Bachelor Team, are you listening?

We believe the following quote from Dr Thompson adequately captures the Proper Breakfast for sometime during the festivities:

The food factor should always be massive: four Bloody Marys, two grapefruits, a pot of coffee, Rangoon crepes, a half-pound of either sausage, bacon, or corned beef hash with diced chiles, a Spanish omelette or eggs Benedict, a quart of milk, a chopped lemon for random seasoning, and something like a slice of Key lime pie, two margaritas and six lines of the best cocaine for dessert… Right, and there should also be two or three newpapers, all mail and messages, a telephone, a notebook for planning the next twenty-four hours and at least one source of good music…All of which should be dealt with outside, in the warmth of a hot sun, and preferably stone naked. Hunter S. Thompson on breakfast [from “Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’76”]

No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Hundreds of years ago, scientists were branded (sometimes literally) as heretics and thrown in prison for discovering facts those in power found inconvenient (for example, heliocentrism).

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX-Jackass) presumably wishes he was in power then instead of now. Barton is using his committee chairmanship to harrass scientists whose work supports a conclusion with which he disagrees, namely that climate change exists. He’s demanding they turn over not just data but also personal and financial informationMore information available at the American Institute of Physics. Even some Republicans are calling the move “misguided and illegitimate.” This, of course, matters little to Barton.

Near as we can tell, this is not a joke

From CNN comes this, under the headline “New Mel Gibson film to be in Mayan”:

LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) — Actor-director Mel Gibson is well on his way to cornering a new niche market in Hollywood — movies written in exotic languages. A year after breaking box-office records with “The Passion of the Christ,” which was shot in Aramaic, Latin and Hebrew, Gibson has struck a deal with the Walt Disney Co. to release his next picture in a Mayan dialect.

Things We Get Asked, or Cool Things We May Have Forgotten About, Albeit Briefly

“So, have you ever seen Sting live?”

Yeah, we’ve seen Gordon. Twice, really. Once, years ago, at what we still think of as the best venue for large scale live music in the southeast (RedOak Mountain Ampitheater in Birmingham, Alabama). Earlier than that — spring 1991 — at UNO Lakefront in New Orleans, though, was the definitive sighting.

Back then, before Sting became the punch line for Jaguar commercials, he was still interesting. He was touring in support of his last good record (The Soul Cages), and had fer-crying-out-loud Concrete Blonde opening for him. In that pre-Internet-as-we-know-it era, nobody in Tuscaloosa knew it was happening until I went back to Hattiesburg for spring break — and discovered, via a local record shop, what was happening the following evening in the Big Easy. My little brother and I quickly signed on, and then we called certain other Heathen at their ancestral home, and consequently he and a couple others (J.B. and M.E.) were screaming down I-10 from Florida to Louisiana.

They missed the true opener — a damned shame, since in all honestly we were bigger Concrete Blonde fans than Sting fans — but they got there in time to see something extraordinary. After the CB set and the requisite period of silence, the lights went down, followed by a simple follow-spot and two guys walking out on stage: a tall pale blonde dude, and a black guy with short dreads and a big-ass drum.

Sting started talking. He told us about how he’d wandered into a bar in Santa Monica or someplace months before, caught by the rain, and heard this guy. He went backstage. He, being Sting, got him a slot on his tour. He informed us that in half an hour or so, he’d be out to play his set; in the meantime, we were to listen to the dreadlock guy.

Dreadlock guy was Vinx. Nobody, mostly, knows who the hell he is even now, but at that moment in 1991, it was easy to believe he was about to be a big-ass star. He held the arena in his hand with an ease I’ve not yet seen again. The material he did was incredible and solid and true. I immediately bought his record, and then the follow up, and then. . .

. . . he vanished. Of course, he was still there. He just didn’t have major label support, or the exposure the comes with it. He’s still out there, but the records I know are now, criminally, out of print. This guy’s the real deal. See him if you have the chance. Buy what recordings you can. He’s real. I sit here, nearly 15 years after the first time I heard his voice at UNO Lakefront, and I still can’t believe how few people know how awesome he is.

So that’s what we’re telling you about this evening, shifting POV and all. Go. Buy. Listen.

Today’s amusing AIM conversation

[SomeoneWeKnow]: It's official, I've got a new entertainment-industry-whore contract. Sean "Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, relentless hack" Combs.
[Heathen]: Gonna bling-out his servers, fo shizzle?
[SomeoneWeKnow]: I'm gonna pimp him some Catalyst, nizzle.
[SomeoneWeKnow]: And some linaaaaxxxxx!
[Heathen]: I can't believe you just said that.
[SomeoneWeKnow]: Since I'm only moderately certain I said what I intended, I can believe that.
[SomeoneWeKnow]: Of course, as Snoop said, "Nizzle does not mean neighbor."

What to do this summer

Go see the final Tamalalia. Don’t believe me? Ask Everett.

Ok, sure: I am the president of IBP. But I have that role because I’ve been a volunteer and supporter for years; I like what they do, and think you might, too. This isn’t pure boosterism. It’s worth your time. Tamarie has created Houston’s only original musical series, and she’s done it for ten years. Check it out.

This weekend is all sold out, but remaining dates are: 8pm on July 28, 29, 30; August 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, September 1, 2, 3; also late-night 10:30 shows on July 30 and August 6, 20, and 27. Tickets are $10 to $17. For an additional ten bucks, on Fridays at 10:30 you can pick up on Miss Lily’s Drunken Lodge Hall Revue on the cabaret stage and make an evening of it. All performaces at the Axiom, 2524 McKinney, +713 522 8443.

Bullshit, Bullshit and More Bullshit

Between Rove and Roberts, this is getting little play in the mainstream media, but the House voted to extend the PATRIOT Act yesterday. Billmon reminds us why this is a very, very, very bad idea. PATRIOT is a hodgepode of expanded search & seizure powers protected by a veil of secrecy in the name of “national security,” and will end up being abused even if it hasn’t been already. Governments are loathe to give up power once they get it, and every government in the history of the world has abused the trust and power granted it by its citizens. Let your congresscritter know how you feel.

In the “useless security theater” department, NY will now do random bag searches on the subway. Like that’s gonna deter anybody from anything.

Finally, it looks like somehow we got the Irish drunk enough to give the CIA authority to secretly interrogate Irish citizens in Ireland even if they’re not suspected of any (Irish) crime. WTF? We proclaim we’re defenders of liberty, but we consistently behave as agents of government power trumping said liberty.


The Oxford American shames us by pointing out that Larry Brown died when we weren’t paying attention. He had a heart attack last November 24. He was 53.

Coverage still up at NPR and the MIssissippi Writers Page. If you haven’t read what he’s written — Pat Conroy famously said he wrote “like a force of nature” — do yourself a favor and pick up something from your local independent bookshop.

We love that guy.

So, Scottie has been getting a pretty rough time from the White House press corps over the Rove thing and, well, the lies he told about the Rove thing months ago. They’re being pretty tenacious, and refusing to let the issue drop, which is pretty amazing. Jon Stewart describes this phenomenon best:

We have secretly replaced the White House press corps with actual reporters.

Watch This Movie

Primer is the best $7,000 movie you’re likely to see this year; they certainly loved it at Sundance. Bullet pitch: garage-based tech startup guys attempting to manipulate gravity end up manipulating time. It’s quick (77 minutes), which is good, as you’ll probably want to watch it more than once.

Here’s something fun.

And by “fun” we mean “that sucks.”

We’re trying to send a set of addresses to our friends who are throwing us a party. As it happens, Apple’s address book has no “arbitrary export” feature, which SUCKS. It’ll do VCards (which are great for moving between address management tools, but lousy for arbitrary data manipulation), but that’s all. However, it does have an address-label printing feature, which OUGHT to be at least good enough to get us past this roadblock (leaving aside the issue of data-lock-in for a minute, anyway).

However, in previewing the labels, we noticed that sometimes it was using the partner/spouse information in the addressee line (as in “Chris B___ and Cathy P____”) and sometimes not (as in “Edgar A____”, with his lovely wife nowhere to be found). Both records had the spouses listed in the “spouse” field. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth resulted before we were able to figure out for the Applecare dude exactly why this was. (We’re pretty sure this isn’t the way information is supposed to flow on those calls.)

As it turns out, when printing labels, the Address Book checks to see if there’s a record for the spouse. Unaccountably, if there is, it decides NOT to append the spouse name to the adressee line. Sure enough, Mrs Edgar has a record of her own, but Cathy does not (sorry, Cathy). The theory held up well; the minute we created a record for Cathy, she disappeared from the addressee line with Chris.

But it gets even suckier: For some reason, Tony’s spouse wasn’t showing up, either, and Emily doesn’t even have a record; she’s listed — with both first and last names — only as his spouse. However, we do know two other people named Emily, but with different last names. This partial match is enough to make Address Book omit her from the addressee line.

The AppleCare response? Don’t use the Spouse field, which means returning to the morass of somehow fitting differently-surnamed couples into a single set of firstname, lastname fields. Uh, no thanks, jackasses.

So: Way to go, Apple! Looks like I’m about to fucking TYPE the addresses into Excel manually. What. The. Fuck?

In which we celebrate resurrections

The red beast (file foto) is being repaired even as we speak, ending a 9 month fallow period wherein it quietly and forlornly leaked expensive synthetic oil onto Heathen Central’s garage floor.

How much? To preserve topicality, we will state only that current estimates are, roughly, 3.5 wedding cakes, but that includes an annual service, oil change, new spark plugs, miscellaneous maintenance and a new battery in addition to fixing the aforementioned oil leaks (yes, plural). It may remain a bad idea executed very well, but at least it’s OUR exemplar thereof. Vroom Vroom.

Live 8

So, twenty years ago, we wanted to watch the original Live Aid on TV, but for whatever reason our mother insisted on going camping instead as a “family activity.” We were not, she said, staying home for some concert on TV. This met with precisely the sort of reaction from 15-year-old Heathen that you’d expect.

The new Live 8 is nice to see, twenty years later, but cannot be the cultural event the original was. We hope it’s more successful, though, since Geldof presumably has a bit more savvy and pull behind him now than he did then.

The most irritating thing about it, though, is the hopeless nature of the broadcast. Fundamentally, they’re not doing concert coverage; they’re doing some sort of awful meta-coverage. The direction is awful; for example, they managed to never have a camera on Pete Townshend when he pulled his signature windmill, for example. The on-air talent is pulled from that most vapid of all possible pools, MTV’s “veejays.” They keep referring to one-hit, current-hot bands as “amazing” and “incredible” as if they’d just seen Jesus on lead guitar. A more systemic problem lurks, though: the coverage is clearly tailored for an 8-year-old with ADD. Virtually no entire songs are shown, and we’re pretty sure the first time we’ve seen two songs in a row from the same act is now, with the much-ballyhooed Pink Floyd reunion (“Breathe” followed by “Money”) — and even then they interrupted “Comfortably Numb” to let some stupid twat babble over it.