Friday, February 25, 2022


 I sometimes play a picross game called Pictopix that lets users create their own puzzles.  Here's one that came up recently:

And from OperaVision:

Go watch it!

Even if it sometimes might seem performative, I think it's important to make one's commitment to human rights loud and visible.  I mean, it's too early to really know anything for sure, but I feel like this is the most fucked-up thing (not counting atrocities like the Rwandan Genocide) that's ever happened in my lifetime, and the most likely to lead to dire geopolitical outcomes.  There would be something ironic about nuclear war having been avoided during the Cold War, allowing everyone to relax a little, only to all destroy ourselves a few years later in a completely different way.  Like a spy who carefully avoids a gauntlet of death traps only to trip on his shoelaces and fall and brain himself.

Friday, February 11, 2022

The Offer

 I've looked at some of your work, and I think you'd be a really great fit for our organization.  You're a free thinker with the ability to forcefully express your ideas.  Now, before we go any further, I'd like to put all of our cards on the table.  It's important to be honest with things like this.  From reading your work, I have a general idea of your politics, and I know what you're thinking: we're an organization devoted to spreading right-wing propaganda, and this is in square opposition to your principles.  And I admire that, but I also think you possibly might have a slightly mistaken view of who we are and what we do.  Listen: I don't consider myself particularly right-wing.  I've voted for Democrats in every Presidential election since I was old enough to vote in '92.  What we're about, in fact, is viewing the geopolitical sphere with a healthy skepticism and providing our readers with the information they need to critically assess facts for themselves.  You don't need to change who you are to work with us; you just have to be willing and able to question narratives, left or right.  I know we've been in the news a lot lately for supposedly being climate-change deniers, and frankly, I find that to be unfair and embarrassing.  I can't speak for everyone who works for us, but personally, I'm not a denier at all.  I just think it's important to be able to view the full contours of a problem.  Hey, we're people, you, me, and everyone; we have the tendency to follow familiar orthodoxies without necessarily thinking them out.  Let's make it very clear: working with us doesn't mean that you have to abandon your ideals.  Far from it; your ideals are a big part of why I like you.  And that's what it come down to: I think you're a person who has strongly-held principles but also recognizes that we all have blind spots that sometimes need to be further investigated.

500k a year with full benefits, and possible bonuses for television appearances.  In addition to everything else, you'll be living very comfortably if you come onboard with us.  Honestly, from my perspective, this looks like an extremely easy decision.  What do you say?

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Suede, Dog Man Star (1994)

So I just gave this a listen for the first time in a while.  I really loved this record when I was in college, and I wanted to see how it held up.  The verdict: GOOD LORD, does it ever.  One might have worried that the kind of tortured adolescent romanticism of a lot of it would seem a bit silly as you get older, but actually, to my ears at least, it kind of grows with you.  For instance, you might hear a song like "Daddy's Speeding" with more insight into the ways it plays into American mythology, while still enjoying it for being awesome.  The music is ROCK SOLID, with Anderson's crooning (whiny, some less forbearing critics would say) voice perfect for the material.

The one thing you really notice about this album, though, is that, while you like all the songs a lot, the last four--"The Two of Us," "Black and Blue," "The Asphalt World," and "Still Life"--all sound like they come from a different, better album.  Like the first eight tracks was the band still finding its feet, and then after that very good album they unleashed just this absolutely staggering torrent.  "I heard you call from across the city through the stereo sound/And so I crawled there sickeningly pretty as the money went round" and "And then one day she moved away from those garden walls/She left some flowers, he smoked for hours/she understood the law" and "Sometimes they fly from the covers to the winter of the river/For these silent stars of the silver screen, it's in the bloodstream, it's in the liver" and, I cannot imagine such a climax to an album as the part where he goes "this stiiiiiill life is all I ever do/There by the window, quietly kill for you."  MY GOODNESS.

Though some of their later music is good, to my ear they really never ascended any further than this, as indeed have few bands in the history of ever.