Sunday, October 31, 2010

Questionable taste

I have a friend who fasted all day so that he could gorge on Halloween candy at night. No breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Just, like, Whatchamacallit bars and Reese's Cups. He wasn't going on my advice.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Frightday Friday Random Ten

Slo-oooo-ow day at work. It's nice to have a light workload now and then, but it can get a little much. Or rather much little. Would have been awfully boring except that it was Halloween. That meant there was a witch, as well as two matching ninjas. And candy, which meant an excuse to get up and go get candy. You take the action you can get.

1. Sly & the Family Stone--Underdog
2. Perez Prado--Zelda's Theme
3. Tom Waits--You Can Never Hold Back Spring
4. Nellie McKay--Black Hills of Dakota
5. Soul Coughing--Mr Bitterness
6. Talk Talk--I Believe In You
7. Beck--Broken Train
8. Talking Heads--No Compassion
9. Finn Riggins--Antoinette Pt 2
10. The New Pornographers--Valkyrie in the Roller Disco

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Match game

:You tend to start out with a low number of possible matches. This puts you on edge.

:Treacherous. You can go from having several options to being out of luck in just a couple of turns.

:Intermediate. Variable.

:Appropriately well-guarded. Easy to exhaust your choices.

:The beginner's level, for the most part.

:See "Cat."

If you hadn't guessed, the mahjongg games they bundle with the computer are addictive. I'm weaning myself off to get some productivity back.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

No money in it

Okay, so this is basically a cheesy repost post, but on those terms it's good. This Gin and Tacos piece on the current fetish for budget-balancing gets at some excellent points.

What changes? What gets better? No one has been willing or able to explain what the benefits of "lower spending" will be, either in the real-world or abstract economics textbook sense. The Ron Johnsons of the world can't explain how their magical remedy will reduce unemployment. I mean, are there businesses in the U.S. right now that aren't able to hire because the Federal government spends too much money, especially bearing in mind that a vast portion of the private sector depends on government contracts? How will the balanced budget make up for, let alone stimulate, the drop in consumer demand that will result from kicking millions of people off of their current benefits (which would presumably be necessary) such as unemployment compensation, Social Security, and so on?

Stumping politicians like to point out that families have to draw up their budgets on the basis of money they have. True... ish. It doesn't take into account the role of credit that's become crucial in the age of stagnant or shrinking wages. And it really doesn't explain why it's better for family budgets to get even tighter. A big reason why the recovery has been so desperately slow to get here is the lack of money in the hands of those most likely to spend it.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Wired Saturday Random Ten

I've figured something out recently. If you have a laptop, computer tech-y people will tell you to keep a lot of twist ties around. But no matter how sturdy they seem, metal fatigue will always do in a twist tie in about a month, give or take. Elasticized hair bands--the kind you put in your hair if that's your thing, not Cinderella or Poison--are better for the job. They're made to be wound and bent a lot. Plain ol' rubber bands? Probably less of a good idea.

1. Blossom Dearie--Put on a Happy Face
2. The Magnetic Fields--The Night You Can't Remember
3. Soul Coughing--True Dreams of Wichita
4. Ladytron--Soft Power
5. Barenaked Ladies--I'll Be That Girl
6. Arcade Fire--We Used to Wait
7. XTC--No Language In Our Lungs
8. The Kinks--Session Man
9. Count Basie & Sarah Vaughan--The Gentleman Is a Dope
10. Battles--Tij

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Building Wide Web

The story behind the pictures above (which in and of themselves are worth 2000 words) can be found here. There's something extraordinarily ambitious about this installation, scotch tape being stretched and doubled until it becomes a new space. On the other hand it seems natural as well. Like it took humans long enough to get into the business of spinning cobwebs.

Wonder what kind of upkeep it takes, though.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Because you demanded it: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

I had heard about this show before, but until I saw the footage I wasn't convinced it actually existed. An emo-punk musical about that crusty old bastard, our seventh president.

Kinda funny that so much of the rhetoric is sung by girls. Was there anyplace that women could vote back then? Obviously there were electric guitars in the Jacksonian era, because there have always been electric guitars. But female suffrage?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Deuce Bigalow: Angry Gigolo

From a semi-random websearch, Rob Schneider unloads during an interview.

I don't think Dennis Miller is as smart as people think. He's a fascist. He seems to be manipulated by money. All conservatism is grasping what was radical 90 years ago. There are no ideas.

He unloads on Democrats too, and to be honest he's not exactly a penetrating analyst. But even barroom punditry is more than most would expect from the man behind and in front of The Hot Chick. Mainly it just interests me that there's political friction between greying SNL comics. Let the Victoria Jackson-Julia Sweeney Cold War begin.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Basic Friday Random Ten.

Nothing fancy. I have to get some real shut-eye.

1. Brian Eno--Another Green World
2. Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings--I'll Still Be True
3. Marvin Gaye--What's Going On
4. Barenaked Ladies--Light Up My Room
5. Sly & the Family Stone--That Kind of Person
6. New Pornographers--Your Hands (Together)
7. The Velvet Underground--That's the Story of My Life
8. Count Basie & Sarah Vaughan--You Go to My Head
9. Arcade Fire--Month of May
10. Nina Simone--Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sticking with "New Post" as a header

This essay would be worthwhile if only for the quote, "The future is a mutated bacteria that you never saw coming." But Ms Newitz's take on the non-imminence of The Singularity is good all around. The point can be elaborated. We now live in a world where some people have mechanical arms and cochlear implants in their ears. At one time they would have been seen as gods or monsters, or at least aliens. But now we see them as simply people who have parts they weren't born with. The mundaneness of self-image usually carries the day.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Not too much to say about this. It just gave me a giggle. I've thought about joining support groups for things I don't have just as a way of socializing, but I'm not sure I'm equipped for a double life.

CON ARTIST SUPPORT GROUP from Serious Lunch on Vimeo.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Random Ten, under or over the weather

I think I'm starting to get over this cold. Which I'm fairly certain I have now. For a couple of days I thought it might be allergies still. Sort of like playing whack-a-mole with OTC medications.

1. John Buzon Trio--It Must Be True
2. Stan Kenton--Blues in Riff
3. Velvet Underground--Pale Blue Eyes
4. Roy Orbison--He's Too Late
5. The Barenaked Ladies--Told You So
6. Tom Waits--You Can Never Hold Back Spring
7. Jackson Browne--Late For the Sky
8. Macy Gray feat. Slick Rick--Hey Young World, Part 2
9. Taj Mahal--Statesboro Blues
10. Count BAsie & Sarah Vaughan--You Turned the Tables On Me

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Mass. update

All of this is somewhat baffling. Tim Cahill never really had a chance in the Massachusetts governor's election, but suing his own advisors while the election is still on makes him totally marginal. Better to wait until next year, when there won't be as much attention on him. On the other hand, why are the Republicans paying him any attention when the state house in Boston is still very much in play? Not exactly keeping your eyes on the prize.

Then again, elections frequently play out as slow motion train wrecks. I guess they didn't want to let Democrats have all the fun.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Waiting for Joey

I don't see myself going out to see Waiting for "Superman". When it comes to films about education, Allan Arkush's and the Ramones' Rock 'n' Roll High School set a very high standard. Can Davis Guggenheim fill those sneakers? I doubt it.

This rave from Forbes is smooth and articulate. It has the structure and contours of a reasoned response. Trust it not. Close your eyes for a second and you can see the guy in front of you swearing that he's never met the three card monte dealer before, and going "golly gee" as he "wins" twenty bucks.

I find myself more in the same boat as IOZ.

I would probably strangle the first "likely voter" I saw upon leaving the theater, and somehow I don't think that my cellmate would believe me when I told him that I'm a top. The anguish that our technocrats direct at the perceived failures of our system of education delights me to no end. Oh, no, we are failing to turn our children into readily employable automotons whose mecahnistic mental processes mitigate against any improvement in their own station, amelioration of their own working conditions, or consideration of the nature of control and ownership--indeed, cause them to work actively against their own best interests by inculcating a Stockholm-syndrome-like identification with the values and imperatives of a corporate ownership class that they themselves will never join!

And through him, Eye of the Storm.

if you are sitting here with tom friedman actually worrying that our kids have lower standardized test scores than the finns or something, i say you have floated outside the realm of actual human beings or real children or anything relevant to learning. really is this an education program, or is it a project for world conquest? these people give you the impression of each nation's children as a kind of army, in a war with all the other nations' children to dominate the future. try to become aware of how fantastical and optional that is as a way of representing reality. but try to be aware too of what a picture like that entails about how we actually treat children.

My own two cents, the expression of which is compromised by computer keyboards lacking a cent sign? You hear about merit pay. You hear about battling the evil teacher's unions to get rid of bad teachers. A smokescreen, all of it. They're not talking about elevating good teachers over bad ones, not really. All educators are to be reduced to indentured servants. The future is all about central planners. Pay attention to flesh and blood kids to see what they need on a case-by-case basis, and you are not With The Program.

And doesn't the question of "Why are so many immigrants doctors and engineers?" sound a lot like "Why can't we put those people back in their place?"

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sesame Friday Random Ten

Feel like checking in with everyone's favorite roommates?

Well, I guess they're pretty comfortable with each other at this point. Moving right along...

1. Ladytron--Whitelightgenerator
2. Soul Coughing--Moon Sammy
3. Macy Gray--Relating to a Psychopath
4. The New Pornographers--Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk
5. The Kinks--I'll Remember
6. Marvin Gaye--Flyin' High (In the Friendly Sky)
7. Yuka Honda--Why Do We Distrust the Machines We Made?
8. Nellie McKay--Crazy Rhythm
9. The Magnetic Fields--Acoustic Guitar
10. Nina Simone--Trouble in Mind