Thursday, May 20, 2010


Saw them last night with my buddy Derek at the Electric Factory here in Philly. First off, I was jazzed that I got free on-street parking right around the corner in front of the Red Cross building. Yep, I'm officially middle-aged. Getting excited over a parking place. Christ, I might as well hike my pants up to my sternum.

Anyway, I caught the last two songs by the first opening act, Necro. Two guys on stage with an iPod. Not too bad. Hardcore stuff you would except at an ICP show. And their profanity-laced banter seemed to go over well with the crowd.

After their set ended, a black curtain was drawn across the stage. Near the back of the venue, up a stairwell for all to see was Mike E. Clark, ICP's legendary producer (who has also worked with House Of Pain and Kid Rock). Dressed in a white lab coat and kamikaze goggles, he DJ'ed with help from his MacBook. With most of his thinning mop of hair dyed clown-red, he entertained the crowd for about ten minutes.

All-female metal band, Kittie, from Canada, were up next. Many of their songs sounded the same, probably due to the fact that they didn't pause between most songs, but lead singer / rhythm guitar player Morgan Lander made up for it with bleach-blond Pink-ish haircuit; plus she was working those black biker shorts. I liked their set so much, I downloaded their latest from eMusic.

Next up was Coolio. Pretty pathetic. He had three relatives up there with him and a banner in the background of GANGSTER'S PARADISE (what was that, like 10 years ago?). At 46, his voice is shot. I think he needed backup to pull off a live performance. Of course, it didn't help that at least 20 minutes of his 45-minute set consisted of banter. And I felt bad for his son, who was up there, because they called him AI, for Artificial Intelligence, since -- in Coolio's words -- "he's dumb." Poor kid. Born into a bad family. Oh, and when Coolio did "Gangster's Paradise", I couldn't help but think of Weird Al's "Amish Paradise". Mucho superior in my mind.

Thankfully, Coolio and his low-ambition crew left the stage. Mike E. Clark came back for his third set on the opportunely-located stairwell platform. I don't remember if it was during this set or when he had "performed" between Kittie and Coolie that he played ICP's "Chop Chop Slide". Fascinating to watch. It involves a lot of audience participation. The crowd hit all the right notes. Amazing!

Eventually, the last opening act, the Kottonmouth Kings, hit the stage. They seemed to be a bunch of stoners. Apparently the crowd loved them, with a number of their songs being about weed. Whatever, what am I, in the seventh grade?

Mike E. Clark didn't entertain the audience after the eternity of the Kottonmouth's hour set. Insane Clown Posse hit the stage around eleven o'clock.

ICP have been a guilty pleasure for the past five or so, even since my friend Derek turned me on to them. Their frequent use of the word "bitch" turns my liberal ass off, but Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope are good rappers, and their mythology of the Dark Carnival is fascinating. But I gotta hand to them, they really know how to put on a show. They go through all the hits (hardly any tunes from their latest, Bang Pow Boom). Songs I recognized were "Homies", "Let's Go All the Way", "Tilt-A-Whirl", "The Neden Game", "Serial Killer", "Fuck the World" and "Miracles". Gotta give 'em props for doing "Miracles", especially after SNL parodied it.

Proving that it was a white-trash event, throughout the show, ICP showered the crowd with Faygo soda (smelled like root beer, for the most part) and occasionally shooting out confetti. I don't know, I thought it would've been a better show if they would've practiced a little moderation with the Faygo and confetti.

All in all, I'm glad I went. I felt like an anthropologist in the clown-ish inner city. Definitely a different scene. And they finished with "Bang! Pow! Boom!", from their most recent full-length. A nice ten-minute ditty to end a white-trash event.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Flashforward, part 2 [[WITH SPOILERS!]]

Finally finished listening to it. I still think the characters were two-dimensional, but I don't read sci-fi for the characters; I read it for the mind-blowing ideas. Part of the ending had only Nobel Prize winners achieving near-eternal life, and humans the only intelligent life in the universe. Interesting stuff. It did get me thinking. The afterlife is a fantasy. I'm becoming more convinced that when you die, that's it -- lights out. There could still be a God (something had to kick-start the Big Bang) and having a limited shelf-life could mean we burn bright, burn fast; though that doesn't mean we should lead selfish, hedonistic lives.

I understand why religion thrives. Nobody wants to die. The afterlife is a nice safety net. I suffer in this world and am rewarded in the next. But the more I read, I see incredibly intelligent people are atheists. Maybe they're onto something.

Of course, maybe I'm just looking for an easy out. All of my sins would be a non-issue if life ends with my last heartbeat.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Took my four-year-old nephew, Buff, this afternoon to this little carnival in the parking lot behind the office building I work in. He seemed to have a good time. On the ride there he informed me that Jedi Knights didn't go to barbers or hair dressers because they used their lightsabers to cut their hair. Out of the mouth of Buff.

The carnival had no more than a dozen rides. Buff's a bit of a daredevil, so we did the funhouse twice. It was funny: during Bumper Cars (I had to drive, even though he's 42" tall) he grinned when we got slammed on both sides by other cars. Other rides we did were airplanes going round and round, lifting six feet off the ground; merry-go-round, which he seemed bored with; yellow slide -- about 20 feet in the air, where you go down on a piece of canvas (Buff on my lap); and haunted ride, which was lame but he seemed a little scared. We also played basketball hoop and shooting balls in slanted rubber baskets, twice each; what a gyp . . . five bucks for three balls, and House almost always wins.

I did buy Buff a lemonade, and he wanted cotton candy, but I kept putting him off because cash was running low and I didn't want to spoil his dinner. Glad I did because I wound up eating supper at my sister's and he woofed down his food. Glad to see it, since he's usually a picky eater. He has a 110% sweet tooth.

When I finally got ready to leave in the early evening, I though it was cute that Buff asked when I was coming back. Now that's nice. . . .

Wow, what a long post! Sounds like I had more fun than a four-year-old!!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Earlier this week I bought ticket to see them this summer in Atlantic City. My old cassette of Reach the Beach was busted, so I bought the LP used, and I uploaded their followup, Phantoms -- good goddamn, the lyrics! I gotta say, they're an awesome band!!! I was a passive fan back in the day. I can't wait to see them! What sold me was watching some clips of them live on You Tube.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Been listening to the audiobook Flashforward. I'm about halfway through it. It's OK, though the author does put forth an interesting idea. Oh, in case you're unfamiliar with the novel plot (or the TV adaption, which is slightly different, I hear), a science experiment lets every person on Earth experience life 20 years or so in the future for a few minutes. The author (Sawyer, is it?) hypothesizes, via his main characters, that the future is fixed, just like the past. An idea to mull over. . . . And he mentions Niven's Law, named after the sci-fi writer. Apparently, it means that time travel is impossible because as soon as somebody figures it out, the universe ends to prevent any paradoxes. Fascinating! Sorry to say, I probably won't read/listen to anything else from this Flashforward writer. His characters are too two-dimensional for my tastes, and his plotting needs work. The novel would've been a million times better if instead of all these sorry-sort characters whining about their futures, how about everybody keeps seeing glimpses of their future? Maybe to keep things simple, have the future-seers be a small group of people -- perhaps the cabal of scientists who kick-started it all. Yes, I suffer from the Robert B. Parker affliction where whatever I read/watch I'm criticizing with how I would write it.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


I was babysitting my four-year-old nephew, Buff, this afternoon. My sister came back early from chaperoning her oldest, Marty, to a birthday party. Buff was watching college-girl gymnastics while lying in a chair that can lean back and rotate all the way around. All of the sudden he started crying. My sister asked what happened as Buff went over to her. He said he kneed himself in the eye. Apparently his eyes were closed and regarding his knee, "I didn't even see it coming." Funny. . . .