It may be just a ride, but thanks for the company.

“The world is like a ride in an amusement park. And when you choose to go on it you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. And the ride goes up and down and round and round. It has thrills and chills and it’s very brightly coloured and it’s very loud and it’s fun, for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time and they begin to question: “Is this real, or is this just a ride?” And other people have remembered, and they come back to us, they say, “Hey, don’t worry, don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride.” And we kill those people.”

Bill Hicks passed away February 26th, 1994 from pancreatic cancer. On that day, we lost one of the brightest comedic stars of his generation. Bill self-described his style as “Chomsky, with dick jokes.”  His humor was often black and bleak in parts, speaking to his dislike of authority, the mainstream media, and the American consumerist culture. He joked about some controversial topics including smoking, drugs, pornography, politics, religion and the first war in Iraq.

The refreshing thing about Bill was that he was an original, and refused to compromise the subject matter of his shows in order to appeal to a wider audience. He mixed the crude with the intellectual. He raised interesting questions, directed light at things that needed illumination, and encouraged people question their given assumptions about what they’d been told. After his passing, Tool dedicated their album, Aenima to him. Radiohead did the same of their album, The Bends.

His material is controversial, offensive at times, and strongly biased to his point of view. His style is not for the many, but for the underrepresented few. During the past 8 years, I really felt like America could have used his voice. Discovering his material was bittersweet, because after hearing it I realized what we had lost and knew there was nothing more to come. Those of us who listened to him, and laughed with him will remember his memory to keep it alive.

Smoke em if you got em.

Accept Combichrist into your hearts

This shit will fuck you up.  Seeing this show almost made up for wasting my money on that garbage Sisters of Mercy concert a while back.  Although, one of the opening bands did play a really shitty version of “Lucretia, my reflection.”  And the very first opening band sounded like they came straight out of my high-school talent show.  “If you guys don’t start moshing to this song, I’m gonna have to come down there and start it myself!”  Surprisingly, when no one moshed, he stayed onstage playing his shitty rendition of “March of the Pigs,” watching a thoroughly unmoved audience.

Anyhow, if you’re into electro-industrial music and Combichrist comes by your town, check them out.  They have great stage presence and their fans really get into the music.  I hopped in and out of the pit for a while and had a phenomenal time.  At times I did think the House of Blues floor was gonna break through since I could feel it bending and creaking with the force of a bunch of rivetheads bouncing up and down and slamming into each other, but ultimately the floor held and I had a blast.  My friend ended up talking me into picking up MSI tickets for March 20th, so we’ll be back before too long .  If that show is as solid as this one was, it will have been money well spent.

The Age of Romance

We found this pamphlet while cleaning out my Grandfather’s house.  Now I’m sure it was considered the cutting edge of dating and sexual education upon its release, but parts of this were just too damn funny for me to leave alone.  To be fair, it was published in 1933,  and tries to paint sex as a beautiful and wonderful thing when it occurs in the context of a marriage.  A hefty portion of it deals with mitigating the confusion of newly virgin newlyweds with the honeymoon (nothing graphic obviously) as well as instructing the youth on how to properly develop into decent chaps and nice girls, avoiding sex until marriage.  Anyway, I love some of the language they use and the helpful reminders to try to keep the young people of America from fucking in the streets.  Here are a few of my favorite passages:

The Age Of Romance

Regarding a girl who’s perhaps too amorous with the boys: “A girl during this time cannot afford to get the reputation of being “everybody’s sweetheart.”

Regarding a couple who perhaps might have taken things a bit too far before marriage: “In case such a couple, engaged for years, should split up, considerable damage may have been done, as other eligible young people may regard them as being a bit ‘shopworn'”

In training for a happy Home life

“Girls and boys are stimulated on every hand long before they can possibly expect to assume the normal and legitimate sexual status of the married couple.  Risque books, ‘sexy’ plays and moving pictures, ‘jazz’ music, immodest dances and the like call the attention of the young man or girl to the matter of sex.”

Paths to Unpopularity

“Those who are constantly chasing after the girls or the boys, as the case may be, are defeating their purpose.  Nothing is so disgusting as a girl who is ‘boy-crazy’.  Giggling and squealing, affected and designing, she is utterly despised by every decent chap, though she may be highly attractive to the fellow who thinks that one so silly might be easy prey to his improper intentions.  Likewise, a foppish man who is always following the girls stands little chance of winning their favor.  Women admire men’s men rather than squaw men.”

Avoid Excessively Stimulating Experiences

“The sheer clothing of the present time leaves little to the imagination and may cause strong passion to be developed, particularly when the young couple is alone.  Bathing suits on the other hand have little effect when used as bathing suits….Furthermore, it is impossible for sexual passion to be strongly aroused when the body is cool or wet….The modern bathing suits are marvelously suited for swimming, and in addition, probably serve a useful purpose in accustoming young people to the appearance of the body of members of the opposite sex and at a time when sexual stimulation is retarded and gratification is impossible.”

Good stuff.