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Monday, November 28, 2005

Kosher Dill

A scene from a Lil’ Kim video popped into my head this evening, and I can’t for the life of me recall which song it’s for. The clip goes like this: It’s nighttime, and an outdoor party is flipping off the hizzle. It must be on a tropical island, ‘cause everyone is sweating like they mean it even though they’re wearing next to nothing. Lil’ Kim is eating a pickle like it’s the best thing she’s ever tasted—she is really enjoying the pickle—when something catches her eye… A boy! (A sweaty, salty, presumably not dill-flavored young boy.)

What song is this for? It’s driving me crazy!

Say what you will about Lil’ Kim, but she’s the only singer I can think of who’s eaten a whole pickle in a music video. No one can take that away from her. (Unless, of course, someone reading this can name another pop singer who has eaten a whole pickle in his/her music video.)

I love pickles. Kosher pickles, dill pickles, garlic pickles, Polish pickles, German pickles—I love them all, loaded with easy allegory or not. And therefore I love Lil’ Kim. (I wouldn’t mind being her easy allegory, either. Don’t tell my wife!)

Also, I love 60s girl groups. This is why I blew all the money I had saved for Nathaniel’s birthday present on the “One Kiss Can Lead to Another: Girl Group Sounds Lost & Found” RHINO anthology, which I have every intention of keeping for myself. I’m sure he’ll love the matching salt-and-pepper shakers I got him instead.

Ben Lee

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Born Again

Today marks the anniversary of the births of a few of our own and many of our dear friends--Nathaniel, Grandmaster B of the Blood Arm, Alyson, and Richie. Please wish them all a very happy birthday!

-Ben Lee

More detailed updates to come!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

One Step Closer to the Edge...

My mother calls me on the phone, very excited.

“Ben Lee! Have you heard of the band Linkin Park?”

“Yes mother, they’re quite popular. Do you like them?”

“I’ve never heard of them, but I JUST MET THEIR GUITAR PLAYER!”

“How did this come about?”

“I was shopping at Nordstroms for a wedding present, and there were all these young girls crowding this young man and asking him for his autograph, so I went up and asked him why he was famous, and he said he was in Linkin Park! HE’S IN LINKIN PARK! Do you like them?”


“Then I asked him if he’s heard of the Blood Arm… HE’S HEARD OF THE BLOOD ARM!”

I was about to point out that this was probably just a brush-off to prevent an explanation of who the Blood Arm are, but she was so excited I just went with it. Now I’m praying my mother doesn’t translate her brush with fame into an actual affinity for Linkin Park’s music.

Thanksgiving would be a headache!

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I’ve compiled an incomplete list of things the members of the band are thankful for on this very American holiday.

Nathaniel: Whiskey.

Dyan: Wine.

Zebastian: Scotch.

Zachary: Alcohol.

(Everyone mentioned family, friends, and music, too, but hey! They’ve an image to keep up, for godsakes.)

Me, I’m thankful for everyone who reads this diary. Thank you for reading!

-Ben Lee

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Still, I Rub

ART BRUT is the feel-good band of the year. Friday was the most fun I’ve had at a non-the Blood Arm show in forever, but I think it gave me nightmares. Seriously!

Example A:

I am in my childhood home—shag, beige carpeting, and the walls are painted like buttermilk, interrupted by framed photographs of various deceased family members. My body is of normal, current proportions, but I am naked, save for a diaper, and my head has transformed into that of an infant’s. A very large infant’s. My right eye itches like hell. Instead of scratching it with my fingers, though, I rub the whole of my face on the carpet. I rub and rub and rub. The skin of my cheeks, forehead, and eyelids burns, cracks, peels, and pusses. Still, I rub. I rub for the better part of an hour.

Now wounded, bloody, oozing and partially blind, I stumble out of my house and into the street. None of the weekday foot-traffic seems to notice me until I am accosted by two old, fat men. They are friendly enough, telling jokes about doctors ordering hickory daiquiris, but they grab me by each of my arms and lead me into a high-school gymnasium, past the rows and rows of bleachers half-full with uninterested spectators, until finally releasing me inside a boxing-ring situated in the center of the floor.

In the opposite corner there is another diaper-clad young man, but his head is that of a bloated grizzly bear. I lunge at him, but it is pointless—my energy has been sufficiently depleted by the earlier face-rubbing, and the grizzly man is much stronger than I. My competitor headbutts me into unconsciousness. When I am down, he kneels over me and gnaws at my stomach, covering his jowls in blood. The audience cheers.

Tell me, what does it mean? (Interpretations are very welcome.)

Yours in terror,
Ben Lee

Friday, November 18, 2005

Last Night: Spoon! Tonight: Art Brut!

Inventory of exciting things you missed last night at the Wiltern (inventory is incomplete):

-Zachary's new beard!

-Dyan's red dress... So shiny! So sexy! So Rock!

-Zebastian... Dancing? Zebastian dancing!

-Nathaniel to audience: "SIT DOWN!"
Audience: "OK!"
(Audience sits.)

-Beer! Lots of beer!

-Zachary's new roommate, Winn (a.k.a. my replacement)... Bit by dog!

-Britt Daniels of Spoon... Very sexy pants!

-Spoon... Very sexy band!

-Beer! Lots of beer!

Tonight: We are going to see our very good friends the Adored perform with ART BRUT! Yesss!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Pee-Wee's at the Cinema...

The competition was intense, but one entry shone brighter than all the others:

Dear Mr. Ben Lee,

Recently came across your contest on the Ambitious-Outsiders website and although I find this to be a rather interesting question, it is also strikingly easy. In order to disect they lyric, "Paul is always looking for love," one must examine not only the line itself, but also the context from which it is derived. This is obviously a reference to Paul Reubens and his memorable 1991 "movie" outing. The evidence is clearly provided in the surrounding lyrics:

"Karina is at the cinema
Paul is always looking for love
Nobody notices until somebody explodes."

Although I like the song the way it is, one must think that Nathaniel had a very difficult time choosing between "Nobody notices until somebody explodes," and "Nobody notices until somebody reaches the bottom of the popcorn."

Hope this helps answer your question.


Congratulations Mr. Grushkin, winner of two tickets for tomorrow night's show at the Witern.

Thank you to everyone who entered! (There are gifts for you as well, we just haven't figured out what they are yet.)

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Polar Bears, Felons, And Autistic Nymphomaniacs

Submissions to the contest thus far have cast Paul as a polar bear, a felon, and an autistic nymphomaniac. If you have yet to submit an answer, you best hurry, as all entries are due by Wednesday, November 16 at 2pm. The winner will be notified shortly thereafter.

Keep up the good work!

-Ben Lee

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Win Tickets to Thursday's Show!

We of the Blood Arm posse are firm believers in charity, but we also hold fast to the notion that a little hard work never hurt anybody. Therefore, rather than simply giving away a pair of free tickets to Thursday’s show at the Wiltern with Spoon, we’ve decided to make you sweat a little, then give you some free tickets.

Please consider the following question, then type out a reply in 100 words or less:

In the song Do I Have Your Attention?, who is the Paul Nathaniel is referring to with the lyric "Paul is always looking for love," and why is this Paul so desperate?

The best answer—not necessarily the correct one—will be posted on this diary and win she/he who submits it a pair of tickets to the show, so be creative. Extra credit will be granted to submissions with a clear narrative arc.

All entries must be emailed to by 2pm Wednesday, November 16 to be considered, so hurry!

Good luck and God bless.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Kept Apart From You Inside the Jail

A few months ago, after a TBA show at the Barfly in Glasgow, I saw someone carrying a cat in a cage. Both the owner and the cat seemed very unhappy--the cat because it was cold outside and he was locked in a cage, the owner because it was cold outside and he had to carry his screeching cat around with him. It was all very sad.

I pointed the twosome out to our tour manager, Paul, and told him it reminded me of this David Shrigley collage:

Paul laughed for a moment, then replied, "Did you see Mr. Shrigley at the show tonight?"

This took me back a bit, because while I am a big fan of Shrigley's work, I have no idea what he looks like. And Paul asked me this as if I should have known him. And I would love to know him! I would love to know David Shrigley!

I tried to put it all behind me at that point in time, but I sort of hated Paul for not introducing me. (Not hate him, hate him, I was just a little disappointed.)

That same hate/disappointment stirred in me once again this evening when I purchased Shrigley's new book:

After poring over it for an hour or so, it occurs to me that Shrigley and I are meant to be best friends in the world. Like, playing truth-or-dare, drinking diet soda, pillow-fighting, and whispering our celebrity crushes to one-another... That kind of best friends. Best friends who do each other's homework in school when the other is sick, take bullets for each other in gang wars, swap wives on our joint honeymoons. The bestest of best friends ever.

The book is so funny and so sad. He draws conjoined twins, one better-looking than the other. He draws sad men with monster-prostitutes. And he ends his book with my favorite Donald Barthelme short story, "The Baby."

And--perhaps serving as the greatest indicator of his bestfriendworthiness--he attends TBA shows in Glasgow.

I love him like a brother and I never even knew him.

-Ben Lee

Oh! Speaking of men whom I love like brothers, Zebastian takes issue with my dubbing him "creepy" in the last entry, and has promised to prove otherwise, in writing, on this very page. Specifically, he will be discussing his favorite role-playing games. If you can't wait that long for a healthy helping of your favorite guitar player, follow-up on his pee-wee baseball league for underprivileged youth here:

And if you're feeling lonely, cheerful, or the slightest bit horny, say hello to Grandmaster B of the Blood Arm!

Friday, November 04, 2005

100 Children, 16 to 19 Years of Age

Utopia, for me, goes a little something like this:

A 3,000 square foot apartment, filled with hot tubs, drugs, alcohol, and ample bedding. The ceilings are impossibly high, the sheets have a thread count of 2,000, the carpet is cushioned, long, and shaggy. Every furnishing, accessory, and strand of the interior is bleached the whitest of the whites and lighted so brightly that shadows are an impossibility. The temperature is kept at a constant of 74 degrees Fahrenheit.

Locked inside this apartment are 100 boys and girls, 16 to 19 years of age. Pastel cotton undergarments are the maximum amount of clothing allowed. Touching is encouraged. They are fed only candy.

Imagine the innocence that runs wild over every fiber and molecule of this place's existence! The memories that are made and forgotten and recreated again every day and night! Imagine the love that flowers and blossoms!

Oh, and every corner of this apartment is kept under constant video surveilence and broadcast into the apartment next door. Into the apartment where the children of this experiment are moved after they graduate from their teens to the age of twenty. Where they must dwell for the rest of their lives.

This apartment is structured similarly to its neighbor, but without the hot tubs, drugs, and alcohol. The floor is cement, and everything inside is grey. The greyest of greys. Everyone must wear the same, three piece black and white suit everyday. Touching is prohibited.

Oh, to be young again! Oh, to taste the candy! Oh, to touch!

If only...


(American Apparel is totally creepy!)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Shake It Real Good and Watch It Get Red Hot

Please excuse my negligence, but do not attribute it to laziness. No, myself and the Blood Arm have been anything but lazy. In fact, we have been incredibly busy. Busy! Busy as bees!

In addition to rocking the house at Spaceland with our dear, dear friends Sons and Daughters, and burning down the Troubadour with our dear, dear friends We Are Scientists on consecutive weekends, the lot of us have been filling our time with a variety of side projects.

Dyan and Nathaniel, after demonstrating the depths of their palates at an aftershow party to none other than Evelyn Montgomery Zagat III, have been hired to catalog the products of the finer wineries up and down Napa Valley for a new Zagat guide aimed at making fine wine accessible to a "younger, hipper generation." Though Mr. Zagat reportedly took some issue with their penchant for the adverb "jammy," things are going swimmingly.

Zach, for his part, has been working day and night as understudy to Adam Brody (a.k.a. Seth Cohen) for his role in the hit soap "The OC." Rumor has it that Brody is considering leaving the show after this season, but rather than killing his character off, the bigwigs at the FOX networks are priming Zachary to take over the character.

TBA's drummer is even even altering his appearance to look more like Brody. If one is to glance at Zachary from the side after he has jumped into the ocean wearing a dress-shirt and slacks, it's almost impossible to differentiate between he and the original Seth Cohen: It's starting to get a little freaky.

Zebastian insists he is growing older and wiser, but no one can confirm either of these claims.

And me, I've been manufacturing ideas. So many ideas. I am an idea machine. Here's a sampling of the shit I've been working on:

-American Apparel stores... Totally creepy.
-Vegetarianism... Not so healthy if you only eat cheese.
-Judaism... Way cooler than Christianity.

They keep coming and coming.

Now it's your turn. Tell me what you've been up to.



-Ben Lee

Oh! On a side note, Rocket From the Crypt played their last show on Halloween. They are one of my favorite bands ever. I will miss them dearly.

Double Oh! I added some links! Check them out! Especially Boadwee's blog 'cause he types about TBA!