Monday, April 23, 2007

FBO: 'Best Canadian Province Flags'

Very simply, no place on earth has better flags than Canada. The maple-leaf national flag is a master of simplicity and many of its provincial flags show stunningly daring designs. Here are the best of Canada's provincial flags: Newbrunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador (super two-fer sliced and pasted together), Nunavut (possibly the best flag of all time), Northwest Territories

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

Friday, April 20, 2007

FBO: 'World's Best Flags'

Uncle! The world has too many good ones. So many it can't be confined to a single list -- this highlights a few of the world's nations' best flags Next week we'll show off the best of US states and Canadian provinces.

**Coding simply doesn't allow these flags to fit flush left and right with neatly pla ced headers. Oh, I tried. So, the countries in order include:

Central Africa Republic
Isle of Man
South Korea
St Pierre & Miquelon


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


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

FBO: 'World's Worst Flags'


Some might think it returns to the flag of Czar glory days. Not so. The 1917 revolutionaries that took over power for the communists actually waved this flag, which was then replaced by a far superior red one with a gold hammer-and-sickle tucked into the corner. Couldn't Russia -- with its new beginnings -- spent 10 minutes to come up with something that wasn't a rip on Holland's, and using the same colors of all their old nemeses (US, UK, France)?

Many novice flag-watchers give props to Nepal's overrated, jagged flag with a couple designs stuffed into a five-shaped field of blue-trimmed red. The flag was adopted in 1962. The Nepalese can point to Hindu traditions for this, and that's fine, but it's just too cute for the FBO. The FBO believes flags, for a reason, should generally be rectangles. They fly better.

Many former colonial nations were bugged enough over playing the supporting role to nations across the globe that they fashioned original flags. Australia and New Zealand couldn't be bothered. Both just 'put the Jack in the corner and some stars in the field.' (Australia's was actually the winner of a, apparently poorly publicized, worldwide competition.) We, at the FBO, are furious and very disappointed by the lack of originality and lack of self-initiative shown by both countries. It would appear, at first glance, that New Zealand said, 'hell, just take what Australia did... scrap a couple stars, and make the rest RED!' But their poor version is actually much older than Australia's. (The FBO calls for the winner of the Australia flag contest to return the winnings and the ribbon.)

Feng shui or just basic knee-jerk reaction frowns on this clashing mess of design. A bunch of stripes, then a star-filled box to the top left. We are used to seeing this, so don't really notice its sophomoric attempts, but it easily ranks as the most prevalently seen, worst-designed flag in the world. And it makes popcockery of the nation's name -- UNITED States of America. First of all the 13 stripes -- tributing the original colonies (and subsequently first states) -- has outworn its welcome. Are the subsequent 37 states any LESSER for not having been 'united' with the first 13? Also, why red, white and blue? You've just broken the shackles of the UK, why not set out your own color scheme?

The FBO recognizes the problem and is acting on it by designing the new, FBO-endorsed flag for the United States of America. In it, no state has extra, cuddled treatment. Colors represent the brown soil from which the new nation will grow, bounded by green to symbolize life (not money necessarily) that springs from the soil, and the gold '50 *' for each state.

Here is the new flag of the United States of America:

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

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

FBO: 'TV News Watch'

Media coverage of the Virginia Tech tragedy yesterday has continually used untrue superlatives to add to the flash of their tickerwire and multi-screen images on TV. It may seem silly to poke apart this at such a time, but the widespread error has made the FBO pause.

For starters, a few definitions:

massacre -- the act or an instance of killing a large number of humans indiscriminately and cruelly.

rampage -- a course of violent, frenzied behavior or action

shooting -- a wounding or killing with a firearm

The Virginia Tech event was indeed a massacre, a rampage and a shooting. But it is not the 'deadliest' or 'worst' massacre or rampage or shooting in US history. Take two events involving minorities as victims:

--> In 1921, 39 black Tulsans were killed in a widespread attack of North Tulsa after an (erroneous) report of a sexual assault of a white woman by a black man. Ten thousand were left homeless in the clash started by scores of white Tulsans -- some attacks were by airplane! All as authorities watched -- and in fact may have aided -- locals. The lack of order allows this event to be called a 'rampage.'

--> In 1890, some 500 US military surrounded a few hundred Lakota Sioux -- this well after the 'Sioux Wars' had ceased. The Sioux were engaged in an unmilitarized 'Ghost Dance' when shooting broke out. At least 300 Sioux (nearly all unarmed, and including many women and children) were killed, and 25 soldiers by 'friendly fire.' This may not be a 'rampage,' but it's definitely a 'massacre' and a 'shooting.'

In lighter news, a truck carrying bunnies overturned on the highway between Budapest and Vienna yesterday, closing the highway as authorities tried to collect 5000 bunnies hopping on the four-lane road. The FBO may be alone, but didn't realize there was such a need for bunnies in Vienna these days.

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

Monday, April 16, 2007

FBO: 'Launches Flag Week'

Flag Day -- officially June 14 -- is coming early to the FBO this year, as visor-wearing college ballcoach Steve Spurrier has launched a controversy in South Carolina, where he coaches, by suggested the 'stars & bars' Confederate battle flag should not fly in the capitol grounds.

The FBO supports Steve Spurrier and feels the issue should never have been a problem. Our three-pack on the issue:

* The Confederate Flag symbolizes an anti-American army. Soldiers carrying it killed hundreds of thousands of soldiers carrying the US flag.

* After the war, such a flag should have been made illegal -- like the swastika in Germany -- and certainly never allowed a fly (in ANY form) on state or city government buildings.

* The FBO believes it should be OK to fly at battlefield sites, Confederate cemeteries, and on individual bumpers or front porches, but NOT at a government site.

Had President Johnson outlawed the flag in the summer of 1865, this would never have been an issue.

Over the next few days, the FBO will post the world's BEST flags and WORST flags, based on simple aesthetic choices behind flag design.

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

Saturday, April 14, 2007

FBO: 'When Times are Tight, Multi-Task!'


While looking for new failed bands to bring into FBO membership, the FBO also garners press coverage of the failed AND keeps a civic lookout on entertainment successes and misfires. That's multi-tasking at its very core.

As a service to its fans, the FBO has decided to adopt a 'multi-tasking' anthem to provide a soundtrack for its ongoing multi-pronged efforts: FUNKADELIC'S 'Good to Your Earhole' (1975).

Note its joyous chorus:

Put your hands together! Come on and stomp your feet!
Put your hands together! Come on and get in beat!
There's a good time waiting for you, come on and let's get free!

This is a lot like the FBO. A lot's happening at once here, notably that revelers are putting their hands together AND stomping their feet AND getting in beat. It's not just a time-passer, as their efforts are part of a long-term goal: having a 'good time.' Similarly, the FBO believes its fans and members will find their reward for ongoing efforts at the FBO Panhandle Performance, currently slated for October 2007.

The FBO-endorsed Funkadelic 'five pack' includes:

1. 'Good to Your Earhole' (FBO multi-task anthem)
2. 'Can You Get to That' (best song of all time)
3. 'Hit It and Quit It' (another multi-tasker)
4. 'Back in Our Minds' (mo-wah and do-wah and sho-wah and mo-wah rhyme)
5. 'You Can't Miss What You Can't Measure' (the verse starts with 'grief' but it sounds a lot like 'Maurice')

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

Thursday, April 12, 2007

FBO: 'Reversal: Connecticut is Banned for Life'

Following the narrow vote of 2-1 in favor of adopting Connecticut, several congratulatory emails were sent by FBO Admin to various offices in the 'Constitution State' -- to the tourist department, to the governor Jodi Rell.

No one replied.

The original announcement:

Last week the Failed Bands of Oklahoma had a vote to adopt the state of Connecticut -- two vote for adopting Connecticut, one against, and one for the muffins.

The reason Connecticut gained our interest is two things:

a) its nickname ('the Constitution State')
b) the fact that it's nickname is based on a failed document that pre-dates statehood by over 100 years

We wanted to congratulate the state of Connecticut, and ask if you have any comments for FBO readers?

The FBO has adopted other places, including the Oklahoma panhandle and Szekelyudvarhely, Romania.

FBO Admin

As a result, Connecticut is banned 'for life' and the following changes to the FBO Adopted Zones map have been made (see above).

Perhaps we should listen more closely to our hearts -- and to Terry Waska -- in future votes. Terry was alone in saying 'no' to Connecticut. And clearly he was right.

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

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

FBO: 'Delays Panhandle Concert'

Unfortunately, tweaks in scheduling of several participants -- including Eric Harmon of the Cant, Mitch Newlin of Tall Tales and Stacy Lane of Asylum -- requires that the May date for the 'Failed Bands of Oklahoma' concert in the Oklahoma Panhandle must be delayed. The new show is scheduled for October.

The show will also include:

* failed magicians
* failed DJs
* a failed cop

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

Sunday, April 08, 2007

FBO: 'Issues New Creed'


Everyone likes to say they like underdogs, but it's just a lie. People only like underdogs who win -- so in the end, if you're honest about it, most people just like winners with an interesting story.

--> The Failed Bands of Oklahoma support the underdogs who lose.

In the future, the FBO will be searching out losing underdogs -- in sports, in entertainment, in warfare, in diplomacy -- who have not surprised anyone by upstaging expectations. Simultaneously the FBO will expose false underdogs.

An example of an appropriate underdog:

Facing a neighborhood demolition to make the way for a new business zone in Chonqing, China, one resident Wu Ping -- a 49-year-old woman -- said 'no.' Eventually the whole area but her house was razed (per the NY Times photograph above), until -- after two years of defiance against the overpowering Chinese authorities -- when her house too was knocked down last week.

An example of a false underdog:

The media massage of the 2007 Fiesta Bowl put undefeated Boise State as something of a high school team compared to the two-loss Oklahoma team that had backed into the game only after another -- Texas -- fell apart late in the season and lost two games to far inferior teams. After Boise State won, by one, the NCAA Football video game put the BS QB on the cover, and plans are in the works to make a MOVIE about the team!?! 'Underdog' fans played the part and cheered on a quarterback, who openly taunted the competition throughout the game and referred to his teammates as 'my guys' afterwards.

Unsuitable! This is not an appropriate underdog for those who 'like underdogs,' as the FBO do, to back.

We'll be on the lookout for a running list of 'Appropriate Underdogs' (as deemed by stoicism amidst failure) and 'False Underdogs' (aka, Unsuitable Underdogs; as deemed by success or poor behavior).

--> Feel free to submit your suggestions for this ongoing list.

Thank you,

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

Thursday, April 05, 2007

FBO: 'Bass Bi-Week Ends: The Way to Go'

No one wants our bass players to pass on, but if they're going to it might as well be performing.

We wouldn't have the half-Duran Duran-based POWER STATION without BERNARD EDWARDS, a co-songwriter of the '70s slap-bass-driven band Chic. Bernard, who also put the backbone into 'Like a Virgin,' died just after a Power Station performance in Tokyo in 1996. He was suffering from pneumonia and refused to stop touring. As FBO fan John Jessejames Whitaker (who lobbied hard for Bernard's inclusion in the FBO Bass Bank -- thanks for that) says, "Without Bernard, one could make the case that there would be NO SUCH THING AS RAP MUSIC. That bass line on 'Rapper's Delight' is all Bernard, sampled from [Chic's] 'Good Times.'"

MARK SANDMAN, the principal member (and song-writer and singer) of Morphine, played a two-string slide bass and headed the three-piece band with a baritone sax and drummer. In 1999, Mark died on stage at a festival outside Rome from a heart attack. A sample Sandman lyric: 'Early to bed and early to rise makes a man or woman miss out on the nightlife.' Doesn't exactly rhyme, but we get the idea.

Double-bassist FRENTISEK KOTZWARA, a Czech composer of sonatas, died during a different sort of performance -- dying from erotic asphyxiation in the company of an English prostitute. That was back in 1791. One of his hits was 'The Battle of Prague,' most numbers had a military theme.

--> Bernard, Mark & Frentisek, we just want to thank you

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

PS - There are many great and worthy bass players that didn't get tributed in the Bass Bank this time -- it will likely come back...

Monday, April 02, 2007

FBO: 'Bass Bank: Terry Waska'

It goes without saying that FBO's own bass players of the past -- including the great Mitch Newlin and Matt Babich – and we wanted to take a slot of our Bass Bi-Week to talk with FBO member, ex-Asylum bass player TERRY WASKA. It is well worth reading his tasty insights to the world of the bass.

FBO: Why bass?
TW: Like most bass players, I am actually a failed guitarist. In the early Asylum days we had 2 guitarists and no bass player, and they wanted me to make the switch. I angrily refused many times. Then one day I showed up for practice and there was a bass with a note on it sitting in front of my amp, and everyone turned and walked quietly out of the room, except for Stacy because he drew the short straw. I was so pissed I was ready to pack up and bail. But Dave drove me and it was a long walk home carrying my guitar and my Peavey Backstage amp. But then I discovered that I could take what little I knew on guitar and transfer it to bass and was better than a lot of bass players out there. Between stuff I picked up from Stacy and Steve Harris, I was able to keep it a little more interesting.

Some say the bass is the Canada to guitar's America -- thoughts?
I’m not sure that’s a sentence [now revised --ed]. However, Canada has free health care, and I (oddly enough) am a freelance pro-bono gynecologist. Feel free to make any “pro-bono” jokes here. Any female bloggers interested can submit a picture and other pertinent info for consideration. Someday I hope to be the Brazilian Waxer to the Stars. And yes, I treat Americans too. Does this make the roadie Mexico? Vive la Canada!

What irritates you about some bass players?
Hair metal bass players that held a single note thru an entire song and still nailed the hotties. And the bass players that stand in the back and you forget they’re there. I saw Judas Priest once and would completely forget they even had a bass player except for the occasional reflection I would catch off his pick guard. He just sat back in the dark, enjoying his anonymity. I think bass players should develop the reputation as the zany guy in the band. Singers are pretty boys, guitarists are pompous. Right now drummers are the zany guys and I blame Gonzo from the Muppets. The Muppet bass player was that blue jazz guy, which is kinda lame. If I was Jim Henson, I would have made the bass player the guy that was always getting Miss Piggy and Nurse Janet into a 3-way. And then there’s the bass players who are really good but waste their talents for a bigger check. Yes Robert Trujillo, I’m talking to you – Metallica is a waste of your talents. At least Buckethead had the good sense to leave Guns N Roses 2.0.

Can you write songs on bass? Have you?
A few songs have spun off from bass lines, but for the most Oh sure, people like Nikki Sixx have taken writing on the bass to another level. Motley Crue songs aren’t written – they are composed. The best way to write is to just jam until something sounds good. Then everyone has helped create the seed that the whole band sperminates, and eventually it festers into a beautiful tune. If I came up with something I liked and brought it to practice, I would probably want to control other peoples parts, and I’m not big on telling other people what to play. That’s what guitarists are for.

Does string-count, sticks or mic matter for girls most? How do bass players stack up against their bandmates in the labor del amore?
I did have a hot chick once tell me that she liked bass the best and asked if she could sit on my bass cabinet while I played a show. For the record, I didn’t get laid out of the deal. I’m sure the lead guitarist or singer did though. We bassists live vicariously through the penises of our band mates. Except for Gene Simmons, and if it wasn’t for the tongue he wouldn’t have gotten 1/2 of the girls he got.

BBPOAT -- best bass player of all time?
I’m not into the prodigy bass players like Billy Sheehan or Les Claypool because solos (all solos – guitar, bass, drums, xylophone, etc.) are pretentious and boring. I like bass players that can create tasty lines that fit into a song without following the root note of the guitar. I think some of the best bass players are the ones from some of the classic rock bands. Normally I would have said John Paul Jones from Led Zep, but after I saw his feathered hair and Seinfeld-esque pirate shirt he had at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a couple of years ago, I’m left hero-less. Since I grew out of Iron Maiden (do we ever really grow out of Iron Maiden?) I have been more into the sound overall rather than a particular bass player. Of course, had I listened closer to certain bass players, my musical growth might not have stopped in 1992. So, just to answer the question, I’m going with the 2 stringed slide bass player from Morphine. The fact that he died in his prime helps in a mystical/morbid way.

Would Asylum have made it if there had been two bass players?
Well, we never did shit when we had 2 guitarists. I think if one bass player got us the success we did get, then more bass players would have exponentially magnified our success. This is the kind of math that the people who made Beanie Babies used when they put out their value guides. If only the Beanie Baby people would have managed us. Why is it that Jerry Garcia got a Beanie Baby, but we didn’t get one? Bullshit. Oh well. Cynthia Plaster Caster is coming out with the Asylum edition in her fall line later this year. For an extra $10 you can get it signed. I’ve always wanted to be immortalized in prosthetic genitalia. I’m sorry, what was the question?

--> Terry Waska, we just want to thank you.

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

**From March 22 to April 5, FBO is celebrating the forgotten, overlooked, abused or under-utilized bass by noting a handful of bass players you should know about.**