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Archive for August, 2008

You’ve probably seen Steamboat Willie, but have you seen The Gallopin’ Gaucho? This 1928 short is full of drinking, womanizing, racial stereotypes, fighting, animal abuse, and defunct phallic symbols. In a sense, the embodiment of Walt Disney himself.

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If you’ve ever seen ‘The Wire,’ then you know what a shit show Baltimore is. Last year Baltimore was ranked the 12th most dangerous city in the country, a dubious honor. I live with my girlfriend in Oakland, CA, home of the Raiders, the $5 baseball game, Del tha Funkee Homosapien, and last year a number 4 ranking on the most dangerous cities in the U.S. list.

I’m not trying to hype up my street cred or anything like that. Oakland is basically divided up into three major sections. West Oakland and East Oakland are the areas where all the violent crime is concentrated. I live in the central wedge that separates West and East Oakland and apexes in downtown Oakland (where I work). It’s more or less safe and apparently the lead singer from Cake lives in my neighborhood. So it’s not like murders and gang busts are going down in my back yard.

View Larger Map

I spent about 5 minutes on this map, so don’t berate me for inaccuracies.

Even when you live in the safest part of the 4th most dangerous city in the country some interesting shit is bound to happen, which is why I started this column. Here I’ll tell you all about the crazy everyday shenanigans that make Oakland so… whatever it is: from crackheads eating hard boiled eggs in the middle of a busy downtown thoroughfare, to crackheads dressing up like pharaohs, to crackheads telling you how their friend blew a guys head off with a .44 magnum (just like the scene in Taxi Driver where Scorsese is describing exactly that from the back of the cab, but disturbingly more real).

This is just your intro, your teaser, your cultural acclimatization. A few historical facts for you:

Founded in 1852, Oakland is the 8th largest city in California, and 44th largest in the country. The world headquarters of Clorox are here. The city’s namesake is an abundance of oak trees, and apparently we have a space center somewhere. And I’m gonna go out on a limb and be the first to claim Oakland as the hair extension capitol of the Western hemisphere (I’d go for world, but I’m thinking Tokyo might have us beat).

Between 1997 and 2005, Oakland oscillated between 28th and 13th on the most dangerous cities list. In ’06 it shot up to 8th, last year it was 4th. We’ve had a string of violence this year, in part because of a depleted police force, so I’m pulling for #1!

Seeing that Berkeley forms the northern border of Oakland, and San Francisco is just across the bay, it’s inevitable that some of my storytelling might spill into these other locations; after all, they each have their own variety of bizarre cosmogonies.

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by J. Frollins

The indie music scene/movement/culture is, by nature of its economic origins, a positive entity in theory. Bands and artists are creating music and supporting it independently, unfettered by commercial demographics and marketing schemes. Music lovers would assume that this foundation would be the warm womb for honest, unique and solid music.

I wish this were true.

Yes, there have been several true poets that have come to us propelled by indie values (Iron and Wine, Conor Oberst etc). But by and large, this new DIY counter-culture seems to have replaced quality with cool in a shorter time than it took Linkin Park to re-mix their record with Jay-Z’s (probably around a week).

Somehow we now have shopping malls full of hipster teens wearing skin tight jeans, thick-rimmed non-prescription glasses and t-shirts of bands that are only cool because you’ve never heard of them. Apparently since these bands went on tour, have an indie record deal and OMG my cousin’s best friend hooked up with Seth the bass player after one of their shows, they have the right to be revered as legitimate, sticking-it-to-the-man artists. Somehow the simulacrum of trend has transformed this noble modus operandi into a full fledged image and (even more unbelievably) a sound – and a shitty one at that.

Have you heard this garbage? Of course you have. It’s mostly all reprehensibly retro variations of beatnik pop music with better effect pedals. If the guy can sing then they are trying to sound like The Shins and if he can’t then they just have a punk edge. These guys didn’t get into music to learn about themselves, discover meaning in art or convey any kind of profundity. They did it because they wanted to meet girls with poor judgment (and incidentally taste) who feel connected and inspired by their commonplace and soon to be mass produced sound.

And here’s tire iron to the face of all of this: this wasn’t caused by any giant record label or industry. Nope, we can’t blame this on top 40 disc jockeys or Brittney’s archetype pushers, just on run-of-the-mill shitty taste and cooler than now trends.

Conversely, progressive monsters Tool fought tooth and nail with the industry for years and for artistic freedom and eventually emerged on top as one of the biggest rock acts of our time. They have complete control over their music, money and marketing- using the industry only for a distribution deal. Mike Patton releases his many diverse and avant-garde projects on his own independent record label as a well respected pioneer of modern experimental music. Why aren’t these remarkable individuals intelligently reviewed in indie publications? Because they eat meat and own guns? Because their tour bus isn’t bio-diesel? Ask one of these vegan indie kids and they’ll look at you through their combed over hair and probably say something like, “Well, they don’t really sound uber-indie.” But wait a minute…* -J Frollins

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There are moments when a currently popular phrase or saying reaches its apex and descends into obscurity. It is important for those who wish to remain socially agile to abandon these prior to this moment. Otherwise, one runs the risk of using them past their expiration date, and well, making you look like a tool. Here are some examples:


1.) Calling someone a “tool.”

For most of us, 8th grade happened ten or more years ago and quite frankly, this insult should have died then. Yes, I just used it, so now you know what a fucking loser sounds like. Do you want to be that guy? Didn’t think so. The English language is vast and complex, surely you should be able to find a more suitable insult this recycled middle school mainstay.


2.) Shouting “REMIX!” when music skips.

We’ve all been there – you’re at a party – you’re listening to your favorite Nelly jam – the CD starts to skip and without fail, some attention loving twat monger shouts “REMIX!” and then laughs at himself. Now, I’m not against shouting things ou when you’re in public, some of my favorites are, “BUSH IS HITLER!” and “CUNT!” But that does not justify shouting “REMIX!” Yes, we get it, the CD skipped and it kind of sounded like it could almost be a remix, but not really. So remix guy, do the common conscience a favor and shut the fuck up.


3.) Quoting Superbad.

OK, this was a fantastic movie, so please don’t mock it by doing your fuck luster impression of it. Chances are, you don’t remember the line exactly, nor can you capture the context, so if want to be funny, sit your ass down and write something. That’s what Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg did, so stop insulting their hard work you lazy piece of shit.


4.) Apple Bottom Jeans, Boots with the Fur.

What do you get when you take a shitty club hit and combined it with the unoriginal masses? You get, Apple Bottom Jeans, Boots with the Fur. Thanks to Flo Rider and T-Pain, whenever a sentence contains any one of these words, it is guaranteed that someone will sing the chorus to this song. Why? No seriously, why? Do you think it’s funny? What’s funny about it? Millions of people, including yourself pay to get into some awkward club and dance to that song. Is that funny to you? Is it funny to you that such a high quantity of people are that ignorant? Well it’s funny to me too. But please stop.


5.) Talking about beer-pong or Beirut.

For those of you who are out of college, I should not have to tell you this, but I will anyway. Haven’t you had enough of drinking warm beer with dirt floating in it? No? OK then, by all means play. But just don’t talk about it or your “Beirut tourney” or your “game” or your “house rules.” Jesus fucking Christ, how old are you guys? Can’t you just drink your drink and enjoy it? Why does everything you do have to be fixated to some game? Can’t carry a conversation by yourself? Now if you are in college, beer-pong is certainly unavoidable, but the sooner you realize how lame it is, the better off you’ll be.


6.) Dropping an n-bomb when there are no black people around.

Yeah, are you fucking kidding me? Just cause you and your white friends listen to Jay-Z, doesn’t mean you can just drop n-bombs whenever you want. First off, it’s not even funny in the pretend-to-be-racist way and seriously, think about it for a while. OK, I’ll tell you what, when you are taken from your home in the middle of the night, crammed aboard a diseased ridden ship, taken 6000 miles away, chained to a post for sale, and forced to work for someone who doesn’t know your first name, but will readily beat your kids and rape your wife, then you can drop all the n-bombs you want. Or better yet, if you think you’re down, say it in front of a black guy and see how long it takes for him to kick your ass.


7.) Using the word “guestimate.”

I am going to refer to Justin R. on this.

“I hate that word, why do people say it, it’s like the word decelerate, that only went in the dictionary because people are stupid, you don’t decelerate, you accelerate negatively, acceleration is a change in the rate of speed and direction, it doesn’t presuppose a positive change, people are lazy.”


8.) Mocking urban gestures and vocabulary when hip-hop music is played.

Let me paint the scene. You’ve got some hip-hop music playing and one of your less-funny friends comes over and starts saying, “Yo, yo, waz up homes (while making fake gang signs and bobbing his head).” Again, this isn’t funny. Shit, I’d rather have someone explain a Superbad scene to me in entirety then listen to and watch that.


9.) The gun show.

Your muscles aren’t that big. And even if they are, you have no practical strength. I suppose if you needed to enter a cocksucking contest to save your life, then those big meat hooks would come in handy. But if you were dangling over the edge of a cliff and needed to support your own body weight, you’d be shit out of luck pretty boy.


10.) Going cougar hunting.

You’re not! You’re not going cougar hunting! What the fuck? Why do you keep saying that? Seriously, you’re going to go to some terrible bar to ogle some girls who won’t be above thirty and you’ll drink some more well whiskey and you’ll come back to your disgusting apartment, jerk off and go to bed. That’s that. If you really want to take down that hot soccer mom, then
keep reading The Daily Lip, that way you’ll have something intelligent to say to her while you try and convince her to play with your pathetic dick while her kids are asleep you fucking tool.

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Everyone thinks they know about beer, and a number of people do, but because beer is such a part of who we are, when criticized or given advice we freeze up and become defensive. This article is intended to free you from the chains of stubborntry and teach you how to love your beer and your fellow beer drinkers. For those of you who shy away from the fine brews, for the simple reason that the taste just isn’t right I suggest that you get out of your comfort zone and buy and try buy and try, repeat infintium. Remember you didn’t like the taste of normal beer when you struggled your first one down either. Or, on the other hand you’re a connoisseur of sorts, you won’t drink anything that comes in packs or sixers, you understand me when I say wort or dry hopping, you look down upon the lite beer drinkers and wouldn’t be caught dead drinking out of a can. To you my uppity friend I simply say, Stop being such a douche and “lite’n” up. This commentary is multifaceted and contains 2 arguments: Drinking good beer is only cool if you’re cool, and; Every beer has its time and place and should be given its due praise. I’ll start by discussing the former.

Why do you have to be such an ass Mr. Dubbel Abby Ale? Sure no one appreciates the celebrated taste of a traditional Trappist ale more then you, but you don’t have to be a dick about it. Just because you like good beer doesn’t mean your anything special, I like good eggnog does that make me important? You act as if you’re the only one who can know about good beer, and think that if others knew there might not be enough left for you to drink, but you’re wrong Mr. Abby Ale you just need to pull your head out of your ass and appreciate how you got to where you are today. The rift occurs because Mr. Abby Ale has forgotten his roots, casting his Keystones aside, severing his ties with Rolling Rock, and mindlessly plunging head first into a pile of floral hops and never the while remembering where he came from. As refined as you are now, there was a time when you still stole Bud Heavies from someone’s Dad, drove drunk in Canada off of Labatt blues, did a “mr. mr.” to some guy for a 12 pack of bush, and lest we forget countless 30s of keystones you funneled/shotguned with your buddies from college. This is an intricate part of your beer journey and should be recalled, appreciated and relived, not forgotten about and scoffed at by your now self proclaimed enlightened self.{?}. By rolling your eyes at the guy ordering a Bud light at a brew house you’re first off forgetting a part of who you once were but secondly you’re missing the chance to help someone along in their passage. Sure a stern glance may be thrown your way when the guy struggles to finish the last sips of a Maharaja that you suggested, but I guarantee you that he is that much closer to enjoying the lovable beers of the universe. Drinking good beer may be a sign of maturity in taste but by not understanding the beer journey of others is a sign of immaturity in character. So stop being a dick, start remembering your past and start helping your fellow citizens.

The great brew masters of the 15th century didn’t have digital specific gravity meters or lifetimes and thousands to dedicate to their craft, No they had a lot of problems and needed a stiff drink. The original pioneers of the European Ale’s had to test there brews by pouring some out on a stool, sitting on it for an hour and seeing if they could stand up without sticking. If they stuck they knew there was more sugar to be fermented and if they came up easily they started to drink their brews. Now did these beers taste magically balanced like the treats we have today, not in the least, but did they still taste heavenly to those drinking it? You bet! So why then is it that Mr. Abby ale can’t drink a Coors light or have a Budweiser with some friends on a boat, well besides being the above mentioned dick, he fails to see the intrinsic value that every beer has. There is nothing wrong with cracking open a Red Dog with your high school chums, or crushing a Miller High life after your sons pee-wee soccer match. Sure some beers may be stronger in taste and flavor but that doesn’t mean their lesser cousins don’t deserve praise. What’s better then washing down a cold cut sandwich on the beach then a tasty American light beer, or what’s better then drinking 15 of your most hated beer with 15 of your most beloved old friends, what’s better then chugging a Foster’s oil can just because you can? The answer is everything. Taste is objectively subjective and is forever tied to the environment in which you imbibe. At every different moment in time there is a “best” beer, however influenced by your past and current tastes the decision should never be dogmatic or monotonous and instead should come straight from the Gods of chance. You’re an ever evolving individual and so is your beer journey. So go out fine sirs and find something that you’ve hated or never tried and drink every last drop, you’ll thank me for it.

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Not technically a YouTube video, but it makes up for that in satirical entertainment value.

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