Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Night of the Jackal

Come gather 'round people and I'll spin ye a yarn
about a time and a place where ducks came to harm

On the planet of Gw'alp, in the Year of the Gyser
The gravity ducks were faster and wiser

But there came around a shadowy prescence
who would hunt these great birds and feed on their essence

Yes, he was quite sly, and dem birds was frightened
To the great Oyster Parties, no one would invite 'em

(now, those ducks moral was in need of a booster
so one of them got dressed up like a rooster)

By the light of twelve moons, the shadow would prowl
And indulge his lust for murder most fowl

When the postman arrived and saw the debacle
He instantly recognized the work of The Jackle

Set upon by the foe, he faced Kingdom Come
But not before producing a card from his mom

"Your mother, it seems, deplores your behaviour..."
(so the prophecies told of a mighty duck saviour)

At which the Jackle turned white with terror
"A letter from mom--there must be some error!"

But there was no mistake for that naughty feller
At the end of the day, that ninja was yeller

He was never seen again in those there parts
And them birds 'r now free to pursue their strange arts.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A Tale of Two Grandmasters


From here to Timbuktu and back--searching the thrift shops, digging through piles of scrap, picking through Barry Mainlowe compilations and various other crap, looking for gems, like early eighties rap.

This here's the record that started it all for me. Back in '84 or '83. In the schoolyard, young Harold McGee gave a copy of the cassette to me. When Melle Mel broke up the Furious Five, taking Cowboy and Scorpio to do their own jive, leaving Flash and the others barely alive, with Vicious Lee on the cuts they tried to survive. They hired Kama Kaze and some other guys like Tommy Gun and King Lou to make their own Furious Five. But it got kind of confusing and led to debate: if you put the two groups together you got the Furious Eight!


Their record didn't to great, but they had one hit with "White Lines" their famous anti-drug bit. Struggling to make their new group legit they went out on tour but eventually quit. Without Grandmaster Flash, the group couldn't make it. Despite Melle Mel's lyrics, it was impossible to fake it. So they just made one record, and the best track for me is Melle Mel's earth-shattering "World War III".

At the end of the day, Melle Mel got what he wanted: the title "Grandmaster" so that he could flaunt it. But the two grandmasters, Flash and Melle Mel, kept on squabbling 'til their act went to hell. They put out a new disk, but couldn't remain. The group got back together just to break up again! Such is the nature of spurious genius: it takes you to Mars, takes you to Venus, then leaves you stranded in a desolate spot. But at the end of the day, their records still rock!


Click for ye olde Melle Mel Podcast!

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Introducing: DJ Thing


Yo! I got like the deffest DJ in the known like multiverse! But he like creeps out a lot of peeps out y'know? Cuz he like got no body, dig? Not like nobody--cuz he got fans from here to Kazakstan dawg, but no body cuz like he's lacking in corporeal substitance, dig? Let me break it down for you dawg: my DJ he like a hand--and that's it! Howz he hover over the turntables like that? I dunno. But he, like, cuts the beats in half the halftime y'all. He's the fastest cut-creator on the cross fader and when he attacks the wax he be goin' off like smoke stacks. Yeah, I'm talking bout DJ Thing on the wheels of steel, rocking the real deal with no cards to conceal cuz he ain't got no sleeves to hide no bling--shaawing!

So pump the base and rock the place, cause DJ Thing be 'goin' off like he's from outer space. But he ain't, cuz we picked him up in L.A. --'nother out of work TV actor, dig? Yo dawg, it ain't easy--like a jungle out there, makes me wonder how I keep from going under....but you heard that, so it's a big peace out to blogland. Keep the party goin' on, know what I'm sayin?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Friday, October 06, 2006

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Stuck in the 80s

Chapter One

The Strange Birth of Skatemouse


Antennae. Two of them. Poking out from the crest of his baseball cap. He had felt a strange tingling, and then pressure at the top of his head, and his reflection in the bathroom window now confirmed the latest in a series of bizarre mutations that had turned Nubs Ruban, junior copy editor at the Shreddtown Daily Monitor into Skatemouse, the Toxic Surf Rodent.

Just in time, too. For a strange build-up of waveform nano-toxins in the atmosphere (generated by the heavy over-rotation of WHAM videos on MTV and Much Music) had frozen time, as it were, in the summer of 1986, threatening to stall western culture indefinitely in an age that had yet to know the release of Metallica's groundbreaking Master of Puppets album, and plunging the entire planet into a dark age the likes of which had not been seen since the disco era.

Left-leaning pundits blamed the Regan administration and it's reluctance to sign the Pop Music Proliferation Reduction Treaty that would help limit exposure of the population to damaging micro-vibrations from glittering top-forty music icons like Boy George and Falco. But Skatemouse suspected a deeper conspiracy, and his newly formed antenna only reinforced the sense of unease.

What or who could be behind this nefarious plot to keep the world stuck in the year 1986? Over the past months and weeks, as tiny grey hairs gradually started to cover his entire body, as his once attractive ears grew to monstrous proportions on his head, as his incisors lengthened and his nose and mouth, day by day, elongated into a cute little snout, and as a long, flexible tail sprouted from his backside, Nubs Ruban had had to reconsider his position in the universe, his very reason for being, and his future career prospects.

He couldn't phone in sick to his job at the Monitor indefinitely, and he had serious doubts as to how he would be received by his coworkers and boss if he tried to return to his desk in the editing department. Afraid, even, to go out onto the streets, he had been living off of pizza delivery for weeks and now had a strong hankering for a variety of cheese other than mozzarella.

Nubs had had to wrestle with the common emotional stages laid out by P.D. Bunting in his best-selling self-help book, "He's OK, I'm a Mutant", and after passing through denial, anger procrastination, anger, confusion, dizzying euphoria, heart-crushing depression and weird impulses to burrow beneath the chesterfield, Nubs had come to settle upon something like acceptance of his new place in creation.

"Maybe I mutated into a super-powered rodent-humanoid for a reason," he reasoned. And then, when the time freeze started to make its effects felt, and people started wondering if re-runs of A-Team and Blue Thunder were as good as night-time television was going to get, and the world of high-fashion ground to a shattering halt with pouty models stuck in neon T-shirts and acid-wash jean skirts, and when the movie going public threatened to riot when Crocodile Dundee and Top Gun headlined at the cinemas for the fourth week straight, Nubs decided that the time had come to act.

Rummaging through his storage closet, he was delighted to find an almost forgotten friend from his youth...his old skateboard! The dayglo graphics had been all but worn off from countless curbslides and grinds executed on the ledge behind the Photomart. Ahh, skateboarding. He had nearly forgotten the joy, the freedom of surfing the concrete tides of the city, locked as he had been for the past few years in the daily grind of working, sleeping and what passes for entertainment for the thirty-something urban male.

A contender for the Shreddtown Open Skate Cup in '84, Nubs had had to give up skating when he blew his knee out attempting the handrail in front of his old high school. Nubs had walked with a limp ever since. But somehow, his mutant transformation into a mouse/humanoid had repaired and strengthened his muscles and joints, and he now felt more capable than ever of busting out the old moves.

Yes, the time had come to act. Nubs would get to the bottom of the entertainment industry's strange stall; the Earth continued to spin while culture had ground to a horrible halt! But it was not Nubs Ruban who would plumb the mystery. His newly mutated form required a new name. And so, musing over the possibilities, Nubs grabbed his slightly de-laminated 'board, tucked his ears and antennae into his ball cap, laced up his Converse All-Stars and headed for the door.

"What about 'Manmouse'?" Nubs thought to himself. "Naw, too obvious. 'Grey Guardian'? Sounds like a drug store. 'Shredder'? Hmmm...."

Just then, in the hallway outside of his second floor flat, Nubs stopped fearfully in his tracks. In his enthusiasm for his newly found mission, he had temporarily forgotten the main reason for his being holed up in his room for the past weeks.

There, before him, blocking his route of egress down the stairs to the front hall and out the door to the street, hackles up and claws and fangs bared, stood Buttons, the landlady's cranky Siamese cat. Nub's grip tightened around the front truck of his skateboard as he considered his options. He had always hated that cat, but now something deep within his hybrid mouse/human heart recoiled at the very sight of the creature. All the same, he'd be darned if he was going to scurry back to his room. There was only one way out, so Nubs braced himself for battle as the Buttons lunged towards his kneecaps.

"So," Nubs declared even as the cat flew through the air towards him, "you want a piece of me? Then you want a piece of...



Monday, October 02, 2006

One Day, In Deep Space...


"This new planet we've found is surprisingly Earth-like," said Zipp Stirgutt over his biosuit comlink. "Similar flora, fauna...the only major difference being the planet's upper crust and surface formations appear to be fashioned entirely out of a substance resembling the latertime Earth foodstuff known as "Fruit Loops".

"Copy that." Lieutenant Skip Lambsocks, second in command to the deep space re-con vessel Earhorn IV (and childhood friend of Captain Stirgutt) ran some preliminary tests on his port-a-pack and smiled with satisfaction. "Looks like we've hit pay-dirt, Captain. The carbohydrates and nutrients present in this low hillock alone could supply part of a balanced breakfast for starving millions back on Earth."


"You've got that right, partner." Captain Stirgutt thrust the flagpole he was carrying deep into the topsoil, where it made a loud crunching noise and set a-twirl a small cloud of multicolored dust.

"I hear-by claim this planet in the name of the United Fakiegrind Federations of Earth, long may we Blog!"

Both men took a moment to ratify the declaration by placing their right hand over their left shoulder and reciting the Oath of Oldness. It had been a long, difficult journey through the maddeningly vast reaches of deep outer space, but after inspecting countless lifeless husk planetoids and hostile gassy giants, their quest for a viable food supply for their overpopulated homeworld had finally bore fruit.

Neither Captain Stirgutt nor his lieutenant had tasted non-synthetic food since before the Great Hydrogenation, and their mouths were watering at the prospect of a bowl of colourful, fruit-flavoured Os bobbing like tiny rafts of flavour in a lake of de-condensed Zilfffomain monkey milk. It was all the men could do to keep themselves from ripping off the helmets of their protective biogear and attacking the nearest boulder with or without the state-of-the-art laser sampling spoons they kept in their away kits. But the two interstellar explorers were highly trained for just these situations, and kept their animal instincts in check, despite the hunger gnawing at their stomachs.

"Let's get some samples and head back to the ship."

The two worked swiftly, cutting portions from the coral-like rock and sealing them in airtight containers for the long trip back to Earth.

"One thing still bothers me," remarked Lambsocks to Stirgutt while the two of them worked.

"What's that?"

"Those formations we saw on our descent, they sure looked like high-rise podform condominiums interspersed with recreational entertainment mega-plexes and tubular transportation conduits to me."

"Nonsense," stated Stirgutt, "our sensors picked up no sentient lifeforms...only chickens, ducks and vast continents of this Fruit Loop-like coral."

"All the same, those completely random and natural formations resembling entire alien cities with no signs of sentient life gave me the creeps a little bit."

"Me too, Skip. All the more reason to collect these samples and high-tail it back to Earth. If we can catch the Zebulon Solar Windflange we might make it back before the turn of the next millennium."

"I sure hope they kept my seat warm at opening of the Pan-continental Skateboard Harvest."

Both men had a good laugh at the conundrums of Quantum String Replacement Theory, which allows one to travel sideways through time while simultaneous folding space into a ten-dimensional approximation of a head of lettuce. They had joined the Deep Space Re-con Brigade in an attempt to flee the ruins of their respective failed marriages to off-Earth life-forms of dubious gender (through an outlandish coincidence, the "wives" of both men actually turned out to be spatially dislocated appendages of a single pan-dimensional spongiform gel that managed to imitate sentient-seeming behaviour through a complex series of ontological undulations. During the cold, interstellar nights, both Zipp and Skip had shared many a laugh over that little misadventure).

The two explorers had been dismayed to discover, half way through their thousand-year mission (while flipping through the voluminous Deep Space Explorer's Manual) that they were required to file income tax forms for each Earth-year of their absence. Two centuries back, Zipp had got a head start on his, while Skip continued to procrastinate, and now faced a hefty fine for late filing--unless they could make a Sheltonian Phase Shift in the Urb Nebula and reset the clocks of their vessel to a date before their departure.


At any rate, the two adventurers had become so engrossed in their work and their musings (after a thousand years they could practically read one another's thoughts), that they failed to notice a shimmering in the air as a vaguely humanoid figure started to materialize out of one of the near-by garishly coloured rock formations.


The explorers, it would seem, were not alone on this strange planet made of breakfast cereal......