Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Awesomeness

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dashiell Hammett notes

Just finished watching The Maltese Falcon again after many many years.

I've read The Maltese Falcon three or four times over the past few years, partly because its a good book with a good yarn, but mostly to see what works and what doesn't work in a novel, even a genre novel like the Falcon.

The biggest flaw in Hammett's writing is that he doesn't understand women and doesn't pretend to either. His women are often hysterical, in the old sense of the term, and too clever by half: most of the women in his novels cannot make plans, follow plans, or know what a plan is. Exceptions include Nora, in The Thin Man, and perhaps Janet Henry in The Glass Key.

This flaw is exceptionally obvious in The Maltese Falcon. There are moments in the story when I just want to slap Brigid O’Shaughnessy silly. Oh well.

There are also scenes that are either extraneous or are put together in too haphazard a way.

The best Hammett novel, and apparently the one he appreciated the most, is The Glass Key.

At the halfway mark

At the halfway point in the Premier Season, and the entire bottom-half of the standings are in relegation trouble, and the only three teams looking to be in title contention are Manchester United, Chelsea, and Liverpool. The top three have had a frustrating year.

Liverpool has been missing its star striker, Torres, due to mysterious hamstring troubles. Its other star, Robbie Keane, has been unable to find goal for most of the season (the last two games may mark a turn-around, only time will tell). Most commentators have been unimpressed with Liverpool's form and expect Liverpool to collapse in the second half of the season.

Chelsea have been without their number one striker, Drogba, for most of the season. While Anelka has been pounding in the goals, he does not seem to be able to make them when the club needs them the most: when they need one to tie or go ahead. Chelsea has the best midfield in the league, but the whole team is too easily thwarted by tenacious defense.

Manchester United has also had problems scoring when it counts. However, unlike Chelsea, ManU have no excuses, with the best strikers in the league (Rooney, Berbatov, Tevez, and Ronaldo) all willing and able and fit. Ronaldo seems to be off his form this year, although no one seems to be talking about it. Manchester United are ten points behind Liverpool, but have played three fewer games due to international commitments (the Supercup and the International Champions Cup).

Aston Villa is having a good year, but they have not convinced themselves that they can be champions -- they seem to have set their sights just on finishing the year at number 4, which will be good enough to qualify them for the big boys in the European Champion's Cup.

Arsenal's biggest problem is itself. Wenger seems to have lost his way. And while the talent is there, the youth and inexperience of the team shows itself in frightening ways.

Everton is one point behind Arsenal, but no one mentions this team as a possible title challenger. Perhaps it would be poetry if they somehow managed to end the season in the top four.

At the beginning of the season I believed that Chelsea would be the team to beat: they know what it means to end up with the consolation prize. I still think that is true.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Song For Sally



Song For Sally, by Flight of the Conchords

Thursday, December 25, 2008

And then some...

Atrios sez:
50 or so years from now the history dissertations about this time will start being churned out. And those poor students will have to wade through the contemporary press accounts from the 9/11-Iraq war era. I hope their advisers provide them with puke buckets, because they're going to need them.


The future is going to need many many many puke buckets.

Driving one's wife crazy



Even funnier than the wife is the smile on Riccardo Patrese's face.

Agbonlahor

A football story: Villa's gamble pays off as Agbonlahor adds grace to pace.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happiness

Robert Solomon on Philosophy Talk from 2004.

Maybe my impression is wrong, but the hosts seem pretty dismissive of callers' comments, even though they beg for them (especially if the caller is a woman). Solomon is worth listening to.

WALL-E

I saw WALL-E last night for the first time -- I know, I know, always late to the show -- and I have to say that it is one of the best films that has ever been made, not necessarily the best, but definitely in the top ten. WALL-E manages to capture and present the magic that is cinema. Little touches, like Pong and the Macintosh boot sound, were humorous and endearing.

However what sold me on the movie, and what captivated me, was the movie's implicit dissection of what makes us human, as opposed to intelligent automatons -- it is an argument with two different prongs. On the one hand there is the romance between WALL-E and EVE. And on the other there is the effect that WALL-E has on the humans aboard the AXIOM space ship. It is a subtle and deft treatment of an ages old philosophical question, with an answer that is both illuminating and humanistic. It also lends the movie a greater heft than other Pixar fares, such as the incredibly entertaining Ratatouille or The Incredibles.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Real Madrid strategy

In light of today's latest Cristiano Ronaldo rumors, this old-ish post on Real Madrid's strategy seems apt.

Another deep thought

The bigger the microphone, the less likely the speaker has any clue what they are talking about.

Just saying.

Deep Thought

Striking a note of reasonableness in a heated dispute between other parties is a sure way to be ignored.

It does not, however, mean you are wrong.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

One bad apple for another

Real Madrid exchange one bad manager for another
Real Madrid have sacked their coach, Bernd Schuster, and the former Tottenham Hotspur manager Juande Ramos has taken over at the Santiago Bernabéu, forfeiting a pre-contract agreement with Atlético Madrid. Ramos has been appointed until the end of the season.


I believe Ramos is to blame for everything that went wrong with Tottenham at the beginning of this season -- even the Berbatov snafu.

I do not believe that he will be able to solve Madrid's many problems -- especially considering that one of its biggest problems is its chairman.

Monday, December 8, 2008

We need to look out for each other.

Chileans have a new hero: an apparently homeless dog who's gone missing. A surveillance camera on a Santiago freeway captured images of a dog trotting past speeding cars to pull the body of another dog, mortally struck by a vehicle, away from traffic, to the median strip.

The scene was broadcast by Chilean television stations and then posted on Web sites such as YouTube.com, and hundreds of thousands of people had viewed versions of it by Monday.

Highway crews removed both the dead and live dogs from the median strip of the Vespucio Norte Highway shortly after the Dec. 4 incident, and the rescuer dog ran away.

Authorities say images of the rescue prompted some people to call and offer to adopt the dog, but neither highway workers nor a television crew could find they animal when they went to hunt for it.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Not the news I want to read

Publishing houses slashing themselves.

"Black Wednesday" or "Overly-emo-slash-'I need attention' Wednesday"?

My first novel is two-thirds done. I'd actually welcome news that would encourage me to finish faster, not slower.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

revelation

Sheldon Rampton discusses the LDS and homophobia, with context:
As a high school student in 1974, I felt privately uncomfortable with the "Negro doctrine," but like many members of the church, I didn't think about it very much. It didn't become a personal thing for me until one day in gym class, when a black kid came up to me and angrily said he had heard that Mormons didn't think blacks like him should go to heaven. What did I think of that? He wanted to know.

Technically, he was wrong about the theological details. Mormons actually believed that blacks could go to heaven. They just couldn't have the priesthood. I tried to make that distinction the basis for a joke to defuse the situation. "No, we think you can go to heaven," I replied. "We just think you don't deserve to." The black kid glared at me for a minute, and that was the end of the conversation. Today, more than 30 years later, I don't remember his name, but I remember the moment very clearly. I imagine he walked away thinking he had wasted his breath by even talking to me. He certainly didn't get a satisfactory reply. But the conversation had an effect on me. It left me feeling profoundly shaken and uncomfortable about a church practice that until then had seemed like a theoretical abstraction of no particular relevance to my own life. Over time, that discomfort helped inform my thinking and changed my attitudes.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Self-knowledge

The Middleman, pilot episode:
WENDY: Is it true what you said? That if there’s one thing you hate more than scientists trying to take over the world, it’s scientists who twist innocent primates with computer enhanced mind control to live out their sick and perverted fantasies of criminal power?

THE MIDDLEMAN: Why would I lie about that?

WENDY: It’s a very specific thing to hate.

THE MIDDLEMAN: Self-knowledge is the gateway to freedom.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Snark about show business

Score!:
Look, I don’t know who the PR wizard is behind the rollout of Britney Spears‘ new album is but he or she is doing a masterful job. It’s like pre-meltdown Britney is back. But with the added benefit of knowing that any second she could pull out an Uzi and take out the entire crowd at the American Music Awards. Score!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Drama!



In the 83rd minute, with Hearts less than 10 minutes away from winning their first championship since 1960, Kidd scored the opening goal with a close-range finish from a corner kick. Six minutes later, Kidd effectively ended Hearts' chances by scoring a sublime second goal to make the final score a 2–0 win for Dundee. Remarkably, Kidd had not scored all season[2] before scoring two goals in the last 10 minutes of the season. Celtic won their game 5–0[5] to win the championship on goal difference by three goals.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

No longer recognizing marriage?

An interesting take on the marriage wars...
I no longer recognize marriage. It’s a new thing I’m trying.

Turns out it’s fun.

Yesterday I called a woman’s spouse her boyfriend.

She says, correcting me, "He’s my husband,"
"Oh," I say, "I no longer recognize marriage."

The impact is obvious. I tried it on a man who has been in a relationship for years,

"How’s your longtime companion, Jill?"
"She’s my wife!"
"Yeah, well, my beliefs don’t recognize marriage."

Fun. And instant, eyebrow-raising recognition. Suddenly the majority gets to feel what the minority feels. In a moment they feel what it’s like to have their relationship downgraded, and to have a much taken-for-granted right called into question because of another’s beliefs.

Just replace the words husband, wife, spouse, or fiancé with boyfriend, girlfriend, special friend, or longtime companion. There is a reason we needed stronger words for more serious relationships. We know it; now they can see it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Basic Civics

Some of the economics questions are biased, but whatever: I got 32 out of 33 correct. Woot to me.

Apparently our elected officials need to be schooled. US elected officials scored abysmally on a test measuring their civic knowledge, with an average grade of just 44 percent, the group that organized the exam said Thursday.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Serie A

Amy Lawrence on the decline of Serie A

Sinfest

Sinfest keeps getting better and better. A moment of sublime goodness every morning.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Inter Win

Inter won against Juventus. It was a good game, and in reality Inter deserved the win, although they had trouble converting attacks into goals.

Now I'm looking forward to tomorrow's Barca game.

Liverpool and Chelsea

Two good results for Manchester United as both Liverpool and Chelsea draw today. Hopefully Manchester United will capitalize and come away today with a win.

The Chelsea game was good, with two controversial, but spot-on, refereeing decisions. Chelsea dominated the ball and generally looked like winners. But were stymied, I believe, on their reliance on their midfield to create opportunities. The Chelsea strikers were not good enough to break down a determined Newcastle defense -- a defense that was essentially a 'team bus' approach (parking the team in front of goal). Chelsea should have won today, but the opportunities they created were slight and would have depended on luck to make them come through. Really they should have worked harder to create better opportunities.

Update: Well boo. Man Utd held scoreless and fail to capitalize.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A sporting life

I suppose one of the great things about sports are stories like this one.

Beat him with a hammer, beat him with a stick

I agree, but there are many more reasons than this one:
all of which, having seen in person, you really, really wish you could use to beat the shit out of Tom Wolfe.


While the derisive comment about Tom Wolfe resonated (with me), the post is worth reading because its subject matter is not Tom Wolfe, but rather War Memorials (read the comments too).

Sports and the press

Uli Hesse-Lichtenberger discusses the relationship between Bayern Munchen and Bild. Fascinating.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Obama a West Ham fan

From the Dept. of Who Knew?, from January of this year.

Redknapp should start Alnwick

Just my 2p: Redknapp should start Alnwick, then in January alternate between Gomes and Alnwick to decide the top job. Gomes is rumored to be a great keeper; he needs a breather to reset his head.

I knew that offloading Robinson would be a wrong move.

Watching Tottenham since the end of last season has been like watching one of those Italian operas where everyone stabs everyone else. It has been dramatic, but not v. effective.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Farce in reality

The record for most goals in a game, and most own-goals in a game:
The world record for goals scored in senior football, which has stood steadfast ever since Arbroath thumped Bon Accord 36-0 in 1885, has been smashed by a team from Madagascar.

Farcical scenes quicky led to a basketball score as league champions AS Adema won a match 149-0, more than quadrupling the existing record - and without gaining possession between the first goal and the 149th.

Their opponents, Stade Olymique L'Emyrne, took complete control of the national league game, reducing Adema to the role of onlookers, as they deliberately plonked the ball in the back of their own net 149 times, in protest over a refereeing decision.

The English Football Association believe that the 149-0 scoreline represents a new world record. "I certainly think it's a world record," said the FA's historian David Barber.

"I've heard of a local league game in Nottingham that finished 50-2 and there was a 43-0 in an Austrian regional game before the second world war - but nothing this big."

Radio Madagascar reported on Friday that SOE scored the own goals against Adema as a protest after their coach Ratsimandresy Ratsarazaka lost his temper with the referee.

Adema's players reportedly stood around looking bemused, doing nothing to stop the opposition from self-destructing.

Strangely, SOE were no part-timers either - they were last year's Malagasy champions who surprisingly won through to the second round of the African Champions League this season.

Adema clinched the Malagasy title last weekend.

Beautiful Girl

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ladies of the World



More from Flight of the Conchords.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Foux da fa fa



Still my favorite Flight of the Conchords song. Silly.

Monday, November 10, 2008

It's a new day



Awesome!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Spain and football

This strikes me as utterly crazy and illegitimate: The Spanish state prosecutor has recommended an eight-year jail term for a Marseille fan detained after the French side's Champions League match against Atletico Madrid last month.

Reading up accounts of what happened suggests that much of the problems were caused by Atletico fans, and that Spanish police were v. one-sided in their response.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A new era

Good crazy

Today was a good day

I had this thought too

In the end she came through.

No fireworks

intentional

Navigating the dynamic

One thing I am looking forward to is seeing how President(-elect) Obama navigates the political nuances of the fact that one of the greatest and strongest shared values of his followers is a belief in individual liberties and the right to one's self.

Basically, how will American society change, now that we are beginning to (re-)embrace the long forsaken notion that we are all in this together, while at the same time our commitment to personal freedom is, if anything (given the erosion of personal freedoms over the past eight years) stronger than ever before?

Now, as we stand on the threshold of a new political era, is a good time to reflect on the unfulfilled aspirations of the past, and to weigh these aspirations when calculating and reflecting on our own. I am thinking in particular of FDR's four freedoms which discussed frankly the tenuous position America found herself in at the beginning of 1941 with the rest of the world at war and concluded:
In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression--everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way--everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want--which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants-everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear--which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor--anywhere in the world.

That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.

To that new order we oppose the greater conception--the moral order. A good society is able to face schemes of world domination and foreign revolutions alike without fear.

Since the beginning of our American history, we have been engaged in change -- in a perpetual peaceful revolution -- a revolution which goes on steadily, quietly adjusting itself to changing conditions--without the concentration camp or the quick-lime in the ditch. The world order which we seek is the cooperation of free countries, working together in a friendly, civilized society.

This nation has placed its destiny in the hands and heads and hearts of its millions of free men and women; and its faith in freedom under the guidance of God. Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights or keep them. Our strength is our unity of purpose. To that high concept there can be no end save victory.

Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound!

Henry Louis Gates, Jr on the election.
We have all heard stories about those few magical transformative moments in African-American history, extraordinary ritual occasions through which the geographically and socially diverse black community—a nation within a nation, really—molds itself into one united body, determined to achieve one great social purpose and to bear witness to the process by which this grand achievement occurs.

The first time was New Year's Day in 1863, when tens of thousands of black people huddled together all over the North waiting to see if Abraham Lincoln would sign the Emancipation Proclamation. The second was the night of June 22, 1938, the storied rematch between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling, when black families and friends crowded around radios to listen and cheer as the Brown Bomber knocked out Schmeling in the first round. The third, of course, was Aug. 28, 1963, when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. proclaimed to the world that he had a dream, in the shadow of a brooding Lincoln, peering down on the assembled throng, while those of us who couldn't be with him in Washington sat around our black-and-white television sets, bound together by King's melodious voice through our tears and with quickened-flesh.

But we have never seen anything like this. Nothing could have prepared any of us for the eruption (and, yes, that is the word) of spontaneous celebration that manifested itself in black homes, gathering places and the streets of our communities when Sen. Barack Obama was declared President-elect Obama. From Harlem to Harvard, from Maine to Hawaii—and even Alaska—from "the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire … [to] Stone Mountain of Georgia," as Dr. King put it, each of us will always remember this moment, as will our children, whom we woke up to watch history being made.

Reality Checks

John Scalzi offers a good one.

"I love this guy."

That was Chris Matthews' comment about the Mayor of Newark's comments on the election. Cory Booker is inspiring, and could represent part of the new generation of politicians that raise in prominence in Obama's wake.

Awesome.

364

Assuming Indiana and NC hold up: Obama's tally will be 364.

That is not counting Missouri, which is too close to call, or Montana, which will most likely go for McCain.

Wow.

Obama's Victory Speech

Coupled with McCain's gracious and American concession, will stand as a document, a declaration of principles which will guide the next twenty-forty years of America.

The Daily Kos Scoreboard

Is awesome. Kudos!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

An African-American Family in the White House

A new Cosby Show.

I expect high ratings.

(Nat Cole, here's looking at you.)

McCain concedes

His concession speech is helluva classy.

If only his campaign had been.

/sigh

News items

Strange Portal Connects Earth to Sun. How can something be strange if it happens all the time?

Bizarre espionage case in Miami
. Two suitcases full of money, weeks of flim-flam.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A reminder...

Vote!

297

My bet: Obama with 297 electoral votes.

Hopefully more.

Go vote tomorrow.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Humor is humor

McCain was hilarious on SNL. Well worth a watch.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Going to be a good day.

This touches the heart.

The Messenger



Not a 'real' video. Shame, this song deserves one.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

History in economics.

Did people who knew about secret, CIA-led coups use that information to game the stock market?

Yes they did.

The birth of a meme

Where "Tire Swinging" comes from:
There are worse ways to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon than swinging lazily back and forth on a tire swing strung up under a massive sycamore tree in a quiet Arizona canyon, the sound of a gushing stream nearby. Almost grazing the ground and hung on rope that looked to have been tied and retied again over the years, the swing belonged to John McCain, who stood several dozen yards away, carefully monitoring giant slabs of pork ribs on a smoking grill.

Those halcyon days when the press loved McCain and McCain loved the press.

A defining moment

Colombian hostage dragged to freedom

I expect that in a future history of the FARC, this particular event will crystallize its descent into insignificance.

Monday, October 27, 2008

My hero

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Understanding the other

Peter Sagal on understanding the Obama Conspiracy Theorists.
In the real world, Barack Obama seems like he’s going to be elected President. This, as unlikely as it might have seemed as little as two years ago, is easily explained: the Republicans have done a poor job running the country, have a very unpopular incumbent President, and our nation likes to switch parties about every 8 to 12 years. Plus, Obama is a charismatic politician who’s run a very competent campaign.

Nonetheless, this reality is intolerable to some, and they have created an alternative narrative. In this narrative, Obama is “a Marxisant radical who all his life has been mentored by, sat at the feet of, worshipped with, befriended, endorsed the philosophy of, funded and been in turn funded, politically promoted and supported by a nexus comprising black power anti-white racists, Jew-haters, revolutionary Marxists, unrepentant former terrorists and Chicago mobsters.” Once elected, presumably, will reveal himself to be the monster that he is, in the manner of Kang and Kodos in that classic 1996 Treehouse of Horror episode of The Simpsons.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cuba to become a petro-power

20bn barrel oil discovery puts Cuba in the big league

Oil drilling starting soon. Three-five years before Cuba sees significant returns.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Good Beat



Good Beat, by DeeLite. More retro to start the weekend.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Surprised it lasted this long

Madonna divorcing Guy.

Not the sort of thing I normally blog about, but I remember thinking when they were married that it wouldn't last more than four years. Madonna doesn't seem to be a "happily ever after" type of person.

Economic racism?

So... there really are people who believe (i.e.: Bryon York) that giving "mortgages to people, particularly minorities, who could not afford them" was a prime cause of the nation's economic crisis.

It is a bit like arguing that the reason the I-35W Mississippi Bridge collapsed is because poor people were allowed to have cars.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Somersault



Somersault, one of my favorites from Zero 7.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

FM



FM, by Steely Dan.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Needy Girl



Needy Girl
, by Chromeo.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Anxiety Attack



Anxiety Attack by Jeffrey Lewis.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Aja



Aja, by Steely Dan.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Jack your body



Jack your body, by Steve 'Silk' Hurley. Happy weekend!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Obsidian



Obsidian, by Banco de Gaia.

This is my best video find. Amazing song.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Non m'annoio



Non m'annoio, by Jovanotti.

Some guy makes an observation

Some guy:
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has talked to more American news reporters than Sarah Palin. Not just in his lifetime. I mean, in this year.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Doomsday

In 1983, a computer glitch nearly killed the world.

Ubik



Ubik, by Timo Maas.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A new taste sensation

Woman drinks coffee à la bat.

Blues Power



Blues Power, by Albert King.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Journey of Time



Journey of Time
, by DJ Krush.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Crazy Talk

I thought McCain's 'League of Democracies' was crazy talk. Apparently it is a conservative plan to kill the UN.

Babylon Sisters



Babylon Sisters, by Steely Dan.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Power of Love



Power of Love, by DeeLite. Have a groovy weekend!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Lovestory



Lovestory, by Layo and Bushwacka! Freaky video.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tal Zamaan



Tal Zamaan, by Transglobal Underground. A bit glitchy in the middle, but worth it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A-Punk



A-Punk, by Vampire Weekend.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Born Under a Bad Sign



Born Under a Bad Sign, by Albert King.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

You Have God



You Have God, by Banco de Gaia.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Black Friday



Black Friday, by Steely Dan.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Pose



Pose, by Daddy Yankee.

Unfettered capitalism

Apparently even capitalists don't believe in it any more.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

No more...

Please, no more Tolkien books, no more Dune books, and no more Hitchhiker's books... Nooooooooooooo...

/sigh

Jeffrey Lewis's Complete History of Punk



The Complete History of Punk, by Jeffrey Lewis.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

AIG now owned by the USA

U.S. Seizes Control of AIG With $85 Billion Emergency Loan

I guess we should change Manchester United jerseys...

The Boobs Song



The Boobs Song, performed live by Piscilla Ahn. 99% safe for work.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Posters



Posters, by Jeffrey Lewis.

Monday, September 15, 2008

More B.B.!



B. B. King, on Ralph Gleason's Jazz Casual. From 1968, Part 2.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Free



Another song named Free. This one by Towa Tei... in a much less abstract mood.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Kid Charlemagne



Kid Charlemagne, by Steely Dan.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Followed



Followed, by Ian Pooley.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

America First



America First, by Woodie Guthrie.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Taken for Granted



Taken For Granted, by Sia

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

In the waiting line



In the waiting line, a moody, chill tune from Zero 7.

Monday, September 8, 2008

B.B. King



B.B. King, on Ralph Gleason's Jazz Casual. From 1968.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A.O.R.



More abstractions, this time A.O.R., from Towa Tei.

I just saw this

Geoffrey Perkins killed

Well boo.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The changing face of bloggage

I've been blogging off and on since January 2001--the stolen election was a pivotal moment for me, I stopped yelling at the TV to an audience of one (my girlfriend at the time also liked to vent) and I started yelling on the internet to an audience of one (or two).

The first Vlogs I saw were annoying. I still do not like talkingheads.

But I think it is quite normal now to post video on blogs. That has changed.

And it is amazing.

International Polar Year

International Polar Year:
The International Polar Year is a large scientific programme focused on the Arctic and the Antarctic from March 2007 to March 2009.

IPY, organized through the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), is actually the fourth polar year, following those in 1882-3, 1932-3, and 1957-8. In order to have full and equal coverage of both the Arctic and the Antarctic, IPY 2007-8 covers two full annual cycles from March 2007 to March 2009 and will involve over 200 projects, with thousands of scientists from over 60 nations examining a wide range of physical, biological and social research topics. It is also an unprecedented opportunity to demonstrate, follow, and get involved with, cutting edge science in real-time.

Rikki Don't Lose that Number



A jazzed up Rikki Don't Lose that Number, performed live by Steely Dan in 1996.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Die Hard



Die Hard, by Guyz Nite. Language NSFW.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Momma's Boy



Momma's Boy
, by Chromeo.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The composition decomposed

the first few sentences
     jotted notes
the pearl of an idea
          the motif
          a seduction
     a letter of introduction to a grand theme
if one believes in those sorts of things

But in all matters of ambition
there is awkwardness and uncertainty
     until there is flight—
my heart flutters
     my voice quivers
          my chest shakes
struggling to keep this nakedness from my face.

In a dream once
I was the boy I once was
     singing high and pure
     a clarion made of man
     a soul uncomplexed and pure—
and this is the voice I would sing to you with—
     not as a boy, but with that purity,
          that unseeing love.

We forget though
that all things are made and are made to decay—
     even tears
should be left out in the rain.
The last few sentences
are reminders
of all we have learned.
The theme finished
     recapitulated as a caress
a few lines more. . .

Aprés moi



Aprés moi, by Regina Spektor.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fancy Footwork



Fancy Footwork
, by Chromeo. The video is intriguing, working, as it does, on many different levels. The song itself is a lot of fun.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Boo and hiss...

Tonight's Middleman likely to be the last. What a fun series. A crying shame it was on Monday nights at ten o'clock on ABC Family...

Dream



Dream, by Priscella Ahn.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

German Bold Italic



German Bold Italic
, by Towa Tei and Kylie Minogue. This abstract piece was something of a hit in Japan.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Reelin' in the years



Reelin in the Years, performed live in 1973 by Steely Dan.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Deep Inside These Walls



Deep Inside These Walls, by JJ Flores and Steve Smooth. Warning: may be NSFW. Your mileage may vary.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Adding value

Here's an angry diary at dKos about television coverage on the liberally-beloved MSNBC.

There's a reason why I don't watch TV anymore; actually, there are a bunch of reasons. First, commercials suck. 15-20 minutes of every hour of programming is commercials. Second, a lot of the programming sucks. And third, the programming that doesn't suck is available through other means: good shows end up on the iTunes store or come out on DVD. (Alternatively, you can get a Tivo).

But news shows are particularly bad because of three factors. First, news shows hire commentators who have agendas. To make up for this they tend to have multiple people on with agendas, as if an increased volume of opinion will actually create insight. Instead it creates rather boring TV where the emotional drama is about ideology and not about a story or a recognizable human relationship. Second, these pundits tend to obsess about process and ignore objectives. It may have been funny to watch cable TV news channels twitter about madly trying to guess Obama's VP choice, but it actually makes for uninformative TV. And third, cable TV shows have bought into the mistaken idea that their job is to provide value above and beyond reporting the news: which is why every cable TV channel provides extensive commentary. The reality is, the power of TV is its ability to show the news, in real time, in pictures. Anything beyond that tends to distract from its true value.

Obama's speech

Obama's speech tonight was awesome and awe-inspiring.

Can McCain draw a crowd?

Josh Marshall notes:
If you're bummed about not getting a ticket to watch the Obama speech at the Invesco Center, you'll be happy to know they're still giving away tickets for John McCain's veep announcement tomorrow at the aptly-named 12,000 seat Nutter Cente


Update: Mile High Stadium is packed. Amazing.

ECC groups announced

Man Utd and Liverpool look to be in the most interesting groups. I'm sure the Celtic-Man Utd games will be spectacular.

More info here
.

Goodbye arctic ice



This animation in Google Earth shows satellite data of Arctic sea ice concentration from May 25 to August 21, 2008. Note how the decline rate speeds up during August, with strong losses north of Siberia. For more details, visit http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/.


(h/t Juan Cole)

Groove is in the heart



Groove is in the heart
, by Deee-Lite.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Distractions



Distractions, by Zero 7. I love this song, but the video actually, ahem, distracts from how good it is.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror



Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror, by Jeffrey Lewis. This song made me laugh.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Bicycle kicks

One of the hardest and dangerous types of kicks to make in football. Here are two examples by Ronaldinho.

This first example has English commentary, from a game against Villareal in 2006.



This second example is a better example of a bicycle kick, from a game against Athletico Madrid.

More like this please

Sebelius, Rendell, Jackson on Face the Nation.

Turn the Party Out



Turn the Party Out, an old school track by Biz Markie.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Oxford Comma



Oxford Comma, by Vampire Weekend. Done all in one shot.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Pretzel Logic



Pretzel Logic
, the classic Steely Dan song performed by the New York Rock and Soul Revue.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Market realities

So does free-market capitalism work or not?
The Big 3 Detroit-based automakers are seeking about $25 billion in federal loans as they struggle to ride out a steep downturn in U.S. auto sales, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

I mean, if we as a nation truly believe in deregulation and free-market capitalism then we should just stand by and let these venerable companies fail. Right? We can't be held responsible for the incompetence of their corporate officers who pursued policies of short term profits without an eye on long term realities... [/snark]

Without a doubt, however, look to Republican free-market politicians to be among the loudest voices in favor of this corporate bailout, just as they have applauded the Federal Reserve's interference with Bears-Stearns, while blaming the mortgage crisis on a lack of personal morality and our economic problems on being a bunch of whiners.

Laughing at Real Madrid

I'm laughing at Real Madrid after reading that star striker Robinho is desperate to leave Spain to play for Chelsea in the English Premier League. The soccer world was a bit gaga this summer with a fantastic Euro2008, but also with Real Madrid's inpolitic and public pursuit of Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United's star winger, and one of the best footballers currently playing the game.

Real Madrid's pursuit of Cristiano Ronaldo fizzled, and Cristiano Ronaldo is currently rehabilitating from an ankle injury and will be playing for Man Utd in early October. The Red Devils are going to need his talent, since Chelsea will likely be the team to beat this season.

Schadenfreude! (With some heartfelt wine advice.)

The news that Wine Spectator magazine was scammed into giving an Award of Excellence to a non-existent restaurant has been greeted with guffaws by schadenfreude fans and with fury by the magazine’s editor.

Wine Spectator is a lifestyle magazine, not a wine magazine. If you don't understand what I mean, then take a look at Wine Spectator one day when you are checking out at the liquor store and pay attention to the ads.

The key thing to remember about Wine Spectator scores is that it is not a scale from 0-100, as you might imagine when you see a score of 87 or 79. Rather it is a scale from 51-100. So when a wine has a score of 90, it is really an 80, and when a wine is 75 it is really a 70.

The best way to buy wine is to find a store that consistently stocks good wine, whose owners and managers are dedicated to carrying and selling good product. If you find such a store in your area, patronize it religiously. Then you don't need Wine Spectator or other guides, only a willingness to explore and find hidden delights (One of the joys of wine is that it varies from year to year, from field to field, from winemaker to winemaker. It is ephemeral. Most wines cannot be cellared. It is meant to be drunk and enjoyed, preferably shared with friends.).

Finally

Pundits And Writers Start Hitting McCain For Non-Stop P.O.W. References

Party People



Party People by Alex Gopher. Funny video.

The Demo Unleashed

Been playing and replaying the recently released demo for The Force Unleashed.

Joystiq has posted a hefty chunk of the upcoming book The Art and Making of The Force Unleashed. Contains spoilers, insight into the corporate creative process (like seeing sausage being made, ugh), and lots of cool art.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Religulous

Religulous trailer. Looks like it could be an interesting movie.

Us



Us, by Regina Spektor.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Little Man



Little Man, by Sia.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Use Me



Use Me, by Alex Gopher.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Heartbreaker



Heartbreaker by Dread Zeppelin.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Century's End



Century's End, by Donald Fagan.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Groovejet



Groovejet (If This Ain't Love), by Spiller featuring Sophie Ellis Bextor.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bonafide Lovin'



Bonafide Lovin', by Chromeo. I think I might be late to an internet meme somewhere. Cool (note, not cuil) video though.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Quotable

"No one should have to beg another person for his or her life. It's a soul-crushing experience." -- Sarah Gliege, rape victim.

Strolling in Baghdad



Strolling in Baghdad, an unrehearsed performance by Hamell on Trial.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Losing the younger demographic?

Teens Totally Not Into Olympics
Only 46 percent of teens surveyed by Harris Interactive showed any interest in watching the Olympics. And if teens are indeed abstaining, it's not because they think that the Olympics are a crass, greedy commercial enterprise -- in fact, 71 percent of those polled "were likely to agree that the games are about more than merely medals and marketing," according to Harris Interactive. So why won't they watch? Because it's not convenient for them.

"Teens want quick-hitting videos," says Bill Carter, a partner at youth marketing agency Fuse Marketing. "They don't want the lead-up and they don't want the analysis. They just want the video. And I'm optimistic that NBC is doing delivering this better than they have before. Although, to watch the [mens freestyle swimming] relay this morning, I still had to download 11 minutes of video, and fast forward through the first 6 minutes to get to the race."


Its hard to know what's going on without actually talking to a lot of teens and getting some real data. But at first glance, it could be that NBC's crappy coverage (its need to talk about only Americans, its need to do heart-wrenching bios of every athlete (He stubbed his toe last week, but he's determined to come back and win for his country.), and its general need to blather mindlessly) could be the nail that kills the Olympics for the media savvy.

Or maybe I'm just projecting?

Destroy Everything You Touch



Destroy Everything You Touch, by Ladytron.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The end of civilization becomes a non-event?

11,000 couples later, gay marriage largely a nonevent in Massachusetts

n.b.: My headline was snark.

The original Maverick

In fact, the original maverick was Maury Maverick, the grandson of Samuel Maverick, from whom the name maverick first entered the American lexicon.

There you go.

Don't Go




Don't Go, by Yaz (Yazoo).

I've never been to [barf]

I've never been to me is everything a song shouldn't be: pompous, condescending, patronizing, saccharine, and insincere. Proof positive that singing about the joys of being a kept woman is one way to make it big.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

No music video for today

I must be a bad blogger...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Beautiful and cool

Whirring Blender weekly design challenge

Carly Monardo

Snowbound



Snowbound, by Donald Fagan.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Well Boo

Edwards admits to affair, lied as candidate.
In an interview for broadcast tonight on Nightline, Edwards told ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff he did have an affair with 44-year old Rielle Hunter, but said that he did not love her.

Edwards also denied he was the father of Hunter's baby girl, Frances Quinn, although the one-time Democratic Presidential candidate said he has not taken a paternity test.

Edwards said he knew he was not the father based on timing of the baby's birth on February 27, 2008. He said his affair ended too soon for him to have been the father.

Well, this story certainly continues the Democrats have penises narrative that the press so eagerly salivates over (i.e.: Never mind the fact that McCain had an affair with Cindy before they were married.). It also shows a degree of hubris that is unbecoming: had Edwards been the one to secure the nomination, this could have been the October surprise that would have doomed the U.S. to four more years of Republican rule.

In other news, married people have affairs.

Freq'd



Freq'd by JJ Flores and Steve Smooth, from DJ Bad Boy Bill.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Destiny



Destiny, by Zero 7.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Chad Mitchell Trio



The Chad Mitchell Trio live on the Bell Telephone Hour. Fast-forward to the 1:25 mark. The banjo player is Roger McGuinn, who would later go on to found The Byrds. From 1963.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Boten Ana



Boten Ana, by Basshunter. Scandinavian bubble-gum music.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Get Over You



Get Over You, by Sophie Ellis Bextor.

Quality Snark Watch

Jesse Taylor on Barack Obama as the black messiah.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Journalists, confidential sources, and irresponsibility

Glenn Greenwald today:
That is really the critical point here. Source confidentiality is premised on a model of journalism where the media is adversarial to the Government, and safeguarding the anonymity of sources is the only way to find out what the Government is doing. But these days, so frequently, the media serves as an arm of the Government -- the Government uses the establishment media to disseminate propaganda and outright lies to the public (Jessica Lynch, Pat Tillman, Saddam's aluminum tubes) or even uses leaks to the media to commit crimes (as it did in the Plame case). When the journalists who are used to spread these lies or commit these crimes then conceal who it is who has done such things, they are complicit in the Government wrongdoing, key enablers of it.

By endorsing the sanctity of that Government-media relationship through shield laws and the like (which I've always supported in the past), it's actually -- perversely -- bestowing the Government with yet another tool to shield its misconduct from the public. Because the establishment media so frequently now serves as a tool used by the Government to amplify its false claims and promote its agenda, rather than as a watchdog against it, increasing the Government and media's power to keep that relationship secret is to empower the Government even further -- the exact opposite of what source confidentiality is intended to achieve [and, indeed, proposed federal shield laws provide large exceptions for national security leaks, which means that such a law would still allow the Governments to try to invade, and courts to destroy, the good kind of confidentiality (e.g., the CIA black sites and NSA leaks) while protecting the bad kind (where the Government uses the media to spread lies and other disinformation)].

Floating Chamber



Floating Chamber by Vince Watson.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Get your war on...

Get your War On is now animated. Go now.

The silly stupid season...

Is Obama Too Fit to be President, the WSJ asks:
But in a nation in which 66% of the voting-age population is overweight and 32% is obese, could Sen. Obama's skinniness be a liability? Despite his visits to waffle houses, ice-cream parlors and greasy-spoon diners around the country, his slim physique just might have some Americans wondering whether he is truly like them.


I don't know about you, but I don't watch movies, TV shows, or look at fashion magazines unless they portray god-honest normal, obese Americans. You have to draw a line in the sand people...

and watch that line get blown away...

Remember Anthrax?

Bruce E. Ivins, a scientist who helped the FBI investigate the 2001 mail attacks, was about to face charges.
A top government scientist who helped the FBI analyze samples from the 2001 anthrax attacks has died in Maryland from an apparent suicide, just as the Justice Department was about to file criminal charges against him for the attacks, the Los Angeles Times has learned.

Bruce E. Ivins, 62, who for the last 18 years worked at the government's elite biodefense research laboratories at Ft. Detrick, Md., had been informed of his impending prosecution, said people familiar with Ivins, his suspicious death and the FBI investigation.


What I'd like to see is evidence of motive. That's something I don't understand.

Penetrate



Penetrate, by DJ Micro.

This will start your weekend off bumpin'.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Billmon is back!!!

Billmon writes about McCain's current strategy and what it means:
But he and his new Rovian advisors now realize they won't have a prayer in November unless they can motivate the conservative base and (to use Lee Atwater's charming phrase) "strip the bark" off Obama. And they have to do it NOW, so McCain can pivot back to a softer, more upbeat message in September.

So that's exactly what McCain is doing – instantly, unapologetically, without shame or embarrassment. His enormous cynicism about the political process and his contempt for the voters – not to mention his vast sense of self-entitlement -- have led McCain to take the same low road as the Bush family and its various henchmen (Atwater, Rove): Whatever works; whatever it takes.

And so it’s finally dawning, even on his media "base" (ever the hapless clowns in our political theater of the absurd ) that McCain isn’t quite the straight-talking, straight-shooting military man of honor they thought he was. The White Knight has morphed into the Great White Hope – the GOP machine’s last, desperate chance to avoid the mortal humiliation of being defeated not just by a Democrat, not just by a liberal, but by a liberal Democratic black man.

Billmon was one of the greatest voices of sanity in the 2000-2004 period, spanning the election debacle, 9/11, and the invasion of Iraq. A great analyst and a great writer.

Notable comment

South Side says this, in response to a Matthew Yglesias post:
Actually, I think the day after the election, if Obama wins, the media will suddenly realize/care that we have a massive budget deficit, two wars, gas prices through the roof, and an expansion of the executive branch's powers never contemplated by the Founders, and will preemptively declare President-elect Obama's administration a failure unless all those issues can be fixed within 10 months.

Secrets



Secrets, by Mutiny UK.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Middleman

I've been enjoying the first six episodes of Middleman (ABC family, monday nights). You can download episodes on iTunes. Smart, interesting, and damn funny.

Flashback



Flashback, by Laurent Garnier. This has to be one of the funniest music videos ever made.

Holy Cow

Someone in the MSM finally admits the Israel-Iraq connection, and that person is Joe Klein:
I have now been called antisemitic and intellectually unstable and a whole bunch of other silly things by the folks over at the Commentary blog. They want Time Magazine to fire or silence me. This is happening because I said something that is palpably true, but unspoken in polite society: There is a small group of Jewish neoconservatives who unsuccessfully tried to get Benjamin Netanyahu to attack Saddam Hussein in the 1990s, and then successfully helped provide the intellectual rationale for George Bush to do it in 2003. Their motivations involve a confused conflation of what they think are Israel's best interests with those of the United States. They are now leading the charge for war with Iran.

Honestly, having Iraq occupied by a close ally was never truly in Israel's best interests.

Update: More here.

Update 2: For a better overview of the hubbub, check out this.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Poor Leno



Poor Leno by Royksopp.

Monday, July 28, 2008

SPM

TPM seems especially snarky today. Maybe its just me.

I appreciate the attitude though.

Cuil

Cuil is a new Google wanna-be.

However it fails the Literateria test: search for Literateria and this blog does not show up.

On Google, Literateria is the first result.

Cuil equals fail, imo. There you go.

Wordiness

Kevin Drum observes that traditional media is often too wordy in the wrong places:
And yet.....having said that, spending a lot of time on the internet, as I have since 2002, has rubbed my nose in something that hadn't really bothered me before then: namely just how overwritten so many books and magazine articles are. Seymour Hersh? He's great. You could also cut every one of his pieces by at least 50% and lose exactly nothing. And I'm not picking on Hersh. At a guess, I'd say that two-thirds of the magazine pieces I read could be sliced by nearly a third or more without losing much. That's true of a lot of books too.

Balmes



Balmes (a better life), by Ian Pooley, featuring Esthero. Exquisite animation.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Process

Dropp



A fan-made video for Dropp, by Autechre. Hypnotic but well done.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Tomorrow's Girls


Tomorrow's Girls, by Donald Fagan.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Man With the Red Face



The Man With the Red Face, performed live by Laurent Garnier.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A suggestion

(re: the post below)

Instead of getting one's panties in a bunch over homosexuals openly serving in the military, how about we pay attention to the epidemic of military sexual trauma (a.k.a.: rape by soldiers on soldiers)?
There are more women serving in the military than ever before, and they're in danger—but not just from combat. Last year, nearly 1,400 women reported being assaulted and raped by their fellow soldiers, in some cases by their commanding officers. The shocking phenomenon is called military sexual trauma, or MST.

It is incredibly dishonest to worry that homosexuals will lead to an increasingly sexualized military when our military--full of young men and women--is already sexualized, with some real problems coming from it.

Two Months Off



Two Months Off, by Underworld.

you bring light in...

to a dark place
walking in light
glowing walking in light
gold ring around you
the hues of you
the golden sunlight of you

you bring light in...

cool wind following
following after you
rising for you
your skin beautiful
everything comes natural
fantastic fan
rocking rocking floating