Friday, December 31, 2004

Has it really been 11 days since the last post? Well, okay, normal 'blogging will soon resume. I've been taking some time off from everything to get acquainted with a new PS2. New 'BlogTone this weekend, too!

Monday, December 20, 2004


Ever since I saw the first previews last September, I've wanted to see Elf. When I couldn't see it in the theatres, I realized that the DVD release was probably going to be held until the "Holiday Season" this year. It was definitely worth the wait and lived up to all my expectations. It's really funny. And even though I know that Santa Claus was just invented by Washington Irving to put down the rowdy Catholic wassail in this country (darned puritans!) it's still my favorite "Christmas movie" of all time. I want to see it again now!

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Many New or Expectant Mothers Die Violent Deaths

Surprise, surprise, surprise. This couldn't have anything to do with a culture which has made it a woman's right to choose whether or not their unborn baby gets to die a violent death? But then, what about a man's right to choose? What if he doesn't want to have the baby... or a wife/girlfriend/committment? Why shouldn't he have the right to "abort" his family (or family to be -- a "fetal family", if you will) if thats what he chooses? Maybe in ten years when the Scott Peterson case makes it to the U.S. Supreme Court we'll be at a point in our society where a man's right to choose will just seem a natural consequence of Roe v. Wade and Peterson will be lauded as a hero in the fight for human rights. Men will march in rallies carrying signs with handguns or hunting knives with "no" signs over them (similar to those old clothes-hanger signs) to commemorate all the "unsafe, back-alley family abortions" (because if you draw a gun or a knife on someone, there's always a chance they'll be armed and shoot back -- and that really can endanger the life of the father) before family abortions became safe and legal. There will be debates in Congress (those politician most in favor of family abortion will see themselves proudly named on "Scott's List") to determine how much in aid we send overseas to promote the right of men to abort their families... and on this the U.S. will finally have made common ground with the radical Islamic states (and we'll be one step closer to world peace). Instead of condemning these men to death, shouldn't be praising them, holding dinners in their honor?

UPDATE: ScrappleFace beat me to it and was funny about it.

Well played, Scrappleface. You win this round....

Saturday, December 18, 2004

New "Doctor Who" series official webpage.

There's a teaser trailer up there, but it's nothing to write home about just yet.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Just when you think NPR was getting all cool and populist (last night "All Things Considered from a Liberal Point of View" featured a story on Karaoke Revolution for the PS2) they run this piece which all but accuses the only American diplomats in Cuba of antagonizing poor old Castro and putting all of U.S. Business' interests (since when did NPR ever care about U.S. Business' interests) in Cuba in jeopardy -- by putting up some Christmas lights and the number "75" on a sign.
Praise God.

It's the most awful thing imaginable just about that the mother should die that way, but you can definitely tell she was up in Heaven interceding for the life of her baby. Notice how now that the poor kid has been found alive she's now a "baby" and not a "fetus" (at least as far as most news outlets are concerned. Queer dat. I wonder, though: since she was never "born" will she remain to some a fetus? Will she be going into job interviews twenty-two years from now and be expected to introduce herself as a 22-year-old fetus?

Even the "conservative" Fox News Network maintained she was a fetus all throughout the search. Bastards. If you ask me they're not much better than the folks who murdered her mother: they killed the mother with a kife, Fox News would kill the baby by denying her humanity -- at least until it becomes impossible (oh, the kid survived? Must be a baby) to do so.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Holiday Classic

Kathy Shaidle's "The Night Before Kwanzaa"
Man finally bites dog!

In my lifetime, even! Yay!
Run, Robot, Run!

Thanks, RC!
Nintendo Unthreatened by PSP: Satoru Iwata states Nintendo will not lose handheld war against Sony.

Iwata claims the reason behind such a successful launch lies with Nintendo's dedication to innovation. The NCL President has spoken in favor of this approach for some time now, stating that impressive graphics and conventionally powerful game consoles no longer satisfy consumers. Only game systems capable of providing new levels of interaction between the player and the software will succeed in coming years.

I happen to agree, and it's pretty ironic considering the GameCube's utter lack of oneline multiplayer capability Warp Pipe withstanding) versus Sony's free and open adoption of the concept. Of the two portable systems, however, I definitely think that Nintendo's is better poised to provide more fulfilling game experiences. I think regardless it'll be a big hit in Japan (unless Sony really pushes the movie angle of the PSP -- does anyone know if it has an S-video output? If it does, the DS may be sunk), but America, with it's tendency towards populist dissing of superior formats, as usual, is pretty much up for grabs.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

We just caught Karroll's Christmas on A&E (yeah, I know, we never watch A&E but there was a preview for it on one of the real channels earlier in the evening). It's definitely the only adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" that I would ever consider watching again. Very funny and actually among the more Christmassy of the adaptations (featuring actual Christmas hymns -- and the actual first Christmas... kinda).

Of course it was just a treat to see Wallace Shawn, Verne "Mini Me" Troyer, Larry Miller (especialy him), and Alanna Ubach (who some may remember best as Josie, Beakman's lab assistant, and others may remember as Marsha Brady's lesbian admirer and still others still may know from all her voice work with Disney) all in the same cast. This will probably be on again (it's on every day this week, as it turns out) so definitely try and check it out. It's not great but like I said, it's probably on the better end of the spectrum of Christmas Carol adaptations (admittedly, that's saying a great deal. But we did enjoy it).

Sunday, December 12, 2004

I guess my dad mentioned something about this a few weeks ago, but it wasn't until I saw it on POF that I realized it really existed: Barney Shakur (caution: f-bombs and it will make you laugh until you cry). Even better that it was done six years ago, and appears to have been assembled on VHS -- iMovie be damned!
Read Katie's Doubleshot Thoughts (we'll assume for the moment that these are doubleshots of espresso and not Jäger). Another fine 'blog that I'll have to add when I go in and prune my linklist over on the right there.
Sounds good to me. I'll see if I can rein in my use of "Happy Holidays" this year.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Salt + Light TV Homepage

I'll have to entrez this site sometime when I'm a little less tipsy tired. It looks to be pretty decent, though. Hard to say since I can't find any video clips or anything. Oh wait, here they are. Oh, wow... they're all Canadian. I think that being a faithful Catholic and a Canadian in this day and age must be akin to being a member of the French Underground during the war (don't ask me which war, I don't know). Anyway, you should totally check out that website, I guess. Not much there, really, to keep you coming back, but the fact that the Royal Canadian Reichstag would allow a telelvision station on the air which professed to be faithful to Catholic doctrine is in itself pretty amazing. Oh well, we'll see what happens when any of them need some of that socialistically-funded medical care or surgery, eh?

Jeff Miller pointed me (well, not me PERSONALLY, it was on his 'blog) to that site, but of course has some funny things to say about it.

Friday, December 10, 2004

For my money, Frank Caliendo is the finest impressionist out there. There's some funny video from his Fox Sports gig on his website (his Robin Williams is uncanny) but my favorite is going to be his Andy Rooney bit on colorful phrases. I wish I could find that one online.
And I really thought those crazy kids would make it.
MSNBC - Deadly shipwreck now a major Alaska oil spill

It's two, two, TWO catasrophes in one! Soon to be also a major motion picture and a song by U2.
These are the moments...

Those SODAK Moments.

Most decidely and vehemently, as all we should be, not complacent after the election.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Kind of cute (in a crass "rape-my-childhood-memories-for-profit" kind of way).

Personally I think it's missing a scene where Don Cornelius throws Dan Rather (dressed as the Bumble Snowman) over a cliff and instead of bouncing he goes splat! and all this red clay comes out of his tummy and mouth.

In case you're wondering what makes the Rubberband Man commercial mentioned below different from the CBS spot is that the Office Max promo is a work of genius: it gently references the stop-motion genre without placing itself directly in the most recognizable example of that genre. It also takes a beloved character (the Rubberband Man) who exemplifies the heroic (not to mention he came out of nowhere, which just makes him awesome) and elevates him to mythic extremes. The CBS promo has... Charlie Sheen.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Nothing warmed the shackles of my heart more than the new Rankin and Bass inspired Rubberband Man commercial, from OfficeMax (see it here or possibly here. The remixed music is even pretty good (unlike the GAP commercials where they not only had someone re-record "Shining Star", but mercilessly chopped it up -- I HATE it when they do that!). But mostly it's the way they captured all of Eddie Steeples' moves in animagic. Anyway, it's my new favorite commercial.
Artist Unveils Monumental Ode to the Pixel for its 50th Birthday

I didn't have this in mind when I wrote a song about pretty much the same subject but I guess the two compliment each other.

And of course it's not the bicentennial birthday of the pixel, as the article says (over and over and over), it's the semicentennial birthday of the pixel. But I guess if you're painting blue squares on a canvas and calling it art you can't really be expected to know that.

Sunday, December 05, 2004


What's with all the 'bloggers bailing lately? Maybe 'blogging is the new fondue, now? Maybe 20 years from now our children will tease us about our weblogs and they'll turn up as a running joke on the Simpsons.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Meet Riffington. His nickname is "Riffy" which is totally an insult to the REAL Riffy, the roller-skate-wearing alligator who was the R.I.F. mascot when I was a kid. I emailed Riffington to ask whatever happened to Riffy the Alligator. We'll see if he replies.
Things I did not know:

Fr. Bryce has a doctorate. All these years and he never mentioned it.

Here's the quote I appreciate:

To that end, he’s taught philosophy at Sacred Heart High School. “I’m a firm believer in the need for philosophy,” he explains. “A lot of the young people have problems with God and faith, but the real underlying problem is with philosophy. They haven’t been taught how to reason and think.”
I don't wanna steal from POF again, but I gotta:

The Ten Least Successful Holiday Specials of All Time. All are funny and some are really funny.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Nintendo Sells 500,000 DS Handhelds in First Week

A word or two about the PSP: yes, it's an awesome-looking system BUT it'll cost $50 more than the DS, I'm guessing the games will be more than the $30 it costs for a DS game, and if the battery life comes close to matching even 25% of the DS' 8-hour battery life, I'll be very surprised (solid-state rules!).
Funniest Hitler Disco Video Ever!!!

Link via POF. Actual video produced by Johan Söderberg who seems to have a real knack for this stuff (though I'm not sure I get the whole Israeli prime minister thing but the Bush/Blair meets Richie/Ross song is classic). Brevity truly is the soul of wit.
Dog bites man.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Nintendo DS

Since Jackie has been feeling under the weather this past week, I gave her her birthday present a few weeks early: the new Nintendo DS and a copy of "The Urbz", the new console Sims game.

So far we've been very impressed with the DS, both in terms of overall functionality, presentation, and battery life. While "The Urbz" doesn't tax the capabilities of the system (I haven't really played it yet of course, but there's no 3D that I've been able to see, and so far touch-screen usage has been limited to option selection in the inventory menus -- though it's really cool to be able to use the inventory while your sim sleeps or reads or whatever they need to do) the graphics are much crisper than on the GBA SP (increased resolution will do that). The "Metroid: Prime" demo that came with the DS really does look incredible, though. It looks pretty much like the GameCube version would look like running on a screen of that size -- and the touch-screen controls for that game (basically it uses the touchscreen as a map/weapon select/analog control stick) are amazing.

Hopefully at some point (next year) we'll get Mario 64 DS which I guess is the best game out for it. Can't wait to try the wireless multiplayer and microphone capabilities at some point (I'd like to also pick up Sonic Team's "Feel The Magic" when that's in the bargain bin next year), as those are as yet untapped on our particular DS.

I would strongly recommend the DS for purchase as there's just so much that's cool about this system (even if the games aren't there just yet), if you can find one.
I spent most of my day off today playing Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time for GameCube. I'd picked up the game many months ago but had only made it a third of the way through when I put it on the shelf but I decided to pick it up again and I'm really glad I did. It's certainly one of the most fun games I've played in the past couple of years and for all the running and jumping it's not that frustrating at all. The story is also very cool (I especially liked the ending bit).

I hear the sequel which just came out isn't as good (and they ruined the prince character) so I'll probably be giving that one a pass....

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Here's a sample animation I whipped up quickly which represents the germ of an idea I have for a new game. I have a couple of ideas of the way the game could be developed, but anyway, here's a cool animation which shows the approximate design direction: priest_maze_1.swf

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Take a pill.
Form a band.
Lots of time now on your hands.
I don't care,
About movie,
At least not until Sept. thirty.

Cut the studio some slack.
For pushing the release date back.
Burn the ham
And boil the peas
While you wait for Sept. thirty.

There's no place that you will see
A movie called "Serenity".
At least before Sept. thirty...
So we watched the second episode of "House" on Fox tonight and usually I hate medical doctor shows (well, not HATE exactly), but since Hugh Luarie is one of the most underrated actors of all time (still will always remember both he and Stephen Fry best in the Jeeves and Wooster series) I figured it was worth a go.

And yeah, it's pretty funny for a medical doctor show. There are some good lines and while it's not High Art, Laurie manages to elevate the show to something it would otherwise not be (i.e. watchable). If you like seeing people get needles poked into their eyes and holes drilled into their skulls (along with complementary computer representations on a microscopic level) as a team of otherwise competent doctors misdiagnose that one in a million patient over and over and over again (to be fair, the break up the "A" patient plot with a number of "B", "C", and "D" patient plots which show that, yes, House, M.D., is, in fact, a very good diagnostician), then this is the show for you.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Taking a tip from the latest issue of Keyboard magazine, I checked out Jen's (just Jen, I guess) website: Apparently Jen does all of her own recording out of her apartment in NY, and so I picked up the EP (which including shipping sets me back $6). The audio samples sound pretty darned good, in my opinion. There'll be a capsule review of the EP when it arrives.

Anyone who digs my music is a friend of mine.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

The Incredibles

See this movie. See it now. And after you've seen it, see it again. This is the most amazing, awesomest movie I've ever seen. Better than Return of the King, better than The Passion. There's just too much to recommend.
Liberal Scientists believe man evolved by jogging.

Next year they'll publish their research which suggests that man can further evolve by driving hybrid vehicles built by Toyota, becoming vegetarian, putting solar cells on their roof, and voting for John Kerry.

Friday, November 19, 2004

If you ask me, with the November, 2004, issue, the New Oxford Review has gone from "cheeky" to "reeky". It's one thing to offer uncharitible critiques of major publications (even though they can't seem to bring themselves to distinguish in their attacks between the activities of Crisis magazine and Deal Hudson himself, who isn't even its publisher anymore) but when you go after individual 'bloggers (especially my friends) for what they write on their personal weblogs (especially when what they write there is consistent with Church teaching, you just don't like either what they have to say or they, themselves)... well, that goes beyond the merely petty into vindictiveness.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Best StrongBad email ever!
Government looking at military draft lists

The Selective Service System (SSS) and the U.S. Department of Education now are gearing up to compare their computer records, to make sure all men between the ages of 18 and 25 who are required to register for a military draft have done so.

The SSS and the education department will begin comparing their lists on Jan. 1, 2005, according to a memo authored by Jack Martin, acting Selective Service director.

Also in Louisiana, they're making boys register for the SSS when they get their drivers' license, the bastards.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


was pretty much as bad as I thought it would be. It was 'Xander's special, unsolicited request, though, so I was happy to pick it up. I wasn't prepared to laugh at it, though, like I did once or twice (mainly whenever the dog would start dancing, and then whenever I pictured Bill Murray in a sound booth recording some of his lines). Also the movie is pretty violent: remember that one Garfield comic strip where the star of a famous pet TV show is attacked by a pack of stray dogs from the pound and then those dogs put an electric, studded shock collar around his neck and then Garfield and Odie push buttons on a remote control to send thousands of volts of electricity through the collar (it had to be at least thousands, given the arcs coming off that collar and grounding out through a nearby iron railing) and then Jon and Liz walk in and Jon punches the poor guy (literally smoldering from the electrical current that had been running through his neck) full-on in the jaw so hard he knocks him out?

Neither do I.

The funniest part of the movie, though, was when Garfield did that thing they showed in all the trailers where he's in the bed of a pickup and the truck stops for a light and he flies forward and hits the glass, and then slides down the glass. 'Xander saw that part and then stared at us compeltely mortified -- since Garfield didn't appear immediately in the next scene it took all the convincing we could do to convince 'Xander that Garfield hadn't died. "National Study of the Changing Workforce" Reveals Significant Changes in Work and Family Lives of U.S. Employees

All you culture watchers out there might not be surprised by this, but I found this to be interesting:

Among the study's key findings:
Fathers in dual-earner couples today spend 42 minutes more doing household chores on workdays than fathers in 1977. Mothers have reduced their time by approximately the same amount. So the combined time that spouses in dual-earner couples with children spend on household chores has not changed over 25 years-what has changed is how family work is divided.

Employees with families report significantly higher levels of interference between their jobs and their family lives than employees 25 years ago (45% vs. 34% report this "some" or "a lot"). And men with families report higher levels of interference between their jobs and their family lives than women in the same situation.

Kind of cool that being a dad is now more important to more working men that it has been at any time over the last 25 years.

Monday, November 15, 2004

A cool idea to promote EA Games' "The Urbz". Sadly, we'll have to wait a few weeks yet for Evan Dorkin's entry.
Bubba Ho-Tep

Definitely not exactly what I thought it would be, not that it was any worse off for not being what I expected. I expected 90 minutes of Bruce Campbell as old Elvis and Ossie Davis as old JFK kicking mummy butt. What I got was about 15 minutes of Bruce Campbell as old Elvis and Ossie Davis as old JFK kicking mummy butt (which rocked), about 30 minutes of funny old Elvis and old JFK in a nursing home banter, and 45 minutes of Bruce Campbell as old Elvis (definitely one of his most memorable roles -- seriously, right up there with Ash) reflecting on life, being cast off, death, dying, and what it means to have a soul (as opposed to not); some of this reflection works and some of which doesn't. But it's Bruce Campbell as old Elvis, so the bad definitely offsets the good.

I would recommend it, but know what you're getting into. There is some classic Campbell physical comedy/action (as Elvis, even!), but there is far more talk (voiceover, actually -- which usually doesn't work, but, again, it's Bruce Campbell as old Elvis so it's good).

Sunday, November 14, 2004

As someone who works in an operations center and very closely with Tech Support, I appreciated this bit from Conan O'Brien's show very much.

Link via POF.

Friday, November 12, 2004

A nice turn of phrase from Barbara Nicolosi.

The sheep are so unused to beauty at the liturgy, that they feel like they have to bang their hooves together in pathetic gratitude whenever they get some.

And there are some other, as the French say, "good words" in that post, as well.
Lay Group Mobilizes Against Kinsey Fraud

Kinsey himself was a homosexual, with a predilection for young boys; in his research, he included studies of sexual activity with children, in flagrant violations of the law.
Kinsey's research activities led him to form alliances with pedophiles and pornographers, to rely on evidence furnished through a Nazi doctor's experiments, and to pressure his assistants into performing in sexually explicit films.

Trained as a zoologist, Kinsey violated dozens of scientific standards in his work. Yet because of his alliances with powerful groups such as the Rockefeller Foundation and Planned Parenthood, he managed to obtain widespread recognition for work that never passed through the ordinary process of scientific review, and has been contradicted by the available data from truly scientific studies.
There are some samples of the new TMBG/Disney alaphet collaboration online and this is SO going to rock. It looks to be a mixture of computer animation, live action ("QU" has to be one of the funniest things I've ever seen) and even the Deeply Felt Puppet Company shows up. 'Xander's already singing along to the video clips (which is not surprising considering he's memorized all the songs and dances from Direct from Brooklyn (and is now well on the way to memorizing all the concert footage from Gigantic.

The bad news: we have to wait until February.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Okay, I know that yesterday was Halo Day and that apparently it's the best game ever made, but I don't have an Xbox (Santa? Are you listening?) so it's Metroid: Prime 2: "Echoes" that I'm looking forward to quite a bit. It looks pretty awesome with the whole Ikaruga-style light vs. dark gameplay. The original Metroid: Prime is I think one of the best games ever in terms of story-telling, music, and general ambience. This video leads me to believe that M:P:Echoes will completely surpass the original in all these areas. I'm a far cry from a Nintendo fanboy, and as a musician I think the Metroid theme (really all the musical themes which run through the games) are some of the most evocative tunes written for games or even movies.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Lefty Media: Top court brands Belgian far-right party racist

Belgium's far-right Vlaams Blok was branded racist in a supreme court ruling that will force one of Europe's most successful anti-immigrant parties to relaunch itself.

I'm sorry, but I just have to represent. It'll be interesting to see what the Blok does next. Given the history of Flanders in terms of dealing with foreign invaders, what comes next could be quite good. Seriously, if they go after the Dutch influence on Flanders next (i.e. widespread euthanasia, gay marriage, abortion, general cultural extermination, etc.) the place may actually be worth repatriating at some point. Schild en vriend, baby.

(Incidentally, Vlaams means "Flemish" and Vlams is my login-id at work).
Wesley J. Smith: How To Talk California Taxpayers Out Of $3 Billion.

The bitter irony here is that while Californians refuse to fund treatment centers that could make the difference between people living and dying today, they are pursuing treatments and cures that, if they come at all, are likely a decade or more away. What could explain such folly? Blame the awesome power of big money, big celebrities, and big hype.

I'm going to have to pick up Smith's new book: Consumer's Guide to A Brave New World. This article here touches on a bit about what my novel was about.

Monday, November 08, 2004

"Must... pad... story...."

Seriously, this probably sould've gotten maybe 50 or 75 words of copy. But I guess the reporter had a certain amount of white space to fill and figured that all of his unsuccessful leads (it's almost funny how much people didn't want to talk to this guy) as well as a few Google searches taken together were almost as good as news:

Mr. Veal's neighbors in Athens did not return repeated telephone calls, and people in an apartment complex where he once lived said they did not recognize his name.


Hotel security workers called the Port Authority police, Mr. Coleman added.

A man named Pedro, who identified himself as the head of hotel security but refused to give his last name, adamantly denied this account.

"All the calls come down to us," he said. "Nothing came from this hotel."


A paper credited to an Andrew Veal at the University of Georgia that focuses on behavior patterns in churches is posted on the Internet.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Ella Enchanted

We finally got around to renting "Ella Enchanted" last night, a movie we'd been meaning to rent but hadn't heard a lot about. If you like watching movies, RENT THIS MOVIE. It's probably the sweetest movie, the movie with the most heart, I've ever seen. It's funny, and very, very entertaining. It won't blow your mind with profundities, to be sure, and it won't change your life, but it will entertain you. And it's sweet. And it has a lot of heart (the final shot of Cary Elwes' character convinced me that this is the movie most lacking in malice -- talking about the production of the movie itself -- I've ever seen). Which isn't to say it's boring. This movie is easily one of the top-five entertaining movies I've ever seen (right up there with "Ghostbusters").

The scene upon entering the elf village alone is worth whatever you pay to rent or Netflix it.

Anyway, however funny this movie is, it wasn't half as funny as when 'Xander turned to us, midway through the movie (which was, to be fair, about 11pm) and said "It's dark outside and I need sleep."

Friday, November 05, 2004

And yes, just in case you wondered where I stood on the "moral issue" most pressing today, Specter delendus est (thanks, Alex!).
This is the funniest thing I've read ever.

One of her multiple personalities is that of a fifteen year old poor black girl named Alice from Turkey Scratch, Arkansas. Baez decided to share with us Alice's views on the election. Amazed and horrified I watched a rich, famous, extremely white folksinger perform what can only be described as bit of minstrelsy—only the painted on blackface was missing. Alice, the black teenager from Arkansas Baez was pretending to be, spoke in a dialect so broad and thick that it would put Uncle Remus and Amos and Andy to shame. Baez' monologue was filled with phrases like, "I'se g'win ta" to do this that or the other and dropping all final "g's." Baez as Alice made statements like, "de prezident, he be a racist," and "de prezident, he got a bug fer killin'."

Link stolen mercilessly from M&M at POF.
Okay, that's it. We're not waiting for this to come out on DVD. I think 97% fresh is just about the highest rating I've seen, with the only negative reviews coming from folks who are still upset about "Iron Giant".

Thursday, November 04, 2004

If you're thinking of buying a new home in Michigan, check out this site we designed:
As a resident of Miniwillinois, (or is that New America?) I find this to be hilarious.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Tonight's very good episode of Lost impressed me yet again. While so far no episode has been as compelling as the David-Fury-penned "Walkabout" (episode 4), this one (Episode 7: "Moth") actually contained a positive scene involving Catholicism -- in a confessional, no less! I was worried when I saw the preview, that this was just going to be "tonight, on a very special episode of 'Lost'", but actually the story was quite good and you really got an appreciation for Charlie's anguish.

And, like every other character on the show they've featured so far, you begin to get the feeling (since episode four) that the horrible experience of crashing this island, with this horrible whatever on it (which really has only killed one person so far) is offering each of the characters their own unique shot at redemption.

Next week: is Sawyer really evil or what's his deal? And will we ever meet any of the 32 extras supposedly on the island with our cast of 14 principals, too?

In other news, color me gullible (though not quite "The Deep Dark Secret of M. Night Shyamalan" gullible), but tonight's episode of Ghosthunters really creeped me out, especially that weird lower-torso apparition.
So Cokie Roberts is on NPR this morning, talking about Kerry's (then imminent) defeat. They're breaking down the vote demographically and Cokie mentions that the 18-to-29-year-old vote came out very strong for Kerry. "So what happened?" asks the NPR commentator.

"There just weren't enough of them!" replies Cokie.

No kidding..

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Film-Maker Who Criticised Islam Murdered

A Dutch film-maker who received death threats after making a movie criticising the treatment of women under Islam was murdered in an Amsterdam street today.

A suspect, a 26-year-old man with dual Dutch-Moroccan nationality, was arrested after a shoot-out with officers that left him wounded, police said.


Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende called on the Dutch people to remain calm and not to jump to conclusions.

Hmmm... And what conclusions might those be?

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Happy Halloween!!!

To inifinity... and then some!
Some career crossovers don't work.
The Order

Okay, so I thought I'd rent a creepy movie for Halloween. And I heard that "The Order" was filmed in Rome, partly in the Vatican, and it has Mark Addy in it so how could one go wrong. I thought it might be too scary, since it's rated "R", but it turns out it's only rated "R" for general dumbness.

The movie starts out pretty good: Heath Ledger and Mark Addy are the last two members of an order whose primary vocation is to get rid of demons, ghosts, the undead, etc. They're on the trail of a Sin Eater (everyone knows what those are, right? Right?!) and the first 30 minutes or so they see some creepy things (nothing too unsettling, though, if you've watched seven season of Buffy and five of Angel) which are pretty consistent with the legitimate accounts of demonic activity and you think, this might be a good movie: these two guys track down the sin eater, and there's a big fight, probably one of the heroes dies, but it's cool, because that's what heroes do.

But, no. (SPOILER ALERT!). This movie believes in putting the interesting stuff first and then making the rest of the movie really boring. Eventually, Heath Ledger's character runs into the Sin Eater who, in about five minutes, convinces him to have sex with the crazy art chick (who he exorcised in the past), not be a priest anymore, and (it's debateable whether or not he was tricked into this, because it was pretty obvious) become a Sin Eater himself.

Sins, when eaten, by the way, look like a cross between the robot squids from the Matrix and the jellyfish from the Spongebob Squarepants cartoon.

There are some nice thematic elements in there (Heath Ledger, when researching the occult practices at an old bookstore is advised to stay on the path -- literally: the basement of the bookstore has a path etched into it and wandering off of it brings one uncomfortably close to a very hungry hound) but overall we probably should've rented Exorcist III: Legion, if we wanted a good creepy movie. At least Mark Addy's character survives, but we never get to see him make good on his promise to free Heath Ledger from his curse (which he seems pretty cool with by the end, anyway).

Until someone goes back and makes this the movie it should've been, I say give this one a pass.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Another really good episode of Lost tonight. It's amazing how they can weave four or five plots together, and yet somehow show you in a handfull of flashbacks a really amazing story about a person, and then tie that all back in with the four or five plots that are running.

If you're not watching this show now -- don't bother. You'd be hopelessly, how do you say... "Lost". Actually, I take that back, start watching it now and let the episode guides on the show's homepage or the encore rebroadcasts on Saturday night fill you in.

Monday, October 25, 2004

We taped last night's episode of "Boston Legal" mainly because in the preivew we caught a glimpse of René Auberjonois who played "Odo" (one of my favorite characters) on "Deep Space Nine" (my favorite show of all time). Kevin Miller was also in last night's episode. It was pretty good. Good acting and a butt-load of the moral ambiguity which big-3 Network viewers are just discovering. We don't generally care for courtroom dramas (they're usually preachy and boring) but we may watch this one again. Because Rene is in it, and he's awesome to watch.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

This is the moment that every back-up band lives for: when the pre-recorded track fails and the star walks off-stage, there is nothing left to do but ROCK. Watch the video and judge for yourself.

What I can't understand is why fans would be so upset by stars lip-synching. Where do they do they think music comes from these days?
The other movie we rented, which I watched by myself just now, was Aero-Troopers, a computer-animated sci-fi tale which was made by like 12 people, pretty much all multi-tasking (Mark Hamill is credited as both the voice of the narrator and the Voice Director) and a single person did the character models, as opposed to Pixar's (or even Big Idea's) legion of modellers. So you have to expect the DIY element, right there.

I disagree with the IMDB reviewer that it's not worth a rental. I think it is worth a rental, if only for the really cool air-ship and robot designs. The animation quality is just about at the sub-Capcom videogame cutscene quality, though, so don't expect "Monsters, Inc." or anything. But there are some cool elements (the airships, the whole sky-world setting) and I think anyone around the age of ten (there is some computer-animated blood which may disturb younger viewers) will get a big kick out of it.

Actually, the movie's official page, or as official a page I can find for either it or production company "NueArt", says it was released in 2001, not 2003. If that's the case, I can cut the animation a little more slack. Creative Light, the distributor, also produced Mark Hamill's Comic Book: The Movie which I want to see sometime.
Fr. Bryce likes it, and it it is pretty good: The New Atlantis, A Journal of Technology and Society.
Patrick Madred addreses the question Is it a sin to vote for a pro-abortion candidate? in a nine-minute video.

Link via New Advent which has a rather illuminative ASCII chart on their front page.
Some music for me to check out from this month's Keyboard magazine, when I have a few minutes:

Joe Deveau - Classic songwriting and very good keyboard chops. Also a great website in terms of design (and a swanky Flash audio player).

Spiraling - their new EP is called "Challenging Stage" and they use old videogame sound effects and classic synths in an alternative rock setting. Sounds a bit (okay, more than a bit) like Jellyfish. I'll have to get their CD when I have the $$.

And apparently Bernie Worrell is involved in a new project. It's with Buckethead, though, and those albums with Buckethead in the 1990s did nothing for me. Actually, though, the audio samples sound pretty cool (mainly the title track, "The Big Eyeball in the Sky". I'll probably pick it up -- after I get the Bernie Worrell bobblehead doll .. or wait for the Wooples animation to download.

Dzihan-Kamien. Electronic-type music with an orchestra.

And The Neville Brothers have a new album out. I'll have to get it because it's a Neville Brothers album that's funky.

And they played two tracks of Joanna Newsom on the U of M college radio station as I was driving through Ann Arbor on Friday. It's awful, but it's so compelling, that I may have to add that to my wish list.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

So tonight we watched Aladdin (Special Edition) and Spartan which we rented from our local Powderkeg Video store (obscure Parker Lewis reference there). "Aladdin" was much better than I remember it being when I saw it in the theaters, and the new Disney Home Theater Enhanced 5.1 Surround mix they're putting on these DVDs now sounded awesome (basically, they completely remix the audio, optimising it for home theaters, and it sounded great). Lots of funny stuff in that movie (though it's no "Emperor's New Groove"). And yeah, I admit the songs really are good.

After 'Xander went to bed, we watched "Spartan", which is a little less plot-twisty than most of Mamet's stuff (for good or for bad) and with a lot more of the people getting shot. For those of you who admire women with the Clarabelle Cow physique, Alexandra Kerry has a small role in the movie. Mamet gets extra points this time around for not trying to get away with casting his wife, Rebecca Pidgeon, in the 18-year-old president's daughter role. There are some funny lines in this movie, but because it's a Mamet film, you're not really sure what they mean.

Friday, October 22, 2004

There is just something so.... heroic about this.
Child's Play

About two weeks ago we received from Amazon, Vtech's V.Smile (yeah, I don't know how they got away with naming it that, either) educational videogame system. The system came with one "Smartridge" ("Alphabet Park Adventure") and we also ordered "Winnie The Pooh: Honey Hunt". The reason we did this was because 'Xander had been getting into our games quite a bit (he loves anything with Mario or Pac-Man) and we figured he might as well learn something while he's playing (also, with the V.Smile, he can start it up himself, and doesn't have problems getting through the menus, etc.).

Anyway, technologically, the V.Smile is like one step above a Sega Genesis. No 3-D, the games are sprite-based, but a lot of space on the Smartridges is allocated for digital audio so the charater animations are usually two or four-frame jobbies. The software seems to have been developed in the UK (where the V.Smile is pretty popular, I gather) so the characters have British accents.

The controller is pretty awesome (the colored buttons light up!) but doesn't take having a cup of water dumped on it very well (it took three days for it to try out to the point where it functioned again -- fortunately, that time frame was also the one in which the extra controllers shipped to Toys R' Us, so now we have two controllers -- and some of the games are two-player simultaneous).

Anyway, 'Xander really enjoys the games. Both games are platformers, with educational bits thrown in, and each includes a "Learning Zone" which is four mini-games. You can make it so you can't lose, too, which is good because when 'Xander first got it he thought it was hilarious to make the Alphabet kids fall into the water ("Whoa-whoa-whaaaaaa!!! SPLASH!") or have Pooh fall in the thorns and go "Ouch!" and rub his bottom. Which, admittedly, is kind of fun.

So for $50 for the system, one controller, and one game (you supply either an AC adapter or 3 C-cells, which seem to last five or six days of 1 to 2 hours of play a day), if you have kids who are 2 or 3 or 4 and they're taking up too much computer time or not letting you play your Gamecube, this is a good deal.
"There's a lot of people saying, 'What?'"

Stranger takes over Ga. woman's house

One too many episodes of "Trading Spaces" I would suspect.
Where have I been?

This article was the first I'd heard of Big Idea's bankruptcy, sale, downsizing, and move to Tennessee.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

I apologize to anyone who was hypnotocized by staring at the cat animation two posts down. LostMarble released Moho v5 this week and I was trying some of the .swf exportation enhancements they made (the full version of the test animation with the techno music soundtrack in Real and Windows media player formats can be found on the page).

Anyway, now that Moho v5 is out (and I could afford the $19 upgrade fee), maybe I'll do another cartoon. Or maybe I'll make another game. Or maybe I'll actually do some work around the house instead. No one can know for certain....

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

"Lost" again

Another interesting episode, but nowhere near as well-written as last week's Fury episode (which they might be showing again on Saturday). I have to keep changing the channels between commercials, though, because the other shows they're advertising are just so awful. I think the AFA is on to something (they usually are). I signed up for (putting pinky to chin) One Million Dads. I think if I'm any of the dads on that page, I'm the De-Niro-esque "Fed up with the trash on television?" dad.

Seriously -- putting Unrestrained Domestisluts right after one of the best shows on TV? Whassup widdat?

ALSO -- if you emailed us today, our email provider was down, so we probably didn't get it (grr.). Try emailing us again. Though I'm still not getting email... maybe later it'll work.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Mac users:

Could you try the game and let me know if the "Start" button on the intro screen works (i.e. brings you into the game)?


Sunday, October 17, 2004

Once again Extreme Makeover: Home Edition has turned me into a big girl. Tonight's family was an obviously Catholic family, which made it cooler for us (I know it shouldn't matter...). I must say, though, that the coolest moment for me was when they unveiled, in the garage and driveway, the brand new 2005 250 Superduty (for dad) and Mustang GT (which probably wasn't even on sale when they filmed the show) for the sick little girl's sister. Those are both awesome cars.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

I'm pretty much finished with the Mugg game for now. You can now score higher (thanks to higher-scoring drops) and there's some other neat touches as well, including a ranking at the end, depending on your score. How high can you get?

The Trenchant Professor Mugg vs. Doctor Doughnut in "The Coffee Reign"

Friday, October 15, 2004

Star Trek: Enterprise has officially become a good show. I stopped watching it after the pilot, and only started up again this third season in repeats. Tonight's episode had a number of really neat payoffs: the temporal cold war (which I guess was what the first two seasons, and the third, were about) is over, we got to see the Enterprise bomb 1940s-era Manhattan (while being fired upon by Stukas outfitted with plasma cannons), and the Enterprise finally came home (and was welcomed by a very friendly armada). I almost cried (and would have except the show still has that goofy themesong which -- I loathe to admit -- is starting to grow on me even though "it took a long time... getting from there to here").

Next week's episode looks pretty silly, but the week after that Brent Spiner shows up (I wonder if he'll sing? I don't care about that, but it would be really cool if his character's last name was "Sung" -- and if you get that reference, please leave a comment below so I'll know you're cool) so that's pretty neat. has a very amusing and smartly animated Flash cartoon about our choice this November. However amusing, the cartoon bizarrely overlooks the entire notion of "proportionality" (which would say one ought to weigh the 9,000,000 babies which would be killed during the average presidency if a pro-abort pol is elected against the handful of murderers, terrorists, and rapists who would be executed if a pro-death-penalty -- and pro-life -- politician was elected).

David Alexander, as per usual, is right on track.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

I tweaked the jumping formula in the Professor Mug game. Not only do you start off jumping a bit faster, but as you get more coffee your speed increases (as it did in the first alpha version) but now the height of your jump increases too (the effect of more caffeine). This causes a negative feedback loop: you're faster, but the higher jumps mean more chance you won't catch certain drops (just like in real life, drops have to fall into the top of the mug to be caught) and it also increases the liklihood that Dr. Doughnut will snag a drop or two of your coffee (you're more exposed up there in the air).

All in all, I think now higher scores are possible, and the game is faster-paced and more exciting. Let me know if I'm wrong. I'm going to work on this over the weekend, when I feel up to it (i.e. not in a robotussin-induced haze).
Oh, and by the way, John Kerry is a total slime, too. I can just imagine him employing his own unique brand of statescraft.

"Now, you better withdraw from Chechnya, Vladimir. I wouldn't want to have to remind the world how wonderful it is that you are so loving and supportive of your necrophile son."
Way to go, Meredith! Photo and comments in the New York Times New York Post New York Daily News!!

Who's this Michael Malice guy, though? He seems about as informed as a club foot.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Okay, Victor, so NOW what do you think of "Lost"?

Since I saw just the second episode, I've watched the first, third, and -- tonight -- the fourth episode (written by David "He got the mustard out" Fury!!). And it's now probably my favoritist show on television. I really like how they tell the story of each character through the flashbacks: what got them on the plane, and what the island they're stranded on (though haunted/infested with monsters/cursed/etc.) can actually offer them (usually redemption in some form or another). Pretty nifty show, for a major network. Tonight's episode was the best so far. Since it was written by David Fury it was funny, scary, witty, and poignant (remember when the Fury could do poignant?) all at once. So I (along with like 550,000,000 Americans apparently) like the show now.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Victor makes a Flash GAME?!?!

One thing I've wanted to do for quite a few months now is to make my own Flash Game. Finally, I got a book or two on it and this weekend decided to make a game in Flash. What you're about to see is no where near finished (a lot of graphic flourishes need to be added, including a real title screen and instruction screen instead of something I threw together in five minutes, and the soundtrack and soundeffects are only placeholders -- though I kind of like the background music I threw together in Acid in about 3 minutes, it's growing on me -- and I need to tweak the collision detection, and maybe add a play mechanic or two, and add a better game over screen) but you might have fun for a few minutes playing it. If you manage to score above 100, let me know (my best so far is 71)!. I'll be adding on to this over the next couple of weeks, so check back often.

The Trenchant Professor Mugg vs. Doctor Doughnut in "Coffee Rain" (very early beta version).

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

I'm a pretty good judge of character and John Edwards is a total slime.

Now, if you'll excuse us, we need to teach our son how to throw up all the post-nasal drip that's in his tummy or we'll never get to sleep.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Brian Regan was on Dennis Miller's show tonight (rebroadcast?). He seems to be a very funny guy. We'll have to check out his DVDs. Also on was the guy from Mulsims for Bush (and Bush and Bush and Bush and Bush).
Note to Dan Ackroyd:

If you're not going to make a third movie, then, this sort of thing is going to be pretty much inevitable.

Pretty nifty little film-school project.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Okay, this is cool:

Vic Tracker 2.0

Here's an audio example (with multiple overdubs and vocals by SAM, of course). The main Vic Tracker webpage also has some untreated examples. I didn't know the Vic had this much funk in it.

That rocks.
It's WordSpud! Hard to say if the game is any good because there aren't any other players online. But it's worth it just for the themesong. Every game should have an adorable themesong.
Sent this to our Pastor and Pastoral Associate (but not Associate Pastor, because we don't have one of those) after Mass (where they played "The Rainbow Connection") today...


Out the outset of this letter I must state that I am already predisposed against the sort of piano tinkling which accompanies now every "quiet time" during the Liturgies at St. Kenneth. Because the Mass is also called "The Lord's Supper" I suppose the feeling is that a little dinner-time lounge music is appropriate for the consecration and other times during the Mass when, perhaps, in the past we would not have been distracted from some quiet reflection by such tinkling.

But as disposed as I am, personally, against this Liturgical Lounge piano (if I wanted random piano noodling with my Supper, I'd go to the Holiday Inn), I recognize that for some a little Bach ("Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" being one of my favorite interludes) can put them in the right frame of mind to receive Christ, and so it is at least tolerable. But when the tune is "The Rainbow Connection" -- as was the case this Sunday at the 11:30am Mass, identified by myself not only by my own intimate knowledge of the piece (growing up as I did in the late 1970s and early '80s) but also by those Parishoners standing around me -- something must be said.

"The Rainbow Connection", written by Kenny Ascher and Paul Williams is featured at the climax of Jim Henson's "The Muppet Movie" at a point in the movie when all of the traditional structures and mores of society have come crashing down around the rainbow children who are (judging from the lyrics of the piece, found here: "under the spell" of the "Rainbow Connection" (whatever that might be). In short, "The Rainbow Connection" is a song which celebrates atheistical humanism and is therefore inappropriate for playing at any time in a Roman Catholic Church -- but particularly most inappropriate during the Eucharist, when our thoughts should be on our Lord, and not on "the lovers, the dreamers, and me."

Ideally, we'd be working towards a renewal of our Catholic Christian heritage in music, discovering anew the great composers of our long history and the hymns which celebrate our Catholic Christian faith and worldview (not limited to Catholic composers, of course). I'm encouraged that myself and the other members of Generations X and Y (who are not the future of the Church, incdentally, but who ARE the Church) are "going back to their roots" as it were, both musically and in terms of the fundamentals of our faith (an acquaintance of mine, Pete Vere, has recently written a book to this affect). It seems inevitable, therefore, that one day the tunes by Marty Haugen and Dan Schutte which celebrate above all else congregational navel-gazing and which have for the last 40 years defined a generation of Churchgoers unable to articulate the basic tenets of their faith will ultimately come to represent nothing but a passing fad (albeit one, again, running now some 40 years).

Thank you for your time in considering this matter. Please pass this note along to our current musical liturgist at your own discretion, as I'm not sure who that is at the moment. I recognize that whomever it is, they are probably woefully underpaid (if they're paid at all), and underappreciated. Still, playing music from "The Muppet Movie" during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, just seemed like something which shouldn't be let go without a letter or e-mail of some sort.

Warm Regards,

- Victor Lams

Friday, October 01, 2004

The University of Blogging

Presents to

An Honorary
Bachelor of
Deranged Genius

Majoring in
Infrequent Updates


Blogging Degree

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Borrowed from dot.commentary it's McSweeney's Internet Tendency: Life Lessons (a.k.a. Tips From the Mario Brothers Instruction Booklet).

McSweeney's is the online answer to the question: if you gave a million pretentious GenX and GenY'rs a computer and a keyboard and some form of Internet connection, and time in this dimension went on to infinity, every once in a while those prententious authors would resynthesize something funny. Which isn't really a question at all. It's a statement.
I guess I had nothing to fear from Windows XP SP2 after all....

At least I haven't discovered anything yet (I knew about DEP going into this).
Do the Blue!

Of course that meant something different entirely, back in my Starfleet days.
Click here to play my radio.

The only cooler than that is LazyTown Radio. Don't overlook the button on that jukebox that will play all the cool NickJr. cartoon themesongs (Dr. John sings the Littleburg theme song!).
This was on POF, too, but it was so interesting I had to link to it as well: Shape of Days 'Blog on North Korea's Ryugyong Hotel. Fascinating stuff.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

So Victor, what do you think of ABC's "Lost"?

Well, Victor, I have never seen a single episode of "Alias" (too boogee) and I missed the first episode of "The Lost" or "Lost" or (for some reason their minimalist logo makes me think of this) as I call it "Toast" but I don't think I missed that much. Judging from the second part of The Pilot (get it? it's the first episode but it's also about a plane crash, and the pilot -- nevermind) I didn't miss much. Cut out all of the pointless walking scenes, the gratuitous sunbathing, stripping, bathing scenes, and the excessive commercials (literally when the show began it was five minutes of show, five minutes of commercials, four minutes of show, four minutes of commercials, etc.) and you're left with about 17-18 minutes of story and plot. It's not a bad story or a bad plot, but I think it'd make a much better 90-minute survival horror movie than a show about bathers who hike and don't really all get along that well for stupid reasons and runs for however long they plan on this show lasting.
Woohoo! Thanks for the Propers, Karl!

I can't believe I never sent you a CD, especially since you zapped that book out to us. If you email me your address I'll make sure you get a CD. And Victor (The Other), your CD is sitting here on my desk, addressed, I just need a stamp. And Don -- THANK YOU FOR THE CD. I should get around to giving it a dedicated listen hopefully this weekend.

I am a behind.

Monday, September 27, 2004

RC informs me that I need to update my blogroll with some deletions and corrected URLs, so I'll be doing that at some point in the future.

Also, my stats tell me more folks are listening to my music, which is good, but I was just wondering if I was mentioned on another 'blog recently (trying to account for the increase in traffic and reciprocate). Unfortunately the only thing out of the ordinary in my referrer URLs stats is an increase in hits from Mark Shea, but I'm not sure that's it.

Oh, well. More to come.

Sunday, September 26, 2004


Is there any worse feeling than the night before you go back to work after a week's vacation? I'm not sure there is...

It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have so much fun hanging out as a family. When I'm at work now I'll be thinking about how I could instead be at a museum or park or singing "Older" with 'Xander.

If only I could make a living with music or something... but I guess I'm just not that talented, unlike some people (link, and yes it's a parody, via POF).

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Cookbooks by Peter Kreeft

"Angels and Lemons" - when egg-white-based cakes go sour
"Back to Fondue" - traditional answers for the modern question "what do we do with all this cheese?"
"Fundamentals of the Flan" - inspiring essays mostly about custard
"Ecumenical Jello" - for those times when there doesn't seem to be any room for agreement... or jello
"Handbook of Crispy Apologetics" - hundreds of answers to the question "why is fried food so tasty?"
"How to Win the Culture War" - a rousing call to arms indentifying the real issues at heart when good yogurt goes bad
"Making Sense out of Stuffing" - yeah, we don't know why he wrote this book, either
"Refutation of Morel Relativisim" - Intelligent, engaging dialogues between Mario Botali and someone who just doesn't care about mushrooms that much
"Socrates meets Emeril" - the father of philosophy kicks it up a notch

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

I'm really sorry, Eddie...

The good Doctor asked me to post his latest contest entry for him. The theme this month was "Solo", so only one intstrument could be used, but any amount of processing could be done to that instrument. The instrument was the HUMAN VOICE (albeit six tracks of it). So with apologies to the late, great Eddie Harris, it's...

"Cold Duck Time! (Internal Monologue Version)"

It's under two-minutes long, it's in .mp3 format, it didn't take me more than an hour to make, and it's free. What else do you want from me? Oh, all right: here are all the other entries for this month. As usual, the efforts from Ixox (using only a flute bought for half-a-euro in Europe) and Plunge (using only an mbira) are excellent.

Update: link fixed. Thanks, RC!

Monday, September 20, 2004

I promised myself I wouldn't be drawn into this game (or any game which requires controllers especial) but after looking at that partial tune list, I don't see how I will not.
Everybody do the Hu, he coup...

This is probably the most obscure Ohio Players reference of all time.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

As promised...

Here's some new music for you. This song I started back in January and just finished writing the lyric today and recorded it. I'll probably tweak the mix later on next week, but here it is for now. 'Xander's only heard it twice and is already singing along, so I take that as some indicator of success.

"Pixel" by Victor Lams (.mp3 format, 192kbps) (right-click to save-as).

Here's the lyric in case you can't figure out what it's about.
God willing, I'll be posting a new (demo version) song tonight, a bit later. One that will for sure probably be on the new EP whenever that comes out eventually. So check back for that. If you want a sneak preview of the song, stare at your computer monitor for about 60 seconds then close your eyes really tight.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Thursday, September 16, 2004

And this, more than anything else, is the main reason I gave up Philosophy. Maybe in another 100 years or so we'll be able to do Philosophy again, honestly, but until then we don't really need Philosophers.

We need ass-kickers.

Er, I mean, we need artists: musicians and writers and painters and sculptors. That's what we need.

UPDATE: While no one taped the debate, Fr. Bryce was nice enough to pass along his own outline for the debate (in Word format) just in case anyone was interested in reading it. Here is the same document in HTML format.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Sunday, September 12, 2004



This weekend was the Plymouth Fall Festival, so of course we went downtown so 'Xander could ride some of the rides (he has a way to go before he reaches that magical 42" mark, thank goodness) but he had a blast, even on the kiddie rides.

There were tons of people, rides, food, booths, and music -- all in all, one of the great things about living in this town. Anyway, the cover band for this afternoon ("Mass Transit") played the usual (for Metro Detroit anyway) set of Stevie Wonder, Jr. Walker, and Temptations but then busted out into "Heaven" by Los Lonely Boys. This is a really excellent song and I'm happy to hear that, even after only being out for something like a year, it's already entering the canon of great cover band tunes. Check it out (most Public Libraries should have their self-titled debut album) because it's a really great song.

Imagine if Santana was actually three young brothers who could actually play guitar, write songs, and sing very well and that puts you in the ballpark of Los Lonely Boys. I do think it's a bit of a cop-out, though to be bi-lingual as it really cuts down on the number of unique verses you need to write for a song: simply sing the first verse over again but in Spanish instead of English and that's your third verse or bridge.

Hmm. Maybe I should have Babel Fish translate some of my stuff into Portuguese and do some stuff like Jobim.
"Gee. Thanks, mom."

"I guess I should say, too, that if my mother, who is pushing 60 (at least judging by that photo) ever became feeble and useless, I would drag her kicking and screaming to the nearest Soylent Green production facility."
Just sitting here listening to some of the late, great Eddie Harris' music. There's probably no better way to pass the time. He's probably my favorite jazz saxophone artist of all time.

It's been ages since I've just listened to music (don't really have a good spot for that), but I'm going to have to try to make an effort to do it more often.
As much as I love TMBG, I have to admit that this is just wrong on so many levels.

Poking around, though, I did find the stage setup diagram for their most recent tour. That was kind of neat to see.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

I did another mix of "...and we lost" (.mp3 format) fixing some of the vocals (particuarly the ending bit) and putting a nice Beatles flange on the chorus guitar part.

Anyway, thinking about it now, this song is as much about the 9/11 attacks (or more particularly our country's reaction to them) as it is about anything, so redoing it today just seems, after the fact of course, appropriate.

Friday, September 10, 2004

All in a Day's Work

If I were writing up this true story for Reader's Digest, it might go like this:

Working for a Head Start program in an urban, inner-city area near Detroit, our friend has seen more than her share of unfortunate children's names. This fall, however, when the new class of four-year-olds arrived, she encountered probably the saddest one of all: a young boy named (phonetically) "Sha-theed". Not a bad name, she thought, until she read the actual spelling the child's name on the class list: "S-h-i-t-h-e-a-d."
Usually the Flash games at (VeggieTales, 3-2-1 Penguins, etc.) are pretty lame. But this one is actually pretty cool. Apparently it's about shooting a ball of duct tape into a funnel of doom but if you change the premise of the game in your own mind (which isn't that difficult given the simple graphics) so what you're really doing is trying to launch a graviton mine around the moons of Bajor into the wormhole in order to stop a Jem Hadar fleet from invading the Alpha Quadrant, then it's really quite fun.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Complete Savages

This sounds like something that might be fun. We hear that Mel actually directed the first two episodes, so we'll definitely watch those.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Well, it's almost 11pm and so far no headline has appeared on DrudgeReport with the words "Polyphonic Spree" and "fiery tour bus accident" in it so the jury is still out on whether or not this was a good day.

"Shoot me now,
Don't stop bleedin',
You'll be dead and you'll never think
your song is good when really it sucks,
When you're car nage..."

And now, like Doom taking a drink of water, I feel 10% better. Seriously, though, Tim DeLaughter is to good music what David Koresh was to organized religion.

"But, Victor. Your music isn't any better!"

Yeah, but at least I don't pretend to be the Messiah and wear a robe and fly up into the sky on strings.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Has this been public knowledge or did Barb Nicolosi just out Nihil Obstat?
New version of "..and we lost." (mp3 format, 192kbps). You can still download the old version at the old link, if you really want it. I added a very brief harmony section and made some other minor changes.

And you can now stream it (in WindozeMedia and RealMedia format) from my AcidPlanet page.

ALSO -- I'm really glad RC liked it. He's one of my toughest (and therefore best) critics. At least one of my toughest critics who doesn't only use profanity.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Saturday, September 04, 2004

This isn't really finished yet, but the only way I can move onto something else is to post this. I'll probably tweak this tomorrow evening, but here's a new one:

"...and we lost" .mp3 format. 192kbs (because while I like 256 kbs, this is still a "draft") and it's just over three minutes.

Not sure what to say about the lyric on this one except that it's stream of consciousness almost and if it's anything it's a sort of a null-protest song. Beyond that you'll have to figure out what it means on your own because I can't help you; I guess you could say its meaning is hermeneutically sealed.

I'll post updates to this entry as I tweak the mix.

Update: link in this post now goes to the tweaked version.
The Bible

Then why do they need a website?

Friday, September 03, 2004 Interview with Andrew Robinson

Appropos of nothing. I just found all the cool interviews and timelines there. Nifty.
I'm pretty pissed off about the 200 dead Christian schoolchildren in Russia. If we were really serious about this war on terror in this country, there would be F-117A Nighthawks lighting up Chechnya tonight.

Not that the Nighthawks would be needed in Chechnya's case. You could probably do the job with a couple B-17s. I'm angry enough at this point to volunteer for the belly-gunner role for something like that.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Nice speech tonight (way to throw the pro-lifers a bone, Dubya!), but what really made us laugh was this political ad from the Club For Growth.

It's called "Are You Rich?" Here it is in Quicktime. Or go to the Club For Growth's Multimedia Page and scroll down to August 5th for other streaming formats.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

McSweeney's: An Open Letter to Officials of the United States Government Regarding What's New in My Reproductive Area

This piece effectively illustrates that an essential element in all good satire (which is to say, satire) is truth. If you don't have truth on your side, your piece will read like something written by a High School sophomore sitting in a creative writing class, frustrated by their parents' divorce (which isn't to say that Ms. Weinstein isn't a High School sophomore sitting in a creative writing class, frustrated by her parents' divorce, of course).

Monday, August 30, 2004

This may just be the best Casio SK-1 page on the web!!!!

I loved my Casio SK-1. I still love it. And some day I shall dig it out of the closet and play with it again.
No matter where I go in life, or what I manage to accomplish, this picture will always make me laugh.

"You guyyyyssss! No! Sssshhhh.. You did NOT!"

Heh. Heh. Heh. I wonder if they'll take that part out when they broadcast the awards. I sure hope not!

Didn't get any further than the headline on this latest Shiavo hackjob. This could only be considered a "right-to-die" case if Terry had ever expressed a desire to die. This can only be considered a "right-to-kill" case. Gotta love our media.

But then, no one ever said Michael Schiavo was a great man.

And yes, that is a newly remixed and remastered version of my song. I've been meaning to at least do something about the vocals and since I don't have time to re-record them, I just reprocessed them (a closed door can work wonders).

Victor Lams - "Not a Great Man" 192kbps .mp3 format. Lyric here.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

It's been a rainy, wet weekend (well Friday was pretty nice). We did go to Jackie's MOPS group's picnic today, though, and 'Xander got to play with all of the other preschoolers. Very much fun.

I've been working on a song this weekend, but fell victim to My Curse: a nearly complete instrumental arrangement and no idea what the lyric is going to be about yet. Oh, well. You can listen to the music here, and maybe this week I'll write some words for it. I'm trying to balance the profound with the pro-fun, but on the other hand, I do this music making stuff because I enjoy it, not because I hold any delusions about it changing the world. So maybe I'll go with what first popped into my head, as ephemeral as that is.

And just because I know one person who will be interested: we're on the verge of the release of Lost Marble's Moho v5.0. This version adds some pretty substantial Flash .swf file exporting as well as added 3D capabilities (while still retaining it's 2D animation character) and new bone strengths. The beta is downloadable (for Mac and PC as a demo version) and it looks WICKED AWESOME. Can't wait to make some cartoons with this (particularly since the upgrade from v4.6 to v5.0 requires, as the other upgrades have done, only a very small fee: in this case, $19).

Oh, well. That's it for this weekend. Hope yours was a blast.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Jay Maynard (aka. Tron Guy) does his best Evan Coyne Maloney impersonation and interviews Michael Moore fans for Jimmy Kimmel.

Very, very funny. And I'm glad Kimmel (of all people) could convince Maynard to put on a pair of briefs underneath his Tron unitard. Link via POF.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Ow! A cut!. I want a purple heart now for skinning my elbow on the curly slide at the park. That really stung for a few minutes there.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Missionaries To The Preborn: Great Lakes American Atrocities Tour - August 2nd-13th, 2004

We had more physical confrontations on this Tour than on any other Tour in the past. Several pro-abortion people were arrested along the way. No one from our group was arrested. We also ran into some bad police situations in a few places. In Pontiac, MI for example, some rank and file officers who were mad because they didn't get to impound Ron Brock's truck and confiscate all our literature, got in their squad cars, road up and down the street, and as they passed our people said derogatory things over their squad car PA system like - "How much are you getting paid" and "Blow up any buildings today?"

Silly pro-lifers. If they wanted a warm reception in Pontiac, they should've pretended to be crack dealers.

Really remarkable accounts and photos (bad metaphor aside: "Cars were often backed up like cordwood along this Tour"). It bears repeating: when people get upset by the photos of abortion, they have to realise that what they feel revulsion towards is not the pictures, but the reality represented:

This woman drove up the curb and stopped abruptly just before hitting our people with her car. She was cussing, screaming and crying. Several minutes later she attacked Pastor Matt. is the caption for this photo.

Jared has some strong words for them, too.

The situation is probably reaching a head though, apparently, as folks can no longer stomach the reality or abstract themselves from it. As one photo caption reads: "There were more physical confrontations on this Tour than any others in the past." Passion can be a good thing; it means we're not completely dead yet.
To the pure, all things are pure. For everyone else, there's Earth Erotica, "Exploring the Sensual Contours of Earth's Body".

"Yosemite National Park? Yeah... I'd do it."

Monday, August 23, 2004

Okay, I wasn't actually fishing for birthday wishes (mainly just marking the occasion) but it sure was nice to receive them! Thank you, all, and with any luck we'll all make it back here next year.

Now do yourself a favor: drop whatever you are doing right now and run, do not walk, to the nearest place of DVD rentals and sales and make, buy, or rent "The Triplets of Belleville". This was in my birthday haul this year and is an awesome, awesome film. If you thought animation was dead or had somehow reached it's pinnacle in "Finding Nemo" (as I had), this will restore your hope and faith in the sheer craft of it all.

More on my birthday booty later.
Happy Birthday to me!

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Dr. Apostrophe X emailed me this afternoon:

Hey, V! Could you post my entry this month? I thought everyone could use a dose of the Funk. And Funk goes best with a healthy dose of nasty dubble entendre. "Knock me up" I'm told can mean "pay a visit to" in the UK (as in "knock upon the door of me"), although in the states it pretty much just means to impregnate someone. It ends with a fadeout because all songs in the 1970s ended with a fade out.

So, I know I'll regret posting this but I do owe the good doctor a favor a two...

Dr. Apostrophe X - "Knock Me Up" 2 minutes, .mp3 format. If you promise not to cross the streams, you can listen to Windoze Media and Real Media formats at

Friday, August 20, 2004

What would you get if an athelete from Iceland combined creepy-looking puppets, nonsensical Euro-Disco techno music, and a flying airship? I'm guessing it would look a lot like LazyTown, which premiered on Nick Jr. this week.

It's a pretty cute show thanks to the set design and goofy European sensibilities (whenever that music starts with the "utz-utz-utz-utz" bass drum, I can't help but laugh). Also, as Jackie pointed out, it has the distinction of being the only kids show on television with a a decent villian (the actor playing Robbie Rotten must be a pretty good physical comic, too, even though I can't find anything on him on Google).

See for yourself in this music video.

"When I move,
I'm feeling all right.
Bing! Beng! Bang!
And I'm ready to go.
Jump high,
From left to right,
And you'll be going strong!"

Thursday, August 19, 2004

I found the link to in the recently-visited list of our web-browser and I was really excited.... For about five seconds, until I clicked on the link.
I also love that picture Drudge keeps running of Hanoi Kerry. It makes him look like the elusive Yeti. Well... even MORE like the elusive Yeti than usual.
BBC News: A woman who {bumped uglies with] US presidential hopeful John Kerry says she [was convinced] to take down [a very embarassing website].

This is the purpose for which web cache was invented.

At least we now know whatever gave Kerry the idea that he could possibly be the next president:

As a homicide detective, Nora Davis must solve a rash of murders and disappearances on the planet Earth2. Nora, along with her brother Remy and her partner Preston, are youth-geni, the youth of the genetically engineered. Born with superior traits, the three must use all their resources in an effort to save their planet.

Earth2? Hmmm.. maybe this is where Edwards' other America is located? I wonder if Barak Obama thinks he's youth-geni or not? Actually, this book might provide a lot of insight into the Democratic party as of late, if only I could convince myself that it wouldn't be better for everyone involved to just flush the $8.50 down the toilet.
He's a Democrat! He's Pro-Bush! And, most importantly, he's Pro-Life!

I might have to actually watch some politickin' conventioneerin' TV in the next few weeks, just to catch this guy's speech. But I'm not watching Guiliani, Schwartzenegger, or the other guy who's supposed to be a Republican who's speaking at the Convention but who I can't remember right now, because they'd all make me barf.
WorldNet Daily: Aborted baby's head left inside woman, Couple horrified to find face of child after returning home

Just when you think abortion couldn't get any more horrible, there's always another reminder just a click away. Caution before clicking on that link as there's a photo of the face a page or so down.
Just in case you wondered why there really hasn't been any good new music released in the last three years or so....

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Classic et cetera Retrospective Repeat

Blog! The Musical

Originally aired May 23, 2003. Remix "So What"

Here's what will happen: over the next five months, we'll offer a track a month from "A New Kind of Blue," in the same sequence they appear on the CD. This month it's "So What." Next month it'll be "Freddie Freeloader." We'll continue like this until the entire album is remixed, creating a third-generation Kind of Blue. Among other prizes, the winning remixes will be included on a compilation CD.

Randy Brecker on trumpet, Victor Lewis on drums... you bet I'll be remixing these. Especially "Freddie Freeloader". I thought that song was the bomb, back in High School.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Another Human Person

Mazel Tov to Zorak and O.O.!!!

I'm not Jewish, I just like saying "Mazel Tov!". Nice ultrasound picture, there, too. A couple of weeks back a couple who knows Jackie from her Marian Catechist program asked me if I wouldn't take a few of their ultrasound tapes and digitize them so they could show them on a computer at a baby shower some co-workers were throwing for them. It turns out these coworkers weren't even "personally opposed, but..." so they figured this might be a good, non-con-fron chance to spread the word about that Gospel of Life thing.

Well, I took the three ultrasound tapes (six weeks, ten weeks, and twenty weeks) put them into a nice DV presentation, put some music from Mozart's Coronation Mass behind it and burned it to DVD and also to Windows Media, just in case. They were very grateful, but really I just like having these opportunities to play with my toys.

I got word back about a week later that the video had been a big hit. The co-workers had never, ever seen an ultrasound and were really amazed at the motion of the baby, even from ten weeks. They were not as amazed as I was: NEVER SEEN AN ULTRASOUND. I could understand it if these folks lived 60 clicks outside of Burundi, but these people work in Troy, Michigan. In the United States. In the 21st Century. How can you never have seen an ultrasound?

The more I learn the more I begin to suspect that most people I disagree with aren't terrible people, but are just ill-or-non-informed (unhappily, most are also really dumb and won't listen to me, but that's another issue). I suppose that's the most diabolical trick of all: to have technology which is so ubiquitous and which so unequivocably (and if I spelled both of those two words correctly, I should get a gold star) demonstrates that the child in the womb is "Another Human Person" (as the little DV opus was entitled) and yet have people still so ignorant to it.

Is the effort now not to cloud a person's mind to the truth so much as it is to never have them happen upon it?