11 January, 2012

Mousewife to momshell in the time it takes to get that new tattoo

is just one of the many bizarre lyrics we are subjected to now that David Lee Roth and Van Halen have released their first new song in many years. "Tattoo" isn't horrible, but the video is just...

It's disturbing. I'm not the world's biggest VH fan, but almost every part of the video felt familiar, like it was brought out of a time capsule, covered in mold and infested with larvae. Let us dissect, shall we?

The first bit of evidence that something is off is with that ghastly "Tattoo, tattoo" which opens the song. It's horrifying and worse, it's the song's chorus and sole hook. This is where Michael Anthony helped as a back-up vocalist. It would work if they held each note longer and maybe sung a little more. You wouldn't sing the words "dance the night away" like that, right?

DLR waving flags on stage was a very clever visual gimmick. However, it amounts to a 'look at me' which doesn't compare to an instrumental solo and doesn't translate to a screen. I think this and most of the other shots involving time reverse came from an early VH video, probably "Jump", but that's where the more knowledgeable fans come in.

The intro is good. DLR looks like he's giving orders to someone during the strobe effect, but it's a very creditable guitar intro and I honestly think they look good, in a weird way. The camera on a dolly works, but feels like it's trying too hard at the same time. Al is almost invisible during the entire video, but Wolfgang makes up for it.

As usual, the lyrics are barely intelligible and not worth the effort. DLR thinks we need to ponder the body of a man pushing 60 in a way that doesn't make us want to hurl. The bass sounds very good and (predictably) internet scuttlebutt says EVH played it himself.

They suddenly switch to Roth in a jacket doing something which makes no sense and isn't in synch with the vocals. While this is common on Youtube, half the fun is in seeing how far off the synch is. After a few seconds, it's clear this isn't that sort of video. But why? The guitar builds nicely though, since the vocals don't.

Shots dropped in of the band playing, and then we suddenly realize we've hit a chorus. Whoever edited the video actually got it right when we see DLR and EVH step together to start singing. Lip-synching in EVH's case, but they're trying really hard to look like they like each other. Like everything turned back and it was just after 1984 again. They're even hip by using words like "mousewife" and "momshell", portmanteaus popularized by a recent popular book. The only concession to age is that these aren't expressly teenage fantasies.

I've developed a theory that Roth lost his heart to EVH in a way he probably hasn't even come to terms with yet. This unique form of manlove ran directly opposite the lifestyle this archtype cock-rocker has otherwise embodied. In 1984, he got too full of himself and demoralized the band to the point that they couldn't work together. He left, expecting to take the world by storm. A few years later, his bubble had popped and he began to make noises about coming back, which wouldn't happen for several years yet.

When the '96 reunion happened, Roth fell too hard, misread things and screwed up as much as he could. He'd waited all this time, but the romance had stumbled. Further failures impeded this glorious moment but now it's here.

It's when the two of them are finishing the first run through "to get that new tattoo" that it looks like Roth's smile is more like desperation. Maybe he's had a ton of plastic surgery that's showing. It wouldn't be out of character, but considering what it must have taken to get EVH to this point, what must be going through his mind. The lyrics were awkward and slowed down the song's pace right when it should have speeded up.

It's also strange to realize that so far, nobody in the video is seen with a tattoo. This is finally remedied when father, son and holee Roth mime the multi-tracked chorus vocals. Someone elsewhere on the screen has something prominent and blurry, so there's that tat.

It's not just that so much of the video feels like a retread, it's that they're clearly no longer as good at it. Roth is no longer a gymnast. And he's wearing bell-bottoms. There was a hint of keyboards, but the song remains firmly in the guitar aspect of the band. Not surprising, it originated from 1978 and caught in multiple bootlegs as a song called "Down in Flames".

It's not that VH uses old unreleased material that causes some to complain (including myself, as we shall see) it's that he has always made the claim to be constantly writing new material. Many people, including Sammy Hagar, vouch for a dozen new albums worth of material sitting on the floor. That's fine for someone like Sammy Hagar, who can come up with something to finish a piece or join another piece to it, coming from roughly the same musical approach as EVH, basic kick-ass rock'n'roll. But otherwise, it's not clear what's there other than him pushing 'record' when he practices, and he practices a lot.

David Lee Roth has to run the show. Reportedly, he edited this video. Hence his return to form, a low-voiced spoken-word gibberish that is thankfully cut to half a verse before it's time to start heading back to the chorus as the guitar gets louder. Visually, the camera twists around for no reason except maybe to change angles. Suddenly things get right again for the strobe effect.

Then they try to stage a clip. The three of them turn around like they aren't ready yet and then start singing. They pass the chick with the tattoo in the background while Wolfy looks really into singing for a second, then turns his eyes to see if he's doing it right. And EVH isn't being serious either.

The transition into the chorus is genuinely effective this time. The music carried the spoken-word portion, which turned into an effective, proper Van Halen chorus, loud and boistrous, "Tat-Too, Tat-Too". You can almost headbang to that. Roth gets off a few shrieks like the old days and they start segueing into the bridge.

If there's a reason for this song to exist, this is it. The guitar solo that metalheads have been denied for so many years is only seconds away. The drums have been strangely muted the entire song, but so has the bass. It's a Van Halen song, people don't listen to VH for that.

This is the sort of material that the boys developed night after night, in between covers until they had enough original material that they could start looking for work in places where cover bands weren't hired. Roth was a great showman and right up through this song, gives it everything he has from the first step. He did the patter and came up with stuff to shout at the right place. Repeat a few times and call it a new song. Maybe Eddie throws in a new guitar solo.

That's what they did here, with the hip transplant guitarist not trying to jump any longer in the footage. And then...

Roth won't shut up. He isn't interested in serving the needs of the song, he has to insert his ugly tuneless voice for way longer than neccesary. Even the Sammy-esque "yeah" doesn't redeem it. Or he could have put his spoken-word bit here.

The guitar solo sounds good. Whoever's behind the camera doesn't have any idea what to do with it. Then we return to the strobe effect where suddenly the vocals are in synch. Roth reads from the teleprompter about his Uncle Danny's union tattoo and he wears the chapter number also. The first time I heard the song, I misunderstood and thought he was also referring to relatives in the Holocaust. Not so, but the relevance of this tattoo (other than to the "union" I think he means) creates a jarring juxtaposition to the tramp stamp the rest of the song is about.

Musically, the song continues. The video becomes strange as they start dropping balloons, presumably as a climax. So why is it still in black and white? Dave and Eddie share a close-up and suddenly Dave's eyes move fractionally off-camera, catch something, and move back as he gets angry. This is where the look of desperation comes from on the next shot, among the streamers.

The album is in the can, DLR has coaxed, nudged and dragged the VH brothers through the album sessions. Maybe there's even songs in there less than 30 years old. But this is as good as it's going to get. Not as good as in 2007, or 2000, or 1996, much less 1985.

The best parts of the video are the clips at the end, piled together in a heady mix of rockin' out and flags, balloons, confetti. There's another shot of Alex in reverse, which gives the drumming a weird effect. Then we're back to the strobe. We have no idea if DLR is discoursing on Western Civilization or attempting a take of a different verse, but he gives up and whirls away, leaving us with a very cool (if morbid) image to fade out on.

Many people spend a lifetime married to the wrong person. Fewer people (presumably) spend their lives waiting for someone. Not like this. It's like a tattoo, once you get one, it doesn't come off.

08 January, 2012

I guess Kay can't tell Michael that Presidents don't have people killed now...

They couldn't give what they were doing any thought. They didn't want to think about what they might be getting into. They forgot about the Constitution, Article 1, Section 5, Clause 4.

Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

Is the Senate Majority Leader is so derelict in his duties that he assumed the Senate was adjourned without the other House's consent? Was he impeding the President in making appointments? The President's was a Constitutional Professor (we are assured) so he could never make such a gross error. He can still present nominees the proper Constitutional way so his dignity is preserved, but what the heck could Harry Reid be thinking?

Not only that, but he specifically tricked the President into appointing Richard Cordway to direct the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau, a post that specifically requires Senatorial approval.

Yet all the people who pretended George W. Bush bent and broke the Constitution will just ignore this like a summer rain. That's doublethink.

This is the desperation of Wile E. Coyote edging further and further out onto a limb that's already sawed off. It cannot be wrong because of Bush/Rush/Fox/Palin/etc...

The OWS movements ran away with their tails between their legs. The last noise they made was some victory nonsense about 'changing the conversation', as though 99% is any different than basic Marxism which they were full of six months ago. That's not change, and all the rapes, assaults, thefts, racism, Jew-hatred and sanitation disasters don't make it so.

The Tea Party has faded away because there's nothing for them to do. And they had jobs, remember? They cleaned up after themselves, went home and anonymously went about their lives. How much money is the Occupy movement costing each municipality to clean up a mess the leeches made? Way to protest there. Good thing the Montgomery Bus Boycott didn't have the same spirit. They actually made it through a winter. So did the Bolsheviks, come to think of it.

I think the extent of the leftist media-fed delusion is rotting and falling away in the face of its own hypocrisies. An internet poll went around asking OWS protestors about Time Magazine naming Protestors the Person of the Year, with a half-hearted nod to Muslim men and women risking their lives across the world. As expected, only one protestor noticed that Time Magazine was a rich corporation, the rest thought it was sorta cool.

A report of OWS analyzes that it was mostly made up of "Communitarians", i.e. people who sought to belong with little intent beyond that, and "Professionals", people who will drop whatever they're doing at the first sign of revolution, because they want in. As the various messes they left in urban areas demonstrates, they can't really plan anything or build anything.

The buzz is now that the Occupy movement doesn't need to "occupy" anything. They're so close to triumphing over reality, it's almost scary.

01 January, 2012

Yo yo peeps, what it do?

The new book continues. On a 4-day weekend, my goal was to have 20 pages of editing finished. I was at about 17 and a half finished before I quit last night, with another 5 pages of essays on Popeye that I'd hand-editted when I woke up yesterday morning. So there's not much worry I'll make my goal. I also broke down the structure of Side A roughly into its finished form.

There's so many pages. At least "Polonia" was one story. There was a forward momentum, just in cutting the number of pages until reaching 'the end'. Now, it seems no matter how many pages I mark up and move to the 'finished' side of the binder, there's a ton of them which are marked up and nowhere close to finishing, to say nothing of all the pages which are still sorta clean and fresh-looking.

Then there's Side B, the short short stories where I had assumed I'd let their age excuse the work. I was barely going to polish for grammar. I decided I'd give revision a shot, maybe with the one story written before enlisting (included for completeness) A month or two later, I'd finally re-written all of them and was hoping the spirit of creation was done and now all they needed was the grammar/spelling polish. Nope, it's gonna be @60 corrections a page or more, and that'll just be this draft. This is why I was going to let the age excuse the work.

Of course by the time I get done with all that, who knows how much more I'll have written. One reason I've been glad to spend less time on this blog is for the clear break it will provide. I've also realized that President Obama's term (first term???) can be detached from the other existing material and made into its own 'side', That way the historical essays would end during GWB's term (which seems so distant now) and the majority of political ranting would be confined to its own book. The next book - the historical essays/best of my of other fiction - is already full and I'll have to start cutting stuff out of that in a few months, inshallah.

So after the history book, Book 4 would probably be the Obama book backed with the best of everything I haven't gotten to yet. Book 5 would probably be compiling all the stuff I had to cut out, along with all the new stuff I hadn't included on the way.

Side B of Life and Polonia fits entirely within the seven weeks that it took to write Side A. I could be looking at two or three years worth of editing just to publish everything I have available, and that's without going into messageboards and mailing lists and pulling up stuff I wrote there. That would double the amount of stuff I've written about comics, music, Star Wars and politics. Basically I could spend the next decade of my life editing and publishing.

It's not a bad idea. Certainly it's the quickest way to get me that stack o' books I always wanted, and I could certainly do it. But the editing is getting to me. The prospect of another three books looks daunting, not counting others culled from my internet time (then there's all the notebooks filled with handwriting to daunt even the toughest cryptographers, I know there's salvagable stuff in those).

I doubt it would get me anywhere, but that sounds like a feasible way to spend years. I'm slowly hammering out the plot for the next work of fiction I intend to write. I'm also toying with another short short story to cap off the current book, but I won't write it without a real idea.

I'm also considering doing a comic book real quickly with my existing comics. Between the Seth DeSignor strips and work I made on deployments, I've followed Comixpress' guidelines already. With some help on the cover and the text (excerpts from "Polonia" :D ) I could finally satisfy my dream of making an actual comic book, 48 pages or so. It would actually be readable too, not like the ones I've hand-drawn. As with the prose, it just remains for me to find time to get it finished.

Eric Holder continues to dig himself deeper. For acts, cover-ups and statements that would have gotten any other Attorney General fired long ago in the Fast and Furious matter of giving guns to Mexican gangs without any way of tracking them, leading to many deaths, including a US federal agent. Presumably Holder (and his boss) weren't stupid enough to be any closer to this mess than hearing about after the fact. But then what are they hiding?

Funny how there's no urgency on the part of the media to uncover this. Such a juicy scandal and everything. But then, they spent a lot more effort trying to find out Herman Cain's extramarital affairs than John Edwards. They were flat out given Rielle Hunter's name, and is there any evidence Cain had any affair yet? One woman finally gave her name after it had been dragged out for a long time. Ah well, Rielle Hunter probably didn't come up too often on the JournoList messageboard, the internet service where several hundred liberal journalists got together to discuss, coordinate, brainstorm, etc.

The media (who steadfastly insist that they have no liberal bias whatsoever) never followed up any claims made by John Kerry, Al Gore, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, the French, Russians, Chinese or anyone else about Iraq's WMD programs, even if those claims were made before 9/11. Did they investigate the oil-for-food scandal, or would that interfere with too many arrangements they've made with despots. CNN ignored covering Saddam's atrocities since 1990 because he had given them access.

Eason Jordan, a CNN executive who admitted Saddam had been favored this way, later accused American soldiers of targetting journalists in Iraq. This accusation, like so many others, was never proven. Just repeated and taken as true by those who call themselves objective. The same thing happened to Jesse Jackson Jr's claim that he and other black congressmen were called "nigger" and other slurs. He even had his phone there to record evidence, but none was ever found. Didn't stop Tea Partiers from being slurred as racist, then or since.

Of course if you go by the media, there's no violence of any kind at any Occupy site, never mind the actual rapes, thefts, assaults, property damage and sense of entitlement that is the only fruit growing at the few locations where people still live up to the word "occupy".

Most have gone home, chased out by low temperatures (which wasn't an option for the Montgomery bus boycott) or police (while the Syrian protestors would be lucky to be treated so gently). They declared victory and went back to what they were doing beforehand with little if any sense of shame. They didn't even clean up after themselves the way we all knew they wouldn't. Or they would have started acting like responsible members of the community and taken initiative to clean up their own feces. Because they aren't leeches and whiners, you know?

Who are they kidding, this way they can comfortably ignore anything they don't like. It's easier to 'unfriend' somebody from a cozy chair than to accept people with uniforms and weapons are needed to "police" the community.

But none of this will be heard from the media. How are Libya and Egypt doing, since OWS claimed such solidarity a few months ago? Oh. Well, there's leftists for you, results are other people's worry. Leftists worldwide gave Iranian Marxists support in overthrowing the Shah and have ignored the place since except to blame the US or Israel. There's probably a lot more Helen Thomas and Nir Rosens than Daniel Pearl's out there.

Obama's given up on any coherent policy, being totally focused on re-election now. It shouldn't surprise anybody, but doesn't it at least disappoint some of his supporters? He could at least push Congress to vote for a budget this year. His polls are supposedly doing better so if he presents one, he might get at least one vote this time. It would show his improvement as a chief executive.

Or maybe he's hoping we'll be at war with Iran and it will save him. They're threatening to close the Straits of Hormuz, currently an important sealane. They don't have any standing to do this, they would be militarily foolish to back it up and within a couple of years, pipelines in neighboring countries will be finished to remove any threat they could have over oil transportation. But the mysterious explosions must be driving them nuts whether they know what happened or not. Who would dare to inform the mullahs they have no idea what happened?

So three years into Obama's Presidency, neither Iran nor the Muslim world at large seems any friendlier or more peaceful. In Egypt, they've burned a library that has been a repository of knowledge since, uh, Napoleon and have discussed plans to cover the pyramids with plastic so the pagan idols will be useless. Presumably destruction will follow. At least the administration wasted three years renouncing their predecessor before coming to the same conclusion, that something should be done and quick. That's why HE'S the President.

Welcome to the world OWS would leave us, tribes scrabbling for survival without history or human progress. Like Nir Rosen and Lara Logan, if you are on the wrong side, you deserve what you get. ["What are your qualifications?" "Rape, murder, arson and rape." "You said rape twice." "I like rape."] All you need to do is mouth some nonsense about social justice and it doesn't matter how well you live, these suckers will let you get away with anything.

Recognizing useful idiots for what they are, here's some of OWS' biggest fans. I am surprised though, Joe Biden? He isn't as deserving as the others on the list, is he?


People can freely disagree about economic problems, or social ones for that matter. But appropriating other people's property to promote a gagglefuck of incoherent nonsense and costing other people time, energy and money just to put up with you, much less clean-up and incarceration, it's not a First Amendment issue of any kind.

This idiotic movement will fall apart once they have to start purging all the 99% who don't go along, which is pretty much everybody now that they're safely ensconced in their parents' basement. My primary concern would be for the professional left, the cadre who evolved once it became more than just a cool hang-out.

Once everybody divided into tents, the cadre found it easier to keep accountability and order, but without actual authority - no leaders - they couldn't keep the uncivilized at bay. By the time of the women-only tent and police comments about 'another boy getting raped', anybody with an ounce of sense (and the women too, ba-dump bump) was getting out of there if they hadn't already.

It was actually a decent lesson in the distinction between officers and NCOs, as well as why both are needed. To the extent there was ever going to be any direction in the movement, the cadre were needed to make that happen, and they had to maintain order every day anyway. That would leave them no time for planning the direction, which is the job of officers. Both positions provide experiences that the rank-and-file wouldn't have.

Since money/payment/property/accountability isn't considered, there's no way to set up a chain-of-command (still no leaders) but the mass of occupiers continues to cause problems. Continued, that is, most of them are gone. How are the cadre responding to this? Thing is, if they vote, all of the OWS movement will go with the security of Obama. What else will they do?

If they don't vote or if they primary Obama or vote third party, they guarantee the Republicans win, at least in a can't-afford-to-risk-it sort of way. Even if they all vote for him, he's alienated so many others he couldn't afford to alienate, the leftist base won't make a difference. Even if they're self-destructive, it would make a bigger boom to re-elect Obama and then have him flip out. I'd give a 50-50 chance of his being impeached if he wins, so there's that.

He's just the chance rider though. It could have been Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, John Kerry or Al Gore steering the leftist ship. Or Joe Lieberman, following a two-term Al Gore?

The Rolling Stones are preparing for something in a month or so for their 50th anniversary. The band's surviving members have showed up to rehearsals although I gather Mick hasn't done much. He's trying yet another solo project called SuperHeavy. Three other singers, one's a chick in her early 20s and another's the grandson of Bob Marley. Yeah, this is a serious project. But I am glad to know the Stones are still on the job for this last hurrah.

I'd love to see them play, play, play and record everything. Engineers can work to do mixes on-the-fly and if they play the same song over, listen to the mixes on a break. This way they can hit every cover, every deep cut, everything. Maybe I'm just projecting. Moving on.

Van Halen has announced the new single should be out in a few days. Some time ago, I noted that they reached their apex with DLR during Reagan's re-election, broke up with Sam during Clinton's re-election and reunited with him during GWB's re-election. An omen?

Eddie Van Halen is still somewhat of a functioning human being. Here's a video for a song he recorded for a porno soundtrack. Don't worry, it's safe for work, directed by the movie's director. For all the bad things I can say about him, it's a pretty awesome piece of music.

Aerosmith is vaguely working. Slash's new album should be out before too long. His live album is full of great versions of old songs, changed from formulaic studio versions. "Rocket Queen", "Civil War", "Mr. Brownstone", this is rock for a new generation.

I'm bored now. But at least I've posted at some point in 2012.