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Well, here we are. The end of another year. And as a year, overall, I think it’s safe to say that the majority opinion is that the year of our Lord Twenty-Sixteen SUCKED on so many levels, I’m pretty sure its effects can be felt on alternate dimensions and frequencies. Yes, there were a lot of celebrity deaths this year; however, this being a personal bligity-blog of mine, I’m not going to focus on all of those (though I really could, there have been many childhood favorites that have fallen this year). Instead, to at least make an acknowledgment of the ones that have been an inspiration to me, I’m going to pepper this post with YouTube clips of some favorites of mine while I wax nostalgic for the past year. However ugly it was.

First, I would be remiss if I didn’t start off with perhaps one of the biggest losses my family had this year: In the very first week of June, my Grandmother Betty Strand passed away. She was always a constant anchor in my life, as she was a strong, tenacious and lively cornerstone of the family, raising three children on the farm and being active in the community and such. Her loss has left a void in the lives of many.

And as long as we’re on the subject, along with Grandma, two Great Aunts also passed away this year: Aunt Janice and Aunt Muriel. Aunt Janice was Grandma’s younger sister, and was also a presence in the family growing up. Aunt Muriel was Grandpa Strand’s sister, and was another presence in the family growing up. We have a big family, and for better or for worse, we’re still pretty tight as a unit. I’m thankful for that, and thankful for having known them.

In July, there was a massive shakeup at the church I was attending. I really don’t want to go into the details (as we’re still healing and moving on), but suffice to say, there was a split. And after much deliberation, I decided to go with the ones who left, in helping to be a part of the healing and moving on. A new church was birthed out of what essentially started as a Sunday morning therapy group for those who were hurt from the split. Fortunately, this wasn’t formed out of spite, but out of a genuine desire to continue to serve God and Christ Jesus despite of the circumstances. Almost immediately, we’ve been seeing the Holy Spirit work with us to that end. In case you’re morbidly curious, here’s the website to peruse.

Of course, no year-end blog post would be complete without mentioning all the wackiness that happened in the culture. And this was probably the wackiest of the wacky. As in, the world just threw up its collective hands and went, “Okay, we all go crazy, now.” Besides all the celebrity deaths (which, as of this writing, still hasn’t stopped, it seems), who could forget the year-long freak show that was this round of Presidential elections? To quote one of the best parts of the movie Resivuar Dogs, “Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right”. On the left of the Presidential ring, the Senator wife of a former President. To the right, a business mogul/former reality show producer-star/comb-over enthusiast with little to no political experience whatsoever. After months and months of mud-flinging, passive-aggressive public whining, really bad ideas and desperate character assassinations (among other things), at the end of the day, it turned out that we all collectively stepped in some Trumpy-Dumpy. Gads, that episode of MST3K is so endlessly quotable. And given the fallout and the various updates on how Trump is lining up his next four years…yeah, this might make 2016 seem like the Golden Years in comparison. We shall see, as always. The road to Idiocracy stretches out ever before us. Still, I’m trying to figure out why so many of my fellow professing Christians seemed to treat his election as the next best thing to the Second Coming of Jesus.

And lest the Presidential elections overshadow the other bits of wackiness of the year: Britan decided to leave the European Union, citing “It’s not you, it’s me” and further stating “We can still be friends, though,” before deleting them from their Facebook lists; a cartoon frog is now declared a “hate symbol” because…reasons, I guess; the President of the Philippines threatened to burn down the UN; for several months, the entire country freaked out over clowns (well, moreso than usual); and last but certainly not least, there was that Dakota Access Pipeline protest that got rather ugly before an agreement could be made, only to have the protester’s point made for them by the pipeline itself. Delicious irony.

Okay, on to some more pleasant stuff. For all the downers, at least there were some really really good \,,/METAL\,,/ that was released: Megadeth came back in form with Dystopia in January, and then Anthrax released the melodic-yet-heavy For All Kings in February. Babymetal released Metal Resistance in March, which was more of the mutated J-Pop/Metal hybrid I somehow find irresistible. Death Requisite released some rather good death metal with their Revisitation release, while I found myself disappointed with the debut release from Becoming Saints, Oh The Suffering. Ricky Puckett unleashed his In Darkest Dreams project with The Vanishing, a much-needed injection of dark and brutal for my earholes. And then Hell apparently froze over, as Klayton dropped a surprise brand-new Circle Of Dust album, Machines Of Our Disgrace. And finally*, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Metallica releasing Hardwired…To Self-Destruct, which turned out to be quite decent.

On the movie front, this year started off strong with the most excellent Deadpool. The year had some decent ones, like 10 Cloverfield Lane (a lot better than what I expected), the new Ghostbusters, the Magnificent Seven remake, the Pete’s Dragon remake, Suicide Squad (surprisingly decent), and Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them (sorry, no review posted yet). The rather good movies this year were Captain America: Civil War, Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, Star Trek Beyond, Doctor Strange, and of course, the year’s capper, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Of course, there were some stinkers in this year’s mix, which for me were Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Independence Day: Resurgence, and the surprisingly “meh” X-Men: Apocalypse.

And last, but certainly not least, in the more happier aspects of my personal life this year: This last Spring both my Nephew/Godson Christoper Rinas and one of my cousin’s eldest son Trevor Donahey graduated High School. Gads, I’m old.

So, that’s my year in a nutshell. To quote from one of my favorite episodes of M*A*S*H: “Here’s to the new year. May it be a damn sight better than the last one, and may we all go home before it’s over.”** Take that as you will. Whatever you do, celebrate heartily, but also somberly. Don’t be stupid. Me, I’m going to be doing my yearly Haunted New Years horror movie marathon whilst deciding what part of the clutter in my domicile is going to get the heave-ho. And there may be a bacon pizza in the mix, somewhere. Until next year (see what I did there?), I remain your humble servant Uncle NecRo. God bless, my wonderful freaks.

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*– While I did review the new Klank album, the official release isn’t until January 13th, so that’s actually one to look forward to.

**– Season 9, Episode 6: “A War For All Seasons”

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Sing This Corrosion to me…

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One of the more amusing aspects of any Presidential campaign season is watching all of the more notable celebrities make melodramatic threats befitting more for toddlers. Mostly, they threaten to just leave the country if so-and-so gets elected; we all know how well those promises are kept. However, I came across one particular…I’m not even sure if the word “threat” is applicable here, as it doesn’t really fit the pattern.

In a recent interview on the Classic Rock Magazine blog, Sisters Of Mercy frontman Andrew Eldritch, while discussing the recent political climates in both his native UK and here in America, he quipped:

“If Donald Trump actually does become President, that will be reason enough for me to release another album. I don’t think I could keep quiet if that happened.”

So, as you can see, this is not actually your standard passive aggressive ultimatum that comes about during the great clown parade that is the American Presidential elections. As a matter of fact, I would say that this might actually work against any plans to not get Trump elected. Which may actually be a brilliant form of messing with us: “I want a new SoM album, but…I have to vote for Trump to ensure that…”

Wait, I’m beginning to see now. This is one of those Princess & The Tiger situations. [slow clap] Well played, Mister Eldritch. Well played.

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UNCLE NECRO FOR PRESIDENT 2016

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obeySo, it’s been a while since I’ve had something of some kind of substance posted on this bligity-blog of mine. Assuming people still look at this thing, I could give you the usual reasoning behind my lack of updates on here; but, I’m sure you’re all well acquainted with my…shall we say, condition, and have come to expect—and maybe even love—my quirky posting schedules. That, and the wifi has been rather spotty these past couple of weeks, so there’s that.

But, I figure something is due, and as I was consuming my Friday Night After-Work Chinese Takeout, looking at the sites I was able to get to with the least amount of lag time (my fortune cookie didn’t have a message embedded inside…I don’t know if that’s an omen of things to come or not), it occurred to me that we are on the cusp of yet another bout of Presidential elections, which means soon we’re going to get bombarded with more than our fair share of sales pitches from our nation’s gaggle of aristocracy (or what passes for royalty in a so-called Democratic Republic).

This lead to me thinking, if I were to run for President of this here U. S. of A., what would my campaign theme music be? Forget non-important things like political stances and campaign speeches—they’re slapped together with as much thought as a Mad Libs sheet, anyway—you can tell everything about the candidate running by the song he or she picks for their theme music.

And since I have a rather strong What You See Is What You Get, transparency stance when it comes to my own day-to-day life, here’s the Top 5 list—in no particular order—of the songs that best convey my thoughts on the political system in general, and thus my choices for the campaign trail that will never happen, ever:

“Devil That You Know” (Anthrax)

…I figured, by now, considering the past thirty years or so of Presidential elections, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone actually used this as their campaign slogan, and win.

“Irresponsible Hate Anthem” (Marilyn Manson)

…I, too, have often lamented the fact that I was not born with the adequate amount of middle fingers to sufficiently convey my thoughts on many things, the blatant (and often-times hilarious) hypocrisy of the political system foremost in my head. Fortunately, this song more than makes up for my shortcomings.

“Peace Sells” (Megadeth)

…okay, everyone, show of hands: How many were surprised to see this one on the list? Anyone? Anyone at all? Yeah, had a feeling. Moving along, now.

“Happiness In Slavery” (Nine Inch Nails)

…if reading the title to this song still doesn’t clear away any sort of ambiguity as to what I have planned for my four-year tenure in your mind, then you’re someone I could really use in the White House. Or, as I will rename it right after my swearing in, the “Doom Palace”.

“Raining Blood” (Slayer)

…or as I call ’em, “Mondays”. Yeah, this is really less a campaign song choice as it is my alternate choice of what will be playing in place of the trite and tired “Hail To The Chief” thing they use to announce the entrance of the Exalted Overlord of America. Oh, and also, I will demand to be referred to as the Exalted Overlord of America.

Yeah, I think by now it’s pretty clear that I would make a very anti-Presidential POTUS. And in case you were wondering where any of the Rage Against The Soda Machine songs are…I’m afraid I have too much of a sense of humor to actually enjoy their music. That is to say, I have a sense of humor; I can’t listen to that crap.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to start deciding whether I’m going to vote for Vic Rattlehead or Eddie as the write-in come Election Day. Cheers, my wonderful freaks.

::END TRANSMISSION::

Some early morning ranting coming your way…

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Some early morning ranting coming your way……that above image is something that I saw on the back of a car the other day on my way to work. Right in front of me. I forget the make and model of the car, and really that’s not that important. Usually I see bumper stickers, buttons and shirts like these and get maybe a chuckle out of ‘em. I have a live and let live policy when it comes to sloganeering like this. This is still the America I love, and that means freedom of speech all the way, baby, no matter how much I disagree with it. Besides, it’s not like we Christians have a corner on cheesy bumper sticker theology. It may seem like it, to be honest, but we don’t. They’re everywhere, from all walks of life. Personally, I’ve moved on from having such kitsch define my faith, but I remember when it did. Everyone goes through such a phase, methinks, in their journey of life.

No, what set my teeth on edge seeing this rather pretentious slogan adorning the back end of this vehicle was that, once again, Jesus was regulated to a means to an end. This is speculation on my part, but it seems to me that most of those who would have this kind of thing usually don’t have anything to do with Jesus, until it would suit their purposes. Again, nothing new. Even the Disciples themselves didn’t understand Jesus’ purpose here on Earth beyond a means to their personal ends. So, like a lot of things I’ve come to find after twenty-six years of following my Lord and Savior, seeing this happening today doesn’t surprise me.

No, I would suspect that the so-called “real Jesus” espoused on the bumper sticker there is merely a Convenient Jesus. One you can trot out of the dusty attic of your hollow idealistic philosophies when He suits you. Someone you really don’t need to believe in; no, this Jesus will NEVER make you confront your own sinful nature! You don’t need to do anything as silly as repent, or even believe in a GOD. No, This Jesus is there only to put an exclamation point to your own self-righteous and shallow indignation. More than likely to divert attention that you’re a sad, hypocritical wretch like I was, in desperate need of salvation and forgiveness. But no, that won’t do for your ego, right?

Deep breaths, here. I pray that the individual driving that car does discover the Real Jesus. The Jesus that’s beyond all of our politics, who was GOD made flesh to dwell among all of us, who said things like “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me.” The Real Jesus who wishes that not one would perish, but would come to know Salvation through his sacrifice on the cross. The Real Jesus that was resurrected three days later after our own sin nailed him to that ancient pagan torture and death device to make him suffer and die for having the audacity to love us.

The Real Jesus forgives you, for you know not what you do.

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