Friday, February 26, 2010

If it's the last thing I do: Friday Random Ten

There are other posts and replies to do here when sleep isn't pulling me down like that big tooth monster in the sand on Luke's home planet. Right now, sticking with the list.

1. Lou Rawls--I Can't Make It Alone
2. David Bowie--Be My Wife
3. The Squirrel Nut Zippers--Memphis Exorcism
4. Taj Mahal--Further On Down the Road
5. Mika--Toy Boy
6. L'Attirail--Milano Central
7. Stan Kenton--Solitaire
8. Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings--Let Them Knock
9. The New Pornographers--All of the Things That Go to Make Heaven and Earth
10. Pink Martini--Over the Valley

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Slick streets

Harsh weather, the past couple of days and continuing still. No snow, even though they were predicting some. Not particularly cold. Just constant rain, as well as some pretty strong gusts of wind. So I'm hoping not to turn into a fungus.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Project project

I'm wondering what kind of glue would best hold tinfoil to wood or plywood. Could be useful info for something I plan to do around the homestead. Yea, this could be a fun chore.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

As previously stated, Saturday Random Ten

"There's not mushroom for a fungi like me."

A guy I knew in college said that. Just came back for some reason.

1. Taj Mahal--Leaving Trunk
2. The Fiery Furnaces--Keep Me in the Dark
3. Little Richard--Jenny Jenny
4. L'Attirail--Lamentov
5. Talk Talk--Talk Talk*
6. Nancy Wilson--For Heaven's Sake
7. Bonzo Dog Band--Sport (The Odd Boy)
8. Gnarls Barkley--Surprise
9. Elvis Costello & the Attractions--Senior Service
10. Pink Martini--New Amsterdam

*Not a typo.

Friday, February 19, 2010

no what?

Not doing the Friday Random Ten tonight. I forgot to sync my iPod the last time I imported music. Except I've done that now, so how's Saturday sound?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Neighborhood Bardo

I've been meaning to write a little something about Kim Stanley Robinson's The Years of Rice and Salt. Fitting to do it now that I've finished the book. It really is an amazing accomplishment. (Him writing it, not me reading it.)

A plot synopsis won't really get you anywhere. The initial premise is simple. It's an alternate timeline. The bubonic plague didn't just kill off the majority of Europe's population, but rather scrubbed the continent clean of human habitation. White people--or rather, those who would eventually self-identify as white--are basically extinct. (There's a small population in the Orkney Islands north of Scotland.) In the absence of Europe and Christianity, history consists of a long competition between China and the Muslim world.

That's right, a world-spanning Islamic empire. The novel was published a few months after 9/11, and there are some character monologues about Islam being a backward and inherently conquest-minded belief. But this should be taken as those characters talking. Both sides show progress, as does a third power that eventually rises in India. The idea of Orson Scott Card or Dan Simmons handling the same concept doesn't really bear thinking about.

Another aspect of the novel--one that really shouldn't be overlooked--is the fact that about half-a-dozen characters are reincarnated and come back to play their roles in different stages of history. We occasionally get to look in on them in the Bardo, a wait between lives as detailed in Buddhist writings. The characters come back in different forms, but the reader's knowledge that they are the same souls does make the very large-scale (about 1,000 years) more digestible. And there's a kind of interdependence, a way they all serve each other's journeys. Even the antagonistic character always given the initial "S" may be conscious of giving the others something to resist.

Might not be a perfect story, but Robinson has aimed at something unique and achieved it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Note to self...

Bedtime stomach problems are not always acid reflux. Sometimes they're the flu, or something. This can be a messier problem, and oh how I know it. Luckily it's a fleeting one.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hey you...

Here's Madness, at their peak, with one of the most endearingly low budget music videos in history. Yes, even for the early eighties. I'm not convinced they didn't just have a roadie with a camcorder at home. Which is awesome.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Random Ten with minor confession

Got to work fairly early today, arriving at the office at eight, maybe a couple of minutes before that. Luckily, I did not set off the alarm. That's happened before. There's always a little bit of stigma attached to it, since the street is mostly residential. Oh well, we all have those moments.

1. The New Pornographers--Failsafe
2. Devo--Mongoloid
3. Gnarls Barkley--Blind Mary
4. Bonzo Dog Band--The Bride Stripped Bare by 'Bachelors'
5. Stan Kenton & His Orchestra--Ecuador
6. David Bowie--Breaking Glass
7. The Fiery Furnaces--Keep Me in the Dark
8. The Rolling Stones--Under My Thumb
9. Johnny Mathis--Chances Are
10. Yuka Honda--Liberation #6-Leaving the Memories Behind

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Blatant filler

If I want to get up for work tomorrow and not be a complete zombie, I can't write the post I meant to tonight. But when I do it will be awesome. Unless it's not.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Turns out...

Yeah, we got a pretty sizeable snowstorm, albeit not the kind DC got. First thing in the morning, it looked like a washout, and that the schools had been foolish to close ahead of time. Different story by mid-afternoon.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lotta snow?

I've heard the word Nor'easter being bandied about. That certainly raises the bar. (Hey, this could be a Twitter post. Well, up until the parentheses.)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Another Friday Random Ten? Yes!

Today I asked a woman who works in my office where she came from. Croatia, it turns out. Glad I didn't ask her how Serbia was. Not that she necessarily carried ethnic grudges, but even reg'lar folks don't like to be mized up like that.

1. Squirrel Nut Zippers--Bad Businessman
2. Charlie Parker--East of the Sun (and West of the Moon.)
3. Todd Rundgren--Breathless
4. David Bowie--What in the World?
5. Empress--It's Not All It's Cracked Up to Be
6. The Fiery Furnaces--Lost at Sea
7. Taj Mahal--Sweet Mama Janisse
8. The New Pornographers--Challengers
9. Sarah Vaugan--Key Largo
10. D'Oyly Carge Opera Company--The Sun Whose Rays Are all Ablaze*

* Recited by one of the noir teens in the movie Brick, which demonstrates good taste.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fragrant rhythm

These old George Pal puppetoons are a real joy to me. This one features a full-size, live action human guy. To wit, one Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington. And some perfume bottles with a major crush on his music. Charming and just a little surreal, and I hope YouTube isn't forced to take it down.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Be good to the world, be good to yourself

A lot of organizations have been involved with aid to Haiti. There's the good ol' Red Cross. Doctors Without Borders will accept whatever donations you give. I've given a little to Mercy Corps. The list goes on.

So while it's nice of all these shiny people to remake "We Are the World", you can help without subjecting yourself to it. I mean, if you really feel a need to do penance...