I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. - Groucho Marx


by Robert Bellach
Jan. 22, 2015
With the possible exception of the Mindlink[ii], the Video Music may be the strangest Atari device ever created. It was 1975. Atari had already a smashing success with the home version of Pong, but it was still before the world-changer that would be the Atari 2600. Engineer Bob Brown, who had worked on the prototype Home Pong console, "decided to make another component that would take advantage of Atari's video display technology and act as a bridge between the television set and the stereo system."[iii] The end result was the Atari Video Music. At first glance, it looked like yet another boring stereo component. One must remember that at this time, hi-fi stereos, TVs, and other electronic components with fake wood particle board siding were extremely popular. Of course, woodgrain was the key fashion accessory for consumer appliances in the 70s...
Robert A. Bellach has mixed feelings about his ability to write a snappy bio in the third person. However, he has been obsessive about vintage pop culture since childhood, and is glad to undertake any pursuit that allows him to share this enthusiasm. Feel free to contact him at robert@networkawesome.com

by Brian Correia
Jan. 21, 2015

It’s a familiar tale to those who have just watched a documentary about it: In 1925, a student named Margaret Mead ventured to the six-hundred person Samoan island of Ta’u on an anthropological mission to study adolescence. She was assigned this task by her professor at Columbia, the legendary “Father of Anthropology,” Franz Boas. Adolescence, as far as they knew it in America and Europe, was a hellish, stressful time for all involved parties; A blood-sweat-and-tears-soaked bungle of fits and zits that had seemingly been that way since the beginning of time. Was it like this all over? That’s what he intended for Mead to find out.

And find out she did. Mead moved into the US naval dispensary in Samoa, learned a whopping (or meager, depending on whose side you’re on) five hundred words of the Samoan language, and dove right in. Based on her observations of the inhabitants of Ta’u and her interviews with local adolescent girls, she found the culture to be tame, peaceful, promiscuous, and even (mon dieur!) incestuous...

Brian Correia is a budding computer scientist and aspiring writer from Boston, Massachusetts who couldn't decide which hip-hop lyric to put in his byline. The top three, in no particular order, were as follows: “cooler than a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce,” “spiced out Calvin Coolidge loungin' with six duelers,” and “I got techniques drippin' out my buttcheeks.” He is on Twitter (@brianmcorreia) and Tumblr (brianmcorreia.tumblr.com) like the rest of the kids.

by Jimmy Trash
Jan. 21, 2015

The cultural occurrence of Exotica was a manifold junket, swallowed with intense significance on the one hand, or bubblegum antiquity on the other, all depending on what level you perceive it on. Musically, exotica was a melting of oriental, Pacific and Latin styles with Western pop culture, taken with either sincere dedication (a la Arthur Lyman and Martin Denny) or insensitive exploitation (101 Strings). At the same moment, jazz was also experimenting with the same modes; Lenny Tristano, Charlie Parker, Sun Ra and Yussef Lateef were all reaching to the east for inspiration. 

Culturally, Exotica meant a lot to the post-war mature American audience. Cheaper airfare and economic trading brought curios and stories of enchantment to the American imagination, just as faux-anthropological mondo documentaries did for the African identity. Hawaii was all of a sudden an affordable and desirable holiday destination, and this tourist trade also sustained the musicians...

Singer/organist/writer Jimmy Trash is an Australian born musician, journalist, dj and herald of low-brow art and psychedelic culture through his own festival, Trashfest, and many other mediums. He is available for shamanistic healing, bacchanalian instruction and nerdy weird music exchanges.

by Alex Schab
Jan. 18, 2015

As things (US and global economy, congressional gridlock, global warming, other ughhh things) continue to get grimmer and grimmer, thinking back to that wonderful decade that I spent all of eight months alive for becomes rosier and rosier. From what I can remember from being an infant, (memories supplemented, of course, by ample amounts of movies and music), the 80's was a time of stability and success, featuring kids with bad hair cuts skateboarding, awesome music from all genres, and a strong economy full of Gordon Gekkos.

Sure, the USSR was still kicking it back then, but “it” was so close to being “the bucket” that you had movies like Red Dawnfetishizing a Soviet invasion while a million Rambo knockoffs lonewolfed their way from the box office to Moscow and back. In fact, the 1980's seem so chill that a plot centered around nightmares being the number one concern of both the free world and the President of the United States is practically believable. Which, in the case of 1984's Dreamscape, is an extremely good thing, or else not a damn second of that movie could be taken without a shaker of salt...

Alex Schab is a freelance writer living somewhere between the woods and the suburbs of Massachusetts. This means he spends way too many lonely nights consuming media and beer. Follow him on Twitter (@Schab) as he tries to wrestle some meaning into his life.

by Anthony Galli
Jan. 18, 2015

Where do the dead go to spend the rest of their lives?

Assuming that there just may be some form of afterlife, are the dead guaranteed a spot at the table, at someone’s right hand, serenaded by celestial choirs and heavenly harps, basking in the eternal glow of forgiveness. Or is it something else entirely, at that other place, with that other guy, tormented and tortured and damned into infinity? Who knows?

Or what if, as some people believe, a spirit spends the rest of its immaterial existence at the spot where the body died, or where the body lived, either emanating from empty rooms and disturbing the children, or luxuriating in the location where their fondest memories were made. Again, who knows? There are so many competing views on the afterlife that it’s difficult to pick just one to aspire to. They all seem so interesting in their own enigmatic ways!

Anthony Galli currently lives in Athens, Georgia. He shares a birthday with his black cat, Magic, and they both claim Wings of Desire as their favorite film. Anthony has published two books of poetry, Amnesia for Insomniacs and Invisible Idiot.