Archive for July, 2012

The Ring of Fire

Posted in All things music, All things political, Fiction on July 27, 2012 by klogtheblog

ImageDeng felt the two heats: the air all around them and the heat at their backs. He saw the dried shrubbery, imagined that as he watched it was wilting even further , in the new heat, about to burst into flames. This was just his imagination; they were a good day’s march in front of The Wall of Fire. The hot wind they felt now was just a precursor to The Great Hot Wind that preceded the flames.

That first night they had slept and they were awakened

by The Great Hot Wind. After that they marched fast and slept little.

Deng had seen the The Wall of Fire, seen the strang

ers who came to light it. Most of the people in his village resented those strangers, and resented The Wall of Fire. Deng, however, had talked to the strangers, and now understood Global Warming. It explained the droughts

. Things were not going to get better. Deng was young, and not afraid of the future, however challenging.

When they went into the city and watched the TV, th

ey saw the pictures of the great fiery ring from space. Many of the villagers were angry and afraid, but Deng thought it looked beautiful. Yes, the city was now gone, eaten by the flames (Deng assumed someone must have taken the television. Was it somehow hidden by one of the refugees who had joined their numbers?) but man

y of the people would survive and thrive in a new location. Maybe Sudan wasn’t the great country they’d been led to believe.

The Elders had told them they were going to Egypt, and

maybe to France. Deng had read that France was full of racists. He wanted to go to America. His Father said they had racists in America too, and they weren’t letting people in, now that The World was in Exodus.

Deng knew he could find a way. This wasn’t the end. This fire around the world was going to be a new beginning. He could feel it.

–Dan Kilian

Editors note: This was the program for the Set The Equator On Fi

re benefit, The Ks second-to-last show.

Purge 

The Loneliest Blacksmith

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S.T.E.O.F.

Posted in All things political, Comedy on July 20, 2012 by klogtheblog

The Global Warming Controversy fans the flames of debate here in the United States, but it does not fan another flame, the literal flames of action. Sure, Texas and Colorado are on fire, but Washington D.C. is cooling its heels. We’ve got melting ice-caps, but no caps on carbon dioxide. “It’s getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes. I am getting so hot that I’m going to take my clothes off.” Heat is an easy answer for Nelly, but it’s not going to be so easy for us, unless we hold the world’s cold feet to the fire.

For, whether caused by human activity, sunspots or volcanoes, the Earth IS getting hotter. Despite that fact, nothing is being done to anticipate the weather patterns, lost islands/shorelines, food shortages and mass migrations to come. The only thing that can force our world leaders to action is either the United States taking a focused leading role in a global confrontation of the problem, or a global crisis, and since the first thing isn’t going to happen, we propose a crisis: Our goal is to set the equator on fire.

Set The Equator On Fire (S.T.E.O.F.) is an organization raising money dedicated to that very goal: A ring of fire burning everything flammable in its terrestrial path, circumferencing the globe. Hopefully we can afford to build flame barges to carry the fire into the oceans, but the important thing is that the equator burn. We must do this in as humane a way as possible, but with a permanent flame which sends the message: Let the Exodus begin. Once the peoples of the World’s hottest regions flee polewards, civilization will be flooded with the news that it is time to act. If that doesn’t do it, seeing a planet-sized ring of fire creeping up and down the Earth’s hemispheres ought to do the trick. S.T.E.O.F. is an outgrowth of S.T.I. (Sink The Islands) an organization which was dissolved when it was determined that Islands, while drown-able and erodible, do not float on the ocean’s surface, and so are not easily sinkable.

Please contribute mightily! There will be a ring of fire around the Earth. How wide it is will be up to you!

-Dan Kilian

Michelangelo On a Camping Trip

Octopus Zombie Island!

Word Worms

Posted in Fiction on July 10, 2012 by klogtheblog
A few of the pages were less ravaged by the word-worms. Perhaps the Vivisectionist had swabbed them with his preservative. The contents were a curious jumble of topics:  spherical geometry, mining techniques, a treatise on ancient trade practices. This was mixed with the more arcane:  a clearly flawed study of the summoning and control of djinni (the author was working from flawed sources – Jarhakkah the Elder was a major and unfortunate influence), some calculations on the transmutation of matter into deep-spectrum and very unstable energies, and an oddly spiritual text on the history of the fall of Pol Celeste.
The latter had apparently been written not more than twenty years after the destruction of the Great Library.  It attributed that cataclysm not to an attack from the Underplanes (the accepted cause, and the justification for the Mage’s Guild having been an active presence at the Celestii court for almost two millennia) but rather to the concentration of thaumaturgically potent entities that had been gathered there.  The author – whose name had long ago been gnawed free from the vellum – argued that putting so much power in such close proximity had broken down the “viderstant sakklia,” whatever that was, thereby leading to the inevitable destruction of the rapacious Curator Cult, etc., etc.  Thankfully the preservative had run out – perhaps the balance of the revisionist tract had proven to be of greater merit as nutrition than academic work.
The various fragments were written in a variety of languages and scripts, but the marginalia (drafted in black Nargull lead – an expensive choice) were all by the same meticulous hand.  No doubt these were the thoughts of the Vivisectionist himself.  His mind must have been as tortured as his victims’ bodies, reduced to lunacy by some unknowable torment.  What would be the point of transmuting that much tonnage of rock and ice into ultravermilion thark-particles?  What could be the possible utility of being able to correct for surveying errors across heptafathoms of distance on a planet half the size of any of the known Holdings?  And why was he so interested in the ship’s manifest of a vessel that had sunk thousands of years ago?
This reverie was interrupted by a high-pitched keening sound.  Across the ruins of the Vivisectionist’s chambers, Tharon held his hands to his ears.  Blood flowed freely from his nose and ears, and his eyes rolled back into his head.  Even standing across the room, Kutz could sense the waves of psionic energy shedding from the geas in layers of imperative force.  If Kutz was feeling this much of it, there could be no choice for Tharon.  There would not even be awareness that there could be a choice.
The sound stopped, the resulting silence ringing through the tower.  Tharon breathed in and out, twice, then looked at each of them in turn.  He said, “We must help the Sisters of Callax.  Their temple is under attack.”
–Steve Kilian

Torching Bleakwood

Tiger Meat

Matt, Dan and R. discuss Billy Corgan and Danger

Posted in All things music, All things political, Critique on July 9, 2012 by klogtheblog
Hey, 
 
Did you hear this on NPR yesterday?  
 
I loved Billy Corgan’s take on the modern state of rock n roll. 
 
“When you deal with rock and roll,  you know,  it sort of played itself out,  you know? You can’t play any faster. You can’t play any louder. You can’t be any crazier than Iggy Pop or Jim Morrison or,  you know,  Kurt Cobain. You pick your guy or your girl,  right?, So what ends up happening is it gets kind of staid and safe,  even though it appears to continue to be dangerous and everybody looks dangerous – nobody’s really dangerous,  and they know that.
So when you actually push a button in rock and roll,  even if it’s your own,  you’re actually accomplishing something pretty incredible because that’s really all there is left to do is find those spaces that haven’t been trod over.”
 
I’m not sure if he captures those spaces, but what he said rings true for me about the emperor’s new clothes.   That little dab of extreme truth caught me off guard.  Not used to it. 
 
I think I probably like him more than his music.
*
He’s one of those guys whom I mock, but then I would totally listen to a few songs, especially Cherub Rock, Today, and that 1979 song, so who am I to mock him? That’s more than The Grassroots get, or Steeler’s Wheel and I’d be totally jazzed to meet one of those guys.
 
Sounds like an intelligent if possibly grandiose guy. The thing about rock being dangerous, well, we’ve known that since punk broke. But there’s still the world of art and music having a subversive cause and a home for the sensitive and dysfunctional. I do think it’s more like the heyday of the jazz-age, when songwriters were just toilers not champions. The key is getting some cool songs out of the deal.

Rock and roll can be dangerous (just ask Euronymous, or get your nose broke in the pit at a Trash Talk show).

But it’s true… danger is just set on repeat. But just because it has been done before, does not mean it won’t be done (and be dangerous) again.

There will always be someone summoning Satan and/or stabbing his bandmates death, someone screaming and flinging his feces (or HER feces!), some band being jailed for political reasons (Pussy Riot), it just will never be–and it never was–a whiny boy named Billy.

Billy tried so hard to be dangerous, too… what with his “zero” gothica reinvention… he’s a twat. He’s saying it’s played out because he is making pre-emptive strike against the reviews of his new record.

You want danger, Billy? Move to Syria.

Of course a question is, what’s the point of being dangerous? There’s the artistic sense of breaking free of norms, not being like your parents or stifling community which is liberating, but there’s also the greater dangerousness, which on some subconscious or conscious level seeks to overthrow large chunks of society. 50s rock had a larger lever of reaction to racism, the 60s to the war (STILL a bigger, nastier war than anything like what we’ve got today) as the 70s wore on, the social rebellion road on the coat-tails of the political rebellions of the past for authenticity, while replacing self-destruction and un-earned majesty for any real non-conformity. Synths and suits rebeled against guitars, but then they all got subsumed by capitalism.
 
What could be dangerous today? I think it’s important that you not be dangerous for dangerousness’s sake, otherwise it’s something ultimately stupid, like satanism, which is just a monster mask, or actually evil, like racism.
 
I think with the internet there’s a chance to create a DIY arsthetic that didn’t just look like ripped up clothing. Corporate rejection could be dangerous.

Madonna used to be dangerous. Y’know what happens to dangerous people? Sometimes, they survive long enough to be boring.

All this said, someone hit me in the head with something really hard when I went to see the smashing pumpkins in 1991 at the Moon in New Haven. I was jumping up and down (pogo-ing, I guess you could say) and someone didn’t like it and hit me. Didn’t feel like a fist… felt like a bottle. I turned around, but no one would own it. Dangerous, indeed.

Bowie took on anti-gay prejudice and Madonna took on sexual hypocrisy. For a while there, it was cool to be bi, but I think AIDS set things back. Bowie stuck around long enough to become “straight.” Madonna’s ownership of her sexuality led to a generation of whores/teases. Now music sucks, but you can masturbate to it. Of course, I like how sexy everything’s become, but it’s empty, and it gives the jocks more power. Ultimately it’s geeks vs. jocks, and the jocks are winning. Someone said The Red Hot Chili Peppers meant jocks were getting into Rock. We’re they the first beefsteak rockers? One could envision either a religious, button up movement or an apocalyptic loose sex movement, but either would suck, and danger for danger’s sake is too dangerous, just like dysfunction for dysfunctions sake gives you Syd Vicious or G.G. Allen. Just looked up G. G….nephew of Woody Allen!

Matt, 

 
That was you at the show?  I knew I was right to deck ya. 
 
Danger as a concept is a little confusing. Social, sexual, political?  If I was backstage at a Black Sabbath show when I was 12, I’d think those guys were way dangerous. 
 
Pete Seger was dangerous. Dylan was dangerous. Elvis, Hendrix, Zeppelin. Springsteen,  Madonna, U2 in Sarajevo. Janes Addiction during the LA riots.
 
It’s that sense that something is getting pushed a little too far.  That this might not end well. For real.  Or that I’m personally not on my comfy sofa anymore. 
 
But I don’t fault them for getting old.  It’s not the person, it’s their message and every era has it’s relevant messages. 
 
I was just assuming — and seriously hoping — that the mantle would be taken by a new generation of post GenX kids who had their own reason to flip off the system, have angst and blow something up.  And they didn’t.  At least not in the form of an arena-sized band (though this may be a good thing. Are revolutions televised?)  A generation of Pitchfork snark battles? How utterly unpowerful. 
 
***
 
“Younger adults are faring worse in the private sector and, in large part because they have less political power, have a less generous safety net beneath them. Older Americans vote at higher rates and are better organized. There is no American Association of Non-Retired Persons. “Pell grants,” notes the political scientist Kay Lehman Schlozman, “have never been called the third rail of American politics.”
They are numb. They are living with their parents.  They are neutered.  Power isn’t asked for.  It’s taken. 
***
The other day, on impulse, I wanted to hear What’s My Age Again.  What a serious 4-on-the-floor beat.  F-you guitars.  A great punk/pop confection.  2 minutes of fun.    I grabbed it off YouTube and went for a drive. 
We started making out and she took off my pants
But then I turned on the TV
And that’s about the time she walked away from me
Nobody likes you when you’re 23
I never really listened before.  I had no idea how fantastically stupid this band was.  These are sick sad puppies.  Talk about whiny.  He’s about to score with his girl and he suddenly turns on the television?  What a colossal jerk.  I just started harshing on anything remotely related to them.  (Though it’s still a great song.)
 
I suppose I got what I deserved, but geez… these bands literally *line up* to get merchandised, jingled, sold out, co-opted, etc.  
 
On the bright side, I saw Bruce Springsteen’s keynote at SXSW this year.   He’s old, but it felt just a little dangerous.  We didn’t know what he was going to say. He was funny, but edgy and he came with something to say.   It’s nice to see an old loose cannon still going off.  
 

I think it all depends how we define “danger.” A 12 year old at a Black Sabbath show is scared, but there’s no real danger.

I think danger might simply be a collective, emotional state of mind that precedes change. Because we naturally fear change. So look at the rockers that helped bring about change, and maybe that’s where you see “danger.” Elvis and Dylan might be the only “dangerous” rockers (what’s that hippie quote…? “…Elvis freed our bodies, Dylan/Beatles freed our minds…”).

Billy Corgan is dumb (and revealing his repressed urges) when he singles out Iggy/Jim. When you get down to it, they were merely exhibitionists. RHCP were/are the same, except stupider and “fon-kee.” Blink-182 are dangerous in that their crappiness and ability to sell records is a harbinger to a fascist state. No shit.

Matt Casper
Dan Kilian
R.

Fealtish: The K Word

The Rong