28 July 2007

Don't know when I'll be back again

OK, seems I lied about not posting. Seems Internet access is a lot more prevalent than I anticipated over here. ... I don't even know what time it is now stateside. But it's 7:35 a.m. in Bangkok, where I'm spending the next few days. So I guess I'll keep posting as time permits

We left Georgia at 7 p.m. Friday night. Flew to L.A., then hopped a 17-hour flight to here. Next stop, Siem Reap, Cambodia, which is our final destination. Haven't slept more than 90 minutes -- over the course of three attempts -- since Thursday night. Looking forward to passing out in a hotel.

The Bangkok airport is unreal, by the way. Groovy architecture. Brand new facility. And we're sitting in the boutique airline's luxury lounge right now, enjoying a milkshaky Thai tea that's the color of Tang.

That's all I got until we sleep. Oh, Jenn and I are traveling with old buds E and Meg. E's going to be blogging and posting photos regularly on his site, which is here. You might see pictures of us up there. (Oh boy!) We'll look like hell, most probably.

27 July 2007

Reboot

Just a note to let y'all know that I'm heading off to vacay for a little bit, and I'll probably be avoiding computers and keyboards and other forms of technology for a few days. Weeeeeeeeeee!

But I'll be back to say howdy again soon, I promise. And, more importantly, I'll be continuing with the rest of the Dirty Harry Potter analysis you're all so anxiously awaiting.

"My mind is racing
As it always will
My hand is tired my heart aches
I'm half a world away"
-- R.E.M., "Half a World Away"

26 July 2007

"Exxxxxcellent." I mean, "D'oh!"

I crafted this little gem for today's To Do section. I wrote it on little sleep, so don't judge me too harshly. It's based on a sort of retarded concept. Which is to say, if the city of Columbus were a "Simpsons" character, which one would it be?

There's all sorts of fun Simpsons-related stuff floating around the net right now, thanks to the movie, which opens Friday (The first review on our wires gave it 5 out of 5 stars. Woo hoo!).

Favorite Web site is this one sponsored by Burger King, submitted by my old friend Lee. She shares my warped sense of humor. Have a good mug shot of yourself -- or your not-so-loved-one -- ready. And grab a beer. It's kinda pokey except with really fast connections (yellowing takes time, the Webmasters explain). Per the site, here's the Simpsons' version of Brad... Kind of a Jack White thing, no?

25 July 2007

Dirty Potter, Book 3

I was wrong. Book 3 is titled "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban." Hmmmm, sounds like J.K. Rowling begins to explore some bondage themes this time out. Indeed even on the cover, shown here, he's broken out the choke collar.


The overtures begin soon:

Page 43: "Sit down, Harry," said Fudge, indicating a chair by the fire. Harry sat down, feeling goosebumps rising up his arms despite the glow of the fire. Fudge took off his pinstriped cloak and tossed it aside...

Page 125: "Potter, you can skin Malfoy's shrivelfig," said Snape... Harry skinned the Shrivelfig as fast as he could...

Page 129: Hermione was panting slightly, hurrying up the stairs; one hand clutched her bag, the other seemed to be tucking something down the front of her robes.

Page 137: ...The wardrobe burst open. ... Neville backed away, his wand up, mouthing wordlessly.

OK, OK, that's it. I'm not even halfway through the book and I've found so much naughty, naughty filth. You'll have to do the rest of your research on this volume yourself. This copy's hitting the bonfire...

Is it just me...?

...or have hospital waiting rooms gotten a lot better with the advent of wireless networks? You can thank (or blame) that for the fact that I'll probably be able to post the next Dirty Harry Potter installment today.


Talk at you soon.


"I am a patient boy
I wait, I wait, I wait, I wait
My time is like water down a drain
Everybody's moving
Everybody's moving
Everybody's moving, moving, moving, moving
Please don't leave me to remain
In the waiting room"
-- Fugazi, "Waiting Room"

24 July 2007

More-onic moment of the month

Despite a rather feeble issue of Seventeen this month, the cover was promising. There was a tease that said, "Are you sure you're still a virgin?" But that turned out to be an innocuous poll about what kids felt constituted virginity.


The nearly overlooked quasi-moronic moment is in an Internet link for kids who want to learn more. They're encouraged to visit sexetc.org. Well, a certain unnamed coworker, wanting to learn more, accidentally visited sexetc.com. Turns out, that domain is a porn site. Ooops!

Really, it's not that big of a deal, I guess. Going to sexetc.org, they can learn important things from the FAQs, such as "How do you give oral sex?" and "How do gay people have sex?" Going to sexetc.com, they can see videos demonstrating these things (and more!). Brog favorite: A cover story on sexetc.org that's titled "The Fate of the World Is in Your Hands... and Your Pants."

22 July 2007

Sunday Spins

Jenn picked the mix again this week, as I've been busy scraping at least 31 layers of paint off the door to the bathroom that we're in the middle of renovating. As usual, she did a fantastic job. In the mix:

* Ben Folds, "The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner": My favorite record of his, with lots of Ennio-Morricone-style layers of sound. I interviewed Folds about a year ago, and he said that he thought this record was his "Pinkerton." I hope the fans and critics do come around like they did for the Weez.

* Ray Charles, disc 2 of a 3-disc set I can't recall the name of: I think she picked this one because it's got "Night and Day," which most people know as the song that Rudy Huxtable lip-synched the counterpoint to in the closing minute of a "Cosby Show" ep.

* Thom Yorke, "The Eraser": I was largely disappointed in this record, but the CD shuffle might be the perfect use for it. It's pretty, but none of the songs stand out like a kick-ass Radiohead track.

* Ani DiFranco, "Knuckle Down": Ask Jenn about this one. She's the Ani fan. I like her fine, but she's a bit too, um, jazzy for me to listen to too much.

* Okkervil River, "Don't Fall in Love With Everyone You See": Yeah, I'm Okkervil's bitch. But so's Jenn. It helps make the marriage work. I discovered them by downloading an early version of "The Velocity of Saul at the Time of His Conversion" when I was researching some bands before covering SxSW 2000. Proud to say I bought this -- their first proper album -- when it came out, before the band was hyped. But it's not too late for you. Go buy their new one, "The Stage Names," when it comes out on Aug. 7. Then go back and buy everything else.

21 July 2007

Dirty Harry Potter, Book 2

Author J.K. Rowling's filthiness is more brazen in her second Harry Potter book. Even the name is naughty. "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" indeed...

Let's look at some of her subliminal messages.

* Page 9: "Jiggery pokery!" said Harry in a fierce voice. "Hocus pocus -- squiggly wiggly --" (Jiggery pokery indeed. Brits and their coy euphemisms.)

* Page 102: It was pandemonium. The pixies shot in every direction like rockets. ... Several shot straight through the window, showering the back row... (Very clever of her to use the word "pixies" instead of the "p" word she really intended.)

* Page 186: Harry's Swelling Solution was far too runny, but he had his mind on more important things. He was waiting for Hermione's signal...

* and, on the next page: Goyle's potion exploded, showering the whole class. People shrieked as splashes of the Swelling Solution hit them.

* Page 257: Madam Pomfrey was bending over a fifth-year girl with long, curly hair. ... And on the bed next to her was --
"Hermione!" Ron groaned.
Hermione lay utterly still, her eyes open and glassy.

Mmm-hmmm. Cue the "Chicka-bowww chicka-boww-wowwww." I think you all know what's really going on there. Filthy, filthy Rowling sounds like she needs a good, firm spanking. And just think what'll be happening when the kids grow up a little bit. Stay tuned for excerpts from Book Three, which is called, I think, "Harry Potter and the Naughty Little House Elf."

Pull that thing too hard and you'll go blind, young Potter

20 July 2007

Moronic Moment of the Month*

*brought to you by Seventeen magazine

It's a pretty lame month for the magazine this time out. Which is to say, there's not nearly enough stuff for me to make fun of. Hillary Duff's on the cover, but she's too easy a target. I did spy this, however, in a section on how to make the right first impression on returning to school:

Let's see...

* "I already have an A in this class. It's up to me to keep it." Uhhh, wrong. You don't have an A. You have a zero. And as soon as you blow off your studying to read Seventeen's beauty tips, then run to the store to buy all the Garnier Fructis they tell you that you need, you'll get, at best, a C on your first test. And then guess what you've got in the class. Go on, guess. (It's a C.)

* "Get there early so you can score a seat in the front." Nice attempt reverse psychology, Seventeen, but even the most naive 13-year-old freshwoman knows that no cool kid sits up front, and anyone reading your magazine obviously wants to be cool. They're going to see right through this advice. But maybe that was your plan, you evil geniuses.

* Say "How was your summer?" This is a sure-fire way to let the teacher know that you're a suck-up, right from the start. Knock yourself out, girls.

That's really all I've got from this month's issue. So on a Moronic scale of 1 to 10, I'd rate this issue as "super lousy."

18 July 2007

Harry Potter's dirty little secret

What's this whole Harry Potter phenomenon about, you ask?

Here in the Bible Belt, people will tell you they're books secretly designed to draw children into sorcery. The Christian coalition is wrong, though. They're actually books secretly designed to draw children into the world of sexual exploration.

Over the next week or so I'll be giving you examples to prove my point. For today's lesson, we'll look at Book One, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." I'm using First Edition, the Scholastic -- a.k.a. the American, or "correct" -- version. So class, please turn in your texts to the following:

* Page 9 (Rowling apparently couldn't wait long to get her randy party started): He found what he was looking for in his inside pocket.

* Page 101: Ron had taken out a lumpy package and unwrapped it.

* Page 235: The baby dragon flopped onto the table.

* and, for the most glaring example, turn to Page 147, wherein Rowling writes: His broomstick was still rising higher and higher, and started to drift lazily toward the forbidden forest...

And for more soft-core porn, you can check out my compatriot, Sonya Sorich's Walk of Shame, where she's begun posting random bits of romance novels, which at least have the gumption of being up front about their sexuality.



Young Harry suddenly realizes there are
multiple definitions for "magic wand"

17 July 2007

Why I love Trivial Pursuit

Answer: Because I learned, the other night, that the CEO of the Pez Candy Inc., makers of the fine, tangy candy that's comically ejected from plastic bodies has a special name.

He is called....

....

(wait for it...)

....

... the Pezident.


No lie. Verify it here. And for examples of how Pez used sex to sell its wares -- also no lie -- check out this Web tribute to the company's ads through the ages. Caution (or maybe I should say "Promise"?): There's nudity.

16 July 2007

Potter-y Barnes

Take anything I have to say about Harry Potter with a Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Jelly Bean that tastes like a grain of salt. I haven't read a single one of the books. But I have seen all five films.

Hated the first one. Disliked the second one. Loved the third one. Thought the fourth one was very good. Now, with all that said, how does "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," the film, rank?

I'd put it as third best, behind "Azkaban" (No. 3) and, just barely, behind "Goblet of Fire" (No. 4). There's nothing at all here that'll really annoy fans. There was a signature event at the end that was presented rather abruptly and without a deft directorial touch, and I had a couple of other pacing/casting quibbles, but I enjoyed it. Most importantly, I could follow what the hell was going on without having read the giant tomes.

Addendum: For some reason, the ticket stub made me think my new printer was finally in at OfficeMax...

15 July 2007

Sunday Spins (Rhythm of a Bird's Happiness)

This week's Sunday Spins (wherein I throw five old CDs into the changer, hit "shuffle") is pretty heavily weighted with comfort food, but there are a couple of screwballs thrown in the mix. Here's the lineup:


* Lisa Germano, "Happiness": It's hard to imagine this space cadet was fiddle player for John Mellencamp. Trippy music. Sultry, breathy, little girl voice. This album's from '94, and, for good or ill, it taught me the meaning of the word "sycophant."

* Andrew Bird, "Weather Systems": We discovered Bird -- part singer/songwriter, part warbling whistler -- at Bonnaroo 2006. Phenomenal performer who'll play his own background track on a loop machine, then build layers and layers to the sound. His voice reminds me of Rufus Wainwright's.

* Mark Olson and the Original Harmony Ridge Creekdippers, "My Own Jo Ellen": Olson founded The Jayhawks with Gary Louris but left the group after the "Tomorrow the Green Grass" album. He's also married to Victoria Williams, and the two of them formed the Creekdippers for a string of quickly released lazy countryish records. This is their best one.

* The Talk, "It's Like Magic in Reverse": I still hope for great things from this Charlotte band. It's punk-flavored rock, with a subtle undercurrent of the Beatles, '50s rock and (Jenn says) The Clash. Twelve tracks in a brisk 30 minutes. Good stuff. Bright Eyes' Mike Mogis produced it, and you used to be able to get it free at their Web site (which was http://www.the-talk.com/), but the site appears down these days.

* Paul Simon, "The Rhythm of the Saints": Jenn's pick, but a good one. Nice counterbalance to all the weird shit I threw in the mix.

13 July 2007

Happy (?) Friday the 13th

Halloween's better of course, but Friday the 13ths are awfully cool, too.


I wish we had a year-long haunted house attraction somewhere nearby to go walk through. Gatlinburg might still have one running, I don't know. But Chattanooga's Ruby Falls has chosen today to release the opening dates for its Haunted Cavern attraction. In the past, the cave has been turned into a creepy genetic testing facility, a forest populated by werewolves and a playground for Civil War zombies -- where Johnny just keeps marching and marching home, I fear.

The Haunted Cavern will open Sept. 28, so plan your trip now. It's not recommended for anyone under age 10.

12 July 2007

Spoon fed

Didn't mean to neglect the new Spoon record in yesterday's roundup. "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga" is an excellent album (Much better than the predecessor, "Goo Goo Goo Goo Goo"). It just seems like it's been out forever. I pieced together a copy weeks ago from links on this site, which is a metasite that shows what MP3s have been posted by music bloggers. For some reason, this seems less morally objectionable than just launching Soulseek and pirating a disc outright.


So it'll take a few more Interpol spins to see who comes out as the ultimate July 10 CD release champeen. Meanwhile, the Interpollers just announced a Sept. 21 show at Atlanta's Tabernacle ($32.50, general admission). Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. tomorry, so get you some.


This is spoon, the position. The band is good, too.

11 July 2007

Pumpkins vs. Trucker (Somebody call Interpol)

So with three anticipated alt-rock releases all out on Tuesday, the question is, which do you buy:

* The reformed Smashing Pumpkins' "Zeitgeist"?
* Interpol's major-label debut?
* or former Drive-By Trucker Jason Isbell's, "Sirens of the Ditch"?

The answer surprises this longtime DBT fan. It's Interpol. I thought Isbell would get my vote for sure. And it is good. But it's a lot more polished (and soft) than Trucker fans are probably going to appreciate.

True, the Interpol disc might not pave a lot of new ground, but it's interesting stuff and the backbeat's strong -- which is more than I can say about the Corgan and Co.'s project. I'm amazed that bands can still find new ways of doing this nouveau garage sound, but as long as the results come out like this, what's the (ahem) crime.

"You can throw me in the Colbert County jailhouse
You can throw me off the Wilson Dam
But there ain't much difference in the man I wanna be
And the man I really am"
-- Drive-By Truckers, "Never Gonna Change"

10 July 2007

Moore to the story?

I have a love-hate relationship with Michael Moore. Philosophically, I often agree with him. But I can't stand belligerence, and even his best-selling books sometimes sound like a very long letter-to-the-editor kind of rant.

No thank you.

But I can't understand hating someone so much that you automatically assume that everything he says is grounds for attack. Hell, even Rush Limbaugh is right sometimes. Which brings me to MooreWatch.

So I saw "Sicko" over the weekend, which is Moore's doc against HMOs and for free government-sponsored health care. I thought it was very good -- which puts me at odds with the New Yorker, but still. Probably the most exploitative piece in the film is where Moore says he gave $12,000 to one of the folks running hate-Michael-Moore Web site MooreWatch.com when he read they were faced with shutting down the site to pay for medical expenses for the guy's wife. Moore says he made the gift so that the guy would have the ability to exercise his free speech (about hating Michael Moore) and pay for his wife's medicine. But I'm curious, and dubious, about whether or not he'd have made the gift if he couldn't have used the vignette in his film.

Anyway, now the no-Moore Web site is going as strong, belligerent and close-minded as ever. Ain't democracy great?

(By the way, I've got a buddy who's running for Congress on a free-health-care platform. And for good reason. He's a productive worker who happens to be a quadriplegic, and he's facing the reality of having to quit his job since he's reaching the cap on his health care. Ridiculous, eh? Here's his MySpace page, if'n you're curious to read more.)

08 July 2007

Sunday spins (aka Eels-El-Oh)

Jenn picked this Sunday's rotation, which actually didn't get any spins until Wimbledon was over. It's a good mix, though:

* Eels, "Beautiful Freak" -- Uncle Chappy gave me this on tape a few years back, when he was tired of it or something. I went through and converted all my tapes to CDs about five years ago. Because I have no life.

* ELO, "Strange Magic (disc 2)" -- Jenn put this in for me. She hates ELO, but she'll come around. She's gotta slow down (slow down), sweet talkin' woman...

* Macy Gray, "The Id" -- Because her R&B is better than any R&B on Foxie 105.

* Madonna, "Ray of Light" -- I've never actually listened to this all the way through. I sort of quit listening to Madonna after "Borderline." Though I did like John Wesley Harding's acoustic cover of "Like A Prayer."

* Elvis Costello, "The Best of E.C. and the Attractions" -- This greatest hits disc is outta print, but he's released like seven other "best of's," all with almost the same track list. Getchoo one, fool.

07 July 2007

Hoy vey!

Toying with the idea of hitting an early movie. "A Mighty Heart," "Sicko" and "Offside" are all getting great reviews and not likely to be around past Thursday, but then, looking at the listings in the paper, there's a show called "Hoy Fuzz" at the $1.50 theater.

Was it bastardized Yiddish? Or was it supposed to be "Holy Fuzz?" The mind was reeling with all sorts of possilibilities.

Eventually figured out it's the very well-reviewed "Hot Fuzz." Just in case anyone's curious. It has Martin Freeman, whose name Jenn remembered as a character in the British "Office," and Arthur Dent in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." It's also from the makers of "Shaun of the Dead."

Breakfast at Wimbledon

Took a sick day yesterday, with a monster sore throat. It's a fair amount better today, and I have to wonder if the breakfast of homemade waffles didn't help. ... Yeah, you're probably right. It was the champagne that soothed the sore throat, not the waffles.

Glad to see the only American left in Wimbledon just won the championship. Congrats, Venus Williams.

Probably laying low the rest of the weekend, even though there's a band called Lixx playing at Scruffy Murphy's tonight. It's an act with two girls on the roster, including the lead singer (Nikki Lixx), who dress in Catholic schoolgirl outfits. They play hard rock covers. On second thought, maybe I'll muster up enough strength to go to the show.

"Wooo-oooooooo, lady. Won't you take it easy?"

-- Drivin' n' Cryin', "Fly Me Courageous"

05 July 2007

Git-R-Drunk

Larry the Cable Guy is apparently such a commodity that they're now brewing a beer with his catchphrase "Git-R-Done."

Owners of the microbrewery putting out Git-R-Done beer say that they're sure the beer will appeal to the comedian's fan base, saying "Rednecks love quality, too." This doesn't explain the existence of LtCG's movies, "Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector" or "Delta Farce." That aside, the potential problem with Git-R-Done beer is that, it coming from a microbrewery, can they even produce enough beer to sate the man himself? I mean, look at him. I can only imagine what that guy's Body Mass Index is...

In other beer-related news, it's been reported by some Columbusites that Miller Chill -- the lime-infused beer that was first introduced in border states, and, uhh, not the Canadian ones, mind you -- has finally made it to town. Woo hoo? I'll report back after a taste test.

"Cold beer, hello. I got something to say
I can't keep you long, but I can put you away
Well you look so good, I just can't say no
Tell the world goodbye. Cold beer, hello."
-- The V-Roys, "Cold Beer Hello"

04 July 2007

Go 4th!

Happy Independence Day.

Here's a, umm, fun bit of fireworks trivia for you: The world's worst fireworks tragedy occurred at the marriage of Louis XVI to Marie Antionette, when the booming sky caused a stampede that killed some 800 people. (Then in an eerie precursor of things to come, Marie Antionette said of the survivors, "Let them eat wedding cake.")

And here's a groovy fireworks screensaver for PCs.

"But the colonists lit the fuse
There'd be no turning back
They'd had enough injustice now
But even if it really hurts
If you don't give us our freedom now
You're gonna see some fireworks"
Schoolhouse Rock, "Fireworks"

03 July 2007

Man's civilization is cast in ruin...

What's a boy to do when his wife's at the beach, enjoying some extra time off, and he's all alone? Why, watch old-school cartoons on YouTube, of course. I've especially been enjoying the show openers to toons I watched as a young'un, ranging from "Hong Kong Phooey" and "Speed Buggy" to "Thundarr the Barbarian" and the mercifully short-lived "Pole Position."


Two things occurred to me:

* Many of these shows feature some strange cross-bred smarter-than-human pet that, for some reason, raises no eyebrows among mortals. The "Pole Position" kids had a critter (named Kuma) that was like a combination of a cat and a monkey, I shit you not. In "Speed Buggy," did no one realize how rare a talking dune buggy was? And how come Thundarr's pal Ookla the Mok had to ride an alien-looking horse instead of just a regular one?

* Secondly, while looking up a little history of the "Pole Position" show (which ran four months in 1984), something struck me about the episode titles, which include "The Canine Vanishes," "The 39 Stripes," "Dial M for Magic" and "The Chicken Who Knew Too Much." It's enough to give one vertigo to realize that the people who penned that schlock were endeared with Alfred Hitchcock.

And with that, I'll bid you a fond "Guh-D'Evening."

"I gained the proportionate strength of a spider
Now I'm invincible and I can fly
I lost my sight and my other senses were heightened
I'm gonna put on my pajamas and go fight crime"
Ookla the Mok, "Super Powers"

02 July 2007

'Shining' achievement

Despite being based on a Stephen King book, about a man with a haunted past, staying in a haunted hotel, unable to contact the outside world, "1408" manages to avoid falling into most of the usual King cliches. Outside of "The Shining," of course.

I hate how so many of the movies from his books end up in some cataclysmic supernatural standoff that really has nothing to do with the characters you've spent the whole film getting to know. "1408" doesn't do that.

I saw it last night. A good way of gauging the creep level of a film is how you feel when you're walking into your dark, empty house later. On that level, it wasn't as scary as I'd hoped, as it opted for more psychological terror than supernatural fear. But there were a good half-dozen jump-from-your-seat moments, so I guess that's your money's worth. Cusak shows a little depth of character, too, which is great to see, considering some of the flat, slack-jawed portrayals he's given us in the past. The early scenes between him and Samuel L. Jackson's hotel manager are riveting.

"Here it comes.
11:59. Ghost train. Ghost train
I ain't never seen that train again

Here it comes
burnin' down the silvery rails
11:59. Ghost train"
-- The Pine Hill Haints, "Ghost Train"

Sunday spins

Went road-tripping this weekend, so the normal, relaxed set of Sunday tunes was replaced by loud music suitable for keeping me awake on the drive home this afternoon. Here's what I spun:

* Social Distortion, "White Light, White Heat, White Trash." Maybe their best album, recorded and released after most people quit listening to them. Maybe it's more vital because all the anger and angst and arrogance of their youth turned into anger and angst and regret tempered by age.

* Johnny Cash, "American IV." Most people know this record as the one that includes Cash's incredible cover of NiN's "Hurt." But there's also interesting takes of the Beatles' "In My Life" (pretty good), S&G's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" (both not so good). The show-stealer is the opening track, Cash's own "The Man Comes Around."

* Dropkick Murphys, "The Warrior's Code." In general, they bellow too much for me. But I like the Celtic influences and the call-and-response choruses, and it'll certainly keep your eyes on the road.

* Aunt Bettys, "Ford Supersonic." A collection of outtakes from a band that had a briefer dalliance with a major label (Elektra) than Paris Hilton had with the pokey. I like these one-offs better than most of the stuff on their proper CD release.

* The Flaming Lips, "Yoshimi vs. the Pink Robots." I think "Fight Test" might be the best song they've ever penned. This is a little slow for the open road, but it was great for a rainy stretch of interstate.