Archive for the ‘Zen’ Category


The first of two albums released by KGATLW in 2019, Fishing for Fishies is a bluesy, boogie-filled record.

It opens with with two false starts.  There’s the briefest sound of a sound like they’d recorded over another track but left it, then there’s a drum beat that hits a few and stops only to resume a few seconds later and starts the title song.  “Fishing for Fishies” is a soft shuffling song with delicately whispered vocals and a bouncy melody.  It’s super catchy and is followed by “Boogieman Sam” with its bouncy staccato guitar and then Ambrose’s wailing harmonica.

“The Bird Song” is a favorite on the record.  Fun gently whispered lyrics and a remarkably catchy jazzy song.  “Plastic Boogie” is loose blues song with a lot of people talking throughout, giving the whole thing a party atmosphere.

“Cruel Millennial” is sung by Ambrose.  It’s a swinging boogie with a catchy chorus and some wailing harmonica soloing at the end.  “Real’s Not Real” starts as a potentially heavy rocker but as the song proper starts, it shifts abruptly to a kind of mellow Beatles-y piano-pop song.

“This Thing” is a harmonica-fueled blues song with great big bouncy bass line.  “Acarine” is an unusual song on the disc.  It’s slower and moodier slow moody with whispered vocals and piercing harmonica.  Although the last two and a half minutes are an instrumental jam with  looping synths that sound like a sci-fi soundtrack.

“Cyboogie” ends the disc.  It was the first singe off the album and it’s as catchy as anything.  Who knew it was so much fun singing “boogie, boogie, boogie, boogie, boogie, boogie, boogie.”  The buzzy bouncing synth is a great sound for this song and the cyber voice prompts a return of Han-Tyumi who pops in after murdering the universe.

[READ: April 29, 2021] Manopause

I have no idea who Bernard O’Shea is.  Well, he’s an Irish comedian, but I don’t know what kind.  He could be Ireland’s Jeff Foxworthy for all I know.  I doubt that he’s Ireland’s Dave Chapelle, anyway.

I read O’Shea’s first book when it came across my desk at work.  When this one appeared a few days ago I thought it was the same guy.  A little research confirmed it, and since I mostly enjoyed the first book, I thought I would read this one as well.

It’s tough playing the mid-life crisis card, especially for a successful male.  And, honestly, for a bunch of the book I did think “oh, moan moan moan.”  The key though is if you can make the moaning funny.  O’Shea manages to do that for a time but then, unexpectedly, the book gets serious.  O’Shea looks seriously into changing is life and he explores several ways to do so.

Manopause is a funny enough term, but I appreciate that O’Shea had the sensibility to include his mother’s comment about him using the word.

He told his mother he was going through “the manopause…the male menopause.”  To which she replied

If you had any idea what the menopause was like, Bernard, believe me, you wouldn’t go through it.  Sweating, hot flashes, no sleep–at times it feels like you are going mad….  You wouldn’t survive 30 seconds of it.  No man would survive it.  Jesus, if ye did go through it, we’d never hear the end of it.  And if you went through it, you’d hospitalise yourself.

That might be the funniest thing in the book.

We met Bernard’s long-suffering wife Lorna in the first book.  She is longer-suffering still.

In chapter one, Lorna gives him an amazing birthday present.  She takes herself and their three kids away to her mother’s for five days.  He has five days to himself, to do whatever he wants. (more…)

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Kneecap are the Northern Irish trio of Mo Chara, Móglaí Bap and DJ Provaí.

They rap.

In Irish.

This in itself opens up all kinds of interesting rhyme opportunities.

Because I have no idea what they are saying, when the song opens with what sounds like “Fuck me,” I don’t know if that’s what he’s saying or if he’s saying something in Irish.  It sounds like they say fuck a lot, so I’m assuming that’s what they are saying (especially since the video has them flipping the bird a lot).  But who knows.

The song is anti police (garda) I’m assuming, although I don’t know what the initials stand for.  It also seems to be pro drug (or at least pro party).  There is one line that I picked out (there are occasional English words)  So a line ends with “balaclava” and then goes on

coke, speed, E, agus [and] marijuana
[irish irish irish irish irish] Connamara.

The video is an interesting insight into, I assume, Belfast, with graffiti-strewn tunnels and a very very very depressing looking “party” at the end.

The music is not terribly interesting.  It’s a very simple bass line that runs through the whole song, with the only change in the chorus being the addition of a high synth line.  But their flow is really good (to someone who can’t tell what they are saying).  The rhymes work and it is good craic not knowing what they are talking about but hearing an occasional familiar word.

If they can get their musical part more interesting, they’d be on to something.

[READ: September 21, 2020] My Wife is Married to a Feckin’ Eejit

I have no idea who Bernard O’Shea is.  Well, he’s an Irish comedian, but I don’t know what kind.  He could be Ireland’s Jeff Foxworthy for all I know.  I doubt that he’s Ireland’s Dave Chapelle, anyway.

This book came across my desk at work and I liked the title so I thought I’d give it a read.

The premise of this book is that O’Shea found a list in his wife’s diary of all of the reasons why he is an eejit.  So he enumerates this list and then gives details about each incident.

Most of the things O’Shea he talks about are daily frustrations (often gone to crazy conclusions).  I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed this book if it were set in the States, but having it set in Ireland–where everyday things are a little different, (what in the heck is a crèche?) brought enough unfamiliarity to make these familiar stores seem more amusing. (more…)

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ookSOUNDTRACK: “WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC-“Polka Party!” (1986).

Weird_Al_Yankovic_-_Polka_Party!Despite how much I loved Weird Al, I turned up my nose at this album when it came out.  I distinctly remember seeing it in the Ridgewood books and records store (records in the basement) where I bought my vinyl and dismissing the platter.  It’s a little unfair to have dismissed it based on the cover since Al was all about the accordion but I thought it was a serious polka album and I was too cool by half for that nonsense.  Interestingly, the album sold very very poorly, and I’m not sure if it was because of the cover.

As a result I don’t really know these songs all that well.  Those first three discs I listened to all the time but I didn’t get this one till much much later.  And it seems that four albums so quickly may have sapped some of Al;s creativity or at the very least eroded the good songs to parody (his more recent releases come every three years or so and they are really solid).

“Living with a Hernia” I like because the video is funny, although I did not care for the original.  “Dog Eat Dog” is a Talking Heads style parody and it’s really good–sounds a lot like the Talking Heads, although I’m not sure it’s all that funny (at least not any funnier than a Talking Heads song). Sometimes the original songs that Al parodies are so bad that I don’t want to like the parodies.  “Addicted to Spuds” is one of those songs.  The parody is very funny, but I hate the original so much that I can’t entirely enjoy this song.  “One of Those Days” is another of his earlier generic rockers (piano and simple structures that don’t lend itself to a lot of fun) and lyrically, it’s a little blah.  “Polka Party!” is what the album was named for and it’s another medley of tracks.  Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” sounds so different here, totally removed from it’s original music.  It’s amazing, though, how many of these original songs I didn’t know (what was going on in 1986?).  I do like the little sneak of INXS.  This song is also the first one where Al’s lyrics became racey because of the songs that were so popular (“Nasty,” “Venus”).

“Here’s Johnny” is  parody of  a song I don’t know at all although I can tell immediately that he sounds just like the original–he manipulated his voice perfectly.    “Don’t Wear Those Shoes” is another blah song.  Al tends to use really over the top violent imagery but it’s  unfortunate when it seems to be the only thing funny in a song like this one.  “Toothless People” is a parody of “Ruthless People” which I don’t even remember being a song.  I don’t even remember the movie being all that popular.  I couldn’t even tell who the original was by even though Al is putting on a good voice (it was Mick Jagger).  “Good Enough for Now” is a decent country song–pretty funny, and yet really not that far from country songs that you hear now (and maybe then, too–I’m not much of a country fan).

The lackluster side 2 is utterly redeemed by the fantastic and awesome “Christmas at Ground Zero” a stellar and hilarious song about nuclear panic it even includes a sample from Ronald Reagan (in the video).  Outstanding.

Overall this disc is pretty disappointing   Al took two years to make the next one and whatever he did on the break certainly worked because the next album was Even Worse!

[READ: January 22, 2013] The Adventures of Ook and Gluk Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future

This is a pretty surprising book.  It is drawn by George and Harold who made the hilarious Super Diaper Baby which was based on an incredibly childish premise.  But this book, even though the spelling is awful like when George and Harold make comics, is book is pretty smart and intense.  And very Zen.

So Ook and Gluk are cavemen.  They are in a tribe whose king is King Goppernopper (the fact that everyone gets his name wrong cracks me up, I love that kind of juvenile joke).  Goppernopper hates Ook and Gluk (the fact that he gets their names wrong and his minions help him to pronounce it is very funny as well).  Ook and Gluk rescue a dinosaur who is trapped in quicksand (and yes there is a scientists disclaimer that cavemen and dinosaurs did not live at the same time, but George and Harold offer a disclaimer that the scientist is dumb and their story tells the truth).  And the dinosaur and her baby (Lily) make the King look foolish.   The King promises revenge.

Which he gets in Chapter Two when a Goppernopper from the future comes back in a time machine to 500,001 B.C and steals natural resources from the cavemen (to sell at a huge profit in 2222 AD.  Future Goppernopper traps Ook and Gluk in the future and King Goppernopper promises to bring the rest of the cavemen to the future to work as slaves. (more…)

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