Thursday, October 30, 2003

One thing I don't have an immediate desire to do is write another novel. If, however, I never write another novel nor release another album, my life will have been lived incompletely. When I look back, though, on the novel I wrote and the album I released it's hard not to think about how foolish it was to even attempt either (though I had some positive feedback once on the novel, at least). I don't know where that voice comes from, or if it's the one I should be listening to right now or not. It would be easy for me to disappear into corporate America, get rich, retire when I'm 65 and die shortly after that (or die of a heart attack at age 42, depending on how hard I work and how seriously I take it).

Being creative and then trying to justify that energy and time to your loved ones -- and most of all yourself -- is far more difficult and most days I wonder if I wouldn't be better off chucking it all and buying an XBox. I'd like to look for the higher purpose in my art (or whatever) and I'd like to be inspired to create something meaningful. I have the tools, I have some modicum of ability... I just want to be used. Utilized. Activated.

All passive verbs. I guess what I need to become is active. Actively creative. Ugh. That sounds like work.
Strictly Ballroom...

...was on IFC tonight. I think everyone should watch that movie at least once every couple of years to be reminded of things. It's one of the nicest and best-crafted movies ever made. I remember seeing it for the first time in college at the insistence of my friend Nicole and not believing just how good it was. Eight years later (yikes!), it is still one of my favorite movies, and still reaches me wherever I'm at. If I had the opportunity to watch only one more movie in my life (like if there was only two hours of electricity left in the world or something) it would probably be the Japanese film Shall We Dance which is similar, yet completely different, and thoroughly wonderful. If you haven't seen Shall We Dance and are a man, you need to watch it. It's unlike any other film ever made in terms of scope, heart, and story.
Blocked, blocked, blocked. I'm writer's blocked. Hopefully I can write some lyrics by this weekend, so I can record some words to this great instrumental track I did last weekend. Seriously, this song will rock, and it has sounds in it that you have never heard before (one of the advantages of being one of the few people using a certain very cool virtual instrument). Never. Well, pray I get some words written.
Ah, Nota Bene. We hardly knew ye.
Tru Calling

Ugh. Daddy got into the fun-size candy bars a day early (it was an attempt to bribe 'Xander into his Halloween costume, of which he was afraid until he realised that costume = candy) and is feeling it now. Did manage to come out of chocolate stupor long enough to watch Fox's new show "Tru Calling" which keeps us abreast of Eliza (Buffy's "Faith") Dushku's career. Basically, the show revolves around recent college grad "Tru" who works in a morgue and every day has to figure out how to run through the streets of a large city without popping out of her blouse. My thoughts: if Tom Twyker ever sees the show, he will most likely sue (girl reliving the same day over and over, trying to save a life, running through the streets while techno music plays, etc.), and the show takes itself a little too seriously (okay, way too seriously. Everyone has issues... beyond the obvious cleavage containment issues, I mean), and the writing is extremely "on the nose" ("Oh, Tru. You've had an active imagination ever since you saw Mom murdered and couldn't do anything to stop it" -- that's pretty much a direct quote... from the first two minutes of the show) but.. while it's no Mutant Enemy production, it's infinitely better than last year's Fox attempt, "John Doe". And it did have a very pro-life moment at the end of the show.
SCD-T200 SACD Player

Great.... an SACD player with tube amplifiers. It looks really cool. Too bad it costs like $3,000. But I suppose if you're buying it as a piece of art in addition to it's functionality as a SACD player... it's still expensive. Read what 6moons.com had to say about it. There are actually a lot of cool-looking "art-audio" products at the 6moons site. These speakers look kind of cool, in that Easter Island sort of way.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

New TMBG!

I needed some cheering up, and three new .mp3s from TMBG.com did the trick. "Wearing a Raincoat" is a classic TMBG noun song/ennui showpiece ("Turning to drugs to help you sleep/will only lead to sleep/and sleeping is a gateway drug/to being awake, being awake again") -- but always with a weird sort of message of hope, intermingled into it all which is what makes their music so poignant and deeply joyful at the same time. The piece has some cool comb-filtering/ring modulation going on, too. Any way, I likes it. "Renew my Subscription" is a classic John Linnell on the awful existential situation of being dependent upon too many magazines to read ("Renew my subscription/to Miserable Freakshow Quarterly/every back issue I saw spoke to me/acknowledging it's my addition/Renew my subscription") and "Taste the Mix" is classic new Flansburgh: either a promo for a performing arts camp or a satire of a promo for a performing arts camp... ever since "People Are Wrong", I haven't been able to tell with Flansy. It's awesome and sad just how much these guys inspire me.

Also, buy the "Bed, Bed, Bed" book/CD set!!!

And check out John Flansburgh on the PBS News Hour with Jim Lehrer. Hilarious, only because Flans is so totally not a News Hour type guest: "I think it's very strange for a company that, an organization that represents such a schmoozey business to be kind of running for grinch the way the RIAA has been for the past five years or so. "

Running for Grinch. Hee.
The Fingerless Fiddler (tm)

At the age of 6, I lost the sight in my left eye and fingers on my left hand to a dynamite cap explosion. As a result of these childhood injuries, I am unable to hold and chord any stringed instrument in the usual fashion.

With the help from family and friends, I devised a contraption I call my "GUT STRAP." I wear the gut strap similiar to a belt. Instead of holding up my pants, the gut strap holds up my fiddle! This allows me to use my left hand freely to finger over the top.


Pretty inspiring, when you think about it. Actually, I guess if you really think about it you start wondering: did he really need to trademark "fingerless fiddler"? Are there that many imitators out there?
Another solid episode of Angel tonight. Very different and IT WAS A LORNE EPISODE! We haven't had one of those in ages (if ever.. the Pylean episodes were really all about Cordelia). And Harmony was in it, too. Overall, now that the fifth season is 20-25% over, well, I'm still undecided... we've had two solid episodes, one very good -- almost exceptional -- episode, one questionable episode, and one totally sucky episode. I think we're doing better than season 4, but I'd need to check when the DVDs come out.

It's still the best show on television. Next week: well, the preview showed a few seconds of Angel fighting with some guys in Mexican wrestler masks. And it looked all goofy.. I predict (this is not having read ANY previews): the goofy bit with the masks takes place in the first fifteen minutes and the real meat of the episode is that an Old Friend comes back to jump-start the real plot of the season. That's my guess, based on past seasons of the show: it's usually about this time that Darla comes back in, or Connor gets born, or SOMETHING. We'll see...
Exclusive! Schindlers' Response to Michael Schiavo's Larry King Love-Fest by Fr. Rob Johansen.

Okay. I doubt too many of my readers are still undecided in re: the Schiavo case, but just in case you are, go read what Fr. Rob has to say and then recall: no matter what you think of devout Catholics and Catholic priests, ask yourself: would a devout Catholic lie to a priest? And if the answer is "no" then you have to ask yourself why so much of what the Schindlers have to say is at odds with what Liesure Suit Schiavo had to say on Monday night. As Judge Judy would say: "You're LYING, mister!!!"
"I'm dressed to hamburgle! Robble, robble?"

A new Track or Trort from Homestartrunnier.com. I just love the M. Bison, Magnum P.I., and David Byrne costumes!
Here is the transcript. Actual quote was "Probably just to make my life hell, I guess". From reading the comments here and at Mark's 'blog it appears I was being very unChristian when I referred to Michael Schiavo as "White Trash". I can think of very few white trash who would stoop to using lawyers to fight their battles. I apologize to the residents of Kentucky and Ohio.
(Caution: spoilers from tonight's all-new 24, brought to you free of commercial interruptions by the new Ford F-150. Go buy one).

Wowsers. Ol' Jack Bauer has got himself into a dilly of a pickle this time! It's 3 years after season 2 and we learn that Jack and Kate have gotten together, and broken up. Michelle and Tony are married. Kim, now working for CTU, is dating Jack's new partner (whom I'm sure will get a chance to betray her or stalk her or otherwise give her reason to run, braless, through the woods, just like every other man in her life over the past two seasons), the president is still alive (yay!) but still sick from the assasination attempt (boo!) and his brother this season is Principal Wood (I guess since there's no more Sunnydale anymore, there's no more Sunnydale High), and on top of it all Jack is addicted to heroin (but then how can he fight the bio-terrorists? Oh, no!). Nina Myers is nowhere to be seen and neither is psycho first-lady (who will forever be, ST:DS9 fan that I am, Captain Cassidy Yates-Sisko to me). Sweeps is next month, though, so I imagine one or both of them will pop in around hour four or so along with, possibly, some additional braless running through the woods from Kim.
Some excellent comments in the "White Trash" post below. My favorite so far is from first-time commenter Scoobs:

Every woman in America watching that throwback probably picked her jaw up off the coffee table last night. I sure did. He trashes the parents, discusses the incapicated wife's "smell" while smirking, refuses a lie detector, muses on about his 2 loves (incapicated wife and girlfriend), etc. Terri isn't the one who should be starved to death - Michael is. He did more for the effort to save Terri last night than anyone else could have. He is genetically unlikable.

Definitely captured in very few words what I was going for in my loquatious post.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

An all-new season premiere of 24 brought to you without commercial interruption by Ford is just moments away. See you on the other side!
"It's Potty Time!"

By most accounts, probably the worst potty-training video ever.

Here are some excerpts from the Target.com and Amazon.com video reviews:

"What is this, the NAMBLA potty tape? ... This shows a clown at a birthday party, presumably the paid entertainment, and a stranger to the children, taking 3 little boys to the potty."

"The little man and the clown made me very uncomfortable."

"My son found the birthday party clown frightening, and wanted to know why he was being mean to the little boy. (He was teasing and tickling him.)"

"My husband was disturbed also by this scene, as one little boy looks back at the party and no one seems to notice him leaving the party with the clown."

I don't care if it does come with "super duper pooper" stickers or the optional "I'm a Super Duper Pooper" singing and dancing bear. Don't believe that it really sings and dances? Check out this shocking video. Nearly a minute of singing and dancing. The song apparently won some big award -- and it's all about poop! (Though the instrumental interlude was a nice touch).

Me, personally, if I had to watch a potty video it'd be the Big Comfy Couch potty video, but only Britain knows why.

Monday, October 27, 2003

White Trash

So I'm watching Larry King's interview with Mr. Banality of Evil himself and towards the end it's getting to be a little too much even for Lefty Larry to take. Finally, Larry King asks Schiavo, "So what is the Shindlers' motivation in all this? In keeping their daughter alive."

Remember, the Schindlers have all but bankrupted themselves, been put through a dozen years of mental anguish as their daughter lies in a bed without rehab, therapy, or having her teeth brushed. What possible "motivation" could they have?

Schiavo's reply (verbatim): "I dunno. Just to make my life Hell, I guess."

(And yes, if his attorney, George Felos, who was present -- mostly to just hold up letters and intone "this one says vegetable, this one says vegetable, this one says vegetable: die, die, die" -- had been drinking water at that moment, he would've done a spit-take and spewed it all over the studio).

Now, I spent five years in Hicksville, Michigan. I've lived in duplexes, quadplexes, and so on. Aside from the cheap rent (about $250 month for a four-room apartment, utilities included), this experience provided me with a very clear window into the world of White Trash, USA (you know, the world where you are awakened at five AM because the woman downstairs is screaming and throwing all of her boyfriend's clothes out onto the front lawn... again). Michael Schiavo epitomizes White Trash. From his slicked-back hair to his unbuttoned shirt to his gold chains... white trash all of it. One might go so far as to say, considering some of the things I've read lately (checking the odometer when his wife came home from work, etc.) that he epitomizes abusive white trash. And -- unhappily for him -- abusive white trash is one of the remaining few ethnic groups we're allowed to hate in America. I think his appearance on Larry King did him a disservice. Instead of seeing a loving, sensitive, new-age husband who only wants What's Best for his wife (and of course What's Best in this case regrettably means death -- as it usually always does to such folk), the liberal illuminati saw a petty, abusive hick. With an unbuttoned collar and gold chains: What possible reason could my wife's parents have for wanting to keep her alive and her teeth brushed? To make my life Hell. To see that I don't get my new truck. And my new wife.

Before I thought he was evil. Now I see that he's just evil and small. This is why I'm not worried: the one thing you can count on with white trash, is that, unlike rich-people justice, white trash justice is absolute and inescapable. Whether it's winding up in an apartment with a stack of porno tapes and no electricity, dying alone of lung cancer at age 48, or accidentally blowing their hand off with a shotgun, white trash always get exactly what they deserve in the end.

UPDATE: There's no transcript yet, but here's a story with a picture so you can see what I mean. Oddly enough the "my in-laws want to make my life hell by saving their daughter" quote is not one of the soundbites included in this article: only the "loving husband" quotes, and none of the "abusive creep" quotes, made it into the story. We'll see if the transcript has also been sanitized in a day or two.
Starting to see things: MyWay.

Note the way the AP story is acknowledging now that other doctors disagree with the assessment Schiavo's hired guns. Also note:

Also Monday, a coalition of disability rights group issued a statement in support of preserving Terri Schiavo's life.

"The belief that people with disabilities like (Schiavo's) are 'better off dead' is long-standing but wrong. It imperils us all," said the statement signed by 14 organizations, including ADA Watch, Center on Human Policy and World Association of Persons with Disabilities.


Even the screen capture from the 2001 video is one which makes Terri look quite a bit less PVS. Could the mainstream media finally be coming around? It could only be that the blood they now smell is Michael Schiavo's... but perhaps there's hope for them now.

I don't know if I'll watch The Truth Raper's "interview" with Schiavo tonight, but maybe I will. I'm definitely going to watch Steven Greydanus on Marcus Grodi's show tonight at 8pm Eastern (on EWTN).
Incoming.

I'm not a regular reader of Fr. Rob's 'blog but his reports from Florida over the past few days have been particularly illuminating. I still can't believe he's the only priest who's shown up there over the past two weeks.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

International Contest to Determine Hymn for World Youth Day 2005.In 2005 it's gonna just be me and Marty Haugen.Two songwriters enter, one man leaves.
Seriously, as I see the winning hymn (can anyone find for me the "official" World Youth Day website which is supposed to have all the rules on it? I can't find it) is going to have verses in English, French, Italian, Spanish, and German, I thougt I'd give Mr. Haugen some help and provide some fitting multi-lingual rhymes for him: "oui" and "glee", "no" and "know", "kommen hier schnell!" and "my hippie hair smells", "casa de bano" and "pass me that banjo" and, finally, "dove รจ l'aeroporto?" and "all religions are pretty much the same-o".
Wheaton College lifts ban on dancing.Co-eds gettin' Freaky......in the Billy Graham Library.
I agree with pretty much everyone on this:I will never, ever try any of...this gum.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Not much going on today. I'm working on a new songI think it will be a good one -- very much based on current eventsBut you may have to wait a few days to hear it as I have a lot going on today.

Friday, October 24, 2003

So I'm watching this thing on Elizabeth Smart on 20/20 or Katie Couric or something and I know it's wrong to think this, but the only thing I can think as I watch the Smarts, plugging their book on national TV, is "it's a really good thing for the Smarts that they aren't poor and black."

The other wrong thing I think is "Golly -- her kidnapper really embodies the spirit of Joseph Smith, now doesn't he?" I mean... the "faith" as they keep calling it, to which you've pledged your life was founded by someone who pretty much espouses the same believes and has the same rational motivation as the guy who abducted your daughter. Why do you think the Mormons kept getting kicked out of Kansas or wherever and had to settle in the 19th-century equivalent of B.F.E.? BECUASE THEY ABDUCTED YOUNG GIRLS. Wouldn't at some point you stop to question your "faith" in light of say, oh, I don't know, your own daughter being KIDNAPPED by someone who acted on religous grounds you can't really question?
Turning point?

While this Associated Press article regurgitates Schiavo's "I am appaled that the Governor would not respect my wife's constitutional right to be killed by me" lies, it may mark a turning point in that the first sentence refers to the battle as a "right-to-life" battle, not a "right-to-die" battle as every other article up to this point has done.

If this is more than just a typo, it would be the first time, in my memory, the AP has used the phrase "right-to-life" to refer to anything other than "fetuseses" (or poultry). This is a good thing, in my mind, because it shows that the media are finally seeing life issues as actually relating to human life -- a human life such as Terri's with a face and a name. Hopefully one day they'll be able to connect the dots backwards.

Again -- it could just be a typo, however.
Bastards.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

ABC's "Extreme Makeover" is the scariest, most disgusting show I have ever seen. They inject the skin of dead-people into living peoples' lips and then those living people (who look a lot like Peruvian mummies for weeks after the surgery) talk about how this is the Greatest Thing Ever that will change their so-called life. And make boys like them.

Knowing Mike Schiavo, Terri Schiavo could have wound up as his fiance's next lip-job. This probably would've turned the pathetic freak on... like a really perverted re-telling of Return to Me. Ooh! Novel idea! Novel idea! All you NaNoWriMos out there: you all can have that one for free!
WashingtonTimes: AOL losing signups

WorldCom losing AOL business, Victor losing job. Been there, done that, did not buy the t-shirt (or even, in fact, had one given to me). I did learn recently, though, that the director who laid-off our entire group, even though we were more productive and far cheaper than the Operations group they kept for purely political reasons, was involved in a bizarre chainsaw accident and lost a couple digits. I take no joy in this, however, aside from the fact that now, if we offered to give him the finger, he would probably have to take us up on it.
Detroit News: Judge throws out classmate's suit against Eminem

Eminem asked Judge Deborah Servitto to dismiss the lawsuit, which she did.

In her written opinion, Servitto wrote a song saying Eminem's lyrics about Bailey posed no grounds for a lawsuit.

"The lyrics are stories no one would take as fact/ They're an exaggeration of a childish act," Servitto wrote in her 36-line rap. "Any reasonable person could clearly see/that the lyrics could only be hyperbole."


"It should not be any mystery / I want to get on national TV".
If I were drinking milk right now, it would be shooting out of my nose: Christina 'Blogs 4 Jesus.
For some reason the mid-page interruption of this daemonic "medical examiner" piece by a flashing "Buy crap for the holidays!" ad seems a fitting enough commentary on our culture.

For unto us a child is torn.
Mark Shea posts the Schindlers' statement on Terri and if only half of what is in that statement is true (and there's no reason to doubt the veracity of any of it) it only makes you realize all the more that the mainstream media are Satan's whore.

And don't get me started on Weepin' Mike Schiavo. The decade of neglect and the slow and agonizing death by starvation to which he sentenced his own wife is too good for him. No. Flaying alive was pretty much invented for people like this.
'Xander seems to like that new show about stop-motion-animated circus clows, JoJo's Circus. The show is Disney's answer to Nick Jr.'s soulless, mind-sucking, PC wench, Dora, The don't-wanna-watch-her-any-more-a in terms of "interactive" television. Basically "interactive" television is where you don't have to write a whole script: you just stop every few seconds and ask the audience what they "think". JoJo is pretty cool, though. I like stop-motion-animated clowns. And the music isn't bad (click the "dance" balloon). What's up with the Couch Potatoes, though (click the green "stretch" balloon)? That's kind of a creepy statement on America's "I'm lovin' it" culture, eh?

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Angel is back!!!!

Okay. Imagine this: you've got a completely awesome episode of a show which has been flagging over the past two years to the point where it was three weeks after the end of the previous season before the network decided to renew it... and then, they only did so because you agreed to pick up a popular Buffy character who's story-arc had peaked three seasons ago. But this episode will change all that: make at least two of the show's characters interesting again and provide new motivation for the lead character -- provided anyone sees it. How do you ensure an audience? Well, for starters you have national television and radio ads which say "this week's episode of the show contains graphic violence and partial nudity" and people will watch it.

Tonight's episode ("Hell Bound") of Angel was pretty wicked awesome. How wicked awesome was it? Do you remember the sanshu? The mystical prophecy by which Angel can become human again, if he does enough good deeds? Of course you don't remember it because the last time they even brought it up on the show was the end of season 1 -- over three years ago. They haven't mentioned a word of it since. Remember how happy Angel was when he first learned of it? Well, now he believes that all prophecies are crap and when Fred brings up the shanshu (Wesley or someone must have told her about it when we weren't looking) he won't hear of it. (Jackie also noted tonight how every episode thus far this season has ended with Angel doing something morally questionable: blowing the evil special ops guy's head off with a shotgun in episode 1, decapitating the evil necromancer in episode 2, having the evil mad scientist hauled off to be eaten the next time he turns into a werewolf in crappy episode 3 (though since they shut down the wacky monster restaurant, it's doubtful evil mad scientist werewolf was ever actually eaten) and now, tonight, locking up the evilest man who ever lived in an eternal stasis chamber (though, believe me, he deserved it). But still -- usually Angel never harms humans, no matter how evil they are. This season has changed that -- so look for a mid-to-end season turnaround where Angel becomes Good with a capital "Goo" again). Anyway, shanshu is back. This episode even made Spike interesting again by making him vulnerable. And it made Fred interesting again by giving her something to do, finally, aside from eating tacos and being the Gunn/Wesley prize. Amazing. Anyway, I was afraid that the show had jumped the shark, and while it may not ever recapture that season 1/season 2 vibe, it is still the best show on television.

All that and the show had the most Christian portrayal of Hell that you've never seen on television and probably more about literal Hell than you've ever heard in a homily lately. And I loved the seance that ended very badly. Writer/Director Steven S. DeKnight scripted a bunch of episodes in season 4 of Angel (probably the best one was last seasons' "Inside Out") and seasons 5 and 6 of Buffy, but we won't hold that against him.

Oh. And as for the graphic violence and partial nudity? It wasn't anything you haven't seen 100 times before on national network television. If you watched season 6 of Buffy you saw easily 20x more James Marsters booty and 3 to 6x more blood and severed fingers. Next week looks like another fun Mutant Enemy Productions Halloween Episode. If it's anything like Buffy's season 4 "Fear, Itself" we're all in for a real treat.
Schiavo's attorney: "Me am hate Superman."

“It is simply inhumane and barbaric to interrupt her death process,” Felos added. “Just because Terri Schiavo is not conscious doesn’t mean she doesn’t have dignity.”

What a completely biased article from MSNBC.com. And what is this "death process" we're supposedly, to judge from from Felos' language, entitled to? How come this is the first I've ever heard of it? Will there be death process reparations paid to the families of all of those who, throughout our national history, have had their death process barbarically interrupted? Just because they weren't conscious doesn't mean their families can't get rich.
After many, many years Hell finally freezes over.

Glad I could help out over the years.
KVR-VST forum post with screenshots of the upcoming Sytrus synth. I'm a big FLStudio geek now who's been looking for a powerful FM synth to buy (freebies only take you so far) and so I'm pretty excited to see if Sytrus can live up to the hype.
Welcome to the Hellmouth

After a week of being denied food or water by your husband, you're finally rescued by the authorities and... taken to the hospital where your husband works.

Fortunately, unlike in your typical Ashley Judd movie, the world is watching this time.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

We just finished the second season of Angel on DVD. Watching it again, I enjoyed it a lot more this time than I did when it initially broadcast in 2000-2001. I still enjoyed the whole Pylea excursion in the final four episodes, but I got a lot more out of the rest of the season this time around, too.
MyWay.com: Senate OKs Ban on Partial Birth Abortion

This article is full of great "loser" quotes from real, fully-qualified "losers" of the old boomer-guard whose moon is definitely waning.

“This is indeed a historic day,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., lead opponent of the legislation, “because for the first time in history Congress is banning a medical procedure that is considered medically necessary by physicians.”

Well, yeah... Medically necessary if you want that other car. Or your lousy boyfriend not to leave you. Or to get that new job. Or to not wreck your figure. If you'll excuse me, I find it medically necessary to down a fifth of vodka while speeding around some suburban school zones in my 3-ton sedan. Oh wait -- you mean Congress has banned that "medical procedure", too? What? Too many middle-school-aged "fetuses" were getting killed that way?

Actually, Boxer has a lot of loser quotes in that article:

"I see what this is about ... this is about politics," said Boxer. "I never dreamed I'd be down here with senators who think they know more than doctors."

How many years has she been in the Senate? It's called "politics" for a reason... because it's (zoing!) about politics! I guess Boxer only feels comfortable being around Senators who think they know more than God.
Stop the Presses!

MSN.com: Pamela Anderson maybe to die within the next 10 to 15 years or so. You know, if she isn't hit by a car, eaten by bears, killed by box-cutter-wielding terrorists, or put in a coma and starved to death by Tommy Lee before then. Funny how the article nowhere mentions her persistent vegetative state of the last 15 years.

Seriously: this just illustrates the work left to be done: when MSN puts the "Terri Schiavo murder stopped" story above the "celebrity may die someday" story, then we'll know we've made some progress.
Of course I've got other reasons to be happy: 'Xander's 103.5 degree fever broke today, the dog vomit I stepped in this morning got cleaned up, and even though our new digs at work are super hot (80 degrees and rising, which is just how you want it to be in a high-pressure job where everyone is sitting close to each other) I know tomorrow to bring in a fan. Plus we had a really yummy pork roast for dinner.
Thank God!!!

And thank Mark Shea, and Pete Vere, and Times Against Humanity and everyone for following this so closely. It was really remarkable how making our voices heard in this case actually made a difference. Gotta keep that momentum going, though, and maybe we'll see some real change.

Only it'll be good change, this time 'round.

Seriously, my ideal future is one in which, five or ten or thirty years down the road, 25% of Americans are proud of the work they've done healing the culture, 25% of Americans are completely alienated because their pathetic little culture of death is gone forever, and 50% of Americans stumble out of their stupor not really realizing anything has changed, only that the shows they watch on TV are somewhat less permissive now.
TheStar.com: Scientists find new way to make electricity

It's not the first time.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Happy Halloween

From Jack Chick and from Radiskull.

"At least Timmy's in Heaven. Right, Radiskull?" "Bring on the Pain!"
Not Quite Finished MP3 Remix for Download!

Okay, it's not quite finished (and it's definitely not the Lil' Markie remix I spoke of earlier), but I thought I'd share with you what I've been working on this weekend because it's something different for me. Inspired by Verve Remixed 2 (my review of that CD is coming next week), I decided to take an old soul-jazz number and remix it. For fodder, I chose Yaphet Kotto's "Have You Dug His Scene?" which practically no one had ever heard of when it was posted on The 365 Days Project. Unfortunately, as you can hear if you download the original at that link, it's a crummy mp3 encode of a really beat-up LP. But I was able to work with it all right... kinda (the scratches add ambience!). The remix here is not 100% finished (I have only listened to it on headphones and PC speakers, so if you play it on a decent car or home system, the bass and overall levels may be a little out of control -- we'll see. And I'm going to finish up the ending a bit. And there's some "whooshing" effects to put in, too. It's about 75-80% finished overall. You get the idea), but you deserve a listen before Mr. Kotto "insists" that I take it down.

Yaphet Kotto - Have You Dug His Scene? Victor Lams' Crummy MP3 Remix (192kbps, roughly 5.9MB)

My Halloween wish this year is that someone, somewhere, someday dances to this track in a tanktop.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

SciFi Wire: The Passion Renamed

Also from SciFi Wire:

Jon Favreau, director of the fantasy comedy film "Elf", told SCI FI Wire that he relied heavily on nondigital special effects. Scenes in which Will Ferrell's human character, Buddy, towered over elves were achieved with forced perspective, while other North Pole characters were created with stop-motion animation.

"I really refrained from using the CGI, the computer-generated animated effects, in the movie as much as I could," Favreau said in an interview. "I never really buy them when I see them in movies. I wanted to give it that nostalgic, low-tech feel."


I'm pretty excited about seeing both movies.
If Thomas Jefferson were alive today and living in Florida

All men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...

All men are endowed by their Creator with certain general preferences which we should do our best to recognize, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...

In cases where it's been explicity written out and notarized beforehand, alll men may be endowed by their Creator with certain inspecfic inklings which, whenever it's convenient, we should try to appreciate (or not, whichever) and among these are things which we used to refer to with such abstract terms as Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Now, somebody get me some Zoloft and another wife.
Bishop Lynch's "How Not To Get Into Heaven"

OFFICIAL STATEMENT OF BISHOP ROBERT N. LYNCH CONCERNING THE REMOVAL OF THE FEEDING TUBE OF TERRI SCHIAVO

With the news that the feeding tube has now been removed from Terri Schiavo, my own prayers and those of thousands of other people go out for Terri and for her family. May the author of all life look kindly on Terri and provide consolation and hope for those who love her.

I continue to believe that such decisions should not be made in the court system but must be made on a case-by-case basis by families and/or other responsible parties at the clear direction of each one of us well in advance of a crisis.


Now, I'm as pithy as the next guy, but don't you think, if you were a Roman Catholic Bishop, and it was a Roman Catholic woman in your diocese who was being starved to death in a Hospice, you could mark the occasion with more than a paltry 96 words?

And who is this "author of all life"? Is s/he related to the Author of all Life? The lack of capitalization has got me wondering if Lynch is maybe talking about Toni Morrison or something there? I can't be sure because when you type "All Life" into Amazon's search engine it comes up with nearly 2,000 entries in books alone.

And what's this crap about decisions regarding whether you live or die being made "at the clear direction of each one of us well in advance of a crisis"? Lynch might have as well said "be sure to put it in writing, folks, because if someone wants to kill you and you didn't speak up ahead of time, well, shucks -- there's nothing I or anyone else can do for you."

I can imagine this principle (or lack thereof) being applied to homicide investigations: "So Mr. Sniper Suspect, to your knowledge, did the 'victim' express any wishes to remain alive before you shot her in the face from 150 yards away? No? Well... In that case, you're free to go."
Tall -- and I think it's kind of pretty, too.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

VOA News: Al-Jazeera Says It Has New Bin Laden Tapes, but won't loan them to us until we return the other tapes we borrowed.
Saw most of "Kiki's Delivery Service" on ToonDisney just now. Very nice movie, with great voice work and awesome machinery (any cartoon which features a huge derigible is okay in my book). But what was with all those upskirt shots? Sometimes those anime directors can just be so weird. "Kiki's Delivery Service" is nowhere near as bad in this respect as "Najica", however (which is now playing on Comcast On Demand, or whatever it's called -- though why you wouldn't just buy the DVD with the special limited edition artbox and panties is beyond me). Like I said: weird. I read one of those "Appreciating Anime" books a few months back which tried to explain all of this for Western audiences but... still weird.
Some lively discussion going on over in the forums at KVR-VST.com as to if there is a modern-day virtual synthesizer which can replicate the lead sound from the original "Dr. Who" theme.
"Some mouths may be dirtier than cat litter."
Summamamas 'Blog is a new Catholic 'Blog featuring not two, but three!, mamas. Whether or not it proves to be as unfortuantely named (or half as brilliant!) as Church of Them Asses 'Blog, remains to be seen.

What are you still doing here? Check it out already!

Friday, October 17, 2003

Teaser.

I might be feeling a little subversive this weekend. Would anyone object to a Lil' Markie remix?

Think hard before you answer that.

Update: I finally beat that darned Apache Helicopter boss in Viewtiful Joe. Now I'm stuck at "Deadly Fiend: Charles the 3rd" (aka. BatBoy). I think I need to use my speedup powers in some new way, but I'm not sure how.
Now, I don't know Gov. Jeb from Adam, but I hope he's not just another polichicken.

Seriously -- let's look at the political ramifications here: save Terri, gain the pro-life vote forever, virtually -- maybe even all the way into the White House in 2012. Let Terri die, and you maybe gain one vote. And who knows if that vote will even be there in 2012.
"Be careful, Shaggy. There's no gravity on the moon."

I overheard that just now on one of those new Scooby Doo movies that's on the Cartoon Network. Guess who said that? It was Velma. Is this what we're teaching our kids? I would expect such misinformation coming from Daphne or Scrappy-Doo, but from Velma? This is unacceptable.
Door's open. You just gotta walk through it.
The future gets even creepier.
And if you'd asked me, I would've told you they were all goofy.

No one has yet faced the Spider Dog and lived.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Sobering thoughts from the Mighty Barrister: if Terri were a convicted mass murderer, child-mosleting psychopath, condemned to die in the state of Florida, then Jeb Bush actually would be able to save her life. As it is, she's just an innocent young woman.

Have you ever noticed how there's never any definitive answer on what put Terri in that coma in the first place? And I believe there was early testimony that her injuries were consistent with someone who had been strangled? One wonders why someone like her husband would be so eager to see her die, even after he'd been all but granted the option of divorce and everything the two of them had... One wonders what Terri would tell us if she ever came out of that coma.
McPaper: Pope loses approval; 50% say he should step down

"You know, I just don't think he's 'with it'. He just doesn't speak to me. I mean, when I think 'Pope', he's just not what comes into my mind. I'm thinking more of an Ernest Borgnine or Whoopi Goldberg type."

In other news, 80% of McPaper readers think God is out of touch and stands virtually no chance of being re-elected and 98% can't find their own ass with both hands and a flashlight.

(Thanks to Mark Shea for coining introducing me to the phrase "McPaper". I will use it again and again).
Cut! Cut! Cut!

Thanks a Best Buy gift card, which was my unexpected reward for helping my brother-in-law move a month or two back, I was able to pick up Viewtiful Joe for the GameCube. It's designed to be a next-gen throwback to the 2-D beat-'em-ups of yesteryear and as such, it's very hard (I'm playing it on the more difficult of the two difficulty levels). I'm stuck on what I hope is at least the boss of the first level -- a screaming Apache helicopter with machineguns and missles and no matter how often I go into Slow Motion to do my matrix-style kicks against it, I keep getting spanked. You get three lives and then you're back at the beginning of the level -- just like in the old days. It's an awesome game, though. Reminds me a bit of Double Dragon and Revenge of Shinobi with some pretty cool play techniques thrown in. Awesome. Viewtiful, even.
Mother Teresa: The Musical!

Be sure to check out the picture on that story. What's up with that elephant? And I wonder if there'll be a soundtrack album. I'd love to hear such hit numbers from the musical as "Sores! (Reprise)":

"Look! Just look at those sores!
I believe I have detected,
That they are infected!
You can't live for very much more --
Because of your gangrenous sores!"


or how about "Nobel Prize!":

"Nobel Prize! Nobel Prize! No-bel Prize!
I really don't care what the people think,
Give me a prize, I'll just give you a wink!
Still it's nice that they'd recognize,
That I got the Nobel Prize!
Nobel Prize! Nobel Prize! No-bel Prize!"


Or how about the wistful ballad, "Spoiled Kids at Harvard"?

"Rotten, lousy, spoiled kids from the city,
Wearing condoms to prevent STD,
That a child should die, is a great poverty,
Why, oh, why won't you listen to me?
You spoiled, lousy kids at Harvard."
R.C. of Catholic Light sends along this interview with "Weird" Al Yankovic on National "Public" Radio. I'm listening to the extended web version now. It's probably going to be remembered by history as the definitive "Weird" Al interview. His non-"Weird" voice sounds weird to me. But, ew... why did they have to play so much of "Spiderman"? I guess to the uninitiated it's the perfect example of a "Weird" Al song.

While you're at Catholic Light, be sure to read Pete Vere's heart-breaking account of Terri's vigil yesterday.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Mark Shea has a number of good posts on Terri's murder (put me in for $50). I'm so upset about this I could spit. Upset and just numb... At times it seems there are no more norms left. If that's the case, that there's nothing left to conserve, being a conservative is a nostalgic luxury none of us can afford. It's time for a restoration.

Seriously... I can't believe that the 10 Commandment statue in Alabama or the "Under God" in the Pledge is getting more play in the media than a real, live, human being whose last memory -- in this country! where no one goes hungry! -- is soon going to be one of being very dehydrated and hungry. While "conservative" "Christians" are so busy trying to keep two words, originaly inserted for purely political reasons into a pledge that no one recites anymore (I heard it not once in 13 years of public-school education), a child of God is starving (literally to death!) by decree of the same government to which we're pledging our allegance? I don't think so.

Our nation's going to be "under God", all right. Under the sharp stiletto heel of God, we don't shape up and take some action here.
I think they should change the name of the show. It doesn't really feel like Angel anymore. Jackie disagrees with me on this, but I think they're going after a different (larger) audience here, dumbing down the show (tonight's half-storied episode was a good example.. I kept waiting for the plot to kick in... it never really did), making it more trendy and sensational (they actually played one of their pimping "Tonight's episode features music from...." songs at the end of the episode... Eeech!). The previews for next week actually contained a verbal (and written) "next's week's episode contains graphic images" (I thought that part was a joke) "and partial nudity" (don't get too excited, it's just Spike, and we saw all his goodies in Buffy, Season 6 -- unless he got some new ones). That was new. They'd never done that before.

Perhaps worrying about the alienation the devoted Angel fans might be feeling at this mad grab for a new audience (and to welcome new audience members to the show), Joss Whedon done wrote a letter at the beginning of the season to new and old fans alike, explaining what was going on. Unfortunately, for the die-hard Angel fan, there's just not enough weird shiznit going on.

So two out of five stars for tonight's episode (it gets two stars because the gang was all together and joking around) and this season, so far, is getting probably three out of five stars.
"I'm Lord Howard Hurtz, and I'll put the hurt on you!!!!"

Sorry about that... Just reliving my favorite pinball games from the mid-1990s. It's sad to think that Midway will never again make another pinball machine.

New episode of Angel in 27 minutes, though! Tonight, Angel meets a werewolf. Vampires and werewolves: two great tastes that go great together? Uhhhh... not if recent box-office flops are any indication.
Slate: How Prayers Poll -- Debunking myths about the religious right.

Myth 5: Most religious extremists are in the GOP. Defining "extremist" as someone on the far end of the religious spectrum, it is true that most fundamentalists are Republican. But what about the other end of the religious spectrum? Statistically speaking, secular people (atheists, agnostics, etc.) are extreme, too, in the sense that they are well outside the public opinion norm. They tend to be Democrats. According to one study 60 percent of first-time white delegates to the 1992 Democratic convention claimed no attachment to religion.

Pretty weird perspective, coming from Slate. That's right: Slate. (I knew Canadians were evil!!!!!).
MSNBC.com: Chinese apparently launch James Brown into space

"I will not disappoint the motherland. I will complete each movement with total concentration. And I will gain honor for the People's Liberation Army and for the Chinese nation."

So maybe he's Mozart, then.
Please pray for a miracle today. If Terri dies today at 2pm, then none of us in this country are safe from the real terrorists: our elected and appointed judges, who have killed more people in this country than all of the terrorists who have ever walked the planet, combined. Seroiusly, when the revolution does come someday, this latest act of agression against a helpless citizen is going to be on the list. Maybe not at the top of the list, but it'll be on there.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Okay... there's lots of reasons why I like The Wiggles and this week I'll share some with you.

Reason #1: It's not every show that The Wiggles do a song from another land (a song that's not in English, I mean, as technically all their songs are from Australia and from where I sit, that's another land) but when they do they don't do it with any "This is a song from another land and although you might find their practices abhorrent, you have to value them because all cultures are the same" build-up. They come out, do the song and the associated dance (often without even telling you where it's from) not because it's trendy to be all multi-culti but because it's a good children's song and your kids might enjoy experiencing it and have their horizons broadened by it (and as we all know, culture keeps you healthy!). Their especially reverent Christmas episode (that's reason #3, coming up in a few days) had a number of these traditional songs and dances from around the world.

Watch a couple of episodes and you'll see what I mean.
The Mighty, Mighty Barrister's Call To Arms
Fr. Bryce enrolls in the School of Rock.

Fight the Pro-Abortion Matrix too, while you're at it.
My Bond Girl name is... "Candy La Rue".

You better believe it. Link via Bunny Insatia.
I love credits. I love reading them as they fly by on movies and TV shows. How else would I know that Trace Beaulieu of MST3k ("Crow" and "Dr. Forrester") fame is now writing (and has been for a couple of years) for "America's Funniest Videos?"

Monday, October 13, 2003

Watching Season 2 of "Angel" on DVD (if you buy this set and one of your DVDs comes severely scratched, let me know -- it will be the third such set I've heard of) and I'm beginning to realize that this show, "Angel", particularly seasons 1 and 2 (and particularly season 2's epiphany episodes, which we watched tonight), has completely ruined television for me. I take for granted that every show is going to have such rich and multi-layered characterizations, cool, evolving storylines, and quick-witted humor. When other shows can't deliver, I get angry and blame the writers of those shows... like on "Andromeda" where it's now either season 3 or season 4, I can't remember which, and Captain Dylan Hunt is still the same troglodyte he was in Season 1, Episode 1. But it's really Tim Minear and David Greenwalt I should be blaming... for ruining television for me.

Thanks a lot, guys.
Fr. Andrew Greeley's Dirty Secret? by Matt C. Abbot

And here, all this time, I thought Sociologist Greeley's dirty secret was that he thought God was a woman and that angels were largely mathematical entities capable of erotic love. An interesting article by Mr. Abbot. Anytime anyone states "I have information" so publically (as to publish it in a book!), you just have to assume it's fiction (or that there's another book forthcoming, which is expected to outsell the original book ;). I mean, it'd be like Superfly, at the end of "Superfly", instead of telling the drug lords that he'd hired the best killers there are, "white killers", to take them out if they ever came after him, if instead of doing that he'd instead published an article in the NY Post about how he'd taken on the drug lords and one-upped them for the one final big score. It just doesn't make any sense (not that anything ever does).


So, I don't know what to think of Greeley these days. I still think he's a shithead, but will allow now that he's either a very interesting shithead or just a very, very inconsistent one. And I wouldn't go so far as to say his novels are soft-core porn -- but some of his enthusastic descriptions of breasts in his novels are still kind of iccy, considering they're written by a priest.

The Wiggles, on the other hand, are 100% okay in my book.
Thanks to my new work schedule, I was able to watch a couple of hours of the The Wiggles marathon on Playhouse Disney -- eight hours of all new episodes! These new episodes are from 2002, the Wiggles Bay era, and gone are the cheesy computer-generated virtual neighborhood sets of four or five years ago. In their place is a slick new "Network Wiggles" TV network set and a bunch of new spots: Captain Feathersword's Magic Buttons, Where's Jeff (a sort of 20-questions-like gameshow), Music With Murray (which features a real, working oscilloscope), and Anthony's Workshop. There are also four new adult dancers who do all sorts of go-go dancing during the songs (many of which are taken from the Wiggles Bay DVD). There's also this bald Italian guy on the show now, too, who seems pretty creepy at first. I'm sure I'll warm up to him, just like I warmed up to The Wiggles, themselves, but at the moment he still seems pretty creepy.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Emily of After Abortion 'Blog (one I'm going to add to my 'blogroll, when I do the next update of the Annuli Catenae page) sends along report of some weird goings-on at a Catholic college in Wisconsin.

Seems that on the campus of Edgewood College, they're about to clean out some dead wood -- literally -- getting rid of four old trees to make way for a new dorm. What's a campus groundskeeper/ministry director/ex-'60s-hippie nun to do?

On Thursday, an hour-long service was held honoring the trees, co-organized by faculty, the campus groundskeeper and ministry director Sister Maureen McDonnell.

The chapel service, with 30 participants evenly divided between faculty and students, focused on nature's benefits to society. The commemoration ended beneath the doomed trees with a Native American ceremony honoring the four compass directions. Students beat on percussion instruments accompanied by a recorder. They named and acknowledged each tree before the proceedings culminated in prayer offerings."


Aside from being so sad, this illustrates exactly what is so despicable about tree-worshippers (aside from the plain fact that they are worshipping trees and will burn in the oak-lumber-stoked fires of Hell for that -- where's St. Boniface when you need him?!): they hate people. Plain and simple. It's not that they love nature -- if these four trees were out in the middle of nowhere do you think they'd hold a service, praying to them? No -- it's only because their loss benefits the college and its students in some way. Consider half of the things that have been banned in the name of environmental safety and the more-hazardous, more-expensive chemicals which have replaced them (consider the strange case of freon and its more hazardous replacement, 134a -- whose patent, incidentally, held by DuPont, was not about to expire -- unlike freon's, also held by DuPont). Consider the recent attempts by these folks to ban or restrict chlorine, despite the fact that with just a little chlorine, there would be plenty of safe drinking water for everyone in the world and you wouldn't have people dying of dysentery and malaria and so on.

It's not about "saving the planet": it's about hating people and making sure that -- whether through disease or inadequate housing or a higher cost of living -- there's fewer of them.
Saw some movies this weekend...

Holes: You're gonna dig "Holes!" Seriously, this is a fine, fine motion picture and everyone who had anything to do with releasing it to such critical and popular acclaim, depsite the lack of any real publicity on the part of Disney, has to be proud. I remember a few years back my sister, then ten at the time, was telling me about this really great book called "Holes". Well, I didn't read it then and I haven't read it still, but this is a fine movie, filled with all sorts of the weird coincidences/acts of providence that kids (and me) really love. The backstory weaves very nicely into the main plot as well. It's really hard to adapt a novel for the big screen and even harder to do if screenwriter and novelist are one and the same, but it works here. Jon Voigt and Tim Blake Nelson steal the show from a wonderful cast (including some pretty neat cameos: Tim Allen is the boy that lived!). The soundtrack also rocks, so pick that up if you can find it. See this movie, you'll love it -- or I'll eat an 11-spotted lizard! So there.

Daddy Day Care: Found myself laughing despite myself. Very funny movie and not nearly as disgusting as you think it'll be (considering that it's about four-year-olds and Eddie Murphy). Very funny and again, great cast. Siobhan Fallon Hogan is in this movie and also in "Holes". Coincidence? I think not... Okay, the story isn't the deepest thing in the world (aside from the first and last chapter on the DVD you could probably just hit "random play" mode, have your DVD player shuffle up all the other scenes and never know the difference) but I give "Daddy Day Care" four out of five stars for being what it is (and because it did hit VERY close to home what with the whole laid-off and then coming to learn what really matters bit). Take off a star, though, if you don't have either a small child or a thing for Lacey Chabert in glasses and a private-school outfit. And add two stars to the total score if you have both of those things. But not me: I give it four stars because Jeff Garlin (as "the fat guy"... er, I mean, Phil) was so amusing and because it's nice to know that Kevin Nealon is still alive. So there.

The Transporter: What the heck? I can't believe this stinker has Luc Besson's name on it! We saw "Wasabi" a few weeks back and really enjoyed it and I thought this would be kind of like that but it's not. This is just a waste. A 92-minute adolescent fantasy. The hero has no dimensions or motivation of any kind, never is threatened for a moment (at one point I just expected him to start flying through the air because, doggone it, he's able to do everything else and can't be harmed by bullets or fists or anything). Anyway, this movie is stupid, stupid, stupid and a big-time disappointment. In the end it makes you not want to care about anything because it's so stupid. The only people who would knowingly watch this movie, knowing how stupid it is, are stupid people. So there.
Fr. Bryce 'blogs about two of my PBS childhood memores: Slim Goodbody (I had waking nightmares about Goodbody) and The Letter People about whom I've 'blogged in the past. My favorite was Mr. Tall Teeth. I would loved to have chosen Mr. Velvet Vest as my favorite character, to represent V-dom, but I found him uninspired compared to the Tall Teeth.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

The TOTO Washlet: "Cleanse and Refresh. And Exterminate! Exterminate! Exterminate!"

Okay, I am 100% Anti-Bidet. That should tell you just about everything you need to know about what I think about this product. Give me a hole in the floor or a shovel and a patch of dirt over the TOTO Washlet anyday. That said, I think if I were a woman I'd feel a little differently about this product. That said, the TOTO Washlet is not welcome in my home.

P.S. How anyone could look at the TOTO Washlet and not immediately think "Dalek" is totally beyond me.
CNN.com: Ford unveils a $150,000 car

And WHAT a car!!!! Built with pride at the Wixom plant. I've got my sights set on one of those new Ford Freestars, but I would not turn down a GT. I'd have to sell the house just to pay the sales tax, but wow....
Pete Vere: Show the Mothers Compassion -- Excommunicate the Politicians

Good stuff.
Interesting.

Steve Greydanus compares and contrasts School of Rock and The Fighting Temptations.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Okay.. Now it's obvious. If Catholicism is ever to gain any respect in the eyes of the world, our next Pope has to be a Muslim woman.
MSNBC.com: Space seen as shaped like a soccer ball

Close. It's actually shaped like a doughnut (or torus to be perfectly accurate). Otherwise how else could you fly off the top of the screen and appear at the bottom?

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Out of all the "Arnold Wins!" editorial cartoons, this is the only remotely funny one. This one is kind of neat, too. I don't know why, but editorial cartoons just aren't funny.... They're all so derivative, playing on just one or two publically-accepted "truths" (California has a debt, Arnold gropes women). How can you possibly feel good about yourself and your job if you're just one of several dozen cartoonists to do a "Grope-inator" cartoon? Detroit's own Larry Wright, of course, is as always the rare exception.

If recent rumors are to be believed, Berkeley Breathed's return to the funnies comes not a moment too soon.
I'm all signed-up! I now have just under two months to (re-)learn everything I need to know to pass the Project Management Professional certification exam (and it is a-lot). If all goes well, by Christmas I'll be a certified PMP!
George Wiegel on the antidote for those who have now read The DaVinci Crock.
A very nice article on the metaphyiscal problems inherent in Joan of Arcadia's God. I'll take the fight against the hellish demons on Angel over the inoffensive Arcadia's beige and blandish God anyday.
When you know it's time to update your website.
David Alexander on Joseph P. Swain on bad liturgical music. Checkitout.
And now, a few brief thoughts on Angel...

Last night I saw episode two of season five of Angel. I watched the previous week's episode as well (which is said to have been the most-watched episode in the show's history, with five million viewers). I have to say that it doesn't feel at all like the same show of the first four seasons. The last espiode of season four kind of set us up for the different feel, though, and I can't say it's a bad thing. Gunn and Fred were getting to be pretty useless towards the end of last season. Wes was too, I suppose (he still hasn't done anything, really, yet this season... hopefully he'll do something cool soon), and have the gang each take over their own division at Wolfram & Hart (and having Gunn become all lawyery) solved most of those problems. I also like what they've done with Spike and I hope they leave him a ghost. Ghost Spike is a lot more tolerable (so far) than corporeal Spike and his character has an added dimension (so to speak), one of vulnerability. One thing I don't get, though, is Angel's new attitude. He's a lot more petulent and brutal than usual, and I'm not sure where that came from. And what is up with that hair?! David Greenwalt is still a consulting producer on the show so it's possible we'll see some serious moral themes develop this season, as we have in seasons past.

I do appreciate Harmony's return, though, and hope one day to see Mercedes McNabb in the opening credit sequence (and it's also obvious now that Tim Minear and Joss Whedon are much better Harmony writers than David Fury).

Anyway, if the show doesn't attract scores of new viewers and ensure a sixth season with all of the new stuff (it's like The Practice, Alias, and Buffy all in one!) they've brought in so far this season, it won't be from lack of trying. As for me, I'm still having a lot of fun with the Season 2 DVDs....

And then today on E! (a channel obviously named for their anchors' median undergraduate GPA) they had Live! from the set of Angel, the cast of Angel, and that was fun to watch... a bunch of actors goofing around: David Boreanaz teasing Amy Acker about her "Work the problem, people!" line in the season premiere. Angel is still a really fun show and still my favorite show on the air for the fifth season running.
"I don't think you understand, your Honor: Aaliyah asked me to do it."
Yahoo!News: Backfire Ignites Dog, Dog Sets Grass Fire

I guess that's why they called him "Sparky". Sigh... Only in America...

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

McDonald's to Test Low Fat Menus

Note to McD's: I don't think the problem is the menus; I think the problem is the FOOD.

Nutritionist and best-selling author Pamela Smith is working with the hamburger chain to create the program.

Hmmm... I hope we don't start reading stories about her resigning as the head of the National McDonald's Fat Review Board and her allegations that working with McDonald's execs was like trying to deal with the "Casa Nostra of fat".
No 'Blogging today as my head cold has progressed to Defcon 4. Since I don't even know what that means, I'm spending as much time as possible in bed. Fr. Bryce has a number of recent posts worth reading, though, so check him out... he's even Michael S. Rose's new film critic! Read his review of The Shape of Things, a movie I'm going to see someday.

I really miss watching independent films. Maybe I should start considering NetFlix. Though on top of cable, that's probably overkill as far as the entertainment budget is concerned.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Woohoo! Thanks to Justin I'm another Song You Should Know! This week it's "Party For My Head" and you can read the lyrics here (scroll down a bit). This is probably the most paranoid of the songs on the Robot Love (buy it) album. It's about a guy who is, well, kind of paranoid and just wants to relax in the sun but even everyday types of things make him anxious. It also has a pretty cool bridge, if I recall. Definitely one of my more "rockin'" tunes.
Unbeknownst to dad, we've secretly put a tiny fist zooming towards his face.


Xander and Daddy
Reuters: Sharon Threatens to Hit Israel's Enemies Anywhere

Yikes! I guess that means I can only sit and wait for one of those air-to-surface missles to come screaming down my chimney. Though, I'm not really so much of an enemy as a critic -- a concerned bystander, at most. I hope Sharon is sane enough to draw that line.
This Will Cheer You Up

Elf! Starring Will Farrell (directed by Jon Favreau!)

Click on "All About Buddy" in the lower-left corner and then "Trailer" and then watch the trailer. Hilarious stuff. I've never laughed at a trailer before, until I saw this one ("He's an angry elf." Hee-hee!).

Directed by Jon Favreau of "Swingers" and "Made" (which still has one of the best endings ever) and starring Will Farrell (with Faizon Love!) how could this not be good? Need more convincing? Jeff Gavins' "Morning Air" program saw a preview and really liked it -- it may not be explicitly Christian, but even they had to admit it had a good message. It opens November 7. We never go to movies in the theater anymore, but I may have to make an exception in this case.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Dear Screwtape....

That's why people with pro-choice inclinations are so complacent today: They aren't afraid. It's also why expanding the pro-choice agenda to include more radical ambitions is dangerous: It threatens to ignite more fear among people with conservative or pro-life inclinations.

Oh, dear God: what on earth could be a more "radical ambition" than partial-birth abortions on demand? I don't even want to contemplate such things.

Funny, isn't it, how Slate handily includes easy links at the bottom of that bit of tripe to buy Frauline Feldt's book (be pro-choice: choose the best price!) but this story about what happens when a Pope kicks the bucket contains no links to any of the books by the current Pope, or any by any previous Pope.

And what's up with the cover art for "Behind Every Choice, It's-a Gory!"? It's like an even weirder, less-densely populated, more daemonic version of The Beatle's "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album art.
Mark Shea can say so much with so few (but not too few) words.
Not a bad first attempt. But if you ask me, they should've come brandishing rakes and torches and impeachment papers.
Note to teenagers: This is not irony.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Karl S. (check out his book, which has really helped me enjoy the shows on a whole new level) has a great idea: hows about me putting together a guide for how to make music on the computer for little or no money.

I will certainly start putting something like this together. What with USB/MIDI controller keyboards and so much freebie software out there, this is certainly something almost anyone could do. There's probably no way to do it for absolutely free, with an off-the-shelf PC, but you can certainly do it for well under $300 in additional hardware. Basically, the two things you'd need are a MIDI keyboard (and if you have an old CASIO with MIDI output lying around, you'd just need a cheap ($30) MIDI/USB interface) and an ASIO-capable soundcard (ASIO is an audio driver that most software-instruments support) and you can pick those up for around $100-150. If you don't have a MIDI keyboard, you can pick up USB-compatible MIDI keybaords for under $150.

There are other ways you can do it, of course, using your computer keyboard as the music keyboard or just getting a program like Band-In-A-Box where you type in the chord changes and select a musical style, and do it that way or a program like MixMan or E-Jay where you just throw loops together to make techno songs... but I'll assume that this guide will be for folks who are a little more serious, musically speaking, then that. This will be for the true DIY-er who wants to compose, record, and edit their own original music.

So I'll start working on that guide (I won't make too many specific hardware recommendations, and those which I do make I'll largely be taking from reviews I've read in Computer Music and Sound-On-Sound magazines) this week.

Saturday, October 04, 2003

A Mighty Wind

If you read this 'blog then you probably know that we don't get out to see movies... ever. There's just no point, considering that we've invested in a decent sound system and since movies come out on DVD so quickly anyway. So we didn't see A Mighty Wind until tonight. I'm a fairly big fan of Christopher Guest's movies (I actually saw Waiting for Guffman in the theater, when it made it's 12 city theatrical release tour back in '97 or whenever) and I really enjoyed his latest. I doubt anything he does between now and the rest of his life will ever be as funny as This is Spinal Tap, but I think Wind is the better of the three latter-day Guest films. It certainly is the nicest. And what was up with Eugene Levy? He totally walked away with the movie, this tme, which is good considering he was kind of wasted in Best of Show.

Anyway, make sure you at least rent the DVD for this one, even if you've seen it in the theater, because it has like a dozen deleted scenes which features some neat stuff (like songs which didn't even make it into the credits). Oh! And one of the scenes mentions a fictional website, which it looks like someone bothered to register afterwards). Not only that, but the DVD has the entire Town Hall concert filmed on video, just like it'd be broadcast on PBS (er, PBN), so you can hear all the songs in their entirety, which is cool (you can finally figure out what that "potato's in the paddy wagon" song was all about). All this along with commentary for the deleted scenes and the movie itself should keep you busy for a while.

It's definitely a must-rent.

Friday, October 03, 2003

Sorry it's been such a light-blogging day today. I found a really awesome SoundFont site and have already downloaded about 350+MB of mostly orchestral samples. If anyone is interested, maybe tomorrow I'll post some links to standalone SoundFont players so those of you with MIDI keyboards (or even just MIDI files) can play around with them. They're fun... and free.

Don't know how much music I'll do this weekend as my funk tumb is very sore. It's got an ingrown thumbnail and that makes playing a little painful.

Okay, is it just me, or is anyone else out there finding it slightly more difficult as of late to defend the Republican party, or at least certain members of it?

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Austrian Cardinal Says Pope is Facing 'Last Days'

I really can't offer anything too profound on this (other than that, in some respect, we're all of us facing our last days). Certainly nothing nearly as profound as this: that "the Pope has chosen to let the world see his battle with a degenerative illness".
Nigerians happiest! You, not so much.
Listen as Terri Gross interviews free-market, limited-government, taxpayer-champion, NRA-board-member Grover Norquist. She almost wet herself, I think, about 30-35 minutes into the interview, when Grover started talking about being an American involves accepting the possibility and responsibility of armed resistance against the government. Not as entertaining as her interview with Gene Simmons a year or more back, when Gene said that Terri was afraid of his manhood or whatever (and no, that interview is not available on line... and yes, I do have a copy of it on my hard-drive), but still fun. Grover wisely ignores Terri's bewildered line of questioning, towards the end, when she attempts to discover what sorts of experiences (though I think she called them life events or something) could possibly have turned such a rational and well-spoken individual into such a conservative nutjob. Lord only knows what she expected him to say.

A fun interview.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Ovusoft: a company whose name you hope you never hear implicated in a coprorate scandal.

Has anyone out there tried this software? Does it offer anything beyond just charting with pen and paper?
Yes, my sister went to our small (<400 students) High School with Andrew WK. And yes, Jackie went to High School with Matt Keeslar. And yes, I live with the private shame of not being as famous as either of them every day.
TOTALLY STOKED!!

It's the season premiere of Angel tonight -- in just three-and-a-half-hours. We'll see if I can stay awake: I totally rearranged my sleep schedule so I could be up for it and that was going great until some jokers on my street decided that now would be a good time to grind up an entire tree.

Anyway, it should rock!
And the sour grapes award goes to...

The uncredited AP "reporter" responsible for this crap: House, Senate Negotiators Agree On Abortion Bill

Some highlights...

Supporters of the ban say it would end an inhumane practice.

Yeah... partial birth abortion is an "inhumane practice", all right -- like, you know, paying your workers less than $6.50/hour is an "inhumane practice".

....Meanwhile, Michigan lawmakers have approved a bill that would ban certain late-term abortion procedures. The measure defines the moment of birth as being when any part of a fetus is expelled from a woman's body.

Uhhh... and what else could birth be? Unless we want to redefine birth completely (and I'm not saying that people as ghoulish as the author of this story so obviously is don't want to redefine it). "Happy Fetal Expellation Day, to you! Happy Fetal Expellation Day, to you! Happy Fetal Expellation Day to the only slightly more advanced paraaaaa-site. Happy Fetal Expellation Day, to you!"

Supporters say the bill is needed because previous court decisions about abortion have not clarified the beginning of life. Opponents say the measure will severely restrict abortions.

Funny... that's what the supporters hope, too.

If this story had any more doublespeak in it, it'd be left pining away for Narcissus for all eternity.

It just goes to show you that when you begin to consider partial-birth abortion as even a partial bit morally licit (though I will be the first to admit that for the pro-death crowd, morality never enters into it), you really have shown the world that you don't really care about what your children think of you (hence, the great big shrug of indifference towards those who would kill them). And if you don't care what your children think of you, then there's no reason to assume that you have any care for what any one else thinks about you. Universalize that and society (what's left of it) collapses.