31 July 2006

Virginia Postrel Doing Her Usual Thing

Virginia Postrel posts regarding an article that was in today's LAT Business section. The article is regarding the number of folks who followed Nissan USA headquarters in their move from the LA area to Tennessee.

She makes excellent points, as always. Her analysis of the story is far more worthy a read than the original story itself. She quotes the story extensively, then she quotes her own book to make her point, I'll just quote the summation of her post
When big cities no longer have a monopoly on amenities and niche retailing, whether because of chains or the Internet, they have to worry about quality of life issues they've previously ignored. Los Angeles discourages new housing and road construction, while the rest of the Sunbelt generally encourages both. People will move. The weather is great in L.A., but Nashville and Dallas aren't Buffalo.

Nissan will survive without being headquartered in SoCal, and SoCal will survive losing another large company to massive incentives and tax breaks by states that have the political will to do so. Gov. Schwarzenegger helped staunch the bleeding a little, but what was once an alarming torrent of companies and the commercial life's blood they bring fleeing California, is now down to a mere steady stream. If Phil Angelides takes over as Governer, expect the exodus to begin again in earnest. Arnold was able to enact a few business friendly measures because of the way he came into office, but if a liberal Democrat beats him for the office, you can expect the climate for business within California to get chillier than anyone could ever imagine.

Of Course Republicans Hug Him . . .

. . . he helped get Pres. Bush re-elected.

Filmmaker Roger Moore still doesn't realize that his little documentary did more to energize Republicans to vote for Pres. Bush than it did to get others to vote against him.

They aren't hugging with him, they're hugging at him.

(to paraphrase the comment made by Dave Chappelle regarding why he quit his show)

(and seems appropriate that my 666th post is regarding Michael Moore, Pres. Bush, Dave Chappelle, and Republicans, inspired by a Reuters article linked by Drudge)

(via the usual)

Man - Bear (Sorry, No Pig)

From Mainichi Daily News
The man living in Odate was picking wild vegetables in a state-owned forest in the city when a bear measuring some 1.4 meters in length charged toward him, local police said. After he hit the bear in the face with his right fist, the animal ran away from the scene.

Al Gore could not be reached for comment.

No Matter How Ridiculous You Think Folks Are . . .

A recent rundown in the tiny little SM paper (which seems to offer linkable stories now instead of just PDFs, guess they read my Festivus grievance) of city council business has some interesting tidbits (tidbits, I said tidbits, can't you hear?)
With elected officials in rare comedic form, it seemed like the perfect time for Mark Levine to pop the big question. The soft-spoken, middle-aged man with glasses straight out of the sock-hop era was checking out the dynamics on the dais to see which member would be brave, or zany enough to sponsor his “Topless Equal Rights Amendment.”

That’s right, topless. It’s Levine’s mission to level the playing field for females by creating not just a topless beach, but a topless Santa Monica, where women would be allowed to expose themselves just as men do — minus the back hair, of course.

“If there’s to be freedom of choice, why not freedom to be topless in public?” read a flier Levine distributed to raise awareness.

And women say their men never support them.

The proposed amendment would enhance the U.S. Constitution’s concept of equality like Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction did for the Super Bowl half-time show, Levine said. He added that it also would reduce the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer, cut down on the consumption of pornography, alcohol and drugs and — get this — prevent urban warfare.

That's not all, our council has seen fit to propose a ballot initiative for the fall weakening marijuana enforcement (following West Hollywood's lead, presumably) and placing more restrictions on tobacco in public, essentially banning tobacco in all business and tourist areas (which seems like a very bad move for a city that relies on tourism from Asia and Europe)
In an odd twist, the council approved of a ban on smoking in most public spaces, while at the same time, placed an initiative on the November ballot that would make it easier for adults to smoke marijuana in their homes. Since the marijuana initiative already qualified for the ballot, the council had no choice but to certify it or adopt it as law. In the end, wacky tobacky got the thumbs up, while the Marlboro Man was told to ride into the sunset.

Another day in the left-leaning city by the sea.

(Of course the article's author means for that last line to be combined with a trombone wah-wah-wah, whereas I think it should be accompanied by a blood-curdling scream)

30 July 2006

{Insert Your Own Witty Post Title Here}

More people writing stuff that I could have almost written had I thought about it first (and I did write about Happy Feet before Lileks wrote about Happy Feet)

On the other hand, “Happy Feet” is directed by George Miller, who also did “Mad Max.” So there’s that. There’s also the possibility that the penguin with the big long black scary beard will get hepped up on fermented herring blood and start ranting about the Jews.

The rest is even better, he should have taken the progeny to see Monster House instead.

Deep Thoughts On Cereal

The Hero With A Thousand Brands of Sugary Cereal

Kellogg’s mascots are the square DC ones. They’re total Boy Scouts. Helpful Toucan Sam always wants lost jungle explorers to find and sample his Froot Loops. Cheery Tony the Tiger thinks everything is “Grrrreat!” Snap, Crackle, and Pop are so dull they’re mostly interested in the sound that air bubbles make in their cereal. Whoo!

General Mills, on the other hand, is where Gen-Xers get the familiar Joseph Campbell cereal-commercial archetypes of their childhoods. These guys are the edgy Marvel anti-heroes, full of conflict and angst. The Trix Rabbit represents Trix, but can he even get a bowl of the stuff. from a pair of spoiled, privileged children? He cannot, so he resorts to stealing, and still he fails. Count Chocula, Frankenberry, Fruit Brute, et. al., are scary and misunderstood. Anti-spokesperson Lucky the Leprechaun doesn’t even want you to eat his damn cereal. He’s hiding.

I didn't write it, but I could have, instead Ken Jennings beat me to it. DAMN YOU KEN JENNINGS!!!

(and if you hadn't read this book, get to it already, good stuff, Lucky Charms good. Joseph Campbell, he's magically delicious!)

AMLO Continues to Pout

Given the tremendous population of Mexico City, hundreds of thousands of people could show up in the Zócalo whether there's a political protest or not.

The size of the crowd isn't troubling, but the rhetoric about shutting the country down if the PRD candidate doesn't get his way, is very troubling.

Seems there's 'street' envy in Mexico. Having the 'arab street' rent-a-mobs causing trouble isn't enough, maybe we'll start seeing the 'mexican street' flex its muscle (and I suspect there is a 'rent-a-mob' aspect to some of the PRD folks in Mexico City, AMLO bought a lot of political patronage while mayor through various social programs).

Of course, they could have gotten well over a million folks in the Zócalo if Vicente Fernández had been giving a free concert.

Is Sen. Clinton Going to Pressure Chelsea to Do the Same?

Good for him, be safe, be honorable Jimmy.

(and trying to see the political angles of this, such as Time is doing, is idiotic)

(via Drudge)

When Is the Absence of An Event, An Event In of Itself?

From the Jerusalem Post today

The Haruv Battalion together with Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) operatives caught two Palestinian terrorists in the Nablus area on Sunday, who were armed with an explosives belt and apparently on their way to perpetrate a suicide attack inside Israel.

The men were taken for questioning and the belt was detonated.

Has anyone else noted the lack of successful suicide bombers within Israel? To remark on this would be to admit that the 'immoral' wall erected by the Israeli government has worked exceedingly well.

Clearly, the lack of dead Israeli non-combatants on your TV screen these past years hasn't been for lack of trying, lack of desire, or lack of resources on the part of the crazies.

Sometimes it's as important to notice what hasn't happened as what has.

The events in Qana are regrettable, but the conditions that lead to so many children dying in a military strike were purely the doing of Hizbollah.

Hizbollah cheers when civillians are killed, Israelis cry, doesn't matter whether it's Lebanese or Israelis doing the dying. Hizbollah does everything they can to increase civillian deaths on both sides, Israelis work to mitigate that regrettable consequence of warfare.

That, as much as anything else, is reason enough to make the destruction of Hizbollah a long term goal.

Hizbollah's core philosophy is incompatible with civil, democratic governance and respect for individual life. Their hatred is such that it would find a different target (most likely the United States) if they got their wish and Israel ceased to be. They are a bigger danger to the Shi'a themselves, though. Shi'a should murder these thugs in their beds. The women in these communities should all go Lysistrata on their sorry nihilistic asses. Support for, or support from, Hizbollah must become a mark of shame in their community, not a source of pride. Then their children will grow up to be happy citizens in a peaceful Lebanon, instead of murdering monsters in a land of perpetual strife.

29 July 2006

That's Entertainment!

The Calendar section of the LAT presumably is mostly about arts and entertainment. Long, long ago it was called the 'entertainment' section. Well, I guess to a degree this above the fold first page of the section fable article on George Soros is rather entertaining, opening paragraph
GEORGE SOROS, the Hungarian Holocaust survivor whose fortune is matched only by his philanthropy, pioneered a kind of self-styled approach to global reform that made him, in the words of the Carnegie Endowment's Morton Abramowitz, "the only private citizen who had his own foreign policy."

But wait, there's more

Now, Soros has raised eyebrows with his most recent sally into American political culture by drawing comparisons in his new book between the Bush administration and communist and Nazi governments.

In "The Age of Fallibility: Consequences of the War on Terror," Soros recalls that when he "heard President Bush say, 'Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists,' " in the wake of 9/11, "I was reminded of Nazi propaganda.

"Indeed, the Bush Administration has been able to improve on the techniques used by the Nazi and the Communist propaganda machines by drawing on the innovations of the advertising and marketing industries."

On a recent day, Soros was not quite backing down.

"You don't have a Karl Marx, you only have a Karl Rove who has been successful in creating a coalition of fundamentalists," he began, sitting in a conference room high above Manhattan, framed by a view of New York's Central Park, in a striped blue cotton shirt and khakis, his manner affable and relaxed.
So, socialism is dead, noone is still trying to revive the dessicated corpse of Marxian rhetoric, but oh, by the way, social conservatives are pretty much all nazis.

Thank God the spirit of Gaia that watches over this wretched planet and one day will cleanse the globe of all these evil fundamentalist, that we have an unbiased media to balance the propaganda spewed by the current regime.

If it wasn't for George Soros' generosity, the reeducation camps would already be in full swing, and there'd be a Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib in every congressional district in the United States of AmeriKKKa.

Luckily nobody actually reads the LAT anymore (graph via radioblogger, for more follow link)

A few things to note about this graph, lack of competition in the paper industry seems to be a bad thing, the drop off started a few years after the Herald Examiner folded (a bump in the overall downturn can be seen right around 1989, but the decline picks up full steam throughout the Clinton years, until Lewinksy broke, then a slight rise, and since 2001, back to freefall). Big cities need more than one major paper that serves the entire area (LAT still gets competition from semi-local papers, but nobody challenges them throughout the city). Also it's not a language thing, La Opinion, LA's major Spanish language paper, hasn't seen any increase in their circulation during this time either.

Even a NYPost style tabloid would be welcome here, especially one willing to spread juicy gossip and attack the dream factory (something the LATimes is loathe to do), Mickey Kaus has been saying this for awhile, and he's right. A paper with any sense of what might grab people's attention would have ran with what Drudge has blaring in large type at the moment, "MAD MEL IN MALIBU: 'F*@KING JEW'" Put that on your cover, even on a Saturday morning, and you'll move plenty of extra units that day.

Mr. Murdoch, if you get around to reading this, I'm available to be Editor, if you're willing to throw $500M in start-up money my way. You won't be sorry, I promise you'll see a profit within 6 years (maybe even 4 if we're lucky). I'll even co-edit with one of your kids, come on, what could go wrong?

28 July 2006

July 28th Must Be Gauntlet Throwing Day, Or Something

This time it's Prof. Althouse throwing the gauntlet down. In this post, titled Convention, Convertible, Contrex, Chardonnay, Condom the good Prof. asks for the following in a subsequent comment
I want a fancy-schmancy post modernist to deconstruct this post!

Below is my attempt to fulfill her request (rather than posting this lenghty piece there, I figured that's what my own blog is for)

Deconstructionism suggests a specific set of analytical tools used to de-compose text (both in the sense of taking a composition and stripping it down to its component meanings (even when those components are hidden from the author herself) and 'decomposing' it as turning the original composition into a rotting corpse bereft of any life) (furthermore, when I use the term 'text' I mean it in the absolute broadest sense, hence even the photos, the html code of the page its own, the computer you use to view said composition with, and even the clickity click of the keyboard as the piece is written, constititute 'text'). Before we begin our disambiguation of the text of this post, we must examine the post's title. Convention: intentionally ambiguous meaning here, both in the sense of a 'convention' as meeting, and 'convention' as accepted method of doing things, this double meaning (with a third less obvious, but nevertheless informative meaning of 'convent'ion, given the 'sister'ly nature of the BlogHer conference, this particular 'convention' could be seen as a modern descendent of a 'convent' and therefore 'convent'ional in a secular imitation of the religious 'convent') serves to inform every aspect of the rest of the post. Next the concept space suggested by the term 'convertible', a (no doubt) intentional mimicking of the c-o-n-v-e- of the first word in the title, but with the changed ending a change in inference. Convertibles in many ways are the complete opposite of 'convention', 'convertible' means changeable, indeed even 'convert-able'. With the choice of this word, the author signals her flexibility and openness (just like an 'open top' car). Next we have the word, 'contrex', a made up word for a product, yes, but when put in con-text along with the first two con-words, it suggests that what will follow is both a 'con' and is full of 'tricks' as well as represents a series of 'treks'. This reading is helped along by the fact of the two epic 'treks' the author engaged in just prior to composing the post here in deconstructed. Chardonnay follows, with its sweetness and sharpness. A different word, with completely different associations than all the other 'con' words that make up the rest of the title of this post. To examine Chardonnay as its used in this post's title, one must understand its relationship to other wines. Chardonnay known for its versatility and easy drinkability, finds itself faulted for those very same characteristics. Possibly the author here is professing a kinship of source with Chardonnay, she's neither too tart, nor too sweet, and often considered less weighty or serious than other colleagues due to this nature. The final word in the post title is Condom. One can not examine the word condom without examining the phallic implications given the purpose of the device. In a very real sense, a condom, though sexual in nature given its purpose, is also a 'barrier' between the sexes (but also between members of the same sex often). This barrier prevents the spread of information (in the form of genes, whether it be from sperm, or viruses, all forms of communication nevertheless, genes are just the most basic packet of communication between biological beings) from one person to another. A condom generally doesn't make sense without a penis (though safer sex practices demand using a condom with any 'toys' with porous surfaces, so they could be used sans penis, as well). The placement of the word 'condom' at the end of the title is a reminder of the oppressive hegemony of the patriarchy that lingers over even the most enlightened conference such as the one being attended. Also, the 'dom' ending is often associated with 'domain' or 'kingdom' which suggests the use of the word was meant to bring up thoughts of a 'con-dom', a 'kingdom of lies' if you will. Whether the convention (leading us back to the first word of the post's title) itself is supposed to be the 'lie' or the convention is intended to battle this . . .

[unfortunately, this is just the beginning of the analysis of the title of the post, the deconstruction of the rest of the post goes on for another 40 pages double spaced and can be viewed at www.deconstructionreallyreallysucksmygoditsucksallthepleasureoutofliterature.com]

(also, the above linked Wiki, and the subsequent talk back, regarding Deconstruction is about the funniest (or saddest) thing you'll ever read)

(thanks for dropping by, if you made it this far you deserve some sort of medal, sorry I don't have one for you)

Top 13+1 Albums of the 1980s

UPDATE: Hello folks from Things Thrown (and I love Starfish and Coffee as much as the next person, but I still think Parade is the better album) comment if you'd like, or just sit back and enjoy. Also Bill adds more over at So Quoted about what he thinks of the list below, read that too, good stuff that. Finally, Dave Chappelle, if you're reading this, get back to work, Comedy Central needs you, THE WORLD NEEDS YOU (the picture below borrowed from the Fark discussion regarding Prince's upcoming Superbowl XLI appearance, that shot is of course most likely from the classic Rick James sketch)

Thirteen (really 14) albums from thirteen (really 14, but in the future that may be disputed) artists released during the 80s (limited to artists whose most fruitful period was also during the 80s) that really rocked, or funked, or souled, or punked, or hip-hopped, or new-waved.

Best of lists are utterly and totally subjective. I'm not going to claim that this is the definitive or authoritative list of great albums from that time period, but you wouldn't be doing yourself any harm by seeking out every one of these records.

Some are dated now, but still great (who said timelessness is a good thing, sometimes being exactly of a time is as important as standing outside of that time). Others are just my personal, idiosyncratic tastes shining through.

Bill asked why I think Parade is the BEST ALBUM OF THE 80s (and not say, The Replacement's Let It Be). Maybe this list will help explain.

13. Altered Images Bite, The bands last album before breaking up. Produced by the amazing Martin Rushnet, lush arrangements, coupled with Clare Grogan's thin yet compelling voice. Complete departure from their other material, essentially a Grogan solo project (which is why the break-up), brilliant nevertheless. For some people over-produced disco influenced pop is an insult. This album shows why when done right there is no bigger compliment (rather than purchasing the import which in the descriptions seems problematic, a better place to start would be this compilation of Altered Images which has the highlights from this fantastic album)

12. De La Soul 3 Feet High and Rising and A Tribe Called Quest People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, These albums combined comprise the most awesome hip-hop double album ever. Just because these albums were released a year apart, doesn't mean that they weren't really meant to be considered part and parcel of the same project. You can't have one without the other, they are linked by style and innovation. It's sad to see how instead of signalling a new fresh era in hip-hop, these albums represent the beginning and end of a style that rightfully should have dominated hip-hop in the 90s.

11. Sonic Youth EVOL, NYC Art student noise-core doesn't get any better than this (well the Talking Heads did do it better, but that's of the 70s, even if they made some great albums in the 80s). Praised to high heavens when released, one of the few albums of this kind that actually deserved the accolades.

10. Terrence Trent D'Arby Introducing the Hardline According to Terrence Trent D'Arby, 200 years in the future you'll have trouble convincing historians that there ever was a person who went by the name of Terrence Trent D'Arby and that this whole album wasn't just some elaborate hoax played by Prince while he was in his prolific genius stage. By then this post will violate my only one album by artist self-imposed limitation, but for now, while there are still people who you can convince that there were seperate entities that went by the name of D'Arby and Prince, this album definitely belongs on this list. Easily the greatest debut album ever, and easily the most disappointing career in the aftermath of that debut. The fact that future historians won't be able to tell that this wasn't a Prince album should be considered the greatest compliment you could pay this album.

9. Frankie Goes To Hollywood Welcome to the Pleasuredome, Trevor Horn is god. His production skills are unmatched. From his years as a Buggle, to his work with FGTH, to his more recent work with Seal. Dude is genius. Welcome to the Pleasuredome, the song is the most bloated, and fantastic pop/dance song ever conceived. This whole big messy double album (remember those?) is about nothing but sex, sex, and more sex (with a little bit of nuclear apocalypse thrown in for good measure). Sex and Horror are the New Gods, indeed.

8. The Dream Syndicate The Days of Wine & Roses, had I not seen this band a half dozen times live throughout the 80s and early 90s, they probably wouldn't be on this list. But I did, and my affection for their sound is based largely on that experience. The album doesn't do justice to the live experience. These folks weren't 'studio' musicians. These were guys (and sometimes gal) that just knew how to rock, knew how to put on a show, and were the best of what the LA 'paisley underground' scene had to offer. Rootsy, rocky, with a touch of velvety (undergroundy), plus Paul Cutler used to break out the power tools and egg beaters and abuse his guitar strings with said utensils, fun stuff that.

7. The Violent Femmes Hallowed Ground, OK, dude, that's not right, what the hell is Hallowed Ground doing on this list and not their debut album? Well, dude, this was the better album, in my opinion. Their debut is great, one of the all time great examples of teen angst, an album that's forever 15 years old and misunderstood, and troubled by its own impinging sexuality. This album is where that 15 year old would be when he's 25. And 25 is inherently more interesting than 15, sorry all you perpetual adolescents, that's just science. Another band that might not have made the list, but for many trips to live shows. Milwaukee's Best.

6. Sugarcubes Life's Too Good, It's Bjork's world, we're just living in it. The Sugarcubes were great in their own right, and very different from what Bjork would do on her own. They represent a transition from New Wave, to whatever replaced New Wave in the 90s, and this album is a fantastic album even outside of that place and time.

5. Aztec Camera High Land, Hard Rain, Now we are getting into the heavy hitters. These are the albums that are absolutely essential to any music collection regardless of whether or not you are a nostalgiac Gen Xer trying to relive their past. Roddy Frame is an acoustic guitar god (his mostly acoustic guitar version of Van Halen's Jump should be proof enough to anyone, not on this album though). These songs are exquisitely well crafted. One of these songs is a freakin' english sonnet for crissakes! This album has as much to do with the troubadour tradition of the Renaissance as it does with modern music, but don't let that scare you away. Also, the semi-hit from this album Oblivious, is as good as pop tunes get. Incomprehensible lyrics, lushly arranged, beautifully sung and played, just damn, damn fine music.

4. Jesus and the Mary Chain Psychocandy, Another velvety (undeground) explosion of noise. This one also gives a heavy shout out to a Spectorish wall of sound vibe. Rock critics praised this album to high heavens back in the day. For once those jerks were right. Gazing at Doc Martens never sounded better.

3. Eurythmics Touch, Still my favorite album of theirs, still one of the best bands ever. Annie's voice, Dave's musicianship and production, unmatchable. One of the greatest pop collaborations of all time. It's easy to dismiss their sound as overly synthetic. But it's far better than that, and it's really just a reaction to a different musical vocabulary that to some sounded irritating. Great stuff, a more mature outing than their first big album, and retains the humor and inventiveness that some of their later work lacked. They were a definitional band with regards to New Wave music in the 80s in Britain, and they rocked, still, too.

2. The Bangles All Over the Place, their first studio album, and it remains their best album. Great pop, reflects their influences while still sounding fresh and new. Fantastic harmonies, these girls all could sing, though Susannah Hoffs' voice does have more distinctiveness, and therefore she became the de facto 'lead' singer. Partially this was what lead to the bands downfall, jealousies, and changing times didn't help either. Pop that just wants to entertain sometimes doesn't get the credit it deserves. To do that well, and do that successfully takes more skill and command of your craft than any big bloated ELO or Steely Dan style (no matter how good some of that stuff sounds, and much of it is great) slickness. Also other 'important' albums like U2's Joshua's Tree doesn't make my cut cause I just never got them. When bands try too hard to be 'important' they often forget to entertain. The Bangles always entertained. I like that about them, and about much of the music of that time that I enjoy. All this music could be played together (even the Sonic Youth). Music can be thought-provoking, but it doesn't have to be. Usually when bands try to be 'thought-provoking' they just end up being hackneyed and manipulative. That's why I can place a pure, straight ahead pop album with nothing more important to say than, 'hey look at us, we're in a band', like All Over the Place by the Bangles, so high on this list.

Other albums that could be on this list, but didn't make the cut are, Do The Right Thing: Soundtrack Album, PE's Fear of A Black Planet, Siouxsie and the Banshee's Hyaena, Adam Ant's Friend or Foe, Culture Club's Kissing to Be Clever, Echo and the Bunnymen Ocean Rain, Ministry's The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste, Butthole Surfers' Locust Abortion Technician, and Sade's Diamond Life (how many other lists put those two albums near each other?). As far as the Replacements, I just never really listened to them that much.

On to the Number one, with analysis of each track, just to get this post really bloated and long winded.

Prince Parade

The last of the three Prince albums (first being Purple Rain, second being Around the World in a Day) credited as Prince and the Revolution. Most people assume the 'and Revolution' part isn't significant. But this album proves that wrong. If you've heard Wendy & Lisa's subsequent solo work, you'll listen to this album with different ears. This is as much a precursor to their future work as it is the last of Prince's collaboration with them. And since I fell in love with this album as a vinyl LP, I'll point out which tracks are on side one, and which are on side two (the two sides of this album have two very different personalities, just like most great vinyl albums did back in the day --- one of the shortcomings of the CD and mp3 era, but don't think I'm one of those jerks who thinks we should go back, I love having most nearly all my music everywhere I go in a small convenient package).

Side One

Track One Christopher Tracy's Parade
Sets the tone for what follows, barely a song in itself, almost just a sketch of a song (much like the next three songs to follow). Yet this sketchiness isn't a bad thing. Think of it as being compact, nothing wasted. The first voice you hear isn't Prince, instead it's a short scream by Wendy. The bass line this song is built on is simple, loping, yet solid as a rock. The drums are odd sounding, possibly backwards masked, definitely from an electronic kit (shades of his next album), yet fit the song. Horns, strings and vocals all float in and out, constantly swirling, then right into track two . . .

Track Two New Position
James Brownian motion this one. Another bass line groove. This one a lot more complex, more electronic drums, but it works. All the voices of the Revolution get their own positions within this song. The rise and fall of that bassline is just so amazing, it walks, it skitters, it propels the whole song forward. And then to top it all off, a tempo change and straight into track three . . .

Track Three I Wonder U
More Wendy and Lisa-ness, for something that seems so minimal, there's a phenomenal amount of complexity surrounding the simplicity. The bassline gets completely subsumed at one point, dropping out, yet not really dropping out. So much is going on in such a short song, as perfect and funky as music can get, but no time to stop now, time to jump straight into track four . . .

Track Four Under the Cherry Moon
Prince as French Cabaret singer. It shouldn't work as well as it does, but it does. Great piano accents in this one (again, more of a Wendy & Lisa trick, than a Prince-ian thing, they go to that well often, him not so much). At first I found the vocals on this song annoying, but now, I think it's perfect. (finally a full stop, you could take the first four tracks together as one song, that's how they play on the album)

Track Five Girls and Boys
Best Use of Finger Cymbals EVAH! Everything is delicate yet funky. And did I mention that horn. Prince playing off of Wendy really doesn't get any better than that. These songs are so deceptively simple, yet there's so much going on. The best art in any medium plays off of that tension. The woman singing in French at the end (with Prince moaning over it) doesn't hurt either. Towards the end their are some tiny short guitar accents that are buried deep in the mix yet help hold the whole thing together. Plus there's some terrific synth stuff going on, too. This song doesn't get the attention it deserves. An abrupt shift and then track six . . .

Track Six Life Could Be So Nice
Cowbell, did you want more cowbell? Prince ordered up plenty of cowbell for this song. Not in Christopher Walkenian doses, but plenty enough. The cowbell holds this whole big messy song together. The drumming gets really crazy, without the cowbell it would all fall apart. Another swirling, psychadelic masterpiece off of this album (then abrupt silence).

Track Seven Venus De Milo
A huge and abrupt shift in tone and style to end side one. It's a companion piece to the closing track of the album. A beautiful instrumental. Lushly arranged, but still keeping with the minimalist strain that runs through this whole side of the album. Think of it as a palate cleanser before taking on the next course.

Side Two

Track eight Mountains.
Most albums side one is the pop side with a few singles, and side two is the artier side. This album is the reverse. Closer to a straight ahead groove than the rest of this album gets. Great little horn and synth accents throughout. Prince sings mostly in his Al Greenian falsetto in this song. It works well (the 12" of this song, is much better, it expands this song, rocks it out a little more while at the same time funking it all up, too. Prince released some of his best work as 12" extensions of his album stuff, along with the b-sides (like Erotic City, She's Always In My Hair, The Pope, La La La Hee Hee Hee, which are as good as the a-sides).

Track nine Do U Lie?
Another cabaret song, but better than that makes it sound. Could easily imagine this in a Bob Fosse film/musical, and that's not a bad thing. There's an orchestral lushness to this song towards the end that just sort of sneaks up on you.

Track ten Kiss
What can you say about this song? Words fail. Perfection, that's about it. From the scratchy little beat it's built on, to Prince's falsetto (sometimes annoying, but not here, in this song it actually lends this song its power), and the simple little breaks. This song is layered just right. Gauzy without being insubstantial. Ain't nothing but a party going on. Did I mention how great the simple little guitar in the latter half of this song is? It's damn, damn good. Just remember, act your age, not your shoe size. And a requirement for having an attitude is not prior knowledge to the plotlines contained within Aaron Spelling's Dynasty.

Track eleven Anotherloverholenyohead
Another killer bass lick propels this song. One of Prince's better non-falsetto vocals. Also this song is very Wendy & Lisa-ish. It exhibits their lyrical sense more than Prince's, as well as the way they like to build songs. Nothing showy in this song, just sort of goes forward and rocks out. The piano and strings towards the end just sort of come out of nowhere and fit in as if they'd been there the whole time. Love how he pulls that off. Piano's aren't used as percussion often enough.

Track twelve Sometimes it Snows in April
A great closing track for an album. Wistful, mournful, almost weepy, yet also about moving on and relishing what you had through that mournfulness. Everything about this song is beautiful. Plus some of Prince's best lyrics and one of his most sincere vocal performances. The interplay between guitar and piano is easy to ignore, but you shouldn't. Plus the interplay between Prince & Wendy is also as good as it gets, their vocal styles suited each other so well, it's a shame that collaboration didn't last longer. Another song that takes very little and turns it into so, so much. But like the song states, all good things they say never lasts, and with this song the best album of the 1980s (and of any time) is over.

In Other Prince News . . .

. . . The Purple One has been picked to perform during the halftime of Superbowl XLI.

(I'm linking the Fark thread, which might lead one to believe that this isn't confirmed yet, but I first read about it in the dead tree LAT Sports Section's Morning Brief, so presumably this is for real)

Let the Wardrobe Malfunction Jokes BEGIN!!

(also, most likely wildly innacurate XLI prediction, The Phins will be the first team to play a Superbowl in their home stadium, the previous closest have been The LA Rams, losers of Superbowl XIV in Pasadena, and The Fortyniners, winners of Superbowl XIX in Palo Alto, St. Louis came close in Superbowl XXXIV, but only because the Stadium shares its name with the team's owner (Georgia Frontiere, meet Georgia Dome))

(191 days, as of the time of this post, and counting)

The Gauntlet's Been Thrown

This post from Bill at So Quoted (inspired by this Matt Welch post, and while I'm at it, congratulations to Matt and Emmanuelle on 9 years of connubial bliss) feels like a gauntlet thrown in my direction.

Surely he's noticed my constant (maybe not constant, but definitely frequent) Prince-ian musings. I've probably posted more than once or twice regarding that little, freaky, purple genius. (Prince-ian Friday Funks can be found here, and here, and here)

So follow the link to his original post, and read my comment over there in its context, or read it over here out of context
I would say this is easy, but then I probably know Prince songs too well to make choosing easy.

The song that fits best in with the other two, that he recorded subsequently would have to be Joy In Repitition.

Fantastic song, one of Prince's best. Unfortunately it's tied to Graffiti Bridge. The crapitude of the film made most people miss the quality of the film's music.

(and if that song doesn't seem like the perfect fit, from the same album, Love Machine should do it, plus Love Machine was sung by Morris Day, which would make it a trilogy sung by three different folks)

Another possibility, though now I'm approaching the too obscure for most people to have even heard of, would be Taja Seville's Love Is Contagious. She was one of many Prince proteges. I'm looking forward to the release of the album of Tamar Davis, the latest in a long line of female protege.

I could even make an argument that Manic Monday by the Bangles (written by Prince when he was obsessed with Susannah Hoffs) is the third song in the trilogy.

Erotic City is the explosive ecstasy Friday night at the club, dancing, sweating, and general debauchery (side note: they played this song 3 times during my senior prom)

Love Bizarre is the continuation of the debauchery into an entire weekend devoted to 'gettin' it on'.

Finally, Manic Monday comes around and its back to real life, but with the imagery and sense memories of the dionysian weekend making Monday that much more bittersweet.

Musically, Love Machine probably fits best, thematically I like the idea of Manic Monday finishing the trilogy, but mood wise, I like Joy in Repetition
, and in my opinion, Prince is all about the mood, baby.

But this whole thing is slightly silly, next we'll be talking about the Prince-ian mastubatory trilogy begun with Jack U Off, followed by, Darling Nikki, and completed with Rockhard in a Funky Place.

In Other News . . .

. . . rain is wet.

Also, "Students 'own hi-tech gadgets'"

In other news of the bleeding obvious, EU bureaucrats feel the need to involve themselves in decisions better left up to the free market.

27 July 2006

Late Night Fodder, But Not Reporting

This headline from Reuters, "More Americans too fat for X-rays, scans", has become fodder for jokes and such.

But if you read the article its more about the medical equipment, and not the people. Change the equipment and the size of the folks won't matter.

Most of the problems are with PET, MRIs and CT scan machines. These are frightful little claustrophobia causing capsules, it wouldn't take a grotesquely obese person to be discomfitted sliding into one of these. Ultrasounds are also problematic, but that's due to the nature of fatty tissue and its similarity to other tissues when imaged by an ultrasound.

There's also a CYA angle going on here, "Radiologists have their own term for it when writing up reports: "These images are limited due to body habitus."" In other words, when in doubt, punt, if there is any doubt in the diagnosis claim you couldn't tell what was going on cause of the patient, make it harder to prove malpractice.

Now with the headline you'd assume that 1 out of 5, or 1 out of 4 patients are leading to descriptions of causing limited images, but the number quoted in the article

"Overall, 7,778 or 0.15 percent of 5,253,014 reports were habitus limited," they wrote in the August issue of the journal Radiology.

"It essentially doubled over the last 15 years," Uppot said.

This is what they're complaining about? .15%?!? 64% of Americans (according to the article, but that's partly due to the lowering of the bar of what qualifies as overweight as well as too much fast food) are overweight yet only .15% of scans are screwed due to this lardassedness. I find it harder to believe that only .075% of patients ran into this problem 15 years ago, there were plenty of lardasses back in 1991, too.

The doubling in rate of reporting of this might be entirely due to cautious radiologist covering their asses, and nothing to do with American lardassedness.

Plus another angle, I suspect, though haven't researched in detail, that X-ray machines are probably less powerful than they used to be. I'm sure designers of medical equipment would be focused on building these machines to produce the least amount of radiation and still be effective for most patients.

Part of my reasoning for believing that back in the day X-rays were more powerful is because attitudes regarding exposure to radiation were very different than today. No lead blankets for your gonads or ovaries, and my father even relates tales of using X-rays at shoe stores to help get the proper fit on children's shoes!

(I'm guessing if they did that for non-medical purposes, then the medical ones probably were strong enough to see through half the building, let alone the tubby fella parked in front of it)

The usual headless fat person photo accompanies the article. All articles regarding obesity, as well as all TV news feeds feature b-roll of headless fat people waddling by the camera.

In this case the headless fat person is described as, " An overweight pedestrian sits on a wall outside the Houses of Parliament in London, March 31, 2004".

I don't know why I find that kind of funny, but I do.

What I'm really trying to say, science/health reporting in the media, really, really sucks.


(via Defamer)

Variety reports that the creator of Scrubs, Bill Lawrence, is writing and set to direct, a Fletch prequel, Fletch Won.

(the post title will suffice as commentary regarding said project)

(rule of thumb, prequels always suck!)

More prequel ideas, just in case Hollywood is thinking that they need to increase the suck

The 18 Year Old Virgin --- See the painful fumbling of the future 40 year old virgin back when he was a teenager (and to make it extra creepy, cast Catherine Keener as his mom).

Cabin Boy Jack Sparrow --- See the future Captain Jack's first voyage on the high seas. Rather than a rollicking family friendly adventure, this one will be a brooding exploration of a boy's journey into manhood surrounded by rum, sodomy and the lash. Sure Oscar Bait!

Pre-School Musical! --- After the surprise popularity of the Disney Channel film High School Musical!l, producers decide to take us way back to the mid 90s and see what these kids were like during their pre-school years.

When Harold Met Kumar --- Go back to the first encounter between Harold and Kumar as they score their first bag of weed together while at the same high school, along with other hilarious hijinx.

Clifford, The Early Years --- Because the first Clifford wasn't bad enough, an even older Martin Short will play an even younger Clifford. The stuff of nightmares, that.

Young James Tiberius Kirk and the Andorian Harem Girls --- A sex comedy / action adventure as a pre-starfleet James T. Kirk rescues a half-dozen blue buxom babes from the clutches of a despotic Andorian miner in a forgotten backwater of the Alpha Quadrant.

That's enough suggestions. The danger of making too many of these up is that at some point someone might read this and decide that these ideas are the perfect high concept vehicles to create exciting new revenue streams.

Geckos! Not Just Insurance Salesman

More from BBC News

Just one metre square of a new super-sticky material inspired by gecko feet could suspend the weight of an average family car, say its inventors.

I May Have Lost Some Confidence In the Efficacy of Said Product

From BBC News

A company that sells software to stop spelling mistakes on the internet has had to reissue its latest press release after letting through a typing mistake

If I Were Alistair Bell, I'd Be Pissed

Reuters latest article about the Mexican election reads once again like a love letter to AMLO, a sample

Financial markets, which are rooting for Calderon to be president, are keeping a close watch on tensions in Mexico, which slid into political crisis when Lopez Obrador contested the ruling party candidate's 0.58 percentage point win.

Lopez Obrador says vote counts were manipulated at some 72,000 of the country's roughly 130,000 polling stations. He told Univision that tally sheets included some 1.5 million votes that were not backed up by voting slips.

He said President Vicente Fox and Calderon were behind the fraud, as well as "bandits" within the IFE electoral institute that ran the election.

"President Fox has been saying openly for two or three years to anyone who will listen that there is no way I am going to be president. He had a hand in everything," he said.

Lopez Obrador is a former Indian rights activist who blocked oil wells in his home state of Tabasco to protest pollution and who led a 560-mile (900-km) march to Mexico City after losing what he said was a rigged state election in 1994.

Let's see what we have here, the usual 'reporting' mostly from AMLO's perspective, and once again polishing AMLO's biography to show how he 'spoke truth to power' and fought those nefarious evil oil producers and had a previous election 'stolen' from him.

I smell the loving words of Alistair Bell (previous AMLO admiration, here and here) in this current article, yet it's without byline.

I don't know by what alchemical process Reuters determines which articles have bylines and which don't, this particular article has all the same quirks that others under Mr. Bell's byline did, so I suspect that he was primarily responsible for it.

Mr. Bell, raise a stink, get the credit you deserve!

26 July 2006

The Crisis In Mexico Isn't Over Yet

An Op-Ed in the WaPo by Enrique Krauze (translated from Spanish by Natasha Wimmer) regarding Andrés Manuel López Obrador disgusting refusal to accept the legal process designed to settle the dispute regarding the election count.

AMLO won't take no for an answer, and his calls for continued nationwide protests are the weasel words of someone who wants to be el presidente for life, and not someone who is willing to accept the decision of the electorate.

His capacity for making mischief, especially in his stronghold of Mexico City is great. Hopefully, the Mexican people are smart enough in the aggregate to ignore his demagoguery.

The divisions in Mexico are great, hopefully they aren't great enough to support a civil war. AMLO's only hope for power is to plunge the nation into disaster.

The only other thing I can think to say about him is pinche cabrón, pinche pendejo.

Ken Jennings EXPLOITS His Adorable Child To Deflect the Firestorm of Criticism Regarding His AWFUL Statements About Jeopardy! and Alex Trebek

First one of the pictures of the adorable kid (borrowed from this recent post at www.ken-jennings.com)

OK that's out of the way, next, hopefully some folks realize that the title of this particular post by me is also meant to be slightly sarcastic (you don't say!) .

I'm going to excerpt a portion of the post cause he makes some good points

If nothing else, it was a welcome change from the ALL-CAPS hate mail from crotchety AOL users that has been flooding in ever since yesterday’s sterling investigative journalism by News Corp and the AP. (For the rest of the story behind the AP’s bizarre misreporting, see this Huffington Post piece of a few hours ago. I’m sorry if you have ideological grounds for not wanting to follow a link to HuffPo, but that’s what you get when it was the Post and Fox News that first bobbled the story. If The New York Times had been the @#$%-ups, I’m sure I’d be sending you to Michelle Malkin right now.)

But when you get past my hours of email-deleting last night, not all the news is bad. Ken-Jennings.com had 573,000 pageviews yesterday, up just slightly from last Tuesday’s, um, 1,800. I assume many of those people actually read the original blog article and called off the hounds. Four thousand new signups for the trivia mailing list. Some Brainiac pre-orders, looks like. An outpouring of on-line support and snickering from bloggers, who love it when those dead-tree fogies in the “MSM” screw something up. So, in the end, we probably gained quite a few new readers.

This tells me a few things about Ken, first, he probably reads both HuffPo and Michelle Malkin regularly, good for him. Second, I bet he was the most liberal guy within a mile radius when he lived in Utah, and now that he's moved to the 'effete left coast' enclave around Seattle, he's probably the most conservative fella within a half-mile radius (yes, I think there are more conservatives hidden amongst the liberals, than vice versa, my own experiences in bluest of blue Santa Monica, compared to much redder Moreno Valley and Riverside support this notion).

Anyway, it's clear that he's maintaining good humor throughout this incident, despite the trouble it's caused, and hopefully when he mentions the, "support and snickering from bloggers", he's thinking of me, since I did plenty of both.

And if all this sells more books, then so much the better (evidence of this effect can be found at Amazon where he's book has gone from #87,939 yesterday to #9,632 today, not bad for a book that won't be out for another 7 weeks (more Amazonian link whoring by me below))

What the Manolo XWL Is . . .

(with apologies to the Manolo)

Manolo XWL says, here is the list of the media which the Manolo XWL is this week consuming, otherwise known as What the ManoloXWL Is…

Reading . . .

Watching . . .

Listening to . . .

The India.Arie, is she not incredible and divine?

(no strike through here, I heartily agree, but just the same, she's not what the XWL is listening to, at the moment)

(this post is to be considered artistic appropriation and homage, not outright copyright infringement and theft, OK?)

(also, I seem to be on a British kick this week, Rule Britannia!)

Blogging Is . . .

(hat tip, and misleading headline, ['Jeopardy' Champ Ken Jennings Blasts Show...], from Drudge)

. . . Never being quoted in context by the dead tree media.

Now the AP picks up where the NYPost has left off regarding Ken Jennings. At first it was one humor impaired writer who thought he'd, 'show that uppity Ken Jennings who's really in charge' or some such nonsense.

The AP story does quote from Ken's blog (but doesn't provide the web address --- message to all you dead tree story writers, what's so freakin' hard about providing the freakin' web address on the print version?!? (space considerations might be an excuse in print, but the code for the web version, even when it's syndicated to other outlets should have links embedded in the story where appropriate, that's just common courtesy, dammit!)).

However, the AP make it sound like there's some major tiff that has developed between Ken Jennings and Jeopardy! now

Jennings, a software engineer from Salt Lake City, won $2.5 million during his 74-game winning streak on "Jeopardy!" in 2004. He took aim at what he said were the show's "effete, left-coast" categories and "same-old" format.

"You're like the Dorian Gray of syndication," he wrote. "You seem to think `change' means replacing a blue polyethylene backdrop with a slightly different shade of blue polyethylene backdrop every presidential election or so."After reports of his comments appeared in the media Tuesday, Jennings countered on his Web site that his letter was meant to be "a humor piece."

"For the record: I've loved `Jeopardy!' since I was a kid, as anyone who talks to me for about five minutes knows. Making goofy jokes about TV shows isn't `bashing.' I believe it's the whole reason Al Gore invented the Internet."

A call by The Associated Press to "Jeopardy!" spokesman Jeff Ritter wasn't returned.

The AP also attempted to reach Jennings through a Los Angeles-based agency that represents him.

If you read Ken's original post, and then his response to the initial criticism of the post, it would be clear to anyone who doesn't have an agenda of their own that the situation is as Ken described, he was just having some fun, and tweaking a show that he loves (just like my own post on the original post was meant to gently tweak Ken Jenning's blog, which is a blog I've quickly grown to enjoy, also, I keeeeeeeeeeed, becaus I love, I'm like Triumph in that way).

The 'neither parties could be reached through their publicists' ploy is usually a way for an article to say without saying it directly that there's smoke (and therefore fire) here, and you know they're just trying to craft a carefully worded statement to make the whole mess go away.

Also, I might detect just a hint of red state bashing in the article given that they still describe Mr. Jennings as a 'software engineer from SLC' rather than a 'writer from Seattle' which is what he is now, and would be readily discernible if the author had taken the time to do the very basic research required of them of actually reading Ken's blog (which is still relatively new, and could be read in its entirety in less than an hour).

(maybe this recent Al Gore tweaking post has something to do with the attack on Ken Jennings, no one messes with the fearless leader of the left, Al Gore, and gets away with it, they're all too busy trying to convince him that he must run for president again, the world needs his leadership, or some such nonsense, they can't let anyone get in the way of this campaign)

Tim McGwire narrates the AP Video (can't direct link, just look for the box at the earlier AP link fixed now, I think, but only if you are using IE6 as your browser) (viewable in IE6 (or higher if you love MS betas, I'm this close to creating a partition and trying out Vista myself)) of this article. The humorlessness of the video is even worse than the humorlessness of the original piece. In fact it's so humorless that it transcends that humorlessness and comes around the other side to become COMEDY GOLD!!

These authors are probably just pissed off cause they keep missing all the questions on the Tuesday Trivia EMails (woohoo 7/7 last week for me!!! along with 39 others, Ken even mentions The Incredibles regarding this fact).

Ken Jennings can squelch all this by making a joint appearance with Alex Trebex (I'm sorry, the Trebekbot 4000 cyborg) at a function in support of a charity that Mr. Trebek supports (I'm guessing Canadians for the Preservation and Continued Overpronounciation of Foreign Phrases In English Society, or maybe The Retirement Fund for Former Jesuit Seminarians Who Go On to Become World Famous Game Show Hosts Society, or maybe UNICEF, even) .

On the brighter side, there's no such thing as bad publicity, so hopefully this mini-maelstrom of controversy might boost sales of his forthcoming book.

(and yes, this post's title was inspired by that insipid one panel comic that has lasted inexplicably for decades)

That's Why They Call It BANGalore, (heh, heh)

Perusing sitemeter, as I am wont to do, I came across this result page for the search "canine visual copulating".

I must apologize to the person who came to this site after typing in that search, I'm sure you didn't find precisely what you were looking for here (at least I hope not).

Better luck elsewhere, though.

I Have No Mouth, and I Must Sell You This Car

Hello Kitty, Sanrio's mouthless icon, has a custom designed Mitsubishi car (for sale for a mere 2.1Million Yen (around $18,000) the above photo is the real deal, not a toy, I know, hard to believe).

Whenever I see Hello Kitty, I think of Harlan Ellison's short story, seems I'm not the only one.

But as the folks at Autoblog mention in the above link, there's something quintessentially Japanese about that car.

We must however, never speak of this Fender Hello Kitty Stratocaster below.

(and not under any circumstances must we allow even a stray thought to wander into our heads regarding this device)

25 July 2006

Don't Tread on Ken

Ken Jennings plays a round of Whack-A-Troll, effectively and resoundingly.

Plus as an added bonus, there's talk of sock-puppetry (the latest trend in trollicious behavior).

It's good stuff, read the whole thing, follow the links, and pre-order his book Braniac, the more I read of his writing style, the more assured I become that this book will be a worthy read.

Ken Jennings is semi-famous enough for blogging to be an attractive nuisance for folks without a life, and looking to tear someone down who has more talent than them. That some of those folks without lives of their own, also happen to work at a daily newspaper (in this case the NYPost), shouldn't surprise anyone.

I Know Exactly What He Means

I used to listen to that Ronettes album with earphones on at blaring volume when I was supposed to be sleeping, and be half-asleep, hallucinatorily half-dreaming, in the dark, engulfed by the "wall of sound", floating in an auditory ocean of Spectorian grandeur and romanticism.

I suppose it was a drug-equivalent for a teenager who did not use drugs.

(quoted from this post by Lexington Green at Chicago Boyz, with YouTube-age)

My "drugs" of choice back in the day for drifting off into a music-filled slumber were Siouxsie and the Banshee's Hyaena, Velvet Underground's Andy Warhol Presents The Velvet Underground and Nico, and Jesus and the Mary Chain's Psychocandy, and of course Prince's Purple Rain.

There will be a part of me that's always back in 1984-1986 listening to those albums (links to CDs, figured you aren't so into being authentic as to searching out the vinyl, and yes, I rebought all those albums on CD)

Those albums may not seem to have anything in common, yet all are 'wall of sound'ish in their own ways (especially Psychocandy), so maybe they have more in common with Lexington's post then would seem at first blush.

Also, in a parallel universe I probably grew up to be a DJ, A&R rep, or bitter music critic.

(which should suggest to you that I am not, nor ever was, any of those things in this universe)

(below is more Amazon link whoring from me, getting tired of this yet?)

24 July 2006

She Did It, So I Don't Have To

I was watching CNN this morning, and I was appalled at what I saw. I was ready to fire off an angry post about how ridiculously in bed with Hezbollah the piece was, but Reader I Am posting at Done With Mirrors had thoughts along similar lines, with some good links.

Now I don't have to.

Hezbollah are thugs, who cheer when Israeli children are maimed and killed, and even cheer when their own children are maimed and killed, disgust doesn't even begin to describe the emotional and intellectual reaction I feel when monsters like these are allowed a forum to diseminate their propaganda worldwide.

No sympathy, no quarter, and no let up until they are anathema and pariahs even to the people of southern Lebanon, the same people that they've so thoroughly bribed and brainwashed these past 2+ decades.

Once Again, Immodestly Professing My Love for All Thing Snakes On A Plane-tastic

(via Defamer)

One of the plane-tastic actresses, the lovely Lin Shaye (best remembered as the leathery and surprisingly orange dog-licking bouffant wigged lady from There's Something About Mary), doesn't stop at mere acting to display her artistic gifts.

She makes mother[bleep]in' jewelry that you better wear around your mother[bleep]in' neck (Samuel L. Jackson, jumped in and did a quick voiceover for that line of typing. Thank You, Samuel L.!)

Here's the link to the above pictured piece, yours for a modest sum of $350.

There's so much talent in Snakes on a Plane, that it's almost scary.

Teach Your Children. Well?

You who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a good bye.

Teach your children well,
Their father's hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picked, the one you'll know by.

Don't you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

And you, of tender years,
Can't know the fears that your elders grew by,
And so please help them with your youth,
They seek the truth before they can die.

Counter Melody To Above Verse:
Can you hear and do you care and
Cant you see we must be free to
Teach your children what you believe in.
Make a world that we can live in.

Teach your parents well,
Their children's hell will slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picked, the one you'll know by.

Don't you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

A Nobel Peace Laureate (hat tip Drudge), possibly not following Graham Nash's advice (or Crosby's, or Stills', Young probably agrees with her judging from his last release).

I'm not going to give any Amazon links to that damn, dirty, hippie group that sang that insipid, damn, dirty, hippie song.

Also, the accompanying quotes are the typical unrealistic pacifistic blather that enervates invigorates tyrants everywhere.

[update: might help if I type a word that isn't the antonym of my intended meaning, my brain knows the difference, but evidently my fingers forgot. I'll post the usage note from Dictionary.com on evervates
Usage Note: Sometimes people mistakenly use enervate to mean “to invigorate” or “to excite” by assuming that this word is a close cousin of the verb energize. In fact enervate does not come from the same source as energize (Greek energos, “active”). It comes from Latin nervus, “sinew.” Thus enervate means “to cause to become ‘out of muscle’,” that is, “to weaken or deplete of strength.”
I guess I'm not the only one who has made that mistake]

Useful Idiot, that one.

(had to sneak in one Amazon link in this post).

26 Second Film Review: Monster House

I saw it. I liked it. Think The Goonies crossed with Mad Monster Party?. Lots of cool period detail (circa 1981-1983) if you're paying attention.

If you see it, SEE IT IN 3D. Rock solid, no headaches, and really adds to the experience.

(if you read fast this might have clocked in at 18 seconds)

(30 second reviews have been done, so I figure, I'd shave 4 seconds off, for your convenience)

That's Not Right

One of the Amazon links today, Paris Hilton's CD-Single, all I can say is ?!?!?!?!?

23 July 2006

Omakase (お任せ), Too!

I've been guilty of some me too posts (you'll have to look through the archives and find them yourselves) after Prof. Althouse posted about something, and the look of this site, and it being on blogger has her to blame to some degree.

You may have noticed I changed the look of this site slightly, I played with the way the page displays on the screen, now its based on a percentage of your available screen rather than a fixed pixel width (through firefox I've been looking at the page source info of some sites whose style I like, for inspiration for the tweak).

Also, I removed the poll, and replaced it with an Amazon.com Omakase ad. It changes each time you load the page, and what's displayed is dependent both on the content of what's posted at this site, as well as information Amazon digs out of your browser through tracking cookies. I noticed some ads for House brand Tofu come up when I posted about the curry baths, as well as bath oil, other ads that I don't understand are Dixie Chicks, Billy Joel?!?, and lots of books on learning Greek.

I'll be sneaky and greedy by including links to Amazon product pages when I mention items that are available there. I'm not going to change the content of this place, but if I can use this site to subsidize my own Amazon habit, then I say why the hell not?

The random, and often completely inexplicable nature of the Omakase ads make them somewhat entertaining, if you ever get the urge to buy any of the crap you see on the sidebar, please do so after clicking through from here, I'll appreciate it.

I Was Cool With It, Until That Creepy Guy Turned the Heat Up and Poured All Those Noodles In

Presumably that image isn't a result of photoshop trickery. Just a trick of perspective combined with some rather dubious claims made by the propietors of Hakone Kowaki-En regarding the healthful effects of soaking in curry spices (I can't see how that wouldn't just be irritating, I get itchy just thinking about doing that). Also, I wouldn't order the Curry Soup there, they might not let all that good soup stock go to waste, if you follow my meaning.

(found via a Mainichi Daily News Photo Special, photos credited to Reuters)

A larger photo below, and I notice the complex also has waterslides, and two spas, Yunessun seems to specialize in various drink based baths (wine, sake, coffee, green tea to name a few) and Mori NO YU focuses on a place for adults to feel free to get naked while enjoying their soak (the blurb on this spa emphasizes the more private nature of the baths).

Also, at the more intimate style spa Mori NO YU, they make sure all you filthy foreigners know that baths aren't for washing
In the Mori No Yu zone, we have unique bathing areas and bathtubs in various settings. Remember, the bathing experience in Japan means enjoying in Japanese style for relaxation and pleasure, and is not a place to wash your body with soap. In Mori No Yu Zone, please enter the bathing area after you removed your clothes in the provider lockers and washed. There are separate areas for men, and women.
(and a side-note tinged with a bit of delusion, should Miss Japan choose to enjoy a celebratory soak at these spas after she wins Miss Universe tonight, I'm free if she's looking for some company)

22 July 2006

Mickey Kaus Misses The Proof In His Own Backyard

Mickey Kaus, posting at his Slate Kausfiles column, raises doubts to a claim at The Note regarding expanding union membership (again can't link just to that post, so I'll quote instead)

ABC Buries the Lede--For a Reason: Here's Point #4 from yesterday's ABC News Note summary of "key stories" that bear on whether the "Democratic Party [is] on the right track or the wrong track to break from recent electoral patterns ...." Emphasis added:

4. In a front page story, USA Today's Jill Lawrence reports on a resurgence in union membership across the nation and the two main umbrella organizations playing nicely together, which has allowed the House of Labor to move forward with plans to spend $40 million on voter turn out this fall. LINK

Is there "a resurgence in union membership across the nation"? That would be stunning news, since union membership has been in relentless long term decline for fifty years--"from more than 35 percent [in 1955] to 12.5 percent last year, including only 7.9 percent of the private-sector workforce," according to a Thomas Edsall WaPo piece from September, 2005. But I can't find any mention of this surprising resurgence in union membership in the Post, or the New York Times. I can't find it on Google (to the contrary). I can't find it on the website of the "strategic organizing" Change to Win unions--you'd think they'd boast about it. And there's no mention of it in the USA Today story ABC says reports it. (That's a story about unions raising political campaign money and cooperating with each other, which is different.) Tentative conclusion: It doesn't exist. There's no resurgence in union membership. The Note item is in error. [And "it reflects the subconscious liberal yearnings of whatever MSM summer intern wrote it unaware that the cumbersome legalistic mechanisms of Wagner Act unionism are incompatible with productive success in a fast-moving global high-tech economy"?--ed You said that.] 12:57 P.M.

Clearly, Mickey hadn't read this post at Defamer (or the follow-up post with pictures of the strikers) highlighting the brave attempt at organizing by the writers of America's Next Top Model (yes, reality shows have writers, and yes, it's surprising that these folks would want to admit to doing so and allow themselves to be seen in public in connection with that occupation).

See, there's all the evidence you'll ever need that if it wasn't for the union busting antics of evil industrialist like Tyra Banks (heh, heh, he said 'bust' and she's a retired Victoria's Secret model, heh, heh) that "resurgence in union membership across the nation" would really be catching fire.