Friday, April 28, 2006

What would YOU do?

Imagine, for a moment, that you are one of two parties involved in a planned human pregnancy (this will take a bit of work for some of you, methinks). You and your partner are at the 2nd trimester ultrasound scanning and eagerly await your first knowledge of your child's (or, if you prefer, your choice's) gender. The technician, a kindly lady, finally finishes the examinations that are health-related and goes to look between the legs of the fetus, the common means of making this determination. She zooms in and points out the relevant growing sexual part(s), informing you of the gender. She then acts to make a hard copy of this close-up shot, like she has with the fetus' face. Do you:

a) point out that the knowledge of the gender is enough and politely decline a copy of the image.


b) hold your tongue, knowing full well this picture will probably make for much fun in about 17 years.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Free video...

and a fitting tribute: Don Knotts IS Dubya

Do you believe me?

Publicity for the United 93 movie has been getting in motion. Associated with it is interviews with victims' relatives (who've screened the movie), one of which I heard on the radio last week. I was very interested in hearing it because I was sure it would contradict one of the more unbelieveable parts of the 9/11 conspiracy documentary Loose Change (which I mentioned earlier): the nature of the cell phone calls from plane passengers to family members. Amazingly enough, the lady being interviewed on the radio actually reinforced the story: she got a phone call early in the morning and the voice on the phone said, "Hi Mom, it's your son, John Smith" and later went on to ask several times, "Do you believe me? Do you believe me?" while maintaining a calm tone of voice. The lady even said she heard a quiet voice in the background that seemed to be coaching the speaker on the phone.

The whole thing is creepy. I can sort of understand the calmness of the speaker's voice as meaning they've accepted that they were already dead, although some may say that runs counter to the spirit they'd have to be in for an uprising like the one we're told happened on United 93. But why would you identify yourself to your own mother using your last name? Why would you keep asking if they believe you? If you've accepted your death as soon and inevitable, you've accepted that your body will be found so why would it matter if they believe you at that moment?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Goat report backlog

Didn't do much of one last week so here's a few to keep you in horns:

1) Another former goat keeper does well. But he's no pop star, just the PM of Malaysia.

2) Putting pants on a goat? That's definitely gay.

3) More and more stories about goats clearing brush/weeds/etc. What about the Mexicans this is going to put out of work?

Trailer: RV

I can forgive the obvious Vacation remake RV for the fact that it appears to feature Robin Williams in a starring role where he's actually a straight man, not a hyperactive attention-seeking freak who has to do 20 impersonations a minute. But I'm sure there's a scene where his character loses it and he does do that.

update:nice shirt

Free video AND Goat report, 4/25/06

Goats clear brush in San Pedro, not far from where I went to high school. I'm surprised they didn't raid the Papa John's up the hill, a place where I've gotten pizza with Ms. Goat several times.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Good news!

Judge says web-surfing not a fireable offense.

Friday, April 21, 2006

More fun with Wish Lists

Stopped by a library the other day to check something on and again noticed that the last user didn't sign out from her Amazon account. I looked at her wish list and saw lots of baby books and 'Chicken Soup for the Soup'-type Christian books. So I added The Gnostic Gospels to her wish list. Hope she learns something...


This article on Cookie Monster singing in death metal sounds almost exactly like a conversation I had in a music history class about 10 years ago (when it was already going out of style). I would have liked the author to explore how Bollywood singing is similarly indistinguishable within the style; you can't tell one singer from the next, there may as well be only one vocalist for each entire genre. Via forktine.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Free video: Believe

Saw this last week while hunting about and it's pretty great: Believe by The Chemical Brothers. Via somebody's top videos of 2005.

mp3 blogs

Last week, as a birthday gift, a means to save money and in preparation for a concert we're going to in July, I got Ms. Goat the latest Flaming Lips album for free off the web. But it wasn't thru a file-sharing service; it was from blog posts that people had made. I was able to get almost the whole album with the help of The Hype Machine but needed a specialist to get one track that was no longer available thru a dirty unethical Russian mp3 site that I only condone when I really need to.

While searching around online, I did hunt some for other recent releases I was interested in hearing, such as the new Rob Zombie or Audioslave but found them mostly unavailable. The latest from the New Pornographers was half-available, which pleased me. I'm hoping the new Red Hot Chili Peppers (coming next month) will be online in a significant way but I have doubts that the new Tool will. Most of the music available at mp3 blogs brings to mind KCRW or Indie 103.1, the cutting-edge alt-rock that isn't too heavy. The music of computer users, one could say.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Booze advice

Every so often I get kids here who are talking about their alcohol drinking prowess and they turn to me to say something like, "Do you like Crown Royal? I can't live without it!" I am, of course, tempted to give an honest response ("Do I look like a pimp to you?") but I'm further tempted to give them a long serious lecture on How to Drink. It's plainly obvious to me that these children aren't really enjoying their booze, they're just enjoying being drunk, in which case they might as well be spinning each other around on the playground merry-go-round. Of course, such advice would inevitably get back to somebody who is not only in charge, but also living in the illusion that such advice would do these children harm and I'd lose my job. So these kids will go on drinking lots of cheap bad booze... a pity.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

2 updates

1) Smart cars are soon going to be selling in Washington state. Check their cross-country drive blog for nice pictures on ways you can park Smart cars.

2) Poop power is going human. At least in Oslo, where they're using sewage to heat homes (rather than burning the poop). Yes, that is pretty hot shit...

Monday, April 10, 2006

Quote of the day

I would rather blow Shaq in front of my parents than hold hands with this monster in a pitch black room with no windows.

List crit

The Writer's Guild of America did a list of 101 Greatest Screenplays and it's pretty horrible, almost to the point of being laughable. Let me start at the bottom and work my way up to the "top" (and no, I haven't seen all the movies on the list so I will limit my complaints to those that I have seen):

- Forrest Gump at 89? That has to be the only Best Picture winner I've seen that I think is less deserving of it than Crash.

- Raging Bull at 76. I rewatched this a few months back and was really bored by it; it's a terribly plain biopic (I'm really tired of the "fast-forward to the highlights of their life" format) that is only remarkable for the realistic boxing scenes and De Niro's performance.

- Star Wars at 68. Yes, one of the greatest movies of all time. No way in hell, one of the greatest screenplays of all time.

- The Sixth Sense at 50? Sure, it's creepy and accessible but would it be as good in the hands of a different director? Absolutely not, which tells me that the directing has more to do with its quality than the writing.

- I really can't get why Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Pulp Fiction aren't in the top 10. It seems almost silly to have Eternal Sunshine sandwiched between Gone With the Wind and Wizard of Oz, two movies that are more cultural monuments than they are films.

- Casablanca at #1 is undercut by the note that In the 1980s, this film's script was sent to readers at a number of major studios and production companies under its original title, Everybody Comes To Rick's. Some readers recognized the script but most did not. Many complained that the script was "not good enough" to make a decent movie.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Free 21st century music

The debut recording of Luke Larsener shows much rawness but much potential. While his control over dynamics needs a deal of polish, he recalls some of the most memorable moments of Penderecki and Ligeti.

Goat report, 4/7/06

Congrats to the goat that had 4 kids and the goat that had 5. And here's hoping that this Sudanese goat doesn't have kids.

Old systems never die... they just get emulated.

The Web SE takes me back to my days attempting to get things done on MacOS System 7. Virtual ][ goes back even further and almost makes me want to get a Mac so I can, yes, emulate my computer from the 80s.

On the games front (where most emulation action is), I never played Infocom's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy but maybe I can at work! Although I think I may first play the recreation of Ultima IV or even Intellivision games

Thursday, April 06, 2006

3 Great Things About the WebNet

1) LIRR Commuter from Hell (via Forktine)

2) Also filed under "making fun of strangers": Hanzi Smatter, which translates Chinese character tattoos.

3) Antisocial Networking

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Looking further ahead

In my last update, my furthest future date that I'm counting down to was Bush leaving office. Then I remembered the alleged Mayan apocalypse, which is really just the beginning of a new age. Today I learned about something else, coming your way in July of 2015: a spacecraft reaching Pluto.

Doctor schmocter

Finally got my diploma from Rutgers the other day and it was pretty underwhelming. I think they bought them in bulk, it's almost identical to the Master's diploma except for the 'Masters' is replaced w/ the PhD stuff. And to congratulate me, Frau Forktine passed along a very uplifting article from another PhD. Perhaps I will buy her a lottery ticket in return.

This wasn't really news to me as one of the things I learned from the whole experience was how little it means outside the ivory tower. A good example came to mind today, when I read that Condoleezza Rice (PhD in International Studies), who has a thorough musical background, actually missed a Beatles reference while in Liverpool. And that's aside from her failures in international politics.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Art is sexy

Who's to blame for Catholic priests being sex criminals? Why, the painters of masterpieces that have subliminal sex images all over them!

More sexy art from painter Egon Schiele, as recently described in The Nation:

The theme of mother and child has a considerable history in Western art, from Venus and Eros to the Madonna and the Christ Child, but there is nothing to compare with Schiele's study. ... It is very much as if they are lovers--hardly a posture that would have occurred to anyone had the idea of infantile sexuality not been in the air.

Check out Mother and Child (1910)

Somebody buy me this!

I wish I had learned about this on Saturday, when it came out: Regis Philbin's fringe jazz album, reviewed at All About Jazz.