Recommendations! Just for You!

Hey everyone!

Recently I was hired to work at a bookstore thinking it would be awesome and I’d learn a lot and great things would pursue.  I was wrong.  It is boring and I don’t like it.  I just shelve things and answer the phone.  That’s it.  So I went today to get a job at an awesome multi-story junk store and I think I got it!  I’ll find out soon.  I’d rather work with things and people that have stories and care about what they are doing rather than just make money and go home.  So if, in the near future, you find yourself needing a mounted fish, coffins, gas masks, old bowling pins, or a box of prosthetic parts, just hit me up.  You know how to reach me.

Anyway, here are some recommendations!

-Anthony

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Recommended Album: America

Recommended ReadingThe Mote in God’s Eye

Recommended Love Guru: GWAR

Recommended Mollusk: Glaucus atlanticus

Recommended Radiohead Cover: The Darkness (you read that right)

Recommended Beer: Brother Thelonious

Recommended Tweeter: @jamie_deen

Recommended Attitude Towards Work: this one.

Friday Tidbit: Insight and Frivolous Dancing

1) This episode of John Green’s Crash Course series takes a look at fame and greatness. He reminds us that those who are great are only great because we choose to celebrate them. I know that I’ve posted one of these Crash Course videos before, but I encourage you to watch this. Not because it’s important to know about Alexander the Great, but because John Green’s insight deserves to be heard.


2) I’m not really sure how I discovered Big White Clouds. Somehow I stumbled upon the blog of The Office, a recording studio in my current town. Big White Clouds recorded their album Small White Clouds there. Check out this charming opening track, “I Know I Know.”


3) If you ever wanted to be afraid of something definitely out of your control, watch this video on the sun and its incredible and awe-inspiring power. Hank Green, brother of John, has a video series called SciShow. It focuses on different interesting topics in science, especially new developments.


4) Need something to cool and calm your frazzled mind? Check out this jam from They Might Be Giants. It’s a response to their cover of “The Sun Is A Mass of Incandescent Gas.” This one is more scientifically accurate. Science is real, my friend.


5) There are some things in this world that just should not be combined for fear of destroying the fragile balance of our universe. The creators of this video care nothing for our well-being. Ladies and gentlemen, Jason Derulo and Star Wars.

-Paul

Trailhead: The Phantom Menace

Howdy bitches.

Right now, I am currently watching Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and I cannot help but wonder what the fuck happened with this movie.  It’s not very good.  The original three were incredible but this one doesn’t fit.

There is one question on my mind that I cannot figure out: is this a kids’ movie?  The dialogue is over the top, the aliens look more like cartoons than ever, there are borderline offensive alien accents, shiny spaceships and bright colors.  There really aren’t the same types of conflicts from the original movies.  There are no struggles about faith, no conversations about power, leadership, and responsibility, no existential musings about the universe and what keeps it all together.  Just pod racing and fart jokes.  There was a weak attempt to talk about economic struggles through some sort of bizarre form of dictatorship run entirely through holograms but that doesn’t last long.  Actually, I don’t even know what the Galactic Trade Federation actually does other than bitch.  The only redeeming qualities of this movie are Liam Neeson and Samuel L. Jackson.

This movie is necessary though.  This movie was obviously going to make money.  He knew that the moment he sat down to write it.  No matter what he wrote, millions of people all over the world would empty their wallets for months so why bother to try?  Why challenge yourself?  When he sat down to write this, the big questions, the questions that produce great writing, were already answered by the last films.  All this movie is is a backstory.  All plot and no substance, going after the senses but not soul.  But it needed to happen.  I suppose Lucas later realized that if he was going to describe the origin of Darth Vader, he was going to need to try harder.  He would have to portray the descent from innocence to anger.  He would have to explore ideas about corruption and expectation, examining what makes a person take the easy route instead of the best.

With that in mind, perhaps the first three episodes are not so much of an exploration of the powers above but of the powers within.  What if these movies are about George Lucas’s internal struggles with the Star Wars franchise?  Everyone is banking on him to create something as historical as the original trilogy but there is too much pressure.  Now that there is tons of money on the line, a vast and devoted army of followers who perceive his word as universal truth, a Galactic Trade Federation-esque production of merchandise, maybe Anakin’s story is Lucas’s trying to fight the person he has become.  The characters warn him of the impending dangers of the powers he has but there are far too many eyes looking on him.  When he starts to slip, there is no return and he partially destroys himself and becomes the monster he is.  A powerful, influential, and historically important monster.  The struggles in this movie are not between good and evil.  They are between George Lucas’s soul and the man he has become.

Or maybe not.  Maybe it’s just about the dirty politics and blowing shit up.  Anyway, your trailhead, if you choose to accept it, is to fight with yourself in whatever way you chose to define “fight.”  That is all.  Jar Jar Binks is racist.

-Anthony

A Third Letter to Akihito, The Emperor of Japan

Dear Akihito,

What’s up, man?  It has been a while since we last talked.  Well, technically, we have never talked because I’ve only posted my letters to you on our blog and never sent them to you personally.  Even if I did though, something tells me that you still wouldn’t get them.  I’m not saying that you don’t care about insignificant people like me.  It’s more like I know you are a busy busy person, especially in 2011, and you probably have better things to do than write a personal email back to some half-drunk dude in his pajamas listening to Pavement in his parents’ house in another hemisphere.  But I’m going to do it again anyway because I can.  And it makes me feel better.  Or maybe you secretly follow our blog under the tumblr name “The69thDoctor” and I never knew.  We don’t actually have a follower by that name.  I just used the first two things that come to mind when I think of tumblr, which is Doctor Who and porn.  And maybe screenshots of shows from the 90’s.

I hope all is well over there in Japan.  I really do.  Shitty things happen, man.  Shitty things happen to great people.  And it hurts so deeply when it does.  This morning, my grandmother’s brother passed away.  We all knew it was coming.  He had a couple of strokes and heart attacks within the past few months and at 10:19 this morning Eastern Standard Time, he breathed his last natural, no-tubes-attached, breath.  I think I’ve mentioned this in the past but I don’t really believe in a heaven or hell.  To be completely honest, I’m not sure what I believe.  It’s like a weird mix between Buddhism, Hinduism, Star Wars, and Norse mythology but not really.  I’ve come to accept that my brain isn’t strong enough to fully understand the origin of everything yet so I keep an open mind.  But I could feel a peace today.  I kind of relief, a knowing that the universal order is fully functional and that no matter how fucking horrible things are, love will always be a constant in whatever fucked up way we create it.

Death still scares me though and that is because of love.  I don’t want to ever step foot in a hospital again for as long as I live/love but I know that I will have to.  Several times.  As many times as the people I love.  Each time will create a lifetime’s worth of pain in one evening.  There will be an infinite amount of times that I will have to cry and scream into my pillow at night.  And then one day I will go into the hospital alone.  That time I will not come out.

He was a great man with a loving family.  His name is Giovanni but to me, he was Uncle John.  His voice sounded like Marlon Brando’s in The Godfather but not as slow.  He spoke fast with no filter and we loved him for that.  I remember him being in Florida with us and him and I would feed bits of raw chicken to cranes in some pond.

I have never really seen my grandmother cry before.  She fucking broke down.  The pain of that moment will stay with me for the rest of my life.  She was able to spend his last, mechanically-aided day with him so she was able to have some closure.  I learned some stuff about their lives that day, about the bond that 80-some years had created.  I learned driving back from the hospital last night to our christmas-light-nebula neighborhood that they both hated bananas.  It wasn’t the taste so much but the memory attached to them.  When they traveled by boat to the United States from Italy when they were small children, they were handed bananas.  Not having ever seen a banana before, they ate the entire thing, peel and all and it made them puke.  They tended to stay away from bananas from thereon out.

Bananas aside, they survived and each sibling created an amazing family, all of them.  There are maybe eight brothers and sisters in that banana generation.  There are a lot so I’m not sure but each one is a great leader.  I want to be as great of a family-head as they are but how do I do it?  How do I create a family and not fuck up?  I mean, I’m sure they made their mistakes.  You have to.  No offense, but there has never been such a thing as a perfect leader.  But what gave them the strength to keep going?  How to you create a family as strong?  In your case, how do you bring a tsunami-ravished country back together?  I have trouble controlling my own behaviors.  Even at work, sometimes I can’t even bring my classroom back to a respectable level when a student farts.  But build a country back up from a massive disaster?  Where do you draw your inspiration?

Here would be the part where you would give me some Yoda-esque yet true bullshit like “I do not inspire my people to do great things.  Their great actions inspire me to be a great leader” or something and in that, I can’t argue with you.  I guess I need to stop being weird and allow myself to be happy but there is just too much shit out there that I can’t block out.  2012 starts in a matter of hours and the Mayans say that we are all going to die.  I don’t believe that will happen but I guarantee you that it’s all I will think about until next december.  That and the usual shit about dying.  By the way, there was an edition of National Geographic this year all about how lifelike robots are getting and Japan is at the forefront of this.  Please stop it.  We both don’t want Terminator to happen.  If you are going to keep making robots smarter, stop giving them faces.  They don’t need to look like people.  That is a dangerous path.

Anyway, I think this letter has gone on enough and should end soon.  Thank you again for letting me write to you for a third New Years in a row and I hope that this next year will actually be the first year where nothing bad happens.  Famous last words.  But again, I suppose I should ask you some standard “I’m writing a letter to a world leader” questions.  Do you like burritos?  I do.  A lot.  If you could be a Pixar movie character, which one would you be.  My boss says that I remind him of the stoned turtle from Finding Nemo.  What new bands are you listening to?  I would keep an eye on Wild Flag; I can’t stop listening to them right now.  Speaking of which, the second season of Portlandia is starting up in January.  I think you might like it.  Well, maybe.  At least it will give you an insight into part of my culture.  I don’t like to admit it (none of us do, really) but I am kind of a hipster.  A girl-less high school experience and four years of college radio will do that to a person.  Anyway, thank you again and I wish nothing but the best for the people of Japan and the rest of the world.

See you out there somewhere in the world,

Anthony

The Days of ‘76: Journal Entries from the Road

Before I started working where I do now, before I woke up every morning and put on a uniform, before ten-year-olds verbally threatened my life on a weekly basis, before I paid rent, for a few brief weeks this past summer, I had a suitcase of t-shirts, a car, a few friends, no responsibilities, and an entire country to explore.  It was a time where the days of the week meant nothing and each hour was as casual as our clothing.  Paul and James, brothers and contributors here at the Compass, and our friend Miles and I drove from Kentucky to Montana and back again.  The following are some of my journal entries from that trip.  They were great and powerful yet trying times and I miss them dearly so I figured why not relive some of them and try to get my spirits up from a not-so-great day at work.

Within these entries, you will encounter silly and frustrating events like when we met a man named Michael at a bar in Madison, Wisconsin, outlandish feats where I drank a bottle of wine and continued to write until I no longer could, and delusional yet truthful rants about grocery shopping.  I added some notes here and there [like this] on some of the entries to clear some things up.  So here is another raw glimpse into this strange, strange noisebox I claim as my head.  Enjoy.

-Anthony

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30 June 2011 - Keystone, South Dakota - 10:08 pm - Thursday

[In reference to the previous page in my journal which had scribbles of campsites, phone numbers, addresses of national parks], Those things before are information about our camping reservations for our road trip which finally happened and currently two days into.  Except we ended up not staying at the first two camp sites.  Camping is great and all but fuck camping.

We left Louisville at 5:30 am yesterday for who knows what reason, I was overzealous I suppose.  We drove to Champagne, Illinois to visit Miles’ sister and her fiance.  Eggs and strawberries and making fun of Sarah Palin and talking about Star Wars fan fiction, it was a very good time.

Once we left there, we decided that perhaps we didn’t want to camp and that James knew another guy named James who lives in Madison, Wisconsin.  This was around noon and James got off work at 7 pm so we set the GPS to take us though the backroads of Illinois through corn fields, even drove on part of Route 66 a little bit, and we went to lunch in Chicago.  We ate a place called Grand Lux Cafe that Paul and James had been to before.  Once we got there, I soon learned that it is owned and operated by the Cheesecake Factory.  The menu was almost identical in both size and content minus the advertisements.  That was nice.  The interior was not as feminine but still very upscale and ostentatious.  The food tasted the exact same but we had fun.

After, we walked to Lake Michigan and stood in the fresh water on the beach there.  The weather was 75 degrees and perfectly clear.  The last time I was in Chicago, I was seven or eight years old and even though my dad is from there and I have tons of family in Melrose Park, I’ve always felt a disconnection from it that my family doesn’t share.  That seemed to disappear; I really felt a connection to a city that I haven’t felt in awhile.  It seemed like New York if the people who lived there were nice and cared about cleaning up their streets.

We drove to Madison, met James and his awesome apartment (he works for a pharmaceutical company or something with themed offices like Google or some shit), he was a cool dude.  He took us to a bar nearby called something strange [The Echo Tap] where the drinks were super fucking strong and cheap.  Two double Makers and coke.  A guy named Michael who was beyond drunk came to our table, stated he was gay, and then proceeded to blather about his life and hit on Paul.  He talked almost identically to Jar Jar Binks.  He told us he works at a hospital where they make fun of him (he also appeared to have some sort of mental disability as well) and then asked which one of us was going to hit him and this made me feel terrible and disgusted.  At this point in our society, this sort of fear shouldn’t fucking exist.  Things need to change in people’s brains to make them realize that all humans have equal rights.

We left this morning on a very long and boring trip though southern Minnesota and Wisconsin.  We saw the Oscar Meyer Wiener Mobile twice.

The conversations have been great, the music alright.  We stopped at Wall Drug, the gigantic tourist trap that my dad and I first discovered when we made this drive several years ago.  As mentioned before, we planned to camp in the Badlands but it was storming so we just drove straight here to Mt. Rushmore in a cheap hotel.  It was around 9 when we started staring into dim windows looking for food when a family from Illinois gave us their leftover gigantic meatlovers pizza for free because they couldn’t finish it.  Beer and that.  3 dollars.

Mt. Rushmore tomorrow, Cosmos, Devils Tower, Black Hills, Deadwood, then finally Big Sky.  The trip is too recent to state anything profound yet.  I haven’t had the time to chew it over.  I am in full experience mode right now but will have better things to say soon.

11:02 pm

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2 July 2011 - Big Sky, Montana - 12:19 am - Saturday

We are finally fucking here.  We are exhausted and on the edge, irregular, and kind of drunk (I drank a full bottle of caberret sauvignon in less than an hour on pretty much an empty stomach) but we are all having an amazing trip.  There are some moments in a lifetime that when they occur, you know instantly the significance and are aware that you will remember it forever.  Between the Crow reservation on the Montana/Wyoming border and Livingston, Montana (much closer to Livingston, however.  It makes me think of the shitty vet John Steinbeck met there) I had one of the greatest conversations of my life with the guys mainly concerning the role of the individual in society, the future of America, and citizenship.  From that, I began wondering why I want to be a college professor, not as in “why” or “should I” but more “what is my true subconscious motivation” and I realize it is because I feel like the more people converse and question, the better society will be.  Learning to be curious at an early age is vital and when people develop a sense of what they care about, shit gets done.  I want people to realize this.  The reason why college is because I feel like I can talk easier to an older crowd, a crowd that wants to be there and has a basic idea of an objective.  I want the next generation to have the friends and experiences that I have had.  They need to know they can.  They need to know that they have the potential.  Everyone does.  That conversation was immediately proceeded by Springsteen’s “Born to Run” as loud as my car stereo goes, windows down in 52 degrees going 80 miles per hour, screaming the words at the sunset.  We all stuck our heads through the sunroof, me included even while I drove.

Everyone is asleep now I think.

Apart from the above, we did a ton today.  Went to Mt. Rushmore, the Cosmos Mystery Area, Deadwood, I made $10 off of a $5 bill in the saloon where Wild Bill Hickok was shot in the back of the head, we all had sasperilla at Devils Tower, and finally drove through Bozeman.  It was a great day.  As pointed out by all of us, people here are much friendlier here than people in the east.

[The rest of my writing here goes off into personal items that I don’t really want to publish to y’all.  You aren’t missing much and some of it gets inappropriate.  Plus the booze began to kick in and it becomes progressively harder to read.  I even skipped a line and called myself out for it.]

In [scribbles] Deadwood, I kept seeing [two lines of scribbles] (wow) [two full blank lines with an arrow pointing down to the third] I’m going to start this over on the next page.

[Next page] In Deadwood, I kept seeing pictures and signs referencing “Days of ‘76” which were very important and eventful times in the area for historically obvious reasons concerning the country and the outlaws of the west.  It seems like it was just a perfect storm of events, idealism, spirit, and luck that over time, created history and influence over certain parts of the country.  There are times like that now.  The Days of ‘76 will live forever.

[I have no idea what that last paragraph means but I remember being quite proud of it at the time and then passing out on the couch.]

1:08 am

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3 July 2011 - 8:12 pm - Sunday

I’ve never really talked about this with anyone before (the way that sounds makes this sound super serious and deep; it is not) but I have trouble shopping for just myself.

We are going to finish our game of Lord of the Rings Risk now.  I will finish this later.  Plus it will give me time to think it over.  We just got back from the grocery in Bozeman.

8:16 pm

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5 July 2011 - 8:08 pm - Tuesday

Fuck my stomach and fuck the things it is doing to me.  I am hungover still and I never want to drink again ever.  And fuck cellphones.  My phone needs to detect that I am drunk and turn itself off.  Here is a sketch of how I physically feel right now: [it is a very crude frowning face with a word bubble saying “No.”]

Mentally I am ok.  I just need to behave.

Going back, grocery shopping for solely myself is shit.  It makes me feel lonely and overwhelmed.  At college, I would always shop with other people and usually not for food at all because I would eat on campus with everyone.  I didn’t own a fridge so that was that.  Now I have to predict what I want to eat during the week.  I can’t do that.  I cannot possibly know what mood or condition I will be in for me to decide what I ingest over a week’s time.  And then there are things that spoil and I have to eat them fairly quickly or my money will rot away in a bowl and I’ll never get it back.  I like cherries but if I buy a big bag of them, I have to eat them very frequently in a short amount of time.  A) If I eat to much of them (which I will inevitably have to) I will get fucking sick of them and B) the whole thing feels rushed and I can’t enjoy a fucking cherry for it being a cherry.  Eating becomes a money saving technique instead of the pleasure it should be.  It is like a fucking game show and I have to prove to everyone that I can do it, both eat cherries in a money-saving fashion and the fact that I can buy cherries in the first place, that I can handle the social responsibility of fruit ownership.  I can’t handle all that.  To plan my life out that much is hell.

I want to pick what I want to eat when I want to eat it and not have to worry.  To shop just for the day.  Is that possible?  Is that a thing that people do?  Is it less expensive or more expensive?  I don’t know other people’s (people who shop for one) grocery shopping habits.

Also everything seems unhealthy.  Everything.  I feel like I am being lied to by every object there, like there is some disconnect somewhere but I don’t know where.

I need to shower.  The fussiness is taking over again.

8:34 pm

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6 July 2011 - 10:27 pm - Wednesday

The ideal grocery shopping situation for me would be very similar to the television show “Chopped”.  Each meal, I would have a basket of minimal yet different and exotic ingredients that would be selected by someone else.  However, I would need to have some instructions for preparing certain items because all I know how to do is boil shit and use the microwave.  I can grill a little.

But there is a creativity-supressing aspect from the grocery store, a monotony that impedes my usual thinking.  Take peanut butter for example.  Everyday, every moment, there is peanut butter available on the exact same shelf.  It was like that yesterday and it will be like that tomorrow.  The same companies have existed for years printing the same labels on slightly altered jars with slightly altered logos.  It never changes.  If you want peanut butter right fucking now, if you crave it, you can get it right now.  You can picture in your head right where it is on the shelf in whatever aisle in whatever grocery store you shop in.  You could sleepwalk there and back and the cashiers wouldn’t even know the difference.  Tell me where the originality is in that.  How can I create when I have everything available all the time?

Do I want peanut butter right now?  No.  Would I want it in an hour?  I have no fucking idea.  The ideal grocery store would be one that constantly changes all the time in order to facilitate a cultural imagination and best suit my personal mentality.  Maybe one day, or a week, or weeks or months, or from 4 am to 2 pm on a wednesday, they will not have any peanut butter.  Maybe they will only have an organic peanut butter that naturally separates.  Or maybe just Skippy extra chunky, but only four jars of it and it is in the freezer.

Bottom line: I am scared of getting my life into a routine for fear that it will make me feel alone.  Routine and monotonous life styles show no promise for betterment or even detriment.  It just plainly exists, stalking carefully planned grocery aisles.

I was the first person to lose Risk.  I betrayed a lot of people and died a brutal death.  it was quite fun.

When I got out of the shower a bit ago, a thought jumped into my head.  Would I be as paranoid as I am now if 9/11 never happened?  I am concerned about terrorism as much as everyone else; that is not one of my main concerns.  But did my fear of everything stem from the society that 9/11 has created, a suspicious yet somewhat brash America?  I’m not afraid of the bomb.  Fuck it.  I’m a little afraid of the bomb.  I feel like it is more of a question of “when” than “if”.  Fuck it regardless.  But has the nature of how our post-9/11 society affected me as a human being?  If you put it like that, it is hard to argue against.

The Rileys and I just had a full conversation about other related things during that last paragraph.  There were other ideas that I forgot about.  There is water at the bottom of the ocean.

In South Dakota, we saw a billboard for Mt. Rushmore that read “As seen in Disney’s ‘National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets’”.  That should not be why people should know Mt. Rushmore.  But it is very funny.  This country is great.  Horrifying sometimes.  But great.

12:01 am

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7 July 2011 - 8:44 pm - Thursday

We came down to the store to feed off their wifi for a little bit but apparently something is going on here, another band I assume.  Willie Nelson is playing here in Big Sky soon.  Not now though.  This band sounds like they make closing-credit songs for television shows on the Home and Garden Channel.

This trip is coming to its end (it has been very fun and well worth doing (that sounds as if I am trying to convince myself that but I’m not)).  I realize that I am going to make my last trip with my car, the Mystery Machine.  When we get back to Louisville, I will be picking up my new car, another Jeep Patriot 2011, black.  I am going to name it Three Dog.

It is somewhat sad because I have been all over the country with this car.  [The following may seem familiar because I used part of it in my car’s eulogy that I posted on the Compass earlier this year]  On our last trip to Sarasota just a week or so ago, I broke 100,000 miles.  This car has been my sanctuary.  It has housed my family, my friends, our first Bonnaroo team when our tent failed, my belongings from school, my panic attacks, my garbage, my DEVO hat that rolled around in the trunk for a full year, snacks from Danielle’s mom when I couldn’t handle Vermont, and infinite amount of cd purchases, people who I will never see again, enemies, make-up in the fabric of the ceiling of the passenger seat, parking tags, steam drawings on the windows, a court order, anger and loneliness, understanding.  That car is my home and my best friend and this will be our last ride.  It is time for things to continue bit I will always keep an ear x-tacy bumper sticker on the bottom left part of my back window in its honor.

This band turned out to be a blues band.  Nothing great.  They are no Buddy Guy and Junior Wells.

Today I saw something that I have only heard rumors about its existence from my mother.  While in a liquor store in Belgrade, I saw a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, apparently the fucking overlord of bourbon.  It was $230 and one day, I will have my very own.  I also touched a $550 bottle of scotch that was aged for 70 years I think.  Some people don’t even live that long.  That bottle has lived a full life and dammit, I want one.  One day.

I did end up getting a pint of Woodford Reserve so my next entry tonight should be quite interesting.

9:16 pm

[There was no entry that night.  The next entry was on July 20, 2011, my first entry from here in Chevy Chase, Maryland, which is featured on the Compass post “Metro Sketches”]

Tuesday Tidbit: Musical Medley

Howdy to all of you! I hope that you have been enjoying the first few days of fall. For this week’s links post, I didn’t create as much of a unifying theme as I did for my last post, which focused mostly on Ariana Richards. Instead, I have four cool musical things for you to check out. Please, leave some comments in response to these links!

1) I have a ReverbNation page for my music. Recently, a band called Kulture Kill added me as a fan. I was initially skeptical, thinking a band with such an alliterative name would not be appealing to me — but I am impressed. Do not fear the metal tag. This is excellent hard rock from Louisiana, and you might find yourself banging your head ever so slightly.

2) Speaking of southern underground musicians, check out this video from Carey Murdock. I first discovered him when he came with his band NoStar to Mojo 13 in Delaware. It was a summer open mic night, and I was taken with his graciousness and energy. It seems there have been a few changes with his music recently, so there’s no better time than now to discover this great tune. I see and hear a little bit of Springsteen and Tom Waits in this song, “Shot In the Dark.”


3) You don’t have to write a song to be an original musician. Check out ELEW’s work. He plays a style of music he calls “Rockjazz.” Whatever the name, it sounds rad and dynamic. Play his instrumental covers of “Mr. Brightside” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and appreciate a fresh take on these well-known tracks.

4) I’ve recently become obsessed with the classic show The Adventures of Pete and Pete. What makes this show so great, nearly twenty years later? The inspiring brotherhood of the Petes; the greatest superhero to wear red and blue; Ellen Hickle, the most beautiful dot there ever was; the absurdity found seeping throughout the show like so much Orange Lazarus. But what may be the most wonderful aspect of the show was its soundtrack. Every episode featured some great indie and alternative songs. Obviously, the theme song and other pieces by Polaris were outstanding and, most likely, are the most memorable. The more I think about it, the more I realize that the ’90s had some great tunes; I submit this one as proof.


Special bonus link!

5) I’m not quite a quarter-century old, but I have to use two hands to count the number of people I know who have had or will soon have babies. I fear for them, because they are in a world where George Lucas is actively trying to destroy everything good and beautiful about the Star Wars trilogy. With the coming Blu Ray releases, it’s easy to lose hope in seeing anything wonderful or artistically honest in the Star Wars universe again. But trust in the Force, because Brandon Peat and his wife, Emma, have created 26 delightful images for you and the babies in our lives. They decorated their son’s room with alphabetical artwork featuring characters from the original trilogy and expanded universe. The photos elicit the same joy that I had when I first saw Luke, Leia and Han fight the Empire. While Lucas slowly contorts himself into a real-life Emperor Palpatine, I’m comforted in knowing that there are creative people out there like Brandon and Emma keeping the original spirit alive.

-Paul