Tony Franklin’s Dreaming

The Demo of The Firm Song

Dreaming is a song of The Firm’s second album, Mean Business. It was written by bassist Tony Franklin, and it stands out on the album for its inventiveness. I like the song.

Tony posted his 4 track demo on YouTube and I am surprised at how complete a demo it is. It’s like listening to Pete Townshend’s demos as far as completeness of vision goes. The song is 90% finished.

I’m impressed that Jimmy Page stayed so true to Tony’s original guitar parts. It shows that The Firm were truly a band, with input from all members having weight and value, and it shows that Jimmy respected Tony’s talent.

I think this version will be my go to for this song.

The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles Is Being Reissued

robert anton wilson historical illuminatus chronicles
Robert Anton Wilson’s final trilogy sees new life.

Robert Anton Wilson’s Last Trilogy

Gets A Renaissance

The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles is back in print. I first read The Earth Will Shake (the first book of the Historical Illuminatus Chronicles) in 1992. It was great. It takes place in the 18th Century, and feature ancestors of the main characters of the Illuminatus Trilogy. We have Celines, Malatestas, Moons, as well as amazing cameos by Edmund Burke, George Washington, Tom Paine, and my favorite… de Selby. A fictional character who exists in another fictional world appears (in footnotes) in the second book of the trilogy, The Widow’s Son.

Robert Anton Wilson is a criminally underappreciated writer, in my opinion. I think one reason is that his books are spread throughout the entire bookstore/library. He has written fiction, sci fi, philosophy, literary criticism, plays, humor, treatises, books about sex, drugs, the occult… he’s all over the road. He was a friend and colleague of Timothy Leary, a scholar of James Joyce, Aleister Crowley, Buckminster Fuller, Richard Feyman… he was just as at home speaking of non-locality in quantum mechanics as he was about DMT vs LSD, or the number of mathematical puns are in Finnegan’s Wake.

He was also hilarious. He is a wonderful Hermetic gatekeeper to the realms of all the above. His Illuminatus Trilogy (written with Robert Shea in the late 60’s/early 70’s) contained every extant conspiracy theory of which Wilson was aware. It was Tom Robbins in hyperspace and it will change you forever if you read it, in a good way.

Here’s a nice taste of what Robert Anton Wilson (or Uncle Bob) has to offer.

Listen, I think your life will be enriched, profoundly, by reading some good old Robert Anton Wilson, and The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles are the smoothest entrance into his world I can imagine. Bob passed in 2005 but his daughter Christina has founded a publishing company, Hilaritas Press. This will be used to reissue Bob’s catalog. Getting these books will support the legacy of a great man. Give them a shot.

Podcast Immanent

Those of you who are carryovers from Youdopia (my last blog. It was awesome. I miss it. I should have never let it go) may be wondering about the lack of content here. It’s a fair question. The truth is that Heart of Markness has not fulfilled me in the way Youdopia did.

I just don’t feel the magic as much anymore. Most of the stuff I feel inspired to post has already been written about on Youdopia, and even though that site is gone, it still feels cheesy to reboot.

SO… I have decided to start a podcast; not to replace Heart of Darkness, but supplement it. Things about which I want to discuss in depth lend themselves to audio more than 1000’s of words on a blog.

I have the equipment on order and it should be here at the end of the week. I already have my first topic ready. It’s going to be about the aborted XYZ project of Jimmy Page, Chris Squire, and Alan White, back in 1981.

I’ll explore the backstory of how it came about. I’ll go into the 4 songs that have made it into the bootleg world, and how those 4 songs have appeared on Yes, and Firm, albums.

And I’ll go into why it never happened. La la la. It’s good stuff, if you’re a Zeppelin fan, a Yes fan, a Firm fan (are there any?), or just a hominid.

So keep your eye out for my first podcast. I’m aiming for something that’s information rich, like Dan Carlin or Sam Harris do, but also fairly conversational and free form, like Bill Burr’s podcast. As the first one it will suck, but we all start somewhere. 🙂

Watch Steven Wright & Rowan Atkinson In Their Oscar Winning Short

The Appointments of Dennis Jennings

Won Best Live Action Short Film Of 1988

I remember watching this on HBO in 1988 or 1989. I recorded it on my super snazzy hifi vhs recorder. I was all about recording back then. Boxes of tapes. Simpsons, The Young Ones, Blackadder, HBO comedy specials…. these are the days my friends. It could be Franky. It could be very fresh and clean.
… but I digress. The Appointments of Dennis Jennings is a bleak, stark, monotonous piece of dark humor, that has (unfortunately) fallen off the radar of pop culture. It’s a shame because it is brilliant. Grim. That is the vibe that carries through this piece. Funny is another word. It’s really, darkly, cumulatively so, but funny nonetheless.

"Why would anybody sleep with a parachute on?"
“Why would anybody sleep with a parachute on?”

I hadn’t watched it in at least 20 years, maybe longer, but I was reminded of it and thanks to YouTube, it’s available for all.

Steven Wright does his whole monotone deadpan thing, to perfection. Laurie Metcalf, who was hilarious on Roseanne, and Rowan Motherfucking Atkinson (Blackadder, Mr. Bean) are brilliant. This film takes time to put together, but it’s really rewarding, and completely deserving of an Oscar.

It has the dread and unease of a Terry Gilliam film, like 12 Monkeys but with none of the danger, tension, or life.

Brazil sans whimsy.

It’s kind of like a mashup of the non scary parts of Jacob’s Ladder and The Lobster. 

It’s absolutely worth the half hour to watch it. After all, it won an Oscar. 🙂

Watch 90 Minutes With Mel Brooks & Conan O’Brien

mel brooks & conan obrien
An absolute legend.

Mel Brooks & Conan O’Brien

Serious Jibber Jabber From 2013

This 90 minute conversation between Mel Brooks & Conan O’Brien is pure gold. I love Mel Brooks. I love his movies (most of them), I love his humor… I love him! He’s wonderfully dynamic and energetic, even at the age of 87. He still is quick as a whip.

Serious Jibber Jabber is a web series done by Conan in which he does an old fashioned (think Dick Cavett, or David Frost) long format interview. No commercial breaks. No band. Just the subject and the host.

Thankfully we have a good host and a spectacular subject in Mel Brooks & Conan O’Brien. Mel’s career is long and legendary. He wrote for the Titan of modern comedy, Sid Caesar, in which he worked with Carl Reiner, Woody Allen, and other luminaries. THEN he wrote for Jerry Lewis (which I didn’t know until I watched this), and created the great spy parody  series, Get Smart. So many funny!

Mel Brooks has been popping lately in my feeds, mainly due to the death of Gene Wilder, and is own 90th birthday. 90 is the new 70. Stan Lee is in his 90s and still working. In fact he’s in Portland right now, for ComicCon.

Yes, people are living well, and living well, into their 90s, but it still means that our time with them is short. Take the time to appreciate a man who honestly had a hand in shaping our culture. (for better or worse)

Crazy YouTube Videos – Little Drummer Boy

crazy youtube videos
This is what I enjoyed, legally and with the full blessings of the Creator

This is a crosspost from another blog on which I write. This version is better. 

Last evening, upon returning from Friday mass, I was moved to pray for the fine people of our great nation.

Not really. I got home super late last night, and it being Friday, I decided, “Fuck it. I’m going to get insanely high anyway.”  So I did, and it’s legal here, so I’m not only a hero, I’m a great citizen.

So, a candy, a crazy potent brownie… (I’m not kidding. 500 mg THC brownie the size of 2/3 of a credit card. I have been nibbling it like a little mouse all week), a couple bowls of Animal Cookies weed (see the leafly review), AND infinite hits of the vape pen later (no half measures for this man)… I was super high.

I was so high that I decided to watch some crazy YouTube videos. I ended up  watching/listening to old Fleetwood Mac songs. Old ones, from when they were a hard blues band, all the way to the fluff of the Rumours era. It was lovely. I dozed, I floated. I lucid dreamed Stevie Nicks vs the Green Manalishi… it was lovely. THEN the above video played (the blessing/curse of autoplay) and I was ripped from revery, and faced with this guy.

Crazy YouTube Videos = A Metaphor For 21st Century Life

Ok. Watch this video while you read this. This guy, Marvin Fleer, is so amazingly information rich…. it’s like Finnegan’s Wake on drums. Here’s why.

  • His drum setup is insane. Look at all the cymbals.
  • His drums seem wedged between a built in china cabinet and… another built in china cabinet?
  • I don’t know how, but I am sure that his mom is no more than 10 feet away
  • Little Lies? You’re going to live drum to an 80’s pop song from Fleetwood Mac? That’s your showpiece?
  • He’s not great
  • He’s not terrible
  • He has shared this with the world.
  • Half a million people have watched this
  • Despite half a million in the audience, our man is obviously very alone (mom doesn’t count)
  • We have only been able to share videos of ourselves doing shit like this for a few years. This is a new phenomenon.
  • Sociology. This is. Read Bowling Alone.

Marvin Fleer, you are the shining exemplar of this day and age. You are the zeitgeist. Go forth and drum forever. There can be great wisdom in crazy YouTube videos.



I Saw Carrie Brownstein Filming Portlandia

carrie brownstein filming portlandia
Carrie Brownstein

Carrie Brownstein Is Super Cute

And Completely Hilarious

I was walking home from work the other day, and as I turned onto my street I saw a film crew, tents, trucks, and a million people standing around intensely inactive.
Living in Portland, I immediately thought “Portlandia?” because I knew they were filming, and it didn’t look like it was Grimm (the other show that films in Portland). I was intrigued.
I ran into Fred Armisen at a record store (how Portland is that?) a couple years ago, which was cool. I also know a couple people who either have been on, or are still on, the show. Yes, I’m cool but not because of that. Portland is a small city. Everyone knows someone who’s been on Portlandia or Grimm. Grimm sucks. Do not speak of Grimm.

portlandia shoot oregon street july 2016
The creative process.

So I stop across the street from the crew, and see the super funny and awesome Carrie Brownstein standing with Jonathan Krisel (co-creator, writer and director of Portlandia). I bore witness to a snippet of a sketch which involves a giant dog statue/device that sits on the front lawn of the house in the right of the photo. Why a giant dog?

For Pooping!

Over the several takes I stuck around to watch, a man (an extra) walks his little dog down the sidewalk, only to pause before the giant dog totem, which then squats and “poops” out about a half dozen softball sized balls of “poop”, which roll down a track. Think of a six foot wide contraption from the game Mousetrap. Like that. Once the poop rolled down, the extra walking the strokes his chin. And scene. Ah, art. I’m certain that everyone involved in that scene (except the extra) makes more money than me. That includes the guys in orange vest who would announce what manner of vehicle was approaching. “Bike! Got a bike coming through, guys.”

I did not take a pic of the dog device, as I tried not to be an intrusive fanboy. However, think of Clifford the Big Red Dog. Now make him brown. Kinda like that. See? You’re not missing much.

As mundane as it was, it was still neat to see a show I like filming, literally, a few hundred feet away from where I sleep and poop. It was cool. AND NOW YOU KNOW. When you watch season 7 and see this sketch, think of me. I’ll know if you did.