July 2005 Archives

Design Me, Part II


Am playing with several different colors over the next few days. See any you particularly like, lemme know.

Machine-Generated Content

First 10 songs off my iPod set to shuffle:

  1. Sonata No. 13 In E-Flat Major - Allegro Molto E Vivace, Walter Gieseking, Beethoven: Piano Sonatas
  2. Groovin’, Booker T. & The MGs, The Very Best of Booker T. & The MGs
  3. You Gave Me Love, Davell Crawford, Let Them Talk
  4. Mere Kabu-Mishra Vardhini, DJ Cheb I Sabbah, Shri Durga
  5. The Waitress, Tori Amos, Under The Pink
  6. Don’t Give Up, Peter Gabriel (with Sinead O’Connor), So Alive (the song also lists Sting as a contributor, but I think that’s a mistake)
  7. Entangled, Genesis, A Trick of the Tail
  8. Love For Sale, Talking Heads, Sand In The Vaseline
  9. Hypnotica, Afro Celt Sound System, Volume 2: Release
  10. Josie, Emer Kenney, Emer Kenney

At least it didn’t play “Tiny Bubbles”…

Wanna Make A Difference?

Wanna make a real difference in the war on terror? Go to SharmRelief.com and donate.

And Continuing

“Revolver” is a track off of Hooverphonic’s first album, back when they were a quartet and had a different singer. I’m not sure where the sample comes from, but works well in the context of the driving, propulsive song.

Like Saint Etienne, Hooverphonic is a mostly European phenomenon; their last two recordings were not released in the US, which is rather disappointing, since they’re actually very interesting (seriously—their last album was like a Best Of, except that they sat down and re-recorded their mostly electronic studio creations live with a string quartet). It also seems likely that their upcoming album will be, again, a Europe-only release, which means that I’ll have to find, uh, ‘alternative methods of distribution’.

Did I ever mention that American record companies really suck?

Developing Theme

Shoot Out The Lights is a Saint Etienne track off of a collection of b-sides and rarities; it’s kinda odd that it’s on there because it’s got that kind of classic breezy Saint Etienne sound that would make it a perfect single.

And speaking of the Saint, they have a new album out but it’s apparently entirely unavailable in the US…

What Exactly Is a "Turd Blossom", Anyway?


Design Me, Baby


What color should the gray bar that separates the sidebar from the main content be?

(“What gray bar? I only see two thin black lines, as always!” you say in puzzlement. I say: “hit the reload button a few times. Then you too will join the sisterhood of the gray dividing bar. Or brotherhood, if you prefer that.”)

Assuming that one of you slackers can come up with a suggestion that doesn’t suck I like, the winner gets a free t-shirt.

Maybe This Should Be In "Politics"

I have to say that I really like the poster for V for Vendetta.

Stop Or I'll Shoot

  1. The idea of a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy is kinda ridiculous. If you’re going to shoot someone, you’re gonna be prepared to kill them—after all, that’s why it’s called ‘deadly force’. Also, aiming for the head doesn’t increase the odds that the target is going to go down; it simply increases (dramatically) the odds that you’re going to miss the target entirely and hit something else (in a crowded subway station, most likely someone else).

  2. Um, if the guy was being watched and believed to be a threat, why did they let him get to the tube station in the first place? I’m no counter-terrorism expert, but it seems to me that interdicting suspects before they reach the target zone would be a good idea.

  3. It also seems to me that the smart terrorist would build their bomb with two switches: an arming switch and then a dead-man’s switch. Fortunately for us, these terrorists are pretty stupid: they couldn’t even build a bomb that works (and building bombs is really pretty easy—actually, too easy: just ask the Weather Underground).

Islands In The Stream


In the early 1980s, Philip Glass was mostly known for epic, uncompromising, and challenging works like Music in Twelve Parts and Einstein on the Beach. To gain a broader audience for his work, Glass wrote a suite of six chamber pieces that he titled Glassworks. He succeeded masterfully, perhaps too well; some twenty-five years after it was first released, Glassworks remains by far the composer’s best-selling recording.

And I Haven't Even Registered Yet


Been having anxiety dreams about going to school and completely forgetting to go to one class, consistently. The sad thing is that we don’t register for classes for another, what, week or so…

(at least it’s not the one where I have to take the final while having completely forgotten to attend class all semester…)

Me And Lance, Down By The Schoolyard

You too can ride like Lance! All you need is a spare $10,000.

Kinda makes my $109.95 bought-at-the-Astor-Place-Kmart Huffy seem like quite a bargin.

Let A Thousand Headlines Bloom

Yesterday’s Washington Post had an op-ed by Anne Applebaum about internet filtering in China called “Let a Thousand Filters Bloom”. Oddly enough, Rebecca MacKinnon (my friend and boss) wrote an article titled “China’s Internet: Let A Thousand Filters Bloom” for YaleGlobal Online last month. It was, unsurprisingly, about internet filtering in China, and, unsurprisingly, used many of the same sources that the later Appelbaum article did…

I’m just sayin’, ya know?

Greatest. Flickr. Picture. EVAR.


You could also call it bad ideas in graphic design…

They Must Be Getting Soft


So it’s national news now when the temperature in Phoenix hits 111 F?

Please. When I was growing up in Phoenix, we didn’t think that it was hot until it got up to 110 (i.e. 109 and below was considered merely ‘warm’), and 115-degree days were not uncommon. The hottest I ever remember it getting was 118, though one year when I spent the summer in Tucson, Phoenix hit 122 on the 4th of July (they had to close the airport since, apparently, the FAA doesn’t certify commercial airliners to fly in temperatures above 120…).

The secret to staying comfortable in that kind of weather is simple: dress sensibly (i.e. shorts and t-shirts), stay hydrated, and stay out of the sun.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service

John Barry’s theme for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service + a hard-rocking Drum & Bass combo out of England = nine minutes and twenty seconds of booty shakin’ (not stirred) funky Bond. This one’s got a big fat analog bassline, so make sure that the woofers are in full effect.

(and for those more theoretically inclined, note that the track is structured aa’ba; if they’d thrown a key change in there, it’d be getting awfully close to classical sonata form…)

She Said, She Said (or, Nits to Pick)


Regarding this COMPLETELY FUCKING ridiculous story in the Times about a woman who fired her nanny because the nanny’s blog made her uncomfortable and the nanny’s lengthy and impassioned (if somewhat defensive) response, I’m entirely in the nanny’s corner, save for one thing:

The woman is going for a Ph.D. in English Literature and she always uses “its” when she should use “it’s”. That drives me up the fucking wall.

(excellent analysis of the whole shitstorm furball at andrewraff.com, bitch, ph.d., pandagon, and majikthise)

(adding another parenthetical comment: the whole saga sounded very vaguely familiar, in structure if not in detail; apparently my memory is not what it once was, since the august webzine the black table published a rebuttal to a Times “Modern Love” piece, as it happens, just last freakin’ week, proving that not only is there nothing truly new under the sun, but what’s left of my memory is eroding rapidly, developing giant gaping holes like a slice of overripened emmenthaler; I blame the fact that figuring out my fall class schedule required a five-sheet spreadsheet that was put together under the cover of darkness, both metaphorical and literal, for my lack of recall; my brain, faced with the horror of a proposed class schedule of 16.5 hours that includes one block of five hours straight with no single break longer than nine minutes, spasmed with such violence that one could be forgiven for thinking that mighty cthulhu himself (itself? not sure if fictional brain-eating elder gods have gender) had risen from the depths, hungry and looking for sustanance…)

A Night At The Movies

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One of the interesting things about War of the Worlds (aside from the fact that John Williams wrote a score that didn’t rip off any number of late Romantic composers, starting with Strauss and Rachmaninov) is that there are a large number of scenes with very little to no dialogue. For some directors, this would have been a problem; but for Spielberg, these are opportunties to show off his mastery of visual storytelling.

Oh, and they showed the trailers for King Kong and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe—they look much, much better on the big screen than they do on TV.

And one more thing—the official title of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe is the rather unwieldly The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, which suggests that they’re planning on making a franchise out of it. However, if memory serves, it’s going to be somewhat difficult to make movies out of the other books, because

  1. The other books in the Narnia series weren’t as good
  2. They generally don’t feature the same characters
  3. Some of them are essentially unfilmable, anyway

Another question is how are they going to handle the Catholic propaganda symbolism in the books…

From the landmark downtempo Kruder and Dorfmeister album The K&D Sessions comes a song that uses Naked Lunch as a jumping-off point for innumberable pop culture references ranging from Jimmy Page to Dr. J. (with stops at Twin Peaks, “To Sir, With Love”, and many more along the way).



It seems to me that all of a sudden there are a whole bunch of bloggers getting hitched soon. There are even guy bloggers getting in on the act. And some bloggers are even getting hitched to other bloggers.

This doesn’t count those who simplified the whole process by eloping.

The odd thing is that this list is composed entirely of blogs and bloggers who have found their way into one of my regular reading lists…

This entry has been brought to you by the color white and the word taffeta

Lunch Meat Update


For everyone who was wondering how MT-Blacklist works, well, let’s put it this way: in the eight days since I installed it, it’s blocked 1,413 comment spams and moderated a further 85.

So yeah, it seems to be doing the trick.

And in other news, Happy Bastille Day! Anyone have any froggy plans?

Dead Puppies

There really wasn’t much point in my hauling my big heavy laptop to work today, what with the AC adaptor sitting on my desk at home, was there…

Faster Pussycat!

3, 2, 1, Launch

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Ok, so I actually DIDN’T do the redesign proper, but I’m very pleased and proud to announce that Global Voices Online (url: http://globalvoicesonline.org/) has launched its new design. It’s much easier to read and, we believe, presents the information we’re trying to get across in a much more effective and well-organized way. So go check it out!


Franz Kafka: Blogger? Actually, it’s a project where Kafka’s diary/journal entries put on-line, one day at a time. Going through the entries… well, that Franz was one seriously messed-up dude, man. Also available in the original Deutsch. Via brokentype.

Thomas Jefferson: LiveJournaler? (seriously, what is the right word for someone who livejournals? LiveJournalist?) Using Jefferson’s letters and life experience, one enterprising young man with too much time on his hands has been wondering what Jefferson would have said about life in today’s world. The interpretations run slightly libertarian, but that’s hardly a sin…

I Liked the Mouseguard

This is a fun little concept site: www.dontclick.it.

Grumble Grumble

The public library here seems to have locked down all the ports on their wireless network except port 80… which means that I can’t check my email. Grumble Grumble.

Not Ignoring the Elephant in the Room


I haven’t been ignoring the horrific bombings in London today—in fact, GV has a short post about it today; there’s going to be a longer post about global reaction to the bombing tomrrow up there.

As horrific as the bombings were, I think that we were very lucky that the body count wasn’t much higher. As Eurotrash points out, the English do have a certain familarity with things blowing up in London. Still, just because they’re used to it doesn’t make it right.

To Boldly Go Where Kennewick Man Has Gone Before

You know, I’m not entirely sure just who this bust of Kennewick Man reminds me of.

But seriously, the resembalance is uncanny. Maybe the scupltor had a sublminal crush on Captain Picard?

Of course, what would be really weird is if the next set of bones found in Oregon ended up looking a lot like Wil Wheaton.

Paging Dalton Trumbo


Just installed MT-Blacklist. I don’t mind so much getting 40 or 50 spam comments or trackbacks a day—that’s easy to delete. What’s really annoying is having them trickle in over the course of a day. Let’s see how well this works…

Coal Porter

One of the many charms of this elegant version of “Anything Goes” is that the singer, Susannah McCorkle, did a little research and dug up a number of extra, long-forgotten verses to this song. The verses are obviously very particular jokes pointed at particular people in pop culture. However, with the exception of Franklin and Mrs. R., those mentioned in the extra lyrics were long ago consigned to whereever pop artifacts go when they’re forgotten. I, for one, look forward to the day that Jessica Simpson is as relevant as a jitney.

Another one of the delightful versions of this version is that, instead of bold and brassy 2/4 time, it’s performed in an easy-going, swinging 3/4. The change in time signature make it a much more sophisticated and subtle song—perhaps not entirely the author’s intent, but I don’t think he would have objected overly much.

After buying this album at Tower, I made it a personal goal to see Ms. McCorkle—and her stylish, direct voice—at her annual engagements at the Oak Room in the Algonquin Hotel. I never fulfilled that goal; despondant over professional setbacks, she killed herself in early 2001 at the age of 55.

Breaking On Through


If you can read this (and, more importantly, if you can leave a comment), then the migration/transition/upgrade was a success.

If you can’t, then, well, you’re not reading this, so I guess the matter is moot.


I suppose it’s pretty topical to point to the National Archives’ Declaration of Independence site, since they do have the only ‘official’ copy of the thing; USHistory.org has more detail on the signers of the document; and I suppose these days, the fashionable thing to do is to also provide the Wikipedia link, as well.

Speaking of the Wikipedia, I don’t think that it’s boasting to say that I made the first edit to their Supreme Court page after Justice O’Connor announced she was stepping down.

And one more note on politics: whilst dicussing my recent afternoon out shooting (I know, low and to the right), a friend mentioned that he might have to revise his views on the Second Amdendment, given the increasing tide of evangelicals…

Moving Along

pf.org will be migrating servers sometime over the holiday weekend, just in time for it’s fourth birthday. However, this means that it may go up and it may go down and it may, for a short time, just vanish off the face of the earth… like an alien abductee.

Live Ate

You know, with all the hoopla about Live 8 going around, I gotta say that I haven’t seen a whole lotta people asking actual Africans what they think of the whole thing.