Friday, March 30, 2007

Things Learned on the Bus

In the midst of a hilarious takedown of Jonah Goldberg, The Editors make a great point: if you find it difficult to ignore truly wacko statements, try riding the bus.
I used to ride the public bus a lot, like 3 hours every day. So maybe the thought that some dude somewhere said something crazy is less exciting to me than it is to people with less bus-riding expertise. My advice? When the person you are going to have to sit next to for the next hour and a half is obviously batshit insane? Talk about the weather. I have been exposed to the full, glorious panoply of mental illness and brain damage in my time on public transportation, and I have yet to encounter anyone so far gone that they can’t be calmed by polite small talk about the weather.
Amen. There's nothing like being trapped on a bus with at least one nut or crackhead or drunk a couple times a week to desensitize you to crazy talk.

I did once encounter a nut who was immune to smalltalk about the weather, though. We were waiting for the bus (not the same bus, thank goodness) in Arlington, VA. He was 100% sure the air in Arlington was "bad," and he needed to get to Fairfax (the next county over) as soon as possible. The only reason he was able to survive in the Arlington air was because he had a snorkel duct-taped to his nose. I know this because he explained it, in sputtering sentence fragments and at the top of his lungs, over and over again. For added security, he'd blow a whistle really loudly every couple of minutes.

I think he's a deputy secretary over at DHS now.

President Bush Escapes From Weekly Bath

With the Decider furiously stamping his feet about "executive privilege" in the fourteen different scandals enveloping his incompetent administration, I'm reminded of this classic segment from the Onion Radio News.

It's a minute of audio that'll start playing when you click the link. And, Lordy, is it worth it.

Friday Random Ten

If you're looking for music as exciting and dynamic as a brown, hardwood-paneled room, look no further than the solo zither stylings of Ludwig.

I'm not entirely familiar with his masterwork, but from the cover of this album, I'm betting he's every bit the equal of Zamfir, Master of the Pan Flute. In an ideal world, those two would team up to form a crime-fighting team of musical superheroes. But of course, that'll never happen. Ludwig's a solo zitherist. He plays by his own set of rules, man.

We here play by the classic FRT rules, which were stolen from various points on these here intertubes. (Thanks, Norbizness!) For those of you late to the game, here's how you play. Take out your iThing, set it on random, and confess to the first ten songs. If you want to play the advanced version, throw in a Coolness Self Audit as well, rating the songs on a scale from 1 (Ludwig) to 10 (anti-Ludwig).

Let's do this thing.

1. Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Effigy" -- One of my favorites from CCR, a nice six-minute tribute to Richard Nixon and the damage done by him. A nice off-kilter guitar intro, and then some scorching work throughout the song. Uncle Tupelo covered this for a compilation in the mid-1990s called No Alternative. 10/10

2. Gang Starr, "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow" -- That's a nice one-two punch. Guru and DJ Premier here with an infectious track from Step Into the Arena. Very nice. 9/10

3. Hoover, "2 Wicky" -- Sure, it's an extended ripoff of Isaac Hayes' "Walk on By," but can you blame them? It's a shame to see the vocals replaced, but Liesje Sadonius does a sultry job here. Too bad the band lost her and changed the name to Hooverphonic. Not much great happened after that. 7/10

4. Smashing Pumpkins, "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" -- Fairly straightforward late-career angst rock from the Pumpkins here. You know, despite all their rage, they're still just rats in a cage.Wic 6/10

5. Built to Spill, "Strange" -- I'll state confidently that this band is the best thing to ever come out of Boise. There, I said it. 8/10

6. Stevie Wonder, "Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day" -- As incredibly lame as that title is, this song actually has an incredibly funky hook -- nice organ work, good vocal work on the verses -- and then you get to the part of the song where Stevie forgot to write actual lyrics. Eh. 5/10

7. Wilco, "I'm the Man Who Loves You" -- I know Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was hailed by many as the Second Coming of Christ, but I tend to run hot and cold with the album. This song just sounds like a throwaway bit of filler to me. 5/10

8. Radiohead, "I Might Be Wrong (live)" -- From the live album of the same name, this is a scorching version, one of the few live tracks I like better than the original. Blistering guitars here, with a chaotic moment where things get more out of control than Eddie Griffin in a Ferrari. 9/10

9. Modest Mouse, "Missed the Boat" -- Not surprised to see a song from the new Modest Mouse album -- now with 100% more Johnny Marr! -- since it's been dominating my iPod the past two weeks. The album is a little hit-and-miss, with some of the edgier tunes a little too self-consciously awkward. This is one of the catchier, milder ones. Very nice. 8/10

10. Billie Holiday, "I Loves You Porgy" -- Oh, damn. Billie Holiday here at her most heartbreaking. And that's saying quite a bit. I'd say only Nina Simone has done a more wrenching version of this song, but Lady Day's is damn close. 8/10

No real stinkers this week, and that lets me survive with a 7.3 average. Not too shabby.

Let's see what you've got. Drop your own FRT in the comments below, with or without the self-audit.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Caption Contest

It's been far too long since we did one of these, and this is far too bizarre to pass up. Have at her.

(Image stolen, as always, from Dependable Renegade.)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

"But I'll Miss Sheriff Lobo"

This little bit about Cheney, via Dan Froomkin, makes yesterday's victory on the Iraq vote in the senate all the sweeter.
"There was a call that came in from Republican leadership 5:00 to Cheney's office that said look, you need to get down here right away. It looks like the vote is going to be very, very close, very tight. His motorcade sped away, he was on the Hill. As being president of the Senate, he was there for the tie-breaking vote. He did not need to cast that vote, because obviously there was that two-vote spread, so it made it a moot point, but very clearly every step of the way is important to this administration."
Won the vote and made Cheney miss his favorite afternoon reruns. You can't beat that.

Under Pressure

If you haven't been following the unfolding Government Services Administration scandal, you really need to tune in.

The short version is that the GSA -- which funds and maintains federal buildings -- has been politicized, with Karl Rove's office leading a briefing of GSA managers on how they could help Republican candidates in 2008. As Kos notes, it's about as corrupt as corruption gets, a straightforward violation of the Hatch Act.

Anyway, the GSA head, Lurita Doan, just got raked over the coals by the Government Oversight Committee today. Trust me on this and go watch the clip. Her apparent incompetence in the job is only matched by her incompetence before the committee. They have the goods on her misdeeds and aren't shy about rubbing her nose in it -- if this were a murder case, they'd be screening the courtroom her homemade video of the crime and a notarized confession -- and she still insists she doesn't remember. Hilarious. You can almost smell the flopsweat through these here intertubes.

How rattled was she by the end? Apparently, she told an aide to take her water glass when they left the hearing room, because Doan didn't want "them to have my fingerprints. They've got me totally paranoid!"

Stupid Like a Fox!

A nice little bit of schadenfreude from TPM:
White House personnel appear to have been systematically avoiding using their government emails on the job because they knew they might some day be subpoenaed.

But as we noted earlier with Karl Rove, this may have been too clever by half. If the president's aides were using RNC emails or emails from other Republican political committees, they can't have even the vaguest claim to shielding those communications behind executive privilege.
That's a very good point. I know the Republicans believe their party and the current monarchical government we have are one and the same, but legally? Not so much.

Speaking of Rove, check out his appearance in a piece on the 1972 Nixon campaign. Yikes.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Greek to Me

I haven't seen 300 yet, but John Rogers at Kung Fu Monkey has a really interesting take on the politics of the film.

For all the insistence of right-wing folks that the movie is a metaphor for America kicking some Iraqi/Iranian ass, Rogers makes the case that the movie's political meaning is decidedly anti-American. Interesting stuff.

Pepe Le Pew

A recent survey by the Pew Research Center shows that the Republican Party is sinking to incredible new lows in popularity.

As you can see by the chart here to the right, the GOP is currently ranking somewhere between the ebola virus and a wet hot fart on the list of things Americans like. And since President Petulant Pissypants has stamped his feet and insisted he's never ever ever going to change course -- he's the Decider, dummies! Nyah nyah nyah! -- we can expect these trend lines to continue.

By the time Bush leaves office, I expect the Republican Party in NAMBLA territory. (My apologies for the unintended Mark Foley pun.) Seriously, given how much damage Bush is doing to his party's reputation right now, we could see the Republicans move to impeach him before the Democrats ever do.

There's an interesting rundown of what the poll says and what it means over at Crooked Timber. Rather than excerpting some of it here, I think you might as well read the whole damn thing. Have at it.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Green Brown Paper

If they can send a man to the moon, why can't they make thank you notes out of animal feces?

Oh wait -- they can.
The Chiang Mai Zoo in northern Thailand already sells multicoloured paper made from the excrement produced by its two resident pandas. Making paper there involves a daylong process of cleaning the feces, boiling it in a soda solution, bleaching it with chlorine and drying it under the sun.
If you're worried the love note sprayed with perfume won't be as romantic, don't fret.
"People won't find it gross at all," Liao said. "They probably won't even be able to tell it's from panda poop."
The only problem is deciding which is more environmentally friendly: panda poop or elephant flop?

Praise Jeebus!

The best NFL news since T.O. signed with Dallas.
Joe Theismann will no longer be part of the network's "Monday Night Football" broadcast and will be replaced as an analyst by Ron Jaworski, the former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, the network announced Monday.
Now if I can just get them to bring back Verne Lundquist.

What NASA hath wrought

I can only assume that the grand prize was Judge Judy rich.
Saturday a large underground video game tournament featuring the popular Xbox 360 game Gears Of War came to a surprising end.

Among the sixty plus competitors was a very determined team of young adults and one teenager who were equipped with disposable adult diapers. Security for the rented warehouse was forced to remove one of the players after others complained of the “septic tank like smell” coming from a nearby 16 year old gamer.

The team had the intention of only using the diapers for “an emergency trip” but after the 16 year old had consumed five cans of a caffeine loaded drink called a Spike Shooter he claimed he just couldn’t hold “it”. And “it” being the worst kind or it. Being the dedicated gamer he was he just tried to ignore his accident.

Reactions:
1) I didn't know that there was such a thing as "underground" video game tournaments. How, exactly, would this be illegal?
2) Sixteen years old? Really?
3) To make extra money, I may spend weekends at the senior center selling Spike Shooter as a laxative.

Things learned from Harper's Index

Amount by which the salary of Judge Judy exceeds the salaries of all nine Supreme Court justices combined: $26,000,000

Sunday, March 25, 2007

In the Porta John

Saw this over at KSK and enjoyed it enough to post it over here.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Friday Afternoon Giggle

Enjoy the weekend!

Friday Random Ten

This album from Oral Roberts takes on a whole new meaning these days.

Oral Roberts, for those of you who don't remember, is the televangelist who insisted in 1980 that he'd seen a vision of a 900-foot-tall Jesus Christ and, then in 1987, said that God told him if he didn't raise $8 million dollars in a couple months, God would "call him home." (Oral Roberts apparently sees God as an intimidating double threat -- a 900-foot-tall shot-blocker on the court and a bossy motivating coach off it. No wonder Oral Roberts University made it to March Madness this year.)

Needless to say, wacky televangelist Oral Roberts's insistence that "We are Partners" and belief that we've "joined in a Blessing-Pact" sounds a little suspicious these days. I doubt you'd see a leader of the Religious Right making such double-entendres today, what with the heated debates over gay marriage. Well, maybe Ted Haggard.

Speaking of holy unions, it's time for the FRT. Man, I wish I had some MC 900 Ft Jesus on my iPod, because you know it would make a command appearance here.

1. Notorious B.I.G., "Party and Bullshit (Ratatat Remix)" -- There are very few artists who are capable of remixing a hiphop hit in a way that makes it sound like their new version was actually the original vision. Ratatat is one of them. They've added some fuzzed out guitars and a killer hook to Big Poppa's vocals. Highly recommended. 10/10

2. The Detroit Cobras, "Cry On" -- The Cobras are a nice throwback to the old Motown sound with just enough modern sauciness thrown in to make a difference. They're sort of the R&B analogue of Rev. Horton Heat. I normally like the cut of their jib, but this is a somewhat mediocre effort. 6/10

3. Gnarls Barkley, "Transformer" -- I really like half of this album, but the other half (which includes this tune) is just a little too precociously busy for my tastes. This song sounds like what you'd get if Pee Wee Herman produced an Outkast CD. 4/10

4. William Shatner, "Common People" -- I think I enjoyed the William Shatner Experience back when he wasn't in on the joke with us. To his credit, he's made peace with the world of campy, self-mocking -- see also West, Adam -- but the music just doesn't do it for me when it doesn't seem sincere. Eh. 5/10

5. Rufus and Chaka Khan, "You Got the Love" -- Damn straight. This may be my favorite Rufus tune, slightly edging out the funkier but slower "Tell Me Something Good." Whatever. It's musical gold, Jerry. Gold! 10/10

6. The Roots with Common, "Love of My Life (live)" -- The slow opening of this song is absolutely fantastic, especially the ways in which they slowly creep the organ and drum into the vocals. It's like a goddamn ninja, I tells ya! One of the two times I've liked the live release of a song better than the original album version. (The other, since you're dying to know, is Radiohead's "I Might Be Wrong.") 9/10

7. Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Someday Never Comes" -- Lordy, do I loves me some CCR. 8/10

8. The Beanuts, "Muchachacha" -- I suppose the greatest fame of the Beatnuts is that J.Lo shamelessly stole the beats from their excellent "Watch Out Now" for her crappy "Jenny from the Block." This is an equally funky tune from the same album (theirs, not J.Lo's) and it's got some saucy lyrics. "Taste dick when you're kissin' your girl? / You should, 'cause she swallows more nut than a squirrel." I believe they're up for the Gloria Steinhem Lifetime Achievement Award at this year's NOW Convention. 8/10

9. Dead Prez, "Hell Yeah (Pimp the System)" -- I have a soft spot for this song, merely because the third verse was lifted and used brilliantly in a Diplo remix of TV on the Radio's "Staring at the Sun." The original version is pretty sweet, except for the lame-ass chorus. (There's a reason Diplo only stole the verse.) Good, but not great. 6/10

10. Broken Social Scene, "Handjobs for the Holidays" -- How can you not love a song with a heart-warming title like that? Nice catchy indie pop from a band that's quickly ingratiating its way into my heart. 8/10

Alright, that gives me a 7.4 average. I had it all this week -- the terrifying lows, the dizzying highs, the creamy middles -- and yet somehow balanced out with my Coolness Tank at nearly three-quarters full. I'll take it.

Let's see what you've got. Drop your own FRT in the comments below, or else free associate with my own selections and/or ratings. Surely, we've got at least one Shatner apologist in the house, right?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

This just in...

Fried meat slathered with saltified sugar syrup is bad for you.
A plate of General Tso’s chicken, for example, is loaded with about 40 percent more sodium and more than half the calories an average adult needs for an entire day.

The battered, fried chicken dish with vegetables has 1,300 calories, 3,200 milligrams of sodium and 11 grams of saturated fat.

Snow Job

White House Spokesman Tony Snow, a.k.a. the fastest dancing man in show business, just held a press conference today on the U.S. Attorney purge.

CNN's Ed Henry had a couple terrific questions for him -- all ready for your viewing pleasure at Crooks & Liars -- but the best shot may have been this observation off camera:
I followed up a question about executive privilege. You heard Tony Snow at the end there saying the president has no recollection of being involved in this decision to fire the US attorneys. So we asked the question then, well why are you citing executive privilege -- or at least suggesting you will, and yesterday the president said the principle at stake here is candid advice from his advisers to the president -- if the president was not involved in the decision, then how can you cite executive privilege on something he was really not involved in? And Tony Snow basically said, it's a good question and I don't know the answer.
Yeah, it's pretty hard to invoke the doctrine of "executive privilege" to cloak a conversation and simultaneously insist that the chief executive wasn't involved in it. What an idiot.

As tough as Henry's been on him, Snow will also have to deal with this tough attack from yet another reporter:
Evidently, Mr. Bush wants to shield virtually any communications that take place within the White House compound on the theory that all such talk contributes in some way, shape or form to the continuing success and harmony of an administration. Taken to its logical extreme, that position would make it impossible for citizens to hold a chief executive accountable for anything. He would have a constitutional right to cover up.

Chances are that the courts will hurl such a claim out, but it will take time.

One gets the impression that Team Bush values its survival more than most people want justice and thus will delay without qualm. But as the clock ticks, the public's faith in Mr. Bush will ebb away for a simple reason: Most of us want no part of a president who is cynical enough to use the majesty of his office to evade the one thing he is sworn to uphold: the rule of law.
The reporter who laid down this scathing attack on executive privilege? None other than our boy Tony Snow.

In the original version, he was referring to President Clinton in insisting how invalid "executive privilege" was. However, that was way back in 1998. I know White House officials have incredibly poor memories, so I thought I'd make it a little more contemporary to help him get his walnut-sized brain around it.

You're welcome, Tony!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Studiodave: resident genius

If he really patented the phrase, that is.

Dead Pool for Gonzo

I was slumming around on the tubes this morning, and I read this over at Mike's place:
President Bush sent a powerful message of support Tuesday for embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, calling his longtime friend to express unwavering support in the face of calls for his resignation.
Stick a fork in him, he's done; he's getting the "heckuva job" treatment.

The only question now is when. Mike suggests the end of this week, which sounds about right to me. In fact, here's my exact forecast: Friday, 6:15 pm. Next job? I hear the Arabian horse association is looking for someone.

You got a guess? Let's hear it.

Fair and Balanced



Courtesy of Kos, I'm thrilled to pass along this video clip that might just be the perfect distillation of Faux News's very essence.

It's a four-minute clip, with the first three minutes devoted to wild speculation that the stock market recently took a sharp dip because Wall Street is currently in a panic that a far-left evil liberal evil leftist like Hillary Clinton might get the Democratic nomination a year from now and, even though a far-lefty-leftist-leftorium like Hillary Clinton could never win the presidency -- because she's so far lefty left left -- the economy would still crumble at the very prospect that she might raise taxes on the richest one percent of Americans, because, you see, she's such a far-left-leftist-lefty.

I'll give you a second to go back and count the laughers in there. Done? OK.

As funny as that part is, they then cut to an actual analyst on the floor of the stock exchange to ask him if people are worried that an even more extreme far-far-far-leftist -- perhaps even that radical Barack Obama, who, sources have it, is partially black! -- would get the nomination. The analyst sheepishly says he hasn't heard a word about it. The host immediately brushes his "facts" away and gets the panel right back to their conservative circle jerk.

Priceless.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Fourth and Long

Well, it's the fourth anniversary of Operation Awesome Kickass™ in Iraq. If you're wondering what to get a country for the fourth anniversary, apparently Miss Manners recommends widespread chaos and a civil war. You're welcome, Iraq!

As TCR notes, the White House is getting a little touchy about reaching the four-year mark:
During this morning’s press gaggle, Tony Snow told reporters that Bush will use the speech to attack the House plan for Iraq as a “recipe for defeat” that would “provide a victory for the enemy.”

CNN’s Ed Henry told Snow that since he was attacking the House plan, he should explain the Bush administration’s “recipe for success.” According to Henry, Snow “tried to turn it around on me,” asking Henry what his recipe for success was. When Henry objected to Snow’s question, Snow told him to “zip it.”

Henry reported, “Snow later apologized. He said he felt that was inappropriate for him to say that to me. But I point it out because I think it shows the White House a little bit on the defensive this morning about this anniversary.”
A little bit on the defensive?

I mean, really -- "Zip it"? That's about three seconds removed from Snow asking Henry if he wanted a fat lip for mouthing off again.

At this rate, we're only a week or so away from the White House press briefing turning into an episode of "COPS," with Tony Snow drunkenly weaving behind the podium in a wife-beater T-shirt and no pants, and a bloodied, broken Sam Donaldson cowering behind a folding chair, insisting that "he didn't mean it, officer; he's a good man!"

Sunday, March 18, 2007

2008 - The YouTube Election

Mega Dittoheads to all. Here is the first of what I'm sure will be a million approved / unapproved / secretly approved YouTube advertising blitzes. This could be a long election. Enjoy this anit-Hillary piece.



UPDATE : Am I the first to coin this election? Patent pending.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Drunk of the Irish

Happy St. Patrick's Day, folks.

Before you start slurring your vision and blurring your speech, let's get the ball rolling with an Irish drinking joke:
After the Britain Beer Festival, in London, all the brewery presidents decided to go out for a beer.

The guy from Corona sits down and says, "Hey Senor, I would like the world's best beer, a Corona." The bartender dusts off a bottle from the shelf and gives it to him. The guy from Budweiser says, "I'd like the best beer in the world, give me 'The King Of Beers', a Budweiser." The bartender gives him one. The guy from Coors says, "I'd like the only beer made with Rocky Mountain spring water, give me a Coors." He gets it.

The guy from Guinness sits down and says, "Give me a Coke." The bartender is a little taken aback, but gives him what he ordered. The other brewery presidents look over at him and ask "Why aren't you drinking a Guinness?" and the Guinness president replies, "Well, I figured if you guys aren't drinking beer, neither would I."
Feel free to use this as an open thread for your favorite Irish jokes or, better yet, drunken postings of your own.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Friday Random Ten

For the first time here at the Friday Random Ten, I'm featuring a bizarre album cover that I actually used to own. Well, technically, my parents owned it, but I'm pretty sure it was purchased for my benefit. If not, me and my Dad really need to have a talk. Or an intervention.

At the time, I'm pretty sure I didn't catch the Springsteen reference -- I was four, so cut me some slack -- but I have to think that the good people from E Street might have been unsure of how to react to this honor from the good people of Sesame Street. On the one hand, you've clearly made it big when you're the basis for a spoof like this. On the other, you can't be too thrilled with the muppets cast to play you. Seriously, who should be more pissed off? Clarence Clemons, who is replaced here by the semi-retarded, bakery-addicted Cookie Monster? Or the Boss himself, who is replaced by a dorkily-dressed meganerd with an odd fondness for pigeons and his longtime male companion?

And don't get me started on who's missing. How do you have a Sesame Street album called "Born to Add" without featuring the Count? Ouch.

Anyway, it's time to add up ten songs here for the Friday Random Ten. Let's do this thing, Mr. Blooper!

1. Bill Haley, "Thirteen Women (And Only One Man in Town)" -- A nice bit of early rock'n'roll from a man most of us associate with the opening credits of "Happy Days." The song's all about how sweet it would be if the world were destroyed by atomic bombs, except for Haley and his harem. You know, you rarely hear about the upside of nuclear war. Good for you, Bill. Good for you. 7/10

2. Al Green, "Simply Beautiful" -- One of my favorite songs by the Reverend Al. This sultry soul tune is so damn seductive, I just made out with my PowerBook. I couldn't help myself. 9/10

3. The Roots, "Star/Pointro" -- The opening track off their terrific Tipping Point CD, this tune begins with some nice sampling from Sly Stone's "Everybody is a Star" and a simple guitar hook, and then Black Thought just runs away with it. Excellent. 10/10

4. Lou Reed, "Street Hassle" -- A different sort of sound from Reed here, with a string section and some plodding bass lines alternating. Nice stuff, but it goes on for eleven minutes. Eh. 5/10

5. The Kinks, "Johnny Thunder" -- From the incredibly uneven album, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, the album with "Picture Book" and other early semihits. This one has its moments, but there's just too much of the "lalala" and "bababa" lyrics to make it work. 6/10

6. Erick Sermon, "Music" -- When this song came out, I was convinced it had to be a different Erick Sermon. I loved EPMD, but those guys had really been out of the spotlight for a decade or so when this tune started chewing up R&B radio here in New York. But it's the one and the same man -- the Green Eyed Bandit, Erick Onassis, the E-Double. Nice to have him back. 8/10

7. Silver Jews, "People" -- I'm one of those people who's convinced that everything the guys in Pavement did was all downhill from the first album on. (For the record, I choose to believe they've gotten lamer, not that I've gotten older.) Two of the Pavement boys glommed onto this band in the mid-90s, and I've never gotten into them. This song, however, does get points for apparently being the inspiration for the band name Suburban Kids with Biblical Names. 4/10

8. Björk, "I Miss You (Photek Mix)" -- I've got a couple other remixes of this song, and this is easily the worst. Very stripped down, with some awkward horns and a drum-and-bass rhythm that was apparently smuggled out of 1998 inside an Oasis CD. Pfft. 2/10

9. Silversun Pickups, "Well Thought Out Twinkles" -- One of their songs where the similarities to the Smashing Pumpkins move from "slight coincidence" to "label lawsuit." If you're waiting for Billy Corgan to get his bizarre shit together and put out a new Pumpkins CD, you might as well kill some time with this one. Solid, if unoriginal. 7/10

10. Fatlip, "What's Up, Fatlip?" -- Another old rapper making a comeback. Fatlip was part of the Pharcyde back in their all-too-short career in the '90s. I have a few tracks off this new album, and they're all pretty solid, like this one. 7/10

Somehow this turned into a very special "Where Are They Now?" edition of the FRT, and even with a collection of hasbeens and neverweres, I still managed to pull out a decent 6.5 average. I can live with that.

Feel free to reminisce about the mid-'90s in the comments below or, better yet, drop your own FRT there.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

State of the Unions



I stumbled across this AFSCME ad -- redubbed so that it's not exactly safe for work -- over at the time-wasting emporium known as GorillaMask.net.

I think the unions might want to try this in-your-face approach for real, just to see the look of panic spreading across Lou Dobbs' face.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Prediction: iRod Becomes Finnish Citizen in Record Time

Why?
HELSINKI (Reuters) - A Finnish member of parliament is aiming for re-election by campaigning with a translation of his Web site into Klingon, used in the TV series "Star Trek."
I tried to read his page, but I'm still not sure where he stands on Romulan-Vulcan intermarriage.

Purge

Another busy day today, so not much posting.

But TPM and Kevin Drum are tracking a developing story you need to read. This US Attorney purge is really starting to blow up.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Fairly Unbalanced

Courtesy of Atrios, I'm happy to pass along this montage of screen stills from Fox News. Priceless.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Support the Troops

Bill Maher had a segment last night with retired Major Gen. Paul Eaton, the man who was originally responsible for training the Iraqi troops. He had nothing but scorn for the Bush administration:
"We've got this thing that so many military believe that Republican administrations are good for the military. That is rarely the case. And, we have to get a message through to every soldier, every family member, every friend of soldiers that the Republican party, the Republican dominated Congress has absolutely been the worst thing that's happened to the United States Army and the United States Marine Corps."
Crooks & Liars has the video. Well worth watching.

Are YOU Ready To RUMMMMMBLLLLLLEEEEE!!!!


It is on. The Faux News division has "pulled an Adam Coulter" and gone one step to far.

POINT: Comments on Thursday by FOX News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, when he jokingly compared Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, the junior senator from Illinois, to Osama bin Laden, "went too far," and prompted Nevada Democrats to end the partnership.

"We cannot, as good Democrats, put our party in a position to defend such comments," the letter said. "In light of his comments, we have concluded that it is not possible to hold a presidential debate that will focus on our candidates and are therefore cancelling our August debate. We take no pleasure in this, but it is the only course of action."

COUNTERPOINT: FOX NEWS OFFICIAL STATEMENT 'News organizations will want to think twice before getting involved in the Nevada Democratic Caucus which appears to be controlled by radical fringe out-of-state interest groups, not the Nevada Democratic Party. In the past, Moveon.org has said they ‘own’ the Democratic party — while most Democrats don’t agree with that, it’s clearly the case in Nevada' -- David Rhodes, VP

So Fox went straight for the spin of the MoveOn.org part of the party - totally bypassing the point of pulling out of the agreement. I refer to this as the "look at the wookie" defense. I know we have low standards for Faux, but think about it - a news organization didn't even consider the facts in its own PR releases. Now *that* is delusional. If I were head of ABC News, I would run this story for weeks.

Friday, March 09, 2007

People Who Annoy You - "N*ggers"

Yet again South Park shows some stones as the only comedy show willing to tackle *any* taboo.

Here's a clip from last night's show, be sure and catch the whole thing in reruns.

Binge and Purge

There's a terrific clip from MSNBC's Countdown over at Crooks & Liars about the U.S. Attorney purge.

Constitutional law scholar Jonathan Turley has a great bit at the end, complete with a line about how U.S. Attorneys are supposed to be independent, and not have to "look over their shoulders for Karl Rove coming after them with a wood chipper."

Friday Random Ten

I know what you're thinking. "Why Liberace now? Why not Liberace later? Or, better yet: Liberace never? Please?"

Well, I'm reminded of the wise words of Dan Aykroyd: "Don't try to fight it. No ifs, ands, or buts about it -- you're spending the night with Fred Garvin, Male Prostitute." Sorry, folks. Liberace Now.

Resistance is futile.

But, that said, we here at LLatPoN abide by the conventions of civilized nations and, as such, will grant the condemend one last wish before their summary liberacution. And I know what each and every one of you would ask for -- another Friday Random Ten. Your last wish is my command.

1. The Stanley Brothers, "Loving You Too Well" -- Some sweet, sweet bluegrass from one of the classic groups. Terrific vocal harmonizing and great banjo and guitar work. Ralph Stanley is still touring and kicking ass, and came through New York a couple months ago. Sadly, I couldn't make the show. But I'm sure an octagenarian like him has a couple more tours in him, right? Right? Crap. 7/10

2. Reverend Horton Heat, "Jonny Quest/Stop That Pigeon" -- This is a medley from a collection of indie rockers covering classic cartoon themes. The "Jonny Quest" half is unbelievably scorching, but the song craps out when they switch over to the lesser song of a lesser cartoon in the second half. Meh. 5/10

3. R.E.M., "Wake Up Bomb" -- I've been an R.E.M. fan ever since I stumbled across Reckoning as a high school freshman, and all things considered, New Adventures in Hi-Fi might be my favorite album of theirs. This is one of the weaker songs on it, I think, but still solid. 6/10

4. Lowell Fulsom, "Tramp" -- What a great tune. A classic R&B strutter, with a ton of attitude on vocals and an irresistable stomp of a guitar riff. De La Soul ripped this off for "Keepin' Tha Faith," and with good reason. This may well be one of my favorite songs of all time. 10/10

5. Dead or Alive, "You Spin Me Right Round" -- Um ... yeah. Next. 3/10

6. Iron & Wine with Calexico, "All Tomorrow's Parties" -- I'm generally a sucker for indie-folk covers of rock songs (see also Jose Gonzalez, Mat Weddle, etc.), even though part of me fears I'm being tricked into liking my generation's version of elevator Muzak. Whatever. This is a very nice take on the Velvet Underground tune. 8/10

7. Tegan and Sara, "Walking with a Ghost" -- Catchy as hell, with a simple hook and some sweet lyrics from the ladies. 9/10

8. Albert Collins, "Doin' My Thing" -- This is, indeed, Albert doing his thing. If you're not familiar with his thing, it's a nice bit of Chicago blues, blending his electric guitar with some horns and Hammond organ. Solid, if not exactly mind-blowing. 6/10

9. Fishbone, "Freddie's Dead" -- As much as I like covers and love Curtis Mayfield, this one just doesn't do much for me. A little too much anger from the Boneyard here, and the metal guitar and late '80s synthesizers don't help. Eh. 5/10

10. Pussy Galore, "Rocks Off" -- I may need an intervention for the cover-song addiction. Well, in any case, you've got to admire a band that begins a Stones cover with what sounds like 20 seconds of a Tourette's victim snapping over and over, "I hate your fucking guts!" Plus, they're named after the hottest Bond girl of all time! 7/10

After soaring high for two straight weeks, it looks like I've fallen back down to earth with a middling 6.6 average. I'd like to blame this on the mascara rock of Dead or Alive, but this week was full of misfires. Oh well.

Let's see what you all have got. Drop your own FRT in the comments below, with or without the coolness commentary.

And since I made it through this entire post without a link, let me recommend "Clell Tickle: Indie Marketing Guru." It features the dudes from the forthcoming MTV comedy show "Human Giant," though the best bit features Rob Riggle from "The Daily Show" as Hambone, a hired goon described as a "former child arsonist. That's right -- he used to set children on fire."

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Breaking News

This just in:
DURHAM, NC. (TPP) -- Duke University, known for its teary-eyed athletes, mathematics team, and raping contests, is reportedly under suspicion for testing nuclear weapons and housing terrorists training facilities on its campus. .... Authorities say the school has been under suspicion for some time after Hitler's remains were uncovered along with a laundry list of Taliban contacts and terror plots last summer in "Krzyzewskiville," a student haven for pi-reciting virgins and Star Wars enthusiasts.
For the rest of this disturbing story, check out The Phat Phree.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

"I Don't Like To Throw the Word Hero Around..."

The above is a direct quote from Studiodave, who is too distraught today to blog about a great, great man who brought us a defining American product: Thunderbird.
The company’s introduction of Thunderbird wine would change that. In 1957, the Gallos developed the brand, a concoction of inexpensive fortified white wine with added citrus flavors.

It was named after the Ford sports car and was aimed directly at “the misery market,” according to “Blood and Wine,” Ellen Hawkes’s unauthorized biography of the family. By the end of 1957, Ms. Hawkes reported, Gallo was making 32 million gallons of Thunderbird.

I've always been a Nightrain man myself, but this Friday night I think we should all pay tribute to Ernesto by pouring out a little Thunderbird -- and drinking the rest.

Faux News Scavenger Hunt

Want a laugh? Go try and find coverage of the Libby verdict over at FoxNews.com.

Update: As long as we're looking into the intellectual gutter, Digby has a terrific post up about Fox News.

Smarmy Neoliberals

My damned weiner kid keeps demanding that I pay attention to her, but I found this bit by Yglesias regarding the civil rights movement interesting:
Progressives these days have a sometimes angsty relationship with the social movements of the 1960s and 70s. The sense that, ultimately, these movements failed and the Democratic Party came to disaster through its association with them is inescapable. And yet precisely what we don't want to do is mimick the smarmy neoliberals of the 1980s and 1990s, forever full of scorn, forever eager to blame the left for the right's malgovernment, forever looking to get ahead by knifing an ally in the back.

Arguably, Obama's hit on the right way to think about all this. The movements of yore accomplished a great deal and were absolutely right about the biggest issues of their time. But they made some mistakes. Mistakes that are dwarfed by the scale of their accomplishments; but nonetheless mistakes that carried a high price. Conveniently enough, 2008 could mark the end of 40 desert years launched by Nixon and capped by Bush. Enough time gone by for old wounds to heal, perhaps, and for a new generation of political leadership to redeem the promises of that earlier era.

Sounds about right to me.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

One Hundred Ninety Two Countries!

Alright, you all passed the test to see if you could name all fifty states in under ten minutes. Now here's a new one to see if you can name all the 192 countries recognized by the United Nations in the same time span.

I wound up getting only 83 countries, though I blame my poor typing skills and also insist I was robbed on about a half dozen due to technicalities. I'll regale you all with my bitching in the comments.

In the meantime, have at it!

Gay Ole Party

How many gay hookers can fit under this big tent?

Breakin' the Law! Breakin' the Law!

It's a banner day for the Bush administration, folks.

First, the Scooter Libby verdict was just announced, and it looks like he's been convicted on four of the five charges -- obstruction of justice, lying to the FBI, and two counts of perjury under oath. He's now staring down a possible sentence of 25 years in prison and up to $1 million dollars in fines. The money can't scare Cheney's right-hand hatchet, but I bet the prospect of being in jail until he's 81 isn't exactly sitting well with him. If Oz taught us anything, it's that "Scooter" is not a nickname you want in the pen.

Second, the congressional inquiries into the Walter Reed disaster are widening, with public outrage over the initial reports spreading into a wider review of veterans' care throughout America. As Krugman noted, this is fast shaping up to be a political disaster along the lines of Hurricane Katrina, yet another reminder that this administration can't do a single fucking thing right.

And third, as if that's not enough, the probe into the political firings of all those U.S. Attorneys is just getting underway as well. This one not only reminds Americans about all the corruption and scandal around the G.O.P. -- since many of these folks were fired for investigating Republican crooks or for not moving fast enough on Democratic investigations for the G.O.P.'s taste -- but also the way in which the Decider thinks he's above the law. Personally, I think this one's going to be big, unless it gets overwhelmed by the first two.

I really don't know where to focus today. It's like I'm fifteen and woke up on Christmas morning to find a four-by-four ATV, a Playboy bunny, and Walter Payton underneath the Christmas tree. I can't decide which one to play with first.

Fifty States

Think you can names all fifty states in under ten minutes? Really? Test yourself here.

I did it with 5:15 left on the clock, with most of the last minute spent trying to figure out what one state I forgot. I'll name it in the comments, and I think you'll agree I should be allowed to forget it.

Consider this an open time trial. No cheating, no maps, no nothing. The clock begins when you click on it, so be prepared.

Go!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Eye of Newt

Looks like Andrew Coulter wasn't the only one to stick his foot in his mouth at the CPAC conference this weekend.

Here's what Newt Gingrich had to say about the victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans:
How can you have the mess we have in New Orleans, and not have had deep investigations of the federal government, the state government, the city government, and the failure of citizenship in the Ninth Ward, where 22,000 people were so uneducated and so unprepared, they literally couldn't get out of the way of a hurricane.
First of all, I'd really like to hear more from Newt Gingrich about what he thinks makes for "good citizenship." We already know that his definition of "family values" calls for telling your first wife you want a divorce while she's in a hospital bed after having a tumor removed, then cheating on your second wife with a female staffer nearly 23 years younger than you (while hypocritically condemning the president for having an almost identical affair), and then moving on to a third wife.

So, do you get three tries for good citizenship too? Or are the standards higher? Probably higher, since we don't want those dirty immygints from getting in here on their third shot.

Second, I think Newt's right that it's the fault of impoverished New Orleans residents that they didn't just get out of the way of the hurricane. I mean, all the rich white people were able to load up their SUVs with a full tank of gas and tons of supplies and hightail it to hotels outside the danger zone. Just because they didn't have any money, cars, or credit, that's no excuse for the poor people in New Orleans.

Sweet Jesus, the city even opened up the Superdome for them -- not just the cheap seats, but the whole damn stadium, right down to the primo front-row spots where the best kind of people usually sit -- and they still couldn't make it out alright.

Clearly, the poor don't deserve their citizenship any longer. They had their chance, and they blew it. What a bunch of losers.

Normalizing Crazy

Digby has a terrific post up. Depressing, but terrific.

Martyr watch

I guess Jesus is just too cliché.
"Yes, that's it," Marilyn Plummer, Jake's mother, told The Denver Post when asked Friday if her son had retired. "I thought this would happen from the moment the season ended. He needs a break, but I foresee him doing something else. He's a lot like Pat Tillman. Pat would do something unexpected. Jake used to say, 'I wonder what Pat would have done next.' Jake is a lot like Pat. He has that same rebel soul."

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Things That Interest Me

From the greatest country in the world. I will number the things that interest me:

ORANGE - A 39-year-old woman who (#1) didn't know she was pregnant gave birth this week after going to an emergency room with a stomachache. April (#2) Barnum of Garden Grove gave birth to a (#3) full-term , 7-pound, 7-ounce boy by Caesarian section at UC Irvine Medical Center, hospital officials said. The (#4) 420-pound woman said her size kept her and others from realizing she was carrying the baby.

"Usually you can tell if you're pregnant, but with me, I couldn't tell," Barnum said Thursday, a day after the birth. "If he kicked, I didn't feel him kicking."

Dr. Afshan Hameed said her weight likely insulated the tiny movements of the baby.

Doctors saw the baby when they took X-rays of her abdominal area on Monday after she arrived at an emergency room near her home complaining of stomach pains.

The baby is named after her (#5) fiance, Walter Edwards II, 42.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Coultergeist

Just when you think Ann Coulter can't sink any lower, she finds a way to ooze through the floor.

You know, recently we've seen more than a few conservative men who claim to hate gays but secretly lust for them. Looking at the way Coulter's Adam's apple quivers with passion when he talks about John Edwards in that clip, I think he might just be another closeted gay Republican.

Update: The Carpetbagger Report puts this all in context.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Friday Random Ten

There have been a lot of album covers that spoof the classic cover for Herb Alpert's Whipped Cream and Other Delights -- ranging from this disturbing '60s spinoff to a nice '90s Soul Asylum LP to this recent collection of Albert remixes that brings it all full circle.

But this one has to be the most disturbing. Maybe it's that Manson Family shade of red. Maybe it's the fact that I'm not sure if those are breadsticks in his hand. But disturbing it is.

The only thing that can chase this image from my mind is the Friday Random Ten. Let's do this thing.

1. Gipsy Kings, "Hotel California (Spanish Mix)" -- I pretty much despise everything the Eagles ever did, but this version of their hit tune is an exception. It's a scorching rendition on its own, but the fact that this served as the music for one of the greatest scenes in film history takes it all the way to perfection. 10/10

2. De La Soul, "Baby Phat" -- From the phenomenal album Bionix. To paraphrase a sweet line from the excellent What Would Tyler Durden Do?, this song has so much bottom I think it might be a centaur. 9/10

3. Urge Overkill, "Emmaline" -- Holy shit, I'm on a roll. UO always liked to represent the '70s style with a '90s attitude, and this cover of the Hot Chocolate ballad is a perfect example. The instrumental intro is a minute and a half of pure love, and then you get to the panty-dropping vocals. Sa-weet. 10/10

4. Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelli, "After You've Gone" -- Reinhardt's a bit in the background for most of this song, with some amazing violin work by his counterpart Grappelli and some nicely hep vocals from Some Crooner I Don't Recognize taking center stage. But when that Belgian gypsy takes over midway through, it's impressive as always. 7/10

5. Superchunk, "Skip Steps 1 & 3" -- Alright, I need to go buy a Lotto ticket at this rate. This is a great bit of indie rock from one of the master groups. I don't know if there's something inherent about this song that makes me want to pogo to it, or if that's just conditioning from having seen them live so many times. Whatever, it works. 9/10

6. Muddy Waters, "Champagne and Reefer" -- Sweet Zombie Jesus. At this point, the other bloggers aren't talking to me in the dugout. One of McKinley Morganfield's later, greater tunes, off the otherwise uneven King Bee. The man knows what he wants, and who are we to argue? 8/10

7. The Raconteurs, "Intimate Secretary" -- This is perhaps not the greatest song off Broken Boy Soldiers, but that's like saying someone was not the holiest saint. Still terrific work, and a closer listen to the lyrics reveals a reference to "kakistocracy." No wonder Mr. Furious loves these guys. 8/10

8. Camper Van Beethoven, "Guardian Angels" -- This cowpokish instrumental is currently being used in an ad. (Motel 6? Comfort Inn?) Sorta catchy, but a little too repetitive. And, at any rate, it makes me nervous about what time checkout is. 6/10

9. Cocteau Twins, "Heaven or Las Vegas" -- Ah, sweet sweet shoegazer music. I used to listen to this album all the damn time when I was cramming for exams in college, and I still never got tired of hearing Elizabeth Fraser's vocals. To paraphrase Tracy Morgan on "30 Rock," I love that voice so much I want to take it behind the middle school and get it pregnant. 8/10

10. Radiohead, "Optimistic" -- Well, it's official. This is the best random ten I've had in ages. What better way to close it out than with a favorite tune from a favorite band? (Geeky adoration of Radiohead laid out previously here.) 8/10

That gives me a whopping 8.3 average on the coolness scales, which tops last week's previous record high of a 7.9. (To quote my spiritual mentor Disco Stu, if these trends continue, .... Ayyyyyy!)

While I go off an enjoy a post-coital cigarette, you all should feel free to marvel at the freakish planetary alignment that must've occurred here for me to skip past all things disco and/or Shatner-related in the iTunes this week. Enjoy the moment now, because we'll be back to the crap next week.

Think you can do better? I like the cut of your jib, son. Drop your own FRT in the comments below.

Flathead

The caption contest was funny, but this is better.

Mr. Shrek

The big mystery: why the handcuffs?
A man who was found dressed in latex and handcuffs brought a donkey to his room in a Galway city centre hotel, because he was advised “to get out and meet people,” the local court heard last week.

Japanese PM: Comfort Girls Wanted It

Apparently jealous of people like David Herschowitz Horowitz, who get so much press for denying the Holocaust, Japan's Dubya-like prime minister (Shinzo Abe) wants to deny one of his own country's atrocities.
Japan's nationalist prime minister denied Thursday that the country's military forced women into sexual slavery during World War II. . . .

"The fact is, there is no evidence to prove there was coercion," Abe said.
Really?
His remarks contradicted evidence in Japanese documents unearthed in 1992 that historians said showed military authorities had a direct role in working with contractors to forcibly procure women for the brothels.

The documents, which are backed up by accounts from soldiers and victims, said Japanese authorities set up the brothels in response to uncontrolled rape sprees by invading Japanese soldiers in East Asia.
Shitter.

Update: Horowitz's name fixed. Herschowitz is my downstairs neighbor. Only thing he denies is dinging my car door.