Friday, March 28, 2008

Letters Home From the Garden of Stone

Out of all the songs inspired by the war, either pro or con, Everlast's Letters Home From the Garden of Stone is the best. It's not just a song. It's an exercise in empathy.

Everlast is no stranger to empathy. His biggest song, What's It Like, is all about empathy.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Inspiration for the Day

You know who's the man?
John Elway.

And so is Terrell Davis.

(Pat Bowlen in a fur coat though is a schmuck.)


I was reading about Earthships, environmentally-friendly and self-sufficient houses made of dirt, recycled tires, cans, and concrete. They're warm in the winter, cool in the summer, can collect their own water and solar energy, and basically are good places for hippies to live.

At first glance, the idea appealed to me. I'd love to have a self-sufficient house hidden away off the grid somewhere, truly independent. My own little hobbit hole.

I can see it now. It's built into a hillside, covered with earth. There are skylights, lots of them, and a garden overhead. Inside there are several levels terraced into the hillside, living room, kitchen, bedrooms, etc. It would be amazing, the kind of thing you only see on TV.

But as I'm reading about how to construct such a house, I start to realize that, damn, it's going to be a lot of work. You need a bunch of tires, which would be easy to get, really. (Trust me, I got tires come out of my ASS.) Then you have to pack the tires with dirt. And I mean, pack them. With a sledgehammer.

One website I saw said it took 20-30 minutes of packing to properly fill one tire. And the tire has to be packed. When you're done, it should weigh about 300 pounds. 300 pounds of dirt, stuffed into one tire. With a sledgehammer.

Then when you're done, you know what you do? You cover the whole thing in concrete. All that work, you just cover it up.

Which begs the question...why tires? Why not, say, bricks? Or cinder-blocks? Rebar? Wooden forms filled with earth? Why do you have to pound dirt into a tire with a sledgehammer for 30 minutes?

So while I like the idea...I'm not sure about the execution.

Also, to supply its own water, most Earthships use cisterns or other water collection techniques. Unfortunately in Colorado, all that is illegal. Dumb, I know, but true.

The Front Range Kicks the Western Slope's Ass

Looking at this picture reminds me why I like living on the Front Range instead of on the Western Slope.
The Western Slope looks a lot like...Utah, with the mesas and Wile E Coyote landscape. The Front Range looks like this...
Pines trees and purple mountain majesty and meadows full of wildflowers.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Russian Ark

I heard Netflix had a little hiccup in their operations and didn't ship anything yesterday. I don't mind because next in my queue is a movie called Russian Ark and that's worth waiting for.

From the imdb summary:
Told in one fluid shot, a tale which floats like a dreamlike journey through the majestic spaces of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, engaging real and imagined characters from Russian and European history. The nameless protagonist, a 19th-century French diplomat, guides the audience through a lost, sumptuous dream that was the Enlightenment period. The film, staged among some of the Western Art tradition's greatest masterpieces, climaxes in a pageant of color, motion, and music. For Sokurov, the Hermitage--home to generations of Romonovs and repository of so much Russian history--is the ark of the Russian soul, guarding it affectionately until the world sees better days.
That should be something to see.

Speaking of Netflix movies to see, I recommend Werner Herzog's Rescue Dawn with Christian Bale going skinny again and Jeremy Davies channeling Charlie Manson. I'm a big fan of Herzog and this is a dramatic retelling of a true story he told previously in the documentary Little Dieter Needs to Fly, also a good flick.

Smack My Bitch Up

Big Daddy posted the controversial video for Prodigy's Smack My Bitch Up, which was banned and is full of all kinds of NC-17 content.

(Meaning, ask the boss first.)

It's one of the rare "music videos" that transcends itself and becomes, ahem, "cinema."

Disapproving Bunny

I have two tattoos and the word I use most often to describe them is dinky. They're dinky little tattoos. If I didn't tell you I had them or if I wasn't wearing a tank top, you wouldn't even know I had them.

A red scorpion on my right shoulder and on my left, a green four leaf clover. The scorpion was a birthday present to myself when I turned 18, and well, I'm a Scorpio. The four leaf clover was my 19th birthday present to myself and I got that not only as a good luck charm but to celebrate the Irish heritage that I don't really have. It's a symbol of irony now, my shoulders a pictograph of an old blues song. "Born under a bad sign, I've been down ever since I could crawl. If I didn't have bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all."

I've often thought about getting more tattoos, nothing conspicuous though. And nothing stupid either. (Not like a scorpion and a four leaf clover is smart...)

One tat I've dreamed about is of a matador and a bull, a black velvet painting on my shoulderblades. The matador would be supernaturally slim, with exaggerated long legs and that graceful lean of the hips. His eyes would be comic book white, like Batman's, and scrunched into a look of determination. One hand would be holding a flowing cape, the other a sword.

Facing the matador would be a bull, not just any bull, but the Red Bull. Not the one that gives you wings, but the one that chases unicorns into the sea! Big and mean and on fire. The look on the bull's face says, "I'm going to rip you to pieces and stomp on your corpse."

And you have no idea who wins. There's just that frozen moment of confrontation, each side equally matched, the outcome a mere flip of the coin.

I never got that tat, and I'm not sure I ever will. Absent that, I could never really think of anything that I'd even want tattooed on me. A yin-yang maybe, but there's nothing special about that.

But I have an idea. And it's all because of this.
(Vid, and ear worm, courtesy of Just A Cool Cat)
Imagine if you will, a stuffed rabbit, not an Easter bunny but just a stuffed rabbit, a Beatrix Potter stuffed rabbit but less specific. He sitting there, a sour look on his face. In one hand he's got a cigarette, in the other a can of beer. Empty beer cans lay all around him. He's got a T-shirt that says "Fuck it" or something. Cute, but rude.

Underneath this scene in a non-gothic standard tattoo font the words, "Disapproving Bunny."

Not only have I always had a thing for rabbits but disapproving is what I do. Ha.

Mea Gaffe

Remember when I said I was in Jerusalem this past weekend and I got executed/resurrected?

Sorry...I "misspoke."

That wasn't me and the incident I described happened, oh, two thousand years ago...

That doesn't hurt my credibility, does it? Oh, it does? Really? Well, that sucks.

Good thing I'm not running for president, huh?

(Side note: In the article I linked above, Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said this: "This (the Bosnia gaffe) is something that the Obama campaign wants to push 'cause they have nothing positive to say about their candidate." What planet is this guy living on? All campaigns go negative from time to time, but look at it objectively: Which campaign has put more emphasis on lifting its candidate up and which has spent more time tearing its opponent down? Nothing positive to say about their candidate... Well maybe if you'd listen!)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Shadows Fall Interview

"What's got 2000 legs and 4 tits? A Shadows Fall concert."

Joke told by the drummer of the band.

Funny...and true! Full interview here.

Dyngus Day

To the young lady in Michigan who doesn't understand that in order for electronic devices to work they must have electricity, which is usually provided by a power cable plugged into something known as a power outlet...

How do you get out of bed in the morning without hurting yourself? I've known some dummies in my time, but you make them all look like Mensa material.

Don't Call Your Mama

During my commute the last few days, I've been alternating between Unida's unreleased album The Great Divide and Hermano's latest record, Into the Exam Room. Since both bands are fronted by John Garcia and have that "stoner rock" sound, it's easy to get them confused.

But I found this great song on Hermano's disc. Called Don't Call Your Mama, it's almost pure groove, a heavy foot-tapping, head-nodding groove.

I tried to Google the lyrics, but apparently no one's been able to translate John Garcia's ethereal mumble. Whatever he's singing about doesn't really matter. I just like how it sounds.

But what I really love about the song is the drumming. In the explosive opening, the drummers plays along with the riff, filling the entire space with fills, but about 42 seconds in he lays back a bit, riding the high-hat like a rail. The steady syncopation is perfect for getting your head nodding.

Don't believe me? Take a listen.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Blog of the Man Haters

I was going to do a "blogs I love to hate" post, you know, just to be funny, but as I was thinking about the list, I started to wonder why I'd link to blogs I hate, and if I hate them so much, why even check them out?

Especially when one of them is the home of a super-feminist man-hater (starts with a "P" and ends with an "andagon") and the other is a neo-con tool that everyone loves because he has a catchy name and a hot wife. (Heh. Indeed.)

The super-feminist man-hater really irks me. I'm not hostile to feminism... Have you met my mother? And I can also understand the man-hater part, considering we men can be heartless beasts and there are more than a few women out there who owe her problems to the ne'er-do-well dudes in her life.

What gets me about this blog is not the criticism of men and all our evils, it's the complete ignorance of the male experience.

Our experiences, our desires, our intentions. This may sound glib, but this chick just doesn't get it. She thinks a penis is a weapon. She thinks the only thing a man wants from a woman is her complete submission, and failing that, her objectification.

But I've been a man for 30 some years and I've never used my penis as a weapon (pee swordfights don't count) and more than that, I've never heard any other man say that he preferred fucking an inanimate object much more to a living, breathing woman. Ask anyone.

Yes, we like looking at boobs. Yes, we like making off-color jokes with the boys and high-fiving each other on the good ones. Yes, we're bigger and stronger and our spear-like genitalia is on the outside, but there's a good reason for it:

We're men.

Is that really so bad?

Happy Easter, From Your Friendly Neighborhood Atheist

In case you're wondering where I've been for the last couple of days, I've been hanging out with some Italian friends in Jerusalem. Oh man, we were having a blast...

...Until they killed me.

But now I'm back. Not to worry, though, I have it on good authority that this is the last death that will ever occur.

Yep, we get to live forever now. How cool is that?