Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bad Album Art Friday Part Five! The Worst of Bad Album Art!

Freddie's Gage's album "All My Friends Are Dead".

Bummer of a record, Freddie.

Well, at least you just saved a bunch of money on car insurance by switching to Geico!

I believe Mr. Gage's first album was "There's A Growth on My Liver"?

Or maybe it was "Alzheimers Runs in My Family"??

Bad Album Art Friday Part Four! Sister of Bad Album Art!

Liebe Mutter and his epic album "Heino".

East Germany's huge mega-hit from the summer of 1982.

Warm, romantic standards set to cold, harsh Bavarian synthesizer music.

Now, it's time on Sprockets when he dance!

Bad Album Art Part Three! Return of Bad Album Art!!

Jim Post's seminal album "I Love My Life".

Sure the record label scoffed at first when Mr. Post presented the execs with his latest album art concepts, but when album sales soared past 150 in the Spring of 1975, high-fives were exchanged all around.....

Dudes, if you absolutely must have a walrus-esque handlebar mustache please make sure its at least well-groomed.....

Bad Album Art Friday Part Two! Son of Bad Album Art!

Strangely, the members of Orleans had a hard time finding any groupies on their Waking and Dreaming tour.....

Bad Album Art Friday!

John Bult's classic album "Julie's Sixteenth Birthday".

Wrong on so many levels.



Half smoked Marlboro Red?


Lecherous leering gaze?

Double check.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Global Warming on the March: Snow storms in Jerusalem

Book of the Moment: The Ruins by Scott Smith

I love a good pulpy thriller. It's in my DNA.

I am currently reading Scott Smith’s The Ruins after stumbling upon the glowing review by none other than Stephen King on The Ruins Amazon review page.

Smith’s previous novel, his first, was A Simple Plan, a study in tension and duplicity, that was later made into an excellent movie with Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton.

Smith publishes a book every decade so when The Ruins came out I was excited.

The Ruins is the story of six guys and girls in their early twenties who, during a self-indulgent, booze-filled beach vacation in Cancun, decide, for no particularly good reason, to pack up and head off into the jungle for a little adventure.

During their stumble in the jungle, they mistakenly fall into what is quickly and clearly The Wrong Place To Be.

And then it gets increasingly worse from there.

The Ruins is fast-paced, scary, tightly-written, and believe me, horrifying to the extreme.

Anyone who has ever traveled freely and loosely in foreign locales will find elements of this book terrifying and oddly familiar.

It's already been made into a film coming out later in '08 produced by Ben Stiller, of all people. I am looking forward to it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Weird Comic Wendesday Part Trois

This is a truly weird one: Dr. Bobbs.

Follow the exploits of America's favorite blond, ripped physician as he....well according to the panorama displayed on the cover...left top to right....puts the finishing touches on a patient amidst a roaring fire.....makes a most inappropriate visit to the county morgue....drives a gas-guzzling semi-cruiser down a busy, urban thoroughfare....draws some blood (and maybe a little plasma for the cab fare home - like who's going to notice, right) interrupted once again by Nurse McHenry during nighttime hand exercises (when will she ever take a hint!).....throws a cowardly punch at his Dennis, his much-maligned insurance adjuster while promenading along the grounds of the hospital.....discovers a new strain of the Ebola virus while trying on his mother's satin gloves (so silky!)....and lastly, "takes a little off the top" in the pharmacy (this time he swears its his last....)

In the middle Dr. Bobbs vigorously states that he is 100% satisfied with Vonage...but he wouldn't mind an upgrade on his phone.....

Weird Comic Wendesday Part Deux

Here was have the Idiot Three battling what looks like a large, peeved off Turkey.

Man, talking about scraping the bottom of the barrel! What, was the dreaded hamster busy that week?

Tell me...does this particular villain provoke strong narrative pull for the casual reader?

Does it make you want to pull it off the shelf and plop down a hard-earned .15 cents to the joy of seeing three, sub-tier super-heroes battle a large fowl??

What happens at the end? Do they sit down at a nicely appointed table and enjoy a tasty Thanksgiving meal? That would be just desserts....

And by the Great Beard of Zeus is the Green Lantern grinning moronically again??!! And he really needs to visit his tailor and get remeasured....those green slacks are looking a little baggy.....

Weird Comic Wednesday

I admit never to having enjoyed comics as a kid. My tastes were more highbrow....Proust, Vonnegut, the novels of Stephen King....

Comics always looked so cheesy to me. Endlessly cheesy. The pinnacle of cheese.

I know and respect lots of people over the years - bright, creative, amazing people - who enjoy comics, even as adults, and I respect that but, that being said, I thoroughly reserve the right to ridicule them with relish and careless abandon.....but not to their face, behind their backs, because they may be bigger than me and have sharp objects in their hands....

So now as a reoccurring feature on Scandals and Intrigues, every Wednesday, I will publish covers and scenes from really crappy comics with silly commentary at the's the first edition of Weird Comic Wednesday....enjoy!!

Check out this little chestnut from Comic Cavalcade, an imprint from the middle 20th century.

Here we have little Timmy, sleeping restfully in what looks like a tenement apartment's living room (how else can you explain the Christmas tree directly at the foot of Timmy's bed), whilst through an improbably large window, a window the width of a Mack Truck, three jaunty revelers fresh out of Bedlam commit numerous felonies in a creepy attempt to bring a little Christmas cheer.

Look at the Green Lantern's expression in the back right. What's that about?? And isn't Wonder Woman wearing a little too much rouge? Tacky and felonious....

I hate to imagine what the Three Gifts of the Magi could be...

Monday, January 28, 2008

A Picture can Tell A Thousand Words

"Hey, thanks a lot, Ted, for not endorsing me.
I guess Bill and I won't be vacationing in
Chappaquiddick this year."

23 years ago this year.....history was solo at a time.....

Friends, I have unearthed something that will move each and every one of you to new levels of compassion and charity.

In mid 1985, not to be out-done by the whole We Are the World Crew, a gaggle of the world's greatest heavy metal musicians assembled together to create their own charity single.

Sure they didn't have the pop appeal of such luminaries as Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, and Cyndi Lauper....but what they lacked in chart success they made up in hairspray and spandex....

Ladies and gentleman, I present to you, "Hear N Aids" epic song "Stars"!!!!

Have you ever asked yourself, "Just how many searing guitar licks does a good heavy metal charity song make?"

The answer?

Endless amounts....and then some for good measure....

As many as you can stuff in 'cause nothing, and I mean nothing, symbolizes the plight of Africa like rip-roaringly fast metal guitar solos......

Be sure to catch fleeting glimpses of Ted Hugent in the chorus......I guess the Motor City Madman has a soft side after all.....

The lyrics are of special note. They are almost Shakespearean in their lyrical tilt:

"Who cries for the children? I do."

How true that true that it......

Sunday, January 27, 2008

South Carolina Loss Jars Clinton to Ponder Pull Out

(AP) - After a crushing defeat in Saturday’s South Carolina primary, the Democrat who campaigned most vigorously, coming into the state with the strongest organization and the best name recognition, now ponders whether to stay in the race through Super Tuesday.

Associates of former President Bill Clinton privately tell reporters they would not be surprised if he announced, as early as this week, that he’s dropping his White House bid.

“He’s not getting the kind of traction he expected,” said one unnamed Clinton campaign insider. “I guess people just aren’t ready for the kind of change Bill Clinton represents.”

Officially, the campaign still says he’s “in it for the long haul, and in it to win,” but off the record many acknowledge that he lost momentum “shortly after he opened his mouth.”

If the former president does drop out, experts believe the most likely beneficiary would be New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Womb Service

How legit is this????

My wife and I saw this movie last night.

Can't recommend it enough.

Pure cinematic ecstasy.

Hymns for the Secular World

I believe music is a divine gift. We are hard-wired to enjoy it. There are few things so soothing to our spirits as a polyphony of melded voices singing together in unison, harmony, rich and deep, of men and women singing at once.
I have noticed, in the recent past, a proliferation of college a cappella groups

(examples: Here Comes Treble, the Accafellas, etc.).

Evidently, the competitions between various college a cappella groups is fierce and hard-fought.

But that's neither here nor there....

What I really want to talk about is secular hymns. When folks aren't members of churches, they still want to sing, in fact, need to sing, and not having a God to sing to, find other sings to take His place...

...things like despotic, tyrannical's one from North Korea called "Song of General Kim Il Sung":

"Bright traces of blood on the crags of Jangbaek still gleam,
Still the Amnok carries along signs of blood in its stream.
till do those hallowed traces shine resplendently
Over Korea ever flourishing and free.
So dear to all our hearts is our General's glorious name,
Our own beloved Kim Il Sung of undying fame."

Sounds kind of hymn-like, doesn't it?

It's got the universal imagery of some kind of blood atonement, heart-felt lyrics of praise and undying support to a seemingly immortal, even "glorious" super-being....sad, isn't it?

As Bob Dylan once sang, "You're gonna have to serve somebody....well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord...but you're gonna have to serve somebody...."

On a lighter note, back in the late 80's early 90's there was a wave of corporate anthems released...hymn-like, pulsating tunes churned out one after another praising obscure business processes and concepts...

....official corporate songs from such global mega-businesses as Apple Computer, Honeywell, IBM....and maybe the most notorious one of all......the consulting juggernaut, KPMG!!!!!!

Can you imagine the sheer depression and self-loathing that hired-gun songwriters and studio musicians fell into after completing one of these gigs? Once, when they were younger they had dreams of rock stardom...sure, they may have had a little talent, maybe a nice voice or some skills with a guitar....but here they were years later in a finely-appointed studio, singing passionately, over and over again, about KPMG's "global strategy" for a few shekels of silver....shudder.....

Political Cynical

Tis the vote for Presidential candidates.

I used to love politics. Literally, every two years I would buy the Bible of Politics, Michael Barone's The Almanac of American Politics and devour it, memorizing such minutia as who represented Kansas second congressional district, what Jesse Helm's "ACU" rating was in 1992, and what the racial breakdown was of west-central Oregon.

I was Rain Man that way (I also have a photographic memory when it comes to 80's music - ask me who sang "Poison Arrow", and boo-ya, I tell you right back, in the blink of an eye, ABC, on the album The Lexicon of Love, produced by Trevor Horn, Mercury Records, 1982) .

Then, sometime soon after the 1994 congressional elections I lost interest...

The reason why is that I used to actually, naively believe that politics meant something, that if I worked and prayed for Candidate X to win the Pennsylvanian US Senate election that it would make a real difference in the affairs of man. It soon dawned on me that the same problems we had back then are the same problems we have right now, that the major parties of America "play around the edges", but are largely identical: Republi-crats and Demo-cans.

I actually think that 90% of politicians are self-obsessed, emotionally stunted, basket cases, desperate for validation.

Why else would admittedly bright, capable people put themselves through the agonizing ringer of "running for office"? I mean do you really think that there's no place on God's great green Earth that Hillary Clinton would rather be than at Chuck's Pancake Palace out on Highway 19, at 6AM in the morning, "pressing the flesh" with the local slack-jawed yokels?

Or that on any given Saturday morning John Kerry rolls out of bed, dons all purpose "hunting" clothes, grabs his grandfather's old carbine rifle, then hot-foots it out to the woods (followed by cameras and reporters, of courses) to blast geese out of the sky?

Hey, you got to prove your NRA bonifides!

It's all a farce.

And the debates..... they aren't exactly Lincoln-Douglas quality, are they? As soon as a particular word gains ascendancy, the candidates glob onto to it like piranhas on a beef patty.

Candidate 1: For 35 years I have fought for change. Change is all I care about, 24/7, night and day. Change is what this candidacy is about!

Candidate 2: Change, you wouldn't know change if you sneezed change out into a handkerchief. I am the real candidate for change! I weep for change. Every job I have ever had...paper-boy...cashier at the Stop-N-Go, I made change! I was good at making change too. I never dropped a nickel, not once!

Candidate 1: Change? Did I hear you just say change? Ha! I have been nothing but change every single day during my 37 years in the US Senate. I have actually distilled change into a fine powder in which I carry on my persons to sprinkle in my iced tea for added flavor I am so serious about change.

Candidate 3: I am John Edwards.