Thin Lizzy Fighting Deluxe Edition Review

I’m a little sick, unsure, unsound and unstable
But I’m fighting my way back

Now I just did the TL National Stadium DVD review, but I think I should do a review of the deluxe edition of their 1975 Fighting album. There are three reasons: 1) In my dashboard I noticed that “Thin Lizzy Fighting” has appeared numerous times under the top searches. 2) Far too many dismiss all pre-Jailbreak albums. And finally 3) The reason why I didn’t review the DE version of Chinatown was because disc 2 contains mostly live performances, soundchecks, Killer on the Loose single B-side Don’t Play Around, US edit of We Will Be Strong (which doesn’t sound too different from the UK version), and a rough cut of Chinatown.

Like so many legendary bands, their early projects are only appreciated down the road, and Allmusic gave the album 4 1/2 stars. After the newly reformed Thin Lizzy with a brash Glaswegian and a rocking hippie Californian taking up guitar duties debuted their 1974 album Nightlife which did nothing to improve their standing with Phonogram, but were kicking ass and fucking groupies, they booked studio time at the euthanized Olympic Studios and spent the latter part of the spring cutting Fighting. Now Nightlife was an eclectic bag of bluesy-jazzy-cum-pop-rock, for their sophomore album Lizzy knew they wanted to go headlong in the hard rock arena. But after the battles fought with cokehead producer Ron Nevison, they were determined not to be underestimated. So Phil decided to produce the thing himself. The problem, he’d never produced an album before. Enter engineer, the late Keith Harwood.

Robbo referred to Keith as “an absolute gem. Sadly missed, I have to say. I loved the guy to death. He was just a real gentleman, and he had all the ideas. Phil hadn’t produced an album in his life before. You know, when it says, ‘Produced by Phil Lynott,’ no it wasn’t. It was really produced by Keith Harwood, with a few ideas from Phil. That’s all it was.” (Popoff, Fighting My Way Back)

Then Robbo does the real celebutard shitty-ass thing and speaks from the other side of his mouth and says in the DE liner notes: “He helped ensure  that we got the sounds we needed, and while he wasn’t a co-producer, he made life so much easier for all of us.”

Robbo, man, we love you. We know you’re an alkey, and maybe that’s why you’re such an endearing trainwreck. But ultimately that’s between you, your wife, and your son (although I can’t be sure if he’s still with wife #2). Perhaps you should cut back a bit for at least the interviews. Your fans want to think the best of you, so please avoid the Hollywood 1-D bullfuckery okay?

Getting back to the matter at hand, Fighting was ultimately the album that set the stage for Jailbreak, and while the band was in frame the picture was out of focus. But Thin Lizzy always managed to find speedbumps along the way when it came to the corporate side of things. And their troubles seemingly began with a picture.

Jim Fitzpatrick’s brilliant artwork is woefully missing for Fighting, and ironically it would be the only album to sport their official logo he designed. So to save time and moolah, the label went with photography. Rock photographers Paul Anthony and Mick Rock were given the job to capture Thin Lizzy’s sex appeal and make them look commercially available. What we got were a pair of album sleeves out of never ending fuck-ups.

How can we carry on
When you are gone my wild one

The sleeve at the top is the “official” one as it was released in the UK. The photo above was used for the NA release, Robbo called “much prettier.” Since he had a real scruffy beard at the time the photos were taken (see UK Tour ’75 liner notes for pics), the Chrises were ready to sack him unless he shaved, so he conceded and kept his post. What was bringing Phil down was that the messages he was trying to impart in the album were about post-pubescent angst and rebelliousness. Not violence and rioting (however Phil preferred his listeners to have open interpretation of his lyrics). But the Liberty Vallance image Phil constructed dogged him everywhere, and more or less nullified his intentions. Not to mention that Thin Lizzy regarded itself as a gang; fighting, fucking, hard drinking, drugging, and rocking were the rules of the road. So how else were they supposed to look other than a “thug band” with that kind of album title. Another proposed sleeve had Lizzy goofing off with prop weapons on the street until someone thought they were for real and dialed 999.

Ladies they’re lovers, not fighters.

The last proposal was thankfully dumped into the reject bin, because it was just plain motherfucking stupid. As a last resort they got a makeup artist to make them look after a typical after-show party:

Bloody hell, this sucks ass!

While this looks tame and even silly by today’s standards, get in a wayback machine and zip back 36 years and you might understand why it was thought to be in poor taste and frightening.

Okay, let’s get to the meat of this thing! Disc 1 contains the same tracks as the original release and isn’t remastered (thanks Scott!). Rosalie is best known because of Thin Lizzy’s cover, and Phil being a fan of Bob Seger (and The Allman Brothers) was surprised that he didn’t include it in his set. So he decided to give it a proper treatment and added it to the Lizzy catalog. It was issued as a single off  the album but went nowhere because the studio recording of it was simply too subdued. That said, the version on Live and Dangerous is the definitive mix. For Those Who Love to Live was unabashed hero worship of Phil’s Man U football hero and drinking buddy, George Best. It’s cool jazzy-pop with an addictive hook demonstrating Phil’s burgeoning abilities as a modern Irish bard. Who else could word paint young, ambitious men on the rough streets of Troubled Belfast dreaming of endless green pitches and glittering gold medals, wanting you to swing your hips and strike cool poses? Suicide remained a staple in the Thin Lizzy set up until the bitter end. It’s hard and heavy blues rock, and I think it helped Phil sublimate his obsession with death, openly criticizing society’s apathy in the face of tragedy.

An interesting note on King’s Vengeance, it was covered by 21 Guns and Tommy La Verdi did a pretty good job. But honestly, I don’t know what to make of it. It was penned by Phil and Scott, and while the music is your typical 70s feel-good sound (almost folky), the lyrics puzzle me and feels a bit unfinished.

Down and out in the city
Won’t you give a boy a break
Juvenile on trial before committee
Taken all he can take

But the king shall have his vengeance
Especially on the poor
Some say preaching to convert him
Me I’m not too sure

Spring she comes and spring she teases
Brings summer winds and summer breezes
Blow through your hair till autumn leaves us
When autumn leaves us, oh how winter freezes

And the child is still breathing
With the beating of a heart (with the beating of the heart)
Some say we are equal
Some a million miles apart

Oh my god
Oh my god

But the king shall have his vengeance
While the Queen she represents the innocent
And the child so dependent
But the seasons conquer all

Spring she comes and spring she teases
Brings summer winds and summer breezes
Blow through your hair till autumn leaves us
When autumn leaves, oh how winter freezes

But the king shall have his vengeance
Especially on the poor
Some say preaching to converted
Me I’m not so sure

Morbidity and drugs come to mind for Spirit Slips Away. The track opens with this ominous guitar overture mixed over howling wind on a dust-swept steppe. I believe this demonstrated Phil’s philosophy as to why musicians use was to take creativity to the edge- and over- hence the verse,  And when the music that makes you blue/Unfolds its secrets, the mysteries are told to you. Jerome Rimson said Phil never wanted to grow old, he wanted to go out in a blaze of glory, and Gary Moore said that right before the end Phil admitted he had difficulty accepting adulthood which supersedes his addiction to the celebrity lifestyle. You can argue whether or not this was a self-fulfilling prophecy, but the vibes here are eerie and uncomfortable. My favorite track is the Irish history lesson wonderfully disguised as a love ballad, Wild One. This song should be played at every Irish wake, and should be highly appreciated for the twin guitar lead. It’s sentimental, not soppy, and neatly fits in with the youthfulness of the album (whereas Sarah was cute but definitely filler for Black Rose– they were one track short).

Now Fighting My Way Back can’t be called a title track exactly, but it successfully gets Phil’s anarchic message across. He wrote “by hook or by crook”, and by God was he going to get to the top that way as well. Nothing is worth starting if you can’t finish it, and Whiskey wasn’t going to have Thin Lizzy tossed into the one-hit wonder bin, but reinvention is never easy. So if a song can scream “I’m pissed to fuck, mad as hell, and if ya won’t get outta my way I’ll kick your ass” any louder to the Phonogram execs, I don’t know what could. Silver Dollar is a funky bluesy-country number about love on the rocks. Now there are two things that musicians know: 1) music and 2) women. They fuck women in droves, they marry a bunch of times, and they “fall in love” weekly (with women half their age). But there’s always The One That Got Away. It’s a tried and true cliche, but I think Robbo’s feeling a bit too sorry for himself on this one.

On the weird King’s Call promo, a photo of Martin Luther King Jr. flashes on the screen behind Downey. Phil said of growing up black in Ireland was as easy as “having cauliflower ears,” but by the time Thin Lizzy were bonafide rock stars the Irish social landscape was changing. Nevertheless, Freedom Song was the universal theme for racial equality and support for Sinn Fein. Political commentary, nothing new here. Sounds like someone was pretty pissed when writing Ballad Of A Hard Man, and in this case it was Scott. Scott was the pretty face with the gorgeous hair that kept up a supposed flawless image, and while he wasn’t a badass, he has a lot of attitude. Maybe his time in the clink and being crazy stoned in LA influenced this. It’s interesting enough, and could have a place on a 70s blaxploitation flick’s soundtrack.

Now disc 2 has a few, shall we say, recycled bits. Half Caste (Rosalie single’s B-side) Phil’s foray into reggae, made two previous appearances, the first being on the TL CD set/coffee table book Vagabonds, Kings, Warriors, Angels on disc 2, and Lizzy’s eleventh John Peel session (Thin Lizzy At The BBC disc 3). Also taken from session eleven was Rosalie and Suicide. Like We Will Be Strong, Rosalie’s US mix doesn’t deviate too far from its UK counterpart, so what was the point? Try A Little Harder was on VKWA, but at least this was a true alternate mix with different vocals, a nicer fade out, and 40 seconds longer. Ballad of a Hard Man and Song For Jesse were instrumentals, but Ballad had a couple of false starts giving it a grittier feel. Another instrumental was Wild One, and should have been on the B-side of the single! Yeah, it’s that good. The Leaving Town instrumental had an acoustic replacing the electric guitar, and it sounded like the boys were having an intimate afternoon jam with friends at the Speakeasy. Blues Boy, written by Robbo, is a mellow affair with simple (yet rocky) lyrics could have him going head-to-head with Snowy. Dig that fucking solo!

Leaving Town‘s extended take was nearly… six… minutes… long… Okay I admit I got a little bored with this track. This isn’t January Stars, and I think only Clapton (until the very end of the 90s) could get away with this kind of self-indulgent shit. I don’t think ditto marks are appropriate for Spirit Slips Away extended take four. Brian’s Funky Fazer (Robbo’s first name was misspelled as “Bryan” on the sleeve and booklet) must’ve been the working title for Silver Dollar (and I’m glad they changed it). This was yet another instrumental only 10 seconds longer than the vocal. Very nice, but nothing to write home about.

Whew! Done and done! This review took a few days, but I’m glad it gave me the chance to really digest the CD. I hope whoever reads this GOES OUT and picks up a copy of Fighting, and maybe thumb through some music Simon Cowell isn’t brainwashing you to buy? With the announcement of Colony Records’ closure, it brings the end of the independent record store era. And here in NYC small music, movie, and book shops were essential threads that helped weave our pop culture fabric. Now with iTunes, Amazon, and big box stores vacuuming that into a black hole, I’m becoming more depressed at the giant strip mall my city’s destined to be. Hey White, you’re not the only one who’s a limey!

Thin Lizzy: Live at the National Stadium Dublin DVD Review

I was a bit reluctant as to what to post next since life has been chaotic this summer (and I don’t think this coming rough winter will look any better), so I decided to do another Thin Lizzy review to take my mind off shit!

It’s been a busy year for the TL organization what with touring and re-releasing albums for the next generation of rock enthusiasts. Scott Gorham (the de facto leader) has cracked his businessman’s whip mightily and threw open the old flightcases clearing away the cobwebs and panties to serve up some Lizzy goodies previously seen only on You Tube (especially for NA fans). The deluxe editions of Nightlife and Fighting were great, but I favor Fighting as it has better liner note contents and pics. Also on my list is another up-and-coming TL book co-authored by Scott and music journalist Harry Doherty this November by Omnibus Press (they also published Putterford’s biography). Before I get stuck into this I’d like to thank ThinLizzyFanpage and Blacksabfan (amongst other dedicated fans) who originally put up the video clips featured on this DVD.

Still in love with you Philo.

Live at the National Stadium is actually a collection of European TV Thin Lizzy specials spanning 1976-83. The videos are fully restored (or as restored as they could be with our current technology) with 5.1 surround and the clever animated title menu used the Still in Love With You performance in the Johnny The Fox sleeve art motif (I hope Fitzpatrick got his royalties). The two documentaries and TV concert run just about an hour each, and the bonus features which are from RTE music show (so obscure virtually nothing comes up on the Google radar) 6/5 Live and the promo video Old Town, a track from Phil’s second solo album. While there’s multi-language subtitles (English, French, German, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, and European Spanish), you’re shit out of luck on the lyrics. Also good to note that there are chapters laid out like a setlist for the TV concert.

Thin Lizzy’s appearance on On Stage at the Stadium was packaged in 1976 and broadcast in two 30-minute blocks, on January 21 and July 12. But lucky us we get the whole she-fucking-bang that includes guitar tuning, everyone high and/or drunk off their tits, Phil’s bass fucking up during Suicide, and just before Rosalie Scott had to pseudo-banter because Big Charlie had to come out and tweak Phil’s gear. The campiest bit was during Downey’s showcase of Sha-La-La where Phil donned a wolfman mask, collapsed, and had to be drug off stage à la Elvis by Big Charlie (also in a wolfman mask). The strobe lights in the drum riser were 70s high-tech fun, but the roadies fucked up on the smoke machine cue when they started to pump arbitrarily between For Those Who Love To Live and Showdown. Another interesting tidbit (especially for those with a soft spot for the Brians) you can’t help but notice that Scott gets a lot of face time when the camera isn’t panning on Phil. This phenomena was also apparent on Lizzy’s first TOTP spot miming Wild One (there are two takes, but the one widely seen is on their Greatest Hits DVD). One of the big problems Thin Lizzy suffers from is that their sound on CD (or vynl back in the day) can’t capture what they put out on stage. I know Robbo hated playing the “old stuff” (pre-Jailbreak and from what some say truly got him fired for), but when you see the attitude, charisma, rawness, and power even in these early performances where the kids had to be subdued by security these are unique individuals doing something that had quite the ripple effect in pop culture. I like the young Lizzy, rough and unshaven using Fairy washing-up soap for shampoo with everything to prove, and nothing to lose.

But by 1982 all the swashbuckling was turning to self-parody, the Renegade album failed, and the tour was a disaster where the after show party was becoming more important than the show. Phil was a smart PR guy and he knew he had to rev up public interest so he consented for RTE to produce the short rockumentary Renegade: The Philip Lynott Story. It was shot between London and Ireland over six weeks that was staged as a friendly afternoon tea between presenter David Heffernan and Phil, Lynott entourage member and Irish blues musician Brush Sheils, Brian Downey, Scott Gorham, and Darren Wharton. This is the first in-depth look at Lizzy’s formation, influences, and some of Phil’s background in Dublin. It includes promo videos Waiting For an Alibi, King’s Call, and Killer On The Loose; an impromptu jam session in Phil’s Kew Road studio/garage (and the last time Snowy White is seen with the band); a gig on one of Phil’s solo band tours at St. Francis Xavier Hall in Dublin, and a performance of Are You Ready at the ’78 Australia festival tour featuring Mark Nauseef and Gary Moore. It was a sweetly whitewashed affair, and whether or not it was Phil’s stellar showmanship but any evidence of marital and professional problems he had simply didn’t exist. In fact Phil quipped, “No girlfriends of mine. Got the wife here.” It’s a bit like a Chinese lunch special, you pay the $6 but you feel like you ate $4.50 worth of food. If they went the distance for 90 minutes, and did away with the promos, musical montages, and that awful Yellow Pearl TOTP intro it would seem less like a commercial. What also was so obvious was the palpable anxiousness of giving something away (with the exception of Downey). Phil didn’t look so hot during the jam, despite his asthma, he was a chain smoker, and he sounded very congested. But heroin can do that as well.

In 1983 Thin Lizzy was ready to call it a day, and with John Sykes taking to the right side of the stage, a silver record under their belts with Thunder and Lightning #4 in the UK charts, they were going out in style. RTE and David Heffernan were re-enlisted to produce another rockumentary on the demise of a long-standing touring band featuring, not so much Thin Lizzy, but their treasured road crew. The Sun Goes Down was filmed during one of their final Belfast gigs and their final two gigs at the Royal Dublin Society (RDS), and although there was mixed feelings of both relief and sadness at Lizzy’s imminent split, no one thought it would be permanent. The band resumed the devil-may-care attitude that shot them to stardom in order to die in a blaze of glory. Darren Wharton was still that cherubic Manchester innocent that joined up at 18, John Sykes stayed cool as a cucumber in his little Van Halen-esque bubble, and Scott hammed it up for the camera. Isn’t it cool that it’s a requirement to show up for work drunk and stoned? The entire balls-out storming gig was edited to span the track Cold Sweat, and closed with The Sun Goes Down from one of the RDS shows (I think this is the second show that was used for the Thunder and Lightning concert video. Phil’s voice was shot to hell as he turned up early, got drunk and high, and the rest is history). I know there were a few negative comments on YT with fans getting frustrated that TL wasn’t on camera until the end, but I don’t believe that the band had anything new to add on the matter, without divulging their addiction problems.

The final three treats are two performances on RTE’s 6/5 Live and The Philip Lynott Album’s promo video Old Town. The Founding and Lost Lizzy lineups mimed Are You Ready and Whiskey in the Jar, but Phil’s vocals were live. It was 1980/81 and Lost Lizzy were crackin’ with Snowy joining in on the fun throwing shapes and taking part in the macho goodness. Phil pulled faces at the camera and stuck his tongue out at Scott who was wearing the show’s black muscle shirt. Eric Bell was kind enough to join Phil and Brian for Whiskey seemingly picking up where they left off. Old Town was an old fashioned ballad starring Irish actress Fionna McKenna as The Girl and immortalized the Ha’Penny Bridge into the annals of rock. It was filmed over two days and Phil was completely in his element mooching and flirting on Grafton Street (where he took a cute chick for a turn), but the scene in the Dublin bar (where he had his aperitif of double brandies) had him looking bloated and weary.

Regardless, it was a fine way to wrap up this DVD of Thin Lizzy specials. Buy it for the On Stage gig and try not to get too frustrated at the bits that do tend to drag.

RIP iPod Classic… after 3 months

I knew Steve Jobs was a dickwad (especially after telling that journalism student to fuck off), but holy jeebus this is intolerable!

I’ve been a loyal iPod user since the 2nd gen Nano came out (my first MP3 player was the San Disk 250 MB- a red one), and made the upgrades to the iPod 120 GB and then, in September, the 160 GB “Classic” (every little cheap shit something is dubbed classic these days- the new business buzzword after “passion”). It serves me right for being blinded by Pixar’s epicness and breaking on the iPad to find out that it has a moving parts hard drive and not a flash drive like the 120. I mean I only dropped the 120 a billion times and it still played music and displayed my pics like no tomorrow (but the video was fucked to hell I’ll admit).

You should really read the well-rounded reviews before making a major electronics purchase.

Last Friday was your typical winter’s New York City day, icy as fuck with wind that ripped your ears clear off. And as I rode the bus home I had on my favorite You Tube junk playing on the Classic to block out the junior high hellcats squealing over Justin Gayber- or whatever- but no problems with the Classic. Why would I have any problems with a too-big-to-fail company’s product? Well that night as I tucked myself under my 8 blankets to stave off the bitter cold I was ready to laugh myself to sleep to AVP when, lo and behold, the screen stayed black.

I checked the hold button. Not in the orange position. I hooked it up to my Wii. Still dead. The next morning I tried getting it up on the PC. No such luck. Then I went to Amazon ready to email customer service, when I decided to see what the less than satisfied Apple customers had to say. And golly gee, their problems seemed to be a lot like mine. Dead within a couple of months because gol ole Steve can’t make a flash drive to withstand the “beating” of average use to accommodate 160 gigs (minus overhead)- and I have Speck armor on my shit 24/7! But according to my fellow saps, you’ll get the royal treatment of disdain from the Twifuckers who work the counters at the Apple store before handing over your free replacement.

Life is good.

Merry Xmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Ramadan, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy Shut The Fuck Up and see you all in 2011!

Final Fantasy XIII jewelry review

Hey y’all, I live!

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? And with good reason. First I’m getting over a cold, and Mom’s nursing a slight lung infection (the same I had in July) and won’t be going to work on Monday (getting docked another $100 ’cause she’s still temping). Secondly we just finished overdue renovations- $60k worth! My bitch grandmother- the attention-addicted hoarder- finally gave us new Andersen windows, a rubberized roof, replaced all the locks and doorknobs, hinges, a proper roof hatch with built-in ladder (a $3,500 fine from the fire department if you don’t have one), repainted the the whole apartment (my room is red!), and put in insulation everywhere! Even though we get no heat, the drafts are gone!

But our personal war with her isn’t done! Because of my father’s $100k debt, our lives are at a current standstill. Now Mom only has to fork over $47k of that since she divorced him- and the good news is that my great-aunt left us $50k ($15k of which has already been taken by the creditors) and my debt has accrued $2k in interest bringing it up to $8100. I contacted the the lawyer and I told him that I’d pay in full when the estate is re-tallied up at the beginning of the new year. But we still need to get money from grandma to pay the rest of the debts and for a lawyer so we can get to reclamation court. Dad hid $50k worth of worker’s comp from us so we need that as start-up money (you know- health insurance, transportation money, and mutual funds).

So I got Xmas shopping done a bit early since we have use of grandmama’s credit card now that we’re replacing our broken furniture and PC’s that are dying/dead. We all know what a fucking hot, linear mess that Final Fantasy XIII is (I’ve got my PS3 now and have FF Versus XIII on pre-order) but I’m a sucker for merchandise. And, as you know, for shit that shines.

I give you my FF XIII jewelry review!

While I’m not insane, I dropped roughly $500 bucks to buy the Snow Villiers and Serah Farron chains off the Square Enix merch site, and am pleased to announce that they are pretty damn snazzy (NOTE: the following pics were taken on my DSi so don’t expect perfection).

Let us start with the unboxing, shall we?

Property of: Manly Spice

Wonderful how these loanwords work, I was expecting something like "enugageepen".

Nice little keepsake boxes, but I thought the packing box it came in stuffed like shit with packing peanuts was a bit big.

Too bad it doesn't say Shin Ra Company because that's what SE seems like these days.

Both faux leather boxes are the same so I only bothered with one pic. Now if you don’t have a whole lot of room in your dresser, or where ever the fuck you hide your valuables, just wrap the chains up in tissue paper and put them in your jewelry box because these boxes are big. And I mean designer hip-hop bling-bling watch box big!

Yes! I know the ring is on the wrong way!

Yes! I know the ring isn't there!

Now that looks about right.

THE RING... isn't that all we girls are about?

In a world without quality, certificates of authenicity will have to do.

Now let’s start with specs: Serah’s chain is made of .925 sterling silver (so no green skin or rashes from nickel) and cubic zirconias. It is conveniently the FF XIII game logo; the cracked orb represents Serah’s and Snow’s homeworld Cocoon, and the crystal center symbolizes the crystallized l’Cie rebirthing the new world (yes these are spoilers, but if you’ve ever heard of You Tube that sort of nullifies shit). The pendant from CZ encrusted bail to tip is about 3″ inches, and the orb’s width is a 1/2″ inch. The chain is a 19″ inch 1mm Cuban link style, and the ring that you could wear separately is roughly a 5 1/2 (it’s a tad snug on my pinky). This jingles like a Xmas ornament and will get a lot of compliments whether you’re cosplaying or at the laundromat. It’s not too heavy so there’s no neck strain, and the chain isn’t so long that it’s annoying (and I prefer shorter chains).

No, I don't normally dress up my lamps.

And I thought only Freddie Mercury had a cat fetish!

With Snow what you see is what you get.

Since Serah and Snow are the sweethearts of this FF installment, I just had to have them both. Like Serah’s, Snow’s chain is also made of .925 silver and CZs. The pendant from bail to tip is 1 1/2″ inches, the chain is a 20″ inch 3mm oval link style. At the front of the bail is a snowflake flanked by four crystals, a larger blue crystal on the left and two smaller white crystals with one black crystal on the right. Because Snow leads the anti-fal’Cie resistance group NORA (No Obligations, Rules or Authority in NA and EU) a cat was chosen as its emblem in Japan for nora neko translating to “stray cat”. Since I’m a Brooklyn girl I have to represent my sports teams and I wear my extra large team pendants on my thick chains, and Snow’s pendant is a lot like them. It’s a guy’s chain, but if you’re a Snow fangirl it’s right up your alley as well. Too bad SE didn’t come up with the star chain attachment if you’re really going for an exact look.

Girls of Riyadh

I hate summer colds, but I do get them once in a while. Like an ass I kept my windows open when the temp dropped to 76 degrees one morning (and yes it shot up to the triple digits well before noon) after it rained, bringing in a cold breeze. I also had my fan blasting atop me, so when I began getting a dryness in my throat two days later (making it worse I was trying to clean the fan from the inches of dust and soot that blew in my face ’cause I forgot to unplug the fucking thing) I knew it was time to restock on the Theraflu.

I discovered Rajaa Alsanea’s Girls of Riyadh while searching for Nedjima’s, The Almond. In this post-9/11 Islamophobic world, I know that libs and lefties are running to embrace these “oppressed” women of a country that is guilty of countless human rights abuses. But here’s the rub: Miss Rajaa is a member of the well-heeled “velvet class” she describes in her fiction that was based off the women in her elite world whose lifestyle is kept behind high gilt marble walls surrounded by armed guards and the Saudi Religious Police. So Rajaa’s view of things aren’t necessarily skewed, just somewhat myopic.

The unnamed narrator (sitting in her easy chair wearing red lipstick) posts on a Saudi Yahoo! group the tales of four university-aged friends Gamrah, Lamees, Michelle (or Mashael since her mom is American), and Sadeem and their romantic pratfalls- as romance can happen within the boundaries of fundamentalist Islam. I suggest dear reader, that you read the introduction, because while Rajaa might live in Chi-town and wear a hijab (at least in the photos I’ve seen of her), Saudis are definitely schizo regardless of how rich they are. There is a clear double-standard of women and men. Gamrah’s husband divorced her after she confronted his long-time Japanese girlfriend leaving both her and their son to linger in the kingdom. His family could honestly care less about Gamrah because she did her duty and produced a boy (named after the paternal grandfather). Michelle whose mother is American and the most “westernized” of the four suffered through two bittersweet romances: the first with a man named Faisal whose mother wouldn’t consent to the marriage because her father’s tribe was unknown, and for the fact she was half white. And the other was dubious with her American cousin (YEESH!) Matti while living in San Francisco (apparently Saudis still marry their cousins in the 21st century). Now her father can do whatever he wants and he won’t even permit his daughter to even attend journalistic events that she was invited to during her internship in Dubai when her family forced her away from Matti. Her mother supported this because even though she’s Muslim in name only, the greedy lazy bitch just doesn’t want to hear her husband yell and scream. The silly Sadeem who was nearly made the second wife through Firas, a control freak, ended up marrying her cousin Tariq because she wanted a “safe man” after having her life blotted out by man who did every scam in the book to string her along- even after his wife gave birth to their first child! And finally Lamees, a medical student, found her match in her classmate Nizar who became a prudent Muslim wife by wearing her hijab before men that aren’t her family paying her dues to Allah for giving her a husband and daughter. They moved to Canada to get their doctorates, but I have no doubt they’ll send their daughter to SA for a “proper upbringing”.

Sex in the Saudi City it ain’t.

So if you’re looking to understand what it’s like to live in a country that lives by the strictest moral codes (men and women have separate banks, for example) combined with tribalism (if you aren’t from the right clan your life goes nowhere and you can’t marry just anybody) and discrimination (Saudi Sunnis call Saudi Shia rejectionists because they believe that the caliphate should belong to Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law, Ali ibn Abi Talib and his offspring), then some of the facade will dissolve around the House of Saud. And then we wonder why people fancy blowing themselves up. It doesn’t mean (as Westerners) we will grasp their high ideals, and frankly, fucking insane protocol. But after reading this, as a woman I was especially appreciative of being allowed to walk outside alone, and uncovered. Saudi women aren’t even allowed to drive. And no, I don’t consider that drop-dead gorgeous, fair-skinned Saudi princess the first woman to drive in the kingdom reform.

Chocolate fiendishness…

Truth be told I like sweet stuff, but chocolate isn’t high up on the addiction list (that would be mom). As far back as I can remember X-mas wasn’t X-mas without Perugina candies (Baci and the cherry cordials were my favorites) but what trumped the big C was (and always will be) Ferrara Torrone (nougat). Those little white blocks of sugar, egg whites, and almonds was a little gold wrapped packet of joy, and they would be all gone before the first guests would arrive for dinner. Luckily grandma hid the giant bars (the kind you need a butcher’s knife to cut) from me, or 25% of dessert would be missing.

But as of late my Irish grandpa’s side had been niggling me, and being broke and having a big desire to stay sober has made me look for alternatives. I despise coffee and always liked me tea Irish (as in a shot of Irish whiskey in my Irish breakfast tea) or a chilled, frothy Baileys Irish Cream hit the spot on dog day afternoons like these (toss some ice in a blender, add some Baileys caramel –chop-chop/whir-whir– and things were looking a bit Rosie O’Grady). Then while doing some shopping for Irish cream cocoa I stumbled upon Chocolates Turin on Amazon, and what were they selling? Bailey’s Irish Cream filled chocolates!

Now this wasn’t the first liquor-filled candy I’d had- Perugina chocolates have an anisette flavored line (BLECH!) and cherry cordials are usually filled with sweet liqueur- but these were a bit different. So I took a chance after I read the labeling (21 to buy). I knew that with this heat I could end up with a plastic jar of sugary liquor goo, but having a birthday in the spring where sudden heat waves aren’t uncommon, I thought it best to freeze it after unboxing. It came two days ago and the packaging was really nice- a plastic vase holding 51 pieces of dark chocolate wrapped around Baileys original goodness. I couldn’t help myself so I ripped it open and the pungent aroma of manna from heaven tickled my sensitive nostrils! The chocolate was nothing more than a melted blob in the Bailey’s orange-gold inner foil and I ended up licking it off, but God it was like a mini-shot of Baileys! I was in love! In no way can you get drunk off of liquor-filled candy, but it’s a sweet buzz on your tongue. I was even more excited when I saw some more great flavors advertised on the website, but I could only manage to track down Kahlua and Jose Cuervo and I await my orders with baited breath (but I’m determined to find the white Cherries chocolates).

But to be truthful I only got this chocolate hankering when I was rummaging through Target looking for the dwindling remains of Soap & Glory. Boots is a cheap-ass brand that Target’s been hawking for the past few years or so (Rimmel is no better and yet CVS is stuffed to the gills with the shit) but the only good thing that came out of this unrevolutionary union was S&G and it’s sweet-scented, obnoxious pink and yellow retro model packaging made Maybelline curl up and cry in bed. And while Mother Pucker and Slimwear weren’t in my arsenal, the perfumes, the Righteous Butter, Glow Lotion, and body scrubs have a home in my armoire (S&G is dumping Target, stay tuned to find out who they’ll be contracting to distribute next).

I especially took a fat liking to Sugar Crush body scrub (15 oz.), it became my replacement when St. Ives body scrubs vanished from NYC Rite Aid shelves. I never knew what the fuck sugar scrubs were all about, I always saw them in the wannabe overhyped, insane-o priced Bath and Body Works with the bath salts. It really wasn’t until I was doing research into cellulite appearance reduction that I got into scrubs. Exfoliating is good for everybody at any age, but once you hit 30 your cellular turnover starts to get hungover and needs a shot of B-12. St. Ives released its “Body Polishes” (8 oz.)  for a decent price of $8 and I used Renewing (renamed Collagen Elastin) and Smoothing (Mineral Therapy, now). If you could find them in a beauty supply shop, you’ve hit the jackpot! Other than that go to Amazon and order them in packs of 3. Whatever you do DON’T get water into the pots, the scrub will dissolve. If you’re like me- waking up dehydrated- Renewing is best. It smells like lemon sugar cookies and it has fine grains so it’s probably the gentlest. Smoothing smells like sugary butter cream and has a lighter tone and texture than the St. Ives apricot facial scrub. A bit harsher, but when you’re out of the shower your skin shines!

S&G’s Sugar Crush has a thicker consistency and smells like a Caipiroska! Be careful if you have any scratches because SC contains real lime and salt, but you will feel fresh and invigorated! If you insist on Fatgirlscrub (8 oz.), keep in mind that ANY scrub can help with cellulite visibility  reduction and that if any of the creams “work”, think of them as wrinkle creams for your ass. The skin will tighten (temporarily) and caffeine is a wonderful diuretic. Activity and better eating help too. Another pair of fab S&G scrubs are Scrub ‘Em and Leave ‘Em Body Buff and Flake Away (both 10.1 oz). FA smells like grapefruit and is more salt than sugar, it will have a sheen of almond oil that’s terrific for moisturizing and again watch out if you have any open wounds. The BB is pink and quite heavy- think of a cotton candy paste. It’s also a companion to the S&G body spray, Mist You Madly, and don’t forget to slather on The Righteous Butter or Daily Smooth for that extra moisturizing.

Care for an exotic get away? Then I’ll just book you on the next flight to Fiji… Organic that is. Now this one requires a little maintenance. I have the Lavender sugar scrub (this is heavy on the patchouli) so the scent is quite tangy, but nothing too threatening. Now when you first open it there will be a quarter inch of coconut oil over the sugar- it’s supposed to be like that! Keep it in warm temperatures, and if it solidifies, whatever you do DON’T microwave it! Place the covered pot into a bowl of warm water to melt the oil. There will also be a scoop in there to help you apply, but feel free to toss it if it doesn’t jive (I did). Another thing, this shit is the real deal- I mean Sugar In The Raw! Take your time when rinsing, and don’t use soap to get it off.

Now here’s where Count Chocula kicked Eddiekins ass and bit me. I was desperately searching for a price tag for the LAST S&G organdy bath pouf when I thought somebody left an open can of Milo in the makeup aisle. I look to the side and see this Giovanni Hot Chocolate thing sitting there, the lid was partly spun off so I took a whiff and be goddamned, the shit smelled like Nestle! But no way in fuck was I dropping $19 for 9 oz. Curiosity having been piqued I scoured Amazon and found something better: Organic Dark Mocha Body Scrub– 13 oz. $22. Now this whole organic/natural ingredients/all natural hype-fad shit doesn’t faze me. When you grow some vegetables in a hothouse with animal shit it shouldn’t cost $6 for 3 medium-sized tomatoes while 1 beef tomato is just $2. But being a fan of Belgian dark chocolate (fuck you Empire Foods!) you just put your principles out of your mind. I’ve used the shit twice now, and I ordered the white chocolate one and another with blood oranges in it (I just really love those oranges). The mocha scrub also contains coffee, so when you apply it will look like someone just dumped Oreo Blizzard on you with a smattering of your favorite k-cup. The damn thing looks and smells like Smucker’s chocolate sauce, but if you dare to have a lick it tastes like Cascade. It washes off you and the tiles super quick, so no need to get pissy about staining.

I recommend you hide this from your significant other and sprogs. This is one treat you won’t want to share. 😉

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

"I like myself so much better now!" (Runs off to spend her millions)

Throw another city on the barbie Buddha, it went into the triple digits out here in the Big Apple. And as I write this review on the latest Smeyer crackcaine-fest, it’s in the upper 80s. Bad idea when you have to sit through 153 pages on a PC screen. On the upshot I read it quite fast considering the pirated .pdf I have is rather crappy and am forced to read it at 243% zoom as if I were Brenda Kerrigan.

Well I was really (not) impressed by the latest installment of the Twifuck saga- but I will say this, Smeyer’s editor Rebecca Davis probably threatened her with a lawsuit should she not be allowed to do her job because the first thing I noticed was the reduction of thesaurus assrape. This is not to say Smeyer doesn’t stick in unnecessary adjectives here and there (to look educated) AND some actual research took place! After a feeding frenzy where Bree’s coven wiped out an entire boatload of passengers coming down from BC on the Washington State Ferry, she correctly used metaphors when she called the coven barracudas because they are native to Puget Sound (I did some fact checking, something publishing companies believe gets in the way of their bottom line).

'Cause this is what Smeyer and the Twifucktards THINK they look like... and the bitch can't act worth a goddamn

Now shmeiliarockie did a wonderful review of this and I encourage you to go watch it, as well as her final installments of YAB. I could understand why she could give it a good rating, the pacing was faster and Smeyer didn’t waste time glossing over how beautiful characters were. Then again, this is lookist Smeyer we have here. Beauty is equated with good, and evil is on par with ugly. Regardless of what she claimed in the intro, we don’t really know how Bree looks like with the exception that she was a Mormonpire for 3 months, was 15-16 when she was turned, and that she had red eyes. Smeyer ultimately doesn’t really care about this character, she only pulled this turd out of her ass to make some more quick cash, to niggle the screenwriters, and to shut her critics and unsatisfied fans up because her brother that filters her fanmail has probably been bitching at her.

Smeyer’s first major mistake (aside from first sitting down to write) was the title. Back when public schools were slightly less shit I was instructed by my ninth grade English teacher, Ms. Warner, that lengthy titles were completely unnecessary. Two to four worded titles were preferred, using your creative juices to spit out a catchy and unusual title with the fewest words possible does tell a prospective agent a lot about the writer. Case in point, Kowloon Tong by Paul Theroux, one of my favorite novels about my most favorite place in the world. I mean, hasn’t Smeyer figured that out by now? She used it when she hawked her first set of crap! Oh wait… she’s a BYU alum, where she spent the majority of her time candlepassing and making fun of people without brand name clothes. Bree was uninteresting, but only less so than Bella. None of these characters were annoying (per se) but you felt no pathos, just a lot of frustration, teen angst and rebelliousness that Smeyer was channeling from her days as a young Mormon in the real world. Bree is attempting to confront her past and has lots of questions about who/what she is and is generally dissatisfied with the prepared answers she gets from a leader she once trusted. Utah has the highest percentage of anti-depressant use and Mormons have admitted that they are experts at avoiding their problems because one of their core tenets is perfection. An outward constant show of happiness is reaffirmation of their beliefs. If a TBM is expressing unhappiness, then the problem lies with shaken faith therefore results in shaky social relations within the cult.

This book should have been called Blood Before Meat, and it’s set between Relapse and Breaking Brains (I think). Now our leading Mormonpire Bree was a would-be-16-year-old battered runaway living on the streets hooking for food (they usually go for cash but Smeyer probably set Bree up on the lower rung of prostitute-dom because she’s so ugly) until she encounters beautiful, blond Riley (“Hey kid, want a cheeseburger?”) stake president of Bree’s undead marble people ward who then takes her to Victoria (Her) to be turned.

So Bree, swarthy Diego, Freaky Fred, and others are horsing around the darkened alleyways of downtown Seattle for some type O and after getting their fill of victims without families who therefore aren’t important won’t be missed (dregs) and causing some destruction Bree and Diego do a little shopping at the local closed mall (CDs and a dozen books) and Target (Hefty bags, Ziplocs, and backpacks). Now here’s what drives me nuts. Of course Bree being a female angsts over herself as the boys are infuriatingly overconfident. Then she does a typical Smeyer 180 and only starts feeling like a god when Diego says how smart she is and that Riley appreciates her for her brains as well. Well Bree and Diego are very young vampires, in fact Bree is only three months old and Diego a year, and according to Smeyer logic younger Mormonpires are stronger while older ones are weak. I’m sorry, but in almost all of the vampire novels I’ve read the lore was that the older you got, the stronger you were.

So Bree and Diego head back to the scene of the crime where a pile of bodies and wrecked cars lie in the middle of an intersection and proceed to cover their tracks. Now let me ask you something, why would a criminal carry a Zippo in a plastic bag? Well because it was stolen and is being handled to ensure that the former owner’s fingerprints stay on it so that when it’s being used by the (usually) gloved criminal, the evidence will point to the owner. But Diego isn’t wearing gloves and with Smeyer’s wonderful continuity the lighter becomes a match. Did you know that Mormonpire venom is also flammable?

So they try to beat the sunrise and race to the ward’s hideout deep in the Washington sticks where they occupy the basements of cabins that they know are owned by dead people. Apparently the ward of abused runaways they’re in are so insane they regularly burn down their hideouts (but no real fights are seen, just posturing), and this one was no exception. So Bree and Diego hide in some tunnels on the beach and as they form a secret ninja club becoming BFFs/eternal mates they start analyzing their stake president and get the feeling that he’s keeping some major info on the DL from everybody.

They believe in the “myth” that Riley drills into them that they’ll burn up in the sun and that they could be staked by humans until Diego tests this theory and finds out that they’re just a pair of walking disco balls (Smeyer actually wrote that). So they follow Riley to a quaint gingerbread cottage where they discover that he’s been knocking boots with Victoria and overhear their conversation/makeout session via Spider hearing that her big plans are set in motion. All of a sudden Bree and Diego spot the General Authority from The Vatican arriving in their hooded robes walking in a perfect diamond formation to confront Victoria. They speak in tongues warning her to set her invasion of The Cullens within five days or they’re KFC, Victoria gets pissy, Diego stays behind to talk to Riley ordering Bree to go back to the cabin just in time to see the stake prez return and pull a temper tantrum that pwns Edward’s because he included some amputations after seeing a smoking pile of Mormonpire remains (no explanation).

Eat this you sparkly nutsuckers!

Riley launches into an abusive tirade calling everybody a bunch of stupid assholes, and that they’ve got to get serious and start training to kill The Cullens who are devious weaker, older yellow-eyed Mormonpires. He promises them upon success of eradication of the enemy that they will get to rule the planet Seattle and a “dessert” upon the kill of Edward- we finally find out what happened to Bella’s red sweater. Bree is grouped with Freaky Fred (another gorgeous tall blond) where they make a little connection over rummy and train for a few days. Riley pulls Bree aside gives her a little cryptic message from Diego who says he will meet up with her after the battle, tells her not to give up on him, and reminds her that she’s one of his smart ones.

They set off to fight The Cullens, but Freaky Fred doesn’t feel the good vibrations and humps it to Vancouver when Riley told Bree that Diego has already made it to the staging area and he retreats. Bree can’t smell Diego anywhere figuring out that he was killed by Riley and Vicki and surrenders herself to Edward fighting off the urge to kill Bella. The GA arrive to interrogate Bree who tells them the whole of Riley’s lies and just before they make mincemeat out of her she telepathically tells Edward that the GA instructed them to attack under the penalty of excommunication.

The End.

Do ya think us gentiles are THAT stupid?!!

Need more proof?