Wednesday, February 28, 2007

FBO: 'Three Pack'

ONE: Connecticut Classic
Connecticut is in! By a slim, riveting 2-1-1 count (two for Connecticut, one against, one for muffins), Connecticut's open-vote has tipped toward adopting the enigmatically nicknamed 'Constitution State.' A digital letter will go to two or three sources in Connecticut later this week, with all responses posted on the FBO.

TWO: And the Bio/Remake Ban Continues
Anyone doubting the FBO's efforts to 'up the ante' in the entertainment field -- by asking for apologies for declining effort (the Rolling Stones), or the tendency to rehash familiar/recycled content in movies (Superman Returns and dozens more) -- need only look a the big awards of the Oscars the past two years:

This year:

Movie: 'The Departed' (a remake of the Hong Kong film 'Internal Affairs')
Actor: Forrest Whitaker, 'The Last King of Scotland' (bio of Uganda leader Idi Amin)
Actress: Helen Mirren, 'The Queen' (Queen Elizabeth bio)

Last year:

Movie: 'Crash' (no problem, other than it being not that good)
Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman, 'Capote' (bio of Truman Capote)
Actress: Reece Whitherspoon, 'Cash' (played June Carter in bio of Johnny and June)

Five of six are based in performances of known figures or remakes of films.

THREE: Basketball is the Cricket of the USA
We all know how basketball games slip into foul-and-hope sloppy endings, where the last 40 seconds take 15 minutes and usually not with a favorable result for the hand-slapping team trying to gain a late lead. It's ugly, but it's not why basketball is flawed. And the sport is flawed.

Sports like hockey, baseball and basketball play games nearly daily -- so many in a season that it can be safely said that NO SINGLE GAME matters. Even in the playoffs, a team can be dull a couple games, but right themselves by the end of a five- or seven-game series. That's a problem.

But where basketball is worse, is that -- unlike hockey or baseball -- NO SCORE matters either. Enigmatically fans call for higher scoring games -- ?? -- and some rules have been adjusted for that. When no game or no score matters, it must leave the fans wonder about their involvement: sit and watch and buy Cokes. It's a beautiful game to see at times, particularly in person, but loses steam as no play really matters after 40 layups, nine dunks, 29 jumpers, and 21 free throws. Can you imagine hockey games that finish 52-38? Or soccer games wrapping up at 62-41? No one would ever yell 'gooooooooooooaaaaaaaallllllll' again.

The only thing harder to stomach is cricket -- with several days of matches -- but at least they get to carry funny sticks.

The FBO places all basketball leagues -- even youth leagues -- on probation for one week. Pick-up basketball is OK.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Friday, February 23, 2007

FBO: 'Searching for Member 005... in Kansas'


An anonymous FBO fan has alerted us of a potential FBO member 005 in Kansas. Previously failed bands in Kansas have launched a number of 'guerrilla' attacks on the FBO site, mostly in the form of indefensible defense for the Byrds. Perhaps Mr Mogenson represents a rival contingent of Kansan failed bands that have pitted their efforts against the FBO?

The photograph, purportedly of Mr Mogenson, was obtained via KU Sports (Kansas University Sports).

The anonymous FBO fan writes:

[You need to] locate Chris Mogenson, front man for Rabid Fetus. The Lindsborg, KS quartet released 1 six song LP, “Cajun Justice” in 1989, before going their separate ways. They were a fairly heavy punk outfit but with some melody…Husker idolizers. I remember songs such as “Retards Must Eat” and “Afterbirth Casserole.” Definitely a failed band. Chris is a rabid Jayhawk football and Stones fanatic. I suspect he’s in the Lawrence area...

The FBO remains open to conversation with Mr Mogenson, or any member of Rabid Fetus, for possible membership to the FBO. And perhaps his closeness with the Stone will help us gain an apology from the band for over two decades of mediocrity (as the FBO asked for last year...)

Meanwhile, the ban-or-endorse Connecticut vote will end on Sunday.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Monday, February 19, 2007

FBO: 'Necticut = Stitution'

This week the FBO will enact an order regarding its relationship with Connecticut: either adopting the state or banning it for the life of the FBO. It needs your help to know which is the proper course of action.

In the extended PRESIDENT'S DAY WEEKEND, a curious holiday devoted to a single president (but never explained which), FBO Admin celebrated by a visit to 'upstate New York' and made a short, unexpected sojourn across Connecticut state lines. FBO Admin, a novice at Connecticut tourism, asked a few locals about its nickname and had a coffee at an original Connecticut Muffin, a bizarre chain with many New York City locations. No one knew why Connecticut was called the 'Constitution State' -- one suggested turbidly 'because of the founding fathers.'

Delaware was the first state to ratify the US Constitution (meaning, if you think of it, the country was initially 'the United State of America'). The USA's fifth state, Connecticut, did not author the constitution, nor did a Connecticut politician 'chip in.'

Based on selfless research at FBO HQ, it's been determined that Connecticut's nickname actually refers to a 1638 constitution -- more accurately, the 'Fundamental Orders of Connecticut' -- which has been replaced several times. Some claim it to be the 'first constitution' in North America, yet the original Orders (see link) never mention the word 'constitution.' Nevertheless, in 1959, when Connecticut -- the country's richest state -- found itself without a suitable nickname (an alternate remains 'nutmeg state'), they desperately grabbed at a FAILED DOCUMENT that pre-dated its history as a state by 140 years and named it for a word that it did NOT itself claim to be: a constitution.

--> Similar reasoning suggests that Italy is the 'birthplace of aviation,' as Leonardo de Vinci's failed attempts at flight in the 16th century (winged ornithopters) were later validated by successful flights by the likes of the Ohioan Wright Brothers in 1903...

The tenacity of Connecticut's move, however, is to be admired. And its nod to a noble failure is another thing we at the FBO hold dear. Still there are aspects -- a lack of any creativity, or insight, for example -- that makes us as FBO HQ pause.

To solve the problem, the FBO asks you to decide. A vote through this week is being held for failed-bands' fans to determine. Please vote for one of the following:

a) Connecticut should be banned from FBO events, and sent an explanatory note
b) Connecticut should be adopted by the FBO, and sent a note of congratulations

The option of no action is not in question. A note of some sort will be sent to Connecticut from the Failed Bands of Oklahoma.

Thank you,

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

PS -- FBO fan Thomas Caw of West Hartford will be exempt from any negative repercussions of the vote, and possibliy benefit from positive ones.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

FBO: 'TV Shows Put on Watch List'


The main reason why TV shows ultimately fail is the drive for viewer-manipulation and ad dollars. Story lines are stretched out to justify extra seasons; characters switch personalities to allow new rubs and conflicts. There's no integrity left to 'the story'. Only ways to keep the show rolling. Often writers of hits are culled to other, higher-paying gigs and work suffers.

Consider movies. Many people rank Francis Ford Coppola's three-hour The Godfather and three-hour The Godfather II as their favorites -- certainly Al Pacino gives an all-too-rare understated (not yelling all the time) performance. But even this two-fer classic couldn't sustain a third. Coppola's three-hour The Godfather III may be the worst sequel in history -- like a videotape of a let's-be-nice reunion where nothing really happens other than someone gets shot on the steps. If The Godfather can't stretch a story -- remember, that's why we're here, for a story -- to nine hours, why could something like supposedly 'deeper' and more 'thought-provoking' TV shows like Lost, Alias, 24 Hours or now-declining Battlestar Galactica?

--> Lost has run 43 HOURS OF SHOWS and still not given any glimpse -- I hear -- of where it's going, an explanation to the mystery of the island. Have you ever watched a 43-hour movie, or read a 26,000-page book, that has taken longer to get around to The Point?

Other than sit-coms or the tiresome trend of medical and police shows (how about a dentist show for a change?), TV shows should be limited to one or (max) two seasons, as often happens with the BBC. This is an acceptable (albeit excessive: about 18 hours per a season of 'hour-long' shows!) time frame to play out a story. Shows that go beyond that should refund viewers some of the advertising dollars. The FBO also asks for a public apology.

Seeking entertainment integrity for failed-bands and failed-bands' fans,

FBO Admin,
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

PS - Valentine's Day is for wussies.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

FBO: 'Free Online Guidebook to Vietnam'

FBO-induced projects are not limited to making music, videos and garnering press coverage for failed bands of most states and provinces.

Member of FBO #001 Tall Tales, Robert Reid, has created a free online guidebook to Vietnam -- well the south of Vietnam, for now -- that is rolling out to the waiting hands of a dozen or more enthused travelers.

A few questions for Robert Reid:

Why a guidebook online?
I've been writing travel guidebooks for over three years now. It's fun, but it takes way too long to get your observations into a book people can access. I was in Bulgaria a year ago now, and Romania in March last year. The hotels and restaurants and bus info I found won't be released for a few more weeks -- even longer for Romania. I visited Vietnam in November and a couple months later, here's the guide.

Do Vietnamese people hate Americans?
Not remotely. It's hard to think of a place where I've been more warmly received than Vietnam. They've had two wars since the Americans pulled out of Saigon in the mid 1970s -- they fought Pol Pot and China. So the 'American War' is three wars old. Also the Vietnamese seem less likely to dwell on the past. The Soviets were their pals for years after the Americans left, the USSR put a lot of money into Vietnam -- and the many Vietnamese can't stand them.

What's best about visiting Vietnam?
If you've ever had Vietnamese food, well you haven't had good Vietnamese food -- unless you've gone there, or have a Vietnamese grandma. Most places don't have refrigerators so everything's that-day fresh. The fruit is scary to look at -- some have thick wavy skins of purple, others spiked in lemon-lime. If something like that falls on you it'll do more damage than an apple. Vietnam is one of the rare places where staring is practically a national past-time. Interested in what the bloke is doing? LOOK AND SEE. No need to avert your gaze if he looks over. So it's fun to set up on a sidewalk cafe -- often just some tiny plastic stools -- and have iced coffee and watch street vendors pushing carts of dried squid right into the nonstop parade of motorcycles weaving around each other and ignoring lanes (or one-way directions). Also, the Mekong Delta is about the friendliest place on earth.

Access the site at

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Thursday, February 08, 2007

FBO: 'Post-failed Leader of Klipspringer, Ty Edward Kamm, Chats About New Record'

Klipspringer celebrates its fourth album Everybody Kisses Differently with a CD-release party at the Deli in Norman on February 16.

FBO: What's going on in your new promo photo, with the goggles?
TY: Flying High Again! (gain...gain). Alan [Hiserodt] found some welder's goggles on sale at Home Depot and we went Devo (again). We always have a lot of mylar around, so we built a plane and went for a glide.

How do you make music these days -- lyrics then music, music then lyrics, on the sofa with an acoustic, in the practice room with ear plugs and an OE?
Usually on the sofa with the acoustic. When "I'm on", the melody and the lyrics come at the same time. Then I take it to the band, they add their parts, and we polish it up together (usually in really cute little light blue shorts). What's an OE?

Sorry, an OE is Olde English, a malt liquor. Very cheap and very bad... Um, moving on, how important are the lyrics to rock'n'roll?
In my book, the lyrics aren't as important as the overall hook. Sometimes the lyrics are the hook, but the hook is also commonly a riff or melody.

What's your favorite lyric on the album? What's it about?
My favorite lyric on this cd is probably "Aaaaaawwwwwwwwww!" (the scream from Phone World). I think it's meaning is fairly self-explanatory. Or maybe James [Lambeth]'s lines from British Teeth (the bonus track by Ottre Pop), "Drawn and quartered, we could see Elizabeth's face on fire. Harry's rolled another spliff again, now he's walking the nazi wire." That line refers to Queen Elizabeth and Prince Harry.

What's next for the Klips?
Next for the Klip is promoting the album through mild touring, online and snail mail harassment, and a lot of talking shit. We also plan to release at least an EP every 6 months. Which most likely means every year.

Has the Klips benefitted at all from Soul Shaker [a member of FBO] failure?
Oh yeah, we've benefited. Many lessons were learned. Mainly, what is too dorky and what is not. Actually, I think we're still working on that one.

Thanks Mr Ty. Look forward to hearing the new one.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

FBO: 'Analyzes the Ploy'

Super Bowl XLI -- when are we going to get rid of roman numerals anyway? -- has come and passed and entertainment-seekers such as we once again have to field the TV industry's careful spin on advertising as one of the highlights of the country's biggest sporting event. Gone are the multi-ad stories of years past, with story lines that slowly develop ad-to-ad, meaning you had to suppress tinkles to see how they played out. But, considering the FBO's civic lookout and alternate entertainment planner for its fans and members, the FBO watched all ads of the Super Bowl 41 -- see, looks better with roman nixed -- and came up with the following trends you should be aware of.

First quarter ads: 15 (not including CBS' self-promotions)
Second quarter ads: 18
Halftime ads: 8
Third quarter ads: 17
Fourth quarter ads: 13
Total non-CBs ads: 61

FBO Admin kept a chart, in red ink, marking an ad's approach based on a few categories: a) presence of FAILURE (a protagonist trying to do something and not succeeding); b) humor; c) celebrity; d) violence or cruelty; or e) serious tone/message.


Of 61 ads, 40 employed some various form of 'humor,' 37 were serious (eg linked with African-American History month or macho car commercials), 10 had violence, and only 9 had celebrities of some sort.

Of violent ads, eight of the 10 occurred before halftime. Violent ads included death (meteors crashing into people, people falling off cliffs) and torture (workplace in the jungle, the heart-shaped guy being beaten mercilessly).

'Serious' ads seemed to come in streaks, sometimes with a final ad in a commercial break going joke-joke funny (like right before the third quarter).

The ratio of 'humorous' ads remained consistent between the first and second halves, but dropped off during half-time, when ads were almost completely CBS self-promotion.

'Failure' was harder to chart. The guy looking at the girl gets in a car wreck in the Doritos commerical. That's failure, right? What about the overacted karate student in the Sierra Mist ad, the talking animals pressing a real mouse in the Blockbuster ad, a power-plant machine that gets fired? We'll try to better define 'failure' before the next ad poll.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Saturday, February 03, 2007

FBO: 'Celebrating Global Warming (and the Beatles), Part Two'

This is the second installment of a three- or four-part series of the FBO ‘celebrating global warming’ by listening to the Beatles and Wings...


To casual listeners of the John Lennon song 'No Reply' from the 1964 album Beatles for Sale may tap their toe to a seemingly unoffensive melody that peppers the verses with suddenly fierce cries of rage in the choruses. That soft/tuff mix-match is a fine formula for pop music, something that's been turned to again and again successfully. The problem is solely with the lyrics.

To careless listeners the song is about a girl who won't answer the door or phone, and is dating another guy, and the protagonist gets mad about it. That's logical. But 'No Reply' isn't. Let's take a look at the lyrics, taking careful attention to exactly what the enraged protagonist is most upset over.

The first verse:

This happened once before, when I came to your door
No reply
They said it wasn't you, I saw you peep through
Your window

I know you saw me, as I looked up to see
Your face

The protagonist is not mad that the girl is home when the mysterious 'they' said she wasn't. He's mad -- as deemed by the timing of his explosive revelation -- that the LIGHT IS ON. Yes 'seeing the light' has the double meaning of a realization, but in his case 'this happened once before' (a fascinating confession obliquely referred to at best), so he's not getting the truth.

And on to the next verse:

I tried to telephone, they said you were not home
That's a lie
Cause I know where you've been, and I saw you walk in
Your door
Cause you walked hand in hand, with another man
In my place

It is unsure why the protagonist nearly lost his life. The timing of his outburst again is odd. At first listen it suggests it's because the girl walked into her home, or that the 'they' lied about her being home. It is unknown whether this verse is a prequel to the first verse or not. Or if this is the previous encounter mentioned before or an unmentioned third encounter. Something doesn't stack up here, and the protagonist is losing compassion from the careful listener.

And here's how the song ends:

If I were you I'd realize that I
Love you more than any other guy
And I forgive the lies that I
Heard before when you gave me no reply...
...Cause you walked hand in hand, with another man
In my place

This is fascinating. He reflects on the situation and rails out at 'the lies' the girl has told. What lies? The 'they' purportedly covered for her when she wasn't home, but technically that's their lie. His yelling of 'if I were you' sounds like a threat, worrisome enough to get the bobbies involved. But what's more curious is how, as 137-second pop song wraps up, the protagonist lashes out -- in a stunning non-sequitur -- at the one thing that angers him the most: that she's seeing another guy? That 'they' lie? That she doesn't love him? That he nearly died because of a light bulb? No. That there was no reply.

One wonders if she'd just have a two-minute chat with the sap the whole thing would be over with.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY