Friday, August 30, 2013

Calling All Naomi Morinaga Fans!

I checked Google not very long ago, and Pictures of Naomi Morinaga was the #2 match for Naomi Morinaga. Additionally, this blog clocks in at both the #3 and #10 positions. I still don't know what to make of this foolishness, since I am just a guy living in a rural area of the southern United States. Yet I am responsible for three of the top ten Google results for a Japanese actress? Well, OK.

This does bring to mind an oddity that I am hoping some Naomi fans will help rectify. As I said, my Naomi Morinaga image blog is currently the #2 match for the lady. However, it only numbers a measly 31 Tumblr followers - and one of them is me! If it's so popular, where are the followers? Do the majority of its visitors simply not have Tumblr accounts? I assume yes.

If you enjoy "Pictures of Naomi Morinaga" and are interested in possibly further exploring Tumblr, why not sign up for an account to follow? It's free and easy and you'll even have your own Tumblr when you're done!

EDIT: A reminder that "Pictures of Naomi Morinaga", while tasteful, is NSFW.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Intro To Blue Oyster Cult: Godzilla Bash '94

In our discussion of all things Blue Oyster Cult during our little blog crossover, Kabuki Katze mentioned in a comment that she first became interested in BOC through reading about the song "Black Blade" and its Michael Moorcock connection. Now, oddly enough, I have a similar story. However, it was not Moorcock that brought me to BOC. It was instead the King of the Monsters.



I feel pretty positive that the big intro here for "Godzilla Bash '94" on TNT MONSTERVISION was also my intro to the Blue Oyster Cult song "Godzilla". Listening to it now, it's pretty obvious to me that it's not the original. I have the strong suspicion that it's the remake BOC themselves did for Cult Classic. That album came out in 1994, so the timing seems right. The music sounds too polished to just be anonymous hacks, but I haven't made the effort to dig out the CD to discover the truth. Maybe one day.

Seeing these again also reminds me how great MONSTERVISION was, and how much poorer we are as a world now that it's gone.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The BOC Challenge - Kabuki's Picks!

As promised in yesterday's Blue Oyster Cult-themed entry, I am happy to report that Kabuki's entry also went live on Aug. 21. In the interest of full disclosure, her post was written prior to mine, but I did not see it while putting together my picks. I thought it would be more fun that way. I almost scheduled mine for a time that would have put it later than hers, but I had no way of knowing that either.

Kabuki's post is just as much fun as I was hoping, because between the two of us, we only picked three of the same songs! Those were "Career of Evil", "Black Blade", and "Harvest Moon". The first two were not really unexpected, but the last genuinely caught me off-guard. Both of us only picked one post-80s song, and it was the same one! So check it out already!

Perhaps not surprisingly, three of Kabuki's other picks were in contention for inclusion on my list: "Veteran of the Psychic Wars", "Flaming Telepaths", and "Revenge of Vera Gemini". I was especially on the fence on "Flaming Telepaths" (the segue between it and "Astronomy" on Secret Treaties is a thing of beauty), but ultimately felt like I was perhaps favoring my top BOC album a bit too much. And if you doubt the excellence of Secret Treaties, check THIS out - between the two of us, we selected all but one track from the original LP.

My biggest delight in Kabuki's list is her total dark horse pick of the demo version of the original "Fire of Unknown Origin"! Not that it's a bad song - in many ways, I like this version of it better than the final one that appears on the album that shares its name. I just didn't see it coming, so my hat's off to her for digging really deep into the catalog for this!

As an addendum, there are a couple of songs that were strong contenders for me, except that I think they have been done more justice live than they were in the studio. One of those is "Perfect Water", which was included on the mostly disappointing Club Ninja. Buck Dharma had expressed his own dissatisfaction with the studio version, and the desire to revisit the song. The linked version is from 2003, and is to my mind far superior. The other is "The Vigil" (yet another alien encounters song!), which originally appeared on Mirrors. That version isn't bad at all, but frankly every live version I've heard has made me sit up and take more notice of it. Maybe you'll agree when you check out the concert recording from 2009 I've linked here.

Finally, I think Kabuki should get the last word in summing up quite succinctly how the two of us geek out over "Astronomy":

Favorite Line: All of it.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The BOC Challenge!

So, I have been listening to my Blue Oyster Cult box set for about a month, and during this time, I hatched an idea. As you know, my compadre Kabuki Katze shares my love of BOC. It's how we met! So I came to her with what I dubbed "The BOC Challenge" - each of us names 10 favorite Blue Oyster Cult songs and posts them to our blogs. Discussion and (possibly) hilarity ensues.

Of course, to do this, we needed some rules. Don't worry, they aren't terribly oppressive.

1) Songs did not have to be ranked in any particular order. I can't speak for KK here, but I'm pretty sure I'd spend the rest of the year trying to arrange them from my most favorite to least favorite, and then being dissatisfied as soon as I finished. It's hard enough picking out 10 favorites, especially with Rule 2.

2) Omitted from these lists will be the most famous BOC songs: "(Don't Fear) The Reaper", "Burnin' For You", "Godzilla" and "Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll". Not because we don't like them; rather, those are the easy choices to make. This exercise is about delving a little deeper into the BOC catalog.

3) There was another song I considered omitting, but after discussing it with Kabu, it's instead going to be listed separately. No peeking!

And now, my picks!

10 Favorite Blue Öyster Cult Songs

  • "Workshop of the Telescopes" - From BOC's titular first album, "Workshop of the Telescopes" is an early portent of the darker and more mysterious side of BOC's music. I am so taken by it that I once named a spaceship in a story after a key lyric.


  • "Career of Evil" - Oooh, scandalous! It's a catchy song that manages to fully play up all the nervous misgivings about heavy metal. And it's co-written by a woman!


  • "Subhuman" - This one doesn't usually get as much attention, but it almost serves as an after-the-fact rationalization of the band's unusual name. In fact, a heavily reworked version of it appears later under the title "Blue Öyster Cult".


  • "Dominance and Submission" - Some days, this driving rock and roller is my favorite BOC song, bar none. It's a concert classic with its call and response chorus.


  • "ME 262" - This song about a World War II German fighter plane (seriously!) manages to be the aural equivalent of an aerial dogfight. Live in concert, it's punctuated by guitar and drums mimicking a machine gun firing.


  • "E.T.I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence)" - Possibly the best of BOC's "alien encounters" tunes, and yes, they have more than two. "E.T.I." is loaded with esoteric references sure to get the attention of even casual Ufology buffs, and some distinctly otherworldly musical flourishes.


  • "In Thee" - I mentioned "In Thee" during my tribute to the late Allen Lanier, and it's a very atypical sound for the band. It even works as a purely acoustic piece, and is a favorite despite debuting on one of BOC's less reputable albums.


  • "Black Blade" - Co-written by lead singer Eric Bloom and author Michael Moorcock, "Black Blade" is the story of Moorcock's character Elric and the sword Stormbringer. It's pretty damn ominous and moody, in addition to being metal as hell.


  • "Take Me Away" - This one also got some coverage here recently, as it is the uncanny marriage of Blue Oyster Cult and Aldo Nova. It manages to preserve the BOC "feel" than some of their other mid-80s efforts, and is another song about hanging with aliens.


  • "Harvest Moon" - A later-period (1998) BOC song, and one of their strongest to my mind. Certainly, it has been a concert staple, and never seems out of place. It can stand with the band's output from their heyday.


And there you go! But what of this mysterious "Number 11" in the Top Ten? Well, that would "Astronomy". I've already discussed that it is my absolute favorite, and so considered excluding it from consideration. Kabuki would have none of this, so it gets to be a supplemental pick.

In our discussions, Kabuki mentioned having her list ready by approximately this time. I have no idea when hers will exactly be going live, but you can find her blog here when it does. I am eagerly anticipating it, and will hopefully do a follow-up comparing and contrasting our two lists.

Friday, August 16, 2013

More Gekko Kamen In Your Life?


Remember this? I found another one, and thought you guys would enjoy it. I love stuff like this!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

R.I.P. Allen Lanier of Blue Oyster Cult

I first learned the news in the subject header a couple of hours ago, but I guess I've been trying to process it before putting it on the blog. Allen Lanier, one of the members of Blue Öyster Cult died today from complications of C.O.P.D. I can't say this was a huge surprise; Allen had effectively been retired since 2006. I took that as a hint that he was in poor health, and sadly, I was correct.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Message to Sydney

I was debating whether I should post this here or not. I figure, why not? If I can live with seeing a video of myself on Twitter, I can deal with it on the blog, too.

From the description:
A few words to a brave young woman and her family.

(Please note that the text I receive during this video is her updating Twitter. Oddly appropriate.)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Kush

You know Seanbaby, right? I mean, he did invent being funny on the Internet! Well, I was reading this article by him the other night, and then I got to the end...



...I was only hoping to see if that dope who injured himself with a Q-Tip in the WaxVac commercial made the cut (SPOILER: he did). I had no idea a product this completely random and insane even existed.

My favorite part is that even the woman doing the voiceover can't believe it. She is on the verge of laughing at any given moment. "Anatomically contoured" indeed.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Now Playing At Hot Rails

I didn't post about this last week when it went live, did I? OK, there's a really extraordinary Blue Oyster Cult website called Hot Rails with the ambitious goal of "attempting to document every gig Blue Oyster Cult ever played as well as providing a complete gig, setlist and fan review resource archive." That will probably never be fully realized, but you can't fault him for trying!

As you may recall, I wrote about attending a BOC show. That particular gig wasn't listed on the site, so I decided to submit a report on it. You can read that under "May" on this page. It kinda bugs me that I can't give a more detailed picture of the show, but I had no idea it would turn out to be important. Plus, I wasn't exactly qualified at the time.

So check out the report and check out the site. Lots of cool things there for BOC fans!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Firegirl Surprise by Kennasaur


Look at what the wonderful Kennasaur dropped on me quite unexpectedly this past week! Yep, it's a lovely and slightly saucy portrait of my heroine Firegirl! I love it a lot, and you can tell Kenna you love it too!

Thanks Kenna! You're tops!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Who Made Who

It was December 1980, and I was 8 years old. My family was on our way for the Christmas visit to Ohio to visit's Mom's parents and that side of the family. We made that trek by car, and it usually took 2-3 days - remember, there were kids. We had stopped for the night at a local motel in a now-forgotten town. Dad was going to the local convenience store to get something, and since it was already dark, I wasn't allowed to accompany him. I asked him to pick up a comic book for me.

When Dad got back to the motel room, he had bought a copy of Marvel Premiere #57. I studied the cover with more than a little confusion. This sure wasn't a superhero! In fact, I didn't know what to make of this man in a strange outfit floating through space(?) with a telephone booth(?!?). I'll never know why Dad chose that comic book - if it was just a random grab or if something about it caught his attention. It surely wasn't because he had ever heard of "Doctor Who."

I reluctantly read that comic book, despite it not being something I would have gravitated toward myself, and found myself fascinated by it. The story was creative and clever and more than a bit dark, and the art by some guy named Dave Gibbons was very appealing. Further, as I studied the only comic book at my disposal that night, I learned that DOCTOR WHO was a science-fiction TV show with a long and colorful history. On the way home, I spotted a copy of Marvel Premiere #58 and snapped it up to see the conclusion of "The Iron Legion".

As luck would have it, 1981 would be the year my local PBS station began carrying DOCTOR WHO. It was a wonderful bit of serendipity that I was already familiar with the basics of it when I had the chance to see it. You can bet your bottom dollar I was there the first afternoon it aired, and made a point to watch it whenever possible (often on my black and white TV, which I still miss terribly).

I've never really been an active part of Whovian fandom. I gradually stopped following the show, though I still retain an affection for it and what it stands for. Ah, but nothing can take away the magic of reading those Marvel comic books on a long December car ride and discovering a whole new world of imagination.