Amoeblog

HAPPY ASCENSION DAY!!!

Posted by Job O Brother, June 2, 2011 12:42pm | Post a Comment




Happy Ascension Day, Mortals!

Today is the perfect day to fire up the barbeque, emulsify marshmallows in their own, meaty juices, make necklaces out of macaroni and firecrackers and teeth, roast corn on the cobweb, take pictures of your auntie, run through the sprinklers praising God in His infinite wisdom for creating a world and people that would one day invent sprinklers which must therefore be a part of His Divine Plan for the Glory of All, post pictures of your auntie online, bob for apples without safety pins hidden inside them by your heathen neighbors next door, pop popcorn, scream for ice cream, sing hymns, taunt your auntie by telling her the pictures of her have gone viral and now her privacy will be compromised, her bank accounts plundered, and her likeness will be used by terrorists to bring down the American Government, jump on a trampoline and pretend you're ascending yourself, make peace with zombies, fly a kite, cut some ribbon, pick up litter, drink the salty/sweet tears from your auntie's quivering cheek-beds.

And enjoy these Ascension Day tunes!












(In which we learn the true story of St. Patrick.)

Posted by Job O Brother, March 14, 2010 06:52pm | Post a Comment

Rad.

I’ve only just returned from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) where I spent the morning with my pal, Señor Danger. I was eager to visit one of their current exhibits, American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life, 1765–1915, because it showcases one of my favorite works, Watson and the Shark, by hunky bad boy John Singleton Copley.

I’ll be honest: there was a moment when Señor Danger and I silently tried to work out a plan where we could sneak the painting out under my jacket or something, but my jacket isn’t 35 feet wide, so we opted to just stand there and marvel at it a bit.

The exhibit is fantastic, and anyone who can should check it out. I realize that most people don’t live in Los Angeles, but still, make an effort. As an added incentive, anyone who travels to the LACMA from more than 100 miles away gets a free Colt Model 1873 Single Action Army revolver autographed by Mary Pickford!*

This Wednesday is Saint Patrick’s Day. It’s also the birthday of Nat “King” Cole, John Wayne Gacy, Seneca St. James, Emperor Shijō, and Nalii DeLap. What do all these people have in common? Uh, their birthdays are all on St. Patrick’s Day – are you paying attention or what?


For many of us, St. Patrick’s Day is a mildly amusing 24 hours, most commonly marked by drinking beer the color of anti-freeze and getting to pinch and touch fellow co-workers without being sued for sexual harassment. But this day means more – so much more. So very much more. More. Much.

Much.

The history behind St. Patrick’s Day is rich, and vital to understanding the psyche of the Irish, for whom March 17 is a national holiday. (I don't have anything to substantiate this claim of Irish psychology, but that's okay because... of... um... OH WOW LOOK!!!)


(Taken from his Grindr profile)

Almost nothing factual is known about St. Patrick. Thankfully, this has never stopped the Catholic Church from deifying, believing and creating rules and tradition based upon someone. What we do know is that he was born into a wealthy, Romano-British family whose pottery collection was the envy of every patrician across the Isles.

One day, while dressing up like corned beef & cabbage, he was kidnapped by a gang of hungry Irishmen who shipped him to Mayo, Ireland. While working part-time as a slave, Patrick had a dream in which God told him he should escape his imprisonment. (It’s interesting to note that Patrick didn’t  come up with this idea on his own. I mean, really – you needed Divine Intervention for that? Do you think Jesus also descended from Heaven and advised Patrick to eat food using his mouth and not his elbows? Or to never stick harpoons into his eyes? There’s certain common sense concepts for which we shouldn’t have to rely on mystic visions to comprehend. But I digress…)

Patrick followed God’s suggestion and escaped back to Britain. He eventually got a job being a bishop (which was good – provided full health and dental) and spent his time saving souls from an eternal damnation of hellfire and collecting thimbles.


"God appeared to me and said I should never try to kiss these."

In 432 AD (the same year that saw the death of everyone’s favorite emperor, 赫連定 - boo hoo!) Bishop Patrick returned to Ireland to convert its people to Christianity and maybe grab a tour of the Guinness Brewery. While he wasn’t the most successful of all the early Missionaries, he was the only one that could crack his knuckles two different ways.


Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity, assigning one leaf each to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. (This is the origin of our association with shamrocks and St. Patrick’s.) One day, when teaching this very lesson, he unwittingly used a rare, four-leaf clover, which resulted in their being one leaf extra. When the crowd of pagans listening to him asked what the extra leaf represented, Patrick, on the spot, blurted out that it represented his Aunt Gina.

“How is she an equal to God?” the crowd asked.

“Well,” Patrick fumbled, “She’s sweet and... just... she makes real good scones.”

The crowd was displeased with this answer and insisted that their local baker, Dáirine Cétchathach, made the best scones ever – they even had a bit of jelly in the middle “which ye wouldst find most yummy” – prompting those gathered to begin worshipping at the bakery, where the Eucharist was administered on disposable paper doilies with a sprinkling of powdered sugar meant to symbolize the suffering of Our Lord on the Cross, and cappuccinos were sipped to represent His Blood (sugar cubes Transubstantiated into Jesus’ body were optional).

Patrick flew into a rage and threw the four-leaf clover to the ground.

“This turn of events is most unlucky!” he cried to his secretary, a hearing impaired man who quickly made note of this.

Years later, everything that’s happened so far in history took place and that’s how we came to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day now.


And that's the true history behind St. Patrick's Day (except for the untrue parts). Yippee.


*Offer not valid to children under 4 years of age, the sight impaired, pregnant women, or anyone else at all.

The Late, Great David Carradine

Posted by Charles Reece, June 4, 2009 10:07am | Post a Comment
The pebble has been snatched from our hands. He hung himself with a curtain cord in a
Bangkok hotel. Dead at 72. Go
here for more info.

Jean-Claude Van Damme, Critical Darling: The Mythopoiesis of JCVD (2008)

Posted by Charles Reece, November 22, 2008 07:18pm | Post a Comment
The white meat is on the run
and the dark meat is far too done
and the milkman left me a note yesterday
get out of this town by noon
you're coming on way too soon
and besides that we never liked you anyway.
-- "Sweet Revenge" by John Prine (with a nod to Hunter S. Thompson) 
 

Who'dathunk it, but the Muscles from Brussels has finally starred in a film that's been getting some good critical response. JCVD is an attempt to explore the heart and mind of Jean-Claude Varenberg, the man behind the dissipating Van Damme legend. Director and co-writer Mabrouk El Mechri might've called the film I'm Not There had the title not already been taken. It's a pomo-biopic trying for more versimiltude than Being John Malcovich, but any honesty in the film is more of an accidental byproduct of the essential cluelessness of its eponymous star than the result of actual introspection. 'Tis the the age of schadenfreude, and that's why I went to see this film. As Dostoevsky said, we love "the disgrace of the righteous man," only Van Damme ain't righteous, just famous. As he admits in the movie, he's just a commodity, who's benefited greatly from being so. The film asks us to care about the toy that starts feeling suffocated by its packaging. The resulting drama, however, comes closer to a VH1 special about a boy band member deciding he's a real artist. If you were crying along with Dave Mustaine in Some Kind of Monster or get choked up reguarly watching Oprah give shit away to bourgeois housewives, then JCVD might be something other than comedy relief. This is a date movie for WWE fans.

But I came to bury Jean-Claude, not praise him. Unfortunately, JCVD spends too much time on its plot, rather than the philosophy of the man (e.g., "To me, life is... you open the shutters, you see the dogs outside, you look left, you look right, in, what, a second and a half? And that's a life." -- osu!). As JC, he's taking time off from Hollywood in his native hometown, where he mistakenly gets blamed for a post office robbery despite his being one of the victims. His supposed friends in Hollywood and the powers that be almost take it for granted that he's to blame, but his true fans stick behind him. The armed robbers make him continue with the illusion if he wants to keep the hostages alive. No wonder Jean-Claude was willing to take the piss out of himself to resurrect his career. With satire like this, who needs critical praise? The definitive answer has been given to WWJD, anything that helps. And it seems to be working; despite the noxious narcissism, many have found the faith. Surely, Oprah's delivering a virgin birth will arrive before everything comes to a screeching halt in 2012 (to be released in 2009, under the direction of Roland Emmerich). However, for ye of little faith, the only thing really intentionally funny is the teaser trailer:
 

I suppose there's an academic thesis somewhere on the fact that Jean-Claude plays a simulacrum of himself, JC, but the latter turns out to have more depth than the real thing. If you ever wanted to see him cry while performing a soliloquy, now's your chance. Evidently, he -- or the specular JC, as constituted by the writers -- feels really bad about his earning so much for churning out pap in a world where people just as talented don't make squat (JC can't quite bring himself to say, "more talented"). Yep, he's learned a thing or two over the years (namely, to produce tears on demand). I don't think I'm giving away too much to say JC lives in the end. As he's being held at gunpoint by one of the criminals with the gendarmerie all around, he experiences his Last Temptation: a dream of rolling under the gunman and taking him out, then standing up and flexing his muscles to his cheering acolytes. But the older and wiser JC resists the lure of popularity, and instead elbows the criminal, merely to fall to the ground. He's subsequently arrested as a suspect, with few of his fans knowing that he sacrificed his reputation in order to keep the hostages alive. JC gives and he gives and he gives. Pop martyrdom and religious allegory -- where have you gone Marty Scorsese?

MEMORABLE MOMENTS FROM WHEN JEAN-CLAUDE WAS JUST A MAN

Van Damme vs. Chuck Zito


"My father taught me how to fight when I was 5," says Zito (who would later pick up five martial-arts black belts). But his most memorable knockout was not in the ring. It came in 1998 in the Scores strip club, when tough-guy movie star Jean-Claude Van Damme cursed out Zito publicly. Zito responded with a straight right and a left hook, screaming, "This ain't the movies! This is the street, and I own the street!"

(In which we consider the mystical & tragic Judee Sill.)

Posted by Job O Brother, July 29, 2008 12:25pm | Post a Comment

Last night I was mugged at gunpoint. The perpetrator not only made off with the $560.00 in cash that I was carrying (which I had intended to deposit today) but he knocked me down to the ground and kicked me hard enough that he left a nasty bruise in my ribs before he made his getaway on a magic, chocolate-colored Pegasus.

None of which is true, but it is a rather exciting way to begin this week’s blog entry, isn’t it? Except that, by lying to you, I have now risked alienating you emotionally, because you will now think twice about trusting what I tell you, even if it’s about how much I like that top you’re wearing and how to sets off the flecks of color in your shimmering eyes.

Speaking of violence and the romantic visage of your enduring beauty, I know some of you haven’t yet heeded my advice and investigated one of my most favorite balladeers of all time: Judee Sill.
 

Judee Sill conducts herself well.

Judee’s story is one of tragic darkness, from which sprung gorgeous and sage songwriting. She was the Billie Holiday of the “Laurel Canyon sound.”

Influenced more by Johann Sebastian Bach than her 1970’s rock ‘n’ blow contemporaries, methodical composition such as fugue-structure, and over-dubbing of her own voice into chorale-style, inform her heart-wrenched post-hymns.

Her father and brother both died when she was a child, and her mother re-married to Kenneth Muse, an animator for one of my least favorite cartoons of all time, Tom & Jerry. (I mean really, the way that mouse antagonizes that poor cat, who very naturally fights back – both by his nature as a felis catus and in defense of Jerry’s cruelty – only to be downtrodden every time. What kind of message does that send to children? BE A BULLY. That’s what it tells ‘em. And then poor, sensitive, fat kids like me get the brunt of it. And all I ever wanted was to love and be loved. Is that so wrong?!)

[Insert sound of Job sobbing here]

Judee left her dysfunctional home (I imagine her stepfather probably lured her head into a mouse-hole and bopped her face with a mallet) and hit the road for a life of free-wheeling druggery and armed robbery. She developed an addiction to that precocious li’l drug we call heroin. In order to pay for the habit, she prostituted herself (which almost certainly prepared her for a life as a professional musician).

She honed her skills as a keyboard player while serving time in jail for fraudulent check writing, and, as she found herself with some soul to spare after kicking smack, she decided to write music.

She had early success selling compositions to other groups, such as The Turtles, who covered her song “Lady-O.”



She was signed by David Geffen, who was then developing his new Asylum Label, and toured as the opening act for Graham Nash and David Crosby. Her self-titled, debut album was produced by her ex-husband, Bob Harris (who also produced Joni Mitchell’s superb effort Ladies of the Canyon).

While critics gushed praise for her work, sales remained low and, after some snarky comments about Geffen and his sexual-orientation (he was not yet out of the closet), Judee was given the bum’s rush, after only producing two albums. (Don’t rush to assume she was homophobic, though, as she was known to fancy the ladies herself.)
 

EEEK!!! I just now experienced my first earthquake ever! That was some ride. Now I understand what all the hub-bub is about. A giant silver crucifix just fell off my shelf and knocked the } ] key out of my laptop. Anyway, friends and family outside LA, Fangs and I are fine, just a little shaken-up (har har har!).

Silver crucifixes are also apropos when pondering Judee Sill, who sports one on the cover of her debut album. She was deeply interested in the occult and Christian mysticism. Some people, considering her lyrics, assume she was Christian, as Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is a reoccurring theme, but her appreciation was esoteric, not dogmatic. (Though it is worth noting that she was baptized by Pat Boone in his swimming pool.)

"Don't worry - I'll save you!" Christian pop icon, Pat Boone

After losing her ties with Geffen, Judee rode a downward spiral into obscurity. Rumors circulated of her death. So much so, that when she actually did die in 1979 from a cocaine overdose, it surprised people. She had seemed to die twice.
 

Cover art painted by Judee

To our good fortune, in 2005, Water Records produced a two cd compilation of unreleased demos, studio recordings, and live video footage of Judee, titled “Dreams Come True.” Jim O’Rourke provided the mixing.)

Judee’s music holds a place so dear to my heart that, while I’ve often been tempted to blog about her, I’ve never felt up to the task. I simply can’t do justice to the ecstasy she evokes in me. (That’s also why you’ve never read any blogs by me regarding Scott Walker.)

Anyway, check her out if, y’know, you’re into gorgeous, haunting music that makes your heart ache and pierces your soul. Otherwise, check out some Warlock Pinchers. They’re fun.
 






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