Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Monkey's Peeing Circus

Little Monkey's Big Peeing Circus
by Veldkamp and De Boer

Yes, it's a real Book.
No I'm not reading it to you at bedtime.

Before you ask, it's not a banana in his pocket.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Forgetting The Jam

Even Flow by Pearl Jam.

Right from the early days of their debut album, Pearl Jam delivered a consistently even flow of misheard lyrics.

Even flow features lyrics written and sung by Eddie Vedder and music written by guitarist Stone Gossard.  It's the guitar playing in particular that you should listen out for.  If you listen closely to the guitar solo you'll hear Gossard begin his...
I forget.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Beard Tax

Peter the Great (1672-1725), Tsar of Russia, was a beard-hater.  He also wanted to Westernise his nation. To do so, among other actions, he required the men of Russia to shave their beards in imitation of the high-born men of Western Europe. Or, alternatively, to pay a beard tax.  On 16 January 1705, men 'of all ranks', were ordered to shave.  Anyone who wished to keep his beard and whiskers had to pay the beard tax based on their social status: 60 roubles for nobles, military officers and chancellery officials, 100 roubles for merchants of the first guild. Peasants and the clergy were exempt from the tax. Travelling beard wearers had to pay a kopeck each time they entered the city gates.
Men who paid this beard tax were given a special permit in the form of a beard token (obtained from the police station) to prove that they were honest, beard tax-paying citizens.  The beard token was a small bronze medallion with a Russian eagle on one side and a beard on the other.  It was inscribed with two phrases: "the beard tax has been taken" and "the beard is a superfluous burden".  The token was often worn on a chain around the neck, underneath the beard it gave permit for.
Peter the (beard hating) Great was not the only beard tax instigator.  Almost two hundred years earlier in 1535, King Henry VIII of England, who himself had a beard, introduced a beard tax. The tax was also graduated, varying with the wearer's social position. His daughter, Elizabeth I, reintroduced the beard tax, taxing every beard of more than two weeks' growth.
You can read more on Beard Taxing by downloading Erik Jensens 2003 article from the journal Tax Notes.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Predator’s Coming Out

 Oddly the story of Predator starts with Silvester Stallone. Following the release of Rocky IV, a joke was making rounds in Hollywood that since Rocky Balboa had run out of earthly opponents, he would have to fight an alien if a fifth instalment. Screenwriters Jim and John Thomas wrote the Predator screenplay based on the joke, originally with Stallone in mind for the part. Originally titled Hunter, it featured one commando facing off against the alien, taking inspiration from both Rocky and Rambo.  It was picked up by 20th Century Fox in 1985, and turned over Joel Silver and Lawrence Gordon to produce.

Silver and Gordon approached Arnold Schwarzenegger for the lead role.  Schwarzenegger liked the combination of action/sci-fi/horror but felt the script would be more believable if it was a team of commandos, so the script was re-written.  Jean-Claude Van Damme was originally cast as the alien, however, on the set Van Damme behaved like a whiny little bitch, constantly complaining that the costume was too clumsy and too hot and he was going to pass out. He also repeatedly winged about not be appearing on camera without the suit. Van Damme was removed from the film and replaced by Kevin Peter Hall.
Regardless of how much you liked the movie or not, it is one revelation that will change your whole perspective on the Predator movie and that it: The Predator movie is a gay coming out movie. The alien in the movie represents the characters latent feelings and getting killed by it is a metaphor for coming out of the closet.  I'm not even going to get into how all the guns are handled and fired from the hip.  The Predator symbolises the spectre of the company of mens suppressed homosexual feelings, which is lurking there unseen, waiting to emerge when they are away from their masculine peers.  Arnies character spends the most time with the only woman in the film and consequently is the only one who doesn't get killed by the alien and metaphorically come out of the closet. Covering himself in mud to mask his body heat and hide from the alien he symbolically conceals his true feelings by conforming to match his environment.
Now try watching it again with that idea stuck in your head.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Zombie Girls Choir

Oh Graveyard You Can't Hold Me Always released by Mississippi Records.

This LP contains the preparation details and chanting for the voodoo ritual by which one may raise ones self up from the dead, performed by a school girl choir.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Chewbacca Gets Dissed

I've got mixed feelings about the recent news of Disney buying Lucas Films and planning a seventh Star Wars Film.  The good news is there will be another Star Wars film, the bad news is the risk that it gets disneyfied.  On the other hand Disney already owns Marvel and they are doing an OK job and not dumbing down that too much. I'm just hoping we don't end up being delivered a movie like Jar Jar Prince of the Galaxy with ewoks flying X-wings or something just as tragic.

Anyway I realised something about the medal ceremony at the end of the original A New Hope.  At the ceremony Luke and Han get awarded medals and Chewbacca is standing there getting nothing.

See even in the free republic wookiees are still classed as pets, just a notch above droids.  At least Darth Vaders plan included freeing all people in slavery.