Thursday, September 30, 2010

Casino inferno, burn baby burn!

This is one of those stories that just sort of speaks for itself.

The curved glass facade of the Vdara Hotel in Las Vegas promises a world of climate-controlled luxury. Except if you are poolside, where sunlight reflected and intensified by the building's shape has been melting plastic and burning people's hair.

More at the link, obviously. For now the robber barons and vapid heiresses will have to double up at some other pool.

I'm assuming one or both of these architects were consulted.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Exile is not an option

Fraternity of one pranks self? Thus far.

Here's the rather bizarre story. Conservative gadfly filmmaker is approached for an interview by a CNN up-and-comer. The guy, James O'Keefe, thinks she's out to get him. He responds to her mostly-imaginary persecution of him by using his entirely nonexistent sexual charm to lure her out to a bad porno setup on a boat. An associate of his gets an epiphany that this whole endeavor is beyond scummy and warns off the reporter. The sad, failed attempt becomes public knowledge.

You may have heard of this elsewhere. My only reason to bring it up is that it should mean that the political and media establishments are done with O'Keefe. But it almost certainly does not mean that. His greatest accomplishment was a hard-hitting exposé of ACORN that helped drive the nonprofit out of business. It also turned out to be a bullshit on whitebread sandwich, a fact that became known when it was too late to make a difference. So it's not like he should have had any credibility before his smoove boat-ridin' moves.

Then there's the fact that Carl Paladino is running as the Republican nominee for New York governor, rather than getting his face bashed in by a Buffalo strip club bouncer. One is forced to conclude that there's no longer any such thing as right wing damaged goods.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Thankfully, not like pulling teeth

Fascinating dental update: I had a checkup and cleaning this afternoon. Apparently I've gotten somewhat better at keeping my teeth clean, since the hygienist said they look good. There wasn't all that much pain while she was scraping around with that metal hook thing. A little on a couple of the lower teeth. She gave me a tube of Sensodyne Pronamel for it, which sounds like an aerospace firm.

Also we're talking about getting a removeable denture plate. I have had a couple of fallen soldiers, so it seems right to put up a memorial for them. I wonder if you can still use denture plates to scare kids.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Good thinking

I'm getting drowsy so I'll make this short. It's good to take pride in your accomplishments. It's less than good to feed your ego by putting others down.

Our species has the habit of doing the latter. Even the Neanderthals--and I've mentioned this before--have until recently been thought of as half-bright pack animals incapable of language, innovation, and most forms of abstract thought.

The Stone Age did see Neanderthal society advance to a relatively high level, especially in the Châtelperronian era, but scientists have generally put that down to the influence of moder homo sapiens.

But new evidence calls that into question, as seen here.

About 42,000 years ago, the Aurignacian culture, attributed to modern Homo sapiens, appeared in northern Italy while central Italy continued to be occupied by Neanderthals of the Mousterian culture which had been around for at least 100,000 years. At this time a new culture arose in the south, one also thought to be created by Neanderthals. They were the Uluzzian and they were very different.

Riel-Salvatore identified projectile points, ochre, bone tools, ornaments and possible evidence of fishing and small game hunting at Uluzzian archeological sites throughout southern Italy. Such innovations are not traditionally associated with Neanderthals, strongly suggesting that they evolved independently, possibly due to dramatic changes in climate. More importantly, they emerged in an area geographically separated from modern humans.

Cavemen are doing it for themselves. Cool.

Friday Random Ten for closing time

On Fridays the building where I work shuts down at five. One of the front desk ladies has started to come up and browbeat me into leaving when it gets to be about five of. Is it weird that I've become that guy?

1. Blossom Dearie--Don't Wait Too Long
2. Nellie McKay--Send Me No Flowers
3. Arcade Fire--Rococo
4. Sonic Youth--Unmade Bed
5. Ladytron--AMTV
6. Tom Waits--The Fall of Troy
7. Yuka Honda--Sun Beam—nothing hurts—On A Cold Winter Morning I Walked Back Home: On A Street Paved With Pieces Of Broken Hearts
8. Joni Mitchell--The Jungle Line
9. Soul Coughing--Down to This
10. The Magnetic Fields--Love Is Like a Bottle of Gin

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Label on a can

Am I glad not to be in college anymore. This is just wrong. When I was a younger man there was something pure about checking out a girl's ass. We wouldn't have stood for this kind of crass commercialism. Well, I wouldn't have. The frat guys would have bought more KFC.

There's also the aspect of women renting out their bodies and dignity to help move product, although there it could be worse.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


A friend of mine got his car stolen tonight. Which apparently means that driving a shitbox is no defense. There were three of us hanging out at a coffeeshop. What's weird is that one of the baristas had her car stolen from the same lot at about the same time. The cop my friend was talking to was all, "Maybe it just got towed." He must have been winning at poker and didn't want to leave.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Feted (not fetid) Friday Random Ten

At work an outdoor party, held in the parking lot. I guess sort of an end of summer thing. Luckily it wasn't rained out, although there still were some sprinkles. And water balloon relay races, which can sort of fill the rain niche.

1. Roy Orbison--The Clown
2. Stan Kenton--Cuban Carnival
3. Brian Eno--Saint Elmo's Fire
4. The Magnetic Fields--Zebra
5. TV on the Radio--Hours
6. Edgardo Cintron--Brazilian Sunset
7. Ladytron--All the Way
8. Nellie McKay--If I Ever Had a Dream
9. Nina Simone--See-Line Woman
10. Arcade Fire--Ready to Start

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The furnished frontier

This is a wild French short, featuring some breathtaking stop-motion work. What can I say? If I find a cowboy riding through my drawers*, he has my blessing.

Cowboy Blues from Cancres Debouts on Vimeo.

*Not those drawers, pervert.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Plus ça change

Early in the 18th century, Jonathan Swift said, "We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another."

That's just eerie.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The enigma

This singer is one I've only learned of in the last year or so. The vast majority of people haven't heard of her at all, and no wonder. Her career was never really fulfilled, and recordings didn't surface until long after her disappearance (and presumed death, sad to say.) The music I've heard by her is really beautiful, though. She could well be adopted by fans of Rickie Lee Jones.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Fresh-forged Friday Random Ten

You know what would be fun? Convincing people that the word "chillaxin'" can be traced back to an obscure Shakespeare play. It would take some prep. Be properly wonky and inconsistent in spelleing. Make mead stains at random spots on the script...

1. TV on the Radio--I Was a Lover
2. The Zapolski Quartet--Allegretto Scherzando
3. XTC--Don't Lose Your Temper
4. Lou Rawls--The Shadow of Your Smile
5. Arcade Fire--Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
6. Talk Talk--Life's What You Make It
7. Nellie McKay--Dig It
8. L'Attirail--Bielamor Canal
9. The New Pornographers--My Shepherd
10. Tom Waits--Little Drop of Poison

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A new plea

There's an acronym I just made up that I think the online community could use: IPRL. Short for "I plead real life." The idea is that if you haven't done a created a wiki article like you meant to, or if you haven't updated your blog for a while (not that that's ever happened here) you can plead real life. Say "I have a job/family/rooftop pigeon coop/what have you. Sorry."

The letter combination has been used, but not for this. Although "isolated perfused rat liver" does sound like it could make a good appetizer.

Anyway, I figure if there's one thing the Internet needs, it's another acronym. lol

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sticky sweet

A tragic story. The lesson, of course, is that if someone takes your money and tries to make you live in a candy house, you need to sue their ass off. It could save many lives.

From Maneggs, a site with a Paul Harvey-esque ability to show "the rest of the story."

Monday, September 6, 2010

Something for the birds

Haven't done poetry corner here for a while. This is something by light verse poet Phyllis McGinley. The note is hers.

Text for Today
A cheerful poem written upon reading in the New York Times that Dr. Robert Cusheman Murphy, of the Museum of Natural History, has discovered on Bermuda several specimens of the cahow, a bird believed to be extinct since 1620

Amid the dark that rims us now,
Beset by news we cannot cherish,
Let us consider the cahow--
That petrel which refused to perish,
In spite of gossip it had gone
The way of auk and mastodon.

Three hundred years ago or more,
It built its nest, it spent its slumbers,
At ease upon Bermuda's shore
In innocent, prolific numbers
A creature of the coral reef
Credulous, gentle, and naïf.

But then the hungry settlers came
To find those pastures stern for plowing.
The bird was edible and tame,
So everybody went cahowing,
Till by and by, beside the water,
There were no more cahows to slaughter.

"Alas!" cried all the scientists, 
"Alas, career so brief and checkered!"
They crossed "cahow" from off the lists
And wrote "extinct" upon the record.
And man could boast another feat
Of rendering nature obsolete.

But all the while, with stealth and skill
(Necessity become its motto),
The shrewd cahow was nesting still
On lonely rock, in cave and grotto;
Invincibly, and by some plan,
Three hundred years outwitting man.

O brave cahow, so stubborn-linked
To your own island, palmed and surly!
I'm happy you are not extinct,
But got espied by Dr. Murphy.
You lend me hope, you give me joy,
Whom Total Man could not destroy.

You give me joy, you lend me hope
(At any rate, what hope is bred on);
Fpr surely if a bird can cope
So cunningly with Armageddon,
And, snug in umimagined dens,
Wait out its season for returning,
Why, so can Homo sapiens
Tomorrow when the planet's burning--

Can flee, root, cower, scrabble, strive,
And rear its progeny. And survive.
Amid our ills that seem incurable,
Cahow, you make me feel more durable.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

"Ever notice this?" Friday Random Ten

With more and more books that I check out from the library, they just stamp the due date on a post-it note or something. Not as many have the date slips attached inside the cover. This kind of bums me out. If I'm the first person to have checked a book out since 1986, I like to know that.

1. Taj Mahal--Johnny Too Bad
2. Roy Orbison--Ooby Dooby
3. Sonic Youth--New Hampshire
4. Jackson Browne--For a Dancer
5. Brian Eno--The Big Ship
6. The Magnetic Fields--Love is Like a Bottle of Gin
7. Isobel Campbell--James
8. Tom Waiths--Shiny Things
9. The New Pornographers--We End Up Together
10. The Kinks--Rosie Won't You Please Come Home

Friday, September 3, 2010

Vote early, vote often

Actually you have to register and sign in to vote. So unless you plan to construct a sockpuppet identity--not recommended--you can't do often. I refer, of course, to the AV Club's Undercover competition. There have been some nice, off the cuff cover songs included, worth checking out whether or not you plan to vote.

Here's one that I had to put near the top. It's Baltimore's Wye Oak, paying tribute to the songwriting genius of Dave Davies. Yes, Dave. (And since Anheuser-Busch isn't giving me anything, I'm well within my rights to tell you you can hit pause before the beer commercial.)

Wye Oak covers The Kinks
May do Saturday Random Ten. Will help if Earl's sloppy seconds have really ended the heat wave.