Monday, July 26, 2010

Stay healthy

You may have heard Zakk Wylde's health problems require him to stop drinking.

"I mean, I’d drink beer while lifting weights. That’s Black Label Society style for you right there. But the doc told me if I kept this up, I’d be dead by the time I was 50. So I stopped drinking. No big deal.”

But what does Lemmy have to say?

Jack Daniels and coke. You know Jack Daniels was Sinatra's favorite drink. He drank a fifth a day and had a pack a day habit. Dead at age 82.

Editor's note: Jack Daniels is not bourbon

Why can Lemmy keep motoring on and Zakk can't? Maybe it is luck. Or it could just be the whiskey? I'm not a doctor, so don't interpret this in any way to be medical advice.

But I'll take my chances with the good medicine.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Liquor store time machine

I keeping going to the liquor store and finding more oddities. Brandy from Moldova and Albania. Irish whiskey that I'm positive is from the 80s. Now I walk in and find another whiskey from the 80s. Sunny Brook bourbon. The label says National Distillers, which were sold to Jim Beam in 1987.

Think about it: the first atomic pile was in this town. That nut Fermi probably opened a rift in the space time continuum here. Doesn't that explain so much?


The guardian of quality for generations is apparently a train conductor.


So I'm thinking that the next time I exit the store I will be in the year 1985 and I'm going to end up on some zany adventure. Wish me luck. From the future.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bargain Bin Saraceno

Yesterday's post over at metalsucks gave me fond memories of a summer long gone. I can't remember the year exactly, but I think it was back in 2001. 2001 was fun times. Will we ever see their like again?

Back then I used to comb the bargain bins at music stores looking for bargains. Bargains! I found a few gems, including a Venom box set from way back when Black Metal was out of print and you couldn't even buy it through some mail order distro let alone Amazon. I rolled the dice on a few discs, including two by a guitarist named Blues Saraceno.

I bought the albums Never Look Back and Plaid for a buck a piece. I remember them as being a bit like Satriani, but not quite as enchanting. This is back when Ozzy had replaced Zak Wylde - a student of Randy Rhodes - with Joe Holmes. Another student of Randy Rhodes. So my friends joked that in the future Ozzy would run out of Rhodes students and end up with students of Blues Saraceno playing guitar in his band.

Not sure what "Frazin'" is, but the classic Ibanez through a shitty solid state in the 1980s tone is great.

Jitterblast is like the poor man's Eruption. Bask in the glory.

Weather channel smooth jazz and frizzy hair like Kenny G? Was this a virus that infected 80s shred guitarist? That would make Blues Saraceno it's second victim.

Not sure what the audience was for Plaid. Post glam shred must have been a very sad time for Blues. Is that irony? It is kind of funny that he replaced that guy that replaced CC Deville in Poison. That's worse than being the replacement Dick on Bewitched.

That was a good summer, by the way. I didn't own a car and I biked everywhere and while some people think that makes you a loser I was a lot happier biking than I am now driving everywhere in my car. I biked to the mall that day that I bought Blues Saraceno at the music store that is probably empty now. The mall itself is probably gone too. It is a shame really and I wish I could have those days back. That's why I am so old.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Some people hate the heat. I don't. When it is sultry and the sun is beating mercilessly and the air seems to suck the life out of you, beads of sweat turn to rivulets under your arms. You hope to God that Old Spice holds out for a few more hours. Some people hate that. When you lie awake at night with a thin layer of sweat glistening under the oppressive red glow of the alarm clock and every fabric you touch is stuck to your skin like glue, some people hate that too.

I ask: if you never get so hot that you sweat, and never get so cold that you need a do you know you're still alive? Seriously, maybe you are stuck in the Matrix? Maybe you are some cyborg or clone? Maybe this is all just a dream? Have you ever had a dream where you felt each hair on your arm collecting a tiny bead of moisture at it's base on a sultry afternoon? I haven't.

And when I think of heat I think of Miami. I've never been there, but I've wanted to visit for years. It was the art of Carlos Ramos, aka Miami Fever that drew me there.

Miami Fever had a profound affect on my own style as a photographer. He was very unorthodox from what I'd read in books and magazines. Every shot was wide open, using fast and exotic lenses, even in the brightest of summer days. It had a dreamy, almost impressionist feel. His subject matter was insanely fascinating. Sure, there are a lot of hot girls and hot cars in his photostream. But often it was more than that. Here are some good primers:

Almost painterly

Sadly there used to be so much more. At one point his photostream was over 1,000 pictures. All my favorites were taken down, so I can't even show you what I loved and influenced me most. He used to have the full resolution pictures up too, but so many thieves stole his art and sold it as their own. So now all we have are a few small resolution pictures.

I wish I had saved my favorites so I could share them with you. His website hasn't been updated since he moved to the Dominican Republic.

Still, I hope you find yourself lusting for Miami after viewing what's left of his pictures. If so remember the craving involves merciless sun and sultry nights. Maybe turn the AC off tonight and try to imagine what it must be like to see women wearing bikinis to the grocery store. Imagine what it would be like if you were still young and cool and burned like gods of the sun.

Obligatory ICP post

Much like blogging about your cats or children or complaining about your wife, blogging about ICP has become bad form. Mostly because there is little substance besides LOLZ at Juggalos. It is like blogging about that hobo sleeping in his own piss. Sure it is funny, but that goes on every night. It isn't exactly blog worthy is it? To be fair there are were plenty of newsworthy Juggalo posts. I had no idea there were Juggalos south of Toledo until a few years ago when ICP became internet fodder for my boyz @ metalsucks and IllCon. I was actually a bit surprised they were still around. I mean I remember them building a following when I was in Middle School. That was about 100,000 years ago.

But the most noteworthy thing about this Juggalo post is the observation a friend of mine made.

I would never have guessed that the ache that happens when you realize how quickly time is passing by, could be brought on by the latest Gathering of the Juggalos infomercial.

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

Too bad my phone ate my blog post I wrote earlier today. Maybe you'll get some substance tomorrow?

Also, WTF could a Juggalo seminar be like?

This but with clown makeup?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Murphy summer

Call it fate. Call it coincidence. Whatever it may be, I am in the midst of a Murphy summer. It began when I found my lost copy of Feeding the Machine while packing. Then it was lost again. Now it is rediscovered again. Then I discovered a clutch of Murphy's Irish whiskey from the 80s. Coincidence?

Today I played Convergence for the first time in many years. I had forgotten that Devin Townshend sang on two songs. I forgot that one song has vocals very similar to Alice in Chains. I did remember about the Chuck Billy song.

Devin singing

Alice in Chains sounding

Chuck Billy

Man, what a killer album. Plenty of instrumental songs that don't miss vocals at all, some good vocal songs, and did we mention guitar solos? Oh yeah, there's guitar solos. What else would you expect from an album with a dude giving his guitar a post-coitus hug on the cover?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Autumn splendor

Autumn is a lovely time of year. The trees put on their magnificent display. The shadows seem to emerge from every corner. The air takes on a cool, crisp quality. The...what's that you say? It's midsummer? Autumn's a long ways away? Well screw you, I'm blogging it anyway.


Yeah, I'm going to post that Type O Negative video too. But first I'm going to do something a little different...

I've been searching for a good autumn drink. Something that warms the soul. Apple cider and brandy is my first choice, perhaps with some spices added like clove. For the mixing I use the Christian Brother's VSOP, which has a nice vanilla flavor. I find it far superior to the regular VS and I used to get it silly cheap. 8 bucks a fifth silly. I suppose it is as good a time as any to drink Jagermeister, though I haven't bought any in years.

I'm looking for a good harvest wine. I haven't been big on wine because my girlfriend can't drink it - she's allergic to sulfites - and I don't want to drink a whole bottle myself. For that reason I stuck with screw tops, which really limits selection. However, I recently acquired a re-corker, and I'm open to some autumn harvest wine suggestions.

Autumn incites my imagination towards Eastern Europe. I'm hoping the Eastern European brandy I saw is worth it. Speaking of Eastern Europe, we need some good music to accompany our drink. I'm going to try something new on the blog...

I recommend, if you're in a Transylvanian mood, some Transylvanian folk music. First up is Okros band, from Hungary. The music seems to pulsate. The mp3 posted below is from a disc I ripped from the library. The names wouldn't populate from the internet, so it is a rare disc I'll wager. I suspect it might have fallen out of copyright, or never had one to begin with, which is why I am sharing this. The name Okros band and album title Koszoru have no hits from google shopping. If I am mistaken, please let me know and I will yank the mp3. I only got so far as renaming the first track. After that you're on your own.

Shout out in the comments if you are interested in the whole album, otherwise this is one mp3.

This is pretty similar to what you'll find on the mp3.

I also have Hungarian folk music from Transylvania, featuring Mihaly Halmagyi and Gizella Adam. I like the fiddling, but the drumming is maddeningly irregular. Though Gizella's occasional singing is like some ancient peasant from before the industrial revolution. Wonderful.

This is similar to what I have on CD. Let me know if you are interested in hearing it.

Also, fun unembedable documentary here.

...and finally

your moment of zen.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Field tests

I took the bottle of Murphy's Irish whiskey camping. It was drunk, and subsequently it drunkened us. So here is my limited appraisal: it tastes a lot like Paddy's Irish whiskey. This isn't a surprise, in retrospect, as they both claim parentage at the Cork distillery. So where is Murphy's from? I think it is entirely possible that some warehouse or distributor in the region had a case collecting dust and shipped it to a liquor store in the manufacturing district. I think it is possible that this bottle is from the 80s. The label looked really old, and the distributor on the label either went bankrupt or relocated out of New York.

So there it is.

I also brought a bottle of Old Grand-Dad bottled in bond. I wasn't sure how it would go over. After all, I don't enjoy the typical smokey, peaty Scotch and most whiskey drinkers seem to. But it seemed to go over well. Hey, it is Joe Paterno's favorite bourbon.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Murphy's Irish Whiskey

I got on the train and rode down towards the industrial park. I wanted to see the old train depot. I read that the old stockyard is closed, but I wanted to see what was left of it. I also recall seeing a picture of cattle being unloaded in a stockyard in town. Maybe some of it is still open? Wouldn't that be a sight?

I walked past a steel factory and a steel barrel factory and decided to stop in the liquor store where I once found Veterano brandy and once came up empty handed. Well no Veterano, though there was some brandy from Eastern Europe. I think it was from Moldova. I realized I'd never had brandy from Eastern Europe. The label described exotic spices and I was for a moment imagining a gypsy camp outside of Budapest and a lady in a maroon scarf hands me a bottle from inside her dark green caravan...

Where was I? Ah yes, well they had some strange stuff but nothing as strange as the bottle of whiskey at the very end of the shelf. It was partially obscured by another shelf. There it was: Murphy's Irish Whiskey. At first I thought it was another new Cooley whiskey. But then I saw that the label was old. It said Cork distillery. That's where they make Paddy's. Well that's where they advertise as making Paddy's. All the IDL brands are from the New Midleton distillery, including Jameson, which is in county Cork and built in 1975.


The back label is merely instructions on how to make Irish coffee.


Web sleuthing has brought me to this discussion on the Irish Whiskey Society's forum. One individual claims that they stopped shipping it to America in '88. What? Does this liquor store have bottles of whiskey from a defunct brand that have sat about since the Reagan administration? Should I buy more? Inquiring minds want to know. There is one review online, don't know how old it is.

Well I'll drink some this weekend and let the mystery unfold.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

City in a garden

What should you do if it is sunny and 75 degrees? If you're watching the world go by, perhaps look a little closer.


The Conservatory. I wonder how these grounds will look in October. I imagine they will be marvelous.


Come with me and relax in the Monet gardens. I hope you brought your snifter of Cognac. As long as we are going all Parisian, you might as well please your hipster friends with a little Django.

Yeah, I know...hipsters...still it is the Monet gardens

When in Rome and all.


See what lies through the next door. We're exploring new avenues and new possibilities. Besides, you don't have a job. You ain't got shit to do.


Out here we're a city in a garden. Though from afar this building looks abandoned I assure you it is not blight. They are still open for business making things. But be careful you don't fall into that trap of doing stuff and making things. Not on a day like this.


Otherwise you'll end up a busy bee. Remember: working is for suckers.