Witness a machine turn coffee into pointless ramblings...
28 February, 2005
I read a couple things earlier today that have inspired me to write.
Whenever life gets me down, I try to think that it could be worse, that my problems are, in the big picture, quite insignificant. Of course, being my
problems, they take on significance but it’s helpful to step back and gain some perspective – obstacles start to seem less insurmountable. Case in point: imagine you’re Joey Finance. You go to work on one of the upper floors of the World Trade Center the morning of September 11, 2001. A couple hours later you find yourself in the unenviable position of having to choose between two incomprehensible choices. Either A) you burn to death or B) you jump nearly a thousand feet to your death on a Manhattan street. I can only try to imagine the absolute horror of being faced with two choices, both of which lead to your death. A situation devoid of hope in which the end cannot come soon enough. Think about the agony those people faced. Most of us will only have minimal choice in the method and timing of our demise but these people had these forced upon them. No chance to change eating and exercise habits, no chance for a doctor to ply his trade with all the knowledge of modern medicine behind her. Most of those people weren’t able to proclaim their love to family & friends one last time, say goodbye to their children, or set their affairs in order so that those who survived them could be assured of the best possible headstart in getting their lives back on track after the death of their loved ones. When I think about those poor people who died on 9/11, I feel great sadness. I also feel thankful that neither I nor anyone I know was one of them. Lastly, I feel tremendous anger towards the fuckers who hijacked those planes and flew them into the World Trade Center.
In moments of morbidity, I’ve been contrasting the deaths above with the recent suicide of Hunter S. Thompson. Now, I never met HST and cannot speak to the state of his life just prior to him taking his own life. From what I have read, he was not terminally ill, suffering from incurable physical pain, or suffering from a mental malady such as manic depression which would lead him to do what he did. Not that I ever considered HST to be exactly normal but being even highly eccentric is no prescription for suicide. And no statements from his family lead me to believe that he was in any state of mind other than the one the public has know for the past 40 years.
In the wake of his death, encomiums have been published everywhere about HST by friends, former editors, fellow writers, et al
that all tend to say the same things: how unique he was, about his pioneering style of journalism, the influence he’s had, lots of crazy stories, and so on. I’ll miss his writing. No more new books, no more columns up at espn.com – it is a real loss. What no one seems to be saying, however, is how cowardly his suicide was. If there was no illness physical or mental to be had, how could he put a loaded gun into his mouth and pull the trigger? He had a wife, a kid, a career – and he threw all of those away and caused tremendous pain for those that knew him. Everyone is romanticizing HST’s suicide as an appropriate end to his life. How so? A drug overdose would seem more fitting. According to some, it was not unexpected but that does not justify a completely stupid and selfish act and no one should be going around glorifying his death. His life and his writings should be remembered and enjoyed but his death should be labeled what was – pointless and stupid. That there is glory in death is a tool of the deceitful or a refuge of the delusional. (Such as those who flew planes into the WTC.) Why will no one come out and ask what the fuck happened to him? Why did he become such a chickenshit and bail on life? People keep speaking of the tragedy. While literally correct, they use it with more of a connotation of misfortune. In this sense, if he’d fallen off a cliff or been hit by a car then his death would have been a tragedy. The fate of those people in the World Trade Center was tragedy. But HST’s hand was not forced. Let us pull no punches let us not pretend that cowardice is a fitting end to one’s life.
Keepin' It Real
I read today that Beatallica
were served with papers by Sony to take down their web page. For anyone who’s not familiar with them, they are a parody band from Milwaukee that mixes Metallica and Beatles songs together and quite well, if I may add. Titles of songs include “The Thing That Should Not Let It Be” and “Enter Taxman”. Before their site was taken down, mp3s of their music were to be found and could be downloaded for free
. Sony had a cease-and-desist order sent to the band’s ISP claiming copyright infringement. They’ve also demanded “an accounting of all sums received or earned in connection with the material.” Um…they gave it away for free, dumbasses. Lars Ulrich of Metallica is supportive of the band as Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater has also come down on the band’s side. (Beatallica opened for Dream Theater on their tour last year. I’m downloading a copy of this show as I type.) Come on! It’s parody, folks! Sony isn’t going to lose any money. No Beatles fans are going to suddenly lose interest because of a band most have never even heard of. Fucking major labels…
Honestly, the Academy Awards™ didn’t really interest me but I am happy to read that Bob Richardson won for Achievement in Cinematography as he shot The Aviator
. Richardson was Oliver Stone’s DP for years and is, in my humble opinion, one of the best working today. You hipsters saw his work in the Kill Bill
flicks which I didn’t really care for. I saw them only because Bob shot them. I haven’t yet seen The Aviator
so I must get my ass to the theater and check out the photography.
As I mentioned previously, I’ve been listening to the audio drama, Clayborne
. They’ve finally started posting episodes beyond the first 8 that I grabbed from mp3.com a few years ago. The mystery is pretty well established and now they’ve gotten around to developing the characters more.
Has anyone else gotten into podcasting
? I’ve subscribed to a few channels so far. While I’m not remarkably impressed with most of them, I do like the concept. I don’t have a portable mp3 player so I just listen to the shows on my PC. I subscribed to 3 geeky tech shows, 1 about s-e-x, and a BBC show about history. One of the tech shows apparently hasn’t podcasted in a while as iPodder hasn’t downloaded anything. The mp3 of another of the tech shows was cut off after only a minute or so. The final one was horrible as it was just this chickie wandering around an industry show. Maybe if she had the personality of, say Triumph, then it would have been amusing. As it was, however, I was just bored because she just doesn’t have the personality to make an audio account of wandering the aisles at a convention center interesting for nearly half an hour. The sex hoolie was also rather boring. A man and a womyn review the new flick, Inside Deep Throat
. Again, they just didn’t have any chemistry. We’ll see how the next episode goes. The BBC show is about alchemy. Not surprisingly, what I’ve heard so far is pretty cool. Gotta love the Beeb.
Work today has been pretty boring. The highlight was having lunch with Dogger down at the Argus. On returning, Scott had me proofread this project overview hoolie that he’s been working on. And now I’m listening to this CD I burned last week. It’s about half-filled with Genesis but it also has “Scissor Man” by XTC on it and the song won’t get out of my head. My plan right now is to crank up “Duchess” in my headphones and see if that’ll chase it away. It’s one of my favorite Genesis songs and I really like this new mix. “Duchess” has 2 elements which were for the most part absent towards the end of Phil Collins’ tenure with the band: 1) harmony vocals and 2) lead drums.
Unlike Yes, which throughout its career has had at least 3 members contributing vocals, Genesis has had only 1 singer for most of its career. Collins added vocals while Peter Gabriel was with the band. After Pete left, they multi-tracked Phil’s voice. But after Duke
in 1980, the songs had precious little harmonizing. I think that if you put aside any preconceptions about Collins’ voice gained via “Sussudio”, “Invisible Touch”, and the like, one would see that he’s got a really good voice.
The drums on “Duchess” really aren’t that fancy but are the lead instrument. Bass pedals, guitar, and piano hover in the background so the snare/hi-hat combo really propels the song. The rhythm is to the fore but not quite like, say, a rap song. It’s like a slow surf beat but with oodles of open hi-hat.
Alright – I’m going home.
23 February, 2005
22 February, 2005
I found a couple new stills from the new Doctor Who:
Here's the new Doc struggling with an Auton. It's probably been 30 years since we last saw them.
Now here's the Doctor's new hottie companion. Looks like she's in the TARDIS control room. I guess that, even if the show sucks, there will at least be eye candy.
21 February, 2005
Free Your Napster Files
I mentioned a few days ago that the DRM on Napster's files could be circumvented but that the Winamp plug-in needed to do this has been removed from winamp.com. I found a copy along with some directions at this site
. For anyone not wishing to leave my precious blog, I'll elaborate.
Firstly, download and install Napster
, sign up for 14 day free trial.
Download and install Winamp
Download and install the Winamp Plug-in Output Stacker
Open Winamp Options->Plug-ins->Output->Dietmar's Output Stacker->Configure
Add out_ds.dll from Winamp/Plug-ins folder
Add out_disk.dll from Winamp/Plug-ins folder
Select out_disk.dll in the Output Stacker->Configure
Set the output directory and output file mode to Force WAV file
Load downloaded Napster protected WMAs into your Winamp playlist
Press play and each file will be converted to WAV as it plays
Now you've got the raw wav files to burn onto CD.N.B. - I had to uninstall Output Stacker from Winamp to get mp3s to play afterwards.
It was a mellow weekend. I took it easy Friday night and then went to training on Saturday morning. I am now a fully-armed, though not yet operational, adult literacy tutor. The 9 hours of training went by rather quickly. Kind of a bummer because I can't stare at the one womyn's enormous breasts. She recently gave birth so her mammary glands are milky swollen and ready to feed. Tangentially, they make for nice things to ogle. After class, I headed over to Lush's where we ate lunch, shot the shit, and watched Hannah while Wendy was out. Having eaten, Hannah was all tired so she was laid to sleep and Lush and I assembled a foosball table that he'd gotten for Xmas. Actually it was a multi-hoolie deal with air hockey and ping-pong in addition to foosball. It took a little while to figure out what the directions were telling us but we got it up. We played a game of foosball and then some air hockey. Finally we tried out the ping-pong bit. The table is about 3 feet high and 2'x 4' so it's more suited towards 6 year olds than we manly men. We rarely landed a ball on the table and we forced to return shots after they'd ricocheted off a wall or box. It provided amusement nonetheless. With the table finished and Hannah needing a look-see, Lush and I headed upstairs. A diaper change later, all was well and good again so we started chatting again. He and I both wanna go abroad. Obviously having a kid and another due in 5 days makes it more difficult for Lush than myself. We tossed some ideas around and thought it would be cool to try and schedule a 4-day weekend this fall for a trip of some kind. I had mentioned to him earlier that Rhubis came to mind the other day and neither of us had heard from him in a while so a reunion of drunken college cohorts sounded like fun. We'll see what actually becomes of this idea but I think getting some guys together and going somewhere/anywhere would be a hoot. Maybe Vegas...When evening rolled around, I was off as I had told Dogger that I'd help him troubleshoot his PC. I went home briefly and grabbed the CPU from my PC and headed over to his place.
His 'puter took a digger a couple months ago. The power supply was one culprit keeping it from booting. We swapped the bad one out for a known good one but it still wouldn't boot. Couldn't even get to the POST screen. So we threw in my CPU and powered up: nothing. So we knew the motherboard was hosed. I took Dogger's CPU home to see if it had blown too. Since Mel and Regan were in Milwaukee, we sat around and shot the fecal matter. Work, computers, the building craze in Madison, et al
were topics of conversation. Marv commented that, although he's lived here for about 11 years, it wasn't until only recently that Madison has become his home. I think the way he put it was "being from Taylor vs. being a Madisonian" or whatever the fuck he said - you get the picture. I basically understood what he meant. It took me a much shorter time to get to that point. I never really felt like I was from Elvira. It was always more of a layby on my journey from Chicago to Madison. I went from being a FIB who moved to Wisconsin to a Madisonian who happens to be from Chicago in a short time. I had no allegiance to Hicksville but also found Chicago to be drifting further back in time so I was a bit hometownless. Identifying myself as a dope-smoking, lefty Madisonian took little effort on my part.
A bit before 9, Lenore - Dogger's mother-in-law - had returned with Mel and Regan. Marv and I bailed lest we be subjected to more than a couple minutes of Nori and headed over to Mickey's. For someone who said he recognized hardly anyone there, he sure ran into a lot of people he knew. I guess if he knows less than 6 people there, he feels surrounded by strangers. Let's see...there was Micah. I was told that we'd met a couple weeks ago at the Bou but I was too drunk at the time and didn't recall meeting him. He's a musician/aspiring audio engineer so I may call on him to remaster a boot or 4. There was a hottie named Amy, I think. She'd gone back to school I recall. Then there was this other chick with an acre of cleavage. It took a great deal of effort on my part not to gawk, lemme tell ya. Then there was David(?) who lived downstairs from Marv. He and his old lady are apparently on the outs so he was on the town trolling. At one point Marv told me that he's been dating this fraulein named Jill. I shall have to meet her to find out if she's good enough for my friend.
Sunday was a murder of a day. I felt kind of blah so I slept through most of it. However, I did get to listen to the first two parts of The Juggernauts and run a couple errands. And I caught a speech by Sam Harris
on BookTV. His tome, The End of Faith
concerns how religion is evil and needs to be replaced by reason. To him, religion plays a large part in the conflicts we face today - too large a part - and it will only become greater. It was very interesting and I kept saying "Preach on, brotha!" to myself as I listened to him speak. He did some religious comparisons and noted how the dogma of certain religions, especially Islam and Christianity, were very conducive to violence. Plus he went off in only the most mild-mannered way on people who take the Bible as fact. That was cool. I'll have to get his book as he seemed to be a really hoopy frood.
Today I started work an hour earlier than usual as I went over to DOA to help out. They started rolling out Office 2003 today so Mark and I headed over there in case the fecal matter hit the fan. We basically did nothing as only a handful of boxes had problems. Why they sent me over there is a mystery because I don't have a DOA account so I couldn't log onto the network and I don't have a card for the elevator/doors so I had to be with someone if I wanted to get back to a desk in DET. Not that it was busy here but at least I could have gotten on the Net or use Notepad to write. Instead I basically sat around staring at my shoes waiting for someone to have a fucking problem. At least I get to leave an hour earlier.
I got a letter from a soldier in Iraq. Back in December I sent a care package to a platoon over there and their supply sergeant wrote me back. I feel really badly for her:
Hello! Thank you very much for the package that you have sent to us. We are very appreciative for the kind gestures and for supporting us over here in this time of conflict. A little about us. WE are 184 Military Intelligence Company. Part of the 2nd Stryker Brigade based out of Fort Lewis, WA. All together our brigade has over 4000 soldiers. It seems a lot, but not compared to the amount of troops currently deployed over here right now. Our brigade is currently fighting in the town of Mosul. What an adventure that is, let me tell you. Hopefully President Bush will not let us down and we will soon resolve the conflict over here and be able to go home to your families. That is our only hope. A little about myself. I am 28 years old, married and have a little girl, Laryssa. My husband is also in the Stryker Brigade with me and is also over here, so unfortunately the little one is being spoiled with her Grandpa and Grandma. Imagine how hard that is going to be to break when we return. I was recently attached to the 25th BSB, which is a support battalion within the brigade but have since been reassigned to the 184 MI. After the Chow Hall attack on Marez we lost some of our soldiers within the brigade and some of us had to be reassigned to fill the positions, which is unfortunate. I am originally from Grand Junction, Colorado, born and raised, but have since become a resident of Oregon where my parents have retired. Well I better close for now. Once again thank you very much and god bless you and your family.
SGT Carolyn Isaacs
Their poor daughter. Both mom & dad gone off to war. She could lose both of her parents. I didn't think the Army did that kind of thing any longer. I can't imagine how awful she feels. I shall have to write her back soon...
Paris' Sidekick Reveals All
If you've ever wondered what Paris Hilton stores in her PDA, here's your chance to see
20 February, 2005
A larger version of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
trailer can can found at the film's official site
Also, a trailer for A Scanner Darkly
is up at ifilm.
18 February, 2005
What Rog Wants, Rog GetsLord help us all
17 February, 2005
It's gotten all cold outside again. We were kind of spoiled earlier this week, I suppose. Now it's back to Old Man Winter for a spell.
Nothing blatantly exciting to report - just the normal crap. I signed-up with Sony to see if they'll let me tryout for Jeopary
. They'll be here in April or May to conduct the search. Imagine me on Jeopardy. Up there in front of millions proudly flying my geek flag. Would it be best to wear my Periodic Table of the Elements shirt? Or perhaps a Jethro Tull tie-dye? Decisions, decisions.
While I'm waxing geek, I see that Firefox
has surpassed 25 million downloads.
I read that one can now get around Napter's copy protection. Last week sometime I took advantage of their free trial offer and downloaded 3 tunes for free. Of course they're DRM protected so I can't convert them to WAV files for burning or port them to other PCs. But now the cat has gotten out of the bag that a Wimamp
plug-in called Output Stacker will convert files downloaded from Napster to WAV so you can burn them onto CD. Of course they've removed the plug-in so look for individuals to post it themselves.
The inventors of TCP/IP, Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn, were given the Turing Award
for their protocol. For those that don't know, TCP/IP is the series of rules that define how data is transmitted on the Internet. Like Firefox but in sharp contrast to Microsoft's policy of keeping technology proprietary, Cerf and Kuhn made their invention open-source and gave it away:
"Dr. Cerf said part of the reason their protocols took hold quickly and widely was that he and Dr. Kahn made no intellectual property claims to their invention. They made no money from it, though it did help their careers. 'It was an open standard that we would allow anyone to have access to without any constraints,' he said.
In other tech news, the technical/scientific Oscars™ were awarded this week
. OK, so there's no glamour involved with it and the recipients are a bunch of geeky old duffs, but the event was hosted by Scarlett Johansson - a lass I'd like to schtup. While you may have no interest in funky cranes and node-graph compositing systems, you see what filmmakers can do with them. These folks create new lenses and cranes so directors can have cool shots in their films. They invent new types of silicone materials so actors' faces can be manipulated in the grossest ways yet still look like real flesh. They invent new CGI technology so you can see the neatest SFX on the big screen. Give them all a hand.
OK. I've got time to build me a funkadelic surround stereo system. The release of the SACD of Genesis' The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
has been delayed once again and is not expected until the last part of this year.
16 February, 2005
New H2G2 Trailer!
The front page over at Amazon
has the new trailer for the Hitchhiker's
movie. The Americanization of the dialogue aside, it looks good.
15 February, 2005
Fully-Armed and Operational MoonThis
is pretty humorous. It seems that one of Saturn's moons has more than a passing resemblance to the Death Star.
14 February, 2005
Looking for the Perfect Metaphor
Well, we ended up finishing in 11th place. Shit started going downhill Saturday evening when we missed the question asking where the initial run of "Jelly Roll Blues" orthophonic records were pressed. We had the right answer but kept getting a busy signal when we tried to call it in. We made our comeback starting around 4AM but it was too little too late, unfortunately. It was a good time, though. I got home around 1 yesterday and went to sleep. Woke up sometime that night and chilled with Becca and Stevie before going back to sleep. While I am fully-rested, I sure don't feel like it. Must be the lack of Toad Hill.At any rate, I now have the Stevens Point contest to look forward to.
The museum for my trivia team, the Flying Zupan Brothers, is due to open on March 4th. By "museum" I mean a series of displays of some kind and a bar in a garage in Deerfield. One exhibit is called "Living Zupan". I asked Kias what it was to be but he didn't know exactly. Presumably this means a Zupan sitting before a bunch of books with a beer in hand and joint in mouth.
Claybourne is an audio drama that I discovered at the now-defunct mp3.com a few years ago. I managed to snag the first 8 episodes only and have been wondering how the series pans out. Looks like I'll have my chance soon as it will be podcasted! If anyone wants to hear some good radio drama from New Zealand, go to the Claybourne blog
. You can get an RSS feed for updates.
I begin my literacy tutor training after work tonight. It'll be 3 hours so I'm hoping that it will be interesting in some capacity because, right now, I think I'll fall asleep if it's boring. After that, it's off to The Dulcinea's for a V-Day quickie. I feel bad because I haven't gotten her anything yet. I was considering that Make-Your-Own-Dildo kit but I want to be a bit more frugal as I'm looking at paying Dogger's mortgage. I'll find something. But I had better do it soon lest I end up sleeping with the dog. I'm looking forward to seeing her as I'm pretty frisky today.
Tomorrow is part deux of my Celtic music class. We're to cover bagpipes and dancing so it should be fun. Then training again on Wednesday. And Saturday. I think I'll be spending the evening with The Dulcinea on Thursday. Gaming on the weekend too. Busy busy busy.
I asked Lola for permission to see her naughty photos and it was granted. I've gotta say, she does like butt plugs and being tied up. But who doesn't?
On the ride home yesterday, I continued with The Perfect Age
. I've got mixed feelings about the book. The relationship between Helen and her mother, Kathy, has potential but it just seems to be flat. There's too little conflict. I just don't find a girl in her late teens to be all that interesting. Only when thrown into conflict with her mother does she appeal to me because the contrast and comparisons between their situtations comes to the fore and lends the character of Helen some life. Let's face it, teenagers are generally boring and stupid. All they do is complain and wallow in confusion. Helen is young. She has precious little experience in life to draw on for reflection, not that teenagers reflect much. So it's interesting when mother and daughter use one another as mirrors, however dark. The one bit that really interested me was when the husband, Edward, fears that he's been cuckolded and tails Kathy as he suspects she's going for a rendezvous with her lover. Having been in the grips of the Green-Eyed Monster, I related very well to that scene. My only complaint was that his jealousy wasn't intense enough. You don't follow your significant other around on a whim. The confusion and jealousy is very
intense and I don't think that came across in the book. Maybe it's just me being a man, though. I don't know what it's like to be female nor do I have any first-hand experience of relationships between mother and daughter. Perhaps there are cues in the story that womyn pick up on and I don't. "Oh, X happened so Y."
I find Kathy a much more interesting character than Helen. Reading about a teenager being confused is as exciting as watching grass grow. It's a given. Tell me something new, something interesting. But I can see the parallels between Helen and Kathy that are to make her interesting. Helen is in the process of becoming a sexual person. Kathy never liked sex much but is "discovering" it via her affair. Each of them hiding things from friends and family. Still, this side-by-side comparing and constrasting doesn't reveal much of interest - to me, at least.
Despite this, I'll still finish it. Heather has an easy-going writing style that I can get through fairly quickly. And I suspect my novel would be a piece of crap whereas she is competent. This being the case, I feel like I'm missing something. The other thing that I don't care for is the setting. It takes place in Las Vegas but it's the desert that gets to me. In general, deserts don't do anything for me. The images that form in my head of the scenario are bland. And I don't think Heather is taking advantage of it. Yeah, there's the metaphor of drought. Kathy is nearing middle age and menopause - drought. Helen is young and just discovering all the world has to offer so she works as a lifeguard at a pool and is thus always in or near water. As a metaphor, the desert is underused, in my humble opinion. Unused is the metaphor of Vegas itself. There hasn't been an attempt to use the glitzy, casino and tourist-ridden area in contrast to the areas where residents live as a metaphor. Hey, I dig metaphors.
What Harry Lime Knew
I read an article
about how a memorial service to commemorate the bombing of Dresden during World War II was disrupted by neo-Nazis. While a small minority can make a big noise, I read that 5,000 people with neo-Nazi sympathies demonstrated. 5,000 is not an insignificant number. While the article focused on the march, it did talk about an increase in popularity of the neo-Nazi political party the National Party of Germany. Disturbingly, the NPD won a seat in Saxony's parliament. Britain's ambassador downplayed this by saying that it was a fluke caused by low voter turnout. Still, it should be a cause of consternation.
The whole thing reminded me of Harry Lime's comments in The Third Man
. I'm pretty sure they come just after his famous cuckoo clock
diatribe - about how the Germans need to be put down once and for all because, being a bunch of Goths at heart, they'll try to conquor the world again. While I don't know much about the situation in Germany, I find these developments disturbing. The NPD candidate didn't get elected dogcatcher, the Herr or Frau was elected to parliament
. One NPD voter is quoted, "We believe that the German state favours foreigners and the Jews." Does that unholy marriage of xenophobia and anti-Semitism sound familiar? Apparently the unemplyment rate in the former Easy Germany is around 20%. And now it seems that an increasing number of people are blaming it on foreigners and Jews. Ya know, people ought to try to get to those kinds of people. "Hallo Frau Scheißkopf. There are reasons for unemployment that have nothing to do with foreigners and Jews and I'd bet a dollar to a doughnut that these explain the high unemployment over there. If the Juden were so crafty and powerful, you'd think they'd have figured out a way to control everything secretly
. They have had thousands of years to practice and many a pogrom for incentive.
While the NPD may not have a blueprint for another Reich, that they captured 9.2% of the vote in an election is cause cause enough to start sounding klaxons. It sure seems like there's a cancer growth that must be removed.
12 February, 2005
This Ain't Good
Well, we took a nosedive towards the bottom but halted the slide. It wouldn't be so bad if A) we didn't get jammed on the fucking orthophonic question and B) Pete knew how to use Google. The question asked for the name of the puppy in the film Song of the South
so he starts looking up Alabama lyrics. I correct him and he starts looking elsewhere. He doesn't find it so I take over but it was too late. Time was up. All he had to do was type in "Song of the South name of puppy" and the first result had it. But no - he had to use "dog" and omit "name" or whatever the fuck he did.
Some humour came about for the question asking the name of the theme song to Wheel of Fortune. I found it and told Kias, "Changing Key" which he somehow transmogrified into "Ching-Ching Key". He was on the phone with a judge saying "Ching-Ching Key!" and I overheard him. I was incredulous - what the fuck was he saying. So I corrected him. Next was the question about what the 24th Amendment did. "Ended the poll tax," I told him. So everyone starts saying "abolished pull tabs". It all came to a head when the question was "What was Eric Clapton's father's occupation?" Pete answered, "A poll tax collector."
Because of our poor performance, the boys back in Cambridge sent us a picture:
So far, so far. We fucked up a couple questions and we've got something like 85 out of 105 points. Zeke is freaking out back in Cambridge as he can't hear the question right away and we have to read it to him.
The Badgers are playing Illinois on the TV and I'm enjoying a new brew by Dan at New Glarus - Black Wheat. A fine "conditioned weiss" that "is bursting with Midwestern wheat, corn, rye and finshished by malted barley." It does a body good. On the way up, we stopped at Fran's Coffee Cup in Plainfield, the home of Ed Gein. They have that graded coffee prices. All the coffee you can drink is $.50 while all the coffee you can drink all day is only $4.50. AND you get an hour off for lunch so you can head home for a bit and come back and continue drinking from their bottomless cup o'joe. As we were leaving, there was a group of old duffs suppin' coffee and playin' cards. A Texas Hold 'Em contest in Plainfield, perhaps?
11 February, 2005
Goblet of Fire
The next Harry Potter flick is due out later this year. Some snaps from the production have been released.
Man, that Emma Watson or whatever the name is of the girl who plays Hermione is a little hottie. I'd like to schtup her when she's legal.And playing the baddie is:
Look out all you torrenters! The MPAA is putting the smackdown
10 February, 2005
WOMAN IN AUDIENCE: I don't really understand. How is it the new [Social Security] plan is going to fix that problem?
DUBYA: Because the -- all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculated, for example, is on the table. Whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those -- changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be -- or closer delivered to what has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the -- like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate -- the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those -- if that growth is affected, it will help on the red.-- Dubya explains the virtues of his Social Security plan, Tampa, Florida, Feb. 4, 2005
It's one thing to be a parody of a Richard Brinsley Sheridan character but to not know what the fuck you're calling for when you advocate reform of SSI is another. I genuinely don't think the guy knows anything about the issue other than the system will be paying out less at some point. He's heard about the variables involved but I honestly don't think he understands what they are and how they figure into the equation.
To be sure, being an ineloquent speaker doesn't make you unfit to be President. Thomas Jefferson was not a great public speaker - his forte was with the written word. But, from what I've read, he didn't just dish out a series of malaprops. If he were asked about revolting against the King, he wouldn't give the Declaration of Independence. Instead he'd say, "Hey, we want to be free of tyranny" not "Well, the taxing of tea is done...look, it's muddled...we don't have anyone in the House of Lords across the pond to make sure..." Dubya may be a plain guy but he should at least be able to explain himself coherently. In a plain manner would be fine - not a stream of malapropisms.
Let The Hobbit Happen
If you're keen on having Peter Jackson turn The Hobbit
into a flick, check out this site
Wilco + Orpheum = Bonus Disk
According to Wilco's webpage
, A Ghost is Born
will be released in Europe with a bonus disc featuring live tracks and a couple studio outtakes. The live songs were recorded here in Madtown when the band played at the Orpheum in October of last year. The live tunes are:
"At Least That's What You Said"
"The Late Greats"
The studio tracks are:
These will all be availabe at iTunes and for free download from Wilcoweb at some point.
Some pictures from the upcoming Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
flick have been posted. Check 'em out
. It does seem weird to see Zaphod without 2 heads. On the bright side, Stephen Fry will be doing the voice of The Book while Alan Rickman will be the voice of Marvin the Paranoid Android.
There's some funky pictures relating to Revenge of the Sith
to be found here
. That shot of Mace Windu & Company stepping into Palpatine's office looking pissed off got me all fired up. Gonna be some ass kickin' to be had!!
Thanks For the Throw There, Howard
It’s been an interesting week. I started my Celtic music class on Tuesday. There’s only a handful of us and the professor seems to be a froody guy. We listened to a bit of carnyx playing. The carnyx is this huge horn and is the oldest known Celtic musical instrument. Then the prof put on some harp music from the Robert Ap Huw Manuscript of 1613 and the Edward Jones’s Musical and Poetical Relicks of the Welsh Bards (1784-1825). The older stuff was really cool. OK, all of the material on here is at least 300 years old so it’s all “old”. But I mean that I really dug the piece from the pre-Renaissance piece. It’s all variations on a theme and dissonant and weird which was fine by me. The later material was more melodic and, although I enjoyed it, I liked the “primitive” stuff more. All of the songs were played on replicas of period harps that were strung with steel strings instead of gut. Really good stuff. Next week we investigate the bagpipe and learn about Celtic dancing. Call me crazy but I’m thinking we’re not gonna go over Riverdance.
Yesterday I had an orientation meeting to become a literacy tutor with the Madison Area Literacy Council
. The 7 of us got the intro speech and paperwork to fill out. We shall see if they want me as a volunteer soon, I suppose. Oh! When I got home on Tuesday night, I found out that my cousin Guy had stopped by while I was at class. I wish that he’d have emailed me to let me know he was passing through. Now that he’s out of the navy, he’s got time to relax. He is making his way down to Florida where his dad and stepmom live. I shall have to call them soon. He left me a bag of stuff from the USS Stennis
on which he was stationed. Got me a new baseball cap! Now this may sound like no big deal to you but, for me, it’s neat because it’s my only cap not covered in sweat stains.
The weekend looms which means TRIVIA! For anyone who’s interested, you can keep track of our (The Flying Zupans) progress at the WISS trivia webpage
I see that Son Volt
announced some new tour dates
but nothing around here in the upper Midwest. Their new album comes out this summer while a DVD of their performance on Austin City Limits
comes out next month. And it will be the full show, not the truncated 30-minute set that PBS broadcast. (God! Jay Farrar looks young there. And Gillian Welch is *hot*! I wouldn’t kick her out of bed for eatin’ chicken. Is she schtooking David Rawlings?)
If anyone out there lives in District 3 here in Madtown, don’t forget to vote for Amy Westra
07 February, 2005
This Is a Good Entry…
…for me to poop on!
I’ve gotta say that Triumph the Insult Comic Dog’s
DVD is fucking hilarious. In one sequence he goes to Hawaii to cover tryouts for American Idol and Fox kicks him off the premises. So he goes to the local NBC affiliate and pleads his case. Then he does the weather forecast. “Thanks for the throw there, Howard.” Frickin’ heelarious! Check it out
The Dulcinea noticed that Ozric Tentacles
are touring here in the States again. I think we’re gonna catch them at the Abbey Pub
For any Windows users who are keen on the Dock in Max OSX, your dream has come true
. I installed it on my box at work and Winders didn’t crash once all day!
Christ! Where did I leave off? This is what I get for not writing everyday. Oh! I start my class on Celtic music tomorrow and on Wednesday become orientated for my new status as an adult literacy tutor. I’ll be having these half-literates saying words like “usufruct” and “campestral” in no time! Finally, a chance to mold the verbal skills of another human being in my own image. In other news, I’ve gotta find The Dulcinea a Valentine’s Day gift. I’m contemplating this
but have some reservations. When she dumps me, it will give her the perfect voodoo doll and I’d rather avoid that kind of situation.
This weekend is trivia up north. A couple changes this year: 1) we’re going to be playing at Benke’s instead of Joe’s place. 2) We are going to be working with a smaller crew. To make up for this, we are going to do a little conference call with Yahoo! Messenger. This is made possible with a cable modem! I think Pete is gonna head up with us again this year. One can only wonder just how much mayhem we can cause at the new venue.
On Friday night, I met up with Marv, Pete, Dogger, and Old Man Standiford at the Bou and drank way too much. Driving home is something I should most definitely not have done. Thankfully it turned out all right. We shot the shit for hours. I even got all serious and told Dogger to not be afraid to come to us for help regardless of the type.
Ya know, I had a lot to write about before I actually started this entry and can’t fucking remember what it was I wanted to say. Oh! Today had this penumbra over it because Toad Hill closed its doors – about 3 hours ago. On the one hand, I feel horrible for The Caffeinatrix because it’s a failure of sorts. But on the other, I know that she’ll get some much-deserved rest and, I suspect, take on a cheerier disposition. Hopefully I’ll get to see her and Miss Vicki and Downtown in a social setting soon. I wish them all the best. So now where the fuck am I gonna get coffee? Well, I suppose stopping in at CZ or Mother Fools in the A.M. is a viable proposition. Unfortunately, CZ’s coffee isn’t great and finding a parking spot near Mofos is a tricky proposition. I sure as fuck won’t go to Francois’ den of iniquity.
A bit about work. It goes. I think I’ve been fully assimilated. I think a majority of people in my section know who I am and quite a few in different sections as well. I’ve discovered that DCFS has some hot interns. One blonde was particularly pulchritudinous. I chatted with her for a while and discovered that she’ll be heading back to LaCrosse at the end of the semester. Hell, I’ll probably be gone before that. My situation has finally settled down to the point where I’m usually the only one doing any work. Why do I bother? I mean, we all surf the Net but I seem to surf less than most. Or maybe I’m full of shit.
I made some chicken mole. It’s not bad. I deliberately didn’t add any sugar in hope that it might be somewhat carb-friendly. I suspect I’ll be the only one eating it, though.
04 February, 2005
Me & Dolby
I've got a couple months yet to assemble myself a 5.1 surround stereo system. April 18th is the release date for the SACD version of Genesis' The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
. Unfortunately it seems that Deadwing
has been pushed back until April 26th.
My downloading progresses. On a local note, I've got David Bowie's appearance here in Madison back in 1974, Pink Floyd's Camp Randall gig from 1988, the demos Nirvana made over at Smart Studios in 1990, and Tull's show from November of last year. Speaking of the Tull show, here's a couple snaps from it:
Work was quite busy today. A network volume was unavailable for a large chunk of the day and people continued to complain even after an e-mail was sent out explaining the problem along with an ETR (Estimated Time of Repair). And then there was an e-mail problem. So I alerted the womyn in charge of the mail server by sending her a case with one complaint from a user who couldn't email Kenosha county users. In the case I documented the sender's and recipients' e-mail addresses, the error message in the rejection notice, the times, a Kenosha county contact - all the relevant information. A couple minutes later, I get an e-mail from the head of the mail team asking for the e-mail addresses, the error message, and a contact name. Does she not bother to read what I send her? My reply indicated that all of that info was in the case and I even specified where in the notes to find the information. And what does she say? "OK".
Being in the middle of a one, there's always lots to be said about war. But I'm sick of the talking heads on the news and the talk shows. They tend to bandy about terms like freedom" and "democracy" as if some grammarian in the sky was about to remove them from the English language. While we do hear about soldiers being killed, we really don't get to hear the soldiers' stories. The stories of the people whose lives are in danger everyday. The Library of Congress is attempting to remedy the situation. Check out the stories of America's veterans
. Hear the stories of the men and womyn in the thick of it instead of the politicos with their banal hyperbole.
Now to answer my anonymous commenter's comment. Let me clarify the question. I did not mean to ask if it was OK to invade a country ruled by a dictator to bring democracy but rather if the imposition of democracy in general were morally just regardless
of the current ruler. Would it be just to invade a socialist country? A communist? Anarchist? Or how about a country with no government at all? If we were to say that it is justifiable only if the war were to be brief, then democracy is cheap, is tawdry because it isn't worth a long conflict. Why bother to spread something not worthy of sacrifice? Wasn't our own struggle to be freed from the English monarchy "long"? And how are we to determine overall good and overall harm?
Let's agree that democracy is the best form of government. So what kind of democracy should we impose? What should the voting age be? A unicameral legislature? Looking at the recent election in Iraq, just how "democratic" was it? If you've got a ballot with dozens of candidates on it and the voters know anything about only a few of the candidates, just what was accomplished? (And how is it that they had more choices than we, the paragon of democracy in the world, had on our ballots in November?)
Personally, I don't think invading a non-hostile country explicitly to make it democratic is morally just. Invading a peaceful socialist nation to impose democracy would be wrong for the same reason invading peaceful dictatorship to only impose democracy for the same reason. In the real world, of course, there's lots of nuance. There's human rights violations, weapons of mass destruction, threat to allies but not ourselves, et al
. Lots of grey in this world.
02 February, 2005
Oh, this is classic. Terrorists have apparently used an action figure
in a photo purporting to show a captured U.S. soldier. Check out the doll's webpage
and compare for yourself.