Monday, January 26, 2009

Iron Maiden vs. Barack Obama

From the Pomp Culture Archives

The world is an immense place, so immense that it requires a speed of 11.2 km/s just to escape its gravity. But Iron Maiden is an immense band, so immense that the earth itself cannot escape the pull of the Irons. Is there a force on earth powerful enough to contain these Monsters of Metal?

Only science can tell.

The Pomp Culture Foundation for the Study of Speaker-Melting Rock presents its current findings in today’s installment of Iron Maiden vs. The World.

Well, this has been a pretty good week for my former Senator. Apparently he handily won a popularity contest against the Emperor of the Skeksis last November, and is now The Illuminati Shadow Government’s First African-American Figurehead. That means two things:
  • 1) Woodrow Wilson is rolling in his racist grave.
  • 2) Obama is probably thinking he’s pretty damn awesome right now.
While I approve of item one (and if Maiden annihilated the UN last week, imagine how they would have torn through Wilson’s paltry League of Nations), item two is unsetting. I’m not too fond of hubris from my leaders. And while Obama is refreshingly humble compared to His Arrogance, George II, I’m think there’s at least a peg or two he could be taken down. And I know just the quintet to do so.

The Methodology:

A full summary of the methodology (including descriptions of the Five Permanent Categories can be found here. If you need to go there, I’ll wait.

So…for the rest of you…how do you like this feature so far? Do you think I’ll really be able to keep this conceit alive for more than 2-3 weeks? Do you…oh wait, they’re back…

Caught up? Good.

This week’s additional categories will be covered in the actual battle, because you know you’re already sick of me for stalling this long.

The Battle:

Intellectual and/or Literary Merit
Well, the Irons might actually start this at a disadvantage, as the Harvard-educated Obama has actually written a pretty well-respected book. And he wrote it long before his emergence on the national scene. The following obvious communists have some pretty nice things to say about it, as well (like all sophisticated reviewers, I gleaned the following quotes from, a bastion of scholarship in these dark times:

  • “Provocative . . . Persuasively describes the phenomenon of belonging to two different worlds, and thus belonging to neither.” —New York Times Book Review

  • “Fluidly, calmly, insightfully, Obama guides us straight to the intersection of the most serious questions of identity, class, and race.” —Washington Post Book World

  • “Beautifully crafted . . . moving and candid . . . this book belongs on the shelf beside works like James McBride’s The Color of Water and Gregory Howard Williams’s Life on the Color Line as a tale of living astride America’s racial categories.” —Scott Turow

  • “Obama’s writing is incisive yet forgiving. This is a book worth savoring.” —Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here
And while the Irons are no slouches in the book learning department, Amazon has this to say about their classic third album, Number of the Beast:

Throughout the 1980s, a damning generalization held true: British metal was essentially working man's food, loosely descended from biker-meets and Northern pubs; whereas, in the States, it was an outgrowth of stadium rock, which traditionally subordinated substance to spectacle. Plug-ugly and cartoonishly morbid, Iron Maiden were typical of the Brit effort, since they effectively emphasized a driving, no-nonsense approach to the music.

Uh oh. “Plug-ugly and cartoonishly morbid” was the exact term Dorothy Parker used to savage the waitstaff at the Algonquin. Not looking good.

But wait…Bruce Dickinson has penned a screenplay (Chemical Wedding, later renamed Crowley)! Hmm…can’t find any reviews. While it’s probably safe to assume it’s hella awesome, it would be unfair to automatically credit Maiden for this achievement. I guess the challenger gets a point.

Advantage: Obama


Obama should have this as a lock right? Wrong.

Sure, Obama is the ostensible Leader of the Free World, but what has he really done so far other than succeed in the (admittedly important) category of Not Being George Bush? Sure, he’s made a National Call for Service, but so far that hasn’t help yours truly much at all. I still have the same job, the same bills, the same health insurance, and the same haircut as I did under Bush. Okay, I just read he’s closing Gitmo, but I’ll believe that one when my Uncle Mahmoud comes home.

What has Maiden done? Well, I don’t know…they only redefined Metal as we know it. They only maintained an unheard of level of self-imposed quality control in their first decade - a decade where even Whitesnake could rule the airwaves. They only somehow managed to incorporate synths into Somewhere in Time and still ROCK BALLS. They only influenced about a thousand awful bands that no one wants to hear. They may or may not be responsible for the single greatest screenplay about Aleister Crowley in history. Oh, and while that one speech on race is pretty damn amazing, it’s never going to top the bone-chilling radness of Live After Death.

Sorry, Barry O. Call me when you’ve fixed America or something.

Advantage: Maiden


The ubiquitous Eddie is one of the most popular images in the annals of 1980s metal. His grimly comic visage, created mainly in ballpoint pen, has graced thousands of Trapper Keepers, Social Sudies textbooks, and the occasional acid-washed denim pant-leg over the past 30 years (although there has been an admitted decline since roughly 1991). That’s a heck of a lot of blue ink.

However, Obama’s Shepard Fairy-designed campaign poster (and assorted parodies thereof) currently graces more Facebook profile pictures than there are actual people on earth. Even subtracting points for the exceptional lameness of the “O with a cornfield inside it” bumper stickers, Obama’s current influence on national aesthetics is indisputable.

Advantage: Obama


Despite what the average Right Wing Rank’n’Filer might tell you, Obama does not actually seem to be too self important, much less have a Messiah complex. Most of his speeches are a heck of a lot more of the “we’ve got to make sacrifices and pull ourselves up” variety that Conservatives pretend they love to hear. And though he went to an Ivy League school so pompous that its graduates often hire servants for their servants to avoid accidentally rubbing elbows with the help’s help, it is only his ability to speak in complete sentences that separates him from most Americans.

Maiden, too, have their moments of humility, such as the following gracious statement from their official website:
"Iron Maiden's secret weapon is our fans. Anyone who's been to one of our shows knows that they're the most passionate and devoted fans on the planet, making the incredible atmosphere at our shows. To be nominated for Best Live Act at the Brits is as much a recognition of them as it is of us. So for all of them, Up The Irons!"
So very humble. And yet…maybe they still have a pretty high opinion of their powers:
“We have no doubt whatsoever that IRON MAIDEN is special to Latin America and Latin America is special to IRON MAIDEN. Allow us to explain...

What was achieved by both the band and their fans earlier this year in Latin America was unheard of ... over 250,000 tickets were sold in less than a week, thus setting box office records across the region. Within an 18 day time period the band covered 7 countries, played 9 concerts and flew over 15,000 miles (25,500 kilometers). No artist, no band had ever done this before. Period. With their incredible, high energy shows selling out well in advance and the insane reaction from their fans to this very classic and timeless show...Somewhere Back in Time, the question at the end of the tour was, "Should we do it again?".

And the answer from all sides was... DAMN RIGHT WE DO IT AGAIN! ... and along with returning to some of our favourite places let's play some other cities and countries too.

So in 2009 IRON MAIDEN and their fans will once again make rock and roll history in Latin America by breaking some rules, setting new records, and going to places that are normally off the usual touring route. MAIDEN will embrace Latin America like none have before. This tour will cross ancient ruins, the Amazon Jungle, The Andes and the Middle of the World! MAIDEN will revisit cities played in 2008 in even bigger venues and a rev-ed up show full of surprises. And together with their fans they will celebrate the end of their incredible SOMEWHERE BACK IN TIME TOUR.”
That’s pretty darn pompous if I do say so myself. And that’s not including any concept albums, Coleridge poems, or mentions of Bruce Dickinson’s Operatic Training.

Advantage: Maiden

Rocking Your Face Off:

Perhaps you remember this list of Obama’s favorite songs that was circulating during the campaign:
  1. ‘Ready or Not’ - Fugees
  2. ‘What’s Going On’ - Marvin Gaye
  3. ‘I’m On Fire’ - Bruce Springsteen
  4. ‘Gimme Shelter’ - Rolling Stones
  5. ‘Sinnerman’ - Nina Simone
  6. ‘Touch the Sky’ - Kanye West
  7. 'You’d Be So Easy to Love’ - Frank Sinatra
  8. ‘Think’ - Aretha Franklin
  9. ‘City of Blinding Lights’ - U2
  10. ‘Yes We Can’ -
While there are a few gems on there (“What’s Going On” is an immense song, and “Gimme Shelter” rocks with sufficient fury), I believe Iron Maiden can rebut this with one word:


Advantage: Maiden

Well, B. Hussein is finding himself in a bit of a pickle, as Maiden currently leads 3 to 2. Hopefully the following two special categories will come up in his favor or the Political Honeymoon is over…

Ok, this is a tough one to call. I mean, yes, Maiden has the advantage of not one, but TWO legendary frontmen. But Maiden has long led by example. Sure, they are the band of choice for the cognoscenti of Headbanging, but they aren’t out there offering solutions to the current Metal Crisis (I refer, of course, to the severe lack of headbangers in elected office).

Meanwhile, Obama has taken the reins of the Washington Generals of Politics, the Democratic Party, and somehow managed to beat the showboating Orange County Globetrotters of the Republican Party. That is, in and of itself, an achievement. This round goes to Dirty Chicago Politics.

Advantage: Obama

This brings us to the tiebreaker...


Sorry, Barack. Had to pull out the big guns here. Community organizer? Everyone knows helping people is lame. Try spending three decades as the most massive metal band in the world. 30 years of pure integrity, passion, determination, and sweat. Oh yeah. Tons of sweat.Advantage: Maiden

Well, Barack Obama seems to be a pretty competent guy, and I hope he does well by us. But lets face it, the democratic process is flawed because Iron Maiden is President-for-Life of the United States of Rocking Your Lame Ass.

Iron Maiden: 2, World: 0.

Up next: Iron Maiden vs. A Mother’s Selfless love!

Know anyone or anything you think can beat Iron Maiden in a fair fight? Well, let me know, and I’ll write a long, rambling, poorly reasoned post about why you’re wrong, fool.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Gayest Song I Love

Short entry today, I'm going to expend my creative energy on another Pomp Culture article (if you missed my last one regarding Iron Maiden's supremacy to the United Nations, by all means check it out here). And I need to once again make the disclaimer that I am not disparaging the gay community at all in this entry, as regular readers will know that It'd look like I was throwing stones from a glass (bath)house.

Anyway, like most people who commute on public transportation, I listen to music on headphones. An iPod nano to be exact, partly because I am attempting to transform, butterfly-like from post-punk hipster to yuppie sleazebag, but mainly because none of the Zunes I keep in a bucket by my front door seem to be working at present.

Like many who make the Geek "lifestyle choice," I often succumb to an axiom that my friend Susan and I uncovered more than a decade ago (note I am using Courier, the Official Font of Logical Verities):

"To the untrained eye, the line between a
well-groomed geek and a gay man is indistinguishable."

(Cf. Sweatervests, designer nerd glasses, unseemly public excitability, the inability to throw a 10-6 curve)

Yeah, I come off pretty darn queer at times. Over 15 years in theatre-with-an-"re" has not helped this, either. Or the fact that I spent Sunday night in a gay bar (my girlfriend was singing in a band, Your Honor!). Or that, in between songs, I actually overheard someone in that bar say "An honest to God GLORY HOLE. I shit you not!" with a lisp that rivalled Buddy Cole.

Anyway, as I rode in today, after I wrapped up listening to Kraftwerk's Trans-Europe Express (Note: believe it or not, that's NOT the source of the gayest song. And a day where Kraftwerk is the most macho music I have listened to so far is already red-letter), I decided to listen to the Associates collection I recently acquired.

Not to be excused with The Association (of "Along Comes Mary," "Cherish," and "Windy" fame), the Associates was a two-man Scottish band that had minor success in the early 1980s (mostly in the UK) in the height of the New Romantic movement (sorry Djakarta: no pics of Adam Ant this time). It consisted of a multi-instrumentalist (Alan Rankine) and a vocalist (the late Billy Mackenzie).

The song in question is, first and foremost, a cover of an exceptionally gay song: Diana Ross's "Love Hangover" (which happened to be the #1 song the day I was born). One might think that would be hard to top. One would be right. But that one has not heard the Associates.

Musically, the Associates, at least during the early period I'm moderately familiar with, had a sound that ranged from minimalist post-punk to Duran Duran-esque New Wave pop. And the music of this particular song is actually a pretty cool post-punk-white-funk that reminds me of Remain in Light-era Talking Heads with a more jangly lead guitar.

And the resemblence doesn't end there. At first Mackenzie's voice sounds very much like David Byrne. Very much so. Until he belts a series of ridiculously sweeping falsetto yells, laden with vibrato. Add in some ridiculously cheesy female backing vocals, and the picture is complete. This song is, well, gay...

This is a song that ran away from home at 17 to go to New York to become a dancer, stays in touch with it's mother, but hasn't spoken to its father in 10 years. This is a song that wears men's capris and clogs when it shops at Treasure Island. This is a song that owns the Director's Cut of Moulin Rouge. This is a song that the average Pet Shop Boys fan would eschew as "a little too queer for me."

And this is a song I think is awesome. This is a song that I have already played 3 times today, at the expense of listening to the rest of the album, which I haven't heard.

I'm pretty sure I couldn't find a gayer song if I looked through my girlfriends collection of showtunes and asked Clay Aiken to cover the gayest one I found. I dare anyone to find a gayer song, in fact--

Oh, wait...I'm finally listening to the rest of the album, and a cover of "Heart of Glass" just came on. Wow.

You win again, Associates.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Iron Maiden vs. The World

Another from the Pomp Culture Archives.

The world is an immense place, so immense that it requires a speed of 11.2 km/s just to escape its gravity. But Iron Maiden is an immense band, so immense that the earth itself cannot escape the pull of the Irons. Is there a force on earth powerful enough to contain these Monsters of Metal?

Only science can tell.

The Pomp Culture Foundation for the Study of Speaker-Melting Rock presents its current findings in today’s installment of Iron Maiden vs. The World:

Iron Maiden vs. the United Nations

Who better to represent The World in this first showdown than the largest international organization of independent nation-states, the UN? Currently consisting of 192 member states, and spanning six continents (the Reptiloid Nazis living under the surface of Antarctica do not recognize the legitimacy of the UN as a governing body, and have rejected all peace overtures), the UN has been a fixture in world diplomacy since 1945. It consists of numerous administrative bodies that address issues as varied as world peace and security, children’s health, and economic development.

But, in a fair fight, could the UN top the mightiest band in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal? And how can such a fight be considered “fair?”

The Methodology:

Given that this is the first of at least two installments of this feature, here’s a one time explanation of the means used to determine a victor. So pay attention!

The PCFFSSMR has determined after years of study that, like all things scientific, the best way to compare seemingly unrelated subjects is to pit them to a specially designed battery of tests. Each test measures a criterion of performance necessary to succeed in the pitched field of battle. Like the UN Security Council, there are 5 permanent categories:

  • Intellectual and/or Literary Merit – What, if any, has the combatant added to the world of thought? Has the combatant synthesized the diverse strands of thought and words to create new and lasting value?
  • Influence – How has the combatant changed the world by deed? What great changes have been wrought through the actions of the combatant?
  • Image/Aesthetic – How does the rest of the world perceive the combatant? How does the combatant “brand” itself?
  • Pomposity – Without pomposity, where would this site be? This is a vital category.
  • Rocking Your Face Off – Probably the most important category of all. Nothing in life has any value if it doesn’t rock your face off.
In addition, there are two revolving categories which reflect the specific conditions of the specific conflict. In this case they are:

  • Stability of Membership – Has there been a unified group membership throughout the combatant’s career?
  • Frontman – Who is the champion selected to represent the combatants on the field of honor? Who all eyes turn to when the follow-spots are on?
Got it? Good. It’s time to move along, because we have some ranking to do:

The Battle:

Intellectual and/or Literary Merit
The UN is not exactly the most romantic of bodies. It doesn’t inspire poets or playwrights, and it certainly doesn’t produce much poetry on its own, as the most recent UN Resolution on Iraq can attest. On a philosophical level, I suppose the UN can derive some justification from the works of Bertrand Russell regarding the necessity of a single world government. But that’s just reaching.

Iron Maiden, on the other hand, has a discography that is rich and varied, seamlessly synthesizing such disparate source material as The First Detective Story (“Murders in the Rue Morgue”), Romantic Epic Poetry (“The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”), classic Cult Television (“The Prisoner”), War films (“Where Eagles Dare”), and Romany legends (“Seventh Son of a Seventh Son”) into new and varied musical offerings. And that’s just scratching the surface.

Advantage: Maiden


Iron Maiden’s merging of the heaviness of bands like Black Sabbath, the technical precision of bands like Judas Priest, the mysticism of Led Zeppelin, and the raw attitude of early UK punk created a template for any of a number of Metal followers. To this day, an Iron Maiden tour can fill stadiums from Brazil to Eastern Europe to Southeast Asia. And they could probably still fill a decent sized nightclub anywhere else.

The UN, on the other hand, has about the political power of a hall monitor. Overridden time and again by China, the Former Soviet Union, and the United States, the UN Security Council might as well just send an online petition to those that transgress against peace.

Advantage: Maiden


Okay, here’s where it gets tough. Maiden is not, what one would call a “pretty” band. Or even a “presentable” one. And, like all Metal bands in the ‘80s, they wore clothes that looked, to be charitable, goofy:

Awful, awful decade.

Of course, the UN is not much more fashionable. Rivaling the British army’s Redcoats for inappropriateness in the field of battle, I present the intimidation of the Powder Blue Warriors of the United Nations:

Congratulations, Rwanda! It's a boy!

So far, it’s looking like a push. Now, if only each combatant had a symbol the world over could recognize and admire…oh wait…they do…

The UN:

The U.N. - making Canada's flag moderately less queer since 1945.

The Irons:

Trivia: This was Ben Franklin's original suggestion for the American flag.
A map vs. Eddie? Give me a break.

Advantage: Maiden


The U.N., in its own words:

“The United Nations is central to global efforts to solve problems that challenge humanity. Cooperating in this effort are more than 30 affiliated organizations, known together as the UN system. Day in and day out, the UN and its family of organizations work to promote respect for human rights, protect the environment, fight disease and reduce poverty. UN agencies define the standards for safe and efficient air travel and help improve telecommunications and enhance consumer protection. The United Nations leads the international campaigns against drug trafficking and terrorism. Throughout the world, the UN and its agencies assist refugees, set up programmes to clear landmines, help expand food production and lead the fight against AIDS.”

Get over yourself, U.N. Also, where are the periods in your initials? And “programmes” are something I watch on my “colour telly.”

Iron Maiden: In 1988, at the height of their fame, the band released a concept album about a fortuneteller that fails to convince a village of an oncoming holocaust, peppered with progressive metal songs, gypsy folklore, and references to the seven deadly sins.
Winner and Still Champion: Maiden

Rocking Your Face Off:

UN has elected to pass on this challenge. Although I hear former Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld briefly fronted a Death Metal group called “Fjist.”

Advantage: Maiden

Stability of Membership

Of the 51 original members of the UN, all still remain other than Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, who both ceased to exist as nations in 1992. All of the nations formed afterwards from these two nations have been admitted since this time. Since 1945, the UN has seen a net gain in total membership of 141. The only major personnel shift in UN history as been when the People’s Republic of China replaced Taiwan due to “creative differences.”

Maiden, on the other hand, did not release two consecutive albums with the same lineup until their fifth album, Powerslave. Over the years, they have had 3 drummers, 4 guitarists, and 3 lead vocalists (counting official releases only). Only their bass player and lead guitarist have been with the band from the outset.

Advantage: UN


Currently, the UN is fronted by Ban Ki-moon, a South Korean fan of diplomacy who rose to fame via unlikely means – a homemade video of himself mediating an Assembly that covered Classic UN resolutions like the Congo Intervention and the Founding of Unicef. The UN, desperate to replace the popular Khofi Annan (who left the UN to pursue solo projects), happened to catch this video on Youtube and soon Ban was “Living the Dream” of an International Figurehead. However, many diehard fans look at him as a feeble replacement for such an international star, and some have grumbled that maybe the UN has “outlived it’s usefulness.”

When original Iron Maiden frontman Paul Di’Anno left the group in 1981, few thought this once up and coming metal act had a chance of surviving. However, the addition of Ex-Samson vocalist Bruce Dickinson (yes, THE Bruce Dickinson) meant that not only did Maiden survive – it thrived. Dickinson’s operatic vocals and enthusiastic, sweaty appeals to the crowds of screaming fans to “Scream for” him fit the double barreled assault of Iron Maiden like a pair of zebra-striped tights. Classic album after classic album followed suit. And despite a brief period when Dickinson was replaced with the less-than-inspiring Blaze Bayley, Dickinson has taken the boys to new levels of success, fame, and world domination.

Advantage: Maiden

Given the superlative performance in this Scientifically Conducted Contest, it looks like a landslide. By a score of six to one, Iron Maiden handily defeats the United Nations.

Up next: Iron Maiden vs. The Innocent Laughter of a Child!

Do you have any suggestions for whom Iron Maiden should do battle with next? Feel free to leave them in the comments section, where they will likely be ignored!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Pomp Culture Press Conference

This piece originally appeared on the now defunct Pomp Culture, which used to be Thunder Matt's Saloon, and then returned to that name before becoming Exile on Clark Street...I think I still write for them...

Hello, and welcome to the first in a series of press conferences at Pomp Culture. I'm your host and moderator, Chip Wesley. Each conference will feature one member of the Pomp Culture Collective as they answer questions from their esteemed colleagues. Today we will be introducing our newest member to the group, Jon.

Jon, who blogs under his surname Wolter, has done some writing at his own personal blog, The Slog, as well as the horrific and bewildering Bleed Grizzly Pink. He currently resides in Chicago, which makes his addition to the site crucial to neutralizing some of our west coast bias.

Anyway, let's get Jon up here so we can begin with the questioning.

Jon: [coughs nervously] Thank you all for coming. I'm both honored and mildly appalled at my
selection to provide content for--

[checks card]

"Pomp Culture?" Is this some sort of rockabilly site? Well, I generally use Murray's Pomade with a dab of Royal-

[Brief discussion, illegible]

Nevermind. Anyway, I'm glad my sporadic blogging at my own site has generated--I see that I've been told to move right to the questions...okay.

Daft Funk: With your involvement in several of the Illinois governor scandals from years past, as well as your rumored involvement with the OJ Simpson Murders, do you think you'll be able to stay on track and perform, both at Pomp Culture and in the sack?

Jon: No matter what the governor or OJ may have done, I was the legitimate appointee to this point, and I'm well qualified to do whatever it is I'm supposed to do. And when I find that out, look out internet!

Brant Brown: Jon. Oasis or Blur?

Jon: Funny you should ask. Tentatively, I say Blur, but I'm
actually working on a scientific scale to prove it. Currently, in the initial test of Iron Maiden vs. Judas Priest, it seems pretty reliable. I'll be happy to provide the results once the FDA concludes its Quality Assurance audit of the test facilities.

Governor X: As a Denny's stockholder, I would like to hear some details on your dish preferences and how frequently you visit the establishment. Could you provide?

Jon: It is to my ever-abiding shame to report that I am not a common frequenter of Denny's, having grown up in the heart of Waffle House country. However, if they serve Country Fried Steak with White Gravy, then that is what I would order.

Chaim Witz:
Who, in your qualified opinion, has been the best KISS replacement member over the years?

Jon: Clearly Vinnie Vincent. And not just for his obvious technical proficiency, his utter rejection of his Italian heritage to make a buck, or his tacit support of the worship of Mighty Osiris in his assumption of the mantle of Ankh Warrior.

No, Vinnie has taught us the important lesson that anyone can, through hard work and general jackassery, manage to get fired from KISS for "unethical behavior."

In one aspect or another we're all guilty of snobbery whether it be food, sports, music, movies, politics, etc. What would you be considered a snob of the most? Has this ever led to arguments ending in a finger jab to the throat?

Jon: Well, of course, I try to be as elitist as possible in my daily life, but I really think my snobbery has come to the forefront in three areas:

1. The field of pre-, proto-, quasi-, meta-, post-, and unprefixed punk. Of which I have my own
definitions. And woe betide any that dare speak against my proclaimed tastes in this field.

2. As a native of South Carolina, the only state with 4 distinct Barbecue traditions (Vinegar, Carolina Mustard, and both Light and Heavy Tomato-based), I have engaged many a sissy slapfight with those that either use barbecue as a verb or refer to grilled food as "barbecued." Also, the abbreviation BBQ and its variants should only be used when handwritten on a wooden sign.

3. My innate sense of revulsion at the obscene Midwestern tradition of slicing pizza into squares. Anyone over seven that eats pizza like this will get a resigned eyeroll and a haughty sniff if they try it in my presence. Unless of course, someone else is paying for a pizza I'm eating. Then, sure, because c''s just pizza.

In an internet search of your name, I found that you play hockey for Dartmouth.

Two questions: 1) Does the Outing Club really help people to come out of the closet? 2) What kind of groupies are you most familiar with?

Bonus question: Before Pomp Culture, what blogs did you read and why?

Jon: 1) I don't know if it helps, but anything that enables you to feel free to be
yourself couldn't hurt. I mean unless you're into getting hurt. Then it probably will.

2) Most of the groupies I've dealt with have been people that have mistaken me for Rivers Cuomo. Although, once I was mistaken for Mario Cuomo. But I didn't really get any action for it. Unless you consider a guest speaking engagement at the Buena Park League of Women Voters "action."

Bonus: The usual suspects for baseball (the one sport that I can actually analyze with some confidence), especially Cubs ones (HireJimEssian, Desipio, FJM, Baseball Prospectus). I also have a soft spot in my nerdy heart for blogs about the ridiculous crap that went on in old comics. And, of course, Rodney Anonymous's blog, because if you can't learn a life lesson from the former Dead Milkmen frontman, it is unteachable.

Daft Funk: I see you mentioned comics. Are you a comic nerd?

I was a huge comics nerd in the late 80s. Then I was a pretentious indie comics nerd in the 90s. A while back, I realized that heck, I have a decent job, a great girlfriend, and a pretty passable semblance of a life, so I went back to comics because I now have nothing toprove.

Brant Brown:
Russia or the United States. Pick one.

Jon: I'm going to go with the U.S. because we have Captain America. Though Russia has the Red Ghost and his that's kind of a wash, since I have a soft spot for super-powered apes.

Wait. I'm forgetting that we also have Rock'n'Roll, which beats Tuvan throat singing rather handily in the badass department. Plus, there's no way Ivan Drago takes out Carl Weathers in a fair fight. U-S-A! U-S-A!

Jon, favorite pro wrestler? This will say a lot about you in my book.

Well, I'm a little out of the loop, but I will tell you that I was always a fan of the "Heel" characters when I was younger. I'm far too weak and girlish to be a wrestler, but one of my Dream Jobs would be an evil manager, like Bobby "The Brain" Heenan.

As far as actual wrestlers, I've always had a soft spot for "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. He was the Celtics to Hogan's Lakers (or maybe the Oakland Raiders to Hogan's 49ers - I'm not good at non-baseball analogies). My favorite pro-wrestling moment of all time was on a mid-80s Saturday Night Main Event when an injured Piper came out to beat the hell out of Adrian Adonis (a Gorgeous George rip-off that had played hell with the WWF for much of the preceding
months, through the time honored tactic of cheating). Piper beat Adonis down with his crutches in spectacular fashion. If I recall correctly, Piper hated Adonis so much that he helped a woozy Hogan keep his belt during that fight, which a judicious folding-chair to the Hulk's face had placed within Adonis's grasp.

But it's been over 20 years since I watched that, so don't quote me.

Lingering Bursitis:
Three questions. 1)What is your ultimate desert island disc. You can only take one album.

2)What do you request for your last meal on Death Row? More importantly, if you were ever to end up

on Death Row, what would your crimes be? 3)Who's your favourite Beatle?

Jon: Desert Island Disc: I'm going to be cliched and say London Calling, which has been my answer for 15 years now. But several other albums are gaining on it.

Last meal: A McRib, A country-fried steak, and a plate of hot wings. Hopefully, I have a heart attack and die before they execute me for the brutal ritual killings of Jimmy Buffett, James Taylor, and all non-Joe Walsh members of the Eagles. Walsh just gets cut a little.

My favorite Beatle is Ringo.

Honorable mention to Stu Sutcliffe and George Martin.

Chip: Say you're a member of a successful rock band.

Name 3 items that must be in your backstage green room or you'll refuse to go on?

Jon: Exactly 416 White Cheddar Cheez-its, unbroken, served in a crystal bowl. A French press stocked with the most expensive coffee to be found in a 50-mile radius A guy who looks uncannily like Jerry Orbach who just sits in a corner, reading the paper and grumbling to himself.

What is your favorite Wu-Tang rapper and why? This will also tell me a lot about you.

I'm partial to the GZA. To some extent, it's because he made Liquid Swords. But really it's because when they form like Voltron, he happens to be the head.

Dave Thomas:
What is your most hated mispronunciation?

No one realizes that the word forte (as in "not my forte") should be pronounced "fort,"not for-tay. It comes from the the French word for stregth, not the Italian word for loud (oh, I'm also an etymology snob). But I know that is a losing battle.

Also, though it is apparently an acceptable alternate pronunciation, when people say Cli-TOR-is instead of CLIT-or-is, a little part of me dies inside.

Alright, we have time for just one more question.

Daft Funk:
What three words would you use to describe this picture?

Jon: Gay Robot Prom?

OK, that concludes our press conference today, thanks to all who participated. Jon, do you have any final comments?

Jon: I have a deep and abiding NONSEXUAL love of Bea Arthur.

Welcome to Pomp Culture Jon.

In which I spread myself even thinner...

Just an FYI: Starting very soon, I will be contributing occasional articles at Pomp Culture, the less-baseball-centric spinoff to the late, lamented Thunder Matt's Saloon.

In fact, I just held a press conference there, if anyone's curious.

Soon, I plan to make some grandiose claims about Iron Maiden...

P.S. If you're ever in a jam and need some quick legal advice, the Law Offices of Panini & Rye have gotten me out of a few scrapes in the past few years. Sure, they're hitting some tough times right now, but aren't we all?

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Slog in Review

Hello, Slogateers! Long time no write! I bet you're excited for new content!

Too bad! You're getting a clips show! And considering some of my clips are reposts from even older clips, you're getting the most recursive blog entry yet!

Okay, I've already used up my 2009 allotment of exclamation points. Oops.

A lot of blogs use this time of year as a way of reviewing the previous year's content, hitting all the highlights, etc. etc. ad nauseum, ad infinitum, ad hoc, post hoc ergo propter hoc, sic simper tyrannus, and so on.

But this isn't a lot of blogs. It's just my blog. My poorly written, almost never updated, confusing and insular rantfest. And I'm going to review the entire thing.1

Here it goes:

The Prehistory of the Slog (also known as 2007)

January 18: Having joined Blogger solely to leave a comment here, I decide to make the most of my newfound platform by spending thirty seconds typing a placeholder entry about Runts. Apparently I had hurt my toe that day, as well

May 12: In what will soon become a pattern for The Slog, I apologize for not actually writing a blog entry for the preceding 4 months. Exhausted by this monumental effort, I take 8 months off of blogging.

The History of the Slog (2008 - ?2)


28: In a moment that displays my extreme skills of complaining and pocrastinating, I complain about an incident that had happened five days previously. This entry is also a stopgap. But it does take longer to read than the front of a Cheerios box. One year and ten days after its inception, The Slog has an actual entry. Later that day, because I don't want this fledgeling blog to look so sparse, I add an obscure reference to Mark E. Smith and the Fall in order to inform my as yet nonexistent readers that I will be reposting the contents of my quasi-popular myspace blog over here. Note the proto-footnotes. I'm using asterisks because I forgot the html code for superscript. I am still so young...

30: Worn out from warning people I would do so, I take 2 days to copy and paste my first Myspace archive, from October 15, 2006. It is about how I quit my horrible job, thus beginning my Unemployment Saga. To make myself feel better about things, I add some additional commentary. Much like I'm doing now. That being easy enough, I post two more short entries from October 16, 2006 where I discover that my two weeks notice has been truncated to what I can only assume is a firing. Also, I get a mattress.

31: On October 18, 2006 I prepare to interview at a temp agency. It is demoralizing. I end up practically begging for money. The first mention of My Hideous Dog, for those playing along at home.


4: We learn that apparently by October 20, 2006 I really wanted to create art, but could't. This repost is largely notable for the drawing of Golden Age Skye Sweetnam, a precursor to The Knight Owl. I then post two blogs from October 24th, 2006 about my hypochondria over weight loss and my absolute hatred of job hunting. The first complaint is a dark portent of things to come.

21: A miserable three weeks ensues in real time, before the Myspace Archive continues triumphantly with an account of my 2006 Halloween plans. I end up going as Morrissey, a costume that is so perfect that I am both uniformly praised and uniformly scorned by all who see it. Later that day, we all discover that by November 4th, my life was getting better. I also end up listening to London Calling several times over. Apparently, I have some free time this day - because I post yet another Archive about finally getting a job (on November 6th, 2006). Which I promptly celebrate by drinking beer and watching zombie movies.

23: I repost one of my all time favorite blog entries (November 7, 2006), in which I go to a free clinic and then expound at some length about the Golden Girls' House.

25: We learn that as of November 22, 2006 I don't have cancer. Despite my love of bourbon and McRibs. We also learn that on November 24, 2006 I forgive those who have wronged me and apologize to those I have wronged. We also learn that brushes with death make me pompous.

26: We mourn the December 21, 2006 passing of The Greatest Ruler in History. My commentary exceeds the length of the original entry roughly sevenfold.

28: We learn that I was blogging on MySpace for months after I had a perfectly good Slog when I repost this very tender moment of flirting with my future girlfriend via the time tested method of being prejudiced. Originally written on February 16, 2007. I then add ACTUAL NEW CONTENT when I somehow nearly kill myself sneezing.


1: March comes in like a lion with this repost of the first part of my quasi-legendary, never yet finished Dark Underbelly of the 80s series (April 12, 2007). My unholy love of Ghostbusters first rears its head, as well as my irrational need to prove it's better than Citizen Kane. As if that isn't already obvious.

2: We learn that my Jewish girlfriend thinks swastikas are funny. This post becomes so popular, a spammer thinks this is the ideal place to leave a comment to increase ad revenues. Then I follow up with one of the most seminal works in philosophical history, part 2 of The Dark Underbelly of the 80s. This marks the May 17, 2007 birthplace of Sincere IronyTM, which is bound to replace Scientology as the leading Hollywood Fad Religion by 2021.

3: I finally get around to letting readers know a little about me.

4: I add one more vital fact to the previous post.

5: We learn that not all my Myspace blog entries are very good. I try to make up for this May 23, 2007 entry with entertaining commentary about geeks and completism, but my ADD ends up taking over. A must read.

6: I am disturbed in this repost of the June 23, 2007 blog entry. Later, I toss off a throwaway entry that eventually gets more hits than any other on this site, eventually being viewed by every single person living on Mauritius.

7: I repost a filler piece from January 17, 2008 in which I promise to eventually write real content. Even the footnotes are irritating. Later that day, I actually create new content, in the now legendary Attempt to Repair a VCR. Dr. Scotch and I lose the patient, but find ourselves in this epic pictorial journey.

9: After a solid 8 days of mostly new content, I skip a day before tossing off this lazy piece of hackwork about my first google search hit.

13: My daily productivity starts to slow, but my hit count rises as the Third World recognizes me as A Prime Source of New Romantic Musician Pictures. Later that day, Sparky ruins my 3-day weekend using only his excrement.

16: Just when my weekend starts looking up, Sparky delivers the coup-de-grace.

18: Oh, wait. It wasn't over yet. The dog is not guilty this time. I continue to complain about my ruptured chiklis for the rest of the day.

19: I wrap up the Myspace Archive in this repost from January 22, 2008 making fun of my Dad and German hairstyles.

21: I admit I am a huge pussy and ruin the upcoming Watchmen movie for anyone who can't scroll past a spoiler without reading.

27: I spew forth a miscellany on such topics as my desire to find a better job, my distrust of the Cubs, giant cookies, and Frankenstein hunters. I also piss and moan a bit about the Carbon/Silicon cancelleation. In the comments I invent the term "haikurotica." I continue this pissing and moaning later that day, with another kvetchfest about my dog's waste, among other things.


3: Holy crap! I actually make an effort to continue The Dark Underbelly of the 80s. But I only get through a tiny bit of the planned post, and severely dissappoint my legions of fan. I then make some brief announcements.

30: I take another long break from blogging, then return to mourn Turkmenbashi once again.


5: I urinate on a highway and do some naked plumbing. A long entry in itself, this one's comments devolve into something even longer and more obtuse.

8: I spend more time interpreting "Karma Chameleon" than was probably spent writing AND recording it. Definitely one of my better pieces, and judging by the hit count, definitely confusing tons of people who are genuinely looking for meaning in that song.

29: Another throwaway entry in which I lose all hipster cred.

30: I drink like a girl, and if you follow the instructions in this photo-essay, YOU CAN TOO! Oh, from this point on, I figure out how to put rollover comments on the pictures.


12: Bullet points. Is there no laziness they can't mask?

15: R.I.P Wilson. This one is actually sad.


3: I find a reason to be patriotic. And we all know neither Captain Britain nor Union Jack have ever been that unmitigatedly rad.

10: I pimp my show. You know, the one where I played a gay, Hasidic, pedophilic Satan. I am later nominated for a Jeff Award.3

11: Opening night goes well.

12: The reviews are awesome.

16: I make grandiose plans to blog about my beard. They do not last long.

22: Damn you Golden Girls' House! When will the killing stop?

23: I am diagnosed with ADHD and see a Blind AlbinoTM.


8: I Bleed Grizzly Pink for a while.


5: I dump a link about a possible Ghostbusters sequel. It leads to an inordinately long discussion in the comments.


14: In my monthly update, I try to catch my readers up with my plans, hopes, and dreams.

15: I actually post twice in one month again! I love this little piece of faux scholarship about a non-existent 1960s superhero. But judging by the comments, no one else did.

24: I endorse Hank Williams III's Damn Right, Rebel Proud as album of the year. Which it is.

30: I make some random comments about over- and underrated things. All readers are encouraged to listen to more Fugazi.

31: I go completely batshit insane in my analysis of the Misfits in honor of Halloween.


10: The McRib returns. I am overjoyed. I eat my first of the year later that day.

11: I defend myself against LIES! And do a little editing.

12: The time honored lazy blog tradition of listing searches used to reach me.

14: I eat another McRib. Later I make some big plans.

17: I eat yet another McRib.

20: I complain about being sick.

21: Axl Rose makes me look like a chump. I also eat my 4th McRib.


4: Holy crap! Ghostbusters video game!

12: Bettie Page dies.

18: Stan Lee respects the hell out of women.

Okay...that's it. So far. I'd like to thank all 7 of my non-Pakistani readers.

  1. Not as hard as it seems. I really don't have a lot of content. Still, you know...
  2. I'm guessing sometime in March of this year.
  3. Not strictly true.