Friday, February 29, 2008

Music: The Brazen Heads - One Eyed Reilly

The Brazen Heads are a Phoenix based Celtic rock band with a surprisingly hard driving sound for a band with no electric guitar in 99% of their work. This is primarily because of the amazing drum and vocal stylings of Roy Plisko (who also writes the blog descriptions) The other guys do stuff too though: Liam Mackey sits in front with a guitar, tells dirty jokes and sings most of the songs, Tim Sadow has this long, hairy, stick thing that he strokes a little instrument with, Mark Lanus plays with just about anything he gets his hands on and bass player James Cowley has really cool hair.

This is the first music video released from their new album Who's Yer Paddy.

For more information go to and feel free to drop us a message on our band forums too.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Dilbert Kickin It Old School

Recently on the Dilbert Blog [1/29/08], Scott Adams mused about the seeming randomness of the lyrics of popular songs. He challenged his readers to submit random lyrics of their own that could be combined into a song.

Lots of people submitted their random lyrics, and German band RIVO DREI put the best ones together, added music, and created a surprisingly great little song. Then one of the readers took it an extra step and made a music video using nothing but images from the Internet. You might be surprised how well it came out:

This is also a good example of how most music company executives wouldn't know what a good song was if it came up and chomped them in the arse. ;)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Video Activism: Mark Fiore - The Spies Who Love You

Sometimes you need to talk to people like they are idiots before they finally get it. Hopefully this will do it. Mark Fiore does lots of animation work which can be found at his website. In this video he explains the absurdity of the FISA law, AKA "The Protect America Act" that is being rammed through congress with absolutely no public support. In fact, much public sentiment has been "are you F'n kidding me??" The Senate has already passed the bill giving Telecoms immunity for past lawbreaking. The US Supreme court has recently refused to hear a case challenging the legality of the issue. All that is left now is the house of representatives. They have stood up to Bush a little at this point by refusing to pass the law immediately as he demanded. It looks pretty likely, however, that they will eventually pass it.

Welcome to America where our government teams up with mega corporations to break the law and then passes a new law to let them all get away with it retroactively.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Politics - Less Jobs More Wars - No You Can't

The never ending imitations of the original Obama/Black Eyed Peas political mashup continue with this dark entry: NO YOU CAN'T.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Blast from the Past: Zappa on Crossfire in 1986

It's interesting when you find old videos from 20+ years online ago that show extreme relevancy today, or at the very least show the viewer how someone's words were way ahead of their time, even prophetic.

Frank Zappa talking about the government regulating and censoring music lyrics (in the age of Tipper Gore's P.M.R.C. - Parent's Music Resource Center) on CNN's Crossfire from 1986 is indeed one of those moments in time that are worth re-watching today.

Sitting on the right with Robert Novak, Zappa makes some eloquent arguments against censorship in the era of Ronald Reagan. What strange bedfellows Zappa and Novak make, especially given Novak's role in outing CIA operative Valerie Plame 20 years later.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Politics - Andy Cobb -

This is a halarious spoof of the Obama "Yes We Can" video that uses a similar treatment of John McCain's Words.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Verhoeven Interviews

This is an interview I did with director Paul Verhoeven that was picked up for YouTube's Film & Animation "Spotlight" this week. I'm particularly proud of this interview.

Paul Verhoeven, the director of Robocop, Total Recall and the critically-acclaimed Black Book talks about his life as a filmmaker. A rare and candid look inside the mind of one of Hollywood's great directors.

Embedded playlist with all 5 clips below.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Insured can't get help either

This is a window into our tragic healthcare disaster. Please watch the short clip and read through this thread. Then look around you at your friends and family. We need a better system if you want to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Lisa has been denied potential life saving care because of her insurance, NOT because she doesn't have it and hasn't been paying thru the nose for years to Blue Cross Blue Shield of California. She has been fighting breast cancer for 7 years. When time was very critical, the hospital we needed to get her care refused her insurance. Well, we don't like them either but what choice do we have?? None. Once you are diagnosed, you can't change insurance companies. No one will take you. I am wondering- is this what they call the "free market?”. It seems insurance companies dictate whether you can receive treatment, where you can go to get it, how quickly or not they will respond to your requests for benefits - all based on their bottom line, not the patient, the person who has been PAYING them to TAKE CARE OF THEM WHEN THEY ARE SICK!

As of today (Sunday, Feb 10th) Lisa has slipped into coma. She will maybe last another 72 hours like this before she leaves us. While this tragedy is the world to us there are so many suffering similar stories. How many more families will suffer such loss before we demand a better system?

Friday, February 8, 2008

Politics: Election 08: An Unwelcome Endorsement

Lee Stranahan brings us this campaign commercial spoof.

Two of the 3 candidates mentioned here have dropped out already. Could it be that Jesus really is bringing candidates down with his liberal policies?

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Story Of Stuff

This is probably one of the best animated shorts I've seen in awhile to explain why modern consumerism is not sustainable. A very light-hearted approach to understanding why buying locally and making good decisions when buying products is needed. I've posted the first part here, but it's a 7 part series, and the author has dozens more similar videos.

They are supported by the Tides foundation and the Funders Workgroup for Sustainable Production & Consumption.

Note from Plisko:
I liked this so much that I went and made a playlist so that the whole series should now play as one video. Each segment is only about 2+ minutes, so it's around 15-20 minutes total runtime.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Sunday Inspiration - Ted Talks: Bill Strickland

This video is from a site known as Ted Talks TED Stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design and it is an organization dedicated to bringing together the great thinkers and doers in the world who are challenged to give the best public talk of their lives, in 18 minutes or so. They make videos of these speaking engagements available to the public for free under a collective commons license.

Bill Strickland is a man who had a vision to build a training center for poor and underprivileged people in a rough neighborhood in Pittsburgh. His approach is different from many such attempts however. He believes that the tone you set about how much you value people in these schools is something that needs to be established right away before you start giving them speeches. As a result he has insisted that his center have things like fountains, flowers, fine art, hand crafted furniture and gourmet meals in the cafeteria at tables that look more like a high profile business dinner. He believes that these things have a psychological impact on the students that breeds much more success in the program. The video above is a very famous slide show that he has taken around the country to raise money and awareness about his dream. He is accompanied by Herbie Hancock on piano as he speaks. It is an incredibly moving and inspirational story he tells about his accomplishments and goals. Everyone who has ever been involved in education really needs to see this.

Sunday Inspiration - Black Eyed Peas: Yes We Can

I find it very interesting that something like this video below, which is essentially a song that backs a political candidate, can strike a note inside of you that makes you think.

A political mashup meets a collage of music sung by some hollywood and music industry heavyweights (Black Eyed Peas, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Scarlet Johannsen, etc.) turns into subtle political art. So simple, but so poignant. This particular video is a wonderful minimalist approach to creating art as a political tool.

Also hosted at

SUNDAY FEATURE: The Possibility Of Hope

Hey, it's Zen's first Sunday Feature.

Gary Tarn (Black Sun) returns to moviemaking in 2007 as the 16mm Cinematographer of the 27 minute documentary directed by Alfonso Cuarón: The Possibility Of Hope.

This documentary takes a look at different matters of the world such as immigration, global warming and capitalism through the eyes of scientists and philosophers.

YouTube Playlist parts 1-3:

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Gary Tarn: What's Wrong With Modern Cinema?

This is part 2 of a 5 part Interview I did with Cinematographer & Composer Gary Tarn & Hughes de Montalembert on Tarn's independent documentary BLACK SUN about Hughes life. Click here to see other clips from this interview.

In 1978, Hughes de Montalembert, a French filmmaker and painter living in New York City, was attacked by two men on the way back to his apartment. During the struggle, paint thinner was thrown into his eyes by one of his assailants, scarring and blinding him for the rest of his life. For many, the story would have ended right there. For Hughes, it was just the beginning.

Eighteen months after being blinded, Hughes began to travel the world -- alone.