Friday, January 30, 2009

FBO: 'Super Bowl Preview'

CARDINALS VS STEELERS
The more I think of it, the more I'm convinced the Arizona Cardinals have the best helmet in professional football. It's not just the slightly stern cardinal, but the lack of a stripe AND a white helmet.

The 32-team NFL currently only has six white-based helmets: the Cards, the NY Jets (returned from the 'macho' kelly green '80s version), the Titans, the Chargers (back from the horrible '70s/80s blue helmet), the Colts and the Dolphins. A handful of other teams wimped out on white helmets over the years -- the Patriots, the Eagles, the Bucs, the Cowboys, the Rams, the Bills -- all of whom have, at some point, gone tuff with charcoal, testicular gray or Ford Truck blue or Fist-Punch green.

A number of teams lack a stripe front-to-back down the center of the helmet, but only the Cards dare do it on a white helmet.

UNNECESSARY CHANGE, BUT ONE WITH HEROIC RESTRAINT
In 2005, the Cardinals -- after years of slacker play -- caved into the machismo streak that saw the Bucs, Broncos, Pats tough up their uniforms (and win Super Bowls) -- by making their longtime Cardinal logo, a bit less like 'a parakeet' and a bit tougher.

It's unfortunate, but that the change is so subtle -- and that they inexplicably kept the non-macho white helmet -- it's hard to not see the team's restraint as a bit admirable. It's amazing they didn't opt for something like the Ravens helmet -- all black with a very fierce, life-taking bird. I mean, they fooled no one with a change no one noticed but a couple Phoenix sports writers. And it's certainly better than the copycat Louisville Cardinals helmet, which shows the namesake bird... WITH TEETH?

Quick Facts:

In 1969, Super Bowl III -- between the Jets and the Colts -- is the only all-white-helmet matchup, with Joe Namath famously guaranteeing his underdog Jets would win, and pulling it off.

Including the Cards this year, 11 white-helmet teams have made the Super Bowl. So far they have a 5-5 record.

During WWII, the Cardinals and Steelers SHARED a team!


PREDICTION: Cardinals will defeat the Steelers 24-13

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

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

FBO: 'Rules for Falling Down'

This originally appeared on a Lonely Planet blog whilst crossing Russia by train in 2005. It appears on FBO for the first time, as falling down in general is an under-scrutinized act -- and because FBO #001 member Alan Hiserodt asked for it.

What travel teaches:


Looking out at rainy Vladivostok from a bus between the airport and centre, I saw something that --I must admit -- delighted me: a hair-dyed-rust middle-aged woman and a green trash can falling together on a wet sidewalk. What was priceless about it was her reaction: getting up, first she glared at the trash can lying next to her; then she picked it up in a rush, and hurried away, with loose debris she knocked free blowing in the wind. As the bus moved past her, I searched for her expression... there! Not a hint of pain, just shock and some offense that this little scene had taken place at all.

She fell. She got mad. She tried to rush off before anyone could see. Just what I expected.

It reminded me of another, greater, Russian fall when I was on the other side of Russia, in St Petersburg, on a study-abroad program years ago. On Nevski Prospect on a sunny day, another middle-aged woman fell, this time yelling in pain. I was startled.* She eventually got up (I watched) and walked away apparently unhurt. I remembered this little moment, with secret pleasure, long after. But it took years for me to realize that she had it all figured out in advance. The woman knew exactly how to fall properly.

RULES FOR FALLING DOWN

Those who suffer actual pain from falls are exempt from these rules. Fortunately, only about one in eight falls results in any short- or long-term injury.

1. DON'T LAUGH.

This medieval tactic of distancing yourself from your mishap fools NO ONE. Clumsy teens can be forgiven for good-natured chuckles at a self-fall. Adults cannot. Under no circumstances. You fell, yes. But it's not for you to laugh it. It's not funny TO YOU.

2. DON'T GET MAD.

Some say it's a human reaction (the fallen are victims after all), I say it's a lack of pre-planning. A fall can be inconvenient. You may try to pawn it off on a hamburger someone stupidly left in the street, but it's really your fault for tripping on it. Deal with it. Don't get mad at a sidewalk, a coffee table or a green trash can. They CAN'T HEAR CUSSING.

3. DON'T RUN AWAY.

Don't try to rush off like it didn't happen. It did. And people saw it. People will laugh for a long time to come. They will tell people about it. They will remember it, and refer to it often. Running away only adds to their pleasure, and to your 'wound.'

4. WHEN FALLING, YELL IN SHOCK or SURPRISE or FAUX PAIN.

We all know that a fall is a confrontation. The fallen [ie victim] confronts the pavement, while passerby [ie recipients of unexpected pleasure] confront a comic situation, like seeing a face-slap sketch. The pre-planned and aware faller can equalize the roles by yelling. As soon as an impending fall is realized, yell. Loudly. Wildly. Yell BEFORE you hit the ground. In great disproportionate fear, if possible. Yelling 'shocks' the passerby, causing them to 'fall' too. How can one so startled, or surprised, really savor a public fall, when they too are reacting with their own sudden event (a yell)? Try it out at the mall or tram stop.

Addendum I:

Some have asked me whether or not it is OK to stop yourself from falling once you start. Of course! There is no insult in trying to protect yourself. But by all means try to follow rule number four. If you stop yourself, all the better -- you've yelled, gained some passerby-'fall' points, without losing any yourself.

See, the woman in St Petersburg knew this all along. And I thank her for teaching me. Last week in Magadan, stepping on wet stones across a small stream, I slipped and a foot slipped into the icy water. I yelled immediately. 'Oh!... Oh GOD!' But I saved myself from a full-body splash. Two Mag pals looked back quickly, clearly concerned. 'Are you OK?' I stepped out of the water. 'Yep,' I said quite pleased, 'I'm absolutely great,' water dripping out of my shoe. Two-zip**.

Clearly the woman in Vladivostok has a lot to learn.


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


* This is the key part of the anecdote. Please read on to see why.

** See Addendum I if you don't understand why.

Monday, January 26, 2009

FBO: 'Taps Breaks on Battle for Hutchens'






WHEN IS ENOUGH ENOUGH? RE-ENACTORS OUT OF CONTROL

It pains the FBO to say it, but plans for the re-enactment of the Battle for Hutchens must be put on hold until safety precautions can be met so that no FBO re-enactors catch on fire or are killed by passing by police.

A quick look around in the world of military re-enactments finds way too many injuries. Face burns, twisted ankles, gunshot wounds, jousting deaths for TV shows, exhaustion.

The New York Times recently reported of a Virginian rebel re-enactor at a re-enactment in Pennsylvania who was charged with 'reckless handling of a fireharm,' for unknowingly shooting a 73-year-old New York re-enactor, who was hit in the sholder. It took months for investigators to figure out where the bullet came from, using film footage of the event. The Virginian may pay a fine of up to $2500.

Close call for the New Yorker. Sadly it's only the tip of bloody bandage.

In October 2008 in Geelong, Australia, a pyrotechnician lost three fingers and received severe burns on his face and neck after a military demonstration had ended. He was hit by a wall of flame after trying to throw a 200-litre drum that hadn't exploded onto a fire.

A couple weeks ago, a 22-year-old Washington state WWII re-enactor, who often walked around in German uniforms, was shot and killed by police at 2am in Seattle, after there were complaints of uniformed men shooting rifles in an alley. Apparently 'you there, stop that' or 'put down that thing' no longer is a Seattle police tactic.

In 2007 in Australia, a professional jouster was killed for TV. During the filming of a joust event for an Australian TV program, a lance splinter shot threw his mask eye slit and pierced his eye. He died a week later.

It's not just a recent phenomenon of course. In October 1967, 22 re-enactors were tossed in the air during a blast at a Civil War re-enactment near Nashville. At Gettysburg in late 1980s, a Charlottesville, Virginia, re-enactor was once shot by a re-enactor from France.

Most re-enactments make careful precautions to avoid injury, but it's too frequently not enough.

In 2001, conceptual artist Jeremy Deller organized a recreation of an 1984 English miner's strike (aka the Battle of Orgreave) for a video. The event directors carefully requested participants pull their blows between police and scruffy miners. According to one report, it 'worked so well that on the day, only one self-inflicted injury (a twisted knee) was sustained.'

Similarly there was no absence from injury at the recent re-enactment of the Battle of Bannockburn. According to their website, 'the most serious injury of the weekend came after the second days fighting when someone damaged their ankle on a rabbit hole.'

The FBO is considering a simple 'walk through' of the Battle for Hutchens, with no weapons (real, fake, loaded or unloaded), instead using profanity and sound effects from spinsters representing either side.


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

Thursday, January 22, 2009

FBO: 'Takes a Short Break'

The FBO needs to take off the next six or seven days to attend to its newest fan: Ruby Nguyen Reid, born January 20 at 9:18am.



By the way, for those who think we have super-human powers, the 'Lost' post was scheduled in advance. Not exactly thinking much about TV programming at the FBO HQ at the moment!

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

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

FBO: 'Note to Lost: Can It'

WHAT TO DO IN OUR LIFE SPACE?
Imagine Tolstoy's War & Peace, a 1200-or-so page novel, were a four-hour movie. There are very few novels longer than War & Peace, and very few movies that break the three-hour mark. But, as a novel, they say it's the best of all time. Would you watch a new four-hour version?

The FBO has just been reminded that the TV show 'Lost' still exists. The New York Times profiled the Texan/Missouran Gregg Nations (yes, Gregg with three Gs) who is tirelessly responsible for the show's needlessly confusing web of character myths and storylines -- he's the one to keep all the ins and outs of 100 unresolved characters issues straight in for making new plots decisions for still-undetermined future episodes, he tracks it in a well-guarded compilation the 'Lost' producers call the 'bible.'

Here's an idea, Mr Nations: stop it.

'Lost' will find itself a merciful ending at the end of next year's season. It's already given us 84 episodes (which cost $12 million each to create), or approximately a 60-hour movie. And it's not resolved anything, and it's not done yet.

(Can you believe this?)

That's equivalent, using the analogy above, to a 18,000-page novel. For something they're making up as they go. Have you read the greatest novel of all time, at 1200 pages? Would you read anything at 18,000 pages?

The FBO asks you to stop watching the show -- 60 hours and no resolution? c'mon! -- and BE IN A BAND.


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

Monday, January 19, 2009

FBO: 'Bans 'If You Know What I Mean' from Future Rock Lyrics'

Listening to the pumping cow bell and throaty vocal of 'Mississippi Queen' -- somehow still a classic-rock radio staple 39 years after its release -- one can be forgiven for imagining it played by a six pack of denim-wearing southern-drawlsters who hail from a place like Black Oak, Arkansas. The truth is the short-lived band is led by a Jewish guy from New York's suburban Long Island, who apparently has a keen interest in maps and topography. He changed his name from Leslie Weinstein to Leslie West, named his band Mountain, and hit it biggest (#4 in Canada) with 'Mississippi Queen.'

All this would escape much FBO notice if not for a single act of tenacity. One that can't be excused.

In the opening, Leslie belts 'Mississippi Queen! If you KNOW what I mean!' Actually, Les, we have no idea. Perhaps your wink-wink seeking for confirmation ('if you know what I mean') refers to an underground drag scene on the Delta's Highway 61 area? Or borrowed royalty traditions from Louisiana's Napoleonic Code? Les, we guess that you had sex with someone in Mississippi. But give us some biscuits before passing the gravy, friend.

--> Thesis: The phrase 'if you know what I mean' is not only a lazy lyrical phrase used over and over in pop/rock songs, but it rarely means what the lyricist think it means. It's insulting to the listener, who may or may not excuse the easy rhyme scheme.

The FBO believes it all started with the Beatles' 1963 single 'I Saw Her Standing There,' when Paul McCartney gives us the best possible version of the expression, when he sings 'Well, she was just 17, and you know what I mean.' No conditional 'if' needed. Paul seems to be saying, yeah, you're intelligent listeners, you know what's meant here. She was 17, not 16, not 18 -- meaning an age where she can go to R films, can't vote, can't sign up in the military, and where statutory rape is an issue for courters. WE GET YOU PAUL.

Similarly Schoolhouse Rock used the phrase correctly, albeit with the conditional 'if,' a decade later with 'A Noun is a Person, Place or Thing' by making sure the young audience got a term referring to old rock songs from way back when: 'I put a dime in the drugstore record machine, oldies goldies started playing if you know what I mean.' Considering this may be the first time their audience hears the term 'oldie goldie' Schoolhouse Rock is being conscientious.

Check the 2:12 mark:



There are, however, far more abuses of the overused phrase.

Coweta, Oklahoma's newest offering to the kid-band scene Crooked X doesn't quite get it right, in their we-travel-around-the-world-with-guitars anthem by singing in a new song 'Rock'n'Roll Dream': 'I am livin’ the life - if you know what I mean, all of us need a rock'n'roll dream!' This fails on many levels. First of all, singer Forrest French (OK, great name) has spelled out exactly what he means by the life, so he doesn't need to check with us if we get it, then tries to be inclusive of us -- watching him, downloading him -- by including him in the 'dream.'

Racoon, a band, says 'if you know what I mean' at least 13 times in their song called, 'If You Know What I Mean.' In not one instance does it mean what they think it means. For example: 'Don’t need no diamond ring, if you know what I mean' -- yes, we know. Everyone does. You're not into marriage. Next!

Edie Brickell, in her immortal 1988 pre-Paul Simon anthem, 'What I Am,' begins, 'I'm not aware of too many things' -- try laying off the Deep Ellum bong, Edie -- 'but I know what I know if you know what I mean.' Not exactly.

On the other hand, when Bon Scott wails in AC/DC's 'TNT' that he's 'out for all that I can get, if you know what I mean,' we really do.

Rock Star Supernova -- already a bad band just by their name -- has a faux T Rex 2006 single called 'Leave the Lights On' -- because it's 'better for the cameras, if you know what I mean.' He's implying, to quote B-Sege, that various 'night moves' are going to be captured on digital video or film. OK.

Neil Diamond did a better job with the phrase in 1976. He ends a 3:40 song of remembrance and nostalgia, with this: 'When we gave it away for the sake of a dream in a penny arcade, if you know what I mean.' He's using an analogy that a person in his past is asked to compared with their real life scenario. Neil, you've done it right.

Then there's Busta Rhymes. In his song with Puff Daddy 'Body Rock,' Rampage breaks in a verse: 'I'm the man with the gangsta lean, what, what, yo, I split your whole spleen if you know what I mean.' I have no idea what he's talking about, and appreciate that Rampage stops to check if we follow. We don't, so realize the conversation wasn't intended for us.


Successful usages of the phrase are rare. And the FBO thinks this phrase has run its course, and bans the use in future rock lyrics for three years. Those who use it are banned from this site for four years. We can do better. Know what I'm saying?


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

Friday, January 16, 2009

FBO: 'Discovers/Questions the North Dakota Quarter'




THERE GOES THE SUN
North Dakota's state quarter came out three years ago. Is it any coincidence that we didn't stumble upon one until early 2009, a few weeks after the FBO's first ever 'North Dakota week'?

Prompted by gut whim, I checked the failed entries for the state quarter and found a curious pattern that NO OTHER STATE had shown: spearing prong-like sun 'rays' that resembles the Japanese Imperial Navy flag during WWII.







The link couldn't be intentional, right? North Dakota isn't tributing the imperial Japanese armed forces, who took millions of lives during WWII?

Shiply speaking, the original USS North Dakota never made it to Japan and stayed way out of harm's way during WWI -- mostly making care-package trips around the Caribbean, then was disassembled before WWII. (A new submarine called the USS North Dakota is currently in construction.) However, the USS South Dakota -- named for the north's mocking rival to the south -- was badly damaged by Japan's Imperial Navy in 1942. That seems bad taste.

Maybe Telephoning Will Help
The Japanese flag -- known as the Rising Sun Flag -- has 16 rays. North Dakota's versions have seven, eight and nine. But a bigger question is whether or not North Dakota's suns depict sunrises or sunsets? The farm shot shows no chimney smoke or stirring creatures to hint at a time, while goose -- it should be noted -- fly at sunrise and sunset. So, no clues. Perhaps the key is the buffalo -- alert, jolly and feasting as the sun dips or rises behind them. Do buffalo wake up at 6am?

So I phoned the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the southwestern corner of the state, a lovely area with two units of badlands and plenty of wildlife. The operator said 'Mike' would be able to help and transferred me.

I asked Mike if he knew when bison wake up. 'Bison are a daytime animal, unlike deer for example. Most of their activities go on during the day,' he said seriously. 'But that said I'll drive by a group of 200 during the day -- maybe 100 are eating, another 100 laying around, some with eyes shut. They eat and sleep throughout the day.' So they eat dawn to dusk? 'Yup' -- he really said 'yup' -- 'Remember that grass is a low quality food, and they have a big stomach to keep full.'

I mentioned the quarter, and here Mike got particularly interested. 'Let's see, if we had any defining features of the formation behind them, we could figure this out...' He paused. 'We'd probably need to talk with the artist though... Do you know the artist?' I said I didn't. 'You know, if I had to guess -- purely guess -- I'd say it's evening. Very few people out here get up that early.'

If it's good enough for Mike (who was enduring a blizzard at the time), it's good enough for us. The FBO claims that North Dakota's quarter depicts not a 'rising sun' but a falling one, thus isn't tributing the imperial Japanese military. And to be honest, when I visited the Roosevelt Park's North Unit in late spring 2001, the two-lane load reaches it from the east. And that's where most of the bison are. In fact, I had about 60 or 70 immediately surrounding my rental car. An artist heading up there would get the same vantage point of the badlands -- looking west.

-->Perhaps it would have been less confusing if North Dakota went with the Roger Maris quarter, remembering the homerun hero from Fargo.



FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

FBO: 'Promotes Waska_the_Rocker to Top Fan (On Two-Week Trial Basis)'



Waska_the_Rocker -- who has ridden a rocky road in FBO fanship (and membership) over the past three years, being suspended from various FBO events on several occasions -- is taking over the FBO Top Fan status for the next two weeks.

It will be up to fellow FBO fans to observe his conduct and participation until January 27 to determine if he can oust FBO Top Fan Rich Trott from the position long term.

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


--> Disclaimer: Waska_the_Rocker did not paint his likeness (as shown above). This painting -- actually a self-portrait by a 15-year-old Russian girl named Yuli -- was photographed in the Regional Museum of Blagoveshchensk, Russia, in June 2008.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

FBO: 'FBO Turns Three'



RESTATEMENT OF FBO OBJECTIVES

It was a simple idea -- admittedly one no one had ever thought of before -- in early 2006, when the Failed Bands of Oklahoma registered for a free spot on Blogspot and starting charting out new territory: respect for failed bands, tips for future failed bands, and efforts to garner press coverage for failed bands.

--> Happy birthday to the FBO!

In three years, the FBO has picked up four members and attracted -- curiously enough -- many critics. One attacked FBO 'Top Fan Rich Trott' -- whose title may be slipping soon -- in early 2008, by suggesting comments made on Mark Knopfler during the FBO's Mark Knopfler Week were out of hand. The critic was right -- clearly -- but the knock on Trott was out of line too, and the FBO responded.

This year the FBO continues its efforts to assemble failed bands at a show in Guymon, Oklahoma -- sadly the FBO postpones the day of May 2008 to September 2008 -- and makes a general call for transparency in the entertainment and creative media: prodding creators to show decisions and reasons behind their artworks.

Also the FBO bans people and institutions that fail to do so, or make aggrevious errors.

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

Friday, January 09, 2009

FBO: 'Relives Great 90s Miscalculation'

DRIVIN, THEN CRYIN
One of the more interesting transitions of all time was when Drivin n Cryin -- a punk, then folk, then pop metal band of the late '80s and early '90s (actually still going) made a fluffy-haired metal video about ten minutes before Nirvana released 'Smells Like Teen Spirit.'

The video is an embarrassment now, even if the song doesn't sound as bad as it did for an audience clamoring for something outside the usual MTV rotation. But, with critics in their pocket, Kevin Kinney and company feathered the hair and went for the big hit, just as their gritty indie roots could have landed them more credibility with the charts, bigger labels and new fans. One of the bigger rock mistakes of all time.

I had a chance to talk with Kevin Kinney, the lead singer, about it just as the album Fly Me Courageous was released in 1991. He was a nice, thoughtful guy. Only 22, I snarkily compared it to Dokken -- I apologize, Kevin -- and got the following response to why the band went that way at what turned out to be exactly the wrong moment.

video

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

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

FBO: 'The Worst of the '90s: Pearl Jam's First Album Cover'


'Then that Cobain had to come around and ruin it all... the '90s sucked.'
-- Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

Amen, brother. As 2009 is the first year since the '90s to include the digit '9' -- the worst number -- the FBO will be turning back to the '90s throughout the year to explain why it was the worst decade, musically and creatively speaking.

For starters, does anyone think it's about time we got an explanation for Pearl Jam's laughable cover for their debut album 10? The overly earnest raised-hand or arm-in-arm embrace sort of works when you're Vietnam vets singing backups in Billy Joel's live 'Goodnight Saigon' video (which isn't sounding that bad in 2009), but it really has no place on the outset of new era, where alternative bands took over the limelight from the fussed-up bands of the late '80s.



1991 was a hopeful time, but Pearl Jam -- complete with back-up guitarist's Richie Sambora hat in the grainy b/w video of 'Alive' -- assured hard-rock fans that this new 'alternative rock' wouldn't cut back on any Ford Truck bravado. And they ended up prophetic on that.

--> It's tempting to imagine that Pearl Jam don't prefer, artfully speaking, Gutzon Borglum (of Mt Rushmore fame) or Felix DeWeldon (of Iwa Jima Memorial fame) to 'vaguer' works by Rodin or Michelangelo.

The cover of the 11-song 10 (actually named for former OU basketball player Mookie Blaylock's number in the NBA) is a genuine attempt to show 'all for one, one for all' -- something immortally picked up by Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart and Sting with a Three Musketeers film ballad 'All For Love' in 1993.

A few things you can't do:

* Walk around the East Village in 1996 with an Oasis t-shirt.
* Drink Starbucks on stage in 2002 or 2003.
* Cover songs by Oasis.
* Use hats to form an identity unless you're Brian Johnson (of AC/DC) or Jamiroquai.
* Believe that a rock band, locked in unity, can triumph over the odds of homelessness, murder, depression, teen angst.

FBO Questionnaire:
Is there any difference, really, between the sentiments of the following two photographs -- one Rod Stewart, Bryan Adams (and a slightly removed) Sting interlocked in a soaring chorus about three poncey sword fighters, and the other the full image from Pearl Jam's debut photo shoot?





The answer, all for all, should be an emphatic 'no.'


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

Sunday, January 04, 2009

FBO: 'Suggestions for Tourism Ploys'

TOURISM PLOY UNCOVERED!
Guandu, China wants to be liked so much that the rarely visited city spent $3 million to rebuild its four main 1000-year-old temples and even, gulp, tore down blocks of ancient homes to build 'antique-looking shops' catered to tourists. Catch is that no one came.

So, per a recent New York Times article, the city government struck a deal with fashionably-hip 'kung fu monks' from 1200 miles away. The monks would manage the temples for 30 years and keep all proceeds from donation boxes and gift shops (presumably in the temples), the city would benefit from increased awareness.

--> One of the monks' first acts: advertising monthly kung fu lessons for $44 (about an average salary for many residents).

The FBO neither applauds nor condemns that acts of the city or monks, but does offer suggestions for other struggling tourist destinations -- tweaks to be made to garner more interest.


BULGARIA
. Institute an 'alphabet throwing contest' in Rila. Visitors can create or bring examples of their alphabet (in various forms -- recycled products, wood, tire) and see which flies the farthest -- Bulgaria invented the Cyrillic (Russian) alphabet. Also, start volunteer tourism to help excavate Roman/Thracian sites before grave-robbers get to it. Bulgarian wine is really good, but the nation doesn't promote it well -- foster programs for family-run wineries to open doors to tourism and agro-turismo stays and even work weekends cultivating grapes.

NORTH DAKOTA. Change the name to Real Dakota. Begin a catapult festival between Fargo and Moorhead, Minnesota -- large harmless things are catapulted over the north-flowing Red River. Do not warn Moorhead for the inaugural event. Host a Failed Bands of Oklahoma event in Rugby, the geographical center of North America. Russians charge foreigners inflated rates, sometimes, for hotels and always for museums. North Dakota should institute a two-price system: 'non-Russians' and 'Russians' (200% the ticket). This would generate press and attention. The art-deco Fargo Theater should host vegetable-throwing, profanity-encouraging screenings of the locally maligned film 'Fargo.'

NEW JERSEY. Have every one of the state's 3450 toll checks hand out a 'New Jersey Scenic Drive' map along with a toll receipt -- with 'ten 45 to 60-minute drives just off the interstate.' Actively pursue legislation to restore the State of Liberty and Ellis Islands in New York Harbor back to Jersey's control (both are technically in Jersey's boundaries). The press would be good even if no results. Governor should issue 'apology' for the state's lackluster image, then change the name of the state to Bruce Springsteen or York.

YAKUTSK, RUSSIA. The world's coldest city of over 200,000 -- home to the Yakut people, a city on stilts because of the brutal permafrost below the earth's surface. Make a fake beach -- with gold sand and fake neon trees -- along the not-bad Lena River in town. Ice volleyball contests in March. I got a real-reindeer Christmas ornament there -- with Blitzen fur; Yakutsk could organize a Reindeer-slaughtering Christmas events. Let a few outsiders know about the wonderful June Ysyakh event (with teepees and horse meat). Drop the foreigner pricing scheme.

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

Friday, January 02, 2009

FBO: 'Video Feed: Tall Tales' First Show in 14 Years'

Fourteen years. The time it took Axl to foster Chinese Democracy, the time lapsed between livehouse stage performances by FBO #001 Tall Tales.

To celebrate, the FBO's fourth-coming year in existence, here's a recorded video feed of Tall Tales' performance of 'What?' from the Deli in Norman in early November:

video

It could reasonably be argued that this show -- of a failed band returning to the stage -- was aided by the environment created by the Failed Bands of Oklahoma.

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