Friday, October 31, 2008

A gem from a gem

I, for one, was bummed when Roger Ebert appeared to be destined for eternity. Now that he's narrowly escaped that fate, his writing - which was always stellar - just got that much better.

He talks about that here on his fantastic blog, which if you've not read, you're missing out.

Anyway, the last sentence in this excerpt made me literally LOL, so I had to share it with ya.

Kevin Smith [snip] believes [snip] that it's funny to shock people with four-letter words and enough additional vulgarisms to fill out a crossword puzzle.

This is sort of endearing. It gives his potty-mouth routines a certain freshness; we've heard these words over and over again, but never so many of them so closely jammed together. If you bleeped this movie for broadcast TV, it would sound like a conga line of Iron Men going through a metal detector.

(My emPHASis added.)

The source.

Hey, MTV has put up nearly every video they've ever played on a Youtube-like site. Check it out, mang.

They don't have the best video EVER, which is Donald Fagen's New Frontier, but it's a start.

And let me take a moment to remind you, you have the power to turn any of these into a portable song, if you are OK with the audio quality (and the possibility is might be a scootch illegal). The audio on all the MTV vids thus far has been good as far as I can tell.

Oh, and Bruce has a free Halloween song for ya. Go down to "A Night With The Jersey Devil": Free Audio Download".

Happy Halloween everone!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Say what?

This starts with a seemingly "liberal" bent, but it ends up just right.

Thanks Sleemoth.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A picture is worth... know the rest.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Couple Shakers

Head shakers that is.

Don't you just wanna slap this [insert favorite adjective here]?

I work with someone who does that self-righteous face-pinch combined with the head-nod when she feels she's made a point. She probably thinks I agree with her because I find it so annoying, all I can do is smile when she does it.

This whip-head is offended by the mere fact that Obama is running for president, so has put up a sign on his parking lot that Obama supporters can't park there.

Just 8 days to go and it'll all be over except for Bush trying to come up with a reason to institute martial law. Save for that, it's Goodnight Bush.

Last minute addition! Ron Howard does a political commercial:
See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

It's amazing to me that Andy Griffith is still alive.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fetid disco ball lying on a used-condom-covered floor

Curious about the terms that Roissy and pick-up* artists like him use, I attempted to read The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists by Neil Strauss. I just couldn't get through it.

*I use the hyphen because to me "pickup" is a vehicle with a big space in the back that condemns you to forever helping anyone when they are moving.

For starters, the topic is just so one-dimensional. It's like watching those fishing shows or golf; fishing and, presumably, golf are of interest only if you're doing them yourself.

Worse yet, the writing was abysmal. Especially compared to Roissy or Tucker Max (the author of the other pick-up tome I read - though I didn't know that's what it was before I started reading it).

So let's just segue into I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell by Tucker Max. While the writing was much better, and overall much, much funnier, it still was about picking up loose chicks in cheesy bars. You can read one of the best, nastiest, I-can't-believe-that-happened one here (possibly NSFW, my work's web cop software blocks it).

TLD: And, btw, when I explored the site for this post, I was surprised to learn that a lot of his conquests actually allow their pictures to be posted. Heck, one even let him post a picture of her gargantuan dumps (again, prolly NSFW). The mind boggles.)

While initially there are laughs, it begins to get repetitive ("...then, we had mind-bending sex!"), and it ultimately ends badly. To wit: Max, in the last story in the book, has one girl over who tells him that she has to abort the baby she knows is his because she has a type of cancer where the treatment will kill the baby anyway, when another girl shows up for a booty call. He leaves the pregnant one on the couch to go screw the recent arrival, and then goes back to the one on the couch after Ms. Recent passes out. The tawdryness of it just makes you want to hug your kids and stare at a sunset to get the karmic taste out of your soul.

My conclusion about all this pick-up artist stuff is that it proves the old adage, "Mother told me, yes she told me, I'd meet girls like you." The pick-up universe is all about sluts looking for sluts. (Oooo, harsh and judgmental, I know.) And they usually find each other, and boinking occurs. I regret wasting that valuable reading time to arrive at something I already knew.

A Player would maintain (and often do in what I've read) that they can pick up any girl using the techniques, not just sluts. Then again, they all talk about IOI, or "indicator of interest" which means she's into you, so go forth and conquer - which means there are times when you don't get them, and move on, which begs the question, how many women are put off by these guys in the first place? What's the ratio of girls that wouldn't give these guys the time of day compared to the ones looking for Mr. Right Now, etc.?

Roissy mentions that small-town girls are usually more impervious to the game and are usually more wholesome. From my small-town experience, I'd say that's sorta true; we have our sluts too, but yeah, most of the girls have some standards. I know that my player buddies back in my hometown pretty much all screwed the same circle of girls. After we non-players (I think this "beta male" nonsense is just that) figured that out, we tended to avoid those girls.

Overall, though, as mentioned, this lifestyle appears to end badly. Like Curt Cobain's punk value system, it's not sustainable throughout time and reality. Much of the game depends on physical attractiveness, and save for the Paul Newmans and Susan Sarandons of the world, aging just takes its toll. Looks aside, the emotions eventually get chronic rugburn, too. Further, as one Disney ride will explain to you over and over, it's a small world after all; your reputation eventually precedes you.

Sad to say, but every single one of the gamers I've known has ended up going through hell relationship-wise. They can't hold onto anyone for very long, and even if they appear to be doing so, it's hard to leave all those game habits behind, and so they eternally itch for the new conquest - just one more piece of strange (if you will).

It leaves me with the image of the player lying in the dark, disco ball down and condoms strewn, with the strains of "Is That All There Is?" echoing ghostly through their mind.
I've gotta stop reading rock bios.

I recently said some snarky stuff about Lindsey Buckingham, so when I accidentally happed across a tell-all penned by Buckingham's girlfriend during the famous years, Storms: My Life with Lindsey Buckingham and Fleetwood Mac, I thought I'd have the perfect peek into his (and their) life(ves). (And, I'd have the big groups/people covered, U2, Led Zep, the Eagles, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell (hell most of the CA rock scene) and now Fleetwood Mac.)

Wow. What a bastard. He may be a musical genius, but what a prick. He physically abused her several times, grabbing her hair while she was standing next to his car in the driveway and driving away, dragging her a few feet in the process, leaving strangle marks on her neck, and punching her so hard her that face bounced off the opposite car window.

So, as with the Eagles, knowing some of the crap behavior behind the scenes has tainted the music for me. Such as: I used to think "Second Hand News" was about mixing together breaking up and masturbation metaphors, I now wonder if it's also about smacking your girlfriend around a little bit.

One interesting note, though. Since this was written by Buckingham's girlfriend, Carol Ann Harris, you can imagine the perspective she had on Stevie Nicks (Buckingham's recent ex at the time). It was like reading a high school confidential, with all the eye-rolling hen pecking you'd expect. Meh.
I don't think so

I luuurved Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon and so was stoked when he released Anathem recently. Before I laid down the semolians (as there are so few to spread around anymore), I thought I'd get it through the library and see if it was worth it.

Hell, I couldn't get past the first page of the story. I made it through the intro, which informs you that a great deal of the words in the book are going to be made up. Even worse, they're going to be very close to words you kinda know, but the meaning will be different enough that you have to know it.

Just try reading the front flap.

So I looked at the last page to see how long it was and decided that a book of over eight hundred of pages of made up words was not for me.

From what I've read of the reviews, that's a very common sentiment from those who have tried.

And I think this is a function of age. Were I younger, I'd give it a go. But at this age, I just don't have enough time or ambition for this kind of silliness.
At least we get to laugh and not cry over this one...

A retarded man in Europe who was converted to Radical Batshit Islam blew himself up in a toilet because he couldn't get the stall unlocked. His face now looks like a Dick Tracy character.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Above all, remember this

As you go to vote in a couple weeks, check out "In the Real World" for Number 1 on this list and keep it in mind:
6 Horrible Lessons Hollywood Loves to Teach Kids

Let me vouch for this one. I've learned it in spades.

We had a group of assholes leave our business a while ago (to go somewhere else and torture them), and the change it made was dramatic.

Matter of fact, hunt down this great PBS/National Geographic special that was on recently. Basically, all the alpha male/asshole members of the tribe died because they ate tainted food (which they got first, of course) and the nicer males were left, which changed the dynamic of the group. So, from that point forward, when jerk males from other tribes would come by and try to dominate, this tribe wouldn't have it, so the new males would chill out and adapt. They all ended up healthier and lived longer, better lives.

The official site:

An article:

You can watch part of it here:
Honest R&B Song

This vid is slightly NSFW (just the lyrics - if your place of workship is not uptight about youtube and you have headphones, you might be good).

If you want a copy of the song itself, they kindly provided one.

Found this on Attu (whose site is NSFW, ever).

Friday, October 10, 2008

9 Ways You'll $ave in the New Depression!

Hilarious article in Village Voice that can be read as satire or stone cold truth.

I think Prince's Superbowl appearance showed the world, again, what a talent he is, particularly on the guitar.

Well, I was researching something for my daughter about drummers, and happed across this fun blog post about the "7 Unexpected Moments of Guitar Awesomeness."

Here's an excerpt:
Is there any proof that Prince's molten-hot solo on that hall of fame induction night's all-star jam performance of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" had anything to do with him being snubbed from that list? No. But come on now, this is Prince. He doesn't just show up for no reason. Until it came time to destroy the stage with that solo, most people didn't even know Prince was onstage at all. On this night, Prince was on a mission.

Which leads into this performance. Hold on till Prince shows up.

Dear Lord that little dude can shred.
How star wars changed the world

Click or "save as" for full size

- For those like me who like to geek out.

I didn't know Fincher worked as a cameraman and director with Lucas on both Return of the Jedi and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Explains a lot.
Ya wonder...

Went to a class lately for work (updating the skills, etc.), and have two observations that are neither here nor there, but, well sometimes randomness isn't random.

One of the women in the class is from either India or the Middle East; couldn't quite determine which because she didn't talk much.

What was odd about her is that she put her name sticker (which we were all required to wear) directly on the tip of her right breast. When she did it the first day, I thought it might have been an oversight or cultural cluelessness, and maybe she hadn't seen that most people put them over their heart.

But she did it again the next day.

So my only question: Was she trying to get guys to look right at her boobs on purpose? Trolling for a BF/GF? (As I also noticed she wasn't wearing a wedding ring.)

The other person was such a stereotype that when I saw her my first thought was, "Gad, she looks like an ad for "Burning Man." Sure enough, when she hoisted her coffee for a sip later, it was a Burning Man travel mug. (Though, counter to the type, she WAS wearing a wedding ring.)

And that's all I have to say about that.
Half Useful

With much trepidation, and with a smidge of gleeful anticipation of a car wreck, I opened How Fiction Works by James Wood.

As feared, a lot of it is academic hazmat, grokable by the initiated few who know what the loaded words mean and who can plow through syntax as impacted as a gay man's colon after a pride parade party.

Here are a few of the howlers (imvho):

"Literature makes us better noticers of life; we get to practice on life itself; which in turn makes us better readers of detail in literature; which in turn makes us better readers of life." - pp. 65.

The word "bullshit" rang so loudly through my head when I read that, I feared if you were sitting close enough you'd have heard it emanate from my ears.

On page 102, after grousing about a woman who complained about lecherous old men in movies grossing her out, he says:

"In other words, artists should not ask us to try to understand characters we cannot approve of - or not until after they have firmly and unequivocally condemned them. The idea that we might be able to feel that 'ick factor' and simultaneously see life through the eyes of the two aging and lecherous men, and that moving out of ourselves into realms beyond our daily experience might be a moral and sympathetic education of it's own kind.

"A glace at the thousands of foolish 'reader reviews' on, with their complaints about 'dislikeable characters,' confirms a contagion of moralizing niceness."

Uh, no it doesn't. It means the author failed in appropriately setting the character in the story so they achieve their purpose. We don't have to approve of them or even condemn them. Hannibal Lector, anyone? But if a character we would dislike in real life is not framed or handled correctly, we have the double reaction of not liking the character and really disliking the author because he couldn't rise to the occasion.

I especially bristle at the "contagion of moralizing niceness" crack. Again, it's infantilizing the reader and not laying the blame where it should be, with the author.

When he tips his hand as an atheist and critiques the Biblical stories of David and Jesus Christ (page 143) as fiction, it only serves to disqualify a large portion of his judgment and assumptions. I don't really care that he views the reports of Christ as fiction, but he should have the good taste not to use them as examples of narrative fiction. So many of these kinds of atheist just don't grasp that it is discourteous the equivalent of "so's your mother." Not to mention the fact that translations of writings that old aren't the best examples for a book dealing with how modern fiction works. The farthest he should go back is Cervantes, methinks.

That said, there was some good stuff, too.

His definition of "free indirect style" as used in the omniscient viewpoint is transcendent. I cannot attempt to paraphrase or even provide excerpts, as they cover too much ground and are stated about as well as can be (though with the occasional dipping in academic hazmat, as indicated at the start of this post). This is the one section - "Narrating", pp. 3-28 - you should read yourself, somehow - library, Amazon "look inside", standing in a book store, etc.

I also liked his coinage of an idea I've (tiresomely) trotted out at parties, in that most philosophies - particularly utopian philosophies - never face the reality of human evil. They start with the implicit assumption that everyone will be nice and play along if conditions are good enough. Even with all the examples of human evil there are, they still think Hitler would've just stayed a house painter if the circumstances of his life had been more conducive. Anyway, Wood says: "The philosopher Bernard Williams was exercised by the inadequacy of moral philosophy. He found much of it, descending from Kant, essentially wrote the messiness of the self out of philosophical discussion. Philosophy, he thought, tended to view conflicts as conflicts of beliefs that could be easily solved, rather than conflicts of desires that are not so easily solved." - pp. 176.

Hear, hear!

I like his grousing about cliches, too:
"We have all read many novels in which the machinery of convention is so rusted that nothing moves. Why, we say to ourselves, do people have to speak in quotation marks? Why do they speak in scenes of dialogue? Why so much 'conflict'? Why do people come in and out of rooms, or put down drinks, or play with their food while they are thinking of something? Why do they always have affairs? Why is there always an aged Holocaust survivor somewhere in these books? And please, whatever you do, don't introduce incest..." - pp. 225.

...or the OGC (obligatory gay character), or the hip-just-because-s/he's-from-NY, or conversely s/he's-a-hick-because-s/he's-from-flyover-country, or .... (you get the drift)

I liked the final paragraph, too. I'm tired of typing today, so here's a graphic of it:


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

It is to laugh

MPC1 wants model kits - the plastic kind where you put the pieces together - for her birthday (and I don't let her read this as I consider it an adult blog), so it's safe to discuss it here.

So, while looking through Amazon, I find this review of one model kit [my emphasis added].

This product is not at all as described. According to the product description, it's 8.8 inches long and 3 inches wide. In reality it's 6 inches long and less than half an inch wide. It also comes in one million little pieces that you have to assemble. The educational pamphlet describing each sub is quite good, but not enough to make up for how disappointing the toy is. We will be returning this item.

It's amazing that some folks can walk around unattended.

I would've LOVED to have seen the look on this guy's face when he opened the box, though.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Prophecy and Serendipity

Over fourteen years ago, I posted this article on how generations in America tend to cycle through four types with common characteristics (posted on my old vanity site which I keep up because the Christianity FAQ that I wrote with my late great Pastor's help still tops the Google result list).

Through completely separate, unrelated, and kinda spooky circumstances, I ended up picking this book up at the library because the title intrigued me: The Fourth Turning by Str William, Neil Howe. It's a later book by the same guys who are the subject of that article I link to above.

In The Fourth Turning they expand their theory and show how it actually stands up going back as far as the fourteen-hundreds, and then they predict the future using the same theory.

Here's the table that divides generations into their "Saeculums" and where they fit into the cycles of generations types (which make a little more sense if you read that article above, first).

It amazes me how well this theory holds together and throughout the ages.

But what blew my socks and part of my boxers off was the predictions of how we will be ushered into what they call the Fourth Turning, or the coming "crisis," saeculum. Keep in mind this was published in 1997:

Can I get an "Amen"?! Can I get a "Holy Shit"!?!?!

Three of those have come to pass (more or less), and M. Blowhard has been tracking rumblings about State secession. Toss in one pandemic and they've got full house.

Anyway, the future is not as dire as the label "crisis saeculum" might sound. It's just a convenient way to quantify and contrast it against the others.

The book actually has a lot of great advice on how to weather said "crisis saeculum" and what the benefits and outcomes are likely to be. There is hope.

If you're interested, but don't want to read the whole thing (it is long), particularly if you don't need to be convinced the theory of the book is correct, you can just read the intro stuff until you get the basic gist (section 1, "Winter Comes Again" at least), skip to section 4, "Cycles of History", and then read sections 10 and 11, "A Forth Turning Prophecy" and "Preparing for the Fourth Turning" respectively.
Needs no further explanation

Except this: While looking for something else in my blog folder, I happed across this which I'd forgotten to post until now.

I found this in Newsweek, and apparently they're still buying into the "irony is dead" meme from 9/11.

And this, from a card my brother sent me:
Evil Right-wing Conspiracy, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the MILF

A conservative, namely Kathleen Parker, finally notices that wingnut conservatives are kind of mean and nasty (and dangerous) if you disagree with them.

I know someone (a Democrat) who wanted to run for a local office, but essentially Democrats are shut out of the process where I live. So this person started going to Republican meetings, with the very person whose office she hoped to be elected to when her term limit kicked in, too see if she could justify changing parties. During the meeting, they were discussing a Democratic candidate who was actually giving them a run for their money, so someone in the audience stood and suggested - with all seriousness - that they have them killed. No one even blinked. Granted, no one agreed. But then no one pointed out that it was immoral, not to mention illegal, to murder someone.

When we have been given various Democratic signs and stuff to put in our yard for the last election and this one, we were told to put them close to our house or a tree so that folks don't drive into our yard and run them over, which had happened a lot around town. Democrats don't do that kind of crap.

The news media is finally realizing that they need to report possible wrong doing and other assorted problems related to the government and other powerful organization rather than hoping for yet another clam shot from Britney ... or they are now getting their guts back because the current oppressive admin is on the way out. Who knows. Anyway, CBS notices the Republicans are messing with voter registrations. AGAIN. I keep wondering why some legislative/governing/oversight body isn't doing something about this. Why should one party have to police the other?

This one might require a gram of sodium chloride: FBI Prevents Agents from Telling 'Truth' About 9/11 on PBS. Between that and an article I read recently where it was asserted that our military actually had Osama in their sights and asked to take him out, but were told to stand down and so he escaped into Pakistan - this was before the drive to the Iraq war had begun, so presumably the admin purposely let him go so they could have their war - I sometimes wonder just how freakin' evil the boys and girls on capitol hill are. (And I take that second article - the "they let him go" one - with a grain, too, because why would they ask permission to kill the very guy they were sent to kill?)

Then, there's this.

Folks were saying we were all set up for Bush baby to declare martial law right before the election, and for some it was just a matter of what would arise that would (even just barely) justify it. Well, here ya go.

Have a nice weekend!