Merry Christmas/Happy Saturnalia

From Der Schatten and the Fetching Frau Schatten, Merry Christmas: Like I said a few days ago, belief or proper denomination is not required to enjoy a paid State and Federal holiday; to eat well; to visit with family and friends, and just generally to enjoy the company of loved ones. (And presents...don't forget, everyone likes getting new shit!).

See you boils and ghouls in a few days, until then, let's have some punk mood music as you tuck into that first glass of booze and watch "A Christmas Story" for the fourth time today.

The Vandals' 1996 Christmas Classic "Oi to the World", with the title track for you...

Give back to the one who's always been there for you: "Christmas Time For My Penis"

"Grandpa's Last Christmas": Be nice; they'll soon be dead.



Alphabetical of Simple Pleasures: K-O

Once again; great things to give as gifts, pamper yourself, or be a snob...all for $30 or less! Also, it is worth noting, that I am not paid for any of these endorsements. This is a 100% non-commercial venture. I just try to share the love to whom I can, when I can.

Enjoy. You can also peruse Parts One (A-D) and Two (E-J), respectively.

K-Pak Deep Penetrating Moisture Reconstructor

At $18-$24, this is an absolute essential for those living in dry areas. More importantly, for you poor bastards stuck in the cold, dry, frigid, snowy/icy, windy weather gripping most of the country, you know how much havoc is wrought on your coif. This is pricey for just over on ounce, but no conditioner on the planet does so much, with so little, so fast for your frozen locks. Obvs, not for every day use.

Macallan Fine Oak 10

This one cheats a bit (usually retails for about $32...but, let's pretend anyway). Macallan is a Speyside/Highland scotch, usually known for its 12 and 15-year varieties, and excellent amber coloration. The "Fine Oak 10" is, as you'd guess, an aged oak, 10-y.o. version, and, is an excellent mid-priced entry, replete with complex flavors. Let's hear what "Spirit Journal" magazine says shall we, upon giving this top shelf booze four- out of five-stars:

Pale golden yellow color is pure and clean, the initial aroma reveal supple, buttery, and piney aromas. The palate entry is honey sweet and silky.

If that doesn't make you thirsty, I don't know what will....

Library Card

Where iTunes is 20th Century par excellence in musical cataloging, it doesn't have shit on the original master organizers: Libraries(ians). From Alexander and Athens in Greece to Athens in Georgia, libraries are the repository of human knowledge, belief, innovation and imagination. A city has no soul unless it has a library; and, if there is one thing on this earth that can change a child forever it is a trip to the library (the summer reading programs are brilliant, and life-changing --growing up as a desperately poor child, I can personally attest to this fact). Best part is, as a taxpayer of the county/city, your membership is usually free, and, if not, libraries (and supporting them), represents the single best $5-$10 you'll ever spend. Ever.

H/T to the Fetching Frau Schatten for reminding me of this one :)

The iconic NYC Central Public Library...

Nordstrom "Smart Care" Flat Front Slacks

Simply put, I love Nordstrom's slacks. American Eagle makes jeans and chinos that actually fit like a glove, no tailoring required. But, for everyday business slacks that fit that way, it's a tougher bill. This is where the "Smart Care", machine washable, flat front, no iron-required, business casual slacks are perfect, and fit perfectly. Nordstrom quality; great fit; low maintenance, and affordable during the Labor Day sale ($27.99-$45.99, after 40% off).

Pleats are for suckas, yo.


You probably know this fish better as Wahoo, on the mainland. However, the Hawaiian word for this critter is "Ono", which means "good to eat" or "delicious". And, it is absolutely both of those things. A mild, firm fish, with little gaminess and a pleasant texture, it is exceptionally versatile for grilling, and is excellent sashimi style as well. Local caught Ono goes for about $13.99/lb, prices on the mainland are as high as $24/lb. Either way, meet the Sea Bass' equally delicious cousin. 

The redder the better. Look at the core of this thing...it's practically a tenderloin.


How did I miss this?

Cracked on Ingmar Bergen

Paging Antonius Block...

I love me a good Bergman film; grainy black and white movies, usually with the incomparable Max von  Sydow, beautiful women, two hours in the dark exploring the post-modern crises of faith in a cold, uncaring universe. Cracked has a beta topic index, where readers can create their own sort of dick joke Wiki. 

The entry RE: Ingmar Bergen is some special kind of awesome. Be sure to check out the full entry, but below is a snippet of the Bergen Drinking Game

Now that you know everything you need to know about Ingmar Bergman, you can Netflix a few of his movies and play this game with your buddies:
One Drink
  • a character appears in a mirror
  • two characters have a dialogue while at least one is staring an the abyss
  • Max von Sydow murders someone who totally deserved it
  • Something makes no fucking sense
Two Drinks
  • a character questions the existence of God
  • a character has a moral crisis
  • Sven Nykvist is a genius

Well done. Well done.

DAMN; thursday got off to a late start

Not for the day; I was up at 4:00 (per my usual, as of late). Rather, I got a late start on this. Hell, it's almost siesta time on the East Coast.

Anyway, please enjoy some Mira; an excellent dark rock band, labeled "goth" by Metropolis, but I'll let you make that judgment call....

I love her voice; not as somnolent as Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star), but just as emotive, and actually with a bit better range.
Incidentally, this is one of the best "fuck, we've broken up" songs evah. 
Lyrics here, for those wishing to heap a lil' misery on themselves this Holiday season.



Alphabetical of Simple Pleasures: E-J

You know the drill: Items under $30 which anyone on a budget can use to themselves.

Yesterday, we ran through Audible books, Chardonnays, Djarum Blacks, Badger shaving brushes. Today, we'll cover a bit more ground. After all, this is not just a self-love primer, but may also provide some gift ideas to those of you with a (not-so) secret aesthete in your lives...Even better: you won't break the bank.

Eternity Shower Gel (for the guys)

Your author has serious problem with a lot of fragrances; the vast majority of scents are too abrasive, too artificial, and don't enhance body chemistry and pheremones very well. One notable exception is Calvin Klein, who does a great job with colognes for men that are rich, subtle, smell like a guy, and a class-act at that; not a truck-stop goon splashed in Brut. My personal fave is Eternity. Not just the cologne (about $50 for 2 ozs), but also the bath gels which transform even hungover louts into an all-day, olifactory sex machine. Priced nicely at $27.50 for a 2.5 oz bottle, it will last months.

Feria Starry Night by Loreal

This is the holy grail of all blue-black, Level 3, hair dyes. The color is sumptuous, rich, shiny, healthy and -surprisingly- not as fake looking as one would expect for an OTC hair dye that has so much blue sheen underneath it. Also, even for an ammonia-based product, it is gentle on the scalp and roots. While I am pretty much consigned to Natural Match these days (when I have the chance or time to do so), I cannot recommend this product enough for the discerning Goth. Priced between $11-$19, and worth every penny.

Gun Oil Lube (for that special lady).

Let's be adults here for a second: sex is natural, fun, cheap, enjoyable, invaluable to our mental, emotional and physical well-being, and is the "canary in the mine" for relationships. So, we need to discuss when exhaustion, mental or physical concerns, aging, or good ole' mother nature is not fully cooperative. What happens then? Try this: Gun Oil Lube, a silicone-based, non-irritating lubricant that is hands down the very finest one on the market...for a variety of applications. Will not interfere with condoms, most toys, or do bad things to your special parts. Non-scented, and easily the least viscous surface on the planet. They must use this stuff to grease microprocessor parts. It is that good...and a little bit goes a long way without worrying about constant reapplication...even if engaged in por anus sexual contact.

It sadly is expensive. For $30, you can probably afford the 4 oz bottle, although I have seen the 16 oz version on sale at Amazon for about $35 (regularly well over $50). Seriously, if you buy one thing off the Alphabetical, make it Gun Oil...you can thank me later.

Hermes Neckties

This French tie manufacturer is a secret gem to those who love good neckwear. While not as expensive (usually) as Hugo Boss, you can find some Hermes products that range well over $100. However, the classic Hermes red power tie is a must for any professional's wardrobe, and, for exactly $29.99 online at iOffer, it meets our $30 criteria too. If you're really lucky, you can find occasional lots of these badboys on eBay for about $25 per tie/per lot.

Classic Hermes red power tie...every man should own at least four such power ties, and you can't go wrong with the Hermes label.

Free. Absolutely, 100% free. Infinitely expandable. Categorically brilliant in its organization, and fully cross platform. This is a true gift; from streaming m3u's (such as GothMetal.net) to powerful file conversion, to organization that makes my OCD heart flutter, to CD/DVD labeling and design, to a wealth of free streaming content, to the powerful app and iTunes stores; this baby does it all. Go take a look around this ubiquitous application, realize how very little resources it requires for all that it is, and can do. Then marvel that it is free. iTunes makes me a better person (well, at least a happier one).

Jisatsu Circle
Right up front: This isn't for everyone. This is a dark, damned depressing, damned violent manga about life and stress in Japan schools; and unrelated (seemingly) suicides. There was an award-winning, ground-breaking (but nauseating) film better known as Suicide Club, which may actually be more depraved than the 6-issue manga. Suicides. Lots and lots of suicides. The gorier the better. Nevertheless this is a suspenseful WTF read, and for fans of horror-mystery, you could (and would) do far worse than this foray into the macabre. Splatter fans, particularly, will love the movie. Incidentally, the film is $14.99 from Movies Unlimited; the Mangas are priced at $13.50 per on YesAsia.

Told ya'....not for everyone.


Happy bargain hunting.


All I want for Christmas is...

Something nice and dainty; with a lil' bit of ribbon and red; maybe some soft; and, ultimately very, very pretty? Perhaps with some sort of floral arrangement?




Happy Kwanzaa/Hannukah/Christmas/Saturnalia/Yule...
Hope you get everything you're looking for.

(and, if you're exceptionally attractive, I'm sure Der Schatten can work out a lil' something to put under your tree...if you've been naughty).


Wednesday before Saturnalia...

Incidentally, Happy Belated Solstice.

Hope those of you on the N. American mainland got to see the first full Solstice solar eclipse since 1630. We're in the midst of an out-of-season Tropical Cyclone that has everything funky, rainy and windy...and the odds were good we weren't going to see anything in any event.

Be that as it may, hope you had a good one, and everyone is getting ready for a nice few days off for Christmas (belief not required to have a paid holiday!).

This morning's selection is a bit off the beaten path: Skull-crushing, blasphemous industrial from Ministry. Enjoy, won't you?

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant Album: "Psalm 69" and this here live title track!
What a fucking great start to Wednesday...

Alphabetical of Simple Pleasures: A-D

Life is not about the accumulation of stuff, nor about the pleasures that material goods and wealth can bring. As we all know, especially for younger professionals, life is really about paying back $100,000 of debt to that evil bitch, Sallie Mae.

I digress, however. While money doesn't buy happiness; money can buy small things, simple pleasures, that bring a glimmer of sunshine into an otherwise darkening world.

Herein, I present a few of the simple pleasures in life, all priced under $30, that make me smile, and can make your day/week/month a brighter place...

Audible Membership: $7.49 first 3 mos/$14.95 thereafter.

Absolutely essential for the bibliophile. If you're like me, you love to read, but your schedule is hectic, and can only snatch 45 mins or so of free time to read a book. Try Audible. Perfect when doing laundry, bathing, getting dressed, commuting, cooking meals, cleaning, even while going to sleep (we all love a bed time story).  A miserly $15 buys you a new friend each month in the form of a "credit". With tons of great $5.95 sales throughout the year, member gift certificates, and a wealth of deals, Audible is easily the best $15 you'll spend in a month.

Badger Bristle Brush

Unless you're an antiquated lumberjack, society generally wants most white-collar, non-academic  professionals to be well-groomed; which includes, naturally, shaving. For some it's a chore. For others, like me, it's a pleasure. Irrespective of your stance on shaving, nothing --and I mean nothing-- gets your regions softer, more pliable, and gives you a better shave than a good old-fashioned badger bristle brush and some nice cake soap. Sure, it takes a bit longer, but it is a nice ritual, it smells nice, and your skin will thank you.

The "Pure" bristles are about $28 on Amazon; the "Silvertips" feel like a lover's caress, but are about double that. Good cake soap, such as is found at Pioneer Heritage Shoppe, runs you $14, and lasts about 2 months!


The reds get all the press: Cabernets get the money; merlot keeps Olive Garden in business; zinfandel gets the girls; and chianti goes well with fava beans. But, for my money, no wine beats the exquisite complexity of a nice chardonnay. So many varietals, there are literally as many complexities as your cravings could request. Some like their chards fruity, others crisp, others biting and sweet. Not the Shadow. Rather, I prefer mine to be earthy, rich, warm, with an oaken or buttery finish. And, man, is there a deal for you. Chateau St. Jeanne Sonoma County Reserve Chardonnay (2004), for the fantastic price of $27.99. If you want a complex every-meal wine, or one perfect by itself, one suitable for "polite" company, yet inexpensive enough to treat yourself to on occasion, this Orgasm-in-a-Glass is what you have been waiting for.

Djarum Blacks

Fantastic kretek cigars. Retail for about $7-$12 depending on locale (but, available in bulk for $30.99 per case at Tobacco General online). Mild, micro-clove with a well-sauced filter; finely-balanced, beautiful blend of Indonesian spices and Turkish 100% pure tobacco. Good tobacco, good cloves, great deal...and go perfect with earthy beverages such as black Sumatra/Kona Peaberry coffees, amaretto and zinfandel. 



Jesus Christ...

...what color were you?

 For pure LOL material, I prefer Dane-Jesus up there with the pale blue eyes and strawberry-blonde hair...

With Christmas rapidly approaching, I thought I'd take a minute to talk about Jesus. Let's ignore the fact that there's not even compelling record evidence to suggest that he even lived, as a corporeal person; and let's ignore the fact that he doesn't even arrive in Christian literature until a century after his death; and let's ignore that like about a dozen other virgin-born deities, parthenogenesis isn't possible with human beings; and let's ignore that if Jesus actually existed, he was likely not born in our December.

Let us, instead, think about what Jesus looked like. The above is my favorite one, because a pale, Teutonic Jesus just strips the entire veneer off of what Jesus ethnically was, and where he purportedly was born. Jesus was, if anything, a Jew...a Semitic male from Judea.Gonna' be hard for the Christians to accept this one, but he was meant to fulfill the line of David, to resore the Kingdom, to fulfill the Jewish prophecies and to break up the influence of the priest-class. If nothing, Jesus announced that he was the Messiah of Jewish prophecy.

So? ever seen a Semitic male, born in Palestine or Judea, to a Turkish mom? (Mary was from Ephesus in present-Turkey).

These lovely ladies are Turks...in present-day Ephesus.

This is a contemporary Semitic man, from the ancestral regions of Judea/Palestine...

So, how did we get the image of Jesus of as a Saxon warrior? I like to think it's a few products, really. One, is pure racism. For the same reason Jesus is always shown painted over in his genital region...a circumsized penis is too Jewish for the Christian class to handle. Another reason, I suppose, is that people want their gods to look like them (except for me...I prefer Cthulu, tentacles and all). Combine these two things: One a desire, and two a white-washing, and you get some odd results...
Crunk Jesus...

Welsh Jesus...

  Turko-Grecian Jesus (pretty damned close, probably).

and, what I think is most likely...this forensic reconstruction of a 1st Century Semitic Male....

This is your real jesus. An ethnic Jew of the 1st Century, with unkempt hair, curly beard, etc.  Let's see what the Bible thinks, shall we...RE: the family reunion in heaven.

DAD: His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
SON: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze

So, give our first century guy some white in his hair, and he is God. Take away the white from God's hair, and he is Jesus. Seems perfectly rational, and reasonable to me...Now, get over your pasty Jesus, people, and realize you are worshipping a very ethnic, very provincial desert god of prehistoric extraction. And, if you want, tell him happy birthday this Saturday...

1968 Sixty Minutes on Jesus' appearance. Anachronisms abound in this decidedly whiter America.


Tuesday just lost all productivity...

...replaced the Wii with an XBox360 last night (it was my self-selected xmas gift :) And, weird dreams seem to have passed me by for an evening. Good thing the year is winding down, and all of my projects are not time sensitive, it permits me to now obsess about other things.

Speaking of which, please enjoy Clan of Xymox's "Obsession"

Probably more of a synthpop offering than one of the Clan's darker fares, but still, you fully expect this song to be in a really cheesy 80s movie...maybe featuring Andrew McCarthy or on a disc with the Thompson Twins.

In either case, there's nothing wrong with that.


Florida prosecutors pick on cripples; grandstand wildly.

About a month ago, I wrote a scathing piece on the chilling effect of private corporate censorship by Amazon against the creeper who authored the "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: a Child-lover's Code of Conduct".

Therein, I argue that 'tis better to provide legal, if not socially acceptable, fora for pedophiles to learn how to curb their appetites and stay within the law, than it is to permit unpopular, grotesque, but-legal speech to be chilled by any entity; much less a private one.

Seems like the author of that book, Philip Ray Greaves II, is back in the news today. This time for a reason that should pretty much anger anyone who gives a shit about criminalization of speech, police entrapment, and the politicization of the law.

Yep, he looks like a creeper too.
Obviously, not the most popular client to have...

Polk County sheriff's deputies arrested Philip Ray Greaves II hundreds of miles away from Florida at his home in Pueblo, Colorado, and charged him with violating Florida's obscenity law.

Polk Sheriff Grady Judd said his office was able to arrest Greaves on Florida charges because Greaves sold and mailed his book, "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: a Child-lover's Code of Conduct," directly to undercover Polk deputies. Judd says Greaves even signed the book.

Read that again, and process it. What Florida did was solicit Greaves to sell his book in their jurisdiction, where it is deemed criminal obscenity and indecent. Now, the problem is, the book isn't a crime under federal law, nor was writing, manufacturing, or selling it (or its contents) a crime in Colorado, where Greaves lives and where he was presumably minding his own business now that the furor has died down.

There is entrapment, and then there is entrapment. Normally, it is not entrapment if the police solicit someone to do something which is criminal. The reason being is that they are just taking (allegedly)  advantage of the defendant's proclivity towards committing a criminal offense. If someone is trying to do a murder for hire, drug deal, extortion racket, etc. entrapment wouldn't be a defense.

But here, the man writes a vile book, and is literally solicited to commit a crime that he likely did not know was even criminal to begin with. Even worse, the "crime" alleged by Florida is ordinary commerce...that he engaged in legally in Colorado, using the Federal interstate mail system...legally. Even worse than that, the "crime" is repulsive speech whose sale is criminalized in Florida. Just speech, that's it. And interstate commerce, apparently.

But, how do we know it's grand-standing and not a legitimate prosecution. I dare say the presser released by the Polk Co. Sheriff's Department says it all.

"If he will waive extradition, it's my goal for him to eat processed turkey on Christmas Day in the Polk County Jail," Judd said. * * * "If we can get jurisdiction ... we're coming after you," Judd said. "There's nothing in the world more important than our children."

 Yea, that's pretty much what I think of Sheriff Judd...

Lookit. This is repulsive, vile, stomach-turning...you name the adjective. But Florida is on rotten-ass ice here. 1. Colorado shouldn't even extradite him, as this was not a crime. 2. There are serious pre-emption issues here as well. The State used the feds to entrap a guy into a state level crime that is not a federal crime. The crime revolves around commerce. Well, Skippy, this commerce is interstate. Good luck with that one. 3. It's criminalization of speech for fuck's sake, and may be revisited by some very high courts very soon. 4. While communities have a right to police and protect THEIR CITIZENS, the 1st Amendment doesn't cease to be relevant. More important, Florida has no interest in this political prosecution because the crime was manufactured by Florida and brought into their jurisdiction...by Florida officials themselves. 5. Notice is going to be a big big problem. Generally ignorance of the law is not an excuse; however, when the criminality is the exercise of a fundamental right, and the commission of the crime involves participation in interstate commerce, how on God's earth could Greaves know he was engaging in criminal behavior?

Besides, perverts always look like pervs. Every lil' kid has built-in molester-radar.

Nevertheless, Greaves is an easy punching bag. Just like the Feds go after Assange because they cannot go after the N.Y. Times, Florida attempts to prosecute another person extra-territorially, who also committed no crime. Why? Because it's ass-fucking lazy, it's cheap populism, it's interference with legitimate law enforcement, and it's a helluva' lot easier than investigating and prosecuting the real problem here: Real Florida pedophiles who have committed unspeakable, unforgiveable violence against real Florida children.

This shit is just window-dressing.


The bittersweet dream...

Of a big bore V-8 speeding down an endless ribbon of highway, wind whipping caressing me like a lover, the painted desert further painted on the reflection of her sunglasses, her bright red lipstick and tousled hair, a radio that never sounds bad. She half-climbs into the backseat of the black convertible, as the wind worries at her dress.

We are young, reckless and utterly "ima wo ikiru"..."being", living in the moment with no past and no future, and an aimless, rudderless love for life itself.

Mood music. The excellent Danish punk, gothabilly band, Volbeat.

The first car we've encountered on this lonely highway, speeds us by. The driver's tie is at half-mast, bags line his eyes which show a far-away look of deep concentration on the road and whatever else lies heavy on his mind. In the backseat, a bored child's face is pressed against the glass. I try to smile at her as we pass, but no light comes to the little girl's eyes, and we're quickly forgotten.

And then the dream dies around me. What was perpetual sunset, is now a descending darkness. I feel the night's chill set in, and realize that I brought nothing to keep me warm. I begin to become consciously aware of the heavy lump in my pocket where an empty wallet lies. I worry as the gas needle drops faster than gravity would seem possible. What once was whimsy on her face turns into a cold distance, and furrows unconsciously gather in her brows. There grows a distant pang somewhere in the pit of my stomach that isn't attributable to growing hunger alone. I start to think about -not this moment- but the moment's that must come tomorrow, and the preparation that must be done now so as to live in that future, rather than this moment.

And, it's a dream. A bittersweet one; an irresponsible one; an impossible one. 

It is, in short, Rousseau's notion of the liberated individual; the spirit freed from the strictures of everyday society. And it leaves me gasping for breath as I choke against the tethers that I only occasionally feel, but which I've leashed about myself in an effort to stave off uncertainty.

A dream juxtaposed against a very real sacrifice. That is what I'll tell myself today, anyway.



Break from Reality...

There's no other way to describe the average Fox "News" viewer's perception of their understanding of the world, versus what they actually know...

 My good friend Chas. D. would suggest that it's not killing nearly enough...

According to the Alternet report

In eight of the nine questions below, Fox News placed first in the percentage of those who were misinformed (they placed second in the question on TARP). That’s a pretty high batting average for journalistic fraud. Here is a list of what Fox News viewers believe that just aint so:
  • 91 percent believe the stimulus legislation lost jobs
  • 72 percent believe the health reform law will increase the deficit
  • 72 percent believe the economy is getting worse
  • 60 percent believe climate change is not occurring
  • 49 percent believe income taxes have gone up
  • 63 percent believe the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts
  • 56 percent believe Obama initiated the GM/Chrysler bailout
  • 38 percent believe that most Republicans opposed TARP
  • 63 percent believe Obama was not born in the U.S. (or that it is unclear)

That is stultifying stupidity. Right up there with the 7 out of 10 Americans that believe they have an actual, corporeal fallen angel; and the 51% who can name all of the Simpsons but not more than three rights embedded within the First Amendment.

Alternet, not generally known for being a bastion of "fair and balanced" themselves, pretty well sums up how so much disinformation is available in the public's noggins.

Fox News is deliberately misinforming its viewers and it is doing so for a reason. Every issue above is one in which the Republican Party had a vested interest. The GOP benefited from the ignorance that Fox News helped to proliferate. The results were apparent in the election last month as voters based their decisions on demonstrably false information fed to them by Fox News.

Friday's unbeloved...

Long weekend starts today; and not "long" as in "awesome". Long as in "I have to go to a firm retreat, and be locked up in a hotel all weekend to discuss firm financials, justify my existence, share case notes and strategy, and wheedle for a higher salary...all whilst dining awkwardly...with minimal chances of getting laid."

Sigh. I hate this kind of shit.

Anyway, Der Schatten hopes you have a great weekend (or, at least certainly better than mine). Bundle up mainland, and enjoy an absolute classic: VNV Nation's "Beloved".

Black screen for a reason. The lyrics are the point.
Absolutely one of the saddest, most touching songs ever written.


Wherein Der Schatten Tag-Teams Siouxsie Law's Dog Post*....

This morning, your Not-So-Humble Author was browsing the RSS feed, when he happened across an interesting post by Fellow Traveler, Siouxsie Law, "Dog Groomer Sues To Keep Gigantic Dog Mural on Her Building".

 Seriously. Look at this fucking thing. 
As Justice Potter Stewart said of pornography, "I'll know it when I see it". 
Ditto with art, and this fails the eyeball test.

Therein, Siouxie Law details the alleged First Amendment issues posed by the owner of a dog grooming business in Virginia. You'll have to read her post for the details, but the long and short of it is as follows:
  • Woman owns said business that abuts county lands, the latter of which also happens to be a community dog park.
  • Groomer then paints an abortion of an advertisement, not including her business' name but featuring stylized cartoon canines frolicking with reckless abandon, and it runs a full sixty (60') feet by sixteen (16') feet. Or, roughly, the size of a 1L's underclothes after a semester of inactivity, fast food and cheap beer. Or, for the rural folks, about the size of a small mobile home. (Appalachia, holler!).
  • County says, "that thing is hideous, and, despite your insistence that it's "art", it's very much an advertisement for your business." 
  • Nevertheless, County agrees to compromise: Groomer can keep her memento to bad taste so long as she paints "community dog park" above it, or some other such verbiage and/or indicia of non-profit motive.
  • Groomer resists; then files a suit against the County claiming that her rights to First Amendment expression have been abridged/infringed/got butthurt.

 First Amendment doctrine? Again?! AARGHGHGHGGGHHH
My feelings on First Amendment Doctrine are legendary (in my own fevered mind, at least).
Incidentally, I've been dying to use this picture. 

I will let Siouxsie handle the First Amendment ramifications (Spoiler: There's no case) because A) I'm a property law dork, and B) there are so many better reasons to tell this women to get drowned in effluent.

So, I did a lil' digging, because I am both a nerd and an insomniac, and it appears as though Virginia has some unusual party wall statutes. For those who don't know, a party wall is the legal fiction that both persons own a wall if/when it happens to separate properties. The ownership interest is of note, because even if I construct an improvement (fancy speak for building/dwelling, etc), and divide our land with the exterior wall, you -as my neighbor- still have interests in that wall. So it's not just a "party wall", but rather a "parti-" wall, e.g., partition.

This means that the non-owner of the parti wall still has rights and interests in the structure and can enjoin your use of it and/or seek compensation for loss of it (especially if it's such a tacky fucking 'mural' like the one above). And, as you would expect with such a legal fiction, there are some odd results that can follow. For instance, in Virginia, whence this case hails, there is an A.G. opinion that an owner of fee land, upon which a party wall was constructed, can't even videotape the shared wall because it would violate the State's wiretapping statutes as to the non-owner.

 Property law at 4:00 a.m? Won't you think of the puppies?

Now, look back up at the picture graciously hotlinked borrowed from Siouxsie's post. It appears as though the Groomer's building, including the dripline of the kennel's ceiling and any setbacks, probably run into lands of County. In other words, the County is probably considered a party/parti- owner, or adjacent owner, of the land upon which the party wall touches/divides. Under most zoning laws, the County is then likely a "party wall owner". 

I'd have to see the zoning ordinances, and the facts of the complaint, but homework and research are for suckers, especially when it's much more fun to speculate wildly and irresponsibly. This means that the County has rights to and interests in the Groomer's wall above, including enjoining this special needs painting above, and not having to subject other tax payers to a 960 square foot advertising (hell, that's a large Manhattan apartment!).

Wait a second, sayeth the average American. You mean if I share a wall, the adjacent landowner can stop me from painting tasteful cartoons upon it? Or, the County can stop me from using my own property in a commercial manner in which it was zoned for?


Unbeknown to most, the origin of "asplodes" has its roots in David Cronenberg's "Scanners"

Siouxsie's post makes excellent mention of zoning laws and advertising regulations as a perfectly legitimate exercise of the State's police powers (these are, after all, nothing more than very neutral time/place/manner restrictions on speech, be that speech commercial or otherwise). The examples she provides are Vegas, Staten Island and Times Square. All very good examples, I add, of how commercialization and/or "speech" can absolutely blight a city.

But why can these be regulated? Simple: members of the community have a right to not be exposed to monstrous advertising which gobbles up the skyline and/or diminishes the community characteristics. This is particularly true in areas where natural beauty is an attraction, or even for reasons as OCD as ensuring that certain areas of town all have the same facade/general structural/appearance.

Hell, I'll even through in a few more examples to help make her point:

 Hate me.

See the above? That's the view outside my place on the Kona/Kohala Gold Coast; aptly named so, as you can tell. Imagine a towering vacation rental, such as you see in my old Southern  stomping grounds, the Gulf Coast.

Sweet home.

Now, what's the difference here, although it is hard to tell initially? For a start, Hawaii County forbids the erection of structures exceeding forty feet. For any reason. That is so that people who aren't blessed enough to live right on makai (ocean-side) can still see the coast, the shoreline, the sunset, the horizon, scantily clad attractive people. 

And, the differences extend in a way salient to Siouxsie's point: For instance, on the same Kona/Kohala Coast, where the Shadow makes his living (and a bastion of artists, I add), no signage/displays/exhibits, etc can vertically exceed the horizon line. So, depending on where you're at, that's anywhere from 4'-14'. Hence, everyone gets to look at the natural beauty without a Bed, Bath & Beyond neon monstrosity. 

And, guess who lost a zoning fight to pollute the skyline? McDonalds: an entity that certainly has a more recognizable brand, and -some would argue- a more compelling reason to advertise its wares. But, you know what? As a community we've decided that the scenery beats the Golden Arches; that the rights of our residents and guests to enjoy the town and the natural sights takes precedent over gaudy commercialization, or even expressions of "artistic" speech. 

And, every court in the Nation will respect that as a valid objective and our methods a reasonable restriction on expression, speech, and commercial speech such as advertising.

I just had a seizure looking at this...

Bad pun absolutely intended: This is a dog of a case. Even if the County isn't a party owner to the dividing wall, there are plenty of compelling reasons to reasonably restrict advertising; especially when such advertising or "art" adjoins a public facility, paid for by the taxpayers, and used for the benefit of the taxpayers. 

That's more than enough for me.

*C'mon. You didn't think I was going to let the opportunity for a perfectly perverse pun pass me by, even at 3 in the morning?I've hopefully not slipped that much.


Saddest thing you'll read today...

...in a deeply, nation-questioning, existential way. This isn't about politics, per se,  more it is about the calamity that our fraudulent FIRE* economy has wrought on those who aren't beneficiaries of those sectors.

Trust me, it'll make sense in a bit...

The wife of the man who held a Florida school board at gunpoint said Wednesday that her husband was a gentle giant who was pushed over the edge by the economy and frustrated over her losing her teaching job.

"He wanted to get me an answer," Rebecca Duke said a day after her husband, Clay Duke, killed himself. He shot at school board members in Panama City, missing some of them by mere inches, before he exchanged gunfire with a security guard. As he lay on the floor in the boardroom, he shot himself to death in the head.

Sounds like just a gun-crazed, anti-gub'mint 'winger, doesn't it? Someone who hates the Man, and just went off the deep end?

Well, he did go off the deep end, but not for the reasons you'd think: It wasn't a product of random hatred, or a tax-protestin' conspiracy nut, or a ranting unhinged man...his were the actions of desperation that our society has created in the burgeoning underclass...

"The economy and the world just got the better of him," Rebecca Duke said in a rambling press conference to talk about the man she loved.

There's more at the Miami Herald (I particularly enjoy trying to paint a despondent, broken man as a random lunatic, while ignoring the substance of what makes a man walk into a building and try to shoot those who fired his wife).

I am not for one instant condoning his actions, and am greatful that the body count was just one. However, I am deeply saddened that the country has fallen into such a balkanized state of haves and have nots such that violence seems the only way to respond. When you play by the rules, yet our bullshit illusory economy continues to shit on you, when our policy makers are blind, deaf and clinically fucking sociopathic, there is left nothing but a hollow, often-misplaced, impotent rage. 
And he felt it in spades.

[he] apparently created a Facebook page last week that refers to class warfare and is laced with images from the movie "V for Vendetta," in which a mysterious figure battles a totalitarian government.

So, America. Everyone is too big to fail except for we, the people; all 370 million of us who are extorted, cajoled, imprisoned and indebted by at least 40% of our income to pay for those privileged few. These weren't the first shots of a class war; the class war has been waged for a while now. However, these may be the first actual shots that will wake people up, and pay attention to the seething frustrations in our world. Ours is rapidly approaching a failed state, where the only thing keeping the minions in line is agitprop and the not-inconsiderate state violence inflicted on our citizens through a militarized police force.

Grab the popcorn...

The final lines are chilling: 
"My testament: Some people (the government sponsored media) will say I was evil, a monster (V) ... no ... I was just born poor in a country where the Wealthy manipulate, use, abuse, and economically enslave 95 percent of the population. Rich Republicans, Rich Democrats ... same-same ... rich ... they take turns fleecing us ... our few dollars ... pyramiding the wealth for themselves."

* FIRE, incidentally, refers to the sham "wealth" and prosperity that has fueled the economic machine for the past two and a half decades: Finance, Insurance, Real Estate. Much, much more to come on this when I get a few good hours.

Stumped by what to wear: Men, too, have this problem.

I'm seriously out of my realm here in the style department; let that be said first thing out of the gate. On the weekends, when I ordinarily go do physical activities, shop, and generally get caught up on the business of life, you will see me in a white/black/gray tee shirt, shorts and sandals. (Remember, it's 84 degrees and sunny every day, and this apartment -like many- doesn't have an air conditioner).

During work days, it's usually a dress aloha shirt/Polo and slacks or chinos, or traditional mainland business wear (Court days, sadly, are the only ones in which that I wear a tie (and I have a serious tie fetish. Besides, this isn't Honolulu or the East Coast where that sort of thing is de rigueur,  It's much more like the reservations I lived and worked on: People in full suits, besides being sweaty and uncomfortable, are viewed very suspiciously. Or, worse, as a Republican. And, trust me, we simply do not have Republicans on my Island (and that's also a shame...not the Republican part, but the lack of suit-wearing...I also have a suit fetish. Well-tailored, black or charcoal double-breasted ones, in fact).

 I see I'm not alone in that. BTW: I own that tie. Red ties are classic, powerful, and butch, dammit. This American Eagle shiny pastel shit has absolutely neutered the classic, clean, masculine suit.

So, Hawaii is the land of comfort and utility. But, there's one occasion that I wish to do this up right: My wedding. Yes, yes, Der Schatten is off the market (and has been for several years; although, the Fetching Frau Schatten may possibly share if you're a curvy brunette rocking the Black No. 1 <-- just one of many reasons I dig her).

Rest in Peace, Peter. Don't look at the Green Light...


Anyway, we're looking for suits to wear. I think the consensus opinion, as of this moment, at least,  is to rock the Morning Dress. Morning Dress looks a bit steam-punkish, as well it should. For over 200 years it has been the formal dress wear of the Royals. And, if you like jagged lines, and all the accoutrement and formal trappings, this is definitely your bag: Top hat, tails, gloves, cane, vest, etc.

Does this tie make me look like a doucher?

What I do not like about the traditional morning suit, however, is the heavy reliance on light gray. While I like gray, and it tends to look good on me, the above morning suit, for instance, is about as dark as morning suit slacks every get. In most cases, the color scheme for the vest and pants are reversed. While it is formal in Britain, I do not look good in, nor do I like, light-colored trousers.

Which brings me to my next option: The Morning Dress Tuxedo. There is literally very little that I don't like about this look, except for one very important fact: It is not only ridiculously formal, it will also likely be hot as shit to wear, while stand in the sun, on black sand and lava rocks, for an hour.


Finally, it should be noted that of all the colors in the universe of clothing, perhaps the one that looks the best are brown-tones. I have a natural brown/dark yellow undertone, so I can pull off interesting colors, such as cream and pale yellows; golds and tans and browns, very well. Being the vane prick that I am, perhaps something in the earth-tones would be just as effective?

Smug doesn't do justice to this guy's face...
My biggest concern with the brown suit, however, is that it's not quite formal enough. And, let's face it, unless you drop $600, the chance that a brown suit will look cheap is very very high. The margin for error in brown is razor thin, and you ride the knife's edge between beautiful and cheap looking. Also, I do not think this will match. Everything in the wedding is monochromatic: Black and white. Classic. Timeless. Appropriate enough for the visitors, yet with enough wiggle room to really trick it out.

So many choices; so little time (March 12th). One thing is certain, though: On March 13, 2011, our paychecks will be larger (c'mon, how could you think that two lawyers wouldn't consider the financial impact of signing the social contract? Benefits and tax breaks, as well as homebuyer credits and lowered consolidated student loan payments, are as good a reason to get married as any!).

So, what sayeth the blogerrati? Traditional? Traditional tux? Brown?


Thursday is feeling sexy...or revolting.

I just can't decide which one yet.

I used to play this every set at Paradox/Metro. Why? Because it's so damned sleazy; this Revolting Cocks cover of Rod Stewart's "Do ya' think I'm Sexy" is the auditory equivalent of chlamydia, yet is surprisingly danceable. The video, will make you want to shower afterwards...which could be a good thing, depending on your mood.

Enjoy some unadulterated sleaze to start your day. 

Tip 'o the cap to the incomparable DJ Zillah (who drank too much gin) for turning me on to this so long ago.




Cartoon Characters I Want To Sleep With: Velma Dinkley

Velma gets such a bad rap. I can't imagine why, though. What's not to love? The shapely figure, pleated skirt, power-lesbian bob, knee-length tights, and snug sweater really does it for me.

 Well-visualized, sayeth I.

Besides, she is the coolest of the gang (and by far the most ambitious). While Scoobs and Shaggy are horking down bowls of dank, and Daphne is strip-teasing to Fred's ascot, our erstwhile brainy, sexy heroine has to do all the mystery-solving

Even better when realized with Linda Cardellini's breasts...

There is definitely a surfeit of disturbing Velma porn out there too: Velma on Daphne, Velma in bondage, Velma being mounted by Scooby (that one has to be Dutch or German), and lots and lots of Velma topless and/or upskirt tributes.

I thought I was a pervert...
So, for all you nerd-lovers out there; and all of you who cling on to hope that a cartoon will one day unleash the naughty-librarian sex fiend within, please enjoy (indeed, respect) Velma Dinkley. Especially when Linda Cardellini is depicting her.

We can all get behind nerd porn...

 I don't remember this much cleavage in Scooby Doo. However, I am certain I would have spent much more of my youth in front of the television, if so.


David Cameron: Prime Minister...of Goth!

Absolutely brilliant episode of Prime Minister's questions, wherein PM David Cameron takes questions from the Members of Parliament...and confesses his love of The Smiths.

Too bad this guy is a Tory dipshit, but, hey, we can't all be perfect. And, at his age (44), I doubt very seriously I will be the leader of a puppet regime, a large, vibrant Western Democracy...although I am accepting applications for minion (concave.scream@yahoo.com)

Give it up for your Prime Minister of Goth.
Somehow, you gotta' think he'd approve of "the Queen is Dead"

tip' o the cap to Beth 
(who I totally adored in a past life!)



Wednesday is SO VERY excited about this tripleheader...

So, this morning, my iPod randomly played one of the most unheralded, yet powerful, bands I've heard in my three decades on the mortal coil: Canaan.

You may have heard of their original act, Ras Algethi. Named after an Arabic star, Oneiricon - The White Hypnotic, is so ridiculously hard to find that you wouldn't believe it.  But if you can, sell a kidney to a sketchy Thai prostitute to get this one! (or, send me an email, and I'll rip you a copy, DMRC be damned).

Anyway, following the demise of Ras Algethi, the Italian Berbers who comprised the group resurfaced in Italy, their home land, under a new name: Canaan. The music is much the same as Ras Algethi: Transcendentalist, Atmospheric, Gothic Doom Rock.

In short, they are the one, and only, band I've ever heard that sounds like this. And, Loki bless 'em for that. More importantly, bless Loki that someone else in YouTube land has heard them! Enjoy, won't you?

Please enjoy them, as well as my recommendations to enhance your listening pleasure.

Canaan's Grey...
Shadow Recommends: Grey Goose and sullen masturbation in a dawning sky.
* * * 

A Magic Farewell...
Shadow Recommends: Klonipin & luke warm black coffee 

* * * 

Ghosts of Betrayal...
Shadow recommends: Speedball & grits; you've hit rock bottom.