On this album I decided to spend some time addressing all the haters

It all started, I believe, with Warrant’s Ode to Tipper Gore. Attributing their lack of radio play to their unwillingness to back down from employing a good swear word when a good swear word was needed, Warrant decided to address the Indecency Czar herself with a track consisting entirely of sound bites of people swearing.* While this track mainly addressed government-sanctioned censorship, it marked the beginning (as I see it) of musical artists using tracks on their albums to explicitly sock it to those people with whom they beef.
This point was a tipping one for the establishment of a formula. It goes:

-Put out an album and become known.

-Experience criticism for the album by both critics and contemporaries. Make sure to spend way too much time reading and obsessing over the criticism because no one ever told you that your sanity/artistic credibility depended on you ignoring it.

-Put out another album and spend an inordinate amount of lyrical time defending yourself from, and making fun of, the folks who dared label you as “untalented”.

Gangster-rapper Eazy-E road the coat-tails of Warrant’s open source formula when he followed up his first two post-N.W.A. albums with It’s On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa – a true dynamo of a riposte that clearly announced to both the rap community and little white kids like me that the shit Dr. Dre spewed in The Chronic would not go unanswered.** While more than half of the songs featured some bash on Dre and his cronies at Death Row Records, the most biting, um, bites occurred on Real Muthaphuckkin G’s. On it, E is heard to rap, “I hope your fans understand when you talk about sprayin’ (?) me. The same records that you’re making are paying me. Motherfuck Dre, Motherfuck Snoop, Motherfuck Death Row. Yo, and here comes my left blow…” He then goes on to simulate gun shots that presumably kilt Dre.***

I never understood why people weren’t dieing over this album. It was some harsh stuff. Granted, musicians have apparently died, in part, because of too much feuding. But that hasn’t quenched artists desires to openly address the haters. On the contrary, at this point in time the formula is probably even more standardized.

Newsweek notes that Lil’ Kim’s hastily-made album makes sure to drop some of the harshest dis lyrics the New York hard-core rap scene has seen in years. She takes stabs at the former-friends who had the gall to not commit perjury, at 50-Cent for “criticizing her extensive plastic surgery”, and even Star Jones (“her offense: probably just being annoying”).

It’s an unfortunate given – this whole “this album is really personal to me” copout that just compensates for a lack of originality and as a defense for insecurities. I’m sure the list of artists who sink to this would extend for pages – Eminem, T.I., every artist with “Lil'” in their name, Sean Paul, um, Hilary Duff (maybe not).

Thanks to Warrant, I wouldn’t be surprised if down-on-their-originality mongers The Killers expend a song or two on their next album bashing their very-bashable archrivals The Bravery. Although I would be surprised if Mariah Carey steps up to Sonic Youth on her next album.

*It should be noted that Cherry Pie only features one swear word outside of The Ode. On Train, Train, singer Jani Lane kicks off the song by announcing, “All on fucking board! Uh huh!”
**It should be noted that The Chronic also features a track called The Doctor’s Office that’s entirely made up of the grunts and groans Dr. Dre makes when he balls a bitch. Just thought I’d mention that.
***Another note, this one even further from the point of this post than that last note: At 14 years old, as I consumed It’s On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa, I went on a surf trip to Baja with a Christian surfing association. The director, a cop and an every-one-in-the-world-who’s-not-on-this-trip-will-suffer-searing-scars-in-hell type of Christian, searched my backpack while I was out surfing, found my walkman with this tape inside. He listened to it in its entirety, and then organized an intervention in which he then forced me, in front of the entire group, to walk up to the edge of a cliff and throw the tape into the water below. I was bitter the entire time.

But man, those baby penguins sure are cuuuuuuute!

Can I speak at, oh, about waist-level about the feelgood documentary of the summer, March of the Penguins? One week before watching this movie I made the mistake of seeing a different documentary on Antarctica. This other documentary – titled Blue Planet, and produced by BBC – spent about eight minutes covering the Emperor penguins. In those eight minutes I learned and saw every thing MotP had to offer. But it took MotP 90 minutes to do it. And their breeding ground was not nearly as interesting as the BBC penguins (the BBC penguins had to ride 15 foot waves and jump off of them onto a cliff of ice. And I had to listen to Morgan Freeman end six sentences with, “…or else they will die”.

And that Freeman: he is so sage and serious, and the script was so sparse and dull. I’m more a fan of This is a leopard seal. It is the penguin’s primary predator in the ocean. It waits in the shadows, moves in for the kill, and can munch on penguins all day if it wants to. It will usually only attack from the water, so once the penguins are on land they will be much safer. Et Cetera. Let’s watch. You know, something that’s both exciting and informative.

And not uh oh, look out penguins! The penguins have to enter the water to get some food. But in doing so they risk becoming food themselves. If they fail to stock up on food, which they’ll then have to travel back 80 miles to the breeding grounds to feed the younglings, both them and themselves will die. That’s, um, supposed to be bad writing.

Personally I would have rather watched the original version of March of the Penguins. Newsweek notes that this version “was in French, with a techno-pop score, and the filmmakers had scripted actual dialogue for the penguins – as if they were animated.”

Terroristing games made playable.

Edit made at a much later date: I’m clearly over my head here in html. For much more effective exposure to the weird world of rom hacks, just look at this review of a naked Mike Tyson’s Punch-out. And feel free to be puzzled by the post below.

Far be it for me to directly oppose Al Qaida in a match-up to determine the grand wizard of Ice Climber or 3D Worldrunner; they clearly wouldn’t have the experience necessary to beat me. I will instead impart some knowledge. I advise them to dispense with the Adventures-of-Lolo-with-aliens-and-robots as their mode of videogame propaganda, and just start hacking existing nintendo games. According to Slate, their anti-western games aren’t so top notch. Retarding the faces we know and cherish will undoubtedly work as a stepping stone toward undermining every thing we stand for.
Just as how we have songs like “Burn Motherfucker”, which are specifically written with anti-Iraqi sentiments that could easily be flipped back onto us (I don’t know, maybe, “Burn oilfielders, Burn”), Mario could be changed from an Italian plumber to African American plumber (hint: just give him an afro). As can be seen on the left, this game already (sort of) exists. Now just find some way to make him blatantly evil – perhaps have the Afro Bros. battle levitating Qua’rans (not the most creative, I know, but I’m sure Al’Q can dig a little deeper – and they’d find some way to justify playing as the enemy, as the Japanese have) – and you’ll have more success with the digital purging of democracy.

And it’s not just hairdos and clothing that can be altered (or removed completely, as can be seen in about half of the hacks out there – you want to play Gauntlet with a naked Valkyrie; ogle a nude Little Mermaid; or try to turn one of the worst games in nes history – Barbie – into something potentially playable?)…

the text, e.g. the story, can be changed as well. Ignore the fact that Zelda in Esperanto was a complete failure and focus on the fact that text-heavy RPGs can be changed from a quest to save a princess to a quest to, uh, construct a time-machine to travel back to when budding islamic nationalists were failing to rally up enough support to quell England’s scheme to westernize the land and cut a little chunk off of Iraq and turn it into a quaint shipping port called Kuwait. They’d reconstruct the Committee for Union and Progress, and all that…
I’d say Dragon Warrior is ripe for the hacking. I found one version, titled Dragon Pervert, to be quite an enjoyable scape. The objective was clear, the townspeople were friendly, the, uh, okay I never actually left the town…

The quest can be spun to anything you desire. Al Qaida, your games stink. Stop trying to do things from the ground up. Use what we’ve made and exploit it. And then let’s have a 3-hour Ikari Warriors fest.
To start out, I’d recommend grooving on this Pink Floyd Donkey Kong hack.

Methly behavior

Yesterday I answered Jack Shafer’s query: The meth capital of the world – where is it?. Even if I don’t know exactly where it is, I told him that I found the attention paid toward the Northern California Sierra mountains wanting. He responded, literally 45 seconds after I sent the email, thanking me for the “very funny” message. We’ll see if North San Juan is mentioned in his follow-up.

I felt really bad because I spelled his name incorrectly in my email. I don’t know what I was thinking, except to say that perhaps I wasn’t at all. It was the first thing I typed, and I made a note to myself to check it before I sent the message. And I forgot. And I paid dearly – in an emotional way. I’m familiar with, and appreciate, Shafer’s work (even though I, and I’m not the only one here, have noticed a quite methly leaning to his beat). I battled for a while about whether or not to send him another email, but then I noticed a squirrel running by my window and so I had to run outside and give chase. It went up a tree, though, and I wasn’t able to climb it…

A virus is spreading like a virus.

After receiving about a week’s notice regarding the incoming carpet-pesticiding to kill mosquitoes that may be carrying the West Nile Virus, the Sacramento Bee finally – a day after the first air raid to end all air raids – brought out the in-depth coverage. Sure, they announced/warned the people living in Northern Sacramento County in a little article the day before, but not every one reads the paper every day, and not every one watches the news every day. It’s a little annoying that they decided to actually start covering the story – presenting depth to both the pros and the cons – after there was absolutely nothing that could be done (save suing at a later date).
I feel bad for my sister, who started freaking out last night after reading about it and realizing she might have been outside during the four hour window. And I feel bad for the organic farmers who probably can’t refer to their crops as organic anymore, as they’ve now been sprayed by pesticides. And I feel bad for all the kids who are stuck inside on a warm summer’s eve, pressed against the sliding glass window that broke their sister’s nose a few years ago, pining to just run outside to be free to lick all their yard toys – as any kid would.
Now, I’m not one to question the germ engineers, what with their omnipresent gaze and gallons of pyrethrum at their disposal, but I wonder at the precision of a spray that can “be applied in miniscule droplets that should dissipate before touching the ground, but not before wiping out the mosquitoes” but also relies on “killing a mosquito on contact (but not a larger insect)” (Sac Bee, Aug. 9, 2005). I mean, mosquitoes fly about four feet above the ground – so that’s some precise dissipation. I guess I’m questioning what they mean by dissipation. I won’t go into further detail, as I’m tired of saying that word in my head.
When I was a youngster, living in the Hancock Park neighborhood in Los Angeles, there were some bugs that lived in trees, and they were taking over the entire city. The city, in return, proposed to aerial spray the city and kill them all. Citizens of Hancock Park, and neighboring Beverly Hills, were not so down with that, and they voiced their opinions and shoved a bunch of money down the right people’s pockets. This grassroots campaign for justice was successful. In the end, all the poor people got bombed. My neighborhood remained fresh and lickable.
On that note:

This just in, Bronx to Get Spray-Bombed After Residents In Manhattan Come Down With Virus
I don’t want my brain to rot just as much as the next gal (and some guys), but is this really the best way to go about killing mosquitoes? Would it have really hurt so much to spend another week discussing the issue and becoming more aware of how to personally battle mosquitoes. And can’t they just dunk a bunch of dunks all over the place instead? I mean, that would make for better headlines.