Friday, April 30, 2010

Fragrant Friday Random Ten, Oh Yeah

Since both winter and early spring were rainy, we're seeing some intense flowers now. Like, bunches of lavendar the size of a baby head. It's trippy. Nice smell, altogether.

1. Todd Rundgren--Song of the Viking
2. The White Stripes--Suzy Lee
3. Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings--The Game Gets Old
4. Los Campesinos!--Coda: A Burn Mark in the Shape of the Sooner State
5. Thelonious Monk--Eronel
6. David Bowie--Weeping Wall
7. Gnarls Barkley--Run (I'm a Natural Disaster)
8. Neko Case--Lion's Jaws
9. Devo--Sloppy (I Saw My Baby Gettin')
10. Talk Talk--Talk Talk*

*Not a typo

Thursday, April 29, 2010

It takes a website of dozens to hold us back

One thing that has puzzled me about the threats to Trey Parker and Matt Stone is the apparent lack of consequences. Does the posting about them winding up like Theo Van Gogh count as a threat? Um, well, doesn't it? Sure, Revolution Muslim has a measure of deniability. It's like "Will no one rid me of this meddling priest?" or "You know what happens to nosy fellows? Wanna guess?" It's not 100% explicit, but there must be enough to warrant investigation. But I haven't really heard about law enforcement being on this. And of course, Comedy Central caved, hence doing 90% of the work of terrorism on themselves.

Not too surprisingly, the incident has been taken in some quarters as evidence that the Saracen enemy has stepped up their invasion. Glenn Greenwald has a refreshing corrective, pointing out that RM is an extremist website from any community's standpoint. (And bizarrely enough, founded by a convert from a similarly militant branch of Judaism.) And there's a partial list of the other people in America who have made threats and called for censorship. Quite a popular pastime.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Nice hobbitses

Some time ago, I made up my mind that I couldn't stand having as a homepage anymore. I mean, you've seen it. It's sort of a default homepage for PCs, I guess, but I'd had all I could stand.

I've recently settled onto the Anthropology World News page at Texas A&M. Now there I may actually hear something I want to know about.

For example, Homo floresiensis were pretty brawny.

Critics say the finds represent nothing more than human pygmies like those still living on Flores. In their opinion, the centerpiece hobbit find — a partial skeleton of an adult female known as LB1 — is what’s left of a woman who suffered from a developmental disorder that resulted in an unusually small brain and a misshapen skull and lower body.

But arm and leg fossils from LB1 and a second hobbit appear robust, not unhealthy, according to a new study directed by William Jungers of Stony Brook University in New York. The bones display humanlike thickness in the tough tissue that forms the outer shell of most bones, and opposite sides of the limb bones exhibit comparable thickness, a sign of healthy growth, said Stony Brook anthropologist and study coauthor Frederick Grine, who presented Jungers’ paper at the meeting.

Hobbits also possessed much stronger limbs relative to body weight than either Homo sapiens or its presumed predecessor, Homo erectus, Jungers’ team concluded.

I thought there was already evidence found of Hobbit hunting parties. Probably the thing is that even though spears and dead elephants were found on Flores, attribution remained in doubt.

But hey, HoFlo, glad you get to stay in the hominid clubhouse.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Deep, thoughtful Friday Random Ten

Spring has sprung. Luckily allergies remain light. Spare you the details, but I've had some all-day drug-resistant effect in the past. And most antihistamines aren't non-drowsy even if they say they are (good news if you're taking them at night.) Thus far just enjoying the view, really.

1. D'Oyly Carte Opera Company--When a Felon's Not Engaged in His Employment
2. Sly & the Family Stone--Trip to Your Heart
3. Neko Case--Hold On Hold On
4. Lou Rawls--Your Good Thing (Is About to End)
5. Isobel Campbell--Cachel Wood
6. Talk Talk--Life's What You Make It
7. Elvis Costello & the Attractions--Sunday's Best
8. L'Attirail--5 et de la Poussière
9. Loretta Lynn--Women's Prison
10. Prince--Free

Thursday, April 22, 2010

You know, I'm not black, but there's a whole lot of times I wish I could say I'm not white

Talk radio is, of course, the House that Rush Built. It's also The House That Has, Like, 9 Zillion Rush Wannabes Living In It. One of them, Mark Williams is profiled in this morning's Globe, on account of his having attached himself to the Tea Party movement. Here are some gems.

The 54-year-old Massachusetts native regularly lambastes President Obama as a communist bent on undermining the Constitution, and last week likened him to such dictators as Stalin and Pol Pot. On his blog and elsewhere, he rails against Obama as an “Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug,’’ and “racist in chief’’ for his comments about the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. at his own home.

Other officials have received rougher treatment: Williams has called former President Jimmy Carter a “slithering worm of a man,’’ and claimed Carter’s support for Arab leaders indicated that he “longs for an oven of fresh baked Jews.’’

Haha! Up yours, Godwin!

Page 2 of 2 --When asked why he invokes the long-debunked smear, Williams said he sometimes exaggerates for effect to spur on the audience, and conceded that Obama was “probably’’ a natural-born citizen. But in the next breath, he claims public documents raise the possibility that Obama is both foreign-born and Muslim.

Williams said he uses strong language to bolster his arguments and animate audiences, and that his forceful rhetoric, even if it skirts the truth, is appropriate to fight the threats presented by the Obama administration.

In 2005, Williams stirred controversy when he said in a televised interview that residents of New Orleans “didn’t have the necessary brains and common sense to get out of the way’’ of Hurricane Katrina because they expected the government to “do absolutely everything for them.’’ He also said Kanye West, a rap star who had recently said that President George W. Bush “doesn’t care about black people,’’ was a “Klansman in black face,’’ according to a CNN transcript.

Still, he reserves his wrath for Obama, whom he often refers to as Barack Hussein Obama. He said he mentions his middle name to underscore what he considers Obama’s un-American views.

“Culturally, he is anything but an American,’’ he said. “He doesn’t like Americans, and he treats us like garbage.’’

Having the middle name "Hussein" is an un-American view. Duly noted. But this is the jewel in the crown.

Criticism of Tea Party activists as bigots, Williams said, was a media creation. On social issues, most members are libertarian, he said. “What do I care if two guys named Bruce prance down to City Hall and get married?’’ he asked rhetorically.

The Tea Parties aren't bigoted, according to the guy who uses "Muslim" as an epithen and thinks New Orleans blacks need to learn to float. Talk about a clean bill of health!

Not surprisingly, some in the TP movement want to distance themselves from the excesses of the Tea Party Express. In some cases (not all) I'm sure there's a personal level of revulsion. But if you want to make sure your Tea Party makes more noise than the one thrown by a 5 year old and her teddy bear, decency goes pretty fast.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Missed the posted deadline on tax return preparation by a few days. Last week--which was admittedly last minute to begin with--I was thrown by the Making Work Pay calculations. It looked like I wasn't getting anything out of it, which pretty much everyone is supposed to. But as it turned out, I was just doing a line I didn't need to, and that was skewing my figures. Anyway, just having it off the ol' plate is a huge relief.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Fred Rogers Memorial Friday Random Ten

Brief with this one, just cause I need to roll up and got to sleep. But I'll be posting and commenting soon soon soon. As the man said, "You'll have things you'll want to talk about. I. Will. Too.

1. Sly & the Family Stone--Run, Run, Run
2. Los Campesinos!--I Warned You: Do Not Make an Enemy of Me
3. Loretta Lynn--God Makes No Mistakes
4. Taj Mahal--Johnny Too Bad
5. The White Stripes--Do
6. Beck--The Information
7. Roy Orbison--I Like You
8. Nancy Wilson--If It's the Last Thing I Do
9. Devo--Jocko Homo
10. Pink Martini--Tuca Tuca

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Failure to cookiemunicate

I don't have these exact same marriage fears. Well, I limit human contact to 45 seconds per customer anyway. But this clip stays funny over repeated viewings.

Definitely NSFW, unless your boss is kewl with shouted obscenities.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

White collar blues

I'm mostly just admiring this one. Matt Taibbi takes on some horrible class analysis from David Brooks, mostly ignoring his equally horrible sports writing. This strikes me as the money quote.

Then again, maybe I’m looking at this from the wrong perspective. Would I rather clean army latrines with my tongue, or would I rather do what Brooks does for a living, working as a professional groveler and flatterer who three times a week has to come up with new ways to elucidate for his rich readers how cosmically just their lifestyles are? If sucking up to upper-crust yabos was my actual job and I had to do it to keep the electricity on in my house, then yes, I might look at that as work.

But it strikes me that David Brooks actually enjoys his chosen profession. In fact, he strikes me as the kind of person who even in his spare time would pay a Leona Helmsley lookalike a thousand dollars to take a shit on his back. And here he is saying that the reason the poor and the middle classes are struggling is because they don’t work hard enough. Is this guy the best, or what? Does it get any better than this?

It's not just Brooks, either. The pundit class is by and large made up of sorta rich people who want to stay in good with ungodly rich people. If hard work is involved, it lies mainly in putting the slurping sounds into something that reads like paragraph form.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Not quite rained out Friday Random Ten

Got a ride home from work today. Since it was raining pretty heavily again today--after a dry and summery resf of the week--and I was wearing canvas sneakers, I was grateful.

1. Beck--Soldier Jane
2. Pink Martini--Ou Est Mat Tete
3. Bonzo Dog Band--I'm the Urban Spaceman
4. The New Pornographers--Mutiny, I Promise You
5. Zapolski Quartet--Nielsen String Quartet #13/Andante Sustenato
6. Devo--(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
7. XTC--There Is No Language In Our Lungs
8. Roxy Music--Would You Believe
9. Nancy Wilson--Time After Time
10. Gnarls Barkley--Going On

Bonus video, just because the song is so good and the vid is so goofy.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What can be said, really?

There's an ad I've seen a few times recently. It's for a phone, but which one I can't place, and I haven't found any video of it online. Anyway, three white cuties--one guy and two girls, I think--are in a ski lift. The voice-over tells us that one of them is checking email. Another is shopping for one thing or another. The third is... surfing the porn sites? Probably, although they don't say that. What none of them are doing are raising their eyes from the screen and taking in the stunning winter view.

So, to sum up, technology allows you to go anywhere and behave as if you were .absolutely nowhere. Which is a good thing, apparently

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Will you walk into my parlour?

Haven't put up any funky old animation for a while. This one is from Seamus Culhane, a cartoonist from Mass. who worked on Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and also under Chuck Jones at Warner.

That's one thing that's interesting about 50s and early 60s animation. The backgrounds in many cases show an abstract expressionist influence that puts a different perspective on the foreground as well.

As for the humor, it's not super-clever, but I got a few chuckles out of it.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Friday Random Ten That Was

The Kee-razy weather we got last weekend and early this week has apparently flooded out a lot of basements. Now my building has basement apartments, as do many others. Providence got wet, but since we're the high ground as these things go, flooding wasn't too bad. Do not envy people with basement apartments in, say, Warwick.


1. The New Pornographers--Entering White Cecilia
2. Bob Dylan--4th Time Around
3. Yuka Honda--You Think You Are So Generous, But It's the Most Conditional "Anything" I've Ever Heard/Jumping the Gap Between Me and Myself*
4. Roy Orbison--Trying to Get to You
5. Los Campesinos!--Romance is Boring
6. Devo--Shrivel Up
7. The White Stripes--Stop Breaking Down
8. David Bowie--What in the World
9. L'Attirail--Machovo Vitava - Part 1
10. Isobel Campbell--Hori Horo


Thursday, April 1, 2010

I is confuzzled, Fox

Here's a little something on the recent kerfuffle of LL Cool J not wanting an interview of his on Sarah Palin's new talk show, and the network calling him a "fledglng actor" when he's been acting about 20 years now. I'm sure, as Weimman says here, that Fox knows the value of branding. Do they not know the value of putting out a quality product, though? Both Cool J and Toby Keith found interviews from other venues being included in this show without even knowing about it. Call me crazy, but I'd say a mark of quality in a talk show is actually having the host talk to people. Governor Youbetcha cuing up Youtube clips doesn't really cut it.