Monday, March 31, 2003

Just so you know

The four funniest moves ever made are (not in any particular order):

- Young Frankenstein
- Airplane!
- Raising Arizona
- The Emperor's New Groove
I'm a Conservative Har Har!

And, a big "Yeah, right" to boot.

Conservative
Where do you fall on the liberal - conservative political spectrum? (United States)

brought to you by Quizilla

(Via, The Poor Man)

Pfffft!

Look, my political views are all over the road. The only thing that comes remotely close to labeling my views is "Libertarian Democrat," with all the contradictions that implies. True or pure Libertarianism is unworkable for a society such as ours. If the world were made of many tiny peaceful nations, all say only 200 miles wide by 200 miles high, and no one was insane or evil, and if it weren't stacked against having children so much, then libertarianism would have a chance. I'm a Democrat for the most part, but the loony left makes that embarrassing sometimes. Simply put, I believe in public education, universally available health care (whether it's private or govt., I don't care, just let everyone in), support of the infrastructure, a strong military, a balance between monopolies and overreaching unions (meaning we should have neither), and a government that's committed to individual rights and privacy. Our biggest shames right now are the Patriot Act, civil asset forfeiture, and the drug war.

The quiz didn't even ask about education. I think public education should be available, for free (through taxes, of course), up through the graduate/vocational degree level, meaning a bachelor's degree or a certification in some field. After that, yer on yer own. Gradual school will be paid for by those who so choose.

And vouchers. Gad. Feh. What a horrible, horrible idea. Let's hope that the fact that it's been voted down every single time it's been offered via the vote (as it should be) will limit or stop the spread of this wing-nut cancer. If "deregulation" of big business, particularly energy and radio, has been a good thing, I've yet to meet one person outside of the owner of a corporation who thinks so. Vouchers are just a tax scam, plain and simple. Very rich people* want their school taxes back to subsidize keeping their kids away from the riff-raff, knowing full well no one else will gain admittance to their private schools and the taxes removed from the public education coffers will make things worse. I do not want my tax dollars going to a private school, particularly a religious one. (Keep in mind I'm a Christian.) You just watch, if vouchers actually get implemented universally, the next phase will be, "I don't have kids, I should get my taxes back." And if you believe in vouchers, don't come whining to me what that last step happens. Hard-core, righty wingnuts simply do not believe in public education. They want folks kept stupid and impressionable. Lack of education helps in that effort.

(* I have nothing against the rich like some liberals do. They throw great parties, for one. I'm happy folks have achieved wealth, and hope I will someday, too; even though I am very wealthy judging by international standards. However, public education is a public contract as far as I'm concerned; and anyone, particularly anyone with money, who wants to pay for less than their share of the roads, schools, and other public institutions is a moldy little schmuck who deserves to be trapped on a long, substance-free road trip with Ralph Nader in a Geo Metro (since Corvairs are all but extinct), through the mountains, with nothing but, "You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch," playing incessantly on the stereo.)

About the most right-wing thought I have is that someone needs to go through the ranks of the NEA and expunge the Marxists and the Identity Politics goons. We need that agency, but it's got to be about educating kids in the basics, not getting them on-board early with the loony left's politics.

I'm increasingly of the opinion that our American government at this moment is about as far from "the will of the people" as it can get. I don't share the loony-left's idea that we are on the verge of fascism, or the wing-nut that it's all the liberal's fault and if we would just let them privatize everything and let them run things, we'd be OK. It's been an especially scary decade after the wing-nuts got away with using millions of our tax dollars attempting to hound a competent, popular president out of office via trumped-up scandals (and finally succeeding with a perjury trap), and then having the supreme court install their party's candidate during a tainted election. Scary stuff. Our media downplayed that hell out of that, but it gave the rest of the world (and quite of few of us here in the states) a big case of the willies. If America can have an election manipulated to that extent, where one party cares more about winning than letting the voters decide, then it points to how fragile things really are. It's like finding out dad is really Tony Soprano, to an extent. (That's just an example folks; Bush is not a crook, k? Cheney is, though.)

I think the world's current view and negative reaction to our war in Iraq has more to do with our current situation regarding our "leaders" than it does with the war and the intentions behind it itself. They (portions of the international media) are wrong whey they try to compare Saddam, a truly evil man, and Bush as two sides of the same coin; that's just misguided propaganda. Bush is not evil, and I think the administration's reasons for getting into this war are genuine and honorable (meaning they really do want to stop Saddam before he can nuke someone, like us). But the boys running America right now have been waiting for this kind of chance since the Nixon administration, and it's disconcerting to see what they are doing now that they've gotten the chance. We will have a lot to answer for once all the abuses Ashcroft has committed come to the surface; he'll probably end up indicted over something.

I sometimes wonder how long it's going to take to get America back once they're out of office. It seems to take about 7 years to recover from a bad president and administration.

And, of course, the world will not care that we managed to prevent Saddam from nuking someone, which he surely would have. There will be another resounding lack of thanks, but we're used to that, aren't we?

Friday, March 28, 2003

Nod if you agree.

I'd like to bring attention to an attempted market manipulation that, I think anyway, is hilarious.

Suddenly, a couple months ago, they were everywhere: Bobbleheads. Bobbleheads are grotesque little statues of a person, animal, or character that has an overlarge head attached to the body by a spring so it nods and shakes continuously.

Many moons ago (I'm talking decades) bobbleheads arrived with many of the other fad items like the smiley face, round green "peace - pass it on!" stickers, the pet rock, the candy-colored donut radio, fiber-optic filament rainbow lamps, the invisible dog leash, and the like. The original incarnation was kind of funny, actually. It was a Chihuahua that lived on the shelf between the back seat and the rear window in cars. It was hypnotic and cute. A variant was a Hawaiian Hula girl on the dashboard, though the spring was at midsection and not the neck.

Then, after years cropping up mainly at the odd garage sale, suddenly bobbleheads are available as avatars of your favorite sports figure, cartoon character, porn star, or any celebrity you can name - save for maybe O.J. Simpson since bobbing detached head imagery is just a little too close to bone in his case.

So, it makes me wonder, who suddenly felt the world was ready and eagerly awaiting yet again an invasion of creepy (they're all creepy except for the Chihuahua) bobbleheads? No one is buying these things! If anyone knows the culprit, please email me as this one keeps me awake on Saturday nights after I've watched my weekly movie and checked retroraunch.com for the week's pictures. The expenditure in plastic and metal springs alone could've probably been enough to get a manned probe to Mars, that is if we hadn't made the recent discovery that Mars is so bombarded with radiation that any astronaut that set foot on the red planet would cook like a cocktail weenie in a crockpot.

Wouldn't that be an odd position to have in some corporation somewhere? The attempted purveyor of the next new (or recycled old) trend? Cue Joe Jackson's fabulous "I'm the Man." You have an office. A desk. A pad of paper and a pen, presumably. There you sit, squinting, trying to attach your feelers to the great synchronistic gestalt of public desire and taste, pen poised. Weeks go by and that pad is as empty as an Irish Setter's head. Then, one weekend, the spouse has dragged you to a garage sale and one of the kids picks up a cracked and stained bobblehead of Bobby Sherman. That's it! Everyone wants one of those! You trod into work Monday full of purpose and resolve. Mere days later, a factory in Taiwan, Mexico, or China fires up and bobbleheads are dropping off the end of a conveyor belt like turds out of a frightened hamster. Shelves coast to coast fill with long rows of quivering, smiling, plastic hydrocephalics suspended over dwarfed, mutant bodies. Not one is sold. They aren't even noticed. Except, perhaps, they cause a couple small children to cry because they're scary.

All that results is a snarky post on an obscure blog written by a guy with an odd, Arabic-sounding pseudonym.

That must be an odd life.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Thank you 2Blowhards!

A big thanks to the praise and linkage from the always captivating, knowers-of-all-things-worth-knowing 2Blowhards, Michael and Friedrich! I hope that the daring souls who hop over here find something to enjoy. Or at least something annoying enough to justify the voyage. Hello!
why

Andy Rooney moment:Why is it that people who put bumper stickers that offer positive, life-affirming advice, such as "Respect Life" and "Visualize World Peace," are typically, to a person, consummate assholes? Or is this question redundant because anyone presumptive enough to preach via a sticky paper placard from the back of their car, guaranteeing a captive audience in traffic, is by obvious extension an asshole? I'm stuck on a Mobius strip here, I think.
Hell Yeah!

Via the venerable Redwood Dragon


The man who tries to make the flag an object of a single party is a greater traitor to that flag than any man who fires at it. - Lloyd George


I second that emotion. And cube it. Aw heck, let's throw an infinity sign into the equation, too.

Monday, March 24, 2003

Post-modern Pooh, or the real reason Christopher Robin married his first cousin.

After the Perfect Snowstorm abated here in the Denver metro area, we, the family, more than a bit stir crazy after being stuck inside the house for four days, decided to see a movie. About the only thing showing that was appropriate for a six year old was the new Pooh, Piglet's Big Movie, so off we went, sliding and scraping through the drifts in the mommy-van. I don't think I'm giving away the ending by stating right up front that every attempt at a new Disney Pooh cartoon since the original has been an abysmal failure, each offering more pathetic than the last. That trend remains solidly hell-bent for new depths of woe, afterburners firing, possibly setting a new benchmark on suckatude for a series franchise.

Yet, before the lights dimmed, I had hope.

It starts with Pooh, Tigger, Rabbit and Eeyore helping in a plan to steal honey from some bees. Piglet wanders up and wants to help, but is either ignored or told he's too small to help. So right away we accomplish two things at once: 1) establish the Pooh characters as essentially cruel little bastards, which goes against everything established in the original Pooh, 2) we are in the PBS braindead zone where every cartoon is about some supposed REAL ISSUE small children have, and presented in a way completely contrary to how a real child who wasn't "challenged" would handle it. You could look across the faces of all the little kids in the theatre, and they'd be frowning with frustration at the stupidity and meanness of the characters, laced with slight doubt that anyone could really be this stupid, so there must be something else here they're missing.

Piglet actually saves the plan when it goes wrong, is yet again ignored or insulted, and so wanders off to contemplate being small and wanting to be needed (in other words, he begins nursing some major co-dependence issues that will doom him to dating nothing but emotionally damaged Pigletettes for the rest of his life). The rest of the crew finally notices Piglet is not around and takes his picture book where he records memories, thinking that if they follow the pictures in order, they will find Piglet. I don't have the energy to go into a rant about how farged up and ickily post-modern THAT is. And try to explain to a logical six year old why someone would think it's a good idea to follow pictures of past events to find someone lost now. By the way, they end up completely destroying this little scrapbook of Piglet's during a fight. In addition, they work in a shameless plug for the last Pooh movie where everyone dresses up like Tigger so he won't feel "left out" - Pooh does Identity Politics! ...grumble grumble grumble...

The rest of the movie is flashbacks based on Piglet's pictures. The first story is about how - and you might be tempted to think I'm exaggerating for effect here, but I'm not - Kanga and Roo first move into the Hundred Acre Wood and Rabbit decides they are evil and dangerous so he plots to kidnap Roo to convince Kanga to leave. Let's get back to REAL ISSUES small children have... one of them is being very afraid of being taken away from their parents, particularly being kidnapped by a mean stranger.

{Heavy sigh}

I began the mental preparation to answer my child's questions on that whole clusterfandango. At least it filled time while I was trying to ignore the screen.

In the midst of dealing with a plot seemingly contrived by Quentin Tarantino's autistic brother, a "sweet" Carly Simon song starts. I want to like it because I like her old stuff, but...this...is...agony! My God! I've heard lovey-dovey, church camp, stoner folk songs composed by earnest but tone-deaf kids who were further challenged by the unexpected harmonics created by the braces on their teeth who have stumbled upon better tunes. John Belushi smashing the guitar against the frat house wall wouldn't be enough to expunge those turgid notes from my ears. She even does that thing I do that prompted a voice instructor to suggest that I should perhaps find other ways to express myself musically in the middle of my second lesson: she hit some low note on the scale, and then swang upwards, hitting every sharp and flat along the way, voice cracking a couple times. I wouldn't be surprised to find that the recording producer had burst into flames at that moment. There are 7 new Carly Simon songs in this opus.

And it just gets worse and worse until Pooh and Piglet seemingly fall to their deaths in a massive waterfall while entombed in a rotten log. After a full minute of the remaining characters holding their heads down in what I presume was mourning, Rabbit lifts his head and says, "And I didn't get a chance to tell Piglet how I felt about him." !!! Who cares that they just fell to their freakin' DEATHS! It's all about Rabbit's FEELINGS!

At this point, my daughter turned to me and asked me if I was OK. I do suppose seeing my eyes bulging out that far while every vein in my neck and face were straining in full relief via the reflected light from the screen might have been alarming.

Of course Pooh and Piglet made it out of the log before it fell, but then another Carly Simon song starts, and we cut out of the cartoon to a music video of Carly herself, holding a guitar but not playing it as she sings. You can just smell the dismay of the children by this point, and we leave.

On the way back home, I ask my daughter what she thought of the movie and I quote, "I'm surprised they thought that was a good movie to put into theaters."

Bless her heart!

P.S. The real Christopher Robin really did marry his first cousin. I imagine that will be covered in the next Pooh movie: Christopher Robin Falls Down a Very Big Hole, directed by Woody Allen or Roman Polanski, no doubt.

Friday, March 21, 2003

Conspiracy Theory

A few posts ago, I tried to include a picture of a scary octopus I found in a children's book my daughter had checked out from the library.

It pulled up here, there, and everywhere in Mozilla (my browser of choice these days - it's a solid piece of work, and I support the open source girls and boys when I can, plus it works as good as and often better than MS IE). But, alas and of course, Microsoft's Internet Explorer wouldn't load the picture. It wouldn't open a new browser window if I merely linked directly to the graphic. No, I had to create a whole new frickin' page over at geocities/yahoo and link to that for IE to deign to show it. Why is that? It might be something geocities/yahoo does, but if that were entirely the case, why did it work in Mozilla?

I sometimes wonder if Bill and the boys and girls meet in dark, secure rooms lined with Jolt Cola cans and brainstorm how they can fark with the customers this time. (Popup hell, anyone?) It's funny how they behave initially and offer the coolest stuff until they perceive they've got a captive audience. Then bam! out come the ropes and the sand-infused jar of Vaseline. (They did get caught sending alternate style sheets from their sites out to non-MS browsers so they'd look messed up.)

The day edges nearer when I will switch completely from Microsoft products, I think. My last Microsoft love is Word, but with enough abuse, love fades. There is also the ongoing sin of Powerpoint to consider. (Teachers are using it in classes now, heaven forbid. Just one more thing to add to the list of questions to the new teacher: "No green party stuff, no DARE stuff, no NOW stuff, no NEA "self-esteem" stuff, no Creationist stuff, no GLAAD stuff, and no Powerpoint, right?") I've read in the tech mags that the next version of Windows and Office won't be backwards compatible, won't store Word documents in a transportable format, and everyone's work will be stored out on the web in Microsoft servers. (Was that a Microsoft logo I saw on Neo's pod?) The day that happens, pull any and all stock out of Microsoft, because they will be, like, so over.

I don't even load the Netscape browser on PCs anymore - it's just a waste of space. I mean, it commits all the sins of IE, but offers none of the niceties.

I used the Opera browser for a while, but the interface is so user-vicious it just screams "developer designed." As super scary smart as most programmers/developers are, they suck at interface design. It must be a savant thing where they can drop awesome data-crunching code like Raymond/Dustin can count a box of toothpicks before it hits the floor, but if you try to suggest a svelte, uncluttered screen that does what it looks like it should do, they start screaming about buying their undies only at K-mart. Just look at most Linux GUIs (Graphical User Interface) for proof. My favorite is the modem software that will "load" the modem and turn it on but not dial; you have to specifically ask it to dial. After you ask it to dial, it won't handshake with the other system it encounters; no, you have to ask it to do that, too. Once you ask, teeth clenched, to handshake, it sits there waiting for you to OK the actual transfer of data! By then, only the uber-geeks haven't booted over into Windows to get their damn email.

But, at least those wonky interfaces are honest and as guileless as inbred petstore puppies. It gives me the creeps when Microsoft stuff refuses to work like it should. What is it doing behind my back, anyway? I just know it's ratting me out to THE MAN, even though there's nothing to rat me out for. If it could, it would probably try to come on to my wife behind my back.

Hmmm...

Excuse me, I need to go talk to my wife...

Update: It seems Microsoft does keep offering my wife unsolicited "downloads." Those bastards.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Wrong

By two days.

Still, the sentiment remains the same.

Godspeed everyone.

Monday, March 17, 2003

Warday

Well, this is probably it. The day we start dropping bombs. And, hey, Happy St. Patrick's day. May the Lord protect those caught in harm's way.

... tone switch ... kind of ...

I'm not typically a fan of the grotesque. I think it is characteristically the result of too much navel gazing, meaning not enough walks in the sunshine or laughing it up with friends. It is an affliction of the spoiled, in two senses of the term: spoiled by having too much, or spoiled (ruined) by extensive trauma. Only the latter has an excuse.

Sometimes though, grotesquery is the wrapper for beauty. Think of David Lynch's better films, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive, and The Elephant Man, and I think you might see what I'm getting at.

Joe Sorren's grotesques have an odd sort of beauty. Make sure you hit the archives, too. (Via Dooce.com)

Friday, March 14, 2003

Jest tryin' t'he'p

I've noticed a new fad amongst blogs is to put up an automatic babel fish translator.

I'm typically not one to join fads. Like most men, I have the same clothing and hairstyle I arrived at somewhere in my twenties because, well, they work.

However, in the spirit of the times, I'd like to offer The Dialectizer. It does sorta the same thing as the babel fish, but funnier.

Behold: Third Level Digresshun, dialectitized.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Nightmare fuel

Click to open

"O is for an Octopus changing lightbulbs in the chandelier," says the text for this picture in a children's book called "Alphabeasts" by Wallace Edwards.

This is a clear example of someone doing children's book who doesn't have a child. Two other graphics in "the nightmare before bedtime" are a bat flying around with a large hammer (who the hell knows what THAT'S supposed to mean) licking an ice cream cone, and a big, hairy tarantula crawling out of an upended vase - both rendered as realistically (hammer notwithstanding) as the octopus, here.

If this guy did have children, the violent nightly screams of his children emerging from nightmares would shock some sense into him. He'd draw a Bunny, an Ox, and a freakin Triceratops respectively for those parts of the alphabet. And thereafter his wife would remind him, no doubt weekly, of that time he frightened the children with his creepy drawings from that book.

Instead, he thanks his mom profusely in the dedication, which of course renders the scene of a very patient, elderly mom who would like her grown son to get the hell out of the house, and maybe even date for mercy's sake, holding his latest opus in her wrinkled hands, with a puzzled but carefully pleasant look on her face, saying, "Yes, dear, it's very nice. Yes, it looks very much like an octopus!" while he gases up at her with that sweet little hopeful look he had when he was offering her doodie from his diaper as a toddler. All the while she's assuming the thing would never get published (with a heavy inner sigh), and thus sensitive little minds wouldn't have to face the horror she's grasping, so why be honest? In order for the thing to get past a publisher, mom must have done what Forrest Gump's mom did to get him into school.

The fact that the big, greasy thing is hanging from above, its suckers making little popping and sucking sounds as it feels up the light fixture, unscrewing highly pressurized bulbs that explode like glass grenades, is enough of an image to give anyone the fantods. Crimeny.

It should be noted: I believe James Lileks coined the term "nightmare fuel" on his wonderful site. I'd not read it before I saw it there, and have seen it many times since. Due to the fact that every single blogger on the web reads Lileks, I'm pretty sure he's the guy.
Disclaimers or Full Disclosure or "What the hell?"

It may seem incongruous that I offer suggestions on children's books, followed by posts on Capt. Kirk doing space chicks and Bono of U2 singing about his boner. Well, I view most of the web as a place for adults, adults communicating with one another. Thus, I will write like an adult and broach adult topics. I do not and will not allow children on the web unsupervised. When MPC (most precious child) does get to use the web, she's confined to kid, reference, science, and merchant sites. She will never have a computer in her room. All computers will be in the common room.

Filters will never work entirely and p0rn spam is ubiquitous. We really need some laws at the federal level halting pornographic email spam. It wouldn't be as difficult as some make it out to be, as in "define pornography first," which is nearly impossible. No, there is a practical approach. The law could be that no unsolicited nude pictures or any email containing any term from a specific list of words for body parts and sex - not including non-obscene, informational terms like "breasts," "penis," etc. - could be sent via email; the penalty for doing so being threat of fines and prison, which would include "ass poundings" as described in Office Space. The key term is "unsolicited" so that friends mailing friends dirty/fun stuff would still be OK. Just this morning I accidentally opened up a p0rn spam with a large, full-color picture of active boinking. The "from" name was someone I know, so I was pretty pissed when it turned out to be hard-core p0rn, because not only did I open it at work - a firing offense - but now the p0rn meisters have my email and IP address from the graphics that loaded, so I will now be inundated from that site. Those bastards.

I am also a Christian, so some other Christians will no doubt question my use of various vulgarities. From my understanding of the Bible, it doesn't have anything to say directly about what we currently call "profanity," a.k.a. cussing. There are a lot of general things about living a pure life, keeping your thoughts pure and so on, which are all good goals. I maintain that cussing, discussing sex, telling blue jokes and such aren't necessarily impure, and depend on context. Am I having pure thoughts when, ahem, "knowing" my wife?

I have a buddy who can say "fuck you" with such affection, it feels as if he had used the other word commonly associated to that particular deed (that being "love" for those of you in the cheap seats). Intent behind words is much more important than the words themselves. If I tell a dirty joke I've read on the net to my wife, is that really bad? I don't think so.

That doesn't mean I'll walk around talking, or writing, like a Quentin Tarantino character all the time. But once in a while I'll be crude, because crude can be fun. Harmless fun. We are here to have fun. To fart around, as Kurt Vonnegut puts it.

True story: Once a charming, wonderful Catholic Priest was telling me a story, and at one point he'd used the term "move it over a blond" as his instruction on how far to nudge a board he was trying to nail down. After the story, I asked what he meant, and he said, "Oh ... well ... YOU know, um, a pubic hair from a brunette is thicker in circumference than one from a blonde, and a red-head's is the thinnest of all." So he meant move it about two pixels instead of one or three. "Oh," I said, in response. And immediately made my escape so I could laugh myself silly. I think even that Priest would agree that crude is often fun, and not a sin.

The commandment "do not take the Lord's name in vain" is actually about claiming to believe in God or to belong to God when neither is true. In other words, don't pretend to believe in God if you don't. Lip service is not welcome. It can also mean don't curse someone in the name of God - that's a big no no. But, it's not about cussing, damnit.

Though, using the names of, titles, or references to God, Jesus, Mary, etc. is disrespectful - to say the least - and a sin. I do avoid using names and terms for God and other holy people, with the sad exception being a habit I can't break where I tend to bellow Jesus' name and title when drastically startled. Much like that fabulous moment in Monty Python and the Holy Grail where King Arthur bellows the same when a bunny bites a knight's head off - mind you he does this whilst on a search for the Holy Grail. (I don't think a lot of folks get that joke during the movie.) However, besides asking forgiveness, I justify it in that if the thing that startled me were to actually kill me, I would be saying Jesus' name as I met him. Hopefully he'll find that amusing and not make me do some time in fundie heaven.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

The freshest of up-to-now tips

Here's a must-read article concerning the upcoming war: Our World-Historical Gamble

Norman Mailer's recent article "Only in America" in the "New York Review of Books" is a good companion piece to the above.

Friday, March 07, 2003

It's about that?

Music has always been a visceral experience for me. If reincarnation were real, somewhere in my atman past I'd have been one of those rats that followed the Pied Piper to a mysterious death. I think I even have a touch of synesthesia because some songs can evoke strong smells, intense memories, and sometimes even visual artifacts. Who needs drugs when you have natural trails, eh?

Music sometimes overwhelms me such that I don't notice all the elements of a particular song until maybe the 100th time through - sometimes even years later. Here are some songs that I was shocked, SHOCKED to discover what they were about many listenings later.

Semi-charmed Life by Third Eye Blind
A guy gets whacked on meth, does a booty call, falls asleep on top (and inside) of her after he pops, and then laments the fact that she drops him like a hot rock. The first few times I heard it, whilst grooving on the tune and not paying close attention to the words, I thought it was about a guy wanting something better for his life. I didn't really listen to the lyrics until the radio started playing the censored version, where they bleep out "crystal meth," making me wonder what they had to bleep.

Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel
A song about fucking. The video threw me off on this one. It dawned on me later when a bunch of us were hanging out at the drive-in waiting for the show to start, and I heard the lyrics whilst a little drunk and the haze of booze cleared it up for me. I blurted out, "This is about screwing!" and one of the girls, after a pause, said, "Well, duh." Yes. Duh, indeed.

Second Hand News by Fleetwood Mac
From the monster bitter-divorce-and-breakup-album everyone in the English-speaking world has heard at least a few times. To this day, it's one of the first albums most people above a certain age buy when they upgrade their player; it was just released in a cool surround version for DVD players. The song is about what it appears to be, a vicious breakup. But it has a nasty twist - it's also about masturbation - kind of a spin on "go fuck yourself" - i.e. - "go fuck yourself by yourself." Near the end, there's even an orgasmic three symbol shot to drive the point home. "Let me lay down in the tall grass and let me do my stuff."

Elevation by U2
The best band in the world, and a Christian band at that, finally writes a really sexual song. Wow. The concept so boggled me that I thought this was a spiritual song for a while. It can still double as one, but I really think it's all about the horizontal bop, the beast with two backs, wink wink nudge nudge:

I need you to elevate me here,
At the corner of your lips
As the orbit of your hips
Eclipse, you elevate my ... SOUL!
I've got no self-control
Been living like a mole
Now going down, excavation


And what guy hasn't felt like this at some point: "Maybe you could educate my mind ... Explain all these controls." The submarine sounds (a phallus gliding through the water) throughout are a cute touch.

Lovable by Elvis Costello
He's calling her a slut! I almost put this on a mix tape for a girlfriend! (All guys are Rob Gordon (John Cusack) in High Fidelity to some extent.) "It's going around town, you're so lovable... The toast of the town and the talk of the bedroom." And the line "As you lie there so lifelike below me," well...words fail.

More than Words by Extreme and
End of the Innocence by Don Henley
Both very sweet-sounding songs, but the guys are just making sneaky, skanky bids for fourth base here. "More than Words" is the gambit teenage boys with boners have used since the dawn of time: "If you loved me, you'd show me." "End of the Innocence" visits a discrete level of evil; he's preying on a girl whose parents are in the middle of divorce, other things are falling apart in her life, she's vulnerable - he even taunts her to "offer up her best defense" - and to top it off, he even tells her it's a one-nighter. Wham bam, thankyou ma'am! Henley's "Dirty Laundry" was his first reaction in song to getting busted for having nekkid underage girls floating around stoned in his pool; this is the "prequel" about how he got them there in the first place. "We've been poisoned by these fairy tales." Do tell, Don.

Breakout by the Foo Fighters
It's intriguing that the current savior of rock and roll, the great Dave Grohl, was the drummer in the band with the previous savior of rock and roll. This hilarious song is about getting zits from stress, not breaking free of something, as I first thought. "I don't wanna look like that." Scream along with Dave at the end of the song, "BREAKOUUUUUUT! ... BREAKOUUUUUUT!" It helps clear the skin. Promise.

Some Kinda Wonderful by Sky
You probably haven't heard this song (check out the sample). It's done by a Canadian act that hasn't broken in the states, yet. However, it's such a sticky-sweet wad of pure bubblegum, it is surprising the pop stations didn't squeeze this in between Britney and the various iterations of the new Monkees. It comes off as your standard "my girl is the best" pop staple. However, "My Girl" and the nearly identically monikered "Some Kind of Wonderful" don't contain the lyrics, "You can call me baby if you let me hold your soul," and "the eyes are kinda freaky, and the horns are there to stay." She's a little devil, that one.

Sample and Hold by Neil Young
Queue the Sesame Street song "One of these things is not like the others." I got this one first time out, but I have secret knowledge that enabled my revelations, which I will share with you now. Please use discretion in dissemination. The song is about ordering a robot woman to "sample and hold." Tee hee. But, "sample and hold" is the basic mechanism for the generation of all synthesizer music; a tone is created by something, a chip or analogue oscillator, and the synth samples that sound and holds it to create a note when you push one of the keys. This and other songs on the Trans album are created entirely with synthesizers, including Neil Young's "singing." This project resulted from his trying to find ways for his children, who have cerebral palsy, to communicate easily. "Transformer Man" on the same album is a love song to his son. Neil discovered that his son could control model trains, and that it gave him a feeling of control over something, so the song is about his little boy, the Transformer Man.

What songs have surprised you?

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Scary movie.

I went to see The Ring alone in the theatres (it's on DVD now). It was the middle of a cold day. I was feeling kinda achy, a little crabby, definitely not in a mood to be shaken up. I thought the movie would be a typical modern horror film, not very scary, perhaps with a goopy monster and a couple soundtrack-induced "boo" moments - the thunderous note that augments a surprise on the screen.

It starts out creepily enough. Which is nice. So many movies can't do "creepy" it seems. Then the first shock came, replete with the "boo" note. Scared the hell out of me. I jumped. I think I snorted, too. I got goose bumps all over, which are even more unpleasant on a cold, achy day. Had I been holding my drink, I would have popped it, geysering it onto the people two rows down from me (which reminds me of another story*). My fight-or-flight mechanism had returned a vote of full confidence to beat feet to a warm, well-lighted place, preferably somewhere they serve beer. I seriously considered leaving the movie - a first since I was seven years old and a Harryhausen animated monster came a little close to those things that chased me in those nightmares where you run in slow-motion terror as the beast's claws touch your neck. Besides, my wife lives for these moments of sheer spazitude "well developed flight response" of mine, so why not share this with her? Well, after consulting my pride's thoughts on the matter, I stayed. I haven't had that much fun being frightened to death in a long time. Go. Rent it this weekend.

Yeah, yeah, we all have those mutant friends which no movie scares - they will say it's only funny. Well, they used to pick the wings off flies, too, so let's not use their psyche as a yardstick for anything, k? The results are messy when someone considers Tyler Durden a role model.

*Another story: I had a girlfriend in high school who reflexively threw an entire large coke at the screen during Jaws when the head floated out of the hull-hole at Richard Dreyfuss. It broke open and showered the eight rows in front of us, which nearly caused a full-fledged panicked dash for the exits theatre tragedy. Imagine: you are confronted with one of the scariest things ever seen on the screen to date, it's an underwater scene in THE shark movie, and suddenly a wave of cold fluid splashes across the back of your head. The wave of people scurrying for the aisle looked like the result of that childhood science class experiment where you cover the surface of a pot of water with pepper and then touch the surface with a bar of soap. Nearly everyone got to the aisle before their "wait a minute" sanity check kicked in and reminded them they were in a theatre, and not in scuba gear. My girl friend just waved at them with that smile of hers, and this was back before common courtesy died its ugly public death, so they just waved back and sat down. When we went to "Raiders of the Lost Ark," she was the only one laughing at German dialog (her dad had fled Nazi Germany), so we got some odd looks, then, too. We didn't last beyond that year - nothing to do with the movies, though. She became a black belt in Tai Quon Do, has two kids and a hubby, in case you're curious.

If you're not in the mood for a good scare, see About a Boy. THE best movie released last year, end of discussion.

I love the movies. I really do.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

34% Geek.

Found via the Poor Man.

You are 34% geek
You are a geek liaison, which means you go both ways. You can hang out with normal people or you can hang out with geeks which means you often have geeks as friends and/or have a job where you have to mediate between geeks and normal people. This is an important role and one of which you should be proud. In fact, you can make a good deal of money as a translator.

Normal: Tell our geek we need him to work this weekend.


You [to Geek]: We need more than that, Scotty. You'll have to stay until you can squeeze more outta them engines!


Geek [to You]: I'm givin' her all she's got, Captain, but we need more dilithium crystals!


You [to Normal]: He wants to know if he gets overtime.

Take the Polygeek Quiz at Thudfactor.com



This is funny, because I make my living doing just that.

However, I think my actual geek quotient might be a couple ticks higher because I made a Winamp skin once. That's geeky.
Don't you know there's a war on?

Yes, I do. However, I have nothing to add to the dialogue that isn't already being said, and said much better than I could.

Personally, I am ambivalent about the war. Saddam is a bad son-of-a-bitch. He needs to go if he's gonna get nukes. However, this will most likely be the first time that America has initiated a war outside of its borders. I say "most likely" because I read an article recently (can't find the URL now) that put forth the theory that in the Mexican-American war and the Vietnam war, we taunted the other side until they shot at us, and so we didn't fire the first shot, but having been shot at were free to "defend" ourselves. I don't know if this is true or not. The fact still remains this will be the first time we have clearly attacked a nation that did not attack us or one of our allies, first.

So, I don't like that idea. I think we as a nation will "pay" for that for a while, but if someone like Saddam gets nukes - which, by the way, has probably happened in North Korea - it will be a scarier world than it was during the cold war. Russia had a good reason not to start a nuclear war - they had as much to lose as we did. But Iraq's and North Korea's "leaders" just don't view the world that way. They don't care what their nation has to lose; it's all about ego and what's in it for them personally. As long as they can get somewhere where the radiation can't hurt them, in their mind, they've succeeded.

It's a lose-lose thing, seemingly.

Sometimes a cloud's silver lining is toxic.