I think about a world to come where the books were found by the golden ones, written in pain, written in awe by a puzzled man who questioned, "What are we here for?" All the strangers came today and it looks as though they're here to stay.

-David Bowie "Oh! You Pretty Things"

Monday, August 30, 2010

Celebrity Audobon: Marshall Allman

A guide to shape-shifting celebrities and the bird forms they are known to transform into.

Marshall Allman transformed into a hawk on a 2010 episode of the television program True Blood titled "It Hurts Me Too."

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Celebrity Audobon: Madonna

A guide to shape-shifting celebrities and the bird forms they are known to transform into.

Madonna transformed into crows in the music video for the 1998 song "Frozen" from the album Ray of Light.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Adam Scott

Actor Adam Scott. You may recognize him as the awkward hugging brother Derek in the film Step Brothers or perhaps as Henry Pollard on the recently canceled (BOO!!!!) television program Party Down. This dude is a really good actor, and really fun too, and I can't wait to see him in Piranha 3D (now in theaters).

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Celebrity Audobon: Christopher Ralph

A guide to shape-shifting celebrities and the bird forms they are known to transform into.

Christopher Ralph transformed into a mallard duck, a hawk and a seagull in episodes of the television program Animorphs from 1998 to 1999.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Celebrity Audobon: Chuck Norris

A guide to shape-shifting celebrities and the bird forms they are known to transform into.

Chuck Norris transformed into a bald eagle in the 1996 film Forest Warrior.

Commander Chris Article

This is my buddy Mark who wrote the book Commander Chris and the Mystical Orb. Read the article on-line here.

Texan Reaction to Traffic

Monday, August 23, 2010

Edward James Olmos

Actor Edward James Olmos. You probably recognize him as Admiral William Adama on the hit television program Battlestar Galactica. Say what you will about that show - I know there is a lot of stigma attached to the sci-fi cult series, as there is with any such program - Olmos has delivered some of the most powerful performances I've ever seen on television. And he did it on a weekly basis. This dude is the real deal.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bombay Cuisine

I used to go to Bombay Cuisine when I was in high school. The parents of my friend Monica owned the place and two or three of my friends worked there. It was impossible to get a sense of how fine their cuisine was back then considering all I ever ate at restaurants was hamburgers. The only real memory of Bombay I have from back then was when a waiter made a joke to which I responded, "Haha. Charade you are." He called out my Pink Floyd reference and we had a long discussion about the best Floyd album out there, Animals, an album that I'd been listening to pretty obsessively at the time.

A couple weeks ago I was hanging out in my friend Joe's basement and this amazing smell wafted down the stairs. We don't go upstairs at Joe's. There's no really good reason. We just don't do it. But what I determined from my frightened position at the base of the stairs was that Joe's parents had possibly made some Indian food. Whether or not my hypothesis was correct, one thing remained true: I had a strong desire to eat some good Indian food. This began an inquiry that lead me back to Bombay Cuisine.

When I returned to Bombay Cuisine my head was full of question marks. I had no idea if the restaurant still belonged to the family of my good friend. I also had no idea how to approximate the taste of the food I smelled at Joe's parent's house according to the words I was seeing. This was not a problem, because the waitress basically explained the entire menu to us in a quick and succinct fashion. She provided a program that allowed me to process the fragmented and conflicting data in my brain. She said nothing about Pink Floyd, but she did give me confidence that I was going to love this experience.

I ordered the Lamb Vindaloo, a spicy dish that mixes lamb and potatoes with a tamarind sauce. It was a magnificent mix of sweet and spicy that left me feeling satisfied to the point of enlightenment. (No, this is not an Indian joke; it is an apt description of my feelings after eating the Lamb Vindaloo.) The naan bread that we ordered with our meals was tasty as well. I used mine to wipe up the Vindaloo sauce.

When I returned to Bombay Cuisine to take pictures for this blog entry, I was greeted by an old friend. His name is Dave and he's engaged to my friend Monica. Bombay Cuisine, it seems, is still in the good, caring hands of people I adore, and that makes me happy. It's a two-fold happiness. First, I am happy that I came to understand how amazing the food was before I could be biased by the love of my friends who run the place. Second, I am happy to find that I am in love with and wish to promote via my blog the business of a group of people that I adore.

You should go to Bombay Cuisine for the food. I can't guarantee that there's anyone knowledgeable about Pink Floyd albums there, but I can guarantee that there is at least one person on the payroll who knows a whole lot about Frank Zappa. So there's your second reason for going.

Bombay Cuisine
1420 Lake Drive SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49506

Retcon Files: The Heretic

While I have serious problems with the physics of traveling back in time and changing elements of the past for a variety of reasons, I've recently decided to engage myself in serious thought experiments regarding what I would change if given the power to do so. The result of this line of thinking is a blog column devoted to retroactively changing the continuity of my character's back story. I am calling it the Retcon Files.

I'd like to think that I'm the kind of person who stands up and courageously spits in the face of everything I believe to be wrong in the world, proclaiming the word of what is right. But it's hard to sustain such a belief in the face of some events that have happened in my past. In retrospect, I would like to substitute courage where there once was cowardice. This is all vague and abstract. Let me get to the concrete.

Some years ago I went to church with a girl I was dating. She brought me to an enormous Wesleyan mega-church in an amphitheater, the kind of place where there are no longer individuals, just people huddling together in anonymity and waiting for someone to enforce what they already believe. It was a couple of years after September 11, a time when even some of the most fundamentalist churches were making sure their congregations knew there is a vast difference between the Islamic extremists who perpetrated the destruction of the twin towers and the other peace-loving believers of the Islamic faith. I remember sitting in on a Youth Group meeting at a friend's church, another mega-church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and hearing them explain that the terrorists in question represent Islam as much as the KKK or the Third Reich represent Christianity.

The preacher at this Wesleyan church proclaimed that the God of the Koran is not the same as the God of the Bible even though the Muslim tradition is supposed to be an addition to the story that began with the Jews and moved through the Christians to them. Believe what you want about this issue: even though I don't support such a belief, I actually have little problem with those who do. The problem was the preacher's argument. Why is it impossible for Christians to believe that the God of Muhammad is the same as the God of Israel? "Because I can't believe in a God who commands His people to kill others."

I'd hope that the problem with this argument is evident. In the Old Testament of the very Bible that everyone at that church used are stories where God requires the chosen people to rid the Promised land of the unbelievers through military force. The God of Abraham would be known because this tiny force of Jews destroyed much larger forces. The impossibility of such a feat would make it so people would glorify not the Jews, but the God of the Jews. Meanwhile, the Koran only justifies force in the instance that all of Islam is threatened by a pervasive force that wishes to wipe the teachings off of the planet.

If I were to go back in time, I wouldn't worry about what my girlfriend at the time thought of me, or what her parents thought, or even what the rest of the congregation thought. I muttered angrily under my breath back then, but I now know that there was only one proper response to such ignorance. I ought to have stood up and shouted a resounding "BULLSHIT!" trusting that the amphitheater would assist my voice in being heard. I don't care if they would be required to drag me out of that church against my will and work toward getting me excommunicated from the Christian faith. That minister's words did nothing but to incense one polarized group of individuals against another polarized group of individuals. It explained a tragic act of terrorism as an inevitable result of a backwards system of ideals, when in fact it was the result of individual human beings manipulating texts toward their own ends. If nobody was killed, injured, persecuted or harmed in any way as a result of this preacher's words, then we have witnessed a miracle indeed. If somebody was harmed in some way, even on the smallest level, then the imperative for me to travel back in time and be the one voice to stand against this tyrant is even greater.

So help me, God.

Celebrity Audobon: Sam Trammell

A guide to shape-shifting celebrities and the bird forms they are known to transform into.

Sam Trammell transformed into an owl on a 2010 episode of the television program True Blood titled "It Hurts Me Too."

Dietary Staples: Summer 2010

Without the following food items, I would not have survived the summer of 2010 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

1. Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Poptarts

2. Cookies

3. Garden Fresh Mediterranean Hummus

4. Leftovers

5. Meijer Lemonade

6.  Whole Grain Bagels

Now I just need to work out a way to make my shirts and pants fit like they used to.

Celebrity Audobon: Simon McCorkindale

A guide to shape-shifting celebrities and the bird forms they are known to transform into.

Simon McCorkindale transformed into a hawk on episodes of the 1983 television program Manimal.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Black Swan Trailer

There Is No Ground Zero Mosque

I don't usually like to post videos about politics, but this is possibly the only completely rational and understanding voice I've heard in the entire debate about the "Ground Zero Mosque." It's well-researched and it caters to both sides of the conflict in a considerate and brilliant way. That said, it doesn't give ground to those who would do harm to this country: it is courageous and presents to the watcher everything that is good about America. I don't know anything about this Keith Olbermann fellow, his past in politics or his political leanings, and quite frankly, it doesn't matter: his words are worth listening to. This is the most touching televised speech since John Stewart decided that we have to try to courageously push forward in the wake of the September 11 bombing. I think you should really give this video a chance. It's worth every moment of the 12 minutes and 25 seconds.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Michael Jackson "Earth Song"

Michael Jackson, "Earth Song" from HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I (1995: Epic)

Tricia Helfer

Actress Tricia Helfer. You may know her as a whole bunch of characters on the television program Battlestar Galactica. ("There are many copies.") My friend Adam, upon seeing a picture of Helfer, said, "I would watch that show just for her." I responded, "Yeah. I'll bet a whole lot of people have." It's the lips. I'm telling you.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Requiem: Party Down

I've only ever heard two responses to the mention of the Starz television program Party Down: 1. "That show's amazing!" (Or some other incredibly high level compliment.) or 2. "What's Party Down?" The second response probably explains why Party Down was not renewed after the finale of the second season, while the first response explains why it should have been (and also why it's a shame to see it go). Party Down is a creeper hit, developing slowly but honestly, and interestingly. It deals with relationships in an unpredictable way. Henry and Casey have the freshest, most realistic, and most interesting relationship I've seen in years. They are not following the lead of Jim and Pam, or Jack and Kate, or Mulder and Scully. They are just Henry and Casey. If you didn't watch this television program, then I have one of two responses for you: 1. "How dare you? This show was magnificent and now it's gone" and 2. "Why would you? Party Down was on Starz (one strike against it) at 10 PM (two strikes against it). It's like the television world wanted it to fail."

Party Down, I miss you, and were I a better shot with bow and arrow, I would give you a proper Viking funeral. Let's hope that the creative team and actors can go their own ways and provide us with new and awesome television programming in the near future.

Tears For Fears "Billie Jean" Live featuring Michael Wainwright

Travel Shots: Detroit, MI

Friday, August 13, 2010

American Coney Island

As soon as I realized that the food at American Coney Island in Detroit was blog-worthy, I began questioning what the purpose of such a blog post would be. (Yes, I use the word blog-worthy in conversation, and no, I don't think it makes me a loser.) American Coney Island and it's next-door neighbor Lafayette Coney Island have already been rated by just about everyone on the Food Network and the Travel Channel as a couple of the best restaurants in the nation. One blog post isn't going to do much good for this place compared to national television coverage.

But then I realized that there is a possibility that people exist who are loyal to this blog and not to the Food Network or the Travel Channel, people who would never have heard of this place without this very post, and I felt justified. It's like one of those episodes of Spider-Man where he's just about to hang up the mask until he meets a little girl who restores his faith in humanity and reminds him of why he's fighting the good fight. This blog post is me returning to the good fight.

If you're going to Detroit, put American Coney Island on your itinerary. I'm sure Lafayette is good for completely different reasons, but after a filling meal at American I wasn't about to wander next door and make myself sick. As I learned on the recent season of the hit television program Community, it's possible that too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Amy and I had what the waiter called "The Special." It wasn't on the menu, but it's possible that it's the same as the Coney Island Hot Dog. It's a hot dog topped with ground beef, Coney Island chili sauce, onions and mustard. The dogs here have a slightly tougher outside than at most hotdog places, making them snap when you bite into them. It's a great taste.

The waiter also suckered us into ordering some Chili Cheese Fries to split. We were very happy with this subtle coercion, because they tasted amazing.

On the way out I was struck with the quality of food at this simple hot dog restaurant. How is it possible that food like this could taste so good? That's when it came to me. Like a sign.

I guess it wasn't like a sign. It was a sign. American Coney Island is Preferred By the Gods. Now, whether it's preferred by the gods because it's so good or it's so good because it's preferred by the gods is another matter. We'll leave that one to Euthyphro. Am I right? (Funny. Ancient Greek jokes never seem to go over very well. Maybe that's why I always feel so sick standing at the mic at amateur comedy night.) It's our job to find and devour good food.

I've found it. It's your turn to devour it.

American Coney Island
114 W. Lafayette
Detroit, MI 48226

Tears For Fears Tribute to Adam Friedli

My girlfriend and I were supposed to see Tears For Fears with good friend Adam Friedli at the Motor City Casino Hotel in Detroit, but when Adam's father was severely injured Adam's duty to family trumped his duty to fun and adventure with his friends as it rightly should. We went to the concert, however, and celebrated Adam Friedli. I even convinced Tears For Fears to sing "So Friedli" at the end of Woman in Chains instead of "So Free Her."

Well, not really, but that's what I heard in my head, and that's what you should hear when you watch this video. Adam, I celebrate you today, and so do Curt and Roland from Tears For Fears. They don't know who you are, but I've retconned the story to make it seem that way. For your sake, my lovely man!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dumb & Dumber Inception-Style Trailer

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) lives up to its name by providing web surfers a new picture with brief explanation daily. I recently decided that when I have children, I want to be the kind of father who knows when to expect meteor showers and who can explain which constellation is which. Astronomy Picture of the Day is an amazing web site that assists me toward my awesome endgame.

Arcade Fire Hit Number One

I love Arcade Fire, but I honestly never expected that they'd have a number one album to their name. Well, now they do. It's called The Suberbs, and if you haven't listened to it yet, you should. Their album beat Eminem on the Billboards.

Here's an article about this amazing phenomenon on Pitchfork.

Schnitz World Famous Deli

I don't mean to sound like a snob, but having lived in New York City for a year and getting to know the amazing sandwich cuisine of the East Coast I found myself skeptical about this Delicatessen known as Schnitz in Ada, Michigan. I found myself happily surprised. Schnitz Deli understands the most important fact of sandwich making. You have to just pile on the delectable deli meat. Every sandwich needs to be much taller than one would imagine. You have to either stretch your mouth to its largest capacity in order to take a bite of such a sandwich or find some strategic methodology of taking the beast apart. That's how you make a sandwich.

The people at Schnitz must have understood this fact long before I did, because their sandwiches are spectacular. It's become one of my favorite restaurants in the greater Grand Rapids area.

I imagine all of the Schnitz sandwiches are heroic in taste. Unfortunately, I have not been able to taste them all because I am hooked on the Evan's Double Dip, one of Schnitz's many variations on the classic Reuben recipe with corned beef, cole slaw, swiss cheese, pastrami, sauerkraut and 1,000 island dressing on rye bread. The sandwich is enormous, which means there's a good chance you won't be able to finish it in one sitting. Here's the good news: Schnitz offers to-go boxes and the Evan's Double Dip is just as good the next day.

There are three locations of Schnitz World Famous Deli in the greater Grand Rapids area:

Schnitz Deli
1315 E. Fulton St.
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Schnitz South Deli
1529 Langley St. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49508

Schnitz Ada Grill
597 Ada Dr. SE
Ada, MI 49301



On a recent trip to Schnitz, I found that the meat loaf and nachos are also amazing. That said, if you've ever gone to Schnitz and have never eaten the Evan's Double Dip you've done yourself a disservice.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Celebrity Audobon: David Bowie

A guide to shape-shifting celebrities and the bird forms they are known to transform into.

David Bowie transformed into a snowy owl in the 1986 film Labyrinth, and into a bald eagle on a 2006 episode of the television program Venture Bros. titled "Showdown at Cremation Creek (Part II)."

Brick in a Washing Machine

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Perseid Meteor Shower 2010

NOTE: It's not fair to count the recent Northern Lights debacle against me. On both August 3 and 4, I went out and patiently waited for those waves of red, green and blue, and on both August 3 and 4 I was just as disappointed as you were. It seems the prediction that they could be seen in Michigan due to solar storms meant that they could be seen in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan due to solar storms. Sigh.

We're very fortunate that on the evenings of Wednesday, August 11, Thursday, August 12, and Friday, August 13, the best-known meteor shower, the Perseids (or Tears of St. Lawrence), will be lighting up the evening and early morning skies. I was lucky enough to witness last year's Leonid meteor shower in mid-November on a dark stretch of road in Northern Texas and it, along with the cold, cold night, was breath-taking. That's why I think you should look to the sky during the next couple of days and give the Perseids the chance to dazzle you.

The Perseid meteor shower is named after its proximity to the constellation Perseus, which will be located low in the Northeast. As a result, it is customary to watch the patch of sky halfway between the Double Star Cluster of Perseus and the zenith (directly above you). This is where you will find the highest concentration of meteor activity, but don't be surprised if they appear in other parts of the night sky.

As a bonus this year, the bright planets Venus, Mars, and Saturn can be seen in a tight cluster in the Southwestern sky (the exact opposite direction of Perseus) just after sunset, so there is an added bonus for stargazers who get out just as soon as darkness falls.

The peak times for viewing the Perseid meteor shower are from 2 AM until daybreak local time on Wednesday and Thursday evening, and around 8 PM on Thursday when Earth is predicted to cut through the densest part of the Perseid stream. But you can probably see the meteor shower just about any time during the night if you head outside to a secluded area with a low tree line and devoid of light pollution during the next couple days.

AT-AT Day Afternoon

Monday, August 9, 2010

Arcade Fire UNSTAGED

On Thursday, August 5, 2010, supporting the release of their new album The Suburbs (released Tuesday, August 3, 2010), Arcade Fire televised their Madison Square Garden concert on YouTube on the ArcadeFireVEVO channel as part of the UNSTAGED series presented by American Express.

The concert stoked the fires of my desire to see Arcade Fire live. Here are some clips from the concert:

Empty Room


We Used to Wait

Neighborhood #3 (Power Out) / Rebellion (Lies)

Keep the Car Running

Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)

Wake Up

(NOTE: A couple of days ago these links went down and then were re-posted. Please drop me a line if one of the videos goes down)

Wizard People, Dear Reader

Wizard People, Dear Reader is an alternate soundtrack to the film Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone made by Brad Neely in 2004. The idea is that you mute the film and play Neely's thirty-five chapter audio book instead of the film's original audio track. It's similar to the idea that you can play the album Dark Side of the Moon as an alternate audio track to The Wizard of Oz, or The Dark Side of Oz, as the conglomerate has become widely known.

There are three ways that Wizard People, Dear Reader can be experienced.

The first and second involve getting a hold of Brad Neely's audio track and matching it with the film yourself, and lucky for us, a web site called Illegal Art has made that really easy. They even included instructions on how to make sure the audio track matches the video track.

The first way of viewing Wizard People, Dear Reader involves downloading the audio track from Illegal Art. There are two tracks that can be burned onto two CDs. Simply right-click them and select Save Link As... Disc 1. Disc 2. I'm certain that the audio track, as well as a dubbed version, are probably available on most of the more popular torrent sites, if you're into that sort of thing.

The second way of viewing Wizard People, Dear Reader involves sending $28 to Illegal Art to obtain a 2-disc hard copy of the audio track. If you enjoy what Illegal Art does, this is a good option, because it helps fund the non-profit devoted to keeping art free. Order Wizard People, Dear Reader here.

The third way of viewing Wizard People, Dear Reader is via the thirty-five chapters that are already matched with their corresponding movie scenes and made available via YouTube on the HarryPotterCentral channel. I was planning on embedding them on this blog, but since there is matched content from the movie that's not possible, so here are the individual chapter links.

Chapter 1: Power-Baby --- Chapter 2: Pork Family Project --- Chapter 3: Harry's Depression --- Chapter 4: Hagar's Gifts --- Chapter 5: London's Bowels --- Chapter 6: With Money I Am Safe --- Chapter 7: Brandish This! --- Chapter 8: Valmart's Club --- Chapter 9: Whooshers --- Chapter 10: The Bear, The Wretch --- Chapter 11: "F*ck Yes," Says Fate --- Chapter 12: Fortune's Grind --- Chapter 13: Food and Phantoms --- Chapter 14: First Day Sucks It --- Chapter 15: missing... --- Chapter 16: Jesus Christers! --- Chapter 17: More Training --- Chapter 18: missing... --- Chapter 19: The Cribbage Match --- Chapter 20: missing... --- Chapter 21: Christmas Yes! --- Chapter 22: Invisibility On! --- Chapter 23: The Gate of Sh*t --- Chapter 24: Hagar's Tale --- Chapter 25: Guess the F*ck What? --- Chapter 26: Harry Boils --- Chapter 27: Wizard's Release --- Chapter 28: The Bear is God --- Chapter 29: The Bear is Dead --- Chapter 30: Holy F*cking Sh*t!! --- Chapter 31: Holy F*cking Sh*t 2 --- Chapter 32: Harry Kicks Back --- Chapter 33: We Are Gods! --- Chapter 34: Awkward Embracers --- Chapter 35: End Credits

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Paul Rudd

Actor Paul Rudd. You may remember him as Peter Klaven in I Love You, Man, Andy in Wet Hot American Summer or Josh in Clueless. He can do comedy. He can do drama. He's kind of one of the best there is at the whole acting thing right now. And most importantly, I need to hug him before I die. It's on my bucket list.

Adam Friedli's Happy Birthday Rick

For his birthday, my father asked for one thing: a picture of his face on a baby's naked body. Well, he asked for two things: a picture of his face on a baby's naked body and a flag with the Rolling Stones lapping tongue on it. For his birthday, my father received both, thanks to artist Adam Friedli (and flag-ordering Carol Tiemeyer). From the maker of "Rewriting History" and "Charlotte Bass Lessons," I present Adam Friedli's "Happy Birthday Rick":

Alice Cooper "Poison"

Alice Cooper, "Poison" from Trash (1989: Epic)

Arcade Fire "Rebellion (Lies)"

Arcade Fire, "Rebellion (Lies)" from Funeral (2004: Merge)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Inception: The Big Under

There's another prequel comic book for Inception. That alone would excite me. What's more exciting is that this comic could potentially be designed by any one of us.

Inception: The Big Under has already been written by Jordan Goldberg. You can access the script here. All you have to do is read over it and design the comic book that it describes.

I'm all about multi-media presentations of story, and I'm also excited whenever regular people get a chance to partake in stories that normally would only be handled by highly paid professionals. This is the perfect balance of creativity and democracy, and I challenge all of you to look into it.

Instructions on submission can be found here. Even if your art isn't chosen, I'd love to feature it on Cavemen Go, so get at me if this inspires you.

Legend of Zelda Theme on Theremin

Chinese Boy Singing Like Whitney Houston

Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: Steve Carell

Thursday, August 5, 2010

House Porsche


Literal reading, and hatred and ignorance - these are a few of my least favorite things.

This picture comes from a blog, but I believe the picture says it all.

Lyndsy Fonseca

Actress Lyndsy Fonseca. You may remember her as Katie Deauxma in Kick-Ass or as Jenny in Hot Tub Time Machine. She's made me a believer in fake tanning. There. I said it.

Gateway: A Mix By Justin Tiemeyer

Album art courtesy of Adam Friedli.