31 October 2006

Library Blogging

Happy Halloween!

Also, cable's out at home, so thought I'd get a quick post in to keep my streak alive.

This post is courtesy our City Wi-Fi program that offers free broadband at all our libraries, some parks, and the 3rd St. promenade.

Seems to work well, I guess the commies who run this city get a few things right.

I'll just make this a me too, post.

I preferred Bert over Ernie back when I was three, having no kids I haven't had to resubject myself to Sesame Street nonsense.

And Callimachus agrees with Bill, plus he mentions that he and his wife are expecting, and to that I say a hearty congratulations, and also, screw you Europe and Japan, that's why America is great, we breed, you don't.

As far as Sesame Street goes, Cookie Monster is still the man, the joy of the unrestrained Id has always had an appeal.

30 October 2006

All Photoblogging All the Time

So today was a day where I was compelled to discharge one of my few duties as a citizen.

That's right, jury duty.

No court case, just most of a day waiting to be told, "we don't need you".

That's fine with me.

Cameras aren't allowed in the court building, and there was a sign stating that taking any kind of picture, even with a camera phone is against the law.

But I have some photos from yesterday that have gone un-commented upon.

Not all the photos I took while dog walking were inspired by a urinating canine. Here's a few of them (the whole set is here)

Halloween Decorations (1 of 2)

It's beginning to look a lot like Halloween, every where you go . . .

Semi Spooky Building (2 of 4)

Spooky house?

Impressive Tree on Pearl (2 of 5)

Spooky tree roots?

Impressive Tree on Pearl (4 of 5)

Spooky tree?

Woodlawn Cemetery (1 of 4)

Spooky cemetery?

Shadow Dog

Spooky dog shadow?

An Inability to Properly Abbreviate the Word School Does Not Inspire Confidence

Spooky inability by those in charge of placing messages on a middle school's info board to correctly abbreviate school?

Obligatory Palm Tree Shot

Spookily non-spooky cluster of palm trees?

SMC Discriminates Against Ugly People

Finally, either SMC doesn't like doggies, or they discriminate against ugly people. You make the call!

29 October 2006

I've Only Just Begun to Pimp . . .

previous Volver posts, here and here

Volver opens Friday in LA/NYC, and I'm excited about the prospect of getting to finally see Pedro Almodóvar's latest film.

In today's LAT there's a big feature article on Penélope Cruz. Read it already. Obviously, she's as talented and intelligent as she is beautiful. Too bad she seems to have awful taste in men.

Also, the writer lucky enough to interview Ms. Cruz is someone familiar to me. Prof. Josh Kun taught in the English Dept. at UC Riverside while I attended (he's since left, but here's an LAist.com interview from last year). He was quite popular, but I never got a chance to take any of his courses, but those that I know that did, regarded him highly.

For This Photoblogging Post I Had an Art Director . . . (But I Treat Him Like a Dog)

More, photoblogging? Yes, more photoblogging, Sunday is my day to take the family doggie for a long walk. As has been my habit these past few weekends, I've grabbed my camera as well.

This time, for many of the photos, I let Mofo (the family doggie) be my art director.

I shot almost everything (I forgot twice, I think) he chose to mark. 16 times he felt the need to leave a 'calling card' and 14 times I captured an image so that he could upload his work. Think of it as the doggie equivalent of myspace. When we engineer dogs with the ability for speech and give them some sort of web access, I'm sure you'll see stuff like this proliferate. Until that day, dogs like Mofo will have to rely on their owners (I refuse to not 'own' a pet and just be their 'companion' or worse yet, their 'parent') to use the web to increase the reach of the territory they can mark (but of course for this to have maximum utility for dogs, Mofo suggests coming up with some sort of 'scratch-n-sniff' system over the internets)

Below are five of the examples of his decision making as an art director.

Territorial Pissings (03 of 14)

First up is the classic lamppost, Mofo's not a big fan of the fire hydrant, too cliché.

Territorial Pissings (05 of 14)

Next, trees with porous bark are always good for marking, plus Mofo felt he wanted to get in the shot, so I obliged.

Territorial Pissings (10 of 14)

To switch things up, Mofo chose a clump of grass. Just keeping me on my toes I guess.

Territorial Pissings (13 of 14)

Ivy's also a great place for leaving a message for other dogs' noses.

Territorial Pissings (14 of 14)

For the final shot, Mofo was angry with me for lazily shooting all the shots from above, so for the final tree, I got real low and took the shot from a more dramatic angle.

The whole set can be found on flicker, titled 2006 OCT 29 Territorial Pissings (A Collaborative Art Project Between XWL and Mofo (His Dog)).

And yes, the Nirvana reference is intentional. Even though I don't do Friday Funk Lyrics anymore I do like posting lyrics, so I'll use this as an occasion for some Sunday Grunge Lyrics (borrowed from here)

Come on people now

Smile on your brothers

Everybody get together

Try to love another right now

When I was an alien

Cultures weren't opinions


Gotta find a way

To find a way

When I'm there

Gotta find a way

A better way

I had better wait

Never met a wise man

If so it's a woman


Just because you're paranoid

Don't mean they're not after you

[(Chorus) (x3)]

RESULTS (Week EIGHT) Weekly NFL Related Humiliation

Since I added the Monday night contest to the games I'm picking, the full results won't be in until late Monday. But might as well discuss the first four games now.

The original week 8 pick post is here. The results so far 3-1, woohoo! Only the Bengals let me down. UPDATE: woohoo! 4-1 total, not bad at all (more below)

Pick: Baltimore +2 Results: Baltimore 35 New Orleans 22
On the one hand, Drew Brees threw 5 touchdowns this game, one problem, 2 of them were to Ravens rookie CBs. Also, Reggie Bush threw one interception, and lost a fumble, so he didn't help much in this game, either. Had New Orleans played mistake free ball, they might have had a chance, but when playing against the Ravens defense, mistakes happen. McNair looked sharp again, if Baltimore manages to do anything at all when they have the ball, they automatically become one of the best teams in football.

Pick: Cincinatti -3.5 Results: Atlanta 29 Cincinatti 27
An excellent individual performance from Michael Vick, both as a passer and as a runner. Carson Palmer looked good, too, but came up short. I still don't understand going for the 2 point conversion in the 3rd quarter while up by 6, but whatever, they won, so Atlanta's coach got away with being stupid. The only pick I've missed so far, but Cincinatti had an opportunity to win this and if they held Atlanta from converting a few more 3rd and longs, this game would have gone very differently.

Pick: San Diego -10 Results: St. Louis 24 San Diego 38
San Diego was unstoppable in this game. As predicted LT was unstoppable against a poor tackling St. Louis defense. Teams don't often lose when getting 183 yards rushing from their RB. Rivers turned in another solid performance, and San Diego's defense was solid. St. Louis didn't play poorly, they just faced an excellent team on the road and came up short.

Pick: Indianapolis +2.5 Results Indianapolis 34 Denver 31
It's hard to pick against Denver at home, but it's harder still to pick against the Colts. Good thing I went with the Colts. Great team, but they don't yet look like a team that can withstand the pressure of the playoffs. Denver played much better on offense than they have all season, so despite the loss, they should be encouraged that they can beat just about any other team in the league.

Bonus Coverage: Raiders Win! Raiders Win! Two in a row. Are they on their way to a 11-5 season? (hell no). Pittsburgh looked terrible, I said last week that they don't look like they'll make the playoffs, that looks even more certain now. That fella with the chin is going to have to coach his head off to turn this season around. And Big Ben should have sat this one out. When your team holds the opponent to 98 yards total offense, and loses by a touchdown, then you know something went very wrong with your own offense. Pittsburgh's defense might be able to keep them in playoff contention, but their offense seems determined to keep them out of the playoffs.


Pick: New England -2 Results: New England 31 Minnesota 7
Ho Hum, another great performance by Tom Brady, another outstanding game from New England's defense. I know they are a great team, but I don't have to like them. I never liked the Jordan lead Chicago Bulls, either. Belichick will probably make the entire special teams squad run extra laps for giving up a punt return for a TD, he has to have something to be upset about, or he wouldn't feel coach-like enough. Seems like NFL Head Coach has become the most joyless high profile job in all of sport.

Normally You Have to Read at Least the Entire First Sentence to Detect the Bias

(hat tip Instapundit)

So the NYT does a piece about the job that Tony Snow is doing as White House Press Secretary.

Good for them, he's been excellent, he deserves attention.

But when you have a "journalist" and "editors" who feel it's OK to start a piece with this sentence fragment

"The White House, like any castle"

Someone who doesn't hate Pres. Bush, who doesn't think he's King George II, The Selected, would even contemplate referring to the White House as a "castle".

To even think of that phrase to start your piece suggests that you are a DailyKos addict and find the forums at MyDD to be reasonable.

For a paper that has trouble referring to terrorists as terrorists, they find it amazingly easy to refer to the Bush Administration as an Imperial Presidency (a phrase that seemed not to exist before President George W. Bush took office).

The White House is America's home where the democratically elected leader of all the folks of the United States resides. To use the term "castle" which suggests an entire constellation of undemocratic meanings, is to suggest that the President is undemocratic.

It's the people's house, show the White House, the Presidency, and the current President the respect the office deserves.

Or don't, but if you don't, don't expect anyone other than American-hating crazies to listen to what you have to say.

28 October 2006

I Haven't Been Infringing Enough Copyrights Lately

It's time for another YouTube Infringomatic Post Spectacular.

I can't take credit for this, I wish I could, someone took X's Los Angeles and combined it with recent scenes of Downtown Los Angeles, good stuff this.

Here's a Bleach AMV for you. This show is on Adult Swim now, it's no Cowboy Bebop, but it's not bad, either. Also seems to me that if the producers of Bleach, or the musicians whose song was used complain, they are seriously misguided. This is free advertising, not theft.

And just because it's there, here's some awful French Pop from 1971 (très fromage)

Random enough for you?

27 October 2006

It's the Economy (and There's Nothing Stupid About It)

Why do we have the most dynamic economy in the developed world?

Over at Sippican Cottage, part of the answer can be found in this post.

At The Global Perspective, Daniel Harrison has a series of posts that celebrate the economy and take the fools who talk it down to task. First, Greed is Good, then a lengthy post explaining the core strength of the current market run-up, finally, a post showing how ridiculous Daniel Gross is being in Slate.

Larry Kudlow has a couple of choice quotes in support of free trade.

Over at Join Arnold, the Gov. Schwarzenegger campaign's website here's there quick reference guide to the improving California economy.

Things could be better, but the way to greater prosperity isn't greater government control and isolation. Cutting bureaucracy and encouraging global trade will continue to fuel both prosperity, and an increasing quality in the goods available.

Imagine how crappy cars would be if our markets had been "protected" from non GM/Ford/DaimlerChrysler vehicles for the past 30 years (as many wanted to do in the late 70s)? I shudder at the thought of that world.

The globalization of production, and the increasingly direct communication between suppliers and demanders has improved the quality of life for everyone.

Our economy is far from perfect, but it's still the least protected, most global market in the developed world.

Some would claim that our prosperity and dynamism are unrelated to the relative lack of protectionism and isolation (compared to Europe or Japan anyway), but those folks are fools.


Somehow I missed this bit in Lileks' Bleat from today, entirely not unrelated in my opinion.

I made dinner – cornbread-encrusted catfish with cilantro-lime cocktail sauce, garlic-and-olive oil fries, a mixed green salad. Sounds nice, no? All pre-made. The catfish was pre-encrusted and frozen; the sauce came out of a bottle, the fries came with a frozen sauce packet, and the salad was mixed in the bag, presumably not with pig-distributed e.coli. Growing up in North Dakota, fish night meant fishsticks, with fish that had been caught during the Korean conflict and tartar sauce that looked like regurgitated Elmer’s Glue. One of these days I should sit down and tote up all the ways the smaller things are better. It would take me an entire day.

Weekly NFL Related Humiliation (Week EIGHT)

Time to contemplate the NFL again. For this week's picks I'll chose the 5 games where both teams are at least 4-2 or better. I think if back in late August before the season started you were to predict which five games would feature such teams, these probably would not have been the five you selected, and if you said you would have, I'd call you a liar.

On to the picks.

Betting Line from Leroys via Vegasinsider.com again.

Baltimore at New Orleans (-2)
New Orleans (5-1) have been one of the better teams in the league and are unbeaten at home. Baltimore (4-2) is coming off of consecutive losses, and looks to be in some disarray on offense (nothing new there). McNair is coming back from a concussion and their are question marks whether he'll be ready to play in this game. I say yes, I'll take Baltimore in this one. The Saints are one of the best stories in football this season and look to be a legitimate playoff team, but something's got to give, and I think it will give in this game. Drew Brees has been terrific, but the Baltimore defense will knock him around and throw him out of his rhythm. Baltimore +2

Atlanta at Cincinatti (-3.5)
Atlanta (4-2) are lucky to have only two losses this season. Cincinatti (4-2) have been unable to put together a good day on offense against a team with a defense this whole season. I think they'll turn it around this game and put together four quarters of efficient offense. Cincinatti has the right kind of defense to cause trouble for Michael Vick and the rest of Atlanta on that side of the ball. Excellent, quick corners and linebackers who can tackle ought to be able to prevent Vick from being able to beat them in the air or on the ground, so as long as Carson Palmer makes plays for them against the excellent Falcons defense, the Bengals will prevail, and by more than a field goal. Cincinatti -3.5

St. Louis at San Diego (-10)
St. Louis (4-2) are easily the worst 4-2 team in the league. They managed to lose to San Francisco, and the teams they've beaten aren't good teams (other than Seattle, maybe). San Diego (4-2) on the other hand looks like one of the better teams in the league, but they lost a close game against a struggling Kansas City team and Philip Rivers is still very, very young. Oddsmakers would seem to be showing the Chargers respect they haven't earned and the Rams contempt they don't deserve by making this a 10 point spread. St. Louis' big disadvantage in this contest is that they won't be able to stop the run, and have had trouble with running backs all season (121 yds against average, not good). San Diego will prevail, the question regarding this pick is, will they run up the score and beat the ridiculous spread? {{{XWL shakes Magic Eight Ball, You May Rely on It}}} That settles it, then. San Diego -10

Indianapolis at Denver (-2.5)
Denver (5-1) are favored at home against undefeated Indianapolis (6-0). Let's keep this simple, despite their record, Denver's offense has been terrible, they've yet to score more than 20 points this season, Indianapolis has failed to score less than 20 points only once. That settles it then, one team will score more than 20 the other will score less than 20, that makes picking this game pretty easy (especially since Denver is favored). Denver has a great defense, and the Colts did look vulnerable in one game this season (the 14-13 embarrassment versus Tennessee), but they'll be up for this game and take the Mile High crowd out of the game early. Indianapolis +2.5

New England at Minnesota (+2)
Think of this as bonus coverage. When thinking of limiting this week's picks to teams that are both 4-2 or better, it didn't occur to me that this game would be included. Minnesota (4-2) has Brad Johnson at QB, they can't be 4-2, right? New England (5-1) does it again and again. They bore me. This game bores me. I'll just go with conventional wisdom and not pick against Belichick. New England -2

There you have it, another week of potential humiliation. This week I'll be 5-0 for sure, though (maybe not for sure, not like I'd put money on any of these picks).

Also, I can't believe someone did a Google Blogsearch for immodest proposal football pick week 8 yesterday, I guess I have one fan in San Francisco who couldn't wait to see my picks. This is for you buddy!

And This is the Part They're Outraged About?

In a South Park episode with Satan acting like a girl planning her Super Sweet 16 party, you have Biggie Smalls in hell (but no Tupac), Gandhi in hell, Princess Diana in hell, George Burns in hell, Dahmer, Gacy, and Bundy as a slightly (and I emphasize slightly) more murderous and violent Three Stooges (with Columbia title cards and theme tune even) and to top it all off, what appears to be the entire Roman Catholic hiearchy of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles (including a recognizable Cardinal Mahoney) acting like a jealous group of school girls, and oh, by the way many of the priests have naked prepubescent boys on leashes.

None of the above is considered beyond the pale. All of that is fair game, but they made fun of Steve Irwin!!!

Now that's a cause for outrage!!!!!!!

First they take away Vegemite from Australian ex-pats in the United States(turns out nothing to see here folks, the original poorly sourced and mostly anecdotal story that ignited a thousand anti-American message boards, was basically totally made up) and now this.

This could shake the very foundation of our grand global Anglophonic Alliance.

Noticeably lacking from all the proceedings in this episode that piled outrage upon outrage, a single person recognizable as a Muslim.

In some ways the fact that they can continue to attack the Roman Catholic church and seem resigned to ignoring Islam speaks volumes about many, many different things.

The episode is hilarious by the way. Best. Episode. Ever. Almost.

26 October 2006

Zero To High Dudgeon in One Question

First, I've always liked the phrase, "in high dudgeon", looked up what dudgeon actually means, the phrase doesn't actually make much sense anymore and should have long ago fallen out of favor, but it persists, kept alive by freaks like me.

Second, who am I claiming can go from zero to high dudgeon in one question?

I bet if I told you it's a big time blogger I'm talking about you'd get it within five guesses.

Hugh Hewitt interviewed the ever excitable Andrew Sullivan, and much unintentional comedy ensues. I only listened to the first part of the almost 2 hour interview, it's enough.

(quick to claim martyrdom, with Andrew Sullivan you'd be wise to always expect the Spanish Inquisition)

Also, the first part of Mr. Sullivan's interview also includes delightful (and short) interviews with Christopher Hitchens and Lynne Cheney. Lynne's book sounds like a worthy stocking stuffer, and well, as I said already, I'd Gay Marry Mr. Hitchens, so my feelings about him are obvious.

Just for the record, I wouldn't want to Gay Marry Andrew Sullivan (Gay Marrying a gay man presents problems I'm not prepared to deal with), or Hugh Hewitt, they both have a habit of the wrong kind of stridency in my opinion. After hearing the first bit of the Hewitt-Sullivan tete a tete, you should do yourself a favor and check out the parody version committed by Hugh Hewitt with the help of the ever clever James Lileks (whom I would also Gay Marry, but he falls outside my top five. Also Lileks references the whole mess at the end of this edition of The Bleat).

My advice to both Mr. Hewitt and Mr. Sullivan, drop this and move on, you'll both become insufferable very quickly on this subject if you aren't careful.

How many posts am I going to keep talking about Gay Marrying various men?

Until it stops amusing me personally, I'm not there yet. But soon.

25 October 2006

The Five Men (or Women) You'd Gay Marry

What follows is mostly an unserious post regarding a serious topic.

Now that it looks like the New Jersey Supreme Court has forced the New Jersey Legislature to clarify its stance regarding gay marriage or its equivalent, I think the real question everyone should be asking themselves, "Who Would I Gay Marry?"

My fantasy five guys I would gay marry (but in a non-sexual, just cause they seem like great people to hang around with, sort of way) are as follows

Ricky Gervais: Dude is brilliant, bloody brilliant. Also, seems like a regular bloke, so would be someone you could hang out at the pub with and play snooker or darts with while downing a few pints. Plus, if you are going to gay marry, might as well both benefit from each others citizenship's, so a solidly. And speaking of Ricky Gervais, if I were to tell you that the 2nd season of Extras was the most brilliant thing you will ever likely see on television, just assume that I saw them all while in England, and not through bittorrent, either that or my future self came back and told my current self how hilarious each episode of season two was after watching them on their HBO run. Great, great stuff, just a few of the highlights, a very randy Daniel Radcliffe, a wickedly entertaining David Bowie, a still impressive Dame Diana Riggs, an impeccably performed appearance by Sir Ian McKellan and the true highlight, the performance of Ricky's writing partner Stephen Merchant as the agent. Him and Ricky play off each other like some great comedy duo of the past. It's funny beyond all imagining, better than the first season, far better than either season of the Office, and better than just about any other comedy you have ever seen. But again, this is all hypothetical, as this hasn't actually shown in the United States yet, so I haven't actually seen any of the episodes.

Charles Barkley: Who doesn't want to hang out with Sir Charles as much as humanly possible? Dude is funny, smart, honest, and seems like he honestly enjoys the life he's been given while appreciating how lucky he's been. Plus, I'd help him in his gubernatorial campaign in Alabama, while also convincing him to return back to the Republican party.

Beat Takeshi: Takeshi is an amazing filmmaker, a great comedian, and seemingly an all around cool guy. One attempt to describe his impact in Japan that I remember was that his career was as if you combined the careers of Johnny Carson as a chat show host, Jim Carrey at his prime as a comedian and Clint Eastwood as a director all into one person. He's been in some truly amazing and surreal films, and his films Sonatine and Hana-Bi are a couple of the best films of the 90s. Being around someone who is capable of so many different things at the same time would bound to be fascinating.

Christopher Hitchens: The world's greatest drinking buddy. Sure he's a socialist, but he's still a very smart person with an amazing breadth and depth of knowledge and an unmatched ability to communicate what he knows. Sure he can be nasty, but that would just make being around him on a constant basis a challenge and a pleasure. Besides being able to destroy foes with his wit, he seems like he'd be willing to ball up his fists and pound a few heads when push comes to shove as well. An important quality to have if you are going to do some serious drinking in publick houses with someone.

Oprah Winfrey: Wait? Wouldn't that be a Straight Marriage and not a Gay Marriage? Well, with Oprah, I'd much rather be her Gayle than her Steadman. So if I were to marry Oprah, I'd want it to be a Gay Marriage. I'd be the bestest gal pal she ever had (move over Ms. King). Gender is just a social construct anyway, at least that's what all my Gender Studies Profs insisted over and over again, so given the supposed fluidity of gender, I'd be Oprah's gal pal, unusually burdened with a penis instead of a vagina. She seems open minded enough not to judge me for my unusual problem. Also, if I were to Gay Marry Oprah, I'd insist that if she truly, truly, truly loved me, she'd refuse to have her team of lawyers draw up a pre-nup for me to sign, instead she'd know that our love for each other besides being purely platonic, would also be based on the mutual trust and admiration that could only be tainted by legal documents (beyond a marriage certificate, that is).

So have you contemplated your list of five Gay Marriages, yet? Hop to it, if you haven't, and post your list on the internets for everyone to see. Better than listening to all the political ads and political posts flying through the airwaves and cluttering the internet.

As far as marriage in general, there was a time that the state did have a vested interest in promoting marriage, but that time has passed, to avoid this battle, government entities at every level should end the practice of sanctioning any kind of marriage. If parties want to draw up a contract with each other, than sign a contract, but the marriage contract as it stands now is too nebulous, too unspecific, and too easily entered or broken to be as meaningful as it should be.

Marriage as a state sponsored endeavor is irrevocably broken, in my opinion, and an archaism that should be replaced by more specific, more direct, and better understood agreements that are less easily abused by crafty legal minds.

Linkaliciousness (kicky new neologism, or just really, really stupid?)

I'm going around the blogosphere, two clicks deep. Let's see who is linked by those that I link to (but don't otherwise link here).

Jackie Danicki (linked to by Amy Alkon) has an infuriating account of NHS bureaucratic nonsense. Yet, when the subject comes up here, it's always presented as being our collective national shame that we lack this sort of bureacracy, rather than to our credit. Pish tosh. (I googled the phrase, "only industrialized nation without" and all the usual hand wringing from all the usual folks shows up in the links. Some of the links aren't about health care as I left that out, but that phrase has become such a standard mantra that most of the articles in the first five pages of answers are about the US's 'shameful' lack of nationalized medicine)

Freeman Hunt (linked to by Prof. Althouse) wonders aloud about the furor regarding the anti-Ford, Jr. add running in Tennessee.

Virginia Postrel (linked to by Cathy Seipp) has two recent posts of interest. First, a Substance of Style moment discussing airports, and also another follow up on her kidney blogging that points to an informative Op-Ed package she and Sally Satel (the recipient of her donated kidney) participate in jointly.

Gateway Pundit (linked to by Pastor Jeff) attacks the whole Michael J. Fox ad for Missouri Amendment 2 head on. He also takes Senatorial hopeful Claire McCaskill to task.

Finally, I'll break the rules that I've just instituted and instead just link this Dilbert Blog post from Scott Adams, mainly cause it has this line in it

They say that dogs lick their own genitalia because they can. But I think it’s at least partially because they don’t have the Internet.

Who can argue with that logic?

24 October 2006

Scott Adams is Having a Very Good Day

Scott Adams, of Dilbert fame, has a rare condition that effected his ability to speak in normal social situations.

Through personal effort and what sounds like some mild self hypnosis he's 'remapped' his brain and kickstarted his ability to speak.

He chalks it up to his personal optimism.

Good for him, and it makes for some interesting blog posts (from Last December and from March) go read his, I can't add anything, so I'll just play traffic cop (always keep white gloves in your blogger kit for just such an occaision).

And his Wiki has already been updated with the information contained in today's post.

Someone more spiritually inclined than Scott Adams (or myself, for that matter) might have thrown around the term, "miracle".

Random Blogger Bloggeriness

Two weeks to the election, a long, long, long two weeks. MSNBC has gone into full political mode, Tony Snow was on with Chris Matthews, not a fair fight at all (nobody's posted the video yet, surprisingly).

What I'm listening to right now on Urge? The Best of Hanson - The 20th Century Masters Millenium Collection (did I just admit that?)

An amusing and lengthy (for Kotaku) article crafted by Brian Ashcraft recounting attending a gaming event, that turned out to be of interest mainly for one of the voice actors (a Japanese porn star).

Also, Go Fug Yourselves Fug-girls! Sure Penelope Cruz is sort of dressed like Pres. Abraham Lincoln, she still looks cute, and hot, anyway. Y'all wish you could pull that off.

Would random blogger bloggeriness be complete without some YouTubeage? I think not. I present to you, Gorilla Lovemaking (interestingly it's been up since February, and hasn't been marked as offensive, and it isn't offensive as a matter of fact, just funny).

23 October 2006

I Know I Should Be Against This Sort of Regulation, But Sometimes Revulsion Overtakes My Libertarianistic Impulses

Perry De Haviland decries recently implemented US restrictions on a particular (and particularly vile) foodstuff.

Of course, seeing that article made me think of the video below.

That Dilbert Fella Ain't Wrong, Either

Scott Adams talks much sense about Iraq, I'll just steal his conclusion

Personally, I would consider the war in Iraq a success for America if the troops were withdrawn now, even if the Iraqi democracy collapsed. While this sounds like a joke, I am serious when I say it’s highly useful to find out for sure where the WMD are NOT. Unfortunately, this costly war was the only way to know for sure. You could argue that it wasn’t worth the price to find out, but you can’t say it isn’t better to be sure.

Second, my guess is that America has improved its terrorist fighting knowledge and skills considerably as a direct result of things learned in this war. That is the sort of indirect benefit that can end up dwarfing all of the costs. Every modern war has created that sort of benefit. This one should be no exception. It could take decades before those benefits are clear.

I reiterate that the argument above is riddled with ignorance because I get my information from the media. That’s the point of this exercise. It’s your job to fill in the gaps and critique the reasoning. Sometimes the best way to get to a good opinion is by fixing a bad one that’s clearly stated.

I'm sure he'll get pounded in the comments, but he's right that knowing for certain about WMD was worth the cost, and he's also right that our military is better prepared to fight these kind of engagements, even if it may take some years before that becomes absolutely clear. I also like the part about admitting ignorance due to his sources.

22 October 2006

Another Sunday, Another Round of Dog Walking Photoblogging

Took the doggie out for a long, long walk. Made it to the Pacific Ocean (or at least within sniffing distance of the ocean) and back. Here's the whole set, and below are a few highlights.

Sign of the Times, Tower Records Edition (1 of 4)

The signs are so bright and cheerful, nothing says festive like 'going out of business'. This is Tower Records in Santa Monica, the whole chain is closing their physical stores, and rumor is they're going to be an internet only venture from now on.

PS1 Fancy Private School Equals Pluralistic

Doesn't this sign just make you want to puke? Smug much, folks? It gets worse if you actually visit their website.

Hotel Georgian (1 of 3)

The Georgian Hotel, it's a beauty, been around since 1933, and has great views (when it's clear, it's foggy frequently right on the coast) from the upper floors. Also, if you believe Peter Hamilton, it will still be around in the mid 2300s (it gets a name check in Pandora's Star). Here's where I imitate Bill at So Quoted (though if I really wanted to imitate him, I would have found a Stephenson quote that mentioned the hotel) and actually pull the quote from the text (p. 534)
Kazimir shook the hand enthusiastically, smiled a fraction nervously, and went back down the beach. Bradley watched him go for a few moments, then went up the set of broad concrete stairs at the side of the pier. He walked back along Ocean Avenue, through the narrow strip of lush greenery that was Palisades Park with its centuries-old eucalyptus trees and ornate flower beds. Gardenbots were patrolling the plants, snipping off dead flowers and trimming any errant shoots that threatened symmetry; water droplets glistened on the tough grass from the predawn irrigation sprinkling. On the other side of the broad street the bold geometrical skyline of condos presented their tiers of perfectly parallel balconies to the beach far below. Right in the middle of the gleaming new architecture their skyline took a sudden dip down, allowing the sunlight to shine on a small 1930s hotel. The Georgian, with its art deco facade painted eggshell-blue. Various brass plaques outside proclaimed the companies and civic authorities that had provided funds down the centuries to preserve the building, easily the oldest in the city. It had a raised concrete veranda along the front, with several tables underneath a yellow and pink striped awning. Adam Elvin was sitting at one, eating his breakfast as he looked out across the park and ocean beyond.

It's not currently the oldest building, or hotel in Santa Monica, but maybe by 2350 or so, that could be the case. Hopefully they will keep it that eggshell-blue color all those years, it does look good that way.

According to wikipedia, one of the buildings used by Hostel International in Santa Monica dates back to 1873.

RESULTS (Week SEVEN) Weekly NFL Related Humiliation

Sorry Sip, I wasn't 0-4, instead I went 1-2-1 thanks to a Falcons victory and a push by the Bengals. Still humiliating enough to earn the title to these posts.

At least I didn't pick the easy games, Jacksonville's a sure thing, right?

Also, I'm very disappointed in the Oakland Raiders. They had a really good chance at the first perfect 0-16 record, and they blew it. Congratulations to the '76 Bucs, your 0-14 is still the gold standard of futility. Also, keep Dennis Green away from sharp objects for the next few weeks.

Now the results, I'll just link the original rather than cut & paste.

Pick: Cincinatti (-3) Result Carolina 14 Cincinatti 17 [push]
Cincinatti looked awful in there first few drives. Took them well into the 2nd Quarter to to better than 3 and out, but Carolina failed to capitalize, and Palmer got it going in the end, plus an end zone interception with 3:50 left (Delhomme's first in his career inside the 10 yard line) sealed the victory for Cincy and the push for those that bet on them.

Pick: Atlanta (+3) Result Pittsburgh 38 Atlanta 41 [woohoo!]
Not the low scoring affair I predicted. Also, despite two picks, Vick got it done more with his arm than with his legs (4 passing TDs), though the two together are what make him explosive. Pittsburgh is in trouble, they've dug a big hole from themselves, they now have to struggle to make the playoffs, let alone contend for a second straight championship.

Pick: Seattle (-6.5) Result Minnesota 31 Seattle 13 [doh!]
On the bright side, no late game lapses for the Seattle defense, on the dark side, the game was already over, so the Vikings weren't trying too hard in the 4th Quarter. Could the Vikings actually be a good team this year?

Pick: Washington (+8) Result Washington 22 Indianapolis 36 [doh!]
This game (and my pick) looked good for about a half, then the 3rd Quarter came around. The score is actually closer than the game was, that's how bad this went for the Skins. Stick a fork in them, they are done. You've found your Thanksgiving Turkeys a month early and they wear Redskins uniforms. The Colts looked good, but this game can't be looked at as an indication of their talent level. Still they are one of two remaining undefeated teams, so they look on track for another inexplicable flame out during the AFC playoffs (or not).

21 October 2006

Restaurant Photoblogging





If I am going somewhere I'm grabbing my camera. I'm addicted to photoblogging, and I'm not ready to head to a 12 step group to break myself of this addiction.

After seeing The Prestige, went to gr/eats to chow down on some delicious Shrimp Tempura with Soba. It was the daily special, and it was good.

Took some shots (the set here) of the interior, and exterior of the place, it was deserted but for myself, my friend, and the staff (consisting of one waiter and one chef as far as I could tell). Maybe they're more of a night place.

The thing you notice most in the place, besides its miniscule size, is the Ai Yamaguchi painting on wood that hangs near the entrance. It's a fantastic (and kinda creepy) painting. My photos don't do it justice. She's brilliant. Giant Robot (the gr in gr/eats) sells some Ai Yamaguchi stuff.

And because it's a bloggy blog world, here are the two blogs of the owners of gr/eats, Eric Nakamura and Martin Wong (who I now am jealous of since he attended this week's Pogues show at the Wiltern, and I didn't (and since when did Reuters start doing concert reviews?)).

Plus here are links to an LA Weekly and an LA.com review of the place.

Succinct Film Reviews: The Prestige Edition

The Prestige, ponderous, but good, Chris Nolan doing his best M. Night Shyamalan impression.

That was the short version, now the longer (completely spoiler free) . . .

I liked this film, I wanted to like it more, though. Everyone in it is great, but it still lacks something. It either should have been more serious, or more frivilous. It hangs uncomfortably between, it's not thought-provoking enough for a serious film, yet it's also not spritely enough for a popcorn picture.

The many misdirections and tricks used in the filmmaking have been done better elsewhere, but that doesn't mean that this film screws them up completely, but it all just carries a hint of tricks for tricks' sake, which can get annoying.

What to like; the cinematography, the acting, David Bowie as Nikolai Tesla, Scarlett Johansson in turn of the century attire (if any modern actress was meant to be trussed up and spilling out of corsets, she's the one).

What not to like; the central conceit, the pacing, Hugh Jackman's teeth (distractingly good for someone of that period, he needed some snaggle-toothed falsies to fit the period better).

This film requires patience to enjoy, and your patience won't be entirely rewarded in a satisfactory manner, yet it's still a film that is commendable, watchable, and entertaining enough to recommend.

Could have been better though.

For a far better use of the competing "secret" diaries plot device I recommend reading Tanazaki's The Key. A brilliant and disturbing book.

(An Americanized Southern Gothic version set somewhere back in the 30s or 40s would be brilliant. There have been two film versions of The Key in Japan, the first one in 1959 was a Golden Globe winner, but has never been released on DVD, and I don't know if it's any good, the second one was directed by someone whose other films are crappy exploitation pictures so it probably focuses on the sensational aspects of the work and not the amazing psychological interplay between the three main characters)

Rep. Duncan Hunter, You Ain't Wrong . . .

(via TVNewser)

This post's title doesn't mean I'll be doing You Ain't Wrong Weekends again.

But, he comes down hard on CNN regarding their broadcasting of terrorists supplied propaganda depicting snipers killing our troops (still up on their website here)

Now, some folks got huffy when I called reporter Michael Ware a person who joined the other side and wasn't just being impartial, but was actively supporting the bad guys.

The CBS Public Eye column even used my post to illustrate the bloodthirsty crazed Bush apologists and their rancorous and wrong-headed rhetoric.

Well, guess which reporter received the controversial footage.

What's that? Got it in one, I thought you would, of course it was the previously mentioned Michael Ware, and he is still one of those 'against us'. He has crossed the line, once again, and either hates the coalition enough where he gladly undermines our cause, or he is clueless enough where he is allowing himself to be manipulated by folks who would love to see him, his entire family, everyone he ever knew back in Australia, and everyone who looks like him, dead, dead and dead again.

Both probabilities are horrible, both are good enough grounds for him to be expelled from Iraq, barred permanently from entering the United States, and any news organization that hires him should face public humiliation and severe shunning.

He disgusted me before, he already exceeded my capacity to be disgusted by someone, yet with his actions he has made a valiant effort to increase my capacity for disgust.

Asshole. I do not hate people easily, and I hate being driven to hating someone, but Mr. Ware, you've earned my sincerist and fiercest hatred.

CNN's new motto, "A tradition of employing anti-American assholes".

For CNN's side of the story, read this.

(I link, cause, frankly, they look even worse in their explanation than I can ever make them look in hurling epithets at them)

I said it last time, and I'll say it this time, these actions aren't treasonous, but they are treason's closest cousin.

Michael Ware, and the CNN producers who choose to employ him and air footage he 'obtains', are treacherous and display an antipathy towards our troops that is as murderous as the hatred from the insurgents, and given the privilege and position they enjoy because of those Armed Forces that they so obviously hate, is far, far more disgusting.

Peter Arnett, Eason Jordan, and now this. Isn't it obvious whose side these folks at CNN are on by now?

Weekly NFL Related Humiliation (Week SEVEN)

Nearly forgot my weekly dose of NFL related humiliation. Can't not make picks on four games and then cry about how I was almost right on all of them a few days later.

I'm going to let Joe Theismann be my guide towards which contests to hazard picks upon. His games to watch this week are the four which I'm making my picks for. Also, the Monday Night football team has to be the worst NFL broadcast team on nationally run contests since they've been televising football. Kornheiser must go! Mr. Theismann isn't any better, and poor Mike Tirico is fine, but he alone can't save that mess. During the game last week, Charles Barkley was fantastic, I say put Charles in charge, pair him with Tirico, and forego any ex-NFL players in the booth. Go with a lean, mean two man team (yeah, yeah, I know, any team with Charles shouldn't be described as lean). The lines, this time, are from Vegasinsider.com and Leroy's sportsboook. Leroy's in downtown looks the way a sportsbook ought to look, shady, disreputable, tinged with despair, and with a whiff of desperation.

Pittsburgh at Atlanta (+3)
The bookmakers and Joe Theismann assume that Pittsburgh is back, and will win a tough battle on the road. I'm not buying what they're selling. Atlanta is close to being an awfully good team. Their defense will rattle Big Ben, and the Steelers defense likes to gamble, Vick will make them pay for their gambles (most likely through his legs and not his arms, though). Low score, tightly contested game, but Atlanta will prevail. Atlanta (+3)

Carolina at Cincinatti (-3)
Steve Smith has been amazing, and Carolina can't lose with him in the game. Cincinatti has a had a couple of games where they looked great, and a couple where they've looked awful. Earlier this year, I was ready to put them in the AFC title game against Indianapolis. I expect to see that Bengals team show up this week. The Panther's Steve Smith inspired win streak will end in Cincinatti on Sunday. Cincinatti (-3)

Minnesota at Seattle (-6.5)
The Seahawks are almost a touchdown favorite against the Vikings. The Seahawks have only lost once this season (and to Chicago), but have been unimpressive in most of their games. They are still missing Alexander, and their defense had some big lapses late in the game against St. Louis last week. Minnesota on the other hand looks even worse, and are on the road. Seattle will control this game from start to finish and not allow late scores to screw up what should be an easy victory like they did last week. Seattle (-6.5)

Washington at Indianapolis (-8.0)
This is a game to watch? I guess if you are a former Redskin it is. Indianapolis is undefeated, and the Skins are 2-4. Should be an easy pick then, right? Wrong, the Colts are 2-2-1 against the spread and have played down to their opponents level in most every game this season. For the Redskins to entertain any post season thoughts, they must win this game. Whereas the Colts have been looking like a team ready to lose for a few weeks now, yet managing to win anyway. I think the Colts luck will run out, or at least Washington will stay within a touchdown, so I'm going to do the insane thing and pick DC. Washington (+8)

20 October 2006

Are You Getting Sick of This Yet?

More Urge playlist blogging. Take a hint Microsoft, this would be a nice feature to add. Let the masses be your DJs.

See if you can guess the theme.

Zeroes - Spacehog
One - Three Dog Night
Two Sides (To Every Story) - Etta James
Three Little Birds - Bob Marley & the Wailers
Group Four - Massive Attack
Five String Serenade - Mazzy Star
Six Pack To Go - George Strait
7 - Prince
Beat Me Daddy, Eight To The Bar - The Andrew Sisters
Cloud Nine - The Temptations
Ten Seconds To Love - Motley Crue
Eleven Long Years - Us3
Twelve - Jurassic 5
Thirteen - Johnny Cash
No. Fourteen - Love
Fifteen Flies In The Marmalade - The Legendary Pink Dots
Only Sixteen - Sam Cooke
(She's) Sexy and Seventeen - Stray Cats
Eighteen Year Old Girl - J.B. Hutto & The New Hawks
Hey Nineteen - Steely Dan
Twenty Years - Dwight Yoakam

Guessed yet?

It was a trick question, there is no theme.

(OK, that was a trick answer, the theme is pretty obvious)

Enough variety in the bands and styles chosen for you?

It works together surprisingly well.

(anyone else find it strange that the songs with #16-19 in their titles are all about the young ladies?)

(and could you get away with a song titled "Beat Me Daddy, Eight To The Bar" and not have people think it's some sort of S&M anthem nowadays?)

19 October 2006

Chain of Fools Rush In The Flesh For Fantasy Is Reality Radio Silence Is Golden Years Ago

Playing around with the search function on the previously mentioned URGE.

Was able to come up with this playlist of ten songs

Chain of Fools, Aretha Franklin
Fools Rush In, The Mighty Diamonds
In The Flesh, Pink Floyd
Flesh For Fantasy, Billy Idol
Fantasy Is Reality, Parliament
Reality Radio, Imani Coppola
Radio Silence, Circuits
Silence Is Golden, Garbage
Golden Years, David Bowie
Years Ago, Alice Cooper

Not bad, thematically, or musically, if you ask me (and I know, you weren't actually asking me, but I'm telling you, so there)

A suggestion for the good folks at Viacom and Microsoft, let the people have at it and share. They've got 'celebrity' playlists by the likes of castmembers of Laguna Beach, season 3. That's great, I'm so gratified and fascinated that Kelan is a big Bruuuuuuuuuce fan, and thinks that Gerry Beckly is his hero. But I'd bet more people would get into creating their own clever playlists (like the one above) if they knew that they could then be easily shared to all sorts of folks across the internets.

Do it right and you have a nation of DJs all trying to one up each other, out quirk each other, and out cool each other. Do it wrong and you have fewer folks laughing at how ridiculous some publicist mandated playlist compiled by MTV's darling of the week sounds.

Also, it would be great to be able to link the lists you make through blogs, an embedding code like YouTube should do the trick, you could still force people to listen to it through Windows Media Player 11 and the URGE shop. Think of it this way, the easier you make it, the greater your marketing department.

Solve these quirks, and you might just have a real rival to iTunes.

You still are going to have a hell of a time getting folks to give up their Nanos and iPods.

Informing California Voters . . .

. . . in SONG! (mp3 at link)



(Lyrics and chords here)

Despite this little ditty, Calvoter.org is a good resource and deserves public support.

Given that our state prefers to legislate through initiative rather than through ummmm, the legislature, a resource to pull together the information regarding those propositions is highly desireable. Calvoter.org does a good, non-partisan job of making that happen.

Since the song focuses on the props only, I'll go ahead and issue my recommendations, since I know the blogosphere has been holding their collective breath in anticipation of how I would come down on each of these propositions.

My recommendations as follows, 1A-1E, hell no. Bonds, bonds and more bonds. The state has infrastructure needs, but it also has tremendous revenues due to a roaring economy, cut spending, don't issue more bonds in a state already swimming in debt.

Prop 83 No.
It's the Jessica's Law proposition. Sex offenders are vile, worthless human beings who are an ongoing danger to society, but the measures already in place are pretty draconian to begin with, and to add more layers to the enforcement and surveillance cake, isn't going to protect children any better. Creeps will do what creeps do. Longer sentences, ankle devices and databases won't stop all of them, good parenting, good police work, and the realization that the stranger-predator is a rarity, not the rule. Every case like the one in Florida involving the Jessica who spurred the current round of legislative resolve is a horrible tragedy. The nationalization and sensationalization of the media makes it seem as if these creeps are around every corner. They aren't. But every case gets national attention and distorts the scope of the problem in the people's imagination. This proposed law is a reaction to the image created, not the reality.

Prop 84 No.
Clean Water bond. I'm against clean water? Yes, I am when it is just another bond measure to give nebulous authorization to massively increase statewide budgets to solve problems that are more often under local supervision, jurisdiction and control. Clean water is a priority, but cutting the budget elsewhere can fund the infrastructure needs, not adding another bond. Plus there already is a water bond on the 1A-1E legislature approved measures, I'm against both, but if you are going to support one, support the more focused 1E and not this hodge-podge grab bag, certain to become pork laden mess.

Prop 85 Yes.
Parental notification on abortions for minors. This measure is reasonable, allows for judicial relief, and doesn't ban the procedure outright, just recognizes that a pregnant minor is still a minor.

Prop 86 No.
The anti-smoking forces have been emboldened by past successes statewide and now are going at it again. Enough is enough. Smoking is a filthy habit, but its an increasingly marginalized and dying habit. If they want to actually ban smoking outright, then just do it already, don't keep on taxing it until legal tobacco products are more expensive than illicit wacky tobaccy products. This prop is greedy, cigarette packs are already around $5.00 I think (don't smoke, don't know) and to add another $2.60 per pack tax will make smuggled smokes lucrative. Also the anti-trust exemptions and education bureaucracies written into the bill are equally absurd.

Prop 87 Hell No with a Cherry on Top!
Commercials are running with both Vice President Al Gore and President Bill Clinton telling me that the Earth hangs in the balance regarding the passage of this bill. If they are for it, then I know enough to be against it. This is another sin tax provision, but instead of sinful smokers being the target, it's sinful gas guzzlers. Innovations are needed, but funding those innovations through excessive taxation is a bad idea. Also, given the need, any viable solution will be created using private funding as a true solution to gas dependency will be a huge financial windfall. Be suspicious of government funding for programs that should be readily profitable if useful in the first place.

Prop 88 No.
Yet another, our schools are so poorly funded, let's screw somebody who makes up a minority of voters, measure. Send this one to defeat like all the others. Schools are underperforming, but they are not underfunded. Also, the biggest argument against this is that there are no state property taxes in California. That's a can of worms that should not be opened. If the funding is needed, find it elsewhere, don't create a whole new tax requiring a whole new bureaucracy to administer. This is idiotic in the extreme.

Prop 89 No.
Backed by a large public sector union, this measure tries to tilt the playing field more in favor of public sector unions and away from businesses, a bad idea in my opinion. It's disguised as a 'fair campaign' bill that raises the amount of public money available to candidates, but the devil is in the details, and the details are slimy, messy, and undemocratic. Campaign finance reform almost always ends up being incumbent protection measures, this one isn't any different.

Prop 90 Yes.
This is an anti-Kelo measure on steroids. Normally I'd be against this sort of thing. It encourages too much litigation, might have a huge impact on the state's ability to get things done, and will please lawyers more than regular folk. But, eminent domain has been abused in this state, should be strongly discouraged, and if a measure that overreaches slightly is the only way to make that happen, then a less than enthusiastic affirmative vote on this measure would seem to be in order. Everybody on both sides of the political map are lined up against this, and the only supporters are the grassroots folks who circulated the petition in the first place. Sometimes a victory by the grassroots is needed to shake things up. Likely to be overturned in court, but the message will have been sent.

Now, to all you politicians, you don't need to send any more crap my way, my mind is made up.

(and if you want, you can try to set all the above to music, It would have to be a long song, so maybe go with this one)

Getting All Hot and Bothered About Volver


Callimachus at Done With Mirrors mentions a post regarding Almodovar's forthcoming film Volver, and another website's speculation around wordplay.

Cal's post is a good 'un, full of etymological tastiness. The article he links is more speculative.

I agree with him that the speculation is decidedly 'over-determined' and highly unlikely to have been an intentional double entendre.

However, Sony Classics did decide to not change the title as they so often do with Almodovar films. Sometimes the title changes screw up the meaning of the title, sometimes the title changes are of no consequence. Maybe they plan on marketing the film to both English speaking and more upscale Spanish speaking audiences in the United States (given the vast and growing spanish speaking audience in the US of A, the possibility of a 'Spanish language art house' crowd large enough to support quality films from Spain, South America and Mexico grows, also).

I prefer when foreign films keep their foreign titles, though if a film gets released here with an English title, it gets to be a little pretentious to insistently refer to the film by its original title.

Breathless, oh you mean A Bout de Souffle, well yes that is a good film (I would love to see a Canadian made film revolving around a plucky group of chefs in Edmonton or Toronto titled About the Souffle)

Seven Samurai, oh you mean Shichinin no samurai, well yes, that may be one of the greatest films ever (though the Roger Corman made Space Opera rip-off (buried in this lengthy slagging off of Lucas committed by John Scalzi is an appreciation of Battle Beyond the Stars) of the John Sturges made Western rip-off might be a more enjoyable flick).

Back to Volver, only a few weeks away till it will be shown here in Los Angeles, Woohoo!

I'll be there opening weekend, on that you could wager with confidence.

The trailer below for your enjoyment.

Also, the poster for the film.

When this film hits your town, go see it already.

The Urge, and How to Get It . . .

Occaisionally I get early adopter fever.

I've downloaded the latest build of Vista, and plan on placing it on a currently unused hard drive and create a dual-boot system.

Windows Media Player 11 is in a beta now as well. This seems to be the version that they want to be compatible with IE7 and Vista. The new look is clean, the interface seems to work pretty well, and they are pushing their joint project with Viacom URGE.com.

I've signed up for the 14 day free trial and so far, I'm actually kind of liking it.

I'm as surprised as you are.

MTV/VH-1/CMT are heavily branded on URGE and those aren't brands that say good taste in music to me anymore.

But, so far I like what I'm hearing, and what it gives me access to. It's similar to Napster.com in that for a flat fee you can listen to songs, even download them to your computer, and if you pay a little more, download them to compatible devices. When Microsoft the Zune this would seem to be how they expect you to get content on their devices.

This is supposed to be their Apple killer. It ain't there yet, but it does work pretty well, looks clean and has some decent (though too few) radio stations.

Also the way they organize the music is pretty intuitive, which is a bit of a surprise for Viacom/Microsoft frankly.

Plus, the playlists are pretty fun. Here's an example of two.

Must-Haves: Bubblegum, a list that surely would please Prof. Althouse (she's often professed great love for this stuff)

14 songs from four different decades, and cheesy and bubblegummy enough to make you smile or make you run.

The list

1. Sugar Sugar, The Archies
2. I Think We're Alone Now, Tommy James & the Shondells
3. Dizzy, Tommy Roe
4. I'm A Believer, The Monkees
5. ABC, The Jackson 5
6. I Think I Love You, Partridge Family
7. Saturday Night, Bay City Rollers
8. Little Willy, Sweet
9. We Got The Beat, The Go-Go's
10 I Want Candy, Bow Wow Wow
11. I Think We're Alone Now, Tiffany
12. MMMBop, Hanson
13. Wannabe, Spice Girls
14. ...Baby One More Time, Britney Spears

It's a good overview of bubblegum, arranged chronologically.

The other list that I like is a Prince themed list called Prince Under Cover. It's got Prince covers that I wasn't aware of, plus the ones that everyone knows.

1. I Feel For You, Chaka Khan
2. Nothing Compares 2 U, Sinead O'Connor
3. When Doves Cry, Patti Smith
4. Thieves In The Temple, Herbie Hancock
5. How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?, Stephanie Mills
6. When You Were Mine, Cyndi Lauper
7. Rasberry Beret, Warren Zevon and the Hindu Love Gods
8. Purple Rain, Phish
9. Manic Monday, The Bangles
10. If I Was Your Girlfriend, TLC
11. Kiss, Tom Jones
12. The Beautiful Ones, Mariah Carey and Dru Hill
13. Down With Prince, Hot Chip

In The Year 2010 . . .

Predictions for 3.3 years from now.

In the year 2010, after years of frivilous lawsuits brought by deep pocket seeking lawyers and petty, whiny media companies claiming damages due to YouTube, the founders of Google will switch from being Silicon Valley liberals to tort-reform crusading neo-libertarians.

Automakers will continue to claim hydrogen fuel cell powered cars are just 5-10 years from being in the market on a mass scale (but this time they really, really mean it).

Apple computer will release their latest media device, the iSuppository. Its revolutionary rectal interface allows direct input (so to speak) of music and video data into a person's nervous system through the myriad nerve endings in your anus. The usual Apple fans announce that this is the greatest innovation in the entire history of all mankind, and only would be made better if the design of the device were molded from Steve Jobs' personal "equipment" (surprisingly, in subsequent months very few 'previously owned' will be bought on eBay).

Genetic engineers announce the creation of a new tapeworm based diet supplement. These creatures will sit in your stomach, have a maximum lifespan of six weeks, are infertile, and transform excess sugars in your stomach into amino acids, essential minerals and vitamins.

VirginGalactic announces that booking for their first multi-orbit flights are available this March. The flights will be 6 hours for $250,000 or 12 hours for $400,000. The first flight has already been booked by a pornographer who plans on filming 9 features of zero-g porn during a single 12 hour mission.

California Senator Diane Feinstein announces that she is resigning from the Senate (forgoing her last two years), and Gov. Schwarzenegger has agreed to allow her to pick her own successor, Oprah Winfrey.

The recently moved Los Angeles Saints, win their first Superbowl defeating the Tennesse Titans in Superbowl XLIV. Vince Young wins the MVP award in defeat, however.

18 October 2006

Best/Worst 80s Videos

Andrew Sullivan, feeling a bit stung by criticism over his continued love for all things Pet Shop Boys, resorts to calling for folks to send in suggestions for the best/worst videos of the 80s that best exemplify that which the 80s music scene represents.

I picked three videos for best, and only one for worst (for that title is so clearly earned, as to be beyond dispute).

The videos I picked aren't the best videos, the best songs, but they are quintessentially 80s (at least in my opinion).

80s was a time of paying homage, as well as putting new twists on things, so my first suggestion was this clip of Power Station doing Bang a Gong. "Supergroups" were a very 80s phenom, and Power Station were one of the better ones. Robert Palmer could sing! Andy Taylor is a pretty damn fine guitarist. And drummers don't get much better than Niles Rodgers. Plus, this video has hot chicks and neon-like animation (an 80s requirement)

Next up, the somewhat obscure, and probably mostly forgotten Haysi Fantayzee doing their big hit Shiny Shiny. This video is fantastic. Their style was "interesting". The album from which this song was taken was a great album that is impossible to find nowadays. They were a novelty act, more famous in England for getting into the tabloids than their actual music, but the music had a polish, charm and unique quality that's hard to match. Plus it's hard to picture them outside of 1982-1985, which is probably why they vanished so quickly. So perfectly of the times, that they could not survive beyond those times.

The third "best" video from the 80s I chose was Aztec Camera with Oblivious. I think this is one of the greatest pop songs of all time. Roddy Frame is a god, no one can ever tell me different. The video is a series of early/mid 80s cliches thrown together. Works well anyway.

Finally, the worst, well one word is all that's needed MENUDO (the horror, the horror). Watch it if you dare, just remember, some things once seen, can't be unseen.

Finally, shame on Mr. Sullivan for all this irresponsible encouragement of gross copyright infringement. Doug Morris should sue him while he's going around suing folks (or not).

I expect posts of this ilk to spring up like poppies across the internets.

17 October 2006

Bull Scrotum Bikini

Listen to this podcast, or else.


It's funny.


(the podcast is from her couch-crashing liberal "friend" Butterfly)

I Blame the Clinton Administration

I meant to comment on this earlier but it slipped my mind.

The U lived down to their reputation this past Saturday. The behavior on the field was inexcusable from both teams, and both football programs should be shut down for the rest of the season.

Miami University is only suspending 13 players for one game. That's absurd. Donna Shalala should have ended football for the season, fired Coker, and yanked all the scholarships of players who joined in the violence. If a frat had hosted a party and the same brawl had broken out, that frat would cease to be, the students involved would be facing criminal charges, and they would have been expelled. But because it was the football team at a football school, one game and a promise never ever ever ever ever to engage in rough housing is all that's required them.

Here's what Shalala is quoted as saying, "This university will be firm and punish people who do bad things," "But we will not throw any student under the bus for instant restoration of our image or our reputation. I will not hang them in a public square. I will not eliminate their participation at the university. I will not take away their scholarships."

Rewarding bad behavior seems to be a habit with Clintonistas.

I Know I Shouldn't Laugh, But . . .

(via Drudge)

This report, that Rose Rock, the mother of Chris Rock claims she was discriminated against while patronizing a chain restaurant in South Carolina.

Did I mention the restaurant was Cracker Barrel?

Can't you just here the Chris Rock routine about this incident?

"I mean come on woman, you walked into a Cracker Barrel in South Carolina, what did you expect?"

To Link, Or Not To Link, That Is The Question

(the title to this blogpost should be heard as if read by John Lithgow in his most obnoxious voice)

I'm a huge fan of the Gawker weekly feature Blue States Lose. One of the main sources for the photos there is the LA scenester/photographer Cobrasnake. One of the disturbing aspects of Cobrasnake, besides the name, the hair, and the clothes, is his "intern" Cory Kennedy.

Cory Kennedy is quickly becoming an international phenomenon in the fashion world. She's had spreads in big fashion mags, is talked about here and there, and hangs out with the rich and famous.

Here's an LAWeekly article about her from a few months ago. Here's a little love being shown her way at Trashionista.net. Here's a disturbing little Sims2 mod for some in-game Cory Kennedy action. Fashionologie comments on the Cory Kennedy phenom, as well. Here's an overview someone (natzmeister) posted at Livejournal, with lots of pictures.

Also, Cory's a blogger, and her blog is charmingly (disturbingly?) lacking in coherence.

Did I mention she's sixteen (or seventeen, or twenty-one, guess it depends which fake ID she's using that day)?

Anyway, I'm tempted to include a link to her blog cause she represents something, whether that something is sad and disgusting, or charming and hopeful, or charming and disgusting, or sad and hopeful depends on who is reading it I suppose.

Sometimes she seems to be in on the joke (like in this video, which despite being jokey, still seems very inappropriate if she really is under 18) other times I get the feeling that she IS the joke.

I can't help but seeing a lot of Edie in her (and Ciao! Manhattan is a pretty good film if you ask me), and that's not a good thing. If they had blogs back in the Factory's hey-day, I bet they'd be a lot like her blog.

Also, I knew her back when I went to Samohi. Not her specifically, but girls just like her, who hung out with guys like Cobrasnake, and it never ended well for them (the girls, that is, not the pervs, the pervs seemed to get along just fine).

Anyway, back to the point of this post. She would seem out of place linked in my blogroll, but then again, she seems to be representative of something bubbling up in this culture (or lack thereof) and she also happens to be from Santa Monica.

I'm leaning towards linking. Afterall, it's only a line of text with a few html tags, it doesn't cost anything, and nobody actually has to follow the link over there if they choose not to.

I will listen to arguments pro and con, however. Argue away in the comments, if you care. And remain silent if you don't. Or even argue away, even if you don't care, just cause you enjoy arguing. And then I guess there are those who care, yet choose not to comment cause they feel powerless to sway my decision-making. For those folks I feel sorrow.

RESULTS (Week SIX) Weekly NFL Related Humiliation

1-3, ouch. In each of the four games I chose to prognosticate, the favored team lost or failed to cover the spread. Should have gone straight underdog week six.

The recap
Seattle at St. Louis (+3)
Both teams only have one loss, surprisingly. Seattle was destroyed by Chicago in their last game and have had a bye week to recuperate. Either a bounce back, or more woes this week. St. Louis has an impressive 4-1 record, but other than Denver, they've beaten weak teams and their one loss is to the awful 49ers. Seattle has the kind of defense that can disrupt the hot Bolger and even though they will continue to miss Shaun Alexander for a few more weeks, they have enough other tools to handle a decent team on the road. I'll take the Seahawks and give up the points, and I'll do it with confidence.
Seattle 30 St. Louis 28
Didn't get to see this game, but my pick was looking good till that late fumble. Seattle got lucky to escape with the victory, but they didn't cover the point spread, those bastards! Also, since he played so well, I may have to learn how to spell Bulger's name correctly from now on.
NY Giants at Atlanta (-3)
The Giants have been up and down, alternating losses with victories this season. By that reasoning this would be a week for them to lose. I think Atlanta will oblige them. Atlanta has looked good each week, or so I've been told, the only week they've been shown in the LA market was the reopening of the Superdome, and the Saints were not to be denied that night. I still don't believe in a QB that can't pass the 10-15 strikes with consistency, but they have enough defense to stay close and be ready to take advantage of the eventual Giants mistakes on offense. Also, the Giants are a good defense, but a slow defense, just the kind that the Vick/Dunn duo will destroy on the ground. I expect another lousy day statistically for Vick as a passer, but a victory anway. I'll take Atlanta and not worry about giving up the points, they'll win by at least a touchdown.
NY Giants 27 Atlanta 14
Another game not shown hereabouts. Vick and Dunn gained tons of yards on the ground as predicted, but they continued to do so while not scoring touchdowns. That's a problem. Again, to succeed in the NFL you need that short passing game, something that Michael Vick seems incapable of delivering on a consistent basis. But I still wish they'd show their games here more often, he's still the most exciting player in the league, even if he's a mediocre QB.
Philadelphia at New Orleans (+3.5)
The Saints are unbeaten in the Superdome, and Philadelphia is riding high after winning the TO Bowl. Donovan McNabb is starting to look like a pretty good QB again, but the Eagles defense hasn't been exactly stingy. The Saints are better on defense than the Eagles right now and will have to rely on a big play on special teams or a big play on offense to put enough points on the board to keep up with the Eagles' offense. The Saints defense is actually pretty crappy except for when they aren't. They are terrible in the red zone, but improving. I think the Eagles are ripe for a let down, and New Orleans will continue to win at home (but not next week against Baltimore). I'll take New Orleans and the points and be happy about it.
Philadelphia 24 New Orleans 27
Wooho! The only pick I got right this week. I've seen the Saints play more than any other team this season (still looking forward to this franchise moving here to Los Angeles, rather than being La.'s team, they can be L.A.'s team). They are for real. Reggie Bush and Duece McAllister have been a great duo and Drew Brees has been a great leader for this team. Philadelphia still managed to almost win this game, and but for a late in the game, completely inexcuseable 12 men on the field penalty, would have at least gotten another shot at a score. These are two very good teams, and the home field advantage was most likely the deciding factor. They both look like solid playoff contenders in the relatively week NFC.
Carolina at Baltimore (-3)
Baltimore got embarrassed on the road in Denver on Monday. So they have travel and a short week working against them. But, their offense isn't as bad as it looked on Monday, and their defense still looked terrific even in a loss, so expect them to turn things around and hold Carolina under 14 points. Carolina has a solid defense and not always productive offense as well. On the road I don't think their defense will be able to hold Baltimore under 20 points, and given that they are going to have trouble scoring themselves, look for them to slip back to .500. I'll take Baltimore and give up the points.
Carolina 23 Baltimore 21
I've got an excuse on this pick. McNair was knocked out early. Baltimore still could have won this game (and covered the spread), but they failed to contain Steve Smith for the entire game. Steve Smith when healthy has managed to make some very good defenses look very stupid, and Carolina continues to be unbeaten with him in the lineup this season. The Panthers are a team to watch, and Baltimore were lucky to even score the 21 points they managed in this game (two TDs to Mark Clayton bounced off of other players into his hands, not something you draw up on the chalkboard).

Also, howabout that Monday night game? That was painful to watch. Though, Matt Leinart looks for real, and he said all the right things after the game, he had the right level of frustration mixed with optimism, and didn't point any fingers at anyone but himself. Class act, and will have an impact for years to come, and probably will have an impact the rest of this season. Arizona are almost a very good team, yet are already 1-5 (though if they finished off teams they had beat, they would be 4-2 right now). Chicago looked terrible on offense, yet eeked out a victory without an offensive touchdown and giving up six turnovers. In the postgame wrap up they mentioned the unique nature of erasing a 20 point deficit without the benefit of an offensive TD, or overcoming six turnovers.