September 2005 Archives

Late Notice

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Sorry about the late notice, but apparently there’s a blogger party tomorrow (i.e. Friday) at K Lounge, 30 W. 52nd St, starting from 8 p.m. onwards. I’ll probably be making an appearance, though given that I’m somehow triplebooked, it’ll be towards the later end of the evening…

I Love The Smell of New Money In The Morning

Hey, it looks like we’ll be getting a new $10 bill in 2006. I like the front, I gotta admit—it harkens back to currency of the 19th century, I think. The back, on the other hand, is a total disaster. Well, can’t win them all…

A Little Heavy Music

I’m gonna steal from myself a bit in introducing this next clip: it’s the first movement of Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 in c minor in a stunningly remastered performance by von Karajan and the Berliner Philharmonic:

This 1963 recording of this monumental work has recently been remastered by DG and is now available as part of the DG Originals series. I have to say that they did it right; quite frankly, the sonic quality of this recording is spectacular. I have also heard (and will later review in this space) an other DG Original CD (Gundula Janowitz singing Mozart) and the quality of that disc is also fabulous. If these two CDs are indicative of the sonic quality of the rest of the series, I cannot and will not hesitate to recommend them. The best part is that they’re all mid-price.

It would be a shame if the performances weren’t worth the effort that DG has put into the remastering process; fortunately for us, we have Karajan leading the Berliner Philarmoniker through an astounding performance. From the powerfully ominous opening, with its pounding timpani and sheets of strings, through the sublime allegretto and through to the famous Beethoven-inspired theme of the finale, the orchestra plays as one instrument. In other words: buy this.

I suspect that Phil Spector got his ideas about a ‘wall of sound’ from listening to this symphony.

Brahms was Beethoven’s self-appointed musical heir; he fought against what he viewed as the romantic excesses of Wagner and Liszt. Certainly, in form, this symphony is very traditional, with four movements, all in the right places; from the point of structure, the only thing a traditionalist might find fault with are the violin solo in the Andante and the sheer length of the piece (this performance, which cuts the da capo exposition in the first movement, runs a solid 46 minutes). Brahms even tips his hat to the old masters by using a theme that is directly descended from the finale of Beethoven’s 9th.

However, in terms of tonality and harmonic structure, Brahms sounds more like Wagner, Liszt and Mahler than he does Beethoven. His sonic palette is clearly and unambiguously mid- to late-nineteenth century romantic; in fact, Strauss would later use some of the same aural vocabulary in tone poems such as Don Quixote.



comments.gifWell, if you remember the comments contest, it’s still going, more than a month later, simply because I never figured that it’d take this freakin’ long (I’m sure that someone was just about to make a comment about a lack of posts that are worth commenting on, so I’m saving you the trouble).

Anyway, as you can now see, we’re now 42 comments away from the magic number. The general rules are no ballot-box stuffing (i.e. no more than three comments in a row) and no spam; other than that, it’s pretty much a free-for-all…

My cell phone is dying. The circuit that controls the vibration motor has permanently closed; this effectively means that whenever the battery is attached—whether or not the phone is actually on—it buzzes and vibrates like… well, like a cell phone on perma-vibrate.

It was pointed out at a party last Saturday night that this effectively coverts my phone into a dual-use device; unfortunately, I’m not really equipped to take advantage of it…

First Wave

The first wave of CDs have been sent out, in case you were wondering where it was…



So I’m somehow on the list to go see a press screening of Serenity tomorrow night (I was probably going to go see the movie anyway, based on buzz I’ve heard, so why not save $10.50?). And I’m telling people that I’m on the list, and they’re like, “well, what’s the movie about?” And I’m like, “well, as far as I can tell, it’s a space opera about a renegade space ship captain who’s smuggling a wanted passenger through space while on the run from the galactic empire.”

SER.Intl.30Sheet.jpgAnd then I paused and realized that plot summary sounded awfully familiar (no link—you kids should be able to figure it out). The buzz around the film has been very high, and Whedon has an established track record for reinvigorating seasoned tropes—most notably the vampire genre—so I’m definitely looking forward to it. Plus it’s apparently got a babe who likes to play with large bladed weapons, and that’s always a plus. Admittedly, I’ve never seen Firefly, the show it’s based on, but then again, neither did anyone else, so in that sense, I’m a fair test of the impartial viewer. Anyway, the PR firm that’s setting up this screening was kind enough to provide a more official synopsis (they were also kind enough to provide access to the Universal Art Department FTP server, where I pulled the above image with the abovementioned babe from):

Joss Whedon, the Oscar® - and Emmy - nominated writer/director responsible for the worldwide television phenomena of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE, ANGEL and FIREFLY, now applies his trademark compassion and wit to a small band of galactic outcasts 500 years in the future in his feature film directorial debut, Serenity. The film centers around Captain Malcolm Reynolds, a hardened veteran (on the losing side) of a galactic civil war, who now ekes out a living pulling off small crimes and transport-for-hire aboard his ship, Serenity. He leads a small, eclectic crew who are the closest thing he has left to family –squabbling, insubordinate and undyingly loyal.

Hm. I wonder why “Emmy” isn’t a registered trademark.

Subways In Mongolia--That'd be a Good Name For A Band!

Via Global Voices comes a website dedicated to the glories of the Ulaanbaatar subway system.

The only problem is that there is no subway in Ulaanbaatar.



Doc Searls has a neat set of pictures up of a Minotaur rocket launch from Vandenberg AFB…

If memory serves, isn’t one of the Apollo-era rockets due to be retired soon? Either the Titan or the Atlas, I don’t remember which…

Sucker For These Sorts of Things

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  1. Go into your archive.
  2. Find your 23rd post (or closest to).
  3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).
  4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.

“I think that it’s really odd that they government would send me money when last week they sent me an envelope with instructions on how to pay estimated taxes for the rest of the year.”

(via z.)

So, buried in this Times review of what promises to be an utterly unwatchable television series is buried this little gem:

Though the pilot was directed by the accomplished film director Taylor Hackford (“An Officer and a Gentleman,” “Ray”), “E-Ring” incorporates the rah-rah quality of last year’s movie “Team America,” but here it tries to be serious, not satyrical.

Emphasis added.

Here's An Idea...

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Why doesn’t Bush nominate Craig Newmark for head of FEMA?

So, I Finally Got Around To Mastering It


It only took me all summer to get around to making a clean version of this… so who wants a copy of the latest mix CD?

Look Who's Back In The Neighborhood

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HereIType has returned from the void and has started blogging again.



Yes, today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Which reminds me: Pirate keyboards are very simple; they only have the “RRRRRR” key….

Politics In Germany, or Elections for Kids

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My brother helpfully translates a kid’s guide to tomorrow’s German general elections.

My favorite part:

The PDS (Partei des Demokratischen Sozialismus, Party of Democratic Socialism) was the party that was always voted for in GDR, East Germany.

That’s a really nice way of saying that they’re a bunch of godless pinko commies…

Have A T-Shirt

I know, I waited a whole day to come up with this. What can I say? It’s harder than it looks.


Buy a shirt, support charity. What proceeds are made will be donated to Hurricane Katrina relief, either the Red Cross or Habitat for Humanity.

President Bush, photographed earlier today at the United Nation, writes a note to the Secretary of State, asking if he can go to the bathroom:


The original Reuters photographs are here and here. (via bb)

Mean and Cruel, Treat Me You Will, Hmmmm?

Yes, it’s the Velvet Yoda Elvis!. I don’t want to know how they came up with the idea…

Save Teh Rainforests

Once nice thing about the end of primary season is that I won’t have to deal with the flood of campaign fliers cluttering up my mailbox. Today’s count was nine different fliers.

Vote Or Die


Remember, today is Primary Day (if you live in New York and are a registered Democrat).

My votes endorsements:

  • Mayor: Anthony Wiener. Not that this really matters, since Bloomberg’s gonna wipe the floor with whomever the Dems field for the November race.
  • Public Advocate: Andrew Rasiej. He’s the choice of the cyber-saavy. The current incumbent has been pretty much invisible since getting elected four years ago.
  • Manhattan Borough President: Brian Ellner. Admittedly, Scott Stringer will probably win in a landslide, but ya gotta like a gay politician who uses that as a campaigning point.
  • District Attorney: Leslie Crocker Snyder. Interestingly enough, the NYC Campaign Finance Board Voter’s Guide has no information on this race.

Updating... Updating...

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A few notes:

  1. I’m not sure where I’ll be partaking for the hurricane fundraiser tomorrow (Monday). The Pegu Club is still a possibility, but the Flatiron Lounge has the distinct advantage of being relatively close to school and somewhat closer to home. ;-) Here’s a list of some other fundraisers.
  2. A note to the young woman who was walking down First Ave in Midtown yesterday: yes, that was a spectacular… uh, ‘outfit’. However, since I was on a bicycle sharing the road with large MTA buses, the distraction it caused was a distinct hazard to my health.
  3. The one thing about the NFL season is that no-one knows anything until at least Week 3. Though one thing you can count on is that quarterbacks who throw for 300 yards in a game usually lose.
  4. The wings from Dallas BBQ are pretty darn good.
  5. I don’t know why I’m so fascinated by the redesign of The Guardian, a newspaper that I’ve never actually read a paper copy of. But I am. One curious tidbit from their redesign site: They’re switching to a Berliner format, which is kinda midway between a broadsheet and a tabloid. But the curious thing is that even though the newspapers in Berlin employ a multitude of sizes, none of the Berlin newspapers actually use the Berliner format.

That’s all for now. Toodles.

You Know, That Would Be A Useful Feature

The Spoils of Disaster


Rebecca MacKinnon reposts a great Bloomberg story about how FEMA has been turned into a patronage mill.

If you’re wondering how the Federal Government could so completely fail at the basic task of protecting its citizens, this is a must read.

Sometimes the Press Actually Gets It Right

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The funny thing is that Sky News is owned by Rupert Murdoch…

Drink For Relief

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The Museum of the American Cocktail has established a relief fund to help with the Katrina recovery effort; to further the fund, they’re launching the Save New Orleans Cocktail Hour!, which will be held on Monday, September 12, from 5-7 p.m. To help you find a location near you, here’s a list of participating establishments. I’ll be partaking for the cause, most likely at the Pegu Club the Flatiron Lounge (there’s still a small chance that I’ll be at the Pegu Club, but it’s much more likely that you’ll catch me at the Flatiron).

A Bone To Pick

Will Work for Favorable Dicta has a few complaints to lodge about Advantage Rent-A-Car. Ok, perhaps more than a few.

Wherein "Law School Refugee" Takes On A Whole New Meeting

Both the Tulane and Loyola law schools in New Orleans are shut down for the fall semester (if not longer). In response, almost every law school in the nation has opened their doors to displaced students.

Blogs have been set up as information clearinghouses for both Tulane Law and Loyola Law students; Tulane students have also set up a Google Group for the diaspora.

Legal Blog Watch reports that all the professors at Tulane and Loyola are accounted for, and Susan Crawford (one supposes that I should refer to her as Professor Crawford, as I’m in her class this semester) muses that this could provide a real-world test for the virtual law school.

If any displaced law school students want to know more about going to school in New York or my school in particular, please drop me a line.


Julie Powell’s back blogging.


It’s been a while since I did a roundup on this website.