Wednesday, February 28, 2007

De-Evolution of Edward Van Halen

This is a test of my Youtube abilities as well as a video documentary of what happens when years of hard living catch up to you. In this first clip, EVH is blowing through his live solo circa 1988. It is a good, but hardly great performance showing what an average Van Halen solo spot looked like during the Hagar years.

This second video is of lesser quality, but is from the ill-fated 2004 tour, and sadly is what happened on an average night on that tour.

If you can make through the entire last clip, then you have my sympathy and respect. Those old "Your brain on drugs" commercials should make a comeback, and Eddie Van Halen should be the poster child.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Book #8 - A Dirty Job

No, this isn't a book based on the wonderful Discovery Network show, this is another book by Christopher Moore. This is the book that let me onto the fact that You Suck! is a sequel due to the fact that several of the characters are in both books. This book is better than You Suck!, and having read three of Moore's books now his style is less grating to me than it was initially.

The plot of A Dirty Job is pretty simple: Charlie Archer is a shop-owner who one day discovers that he is a Death. Not the Death, but one of several Deaths whose job it is to free souls and pass them on to people who are destined to have them. Charlie is suitably unsuited for the job, being a Beta Male (which means exactly what you think it would mean), and this combines with Moore's comedic style to lend a comic air to what could be a very dark work.

After reading several of Moore's books it is plain that Moore has issues with religion - not hostile, but very questioning. He infuses his Death with mensch-like insecurities and then forces him to deal with death, grieving, and the afterlife. Moore seems to embrace a mish-mash of theologies here (and in the other books), leading towards some sort of ecumenism. Ultimately, the story is fun and occasionally makes the reader think about their own preconceptions, which is Moore's point.

Update for You Suck!

I was a the library yesterday and found out that You Suck!, a book that I read by Christopher Moore, is a sequel to Bloodsucking Fiends. This makes a whole lot of sense and explains many of the problems I had with the book. I wish it would have been made clear somewhere before I read it. Oh well.

Sex Sells...

just ask the makers of the Bowflex. Where do they find the people for their commercials? These genetic freaks do not exist in nature, I'm convinced they were conceived and exist only in the Bowflex laboratories. Anyway, the idea of sex appeal selling product is not new, but what about beliefs or ethical systems?

The picture above is the latest in PETA's "I'd Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur" campaign, which seems to be everywhere on the internet recently. The campaign was launched by a fading Pamela Anderson, but I guess that PETA thought that it was hypocritical to keep pimping that piece of leather anymore (or people were consistently horrified by what a freak she is) and have moved on to model Joanna Krupa.

Now, as much as I can get behind swimsuit model nudity this does beg the question of just how effective is this program? I'll be honest, other than making a normal male of the species want to fill Ms. Krupa's closet full of fur and leather, I cannot really fathom what this campaign wants people to know. Yes, the world isn't fair to animals in many ways, most importantly in the fact that many taste damn good with mashed potatoes. How they get to my table, as long as it is sanitary, is not really my concern.

PETA, however, takes things to ridiculous extremes. One of the primary arguments that PETA makes is the moral equivalence of humans and dogs and other animals. Sorry, I guess I am a specist, or whatever they want to label me, but I cannot accept that arguement. I am better than any cat could ever want to be.

I'm not advocating cruelty towards animals, but I'm not going to be a hypocrite about this either, as I am going to eat and wear animals when the mood strikes or feels appropriate. So to PETA, I guess that I thank you for an attractive ad, but ultimately you can take your philosophical position and shove it in some fur-dog's butt.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Book #7 - Kill Me

This book was fantastic. I really enjoyed the basic premise of the book, which was the idea that some people don't want to live a compromised life. The main character of the book is a wealthy business man who decides that he would rather die immediately than to linger on in any prolonged way. He is put in contact with a company offers that service.

This company, or Death Angels as the narrator describes them, establishes a baseline of what the client considers "living," and once circumstances arise where that threshold has been passed, they kill the client. The conflict of the book arises from the fact that although the narrator has enrolled in this program, and he is suffering an potentially fatal condition, he decides he doesn't want the services.

This was a really enjoyable read, and I look forward to reading more of White's work in the future.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Book #6 - The Viking Funeral

The Viking Funeral is exactly what you would expect from the man responsible for so many mediocre action/adventure television shows. Stephen J. Cannell is a talented creator, the scenarios that fill his books are very interesting, but as a writer, he is not very good. His dialogue is stilted and quite frankly his characters make stupid decisions on a regular basis. It is one thing for a flawed character to make a poor decision, but often Cannell's characters have to make them for plot considerations. It is very distracting.

The fascinating thing about Cannell's books is that although the reader recognizes the flaws in the work, the books are hard to put down. The good parts are that good, but the bad parts are equally bad. Oh well, it was an easy read and the character of Shane Scully is pretty interesting. Book number seven seems to be pretty good.

Book #5 - A Garden of Vipers

A Garden of Vipers is Jack Kerley's third book. Each of Kerley's books are set in Mobile, Alabama and feature Detectives Carson Ryder and Harry Nautilus. These homicide detectives also comprise the department's "special" team of detectives qualified to deal with psychologically deranged offenders. Kerley's books are good, he does get a little caught up in his own idea of clever wordplay, primarily creating some overdone description, but overall the books are pretty good.

A Garden of Vipers finds Carson and Harry on the trail of a potentially disturbed killer, and while Kerley includes some fairly obvious red herrings, the final set of twists is pretty good here. Kerley seems to be developing as a writer, and A Garden of Vipers was a pretty good book.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Book #4 - You Suck! A Love Story

This little ditty is another book by Christopher Moore and instead of whales with creatures driving them, this book is about a couple of novice vampires and a sixteen year old goth girl whom they choose to be their minion. Like the book Fluke, You Suck! is humorous, but at times lets cleverness get in the way of the plot. I'm sure that in some literary way, Moore is making some grand point, but in reading these two books, it feels almost like the reader is being talked down to, which as a reader I don't like too much.

Two books in a row by the same author isn't too unusual for me, but I think I'll pass on Christopher Moore for a little while now. Back to the killing and death in the next book.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Book #3 - Fluke

The third book of the week was the strangest. It was a story of marine biology, but it wasn't really about marine biology at all. I'm not sure what to make of it, other than a fairly satiric look at science and religion. Funny, and kinda witty. I'm not sure that I can keep up this pace though, it was touch and go getting three books in this week.

Wasteful, they probably just light money on fire

for fun. Or at least to get rid of it. Anyway, America is littered with government programs and departments that are slowly outliving their usefulness and the Mint is getting there. I know that we need someone to make our money, but lately they just seem to be channelling the fools over at the Franklin Mint, trying to make product. The State Quarter program was kinda cool when it started, but you know, about seven years have passed and have you seen some of the crap on the other side of your quarters? Most of it looks like bad junior high art projects gone awry. What's next? Official painted coins? Plates? Maybe the dime can have pictures of state birds on the back. Ridiculous right? Well, maybe not.

Anyway, rather than learn from the waning popularity of the quarter program, the mint has again attempted to revive the dollar coin. People do not want the dollar coin. It's that simple, and it has been proved time and time again. Susan B. Anthony, the Eisenhower, and Sacajawea were all failures. Expensive ones at that. But here we are with an new one. This one has pictures of presidents on it. Oh, the fun. It is about as innovative as the religious trading cards Ned was selling at the flea market on that Simpsons episode. I can just hear the collecters now, "Wow, did you get the new Grover Cleveland? I don't think he looks as good as the John Quincy Adams."

Maybe the mint will understand when we go paperless, and they are out looking for jobs that we don't need collectibles from them. We just need the money.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

It Takes a Thief

If you have spent any amount of time on the internet the past couple of days, then surely you know about the incident that went down between Joe Rogan and Carlos Mencia. For the past couple of years Rogan has been very vocal about Mencia being a joke thief. It all kind of became public when George Lopez went backstage and assaulted Mencia for stealing "13 minutes" or so on Mencia's HBO One Night Stand. This was depressing to me because at one time I liked Mencia's stand up act. He was funny the first time I saw him live and I enjoyed his cd Take a Joke America. Mencia has been on a downward spiral as far as material goes for several years, and maybe this is what led to his thievery, or maybe he's just not stealing enough lately because Mind of Mencia has never really been any good. Either way I find it incredibly difficult to in any way support someone who has built a career on the efforts of others, so screw Carlos.

Hopefully the fallout from this incident will be more significant than Rogan being banned from The Comedy Store, and Mencia can perhaps realize that his success should be predicated on his own talents and abilities, rather than "borrowing" the work of others. Until that happens, Comedy Central should really take a hard look at what they are putting on television. We may accept illegal aliens Ned, but we don't like thieving liars.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Book #2 - Jinn

Jinn is a first novel by writer Matthew Delaney.  It is a strange novel
that follows in the footsteps of the works of Stephen King, Dean Koontz,
and John Connelly. Jinn blends modern horror with police procedural in a
longish tale of reincarnation and demonology. I am not sure if I actually
like this book. I enjoyed the first 400 pages immensely, but the last 150
were trite and simplistic. It felt as if Delaney really couldn't figure
out a way to end the book and went with sappiness over the gritty darkness
that led up to the conclusion. Overall, I would be interested in reading
another book by this writer, but I hope that maturity helps him craft a
more engaging work than Jinn.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The versatile belt

I never knew how versatile a belt could be, it can hold up your pants, AND function as outerwear. Apparently this woman is a wrestler, so be careful if you want to criticize her fashion choices, she just might kick your ass. Just a heads up!

Book #1 - The Colorado Kid

This book was part of the Hard Case Crime series, a new run of noir-style mysteries. This entry was written by Stephen King. Outside of a great narrator, and typical Maine local color, King's story is uninspired and weak. There is no darkness either physical or emotional, which is part of the genre. This short novel is very disappointing. Avoid if possible.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

3 Books a Week

I have way too much free time these days, so I was looking for things to do (other than write, for some reason it's just not working) and I came up for this little challenge for myself. I am going to read at least three books a week until the end of the school year. I'll post up the names of the books as i read them with some quick impressions, just to keep track. So to recap that is 48 books by the end of May. The Company was a fantastic book, a bit long, but outstanding. If you ever have an opportunity to read Robert Littell, do it.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

When is a celebrity sex tape not

a celebrity sex tape? That's a damn good question. I would think that it isn't when the people involved aren't celebrities. I was bumping around the internet yesterday and there is much being made about the Kim Kardashian sex tape that is about to be released. As I was reading about this, I came up with a rule of thumb regarding these things (which I have previously alluded to here) and quite simply, if the only video I can see you in is only available at Fascinations or the Castle Megastore, you are not a celebrity, you are a porn star. The fact that I know that Kardashian participates in "golden showers" not only disturbs me, it is an indictment of the hideous culture of celebrity that we live in today.

Kardashian is now suing to stop the release of this tape, which she has been rumored to be responsible for, claiming that she hurt and embarrassed about the situation. Here is a great rule of thumb, which I wrote after the whole Screech and Keeley Hazell situation a month or so ago:

So here's my advice to any celebrity or deviant who wants to avoid this type of public shame (I mean really, did anyone need to know that Screech likes to pull the Dirty Sanchez? I could have lived happily without it): DON'T TAPE YOURSELF HAVING SEX!

There you go. Simple huh?