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‘The Game is Over’: Previously unreleased Ministry song from 1983
04:52 am


Al Jourgensen

In late 1983, after completing the With Sympathy tour, Ministry hunkered down at Pierce Arrow Recorders in Evanston, IL, to write and demo new music. Four songs were tracked in what would be just about the last gasp of the band’s first incarnation. The band’s singer/guitarist/keyboardist Alain Jourgensen, keyboardist Robert Roberts, and drummer Stephen George were joined by touring bassist Brad Hallen to work on the songs “The Game Is Over,” “Let’s Be Happy,” “Same Old Scene,” and “Wait,” none of which were ever officially released.

Which may have been because the band was about to change dramatically. Founding keyboardist John Davis was already out, and Roberts would exit for good soon after these sessions, and while George and Hallen would remain on board in diminishing capacities, appearing last in a remix of song that made its way onto the Twitch LP, Jourgensen’s increasing interest in the danceable industrial music typified by Cabaret Voltaire was steering Ministry away from the dark synthpop they’d been pursuing, and towards the much more aggressive sound of the band’s lasting fame. But from what one can hear of those four dead-end demos, Ministry may well have evolved satisfyingly even without such a major sea change. Here’s “The Game is Over.” It’s never been heard before—I couldn’t even find it bootlegged, and believe me, I hunted. It’s of a piece with all of Ministry’s early work, but, and perhaps this is due to the prominence given bassist Hallen, it feels more organic and flexible than With Sympathy, and more in line with the band’s live recordings from that era.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Gay sweater is SO gay that it’s knit out of gay human hair
01:56 pm



The Gay Sweater
It’s cool, you can call this sweater “gay.” It’s the world’s first and only 100% gay object.

Admit it, you’ve used the word “gay” to describe something negative. Oh, you haven’t? Great, glad to hear it, perfect person. This awareness-raising campaign by the Canadian Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity is for the other people that have used “gay” in a derogatory manner. They’re hoping everyone will think twice before using that word in an inappropriate way.

The Gay Sweater Project
The Gay Sweater is real and it’s knit from the human hair of over 100 homosexual people who donated their homo-locks to the project.

Gay Sweater

That's So Gay
Watch this to learn more about this hair-y sweater:


Posted by Rusty Blazenhoff | Leave a comment
Meet Bina48, the robot who can tell jokes, recall memories and mimic humans
01:28 pm



Maybe you guys are already familiar with Bina48, one of the most sophisticated robots ever built. She’s modeled after a very real woman named Bina Aspen, wife of Dr.Martine Rothblatt. Rothblatt is the CEO of biotech outfit United Therapeutics.

More than just a robot, Bina48 is a “mind clone.” Bina Aspen spent more than 20 hours recalling her childhood experiences, life experiences and thoughts. The information was “then transcribed and uploaded to an artificial intelligence database.”

Bina48 cost over $125,000 to make over a course of three years and was built by robot designer David Hanson.

Bina48 recently was on a panel at SXSW which you can watch here. It’s really weird. Bina48 begins expressing how nervous she is in front of a large crowd and then tells a joke to calm everyone’s nerves. WAT?!

But here’s where shit gets real strange. A video of Bina48 having a conversation with Bina Aspen. Prepare yourself for a total head trip…

Part 1 of the video, below:

Part 2 after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Taco Bell’s weird-ass Orwell ripoff, complete with totalitarian clowns (yes, you read that right)

For their new ad campaign “Routine Republic,” Taco Bell has produced a mini-movie lasting three minutes that steals from ... well, you name it.  Just off the top of my head, it cribs from The Hunger Games, Insane Clown Posse, Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm, Divergent, Apple’s “1984” ad campaign, and any number of David Fincher movies.

You’d have to be a semiotics Ph.D. to uncover all the layers of mendacious allusion and outright theft going on here. If nothing else, it’s a contender for the “Protesting Too Much” Hall of Fame. See, the idea is that if you are eating yummy McGriddles from McDonald’s or delectable Croissan’wiches from Burger King for breakfast, you’re a brainwashed drone who needs to be liberated by ... an A.M. Crunchwrap from Taco Bell (which admittedly also sounds yummy). Yes, you read that right: a delicious Croissan’wich and you’re a soulless drone; a delicious A.M. Crunchwrap and you’re a hipsterish free spirit with the ability to cavort in the streets of Prague, perhaps and eventually open an artisanal and/or steampunk moustache wax boutique (I have nothing against hipsters, I’m just reading into the ad). Never mind that the most powerful electron microscope on earth wouldn’t be able to detect any ideological difference between a McGriddle and an A.M. Crunchwrap.

Sticking with the Orwell tip, the commercial repurposes the “four legs good, two legs bad” formulation of Animal Farm into the totalitarian regime’s “circle = good, hexagon = bad.” I could hardly write that with a straight face, it’s so stupid. So that’s right, fealty to a round shape is bad but the one with the six equal sides is good. The ad’s Winston Smith finds his Julia as they wait on line for their Victory Gin, er, a round breakfast sandwich, lock eyes, and escape together to the land of Borat-ish un-corporate-ness. Just to make sure you don’t miss the point, the Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” kicks in at the moment of maximum individualism. Because it takes an individual to appreciate the world’s most universally beloved punk band, right?

Oh yeah, the clowns, I almost forgot. All the authority figures in “Oceania” or whatever have clown makeup on. Because McDonald’s corporate logo is a guy in a clown suit and you know, fuck that guy.

One touch I did like is that the evil kingdom is surrounded by a moat that is actually a drab ball pit, which is mostly associated with McDonald’s Playland. Of course, trying to demonize a wonderful, fun ball pit for children has to rank down there with the worst things any advertiser has ever done, but you know, all’s fair in love and breakfast war.
The ad itself, after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Vietnamese Buddhists decide ‘crazy’ Allen Ginsberg must be a government spy
10:17 am


Allen Ginsberg

A dedicated student of meditation throughout most of his adulthood, Allen Ginsberg fell into Buddhism fairly early on in life, well before the mysticism craze of the 1960s, to be fair. He was even instrumental in bringing Buddhist thinkers and writers into the mainstream—hardly a shallow New Age dilettante. That doesn’t mean he didn’t have super goobery white dude moments early on in his quest for spiritual education.

In this fantastic little 1963 item from The New York Times (cheekily titled “Buddhists Find a Beatnik ‘Spy’”), Ginsberg finds himself in the midst of a government/religious conflict that he clearly hadn’t anticipated.

SAIGON, Vietnam, June 5 - The Buddhists, who are in conflict with the South Vietnam Government, asserted today that they believed the Americans has sent a “spy to look at us.”

A Buddhist spokesman told this to newsmen. The newsmen, incredulous, asked if the spokesman would be good enough to describe the “spy.”

“Well, he was tall and had a very long beard and his hair was very long in back and curly,” the Buddhist said. “He said he was a poet and a little crazy and that he liked Buddhists. We didn’t know what else he was so we decided he was a spy.”

At this point his listeners burst out laughing and said the “spy” was the American poet Allen Ginsberg, a well-known beatnik. Mr. Ginsberg was here briefly for several days on his way to British Columbia after a long stay in India.

The Buddhist controversy with Government involves their resentment over Government curbs on their activities, including a ban on raising the Buddhist flag.

Via New York Times

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
‘How the Rules of Evidence Handcuff the Piano Man’ and more from the Billy Joel law conference
09:11 am


Billy Joel

Billy Joel surveys the damage done by a rock-throwing hoodlum
If you’re like me, you can’t hear the Billy Joel song “All for Leyna” without wondering whether Leyna would have benefited a solid grounding in tort and accident law. And Brenda and Eddie, from “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” who “got a divorce as a matter of course,” who represented them in that legal matter? Well,  wonder no more.

In Central Islip, NY, legal scholars from all over North America gathered to honor Long Island’s foremost bard, Billy Joel with academia’s most esteemed form of celebration: the academic conference. Yes, that’s right: the Touro Law Center hosted a two-day conference called “Billy Joel and the Law” at the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center on March 22 and 23.

The program promised the following: “Speakers at the conference will include judges, lawyers, law professors, and music scholars, who will discuss ways in which Billy Joel’s work relates to American law, society, and culture.” The brainy festivities included “a wine and cheese reception with musical performances related to the educational content of the program.” No, in case you were wondering, Billy Joel did not supply the music for the conference. 

There were the usual paper titles that played on Joel’s song and album titles, such as “Downeaster Alexa: a Perfect Storm of Regulations,” “Behind the Nylon Curtain: Billy Joel, the Reagan Revolution, and the Unraveling of the ‘Me’ Generation,” and “The Minstrel Testifies or How the Rules of Evidence Handcuff the Piano Man.” How did they neglect to do anything with “You May Be Right.” And not a single mention of “Lawyers in Love”!! (Oh wait, that’s Jackson Browne.)

Here’s my best guess as to what Billy Joel would have looked like had he not become a rock and roll troubadour but instead had decided to become a law professor:

via Lawyers, Guns, and Money

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
RE/Search’s Vale and JG Ballard on William Burroughs

This is a guest post from Graham Rae.

In 2007, I interviewed Val Vale, of RE/Search Publications, and the late futurologist novelist JG Ballard, about a writer whom they were both very favorably predisposed to, William S. Burroughs. I talked to the amiable Val by phone, and sent JGB a few questions by mail, sending him a copy of an expensive science book I had received for review, An Evolutionary Psychology of Sleep and Dreams, to sweeten the pot. The answers are below.

These interviews originally appeared on the now-defunct website of the fine Scottish writer Laura Hird, and do not appear anywhere else online; have not done for years. Thus the references are somewhat dated, but at lot of the material, sadly, remains very much in vogue. I had only been in America for two years in 2007, and my views here seem somewhat naïve to me now, but, well, them’s the learning-immigrant breaks. So without further ado…

Foreword: Noted San Francisco underground publisher V Vale has been publishing since 1977, when, with $200 he was given by Beat poet Allen Ginsberg and poet/ City Lights bookstore owner Lawrence Ferlinghetti ($100 from each), he put out 11 issues of the Search And Destroy punk zine. In 1980 he started RE/Search, an imprint which still puts out infrequent volumes on subjects like schlock therapy trash movies, JG Ballard, punk, modern primitives, supermasochists, torture gardens, pranks, angry women, bodily fluids.anything and everything taboo and alternative and unreported was and is fair grist to Vale’s subversive ever-churning wordmill.

In 1982 he put out RE/Search #4/5, a three-section volume including William S. Burroughs, with the other two sections being about Throbbing Gristle and the artist Brion Gysin, WSB’s friend and collaborator who’d introduced the writer to the ‘cut-up’ method of rearranging his texts to show what they really mean.

The Burroughs section of the book include an interview with Burroughs by Vale (who is mentioned in Burroughs’ Last Words), an unpublished chapter from Cities of The Red Night, two excerpts from The Place of Dead Roads, two “Early Routines,” an article on “The Cut-Up Method of Brion Gysin” and ‘The Revised Boy Scout Manual’ which is a piece in which Burroughs muses revealingly on armed revolution and weapons-related revelation.

I talked to the amiable publisher about this interesting volume, but only about Burroughs, because he was the reason I wanted to read the thing in the first place; neither of the other two subjects much interest me, to be perfectly honest. It’s an interesting volume that any Burroughs enthusiast would definitely enjoy. So join us as we (me with occasionally incomprehensible-to-American-ears Scottish accent) take a trip down memory lane and talk about snakebite serum, dark-skinned young boys, the City Lights bookstore, independent publishing, aphorisms, Fox News’s hateful right-wing Christian conservative pop-agitprop, the madness of Tony Blair and avoiding mad drunks with guns.

And after the interview with Vale you will find the answers to a few questions JG Ballard was kind enough to answer me by mail about his own relationship with El Hombre Invisible.

V Vale Questions

Graham Rae: First off, how did you first encounter Burroughs’ work?

Vale: Oh, jeez. Well, I encountered Naked Lunch at college in the late ‘60s. He was like the cat’s meow. Burroughs and Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon—books like these. And it was obvious that Burroughs was this un-sane, slightly science-fictiony visionary, but he wasn’t really science fiction, he was extremely sardonic, that was his main appeal, with Dr. Benway and all that. And since I was more-or-less hetero oriented I think I more or less ignored all the references to young boys with blue gills and fluorescent appendages and whatever. That sort of went right by me like water off a duck’s back. It was only later that I realized that the imagery was kind of . . . how it was oriented. But what really turned me on to Burroughs was an article in a 1970 or ‘71 Atlantic Monthly magazine that came out with a huge excerpt in it from The Job, which is Burroughs’—I think it’s his signature book of interviews, it’s kind of the equivalent of The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again). And so I took this magazine and underlined it and kept reading it over and over, making lists and trying to get all the books that he talked about. And then The Job came out and that became my Bible


Vale: Oh yeah, it’s totally important. Still important; it’s got so many ideas in it.

Well that’s the thing about Burroughs, isn’t it? It’s like this sort of surreal mercurial Braille, it’s very strange. I mean you read it, you go back to it and then you go back to it and then you get something different from it because you’ve got a completely different level of understanding of it, y’know, I think, personally.

Vale: Well yeah, that definitely can happen with any great book. And I spent so much time with ‘The Job’ and with that ‘Atlantic Monthly’ article. It was obvious that this was sort of like a philosophy of life. I mean, instead of saying you’re right wing or left wing politically, you could just say, Well, I’m a Burroughsian. There should be almost a Burroughsian political party making fun of authoritarianism all across the entire political spectrum.

I’ve got that party in my head that goes on 24 fucking 7, man. Right. When and how did you first contact Burroughs?

Vale: Well I was already working at City Lights Bookstore and one of the perks of working there was that you got to meet all the so-called Beatniks and you were already in the in-group.

Did you meet like Ginsberg and that then, I take it?

Vale: Oh yeah, sure. The legend is that Ginsberg gave me my first $100 to start publishing. It’s certainly true, but I wish I had made a Xerox of the check, and I wish I had made a Xerox of the check that Ferlinghetti gave me, too. But you know, back in those days you didn’t have a home Xerox machine, you had to go to a corner facility and spend ten cens on a Xerox. Believe it or not, ten cents for a Xerox was a lot of money in 1976 or so.

Especially when you don’t have much money.

Vale: Especially when you’re living on minimum wage from City Lights, but you know you would parlay that, you’d stretch that out by: you’d get such a low income you’d qualify for food stamps, for example. They still give out food stamps—I see these old Chinese people using them still, but I hear they’re really hard to get now. But they used to be easy to get.

Continues after the jump with more from Vale and JG Ballard on WSB…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The DEA has trippy looking patches that make you kinda WANT to do drugs
08:13 am



I had no clue the DEA’s Dangerous Drugs Intelligence Unit had such cool looking patches. I just always assumed they were boring, I guess. Looking at these, they’re quite the opposite of what I expected. They’re like trippy biker gang badges or some glow-in-the-dark black light poster from the ‘70s. The top one looks like something you’d have seen for sale at a Dead show…

DEA Ecstasy and Club Drugs patch

DEA Operation Green Air patch

DEA Heroin Intelligence Unit patch
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Can you spot the weird ninja guy lurking under the bridge?
08:07 am



I’m not usually a fan of these “you’ll holler when you see it” pictures, but this one is kinda creepy and reminded me of the Richard Laymon book Night in Lonesome October that had a bunch of weird flesh-eating trolls who lurked under a bridge.

This guy is probably no cannibal (I hope), but the figure he does cut is definitely rather eerie.

reddit user youeatMYboogers was taking photographs of underneath the 4th Street Bridge, Los Angeles, unaware he was being spied on. It wasn’t until he got home did he notice his secret observer.
Do you see him now?

The photographer had no idea that he and his friend were being watched by this guy for over twenty minutes.

More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Are you a musician? Here’s how your art is killing you
07:48 am


Dianna T. Kenny

A fascinating series of articles has appeared on The Conversation, probing mortality among musicians. All written by the University of Sydney’s Dianna T. Kenny, the first compared the life expectancies of musicians and non-musicians (quelle surprise, musicians lost), and the second examined and debunked the “27 Club” phenomenon. But the third piece is a doozy—it breaks down musician deaths not just by age but by gender and genre. The article is worth reading—all three are, and actually, if you’re not reading The Conversation yet, just get on that already—but this chart sums it up very nicely for the tl;dr crowd:

Notice how there’s very little difference in life expectancy between genders among musicians, as compared to the notably higher life expectancy for women in the non-musician population? Also, can you help but see that HUGE spike in women’s favor correlating with musicians in that nebulously-named “World Music” genre? I can’t even imagine why that might be. I also noted with interest that blues, jazz, and country musicians tended to outlive non-musicians.

One could make all kinds of cracks about how the more socially-disreputable genres punk, metal, and rap/hip-hop have the lowest life expectancies, but recall that those genres haven’t really been around long enough to have all that many elders. Blues, jazz and country have existed long enough to see plenty of their practitioners die of natural causes before metal was even a thing, so that right there could tend to skew the chart in favor of longevity for musicians in the NPR genres. But then, once you get to the cause of death breakdown, you see that, utterly depressingly, homicide accounts for more than half of the deaths in the black genres rap and hip-hop, while the more typically white punks and metalheads’ tendency to die young is attributable to accidents and suicides. And unsurprisingly, musicians in the more venerable genres tend to be taken by diseases of aging.

This is a morbid thought, but this post is about morbidity, so I’m rolling with it: as I’m chiefly a fan of rock music, I was a little disappointed that those ultimate rock death clichés, heroin overdose and small aircraft crash, weren’t given their own categories. In Kenny’s study, overdoses and vehicular incidents both fall under “accident,” and excessive drugs and drink could definitely explain the high number of punk and metal musicians in that category. But back in 1995, in the wake of the Kurt Cobain suicide, that great fount of underground smartassery Motorbooty magazine published “The Rock Death 200,” which similarly (and obviously somewhat cheekily) broke down 200 dead rockers and proto-rockers by age and cause of death. I can’t find it online, and I don’t feel like digging through my basement for it (if memory serves, it was issue #8, and had a blue cover, happy hunting). HOWEVER, the good Christian folk at Dial-the-Truth Ministries have published a list with very similar data, likely as a caution to young members of the flock who may find themselves tempted into sin, debauchery, gambling, ouija boards, organic foods, lots and lots of super-crazy hot nonreproductive fornication, and primetime soaps by The Devil’s Music. Their data collection (and web design) seems to come to a screeching halt in 1998, but interestingly, heart attacks edged out drug overdoses, and cancer took out more rock musicians than plane crashes. Also, drowning > AIDS > fire > choking.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
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