Friday, June 26, 2009

Not Always Finer

As much as I love my home state of NC, there are some real douchebag politicians there, democrats and repubs.

Corporal punishment is allowed in NC schools, which is idiotic. Actually, half of the school districts have had the sense to ban it, but the other half are fully in favor of 200-lb men repeatedly hitting 45-lb girls on their butts with pieces of wood.

Recently a bill was proposed that would give parents the right to opt out of the government beatings - not ban the beatings, mind you, simply give parents the right to say no. Predictably, the bill sailed through the house, and looked to be ready to do so in the senate.

But then the senators started waxing nostalgic about the beatings they received in school. And of course, they want to be fair. As one opponent (a democrat, shame on shame) said, it wouldn't be fair for one kid to take a whooping while another lucky ducky gets a non-violent punishment.

I'm going down to NC in a few weeks, and I'm thinking of stopping by the legislature with a nice piece of hickory. Maybe those guys would like to do a little more waxing.

Monday, June 22, 2009

"Me fail English? That's unpossible!"

You know, if you're going to hold a nativist rally and have a major-league batshit-crazy peddler like Pat Buchanan there to promote English as America's official language, you might want to spell check your banners.

Just a thought.

"As a jock, it is my duty to give nerds a hard time."

John Hodgman gave the keynote at the Radio & Television Correspondents’ Association Dinner, using his time -- and his audience with the president -- to address the epic struggle between jocks and nerds.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Random Ten

I have no idea who this fella is, but he looks like he's equal parts Roy Orbison, Nacho Libre, and Elvis Aron Presley, and that's alright with me. I am a little disturbed that a man who goes by the name of "Orion" has the nerve not to wear a belt. I guess he doesn't care if he makes the astronomers cry.

Busy week, so let's cut to the chase:

1. Tom Waits, "Way Down in the Hole" -- Even if you're not a fan of Tom Waits (and given the fact that his voice was best described as sounding like a man who'd gargled hot tar), you might recognize this song from the opening credits of "The Wire." They used a different version each season, but the second season (on the docks) used his original. This is from Frank's Wild Years, one of my all time favorites. 10/10

2. Shirley Bassey, "Hey Big Spender (Wild Oscar Mix)" -- The brassy Miss Bassey did some fantastic work in the '60s, including several James Bond themes ("Goldfinger," "Diamonds Are Forever," etc.). This is a nice electronica remix of one of her campier tunes. 8/10

3. The Roots, "Star/Pointro" -- This is the opening track off The Tipping Point, and it's a nice slow one that builds off Sly Stone's "Everybody is a Star" and only gets better from there. Much like the combination of your chocolate and my peanut butter, this is a mixture that works incredibly well. 8/10

4. The Budos Band, "Deep in the Sand" -- I don't know much about the Budos Band; I think I-Rod passed along a CD of theirs to me. But I know I like them. Their stuff sounds like the instrumental score to a blaxploitation flick. Big, balls-out and brassy. 7/10

5. The Replacements, "Bastards of Young" -- An outstanding song from the outstanding album Tim. I'll let Pedro rave about them in the comments and bitch that this score is too low. Bring it on. 9/10

6. The Arcade Fire and David Bowie, "Wake Up (live)" -- This is a recording from a concert at Radio City Music Hall. I saw Arcade Fire at Summerstage in Central Park a week later and predicted -- correctly, for once in my life -- that they'd be joined by Bowie for a surprise performance of this at the end of the set. (They also returned the favor and sang "Queen Bitch" with him.) Absofuckinglutely amazing. 10/10

7. R.E.M., "Pretty Persuasion (live)" -- Huh, another live tune. This is from a 1985 concert -- in Germany, I think? Some place called Rockpalast? The original is one of my favorite tunes of theirs, off my favorite album of theirs. This is a shitty recording though, a little all over the place. 5/10

8. Girl Talk, "Keeping the Beat" -- Gregg Gillis is a phenomanal DJ and mixer (the extra "G" stands for "great," I believe), but his first album was a tad scattered and uneven. Compared to the next two, which are fucking brilliant, this is just a little tame. 6/10

9. Superchunk, "Precision Auto (live)" -- Jesus, I think my laptop wants to go to a concert. This is a great tune by the kings (and queen) of indie punk-pop, but again, the recording (from Lord knows where) is a little dicey. I bet all the pogoing from the band threw the sound technician off. They made me spill my Olympia more than once. That's three cents worth of beer you owe me, Mac! 7/10

10. Ella Fitzgerald, "The Muffin Man" -- Why yes, I do have a child. But this is a pretty nice version all the same. 6/10

That adds up to an impressive 7.6 average, which is easily the highest rating I've had in years.

Let's see what you can do. Drop your own FRTs, with or without the patented Coolness Self Audit, into the comments. If you're too lazy, just unleash your thoughts about mine. And if you're too lazy to do even that, the nurse will be in to roll you over and prevent bedsores any minute now.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I Heart the '80s

Keeping with the '80s drug theme today. Thanks to Warming Glow for finding this.

The Dark Crack Rock

I saw The Dark Crystal as a kid, but it's amazing how different it seems all these years later.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Friday, June 12, 2009

We Hold These Truths To Be Self Evident (After My Wife Yells at Me)

Time spent with my 6-month-old son while my daughter is in daycare is "quality time," not a "sausage fest."

Friday Random Ten

Nearly forgot to throw this out there. Well, I said this would be a semi-regular revival. I can't promise to get these up every week. I can't promise to try, either. But I'll promise to try to try.

In the spirit of half-assing it, I thought I'd go with a little Vanilla Ice for the album cover this week. I have no memory of this, but apparently he was in a movie, a shameless reworking of Rebel Without a Cause that seems to have costarred Paula Poundstone (or a reasonable facsimile) and biker pants made from the backdrop to the "Parents Just Don't Understand" video. And a metric ton of hair spray. Sweeeeeet.

Alright, here we go:

1. Eric B. and Rakim, "Microphone Fiend" -- Holy shit, this is a nice start. The best hiphop duo of all-time, and regardless of what the snobs at the Federal Election Commission say, Eric B. is and always will be my perennial choice for president. 8/10

2. DJ Danger Mouse, "Encore" -- From the bootleg Grey Album, Danger Mouse's mashup of Jay-Z's Black Album and the Beatles' White Album, this one takes the vocals from "Encore" and uses sampled bits from "Savoy Truffle" and "Glass Onion." Not the best on the album. 5/10

3. Moby, "God Moving Over the Face of the Waters (String Quartet Tribute)" -- An impressive remix (re-recording?) of a song from the Play album, using real string instrumentation in what had previously been a little bit of hypertechnical electronica. Very nice. 8/10

4. Beck, "Go It Alone" -- I keep waiting for the anvil to drop, but this is the fourth straight solid pick. Very catchy, nice little beat, and the minty fresh attitude that only Scientology can provide. 9/10

5. Nick Drake, "Hazy Jane I" -- I know I'm supposed to love Nick Drake, and I keep giving him a chance, but it's just a little too somnambulent for me. I like "Pink Moon" a lot, but the hushed vocals start to put me to sleep if I listen to more than that. 6/10

6. Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, "Tears" -- Another mellow one here, which is a shame because the faster tunes from this duo really show off their Depression-era shredding skills. What's Belgian for "Meh"? 5/10

7. The Rapture, "The Devil" -- And here's the stinker. I like a few songs by these guys. Maybe just one. Actually, as this plays, I'm getting the urge to find someone with skinny jeans and a porkpie hat and kick him square in the nuts. 3/10

8. Sunset Rubdown, "The Empty Threats of Little Lord" -- One of the many side projects from the boys in Wolf Parade. Some of their stuff is solid, but this has a lot of art-rock wankery to it. Eh. 3/10

9. Minnie Riperton, "Les Fleur" -- Well, here's a nice recovery. A great bit of disco-era soul, recently sampled by Jurassic 5 for "Thin Line," that song they did with Nelly Furtado. (Yes, you read that right.) High-pitched backing vocals, melodramatic lyrics, rich instrumentation ... this is wrong in every way that made the 1970s right. 9/10

10. The Woggles, "Flash Flood" -- Some '90s surf rock from a collection of '90s surf rock. Pretty indistinguishable from all the others. 4/10

Alright, that's a 6.1 average on the day. Not cool by any stretch of the imagination, but an improvement on last week.

Let's have your own FRTs and your assorted smartassery in the comments.

Whither the Boomerang

When I was a kid, there was nothing cooler than boomerangs. Maybe it was the name, maybe it was the cool way it looked when you threw it, maybe it was because nobody would play with me. Sure, usually they didn't actually come back to you, and if it did come back you probably sustained lifelong finger damage. But dammit, you weren't cool if you didn't have one.

So now I'm looking for a boomerang for the kids (well, really so I can show them how cool I look when I play with a boomerang), and I can't find one anywhere. At Dicks and Modells the teen "workers" looked at me like I asked for a pet rock. I know, I can get them online, but I tells ya, a sports store that doesn't carry boomerangs just seems un-American to me.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"Good News, Everyone!"

This is outstanding:
A spokesperson for 20th Century Fox Television confirms that the cable net has ordered 26 new episodes of Matt Groening and David X. Cohen’s late, great animated series to air beginning in 2010. The studio cites Futurama’s “blockbuster” performance on DVD and in reruns on Comedy Central as the reason for its rebirth. [...]

“When we brought back Family Guy several years ago, everyone said that it was a once in a lifetime thing — that canceled series stay canceled and cannot be revived,” 20th Century Fox TV Chairmen Gary Newman and Dana Walden said in a joint statement. “But Futurama was another series that fans simply demanded we bring back, and we couldn’t have been happier when Matt and David agreed that there were many more stories yet to tell.”
For all of you who never got into the show -- remember when the Simpsons started to really suck, around season eight? It's because the writers and producers took all their funny shit and moved it over to Futurama.

And now Zoidberg is the popular one!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Caption Contest

It's been far too long since we had a caption contest, and this little beauty is begging for it.

The photo. Not Barbara Bush.

Alright, I need to go bleach my eyes.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Han Solo, p.i.

It's not as good a ripoff as "Wiggum, p.i.", but it'll do.

Where's My Cheap Swine?

So we had the swine flu (biggest disappointment since cat scratch fever), and everyone is afraid of pork. Yeah, it's stupid, but it's America. So how come I can't get a good price on pork? $1.99/lb for pork chops? come on, we can do better.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Friday Random Ten

Alright, I make no promises. But for today, at least, it's time for a Friday Random Ten.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with all internet traditions, I'm setting the iTunes to random, writing down the first ten songs that come up -- with no backsies! -- and then rating them on a 1-to-10 scale that's about as arbitrary as every other single 1-to-10 scale. (I'm looking at you, Olympic ice dancing judges!)

And. Here. We. Go!

1. A Tribe Called Quest, "Bonita Applebaum [Sir Piers & Si Ashton's Curious House Mix]" -- I think I just used up all my post space with that title. This is from a random CD I grabbed ages ago called New School vs. Old School, Vol. 2, and it's pretty much what the title suggests, a trancy little house remix of some old Tribe. I can't remember the last time I even heard this, but it's not too shabby. Is that Ron Burgundy on the jazz flute? Why yes. Yes it is. 7/10

2. Propellerheads, "Take California" -- If it's a song they once used in ads to hawk the iPod, that's a pretty good sign of the rump-shaking capabilities. (But holy shit, that original iPod looks like a goddamn Betamax. Those things weighed eight pounds, if I remember correctly.) Anyway, solid tune. 9/10

3. Sly and the Family Stone, "Soul Clappin'" -- One of my favorite albums by these folks is the earlier, often overlooked Dance to the Music. This is off that one, but the song itself is not exactly one of my favorites. Still, it's Sly Stone. Who the hell are you? 6/10

4. Gipsyland, "Salaam" -- Apparently, I once owned Buddha Bar V and yes, this sounds like a CD hawked by a hip Parisian bar. Sort of a Middle Eastern version of the Gipsy Kings. Eh. 5/10

5. Beck, "Jack-Ass" -- Ah, this is a nice one. It features a nicely looped sample from Them's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," but puts a nice spin on it while preserving the groove of the original. Even though I always think it's the original when this one comes up at first, this is solid work of classic, pre-Scientology Beck. 8/10

6. The Afghan Whigs, "True Love Travels on a Gravel Road" -- This comes off the Uptown Avondale EP, which is a set of five cover songs. This one never really did much for me, as it's sleepy enough to induce a coma if you're not careful. Elvis and Nick Lowe gave better versions of "True Love," in my opinion, and on this EP, the song is strongly overshadowed by the terrific covers the Whigs do of Freda Payne's "Band of Gold" and the Supremes' "Come See About Me." 3/10

7. Jimmy Castor Bunch, "Hey Leroy, Your Mama's Callin' You" -- I'm not sure why Jimmy Castor felt the need to badger Leroy so much in their songs, but I have a sneaking feeling it all ended badly. 6/10

8. Paul Simon, "Born at the Right Time" -- This album, Rhythm of the Saints, was largely forgotten in the wake of the masterpiece of Graceland, but it's pretty damn good all on its own. This is a sweet one, and after "The Obvious Child," the best of the bunch. 7/10

9. Joe Dassin, "Les Champs-Élysées" -- Why, yes, I did purchase the soundtrack for The Darjeeling Limited. Thanks, iTunes, for making the Kinks' "Strangers" unavailable for purchase in any other form. Without that rule, I wouldn't own this apparent tribute to Maurice Chevalier. 2/10

10. Coldplay, "I'll See You Soon" -- Ah, fuck me. This is from a CD some friends made for their wedding. I can't even bring myself to listen to it, so I'm going to take a zero for the team. 0/10

Well, that didn't end well. With those last two stinkers factored in, I'm averaging a stellar 5.3 on the day. Hmm. Maybe this feature should've remained in mothballs.

Alright, feel free to pick apart my songs and ratings in the comments, but better yet, throw out your own random ten.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

I Heart Heart

The Decemberists may be indie rock darlings, but they always seem to bust out a terrific cover song in concert. I saw them several years back, and they joined Death Cab for Cutie on stage for an encore performance of "Hungry Like the Wolf." Fuck and yes.

Anyway, here they are rocking out Heart's "Crazy for You." Enjoy.