Paul's Memorable Moments in Wrestling #3

The 90's for the WWF were just outstanding with multi-layered story lines, and unexpected twists and turns that kept you watching from week to week. It may have been a mixture of being young and naive about the world of wrestling, or watching for years have made me jaded, longing for the days were I believed it was all real.

There was one superstar who remained my favorite for a decade The Undertaker. The Undertaker came into the federation of Ted DiBiase, and he was the first "unbeatable monster" gimmick I have even seen. Taker was almost 7 feet tall, and had the character of being an undead, supernatural, mystical, machine who was one of the first people to make Hogan look powerless. He was main event right off the bat, and the WWF made a pretty convincing case that no one was able to beat him, in fact it only took one year for him to take the title from Hogan (with the help of Ric Flair).

There was only one thing keeping him from me from the Undertaker from being my favorite, he was bad guy. You just didn't cheer for the bad guys, like you can now-a-days (old manism) I had to keep my love for The Undertaker a secret, and rooted for Hogan just like everyone else in school.

In 1991 the romance between "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth was the centerpiece of the world at the time. They invested alot of time, and effort into the production of this story. Do yourself a favor and watch the wedding reception between the two. I was only going to do a gif of what I needed, but the whole video is hilarious. Macho is incredible!

The RSVP clearly states only, OH YEAH! I can only imagine the phone calls she must have gotten during the wedding planning. Poor Bobby Henan gets bounced for no reason, and I now regret not having Lord Alfred Hayes and Mean Gene MCing my wedding, it adds so much to the day. Macho was so happy about the blender and candlesticks he got! Strangely, and ironically "Syko" Sid "Justice/Viscous" was the most level headed one to clear out traffic. This video is classic!

Back to my point, Jake "The Snake" decided to be a dick and put a snake in a gift box for no apparent reason. Then Jake and The Undertaker bust in the scene (obviously jealous for not getting an invite) knock out Savage and tease Miss Elizabeth with a snake. 

What on earth was going to happen next week? Savage had "retired" to be a husband and do commentary next to McMahon, so he obviously could not get revenge. The next week Jake Roberts showed up and called out Savage, calling him basically calling him a bitch for doing this wedding stuff, and hiding behind Miss Elizabeth. 

Well Macho was not going to stand for it retired or not. Savage marched down to the ring to beat some sense into Jake Roberts. Then this happened ...

Pretty hardcore, and terrifying when you're a kid. So Savage started his campaign to get re-instated to get revenge on Jake Roberts. You can even call a 900# to vote! Macho was back to get revenge!

Savage beat Roberts clean with the elbow drop. Macho went berserk and went to jump Roberts after the match, but as sneaky as Roberts was hit the DDT out of nowhere knocking Savage out. Jake went for his signature snake, making the crowd shriek in protest. Miss Elizabeth stupidly come out from the back to try and save her man from the same fate he fell upon weeks ago. This interference caused Savage to get yet another DDT, to the dismay of Miss Elizabeth. 

We all saw it coming, but didn't want to imagine it.

Now it happens all the time, but someone smacking on woman on TV back in the early 90's was a big deal. There was no two ways about it, Jake Roberts needed to pay for what he did.

Saturday Night's Main Event Roberts faced Savage for the last time. In a great clean match Macho finished off Jake with the Elbow drop. Macho wanted to punish Jake some more and wanted to exact more revenge by beating him down after the match with the ring bell. Roberts escaped to the back with his tail between his legs. The match was over, the good guys won, and everyone was going to move along. Jake had other plans. He waited behind the stage, with a chair looking to hit either Elizabeth or Savage, "whoever comes first". The tension was building, Jake Roberts was ready to take out anyone who came through that curtain, Savage and Elizabeth were trotting down the aisle unknowingly, high fiving and smiling. What was going to happen?!

What?! The Undertaker saved Elizabeth, and took out Roberts?! The Undertaker is a ... good guy?! He's a good guy now! I can like him?! Yes!

Now as we have seen Jake the Snake not take a defeat as a deterrent for his tenacity. He went on "The Funeral Parlour" with Paul Bearer to straighten things out. Jake was to the point and asked Mr. Bearer who side is the Undertaker on (wasn't it obvious?).

It was like Jake never learned his lesson, he gets beat by Savage twice clean, and now he's jumping the Undertaker? The touched his urn, and slammed his hand in the casket?! The Undertaker no sold it all, and chased him with the casket on his hand. Pretty funny now, but bad ass then.

It set them up for an epic encounter for Wrestlemania 8, where Undertaker beat Roberts clean.

The Undertaker's face turn was so unexpected, and it was something I wanted so bad, but never thought possible. When you are 12 those things mattered to me, and I continued to cheer Taker for a decade afterwards. Roberts was such a legend on the mic, and in the ring. Take the epic character of the Undertaker, the chilling promos of Jake Roberts, and the Charismatic Randy Savage, it had all the makings of such a classic, and unforgettable storyline that has never left my mind.


Thuuuuuurapppps Day

Here are some more movies that hold some bit of significance for me. These movies are some that really tugged on my heart strings, and burned a permanent place in my memory.

I remember watching Edward Scissorhands with my parents as one of the first Pay Per View things we ever bought. For some reason I recall me watching it with them as a teenager and being embarrassed with the salty scenes with the cougar wife mounting Edward after the haircut. I was captivated with the movie with it's unique premise, but what makes it special for me is the way the movie dug at my emotions. The scene below where Edward can't hold his love, was so touching to me I fought tears of in front of my parents.

The Pursuit of Happyness was a cheese soaked based on a true story about the down on his luck - lose everything - have an unrealistic goal - work hard - overcome adversity - hit rock bottom - get a break - then succeed movie of that particular year. It was a 3rd choice renter one night for my and the wife. and the overall movie wasn't bad, just predictable. The "famous" bathroom scene however transported me into the moment thinking about what I would sacrifice to get success when I had kids. I determined that I would not take just a dumb risk when I had kids to worry about, but hitting rock bottom like that still made me feel awful for the main character.

Armageddon was just supposed to be just another big budget summer bloated exploitation of overindulgence. I still remember the cool red countdown song just stating "Armageddon" at the time they used to promote the movie. Although the movie was a predictable "over come impossible odds" movie, I always had a soft spot for the end of the world genre. Well Armageddon, turned out to be pretty bad ass. It was a unique idea, filled with sick action of great characters. If you don't swell up during this scene, you are a robot. If that's the case I want to thank you for visiting our site, and I hope you include Ian and I in your take over of this planet.


Lib Arts Forum (LAFF); The Problem With Post-Modernism, 1 (of 3): Post Mortem

In last week's post, I took a side-step into a pointed critique of what we call Post-Modernism.  Since it is such a large issue, one that riles me from my normally docile and tolerant self, and one that paradoxically stifles what we can accept as creativity.  This is the first in a formally proposed series of essays attempting to either define or dismantle the current view of our art world.  For the sake of this discussion, please consider all forms of creation under the umbrella term "Art." 

James Joyce did not finish off the novel.  Andy Warhol did not end painterly expression.  Eliot did not paralyze poetry, etc etc etc The hallmark, however, of Post-Modernism which I intend to use as a blanket academic term for all Post War art, including and especially contemporary art--at odds with those who may want to consider the current era separate, giving it the equally generic label of Contemporary--The hallmark, however, of Post-Modernism, is to insist that we live in an age where traditional forms of art are antiquated and by the very means of each respective medium, lack the ability to communicate any remotely profound insight.  From this springs forth the artificial question of how to be an artist in an age where all artforms are dead.  From this, we've seemingly explored every region--mixed media, psychological manipulation, primitivism--but never end up any further.  Authors are still writing and selling novels and asking the same questions as writers in the pre-novellic age (I want to take the time to ask why, as this concerns me somewhat personally, the novel, inarguably the youngest of the three major modes of artistic writing, was the first to be pronounced dead?) and painters still present annually at all the acclaimed halls and poets still obsess and pine.

What has occurred, though, is that in the wake of the casually nihilstic post-war/rocknroll age is that form has been abandoned.  We all know stream of consciousness and abstract action painting and automatic drawing and --ugh-- free verse.  It's clear that the need for human expression still exists.  But the use for formalism of any kind has vanished.  So how do we determine what's valid art, and what's opportunism, and what's simply a madman's scrawlings?  It can't be what communicates more directly and poignantly to a person's emotions than other work, becuase that old Post-Modern insistence on Subjectivism dictates that all art has an audience.  We are left to consider all submissions regardless of quality as viable forms of art.

What muddles this argument further is the musing that "art is everywhere" which is simply untrue.  If we step back for a moment and think of what we mean when we say art, it's a truncated form of artifice, creation, labor, not accident, not vulgar expose of the ugly parts of the world.  Art, by its very definition, demands strenuous exertion, intuitive knowledge bolstered by exploration of one's medium.  But the post-modern age insist on barraging its audience with the profundity of everyday life, which is really no different than quaint pastoral dramas of an era most artists of the Post-Modern age would desire to distance themselves from.

So what is the result?  Art lacking form but still accepted by a sponsor (be it a publication firm, an agency or a well-endowed individual) is defended on basis of veracity, whether through autobiography or deconstructionist intent--incidentally, a candidate the most misunderstood term of the postmodernage--if it lacks aesthetic appeal or an attempt at universality.  I agree that beauty is everywhere, but it doesn't automatically make arbitrarily selected subject matter beautiful, or a story more interesting because it happens to be true. 

Add to that the insistence that every story has been told or every song has been written, a falsehood of the most wicked design.  I have encountered this protestation countless times and bristle more broadly with each snotty remark.  It isn't that stories or melodies or aren't unlimited, it's that we have created such a finitie but broad classification system that we systematically take any unique idea and force it into a category.

More than anything, I believe it is all an excuse for laziness, due mostly to the majority of product I see offered in the postmodern/contemporary.  The only safe territory is current topical observation or the empty, irreverent dismantling of a long standing idol.  Our artists are all defult iconoclasts.  On the now presumed "fact" that all art forms are dead or dead ends, the postmodern age is a parade of vapid revisionist critique.  Artists now take aim even at themselves, wherein an entire work is one long setup for an ad hoc pratfall.  How many times can we veil bad art with the supposedly incisive purpose of questioning the nature of art?

If indeed, there is truth that music, writing, sculpture, dancing, painting, are dead then why not start back at the beginning?  Why is this the irreverible direction we must continue in, constantly breaking fourth walls and undermining our own assertions?  Why not start back with the classical forms again?  The Greeks didn't have laptops, so if we follow the path of previous (now deceased) artforms in our current political and technological atmosphere, the outcome could be radically different?  When someone attempts that, it's pocketed away as an abberration, an exercise in neoclassicism.  The easiest analogy is that parents can have multiple children and while one--the one that received all the attention--may turn out to be a drug-addled wreck, there are other children who may have vastly different lives.  We, as an artistic culture follow such a linear path, which is currently in a state of self-rejection.  And all this empty irreverence, what does it teach us?  What is replacing these old, outdated modes of expression?  They offer nothing, not even nothingness, but nothing. 

So one of my biggest issues with postmodern thought is its arrogance, is that it exists as the summation of all previous though, either through exclusion of disproven ideas or confirmation of yet-to-be-disproven ones.  Who are we to say that the world has led up to all that we do and create and produce now?  We are one possibility and we speak with such a limited vocabulary for appreciating the world, and we're so happy to consider ourselves, as I'm sure every phase of every culture does, the very apex of sophistication and enlightenment.  When encountering our artistic endeavors, I feel that nothing could be further from the truth, personally at least.  I conjecture that it's from fear of openness, that saying that formal art is dead is easier than accepting one's inability to express oneself as well in a formatted venue as an unformatted one.  That is half of art.  Not just expression.  But execution, creation. But if one ignores that part, then one can hide behind the total rejection of previous and current forms and scoff.  As I said last week, no one wants to be rejected, and that's at the core of this transpiration of our culture.  It's a way for no one to feel rejected, to say that all forms of all modes of all media are valid and it's simply luck, mysterious, effusive luck that dictates success or acknowledgement.

In the end, we are forced to ask what the criteria for art is, then?  If art can be found everywhere, in every medium and in everyday life, then what sets it aside from someone intentionally creating a replica of everyday life or implementing anti-academic lack of technique.  In short, most music writing painting fashion and cinema by way of example only serves to affirm the old and ignorant argument, "I could do that."  And if it's the philosophy behind the work that qualifies it, then what kind of philosophy that Art (as we know it) is Dead.  How does understanding, but not respecting and not working to elevate the act of creation differ from or illuminate the layman's stance?  Why are some elevated to the status of genius and others left to wallow in humiliating failure?  In short, if all forms of post-modern/contemporary art ask us what is art--as smoe abstract challenge--then we have the right to ask them the same question and expect a direct response.


Thuuuuraps - Day

I've been in a huge movie kick as of late, and wanted to touch upon some of the most remarkable scenes from some of my favorite films. Most of these are easy to remember, but have a somewhat personal meaning to me.

1. Jersey Girl

Yeah, I know not Kevin Smith's most celebrated movies, but this scene cut really cuts me to the bone. I think as a young father we all doubt our abilities to raise a child, and doing it alone must be terrifying. I remember these private talks with my own babies at one point on a late night with sleep depravity.

2. Transformers (1986) 

This was one of the first movies I ever saw in the theaters. Boy, did I get blindsided with the death of Optimus Prime. No one knew it was coming. Optimus Prime in the cartoons was untouchable, the auto-bots would fight and make a mess of things then Prime would come in say something wise, and take care of business. Main characters in cartoons just didn't die ... it was a rule. I was floored, and if I remember right there wasn't a dry eye in the place.

3. Powder

Someone told me that Powder was "the best one star movie out there". I have no clue why this movie remains in cult status. I do remember feeling so much empathy for poor Powder, and all the guy wanted was peace. I remember his speech as well about everyone being apart of all one energy, and his compassion for all living things, maybe planting an early seed for my interest in Buddhism?


cXnX wyZeXraX: The Critics' Critic

In our virulent world of web-journals, web-diaries, webinars and the dreaded 'blog, it's not at all uncommon to see opinions contested.  This causes me to consider the true core of what Criticism proper is and what role in our "culture" it actually supplies, thinking that it might in some small way provide a conclusive and applicable determinant towards an objective system of qualification for those of us still gestating in the gestalt of the amorphous amateur world of logging our supposed insights; in short, who's hot and who's wrong.

So in my typical blackened-white view of the world, I will attempt to categorize all modes of criticism (focusing more on the published and professional forms as I find them more distressing) into two distinct and mutually exclusive categories.

The first and more digestible is popular, or qualitative, criticism.  It is the attempt of someone with an apparently educated opinion attempting to place a judgment on work offered to the public in a manner that the less educated, or initiated, can understand. I give those who work in this category the benefit of the doubt that they set out with the best intentions, to inform others of whether or not what is being advertised as good or the best truly is, to keep movie-goers from wasting money on a bad film or demanding more from an artist selling work for millions.

This is rarely the case, though.  We often find ourselves presented with no more than an individual's point-of-view that is granted authority by some vague qualification, such as a diploma. The views become inflated, self-laudatory and obscure, often based on some contemporarily conceived or historically posited criteria that isn't relevant to those that the judgment is originally supposed to be created for.  Then of course, these opinions are then called into question, often quite literally, in such forms as "Who are you to say that?" "Who asked you?"

Even if the genuine effort is put forth to offer a somewhat valid and fair judgment, a public service, the concept of the Opinion of course defeats and deflates it immediately, as someone's opinion is bound to differ.  We have no standards anymore (in both senses) to differentiate, much less qualify "good" and "bad", whether regarding contemporary work or revising stances on dated works.  Look how often the indicators "critically" and "commerically" are paired for juxtaposition.  If someone acheives both, then this is assumed to be universal acclaim, but we neglect the fact that Professional Critics (or now bloggers) hold some respected influence for their assumed heightened sense of appreciation, as well as the fact that both critics and a population of some 7 billion people never represent more than a minority percentage.  And of course, this doesn't account for my most loathed MOR stance, usually stated as, "I can appreciate what they're doing, but I don't really like it."

As is my usual aim, I want to complete an objective standard for qualitative criticism.  Normally, I would speak up in support of technical proficiency, but this is tenuous territory when talking about any type of work intended for a mass audience with widely varying tastes.  At some point, skill becomes a veil, merely decoration, a showy distraction intended to compensate for a lack of substance.  This applies really only to the world of the liberal arts though, for in some fields, such as athletics and culinary, skill is all but in rare flukes directly related to the quality of the product.  In all fields, though, the same notion applies that even the most technically accomplished chef may not create a dish of universal appeal, as some prefer more common recipes.  A classically trained musician may lack the emotion to truly connect with a listener, or may by the simple virtue of the demonstrative pomposity of one's skill, distance someone whose preference is for an earthy jugband.  For these two basic reasons, one cannot determine the quality of work based on its technical appeal (this itself being another academic artifice).

In its stead I want to offer the concept of sincerity, or as labeled above, "substance" or what is called in the fields of athletics, business and politics, "heart" as the only valid qualitative judgment.  I want to, but as we'll encounter shortly, there stand too many complexities to present it as a useful and measurable standard.  Even the proclivity for choosing the "inner beauty" of a presented work is a post-modern attitude, but that we will investigate later on.  Although I want to...

First, of course, we need to define what we mean by all these vague terms that we are blanketing under "sincerity."  I think, mathematically, were I more talented in that venue, I could create a direct equation, but verbally I can say that it is the amount of effort exerted into a particular piece of work proportionate to the individual's skill level toward the focused intention of the process and the product itself.  In other words, it's what someone is able to execute on the basis of ability given genuine intent on communicating through that work.  Again, the rejection of simply assessing someone on solely one's skill as opposed to their intent is is a post-modern attitude, (I'll take a moment to demystify "post-modern" which is a peculiar and useless term to me--In the modern age, everyone railed against what they saw as black-and-white objectivism that had lost its functionality due to an archaic method and academic set of standards that allowed for only certain styles of work to be publicly acknowledged; this applied to literature, painting and sculpture, music, fashion, cuisine, etc., so whenever Post-Modernism was invented at a debated date, the concept already had its foundation in this abandonment of standardization as plastic and rigid; but so far, nothing has been replaced that narrow albeit objective determination.)

The argument here is that what may take someone a matter of months to accomplish to an acceptable degree may take another merely a matter of days to complete to an aesthetically superior degree--acknowledging with our newly acquired post-modern sensibilities that even this assessment lacks any acceptable rubric--so we even see a natural gulf distancing degrees of ability in a given field, and on top of that, some may appreciate what appears as the result of meticulous and methoidcal training, whether the actual product of innate talent or acquired skill, and others feel more connected to the apparent result of unfettered and uncluttered purity of  raw expression.  So as for the relativity part of the equation, we lack an agreeable measurement on that point.  We have now concluded that it is impossible to determine quality based on the perceived effort exerted, and the proportional effort exerted and now we can focus on the core of "Sincerity"--the intention merely to communicate through the process of creation and the product created.

This is a muddle, I'll say from the outset, because we all know Sincerity, unlike technical ability, can easily be faked.  I feel there is no need to clutter this discussion with an exploration of that truism.  But additionally, sincerity can be confused with sentimentality, which can also be faked.  We deal with false sentiment on a daily level, in advertisements for consumables, in hypocritical gestures, and most certainly in pieces of work falsely presented as the work of inner struggle to connect oneself with the outside world, especially by someone perceptive and opportunistic who simply emulates a popular type of emotional depth or perceptual sensitivity.  It can only be said that the absence of aesthetic does not automatically mean the presence of genuine emotion, as well as that the skillful execution doesn't necessarily diminish or eliminate the heart, soul, or emotional import of a work [I will admit I have noted a more than circumstantial inverse correlation of that which I perceive as "Sincere" or "Substantial" to that which I feel to be technically proficient, often extending the possibility that an academic or educated approach to a field does somehow limit one's intuitive abilities in that same field.]

That is to say that we have no way of definitively determining, through all the mired presentiment and postulation, what is completed with genuine intent or because of a sincere question felt posed by the world as opposed to that which is completed with an ulterior motive such as financial gain.  So all one can confidently do is react and then, for the intellectuals, attempt to decipher why that reaction occurred.  How can we interact with the work offered by others for our consumption, then??

This brings us to the second--and less useful--type of criticism, artistic or speculative.  This applies to the set of (mostly) academics who offer opinions and interpretations on all various works offered for public consumption.  The idea of an objective evaluation "good" or "bad" is generally discarded at the outset as it is already regarded as irrelevant.  There stands in its place an understood evaluation by omission, that any work in the particular field not considered is not thought-provoking enough to warrant consideration.

This form of criticism allows us to fall into the circular and circuitous pattern of undercutting popular/qualitative criticism based on both technicality and sincerity, by offering so many theories on creation and subjectivity, and multiple perspectives that we can never come to a conclusive consensus.  It is more concerned with engaging in a closed and privileged dialogue with the source works and the creators.  Here, criticism and opining become an artform themselves, most often found in hard-bound published volumes, but occasionally in the more irritating amateur venues of conversation as well (like, well... hi how are ya!).
To me, this is isolated, insular and pretentious.  It does nothing to further the fields wherein one exists as some self-validated authority on the product of that field.  Rather, it is more akin to or more wrapped up in philosophical arguments based on what the work's creator intended, which my staunch argument against is that it is solely up to the artist to explain the work, although in our age even these explanations, when even given, are open to interpretation.  It is a way to establish one's own voice where it is not needed, the product of over-population, under-motivation and the reason for these thoughts to first occur to me.

I do believe we should question everything and demand the best from ourselves and others, but I also feel that both forms of criticism are simultaneously self-perpetuating and self-defeating to the point of absolutely unnecessity. I envision a world absent of criticism.  I smile at this, but then I wonder, as previously hinted, what would await us in this presumably much less pretentious world.  We already exist and labor in fields of ambiguity where all participants are hiding under the blanket of subjectivism.  Without critics, we would, one can conjecture, have absolutely no system of measurement and a complete lack of refinement in quality or understanding.  Everyone's art and food would be considered excellent since everyone's opinion would matter and then music and art would lose all meaning, since it's meaning is so highly subjective without regulation or accountability. 

The creator's job is not to cater to specific niches, nor to justify their own individualized existence, but rather to unify, to be the one profession that attempts to please everyone all the time. The artist should be the one person devoid of subjectivism, whose expression is not individual, but universal, not self-satisfying or cathartic, but relatable and altruistic.  The good artist's touch is invisible.  But this does not exist and thus spawned the supposed need for the critic.  Likewise, it is not the critic's job to speak for others, as that's impossible, or get into a position of defending one's own opinion.  Often we see vicious debates between these two glorified posts.  Artists say, "This is my art, and my vision, so if you like it then great, but if not then don't bother with it, take a hike," and critics say, "Hey, this is only my opinion, it doesn't necessarily reflect anyone else's, so if you don't like it then ignore it, take a hike." 

And we're no closer to understanding the reason that any of it exists.  The essential fact is that no one likes to be criticized, especially not by anyone with a title, because it is essentially rejection.  But some people are frauds on one level or another, even though other frauds appreciate the fraudulence, so we have no way of separating it all, at least not satisfactorily and universally.  So maybe this was a waste of time, but hey, if you don't like it ...


Construx Playlist #6: Throwback Highschool (part 3/4)

**remember kids, all traquez are free for YOU, just click on the blue link it will take you to the google site I have it hosted on, and its yours. why? because we love you!**

21. Daft Punk - Around The World

I remember buying this album very close to it's release, and it not living up to my expectations right off the bat. Unknowingly, I was looking for trance music probably from 1995-1999 not knowing what to call it, and no one interested enough to advise me otherwise. Daft Punk was heralded as one of the best dance albums ever put out, so I bought it. I almost gave up on the whole album until the citchy song "Teachers" made me laugh enough to where I listened to the rest of the album. 

I began exploring the album falling more, and more in love as I dug deeper into it's tracks, and ended up coveting the album as one of my favorites. 

The absolute polarizing magic of "around the world" wasn't fully realized until my trip to Ocean City with my friends. I brought the disc along with me being the implied "music guy" of the group. When we got to our hotel room we set up our huge stereo in our hotel room, and started to binge drink and play cards. Keep in mind that there were different musical tastes in play here, Tony loved rap, George loved industrial, J loved metal, and Will loved rap/sublime. Amongst those friends, Daft Punk was not on my mind to win over the crowd in a party atmosphere. 

I'm not sure who put in the CD, but in one peaceful entwining moment of joy "Around the World" made its joyful presence known that day. No one took notice right away, but when the song was over everyone looked at me, and I was ready for the ball busting. I remember collectively they asked who did that song. I told them, and the song went on repeat. We listened to it again, and again, and again ... It literally brought people from adjoining  rooms over to inquire about the song. 

It was really strange the effect the song had on the entire "sun tan" hotel, as various people used that song as an ice breaker to meet us. It became the theme of the whole summer being played at almost every important moment of our lives.

22. Radiohead - Creep

If anyone tells you that they heard of Radiohead before MTV, they are lying. They came onto the grunge, alternative scene to a world who just killed "shoe-gaze" music, and accepted another British pop act. No one knew what they were capable of at the time, but Thom's vocals won me over with it's very powerful wail on Creep. I love artists that sing until the point of almost bawling, and breaking down on stage. The song was so catchy, and everyone in my little group of friends had this rewound on their cassettes until the point of unintentional distortion.

23. My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult - After the Flesh

This song came out on the Crow soundtrack, the movie and the soundtrack can arguably be described as a window into the generation. I don't remember a time more prevalent for movie soundtracks. Between Mortal Kombat and the Crow soundtrack there wasn't a more culturally important collection of music in my life.  I loved the psuedo-industrial vibe to this song, because I thought the genre was already dying at the time. I still give this song a listen, and not too many other songs have bothered to imitate it. 

I do remember buying the album, and being sorely disappointed, as MLWTKK must have done this song as an experiment to what the band wanted to do. The album was no where near anything like this,  I could compare them to the B-52's  with a small electric influence. Yuck city. 

24. Depeche Mode - It's No Good

I got into Depeche Mode really late since "Personal Jesus" was a school dance favorite that came with a coordinated dance and everything. I bought this album and listened to it regularly, but what sticks out to me is where, and when I bought this album.
It was in Record Den in Monroeville Mall, and I had enough money left over from Sbarros to buy a single. It was during a shoplifting phase my friend J and I went through. Buying this single was a planned coordinated attack against the store. I don't remember what he wanted, but as I was buying the album he got pinched. Not just a slap in the hand, but they were angry enough to do the whole police "scared straight" thing. I'm pretty sure they called his parents too. We were both banned from the store (that closed 6 months later) and that moment stuck in my head apparently enough to write about it 15 years later.

25. David Bowie - Hearts Filthy Lesson

Much to the protest of his fans in the mid 90's David Bowie evolved with the current music landscape and turned his music into a graceful Nine Inch Nails rip off. Bowie did it well, citing Reznor as one of his friends, so it wasn't such a blatant copy to the average fan. I did really like the album, even coming in skeptical knowing this was an attempt to connect with my generation from someone I thought was out of touch. 

This was my second major concert though Bowie and NIN in  95. I loved the entire show. Bowie did such a wonderful job winning over the crowd, I was impressed. I loved seeing the older group who filed in hoping to hear "Changes" or "China Girl" but ended up hearing Bowie croak out "Reptile".

This was my first major concert with NIN and Marilyn Manson in 94. No one knew who (or what) Manson was at the time. I assumed he was a chick and was unprepared for what was to come. He came out on stilts with a large black dildo strapped to him, and put on one of the most punishing musical displays I have ever seen live. He was offensive, unforgiving, and just so over the top, I could not help but like him.

When "Smells Like Children" came out a few months later, you were not cool if you didn't own it after seeing the show. The first track of bizzare baby noises and mumbling became a dare to listen to it before bed, which was impossible due to paranoia the song riled in you.

27. Ministry -Just One Fix

I heard Ministry for the first time on Mtv's Headbanger's Ball.  I maintain that it was the heaviest song/album I have ever heard. I was lucky enough to get the scoop on the band before my friends, and I remember how much joy I got from telling them "This is harder than NIN, are you ready?" The whole album blew minds as it circulated through my renegade clan in high school. I can listen to it now, and it's amazing on how it doesn't sound antiquated or lame which in dealing with electronic based music is almost impossible to do.

28.Lords of Acid - I Sit on Acid

This band I liked for obvious teenager reasons. I heard this for the first time on a bus coming home from a swim meet from a senior (whos name I can't remember). She was hoping to shock me with the material, and explained "Check this out the music sucks, but it's funny"

I actually liked the music, and bought the album soon after hearing the song on the bus. The whole album was a sophomoric dirty delight of strange sex and obscenity. The rave overtones were amazing, making the body of work something unique to anything going at the time. 

The song was later rediscovered years later when my friend Tony installed a huge speaker system in his car. When he would pick me up I would bring a CD that he may have never heard before for him to listen to. He fell in love with the band, and the rave beats through a huge system was amazing. Tony basically kept the CD in his car forever, and to this day still has it. 

Also, I got to see them live right before the decline of their career with my friend George. It was a good show, with an excellent stage performance. The most memorable part of the night is when for whatever reason George shoved a crowd surfer from the caring arms of the people and into the side scaffolding that had the lights on it. The incident went unnoticed, like it never happened as we nervously prepared for confrontation. 


29. KMFDM - Drug Against War

I heard this band for the first time in a 20 second Beavis and Butthead clip. The Sin-City like video, and the insane industrial drive of the music captivated me. It was such a perfect blend of electro and industrial for me. They put out an album almost every year, but to their detriment they never evolved or changed up anything. They still hold water in a modern day audience, and it's something I rock to when it pops up on my iPod.

30. Underworld - Born Slippy

This song quickly became my high school anthem (along with speed racer, and ziggy stardust) It was the song I was waiting for a band to make for years. I loved everything about it, the bass, the lyrics, and the start of the song gave me chills. 

I think I heard this song at a house party for the first time, because I had no interest in the movie Trainspotting until years later.

This song made it to every mix tape, house party, and casual playlist I ever created for about 3 years. I could easily ramble on and on about this song, but I feel I would not do it the justice it deserves.


Andrew WK is a great human being.

It was only 2 and a half short weeks before Ian and I were discussing "construx bizness" and we pinpointed the date of Aug. 4th as the day our site took it's first little baby steps into the internet. We bounced around all kinds of ideas, and shockingly we did most of what we planned to do.

We did "celebrate with cellophane", we did our In Memoriam video where I died, Ian did one of the most insane pieces of music I have ever heard, and a job analysis critiquing each others performance doing the site. The only thing we didn't get accomplished was the 10 second video of congratulations from someone we admire. We knew it was a long shot, that our stupid little slice of the web wouldn't command any attention from anyone we held in high esteem.

After some encouraging words, Ian took on the tedious task of compiling a list of people we admire and went on the impossible journey to find and contact all of them via email. Ian got very discouraged with the level of difficulty that came with contacting our favorite people in the world. To his credit he did the job really well, but was left unfulfilled and deflated.

Now without straying far from the point, we both wondered why such the disinterest in anyone doing a small video. Was it a matter of losing perspective? Were we asking too much? We also mistook alot of empty responses as arrogance, as our discouragement grew as the days went by. Deep down inside we knew it was improbable to get anyone to do anything for us, and we moved on.

I ended up doing this silly video of our hero Andrew WK:

I thought it was funny, and we used that as an obvious parody of what a video could have been from someone as awesome as Andrew WK. We posted our anniversary stuff last week, and looked towards the rest of August, and fall plans for the site. 

It was now about 3 weeks since our email campaign to contact our celebrities, and not even a sniff of a response; hell, even a generic automated response would have been funny.  Ian and I don't take ourselves seriously often, and we began to think our expectations may have been a little large for two brothers posting silly pictures, and pooping on camera. 

It wasn't until 8/12/11 at 10:20 am (est) Ian called my cell phone. He very seriously said "get on your computer, now" we always have a mental link that I cannot accurately describe, so I rarely question him. 

"Check the construx email" he said with contained excitement. I rushed to log in knowing halfheartedly what news we may be in store for. I knew it was finally a response from someone we contacted.

I saw in the subject line: Construx Nunchux 1st Anniversary


Dear Paul and Ian,

Hello! Here is Andrew's video message. 





"Andrew?!" I gasped. "NO! .... What?! No!" I think I remembered me saying.

Then we got this small piece of heaven:

After a bunch of frantic celebrating, the buzz still hasn't worn off from it. 

What a nice person he must be to take even 15 seconds of his schedule to do something like this. It gives him nothing in return, but doing something nice for genuine fans. The amount of happiness he gave us was immeasurable. We thanked him in any media we thought was effective with pure gratitude, and humility.

I know in this new age (man that makes me sound old) there is so much easy access to all kinds of music, and the industry is so diverse and massive its easy to be very picky in what types of music you enjoy. Andrew WK's music might not be everyone's cup of tea, but his message rings true; positivity. 

Positivity is timeless, and rare in the music industry. He doesn't assume you want to hear about his heartaches, troubles, or his fame he has one simple message conveyed through his music "Party Hard". Party can mean anything to you, getting fucked up, hanging out with women, eating cake, listening to music, its up to you to take the meaning from it, but for god's sake .... enjoy it! Enjoy life. Enjoy being around things you like. Toss out inhibitions, and social restrictions and just have fun. Compounded with out genuine love for his musical talents; it's what makes him the perfect candidate for our unwavering respect for Mr. WK.

Again, I can't thank Andrew WK enough for the video he made for us. It reinstates the belief that we had about him truly appreciating his fans, and being an all around good human being. We will continue our digital devotion to him until the internet dies. Party Hard.


cXnX Shallow Analysis (Satire is Hard To Get Right)

So, this past Saturday, we effectively stomped a mudhole in the hipster idol that is James Murphy, who probably isn't all that nice of a person and who I wouldn't imagine has a great sense of humor about herself, although she's more than happy to take unwitting shots at her unsuspecting fanbase, as we'll be quickly presenting below.

I mentioned during our tightly coordinated attack on Haterdays that I had much more to say about the track "Losing My Edge" in specific that would have to wait until another day with more free space. I realized, though, after one listen through the song that I didn't have it in me to pick apart the ever so subtle and sly references liberally peppered throughout and mock this excuse for a lyricist. So below is what I came up with--

I will note one other fresh point: while fans of this song think that they are distancing themselves from some pretentious group of scenesters, they themselves are the butt of the joke. They are these people, and maybe Murphy probably while (whilst) writing it thought he himself is a removed Salinger-styled observer, but the pompous license with which he presents the following is merely self-deluded and self-righteous. I guess the point is to set himself and those who leech onto ("admire") him apart as true appreciators; the irony of course being that this is a classic hipster assertion--

I have not included an mp3 of this song this week, because I don't want you wasting that much of your time. If you want to be entertained by a(n actually good) song featuring a similar delivery, I direct you here. Now, our rageful and slightly-less-focused-than-usual feature presentation:

Yeah, yknow, I was going to offer a line by line deconstruction of this song and why exactly it bugs me so much, but it would get dam repetitive, like this song. So here’s how the entire thing goes:

“Look how many obscure (and not-obscure) bands I know! Except, I’m playing a character who takes this stuff seriously. Really, people shouldn’t hang their entire identity on how ahead of the curve they are and just enjoy music because it sounds good, but to really get why this is a very clever satire on people like that, you have to know the references and why they even matter, so if you aren’t one of these people to begin with, you won’t really understand the point I’m trying to make as someone who knows a lot of people like this and also is like this to know all these references. So people who get it can feel really smart and pat themselves on the back and quote lines as inside jokes.” And then to listen to the interminable rubbish bubbling underneath his ironic drone of verbal sewage only underscores the point of how insincere this is. I happen to have a pretty strong bond to the opening instrumentation being appropriated here, as it is the same sound produced by the only equipment available to me. I cannot cannot cannot! believe how often fans of his point out the “punk” aesthetic of what he’s doing and would scoff that I don’t know what “punk” is for even contesting that. There is nothing punk or even clever behind this.  It is literal name-dropping under the veil of satire alternating with snipey comments the hipster set likes to hypocritically bust out on each other that reveal nothing new about how scenesters invest their time.

So, no, I have no analysis, and only more aggression. Let the idiots devour each other. I was there, when James Murphy was beaten up and made to wear a diaper. I was there. I’m losing my hair, to kids who obsessively need to be told what’s new and quirky and don’t understand anything less subtle than a hammer through glass panes. This isn’t art. It isn’t even interesting. Watching me rant about it isn’t even worth your time. There's so much to be said, but it's all a vamp on the the same theme. So instead...
Great Pop Things
Ad Wizards

ANd Of Course....

One last point, a question--Even if this were passable satire, who the hell is James Murphy?? Who is he to makes these judgments? I know someone has to, but couldn't it be someone a little more initiated or original, someone witha little more passion, someone a little less lazy? I seen him out the other day, sleepin agains a post!

Yeah, I'm losing my edge. I'm losing my edge. The kids are coming up from behind. I'm losing my edge. I'm losing my edge to the kids from France and from London. But I was there. I was there in 1968. I was there at the first Can show in Cologne. I'm losing my edge. I'm losing my edge to the kids whose footsteps I hear when they get on the decks. I'm losing my edge to the Internet seekers who can tell me every member of every good group from 1962 to 1978. I'm losing my edge. To all the kids in Tokyo and Berlin. I'm losing my edge to the art-school Brooklynites in little jackets and borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered eighties. But I'm losing my edge. I'm losing my edge, but I was there. I was there. But I was there. I'm losing my edge. I'm losing my edge. I can hear the footsteps every night on the decks. But I was there. I was there in 1974 at the first Suicide practices in a loft in New York City. I was working on the organ sounds with much patience. I was there when Captain Beefheart started up his first band. I told him, "Don't do it that way. You'll never make a dime." I was there. I was the first guy playing Daft Punk to the rock kids. I played it at CBGB's. Everybody thought I was crazy. We all know. I was there. I was there. I've never been wrong. I used to work in the record store. I had everything before anyone. I was there in the Paradise Garage DJ booth with Larry Levan. I was there in Jamaica during the great sound clashes. I woke up naked on the beach in Ibiza in 1988. But I'm losing my edge to better-looking people with better ideas and more talent. And who're actually really, really nice. I'm losing my edge. I heard you have a compilation of every good song ever done by anybody. Every great song by the The Beach Boys. All the underground hits. All the Modern Lovers tracks. I heard you have a vinyl of every Niagra record on German import. I heard that you have a white label of every seminal Detroit techno hit - 1985, '86, '87. I heard that you have a CD compilation of every good '60s cut and another box set from the '70s. I hear you're buying a synthesizer and an arpeggiator and are throwing your computer out the window because you want to make something real. You want to make a Yaz record. I hear that you and your band have sold your guitars and bought turntables. I hear that you and your band have sold your turntables and bought guitars. I hear everybody that you know is more relevant than everybody that I know. But have you seen my records? This Heat, Pere Ubu, Outsiders, Nation of Ulysses, Mars, The Trojans, The Black Dice, Todd Terry, The Germs, Section 25, Althea and Donna, Sexual Harrassment, a-ha, Pere Ubu, Dorothy Ashby, PIL, the Fania All-Stars, the Bar-Kays, The Human League, the Normal, Lou Reed, Scott Walker, Monks, Niagra,Joy Division, Lower 48, The Association, Sun Ra,Scientists, Royal Trux, 10cc, Eric B. and Rakim, Index, Basic Channel, Soulsonic Force ("just hit me"!), Juan Atkins, David Axelrod, Electric Prunes, Gil! Scott! Heron!, the Slits, Faust, Mantronix, Pharaoh Sanders and the Fire Engines, the Swans, the Soft Cell, The Sonics, the Sonics, the Sonics, the Sonics. You don't know what you really want.



RIP Facebook 11/5/11

I was originally going to do something totally different for my Tuesday post, but this captivated me this morning and I thought I would share it with you all. This story is about Anonymous.

Anonymous way under hat budget this quarter.

The above picture is the logo for international hacking group Anonymous. Now without just pasting the Wikipedia page below and calling it a day I am going to try and explain who they are and why I care. 

The term came from the oldest and largest imageboard site 4chan.org where you can post anything in the world (usually something awful) as "anonymous". The site is an open forum for everything from porn, to anime, to video games, ect. The "anonymous" moniker became a celebrity within its own community as people imagined it as just one dude named "anonymous" posting all kinds of shit all day everyday, and the "meme" was born from there. 

Possibly the man behind the "anonymous" joke.

In 2005 there was a widely popular website originating out of Finland called Habbo Hotel it was a place for "teens to hang out" and is a cross between The Sims and an old AOL chat room. You go around in a virtual hotel, and interact with other teens soliciting a/s/l and asking for bra sizes from female users. 

There were unproven rumors that the moderators in the game were racist, where black players on message boards complaining getting their accounts banned due to "term violation", and they claimed to be the recipient of racist comments from the people in charge.. The complaints either became unnervingly consistent, or just a thing to joke about on the 4chan boards where action by a group of people was organized and executed. They called it the "Great Habbo Raid of '06" 

The raid is considered the birth of the Anonymous "hacktivism" movement. The had dozens of users create accounts, and become a black guy avatar with afro and business suit. and simply block the pool while typing the lyrics to "Fresh Prince of Bel-Aire" repeatedly. No users could walk through others so having the pool shut down in a virtual hotel was a big enough deal to have the web administrators conduct month long research to ban all offenders. 

While the meaning behind that "attack" was mostly unfounded and silly it gave the people who loosely organized the raid a spark for future ideas, and the hope that there are other like-minded  people out there for things bigger and better than ruining some 13 year old's day in the digital swimming pool. On the plus side a year after that another raid was planned, and has now become a annual tradition (July 12th) trying to circumvent the websites ever evolving security measure to keep them out of the game. Plus this awesome internet meme was born:

Anonymous' next attack was against a real opponent Hal Turner a white supremacist jabroni who had an internet radio show for a few years. It was very popular to call up his show and prank call him, as he could not take a joke at all. The would go into racist tirades about the callers, and would inspire hatred and support it openly and publicly. 

On December 20th 2006, Hal Turner was supposed to air his final talk show on the internet. During the course of this three-hour show, almost 150 prank calls were made, another organized attack from 4chan.org boys (still not yet under the anonymous name yet). The lines were bogged down so badly, his "real" callers could not make it through, and in typical angry white guy fashion he struck back in order to get one last rub from negative press.

He posted all the caller ID's from the prank calls on his website goading his "real" fans to call and attack the prankers back. He then said he had pending litigation against all the websites that coordinated this prank call blitz on his show. He was embarrassed, and someone as simple minded as him demanded shift revenge, and legal compensation.

It was at this point where the actual hacking aspect of  Anonymous came into play instead of harmless jokes. The gave Hal one warning to take the information off his site, but Hal being arrogant, refused thinking he was untouchable. 

The Anonymous hackers took down his site where it simply said "Merry Christmas" and found all of his personal information and made it public, including the fact that he was full of shit trying to scare the prank callers with legal action as no such proceedings were filed at all. 

Here is an awesome breakdown:

Not only did they achieve something admirable, but they did it with a real harsh consequence. He tried to sue back for loss of "thousands of bandwith dollars" but as we all know you can't sue the whole internet.

In 2007, and with a newly found inspiration for justice through vigilantism a pedophile from Toronto caught Anonymous' attention. Chris Forcand was all about showing underage girls his balls, and being just an awful human being. Members of Anonymous posed as underage girls and collected enough evidence to charge him with "two counts of luring a child under the age of 14, attempt to invite sexual touching, attempted exposure, possessing a dangerous weapon, and carrying a concealed weapon". The Toronto police admitted to this being the first predator being charged and arrested solely by "internet vigilantes"

In 2008, Anonymous gained global recognition by it's "Chanology" war against the Scientology Church. It all started when a video of Tom Cruise being interviewed for the Scientology Church was uploaded to YouTube. It was rage-fully taken down siting "copyright violation". This triggered Anonymous to strike out against "internet censorship" and organize Project Chanology.

For completion's sake here is the "banned" interview:

Project Chanology was a blitz of prank calls, black faxes, and a full blown attack to their website enabling is useless. After the initial attack Anonymous posted it's first video describing their intention giving a physical presence to the hacker group.

Pretty bad ass, straight out of movie. They then posted a video to organize their VERY ambitious call to protest on February 10, 2008 with this video:

What's crazy is that the protest worked to some extent. They estimated 7000 people collectively, and peacefully protested the Church's questionable ethical standings, over 93 cities on that date.  On March 15, 2008 the second wave of protests were spurred, and commanded another 7-8 thousand people across a international collection of cities. There was also a third wave dubbed "Operation Reconnect"

I am not intelligent enough on the subject to form an opinion the other way, but i respect the peaceful protest and educated stance no matter how skewed. 

Since then they participated in minor attacks against nocussing.com, youtube by posting porn, and helping Iran and the censorship of the internet facilitated by their government.

They launched an attack against the Australian government called "Operation Titstorm" in opposition on censoring certain pornography deemed unacceptable which included small breasted women. They posted another direct video listing their demands. It, of course, was not heeded, and the Australian governmental website was attacked and shut down in a precision attack.

One that you may remember was an attack on April 2, 2011 against the Playstation network in which the whole online operation was shut down for a month costing Sony billions (yes billions) of dollars due to Sony prosecuting the person George Hotz for creating a program to play pirated games on the PS3. Sony threatened to take all the IP addressed of anyone who looked or downloaded the program from Hotz's blog and persueing legal action against all of them. That would include me in a small sense since I just wanted to see what the hack actually was. So, they took out Sony .... wow Sony.

December of 2010 brought national news again with the attention a sight called wikileaks 
came under intense pressure to shut down their site due to them publishing sensitive information from the US government. Anonymous publicly showed support for the site, and founder Julian Assange praising for the passing of information, that is everyone's right to have access to. When Julian was arrested in London on December 8th, Anonymous shut down Visa, Mastercard, Amazon, Paypal, and the Swiss Bank PostFinance. Doesn't get any bigger than that. Wikileaks stayed healthy, and vivarant.

Wiki-leaks censorship from Zimbabwe, Tunsia, were all dealt with attacks shutting down their websites for unnecessary censorship.

In February of 2010 a company called HBGary Federal claimed to have infiltrated the Anonymous group, and that instead of releasing details to the police, founder Aaron Barr said he will release his information in a conference taking place in San Francisco. That smug bitich! Anonymous was not pleased:

Anonymous took down the website, replacing the home page with the anonymous flag, they dumped 68,000 emails from the company server, and destroyed a pending plan to pitch to Bank of American from the firm describing an attack and elimination of the wikileaks website. To put the final nail in the coffin the took over control of Arron Barr's twitter account publicly posting his address, home phone, and social security number. Ouch.

They have participated in a few other various anti-govermental attacks, and national attacks in 2011. What piqued my attention is the planned attack against facebook.

Operation Facebook will happen November 5, 2011. They are going to take down facebook, and they don't give a shit who knows it. If this tedious post has done anything, it confirms the fact that Anonymous can do anything they want. They took down Sony, Mastercard, Amazon, Paypal, Australian Government, (allegedly) NATO, Tunisia, Anguilla, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Turkey, Orlando Chamber of Commerce, Bank of America, Spanish Police, and dozens of other attacks against everyone they set their mind on. They have not made empty threats, and everything they have set out to achieve they have done. Time will tell.

Now I'm not anti-government, or feel that injustice all over the world must be dealt with swiftly, and accurately. I do, however, believe in this quote from John Basil Barnhill in which it states,

"Where the people fear the government you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people you have liberty."

I do feel that we as a country have gotten so apathetical towards politicians, policies, and general injustice to where they feel that they can do whatever they want. The information is there, right for us to read about "pork" in bills passed, good programs not getting funding, and bad programs getting that particular funding. It's a mess; and it's undeniable, most people don't care (me included) and what gets me the most is that its not even a secret. All misdeeds are documented and available for curious eyes thanks to people like Anonymous for protecting free speech on the internet. I feel that they aren't even trying anymore. They have no fear of repercussion, and like an abused animal we are so used to how bad it is, we have come to accept just the shitty way it is.

I'm not criticizing anyone for not grabbing torches and marching to Washington, but I do admire for such a large group of people so passionate about an ideal they band together under a common goal, and well .... fucking shit up. Anonymous as a collective consciousness have a strong conviction and they do anything, including risking the highest level of federal penalty, to stay true to what they believe in. 

I wish them the sincerest form of success. I love the romanticism about a mysterious group of internet vigilantes  who are taking on big, fat corporate American, and making them check the places where their nightlight doesn't reach.

Guy Fawkes has never been sexier.