The Dude Abitheth for thee

I think I found my new religion.  Here is a chapter from the Book of the Dude.  I found it at www.dudeism.com.  A friend of mine shared this with me a while back, but I found it again recently and felt that its wisdom should be shared with others who might benefit from its teachings.  If these don’t make sense to you, drop everything you are doing and go rent, The Big Lebowski.  Then come back, read this list and embark on your new life.

Enjoy.

Duderonomy: Rules to live by, and sometimes break

The section in the Judeo-Christian bible called Deuteronomy deals with laws you need to follow to live your life. They are hopelessly outdated. Here’s the Dudeo-Coen version of them.

BOOK 1

1. Thou shalt always use fresh creamer when preparing the sacrificial beverage. To ensure its freshness, it must be sniffed and even sampled before purchase. If it is unclean, put it back.

2. Ideally half-and-half shall be used in preparing the sacrificial beverage. Failing this, milk, and under the most dire of circumstances, non-dairy creamer.

3. Always write checks whenever possible, as your cash is limited and you never know when you might have to pay off roving bands of heathen Nihilists.

4. When confronted by vicious thugs demanding money, give them it. If you don’t have it, employ humor to lighten the situation. Do not under any circumstances try to fight back by hurling a bowling ball at them.

5. When discussing a matter of grave importance, or even of trifling idiocy, always make sure to employ expletives as much as possible to prove your heartfelt honesty and conviction. To ensure your dudeness, all out-of-control, manic discussions should be followed with entreaties to “just take it easy, man.”

6. If an adversary is clearly too uptight to see things from your perspective, don your sunglasses and intone “Fuck it.” Then take something of fair value from his house as you depart.

7. Employ comfortable furnishings in your home such as reclining chairs, scented candles, Persian rugs and fanciful mini-bars with ironic posters of former adversaries. Your house is your temple and your temple should be well tied-together.

8. Always honor your landlord. Do your best to pay the rent on time. Failing that, indulge his artistic ambitions regardless of how utterly misguided they might be.

9. Never have an outward-opening door on your house.

10. When confronted by a large man with a gun who demands you mark it zero, oblige him. Otherwise you risk entering a world of pain. Ideally he will get his comeuppance from the League for contravening a number of its bylaws.

BOOK 2

1. Never trust wealthy, successful people you hardly know who want to employ you to engage in shady undertakings.

2. Money is the root of all evil. It’s also the root of all good stories, so hooray for money.

3. A plan referred to as foolproof is often proved foolish.

4. If you’re a pederast, identify yourself with a major religion in order to throw people off the scent.

5. Respect everyone’s point of view. It’s just, like, their opinion, man.

6. Always remember interesting turns of phrase that you hear so that you can employ them in completely unrelated situations later and convincingly sound as if you know what you’re talking about.

7. The ringer can’t look empty.

8. Make sure to always use the proper form of the pronoun. No one uses the editorial or royal “we” in everyday exchange unless they’re trying to hide something.

9. Never park in a handicapped space if you’ve got a million dollars in your car. In fact, never leave a million dollars in your car, especially if your car is in lousy condition.

10. If a doctor is referred to as “thorough,” harbor some reservations about visiting him. Unless of course you enjoy that sort of thing.

11. When confronted by unfortunate circumstances, forget about it. You can’t be worrying about that shit. Life goes on.

12. Always protect your sacrificial beverage, even in times of severe duress.

13. Whenever possible, try to get paid in cash in order to avoid getting bumped up into a higher tax bracket.

BOOK 3

1. Freedom is great. Many young men have died face-down in the muck to protect our freedoms. Nevertheless, one should still be courteous and keep their voice down in a family restaurant.

2. Unless you’re a high-ranking member of society, don’t expect too much from the police.

3. Sometimes not having an ethos is an ethos in itself. Usually it’s a bad one, though.

4. Never go into a tournament with a negative attitude.

5. Try not to use so many cuss words. Unless they’re near and dear to your heart, in which case, fuck it.

6. Make sure the window of your car is rolled down before ejecting a burning object. You probably shouldn’t drink beer and drive either, even though it might come in useful to extinguish the burning object.

7. When strange men show up at your house accusing you of a crime and brandishing evidence at you, it is best that you feign mental illness and don’t say peep.

8. What happens when one fucks a stranger in the ass is not always what one might think will happen, nor what is necessarily fair or just to any of the concerned parties.

9. Never trust a known pornographer to whom any sizeable sum of money is owed.

10. Never trust an African-American cab driver who enjoys listening to the Eagles.

BOOK 4

1. If you are a man of modest means and charisma and a rich, beautiful woman wants to have sex with you, don’t question her motives until after the act is over.

2. Avoid living in the past, even if memories can be beautiful and remind you of a time you once enjoyed.

3. Though the man in the black pajamas might be a worthy adversary, you should avoid him whenever possible. Especially if he’s easily avoided. Choose instead to cling to the tree of life.

4. Just because you’re bereaved doesn’t make you a sap. Keep your wits about you, even when you’re bummed out.

5. Take ‘er easy for all the sinners of the world, dude. Abide. And amen.

The Silmarillion

©Chris Mills. All rights reserved!

If JRR Tolkien had been born in ancient times, he could have founded a mythology with the stuff of The Silmarillion. This is a book that I find myself rereading again and again. A fair amount of criticism is attached to this work, as it was compiled by the son of JRR Tolkien from his father’s notes, and is not canon, as such. That being said, I think I enjoy The Silmarillion as much, or more than The Lord of the Rings for several reasons.

First of all, JRR Tolkien was wont to make the past grander than the present, even in terms of his mythology, and evidence of that can be seen in this book where armies of gods, elves, and men fight armies of dragons, balrogs, and the first enemy, Morgoth. The concepts, magic, battles, and beauty are on a much larger scale than anything that appears any of his later works. Great heroes live and die. The world is richer for them having lived, and also a little diminished at their passing.

Secondly, The Silmarillion was initially started by Tolkien when he was serving in World War I and while he never published it during his lifetime, he kept adding to and refining it until it served as a fictional cultural heritage to all of Middle Earth. All the characters of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings have been touched in some way by the events of The Silmarillion even if not explicitly, and some characters in those books have seen the events described in it, firsthand.

The book is divided into 5 parts: The Ainulindalë (the story of the creation of the world), The Valaquenta (information about the gods and of their first battles against Morgoth), Quenta Silmarillion (The story of the war of the Silmarils), Akallabeth (the story of the Numenoreans and of the fall of Numenor), and of The Rings of Power and the Third Age.

The Silmarillion should be read as a book of mythology and folktales rather than as a coherant standalone story.  It jumps between chapters that are informative and chapters that read like epic tales that would have been passed down by word of mouth in older times.  Nevertheless, the book paints such a vivid world with such a compelling mythology that the entire Tolkien universe benefits from its having been. To the reader it gives greater insight into the nature of Tolkien’s creation and of the degree of thoughtfulness that was put into its inception. While this is definitely a sadder story in terms of content and while it is structurally different from his other works, I highly recommend it.

The artwork in this post was created by Chris Mills, and depicts an event in the fall of the elf kingdom of Nargothrond.  It illustrates the meeting of Glaurung the father of dragons and the tragic hero Turin Turambar (a serious badass who apparently didn’t get the message that you’re not allowed to provide your own nickname).  Chris was kind enough to let me use his artwork here and has created some exceptional watercolors of dragons, including Smaug.  Some of his artwork can be viewed at http://www.elfwood.com/art/s/t/steading/steading.html.

Bottling Vesuvius

Vesuvius Porter.  Even now it is conditioning in the bottles, getting ready for its glorious rebirth as a finished beer.  Friday night we completed our second foray into all-grain brewing.  We prepared the priming solution by mixing dried malt extract (approximately 1 cup) in 2 cups of water and then boiling it for 10 minutes.  We then allowed it to cool to room temperature and poured it into the bottom of the bucket that was to be contain the beer during its intermediary stage between the carboy and the bottles.  We then drained the beer from the carboy to the bucket, mixed the beer with the priming solution, and siphoned it into 19 waiting 22 oz bottles.  Susan made the labels which we put on and then put the beers in an out of the way, dark place.

Now all of our stuff is cleaned, and our second beer batch has been wrapped up and all the equipment is put away.  All that remains is to wait the 3 weeks to try a bottle.  I definitely have high hopes for this batch.  This time we adhered to the Reinheitsgebot by using the dried malt extract in place of corn sugar, so our only ingredients were malted barley, hops, water, and yeast.  I’m not sure if we’ll taste the difference too much, but it was fun to do as a matter of pride.  Final gravity was 1.012.  Right on the mark.  I look forward to enjoying this batch on Halloween.  Here are some pictures of the bottling

My Life with The Thrill Kill Kult – Metro, Chicago

I find myself enjoying this band more and more.

My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult occupies a unique space in music.  They are one of the forefathers of the Post-Industrial genre along with a few others like KMFDM and Ministry.  But uniquely among most industrial bands, their music brings to mind a seedy, slightly aggressive version of gothic funk or disco.  And it’s awesome.

TKK seems to love all things camp and have a blast doing what they do best.  They loop old go-go dancer videos and horror movie clips to serve as a backdrop for the show.  During the show, they manage to get the crowd dancing, grooving, and occasionally moshing for some of their heavier numbers.

While at the Metro, I ended up helping the crew film one of the opening acts, The Last Vegas.  Their sound is reminiscent of glam rock, but they had a really solid stage presence and made it work.  Anyway, the camera guy was delayed en route, and a guy I knew from high school approached me to cover until he got there.  My assigned duty, should I choose to accept it, was to make sure everyone stayed away from the camera and didn’t mess up the shot until help arrived.  Oh yeah, and I get a beer out of the deal, and a heavy flashlight to harass people with.  Alright, I’m in.  So I take the job of guarding the camera, and luckily don’t screw it up.  The camera guy shows up later and my girlfriend instantly recognizes him as an old childhood friend.  It’s small world after all.

TKK hit the stage around 11 PM, a little later than I expected but they put on a solid show and performed all the songs I wanted to hear.  I think they had a guest appearance by one of the old members of the band, although I didn’t quite recognize her.  I got sucked into the mosh pit once or twice, but it wasn’t too bad as Thrill Kill Kult typically doesn’t attract the kind of bruisers you might encounter at say, a Slayer show.  People were dancing in the pit during the less aggressive numbers when they weren’t slamming into each other which, in case you’re unfamiliar with mosh pits, is a little unusual.  Anyway, the crowd seemed to be energized and having a great time, which is pretty typical for a Thrill Kill Kult show.

After the show we headed down to Neo to meet up with someone from work.  While there, I also happened to randomly run into some people I knew from the suburbs.  It’s a small, small world.  TKK was supposed to have their afterparty there, but I never ran into them because we had to take off before 3 AM.  Oh well, maybe next time around.  If you have the chance, check them out next time they tour.  They’re a little perverted, a little dark, and a lot of fun.  Here’s a video of one of their newer and funkier songs, “TV Sista”, a live performance of “Cuz its Hot”, and this post wouldn’t be complete without a daisy chain for Satan.  Enjoy.