Yesterday.

There is a clear difference between a fact and a factoid. Sometimes that difference becomes clearest in a live fact check and binders full of women. Good health is merely the slowest possible onset of death. Nostalgia clearly isn’t as good now as it used to be. The word “vodka” comes from the Slavic word for “water,” which makes a kind of sense. Whatever happened to Nancy Drew?

There is a correlation between losing sleep and losing memories. It’s humorous for me to think that Ronald Reagan once said, “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” An owl is an owl is an owl. “High and tight,” “shuck and jive,” “bread and circuses,” and “smoke and mirrors” are all examples of Siamese Twins.

I would like to stand on a beach at night, yelling obscenities into the coming tides. Pictures from here, here, here, here, and here. Is it possible that we’ll find thriving distant life in Alpha Centauri or the ancient remnants of extinguished life on Mars?

Is/was yesterday real, or did we just dream it up?

Brad Bird and Damond Lindelof are doing a movie together, maybe featuring aliens, but shhhh, it’s all a secret. Johnny Depp wants to publish a book about Bob Dylan, which seems totally unnecessary. If young J. G. Ballard looked like Christian Bale, does that mean that Christian Bale will eventually look like old J. G. Ballard? The Wire as a list with no name. Sometimes I feel like I am losing touch with the things really matter, or should really matter. Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell sequel won the 2012 Man Booker Prize. Oscar Wilde’s last words were, “Either that wallpaper goes – or I do!” There as no September 3 through September 13 in 1752. Dark Matter and Trojan Horses. Doppelgänger is still a really cool word. Everything is fine and…

That said, bananas are berries but strawberries are not.

Robin Masters.

A few things:

1. Today at work I endured a conversation with a random stranger about the seminal television program MacGyver. I love MacGyver, but I wouldn’t go back and watch it now if I could. In my memories it’s still great, and I don’t want those memories to be ruined, shattered, broken, rendered meaningless.

This random stranger really enjoyed MacGyver too, but not as much as I do, or did. Her devotion is not as strong as mine, nor her love as pure. Also, she kept saying “Magnum” when she meant “MacGyver.”

2. After she left, my co-worker and I made fun of her in a very subtle way. We started talking about Magnum, P. I. but we kept saying “Matlock.”

3. RIP Andy Griffith.

4. Remember the episode of Magnum, P.I. where he had to tread water in the ocean for, like, forever? Or, at least for near 45 minutes.

Yeah, it was good. At least… that’s how I remember it.

5. Remember the one where he died and was in a coma, more accurately, and was all astral and ghost-like and was floating around and hanging out people and solving a mystery but no one could see him or hear him?

You think I’m joking but that was totally real.

6. Unrelated… This is a picture of a dog and a bunch of tacos:

7. I can’t testify to full and clear total recall of the episodes, but I am positive that I have seen 100% of MacGyver the TV show (and TV movies after the show ended) in my life. I would wager that I have watched 87% of Murder, She Wrote the TV show (and TV movies after the show ended) in my life (some of it, or rather, a lot of it in the past year alone). I have probably watched something like 69% of Magnum, P.I. in my life, including the one where that show and Murder, She Wrote crossed over with each other, which I remember happening but don’t fully remember the details of, much to my chagrin.We’re not even going to waste our time talking about the time that Magnum, P.I. crossed over with Simon & Simon. We’re just not.

If I’m being honest with myself, I’ve probably only seen like 34% of Matlock the TV show in my life.

8. Did you ever watch The Rockford Files? It was good. I like James Garner. He’s one of the older actors that I tend to just like in whatever he’s doing.

He played Phillip Marlowe once. You should watch it. It was a silly movie, but highly underrated. Also, it had a really goofy but not terrible Bruce Lee bit part (and a famous scene) in it.

9. I don’t think that Tom Selleck would’ve made that great of an Indiana Jones.

Or, at least, you can only imagine his Indiana Jones as something so incredibly different from the one we all know and love that it is almost incomprehensible.

10. When I was a kid, my father had a great big mustache and wore a lot of Hawaiian shirts and baseball caps and short shorts.

He made faces like these a lot:

So, clearly, the fictional character of Thomas Magnum was my father’s style icon, right?

That seems weird now but maybe it wasn’t so weird back then. How the fuck should I know.

11. No joke: The Magnum, P.I. theme song has been my ringtone for over a year now. It’s the ringtone for calls from numbers that aren’t already in my address book. It was weird to me, considering that, when I spontaneously found myself in this conversation today at work.

12. Maybe it’s not all that weird.

13. Maybe it was fate?

14. Probably not.

15. T.C. was cool but Rick just seemed like an asshole to me.

16. A few nights ago Benjamin Light and I were talking about the future of our podcast and the caterpillar-like life of our blog and how it’ll soon turn into a beautiful and bewildering butterfly – watch for future announcements – and we were also mutually browsing around the internet, just talking and shitting the breeze and I remember reading somewhere that in other countries there confusions and mistranslations and people assumed that the title of the show was Magnum PI

Get it?

17. Anyway.

What a strange coincidence… The ringtone and the random factoid read about the internet and then the strange occurrence of the spontaneous conversation with a stranger about MacGyver but calling it Magnum and I’m trying to fix the broken web of time and it all leads to a journey down the clips show metaphor that is memory lane for me…

18. Maybe it’s not a coincidence. Maybe it’s just a thing, a thing that happens, and it has no meaning other than that which I assign to it?

19. Perhaps it’s no more important than anything, and not even real. Maybe I’m not real. Maybe I’m me, the me that I think I am and only sometimes comfortable with me. Maybe I’m really Zhuangzi, and I’m dreaming that I’m a butterfly.

20. It’s a bit of a stretch, I know, but my mind is still trudging through similar ditches as we slowly make our way towards the end of this blog. Perhaps I’m dancing around things, then taking a few steps backward before marching forward. The past can be a special place, and an odd place where things have different values and meanings assigned to him. Analyze what you can and appreciate the bizarreness of other things and leave them as they are, unmolested, uncontested. Making peace or at least coming to an understanding with your memories is a kind of time travel, and it’s how some of the best mysteries are solved, but don’t forget: The past can be a grotesque animal and you should always be mindful of how you’ll escape it.

21. Like I said… That’s a bit of a stretch, sure.

Also:

“Father figures” by Kevin Wada. I love it. Except for the KISS parts. Oh well.

22. After this… 82 posts to go.

Can you guess how it’ll end? I have an idea…

23. Maybe like this:

The patient labyrinth.

Mad linkage:

Are “masters of the universe” born or bred?

Weezer offered $10 million to split up.

Natalie Portman to offer “gratuitous nudity” in what is not but certainly sounds like it would be a sequel to Pineapple Express.

(But that still doesn’t tell us who she’s fucking these days, does it?)

The musical farewell to Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse.

from here.

Angelina Jolie’s Bosnian rape romance.

The 17 differences between the East Coast and West Coast versions of the live 30 Rock episode.

Making sense of The Shallows.

Aaron Sorkin responds to a blog commenter about The Social Network‘s misogyny.

Best Coast and Deerhoof to guest on the new Go! Team album.

Who is the biggest drunk on Mad Men?

Look at this fucking article about hipsters.

“A man sets out to draw the world. As the years go by, he peoples a space with images of provinces, kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fishes, rooms, instruments, stars, horses, and individuals. A short time before he dies, he discovers that the patient labyrinth of lines traces the lineaments of his own face.”

-Jorge Luis Borges, from Dreamtigers.

The Soviets’ secret, failed moon program.

Those lovable scamps in ICP are actually hardcore Christians. Whatever.

Brett Ratner and Eddie Murphy.

Remember the Singularity? Shocking news: It may not be coming after all.

You have the right to go topless.

Don’t forget that Mad Men‘s season finale is tomorrow night!

from here.

The power of the babe.

A reminder that those World Of Warcraft nerds are still fucking perverts.

One-way mirrors and social media “stalking.”

Of course one of the 33 Chilean miners was having an affair!

A Mars Supreme!

Hollywood needs to turn towards Warren Ellis and Grant Morrison.

The ballad of Mick and Keith.

Binary day.

from here.

Today is 10-10-10!

Mad linkage:

Douglas Adams and the answer to the ultimate question.

Susannah Breslin on This Recording.

John McTiernan is going to jail.

Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master delayed indefinitely.

Remembering David Bowie’s Station To Station.

Anthony Bourdain is writing a graphic novel “about ultraviolent food nerds.”

Great new albums coming out of the Milwaukee music scene.

David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King gets a release date.

This is some ridiculous bullshit.

John Gabriel’s G.I.F. theory.

from here and here.

More actors added to David Fincher’s version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

Bob Woodward on President Barack Obama.

Are tests biased against students who don’t give a shit?

Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe.

Al Pacino to play Phil Spector.

Shia LeBeowulf wants to play Karl Rove. Suck it, Frankie Muniz!

Doctor Who is coming to America next season (and is going to face Nixon).

Scientists explain the parting of the red sea.

Rob Liefeld is writing a script about the founding of Image comics/the comics boom of the 90s. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!

Yoda’s cousin: Night Eyes.

First Contact, New Worlds, and DOOMSDAY.

Hello! And happy Tuueessday. A bit late, but two things to bring to your attention…

First up: “The Man who lived through Doomsday!”

I’ll let other sites explain it best…

From io9:

On May 8, 1902, Mt. Pelee in Martinique erupted, destroying the city of St. Pierre and instantaneously killing more than 30,000 people. The city’s sole survivor was Ludger Sylbaris, a felonious drunk who was rotting in this cell.

On the night of May 7, Sylbaris was arrested for fighting and was thrown in the pokey. His cell was tiny, stone, partially underground, and contained only a tiny slit for air. Sylbaris had picked a prime night to act rowdy, as hell would come to St. Pierre the next morning.

And from Atlas Obscura:

Mt. Pelee exploded and a cloud of smoke darkened the sky for fifty miles around. A cloud of superheated volcanic gas and dust rolled out of the volcano at hundreds of miles per hour destroying everything in an eight mile radius. Within a single minute the 1,075 degree pressure wave had flattened every building in the city of St. Pierre and anyone unlucky enough to be in its way instantly caught fire and burned to death. Even those in shelter were suffocated as the wave of gas, hotter than fire, burned up the oxygen and replaced it was deadly gases. People lungs were burnt to a crisp form taking a single breath, and after the eruption the city burned for day. The explosion instantly killed the over 30,000 residents of the island.

Except that it didn’t, not quite. Ludger couldn’t have been more lucky. He was found four days after the eruption by a rescue team who heard his calls. Despite being in the safest place on the island was horribly burned as the air in his room had flash heated to over 1000 degrees. Ludger described the experience of seeing the light coming through the slit grow dark, and then the superheated ash flying in. He peed on his clothes and stuffed them in the slit, but it didn’t stop the heat.

I would highly recommend that you read the rest of both articles because, well, they’re just absolutely fascinating. The io9 one is written by Cyriaque Lamar, who heavily references the Atlas Obscura one, where the pictures come from.

And secondly:

from here.

“We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach.”

-says Stephen Hawking in Into The Universe, his upcoming documentary series on the Discover channel.

He feels that attempts at alien contact, SETI and the like, are “a little too risky” and compares it thusly: “If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.”

from here.

Related topics:

The launch of secret US space ships and weapons.

The Thorne/Hawking/Preskill bet.

The Wow! signal.

Eruption Volcanique a la Martinique by Georges Méliès, 1902.

Monserrat’s city of ash.

Scientists eager to climb on and study Iceland’s volcano.

Is there life on Mars?

A silence full of music.

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and cannot remain silent.”

-Victor Hugo

from here.

“Music and silence combine strongly because music is done with silence, and silence is full of music.

-Marcel Marceau

from here.

Moonage Daydreams.

It’s not exactly life on mars, but one of those weird little movies that I’m looking forward to this year is director Duncan Jones’ simply titled Moon.

Jones, by the way, is the son of David Bowie, a musician who is of course no stranger to space and it’s oddities. When I realized their connection, my mind immediately flashed to Bowie’s song, “Moonage Daydream,” which has to be one of the most alien love songs ever:

The film itself looks very interesting to me, like an art house sci fi piece set on the truly desolate lunar satellite. I was scanning the Wikipedia page on the film, and I liked Jones’ mention of the contrast between the mythic nature the moon holds for us while at the same time utterly lacking romance and beauty. It’s just pure desolation up there, and he cites the images that have come from Japan’s lunar orbiter, SELENE, when talking about it.

Here’s the trailer:

And the plot description from Wikipedia, if for some reason the trailer doesn’t picque your curiousity:

Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is an employee contracted by the company Lunar to mine on the Moon the natural gas Helium 3, which could reverse Earth‘s energy crisis. Sam is stationed at the lunar base Sarang with only a robot named Gerty (voiced by Kevin Spacey), but two weeks before completing his three-year assignment, he begins feeling out of place. An extraction goes wrong, and Sam suspects Lunar of trying to replace him as he realises someone else is on the Moon

Interesting stuff. The film also stars the truly lovely Kaya Scodelario, from one of my favorite shows (if you’ve never noticed from reading this blog), Skins.

I think you can see her very briefly in the trailer.

It reminds me of Danny Boyle’s Sunshine from a few years ago, but hopefully better. The thing about Sunshine was… you really wanted to like it. You didn’t want it to be a mash up of a lot of better films, but it kind of was. It had some beautiful imagery to it, but over all… I just don’t know if it worked. If it failed, it was certainly an interesting failure, but even still…

Let’s hope that the differences between Boyle’s film and Jones’ are night and day.

The magnificent bastards of SCIENCE.

And who’s the craziest, most bad ass, most magnificent and underrated (yes, underrated) science bastard of all time?

Nikola Fucking Tesla.

Hey, I wouldn’t mind having David Bowie play me in a movie.

Or be the star of a steampunk-ish graphic novel (teamed up with Mark Twain against that dastardly Thomas Edison).

Or have a band named after myself. Or have invented a MOTHERFUCKING DEATH RAY. Or eventually something like this:

That is some red hot awesome nerdery, from here.

And here’s a really cool podcast that focuses on Tesla, which I’d highly recommend. Thanks, Lia, for sending it my way.

MAD LINKAGE:

The real live astronauts of the international space station are currently watching J. J. Abrams’ Star Trek movie in, you know, space.

Dad ate my eyes,” the young boy told the police.

Wanna know what happened to the big, stupid neanderthals? They were eaten. By humans.

NASA may abandon plans for a moon base.

The space shuttle Atlantis is on it’s way to repair the Hubble Space Telescope and on the way…

…we were able to see this lovely silhouette of the shuttle against the sun.

13 things that do not make sense. And no, the origins of my sexiness are not examined here.

Flowers on Europa? Sounds like the title of an old sci fi serial, doesn’t it?

The Hobbits are/were “a seperate species.” Good.

Skydiver survives 6,000 foot fall without parachute.

Feeling suicidal? Try a little lithium in your water.

China’s sex theme park…

…was sadly demolished before it ever opened. :(

Abuse of child “witches” is on the rise.

The exact location of free will in the brain found?

Should creative workers use cognitive-enhancing drugs?

The Pentagon is looking for telepathic soldiers. Seriously. Did no one see Brian De Palma’s The Fury. I mean, really?

The pressures of modern life may be hastening human evolution. That kind of makes sense, right?

The Spiders From Mars!

I’ve got two words for you today. Just two simple words. They are:

Jazz Odyssey!

My friend is obsessed with the new Mastodon album. They’re not really my thing (nor are most of the metal genre or their fans, especially), but he bought it yesterday (it’s been leaked for weeks, but he’s refused to download it, instead wanting “to experience it in it’s purest form”), but in reading about it out of curiosity, it makes me wonder what happened to the idea of the concept album.

Back in the 70s it was practically the de rigeur, wasn’t it? These days, other than metal and prog acts, the last concept album that springs to mind is, what, American Idiot? Green Day? Not fucking good enough. Who’s going to go out and write today’s version of The Wall or Tommy or Sgt. Pepper’s?

I remember reading a few years back that Trent Reznor brought somebody in to help him write the story for The Fragile. Is it me or is that not impressively lame?

And one should not confuse a concept album with a theme(d) album. All albums, in my opinion, should be theme albums. They should all come from the same place, chapters from the same novel, short stories from the same messed up thought process. Every artist should be able to say, “This is my divorce album,” or, “This is my ‘I just beat cancer album,’” or, “This is my Here, My Dear.”

But still, nothing can match the beauty of a concept album, the combination of an indepth story set to sometimes poppy, but sometimes also slightly avante-garde-ish, tunes is a magical combination. That’s right, I said it: magical.

Stepping back a bit, this is Brann Dailor, the drummer from Mastodon describing the “story” on their new album, Crack The Skye:

“There is a paraplegic and the only way that he can go anywhere is if he astral travels. He goes out of his body, into outer space and a bit like Icarus, he goes too close to the sun, burning off the golden umbilical cord that is attached to his solar plexus. So he is in outer space and he is lost, he gets sucked into a wormhole, he ends up in the spirit realm and he talks to spirits telling them that he is not really dead. So they send him to the Russian cult, they use him in a divination and they find out his problem. They decide they are going to help him. They put his soul inside Rasputin‘s body. Rasputin goes to usurp the czar and he is murdered. The two souls fly out of Rasputin’s body through the crack in the sky(e) and Rasputin is the wise man that is trying to lead the child home to his body because his parents have discovered him by now and think that he is dead. Rasputin needs to get him back into his body before it’s too late. But they end up running into the Devil along the way and the Devil tries to steal their souls and bring them down…there are some obstacles along the way.”

Wow. That’s impressive. On top of all that metaphysical hootenanny and sci-fi mad craziness, there’s a more personal element, a deeper meaning, if you will, dealing with the drummer’s sister, Skye, who committed suicide at age 14, and that the timeless emotional story of the element has to do with the moment in which you hear that a loved one has left the world and you become filled with so many feelings rising up high enough that they could crack the sky.

Well, whatever. That’s heavy, man.

Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool is no MACHINA/The Machines Of God or Kid A, but it’s got it’s own charm.

I think I want to get a job writing ridiculous concept album concepts. Probably for a group like Mastodon, whose last album, Blood Mountain, didn’t just have a wonderful title, but also packed a similarly crazy story to go with it (again, sonically/musically they’re just not my thing)(though as someone who plays guitar, I can admire their technical expertise and their ability to seriously shred). And certainly Trent Reznor needs the help because those tales of woe and bleak futurescapes just aren’t going to write themselves. And of course there’s always a Slayer-ific group like Coheed and Cambria. Those guys are just dying for new concepts for their wacky albums. Claudio Sanchez, the frontman from Coheed, eventually turned all the wacky material from his albums into a comic book series, The Armory Wars, parts one and two, and here’s the solicitation from The Armory Wars II #5 (of 5):

Coheed and Cambria are dead, Mariah’s Rebellion is destroyed, and Supreme Tri-Mage Wilhelm Ryan rules the expanse of Heaven’s Fence unopposed. The final issue of “The Second Stage Turbine Blade” cuts to the quick – and all that remains is a bloody trail of death, destruction and self-immolation.

Self-immolation. That sounds about right.

Incidentally, this is my favorite new comic book. Word to your momma.

The beauty of me getting a job writing concept album concepts is that in the off season, I can just loan out my big beautiful brain to the Japanese. It’s kind of funny, if you think about it, in that we know Japanese cinema (usually horror movies) and we know about the anime, but I can’t say that I’ve ever heard anything about a Japanese sitcom or a Japanese one hour drama, you know? Regardless, I’m not one of those weird anime lovers, but I’ve seen a little, and I like it. I like the depths of imagination they mine for some of their work (and some of it sounds like it was concocted in the throes of a serious peyote binge). When it’s not about giant robots and tentacle rape, that is. Maybe they’ll let me throw out a few ideas for them, not that those crazy wonderful bastards need it, of course.

So, in conclusion:

1. Concept albums rock. They need to come back in a big way soon, but not just in hands of metal bands and shit acts like Insane Clown Posse.

2. I’m aware that a better concept album/idea was discussed in This Is Spinal Tap, but I didn’t want to call this post, “Saucy Jack,” though now I kind of wish I had.

3. ELO’s Eldorado is one of the greatest albums of all time and if you disagree, I will fight you. I will fight you to the death.

4. Blind Guardian, leaders of the pack on Tolkien music or Lord Of The Rings-core, fucking shred: