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Archive for May, 2008

Friday Rockumentary Part 2

Posted by bmac on May 31, 2008

The Decline Of Western Civilization Part II, The Metal Years

Oh how quickly things changed in the ten years between these films. The first Decline was full of nihilistic punks that wanted to make important social commentary, ten years later, it was all about money, fame, drugs, and sex. Same city, same clubs, but a whole different world. It’s actually painful to watch how hedonistic and flat out stupid this whole scene really was, but that was the 80’s, and kind of the downside to the prosperous Reagan years.

The classic scene in this film is WASP guitarist Chris Holmes getting shitfaced drunk in a swimming pool swilling vodka while wearing a full leather outfit, as his mother looks on, trying to hide her disgust. I thought for years this was staged, but Spheeris says it wasn’t, and in fact, said that after she looked at the footage, thought it was totally unusable, and changed her mind at the last minute to include it in the film. It’s funny and sad at the same time, and yes, he’s still alive, and apparently still rockin.’

Spheeris focused a good portion of this film on bands that were struggling to make it, to mostly hilarious results. Unfortunately, the best stuff isn’t on YouTube, but there is stuff in here that would embarrass Spinal Tap.

Ultimately, it turned into a scathing indictment of the decadent, drug and sex culture of hair metal in the 80’s. Almost no one came out of this film without looking like an ignorant tool, except Megadeth, who after the parade of morons throughout the film, look like friggen metal rocket scientists in comparison.

This is the best bit I could find on YouTube, but this film shows up on cable occasionally, although it’s unavailable right now.

Posted in Music, Pop Culture | 6 Comments »

Friday Rockumentary

Posted by bmac on May 30, 2008

I haven’t done one of these in a while, so here’s a couple of amazing rockumentaries. BTW, is anyone else as bored with politics as I am? I think I just OD’d completely on politics, and I can hardly stand it anymore.

Any way, I love these films, and if you’re into music and dig this kind of stuff, they’re amazing.

The Decline Of Western Civilization Parts 1 and 2.

These are classics in the Rockumentary genre. Made by then unknown Penelope Spheeris, who went on to at least direct “Waynes World” but mostly did a bunch of forgettable TV show adaptations like the Beverly Hillbillies. She used a stark, kind of nuts and bolts approach to interviewing the players and the fans, that really captures the bleak underbelly of Rock n’ Roll.

Part one, shot around 1979, features the Los Angeles punk rock scene. Black Flag (pre Henry Rollins), the Germs, Fear, and X are all featured in this amazing film, which will be near impossible to find if you want to see it. Even if you don’t care for the music, like me, it’s still a fascinating look into the world of punk rock when it was still dangerous, before “punk” was Avril Levine and Blink 182.

In this clip, Germs singer Darby Crash and his girlfriend tell an amusing anecdote about finding a dead painter in the backyard, and posing for pictures with the corpse. When asked if she felt bad about it (mocking a corpse) Darby’s chick says “Not at all, I hate painters!” Shortly after this film was made, Darby committed suicide in a bid for rock immortality, but in an ironic twist of fate, he did it the very day before John Lennon was shot outside the Dakota. He did become somewhat of a punk icon though, and Germs guitarist Pat Smear went on to play with Nirvana and the Foo Fighters.

I’m struck by how young Darby Crash was. Just a kid.

Part Two, released about ten years later, features the metal scene in Los Angeles in the 80’s, and has become a kind of cult classic, full of unintentional hilarity. I’ll put that up next post, to keep it pithy.

Posted in Music, Pop Culture | 10 Comments »

One More Quick Movie Review

Posted by bmac on May 29, 2008

There Will Be Blood

I rented this with that slew of crap, and just got to it last night. This made up for all that shit. I loved it. I think this is a love/hate kinda movie, like P.T. Andersons other love it or hate it film, “Magnolia,” which I HATED. Although I will say it contained the absolute best performance of Tom Cruise’s entire career.

P.T. Anderson seems to have a way of getting great performances out of unlikely actors, like Cruise, or Burt Reynolds who was awesome in “Boogie Nights,” the only other Anderson film I like love. “Boogie Nights” also contained the best, most realistic depiction of dudes “tweaking” ever committed to film.

There’s not a great story in “There Will be Blood”, and the ending sucks, but Daniel Day Lewis kept me riveted for 2 1/2 hours. I could have watched 2 1/2 MORE hours of him being Daniel Plainview. He acted his face off. He deserved that Oscar, and then some. Friggen awesome.

I’m glad I didn’t really know anything about this movie other than Lewis winning the Oscar, because you just can’t tell where it’s going, right up until the end, and I love that. Lewis was so great, I didn’t even feel ripped off by the crappy ending.

Posted in Pop Culture, Slow News day | 9 Comments »

McClellan Book (and how to not write about the title of a post)

Posted by bmac on May 28, 2008

Former White House Press Secretary Throws Bush Under The Bus

I love how the parasites come out at the end of an administration, and throw blame around. Especially a monkey like McClellan, who’s only role was to address get badgered by, the press. McClellan hits Bush on everything, but I just want to talk about Iraq.

• McClellan charges that Bush relied on “propaganda” to sell the war.

Propaganda? There wasn’t enough propaganda. Here’s the other thing that has always bugged me. The Bush White House itself, keeps referring to Iraq as a “war.” Or “The War.” I never got that, because

A: It’s not a war. Not. A. War.

B: Calling it a war automatically sets us up to “lose” it. If the public thinks of Iraq as an actual war, then they expect an actual victory, a clearly defined victory, which they will never, ever get. There will never be a VI day. Victory in this case will be ambiguous at best, because WE’RE NOT AT WAR WITH IRAQ.

I never understood how the White House could not seem to grasp this most basic concept in it’s attempt at “selling” the action in Iraq. It’s like the most simple PR move in the world to not raise the publics expectations beyond what you can deliver, but Bush just keeps on talking about “The War.”

I’ll never understand why Bush didn’t sell this for what it was, deposing a brutal dictator, and enforcing the U.N.’s own toothless resolutions that after 9/11, just couldn’t be ignored anymore. It’s just that simple, context is everything. In the context of enforcing U.N. resolutions, Iraq is just a military action. In the context of a FUCKING WAR, it’s a whole different ballgame. People suddenly expect big results. Nobody wants to lose a war. Bush and his own staff, have gone out of their way to put Iraq in the context of a war.

Everytime Bush talked, or talks about this, the words U.N, Resolutions, and Enforcement should be used. Everytime. But nooooo. War. We’re “at war.” I can’t remember the last time Bush has even mentioned the U.N. when discussing Iraq, and with his insistence on calling it a war, he owns it now. We all do.

Just had to get that out. And McClellan is a dirtbag.

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments »

Movie Reviews

Posted by bmac on May 27, 2008

In between UFC, drinking and BBQ’s this weekend, I watched a few movies, and damn, was I disappointed. I realized why I almost never rent movies anymore, because they all suck. Have movies always been this bad? And yes, they’re old, and I’m really glad I didn’t see them in a theater.

First up: Cloverfield

It’s all been said about this film, but I would add, that a ptoentially really awesome concept was totally blown. I hate to see such a cool idea turn into something so utterly pointless. Big monster wrecks New York, they nuke it, the end. Does anybody have any imagination anymore? It literally was Godzilla shot with a video camera. Obviously, this entire film was made around a concept for a kick ass trailer.

Well, they succeeded, it was a kick ass trailer.

Speaking of lack of imagination, I had high hopes for:

National Treasure 2: Book of National Treasure One

Fuck, can these guys even try? Another gigantic underground cavern with oil trenches just waiting 200 years for Nic Cage to touch his torch to and light the place up revealing an amazing lost city of gold? A precarious balancing act on another rickety old thing above another super deep hole? Why even go to the expense of re-filming it?

I just don’t get how with a movie this big, that cost as much as this cost, that they couldn’t get a kick ass script. Couldn’t they throw around enough money to get an amazing writer? When they spent 90 billion dollars to start production of this thing, didn’t anyone say, “Ummm……isn’t this a weak version of the same movie with the oil trenches and over the top treasure, but way less believable and corny?” Anyone?

What are they gonna do for National Treasure 3, find Atlantis in the basement of the Washington Monument? They pretty much can’t make one now that wouldn’t be ridiculously asinine. Ruined what could have been a really cool franchise by waaaay over doing it. Once again, Hollywood totally misreads the public. The cool thing about the first National Treasure, was all the clues, not the big stunts, or action sequences.

Finally, Alien Vs Predator-Requiem

Somebody should be killed for making this. The first one was marginally entertaining, but this was an abortion. Again, I just don’t know how something this horrible gets made. There’s nobody to root for in this movie. How does a script this bad get filmed? With good effects and everything? No story, no hero, they kill fucking babies in this nightmare for Gods sake. It was beyond offensive, and I’m pissed that I somehow contributed to it’s existence.

Ok, so if you haven’t seen these, ummm…SPOILER ALERT!! THEY SUCK!!!

Posted in I'm Pissed, Rant, Slow News day | 22 Comments »

The Really Cool, Spy “Numbers Stations” ……For Spies

Posted by bmac on May 23, 2008

I’ve posted about these before, but I got nothin’ to bitch about today, and it’s Friday, so let’s have some fun with:

The Spooky Numbers Stations.

I love these things. Most of you are probably aware of these, but if you’re not, here’s a Wiki definition of these shortwave spy stations, which were discovered in the 70’s, when short wave radios became popular, and people started to find these bizarre broadcasts that seemed to make no sense. Some of them had been on the air since as far back as WWI.

They generally broadcast voices reading streams of numbers, words, letters (sometimes using a radio alphabet), tunes or Morse code.

The voices that can be heard on these stations are often mechanically generated. They are in a wide variety of languages, and the voices are usually women’s, though sometimes men’s or children’s voices are used.

They’re also incredibly spooky sounding, and for some reason, many of them use music, like tinkly music box music, which just adds to the creepiness. Or tinkly music box music with a little girls voice reading numbers in a foreign language, which when combined with the static of shortwave, makes the hair on your arms stand up. Some horror movies have used these things as background to add a disturbing element you can’t quite put your finger on.

Check out this one, called “The Swedish Rhapsody”, but listen to the whole thing, because it gets creepier as you go. This is the one with the little girls voice, and the creepy tinkle music.

This one here, is just fucking disturbing.

Here’s one with just numbers.

This one inspired the title of the band Wilco’s album “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.”

I always picture a spy with a little radio sitting in some dank foreign basement with like a candle on the table, as evil Russian spies are closing in on him, listening to this message and writing it down on a piece of paper he’s gonna eat later when they catch up to him. I also wonder how these messages are translated, and by that I mean, what could 1,5,8,4,2,7, possibly mean? How much information could be in those numbers?

Many of these stayed on the air for 20-40 years, which makes me wonder if the spy ever got it, or was captured.

Even weirder, was that little girls voice and tinkly music an order to kill someone? Did that sequence of numbers lead to one, or many deaths? My simple mind reels with the possibilities.

The other really cool thing about these, and why they’re still in use today, is that these codes are 100% unbreakable. The spy and his handler were (are) the only two people that have the code, known as a “One time pad.” A spy almost anywhere in the world without the use of a trackable phone, could simply pick up a widely available shortwave radio, and receive messages from his handler.

If you’re really man enough, listen to a bunch of these, late at night, in the dark, by yourself.

It’s spooky cause it’s true.

Interesting fact: In the U.K., it’s illegal to listen to them on a radio.

Posted in Slow News day, Weird | 61 Comments »

When Greed Goes Bad, And The Reality Of Business

Posted by bmac on May 21, 2008

Boy Band Mogul Gets 25 Years

I just don’t understand this kind of greed. This asshole had made a ton of money from legitimate businesses, and still just had to fuck people over to make more, including his stupid boy bands. This is the kind of guy that makes people loathe the rich. Kinda like Martha Stewart. She was obscenely wealthy, yet she just had to break the law to scoop up a measly (to her) couple hundred thou.

I guess somehow, complete Megalomania just takes over these people. No amount of money will ever be enough, they just have to bulldoze through as many people as humanly possible to prove they’re top dog, at any price.

This is why people get so infuriated at anyone that makes a dollar from something they have to buy, like gas. Assholes like Lou Perlman and Martha Stewart, make the public think everyone is trying to fuck them.

Big Oil makes what, 7% profit? Not much considering all their costs, and all the things they do that don’t generate money, like exploration. What do you think Exxon’s annual insurance bill is? They have “record profits” because gas has never been $4.00 a gallon before, but they have record costs to go with those record profits, no one seems to ever mention that, people just think they’re getting fucked while CEO’s are barbecuing Yangtzee River Dolphins on their solid gold yachts cackling hysterically.

Same with the Airline industry. People love to bitch about that. I heard somewhere, that every one cent increase in jet fuel, costs an airline about 25 million dollars that they don’t get back without raising prices. Not sure how true that is, but it makes sense when you consider one single 747 takes about 60,000 gallons to fill, and multiply that with an entire fleet, and hundreds of flights every day, and you start to get the picture how hard it is to make a buck without pissing people off that have no idea how much it costs to run a business like that.

Not to mention the fact that they put giant fucking pieces of metal in the air everyday with a near perfect safety record to get your ass to any number of destinations on planet Earth within a matter of hours, yet somehow, they must be gouging you.

I got the same attitude from people when I owned and operated my own small business up until last February. They all thought I was rich, because I owned a business, and why can’t they get a discount. I sold moving boxes people. You could get 20 for 40 bucks, and people thought I was ripping them off, I mean, it’s just a box. Two dollars for a box?

It never even occurred to them that this stupid box had to be manufactured, shipped, bought by a distributor, bought by me, and transported again to my business, where I had to pay rent, and pay insurance, and about 800 other bills, to get this stupid box in their hand for two bucks, that is somehow greedily overpriced to fuck them out of two dollars while I laugh hysterically at them as I step into my Bently.

It’s like that Dennis Miller bit. People think they’re getting royally screwed paying four dollars for a gallon of gas that will transport them 10-40 miles, (or two dollars for a box) and not even blink at paying $4 for 8oz. of fucking coffee at Starbucks.

I think I lost the main focus of this post in my rambling, but I think you get a point of some kind.

Update: Nevermind that last sentence.  Changing the title of a post can really bring a point home.

Posted in Idiots, Personal Stories | 30 Comments »

Florida Goes Postal On Smokers

Posted by bmac on May 20, 2008

Here we go again, Sarasota County Will not hire smokers.

Citing health care costs.

I just don’t know how to say how dangerous this is.

Citing the burden they place on taxpayers who pay for government workers’ health insurance, Sarasota County officials announced Monday that they no longer will hire smokers.

After the country is free of smokers, all of you that like cheeseburgers better get ready to love delicious ricecakes.

What’s that? you say you like to ride dirt bikes on the weekend? Sorry, too dangerous. Next.

Enjoy a couple drinks after work? Do you have any idea the cost of alcohol related health care? A daily urine test will be required if you want to work here.

Is that a pair of rollerblades in the back seat of your car? Broken bones cost the state plenty buddy.

How dare you drink coffee in the morning, don’t you know how many caffeine related illnesses there are?

Is that a fucking Twinkie in your hand??!!! Security!!!!!!

I’ve said this before, but this Jihad against smokers is the state dipping their feet in the water of fascism, and when smoking is fully banned, they WILL move on to something else. It won’t stop there when they see they can dictate personal behaviour without anyone putting up a fight.

Posted in I'm Pissed, Politics, We're Doomed | 31 Comments »

Testicular Television

Posted by bmac on May 19, 2008

L.A. Times writer Mary McNamara practically defines Elitism in this silly article about reality T.V. and the middle class.

Discovery Channel recently announced that men ages 18 to 49 ranked “The Deadliest Catch” No. 3 among all prime-time television on Tuesday night, beating out “Dancing With the Stars” and “Shark” in the demographic.

Really? “Deadliest Catch” beat “Dancing With The Stars” among men 18-49? SHOCKER!!

Those damp and colorful Alaskan fishermen are just part of the hyper-masculine subgenre emerging on reality television. Discovery also has Deadliest CatchDirty Jobs,” which explores unsung laborers like the road-kill collector and the steel-mill worker. Over on the History Channel, “Ice Road Truckers” follows the fate of big rigs navigating short-lived ice roads in the Arctic, and “Ax Men” pays homage to modern-day lumberjacks, while the new “It’s Tougher in Alaska” compiles a greatest-hits list: gold mining, salmon fishing, trucking, railroading, even waste management will each get their own episode.

Ok, first of all, “Hyper-Masculine” (emphasis mine). Obviously, to a female writer for the L.A. Times, any man that isn’t a flaming metrosexual that gets their eyebrows waxed and wears $400 shoes, has to be, by definition, “Hyper-Masculine.” Second, all those other shows that are not “Deadliest Catch” are flopping big time. Discovery is just trying to copy itself, by throwing any show about dangerous jobs against the wall to see what sticks, it’s not like it’s a trend.

Third, “Deadliest Catch” is popular because only a handful of guys in the entire world actually do that job, (for good reason), and that is what makes it compelling. “Ice Road Truckers?” Not so much.

The folks are mostly men, all rugged, real and capable, proof that Americans are still capable of living by their wits and the strength in their calloused, competent hands. Call it testicular television.

Oh. Fucking. Brother. “Testicular Television.” I guarantee you this bitch has the “Sex And The City” box set on her person at all times. In fact, she mentions it at least 3 times in this article. Also, she uses the word “capable” twice in one sentence.

The article just goes on and on, as the writer routinely confuses the middle class with the working poor. To her, the middle class are people who “Lose a days work because some bit of machinery goes missing” or “A family of six living in a tiny aluminum-sided rancher on a treeless lot.”

Her entire frame of reference of the middle class is based around T.V. shows that only women and gay guys watch, like “SATC”, “Ugly Betty” and “Greys Anatomy.” A completely twisted worldview that only a female writer from the L.A. Times can capture in a snobby, elitist, sentence like this one, where she seems very sad about the plight of reality T.V. families who are not enlightened T.V. writers for the L.A. Times.

when you bring cameras into people’s homes and lives, there’s no ignoring the beat-up carpet that the family cannot afford to replace, the rickety computer station in the middle of the living room, the jobs that involve hours of monotonous hard work, the emotional toll of trying to balance work and family without affordable day care.

Who do you think this chick will vote for? The fake empathy just drips off the page.

Women in media have emasculated men to such a degree, that any man that is not a fashion designer, or “McDreamy,” are “Hyper-Masculine,” and shows not about powerful or slutty women are “Testicular Television,” instead of just an interesting show about guys that do an interesting and dangerous job.

Posted in Pop Culture, T.V. | 30 Comments »

A Little Music For The Weekend

Posted by bmac on May 17, 2008

In an effort to totally confuse readers of this blog, I like to feature music that I really like, which usually tends to be by musicians and artists that radically rage against everything I believe in, right in front of a hard-core political post. Keeps it interesting I think. Plus, I just can’t muster up anything interesting on current events today, so with that give you:

My favorite band from the 90’s, Sublime. I loved these guys, mostly because they just didn’t give a fuck. They were ugly, they almost never wore shirts, even though they were pretty chubby, and their dogs went with them everywhere, including onstage. I dig that.

They were notorious for bad live shows, as the singer, Bradley Nowell (RIP) was usually drunk, but their records were great. One of their albums, “40oz. To Freedom” is one of my all time favorites, and I think it cost about 200 bucks to make. It’s one of those albums I just never get tired of. Every song is about drinking and drugs, or getting thrown out of places for drinking and drugs, and there’s lots of references to guns and dogs and jail.

This song, “Doin’ Time” from their breakthrough album “Sublime” is a very cool take on Gershwins “Summertime.” Bradley Nowell was already dead when this album came out and this video was made, but his beloved dog, Lou, was still kickin’, and appears in the video. I saw them live once, and sure enough, Lou Dog was right there on stage with them. I wish I wasn’t as drunk as I was when I saw them, (about 13 years ago) but I didn’t know Brad would be dead within the year.

Interesting factoid: A Sublime tribute band called “Badfish,” has played to more people, and made more money than the real Sublime ever did in their entire career.

Posted in Music, Slow News day | Leave a Comment »