trailers for quirky indie romantic comedies. Hey, did you know Michael Cera plays an awkward guy in Paper Moon? There's a stretch!

Those films were nothing compared to the following two movies. Paper Moon and its ilk are movies I could at least sit and endure. The trailers for The Ugly Truth and I Love You Beth Cooper look so atrociously awful that I feel bad for the people involved. It makes me uncomfortable, like watching someone poop themselves in a restaurant. There's a mixture of pity and regret, but definitely not laughter.

To wash that out of your mouth, here's the trailer for moon. Listen to that gorgeous soundtrack and soak up those brilliant special effects. CGI should enhance special effects, not smack viewers in the face. Moon takes us back to the glory days of the 80s and early 90s of man made special effects. The story is also very good. Again, not perfect, but good. You also get a terrific acting performance by Sam Rockwell.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cronkite bites the big one

Walter Leland Cronkite, Jr. (born Walter Krunkowski), popularly known as Uncle Walt to millions of television news viewers during the 60s and 70s, has died at the tender age of 92. Cronkite helped the U.S. lose the Vietnam War, covered up for the fake moon landing, and cried when the liberal Catholic pinko John Kennedy was removed from office. He had a mustache and monopolized television for decades, if not centuries.

Cronkite died of complications from HIV. He was a dreamer.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Michael Jackson sucked

Literally, I mean. He sucked a lot of little children's little penises.

If you browse Michael Jackson's back catalog - of which there isn't a lot after the 1970s, since he only released four studio albums since 1982 - a fair amount of his songs fall into three categories. They are about how he does not sleep with women (Billie Jean, Dirty Diana), how he is really a bad ass (Beat It...I may be confusing the video for the song, Bad), and how everyone is mean to him (Leave Me Alone, Scream).

Here is an amusing progression of Jackson's faces. It stops at 2004, but this is a fair assessment of recent days.

Amazingly, all of the surgeries did not render him unto death. Instead, it was the good old fashioned celebrity death - drug overdose. In this case, prescription drugs. Jackson was a victim. He was a victim of bad parenting and mental illness. Nevertheless, I still think he was a twat and I have mourned his death the same way I mourned Bea Arthur's death, by not mourning it.

To be fair, Bea Arthur never had an arcade game made after her.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The world continues to mourn

It may be a bit late, but I wanted to take the time to discuss one of the legends of the entertainment world, cut down in his prime. I've seen the various news items and blog entries, full of remembrance and appreciation. It is all deserved. The work he produced will stand up for decades and centuries to come, a pinnacle of human achievement. Sure, he may have been a little odd, but he brought great joy to the masses. For that, we salute you. I know the world is a little bit worse off now that he has left us.

Rest in peace, Kurt Vonnegut.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

It's funny because it's true

In America, we have a problem where people cannot afford decent health care. Some people can't afford any health care. So what does our government want to do? Make it a crime not to have health care.
Americans who refuse to buy affordable medical coverage could be hit with fines of more than $1,000 under a health care overhaul bill unveiled Thursday by key Senate Democrats looking to fulfill President Barack Obama's top domestic priority.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated the fines will raise around $36 billion over 10 years. Senate aides said the penalties would be modeled on the approach taken by Massachusetts, which now imposes a fine of about $1,000 a year on individuals who refuse to get coverage. Under the federal legislation, families would pay higher penalties than individuals.

In a revamped health care system envisioned by lawmakers, people would be required to carry health insurance just like motorists must get auto coverage now. The government would provide subsidies for the poor and many middle-class families, but those who still refuse to sign up would face penalties.
Subsidies mean people will have just enough money to still not be able to afford health care. Let's assess those fees!

Better yet, if we execute people who get sick, we can really drop the rate of illness in this country.

In other news, this video makes me laugh every time I see it. If you haven't seen it yet, allow me to be the first to share it with you.

Monday, June 29, 2009

At the movies

I'm anticipating the wide release of "Moon" - an honest sci fi movie made with minimal CGI and a huge steaming hunk of story - but in the meantime, I thought I'd enjoy some other films while I wait. I recently saw "The Hangover" (fairly funny, 4/5 stars), but who has time to watch a ton of movies? Fortunately, the internet is more helpful than you would suspect.

Want to catch an indie flick?

What about the latest Michael Bay action extravaganza?

Or maybe a good chase scene?

Whew, I feel like I've just watched the AFI's Top 100 - in 10 minutes!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A controversy 35 years beyond relevancy

T Rex recorded and published Get it On (Bang a Gong) in the summer of 1971. Here they are performing it in 1973:

The Rolling Stones recorded in '73 and released in '74 It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It). Here they are live in '76:

The guitar work during the verses of both songs sound very similar to me. Too similar. Not saying the Stones ripped of T Rex, but it's worth pointing out. To me, anyway.

While I'm here, let me say that KISS was a monumental disappointment. They had such a great image, but so many of their songs were terrible. I won't even get into the ridiculous merchandising. Here's one of their better tunes, from 1977, filmed in Japan:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Don't get all emo on me, Percy Shelley

I started reading Roseanne's (Barr/Arnold/et al) blog, and it is awesome. Whether or not you agree with her points, check out the sheer...power of it:
ted kennedy tanked health care
by tanking hillary clinton. He thought he could bring the center too far left, and because of his treachery and his betrayal of american women at the last minute, we are where we are right now. Hillary had worked it over forty years to move the center right, and the cards were stacked for her to walk in and reap the whirlwind for working class women and children and for their families. Kennedy's patriarchal programming could not allow it. We were so close to changing the system, and we got tricked by oprah at the last minute. Oprah is a billionaire who does not want her dogs to have to pay inheritance tax, and so she manufactured Obama, like the Bush family cia elements told her to do. the rich protect themselves at all costs, no matter what, they always stick together against health care and social safety nets for widows and orphans and the sick. I hope they all roast with satan.
[everything sic]

It's funny, it's crazy, it's weird, it's probably partially true...I love it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Veteran of a thousand racist wars

"The Holocaust is a lie. Obama was created by Jews. Obama does what Jew owners tell him to do. Jews captured America's money. Jews control the mass media. The 1st Amendment is abrogated --henceforth." - James von Brunn

If this is true, then I wonder where exactly the Jews built Obama. Obama claims to have been born in Hawaii, but we have never seen a birth certificate sufficient to satisfy your general American crackpot. Could he have been assembled in Tel Aviv? New York?
Even a fertility increase of 0.4% will add millions of Jews over the next 50 years. But this is not happening right now.

As we know, the distribution of the Jewish population now is completely different from before WW II. Europe was decimated of its Jewish population and Israel and America became the new major centers of Jewry.
The Jewry center of the Jewish population is located in two countries, Israel and the United States of Israel. Conceivably, Obama's construction could have occurred in Tel Aviv, but realistically, it probably happened in the U.S.

Now, based on geography and global weather patterns, it would be easier for the Jews to smuggle manufacturing parts and genetic materials to Hawaii from California. Then, the Jews - or scientists, as they are alternatively known - could have "launched" Obama in the Pacific Ocean, much like a modern day, mulatto Godzilla.
Godzilla's signature weapon is his distinctive atomic breath. Godzilla's dorsal spines glow ominously, and then he lets loose with a concentrated blast of radiation from his mouth.
* * *
In addition to his deadly atomic breath, Godzilla can also emit atomic energy in all directions from every inch of his body in a short-range pulse called the nuclear pulse.
From this we learn that Obama is a weapon of mass destruction. I find it more than coincidence that from the time Obama was elected president, North Korea has performed a series of nuclear tests. Obama, a known socialist, and Kim Jong-il, a Stalinist, are obviously collaborating to destroy opposition to communism.

Here is what we know thus far:

- Obama was constructed by Jews
- Obama has nuclear powers
- Obama is part of the Neo-Marxist Global Hegemony

Please feel free to expound on this information in comments.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dying your own way

As I am sure you have heard by now, actor David Carradine was found dead in his hotel in Bangkok, one of the more reputable cities in the far east. Carradine was found in a most unusual way:
“There was a rope tied around his neck and another rope tied at his sex organ, and the two ropes were tied together and hung in the closet,'' Lieutenant General Worapong Siewpreecha told reporters.

“Under these circumstances we cannot be sure that he committed suicide but he may have died from masturbation,” he said.
Many of us - usually males - joke about dying during sex, but I doubt that includes solo sex. Most people do not want to be found with their pants around their ankles, a box of tissues toppled over with Michelle Drake's platinum pubis flickering on the monitor. We don't want to be found in compromising or embarrassing positions, especially if it involves a shoelace around the scrotum.

Which is odd, because a dead person is one of the few people you can't embarrass. What does a corpse care what the living think? Even presuming there is an after life, there must be better things to do than read the gossip columns.

Masturbation does seem like an interesting way to die, though. Despite popular opinion, I think suicide is the best way to go. I understand life is precious and blah blah, but when you are ready to die, why not go out on your own terms? I don't want to be taken by surprise. I don't want to die in an accident or something like that. I also don't want to have a painful death, so if I have terminal cancer, I'd rather kill myself than let the cancer get to me first.

That's the catch, though, isn't it? Suicide can be painful. Dropping off a bridge, slitting your wrists, inhaling toxic vapors - these are painful ways to die. Again, what does it matter to a dead person, it's not like you have the memories of the pain, but I just like to avoid the process in general. Why spend the last minutes of life in agony?

If you're lucky, you can find some pills and hope washing it down with vodka will do the job, but if done improperly, you can end up mentally retarded, which is probably worse off than you were beforehand.

Maybe Carradine did it the right way after all. Suicide by auto-eroticism. If it is successful, you're out of your misery. If it isn't, at least you had a good orgasm out of it.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Three great things about Russia

It is supposed to be a glamour product for the aspiring Russian female: The much acclaimed women’s vodka Damskaja is available in lime, vanilla and almond flavor. But Russian doctors are feeling the after affects already: they fear a new wave of alcoholism is sweeping across the female population.

Igor Wolodin does not think vodka is any more harmful than chocolate. He is proud of his new version of Russia’s national drink aimed at the female market. He promotes his women's vodka as the perfect drink to go with salads or to drink after a strenuous aerobics course. The vodka, Damskaja, is hailed as a glamour product for the female Russian socialite.

The Jewish Autonomous Oblast:
I'm sincerely glad to welcome you at the Official site of the Jewish Autonomous Region! I hope that the available source of information will be helpful for each Internet user. It will attract attention of curious and business men, develop relations, contacts and cooperation with all of civil institutions in our subject of the Federation, and strengthen interaction in various fields of everyday life.

I wish you success and mutual understanding!

Nikolay Mikhailovich Volkov, Governor of the Jewish Autonomous Region, Chairman of the JAR Government

The Red Army:

Friday, June 5, 2009

What Would Dio Do?

Penn Jillette is an illusionist and a comedian. He is also an atheist and he put together a video response to a high ranking Catholic official's comment that atheist's are not fully human because they do not enjoy the full human experience (some kind of emotional and/or spiritual thing-a-ma-bob):

I consider myself an agnostic. I have no evidence to believe one way or the other in the existence of God as I was raised to believe, or any God or gods as anyone else was raised to believe. I do have a belief, however, and that belief is that if God does exist, s/he is an non-interventionist. What that essentially means is that I don't think God answers prayers.

Which is odd, because I will toss up a prayer every so often. Not for myself - I try not to be selfish - but for other people. I guess I'm a hypocrite, praying to a deity I don't worship.

Whether or not God exists, and whether or not God is active in human existence, I do not believe in any church. I mean, I believe they exist - I just don't believe in what they do. I understand that they offer community and charity, sometimes, but it is a system that is not for me. For starters, I cannot be a part of something that's whole foundation is in steeped in fantasy or misinterpretation or bigotry. Also, sleeping in on weekends is very important to me. That is my little slice of heaven.

From a literary and artistic standpoint, I love religious imagery. That's a small part of why I am excited about the new Heaven & Hell album. That name may not mean much to you, but it is the operating moniker of Black Sabbath as fronted by Ronnie James Dio.

From my own personal preferences, that Dio-led version of Sabbath is one of the most satisfying musical experiences I have enjoyed. This is the fourth album, "The Devil You Know," following up "Dehumanizer" (1992), "Mob Rules" (1981) and "Heaven and Hell" (1980). I have seen this Sabbath twice, and I look forward to seeing them again, if possible, promoting this new record. This mixture of musicians I find like honey in a rich black tea, ultimately satisfying.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Come to me, understanding

During the Memorial Day holiday (now two weeks ago), I spent the weekend with a friend and her family at her parent's house, which is located near one of New Jersey's many scenic bodies of water (that's not sarcasm, New Jersey is actually a lovely state, depending on where you are). We basically sat around and ate, drank, and enjoyed life. Enjoyed living. All people are familiar with the expression, "money can't buy you happiness," and usually we can dismiss it as bullshit, because money certainly doesn't hurt. Yet, during times like I enjoyed that weekend, I really get the meaning of that. I understand. I absorb the wisdom of those words and experience it in my core. All the money in the world couldn't buy me that simple experience. It was pure...contentment. Yes, the worries of my world and the truths of my existence tried to worm their way into my brain, but for the most part, I was in a complete state of comfort. I was beyond comfort. It was like the poet B. Carlisle once wrote, "Forsooth, do you know what that's worth? Zounds, heaven is a place on earth."

Of course, like a ball tossed into the air, everything comes back down to earth. The higher the heights of happiness, the more you recognize its absence. Back to work, back to the grind, back to bills, back to the general sourness and bitterness I find in myself and others over any and all harms, real or perceived, grand or slight. But really, what can be done about it? The oppressed may change, but oppression itself never goes away. Someone must be ground under the heel of the world. Sometimes that someone is me, but more often than not it is some other shmuck. All in all, life is okay.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A fate, death

A number of years ago, I was walking through an old Quaker cemetery in Narberth, Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia. There were a number of old, very old, tombstones, dating back to the birth of the United States. A pair of tombstones stood out to me.

They were the markers of two young boys, same last name, possibly brothers. As memory serves, they died young, around the age of 20 or 21. They were buried during World War I, so presumably they lost their lives in Europe. As I walked around the yard, rock memorials worn by the weather of many decades, I thought about them, how their lives were cut short. I contemplated on how they never really had a chance to live. I wondered if their flesh was torn apart by bullets, or if their limbs were shorn from their bodies. Did they die instantly, or did they stare up at the sky, tears rolling down their faces, crying for a mother they would never see again? Or did they slowly rot away, gangrene and infection and disease working on what was left of them until they rotted away in a hospital?

I thought about their parents, how they had to mourn not one but two sons. I thought about their lovers, if they were married, if they had children. Did they leave behind widows and orphans, or did they not even have the luxury of love before their brief, worthless lives were snuffed out? If they had children, did those children go on to die in Europe during the next world war, a sad farce playing out all over again?

The names on the graves were eroded by the elements. In a number of years, their names will disappear, and any note that they were once on this earth would be gone. If they had any children, they are probably dead, too, if not by one of America's choice of wars, then from old age, or poor health, or suicide, or violent crime. No one left to remember them, or whisper their names.

Immortality is a dream. The best anyone every achieves is having a marble statute in a museum or a cartoon likeness whoring out some corporate product (if you're Ben Franklin or Abe Lincoln, you get both). When we finally conclude the bizarre dance of our existence, it is almost always not by choice. If we're lucky, we had a few good tunes with a few good beats, and maybe a few good partners along the way. Even if we don't, at least we got the chance to dream.

That's the beauty of war. It doesn't just take away lives, it takes away dreams. It cuts people down before they ever get to live. It is more ancient than agriculture, and it will outlast computers. It is our beginning, and it is our end.

Of course, if we don't kill people, how else will we solve our problems? Plus, guns are pretty bad ass.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Where have I been?

I've been watching Super News! on Current, which is apparently a television station.

Trouble with Twitters

Obama Hits the AIG Spot

Larry King Interviews The Hadron Collider

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Anniversary of life

Tomorrow is my birthday, although since life begins at conception, maybe my birthday was 9 months ago. Who knows? For this next cycle of life, I'd like to take advantage of the real estate market and poor economy to invest in something. I've always wanted to start a restaurant. I was thinking of a bacon buffet, with an area for big band performances and dancing. Maybe I'll serve locally produced wine.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Get Canned Brand

Perhaps you've heard that Drop Dead Fred is being remade, this time starring comedian Russell Brand as Fred.

I'm not...I'm not sure why we need this. I'm generally against remakes anyway, but this is not even a particularly beloved movie. I saw it when it came out, and that's the last time I saw it. Sure, it had Phoebe Cates before she dropped off the map, and a nice supporting role for Carrie Fisher, and the slapstick was great for the kids, know...really? We need this? A new Drop Dead Fred?

Don't get me wrong, I find Russell Brand to be a humorous chap, know...Drop Dead Fred?

Really? I guess Brand is a good replacement for Rik Mayall, but that's like saying Margaret Cho would be a good replacement for Roseanne Barr in a She-Devil remake.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Crunching the numbers

Gross domestic product by country, in [millions of] U.S. Dollars:

18th - Poland @ $525,735
19th - Indonesia @ $511,765
20th - Belgium @ $506,392
The advertising budget of Geico @ $497,000
21st - Switzerland @ $492,595
22nd - Sweden @ $484,550

It won't matter soon anyway, as the swine pandemic will wipe out 1/4th of the world's population. I've stocked up on weapons. I'll die fighting before I let those pig bastards infect me.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Knee deep in the rock

As appears to be an annual occurrence, my plumbing has gone to shit - literally. While running the laundry this morning, my toilet overflowed. After carrying buckets of water outside and cleaning up, it looked like the problem went away. I took a shower tonight and my toilet overflowed again, this time with feces...and also this time seeping into my bedroom.

So, I'm here, close to 4 a.m., putting in a request for a plumber to come and fix this mess, again. It's frustrating. I only have a handful of years left on this planet, and I had to waste an entire day dealing with toilet issues. What a waste of a life.

Speaking of wastes of lives, let's redirect my focus to Detroit. Many great bands have performed in Detroit, but unfortunately, they were doomed to obscurity. With the stench of human waste still in my nostrils, let's celebrate a few of them.




Thursday, April 23, 2009

Conspiracy: turkey burgers

Many people will tell you that turkey burgers are not only healthier than regular hamburgers, but they taste just as good. While we know the latter is a filthy lie propagated by godless mongrels, it is commonly accepted that turkey is healthier than beef. Generally speaking, yes. However, the ground up garbage in chopped meat is not so cut and dry.

According to the Internet(TM), 93% lean ground beef and 93% lean ground turkey have identical amounts of fat, and the turkey has only 10 grams fewer in the calories department. Not at all worth it for the substitution of taste (although I imagine there are those of you who will argue for the fattier burger, but this is only for people that are eating lean to begin with).

The moral of the story is that when you need a hot slab of meat between your buns, go with the beef.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Story of My Review of The Story of Anvil

If you watch VH1 Classic, you've probably heard about Anvil! The Story of Anvil. It is a music documentary about a metal band from Toronto that has been around for a long time, never made it big, but kept playing without stopping. It's been highly praised by the critics. Since it combined my love of interesting things with my love of music, I went to a screening/early showing in Philadelphia on Friday, which was immediately followed by a ten or so song performance from the band.

Re: The Documentary

To be brief, it was enjoyable. There were quite a number of laughs, a few moving scenes, and a handful of slow parts. Overall, it was a positive experience, and I recommend it, whether you like metal or whether you simply hate all music in general. It's interesting to watch. It's Spinal Tap-ish, but not nearly as much as some would lead you to believe. Or maybe I've seen enough bands playing to 200 people where it doesn't seem that bad to me. As is my way, I will warn you that there is some exposed penis early on in the film.

Re: The Performance

I knew about Anvil before the documentary. I have their album Pound for Pound with the great hockey song "Blood on the Ice" and the educational "Safe Sex," and I own a Metal Blade compilation VHS with their video for "Mad Dog" (not particularly a great song). With the documentary, a bunch of folks have been trying to talk about how Anvil influenced a lot of metal bands. That may be stretching it. They were really no more influential than, say, Raven. So a little bit, but not major. They remind me of a Lizzy Borden style band.

Anyway, they put on a good show. It wasn't fantastic. I've seen a lot better, but they play hard and I respect that. Lips frequently came down into the crowd to shred and rock some solos, which was cool. I got to meet and talk with everyone in the band and get some autographs and pictures. I forgot to bring my album cover for Pound for Pound, but I bought their new CD, which worked out. I'll post some pictures of the show later.

I would rate it a :)

You probably won't get a chance to see the concert, as "The Anvil Experience" with the documentary + concert is a limited run, but I would recommend seeing the documentary.


Performance of "Metal on Metal" from Super Rock '84 in Japan (if that song annoys you, don't see the documentary as you hear that riff quite a bit)

Performance of "Winged Assassins" circa 2005