Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I stand up straight and tall

Recently I've discovered isometric exercises. The purpose of them is, I guess, to build strength by using muscles against each other. Mainly for me it's a way to jumpstart creative thinking. Or sometimes just to stay awake when I need to be.

Of oourse bullies aren't so quick to kick sand in my face either. This is partly because I have the look of a world-weary loner who has nothing left to lose. And partly because the beaches are closed.

Anyway, using that particular header, it would be a cheat not to show the song as well.

Rock and roll.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Minimalist blog post

I've been thinking.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Down in front

Not sure what's going on, exactly, but the chicken and the snake/earthworm thing are really gettin' down.

Wow. I just thought that should be shared.

Friday, September 25, 2009

FoggyFriday Random Ten

Ro be clear (arf arf) it was I and not the weather that was foggy on Friday (yesterday). To the point where I put the header up and then wandered off, eventually going to sleep without filling in the list. Well, I was a little Nyquilized. Anyway, the songs are from stuff I heard yesterday.

1. Chic--Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)
2. Yo La Tengo--When It's Dark
3. Nancy Wilson--But Beautiful
4. Beck--Emergency Exit
5. D'Oyly Carte Opera Chorus--On a Tree by a River a Little Tom Tit*
6. The Go Go's--This Town
7. David Bowie--Time
8. Todd Rundgren--Some Folks Is Even Whiter Than Me
9. The Knife--From Off to On
10. Stan Kenton and His Orchestra--Ecuador

* From The Mikado, natch.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Alimentary, my dear Watson

I... What can I even say?

Unless the trailer is badly representing the movie--something that admittedly does happen--this is a horrible mistake for everyone involved.

Rough Victorian sex? A [BEEBEEP} Roadrunner dive out the fifth story window? Really?

In isolation, Robert Downey would seem a good choice for Holmes. Brooding, intelligent, a bit aristocratic. Hell, if he wanted to play the great detective as one of his patented troubled drug addicts, Doyle gave him cover.

But this doesn't look like Sherlock Holmes. It looks like Eddie Murphy's Axel Foley soaked in bleach and stuffed with a flimsy English accent. I'm not sure why it's not called "The Playboy Action Figure." It would probably sell.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Doen these trippy streets

Reading Jedediah Berry's The Manual of Detection was so enjoyable that it behooves me to talk about it. It also makes me envious that Berry wrote this before anyone else did. Hero Charles Unwin is a sheltered clerk who edits the cases of a two-fisted detective into proper form for the archives. He gets an unwanted promotion to detective himself when (palindrome alert) Travis T Sivart goes missing. Beyond that I don't want to say much.

But the telling of this story is informed by dreams and fairy tales. It's appropriate that the speakeasy where Unwin must trawl for clues is called the Cat and Tonic. (Say it aloud.) There are a lot of influences at play here: German expressionism, film noir, Calvino. Sort of like if Thomas Ligotti scripted The Big Sleep, although that only takes you so far. But really the important thing is how the elements are jumbled as if by an unconscious mind.

What the New Yorker reviewer was thinking I don't know. A 9/11 allegory? Berry may well have been influenced by living through the War on Terror and the PATRIOT act. But reducing it to simple political allegory takes you far away from what Berry is doing. I mean, find a new buzzword already.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Hey! Fever! and the Friaday Random Ten

Yes, it's that time of year when all the crazy stuff is floating around on the breeze. Think I have my own allergies medicated into abeyance now. Which is probably a relief to my neighbors. Lordy, who did I wake up last night.

Anyway, the music.

1. Sun Ra--Of Sounds and Something Else
2. Chic--Just Out of Reach
3. The Fiery Furnaces--Even in the Rain
4. Stone Temple Pilots--Bi-Polar Bear
5. Little Richard--Baby
6. XTC--Travels in Nihilon
7. The Who--A Quick One, While He's Away
8. Grizzly Bear--While You Wait for the Others
9. The Kinks--Berkeley Mews
10. Ladytron--Flicking Your Switch

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Holy embarassment, Batman!

Wow, talk about an off day. The Joker is among the criminals sandbagged and kept prisoner by this barely-mobile fungus dressed like Chef Boy Ardee. The Joker I know would have planted birthday candles in Simon the Pieman's face as the hapless wannabe breathed his last.

Well, maybe Mista J knew Simon was in for a humiliating defeat and didn't want to keep it from it. I choose to think that. It helps life make a little more sense.

Peanut farmer addresses elephant in room

Here's a fun little timewaster. Google phrases like "nigger socialist" and "president Obongo." Go to the links relating to Barack Obama. Read the comments and subtract the blatantly racist language, then see how well the comments match statements in the blogospher, in the conservative press and at teabag-style protests. And you might not have to do the subtraction part.

That's why it strikes me as kinda nutty that Jimmy Carter's observations are at all controversial, buch less fuel for a Republican backlash. Obviously it would be stupid to say that all criticism of the president is racist, and Carter didn't say that.

But consider that Bill Clinton was also a Democrat. He was about as liberal as Barack Obama in most ways. And he had a truth problem in certain areas that his enemies made the single defining fact of his life. Yet never did some hillbilly legislator yell "You lie!" during one of his addresses. Why? Because it was understood you didn't do that to the Chief Executive. For some reason, that understanding is now being eroded. Hmmmmmm.

Michael Steele calls Jimmy Earl's comments "a pathetic distraction by Democrats to shift attention away from the president’s wildly unpopular government-run health care plan that the American people simply oppose." But while Jimmy Carter may still be a registered Democrat, he is so long out of the game that he doesn't have much of anything to do with the official party. That's why he can state obvious truths others ignore. And if Steele believes his own rhetoric, he's gotta get a lot of echoes in that bald head of his.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tribute to the fucking AntiChrist

Okay, that header is easy to take out of context. It becomes clearer if you remember the movie that this infomercial comes from.

Swayze was awesome in both that and Ghost. Gets cursed at in both. Hm. Bore it well.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saturday Random Ten with a side of grousing

The one thing that can be a little annoying about the iPod is that it can be hypersensitive to accident and undersensitive to the wishes of its user. Stray objects brushing against it can make it freeze. A slightly greater impact makes it stop in the middle of one song and start playing another. You try to rewind as it were and instead you go back to the menu and have to shuffle again. Accidental reshuffles, bah!

But as Louis C.K. says, everything's amazing, nobody's happy. And now the tunes.

1. Little Richard--True Fine Mama
2. Nellie McKay--Suitcase Song
3. The Fiery Furnaces--Staring at the Steeple
4. Talking Heads--Drugs
5. Sun Ra--New Day
6. David Bowie--Panic In Detroit
7. Elvis Costello & the Imposters--Bedlam
8. The Who--Doctor, Doctor
9. Feist & Ben Gibbard--Train Song
10. Office--The Big Bang Jump!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dear dairy...

First off, this looks to be another Saturday Random Ten week. Patience.

Second, the reason for that is that I saw a movie at my friend Mark's place. He asked me earlier for a recommendation for movie night, and it hit me: Comfort and Joy. Well, going to Netflix for the movie only led him to an unfortunate-looking Lifetime movie with Nancy McKeon and Dixie Carter. That... perhaps made him worry about me.

He did find the right film almost by accident through the local independent video store (Acme Video on Brook St.) It apparently hasn't made the transition to DVD* so we watched on VHS. C&J, which was director Bill Forsyth's follow-up to Gregory's Girl and Local Hero, more than lived up to my somewhat distant memories of it. And it turned out to be a big hit with the other four guys watching it, which was a pleasant surprise.

Low key and whimsical comedy that sometimes erupts into violence, but not to the point where anyone actually gets hurt. Although tragically some car upholstery does. Here's a taste.

* Actually since there's clean footage on YouTube, it probably is out on DVD, somewhere.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Where does he get all those wonderful toys?

This is avant garde composer Harry Partch. Might be considered a big brother figure to John Cage. The Residents seem to be big fans as well.

And why not? Just look at those giant crazy musical instruments he invented. Such Seussian grandeur, the fact that they actually produce music is a bonus.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Annals of clean

Yesterday I cleaned out my bathroom sink. Within a few minutes it went from looking like an altar to filth to being actually rather presentable. So that felt good. But attention must be paid to the warnings on the label of (ahem) Kaboom Ultra Scrub. No, prolonged contact is not good for the skin. Oh, it's just a little peeling on the backs of a couple of fingers, I've had worse. Still, maybe a pair of rubber gloves is in order.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Two points about Van Jones

1. Gotta say, I love how helpful Republicans are being. All you have to do is say offhand that they're "assholes" and they'll go out of their way to prove it. Democrats can't even be bothered to get out of bed.

2. Via Roy, The NatReview's Andy McCarthy is dropping the C-bomb that the right has been so fond of since always. Careful Andy. It wasn't Jones who was carrying water for the Chicoms this past July. People who live in Red houses should not throw sickles, da?

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Friday Random Ten keeps it simple

It's been an up and down day. I've had psyched periods and a few times when I wasn't really in the game. Anyway, we've got a three-day weekend coming up. Just staying down to the one post tonight so I don't sleep away half of Saturday.

1. Ladytron--Fire
2. The Fiery Furnaces--Charmaine Champagne
3. Talking Heads--I Zimbra
4. Jimmy Smith--Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Part 2)
5. The Who--Heatwave
6. Yeasayer--Tightrope
7. Johnny Mathis--Chances Are
8. The Posies--I Guess You're Right
9. The Kinks--This is Where I Belong
10. Beck--Earthquake Weather

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Feat of clay

These credits are for one of those beach blanket bingo movies from the Johnson administration. The animation is by Gumby creator Art Clokey. The song comes from Diana Ross and the supremes, who I like even though I think Flo Ballard got the rawest of deals. Part of me is curious to see this movie, which has a nog-half-bad cast. Another part is pretty sure I've already seen the best part.


It's nice that this guy is at least getting reimbursed, somewhat. But even if there have been worse miscarriages of justice (executions, twenty and up year sentences), seventeen months at Rikers is no joke.

He was initially convicted on a partial fingerprint, i.e. the kind of evidence that's supposed to corroborate an already strong case. Not one that should condemn a man who had the alibi of being about 800 miles away from the scene of the crime. It does show you something about the arrogance of the system.