Sunday, November 27, 2005

Lookalikes: Salman Rushdie

Shell insists that Salman Rushdie looks like "Harry Potter" Daniel Radcliffe. Apparently, I lack "imagination" because I don't see the resemblance.

In this photo, I think he looks more like Channel 8 weatherman Troy Dungan - or his evil twin.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Music: Girl Groups

Gift idea for pop music lovers: "One Kiss Can Lead To Another: Girl Group Sounds Lost And Found", a box set of 4 CDs of girl groups. Mainly rarities, so if you want the classic songs, you'd be better off with a one disc "greatest hits" like this.

Some of the performers and producers featured on the box set: Sandie Shaw, Brenda Lee (with Jimmy Page on guitar), Twiggy, David Gates, Dolly Parton (produced by Ray Stevens), Toni Basil (song written by Graham Gouldman of 10CC)

There's also a group called The Girls, four sisters named Sandoval. Could they be related to Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star/Warm Inventions fame? The cheekbones look similar.

The CDs come packaged in a "hat box", which is a cute idea but takes up a lot of space.

If you hurry, you can download my favorite song from the set, "He Makes Me So Mad" by the Hollywood Jills, at Sound Bites. Like Sound Bites, I did a doubletake when I heard the start of a Dusty Springfield song and realised that it had been stolen wholesale by Saint Etienne.

Internet: Amazon Reviewer

Came across this review of a broadband router on
Even though Amazon states it requires a modem, I got it anyway as normally routers are built to elliminate the need for a modem in the first place. It DOES require a modem, and the connection is RJ45 so no just connecting to your DLS splitter. Been in IT for a good few years and for a top 5 router to have no modem is just pants. Returning for a Netgear. Bizarre.

Yes, as OMC said, how bizarre that Amazon should state it doesn't include a modem - and then it turns out that it doesn't include a modem!

"Pants", for non-Brits, is slang" for "not very good", deriving from "underpants". It was even used by a Home Office official rejecting an asylum seeker's case.

Do the British overuse catchphrases? I think they do. Every fifth review on uses the tired expression, "It does exactly what it says on the tin", which is the slogan for Ronseal woodcare products.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Lyrics Quiz: JFK

Lyrics Quiz for the day that's in it. You'll do well if you get more than three.

  1. I shouted out: "Who killed the Kennedys?", when, after all, it was you and me.
  2. Anybody here seen my old friend John? Can you tell me where he's gone? He freed a lot of people, but it seems the good die young.
  3. J.F.K. blown away. What else do I have to say?
  4. My mother cried when President Kennedy died. She said it was the communists but I knew better.
  5. Who's got the brain of JFK? What's it mean to us now...yeah?
  6. I was born the day they shot JFK. The way you look at me sucks me down the sidewalk. Somebody please tell this machine I'm not a machine.
  7. And then a guy in a Porsche with a radio hit his horn and told us the news. He said: "The president's dead, he was shot twice in the head in Dallas, and they don't know by whom."
  8. I wanna die just like JFK. I wanna die on a sunny day. I wanna die just like JFK. I wanna die in the USA.
  9. People got more baggage than JFK, yeah. And I'm talkin about the airport, man.

Oh, and that Dream Academy song from the other day.

One of the above songs is Lou Reed's "The Day John Kennedy Died" (yeah, right, like you would have got that one). Lou also sings:

The team from the University was playing football on TV."

JFK was shot on a Friday, early afternoon. It seems highly unlikely that any college team would be playing a game then. Lou's alma mater is Syracuse University, and their schedule for 1963 shows no game on 11/22.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Internet: Wikipedia

IBM's Research group provides a visualisation of Wikipedia page changes. Not sure what it means, but it's purty.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Lyrics Quiz: Beatles

Songs that mention the Beatles:

  1. He said "In winter 1963, it felt like the world would freeze. With John F. Kennedy. And the Beatles."
  2. All that phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust.
  3. "Lawrence of Arabia", British Beatlemania. Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson.
  4. Why don't the Beatles get back together? Why don't nobody sing of romance?
  5. Fear in the air, tension everywhere. Unemployment rising fast, the Beatles new record's a gas.
  6. I asked Bobby Dylan, I asked the Beatles, I asked Timothy Leary, but he couldn't help me either.
  7. Johnny was a school boy when he heard his first Beatles song. `Love Me Do' I think it was, and from then it didn't take him long.

I had these two before:

  1. I don't believe in Zimmerman. I don't believe in Beatles. I just believe in me.
  2. Well, my brother's back at home with his Beatles and his Stones.

Music: Copyright Law

Contrary to common belief, there is no "four note" rule for music sampling.

List of famous copyright cases, including the Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony". (More info on that case.)

Music: Amazon Customer Reviews

Read this Amazon customer review of the Cardigans' "Super Extra Gravity" for an example of bad writing style. Overwrought? Yes. Using long words when simple ones would be better? Yes. Ignoring basic rules of punctuation? Yes. Incomprehensible at times? Definitely. Take it away, C. Lynch:
I've never written a review before for a cd, but felt compelled as the latest work from The Cardigans struck me as something great and I feared they would be spoken of badly or misinterpreted by someone, hindering another from experiencing this revolution in music.

Their music seems to move with the general feeling of the musically inclined at that point and time, even so far as initiating the next wave of emotion.

But trusting them, I bought the cd and soon it took the reigns of my emotions that I'd unsuccessfully controlled, and steered me into a direction that I almost wasn't sure that I was allowed to feel.

By the way, you can see the video for "I need some fine wine and you, you need to be nicer" here. I know I blogged this before but RB hasn't seen it yet. Oh, it's in Real Player format, and he hates that as much as I hate QuickTime. Here's a Natalie Portman Japanese shampoo commercial instead.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Music: Best Non-Album Single

Eric extends the B-side discussion to this topic: what is the best song that was only issued on a single, not on an album (apart from compilations)?

He suggests the Led Zeppelin b-side "Hey, Hey What Can I Do" (which Shell mentioned today as the best b-side - although he may have referred to it as "Hey Hey My My").

I'll nominate two Roxy Music singles: their incredible debut "Virginia Plain", and "Pyjamarama".

Have to mention the Smiths - "Ask" and "Panic".

For nostalgia, how about ABBA's "Summer Night City" from 1978?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

TV: "Veronica Mars"

"Veronica Mars" is a fine TV show. Well-plotted, smart dialogue and a cast that is almost perfect - especially the charming Kristen Bell (yes, she likes dogs).

Excellent music too - very fond of Air. The creator of the show, Rob Thomas (not the Matchbox 20 guy), was in various bands in Austin, TX. One of his bands played support to Something Happens, which explains how they got to be on the soundtrack.

The only miscasting, to my mind, was Brandon Hillock as Deputy Sacks, as the mush-mouthed, sleepy cop who was one of Veronica's love interests in season one. He has no other credits on IMDb. I Googled him to see what could possibly be his claim to fame that got him this gig. Remember this story about costumed characters shaking down tourists on Hollywood Boulevard, and this photo of Elmo and Mr. Incredible being arrested? Well, the story says:

The hotly competitive environment underscores basic divisions among the characters. Some are weekend hobbyists who take their performance seriously and aren't so concerned about getting paid; others see the gig as a full-time job in which they must scramble for every dollar.

In the former camp are two very passable Johnny Depp impersonators -- Jim Calibur, who portrays Captain Jack Sparrow from "Pirates of the Caribbean" and Brandon Hillock, who plays Willy Wonka from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" -- who work together. They pool their resources and give tourists a double dose of Mr. Depp. Both men have spent more than $1,000 on their costumes.

Could it be the same guy?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Music: B-Sides

Stylus has a "Non-Definitive Guide To The B-Side". They omit the greatest B-side of all time (I don't think it meets their criteria), "The Sweetest Thing" by U2. Second greatest is "Lover" by Roxy Music (B-side of "Same Old Scene").

Here's an Australian list (that does include "The Sweetest Thing").

Retail: Best Buy

Overheard at the Best Buy in Grapevine, TX. (White) mother, confidently, to her pre-teen children: "R&B is the same as Hip-Hop." Then, less confidently: "Let's ask those black guys."

Best Buy's in-store radio has had a lone male DJ for a while. Over-earnest but not too objectionable. Now they've paired him with a female DJ, and they make inane, obviously scripted small talk between songs. Very objectionable.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Mish Mash

  • Pitchfork has The Worst Record Covers Of All Time. Some are very obscure but they are bad.
  • Eric suggests a "Separated At Birth": Eagles' owner Jeffrey Lurie and SNL head honcho Lorne Michaels. I see a resemblance.
  • Sports appropriate name: 49ers QB Cody Pickett - he'll be throwing a lot of picks. (And throwing off pickers.)
  • A piece of silk challenged some rough woollen fabric to a race. Not surpisingly, the silk won easily. It jeered the wool: "You're bested!" "No," said the wool, "I'm worsted."
  • Moroccan Role has very appealing tracks by Lawrence, KS band, OK Jones. Like a more tuneful, less freaky Wilco.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Music: Most Disappointing Albums

Great list of "100 MOST DISAPPOINTING ALBUMS" at Productshop NYC. I definitely agree with:
97. Suede – Dog Man Star
81. Paul Weller – Stanley Road (despite recent 10th anniversary celebrations)
64. U2 – Pop
61. Pixies – Bossonova
50. Air - 10,000 Hz
41. Blur – The Great Escape
18. Belle & Sebastian - Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant
2. Stone Roses – Second Coming (and I agree that it has improved with age)

Disagree with:
86. Lou Reed – Metal Machine Music (how can you be "disappointed" with a double album of noise?)
54. Pink Floyd - The Wall
36. Ryan Adams – Rock N Roll (great pastiches of 1980s music)

And I would have replaced De La Soul's "Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump" with "De La Soul Is Dead". And here are my suggestions:

  • The Waterboys - "Room To Roam" (what a let down after the mighty "Fisherman's Blues")
  • D'Angelo - "Brown Sugar" (the title track was great - the rest of the album was too smooth)
  • Prince - just about everything after "Sign O' The Times"

Friday, November 11, 2005

Internet: Pat Wants

(As seen around the Internet, with the words "needs" instead of "wants.) Google "-your name- wants" and list the top 10 results. What does Pat want?

  1. Pat wants to blow it up, real good.
  2. Pat wants Jared dead.
  3. Pat wants to meet Chris and greet him.
  4. Pat wants to transfer her policy to a charitable remainder trust.
  5. Pat wants to phone at the mall.
  6. Pat wants US jobs to stay in the US.
  7. Pat wants to fix fog_coord to apply the decision as to where the fog coord comes from at a per-vertex level - e.g. move the mux up to the RasterPos level.
  8. Pat wants his wife back to take care of the children and run the house.
  9. Pat wants to be perceived as playing off fear.
  10. Pat wants to send out a press release automatically.

So that's how Thom Yorke writes his lyrics!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Funny Names

The Chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips? James Mulva.

Hoax: Ronaldinho Nike Commercial

Nike ad of Ronaldhino (the ugliest woman to ever play mens' football) trying some new boots. He hits the crossbar multiple times. Generally reckoned to be fake.

The pickup ad where it survives being hit by a meteor? Definitely real.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Blurry photo (or is it Art?) of a lizard with no tail. The tail has since grown back but the other lizards still shun him. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Politics: GOP Babes

Just saw Govindini Murty on C-SPAN. No surprise that she was the New Jersey GOP Babe Of The Week. (Full archive here. Surprising that it wasn't until Week 18 that they featured Michelle Malkin, who was raised in NJ.) Back to Murty. She co-created the Liberty Film Festival and is a protege of Michael Medved.

And the hottest babe in the Liberal Media? Still Lara Logan, now on "60 Minutes".

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Music: U2

U2 brings all-girl band on stage in LA. You can hear the girls' version of "Out Of Control" here - a little too faithful to the original.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Simpsons: Bands Named After...

Wikipedia lists bands named after "The Simpsons". I've seen Fallout Boy and Evergreen Terrace at Best Buy. Wikipedia doesn't have The Flaming Moes, an Australian cover band. There's an Irish cover band of the same name that performs on special occasions.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Politics: California

Political animation from some Democrat who wants to be Governor of California. Love the Cheney Monster.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

TV: Bad Dialogue Game

Which of this bad TV dialog(ue) is genuine, and which did I make up?

  1. Geena Davis on "Commander-In-Chief": "I'm not just the Commander, damn it - I'm the Commander-In-Chief".
  2. Summer on "The OC": "The more time I spend with Zack, the less I have to think about...ew...what's his face...built like a bean pole, curly hair, runs away like a little bitch on his sailboat, leaving nothing but a note for his girlfriend, who cried and cried over him until the 4th of July, when she decided she doesn't cry over bitches on boats."
  3. Red on "That 70s Show": "Who would want a phone without a cord? Son, you're wasting your time with that...cordless phone!"
  4. Samantha on "Sex And The City": "Don't move to the suburbs, Charlotte! No one ever talks about Sex and the Suburbs."
  5. Pat O'Brien on "The Insider": "And later in the show, we get an exclusive look at Nicole Richie's new fragrance - for pooches!"
  6. Dylan Walsh on "Nip/Tuck: "Wow! That girl is so ugly she needs a nip AMPERSAND tuck!"
  7. Emily Procter on "CSI:Miami": "You may be a lawyer, but I'm a CSI. A damn good one."