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Thom Dunn is a Boston-based writer, musician, homebrewer, and new media artist. He enjoys Oxford commas, metaphysics, and romantic clichés (especially when they involve whiskey), and he firmly believes that Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" is the single greatest atrocity committed against mankind. He is a graduate of Clarion Writer's Workshop at UCSD ('13) & Emerson College ('08).

Glenn Beck's Grim n' Gritty Ninja Santa Claus Reboot

Obviously I talk a lot about mental health and the fair treatment of human beings on my website; as such, it would be unfair for me to make light of the "rare neurological condition" with which pundit Glenn Beck has been recently diagnosed.

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Everyone got the giggles out now? Okay. Because he's also working on a new gritty action-adventure book/movie about an immortal warrior called Santa Claus who roams the — desert? tundra? — protecting the wee Baby Jesus, presumably from the legions of Hellish MainstreamLiberalMedia Spawn.

(but like no really why are there camels and also snow?)

Here's what Beck himself had to say about it:

My Santa, the Immortal is a very different guy.  He starts out right before the birth of Christ, and he is up in the mountains. And he is a warrior. He has lost his wife, and he’s a sad individual. And he’s got a son who loves dearly, and he lives up in the mountains, and he hunts for food.
He eventually is hired by three wise men because he can negotiate, because nobody is going to rip them off, and he knows how to get the very best gifts. And so he negotiates with gold, frankincense, and myrrh and then has to go protect that gold, frankincense, and myrrh and then through a series of events is left there to protect the Christ child, never interacting, just watching.
He doesn’t know who he is, and he goes darker and darker in his whole life as he watches this boy grow, but he’s always touched by him, but he doesn’t realize it until the Sermon on the Mount. [. . .]
He makes a pact. Little does he know in that pact he has now become immortal, because as he watches the crucifixion from afar and cannot get close to it, cannot stop it, he feels he fails again. He runs off before the resurrection. A thousand years pass until he meets another little boy, a little boy that happens to grow up to be what we know as Saint Nicholas...

Beck does ultimately go on to make some salient points about mythology — how Santa Claus as we currently know him has in fact evolved over the years, an amalgamation of multiple cultural incarnations filtered through the veil of Clement Clarke Moore and years of Coca-Cola ads. As such, this badass eternal ninja warrior version of the man in red is just Beck's contribution to the ongoing memetic traditions of the Santa Claus, in the same way that Greek and Norse mythology (and, of course, comic book superheroes) has changed and been re-appropriated over time. It's a high aspiration, sure, to deem yourself The One To Revolutionize The Santa Claus Myth For Future Generations, but then, I guess he can't be blamed for trying. After all, my friend Aisha did put out that fantastic controversial piece last year about Penguin Santa Claus, which I thought was a great idea (and which Glenn Beck surprisingly didn't say anything stupid about?) — so I guess that change has got to start somewhere, right?

Then again, Glenn Beck's last attempt at a Christmas revolution featured him  and — ah, you're right, I'm sorry. Rare neurological condition and all that. It's not polite to laugh.

Re-Creating the Beastie Boys' "Paul's Boutique" From the Original Sample Sources (with bonus visual companion)

I found your next party mix — one hour of straight rockin', all in honor of the late MCA! A group of DJs identified each individual audio sample used to create the Beastie Boys album Paul's Boutique, then went back to the original sources and re-remixed the samples for a whole new take on the album. The three DJs — Cheeba, Moneyshot, and Food, collectively part of Solid Steel — each took a third of the album and re-mixed the sample sources as each one saw fit, creating a new song from the same pieces, which puts a really cool artistic spin (no pun intended) on the idea of sampling. (If you break it down, it's quite post-post-modern — the art of sampling itself is very postmodern in the way it deconstructs and re-examines a source material, and this takes to a whole other level).

You can check out the complete track-listing of samples used over on Soundcloud (along with the breakdown of who mixed what).

As long as we're on the topic of the Beastie Boys, Paolo Gilli created Paul's Boutique: A Visual Companion in honor of the 25th anniversary of the album's release. The film takes its inspiration from the lyrical and sonic landscape of the Beastie Boys' sophomore effort and transforms into an hour-long visual narrative feast of 70s cinema, funky beats, and dirty New York City streets. On his website, the filmmaker explains:

I don’t know how many times I’ve listened to the album in all these years, but at some point the idea began to form in my mind about how cool it would be to have a visual counterpart of the whole record. Only later I discovered that this had been MCA’s plan from the very beginning. The countless pop culture references and the density of the music offer so many possibilities on how to visually approach the record. Also, the urban legend regarding Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moonwhen paired with the movie The Wizard of Oz, basically a result of the concept of synchronicity, had a certain influence on me. [ . . . ]
As I saw tributes in memory of MCA pop up all over the world, I wanted to do something myself. Finally I sat down and began writing what you could call the editing script for Paul’s Boutique - A Visual Companion. The concept was to use all the original videos (Shake Your RumpHey Ladies,Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun and Shadrach) as a kind of skeleton to build around the rest of the movie. [ . . . ]
The Companion evolved after that original script, but in the end we stayed surprisingly close to the original concept. But something else happened, something strange. Some of the ideas I had from the start turned out to be almost as multi-layered as the tracks themselves. Luck, fate, coincidence, karma, call it whatever you want, but out of nothing the weirdest connections between music, lyrics and images came to be. There are some things that only film buffs, hardcore Beastie Boys or Hip Hop fans will get, but that’s not even half of the story. Let’s just say that free association has a big part in how well you will understand the movie. That said, even though we started out with mainly Beastie Boys fans in mind, our goal was to make this an enjoyable viewing experience for everybody else too.

Ch-ch-check it out below (see what I did there?):