Friday, March 31, 2006

Too late!

I totally came up with the pun "samizdatcom" in a dream last night, only to find that it had already been used. Damn you all!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

I got no emotions for anybody else, you better understand I'm in love with myself

Holy shit was tonight's South Park episode (about hybrid cars) a noxious right-wing screed. SP is sometimes enjoyable, but it's basically like a sociopath who can be incredibly charming when he so desires and then switch to being an incredible asshole on a whim. The "charming" parts don't actually say anything about his personality; they're just something he does to amuse himself, until it stops being amusing to him.

What Parker and Stone have done quite successfully is to position themselves in such a way that any criticism of their frequently none-too-bright worldview is indicative of an unbecoming lack of ironic detachment. People who are uncool enough to actually care about things are such squares. Instead, we're meant to accept as received wisdom the "philosophy" of a pair of juvenile millionaires sequestered in the wilds of Orange County, smoking pot and making fart jokes. Huh.

And yet, I'll probably keep watching sporadically. Because, yes, sometimes the sociopath is incredibly charming.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The way of all flesh

Down below, the Fairhaven and Empire Falls players were trotting back onto the field, halftime over. Janine did her best to act interested and upbeat, yet she couldn’t help thinking how soon these limber cheerleaders, now doing back flips, would be married and then pregnant by these same boys or others like them a town or two away. And how swiftly life would descend on the boys, as well. First the panic that maybe they’d have to go through it alone, then the quick marriage to prevent that grim fate, followed by relentless house and car payments and doctors’ bills and all the rest. The joy they took in this rough sport would gradually mutate. They’d gravitate to bars like her mother’s to get away from these same girls and then the children neither they nor their wives would be clever and independent enough to prevent. There would be the sports channel on the tavern’s wide-screen TV and plenty of beer, and for a while they’d talk about playing again, but when they did play, they’d injure themselves and before long their injuries would become “conditions,” and that would be that. Their jobs, their marriages, their kids, their lives—all of it a grind. Once a year, feeling rambunctious, they’d paint their faces, pile into one of their wives’ minivans, and, even though it cost too much, head south to take in a Patriots game, if the team didn’t finally relocate somewhere to the south where all the decent jobs had gone. After the game, half drunk, they’d head home again because nobody had the money to stay overnight. Home to Empire Falls, if such a place still existed.

In their brief absence a few of the more adventurous or desperate wives would seize the opportunity to hire a sitter and meet another of these boy-men, permanent whiskey-dicks, most of them, out at the Lamplighter Motor Court for a little taste of the road not taken, only to discover that it was pretty much the same shabby, two-lane blacktop they’d been traveling all along, just an unfamiliar stretch of it that nonetheless led to pretty much the same destination anyhow.
--Richard Russo, Empire Falls


RIP Stanislaw Lem


I haven't read much Lem, but I must say, The Cyberiad was a truly excellent book. Godspeed.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Ahm an antichrist, pardner! Yeehaw!

So I was in a bar with a friend, and they had this surprisingly decent local country band playing ("The Memphis Mafia"). And the point I want to make is, they did a great countrified version of "Anarchy in the UK." Which I thought was worth noting.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Le dix au hasard

My first-ever one, I believe. And from an artist I love, no less. Sorry, Leonard, but it's for your own good.

01. Elvis Costello, “Pump It Up”
She’s been a bad girl! She’s like a chemical! Though you try to stop it! She’s like a narcotic! Yup. What more can be said? 9/10

02. Suede, “Down”
Say what you like about post-Bernard Suede: taken on its own merits, this is a bloody good song. Very poignant. 8/10

03. Gordon Lightfoot, “Song for a Winter’s Night”
Not his best, but good. 7/10

04. Saint Bushmill’s Choir, “Sam Hall”
My name it is Sam Hall and I hate you one and all. Cheers. There are loads of variations to this song, and he’s not always named “Sam.” I prefer the Prodigals’ “Jackie Hall,” but this is pretty good. 7/10

05. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, “Sad Waters”
I’m afraid that M. Cave has recorded a lot of really, really average songs, and this is one of them. 4/10

06. The Doors, “My Eyes Have Seen You”
I badly want to hate this song, but I am forced to admit that the tune kinda sorta makes up for the lyrics. I think I’d like the Doors more if I didn’t understand English. 6/10

07. Leonard Cohen, “A Singer Must Die”
And I thank you, I thank you for doing your duty, you keepers of truth, you guardians of beauty, your vision is right, my vision is wrong, I’m sorry for smudging the air with my song…Jesus fucking CHRIST, Saint Leonard, get off the goddamn cross already. I’m sorry: the man has written some of the world’s most sublime songs, but this is fucking dire. 1/10

08. Steeleye Span, “Dance with Me”
Spoiler: he dies at the end. Great tune. 8/10

09. Space, “Money”
Say what you will; at their best, Space could be pretty glorious. This is one of those times. 8/10

10. Elvis Costello, “Pretty Words”
Bookending the list with Elvis. Curiosity couldn’t kill the cat; it was a poison pen. Guh? Not as good as “Pump It Up” by a long shot, but I still like it. 7/10


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

That's rich.

You're responsible for more death than anyone else in the fucking hemisphere, if not the world. You're effectively a Thanatos worshiper. And now you're "troubled?" Gosh.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


I often like to look up words in OSX4's dictionary widget just to check their etymologies. But when we look up "fob," underneath the regular definitions, we find:

1.friend of Bill, a friend of Bill Clinton, esp. one of his close circle of advisers and contacts.

Um. What?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Links to this and that

...just trying to pare down my bookmarks here.

A very strange flash-based quasi-game.

A children's book for alien invaders.

Fuckloads of freely-available videogame mp3s. Be sure to grab Actraiser Symphonic Suite.

An article about the right's war on science.

An article that calls bullshit on the protesters spitting on Vietnam veterans meme.

An effective, impressionistic 9/11 story.

"There are no aliens! What are commonly considered aliens, are actually demons (satan's angels) masquerading as extra-terrestrial life forms (aliens)."

Furry lobster; chirping lobster.


Ancient marine crocodile.

Gravity's Rainbow illustrated. (I know I've already linked this, but it bears repeating.)

Some Canadian Celtic band that I keep failing to investigate.

Because everyone needs four hundred identical mahjong games.

Everett True--not to be missed.

More Supermarioworld hacks than you can shake a shaking thing at.

...we now return you to your regularly scheduled indoctrination.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Don't even ask

Thursday, March 16, 2006

So, Gabrielle...

...why'd you axe your facebook profile? Just out of idle curiosity. And do you even have a web presence anymore?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Feingold for President

Seriously, man. If you recall, back in 2001 he was the single solitary Senator to vote against the Patriot Act. That's gotta be a pretty damn potent weapon in his arsenal right now.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Ten is the randomest number that you'll ever do

Sing along! Ten is the randomest number, ten is the randomest number, TEEEEN is the randomest number that you'll ever doooo! Another set of embarrassingly positive judgments. Maybe I just don't have all that much music that I hate?

01. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, “Nobody’s Baby Now”
Not bad, but one of the weaker tracks from Let Love In. The dress/best/breast rhyme makes me cringe a little. 6/10

02. Reverend Glasseye, “Penitentiary Highball”
Polly pretty Polly won’t you stay the night with me? We’ll climb upon the highway and we’ll climb the old birch tree. Well I never met no one sweeter more persistent or more fair. Polly jumped he flipped her down—with those beads wrapped in her hair. A perversely beautiful murder ballad. 9/10

03. Manic Street Preachers, “Black Garden”
Swallows crowding the sky and slowly dying and whatnot. Pretty great. 8/10

04. Joy Division, “Digital”
Day in! Day out! Day in! Day out! Scary desperation. 8/10

05. Calexico, “The Book and the Canal”
Atmospheric little instrumental. Works best in the context of the album. 6/10

06. The Smiths, “Girl Afraid”
The best part is in the middle where he sings the refrain slowly: no I’ll never maa-ake that mistake again. Great song. 8/10

07. David Bowie, “Lady Grinning Soul”
A gorgeous one-night-stand song. 9/10

08. Madness, “The Rise and Fall”
Kinksesque nostalgia. Possibly the band’s best non-single. 8/10

09. Maddy Prior & June Tabor, “The Game of Cards”
Quite unreasonably pretty duet. Why can’t they ever get singers like this on American Idol? 8/10

10. Tom Waits, “You Can’t Unring a Bell”
Oh just watch me. I think if I can unplow a field and unpublish a book, unringing a bell shouldn’t present much difficulty. 8/10


Friday, March 10, 2006

At least, it's what she *should* have said.

Seacrest: What's the most important lesson you've taken from American Idol?

Axed Contestant: I've learned that the world is an empty, howling void, where all of our hopes and dreams are nothing before the mad, capricious whims of Azathoth, the blind and idiotic lord of creation.

Seacrest: That's entertainment!

(Actually, she just babbled something about following your dreams. But hey, ask a stupid question...)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

"Non-representational pornography"... a phrase that gets zero google hits. I know this takes a while, but let's try to remedy that problem. Non-representational pornography. Non-representational porn. Non-representational porno. Good times.

UPDATE: Wow, that worked a lot faster than expected. It's nice to know you're doing some good in the world.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Postmodern Duck

GeoX: Butbutbut...everyone calls it "President's Day." That's what it's bloody well called.

Bruce Tinsley: You seem to be missing the point, which is that liberals don't like offending people.

GX: Okay. So when you say "President's Day," it's because that's what it's called, but when liberals do it, it's because they're being hypersensitive.

BT: Now you're catching on.

GX: So it's kind of a Pierre Menard thing...

BT: I don't know what you're talking about. But regardless, you have to look beyond the literal sense. Whether or not liberals' use of the term "President's Day" is, in a purely narrow, concrete sense, because they're afraid of causing offense--the central thrust of the argument is still valid.

GX: Of course.

BT: Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go draw a crudely-rendered stegosaurus saying something about affirmative action.

GX: Godspeed.


Spam poetry

All I've done is add line breaks.

First time Evan

eliot you recappable me,

coarsen equate.

bedspring you conjunct me,

medallion pharaoh


diary you windstorm me,


pacific you pesticide me,

barton plenitude walgreen.

recent you legitimate me,


solution you impel me,

wander assert


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Mallard Fillmore abuse redux

...because it's just so durn easy.

Durn media! That incident happened, like, WEEKS ago (although the thing about Cheney beating a guy to death may be new)! Just, like, shut UP about it already! You know what would be some REALLY vital, timely-ass reporting? Chappaquidick jokes. Durn straight.


Monday, March 06, 2006

The meanest commercial ever

I really hate this one. It's for some new kentucky fried chicken sandwich or something. There are these three guys on their lunch break. "What do you have?" one of them asks. "Cup of noodles," he replies (paraphrasing here). "Only a buck." "Man, you sure are smart," one of his "friends" says. "We just got these somethingsomething sandwiches from kfc." They then have a round of increasingly sarcastic badinage about all the incredible characteristics of their nectar-and-ambrosia-esque sandwiches. Finally, to drive the point home, dripping with unconcealed contempt: "And to think--we could have had noodles." To top it off, they then engage in a hearty round of self-congratulatory laughter at the emotional abuse they've inflicted--no doubt a daily ritual for them. How long until cup of noodles man laces their sandwiches with strychnine while they're not looking? It can't happen soon enough.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Crazy people

You know what I like? When amazon reviewers paint their own ideological biases over the thing they're reviewing and start raving like crazy people, to the point where all you can do is slowly back away, being careful not to make any sudden moves. I just finished reading The Moor's Last Sigh, by Salman Rushdie. There is certainly room for cogent criticism of this novel, but. Well, um. Here's part of the review from the reliably-ideological "brothersjudddotcom":

As to the first point, individuals are defined by their religious/moral beliefs and cultures are defined by the dominant religious/moral beliefs of their members. Mr. Rushdie seems to relish turning religious characters into evil caricatures; Abraham, for instance, is portrayed as the kind of evil Jewish criminal overlord that we would sooner expect to find in 1930's Nazi propaganda. He seems to believe that serious religious beliefs necessarily warp the soul & make believers evil. It's odd that this author who is so widely celebrated as a victim of religious intolerance, is himself so intolerant of others.

Um. Yes. Um. You know, I'll admit that there were things in the book that went over my head. Among other things, I believe one would need a working knowledge of modern Indian history to even hope to grasp all the nuances. So I don't claim to be able to expound in a particularly profound manner on the subject. But what I will say is, I wasn't actually asleep while I was reading. So okay, you know Abraham Zogoiby? The "religious character whose beliefs warped his soul and made him evil and whatnot? Right:

"'She walks around here. I've seen her.' Abraham in sky-orchard with stuffed dog confessed to a vision--driven, for the first time in his life, and after a lifetime of utter scepticism on the subject, to allow the possibility of life after death to stumble across his irreligious tongue." (328)

So...yeah. It's anyone's guess what Freudian mechanisms caused the Super Judd Bros to inject JEWISH! in "evil criminal overlord." We can argue whether religion is a net good or a net evil in the world, but not if we're going to act all deranged about it. But anyway:

In fact, there's a weird sort of dissonance in the outrage we hear from Mr. Rushdie and his defenders. On the one hand, they loudly declare the importance of free expression and the right to broadcast ideas, no matter how objectionable. But on the other hand, they react in horror to the fact that ideas & speech have consequences. Mr. Rushdie, like a neo-Nazi or a flag burner or a Klansman, has a right to propound his ideas. But having spewed forth his hate speech, he should not expect to be immune from the violent reactions of those he attacks. Ideas have consequences. If you aren't willing to cope with the consequences, don't express your ideas. Along with the right to speak, comes the right to shut up.

Uh huh. Although I like how flag burner goes right along with neo-Nazi and Klansman, this is probably the part where you should consider getting rid of sharp objects and covering up the electrical outlets.