All posts by holybeeofephesus

Gentleman and scholar

“It’s Not the Years, It’s the Mileage”: An Indiana Jones Chronology (Introduction)

Holy Bee of Ephesus

Working with the James Bond novels last year got me thinking about compiling another 91XTKfFZ3kL._SL1500_chronology for a great period adventurer of the last century — Dr. Henry Walton Jones, Jr., better known by the name he swiped from the family dog, “Indiana.” If you piece together his entire life story, as the Holy Bee has just done, you know that he’s not just Indiana Jones, professor of archaeology, expert on the occult, and obtainer of rare antiquities. He’s also Indiana Jones, Titanic survivor, World War I veteran, boy-toy of the notorious spy Mata Hari, romantic rival of Hemingway, roommate of Eliot Ness, amateur jazz musician (adept at piano and soprano sax), widower at 26, highly-decorated Army Reserve Colonel, and much, much more.

As we know, the movies, and most other Indy media, generally start off with a year written right on the opening scene, or first page. That has pretty…

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Video Store Memories

Holy Bee of Ephesus

Sorry, misled voters of West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Coal-mining jobs are not coming back in any appreciable amount. Never. Ever. And any presidential candidate of any party who tells you otherwise is playing you for a fool. But that’s the way of the world. Think of the poor harness and saddle makers when those Model T Fords started rolling off the assembly line. Shit outta luck. No one’s crossing the Atlantic on dirigibles anymore either, putting all those patriotic, hard-working dirigible technicians out of business. Industries die when times change. It’s a fact of life.

I can’t recall anyone carrying signs at political rallies when the humble video rental store circled the drain and gurgled out of existence not long ago. Maybe that’s because most video store employees are…excuse me, were…jaded Gen-X youngsters, not people with families to support and hoping for a pension after forty-five years of inhaling…

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Even A Stopped Clock Is Right Twice A Day: Songs We Like by Artists We Don’t

There’s a whole lot of stuff out there in the music world that I do not care for…and I’m probably wrong. The widely-revered Sonic Youth, for example, is just not my cup of tea. (No, not even Daydream Nation.) I find Radiohead 20% tolerable background music, 80% powerful irritant. My contemporaries look at me like I’m a criminal when I say I find the Pixies a big fat “meh.” These are my own personal blind spots, and I own them.

Then there’s the artists that I know deep in my bones I’m right about not liking, and their legions of fans are wrong.

And I’ve tried. I’ve given some of these guys dozens of chances and re-listens. But at this point, no one is going to convince me that the spacey noodlings of Pink Floyd, stretched to ungodly lengths and anchored by a second-rate drummer and a third-rate keyboardist, are worth another minute of my time. Similarly, the “poetic” brain-dead bellows of noted jackass Jim Morrison, anchored by a second-rate keyboardist and third-rate drummer, are best left to those who peaked in high school.

But…there’s a couple of songs by those artists that, when they come on the radio, I find myself not reaching for the button. Not choosing a commercial, or static, or silence in their stead. Letting them play on. Maybe even deriving a modicum of pleasure from these aberrations from their usual plodding path of sub-mediocrity. It may not be the joyous surprise felt by those kids in that old cereal commercial (“He likes it!”), but it at least gives me a tiny insight into those misguided souls who think the usual stuff barfed up by the likes of the Grateful Dead is acceptable.

1. “Unchained” – Van Halen
from Fair Warning (1981)

2. “King of Pain” – The Police
from Synchronicity (1983)

3. “Jesus, etc.” – Wilco
from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2001)

4. “Can’t Feel My Face” – The Weeknd
from Beauty Behind the Madness (2015)

5. “Friends in Low Places” – Garth Brooks
from No Fences (1990)

6. “Somebody To Love” – Jefferson Airplane
from Surrealistic Pillow (1967)

7. “Style” – Taylor Swift
from 1989 (2015)

8. “People Are Strange” – The Doors
from Strange Days (1967)

9. “The Scientist” – Coldplay
from A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002)

10. “Friend of the Devil” – The Grateful Dead
from American Beauty (1970)

11. “Wild World” – Cat Stevens
from Tea for the Tillerman (1970)

12. “Comfortably Numb” – Pink Floyd
from The Wall (1979)

13. “Boys of Summer” – Don Henley
from Building the Perfect Beast (1984)

14. “Suspicious Minds” – Elvis Presley
released as a single (1969)

15. “Hold On We’re Going Home” – Drake
from Nothing Was the Same (2013)

Hi-Fi Fifteen is a callback to the “5 in 5” playlist game that MMDG, holybee, and djlazybear used to play on their lunchbreak. They’re all in different professions now, and don’t even live in the same counties, but quickly throwing together playlists on rotating themes is still fun as hell.

The Holy Bee Recommends, #18: Thomas Berger’s “Neighbors”

Holy Bee of Ephesus

To a lot of people, the title Neighbors conjures up fairly recent memories of the raucous Seth Rogen/Zac Efron frat boy comedy. To an older generation, it may trigger a dim recollection of the identically-titled flop starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. To colossal shut-in nerd like the Holy Bee, the go-to is the Thomas Berger novel on which the Belushi/Aykroyd film is based.

Berger (1924-2014) has written about two dozen novels, but he’s probably best known for SUB-BERGER-obit-master180the picaresque quasi-Western Little Big Man. He also wrote one of my favorite Arthurian novels, Arthur Rex. But it’s this seemingly low-stakes, dark comedy tale published in 1980, set in sleepy suburbia, that I keep coming back to. I’ve re-read it many times since I was about fifteen, and it doesn’t seem to get old.

Earl Keese, 49, and his wife Enid live at the end of a cul-de-sac in a…

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The Weirdest Thing I Ever Saw

Holy Bee of Ephesus

We all watch stupid shit. Although terms like “golden age” and “peak TV” have been thrown around quite a bit in the last few years, referring to the acclaimed offerings of HBO, AMC, Netflix, et al., sometimes you just want to look at garbage. I’m sure there are people with advanced degrees and high-paying jobs who get through the day just to race home to their tastefully decorated domiciles to gorge on Real Housewives on their DVR.

Me? I’m hooked on paranormal shows. And thanks to the wealth of cable channels, I ghost-adventures_ep_magnolia-plantation.rend.hgtvcom.616.462can feed my addiction on a pretty much constant basis. It’s only a matter of time before there’s an all-paranormal channel. (Destination America comes close, but it’s been having audio problems the last few days. And I’m on my summer staycation! I’m almost ready to put a bullet through the screen, Elvis-style, because the sound keeps dropping when…

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The Holy Bee Recommends, #17: The Rolling Stones’ Post-Exile Trilogy

Holy Bee of Ephesus

There is a blindly-accepted mythology that began as soon as the 70s ended. The myth goes like this: The Rolling Stones were a scrappy London R&B band that rode the first wave of the British Invasion, had some monster singles, did a classic mid-60s album (Aftermath), stumbled briefly with a psychedelic Beatles knock-off (Their Satanic Majesties Request), then righted themselves, found an excellent producer in Jimmy Miller, and made the Holy Quadrilogy — Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, and Exile On Main Street — each an irrefutable cornerstone of their massive legacy and four of the greatest rock albums ever made.

And after that — Some Girls aside — it all went to shit.

The “Ultimate Classic Rock” website, the internet’s click-bait custodian of lazy rock factoids, perpetuates the well-trodden path, describing the first post-Exile album, Goats Head Soupas“the end of the Stones’…

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The Holy Bee Recommends, #16: “Beatles ’66: The Revolutionary Year” by Steve Turner

Holy Bee of Ephesus

In these virtual pages, we’ve already discussed why 1966 was a revolutionary year in 41tfo6prkll-_sy344_bo1204203200_general. Now, to continue our celebration of this landmark year’s 50th anniversary, we’ll get specific. What did 1966 mean to The Beatles? According to Steve Turner’s excellent new book, Beatles ‘66: The Revolutionary Year, it was the crux of their existence as a working band — building on past triumphs, peaking with their most remarkable work, and even sowing the seeds of their eventual demise. Turner considers the events of 1966 too important to be condensed and shoehorned into a typical Beatles bio, and the year deserves its own book.

It was first and foremost a transformative year for them. In the space of just a few months, they went from their matching suits and famous pudding-bowl haircuts, bashing out “She’s A Woman” into a wall of deafening screams, to being draped in beads and velvet…

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The Holy Bee’s 36 Hours of Christmas (Part 2)

Holy Bee of Ephesus

It’s A Wonderful Life

This Frank Capra film was pretty much ignored when it came out in 1946, but it became a holiday staple when it went out of copyright in 1974, and dozens of local TV stations across the country ran it and re-ran it until everyone was thoroughly sick of it. NBC got its claws on it a few years back, and curtailed its infinite loop, usually showing it only twice during the holiday season.

its-a-wonderful-lifeThere are three types of people: 1) those who love the film despite being beat over the head with it on television for over thirty years, 2) those who despise it for its sappy sentimentality (and the incessant figurative head-beatings), and 3) those who have successfully avoided it for their entire lives. I fell into the latter category for most of my existence, and was content to remain there, until I was essentially…

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The Holy Bee’s 36 Hours of Christmas (Part 1)

Holy Bee of Ephesus

At the end of last year’s “24 Hours of Halloween” — a marathon of spooky movies and TV shows curated by me for my imaginary TV station (“KHBE”) — I remarked jokingly that “48 Hours of Christmas” would follow. The joke turned quite serious when I realized I was short a Christmas entry this year. So the project is on!

andy-color-dancersThe first thing that struck me was that actually watching a 48 hour marathon would stretch the limits of human endurance, unless a very different kind of Christmas “snow” was involved. Thirty-six hours is just about do-able, and I’ll be offering suggestions as to when to catch some shut-eye. Also, have some food on hand. In fact, go ahead and have some turkey. That whole thing about tryptophan making you sleepy is just as big a bullshit myth as sugar causing hyperactivity (so quit making excuses for your poorly-behaved children.)

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Hi-Fi Fifteen: Have Yourself an Idle Little Christmas

…and an eclectic one at that. How much variety can the three of us cram into one list that is ostensibly based around the same theme? Evidently, quite a lot. Prepare yourself for a bit of audio whiplash as we careen from traditional to revisionist to what-the-fuck?

But that’s as it should be. Christmas can be a complicated holiday. Some of us adhere to a belief system that rejects Christian dogma, but still want our tinsel and stockings and advent calendars. Some of us are trying to keep our holiday cheer in the face of health, economic, or social hardships that are always thrown into sharp relief during year-end festivities. Some of us are faced with dealing with the families of significant others who open all their presents on Christmas Eve instead of waiting for Christmas morning like normal people!! How screwed up is that?

Yes, lines can sometimes be drawn, and we can be a little defensive about our holiday turf. Christmas or Hanukkah or moon-worshipping Wiccan solstice hippie nonsense? Turkey or roast beef for the big dinner? Angel or star at the top of tree? Eggnog or never-in-a-million-years-eggnog? Is Die Hard really a Christmas movie? These questions can test the firmest of romantic or familial relationships.

But once the candles are lit, the drinks are poured, and the Festivus pole is retrieved from the crawlspace, only one issue really matters. Mel Torme or Galaxie 500? Music is one of the best things to come out of Christmas, and can be adapted to any style, performer, or genre. Luckily, there’s room for it all… except “Christmas Shoes.” “Christmas Shoes” can eat a bag of dicks.

So the holidays can be a little cracked, and I’m glad we have a list that reflects that. If these lists continue, I’m sure we’ll re-visit this theme come next December, because it’s a pretty deep well to draw from.
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