28 September 2007

Collective Wisdom

Wikipedia has a rather extensive entry on The Fonz.

Blogarrific Blogstravaganza 2007!

If you don't live in Chicago, or near Chicago, I'd suggest you steal a car and start driving right now. An unprecedented event will occur tonight: The Blogarrific Blogstraviganza 2007 (tm). I haven't cleared this name with the others, but I'm sure that they would endorse it.

Tonight, meet your favorite authors (and me)! Drink beer with them! Buy them (me) more beer! How often do these people even leave their computers? Tonight's your night!

Feed the Beast
4300 N. Lincoln Ave.

Celebrity bloggers include:

Johnny Yen!
The Evil Genius!
Grant Miller!

(and me)

Blogarrific Blogstravaganza 2007! Be there, or be...DEAD!

27 September 2007

Rejected - Don Hertzfeldt

Short Spam Fiction, by "Josiah Perry"

Who helped you? She was highly Colin had an astonished expres And the percentages? Colin ask She shrugged. Anyone with half He shook his head. But youre a He was going to add that he co I knew that would come up, she Colin had never seen her this Caine came to her rescue. And Yes, she did, Alesandra answer Colin let out a snort. Ill wag Shall we get back to our reaso Yes, of course. Caine took the I believe we should go ahead a Caine unfolded the sheet of pa Get started, son, his father i The first name on the list is Yes, but Ive scratched him off

26 September 2007

In This Town We Call Home, Everyone Hails to the Pumpkin Song!

Splotchy has a history of compiling the finest mix tapes around. He does so with the help of the 'blogosphere,' as the kids are calling it these days. I was fortunate enough to participate in his latest Green Monkey Music Project, the 'Can't Wait For Halloween Mix'. If you haven't guessed, it is the greatest Halloween mix tape in the history of civilization! And it's downloadable!

There are a lot of great songs in this mix, but I am going to discuss my choices.

1. The Residents, "Harry the Head"
Every time I want scary music, I go right to these guys. What do they look like? No one knows. They've been wearing these eyeball costumes for decades. No one even knows if it's the same people under the costumes for all of those years. They've been making aggressively strange music for longer than I've been listening to it, and a short bio won't do them justice. You should read a long one. Harry the Head is about a head. Named Harry.

2. Lordi, "Would You Love a Monsterman"
LORDI! You might wonder why I have included a metal song in my mix. You clearly don't know who Lordi is, the only Finnish monster metal band to win the Eurovision Song Contest, which is a huge deal in Europe, and almost totally unknown in the US. They're that good. They make you want to jump up and down and spit fire and and proclaim that metal is KING. And the lead singer's name is Mr. Lordi. I'm not making that up. Here is the video for the song that won that contest (past winners have included Celine Dion and people that sing like her):

If zombie cheerleaders and a monster rock band performing in a high school gym don't melt your metal heart, then nothing will. "Would You Love a Monsterman" has a pretty great video, too. They also have a brand of Finnish cola and a restaurant, called "The Rocktaurant." Best band ever.

3. The Shaggs, "It's Halloween"
The Shaggs were a family of sisters in rural New Hampshire. Their father decided that his daughters should have a rock band, bought them instruments, and then a couple of months later decided that they should record an album. Problem was, they hadn't really learned how to, oh, play their instruments. Or keep rhythm. Or sing. The album ended up being one of the greatest pieces of outsider art ever created. The song sounds awful, but just let it wash over you. You'll love it. It's charming, unironic and naive. Punk rock at its finest.

4. The Creation, "Nightmares"
The Creation was a groundbreaking psychedelic rock band, the best known purveyors of a strain of psychedelia called ""freakbeat." You've probably head a song of theirs that was featured in Rushmore, "Making Time." The song used a violin bow on an electric guitar, a technique so awesome that Pete Townsend tried to recruit the guitarist, and Jimmy Page just stole the technique. Future Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood was a member for a while as well.

5. Ashcroft and Bacon, "Unseen Hand"
Yes, that's future Attorney General John Ashcroft singing. The guy that covered up the nudity on the statue of blind justice. I was actually looking for another song by him (I figured, what's scarier than a future Bible thumpin' Attorney General singing?) , and I found this song instead, which sounds even creepier than what I was looking for.

All tracks (and everyone else's picks) are available for download at I, Splotchy.

25 September 2007

Thoughts on The Heartbreak Kid

I've just come from a preview of The Heartbreak Kid, starring Ben Stiller. The ticket was free, and in my defense, I was unaware that it was made by the Farrelly Brothers; I went in blind, only knowing that it starred Ben Stiller, and I was pretty sure it was a remake of an earlier movie, unseen by me. I would warn you that there will be some spoilers following, but I can't honestly imagine why any sentient human being would want to purposely harm themselves in such a horrifying manner such as viewing this movie. Some thoughts:

-A protagonist who is not only not a good person, but who thinks he is (not ironically), a sentiment the movie seems to share. I told the girl taking down people's opinions after the movie that I found him to be "aggressively unlikeable." I may have been too kind.

-A movie that portrays every woman in it as a bitch, a fool, or a bitchy fool.

-A movie that allows Carlos Mencia to appear in it.

-Poor Malin Akerman. She probably viewed this movie as her big break, but all she got out of it was several scenes of her topless (yes, there's nudity, guys), two of the absolutely most non-erotic sex scenes ever filmed, and the opportunity to play a shrill, crazy, unlikeable character that is given no sympathy by the filmmakers (but some from the audience).

-A closeup (yes, a CLOSEUP) of a pantsless woman with a piercing in a very sensitive place urinating on Ben Stiller. The reason I mention this is because it has officially set the bar as low as I've ever seen it set for a joke. To say it fails miserably would be a compliment to it. It makes me long for the kinder, gentler days of teenagers fucking pies.

-Men In Black showed that you can find humor in illegal immigrants struggling to cross the border. This movie tries to. It fails. Instead it garners sympathy for the women and children trying to cross the desert. I was hoping that Ben Stiller would be stranded and eaten by vultures, but to no avail.

-I hated it for making me want money back from a free ticket.

-I hated it for killing off whatever goodwill Ben Stiller still had saved up from The Ben Stiller Show (Along Came Polly used up much of that credit)

I can think of no good reason to see this movie. My friend and I tried to at least make fun of it, but we ended up too depressed by the end. What a waste of time, money, effort, and my evening. I hope that this is the worst movie of the year, because the thought of watching one worse would make a sane person consider suicide as an alternative.

Notable Persons of the Week

Here at the Idea of Progress, we like to salute excellence, bravery, and daring. In that spirit, I present you with The Idea Of Progress's Notable Persons of the Week!

Star Simpson: Arrested in Boston for walking into an airport with a circuit board and wiring strapped to her chest, carrying Play-Doh. After avoiding being shot by airport police by following orders, Ms. Simpson stated that she was wearing art, and wanted to display it. For bravery and dedication to her craft, Ms. Simpson is hearby declared: NOTABLE!

The Dedicated Traveler: A 15 yea old Russian boy fell out of a wheel well of a plan that flew from Perm to Moscow, a two hour trip. He was so frozen that authorities had difficulty removing his coat. He is being treated for severe frostbite in a Moscow hospital. Early reports had stated that he had ridden on the wing of the plane. No word if John Lithgow was watching him from the inside. For perseverance to cheap airfare, The Dedicated Traveler is declared NOTABLE!

He Who Doesn't Check His Work: The White House slipped up (again) this week by accidently releasing Dubya's speech to the UN in the original format. That is, the format he read it, viewed on a teleprompter. Apparently Dubya can't pronounce certain things.

Pronunciations for President Bush's friend French President Sarkozy "[sar-KOzee]" appeared in draft #20 on the UN website. Other pronunciations included the Mugabe "[moo-GAHbee] regime" and pronunciations for countries "Kyrgyzstan [KEYRgeez-stan]" and "Mauritania [moor-EH-tain-ee-a]." Someone didn't look before submitting it to the public.
For his fearless efforts in not checking twice, He Who Doesn't Check His Work is declared NOTABLE!

23 September 2007

Best of Craigslist

Cute seizering guy at methodone clinic - w4m - 19

when i saw you at the methodone clinic going into convulsions, i felt terrible. but when you were shaking on the ground and i got a glimpse of your back tattoo, i suddenly became interested. dark hair and chiseled jaw line. i cant believe im on craigslist trying to find such a bad boy.

Actual post.

22 September 2007

Either there are no gay reporters at the Red Eye...

...or they are cracking up at this. This is the actual Saturday paper from Chicago's Red Eye, the Entertainment Tonight/Extra/ A Current Affair version of a real newspaper, apparently aimed at my age group by the Chicago Tribune.

Did anyone mention that this could...I don't know...come off as homosexual innuendo?

Or am I reading too much into this?

You always think Bush is the worst president ever...and then something new comes along.

20 September 2007

Racist? Ignorant?

My boss described someone the other day as resembling a Ferengi. This got a laugh out of me, as I haven't seen Star Trek since high school, and it seemed like an odd thing to compare someone to. Today I mentioned offhand that I always thought the Ferengi were a Jewish caricature. My (Jewish) co-worker told me he had never considered that, never considered that the grubby, short, big nosed, big eared, money obsessed merchants could possibly be considered offensive.

This is what they look like, in case you are wondering.

Do I think that Star Trek is anti-semitic? Not at all. That show has had a long history of preaching tolerance and acceptance (and as people love to point out, the first interracial kiss on television happened between Kirk and Uhura). So how can something like the Ferengi pass unnoticed? It doesn't even seem very subtle to me.

I wrote a paper in college about this same issue, what I feel is unconscious racism. It may have something to do with the use of cultural shorthand to convey an idea without too much information, but when that cultural shorthand stems from something unsavory, well, it no longer becomes a valid shortcut.

Some examples.

I'll start with Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. This movie is full of them.

George Lucas is not an anti-semite. He's best buddies with Steven Spielberg, who is hardly quiet about his heritage. So how do we then end up with this guy?

A hook-nosed, conniving merchant/ slave trader. And what's more, he kind of SOUNDS Jewish. You half-expect him to start complaining about his mother.

We also have the Neimoidians, who look and sound like villains from a Charlie Chan episode.

Let's not even get started with this jive talking, cowardly dreadlocked guy.

Have you seen the new Transformers movie? Speaking of jive-talking, we've got a robot named Jazz that speaks with an urban African-American voice, dances at strange moments, and of course is the first one to die. I'm aware that he was originally a character from the cartoon, but I'm willing to forgive the Japanese for that. I'm imagining that the black population of Japan in the early 80's was probably limited, so they had very little material to work with. But how the hell did he get into the movie? It's not like there weren't another 10,000 other Autobots they could have replaced him with.

(If you wait until the end of this clip, you can see Jazz jive and dance)

That's not to mention these other faces we might recognize.

(above two images from hongpong.com)

I don't have any answers for you here, just questions. But when you're watching something on TV or seeing a movie, and you're thinking...something about that character bothers me...you are possibly right.

The Perils of Fame

From Constant Winter.

And someone give her a job that pays her lots of money. These things don't draw themselves.

19 September 2007

Self Image

Actors I've been told I resemble:

Paul Costanzo (Road Trip, 2006)

Jason Biggs (American Pie, 1999)

Thomas Ian Nicholas (American Pie, 1999)-- Although, if you see him as a kid in Rookie of the Year(1993), that's exactly what I looked like as a kid.

Actors that no one has ever told me I look like:

Cary Grant

George Clooney

Marcello Mastroianni

I'm glad no one has suggested I look like the following:

You go, Pope!

Pope Benedict has declined a request from Condie Rice to have a meeting, the BBC reported today. Apparently she wanted to discuss (what else?)Iraq and the Middle East. The Pope's people told her that he never took calls, as he is on vacation in August, and had her speak to his number two guy.

See, when he wanted to talk to the White house about the treatment of civilians in Iraq, he was given a cold shoulder. I'm sure he was happy to return the favor.

18 September 2007

We...Are..The Robots

Another great cover for you. First the original: "The Robots," by Kraftwerk. Kraftwerk was arguably the defining electronic act of all time. Sure, the SIlver Apples started it, but Kraftwerk shaped it into what seems more familiar today.

"The Robots," Kraftwerk, mp3

There's a guy named Señor Coconut (actually a German DJ named Uwe Schmidt) who likes to make Latin versions of music that clearly need some salsifying. Here's his version. Listen to the Kraftwerk one first, then the Señor Coconut cover. It's much funnier that way.

"The Robots," Senor Coconut, mp3

Would you taser this guy?

What does it mean to live in a free society? I know, I know, some of you out there are going to start with the "Bush this," and "NSA that" and Gitmo this," and I wouldn't argue with you. But generally, in a way that impacts our daily lives, we do okay. If I want to write here, "George W. Bush is a borderline fascist who tramples over our civil rights and is perfectly willing to kill hundreds of thousands of people to gain power and profit from it," I can. And I did.

If we want to gather in a public place and exchange these views, we can.

If we want to show up to an event and protest, we can.

If we want to write books, record songs, make movies that are critical of public figures, we can.

Does this mean we're allowed to do everything we want? That we should be able to? You may be able to figure out where I'm going with this. Yesterday a 21 year old college student named Andrew Meyer was tasered during a lecture/ q&a by John Kerry. There is a chilling video of a swarm of campus security zapping the kid with 50,000 volts of electricity as he cries out in pain.

The thing is, to some degree, he had it coming.

First, the video:

It's pretty shocking (pun mildly intended). Here's just a brave American, trying to speak his point of view, and getting assaulted by the Gestapo. There was immediate buzz (yes, I know, but I can't stop) about this event. That video has been viewed over 100,000 times in a day. It was shown on the Today Show.

We talked about it at work. My co-workers all agreed that silencing this guy's opinion was akin to denying him free speech. I disagreed. While I felt that tasering the kid was probably a little extreme (perhaps a lot), I can see exactly why he was dragged away from the mic.

Some opinions that aren't my own.

From a blog at the Washington Post:

There are some important things worth noting BEFORE you watch the video:

1.) Before Meyer is tasered, audience members can be heard applauding the police as they move him away from the microphone. Kerry staffers we spoke with say University of Florida officials told them the student has caused a fuss at similar events before, thus the clapping from members of the audience.

2.) Sen. Kerry was in town giving a lecture on foreign policy. The event was scheduled to last one hour, and had already run about 90 minutes by the time Meyer got to the microphone, according to a Kerry staffer.

3.) In some versions of the video, you can clearly hear Sen. Kerry say he will answer Meyer's questions. Kerry's office made it clear he has a policy of answering questions from anyone who asks at these types of events.

4.) Sen. Kerry's office issued the statement below:

"In 37 years of public appearances, through wars, protests and highly emotional events, I have never had a dialogue end this way. I believe I could have handled the situation without interruption, but I do not know what warnings or other exchanges transpired between the young man and the police prior to his barging to the front of the line and their intervention. I asked the police to allow me to answer the question and was in the process of responding when he was taken into custody. I was not aware that a taser was used until after I left the building. I hope that neither the student nor any of the police were injured. I regret enormously that a good healthy discussion was interrupted."

And from Daily Kos.

"I was at the Kerry speech today, sitting 2 rows away from all the action. I'll let you know how it really went down.

The forum was going to be over at 2 pm, and Kerry spoke for so long that the Q and A portion had to be shortened. He only got through about 7 of the 50 people who were waiting to ask questions. While the final question was being read, some douchebag ran down the aisle, grabbed the mic from the other side of the room, interrupted the kid who was talking, and started yelling at Kerry, demanding that his questions be heard. He started ranting about how Kerry talks in circles or something, and everyone was getting annoyed. The cops are all over him in no time and try to escort him out, but he starts yelling and resisting. Kerry insists that they let him stay and even agrees to answer his question.

After the interrupted guy's question was answered, Kerry keeps his promise and lets the angry guy talk. This is the point where people started taking their cameras and phones out. All the videos floating around youtube start around here. You can see in the videos that his questioning gets kind of inappropriate, so somebody cut his mic. Instead of shutting up, he starts yelling and making an even bigger scene. He struggled all the way up the aisle, and started violently trying to free himself. They threatened to taze him and he wouldnt stop fighting, so he got tazed. They only had to arrest him because he was causing a disruption and wouldn't leave peacefully. He wasn't being silenced for asking tough questions, trust me.

It's a shame that they had to taze the guy, but he had a chance to calm down and didn't take it. He probably didn't pose a physical threat to anybody in the room, but someone can't just hijack the floor of a forum like that and expect not to get kicked out. This wasn't some poor guy who was brutalized for trying to ask some tough questions. He's just an obnoxious guy who had a fit when there wasn't time for his questions and refused to be calm even when he was given the chance to speak. He was looking for trouble, and everyone applauded when he was forced to leave.

Nothing pisses me off more than hearing stories about power tripping cops abusing their power, unnecessarily tazing or arresting people, etc. It's a huge problem and I'm glad it's being discussed. Just don't mistake this for one of those cases"

Where do we draw the line at having the right to things, and abusing the right? While you have the right to ask a senator tough questions (and let's be clear: Kerry DID try and answer them), do you have the right to step on other people's toes, act like an asshole, and basically yell at a guy who is trying to give a speech? Especially when you support him?

I'm not saying that the kid should have been tasered. I'm not. He shouldn't have been tasered, or beaten. Should he have been removed? Hell yes. Those campus security folks overreacted, but he did start to push and shove them. That's his own damn fault.

If I showed up where Karl Rove was speaking, and I acted the way he did, I'd expect to be tossed out too. Or if I did it at an Obama speech, a McCain speech, or a Schwarzenegger speech. This isn't a party thing. This isn't a free speech thing.

It's a matter of just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

But what do you think?

Theme Song

In I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, the heroes are followed around by a band playing their theme song. If you were a movie character, what would your theme song be? Could you sum up the whole of you in a song?

I'm thinking about mine, but I'm curious what others think. Let me know, and I'll post your song here, along with mine (as soon as I think about it for a while).

17 September 2007

Some folks read the Bible.

The rest of us learned about life through other equally great works.

Spam Poetry by "Roosevelt Meza"

Preface to the 1948 Edition
Deep in the fog that quenches every ray, Escapees from the cold work of living, The form sought for centuries by To mark that square, perhaps: were Mère and Père Covering the land— Père and Mère Chose could be in conversation And I would like there's a pulpy orange-y smell from juice factories....
Although December's frost killed the winter crop, Blurring the terrain, Archangel Winter, darkness on his back shaded by live oaks and bottlebrush trees Traces of those deep cuts lie thickly upon Nor, indeed, the bit of paint itself can know of.
III. Chronology of Northern Exploration
Yes. You'd want that said, (if you
Archangel Winter, darkness on his back
People might see to be the opening

Some day someone is going to explain to me where these bizzare seemingly randomly generated texts actually come from.

16 September 2007

Pistols At Dawn is a Rock Star

In addition to apparently being a rock star, Pistols At Dawn has an excellent blog, where he explains the mysteries of the cosmos.

So really, he's just like Stephen Hawking.

15 September 2007

Download of the Day

"Brickhouse," Rob Zombie Featuring Lionel Ritchie, mp3

I'm still learning the best way to embed an mp3 into my blog (if anyone can tell me how to embed a Quicktime file, I'm all ears). But until then I will be bringing you linked music files.

This one is a doozy.

It's "Brickhouse," originally performed by the Commodores.

By Rob Zombie.

It's everything you ever wanted a cover song to be.


Sweet Jesus, I found a video of them performing this live. The performance isn't that great (the studio version linked above is brilliant!), but seeing Rob Zombie and Lionel Ritchie on stage together is like Christmas come early.

Somebody is going to get fired

13 September 2007


The Idea of Progress has returned. You may now cease your weeping and tearing of the clothes. Those of you that are attractive unattached women may continue with the clothes tearing.

What have I been up to in these days (literally! days!) of non-writing?

-Saw Wilco in Millenium Park

- Planned out a short film, a documentary, and a feature length comedy, at least one of which will be completed.

-Planned for a sequel to SLC: Vice! (If you haven't seen it, which is slightly possible, here it is)


-Thought about writing new blog posts, but resorted to regurgitating story from the New York Times and posting a funny picture

-Avoided getting a suitable about of sleep

The Pigocolypse

The saddest thing I've read today

Alex, an African Grey Parrot, who knew at least as much English as President Bush, died this week at the age of 31. He had been the subject of much research for the last few decades. There's a story/ obituary in the New York Times that ends with the following:

"Even up through last week, Alex was working with Dr. Pepperberg on compound words and hard-to-pronounce words. As she put him into his cage for the night last Thursday, she recalled, Alex looked at her and said: “You be good, see you tomorrow. I love you.”

He was found dead in his cage the next morning, Dr. Pepperberg said.

12 September 2007

Spam Poetry by "Loraine Howe"

Against which we have been projected? What . . .
As if your absence now concluded long ago.
Absurdly, my eyes can only see the arc
That only you and I can know. Les deux
and preening, dancing on the basepaths,
trainer flips young alligators over on their backs, Life, or only joy, that stands out As distant memories, through the fog-dimmed light, Looms in the air, deliberate and slow, In the woods, close by, to try that, to hold a terrifying beast Yes. The obvious Late February, and the air's so balmy The earth beneath his feet, in its dark cape, Deep in the fog that quenches every ray, I. Arctic Scenery XVIII. The Northeast and Northwest Passages Toward . . . that seems to be the whispered question And off the white smoke swims

First in a series of works by the finest poets of today, presenting their works in randomly generated spam emails.

10 September 2007

To Whom It May Concern

There is an authorized, Russian version of "Married With Children"

It's one of the most popular shows currently on in Russia. I never liked the show, to be honest, and was glad when Ed O'Neill graduated to Mamet movies and Katey Sagal went on to Futurama.

Maybe if we send them better shows to remake, they'll stop trying to scare the shit out of us. I wonder what they'd do with 'The Office?'

The Silver Apples were odd, but Skarekrau Radio were odder still

I saw the Silver Apples on Saturday at the Empty Bottle. Oddly, the place wasn't that packed. You'd think that people would jump at the very rare opportunity to see the man that was responsible for the foundation for electronica, new wave and industrial music, but I guess others had tickets to the Hideout Block Party (I didn't, but I still would have gone and seen the Silver Apples instead...as a matter of fact, why didn't they just invite him there?).

Simeon, the singer/ electronic music guy performed alone. He is now silver haired and frail after recovering from having his neck broken in a car accident. He didn't have a roadie. Someone helped him drag out his rig to the center of the stage, but he set it up and set up a video camera, projector and screen.

Since the drummer for the Silver Apples, Danny Taylor, passed away in 2005, Simeon used a drum machine. I was wondering if he'd use another drummer, but it'd be hard filling Taylor's shoes (he was a former drummer for Jimi Hendrix).

It was a great show. The oddest thing about it was that the music, since he used a drum machine, sounded less bizzare than the recordings from the 60's. He played my favorite song of his, "Program," right at the beginning (the song is the earliest song I know of to use sampling...they didn't even have a word for it then), but it was still profoundly odd and futuristic, and I had a blast.

Simeon enjoyed himself as well. I was personally offended that he wasn't playing a larger venue and that the place wasn't packed full, but he seemed genuinely pleased that this many people had showed up and were cheering him on. He smiled, and talked to the audience (when people kept yelling out for him to play 'Ruby' he said, "Hey, I didn't bring a banjo!").

There were three other bands. People are all gaga about Warhammer 48k. They were intense, loud and creative and intense (and their drummer is solid), but they didn't make the biggest impression on me of the opening bands.

Skarekrau Radio did.

There were 13 of them on stage. Two drummers, one percussionist. Two or three horn players. Guitar, bass, drums. Metal Antlers. Two singers, a woman, dressed oddly, and a man dressed in tuxedo tails and a thong. There was a guy playing the cymbals with a drumstick...he was weaing leotard bottoms. The saxophone player wasn't wearing any clothes at all. The naked sax guy leapt off of the stage at one point and flailed around on the ground (at first I thought he was really high, then I thought he was just performing, but he continued to do this throughout every band afterwards, so I returned to my original conclusion). The lead singer (?) spent most of the time offstage in the audience performing to the band.

The guy in the leotard pants ran around licking people in the audience (myself included--I had nowhere to run), while the band skronked and banged on things and yelled strange poetry out. I couldn't understand a single thing they said.

It was pretty rad.

Their website looks like it was put together by loonies. Warning! It plays a grating sound loop when you click on it! You've been warned!

Here's a performance of them from 2003. It doesn't feature any nudity, and it's a lot less intense, since they're not licking you or yelling in your face. If you watch it long enough, the noise actually does coalesce into a song of sorts. But it should give you some sort of idea.

09 September 2007

Download of the Day

Clipse, "Wamp Wamp (Pistol Pete Remix)," mp3

The original version of this song is a great track, don't get me wrong. But Pistol Pete's remix takes the slowed down, steel drums version and cokes it up, so to speak. It sort of gives me anxiety to listen to it, like the cops are going to bust into the illicit party that you're at and arrest you, so you better have your fun now.

Pistol Pete has some other great remixes, too. Check out his MySpace page for more.

How People Find Their Way to the Idea Of Progress

Actual Google search terms that led people here (a nod to Grant Miller Media for the idea):

-people with three nipples

-"if i had seen the world"

-elvis costello asshole

-famous popular musicians

-geico insurance cabbage patch kids commercials

-girls with assault rifles

-put syrup on pacifier


-fuck ron paul

The Idea of Progress Adopts a Character Actor: Zooey Deschanel

I never claimed to be cutting edge, or ahead of the times. I generally find out about trends not only after they've ended, but after they've been ironically revived and then quashed once again.

I had read about different blogs adopting a character actor a while ago, and wanted to adopt one of my own, but have been unable to come up with just the right one. But today I figured it out. After considering and abandoning Ajay Naidu, Natasha Lyonne, and Danny Trejo, I've decided to formally adopt Zooey Deshanel as the Official Character Actor of The Idea Of Progress.

Ms. Deshanel was born on January 17th, 1980 in Los Angeles. Her father is an amazing cinematographer, Caleb Deshanel, who shot movies like The Black Stallion, The Natural, and The Passion of the Christ. Her mother Mary Jo is an actress that starred in Twin Peaks, and her sister Emily is the star of the television program 'Bones.'

Ms. Deshanel first came to my attention in her very first film, Lawrence Kasdan's charming Mumford, co-starring Loren Dean, Hope Davis, and a pre-Alvin and the Chipmunks Jason Lee. Zooey (who is named after Zooey Glass, a character in Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger, one of my faorite books) stole the screen every time she appeared as one of Dr. Mumford's patients. I next saw her in Almost Famous, Big Trouble and her amazing performance in David Gordon Greene's All the Real Girls.

She is a Journey fan, did all of her own singing in Elf, and attended Northwestern University.

I'd like to present to you the Official Character Actor of the Idea of Progress: Zooey Deschanel.

08 September 2007

The Silver Apples- Not a product of anything

And now from a product to something that no one had any idea how to sell.

Tonight I'm going to see the Silver Apples in concert at the Empty Bottle. This has been a good year for seeing bands that I never should have had the opportunity to see. I've already written about Roky Erickson. Now I'm going to get to see someone nearly as important.

The Silver Apples were a duo formed in New York in the late 60's. They were comprised of Simeon and Danny Taylor. Taylor played the drums. Simeon played...well...he called it the Simeon. It was a sort of keyboard that he built out of surplus military oscillators tuned to various frequencies. Simeon couldn't read music or play the piano, so he had them hooked up to color-coded telegraph keys and pedals. He made odd 'boops and bleeps' as he called them, while Taylor drummed like a robot.

Before we go on, perhaps you should hear what the very first song on their first album sounds like.

Silver Apples, "Oscillations," mp3

Their first show was at a music festival that the Fugs were also playing at. There were something like 10,000 people there in New York City, ready to listen to some groovy hippie music, and then this band comes on. I can only imagine what people were thinking. I hope at least a few realized that they were hearing an entirely new form of music being played in front of them.

They broke up after recording their third album. They reformed about eight years ago, and then Simeon broke his neck after their bus was run off of the road. Then Danny Taylor passed away.

Somehow Simeon is still playing tonight.

I'm psyched. Their music still sounds like it comes from the future to me.

You Tube Fakery

Perhaps I'm just an idealist.

There are many good and bad things about these systems of tubes we call the internets. The list of bad things goes on and on (Ron Paul, kiddie porn, the fact that companies make you visit their websites to report problems rather than let you talk to someone), but he list of positives would take up many many hours of typing.

One of the things I find most charming about the internet is how it provides equal access for people. Anyone can write a blog and get it read, anyone can accidently upload naked pictures of themselves and get themselves fired from Disney. Anyone can make a video and have it seen by millions of people around the world. OK Go is a great example of that. They make one funny music video, people watched it and liked it, and now they are getting name checked by Common on his new album.

Inevitably someone is going to try and exploit this idea of the Everyman making it big. It happened once with the YouTube videos for lonelygirl15. When it turned out she was fictional, a product of filmmakers trying to parasitically feed off of the cultural zeitgeist, people turned against her and them.

It's happened again. A singer named Marie Digby has been posting videos of her playing cover songs on her guitar in her living room. The way the story goes is that the videos came out, people began watching them religiously, she got on song on the TV show The Hills, scored a spot on Carson Daly's show, radio airplay, and finally she got a record deal with Hollywood Records.

A complete lie.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, it was all cooked up by Hollywood Records executives. Apparently she was signed with them back in 2005, 18 months before she began appearing on YouTube. Carson Daly and radio DJ's introduced her music by saying 'they just sort of found her on the internet,' which was a complete lie, because she was booked on those shows by Hollywood Records. Her MySpace page claimed she was unsigned (it's now been updated to say 'major' label).

Why does this bother me? Marketing has always tried to hitch on to whatever trend was popular at the moment, and this wasn't the first time an artist has misrepresented themselves for publicity. I think what gets me about it is not only the fact that she was lying and her company was lying, but others participated in this.

I don't view Carson Daly as any bedrock of integrity, certainly. But he chose to make a flat out false statement on his show, one that as a producer on his show (and someone who, believe it or not, actually knows a bit about music) absolutely knew to be false. I find that reprehensible, to help further propagate this marketing campaign that that Hollywood Records has started.

Again, I'm aware that this is a pretty small problem in the grand scheme of things, but how would you feel is you found out that something you enjoyed for its intimacy and amateurishness turned out to be nothing more than a product? I'd feel pretty cheated.

Before I sat down to write this, I watched a couple of videos by Marie Digby. Her song choices are pretty lame (Hollywood Records had a plan that she would sing cover songs so people would find them while searching for the real song), but she has a nice voice and she's very easy on the eyes. Maybe she'll become a star, who knows?

I won't be listening.