Friday, November 30, 2007

In Honor of a Charter Member of the Catsit Collective



1. don't forget to remember, the bee gees
2. next exit, interpol
3. one more robot/sympathy 300-21, the flaming lips
4. big tall man, liz phair
5. mellotron 1, the apples in stereo (how ya been, dudes?)
6. i love livin in the city, fear
7. rock 'n roll high school, the ramones
8. she'll come back to me, cake
9. true, the frames
10. all the young dudes, david bowie

Known for her photographic and Photoshop ominpresence, her craft collaborations, her equinamity in the face of endless tactile stimulation, and her love of fish, Ms. Girl was a charter member (and frankly, highlight) of the Bungalowville Catsit Collective. She will be sorely missed.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Jesus, This Tasing Is Getting out of Hand

A pregnant woman was tasered by a policeman because she was "unco-operative":

The woman went to the police department on Nov. 18 to ask officers to take custody of her one-year-old son, said Michael Etter, Trotwood’s public safety director.

The woman told the officer she was “tired of playing games” with the baby’s father, Etter said.

The woman refused to answer questions, became frustrated and tried to leave with the child, Etter said. The officer feared allowing her to leave could jeopardize the child and he decided to detain her to get more information.

He said the officer grabbed the woman, got the child away from her and forced her to the ground. When she resisted being handcuffed and tried to get away, the officer used the stun gun on her, Etter said.
It seems that the range of acceptable use for these things is expanding:
"You can use it before you would have to use the revolver," asserts Rick Smith, CEO of TASER International. "If you have someone who has a knife, who is threatening other people but isn't quite at the level where you'd use lethal force, you'd pre-empt with the TASER, get them safely under control before it escalates."
Ensuring "cooperation," of course, is not the same as subduing a threat. And the perception that tasers as "nonlethal" weapons (actually, there have been many deaths) seems to lead to their expanded use, as some sort of consequence-free shortcut to ensure obedience. (Remember, if you will, the heckler who was tasered, repeatedly, at a John Kerry speech.)

Keeping apace with the mainstreaming of torture, I guess.

UPDATE: In a similar vein.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Where Efficiency Goes to Die

Scene: a busy office, bustling with multitasking people. The holidays are approaching, necessitating coordination of gift basket deliveries, thank-you-for-your-support gizmos and doodads emblazoned with logos, and appropriately non-holiday-specific seasonal cards.

Office Minion 1 (hovering in doorway of OM2, with card and envelope in hand): So, these cards need to be mailed out?
OM2: Yes. They're holiday cards.
OM1: When do they need to go out?
OM2: Well, they're holiday cards. It's almost December. Soonest best, and all that.
OM1 (holding envelope up, facing forward): So, there's not any return address on these? You don't want a return address? [gestures to illustrate for OM2 the blank corner of the envelope]
OM2: It's on the back flap, facing you. You're looking right at it.
OM1: Oh.

End scene.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Get a Vocabulary Word Right, Donate Rice

Here. Some of this stuff is just mean, though.

Polls Don't Mean Anything, Polls Don't Mean Anything, Polls Don't Mean Anything

And my fellow Americans, I do submit that we are, as a people, hopeless morons. Hillary Clinton loses in theoretical matchups against all five Republican frontrunners.

Honestly, what does it take? How can a chimp, a food product, lint not poll better than these guys?

Obama and Edwards fare better, and other polls show her doing better, but still.

After that Jitterbug, Mom and Dad

You might think about the Wii. Apparently, it's big with the seniors.

I Am a Soup-Improvising Goddess

I have created a most excellent, fast, vegetarian soup, the recipe for which I will share, because you all seem trustworthy.

Start with this base, canned, or your own, to make about 4 cups of liquid. Toss in whatever random veggies you have in the fridge (I used onions, some garlic, carrots, celery, potatoes, corn, and peas, but you can use squash or greens or any sort, as well; the less starchy the better and more vitamin-packed). Add a teaspoon or so each of thyme, basil, and dill, some salt, and pepper. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until all the veggies are soft. Deelish.

Also, for the spices in general (and vanilla in particular), I can't recommend this place enough.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Heroes: The "Everyone Is Being Played By Someone Else" Episode

Possibly this is the low-grade fever talking (sorry for any viruses I may have spread at Thanksgiving; alternatively, if any of you passed this along to me, for shame; I love you, but you people are like kryptonite to my normally impenetrable immune system), but I'm at irritation saturation point with the stupidity.

Can we put Maya out of our misery? Please? I don't think she can get more stupid and gullible. Ditto with Suresh ("You promised me...!"). Do we care if Caitlyn ever gets back from the future, bad accent and all? No? And Peter: get with the freaking program and start fighting the good fight already.

What I just noticed, though: the ticking when Sylar was on the screen, like a watch or clock.

This Does Seem Like a More Pro-Market, Consumer-Empowering Way of Going About Things

It is suggested that parents and grandparents (and presumably, auntly sorts) check those Christmas toys before purchase:
Parents who don’t take precautions in purchasing presents this year could end up buying the item that kills a child or grandchild, some experts in the field warn.

Christiana Mercer, an advocate with the Arizona Public Interest Research Group, demonstrated various toys that can poison, choke or otherwise cause problems. Mercer, along with Rustin Morse, chief of emergency at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, said while some of the hazards are obvious, many are not.

No pressure. I feel prepared to conduct painstaking tests, don't you? But, of course, Bob is kind of busy, so we have to pitch in where we can:
“There’s only one tester in its labs right now for toys,’’ she said. And Mercer said the federal government has only 15 people who have to go through all of the millions of toys that are imported each year to spot potential hazards.
And in other related news, Aqua Dots have been advertised in Sunday circulars. Whoops.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Oh, I Forgot to Ask

Is anyone watching Project Runway?

Home Again, Home Again

Was it just me, or did that holiday fly by? Also, how did I get so old, and when did these young whippersnappers grow up and develop iron alcohol constitutions?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Revise Your Expectations of Privacy Downward Accordingly

Via, if you have a cellphone, your location can be tracked by law enforcement, minus probable cause. Oh goody.
Since 2005, federal magistrate judges in at least 17 cases have denied federal requests for the less-precise cellphone tracking data absent a demonstration of probable cause that a crime is being committed. Some went out of their way to issue published opinions in these otherwise sealed cases.

"Permitting surreptitious conversion of a cellphone into a tracking device without probable cause raises serious Fourth Amendment concerns especially when the phone is in a house or other place where privacy is reasonably expected," said Judge Stephen William Smith of the Southern District of Texas, whose 2005 opinion on the matter was among the first published.

But judges in a majority of districts have ruled otherwise on this issue, Boyd said. Shortly after Smith issued his decision, a magistrate judge in the same district approved a federal request for cell-tower data without requiring probable cause. And in December 2005, Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein of the Southern District of New York, approving a request for cell-site data, wrote that because the government did not install the "tracking device" and the user chose to carry the phone and permit transmission of its information to a carrier, no warrant was needed.

And tracking us may get even easier in future:

The trend's secrecy is troubling, privacy advocates said. No government body tracks the number of cellphone location orders sought or obtained. Congressional oversight in this area is lacking, they said. And precise location data will be easier to get if the Federal Communication Commission adopts a Justice Department proposal to make the most detailed GPS data available automatically.

The fourth amendment is just so pre-Internet age.

Hope You're All Having As Much Fun As We Are



Friday, November 23, 2007

Once Upon a Time, I Sat with the Marching Band, Watching My High School Team Blow Another Football Game

And now, many years later, my high school is in the state championships; being shown on cable! Awwwww.

UPDATE: Alas, they lost. There is no joy here in the cornfields tonight.

The History of LOL Cats



(Via).

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope you all enjoy your holiday! As this is the official end of my week, I'm doing a random ten to mark the occasion.

1. that teenage feeling, neko case
2. gronlandic edit, of montreal
3. stay loose, belle and sebastian
4. we were born the mutants again with leafling, of montreal
5. heaven, squeeze
6. it's only divine right, the new pornographers
7. some loud thunder, clap your hands say yeah
8. sunset soon forgotten, iron & wine
9. subject drop, pernice brothers
10. i missed the point, neko case

As you can no doubt see, I changed settings to ensure that there would be less likelihood of repeat artists and albums. This is becoming my white whale.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Great Couples in Acting History

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Ice-T and CoCo.

Someone needs to push a stake through this SVU show.

Long-Winded, Untimely Pontificating on TV Fare, Oprah, and My Squeamish Fixation on the Upside of Harems

I see in the news that polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs has been sentenced as an accomplice to the rape of a 14-year-old girl, which reminds me of a long-winded piece I wrote but didn't post. Lucky you!

I’m much too cheap for cable. My rationale is that PBS is essentially cable on a really small, time-segmented scale. So the way I watch any cable series is usually way later than everyone else when I get it via Netflix or through loans from other people.

Which brings me to what I’m currently plowing through: Big Love (note to self: put season 2 in the queue). You say you had this discussion a year ago, or whenever the show came out? Sorry, I unilaterally declare it current and topical.

For those who don’t know, which I suspect is no one, the show depicts a family in Utah, living clandestinely, because they consist of a man with his three wives (and their various children). I confess that I’m sucked into this show, although it makes me uncomfortable that I’m sucked in and that I’m cheering for the characters. This is quickly followed by a feeling that I’m playing a willing cog in normalizing a broader narrative, similar to how anti-choice groups are now broadening their focus to a soothing and unalarming opposition to birth control. I know, I’m overthinking. Does watching the Sopranos mean that people are suddenly going to decide that maybe they’ve misjudged organized crime? Of course not. And I’m against censoring of any artistic work.

Let me state that as a principle, I don’t judge how consenting people want to set up their families. Polyamory (it’s pretty telling that the spellcheck on my word processor doesn’t recognize that as a word) is not necessarily a bad thing--I know of people who make it work for them. But you have to consider history and current context because people don’t act in a vacuum, without societal pressures, disincentives, or power asymmetries.

The history of polygamy in the United States isn’t discussed much because the LDS, frankly, don’t want to remind people of this chapter of their history (for a history and overview of Mormonism and the origins of Mormon fundamentalism and its controversial practices, I highly recommend this book). Current practitioners of polygamy, e.g., fundamentalist Mormon sects, are shunned by the mainline church, and for good PR reasons. The combination of certainty of divine direction, power struggles over who is to be arbiters of that divine direction, the view of women as commodities to be acquired, traded, and bestowed upon men (often when they are young teenagers), and the resultant gender imbalances, which mean that young boys often are driven out of the community to reduce competition for wives, all make for very dysfunctional and unjust societies, particularly for the women. In contrast, Big Love presents a loving, egalitarian view of polygamy (although, to its credit, it also presents the dark side, as represented by the complex and isolated community of the Compound).

Tied into that history of polygamy, of course, is the continuing disparity of power between men and women in this country. Much has changed, of course, since the 1970s, but, still, women are, for example, predominantly carrying the load of childrearing and housework, still making less money than men, and still perceived as less capable than men in professional settings in virtually every metric, across cultures.

Given this reality, polygamy default sets women up in an unequal dynamic. The show tries hard to underscore that these individuals are all married to each other, but unless the women are sleeping with each other, that really isn't so. I think the extremist sects are the norm rather than the exception on how it's practiced in the real world. And to have people, for example, see polygamists on Oprah and think, hmmm, people like us, maybe we're unfairly judging it, seems like a bit of cultural backsliding.

Okay, now the family is spared this at Thanksgiving, during which we can move on to talking about what happens next to Bill et al. (Don’t you love Barb? Aren’t the older kids just fabulously perfect, and doesn't that creep you out?)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Yes, I Read Beowulf in the Old English. Why Do You Ask?

I'm finding the concept of Beowulf, the movie, completely baffling. I'm not alone. (Turns out, there's more than one film, and they pretty much all suck.)

But the part that I'm really trying to get my head around is where Grendel's mother (a monster and all) is played by Angelina Jolie.

Look! She's even wearing monster-issue high heels.

Heroes, The Attitudinous Teenager Edition

Am I an ends-justify-the-means Cheneyite because I'm on Noah's side? Is it terrible I was to shake Claire and shout, "Yes, he did it! Sometimes you have to scramble a few eggs to make an omelet. Now stop pouting and get in that car so that the family can disappear into another state"?

Oh, Hiro. His story was touching. But Toby called it.

Surresh is officially evil.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I Swear I'm Going to Stop at Any Moment



The 25 most baffling toys from around the world. Poop toys? Sweet merciful Jesus. Via.

NOTE: The above-pictured bears, it turns out, are collectors' items rather than toys. Still, the poop toys are all for the kiddies.

Where Parodies Intersect with Reality

The Predatory Lending Association, shrugging off all that negativity of the word "predatory" (our national symbol the bald eagle is a predator!), offers a handy website:
The Predatory Lending Association (PLA) is dedicated to extracting maximum profit from the working poor by increasing payday loan fees and debt traps. The working poor is an exciting, fast growing demographic that includes: military personnel, most minorities, and a growing percentage of the middle class.

Also includes finding aids to help aspiring payday loan entrepreneurs find poor people, vulnerable military personnel, and minorities. Plus: a handy table comparing predatory lending to indentured servitude (hint: indentured servitude was "not customer service oriented"). Come join this growing sector of the economy!

Via MENSA member Lynette.

Want Some Soul and Funk to Provide a Soundtrack for that Leaf Raking You've Been Putting Off?

Then go here. Groovlicious.

A Note on Museum Etiquette

Don't kiss the paintings, no matter how personally moving or transcendent you find them.
A woman who kissed a £1.37m painting, leaving a lipstick stain, has been ordered to pay 1,500 euros (£1,074) in damages to its owner by a French judge.
. . . .
Restorers have been unable to remove the lipstick and have unsuccessfully used 30 products to get rid of the stain.

At her trial in October, Ms Sam said the kiss was an act of devotion to the work of art. "I just gave it a kiss. It was an act of love, when I kissed it, I wasn't thinking. I thought the artist would understand," she said.

But Agnes Tricoire, lawyer for the picture's owner, said the kiss was "as aggressive as a punch," causing damage that was just as hard to restore. "I do not share the same vision of love. For me love requires the consent of both sides," she said
.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I'm Erudite and Shit!

cash advance

Get a Cash Advance



I was aiming for postgrad, but we are what we are, right?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Like Yoga?

Try facial yoga! But who knew it was as perilous as the body kind:
While stretching may tighten tired faces, dermatologists warn that good form is key. "If someone were doing a bizarre contortion, they could spasm. They might actually cause permanent damage," says Dr. Min-Wei Christine Lee, director of the East Bay Laser and Skincare Center in Walnut Creek, Calif.

Ho Ho Ho, Indeed

Here's your weirdo international news for the day:
Santas in Australia's largest city have been told not to use Father Christmas's traditional "ho ho ho" greeting because it may be offensive to women, it was reported Thursday.

Sydney's Santa Clauses have instead been instructed to say "ha ha ha" instead, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Now I Feel Cool

You know what's fun about my job? Writing "what I'm listening to" "what I'm reading" items, in manner of a book store, and pontificating on the virtues of one's chosen items. What must the entire world know about and why?

Oh, iTunes, Why Do You Vex Me So?

Happy Friday, all! We are just days away from Thanksgiving festivities, and lots and lots of food. Yay. My random ten. Queue it up yourself, if you're so inclined, even surreptitiously, if you fear scorn of your musical tastes (remember: I have the BeeGees, so no scorn here).

1. tainted love, soft cell
2. the fake headlines, new pornographers
3. this is england, the clash
4. give me another chance, big star
5. mushaboom, feist
6. my life is right, big star
7. better version of me, fiona apple
8. mellotron 2, apples in stereo (of course!)
9. i can't feel you anymore, loretta lynn
10. the other woman, loretta lynn (oh good grief)

bonus #11, because I'm trying to get something to come up different: pisshole in the snow, pernice brothers (the most beautiful song ever written about urine)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

In My Day, While We Were Slogging to School Uphill, Both Ways, Through 5-Foot Drifts

We knew about three different kinds of dinosaurs, and we liked it. A scientist recently unveiled a new discovery:
Nigersaurus sported an almost perfectly squared-off jaw lined with 128 uniform front teeth, the only kind of teeth it had. When the creature closed its mouth, the rows would have joined perfectly to snip plants that the dinosaur ate.

"In modern mammals, when you see broad muzzles, you know that they are animals are grazers that eat grass, like cattle," said Sereno. "When they have narrow, pointy snouts, you know they are browsers, animals that feed on leaves and bark they pull from trees and bushes, like giraffes.

"This thing was a Mesozoic cow."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

News Feeds Are Fun!

SeƱor Crazy Pants, the judge who sued his dry cleaner for $50 million for losing his trousers, was not reappointed. Let's all silently mourn the judicial loss.

Public Service Announcement, Silver Tsunami Edition

A gentle reminder: despite what you may hear, Social Security is not actually in crisis, notwithstanding the cresting wave of aging baby boomers (savor that image). A helpful chart on entitlement costs over time. Show your friends. (From here.)

As If You Need Another Reason to Visit My Corner of the Universe

Sock monkey capital of the world!

Union-Busting the NLRB Way!

The busy little elves at the National Labor Relations Board, making lots and lots of rules before they lose the GOP majority.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

On Another Note: Crap


I have Ken Burns hair. It's hopeless. Shoot me now.

But, Then, I Couldn't Get Properly Outraged over the Lying in the Lewinsky Scandal, Either

Am I the last to hear about this Hillary Clinton question-planting fracas? A friend brought it to my attention in view of my recent blathering on the Maid-Rite kerfuffle, figuring I'd be fired up with opinions and stuff, which of course, I am. To be honest, I'm not even certain how much of an impact this incident and the ensuing press coverage is having on the big picture, because I've not seen how much and how broadly this is being discussed.

Because these conversations always make me sound like some rabid partisan, I will start with the standard hand waving: I'm no fan of Hillary Clinton. She's a centrist opportunist whose reflexive "tough" stances and administration-enabling make me weep. I'm so so so hoping she doesn't win. Obama, Obama, Obama.

But it's her substance that I take issue with. I want to know what she's going to do if elected. Is she going to invade Iran? Will she push for universal healthcare? The rest of this crap--oh, I mean press coverage--is playing gotcha to illustrate some vague concept of "character." I don't care if she tips well, I don't care if she's mean for giving away her cat, I don't care if she and Bill don't sleep together, I don't care if she pays too much for a haircut. Between these discussions and the press coverage of the meta story of the race itself, we end up learning nothing relevant about any of the candidates.

And as a principle, and in this context, I really don't see what's so objectionable. Sometimes campaign appearances are structured, with set questions, sometimes they're audience driven, almost always they're controlled at some level. The Clinton campaign declared beforehand that the questions were spontaneous, and at least one wasn't. Maybe Clinton knew about it, maybe her staff were overzealous. Of course it was deceptive, and silly to do. But the gain from such optical manipulations just don't seem extraordinary. if the goal is puff questions that make a candidate seem warm and approachable and smooth, it tells nothing of their policies and proposals. And having someone ask "hey, what's your position on global warming? It matters to me" merely lets the candidate tee off on what their policies would be. If a Republican did the same, I'd say, so?

In contrast, someone actually in elected office evading accountability or attempting some Soviet-style propaganda? Problematic.

UPDATE: Salon.com, on the fake campaign trail.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Heroes: Where I Hereby Proclaim, As a Fan of Veronica Mars

That I'm ready to smack Kristen Bell's character from here until next season. Goddamn, is she irritating.

I think we just saw Mama Petrelli's power. And I'm not talking about her ability to turn around and stab her offspring in the back (metaphorically speaking, of course).

The twins. . . . Oh, I'm sorry. I fell asleep there. What's happening to them again? Oh, yes. Black goop, dead people, over and over again.

Poor Niki. Her actions make much more sense now. I still hope she doesn't stick around.

Bob is evil. He may not actually be, but he's pissing me off.

Yeeeesss!! Our weekly gratuitous scene of Peter without his shirt.

Vanity, Thy Name Is, Well, Me

Yes, I am prone to wearing ridiculous things, in inclement weather and adverse conditions, regardless of practicality or comfort. And I have, on more than one occasion, fallen down el steps after tripping over wedge sandals. I would rather hobble on 4-inch heels for multiple blocks than bust out a pair of keds.

So finding these made me happy. I'm not running any marathons or anything, but still. Mucho more comfort.

This Is Why I Don't So Much Drink the Tea Anymore

Some people ruin it for everyone.

But them's fightin' words on crossword puzzles.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Bunny Burrito


She's overdue. And when she's not yakking or lobbying for tuna, she can be cute.

Uppity Women: Scourge of Non-Humanoid Societies Too! Or, An Explanation Perpetually in Search of a Problem

Via, we learn that scientists are discovering new things about Neanderthals.
In addition to immense noses, elongated skulls, and barrel chests, some Neanderthals boasted flaming red hair, according to an international research team led by Harvard's Holger Roempler. . . .

Neanderthals possessed a gene known to underlie speech. The presence of the FOXP2 gene in two skeletons uncovered in the El Sidron cave in northern Spain suggests Neanderthals were capable of human-like language.

The range of Neanderthals was much greater than scientists had previously imagined, extending to the heart of Asia.

Fascinatingly, scientists are also working on mapping the entire genome of the Neanderthal from the fragment of a bone.

Oh, and there's one other little theory cited at the end of the article: a "husband-wife anthropological team has raised the possibility that female derring-do may have contributed to Neanderthals' demise." Did I mention the title of the article? "Stone Age Feminism? Females Joining Hunt May Explain Neanderthal's End" Hah hah! These articles reinforcing the Way Things Are Supposed To Be really do sell papers, don't they?

The University of Arizona's Steven L. Kuhn and Mary C. Stiner, use archeological evidence to argue that Neanderthal females - unlike Homo sapien women of the Upper Paleolithic period - joined men in hunts at a time when stabbing giant beasts with a sharpish stone affixed to a stick represented the cutting edge of technology.

That's courageous, but probably bad practice for a population that never numbered much more than 10,000 individuals. The loss of a few males to a flailing hoof or slashing antler is no big deal, in the long run. But losing females of child-bearing age could bring doom to a hard-pressed species.

"All elements of [Neanderthal] society appear to have been involved in the main subsistence pursuit" of hunting large animals, Kuhn said. "There's not much evidence of classic female roles.

"Putting the reproductive core of the population - pregnant women, mothers of infants, children themselves - at such danger could have put Neanderthals as a whole at serious demographic disadvantage," he said.

Not only would women suffer casualties, Kuhn said, their full participation in the hunt would mean they were not harvesting wild grains and other foods that could sustain their roving bands when game was scarce.
Human women, on the other hand, had the proper things down:
From early days, human women appear to have sewed hide clothing, tended fires, and gathered vegetables rather than risking their lives on the hunt.
And we know who lived to populate the planet, don't we?

Of course, there's certainly no scientific consensus on what eventually killed Neanderthals. They coexisted with humans for thousands of years, so it's unclear to me whether this female-hunting thing took that long to decimate the species or whether it is alleged to be a later-introduced social arrangement. It is known that
"Neanderthals were smart, sophisticated. They mastered fire. They made tools. But modern humans had selectively advantageous [genetic] traits that gave them an edge," said Richard G. Klein, a Stanford University paleoanthropologist. "Even tiny advantages in cognition, communication skills, and memory would have had huge downstream effects over time."
One scientist sums it up thusly:
"What finally happened could be really boring. Maybe Neanderthals ran out of reindeer to hunt. So they dwindled and died. . . ."
Sometimes it seems like journalists write this shit up with a wink just to tweak the ladies.

Friday, November 9, 2007

This One's for Lynette: Political Scandal Brewing

Voters of America want to know: Did Hillary Clinton fail to tip the waitress at the Maid-Rite Diner in Iowa?

When reached for comment, the waitress in question:

“You people are really nuts,” she told a reporter during a phone interview. “There’s kids dying in the war, the price of oil right now — there’s better things in this world to be thinking about than who served Hillary Clinton at Maid-Rite and who got a tip and who didn’t get a tip.”

Stick a Fork in It, It's Done

And another week down and another step closer to spring. We cling to whatever scraps we have.

Ten at random, otherwise known this week as "Ode to the Shins."

1. tempted, squeeze
2. your algebra, the shins
3. you've got my number (why don't you use it?), the undertones
4. pressed in a book, the shins
5. the ship song, nick cave and the bad seeds
6. good to me, brendan benson
7. beetle with the boogie woogie beat, the armstrong twins
8. i feel, the sundays
9. waitin' for a superman (remix), the flaming lips
10. gone for good, the shins

Bonus to cleanse your Shins palate:

11. slow country, gorillaz

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Spoken Like Someone Who's Never Ridden Mass Transit. In August.

In the ever consequential, allegedly female-targeted "Style" section of the New York Times, an important thesis. Americans are far far too paranoid about their deodorant application.

For many, winter is a time to relax grooming regiments [sic]. Bodies swathed in turtlenecks and boots need not be waxed, pedicured and S.P.F.’d to the gills. But among stench-phobic Americans, rare is the renegade who will go without an antiperspirant or deodorant for even a day.

Americans spent more than $2.3 billion on deodorant and antiperspirant in 2006, according to Euromonitor International, a market research firm. Yet few people stop to consider the rationale for performing their morning elbow dance.

Yeah, I'm not buying. I may be atypical, but frankly, I'm still trying to defunkify a lovely dress I happened to wear the one day I inexplicably forgot to put on the Secret. Shudder. Via.

Have You Had Your Regular Dose of Fear Mongering?

Oh, for god's sake.
In what one FBI spokesman described as "almost an annual ritual," the bureau has obtained uncorroborated intelligence indicating al Qaeda would like to strike shopping malls during the holiday shopping season, two law enforcement sources said Thursday.

Those sources confirmed there is intelligence dating back to August that al Qaeda would like to attack malls in Los Angeles, California, and Chicago, Illinois.
Are you anxious yet? How about now?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

This Toy Contamination Thing? Nooooo Big Deal

Do not, repeat do not buy a toy called Bindeez:
Chinese toys are back in the headlines. Today, retailers around the world scrambled to pull a popular toy called Bindeez off their shelves, after a chemical in some shipments of the Chinese-made product was found to mimic the effects of the so-called date rape drug.
Or, for that matter, a toy called Aqua Dots, which is the name the product is marketed under in the United States:
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission plans to announce a recall of the sets. The CPSC has received two reports of children in the U.S. swallowing Aqua Dots and they slipped into “non-responsive comas.” Both children are now fine.
The kids are fine! Nothing to worry about! And Bob is on the case, in his teeny toy-testing laboratory, testing all the toys coming from China, ensuring our kids are safe. Whew!

This Song Makes Me Dance, Almost Exactly Like So

Speaking of music to exercise to.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

So, I Guess I Have Been Light on the Web Surfing

House guest, fun dinners, catch up, work work work, the usual. But there's catastrophic flooding in Mexico? And the United States is pledging $300,000 to help? What, we couldn't collect more from the coffee can at the Quick-E Mart?

Just to Tweak My Father

Macs cost you less than PCs when you factor in resale costs? Sounds wackadoodle, no?

In the spring of 2006, for instance, you could have purchased a nice Dell laptop -- the Inspiron E1505, with a 1.66 GHz Core Duo processor, 1 GB of memory, and an 80 GB hard disk -- for $999 directly from Dell. At the time, Apple's roughly comparable entry-level MacBook -- 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo processor, 512 MB memory, a 60 GB disk -- went for $100 more, $1,099.

Even if you'd treated your machine very well, you'd be lucky to sell the Dell today for $550, while MacBooks have recently sold for $710, $740, $790, and even $800. It would, in other words, be a cinch to sell the MacBook for $100 more than the Dell Inspiron, thereby making up the purchase-price difference you paid earlier (and likely even beating it).

Apple fans have long understood the amazing resale value of their machines. Windows users, on the other hand, might be scratching their heads at my argument; in the Windows world, selling your computer (rather than recycling it) is almost unheard of. After just a year or two of use, a Windows machine gets so gummed up with spyware, viruses and other nasty stuff that it seems malicious to ask anybody for money for the thing.

Heroes by Recaplet: Still Enthralling

Winter sucks. Allergies suck. Suites alarms that alarm no one but beep incessantly like car alarms suck. And there is not enough coffee in this universe to offset a two-cat-yak-cleanup night. (Isn't it interesting that I'm hypersensitively attuned to feline retching upon my unsealed hardwood? It's like those mothers who hear their babies crying from far away.)

I was tragically thwarted from watching Heroes last night by unfeeling friends who believe that dinner out, semblance of a life, etc. trump my viewing experience.

So. I got caught up via Television Without Pity. Wow, lots happening, no? Adrenaline cranked up a bit? Toby called Adam/Kensai. And of course I missed Peter without his shirt. Sigh.

Thoughts?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

It's That Time of Year Again

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the 2007 Oxford American Music issue, which includes Southern music of all genres and periods, music writing, and a sampler disc. Last year's was fantastic, and although I can't click through to see who all is covered this year, I suspect it's worthwhile.

Sunday Morning Gospel, The Staple Singers Edition

Friday, November 2, 2007

Yea Verily, 1977 Was a Bad Year for Fashion and Many Other Consumer Goods

"This kid looks like he's pretending to be David Soul, who is pretending to be a cop who is pretending to be a pimp that everyone knows is really an undercover cop. Who is pretending to be 15."

Yes, I'm sure it does make your eyes burn.

Just a sampling of a recently unearthed (from Hell) 1977 catalog from JC Penney. The full horror must be seen to be believed.

Thanks, Sharon!

Friday in the Conference-Laden Land of Bungalows

Book your travel now, people! I love being at ground zero for conferences; it's the lazy person's way to see friends on a regular basis. Random ten:

1. she does everything for me, we the people
2. rise up with fists!!!, jenny lewis with the watson twins
3. the boogie monster, gnarls barkley
4. statue of liberty, xtc
5. non-pythagorean composition, apples in stereo
6. fuck and run, liz phair
7. tender years, george jones
8. (what's so funny 'bout) peace, love and understanding?, the holmes brothers
9. open eyes, the apples in stereo
10. typical girls, the slits

And the tenacious Apples in Stereo, despite contributing only one cd to my assortment, continue with their strong representation. Yeah! Who doesn't love an underdog?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Today in Musical Cognitive Dissonance

With this collection of Motown singles providing a nice soundtrack for my day, I noticed something a bit, um odd: the unmistakable sound of banjos. It was this track:

17. (The Man with The) Rock and Roll Banjo Band - The Supremes

Furthermore, it's been brought to my attention that there's an entire album of the Supremes singing country western. Available only on vinyl, of course.