Friday, July 30, 2010

Suspenseful Friday Random Ten

Saw another good Alfred Hitchcock Presents tonight. A guy reunites with and marries his long lost love, played by Jessica Tandy. She has a baby whose guardian she claims to have become after her sister and brother-in-law were killed. Well, needless to say, she's crazy and the baby isn't what she claims. She gets the shrieking lunatic--who yikes! doesn't like to be touched--part across, but also has a great deal of charm in the role.


1. M83--Space Fertilizer
2. Johnny Cash--The Long Black Veil
3. Edgardo Cintron--Triste
4. The White Stripes--Slicker Drips
5. Macy Gray--Forgiveness
6. Talk Talk--Today
7. Pink Martini--Over the Valley
8. Nina Simone--My Baby Just Cares For Me
9. Dinah Washington--What a Difference a Day Made
10. L'Attirail--Viskos Circus

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!

Here's a random musical delight. It's Bis, a Scottish band of the nineties, in touch with their inner children. Hell, letting their inner children run the show. Like, there's a four-year-old playing the Moog.

Kid-riffic, even by Japanese standards.

Burst o' energy

Today I felt good, better than I can remember in the recent past. Not that nothing is bothering me, but nothing is weighing on me. It may be because I just came to a realization. I'm right a lot of the time. Yes, people get angry at me and on good occasion shout me down without listening. What does that say about them? Dunno, guess it varies. But it doesn't say anything about me. So I can transcend some of the nastiness just by recognizing it for what it is. Yes, this is a recent realization, for some reason.

Also, my acid reflux is under control. That means I got a better sleep last night. It helps.

I am, at present, pretty good at doing crossword puzzles. When people see this, they say I must be smart. Which I am, but not a genius. There is a way, though, to bring slightly above-average intelligence to bear on crosswords and conquer most of them.

1. Find an answer that you know. Not think you know, but actually know.
2. After you solve it, pick a clue that crosses it. Assuming your first answer was right, you've got one letter in at least three others. (Crosswords never use less than three letters for a correct response).
3. Keep going.
4. If you get stuck, move to another part of the grid.

Like I say, this gives you a push, even if you don't always complete the puzzle. Even better, it means you get a true challenge, rather than just heartbreak and bafflement.

Lucky 13

For those of us who like the numb tingle of floorboards against our jaw, this, and thanks to blogger bjkeefe.

In Iowa, the state Republican Party is calling for the “reintroduction and ratification of the original 13th Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution — a provision that the state party’s spokesman admits is focused solely on Barack Obama.
The current 13th amendment bans slavery, and Iowa Republicans are not in favor of its repeal. They are, however, interested in reintroducing an amendment originally put before the states for ratification back in 1810. It outlawed any person who accepts a “title of nobility” from a foreign country from ever holding political office. The amendment was ratified by 12 states but never got the 13th state that it needed, and thus, never became law.

Rough translation: "We're not bigots or anything. We just want to take a phantom law that's never been used against anyone, and nail the first black president with it."

You guys are beautiful. Don't ever change.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A new dimension in whatever

There's another update here from San Diego Comic-Con. The news here is that people involved in the movie industry are expressing skepticism about the future of 3D movies. I tend to agree with them, and I don't think this is nostalgia or fear of change on my part.

Here's the thing. Synchronized sound was invented in the late twenties. It was adopted almost immediately in all American films. The talkies took over not in FDR's time, but in Hoover's. Filming in color became possible at around the same time. It took a little longer to hit its sttride, because of the Depression and World War II. It took off after the war, becoming the norm in about another five years.

So the two biggest changes implemented in film to date were phased in--respectively--over periods of about two years and something like fifteen.

By contrast 3-D has been an option for about sixty years without catching on. Now, things have changed and the technology is more sophisticated now. Duh. Telephones are now glowing all-purpose robot pals that you carry on your person at all times. But the problem with three dimensional film has never been technical. It's psychological. For the technology to seem worth the effort to the audience, there have to be effects and scenes that make unique use of the third dimension. And these are almost always so cheesy as to become more of a laughingstock than a draw. Which is one reason most of the big 3-D movies of the recent past and near future are 2-d movies converted without the approvial of their directors, Tim Burton and Michel Gondry included in this number.

This is just musing, and I could be wrong. If every movie within five years becomes a giant moving snowglobe, what will I do? As Kevin Costner said in The Untouchables, have a drink.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hey! Fever! Friday Random Ten

Wow. Allergy season hasn't ended yet. Which, if you're within 80 miles of me, you already know. Ah well, keeps the neighbors on thier toes.

1. Bjork--Declare Independence
2. Sly & the Family Stone--Advice
3. The Velvet Underground--That's the Story of My Life
4. Johnny Cash--Wildwood Flower
5. Gnarls Barkley--Blind Mary
6. Harry Nilsson--The Moonbeam Song
7. Sarah Vaughan--Dreamsville
8. Edgardo Cintron--Alice in Wonderland
9. Macy Gray--Shed
10. TV On the Radio--Let the Devil In

Thursday, July 22, 2010

4 color revolution

The Westboro Baptist Church? Fred Phelps? Yeah, you've heard of them. They've found reason to protest the funerals of Iraq War soldiers for aligning themselves with the homosexual agenda, and that's with Don't Ask Don't Tell still in effect.

So it's not much of a surprise that this same group went to San Diego to protest the Comic Con over something... the continued existence of Joss Whedon maybe? The surprise--and a pleasant one it is--is that this group of conventioneers was so well prepared for them. Who's cooler? The Bender with the "Kill all humans sign"? Or the Velma Binkley* with the sign raving about the Cylons. I may put up a poll later, but I might never make up my mind.

*It's a cute chubby girl with glasses. Given the context, Velma seems the most likely identity.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


We've had a few rainshowers tonight. I heard the last one while lying on my bed . It's a very soothing sound, especially in the dog days of summer.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Chop-chop Friday Random Ten (with video)

I was working alone today. Not alone in the building, but in own corner. A woman asked near the end of the day if I was lonely. Please. Too busy to think about loneliness, plus I was mentally half out the door. Luckily this was not one of the days--and I've had such this week--where I spend the whole day wanting to sleep. Just a couple of spells, this time out.

1. Sonic Youth--I Love You Golden Blue
2. Macy Gray--Harry
3. Marvin Gaye--What's Happening Brother
4. Roy Orbison--I Never Knew
5. Georgie Auld--You're My Thrill
6. Chris Isaak--Beautiful Houses
7. Sarah Vaughan--Days of Wine and Roses
8. Roxy Music--Would You Believe?
9. Luciana Souza--Muita Bobeira
10. The Magnetic Fields--I'm Sorry I Love You

Thursday, July 15, 2010

No evil shall--What the Hell is that?

Ryan Reynolds' Green Lantern costume looks awfully... Veiny? Striated? Maybe they thought the character was called Green Onion? Let me just say that if they brought me this at Chili's, I'd send it back.

Forget it Jake, it's Stupidtown

Media Matters highlights a particularly head-hurting response to the recent non-resolution of the Roman Polanski underage sodomy case, this from WaPo's Richard Cohen

The Swiss got it right. Their refusal to extradite film director Roman Polanski to the United States on a 33-year-old sex charge is the proper dénouement for this mess of a case. There is no doubt that Polanski did what he did, which is have sex with a 13-year-old after plying her with booze. There is no doubt also that after all these years there is something stale about the case, not to mention a “victim,” Samantha Geimer, who has long ago forgiven her assailant and dearly wishes the whole thing would go away. So do I.

Cohen seems to be implying that the expectation of justice should be inversely proportional to the victim's ability to forgive. You don't have to be the Bad Lieutenant to think this is bullshit. A victim of rape or of racial assault wants to move on with their lives? Let the culprits go. An old man can't get over the kids playing in the neighborhood who broke his window? By Cohen's "logic" he gets to turn bad stickball into a capital offense.

Nor does it improve with the comparison of Polanski and Ezra Pound. Pound was "both a traitor and an anti-Semite"? Sure, but his treason consisted of making sporadically lively, mostly boring radio speeches for Mussolini. If he had been proven responsible for actual Allied troops dying, the Ezra Pound story would have had a very different ending. As for child rape, you did or you didn't. It's been pretty well proven that Polanski did.

It's also true that Polanski is a valuable artist. As it happens, he gave into the very devils that gave his work its most disturbing edge. For at least a few hours, he became Noah Cross. It would be nice if he would submit to at least symbolic punishment for it, as it seems unlikely he'd ever get the same sentence as a garbageman who drugged a thirteen-year-old for sex. But that won't happen.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Disappearing socks

What's up with that?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Random Ten: Damn but it's hot!

Brutally. I'm officially a puddle now. We're expecting some relief during the weekend, knock on whatever.

1. Sonic Youth--Dripping Dream
2. TV on the Radio--I Was a Lover
3. Elvis Costello & the Attractions--Party Girl
4. Marvin Gaye--God Is Love
5. Harry Nilsson--You Can't Do That
6. Edgardo Cintron--Blue Bossa
7. Zapolski Quartet--Nielsen's "Allegro Non Troppo"
8. The Magnetic Fields--Underwear
9. Bob Dylan--Most Likely You'll Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)
10. Dinah Washington--New Blowtop Blues

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Summering in Belloma

A book I'm reading now is Dhalgren by Samuel Delany, which I got from the library. It's about a city that's cut off from the rest of the world. It deliberately goes into some disorienting passages, and back in the early seventies the science fiction world wasn't ready for the kind of sex it was presenting either. Actually, sci-fi elements are kind of spare. That said, the scorpions, which disguise people as huge mecha monsters, are a pretty badass idea. Even though Philip K. Dick reportedly threw his copy at the wall when he tried to read it, I think I may make it through.
Update: Minor (or not) correction. According to the Wikipedia article, Harlan Ellison is the one who claimed to have thrown it against the wall, although Dick didn't like it either.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

... perhaps not the most enlightened...

Another George Pal cartoon, this one with a sort of self-referential frame.

It's a little hard to overlook the troubling aspects of the cannibal stuff at the end. At the same time, it's hard not to appreciate the craftsmanship on display. If you're going to enjoy it, you kind of have to create your own context.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Some grumbling and the Friday Random Ten

My rent check went off to the wrong address. That is, wrong street number, wrong street name (and a Street as ooposed to an Avenue), wrong ZIP code, and an addressee whose name doesn't even slightly resemble my landlord's. I wonder if the Post Office thought it would be funny to get evicted.

There are a few things in my life that I was worried sick and angsty about. Then I realized I wasn't really at fault. That makes it a little better.

1. Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings--She Ain't a Child No More
2. Talk Talk--I Believe In You
3. Stan Kenton--Dynaflow
4. Sly & the Family Stone--Trip to Your Heart
5. Pink Martini--Ninna Nanna
6. Lynn Anderson--Cry
7. Harry Nilsson--Early in the Morning
8. Mika--Dr. John
9. Modern Jazz Quartet--One Bass Hit
10. The Magnetic Fields--Yeah! Oh, Yeah!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Oh honey, hush!

It's 2010, which means that we're getting into the time when people planning a presidential run for 2012 are souping up their jaws. One such is Mike Huckabee, who's diving in with signature witticisms like this.
"The only thing worse than a torrid affair with sweet, sweet Nancy would be a torrid affair with Helen Thomas. If those were my only options, I'd probably be FOR same-sex marriage!"

Careful what you commit to, there. If you want to get with a pretty guy, it's gonna cost you.

Huckabee ran aground in the last election because conservative true believers saw him as a big spender, even a liberal in righties' clothing. So now he's trying to put that all behind him by cozying up to the hard social right and embracing a fairly Kahanist foreign policy.

Huckabee was a Baptist minister before he went into politics, but, like Boone and most of the other people in their group, he is crazy about Israel and extremely enthusiastic about Jews. “I worship a Jew!” Huckabee said. “I have a lot of Jewish friends, and they’re kind of, like, ‘You evangelicals love Israel more than we do.’ I’m, like, ‘Do you not get it? If there weren’t a Jewish faith, there wouldn’t be a Christian faith!’ ” In recent weeks, Huckabee has defended the Israeli attack on a Turkish flotilla headed for Gaza, in which nine people were killed. He does not support a two-state solution, or, at least, as he told numerous reporters in the course of the trip, “not on the same piece of real estate”—which is to say he thinks that coming up with a place for the Palestinians ought to be an Arab problem. In fact, Huckabee does not believe that Palestinian is a legitimate nationality. “I have to be careful saying this, because people get really upset—there’s really no such thing as a Palestinian,” Huckabee told a rabbi in Wellesley, Massachusetts, at a kosher breakfast on the campaign trail in 2008. “That’s been a political tool to try to force land away from Israel.” In a speech to the Knesset on our trip, Huckabee said, “I promise you, you do not have a better friend on earth than Christians around the world, who know where we have come from and know who we must remain allies and friends with.” The members of his tour group who were seated in the audience applauded vigorously; several rose to their feet and shouted, “Amen!”

Given the shrinkage of the Republican big tent, this is what you can expect from primary hopefuls. How much value does it add to Huckabee as a candidate, though? Christian Zionists aren't really shopping for a political party. At this point they're pretty well married to the GOP. The right flank of Jewish Zionists may favor Democrats in some Congressional elections--there's certainly no shortage of Likud-leaning Democrats to choose from--but heavily favor Republicans in national elections.

But if the Republican nominee is someone who's fully aboard the "there are no Palestinians" train, that just reminds Muslim voters and those who don't hate them that as lame as he can be, Barack Obama is really the only choice if you want even-handedness in Mideast politics. And Muslims in the US used to be part of the Republican coalition, as one might expect from a group largely made up of entrepeneurs.

At the end of the day, though, no one gives them much thought. Not in the political mainstream. I guess we'll see how that works out.