Sunday, August 31, 2003

Did I miss something? Did YACCs comments just disappear from the Earth or something? Hmmm.
So before Mass today Herr Gottesdienstfuhrer approaches the microphone and says that today there's "something familiar -- and a little different" which in Liturgical Director speak means "bend over -- and this time, no lube". What it was this time was a rousing version of the anthemic (or should that be anathemic?) "All Are Welcome" -- only this time he broke up the verses so that the female comrades sang one verse and the male comrades the other. Since I knew I'd never have those six minutes of my life back, I read the Memorae over and over again.

Anyway, then Father went into his homily on the Gospel (which was about not being so concerned about the externals, and watching out for the things which defile you from within). A lot of meat to that Gospel, but Father chose to use the occasion to mock the faithful who approach him ("every week" since he's become a priest) wondering why there aren't any statues in the Church. "Does anyone really think that having statues in the Church would help you live out the Gospel one bit better?" And then he mocked folks who miss the Latin liturgy by babbling on in Maltese for a few minutes -- to illustrate that liturgies in a "foreign language" are not any more holy than those in one's vulgar tongue.

I could write a letter defending the position that having statues around as a reminder of the holy lives lived by the saints does, in fact, provide a tangible sign of that holiness, and does help people live more holy lives. I could also point out that, following Father's reasoning, there's really no reason to have those stupid baskets of plants and pumpkins they put all over the front of the Church (or really any need for any candles, walls, or anything else that makes up a Church) could point out that Latin is not a "foreign language". I could point out that if "All Are Welcome", why shouldn't that apply to statues, and to a bit of Latin chant every now and then? And a hundred other things. I could do that, but I'm too tired.

Instead, I've decided that they'll get not one more red cent of my money. So if anyone has any good and worthy faithful Catholic organizations who would like to receive our meager contributions instead, please let me know of them in the comments section and we'll see about getting them a check.
This is the most horrible thing I've ever read:

Kansas City Star: Officials Probe Bizarre Pa. Bank Robbery

A pizza delivery man told police he had been forced to rob a bank and asked authorities to help him minutes before a bomb strapped to his chest exploded and killed him.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Sorry! Light 'blogging today as I've been so sleepy. I will say this, though: for my birthday last weekend my sister got me the first season of Angel on DVD and Jackie and I have been enjoying watching those first episodes from four years ago immensely. The episodes look and sound GREAT -- much better than when I had to watch them on crummy dual-headed-VCR-recorded-VHS tapes. If anyone is looking for a good introduction to the Buffy Universe, I would suggest starting with seasons 1-3 of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer (all of which are available on DVD, maybe even at your public libary -- they're at ours) and then the first season of Angel (which ran alongside Season 4 of Buffy). There's really no reason to watch seasons 4-7 of Buffy or season 2 of Angel (aside from the last four episodes of season 2, of course, which take place in alternate-dimension Pylia). Seasons 3 and 4 of Angel are okay, but watching the early episodes of season 1 again, well... those early episodes are still the best.

Anyway, for any Buffy or Angel fans out there who have been putting off the purchase of season 1 of Angel, it's well worth picking up (especially if you receive it as a gift).

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Hall of Technical Documentation Weirdness

Yay! My favorite!

Thanks, RC!
Drug Use Impairs Ability to Write Coherent Headlines

Ummm... how could anyone, drug-user or not, learn from "experiences" that haven't even happened yet and might not even happen at all?

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

"Ask me about our reduced rates!"

Aunt Maggie Sanger
Hey! Everybody Rave!

It doesn't cost anything and if they get enough signatures you'll be able to hear Greg Popcak's voice from anywhere in the country -- NAY! Anywhere in the WORLD!!

Seriously, this is a worthy use of thirty of your seconds. I'm signer number 71! Which number will YOU be? One quick question, though: if FM is Frequency Modulation and AM is Amplitude Modulation, what is this "X" that is being modulated in XM? Would it have been less of a stretch to call it SM radio (S for Satellite)? Though I guess no one would wnat to have their programming carried on something called "SM Radio".

Anyway, sign the petition and when you finally do get an XM receiver in your car you'll thank yourself.
Florida Woman Faces Death by Starvation

In the past, Judge Greer has sided with the husband in denying permission for the parents to make audio or video tapes of their conversations with Terri.

Sorry, but you're a non-person. As soon as the Judge lets me starve you to death I can FINALLY move on with my life. Forget Ash for a moment: I would LOVE to see a movie called "Freddie Vs. Jason Vs. Michael Schiavo".
I will never, under any circumstances, see "Freddie Vs. Jason". I'm a fan of neither series. But, THIS would be worth catching on cable for sure (should it ever see the light of day). I hate to spoil the ending before the project's even been greenlighted and a script's been written but... Ash wins.

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Victor's Best Song Ever

Well, I think it's pretty okay, anyway. In honor of my birthday (though, more in honor of my birthday present, FL Studio), here is a brand new song. It's not like anything I've ever done before (it's more... uh... what's the word... listenable?) and I think it's pretty cool. Thanks to my new schedule (in which I wake up every morning at 1:30 AM) I'm inspired to write songs about folks who live that sort of lifestyle... you know, getting up in the middle of the night and going to work, going to bed while the sun's still out, etc. This is the first one of those songs.

Victor Lams - 2AM Commute (.mp3 format) approx 3.8MB. Right-click to save as, etc.

Let me know what you think!
Just stumbled upon Sarcasmo's Corner 'Blog and they've got plenty of great links. For example, in addition to the neat video I blogged below, not only is there a site which has emulations of all those great hand-held LCD Game & Watch games from the early '80s, but there's another site that lets you build your own hell... Here's mine!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some old memories of Mario's Cement Factory to relive...
Imagine a world....

...without Christopher Walken. In such a world, that Fatboy Slim/Spike Jonez video "Weapon of Choice" might've looked something like this. Very nicely done.
anti-genre elite corps: genre-elimination by august highland and the worldwide literati mobilization network

our special forces are on assignment to eradicate every last vestige of plot and narrative from literature - genre is a deadly foe with a far-ranging organization of men and women sworn to defend genre-writing to the death - but we are successfully disrupting the organization by removing the principal participants

Whoever August Highland is, he is a busy person. In addition to the anti-genre elite corps, he's also the editor-in-chief of The Muse Apprentice Guild, producer of the Digital Media Generation ("three stay-at-home cyber-moms pick up the pace of the worldwide literati mobilization network by blasting open the envelope of hyper-literary fiction with their own blend of womb logic and primal wryting..."), and creator of Culture Animal -- among who knows how many other sites devoted to "Hyper-Literary Fiction, Microlinear Storytelling and Metapoetics Theatre".

Just as soon as the movement produces anything that is either comprehensible or of value, I will let you know.
Slain priest's Book Airs Corruption Charges in Kenya

I would be interested in getting a copy of this book in English translation. This is a really horrifying story because it not only implicates the local Kenyan dictator but the international donor community as well: based on what I've read, though, I have to agree with the late Fr. Kaiser's statement about the donor community's "overall policy for Africa, bent at reducing the human population."
Radicals torch SUVs at 4 California dealerships

Probably not the smartest thing to do in this era of the Patroit Act. It'll be interesting to see how these terrorists are treated, under the Davis administration and then, later, under the Swartzenegger administration.

Hey -- did anyone see that movie "Demolition Man" (and I'm not sure that anyone actually did) which came out ten years ago? It takes place in 2013 and at one point one of the characters makes reference to the "Swartzenegger Library" named after President Swartzenegger (popular appeal led to the passing of the 61st Amendment, which made him eligible). Scary.

Friday, August 22, 2003

The "Luther, The Graphic Novel" (from the nice folks at Faith Mast--er--Inkubators who tell us to "Cancel all Sunday School and adult education classes this September and get ready to replace them with a world of wonderful resources built around a new major motion picture on the life of Martin Luther...." But wait: if we cancel all Sunday School and Adult education classes, how on earth will people read the Bible? Should we really be replacing reading the Bible with watching a movie and reading the supplemental material -- read: coloring books -- to that movie?) is making the rounds these days but for my money, you just can't beat some good, clean, mature "Chip 'N' Dale's Rescue Rangers" fanfic. The best part is when you get to the very end, page 212 or whatever, and the author's identity (and motives) are revealed.

Wait a minute... on the Faith Inkubators site.. why is the "Finklopedia" password-protected and accessible by members only? Isn't that restricting access to a valuable resource to only the priveldged few? How can we make our own judgments about the contents of the Finklopedia unless we have access to it ourselves?
Oh and tomorrow's my birthday so you can send me e-cards or e-cash or e-liquor if you want (hint! hint!)!
Whenever those Kohl's commercials come on and the people at the end sing "It's all inside!" I like to pretend they're really singing "You've all been fired!" because it reminds me of the time at WorldCom when our director came out from Virginia and told us we'd all been fired.

Update: Earl's right. That's the JC Penny (or, if you're from the midwest, "JC Penny's") slogan. Kohl's is "That's more like it!"
The free pizza, by the way, was courtesy of Toarmina's, home of the 24" pizza (which features, among other things, over a full pound of cheese) and the Captain-Lou-Albano-looking mascot.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Sea Sponge Inspires Better Fiber-Optic Cables.

Wow... look at how happy those packets of data look as they slide down the undersea light pipe and right up between... er... Sorry about that. Got my links crossed. The real story for that headline is here.
In the midst of the darkness there is a ray of light in the form of a coupon which arrived yesterday and read "Free Pizza: No Strings".

I called.

"What kind of pizza can I get for free?"

"Any kind you want."

"Can I get that pizza with grilled chicken, onions, and tomatoes?"

"Sure! It'll be ready in fifteen minutes!"

With air-conditioned anticipation I drove the two blocks to the house of the pizza monger. As promised, the lucious pie was ready in fifteen minutes and it was well and truly free. Since it cost nothing there was no sales tax and no tip. "I'll be back," I told the chef and took my prize home. "Whatever," he replied as I sailed out the door.

At home we enjoyed our pizza gratis. And as it had just been plucked from the oven it was crispy and delicious. And also very free. We will be back.

And life is indeed good.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Got an email today:

A Macro-Scienced Catholic Blog for Gathering Cultures!

A humorous "preemptive response" (or "peace tutorial") for gathering cultures...
Halley-Lieu-Ya-2-Ya! What's cooking Angels? Need Macro-Scienced Platoons? So Medieval...Methinks!

What ever it is, it's here. If anyone figures this out, please comment. My brain is too cooked to think.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

John Gibson has an excellent, detailed (I'm resisting the urge to say fair & balanced) post on the liturgy. I could only skim it at the moment, but I'm 'blogging it here so I can go over it in greater detail after work tomorrow. Check it out. I think there's a lot of us who think this way and I think there's a very good reason why that is. And I think I may've used "think" one or two too many times in that past sentence. It's been a day.

I guess it could always be worse. "Whaddya mean I can't eat dis food? I'm from New Yawk! I can eat whatteva da hell food I want!"
Here's a good way to make me angry: in addition to raising my health-insurance premium (which doesn't include dental, vision, etc.) to over $400/month (for a plan which covers none of our family's doctors because it's such crap that none of our doctors will have anything to do with it) don't tell me until I walk into the pharmacy that the co-pay for my allergy medicine (in fact: every allergy medicine, so there goes the chance of any alternative) is now $40. And that's the co-pay for pretty much every drug we use. So where we used to pay, say $40-60/month for prescription drugs, we'd now pay (assuming we ever buy a prescription drug again) $160-240 (on top of the premiums and the deductables which seem to apply to just about everything). Not that I am ungrateful in the least, mind you.

I love our totally fubar'd economy. The Bushites can applaud our new trade pact with Chile (the sucking sound has long since become a roar) as some sort of free-market coup, and our $4 billion/month engagement in Iraq as promoting some sort of freedom, but meanwhile, back here in reality, we're totally screwed. Here in America, aside from the priveledged few who run our country (and our jobs right out of it), we're all slaves.
Call me crazy, but I do not want an article with the headline "Giant Wasps Invade County" to inclde the text (a quote from an entomologist) "Bugs do the darndest things."

I love summer as much as the next guy, but I can't wait for the first frost to wipe these guys out.
The Irish Elk is all right by me! Check out his 'blog.

Monday, August 18, 2003

Just watched last night's season (two) finale of The Dead Zone, which Jackie taped for me. It was pretty darned cool. They're really doing some inventive stuff with the whole vision thing. Of course what really took it to the next level for me was not the storyline -- which was really clever and well-done and built upon the past season (or two) while setting up the next season (which is what all season finales should do) -- but Frank Whaley's performance as the future man. Frank Whaley is a truly awesome actor, was given a part with some meaning to play, and did a superb job. I hope they bring him back next season, a lot. Overall the show has some really oustanding writing and some not unworthy performances. Very nice.

As for me, well, it's time for The Bed Zone.
The article is a couple of years old but it's nice to see someone who has the appropriate appreciation for Kurt Elling.
After many months of searching, it fell right into my lap: the wrongest site ever:

ScoutWalker Kama Sutra

Here is but a brief excerpt...

Both side and central turrets of the performing scoutwalker can be used here to stimulate both rhythmically and randomly, affording a wide range of sensations. However, the recipient can do little in return beyond using their central turret to caress their partners hatch which - although affectionate - can be distracting for both.

And there are pictures (you have been warned). Please note: AT-STs are not Robots. They are vehicles. Therefore, this does not fall into the category of popular culture perversions of Robot Love.

Sunday, August 17, 2003 News: 'Bling Bling' Added To Oxford English Dictionary

I guess I must have missed that.
Note: For long form, include the parts in brackets bold-face type.

I wasn't feeling Fisky when I woke up this morning, but then we sang Marty Haugen's "All Are Welcome" at the beginning of Mass (text can be found on this webpage, below the picture). This tune could possibly be the new national anthem of Canada, for all of its banality and nonsensical inclusiveness.

But the song has another dimension as well: it's freakin' hilarious. I was cracking up as we sang through all five plodding verses. The lyrics are just so poorly written. It's a good thing no halfway-decent songwriters are writing liturgical music these days or beauty-hating hacks like Haugen would be out of work.

Highlights include this bon mot from verse two about a house "where all God's children dare to seek to dream God's reign anew". WTF!? "Dare to seek to dream"? Maybe Marty should have dared to read to check to examine to peruse a handbook of grammared basic English anew. I suppose it's possible for someone to "dare to seek" and maybe, maybe, one could "seek to dream" but when you put it all together it's so darned tentative as to be meaningless. Does Haugen, Inc. actually believe God wants us to just "dare to seek to dream" His reign (anew)? We couldn't get away with this in real life: "Hey, Victor! When are you going to mow the lawn?" "Well, you know, I'm daring to seek to dream the lawn mowed right now!" Excuse me while I puke to vomit to upchuck my lunch anew.

Moving along to verse three, there's the the incomprehensibly clumsy rhyming of "Jesus" and "frees us" (other rhymes for Jesus, for all you budding liturgical songwriters out there, include "killer bees us" and "Nathalie Duprees us"). That's worth a giggle. I'm surprised Haugen's never rhymed "butterfly" and "flutter by" in one of his "communion" ditties. For all I know, though, he has.

And then verse four begins: "Let us build a house where hands will reach beyond the wood and stone". For what it's worth, you can already do this sort of thing in my own house thanks to a little thing called "windows". Remember windows? They're the glass things that used to be stained way back when our Churches actually were made of stone (instead of concrete blocks).

But my absolute favorite bit, one which needs no commentary comes in verse five (as the organ swells and our "Director of Liturgical Ministries" or "Gottesdienstfuhrer" or whatever he's called -- the same guy who wants to make the liturgy "friendly to everyone", as he told us all today -- goes into his big rallentando). No, it's not the part where we learn that we're building a house "built of tears and cries and laughter" (I prefer building my houses of wood and nails and bricks, myself -- holds up better in these Michigan winters). It's the part where we learn we're supposed to be building a house "where all are named, their songs and visions heard". Think about that one for a second. Vision. Something that's seen. With your eyes. Heard. Something that's experienced with your ears. "Visions heard". Someone tell me why this cheap hack is still working and why we're still singing his crap in our Churches. Please.

All in all one could excuse some of these God-awful metaphors and muddled aphorisms if "All Are Welcome" had been written by a fourth-grader. I would get the impression, though, that if it had been written by a fourth-grader there'd at least be a sense of honesty in the lyrics; honesty, which is completely lacking in this particular example of Haugian pap.

Okay, I'm done.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Have you heard? Edi Amin Is Dead! (1.3MB .mp3 file, right-click to save).

More fun with the FL Studio demo.

Update: it turns out it was Idi Amin who died today (thanks, Michelle!) and not Edi Amin, Idi's younger brother who ran that famous chain of Ugandan ice cream factories. I apologize for the confusion.
Multidimensional Music has "8 CDs to expand consciousness, harmonize chakras, restore integrity, recover wholeness, to learn extrasensory perception, telepathy, INTUITION...". Anyone's who's paid up to $300 to have their chakras harmonized only to find out that the bastards used cheap foreign parts and didn't even bother to grease your yin OR yang, will find these CDs to be a steal. Hopefuly I've just described no one.

Anyway their most recent CD, High Places supposedly "activates DNA latent potential" -- and here I was thinking that Barry White's music was supposed to be the best at doing that.

Anyway, for those of you looking for a cheaper way to "favor a possible re distribution of information in our DNA" or be transported "into subtle spaces so that we may celebrate our re creation" should check out my CD. At $9, it's a lot cheaper than Madame Chollet's stuff and it won't bend or otherwise effect your chakra.
It's been a while since we've heard from Jeff Minter (anyone remember Attack of the Mutant Camels on the Commodore 64? How about Tempest 2k on the Atari Jaguar? "Superzapper recharggge..."). I'm VERY enthused to hear that Minter has teamed up with Peter "Populus" Molyneux to create a new shooter for the GameCube.

Don't bother looking for screenshots of it. Not on Lionhead Studio's page nor on Jeff Minter's Llamasoft page. I'm waiting for it but given Minter's work ethic (which rivals Stevie Wonder's, as far as releasing new material is concerned), I'm not holding my breath. Power Outage Q & A

Q: Was there looting in the streets?
A: Police reported some looting in Ottawa, Canada, but no other instances of law-breaking or civil disturbances.

That's right... no looting in Detroit. It was all in Canada. The worst thing anyone had to say about Detroit, judging from what I heard on our portable radio and television, was that one vendor, instead of selling ice for $1.25/bag was trying to get away with selling it at $3 for two bags (seriously: a local radio station ran this report of "price-gouging" from the breathless reporter twice on Thursday night).

Friday, August 15, 2003

New 'BlogTones may start appearing as early as next week. One never can tell. In the meantime check out what Fr. Bryce has to say about the last castrati.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and the Last Castrati... Now there's a movie that wouldn't do very well.

You never miss the electricity until the CANADIANS take it ALL away from YOU! We also learned what No Power does to a brand-new operations group. It galvinizes it. Plus, there's just something inspiring about watching your bosses work 28 hours straight, go home for five hours, and then come right back in.

Jackie is under strict orders (from herself, mostly :) to shoot me if I ever do that.

Well, they're telling us to conserve power so we don't lose it all again so I'm going to run WinDoctor real quick and shutdown. See you later!

Update: All of the sweating in 100-degree-heat-indexed mugginess (yes, it really was Too Damn Muggy In Here) has been worth it for the chance to hear the President refer to our power grid as "in-antiquaded" -- a masterful blending of inadequate and antiquated, wouldn't you agree?

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Chris has a very funny 'blog and you should be reading it! I especially enjoyed his comments on JPII's meditation on the Canticle of Tobit. I think the book of Tobit is one of the most undderrated books in history, not to mention the Bible. My dream, as many of you know, is to one day do a surreal, animated version of this story... for the present, that will have to wait. I did write a couple of songs about the book of Tobit, though, for my CD. One can be found on my here and the other can be found here. I didn't know at the time that I wrote it that "Sarah's Lullaby" was about that Sarah, but once I wrote the other song it kind of hit me that it maybe was.

CDs are still for sale, by the way. I'll probably never make another CD like "Robot Love" ever again and once supplies are gone they're gone. Just a few hundred copies left! Read the unsolicited reviews here (well, at least one of them was unsolicited).

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

The real tragedy is that, thanks to television and public education, most people nowadays can't read a headline like this... Republican Party Head Calls on Dean to Open Records

...and have this image immediately leap to mind.
Indeed, RC, James has spoofed our photo! What can I say? I get around. I did actually get to meet the Pope... twice. Once in Detroit in 1987 and again in Rome in 1997. There were about 100,000-150,000 people between me and JPII both times, though, so I don't think he'd remember me....

Thanks, James! That's real cute...

Justin's Song You Should Know this week is my "Homunculus"! "Homunculus" is probably one of my most favorite songs that I ever wrote, and definitely my favorite on the album. Not much behind that song, it just sort of came out. The synth-y funky vibe was contributed by my Novation Nova, which I happened to receive in the same week I got my car, which was about three years ago, right before we got married. I was fortunate to buy both synth and car before the wedding because after the wedding and honeymoon I wound up with about $23 left in my checking account. Anyway, that's not a very good story, but I do like the song. Oh yeah, all the synth parts (the bass, pad, lead, etc.) were all played "live" withouth sequencing, direct to audio (though I did overdub the different tracks, obviously)... I hadn't yet, at that time, hooked up the Nova to my MIDI interface, so anxious was I to crank out a song with it. Perhaps this accounts for the expressiveness of the playing.

Speaking of music, does anyone else find "STOP! (The Love You Save May Be Your Own)" by the Jackson 5 to be essentially creepy on about three or four different levels?

Anyway, if you want to ride, don't ride the white horse.
I'm going to be a little scarce from 'blogging tomorrow, so don't be disappointed. After work I need to come home and jump right into bed (leaping through dinner) in order to be able to make it up for my new shift: the coveted 3am shift. Everyone says how lucky I am to be able to be done with my day by 11am. Perhaps they are right. Perhaps this will be just the jump-start my muse needs (granted, a lot of my music may wind up being about that spiteful, hot, bright thing in the sky that robs me of my sleep, but I will be creating nonetheless). I've worked this shift before (though it was from 3am to 1pm and only four days a week) and managed pretty well (I had mono at the time, and didn't know it for a while... so I kept wondering why I was so tired all the time... even though I was getting four hours of sleep a night... in an un-air-conditioned apartment in Michigan in spring and summer... wow... that really sucked... but I didn't miss a single day of work for those six months). Anyway, light 'blogging tomorrow because of the early morning on Friday.
This little cartoon music video is pretty cute (at least until you get about halfway through it... then it takes a distressingly disturbing turn -- even though it stays mostly cute). Nice retro-8-bit graphic work there, evocative of the days of the Commodore-64 and the Koala pad (and I'm still looking for my Koala pad cartridge, which got misplaced somewhere along the way). Anyway, thanks Fr. Bryce for the link!

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

It's so... cute?

Ted should probably settle for something like that and leave the other stuff alone.
Be sure to check out Fr. Bryce's Money Talk (which I am proud to host here on this server. That said, please listen to the RealAudio versions as they're 1/3 the size of the .mp3 files ;). It is seriously poignant and wildly entertaining. If it doesn't cause you to look inwards and feel like you could be doing more than you either don't have a pulse or you don't have ears. Iraq War Protesters Face Fines; 'Human Shields' Violated U.S. Sanctions, Treasury Says

Not only that but, not too long ago, they faced something far more horrible than a $10,000 fine (ah, the irony: that their fines should be used to support the "rebuilding" of Iraq)... my worst. song. ever.

Monday, August 11, 2003

Hmmm... A portion of the "Shakespeare in Love" script as translated by the DA ENGLISH-2-12-Y3AR-OLD-AOLER TRANSLA2R.



WIL: IT IS STRANG3 2 ME 2 !!!!!!





I'll be following this in greater detail this evening. Talking Cadaver Embraces Centrism

Seriously, look at that picture. Could anyone look more like a corpse, even if they were a corpse? Yeeeech.

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Kinda neat: the second season of USA's The Dead Zone has been very well executed thus far (the parallel universe episode which followed the plot of the original movie, as opposed to the character and story arcs which have been developed over the past two seasons, was particularly interesting). Anyway, over the past few episodes Johnny has been seeing a freaky hooded figure in the background and while who or what this person is has not been explained. Though on tonight's episode we find out who's playing the hooded figure... it's FRANK WHALEY!!!! I mainly remember him from "Swimming With Sharks", of course, but in next week's episode of The Dead Zone (and now I kinda wish we'd stayed to watch the preview) he plays "Future Man" (according to

Of course, there already is a Futureman, but I don't think he has anything to do with The Dead Zone.
The lazy composer inside of me, the one who just wants to make music because it's fun, has been having a blast in his spare time over the past two days with the v4.12 demo of FLStudio. It's obvious that the program's lead developer has a background in videogame development because this is one fun program to use. The new version comes with a version of reFX's "Slayer" guitar synthesizer, which is a blast to fiddle around with. The demo, unfortunately, doesn't let you save your projects so I'm limited at this point to whatever I can whip up in about 20 minutes ('cos when you quit the program it's gone forever). So until it's my birthday, I'm limited to weird tunes like this ponderous little number.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

RC is real! So is Fr. Bryce!

I've seen them both! I know that most people don't believe that they are unreal but until you actually meet in person the people you meet online you have no way of knowing if they're actual people or just clever sims (or 'bots'). Fr. Bryce and RC are not 'bots -- I know this to be true. Disbelieve it if you must.

Anyway, you're probably wondering how we (Jackie, 'Xander, and I) came to meet them. Well, Ave Maria College (pretty weird to hear kids on a college campus walking around complaining about the "novus ordo" to each other) in Ypsi (one city block is given over to the college near historic Depot Town, which is just one block over from historic Crack Town and historic Adult Bookstore Town) held a conference on the Eucharist, John Paul II, and St. Thomas Aquinas. We arranged to go to vigil Mass there (celebrated by Cardinal Avery Dulles) and in addition to existing, RC has a wonderful singing voice (he guided me through the plainsong Gloria... I wish I could say I'd had an occasion to sing that before). Baby 'Xander found a cabinet to climb in and out of and was his usual rambunctious self. After Mass RC arranged it so we could stay for the dinner (surf and turf -- and you know that whenever Tom Monahan is involved the food is going to be good) and hear Cardinal Dulles speak. Thanks, RC!!!

It was also a thrill to meet Fr. Bryce. I got some good tips on movies ("28 Days Later" is now on my must-rent-when-it-comes-out-on-DVD list and "Huffing Liza" is off my might-be-a-good-movie? list) and the writings of JPII (I know to stay away from the english translation of "The Person in Action" which is currently in print) and I also learned why young priests these days are rediscovering cassocks. I also really need to check out some of Nick Cave's music, too. Fr. Bryce even let 'Xander talk on his cel phone, which the little guy did for a good fifteen minutes as the conference was wrapping up. I assume that a priest's cel phone is as close to a straight shot to God as you're going to get, so I'm glad 'Xander had so much to say. All in all it was a wonderful evening and I learned some stuff too about how JPII's exitentialism was not altogether incompatible with Thomistic thought (more importantly: I learned that it's okay to be a good Catholic and, at the level of philosophy, bel;ieve that there may be better ways of describing Truth and subjective experience -- meaning -- than straight Thomism. Aquinas is still unmatched in the field of liturgical music composition, however). I also got to meet a "pastor emeritus" Fr. William Witt who borrowed my cel phone and told me that God loves me and "doesn't find it difficult to do so." I hadn't heard it put quite like that before.

Anyway, here is an actual photo from this historic meeting (I thought the world would implode when three St. 'Bloggers of the exact same height -- and one very good little boy -- all came together in the same place but this did not happen). 'Xander is a little blurry in the picture because he is in a constant state of motion Click here for an accidentally-recorded "making of" .mpg movie of this historic photo (which, incidentally, addresses the "realness" of its participants, for those who still doubt the veracity of the photo). If you right-click to open photo in new window or save it or something, you can see it get really big.

Los Tres 'Blogeros
"'Owdy, Guv'nor!"

'Owdy, Guv'nor! Mattingly on Sullivan.

Friday, August 08, 2003

Thanks to Jackie, I have a new guilty pleasure: Pecola, which you can see every day on the Cartoon Network at 7:30am. It's a joint Canadian/Japanese cartoon with computer animation which is a sort of creative hybrid of Nintendo's Animal Crossing and Rodney Greenblat's Parappa. As the voice cast is Canadian, fans of the Beetlejuice cartoon (and the Stratford Theatre Festival will undoubtedly recognize Stephen Ouimette's name in the credits.

Anyway: mindless fun but the characters are so creatively rendered it's hard not to smile whenever Robo-Pecola gets in troulble and Pecola gets blamed for it.
Jaded Slate writer and self-professed "stand-up" performer (look, the byline refers to at least one "stand-up performance" he gave, so I have to take it at face value -- and I'll be standing up myself here in a just a few minutes, in case you'd care to watch that, too) blasts Bob Hope: "Hopeless: Did Bob Hope ever say anything funny?"

I've never witnessed a Bob Hope stand-up routine, but I went through adolesence watching the "Road to..." movies and "Paleface" and I found them hilarious. I really can't understand the appeal now in blasting a 100-year-old dead comic because you didn't like their material unless it's jealousy on the part of Mr. Christopher Hitchens who, I guess, is also some kind of writer, too -- though I've never heard of him. I guess there's a reason why Bob Hope is much-beloved by anyone with a soul and Christopher Hitchens is not and is destined to die embittered and alone, having mindlessly torn apart anyone who ever got close to him. It's sad really. I wonder if he's going to dig up Erma Bombeck's corpse next and pee all over that, too.

And he has no HTML design sense at all. Hey! Is that a webpage or the menu for the Webster, South Dakota, A&W restaurant? Oh -- it's Christopher Hitchens' webpage! At least the A&W menu is easy to look at and makes sense.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Found this in the online manual for a piece of music software I'm evaluating....

SlicyDrummer's user interface is exceptionally simple and easy. By scroll-selecting the prerecorded patterns for any of your drum instruments independently, you can quickly create drum loops of any sonically appropriate combination, exactly the same way you would try to create appropriate face image with photo robot.

"Face image with photo robot?" What?! I think I know what they're talking about, those games where you have a face split up horizontally into three different sections and you try to match them up... I've just never heard that referred to as a "photo robot" before. Unless I'm missing something? Are they referring to those photo kiosks they have at Meijer's?

Tuesday, August 05, 2003


Okay, I don't normally link to sites with material that's at all questionable, but this is too important to not 'blog. A few days back I 'blogged the story about the kid who caught the pedophile by using the camera on his mobile phone to take pictures of him. I remarked that, while that was an admirable use for a camera phone, given the "stealth" aspects of most camera phones and their easy portability, most 15-year-olds would not be using them to catch criminals. Thanks to a link provided by a Superfriend, one of the more insidious uses for mobile camera phones has finally crawled out of the dark and twisted shadows of the male adolescent brain. This is the most disgusting and perverted site of clandestinely-taken photos of people's butts that I've ever seen and of course you won't fully appreciate that yourself until after you've voted on the first two or three... dozen. (Apparently the site also features photos of men but seeing as how I'm not running for bishop of any Episcopalian diocese, I didn't bother checking those out and then posting the link on a Wiggles fanpage or something).

So seriously, if you see someone walking around behind you with a mobile phone held out at arm's length they're probably not doing it for better reception. Or, as George Clinton once put it: "Duck and cover: nuclear butt bomb booty, bang, bang."* Consider yourself warned.

(*Which was the name and chorus of a song Clinton wrote for his son Trey Lewd's thoroughly disgusting and utterly hilarious album of P-Funkenalia "Drop The Line". If you don't get terribly offended very easily and can find this record in a cut-out bin -- if you can still find a cut-out bin anywhere -- pick this one up. Easily the best P-Funk album of the past 15 years).

Monday, August 04, 2003

One of these days I'm going to scan in all of the corporate ID card "photographs" (roughly half were digital pictographs, which IS NOT PHOTOGRAPHY!) which have been taken of me over the past five years or so. They start out with my ANS card from 1998 which shows a young kid, not quite straight out of college but close enough and I looked pretty good... there's a definite twinkle in my eye, followed closely by my UUNET Id from 1999 where I had mono and looked sullen and hungry, though still young. In early 2002 I had an ID picture taken for WorldCom, after I'd been a manager (for a corporation which has, to date, committed over $11,000,000,000US in fraud) for nearly two years, and I was starting to look old. Not "grey-haired Ricardo Montalban old" but more like "saggy-eyed joie de vivre-all-gone old"). Most recenly I had a photo taken for my current employer and... man... I'm not saying I look like a cadaver just yet, but... well, I'll dig up all the pictures someday. The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long they say (not to say I'm burning twice as bright as anything) but at some level you really have to wonder if it's all worth it. Either that or, somewhere, there is hanging a portrait of me that's looking more youthful by the minute.
It's all about the bennies!

Thanks for the rebate! See, you can tell there's a Republican in the White House: $4 billion/month going overseas to rebuild Iraq and we're still getting checks in the mail. Anyway. It's my money. Thanks for giving some back.
"See? I'm not afraid of cooties!"

(Sorry, couldn't resist a little photo captioning there). Hmmm... Homosexual clergy involved in sexual misconduct and pornography allegations? Quelle surprise! Hasn't anyone been paying attention to a little thing we like to call "The Situation" over the past 18 months? Or has it really been that badly misreported (the double negative in this case is emphatic)?
James of "Catholic and Loving It" 'blog 'blogs the worst. homily. ever (compleat with audio clips!). (And I can't believe I just. used. periods. in. that. way. -- it's a first for me, but I wasn't sure how else to accurately render the comicbook store guy's catchphrase). Seriously, check this out and I'm guessing that no matter who you are (if you're a Catholic) your homily this past Sunday was oodles better than this one (ours was!). At least I'm guessing your priest didn't tell you to take "a summer off from Church" (great idea! And maybe I can take a summer off from my job and oxygen and gravity, as well?).

Immediately following that post (or I guess preceding it, no, I guess it follows the previous post -- never mind) is the most ringing endorsement for a Mark Shea product ever.

Anyway, that's it for me. TTYL!

Sunday, August 03, 2003 Camera phone used as crime-stopper

Anything that makes kids safer is okay in my book! Though I'm sure that most camera phones used by 15-year-olds won't be used in this manner and parents should of course use judgment in issuing such devices to their kids.

Saturday, August 02, 2003

Today's crazy song of the day comes couresy of Check out their preview of Nintendo's Giftpia, then scroll down to the Media Page link, click that, and at the bottom of the right column on that page you'll find the .mp3 "Crazy, crazy Giftpia opening musical theme (3:31 min, MP3)".

It's worth the effort. Believe me. Easily the most musically-inspiring piece I've heard in a while.

For a video trailer of Giftpia (which features the coolest cartoon robot I've seen in a while) check out this page.

Friday, August 01, 2003

"You sunk my battleship!" what Andrew Sullivan would be saying if he were cool. Mark Shea has got his number. I never really read Andrew Sullivan (except for the one time Zorak tricked me by saying that he said my puppet was gay) but one gets the impression that the way some befuddled conservatives ("Duh... Social Conservatism? What's that? Is that where I get people to like me by keeping mum on mismatched domestic partnerships and abortion and just hope that no one asks about my support of the killing of US soldiers and Iraqi civilians in liberation of Iraq?") adore the (self-described) "pot-bellied" homophile (and he probably draws attention to his numerous other unattractive features in the remainder of that article, but you need to pay your money to Satan, er I mean Salon, to read the rest of the piece) what Mr. Shea said needed to be said. I hope he never gets '"Blogger Remorse" and deletes that post.

The Church can afford to lose Mr. Sullivan, even if Mr. Sullivan cannot afford to lose the Church.
Q: Say, Victor... Can you point me to a bunch of songs by anti-Catholic "Irish" loyalists?

A: Sure can! Check out the Londonderry Loyalists, world-reknowned for their take on the classic western prarie-song "Home on the Range", "No Pope of Rome". Don't forget to visit their "Ring Tones" page where, no you can't download ringtones, but you can get the approximate note values to program your own ringtones.

Q: To a cel phone wouldn't "No Pope of Rome" be pretty much "Home on the Range" and wouldn't someone in Ireland get lots of weird looks if their cel phone played "Home on the Range" all the time?

A: Probably.

Q: And what about that line "And flute bands play The Sash every day"? That doesn't even fit the meter of the piece. It doesn't scan at all the way "And the skies are not cloudy all day." And what's up with verse 2? How could that ever even possibly be sung to the tune?

A: The British and British loyalists have no sense of rhythm. Listen to any "dance" music coming out, or that's ever come out, of the UK (including Elton John and the Beatles, I guess) and this will become immediately apparent. No rhythm. It's sad. My hunch is that this has something to do with contraception, but I could never prove that a fact.
David Horowitz on The Passion: "It is as close to a religious experience as art can get."