Saturday, January 26, 2013

Saturday Smodcast Share Time: Of Bryan Johnson

This week on Smodcast share time we will be looking at another pair of clips from the smodco cartoon show youtube vault. The star of these smod-toons is one of the stars of AMC's Comic Book Men. Bryan Johnson is a complex interesting hilarious fellow and his podcast Tell'Em Steve Dave is constantly hilarious. On Tell'em Steve Dave Bryan, Walt Flanagan(comic book artist, owner and operator of Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash, and star of amc's comic book men), and Brian Quinn(star of impractical jokers). The title Tell'em Steve Dave comes from the catch phrase of Walt and Bryan's characters in the viewaskewniverse.

The second Bryan Johnson youtube clips are from his new youtube series, called Why Bry?
 
 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Burning Bush with Letterman

This week on Burning Bush an interview with George W Bush for the David Letterman show. The interview appears ot be during the 2000 election. At the 1:40 mark or so W starts makes a hilarious observation that due to the perception that he is unable to speak simply saying his name in a simple sentence has become a huge winning factor him. Ughh. Also Letterman asks George the hard questions about capital punishment, and as result George Bush proclaims capital punishment a serious business and his face at the moment with his mouth agape in thought he reitierates "it is a serious business". Bush at around 5:00 proclaims proudly "I don't know" when it comes to death penalty statistics. If only that could've been his campaign slogan "W: I Don't Know". Letterman also aks Bush about the Yemen situation during the debates at 6:56 into the video bush responds proudly stating "If I found out who it was. They'd pay a serious price." and then "That means they're not gonna like what happens to them". Oh W. The W must stand for Wacky.


 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tuesday Tunes--My Top 25 Bands: 25. Porcupine Tree

Porcupine Tree

SCORES (Out of 25):
-Overall Positive Output: 1
-Overall Enjoyment: 1
-Good v. Bad Output: 7
-Popular Appeal: 6
-Best Album: 4
-Mixtape Factor: 6
TOTAL: 25




So it shouldn't be too hard to figure out from our first little scorecard up there that the scores have an inverse relationship with the band/artist's ranking in that category--i.e. a score of 25 means the band/artist was ranked #1 in that category. So the scores for the band at the very bottom of the list shouldn't be much of a surprise.


Porcupine Tree is probably the most recent addition to the list and probably the least likely to keep its spot but for the moment, this band has really been rocking my world. I actually discovered them on a Tool message board because there was a discussion about whether Tool is this generation's Pink Floyd and someone said "No. Porcupine Tree is this generation's Pink Floyd." This actually is a pretty apt description. Very progressive stuff but also blends a lot of pop, alternative metal (even some "nu metal" groove at times), electronic, and other influences into a surprisingly focused, albeit at times indulgent and meandering style (but in a good way!).  

The top two scores, of course, are lowest as I haven't been listening to them very long and as such haven't really had the time to familiarize myself with their catalogue. However, the rest of the scores are a bit more favorable. They seem to be pretty consistently cranking out quality output based on what I've heard of them and have a decent selection of songs that would make a pretty sweet mixtape--in addition to being more popular than at least 5 other bands/artists on the list. Their best album--In Absentia, in my opinion--is actually very good but the competition in the "Best Album" category is intense.


All in all, while they may eventually lose their spot on the list to Marilyn Manson or someone else, they're definitely a strong addition to it in spite of their position on it. Their low ranking mostly signifies my lack of familiarity with them and I wouldn't be surprised to see them climb the list in the future. As it is, songs like "Blackest Eye" and "Sleep Together" teem with alt-rock energy while slithering in and out of pop sensibilities and prog-rock structure and instrumentation. Definitely a band worth checking out.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Saturday Smodcast Share Time: Dropping a Deuce

As before here are not one but two choice Smodco Cartoon Show excerpts. The first is a last hurrah of our long gone holiday season with Kevin and Scott poking jest at Bing Crosby.




In this second smod -toon Kevin recounts his first encounter with an adult film, and then gloriously animates his first time making sweet love. Smod-toons can also be found on netlfix titled Kevin Smith: Smodimations.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Burning Bush

I love some good old fashioned Bush hypocrisy.

Also some seriously fantastic Bush speech moments.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tuesday Tunes--My Top 25 Bands (featuring THE FORMULA): Introduction/Marilyn Manson

I suppose, if nothing else, this blog is, for all of us, a den of nerd--a vessel with which to share our deepest, most passionately nerdgasmic excitement over (mostly) relatively benign minutiae.  I felt it was my duty, therefore, to share with the world one of my most basic foundations of my nerdiness--my love of music.  Specifically, my Top 25 Bands of All Time.  You'll notice I'm not referring to them as my "favorite" bands because this list is about a little bit more than just what I enjoy listening to.  I've made dozens of lists of my favorite bands or "top" bands but I never felt satisfied with any list based merely on my gut and so I decided to devise a formula (as nerds are oft prone to do) that factored in everything I wanted this particular list to be all about.



What I basically did was I took a list of 25 bands and artists (with one thrown in to reflect something I'm currently listening to a LOT of which has the potential for a spot on the list) that seemed like legitimate candidates for "all time great" status for me personally.  Then I ranked each band/artist in each of six separate categories in order to come up with a score (out of 25) in each category for each band.  The six categories are:
-Overall Positive Output -- the overall volume and quality of all the albums and songs by this band/artist which I enjoy (without any consideration for material by the band/artist which I dislike)
-Overall Enjoyment -- how often and how much I enjoy this band/artist
-Good Output v. Bad Output -- the ratio of good output to bad output, how good the good stuff is and how bad the bad stuff is (worst album is "dropped"; everyone's allowed one)
-Popular Appeal -- underground and mainstream popularity, level of critical appeal, staying power
-Best Album -- how good is their best (according to me) album?
-Mixtape Factor -- how good is one 80 minute CD of their best (according to me) songs?

Unfortunately, bands/artists get points off for the material of theirs I haven't heard yet, but this is my list after all and it's always evolving.

Today's entry will be a little different from the rest of them not only because of the introduction to the formula but also because the artist I'll be covering in this particular entry is the one I threw in to represent a band/artist I'm listening to a lot of at the moment.  The reason it will be different is because I didn't rank this band/artist using any of the above categories.  For the Top 25, I will be analyzing each album using each of the six categories and sharing the scores they received in each. However, for this entry, I have no scores, just a few words about how great Marilyn Manson is.



One of the main reasons I wouldn't be able to put Manson in the Top 25 at this time is that "Holy Wood" and "The Golden Age of Grotesque" always struck me as kind of weak and although some of the newer stuff he's released seems better, I haven't really listened to it enough to draw a conclusion.  However, everything prior to that ranges from "pretty good" to "defining moment in 90s music."

In the past, I never really got into "Smells Like Children" so when I finally did, I was surprised to find out that it was mostly remixes and weird interludes plus the classic "Sweet Dreams" cover that launched Manson's career on MTV prior to the epic "Antichrist Superstar."  I usually hate remixes but this are actually done in a pretty interesting way--the term "remix" almost seems inadequate as the songs are more "re-imagined" than anything.

"Portrait of an American Family" is the album the remixed songs come from.  This is another album I didn't get too into in the past but recently have gotten a lot more into.  There are some great hook-driven heavy rock songs with great lyrics on this album--namely the singles "Lunchbox", "Get Your Gunn", and "Dope Hat."  The Willy Wonka styled video for "Dope Hat" is probably one of my favorite Manson videos.  Truly disturbing.



"Antichrist Superstar" pretty much cemented Manson's status as the scariest dude in the music business.  Kind of a shame, considering it is also one of the most brilliantly conceived and executed pieces of alternative industrial metal concept art.  I've been listening to this album a lot lately and kind of rediscovering just how damn good it is.  Almost in the same way that Nirvana combined roaring guitars with pop hooks, "Antichrist Superstar" (perhaps more impressively) weaves pop sensibilities into everything it does, no matter how heavy it gets.  Even as he screams "FUCK IIIIITTT!!!" over buzz saw guitar riffing in the chaotic opener "Irresponsible Hate Anthem", the guitar riff is still quite catchy and the "FUCK IT!" chorus is very memorable--as is the other half of the chorus: "Everybody's someone else's nigger.  I know you are, so am I.  I wasn't born with enough middle fingers.  I don't need to choose a side."

The concept of the album itself influences the energy and the atmosphere of it.  In depicting the "beautiful people" that rule (in a fascist manner) over the disgusting masses.  "The weak ones are there to justify the strong" it says.  However, in depicting the masses and the main character who lives among them ("Little Horn" - a worm who metamorphoses into a boy and eventually into a rock star living among the beautiful people and ruling over the masses) the mood changes.  Songs like "Dried Up, Tied Up, and Dead to the World" and "Tourniquet" writhe with creepiness and then in the song "Little Horn": "Little Horn is born!"

The ultra-creepy combo of the industrial interlude "Cryptorchild" and the almost-dancey "Deformography" seem to mark the transition from worm to boy to rockstar.  In "Mister Superstar", Little Horn begins lashing out in anger at his adoring subjects and eventually the tone of the album turns overtly fascistic in the title track, complete with what sounds eerily like a sound clip of a Nazi "heil" (which sounds cooler and heavier than I really would like to admit).  By the time brilliantly creepy, crushingly heavy, yet undeniably catchy "The Reflecting God" rolls around he's openly inviting people to kill him ("SHOOT!  SHOOT!  SHOOT MOTHERFUCKER!") and if the video for the beautifully somber "Man That You Fear" is any indication, Little Horn gets his wish in the end.  There is also live footage on the "God is in the TV" video where Manson has a guy dressed like a cop come out with a shotgun and blow him away.



Once I took "Antichrist Superstar" off of constant repeat, I started rediscovering "Mechanical Animals" a bit and I really have to say that it's a highly underrated album.  It's obviously quite easy to imagine why it was viewed as a disappointment as the highly awaited follow-up to "Antichrist Superstar" but when you think about it, it takes some serious balls to release something that sounds like this after releasing something that sounds like that.  It also helps to know a little bit about the concept for this album.

The concept of "Mechanical Animals" is really quite interesting.  Half of the songs are said to be written by Alpha (a character based on Manson himself) while the other half are written by a band called Omēga (pronounced oh-mee-gah) and the Mechanical Animals.  Omēga is a gender ambiguous alien who, like Bowie's Ziggy Stardust, falls to earth and is captured and force to play with a band called The Mechanical Animals (this character is depicted in the music video for "The Dope Show").  The songs written from the perspective of Omēga are typically the most nihilistic and superficial lyrically (mostly about sex and drug use) and generally the most decadent and poppy sounding songs--they are: "The Dope Show", "Rock is Dead", "I Want to Disappear", "I Don't Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)", "New Model No. 15", "User Friendly", and "Fundamentally Loathesome").  Alpha's songs are more about love and alienation.

There's definite potential for Manson to move up onto the list--#25 Porcupine Tree is a very recent addition and could easily get knocked off in the near future by a band I've been listening to since high school.  I never got too into "Holy Wood" or "Golden Age of the Grotesque" although I've been trying to rediscover them recently.  GAOTG still seems pretty mediocre but I'm starting to get into the concept and some of the songs on "Holy Wood."  I definitely need to give some more attention to "Eat Me, Drink Me", "The High End of Low", and "Born Villain" but until then there is, sadly, no spot on the list for Marilyn Manson.  Still, he's all I've been listening to for the last couple weeks and so we celebrate him with one of the creepiest music videos ever made..."The Beautiful People"...




Monday, January 14, 2013

STEPHEN'S POP CULTURE HEROES: ROBERT RODRIGUEZ



I spend a great deal of my life thinking about fictional heroes, however when I truly need inspiration I look to my real life heroes like Kurt Russell, Quentin Tarantino, John Carpenter, Kevin Smith, Guillermo Del Toro, Richard Linklater, Spielberg, George Lucas, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson, Doc Hammer & Jackson Publick, Scorsese, Scott Bakula, Brian K Vaughan, Alan Moore, Peter Jackson, The Broken Lizard crew, Bob Gale, Coen Bros, Wachowski Bros, Mario Bros, Robert Zemeckis, Bruce Timm, Geoff Johns, Timothy Zahn, Max Brooks, Paul Dini, Sergio Leone, etc.

and of course 

ROBERT RODRIGUEZ



For as long as I care to remember I've been a fan of Robert Rodriguez. I remember my parents watching his first film El Mariachi on the living room TV and getting shooed away cause it was too violent for my young eyes.  The irony is I walked into my room and put on a tape of Total Recall to see triple boobs, mutant faces, and bloody arm dismemberment. I remember hearing my parents discuss the film and I remember hearing people talk about it to each other. Probably because it was a Spanish language film, and my parents spoke Spanish so it was the thing to do to ask them their opinion of the movie.


I remember seeing all the best scenes in Desperado on tape with my brothers and marveling out how cool explosions and fire was. I wanted so bad as a young boy to have a guitar case with a machine gun or bazooka. It was the essence of cool in my young mind.

My family was lucky enough to have a TV in a Mark3 van to watch movies which made long car trips more tolerable for us kids and for my parents. Then on a trip to see my brothers wrestle somewhere upstate. With my two best friends from middle school, my brothers popped in a rented copy of From Dusk till Dawn. My young mind was blown. I can remember being super excited to see Spy Kids in theatres alone with my cousin Dex. I was so hyped to see Danny Trejo appear in the movie. I wanted him to vamp out again Razor Charlie style and kill Tony Shaloub. By the time I got in high school, Spy Kids 2 was a DVD purchase watch, for which the audio-commentary is one of my favorites of his. It's all about the creative process and it is extremely inspiring and a must watch for anyone interested in his process. Spy Kids 3d was a must watch in theatres for Stallone and the sweet 3d, before Avatar as Robert will tell you in the video below.

Once Upon a Time In Mexico was everything my 16 year old boy heart could ever want it to be. I had the pistolero song stuck in my head for that whole 2003-2004. I saw Sharkboy and Lava Girl as a college student in a theatre packed with 8 year olds on opening day, like the biggest dork on earth. Sin City was a Thursday night midnight viewing. I remember sitting in the theatre watching Marv jumping through the sky in a trench coat and thinking, I got  to read comics again. That year I found my amazing local comics shop Mac's Comics which I still go to today. Grindhouse was a surreal experience in an empty twelve o'clock movie. Shorts was an on demand rental. Machete was a failed first date, her opinion of the movie being the clear difference we could never be together.



From Dusk till Dawn still remains one of my favorite movies, and Robert Rodriguez for me will always be the coolest filmmaker there is. This is a speech he gave to his alma mater about his future endeavor El Rey channel.





Saturday, January 12, 2013

Smodcat Saturday Share Time

For the past three months I have been suckling at the podcast teet of Kevin Smith's Smodcast Internet Pocast network. I enjoy the flagship Smodcast show which is  usually Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier. Kevin Smith is of course the writer/director of the horror film Red State, and the man behind one my favorite film universes, the Viewaskewniverse. Scott his long time producer on films like Chasing Amy, Mallrats, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,Clerks and Clerks 2. Scott's also a write in his own right having penned a some Ultimate Spider-man cartoons on Disney XD.
On Smodcast Kev and Scott talk about their scrotal and anal health Star Wars, Kev's high school production of Grease, Aquaman's life, basically anything pop culture, and anything remotely interesting. Usually turning it all into a bunch of blowjob and sex jokes. Naughty words abound and the material is extremely adult. I love it. As Kev would say His aural makes my ear pussy orgasm like crazy. The fine folks at Smodcast have turned clips from their pods into short animations, that I will now share with you. 


Friday, January 11, 2013

Burning Bush



 
Forgot about this Burning Bush blog I wanted to do as a recurring. We will instead pay our reverence to our former President in this year of our lord 2013. Bush in his days before the presidency showing the humanizing class that only Marshall Mathers has duplicated.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Trek Talk: NERDGASM FIRST 9 MINUTES OF INTO DARKNESS

Joy of joys! My IMAX 3d screening of the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey had the first 9 minutes of Star Trek Into Darkness. For context as to how biased I am towards this series. I saw the first Abrams Star Trek film in theatres not once, not twice, but eleven separate times. I was blown away by the film each lens flare was glorious and poignant. The performances are vibrant, raw, and every character gets a moment in the sun. It was a lot of setup but also a lot of classic memorable moments too.



This movie starts off softly as we see a couple male and female in future London. They wake up, do their morning routine and go off to visit their ill daughter. At the hospital where she is being treated,  Bennedict Cumberbatch's character walks over and tells them he can help them, ominously.

 Cut to an alien world and field of red plants, and two hooded figures run out of the jungle like Jack Sparrow or Indiana Jones, chased by white tribal looking aliens. The people in hoods are Kirk and Bones. After hanging some scripture on a tree the natives leave them be as the two jump off a cliff into the ocean(as shown in the trailer) and swim down with technological aid to the Enterprise submerged below this planet's sea. Meanwhile, Spock jumps into the volcano on this planet in a bad ass lava proof suit, and attempts to stop the eruption with a super space ice cube. The prime directive is invoked in dialogue and the sequence builds to them teasing that Spock will burn to death in this volcano. However, I think Kirk might just save him.

     

Sunday, January 6, 2013

COMICBOOK REVIEW BATMAN FALSE FACES

BATMAN FALSE FACES is a collection of DC comics stories all written by Brian K Vaughan.


Brian K Vaughan is famous for working on three seasons of one of my all time favorite shows,  Lost and also more importantly for writing on one of my favorite comic book series of all time Y THE LAST MAN

Brian K Vaughan introduces Batman False Faces himself and sets up the context of the book and the many stories it pulls from. All the stories are gloriously self contained so they don't really need to fit into any certain continuity. I assume Vaughan does this so that they are, as Batman should be, easily accessible to all audiences. There are four stories in the collection of varying lengths. Three of the four are pulled from issues of Batman he did, and the other story is a two parter from a Wonder Woman run that happens to star a Batman villain. All four stories play with the themes of identity and metamorphoses as the title False Faces hints at. This article will review the middle story, then the last, then I will cover the Wonder Woman story, and then a review of the first and longest story in the Close Before Striking. CLICK READ MORE TO DO JUST THAT