Month: July 2008

Album cover of the week: Go 2

Album cover of the week: Go 2

Album Cover of the Week
Our friends at Hipgnosis return with another memorable entry.  But whereas their last appearance here was all about a striking and surreal image, this week is just the opposite - no image at all.  It is the second album from New Wave/post-punk legends XTC, 1978's Go 2: That's a lot of words, innit?!  Here's what it says: This is a [place album format here in all capitals] COVER. This writing is the DESIGN upon the [place album format here] cover. The DESIGN is to help SELL the [place album format here]. We hope to draw your attention to it and encourage you to pick it up. When you have done that maybe you'll be persuaded to listen to the music - in this case XTC's Go 2 album. Then we want you to BUY it. The idea being that the more of you that buy this [place album format here] the
Venture Bros. wrapup: “Now Museum, Now You Don’t”

Venture Bros. wrapup: “Now Museum, Now You Don’t”

TV & Radio
For a guy who earned two doctorates in the space of a few months, Dr. Jonas Venture Jr. sure can be a dummy sometimes. Dredging up the past, now matter how well-intentioned, is typically a bad idea when super-scientists, adventurers, and their arch nemeses are involved. This week we delve deep into the past of some significant people and places.  In an action-packed flashback we see Dr. Jonas Venture going undercover (barely) to infiltrate the Fraternity of Torment (Scaramantualla, Manotaur, and Brainula), who have taken little Rusty hostage.  In storms the original Team Venture - Col. Gentleman, Ook-Ook, Kano, Otto Aquarius, Speedy, a very large Dr. Entmann as Humungeloid, and a psychotic Action Man, who goes apeshit and unloads two gun clips into a hapless henchman - to save Rusty
New Gnarls Barkley video is pretty sweet (and sick)

New Gnarls Barkley video is pretty sweet (and sick)

Music
Apparently MTV does still dabble in the music video trade from time to time.  Case in point - the latest offering from Gnarls Barkley - "Who's Gonna Save My Soul" - one of the coolest and yet most disturbing videos I have seen since "The Goonies 'R' Good Enough". Since I can't get the damn embedding from MTV to work, and because I can't find this on the band's YouTube channel, you can go here to check it out. The dumper in this clip is Aasha Davis, who has been in a whole lot of TV shows the last few years (South of Nowhere, Friday Night Lights, and Grey's Anatomy to name a few).  I don't know the dumpee.
Whatever Happened to… Eastern Airlines and the World Hockey Association?

Whatever Happened to… Eastern Airlines and the World Hockey Association?

History
For some reason I've always found it more interesting to see why things like businesses fail than to read about success stories.  It's not even that I take any glee in their failure, so maybe it's an underdog thing?  Anyway, in the first entry of yet another series I'll likely abandon at some point, we will take a brief look at some of the more prominent businesses/entities to disappear from existence.  Up first is one that was the premiere example of its industry at one point, and one that was probably doomed from the start. Who: Eastern Airlines When: 1926 - 1991 What: Begun as a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service in the 1920s, Eastern grew to become a dominant force in commercial aviation by the 1950s.  Its first CEO was famed World War I Flying Ace Eddie Rickenbacker
Interesting stuff I now know thanks to Wikipedia (Vol. 3)

Interesting stuff I now know thanks to Wikipedia (Vol. 3)

Listcruft
As with the first two entries, the premise of this is simple.  I just used the Random Article link on Wikipedia and saw if anything good came up.  (a lot of it is quite useless) The town of Britton, Michigan is named after storekeeper John Britton, who in 1888 paid $500 to rename the town of Balch after himself. There is a variant of Scrabble called Clabbers, whose rules are the same except for one: The letters used must form anagrams of acceptable words. The Grammy Award for Best Gospel Vocal Performance, Female was only given out from 1984 through 1990.  Amy Grant won it four times. The 1968 Cannes Film Festival ended early, without awarding any prizes, due to a French general strike in May. I can't believe I didn't know this, but Adolf Hitler had a sister, Paula Hitler.  She
Album Cover of the Week: Leviathan

Album Cover of the Week: Leviathan

Album Cover of the Week
From the chilly depths of the ocean comes an album so fierce, so metal, that only an exquisitely kickass piece of artwork could do it justice.  While not a strict concept album, Mastodon's 2004 metal opus Leviathan is loosely based on the story of Moby Dick.  Of course that much should be obvious, as one of the songs is entitled "I Am Ahab".  I took a chance on this album when I bought it a few years ago (I don't care for the majority of current metal), having only heard snippets of a few songs.  Part of the reason, I suspect, was the cover art. Even better is the expanded version of the illustration: C'mon, if a cover with a giant killer whale, guys with spears, and a flaming tower doesn't say "kick ass metal inside", I don't know what does.
Venture Bros. wrapup: “Tears of a Sea Cow”

Venture Bros. wrapup: “Tears of a Sea Cow”

TV & Radio
Ever been on a blind date that you knew was a disaster right from the start, yet you felt obligated to see it through to the bitter end?  Such seems to be the recurring fate of the Monarch, forced to endure a supremely lame archenemy pairing at the beginning of "Tears of a Sea Cow" (working title "Murder O'Clock").  But soon the misery is over, and he turns his attention back to his true hate...Dr. Venture. After quickly (and permanently) dispatching his newest and lamest foe, Dr. Dugong, a frustrated and bored Monarch can't restrain himself any longer - with Doc Venture away showing his Vacuum Boom-Broom, he gives in to his true feelings and takes #21 and #24 out to f&*@ up an empty Venture compound.  The Monarch and #21 take a hilarious slide down to the Monarchmobile (#24 wisely
GFS at the Movies: The Dark Knight

GFS at the Movies: The Dark Knight

Movies
The most dangerous villains, the scariest ones to watch, are the ones with no clear reasons or motives behind their mayhem.  They enter from the darkest corners of our imaginations and exist solely to inflict pain on others.  They are not driven by greed, revenge, or lust for power. So how does someone (say, a hero or a district attorney) on the side of right stop such a villain?  How much are they willing to compromise themselves; and how much collateral damage is acceptable in the process? This is the central theme of The Dark Knight, the second of the Christopher Nolan-helmed Batman reboot films.  It is a superhero movie only in the sense that its characters have their origins in the paneled pages of comic books.  In almost every other way it's dense and unsettling psychological e
Retrotisement: Encyclopædia Britannica

Retrotisement: Encyclopædia Britannica

Retrotisements
Here's a little history lesson for you young'uns.  Back before this internet thing, and way before Wikipedia, people like me used to look up stuff in these big things called encyclopedias.  They didn't list every single episode of That's So Raven or every Pokemon character, but they were generally useful nonetheless. Now I don't recall ever getting that pumped over looking up where John Quincy Adams was born*, but I don't doubt that many a young man did experience that feeling of euphoria.  And hey, you know Britannica was the bee's knees because they had that funky æ character in the title. This particular ad was published in 1994, just as the internet was poised to set new standards of speed in the research and plagiarizing of information.  So anyone lucky enough to have spent