Sunday, September 29, 2013

better lie low

This strikes me as a pretty great song to hear just before bedtime, despite weird lyrical content that turns disturbing if you think about it. Actually, partly because of that.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Fee line Friday Random Ten

Dewpite its reputation, I'd never seen Bringing Up Baby before tonight. It very much is worth watching. Howard Hawks was such the man's man that if he was going to direct a romantic comedy, he'd damn well have a real live jungle cat on-set. There's also an impressive level of surface hostility here. Cary Grant's character starts off as easily dominated by everyone, but for some reason Katherine Hepburn makes him snap.

1. Rasputina - A Quitter*

2. Chic - My Feet Keep Dancing

3. Talk Talk - Today

4. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - No Action

5. R.E.M. - Laughing

6. Beck - Scarecrow

7. Brian Eno - Needles In the Camel's Eye

8. Gogol Bordello - Undestructable

9. Neko Case - Magpie to the Morning

10. Jimmy Smith - While We're Young

* Plus hidden track

Thursday, September 26, 2013


I don't want to boycott Barilla. I really don't. They make fine angel hair pasta at a reasonable price. And I'm not really big on boycotting to begin with. If they're CEO had been ambushed with a question and reacted badly, I might let it go. But this reads like going out of your way to be an idiot, and I just can't sympathize.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Little things hitting each other

Here's something I just found out about today.

It's Jim Henson's test pilot for a series based on The Wizard of Id. And of course that's his unmistakable voice as the Wizard himself.Now it must be said that most of the jokes here don't really land. For that it's possible to blame the source. While Id could be fitfully amusing, Johnny Hart's best work before his fundamentalist breakdown was in B.C.. Still, while Henson and his compatriots can't make this hilarious, his innate craft shows. The simple, illustrative set, the business with the moving placards. This was a puppet show as it was meant to be presented. He just had to keep looking for his ideal project.

Monday, September 23, 2013

blonde joke

Q:  Why did the blonde spend two hours staring at a carton of orange juice?
A:  Because it was the control in a mircrobiology experiment.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Personal maintenance Friday Random Ten

So, this morning I didn't have time to shave, or at least not if I was going to make it to work by the time I wanted to.  I chose punctuality over appearance in this case.  Then later when I went to brush my teeth, I saw that somehow I didn't have a toothbrush with me, leaving me with mossy teeth for the duration of the workday.  The combination of things brought me down maybe a little, not catastrophically.  When I got home the first thing I did was brush my teeth.  That and the cinnamon latte I had a little later were very restorative.

1. Neko Case - People Got a Lotta Nerve
2. David Bowie - Heat
3. Beck - Missing
4. Roxy Music - Manifesto
5. Gogol Bordello - I Would Never Wanna Be Young Again*
6. Brian Eno - On Some Faraway Beach
7. The White Stripes - St James Infirmary Blues
8. Arcade Fire - The Well and the Lighthouse
9. Sarah Vaughan - Ain't Misbehavin'
10. Metric - Clone

* Sheer awesome

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Another reason to ♥ NY

Well, there's alternative comedy and then there's this. Most of the people who stop in - okay I could be wrong on this - probably haven't played with dolls in a long time, if they ever did. Nonetheless, you can now perform comedy for them.

"The whole point is just kind of to have everybody experience this silly, silly environment and take a break from the intensity of New York City and the intensity of being an adult with responsibilities," Firestone explained. "There's a lot of painful and uncomfortable things in the world, and this is really the stupidest thing you can do with your day."

I actually do see the therapeutic value of this taking childish things back out of the drawer. And I have to hand it to someone who gets an idea like this, which never would have occurred to me.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Lighten up, kids

Don't know if you remember it, but there's a scene in Gremlins where Phoebe Cates' character talks about why she hates Christmas, a tragic but grimly funny story. It comes as kind of a WTF moment, but I remember appreciating it on that level. That kind of weird left-field move bespeaks a confidence that big budget movies don't usually have. So I find it telling that the author of this little piece hates it so much. I suspect she's fallen under the fashionable view that everything in a story - be it a movie, a novel, or what have you - has to advance the plot. But while plot may be a big part of the story, it's not the whole story. If it were, why watch movies in the first place when you could save time by reading their synopses on Wikipedia?

Sunday, September 15, 2013


This column defends - within the context of the upcoming Boston mayoral race - the association of politicians with union members. Oberal it's a good point, and I'm glad someone is publicly making it. But there's a "but" coming. Abraham stops to castigate the firefighters' and teacher's unions, the kind of unions its fashionable to dislike. In the latter's case, she writes, "Leaders of the Boston Teacher's Union, who are not fans of Walsh and haven'e endorsed anyone yet, do an injustice to dedicated educators by opposing changes that could transform many schools.

There's nothing really more specific here, so it's a little hard to get into. But there's an assumption here that measures opposed by teacher's unions would be a big boon to kids and schools, and that the representatives have only selfish and/or reactionary motives for opposing them. Selfish motives may play a part somewhere - they usually do - but I see on reason to assume the changes would be good. Educational reform needs more debate than it's getting, not less.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Cool-off Saturday Random Ten

Ah yes.  Now we're reaching the part of the year where there is a marked contrast between daytime temperature and nighttime.  A lot of days anyway.  Good idea to dress in layers. [/PSA]

1. Neko Case - The Pharaohs
2. The Bird and the Bee - Lifespan of a Fly
3. Yo La Tengo - I Should Have Known Better
4. Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band - I'm Bored
5. Talk Talk - Happiness Is Easy
6. Lou Rawls - On Broadway
7. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - Night Rally
8. R.E.M. - Catapult
9. Metric - Speed the Collapse
10. Nat King Cole - Non Dementicar

Roundup, of sorts

Thsi week will see a Saturday Random Ten, rather than a true FR10.  The important thing is, it will be just as fresh and delicious as ever.

Watched Wait Until Dark earlier tonight.  It's a clever and creepy little movie, matching Audrey Hepburn who is perfect in that she initially seems too wimpy to even watch this movie, much less star in it; with Alan Arkin, who's not a loveable rebel this time so much as a demon escaped from Hell.  Something tells me that if this story were filmed today it would be done a lot more ham-handedly.  In fact it's basically already happened.  Panic Room, from about ten years ago, is basically the same movie screamed through a megaphone.

Also read Mrs Pargeter's Plot, by Simon Brett, this week.  Mrs Pargeter is the widow of a smooth criminal, and thereby an unusual detective story heroine.  Rather pleasantlyskewed, in this novel.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Composing, decomposing, whatever

I finished a rough draft today, using "finish" and "draft" in the loosest senses of the words.  Actually the main goal was just to corral a few thousand words, like around 7,000, which is what I've got.  It's almost entirely incoherent.  What I'm hoping is that I can pick up a few threads and maybe, just maybe turn them into something interesting.  Wish me luck.

Sunday, September 8, 2013


emmett kelly - Caught sweeping up the light from Walter Patrick Smith, AIA LEED A on Vimeo.

I'm actually finding that sweeping can be relaxing, given a good broom and dustpan and a clear objective. Of course that's sweeping dust. Light may be another story.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday Random Ten: Complete with petty annoyances

Well, I wish I could recommend the services of AbeBooks, but at present I don't think I can.  Early-mid last week I ordered a book from them, hoping to have it read for the book club meeting I have this coming Tuesday.  Not only have I not gotten it, but looking at the confirmation email, it's not due to get here until September 26.  That exceeds the 7-21 days shipping speed they promise in the first place.  In the second place, 21 days might be acceptable for long overseas deliveries, but not otherwise.  The dealer is in Florida, I'm in Rhode Island, and there's no way it takes anything a month to get from there to here.

Anyway, I obviously won't have the book read by Tuesday.  Time to get on with my life, I guess.

1. The White Stripes - Do
2. Love - Bummer in the Summer
3.  Chic - What About Me
4. Rasputina - Thimble Island
5. Edith Piaf - Celine
6. Radiohead - Morning Bell (Amnesiac)
7. The Bird and the Bee - You're a Cad
8. Yo La Tengo - The Story of Yo La Tengo
9. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Purple Haze
10. Neko Case - Don't Forget Me

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Coming soon!

... Something else. (No, really. I have an idea, I'm just too sleepy to carry it out.)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Penguins (gentoo)

Close encounter with Gentoo Penguin in Antarctica from Lens Travel Photography on Vimeo.

It's a hope of mine that populations never hit such a crisis point that we're tempted to colonize Antarctica. There's a meditative quality to this rocky and grey shoreline. I'm not sure it would remain long after coming in contact with civilization.