Saturday, February 26, 2011

Do you have the next million dollar idea?

"Yeah, it's a phone. A phone that punches you in the face."
"No, in the face. It punches you in the face."
"Because it punches you in the face."
"No, not like a TV. Who sits that close to the TV? A TV couldn't punch you in the face."
"Yeah, you could move it away from your face, sure. But then you couldn't hear the call."

ACLU stands up for Christian students

For the next time some conservative you know pitches a bitch about the ACLU being anti-Christian or never defending Christian expression: ACLU supports Ten Commandments on student lockers.

Sure, the ACLU is organized state by state, so they don't necessarily all agree, but I like to keep things like this in my back pocket so that when someone gets off on, say, the ACLU fighting against crosses on public land, I can remind them that the ACLU backs principles pretty much across the board, regardless of consequence.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

It was the '80s. EVERYONE made a reggae track.

Including, apparently, KMFDM.

$20, same as in town

This has to be an allegory for something, but I'm not sure what. German unification? The origin myths of the Prussian people? A parody of Laibach?

The moon, Alice

Selene, a sci-fi hip-hop e-p based on the movie, "The Moon," is brief, fun and strings-heavy. Is it ironic to sound like Atmosphere on an album about the moon?

Boys' club blues

This Recording has a pretty snazzy article on being a woman in a Boys' Club; no word on how to be a woman in a Beuys club, which presumably involves explaining fat and felt to a fictionalized biography.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Galaxy Tab: first 30 days

Galaxy Tab: first 30 days

My girlfriend has a blog; her format makes me think about blogs as social note-taking utilities. I think that's reasonable.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Twosquare league results

Carson and Josh played seven league games and two exhibition games, an epic afternoon for twosquare aficionados.

Josh took the best-of-seven, with four games to three: C 24, J 22; C 21, J 18; J 21, C 16; J 21, C 18; J 21, C 19; C 21, J 16; J 23, C 21.

This league game featured both the first off-the-wall shot played fair, but also the first off-the-wall shot to score a point. Carson later said, "I feel like I'm in the Negro Leagues."

The exhibition matches were played with a small green dollar-store ball, with Carson taking the first game, Josh the second: C 21, J 14; J 24, C 22.

Josh's landlord Henry watched several of the games, and expressed interest in betting on them.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

What I am reading now

Music for Chameleons, Truman Capote.

I loved In Cold Blood, once I got over the poetic license it contains. It's solidly written, sympathetic and chilling, and gives a prosaic, almost banal view to a sensational crime. Music for Chameleons is shorter pieces, almost always non-fiction, that read more like anecdotes than stories. But Capote was a master of anecdotes, and since I don't like his speaking voice very much, this is a fair place to find them. Reminds me of Patricia Highsmith.

The Gangs of Chicago, Herbert Asbury

This book, originally published as Gem of the Prairie, is a notional sequel to Asbury's previous Gangs of New York, now a major motion picture (the cover advises). As such, it's more an informal history of crime and chaos in Chicago, right down to the first permanent resident (bootlegger) and the first prisoner (a white loafer purchased by a black man). It's full of glittering detail, with hilarious asides rendered in the arch manner of early 20th century journalism. It's somehow comforting to know that where the Wrigley and Tribune buildings now stand was The Sands, America's biggest ever, and one of the worst, red light district.

From Afar to Zulu: A Dictionary of African Cultures, Jim Haskins and Joann Biondi

Like most Americans, I'm woefully ignorant about the cultures of Africa, and Africa's so damn huge that it's easy to get lost. So I'm reading a book aimed at smart middle schoolers or dull high schoolers, which gives basic descriptions (along with maps and pictures) of about 30 different ethnic groups within Africa. It's fun reading, light and it's helpfully contemporary — a lot of African history gets bogged down in the fact that there's 10,000 years of it, but seeing people as they live now is nice.

Theme song for the single entendre

Craig Robinson could play him in the movie.

It's just so!

In responding to Are Social Sciences Biased Against Conservatives,, MetaFilter commenter Kyradeamon gives this great quote:

Conservatives themselves offer the reasons why there are so few conservatives in the sciences. They will tell you (often, and at length) that they tend to be far more "family oriented" than liberals. Obviously, the numerical difference can therefore be explained by conservatives dropping out of their universities and careers to raise their children. It would be a mistake to see this as a problem -- conservatives are simply naturally more *interested* in children than they are in careers.

It's probably particularly evident in the sciences, because, meaning no disrepect to them, conservatives are simply not as good at math. The Laffer curve? Trickle-down economics? These are not theories that are developed by people with lots of math skills. This isn't to say that conservatives aren't perfectly good at other things, however; someone has to raise all those families, right?

Now, of course it's not known exactly why conservatives have neither the inclination nor the ability to do science. But some recent studies seem to indicate that there are differences in brain structure between conservatives and members of other political parties. Here's a quote from a 2007 study: "The brain neurons of liberals and conservatives fire differently when confronted with tough ... Conservatives tend to crave order and structure in their lives ... Liberals, by contrast, show a higher tolerance for ambiguity and complexity".

So, clearly, brain structures of those dear dear conservatives are simply not suited for scientific tasks, which are often ambiguous and complex.

The mistake here is presenting this as a problem that needs to be solved. We are blessed with a variety of different political groups that are ideally suited to different tasks --liberals serving as scientists, and conservatives cooking food for them and their children. Vive la difference, I say! It's just the natural order of things, and all trying to mess with it is going to do is make a lot of those poor, order-craving conservatives very upset if they try to perform a task they're simply not naturally suited for.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

ركلة ذلك! (Kick it!)

Enough Gaddafi's Khalas Mixtape Vol. 1 is explicitly political, anti-Mubarak rap. Shame I don't speak Arabic, right? But still pretty tight.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

(Not) Everybody's Gonna Make It This Time: A Zombie Playlist

IMG from Nicksherman

Everyone needs something to listen to when you're huddled up in your boarded-over tenement hoping to wait out the end of the world. Or tearing into the living dead with chainsaws. Whatever.

This is mine.

New Year—The Breeders
I Wanna Destroy You—The Soft Boys
Don't Send Me No Flowers—The Breakers
Death Walks Behind You—Atomic Rooster
Cities On Flame With Rock And Roll—Blue Öyster Cult
When The Kingdom Comes—Primal Scream
Girl (You Chew My Mind Up)—The Presets
Heads Will Roll—Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Army Of Me—Björk
Search And Destroy—Iggy & The Stooges
[03] Jet Boy Jet Girl—Elton Motello
Safety in Numbers—The Adverts
Everybody Is Going To Make It This Time—Funkadelic
Germ Free Adolescents—X-Ray Spex
God Walks Among Us Now - Jesus Song No. 6—The Flaming Lips
The Silencers—Patti Seymour
The World's a Mess; It's In My Kiss—X
Death Is Not The End—Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Never Going Home—The Stabs
Save Yourself—Make-Up
Neat Neat Neat—The Damned
I'll Sleep When I'm Dead—Warren Zevon
This Town—The Go-Go's
Baptised In Fire And Ice—Bathory
Chase The Devil—Lee "Scratch" Perry
Seconds—Human League
death to everyone—bonnie 'prince' billy
Fuck Off And Die—FUA
James Brown Is Still Alive—Holy Noise
Seek And Destroy—Metallica
slippin' into darkness—war

It's best to be prepared.

Advanced walking

ABLE = Always Be Looking Everywhere
LAA = Locate Assess Avoid
WAIT = Walking Always Isn't Texting

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Oh, EDD and the language of permissive bureaucracy

So, I mailed my unemployment claim late and got a weird threatening letter. I had to have a telephone interview today between noon and five (which happened just now, about twenty to five) in order to clear it up.

I know that I mailed it late, in part because I thought that I was going to get a job. After that, it just got lost in the shuffle. But as to the exact date? I have no idea, honestly. Couple weeks ago. Who knows?

The woman on the phone for EDD started out by giving me parameters, saying that if it was mailed before the 22nd, everything was fine. If not, she was going to have to ask me some questions that may result in my losing my unemployment benefits.

I don't like to commit myself to things like this, where there's a verifiable record and legal penalties for lying — blame it on growing up in a co-op. So, I tell her that I just don't remember.

But she has to get a date from me, that's her job.

So she does what good bureaucrats do: She used her tone to make sure that I knew that she didn't really care what the truth was, but that she had to follow through with her duties. She emphasized a couple of times that if I told her that I mailed it before the 22nd, nothing would happen and I'd get paid like normal. Es ging einen licht auf, I told her that in looking at the camera, I was pretty certain that it'd been it'd been mailed before the 22nd (and who knows, maybe it had. It certainly seems likely, given what I know). But she needed me to tell her the date.

"Uh… How about the 19th?"
"Exactly when I thought it was mailed, sir."

The system works!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Twosquare league results

Today Josh and Carson played six games, with Josh taking four to Carson's two. J 21, C 13; J 21, C 18; J 21, C 16. C 22, J 20; J 21, C 19; C 21, J 17.

Ball is notably oblong, as befits the idiosyncratic sport.