Archive for the ‘Literature’ Category

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The Stabbing Knife Vol. 5: Doubleheader Edition

January 15, 2011

Don't sweat it, Roberto. I'm completely made of Tuesday.

If it’s completely true that snitches get stitches then it’s doubly true that self-righteous idiots who attempt to sand down the world’s rough edges through censorship get the business end of Roberto’s stabbing knife. And it’s been awhile, so we’re having a doubleheader. On to the wetwork.

We’ve all heard the phrase “One person can make a difference,” and we’ve all nodded thoughtfully while thinking, “Bullshit.” Just like the eternally optimistic phrase “Every vote counts” allows us to feel like our voice matters in the political arena, the sad truth is that one person has no chance in hell to make significant changes, especially in well-established institutions with years of history behind them.

And then something like this happens.

An anonymous (to us, anyway) complainant has singlehandedly gotten Dire Straits’ Money for Nothing removed from radio airplay in Canada. As many of you are probably thinking, what the fuck for?

This anonymous complainant (hereafter “AC” for the sake of my fingers) was offended by the use of the word “faggot,” which pops up three times as the narrator critiques the hair metal dominating MTV at the time. If you’re not familiar with the lyrics, I’m not going to run them down for you here. Perhaps you can get in touch with AC as you are apparently the only other English-speaking person alive who has not heard this overplayed rock radio staple several hundred times in their life.

A homophobe and his headband rarely part.

Having heard this track 26 years after it was released, AC sprung into action. Assuming the role of spokesperson for the entire gay (or “gey,” as I assume it’s spelled in Canada) community, AC fired off a letter to the offending station demanding they remove the song from airplay.

“A song was aired, “Money For Nothing” by Dire Straits, and included the word “faggot” a total of three times.  I am aware of other versions of the song, in which the word was replaced with another, and yet OZ FM chose to play and not censor this particular version that I am complaining about.

I find this extremely offensive as a member of the LGBT community and feel that there is absolutely no valid reason for such discriminatory marks to be played on-air.”

At first, they blew her off, albeit in a very kindly fashion, running down the reasons for keeping it in the rotation and citing precedent.

“In this specific case, the song in question has been played countless times in its original form, from its #1 release in 1984 to the present day, and continues to be aired on stations across the country in this form.  As this selection has been aired continuously for 25+ years, and the original version is regarded by many as an historically successful and essential rock hit in that form with these particular lyrics, management chose in this specific instance to retain the authenticity of this selection.”

“We understand the concerns you have raised regarding this particular selection and do apologize for any undue stress caused to you as a listener by the lyrical content of this selection, but based on the above reasoning, we have operated with the understanding that in this specific case, no editing of the material is warranted.”

That should have been that.

The C stands for "Capitulation."

Not good enough. AC was still perturbed and fired back, using a lot of words but mainly pointing out than anything less than removal or censorship of the track would be unsatisfactory.

“I am highly dissatisfied with the response I have received.  I do not feel the argument in favour of the unabridged version of the song was valid, and it is certainly not strong enough to justify playing such words on the radio.  This word carries an unavoidable connotation of hate.  By airing it unapologetically on the radio, this station is indirectly propagating hate.  Although I can see the value in a timeless classic rock song in its original form, I cannot help but feel that it does not overshadow the importance of ending discrimination.”

The CBSC, not wanting to be seen as “propagating hate” or not being really on board with “ending discrimination” through continued airplay of a 26-year-old song, consulted and decided in her favor, issuing a lengthy missive explaining their reasons for removing the track.

So, apparently, one person can make a difference.

Now, before you get all inspired and head out to start a carpool or become a locavore or write your Congressman in an attempt to rid hotels you don’t even patronize of PPV porn, take a good, long look at what this is.

This isn’t justice. This isn’t David triumphing over Goliath. Hell, this isn’t even the local repertory theater’s production of Pay It Forward.

This is myopic, narcissistic bullshit.

This is saying, “This song offends ME. Change it. Fuck everyone else.”

It’s not that I think Money for Nothing is a classic work of art or that using the word “faggot” is ok in all circumstances. But maybe, just maybe, this instance is alright because FOR FUCK’S SAKE, THE SONG HAS BEEN OUT FOR 26 YEARS AND YOU WANT TO CENSOR IT NOW??

For Christ’s sake (or so they say), the Parents Television Council is always trying to censor this or that offending bit of culture but at least they’ve got some sort of quorum and the signed petitions and email carpet-bombing to back it up. I don’t agree with them ever but at least it’s not just one person wheedling away with a 2-year-old’s sense of entitlement, moaning “I don’t like this! Changeitchangeitchangeitchangeit!!!”

Dr. Alan Gribben is unaware that his moustache is on slightly crooked.

This is no different than Twain scholar Alan Gribben who’s working tirelessly to crank out a version of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, free of the troublesome word “nigger,” which has coyly been replaced with “slave.” (Also on the chopping block: “Injun” and “Half-breed.”) Once again, lots of history but at least in this case he’s not the first person to censor or ban this book.

“The idea of a more politically correct Finn came to the 69-year-old English professor over years of teaching and outreach, during which he habitually replaced the word with “slave” when reading aloud. Gribben grew up without ever hearing the “n” word (“My mother said it’s only useful to identify [those who use it as] the wrong kind of people”) and became increasingly aware of its jarring effect as he moved South and started a family. “My daughter went to a magnet school and one of her best friends was an African-American girl. She loathed the book, could barely read it.”

His main issue seems to be that it makes him “uncomfortable,” especially now that he’s relocated to the South. If he can’t handle using this in its historical context then he probably shouldn’t be teaching. Obviously it’s too much to expect that he might provide his students with the historical background or engage them in a discussion of how hearing/reading this word affects them.

No, I guess it would just be simpler to jack Tom Sawyer’s brush and whitewash the shit out of an American masterpiece. Even worse, he’s teaching a new generation that if something offends you, you should get rid of it no matter its history or context or importance to other people who aren’t you.

In this era of self-victimization thousands of people are running around with a chip on their shoulder and hot tears of self-righteous humiliation in their eyes. Why should something that offends them need to disappear? Are these self-appointed guardians of our culture really that selfish?

If you think that you might be offended by the word “faggot” leaking out of your speakers in the near future, just shut it off or dial away when you hear the very distinctive opening of Money for Nothing. And if you think you might not be able to handle the word “nigger” in print then just fucking read/teach something else, you projecting bastard.

Stabbity-stabbity-stab-stab-stab.

Quick postscript: Reaction to the ban of Money for Nothing has been pretty much completely negative. Here’s a typical take from an actual gay man, Scott Thompson (Kids in the Hall):

“Shakespeare would be rolling over in his g-word,” said Thompson, the 51-year-old actor/comedian best known for his work with the Kids in the Hall troupe.

When you ban a word, you make the word more powerful. All this banning that’s going on just makes (the hate) go deeper and deeper into the soul, where it festers. Let it it out. I want to know what you really think. I can handle it.

“It makes me feel like we’re five years old and need to go potty. The n-word, I guess, is number 1 and the f- word is number 2.”

Check on previous victims here:
ASCAP
Steve Dahl
Garth Brooks
Bono

-CLT

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Exclusive Clive Cussler Interview!

October 6, 2010
Clive Fucking Cussler and his fucking watch

Clive Fucking Cussler and his fucking watch

[To be fair, he’s no more or less talented than any other author who has passed the threshold of “writing” and headed for the greener pastures of “manufacturing.” However, he does have a certain look about him and won’t stop showing of that damn watch. Originally published July 21, 2009.]

The following contains transcribed excerpts from a Q&A session during Clive and Dirk Cussler’s promotional tour for their new book, Sparta. Following a publicist-approved interview (read it here), in which Clive discussed, among other things, his new watch, his product placement of said watch into his novels, his product placement of himself into said novels, a little more about the watch and various other watery items.

The Cusslers then threw caution to the wind and began fielding questions from their gathered fans. All audio and video of this event has been seized by their intrepid publicist, leaving only this record of how everything went more than a tad Pete Tong (ask Nobbly).

Publicist Merle Aaronsen (MA): Alright, folks! Now, we’ve got a real treat for you! Clive and his son, Dirk have agreed to a short Q&A session. Just raise your hand if you’ve got a question. Just like back in school.
[some appreciative laughter, mostly from Dirk, whose laugh can be charitably described as an ‘insane giggling.’]
MA: Yes?
Thomas: Hi, Thomas XXXXXX here. Big fan. I’ve read most of your latest novels. I just had a question: are you planning a followup to The Deep?
Clive Cussler (CC): [brief silence, clears throat]Ah. I think you may be confusing my work with Peter Benchley’s. Or vice versa.
A wonderful man, Peter. A wonderful, humorous man… with, uh, a rather unhealthy collection of pornography. Not that I’m judging. He was a witty and thoughtful guest during many weekend getaways, paid for by our mutual publisher.
MA: Thanks. Always a pleasure.
CC: Witty, delightful and hopelessly addicted to painkillers. When he was down we used to cheer him up by playfully referring to him as “Admiral Painless” or “Bluebeard the Rapist.” [laughs]
We prefer to remember his playful qualities and mastery of the sea. Not the other, troubling aspects like the stalking charges brought against him by Jacqueline Bisset. Many of us in his inner circle would never have seen this side of him, if he hadn’t invited us to his London mansion and shown us his so-called “Bisset Shrine.” I still get chills. And a bit of a woody. [laughs] She was quite the looker!
Anyhow, The Deep is by fucking Peter Benchley. Next question?

Not Clive Cussler (note lack of prominently displayed watch)

Not Clive Cussler (note lack of prominently displayed watch)

Alice: Hi, I’m Alice. I had a question regarding your co-author, and son, Dirk. He seems to be coming—
Dirk Cussler (DC): [giggles for a few seconds]
Alice: —into his own. Will he be writing a few novels of his own or branching out to another area of fiction?
DC: I’d like to handle this, Dad. While I have seen much improvement over the years, we, at this point, do not consider it wise to split up the franchise any more than it already is. The kind people at all of the bookstores have informed us that there is simply not enough shelf room for all of novels as it is. In fact, they have seen sales slip because of… what’s this here?
[inaudible discussion, voices of CC and MA occasionally surface, but nothing of use]
DC: … cannibalization. Sounds terrible! Maybe we should make smaller books! [giggles]
CC: He’s right. And well-trained. While we do have many ideas and watches to push, the novel mill suffers from its best friend and unfortunate bottleneck, the bookstore. Trying to find space to plunk another story in between Clancy, Patterson and Nora Roberts is like trying to pitch a tent in an outhouse. Some seamen vernacular there.

Donald: Hi, Donald here, retired Navy. I noticed that early on in Sparta you referred to the frigate displacing nearly 6,500 tons of water, which would be true if it was fully loaded. But nowhere leading up to this statement do you give any indication that it would be.
CC: Well, it very well could have been. Perhaps they had loaded at the last dock—
Donald: No. No. In fact it says here, “…the frigate, running light after offloading the last of the rescued crew, displaced 6,500 tons of water, like so much air out of a balloon…”
CC: [silence] It… it may have been a Class B, which are known to displace—
Donald: Two sentences later it says it’s a Class C lightweight frigate—
MA: I don’t think this line of questioning is going to help sell, I mean aid in enjoyment—
Donald: I mean, not to nitpick, but you severely overstate the amount of torque allowed by that motor type and I think you may have forgotten to carry a 1 or something when figuring the fuel efficiency—
CC: I don’t think this is going anywhere. We have a staff of fact-checkers to verify this stuff, do we not, Merle?
MA: Absolutely. They—
CC: And I will not be questioned as to the veracity of these claims! These are books written for enjoyment, and while I appreciate you bringing this to my attention—
DC: Dad, remember what doctor said about the stress—
CC: You’ll shut the hell up, Dirk. I splash your name on the book and what? You can’t even check these things out? They have to show up in public?
DC: But I can’t understand the fact-checkers. Merle outsourced that job. Venkater…man…swo… Have you talked to them? It’s like nothing gets through, no matter how loud or slow I talk—
Donald: I’d also like to point out that the Mary Celeste’s name is misspelled no fewer than 8 times between chapters 16-20. Sometimes as Marty, McLeste, Virgin Mary Celestine, Mary C. Less—
MA: This has been a problem, but I can assure—
CC: You can’t assure shit! You get a handle on this or I am out of here. The Silver Phantom is parked right outside, and I can drive it myself, believe it or not—
DC: It needs fixing. The door handle fell off when the chauffeur didn’t open my door. I had to get it myself because he was angry that I had been kicking his seat—
CC: Will you please refrain from talking? Please! I would like to see a return to some propriety here and I want that man out.

Dirk Cussler (left) making his dad happy by not talking; attempting to smile

Dirk Cussler (left) making his dad happy by not talking; attempting to smile

[some scuffling noises and a few protests, but it sounds like Donald leaves on his own terms]
Donald [somewhat faintly]: Fuck you, Clive! Do your research!

MA: I think we have time for a couple more, but let’s keep the questions fair, shall we?
Mark: Hi, Mark here. I was doing some research—
CC: [some sort of warning growl]
Mark: —and I came across some statements you had made concerning your naval knowledge. It reads, and I’m quoting here: “no one has time to do the research. It’s just the way it is. I’ve been cranking novel after novel for years without any issue. Here’s what you need to know. Ships float. Except when they don’t.”
CC: I don’t recall saying that…
Mark: Quite possibly not. The anecdote indicates that you were probably drunk. Anyway, I guess my question is more of a statement. Or an accusation. There seems to be some indication that your research is very weak to say the least—
CC: Get him out, Merle. Get him out or I send my idiot son out to your house for the weekend. I know the pets will probably rebound but I’m sure those repairs couldn’t have been cheap.
MA: I’m getting him out. You keep that little moron away from my house.

[At this point, we are left to deal with little more than some muffled talking, as Mark is presumably being escorted out. There is no parting shot from Mark, but there does seem to be arguing between CC and DC with only a couple of audible phrases. One from DC: …it would be happier with a saddle on it but then I think Merle scared it… One from CC: …Jesus Christ Almighty! I should have named you after a blunter object…]

[Some general concerned chatter resumes in background along with the Q&A, which Clive sadistically decides to continue.]

William: Hey, um… kind of a weird question… the Sparta book seems to have a lot, and I mean a lot, of homosexual overtones. Is this intentional?
CC: The fuck if I know. I barely read the damn things. Ask my son.
DC: I just wrote some stuff and then Paul (Kemprecos) edited it.
CC: Well, there you go. He’s Greek, for Christ’s sake. That explains that. Next question.
William: Actually, it’s in one of yours written with Dirk, according to Thriller in a Manila. I don’t think that Paul was involved—
CC: You have got to be fucking kidding me. Is anyone reading these things before they hit the shelf? I’ve got a brand to maintain. I should be getting drunk night after night and counting my money until my hangover goes away. I’m not going to micromanage this mill. Merle, you are about 30 seconds from hitchhiking home with Zorro the Gayblade over here. Let’s wrap this up. I don’t know why I even bother.
Did you all get a copy? I had better see more hands in the air. This is bullshit, Merle.
DC: Dad, dad. Let me get your pills—
CC: The only thing you need to get is few thousand more brain cells. I’ll just give God the benefit of a doubt and assumed they’re backordered. Get our stuff, Merle. You help too, monkeyboy.
DC: I would like to thank you all for coming. Merle and I appreciate your support—
CC: Put that fucking note down.

MA: I would like to take one more question.
CC: What? [inaudible] fired for [inaudible] complete abortion of [inaudible] your ass in a fucking sling [inaudible]
MA: [inaudible] resignation when I get back [inaudible] embarrassing yourself [inaudible] looks like about 10 years old [inaudible] this publicity [inaudible] asshole for not taking a child’s question.

Ma Cussler steps into the fray...

Ma Cussler steps into the fray...

CC: Alright. [very heavy sigh] One more. From the youngster towards the back?
Youngster: Is this the line for the Harry Potter midnight release?

[some crashing noises, yelps from the audience, a mic hits the ground with a burst of feedback]
DC: DAD! YOU’VE GOT TO—
[sound of fist hitting flesh]
DC: MY EYE! MOM WAS RIGHT—
[more noise, some indeterminate, a loud roar from Clive(?)]

CC: I DON’T HAVE TO TAKE THIS! I’M CLIVE FUCKING CUSSLER!
[more smashing noises, shelf tipping over(?), concern has turned to near panic]

Youngster: I SAID, IS THIS THE LINE—
[loud thud, feedback, then silence]

-CLT

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The Bible: Fancy Plans Edition Vol. 7

May 4, 2010

A long-delayed welcome back to an old favorite: the Bible. As usual, the sugar-coated teachings of the elders have been undercut with the saucy impertinence of today’s cynical bloggers. While many of you may find this to be “just fine,” rest assured someone, somewhere is busily putting together a chain email, full of grammatical errors and exclamation points, decrying today’s lack of morality and respect.

Before you finish adding the last few bits of ALL CAPS, why don’t you read a bit. And contemplate.

Previous heretical texts stored safely here:
The Bible: Fancy Plans Edition Archives

The crew of "To Catch a Predator" sets the bait.

1And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi, much to Levi’s surprise and instant outrage.

2And the woman conceived, less than two months after a hasty wedding, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months, as his incessant goodliness made dinner conversations awkward. And boring. And don’t even mention the “marital relations.”

3And when she could not longer hide/put up with him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river’s brink. When Social Services arrived to investigate a “slimy, pitchy baby,” they found themselves stymied by the archaic term “flags” and turned the whole case over to the Sheriff’s office.

4And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him, because she was nosy. And somewhat barren.

5And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river’s side, uttering sycophantic nonsense; and when she saw the ark among the flags (whatever the hell they are), she sent her maid to fetch it.

6And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. So did the pitchy, slimy baby. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews’ children, which reminds me, could you maidens run down and make sure they’re still enslaved? Thanks, you’re a dear.

7Then said his sister to Pharaoh’s daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee? And Pharoah’s daughter said, shouldn’t you be back in your slave hut or whatever?

8And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Go. And try to act more “enslaved.” And the maid went and called the child’s mother.

9And Pharaoh’s daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, for I am incredibly busy. And spoiled. And I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it, saying something under her breath about a “ridiculously circuitous plan.”

10And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son and was tattooed with the Egyptian hieroglyphic for “adopted.” And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water. Or rather, my maidens did, but I take the credit around here.

11And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren, and Moses felt a tag guilty about his general “unsmittenness.” He did, however, begin to feel better about his “adoptedness,” which was pretty much burden-free.

Unfortunately, Moses' privileged life had made his shanking skills a little rusty...

12And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man (and only a couple of women whose eyewitness account would be immediately discounted), he slew the Egyptian, just to watch him die, and hid him in the sand.

13And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together (which is not nearly as dirty as it sounds): and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow? And Moses said, What the hell was that? English, motherfucker. Do. You. Speak. It.

14And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? (Um, the princess did. Duh.) Intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? Moses said, well, not originally but you’re starting to pissedst me off. And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known, and regretted handing out the t-shirt emblazoned with “Moses: Kills Egyptians Dead.”

15Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. With extreme prejudice. [Musical sting.] But Moses fled from the face (and other more damaging parts) of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian (Egypt’s “Mexico”): and he sat down by a well, feeling very grateful that he was not in Bruges.

16Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters(!): and they came (!!) and drew water(!!!), and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. (…)

17And the shepherds came and drove them away in their finest pimpmobiles: but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock. And fertilized their crops. (+4 EXP)

18And when they came to Reuel their father, he said, How is it that ye are come so soon to-day? I was expecting you later. And this thing with the vacuum hose… well… it’s really not what it looks like.

19And they said, An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the “shepherds,” and also drew water enough for us, and watered the flock. And fertilized our crops. And rescued a baby calf. (Check gifts.)

20And he said unto his daughters, And where is he? why is it that ye have left the man? seriously, what the hell, women? call him, that he may eat bread. And watch “Egypt’s Top Model.”

As he struggled to contain his nauseousness, Moses pondered Zipporah's fascination with her bag of feces.

21And Moses was content to dwell with the man (seven daughters being a lot of contentment): and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter, who was well-known for her catchy name and infectious… laugh.

22And she bare him a son, and on the first try, sending her father (he of the “women-only” swimmers) into a spiralling depression, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land.

23And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage, which had gone well past what could be considered arousing.

24And God heard their groaning (and bitching), and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, which apparently was right at the tip of his tongue for the past several generations, but now… NOW YOU REMEMBER IT??!?! WTF???

25And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them and their bondage, and gave them a safety word.

-CLT

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Clive Cussler Remixed Vol. 1 – Douglas Adams

March 25, 2010

"Have the printers add 20% more boat and shove it on the shelves."

As many of you are aware (or will be, once I finish this sentence), Clive F. Cussler has a bevy of cowriters, all working diligently to ensure he is credited for their work. While the names Paul Kamprecos and Jack DuBrul are hardly household names (thanks to their 10-pt appearance on book covers, sandwiched between a boat and CLIVE F. CUSSLER), some other authors have been approached for possible co-author duties.

This new series will deal with some that never made it off the cutting room floor, to mangle analogies. Presented below is a small section of Clive Cussler’s work and the resulting piece.

This volume features sci-fi humourist Douglas Adams’ contribution to the Cussler canon. Enjoy.

The original work:

“Sandecker flashed a barracuda smile, but an icy coldness crept into his authoritative blue eyes as he prepared to rip Tingley to shreds.”

From Douglas Adams:

As Sandecker stepped into the hall, the lights came on automatically, a positive sign that meant things were indeed Working, in a way that most things he had encountered so far were not. He continued down the extremely lengthy hallway as did the lights, brightening as he approached and dimming as he passed.

At the end of the hall was a door covered in indecipherable symbols.

Sandecker flashed a barracuda smile that edged briefly towards “wolfish” before jumping completely out of the animal kingdom and into “puzzled.” This is where it stayed.

He gazed at the door, regarding the strange symbols, odd smoothness and lack of handle or hinges, roughly in that order. He shifted his weight as he puzzled over the impasse, and the lights shifted with him in equal puzzlement, attempting to guess his next movement.

Soon a popular tune crept through the air, synched to the now strobing lights. Sandecker hummed along, despite his puzzlement and even began to dance a little.

The door opened briefly, assaulting Sandecker’s ears with the cacophonous wails of a million damned souls seeking relief from their torment. Sandecker screamed too, although it was not until the door slammed shut that he realized it. He kept it up for another minute or two just to assure himself that he was the only one still screaming. The door remained closed.

He felt something behind him and froze. Sandecker struggled to contain his fear and panic, finally subduing them with promises to let them run wild in the near future, quite possibly in the next few seconds.

He turned around and levelled an icy glare at the interloper. Or rather, he attempted to level it. His icy glare which, despite years of intermittent practice in the bathroom mirror (frequently after watching gangster films), had failed to coalesce into something intimidating.

In fact, rather than conjure up images of a frosty demeanor and preternatural calm, the gaze reverted to its usual form, which tended to remind those on the receiving end of a cold mist or the type of heavy, slushy snow that, within moments of touching the ground, absorbs its weight in auto exhaust, soot and the surrounding dirt and soon resembles nothing more than a weak and possibly rheumatic stone that would erode to nothing during the next rain or be hurled casually into the street by passing schoolchildren.

Sandecker’s slushy gaze went unmet. There was no one there.

He blinked heavily, trying to dislodge the remains of his icy glaze, which had dissolved nearly immediately into pools of tepid and non-threatening water and the beginnings of a headache. He weighed his options slowly, taking into account his fear and panic, both now pacing in the foyer of his psyche and threatening to urinate right on the expensive Oriental rug of his better judgement.

On one hand he had a million damned souls with only a door between them. On the other, he had an unknown, invisible force and the hollow comfort of a strangely familiar pop tune and the now-irritating strobing lights.

He mentally flipped a coin, called it in the air and promptly forgot whether he had chosen “heads” or “tails.” He flipped again. Heads. Through the door.

He reached out to touch the symbols, feeling the sudden warmth of fear and panic relieving themselves before heading to the living room to tear up the expensive leather sofa of his instincts.

The door opened and the screaming began. As he stepped forward, the nothing behind him promptly tore him to shreds.

-CLT

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The Amplified Shakespeare: Sonnet XLIV

March 5, 2010

Remember the first edition of The Amplified Shakespeare? How it seemed like it would just be another “one-and-done,” enjoyable for a moment or two before being cast on to the slag heap of abandoned series (Hello Guide to Rock and Roll!) like Grandma’s panties after a bottle of Boone’s Farm?

Ha! Take that, rhetorical questions!

Will.i.am Shakespeare is back. And louder than ever. Prepare to have your minds blown, like so many gas station attendants when Grandma takes the Caddy out for a Sunday afternoon DUI.

The Globe Theatre, where Grandma once threw up, thus earning lifetime expulsion for her and a full refund for everyone else.

Sonnet XLIV

If the dull substance of my flesh were thought,
Thoughts that could stand to lose a few pounds;
Injurious distance should not stop my way,
Like an addled senior driver or an auto insurance con artist;

For then despite of space I would be brought,
With my matter transporter;
From limits far remote, where thou dost stay,
Safely hidden away, behind multiple locks.
And a restraining order.

No matter then although my foot did stand
The sheriff’s office don’t scare me;
Upon the farthest earth remov’d from thee,
Although they responded surprisingly fast, as tho’ thou wast sleeping with one of them;
For nimble thought can jump both sea and land,
I mentioned my matter transporter. Say hello to my Harrier Jump Jet.

As soon as think the place where he would be,
Pawing at you expertly.
(It rhymes!)
But, ah! thought kills me that I am not thought,
(Poetic, non?)
To leap large lengths of miles when thou art gone,
All systems go, um, tango-niner… delta… or whatever…

But that so much of earth and water wrought,
As part of my far-reaching conspiracy theory;
I must attend time’s leisure with my moan,
(Read: jerk off in the shower)
Receiving nought by elements so slow
(Read: the United States Postal Service)
But heavy tears, badges of either’s woe.
Alcohol’s a depressant. Who knew?
(It certainly surprised my poker buddies.)

[This semi-educational post brought to you in part by Jennifer Love Hewitt’s Pants Party, in conjunction with the Vajazzler! Look for it in finer boutiques today!]

-CLT

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Whitey, JK Rowling and How Not to Operate the Internet

January 8, 2010

Un fucking good musician.

Whitey
Electro-rocker supreme and all-around good guy, Whitey has been producing high-quality music since 2004. Despite an appearance on the Grand Theft Auto IV soundtrack, this hasn’t caused him any sort of trouble in the “too much of it and what to do with it” sort of way.

In fact, he’s not even signed to a label at this moment, which is a damn shame. As Overconfident Orientalist astutely pointed out in the Heavy Rotation Vol. 30 comment thread, 1.) he’s “bleeding talent all over the internet,” and 2.) everything other than The Light at the End of the Tunnel is a Train is impossible to get ahold of.

This may be due to his lack of label support. But this may also be due to Whitey’s lapse of judgment.

Here’s the situation: Whitey’s follow-up, Great Shakes, was due to be released in 2007. However, some piece of shit publicist decided to dump his unreleased album on the internets well before Whitey was ready to release it. It’s a fucked up situation. The whole story (more or less) is here, along with a great interview, in which Whitey does not cease drinking or smoking once.

Whitey’s response was to pull the album and rework some of the songs, which would be released under a new title supposedly in 2008. As this is 2010, we all can figure out what happened. No album yet and most of his catalog is now only available in illicit pirate form.

Without a doubt, a fucked-up situation. But let’s take a look at things from another perspective…

Has also written under the name "Tits McGee."

J.K. Rowling
As the author behind the multi-million-dollar cottage industry that is magical, scar-faced teens, Rowling is also on the run from the spectre of piracy. According to an article at CNN.com, “J.K Rowling has thus far refused to make any of her Harry Potter books available digitally because of piracy fears.”

Basically, Rowling has decided that the possibility of piracy would damage her immense wealth and therefore, will not give her fans the opportunity to shower her with more money by purchasing yet another version of the same book they probably already have in hardcover, softcover and collected special editions.

This is a pretty typical response from most hugely successful authors and their respective publishers. They won’t sell e-books because 1.) they don’t like the price point, which is driven by intense competition and the lack of any real distribution cost and 2.) the pirates will win (again).

So by not providing an electronic version, Rowling has cut herself completely out of a market and wishes to lay it all at the feet of faceless, nameless internet thugs who only wish to take and take and take.

The Fancy Plans Art Department once again defines "adequate..."

“Lost Sales”
Here’s where both of these artists converge. On one hand, we have a truly talented artist who is underexposed and lacking in distribution “muscle.” On the other hand, we have J.K. Rowling. Both are concerned that their product has been devalued by being passed around the internet without a price tag.

In Whitey’s case, he decided to cancel the release of Great Shakes. Other artists have done the same when their albums were leaked. In Rowling’s case, she won’t even put the product out. But why?

Lost sales.”

Let’s say some die-hard Potterist decides to bust out the OCR software and scan in one of her books. After all the work of scanning and processing, they dump their labor of love over at the nearest Geocities LiveJournal Rowling fanclub site. Somebody else slaps it onto the nearest torrent site and the numbers come rolling back.

Rowling opens up her email one day and is alerted that 10,000 “illegal” electronic versions have been downloaded in the last day over at the Piratebay. In her mind (and her publisher’s), she has just “lost” 10,000 sales.

But she hasn’t. To assume that every one of those downloaders would have purchased a copy, if available is not just ignorant; it’s arrogant. Let’s be a little more realistic and say 5% would have purchased a copy. So she lost 500 sales.

Let’s repeat that together for clarity: SHE LOST 500 SALES. Read it again. J.K. Rowling, by not offering an electronic version of her book, lost 500 sales. She can blame it on piracy all she wants, but by not providing an e-book, all she guarantees is that she’ll never make a single dollar or pound or whatever from fans who wish to buy an electronic version.

Whitey is making the same mistake. Rather than just releasing the album and relying on interested fans to pick it up, he pulled it instead. This only guaranteed that the only version of Great Shakes available would never make him any money. His EPs are impossible to find. You can get a copy of the Individuals EP from a UK shop, purchased in pounds. That’s it. And that’s assuming the record store’s website and database are up-to-date.

He should have just released the album or sold individual tracks through Amazon or his MySpace site or pretty much anywhere that would host them (Beatport, etc.) Instead, he tries to create artificial scarcity by refusing to put his official Whitey stamp on the pirated material.

The Fancy Plans Art Dept. may now consider themselves on "adminstrative leave" pending their upcoming dismissals.

The Point to All This Rambling
The various media forces need to understand that they can’t stop or contain piracy. Thousands of small, unsigned artists are releasing their music for free and providing premium packages to earn money. Touring and ancillary businesses are the name of the game.

Authors are releasing free PDF versions of the same books they’re selling on Amazon and watching sales increase rather than disappear.

The best thing you can do in this day and age is put out a cheap (or free) electronic version of your creations as soon as possible. Sure it will be pirated. But it will also get your name out and your talent in front of eyes and ears you’ll never reach in the local brick-and-mortar store.

And please don’t give us an inferior product. Big media pushers are always tainting their electronic products with crippling DRM, bullshit EULAs and limited transferability. Why would anyone want to pay more for an electronic file that is more limited and less useful than the one they can get for free?

Why would I spend $1.29 to get a song that I can keep on only one hard drive and transfer to only one mp3 player (if that)? If I get the pirated version, I can dump it on all the mp3 players and computers in the house. I can stream it to my PS3 or move the file there as well. I can burn it to as many CDs as I want.

These industries need to stop presenting litigation and legislation as a business plan. If your future efforts in the digital market consist mainly of suing grandmothers and holding bitchfests on Capitol Hill, your industry can’t die fast enough.

Stop treating your fans as thieves and stop wishing you could turn back the clock. Make the most of what little time your industry has left. The more you attempt to wrest every dollar out of every person out there, the more animosity and contempt you earn from the next generation of disposable income.

Good luck in the future, Whitey. If anyone deserves a big break, it’s you.

J.K.: Just go count your money somewhere out of the limelight for a while and refrain from issuing ill-informed opinions. People liked you better when you were a surprising success story, rather than a petulant millionaire.

What Makes It Worth Reading All the Way Through
Another kickass track by Whitey, which can only be found on YouTube. (Case in point…)

-CLT

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The Bible: Fancy Plans Edition Vol. 5

December 29, 2009

The Bible is full of parables and stories that teach us valuable lessons through the suffering of others. Perhaps no story teaches us more than the story of Job. It teaches us that God toys with his creation and falls victim to a manipulative and bitchy Satan too easily.

Meet Job: an all-around good guy who gets his ass (and asses) handed to him during a supernatural game of Truth-or-Dare.

Previous blasphelarious (thanks, shearviscosity!) translations available here:
The Bible: Fancy Plans Edition Archive

Job's friends interrupt his "8-Minute Abs" session with suggestions that he up his reps; curse God; die.

1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. The neighbors hated him. With a passion. Especially since he kept them up late at night, eschewing evil, often with his mouth open.

2 And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. Like in that movie, Three Brides for Seven Brothers, which was a big hit in West Virginia and smaller cults worldwide.

3 His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east. So not only was he perfect and upright, but he had a metric shitload of stuff, including some of the best ass around. God. I’m sick of him already.

4 And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. Because they all had their own houses, what with their filthy rich dad and there was always enough mutton and camel and ass to go around.

5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually, hedging his bets to stave off any unwarranted judgement from God. (FORESHADOWING) This generally took him the better part of the week, which meant that he was at least three days behind by Tuesday and by Friday it was last winter.

6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. Right up there on the list of reasons why God cast out Satan: constant gatecrashing. He also mentioned something about his “bogarting” of joints and never having any “stash” of his own. Plus he once peed in the linen closet.

In this tangentially-related etching, Job and unknown others discuss the pros and cons of cursing God; dying.

7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. I’m just passing through, dawg. No need to get all uptight.

8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Hast thou also considered his fine sons and daughters, who have GPAs in the upper 4’s and multiple extracurricular activities? Hast thou also not seen his annual food drive and UNICEF cans? And his organ donor card?

9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast thou not laid thine “pimp hand” down like thou did to thy servant Jonah a few chapters from now?

10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. Why shouldst he bitch, when thou hooketh him up constantly?

11 But put forth thine pimp hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. Seriously. I bet I can get the F-bomb out of him.

12 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. Because I am a vengeful and wrathful God. And I’m a sucker for playing the spread and looking like a big man in front of the demons. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD and mentally counted his winnings. (Which were not monetary, thus making the whole “playing the spread” thing irrelevant.)

13 And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house. This would be a day that ended in “y.”

14 And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them. Because they’re lazy asses. The oxen are starting to complain that someone should “write those asses up.” Anyway… that’s not the important part...

15 And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. So… don’t worry about the write-ups. The problem seems to have solved itself. Although we will need to hire some new servants…

Subtitled "Job, Shut the Fuck Up or Get the Fuck Out!"

16 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. I mean, I think it was Godfire. I was enjoying a post-sheep banging cigarette and I think I dozed off. Next thing I know, it’s like a Fiery Furnace (self-referential!) out there, only with an awful “burning mattress” smell.

17 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. Worst Lollapalooza ever. Three bands. Slain servants. The headliner was Bush. ClearChannel isn’t issuing refunds and I left my Camels in my other ironic t-shirt.

18 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house. You know, ’cause it’s a day that ends with “y”? And they’re known lushes?

19 And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. I told them to make it out of brick, but no one listens to old Gerald. Not until he’s the last guy standing.

20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, (One Mantle: available month-to-month. 350 shekel deposit. No dogs.)

21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. To be honest, I liked the LORD better when he was giving, but what can you do? He also liketh the taking. Perhaps too much.

22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly. (God, feeling obligated by his massive screwing of Job, agreed to pick up the lease on the mantle and signed a 12-month agreement. Job appreciated this gesture and threw in a new flatscreen TV during God’s six-month extension.)

-CLT