Friday, October 31, 2008

We've Only Just Begun make bad Carpenters puns.

Thankfully, today's (brief, all holiday-like) post concerns the other Carpenter.


We received this recording anonomously, credited to someone named Aggrocragg. I suspect Boyle's involvement, if only because the tapes were redolent with the stink of carrier pigeon guano that's become his calling card. Hopefully by Thanksgiving I'll succeed in grabbing, stuffing and roasting one of those flighty bastards, but no such luck yet.

Happy Halloween! But remember: if you're home tonight... minding your own business... and some kid comes knocking at your door asking for candy...

He could have just killed his sister.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Say Goodbye... productivity.

Another lapse in DemoWAR, another sorry excuse, sure. But this time you get to share in the spoils. For the last forty-eight hours we've been distracted by And since that translates to forty-eight hundred hours in military time, that's like two hundred days of real time. (And that translates to two hundred hundred days in militar- okay, sorry.)

And I can hear your protests already.

"Mtv? Mtv, you say?! You call this music?! You call this television?!"
Now wait! Let me stop you before Red Rage Vision descends and you rush around in a Kurt Loder mask and your Remote Control boxer shorts, lobbing a sledgehammer into innocent tv screens. I understand your reaction, and I am here to help. Now please, put that statue of Riki Rachtman right again and get to the nearest internet node.

"Quickly! Then to the bronze Adam Curry!"

Like you, Dear Reader, the entire DemoWAR faculty, staff, and chain of command swore off Mtv in 1995, moments after the death of Headbangers Ball. But it looks like the heavens have finally parted, and the wunderkind behind Buzz Bin and 120 Minutes was allowed to make one last executive decision.

On Mtvmusic, you can watch any video. Whenever you want. With no commercials or VeeJay distraction.

You want a mainstream hit, all pop-up video style? Piece of cake:

Care to dig deeper through the Ball's less flattering moments? Fine:

Want a video you never knew Mtv even had? Shazzaboo:

(When in doubt, just pop "Gwar" in the search field.)

Someone greenlit this, so you'd best take advantage of it. Sit back, relax, and ride the waves of nostalgia while you dredge up your favorite esoteric, bizzare band from the depths of Mtv's vault... Or just watch the full version of Thriller for the eighteen-hundreth time.

...or Sledgehammer.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Neck Store

This is John Paul Jones. He was in a band once, you might have heard of them. And now he's playing multi-necked hybrid-trons at events like 2008's "Mano-A-Mando" Mandolin Fest. Why? Good question. Let's look at some of the most common reasons for using a double (or triple-) neck guitar:

1) Lower back pain not quite excruciating enough.
2) "Roadie" cousin needs something to carry so he can get into show.
3) Currently outclassed in onstage guitar-joust matches.
4) Need extra notes for that one part in High Enough solo.
5) You are this man:
"I bet John will steal this idea in 30 years, the wanker."

And really that's about it. If you're considering investing in a double-neck guitar, do everyone a favor and follow this handy little flowchart to see if you are eligible. Remember, the worst thing you can do in this situation is look like you're trying too hard.

12-neck guitars are a different beast, however. Everyone gets a pass. If you'd like, I can just wait here while you all run down to the store to pick one up. Bring a friend—they're pretty heavy!

Hmm, I was kind of hoping for sea-foam green?

All that wood... just think of the resonance. You could pluck a note on N01_S05_F12* and by the time you got down to N08_S02_F05*, that first note is still ringing. Think about the lovely harmonies you'll be able to create, currently unattainable in today's sad state of guitar fret technology.

The downside, of course, is that a stray pinch-harmonic could level a city block.

"Stand back everyone, this pick is loaded."

Sadly, this guitar is just an art project, not a production unit. It's a shame, really, because according to Unwieldyguitaripedia, there are exactly twelve alternate tunings for rock music. (And that doesn't even include DADGAD. Stop the presses, we need another neck!) This thing could be the equivalent of the chromatic harmonica for the rock/folk/blues world. Capos? Throw 'em out. I've had it up to here with your freakin' capos.

So what if it's fifty bucks every time you restring it, this guitar pays for itself in no time with its decidedly-decreased strap budget! It's like a bicycle-built-for... well, I suppose it could get a little cramped back there, but get eleven friends together and you have one hell of a bonding experience!

Thanks to Acting-Ensign Grosz for bringing this to our attention. More of the host gallery's exhibits are available here: Vvork

*In the interest of time, we've used Planck's "Neck_String_Fret" annotation system, or "NuhStruhFroh."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Boys of Summer of '69

Thanks for joining us. You're just in time for the latest unwitting call-and-response between General Dowd and the carrier pigeon chorus of Joseph Q. Boyle. Recently, a flock of said pigeons was intercepted (or rather, peppered with buckshot,) and from their claws fell a package of such import that we rushed it to the lab to decipher the myriad secrets contained within.

Disappointingly, it was a Don Henley song.

I know, I know! But save your boos and hisses. Stop yourself before jumping from a nearby high-rise. I know you're worried that Boyle has gone native, that he's sunk to the level of our sworn enemy. But rest assured! This isn't just any Don Henley song, this is the good one. No, not the one that makes the listener break out in a rash. Not the one we use to make pious monks self-immolate. Right. It's that one other one.


No I don't think I need a shirt, thank you.

Not bad, right? And at least he didn't go all Eagles on us.

Nonetheless, I was forced to retaliate. You see, Henley's Summer is only one side of the coin dated 1984: A year when people still listened to the radio, looked forward to voting Republican, and drove good ol' Detroit steel. A year when the Ministry of Truth stomped Winston Smith into blissful submission. Ah... memories.

And in 1984, when I was but a tender blerenven years old, did I appreciate the nuanced melancholy of Boys of Summer? I did not. Did I instead sing along with the unbridled (dare I say Canadian) optimism of Bryan Adams's Summer of '69? Surely. Did I giggle every time it hit the chorus? No comment.

Adams serves up a paean to his teen years—a time when everything was well and good with the world. Or at least Canada. In those pre-ironic days of 1984, I even missed the joke of a squeaky-clean Adams naming his album Reckless, when he can't even utter a line like "It cuts like a knife" without coming across like Michael J. Fox's foppish body double. I mean, look at this photo-shoot. Is this "reckless?"

Reckless: adj. (rěk'lĭs) - Suffering from a lack of reck.


So I apologize for the delay, but I needed time to prepare a dose of Adams's lap-dog happiness with which to respond properly to Henley's jaded cynicism. Henley, who manages to imbue the most humanity in the part of the song where he's not singing, and Adams, who... Well, just look at that album cover again.

note: The original songs haven't been linked to because you should just listen to this track instead.

Monday, October 6, 2008

We Don't Need No Stinking Badgers

Eager for a promotion, still-acting-ensign Hatch has been kind enough to send in another submission. In three-hundredicate. Imagine my surprise when Ol' Gus, our venerable postmaster, tapped my door with his wooden leg, bent from the weight of his mailsack, full to the point of bursting with parcels, packets, and packages addressed front and back with my name, writ large in some very questionable fluids which surely push postal laws nearly as far as this overlong sentence is testing the very patience of you, our dear readers... Ahem.

And Gus Spake:
"This 'un's only the firs' load, Missur Dowd, sir. The boys'n me 'll be back directly with t'others."
Thank you, Gus. And Curse you, Rollie Everlovin' Hatch! Where will I sit?! My office is overrun with demos, though I do appreciate your exploration of the full media spectrum: tape, cd, minidisc, vinyl, reel-to-reel, what is this, an acetate? And jesus, an Edison cylinder? What are we paying you, anyway? Postage alone would have cost about four hundred dollars... although upon closer inspection the stamps appear to be... suspect.

The exceedingly rare "05¢ Happy Car."


The end result isn't bad, though. Actually, quite good. Not good enough for immediate promotion, but definitely enough for a trophy or no, wait! A merit badge. The perfect little something to warm those pathetically bare epaulettes. Hold on a second, I'll see what we can do.

Did you bring enough trophies for the whole class?
...Oh, I see you did.

Okay, I think you're going to be pleased. I caught one of the DemoWAR seamstresses on break, and she was able to crank this out. Just click through for a printable copy, and um... staple it onto your shirt, or something.

General Suck-up had his name Americanized, from the Greek Sukupopolous.

Let this serve as a reminder, Hatch. No one likes a grade grubber.
...unless there are bribes involved. Or cookies.*

*or bribes involving cookies.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Plastic Guitar UPDATE

Okay, this "Update" thing is not going to become a habit. This space is reserved for recorded music and the practitioners thereof, and is not going to become a bastion for clicka-clicka-clicka-ing kids who wouldn't know a whammy bar from a whammy pedal.

Except sometimes things are too ridiculous to ignore.
Girly guitars. Pox on our fair nation, or a mere embarrassing offense? Wait - it sounds like we can have both on this one. And these are plastic girly guitars, so they don't even have the saving grace of making real music. These are new Guitar Hero/Rock Band guitars from these idiots, and like everything else made for little girls in a little guy's world, they are hideous.

Now I know some things about girls. I know two things about them, in fact, and here they are:

1. Girls like pink
2. Girls like other things, too.
That's the intel I'm working with, and they both seem like pretty iron-clad assumptions. Now the problem with marketing people (and video game marketers in particular,) is that they've lost the second half of the list. They assume that girls only like girly things , and that's dangerous. I'll take a second to illustrate by showing you the opposite end of the spectrum.
Behold: the pinnacle of Mantastic Enterprise's demographic research. What stands before you is the toughest, manliest, race-car driving-est, tire-squealing-est, rockin-est, humbucking-est piece of badassery ever assembled. Yes sir, you can shift gears mid-solo, and it's even got a speedometer so you can see how fast you're SHREDDING! Lost your place in a song, you say? No problem - just use the handy, color-coded notes inlaid on the fretboard. Or better yet, distract the crowd with plumes of exhaust from the set of scorching-hot chrome pipes!
Actually, do you know where I could get one of these?

Exactly. Even Ace Frehley would be offended. Part of the problem is that girls are multi-faceted and toy companies forget that. Despite enjoying a variety of things—like the humans they are—they keep getting fed the same old pink/purple/teardrop/heart-shaped bullshit by executives who think it's what they want.

I've seen women in the DemoWAR army wearing pink, only it's been scuffed, scratched, and smeared with space dust from whatever moon their battle took place on that week. Either that, or they've liberally applied a paint called Foe Spludge™, this rudimentary paste made from the jugulal spray of a downed opponent and whatever indigenous berries they can find. It's your basic intimidation tactic, like a Vietnam Ear Necklace or a picket fence topped with trick-or-treaters' heads. Even then, as far as pinks go Spludge is more of an mulberry than say....fuchsia.

But really, what do you think is really going to encourage young girls to play guitar and be bigger and badder than their predecessors?


For the record, there is only one "Girly Guitar" that is allowed here at DemoWAR HQ. And if your stomach feels especially strong after that, the full, genderly-embarrassing girly-story can be found at Video Games Blogger.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

News: Parenting Takes a Backseat

to ROCK 'N' ROLL! (or a reasonable facsimile thereof.)

Beedledy whaow!

A few weeks ago, one enterprising youth from Raleigh, North Carolina was able to convince his parents to let him drop out of school and pursue a career as a professional Guitar Hero competitive gamer.

I'll pause for a moment while that sinks in. And in case some of you, Dear Readers, are in shock—unable to speak—I'll read it again, inserting an inner monologue for your convenience.
A few weeks ago, one enterprising youth from Raleigh, North Carolina was able to convince his parents (HIS WATERBRAINED, PREMATURELY-SENILE, DRUG-ADDLED PARENTS—SO UNFIT TO RAISE A CHILD THAT I FEAR THEY POSSESS NOT EVEN THE STRENGTH TO RAISE THE ROD WITH WHICH TO STRIKE HIM) to let him drop out of school and pursue a career (HOLD ON... Career: -noun- an occupation or profession, esp. one requiring special training, followed as one's lifework. RIGHT , THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT IT MEANT) as a professional Guitar Hero competitive gamer. (INSERT STRING OF *&^#$*$* CARTOON EXPLETIVES HERE)
And fine, there are professional gamers that make a living doing this. There is a skill in the mastery of a specific rule set - like chess, or chess. This set of rules belongs to video games. Fine. I dub thee "acceptable." There's just one problem. This kid is not that good. He's taken home a total of about $1000, a number that includes free Chick Fil A sandwiches. And that's certainly not good enough to do it full time while being home-schooled. (read: stripped of all viable social skills, doomed to date your cousin, etc, etc.)


Another problem I have with this story is that it's lazily cobbled together, as illustrated by this quote from the journalistic giants at North Carolina News Observer:
"It's pretty sick," says Andrew Gambling, 27, who describes himself as a casual player. "He's talented."
Talented. This is the best quote they could get? One can only hope that it was due to their deadline, looming like a drunken clown at a children's birthday party, that was forced to cut some other choice quotes from the final edition, like these!
"Dude, I don't know how he does it. " says Gabe Featherton. "It's like he's sitting at home playing Guitar Hero all day, or something."

"I mean, I don't know. It's cool, I guess." says Kara Lottaboudit. "Can I go now?"

Blake's former girlfriend, Lisa Catera, had a different perspective, however. "He spent more time fingering that plastic guitar than he did [hanging out with] me, that's for sure."
The full (but too brief to really be considered full,) story can be found here.

Monday, September 8, 2008

No Men=No Maids

You're aware, I assume, that there exist very real threats to our livelihood. We're surrounded on all fronts by faces of terrorists and journalists; war criminals and rock music critics. And trust me, they are cut from the same cloth. Their intent is to instill fear and self-doubt. They have chosen to destroy rather than create. They are instigators.
What is our reaction—Do we negotiate? Do we panic? Do we hide up in our hidey-holes with our lil' hidey-blankets, calling up imaginary hidey-friends on imaginary hidey-phones?

Don't be ridiculous. We build missile laser defense shields. It's what the big boys do.
How else to make sure that those ne'er-do-wells are kept outside our nation's borders? And for those of you worrying about your own private borders, this tech tree trickles down to consumer products like Illegal-Immigration-Laser-Defense-Shield, Unwarranted-Wiretapping-Laser-Defense-Shield and Definitely-Not-A-Recession-Probably-Laser-Defense-Shield. All pocket-sized, on-the-go like. Which brings us back to the age-old equation:

X + Y = (^_^)

In which X = Tax Dollars
Y = Flagrant Government Spending
(^_^) = Cool Gadgets For Me To Buy
Even with all of these precautions, the breakdown in security starts with the introduction of the human element. How else to explain this recent lapse in protocol, that another article of DemoWAR contraband has been discovered on the premises? A bootlegged song à la Meredith DiMenna, no less. This is disquieting.


I've got no choice left but to slowly shake my head in consternation. I try to tell you men that this stuff is dangerous - you don't listen. I tell you that you're furthering the breakdown of our puritanical society - you label me a paranoid old coot. These pirate broadcasts offer nothing more than empty promises! Trust me - there are no women coming to visit you in the wee hours, bearing gifts of sonorous song and bountiful bosom. There are no maids coming to make your meals or tuck your sheets under your chin like mommy used to do. There is only a progressive weakening of your manlinesses, resulting in a feminization of the entire corps.

The truth is when you bunk down, listening to these...these "records," our squad of MACHO Operatives (Muscle Atrophy CHecker-Outers) is sneaking into your dormitories with calipers—big, shiny calipers—to sure your muscles aren't atrophying. But it turns out they are atrophying, like bananas in the sun.
Imagine you took a bicep and hollowed it out, but instead of all that bicepy stuff, you replaced it with gummy-bear gummy-stuff. And now that the temperature has hit 90°, the melty-gummy-stuff is trickling out of your pores like high-fructose sweat. So here you are stuck to your clothes, your copy of Jet magazine, a nearby picnic table and oh look, it won't be long before bees arrive. Oh god, the bees!*

So let that be a lesson learned. No golden radio voice will save you from the horrors of sticky magazines. Wait, that came out wrong. ...damnit!

*...and the horseflies! Whence these plagues were visited upon us?!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Two Days Late

But if we translate it into blog days, it's more like seven months. Sorry for the delay.

I'm not normally a big fan of auto-playing embedded doohickeys, but we posted about the new Byrne/Eno collaboration back when it was announced, and their new site for the album is impressively minimalist and slick.

So check it out. Or don't. Doesn't really matter - it won't stop the enemy from pressing forward. But these guys are doing digital distribution well and deserve some accolade for that. The songs are good, too. All of them are streaming from the player above and the song Strange Overtones is even offered as a free download on the site.

Fun Fact: if you play the songs Home and Strange Overtones at the same time... it sounds pretty cool!

Wakiki Boyle


After spending countless man-hours reviewing aerial photography, scrutinizing enemy movements and constructing a massive enigma machine/pipe organ hybrid to discover Boyle's hiding place, DemoWAR was outflanked by the Admiral himself. He managed to hack into the ISP and leave the following message in everyone's inbox like a trail of dirty, dirty breadcrumbs - covered in poison.

The deceptive subject line, (FellAhs, it r3ally w0rk2! MaKe h3r hAppy a11 n1ght l0ng!!!) went undetected for all of seventeen seconds. A pat on the back goes to our resident spam filter, Frank, for some great investigative work and general creepiness.*

Pardon the lateness of my reply, but I am enjoying my time here on [REDACTED] Island, soothing the savage beast with music's charms.
I have befriended the primitive pygmies here, called the "Timanak", who live a backwards, tribal sort of life. I feel that I must have stumbled into some kind of twilight zone, transported through time to this babylonian environ.

I hesitate to call the tribe civilized, but what they lack in propriety, they more than make up for in curiosity.
Just this morning, in fact, one of the young warrior-types was measuring my head with a length of string, showcasing it to his cohorts and hooting wildly. I trust that further observation will unlock many the varied secrets of the tribe, the island, and perhaps even my bamboo cage.

I must now sign off, as I have been invited to join in their repast this evening. No word yet on what dish will be served, but judging by the large bubbling cauldron, it should be quite a feast.

Enclosed, please find my latest submission. Resources are limited in this place, but you'd be amazed what a man can do with coconuts and catgut if he's got the mind.

Yours in confidence—mine otherwise,

What follows is a sequence of ones and zeroes, printed out across seven reams of paper. After chewing on it for awhile, our tube-powered monolith, "ENIAC's Revenge", spat this out:

Dylan's sprawling original lives here: Dylan_Dont_Think_Twice.mp3

*Dear Frank's wife: Don't be disappointed when it does not r3ally work2.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Too Many Secrets

We've been obsessed with codes for the past few weeks. There's been talk of code-breakers, patterns, ciphers, keys, hidden messages, riddles, enigmas, cryptography, cryptology, crypto-zoology, sasquat-chology, wendigology, Wendy Os, Wendy O Williamses, William F Buckleyses, F Murray Abrahameses, Abraham and Isaaceseses. Check the archives - it's all in there, couched in terms too... cryptic to comprehend.

So this week, we're going to focus on one of the hard working cipher-grunts here at DemoWAR HQ. He sits in the basement all day and night, using a Drogen's decoder wheel to decode static-filled triple-scrambled microwave transmissions between two soldiers talking in Mandarin Chinese. I'm referring, of course, to Acting-Ensign Rollie Hatch, code-crackologist extraordinaire and mastermind of Beauty and the RoBeast, a compendium of logic so dense and layered that it makes Godel, Escher and Bach look like a street-preacher's pamphlet.

Hatch's application sits on my desk as we speak,the ink still drying on his barely-legible blue-book essay questions. Well, crayon, I guess you would call it.

The handwriting is abominable, but his prose is stunning.

His first submission is revelatory; a breath of fresh air in these times of cultural whitewash. And taking into account the long, hard hours that Hatch puts in, I'll overlook the fact that it was clearly completed with the help of company time and resources. (disclaimer: I am not planning to overlook this.)


And listen to the original here: FNM_Get_Out.MP3

Stand clear of the closing jaws.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Technology: Binaural Beats

Not a day goes by without some slick salesman (or greasy sales-woman!) offering a new solution in a box. Solution for what, you ask? Oh, anything, really. Being overweight, being forgetful, being gullible. Most importantly, being willing to do nothing at all to get better. Beyond typing in your credit card, that is.

Have you ever found yourself saying, "Hey stupid! I need to find a catch-all, cure-all, do-all that works without all that work!" Well, get on your knees and thank your own personal Jesus, because we've finally got some snake oil you don't even have to swallow!

"Binaural Beats", a technology guaranteed* to sharpen your mind, ease depression, quell PMS, cure alcoholism, and ease depression brought on by a sharpened mind, PMS, or alcoholism. For the uninitiated, Binaural Beats are the vibrations, or "beats", that you hear when there are two frequencies that are very close to one another being played simultaneously. Other names for this phenomenon include "tuning your guitar" and "Jesus, Matt, get a friggin tuner already!"

Seriously, Matt.

Though knowledge of binaural "beats" has been around since the 1830s, it's taken seventy years for the fine hucksters of The Internet to exploit it for us. Frequencies are available from one such vendor, (yes, a dot-us web address) for their mood-altering benefits - relaxation, alertness, etc. Meanwhile, a competing outfit, (note the "r") specializes in tones of a more... narcotic nature. The nice thing about these "doses" is that they combine all of the risks of buying drugs—sketchy transaction, no guaranteed effects, low return on investment—without all those nasty benefits.

And the comma-laden disclaimer at i-doser is quick to remind you of that.
"I-Doser makes no medical, psychological, physical, or otherwise, claims to the effectiveness of the I-Doser Application, Simulation CDs and MP3s, or it’s included or purchased doses..."
Once again, marketing goons have taken it upon themselves to try and make money off of a scientist's findings that Things Occur Between Two Objects, Probably. (The old TOBTOP theory.)

An actual scientist witnessing the TOBTOP effect.

In related news**, someone took the time to coin the term Cocktail Party Effect, the incredible phenomenon that happens when someone is talking to you and you are listening to them. I shouldn't joke, because this is something I actually have trouble with, as illustrated in this strangely accurate, hardly invented scenario:

A: "Dowd, can I get you another drink?"

B: "Hm?"

A: "I said, would you like another?"

B: "Hm, I doubt it. He doesn't look like my brother... And now that I look a little closer, it's a girl."

A: "I say, do you think we have TIME for another ROUND?"

B:"Well, I hardly think that'll be necessary. She's still alive, you know. Can't go putting people in the ground while they're still alive. It's uncouth."

A: "... "

B: "...not to mention the fact that it's difficult. Sure, the mass graves are easy, but you've seen those zombie movies. They fight back, the buggers."

A: "Fine, I'll be right back."

B: "They sure do."

-Thanks to the Jerusalem Post for bringing this to our attention. Full story here.

*Guarantee valid for store credit only.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Femme Fatale

Attention, recruits! It's time for a good, old-fashioned Bunk Check! I like to think we run a pretty tight ship here at DemoWAR HQ, so get your gear in order, clear out your foot lockers and iron your sock garters. We'll meet in the barracks at oh-ten-hundred. No, it means ten o'clock, lunkheads. How in the hell could it mean a "thousand o'clock"? You know what, skip the timetable. Let's just get this over with right now.

Private Grenier, you missed a button. And a trouser leg. Damn, man, that looks uncomfortable.

Shipley, are those army issue? Funny, I don't remember the dress code allowing cowboy boots covered in...what is that, barbecue sauce? Oh, they're your "bastin' boots," are they? Well, keep them outside if you're not gonna hose 'em off. (...and save me some dark meat.)

Johnson. At ease, boy... I said at ease, what's wrong with you? ...Oh, for the love of... Who duct-taped Johnson to his bunk? Well clearly he's unconscious, don't you think I can see that? Just... god, just get him down before lunch.

Pemberton, Pemberton, Pemberton... What? No, no, nothing wrong. I just like the sound of your name. It amuses me... kind of like the way you're trying to hide something behind your back by putting it in your mouth. That's charming. Hand it over.
Why, it's just a little radio. Nothing to be ashamed of - wait, what's this little button on the back do? *click*

Gods, I recognize that voice. Oh, it can't be.
knowing squint

I thought she was dead. Pull up a chair, little ones. It's story time. You see, way back in DemoWAR Alpha, a lass by the name of Miss DiMenna had a pirate radio program she put together to entertain the troops. She thought that by giving them a little taste of home, the men would be happier, morale would be raised, and the war would be won. Well the unexpected side-effect of that smoky, come-hither voice was that our recruits were reduced to jelly-legged little schoolboys, huddling around their radios for hours at a time.

We lost the war. (Obviously. Just look at the late 70s.) Suspicions abounded, allegations were made and before too long, Miss DiMenna just ...disappeared. Except now it looks like she's up to her old tricks. This vixen - this... temptress of tawdry transistors is akin to the spawn of Tokyo Rose and the best parts of Mata Hari, and what you end up with is like some sort of science-fiction monster that I'll call...Matoharatokyosie.

I been eating your crops like a big old locust

We work hard to make sure you pathetic walking hormones get the cold shower you so desperately need. The saltpeter in your food, compulsory wind sprints at dawn, flat-front khakis—and yet despite all our efforts, some prurient thoughts still remain, and they weaken your resolve. No, not that kind of resolve, Shipley, and get your mind out of the gutter.

So I'll just... confiscate this little device. I should destroy it right now to teach you a lesson, to rub your noses it in like the dogs you are, but you'd enjoy that too much. No, I have just the place in my - my office. Yes, my office. Where I keep things like this—dangerous things—away from prying eyes. Ears. Away from prying ears.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Uncharted Territory

One of the main objectives of the new ISP "information pipeline" is to establish contact with Fleet Admiral Joe Boyle, last seen adrift somewhere in the South Pacific, aiding a sea creature in need. The problem with our aim is this - Connecting with someone through the ISP is a tricky process, one requiring a great deal of skill, global positioning know-how, and a general knowledge of where the target person is. We're 0 for 3.

At this point, our intel on Boyle has been reduced to the message-in-a-bottle variety. Literally. Every three or four days we receive a missive scrunched up into a Chilean wine bottle, or some such thing, with a cryptic message that's been scrawled on a bar napkin, etched into wood chips, or in one case, watermarked on the sails of a tiny model ship. Here are a few examples to give you an idea what we're working with:

Swimming upon the Devil's lake. Right next to the Devil's ranch house. Nice horsies.

If planning to sit upon the setting sun, bring some water.

Lucky numbers are 13, 43, 64, 88, eleventy-seven.
The Devil's lake and the setting sun? Land of the setting sun? Boyle could be in the mountains of Tibet by now, a man of his resources. He could be in Tokyo. Dublin. Kenya. Hell, he could be hiding in the back row of this senate subcommittee.

He could be disguised as the clock.

To our not-so-credit.... to our uncredit, to be grammatically esuphegent, we're thwarted by the Admiral himself. He could be leading us along with these messages in bottles, in some messages-in-a-bottle-on-a-stick mind games. And the Gulf Stream could be a little more cooperative. Someone in Greenland is getting some other pieces of the puzzle, and God help us if they get their hands on a corner piece. We're going to need a bigger net... and see if you can't find the cover of the box while you're at it.

I can only assume the hobo's name is Steven.

One bottle we received contained this record, rolled into a perfect tube. The album, when extracted, popped open, blooming like a beautiful vinyl flower, completely intact and sounding like this:

Primary sources can be found here: CatStevens_The_Wind.mp3

We'll need every recruit's help with this one. Boyle is out there operating without any decent restraint, totally beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct. Or he could be, you know... drinking mojitos. Either way, we need more ammo - send your own munitions and submissions to

Friday, August 15, 2008

New Installment: Operation Leapfrog

Everyone knows that in times of war, communication is priority one. Well, in the wake of a recent incident involving our former accounting team and a few Cayman Island tax shelters, DemoWAR budgets have been reassessed.

Updated: DemoWAR HQ Budget Priorities:
1) Pursue, eliminate enemy personnel
16) BoyleHunt 2000 [Ongoing]
23) Start saving for super-cool Acoustic Bazooka
...I'll just flip towards the end of the report:
972-c) Radio Relay Maintenance
See what we're working with? As a result, we're stuck with what I like to call "heirloom" radios, devices of such vintage and antiquity that we live in constant fear that the mobile command unit will turn into a fireball on wheels. Just yesterday, in fact, a high-pitched whine coming from the radio room caught my attention. The volume increased to the point of eyeball warbling before ending with a loud pop and a muffled "Ah Christ!" (Thankfully, earlier that week I had the foresight to call on a friend who slathered everything in my office with a flame-retardant gel. "Good timing!" I thought, as the ensuing shower of sparks bounced off my retardant gel-encased face.)

Another consequence of this mesozoic machinery is that our communiques are oftentimes... garbled. Transmissions get through, but not the way they were intended. This week I bring you one such attempt. The following were transcribed by Acting-Ensign Andreson and myself. Admiral Boyle managed to worm his way in as well, and his input was delivered by carrier pigeon not five minutes ago.

The protocol:
Message must be relayed to a soldier with no previous knowledge of the original. Soldier then reinterprets and passes along to the next recipient.

The original message:
Venus.mp3 by Television

This particular message spread like a virus. That is to say, quickly and with much mutation. It moved from Andreson...

to Dowd...

to Boyle.

And you can collect all three in one handy zip file:
Unless federal belts are tightened to the point of moebius strips, this could very well be a recurring series. Keep your eyes and ears peeled. (More Emma than John.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Technology: Discomfort Through Sound

Well it seems the boys in the lab have been busy cooking up some new forms of warfare.

...Finally! Honestly, how much longer do they expect us to deal in lead, anyway? It's antiquated. If I could look back in time, I would see a family of cavemen eating still-frozen dinners and waving their guns around; grunting angrily while their boring cave-aunt and cave-uncle show slides from their vacation outside the cave. Guns are old news, and it's time to move on.

Fortunately, I just found this sales brochure in the DemoWAR inbox:

Today's modern warrior is faced with more challenges than ever before. Picture this: You fight your way through jungles, deserts, and/or legions of infidels. You hurdle claymore mines and dodged enemy sniper fire. You wail a lonely wail while a brother* lay in your arms, gasping his last breath and longing to see his wife back home just one... last... time. (sniff)

After a long day on the field, do you want to find yourself face to face with the business end of a hardened bunker? Well no more! Now, with the aid of BowelCorp's new Acoustic Bazooka™, enemy personnel will bow down in fear and discomfort as you bombard them with swaths of friendly IBM radiation. [patent pending]

Cross-section of simulated encounter
"IBM" is a proprietary, non-lethal warfare technology capable of incapacitating multiple opponents at a time by causing dizziness, nausea and triggering lower GI functions. Affected enemies will be down for the count, or at least as long as it takes to find a clean uniform.

Our design team paid careful attention to the directional layout of the weapon, ensuring that no ill effects will be experienced by the user. As a precaution, however, ultra/infra-canceling earphones are affixed to the absorbent belt pack, guaranteeing the freedom you need to be active and independent.

Call today for pricing, or find an Acoustic Bazooka™ retailer near you!
*BowelCorp accepts no responsibility for brothers lost, mangled or otherwise misplaced in the line of duty.
To be honest, I stopped reading after "non-lethal." But this pamphlet raises a few questions. The easy questions are, "Just how hardened is this bunker, if there's a huge, jagged hole in its face? Couldn't we just toss a grenade in there and be done with it?"

The more challenging questions are along the lines of, "What gorram planet are we on, fighting Blue Target Blobs (BTBs) who are fueled by symbiotic human hosts?" And, "In the future, is one person in charge of color-coordinating uniforms and weapons, or is it more of a concerted effort?"

Alas, this gun is but a prototype, and my efforts to find a working version have been met with reactions ranging from "Chya?!" to "I see..." (eyes narrow, button is discreetly pressed, security guards arrive brusquely.) My faith in technology, progress, and the whole of mankind is temporarily shaken, and as I rest my head on my trusty ammo box, I flip a 30-06 cartridge across the back of my hand until sleep comes. My dreams are filled with the sound of rifles, mortars, and RPGs firing in 3/4 time.

Thanks to Wired for the original article, found here.

Monday, August 11, 2008

We Emerge Victorious!

Two months ago, staffers at DemoWar HQ undertook a huge... um, undertaking. Our goal was to unite all the countries of the world (read: all God-fearing, freedom-loving countries,) in peaceful harmony. Well it seems this ground was well-trod, and so we adjusted. You do what people do, which is fail. Then you reassess, place some blame, and you better damn well adapt or die. Darwinism. Get on board, or be left in that murky tank with the coelacanth.

As a result, our already irregular posting schedule slowed to a deathly halt. Our new, revised task seemed daunting. It was of such magnitude that the whole HQ was uprooted and forced to go underground - a subterranean side-quest, if you will, that took us on a trip to the coldest place on the planet.

Burbank, CA

From the frosty North, we commenced drilling our new International Subterranean Pipeline, and now that it has been completed, with minor hiccups, setbacks, and just a couple of flipper babies, we are back ONLINE. Now I'm sure you're wondering, "DemoWar, this seems like a lot of power for one entity to hold. What exactly are you using said pipeline for?"

Well, we just wanted to have it, okay? But since you ask, we could use it for anything. We could send medicine to people in aid... Beam NATO liaisons abroad at a moment's notice... Obtain DNA information for every citizen on the pla-
Listen. There are automated shuttle-cars, you see, and jetpack dispensaries. Fiber optics are involved, somehow. Rails have been greased, as have palms. The world is our oyster, though try to imagine an oyster being tunneled through by thousands of tiny, tiny ants.

And their ant-jetpacks.

But we're getting ahead of ourselves, here, and I've said too much. All you, the citizen—the loyal, law-abiding citizen—need to know is that this project has taken years off my life. So many years, in fact, that I find myself prone to bouts of buffoonery, chicanery and the general fuddruckery that comes with old age, leaving myself open to bad jokes and word plays like THIS:

Album art takes a backseat this week.

Get it? I feel OLD. The song has the word "Old" right in the title! And if anyone asks, no one here knows nothing about no severed underseas cables. Capice? Now who wants some hard candy? Peanut brittle? Sour balls?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Basement Bunker

Last week, our army's newest member, Acting-Ensign Hedrick, had some housework to attend to. Menial, banal housework during which absolutely nothing interesting happened. Sweep, sweep, sweep... dust, dust, dust... find a new door in the basement...find a new door in the...

Wait. Back up a step.

On his way downstairs, Hedrick slipped on a handful of marbles left there by Lil' Ensign Hedrick, knocking over a disused water-cooler and a stack of surfboards in the process. When he came to a few hours later, he looked up to see this old friend staring him in the face:

Not a Biohazard LP.

Behind all the dust and debris, this helpful signpost led Gary to a real, live fallout shelter from this country's best war, the Cold War. Well, he did what any good soldier would do and polished her up, checked the floor joices, and stocked the larders with plenty of canned rations and MREs. And after spending some time down there in the dark, he retrofitted it with the ultimate in recording hardware: A laptop microphone.

Here are the fruits of his labor:

The (slightly) louder version is available here: Foo_Tired of You

The only downside - to plug in the laptop, something had to give. "Something," in this case, was a school of goldfish. Fortunately, no fish were harmed in the writing of this post.*

*CORRECTION: TWO fish were harmed in the writing of this post.