Sunday, June 30, 2013


I'm dazed.  Not confused, though.  So Robert Plant has one up on me.

Next blog post will be in July.  Crazy, man.

Friday, June 28, 2013

End-of-fiscal-year Friday Random Ten

I happen to have a job where you get to know things like that.  Actually it ends Sunday, but not as many places are open, then.  At my work there's an odd mix of frantic activity in some areas (because of the fiscal calendar) and almost nothing in others (becuase of widesptread vacations).

1. The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band - Humanoid Boogie
2. Grizzly Bear - I Live With You
3. Depeche Mode - Nothing
4. Edith Piaf - Qu'as-Tu Fait John
5. Martin Denny - Hypnotique
6. Nat King Cole - Don't Get Around Much Anymore
7. Rasputina - Sweetwater Kill
8. The New Pornographers - The Spirit of Giving
9. David Bowie - How Does the Grass Grow?
10. Patsy Cline - Strange

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Division

A few weeks back a couple of friends and I were talking and the subject of comic strips came up.  They both had really fond memories of Bloom County.  Which, nothing against it, but usually seemed to me to be trying too hard.  I didn't say that, but I told them I was a big fan of Calvin and Hobbes.  Man, you could hear crickets chirping.

It could be just that by the time C&H was being published they figured they were too old for kiddie strips, while I wasn't as long as they were really well done.  But I prefer to think the world is divided into Team Penguin and Team Tiger.  That way I know where I stand.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Just saying hi

Before too much time passes, I juste wanted to say "What's up?"

Apparently so did Cthulhu. Nice to hear from him.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Vengeful Saturday Random Ten

Last night I watched Sympathy for Lady Vengeance.  First DVD seen in new apartment, woo-hoo!  It wasn't quite up to the standards of Oldboy, but that's not because it doesn't reach the same heights.  It's just the matter of the last twenty minutes or so dragging.  Still pretty thrilling and worth seeing.

1. The Bonzo Doo-Dah Dog Band - Postcard
2. Martin Denny - Oro (God of Vengeance)
3. David Bowie - (You Will) Set the World on Fire
4. T. Rex - Sound Pit
5. Nat King Cole - The Very Thought of You
6. Arcade Fire - Keep the Car Running
7. They Might Be Giants - Black Ops
8. Chic - Rebels Are We
9. Art Blakey - Moon River
10. Love - The Daily Planet

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Couples night

Here's an interesting review of the history of marriage. Or you could say "histories", as it's rather non-linear.

The relatively recent trend of state-recognized marriage has nothing to do with the idea of marriage as “natural” union under God and human nature. As Columbia University history professor Steven Mintz puts it: “Whenever people talk about traditional marriage or traditional families, historians throw up their hands. We say, ‘When and where?’” There is no such thing as “traditional marriage.” Different societies in different times have had very different marriage traditions.

But historically, until the Protestant Reformation, most European states didn’t recognize the marriages of anyone without assets—about 85 percent of the population. God may have created Adam and Eve, but the state only cared about ownership of the Garden of Eden.

In a lot of these instances the church - whatever church that might be - took up the slack for the majority of marriages. But the role of religious institutions hasn't been consistent either. So the idea of whether and how our ancestors were wed is complex and in some cases subjective.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Xenia Rubinos covers Talking Heads

An interesting take on the song. Honors the spirit if playing fast and loose with the letter. I can see David Byrne liking this a lot.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Been Grimm: It's clobberin' time!

Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm collected a lot of stories, not just the dozen or so that are best known. This is one of them, and it's fairly harrowing. It doesn't take much - any - elaboration to see "Fitcher's Bird" as a story of rape and domestic violence. What's more, it posits these things as horrible crimes that merit and will ultimately bring forth a severe punishment. Which doesn't sound like much, except... The story has its origiins in a time when women were considered the property of their husbands.

So I wonder. Is this a case of the folk tale acting as a kind of folk conscience? And how many more such cases are there?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

In memoriam

A guy I worked with died this past week.  It was a kick in the head because he was so young, only in his early 30s.  It's shaken everybody, really.

I genuinely liked the man.  Which means I don't have to fake anything.  It also sucks, for obvious reasons.  But there's nothing you can do to change it.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Corvid Friday Random Ten

Haven't seen crows as much in the past few weeks..  It just strikes me because I hear a bird singing now.  Hope the little black-feathered guys are all right.

1. Art Blakey - Minor's Holiday
2. Martin Denny - My Little Grass Shack in Kealakekua, Hawaii
3. Sly & the Family Stone - Never Do Your Woman Wrong
4.  Grizzly Bear - Fine For Now
5. T. Rex - Change
6. Love - The Red Telephone
7. Depeche Mode - I Want You
8. Arcade Fire - Black Wave/Bad Vibrations
9. David Bowie - The Next Day
10. Nat King Cole - Our Love Is Here to Stay

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Weird June

It's raining now, and it seems like it's been raining day and night for the past few days, although there have actually been a few hours when it wasn't. It's also impressively cold for the time of year. Like, I'm wearing a cardigan right now and I'm not running any fans.

It's the first time in years this time of year hasn't felt like Summer.

Other stuff coming tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Shock absorber

The Neko Milgram experiment, in which the majority of subjects proved willing to apply massive, even fatal jolts to confederates as long as they had moral permission, has disturbed and depressed many people over the years. The results, however, may have been misinterpreted.

Gina Perry, for her book, Behind the Shock Machine, traced as many participants in the Milgram experiment as she could, and re-examined the notes of the experiment. Milgram claimed that seventy-five percent of the participants believed in the reality of the experiment, but Perry puts the number at about half. The change makes a big difference in the results. The people who didn't buy that they were actually shocking people were far more willing to increase the intensity of the shocks. They wanted to know how far the experimenters would go in the ruse, while the experimenters were wondering the same thing about them. Those that believed that they were shocking people were much more likely to keep the shocks down low. While Perry still thinks about a third of the people would crank up the shocks even if they believed, that's a big drop in overall percentage.

This actually stands to reason. If I were a subject in the experiment, my thinking would go thus: The researcher is legally responsible for whatever goes on here. Obviously, he'll be in deep shit if someone he's experimenting on dies. He'd be stupid to let me harm or kill that person. Ergo, if he's telling me to ignore that person's cries for mercy, something else must be going on here.

Not sure what I'd do after I reached that conclusion.

Now does that mean that people are good? Not necessarily. In truth "Are people good?" seems to me to be a uselessly vague question. But it's nice to know there aren't quite that many Jack-Lint-in-Brazil types.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Friday Random Ten... wait five minutes

Last weekend (Friday/Saturday) when I was packing up and moving, we had dog days of August weather, hitting the 90s.  Fast forward a week to yesterday and it felt like we were still fighting our way out of winter, which had something to do with the ever-intensifying rainstorm.  Today was nice, about what you'd expect for late spring or mild summer.  Of course even that took some adjustment.  My first instinct because of yesterday was to wear a heavier jacket.

1. TV on the Radio - Dancing Choose
2. Johnny Mathis - When Sunny Gets Blue
3.  Depeche Mode - Little 15
4. Bonzo Doo-Dah Dog Band - Trouser Press
5. Arcade Fire - Ocean of Noise
6. Fol Chen - Cable TV
7. Sly & the Family Stone - Higher
8. Brian Eno - Blank Frank
9. Edith Piaf - Le Chant du Pirate
10. Jessie Hill - Ooh Poo Pah Doo

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Finicky 'n' awake

Okay, so I'm still working on pulling the new place together.  It will take some work.  Some of that has to be at night.  Allergy season is kind of a problem in that respect, since a lot of allergy meds have a noticeable knockout effect.  So a lot of the time it's best to put up with the sniffles, at least until it's actually time for bed.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Not liking these odds

It's not necessarily one of the huge problems facing us today, but bookmakers accepting bets on TV castings seems ethically suspect to me. Two things to keep in mind here, on different levels. Theoretically, any actor still living could be the next Doctor. (Those not living would need some strong motivation.) In reality, however, the final choice will come down to whoever auditions the best and/or says yes when the producer calls. And assuming auditions are going on/have happened, the general public doesn't know who was involved. Plus in fantasy casting almost everyone goes for big stars, whereas Doctor Who has generally gravitated to non-stars. (Tom Baker would have been huge if Nicholas and Alexandra had been the world-conquering epic it was supposed to be. It wasn't.) So all this bookmaking seems to be like betting that the next heavyweight champion will be a big guy you saw on the street who may or may not be a prizefighter, but probably isn't.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

How'd they do that?

I've made the move.  Still have a lot of unpacking/cleaning/maintenance to do.  Since my old pillows were totally worn out, I left them behind and bought a new pair today.  (Note to new readers: These are actual pillows for a bed.  I am not in the adult entertainment industry.)

I just stumbled over some music by this band Hooded Fang this weekend.  I don't know anything about them other than that they're Canadian, which seems to fit. Here they are green-screening themselves out of existence.

Highway Steam from Sturdy Films on Vimeo.