Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Stuffing the Passer - Two Headed Boy

This is usually where I do some brusque free-associating and lead the delightful readers of the House Rock Built on a strange and unsettling trip through my hyperassociative subconscious until I feel they have been sufficiently punished to deserve a few minutes of puppet videos that irishoutsider and I invest an unhealthy amount of time into.

Things kind of flew off the rails this week, though. Here I sit in front of my keyboard trying to get the ol' creativity machine pumping, but my weak and fragile mind simply cannot overcome infinite distraction of YouTube covers of Neutral Milk Hotel's seminal indie rock classic "Two Headed Boy". Now I have a number of opinions about music that, through hard work and prayer, I have been able to vigorously suppress in hopes that I will not become the most insufferable jackhole to walk the face of the planet. You're welcome, America. But allow me to drop my guard for one instant and say that if it were not for the unavoidable necessities of bathing, defecating, consuming food and water, socializing with my wife, and earning money, I guarantee you I would spend my entire waking life watching YouTube covers of "Two Headed Boy". It's such an important and, well, vocally taxing song that every amateur cover opens up an infinite expanse of possibilities. Some are shockingly decent, some weave drunkenly on the borderline of brilliance and horror, some are 8 bit videogame masterpieces, and many are just obscene and fascinating shipwrecks -- but none of them are boring.

Sadly, there just aren't enough lifetimes to do that, so I'll just leave you with puppets now while I tackle page 385, which features an overweight man in a dress playing a ukulele with a broken string while a Jack Russel terrier yowls in the background (Verdict: a little pitchy in the chorus, but still a surprisingly capable cover.)

Yeah, uh, literally (I had the hiccups).

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Stuffing the Passer - Coming to Your City

There's nothing quite like having ESPN's College Gameday on campus. I for one like the whole concept of not settling for just having a big, important, and exciting football game -- why not just go for broke and bring the whole freaking circus along for the ride?

Of course, the Gameday that we're used to watching today with its crowds, sarcastic signs, and weird mascot head rituals is just a faint shadow of what it used to be, back in the glory days. Of course, I'm talking about the 1920s, when ESPN was just a tin can in New York and one in LA with a 2,700 mile long stretch of twine connecting them.

Yep, back then Fibber McGee and Buster Keaton would sound out rollicking telegraphs from a plywood stage built outside of the stadium where the game of the week was playing, which was actually not very entertaining for anyone. In fact, it has never been confirmed that anyone actually ever received or deciphered their transmissions. Recent scholarship has shown that during the course of the show they almost never actually sent any telegraphs -- most of their time was spent getting staggering drunk and punching immigrants. It was amazing.

Of course, then vaudeville came around and nobody wanted to decode morse code transmissions from outside of football stadiums anymore when they had the option of watching a bawdy puppet show or human cannonball or whatever the hell the kids are into these days. Not surprisingly, the entire world has gone to shit since then.

Allright, puppets.

Well this... this is abstruse.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Stuffing the Passer - E Unibus Pluram

Sometime in the 80's, some TV show did something somewhat meta, breaking down the "fourth wall" and winking at the whole culture-wide mass delusion we've accepted about our entertainment living in its own separate world, divided from us by a transparent yet entirely impregnable1 barrier. Those were such innocent times that David Foster Wallace's head exploded when he saw such brazen defiance of our most treasured national myth, leading him to rip off a small novella encapsulating the true meaning of art, the gaze, the other, life, the universe, and everything within like ten minutes (probably).

It's funny because today we're so deeply steeped in this concept that it almost doesn't make sense that there was any point in time where this was something novel, noteworthy, and fosterwallace-able. Meta is just like the air around us -- these days I don't even get out of bed except as an aprés-garde post-post-neopostmodern satire on the concept of mocking the idea of bed-exiting. And that's on a good day.

Anyway, enjoy the video. It features an uncommon2 appearance by the Wildcat, and a friendly reminder to your filmmakers why his appearances are so rare -- he is a dreadful actor3. Animals I guess are immune to the paralyzing notion of being on the wrong side of the voyeuristic gaze of the camera, which is dreadful when you need them to actually perform a certain task on screen rather than some meandering cinema verité reflection on the life of a cat when nobody is watching.

I have offers to be Hamlet and Richard III - in the same production!

1. Hey what in the hell is wrong with the world "impregnable"? Shouldn't it mean the exact opposite of what it actually means... i.e., impregnate-able? But, no... if something is "impregnate-able", you would say it is "pregnable", which opens up another can of worms, because then wouldn't that mean that the opposite of "impregnate" should be "pregnate" (e.g., "Even after months of expensive fertility treatments, I've sadly been able to do nothing more than pregnate my wife.")

2. Wouldn't go so far as to call it rare.

3. Very dreadful. Like almost as bad as Chris Kleina.
    a. Almost.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Stuffing the Passer - Worker's Paradise

Our long national nightmare is over. After 25 days of brutal deadlock, the Local Fuzzy and Fuzz-Like Entertainer and Entertaintrixes Union have resolved their dispute with the evil capitalist swine at the House Rock Built and are back to work.

This all reminds me of the famed Haymarket Riot, an auspicious event in labor history that happened on my birthday way back in 1886. You might not know it today, but back then, puppets faced grueling hours, limited Scotch breaks, and persistent occupational safety hazards (this was in the time before Franklin Roosevelt created the PHCMO -- Puppeteer Hand Cleanliness Monitoring Organization -- a hare-brained make-work program that, unexpectedly, singlehandedly ended the Great Depression. Good on ya, FDR).

At any rate, a few rabble-rousing sock puppets and marionettes turned a small wildcat walk-out at a Chicago carnival geek show into an enormous general strike that shut down puppetry in all of the nation's top commercial centers, a development that threatened the very livelihood of Ron D. Rockefeller, the loss-notable younger brother of John Rockefeller who had made a comparably small yet nonetheless handsome fortune off of his national puppet monopoly. As the crowd become unruly and the outmanned Pinkertons fled for their lives, the nation's puppet robber-barons turned to their last resort and called in a young and largely unknown behemoth of a lawyer from Ohio named William Howard Taft, whose well-executed flying belly-flop crushed several dozen brave puppets to death on that dark, dark day.

Many of those sentences were factual.

Okay, puppets.

Now I've got to hide my good scotch.