Archive for October, 2009

h1

Selections from the Fancy Plans Press Vol. 1

October 31, 2009
Yet another game of Rock, Paper, Scissors ends in a tie.

Yet another Rock, Paper, Scissors tie...

Welcome, dear reader, to today’s selection from the Fancy Plans Press, a vanity press that runs on imagination. Imagination and fossil fuels. Imagination, fossil fuels and proprietary software.

Today’s selection is: The Goofus and Gallant Guide to Formal Occasions. You may remember Goofus and Gallant from the pages of Highlights magazine, which was apparently distributed in mass quantities to elementary school libraries and pediatrician waiting rooms. I’m not sure if you could actually buy a subscription to it, but who needed it, what with all the time the average parent spends in the doctor’s office.

Here’s a brief excerpt of what is sure to be a runaway best seller, what with its affordable retail price of $24.95 and its inclusion of a gift card good for 50% off your next TS/TV prostitute. And here’s the kicker: you can choose which half!

  • Gallant engages his table with topical conversation; Goofus “rocks out with his cock out.”
  • Gallant carefully selects a subdued tie; Gallant decides which mesh tank top says “Funeral.”
  • Gallant is stood up and improvises by inviting his sister; Goofus arrives with an extra guest – Gallant’s date.
  • Gallant swears to do more to help the spotted owl; Goofus berates the bartender for improperly mixing his Irish Car Bomb.
  • Gallant is invited to be a keynote speaker at the next event; Goofus rereads the restraining order for possible loopholes.
  • Gallant greets each guest and carefully secures their coats and wraps; Goofus heads to the strip club, calling in a noise complaint on his party guests during the drive.
  • Gallant tips the valet generously; Goofus claims to not have any cash on him but to “check with his homosexual manservant, Gallant.”
  • Gallant steers conversation around his guest’s recent legal trouble; Goofus wonders if they have room for “one more” on the “civil suit money train.”
  • Gallant takes great care to assure that the escorts are paid in advance; Goofus explains that it just must be “extra cold in here.”
  • Gallant sickens everybody with his infalliable good nature and politeness; Goofus entertains the party guests with some sordid anecdotes about other party guests.
  • Gallant accepts his community service award with a graceful and brief “thank you” speech; Goofus refuses to answer any questions without a lawyer present.
  • Gallant double-checks each place setting for proper silverware placement; Goofus uses a mixture of commemorative plates, coke spoons and sporks.
  • Gallant waits until intermission to speak with another audience member; Goofus shoots the President during a crucial scene in Act II.

-CLT

Advertisements
h1

The Bible: Fancy Plans Edition Vol. 1

October 29, 2009
amplified_bible

This one goes to 11.

(A quick explanation on this post: This is actually culled from a comment thread over at Stop Annoying Me, the Internet’s finest source for booze-powered cynicism. Tannerleah takes on a variety of topics including soccer moms, John Gosselin, Randy Quaid’s stick-up techniques and pretty much anything else that reeks of stupidity/calculated bullshit.

A man among bloggers, TannerLeah has single-handedly revived such classic ideas as abusing yourself to June Cleaver fantasies, proudly sporting visible erections pretty much everywhere, comparing self-promotion to walking around with your “thingy” out and livening up even the dryest subject matter with biting wit and cleavage shots.

This particular post dealt with the newest “end of the world” hysteria, which posits that the Mayans have that shit down cold, thanks to the combination of outdated calendar systems and “noble savage” assumptions. TL asked for a Biblical perspective, which is exactly what follows this long-winded opening statement.

Some of you may have seen this already. Please try to keep the spoilers to yourself until everyone has had a chance to read it. Thank you. And thanks to TL for allowing me to reclaim my comment and walk around acting like this is “new” content.)

22:1 He showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal Pepsi, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb,

22:2 in the middle of its street, home to Madness (but not Bedlam – that phrase is copyrighted). On this side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruits, 25 kinds of vegetables, and several fine shoulder cuts. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations, being all aloe vera and shit.

22:3 There will be no curse any more. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants serve him, all piling into the throne like so many clowns into a VW.

22:4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads (THIS END UP).

22:5 There will be no night, and they need no lamp light; for the Lord God will illuminate them, with a very powerful form of radiation, which the idiots will call “The Light of the Lord,” and which will not be safely recyclable. They will reign forever and ever, weather permitting.

22:6 He said to me, “These words are faithful and true. The Lord God of the spirits of the prophets sent his angel to show to his bond, James, bondservants the things which must happen soon, which is a very relative measure and not at all quantifiable. Like a handswidth. Or a cubit.

22:7Behold, I come quickly, He warned the ladies, retrospectively considering that ‘Beware’ may have been a better choice of word. Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book, which will be tough, because the hole punch is on the fritz.

22:8 Now I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. When I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who had shown me these things, so I really didn’t have the best vantage point for seeing, per se, but trust me on this.

22:9 He said to me, “See you don’t do it! I am a fellow bond, James, bondservant with you and with your brothers, the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book/Trapper Keeper. Worship God. Duh.

22:10 He said to me, “Don’t seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand, and as I mentioned before, the hole punch is failing at the only thing it’s supposed to do.

22:11 He who acts unjustly, let him act unjustly still. He who is filthy, let him be filthy still. He who is righteous, let him do righteousness still. He who is holy, let him be holy still. Or whatever. We’re not here to judge. We’ll leave that for the Baptists.

22:12Behold, I come quickly,” He warned again, only fainter as He was about ready to come. “My reward is with me, to repay to each man according to his work, except for Judas, that cheap-skating bastard. He’d sell his own mother if she was on fire… or something.

22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, the Entrance and the Exit, the Up and the Down, the Parking Light and the Highbeams.

22:14 Blessed are those who do his commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city, because they’re gates. They’ll be clearly marked “Entrance.”

22:15 Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. You know, we may just hang out here for awhile. Everything on the inside is sort of like early morning cheerfulness, only 24-7.

22:16 I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify these things to you for the assemblies. I am the root and the offspring of David; the Bright and Morning Star. See other nicknames above. You can also call me J-Dog.

22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” He who hears, let him say, “Come!” He who is thirsty, let him come. And He will reply, I already did. Sorry. I was hoping we wouldn’t make a big deal out of this. Screw it. You want a beer? Or three?”

22:18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book, if anyone adds to them, may God add to him the plagues which are written in this book. I’m serious about this. Don’t do anything more than add your own impressions, beliefs, outdated behaviors and hatred towards women. Other than that, try to at least keep the gist of it. God & stuff.

22:19 If anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, may God take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, which are written in this book, which is now blowing away in the wind. Stupid &$%$# hole punch.

22:20 He who testifies these things says, “Yes, I come quickly.” Amen! Yes, come, Lord Jesus. (Thanks for bringing that up. Again. Why don’t you just put it on a t-shirt or something.)

22:21 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with all the saints. Amen. By the way – Re: 2012. You may want to carry an umbrella or something that year.

-CLT

h1

Sometimes a Half-Assed Notion

October 26, 2009
A rare woodcut of a blogging pioneer carefully drawing a blank.

A rare woodcut of a blogging pioneer carefully drawing a blank.

Sometimes a great idea will slap me upside the head, mostly unbeckoned. Other times, something will inspire me to track that fucker down and slap him around myself.

This collection of misfits fit into neither of those categories. These incomplete posts are the result of my brain deciding to toss out an idea and then head somewhere else for the next several hours, relegating it to a half-empty sheet of paper with no possible function.

I’ve been carrying these around in my notebook for a good six weeks+ at this point, so I’ve decided to dump them on the blog, if for no other reason than I can throw these sheets out and move on.

We’ll call it closure. You can call it whatever you like. Please hold your comments until the end of the post. Thank you. 

 

Two-thirds of the Jonas Brothers check on their relocated promise rings.

Two-thirds of the Jonas Brothers check on their relocated promise rings.

 

The Disney Channel’s Fall Season Update

  • The cast from High School Musical heads to college! Catch the all-new spin-offs: Devry School Musical and Safety School Musical!
  • In a 2-hour season premiere, the Jonas Brothers exchange promise rings for cock-rings!
  • Keep an eye on Miley Cyrus as her C-list celebrity dad shows up for a variety of “Special Guest” shots in small parts, including Miley Cyrus’ dad, the janitor, a steroid salesman and the sketchy dude who’s always hanging around the parking lot. 
 
 

And as you can see from slide #192, there are a hell of a lot of numbers on it...

And as you can see from slide #192, there are a hell of a lot of numbers on it...

Quarterly Productivity Report for Associated Electronics Mfg., Inc.

  • Staring blankly at productivity reports – +78%
  • Employee internet usage – +1,200%
  • Average employee BAC – 0.06
  • Red wires cut – 8,100
  • Blue wires cut – 11,005
  • Red wires cut at the last second, after nearly deciding to cut blue wire – 3,412
  • Number of failed team-building retreats – 4
  • Number of lives lost on said retreats – 2
  • Most common workplace injuries:
    Prolapsed rectum
    Misplaced fingers
    Slacker’s elbow
    Suicide attempt
    Toilet seat herpes
    “Attempted to use body as ground wire”
    “Something in my eye”
    “No, I mean something in my good, non-glass eye!”
     
 

I will be shopping the fuck out of this place.

I will be shopping the fuck out of this place.

 

My Post-Lottery Jackpot To Do List

  • Top hats, monocles and tuxes with tails. Massive facial reconstruction to achieve that ultimate sign of fuck-you money: looking like the Monopoly guy. Goodbye chin and healthy posture!
  • Related: hotel the fuck out of Park Place and Broadway.
  • Start series of seminars dealing with how to throw money around responsibly (including which seminars to blow your hard-earned cash on).
  • Pretend to read up on the capital gains tax; allow government to “break it off in me” every April.
  • Commission a Frank Gehry doghouse. Also, buy a dog.
  • Buy my way into the reference book racket so every time I make up a word, it’s now a perfectly legal word. (Hello, “cuntacular!”)
  • Build an extensive group of homeless/tax shelters. 
 

If you'll just give me a moment to speak with my advisor...

If you'll just give me a moment to speak with my advisor...

 

Predictions for the Next Decade

  • RIAA, ASCAP and the MPAA assume every person is stealing music and movies; move forward with Congress-approved plan to garnish wages from 150 million employed Americans.

Ah. That’s refreshing! I should totally do this again sometime, except without all the wasted effort.

Here’s one last thought: I love the NFL but never discuss it within the hallowed Fancy Plans pages for one simple reason: the possibility of having to use the words “nickel back” in a positive fashion.

-CLT

h1

Heavy Rotation Vol. 20

October 25, 2009

Twenty. There’s a nice round number. Well, not so much the first number but the last is nicely rounded, all curvy and ovoid, just like man’s first attempt at the wheel. They reasoned that it should be as strong as an egg and twice as large. Years later, someone discovered the “o” and history was made.

If you’d like to make a little history with us, please feel free to click away at the links below, which will trigger some ridiculously good tunes in semi-video form and possibly (if you click the southernmost link) a treasure trove of ridiculously good tunes for your very own computer, like a home version of the game you just played.

The previous 19 are here: the Heavy Rotation Archives

switches_drama_queen

Switches – Drama Queen
Simply put, the kind of song that makes you want to head down to the bar, pound back several ounces of booze and get in a fight. Straight ahead buzzsaw powerpop with plenty of swaggering and sneering from all involved, all wrapped up in a catchy-as-fuck tune with some unabashed backup vox woo’s.

Load up the drugs we’ll let the demons come in
Bring all the kids they won’t know where to begin
Shoot ’em a line they’ll lock you up in the pen
If you’re rating my life give it ten

 

20090420_robyn_hitchcock_33

Robyn Hitchcock – Sleeping with Your Devil Mask
One of my favorite all-time tracks from my favorite absurdist. Although his music can sometimes be a hard sell because of his overall weirdness, this track in particular couldn’t get any catchier, and the lyrics couldn’t get much weirder.

As to what he’s on about? Who knows. Could be a dark, bitter relationship song. Could be a fatalistic parable of the ultimate death of us all. Could be a headful of acid committed to paper (and then instruments, I suppose). It could just be the sort of thing that drives certain people to yell inappropriately during Robyn’s occasional solo acoustic sets. Whatever it is, it’s worth listening to several hundred times.

It’s all compulsion, there’s no choice
My mother’s second name is Joyce
And once when she was very young
She saw a cellist being hung
Thirteen men with long black heads
All came and stood around her bed
And when the morning light came in
She saw their heads had all caved in
Their rotting brains fell to the floor
And crawled away towards the door

Sleeping with your Devil mask
Is all I wanna do
And when I stop it means
I’m through with you
Yeah, yeah, yeah yeah, yeah, yeah

 

healthdieslow

HEALTH – Die Slow
From out of L.A. and sounding like m83 with Holy Fuck’s rhythm section (such as it were) and the Killing Joke’s guitars, HEALTH combine the airy, subdued vocals of a million shoegazer bands with the guitar/drum attack of Broken-era Nine Inch Nails (but running about half-speed). While the drums beat you into submission, the vocals and synth lines float above the fray, as if immune to the chaos underpinning them.

 

APlacetoBuryStrangers

A Place to Bury Strangers – Deadbeat
One of my all-time favorite bands despite having only been around since 2006. Picking up the shattered amps and eardrums of the Jesus and Mary Chain, New York’s “loudest band” is all about returning feedback to its rightful place as “lead guitar.” This particular track opens with a very Cramps-like intro before plunging neck deep into swirling drones and piercing feedback, all the while being shoved forward by the rhythm section like G20 protesters in front of a SWAT team.

Oliver Ackerman’s laconic vocals seal the deal, with his futile question to a heartbreaking lover: “What? What the fuck? Don’t mess with my heart.”

 

fuckbuttons

Fuck Buttons – Olympians
Fuck. Yes. The Fuck Buttons return triumphantly with a new album, Tarot Sport. Building on their psychedelic and psychotic drums and distortion of their debut, the Buttons add some shimmering synths and build a more expansive and melodic groove from the claustrophobic psych-noise of Street Horrrsing.

The lead single is Surf Solar, which is incredible and the most immediately striking track on the album. But Olympians has been the grower, echoing back to their previous work (especially Sweet Love for Planet Earth). It builds from nearly nothing, just a fuzzed-out synth before the drums come rolling in. As you begin to feel that yes, this is nice and pounding but could get a little tiring after 4 or 5 minutes, the boys bring in an organ. As these tones begin to intertwine with the groove, some gorgeous synth pads pop up out of nowhere, like shafts of unexpected sunlight on a dark, cloudy day.

And then the distortion returns, calming our fears that the Fuck Buttons had gone all soft and synthy on us. The kind of cripplingly beautiful epic that comes around too rarely.

All mp3’s in a tightly-wound, emotional wreck of a zip file:
Heavy Rotation Vol. 20

-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 its 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 Guide to Rock and Roll Vol. 11 – All Requests Version

October 24, 2009

After a slight delay, the Fancy Plans Guide to Rock and Roll has returned (slightly) with a handful of bands hot off the request line, which is located in your comment threads and ignored for long periods of time right here on this blog.

They say “All good things come to those who wait.” I really wish “they” would stop saying that. Enjoy.

CALEXICO

Calexico spy an under-tipping diner.

Calexico
As Americans channeling Mexicans and distributed by Germans, Calexico are the “domestic” auto of indie rock. While probably (perhaps even fiercely) American, Calexico are the sum of their foreign-made “domestic” parts, often raising the ire of Lou Dobbs, who normally shows no interest in recorded music, domestic or otherwise.

Following a twisted path through Giant Sand and Friends of Dean Martinez (neé Martin), Calexico gathered up its mariachi leanings and headed for the welcoming climes of Germany, where they recorded their debut album. Due to a translation error and general German good-natured obtuseness, they were listed as “Spoke.”

Having had enough of this foreign bullshit (except for the mariachi stuff), Calexico returned home and re-issued their debut under the correct name. They continued to build their reputation as an “unavoidable” live band by annoying diners throughout Arizona with their flashmob mariachi-ing, often in support of other confrontational groups like Pavement and Lambchop (the latter of which often broke building capacity codes as soon as they entered the restaurant).

They further cemented their pristine indie rep (and swelled their tip jars) by performing with such alt.rock luminaries as Lisa Germano(!), Naim Amor(?) and Nancy Sinatra(!)(indie?).

Having conquered the all-important “street cafe” scene, Calexico went on to conquer NPR’s tastemakers with their multi-cultural blend of interstitial music, which meshed well with the give-and-take of various left-wing pundits. While definitely critical successes in the US, their popularity grows exponentially overseas, which would seem to indicate it is time for Calexico to haul their big-brimmed and sequined asses across the drink and return to the glory of being “big in Germany,” which has worked for so many “fringe” artists over the years.

3rd Place - Donnie Darko Lookalike Contest

3rd Place - Donnie Darko Lookalike Contest

Bright Eyes
The brainchild of indie wünderkind Conor Oberst (whose parents mysteriously shorted him an “n”), Bright Eyes burst out of the Omaha scene much the way that anyone bursts out of Omaha: by stumbling badly right out of the gates.

Critics responded to his debut album (the redundantly titled A Collection of Songs Written, Recorded and then Burned onto Round “Compact Discs” and Perhaps Recorded to the Occasional Cassette to be Listened to By Listeners with Stereos and Walkmans and Whatnot, Maybe in Their Car, But This is 1998 So Possibly a Cassette: 1995-1997) with everything from abuse (allmusic.com: “…unintelligible babblings of a child”) to confusion (Omaha Star: “Supposedly music, but I’ll take the remaining members of Journey at the State Fair any day of the week, even without their original singer…”).

Two years down the road Bright Eyes release Fever and Mirrors which is heralded by Pitchfork as “an instant classic, which nobody but us have ever heard of.” Metacritic hails them as “Pending. Still waiting on 5 reviews.” Their “improved” sound is chalked up to a more mature sound due to the addition of instruments such as flute, accordion, clavichord, sousaphone and Ouija board.

Pretension now safely on board and loaded with multi-instrumentalists, Bright Eyes break into the mainstream as a much-heralded “new” artist, despite being in existence for nearly seven years (sort of like adopting a “starter” child). With this celebrated status (and sudden change in tense two paragraphs ago), Oberst and co. begin to reap the perkiest fruit of their labor. Called upon to provide support for a Springsteen tour, Bright Eyes were afforded the opportunity to play to a much larger indifferent crowd when not carrying luggage for the “Boss.”

Soldiering on, periodically releasing an EP or actual album every six weeks or so, Bright Eyes continued to refine their twin powers: bedroom electronica (as displayed on Digital Stems and Seeds on an Electric Ladyland Dust Jacket) and their slightly creepier bedroom acoustical work, which features Oberst sitting on the edge of your bed for hours at a time, alternating between chugging PBR, strumming softly on his guitar and quietly watching you sleep.

Hull's mobsters ranged from "pasty" to "nerdy."

Hull's mobsters ranged from "pasty" to "nerdy."

Housemartins
Straight outta Hull, the Housemartins were an English pop group with an infectious sound and a cheery outlook that combined Christianity with Karl Marx, thus ensuring complete rejection by both of their target audiences.

Formed by Paul Heaton and Stan Cullimore who originally performed as a busking duo, (Ed. – Oh. My. God.) the two friends went on to add a few more members in an effort to attract an audience that preferred its musical ambushes came from the hi-fi rather than Tube platforms or duck ponds. Their most notable addition was superstar DJ Fatboy Slim, who agreed to put down the records and cocaine and play some unobtrusive bass under his given name, Beats Int’l Mighy Dub Katz Pizzaman Freakpower Quentin Cook the BPA Norman Cook.

Having ensured their place in history with the addition of their most famous member (added bonus: free remixes for life!), the Housemartins released their biggest (and only) single to date: Happy Hour. The single shot to the top of the charts, aided by a popular claymation promo video featuring the British counterpart to the California Raisins: the Hull Prunes, who spent the entirety of the video doing very British things like “trainspotting” and “bitching about the dole.”

Their next single, Caravan of Love, enjoyed exactly one week at the number 1 spot before being shoved rudely aside by Jackie Wilson’s Reet Petite, which shows exactly what is both very right and very wrong with British musical tastes.

The single’s a cappella styling drew the ire of their biggest fans, prompting shouts of “Judas” during their completely unplugged gig at the Newport Folk Festival. Heaton was in turn prompted to stop the show and say, “Oh, so you’ve heard of him? Let me just take a moment of your time to give you the good news about Jesus H. Marx, who will free us from the twin oppressions of capitalism and rational thought. I would also like to address our growing trade deficit.”

The band split in 1988 but the members have remained friendly, often joining each other’s bowling/busking teams and dropping by while on holiday.

Axl often announced band firings through cleverly trimmed photos.

Axl often announced band firings through cleverly trimmed photos.

Guns N Roses
Formed by the common-law marriage of W. Axl Rose (born W. Oral Sex) and Tracii Guns (born Tracy Gunns), Guns N Roses tore apart the hard rock scene with their hard-charging riffs and dangerous behavior, the likes of which hadn’t been seen since the Rolling Stones still had their original guitarists and hips.

Perhaps one of the most important bands of ever (and your can drop “perhaps” if you throw “self” in front of “important”), GNR hit the fucking ground running with their debut full-length Appetite for Destruction. While the album itself was a hard-rock revelation, the album cover itself was much more memorable.

The original controversial cover, which featured the band members hanging around a stream in some sharp suits was met with complaints from record store owners, who refused to stock the “weak-ass nature bullshit” in the appropriate “Hard Rock” section.

After a hasty redesign, GNR presented Plan B, an album cover featuring them holding various doll parts whilst standing around in a butcher’s shoppe. Again resistance from record shop (or shoppe) owners was high, leading to threats of “brown bagging” the album due to its general “WTF-ness.” Various iterations were tried and rejected (naked prepubescent girl playing with a model, Slash surrounded by naked electric chicks, a naked 15-year-old hanging out at the park, someone smelling a glove, a robot rapist) before settling on the cover we all ended up with: a heavily stylized depiction of the band as a tattoo template.

As Appetite for Destruction took off, GNR toured tirelessly, inciting riots, destroying hotel rooms and, very occasionally, playing an entire set without storming off. As the band headed back into the studio for their followup, Axl decided GNR needed a new look. He issued a kilt to himself, a top hat to Slash and whiskey bottles and pink slips to the rest of the band. (Thus began the revolving door of GNR musicians, each of which Rose would herald as the band’s savior, until finally refining the group down to its only essential member: W. Axl Rose.)

In 1991, GNR released Use Your Illusion I and II, which was described as “bloated” (as double albums often are) and “mercenary” (as double albums packaged and sold as two distinct single albums often are). Both albums were chart toppers and featured several outstanding tracks, none of which I can think of off the top of my head other than November Rain, which clocked in a 8 hours and 56 seconds, often being the only video MTV had time to play between The Real World, Real World retrospectives and The Grind.

A rare shot from Rose's ill-fated foray into "faith healing."

A rare shot from Rose's ill-fated foray into "faith healing."

After the release of the now-prerequisite covers album The Spaghetti Incident?, which featured a rundown of their purported influences, none of which they sounded like, W. Axl Rose headed back into the studio with the remaining band member(s) for the next 15 years.

Although Rose appeared sporadically to announce that the album was “just around the corner” and “fucking awesome,” the LP was not released until November of 2008. Problems began when it became apparent that there were few musicians willing to work with Rose, whom the press had affectionately dubbed “an egotistical maniac.” Holing up in L.A.’s Up My Own Ass studios, Rose issued the honorable threat that he would not release any more music until there was “democracy in China.”

After a decade or so of dicking around, Chinese officials (in conjunction with the independent bottlers of Dr. Pepper) began to call his bluff, beginning with a series of trade embargoes targeted at various takeout joints and dry cleaners in the Hollywood area. As the lack of pepper steak and freshly pressed shirts began to erode Rose’s willpower, China stepped up the pressure, stating that while W. Axl Rose had a “proven track record in the music industry,” they had the “willpower of over a billion oppressed people, most of whom have been forbidden to listen to your music,” adding “not to mention a fuckload of tanks.”

To save face (and the independent bottlers of Dr. Pepper), Rose released the poorly titled Chinese Democracy to rave reviews such as “That’s hard rock, alright…” (Spin, Nov. 2008), “Sounds like Rose’s trademark vocal stylings…” (Bill’s Record Blawg, Dec. 2008) and “We’ve had this album for years…” (thepiratebay.org).

Rose announced through personal assistant Sebastian Bach that Chinese Democracy was the first in a planned trilogy, with the follow ups due to be released in 2023 (“weather permitting”) and 2038 (“…at which point I will likely be dead”).

The Pirate Bay (piratebay.org) invites you to “beat the rush” and check out these two fine albums today.

-CLT

h1

The Ultimate Birthday Present

October 22, 2009

IMG_5887 _wp

This is my oldest son. He’s five today. He arrived on my 30th birthday, thus freeing me from having to celebrate my own for the near future.

I handed out a lot of advice during my last birthday post, and it all holds as true for him as for his brother.

Some things I have neglected to mention:

Stay in school
I don’t just mean put in an appearance. Make sure your education is important to you as you are to us. Keep going, push yourself and rise above the mediocrity that will surround you.

Go to college
Get a degree in something you want to do for the rest of your life. I blew off college until I felt it was too late to go back. I regret this mainly because it limits my earning power, which means it punishes you as much as it does me. The only difference is you had no choice. Don’t make my mistake.

Speaking of school… You’ll be headed there in a year. I’m anticipating/dreading that day. I want you to go and I know you’ll make me proud. I just have the somewhat justifiable fear that kids these days have turned into cruel, worthless bastards. It makes me feel that you’ll spend a large part of your day surrounded by the living, breathing equivalent of Youtube commenters.

Don’t let their stupidity and cruelty grind you down. I would hate to see your youthful innocence shattered but I know that time is coming. I dread this like nothing else in my life.

It may never come. You might be fortunate enough to just deal with a few jackasses. Either way, I know that the more I want to protect you from, the less you’ll be able to handle on your own. I think my knee-jerk reactions could be damaging, as I tend to favor the “hit them back” method of dealing with problem classmates. I’ll work on that because that goes against my better judgement but satisfies me more quickly.

But we won’t dwell on this. Those days will come and I’m sure we’ll all weather it just fine. Enjoy your birthday and lack of responsibility. Those days are numbered as well.

-CLT

h1

The Presidents of Harvard University Vol. 2 – The Next Hundred Years (Very Approximately)

October 20, 2009
America's most prestigious university always reminds its students to sound difficult words out.

America's most prestigious university always reminds its students to sound difficult words out.

In case you’re playing catch-up, you can check out the beginning of this glorious (and fact-free) page in history here in The First Hundred Years.

If you’ve been playing along since the beginning, please mark spot “N-45.” This is your bonus free space.

Without further preamble, Fancy Plans presents Vol. 2 in the remarkable history of Harvard’s presidents, taking you on an aplomb-laden journey through the “Pyrite Age” of Crimson history.

9. Edward Holyoke 1737-1769*
Holyoke brought in a new wave of old school corporal punishment during his unprecedented 33-year deathgrip on the top spot. Underclassmen began to fear for their lives as hazing was not only encouraged, but made mandatory. Many requested transfers to schools with less stringent hazing techniques, like Rutgers and UC-Santa Barbara.

Holyoke’s downfall and eventual lynching was the result of his insistence on bare-bottom paddling, which put Harvard in the sights of another crippling class action lawsuit. The court found in favor of the red-bottomed underclassmen (as it often does) and sentenced Holyoke to “death by angry locals.” “Affectionately” known as “Ed Banger.”
*Official cause of death listed as “waiting to inhale.”

10. Samuel Locke 1770-1773
Four years was all it took for Samuel Locke to leave nary a mark on this hallowed institution, having enacted no major (or minor) reforms, rule changes, raids on Yale or catastrophic scandals. Often attributed hazily with coining the phrases “Don’t rock the boat” and “No, thanks. I’ll just sit quietly here in the back until the board meeting is over, if that’s ok with everybody.” Affectionately known as “Current Occupant.”

11. Samuel Langdon 1774-1780
Langdon is recognized as the first Harvard president to fully take advantage of a dangerously underage Congress, having lobbied his way into its heart and parts beyond shortly after its formation in September of 1774. Once firmly ensconced in the legislative body of the U.S., Langdon took care to have himself and his university “grandfathered” in (but not in a sexual way, of course) before most of the Constitution and Bill of Rights was enacted or amended.

He secured several large donations from various congressional bills and was often seen trumpeting his success by dangling his funding in front of various Yalies and yelling, “That’s right, pretty boys! Who’s well-endowed now?” Known affectionately as “Shaft.”

12. Joseph Willard 1781-1804*
Willard spent 14 fruitless years trying to match the successes of his predecessor, Samuel “Shaft” Langdon, the strain of which caused him to shorten his life drastically through a series of suicide attempts. This fruitless strain was further compounded by Langdon not having the decency to die in office like so many presidents before him. 

Langdon would often show up late in the evening, drunk on his own success and a combination of grain alcohol and horehound extract. These late night visits often ended with Langdon passing out in the elderberry bushes and Willard hitting a non-vital organ with his musket loader. Affectionately known as “Not Well-Endowed at All, Are We JW? Hahahahahaha!!! *vomit*”
*Died in office in an office supply mishap involving a malfunctioning moveable press prototype and perfectly functioning muzzle loader.

13. Samuel Webber 1806-1810*
Although Webber was responsible for several additions to both the student housing and professorial quarters (most notably, a much larger billiards room for the president’s office to complement the 6-lane bowling alley), he is now mainly known for not being “that guy” many people are thinking of, including:

  • the dictionary guy (Webster)
  • the grill guy (Weber)
  • that little guy (Webster)
  • that weird scout rank (Webelos)
  • that composer guy (Andrew Lloyd)
  • that previous president (Willard)

Affectionately known as “Samuel Webster.”
*Died in office due to an obituary misprint in the local paper, which Webber spent several years fighting, often in a “still living” capacity.

14. John Thornton Kirkland 1810-1828
J.T., as he was affectionately known, led the Harvard Crimson to several sports titles, including  battlechess, coxswaining, motocross, skullboning, contract bridge, narwhal hunting, Yale frosh-knifing, strip badminton and quarters. His willingness to take a “hands on” approach to coaching led to unparalleled success and several parental lawsuits. “Coach Knight” (as he was affectionately known) gave the once pasty face of Harvard Athletics the black eye it needed to “toughen up” and “take it one game at a time.”

As the new-look athletics department drew heavy coverage from the local papers, “The Ragin’ Cajun'” (affectionately a.k.a.) insisted on handling every post-game interview and is credited with the invention of the non-sensical character string which is used to denote horrendous, paint-peeling obscenities. Here’s one of its earliest usages:

Captain Kirk, as he is affectionately known, responded to this journalist’s query of “Dost thou think your coxswaining crew is yearning for the rough caress of the playoffs?” with a string of profanities, the likes of which I will try to reproduce here:

JK: Did you watch the same %^&$ race I did?? Did you?? You need to have your %^&#@ing head examined and your #@#%ing eyes as well, you piece of pen-scratching $#$%! Ask something else! Any of you %^##suckers have something even partially %^^#$ing relevant to ask? Anyone! Jesus !$@#.

Affectionately known as “Thornton ‘Van’ Wilder.”

15. Josiah Quincy 1829-1845
Quincy became known for his outlandish behavior as head of Harvard, insisting on hours-long meals every evening consisting of several courses and accompanied by his hand-picked musicians, who would often wander off somewhere deep into the E chord for 20-30 minutes at a time. Though many were impressed with the breadth of his culinary tastes and the skilfulness of the musicians, others were “turned off” by the lack of restraint and endless jamming exhibited.

Quincy would often track down those who “lacked proper taste” and lecture them endlessly on the inspiration that results when big ideas meet virtuoso musicians. This was also accompanied by his talented and meandering musicians, whose improvisations often were hailed as “breathtaking” and “grandly masturbatorial.”

Sadly, Quincy’s theatrical ideas failed to carry on once he left Harvard and he gradually became a balding lead singer/drummer in a terrible soft-rocking pop ensemble that outlived its usefulness by several years. Affectionately known as either “King Crimson” or “The Broadway Lamb.”
*If only he had died in office…

-CLT