Category Archives: Non-fishing randomness

You Are Now About to Witness the Strength of Quite Possibly the Greatest Movie Trailer Ever

Holy crap this could be awesome. Or not. Who knows whether there will be overacting or the created drama will be over the top but who cares? I’m part of the unintended audience of late-80s early-90s suburban kids who took to hardcore rap with an enthusiasm free of self awareness. We just liked it.

In reflection, there are probably sociological reasons for the suburban adolescent embrace of NWA that could be brought to bear by academic study, but my theory is this: teenage boys have a secret desire to be seen as a force with which to be reckoned. When your mother ushers you from point A to point B in a minivan, this is not in the cards. And when said adolescents finally find freedom via driver’s license, they are still chained to the minivan aesthetic–Mom owns your wheels and she left a tape of Christopher Cross in the cassette deck. In the absence of danger, the thing to be then is outrageous. Blasting Eazy Duz It out of the open windows of a Chevy Astro van could help achieve that¹.

But there was more to it than that. The beats were good. The rhymes were scathingly funny. The music had the raw power of metal without the cheese factor; it was–and still is–good².

Mike Judge, one of the best comic minds of that era, played on the suburban rap phenomenon in two of the most hilariously true scenes from his work:

And:

Especially in the second video from 1:16 on…”Beavis, you’re a white wussy from right here.”

All of it, brilliant.

FOOTNOTES:

1. The best explanation for this is in Chuck Klosterman’s book I Wear The Black Hat and his discourse on 2 Live Crew. He said in a Rolling Stone interview, “It was ‘we’re going to see how far we can use language to sort of offend people or upset people.'”

2. Never mind the misogyny or gratuitous violence.

 

Top Five Must Have Rock Albums, If You’re Me

In an era where you are pretty much guaranteed access to millions of recordings in multitudes of different outlets for the rest of your adult life, if you’re ever stranded on a desert island the music will be the least of your problems. Still, there are  five albums that, if you’re me, you must have in your collection in some shape, form or playlist. Because, if you’re me, you can’t do without¹.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

Fever-induced and with two of the best songs ever–Everybody Knows and Down By The River–plus the mellow Round and Round as well as the double-drop D tuned Cinnamon Girl that everyone with a pulse immediately recognizes. I also love that in Rolling Stone’s initial analysis in 1969, the reviewer wrote, “In several respects it falls short of his previous effort. Young’s new material is a little disappointing…” Stupid idiot.

The Minutemen Double Nickels on the Dime

This might be  the most creative output by an American band I’ve ever heard.

Widespread Panic Space Wrangler

I won’t even pretend they’re the best band but they’re the first one I truly considered to be “my band.” During college my friend Rob brought home this cassette tape during Christmas break and we never stopped listening. We saw them in some 100-person club in South Beach when South Beach was still a dump and everything about them–the musicians, the fans, the atmosphere–fit like a glove. Because, especially compared to northeastern boarding school hippies, southern hippies are the coolest cats in the world.

Uncle Tupelo No Depression

Raw, awesome and the perfect antidote to some of the other over-hyped awfulness of the era. Too bad those guys hate each other.

Yellowman King Yellowman

Everybody always played Legends and then somebody put this on and it changed how we all thought about reggae. Growing up in South Florida we were soon obligated to go to Sunsplash every year. It also predated Run DMC’s Raising Hell in our consciousness by two years with the idea of spoken word as art form. Plus there’s the live show aspect.

UPDATE:  Emmylou Harris At The Ryman

Because everyone in my family knows it by heart.

(1. Nothing here is from the 21st century? Duly noted. When you come of age is when you come of age.)

Two Hours Vaulting: Monty-Python and the absurdist sketch based in historical fact

“We’ll have two hours digging, two hours vaulting, and two hours sleeping, ok?” This is one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite Monty Python Sketches: The Society For Putting Things On Top of Other Things. I first watched it at my friend Roland’s house when we were 14 and we’d break out that line, among others, at random as it has had applications during almost any absurd situation from high school well into adulthood.

But what I didn’t know as a 14 year old was that the bit had historical context from actual events in World War II. That realization of context made an already funny sketch even more so.

I was reminded of this after stumbling across an obituary of a former RAF bomber pilot who served time in the Stalag Luft III prison camp, the site of  allied POW escape attempts made famous in the movies The Great Escape and The Wooden HorseThe latter is the story of the vaulting.

Apparently the POWs at Stalag Luft III were a sporting set, as this article from Sports Illustrated details. Between soccer, rugby and golf, the addition of a gymnastic vaulting horse might not have seemed so far fetched. Still the idea of using vaulting as a cover for digging escape tunnels from a Nazi POW camp with spoons while under the watch of Luftwaffe guards is, on the face of it, insane. And ingenious and maybe the most ballsy thing I’ve ever heard of involving sport (where failure is the threat of execution).

Here’s a youtube link to the sketch if you’re so inclined.