Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I Fucked A Cactus

My schedule sucks right now, it’s hot, I’m tired & cranky, and I only have but a few moments so shut the hell up and pay attention. Pearl jam is on the cover of the new Rolling Stone magazine, you should go pick it up. There in those pages lies a very interesting interview with them and the rest of the magazine is nifty too, I guess. I will try and post some more album reviews and shit this week, but I have NO time as of late. So I apologize and if you don’t like it, suck it.

Walking tightrope high, over moral ground

Monday, June 26, 2006

I Counted Crows And Goo-Filled Dolls

So I went to a concert Saturday night, one that involved the stage antics and musical projection of the Goo Goo Dolls and, more importantly, the Counting Crows. I have seen both of these bands live before, however both shows were (coincidently?) ten years ago. It seems only fitting that my friend shall be blessed upon with the receiving end of six free tickets and that he forgo, nay damn to hell, the comments I have stated about his mom and the sexual escapades of which she has been involved in with men of such low caliber (myself included), and to allow me entrance into the outwardly projection and personal presence of their music. Which was an awfully nice thing for him to do, as I had nothing to do that night until it was my turn to have my way with the earthly spawn of whose vagina this friend had emerged from, and I had a few hours to kill.

The Goo Goo Dolls were as expected, and I guess if that is all one achieves then they have at least avoided failure by default. The Goo Goo Dolls are like that polite friend at a party. He never gets out of control, always says hello but never holds conversation, and basically is forgotten until he breaks something or drowns in your pool after overdosing on barbiturates. They put on a good, but bland live show. The Counting Crows have always been a good live band, and their music generally seems more fun to listen to, especially live. However, it should be notated and remembered, lest ye be damned to forget, that when one plays a song live of original origin consisting of 4 minutes, one should not attempt to go all “Grateful Dead  on our asses” and turn that 4 minute tune into a 15 minute epileptic seizure with background music. This is a big no-no. Hell, it was bad when the Grateful Dead did it, and they were the only ones who could do it.

The experience however was quite enjoyable, as I believe whole heartedly that Mother Nature created summer for the nights alone, and the festivities one might engage in during said nights. A warm summer evening at an outside amphitheatre is a far superior day than attending a movie in an expensive theatre with even more expensive popcorn. I would explain in detail the differences of these two escapades, but such things are not for my brain to ponder. Trust me; if there is one thing to do this summer, it is to go see a live show. Well, that and fuck Stacy’s mom of course, but that’s a given.

Stacy’s mom, has got it goin’ on

Thursday, June 22, 2006

My Chap Stick Eloped With My Pez Dispenser

Chap Stick is weird. I mean, the only purpose it serves is to un-chap lips that are currently chapped, and to fall out of one’s pocket. I honestly believe that my chap stick hates me. It has managed to fall out of my pocket on every occasion of purchase, and always within 48 hours of said purchase. I can only imagine that this is some sort of vile scheme dreamed up by the Chap Stick makers. They plant artificial intelligence chips inside the Chap Stick, and that allows the Chap Stick to possess free thought. And if I was in someone’s pocket, my first thought would be “get me the hell out of here!” which seems to be the only thing chap stick is capable of doing (except for the act of de-chapping of course). I love my chap stick, but it doesn’t love me back, and that makes me very sad. I give it a good home, medical and dental insurance, food and clothing, and even an allowance to go out with other Chap Sticks. But it still hates me, and all I want is some lovin’, you know? Why has my Chap Stick forsaken me? Come back to me Chappy! I can change!

The loneliest caged bird sings the saddest song, and you were never one to keep us guessing long

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

This Station Is Non-Operational

Musicians are egotistical people. A singer could be blessed with a handful of amazing musicians, who then propel that band to heights which are only dreamed of by most, and then watch it all collapse. And it is usually because of the lead singer. Now the singer may or may not be the main writing influence of the groups’ songs, but they are almost always the cause of destruction, whether they wrote the songs or not. This has happened to many, many great bands, and in the next few paragraphs I am going to tell you a story about one of my favorite bands, and how they imploded because of one selfish lead singers desire to become the next Axl Rose.

At The Drive-In was a band for only 7 years. They released four full length albums on Fearless Records, not including their EP’s and self released 7’s. If you have ever heard the phrase “good emo” and asked yourself “is there such a thing?” you will find the answer here. ATDI were not necessarily an emo band, they just did it better than everyone else, making them the mold others were crafted from. The members of ATDI are as follows:

Cedric Bixler Zavala – Vocals
Jim Ward – Guitar/Keyboards/Vocals
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez – Guitar
Paul Hinojos – Bass
Tony Hajjar - Drums

After playing small shows and clubs, they started to gather a following, and they did it quickly. ATDI was notorious for putting on a great live show, and attempted to replicate that energy in the studio with their second album, In/Casino/Out. After their release of the EP Vaya they started work on their best and last album. Relationship Of Command was released in 2000, and featured the two hit singles “One Armed Scissor” and “Invalid Litter Dept.” They had both videos in heavy rotation on MTV, and ATDI were on the verge of selling a million copies of Relationship Of Command. Then the unexpected happened; ATDI suddenly, and seemingly without notice, ceased to be.

The reasons for the death of ATDI are not clearly known, as the band had simply stated they were on indefinite hiatus. Rumors then began to circulate, and the most popular of them (the one I believe) is taken from Cedric Bixler Zavala himself when he accepted responsibility for the break up. He felt that ATDI was holding him back (as he stated repeatedly in interviews) and that he did not want to be confined to the type of emo hardcore music they had been releasing. Cedric then went to form the Mars Volta with fellow ATDI guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez.[1] The remaining three members then created the emo band Sparta, which sounds similar to early ATDI.

What we now have is one decent band (Sparta) and one over-the-top band that wishes they were more like early Pink Floyd (Mars Volta). The music from the Mars Volta is pretty terrible, and Sparta is only slightly better. ATDI was a collection of 5 very talented musicians who made some great music as a whole. When you cut them in half, they form not-so-great bands that make mediocre music, at best. And who is to blame? The one guy who didn’t play a fucking instrument; the lead singer. This is commonly known as LSD, or Lead Singer Disease. He felt the band was holding him back. So my question is, when the Mars Volta decomposes, what will his excuse be then?

In retrospect, I feel it necessary to point out a little fact, a tie-in so to speak between the 3 groups. Jim Ward’s cousin Jeremy Ward was in De Facto, a side project with Cedric and Omar. He was also the sound technician and vocal operator for De Facto and the Mars Volta. He died of a heroine overdose less than a month before the release of the Mars Volta album Deloused In The Comatorium. A journal that he had found when he worked as a repo-man served as the inspiration for the Mars Volta’s second album, Francis The Mute.

Here’s a list of essential At The Drive-In, in order or necessity:

Relationship of Command (Album)
In/Casino/Out (Album)
Acrobatic Tenement (Album)
Vaya (EP)
Alfaro Vive, Carajo! (EP – Out of print)
El Gran Orgo (EP)
Hell Paso (EP – Out of print)
This Station Is Non-Operational (Collection)

Strike this match and let loose the oven’s breathe, up the volume that flirts with the UHF
[1] I had recently heard that Paul Hinojos had left Sparta to join with the Mars Volta.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Murder City Part-Time Devils

It appears that the Murder City Devils are reuniting, at least for one concert. Thanks guys for, you know, getting back together for one show that ninety percent of your fans are not able to go see. In other news, if anybody can tell me why Gnarls Barkley is go god damn popular, please let me know. I mean, it’s a decent record, and yeah it’s original (well, at least if you forget about the 80’s funk and soul records) but it’s not that damn good. Please help me understand this.

I did it like this, I did it like that, I did it with a waffle ball bat

Begone. This Is Not For Your Brains

I wanted to direct your attention, if I may for a moment, to the pages which belong to these following bands:

Social Syn
Lloyd Dobler Effect
The Uprising
Blame Betty
Black Triangle
Andrew Spindler

These are but a few of the bands that have been thrown my way who I have been checking out, and I like what I hear. My musical tastes vary greatly, so much so that if one were to close his mind to the sounds of the outside world, this vast majority of musical entities could cause their very head to explode form the pressure of musical centrifugal forces. The complexity of the musical juxtaposition that defines these very different sciences of sound is just too much for the fragile human psyche. One can only take so much before one’s mind begins to deteriorate. Do not allow this to happen to you. Know your limits. If you cannot handle it, save yourself, for the rest of us are doomed and damned souls, floating lost and alone along the musical bars of life. We are but notes in the sea of chords.

Fuck the authority

Friday, June 16, 2006

Movie Review - Nacho Libre

Movie – Nacho Libre

I want to make one thing perfectly clear; I did NOT pay money to see this movie. In retrospect, I am quite happy that a transaction involving paper of monetary value never took place between me and the movie theatre register biscuit. However, my friend told me she had a spare free pass, and as I am a consumer whore I could not in good conscience pass up the opportunity of two hours of entertainment. Now I have noticed that some people are fans of Jack Black’s movies. I am not one of those people. In fact, with the exception of High Fidelity and School Of Rock, I have no use for Black what so ever. Nacho Libre just sealed the deal.

What has been touted as a family comedy by the press is in fact a horrible script, an even worse plot, and the worst of the worst in jokes and one-liners. Black’s ability to make people laugh has always amazed me, as I have rarely seen him be funny. In Nacho Libre Black plays a cook in a monastery for orphans in Mexico. Apparently, wrestling is big in Mexico (or at least that’s the idea this film was meant to portray) and it is his characters dream to become a professional wrestler.
In Mexico.
For Pesos.

Clearly this movie is not for those of us that detest wrestling. The problem with the film is that even as it pokes fun at the wrestling culture, it’s still not funny. This could be due to it being a “family” film, but I honestly think that’s just bullshit. There were virtually no parts in the entire film where I laughed as a direct result of something I saw on the screen. I was laughing at the people I went with to see it, as they were far more entertaining than anything on screen. If you’re under the age of 12, or you enjoy stupid gross-out comedies, then this film is for you. Just leave your expectations, and dignity, at the door.
0.5 Out of 5

There are things that I’d like to say, but I’m never talking to you again.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I'll Be The Judge Of That

I was reading Rolling Stone and contemplating the state of music in today’s war-torn post modern society and eating some, you know, rolls. And for some reason I asked myself what my five favorite records to listen to are. So here they are, post your own below if you feel like it, or not. I just asked, I didn’t say you had to. Ok I’m sorry already, stop yelling at me! Why do you hurt me so with the things you say, I just want you to love me!

B’s Top 5 of all time:

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here
The Rolling Stones – Exile On Main Street
The Clash – London Calling
Nirvana – Nevermind
Pearl Jam – Ten

Death or glory, it’s just another story

Album Review - The Raconteurs

Artist – The Raconteurs
Album – Broken Boy Soldiers

Everybody knows the story, and if you don’t then feel lucky as I am not going to bother explaining it. The only band to get as much publicity in the last two months as the Red Hot Chili Peppers is Jack White’s new band (he refuses to call it a side project) The Raconteurs. The story of how they evolved is on par with the evolution of Pearl Jam, The Strokes, and Angels And Airwaves, so I will spare you the history lesson. Let’s get right to the music with the opening track (and first single) off their new record Broken Boy Soldiers, “Steady As She Goes”. Ever heard a White Stripes song? Good, moving on.

In all fairness, The Raconteurs are far more listenable than The White Stripes. Anybody who was turned off by White’s unevenness and sporadic hit or miss with the Stripes will be a little relieved with this record. “Hands” is pretty straight forward, reminiscent of early Tom Petty, and the title track sounds like the b-side to Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”. The vocals seem to be in the same style as the Stripes, but they are shared and spread out, so it’s probably just the production. I still refuse to believe that Jack White sings like a ghost with throat cancer, its got to be the mic's (right?).

The album as a whole stands up on its own even when not taken in the context of The White Stripes. The production feels aged and unpolished, and has a sort of live feel to it. Slower tracks like “Together” and “Call It A Day” give a little bit of a Beatles feel to it, while “Yellow Sun” is straight out fun to listen to. If asked to choose one over the other, I would take The Raconteurs over The White Stripes eight days a week, but they need to grow out of the Stripes mold. While it is understandable to have that kind of feel to it with the first record, their next one should take on a feel of its own, or else they will continue to be seen as a Jack White side project, whether he likes it or not.

7 out of 10

If you like this record, try:

The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Show Your Bones
Cake – Fashion Nugget

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Reach Out And Touch Some Boobies

As I paced the walkway thru the endless aisles of waist-high cubicles, I could hear, see, and feel the tapping of cramped fingers as they endlessly pounded the keys on their plastic boards of imprisonment. The hours have grown long, the air stale as hope slowly diminishes to once an eager dream but now a sad failure. At that moment, when the ray of hope slid to the dark side of disappointment, a young man shouted from his cubicle of confinement, screaming “Sir, I’ve got it!” I hurriedly raced towards the young man, Johnson was his name, and asked “are you sure?” He stood there shaking, pale, exhausted, as he looked into my eyes of disbelief and coldly stated “yes sir, I have found it”. As we both gaze down into the beautiful collection of images painted across his computer screen, I saw that it was true. He had found it, that which we have searched for achingly for weeks, months, even years; the naked pictures of Beatrice Arthur. I looked into Johnson’s eyes as I placed my hand on his cold shoulder, and said “my God son, you have done it.”, and as he gazed into my eyes, he sighed with relief. He had found it at last.

The little honey bunny she come up to me

Album Review - Sonic Youth

Artist – Sonic Youth
Album – Rather Ripped

Sonic Youth has always been one of the most important bands in the world of music. They have managed to be popular just by name alone, as everybody knows their name but most can’t name a single song or album by them. The reason for this is twofold; one part is that they are very rarely, if ever played on the radio. The other half of that reason is that their music is so dynamic and unstructured, that casual music fans just can’t get into their music. This is a sad fact, as they have made some great music over their twenty year career. Their new album Rather Ripped however, may be easier to bite into.

Sonic Youth has always been a “fuzz” band. A lot of distortion and sound effects are blended in with their buzzing guitars, and the song structures vary widely, sometimes forming more noise than music. With Rather Ripped the fuzz has been filtered and turned down in exchange for riffs reminiscent of The Strokes. It is easier on the ear, and has a bit more of a pop flavor to it, especially with the first two tracks “Reena” and “Incinerate”. Lyrically, they are the same as they have always been, with subdued messages and catchy, if vague, choruses.

As usual, the tracks peak when Kim Gordon takes over the vocals. She still sounds like she first did on Sonic Youth and Confusion Is Sex. Tunes like “What A Waste” and “The Neutral” show her calm and collected vocal style, while her occasional scream seems to be absent from the record. Rather Ripped is a smooth disk with no surprises or shocks, which gives it a cloudy-day-drive kind of a feel. It may not measure up to Goo or Daydream Nation, but nothing ever will. After twenty years, if this is what their dishing out as records now, I’ll take it in a heartbeat. It’s not that different from their older stuff, just a little more mature.

7 out of 10

If you like this record, try:

Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation
My Bloody Valentine – Loveless
Fugazi – 13 Songs

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

America's Sweetheart

Courtney Love is an amazing person. No doubt you are currently thinking that the words “Courtney Love” and “amazing” should never belong in a sentence together unless “amazing” is followed by such adjectives as insane, crazy, or fucked up. Just trust me on this, she is amazing. And that is not necessarily good. Courtney Love is the only pop culture icon I can think of that manages to purposely attract the attention of the media by doing the most fucked up antics her coked-out brain can imagine. And then she hates them for it. She actually expects the world to believe that the press has been unfair to her and that she is a good musician, even when her records aren’t selling, and that she is a good mother, especially when she is shooting heroine while pregnant.

The flipside to this coin is that out of all the female musicians to emerge out of the Seattle scene, she is by far the most gifted and talented. Melissa Auf Der Maur may be the hottest female artist (maybe even hottest human) in the entire world, but her solo record is less than stellar. It’s good, but it’s not Live Through This good. Love’s solo record America’s Sweetheart however is very, very good. But did it sell? No. And I suspect this has a lot to do with all of the negative attention she has received in the media. At some point, even one’s most loyal fans are going to get fed up and move on, and I suspect that this is the fate Love and her music have suffered.

Love almost seems to go out her way to get all this attention, so one could only assume that she would be prepared for the media backlash. But if you ask her, she has been portrayed as a self-obsessed drug-addled bitch who can’t appear in public without a gallon of booze in her blood stream and her shirt nearly falling on the ground. This portrayal may be pretty mean, but it seems accurate enough, if not damn funny. The sad thing is that if she could (would may be a more accurate word) stop the drugs and drinking, she could be a powerful force in the music industry.

She owned most of the rights to Nirvana, which I still find amazing seeing as how she wasn’t even part of the fucking band, but that’s not my concern. She also maintains a lot of the rights to Hole’s catalog, which is worth significantly less than Nirvana’s, but still worth more than I will ever make in a lifetime. And she has somehow managed to lose the majority of both, as well as most of her money in the bank as she has had to file for bankruptcy. Poor Francis Bean Cobain is probably going to be hoping for student loans when she gets old enough, because it looks like her mother is pissing it all away.

Had Love been able to control herself and her habits, she would most likely still have most of her money, her stakes in Nirvana and Hole, her sanity (what was left of it at least), and her solo record probably would have sold better. I even dare to assume that people might be looking forward to her next album, had she stopped being a total fuck up. Unfortunately, she is now considered a joke, has almost no professional colleagues willing to put up with her shit to help her make a new record (except Billy Corgan, but only God knows why), and is pretty much irrelevant.

What does all of this mean for Love? Well, if she wants her next record to sell even one copy, she better get her shit straight. And the funny thing about her is we all know she won’t. One could invent a drinking game based on Courtney Love’s outbursts and public mishaps. This is sad because she is a good musician. I enjoyed America’s Sweetheart, and I liked every Hole record. I would almost be looking forward to her next record if I actually had faith in it being released, but as of right now I have about as much faith as I did in Axl Rose when he said we would have Chinese Democracy on store shelves before the millennium. Hell, I’ll be amazed if that record hits stores before China actually does have a Democracy. I give it 50/50, and I’ll give Love the same, just cause I’m feeling generous. Until then, lets hope she can get by just on being America’s fucked-up, insane, hopeless and broke sweetheart.

And the sky was made of amethyst, and all the stars are just like little fish.

Monday, June 12, 2006

My Bloody Tampon

Have you ever wondered why rock stars do the strange shit they do? I mean, is it the money that makes them fuck a coked-out groupie with a fish, or is it the fame? I am currently watching “The 100 Most Shocking Moments In Rock” on VH1, and all I can think about is how these megalomaniacal fuck-tards manage to come up with weird shit that would cause an average human to get arrested or deported. I can only wait and wonder when my time in the spotlight will be where I am able to smoke crack, shoot smack, fuck a fourteen year old with a fish, and drink Jack Daniels like it's coffee all while practicing witchcraft in my twenty million dollar Malibu beach house. Then I will know I have made it. Look ma, top of the world!

You’re the part of me that I don’t want to see

Friday, June 09, 2006

Album Review - AFI

Artist – AFI
Album – Decemberunderground

I have to admit, I am an AFI apologist. When they released Sing The Sorrow, I defended them to all the punks who thought they had sold out. I actually believed it was a rather well put together record, and was probably one of their best efforts to date. What Sorrow had and Decemberunderground lacks is a theme. A way to make the tracks seem like they belong together, in some sort of unified harmony, for example. What the new record does have is a new single that resembles, if not replicates, a track off of Green Day’s American Idiot. If there is any track off this record that does not belong and never should have been recorded, it is the new single “Miss Murder”.

Having said that, the rest of the album mixes their old school punk days with the theatrics and production of their last record. AFI always manages to make me think of summer nights at the lake with their records, and I know that is a strange connection to make, but they continue that feeling with this one. Maybe it’s just me. With tracks like “Summer Shudder” and “The Interview” the group tends to get lost in the song, and the tracks grow a little stale. “Love Like Winter” is reminiscent of War-era U2, and the disk itself has that kind of feel to it.

Davey goes back to his screamo-melodic vocals on “Affliction” which only adds to the albums clutter. The U2 sound comes back on “The Missing Frame”, and even though it does not necessarily sound like AFI, it’s probably the best track on the record. The record ends with some unlisted song that is barely a minute and a half long, but could have developed into an album track if they gave it a little more room to grow. The album is good if viewed from a stand alone point of view, but their going to lose some more fans, which is inevitable with the punk industry once you sell more than 500,000 albums.

6 out of 10-B

If you like this record, try:

AFI – Sing The Sorrow
Alkaline Trio – From Here To Infirmary
Strung Out – American Paradox

The Muffin Blues

I had a dream last night and I won’t lie, it involved a Furby. I dreamt I was in the woods, watching my hat float away like Gabriel Byrne in Millers Crossing. My hat floated along the trees, and as my eyes, or more accurately, the camera looked up towards the sky, I saw my assassin. He had large eyes, stumps for limbs, and was covered in fur. He said “this is for Lumiere” as he dropped the gun towards my head. He fired a shot, and then I woke up screaming. I looked over to my dresser to see the time, in case I needed to file a report about my death. But my alarm clock was blocked. It was blocked by a candlestick. A yellow candlestick with two brass arms, for holding two extra candles. And the candlestick was smiling at me.

-BI can’t wait, I can’t stay a candle

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Album Review - Red Hot Chili Peppers

Artist – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Album – Stadium Arcadium

I have never been a fan of the Peppers. I just wanted to get that out of the way before I type anything that resembles an opinion on their new record. Their new record however is a good one to start with if you ever want to become a fan and have no idea where to begin. The album spans two disks, and opens with their first single “Dani California”, which is always something that bothers me. Never open an album with your first single, because casual listeners usually won’t go past that track. ANYWAY, Stadium Arcadium serves up RHCP’s usual funky grooves and song structures ripped out of Primus’ playbook.

The title track is a smooth paced track, blending funk and alt-country, as if R.E.M. took a vacation in Jamaica and recorded a song about it. “Hump De Bump” is a fun summer song in the making, and “Slow Cheetah” plays so smooth you’d swear your stereo is a pitcher of iced tea pouring funk-flavored sweetness into your ice cold cup of an eardrum. The second disk picks up more of a bass-heavy tone, and “Tell Me Baby” is a track Public Enemy might have recorded. With tracks like “She Looks To Me” it’s not hard to see how their style has changed throughout the years, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Anything after Blood Sugar Sex Magik is ok with me, and they seem to be enjoying that direction.

With two disks of tunes, it is inevitable to have a few throwaway's (Unless your Pink Floyd or Bob Dylan, respectively). I would point those out for you, but I am not an accurate source for that sort of information when it comes to RHCP. My advice, pick it up and give each disk two or three listens. Is Stadium Arcadium enough to make me a fan? I doubt it, but it’s a good place to start. I’m not going to get rid of the album, if that’s any kind of sign.

7 out of 10.

If you like this record, try:

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication
Primus – The Brown Album
Sublime - Sublime

Gimme Shelter

I am going to start posting my album reviews on here. For a while I have been trying to keep my two blogs separate, and that now seems a little out of the realm of possibility. The fact is that I would be turning too much attention to one and not enough to the other. So, I am going just post everything on both. That’s what a blog is for, so why not. You will see on this one the same essays and stuff that you will on my other one; music reviews, concert reviews, essays on pop culture and politics, a little bit of everything really. My other blog is on MySpace, and that’s a separate community all together. I will not be posting my writing exercises or short stories on that blog. This one will have everything while my MySpace blog will have a portion of it. I will have a new album review up a little later today, and then I will begin work on the second part of my “In The Name Of God” series. Oh, and to the fanatic who responded to my last one, I HAVE played the game. Have you?

Hit me with your best shot

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Death Be Not Proud

I think about death a lot. I would like to think that most people think about death a lot, but I know that would not be true. I think it is important to think about death. One can not truly appreciate life until one has contemplated their own demise. It is going to happen, and not all the money, fame, or prayer in the world is going to stop that. It is going to happen. Once you have accepted that fact, you tend to view things in a different light. Most people are afraid of death, but I am not. I am actually kind of looking forward to it. I want to see what’s beyond this realm of our earthly vessels.

I often wonder how it is going to happen. Will I slip on a banana peel and fall down some stairs in a comic sort of tragedy (as everyone knows I hate bananas)? Will I drown? Will I put a gun to my head and end it on my own terms? Or will I just simply grow old and then begin to really look forward to it? This may sound a bit morbid, but I am really curious as to how I will bite the proverbial bullet. I would like to be creative and say that I am suffering from Cotard’s syndrome or that I am living in some kind of Sixth Sense type of world, but that’s just dumb.

I actually have my funeral song figured out. When I die, at my funeral, I want the song “Ol’ 55” by Tom Waits to be playing as they wheel my casket out of the church. Actually, I want to be cremated, so I guess they wouldn’t wheel anything out of the church, would they? I don’t want to rot in the ground like most people, I want to be burned and my remains spread out somewhere, anywhere but here, really. Yes, I think cremation is the way to go. But I want that song played at my wake. Would I even have a wake? I guess death really is complicated when you think about it in a broad sense.

The song is the most important thing I think, and that should tell you something about me. I read that most suicidal people worry about what song they will play when they cut their wrists. I wonder if that is true. All I am worried about is what song is played at my wake, and I want it to be that song. The song isn’t necessarily about death, at least not directly. But the lyrics lend a feeling of saying goodbye when the time has come, whether or not it was life he was thinking about when he wrote it is up to debate, but I still think it is a good song for a funeral or wake. Depressed yet?

Anyway, I am off to ponder death some more. No album reviews today as I have been busy, will catch up in the next couple of days.

And my time went so quickly, I went lickity-splickly. Out to my ol’ 55.

Monday, June 05, 2006

In The Name Of God

Is murder acceptable if it is done in the name of God? History teaches us that it is, even if that fact is quite wrong. Murder is, as we are taught, wrong in any sense. When it comes to God, justice, and war is where the lines start to blur. The video game industry has long been condemned as a haven for violent tendencies buried within a child’s psyche. All too often video games, and any other mass-produced media, are blamed as the cause of some kid getting his hands on a gun and senselessly killing people. The parents are never blamed. Society is never blamed. At a time where parents pay attention to their children in the least of all generations, we as a society push the blame for violence onto anything that slightly resembles a plausible scapegoat, and video games are now having their turn in the spotlight.

But what if a video game, which has the sole purpose of killing those who do not believe in God, were to be mass produced? Would this game, designed in the same vein as GTA 3, be lobbied against by the powers of righteousness that be? You would assume so, as no one in politics wants kids to get their hands on video games, since they are the cause of all this violence and mayhem and are therefore objects of evil. Well, that’s where you’re wrong. It appears that, once again, when Christianity is involved, all bets are off. All wrongs are righted, and all levels of body count are acceptable if it helps save those who do not walk with God.

The video game in question is Left Behind: Eternal Forces, and if you can believe it, the purpose of the game is to convert those who have not embraced Christianity. And if they disagree with you? Well, then you pull out your Mac-10 and shoot them in their unholy face. That is the game; you save people, or you kill them for their beliefs. Sound familiar? Go read an American History text book and you’ll figure it out.

It never ceases to amaze me that so many have died in the name of God. Now I will admit, in this context we are speaking only of pixels killing pixels, so no one is really dying. But I wonder, if a child played this game and then proceeded to murder all non-Christians in his school, would the game receive the same social stigma of GTA 3? Would those who opposed video games so strongly (like Jack Thompson for example) suddenly turn around and say that this is acceptable because it is in the name of God? How can anyone, religious extremist specifically, condone violence on such a grand scale?

Would the blame of such an act shift towards society, as if to say the students deserved to die because they had a difference of opinion? Would they be blamed for their own murder? Or would the church back peddle and say that the game was meant for entertainment purposes only and no one with a sane mind would actually attempt to replicate what they do in the game. If so, this would pose the threat of being labeled a hypocrite. As the Republican Party seems to be the primary enemy of video games, and fun in general, they would put themselves in a corner by supporting a violent video game that is similar to the games they have been condemning.

In the realm of video games, violence has always been a core issue. The industry seems to be doing all that it can to help keep mature games out of the hands of kids. The rating system is only as effective as the retailers who enforce it. The distributor puts the rating on the game, the store sells it to the appropriate age demographic, and kids don’t get their hands on GTA 4: Killing For Fun. The missing link in this chain of events is the parent. It is the parent’s job to determine what games they will allow in their household. Yes parents, you ARE responsible for your kid’s actions until they are 18. If you don’t like it, don’t have any fucking kids. Where the parents fail is enforcing the rules of the house. If my child is seven years old and brings home a video game rated for a fourteen year old, it is my decision to let them play that game. Whatever consequences develop from them playing that game at such a young age are mine, and mine alone.

Left Behind: Eternal Forces seems to be getting little media attention and that may be due to it not having a release date yet. Trust me, it will get more attention. The God Factor tends to change everything, and suddenly people start having opinions. If one is to condemn violent video games, one could hardly support this game. However, quite the opposite seems more plausible this time around. This video game actually seems to be endorsed by the conservative demographic. Will this change their attitude towards other violent video games that are not religious based? Probably not.

The final test of the impact this game will have will be when a kid kills someone and claims the game made him to it. Society has no problem pointing the finger at GTA 3 or any other game with that level of content, but I wonder what their reaction to this would be. The question still remains whether or not killing in the name of God is acceptable, if not condoned, and my guess is the jury’s going to be out on this one for quite a long time. Meanwhile, I guess we’re stuck with violent video games being wrong until God says their right.

Somebody help me tame this animal I have become

In writing this essay, I gathered information from the following sources:

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Under A Killing Moon

Death is a funny thing. I do not mean funny as in ha-ha, that guy slipped on a banana peel and broke his neck and now he is no more. What I mean is it is often embarrassing, and the reason for that is that we do not want those close to us to see us sad. We don’t want our children to see us cry, we don’t want to see our parents cry, and there are always people at a funeral that you don’t know and that just makes things awkward. They never know what to say because there really isn’t anything they can say. I was a pall bearer in a funeral two days ago and I kind of hope I never have to do that again. And the whole viewing process they do, yeah I could have gone without that.

Anyway, here’s a Sacramento band I saw at good old Shady Brady’s last night of operation (R.I.P.), check em’ out, they are called Blame Betty. I am also working on a shit load of album reviews that should be up by Sunday, as well as an essay on a controversial new video game that I talked about a few days ago. Until then, go read Sinfest. Start at the beginning.

To share forever the unrest, with all the demons I possess