Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Message to The Mars Volta...

You win. I give up. No mas. Actually, my feelings can be best summed up ("summing up" not being one of the MV's strong suits) with four simple words: less prog, more rock.

You have finally beaten me into submission with this new album. And while "Amputechture" is hands-down their best actual album title to date, I just cannot fight through the time waste one must endure - the self-indulgent, self-important noodling and just dicking their way to nowhere that has to make up three-fourths of the record - to get to the good moments. And there are good moments, to be sure. It's not like they've lost their ability to kick ass or create truly beautiful music when they want to. It just seems as if their priorities have shifted to the point where actual songs are secondary to impressing the world with their genius, fleet fingers, multi-octave vocal range, etc.

"De-Loused in the Comatorium" is one of the best records of this decade. But you could feel the slide from alt-rock with prog tendencies toward full-blown jam-band j/o sessions - their live shows were perhaps the best barometer of their ambitions. Which is sad for me. At The Drive-In were so great...kind of a mish-mash of what Fugazi might have sounded like playing Rage Against the Machine songs with an additionally nice chaotic punk approach. The Mars Volta still had that feel when they first got rolling. But now...

I listened to way too much Yes, Rush, Genesis, Jethro Tull, etc., in my youth to be able to stomach this. I left that shit behind for good reason. I do not care for bombast. I cannot tolerate the notion that songs cannot be respectable unless they're at least eight minutes long (all the better when you can cram multiple "parts" into the song to make it a Suite...the kind of approach to music that would make Wagner and Rick Wakeman and Neil Peart proud). But I do love the fuck out of Tool, though. The message there being, I guess, that it can be okay to take things to a more "epic" level if you absolutely have to...just so long as you actually fucking get somewhere with it...

It is with a decent amount of sadness that I throw in The Mars Volta towel. I always loved the fact that they were so impossible to categorize that they fit in perfectly well when opening shows for everyone from A Perfect Circle to the Red Hot Chili Peppers to System of a Down. Maybe next time they'll be hitting the road with Widespread Panic or the Allman Brothers or something.

And I'll miss them righteous 'fros.

Good luck, guys. Keep being true to yourselves and I'll do the same. Maybe we can sync up again somewhere down the road...

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Monday, October 30, 2006

reunions and embarrassment (music-related)

Okay, so we have good news and bad news. First, the good news…

Apparently, after a reunion tour that lasted at least three years, the four Pixies are going to record a new album next year
. This is very welcome news, not only because I’m curious to see how it will turn out, but also because I feared them becoming a nostalgia act, which is very…just not a very Pixies thing to do.

Also, and this one’s a complete shocker for me, the Kirkwood brothers are reuniting for a new Meat Puppets record
. Somehow, this was announced in, like, April. How I’m hearing about it just now is beyond me. And a bit annoying, considering I’m on Curt Kirkwood’s mailing list. But it’s more surprising, given the state Cris Kirkwood’s been in for the last decade or so. I’ll never forget when I first learned about it in a story in the Austin Chronicle. The details of Cris’s heroin addiction were grisly to say the least, and terribly sad, needless to say. He seemed to get progressively worse as years passed, with an arrest for assault and a stint in jail. I kept waiting to read his obituary but, thankfully, that never happened. But the last I’d heard of him, which was a couple years ago, he was still holed up, shooting up, living alone and with the ghost of his ex-wife who’d OD’d herself a few years prior. But now…this. I’m tickled to pieces. There are few bands I love more than the Meat Puppets. And while Derrick Bostrom, their original drummer and webmaster to this day of the various official Meat Puppets and related websites, is declining to participate, Tim Alexander from Primus will fill the role. A genius choice, I think. And Curt Kirkwood needs the Meat Puppets. I loved his first and only solo album to date, “Snow.” But I discovered something unexpected through that album. Namely, that when Curt plays “solo” in an acoustic setting, he sounds a hell of a lot like Gram Parsons. Neither of them could sing worth a damn. I love Gram Parsons, but his voice always left much to be desired, in my opinion. Same thing with Curt. He’s good, but he needs electricity to be at his best. So I’m looking forward to the new album muchly.

And now for the bad news.

I think my theory that Ozzy has finally lost his ability to sing altogether may be proving true. (Anybody else find it odd that Black Sabbath didn’t perform at their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction last year?) And since Tony Iommi has to be constantly cashing in on something, the inevitable third (!) reunion with…oh, god…Ronnie James Dio is on
. At least they have the decency to call themselves Heaven and Hell this time, though. (Or, more likely, Ozzy and Sharon pulled some legal shit on them to keep them from using the name again. Which is good, considering the more comical “Black Sabbath” lineups that have rolled out over the years. Example…at one point, there were more original Sabbath members in Ozzy’s band than in the version of Sabbath that was operating at that same time.) At any rate, while I will be curious to see what the second team comes up with, I will not have much in the way of expectation. Yes, Dio can sing like a sumbitch. And he invented the devil-horn salute. The latter of which should at least warrant him a plaque or a high-five from satan or something. But he’s also a completely pretentious, humorless little troll who’s responsible for some of the most embarrassing music and imagery in the history of hard rock / metal. In fact, the worst – and I mean absolute worst – concert I ever saw was a Dio show in California in high school when I was visiting my friend John, who’d just moved out there. I swear to god, at one point during Dio’s set, there were no musicians on stage while the audience watched a very fake, very Spinal Tap dragon shoot laser beams out of his eyes and smoke out of his mouth. And this went on for, like, ten minutes. It was the first time I’d ever experienced outright anger because of a concert. It would have been funny, had I been able to get up and leave. But, being fifteen and having to wait on John’s dad to pick us up after the show, I had to suffer through the whole ridiculous display. It was probably that show that cemented my absolute hatred for all things “heavy metal.”

Anyway, the last thing I want to bitch about (from the “bad news” file) is John Mellencamp. While I’ve never been a huge fan of his, I’ve always admired his talent and the almost punk rock “fuck it” attitude he’s always seemed to embrace. But he should be ashamed of himself. You don’t have to have your TV on for more than a few minutes before the new GM commercial comes on, so I’m guessing you’ve heard this song. This pandering, jingoistic bullshit called “This is Our Country.” I guess it’s the roots rock equivalent of Lee Greenwood’s insipid “God Bless the USA,” and intentionally so. Frankly, I don’t see how it’s any less offensive than that “boot in your ass” song. And, as if the song itself – with lyrics that would embarrass the most enthusiastic of flag wavers – isn’t bad enough, it also serves as the campaign for GM’s new line of pickup trucks. Yes, GM…that most benign of American multi-billion dollar corporations. But that’s still not the worst of it. As is their tendency when advertising “American made” cars, GM lays on the patriotic imagery so thick you need a periscope to see out above it. Again, no real surprise. The truly tasteless moments come, though, when the images that evoke 9/11 are presented…the image of Ground Zero with the twin spotlights pointing skyward…followed immediately by scenes of firefighters leaning wearily against their truck, suggesting none too subtly that the two pictures are related. (And, to add insult to injury, those fuckers actually have the balls to show scenes from post-Katrina New Orleans…surely one of our nation’s finest moments, not to mention a testament to the “can-do” spirit of our government for the last six years.)

I want to scream: “What are they thinking?!?” But it’s advertising. The goal of advertising is to prevent us from thinking. But what is John Mellencamp thinking? Is he proud? Does singing these utterly inane, meaningless lyrics (“Well, I can stand beside…ideas I think are right…From the east coast, to the west coast, down the Dixie highway, back home…this is our country…”) make him feel patriotic? Like he’s performing a service to the people of this country? That, while we’re mired in the slow genocide we designed in order to further pillage the Middle East, maybe it was just this kind of blind, willfully ignorant patriotism we needed to perk ourselves up? Or was he just writing a song for a commercial, or perhaps some rallies for the same Democratic candidates who voted to invade Iraq but actively campaign against it now that the polls relay its unpopularity with voters?

Wave your fucking flag, “Small Town” John. Somebody famous once said, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” Apparently, little Johnny Cougar’s all tapped out.

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

October...you are a sexy bitch

October is a good month. First, it brings us to the end of the much-hated (by me) Daylight Savings Time. Benjamin Franklin did many good things, but that wasn’t one of them. Second, there’s the World Series. (Yay, Cardinals. Kenny Rogers does not deserve a World Series ring.) Beisbol been berry berry good to me. And there’s Halloween. I’m a huge favorite of Halloween in concept, and lord knows I love ghoulish imagery. I’ve just never been a dress-up-as-something-else kinda guy for some reason. But that’s my hang-up.

Most importantly, though, is the fact that so many of my most beloved beloved ones celebrate their birthdays in October. My sister’s birthday is on the 25th. My two best friends, Amber (the 11th) and Wendy
(this very day today…shoot her a “happy birffday” if you can).

So hooray for October. You totally kick September’s ass.

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

the money can be made if you really want some more...

Have we officially reached the “let’s all meet up at the vomitorium” stage of the empire yet…?


How many thousands of people starve to death on this planet every day while we stuff fried fucking Coke in our fat fucking faces? Which is not to say I don’t enjoy eating a bunch of fried crap, because I do. Hell, who doesn’t? You can batter and deep-fry a turd, dip it in ranch dressing, and it will taste like heaven. But, come on, people…have we lost all collective restraint?

Please, let’s all try to not act surprised when we hear how much the rest of the world thinks we’re gluttons for…everything.

the SUV liberal

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

well, at least we don't live in India...

I so love organized religion...


You dumb fucks. I hope Slayer does a month-long tour of India (the Christian areas, anyway). With their tour bus completely canvassed with the album cover.

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Saturday, October 07, 2006

PLEASE...debunk this film

Lest anyone think I’m just searching for something to fit a pre-conceived answer I’ve already reached, I think it’s probably only responsible of me to also forward a few links to sites devoted to debunking the various conspiracy theories regarding 9/11…



These can also be reached from the “links” section of the above website:





My personal opinion…As with everything, there are three sides to every story: one side, the opposing side, and the truth, which usually lies somewhere in between.

I get the feeling the 9/11 Commission will be eventually viewed as another Warren Commission. And, as with JFK’s assassination, we’re all ultimately going to believe what we choose to believe. There’s a whole lot of baloney to be found in that movie I forwarded you. But there’s also a whole lot of baloney to be found in the “official” conclusions the 9/11 Commission reached. (If I understand correctly, the original conclusion that “pancaking” caused the WTC collapses has since been abandoned by the national engineer organization who are most often sited by non-conspiracy folks as providing proof that controlled demolition didn’t take place.)

Like I said before….I don’t know what to believe anymore. I only know what I don’t believe. I have my theories….I’m sure you have yours.


I originally sent the above as an email to the friends and acquaintances to whom I also sent the message about the film to which it refers. I have no idea if any of them actually watched the movie, nor whether any of them checked out the links above that are intended to discredit the conspiracy theories and questionable information presented by the 9/11 Commission. I do know, though, that the response I received most often with regard to this subject was a variation of, “I just cannot imagine why or how our government would intentionally kill or place in harm’s way three thousand of its own citizens.” This is absolutely a valid statement, and it mirrored my sentiments and my reservations about paying any attention to the various conspiracy theories or just the simple idea that there was more to the story we were given surrounding the 9/11 attacks.

The notion that our own government – the model for democratic government in the world today – exists, as far as most people are concerned, for the sole purpose of protecting us. All other functions, while undeniably important, are secondary. So there’s that. But also there is the fact that we know of no other instances in our history where the government has carried out or even proposed such a plan. There are theories that FDR “allowed” the Pearl Harbor attacks in order to generate public support for our entering World War II. I won’t get into those except to say there’s evidence to promote and discredit that idea. That aside, the idea of our government allowing or participating in the 9/11 attacks – or engaging in terrorist activities abroad – is inconceivable for most people simply because there’s no precedent to suggest we either would or could.

However, I just recently read a passage from Noam Chomsky’s “Hegemony or Survival,” published in 2003 (Henry Holt & Co. – www.henryholt.com
; www.hegemonyorsurvival.net). In a section in which he’s discussing the pre- and post-Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 and our government’s obsession with regime change in Cuba from the moment Fidel Castro took power to modern times, please take note of the following…

“The March (1962) plan was to construct ‘seemingly unrelated events to camouflage the ultimate objective and create the necessary impression of Cuban rashness and responsibility on a large scale, directed at other countries as well as the United States,’ placing the U.S. ‘in the apparent position of suffering defensible grievances [and developing] an international image of Cuban threat to peace in the Western Hemisphere.’ Proposed measures included blowing up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay to create ‘a “Remember the Maine” incident,’ publishing casualty lists in U.S. newspapers to ‘cause a helpful wave of national indignation,’ portraying Cuban investigations as ‘fairly compelling evidence that the ship was taken under attack,’ developing a ‘Communist Cuban terror campaign [in Florida] and even in Washington,’ using Soviet bloc incendiaries for cane-burning raids in neighboring countries, shooting down a drone aircraft with a pretense that it was a charter flight carrying college students on a holiday, and other similarly ingenious schemes – not implemented, but another sign of the ‘frantic’ and ‘savage’ atmosphere that prevailed.” (source cited: Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense, “Justification for the U.S. Military Intervention in Cuba {TS},” Operation Northwoods, 13 March 1962)

Does any of that sound uncomfortably familiar…?

Again, I’m not trying to promote my own or anyone else’s propaganda here. I’m just asking everyone to please question everything they hear, what they believe, and their own instincts regarding the capabilities and motives of our government.

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

PLEASE...watch this film

Does anyone remember when Charlie Sheen made some public statements a few months ago regarding his crackpot conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11...?

I've been working on something (trying to, actually…I keep getting put off the project by other things) for a few weeks now regarding our government's activities and focus since 9/11, especially the past couple years or so. (And I still plan to finish it as soon as I can, though it may be in two parts by the time I'm done.) In the course of my "research" I keep finding other sidetracks to follow. One such sidetrack was this site: http://www.911truth.org/

After dinking around on that site for a week or so, I found myself most troubled most by the weirdness surrounding the World Trade Center 7 building. That was that third building in the complex that also collapsed that day. I watched the video of it and remembered how it was such a perfect destruction, even though the cause of its collapse was described as being due to fires created from the planes hitting the WTC 1 and 2 towers. Something doesn't add up. So I visited this site: http://wtc7.net/

It's the WTC 7 building I can't get past. It just makes absolutely no sense that that building would have collapsed in the manner in which it did for the reasons it supposedly did. There have been fires in skyscrapers for as long as there have been skyscrapers. Why are these three buildings – 1, 2 and 7 – the only steel buildings that have ever collapsed from fire? But more than that…why did these three buildings collapse straight down the same way controlled demolitions do?

Stay with me folks…I promise I haven't turned into a paranoid weirdo. (Or maybe I have. I guess the last people to know they're paranoid weirdos are the weirdos themselves, huh…?)

Anyway, at this point, I go back to the first site I was looking at: http://www.911truth.org/
. After scrolling down almost all the way to the bottom of the home page, I saw the following….

"Great New WTC Science Film: 9/11 Mysteries
Watch it now at Google Video!
"Hands down, the most detailed, accurate and persuasive documentary on the WTC collapses/demolitions yet to appear. The producers at
911weknow.com have also made this extraordinary teaching tool available for free download and viewing at Google Video here
. We urge everyone to watch it, buy a copy, and get it out to groups, schools and Public Access TV stations in your region. - Ed ."

Needless to say, the "here" can be clicked on to take you to the film I'm asking you all to watch. If it doesn't, you can also use this link:

The movie, I gather, is in turn created by the folks who created this website: http://www.911weknow.com/

Warning up front: this is a long-ass movie to watch on your computer – ninety minutes long. But I implore you to please watch it when you can. Even if you can't watch it all at once and can only watch it in segments. Even if you have to watch it at work (I don't think there's any way my home computer could download this thing)…please watch this movie. And watch it all; don't give up on it when it starts to get hokey (as it will a few times). Watch it to the very end.

Please watch the film with an open mind, but also with all your common sense. Actually, common sense is probably your best ally when watching this film and considering all the questions it raises. There are, as you will see, some really obviously outlandish and far-fetched suggestions. But there are far more truly disturbing facts to combine with evidence (which is in need of further explanation at times) and then combine with hindsight. Since history cannot be established without hindsight…are we watching history reveal itself?

I don't mean to sound melodramatic. I've never been a conspiracy theorist, I don't think. I hate to think of myself as one now. But I don't know what to believe anymore. I only seem to know what I don't believe…

Anyway, please watch the movie. If you think it's crap, just delete it. But if you feel like there's even the slightest possibility that we've been conned…please forward it along to anyone else you know. And if you care to share any opinions about this email, the topic at hand or the movie itself, please holler.

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