Archive for July, 2010

Down Terrier du Lapin

July 23rd, 2010 No comments

There isn’t much in the world more interesting, at least to me, than subversion and secret societies. I’m not sure if it’s because I grew up in the waning years of the Cold War or that my love of history just took a random tangential turn somewhere when I was around thirteen, but the mysterious little things people do for reasons known only to themselves (world domination, free internet, kittens & porn…) fascinates me incredibly.

I’m sure I’ll end up writing several postings about the hows and whats of me becoming obsessed with the Illuminati and the Discordian Society, but this one is even more tangential.

I high school (when my obsession du jour was cyberpunk) I read a novel by Jonathan Littell called Bad Voltage. It had some pretty interesting concepts presented in it, but what really stuck with me was the presentation of the cataphiles who explore and organize mischief/mayhem/productivity in the catacombs underneath Paris.

Bad Voltage) made it even more enticing by putting a couple of maps of the catacombs in the front of the book and then proceeded to explain how it was illegal to go into the catacombs. How do you get a teenager excited about doing something? Tell him it’s verboten.

Most recently a gentleman who I am mildly acquainted with by the name of Sean Michaels spent some amount of time doing research on the catacombs and a seemingly clandestine secret society known as Urban eXperiences. Sean put his research and experiences into an incredible read for the literary journal BRICK.

Read this article as soon as you can.

What Sean uncovered is stuff you can’t make up. It was like reading a shortened version of Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum. It’s got mystery it’s got intrigue, it’s got secret(ish) societies and a wildly interesting mystery man/men.

After you’ve read the article, email it to a friend. Hell, email it to your entire address book. The Atlantic originally commissioned a shorter version of this article, but killed it. They are utter morons.

Now I just need an acetylene lamp and a ticket to Paris.


July 1st, 2010 No comments

Yeah, so I’ve been a little lax in the writing these past few weeks, but I’ve got a good (if not lazy) excuse. Ladies and gentlemen, it is World Cup time!

Typically a large majority of Americans have to be reminded that this grand culmination of the FIFA championship is going on. This year, however, a couple of factors have conspired to bring the World Cup to the attention of Americans.

The first of those factors are the two goals that FIFA officials robbed the US team of in the first round of play. Nothing unifies Americans faster than the thought that we are getting screwed over by some foreigner. That combined with the general hatred of referees in any sport and you’ve suddenly got Joe Six-Pack talking about the World Cup with his buddies on their bass boat.

The second, and way more important, factor has been the ever-present drone of the vuvuzela.

Never before has a two dollar piece of mold-injected plastic generated such a buzz (see what I did there?) on such a grand scale. Broadcasters have had to create new audio filters to cancel out some of the noise, whiny players (I’m looking at you Cristiano Ronaldo) have complained that is breaks up the players’ focus and doctors have been all over the media warning about potential hearing loss due to the 144 decibels these little monsters can pump out.

At first I really didn’t think twice about the hub-bub. It was kind of nice having something to distract from the inane commentary while I watched the first round of matches.  After the third day of three-match-a-day footie (and yes, I’ve been watching every single match), I just began ignoring them.

Then I tried watching an MLS match.

The play was good, I had beer and grilled meats, but something was missing. That’s right, I wasn’t enjoying my footie because it didn’t have the constant drone of the vuvuzela. In just one week I had been turned into Pavlov’s bitch.

Lucky for me, however, I had a variety of means at my disposal for faking that vuvuzela feeling. The easiest was to just get on the internet and download an mp3 of the buzz. Next, I hopped into the iTunes app store and found a couple of free apps that filled my need (plus it’s a great app for confusing people in bars).

So, damn the naysayers. I can understand banning vuvuzelas at events like Wimbledon and the US Open, but these plastic horns are here to stay. Besides, I’ve been seeing them at high school and college football games for years.

Haters gonna hate.