Archive for May, 2011

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Heavy Rotation 73: The CLT Self-Promo Edition

May 30, 2011

Elizabeth asked for some links so that she can keep track of where else I’ve been writing. I’m going to do a complete link dump of everything I have published elsewhere. I’ll also be adding a few tracks for some background music.

Going forward, I’m going to trim back the Heavy Rotation to three tracks per week (theoretically). Not that I don’t have a huge backlog of awesome music to share, but that 20-30 minutes is a lot of time to ask anyone to invest in a single post. Speaking for myself, I know I’d have trouble sitting on one single page of the internet that long, so I’m not going to be asking (or demanding, via blogguilt) anyone else to do it.

You may have noticed there are four tracks in this Rotation, which would seem to indicate the exact opposite of what I just said. Let me explain: one of those is a mashup, and so it actually is part of a Sonic Collision and not part of this Heavy Rotation. (Although it will go headerless for maximum confusion). Enjoy.

THE LI N K D  U  M    P

Techdirt.com

Capitalist Lion Tamer (that’s me!) Profile Link.
(Use this link to see everything I’ve written for Techdirt, including comments. Handy!)

If you’re short on time, here’s some of my favorites:

The Bygone Bureau

The Big Jewel

Defenestration Magazine

Enough about me. On to the music.

Mirrors – Ways to an End.mp3

This track by Mirrors is like getting hit in the ears with a Louisville slugger made out of nostalgia (and some ash — for weight). This is the crystalline pure pop bliss of OMD and the Pet Shop Boys. If you close your eyes, you can see impossibly/impeccably dressed people (often with shoulder pads and sleeves incomprehensibly hiked up) doing impossibly/impeccably cool things (often involving chrome and neon) with this as background music. If you close your eyes for long enough, you’ll feel like John Hughes presiding over a cast of next-big-things, most of whom will flameout spectacularly. (Including John Hughes.) Don’t close them for too long, though, otherwise people might actually think you’re John Hughes and start divvying up your estate. Hat tip to MEK for shooting this my way.

Von Haze – Outsyd Tha Nite (White Car Remix) (Salem Re-edit).mp3

Usually too many cooks are bad news, what with their constant fucking around, spoiling the broth and angling for book deals. But in this case, Von Haze gets re-rubbed by not one, but two, remixers, resulting in this wall-of-despondent-sound that edges close enough to triumphant to not get completely distraught and head off into the woods to do damaging things to itself. The vocals get pitched down to the sub-bass level of rolling Gothic thunder and skittering drum patterns slide across the murky tones without ever finding a foothold.

Tyskerhar – Oh.mp3

I’m not going to say much about this one, other than once Tyskerhar’s track gets into your head, it’s not coming out. Not for awhile. And then you’ll be stuck singing the chorus, over and over again, most of which is composed of the one-word track title. There’s a word for this: nefarious.  So, what can you do? Do what I did. Force it into the brains of others, sit back and watch the contagious collateral damage. It’s like a yawn, only catchier.

….

DJ Topcat – The Safety Booty (Men Without Hats vs. Bubba Sparxx).mp3

Topcat gives up something that couldn’t be more appropriate (and inappropriate, in terms of subject matter) if it tried: a bootie about booty. Asstacular!

DJ Topcat

-CLT

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This Explains Nothing

May 25, 2011
[Note to readers: my fishing license has been revoked. I’m not looking for reassurance. I’m trying to work something out using the few tools I have available.]

It’s been long, too long since I’ve posted anything of value in here. Well, I’ve posted plenty of stuff, mainly music-related, but no original writing. Apologies all around and apologies in advance is this piece goes long/gets weird/gets tiresome/has too many parentheses.

Quite honestly, I’m working through some weird sort of writer’s block. It’s not normal writer’s block as I’ve been doing quite a bit of work over at Techdirt. Given context and a starting point, I’m doing fine. Coming up with something on my own? Not so much.

Now I do enjoy the Techdirt gig, with all of its attendant “getting published elsewhere” glory and included perk of being able to say I write for Techdirt, something that probably will remain more important to me than anyone else but still won’t prevent me from name-dropping it frequently (often inside this very post) in hopes that it will somehow turn into a well-paying career for a respectable publisher that isn’t currently going out of business.

On the downside, it does tend to use up a lot of what I used to refer to as my “free time.” I feel bad that I’ve let this blog kind of slide, but the other thing is very shiny and new and I haven’t been doing it for 2+ years and so it kind of gets priority thanks to my willingness to be entranced by novel experiences.

(But not actual “novel experiences.” Like many others, I harbor the secret [but not so secret now, is it?] desire to write a Novel. [Capitalized so as to be easily identified as Something With Pretensions Toward Greatness.] I have some unorganized scrawlings in some notebooks and some ideas that float around, but nothing substantial, so you can all stop holding your breath. Or start holding it, and then stop, just as a favor to me.)

Let me take a moment here before this all goes downhill/sideways and tell you how grateful I am for your comments and compliments over the past 2+ years. No matter what I say from this point on, remember that.

(I’m serious. It is important that you know that I highly value your readership. Especially considering how flaky I have been lately about responding to comments and posting entertaining articles. [And nobody mention Tanager. I really need to go answer those comments. If you don’t bring it up, I won’t feel nearly as shitty as I do everytime I look in there and see the dust gathering.])

From this point on, I have nothing prepared. I am winging this in hopes that a breakthrough occurs as I ramble on, hopefully to some sort of conclusion or enlightenment.

BOLD STATEMENT OF NON-INTENT

Do you know what people hate more than poor writing? Writers bitching about writing.

Therefore, there will be no complaints beyond this point. Just positive stuff with the occasional bitterness. (Directed at nobody in particular — the best kind of bitterness. It’s the kind of unfocused bitterness that makes family reunions and office retirement parties the kind of excruciating event you wished you had the callousness to just say, “You know what, I’d rather drag my unprotected eyes across a stack of thin cardboard that’s been dipped in margarita salt than hang out here any longer.” We could say those sorts of things. We honestly could. We’d be branded “misanthropic” or “fired” but at least we wouldn’t have to make any more small talk about Aunt Whoever’s prize-winning quilt pattern or the 40+ years of middle management by the guest of honor.)

HERE’S WHAT I HAVE LEARNED FROM BLOGGING

It’s hard. It’s fulfilling. It’s sometimes scarily easy. It’s its own reward occasionally. There are way too many smart and funny people* out there. The overall ratio of smart/funny to the rest of the internet may be low, but I don’t read stupid or unentertaining blogs, so I can’t give you any stats.

*See also: the blogroll. If your name is on there, then you are who I am talking about.

Sometimes I stare at the blog and hate it for needing my help. Without me (or RF) cranking out posts, it does nothing. A week goes by and I’ve got nothing and I start to feel like a cybersquatter. “No one’s taking this name. If for no other reason, this stays live. I’ve got a brand to maintain.” (“Maintain” apparently meaning posting intermittently with a definite lack of cohesion.)

I have this blog on my RSS feeds. Why? Because it looks more professional when it shows up there. I find it inspiring. (I also find it narcisstic. But I want to try to remain positive.) The simple, clean lines of the RSS feed show up with a lot of established blogs and it feels good to me. “Look at it go! Hanging out with Marginal Revolution! And Cato@Liberty! And Techdirt! (Again. I warned you.)

Google Reader allows me to flatter myself. That’s got to be the most unintended use ever. I’m sure beta testers never stumbled across that “feature.”

POSSIBLY RELATED ANECDOTE

I used to work as a DJ in a bar. And it was fun. It was the most fun I’d had while still earning money. I could drink and play music and get paid. I did this for a few years until the management decided they wanted to chase out The Dance Crowd and replace them with The Rock Crowd, mainly to get rid of The Black Crowd.

And I played along. And then I left. I quit and moved halfway across the country to kill what was left of my soul with a nine-month stint as occasional boyfriend and stand-in dad for the last woman I dated before meeting my wife. This fell apart in 9 months or so and I returned to the town I left and reclaimed the job I left.

Why? Well, because I could. DJing is easy. Things had changed and the bar was back to at least being all-inclusive as long as sales were good. But it didn’t last. And then management made the same decision. The employees fought it but I was right back in the job I loved hating every minute of it. I was no longer a DJ. I was just some guy playing records for money, catering to a crowd that wanted to be somewhere else, working for people he didn’t respect.

So I drank more. And more often. I handled this soul-crushing, whorish job like anyone else would: I attempted to set some stuff in the employee restroom on fire and got canned.

Related how?

I’m not sure. Something about how doing the thing(s) you love can still be heaped full of suck occasionally. In the bar case, it was external. (Except for the drinking. That was all me.) Here, it’s internal. Sometimes it’s a mixed blessing. Other times, it’s hangs all over everything like an overly talkative acquaintance, hammering away at you with inanities and sucking away your inspiration. (Again, internally.) You want to do the things you love, except sometimes you can’t find the easy joy in those things. The upside is this is usually temporary.

My brain is bricked. But it will be back. It’s happened before. I’ve written my way through (once). I’ve waited it out (once). This is some of each.

-CLT

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CLT Recommends: N A T T Y M A R I

May 17, 2011

I rarely dedicate an entire post to single artist but when I do, I mean it, maaaan. I’ve spent some time and several hundred words expounding on the virtues of Rraaiillss’ new wave of classic altrock. I’ve spent a few hundred more pushing Whitey’s incredible blend of electro-rock and caustic lyrics. And now I’m here to push another worthy artist straight down your earholes.

N A T T Y M A R I

Nattymari is an unusual beast. With a name copped from ultra-weird import hit “Katamari Damacy” and combined with a reggae descriptor, Nattymari both covers up his blacker-than-black productions and tips a cap towards his dub progenitors. His pitch-shifted blend of corrupted noise is built on the back of the following monstrosities (from the man himself):

“The clippy sounds of lo-bitrate mp3s,the buzz of blown speakers, cassette hiss and warble, the sound of a tape with a bend, where you hear the other side backwards for a few moments…”

There’s no term in existence for what Nattymari does. It’s not dubstep. It’s not industrial. And while he frequently rubs shoulders compilation-wise with plenty of witch house/drag artists, he’s not really that either.

For starters, he revels in the “artifacts of the medium.” You can hear the tape loop fuckery of Chrome and Throbbing Gristle ricocheting around the soundscape, slipping off the spindle now and then with a burst of Chipmunk speed or getting hung up in the gears and grinding to a halt.

Then there’s the pitched-down James Earl Jones-on-Quaaludes vocals as pioneered by the late, great DJ Screw, whose prolific productions warped the minds of a whole generation of southern hip hop fans, reclaiming dime-a-dozen braggadocio and turning it into a hellish incantation led by the most cocksure demons to walk the planet.

There’s more in there as well. Bursts of static destroy what came before them and alter everything that follows. Tinny, overdriven drum patterns drill fractal landscapes into the murky tar pit bubbling malevolently below it. Vocals elongate and compress randomly, often submerging entirely before clamoring to the surface, gasping for air desperately.

Nattymari – Pri$3 749.mp3

By this point, you’ve probably decided how this sits with you. By any stretch of the imagination, it’s not really what the uninitiated would call “music.” It certainly doesn’t present any sort of easily approachable front. It edges very close to antagonistic several times. But that’s where the genius lies.

This is music destroyed and rebuilt without a manual. This is the sum of the parts laid end to end and reformatted one by one. This is what creativity sounds like: the complete removal of waypoints in order to forge a new path.

There’s beauty in it as well. It’s often obscured and rarely left untroubled for more than few moments, but it’s there nonetheless. Take a listen to IIEVOL.

Nattymari – IIEVOL.mp3

The vocals are as troubled as they are troubling, like a villain left to die, his humanity reduced to a streak of tears and a pool of blood. Haunting snippets of Venice canal accordion emerge, along with a brief bit of nearly unaltered vocals, all of it awash in palpable sadness. And just as the pain subsides, the track morphs into a miniature tonepoem built on downed power lines and decayed radio signals.

The beauty is nothing without the juxtaposed destruction.

And there are moments where Nattymari, despite having every damaging tool at his disposal, surprises with something approaching hummable, like N477Y L1GH7.

Nattymari – N477Y L1GH7.mp3

There’s a stark simplicity in the buildup, an approachable beat that runs for nearly 40 seconds with a minimum of interference. (Although there’s just enough noisemaking to let you know that this is unmistakably Nattymari.) Once the whole thing kicks in, the screwed-down vocals glide effortlessly over the loops, occasionally slipping forward and backward as dictated by the fiend at the controls.

Sometimes nothing succeeds like restraint. In a perfect world, this could at least climb into the lower half of the Top 40, too “weird” to top the charts but catchy enough to pluck it from obscurity.

Look, I can’t sell you on Nattymari’s music. You’ll love it or you’ll hate it, but there’s no way you’re walking away completely unaffected. The greatest artists out there are the most divisive. I won’t drown him in oppressive comparisons and start tossing around names of the all-time great sonic abusers. It serves no purpose. Nattymari can get by on his own merits and name-dropping only draws attention away from his singular sound.

If you’d like get smacked around by some lurching, ramshackle death machines, follow these links:

http://www.youtube.com/user/nattymari?feature=mhee

http://soundcloud.com/nattymari

http://soundcloud.com/nattymari-1

http://soundcloud.com/nattymari2

http://nattymari-unfortunate-events.blogspot.com/

-CLT

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Sonic Collision 8

May 14, 2011

Another edition in what is swiftly becoming “THE ONLY THING I POST HERE ANYMORE.” Catchy, non? Apologies all around. Very busy. Tired a lot. Brain hurts. Brain refuses to cooperate and generate new funny/mindblowing/awkward/incisive material despite very clearly worded threats and cajoling. So, enjoy the music. I hope to have all systems back online shortly. Engage!

Previous wreckage here:
The Sonic Collision Archives

rikkirok – If Eminem Visited the Lawrence Welk Show.mp3

This is why time travel needs to be invented. So get on it, whoever it is that’s working on it and get back here and do things like this so we can all (as one people) blow the minds of squares back in the day. rikkirok drops Lose Yourself all over various bits of instrumental weightlessness. You can kind of feel it lose its footing here and there, but the moments that are on are dead on.

(Hat tip to my youngest brother for pointing this track out to me via The Facebook.)

via Mashuptown.com

DJ Clive$ter – Funky Dream (Empire of the Sun vs. Wild Cherry).mp3

Returning to the Collision, it’s DJ Clive$ter with this impeccably tight mashup which places Nu-Romantics Empire of the Sun front-and-center with the electrocowbell romping of Wild Cherry’s Funkytown riding backup. Gives Roller Boogie a run for its money.

DJ Clive$ter at Mashup Industries.

The Kleptones – The Underground Hand That Buttoned the Widow.mp3

I am honestly trying to not turn this inadvertently (or as it would seem now, advertently) into a “Kleptones of the Week” feature. Eric Kleptone (there’s actually not three of him) is just that fucking good. Plus, bschooled is taking a hiatus and we all know how much she loves her some “brother/sister” bluesy two-piece rock bands. (A lot, actually. Nearly as much as she loves her some “husband/wife” bluesy two-piece rock bands.)

So, this is some traveling music for the multi-talented writer/Facebook troll over at JMC.

Full sample list:

  • Primal Scream – Get Your Rocks Off
  • Aerosmith – Dude (Looks Like a Lady)
  • Nine Inch Nails – The Hand that Feeds
  • White Stripes – The Hardest Button to Button
  • Tori Amos – Professional Widow
  • Mirwais – Miss You
  • Radio 4 – Dance to the Underground

-CLT

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Sonic Collision 7

May 7, 2011

Diving back into the virtual crates for the elusive sound of the party in your head.

Previous wreckage here:
The Sonic Collision Archives

okiokinl – Satisfy Me (Fischerspooner vs. Elvis Presley).mp3

Netherlands DJ okiokinl hitches Elvis Presely’s swaggering A Little Less Conversation to Fischerspooner’s lurching electronic breakout hit, Emerge, with spectacular results. Be sure and check out his Official.fm page (linked below) for no fewer than 166 tracks (at last count), including an incredible (or incredulous, if you prefer) set of tracks marrying Joy Divison’s post-punk melodies with today’s pop tarts (Katy Perry, Destiny’s Child, Fergie, etc.)

okiokinl at Official.fm

smash – R U Gonna Be My T.V.mp3

Smash, an on-again, off-again mashup pioneer (mostly off — the last post on his site before dropping this track was from August 2010), found this kicking around his hard drive and released it, saving us all the trouble of mixing Jet’s iPod-whoring track RU Gonna Be My Girl with Tim Curry’s inimitable camp icon, Dr. Frankenfurter. Which is good, because we’d have just fucked it all up anyway.

More smash mashups.

The Kleptones – Welcome Back.mp3

The Kleptones have cranked out enough truly classic mashups in just the past two years that I could easily just rename this series “Kleptones of the Week” and still have enough material to run out the end of the year. It must be the unrepentant techno-head deep inside me that loves hearing Axl Rose’s twist his snarling whine around the acidic tones of early underground club classics like Joey Beltram’s Energy Flash and LFO by (oddly enough) LFO.

Full sample list:

  • Boney M. – Rivers of Babylon
  • Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Karn Evil 9
  • Guns ‘n Roses – Welcome to the Jungle
  • The Chemical Brothers – Hey Boy Hey Girl
  • Basement Jaxx – Where’s Your Head At?
  • Missy Elliott – Lose Control (which samples Cybotron – Clear)
  • LFO – LFO
  • Meat Beat Manifesto – Radio Babylon (which samples Boney M – Rivers of Babylon)
  • Joey Beltram – Energy Flash
  • The Future Sound of London – We Have Explosive

-CLT

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Unpublished Correspondence V2

May 6, 2011

Sneak past my spam filter, will you? Brace yourself for an onslaught of wordiness which contains none of that important personal information you’re barely trying to capture.

Your email just W o n £ 850,000 UK Pounds in our on-going 11th Anniversary PROMO!!!

YOUR DETAILS: L u c k y # : 12-12-23-35-40-41(12),
T i c k e t # : 00869575733664,
C G P N : 7-22-71-00-66-12.

For more information Contact: Email: mrgrahambenfield_101@hotmail.com
Agent: MR GRAHAMS BENFIELD. On behalf of staffs felicitate with you!!
MRS. ANGELO COLLETTA (Promo Announcer)

————————————————————————

NOTE: Do not reply this mail, send your correspondnence to Mr Grahams as instructed.

….

Dear Mr. Grahams Benfield –

Thanks for alerting me to this promotion. I’m not too sure what the prize is but I would love to have your staffs felicitate this. Unless your UK pounds are significantly different than our American pounds, I’m going to need a lot of help hauling these 850,000 pounds to my apartment. I may also need to obtain a storage unit as I’m not sure if 850,000 pounds of anything would all fit in my apartment.

Of course, math never was my strongest subject. I suppose after conversion this prize would weigh something more manageable, but I still think I’d better take advantage of your staffs.

Not that this is important or anything, but when did you “blokes” (I hope I’m using that correctly) ditch the metric system? I didn’t read anything about it online, but I spend most of my time cruising baseball stat sites or leaving mocking comments on various Gawker blogs. All I have to say is: it’s about time. We both speak English, so why shouldn’t we be able to do a 1-1 weight conversion? It’s bad enough that I have to Google up a calculator every time I buy an import album on eBay.

Which raises another question: are you or are you not using the Euro? If not, “bully” for you! (Again, I hope I’m saying that right.) No good can come of a single currency. Prominent conspiracy theorists  have indicated that it could very well bring about the Apocalypse, and I don’t know about you but I still got some livin’ to do! Some livin’ with my new collection of … things… that weigh a lot!

Looking forward to hearing from you. Please let me know how many staffs will be available to felicitate this move. Please keep the number of women and children to a minimum. This sounds like a lot of lifting and I can’t be slowed down by people unable to keep up with me and my roommates and your guys.

If you must send women/children, please make sure that they can lift a minimum of 20 pounds, in accordance with my handwritten EOE compliance form. Please also have several copies of your most bulletproof waiver forms on hand for those who think they might become repeatedly injured during this move.

Sincerely,
CLT

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Heavy Rotation 72

May 1, 2011

The 72nd edition of the Heavy Rotation brings you a plethora of musical goods, all as uniquely different as they are similarly excellent. Featuring the warm/icy/inviting/threatening tones of Led Er Est, Course of Empire (with help from Darwin), Lil Wayne (feat. Trina & refixed by 8Bitch), Automelodi and Stalker. Rather heavy on the synth side, but if you’ve been visiting here for awhile, I would imagine you’re kind of used to that. If you’d like a track removed, email me at 2timegrime@gmail.com.

L I N K S

In its heyday, the X-Files had plenty of obsessives. Years down the road and the obsessives are still there. They’ve moved on from conspiracy theories to more important things, like Mulder’s various timepieces. Or Scully’s various suits, some less unfortunate than others.

If you’re a reader (or writer) for any website whose comment threads are routinely infested with trolls, don’t worry. Misery has got you covered. From the mission statement:

Misery is a module designed to make life difficult for certain users. It can be used:

  • As an alternative to banning or deleting users from a community.
  • As a means by which to punish members of your website.
  • To delight in the suffering of others.

KISS KONDOMS.

Possibly of interest mainly to MEK and myself: Dave Allen’s (Gang of Four, Shriekback) blog. His best writing is found here.

More Heavy Rotations here:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

Trina (feat. Lil Wayne) – Don’t Trip (8Bitch Remix).mp3

Blog favorite Lil Wayne expresses his thoughts on the courtship ritual, specifically pointing out that men are visually stimulated (just give him lil’ thigh mama give him lil’ hip) and women are fiscally stimulated (break her off a few dollars take her on a few trips). He also expresses first an appreciation for the attractiveness of the women within eyeshot of his former digs (when I’m in Dade County/I see some thick bitches) but follows it up with his disappointment in the fact that they are not interested in being hustled (I try to holla’ at ’em but they all trick bitches).

8Bitch tags along, littering the background with large quantities of bass and jittery electronic noises.

Course of Empire – Infested (Darwin Goodman Mix).mp3

On its own, Infested is decent, if not spectacular, angsty hard rock, full of shouty statements about the world being in a generally shite state and The Man constantly sticking it to everybody. But… in the hands of Darwin Goodman, it’s the ultimate apocalypse party track. Sure, the angry yelling is still there, but rather than having this point hammered home by constant hammering, it’s beaten into place with sampled Gene Krupa beats and big band horns, which play nicely with the occasional compressed riffing and guitar strafing runs.

Additional fun fact: you can hear one of Course of Empire’s two drummers letting out a pre-puke moan moments before the end of the track. Read this for the whole story.

Automelodi – Rose A.D.mp3

Montreal’s Automelodi (who are essentially one-man band Xavier Paradis, despite what you see in the photo above) makes some very wonderful synth noises, the likes of which have not been heard since the heyday of Human League, OMD and the like. Add to this some French vocals and an affinity for Italo-disco, and you’re pretty much pressing a lot of my buttons effortlessly.

This goes to the past so often it often sounds like the future did back then: hovercars, neon everywhere and lots and lots of cocaine served up on chrome and leather.

Led Er Est – Laredo.mp3

Speaking of the Human League, Brooklyn’s Led Er Est have cobbled together the perfect analog with Laredo. But it does them one better by dragging a pointy guitar into the mix, giving it a bit of the ol’ punk grime. It runs on all cylinders from 0:01, which features an old school analog wobble that John Carpenter/Zombie Zombie would be proud to hang their hat on. Various tones brighten up the corners briefly before the guitar tears through the wall of sound, accompanied by some Ramones-esque shouting. Slightly under 3 minutes long and not a single second wasted. Brilliant.

Stalker – Heaven’s Gate.mp3

Mysterious dubstepper Stalker cranks out this particular piece of menace, taken from a very unlikely bit of source material.* Eerie loops double back on themselves, malforming into some sort of ritualistic prayer. It all goes completely to hell around the middle before resuming its take on “coherence” for the remainder of the running time. Definitely not fun for the whole family. Just the ones who sequester themselves in their room, surrounding themselves with an audible womb made of foreboding noises.

*Because the source material is “unexpected,” to understate things completely, I’ll reveal the ugly truth behind this track in a few days, via the comment thread. Until then, there’s nothing I can do to keep you from Googling at this until the answer reveals itself, but at the risk of sounding like the formerly talented M. Night Shamalyan, please keep your answers to yourself. I’m only saying this because I just recently found out what Heaven’s Gate is actually made of, and it was full of both WIN and FAIL.

-CLT