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Posts Tagged ‘geniuses’

The Cure

Today’s rock stars are too damned serious. It’s all about image. You’d never see Marilyn Manson or Linkin Park sing a song called Friday I’m in Love. That shit wouldn’t sell with the angry kids in the burbs these days.

The Cure practically invented “serious” when it comes to rock music, so you might be tempted to think the same thing about them. The ratted out hair, the lipstick, the mopey lyrics… it was quite a scene. The whole Goth movement came out of their heyday, and some idiot even committed suicide during one of their concerts — an act I’m sure he would be thoroughly embarrassed about today had he not succeeded, the silly fool. Especially if it was before they played Just Like Heaven. Awkward.

Because for every droning minor guitar chord the band ever played, there was a happy-go-lucky counterpart song in a major key on the B-side. So much for appealing to the misguided misanthropic teenagers. You can’t really stab yourself in the face to a song called Mint Car.

It’s almost funny that The Cure is known for being a depressing Goth band when they wrote some of the giddiest pop songs ever recorded. But to be fair, they did write some seriously creepy shit, too. Albeit still awesome as hell:

More catchy treats:

For creating a genre and then defying it at the same time, The Cure are effing awesome.


Stanley Kubrick

Knock Knock

He made some of the most incredible motion pictures of all time, filled them with some of the most indelible images ever filmed, and inspired some of the most memorable performances ever caught by a camera.

A Bit of the Old Utralviolence

He dealt with some pretty heady topics: nuclear war as a punchline, pedophilia and sexual obsession (based on the bestselling novel!), the decay of civilized society, sex and the married man, the very existence of humanity, etc.

Purity of Essence

We worked with nearly every genre, trying to turn it on its head. Some people called his work cold and acerbic, almost clinical in precision. As if that meant they were less worthy or effective in some way.

Behind the scenes of The Shining:

A Kubrick film festival could literally alter your personality. His movies were all-enveloping and distinctively his.  So much so that it created a new adjective: Kubrickian. Which is like the opposite of Capraesque.

For making some of the best movies of all time, and for being distinctive enough to inspire his own adjective, Stanley Kubrick was effing awesome.


Rome is a big city. Most of us get lost there just turning a corner. The intricate, ancient, stylized architecture is world renowned. Its streets weren’t exactly planned or built with any sort of modern-day grid structure. Yet, you can put an autistic guy in a helicopter and give him a twenty-minute fly-by and he can draw that shit from memory:

His name is Stephen Wiltshire and he’s done New York, too.

If autism weren’t so awful and unpredictable, it would almost be cool. It’s a frustrating shame that abnormally brilliant mental ability always seems to get paired with a crippling neural development disorder that leaves you barely able to communicate. Just ask Stephen Hawking. It’s like God is giving you a big towering piece of brain cake covered in smart frosting and then not letting you eat it – and no one else can take a bite either.

There is probably a lesson to be learned from this guy, something about a silver lining or making lemonade or perhaps even some sort of inspirational hooey about the unlimited potential of the human mind, but let’s face it, you could practice for a lifetime and never be able to accomplish this feat, plus it would be rather belittling to his achievements to even try. So we’ll just avoid over-analysis and leave it at this:

Autistic or not, Stephen Wiltshire is effing awesome.


The Decemberists

Did you know that you can take rustic sea chanteys, old Chinese allegories, allusions to treacherous murder, the ghosts of dead babies, and erudite lyricism and turn it into a folksy pop orgy of incredible delights, even though it may require a dictionary to fully enjoy the experience?

Neither did anyone else! Except The Decemberists, who happen to have a new LP out today. Here is a little help with some of the lyrics, in case you need it:

Plinth : a course of stones forming a continuous foundation or base course

Loam : a nutrient-rich soil consisting of varying proportions of clay, silt, and sand

Andalusian : from a specific region of Spain, loosely: Spanish

Bonhomie : Cheerful friendliness; geniality

The Wrong Side of the Lee : outside or beyond a protective shelter

Leda : In Greek Mythology, the mother of Clytemnestra and Helen of Troy, who was seduced by Zeus in the form of a swan

Panoply : a magnificent or impressive array

The Decemberists are effing awesome.


Bob Ross

Many of us, bored on the couch, will have the fleeting thought: “I should really take up a productive hobby. Something ceative. Maybe painting or… ooh a new Law & Order is starting.” In the time it took you to watch that episode (which you had to watch because it featured your favorite detective pairing – Lennie Briscoe and Ed Green), Bob Ross could have made four new oil paintings.

Like Heroin to the PBS CrowdThe guy must have painted thousands of landscapes with whispy clouds and “happy” towering evergreens over the years on public television. His gentle afro and soft, soothing voice were like heroin to the PBS crowd. He was Mr. Rogers for grown-ups.

He believed, perhaps naively, that everyone had inherent artistic talent and that all it took to become an accomplished artist was practice and encouragement. That was very Pollyanna of him, but depending on your definition of “accomplished,” he may have been right. His paintings weren’t exactly “profound,” or “creative,” or “good,” but he just loved painting them so damned much. It was infectious. And that was an accomplishment in itself.

Every once in a while, you can buy an original Bob Ross on Ebay. If you’re a rich hipster doofus, you might want to own one ironically. But if you have any sort of a soul, you might want one hanging in your home as a reminder of how awesome is feels to do something you just really love doing.

Bob Ross was effing awesome.


Rick Steves

In the Lap of Luxury

We should all love living in a country where a man like Rick Steves, in all of this nasal-voiced glory, can talk through his nose, get haircuts at Greatclips and innocuous polo shirts at JCPenney, and still manage to build a thriving corporate empire simply by traveling to the most beautiful locales in the world and eating at the most fabulous restaurants on the planet.

It’s the America that every average Joe dreams of conquering. It’s an America where the Statue of Liberty might instead declare:

Only in America“Give me your Muppet-voiced, your ten-dollar haircuts,

Your huddled masses in your pleated tan pants yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse in your comfortable white tennies,

Send these, the lacking of any distinctive personality, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door and… who wants to be a MILLIONAIRE?

They guy gives hope to us all. He had the courage to name his company “Back Door Productions” with utter lack of irony. The guy even supports the decriminalization of marijuana. Plus, his travel books are generally spot on and his TV show is hypnotic.

Rick Steves, and other people who couldn’t give less of a shit what people think about them, are effing awesome.


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