Category: Music

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #073: Holiday In Tehran

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #073: Holiday In Tehran

It’s time to taste what you most fear / Right Guard will not help you here / Brace yourself, my dear / Brace yourself, my dear – Holiday In Cambodia by the Dead Kennedys, 1980.

It was great fun watching Donald Trump and his Stooges run their victory lap yesterday. Let me paraphrase their comments: “Iran blinked.” Trump may very well be as stupid as his dangerous, but even I have a hard time believing the Great Orange Turd wasn’t knowingly lying through his teeth.

After Iran’s massive missile attacks that served as warning shots, followed by statements from Iranian leaders blatantly saying their response was just that, Trump says Iran blinked. If he really believes that, then he will continue to keep in jeopardy the lives of over 100,000 American troops – as well as that of his alleged best-bud Benji Netanyahu. Maybe Trump thinks that, since the Jews are the ones responsible for his impeachment (source: statement made January 6 by Delaware Republican Party official Nelly Jordan), he can get back to his family’s legacy of hating the Hebes so, hey, screw Benji.

Iran bombed the shit out of two of our bases in Iraq Tuesday night. They were meticulous in not killing Americans, Iranians, or (I take it) Iraqis. Then they said, and again I paraphrase, this town isn’t big enough for the two of us, and if we don’t get out or if we assassinate any more Iranian leaders, they will move their bombsites a little bit to the right and blow our troops to kingdom come. That is the textbook definition of a warning shot. Stop listening to the babblings of Trump’s lying toadies: the absolute truth is that, Wednesday night, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made Donald Trump dance in a hail of missile fire. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #073: Holiday In Tehran”

Brainiac On Banjo #067: The Winter of the Year

Brainiac On Banjo #067: The Winter of the Year

Observations at year’s-end. This will be a Trump-free list… unless you count sub-text.

• • • • •

The final two weeks of the year used to be the most boring weeks of each year… and they still are. It’s a pain in the ass to go to the supermarket, let alone buy anything at any other sort of store. Traffic sucks, and often the weather does too (not this year over in my neck of the woods, but your mileage may vary on that).

Whatever broadcast television is out there that I enjoy is not out there at year’s-end. However, there’s so much stuff on my TiVo and through streaming services that this is no longer a big deal. Actually, that’s kind of good news: people recommend streaming stuff to me all the time, and some arouse my curiosity. Others make me somnambulistic.

• • • • •

Speaking of television, I had a bit of a Victor Buono film-fest here a couple months ago, and I had a wonderful time. Evil was never so gentle; wit was rarely so sharp. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #067: The Winter of the Year”

With Further Ado #073: The Sounds of the Season

With Further Ado #073: The Sounds of the Season

Forget Rudolph, the Grinch and Frosty. I’m not here to talk about it It’s A Wonderful Life  or Hallmark Channel movies (even though my daughter-in-law loves them). Today I want to focus on Christmas Commercials.

It’s been a good yuletide season for ads. Although I’ve yet to see the famous Santa-on-a-Norelco-shaver spot (one of my all-time favorites), there’s been some engaging TV spots. Oh sure, they are all  promoting crass commercialism when we’re all really supposed to be thinking about peace, brotherhood and one very important baby born in a barn, but let’s focus on creativity, entrepreneurism and providing more than a few jobs. 

The Peloton TV spot got all the buzz for all the wrong reasons. This year they stepped in it with an ad that suggesting a rich guy demands his perfectly beautiful wife to continuously workout to maintain her perfectly physique. The stock stumbled for a bit, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Peloton has fantastic end of year sales.

Or was it all a sneaky plot? At the end of the day, Peloton is a brand that found a way to successfully sell a piece of fitness equipment  at a super-expensive price – despite the fact that this particular piece of fitness equipment exists in abundance on Planet Earth.   Continue reading “With Further Ado #073: The Sounds of the Season”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #069: Talk Is Cheap, And So Is Trump

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #069: Talk Is Cheap, And So Is Trump

What will you do if we let you go home / And the plastic’s all melted / And so is the chrome? / Who are the brain police? – Frank Zappa, Who Are The Brain Police, 1966

One of the many ways we get into trouble as a society is when we issue sanctions on semantics. Acts can be evil. Thoughts can provoke bad acts – but thoughts can prevent bad actions as well. We can deal with the bad thoughts if we stay vigilant and use our brains from time to time.

Controlling the language has been an effective means of political persuasion. One of the reasons I admire the LGBTQ movements is that they seized the words gay and queer, turning insults into advocacy. This started about six decades ago, so we’ve had a couple generations of Americans who do not automatically perceive those terms in their original discriminatory context. We’ve got a way to go; change takes time and commitment.

I am often bewildered by the statements made by our president, and by “often” I mean “at least every day.” Because he gets his beliefs from Fox News and Vlad Putin, our dickhead-in-chief buys into the axiom that Jews are a monolithic group who are compelled by a hive-mind. This is a complete misunderstanding of the Jewish culture. As a group, Jews love to debate and discuss, generally with open-minds (I exempt the most fundamentalist of persuasions from this argument) but usually with great passion. I was raised in a Jewish environment, and I truly enjoy this exchange. Judaism as a culture encourages debate between the religious elders and their flocks. “Rabbi” means teacher. A teacher who is willing to discuss and debate. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #069: Talk Is Cheap, And So Is Trump”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #067: Reasons To Be Cheerful

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #067: Reasons To Be Cheerful

Some of Buddy Holly, the working folly / Good Golly Miss Molly and boats / Hammersmith Palais, the Bolshoi Ballet / Jump back in the alley, add nanny goats

Today, you may have noticed, is Thanksgiving. I will step away from the issues involving Puritans, Christopher Columbus, and native Americans for the nonce solely because, go figure, Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks.

I’ve never seen more that distracts us from this reasonable goal. The United Nations released a major report on Earth’s environment and where it’s going (spoiler alert: to hell in a plastic bag), while many of us feast today many more go hungry, and we remain stuck with a sociopathic, petulant five-year old brat of a president who acts as though he just broke the neighbor’s picture window. I’m not thankful for any of that, but in the spirit of the holiday I am taking this day off from Bughouse Square duty.

We all need to take a breath, together.

Which, by the way, is the meaning of the word “conspiracy.”

A bit of grin and bear it, a bit of come and share it / You’re welcome, we can spare it, yellow socks / Too short to be haughty, too nutty to be naughty / Going on forty, no electric shocks

I think those who tell us to appreciate the small wonders of life are absolutely right. Yeah, things suck – they’ve always sucked, they always will suck. But as the 18-wheeler of life comes barreling down the hill aiming to crush us all, it passes by all sorts of stuff that entice us to get out of its way. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #067: Reasons To Be Cheerful”

Brainiac On Banjo #062: Rock Is Here To Stay After All

Brainiac On Banjo #062: Rock Is Here To Stay After All

We can argue when rock ’n’ roll started. The term goes back at least 85 years, but the roots of rock go back to our ancestors pounding rocks together. Perhaps that’s the real origin of the term.

I grew up with rock playing in the apartment. That’s probably true for most people reading this, but I’m older than many of you. I’m older than shit, to be sure, and I’m not always thrilled with that. But my sister was almost seven years older than me, and she was seven when Jackie Brenston, Ike Turner, and Sam Phillips made “Rocket 88”, arguably the first rock record released commercially. I was one year old; so, I’m not able to say she was listening to rock way back then. But she was so into rock that I clearly remember her collection of singles and her choice of radio stations. There was no other form of music dominating within the confines of Sunnyside and Kimball apartment 3-A, in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood.

It had a major impact on me. I grew up a rocker. I love rock in all its forms, some more than others, but damn near everything that we refer to as American roots music (rock, blues, country, bluegrass, folk, rap, and even a bit of pop) remains close to my heart.

When I turned 11 years old, my sister gave me my very first record album, Runaround Sue by Dion DiMucci. Shortly thereafter, I scrapped together the $3.14 I needed to purchase Dion’s first solo album, Alone With Dion. I bought it at the old Harmony Hall record store in a strip mall that was founded the year “Rocket 88” was released.

Dion, you see, was my first favorite rock artist. I grew up listening to Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Eddie Cochran, and so many others (including Dion and the Belmonts), but Dion was my favorite. And you never forget your first. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #062: Rock Is Here To Stay After All”

Spotlight on Girl On Film by Cecil Castellucci – A Review and Interview

Spotlight on Girl On Film by Cecil Castellucci – A Review and Interview

Cecil Castellucci is an incredible artist in the true sense of the word. She began her quest to share art with the world by spending her life studying to be a filmmaker. Ultimately, she has thrived and shared stories with the world through many mediums. She has written Young Adult novels, and graphic novels. She has written for DC Comics and is the current writer on Batgirl. She has fronted a couple of punk rock bands, and also written hockey-based operas, to name a few media.

Most recently, she has written a graphic memoir called Girl on Film that is published by Boom! Studios. We acquired an advanced copy of the book that comes out in comic shops on November 12, 2019 and everywhere else the following week. Let me tell you, it is wonderful, and there is a more detailed review below.

We also reached out to Ms. Castellucci, and she graciously agreed to answer a few questions for us. You can find our interview below the book review. It was a great experience from us and we hope you enjoy it too.

Girl On Film
Boom! Studios / Archia
Written by  Cecil Castellucci
Art by Vicky Leta, Melissa Duffy, V. Gagnon & Jon Berg
Colors by Kieran Quigley & Joana Lafuente
Letters by Mike Fiorentino
Cover Art by Caz Westover

Original Solicitation

One thing young Cecil was sure of from the minute she saw Star Wars was that she was going to be some kind of artiste. Probably a filmmaker. Possibly Steven Spielberg. Then, in 1980, the movie Fame came out. Cecil wasn’t allowed to see that movie. It was rated R, and she was ten. But she did watch the television show and would pretend with her friends that she was going to that school. Of course they were playing. She was not. She was destined to be an art school kid.

Continue reading “Spotlight on Girl On Film by Cecil Castellucci – A Review and Interview”

Press Release: SOUND OF THUNDER Vocalist Returns from Injury with New Album

Press Release: SOUND OF THUNDER Vocalist Returns from Injury with New Album

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

October 29, 2019

A SOUND OF THUNDER Vocalist Returns from Injury with New Album

A Sound of Thunder vocalist Nina Osegueda was in a near-fatal car accident in July. After a period of uncertainty, Nina and band are back and have announced their new album Parallel Eternity. The album will be released in February 2020 and is available for pre-order exclusively on Kickstarter now. The album cover is by long-serving A Sound of Thunder artist Dusan Markovic.


Osegueda sustained serious injuries when her car was struck by a commuter bus. Her vehicle was rolled and crushed by the impact. Though she suffered multiple bone fractures, she luckily escaped without any spinal cord damage or internal injuries. After being confined to a wheelchair for several weeks and intensive physical therapy, she has now made a near full recovery. Osegueda comments: “That accident made me feel like I’m on borrowed time. I’m so grateful to be alive and well! It only solidified my desire to make music and keep going as long as I can!” Continue reading “Press Release: SOUND OF THUNDER Vocalist Returns from Injury with New Album”

Kickstarter You Should Be Backing: DEATH TRAP (Interview with Matt Miner AND Laura Palmer)

Kickstarter You Should Be Backing: DEATH TRAP (Interview with Matt Miner AND Laura Palmer)

This is a special edition of our Kickstarter boost posts. We were able to speak with the writer of the latest campaign and the musician behind the video theme. This is the perfect combination of what we are about here at Pop Culture Squad.

This week we are spotlighting Death Trap. It is a comic story that will be released digitally in four individual issues and then printed in a collected edition.

What is Death Trap?

According to the Kickstarter campaign page:

Death Trap is the story of a young woman named Ollie who grew up in the Strongin Circus crime family, surrounded by sideshow freaks and weird clowns and a huge albino dancing bear named Wojtek.  Her Dad’s killed by a rival crime family at Davenport Amusements, and ends up haunting his old Mercury Cougar muscle car.  So Ollie and her dad’s ghost team up for some sweet, sweet, revenge.

It sounds super cool and the various reward tiers are full of excellent material. We are stoked to see this project get funded.  At three days into the campaign, they are at about 20% of their goal.

Continue reading “Kickstarter You Should Be Backing: DEATH TRAP (Interview with Matt Miner AND Laura Palmer)”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind 046: Life’s Little Killings

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind 046: Life’s Little Killings

According to the Washington Post, last week 17-year-old Elijah Al-Amin of Peoria Arizona stopped by the Circle K convenience store on his way home from work, one of the two summer jobs he held. He had been listening to rap music in his car, according to 27-year-old Michael Adams, who is not a fan of the genre. Indeed, rap music makes him feel “unsafe.”

Adams feels this way because, according to him, he had been attacked “by people who listen to rap: specifically, blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans.” Adams did what many unreasonable people might do under the circumstances: he leaped out with his pocketknife at the ready, he slashed Al-Amin’s throat and then, for good measure, stabbed him in the back.

Al-Amin staggered out of the store and died by the gas pumps in front. Adams said he was being “proactive rather than reactive” and that his victim did nothing to provoke him. That’s quite an admission from a guy who had been released from prison two days earlier – without access to medication. You’d think he’d know better. You’d think he was nuts. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind 046: Life’s Little Killings”