Sunday, February 26, 2006

the riddle of steel

Giants stole steel from Crom. Crom was angered. And the earth shook. Fire and wind came down from the sky, and killed the giants. Steel was left on the battlefield. Who found it? Not gods, not giants, just men. Learn the riddle of steel Conan. Learn its discipline. Only this can you trust, [points to sword], not men, not women, not beast. This you can trust.

These are the final words Conan hears from his father before his entire tribe is wiped out at the beginning of Conan the Barbarian. Judging by the magnitude of ass Conan goes on to kick, most viewers would probably agree Conan must indeed have solved this riddle of steel. But what the hell is the question, and for that matter, what the hell is the answer? And don't give me any of that "it's too complicated to put into words" bullshit. You're selling Conan short if you don't think he has the poetic skills to express the riddle of steel. When asked what is best in life, Conan's response is practically a haiku:

To crush your enemies,
have them driven before you and
hear the lamentation of their women.

Whatever the answer is, Conan keeps his mouth shut about it. Obviously he takes his father's advice to heart: killing men, throwing a woman into a fire, and punching a horse are all great ways to avoid trust. And he's always talking up good old Crom who, by the way, is of the earth. I don't think he buys James Earl Jones'-- er, Thulsa Doom's-- explanation that flesh is stronger than steel, either, and neither does the author of this amusing article on the subject).

So what is the riddle of steel? Hell, I don't know. I'll have to go check out some metallurgy books from the library and get back to you on that one.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas...

. . . that is to say, palindromes are awesome. If you've never seen the palindrome comic strips of Jon Agee, you're doing yourself a disservice. Come on, go read them already. There's also this sort of spooky palindrome comic right here on the internets. And let me tell you, lots of people go apeshit for this stuff. It's not just words either-- there was this guy in the 14th century who wrote a pretty big piece of palindrome music called Ma fin est ma commencement, "my end is my beginning." And it is.

I'd like to wow you with one of my own, but I have trouble getting beyond stuff like bob, mom, dad, and radar. Luckily, Hasbro has graciously laid the groundwork for this one:

Thursday, February 23, 2006

who's next?

The other day a friend and I were listening to Neil Diamond's 12 Songs. It got us to thinking: now that Rick Rubin has so successfully squeezed out some hidden remaining greatness from both Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond, who's next? It has to be someone who was once awesome and has fallen somewhat in their older age-- that's the rule. No, not Springsteen. Not Neil Young. Maybe John Mellencamp, but only if he changes his name back to John Cougar. Ok, maybe John Lydon. What's that? Leonard Cohen? I don't know about that one.

I think our best idea was Deborah Harry. Imagine it. It's great, isn't it? We should start some kind of petition.

Monday, February 20, 2006

why our world is awesome

I can't believe Weekend at Bernie's really exists. Did someone really make that movie? Pinch me. Is this really happening? What? There's also Weekend at Bernie's II? Holy shit. I could die a happy man. And if I do, it is my sincere and abiding hope that my corpse will be involved in zany hi-jinks.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

family circus

Matt is sick today, so lil' matty had to take over.

Mudslide kills thousands

Dick Chainy's accidental shooting

Spring training underway in Florida and Arizona

Friday, February 17, 2006


Hoverboads, like this one from Back to the Future II, are fucking awesome. Don't try to deny this. You know deep down in your heart that it's true. Everybody thinks so. Just this week I've had four or five discussions about hoverboards, and everyone who talks about them gets this far-away, glazed-over look in their eyes. You know that look-- that look that's probably fueled by the now lost but once near-universal belief that hoverboards really existed when the movie came out. That look that probably looks just like the look you might have when you wake up from an incredible dream-- the look of remembering something wonderful, once close at hand and firmly in your possession, now just beyond the realm of the actual. It's a bittersweet look: though the idea that hoverboards existed is destroyed, the joy that this idea once brought you remains, forever accessible as a source of dreamy comfort on rainy and sunny mornings and afternoons.

Then again, if those happy thoughts aren't enough, and you have $9000 lying around, you can just go and fuckin' buy one, dude.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

brotherly love

Through a series of strange coincidences beginning the December before last, I have become obsessed with rock and roll music from Philadelphia. That Christmas I received from my brothers no less than five albums of Philly-born rock. In chronological order: The Delfonics' La La Means I Love You and The Delfonics, Todd Rundgren's A Wizard, a True Star, and Dr. Dog's Easy Beat and Toothbrush. I can't think of a single song I don't like on these five albums. The Delfonic's version of A Lover's Concerto rivals both the Toys' original and the Supreme's version. Though he later turned to a-bit-too-smooth pop stylings, earlier Todd Rundgren is all over the place and really exciting. Dr. Dog will give you the dreaded "Dog Fever," which renders you incapable of listening to anything but Dr. Dog, and from which I am just now recovering two years later.

The Delfonics idoolized Little Anthony & the Imperials, who in turn were inspired by Frankie Lymon, a big part of the inspiration behind both Motown records and Len Berry's manufactured group you might have heard of, the Jackson Five. Their producer, Thom Bell, might be the one who invented those soulful, sliding French Horn lines that became so popular in later R&B. You know the ones I'm talking about-- those ones like at the beginning of "Didn't I blow your mind this time" that sound like they're calling out straight to you from the land of soul.

Right before A Wizard . . ., Todd Rundgren's Something/Anything was like a compenium of all the best rock hooks and tricks of its day. I wouldn't say many of the songs on it are great, but they are without a doubt perfect in every way. A Wizard, A True Star is much more scattered and disconnected, with ethereal moments popping out whenever you start to get sick of what else is going on: ADHD rock at its finest.

Dr. Dog is intertwined via shared members with two other Philadlphia bands of similar ilk: the now-defunct Raccoon and The Teeth, both of whom I've been enjoying the hell out of lately and using as a treatment for my Dog Fever, the way a recovering heroin addict switches to methodone on the way back down.

Thanks, brothers. Thanks, city of brotherly love.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

strange encounters with jesus

The other night I dozed off, and when I awoke Jesus was on my television, getting darker and brighter in waves. This naturally blew my mind. I'm not a religious person, but there for about ten seconds I was completely terrified and convinced. Then I realized it was a DVD glitch: I'd been watching the now-cult-classic The Big Lebowski before I fell asleep, and sometimes when my DVD player gets stuck it makes the frame it's on get darker and lighter. I wonder why. Anyhow, the image I saw was very dark and must have looked something like this:

Even though I'd figured out a rational explanation, I was still pretty excited. I mean, who cares how it happens, having a vision of Jesus is still a great thrill. So I busted wide-eyed into my roommate's bedroom and dragged him in there to see, but damned if the DVD didn't come unstuck just right at the moment he entered my room. He claims he believes me.

So that was pretty weird. Weird enough that I told the story a few times, even though I was afraid people would think I was turning into a Jesus-freak. I tend to tell stories that take way too long. I give way too many details and often forget to finish. Well this is just what happened last night, when I was at a Valentines Day party and trying to tell the story of my vision of Jesus. I made the mistake of mentioning the DVD glitch before I ever mentioned Jesus, and the conversation immediately turned into some sort of panel session on just why and in just what ways DVD's tend to get stuck (could it have been this?). This must have been about a twenty minute interlude, after which I suddenly remembered to tell the rest of my story. I got to the Jesus part, and was just telling how the DVD came unstuck right when my roommate entered, but at that very moment a gust of wind knocked down a little framed picture of Jesus that was sitting on the windowsill across the room.

This naturally blew my mind even more. It was really weird. Weird enough that I'm telling the story, even though I'm afraid people will think I'm turning into a Jesus-freak.

Whew, I gotta tell you, I'm really glad nothing Jesus-related happened this time around. That would have really, really, really blown my mind. Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

whence matty lite

Matty Lite is my bowling name. My karaoke name too. Needless to say, Matty Lite is my cosmic-karaoke-bowling name as well. And finally, Matty Lite is my name all across the internets on whatever things I join on the internets. In case you didn't notice, Matty Lite is a pun on a commonly used affectionate nickname for Natural Light. It isn't my fault that this nickname is so similar to the nickname of my good friend matty fred. I'm not sure how that ended up that way. And to be honest I could count on one hand the natty lites I remember drinking in my days. And nobody has really ever called me Matty, either. I have no explanation for myself.

So really, all I'm trying to accomplish here is to set the tone for a couple themes I imagine will rule the day on this here blog: I am fiercely dedicated to stupid jokes and puns, and most of the stories I tell will be of the shaggy dog variety.