31 July 2005

Time Fades Away

Yesterday marked the anniversary of my birth. We had a small party. I got a keg of Woodchuck, but we didn't finish it. As I've already paid for it, I feel an obligation to polish it off, so now it's in the basement.

But it was also a sad day. Our friends Tony and Sarah are moving to Helen, Georgia to be with Tony's terminally ill mother. On a humanitarian level, this is bad for Tony: nobody wants their parents to die. On a selfish note, this is bad for us: we hung out with them every Friday night and most Saturdays, so our social circumstances have been impacted. This probably won't all sink in until this coming Friday.

Anyway, their furniture is piled into a 14-foot U-Haul and they're on the road as I type. Helen is a two-hour drive from Atlanta and Tee and Ess have told us we should visit. The fact that an IKEA store just opened in Atlanta is added incentive.

This birthday was unsettling on a metaphysical level for me, as well, as it's the first one I've had since my father died. It really made me think about birth, death and all that circle of life shit. It reminds you how insignificant and pointless it all can seem.

24 July 2005

Jews, spics, niggers, pansies and a booger-eating moron

When I was about 7, my parents took me and my sister to Florida. We spent most of our time in the Sunshine State playing on the beach or swimming in the pool, and we went to Walt Disney World, but one day, it was pissing down with rain and my folks didn't want to spend an afternoon cooped up in a hotel room with two squirrely kids, so they took us to the movies. We saw The Bad News Bears. And naturally, the unique circumstances under which I first saw the movie, not forgetting the fact that it's a great little flick, have made it one of my childhood favorites, especially as I was the complete opposite of athletically inclined as a kid, as were the Bears themselves.

The just-released remake looks like it might actually be halfway decent, but as Charles Taylor pointed out in this article, one wonders how the original's deeply '70s sensibilities will translate into post-millenial Hollywood bet-hedging sensitivity. Smoking, drunk driving, profanity and racial epithets -- perpetrated by preadolescent kids, mind you -- were played for laughs in the first movie. (The budding sociopath Tanner, who described his fellow Bears with this entry's title, was my favorite character, naturally.)

As per usual, my "no movies in the theater" rule is holding sway, and with Bad News Bears, that goes double as the large number of kids in the cast will sucker many parents into thinking it's a children's movie.

But there's always DVD...

21 July 2005

Fu Fighters

Fu Manchu are one of those bands that I would like on paper even if I didn't like their music. Their album graphics, song titles and even their band name all evoke a '70s style retro vibe that's very appealing to me. Fortunately, I like their songs, too. It's win-win.

I saw the mighty Fu in concert last night and they put on a good, tight show. As an added bonus, I decided to be a man for once and I fought my way to the front of the stage. I didn't make it that far, but by the end of Fu Manchu's set, I was in the second row, so to speak. There were two white trash chicks directly in front of me who were head-banging, fist-pumping, screaming all the lyrics -- acting like total metalhead teenage boys, in other words. It was cute. I didn't know Fu Manchu had that many fans in Louisville.

As an added bonus, when the set ended, some fat bastard in front of me (next to the head-bangin' redneck gals) kept screaming for a roadie to give him a drumstick. Instead, they gave him a setlist. He turned around and handed it to me, saying, "I wanted a fucking drumstick."

So here's what they played:
Hell on Wheels
Open Your Eyes
Eatin' Dust
Saturn III
Evil Eye
Time to Fly
King of the Road

COC Fighting

After enjoying their music for a decade, I finally got the chance to catch Corrosion of Conformity live in concert. Those grimy old bastards put on a damn fine rock ‘n roll show and if you get the chance, check ‘em out.

One of the great things about the internet is that you can visit a band’s web site and see what other serious fans thought about a particular performance. Most of the time, you really don’t get any especially penetrating insights other than, “They fukkin’ ROCKED!!!!!!” But at COC’s message board, a poster who calls himself Lokust apparently had a bad time at Headliners on July 20. I have pasted the meat of his post below with my own commentary added, naturally.

"The first thing I have to say about this show is Louisville is full of jackasses. The pit was full of idiots. These morons had no respect for anyone around them. They were going out of their way to hit people not in the pit. You know it is bad when the band has to stop playing to tell the crowd to quit acting stupid."

The band did NOT stop playing; they made a few comments between songs.

"These drunk idiots where singling out women and trying to drag them into the pit. One old dude in a slayer shirt ran up and grabbed my wife by the arm and tried to drag her in to the pit. Me and about 3 other guys I was with threw the guy down on the ground. This dude was straight up about to get maimed. Pep saw it and tried to calm things down. After what happened in FL I did not want to be the reason for more bloodshed at a COC show, so I let the guy live at Pepper's request."

COC singer Pepper Keenan -- or "Pep," as Lokust calls him -- did NOT address any specific pit skirmishes from the stage; he just told people to take it easy on each other.

"Mike Dean then got on the mic and called the idiots from the pit out telling them how sad their lives must be treating women like that."

This is true.

"On a positive note the boys played "Who's got the Fire" for us right after that incident. My wife and I talked to Pep and Mike about adding Fire to the set after the show in Nashville. The spot on the set where we got Fire even said Wiseblood. I remember seeing him walking around the stage saying something to each of the boys, and when he took center stage he looked down at us in the 2nd row and winked, then busted out "Who's got the fire". So thank you guys if you somehow see this. I didnt have time to stick around after the show to thank anyone in person because my wife's arm was still hurt."

This heartwarming tale of the band playing “Who’s Got the Fire?” especially for Lokust and his wife is complete and utter bullshit. A cursory reading of other show-specific message board threads shows that the band has been regularly subbing “WGTF?” for “Wiseblood” for several weeks. Lokust apparently thinks he and “Pep” are bestest pals or something and that COC were switching up the set list just for him. Keep dreaming, shithead.

"At the end of the show the jackasses were back at it again. This time it was the whole front row, which was filled with assholes that were fucked up on god knows what. They were all friends, everytime one of them would leave the others would spread out and save the spots in the front. They were all up there passed out on the front of the stage 90% of the show. After "in the arms of god" we had the encore break. These morons stole EVERY setlist from the stage, and then punched the microphone stands until all of the pics fell off. That is fucked up. SERIOUSLY!!! What the fuck?!?"

I was in the front row. I am many things, but a moron is not one of them. There was one guy passed out drunk. Keenan pointed him out and laughed at him and the guy wobbled off to the back of the venue.

Furthermore, if you want to watch a club show at the front of the stage, you have to be assertive, fast and ready to be squished like a sardine for the duration of the set. You also have to be lucky. I was all of the above, and therefore, I was able to secure a spot in between Keenan and guitarist Woody Weatherman. But to hear Lokust tell it, I and the others on the frontline should have happily given up our spots. Lokust needs to go to more rock shows, because he clearly has no idea how these things work.

Further still, I snagged a setlist – Pepper Keenan’s setlist, matter of fact. The setlist was two sheets of typing paper taped together. I did not take the drum kit or one of the amps or a guitar. There were roadies all over the stage, and trust me, if you touch anything on any band’s stage that they don’t want touched, you will quickly be made aware of the fact. Did I ask permission? No. Does COC give two shits? Doubtful.

And finally, although a few people were trying, nobody managed to knock any picks losse from the mike stands because the picks are wedged in there pretty tight.

So Lokust? Go fuck yourself.

"When Pepper came back out he tried to get a pic off the stand only to find them all gone. Then he looked down and saw his setlist was ripped off. He looked pissed as hell. He said something to Mike who pointed to the floor where they had fucked up his shit too and ripped his set off the floor. The setlists had been in plain view all night, the end was supposed to be Clean my Wounds followed by 13 Angels. Well, we only got Clean my Wounds. No 13 Angels for Louisville. I don't blame them one bit either."

Again, this is by and large total bullshit. A quick glance through various other threads shows that COC has been regularly dropping “13 Angels” from the encore and doing an expanded version of “Clean My Wounds.” And consider this: once or twice during the set, Keenan mentioned the fact that it was a Wednesday night and that he knew most of us in the audience had to go to work the next morning. Now, it was hard to see from my FRONT ROW vantage point, but I don’t recall any Pepper Keenan/Mike Dean tête-à-tête regarding missing set lists. Regardless, had they truly been as enraged as Lokust described, wouldn’t they have just not done any encores at all? The fact that they did a 15-minute version of “Clean My Wounds” indicates to me that everything was OK. Plus, at the end of the show, Keenan and Dean both shook hands with most everybody in the front row – pretty peculiar behavior, considering how angry with the crowd they were, huh, Lokust?

One more: According to the set list, had “13 Angels” been performed, it would have been done BEFORE “Clean My Wounds,” not after. In addition to being a snivelling little bitch, Lokust apparently isn’t that gifted a reader.

"The turnout was way lower than Nashville too. The crowd was just mindblowingly disrespectful. At least COC delivered. I have been going to Metal shows for 15 years now, and I have never been so pissed off at so many different people throughout the course of one show before. This was the polar opposite from the awesome enviornment in Nashville 2 weeks ago, no fault of the band."

Whatever, Lokust. I don’t know what kind of metal shows you’ve been seeing for the past 15 years, but they’ve apprently been fairly genteel, understated affairs if this completely normal and uneventful concert was able to get your panties in such a twist. Sorry that your wife got manhandled, but then again, if you don’t want to mess with the pit, DON’T STAND NEXT TO IT, you delicate flower. It’s like riding the Flume Zoom at Opryland and complaining that you got wet.

Hopefully you were able to clean the sand out of your vagina and get on with your miserable existence.


Corrosion of Conformity setlist:
It Is That Way
Paranoid Opioid
Diablo Blvd
Shake Like You
Long Whip Big America
Infinite War
Who's Got the Fire? (dedicated to Lokust -- not)
Hungry Child
The Door
Rise River Rise
Vote with a Bullet
In the Arms of God
Clean My Wounds

19 July 2005

Jim Aparo (1932-2005)

Jim Aparo was a comic book artist who died on Monday at the age of 72. His work appeared mainly at Charlton and DC. He's probably best known for his lengthy run on DC's The Brave and the Bold, which sounds like a soap opera but in actuality featured Batman and a guest star each issue. He's also responsible for the infamous early '70s Spectre stories that ran in Adventure Comics. As written by Michael Fleischer, well, one didn't fuck with the Spectre or his friends.

Aparo's art made those stories. A triple threat, he regularly penciled, inked and lettered all of his pages, which gave his art a highly distinctive look. I didn't buy every comic that featured his art, but I have more than a few in my funnybook collection. Aparo was an old school pro -- he wasn't flashy, but he had a solid grasp on the core principles of perspective, anatomy, design and draftsmanship. Legend has it that Denny O'Neil once said of Aparo that when his pages turned up at the DC offices, it wasn't necessary to look at them before sending them off to the printer, because Aparo was such a dependable craftsman.

When I was 6, I caught a serious case of pneumonia which put me in the hospital for four days. My parents and both sets of grandparents bought me a bunch of comics to pass the time. Now, when my parents bought me comics, they didn't ask what I wanted, they just went to the pharmacy gift shop and bought a buck's worth. They knew I liked Batman and Spider-Man, so I usually ended up with one or the other or both. I got an issue of B&B (#118, pictured) that featured Batman and Wildcat. The Joker made the two box each other while wearing cestus (metal gloves with spikes on the knuckles). As rendered by Aparo, it was about as gruesome as a comic could get and still be approved by the Comics Code Authority. I still have that comic, but I read and reread it so frequently that the cover fell off.

I never met Jim Aparo, of course, but damned if I didn't feel a little pang of remorse when I saw that he had passed away. Rest in peace.

16 July 2005


Excellent news: Game Show Network is running all the old seasons of The Amazing Race seven nights a week at 9 p.m. EST (check local listings). Unfortunately, I didn't find out about it until Wednesday, so I missed the first two episodes of the first season. My favorite team is probably Team Guido. I have no idea why they're called Team Guido, however. I would look it up on CBS's official, season-specific Amazing Race websites, but that would give away who wins, as I learned the hard way just now (SPOILER: Chip and Kim won Season 5).

Dennis the Menace

It's a nasty, ugly-ass day outside, that's for certain. The meteorologists are all saying that the rainy weather here in the Ohio Valley is the result of Hurricane Dennis's death throes.

Whatever, I don't like it. Rain, rain, go fuck yourself.

11 July 2005

This Old House

Our house is shaping up. Not that it was unliveable when we bought it last May, but there was quite a lengthy list of things that needed to be addressed. And a few of them have been taken care of.

A few weeks back, we had new windows installed throughout, which took a big chunk out of the savings, but they'll help with the utility bills. Better yet we can, you know, actually open all the fucking windows.

We did some painting, as well. Fifteen feet doesn't sound like a lot of distance, but when you're on a ladder, it can be quite nerve wracking.

And finally, we got the fugly back porch all nice and spiffy. My father-in-law installed a new ceiling and we painted it so we're not looking at the repulsive sea foam green shade it was when we purchased the place.

The big projects now are getting the garage repaired or more likely, completely rebuilt, and we also need to get the basement up to snuff. Right now, the litter box is in the office and it needs to go down there.

I have a little shelving project I'd like to get done by summer's end. If my calculations are correct, which they almost always are, and if the wood working is properly done, I can fit 4,200 CDs on a section of wall in the study. This would free up an enormous amount of space, although it would still only represent two-thirds of my collection. But still.

And I can't help but wonder how much we've increased the value of this place. Realistically speaking, I don't see us living here for the rest of our lives, but if we make this place too awesome, we won't be able to recoup the money we've put in.

Meanwhile, the old lady is clamoring for one of these. I have no problem with dogs, but they're more labor intensive than cats. Also, the breed with which she has become enamored isn't exactly cheap: purebred pups will set you back between $1,200-$1,800. So if she gets one of them, I'm getting one of these.

07 July 2005

Moving On

This guy's mother is deathly ill, so he and his fiancee are moving to Georgia to be with her during her final days. This sucks twice because 1) his mom is dying and 2) they have become our best friends here in Louisville.

02 July 2005

Blood Meridian

Unsettling discovery of the week: Four people were stabbed at a Corrosion of Conformity show in Tampa, Fla. on June 23. One man died.

Of course, the media seems to have gotten some details wrong. A quick glance at the message boards on COC's official website has postings from people who actually witnessed the incident, and they all say that there was no mosh pit and in fact, the stabbings occurred near the back of the club. Which is where I usually stand at Headliner's, which is where COC will play when they come to Louisville on July 20.

I'm still going, mind you. But it's a sad coincidence that the last heavy rock show I saw at Headliner's was the High on Fire/Fu Manchu/Clutch gig that took place less than a week after Dimebag Darrell was murdered at a club in Columbus, Ohio, so security at the Louisville show was way strict. So now I know that there will be a lengthy wait to get inside the venue due to the pat-downs and metal detectors that will be out front.

Better safe than sorry, I guess.

Problem is... Metal and hard rock shows attract more than their fair share of redneck macho assholes dealing with their impotence issues and whatnot.