Monday, February 28, 2005

Not "Fair Enough".

Notice how all the chairpersons on the board of "Big Tabacco" in those vicious slander pieces the government shows on TV are all chairmen (and white males at that). Are we really to believe that "Big Tabacco" doesn't seat women or African-Americans on their boards? Wouldn't we have heard by now of a number of class-action lawsuits if that were the case?

(Of course it's pretty funny that their "incriminating sources" are internal memos from over 25 years ago).

Just an observation. Whenever it's something eeeeevil, like "tobacco" (a crop which pretty much built our nation), it's only safe to show a white male behind it.
NYTimes: More Dutch Plan to Emigrate as Muslim Influx Tips Scales

I guess one couldn't really expect all Europeans to stick around and witness the death of Europe. Under the circumstances, running away is probably the sensible thing to do.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

The Snake's Head finally begins to eat its Tail

The cycle of eternal recurrence is nearly complete: Jakks Pacific will start offering cartridges (and cartridge slots) on their "no cartridge needed!" Plug N' Play games.

Actually I think this is great as I'd like to get more of these but don't want to have to buy another A/V switchbox for all of them, to say nothing of all their little wires getting tangled up.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

"'Cause I can't get into it
Unless I get out of it
An' I gotta get out of it
Before I get into it
'Cause I never get into it
Unless I get out of it
An' I gotta be out of it
To get myself into it."

Yeah! I found my copy of "Over-nite Sensation"!
I finally finished playing Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater on the PS2. It took me over 24 hours to complete. It's definitely the game with the highest production values I've ever seen. It has some of the best characters, plot, story (gotta love that three-act format, even if the second act does play out over 12 or 14 hours), and sheer polish I've ever seen in a game. It's also has some of the most brutal and violent games scenes I've ever seen in a game, but in the end good (or patriotism) triumphs over evil (or the "enemy" -- for all the shooting you do in the game, it has a very strong anti-war message). The final Boss battle takes place in probably the most beautiful setting ever conceived in a piece of interactive entertainment.

If you go in expecting to just play the game from start to finish, you'll probably be disappointed because at certain stages they'll stop the game for 20 minutes or so of (very, very good) cinematics (using the game engine and PS2 hardware). The game doesn't really start until you're two or three hours into it (at which point, not to ruin anything, the actual title sequence is played) Easily some of the best acting from a synthesbian I've ever seen. The music is also very good: it was composed by Harry Gregson-Williams, a bona-fide composer of music for film and it really shows. Definitely the best music and use of music in a game (in one sequence you're headed up an almost infinitely long shaft, up a ladder and about halfway up, comes the title theme vocal, a capella, reverberating throughout the shaft. Later on the title theme comes back out of nowhere, without the vocal, in the middle of the final boss battle. The effect is amazing and really shows how folks SHOULD be using music in interactive entertainment; ie. not just as aural filler). The whole setting of the game is unique too: not too many games I remember take place in the wake of the Cuban Missle Crisis.

Anyway, it's brutal in spots, but well worth what you put into it (or at least as much as any game can be worth the hours you spend on it, alone, away from your family... sigh).

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

This is awful, but the first thing that came to mind when I read this story was a mental picture of Auric Goldfinger suspending Bond in a man-sized baby swing over a room filled with savage dobermans.

That's terrible, though. I wonder what it is about dogs that makes them so bad?
Awesome interview with John and John at where they talk about "No!", "Here Come the ABCs", "Bed, Bed, Bed," and the Charlie Brown Christmas CD (as well as kids music in general).

Friday, February 18, 2005

Victor's Head A-splodes

On the one hand it's Earth Wind and Fire but on the other hand, it's Kenny G. Earth Wind and Fire: absolute good. Kenny G: absolute evil. How can I possibly like this track but on the other hand how can I possibly not? Existential crisis: how can I keep my groove on listening to the greatest soul band of all time when it's on a track by Kennyfreakin G?

I weep.

I guess one could argue that Kenny G today is no more of a sell-out than Ramsey Lewis was in the 1970s (or today), but I totally don't buy that argument (mostly the premise that Ramsey Lewis was a sell-out in the 1970s or even today and I really like that track "Sun Goddess").

Anyway. I probably just need some time. Stupid Kenny G. First Louis Armstrong and now this. Will you stop at nothing in your campaign to pollute the entire spectrum of jazz and soul?

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Here Come the ABCs arrived today (it was released yesterday). It's pretty much essential. Full review to come in the next few days.
Somebody call House.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Interesting. I was perusing Kurt Elling's upcoming tour dates and discovered that he'd be in Ann Arbor on March 10th, performing the jazz-adaptation of Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass".

The Amazon editorial review for the album, which isn't out until the week after next, makes this sound pretty cool, especially for huge Kurt Elling fans such as me and Jackie. Don't know if we'll be able to get out to the show or not, however.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Chromeo's "Needy Girl" is one of the coolest videos I've seen in a while (one of the only videos I've seen in a while, too, but...). It's definitely one of the most gear-centric videos I've seen lately (gotta love the props given directly to the talk-box tube -- and indirectly to Roger Troutman, may he rest in peace) and the kaleidoscopic dancing mannequins are straight out of 1983 (as is the "Rock-It" scratching and the whole general vibe of course). Anyway, it's worth checking out. Fun stuff.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Jimmy Smith is remembered by DownBeat and Blue Note Records.

Do, if you have never checked out Smith's music, pick up at least his retrospective CD. His earlier stuff with Stanley Turrentine, of course, MADE the Hammond B3 organ a real instrument in Jazz (and later rock, popular music, R&B, etc.) but what's amazing is how he kept his chops all the way to the end of his life. Listen to his solo on "Stolen Moments" off of his 1996 CD "Angel Eyes" and you'll hear what I mean.

Monday, February 07, 2005

I don't recall ever seeing my December, 2004, issue of crisis, but judging from the letters in this month's issue, this piece on NFP by H.W. Crocker, III stirred up quite the firepot of controversy. I personally thought it was very funny, and was amazed that crisis would publish anything so daring (aside from, of course, the link to my 'blog in the June, 2003, issue. Thanks Mark, your residuals are in the mail).
Darn it, BBC. You can't write an article like that one and then not post a link to the pictures. It's just bad journalism. Sheesh. Learn a thing or two from The Guardian.
Junie Morrison's new album is out!

Weirdest thing of all? There's a track on it called Robot Love.

Now all I need is the $20 to buy it.
Slate reflects on the superbowl ads (none of which I saw as I didn't watch The Big Game). The objection to this ad, though, which got it pulled, I don't get almost as much as I don't get the ad itself.
This is one smart kid.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

RVi is losing Foreign language services in March.

Heads up from RC. To be honest, I had no idea such a thing existed, but now I'm sad. Their webpage did point me towards this world group from Flanders, Les Banquet Nomades, which sounds pretty good. Have to try and find someplace that has their album.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

New "Here Come the ABCs" Videos

Check out this player for a bunch of full-length videos from the upcoming They Might Be Giants album/DVD, which will be released on February 15th. Very, very cool. ("Q U" is still my favorite so far).

UPDATE: Actually I think my new fave is "Can You Find It?" which is classic John Linnell at his best.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Slightly Greater Number of Things Considered

Sometimes NPR manages to convince me that they're actually changing their act and speaking more to the public's tastes and views. Consider this three-day hat-trick on "All Things Considered": two days ago there was the story about the cowbell in rock music which managed to reference the Christopher Walken SNL sketch and the Cowbell Project (though they did get some hate mail from that story) and yesterday they featured an analysis of the "ownership society" featuring David Boaz of the Cato Institute (and they actually let the guy speak!) and then tonight they featured an in-studio performance by the Soweto Gospel Choir who they actually let sing about Jesus on NPR.

But just when you think something's changing on "All Things Considered", "Morning Edition" reminds you that they're still Nationalist Party Radio with the usual story on how great "same-sex marriage" is and how anyone who opposes it is an ogre which ends with, you guessed it, the obligitory interview with the lesbian mom couple. Every story on same-sex marriage on NPR ends this way: kids playing in the background just before they introduce the lesbian moms. The kids playing in the background has become my signal to change the station.

I imagine ten years from now they'll be wrapping up the "man-boy marriage" or other pedophile-friendly stories in much the same fashion: by bringing up the sound of playing children and then the voiceover: "Raul and Thomas McKendrick are more than just father and son...."
Undeniably a work of genius

Baby Got Book

Link via POF.

It's interesting though, that when you first start watching this you think "are they serious (about being humorous)? This isn't just some sardonic parody of Christians?" and no, it's not a sardonic parody. It's both funny AND reverant. Consider the reaction to Matisyahu, below, by some on Fr. Bryce's 'blog, wondering if he can be for real. He is: both Hasidic Jew and Reggae/Hip-Hop Superstar. I take this to be yet another of the unique and great traits of Gen Y: both clever and savvy and technically gifted but also very sincere. If Gen X was but a casulty in the culture clash, the sad roadkill of the destructive policies the hedonist Boomers, it looks like our sacrifice wasn't in vain.
U.S. Chaldean Catholics' participation
in elections called 'anemic'

Fewer than 11,000 Iraqi-Americans -- Christian or Muslim -- took advantage of the opportunity to vote Jan. 28-30 at the out-of-country polling station set up in suburban Southgate to serve Michigan and neighboring states, said Joseph T. Kassab of Farmington Hills, also a Detroit suburb.

Kassab heads the organization formed to promote the interests of Chaldean Catholics in the new Iraq.

In an interview with The Michigan Catholic, newspaper of the Detroit Archdiocese, he also said his organization received information that in Iraq some 250,000 members of minority groups, including Christians, members of a Kurdish religious sect and other religious minorities, were prevented from voting.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Controversial WorldCom deal is dead

That's a shame. I don't know that this deal was "controversial" to any former WorldCom employee, unless it was in the sense that we'd have prefered, in addition to the $18 million dollars coming out of their pockets, to see the entire lot hung up by their dangling unmentionables.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

You gotta know that who's feeling really bad right about now is the guy who gave the flu to the Pope. Not to make light of the situation in any way, but you have to wonder what was going through his mind: "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity! It's just a little sniffle, probably nothing serious."

Anyway, prayers are still going out for his speedy recovery.
Meredith posted this over at POF but it's just too cool not to share (must of the stuff over there is too cool not to share -- like this duality of dual-guitars -- but I don't want to outright bogart her links every time):

Matisyahu: The Hasidic Reggae Superstar

Direct from Brooklyn. I wonder if he and Fr. Stan Fortuna would ever considering collaborating on a project.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

"Damn Good Times" Video

I have to admit, Nosferatu is not what came to my mind when I heard the song the first 100 times. And just a reminder, the TMBG "Here come the ABC's" CD and DVD will be out in only two weeks!