15 Records & 15 More

So I got tagged on one of those Internet meme things on Facebook the other day. It was a thing where you were supposed to list 15 albums that stuck with you, which, c'mon, how am I supposed to pass that up? I've done something similar here on the blog ages ago with my Desert Island Disco series, and while both lists contain a lot of the same artists, for this one I included records that were more introductory and seminal as opposed to ones I'd listen to forever if necessary. So here's my list of 15 Albums:

1. Jonathan Richman - I, Jonathan
2. Harry Nilsson - Nilsson Schmilsson
3. The Beatles - The Beatles
4. Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited
5. Guided By Voices - Bee Thousand
6. Pavement - Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
7. The Unicorns - Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?
8. Talking Heads - Remain In Light
9. The Beach Boys - Friends
10. The Clash - The Clash
11. Yo La Tengo - Electro-Pura
12. Sebadoh - Bakesale
13. Flaming Lips - The Soft Bulletin
14. Funkadelic - Maggot Brain
15. R.E.M. - Reckoning

And of course, as soon as I hit "Submit" on the Facebook note, I thought of another 15 or so records I could include. So here's another 15:

1. Paul & Linda McCartney - Ram
2. The Dismemberment Plan - Change
3. Beck - Midnight Vultures
4. Spoon - Girls Can Tell
5. Ganglians - Monster Head Room
6. Tom Waits - Bone Machine
7. Belle & Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister
8. Old 97's - Too Far To Care
9. Super Furry Animals - Rings Around the World
10. Halo Benders - God Don't Make No junk
11. Devo - Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!
12. Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
13. The B-52's - The B-52's
14. Neil Young - After the Gold Rush
15. They Might Be Giants - Apollo 18

What about you? What are some informative, keystone records from yr life? Ones that you heard and said to yourself, "Yeah, that's it right there."?


Seven Evil Exes

So, we saw Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World the night it opened and for some reason, I'm just getting around to blogging about it. It was really fantastic. Like, very, very, very good. Perfect, almost. Upon its completion, I immediately wanted to go watch it again. That's how good it is.

It has everything a movie should have: a great soundtrack, great cast, masterful direction, snappy dialogue, epic fights, and a cute love story. It looks great, it sounds great and it feels great. (It also includes the long-awaited fight between George Michael Bluth and Ann Veal that all you Arrested Development fanfic writers have been salivating over.*) And so far, it's not doing so great at the box office, with box office receipts totaling less than half of that steaming turd of a film Eat Pray love. This is terrible. I cannot let this act of aggression stand. As an enjoy-er of Things That Are Awesome, I must act.

So I am posting this in an effort to get you out of your house and into a theater to watch this movie. Because trust me, if you wait until it hits in DVD and you're watching it at home on your little TV you will be going, "Oh man! This movie's great! Why didn't I see this on the big screen? WHYYYY?!" And I will jump out from behind a plant and say, "I TOLD YOU!" And you will probably call the cops. But it will be worth it.

But yeah, go see Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World. I loved it, and c'mon, my tastes are pretty impeccable, right? And if you're worried it's too dudical or if I'm already to biased about the source material (Seriously though, the comics are great, too. And yeah, I'm a pretty big sucker for Edgar Wright, but c'mon! Spaced? Shaun of the of Dead? Hot Fuzz? Spaaaaaaaaced? And yeah, I bought both the soundtrack and the score and will most likely download the game on Xbox and sure, I waited to buy the last volume at midnight at my local comic shop and I pretty much feel like if you don't like this movie you probably wouldn't like me because it's everything I think is great about movies/comics/video games all in one place…), I will point out that I saw it with my wife, who also enjoyed it lots and couldn't care less about comic book movies or martial arts movies, both of which this film shares DNA with. So there.

It's super-fun. Honest. And if you have seen it already, why not tell a friend. It pains me to see something this good and this fun and this well-made get passed over in favor of stuff like Vampires Suck or Eat Pray Love. We've got to fight for our right to awesome.

Here's the trailer.

* Is Arrested Development fanfic a thing? Initially I was joking, but now I kinda hope it is. I don't know that I want to live in a world where somebody isn't spending hours writing the further adventures of the Bluth family. It's gotta be out there somewhere, right? I mean, if people are writing Spin City or WKRP In Cincinnati fanfic, surely somebody somewhere's gotta writing the story of Carl Weathers and Tobias F√ľnke on a roadtrip across America to audition for the Spider-Man musical, right? Please tell me this is so, otherwise, well, you know what I'll be doing this weekend.


"Ooh-Oooooh Swamp Diamonds!"

It's MST3K Drink & Draw time again. This time, it's Swamp Diamonds, AKA Swamp Girls, a Roger Corman "girls on the lam in the bayou" schlock-fest.

Movie-sign is tomorrow night, August 25th, beginning at 9 pm. Who's in?

Watch along on Netflix. Draw along with the movie. Follow along on Twitter with @theChrisHaley and @theJenya (that's her face in that there diamond, lookin' all sultry & whatnot) OR find all the great tweets using the hashtag #MST3kDandD. And there's always our Flickr pool for posting your drawerings.



You Gotta Hear This

Tom Waits covering the legendary James Brown's classic, "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag." It's like if Albert Einstein decided to cover Isaac Newton. Or something. Anyway, it's glorious.

You're welcome.

America's Busybody

"Do I hear the sound of butting in? It's gotta be little Lisa Simpson, Springfield's answer to a QUESTION NO ONE ASKED!"

– Ned Flanders, losing his cool-a-roodily in
the Simpson's episode, "Hurricane Neddy."

So, yeah, Sarah Palin, America's Busybody. Since when did we need her to throw her two cents in Every. Single. Issue? First off, she decided that the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque," (pronounced: "It's a community center. You know, more like a YMCA, only the 'C' is a 'M'.") to be built on "hallowed ground," (pronounced: "A former Burlington Coat Factory") needed to be "refudiated," (pronounced: "Not a word, you dunderhead.") by peaceful Muslims &/or New Yorkers. Because, you know, as an Alaskan (and one whose husband was a member of a group who wanted Alaska to defect from the Unites States, no less…), this directly affects her.

Now I'm not going to debate about this community center, its placement, or whether it's a good idea or not. Opinions are obviously divided. My company line is that I don't live in New York. It's not my business. Buuuut, I like the Constitution. I like the freedom of being able to gather and worship in the manner I see fit without worry of hassle from the government. And, as a member of a vilified, misunderstood religious group who is always getting hassle for trying to build their weird, secretive buildings in myriad strategic locations, (and one whose history is rife with accusations of complicity in a secret plot by its members to overthrow the government and therefore should be shooed out of the country as quickly as possible, if not shot on sight) I stand by the First Amendment and well, if it's good enough for the neighbors and zoning boards in New York (or their mayor), let them build their community center in a shabby Burlington Coat Factory location a couple of blocks from the former World Trade Center. (By the way, with the way Manhattan is shaped, pretty much anything in the lower tip of the island is a couple of blocks from they World Trade Center. But maybe that's just The Elitist in me speaking.)

But, like I said, opinions differ. Whatever, because well, First Amendment. Which brings me to the latest bruhaha Sarah Barracuda/Quitter McGee decided to weigh in on: radio personality/advice diva/A.M. yenta Dr. Laura Schlesinger's recent flap for using the N-word numerous times (numerous times!) during a conversation with a caller on her show. Now her defense is that she was using it to make a philosophical point AND black comedians say it AND they say it on HBO, but still, the fact stands: she used a racially charged word over and over and over on her radio show. Also, for what it's worth, we're talking about a lady who looks like this, which is to say, pretty dang white:

Personally, I don't mind Dr. Laura. I used to work a construction job with a guy who listened to her semi-religiously and she was fun; doling out sound, common sense advice like a friendly mom who'll tell you how it really is, kid. Sure, she's a busybody, which is probably why Sarah decided she needed to defend her, I guess. It's part of the Busybody Sisterhood Bylaws or something. Look it up.

Anyway, because of the flap, Dr. Laura's gonna retire from her syndicated talk show, telling Larry King that she was looking forward to having her First Amendment rights back by being off the air. We'll get into why this is a stupid statement shortly.

Good old Sarah tweeted her two cents (because let's face it, she has a lot of free time on her hands ever since she quit her job and hired a ghostwriter to writer her books, Facebook page posts and, one assumes, those lists on her hands) thusly:

"Dr.Laura:don't retreat...reload! (Steps aside bc her 1st Amend.rights ceased 2exist thx 2activists trying 2silence"isn't American,not fair")" (link)

And: "Dr.Laura=even more powerful & effective w/out the shackles, so watch out Constitutional obstructionists. And b thankful 4 her voice,America." (link)

So, let's talk about why this is totally dumb. Let's start by refreshing ourselves with the First Amendment that's being bandied about so much here. From the National Archives website, the transcript of the Amendment reads like so:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Got it? Do you see the part where it says, "You can say whatever you want and nobody can say anything about it?" No? Whaaaa-? Surely it must be in there.

There seems to be this idea that the First Amendment means that you can say whatever dumb, insensitive or inaccurate thing you want without others saying, "You know, what you just said was dumb. Or insensitive. Or inaccurate. Or all three." This is not the case. If it were, then that means that Sarah Palin was obstructing the Constitutional rights of Rahm Emmanuel when she got all busybody-ish about a report of him saying that Congressional Democrats' objections to the (at the time) Health Care Bill were "retarded."

(It means "stunted." Again, look it up if you need to. It also has other connotations, namely an epithet towards the developmentally challenged. We can split hairs here and talk about usage and why when Emmanuel used it, he was referring to the Congress member's demands, and not a person, therefore the usage is obviously not intended to connote a mental handicap; whereas when Rush Limbaugh used the word to describe members of Congress themselves, he knew full well that that was what he was referring to, namely that the aforementioned Congress members were developmentally challenged. But we won't get into that. It's also interesting that when Dr. Laura gets in trouble for using the N-word, – repeatedly! – Sarah Palin's right there defending her civil liberties, but if somebody says "retarded," man, you better watch out. She will go all Mama Grizzly on you. But hypocrisy's always looked good on Palin.)

Another example: the former Miss California's sort-of-recent kerfuffle vis a vis: gay marriage versus "opposite marriage." Did she have the right to answer the question according to the dictates of her conscience and limited mental capabilities? Sure. Does that mean that her comments should have been uncontested or at the very least un-made-fun-of? Nope. Sorry. I mean, "opposite marriage"? Seriously? The Constitution doesn't cover against mean words or hurt feelings or reasoned rebuttal.

At least not until I get made President.

Look, if Dr. Laura is exercising her First amendment rights by using the N-word to try and make a philosophical point, well, okay then I guess. But it's A) a stupid thing to do, and B) others are just as protected under the First Amendment by "refudiating" those remarks. That's the cost of democracy. It's also the cost of being an adult. It's called accountability and responsibility. You know, the kind of stuff Dr. Laura's shoveling on a daily basis, but apparently won't eat herself, choosing instead to wallow in victimhood.

The bottom line is this: the First Amendment does not mean what Sarah Palin (and a lot of other people) thinks it means. The Amendment simply states that the government can't put limits on your speech (unless it's public or commercial or obscene or slanderous). It's not a free pass to shoot your mouth off whenever you get a microphone in front of your face with fear of reprisal. Welcome to America.

Also: white people should not be using the N-word. Ever. Never ever. Period. Full stop. Not for comedic purposes, not to make a philosophical point, not for any reason. Just don't do it. Cut it out of your brain if you have to. And if a white person does let it slip for whatever reason, they deserve all the backlash that comes their way.

The First Amendment does not protect you from the consequences of your speech, especially when it's done over public airwaves.

Sorry dudes.

Day Late/Dollar Short

Hey there. I didn't get around to it yesterday, but here's the latest MST3K Drink & Draw poster. This one's for the film Night of the Blood Beast, about an astronaut who comes back from the cosmos all knocked up with alien babies. Sexiness/hilarity ensues.

Go and check out the Flickr pool for more great stuff. Oh, and next week's film is the Roger Corman, "girls on the lam in the bayou," schlockfest that is Blood Diamond, so get ready for that.


The Cosmic String

It's Wednesday! Which of course means it's time for the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Super Friends Club Drink & Draw event, featuring this week's presentation, 1965's Monster-A-Go-Go. Here's the poster.

Movie-sign is tonight, August 11th, beginning at 9 pm. Who's in?

Watch along on Netflix. Draw along with the movie. Follow along on Twitter with @theChrisHaley and @theJenya OR find all the great tweets using the hashtag #MST3kDandD. And there's always our Flickr pool for posting your drawerings.

Oh, and I'm still curious about your thoughts on printing these up and selling them in the Tuff Industries shop. Which ones should I offer? Would you buy one? Should it be specific for the event or be reworked to be just a movie poster? Let me know in the comments section, por favor.


These Are the Breaks

So like a million years ago, when the world was young and Triceratops was still a dinosaur, Chris Haley and I pinged together one of our legendary collaborative mixes.

Over the course of a few days we pulled together our tracks and Chris came up with a pretty baller title (Ping, vol. 6 – Dance Fighter 2: Electric Punch-A-Yoo! Just sorta rolls off the tongue, right?) and we were like, "Yay! This is great! Now let's do the cover art!" So Chris whipped up this great illustration of a guy with a fist for a head and I was like "Yeah! This mix is gonna be huuuuuuge!" and then I started to finish it off but then I lost my job last year and my world turned upside-down and I totally forgot about this poor mix as it sat in my iTunes, coverless, unshared and unloved.

Poor fella.

Well, no more! My life is now right-side-up and Chris has reminded me enough and I got it done and now you can download and enjoy the latest in Ping Mixtapery Saga by clicking this link right here. It's also available in the Master List, along with a bunch of other mixes from the BRR Mixtape Brigade.

Oh, and why don't you just go ahead and download my monthly mix, Baby C'Mon while you're at it?


Tom Servo

Well, it's that time of week again, time for the MST3K Super Friends Club Drink & Draw event. This week, we're screening Santa Claus.You know, the one where he teams up with Merlin to defeat Satan. That one.

The action starts tomorrow night, August 4th, 2010, beginning at 9 pm Eastern time.

Watch along on Netflix. Draw along with the movie. Follow along on Twitter with @theChrisHaley and @theJenya OR find all the great tweets using the hashtag #MST3kDandD. And there's always our Flickr pool for posting your drawerings.

Oh, and as a bonus, here's the poster for last week's movie, First Spaceship On Venus.


And as long as we're on the subject, I'm thinking of offering prints of some of these in my Etsy shop, Tuff Industries, but I'm a little unsure of the specifics. What do you guys think? Which ones should I offer? (There's a Flickr set here. I'm thinking from Werewolf on.) Would you buy one? And if so, should it be for the event, or be reworked to be just a movie poster? Let me know in the comments section, por favor.


These Darned, Dirty Apes

Here's August's mix. Featuring tracks from: The Breeders, The Oranges Band, The Modern Lovers, Stephen Malkmus, Rogue Wave, Bob Dylan, T.Rex, Dr. Dog, Harry Nilsson, Phoenix, Guidance Counselor, Dirty Projectors, Built Like Alaska, The Smiths, The Mountain Goats, The Count Five, The Sunshine Fix, The Raincoats, Let's Active!, and Sparks. Lots of "The…" bands this month. Weird.

Download it here.

As always, there are more mixes over on the Master List. Feel free to share it with anyone and everyone. Sharing is caring.

And hey, have you made a mix that I should know about? Lemme know in the comments section.