Sunday, September 26, 2004

Words: Funeralize

Listening to the Texas Rangers on KRLD the other night, a "tease" for the news referred to plans to "funeralize" a college student. Googled this non-word - found this Delaware story that quotes a local pastor using it. This excerpt from "The American Language" by H.L. Mencken lists it among "contributions from the backwoods pulpit".

Here's a list of other words turned into verbs. It doesn't include the one that annoys me most, "burglarize". (There's already a perfectly good verb, "burgle".)

Music: Opening Lines 4

Some good opening line suggestions from Shell. These are all from the same band - a skiffle combo from Liverpool.

"I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me."

A classic beginning this, almost "Once upon a time..", except it's a confession of adultery, not a fairy tale.

"Picture yourself in a boat on a river with tangerine trees and marmalade skies."

Another great opening, "Picture yourself", asking the listener to imagine the psychedelic scene that follows. And it's a fitting start since the song was inspired by a picture (seen here).

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away."

Well, maybe this one isn't so good. The "Yesterday" part is effective, but then it gets a bit spongey. Paul might have been better off sticking with the original lyrics.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Music: Opening Lines 3

Let me talk some more about Opening Lines. Some people who shell remain nameless think that means great lyrics that just happen to be at the start of a song. No.

A good opening lyric should, like a good opening line in a novel, grab our attention. It should be funny or moving or clever or intriguing or shocking or all of these.

It should also set up the rest of the song, so we know (roughly) what to expect. That is, it should introduce the tone and the attitude of the song.

If the song is going to tell a story, then the opening line should tell us the beginning of the story. And what better beginning than a birth? "A child arrived just the other day..." That's an odd way of putting it. "Came to the world in the usual way." A dispassionate, business-like description, so we're surprised to learn that the narrator is the child's father. "But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay. He learned to walk while I was away." Now the opening makes perfect sense, and we follow the story to its inevitable conclusion: "My boy was just like me."

More songs that start with birth:

We start each day by waking up, so that makes for a natural opening. "Wake up, Maggie..." "Wake up, Little Susie, wake up." "Wake me up, before you go-go." And Eric suggests:

"I woke up in a Soho doorway, a policeman knew my name."

(OK, as Eric acknowledges, the song actually starts with the hooting "Who are you? Who who, who who?") It probably helps to know that the song is autobiographical and that Soho is a sleazy part of London. So here's a famous rock musician waking up and bottoming out. Who doesn't want to hear how this turns out?

If the song is about a relationship, why not start by telling us how it started?

"I met her in a club down in old Soho where they drink champagne and it tastes just like Coca Cola."

(There's Soho again!) Ray Davies may have just been trying to find a rhyme for Lola, but a drink that isn't what it seems to be craftily foreshadows the "Crying Game" twist.

More meetings:

Maybe your song doesn't tell a story. Maybe it's just a mishmash of pretentious gibberish. Why not announce that fact from the git-go?

"I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together."

Yes, "Let the f*ckers work that one out" indeed.

More later.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Music: Opening Lines 2

Robb contributes to the Opening Lines discussion:

Here's a lyrics quiz that has one of these songs.

Music: Opening Lines 1

What are the best opening lines in a song? Here are three that come to mind:

(Here's a BBC Radio 2 list of Best Opening Lines. Can't say I'm too impressed.)

Sports: Baseball

Incredible comeback by the Texas Rangers. Perhaps the Oakland Athletics should institute a "Don't ask Dotel" policy. Just two games back, baby.

Sports: Appropriate Names

Remember that list of sports people with appropriate names? (See July's archive.) Forgot MLB umpire Fieldin Culbreth. He played baseball in college until an arm injury, it says.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Poem: Hearing Test

Can you hear "Snow Falling On Cedars" ?
No, but I can hear "Cannonball" by The Breeders.

TV: "Veronica Mars", "Lost"

TV review. Enjoyed the premiere of "Veronica Mars" on the UPN. Star Kristen Bell reminds me of a young Tea Leoni. Next Tuesday's episode will feature the strangely fascinating Paris Hilton.

Also watched "Lost". Not bad, but could have done without the monster subplot. That strains credulity on its own. But when three castaways have a close encounter with the "thing", yet not one of them gets a good look at it - well, that's when I tore my Anterior Credulity Ligament.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Cryptic Baseball Players

Cryptic baseball players (all Hall Of Famers):

  • Sorrow of a hot chick.
  • Corn from Bangkok.
  • Mafia boss towels off chipmunk.
  • Exhale audibly: "Immature!"
  • The width of a rabbit hole.
  • College head - with a spinning head.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Sports: Harringtons

The amazing Harrington family - golfer Padraig (part of the victorious Ryder Cup team), Lions quarterback Joey, and poker champion Dan.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Internet: Blogshares, A9

According to Blogshares, Patanoia is worth $1,357.22, but I'm not sure what that means. Market share is given as 0.00006 %, which seems a little high. I found this link using Amazon's new search engine, A9. But be warned - A9 returns images with its searches and some of these are decidedly adult. (You can turn Images off.)

Here's some British daytime TV nostalgia. I was searching for information about Nancy Kominsky, and her "Paint Along With Nancy" show.

Friday, September 17, 2004

BBC News story about the guy who wrote the theme tune for "The Addams Family".

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Music: MP3 Blogs

(Thanks to Robb...) Our President singing "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "Dick Is A Killer"

And if you like the Velvet Underground and Christina Aguilera but always wished you could listen to both at the same time, try this mash-up from Go Home Productions.

Dan Rather satire. My theory is that Karl Rove forged the memos, knowing that the argument about their authenticity would distract attention away from the real story of GWB's National Guard service. (I'm not the only one.) More about Rove.

Music: Ernie Ball

On his new album "Age Of Miracles", the credits say, "Chuck Prophet breaks Ernie Ball strings on a Fender Squire guitar." As it happens, Ernie Ball just passed away last week. (P.S. Chuck loves the new Loretta Lynn CD.)

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Politics: Spreadsheet v Paragraph

According to David Brooks, "there are two sorts of people...spreadsheet people and paragraph people". Spreadsheet people, he says, are more likely to be Republican and to back Bush. Paragraph people are more likely to lean Democratic and support Kerry. Well, I think Bush loses the word-lovers as soon as he opens his mouth. And the number-crunchers can't be too happy with theU.S Budget deficit.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Art: Oil Paint Colours

The best thing about oil painting is the names of the colours. Alizarin Crimson ("An orange-red crystalline compound, C14H6O2(OH)2, used in making dyes"), Burnt Umber ("French (terre d') ombre or Italian (terra di) ombra, shadow (earth), both possibly from alteration (influenced by French ombre and Italian ombra, shadow) of Latin Umbria, a region of ancient Italy"), Cadmium Orange ("Cadmos was a Phoenician prince who killed a dragon and sowed its teeth, from which sprang up an army of men who fought one another until only five survived. With these five men Cadmus founded the city of Thebes"), and Naples Yellow ("Since the use of lead-based pigments has been practically prohibited, industrial production of Naples yellow has been terminated for all hues but the reddish. As a substitute, we are offering a chemically modified bismuth yellow, which we call Bristol yellow").

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Quotations: Insensitive

News story from earlier this month about someone's cremated remains crashing through a woman's roof. Her last comment seems a mite insensitive.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Internet: French Opinion Polls

Now we know why the French invented the phrase "Je ne sais quoi" (not to be confused with the Swedish band Je Ne Sais Quoi). The opinion polls at Le Monde regularly have 'No Opinion' votes of 6% or higher. Today's question currently has "Sans Opinion" at 9.9%. Let me know if you see an English-speaking poll where that many "Don't Knows" bothered to click on a link.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Nancy Sinatra and friends. See Nancy with Morrissey, Billy Idol, Roseanne, Patti Smith, Liza Minelli - and is that Grizzly Adams? There's also a Playboy picture. She has a new album due September 28th.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Cryptic Football Players: Answers

Answers to the football player quiz:

  1. Priest Holmes
  2. Tiki Barber
  3. Junior Seau
  4. Randy Moss
  5. Joe Horn
  6. Hines Ward
  7. Shannon Sharpe
  8. Bubba Franks

Friday, September 03, 2004

Cryptic Football Players

In time for Football season, can you decipher these cryptic players?

  1. Habitats for the clergy.
  2. Polynesian figurine who cuts hair.
  3. How you tell your son to make the sound associated with a boo-boo.
  4. Plant that grows on rocks, with high libido.
  5. Erection from drinking coffee.
  6. Section of hospital for Kerry's wife.
  7. Irish river that could cut you.
  8. Southern hotdogs.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Excellent piece at Slate demolishing the lies in Zell Miller and Dick Cheney's speeches last night. (By the way, why does Miller want a "War on Terra" ?)
If Jim Lehrer should ever lose an eye (God forbid), he can just replace it with a shiny black button.