::Literate Blather::
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Reading Moby-Dick: Part One

Chapter One: Loomings

“Immense as whales, the motion of whose vast bodies can in peaceful calm trouble the ocean till it boil.”

- Sir William Davenant, Preface to Gondibert

Call me Determined.

Some time ago – never mind how long precisely – I tried to read Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick.” But being a young man without much patience, I abandoned the novel somewhere about page 100. It was a discouragement to be sure and I found myself grim at the mouth.

“Moby-Dick,” after all, was a classic. One of those “big” books. Nay! One of those “giant” books ranking with Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace,” Charles Dickens’ “Bleak House,” and Miguel de Cervantes’ “Don Quixote.”

Alas, I had purchased an ill conceived paperback with print the size of micro-dots. My eyes were left strained and bloodshot and the book seemed an impossible endeavor.

With a damp, drizzly November in my soul, I returned “Moby-Dick” to my bookshelf, where it remained for many years. There it collected dust and the pages turned yellow and brittle. Oh, occasionally I’d finger the spine or pull it off the shelf – the old disappointment returning like a flash of lightning.

The years went by – the exact number is now lost to my memory – but I was older and more mature. One hazy, rainy winter weekend, I quite surprised myself by seeking out the volume and trying again. I spent an inglorious week struggling with the tiny type and the brittle pages.

This time my determination – my utter drive – took me to nearly 300 pages before, exhausted, I once again gave it up in vain. This time, I thought miserably, would be the last. It wasn’t meant to be. I was clearly not robust enough to tackle this weighty masterpiece.

Time continued to tick by – marriage, career change, children – and my copy of “Moby-Dick” ended up in a cardboard box in the basement. No longer would this tome mock me from my bookshelf!

And then – out of the blue – the reasons quite unclear to my foggy mind – I decided to try a third time. It was my copy of the novel – my cheap, tattered edition – that was preventing me from finishing. The brilliance of this insight set me to action.

I stuffed a dollar or two into my old wallet, tucked it into my back pocket, and started for the bookstore. I perused the finery of the stocked shelves. Is there any sight more grand and heart-warming than the glistening volumes of new books waiting patiently for an eager reader?

I found a hefty copy of “Moby-Dick” with big, bold letters practically leaping off the thick pages. Ah, I thought, this is the companion I’ve been waiting for! This is the copy of the novel that will help me to accomplish my mission!

The clerk rang up the sale and I was on my way. This time I am called Determined and I will finish “Moby-Dick.” I will record my adventures here – for you to experience, dear reader. Together we shall overcome the daunting task and my past failures and read one of the greatest American novels of all time.

But no more of this blubbering now, we are going a-whaling! Let us scrape the ice from our frosted feet, and see what sort of place this “Moby-Dick” may be.

Progress to date: Page 41 of 655.

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Monday, February 26, 2007
Ha! Ha! Ha! -- Saturday Night Live's Funniest Comedians

“Saturday Night Live” is a comedy factory – churning out some of the funniest actors in America since the show aired for the first time on October 11, 1975. Choosing the top seven is a difficult endeavor – and no list will please everyone (especially when it becomes apparent that neither Chevy Chase nor Dan Aykroyd made the cut).

While DaRK PaRTY was doing the painstaking research to select the cream of the crop – a trend emerged. SNL is a man’s game. There have been few women comedians who have successfully used SNL as a springboard for greater success. It would be difficult to get a woman on a top 15 list, never mind the top seven. The closest candidates would be Gilda Radner, Molly Shannon and Tina Fey.

For the purposes of this list, DaRK PaRTY had two criteria:

  1. The actor had to have made his first mark with SNL (which eliminated Billy Crystal, Chris Elliot and Michael McKean)
  2. The actor had to have left SNL for greater success (which eliminated the underrated and very funny Darrell Hammond)

So without further delay DaRK PaRTY presents the 7 Funniest Comedians from “Saturday Night Live.”

Bill Murray

Age: 56

Years on SNL: 1977-80

Style: A classic wiseass personae – known for his dry, sarcastic wit

Best Known Characters: The nerd Todd DiLamuca, who wore his pants up around his chest and gave nuggies, and Nick the Lounge Singer

Break-out Movie: “Meatballs” (1979)

Funniest Movie: “Caddyshack” (1980)

Worst Movie:Garfield” (2004)

Useless Trivia: Murray replaced the much-hated Chevy Chase and in 1978, during a show Chase was hosting, the two men got into a fistfight shortly before the show went live.

Quote: “We've been going about this all wrong, this Mr. Stay Puft's okay, he's a sailor, he's in New York, we get this guy laid we won't have any trouble.” – From “Ghostbusters” (1984)

Quote #2: “Lee Harvey, you are a madman. When you stole that cow, and your friend tried to make it with the cow. I want to party with you, cowboy. If the two of us together, forget it. I'm gonna go out on a limb here. I'm gonna volunteer my leadership to this platoon. An army without leaders is like a foot without a big toe. And Sergeant Hulka is always gonna be here to be that big toe for us. I think that we owe a big round of applause to our newest, bestest buddy, and big toe... Sergeant Hulka.” – From “Stripes” (1981)

Eddie Murphy

Age: 45

Years on SNL: 1980-84

Style: A racy ham known for his scathing insults and wink-wink relationship with his audience

Best Known Characters: Mr. Robinson, Buckwheat, Gumboy and Stevie Wonder

Break-out Movie: “48 Hours” (1982)

Best Movie: “Trading Places” (1983)

Worst Movie: “The Adventures of Pluto Nash” (2002)

Useless Trivia: When Murphy’s career sputtered in the late 1990s, SNL’s David Spade during his Hollywood Minute segment, flashed a photo of Murphy on the screen and shrilled: “Look children, a falling star. Make a wish!”

Quote: “Now, a brother's dick is too big, so it'll fuck up his balance... Every time you see a brother in a wheelchair, he ain't always crippled.” – From “Delirious” (1983)

Quote #2: “Before I go, I just want to say one thing. The supercop story... was working. And you guys just messed it up. I'm still trying to figure you guys out, but I haven't yet. But it's cool, though. You just fuck up a perfectly good lie.” – From “Beverley Hills Cops” (1984)

Will Ferrell

Age: 39

Style: Master impressionist

Years on SNL: 1995-02

Best Known Characters: Alex Trebek, Neil Diamond, Harry Caray, Music Teacher Mary Culp, Spartan cheerleader Craig Buchanan and night clubber Steve Butabi

Break-out Movie: “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” (1997)

Best Movie: “Old School” (2003)

Worst Movie: “A Night at the Roxbury” (1998)

Useless Trivia: Ferrell’s nickname since high school is “Wilf.”

Quote: “Dear little baby Jesus, who's sittin' in his crib watchin the Baby Einstein videos, learnin' 'bout shapes and colors. I would like to thank you for bringin' me and my moma together, and also that my kids no longer sound like retarded gang-bangers.” – From “Talladega Nights” (2006)

Quote #2: “I'm gonna punch you in the ovary, that's what I'm gonna do. A straight shot. Right to the babymaker.” – From “Anchorman” (2004)

Mike Myers

Age: 43

Style: Smarmy, know-it-all with a heart of gold

Years on SNL: 1989-95

Best Known Characters: Dieter, Linda Richman and Wayne Campbell,

Break-out Movie:Wayne’s World” (1992)

Best Movie: “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” (1999)

Worst Movie: “The Cat in the Hat” (2003)

Useless Trivia: When Myers was nine years old he starred in a TV commercial with Gilda Radner

Quote: “Are those fricken' sharks with fricken' laser beams attached to their fricken' heads?” – From “Goldmember (2002)

Quote #2: “I say hurl. If you blow chunks and she comes back, she's yours. But if you spew and she bolts, then it was never meant to be.” – From “Wayne’s World” (1992)

Dana Carvey

Age: 51

Style: Classic impressionist

Years on SNL: 1986-93

Best Known Characters: Church Lady, George H.W. Bush, Hans, Garth Algar and Jimmy Stewart

Break-out Movie: “Tough Guys” (1986)

Best Movie: “Wayne’s World” (1992)

Worst Movie: “Halloween II” (1981)

Useless Trivia: Comedy Central lists Carvey at the 90th best in their list of 100 Best Stand-ups of All Time.

Quote: “As Prometheus said to the Athenians, "I need another beer". – From “Opportunity Knocks” (1990)

Quote #2: “Uh, Wayne, you know, I don't think you should mention that Jim Morrison thing anymore. It's just that people have started to talk, you know. They're saying things like, "Hey, there goes Garth and his friend Wayne... the psychopath." – From “Wayne’s World 2” (1993)

Adam Sandler

Age: 41

Style: Loudmouth buffoon (who sings!)

Years on SNL: 1990-95

Best Known Characters: Cajun Man, Opera Man, Bono and Charles Manson

Break-out Movie: “Billy Madison” (1995)

Best Movie: “50 First Dates” (2004)

Worst Movie: “Little Nicky” (2000)

Useless Trivia: One of Sandler’s best friends is fellow SNL alumni Norm MacDonald

Quote: “I'm not a homophobe, I'm a pulling-out-my-penis-in-front-of-you-ophobe.” – From “Anger Management” (2003)

Quote #2: “I am good. You know what, you're a lousy kindergarten teacher. I've seen those finger-paintings you bring home and they SUCK.” – From “Happy Gilmore” (1996)

John Belushi

Age: Died at age 33 in 1982

Style: Overbearing buffoon and party animal

Years on SNL: 1975-79

Best Known Characters: Samurai Futaba, Jake Blues, Elvis Presley, Joe Cocker and Larry Farver

Break-out Movie: “Animal House” (1978)

Best Movie: “Animal House” (1978)

Worst Movie: “1941” (1979)

Useless Trivia: Belushi was the hero of SNL’s Chris Farley and once said he wanted to live his life like Belushi. Both comedians died of an overdose of heroin and cocaine at the age of 33

Quote: “Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!” – From “Animal House” (1978)

Quote #2: “It's so quiet up here, you could hear a mouse get a hard on.” – From “Continental Divide” (1981)

Runners-up: Martin Short, Chris Farley, Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, Phil Hartman, Chris Rock and David Spade

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Friday, February 23, 2007
5 Questions About: Modern Humor

(Paul Lewis is a professor at Boston College. He teaches English -- and even a class on Edgar Allan Poe. But don't let that mild mannered facade fool you. Lewis is a funny guy. Or at least he studies the funny guys. He's written a fascinating book called "Cracking Up: American Humor in a Time of Conflict." The book explores the evolution of humor in American society since the September 11 attacks. DaRK PaRTY caught up with Paul -- despite his business schedule -- and peppered him with some very unfunny questions about his book.)

Has humor changed in the United States since the terrorist attacks on September 11,
2001? If so, how?

Paul: In Chapter Four of "Cracking Up"("Ridicule to Rule: The Strange Case of George W. Bush"), I follow the impact of 9/11 not on American humor in general but on the rise and fall of one man's standing as the target of jokes. What's strange about this is not that Bush has been mocked; all presidents and many other public figures come in for this. Indeed, for all the Bush-stupidity jokes and all the Bushism collections, Bill Clinton may be our most joked-about president, though this is difficult to quantify.

In any case, just as the Lewinsky revelations unleashed an avalanche of more and less explicit humor, so 9/11 effectively tamped down Bush satire. One can track the correla
tion between the President's approval ratings and the quantity and hostility of Bush humor before and after the attacks. In the early weeks and months after 9/11, with the entire country desperate to believe in the competence and effectiveness of its leader, anti-Bush jokes were literally uncalled for.

It's true that some progressive cartoonists started to pick up on Bush's political exploitation of terrorism early on and that this observation generated more and more satire in the run-up to the 2002 and 2004 elections. It's also true that whatever remained of Bush's 9/11 Teflon coating washed off in the waters of Katrina and the blood of Iraq. At this point, when he tries to laugh off an unwelcome implication (for instance, that his administration may be putting out cooked intelligence about Iran just as it did to justify the invasion of Iraq--heh, heh!) no one wants to laugh with him.

So the final turn of the screw may be that Bush jokes will seem less and less funny as his destructive presidency stumbles toward its ruinous conclusion.

DP: How would you describe the humor on John Stewart's "The Daily Show?"

Paul: Stewart is a master of irony and skepticism, a cynic in the brilliant tradition of Ambrose Bierce. Hypocrisy, contradiction, corruption, pride, self-righteousness, false piety, and stupidity are his targets. It speaks well for American comedy, if poorly for our politics, that his talented writers have no trouble finding material.

DP: You find humor in strange places. For example, Rush Limbaugh. What's so funny about Rush?

Paul: As I note in "Cracking Up," progressives have trouble seeing that Limbaugh has a sense of humor. But, like Ann Coulter and Scott Ott, Rush is almost always half kidding. Not in the sense that he's a flexible thinker, not at all. His humor is always pointed, always aimed at people he disagrees with. Being Limbaugh means never having to say you're sorry.

He has been mocking Al Gore for years and still has "Al Gore's Doomsday Clock" ticking away on the Limbaugh Web site. For decades, Rush has ridiculed "dunderheaded," "kookburger," "nutso" "environmental wackos" and made fun of the absurd notion that human beings can radically change global climate. People looking back at our time in a hundred years may be even more pressed to see what was funny about this irresponsible, ill-informed rhetoric.

DP: Humor seems to have become the last refuge of political dissent. Why is that?

Paul: Not the last or only refuge, surely, since there has been plenty of serious criticism of the Bush administration right along. Going back to Mark Crispin Miller's "The Bush Dyslexicon: Observations on a National Disorder," this president has been assailed in a series of incisive monographs that have expanded to an entire bookcase by now.

It's true that Jon Stewart got into this early on, that Stephen Colbert has done some heavy lifting in exposing the extremism of the Republican right, and that publications like "The Onion" and"Funny Times" have contributed to the project. Still, not all wags escape punishment. Bill Maher, who tested the post-9/11 humor limits shortly after the attacks and got smacked down for it, is a counter example, though in this time of comedy marketing to niche audiences he has rebounded. Humor can, of course, provide cover for serious messages, as the wise fool tradition suggests.

DP: Who are the three most influential comics in America today?

Paul: Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Dave Chappelle.
Not only the most influential but the funniest too—in my utterly subjective opinion!

Read our parody "Reginald, the Creepy Guy, From Your Writing Class"

Read our parody "Batman Wises Up"

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Less Than Good: Bret Easton Ellis

After reading Bret Easton Ellis’ fifth novel “Lunar Park,” a fascinating question emerges. Can Ellis write? Because “Lunar Park” is a mess – a sloppy, hideously constructed work. It is his worst book (and if you’ve had the misfortune to read his second novel “The Rules of Attraction” then you begin to understand how terrible “Lunar Park” is).

Take a gander at these two sophomoric passages of piss-poor writing:

“Yo?” I said, checking the incoming number.

“It’s me.” It was Jay but I could barely hear him.

“Where are you?” I whined. “Jesus, Jay, you are one lost bastard.”

“What do you mean, where am I?” he asked.

“You sound like you’re at some kind of party.” I paused. “Don’t tell me that many people showed up at your goddamn reading.”

“Well, open the door and you’ll see where I am” was his reply.

“Open which door?”

“The one you’re behind, moron.”

“Oh.” I turned to Aimee. “It’s the Jayster.”

“Why don’t you just let me out first,” Aimee suggested, hurrying toward the mirror to make sure everything was in place.

And this gem:

“Well, you should by now,” I said encouragingly, but also confused about why a girl so proud of having learned the alphabet should be reading “Lord of the Flies.”

“I know the alphabet,” she stated proudly, “A B C D E F –“

“Honey, Bret has a big headache. I’m gonna take your word on this one.”

“—G H I J K L M N –“

“You can identify the sounds letters make. Sweetie, that’s really excellent, Jayne?”

“—O P Q R S T U V –“

“Jayne, would you please give her a sugar-free doughnut or something?” I touched my head to indicate migraine approaching. “Really.”

“And I know what a rhombus is!” Sarah shouted gleefully.

One wonders if Ellis was buying the adverbs by the bushel.

This is just bad writing. It is ponderous, choppy, and bloated with excessive baggage. But even worse, these passages are parts of longer scenes that neither reveal character nor propel the plot. They’re just there – doing nothing. But their greatest sin may be that they’re not even interesting. Unfortunately, “Lunar Park” is teaming with passages like these.

Lunar Park” is the work of a desperate writer. It’s a fictionalized autobiography about Bret Easton Ellis. But this Ellis married a famous actress after having an illegitimate son with her. They have moved to the Connecticut suburbs with her step-daughter and try to live happily ever after. But this is Bret Easton Ellis – so his character is a drug addled, self-centered asshole without a single redeeming feature.

The self-parody is amusing for the first 40 pages and there’s hope that Ellis might finally have pulled off his first successful book since “Less Than Zero.”

But alas.

The novel descends – quite rapidly – into a ridiculously awful horror novel. The plot is so convoluted and slap-dash that it would be too tedious to outline here. Suffice to say it includes the ghost of Ellis’ estranged father, a possessed stuff bird (who at one point crawls into a pet dog’s ass), several missing boys, and Ellis’ Patrick Bateman character (from his most notorious novel “American Psycho”) come to life.

If this sounds interesting – don’t be fooled, because the plot matters little. None of it comes together in any coherent conclusion and no explanation is offered for any of the bizarre occurrences.

It’s been clear for sometime now that Ellis – once the literary darling of New York – has more in common with Stephen King than with Norman Mailer. Lunar Park” and “American Psycho” are both horror novels. But unlike King – who, ironically, is despised by the literati – Ellis struggles with character. King is a master of placing regular people in extraordinary situations. His characters feel real and readers relate to them.

Ellis’ characters, on the other hand, are all vapid, self-obsessed yuppies. It’s like being stuck in a room full of martini-fueled Wall Street stockbrokers who are all Yankee fans.

I have a theory about Ellis. He was a one book author. “Less Than Zero,” published while he was still a college student in 1985, became a best-seller for its flat style of writing and realistic portrayal of nihilistic college students. He was dubbed the voice of Generation X.

That’s a lot of fame and pressure on a 21-year-old writer. He’s been struggling to keep up ever since.

Like most young people thrust into the spotlight at a young age – he fell to drinking and drugging. He published “The Rules of Attraction” in 1987 and it pushed boundaries by portraying his characters as sexual ambiguous and self-destructive. But the novel was horrible – and ultimately pointless.

In an act of desperation, Ellis wrote “American Psycho” in 1991. The novel was an intimate look at psychopathic serial killer and featured graphic murders – many of them of young women. The original publisher dropped it in protest – but the controversy only fueled sales. But the book was ultimately a carnival sideshow attraction – borderline pornography. You get the feeling that only reason it was written was to save Ellis’ sagging literary career and garner him attention.

His two other books “The Informers,” a short story collection published in 1994, and “Glamorama” (1998) barely caused ripples. And it should be noted that most of the short stories in “The Informers” were written by Ellis when he was still in college.

So what’s a poor, attention-whore of a writer to do? Well, why not return to graphic murders and mayhem? It worked so well with “American Psycho.” Enter “Lunar Park” in 2005. As I mentioned already – it even features the main character, Patrick Bateman, from “American Psycho.”

But I suppose we shouldn’t blame Ellis. He’s just trying to hawk badly written books. We should blame his enablers in the literati. The New York Times called “Lunar Park” “Addictive…Sublime…Exquisite…” and made it a notable book of the year. The New Yorker called it “A rhapsody of grief and reconciliation.”

One wonders what novel they were reading. If you really want to read Ellis – go buy “Less Than Zero” and read that again. It’s not a bad book.

Everything since?

Less than good.

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Monday, February 19, 2007
5 Questions About: Harry Bliss
(DaRK PaRTY is a sucker for a good cartoon. That’s why one of our favorite comics (err… panels) in the daily newspaper is “Bliss” by Harry Bliss. For lack of a better word, “Bliss” is edgy. Here is a comic unafraid to offend or to occasionally step over the line. Harry gets away with it because he’s funny – and also because he’s also a cover artist for The New Yorker. What better way to diffuse criticism about a dog who writes a love scene for his novel that includes sniffing the femme fatale’s ass than by claiming its high-brow art? Harry is also the illustrator of many children's books including "Countdown to Kindergarten," "Which Would you Rather Be?" and "A Fine, Fine School." Harry grew up in upper state New York and now lives in South Burlington, Vermont.)

DaRK PaRTY: You grew up in a family of artists in New York State. When did you begin to realize that being an artist was your calling as well?

Harry: It’s funny; I’m convinced my ‘calling’ as an artist came very early on in my life. In fact, my mother still has a terrific conte crayon drawing of my umbilical cord I’d done in utero.

DP: Your artwork has been on the cover of 17 New Yorker magazines. Can you tell us your process for developing a cover for one of the best known magazines in the world? And which cover has been your favorite?

Harry: Creating covers for The New Yorker is all about ideas and it’s no different that cartooning for the magazine or my syndicate (Tribune Media). Essentially, ideas come to me all of the time, I take notes, discuss their relevance with friends and then decide which ideas are worthy of pursuing. If I feel strongly about one concept, I’ll draw it up.

I get ideas from other people as well. I have three gag writers and their contributions are extremely helpful. Thirty percent of my cartoons are collaborations and I love working this way. In the end, it’s not about ego… it’s about funny.

New Yorker covers…well, I send cover sketches to my editor and if she likes the idea, she’ll show it to the editor in chief and if he digs it, they call me…it’s that simple. These days I’ve been focusing on my cartoons, not so much covers, plus my children’s books take up a great deal of time.

My favorite New Yorker cover hasn’t run yet – the New Yorker bought it and has yet to run it. But I do like the one of the New York Public Library with the lion eating the pigeon quite a bit.

DP: You also produce "Bliss" -- a one-panel comic featured in daily newspapers around the country. How would you describe "Bliss" to those who have never read it?

Harry: ‘Bliss’ is probably the best single panel gag cartoon out there, no shit. It’s smart and funny and not afraid to offend readers – I get a lot of mail. I got two letters recently. The first one read: “I loath your comic strip.” That letter slayed me when I read it – really funny. I enjoy sharp criticism as well as praise. The second letter thanked me for filling the hole left when Gary Larson retired.

I work my ass off on the panel (not a comic strip!) and when readers write to me and tell me how they feel about the panel, it helps…not sure how, but I’m sure on some sub-conscious level I’m processing all of it and it has to effect my work. The panel will always evolve, if it doesn’t, I’m fucked.

DP: Your humor in "Bliss" is edgy and laugh-out-loud funny. Two recent cartoons stand out for me. The one with a couple in bed and the husband waking up the wife and saying: "Wake-up, baby, I figure out how my insomnia is all your fault" and the one of two parents addressing their young son with their fingers crossed behind their backs swearing they never tried drugs. Where do you get your ideas for the strip?

Harry: The ideas for Bliss come straight from my life…enough said.

DP: What comic strips do you find funny? And what illustrators working today do you admire?

Harry: I think Danny Shanahan and Jack Ziegler are great cartoonists. I like Alex Gregory and Charles Barsotti, too. I’m not a big fan of most of what I see. The cartoons are either too generic or they’re simply humorous captions with superfluous drawings. One thing to remember about good cartoons is that the drawing and the caption must rely on each other. One shouldn’t exist without the other.

Read our interview with Tony Carrillo of F-Minus

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Friday, February 16, 2007
"Book from the Future" by Esaiah Schulzman

By: Adam Joshua Heggen

What’s up, people of the past! It is my profoundest pleasure to be representin' the Future! and that I am so able to compose this piece for you and send it through time so you can read it in all of its futuristic glory!


I have this feeling you’re thinking I’m gonna be sayin’ stuff like “In the future we do this, in the future we do that.” Fuck that, slice!

Instead I’m just gonna tell you what we do instead of telling you it’s the future and all that jazz. Hey. We still say that, “all that jazz.” I hadn’t even noticed it until now. Ok, so listen, here’s the deal. I got a few minutes available to get this whole thing written down so I can get my breath of income and fame (both at once!). Luckily for me, I got everything all set up and ready to go. I use one of those antiquated (I’m not making fun of your era, I swear) Ray Charles/ Stevie Wonder email checkin’/writin’ software that lets me talk into a headset mic and it prints out the words in text on the screen into Quantum Internet! The Quantum Fuhschizzlenet! Is that not the fuckin’ shit, my friend? You know what else makes it really cool? It get's me laid.

But's I got to keep talking here. I only got so much time. And books are made awfully quick these days. You know how in-demand books are? No one saw it coming back in the day, and everyone thought books and reading was going extinct. They said “ TV is the devil and he’s takin’ ova’!” And everyone fucking loved it! But they were wrong, man. Books are the shit these days. But you got to get them out quick because people want ‘em like orgasms! Ha! And then they want another and another! HAha! And I’m like all about givin’ girl!

…Indiscernible sounds of confusion… possible headset movement…

( What the fuck is it man? Can’t this wait? I’m in the middle of writing a book…………
Some muffled distant voice
Uh huh, uh huh…
Muffled voice dissipating
Listen get lost for now, I’ll catch up with you later… what do you mean it hurts?...
No I don’t know what it’s like.
Muffled voice becomes audible again
Jeezuz effin’ Lucy! I don’t know! Don’t wear zipper pants anymore. God!)

…Indiscernible sound of confusion … possible headset movement…

We get distracted a lot here. But we don’t have it so hard as you do. I got to tell you. You people did a good number on yourselves! ADD, ADHD. Get a fucking grip already and spit out the pills, turn off the tube and get a book like this one from the future. Everyone’s writing books now. Not everyone sends them to the past though, I got to say. Which is ok and all, but I think there isn’t much of a market to publish in your present time. No way, man. I'm hittin' the past! that's the fuckin' market! You guys'll read anything!

You know when I was five years old, I had an ear infection that felt like my head was creating a vacuity. And in that little space there was one of those caged motorcyclists you see at circuses – or was that at a monster truck rally?

In the future we forget a lot of things about what we say to other people. But it makes us money so no one cares. Did you know that one of the best mistakes our grandparents made was to psychologically create aspects of authority in figures that never had it? It’s true. They told us all these great stories about how contemporary writers of their time kept “breaking the rules” and they’d say “breaking the rules” with a real gritty tone like you could tell they were making fun of these writers (which isn’t a hard thing to do if you hate somebody you don’t know). But I got a feeling maybe they knew a few. Well, according to their authority, it seemed real piss-ass lame of people to set up some phantom of authority where it didn’t exist so they could disestablish some cockamamie phantom rule so as to create in their microcosm of an ego the idea that they were brass-balls writers.

Ooo! All of us here in the future are real impressed.

Do me a favor {sound of pages turning} if your name is {gives a list of names all of which are not in the database} shoot yourself in face and spare all of us here in the future the years of recovery it took to get you out of our education system. Please, extend the courtesy of at least thinking about it.

Hey, you know what’s fun and we do a lot around here? We like to get money from each other by making each other look really good in front of famous people, even if it only for about two seconds. Last week I got this real hot actress lady (who weighs about 70 pounds, mind you) to wipe her finger on her cheek in front of my friend. He’s got a real thing for skinny chicks with fingers on their cheeks. Holy shit, man. She’s so skinny I thought she was a clothes hanger walking around. Haha! But damn, she’s hot.

You got some hotties in the past with you too. I’ve seen ‘em. But I also seen what they look like when they’re old. Here, I’ll give you this list. Make sure you tell them to die young cause they ain’t gonna look too good {list is not in database}. Ah fuck, man. I want to write more in this book so it’s cool. But I gotta go. The deadline is in ten seconds, sort of.

You are probably pretty amazed that a book like mine gets published at all. I bet it makes you wonder what kind of audience makes a work like mine socially relevant in the first place. But you know what? I wonder the same about the past. Some of the shit you guys read, or watched on TV, HOLY SHIT. You guys are fucking dumb to yourself.

Do yourself a favor: go into the nearest lab and undergo this shit called “cryogenic freeze.” It’s a real hoot, all the rich kids do it when they skip school. Sleep until the future and then wake up and see how cool it is. The future is packed with anachronisms and other erroneous ideas, mother fuckas, but it rules. You can write books whenever you want and get money for it. I know, I ain’t rich or nothing, but fuck man! Money! In the future dollars are called Digits. I say shit like "Get you hacker paws away from my Digits!" Yeah yeah yeah, digits used to be chicks's numbers and all that, but that's done with.

Oh shit! The book guys are here. I got to seal the deal and hit the send button while they watch. They give me license, but have to collect a percentage of profit. Are you ready Past! My Book is Comin’!

Oh yeah,if your name is Mortimer Schulzman and you’re from Red Hook, you’re my fucking Rabbi Grandpa! I remember you singing to me when I was a kid, haunted me for years after you died. Don’t fucking do that!

Ok. Peace from the Future!!

(Adam Joshua Heggen is endeavoring to fold origami well, to cook better meals, refine his taste in wine, to understand why his car breaks down, and to probe the depths of unconsciousness through dream and active imagination. He harbors a great interest in the paranormal, myth, dreams and religious metaphor, but he swears he does not rub stones together or hold séances. Adam is currently a returning student at SUNY Albany. He holds a degree in philosophy and is studying both English and secondary education. He is a native of the capital district region of New York and is living in downtown Albany without any pets for the moment.)

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Puncturing Your Ear Drums
18 Bands That Should be Erased from Rock History

There have been many of bad rock n’ roll bands. But to make this list, DaRK PaRTY set a few strict rules:

  1. Bands only. No solo artists
  2. This is about bands that have a history – no one-hit wonders, no one-album phenomenon , no here today-gone tomorrow bands
  3. The band has to have at least one gold album

These are the bands that deserve to be completely eliminated from the annals of rock history. These are the bands that – to get cerebral and quite academic – suck. They bring nothing to the table except massively delusional fans (who will protest like 3-year-olds having temper tantrums when they see their band listed below).

So without further ado, DaRK PaRTY gives you the worst bands in rock history:


It is hard to believe that Styx had several multi-platinum albums. This is, after all, the band who released some of the most revolting singles of all time in “Lady” and “Come Sail Away.” Lead singer Dennis DeYoung, despite having one of the worst warbles in rock history, is also an accomplished accordion player. Need we say anymore?

Factoid: The first name for the band was “The Tradewinds.”

Worst Album: Pieces of Eight (1978)

Gag Inducing Song: “Mr. Roboto”


Boy George introduced the Amish hat into 80s culture and was responsible for helping make popular oversized shirts that hung down to the knees. At the same time he was destroying the fashion world, he was also helping drive a stake through the heart of alternative music. Culture Club’s pop-laden fluff is so sickly sweet and the lyrics so sugary that diabetics should avoid it at all costs.

Factoid: Boy George sang as “Lieutenant Lush” with Bow Wow Wow before joining Culture Club.

Worst Album: Kissing to be Clever (1982)

Gag Inducing Song: “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” (the answer, of course, is a responding yes).


Kansas, believe it or not, is still touring. There has yet to be a tragic bus accident. Kansas was one of those power bands in the 1970s that was so damn earnest and serious (they labeled themselves a progress rock band) that they ended up as simply annoying. Beware of bands named after states, countries, and continents. They don’t have great track records.

Factoid: Part of the resurgence of Kansas can be blamed on the movie “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” which featured the song “Dust in the Wind.”

Worst Album: Monolith (1979)

Gag Inducing Song: “Dust in the Wind”


Asia was formed from the remnants of three shit bands: Yes, King Crimson, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. All of three of those bands were considered for this list. But why bother when you can put Asia on the list? Here was an alleged “super” band whose best song was “Heat of the Moment.” Are you catching what we’re laying down here? This band sucks pond scum.

Factoid: The song “Heat of the Moment” is sung by Eric Cartman and the U.S. Congress in an episode of “South Park.”

Worst Album: Alpha (1983)

Gag Inducing Song: “The Heat Goes On”


Soft rock is an oxymoron and Air Supply was king of the soft rock bands. The band performed love ballads that made the average person want to saw off their wrists with a sharp razor. The most difficult part about writing about Air Supply is coming up with their most gag inducing song – because all of their singles fill your mouth with bile.

Factoid: Founders Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock meant during a performance of “Jesus Christ Superstar” in 1975.

Worst Album: The One That You Love (1981)

Gag Inducing Song: “Here I Am (Just When I Thought I Was Over You”


Europe is the most famous Swedish rock band of all time – selling more than 10 million albums. It’s almost enough to make you want to wipe the country off the face of the earth. Abba, my friends, is twice the band Europe is.

Factoid: Europe has sold more than 10 million albums worldwide.

Worst Album: The Final Countdown (1986)

Gag Inducing Song: “Carrie”


Some people (deranged people) will argue against Huey’s inclusion on this list. Harmless, they’ll mutter. They’ll say: Wasn’t “I Want a New Drug” kind of a good song? They’ll add, didn’t the band win an academy award? Don’t listen to these nut jobs. Huey Lewis & the News were awful – so light weight that it’s amazing they didn’t just float away.

Factoid: Huey Lewis has a cameo in the movie “Back to the Future.”

Worst Album: Fore! (1986)

Gag Inducing Song: “Hip to be Square”


Here’s a mid-western arena rock band famous for power ballads. Can someone just shoot us in the goddamn head? And they’re still around – sometimes touring with Styx and Journey (you know – country fairs and rock clubs that attract fifty-something drunkards and their overweight girlfriends). The song “Can’t Fight This Feeling” makes us want to tear the radio out of our car.

Factoid: The name REO Speedwagon comes from a truck built by REO Motor Car Company.

Worst Album: You Can Tune a Piano, But You Can’t Tuna Fish (1978)

Gag Inducing Song: “Keep On Loving You”


This band came over with the British invasion that brought America the Who, Rolling Stones, the Beatles, and the Yardbirds. And that’s just about enough classic rock to forgive England for this mistake of rock band. We hate the Moody Blues. “Nights in White Satin” is the most overrated “get-it-out-of-my-head” singles ever produced – and that’s their best song. Please make them go away.

Factoid: The band broke up in 1973, but alas, they reformed several years later to put out the 1978 album “Octave.”

Worst Album: To Our Children’s Children’s Children (1969)

Gag Inducing Song: “Nights in White Satin” (ARRRHHH!!!)


Journey may be the most annoying band on the list because Steve Perry may be the most annoying singer in rock history. Describing his lilting voice as “grating” would be doing a disservice to cheese graters. The band was famous in the early 1980s for its “power ballads” – another word for loud, sappy love songs. And now they simply won’t go away, mostly because they are extremely popular in Japan. Go figure.

Factoid: The band was formed from members of Santana in 1973. Obviously, there was a reason Carlos kicked them out of his band.

Worst Album: Infinity

Gag Inducing Song: “Open Arms” (1982)


Lead singer Dee Snider describes Twisted Sister as “Slade meets the Sex Pistols.” A more accurate description would be “KISS meets a wood chipper.” This glam metal band popular in the 1980s had better marketing than music. The heavy guitar infused heavy metal breaks no knew ground and the lyrics so sophomoric as to be insulting to sophomores.

Factoid: Dee Snider used to be a regular on “The Howard Stern Show.”

Worst Album: Stay Hungry

Gag Inducing Song: “We’re Not Gonna Take It” (1984)


Radiohead should have been a one-hit wonder for its “not-bad” single “Creep.” Unfortunately, they kept releasing “art” albums and they may be the most overrated, over-hyped band on the list. Radiohead’s music is overwrought, dense, and sounds like it was recorded inside of a toilet. Lead singer Thom Yorke is a graduate of the Steve Perry school of singing.

Factoid: The band members met while attending Abingdon School, a boys public school outside of Oxford, England.

Worst Album: The Bends

Gag Inducing Song: “High and Dry” (1995)


Cinderella was encompasses everything that was wrong with glam metal: Bad hair, tacky outfits, and little talent. If you like melodramatic love ballads screeched by a parrot-voiced singer and surrounded by mediocre guitar riffs and drumming that sounds like a homeless man banging on garbage cans – then Cinderella is the band for you.

Factoid: Cinderella opened for Bon Jovi during the band’s “Slippery When Wet” tour.

Worst Album: Still Climbing

Gag Inducing Song: “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” (1988)


Foghat deserves some credit for being a rock band during the disco era and for the song “Slow Ride” (which is a middle-of-the-road 70s rocker), but the band created some damn mediocre music. The problem with Foghat is that the band doesn’t have an original bone in its rock body. Listen to a best of album from Foghat and you’re left perplexed. Best of what?

Factoid: The band is “This is Spinal Tap” is supposedly based on Foghat.

Worst Album: Rock and Roll Outlaws

Gag Inducing Song: “Ride, Ride, Ride” (1973)


Is there a bigger whiner in rock n’ roll than Billy Corgan? He may be the most ego-driven, weak-kneed front man since Boy George. The band’s sophomore effort “Siamese Dream” had one interesting single in “Cherub Rock,” but the rest of the album feels like your reading Corgan’s diary (which one imagines as pink and locked with a little brass key). Their music – a mix of goth, alternative and electronic – generally sounds like yowling cats being crushed in a cement mixer.

Factoid: Billy Corgan worked in a record store in Chicago before forming the band.

Worst Album: Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

Gag Inducing Song: “Tonight, Tonight” (1995)


Each member of Manfred Mann should be locked up for giving sports stadiums the nauseating “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” – and that’s their best song (They have tunes with titles like “Ha! Ha! Said the Clown” and “Trouble and Tea.” The band rode the British invasion of the United States in the late 1960s and pale next to the likes of the Beatles, Stones and even the Kinks.

Factoid: After the band broke up, Manfred Mann worked writing advertising jingles

Worst Album: My Little Red Book of Winners!

Gag Inducing Song: “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” (1964)


What is there really to say about this bland 1980s rock band? The song “All You Zombies” is the only reason why any sane person could even be considered a fan. The rest of the Hooter’s repertoire induces cringing a strong desire for the member of Aerosmith to hunt them down and beat them with electric guitars.

Factoid: Rolling Stone Magazine named the Hooters the best new band of 1985 (its amazing the magazine recovered from such an enormous mistake)

Worst Album: Nervous Night

Gag Inducing Song: “Hanging on a Heartbeat” (1985)


The best part of this glam metal band is its mascot (which appears on just about every album cover): a straight-jacketed psycho in a metal hockey mask. Other than that – Quiet Riot offers little in the way of auditory pleasure. The music is loud, but predictable and non-threatening (despite the mascot). It also has the ability to induce a headache.

Factoid: The band appeared in a Simpson episode as a born-again rock group called “Pious Riot.”

Worst Album: Condition Critical

Gag Inducing Song: Metal Health (1983)

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