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Monthly Archives: August 2010
Something Strange Is A Foot!
And for five minutes, it was actually cool to be at Iowa State
In response to a Facebook campaign, on August 27, Iowa State carillonneur (look it up) and associate professor of music Tin-Shi Tam played Bad Romance on the carillon. Enjoy. (Via MeFi.)
The 600 series had furry yellow skin. We spotted them easy.
Skynet’s gonna be really pissed about this, Mohney.
Your next computer, if you’re the right age and geeky enough
What you should have read by now
TalkingPointsMemo agrees with my previous assessment of The Looming Tower.
On the other hand, perhaps you already know as much as you need to know about mooslims.
Dept. of Awesome Old Ads
Lies and the Lying Liars Redux
Fred Clark over at Slacktivist lays the righteous smackdown on the Liar Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, and it’s a beautiful thing.
Perkins appeared on Meet the Press opposite David Boies in the wake of the Prop 8 decision a week or so ago. Boies made absolute mincemeat of Perkins’ claims on camera:
“It’s easy to sit around and debate and throw around opinions — appeal to people’s fear and prejudice, cite studies that either don’t exist or don’t say what you say they do. In a court of law you’ve got to come in and you’ve got to support those opinions. You’ve got to stand up under oath and cross-examination. And what we saw at trial is that it’s very easy for the people who want to deprive gay and lesbian citizens the right to vote, to make all sorts of statements in campaign literature or in debates where they can’t be cross-examined.
“But when they come into court and they have to support those opinions and they have to defend those opinions under oath and cross-examination, those opinions just melt away. And that’s what happened here. There simply wasn’t any evidence. There weren’t any of those studies. There weren’t any empirical studies. That’s just made up. That’s junk science.
“… A witness stand is a lonely place to lie. And when you come into court, you can’t do that. And that’s what we proved. We put fear and prejudice on trial, and fear and prejudice lost.”
And that’s where Fred starts going to town:
In response, the Liar Tony Perkins, unable to support his assertions because they were not true, simply reasserted them. To any reasonable observer, this was not credible and the Liar Tony Perkins was exposed, yet again, as the Liar Tony Perkins.
But reasonable observers are not the Liar Tony Perkins’ target audience. “You can fool some of the people all of the time …” Abraham Lincoln said, and the Liar Tony Perkins never stuck around to hear the rest. He had found his calling.
Go read the whole thing.
Dear Mississippi: Please stop making me say “GODDAMMIT!”
The middle school in Nettleton, Mississippi, has rules limiting class offices by race.
Grades 6, 7, and 8 all have four offices (president, vice president, secretary-treasurer, and reporter). Black students may run for 6th grade reporter, 7th grade secretary-treasurer, and 8th grade reporter and vice president. The other offices are reserved for white students.
(As you might expect, Nettleton is in the ass-end of nowhere even by Mississippi standards, somewhere south of Tupelo. Which is also, come to think of it, the same area of the state that gave us the Constance McMillen/Itawamba prom fiasco. What the hell is wrong with you people in northeastern Mississippi?)
Do not feed the alligators. They will bite you.
Your Friday Awesome
This just smokes: Talking Heads, “Born Under Punches,” live performance, from nineteen eighty. That’s Adrian Belew, apparently, on guitar, and “oh my God I can’t breathe Tina Weymouth looks so much like an angel. A gorgeous, muscular, platinum blonde angel” on bass. (Via Merlin, who is also the source of the Tina quote.)
This astounding sort of complex multilayered music is still arresting and unusual today, but compare it to, say, the top records of 1980 to get an idea of how weird it was thirty years ago. Make time for this today, especially if your name is “Frank” or “Mike” or “Rick.”
Here ends my hopes for a recurring “Give Up The Ham” sketch
Will Forte is leaving SNL after 8 seasons.
These owls are hungover. YA RLY.
How Not To Run A Half Marathon
13 Beers in 13 Miles beggars belief, although he does claim to finish.
Of course, his time suggests a 23 minute mile, or about as fast as my grandmother.
Here’s something I’ll bet you didn’t know
The delightful 1999 film The Iron Giant was actually an adaptation of The Iron Man, an illustrated novel published by the poet Ted Hughes in 1968, and previously reworked as a rock opera by Pete Townshend in 1989.
Hughes, of course, is perhaps more famous for being Sylvia Plath’s widower; it’s said that The Iron Man was partially written for his children in the wake of her 1963 suicide.
Our Next Vacation
San Francisco has a brand new attraction: The House of Air, an indoor trampoline park. Check it out.
The Suck Begins Early for the Texans
LSU standout (insanely, track-star fast) wide-receiver and sixth-round pick Trindon Holliday is out for the season with a broken thumb.
It should not escape notice that Holliday is out for the season before the season has actually started.
Go Houston Sports Team! Go! Choke! Fail!
I can’t tell if this is awful or awesome
Age of the Dragons is, I shit you not, a medieval, landlocked dragon-hunting adaptation of “Moby Dick” starring Danny Glover.
Star Wars Uncut is complete!
The fan-sourced compilation of very short Vimeo clips can be viewed here. Don’t skip the “top 50 scenes.”
You will never be this swingin’
In another world, all these films were awesome
IO9 gives us alternate universe sci-fi film posters, and they are BRILLIANT.
Don’t you need a flamethrower trombone?
Cee-Lo Has A Message For You
F**K YOU. NSFW, but really toe-tappingly fantastic.
Dept. of Delayed Correspondence
Twenty years ago, Teresa signed up for Wil Wheaton’s fan club — except she never got her packet. Somehow, it got lost. Understandably, she was upset.
She got her packet last week, along with a letter from Wil addressed to “8 year old Teresa.” Win.
20% of you are idiots.
You knew it was inevitable
Lady Gaga Kidnaps Commissioner Gordon:
GOTHAM CITY — Supervillain Lady Gaga brazenly abducted Commissioner James Gordon from a charity fundraiser Tuesday, leaving police baffled and the citizens of Gotham fearing for their safety. Known for her outlandish costumes and geometric polygon hair, the criminal madwoman made a daring escape from Arkham Asylum last week and has been taunting authorities by interrupting television broadcasts ever since. “If you ever want to see Commissioner Gordon again, you’ll do exactly as I say,” Lady Gaga said from her secret lair, adjusting her angular yellow Tyvek and spandex dress as henchmen danced menacingly around the bound commissioner. While the kidnapping occurred at stately Wayne Manor, home of playboy jet-setter Bruce Wayne, the eccentric billionaire was not available for comment.
This is beyond awesome
Comics Alliance gives us covers from Great Comics That Never Happened. Here’s an example:
KTRU, Where Are You?
So Rice sold the parts of KTRU that make it a “radio station” (transmitter, tower) to UH so that, ostensibly, UH can have two public radio outlets: One for full-time classical music, and one for full-time NPR news programming — all for the low, low price of $9.5 million.
I don’t really have a dog in this fight. I didn’t go to either school, and I’ve never been a real fan of KTRU beyond just sort of appreciating it existed — there’s just so much amateur, narrow-cast radio I have time for in my life. Plus, my own radio time has pretty much been “in the car only” for twenty years; at home, there are just way better options than radio.
All that said, the shitsplosion around this development seems to miss some points, and I am of course just egotistical enough to think I have something to add by enumerating them.
- Protesting to UH is irrelevant
- They’re just buying what Rice had on sale. Rice is the organization to be pissed at if you’re upset about this, but the way Rice’s administrators have gone about this probably means not even a focused and widespread alumni protest could stop it.
- Rice doesn’t care
- See above. Unless you went there and give them (lots of) money, my bet is they don’t give a rat’s ass what you think. KTRU only had 50,000 watts because of a goofy event 20 years ago; in many ways, that may have doomed them, since a more traditionally-powered college station probably wouldn’t have been as interesting to UH.
- Shitting on classical music is a nonstarter
- Some KTRU partisans are upset that their baby is getting smothered to make way for stuffy old classical music. This is not an argument that will make you any friends. There *is* a legitimate argument to be made that Houston needs better classical programming (KUHF rarely plays anything interesting), and also a legitimate argument to be made that a national format for yet another station stifles local voices.
- Shitting on NPR as “mainstream?” Really?
- KTRU fans upset that they’re losing local space on the dial have a point, but insisting that NPR is somehow just another part of the broken mainstream news landscape is pretty silly. It’s the only national news outlet with anything like both journalistic standards and a progressive point of view, and Houston’s been poorer because of how little of this content KUHF airs.
- That said, a call-in current-events show will suck no matter what the audience
- NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” is only marginally less cringeworthy than any right-wing show. Exchange crystal-gazing moonbats for cryptofascists and you’re most of the way there. There’s a reason those people on the phone aren’t on the radio already.
- On the plus side, afternoon naps seem more likely
- Seriously, which is more soporific: Ambien or Diane Rehm?
- I have very little hope that anything programmed at UH won’t suck
- I’m sick to death of their local “news” breaks during NPR programs, wherein some trainee reads a “local story” that is *obviously* a barely-edited press release. I’ve groused for years that I’d pay money to get a pure national NPR feed with NO local voices at all because of how awful the KUHF local content is; it was a tremendous shock to me when I moved here from **Tuscaloosa, Alabama** and discovered that big-city Houston’s NPR affiliate was worse than Alabama’s in every measurable way. If we’re losing KTRU, I’m all for getting a full-time NPR station, but I’m nearly certain local voices at UH will insist on interrupting the professional programming with local blather there, too.
- That goes for the classical station, too
- Wait. You’re telling me people still give a shit about terrestrial radio?
- This is the elephant in the room. Radio is an almost total wasteland. I never listen to anything but NPR or, sometimes (depending on programming) KPFT, and that’s only ever in the car. In my office, my own music or podcasts or Internet radio brings me vastly more choice than any local station could. If I spent more time in my car, I’d pony up for Sirius for the same reason. All the KTRU love is great, but I think it’s mostly nostalgia and not grounded in a real worry about scarcity of, say, easily accessible outlets for weird jazz or Greek music or whatever.
Draft 1: This is one of those times I’m sure I’m going to edit this later.
Because you thought Starcraft was too easy
AChron is a “real-time strategy” game that includes time travel within the game itself.
I’m so friggin’ proud I can hardly stand it:
BEST TWEET EVAR.
This makes sense how?
The RIAA and National Association of Broadcasters are trying to create a legal mandate for cell phones to have FM radios in them.
This is the modern communications equivalent of buggy-whip makers trying to get congress to force Henry Ford to bundle whips with the Model T. Whisky. Tango. Foxtrot.
I love LieBlog so much.
David Lynch and Joss Whedon to Collaborate on Sex and the City Remake:
David Lynch and Joss Whedon announced in an interview with SkyMall today that they are embarking on a long-awaited, must-see collaboration–a remake of Sex and the City! The pilot episode will be shown on HBO on September 10, 2011.
The remake, entitled “Sex and the Countryside” will be a faithful plotline-by-plotline, problem-by-problem, episode-by-episode remake of Sex and the City, but will be set in the 1620s English countryside, and every character will be played by a sheep, except God, who will be played by Steve Buscemi.
Since fashion played such a large role in the original series, SkyMall saw it fit to ask whether the sheep will wear clothes. Whedon laughed, and Lynch rolled his eyes and commented “Every role except that of God will be played ovinely. Fashion had a role; fashion too will be played ovinely.”
“Ovinely means, played by a sheep,” offered Whedon, helpfully.
Why does this not surprise me?
The Tea Party has apparently come out opposed to Net Neutrality, on the grounds that it’s somehow an affront to freedom.
Can you see the corporate hands up those asses?
All about Moleeds
How the airlines hate you
James Fallows has a post over at the Atlantic noting how often a “mileage award” seat was available from each of several airlines.
The clear winner? Southwest, at 99.3%. Continental didn’t do TOO badly at 71.4% (they’re also the highest ranked major/traditional US carrier); United is right behind them at 68.6%. American notches 57.9%, and at the bottom, we find Delta with 12.9% and USAir with 10.7%.
Cookie, is that you?
Mohney gives us Coffee Break Machine, the 1967 IBM corporate training film that is the first appearance of the being you and I know as “Cookie Monster“.
Nerds everywhere will also recognize the machine’s patter as a riff on the Turbo Encabulator, a classic of the technobabble genre. It’s existed for years, but the best video version I can find is from the 80s, but there are several others.
“At some point you have to wonder, is it even possible to be too shameless for cable news?”
Radley “The Agitator” Balko points out just how little fact-checking happens on cable TV, and how brazen and shameless one can be in exploiting this fact. Wendy Murphy has made a career of being absurdly, obnoxiously wrong in ways that cannot be accidental — and yet she continues to get invited onto shows where she can spew her bullshit. And she doesn’t care. And she’s not alone.
Mieville on Abrams
This seems just about right to me:
I’ve never met [JJ Abrams]. I am not a member of his fan club or anti-fan club. I disliked Cloverfield a very great deal. I disliked Star Trek intensely. I thought it was terrible. And I think part of my problem is that I feel like the relationship between JJ Abrams’ projects and geek culture is one of relatively unloving repackaging – sort of cynical. I taste contempt in the air. Now I’m not a child – I know that all big scifi projects are suffused with the contempt of big money for its own target audience. But there’s something about [JJ’s projects] that makes me particularly uncomfortable. As compared to somebody like Joss Whedon, who – even when there are misfires – I feel likes me and loves me and is on some cultural level my brother and comrade. And I don’t feel that way about JJ Abrams.
Daddy, Where Did Madden Come From?
I’m glad you asked. This long-form history of the game franchise that made EA is well worth your time.
Some gems from late in the article:
When Madden left the Raiders, he took a job at the University of California, offering a course called “Football For Fans.” Three decades later, he’s still teaching. In a way, so is his game. Current Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris told game producers that playing “Madden” has influenced the way he runs his team. Before scoring a game-winning touchdown last season, Denver Broncos receiver Brandon Stokley killed clock by running parallel to the goal line, an unconventional move familiar only to anyone who has ever picked up a control pad. Years ago, Madden wanted his namesake to resemble a television broadcast; by the late 1990s, network producers were flipping the script, deploying skycams and electronic first-down markers, peddling their own brand of hyperreal entertainment. Life imitating art.
Talk turns back to real football. The Super Bowl. Indianapolis versus New Orleans. In the first half, Saints coach Sean Payton went for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal, eschewing a “gimme” field goal. He opened the second half with an onside kick. Madden watched the whole thing from his California studio, incredulous and oddly transfixed. Even now, two months later, the old coach knows exactly what he was seeing.
“I was thinking, ‘S—,'” Madden marveled, “‘this guy is playing a video game!'”
Oh, Right-wing nutjobs, you never disappoint
Some of you are probably already aware of Conservapedia, the Schlafly-backed counterpoint to the supposed “liberal bias” of Wikipedia.
Obviously, such an undertaking — especially by folks who think the King James Bible needs to be retranslated to purge liberal bias — is bound to be chock full of hilarity, but nothing I’ve seen there so far prepared me for their new crusade: Insisting that General and Special Relativity are Liberal Conspiracies.
I Am Not Making This Up.
A Word On Pending Comments
I’ve been away for 2 weeks, and took a definite break on comment management during that time. I’ve just approved a big batch of comments, but I won’t be leaping back and rejoining any of those threads. I’m sure my antagonists will find something new to argue with me about in the near term. ;)
I wish I could think of some way to tie this to the radioactive boars
Dear AntiGay Bigots:
This is what happens when we keep hiring ignorant, useless fucks as security guards and cops
Assaulted by penny-ante Miami rentacops. Fortunately, this photographer had the good sense to have OTHER photographers on site.
We walked through the parking lot of the Douglas Road Metrorail Station and purchased tickets. Dobbs and I then walked inside through the turnstile with me holding up my Canon TX1. The rest of the news crew remained outside.
Within seconds, I was accosted by the female security guard as well as the male security guard wearing a black beret and a single latex glove who knocked the camera from my hand.
I demanded my camera but he refused to give it back.
Then I remembered I had my iPhone, so I started shooting video with that, which prompted the female security to get in my face.
She even lifted her fist up a couple of times as if she was going to strike me.
The male guard then came after me and I also tried walking away from him while videotaping.
But when he struck me, I struck back instinctively.
He then pulled out a metal baton and came after me with it.
I stepped outside the station and he sat down to tend to his lip.
Miami-Dade detectives who arrived on the scene were considering charging me with battery until they saw the footage shot by the news crew.
After two hours of talking to cops, my camera was returned to me, minus a battery that somehow got lost.
If you wear a badge of any kind and abuse your authority, real or imaginary (as is the case with these doofuses), some criminal multiplier must apply.
“Your first big hit was ‘Hush’, and I think it would really groove the kids if you did that.”
Deep Purple meets Hef, ca. 1968, on something called “Playboy After Dark.”
There is no part of this that isn’t AWESOME
Radioactive Boars Rampaging Through Germany.
Boars are a fucking menace even without radioactivity. I once put three .30-30 rounds into a sow and still saw her run off. They root around, destroy trees and crops, and are actually one of the only dangerous mammals still left in southern forests. Adding radioactivity — and, no doubt, the superpowers that this creates — can only mean certain doom for all mankind.
FBI? Meet the law.
The FBI is apparently trying to keep Wikipedia from using its seal in the article for same, and are blatantly misconstruing the relevant laws in their saber-rattling letter to the Foundation.
Fortunately, it turns out that the Foundation has actual, learned attorneys onstaff, who told the Feds to get stuffed.
Other organizations might simply back down. But Wikipedia sent back a politely feisty response, stating that the bureau’s lawyers had misquoted the law. “While we appreciate your desire to revise the statute to reflect your expansive vision of it, the fact is that we must work with the actual language of the statute, not the aspirational version” that the F.B.I. had provided.
Translation: “What you wish the law was has no bearing here.”
Michael Godwin, the general counsel of the Wikimedia Foundation, wrote, “we are prepared to argue our view in court.” He signed off, “with all appropriate respect.”
It gets even cooler when you realize who wrote the Wikimedia Foundation’s response.
Please buy us some Monkey Shoulder Whiskey. KTHXBI.