The Art of War and Breaking Bad

The Art of War is of course the book your MBA lecturer tells you that you should read but never do. It never seems to be a mandatory part of the curriculum, but it needs to be. Because if you can interpret it and apply what you have learnt, there’s no stopping you. Anyone can teach you a literal practical skill. But being able to interpret a classic text and apply it to your daily life is a massive skill. It’s not easy, but it’s rewarding. So I decided to have a little fun with it and contrast hit show Breaking Bad with the Art of War. It’s clearly obvious to me that Vince Gilligan has read the book. Walter’s brother in law Hank the Detective is the biggest catalyst for it. To know your enemy, become your enemy “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” Around series one, Hank Schrader gets promoted to a bigger Narcotics bureau. The squad is full of Mexican detectives with statues of Latino gods on their desks. Hank gawks at them worshipping the same gods as the drug dealers. He quickly realises that these Mexican cops are a better cop than him because they fully understand their enemies. This was the first real Breaking Art of War moment of the series. Later in the series, Hank is in rehabilitation and...
Is Shane Smith Lemmy’s love child?

Is Shane Smith Lemmy’s love child?

Lately I’ve been addicted to the Vice Broadcasting Service (vbs.tv). Not only have they been responsible for epic movies like Heavy Metal in Baghdad, but they relentlessly travel the world showing you places you’d never thought you’d see in your life. I’m talking Liberia, the sewer kids of Colombia, heavy metal mobs on Aboriginal reservations; they literally know now bounds! It’s beyond gonzo journalism or ever war correspondence. They take you to places where war technically hasn’t stopped for 50 years like North Korea. Brining very nicely to the point of this blog: Shane Smith. Somehow after years of working for a faceless corporate behemoth, I’ve found North Korea both bizarre and strangely intruiging. Perhaps all those bland grey office partitions have got me in the communist mind set. Whatever the reason, I found a Youtube video of Shane Smith going through North Korea as a clandestine filmmaker. I’m assuming that when he went through customs, he did not have to declare the watermelon sized balls he has on one of those arrivals forms.  It seems at no stage of this journey was there no sense of danger. Posing as tourists, at each corner their minders are warning them of the dangers of their actions. So after seeing the North Korea video a few times (it’s just that out there) and Smith’s trip to Liberia it got me thinking. OK so the guy has watermellon sized balls and thus pretty cool. Then he’s got these features of someone we know and love. So there’s no tell tale warts on the face, but the shortish beard and sideburns and long,...

The ultimate celebrity fragrances comeback

Walk past any pharmacy or the cosmetic section of any department store and you will be inundated. As if we can’t get enough of Shitney Spears and Gwen Stefani in the general zeitgeist, we need to apparently smell like them. Everyone from Ewan McGregor to Kylie Minogue now has their own fragrance – yours for just a few hundred bucks. It seems celebrities themselves have become brands; bright, shiny objects for our mass appeal and consumption. Frankly this whole thing is pathetic and I have an idea to turn it on its arse: Lemmy the fragrance. It will come in a hip flask made of old German World War Two surplus with a big German eagle on it. Forget high notes of Brazilian Sandalwood and patchouli, Lemmy the fragrance smells of denim, leather cowboy boots, Malboro Reds, Jack Daniels and Coke, sweat covered Marshall amps and fresh amphetamines. This is a fragrance, finally, that will melt knickers and scare small children. For those who don’t like wearing Lemmy the fragrance, you can have it with Coke on ice. Or for the die hard, it will come in a snortable form. Either way, you’re never going to end up in some poncey hip hop bar wearing this stuff and it should help rid the shelves of the next Paris Hilton fragrance which probably would smell of chlamydia and wet patch.  Oh yeah and it would make Lemmy live on forever, which seems inevitable anyway. What more could you ask for? Willy Nelson the fragrance? Well that would be the smell of smoking a spliff at your grandfather’s house which limits...

Got a speed habit, configure your Porsche!

Only a pragmatist could love a Porsche, pure and simple. Some are born so pragmatic that even as a small boy, a Lamborghini or a Ferrari is just not practical enough. In the words of Jeremy Clarkson in his Top Gear editorial, Porsches are for people who were caught masturbating as children. Well to elaborate those with far too much shame that were caught masturbating as children. Thank you Mr Clarkson. There’s an even worse kind of person. Those that justify any awfulness, say the new (or any) Nickelback CD with “well they’ve sold millions of CDs so someone likes them”. As if to say any kind of mediocrity can be justified with popularity and a blinding dose of pragmatism. If the title of this blog hasn’t left you wondering, I’m not one of those people. I don’t like medicore pop masquerading as rock, and I have been caught in the act enough times to simply smile and think of England. Even as a small child, I never liked Porsches. Not when my uncle came back from Targa Tasmania (as a navigator), describing them as ‘porches’ that mostly ended up in the ditches and ravines of Tasmania because of the inept accountants driving them. For the record, I’ve tried to like Audis. But there’s an A4 brochure on my desk that is so boring it makes me want to cause self harm with the sharp cardboard pages. Only Audi could make 18″ wheels mind numbingly, Nickelback-latest-single, arsebleedingly boring. Boring enough to make me glad I didn’t become a CPA or go through med school and work in IT after...

Malaysian Top Gear is stuck in reverse

On my most recent jaunt overseas, I decided to stock up on reading material for several bus and plane rides. Wouldn’t you know it, there’s a Malaysian version of Top Gear -the April 2009 edition as it goes. After all it’s all basically the same content right, with a few local contributions? All was looking pretty good too until some well dressed, shiny domed, sensitive type named Donald Cheah starts the proceedings as editor. Warning: do not read Cheah’s editorials or any writings in confined spaces! In a rare, infact unprecedented display of solidarity, even my fiance agrees that the following is the most irrelevant and self indulgent editorial in the history of car magazines: “This is a motoring magazine, I know. But it has to be said that suicide, no matter how galantly potrayed and noble in Seven Pounds should have no place in the real world… I have to say this because I know how influential movies with big names can be, and I know there are quite a number of folks who read this magazine, even the younger susceptible set. So again, suicide, however ‘worthy’ the cause is and will always be wrong. There, I said it.” It’s almost a moot point that if he cares for the younger, more ‘susceptible’ readers maybe he wouldn’t overtly go out of his way to alienate those who are in a bad place. Let alone waste valuable magazine space with his degrading opinion. I can’t wait until next week when he shares his opinion on gays and abortion. A quick reminder Top Gear, why do people read car mags?...

Best rock rant in history

Ed Roman is a ‘guitar shop to the stars’ kind of guy. He is based in Vegas and appears to have been dealing with rock star types since god started designing dirt. And his rant here proves it. I stumbled upon his celebrity guitars web site the other day and have been reading through his ‘celebrity guitar’ pages for almost a week. It’s stupid crazy addictive for a muso. Ed’s created a site that despite not being updated in a while and a few old school design elements (I’m always up for a redesign project Mr Roman!), the content is just so bloody good. Anyway, after I’d gone through all the heroes, there was the celebrity page for Def Leppard guitarist Viv Campbell. This article sums up Def Leppard beautfully as one of the most talented yet clearly irrelevant groups in rock history. Ed’s article goes from talking about Viv into a two page manifesto of what’s wrong with rock today. There’s literally about 3 lines about Viv and Def Leppard in the whole thing. It’s all about how people could really play in the eighties and everyone’s a three chord poseur now. In the 80’s, you had to know how to play your guitar or you couldn’t join a rubber band. I mean today a lot of these so called garage bands can barely tune their instruments. So instead of learning how to play their instrument or how to use their gear, they just babble on about 80’s hair head bands and call them spandex sissies. Then he draws on personal experience to point out the poseurs: Just...