Friday, April 29, 2005

Vache Sacrée!

Here for the LSC article? It's the very next post. Go have a look, and then come back up here when you're done. We'll have a towel and a drink ready for you.

Well, this dustup over Les Sans Culottes has become quite the petit scirocco. It seems people have posted my little account to a few other websites, which is, frankly, annoying. Links exist in part to prevent such dunderheaded redunderheaded redundancy. In any case, those copied versions of my piece are causing much of the dust. On the happy-linking front, the blogger at La Vie en Prose posted a link that's been fairly active. Thank you.

In any case, The Jar himself called to protest and present his side of the story. He has a couple of points worth considering, but none of them suffice to justify the actions described in yesterday's entry (see below). H2 wrote to express her indignation that I am "fraternizing with the enemy." Hey, hey, hey. Calmez-vous, chers lecteurs. We're all friends here.

In the course of our conversation, I invited The Jar to post a rebuttal, but he declined. I did remove the link to the whois lookup page that shows his contact info, but that's just because I'm such a darned decent fellow. For the sake of completeness and symmetry, I am slightly tempted to write about our conversation, but even completeness and symmetry are powerless in the face of lethargy and residual suspicion. My offer of real estate was quite enough, thank you, and it stands.

The important thing, as far as I'm concerned, is that the situation has been laid bare for fans and club bookers to see, and subterfuge no longer cloaks anyone's machinations. And if someone were to disagree with me, they'd have only to comment, using the field offered below. In this situation, discretion is not the better part of valor.

Context note: À propos French rock bands, I am at this moment by sheer happenstance listening to bona fide French popsters Air.

Copy note: And yes, the persnickety copy editor in me has vanquished the casual blogger guy in me such that now, some of you may note, I am committed to proper HTML coding for all French diacritic marks.

Okay, I lied about the towel and the drink. Maybe when the United States of MicroGooHoo release Internet 5.0, transmission of such personal care essentials will be possible via a dialup connection. Hold that thought. For now, doesn't all this scheming and sleazing in the demi-monde du Roque just make you want to take a shower?


Thursday, April 28, 2005

Battle of the Band

LordZim the blog has been many things to a few people: harangue, humoresque, travelogue, photo derby, "Mild Kingdom," and generally perplexing. That is all fine, but today, Lord Zim the fictional character who writes LordZim the blog has something uncharacteristically serious on his mind. And it concerns Clermont Ferrand, the fictional character who writes this blog's real CD reviews feature.

NB 1: This is not a news story. I have not interviewed anybody for this account, which is based on my friend's side of the story. Nor do I in any way speak for any of the principals described in this story.

NB 2:
I became friends with Ferrand, or "Bill," as I know him, back in college, when he dated a good friend of mine. I'd lost touch with him for many years and might still be oblivious to his musical exploits had he not phoned unexpectedly a year ago to say he'd be in LA soon with his band and did I want to get together? Strangely, he called the morning of the day my dog died. I registered his timing as a stroke of kismet.

NB 3: I'm too lazy to figure out French accent characters in HTML. Sorry.

And now, back to our show, which will soon enough resemble an episode of "People's Court."

Birth of the Fake

"Clermont Ferrand" is the inventor and lead singer of les Sans Culottes, which he calls a "fake French rock band." He likes to say they're "fake" because none of the members are French and the band is based not in Paris or Marseilles, but in Brooklyn. Ferrand, who takes his nom de roq from the capital of France's Auvergne region, claims he doesn't even speak French, though his lyrics belie that modesty.

He started Les Sans Culottes more than seven years ago. While visiting friends in France, his contempt for the country's rock music tradition (Johnny Hallyday, anyone?) prompted his hosts to force-feed him an aural diet of Serge Gainsbourg, Jacques Dutronc, and ye-ye groups. The mild epiphany provoked by that exposure led him to create an homage to the forgotten sounds of French '60s pop. Into the soigne sonic frappe he threw the garage-rock influences of American '60s acts like the Seeds, the Rivieras, and Nancy Sinatra, whose "These Boots Are Made For Walking" is a standard at live shows.

As the controlling intellect behind the band, Ferrand, who plays no instruments beyond his own lacklustre pipes, assembled a sizeable detachment of players and singers to realize his vision. In addition to the de rigueur bass, drums, and guitar, he found a keyboardist and two female singers to round out that fake French '60s sound. The other members have names like Cal D'Hommage, KitKat LeNoir, and Professeur Harry Covert (haricots verts, get it?) Sadly, the best names -- Celine Dijon and Jean-Luc Retard -- went to people who have since left the band.

When they play live, Ferrand sings during most of the show but falls silent behind his huge shades during a few numbers, generously content to let the ladies solo or duet as he taps his toes. Yet when NPR did a story on the band a few months ago, it was Ferrand who spoke to the reporter and wove the tangled web of mystere that becomes a fake French rock band best.

Du Cote a Cote

Last year, Les Sans Culottes released their fifth CD, "Fixation Orale." The 12-song effort, which features song titles like "Voyage au Bout de l'Ennui" and "Telephone Douche," reached the Top 20 on "the influential College Music Journal chart," as Newsweek might say. Here in LA, we heard the Retard-Dijon duet "Allo Allo" on KCRW, a puffed-up college station that serves as tastemaker and Muzak for an entire Westside psychographic.

The band plays often in Brooklyn and Manhattan and even tours a few times a year, hitting LA and SF and whichever cities their manager, who also owns their label and books their shows, can arrange.

Over the years, the players have changed often and for varied reasons. For example, Retard moved to LA last year to pursue a film career. He joined the band for its West Coast shows, during which he kept an inventive "diary" on Slate in which he complained about Ferrand. Retard left the band a few months later. I ran into him at a party in Silverlake and suggested it might be time to change his name to Jean-Luc Retired.

Enter Intrigue, Rive Gauche

Two weeks ago, I was in NYC again and saw les Sans Culottes play a Tribeca loft party, where they shared the bill with an arty chamber orchestra called Ensemble Sospeso. Celine Dijon, the younger of the two singers -- and only native Francophone of the group -- had left the band in December. Her replacement, Edith Pissoff, was nervous, partly because it was her third show -- her Manhattan debut! -- and partly because the band hadn't practiced much since her arrival. In fact, the keyboardist was new too. Despite these liabilities, the show was flawless as far as I could tell, except for an awkward moment when Edith's mike failed during her first solo. She quickly switched mikes with Ferrand and regained her composure. Guitarist Cal D'Hommage was doubling as soundman that night, but he just watched her sort it out, not budging to adjust her mike's level.

I learned why two days later, on a glorious spring Monday. Ferrand and I met for lunch Monday at South Street Seaport, near where he works as a Legal Aid appellate lawyer. As gulls wheeled overhead and tourists ordered crepes at the food court, my rock star friend told me that after the show, D'Hommage, a San Diegan who calls himself "The Jar," had complained bitterly about the two newest members' performances. The Jar, it seems, prefers the people who have left the band. Being something of a businessman, however -- as band treasurer he controls the band's checking account and is the primary liaison to its manager/label owner/booking agent -- he knows better than to quit, because that would be to forsake any interest he has in the band.

Headless Torso Found in Topless Jar

And here's where the story gets weird and becomes a cautionary tale. I just told you that Ferrand is an attorney. Granted, he's no shark. He spends his days assembling appeals for people too poor to afford counsel, but as an attorney, you'd think he'd have maintained a smidge of control over his band's money and professional liaisons. But he didn't. He's never spoken to the record distributor or seen a sales sheet. He's let The Jar handle those details and disburse funds when The Jar saw fit. Is Ferrand an idealist? The band had always been a collective, with songwriting credits listed as Les Sans Culottes. At lunch, he said he was concerned about The Jar's discontent and refusal to work with the new players ... but he had no inkling of what The Jar was planning.

Later that week, I was back in LA and just parking in front of Trader Joe's when my cell phone lit up on the seat beside me. It was Ferrand: "Remember I told you I was having a little trouble with my fake French rock band? Well, it's gotten worse."

With Retard back in NY after a year in LA, Dijon itching to sing again, Covert the drummer a fickle ally, and an ex-bassist and ex-keyboardist on board, The Jar emailed Ferrand to say that he's taking over the band. Les Sans Culottes, he declared, would henceforth tour and record without its founder.

Ferrand -- oh hell, let's just call him Bill -- was stunned. But his affect is so flat that it was hard to tell. He didn't even seem sure he wanted to put up a fight. I, on the other hand, was livid. (See? This really isn't a news story.) I urged him to take a few precautionary steps and said I'd ask my music industry pals for advice and a lawyer referral. Snapping encouragement at him as I prowled TJ's aisles for yogurt and tea, I alarmed a few shoppers who wandered into earshot of my expletive-laced harangue.

On that day, Bill said he at least had control of the website, but a week later, he discovered even that wasn't true. Yes, it was Bill's pal who'd built the site, but it was The Jar who'd bought the web address. The old site with its photos and bios and seven years of history still exists on a computer somewhere, but today, offers nothing more than a drawing of a streetlight. [When this story first went up, it included a link to the page that reveals The Jar's home phone, address, and email. He asked that I remove that specific link, so I have.]

So now Bill has a top music lawyer on the case. He can little afford to hire her, but he really can't afford not to hire her. She sent the rogue players a cease and desist letter yesterday, and Bill is gearing up to defend his fake French band. As he noted via email yesterday, "it's 7 years of my life .... i got to fight."

Ce Qu'Il Fera, Sera

It's hard to say what will happen. Clearly, the band will never be the same again. Whether Bill resumes control or the other people take over, it's hard to imagine them playing together after all this bad blood. They're not like the Eagles or the Pixies, who couldn't afford not to reunite when offered huge stacks of money to put aside past differences. In some superficial ways Bill is the odd man out: He doesn't play an instrument, and he's a good five to ten years older than anybody else in the group. Yet everything they do has his stamp on it. The droll lyrics, the preposterous names, and the Francophile sensibility are all Bill's. If the band were to go on without him, it'd be like a peppy zombie, lacking the wit and sensibilities that make it noteworthy.

You'd think the malcontents could just go start their own band. But then they'd have to come up with a new name and new songs and build a new reputation. Why do all that when it's so much easier to appropriate someone else's concept? From their perspective, I guess, they figure they outnumber him, so they're entitled to kick him out. It's been done before ... Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett spring to mind. But Bill isn't bats.

Here's the announcement The Jar sent to Bill and a few others yesterday. Note that he doesn't use the band name, though they have a show set up.


Dear friends, citizens, and lovers, it is with great joy that we announce the triumphant return of chanteuse Celine Dijon and bassiste Jean-Luc Retard to New York City. After nearly a year of self-imposed exile in protest of American imperialism and bellicose policy, the two greatest stars of French rock will kick-off their 2005 U.S. tour with a command performance at Sin-e on New York City's Lower Eastside. Back by popular demand, Celine and Jean-Luc will be backed by the band that made their hits Allo Allo and Tout va bien (Fixation orale, Aeronaut, 2005). For the first time in over a year, Cal d'Hommage (gtr), Moris Mars Chevrolet (keyboards), and Professeur Harry Covert (drums) will grace the stage. So happy to be reunited again, the band has already begun work on their must-anticipated follow-up album (due out in Fall 2005). Dates in Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco TBA.

The moral of this tale? Be careful whom you trust with your work. Don't surrender control. And establish safeguards to help you resume control if you have to. And don't place your faith in someone who refers to himself in the third person, especially if he uses an article in his sobriquet.

What other lessons might we derive from this story?


Saturday, April 23, 2005

I've Been Sitting on this Idea ....

A few months ago at the gym, I had an idea for a line of really stupid sportswear. I was sort of unavoidably looking at the motto on the seat of the woman in front of me when I started laughing. I mean, come on -- even if you don't want to look at someone's ass, it's hard to avoid when they've got some idiotic term stretched out across it, like Juicy or Sexy Lover or whatever the hell else these skank hos choose to plaster on their posteriors.

So I thought, as long as asses are now fair game for copy, the ads cannot be far behind. It's time to introduce the female ass to the concept of truth in advertising (certain fancy pantyhoses notwithstanding). The following mottos may not be immediately seductive, but they will attract attention, and, used wisely, they won't back you into a tight spot.

13 Non-Juicy Things to Put on Your Ass

Check Out My Ass

Here's My Ass


No Hemorrhoids!

Easy Access

Heaven's Gate

Back Door Lover

My Big Fat [Greek/Cuban/African/Irish/Chinese/etc.] Ass

Your Message Here

Look Out Below!

Space For Rent

Glory Hole

Old Faithful

So whaddaya think? Would the showoffs and fashion victims who wrap their assets in slinky sweats and dopey assertions go for any of these? Or is the ass-as-billboard moment behind us?


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Gotham City Snapshots

What to do in the garage. A guide for the confused.

West 50s, Monday afternoon.

You're about to go backward through the last two days of my visit to New York, culminating with in-flight ruminating.

 Posted by Hello

Did this unusual theming poster seen in a building entryway survive the '80s and '90s in situ, or was it merely resurrected on a recent wave of nostalgia?  Posted by Hello

Impatience goeth before improvements on E. 55th St.

Monday lunchtime. Posted by Hello

The man who was turning the crank that peeled these oranges resolutely did not want me taking a picture of him or his handiwork, but the cart owner didn't care, so I was able to disrupt everything for my self-absorbed pursuits. They had no customers when I stopped by, so my effect was minimal. Slight comic effect, enhanced by my attempts at Spanish.

Washington Heights, mid-afternoon Sunday.

Posted by Hello

So many puns, so little patience.

Also Washington Heights, mid-afternoon Sunday.
 Posted by Hello

The anomie of the long-distance subway rider.

Washington Heights, Sunday morning.
 Posted by Hello

The clerestory walk above the Cloisters-bound A train, 181st Street station.

Sunday morning.  Posted by Hello

A subway tunnel, just as magical as I used to imagine one might be before I stopped thinking about them as objects of wonder.

57th St. station, around 3:15am.  Posted by Hello

The little engine that could.  Posted by Hello

Patron saint of the Bulgarian disco. Everybody there looks this beatified by 3am. Posted by Hello

Inside the Bulgarian disco in Chinatown, where I went with the Italians after we saw the fake French rock band (Les Sans Culottes).

Tribeca, Saturday night. Posted by Hello

Walls Left Blank Are Checks Unbanked

Walls left blank are checks unbanked, a waste of sellable space;
Don't let passers-by pass your business by -- shove it in their face.

On planes and cabs and lifts and buses and even in the loo,
Folks with cash are locked in place and want to hear from you.

Be bold, be strong, don't be ashamed to prey upon the stuck -
Make the most of circumstance: we bold make our own luck!

Quiet's dull, serenity trite ... let whiners close their eyes;
The nose is still a port to shill for perfume, steaks and fries.

Captive media is on the rise, so ratchet up your high bids;
Soon we'll have a foolproof way to advertise on eyelids.

Pardon my lazy scansion.

I was driven to this doggerel by the long string of ads that's slowly replacing sitcoms and movies on airliners' tiny TV screens, by the LavaLife posters in public toilets, by the Coke ads that precede the previews if you arrive too early at the movies, by the "skins" that cover buses, by the kitchen exhaust piped out of restaurants to lure walkers, by perfume hawkers at department stores, by the publicity whores who tattoo ads on their skin, and by the unpleasant circumstance of having finished the magazine, forgotten a book, drained my laptop battery, and previously seen the movie.

And the bitter irony? As much as I detest the endless influx of ad messages out in the world, my very own private laptop is host to a promotional tapeworm, a pernicious nugget of code that regularly coughs out popups and resists my efforts to dislodge or contain it.


Friday, April 15, 2005

First Milestone, Many Photos

Lord Zim apologizes to the small but highly intelligent readership for lo these many days of nothing new.

I have been on the road, that non-place where you never have time for the truly important things in life, like blogging. Que lastima. Specifically, I am in New York. And it is 2:30am. And this post is primarily to commemorate one month of Lordzim. Hooray for Captain Spaulding!

Today I had time to kill between a meeting and dinner. It was a rare challenge. Get me not wrong -- I waste plenty of time all the time, but having three hours of free time with nothing scheduled kind of freaked me out. I visited the Leica Gallery, walked along the newly refurbished Hudson waterfront, took photos of decrepit piers and a warehouse full of salt, spent 15 minutes at an opening of paintings I didn't think much of, and then went to the lovely and crowded party thrown by the arteest and his wife.

By 10, when we left, the only place to eat was apparently the Pitstop, a small racing-themed bistro in Brooklyn with high-octane eats. There, we all mouldered for hours. Well past the end of dinner, after we were all ready to leave (and two of our party had in fact already begged off), a well-stuffed Frenchie who owns a chain of petit bistros around NYC chose to hold forth at length about himself and his restaurants for a very long time. We finally got to leave him behind and come back to the Center of Civilization. My impressions of him provoked much mirth in the car as we tore across the bridge at ridiculous speeds. Must have been the Valvoline in the salade. Photos follow.

Big Brother has nothing better to do than to watch paint peel. Posted by Hello

The Brooklyn Bridge at 1:20am, speed demon MC at the helm. Alarmed passengers cower and take pictures. Posted by Hello

A small sample of the racing memorabilia at le Pitstop, an eatery in le Brooklyn. Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 14, 2005

City Sanitation Dept. salt storage facility on the Hudson. Posted by Hello

Decaying piers near Pier 54. Going ... Posted by Hello

Going ...  Posted by Hello

If this were a flip book you'd really be enjoying yourself by now. Posted by Hello

This lovely pre-Selectric relic was perched atop a dumpster near the river.  Posted by Hello

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Street Fare

I just spent 15 minutes looking through crusty old documents for something I might fling up here under the pretense of a new post. But the blog is such a New Medium, it will brook no recycling. Well, it might brook a little recycling, but not today.

The more I talk about the blog, the less inclined I am to write in it. (I know, this is an intensely dull topic. Hang in there -- it's almost over.) Perhaps it's the displacement of allegedly creative energy, and perhaps it's the growing awareness of an audience. Kind of the opposite of Henry Darger's problem. He knew he had no audience. Of course, he was also mad as a hatter, but that didn't stop him from writing a 15,000-page novel. And painting hundreds of little girls engaged in all manner of martial postures. And other postures. Hey, don't look at me -- I haven't even seen the movie yet. (1)

Speaking of postures, I found myself kneeling before a low stage and six saffron-clad Buddhist monks this afternoon at the Thai New Year Festival in North Hollywood. I knelt because standing seemed like not the done thing inside the temple. The faithful, ranged before us and kneeling and bowing far more convincingly, had secured small metal pitchers from which they poured water into smaller metal bowls. An older man crabwalking along before the monks collected the water from the small bowls into a really big metal bowl. Very mysterious.

At one point in the afternoon, about 200 people of all ages formed a procession and marched calmly and cheerily through the fair, their path swept free of lollygaggers by half a dozen civilians playing soldier in fatigues. It looked like police state overkill, but they meant well. Two women kept spirits high by yodeling every thirty seconds through megaphones. Parade fluffers in sensible shoes. A couple of glum teenagers had to drag the beauty queen's two-wheeled wagon everywhere. The ladies-in-waiting were way hotter, I thought, but what do I know from Buddhist beauty queens? One well-fed, well-coiffed older woman laughed and laughed as she flung cups of water onto bystanders. Kind of an anti-fluffer. Dozens of older processionists carried neat bundles of saffron fabric, so the whole shebang may have been a clothing drive for the monks.

Hollywood is rife with Thai shops and restaurants, but real estate there has become prohibitively expensive on the eve of that golden quadrant's umpteenth promised renaissance. That's a likely reason the center of L.A.'s Thai world has relocated to a less than picturesque corner of the Valley -- Roscoe and Coldwater Canyon. Picturesque or no, they got some good eats out there.

Confronted by half a dozen stands serving the same array of fried, grilled, or julienned eats, however, it can be hard to decide which promises the best green papaya salad. But happily, my self-decribed chowhound pal P lucked into a perfect one, not too sweet and studded with dense green beans and gamy, crunchy chunks of blue crab. Even so, har mok, a complexly flavored seafood custard steamed and served in a small banana leaf basket, was unquestionably the most impressive dish I found. Sadly, I was so intrigued by the hot sauce, a chewy variety I'd never encountered, that I wrecked the har mok's delicate flavor balances. Easy on the paint thinner, skipper!

Finally, a word on durian. I'm not sure I'd count it among the best of the eats, but it's not nearly as bad as folks make it out to be. Yes, the texture of the edible pulp is like rotting liver, and yes, it is cloyingly sweet, and yes, one does detect a strong whiff of, well, rottenness once again, but all in all, it's not so bad. Honest. It's a very labor-intensive fruit, though, and you have to wonder who was brave or desperate enough to eat the first one. A durian is about the size of a volleyball though not as spherical, with a spiky green hide that gives it a fierce medieval look; keelhauled onto the end of a pole it would be helpful in a street fight. Once you cut through the skin and the fibrous hull and use the side of a knife to tease out the only edible part, the pulp envelopes that surround the huge pits, you stand a fair chance of enjoying yourself.

People love durian and, rumor has it, will kill for it. Foreigners! In L.A., you can just pay for it at Thai markets in Hollywood and at the Vietnamese market in Echo Park (on Sunset). If you're going there, make sure you also take home at least a pint each of pickled greens, bean sprouts in a light fresh vinegar, brined baby eggplants, and the least fetid kim chee ever.

Or get a pizza and watch TV. Whatever.

* * *

(1) To learn more about the most successful outsider artist since Grandma Moses, read my pal's piece in Forbes. Beware: is an unwieldy, bloated, annoying piece of work, but if you can slog through the ads, the story is almost worth the trouble.


Friday, April 08, 2005

Lord Zim of the Crane Flies

Given my past propensity to write at length about these preternaturally attenuated insects, it's a wonder that ridiculous moniker failed to materialize until yesterday. Nobody had thought of it, including me.

It took a robot to make the Lordzim-crane flies connection. Like the monkeys hard at work typing "Hamlet," the tireless web spiders whose trawling keeps the online world orderly turn out to be literary scholars in training. Yesterday, this blog showed up as a search result for the following search string on Yahoo Singapore: storybook lord of the flies.


LZ the blog did not merely show up -- it was the eighth result! That's worth hundreds of Singaporean dollars in SEO work alone. Not very helpful for someone trying to find critical thought on the William Golding book, notes PhD candidate and research pro A.

I scarcely know what to think. Maybe Yahoo Search is a Delphic oracle. If it is, what could this "Lord of the Flies" reference mean? Is it a wakeup call? Uh, could you call back in 30 minutes? I was just having a really good dream.


Thursday, April 07, 2005

AZ Lexico, Part 2

As faithful readers recall, my pop plays fast and loose with the language. Now that I'm documenting his best malapropisms, hanging out with him feels kind of like an anthropolinguistic expedition. It adds a layer of excitement and tension to conversations, epecially because I haven't told him I'm doing this. I don't want the experiment to affect the subjects. (What's the term for that? Calling all marketers and scientists.)

OK. Today's gem has been in my back pocket for years. In fact, it's so much a part of my own BZ lexico that I plum forgot to include it in Part 1 of this feature. Which is now a bona fide Recurring Feature.

Honky-donky: Copacetic, a-okay, under control. AKA okey-dokey.

If he ever knew the slang meaning of "honky," he's definitely forgotten it by now. There is no "whitey, you a ass" sense to this locution. It's just the AZ Lexico at its finest.


Irate Consumer Alert

Wow. I may have kicked up a fuss or two in my day over poor service, mistaken charges, and so on, but I have never gone as far as the blogger they call Maddox. For a simultaneously exhilarating and depressing tale of consumer outrage and revenge (sort of), read The most expensive $94 Orbitz will ever make.


Death, Poultry, and Dystopia

So much has happened this past week in the world of famous dead people! First the famous lawyer, then the semi-famous poet, then that poor brain-dead superfamous pawn, then Herzog's once-famous personal scribe, and finally, the prince of the tiny fabulous country (the one that stole our famous movie star). Wait. Missed one. Let us not o'erlook the poultry magnate, who brought more death to this planet than all the others combined -- more even than the lone statesman among the bunch.

A moment of respect for the departed.


And the Pope. OK, OK. Even though he gets enough press without this li'l ole line o' chatter.


But not the chicken butcher. No respite for him, no respect. Just a slowly rotating rotisserie, forever and ever amen.


Now let's talk about that 'naked' chicken campaign.

It's a new low in fast food advertising. Apparently, in a post-Atkins world, "skinless" isn't appetizing enough, so now Popeye's is calling the lifeless skinless shreds it overspices "blackened naked chicken." Does that sound yummy to you? They can do better.

"Mr. Mailer? You have a call on the ad copy hotline."

Introducing "The Naked and the Dead" chicken sandwich. Get a free plastic army man with every Naked Dead LunchPak!

What the hell? A brief stroll on the Google side shows that everyone's calling their food "naked" these days. Yek. It's a shameless -- naked, even -- bid to exploit sex to sell cheap low-quality food. Don't believe the hype. If you want an easy frisson of sex to sprinkle on your marketing, I'm sure the Swedish Bikini Team is free this week. This century.

Soylent Green is people!

And Now for Something Completely Depressing ...

Speaking of dystopic futures, Peak Oil is appearing in mainstream media now, and if that isn't chilling, what is?

According to the Peak Oil theory, we're running out of oil. We reached a peak of possible production in 2005, goes the theory, and as demand continues to rise, spurred on by China's voracious and growing needs, prices will rise as well, reflecting a dwindling global supply. Picture oil production as a bell curve, with us just passing over the top. Sooner than we can say "It takes 10 years to build a nuclear reactor" or "Darn! I forgot to install solar panels!" we won't be able to afford gas or plastic bags or Tupperware anymore. Society will collapse, say the proponents, and civilization will eventually revert to a pre-Industrial Revolution state.

What's manageable and almost nice about this theory is that it proposes such an overwhelmingly bleak and unimaginable future that most people easily laugh it off as the ravings of a small cabal of cultists, close relatives of those shaggy cartoon weirdos who carry "The End Is Near" signs. But 9/11 was unimaginable once too. On 9/10.

I know, I know. That's the same cheap shot every conspiracy alarmist uses. Sorry.

Next up: House speaker Tom DeLay found high on nitrous in a Capitol Hill cloakroom, painting an underage intern's erogenous zones with the blood of a dead child. Republican spokesperson Rupert Murdoch calls accusers a bunch of Yank crybabies.


Damn! I broke three rules: celebs, TV, and politics. Good night, Irene. Maybe you'll wake up laughing like I did today.


Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Website Verite

P sent this hot link (snyuk snyuk) to his favorite new BBQ restaurant's site, calling it "A verite web site ... a new paradigm as far as I can tell. Their implementation is primitive but effective."

Warning: Not for the faint of download speed, as it's almost all images. But it's not what you think. Seen other sites like this? Please comment.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Deep Vein Thrombosis and Mixed Ruts

DVT is a painful disorder caused by poor circulation. Lordzim seems to have its own DVT-like issues these days. Lord Zim himself is fit as a fiddle, thank you very much, given to energetic displays of self-propulsion in a variety of circumstances, but this venue could stand higher circulation. Therefore, we are offering cash-equivalent incentives to the first 10 readers who authenticate their DVT-healing powers of dissemination.

DISsemination. Jesus. You kiss your mother with that mouth?

Please use the comments field to announce yourself and your guests, and to indicate your preference for seafood, pasta, or fruit plate.

* * *

Astute observers of this space will have noticed no mentions of April Fool's Day or the death of the Pope. There. Solved that problem.

* * *

Could Deep Blog Thrombosis be linked to a professed profound indifference toward current events?

* * *

In case you missed the (old) news about an artist who re-engineered car alarms to sound like bird songs , here's your lucky day. It's just one of those things I can't shake.

* * *

Last night, on the topic of dogs stealing food, D said that her dog, F, had "deep-throated an entire salami."

* * *

Slim Gaillard. Slim Gaillard. Who? I first saw him in "Absolute Beginners," a silly, mostly forgotten Julien Temple movie that starred Patsy Kensit and David Bowie, with Gaillard, Ray Davies, and James Fox in supporting roles. If you've never heard of Slim Gaillard, or even if you have, read this brief but spirited profile, and if you don't want to hear his music after that, check your pulse. Even 14 years after his death, he has a Dr. Seuss-like power to smack a smile onto the sourest puss.

Extreme trivia: Temple re-used the ideas and execution of "Absolute Beginners"' breathtaking opening scene in the video he directed for Janet Jackson's "When I Think of You." Reacting to seismic changes in film language wrought by MTV's then-new editing style with its ADD-provoking pace of a thousand cuts, Temple staged a single, extended, cut-free tracking shot that followed an unflappable star through a wildly elaborate series of events. Like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, with much better-looking extras.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

What I Did This Summer, by The Dog

OK, so I wrote this thing, which was, like, supposed to have been written by, like, a dog? For a canine newsletter at a, like, a dog boarding facility?

Well I totally got the idea, right, cause I fully went to a boarding facility. Except, we like, called it a boarding school, but it's all good? It is what it is? Et cetera. Et cetera. Et cetera?

What I Did This Summer

By Rexford "Rex" Threadwell, fifth form, Labrador House

Seems like only yesterday we were all burying bones for the AP Geology finals, and now the whole summer's rushed by. So where did the time go?

There was a lot of sleeping, and a whole bunch of running, and I know I did some serious drooling in July -- hot hot hot! (Sometimes I wish I were a yellow Labrador instead of a black one -- it's always so freakin' hot inside my fur!) The rest of the time, I did the usual backyard patrols, kept the pond duck-free, broke in a few new docksiders, and generally romped. On the downside, I had an incident with some bees, but I gave as good as I got, and I don't think we'll be hearing from those guys again. The scars will be awesome when the swelling goes down.

Definite highlights: Going down the Shore with the family for a whole week, Moose and me digging out under the fence on July 4, the night the steak "fell off" the grill, and the three times I treed the neighbors' cat. Oh, and the two weeks of Summer School, of course -- we did some awesome sniffing and digging at the Academy. There's no better place to check P-mail and hang with my dogs!

But now I'm back and ready for classes again, especially Mr. Rott's Intermediate Lunging and Snarling. Even if I do look like a doofus when I try it, it's still a blast! Fully gangsta! I'm really up for Mr. Bull's Advanced Saliva Workshop, especially the sessions on Shapes and Viscosity. And I hope I get into Mrs. Basset's Senior Sniffing Seminar; in case anybody remembers, it was me who found that lost puppy last year and got my picture in the local paper and all.

So here's to Back to Stool -- er, School, and I'm looking forward to sniffing under everyone's tail!

Friday, April 01, 2005

AZ Lexico, Part 1

My pop has an accent. Not only that, he has an anarchic, multifaceted approach to language. In what will become yet another recurring feature on the Lord Zim Variety Hour, here's the first selection of AZ's finest malapropisms.

Your kitten caboo: all matters at hand, everything under discussion. AKA the whole kit and caboodle.

Holocauster: a large structure designed to elevate riders to extreme heights and then allow gravity to have its way with them. AKA rollercoaster.