Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Good grief!

And so we find ourselves at the end of 2014. And could there be a more apt finale to the year than this... what this is? Probably, but it made me laugh a bunch of times.

How To Improve Peanuts from Lumalin Productions on Vimeo.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Adventures in cuisine

I tried something a wee bit different tonight. Boiled up some orzo, rice looking pasta. With that was a sauce made up of diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, and turkey bacon. Yeah, if you're thrown by that last part I can see why. It's probably not something that's going to catch on, and I get that. Wasn't bad as a change of pace, though.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Saturday Random Ten that sounds about right

A tidbit from this page:

In his biography, The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett gave the Kid a bad temper to make him seem more dangerous, so readers would think Garrett more heroic for going after such a dangerous outlaw. Of course, dime novelists ran with this idea, and therefore created the myth.

Not sure I entirely believe the Kid being easygoing all the time. His friends may have been biased. But always look out for people puffing the truth up to be bigshots.

1. Ladytron - Re: Agents
2. Patsy Cline - Crazy
3. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - Little Triggers
4. Gogol Bordello - Underdog World Strike
5. Imperial Teen - Hanging About
6. Camper Van Beethoven - Northern California Girls
7. Tito Puente - Lush Life
8. The Beautiful South - Girlfriend
9. David Bowie - Up the Hill Backwards
10. Diana Krall - Do It Again

Friday, December 26, 2014

mumble mumble

Will be a Saturday Random Ten again this week. Last night I couldn't import any music, which I felt like doing. Thought I had to reinstall iTunes, but it turned out what I really needed to do was some kind of Windows fix. So it goes.

Had a decently productive night. At a coffee shop I deleted a few paragraphs that weren't working, wrote another paragraph, and got kicked out. The coffee shop was supposed to be open another hour and a half and change, though I was only going to be there for fifteen minutes or so. It was a slow night, though, and the barista got antsy. The perils of writing in public places. Well, some public places. But anyway, I got some more stuff done after I got home. Hope to have it in shape to show my writing group in the near future.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Yule never walk alone

Please accept my apologies for not having a Christmas post up earlier. Was trying to get some other things done. Might have actually done some. You win some, you lose some.

This is, of course, a very tuneful Yuletide carol. For whatever reason you usually hear it with different lyrics. Has something to do with rights issues, or being driven to madness or something.

On anohter note... Well, on a lot of other notes, really. All of them awesome. (Thanks to Roy at for letting me know about this one.)

Monday, December 22, 2014

G no

You know what's kind of interesting and kind of depressiing? Being the sounding board for an old biker who needs to vent. Especially when you look like the kind of pussy he naturally assumes you to be. That happened tonight, which was a weird experience. As much of a bad way the guy was in, he had some stories to tell.

You know what's just plain depressing without any compensating virtues? When at the end of a landmark nightmare year for race relations and police accountability in America, you hear noises emanating from behind Rudy Giuliani's joke shop teeth. The man became mayor of the nation's biggest city on the back of David Dinkins being punished for being black during a time when black New Yorkers were rioting. That pretty much set the tone, as Rudy petulantly hid from civil rights groups and shamed citizens for getting shot by police. Towards the end of his reign he became America's Mayor for guiding the city through the 9/11 attacks without saying anything stupid (at least by the standards used while Dubya was president.) Then a few years later he was a figurehead for the semi-official bullying of Sufi Muslims' Park51 project. In short, just about every stage of his political career has been a clumsy exercise in racial divide-and-conquer. So when heyaks about what causes police killings after minimizing when it goes the other way, believe me, I listen with bated breath.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A light dusting of Saturday Random Ten

Looks like we have snow on the ground for Winter Solstice. Not a huge amount, but enough to make the sidewalks white. Let's see if it lasts to Christmas Day.

In other news, I learned that talking to people sometimes leads somewhere good. Although other times it just makes me want to remove my own head.

1. David Bowie - Fashion
2. Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderley - The Masquerade Is Over
3. Heidi Bruhl - Geh Nicht Fort
4. Tom Waits - Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis
5. Gogol Bordello - Mishto
6. Alice Cooper - Black Juju
7. Imperial Teen - Out from Inside
8. Fleetwood Mac - That's All for Everyone
9. Dave Van Ronk - Come Back Baby
10. Nat King Cole - (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Doing something else

Started work tonight on a new nonfiction piece. Well, I had been reading to prep for it, but this evening is when I actually started putting stuff down on virtual paper. There might have been a little procrastination there. Anyway, i'm hoping to place it someplace when I'm done. Will provide links when and if that happens.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Say what?

An initial, rather ineffective way of dealing with the results of a poll like this one:
Assume respondents heard the question or misunderstood it. They had to think it meant something else, right?

A second, somewhat better way to deal with it:
Reflect on the possibility that Joe Strummer saw something like this in his day.

We've been told, to keep the strangers out
We don't like them, starting to hang around
We don't like them all over town
Across the wrold we're gonna blow them down.

Mistrust a group enough and you can buy cruelty toward them as heroic.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Weird science

This is a short but sweet bit of stop-motion animation. Animator White's made her characters very expressive. Also I notice that the professor and his surroundings are a near monochrome brown, so that the invention - I like to call her "Frankendaughter" - looks to be a splash of color in a sepia photograph.

The Invention from Eloise White on Vimeo.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Insecure Friday Random Ten

I'm not really sure why comments on this blog have a security login now. I don't recall asking for that change. Did Google just decide everyone would like that better? Or did I do something without realizing it and/or forget I did it. Possible, if disturbing.

1. Fleetwood Mac - Angel
2. Gogol Bordello - Underdog World Strike
3. Camper Van Beethoven - La Costa Perdida
4. Elton John - Burn Down the Mission
5. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - Pump It Up
6. Sly & the Family Stone - Spaced Cowboy
7. Ladytron - Flicking Your Switch
8. Alice Cooper - Sun Arise
9. Imperial Teen - Over His Head
10. Mose Allison - Just Like Livin'

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The lion's share

Currently I'm reading The Place of the Lion by Charles Williams. It's about what happens when animals and other things in the world start to be replaced by their Platonic ideals. Which, you have to admit, isn't an idea every writer explores.

I'm sure there's some gentlemen's club sexism in this. Damaris Tighe, the chief female character, seems created to prove that female intellectuals are more susceptible to arrogance and tunnel vision. This despite Williams being in the same social circle as Dorothy Sayers. (He was also in the Inklings with Tolkien and CS Lewis.)

But you know what? That's all front loaded. You quickly find out about it, then you either go on reading or you don't. I find the book pretty interesting.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Drying out

Such a heavy rain struck us for basically the whole day and a goodly portion of the night. Meaning I walked home in a flood. Which while not fun in itself gives me the chance to savor one of life's underappreciated pleasures: putting wet socks on a radiator and watching them dry stiff. I think I might appreciate it more even now that I've spent most of a winter - now in the past - without heat. It is, at any rate, a solid illustration of recovery.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The OGs

Recently archaeologists have found a shell etched with absract markings. This work, simple as it is, is pretty momentous. It's been dated at about 500,000 years old, much older than anatomically modern humans, and it's been attributed to homo erectus.

Artworks and art-like works have been found at Neanderthal sites, but when in doubt paleoanthropologists have tended to credit the work to modern homo sapiens regardless. A painting found on Gibraltar may help to make the case for symbolic thinking in Neanderthals, but this homo erectus artifact could change the whole ground of the argument. If the roots of art, or at least the thinking that can lead to it, were present in our common ancestor, then it almost certainly found expression in both races, and probably others besides.

Also homo erectus won't just be known anymore as targets for boner jokes.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Hospitality-related Friday Random Ten

Another department at work today had a staff meeting and it was sort of catered. Actually I think they catered it themselves. Afterwards they invited my coworker and I to help ourselves. The main attraction was the tacos. I had one, and it was quite good. Nice offer too, clearly. For a long time I swore off beef. I no longer have a rule against it, but don't eat that much of it. And only where the flavor of it is featured. Anyway, this was a good use of ground beef.

1. Diana Krall - Let's Fall In Love
2. Camper Van Beethoven - Summer Days
3. Metric - The Void
4. Dave Van Ronk - Sprig of Thyme
5. Tito Puente - Mambo Diablo
6. Gogol Bordello - 60 Revolutions
7. Ladytron - Beauty 2
8. Alice Cooper - I'm Eighteen
9. Aly & the Family Stone - Runnin' Away
10. New Pornographers - Fantasy Fools

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Welcome to Diciembre, amigos

Thing to love about Wall of Voodoo: Timbales, baby! Not really in much use outside of Latin, jazz, and Latin jazz, but you kind of need them for a song called "Mexican Radio".

Thing to love about this video: Stan Ridgway's suit. It sort of fits. Has a definite "most affordable suit at the Salvation Army" quality. Keep it real, Stan.