My heart keeps beating like a hammer.

So here I am on a Sunday afternoon, just being lazy and feeling increasingly miserable about myself when I discover this amongst all the various crap youtubery of the world:

Wow. Emily Haines talking about the new Metric album. Awesome. Granted, it’s not til next year, but I’m excited about a new Metric album. It’s time. They were honestly my first entry point into that whole incestuous Canadian music collective with the various Broken Social Scenes and Feists and the Stars and all their crazy ass side projects out there. I think I’ve probably come to love Stars more, mind you, but still… you never forget your first love, yeah?

Though I was over them for a long time because… well, same old story: I discovered them years and years ago in, of all things, a commercial. We shared an intense love affair. It was private and quiet. It was hot and it was heavy. I was protective of it and no one knew. Slowly, I let others into my secret sonic joy there, sharing with those I felt were special and had good taste. And then, unfortunately, all the rest of your assholes found out about them and ruined the shit out of it for me.

But, the time is past, and Emily Haines has gotten her solo bug out of her system for a bit, and the band is back. And I could not be more excited. Like I said, their album won’t drop til sometime next year, but honestly… between now and the end of this year, what is the new music we’re supposed to be looking forward to? Chinese Democracy is already here, as is Kanye, but what’s the next big thing that everyone’s equally awaiting? I somehow feel like the new U2 album is not coming out this year since I’m pretty sure I would’ve heard more about it by now.

I mentioned this curiosity to someone the other day and they reminded me that the new Fall Out Boy album is coming out mid-December. They actually mentioned this to me like it was something I should be excited about. WTF? Instead they got a simple, polite “Fuck off!”

Anyways, Metric is touring starting in January, most likely road testing their new material and here’s the new song, “Help, I’m Alive,” that’ll have to hold us over for a bit:

Fall Out Boy. Ugh. Can you believe that shit?

Being thankful is for losers

Sarah Palin kills

The War on Christmas is going swimmingly. Can we start the War on Thanksgiving now? I fucking hate this holiday. I would rather go to the dentist than have to go around the table saying what I’m thankful for Oh, wait, I just did and my teeth fucking hurt, so Benjamin Light’s a little cranky today. Traditional Thanksgiving Turkey dinner is balls, the football games always suck and sometimes you’re forced to interact with unfortunate relatives or that one person who’s a friend of your mom’s who such a loser they don’t have anyone to celebrate the holiday with, so they have to funk up your dinner.

meh.

Also, dear Crazy Obamites: fuck yourselves. It was nice during the general election when you were mostly drowned out by the rest of The Party and we could ignore your naive bullshit, but now that we won, these crazy fucks have decided it’s time to re-fight the primaries. Oh noes! Hillary Clinton as SoS?! It’s a plot! A conspiracy! Hillary is ineligible under the enoulments clause! The DLC Cabal is forcing this on our hero! Obama’s big tent isn’t big enough for the Clinton Circus!

panic

Meanwhile, over in the real world, where Hillary Clinton’s positions are nearly identical with Obama’s, the only concern with making her Secretary of State is in diluting the Senate too much. In other words…

political-pictures-barack-obama-chi

Interlude: dude, I just heard Lieutenant Cedric Daniels doing voice work for a Cadillac ad.

also.

Late contender for Headline of the Year

Late contender for Headline of the Year

Just because…

yahoofrontpage…meh.

Good cop and bad cop have left for the day.

After seven years, The Shield finally came to an end last night, answering the question of whether or not there’d be a happy ending or if one of TV’s ultimate bad guy lead characters would actually pay for his sins.

But even more looming than that question was whether it’d be a satisfying conclusion to the show, especially with the newfound scrutiny delivered by the all around crowd displeasing ending to The Sopranos. So did The Shield wrap itself up nicely?

Put simply: Yes, it did. The ending was both complete and substantial while at the same time leaving everything nicely open ended. And it felt kind of like an emotional pistol whipping.

I’m going to have to assume that you’ve at least heard of The Shield before, but if not, I’m going to give you the shortest recap I can muster: Michael (The Commish!) Chiklis stars as Vic Mackey, super bad cop on the streets of LA, who runs an experimental police strike team of detectives in the fictional district of Farmington out of a former church (called “The Barn,” and thankfully the religious parallels are kept to a minimum, but the idea of sins and confessions works nicely here), based on the real life Rampart police scandal. Vic’s strike team, comprised of mostly dirty cops who don’t play by the rules (they have no problem beating people up for information or planting drugs to make arrests, or worse), have their own idea of justice and will get it any way they see fit.

But Vic isn’t just a bad cop, he’s a monster. He’s Godzilla rampaging through Tokyo. He’s spent the entire series scheming for a higher place in the world for his family and he (at one point they organized a major robbery from the Armenian mob that had violent, lasting reprecussions throughout the rest of the series) and will take down anyone who gets in his way or could possibly expose him. To prove this, at the end of the first episode, Vic shot a fellow cop and member of his strike team (placed there to get dirt on him) in the face.

That one act, the first of many horrible things we’ve witnessed Vic do, still resonates to the last episode, “Family Meeting,” which doesn’t wrap up everything, but provides ample amounts of closure.

Shane, former strike team member who murdered a fellow strike team member for fear he’d rat the rest of them out and Vic’s best friend once upon a time, met a grisly end. He’s spent the last few episodes on the run with his pregnant wife and their sick child, being hunted by the cops and Vic alike, and it’s been a gorgeous white trash tour of desperation and impending doom. There was an episode a few weeks ago that showed Shane his wife squatting in an unsold mansion somewhere, the wife playing wide and seek with the child while Shane hammered away jovially on the piano. Very Badlands-esque. It was so sad and tragic you could hang it on a wall in a museum.

But as we approached the end, we knew Shane and his wife would never make it out of this in any decent way. The wife, Moira, accidentally killed a girl who was involved with some guys that Shane was trying to roll for money, and broke her collar bone in the process. Shane, in that same dustup, got hooked on drugs and has been trying to stay just coked up enough to claw his way towards a happy ending for his family. Theirs is the titular family meeting that gives them the happiest ending they could ever want, Benoit-style.

Shane and Vic do have one last confrontation in this episode, a powerful one that sets up the ending for each character nicely, but it’s sadly done over a phone call. It would’ve been nice to see these two sharing the same scenery again, chewing it up and spitting it out one last time. Especially since every time Shane has one of these moments with Vic, no matter what he says, his eyes plead tenderly, as if he’s having to lash out at a former lover.

We made each other into something worse.” So sad. So true. So very, very true. Just ask Shane’s family.

Vic himself gets immunity for all his past crimes in the second to last episode, on the condition that he participates in a federal bust on the Mexican cartel trying to push drugs into LA and comes to work for the feds for three years (if he doesn’t, his immunity deal is up). Oh, and he has to confess to every dirty crime he’s ever committed that he could want immunity from. Which he does, shocking his new employers who had no idea what they were getting into, starting with the murder of a fellow cop in the first episode leading up to present day. It’s a powerful scene, one that should win Michael Chiklis an award if, for nothing else, moving away from his always pushing foward force of nature style of playing Vic Mackey, and showing restraint, pause. Mackey has spent all these years doing his best to not have to admit to his crimes, so when it’s finally okay for him to, he has to pause. he has to briefly wrestle with those demons himself, and push them out.

But he doesn’t get away completely clean from there.

Everyone around him is burned in his wake. Shane and his family. Ronnie, the most loyal member of the Strike Team, who was actually foolish enough to believe Vic when he said “We’re in this together,” will go to jail for everything Vic’s confessed to. And Vic’s own family, choosing to hide away in federal witness protection for fear of ever being found by him.

(Side note: It would seem that Aceveda’s political aspirations pay off nicely and they cast Jay Karnes’ real life wife as Billings’ lawyer, I presume to suggest that Dutch finally gets himself a lady friend? Nice. They kind of touched upon Julian’s “curing his gayness,” just a little. Hell, even Billings got a happy ending, of sorts. )

In the finale, all his work on the streets down, Vic is then forced to pay witness first hand to what he’s wrought and be made accountable, even if only emotionally by Claudette, the CCH Pounder (one of my favorite actors ever, and one most under utilized), in a very powerful scene. Watching the show all these  years, a part of you wanted Vic to die for his crimes, or at least end up in jail (though a bigger part of yourself, the part you don’t admit to, is that you want him to get away clean), trapped amongst the criminals that he put away (the lucky ones got put in jail), but in a small way, this is just as good. If there was any pride in Vic’s confession to all his crimes in the penultimate episode, it’s all gone now. Because Vic has survived all these years by always moving forward like a shark, and for one small moment, he’s forced to stop and stand still, and let it all not only catch up to him, but wash over him.

From there, Vic goes to report for his first day of work with new masters in the federal government. He’s ready for action, assuming he’ll be doing the same thing he did with the police, but just on the government’s payroll. Wrong. They have an even more cruel, more fitting fate for him: An office job. A suit and tie. Sitting at a computer in a cubicle typing up reports from 9 AM to 6 PM five days a week. The last scene resides there, with Vic sitting in his desk chair, putting up pictures of his family that wants nothing to do with his monstrous self, and realizing that he’s no longer wanted. He’s no longer needed. He’s practically useless, with only a future of utter banality to look forward to. For seven seasons, we’ve watched how he’s sometimes masterfully schemed and bullied his way throught he world, alway struggling to stay ahead of the game, even if just a little, even if only just barely, but always surviving in some way. And now, there’s no more options. This is it. He’s dug a grave and he has to just sit in it, having lost everything.

The metaphor compliments itself nicely when the lights in his federal office building, which are on a timer, go out on him. As much as I loved Michael Chiklis‘ performance in the previous episode (I always liked the show, but with the conclusion of last week’s airing, I loved it), struggling to find the words to start his confession to all his crimes, his performance at the end of this last episode is near perfection. No words, everything on his face, and in his lost, crushed gaze. This isn’t the last image, and I wont’ tell you what that is, but it does leave this series open ended, but in the best possible way. Now that the monster is trapped, what does he do with himself?

It doesn’t cut to ten seconds of all black, that’s for sure.

The Shield is over. It hasn’t always been great, but it’s had more great moments than most shows get. And it’s always been fun and it’s always been a hell of a ride. Part of what made it so fascinating, is the way we all rooted for Vic Mackey deep down, wanting to see him get away with his crimes. We’ve been in total collusion with him this whole time, whether we admit it or not, in this last episode (with also featured Andre 3000 doing another guest spot on the show, I just forgot to mention that earlier), his sentence is our sentence. Whether or not, there was enough satisfactory closure for us here, this is our open ending.

All of my nights, why did my lover have to pick last night to get down?

I’ll be painfully brief: I had a bad weekend. Mondays are bullshit. I feel like reading. Monday, links, let’s do this:

File this under completely unsurprising: The nutjob with the samurai sword who attacked the Scientology “church” was a member. Shocking, I know.

The past and the future of a city as viewed through the park made out it’s trash.

Find out why women go wild on the night before their wedding.

Now! That’s what I call Pedophile Pop Music!

The rain falls mostly on the plains of the solar-powered cemeteries in Spain.

The Strange family and their haunted sofa.

Is urban loneliness a myth?

Now there’s a nap soundtrack generator. Brilliant. Thanks for pointing that out to me, Lollipop.

Yet another confirmation on the inevitable Arrested Development movie, this one from Ron Howard.

Neal Stephenson interview with the Onion AV Club.

The AV Club interviews Malcolm Gladwell as well.

From White People to Douchebags, 27 websites that eventually became books. Tremble in fear of the eventual political erotica/straw man argument about global warming/lit crit wankery that will be the eventual Counterforce book.

D. B. Cooper, just cause.

The Criterion 40% off sale ends today. Good luck on whatever is left. The article I just linked to, by Alex Carnevale, links to a very interesting post on Criterion’s blog about their restoration of Wong Kar-wai’s Chungking Express. Fascinating stuff.

Also from Carnevale, The funny, sexy guys that would save the economy.

Hey, look at that: 30 days until Christmas. I’m excited to see what my fellow Counterforcers want this year. (But I’ll give you advanced warning: Benjamin Light’s handing out bath towels and Lollipop Gomez is giving everyone condoms. Expired condoms. Just remember, it’s the thought that counts.)

The Vatican forgives John Lennon for the Jesus remark.

Cory Doctow on copyrights and copyfighting.

A guide to Obama’s national security transition team.

The Terminal 2: Armageddon.

Ideology vs. pragmatism: is one more important than the other?

For your consideration… It’s Oscar time, it’s nomination time.

Science fiction is the only literature that people care enough about to steal online.

Proof of a correlation between Myspace usage and illiteracy.

Talking shop with The Bangles.

Farting will get you arrested.

This just in: Stephanie, the middle sister from Full House, is not only newly single, but also fucking hot. I’m just sayin’.

Ambrose Bierce, just cause.

You’ve heard me mention him before, but now it appears that Richey from the Manics is officially “presumed dead.”

No glove, no love? Not always.

Nudists vs. Swingers!

I should point out that I stole just about all of these pictures from various people online. Check out the Counterforce tumblr and you’ll find the original credits and what have you. Or don’t. Or:

This is me right now.

Don’t be fooled by the rocks that we got.

So this morning while doing my internet rounds, I (Marco) happened on This Recording, as I frequently do, and their latest post, “On J. Lo” by the always wonderful Molly Young. The post is a wonderful one, talking about J. Lo’s video for “Love Don’t Cost A Thing,” talking about how from a narrative stand point, the video consists of Jennifer Lopez’ long march, casting off each other her material possessions, revealing more and more of “a perfect disquisition on femininity.” Miss Young goes on to talk about how J. Lo, who used to be so popular, so trendsetting in a way, and is no longer considered such, reveals herself at the end of the video to be incredibly beautiful, no longer resembling the specificity of J. Lo, and instead looking more timeless, like Sargent’s Madame X, or the portraits of Jeanne Samary by Renoir.

It’s an excellent post on timeless beauty about a beauty who’s time has seemingly passed and I almost posted a comment to say how much I really liked it (which is no surprise because I, like you, frequently like or possible even love the writing of Molly Young and the rest of the TR crew), but then i didn’t. Well, I did. I got into the comment box and I started typing. And typing. And I started exploring my thoughts on Jennifer Lopez and that bygone era and, as is the usual case with me, I just kept talking. Too much, in fact (as is the usual case with me), so I stopped. You know what I did then? I got onto gchat and talked with Lollipop about it, as I frequently do in these cases…

Lollipop Gomez: So what was your comment going to be?

Marco Sparks: I would’ve said: This is a beautiful post on beauty, and I especially love that you brought up Sargent, Madame X, and Virginie Amélie Avegno Gautreau. But is it wrong that J. Lo appealed to me less and less after Out Of Sight? That’s a film that I feel is criminally under appreciated and was also possibly the last time that Jennifer Lopez was an actress (before her return to film became an endless string of Kate Hudson-esque roles)(and there’s nothing wrong Kate Hudson, if that’s what you want to be) and a potentially normal person. After that she became a bombastic explosion of… well, more bordering on manipulated exaggeration of femininity and a pop culture volcano than something real and unique. There’s nothing wrong with reaching those heights in your career and how you’re displayed and enjoying a celebration of your full power as a woman, but I feel that at that point, I was missing Jenny From The Block. Is she again Jenny From The Block, just with more paper at her disposal, or was she ever really Jenny From The Block?

Marco: I meant for that to only be three sentences essentially saying that I liked the post, but, uh, it kind of snowballed.

Lollipop: Of course! And yeah, what happened to her was interesting, especially now when she does nothing but be demanding.

Marco: Yeah, exactly.

Lollipop: Hmm.

Marco: Hmm?

Lollipop: Just thinking about J. Lo… which is an odd thing to be thinking about. I’ve read a ton of essays by feminist writers on Beyonce’s new song, so it’s interesting to go with a somewhat outdated cultural reference.

Marco: Yeah. Which is what she really is. I mean, do you anticipate her returning to music anytime soon? Or acting? Would you even care if she did/didn’t?

Lollipop: Right. Her music was good for… gay club music. But I can’t see her coming back.

Marco: The machine was already eaten her up as much as it probably cares to. We’ve given her millions for pictures of her kids. We’ve watched her exes go through trials and marry others and have reality shows and fuck Kim Kardashian and her mom. Thanks, J. Lo, it’s been real. We’re on our way to destroy ScarJo and LiLo, if we can. And there’s always Britney…

Then there was some discussion about how we should make this into the post you’re reading now… So meta! And we pondered what to title it…

Lollipop: I’d love to call it “My Love Don’t Cost A Thing,” but I don’t want to rip off Molly too much. There’s another song… “Waiting For Tonight.” Man, that song ruled.

Marco: It wasn’t bad. Talk about a song made for the club. Ha ha! I just read that her remix album was called J To Tha L O! Brilliant!

Lollipop: So good.

Then some discussion on other matters before…

Lollipop: So, back to the post… Hasn’t J. Lo released anything lately? I feel like she has.

Marco: According to wikipedia, there was an album released last year that I certainly don’t remember and a greatest hits package coming out next year.

Lollipop: I bet they are terrible. That one album of hers, On The 6? The 6 being the subway line that goes to “the block.” I’m sure she hasn’t ridden the subway in literally years. How can she sing to us now? She’s so rich.

Marco: She would have to sing from the perspective of being rich, wouldn’t she? I mean, don’t tell me you’re Jenny From The Block if you own the fucking block, you know?

Lollipop: Right. But who can relate to that?

Marco: Exactly. I’m beyond loathe to bring this up, but John Mayer actually did a pretty funny video about that at Funny Or Die.

Lollipop: I like Mayer. I liked him On Chappelle’s show… Oh, I’ve seen this! Aww, Kristen Bell.

Marco: Yeah. Kristen Bell. Oh, yes.

Lollipop: I like when he grabs the sandwich.

Marco: I like that there’s a sandwich waiting for him. That’s the Dream.

Lollipop: Seriously. And then he throws it away.

Marco: Also the Dream.

Lollipop: Yes.

Marco: Maybe it’s pointless to talk about realness anymore. Realness just gets remixed with a Ja Rule collab. Beauty too, maybe.


hey, shitface, get off my lawn!

so like all good things, even the great Peanut St. Cosmo! gets old. like really old. many things marked this becoming a reality. i tried to ignore them all, but once they all collectively reared their old head, the facts were hard to ignore.  first up, and most obvious……

it's not just salt and pepper....

it's not just salt and pepper

gray hair. two of them to be exact. i only know they exist because i’m not happy with my colorist and am looking for a new one. but now it’s like i have to go sprinting, fuck that, driving back to the old one and say, “cover this shit, and make it snappy!” how does this happen? how how how???? even though you are never on time, constantly try to get me to go to go to your “dj” shows, and tell me the same old stories of the pimp you think you were before you got “married,” i’ll still take you back…..

secondly, shoes. they matter. they separate the girls from the women from the wheelchair bound. i’ve gone from the high up girl in her early twenties to the more conservative one that got tired of taking those shoes off and walking on asphalt to walking around and not pouting. a signal for the end? fuck yes.

third. celebrity gossip. used to love it. eat it up with a little celebrity platinum coated spoon! all the sudden, who the fuck are these people?? what’s an LC? what’s twilight? where are the hills?

my thoughts exactly....

exactly....

i used to have a handle on this stuff, and all the sudden, shit’s just gone off the map. i blame my air traffic controllers. but really, it’s a stressful job. they do as much as they can. but maybe i’ve just lost touch….with superficial bubble gum sugar free stuff not worth the internet paper it’s not written on? no, no…that’s not it. i’ve just lost touch.

fourth. kids. sorry mom sorry god….i may never have kids. those little heathens tend to run wild. in grocery stores, in restaurants, during my cell phone conversations….they run wild! and in the wrong *republican* hands, tend to wear awful shoes…..but they just tend to be a little bit too much of a liability.

our father, who art in LA, l. ron hubbard be thy name

our father, who art in LA, l. ron hubbard be thy name

yes, they can be cute. you want to take them and have them photographed over and over and sent to all your jealous relatives, have them learn foreign languages you don’t speak, put them in Montessori schools, etc. or you can be just another pregnant mami waiting for their 15, excuse me, 30 (?) minutes of fame. or it can be the absolute worst, and who knows, it may even be due to your upbringing.

lastly….yawn….i know, up past jeopardy/your bedtime right? well up last is the decline of binge drinking!

i am from a thirst world country.

i am from a thirst world country.

i go to bed at almost reasonable times. i wake up almost when the alarm goes off. jose cuervo and i do not text. hell, i never had his cell number. what does it all mean? i don’t know….fuck off, i’m fixodenting!

monday-sunday night, baaaaby.....

monday-sunday night, baaaaby.....

Chinese Democracy vs. Chinese democracy.

Chinese FUCKING Democracy!

Is this real? Is this a thing that could actually be? Could this seriously be coming out in five days? Or are they just using my illusion against me?

But no, nooooo, this may actually be real. This time next week, I could actually be holding the damn near mythical, fabled and long awaited album by Axl Rose (Yes, it’s Guns N’ Roses, but I mean, really, that’s just been Axl for decades now). There’s even a Chuck Klosterman review out there to prove it. Fuck, there’s even tribute albums out there to it. We may actually be that Dr. Pepper after all.

The wikipedia article for this album is fascinating and quite possibly the longest I’ve ever seen for an album that has’t come out yet. There’s even a fascinating offshoot article about just the timeline of the album’s production, or lack of production, that is very detailed (though lacking details such as the fact that when Axl compiled one of his line ups for the new GNR, the one with Buckethead, that he took the time to have them re-record Appetite For Destruction so they’d know what it feels like to record a great Guns N’ Roses album) and interesting. Hell, someone even went to the trouble of compiling the history of all the leaks of the album over the years.

A short list of the people who’ve worked on the album over the years includes: Axl Rose, Buckethead, Bumblefoot, Andy Wallace, Bob Ezrin, Josh Freese, Dizzy Reed, Tommy Stinson, Sebastian Bach (who says that Chinese Democracy is merely the first of a trilogy of albums, with the third destined to drop in 2012, just in time for the end of the world), Marco Beltrami, Paul Buckmaster, Robin Finck, Richard Fortus, and Roy Thomas Baker. Oh, and Shaq, who apparently rapped on a track, which may or may not have survived to the actual album itself. And Moby and Youth apparently turned down an offer to do some production at one point.

Do you remember when “Oh My God” came out way back when on the End Of Days soundtrack and everyone was like, “Whoa, Chinese Democracy is going to sound like some kind of weird Nine Inch Nails thing?” Well, that may not be exactly how you worded it, but you were probably thinking it. I’m amazed that Trent Reznor wasn’t offered work on this behemoth.

Originally I was going to do this post on Chinese Democracy the album versus democracy in China and which we’d actually see first…

…Because I fully assumed that this whole exclusive Best Buy deal would have fallen apart by now. But somehow it hasn’t. Somehow, as far as I know, this album is still coming out this coming Sunday. And because we’ll probably never see democracy in China. I mean… Come on. It’s fucking China.

But instead, we’re facing an even bigger versus issue. The crazy, long built up and heavily anticipated ideal of Chinese Democracy, an epic Homeric poem set to music in our wildest fantasies versus the actual thing. The album that you can buy at Best Buy and unwrap and take home and listen to and wonder WTF is this shit? It took fifteen years to put this out?

It’s like the ending to Lost, which will have to be epic, but will we like it. Look at the endings to Seinfeld and The Sopranos, hated by all except the hardcore fans (personally, I’d call the ending to Seinfeld beyond brilliant and couldn’t give two shits about The Sopranos in the first place). It’s like the ending to The Shield next week, which will have to be huge. It’s probably why Salinger never stopped writing after Catcher In The Rye, he just stopped releasing books. Even for a perfectionist who’s name is an anagram for oral sex, the hype will kill your ass.

Well, good, bad, or whatever, I’ll get the fucking thing this weekend. Rain or shine, in fact. Actually, no, I hope it rains. I can’t think of anything better than picking this monster up in the cold November rain.

Blogging for peace is like screwing for virginity.

While sliding my way through the bookstore yesterday, I came across a book entitled 100 Decisve Battles: From Ancient Times To The Present by Paul K. Davis and I sat down for a moment to flip through it’s pages. At the very beginning of the book is a fascinating quote by Robert Heinlein:

Anyone who clings to the historically untrue – and thoroughly immoral – doctrine that violence never settles anything I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Duke Of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler would referee. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at it’s worst. Breeds that forgot this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and their freedoms.

That quote has been stuck in my head through most of the night. I’d love to argue with it, declare that it’s wrong, but honestly… it’s not. It’s just not. In a perfect world, words alone, mightier than swords, could move men and mountains at the same time. And in a way, words do, I guess. The words push the money and the money moves the soldiers and the violence and the violence, typically, changes the world. For better or worse, well… I just don’t know.

I’m several days late to the party, but I just noticed this picture this morning:

The front page to a fake New York Times (check the date), and apparently, there’s over a million copies of it out there. Thank you, Yes Men. It’s an incredibly striking image and, Jesus, wouldn’t it be nice if that headline was true? Let’s hope it becomes true under the reign of a President Obama administration because I tell you people, I’m this close to singing “Imagine” on a street corner here.

Interesting enough (to me anyways), the first battle listed in the Paul Davis book is the battle of Meggido. The first battle of Megiddo, that is (there’s been quite a few), even though Davis has the much publicized wrong date listed.

Megiddo, I have to say, fascinates me, and you want to know why? It’s silly and crazy and laughable and oh so simple. Have you ever heard of a little thing called Armageddon?

And, no, no, I don’t mean that simply kickass Michael Bay movie. I mean, the biblical end of the world. Yeah, that old thing. As described to us in the Book of Revelation in that well know anthology of Christian short fiction. Well, the word “Armageddon” comes from the hebrew words har megiddo, which literally mean “the mountain of Megiddo.” And on Megiddo was where one of the toughest, meanest Roman battalions were stationed and that was where John was instructing 1st century Jews and Christians to first rise up against the Roman empire. This basically all went down in the year 70 AD, or thereabout. Oh, and with The Beast (of 666 fame, though it’s actually 616) was Nero (or Caligula, some think, which is just kind of funny cause… I mean, “Little Boots” as The Beast, ha ha), according to gematria, a common practice at the time.

In 1820, Thomas Jefferson released his edited version of the bible and omitted the Book of Revelation entirely, considering it “merely as the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherence of our nightly dreams.”

War. Violence. Bible humpers who furiously masturbate at the thought of the world ending in a flame retarded final battle between Barry Gibb and Pan… It’s all just too fucking crazy, man.

So, in conclusion, I ask you fine people…WAR, what is it good for?

Good God, now!

A 13 year old girl became the latest suicide bomber in Iraq.

Thousands flock to see the return of the 17 year old boy thought to be the reincarnation of Buddha.

Ninjalistics, your top quality provider of corporate assassination and sabotage solutions.

High school girl suspended for wearing Obama shirt to school.

Is open-sourcing the key to winning the high tech war on terrorism?

I stole a good deal of these links from Warren Ellis’ website, which is fitting since he wrote a graphic novel extrapolation of the battle of Crécy not too long ago.

It’s okay not to believe in God.

Make love, not war!

A collection of good and interesting war quotes, including this one by Eve Merriam: I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, “Mother, what was war?”

Mr. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang!

The Bond love continues! And as promised (or threatened), I want to talk about some of the songs that were rejected as potential Bond themes. This doesn’t necessarily include some of the songs that maybe should’ve been rejected because, as Commander Light pointed out, the Jack White/Alicia Keyes song in the new film is fucking horrible. Or, maybe it’s fitting in that as I was being forced to listen to it, I was pondering new ways to die, and all of them were far more satisfactory than that ear rape. But without further adieu…

I’ll start with Tomorrow Never Dies, going in reverse order here, which, if you’ll remember, was the second film with Brosnan in the role and his absolute worst and an especially low entry in the series. Yes, it was worse than Die Another Day. I know that seems like it’d be an impossible task, but yeah… a lot of the good will built up with Goldeneye was pissed on good and hard with this remarkably mediocre film.

The title is pretty stupid, but was originally titled Tomorrow Never Lies, and so here you can find the proposed theme song “Tomorrow Never Lies” by Pulp. , and when the song was rejected for the film, it ended up as a b-side of their “Help The Aged” single. Amazingly, there was apparently 12 different submissions for the theme song of this movie, including Swan Lee (who’s version I really like), Moby (ehhh, he had grown quite popular at the time, but his song was just a remix of the classic Bond theme),  and Saint Etienne, who is a band I really like, though I’m not sure how I feel about theirs’ as the theme song, even though it’s a fantastic song, and eventually landed on their Built On Sand album.

If you remember, Sheryl Crow ended up doing the official theme song and it’s… such a forgettable piece, it’s amazing. The song used over the end credits, “Surrender” by K. D. Lang, was the one that David Arnold, the film’s music producer (who’s been with all the Bond films from Tomorrow Never Dies through Quantum Of Solace), wanted to use. You can even hear quite a few cues to “Surrender” throughout the film. Here’s the video to that song with it placed over the opening credits sequence:

I’m not a huge K. D. Lang fan, but that’s not too bad, right? I really should take this opportunity to thank a user on youtube who goes by the handle of LuiECuomo for throwing a lot of these videos together, putting the rejected songs on the credits sequences for the films they would’ve gone with. Most of these songs I knew about, either through my eye for trivia lore or my research, but he’s opened my eyes to a few.

Our next film is Goldeneye, Brosnan’s first in the role (though he should’ve had it in The Living Daylights, but that’s a story for another time), and was Bond’s return to the big screen after a six year absence. The theme, if you’ll remember is simply entited “Goldeneye” and was performed by Tina Turner and written by U2’s Bono and The Edge (their band mates Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. would go on to do the revamp of the Mission Impossible theme in the big screen version of the show the following year), but one of the submissions for the theme song was actually, I shit you not, by Ace Of Base:

That song, once rejected, had it’s title changed from “The Goldeneye” to “The Juvenile” and ended up on their Da Capo album. Prior to them, Scottish band Wet Wet Wet, who had their biggest hit with a cover of the Trogg’s “Love Is All Around” were hired to do the theme song and what they may’ve sounded like, I have no idea.

The most realistic and down to Earth of the Roger Moore films, For Your Eyes Only, which has quite a few similarities with Quantum Of Solace, had a simply fantastic theme song performed by Sheena Easton, who not only performed the song, but performed it during the opening credits, which at the time was totally unheard of (and she was sadly one upped later by Madonna in Die Another Day). Here’s an alternate version of the Sheena Easton song, and here is original artist approached by the producers to do the song, Blondie:

Once rejected that song, which is not bad but just not nearly as good as the Easton track, ended up on the album The Hunter. Someday, I tell you, I want to date a girl named Sheena Easton. And if she could look like 1970s Debbie Harry, well… that would just be heaven.

Moore’s second turn in the role, The Man With The Golden Gun, is not a bad movie, but just a weird one. It’s got it’s fun moments, and it’s certainly bizarre moments, and it’s got that little guy from Fantasy Island in there too. And it’s got Britt Ekland, one of my favorite Bond girls. The theme for that movie was performed by a Scottish singer named Lulu, but only after they dropped the originally proposed theme song by Alice Cooper. Yeah, you read that right. Anyways, the song then ended up on Cooper’s Muscle Of Love album and rather then embedding it for you, I choose to instead give you a picture of Britt Ekland:

Britt helped make The Wicker Man (the original, of course, because you never ever EVAR need to see the 2006 remake with Nic Cage) so, so wonderful. That film also starred Christopher Lee, who plays the title character in The Man With The Golden Gun. Also, Britt dated Rod Stewart for a while and… well, the less about that, the better.

From there, we go to the film that followed Goldfinger, a Connery film called Thunderball. This is a movie that, more so possibly than even Goldfinger really highlighted all the classic things that make up what we think of as a Bond film: The action, the adventure, the intrigue, the exotic locales, the girls, the gadgets, the classy suave-ness, the one liners, the overwhelming sexism, and Connery’s own special brand of misogyny. It’s criminally underrated (even with me) despite the legal problems it would later cause the series (that’s for another time), and has some real misfires of scenes, but for the most part, is mega gold. And it contains my absolute favorite Bond girl, but that too may have to be a story for another time…

The theme song is by Tom Jones and while I should probably hate it, I just don’t. It’s ridiculous, but it absolutely works, but it wasn’t the first choice for the film. I’ll quote Wikipedia verbatim on this one:

The original main title theme to Thunderball was entitled “Mr. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang,” which was written by John Barry and Leslie Bricusse. The title was taken from an Italian journalist who in 1962 dubbed agent 007 as Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Barry had thought he couldn’t write a song about a vague “Thunderball” term or the story of the film, so his song was a description of the character of James Bond.

Going with what works, the song was written and Shirley Bassey was brought in to originally record it since she had absolutely knocked it out of the park on the theme to the previous film, so it seemed like a slam dunk. But the producers got worried about repeating themselves, to they brought in a pre-Psychic Friends Network Dionne Warwick to rerecord the song. This is the Warwick version of the song, and this is the Shirley Bassey version:

I absolutely love the fullness to her voice, the way she can sustain those notes for an eternity, and just bring the song to life. Awesome. Oh, and in addition to the three artists that I mentioned doing performances for this movie, I should also add in that Johnny Cash submitted a song called “Thunderball” for the film which obviously wasn’t used and is just fascinating to know exists.

At this point in time, I feel it’s totally necessary to mention once again that the Jack White/Alicia Keyes song from Quantum Of Solace should be on this list just because of how terrible it is. So terrible, in fact, that it makes that painful Chris Cornell song from Casino Royale look better by comparison. Amazing, that. But before the call went out to White and Alicia Keyes to shit out a song (I like Alicia Keyes and have to assume that her doing the song by herself would even be a thousand times better), there was a lot of speculation that Amy Winehouse would do the song with Mark Ronson producing. That eventually fell through due to Winehouse’s drug and legal problems and total inability to find her own quantum of solace, so in conclusion, I leave you with one last picture of the gorgeous Britt Ekland…

…and that Winehouse/Ronson song, entitled “Love Is A Losing Game,” played over the main title credits of Diamonds Are Forever. Enjoy it and I’ll probably see you tomorrow with one last Bond-centric post (the last for a while, I promise). Here’s Pete Doherty‘s crack buddy: