Monday, December 29, 2008

How did I miss this?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

May I open a window, please?

Man, I have about had it with these modern buildings with their "climate control." I am battling a bit of a head cold and as soon as I get to work my head clogs right up and my eyes get scratchy and I can hardly see. I don't have this problem at home. I believe it's called sick building syndrome. You know what is maddening? It's that if I could open a window this wouldn't be a big problem. Since this is a "modern" building all the windows are sealed. It's stoopid.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Howdy howdy

Merry Christmas, first of all. Now that that is out of the way I found a video of what happens when NFL fans throw snowballs at the wrong guy.

Another angle

OK, one more angle

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Cut my Hair Again

The other day I went back for another haircut and this time I really went for it. I wanted a flat top but no one at Supercuts knew how to do a flat top. Next time I am going to find a real barbershop with old men instead of going to Supercuts. My hair hasn't been this short since August of 1986 when I went to boot camp.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The NFL Playoff Picture

For some reason I really enjoy hearing football analysts say something like "The Lions can make the playoffs if they beat the Giants this weekend and the Broncos beat the Cowboys and the Panthers beat or tie the Saints or if the Eagles, Titans and Jets lose." I know I mixed up conferences there but this isn't officially a sports blog so I can do that. If you are actually interested in the current NFL playoff picture there is a good breakdown of it here.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

My Year End Book List

Most of these were published in the last year or so. A couple are older but were new to me. These are not in any order nor did I limit it to a certain number of books. I went over my list of books I read in 2008 and these were the ones that stood out. If I finish it before 2009 I would also add my current read: "American Lion" by Jon Meacham. It's the story of Andrew Jackson's years in the White House.

The Dragons of Babel by Michael Swanwick: the second novel by Swanwick set in his world of Faery. A modern version of the faery world where characters speak like modern Americans and fairy tale characters at the same time. I don't know how he does it but it's amazing to read it.

The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin: A fantastically written account of how the current Supreme Court lineup came to come together with some nice history of the court thrown in. I'm probably naive for being surprised by how much politics is involved in this institution.

Human Smoke by Nicholson Baker: One of the more eye-opening books about World War II I have have ever read. It's what we need occasionally, a reminder that history is not preordained.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow: A young adult SF novel in the vein of the classic YA stuff by Heinlein and Asimov. Good science, good story and instructions on how to be an individual.

City of Thieves by David Benioff: An adventure novel set during the siege of Leningrad during World War II. The writing is so good that I was awed by his talent several times.

Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe: An older piece of SF that I learned about from Michal Swanwick's blog. It's set in the far future where super-science and a medieval society combine to make a fascinating world that is a pleasure to get lost in.

One Minute to Midnight by Michael Dobbs: The story of the Cuban Missile Crisis. It's scary and fascinating. It's a miracle we are all here right now. What impressed me the most was that the professionalism of the Soviet officers is a big reason this did not explode into World War III.

Driftless by David Rhodes: Another shockingly well written piece of fiction. It's about a small farming community in the midwest. That is all. It's enough. It's funny, deep and will break your heart. I can't recommend it enough.

Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides: Another older book. The story of a POW rescue operation in the Philipines during World War II. If you are looking for a great WWII adventure story and you haven't read this yet you are in for a treat.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Where's your outrage, liberals?

Looks like I'm not the only one having a hard time working up any indignation over the recent shoe assault on your shitty, shitty president.

Found via Wired.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Deep Throat

I guess you have heard that the guy they called Deep Throat died during the most recent cycle of news. The Guardian has a nice write up about him here. Thankfully there have been several whistle blowers that have helped reveal the misdeeds of our current presidential administration. Seymour Hersh's expose on the atrocities at Abu Ghraib was possible because of a whistle blower. It's easy to forget in this era of crappy TV news networks that there still are excellent and conscientious reporters like Hersh out there.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ole Newspapers

What exactly do you have to do wrong hygienically in order to smell like old musty newspapers? That has always perplexed me. Most of the time you can tell what a person is doing wrong. Usually one good sniff tells you that a person has not bathed in a good long time but old newspapers? Is there a certain part of your body you can neglect for a while and it will start to smell like an old newspaper? I have noticed that more stinky ladies give off the old newspaper smell than stinky guys. Stinky men usually just reek of BO. I think it may be clothing that gives off the newspapers smell. Remember, you should wash your winter coat at least once a year or you'll end up smelling like those crazy old ladies that come in the library. You don't want that.

Monday, December 15, 2008

What would you pay to see

a bear that poops prime numbers? I'd pay ten bucks but you can see one for free right now.
Duck, you Jackass

I think when W. retires he can join the professional dodgeball tour.
Duck, you jackass
Howdy Howdy

It's Monday morning and I don't have to be at the library until noon. Mel and I had a nice weekend, did a little Christmas shopping and I spent a few hours scanning some of her family's photographs for a little project we got going on. The Christmas crowds weren't all that bad yesterday. The most crowded store was the World Market. That place is just made for gift shopping. You can get anything there from a wooden statue of a giraffe to a glass tea pot.

We had a nice little house movie night on Saturday. The four of us gathered together to watch the Dark Knight. Heath Ledger was just as great the second time around. Christian Bale's "bat voice" still bothered me but not quite as much. I still wasn't crazy about the ending. There have been several instances in Batman story lines where he fought the cops but I didn't care for how this one was setup. Essentially Jim Gordon has to lie like he lied to his wife earlier in the movie. I still think it's the best Batman movie ever but it's still a mixed bag. What impressed me is that they were trying to make a great movie. That last franchise became a joke, at least these guys are trying.

Mel has become some kind of breakfast hash goddess. I ate so much yesterday morning that I couldn't move for an hour. I just sat at my laptop and played Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword. I did help with the preparation. I chopped the green peppers and the tomatoes.

We also cozified the living by setting up the white ceramic Christmas tree. It's a beautiful piece of Americana made about sixty years ago by Melanie's great aunt. I need to take a picture of it and post it here. We have been improving the living room in baby steps. We got a rug a few months ago at World Market. We finally found the type of shades we wanted for the two antique lamps that sit by the picture window. I think the next step is going to be find a nice curtain for the picture window. What we got there now is jury rigged and a nice curtain would really tie the room together.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The List of Lists is Growing

Every year for several years now this guy has put together a list of best of the year lists. He does a good job and you can watch it build here. I don't know what it is about lists that we like so much. Is it our need to make order out of chaos? Is it our need to follow authority? Is it our need to find ways to keep ourselves occupied so we don't step in front of a moving train?

Something I may yet just might say at work someday

"Excuse me, sir. That position for which you are applying requires five years experience and a masters degree. You are wearing one sock and you smell like old newspapers..."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Feets to the Fire

Did you happen to see the Mike Huckabee interview by John Stewart last night on the Daily Show. It's a fine example of how special what John Stewart does is. Does is? Is that English? You can see for yourself below. Politicians just are not accustomed to being asked questions with substance and then expected to answer back with substance. Especially someone like Huckabee that appeals to the baser wing of the right. His bigotry is the really scary kind, it comes with the smile and warmth of your Grandpa but underneath it's still conservatism that would like to jail all the homos. Believe that.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Was (Not Was)

OK, today while screwing around with Itunes I discovered that Was (Not Was) had released an album back in April. April! How had I not heard of this? It's called "Boo" and it's funky, weird and funny. So yeah, it's a Was (Not Was) album. In my excitement I didn't notice that Amazon had a MP3 version I could download so I bought it off Itunes after swearing I would never use Itunes again because the DRM baloney that comes with files you purchase from them. So now if I want to put a song from this album on a mix CD I am going to have to do an illegal download. That DRM stuff is idiotic. I played the album all morning and will continue to play it for the rest of the week. I got new Was (Not Was) in my life and I couldn't be happier.

Video from the album below. Doesn't Sweat Pea Atkinson have a beautiful voice?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

William Ayers responds to the bullshit

You know, what has always impressed me the most about what the true radicals in this country call the left is their intelligence and thoughtfulness. Let those that supported Sarah Palin create such a document.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Mark Twain and the Flag

From an essay on the American flag and the American subjugation of the Philipines: "I am not finding fault with this use of our flag; for in order not to seem eccentric I have swung around, now, and joined the nation in the conviction that nothing can sully a flag. I was not properly reared, and the illusion that a flag was a thing which must be sacredly guarded against shameful uses and unclean contacts, lest it suffer pollution; and so when it was sent out to the Phillippines to float over a wanton war and a robbing expedition I supposed it was polluted, and in an ignorant moment I said so. But I stand corrected. I conceded and acknowledge that it was only the government that sent it on such an errand that was polluted. Let us compromise on that. I am glad to have it that way. For our flag could not well stand pollution, never having been used to it, but it is different with the administration."

Monday, December 01, 2008

I knew it was cold!

According to our local newspaper this November we just went through here in Charlotte, NC was the coldest in 32 years. I demand a mild December!
The Heavens

If it is still Monday where you are and it's not too long after sunset be sure to stick your head out the window and check out what the Moon, Venus and Jupiter are doing on the southwestern sky. Wowzers.
Internet find of the day

I recently bought an CD by a musician that calls himself Jay Reatard. Yeah I know, kids these days. But what are going to do? It's great music.

The find is a release by his record company, Matador Records, that features music the label is going to release in the near future. You can download the songs here if you are feeling adventurous. Some are great but they are all good.