MC Trebek in the Hizzouse

4 05 2010

In my last post, I was going to talk about how Leeroy Jenkins led to my second favorite clip ever on “Jeopardy.”

Then I was going to mention that my all-time favorite came at 0:26 in this clip.
But then I found this little beauty, and I figured it was probably just best to create a new post.

Alex Trebek’s delivery is great, and I really enjoy the security camera footage of the drunk guy stumbling around the convenience store. I think we need to see more of Alex Trebek rapping.

But how will Alex Trebek be remembered in the internet community? As noted rap MC? Or as the guy who did the weird little seizure dance?

Or the foul-mouthed drunkard?

Or the man without pants?

Or when he made Ken Jennings admit he knew what a ho was.

In summation, I believe Alex Trebek to be totally insane, and I love him for it.


Remix Culture: Hoisted by my Own Hipster Petard

3 05 2010

So someone in my facebook feed linked to the new “United States of Pop” mashup by DJ earworm. The slave drivers here at the University are clearly working me too hard, because I’ve been looking forward to USoP 2009 since the last one came out. I haven’t checked the mashup forums in ages *wistful sigh*. The bad news is, the quality of these things has been declining every year. I don’t think it’s because pop music’s getting worse, because pop music has always sucked. I don’t think it’s DJ earworm, because the quality of his production has always been pretty topflight. Maybe the novelty of hearing Billboard’s Top 25 songs lumped together is wearing thin. I hope I don’t ever have to start enjoying things sincerely.

Still, you have to admit, DJ earworm manages to build some pretty impressive tunes (especially considering quality of the 25 limp noodles he has for construction material). Anyway, check out the USoP 2007-2009, and lemme know which year you think was the biggest travesty in pop music.

For a real taste of what DJ earworm can do, check out his mash “No More Gas.” It’s a great illustration of how you can mash lots of songs together in a small space and still come out with a clear, substantive final track. Earworm slyly takes some vapid pop music tracks and points out the undertones of consumerism, addiction, desperation, and unhealthy materialism running through them. Which is really cool, in my book.

Remix Culture: Barack Obama will Not Buy You Fries

30 04 2010

I’m quite fond of President Obama. I think that he’s obviously an intelligent, thoughtful, and tactful man. It’s mostly because of those qualities that I’ve always wanted to hear Barack Obama call someone an “ignorant motherfucker.” Luckily, I live in a day and age where that dream has become a reality.

Yeah, you heard it. I wasn’t sure if it was real, either. But that’s totally Barack Obama, and he totally isn’t going to cover the cost of your french fries. The audio clips have been taken from Obama’s audiobook of “Dreams From My Father.” As far as I know, the person who decided to extract these clips has not yet been awarded a medal. I assume it’s pending.

These clips have been up on the internet for over a year, and frankly I’m surprised I hadn’t heard them before. The earliest mention of them I can find is on the Boston Phoenix blog. Apparently, these quotes are attributed to Obama’s friend Ray, and the President is merely dramatically reenacting them for our unabashed amusement. Obama should thank his lucky stars that this stuff got released in 2009 and not 2008. I can’t imagine what all the beer-swilling crackers would have thought when a Muslim, socialist black man appeared on their TV and began calling them motherfuckers.

At this point, though, I have to wonder if my level of respect for President Obama wouldn’t increase a little if he started calling people “ignorant motherfuckers” to their faces in the course of political debates. It’s not like he wouldn’t have plenty of opportunities. And the internet would love him for it.

In summation: President Obama smokes, drinks, swears, and has frequently inhaled marijuana. He is, therefore, our coolest president ever. Four more years!

Adventures in the Public Domain: Write a Songs About Astrology and Mythology, Sit Back and Wait for a Black Metal Cover

29 04 2010

Today, I’m going to be taking a look at another piece of public domain music- namely Gustav Holst’s seven movement orchestral suite “The Planets.” But first, I’m going to give a shoutout to Aaron Dunn and Musopen. It’s a non-profit charity designed to catalog sheet music and recordings of public domain music. It’s a good idea in my book.

You might not be a big fan of orchestral music, but there’s still a decent change you’ve heard a portion of Gustav Holst’s “The Planets.” It might sound familiar if you’ve watched The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Right Stuff, or Wallace and Gromit in Curse of the Were-Rabbit. You also might have run across it if you’ve played the game Drakengard, or happen to be a fan of black metal.

Holst was an English composer and astrology whacko. He started composing “The Planets” in 1914. The concept was that each planet in the solar system was represented by an movement embodying it’s astrological significance and mythological namesake. Thus we have movements entitled “Venus, the Bringer of Peace,” “Mars, the Bringer of War,” and “Mercury, the Winged Messanger.” Pluto doesn’t get a movement, because it was discovered in 1930 and nobody cares about Pluto anyway.

The composition premiered at Queen’s Hall in 1918 and promptly blew the roof off the joint. “The Planets” quickly became very popular, especially “Mars” and “Venus.” Holst later revised a portion of “Jupiter” and so that the tune would fit the popular hymn “I Vow to Thee, My Country.” The revised portion of “Jupiter” (called “Thaxed”) has since been used as the melody for other hymns, as well as in the theme song for the World Rugby Cup.

Oh yeah, and the obligatory metal reincarnations.

Remix Culture: Taylor Swift as Psychological Terrorism

27 04 2010

As finals draw near, I crave but one thing: sleep. I could literally spend all day in bed. Every night, my alarm gets set later and later. Every morning, I arise drowsier and drowsier.

I decided I needed a new alarm clock. Something that would stir me from my unholy slumber so that I could greet the day with the prerequisite amount of rage I require to function. I needed an alarm that would elicit all the negative emotions that human beings are capable of: fear, anger, sadness, emptiness, loneliness. I needed something that would make me bristle with loathing at the first signs of consciousness, so much so that I would be immediately driven to find the source of the noise and destroy it with extreme prejudice.

So naturally, I started with Taylor Swift. My old roommate used to blast Taylor Swift songs like they were his party anthem. I would return home to my dorm, only to be faced with the horrors of Ms. Swift singing asinine songs about ponies and fairytales. In an act that borders on mad science (and with the help of some spooky Halloween SFX), I have remixed Taylor Swift’s “Love Song” into a hulking, macabre abomination that threatens the very sanity of those who dare to listen. If a portal to Hell ripped open in my backyard, this is the sound I would imagine emanating forth. Enjoy!

Taylor Swift Beyond Time and Space

Kim Jong-Il’s Kiddie Cartoon Cavalcade!

11 04 2010

So I recently ran across this humorously (and inaccurately) re-subtitled version of a North Korean propaganda cartoon, and I immediately knew a blog post was imminent. It fits very nicely with my “remix culture” ideology, while serving to solidify David Hasselhoff’s status as a non-sequitur punchline. Let’s watch, shall we?

At the heart of it, I simply find something unwholesome about children’s programming with a political agenda. Propaganda, in and of itself, isn’t that disquieting. Every single nation or culture that has ever lived has engaged in some type of propaganda, so I’m totally willing to write that off as a necessary evil. I basically feel the same way about children’s entertainment: a universal and necessary evil. But when the two elements are combined, the effect is sinister and Orwellian. When a group of individuals re-appropriates the medium of animation for political ends the result is…icky.

And that’s why the above video succeeds as entertainment. While the “subtitles” themselves aren’t gutbustingly funny, the simple fact that it’s subverting that unwholesome propaganda vibe makes you laugh along through the rough patches.

So, since it fits loosely with my theme, and since I love old cell animation (Bite me, Pixar!), I decided to poke around for some other propaganda cartoons. This first one is easily the most awesome, and the most disquieting, of the bunch. From the Soviet Union Circa 1979 comes Shooting Range. Everything about this cartoon is designed to drive you to the brink of madness, from the sneering, nightmarish animation to the mind-rattling acid-jazz soundtrack. It chronicles the story of a young man who takes a job as a target in a shooting range to make ends meet.

The next one up is also from the Soviet Union, but from 1961. This one tells the tale of a bulldog who gets really rich, then turns into a total jerk. I really love the animation here, especially the dogs drunken stumbling around the 7:15 mark.

Finally, from 1943, we have America’s own Walt Disney explaining why Nazis suck.

Personally, I think this stuff is just fascinating. I’d look for more propaganda cartoons here in the future, because I haven’t even scratched the surface. And, come on, there’s no way that 3D CGI crap can hold up to this, eh?

Remix Culture: Francis and I Hate Everything

23 02 2010

I wake up at 7:45 five days a week. I wake up over the course of a brisk, half-mile jaunt to class in the midst of a typical blow-your-brains-out Iowa February. Then I sit in class, walk home, walk back to class, and repeat ad nauseum. Since I’ve given up my crank habit for lent (stupid Catholicism), I make it through the day as a sentient ball of ire, fueled by rage, ill-will, and sugary foodstuffs. At the very least, I assuage my situation with a stream of constant grumblings a la Francis from Left 4 Dead.

Incidently, I do hate doctors, lawyers, cops, and Ayn Rand. Especially Ayn Rand.

This video is a good illustration of why I rail against strict enforcement of copyright law. Companies who try to shut down creative remixes like this one end up looking like jerks, and I don’t like to give jerks my money. By allowing people to remix content, it creates a broader audience for your product. I’d read countless reviews about how great Left 4 Dead was, and I worship Valve like the gods-in-mortal-form that they are. But it was ultimately this very video that persuaded me to play Left 4 Dead. I immediately fell in love with the gameplay, and Francis’s endearing misanthropy.

Tangentially, do you watch the fabulous videogame review webcomic Zero Punctuation? If not, what’s wrong with you? Check out his reviews of Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2.

As a final note, the commercials for Left 4 Dead 2 prominently featured a song by Clutch. Clutch rules. Evidence for this statement is provided below.