Friday, July 25, 2008

To be installed in the pantheon of shittiest tattoos:

How has this wondrous image managed to elude wide mention in the hall of bad tattoos?

It should be right next to Earth Crisis Face, Misfits Face, The Dragon, Hair Metal Back, and Dead Wife. Some would say Mr. Cool Ice, but that shit rules.

bonus: Here are a bunch of other Star Wars tattoos, all brutal as shit.

Getting Babies Purposely Wasted

So this happened. An eighteen-year-old kid in Texas made his two- and four-year-old nephews smoke weed. He also apparently gave them cocaine. Really. Best of all, he fucking videotaped it. Of course. Another sign that people are evolutionary aberrations ill-equipped to handle the world they've created - the seeming compulsion to self-document criminal actions. There are so many stories, over and over, about people getting busted for doing things because they felt the need to tape it. What's hard to understand that you produce the best possibly evidence against yourself when you do this? That does not seem to impede some people though. If nothing else, these tapes (almost invariably making their ways to the internet) have provided a great deal of fleeting entertainment for the online masses. Without a doubt, this is the best one. Fuck yeah.

Monday, July 14, 2008

That was back in the day, yeah that was back in the day...

I've been going through my records lately, trying to be honest about what I really like, what is just alright and what I have for I don't know why. I have decided that the last Look Back and Laugh release, that "State of Illusion" twelve inch, is just not that good. Which is a bummer, cause I really like that band. It totally pales next to their first LP or the split with Dropdead. That shit is BRUTAL. Anyway, so yeah, Unbroken's Ritual LP - not very good. Warcry, as much as I am into them as an idea and as good as the "Harvest of Death" seven inch and Maniacs on Pedestals LP are, the reality is that Deprogram is not a very good record. I'm not gonna keep it just cause it's a Warcry record, you know? Wow, just realized there is a Motorhead patch on the front of that record. Now I'm really not gonna keep it.

What is good though, both in content and concept, is God's Chosen People, a compilation LP released on Old Glory Records in 1993. There is no specific theme to this record, aside from using two of Jacob Riis' turn of the century photographs of white ethnics living in American slums as cover art. I don't think it was a benefit, either.

Still, the record has a definite coherence to it. The bands featured on it (Avail, Merel, Elizabeth Herz, Askance, Puzzlehead, Native Nod, Rorschach, Groove, Shadowman, Iconoclast, Greyhouse and Born Against) are(Avail is the only one still going)/were all bands that, for lack of a better term, "cared about stuff." These were bands playing hardcore and punk rock when it was still pretty uncommercial to be doing so. These bands played out of love, out of necessity. They were not trying to get on Warped Tour, they didn't have shirts in Hot Topic, they weren't on Ferret Records and every one of them had zero MySpace friends. Honest!

It comes with an 8 1/2 x 11 photocopied zine insert where each band gets a full page to put whatever they want - lyrics, images, contact information, you know.

Well anyway, so what? I believe that the purposeful, worthwhile comp is a rare creature these days. This feels like an actual compilation of bands that Mr. Old Glory liked, whether as performers, people, or both. It's not an attempt to sell anything, aside from itself. The songs with which I am familiar were not on other releases, or at least not in these forms (Avail gives us an excellent pre-Dixie rendition of "Sidewalk"). Nowhere does the proprietor of this record tell you what to buy, or even make such suggestions. So, so many compilations I see today are really just marketing materials. They are CDs (or more recently, downloads) put out by labels featuring "hot" artists from their "rosters" and almost always let you know from what release each song is. And that's fine. I understand that labels that want to stay in business need to promote their releases. It's when it seems that's all there is...

I miss this. This hearkens back to a time when punk meant a bit more, when there weren't twenty-six million bands all vying for sponsorship, when you had to do work to find bands, when bands booked tours over the phone, when things weren't so alienated and separate. You could totally still put out a record like this, and I'm sure that people do, but I'm not sure that anyone would really care. Compilation records used to be really important ways for bands to get exposure. Some of the most widely-mentioned classic punk and hardcore records are compilations - This is Boston, Not L.A., Flex Your Head, Not So Quiet on the Western Front This is the A.L.F., etc. The internet broke this. At least, for now.

I don't know if this is still the case, but a few years back, you could find this record pretty easily in used bins for quite cheap. I doubt the price has gone up; I'm just not sure if they are as readily available. If you find it, it is definitely worth getting. I don't have my record player set up to rip mp3s from it, but if I do or find a digitally encoded version of this record, I will totally up it.

Barack Obama's Op-Ed in today's New York Times

Using war to make politics. Through all of the death, suffering, ruined lives, reopened wounds and abject loss, all the man can see fit to do is use it as leverage to bolster his own standing. His repeated mentions of John McCain's positions and George Bush's actions make it hard for me to see his own words as sincere. It's all about positioning himself against them. Them, them, them. Why couldn't he just state his positions without swiping at others? This article seems so dirty, so impure of purpose.

After reading his piece several times, I'm still not sure why he wants to end the war. He makes a nebulous statement that "Ending the war is essential to meeting our broader strategic goals, starting in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Taliban is resurgent and Al Qaeda has a safe haven." What does this mean? War in Pakistan? Move the war east? Were that to happen, will the people of Pakistan be more appreciative of a drastically increased number of Americans on their soil? Doubtful. What are these "broader strategic goals," anyway?

Regarding Afghanistan, Senator Obama proffers that "We need more troops, more helicopters, better intelligence-gathering and more nonmilitary assistance to accomplish the mission there." Which mission is that? Wiping out the Taliban? Good luck with that. No recommendations on how to do that one, huh? Oh wait, more troops and helicopters. Yeah, that usually does the job.

No mention of dead Iraqis.

Joseph Lieberman

This man, a state senator from Connecticut, is ostensibly a public servant. Instead, we see him, through the conduit of the New York Times, repeatedly shirking and shrugging responsibility, instead making politics on whims. As an elected official, he is supposed to be serving his constituents. I would wager that were the people of Connecticut surveyed, they would not only fail to favor, but would in fact overwhelmingly oppose any sort of war with Iran. Not Senator Lieberman. He wants it bad. He wants it bad like R. Kelly wants a thirteen year old.

He is also a coward who cannot face his colleagues, getting up and walking out of a recent senatorial Democratic lunch when the topic of the presidential race - something that seems to be a pretty relevant issue for these people - came up for discussion. But no, since he is playing fucking games on the people's money, taking delight in irking his (former?) partymates through supporting John McCain and bandying about the idea of speaking at the Republican national convention.

Thank you sir, for helping to cement the idea that American politics are not worth a shit.

he's really going through with it

This fall, they say. It's still called Chinese Democracy too. I can't imagine anyone caring all that much at this point. I'm sure some people with acid washed jeans and white high tops will be psyched, but I do feel like this shit is gonna flop. It's been a literal joke for close to a decade now. "Chinese Democracy" has become an adjective, indicating that something already grandiose is completely overhyped and in fact may be nothing more than hype. I mean, the dude and his scabs can't even tour. Axl Rose is not of this world, that is to be sure.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

cops getting accidentally wasted

hahaha. "In Fort Worth, at least three officers got sick after eating some cookies and candy from a basket delivered to that police station Monday night, authorities said." sick, huh?

Blocking Sun Not Feasible Warming Solution, Says Study

god. blocking the fucking sun as a solution to anything - not a great idea.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

discount fucking rules

It's so true. Have you ever listened to Ataxia's Alright Tonight? Cause if you haven't, you should. Holy shit, it's so good!!!!!!!!!! Wish I was on this band more before they broke up. Pretty psyched I got to see them once though, even if it was their last tour. I'm pretty sure it's out of print, so enjoy it!!!!

Friday, July 4, 2008

money and politics

Work together in so, so many ways; but apparently not like this. See, as a politician, you can make a total mockery of the very basis of "democracy," time and again, and that's fine. You will be rewarded with power, money and veneration. However, if you are a Joe Civilian and do something silly, such as auctioning your vote on ebay, well then you face up to five years in prison and a ten thousand dollar fine, as well as earning the enmity of self-assured veterans and other assorted patriotic automatons.

did you know?

That some men being held in Guantanamo Bay have been there for seven years, and all have yet to be tried, regardless of arrival date? It's true. Their "freedom" is wholly contingent upon the whims of various branches and agencies of the American government. And that's not a good place to be.

"The other will play out in a makeshift courtroom overlooking Guantánamo Bay itself, where military prosecutors are pressing ahead with plans for what, later this month, would be the first of the trials the administration has been seeking for nearly seven years."

who is psyched

that tegan and sara are playing again? and not just at terminal five? i am!!!!!!!!

everything is bigger in america

soda, trucks, televisions, debt, asses, flags.

“People go ape when they see it,” said Jim Alexander, a retired Coast Guard commander who runs Superflag, the company that basically invented the industry and once held the world record for the largest flag, which temporarily hung on the Hoover Dam. It was 255 by 505 feet and has been surpassed by a flag in Israel that measures 2,165 by 330 feet. “It’s a feeling. It’s a feeling that takes over a whole stadium. If anyone in the stands opened their mouth and objected, there would be hell to pay.”

jingoism rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

What does "change" mean to you?

I'm not someone who has much of a belief in electoral politics, and certainly not at the national level. Despite this, I took notice when Barack Obama's campaign for president really took off. I had heard some things before, things that sounded pretty positive and non-standard for Democractic politician. A lot of people whose opinions and judgments I respect spoke very highly of him and had some real faith in this man, a faith that I had not seen them express previously.

In no way would I have characterized myself of a supporter of him, but I was at least not as immediately dismissive of him as I tend to be with politicians. I thought that maybe he really was different. I thought maybe it meant something significant that he is a Black man in America. I don't anymore. In the scope of the race to be the Democratic presidential nominee, it means that people hate women more than refined Black men.

Over the last week or so, I have read some news reports that have leveled Barack Obama, in my estimation, to the same level as any other run of the mill person seeking political office. He's just another one of them. First, there was an article in Time that detailed his recent shifts towards "the center" of the contemporary American political spectrum, regarding stances on things like the death penalty and gun ownership. Today, the New York Times published two articles further elucidating these shifts. One reveals that he completely abandoned his opposition "legal immunity to telecommunications companies that cooperated with the Bush administration’s program of wiretapping without warrants." He now supports granting immunity to these companies. Why? He deemed it the best deal possible. Ok...

Finally, he is pushing the same bullshit George W. Bush initiative to federally fund private "faith-based organizations" under the guise of providing social services. Why is this? Well, he says that “The challenges we face today — from saving our planet to ending poverty — are simply too big for government to solve alone...We need an all-hands-on-deck approach.” Sure, whatever. This is what happens when you have people who believe in a literal god running the country. Yes, they actually believe there is a superbeing somewhere else that controls shit and made everything. Wow. Anyway, he claims that his position is a marked departure from that of the current administration's in that “If you get a federal grant, you can’t use that grant money to proselytize to the people you help and you can’t discriminate against them — or against the people you hire — on the basis of their religion." Apparently, George W. Bush's program allows these organizations to do that currently. Really though, does it fucking matter who they hire? I find the problem to be that they are religious organizations in the first place. I am much more concerned with them proselytizing those they are "helping," people who are in much more vulnerable positions, than those they hire.

“Communist Attempts to Elicit False Confessions From Air Force Prisoners of War”

Are now American capitalist attempts to elicit false confessions from prisoners of war. You know, this is one of those times when I am caught off guard by these feelings of surprise. I did not think that the military could really shock me. But it did.

You see, what they have been teaching people in Guantanamo for at least six years, and I don't know where else or for how long, are techniques developed by the Chinese military and used in the Korean War. Supposedly, not too many people in the American military were aware of this, as "The only change made in the chart presented at Guantánamo was to drop its original title: 'Communist Coercive Methods for Eliciting Individual Compliance.'” So that's what's been going on for I don't know how many years. And they've been teaching that these things work. These techniques, like starvation, forcing people to stand for super long periods of time and exposing them to filthy living environments were documented, by the United States Army in 1957, as succeeding in bringing about false confessions. FALSE CONFESSIONS. The military seems to have been working against its own conclusions, which I guess isn't all that surprising in and of itself.

What is surprising is that all anyone did was change the title of this chart. Other than that, it "had been copied verbatim from a 1957 Air Force study of Chinese Communist techniques used during the Korean War to obtain confessions, many of them false, from American prisoners." It's just so fucking stupid. It was that simple - change the title of a chart, and turn it from something that was supposed to demonstrate failed and discredited interrogation methods into an instructional device on how to extract worthwhile and accurate information from people. Fuck.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Homosexual means going to hell.... gay just means bad!

Apparently The American Family Association takes its AP articles and auto-replaces the word "gay" with the word "homosexual."

supporting the troops

by forcing them into life-threatening living conditions and repeatedly ignoring their pleas for repair. these are the people the american government coerces us into venerating. while the public worship of individual military members is just a way to stanch opposition to any invasion, the federal government doesn't do a great job of respecting these same people.