Archive for June, 2009

h1

Heavy Rotation Vol. 4

June 28, 2009

Another round of amazing tracks, brought to your courtesy of Fancy Plans. All killer, no filler.

numan

Gary Numan – I Die, You Die
Numan’s late 70’s-early 80’s work promised a bright, shiny dystopia lying somewhere between the Jetsons, Blade Runner and 1984. Perhaps not so bright and shiny. However, the impression given was that the future of rock would be shiny synths and affectionless vocals, dealing with conspiracies, cyborgs, brain implants and the pure love of a man for a sex machine.

None of this happened. The future of rock became the endlessly echoing of post-grunge riffage and nu-metal detritus, which just kind of sucks. On the bright side, all of this can be easily avoided by ignoring the mainstream and your radio.

This is not love
This is not even worth a point of view
In Echo Park, I
Pause for effect and whisper ‘who are you?’

They crawl out of their holes for me
And I die: You die
Hear them laugh, watch them turn on me
And I die: You die
See my scars, they call me such things
Tear me, tear me, tear me

human people

Human People – I’d Run Just Like You
In just under two minutes, Human People manage to encapsulate everything that was great about the New Romantics and synthpop in general. Beautiful, shimmering snyth lines, a propulsive bass line and some dark, but not too dark, lyrics.

Like any great entertainer, they leave you wanting more. I’d kill for a good 6-minute version of this track. Perhaps I’ll get my wish, as this is only a demo.

James-Ring-The-Bells-164893

James – Ring the Bells
A blistering kiss-off to apathy, religion and general indifference, this track kicks more ass than any song relying on this much acoustic guitar should. It starts a quietly before building to the chorus, subsiding briefly before returning to beat you into submission. Definitely worth screaming along to, preferably at a high rate of speed after nightfall.

When you let me fall, grew my own wings
Now I’m as tall as the sky
When you let me drown, grew gills and fins
Now I’m as deep as the sea
When you let me die, my spirit’s free
There’s nothing challenging me

ūüė¶ – embedding disabled…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxB4KcHFL1I

editorialMCDcover

Murder City Devils – I Want a Lot Now
With drums that echo Iggy Pop’s classic “Lust for Life” and shouted lyrics that bring all that’s right about wanting to just be the fuck out of the house and up to no good somewhere else to a full-on, head-stomping peak, this song will lay your stereo to waste.

We are not responsible for any hard drinking, drug snorting, fist fighting or casual sexing that may result as a result of this song. Rocks so hard that you may forgive your fellow roadtrippers for drumming along on the dashboard.

I’m feelin’ cooped up, you know it sure is shitty
I don’t want to live here anymore
I know it’s late
I said I know it’s late
I don’t wanna go home
I don’t wanna go home

Livin’s no good across the lake from the city
Don’t want to live there anymore
Take your dad’s car and we’ll go to the city
Just like last week and the week before

primalscream

Primal Scream – Come Together
A song about the unquantifiable power of music, when it becomes something more than the sum of its parts and transcends, uplifts and unifies. Ramblin’ Rooster knows what I’m talking about.

Those rare moments when a song can conjure up all the great hazy memories you have about staying out for far too long. Exchanging your responsibilities and better judgement for a few hours of sonic bliss. Today we dance, tomorrow we die.

From Primal Scream’s first masterpiece Screamadelica, featuring Adrian Sherwood’s restrained dub production, all echoes, reverb and masterful sampling. A gospel chorus turns up around a third of the way through, aiding the sample of music-pushing preacher, just in case you were missing the point of good music getting you closer to God.

This is a beautiful day
It is a new day
We are together, we are unified
And in one accord
Because together we got power
Apart we got power

Today on this program you will hear gospel,
And rhythm and blues, and jazz
All those are just labels
We know that music is music

(Not really a video, per se, but if you want to hear the track without downloading, click this:)

Switching file hosting due to some rampant popups at Mediafire. All in one zip file – take ’em all, ditch what you hate. (Link will open in new window.)

Heavy Rotation V. 5 (zip)

-CLT

[All music posted on Fancy Plans… is kick ass and too awesome to be contained. All music is also posted temporarily and, due to it’s high level of ass-kicking, should not be distributed without a prescription and care should be taken while operating heavy equipment or dancing around the living room (clothing optional, but do remember that the blinds are open/kids are still awake).
Should you wish to have your brilliant artistic statement forced back into confinement, please email me at 2timegrime@gmail.com. Feel free to leave a comment, as that will probably be noticed sooner.
By all means, if you like what you hear (and you will), please support the totally rocking artist(s) by purchasing some music or heading out to see them live.]
Advertisements
h1

Fancy Plans… Guide to Rock and Roll V. 6

June 27, 2009

Yet another volume of rock and roll factoids, jam-packed full of information you just can’t get with yer wikipedias and yer allmusics. Does your average fansite speculate on the true meaning of Chrome’s wah-pedal fetish or explain Wes Borland’s misshapen head and career-ending gig with Limp Bizkit, the band you knew he’d leave as soon as his pockets were full?

I think not.

Previous versions include:
the Original
the Second
the Third
the Fourth
the Fifth

Chris Martin counts noses before the band heads back to the tour bus

Chris Martin counts noses before the band heads back to the tour bus

Coldplay
Gwyneth Paltrow’s vanity project, featuring “kept man” Chris Martin tickling the ivories and singing his heart out. When she’s not busy dabbling in the music biz, Paltrow takes time out from her hectic mirror-gazing schedule to dole out sickeningly sweet platitudes at her website, GOOP. Most posts are about as pleasant as being on the receiving end of candy that has been in someone’s pockets all day.

Coldplay has been in the news recently due to the fact that they ripped off both Joe Satriani and Cat Stevens in the same song. Martin has issued a statement saying: “If we’re going to rip anyone off, it’s Ben Folds and U2. Perhaps a dash of pretension from Radiohead. That’s it. Maybe a little of the House of Love.”

The most subtle thing about the album was the cover

The most subtle thing about the album was the cover

Consolidated
Basically a stream of slogans hitched to a drum machine, Consolidated with all the subtlety of an ELF-ordained mob beating. Despite “entertaining” their audience with deep political conversations both pre and post-show, Consolidated somehow failed to achieve long-lasting mainstream success. Fans noted that “while it’s nice to be preached at now and again, at some point you just want to yell, ‘Enough! We’re converted already!'”

The members of Consolidated, while not working various odd jobs, gather at their communal flat to swim through the vast vault of ideals and dogma, much like Scrooge McDuck does with actual, useful money.

The Cranberries pose for band photo pose #31: lead singer, look to your left; the rest of you, eyes on me...

The Cranberries pose for band photo pose #31: lead singer, look to your left; the rest of you, eyes on me...

the Cranberries
Much like their namesake, the Cranberries are a bittersweet band, best consumed in small doses, preferably once a year during family holidays involving thankfulness. Sure, you have a little with the turkey dinner, but you’ll never find yourself wandering the aisles of the local food jobber and grabbing a can or two as an impulse purchase.

Maybe it’s the lyrics, which strain for gravitas, much like Keanu Reeves in any costume drama. Maybe it’s lead singer O’Riordan’s brogueish wail, which reminds everyone why they can’t stand Sinead O’Connor. Whatever it is, you’ll put the Cranberries back on the shelf and ask yourself why you even put up with this shit once a year.

Man, these mariachis sure say "fuck" a lot...

Man, these mariachis sure say "fuck" a lot...

the Violent Femmes
There are at least two things wrong with this band’s name, especially the violent part. These three non-femmes, with their acoustic guitar, bass and trap set, resemble not so much the punk outshoot they are supposed to be, but rather a psycho-sexually charged pack of profane buskers.

Largely more tolerable than the Arcade Fire (and twice as compact), a band that sounds nothing like them, but has been known to spend a lonely night or two grabbing their instruments in a public park, subway, petting zoo, etc.

A clear indication that your band has crossed the disappear-up-your-own-ass pretension threshold: Someone asks if anyone feels like busking and more than half the band says yes. It evokes the forced emotions of the musical theater, especially “spontaneous” celebratory songs featuring the entire cast.

Perhaps still known best for their debut album (featuring the best summer song the Beach Boys never wrote: Blister in the Sun), which is OK is you’ve only been in existence for five or so years. Not so much if you’ve been together for nearly 30 years.

After viewing the photo, Danzig fired the band member on the far left

After viewing the photo, Danzig fired the band member on the far left

Danzig
Fronted by the only Spinal Tap member who wasn’t mortified by the Stonehenge set, Danzing features the Morrison-esque bellowing (Jim “Van” Morrison, not Alanis) of Glenn “MOOOOOOTHERRRRRRfucking” Danzig, the Tom Cruise of rock and roll. Strutting around the stage like Foghorn Leghorn’s charge in search of a chicken, Danzig belts out black metal with all the subtlety of leftover Meatloaf, his semi-contemporary.

Apparently “awesome” live, you really owe it to yourself to check them out. Get seats near the front if you wish to see anything other than his backup band (whom he has replaced several times with either shorter musicians or hired guns willing to stand in strategically places “stageholes”).

Because Glenn Danzig is short.

Experts aren't sure exactly when Everclear began sucking, but they theorize it was some point before the tambourine became a featured part of the act

Experts aren't sure exactly when Everclear began sucking, but they theorize it was some point before the tambourine became a featured part of the act

Everclear
Fronted by Portland, OR’s Kurt Cobain, Everclear made a promising start with kickass single Santa Monica. They then proceeded to take the road heavily travelled, producing watery, half-assed rock like so many formerly great bands before them. (I’m looking at you Filter, Goo Goo Dolls and Soul Asylum.)

The only reason to have any Everclear in your music collection at this point would also be the only reason to keep Everclear in your liquor cabinet: to separate less-discerning young women from their underwear.

AM Radio = Take A Picture = Iris = Misery = Jungle juice-powered FAILboat filled with streetdumb amateur hookers.

moodyblues

The all-new Moody Blues, featuring Kenny Rogers and his two illegitimate sons, both of whom are illusionists

Moody Blues
I said “Fuck off.” *disgusted sigh*

The battle of the sexes now has a soundtrack

The battle of the sexes now has a soundtrack

Girls Against Boys
The oldest rivalry in the books, dating back to the Garden of Eden, when Eve said to Adam, “Hey, big guy. Want an apple?”
Adam responded with, “I’m watching the game.”
“Come on, Adam. All the talking snakes are doing it. They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, whatever the hell that means.”
Adam returned to the game. “Well, it certainly seems to be working in Canada.”

After a few more hours, Adam relented and downed the apple, which was spiked with the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve both realized (at the same time, OMG!) that they were naked and extremely self-conscious about their figures. Adam said, “Jesus, woman. Isn’t the laundry done yet?”

Of course God, like all mad scientists, was extremely irritated to find his creations had become sentient. He booted them from the Garden of Eden with, “Well, you’re the world’s problem now,” figuring they would survive “two weeks, tops” in the wild and He would soon be able to sweep the whole fiasco under the rug.

Unfortunately, they lived for years and inbred up a storm, turning their back on God, thus beginning the world’s second longest rivalry: us vs. them. (See also: Pink Floyd)

I've been making a man, with blonde hair and a tan...

I've been making a man, with blonde hair and a tan...

Nelson
The twin sons of Ricky Nelson, conceived in-vitro using Nova-IVF’spatented “Rock & Roll Stud” baby blend, which features the “contributions” of Edgar Winter and Fabio. The Nelson twins were born without fully-functioning autoimmune systems and were raised in a protective bubble and fed a special diet consisting of wheatgrass shakes and adult contemporary music.

Later in life, when doctors declared the boys “adequately healthy,” the Nelsons formed their own band, diluting the shallow end of the rock pool from 1990-1992. After several VH1 specials failed to raise public interest above “Who Gives a Shit,” the beautifully hideous twins sank into obscurity, surfacing briefly to finish each other’s sentences in Grit magazine interviews and battle the Proclaimers in low-level wrestling matches.

-CLT

h1

A Day in the Life of a Journalist

June 23, 2009
Hammering out yet another groundbreaking expose of school lunch menus...

Hammering out yet another groundbreaking expose of school lunch menus...

We’ve taken a look at the average blogger’s average day. Now let’s head over the educated half (degrees and such) and see how they live.

Over a breakfast of egg white-only omelets and Wild Turkey, peruse competing newspapers; Google self.

Board the subway. Crank iPod up to listen to John Sturm’s¬†latest podcast dealing with the Internet’s lack of reliable reporting. Surreptitiously check self for irony.

Enter office. Tell Maureen Dowd you think she’s lost some weight. She growls and takes a drunken swing at you. Note to self: Should probably double-check your sources.

The reporter's best friend... except in "Naked Lunch"

The reporter's best friend... except in "Naked Lunch"

Gaze thoughtfully at your typewriter, admiring its ruthless efficiency and clean lines. Leave a note for the cleaning crew to have it dusted.

Fire up computer. Peruse email.

  • Latest LOLCAT
  • From the County Sheriff’s Dept. – Congratulations! You’ve just been served!
  • University of Phoenix Online – Stuck with the wrong degree?
  • –≤—Ā–Ķ –Ņ—Ä–Ķ–ī—Ā—ā–į–≤–ł—ā—Ć

Do some more “research” on this fascinating Ms. California. Set office IM to Do Not Disturb – “Researching”.

Head for local pub for more “research.” Tell yourself it’s important to touch base with the common man. Even (or perhaps, especially) if “Conspiracy Gary” is the only common man drinking this early.

Head to public library. Use their IP to edit your Wikipedia page.

Duck into Bacharach and see if Phil Alper can recommend a more “journalistic” fedora.

Check in with the boss and ask him if the paper’s website paywall is turning a profit. Dodge obscenities and empty whiskey bottles.

Start up a blog as an outlet for all the stories (see below)¬†the boss wouldn’t let you run. Once again, run self-check for irony. Clean!

Prepare “Apples vs. Oranges” talking points for “Free is Not a Business Model” presentation.

Affect a general knowledge of passing trends while writing a vicious takedown on Crocs and the people who wear them.

Make some calls to verify whether or not high school renovations are actually on schedule.

Check on the paper’s latest “revenue stream.” Google “Google+Newspaper+Sue.” Again, nothing on the irony meter.

Get interns started on new poll: The Internet: Stupid or Worthless?

Head to lunch. Admire the restraint of those who can hold a “three martini lunch” to just three martinis.

Admire your diploma. Note that is has not one, but two, typos. Curse loudly.

Regret not going into the family business: topping and blocking hats.

Consider a career change. What business would benefit most from your misplaced superiority and your ability to ask inappropriate questions at awkward times? Telemarketing? Loan officer? STD Clinic?

Three Pulitzer Prizes and counting...

Three Pulitzer Prizes and counting...

Prepare emergency kit of hard liquor, painkillers and ego-salve prior to upcoming interviews with author Harlan Ellison, singer Lou Reed and musician Billy Bob Thornton.

Look over draft of “Obama & Family Dine at Sardi’s”. Notes from your editor – “Needs 20% more puff. And try to smile while you write this. People can tell.”

Check match.com for hits. Consider changing introduction paragraph which currently describes you as, “…a medium fish in a swiftly draining pond.”

Leave a biting comment on HuffPo: “Every time you get your news from a website, you’re taking food out of my kids’ mouths. Especially now that the state is directly garnishing my paychecks.”

Holy shit! Britney Spears dead! No time to verify sources! Jam it on the paper’s site and start hammering out the 1200-word obituary. Resist the urge to yell, “Stop the press!”

Head over to digg.com and play Grammar Nazi for an hour or so.

Write a post on your blog mocking the general waste of time most blogs are. Note to self: irony tester may be broken…

Spend 30 minutes or so perfecting your “run to row of phone booths” maneuver, just in case. Note to self: Need to improve “world weary reporter” look. Tends to resemble “disheveled and slightly drunk” instead. Perhaps the new fedora will help.

Try your “world weary” look on the ladies down at the bar. Mix it up with phrases like, “I’ve seen too much pain and suffering,” and “The important part is to stay objective, no matter how horrifying it is.” Be sure to gloss over that your main duties are high school sports coverage and the “Weekend Living” pullout.

Put the newspaper (and yourself) to bed at 1 a.m., secure in the knowledge that the important shit will wait until you wake up.

-CLT

h1

Book of the Month Club: Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: The War Within

June 22, 2009
Hi, Jeff. I just got a copy of your book, and I've got some bad news for you...

Hi, Jeff. I just got a copy of your book, and I've got some bad news for you...

Tom Clancy’s latest book is headed for the airport book racks everywhere. Another intriguing tale of cloak-and-dagger intrigue set against the backdrop of current events, Clancy again teams up with long-time co-writer Jeff Rovin for this intense tale of espionage, suspense and breathtaking intrigue. As a bonus, fan favorite Jack Ryan plays a major role.

Jeff Rovin, known for movie novelizations of such cinema classics as Mortal Kombat, Cliffhanger and April Fool’s Day, has recently severed ties with the monolithic Clancy Industries novel mill, in an effort to finally have his name appear on the front cover of a book he actually authored.

We have been privileged enough to secure an early manuscript with some markup from the man himself, Tom Clancy. Let’s take a peek:

   Jack gazed at the monitors intently. He and his trusted friend, Matt Stoll, were in the depths of the NORAD/SATCOM subbasement. He spoke quietly to Matt Stoll, the computer genius.
¬†¬† “Pull me up a list of time-sensitive events from the NSA’s log.” He spoke quietly, adding no more details than necessary. Matt was a computer genius, and he often knew exactly what Jack was looking for before Ryan even knew it himself.
¬†¬† Matt’s fingers minced danced across the keyboard. Acronym after acronym STFU, WTF, OMGWTFBBQ flashed across the screen. Jack stared intently at the monitor, seeking to make sense of this random pattern.
¬†¬† “Stop there,” Jack shouted quietly. “Scroll back a bit.”
   They both saw it at once, a profile shot of goatse Roll Fizzlebeef.
¬†¬† “Where do I know him from?” Jack asked to no one in particular quietly.
¬†¬† Then it came on to him. 1982. The White House lawn. Fizzlebeef had been protesting President Carter’s oil policies. Just before White House security had covered the lawn, Jack had shut him up with a stern look and an ether-soaked rag.
¬†¬† “Fizzlebeef!” he spat quietly. “A complete degenerate. His anti-American activities run the gamut, from hiring non-union autoworkers to laughing at David Letterman’s inappropriate jokes.”
¬†¬† Stoll spoke to Ryan. “It seems he is looking to collaborate with the French Muslim contingent. There’s info here on flights, sightseeing tours, rabble-rousing speeches and a purchase of a English-to-French-to-Scribbly dictionary at the Leeds Airport Barnes & Noble.”
¬†¬† “The French?” Ryan snorted wide rails of coke derisively. “Those beret-wearing cupcakes couldn’t terrorize their way out of a wet public transportation system.”
¬†¬† Stoll laughed quietly. He asked intently, “Why would an American want to harm our country?”
¬†¬† Sometimes Stoll’s naivete was too much, computer genius or no. Ryan spoke slowly, using small words quietly,”People in this country are privileged. Sometimes too much. They like the idea of their freedom, but don’t want the responsibility that comes with it. Warrantless wiretaps, TSA strip searches, your Social Security Number on everything. These are a small price to pay for the rights we have remaining enjoy.”
¬†¬† “We’ll get him. Fizzlebeef and his whole cadre. We always do. The enemy almost always makes the mistake of underestimating our intelligence slightly more than we underestimate theirs.”
   Another terrorist plot? Ryan instinctively thought of his mistress wife, a molecular biologist at Stanford. He thought back to when they first met, as idealistic college students. He remembered her brain being just as enticing as her stunning head technique good looks. They would often stay up late into the night, going ass-to-ass head-to-head on political issues.
¬†¬† He sighed quietly and intently…
(I’ve seen enough. Not enough acronyms. No product placement. Not nearly enough jingoism. And I don’t know what you think you’re going to sneak by me with these various sick interjections. Come see me immediately. — TC)
(Fuck you, you lazy hack! Come find me! — JR)
(Fuck me? Fuck me??!! I run this goddam country you fuckin commie, fuck you! — TC
P.S. Please come see me. I’ll need you to turn in your security badge, IBM Selectric and miniature American flag. Thank you. — TC)

Well… That ended awkwardly. Godspeed, Jeff. I hope there are many mediocre blockbusters in your future. Tom, I’m sure there are any number of lousy, unpublished who would kill foreigners for a position in your novel mills.

-CLT

For more well-written hatin’ on popular authors see this site: The Thriller in a Manila…

h1

Heavy Rotation v.3

June 21, 2009

I was trying to build a summer theme for this edition of Heavy Rotation, but nothing seemed to hold these five tracks together. Not even my usual gossamer strands of bullshit.

So… without further ado: five completely unrelated tracks, held together by the simple fact that they all are guaranteed to kick some audio ass.

bpaalbum

Brighton Port Authority – Toe Jam.mp3
Fatboy Slim’s latest project, an all-star jam session of a band, featuring the likes of David Byrne, Dizzee Rascal, Iggy Pop, Ashley Beedle and Simon Thornton. This particular track features the first two on the list, in a very summery and bouncy tune dealing with life in general (women, booze, no particular plans…)

Bonus video:

mgmt-kids-soulwax

MGMT – Kids (Soulwax Mix).mp3
Brooklyn’s MGMT’s song of low-key environmental awareness (…control yourself/take only what you need from it) has the hell remixed out of it by Belgian knob twiddlers, Soulwax. Starts out rather light on its feet, before a propulsive beat and some filter fuckery takes it into tough-as-nails territory. There’s a relative return to sanity towards the middle as Soulwax drops it down to just the vocals for a momentary breather. And then the beating commences, this time with more digital cowbell.

Bonus video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ad-tgbtbCEM&feature=fvst

(Embedding disabled by His Satanic Majesty’s Request. Also, not the remixed version, but the original)

672

Sloan – I Am the Cancer.mp3
From Sloan’s debut album Smeared. Their first album showed some pretty heavy Ride/MBV/Blur influences, but it’s still my favorite. All fuzzy guitar and shoegazer vocals. The kind of thing I dig the most. They have since matured and went on to make several albums which have been compared favorably to the Beatles and other sixties psychedelia/folksters. Whatever. This is them at their tormented, rocking best.

Better answer
I am the cancer
Removed from you

106579

The Big Pink – Velvet.mp3
Another summery tune, but in a much different vein. This is more of the “heading back from a late night at the lake” sort of tune, evoking a high-speed drive through a winding forest road, guided only by your highbeams and what’s left of your buzz. The feeling that you stayed up too late and drank/drugged too much. Just a gorgeous windblown track, propelled along nicely by airy vocals and a killer riff (by none other than a former guitarist for Alec Empire, of all people).

Bonus:

war_2

The War on Drugs – Taking the Farm.mp3
Another lightweight, hippy-ish track about city v. country living. The lyrics are a bit elliptical but the shuffling Madchester beat recalls the glory days of the Stone Roses, Soup Dragons and, of course, the Farm. Guaranteed to stick in your head and, quite possibly, move your ass.

-CLT

[All music posted on Fancy Plans… is kick ass and too awesome to be contained. All music is also posted temporarily and, due to it’s high level of ass-kicking, should not be distributed without a prescription and care should be taken while operating heavy equipment or dancing around the living room (clothing optional, but do remember that the blinds are open/kids are still awake).
Should you wish to have your brilliant artistic statement forced back into confinement, please email me at 2timegrime@gmail.com. Feel free to leave a comment, as that will probably be noticed sooner.
By all means, if you like what you hear (and you will), please support the totally rocking artist(s) by purchasing some music or heading out to see them live.]
h1

Fancy Plans… Book of the Month Club: Clive Cussler’s Sparta

June 19, 2009
Actual cover art TK, but should only involve changing the title and adding 8% to the cyan

Actual cover art TK, but should only involve changing the title and adding 8% to the cyan

Clive Cussler, author of over 800 novels, returns with another gripping tale of adventure on the high seas. In the latest installment of the neverending Dirk Pitt saga, Dirk finds himself on the maiden voyage of the Sparta, an experimental submarine handcrafted by eccentric billionaire, Roll Fizzlebeef.

Sparta features¬†the steady co-writing of Paul Kemprecos, the show horse of the Cussler novel farm, which means he gets his own word processor, desk, corner office, and, should the book sell over 2.5 million copies, his choice of Cussler’s many virgin daughters. If you look carefully at the dust jacket, you can almost make out his name below the 240-point type announcing that CLIVE FUCKING CUSSLER has agreed to take credit for someone else’s work.

Here’s an excerpt:

They were sinking too fast. The intercom crackled, summoning Pitt to the bowels of the submarine.
   Pitt hustled to the engine room. Fizzlebeef and his crew were bathed in the eerie red light of the control console. Dirk inhaled the heady scent of seamen and engine oil.
¬†¬† “The engine’s running too hard,” the crew chief informed him. “There’s too much pressure. The nuts are about to blow.” Dirk’s fingers traced the nuts pensively, feeling them strain from the pressure, swelling as if to meet his touch.
¬†¬† “It’ll seize up completely if we don’t lubricate it.” The voice of Roll came from behind Dirk. He turned to face the captain. Fizzlebeef was a monster of a man, hard as a rock, his shirtless chest glistening with sweat.
¬†¬† “Grab that lube,” he ordered, “We’ve got to get the driveshaft moving again.” Dirk handed the tube to the captain. Roll bent over the engine and shot a massive load onto the shaft. Swiftly, he began rubbing the massive shaft with both hands.
¬†¬† “It’s too hot!” he declared. “I’m not sure if this will help relieve the pressure or not.” Dirk quickly knelt down and assisted Fizzlebeef, massaging oil into the underside of the exposed shaft.
   The motor began to shake. A piercing noise filled the engine room. The keening noise reached a climax. The motor shuddered heavily before exploding, showering the men with its hot, steaming load.
   The lights went out. Above them a catwalk collapsed, raining men onto the floor below.
¬†¬† Dirk heard a cry from the crew chief. “Sweet Jesus. It’s so deep inside me.” Part of the shaft had come loose and penetrated the young man. He gasped loudly as Dirk gently inserted two fingers into the hole. Dirk continued to push in deeper until he reached the end of the shaft.
   Another loud gasp came from the chief. His heart had stopped.
¬† Quickly, Dirk located the now-limp organ and began rubbing and squeezing it. He worked slowly at first, feeling for any sign of life. As it began to pulse and stiffen, Dirk began massaging it more vigorously. The organ filled with blood and began to throb and push against Pitt’s hand. Dirk turned his attention to the other limp and prone crew members.
   He began to clear a path to the backup generator. He groped around in the dark, gathering fallen seamen with both hands and pushing them into any opening he could find. He flipped on the breaker and heard the backup engines roar to life. The craft began to rise steadily, urged on by the long strokes of the pumping pistons.
¬†¬† Pitt’s relief was short-lived. The backup engines ground to a halt and the lights flickered out. Dirk felt the crushing despair and helplessness of a prisoner whose furlough has just been revoked. One instant: an escape from a death sentence aboard a watery prison. The next: being pushed to his knees by the invisible sweaty, tattooed hands of fate.
   Dirk looked at the crew and saw his fears reflected in their eyes.
   They had no choice.
   They were going down.

Wow! Intense and gripping! I’m willing to bet Cussler and his lifetime companion Kemprecos will gain an entirely new audience with this tour de force. The give-and-take between the authors is exhilarating, watching them try new angles and positions tirelessly, constantly trying to do each other one better. Until next time…

-CLT

Quick addendum: Check out this fine website for more fun with Cussler.
The Thriller in a Manila

h1

NIMF Presents: Blacklisted Video Games

June 17, 2009

The National Institute on Media and Family presents their 2009 list of games that no one should be allowed to play along with a list of hyperbolic adjectives and recommended alternates. If you’ve got a youngster whose mellow you’d like to harsh, just follow the suggestions below:

O.J.'s scenario for how he might have done it was more horrible than anyone could have imagined

O.J.'s scenario for how he might have done it was more horrible than anyone could have imagined

If I Did It
Reenact the Simpson/Goldman murders and subsequent low-speed getaway. Combines the visceral thrill of any quality “murder simulator” with the tedious realism of Penn & Teller’s Desert Bus.

Recommended instead:
The Hunt for the Real Killers – Enjoy a relaxing round of golf with your caddy, former NFL running back, O.J. Simpson.

Guitar Hero: Masters of Backmasking
For experts only! Play all of your favorite rock tracks backward. As the challenge level increases, so do the exhortations to kill your parents, friends, family pets, television, and idols.

Recommended instead:
Acoustic Guitar Hero: Al DiMeola

World of Warcraft: Intervention
New additions like Level 80 Horse Armor translates to hours of thankless grinding, urinating into MTN Dew bottles and locking the infants in the closet. Additional bonus content includes: in-game eBay access (spending real money on fake stuff) and Gold Farm Startup Kit (Korean teenager not included).

Recommended instead:
Cubicle Farm– Put mindless repetition to productive use by filing work orders, filling out office supply requests in triplicate, surreptitiously updating your MySpace page and carrying around a clipboard (Look of Busyness +3)

Careful. While the other three may try to distract you with their 3-part caterwauling, Gene Simmons is in the kitchen schtupping your mother...

Careful. While the other three may try to distract you with their 3-part caterwauling, Gene Simmons is in the kitchen schtupping your mother...

KISS Saves Christmas
Despite their temporary acronym change to “Knights in Santa’s Service,” the boys in KISS still wear their ridiculous garb while touting many traditions based on ancient pagan religions (Christmas trees, gift giving, slaughtering the firstborn male).

Recommended instead:
Nothing. Sit there and enjoy your new sweater, Bobby. Millions of children get no Christmas presents at all. They’re called Jews.

Mortal Kombat: Bloodletting
Featuring 64 kombatants and brand new fatalities including: waterboarding, dirty bomb, e. coli, wrath of God, Colombian necktie, heroin overdose, Drew Peterson, office rampage.

Recommended instead:
Moral Kombat – Don the Armor of the Lord (Judging +4; INT -35) to defeat sin (well, sinners actually). Wage battle against Hindus, Krishnas, Muslims, Gays, the Hilton family, Disney Corp., the liberal media, video game publishers, Obama, the authors of the Sweet Valley High series, Harry Potter: Witch, the Osborne family, Mormons, backsliding Baptists and Judy Blume.

Boom Blox
Set off chain reactions due to inadequate explosives training in this addicting “blowing shit up” simulator. Can you finish the game with all ten fingers?

Recommended instead:
Bomberman 2000It’s you vs. the abortion mills. Protest the killing of fetuses by killing full-grown human beings. Not specifically endorsed by any major fundamental branch of Christianity per se, but not really condemned either.

Pvt. Cent heads to war, visions of cap-busting dancing in his delightful head

Pvt. Cent heads to war, visions of cap-busting dancing in his delightful head

50 Cent: Blood on the Sand
The incredibly true story of 50 Cent’s G-Unit, a crack team of crack dealers who singlehandedly ended the war in Iraq. Retrace their footsteps as they battle through the Middle Eastern cliche country of Turbania. (Note: the government has disavowed all knowledge of Mr. Cent’s military activities and multi-platinum chart success. Except about three hours into the office Christmas party, where you may find them “in da club.”)

Recommended instead:
Hammertime!– A subparMario Bros. ripoff featuring pants enthusiast MC Hammer. Harmless platforming action. Recommended because a.) Hammer sporadically claims to be a Christian and b.) he really, really, really needs the money.

Typing of the Dead
A supposedly instructional typing tutor¬†based on the no-frills “zombie headshot simulator,” House of the Dead. Also somewhat based on Uwe Boll’s House of the Dead, a feature-length cutscene of a movie that only works when it is gaming Germany’s public funding for the arts.

Recommended instead:
Mavis Beacon Teaches Internet Typing LOL– Covers: emoticons, saying “you suck” in 34 languages, LOL variations, commonly misspelled words and how to misspell them, apostrophe and quotation mark free-for-all, U=You and other recent discoveries.

Postal
Despite its accurate portrayal of the humble¬†mail carrier¬†and his day-to-day battles with dogs, marching bands, mall patrons, “save the something” protesters and a rogue Gary Coleman, the main concern is the level of necessary violence¬†needed to complete the game. There is also the taint of Uwe Boll to be considered.

Recommended instead:
Write your grandmother a letter. She’d love to hear from you. No, not an email. An honest-to-goodness handwritten letter. Use this stamp. No, wait. These are no good anymore. Nope. Not these either. Maybe… Here. Use two of these 1-cent stamps, this 33-cent stamp and part of this dollar bill. Tape it on good. Don’t you feel better?

Tetris
This addicting puzzle game comes to us courtesy of the USSR Gaming Collective. While the enjoyment factor is high, the many levels of subtext work together with young peoples’ fertile minds to destroy the remaining fabric of American society. The constant dropping of “blocks” symbolizes the Communists’ wish to wall their subjects off from the rest of the world. The fact that certain blocks disappear after lining them up indicates that Communism will always be less than the sum of its parts (at best) and (at worst) a harbinger of the mass genocide and “disappearances” of large amounts of their population during Stalin’s lifetime.

Recommended instead:
Lincoln Logs. All-American goodness. Named after our 2nd-most famous assassinated president. You know, the one without the ridiculous Oliver Stone biopic. Build cabins, walls, roofs, watch the dog eat them. Fun for all ages (except three and under).

-CLT