Monday, October 27, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
About a year ago I fell in love with "Pinkerton," Weezer's second and greatest album. (pictured left) Every song on the album rocks so hard. The guitars are rough and the lyrics are simple on the surface and addictively catchy. Songs like "Tired of Sex," and "The Good Life" complement each other nicely; the former bemoans a full life of empty sex; the latter wonders when and how old age sat in.
Though all the songs on "Pinkerton" seriously rock, it's "El Scorcho" that takes the prize. Combining a resounding chant that loops in your head for hours with smashing drums and edgy guitars, the song speaks from the heart, and, most importantly, shouts out loud what every guy on Earth has thought to himself upon seeing his dream girl(s). And that's the amazing power of Weezer's songs quintessentially displayed in "El Scorcho:" the power to crystallize and shout out loud the things we fantasize about, the lines we wish could say to someone, and the feelings that we wrestle with when sleep won't come.
The chorus to "El Scorcho" is simple enough: "I'm a lot like you so please, hello, I'm here, I'm waiting. I think I'd be good for you, and you'd be good for me." Everyone who's ever had a crush on someone has thought those very words. The chorus speaks loudly and the song hammers home the point at 2:13 with: "How stupid is it, for all I know you want me to, but maybe you just don't know what to do, and maybe you're scared to say 'I'm fallin' for you'." I still think these things; these words make-up a universal daydream; these words address the perennial uncertainties that plague human relationships! Listen for yourself:
Along with "Pinkerton" I really enjoy the "Blue Album," mainly because at this stage in the game Weezer knew how to channel the thoughts echoing in our heads. With the "Green Album," and whatever else came after that (I don't care about the 'later weezer') the band lost more than their bassist, they lost touch with their own internal monologues- or at least didn't include it in songs. Maybe something inside Weezer's head fundamentally changed when they came to stardom. Maybe they lost the insecurities that made their music so special. Success changes people.
If my theory here is correct then I'm extremely pleased that Weezer's latest album, the "Red Album" bombed. What a disgraceful piece of work. I was listening to it on my iPod shuffle and thought I had downloaded the wrong album because I didn't have any cover art telling me "yes, the disgrace you're listening to is Weezer."
Even though 90% of the "Red Album" is extremely bad, the hit song "Pork and Beans" shines like a diamond in the rough. In "Pork in Beans" I hear the same magic at work that launched "El Scorcho." Back to their old selves, we hear Weezer yelling an anthem of freedom- or at least what they'd say if they had the guts:
"I'm gonna do the things that I wanna do, I ain't gotta thing to prove to you. I eat my candy with the pork and beans, excuse my manners if I make a scene. I ain't gonna wear the clothes that you like, I'm finally dandy with the me inside. One look in the mirror and I'm tickled pink, I don't give a hoot about what you think."
Now that's the Weezer that rocks! Weezer rocks because they shout out what we're all too afraid to say for ourselves. The music connects with our own fears, insecurities, and uncertainties and shouts them out into the open. When I sing along at the top of my lungs I'm actually shouting out my fears, insecurities, and uncertainties. It feels so good to yell all those thoughts out my head. It's a rush to say what you want how you want to, and Weezer helps makes this expression possible and supremely fun.
Sorry for the cruddy second video but all the real "Pork and Beans" video can't be embedded from YouTube. At least you can hear the song and read the lyrics.
Top: "Pinkerton" album cover features my favorite Japanese woodblock print (浮世栄) by Hiroshige (広重) called Kanbara (蒲原).
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Riding that giant was a jostling dose of royalty. I can understand why the elephant is the vehicle of kings in many Asian countries; sitting atop the largest land mammal and looking down on the tiny people your giant could crush at will, fills one with a sense of raw power. And traffic accidents, forget about it- nobody wants to rumble with an 11 foot tall (3.4 m), 12,000 pound(5,400) elephant. Mark Twain summed up his elephant riding experience in a similar fashion, "I could easily learn to prefer an elephant to any other vehicle, partly because of the immunity from collisions."
As we tromped along the walking course I tried to talk with the driver but he didn't have much to say. He walked us quietly to the edge of a lake where we paused and looked out over shoe-string waves to an old temple on the far shore. The experience was priceless. In my opinion there's no better way on the planet to spend $6.
The elephant is a holy animal in many Asian cultures. In India, where Twain rode his giant, the most popular deity is Ganesha, a god with a human body and an elephant head helps people through troubles.
Elephants are also play an important role in Thai culture where they serve as the national animal and were once found on the Thailand's national flag. Everything elephants do has some special significance, especially breeding. After our elephant returned to the corral and we dismounted, I visited the nearby gift shop and bought an amazing elephant postcard which showed the sacred act of elephant coitus. With a scene so graphic, I'm glad it wasn't one of the sights I came across in friendly Thailand.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Yes, Heidegger was a member of the Nazi party until the party was over. During the first year of his Nazi affiliation he was appointed rector of the University of Freiburg, an occasion historically marked by his speech praising National Socialism and its merits. About a year after resigning as rector of the university, Heidegger, in his 1935 work An Introduction to Metaphysics, praises National Socialism and it's "inner truth" writing:
Saturday, October 11, 2008