Friday, August 26, 2005

Random Ten

Whoa, almost forgot. I've had a lot on my mind. And today I went on a fucking HARDCORE nine-mile hike. I swear, the final half-mile-or-so assent may well have been the most strenuous exercise I've ever gotten in my life. Anyway. Here we go.

1. Calexico, "The Ride (pt.2)"
A live version of one of the highlights of their second album, Black Light. I honestly have to give the nod to the studio version here, but it's a good, dramatic song either way. 7/10

2. The Verve, "The Rolling People"
Nice. Very hypnotic. 8/10

3. Ceili Moss, "As Far As the Eye Can See"
Quebecois Celtic music! Great musicianship; fun song. 8/10

4. Buck 65, "Cries a Girl"
AKA, "STEEEEELLLLAAA!!!" This song originally appeared as part of one of the tracks on Square; this is a re-recorded version from a recent overview released allegedly to introduce the artist to les americains maudits. The song itself is great, haunting, etc. This version--not so much, unfortunately. It's a shame, but it just doesn't have the same effect as the original version. 6/10

5. Suede, "Weight of the World"
A b-side from somewhere-or-other; the mp3's "info" section is barren. But it must be one of the Head Music singles, because there are only three songs (four, if you count Brian Eno's ridiculous fifteen-minute remix of "Introducing the Band")--"Dolly," "Painted People," and "Asda Town"--that weren't included on Sci-Fi Lullabies, and I never cared enough to acquire the ones from New Morning. It's important to know these things! Um...yeah. Better than the Blur b-side in this list, but not by much. Uninspiring. 4/10

6. Elvis Costello, "Really Big Nothing"
This goes together with "Town Called Big Nothing." Together, they form a super-fun, slightly tongue-in-cheek spaghetti western pastiche. They come from the out-of-print Rykodisc release of Blood and Chocolate; I'm not sure where if anywhere they currently reside. 8/10

7. Blur, "Get Out of Cities"
Yeah, um. This was a b-side of the hated "Song 2," apparently. Seriously, I don't know what this damn thing is doing here. Well, yes I do: there was a time when I wanted to have every Blur track ever. But this really ain't much cop. 3/10

8. Madness, "New Delhi"
One of the band's better album tracks. 7/10

9. Khalal, "Final Fantasy 6 DevilsLab Acid"
Decent, if short, rendition of the ever-popular Vector factory music. 6/10

10. Pulp, "This House Is Condemned"
Pulp does acid house? Yup: an unexpected but *very* effectively creepy little number courtesy of erstwhile violinist Russell Senior, that closes their third album, Separations. 9/10

Monday, August 22, 2005

Today's feel-good screenshot

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Random Ten

Yes, it's Thursday. I'll be indisposed this weekend. YOU HAVE PROBLEM???

The Folksmen, "Never Did No Wanderin'"
A Mighty Wind is a great film. Seriously--awesome. Not as hysterically funny as Spinal Tap, but with more heart. All the songs are pitch-perfect folk parodies that can nonetheless be enjoyed on their own merits. 8/10

Buck 65, "Leftfielder"
The opening track of Talkin' Honky Blues; not the album's best, but a good mood-setter. 7/10

The Doors, "You Make Me Real"
Um...kind of bland. Adolescent they may be, but I refuse to apologize for liking certain Doors songs. This isn't one of them, however. 4/10

Elvis Costello, "Love Went Mad"
Pretty flimsy pop song. Honestly, the only things you need from Punch the Clock are "Shipbuilding" and "Pills & Soap." This one is completely disposable. 5/10

Greg Brown, "Where Is Maria?"
Brown is a really amazing musician with a wonderful singing voice; he deserves more attention. What a great song this is. 9/10

Steeleye Span, "Rogues in a Nation"
Hmm...I never used to think this was so great. But now I do. Great harmonizing. 8/10

Gordon Bok, "Mrs. MacDonald's Lament"
Another great seasong from Bok. 9/10

Nick Cave, "Papa Won't Leave You Henry"
And the walls ran red around me, a warm arterial spray. As far as unhinged derangement goes, this may be M. Cave's pinnacle. 9/10

Calexico, "Crooked Road and the Briar"
I think this is the first vocal track from Calexico that's come up since I started doing this. And a fine one it is. Joey Burns's whispy vocals are perfect for this band. 8/10

Tom Waits, "The Black Rider"
As with much of the album of which this is the title track, this is a bit too self-consciously silly to be really effective. Waits effects a cheesy hollywood-transylvania "I vant to suck your blood" accent. 5/10

How can I refuse?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Casey's Last Ride

So I went to a candlelight vigil in support of Cindy Sheehan this evening. What did this accomplish? Very little, no doubt, but it was the least I could do. I mean, literally: short of sitting and staring at the wall in a catatonic state, it would have been physically impossible to do less. There were somewhere in the area of fifty to sixty people in attendance, which is pretty good for a conservative podunk like Williamsport. And thankfully, none of the guys who typically show up to heckle people who protest against all that good old-fashioned american killin' made an appearance.

I don't know; I sometimes like to believe that there IS some sort of intangible karmic force at work--that concentrated feelings of love and compassion, be they ever so obscure, can nonetheless help to alter the national mood. At any rate, I see no downside to believing so. Let's all hope and pray that Ms. Sheehan's protest turns out to be the straw that breaks the shit out of the insane, bloodthirsty camel's back.

Update,08/18: Ha ha--there having been a Sun-Duhzette photographer at the event, my picture is on the front page of today's paper. I hope I don't let this sudden fame go to my head.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Dolphins? DOLPHINS?!?

I'm really not a squeamish person. I read Savage Love every week without batting an eye at the various interesting proclivities described therein. However, just this one time, I would like to go on the record as saying: Eww eww fucking eww.

Such compassion.

Just a heads-up...

I have a whole bunch of these interesting/goofy/ludicrous screenshots culled from years of playing emulated videogames, mostly of the SNES variety. They haven't been doing anything but sitting on my harddrive, so expect to be subjected to quite a few posts in this vein in the near future.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Sunday Morning Random Screenshot Blogging

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Movie idea

As my brother has pointed out, what the world really, really needs is a film adaptation of the Book of Joshua. Hell, why not? It's the perfect setting for one of these overblown quasi-historical epics Hollywood's been loving so much lately. But here's the REAL reason why I would kill to see this movie made: because Joshua is a deranged, genocidal monster. I mean, irreducibly so: he and his armies massacre the living shit out of hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people for no reason other than that their god is even more of a psychopath than he is. There is absolutely no way you could spin the story to make him into a sympathetic character: even if you decide to add some extra-biblical embelishment about how he feels loads of remorse and stuff over what he's doing...he's still a monster.

So: the awesome part would be seeing the reaction of the Christian right. Because the film would be painstakingly designed to be utterly faithful to the source material. So they would be unable to criticize it on those grounds. And yet, they would want to criticize it, because you can't imagine they'd be real happy about having the most horrific section of their holy book presented in popular, mass-media form for all to see. Basically, their two possibly responses would be either to defend genocide, or to in essence say "we do not like the fact that you are bringing attention to this particular part of the Perfect Received Word of God." Watching them desperately contorting themselves would be completely awesome and hilarious.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Random Ten

Late-night list! Shakin' things up a little! It's absolute sheer bloody madness here, is what it is.

01. Gordon Bok, “Mr. Eneos”
It cannot be overstated how unbelievably great this song is. I cannot do it justice. Go listen. 10/10

02. Squeeze, “Messed Around”
Not one of your more exciting Squeeze songs. Although the music does remind me of the Auction House in Final Fantasy VI. 5/10

03. Salty Dog, “Reflections”
I think this might actually be an original, a rarity for this band. And it's really, really good, too: heartfelt, tragic love. 8/10

04. Duran Duran, “Last Chance on the Stairway”
Eh, it's all right. I mean, what can you say? What you'd expect. 6/10

05. Tom Waits, “Table-Top Joe”
Lyrics about a guy with no body or head or anything: he's just a set of hands. But he gains fame and fortune as a piano player in a circus! Huzzah! 8/10

06. Bok, Muir & Trickett “Three Score and Ten”
Cheery song about fuckloads of sailors drowning. Beautiful song with, as usual, beautiful singing. 9/10

07. ABBA, “Super Trooper”
I sort of suspect that the “inspiration” for this song was the fact that these two words rhymed. I'd like to pretend to be too cool to like this song, but I just can't do it. In spite of the fact that the line “feeling like a number one” sounds kind of scatological to me. 7/10

08. Joe Jackson, “It's Different for Girls”
No, not love she of Jackson's three most well-known songs, I suppose, along with “Steppin' Out” and “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” Out of these three, it's probably my least favorite. But I still like it a lot. 8/10

09. The Prodigals, “Out of Mind”
Tonight just happens to be one of those times, I just can't get you out of my mind. A real classic: both irresistably catchy and possessed of strong emotional resonance. 9/10

10. Manic Street Preachers, “Yourself”
The second-best song from Gold Against the Soul! 8/10

Monday, August 08, 2005

The last straw

I have no idea if he actually reads these things, but...

Dear Mr. Tinsley,

I've written you several times before about one comic or another--and I've tried to keep the tone fairly civil. All right, so I may have employed a bit of vitriol/sarcasm--but it was all in good fun. More or less. However: in reading today's strip, I realized, for the first time, the full extent to which you really are a vile, racist piece of shit. I would say you should be ashamed of yourself, but I know assholes like you don't have consciences. Still, you'd be doing the world a favor it you'd just fuck off and die already.

Yours in Christ,
Geoffrey Moses

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Do you care for Oasis? No.

Fuck fuck FUCK Oasis annoys the shit out of me. But let me clarify, here: although the fact sort of irks me, I am not denying that Definitely Maybe and Morning Glory are brilliant albums, and I will unselfconsciously sing along to "Live Forever," "Don't Look Back in Anger," "Champagne Supernova," or any of a dozen others. On a good day, I would even be willing to admit that they were able to knock off the occasional decent tune even after that. I can separate the message from the messenger. Nonetheless: fuck I hate fucking Oasis. Or, more specifically, I hate the whole Noel&Liam Show. HOW many times have I had to see their ugly mugs staring at me from the cover of Q? Who finds these two dickheads worthy of this much attention? Why does the world seem to feel obliged to maintain the fiction that there's anything even SLIGHTLY interesting about their "turbulent" relationship? Do they really think they look cool in those stupid sunglasses? Is there any chance of them ever thinking of any cleverer way of insulting people they don't like than calling them "cunts"? We may never know the answers to these questions.

I suppose it's not entirely their fault. For example, by all accounts Crispian Mills is kind of a twat too, but since the press was never so manically obsessed with Kula Shaker as it is with Oasis, it's not something I feel the need to think about. But that's not to say I'm just letting Liel off the hook: sure, the press fixates on them so much, but it wouldn't so much if they didn't fucking lap it up; if they didn't dance like trained monkeys for the public's amusement. They've given us some immortal tunes; fine, great, thanks for the memories. But now I wish they would just go away.

Hmm, maybe there are more important things in the world to worry about...? Nah.

08/09: post edited to reflect the fact that media critic Mark Crispin Miller was not in fact the lead singer of Kula Shaker


Yes, a requirement for my MA, and now it's finished. And not a moment too soon, either. No offense, of course, to the lovely people for whom I was working, but enough is oft-times enough. And you can take that to the bank. You may object that that is something very close to complete gibberish, but I would have to counter that it is late, and I am tired.

Our current song is "Moonshine," by Kula Shaker. I love this song. Actually, I just love Kula Shaker in general, but I sometimes forget about this song because it's from an EP rather than a regular album. But it rocks. So does "Dance In Your Shadow." Sheesh. Goodnight.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

And now, our semi-regular guest columnist

Editor, Sun-Gazette:
Why are we so mortally afraid of gay marriage? As one recent writer put it, "if you allow gay marriage, it leads down the road to polygamy, bestiality, and any other relationships that man can think of." I don’t follow the logic. How does allowing marriage between two people who love each other lead to abusive polygamy and animal abuse in the form of bestiality? The assumption being made here, consciously or not, is that gays are inherently evil, and so any further acceptance into mainstream society that they achieve will give them more leverage to destroy it from within. Logic has nothing to do with it.
We can cite the Bible all we want, but keep in mind that the definition of marriage has always been changing. Righteous David had multiple wives (2 Samuel 5:13), and the laws of Moses made provisions for polygamy (Exodus 21:10). Remember that until relatively recently, marriage between people of different social classes, races and castes was viewed as inconceivable. Religious faith is important, but we shouldn’t let it turn into dogma that causes us to lose sight of the big picture. In these troubled times, doesn’t it make more sense to support loving couples than to hinder them, regardless of their sexual orientation?
Jeremy Moses

Friday, August 05, 2005

Random Ten

Now listen, there are blog-less children in third-world countries who would give anything to have a random ten list HALF this nice. So I want to hear no more complaining from you, young lady.

01. Dead Can Dance, "Windfall"
An ambient instrumental. Not really meant for active listening, but what it sets out to do, it does well. 7/10

02. Joe Jackson, "(It’s a) Big World"
Big World is one of JJ’s flatter albums, I fear. It has its moments, but this isn’t particularly one of them. Okay lyrics, but musically pretty blah. 5/10

03. Johnny Dowd, "Monkey Run"
Like a desperate, nihilistic "Working for the Weekend." Probably the best song on The Pawnbroker’s Wife. 9/10

04. Pulp, "His’n’Hers"
One of your more obscure Pulp songs: not actually from the album His’n’Hers, it only appears on an EP, and it’s one of only two b-sides from the period (the other being "You’re a Nightmare" from the "Lipgloss" single) to not be collected on the Second Class CD that comes as a bonus with some versions of Different Class. So as far as I know, the only place to find it is on this out-of-print EP. A tragic yet boring tale. Anyway: it’s a good song, vaguely Latin-sounding, with a great part where Jarvis enumerates various things he’s afraid of: "I’m frightened of belgian chocolates," he gasps. "I’m frightened of…pot pourri…James Dean posters…I’m frightened of…figurines," and like that. Worth seeking out. 8/10

05. The Stone Roses, "Elephant Stone"
Man, the Roses recorded some awesome songs, but this ain’t one of them. Probably sounds better on ecstasy. 4/10

06. Salty Dog, "Blackberry Blossom/Saint Anne’s Reel/The Absent-Minded Woman/Flee the Glen/The Panda/Brenda Stubbert’s/Jerry Holland’s VW Truck"
A fun, energetic instrumental medley. 8/10

07. Johnny Dowd, "Hell of High Water"
If that’s not love, it’ll have to do. His best song? Possibly. 10/10

08. Flogging Molly, "If I Ever Leave This World Alive"
This one’s a bit flat, although I like it when it picks up towards the end. 6/10

09. Thomas Dolby, "She Blinded Me with Science"
As a noted SCIentist, it’d be a bit surprising if a girl ever blinded me with science. Admit it: you like this song. A lot. 8/10

10. Echo and the Bunnymen, "Stars Are Stars"
One of their first singles, and surely the highlight of their first album. The universe is completely cold and uncaring! Rock on! 9/10

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Stop being so goddamned happy all the time

So...yeah, okay. So our guy, Paul Hackett, lost in yesterday's special Ohio election 48-52, which is a LOT less than you would expect in the Republican stronghold where he was running. This is leading lots of lefty bloggers to confidently assert that this represents a climactic sea change: that if a Democrat can come so amazingly close to winning in such a red district, people must be waking the fuck up, and Big Things will happen in 2006. And, you know, I would dearly love to believe that this is the case--that the rethugs will be violently swept out of power on a wave of sheer, visceral revulsion. BUT. all honesty, I have to say I'm really dubious about pinning such grandiose hopes on a single data point. There are any number of alternate reasons why this could have been so close:

1. The Rethuglicans didn't take the race seriously. Because they knew they were almost assured of a win, and because, come on, it's just one seat; it's not that big a deal to them. We, on the other hand, cared intensely, with loads of grassroots funding supported by A-list bloggers like Kos and Atrios. We were giving it all we had; they were not. There's little chance that they'll make that mistake again.

2. Low voter turnout may have skewed results. I can't find the exact numbers, but voter turnout was very low. Apparently, Ohioans don't care enough about democracy to vote in large numbers during an off-season. But as noted in the previous point, we got a lot more worked up about this than they did, given which, I rather suspect that out of the people who did vote, there was a higher ratio of good guy to bad guy voters (sorry to get all Manichean on you, but that's just how it fucking IS at this point) than usual. Again: not something that is likely to repeat.

3. Appearances matter. I know this is superficial, but let's face it, we're a pretty fucking superficial country. Put bluntly: Paul Hackett is brutally handsome. Jean Schmidt is decidedly NOT terminally pretty. And if you think looks don't matter in elections, perhaps you have been in a coma for the last, oh, fifty years. Republican candidates may be almost univerally stupid or evil, but at least they tend to be telegenic. Often, it's their only positive quality.

4. Rethuglicans cheat. We all know they did it in Florida in 2000, and the odds are depressingly good that they did it in Ohio in 2004. The results of this particular election could be partially explained by them, assuming the race was locked up and not bothering this time. If they ARE cheating on a regular basis--and why would one assume otherwise?--then, unless they're caught absolutely red-handed, ain't nothing gonna stop them. And even then...

5. Ohio is not the entire country. Coingate, anyone? The Ohio Rethuglican Party is laughably inept; a joke on a national scale. That's certainly good for us, and maybe it DOES mean we'll do this one state. That doesn't automatically mean we'll be so lucky elsewhere.

I guess being a total buzzkill, man, may not be the most helpful thing, but on the same token, don't let's get overconfident. Let's fight like everything's already lost and we just wanna take as many of the bastards down to hell with us as we can. Because that's very likely how it is.

Monday, August 01, 2005


No, it's not a new Chick tract, although, as a patriotic American, I always await them with bated breath. All I mean to say is, we all need a laugh or two in these dark times, so: Bush jokes, McSweeney's style.