Monthly Archives: October 2006

For Victory!

Nowadays, it is not uncommon to see the usage of the abbreviation “FTW“. It means For The Win (or For Teh Win) and can be used both sincerely and mockingly.

I’ve been generously using it myself, so you can imagine my glee when I found out that over half a century ago, people said “For Victory!”.

I stumbled upon this after my mum shoved me another link about a short 1942  film called “Hemp For Victory“. The link can be found all over internet nowadays because it shows the hypocrisy of the US government demonizing hemp whilst they actually promoted it and encouraged farmers to grow it in 1942 for the war effort. You can watch the video here or just google it yourself.
Of course, there is a difference between growing cannabis to be used as rope and growing it for smoking. Still, it’s weird that the US govt feels it’s necessary to ban a multi-purpose plant altogether. Why the hell ban nature, anyway?

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Song of the day (10/25/06)

Short post, mostly because there’s not really much to find about these guys (i.e. wiki falls short)

Rare Bird was a progressive rock band from the 60s who have mostly faded into obscurity save for their one hit: Sympathy.

Rare Bird

Sympathy’s main message is that we need sympathy, because “there’s not enough love to go round”. The song is slow, with the obligatory 60s church organ and a dull beat. The vocals and  lyrics however are simple yet powerful. The song grows on you after repeated hearings and in the right (or wrong) mood it can in amplify your (sad) feelings.

Worthy to check out!

Freedom to Fascism scare!

My mum pasted me this link and she practically ordered me to see it 😛 So I did, because obeying mothers every once in a while is a Good Thing, or something.

The video fits easily in the genre of conspiracy theories. Nowadays the tag “conspiracy theory” is almost automagically synonymous for “bullshit” which is kind of a shame because it means that whenever there is some kind of serious issue that requires your attention as a Thoughtful Citizen the label Conspiracy Theory alone can be used to disarm the entire argument presented. Kind of a worrying thought in itself. There must be a conspiracy theory that explains how The People Behind The Scenes have worked hard to make the average person believe that  a conspiracy theory is by default bogus. Oh the intrigue!

Anyway, disregard that. The video I’m posting about is a documentary made by Aaron Russo titled  “America: Freedom to Fascism“. As always I watched it with skepticism and an open mind, to avoid both the danger of ignoring any dangers, and to avoid being a sucker for another Conspiracy Theory.

I can safely tell you that the first hour or so, maybe the first 50ish minutes up until the (nonsupported) claim that the IRS is falsely accusing and targeting (poor) Americans is very compelling. It deals with the simple matter that there is no law that states an American has to pay income tax, and spends such a great deal of time and convincingly looking interviews, statements and official records that it seems a solid point was made.

After that the whole documentary falls into a torrent of statements and accusations, suddenly introducing the notion of New World Order out of thin air, loosely tying this to the Federal Reserve which apparently controls the USA. This is where the amount of proof starts to thin and the amount of speculation increases. It’s still an interesting thing to watch but I think most people will start to write it off as “Just Another Conspiracy Theory” and give it not much of a second thought.

I think that is a shame. At least the first fifty minutes seem pretty much waterproof. If anything, go watch the first fifty minutes.  There are a few ‘hit or miss’ accusations that aren’t supported in here as well (such as a very brief statement that Clinton apparently had legal opponents assaulted by IRS monkeys) but if you read/watch past them and stick to the main subject I think you may be pretty much convinced that the main point being made up to that point is solid and to an extent eye-opening. I’m not saying the rest is bullshit, but it seems less supported by official documents and checkable facts than the first bit.

Or don’t watch it at all. Whatever floats your boat.

Song of the day (10/24/06)

Alan Parsons Project is cool, if only because of the name itself. “Alan Parson’s Project” doesn’t even sound like a musician’s endeavour. It is though, and an awesome ensemble at that. Composed of mainly two blokes named Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson, APP has released themed albums between ’76 and ’87 – themes/concepts include surveillance, gambling, and Edgar Allan Poe. As you may have noticed from the other song of the day posts I kinda enjoy music that has some level of meaning or at least isn’t about old chewed out subjects like love and relationships. I enjoy the occasional lovesong or song of personal drama, but what I really respect is artists who move away from the private and focus on larger (social) issues. I like a Message in a song.

Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson

To not prove my point I pick “Luciferama” as the Song of the Day. It is an instrumental piece lasting about five minutes. I think my version is a live recording. Luciferama features a sweetass percussion bit and is mainly lead by some string instrument. There’s an uplifting beat running through the entire track. To wrap it up, Luciferama is fantastically awesome.
I could’ve picked “Sirius” since that’s Alan Parson’s most famous instrumental piece, but I thought I’d pick something decently obscure again. Check out Luciferama if you can! You can whore it off of me if you drop me a line.

Song of the day (10/23/06)

Kraftwerk is cool. Dudes in suits who produce electronical music in the 70s are simply wickedly awesome. Kraftwerk is really weird, reclusive, German, and say cool things like “The telephone is an antiquity — you never know who is calling, there is no image, it is an outmoded product which constantly disrupts work.” (Hütter, 1991)

Kraftwerk

I plodded about a bit for this post and found a highly amusing article in the Guardian where a reporter unsuccessfully searches for Kraftwerk in Düsseldorf. Apparently they really, REALLY don’t like publicity. I quote from the article:

They rarely give interviews, and when they do, they come with strings attached: one magazine which secured an audience with Hütter was informed that he would only discuss his collection of bicycles and that they were not allowed to even mention that he was a member of Kraftwerk. Their legendary Düsseldorf studio, KlingKlang, has no telephone, no fax, no reception and returns all post unopened. They have not attended a photo shoot since 1978: their record label has had to make do with blurry shots from their highly infrequent live appearances and pictures of the band’s painstakingly constructed robot doubles. No band has shunned publicity with such dedication.

Is that cool or not? This is one of the most influential bands of the 20th century, pretty much heralding electronical music as a whole, and they’re obscure as hell! I’m surprised they even do live performances, despite the robot doubles thing.

Their big breakthrough was Autobahn, released in 1974. I think it’s a hilarious track, which is why it’s the song of the day. It’s very calm, very slow, very synthy, very sweet, but at one point (around 6:33 in my nine minute version) they seem to ‘break loose’ and you get a weirdass set of loony vocals. The first time I heard it I laughed out loud and was like “what the flying fuck just happened?”. So that’s what it’s like when the tightass suitwearing anti-hippies of the 70s go wild. Awesome.

Besides from being rather culty, Kraftwerk is also important musical history. If you want to know where most of the electronical genres of the 80s and 90s came from, check out Autobahn and all their other music released until 1981.

Song of the day (10/22/06)

It was only a matter of time before I did a Paul Simon one. Unfortunately I don’t have an obscure song to promote – his best album simply is Graceland, and one of the tracks I especially enjoy is Boy in the Bubble.

Paul Simon and The Muppets

Boy in the Bubble curiously applies to stuff I hear all the time during my studyage of New Media; about surveillance and information society and the relation between Man and his tools and so on. It’s not the reason I like it though.
The song has an addictive accordion thingy  running through it as well as a tuba-ish sound. Yay for wind instruments. It’s also got Paul’s distinctive friendly voice and if you care for the video, it’ll sometimes feature his friendly face.