Saturday, April 30, 2011

Goodnight birdbrain

While this contains what may be a dis against neanderthals (or maybe I'm being hypersensitive on their behalf), it's a nice article overall. Our relationship to other lifeforms on this planet has been shall we say troubled. It's nice to see that our cities provide a place where some birds can thrive. And possibly get smarter, although that's still under investigation. The idea of providing a friendlier habit for birds that don't thrive in urban areas is a good one too. Must say, though, that I'm not optimistic about programs like that being budgeted in this country in the near future.

Which birds, by the way, do best?

The researchers determined that the following are brainy birds that do well in cities: the great tit, the blue tit, the carrion crow, the jackdaw, the magpie, the nuthatch, the wren, the long-tailed tit and more. Pigeons are not passerines, so these ubiquitous urban dwellers were not included in the study.

That's what I like about the city. You can see some great tits.

Nocturnalist Saturday Random Ten

Starting to just take random walks around the neighborhood at night. It's a nice area, the weather's not at all forbidding, and things happen out there. If you care to notice.

1. The Clash--Lover's Rock
2. Nina Simone--Love Me or Leave Me
3. Taj Mahal--Chevrolet
4. The Kinks--We Are the Village Green Preservation Society
5. Radiohead--Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
6. R.E.M.--King of Comedy
7. Count Basie with Sarah Vaughand and Joe Williams--If I Were a Bell
8. Miles Davis--Ray's Idea
9. Ladytron--Kletva
10. They Might Be Giants--She's an Angel

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Presented with very little comment

Mark it. This is the week in which Donald Trump went from "dull pop culture annoyance" to "guy who gives evil a bad name."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


This is a welcome contemporary look at Mike Nichols classic film, The Graduate, but... I must disagree that it ushered in the comedy of "cringe-inducing moments and awkward conversations." Oh, Nichols certainly did his part to develop that kind of humor, but he started a year earlier, with the help of Edward Albee.

What's surprising about seeing Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf is both how far it goes into the abyss and how funny it remains while Going There. It could be likened to a pie fight where the pie tins keep knocking teeth out.

Also notable is how callow young Nick, the George Segal character, gradually degenerates into something worse than either George or Martha.

And how sexy Liz Taylor was even when she was supposed to be frumpy and embarassing.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Somehow, the Friday Random Ten

Easter's a funny holiday, in that it doesn't affect the flow of workdays at all. Most people not in retail/restaurant work or emergency services don't work it, but the weekend remains stubbornly at two days. Just an observation.

1. Simon & Garfunkel--Save the Life of My Child*
2. The Dresden Dolls--Truce
3. Lambert, Hendricks & Ross--Charleston Alley
4. The Clash--Wrong 'Em Boyo
5. R.E.M.--Crush With Eyeliner
6. Warren Zevon--Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner
7. Johnny Mathis--Twelfth of Never
8. Feist & Ben Gibbard--Train Song
9. Steely Dan--Kid Charlemagne
10. The Kinks--All of My Friends Were There

*About which, interesting analysis here.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Random TV listing

Not Just Peachfuzz "Pilot", A flamboyant celebrity bartender and a no-nonsense cop share the same mustache. The facial hair undergoes a painful coming of age. Can these two men from different worlds learn to see eye-to-eye? Or will the follicles and their world be torn in two?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

RIP, Sarah Jane

Sad and kind of strange that just a couple of months after the death of Nicholas "the Brigadier" Courtney dies, Lis Sladen should also pass on. Both worked with Jon Pertwee's doctor, and Tom Baker inherited relationships with both of them. So it must be kind of hard for him.

This is a fun bit of footage, at any rate.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Deadline-daring Saturday Random Ten

Did my taxes today. Two days before the later-than-usual deadline. That's plenty of time, right?

Federal taxes I've always found to be pretty easy, I guess because I've always filled out the EZ short form. There is no short form for state taxes, at least in my state, so that's caused some heartache. But e-filing through TurboTax makes both of them fairly easy. Once you've got an hour to spare, anyway.

1. Miles Davis--Dear Old Stockholm
2. Warren Zevon--Accidentally Like a Martyr
3. The Clash--Hateful
4. The Kinks--Do You Remember Walter?
5. Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross--Cloudburst
6. Brian Eno--Ali Click
7. Beck--Strange Apparition
8. The Who--Silas Stingy
9. Kendra Shank--Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair
10. Patsy Cline-- A Poor Man's Roses (Or a Rich Man's Gold)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

How I've bin

Recently the trash bins outside my apartment building haven't been getting emptied. This struck me as a less-than-ideal situation, especially since as a first floor dweller, I'm closest to whatever vermin decide to show up. So I looked into it. The problem was apparently the fact that we weren't putting out recyclables. Because we had no bins, but that's apparently no excuse.

So I went to the Department of Public Works on Allens. It's the sort of quasi-industrial building I used to take for granted and which now seems like a time capsule. But anyway I got new recycling bins, blue and green. I'm taking ownership of them, since I paid for them and that plus the ground floor potential skunk problem gives me an incentive to make sure these aren't lost or "borrowed." Got the address written on them in Sharpie and everything.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tummy in my mummy

"Egyptian Mummies Diagnosed With Clogged Arteries"

Quick! Send Ramses II a dozen bran muffins.

As a piece of anthropological research, this is pretty interesting, on a level of plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. As far as doctors studying the subjects to learn more about heart disease and how to avoid it, I'll probably ignore their findings. I'm a believer in taking medical advice with a grain of salt. It's a quality of life thing.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


This is a neat reminiscence on working with the late Sidney Lumet. Henriksen (best known as Bishop from Aliens, probably) was an FBI agent in Dog Day Afternoon, a character who appears to be just above extra for most of the film, and turns out to have shattering significance in the last moments. I like the idea of him rehearsing the movie in sequence with all of the cast together. It might be a time-intensive way of making a movie, but it helps explain why DDA has so much cumulative power.

Speaking of cumulative power, this is an earlier exhibit of Lumet's craft, from 1957's 12 Angry Men

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Random Ten that makes sense in context

I spent some time this evening trying to buy a cup of coffee for an owl. I kept having to drink it myself, though.

Anyway, here's the Random Ten and an associated live-on-TV video

1. Elvis Costello with Burt Bacharach--The Sweetest Punch
2. The Dresden Dolls--Good Day
3. Brian Eno--Fractal Zoom
4. R.E.M.--I Don't Sleep, I Dream
5. Nina Simone--Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
6. Steely Dan--Don't Take Me Alive
7. Grizzly Bear--Ready, Able
8. The XX--Infinity
9. Ladytron--They Gave You a Heart, They Gave You a Name
10. Kendra Shank--Gone

Party like it's 2000

Not to become a Johnny One-Note, but there's further wackiness brewing in Wisconsin. The legitimacy of a key election is thrown into doubt by an electoral worker clumsily putting her thumb on the scale. Ander her name is Kathy. Oddly familiar? So familiar it's kinda scary?

Fuck. If this leads to a Puddle of Mudd reunion tour, I will not be pleased.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Badger State showdown

Now that I have your attention...

Good news from Wisconsin! Well, qualified good news. It's closer than I would have liked, and could potentially be reversed. But Kloppenburg's victory shows that a real nerve has been touched. And that voters angry at Walker's anti-labor ambush aren't so easily distracted by wacky special-interest hijinx.

Break out the mac and cheese.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Went to Borders tonight to do some writing in the cafe area. This is sometimes productive and sometimes not. Tonight it sort of was.

I'm working on revisions of a story which has been through a couple of rounds of criticism at Critters. The readers there have given some good advice and insight. Ah, but how to apply it?

While I always have ideas a-plenty while I'm away from the work, there are a lot of times when I freeze up while I'm actually writing. This time what I did--and yesterday, too--is to disable the wi-fi on my laptop, kept the manuscript displayed in Word as a reference, and hunched over semi-free writing stuff in longhand. This is turning out to be a good way to work, both in producing material and having fun. Does that mean that longhand is a more natural way to write? That might just be me. Despite working with computers and being used to constant Internet access, I'm not really a techie at heart.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Quoteaholic Saturday Random Ten

I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying that I approved of it.—Mark Twain

That has nothing to do with anything, but I read it today and had to use it in something.

1. The Clash--Brand New Cadillac
2. The Fiery Furnaces--Drive to Dallas
3. Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings--The Reason
4. Brian Eno--What Actually Happened
5. Patsy Cline--I Love You So Much It Hurts
6. XTC--Melt the Guns
7. They Might Be Giants--I Hope That I Get Old Before I Die
8. The Who--Mary Anne With the Shaky Hands
9. Miles Davis--Well You Needn't
10. Grizzly Bear--Two Weeks