notes from
the MUCK . . .

How does your garden grow? With muck, muck and more muck! I spent much of today finishing the final muck box and then shifting muck from one box to the next. The first box, which the Big Lad is enthusiastically pointing out, has been rotting down for two years now and once we’d removed the top quarter of unrotted material, we found we’d hit the pay dirt.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Who Knew?

Apparently, if you bathe Kevin Federline and give him a shave, he becomes ER's Noah Wyle. I'll be damned.

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Smile

You're not injured bad

All the News That's Fit to Print

With all that's going on in the world today, it's good to see that our national news media is on top of things. First there was the New York Times last week, interviewing 50 people and providing a lengthy front-page analysis of the state of Bill and Hillary Clinton's marriage. The conclusion? The Clintons spend an average of 14 days per month together. What this information has to do with anything, I can't begin to guess.

Meanwhile, CNN yesterday was running a restrospective on the one year anniversary of the Natalee Holloway's disappearance in Aruba. Again, why this was a national story in the first place is beyond me.

Determined not to be outdone by the Times' panty-sniffing and CNN's obsession with missing white women, the Washington Post today proves that its vacuity is second to nobody's by devoting some two thousand words to the subject of wingmen. "You know the wingman," The Post tells us. "He's the guy who accompanies his buddy to a bar to help him pick up babes. He does whatever it takes to give his friend some time alone with the girl of choice: telling flattering lies about him, enticing away the sidekick girlfriend, running interference at the approach of a rival male." From there, we're treated to a series of interviews with apparently retarded GW students, who seem to have watched one too many beer commercials. Some choice bits:
Occasionally, both guys will walk over to the target at the same time. More frequently, the wingman makes the first flyby. Say the target has arrived with another young woman who, like Pouty Girl, would not win any beauty contests. "The wingman talks to that girl," Waclawiczek says, "and the girl that your friend is after is like, 'Oh, what's going on? Why isn't he talking to me?' That's when your friend moves in."
Like, WTF?
Duties of the wingman: He must be decent-looking but not too handsome, or the lead man will end up being the wingman. He must be sociable, able to move the conversation forward or back off, depending on how the lead is doing. It helps if he can gather intelligence on the girl early in the evening, sense whether his buddy has a chance and impart that wisdom privately before the offensive starts.
Offensive indeed.

Honestly, reading this article, I didn't know whether to despair for these motards who apparently need the assistance of a posse to get laid (in college of all places!) or for our media, which seems to be slipping farther and farther into inanity with each passing day.

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Excellent News

From M. Ward's website:
At last, M. Ward has finished the recording of the follow-up to Transistor Radio. Its called Post-War and will be available at the end of August - more details and tour announcements coming soon....
For those who are new to the Muck, M. Ward's last album was declared to be the second-best album of 2005 (by Yours Truly) and the 8th best album of 2005 (by Jeff).

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Star Wars (Robot Chicken)

The best part is the "24" style ring...

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Nesty Man

Timothy Treadwell this may not be, but in the UK the most dangerous creature is an angry wasp or a disgruntled badger, so we go with what we can get. Colin Watson ended up dieing interacting with nature the way he loved best, not cavorting with grizzly bears, but stealing bird's eggs from nests. Still, I believe there's a story here of obsession, devotion and eventual martyrdom, one that may well beat Treadwell's for "perversion of expertise and talent", if not grandeur.

Colin Watson was revered by British Bird experts as being one of the most knowledgeable individuals when it came to our feathered friends, and now his obsession has led to his death. From childhood Watson was obsessed with not just the birds themselves, but with their eggs and nests. Bought up in a time that saw nothing wrong with "blowing eggs" (sucking out the contents with a straw), Watson was marginalised by our expanding appreciation that such practises were destructive to the bird population, and he was fined numerous times after authorities found 2000 eggs in house which he shared with his disabled son.

This appears to me to be a very sad story; Watson was 63 when he died. He lost his grip as he climbed a 40 ft tree, fell to the floor, and was pronounced dead at the scene. Some may say he got what he deserved, but it does not seem that he did this out of a desire to earn money, but was fuelled by an obsessional neurosis that eventually led to him climbing his last tree. Graham Madge, of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), had this to say of Watson;

"This is a very tragic incident, but Colin Watson's misuse of his great knowledge was also a tragedy...He undoubtedly knew more about birds than many of our own people, but his egg collecting put the very species he hunted in danger. It was in the true sense of the word a perversion of expertise and talent."

I'd like to take this moment to dwell on the life of Watson, his existance as a power station worker illuminated by the hunt for and collection of birds eggs, his home over flowing with empty eggs that prevented generations of birds from taking to the skies, his ongoing battle with authorities, and perhaps a perpetual wrestling match between his actions and his conscience.

Be careful up them trees people, and keep a firm grip.


No laws preventing you from stealing these eagle's eggs, hurry hurry hurry!!


Source: The Guardian

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Friday Random Ten (Special Bob Dylan Edition)

In honor of the man's 65th birthday on Wednesday, this week's Random 10 is all Dylan:

10. Song to Woody
9. Black Crow Blues
8. Things Have Changed (live)
7. Fixin' to Die
6. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat (alternative take)
5. Tell Me That It Isn't True
4. Obviously Five Believers
3. Froggie Went A-Courtin'
2. Talking World War III Blues
1. Don't Fall Apart On My Tonight

Can there be any doubt about which one I'm gonna post?

Froggie Went A-Courtin' (click to download). Brilliant.

Happy Birthday, Bob!

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New Addition to the Masthead

Borat at Cannes:


Much more here.

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Christmas Gifts?

Check out these McFarlane Lost toys that are in development. Unfortunately, Sayid - perhaps the one character most deserving of an action figure (besides Eko) - will not be released with the first batch. I wonder how much would it cost for McFarlane to make toys for Notes From the Muck?

Here's the Charlie figure. Remember when he used to write that weird shit on his hands? I wonder if it comes with a miniature Mary statue full of miniature heroin.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Case closed

Paul McCartney and his wife are separating; naturally the press is eager to ensure the process is done with as much civility and dignity as possible and has begun estimating just how much Heather will get from Paul.

Principles of equity would dictate that the dosh will be split 50/50, not bad when you consider ol' "Macca" has a personal fortune estimated to be around 825 MILLION quid. Not bad at all.

However, the dent in Paul's massive wad may be far less substantial because he is a genius; divorce lawyer Alan Kaufman explains:

"In the big money cases, especially where there are long marriages, the courts have upheld that instead of going 50/50, if there was a special contribution from one half and that was built up by a uniquely creative element, or genius, the other half would get less than 50%."

Hey, I like the beatles pretty much, they did some great stuff. But McCartney a genius? I'd like to see that argued in court, and may I present exhibits A and B to support the argument against the cheeky rolly eyed one; dude fell down a hole, and The fucking Frog Song. Next.




"we said we'd stand together Paul, you never mentioned this, YOU NEVER MENTIONED THIS!!!"

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Notes From The Muck: Defcaf Edition


Over the past few days our very own Matthew has stopped drinking caffeine almost entirely, which is to say that's he's successfully knocked regular coffee from his daily diet. Those who know him realize that this is no small feat. Perhaps he'll blog something about it. In any case, inspired by his contention that he actually feels better off the stuff, I'm going to follow his lead.

My relationship with caffeine has been a fairly tumultuous one. When I was a kid, I drank sodas contantly. Unfortunately, I also had a heart defect that sent me to the emergency room once because I drank too much Mountain Dew. After that, I was much more careful and I certainly never drank any coffee. It was like the Black Death to me.

Then, when I was 17, I underwent an operation that "cured" me of my heart problem. You're free to drink whatever you want, the doctors told me. My love affair with coffee coincided with this single event.

These days, I drink a few cups each morning. That may not sound like much, but I'm pretty susceptible to caffeine and that amount is definitely enough to get me wired. It's extremely difficult for me to function without coffee. This fact is unsettling, but what's worse is the general anxiety I sometimes feel after I crash in the evenings. Caffeine is definitely a drug that affects different people in different ways, and sometimes I worry that I shouldn't drink it at all due to my former heart problem. At the very least, putting so much of any drug into your body every day is simply not natural.

I used to try and go for a couple of days each week without coffee just to cleanse my system a little. I no longer do this. Matt's experience, however, has encouraged me to give it up all together for a while to see if I feel better and healthier. If not, I'll probably go back to drinking it every day. It's worth a shot, I think.

I'm going to do this cold turkey, so tomorrow will be likely be the biggest challenge. If you get tired of me saying that "I feel like ass," kindly remember that I'm going through withdrawals and, if you feel so inclined, offer to do something nice for me to make the transition easier. I enjoy movies, books, the color red, and trips to exotic locales.

I don't think Ben drinks much caffeine, so with Matt and I off the coffee, that virtually makes Note From the Muck a caffeine-free zone.

And you thought we couldn't possibly get any more boring.

Adsense Nonsense (Notes From The Muck Sell Out)

So it's gotta be pretty easy making money by putting ads on your site, right? Everywhere I go, I see ads just waiting for me to guess whose legs those are or to punch out Osama Bin Laden. Clearly someone is clicking on those things even if I never do. Blogger makes it even easier for you to supplement your income with ad money by offering Adsense right on the template page of your dashboard.

Due to the recent increase in visits to our site (which, in turn, is due to some enigmatic relationship between Notes From the Muck and an Andre The Giant image), I thought I'd give advertising a shot. I do like money, after all. And now you know why there's an ad banner at the top of the page.

I never expected to make any real money doing this, but I have long been curious about how much one can actually make through Adsense. To find out, I went to another amateur blog with Adsense and discovered an article on this very topic. Complete with graphs and everything.

Here's a graph of the monthly Adsense income in 2005 at Steve Pavlina's site:



Those are dollars on the left there, btw. A remarkably steady growth, no? Since the dollars follow the traffic, the surge in income must correspond to an increase in visits to his site. As it turns out, this is indeed what happened.

Hmm...an increase in visitors, eh? Kind of like us!! Big up Andre!

So let's take a look at how many visits Steve Pavlina receives each month and compare them to our own numbers. Here's another graph for his site, in number of visits for 2005:




Ok, so this guy is clearly in a different league. In Feb. he was making about $55 and had around, um, 80,000 visits.

Steve Pavlina: 80,000 visits
Last month's NFTM total: 1900 visits

Let's do some math, shall we?

$55 /80,000 = $0.0006875 per visit

Now let's apply that number to NFTM's traffic:

$0.0006875 x 1900 = $1.31

Split three ways amongst our contributors, that's a whopping $.44 per month at our current level of traffic!!

Actually, probably not even. We only get money if you guys actually click on those ads, and the chances of that are mighty slim. But fuck it - I'll leave it up for a month or two and post a follow up to see how close my prediction comes to reality.

PS - No, we don't get any money if you decide to donate for hurricane relief. Our site still has to be approved and until it is there will only be PSA's up there. The fun part of all this will be to see what sort of ads appear since it's apparently based on the conclusions bots make about our content.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Ernest Hemingway Wore Khakis

The Lost Generation. It must all come down to that. For the life of me, I can't figure out what else I'm supposed to take home from The Sun Also Rises. Sure, there's Hemingway's anorexic style, which I've experienced before in his short stories. This was the first of Papa's novels that I've read. Unfortunately, after much deliberation, I'm afraid I'm going to have to throw some Haterade at this one. Set me straight if you can. You know where to leave your comments. On to the book:

First of all, I can't abide bullfighting. It's barbaric and wrong. To read Hemingway's hypocritically reverent descriptions of the beasts and their slaughter leaves me nauseated. It's a big part of the book, and a big part of why I didn't like it. Sue me.

Second of all, there's the apparent pointlessness of it all. Have I missed something? This is where the "lost generation" comes into play. That was the phrase given by Gertrude Stein to the post-war expatriots who desperately searched for culture and meaning in a changing world. In The Sun Also Rises, their search is fruitless. Most of the time Hemingway's characters are either drunk or complaining. No one is happy. The closest anyone seems to get is when they reach out and connect with Nature, as if civilization can no longer offer any real fulfillment.

As an exploration of this disillusionment, The Sun Also Rises deserves nothing but praise. The precise, simplistic prose is perfectly suited to the shallowness of its characters, and often times the most powerful sentiments lie in what isn't said. This was the genius of Hemingway, right? I think I get that now. What I don't understand, however, is how this book has remained relevant (or maybe it hasn't, I don't know). What I do know is that there is nothing in the book, aside from the style, that surprises or enlightens me. I guess it just feels dated to me. What Hemingway and his peers seem to lament, I simply take for granted. A sad truth, yes, but an unavoidable one. The societal ideals of pre-World War I America are so far removed from everything I have experienced in life, I wonder why the brats in this novel haven't adjusted. I find myself wanting to reach into the book and shake the characters by their shoulders while yelling "grow up already!" Of course, my adaptability to a "things fall apart" environment surely grew out of the cultural contributions made by the likes of Stein, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald. Perhaps at the time of its publication, The Sun Also Rises was partly responsible for illuminating a Zeitgeist no one yet fully understood. I'm not saying it was never a great book - I just think it loses its impact on a modern reader. This is in stark contrast to the first two books on my reading list, Don Quixote and Darkness at Noon, both of which feel posses a timeless quality missing from The Sun Also Rises.

I'm not giving up on Hemingway. As I said, the style and execution of the book is brilliant (despite a number of Dick and Jane type descriptions of hills and trout). There are certainly other works of his that I might be able to engage with on a more meaningful level. On the other hand, I find myself wondering why I hold such an unpopular opinion about this book. Seriously, if anyone can shed light on aspects of the novel that I just didn't get, let me know. The whole point of this project is to learn, and I've got to maintain an open mind in order for that to happen.

Next up: Rabbit, Run by John Updike

Politics Upside Your Head

You're young. You're ambitious. You're idealistic. You want to change the world, make it into a better place to live. You hate what happens in it yet you love what it could and should be. You want to show the world how shit it is and how good it could be, you want to take photographs of orphans crying for their mothers who have been killed by stray mortar bombs, of primary school children picking up the semi automatic weapons of their fallen friends and family to fight against a regime whose name they cannot even spell, of the ever decreasing rain forest, of the ever expanding chain of fast food restaurants, of the grey acrid smoke of a billion livelihoods going up in flame...all this and more...but you must wait, you must wait.

You are given a job in your native Prague covering politics. Politics is mostly boring, and there's not many photo opportunities, but these are the people charged with running our cities, our nations, our world. They have the power to do so much good but all too often they are too scared, greedy, ignorant, or just plain bad, to do anything but pull us deeper into the mire.

Your first assignment? Covering a meeting of disgruntled dentists. This is how disillusionment starts, but that's no reason not to be professional. You load your camera, get the approbate flashes, take the light readings, and get yourself in the best position you can. You look around you and sigh at the faces of the other more senior cameramen around you; old and greying, their eyes betray the dullness of the events they have had to cover, the light, the inspiration that led them to take pictures, has been long lost in the various civic halls, luncheon meetings and supermarket openings they have been forced to attend. The carrot of meaningful work has long since vanished, a free lunch is the best they can hope for now...You will not be like them, you will not be like them....Shit.

The meeting starts, the former Deputy PM, a right wind trod, announces that he has some private business to see to before he starts his speech. He leaves the podium, stands behind his rival, the Government's health minister, and slaps him hard round the back of the head; this is greeted with applause. The slapped minister stands motionless for sometime, makes to leave, then comes back for a professional wrestling style slanging match, the slapee goes for another hit, it is blocked, and a toe to toe bout of fisticuffs ensues.

You finish your film on the fight, and leave, safe in the knowledge the story will provide a message of despair and hope to the rest of the world; you can hear the orphans crying already...

Friday, May 19, 2006

Happy May 19th....Oh jesus,..shit no, NO, my EYES!!!

Why happy May 19th? Why indeed. Well I suggest you tell the boss you're not coming in, warn your loved ones and family, and settle in for a marathon game of snakes and ladders behind closed locked doors....

Again, WHY?

Because the movie, See No Evil is out today. It's a slasher flick about some big guy in a deserted house who plucks out people's eyes because of his religon. Fun. Why do I know the date? Because this is a WWE movie, starring Kane, a big wrestler on WWE. Every time he has a match, he seems to be fighting some inner demons* who remind him of the date May 19th. He even beat up his tag team partner Big Show, over the whole May 19th thing, and cut his eye. Serious stuff. Then his co-stars came on the show, and one of them was foolish enough to utter the day...he was choked on screen.

This is all very funny, unsubtle marketing, hey; it works for me. But seriously, this is meant to be a pretty fun film...Ain't it cool news gives it the big thumbs up (stupid thumbs, how do they separate them from other dumb animals, a chimp wouldn't do such a thing).

Anywho; you may mock, but you cannot say you have not been warned. Hope you all get to see the weekend.


Love scenes on "See No Evil" were tempered by Kane's bashfulness meaning there would be no tongue silhouette's like in Top Gun



* They engulf the arena in redlights, and a voice over (his inner voices) utter the words "may 19, may 19" over an over in a creepy voice.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Making a stand here...

No. More. Circumcisions.


EVER.

Clue Update

So players (Jeff), here's the clue to Movie Said What? competition.

combine what this is:















with this:













Get to it...

"Fast Food Nation" Trailer

If you can still eat fast food without a guilty conscience, then chances are you haven't read Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation. It's a remarkable book for a number of reasons. Not only is it just as disgusting as you would expect, but it does a superb job of illuminating the nature and problems of globalism (i.e., how McDonald's took over the world).

Anyways, Richard Linklater has made a dramatic film based on the book which will be competing at Cannes this year. I have come to sort of hate Morgan Spurlock and his mustache, and I wasn't very impressed with "Super Size Me"...so for my money this could be the first great film on the topic of fast food (unless "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle" counts).

And what a delicious topic it is.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Goodnight sweet world

Well, I think the wig/head mystery has taken a turn for the freaky worst. They've found a piano at the top of Britains tallest mountain, Ben Nevis. No-body knows how it got there, why we haven't seen it till now, but I think it's clear to reader's of the muck that the net is shrinking and there's no-where left for me to run now.

What I need is an ally. An ally I can trust and train to be my eyes is essential, but who, what? One of London't parrots? No, they fly exclusively in pairs, I couldn't trust two of them, I need a sole ally...and one who can't betray me by using any human language...hmmmm, stay tuned.

Piano on the moutain, squirrels bullying me off benches, this may be my last post. If so, it's been fun, and hey, don't cry too much about the Movie Said What Feature...

More later.

Holy Fucking Shit


Why didn't anyone tell me that John Locke was THE STEPFATHER?!?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Movie said what?

Well, I think everyone's cheating, but what they hey. I'm watching a movie right now; anyone gets this by the time it finishes (about 1 hour, probabaly less from now, 17.46 ET) then they will be richly rewarded....After that, no googling. I'll post an update when the amnesty is over and the clues begin.

"It's not wooly...nobody feels wooly".

Quick quick quick. Scores; Jeff 1, Katy 1; everybody else; big fat chicken egg (Niki still has kudos for winning assasins though).


's right. No-one feels wooly, not even me.

_______________


Update; As of now, you can't google, and I'll be thinking of clues. Good luck.

Another Blog No One Will Care About

But that hasn't stopped me before, has it?

Anyway, at least this time I bring good news.

To myself.

And to Niki.

Here's the badassness from TV Guide:

It's Official: Veronica Mars Renewed...
Straight from the horse's mouth, Rob Thomas just e-mailed me to confirm that Veronica Mars has been renewed for a third season. The show got a 22-episode order that, depending on ratings, can be reduced to 13.

You may remember my previous post on this topic. I was sincerely worried the show would get cancelled. I was worried because it is a good show, and I would hate to see it go off the air. Now here's a question that's been on my mind lately: would it somehow be more appropriate in today's times if the show I was worried about was actually a crappy show? Is there an uncool factor associated with genuinely good pop culture? Does anyone else get the sense that while we are no longer stuck in that horrid age of "it's-so-bad-it's-good" and "i-don't-really-like-Charlie's-Angels-but-i'm-still-gonna-wear-this-t-shirt," we haven't exactly moved past it, either? Instead, I think we've transcended it and ventured into an all new galaxy of crap fetish. It isn't irony anymore, folks - the shit has hit the fan, and people are lining up with their mouths open.

Why do I feel so lame talking sincerely about something that I sincerely think is sincerely good? Why do I feel like something is wrong with me because I actually despise reality shows and prefer real movies to bad movies that happen to be winking at you while they suck?

It isn't intelligence, that's for sure. I'm not an idiot, but I'm not the smartest person I know, either. I have plenty of bright peers who continue to support garbage like MTV, reality shows, and gossip rags. Hell, I support a lot of it myself. I'm not so much condemning people for having a good time with this stuff as I am lamenting the big picture of how dominant the bullshit has become over the gems.

Somehow, quality has become the guilty pleasure. There's no shame anymore about talking for hours, loudly, in public, about shows or music that no one would have even copped to liking at all ten years ago. In fact, people don't even shy away from calling this stuff good. Great, even. And they fucking mean it. But if you're vocal about your love for something that's well written and original, you are likely to face a barrage of negative comments from people who fancy themselves smarter than those darned elitist critics. Nothing turns off the smarties more than buzz about how good something is, whether it's actually good or not. Suddenly, everyone's a genius who can see through the hype. But paradoxically, buzz does nothing to harm the appeal of some all out craptastic junk food for the brain.


I really hope this little rant doesn't sound snobby. Maybe this is progress. I'm actually all for not being ashamed of one's tastes. I'm just a little pissed that discerning, smart people can be so enthusiastic about something like American Idol, but have no problem waxing uber-cynical about a show that might be flawed, but is still ten times better than 90% of the alternatives.

I'm afraid the worst has happened. I'm afraid that America's anti-intellectualism has started to infect the intellectuals. And they don't even know it. Their cultural barometers are so fucked up they can't tell what's what anymore.

Everyone just take a step back. Now think. Is [insert sucky to mediocre show, movie, song etc.] actually, honestly, genuinely good? Don't answer too quickly, now. It's perfectly alright to like it, to love it even, but is it GOOD? The next thing you need to do is ask yourself why you're so goddamned opposed to [insert flawed but much better than average show, movie, song, etc.]. I may be out on a limb here, but it seems almost like you'd rather say something good about the bad thing, and bad about the good thing, than to say anything good about the good thing at all.

This is how George W. Bush got elected, you know?

Don't get too upset - I'm not asking you to give up your delicious brain candy, here I certainly don't want anyone to take away my daily Superfical and Egotastic visits (oh how I love them). I'm just calling for a recalibration of our collective value system. It's time to re-embrace that which challenges, amuses, stimulates, engages, and entertains beyond the lowest common denominator. You CAN have your cake and eat your twinkie, too.

That is all.

Muck Of The Week

Monday, May 15, 2006

Don't call us...

We'll put you live on national tv and ask you questions on a subject you know nothing about...

A guy turned up to the BBC to interview for a job as some kind of IT dude. He ended up being interviewed about the Beatles/Apple court case. Look at the video, his face when he's introduced is beautiful.

Story from BBC

Friday Random Ten
(Special Copyright Infringement Edition)

OK, it's been a while since we played this game, but Jeff's recent discovery that we can post mp3s for others to download has breathed new life into the Random Ten.1 Frankly, the commentary bit was getting a little tiresome; there are only so many times one can tell the story of meeting David Bowie and The Pixies and still have it be totally awesome. So the new rules of the game will be a Random Ten, sans commentary, with one of the ten tracks being posted for download. It won't necessarily be the best song of the Random Ten that gets posted, but just the one that seems most worth sharing with our readers (both of you). Here goes:

Warren Zevon, Hasten Down the Wind
MC 900 Ft. Jesus, Bill's Dream
The Fugees, Some Seek Stardom
His Name Is Alive, Your Bones
Carole King, Chicken Soup With Rice
Blues Traveler, Warmer Days
Blues Traveler, But Anyway
Tony Bennett, Body and Soul
Sly & The Family Stone, I Get High On You
Marvin Gaye, What's Going On

Some interesting stuff here. I'm tempted to post Chicken Soup With Rice because it's one of the most obnoxiously infectious children's songs of all time, and I kind of like the idea of getting it stuck in everybody's head. I'm also tempted to post Warren Zevon because I've been telling Jeff he needs to listen to Warren Zevon. But while Hasten Down the Wind is a pretty song, I'm not sure it's the right one to start with. His Name Is Alive is supposed to be the Next Big Thing, but I'm not convinced. So I'm going with Sly & The Family Stone, because it's funky as hell, and maybe Jeff will be able to sample it. Click on the link below to (hopefully) bring up a dialogue box that will save the song:

I Get High On You

If it doesn't work, let me know in comments.

I'll leave it posted for a week or so. Buy it here.
__________

1 An informant also tells me that the powers that be don't mind if we just post an mp3 here or there, since the exposure to new music is likely to lead to increased consumption. However, in the unlikely event that my source has been misinformed on this matter, just email notesfromthemuck(AT)gmail.com and I'll remove all uploads.

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Music S.O.S.

Recently I acquired, for the first time in my life, a stereo that plays mp3 CD's. I subsequently told Matthew that this was a life changing event. OK, so maybe that was a bit of an overstatement. But only a bit.

I'm now faced with the "problem" of too many musical possibilities. Since I can fit over 150 songs on a single CD, how the hell do I take advantage of the opportunity?

Here's a solution, you might be thinking: GET A LIFE. Unfortunately, that's not likely to happen anytime in the near future. So the question remains - which songs do I put onto a disc?

I'm actually sort of anal about some things in my life, which may be hard for some of you to believe. Otherwise, I'd just throw whatever the fuck onto a CD and be done with it. Trust me, that's simply not an option. I'm not going to put, say, Destroyer on the same disc as MF Doom instrumentals without a good reason, OK. I'm just not.

I've taken to creating my own little collections based on certain themes, and so far this is working out pretty well. I've got a "soul" CD, which works because I really don't have very much of that anyway. I've also got a couple of hip hop "best ofs" that were easy enough to assemble. Then I got a little creative and made a "road trip" CD - songs about driving, as opposed to songs for driving. And now, I'm in the middle of my latest project, an "Athens music" compilation. As it turns out, 150 songs will just about cover what I have that's worth listening to, and it will be kind of cool hearing all that stuff back to back - sorta like a radio station devoted to a specific music town.

I've got a lot of my friends' music on there, as well as the good stuff from the big names: R.E.M., The B-52's, Neutral Milk Hotel, Vic Chestnutt. There's also a lot I'm missing. That's OK, though, as maybe some day I can make a second volume. What is unacceptable, however, is that I still don't have anything from one particular band that isn't very well known but was absolutely essential to the legendary Athens music scene of the 1980s, and to the alternative music genre in general: Pylon.

I've never heard Pylon. I have heard things from trusted sources. I had no idea, though, that you can't find their music on CD. The used stuff I've found ranges between $25 and $45. So far, I haven't been able to find it available for download, either. I'm probably not looking hard enough.

Which is where you come in. If anyone knows where I can get my hands on either a) Pylon's early albums, or b) some sort of greastest hits compilation, please let me know.

Lucius, I'm pretty much talking to you here.

In addition, if anyone has any mp3 compiling suggestions, throw them my way in the comment section. My CD player is hungry, and I'm way behind the times.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

You Might Be A Loser When...

...this is the best part of your Saturday night.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Friday. sweet.

Friday night, so I have pizza, two beers, a bit of wrestling, and hey, lets look if there are any google image people I know....not much doing. Let's google image me. Nowt doing. Ok, let's google image my surname.

Bingo.

This has been around for a little while, but it makes me feel proud.

Pop Quiz, Hot Shot

Q: Who is the highest paid actor in Hollywood, earning a cool $25 million for his next role?

A: Uh, someone from the cast of Speed?

Q: Wrong!

A: But the title of the post is a quote ---

Q: Wrong, I said. Guess again, please.

A: OK. Let's see...Who's big right now? It isn't Tom Cruise, is it?

Q: Nope. 51% of fans have turned their back on the most famous alien in Hollywood, refusung to support MI:3 on its opening weekend.

A: He is pretty crazy!

Q: Shut up.

A: Excuse me?

Q: Just guess again, Gomer.

A: My name isn't --

Q: Anyone ever tell you you've got crooked teeth, lard ass?

A: This game isn't any fun.

Q: Is that your final answer, short bus?

A: ...

Q: I'm just kidding. You can guess again if you like.

A: Uh...OK. Is it Johnny Depp?

Q: Wrong! Are you this bad at everything? The correct answer is...

A: ....?

Q: ...............

A: ??

Q: Ccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccc

A: Huh?

Q: cccccccccccccccccccc

A: Please stop.

Q: cccccccccccccchris Tucker. The answer is Chris Tucker.

A: For Rush Hour 3?

Q: Yep. Kinda shocking, isn't it?

A: I think my life is a miserable failure.

Q: You know what? I think you're right.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Song of the Day

Hopefully you should just be able to click on the link below to download the song. If this works, I'm going to try and make this a semi-regular feature on the site. I think Matthew might also incorporate mp3 posts into his Random Ten feature.

Since it's a dreary day, I decided on this pained, soulful number by O.V Wright for the first post. I only recently learned of Wright while visiting one of my favorite audio-blogs, Soul Sides. This song sounds like the real thing to me - a genuine expression of deep longing and love.

So go ahead and get out that bottle of whiskey you've been saving for a rainy day and check it out. Let me know what you think.

Eight Men, Four Women O.V. Wright

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Don't Let me Dooooooowwwwwwwwwnnnnnnn....

I like the Beatles fine, but Paul McCartney annoys me. This made me laugh out loud when I read it. And no, it's not about the Apple High Court case.

After a little research it seems like he had this coming though...

Case 1:

After a solo show of much smugness and self promotion, Paul resisted the urge to go straight to his dressing room without talking to anyone to look at his cheeky, chirpy cherubim like face from a new angle and spent some time with the support act to revel in his legendary status. Half a shandy later, Paul was reeling, misjudged a step, and would've landed flat on his back were it not for a strategically placed bouncy ball....don't worry Paul, you're time will come...

Case 2:


Paul was busy wowing the crowd when he decided to get up from the piano stool to do a little cheeky dance and wink at the camera mischievously. Upon returning to his stool he misjudged the distance somewhat and almost fell right on the floor. Luckily for him though his arse cheek managed to hold on for dear life and he was able to turn this millisecond of blind panic into a triumphant finale.

Paul was moved by both these close escapes; it is rumoured that he went straight home after this particular episode and wrote "The Frog Song" while still in the clutches of Lady Fate.


Ha.

HERE'S where we're going wrong...

While I lay awake last night pondering many things, I came upon the key to blog success; instead of writing witty, challenging, hilarious, stimulating posts (wait, they sound like good ideas, must try them out) we should choose a minor celebrity, find out their ebay purchases, and list them on the blog. Nothing else.

Sadly though, someone else beat us to it; Paul Daniel's Ebay Transactions; Paul was a pretty big magician over here sometime ago. His catch phrase was; "you're going to like this, not a lot....".

Now we'll always know that however good our blog gets there'll always be at least one out there that is better. This vexes me, but soon a small animal will die, and I'll feel important again.

Carry on.


Ben"puffy_face 72" Affleck realises too late that his bidding war with go_go_gadget_nosehair for a time machine has come to an end whilst he is making ANOTHER crappy movie...

Asshole

I'm not so much going to blog anymore as just post examples of George W. Bush being a total dickhead. Today's example comes to us via The Carpetbagger Report. Promoting his prescription drug plan,
[Bush] stopped by Broward Community College, where government officials set up tents and tables with laptops to help dozens of seniors there choose among the myriad plan options available.

Bush visited with some waiting in a courtyard where Frank Sinatra's "Young At Heart" played on the loudspeakers, then he went indoors where people were looking over the laptops. He walked around giving handshakes and hugs to those who rose for his entrance, and greeted a man who remained sitting in a wheelchair with, "You look mighty comfortable."
You look mighty comfortable in that wheelchair? Are you fucking kidding me?

Douchebag.

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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Ahh... Good Times

This just about says it all:
BERLIN (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush told a German newspaper his best moment in more than five years in office was catching a big perch in his own lake.

"You know, I've experienced many great moments and it's hard to name the best," Bush told weekly Bild am Sonntag when asked about his high point since becoming president in January 2001.

"I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5 pound (3.402 kilos) perch in my lake," he told the newspaper in an interview published on Sunday.
To which one can only respond: WTF?!?

I have to say this came as a suprise to me. I would have expected him to pick this as his best moment:


Story via Rising Hegemon

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Saturday, May 06, 2006

Hi honey, I'm home, JESUS SHIT!!!

I felt like this when I see the bastard cat has been in my garden again.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Bollocks

This post should have a picture of me smiling at the camera, probabaly with both thumbs up, and bleary eyed. The caption would read; Subject: Ben Casper Soesman; Location: My bedroom, Putney, London. Time/Date: 01:02:03/04:05:06.

I would've felt pretty clever, even though a stupid radio show pointed it out to me, but instead i chose to sleep. I realise that this may not work with U.S. people because y'all do the date month, day, year, and your chance to do this would've been April 5th, 1 day after the anniversary of MLK's murder.

Well, we only have to wait another hundred years, this could be your legacy to your great grandkids or something; everyone leave in your will a stipulation that no-one is entitled to your legacy unless they ensure that provisions are made for your most direct descendant to perform this duty.



Subject; Ben Casper Soesman Location; Grove St. Charlottesville, USA; Time/Date; LAME.

Cyborg of the Future

When I first developed a social life, I was well into my late teens and not very comfortable around others. I think my stiff mannerisms and speech patterns must have reflected that fact, because I was once lovingly dubbed "Jeff Reynolds, Cyborg of the Future" by my friends. For a brief while, there was even a mythos created around that moniker: the Cyborg of the Future was destined to compete for world dominance with the diabolical "Robert, Inc," another friend who is now studying at Georgia Tech. If I recall, I think Robert was supposed to win the epic battle and achieve global control. Now, no one even remembers that the Cyborg of the Future was once a powerful force to be reckoned with. People still talk about that damn Robert, Inc, though.

And that's just how I want it. Their prognostications were wrong, you see. As the preeminent Cyborg of the Future, my plan is much more devious than any have imagined. I will indeed allow Robert Inc. to "defeat" me in battle, and after doing so he will proceed with his plan to take over the globe with ruthless bottom line precision. Entire nations will be transformed into dedicated labor camps, and Robert will become the CEO of the world.

While he's steadily increasing his powers and perfecting eugenics, he will fail to realize that his nemesis was, in fact, never defeated at all. I will rise from the depths of the sea, or something like that, and immediately begin to secretly assemble my Androidal Army in a remote arctic location which no mortal can inhabit. One by one, I will build near perfect human replicas - robots that I will over time switch out with their counterparts in Robert,Inc's elite Board of Directors. And when the entire Board is under my command, we will stage the final coup and seize planet Earth right out from under Robert's thumb.

Don't believe me?

Why, construction has already begun.


MWA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HAHAHHAHAHAHAAHAHAHHAAHAHAHAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa....

Sincerely,

Cyborg of the Future






PS - Matthew better post something soon...things are clearly getting desperate.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Happy Biopic

I mean Birthday!!!!

Get down on it, Mr James Brown, 73 today!!!!!!!!!!

"MY GROIN!!!!"

Run

Jesus, I've been trying like mad to post this but even the internet is against me, against us; this is bad. In a nutshell, I don't think any one of us (three, two??) is safe, what's more, I think the blog is being used as a tool to track our every move.

You may recall I stumbled upon a mystery some time ago with a wig/decapitated head being paraded in the window of a house on my way to work. Casting aside the heavy and confining garment assumptions, I set forth on a little investigation, helped by Jeff and Niki. Things kind of died down, and last week I noticed that the house in question was missing the head/wig, and indeed seemed to be sans any signs of life. All windows were open as if to be aired for a new tenant; I should've taken photos to look for tell tale eyes peeping over the ledge at me...Ignorantly, foolishly,I let my guard down, and made an assumption in thinking that this story was over...

How wrong I was.

Niki picked up a mystery the other day; one half of a phone conversation overheard in NYC which went like this (dude is whispering):

I heard that if you inject enough [mumblemumble]into his bloodstream, in a couple of hours, the coroner can't tell the cause of death!...Uh huh, uh huh ...I know, baby, I know....Yeah, I know. But baby, will you be my alibi?
--F train

I thought a lot about what kind of story lay behind that conversation, and when I put two and two together to reach the conclusion that my wig/head collector was in NYC I feared for stateside readers of the Muck; the hunters have become the hunted...

Then I walked to work this morning and was greeted by....THE WIG/HEAD, looming down on me from its lofty post. "SHIT", I thought, I've been found out completely. It was a shaky Ben that retreated to the Graveyard this lunch time to try and recollect myself and get my head round what was unfolding. That's when things got ugly.

Sitting in my usual bench, I tried to enjoy the spring sunshine, patting myself on the back (literally, I do do that) for remembering my sunglasses. I began eating my pie when a grey squirrel appeared from a nearby weeping willow. It boldly scuttled up to me and stared intensely at my food, all the time drawing closer and closer. I rustled the bag and it darted away, only a few feet though, before it began closing in again. I felt like I could handle the squirrel, but then two more turned up, circling me; I could only deter one at a time with my rustling, which was getting more desperate as they drew ever nearer. Soon one would be within range to go for the food and I conceded defeat to mother nature and shifted benches. They did not follow me, but frollicked freely on my former seat. Maybe it was because of the squirrel cull that is planned for the greys whose existance threatens the native red. I'd like to believe that, but in reality, I believe that the squirrels are a part of this somehow; they're done with the red and are focused on a higher prize, and I can't for the life of me think how or why...

My status now? Scared. You see any wigs in windows, over familiar rodents, corpses being injected with mumble mumble, you report here, or to Niki, you sit tight, and we fix this thing.

God speed.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Handsome is as Handsome Does

This was the fortune that greeted Mathew one lunchtime after a bout with the Dragon Lady. What the fuck?? was pretty much the response from all who heard it, and Mathew's shoulder's slumped as he realised the fortune demons had fucked him over again.

For some reason, I kept thinking about that fortune. Or rather, I was watching Paul Newman in something and my brain could not stop from morphing his face into Dubya's, I was scared by how small the leap was, but realised that, even though physically the two could be quite similar, there exists certain qualities, elements and stone cold facts that mean the latter is a cleft palleted toad in comparison to the latter. The fortune cookie was right; handsome is as handsome does.

I know that Dubya looks kind of chimp like but I think there does exist a resemblance with Paul Newman, one of the most attractive men of all time; even now, and he's 80. That's right, he's 80, we need to prepare ourselves. Anywho, look:





















Yeah, Newman's a little older here, but the structure, the features, they're pretty damn close. My first thought was one of horror; how could such a benchmark of studness be in anyway similar to Bush? I worried that my perception of Cool hand Luke, Butch, and Fast Eddie would somehow become diluted at best, polluted and starved of breath at worst. None of those things happened, because Paul Newman portrays characters who, although not always honest, define something essentially good. Bush, on the other hand, stands for ignorance, the vast chasm between the rich and the poor, willy nilly war mongering, and generally fucking up the world's resources of humanity.

This will be a (semi) regular feature on the Muck; I'll post people who may look pretty similar, but due to their actions and character, one is a guy you would like to punch, whereas another is one that not only would you not mind you're significant other jumping in the sack with, you'd actively encourage it...

Convoluted enough for you? Good, good.

Quixoticismology


"And yet, a peculiar, twisted sense of duty forced him to remain awake and continue the lost battle to the end-even though it were only a battle with windmills."
Darkness at Noon


Sometimes people ask me how my reading project is coming along, so I thought I'd post a brief update, along with some thoughts on the books I've read so far. Actually, I've only finished two out of the fifty, but I never said this was a race. Besides, one of the two was, like, real long and stuff.


Don Quixote

Miguel de Cervantes
translated by Edith Grossman

Often cited as one of, if not THE greatest novel of all time, Don Quixote provided me with a much different reading experience than I expected from a book written in 1605. I thought it would be a tedious and frequently boring, if ultimately rewarding, journey. Fortunately, Don Quixote is nothing short of an endless delight. William Faulkner supposedly read it at least once a year, and he was able to do that because the novel is so rich in offerings that returning to it again and again is bound to reward the reader with new discoveries each time. In addition to the familiar story of a mad farmer who imagines himself to be a gallant knight, Cervantes spices up the tale with countless little Shakespearean-like vignettes and characters that are themselves little nuggets of genius. And, of course, there's the greatest character of them all, the "amusing" squire, Sancho Panza.

There's a great deal to say about this book, but this isn't the time or place. Please read it so I can have someone to discuss it with. Some details that might surprise you:

1) Don Quixote is not an idiot - he's simply insane. When it comes to anything outside of his knight errantry delusions, he's actually quite brilliant. The speeches he delivers throughout the novel are full of quotable bits of wisdom on par with Shakespeare's monologues. Sancho, on the other hand...

2) The windmill thing only takes up, like, 3 pages. It's far from the funniest example of his lunacy.

3) Don Quixote is considered the first "modern novel." While I'm not entirely sure what that means, or why it matters, I was definitely impressed with how self-aware and ironic the text is. For example, the novel is actually two books, the second part having been written ten years after the first. In it, all the characters have read, and make frequent reference to the first part. Cervantes was very keen on playing with notions of fantasy and reality, and the motif extends well beyond the realm of his central character.

So yeah, it's a great book. If you decide to read it, I highly recommend the Grossman translation. She took a simpler approach to the language than most, arguing (I think correctly) that Cervantes never intended to alienate his reader with lofty verbiage, so why should English readers not have the same sense of immediacy when they read the work today? Besides, Castilian Spanish has changed so little in the past four hundred years compared with English, sp that even a modern Spanish speaking reader isn't going to have to struggle with archaic expressions and syntax. Grossman writes with economy and style, allowing the wit of Cervantes to shine through brilliantly.

Darkness at Noon
Arthur Koestler

Matthew suggested that I add this book to my list, and I thank him for that. Again, the experience I had with it was very different than what I expected. Given the subject matter, I thought I was in for an endless cerebral discourse on politics and totalitarianism, with the characters serving as little more than stand-ins for various ideologies. While all of that was true on some level, the book has much more of a heart than I anticipated. It's peopled with very real figures, and it is ultimately, in fact, quite a page turner.

In this 20th century tale of a lone man struggling with morals in an immoral political environment, I was also surprised to find not only references but similarities to Don Quixote. Rubashov's impossible fight against the establishment he helped to define is a grand example of a modern quixotic battle. Like Don Quixote, Rubashov's tragic flaw is his inability to live in a world he cannot accept. They are anachronisms, operating as if their codes and philosophies were still worth a damn in the realities they inhabit. Though they waiver, neither of these characters can allow themselves to totally abandon the guiding principles they have embraced so tightly, for that would mean total self-destruction. Ironically, the tighter they grip their respective world views, the more they shape their surroundings into places where they need their beliefs the most. In this way, they grow more crippled and incapatable, their antiquated ideals serving as their only crutch.

Another surprising thing about Darkness at Noon is how much it resonates in contemporary America. I found myself pausing after many of the passages to think about the current administration, and about the changes to our political milieu since September 11, 2001. There are plenty of useful insights in this little book, and I came away with the unsettling feeling that maybe this isn't such a unique period in history after all.


So far, then, I'm off to a great start. I hope most of the books on my list are as enjoyable, profound, and readable as these two.

Next up: Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Jimi Update

So, I was kind of wrong about the whole Tarantino thing; but I think it's still a good topic of conversation; who should play him? I always thought it would be Andre 3000, who was, till this weekend, my number one pick. Then I went to Brighton and heard what I thought to be a Hendrix cd being played over speakers mingling with the sea breeze.

I was wrong.

It was a live performance, and the Jimi "impersonator" could not have looked more like him if he had tried...he played like him, moved like him, sang like him...My assumption (I know, I've been trying to eliminate these from my life, but I'm human, I'm human) was that he was a stray lovechild or something...I excitedly snapped a few pictures with my phone, but the quality is not so great; i still think these grainy images show that the guy should be worthy of consideration.
He did play with his teeth, but in now way did i feel it contrived, it seemed natural, it looked right. He jammed, the music was intense yet his voice floated effortlessly over the chords and frantic drumming; and of course that swagger, he had that swagger.

Coming up: George Bush and Paul Newman, Separated at Birth?