‘Heaven Is For Real’ kid’s interview on Fox News is COMEDY GOLD


 

Sean Hannity: Do you think everybody goes to Heaven?

Colton Burpo: Um…. No. Not everybody does go to Heaven.

Sean Hannity: How do you know?

Colton Burpo, the little boy who had an NDE on an operating table a few years back and claimed to have been to Heaven, has had his experiences “there” recounted in several Heaven is for Real books that have sold like hotcakes to people desperate to believe they will live forever in the Kingdom of Heaven, eternally youthful, kickin’ it with their homeboy Jesus C. and all the dead people they ever knew.

Watch this clip of Colton promoting his parents’ books (his dad is a minister and radio broadcaster, natch) and a major Hollywood film about to come out based on this fiction. From where I’m sitting it seems rather obvious that this kid is lying through his teeth and Sean Hannity is just too stupid not to uncritically believe every word of it.

This is truly remarkable, Marjoe Gortner-level hoodoo nonsense. Even by the admittedly sad standards of Fox News, this is riveting in its abject stupidity…

Colton Burpo: Heaven is… such an amazing place and… and you just want to be there for a long time. I mean, I didn’t wanna come back.

Sean Hannity: What’s the difference… in other words, what did you see? What did you feel? Who did you meet?

Colton Burpo: Well, I saw a lot of stuff… In Heaven there are a lot of colors, but there’s even more than we have down here on Earth. Also I got to meet my great grandpa and my sister who was miscarriaged and… it just feels like home.

Hannity: And she came up to you? Are you there physically or spiritually?

Colton Burpo: You are there physically. You do have your own body.

Hannity: You were there in your body?

Colton Burpo: Well, not my earthly body, they were working on my earthly body.

Hannity: It’s the same? You look the same, relatively speaking?

Colton Burpo: Relatively speaking. If you die an old man or an old woman, you’ll be in your prime, like your late 20s, early 30s.

Hannity: And you say that you met Jesus Christ and God. (Colton nods) Can you describe God and Jesus Christ?

Colton Burpo: Well, Jesus was more like the humanoid version. He’s the one you can relate to because he… loves you so much and he’s actually your size, so you can like walk with him and talk with him.

Hannity: And you talked with him?

Colton Burpo: Yes.

Hannity: And he talked to you?

Colton Burpo: Yes.

Hannity: What did he say?

Colton Burpo: Well, I can’t remember what all it was that we talked about because some of it he even taught me! God has not allowed me to remember what Jesus has taught me.

Hannity: You saw God?

It just gets worse—and even more painfully funny—from there…

You can easily see why Hannity’s audience would eat this shit up, because it sounds exactly like something they already believe. Of course every mean old Archie Bunker watching Fox News will be young again in Heaven. Forever and ever! Throw away that Viagra! No need for it in Heaven, you’ll be 30 again soon, dude…

This is why there needs to a separation between church and state: America is a country full to the bursting point with idiots.
 

 
Via Christian Nightmares

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Party Monster: Club kid murderer Michael Alig to be paroled
04.17.2014
11:38 am

Topics:
Crime

Tags:
Michael Alig


 
According to Steve Lewis’s blog at Black Book, Michael Alig, the notorious “club kid murderer” and “Party Monster” (played by Macaulay Culkin in the 2003 cult film of the same name) is about to be paroled. Alig pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of drug dealer Angel Melendez in 1996 and was sentenced to ten to twenty years in prison.

Club kid founder Michael Alig is to be released from jail on May 5, according to sources in the know. A check of official prison site by Alig friend Victor Corona confirmed the news. Alig, of course, has been serving time for the murder and dismemberment of drug dealer Angel Melendez on March 17,1996. He has been eligible for parole since 2006, but has been denied until now. The release, although not a surprise, has sent waves through a community who knew him and loved him, as well as those who knew him and hated him. He will be staying with a close friend, and has been recruited for creative jobs by many. His transition to the real world will be eased by a support group who, for the most part, have stuck by him for more than a decade and a half. Michael has never used a computer or cellphone but he has remained keenly aware of the world we live in. There is no chance that he will return to clubs as a way of life, but he will paint and write, and as always, try to impact the way we think.

The reason there’s “no chance” that Alig would return to club life is that there isn’t any to return to—at least nothing even remotely resembling the scene he would remember from the 90s. Forget about computers and cell phones, New York City itself will be practically unrecognizable to him. The state of mind once known as “downtown” simply doesn’t exist anymore. It’s but a faded memory. The real estate has long ago moved on.

I was for many years Michael’s friend. Like so many others, I left him behind when drugs and power created a “Party Monster.” We reconnected in recent years, and during my visits to him in prison I observed the Michael Alig that I loved—the Alig prior the downfall. I believe he is ready to enter the world, and that reentering will be a good thing. No one, no act, no time, no hatred will bring back Angel, but Michael has served a great deal of his adult life in a bad place. I believe he has been rehabilitated. I believe he is forever remorseful and I look forward to his redux. To those who say nay, I respect that, but hope chances are given, and that we can move on. It is a time to remember Angel and reflect on the meaning of life. For me, forgiveness is part of it.

I met Michael Alig at the Danceteria nightclub on the very first day that I moved to NYC at the end of 1984. Later that night he got me and several other people into a celebrity-studded opening party at AREA. After asking if I wanted to meet Andy Warhol—implying that he knew him—Michael proceeded to shove me from behind, full force with both arms right into the Pope of Pop. I was completely flummoxed and tongue-tied, but Warhol had seen Michael push me and directed his annoyance towards him and not at me.

Michael was smart, charming and funny when he was young, but frankly, as my ignominious “introduction” to Andy Warhol demonstrated, he was also untrustworthy. And erratic. He could be really thoughtful—he alerted me to an apartment for rent that I ended up leasing, for instance—but he also stole several items from that very same apartment! When confronted—I literally shoved him up against the wall in Limelight by his neck and threatened to beat him up—he returned my stuff, but lied and blamed his boyfriend—who had never even been in that place. That was Michael before he disappeared down a permanant K-hole.

To be sure, the fucked up, drugged-out decadent person portrayed in Party Monster, well, that movie is damned accurate, let me tell you. (The filmmakers, Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato knew Michael quite well themselves, and even the layout of the furniture in their movie conforms exactly to my own memory of two of his apartments.) Having said that, I always maintained a level of sympathy and begrudging affection for Michael, even during his downward spiral, because he just seemed so needy and desperate for attention. There was a bit of a “Lost Boy” or Peter Pan quality to him, and I recall him recounting a conversation that his divorced parents were having about his tuition to Fordham when his father, balking at the costs, apparently said “Look, I love the kid, but I don’t love him that much.” This speaks volumes about where Michael ended up, probably. That all-consuming need for attention was both his genius and his undoing.

I wonder how long it will take before one of the cable television networks gives the green-light to Michael Alig: Reality Sets In ?

A strange bit of “true crime” trivia is that Michael was the first person I knew who had a VCR. His was a Betamax and he had just two videos and both were directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis: 2000 Maniacs and Blood Feast.

Just sayin’.
 

 
Below, the 1998  Party Monster “shockumentary” that preceded the 2003 feature film:
 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Artists’ brains are ‘structurally different’ new study claims
04.17.2014
09:11 am

Topics:
Art
Science/Tech

Tags:
brain
artists

000niarb.jpg
 
A study has revealed that artists’ brains are ‘structurally different’ from the rest of us. The small study, published in the journal NeuroImage, detailed the results of brain scans taken from 21 art students and 23 non-artists. The scans used a voxel-based morphometry to reveal that artists have more neural matter in the parts of their brain relating to visual imagery and fine motor control.

Lead author of the study, Rebecca Chamberlain from KU Leuven, Belgium, told BBC News that she was interested in finding out how artists saw the world differently.

“The people who are better at drawing really seem to have more developed structures in regions of the brain that control for fine motor performance and what we call procedural memory,” she explained.

The brain scans were accompanied by different drawing tasks, which revealed those who performed best at the tests had more grey and white matter in the motor areas of the brain. Grey matter is mainly composed of nerve cells, while white matter is responsible for communication between the grey matter regions. However, it is not clear what the increase in neural matter means, other than artists have enhanced processing in these areas due the functions involved in drawing and painting, Dr Chamberlain added:

“It falls into line with evidence that focus of expertise really does change the brain. The brain is incredibly flexible in response to training and there are huge individual differences that we are only beginning to tap into.”

One of the study’s other authors, Chris McManus from University College London, said it was difficult to know what aspect of artistic talent is innate and how much is learnt:

“We would need to do further studies where we look at teenagers and see how they develop in their drawing as they grow older - but I think [this study] has given us a handle on how we could begin to look at this.”

One scientist, not involved with the study, Ellen Winner of Boston College told BBC News that the study “put to rest the facile claims that artists use ‘the right side of their brain’ given that increased grey and white matter were found in the art group in both left and right structures of the brain”.

“Only a prospective study could get at the question of innate structural brain differences that predispose people to become visual artists, and this kind of study has not been done as it would be very difficult and very expensive to carry out.”

 
Via BBC News

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Small Town Noir: Mugshots and true crime stories from New Castle, Pennsylvania, 1930-60
04.17.2014
08:33 am

Topics:
Crime
History

Tags:
mugshots

111tomv.jpg
 
The small town of New Castle, in western Pennsylvania, was once a boom town way back at the start of the twentieth century. Its population had tripled between 1890 and 1900, as immigrants from across Europe and America came to the town in search of employment in its tin plate mills, steel factories, ceramics works, foundries and paper mills.

The 1930’s Depression hit New Castle hard, but its manufacturing base was kept going by WWII and the Korean war. The population peaked in 1950 at 48,834. Since then it’s dropped to around 28,000 today. The boom years are long gone and the unemployment average in New Castle is twice America’s national jobless rate.

The site Small Town Noir curates the mugshots of petty criminals whose lives unraveled in sad, tragic, grim, bizarre and often disturbing ways within the boundaries of New Castle’s borders. Each entry is well-written and the biographical information has been painstakingly researched from various sources.

Small Town Noir is a fascinating place to visit, to while-away a few hours, as you get to know its citizens.
 
222jimdag.jpg
 

James Dagres, “B & E”, 28 April 1934

James Dagres was sixteen, when he was arrested for breaking an entering. Dagres, together with two chool friends James Cook, LeRoy Shoaff, removed various items from the house—tables, chairs, a gas heater, a clock, a world atlas—and sold them to second-hand dealers in town. They were caught when the owner of the house, a local teacher, passed by and saw them carrying furniture out of the place. All three boys were minors. There is no record of any sentence. When James left school, he got a job at American Cyanamid & Chemical. LeRoy Shoaff went on to become a colonel in the US army. There is no further record of Jack Cook.

 
1515homer.jpg
 

Homer Chrisner, “Bank Holdup”, 7 Feb 1935

Homer Chrisner lost his business during the Depression. A respected figure, borough councilman and pigeon fancier, Chrisner decided to rob a bank in New Castle, as he reckoned it would be the easiest place to rob.

With his his accomplice Edward Scales, aka Jack of Diamonds, a Youngstown barman and numbers writer who had recently been released from prison after serving a sentence for the attempted rape of a minor. Together, they planned the details of the hold-up and enlisted the help of a woman called Nellie Sellers who would act as their getaway driver.

In February, 1935, Chrisner and Scales walked into the bank and held it up. Chrisner lost his nerve and the bank teller pulled his own gun on the pair. Chrisner and Scales absconded in a car driven by Sellers. They were chased and soon arrested. Homwer was jailed for five years.

 
333davcle.jpg
 

David Clemons, “Dis. Cond”, 20 Sep 1936

David Clemons was a 28-year-old was arrested for disorderly behavior in 1936. Eight-years later Clemons murdered his father, Wilson Clemons, a minister in the Church of God in Christ, with an axe.

David had a mental age of nine and had recently been discharged from the army in the build-up to the D-Day Landings. Clemons killed his father after an argument over an alarm clock. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, but was moved to Fairview state hospital for the criminally insane, where he remained for the rest of his life.

 
More tales of New Castle’s criminals, after the jump…

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
I think I’m too old to play with Crampy Carla the Menstruation Barbie
04.17.2014
08:25 am

Topics:
Art
Feminism

Tags:
Crampy Carla


Yeah… pretty sure I’m gonna be okay, but thanks for the warning.
 
Fact: I love disturbing feminist art. I love irreverant feminist art. I especially love gross-out feminist art! Yet, Crampy Carla the Menstruation Barbie, the Instagram art project of feminist zine collective Fourth Wave Freaks just doesn’t do it for me, and I’m not sure why. The aesthetics are very Riot Grrrl (not my favorite genre)—one of her pictures even features a poster with the lyrics, “I believe in the radical possibilities of pleasure, babe” from the Bikini Kill song “I Like Fucking.” It’s possible this is just an issue of personal preference.

I might just be too old. I’m well past the point where anyone in my life is squeamish about menstruation and so this bombastic rage against people who feel vaguely icky about periods feels even more dated than Riot Grrrl itself. Nowadays, a casual mention of of menses illicit not the slightest of squirms, and if anyone did flinch, they’d probably be mocked outright—“Oh come on! Grow up!” Consequently, Carla’s affirmation of, “I have blood on my underwear, I don’t care. Pro-period, pro-choice. Fuck you tampons, fuck you pads - if you stop this girl’s flow, I will be mad” rings a little unnecessarily aggro for me—it’s not as if your monthlies relegate you to some kind of culturally-mandated menstrual hut. No one really cares if you’re bleeding everywhere Carla. Just don’t get it on the couch.
 

 

 

 

 

 
Via Bust

Written by Amber Frost | Discussion
The Unholy Grail of ‘Lost’ Films: Kenneth Anger’s ‘Lucifer Rising’ with Jimmy Page soundtrack
04.17.2014
08:05 am

Topics:
Movies
Music
Occult

Tags:
Kenneth Anger
Jimmy Page
Brian Butler


 
Tonight a lucky audience in downtown Los Angeles, seated in the opulent setting of the theatre at the Ace Hotel (once the original United Artists Theatre co-owned by Charlie Chaplin, D.W. Griffith, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford) will be treated to a number of Kenneth Anger rarities that have been recently rediscovered and restored by Anger’s producer/manager/collaborator filmmaker Brian Butler. Among them are alternate versions of The Magick Lantern Cycle films and the mind-blowing, but ill-fated collaboration between Anger and Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, both famously devotees of Aleister Crowley’s philosophy of Thelema.

The story of their falling out has long been a foundation of the Led Zeppelin mythos: Anger had been living in Page’s Tower House abode in London, editing Lucifer Rising on the same film equipment used on The Song Remains The Same. While Page was on tour with Led Zeppelin, his girlfriend suddenly kicked Anger out, not even allowing him to get his things. A few days later, the mercurial Magus of Cinema threw a hissy over not getting an additional five minutes of music he needed to complete Lucifer Rising when he wanted it, phoned the Swan Song office and “fired” Page—who was in America and apparently mystified by the whole exercise—from the project. Anger did his patented “curse” routine very publicly, going so far as accusing Page of being a mere “dabbler” in the occult and a rich, lazy junkie. Rock journalists at the time began to speculate if Anger’s curse had worked when a succession of tragic events ended Led Zeppelin’s reign as the world’s biggest rock group.

Pages’ Lucifer RIsing score is wonderfully perverse: a languid but steadily building Middle Eastern-sounding drone, festooned with chanting, tabla, screaming mellotron, a sonically shifting low frequency, foreboding ambiance and shimmering 12-string guitar work. It’s a mad, diabolical symphony of beautiful evil; a fascinating piece of unconventional aggressively avant garde music from one of the rock era’s most mysterious living legends. Married to Anger’s imagery, it’s an exquisite aesthetic and spiritual experience.

The world’s two most famous, most artistically high-level Thelemite magicians collaborated for several years and frustratingly, the fruits of that effort have been seen by very few people. And not for four decades at that.
 

 

Over email, I asked Brian Butler a few questions.

How or where did you locate this print?

Brian Butler: I got a call from a storage facility who told me that they had found an “aberated” print of Lucifer Rising. They asked if they should throw it away or if we wanted to keep it. This was a year ago. I was so busy that I didn’t think much of it and put it in storage. Gradually as I started to inventory Kenneth’s archive I found old press clippings and film programs. I found it interesting how meticulous he was in curating a unique experience for the audience. In 1966 he began screening his films as The Magick Lantern Cycle and designed a thirteen-page booklet with a different color for each page. He also recut Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome as the “Sacred Mushroom Edition” for this occasion. In the audience notes were included specific instructions on when to take LSD (still legal at the time) to time it for that film.

I started to notice how The Magick Lantern Cycle evolved in the early 1970s with different versions of Lucifer Rising. It’s seems he began including this in the program as he was shooting it—“Lucifer Rising Chapter One” was shown in 1970—and he experimented with various soundtracks including Pink Floyd’s Atom Heart Mother.

Eventually Jimmy Page came onboard in 1973. For someone of the stature that Jimmy Page had reached in 1973 it was quite radical to do an avant garde soundtrack strictly as an artistic endeavor, although Mick Jagger did the Moog soundtrack for Kenneth’s Invocation of My Demon Brother in 1969. They worked together for several years with at least two different versions being produced, one in 1974 and one in 1975.

Which one is this?

Brian Butler: After a lot of research, I found it to be the 1975 version—the most developed of four versions known to exist. It ends with “To be continued” and was obviously a work in progress.

In one interview I found, Jimmy Page refers to when he screened Lucifer Rising in his room hotel room on the sixth floor and seemed delighted that his haunting score terrified guests up on the twelfth floor. He also mentions making a special trip to a screening at the Museum of Modern Art in New York to be sure the music was synced up correctly. The Anger/Page version was exhibited to the public at least a few times, and also privately, for potential investors.
 

 
The Films of Kenneth Anger” will be introduced by the filmmaker and is a co-production of Kenneth Anger, Brian Butler and Cinespia. The former United Artists Theatre is one of the most opulent movie palaces ever built in America. For a while it was owned by freaky TV minister Dr. Gene Scott and basically closed to the public for more than two decades. The Ace Hotel has restored and preserved all the original decorations, murals and mirrored ceiling and Anger’s films will be projected on the theatre’s big screen beneath ornate columns, a soaring gold ceiling and walls in the style of a Spanish Gothic cathedral. (I was there once to see Dr. Gene Scott and even then it was pretty impressive. Restored it should be pretty incredible.)

More information here and tickets here. Apparently it’s nearly sold out, so if you snooze, you’ll lose, be warned.

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
‘Bleak Movies,’ the coloring book version for kids
04.17.2014
08:01 am

Topics:
Art
Movies

Tags:
coloring book

Bleak Movies
 
The creator of these macabre and inappropriately jolly coloring book illustrations, Todd Spence, writes, “Most kids aren’t allowed to watch R rated films, especially the really dark and twisted ones with terribly bleak endings that stick with you for days and days, so I finally figured out a way to let children enjoy some of those bleak movies along with the rest of us.”

I love the idiotic tone of these drawings. Seven‘s John Doe can’t be all bad…. he brought the bunny rabbits!

It’s difficult not to notice the prominent “Vol. 1” on the cover. I hereby propose Texas Chainsaw Massacre for Vol. 2!
 
Bleak Movies
 
Bleak Movies
 
Bleak Movies
 
More after the jump…
 

Written by Martin Schneider | Discussion
Pussy Galore on ‘The Uncle Floyd Show’
04.17.2014
07:55 am

Topics:
Music
Punk
Television

Tags:
Pussy Galore
Uncle Floyd


 
In a just world, Floyd Vivino would be a very famous man. He was the titular “uncle” of New Jersey’s Uncle Floyd Show, a cheap and brilliant kid’s show parody that aired for over 20 years starting in 1974—beating Pee-wee Herman to the punch by a pretty good length—and was even syndicated nationally for a hot minute in the early ‘80s.

Vivino’s show was known for chaos, unpredictability, puppets, and completely weird musical guests. The timing of his initial appearance and the gonzo nature of his act won him some fans in the nascent punk scene, and so he was championed by the likes of The Ramones and even David Bowie (who paid tribute in song in 2002), and welcomed guests like David Johansen, the Misfits, Smithereens, even Tiny Tim.

Also, Pussy Galore. Seriously. Pigfuck’s demented champions of classic-rock-as-corrosive-scum-noise appeared on The Uncle Floyd Show, in what must have been 1987 if the Pussy Gold 5000 EP Floyd plugs was a new release at the time, which seems likely, as that record contains the song they “perform” here. So enjoy a pre-respectable Jon Spencer, not even trying to pretend like he gives a shit about lip-synching in this gloriously shambolic farce.
 

 
Many thanks to Gerard Cosloy for this find.

Written by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
This animation is NOT computer generated… sort of
04.17.2014
07:49 am

Topics:
Animation

Tags:
3D printing


 
I love animation, but my virulent Ludditism prevents me from enjoying the roughly 3,497,039 big-budget CGI cartoons that now come out yearly (not to mention a definite drop in writing—when did we start patronizing kids with such terrible stories and dialogue?). I’m not opposed to CGI per se (most cartoons that just look like basic cell animation are now made on computer), but the uber-slick CGI that now pervades the big animated blockbusters just looks terrible. The texture is crummy, the physics and movements are hammy—when I babysit kids watching a movie, I have to concentrate on not scowling.

Luckily, I have friends that sit through my drunken tirades about cartoons, and send stuff like this my way! This little animation experiment is actually 50 3D-printed models made with stop-motion captures. So, while it’s not CGI, it’s technically computer-generated—like claymation done by robots! More importantly, the animators actually used a low-quality 3D printing process in order to allow for variations and “flaws” between models.  Despite the high-tech production, the look is organic and warm—this little clip conveys more life than the last Disney I saw!
 

 
Via Cartoon Brew

Written by Amber Frost | Discussion
The researchers who discovered that bee stings on the penis are painful—by testing on themselves

Schmidt pain index
 
It’s remarkable the things people will go through in the name of science. In the case of Justin O. Schmidt, the man who developed the “Schmidt pain index,” our gratitude is even more difficult to measure. Schmidt, who published his landmark paper “Hemolytic Activities of Stinging Insect Venoms” in 1983, wanted to know which insect stings are the most painful, and in order to do so, he subjected himself to the pricks of countless creepy crawlies—including on his prick.

Reading his descriptions of the varying severity of insect stings, which are rated on a scale from 0 to 4, is quite a bit like reading the most ghastly wine reviews ever. Check it out:
 

1.0 Sweat bee: Light, ephemeral, almost fruity. A tiny spark has singed a single hair on your arm.
1.2 Fire ant: Sharp, sudden, mildly alarming. Like walking across a shag carpet & reaching for the light switch.
1.8 Bullhorn acacia ant: A rare, piercing, elevated sort of pain. Someone has fired a staple into your cheek.
2.0 Bald-faced hornet: Rich, hearty, slightly crunchy. Similar to getting your hand mashed in a revolving door.
2.0 Yellowjacket: Hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine WC Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.
2.x Honey bee and European hornet.
3.0 Red harvester ant: Bold and unrelenting. Somebody is using a drill to excavate your ingrown toenail.
3.0 Paper wasp: Caustic & burning. Distinctly bitter aftertaste. Like spilling a beaker of Hydrochloric acid on a paper cut.
4.0 Pepsis wasp: Blinding, fierce, shockingly electric. A running hair drier has been dropped into your bubble bath (if you get stung by one you might as well lie down and scream).
4.0+ Bullet ant: Pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like walking over flaming charcoal with a 3-inch nail in your heel.

 
The pepsis wasp, which clocks in at a brain-shattering 4.0 above, is also called the tarantula hawk, for reasons you can best imagine. Here’s a picture of one: if you see it, run quickly in the opposite direction:
 
Pepsis wasp
 
The story of Schmidt is slightly more mundane than the initial impression. As The Straight Dope put it in 2012, “Having spent half an hour on the phone with entomologist Justin O. Schmidt of the Southwestern Biological Institute in Tucson, Arizona, I can confidently report he didn’t volunteer to be stung by every goddamn awful thing in existence. It just sorta happened.” As an entomologist who spends a great deal of time in the field in lush places like Costa Rica, it’s something that happens all too infrequently, whether he wants it to or not. According to Schmidt, the precise valuations listed above are not the product of exacting scientific inquiry and do not appear in his formal papers; rather, they were “wheedled out of him by an editor at Outside magazine, who was trying to goose up a story for that publication in 1996.” (Yeah, yeah, yeah. For fuck’s sake, that just sounds like good editing to me.)

The Straight Dope continues: “One also mustn’t take seriously the wine-review-style descriptions accompanying the sting ratings. For example, the sting of a southern paper wasp is said to be “caustic and burning, with a distinctly bitter aftertaste. Like spilling a beaker of hydrochloric acid on a paper cut.” Such remarks lack empirical basis, Schmidt cheerfully concedes, although if there’s anyone equipped to expound on the fine points of pain, a guy who’s been stung by 150 different species in his lifetime is probably it.”

Still, while we’re at it, it might surprise you to learn that the penis is not the part of the body most sensitive to pain, according to the researches of a man named Michael L. Smith. In his paper “Honey Bee Sting Pain Index by Body Location,” published this year in PeerJ, it’s up there but not in the top slot.
 

The Schmidt Sting Pain Index rates the painfulness of 78 Hymenoptera species, using the honey bee as a reference point. However, the question of how sting painfulness varies depending on body location remains unanswered. This study rated the painfulness of honey bee stings over 25 body locations in one subject (the author). Pain was rated on a 1–10 scale, relative to an internal standard, the forearm. In the single subject, pain ratings were consistent over three repetitions. Sting location was a significant predictor of the pain rating in a linear model. ... The three least painful locations were the skull, middle toe tip, and upper arm (all scoring a 2.3). The three most painful locations were the nostril, upper lip, and penis shaft (9.0, 8.7, and 7.3, respectively). This study provides an index of how the painfulness of a honey bee sting varies depending on body location.

 
Fellas, if you’re out in the jungle and you find yourself confronting a swarm of pepsis wasps, put on a hockey mask and expose your penis (or possibly your skull—that’s probably a better idea).
 
Here’s the pioneering Dr. Schmidt discussing instinct stings and pain management:
 

 
via Lost at E Minor

Written by Martin Schneider | Discussion
‘Viking Angel’: Hollywood Babylonia

Actually Huizenga in
 
If God is in the Hills and the Devil is in the details, then where does that land the glitz of Hollywood? The glitter is there, sure, sparkly, pretty but often masking layers of blood, semen and tears. But isn’t that glamorous too? The grime and soot are as much a part of the picture as the pretty polish and all this and more are explored in post-pop musician/video artist extraordinaire Actually Huizenga’s most epic creation to date, Viking Angel.

Auditioning beautiful, unsure but ambitious aspiring starlets, Mr. Bailey (Louis Oberlander), a blue eyed, bearded Russ Tamblyn-charismatic agent, greets the latest girl. Blonde, lovely and dressed in a sexy approximation of virgin white, the actress (Actually) shows up in his office. A weird tableau of superimposition hell plays on a TV behind her, displaying the legs of basketball players, a neon cross with the words “Jesus Saves” and a future version of herself, naked, bloody and crawling.

The audition, involving lines like “ordinary morality is only for ordinary people,” goes so well that she gets the part and is promptly put through the casting couch process. The film shifts into music video mode with “Male Fantasy” coming on as a Lisa Frank color palette scheme kicks in. A photo of the dismembered body of Elizabeth Short, the infamous “Black Dahlia,” is seen in the background as Bailey soldiers on with his humping. 

Soon, she is being made up and prepped for her big scene, as a newscast comes on a nearby TV. Real newscasts should take a cue from Viking Angel. Animated bats, smoking on the set and dialogue like, “Whatever Ryan, why can’t you just be happy about it?” and “They should be really helping. Not throwing children in the closet with demons.” makes real life news even more mediocre and borderline unbearable. It’s a sick, sad world, with six escaped muscle-bound, sex-starved convicts running around raping and killing innocent families. The newscasters bring on Officer Short (Socrates Mitsios) to discuss the series of new unsolved murders with a matching MO. All of the victims, beautiful and struggling actresses, who have been quartered and drained of blood, Dahlia-style.
 
Socrates Mitsios in
 
As they cue to the weather, the actress gets tied up for her “scene,” as an occult procession starts to roll in, complete with topless women asserting themselves into a fleshy Jesus Christ pose and a ritual sacrifice. Realizing that this is not part of the script, she starts to freak and as the blade starts to pierce her skin, Officer Short arrives and manages to rescue her before the wound gets fatal. Simultaneously, an Insane Viking Warrior (Daniel Pierce) shows up, complete with crazed eyes, ripped six pack and chain mail loincloth, as well as a sexy version of the goddess Freya who looks identical to the actress.

The Officer manages to grab the actress and they crawl out of a hole in the ground, which is flanked by a grinning, dancing gentleman (Gerald) twirling a cardboard sign stating “Sacrifice Here.” They run away, while being unknowingly followed by the Viking Warrior, who lets out a scream of the ages before going on the chase. Down the rabbit hole they go, encountering an S&M bar with whipped businessmen and masturbating Santas, coitus interruptus thanks to vivisection via electric guitar, mass stabbings, watermelon being pierced by a high heel and an ethereal pope figure. 
 
This is all gonna end in blood.
 
Viking Angel is a fluid ride into a universe that intertwines the harsh realities of a violent, superficial world and the dreamy, love-lorn paganism of mythology. The music is a terrific mix of electro-sex-pop with metal undertones, thanks to some stellar guitar work courtesy of Gabriel Tanaka. With Huizenga’s background being music videos and the experimental film work of the SoftRock series, Viking Angel is a seamless blend of these twin formats. There is Huizenga’s brilliant editing style, working superimposition like a well-oiled-acid-laced-machine. The visual layering that is utilized here is like the world’s most stunning pastiche, with the tone of sensuality, bloodletting and the occult playing out like the art-child of Kenneth Anger.

Performance wise, Actually is pitch perfect both as the beautiful starlet who spends ¾ of the film caked in blood during her infernal journey, as well as the strong Freya-type doppelganger. As Mr. Bailey, Louis Oberlander is the epitome of blue-eyed Hollywood sleaze as he leads the sex & death show. Mitsios is charismatic as Officer Short and speaking of which, Gabriel Tanaka is equally striking as both the literally killer guitarist and the ghostly, androgynous Pope.
 
Glitter & Grue
 
The biggest challenge about Viking Angel has nothing to do with the film itself, but the multi-boundary pushing going on. Art crowds will get fussy about the blood and pop music. Horror fans could grouse about the art and pop music. Pop music fans will recoil from the grue and metal undertones, but you know what? That’s why this work is so wonderful and so needed. If your own boundaries are not pushed, then someone is not doing their job. Playing it safe is the last thing any artist should do, while playing it true to their work and vision is the absolute first thing they should do. Actually Huizenga is the real deal and has created a world that is striking, beautiful, nightmarish and complex with Viking Angel. Lucky for both fans and the curious, Huizenga has an upcoming multi-media tour highlighting both the film, the new tunes, as well as an additional performance by cult music wunderkind Ssion. Dates are not yet confirmed but will be posted on her website as soon as they are set.
 

Written by Heather Drain | Discussion
Elvis Costello buys avocados in an American supermarket, 1978

Elvis Costello
Elvis Costello contemplating olives
 
I don’t know exactly where this footage came from, but it’s delightful, whatever it is. To say it’s a 20/20 segment would be misleading but it appears to be the raw footage for a 20/20 segment that may never have ended up happening. Geraldo Rivera sure is seen here hanging out with Elvis Costello and the Attractions in mid-1978, and he sure is behaving like someone trying to put together some piquant footage for such a segment. This Year’s Model, arguably Elvis’s best album, was released in March of 1978, so that’s the product they were supporting here.

This footage was taped during the Elvis Costello and the Attractions U.S. tour of 1978. The Elvis Costello Wiki asserts that footage for 20/20 was taped on April 22, the day they played two gigs at Royal Oak, Michigan, and May 4, the day of their Boston appearance. The opening acts were Mink DeVille and Nick Lowe with Rockpile.
 
Elvis Costello
 
The two clips can be usefully called “Tour Bus” and “Supermarket.” The first isn’t super interesting, we see Elvis Costello and a few other guys exit a Howard Johnson’s, where they had stayed the night, and pile into a tour bus—Geraldo tapes an intro in which he makes a lot of the fact that the gang is down-to-earth enough to use a bus. The bus, named “Successful Living,” is cramped indeed. You can hear the Rutles’ “I Must Be in Love” and “Ouch!” playing in the background, and the fellows humming along. Future historians will want to know that Elvis was a Rutles fan.
 
Successful Living
 
The second clip has far more incident. The gang enters an A&P, they pick up some milk and some beer, Elvis grabs two avocados and they head for the checkout line. A matronly woman with a European accent informs Elvis that her son plays “bass”—I’m almost positive she means with a bow—Geraldo asks a woman if she likes “punk rock” and the woman, appearing not to understand, indicates that she drinks it. The nonplussed cashier Gertrude—love her sailor-style A&P outfit—has the most honest reaction to Geraldo’s leading question about punk rock: “I think it’s wonderful. You’re a group, a singing group or something?” before cackling endearingly. Skinny ties abound. Dave Edmunds wears a black jacket, and Nick Lowe can be seen clutching an orange.
 
Geraldo and Elvis
 
“Tour Bus”:

 
“Supermarket”

 

Written by Martin Schneider | Discussion
‘Sex Freak’: A young RuPaul performs on cable access TV. No band, no budget, all charisma
04.16.2014
01:07 pm

Topics:
Pop Culture
Queer
Television

Tags:
RuPaul


 
Despite my ardent endorsement of RuPaul as “America’s sweetheart,” she’s been catching a lot of criticism lately, and not from a bloodthirsty religious right (who apparently know how to better pick their culture wars these days). A feature on her hit show, RuPaul’s Drag Race, called “Female or She-male,” has been cut from the air after many trans advocates found it offensive. In the segment, contestants were shown pictures of body parts and asked to guess what gender or sex of person possessed said body part. Anatomical “guessing games” have certainly historically demeaned queer people, and a lot of of folks were understandably upset, finding the game “othering.” Many trans advocates have have also argued against Ru’s use of the word “tranny,” as they maintain it’s a slur used to describe trans women and not gay men who do drag.

For the record, I’m not speculating on anybody’s body parts (which is vulgar and cruel, without invitation), nor am I ever calling anybody “tranny,” but I do think time will show that RuPaul is on the right side of history. On the first count, the body parts used for “Female or She-Male” were done with volunteer participants—it was not some zoological expedition intending to “expose” the “unreal” women. On the second count, “transgender” (as opposed to “transsexual” or “transvestite”) wasn’t even a concept until the term was coined in 1979 by early trans celebrity Christine Jorgensen (interestingly, many gay men accused her of homophobia, arguing she implied that gay men were women trapped in men’s bodies). Additionally, at least until 1992,  “transgender” included “transsexuals, transgenderists, and cross dressers” according to International Conference on Transgender Law and Employment Policy. Terminology changes to accommodate developing ideas in gender theory, and to expect everyone to retrofit their own identities to the latest language (which may or may not stick around for very long) ignores context and history.

From a purely technical standpoint, to say that “tranny” is a slur only used to describe a single type of gender nonconformity gives the bigots who use it epithetically way too much credit—they’re not really having nuanced, in-depth conversations on the difference between sex and gender identification. I’m sure RuPaul has been called “tranny” in her life (and though identities as a man, doesn’t really care too much about pronouns or identity in general)—I think it’s pretty inconsistent that she now be barred from using the word.

Regardless, I find the latest social justice culture’s obsession with “pure” language to be a bit wrong-headed, not to mention politically impotent, so I thought I’d like to post a reminder of what it is that makes RuPaul so groundbreaking. Here we see a 1986 clip from the brilliant Atlanta cable access program, American Music Show, one of the longest running public access shows, ever, and a veritable treasure trove of weirdo outsider performance. Ru is seen here performing “Sex Freak,” from his very first 12 inch EP release of the same name, and since it’s a spoken-word techno song, he romances the camera with an amazing resourcefulness. No band, no budget, and yet all that charisma and confidence still shines through!
 

Written by Amber Frost | Discussion
The Idiot: Iggy Pop totally charms square daytime TV audience, 1977
04.16.2014
10:45 am

Topics:
Music
Punk
Television

Tags:
David Bowie
Iggy Pop


 
Iggy Pop’s classic album, The Idiot, is now 37 years old. It still sounds as good today as when it was released in spring of 1977, although the times have caught up to it. Somewhat at least.

Produced by David Bowie, who co-wrote all of the songs with Iggy, save for one (Bowie’s longtime guitarist Carlos Alomar co-wrote “Sister Midnight), The Idiot has very little in common with the rest of the Igster’s output, even his next record, Lust for Life, also produced in collaboration with Bowie. No, The Idiot‘s Teutonic-sounding industrial drone had almost no connection whatsoever to the sound of The Stooges, or really even most things of that era, come to think of it.

Bowie’s own Low album had just come out in January and was considered mind-blowing, even controversial at the time. The Idiot, released just a few weeks later (but mostly recorded first), was an equally chilly-sounding affair, but way darker and with a much bigger whomp. It’s sort of the perfect marriage of their talents.

As Bowie told Kurt Loder in 1989:

Poor Jim, in a way, became a guinea pig for what I wanted to do with sound. I didn’t have the material at the time, and I didn’t feel like writing at all. I felt much more like laying back and getting behind someone else’s work, so that album was opportune, creatively.

The Idiot was the first Iggy album that you could easily buy in a small town. I was eleven when it came out and I already owned both Raw Power and a blue vinyl Metallic ‘KO—both purchased unheard via mail order from a Moby Disc Records ad in CREEM magazine, a monthlong round trip—so when I brought The Idiot home from the mall and slapped it on the turntable, I was perplexed at first, but ultimately thrilled. “Dum Dum Boys” and “Mass Production” were my favorite tracks. The druggy, nightmarish vamp “Nightclubbing” was another. I played the shit out of that album.

When Iggy and Bowie toured that spring in support of The Idiot, they made a stop on daytime television’s Dinah! show, hosted by singer Dinah Shore. Bowie had been on Dinah! to promote Station to Station (with fellow guests Nancy Walker and Henry Winkler) and seemed to have a good rapport with Shore, so it was arranged that he would guest with Iggy, who sang a live “Sister Midnight” after Shore introduced him—her show was on at 10am in the TV market I lived in—with a photograph of him covered in blood! Dinah! may have been a middle-of-the-road daytime TV show, but to her credit, Dinah Shore didn’t shy away from asking him about it either (as Bowie laughs and shakes his head “No!”). Shore’s square studio audience, too, seem to actually be charmed by Jimmy Osterberg’s tales of his misspent youth, drug addiction and self-harming, because, hey let’s face it, the man was charisma personified during this delightful chat
 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Classical music’s greatest shitty reviews


 
I’ve long felt that dismissive asshole music writers can be every bit as valuable as thoughtful and rigorous ones. Yes, a think piece on why it’s important that so-and-so’s reunion album is held as a disappointment by the cognoscenti and what that consensus might say about the cultural priorities of a generation can be thought provoking and illuminating, and I’m absolutely going to read that piece. But sometimes I only need to hear from the smugging, brickbat-lobbing prick who’ll just flat out tell me that a record is dog shit and that my money would be better spent on maybe a nice lunch. When the ‘zine explosion hit in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, I always particularly enjoyed titles like Forced Exposure, Your Flesh, and Motorbooty, some of whose writers would just absolutely SAVAGE a band for being even slightly sub-par—not because I had any particular hardon to see sincere creative strivers get slammed, but because these mags’ ranks were swelling with Bangs/Meltzer aspirants who did their best to be really damn clever with their invective. I succumbed to that temptation, myself, in my youth as an embryonic writer. Not gonna lie, ill-tempered nastiness could be (oh, who am I kidding with the past tense, still is) a great deal of fun, so long as it wasn’t a crutch, and I got validation for it from readers who found such caustic bastardy engaging and funny.

But a book I picked up back in the early oughts revealed to me a tradition for brutal critical smartassery reaching back long before the rock era. Nicolas Slonimsky’s Lexicon of Musical Invective, originally published in 1953, but revived with new editions in 1965 and 2000, contains hundreds of pages of critical blasts, going as far back as the turn of the 19th Century, at works that later became untouchables in the classical music canon. I’m normally one to seek out the oldest edition of a book I can affordably get my hands on, but in the case of the Lexicon, the 2000 publication not only holds the advantage of still being in print, it has a wonderful foreword by Peter “P.D.Q. Bach” Schickele, from whence:

It is a widely known fact—or, at least, a widely held belief—that negative criticism is more entertaining to read than enthusiastic endorsement. There is certainly no doubt that many critics write pans with an unbridled gusto that seems to be lacking in their (usually rarer) raves, and these critics often become more famous, or infamous, than their less caustic colleagues.

Most of us feel constrained, in person, to say politely pleasant things to creative artists no matter what we think of their work; perhaps this penchant of ours endows blisteringly bad reviews with a cathartic strength…

And perhaps much of the appeal of the Lexicon to a classical-music dilettante like me lies in how it’s all the more entertaining to read slams on works that are so long-embedded in our culture, so widely regarded as timeless works of surpassing genius, that it’s hard to even imagine some grump throughly torpedoing them.
 

 
On Richard Strauss’ Salome:

“A reviewer…should be an embodied conscience stung into righteous fury by the moral stench with which Salome fills the nostrils of humanity, but, though it makes him retch, he should be sufficiently judicial in his temperament to calmly look at the drama in all its aspects and determine whether or not as a whole it is an instructive note on the life and culture of the times and whether or not this exudation from the diseased and polluted will and imagination of the authors marks a real advance in artistic expression.”
—H.E. Krehbiel, New York Tribune, January 23,1907

“I am a man of middle life who has devoted upwards of twenty years to the practice of a profession that necessitates a daily intimacy with degenerates. I say after deliberation that Salome is a detailed and explicit exposition of the most horrible, disgusting, revolting, and unmentionable features of degeneracy that I have ever heard, read of, or imagined.”
—letter to the New York Times, January 21, 1907
 

 
On Claude Debussy’s La Mer:

“M. Debussy wrote three tonal pictures under the general title of The Sea… It is safe to say that few understood what they heard and few heard anything they understood… There are no themes distinct and strong enough to be called themes. There is nothing in the way of even a brief motif that can be grasped securely enough by the ear and brain to serve as a guiding line through the tonal maze. There is no end of queer and unusual effects in orchestration, no end of harmonic combinations and progressions that are so unusual that they sound hideously ugly.”
—W.L. Hubbard, Chicago Tribune, January 30, 1909

“We believe that Shakespeare means Debussy’s ocean when he speaks of taking up arms against a sea of troubles. It may be possible, however, that in the transit to America, the title of this work has been changed. It is possible that Debussy did not intend to cal it La Mer, but Le Mal de Mer, which would at once make the tone-picture as clear as day. It is a series of symphonic pictures of sea sickness.”
—Louis Elson, Boston Daily Advertiser, April 22 1907
 
More shitty reviews after the jump…
 

Written by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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