Wednesday, January 31, 2007

More MP3 goodness

One of my favorite artists while growing up was Bill Cosby. If you've been reading this blog over the last 37 years that should come as no surprise. I've mentioned Bill more than once here. I figured I would share one of my favorite short Bill Cosby bits. This one is called Go Karts and it's off his album called Wonderfulness. Wonderfulness is a great comedy album. It has two famous and classic routines on it, Tonsils and Chicken Heart. Both are very long so Go Karts is a nice introduction to the sixties Cosby. This track has all my favorite aspects of Cosby's standup: childhood, storytelling and amazing sound effects that create a soundscape unmatched by any comedian. Enjoy, if you will.

Bill Cosby, Go Karts.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Internet goodness

You know what else I like about the internets? Cool tshirts. I received this shirt in the mail last week. I love it. By the way, if you buy a tshirt from Threadless you might consider ordering a size bigger than you usually would. Someone told me that before I bought the shirt and I forgot all about his advice before I put the order in. It fits but it's not as roomy as I would prefer. Maybe I'm just a house and it's not the fault of the shirt?

That's just wrong

You know, I have a pretty dark sense of humor but this isn't right. I would expect something like that from Philadelphia fans but not from a Chicago fan.

MP3 blog?

MP3 blogs are all the rage these days. I found this file of the band Of Montreal covering Moonage Daydream by Bowie during a recent concert. I've just heard of this band and they have a new album out that I am going to have to check out. Try this link below and see if it works. I'm curious to see how long Google hosting will let people upload this before I max out my bandwidth.

Of Montreal doing Moonage Daydream on 1/21/07.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The sleepers

Just wanted to let you know that my kitties are much cuter than yours.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A little more love and theft

"Mr. Dylan’s work is still original. “You could give the collected works of Henry Timrod to a bunch of people, but none of them are going to come up with Bob Dylan songs,” he said."

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

This guy is a genius

"It's grotesquely symbolic of the free trade era that one of the country's favorite TV shows features a megalomaniacal tycoon putting people out of work. A man so profoundly insecure that he has to erect massive buildings with his name on them to compensate and sports the world's most ridiculous combover, Trump's popularity is the clearest imaginable proof that Americans value wealth over decency and bravado over character. Can't seem to stop shouting, no matter what mood he appears to be in."
Jiminy Crickets

OK, I'm a little annoyed with this new template. Lately whenever I edit a post the line breaks go nutso on me. I can only hope this is Blogger having a moment and not this dang template.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Killer Flick

I saw a great movie this
weekend. I went and saw href="http://www.metacritic.com/film/titles/childrenofmen?q=children%20of%20men">Children
of
Men. A near future science fiction-y movie based on a novel
by...P.D.
James
. Interestingly enough, I read my first P.D. James novel
a few months ago. I read her most recent mystery called href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lighthouse_%28novel%29">The
Lighthouse.

The movie is set in 2027 and it
impressed me by handling the hardest challenge of a good SF story,
setting the scene without falling back on narration. There is nothing
wrong
with narration setting the scene in a science fiction story but these
types of movies work better (like all fiction) when you are shown how
the world works in this instead of being told. Picking up on all those
little hints that the movie supplies is what helps make good SF
rewarding. This movie leaves a lot of information for you to interpret
yourself and I am know I missed a few clues after reading
some reviews of the movie. Newspaper headlines, television newssounbites, advertisements and hints in dialogue and action in the background clue you in to what kind of world the characters live in.

The
world situation in this movie is dire. There hasn't been a baby born in
about 18 years and most of the world has devolved into violence. The
film is set in an England that is barely hanging on and all immigrants
have been declared illegal and are being sent to camps that turn out to
look more like World War II era Stalingrad than what you would expect
of the United Kingdom in 2027.

Clive Owen plays a government
worker that is sleepwalking through his relatively comfortable but
still dangerous life. London is like the current Baghdad, full of
terrorist bombings and kidnappings. After the movie introduces us to
his world he is approached by an old flame, played by Julianne Moore.
She asks his assistance in helping a refugee get to the coast and
escape the island rather than end up in an internment camp. He does
this mainly so he can get some face to face time with his former
squeeze.

Atmospherically the movie really shines. As you move through this dystopia
it becomes more and more real. The realism comes from a vision that
turns out not to be that outlandish. It's familiar and if you've seen
how people can get into fist fights at the corner gas station when
there is only the threat of a fuel shortage and video footage of
the horror in Iraq then seeing a world as scary and violent as
portrayed in "Children of Men" does not take any suspension of
disbelief. The sets are so realistic in feel that it's a littl eery. This is not the Jetsons or Star Wars. Much like Spielbierg's
"The Minority Report" the world is just different enough to be foreign
but similar enough to be recognizable. It's a little like driving in
Mexico.

And that familiarity is what gives this film's message
incredible power. Here we see a world not all that different from ours.
The world is so polluted that humans are infertile and this has caused
the earth to plummet into bloody anarchy. To me, it's just as
frightening knowing that many of those sitting in power right now
probably understand the urgency of the message in this movie and they
don't care. They got their power and money and they'll ride out the
collapse just fine. It's the rest of us that could be screwed.

Friday, January 19, 2007

George McGovern smacks down our shitty, shitty president

This is incredible. Let's impeach that son of a bitch!
I am buying this book after work today

"Each individual top 10 list is like its own steeplechase through the international canon. Look at Michael Chabon's. He heads it up with Jorge Luis Borges's Labyrinths. (Nice: an undersung masterpiece by a writer's writer.) He follows that up with by Pale Fire by Nabokov at #2. (Hm. Does he really think it's better than Lolita? Really?) Then with number 3 he goes straight off the reservation: Scaramouche, by Rafael Sabatini. (What? By who?) The whole exercise is an orgy of intellectual second-guessing, which as we all know is infinitely more fun than the first round of guessing."

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Catch a Glimpse

Hey look! A picture of Harper Lee! I do not believe Harper Lee is reclusive. I think she is more like Sandy Koufax and just wants to be left the hell alone. Why does that have to mean reclusive in our world? Imagine, someone not chasing celebrity. What an oddball. I hope everyone that comes to this blog has read "To Kill a Mockingbird." It'll stay with you forever. In a good way, not like the way the time your dad punched you in the face stays with you.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Skyline photo contest

Every year the Charlotte Chamber sponsors a photo contest for pictures taken of the Charlotte skyline. Today's Charlotte Observer has this years winner and winners from previous years on its web page.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What else is there to do?

What's the first thing you do when you are elected into the baseball hall of fame? Why, make as much money as possible off it, of course.
These people make me sick

I've been reading this article concerning the rendition of suspected terrorists. It's making me sick to my stomach. George Bush is slime.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I'm having 'roid rage

You know, I am getting more than a little fed up with all those Mark McGwire apologists out there. They always drop Ty Cobb's name into this debate and that amuses me to no end. Say what you want about Cobb's personality, sure he was batshit crazy, a horrible racist and may have killed a man with his bare hands but...but...but...he was such a baseball purist that he would have thought anyone that took a foreign substance in order to perform better than their peers was a lowlife and not worth spiking. Hell, he couldn't stomach home runs and barely tolerated Babe Ruth. I doubt he would have cheered players with physiques as grotesque as Popeye's.

Then they mention Gaylord Perry and the spit ball. Well, surely, they say, if Perry, a self admitted spitballer (why he even wrote a book called Me and the Spitter!!!!) can sit in that hallowed hall with his criminal past then certainly someone like McGwire who also bent the rules to gain a competitive advantage should be in the hall of fame. What a load of hooey! First of all the spitball involves adding a little moisture to a baseball so when the ball is pitched it has extra movement on it as it approaches the plate. That extra movement makes the ball more difficult to hit. Steroids create unnatural behemoths that can hit a baseball almost 700 feet. I think you can see the difference. Also the spitball has been around as long as baseball existed and once it became illegal then it became one more rule that players did all they could to bypass. One of the intricacies of baseball that fans love about it is the constant attempts by players and managers to skirt the rulebook. Back in the early 1900's when there was only one umpire running a game baserunners would round off third base if the ball was hit down the right field line. Hey, if John McGraw scored a few extra runs because he missed third base when he could then it's just fine if Mark McGwire juiced himself up to monstrous proportions. Honestly, if these writers can't tell the difference between king kong like physiques and a few sneaky spitballs then they are either lying to themselves or shameless apologists.

What is sad about these apologists is the reason they are stooping to defending an obvious cheater. The reason is that baseball statistics are about as sacred to some Americans as their chosen holy book. Baseball survives and thrives on its statistics. There are websites out there devoted to these
statistics and players like Bonds, Canseco, and McGwire have taken our collective baseball encyclopedia and tea bagged it with their tiny steroid-shrunken balls. Sometimes I wish I could look the other way and just pretend these artificial feats were the achievements of great athletes but they weren't and it should be acknowledged. I swear to god, if Barry Bonds approaches the career home run record this year and Hank Aaron is pressured into attending the game and is forced to stand smiling next to that giant headed monster, I will shed a tear. Hank Aaron broke into baseball when a black player still had to fight his way through the league and he broke Babe Ruth's record while enduring death threats. Barry Bonds is a spoiled rich kid who pumped himself full of drugs.

Hopefully a precedent was set today by the baseball writers when less than thirty percent of them voted to induct Mark McGwire into the baseball hall of fame. Players from the steroid era that so obviously cheated don't belong in the same hall of fame with true and honorable players like the sly Gaylord Perry, the ferocious Ty Cobb and future inductee, the graceful Derek Jeter.
Four words

College football playoff, please.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

New look, same old boring blog

Yes, a new and not any more interesting era is dawning here at my blog. I did my very first tweaking of a template by putting Godzilla's head over the leaves that were originally on the banner of this template. Godzilla didn't quite cover the leaves so I put an incongruous old church next to Godzilla. Godzilla didn't eat the old church, no one was hurt during the recreation of this banner. I think I will mess around later with Photoshop and try and tweak it a little more. Doing that will help keep my brain active and I'll live forever like those Catholic nuns from that study someone did on brain health a few years ago. It was in all the papers and NPR even did a story on it. Nuns have all the luck, they are married to Jesus and they have healthy brains even when they're old.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Short haired yellow bellied son of Tricky Dick

Check out this great column/blog concerning the release of the FBI's John Lennon files. Funny stuff.

Bush wants to read your mail

Oh yeah, and in a recent signing statement George Bush thinks it's OK to read your mail.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Reading stuff

Thanks to James I have been
reading a delightful book for the last couple of weeks. It's called
"The Brothers K" by David James Duncan. I took James up on an offer he
sent out on his blog. He offered a few books up for grabs and I asked
for one by the Japanese author, OE, and he sent me that book, a mix CD
and this book by Duncan. James said he sent the Duncan book because he
knew I was not afraid of a hulking family novel and it had baseball in
it. He was right, it's a sweeping family novel in the vein of "East of
Eden" with a mother who is overly religious instead of a prostitute.

I was reading the book at lunch and this passage stuck out. This paragraph describes why the extremely religous mother defends he daughter after the daughter commits what a crazed Sunday school teacher thinks is blasphemy while class was in session: "The mechanism of Mama's sudden loss of sympathy fascinates me. Had the Babcocks told her that all six of her kids were now irredeemable cult-worshippers who'd end up writhing eternally in hell, I know she wouldn't have batted an eye. Yet to hear her daughters accused of a simple lie was intolerable. "Ungodliness" in one's offspring is, after all, a lofty-sounding but essentially incomprehensible condition that leads one to reflect upon the terrible powers of Satan and the still greater powers of God. Whereas bald-faced lying is a tacky little crime that implies one has simply blown it as a parent."

Good stuff.