Friday, March 31, 2006

9/11 Conspiracy Tipping?

In the past couple of weeks I've seen some interesting 9/11-related things:

1) Loose Change, a compelling documentary about 9/11 that covers lots of unanswered questions

2) The trailer for United 93, which tells the official version of what happened on the plane that crash-landed in Pennsylvania. A story which, after seeing the aforementioned documentary, looks like a lame fiction.

3) A New York Magazine article that follows many of the threads from Loose Change.

It's good to see this is no longer being filed by people under "tinfoil hat territory"; maybe these questions will be answered one day.

Horsey-girl movies?

What's up with the return of horsey-girl movies? When I was young we had Black Stallion, Black Beauty and International Velvet; in the past several months we had Dreamer and now Flicka.

And you'll be thrilled to read that while finding links for the above movies at IMDB, I found they have a keyword listing for horse-penis movies.


Chevy is giving people a chance to make commercials for them. Somebody decided that a new Canyonero commercial was a bit too subtle. Incredible; see it before they take it down... (via Crooks and Liars.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

My State Senator

Speaking of State Senators, I got an email from my state senator (George Runner) this week. It was in response to an electronic form letter I'd sent to him supporting the raising of CA's minimum wage. His response:

I oppose a mandatory increase in the minimum wage with indexing, as I
believe government has no place dictating how private business owners
compensate their employees. An employer's voluntary decision to offer
employment at a given wage, and a worker's voluntary decision to accept
the terms of that offer, is a free market transaction that, by
definition, benefits all parties involved.

Like any government mandate or regulation that increases the cost of
doing business, minimum wage policies have been shown to reduce
employment, especially among teenagers and students. Recent studies
also suggest that higher minimum wages increase high school dropout
rates, as teens are lured by seemingly "high" wages.

Consumers are also hurt by minimum wage increases, as businesses raise
prices in an attempt to recoup higher labor costs. If this bill is
passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor, don't be
surprised if you end up paying an extra $.30 for a Big Mac.

Somebody doesn't want my vote come next election...

Immigration reform

This week some kids were putting together a petition against the immigration reform that the House passed in December and sparked so many protests last weekend. The kids needed a short civics lesson as they were initially asking me how to find the address of "our state senator"; after some questioning, I learned they wanted not the rep in the California State Senate but the US Senators from California. I considered telling them there's no way in hell that Feinstein and Boxer would vote to pass that "reform" but figured they could use some practice at petitioning.

This week, as I was surfing thru conservative talk radio I did hear the expected "the brown people are revolting" complaints (with both meanings of "revolting"). Apparently it's not just the commentators, but most of the media that has covered the protest stupidly and others point out that waving foreign flags doesn't mean you're rooting for a takeover.

Goat report: 3/30/06

I've read a lot about goats but this is the first I've heard of fainting goats, AKA Tennesee scared goats.

Trailer: Date Movie

I realize the movie's already out but I think this trailer will save me the trouble of seeing it, if my experience with the Scary Movie movies is any guide. The sequence with Willow in a fat-suit is amusing and supported by the use of Kelis' "Milkshake", a fine song that every English teacher in the country should use to teach kids about metaphors.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Free music: Kate Earl

I have a bad habit of writing down good songs when I hear them on the car-radio. This has led me to do lots of waiting in my car when I hear the songs in question on college stations like WPRB or KXLU and they do 20 songs before a break and I've arrived at my destination but I have to get the name of that song 5 songs ago and then the teen DJ finally comes on sounding like they just woke up and tries to list off the songs ("ummm... that was... let's see... Neutral Milk Hotel? yeah... and before that......"). Today I was finally able to track down an mp3 of a song I heard a couple of years ago on KCRW: dig Kate Earl's stream-of-consciousness lyrics in Officer.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Fun at the Star Wars site

The Star Wars Databank is a huge archive of info on just about anything you can think of in the movies, books or other SW media. And ducks. Elsewhere in the Lucas web empire, you can buy action figures of the cameo-appearance characters that he and his kids played in Revenge of the Sith.

All the TV I need

This morning I found Throw Away Your TV blog, which is one of the things I've been looking for, as it has lots of good video clips I can't find elsewhere. The thing I was most looking for was a place that had lots of Bill Maher's New Rules. This, combined with Comedy Central's Motherlode providing all the Daily Show and Colbert Report clips I need plus Crooks & Liars posting lots of good news clips, I'm pretty much set for TV viewing.

We've been without any TV reception for 10 months now, aside from the occasional time visiting friends/family or in hotels. While there have been some times I wish I could have just turned it on and channel surfed to just relax, for the most part I haven't missed it. We've had plenty of stuff to watch in the meantime, however, as we've worked our way thru the following DVD sets:

Monty Python's Flying Circus
Family Guy Seasons 1-3
The Decalogue (quite the change in tone from Family Guy...)
Kids in the Hall season 3
Connections with James Burke (a free VHS rental at our library!)
The Simpsons season 2

I really enjoy watching these sets, as it's easy to just watch a little bit and not get hooked into some other show via channel surfing during commercials. No commercials are also a big plus, too; I'm not sure I'd be able to go back to watching shows when they're broadcast. With the way that DVD sets keep dropping in price (Herc's DVD vault at Ain't It Cool has lots of good updates on this pattern) I don't know that I'll have to.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Poop power!

Via Terrapass, news on program that will turn feces into fuel. Another alternative fuel I've read about recently is this program that turns coal into gasoline, which has the caveat that it would make Montana an economic power, rather than just a big space for goats to run around.

And along the lines of Terrapass is Carbonfund, which is similar to TerraPass, but tries to cover more behavior than just car-driving. I think the success of this program and Terrapass will show just how much people are willing to put money down rather than change their behavior.

Former goat herd made good

When I first watched It's Chico Time! it looked a little creepy to me, with all the dancing around with children and such. But then I remembered that he's the first Muslim to top the UK pop charts and realized that he couldn't really be dancing around w/ lots of bikini-clad women. Used to be an exotic dancer, too! But I have to wonder: who's watching his goats?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Big Babies

Via Atrios, an amusing study supports the idea that conservatives are big babies. This brings to mind a recent Tom Tomorrow comic that points out that they're also big cowards.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

TJs in NYC

One of the reasons I went to Rutgers (instead of another school) was because there was a Trader Joe's not too far away. I'm still pretty shocked to see the crowds at the new NYC Trader Joe's, which forktine told me about yesterday. The comments at Gawker suggest that the NYC folks are following a fad but I wonder if these crowds don't mean that many in NYC are from other cities where there are Trader Joe's. Although there are several in the NYC commuter areas (NJ, CT and Long Island), so it could just be workers who don't want to wait to go home for groceries. I also suspect that many customers have visited cities w/ several (such as Boston) so it's not really a new experience. I eagerly await one to arrive in the high desert.

Fake nude scenes

The sexy Italian passed this along to me: Winona Ryder: Nude Cartoon. I had a feeling this might happen, given 1) the plot of the Scanner Darkly movie allegedly follows that of the book and 2) Winona's kept her top on this long. But I'm expecting that lots of future nude scenes will be done with digital work, putting the star actress' face on top of a nude stand-in's chest (similar to what was done with Christopher Lee's face in stunt sequences of Revenge of the Sith, for example). I remember well a friend's great disappointment as I pointed out how a body double was used for Tia Carrere's sex scene with Dolph Lundgren in the classic bad action movie Showdown in Little Tokyo. I'm pretty sure viewers won't mind the digital fakery, as the popularity of fake celeb photos on the internet is great.

Free music: Rick Moranis

Yes, Dark Helmet Rick Moranis. He did a comedy album last year that was Grammy-nominated and a couple of the tracks are available online.

Leonardo --> Smart

There's a new trailer for The Da Vinci Code out today. The movie didn't interest me too much; the book was one of those that totally thrilled my mom and made her try to get me to read it. When she does that (like I recall her doing with The Firm) I tend to resist and the stupid usage of "Da Vinci" instead of "Leonardo" in the title has also kept me away. But the trailer shows a car chase involving a Smart Car, a great little car we drove during our visit to Germany at the beginning of 2002. It was interesting to see my experience come to the screen in Just Married a year later; I was eager to get out on the autobahn and let loose only to find that the rental car agency gave us a Smart Car.

For a Smart Car commercial in the form of a website, see the Smart USA site. Interesting to see over the past few years the car's slow entry into the US market, as there've been a few articles about it in American publications (such as when it came to Canada a couple of years ago). It was even at the MOMA! And now wikipedia says it may be in the US later this year; good news!

My cup runneth over

This morning I was looking up some of the downloads that are featured in the Calendar (arts & entertainment) section of the L.A. Times. Of course some of the links (which are stupidly printed in full form) didn't work, so I did a little searching online for the music in question. My search takes me to The Hype Machine, an audio blog aggregator compiling free music files on the web. This is just the kind of page I've been looking for, too... this morning I went digging and found some files by The Howling Bells, a band I've heard a few times on Indie 103.1. I was also happy to see that Bob and Doug McKenzie were among the top 50 on Hype Machine (and if you don't like them, take off, you hoser!). I may just make Free Music a regular event here.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Free comedy

My favorite comedian, Doug Stanhope, has often spoken highly of a colleague of his named Andy Andrist. At long last Mr. Andrist has a CD out and has posted a promising audio clip at his website. Enjoy!

Almost finding Neverland

Looking thru today's news, I read about the closing of Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch. I then wondered if the ranch showed up on satellite views in Goggle maps. Sure enough, somebody did a blog of Google's satellite views that includes a shot of Neverland Ranch. As I zoomed out of the image, I noticed it was quite close to where we ventured back around Thanksgiving, Los Olivos, part of the wine country near Santa Barbara (where flying goats lurk). So I guess we were about 6 miles away from finding Neverland.


I often mix up the Dutch and the Danes. This is especially problematic when I'm trying to make some sort of reference to the latter, who are loathed by Ms. Goat for many reasons she'll be happy to tell you about sometime. I'm glad that the recent renaming of the pastries called Danish didn't happen many years ago, because 'the ones like the pastries' is my current means for not confusing them with the Dutch.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

James Koehnline

Cleaning out my email I found something from the Bill Laswell discussion group I'm part of. Artist James Koehnline did a number of album covers for Laswell projects, including one of my all-time favorite albums: Praxis' Transmutation (Mutatis Mutandis). He's got a huge online gallery that includes some mind-bending animated GIF backgrounds. More amusing is his Terror Threat Index Illustrated, mouse-over for changes.

Trailer: Drawing restraint 9

Have you noticed that movie trailers are often shown before similar movies? If you're in the cinema to see a sci-fi movie, you'll probably see sci-fi trailers beforehand. I have to wonder what kind of movies will get the trailer to Drawing Restraint 9, directed by film/video artist Matthew Barney. Oh, and fyi: her name rhymes with 'jerk' (you probably know how I'm in favor of proper name pronounciation).

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Anybody can do acupuncture!

I saw the headline Acupuncture Shown to Relieve Migraines and was very intrigued. When reading, I was struck by the following quote, which should have been part of the headline: sham acupuncture is as effective as traditional Chinese acupuncture. In effect, that invalidates the headline: if any needle-poking seems to do the trick, why highlight the expensive and official form of it? This is especially the case when there's plenty of evidence that people who use acupuncture feel better afterwards (else I think it would not have survived for so many years); the real news here is that the meridian points may not be important. Being a skeptical sort, I've always been wary of those who told me the benefits of acupuncture, even among the martial artists I've known and respected. Hopefully more studies will be done on this.

Goat report, 3/15/06

Congrats to the Guadalupe County (TX) goat fitting team for their recent 2nd place finish!

Free video: O! News

This fake Oscar preview video by British comedic actor Peter Serafinowicz has some good impersonations in it.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Free music: Petra Haden

Still basking in the glow of her great version of The Who Sell Out, Petra Haden has done her solo-vocal thing to two more great songs: Thriller and God Only Knows.

Long live Flaming Cyclops

Today I was reading the latest dispatch from JC Christian about a columnist who urges African Americans to look at the bright side of slavery: it brought them to America! I was reminded of that great Flaming Cyclops controversy back at Rutgers a few years ago and I'm glad to see a record of it on the web.

Happy Pi Day!

Today is Pi Day (3/14), for those of us who use the US dating system. Have some pie or celebrate in some other way. I have a poster of pi to 10,000 digits back at my mom's house, someday I'll bring it out here.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Not yet spring

As I type this, it is snowing on my school's campus. Some kids are running outside to check it out. It smells like rain, however, because it's all melting immediately. The faculty and staff here at my school are all bemoaning the fact that this cold weather's coming on a weekend, rather than giving us a snow day...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Busey vs. Eddie... who is scarier?

I briefly looked at some Oscars-red-carpet photos but had to stop when I found this great shot of Gary Busey. Later, mh found this scary shot of Eddie Van Halen. Enjoy the public eye, guys...

Calling talk radio

Being a big fan of talk radio, I was of course very interested to read about Calling All Wingnuts, as it was described as a guide to calling talk radio. I was disappointed to see that the aim of the site is to educate people on how to win arguments w/ the right wing radio hosts (or at least make some of the audience think before the host shouts down the caller). I'm more in favor of doing something like a phoned version of JC Christian's blog Jesus' General, which is often hilarious. He gets points for a recent goat reference.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Online campaigns

Three that I'm considering lending my support to:

1) Zod for President!

2) no, Walken for President!

3) the best of the bunch: Winter Olympics on Hoth

This past weekend

Had a nice little day-visit to L.A. this past weekend. Got some great Indian buffet in the afternoon and went to snazzy Spago in Beverly Hills in the evening. I couldn't help but notice some other customers in the restaurant that may as well had a big neon "porn" sign over their table: two ladies in sleezy, low-cut outfits and terribly fake breasts along with two men in pimpish suits (one of whom had white hair and was wearing a baby-blue suit with an open neck (no medallions, perhaps he forgot them)). Kinda funny to see that in real life without having to go to the AVN awards.

Monday, March 06, 2006

SNL does it again

...and with another rap video. Natalie Portman tells us about herself in the best acting performance I've yet to see from her. Or maybe that was the "real her." But the best part is when it references Easy-E's classic lines from "Gangsta Gangsta."


Out of this year's Oscar winners, I've only seen 2: LionWitchWardrobe and Crash. Of these, I'm really surprised that LWW beat out Revenge of the Sith and it's not just my love for Star Wars: there are lots of moments in LWW (more than in RotS) where the makeup just looks bad, like styrofoam heads.

Crash for Best Picture doesn't really upset me (like it did some people), tho I felt the movie was a bit preachy in the way every scene tried to make a statement about race relations. It brings up good issues, however, and until everbody in American can listen to Everybody's a Little Bit Racist from Avenue Q (the best statement on race relations I've seen yet), people should see Crash. I'm also interested to see if screenwriter Paul Haggis (who also wrote 2005's winner Million Dollar Baby) will win next year, either with Flags of Our Fathers (Clint Eastwood-directed WWII pic) or Casino Royale.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Fun with Google Maps

1) Placeopedia, which is really just an extention of Wikipedia.

2) I wonder if Google or MS will shut down Flash Earth for using their maps (via yodelling llama

3) Hopefully Google Transit will start to spread to more areas besides Portland.

This Modern World

Aside from the fact that it's always hilarious, This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow can also be prophetic.

Bond girls analysis

Ms. Goat had some questions about the new Bond girl, specifically, her age in relation to Daniel Craig's. So I did a thorough examination of Bonds, Bond girls and the ages of both. Enjoy.

PS - yes, I'm hoping that this post comes up in searches for "bond girls anal"

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Autistic basketball player

I first heard about this autistic basketball player at Crooks & Liars but now it's all over the news and it's a great story. Heard part of an interview of the boy's mother on Jim Rome today and after that basketball game, the boy now knows he can have a normal life and not be a second-class citizen. It's a nice change of pace to hear this kind of story rather than the usual side of sports, and that's not even getting into the police blotter. It's one of those rare times when mainstream sports can bring about the kind of self-realization that is usually the goal of the martial arts.

Goat report, 3/2/06

Goat held prisoner in frat house. No doubt the goat got a nice shower after being freed, but I wonder if she used goat soap...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Listen to the music

I got this via email a few days ago but wanted to find a source for it: The Best of the Twelve-Tone Masters. The author is a radio host named Robert Conrad and the place I learned this was critic Alex Ross' blog, which has lots of interesting musical musings. One of them was about this set of versions of Sabre Dance (Khachaturian) that will amuse you. All kids' bands should be like
The Marimba Ponies!