Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Dead White Guys

This quote is from an article "Starting Out in the Evening" by Stephanie Zacharek

For years now, white male writers [snip] have been out of fashion. These are the kinds of guys we're never supposed to identify with, as punishment for the fact that their view of the world was once treated as supreme. "Starting Out in the Evening" suggests, among other things, that once these writers have disappeared, we'll have lost more than we know. Someday their books will be in style again. Until then, there's no law against feeling something for them. Understanding the human heart is an equal-opportunity affair, and old -- or even dead -- white guys have often done it as well as anybody else.

Apparently not everyone has gotten the memo that Identity Politics, and its implicit racism and sexism, is considered an intellectual ghetto.
Girl with a Big Gun

After several false starts, I've decided not to analyze very deeply why this vid tickles me.

Girl With A Real Big Gun

It's been said out loud.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Radio Sweetheart

When I was growing up, my little town in the center of South Dakota was a radio wasteland. We had two AM stations, one played songs that were so old that you could hear the wear on the vinyl, the other was mostly local commercials and pork belly futures.

But at night when the AM stations could amp up and throw their glorious waves out across the plains of the Midwest, KOMA from Oklahoma came in clear as a bell, and they played all the good stuff.

One of my buddies was given his dad's cassette tape recorder (one of those old mono warhorses used for dictation where getting the voice and not fidelity was the main goal), and he would sit up at night pressing "record" when they'd start a song, stopping it when it was done, tediously collecting songs. Even worse, he was a purist, so if the DJ talked over the beginning or end of a song, he would stop recording, back the tape up, and record over it. I think he filled a shoebox with those tapes.

This is how far some of us will go for sweet music in our lives.

Well, recently a dude at work turned me on to the fact that someone had made a ripper (recorder/copier) for internet radio streams that play in the Windows' best MP3 player, Winamp. You basically open it up, tune in, start the ripper, and it fills your hard drive with songs as long as you let it run. It detects the beginning and ends of songs, and if the song information is provided in the stream, it names them!

I have finally finally finally found a source for new songs by new artists since American radio turned to shite in the consolidation wars. Huzzah!

(Apologies to Mac users, I didn't research if either of these are available for your platform.)
Theses Boots are Made for Rockin'

Happed upon a great site that has some pretty fantastic bootlegs.

My view of bootlegs is they only help the artist. Some artists, like Bob Dylan, have figured out what a boon this is to music lovers and have released official versions of well-known bootlegs.

Until everyone else figures that out, enjoy the boots on that site.
Oh. Ha ha.

Until you look at the URL, this sure appears legit. I wonder how many gullable guys print this out and take it home to the lovely wife and say, SEE! YOU CAN'T ARGUE WITH SCIENCE!

(I found this via StumbleUpon, and after reading it was like "no way" - then saw the url.)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Grand Unification Theory?

Some physicists think so.

A. Garrett Lisi, aka "Surfer Dude", has cobbled together a theory that may be the much sought after Grand Unification Theory. Some physicists are wetting themselves in glee that this might finally be it, and of course others are saying snarky stuff "seems like a long shot" (who then turn away and bite a knuckle as their eyes well up).

Here's an article about it. Here's a link to the abstract; Here's the paper itself called (I love it): An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything (when saving this, you have to plug in the ".pdf" on the file name, btw).

I've looked it over, but this is so far out of my realm that basically I'm the 567th monkey on typewriter no. 352 out of the thousand of us trying to peck out Macbeth.

It's awfully pretty, though.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


And now.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Another gratuitious vid posting

Someone used that Roller Coaster Tycoon game to construct a rather elaborate human bowling league.

How to Completely Muff It Up

(This is a post about Star Trek, so those who could give a flip should surf on and save valuable blog reading time for better stuff. It would be interesting for someone to amass all the text on the web devoted to Star Trek and see what the word count is. If aliens (presuming they exist) ever found earth, and we were gone, and they had to surmise what we were like by our archives, they'd think that Star Trek was probably one of the most important things on the planet. Galaxy Quest would then be a documentary.)

I read somewhere that all of Star Trek: Enterprise was now available on DVD. I started watching the series when it first premiered, and after I regained consciousness after the odious theme song (listen to a sample here, or for the more masochistic download it here), I was disenchanted with what I saw, so bailed a few episodes in. Rick Berman and Brannon Braga had struck again, boldly going where no one is likely to go, into a politically correct future where feelings come before photon torpedoes.

Most fans feel those two - Berman/Braga - were the most responsible for driving the various series into the ground, or more precisely into a planet, with their boring attempts to tell "human" stories in the midst of all the interstellar grandeur. They also have the stench of an alternate future where Identity Politics had not been dismissed as utter bullshit before the year 2000 by everyone save those who make salaries off of it in the university system.

Another common gripe is the freakin' holodeck episodes, which were a phenomenal cheat and a way to see most of the characters in silly hats.

Even with all of this baggage, though, I wanted to see how they would end Star Trek: Enterprise, because I have a thing for series' endings when they actually have the forewarning to be able to make one.

So I spooled up the final episode and it ... it's even hard to type this ... it was a freakin' HOLODECK EPISODE! <Channeling Sam Kinison>Ohhhhh! OOOOHHHH! OOOoooh!</Channeling Sam Kinison>.

The central story is Riker from TNG using the events of the first Enterprise's mission ending to help him decide if he should tell Picard he'd worked on an illegal project to invent a cloaking device. Riker mostly plays the ship's cook because everyone talked to the cook, so that's where you learned all the secrets of the ship. So, what should have been a glorious flameout of an episode is spent in the galley with Riker cutting carrots.

The mind boggles. You'd have to be trying to make that many bad choices. Did these guys have absolutely NO connection with the fan base? Were they being perverse and punishing their audience for not watching their dreck?

I see I'm not the only one who felt this way. In that article, Berman/Braga supposedly said that this episode was a "Valentine" to the fans. Do you suppose these guys' wives (presuming, of course) would point out to them that flipping someone the bird is NOT a valentine? Or that a valentine can lead to a good fucking, but hopefully not a fucking over? (Apologies for the bad puns, but Judas on a Vespa anyway.)

Tangentally, the episode brought up something I'd noticed about the Berman/Braga era. They often had characters talk about how heroic someone was - like Capt. Picard or Capt. Jonathan Archer from "Enterprise" - but personally I never felt these guys actually did anything that seemed or felt all that heroic. Kirk did a few things that seemed particularly heroic, so I know it's possible to convey that quality. I just don't think any of the latter-day Treks accomplished it. Thus having characters gas on about how heroic they were was eye-rollingly embarrassing.

As far as I can discern, the people who own the rights to the series haven't let the reverse Midas touch of Berman/Braga sully the new movie. From what I've read, Berman helped get the idea off the ground, but has not been part of the new effort. Let's hopes so. (Though Whisky and I predict an utter bomb, regardless. Oh, it'll make money, but it will suck.)

Btw, here are pics of Spock in the upcoming film which started principal photography Nov. 7th.

Be sure to check out Whisky's post about this.
The Bridge

The Bridge is a documentary (sorta) about people committing suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.

The director filmed people jumping off the bridge to their deaths, then interviewed the families of the dead without their knowing that he had footage of them killing themselves. Thus the film has been rightly criticized as being exploitive.

But how is it as a film?


It's slow with a lot of gratuitous filler. If you cut together all the footage of slow pans across the water and the bay and, it'd probably comprise 1/2 an hour. If you cut to the chase, as it were, you'd get a decent 1/2 hour film.

Other than the one guy who survived the fall, most of the recollections of the friends and relatives of the dead are not that revealing. Most either talk of how messed up the person was (insanity, drugs, etc.) or how often they talked about killing themselves before they really did it. The one guy who lived is sorta gripping, because - well, he tried and failed to kill himself, and is somewhat redeemed by the event. The one other observation of note was one of the last things said in the film where a guy relates how much the suicide of his friend hurt him, and the promise that if they ever met again (in the afterlife), he'd give him hell about the pain it caused him.

The jumps themselves are riveting. You want to leap through the screen and catch them. Something inside knows the finality and reality of what's on the screen.

Overall, not worth your time. If you want to experience a couple of the jumps, watch the start of the movie until it happens the first time, then watch the last chapter for the most dramatic one. But, be warned, it's not gonna make you feel anything other than loss and sadness.

Friday, November 09, 2007

It's fun to scare your kids

Girl Scare Prank
Dogs and Cats Living Together

One of my favorite commenters on 2Blowhards is Shouting Thomas. Our political views (his and mine) have this weird synergy - because they match up a lot, but he's a professed conservative and I'm a professed liberal.

While I really dislike some of the baggage that comes with being on the liberal side - such as the "Identity Politics" loonies, or anyone who doesn't realize Marx was full of shite right up to the tippy-top of his addled noggin, and (let's just say it) Hillary Clinton is no Bill Clinton - I have bigger problems with the wingnuts on the right.

To be blunt, I think the Republicans have put America at grave risk by allowing the Current Occupant to form an imperial presidency and change the laws so that citizens can be suppressed and imprisoned for no reason, and even have their belongings taken, other than someone in power says to. (If you don't believe the extent to which this has occurred, read Bill of Wrongs by Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose.) I really do feel our freedoms are in peril.

Also, I just don't understand what wingnuts have against public education and libraries. I DO understand their beef with the NEA, because I share it, but that just means we should fix or nuke the NEA. Don't deny kids a free education just because some Fed agency is overrun by nuts.

Those gripes aside, Shouting Thomas said something recently about living in a very liberal community and how it grates on him (or something to that effect). That really resonated with me, because I realized I feel the same way.

Right now, most of my close friends and neighbors are predominantly Republican. I've lived in very liberal communities - such as downtown Minneapolis and Boulder, Colorado - and didn't like it as much. A certain portion of the liberal community has a sense of entitlement that just annoys the hell out of me. It's as if we are here for the indulgence of their pleasure, and if you do something counter to that, they get mean. Their interpretation of "the pursuit of happiness" doesn't extend to thinking of others' happiness at the same time as pursuing their own. Some conservatives I know have a built-in courtesy to live and let live as long as no one's being a jerk. Some liberals act as though no one else exists, or worse, like spoiled brats when someone harshes their mellow.

This is ironic because liberals support social programs that provide a social safety net and free public education and so on - very admirable values. Seems the impulses they have for society at large don't match their daily behaviors with the people they actually come in contact with. Conservatives are the other way around; they don't like giving up tax money that isn't going to come back directly to them in some form or another - in effect, screw those who can't afford a private school or medical care. Yet, in person, most conservatives are very nice people.

I like living in communities where there's balance of political views - those are the best of all. But if I have to live in one that's skewed to one side - I like living with Republicans. Heh.

Some folks who read this will probably say, "Yahmdallah, why can't you connect the dots? If you like living in places where Republicans are the majority, don't you realize that you probably ARE one?" Donald of the 2Blowhards actually offers this as a possible reality.

Well, for the reasons stated here, I just can't get on the side of a group who - in my opinion - can't seem to figure out that if we don't educate people, and at least ensure a minimum of health care, this will result in a diminished quality of life.

Consider Mexico and our current immigration crisis. We are feeling the pangs of absorbing a people who have grown up in a conservative mecca - i.e. "fuck those who don't have a pot to piss in" - and come here because some of our Democratic presidents and their administrations have been successful in providing some basics for the necessity of having a decent quality if life.

Do we really want to be Mexico? No. I don't think we want to be Sweden, either, but can't we find a sweet spot in the middle?

But I digress.

I've always found this little bit of wisdom as true as it is funny:
Heaven is where the police are British, the chefs are French, the mechanics are German, the lovers Italian, and it's all organized by the Swiss.

Hell is where the chefs are British, the mechanics are French, the lovers are Swiss, the police are German, and it's all organized by the Italians.

Wouldn't it be nice if Republicans (though not the wingnuts, they're irredeemable) could make their political instincts match their personal polite behavior, and Democrats (though not the loonies, they're irredeemable, too) could be as generous in person as they are in politics?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Lint Licker

I'm putting this up here more for my own use, because I've found the blog search works pretty well. Therefore, when I wanna show someone this, I'll know right where it's at.

I laughed myself off the couch first time I saw this.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Firefox Tip - File saving/downloading taking forever fix

I use Firefox as my primary browser. Recently, as I've tried to save pictures, the save step took up to 30 seconds or something silly. I didn't remember this being the case at first, but as time has gone by, it's just gotten beyond reasonable.

I unloaded a download task bar extension, thinking its history was causing the issue. Didn't help.

So I tried to clear out the download history on the Firefox download managler. It wouldn't work.

So, I finally deleted the "downloads.rdf" file in the area used by Firefox as my personal settings. (Found on my Windows XP maching at: C:\Documents and Settings\[myusername]\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\[theonlyonethere].default).

That did the trick. So, if file saving is getting arduous in Firefox, try deleting your "downloads.rdf" file.
Not a Classic...

But still pretty funny. Quasi-NSFW - don't play it out loud.

"High as Fü¢ķ"

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Holiday Season Catalogues

Pity the postal worker at this time of year as the holiday catalogues triple back strain and make mailboxes moan with their weight.

We also mourn the many trees that gave their spirits so that we can choose between 8 different nut and cheese logs (oh the Alanis Morissette irony of it all).

When we're past all that, though, we can enjoy some of the more perverse things offered for your consumption.

For instance, a pasta company makes noodles in a vast array of shapes to be used for fundraising. My wife pointed this one out to me:

She asked, "Haven't you always wanted to eat a cheerleader?" Though I can't imagine using that marketing angle around the office.

This one was accompanied by a vague whirring sound that seemed to emanate from the Northwest:

Kurt Cobain Action Figure

Now they need to make one of him spinning in his grave. You wonder who gave this company the rights to make something like this, too. I just may have to have one.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

In the "It Can't Happen Here" files...

Clear Channel is refusing to play any of Bruce Springsteen's new songs, even though the album has gone #1 on the charts. Here's a blog with some good info about it, and here's an article on Faux News about it (down the page, after the Britney story).