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Lou Thesz

Lou Thesz has died.

His legacy somewhat lives on through ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin. I wonder what Lou thought of him.

Littlejohn Vs. Self

This is a brilliant read. (c/o the yes no interlude.)

I wasn’t particularly au fait with Will Self until relatively recently, but I’m glad I’m in the know now. Anyone who can fit in seamlessly with Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer is alright by me. Littlejohn, on the other hand, well I remember him from his crappy talk shows on Sky back in the early 90’s. ‘Loudmouth’ is the only word I can use to describe my opinion of him.

Searching

While searching for some information on Gilbert Ryle’s behaviourism for my exam notes, I discovered this, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s amazing where search engines can take you. Something for me to check out when I’m free.

Speaking of search engines, of late I have found xrefer to be particularly useful. I had heard of it before but never really bothered looking, but it is quite a powerful tool for the academically-minded.

The folly of fatalism

I’ve got a bone to pick with Oliver Willis.

Oh sure, you might say it’s nitpicking, but he’s wrong and I’m calling him on it. Resigning oneself to the idea that science marches on whatever the consequences is almost analogous to saying history is predetermined and there’s jack-shit we can do about it.

Photo Essays of Toronto

Here‘s a cool site with photo essays of Toronto.

I’ve been to some of these places. Others I wanted to but just didn’t have time. But I’ll be back there again some day. Toronto’s a great city.

Blessed are the nerds

Reading this made me think rather than chuckle.

You know, in many ways, the nerds of this world are the most genuine people you could ever know.

Amelie

I rented Amelie on DVD yesterday and watched it last night.

Everyone I knew who’d already seen it said it was great, but I wasn’t sure. I thought Jeunet made a dog’s dinner out of Alien: Resurrection, and I’ve tried watching Delicatessen a couple of times but just couldn’t stick with it.

However, Amelie is a dream to behold. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a movie that genuinely warmed my heart, rather than grabbing greedily at my heartstrings and manipulating them like Thurston Moore would a guitar.

To cut a long story short, I highly recommend it.

Friday Five #14

I don’t know why I do this – it’s not very punk of me to conform in such a manner, is it? – but on the other hand, it wouldn’t be very punk of me to stop just because some people might think it’s not punk of me.

http://fridayfive.org/

1. What are your hobbies?

Hmm…. now that I think about it, I don’t really do anything – besides keeping this weblog – that I would consider a hobby as such. I love pro wrestling, but is that a hobby? I don’t have a model railway or paint Citadel miniatures or take photos obsessively…. hey, maybe I should break out my camera more often….

2. Do you collect anything? If so, what?

I have a nice collection of SST Superstore catalogues. I used to collect stamps when I was younger but then I got bored with it as it’s actually quite expensive to maintain a valuable collection.

3. Is there a hobby you’re interested in, but just don’t have the time/money to do?

<sarcasm>Oh yes, due to my current financial situation I am unable to indulge my passion for classic sports cars.</sarcasm>

4. Have you ever turned a hobby into a moneymaking opportunity?

Not yet I haven’t. I plan to though. If you could call my love of pro wrestling a hobby, then I might do this summer. Just wait and see.

5. Besides web-related stuff (burbs, rings, etc.), what clubs do you belong to?

I am a member of the Film Institute of Ireland‘s cinema club, which means I get to see uncertified art house movies at the IFC every now and again, without having to go through a whole rigmarole of on-the-spot membership that they have there to stop them getting into trouble with the law.

Synth-Pop

I dunno whether there’s something funny in the air, but there seems to be a whole rash of 80’s synth-pop compilations coming out at the moment.

And I want one.

Specifically one that has, and I’m completely serious about this, To Cut A Long Story Short by Spandau Ballet, Wishing by A Flock Of Seagulls, something by Kraftwerk, and those two Gary Numan tracks – you know, the only ones anyone can remember.

This one almost fits the bill (no Cars, unfortunately), but is it worth spending all that money for only a handful of songs?

Pong

Don’t go here if you have an addictive personality.

Uncalled For

It’s primitive enough that the Israeli army seems to operate a ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ policy, but stuff like this is absolutely uncalled for.

If the Messiah came down to Jerusalem tomorrow, I’m sure he’d bow his head in shame.

(Thanks for another link, Mat.)

General Election

The date for the elections has been made official – May 17th, which also happens to be the last day of my exams. Thankfully the polls are open ’til 10:30pm, since I won’t have any time to decide who I’m voting for ’til 4:30pm that afternoon, when they call pens-down on my last paper.

Hmm, that gives me all of six hours!

Chalk and Cheese

Kool Bobby left a note (unfortunately no longer archived) on my last post which, for me, answers some questions and basically sums up the distinct cultural differences between Europe and North America.

Personally, I find it sad that someone can live for years in supposedly the greatest country in the world and only ever travel by train once. They call America ‘the land of the free’, but it seems this definition of ‘free’ is more than a little restrictive.

Surely railways exist because people don’t feel like driving, or simply can’t drive? I mean, who the hell really wants to drive alone across a continent? Sure cars can be good, but even Kerouac got the bus sometimes. Well that would be the European perspective anyway. I mean, continental Europe has a successful automotive industry, yet also has some of the world’s best railways. Hell, the people who make the cars also make the trains! (Fiat, at least in Italy, has a hand in both.) And you don’t even have to stick with Europe for examples: Japan has an enormous automotive industry, and yet also boasts an impressive (albeit expensive) rail network.

Then again, most European public transport systems are subsidised by government. In return for high taxes, you (should) get efficient public services. You get what you pay for.

Why can’t this be the case in the United States?…. Do I even need to ask? You Yanks have way to many industrialists/politicians/whoever with a quasi-Nietzschean obsession with power.

But I do need to ask something – do you Yanks get what you pay for? (And I mean this on a tangible social level, so I won’t accept ‘armed forces’ as a reply.) It seems to me, from my lofty perch, that you pay and you pay and you pay, but because Big Business pays to the right people, they get to call the shots. I wouldn’t call that a democracy, would you?

I dunno what Derrida would say, but I think it’s about time ‘America’ was deconstructed.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel is a Train

Another fatal rail crash in the States, the second in less than a week.

Accidents like this are turning out to be a regular thing for Amtrack over the last few years. It seems the more the service gets scaled back, the more accidents happen. I mean, even India, a comparatively primitive country with a sprawling bowl-o-spaghetti rail network doesn’t have as bad a track record (no pun intended). Isn’t it time some questions were answered?

In a related note, I’m having second thoughts about getting the train from Seattle to Oakland when I eventually do my Pacific coast trip. Greyhound seems much more comfortable.

If I Were Paul Heyman

I know I’m late commenting on the fact that Hulk Hogan is, for the sixth time, WWF Champion. In a perfect world, I would have waited ’til the end of the year before even giving him a title shot, let alone the freaking belt (and I sure as hell wouldn’t have changed him back to the god-awful red and yellow – jeez even back in the 80’s that was gaudy). But I don’t really care that much. It’s only profit-dictated expediency on the part of Vince McMahon. I bet he never had this current plan in mind when he re-signed Hogan all of three months ago. It won’t last long. The wave of nostalgia will wane, Hogan will say his final farewell, and the world will be a slightly better place.

While I’m on the subject, here’s a few things I would suggest If I Were Paul Heyman:

  • Make the nWo bigger, but not too big: Too many members spoiled the nWo broth back in WCW, but right now there aren’t enough, and it’s leaving me hungry. They could do with maybe diversifying the brand. For example, add the Undertaker, Brock Lesnar and myself (if I were Paul Heyman) to the nWo. It’ll work, trust me. And hey, Chris Jericho could finally form that Canadian stable that’s been talked about forever; it could be nWo Canada or something to that effect. Limit it to Jericho, Test, Christian and Lance Storm… and maybe Benoit, if he wanted to turn heel. And look at all the old ECW guys with nothing to do – they could be the nWo Revolution, a gimmick that could also serve as a nice way to introduce new talent from the farm leagues. And it almost goes without saying: have an nWo presence on both Raw and SmackDown! Doing things this way means that there’s as little chaff as possible (no nWo B-team, as it were), whilst maximising the nWo as a real threat to the WWF, storyline-wise.
  • Kurt Angle and Booker T – make them a team: There doesn’t seem to be any direction for either of these guys in singles competition, even though they’re two of the best workers the WWF has. So why not team them up? They’d be much more credible tag team champions in my book than (uugh) Billy and Chuck, whilst the potential for some comedy stylings is just bursting to get out. Just imagine Booker teaching Angle how to do the Spinerooni. I’m tellin’ ya, it can’t fail.
  • Bring in some cruiserweight ringers from Japan: Tajiri is turning heel, so it’s the perfect opportunity for him to bring in some of his equally dastardly countrymen. They could sneak-attack Sho Funaki for being too American or something. Meanwhile, Taka Michinoku swears revenge, and brings in some friends of his own. Yeah, sure, it’s racial stereotyping, but this is just for exposition. The wrestling will speak for itself. It won’t be long before the ‘fans’ wake up and start throwing streamers at them as a mark of respect and admiration.

Layne Staley Dead

Layne Staley is dead (from Muj on the Wattlist).

I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later. The man was a heroin addict after all. But it’s still sad.

Cut Your Heart Off…

While I’m on the subject of music, and before I set the video for Touch of Evil and hit the sack, yesterday I got the new Redneck Manifesto album, Cut Your Heart Off From Your Head. It’s okay…. I dunno, it would have benefitted from some more crunchy riffing. They have a great sound when they rock out – the bass is full and punchy, the guitars (as I’ve already noted) are crunchy – but they don’t sound nearly as distinctive when they get all plaintive and rootsy, which they do for six out of the seven tracks on this album. They hold back too much, they always stop too soon, as if they’re jerking off and afraid of being caught or something. They may be the darlings of the underground scene here in Dublin, but I’ve gotta call it like I see it. Less faffing, more rocking, please.

Friday Five Triple Bill

Because I was so preoccupied the last few weekends, I forgot to do the Friday Five, so here’s a special triple-bill for ya, numbers 11, 12 and lucky 13:

1. If you could eat dinner with and “get to know” one famous person (living or dead), who would you choose?

Henry Rollins or the late D. Boon. I think both would be very interesting and stimulating conversationists.

2. Has the death of a famous person ever had an effect on you? Who was it and how did you feel?

Not directly, no, but I do think that the deaths of famous people get totally blown out of proportion (witness all the crap about the Queen Mother popping her clogs).

3. If you could BE a famous person for 24 hours, who would you choose?

I wouldn’t want to ‘be’ anyone else in the sense of my mind replacing another’s in the other’s body, but in the Being John Malkovich perceiving-what-the-other-perceives sense I guess I’d like to get inside the head of Mike Watt. The man lives a crazy, yet totally down to earth life.

4. Do people ever tell you that you look like someone famous? Who?

Ethan says I look like Squarepusher. It depends on the light, I guess.

5. Have you ever met anyone famous?

If you mean by met ‘someone I’ve been in potential interpersonal relations with’, then besides shaking hands with J Mascis, having a headlock put on me by Bill Kazmaier (he didn’t last long as a wrestler, but he teamed with Jushin Liger at Starrcade ’91 a couple of weeks after my encounter with him – one degree of separation between myself and one of the greatest pro wrestlers who’s ever lived), getting a dirty look from Kevin Nash (I’ve got a photo to prove it – in philosophical terms it counts), serving a small popcorn and coke to the singer from Ash (what a shite band, really), and doing the old good-customer-service bit with Gerard Butler and Michael Wincott* (who was really cool, a real class act), I could rattle off a whole list of people. I’ve been kinda lucky in my time so far on this mortal coil.

*I didn’t know who either of these people were at the time, which probably explains why I was able to converse with them without being completely starstruck.

1. What are the first things that you do in the morning to start your day?

I get up. I get dressed. I brush my teeth. Then I leave. I’m not a morning person.

2. What are the last things that you do at night before going to bed?

I watch TV, and fall asleep with the TV on.

3. What daily routine have you recently added to your day?

I make much more of an effort to take my daily vitamin pill.

4. What routine do you wish you get rid of?

Having to get up in the morning.

5. What’s the one thing that makes you feel like something is missing if you don’t do it some point within your day?

Checking my e-mail I guess. I dunno why.

1. What’s your favorite TV show and why?

Teachers – unlike other supposed comedy/drama type series depicting the lives of twenty-somethings that end up just being overly-hyped pretentious and patronising rubbish (This Life is a perfect example, I loathed it), this just works. I left school relatively recently, and I could really imagine some of my old teachers being like that. I must say that even though the show is only on its second series, it’s developed quite a lot, especially with the splash of Pythonesque nonsense – which itself I feel is a reflection of the lack of sense we often find in everyday life, so it’s far from detrimental to the quality of the writing and the acting (particularly the one who plays Susan, she’s gorgeous; ’tis a pity she’s a smoker).

2. Who is your favorite television star?

I don’t have one.

3. What was your favorite TV show as a child?

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. I was distraught when Mattel ruined it all in 1989, deleting the Masters (and effectively the TV show) and replacing the old He-Man with some long-haired hippy, and a new cartoon with horrible cheapy French-style animation. The fools. Now is the time to bring them back. Hell, even Hasbro are bringing back some of their old Transformers this year.

4. What show do you think should have been cancelled by now?

I don’t really care. If I don’t like a show, I just don’t watch it.

5. What new show do you hope escapes the axe this season?

I don’t really think about that much since most of the telly I watch is on the British terrestrial channels, and the business over there isn’t as cutthroat as it is on the other side of the pond.

Autechre Host All Tomorrow’s Parties

Autechre will curate next year’s All Tomorrow’s Parties festival next year.

I am seriously considering going, if I can find three other people interested enough to take a weekend off and go on a jaunt to the south-east of England to spend a weekend at a Pontin’s centre watching obscure bands play. It’s not that expensive really. Including travel and food expenses it’ll cost less than €400 each.

Hyatte Returns

Can it be? Has Hyatte returned?! It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t do weekly mop-ups or not, it’s just great to read anything he writes.

Ken Shamrock is a Fool

Ken Shamrock is a fool.

The money in shootfighting isn’t nearly as good as the money in pro wrestling, at least for the time being. It’ll be a long time before shootfighting and/or MMA reach the mainstream acceptance and money-making potential that, say, boxing enjoys. When Shamrock was in the WWF he was over. If he came back, he’d be super-over. But is he wrestling before thousands of fans across the US? No, he’s still shootfighting for groups in Japan like PRIDE and Pancrase whom nobody really cares about outside the hardcore MMA fanbase. Surely he’s done all he can do in the octagon?

And besides, Randy Couture would lick his arse royally.

Sick of Poseurs

I’m thinking about going to the White Stripes gig at Dublin Castle on the 4th of May. It’s during my exams, but it’s on a Saturday, and it’s a bank holiday weekend to boot. The thing is, though, I don’t wanna see the White Stripes. I wanna see the support bands: the Von Bondies, the Dirtbombs and the Detroit Cobras. I couldn’t give two shits about seeing the White Stripes live to be perfectly honest.

And besides, I can just imagine the crowd of mindless sycophants who’ll be there to see them just because it’s the place to be. (I can also imagine the looks on their faces as I leave well before the Stripes even take to the stage.)

The atmosphere at such shows is pretty bad, there’s very little magic in the air. The last time I saw Yo La Tengo for example, overall I was disappointed (too much new stuff, they seemed to be going through the motions) but they pulled off some pretty neat tricks at the end – a Devo cover, a super-slow version of Little Honda – alas, nobody got it (maybe that’s just the music store clerk in me) and it pretty much fell flat. And I’ve already spoken about the Godspeed show. In contrast, when I saw NoMeansNo, the crowd were predominantly old-school fans, and it really made a difference.

So what’s the moral of this little story? Ban poseurs from potentially good gigs? Heh, in a perfect world, maybe…

On Selling Out

I got the debut Burnt By The Sun album today. Excellent stuff. This is what the kids should be listening to. Then again, if that happened I’d probably say they sucked or weren’t ‘underground’ enough or something. But it won’t happen. Their music is much too sophisticated for today’s youth en masse, raised on a diet of *cough* Linkin Park and *hack* Limp Bizkit *splutter*.

I mean, look what happened to Glassjaw, a fine band lumbered with a major label (yes, Roadrunner is effectively a major label now, and don’t try to deny it) who didn’t know what to do with them. Ever seen a Glassjaw video? Thought not. Ever seen a Nickelback video? They’re all over MTV, last time I checked. Nice to see where Monte Conner’s priorities lay (or is he even still around?).

Unwound Unwind

Unwound have broken up. I am sad.

Why is it that any band I get into either breaks up a few months later, or had broken up a long time before?

It’s a curse, I tells ya.

I am sad, and I was kinda in a good mood since I just got home from seeing 24 Hour Party People (in a 300 seat cinema with four other strangers – ahhh, nothing like a Saturday afternoon at the suburban multiplex).

It’s very good by the way, the movie is. Go see it if you can. It just won’t be the same on video.

Dave Mustaine Forced to Give Up the Guitar

I just discovered this via wingnutkj on the Watt list. It’s quite sad really. How would you feel if your body suddenly prevented you from being able to do what you love? A similar thing happened to Bobby Schayer (sic), the drummer from Bad Religion, last year. Let’s just hope that Mustaine doesn’t do anything stupid.

Death clock

According to this website (c/o Mat), I am going to die on Thursday July 21st, 2067 at 12:48:24pm. But if I make a few changes to my lifestyle, I could live ’til 2080.

I’m happy enough with that.