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  • Booze in space! Suntory sending whiskey into orbit, in search of a smoother product
    10:08 am


    outer space

    Suntory is possibly best known to American moviegoers as the client that brought “Bob Harris” to Japan to film a commercial, in Sofia Coppola’s 2003 gem Lost in Translation. It’s Japan’s oldest whisky distillery, and if that causes you suppose that it is in any way dusty or not keeping up with the current trends in whiskeyology, note that just last year its Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013 secured the award for “Best Whisky in the World.”

    Not only that, Suntory recently announced that it intends to send some of its delightful spirits to age in outer space. They suspect that the zero-gravity environment may result in nothing less than the smoothest whiskey ever produced.

    Take that, Wild Turkey!

    According to RocketNews24,

    Suntory will be sending six varieties of whiskey, aged for 10, 18, and 21 years, along with recently distilled beverages, to outer space as part of an experiment. Their theory is that the weightlessness of space will result in a smoother aged whiskey than is possible to attain on Earth. Employees at JAXA’s Tsukuba City Space Center in Ibaraki Prefecture recently prepared glass flasks that will be used to transport the spirits when Konotori Vehicle 5 (HTV-5) launches from JAXA’s Tanegashima Space Center on August 16.

    The whiskey samples will be left on the International Space Station for an unspecified number of years before being brought home to be inspected. Unfortunately for drink connoisseurs, Suntory has already stated that they have no plans to sell space whiskey as a product to the general public.

    “No plans” is discouraging but that sounds like, if it goes as well as they hope, they’ll be selling it as soon as they can make it work. Now I’m envisaging an Alien or Independence Day-type movie where the first contact with sinister extraterrestrials occurs when they chance upon a satellite full of delicious Suntory product and they invade Earth in order to…... party on a grander scale with the geniuses who developed it.

    Ridley Scott: call me.

    via Huh.

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
    South Carolina woman reports sighting of ‘Lizard Man,’ captures photo evidence
    07:33 am

    Current Events

    Lizard Man

    Amateur sketch of Lizard Man by its first recorded eyewitness, Christopher Davis.
    A South Carolina woman came forward to the media on Sunday to report a spotting of the legendary swamp creature known as “Lizard Man” and has provided photographic evidence of the sighting.

    The woman, identified only as “Sarah” by WCIV ABC News 4, says she “went to church with a friend Sunday morning, [and] stepped out of the sanctuary to see the Lizard Man running along the tree line.”

    “My hand to God, I am not making this up,” she wrote in an email to the news station.

    WCIV reported her claim as well as the cellphone photo she submitted:

    Photo of the Lizard Man taken by South Carolina’s “Sarah.”
    The cryptid, known as “The Lee County Lizard Man” or “The Bishopville Lizard Man” or “The Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp,” was first reported in 1988 by 17-year-old Christopher Davis. Driving home from work around 2:00 a.m., Davis had to stop near Scape Ore Swamp to change a flat tire. As he was finishing up, he reported having heard a thumping noise from behind and turned to see a seven-foot-tall bipedal creature running towards him. Davis said it had glowing red eyes, green skin, and three clawed fingers on each hand. Davis said the creature tried to grab at his car and then jumped on its roof as he tried to escape—clinging on as Davis swerved from side to side.  Davis’ side-view mirror was found to be badly damaged, and scratch marks were found on the car’s roof.  After Davis’ tale was reported, others came forward with their own accounts of the beast. According to former Lee County sheriff Liston Truesdale, at least twelve witnesses have come forward.

    On July 30, 1990, Bertha Blythers and her five children witnessed a strange creature near Scape Ore Swamp lunge toward the passenger side of their car. In a statement given to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Bertha described the creature as being tall, wide, and having “two arms like a human.” “I never seen anything like it before,” she told the police. “It wasn’t a deer or a bear. It was definitely not a person either.”

    Not quite as big a celebrity in the world of cryptozoology as Bigfoot or Nessie, the Lizard Man still has a cult following among investigators. A 2013 book, Lizard Man: The True Story of the Bishopville Monster, tells the story of the elusive creature. Cartoon Network has even produced an action figure of the Lizard Man.

    Sales of Lizard Man-related merchandise, along with a lucrative speed trap (one I’ve had personal experience with) are major sources of revenue for impoverished Bishopville/Lee County.

    This latest sighting is sure to boost the local Bishopville economy, and if nothing else, proves that local TV affiliates (as well as Dangerous Minds) will report on anything. Going only by “Sarah”‘s photo, we’re wondering if the Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp might possibly be a Sleestak.

    Here’s a short documentary on the Lizard Man:

    And this song by R Logan tells the tale of the creature:


    Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
    Masturbator of puppets: The anatomically correct GG Allin marionette
    07:19 am


    GG Allin

    GG Allin marionette
    GG Allin marionette
    There are entirely too many times during the day that while doing important “research” for DM, I audibly utter the words “I can’t.” However, after learning of the existence of a GG Allin marionette, I wasn’t even able to muster a sound in protest, and was instead at a total loss for words.
    GG Allin marionette
    Alex Godfrey, an artist and blogger over at The Guardian, posted blow-by-blow images of his fellow blogger/artist friend Shehzad making a marionette of GG Allin to give to him on his birthday last year. Because nothing says “Happy birthday, scum fuck!” like your very own naked, bloody version of GG Allin that can be controlled by strings. Shehzad’s didn’t skimp on the details—and from the looks of it, few details were spared when it came to making his version of GG look as much like the notorious man himself as possible.

    If you want to know why, take a look at the NSFW photos of the GG marionette that follow as well as images from Shehzad’s “creative process.” There are also a few I can’t post, which helps illustrate my point about Shehzad’s attention to detail. If you really need to see them, click here. If you are familiar with GG, then I’m going to assume you’ll know what to expect. I also included a super-short video of marionette GG’s maker putting on a brief show with his most valuable (and possibly possessed) creation. See you in HELL!
    The making of the GG Allin marionette in progress
    The making of the GG Allin marionette in progress
    The making of the GG Allin marionette in progress
    GG Allin marionette
    The GG Allin marionette LIVES
    GG Allin marionette

    The GG Allin marionette spazzing out

    Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
    Mashing up the Commodores and the Cure is a shockingly good idea
    07:04 am


    The Cure
    The Commodores

    Who knew that Robert Smith would have made quite an effective Elton John/Billy Joel type in an alternate universe? I wonder how Billy Joel would fare if he were charged with belting out all the tunes from, say, The Head on the Door....

    The second proposition will have to wait, but as for the first, we have some notion of what that might have sounded like, thanks to Daniel Barassi of BRAT Productions, who recently concocted the track “Easy Like Heaven,” which mashes up The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” and The Commodore’s “Easy.”

    [Update: Reader Scott F. Griffin points out that this has been bouncing around for quite a while.]

    via Sonic More Music
    Thank you Fred Gunn!

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
    Mark Hamill will gladly f*ck up your Star Wars card if you let him
    11:50 am


    Star Wars
    Mark Hamill

    Apparently Mark Hamill has a good sense of humor about his Luke Skywalker days and isn’t afraid to crack wise and fuck up some Star Wars‘s fans’ trading cards when signing autographs.

    These are pure gold:



    He keeps going, after the jump…

    Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
    Win four iconic Joy Division albums on heavyweight 180-gram vinyl from Rhino
    10:44 am


    Joy Division

    To celebrate the 35th anniversary of the release of “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” Rhino has re-issued four iconic Joy Division albums on heavyweight 180-gram vinyl. Each design replicates the original in painstaking detail, including the gatefold covers used for Still and Substance. The music heard on the albums was remastered in 2007 when Rhino introduced expanded versions of the albums.

    Joy Division recorded two albums, Unknown Pleasures and Closer, before singer Ian Curtis tragically took his own life in 1980. But what the Manchester quartet lacked in longevity, it more than made up for in quality. The band’s only two studio albums were groundbreaking and helped shape the sound and mood of the alternative music that followed in the band’s wake.

    The compilations Still and Substance fill in the missing pieces of the band’s history with non-album singles (“Transmission” and “Love Will Tear Us Apart”), unreleased studio tracks (“Something Must Break” and “Ice Age”), and choice live recordings (“Disorder” and the only performance of “Ceremony.”)


    Posted by Sponsored Post | Leave a comment
    Excerpts from the secret ‘autobiography’ David Bowie gave Cameron Crowe in the mid-‘70s: EXCLUSIVE
    08:56 am


    David Bowie
    Rolling Stone
    Cameron Crowe

    Mid-1970s Bowie is my favorite Bowie. 1975-1976, living in the Los Feliz house of Glenn Hughes, bassist for Deep Purple. Bowie’s coked out and coked up, obsessed with the occult and given to paranoid delusions. Bowie consorting with witches. Bowie starring in Nicolas Roeg’s excellent The Man Who Fell to Earth and releasing Station to Station, perhaps his most scorchingly funky album and also, as it happens, my favorite of Bowie’s albums. These were the “Thin White Duke” years, as the first line of that album has it; whatever was possessing Bowie, to quote the same song, “It’s not the side effects of the cocaine / I’m thinking that it must be love.”

    The primary chronicler of this period in Bowie’s life was unquestionably Cameron Crowe, whose youthful journalistic exploits for Rolling Stone were depicted, after a fashion, in Almost Famous. Not only did Crowe write a cover story on Bowie that appeared in the February 12, 1976 issue; he also interviewed Bowie for the September 1976 issue of Playboy, an interview that featured several remarkable statements, most prominently, that “yes, I believe very strongly in fascism.” Amazingly, Crowe was a teenager when all of this was happening—he turned 20 in July 1977.

    If you are a David Bowie addict, it’s fairly likely you have read these lines, which appeared in Crowe’s 1976 feature on Bowie for Rolling Stone:

    Bowie announces that he’s got a new project, his autobiography. “I’ve still not read an autobiography by a rock person that had the same degree of presumptuousness and arrogance that a rock & roll record used to have. So I’ve decided to write my autobiography as a way of life. It may be a series of books. I’m so incredibly methodical that I would be able to categorize each section and make it a bleedin’ encyclopedia. You know what I mean? David Bowie as the microcosm of all matter.”

    If the first chapter is any indication, The Return of the Thin White Duke is more telling of Bowie’s “fragmented mind” than of his life story. It is a series of sketchy self-portraits and isolated incidents apparently strung together in random, probably cutout order. Despite David’s enthusiasm, one suspects it may never outlast his abbreviated attention span. But it’s a good idea. At 29, Bowie’s life is already perfect fodder for an autobiography.

    The article in Rolling Stone also included an excerpt, in a box. It looked like this:

    So Bowie gave Crowe a manuscript of some sort. What was in it? Has it ever been published in full?

    This “first chapter” of The Return of the Thin White Duke clearly has never been published. I consulted ten book-length treatments of Bowie’s life and career (a list of these works can be found at the bottom of this post), and only 2 of them even bothered to mention it, and neither dwelled on it for very long. It’s abundantly clear that not many people know anything about this text.

    Bowie: A Biography by Marc Spitz includes the following on page x of the introduction:

    Bowie’s autobiography, purportedly entitled The Return of the Thin White Duke (after the opening lyric to the 1976 song “Station to Station”) has been rumored for years as well, but either the asking price is too high or it’s a bluff; or it’s really in the works, and like Bob Dylan’s Chronicles volume one, it will arrive when it’s the right time.

    Meanwhile, in The Man Who Sold the World, Peter Doggett writes on page 285:

    Much of The Man Who Fell to Earth was filmed in Albuquerque—the so-called Duke City, having been named for the Spanish duke of Albuquerque, Spain. And it was there that David Bowie, who was unmistakably thin, and white, began to write a book of short stories titled The Return of the Thin White Duke. It was, he explained, “partly autobiographical, mostly fiction, with a deal of magic in it.” Simultaneously, he was telling Cameron Crowe: “I’ve decided to write my autobiography as a way of life. It may be a series of books.” Or it might be a song—or, as printed in Rolling Stone magazine at the time, the briefest and most compressed of autobiographical fragments, which suggested he would have struggled to extend the entire narrative of his life beyond a thousand words.

    In 2012 the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opened its Library and Archives in Cleveland, Ohio, and one of the institution’s most intriguing holdings is the Rolling Stone Collection, which contains the editorial files, notes, work product, etc. for all issues starting in 1974 and stretching all the way to 1989. It’s a lot of super-interesting material to which all rock journalists should be paying attention.

    The manuscript of chapter 1 of The Return of the Thin White Duke that Bowie gave to Crowe is in those files, and I’ve read it in its entirety.

    Rolling Stone’s arrangement with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives does not permit visual reproduction of its work product, so it is not possible for Dangerous Minds to post the pages of this manuscript here. However, researchers are permitted to quote portions of items found in the Rolling Stone Collection—I was told that I am permitted to quote 10% of the manuscript as “fair use.” I’m going to do just that, in a minute.

    When I first encountered this at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives, I excused myself from the archive (cellphones are not permitted in the room itself) and Googled a few choice phrases to see whether anyone else had ever published it. I came up with zero hits in all instances.

    The manuscript is nine pages long, typewritten. What’s contained in the archive is a Xerox copy of the original; where the original is, I have not the slightest idea. On the top of the first page is typed, in allcaps, “THE RETURN OF THE THIN WHITE DUKE.” Underneath that, in someone’s handwriting—perhaps the author’s, perhaps Crowe’s—are the words “BY DAVID BOWIE.”

    It is quite a remarkable document, with Bowie inserting often mundane impressions of the past into a grandiloquent, over-the-top sci-fi allegorical construct reminiscent of Genesis’ The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway or, indeed, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. (Just to give you an idea, the named characters in the manuscript include the “Thin White Duke,” the “Finder,” the “Fatal Father,” and “Magnauseum.” I think.) As for the more workaday parts, there’s a paragraph comparing the relative merits of chisel toes versus high pointers (these are types of shoe), with Bowie, in whatever fictive guise, preferring the chisel toe. Another longish passage is dedicated to the decisions involved in painting his home: “Deep blue was the color that I took to every dwelling,” starts Bowie on that subject.

    The text is broken up into many, many shorter sections, most of which are just a paragraph or two long. For some reason Hebrew letters are used to distinguish the sections (ALEPH, BETH, GIMEL, DALETH, HE, VAU, ZAIN). In between the more prosaic bits that are apparently about Bowie’s own life are sections in which the Thin White Duke and possibly others—it’s not quite clear—present their verbose and overblown pronouncements about life and music and fame.

    Oh, also? There’s a fair bit of sex in it. A couple of the passages are quite steamy.

    Much, much more after the jump…

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
    ‘Sexism,’ a disturbingly accurate board game from 1971
    08:02 am


    board games

    Sexism board game - 1971
    Sexism. A board game from 1971
    Sexism was a board game, conceived back in 1971 by Carolyn Houger, a resident of Seattle, Washington. With the creation of Sexism, Houger hoped to “bring out the humor in the Women’s Liberation movement.” The idea for the game came to Houger after her four-year-old daughter returned home after playing the card game “Old Maid” with her friends and made the statement, “wouldn’t it be terrible to be an old maid?

    According to the folks over at Board Game Geek, the goal of Sexism is to move from the “doll house,” to the White House (flash-forward 44 years and we’re still waiting, but I digress). The first player to move into the White House, wins. Sexism is compelling on so many levels it’s difficult to know where to start. Just take this game board square from Sexism called “Abortionist.” The square itself depicts a pregnant woman and a clothing hanger(!) with the following game instructions if you land on it:


    The bill didn’t pass.

    Go to the Maternity Ward

    Laundry Service and Part-time You Know What!

    Sexism encourages players to play as their opposite gender as it is known to produce “hilarious role-playing situations.” So, if you win as a “woman” the game will instruct the other players that, “You are now a person, and must be treated as such for 24 hours. Non-winners may be treated as usual.” If you play as a “man,” you are greeted by a cartoon of a large thumb pushing a woman down with the following message: “Congratulations, you’ve won — or have you?” Wow.
    White House or Playboy Club game squares from Sexism
    Decisions, decisions. White House or Playboy Club game squares from Sexism

    When it comes to the cards that you might draw while playing Sexism,  playing as a woman you might draw a card that says “Go back two steps because you’re a woman. You’d just as well get used to this.” Whereas a man might draw a card that makes this incredible statement:

    I staunchly defend motherhood, God and country. I’m against giving more money to ADC (Aid to Dependent Children) for each child. I’m against abortions. I’m against women earning as much as men. I’m against paying taxes for free child care centers. Go ahead three steps.

    In an interview with Houger from 1972, she said that her intention wasn’t to create an “anti-male” game. In addition to enlightening folks to Women’s Lib, Houger had high hopes that the game would start a dialog about sexism, as well as help people understand that both men and women should be treated as “people.” Houger also said she wanted to highlight the fact that women can also be sexist, by “reinforcing sexism” with their actions or attitudes, especially when it comes to assigning gender-specific roles - a point that she makes rather directly on many of Sexism’s game squares.

    More on Sexism after the jump…

    Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
    Honey, I Shrunk the Autobahn: Rick Moranis sings Kraftwerk
    07:21 am


    Rick Moranis

    This is good fun, and it’s a damn shame it’s not more widely known—in 1989, comedic actor Rick Moranis released a Kraftwerk cover on his album You, Me, the Music and Me. Moranis became known in the ‘80s as Bob McKenzie in SCTV’s “Great White North” sketch and its feature film Strange Brew, as Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors, and for damn near movie-stealing supporting roles in Ghostbusters and Spaceballs. In the ‘90s he softened his image to suit the family-oriented Honey, I Shrunk [whatever] franchise before real-life family matters prompted his mid-decade retirement.

    Despite having been released on the highly notable indie label IRS Records, the album just doesn’t exist anywhere anymore. For some reason, there was no CD issue despite the 1989 release date, and Spotify, iTunes, et al seem to have never heard of the thing. (I’d bet rent money Grooveshark had it, but sadly, that service and its founder are both gone now.) As of this posting there are zero copies for sale on Amazon, Discogs or MusicStack, so unless a copy happens to find its way into your hands on a digging expedition, the debut solo LP by a beloved performer is effectively unobtainable.

    ‘80s graphic design. Hey, it’s been 30 years, isn’t this style due for a revival?

    And it’s kind of a bummer that the album seems to be such a total ghost. I’d like to check it out even just once, even though I don’t have the highest expectations for it. Moranis’ 1981 Great White North LP with Dave Thomas is one of the all time great comedy records, and there’s just no way You, Me, the Music and Me could measure up. Judging by the credits, Moranis seems to be assuming the guise of a DJ, commenting on various musical phenomena—already a played-out premise even then—as well as covering tunes like “A Day In The Life” and “Light My Fire.” Um, OK. Though very little of the album exists in Internetland, one thing that IS available is the “Ipanema Rap,” an ‘80s white-guy rap parody of “The Girl From Ipanema.” You’re groaning, aren’t you? You’re right to be groaning. It’s pretty awful. The video is worth a look, if only so you can marvel at how a video from 1989 looks so much like a video from 1981. IRS was apparently pretty tight-fisted with all that R.E.M. money.

    But the album ends on a really high note—Moranis’ fairly reverent cover of Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn.” It’s only four minutes long, which is a mercy, it wouldn’t be very amusing for the full 22+ minutes of the original, but the material actually suits him quite well. The spoken bit at the end is clearly a part of the album’s DJ conceit, and can be ignored.

    After the jump, Rick Moranis turns Japanese…

    Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
    NBC explains KISS to old people, 1977
    06:56 am



    From Kiss’s 1977 special edition Marvel comic. They said that drops of the band’s own blood had been mixed in with the ink.
    Gimmicks get a bad rap, and the music snobs who supposedly abhor them tend to be very inconsistent in their denouncements. No one would talk shit on Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ manic voodoo schtick for example (unless, I guess, they’re just openly anti-fun). Likewise, “serious” music nerds love bands like The Spotniks, and “Swedish science fiction bluegrass surf” is about as “novelty act” as you can get. But mention KISS in a Pitchfork crowd and you will inevitably encounter at least one disdainful scoff—if not the entire room—but if you can’t appreciate a man in glam rock alien makeup vomiting blood onstage, I feel sorry for you. Take this 1977 NBC mini-doc—“Land Of Hype And Glory”—as your cautionary tale.

    The piece starts with scenes from a carnival, which is actually a decent metaphor for the band (carnivals are fun! People love carnivals, and people love KISS!). But the narration goes for the P.T. Barnum angle—“there’s a sucker born every minute”—implying that KISS fans are somehow being swindled by enjoying a sensational live show. (Fun and entertainment? Whatta bunch of suckers!) The reporter goes on to ask the band if they’re “bludgeoning rock to death,” and interrogates Gene Simmons on KISS’ “less-than-average” music. Simmons is quick to point out that their songwriting is intended to be “accessible,” rather than “self-indulgent.” Intended as a denunciation of hype, the entire feature comes off as a besuited old man scolding a group of professional showmen who aren’t taking themselves too seriously.

    You don’t have to be a fan, but KISS are dumb, loud and easy, and if you can’t appreciate that, you’re really missing something fundamental about rock ‘n’ roll. And now, if you will excuse me, I’m going to run away before I am pelted by Sleaford Mods and Brian Eno CDs…

    Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
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