Thursday, October 26, 2006

A Brief History of Blog (as portrayed in 1950s monster movies)

Blog was born some time ago, and right away we infer that his parents must have hated him since they gave him such an ugly name. They must also have been Trekkies or yacht-racers, since the only people that use "log" as a synonym for diary are nautical types or sci-fi lovers. I figured someone must have taken this to the next step, and yes, I have found the Captain's Blog :stardate, now. The captain is a proponent of some AMAZING conspiracy theories, including, but not limited to, the idea that terrorists (or someone like them) are controlling hurricanes and directing them toward the U.S.

But consider the alternatives: Web + Diary = Wiary or Biary. Actually, Biary isn't so bad-sounding, but the one virtue of Blog is that it's short, whereas Biary is more than one syllable. No one could be expected to say more than one syllable in such a fast-paced world as the one that Blog inhabited. He lived in the town of Cyberspace, which is not much like actual space, but it tries hard. Another option would have been Web + Journal = Wournal or Bournal. Neither is short, and both are ugly. I blame Roget (when in doubt, the French can easily fill in as scapegoats) for not coming up with enough synonyms for diary. Although, it does also list record, memoir, account and chronicle. With these more obscure options I was able to come up with Bord, Boir, Woir, Wount, Bicle, and Wicle. How can you argue against Wicle or Boir? If you have a good case, I want to hear it. Now, please. Both of the aforementioned so far surpass blog that I demand a revolution. Maybe I will place an internet poll somewhere where all five of you reading this will find it and vote for either Wicle or Boir.

I digress; this article was about Blog, not those trying to overthrow him. Anyway, Blog got his big break in 1951 with "The Thing." (see how a specific, brilliant liguistic decision can make a career?)

Blog, looking like Frankenstein's monster with horns. Note, Blog is even scarier-looking out of costume.

In 1954, Blog was given another great role, this time as "the creature." Slightly less ambiguous!

Blog, trying to pull himself out of the swamp of ugly (where he still lives, by the way), from the film "The Creature from the Black Lagoon". The swamp of ugly is also where most of Blog's writers live.

For a while, Blog went unnoticed, but after two hit films he could not stay hidden, even in the swamp of ugly. In 1956 he did not appear, but was given creative credit in, "Invasion of the Body Snatchers."

When asked why Blog was credited, even though he never appeared in the film, director Don Siegel stated that "Blog has a tendency to take over people's lives, just like the body-snatchers."

The 50s were busy years for Blog, who in 1958, won the leading role in "Blob."

Here is Blog as "Blob," trying to eat, or perhaps absorb, the world. Please note that this is also Blog's real-life aspiration.

Blog's movie career was never the same after the 50s, although he went on to "Son of Blob" (1972), "Harry and the Hendersons" (1987), and occasional guest spots on "Alf".

Today, Blog has moved on to more-disturbing roles in politics and professional snooping. He is currently a featured profile on MySpace and enjoys internet, but not actual, dating. In person, he is too terrible and ugly to look at.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Competing Visions of the Future (a poem)

I've walked in circles my whole life—
wondered if they shrink only smaller,
if movement becomes pale—

tracing faint rounds back and forth between
office and studio apartment,
Coin-Up Laundromat and Mike's Burgers,
1st National Bank and Rooney's premium dive bar

where I make pinprick spheres,
poke holes in peanut shells with toothpicks—
at last only sit on one stool and try to flirt with one waitress
who is half my age
and unattractive

On the 35th floor of the Bonaventure Hotel we sit in a rotating lounge
slowly encircling Los Angeles—
outside, lights streak and blur into colored lines that
fade out like firework tails

We watch headlights bounce,
bright angels of possibility
gaze with glowing eyes

Moving in circles, she says, is divine—
like concentric orbits of an asteroid

Moving in circles, she says, is real—
like layers of an onion

Perhaps love's true sensation—
is not dizziness
but the recovery from dizziness

Monday, October 09, 2006

Cold War Kids: Taking Over LA

I could write this entry about how I used to share a quad in Stewart Hall with bassist Matt Maust, but I won't. Actually, there are some good stories there that involve Seinfeld, Rian, Dave, Phil and Jairus. (There's my one life reference for the month). No, I am writing merely as a fan.

It is past time to write something about the
Cold War Kids, who are, in my mind, one of the bands that everyone should be hearing about in the next year or so (think Arcade Fire or Sufjan Stevens). If you haven't heard of the Arcade Fire or Sufjan Stevens, don't worry, there's still time for you.

Cold War Kids, from left to right, Jonnie Russell, Matt Maust, Matt Aveiro, and Nathan Willett, looking all Hollywood.

Anyway, CWK have been plastered all over the media out here in LA, including an article that was on the cover of the LA Times
calendar section, the front cover of O.C. Weekly, and a full page article in Spin Magazine. Last night, CWK was also featured on the KROQ (LA's big modern rock station) show that plays local bands. I suspect big things, and have for months, even before I went to a sold out show featuring CWK as the headliners at the Troubadour back on Sep. 8th. The venue was packed as CWK unleashed their minimalistic yet rich sound to the enthusiastic audience. I couldn't help but think that they are the perfect Hollywood band—not in the sense of today's image-driven movie society, but a landmark like the Troubadour that hearkens back to the Golden Era of motion picture and rock of the '50s and '60s.

I dislike comparing CWK to other bands, because they are already so distinct in their style. They have the simple, pure, rock beauty of someone like the White Stripes, combined with the soul of blues and the narrative ability of Johnny Cash. This is rock and roll before the electronic invasion of synthesizers and guitar pedals. This is a garage band playing on a paddle-wheel river boat sailing across the forgotten American landscape. This is genuine music.

The songs themselves are quite compelling. They tell stories of people searching for redemption, but perhaps not always finding it. The driving base lines of "We Used to Vacation" or "Hang Me Up to Dry" suggest a primal urgency—a direct need for creative expression, while the fragility of "Pregnant" and the ballad of "St. John" demonstrate that CWK is no one trick pony. Or, for that matter, no one hit wonder. Their live show is just as raw and exciting as their songs—where makeshift instruments are beat upon the stage, and band members collide with one another, as if intoxicated by the melody.

Robbers and Cowards, the first full-length release from Cold War Kids is due out tomorrow and available in stores everywhere.

Robbers and Cowards, designed by bassist Matt Maust