Off to Mordor we go

Well, to visit Poland, Hungary and our friends in Transylvanian Romania, really. But this map here, which places Middle Earth on the real map, says we’re actually going somewhere in the vicinity of Mt. Doom.

Probably will skip the whole destroying-the-ring-of-power thing this time around, but we should get some pretty good mountain views. Tho didn’t I hear that Frodo kid saying that a few years ago?

From the heavens, a phone came to save us all…

The iPhone is here. I already feel myself to be a better, more fulfilled person. I’ve heard that the problems in the Mideast are under control now, as a result, and the bombs they found in London today were really what you’d call celebratory, not aggressive per se.

Simply by repeating the mantra, or should I perhaps call it sutra, The iPhone is here, I find I have become more beautiful, more intelligent, taller, perhaps younger in a biochemical sense; I can tell that any genetic flaws I might have had — left-handedness, male-pattern baldness, a weak heart, predisposition to diabetes or blasphemy — all these have been wiped away as by a cool, cleansing cloth. My spelling is better, and brother, you should see my handwriting now.

I don’t personally have one yet, but of course I will, because it makes no difference whether I sell a kidney or not; my iPhone will help me grow a new one if I require it. Just knowing it exists has soothed my career anxieties, enabled me to switch to low-fat milk in my coffee, convinced me to start jogging in the morning and cut back on my consumption of beer and other intoxicating beverages in the evening. My penis has grown several inches, which I assume will have a correspondingly radical effect on the amount of spam mail I receive.

Already, I can only credit the iPhone for the startling improvement in my fashion sense, which led Kate Moss herself to call me on Skype just a few minutes ago and ask whether I would advise her on a few modeling dos and don’ts next season. Being above such frivolous activities since the release of this Olympian devise, I of course declined, but — on the sly — did give her a few diet and media-handling tips.

The iPhone has revealed to me, and I think to the world at large, the glories of veganism, of communal living, the futility of war, and of conflict, one man or woman against the other. I think that by tomorrow we will see corrupt politicians and corporate leaders across the world throw themselves on the mercy of mankind, confess their sins, and hand the reins of power to a cadre of benevolent turtleneck-wearing sages. It will be a better world, I can feel it.

I thank you, iPhone. I cannot thank you enough.

Back in the nation of daydreamers

Almost twenty years ago I brought home a cassette copy of Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation from Cellophane Square records, stuck it in my parent’s car deck, and began an obsession with the band that hasn’t stopped. 1988 was a good year for me, music-wise; it was the same year that Nirvana started playing in Seattle college gyms and art galleries that underage types like us could see, Mudhoney and the rest of the scene were screaming at exactly the touch-me-I’m-sick pitch an 18-year-old wanted to hear, the Minneapolis scene was still sending Husker Replacement Asylum genius in our direction … But of all the brilliant music to come out of those few years, Sonic Youth is the one band to have stayed in my playlists continually.

In part that’s because they provide so much musical room to grow up with, and in. They’re constantly experimenting, and as my own tastes expanded from guitars-only to things that go buzz, drone, or click, their catalog kept pace. Their major-label works have almost always stayed fresh, even if a few were a bit sub-par; and the things they’ve released on their own range from modern composers like Cage and Reich to unlistenable feedback noise. Which: Beautiful.

A few days ago we saw them come through Berlin, on a tour playing Daydream Nation all the way through. I had trepidations about going. It felt too much like something the Rolling Stones or other aging rockers (which, granted, they are) would do, and not at all in the spirit of constant exploration and experimentation that they stand for. But, c’mon, it was Daydream Nation, we had to go.

It was brilliant. They’re older now. Thurston had to stop in the middle of a song intro and go get glasses, so he could read the lyric sheet. The on-stage rockout factor is decidedly lower. But the noise is brilliant, the jet-engine power and pit-thrashing polyrhythms undiminished; watching Silver Rocket’s riffs whip a 30-something crowd into a full punk swarm in the middle of the club felt like it was the late 80s all over again.

And in a way it is. The corporate music scene is stagnant. Underground innovation is everywhere, breaking across genre lines, utterly disassociated from mainstream sounds. Bush and Co. have rekindled an anti-establishment feeling verging on apocalyptic despair, familiar to anyone who was a teenager in the Reagan ’80s. Daydream Nation isn’t explicitly a protest album; it’s an art-punk, no-wave vision of an alternate reality, or a world described in sound located just under this one’s skin. It’s just as relevant, and just as mind blowing today as it was then.

Blind? You wish you had it so good, you pervert

From a health column in a Nigerian newspaper, a timely warning on the dangers of masturbation. That’s right, this means you, you pervy 98 percent of men and 89 percent of women:

Nonetheless, other dangers of masturbation as spelt out by medical experts include psychological guilt. A chance masturbator stands the risk of nervous-depressing permanent insanity, premature death, especially for those with high blood pressure, diabetes, blood diseases, inability to perform sexual act naturally, etc. Other dangers attached to masturbation sexes include inability to pull out of the act. It has even been documented to cause more deaths among boys in Europe than any plaque [ED– sic, perhaps plague? tho “plaque” is in fact more plausible in context] or war. Masturbation also results in total loss of sexual feelings and desire due to lack of sensation when it is time to actually engage in legitimate sexual intercourse. Quick, early or premature ejaculation is also one of the rewards of regular masturbation.

In girls, the breast development is arrested or retarded and the individual also stands the risk of experiencing spinal irritation resulting from epilepsy as a result of loss of seminal fluid in a male.

Like my intellectual mentor, the good Cap’n Jack D. Ripper, I personally am against anything that supports the international terrorist conspiracy to sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids.

I love the smell of hype in the morning

One reason I’m very glad I’m not covering daily technology news at this particular moment: I don’t have to be a bit excited about Apple’s iPhone. I’ve seen a lot of hype in my time, but this product pretty much wins the gold medal. Fully years of speculation. So much breathless writing since Apple’s pre-announcement that it’s a wonder whole generations of tech journalists haven’t expired in some kind of mass phonoerotic asphyxiation. And Apple, as always, feeding little bits to the hyperventilating masses, like chum to starved, brainwashed sharks: It will have good battery life. OOH! It will get Youtube. OOH!

It’s a phone, peoples. It’s just another step forward in the Internet-in-your-pants scenario. Look at it, use it if it’s useful, and try not to have to wipe yourself off afterwards.