Sunday, December 23, 2012

Where's Rudolph? Where's Blitzen Baby?

Over the weekend I was listening to my digital music playing machine on random shuffle and this GEM of a Christmas song came on.  I listened to it probably 20 times in the course of the weekend.  The last track on  1989's "Brain Drain," which was considered a lack luster album for The Ramones (It did have Pet Sematary on it which was a great theme song for the movie of the same name -Ed.), Merry Christmas (I don't wanna fight tonight) is definitely worthy of a spot in the Christmas Song Pantheon and as of this weekend has earned its spot in my own personal Top 50 Songs of All Time.  If you're at all familiar with the Ramones you already know that 50's and 60's rock and pop was a major driver for the "Joey Ramone" sound and you can hear legendary producer (and more recently murderer - Ed.) Phil Spector's influence all over this one (Sorry Best Coast, the Ramones were there long before you were - Ed.) and if it were Darlene Love or Ronnie and the Ronettes singing this song it probably wouldn't sound out of place on Spector's iconic Christmas album.

It's The Ramones; you know what to do.  So without any further ado...all the way from 1989; The Ramones and Merry Christmas (I Don't Wanna Fight Tonight).

 

And because you're going to want to hear it over and over again, here's the bonus video.




 Io Saturnalia! and Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!



Thursday, December 20, 2012

Robert Anton Wilson

Reeking of Human Fallibility



The future is awesome.  I can't wait until my choices are limited to only a handful of options.  That way I'll never have to think again; just point, grunt and hand over a plastic card.

From Metropolis Magazine:
Reeking of Human Frailty
 It's bigger here

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Professor Longhair Redux (or I think that Elwood Blues is reading my posts)

So...I was driving home tonight and I caught the local installment of the Blues Break (see post from a few weeks ago - Mgt) and tonight Elwood was celebrating the birthday of one of my favorite teachers; Professor Longhair (see post from even longer ago - Mgt).  Born in 1918, he would have been 94 today.  They called him Dr. Professor Longhair, but the girls called him the little old lover man... 

Anyway.  Here's some more of the 'Fess, doing what he did. 

Regular rock and roll rules apply.  Make sure the volume dial is in good working order.

Oh...and for those keeping score at home.  This is totally how I pictured Mr. Nancy in American Gods

Happy Birthday 'Fess



Rum and Coke



(They Call Me) Dr. Professor Longhair


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Why I'll Never Trust Futurama Again...

An 11 hour shift. Dog eats some poop. Finally ate dinner, at 9 o'clock at night. Things were not going well that random weekday night.

I know what will cheer me up, some Futurama.

It'll take 22 minutes. Bender will drink some alcohol, one liner from Professor, maybe Scruffy will show up. I'll laugh and all will be well in the world. Oh look this one is called "Jurassic Bark" hilariousness shall surely ensue.

And then...

9 Saddest TV Episodes of All Time

6 of the Saddest Episodes of Television to Ever Hit the Airwaves

The 30 Saddest TV Deaths

By simply typing in "TV Saddest Episodes" into Google these are the links that pop-up. Countless articles, blogs, forums and debates but all of them reference Fry's dog Seymour featured in the episode. That son of a bitch will leave you in tears.

As it got too dusty in my apartment to see I was forced to turn off the XBOX and what came next was not relief, not sadness, nor guilt, nor guilt but sheer anger. How dare they do that to me? I came to them and their four fingered antics for a laugh and a pick me up. What I got was utter heartbreak. So let this serve as a warning to you all "Jurassic Bark" when not properly prepared is a horror of a scenario. But if you are in the mood for as good of a cry as "Dear Zachary" look no further than this guy.


That glorious/evil bastard.





Mind Enhancing Documentaries: 'Normal' Folk Beware

I recently have been watching lots of documentaries to pass the ever moving clock here in my quasi dorm room. I found this site Documentaries They Won't Show You on TV and have been watching to my hearts content. Some of the links are a little wonky but the sites are 'trust worthy' (what we are trusting I'm not sure)

There are documentaries of all different genres. From Government Corruption to sex drugs and rock and or roll to Quirky bridge love

 Enjoy Enjoy Enjoy.



Space Robot takes picture of War Robot

Creech

Sadly, I can't take credit for the title of the post.  I got it at buzzfeed.com

Apparently this is a picture of a drone taking off/landing taken by a satellite.   

Post Script:  Space Robot sez...



Monday, December 17, 2012

Io Saturnalia!

http://www.stephaniedray.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/saturnalia.jpg
Supposedly an image of Saturnalia, but I can't find a source




http://www.netglimse.com/images/events/saturnalia/saturnalia_01.jpg
Ditto


On December 17th, the ancient Romans celebrated Saturnalia.  It was the festival of Saturn, the god of agriculture and was held after the harvest and after the autumnal planting was completed.  The celebration in Saturn's honor was meant to evoke an earlier idealized time when Saturn ruled the earth.  By all accounts this was one of the most popular holidays of the Roman calendar and was celebrated by a cessation of work and governmental administration, public gambling, relaxed formality and reversed social order; masters waited upon their slaves, who were often seen in distinct peaked caps symbolizing that they were freed slaves.  The festival was marked by sacrifice (of the human variety), gift giving and continual partying.  Of course, this was only temporary; a liminal "time between times" where social hierarchies were temporarily dissolved or reversed and societal norms relaxed.

A popular interpretation of this holiday is that it was a festival of light leading up to the winter solstice, the supposed darkest days of the year.  In the later days of the Roman Empire, the solstice and new year were celebrated in the dies natalis of sol invictus, or the birth of the unconquerable sun, which was held on the 25th of December.

It is believed that the festivities of Saturnalia were later incorporated into the Christian celebration of Christmas and the Jewish Hanukkah celebrations which occur around the same time of year and have a lot of the same imagery and ritual.

My source for some of this information is Wikipedia, in which I'm always hesitant to put full stock, and the whole idea of projecting modern cultural phenomena on ancient practices often leaves a lot of room for inaccuracy, but it makes sense logically that some cultures, especially those which can trace a direct line to Rome, would light up the darkest days of the year and then celebrate when that threshold was passed and the days once again became longer.  It's also likely that this celebration did not spring from the minds of Rome, but it is probably a deeper and even more primal celebration of light over darkness, from a time long before we were able to electrically light our days and nights.  I thought that this was just a little something to ponder at a time which seems to be taken for granted these days.




Sunday, December 16, 2012

IN THE YEAR 2000...

"France in the Year 2000 (XXI century) – a series of futuristic pictures by Jean-Marc Côté and other artists issued in France in 1899, 1900, 1901 and 1910. Originally in the form of paper cards enclosed in cigarette/cigar boxes and, later, as postcards, the images depicted the world as it was imagined to be like in the year 2000. There are at least 87 cards known that were authored by various French artists, the first series being produced for the 1900 World Exhibition in Paris." - (From The Public Domain Review)

Others can be found here

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I Used To Search All Night For You Darling, But My Search Would Always End In Vain

If you ever want to get me fired up, ask me about the state of rock radio stations.  They pretty much all suck these days compared to when I was cutting my teeth.  I can remember when the local stations had DJs who were knowledgeable about the subject and would open sonic doors to new music.  That said, my local radio station around here, 107.1 The Peak, is a pretty decent one.  Its got DJs who actually care about the music they play and the play lists don't seem as programed as some of the more corporate stations.  I think the fact that it lies about as far right on the dial as a station can go might have something to do with it, but they're pretty active in the local music scene and play good music pretty much all the time and will even spin some pretty deep cuts.


Now, every night at around 8 pm they've got a syndicated show called the "Blues Break" or something like thats hosted by Dan Aykroyd as Ray Stantz, Louis Winthorpe III, Elwood Blues (Dan...if you happen to read this and are looking to hire someone to help with the blues mobile, hit me up)


Anyway...the point of my story, if there even is one, is that yesterday he spun one of my favorite tunes of all time, we're talking top 50 material (stay tuned for Goofus Thomas's top 50 songs of all time - Mgt.); "The Things That I Used To Do" by Eddie "Guitar Slim" Jones.  Born on December 10, 1926, which I guess is why Elwood was spinning him on Monday.  Eddie was known for his wild onstage antics.  He would hook his guitar up to his amps with a 350 foot cord and he would walk out into the audience, out the front door and into the street, without missing a lick.  He would wear brightly colored suits and dye his hair to match.  His influence on Rock and Roll is huge; Buddy Guy, after seeing Guitar Slim play said that he wanted to play like B.B. King and act like Guitar Slim.  When I saw Buddy Guy play in 1999, he walked out into the audience with a long guitar cord and played solos among the crowd at the Ira Allen Chapel at UVM.  Buddy Guy begat Eric Clapton and so on and so forth.

In 1953, Guitar Slim recorded, "The Things That I Used To Do" for Specialty Records.  It was produced by a young, and I would assume at that point, relatively unknown, Ray Charles, who also played piano on the track (watch him shake a tail feather above and hear him say "Yeahhh" at the end of the recording below when they finally nailed the recording - Mgt.).  Slim supposedly said that the song came to him in a dream where the devil and an angel fought each other with competing lyrics.  The devil won, which might shine a light onto the lyrics (it might not though -Mgt.).

 

So...without further ado..."The Things That I Used To Do"



In 1964 James Brown recorded a version...



And in 1984, 31 years after (hard to believe that 1984 was only 31 years after 1953 - Mgt.) it was originally recorded, Stevie Ray Vaughn SLAYS it, at Carnegie Hall...



It's not hard to see why the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame listed this as one of the top 500 (?! - Mgt.) songs that shaped rock and roll.

As always.  PLAY 'EM LOUD! It's rock and roll after all.







Friday, December 7, 2012

What's for breakfast

Sugary breakfast cereal was really big in my household growing up (part of a well balanced nutritious breakfast of course).  For my brother and I it bordered on obsession. We would argue over who got to decide which new box to open and then who would get to have the box in front of them while eating (providing both entertainment and a 'fortress of solitude' like feel).  It even got to the point where our parents would give us new boxes of cereal for presents on holidays and birthdays (and we would be wicked excited for them). 


Croonchy Stars’ (the muppets Swedish Chefs cereal) had one of my all time favorite boxes.  It contained games, puzzles (some unsolvable) and other humorous readings which would occupy my attention while spooning in the copious amounts of early morning 'cinnamonnamony' sugar. 





Some of my all-time favorites were the cereals that wouldn’t even pretend to be nutritious.  With a name like ‘Sugar Smacks’ (which later changed its name to the more wholesome ‘Honey Smacks’) you knew what you were getting yourself into. And then there were two of my favorites, ‘Cookie Crisp’ which allowed a child to eat mini chocolate chip cookies for breakfast and ‘Ice Cream Cones’ which also took the concept of a sugary desert and turned it into a ‘nutritious’ breakfast cereal.





OJ’s’ could have been one of the worst ideas for a cereal.  Orange juice and milk just don’t mix that well together.  I guess that's why they didn't last that long :(.      



Even though the 'Crispy Critters' commercial claimed that it was 'indubitably delicious', I mostly remember it as not being very good.  Though, the annoying commercial jingle did stick in my head.  Indubitably.






Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Somnabulists Alarm logo

Well You're 3 Times 7 Baby and You Know Just What To Do...

I watched the season finale of the show Treme last night and I've had Professor Longhair's song Tipitina pumping through my brain all day.

Apparently the Library of Congress selects 25 recordings a year and declares them national treasures and in 2010 they picked Tipitina to grace the list.  The soothsayers over at the Library of Congress said the song is the,  "signature distillation of the musical ideas and personality" of Professor Longhair.  Couldn't agree more.

I love how the song takes a little while to get rolling, kind of like it is casting around looking for the right hook to take, but when it finds it, it rolls hard.

PLAY IT LOUD!!!






Pinball Art

Artist Sam Van Dorn creates posters from the trajectories of the pinball's movements.
(via neatorama.com)










Check out the rest.   




Friday, November 23, 2012

Hey Hey Woody Guthrie



Woody Guthrie's influence on Bob Dylan really cannot be understated.  This is a pretty good example of Dylan paying a tribute to someone who was clearly one of his heros.

This first song is a ballad written by Woody about the Italian Hall Massacre.  On Christmas Eve 1913 in the Calumet, Michigan Italian Hall, more than 500 striking miners and their families had gathered to celebrate the holiday on the second floor, at some point in the party someone yelled "Fire" causing a stampede to the only narrow stairway that led outside.  Death and destruction ensued.  Of the 73 people who died, 59 were children and most galling of all; there was no fire.  It is believed that the person who yelled fire was an ally of mine management who's intent was to disrupt the party.  Woody Tells it better than I can.



And the tribute to Woody, and one of my favorite Dylan songs.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

More thoughts on Hostess (or why are the unions stealing my childhood?)

Back when I was in high school I was on the swim team and occasionally we would have to practice over our spring break.  When we would, we would practice in the mornings as opposed to the afternoons like we did when school was in session.  After practice we would go by the nearby deli and get "The Breakfast of champions" which was orange flavored Gatorade and Suzy Q's.  They're kind of like chocolate Twinkies but probably with more sugar.  Sadly, they never had baseball cards in them when I would get them.  I guess that must have gone out of style about the same time Reggie Jackson stopped playing for the Yankees.  You suckers up in Boston were probably hoping for the "Dewey" Evens cahds.

 

Now...this whole Twinkies thing is probably going to be the touchstone of this new political era.  I'm kind of surprised that Scott Walker, the Kock Bros. and Fat Rush Limbo haven't jumped on this to make political hay while the sun is shining. You know, those damn pinko bakers unions are holding your childhood memories hostage demanding that their workers be given some sort of power against big business.  We're America...they can have my Twinkies when they pry them from my cold dead hands.  When will they send in the Pinkertons to reclaim your right to eat junk and to rescue Twinkie "The Kid" from those greedy bakery worker unions?



Meanwhile.  What does it mean when even Forbes Magazine says that Hostess's downfall is a failure of management? And what is going to happen to the Twinkie Defense?

Oh...and Funny Bones...Both Funny and Boney.






A Bienial Tradition... ruined?

So. Hostess went under but I wasn't worried because even as a child a creme filled sponge didn't appeal to me and besides they don't make Funny Bones. Only Drake's makes Funny Bones, so my biannual tradition actually finding and then indulging in a single packet of Funny Bones is safe for now... right?...

...An overheard whisper last Saturday...

...A google search Sunday morning...

...wait...

...No?!!!...


Hostess owned Drakes!!! But where am I going to get my 5g of Saturated fat in a single, glorious, fake peanut butter filled, snaking? This cannot be...

Now I know what you're saying. Canada still has their Hostess factories running and can't wait to add these manufactured snacks to their chief American exports (alongside comedians, hockey players, apologies, and Bryan Adams). And yes according to rumors Mexico is willing to take up the slack in the can-survive-a-nuclear-holocaust-cakes department. But let's be serious. Nobody besides me really ate Funny Bones and I only had them but once every two years. Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonderbread will continue to thrive. My Funny Bones are screwed.

Luckily in researching this article I came across this gem...



Did Ingmar Bergman direct this? I am pretty creeped out here and I made it all the way through Hour of the Wolf. My craving for confection is fleeing out the window, I think I'll be OK.

P.S. Funny Bones are neither Funny nor Bones... Discuss.

The Bus Came by and I Got On

For those interested in the more cultural angle of LSD use, I'd suggest the book, "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" chronicling writer Tom Wolfe's (of the "Right Stuff" and "Bonfire of the Vanities" fame) time spent with Ken Kesey (of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" fame) and his Merry Pranksters as they traversed the country in their day-glo, wound for sound, International Harvester Bus named FURTHER...norming out some freaks for sure.  I haven't read it since 1994, but I'm sure it holds up.
 
international harvester bus



The video above is supposedly from one of the "Acid Tests" sponsored, if you will, by Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters.  Aside from the Grateful Dead, the dude about half way through the video with a huge cigarette (?) was Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" traveling companion and steadfast driver of "FURTHER," Neal Cassady...Stay tuned for the "On the Road" movie later this year (mgt. not sure how I feel about the movie, I smell failure...but since it stars k-stew, I know some people who are going to get behind it.)

A quick trip down memories lane...

Pardon the pun...

On April 19, 1943 (celebrated as bicycle day by some), Albert Hoffman ingested LSD and after feeling strange and dizzy he decided to have his friend take him home.  They left via bicycle. 




Albert Hoffman writes about this experience in his book “MyProblem Child: Reflections on sacred drugs, mysticism and science.” 

A few other books on LSD: 
Storming Heaven” by Jay Stevens is one of the better histories of LSD in the United States. 

 
For a History of LSD use and research across the pond, check out “Albion Dreaming” by Andy Roberts.  (For the record, I just got this book and am only several chapters deep, but it is pretty well written and researched.)
 
Also currently reading “Acid dreams; the complete social history of LSD: The CIA, the Sixties and Beyond.”  by Martin A Lee and Bruce Shlain, which covers the interesting history of that the CIA had with LSD (codenamed: MKULTRA). 
 

From Time magazine: 
“…the MK-ULTRA program, which ran from 1953 to 1964, SF Weekly fully exposes the bizarre world of the CIA’s unethical drug tests.  The utterly-unbelievable-but-true story involved using hookers to lure in unwitting johns for undisclosed testing, narcotics agents who slipped drugs into drinks, and a U.S. marshal who held up a San Francisco bar not knowing he was high on acid.”

Read more: "The Legacy of the CIA's Secret LSD Experiments on Americans" by Maia Szalavitz 




Friday, November 16, 2012

On This Date

1936 - lysergic acid diethylamide 25 was synthesized by chemist Albert Hoffman at the Sandoz laboratories in Switzerland.  This is just a SMALL sample of what life after acid looks and sounds like...

 



Superman (1941)

A quick cartoon break from archive.org. 


Recently Inspired pt. 2

Some of the videos found on the Focus Forward Film Competition are pretty amazing.  I am amazed that some of these ideas have to beg for funding.  I'm a bit skeptical that the competition is run by GE.  Pretty awesome stuff though.  Here are a few of my favorites (have not watched them all yet): 



Build yourself. | Tristan Copley Smith from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo.



Black Girls Code | Shanice Johnson from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo.



"Energy Waste" Recycling | Eugene Dyachkov & Ilya Belov from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo.



A Glacier in the Desert | Marco Della Coletta & Zoe D'Amaro from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo.

Recently inspired?



The Rolling Jubilee

"Rolling Jubilee is a Strike Debt project that buys debt for pennies on the dollar, but instead of collecting it, abolishes it. Together we can liberate debtors at random through a campaign of mutual support, good will, and collective refusal. Debt resistance is just the beginning. Join us as we imagine and create a new world based on the common good, not Wall Street profits."



At this point they have raised about 300,000 dollars, which they can use to buy about 6 million dollars worth of debt, which they are going to just forgive.  

 



Huffington Post Article
What is a jubilee?
Jubilee comes from many faith traditions including Judaism, Christianity and Islam. A jubilee is an event in which all debts are cancelled and all those in bondage are set free. It worked in Biblical times and it can still work today. For example, a kind of jubilee happened in Iceland after the 2008 economic crisis: instead of bailing out their banks, Iceland canceled a percentage of mortgage debt. What these examples show is that debts are just a promise which can - and should - be renegotiated or cancelled when the circumstances warrant. Strike Debt believes that now is the time for a jubilee for the 99%.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tuesday, November 13, 2012