Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Garrison Keillor has written another great essay about the quiet philosophers of the Great Plains and why they matter.
The Pipettes and Other Dubious Recommendations

My latest guilty favorite is "The Pipettes," three British cuties who recreate early 60s girl-group pop with modern wannabe bad-girl sass.

Now I have always enjoyed powerpop, sugary pop, and so on. If you are a person who's concerned about a band being "authentic" or "real," the Pipettes are not for you. They are a manufactured band, and the sound is purposely pseudo-retro. It's the kind of stuff that would end up in a David Lynch or Quentin Tarantino movie.

But, if that doesn't matter to you, and you like music with a bit of a sense of humor about itself, I think you might dig them. They are now available for download at Amazon's awesome MP3 store.

Rolling Stone even gave them a decent review, which spurred me to put up this post. Sometimes I'm sorta embarrassed about my wide and weird tastes in music - I like most everything except gangsta rap and opera. So I originally wasn't gonna put anything up here about them. But, heck, groups can live and die by word of mouth, so I decided to put my pride aside and say give'em a shot.

I bought the British release a while back which, according to the blurb about the album, has a different mix than this "American" version. From the samples, it does seem to have more electric guitar. But, the mix isn't so different that it changes the core sound of the songs.

If any of ya'll buy any of their songs, let me know what you think in the comments.

Other songs I've bought lately and have been enjoying immensely are:

"I Wanna Kiss You" by Paula Cole - A sweet, slinky, sexy song that culminates in the line "oh, won't you marry me?" Perfect for the bedroom mix tape, if you get my drift and I bet you do.

"Beautiful Wreck" by Shawn Mullins - "In the dark end of this bar, what a beautiful wreck you are" goes the lyric. Who hasn't witnessed that? Great tune and perfect evocation of an archetype.

"Crazy Bitch" by Buckcherry (which just now I realized is a play on "Chuck Berry" ... sometimes I wonder about myself) - My my, what a dirty, dirty song. I laugh every time I hear it. No kiddies within earshot, plz.

"Hey Eugene" by Pink Martini - The rest of this salsa-esque album didn't do much for me, but this backhanded groove of a song about a new relationship makes me smile with lines like "I'm that chick you danced with two times through the Rufus album Friday night at that party." I'm always a sucker for a horn section, too.

The moldy oldie "Blow Away" by George Harrison - I was surfing through the top-selling MP3 singles and noticing the theme is hits that have not been anthologized appropriately (those you had to buy an album to get the one good song (if was still in print)) or it's the one song you'd want from that artist. "Blow Away" is one of those, as it has never been on any of his hits compilations. Heck, I'd even forgotten about the song till I heard it again on Amazon. It was one of those that played incessantly back in my high school cruising days, so I had to have it.

"Big Girls Don't Cry (Personal)" by Fergie - Since I listen to popular radio only about an hour a week anymore, and even then often by accident, it was a great feeling to hear a song that made me ears perk up. I personally think she sings the hell out of this song. Sadly, the rest of the album is rap and hip hop crap. THIS is why the ability to buy the one good single off an album ROCKS!

I've had these on CD for a while, but they're worth checking out.

"Hold On" by Ian Gomm - Kinda sums up 70s pop one-hit-wonders all in one song. Killer bass line, too. It's also notable in that it features the much maligned "Aural Exciter" prominently, which was overused in the 70s for a while. It makes the high-end all shimmery and adds some edge to the bass notes. The Eagles has a snippy little liner note on some of their albums that says they DIDN'T use it, which was kind of a lash out at the artists who had a credit in their liner notes announcing the whole album was processed that way. Ah, liner note memories.

"Lights Out" by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - How can you not dig thrash with a horn section? This little under-two-minute gem is from their introductory EP, and it's a hoot.

Finally, David Byrne, previously of the Talking Heads, covers Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance with Somebody." I'm still debating whether I want to own this one or not. It's enough of a lark that I'm sorely tempted, but I don't know if I'd ever really listen to it for enjoyment, or if I'd merely pull it out at a party or two to bore the crowd with "ain't this a hoot!" only to have them mumble a half-hearted assent before going back to their conversations. I mean, Whitney's version is almost a parody unto itself anyway, so the further irony of mr. stop making sense doing it isn't enough of a difference to really count, maybe.

(Remember, btw, that you can listen to a pretty decent sample of each of these before you purchase, so don't just take my word for it on any of these.)

Happy listening!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Cheney Falls Asleep in Meetings

Hell, he's safest this way. Why complain?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

No Doubt You've Heard

J.K. Rowling told an audience during a Q&A that Dumbledore is(was) gay.

For some reason, I was reminded of this old cartoon made from a Lenny Bruce bit:

Thank You Mask Man

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Recent Movies, 10/23/2007

Knocked Up
I was expecting a lot from this movie since the reviews were mostly positive and it looked pleasantly subversive.

Was surprised me is how piggish the guys in this movie were, and that unsuspended my disbelief so drastically, I found the movie hard to finish. I've lived with "just the buds" a few times in my life, and yes, when a bunch of bachelors room together, things can get funky and fugly. But, even at our worst, no one I know was ever as clueless and loutish as these guys were.

And there is no way a woman would stay with a guy like that. Ever. My wife started counting "deal breakers" out loud after a while just to keep us entertained. ("Deal breakers" are things that will end a relationship on the spot.)

Most unforgivable of all: there was never a joke in this movie that made laugh out loud - not once.


Curious George
Curious George is only for very small children, say 5 and under. There is nothing in this movie for adults at all.

However, it kills in its demographic. My two-and-a-half-year-old was able to follow the plot, laughed a lot, and apparently identified with Curious George very much (as I'm sure is the intent). I was pleased by how well the filmmakers understood their tot audience and were able to keep it consistent for them at that level. That's a talent unto itself.

Oh, and it wasn't that waaaay dumbed-down pabulum they spew on PBS shows for the very small ones. It assumes your child knows English and is of at least average intelligence.

If you have wee ones, and don't object to movies in general for that age, your kids will have a great time with this one.

Fast Food Nation
I'll see anything Richard Linklater makes. And neighbors had read the non-fiction book that was the source material and said it was great and that anyone who read it would never eat another hamburger again.

It's average as an entertainment, in my opinion. But if you approach it for what it is - the fictionalized portrayal of a non-fiction expose - it's kind of impressive. It holds your interest enough to get the facts to you.

Given our recent inundation with immigrants from Mexico, and the politicization of it, even a liberal like myself didn't really buy into the "lets feel sorry for the poor immigrants who can only find jobs at meat-packing plants" angle. And, coming from the Midwest and being surrounded by farms as I grew up, the slaughter of animals and the reality behind that are old news.

But I can see a city mouse being shocked by what it takes to turn a cow from a mooing animal with a pulse to steaks and leather. You see the whole process, including a live cow being shot in the brain.

I'd recommend it for the fans, the curious, and for folks who need one more reason to be vegan. For the average movie-goer, I'd say get Dazed and Confused instead.

(Did it change my mind on eating meat? Heck no. Make my steak medium.)

When the fanboys first started grunting and hooting over this flick, I just kinda chuckled and surfed on, because I was a young adult by the time this fad hit all the young dudes - one of the more infamous cases where the cartoons were created just to sell toys after Ronny Raygun "deregulated" things.

I could tell by the few cartoons and toys I did see that I would not have been able to get enough of them were I still a kid. As an adult, they seemed stupid. And I loathed the fact that the cartoons were just commercials in disguise, being an animation buff.

I had no intention of ever seeing it.

Then the movie got good reviews. By people who typically would've just been honest and said "for the fanboys only" if it were.

My daughter had a sleepover for her birthday, so we got it for that, and gathered in the TV room and cranked the surrounds to the max.

It was exactly what I expected: a plot so thin that if it were a female superhero's costume, the movie would have to be rated "R" for showing too many pink parts. Scene upon scene of giant robot swat-fu coupled with sound effects that sounded like the crew from "Stomp!" was gang-raping the Tin Woodsman in a sheet metal factory.

I was not impressed. I mean, a couple of the robot transformations were cool, but I need more than a nifty origami trick to get my sci-fi mojo goin'.

I'll say it then: for fanboys only.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Year in the Life...

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit, Star Trek version

Via Attuworld, where Attu sees all. Note that a good portion of Attu is so NSFW. Surf only at home and other safe places. Worth it though; Attu posts a lot of cool mashups.

Friday, October 05, 2007

The Swim Hole

This is probably the funniest, whimsical photo I've ever seen. Click the pic for the source and the (slightly) NSFW original.

Of course, the theme song to this picture would be the Barenaked Ladies "If I had $1,000,000," with the lyric: "If I Had $1000000 , I'd buy you a monkey (haven't you always wanted a monkey?)"
How MP3s Work

Nifty article on how MP3s work.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Danny Bonaduce is My Anti-hero

Mr. Bonaduce, forever known as Danny Partridge from the TV show, has always had my grudging respect for pulling an entertainment career back from the void by sheer brute force. I wouldn't necessarily wanna be stuck on a road trip with the guy, but I find most of his exploits and shows pretty damned funny.

And then he does this, covers himself with glory, and I just gotta admire him.


For those of you who had better things to do, Jonny Fairplay was one of the most notorious contestants on "Survivor" ever. Right before one vote, especially one where he was probably going to get axed, he had a friend come on and announce that his grandmother had died. She hadn't (or had even been warned of the scam), and Fairplay did it just to get the sympathy so he wouldn't get voted off. When the host, Jeff Probst, found out, he was clearly pissed and impressed all at the same time. Well, when the secret got out it made Fairplay one of the most hated people in the media. As you can see in the vid here, he has a slimy, simpering personality anyway - and thinks he's way cuter than he is. So he was at a deficit, personality-wise, before the grandma scam.

Also from the link on about the aftermath of the above: "Fairplay was taken to the hospital, and then to the dentist, where he underwent 2 1/2 hours of surgery. According to Fairplay, the body slam knocked one tooth out and moved three others and he now has to undergo multiple root canals."

Karma, baby. Karma.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Art and Politics (unrelated topics mashed into one post)


Found (StumbledUpon) a couple wild art sites.

Brian Dettmer: Book Autopsies

I can't imagine the time it takes to dig through these books for pictures and then cut down to them this way. Were I wealthy, I'd hunt this guy down and procure a couple few of these. Also, kudos to him for channeling obsessive-compulsiveness into an art form.


What an eye this guy has. I've not happed upon an art blog (other than the 2Blowhards, natch), that is so diverse in its findings and offerings. What an eye. Some content NSFW.


As constant readers know, I suck out loud the most when I go political, so I'm not gonna do that.

But Bruce is! Check this out from a recent concert he did for the Today show:

Couldn't have said it better myself (and I almost never do).

A buddy sent me this Candidate Calculator. (One bit of coolness is every topic is linked out to a site that explains it.)

Glory be, the calculator and my choices match: