Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Music: AC/DC

It's agreed. "Rock & Roll Ain't Noise Pollution" is one of AC/DC's weaker songs, but the intro sounds really cool on the Nike commercial.

And the title is very poor legal advice. I think you'll find that Rock & Roll can qualify as noise pollution if played at sufficient volume. Even My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields complained about his neighbour's music.

What's the worst advice you've ever heard in a song? "A-keep away from Runaround Sue"? "If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife"?

Monday, January 30, 2006

Music: MP3 Blogs

You Ain't No Picasso has two songs by Jack White's side project, The Raconteurs (I love the "Green Screen" look of their web site). "Steady As She Goes is the better of the two songs.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Business: Enron Emails

As featured in the Dallas Morning News, a company called InBoxer has given us the ability to search Enron's emails.

They're running a contest to find the funniest, most embarrassing, and most outrageous emails (you can win an Apple iPod Shuffle in each category). Registration is free and fairly painless.

First, I searched for "bear", because you can always be guaranteed to find a good bear joke. They have the classic "You don't really come here for the hunting, do you?" joke, and the 80-year-old with a pregnant young wife joke.

Then I searched on "abramoff":

Rick, good to see you today. excited about the prospects of the new office,kitchen cabinet/advisory team, etc.

as we discussed, jack abramoff is joining barry richards' law firm,
Greenberg Traurig, on january 1. richards was just named lawyer of the year
by the American lawyer while abramoff is arguably the most influential and
effective gop lobbyist in congress. i share several clients with him and
have yet to see him lose a battle. he also is very close to Delay and could
help enormously on that front. raised $ for bush. until december 31 he can
be reached at 202-661-3851. he assistant is Susan Ralston.

And I came across this one searching for "George W. Bush". It's from a woman called Cara.

Hi Honey,

I hope you are having a good day, I sure enjoyed playing a bit this morning.
(Although I had a little bout of blue bush) I just love having you around all
the time.

What the hell is "blue bush"?

Literary Miscellany

  • Garrison Keillor reviews "American Vertigo: Traveling America in the Footsteps of Tocqueville" by Bernard-Henri Lévy in the New York Times. "Don't let the door hit you on the way out," he concludes.
  • For many of us, Eudora Welty is just a belch gag on "The Simpsons". The Dallas Morning News reviews "Early Escapades", and quotes this verse she wrote about a heavyset dorm supervisor at college:
    "Where'er she goes forever more,
    The Butler bosom goes before.
    But still and all, I think you'll find
    That most of Butler goes behind."

    Sounds like she would have enjoyed the Simpsons reference.
  • I'm currently reading "Wodehouse: A Life". There's something unsettling about Wodehouse's character, as portrayed here. While quite amiable and naive in some ways (as with the infamous Nazi broadcasts), he was a disciplined writer and "clinically decisive" in business. But what a funny man. After the French authorities ruled that he was no longer "dangerous to the Republic", he wrote to a friend:
    Up till now, of course, the Republic has been ducking into hallways when I come along, swallowing nervously and whispering 'Cheese it, boys! Here comes Wodehouse!'

  • Arthur Golden, author of "Memoirs Of A Geisha" has admitted that he was never actualy a geisha. He was merely a courtesan.
  • Will Oprah have Krusty the Klown on her show next, and attack his autobiography as "self-serving with many glaring omissions"? How about Monty Burns and his "Will There Be Another Rainbow?" (Interesting web find: a Disney artist called Carl Barks made many collectible paintings of Scrooge McDuck, including one called "Always Another Rainbow".

Friday, January 27, 2006

Movies: Mixed-Up Titles

Mixing up movie titles - older movies this time.

  • "Animal Farmhouse" - Farmyard animals rise up against the humans at a college Fraternity. But the pigs prove to be as corrupt as the humans they overthrew, justifying their conduct with the slogan, "Four kegs good, two kegs bad".
  • "The Princess Motorcycle Diaries" - An awkward teenage girl discovers that she is related to a South American revolutionary. As he grooms her to succeed him, she learns that true beauty comes from within, and that Che Guevara is an asshole.
  • "The Magnificent Seven Brides For Se7en Brothers" - A Mexican village hires seven gunfighting women to defend them against seven serial killer brothers who use the Seven Deadly Sins as their "calling card". Musical.
  • "Beyond The Sea Inside" - Suffering from an illness that causes him to look 20 years older than he should, Bobby Darin fights for his right to die.
  • "The Gods Must Be Crazy/Beautiful" - An African tribe encounters civilisation for the first time when a self-destructive teen falls from the sky.
  • "'Round Midnight Run" - A bounty hunter must transport an alcoholic sax player from Paris to Los Angeles.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Music: History

Who was #1 on the day you were born? Me? "He's So Fine" by the Chiffons. Did George Harrison steal the melody for "My Sweet Lord"? You be the judge.

Lyrics Quiz: Devils

Name these devilish songs:

  1. Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me.
  2. When I was a little boy (when I was just a boy) and the devil would call my name (when I was just a boy).
  3. I have held the hand of the devil. It was warm in the night. I was cold as a stone.
  4. I've been searching for the daughter of the devil himself. I've been searching for an angel in white.
  5. There's a thousand pretty women just waitin' out there. They're all livin' devil-may-care. And I'm just the devil with love to spare.
  6. If man is 5, if man is 5, if man is 5, then the devil is 6.
  7. I spend my cash on looking flash and grabbing your attention. The devil take your stereo and your record collection!
  8. The devil will find work for idle hands to do. I stole and I lied, and why? Because you asked me to!
  9. Now lemme tell you a story. The devil he has a plan. A bag o' bones in his pocket. Got anything you want.
  10. And the devil's not in the details, no, the devil is in my pants.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Movies: Expletives

Wikipedia has a list of films that use the F-word a lot. #1 is "The Devil's Rejects", directed by Rob Zombie. I'm surprised that "Pulp Fiction" is only #15 and "The Commitments" a measly #46.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

TV: "Bleak House"

I enjoyed the first part of "Bleak House" on PBS tonight. Casting was very fine - undoubtedly Johnny Vegas's best work (although I hear his Bottom is magnificent), and I didn't recognise Matthew Kelly.

I didn't like the "modern" elements, like the eerie wind noise that came out of nowhere, and the whip pans. And the music drew too much attention to itself.

I noticed that the interior doors were the same as doors today: six "faux" panels, with the top two smaller than the other four. When did this become the standard design for doors? Isn't it about time we had a new design? (Bob Vila has a good article on doors, and he names the different parts: panels, mullion, rails, stiles.)

(Read the novel online.)

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Logos: Ovals

Intel - just another oval logo. Now, an oval inside an oval - that's classy!

Winter Sports: Lindsey Jacobellis

I thought the Visa's commercial featuring snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis was poorly conceived, but apparently that's because I misunderstood it. According to the USOC:
In the spot, Jacobellis is visibly nervous while preparing to compete in a qualifying race. Her coach makes numerous attempts to curb her anxiety using a number of sports psychology tactics. When those motivational efforts prove unsuccessful, he asks her to imagine that her Visa Check Card has just been stolen. At that moment she regains her confidence and takes off for the starting gate.

See, I thought she had lost her competitive edge, so the coach said her card was stolen in order to "fire her up". But then the voiceover nullifies that by talking about Visa's "Zero Liability". Surely I'm not the only one confused? No. Still, she has a nice smile. Who is the actor who plays her coach? He seems familiar.

Movies: "School For Scoundrels"

They're remaking "School For Scoundrels, or How To Win Without Actually Cheating!". I don't remember much from the 1960 original, but you can't go wrong with Terry-Thomas, Alastair Sim, and Peter Jones.

The film was based on the slim "Lifemanship" books of Stephen Potter (available from Amazon). The books describe amusing "ploys" to gain "upmanship" on your opponents in sport or life. One example (that I've used myself on occasion) is to ask a fellow-golfer whether he breathes in or out during his downswing. It should have the same effect as asking a centipede how it walks. As Branch Rickey said about baseball, "A full mind is an empty bat."

The new version will star Jon Heder from "Napoleon Dynamite" and Billy Bob Thornton, as well as Sarah Silverman and David Cross, so it might have a chance of being funny. Then again, the director did "Road Trip" and "Starsky & Hutch", so my enthusiasm is curbed, leashed, muzzled and fixed.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Movie Quote Quiz: Baby

Name the movies from whence these "Baby" quotes cometh.

  1. Hasta la vista, baby.
  2. I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies.
  3. Nobody puts Baby in a corner.
  4. The dingo's got my baby!
  5. Three tomatoes are walking down the street- a poppa tomato, a momma tomato, and a little baby tomato.
  6. Please baby, please baby, please baby, baby, baby, please!
  7. I can't have a baby, I have a 12 o'clock lunch meeting!
  8. For me, it's like I've just given birth to my own baby girl, except she's like a big giant girl who smokes and says "shit" a lot. You know?
  9. Baby, that was money! Tell me that wasn't money.
  10. Me and Dot went in to adopt on account a' somethin' went wrong with my semen, and they said we had to wait five years for a healthy white baby. I said, "Healthy white baby? Five years? What else you got?" Said they got two Koreans and a negra born with his heart on the outside. It's a crazy world.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

MP3: Fox

Fluxblog has a song I hadn't heard in years - "S-s-single Bed" by Fox. Available on a 1976 compilation at Amazon, along with "You Sexy Thing", "Afternoon Delight", "Howzat", "Jeans On" and "Devil Woman". Now that's what I call music! Lead singer Noosha Fox has been compared (vocally anyway) to Clare Grogan, Macy Gray and Alison Goldfrapp.

Internet: Million Dollar Homepage Clones

The inevitable Million Dollar Homepage imitators have arrived. Million Dollar Screenshot. Shell sent me a link to Dead Body Guy - he's selling advertising space (and mugs and t-shirts). I like Fill My Room! - for every dollar donated, he'll add a Lego block to the stack in the corner. So far he has 524 blocks. Meanwhile, the original has suffered a Distributed Denial Of Service attack, and has received a "ransom note".

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

TV: "Golden Globes"

Blogger SaveManny has screenshots of Isaac Mizrahi fondling Scarlett Johansson's breasts on E!. (And he makes the obvious "golden globes" joke.) I love the inset picture of Ryan Seacrest and Debbie Matenopoulos - Seacrest seems to be asking, "Why would anyone want to touch those things?" Are we sure that was really Mizrahi and not the guy who posed as him at the MTV Awards on Buzzkill?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Music Videos: 2005 Top 50

Mr. Packwood sent me the link for the Top 50 Music Videos of 2005. "So," I replied, "any you recommend?" "Actually, I couldn't be arsed to watch any of them." Bloody typical.

Most of them are in the hated ".mov" format which I'm boycotting. I did watch a Danish band's video, "No Balance Palace" by Kashmir - it's interesting only to see if the girl on the right has a wardrobe malfunction (not on my choppy viewing). Bloody hell, they got Lou Reed and David Bowie to guest on their album. How did they do that? Hear Uncle Lou. Hear the Thin White Duke.

Definitely check out "Low C" by Supergrass, a wonderfully warm-hearted documentary/travelogue to the town of Weeki Wachee in Florida. They've got mermaids!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Music: Song Tapper

Try Song Tapper. You tap out the melody of a song (using your spacebar) and it tries to guess the song. Could be useful (eventually) if you have a tune stuck in your head. I say "eventually" because, right now, it knows less than 4000 songs and it's success rate is about 50%. (It cheats by guessing about 10 titles each time.) It got "I Walk The Line", "I Like To Be In America" (that was a gimme), "Bohemian Rhapsody", "When I'm 64" and "Yellow Submarine", but didn't get "Walk On The Wild Side", "Candle In The Wind" or "Heart Of Gold". It didn't know "Heart Of Gold" but it has now added it to its database - and it guessed it right the next time I played it.

TV: Trivia Quiz

For each group, identify what they have in common.

  1. "Home Improvement", "M*A*S*H", "NYPD Blue", "The Larry Sanders Show", "Sports Night"
  2. "American Idol", "The Tracey Ullman Show", "The Arsenio Hall Show"
  3. "The Rockford Files", "Hill Street Blues", "Law & Order", "NYPD Blue"
  4. "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", "Get Smart", "The Critic", "JAG"
  5. David Schwimmer ("Friends"), Alan Alda/Mike Farrell/Harry Morgan/Jamie Farr ("M*A*S*H"), Danny DeVito ("Taxi"), Steve Buscemi ("The Sopranos")

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Photography: Lou Reed

Lou Reed's photos of New York. His photos are being exhibited at two New York galleries thorugh February 25th. (And you can pre-order a book of these photos for 50 freaking dollars.) Lou will be playing at the Winter Olympics (along with Andrea Bocelli, Ricky Martin, and Avril Lavigne), according to his web site. (Check out the "video" of the Velvet Underground performing "Sister Ray" on the Lawrence Welk Show.)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Movies: "The Matrix"

Rolling Stone article about Larry Wachowski, co-director of "The Matrix", and his unusual sexual proclivities. The article blames Larry's personal life for causing the two sequels to suck so very, very badly. I still haven't bothered to see the 3rd part after being so disappointed by the 2nd.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Music: "Jane Says"

Shell directs you to this article about the Jane's Addiction song, "Jane Says" and its inspiration, Jane Bainter.

Other song inspirations:

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Lyrics Quiz: Funny

  1. And I find it kind of funny. I find it kind of sad. The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had.
  2. Ain’t nothing in the world like a big eyed girl to make me act so funny, make me spend my money.
  3. It's a little bit funny, this feeling inside. I'm not one of those who can easily hide.
  4. Oh it's so funny to be seeing you after so long, girl. And with the way you look I understand that you are not impressed.
  5. Funny thing, but you can sing it with a cry in your voice.
  6. Ain’t it funny how you feel when you’re findin’ out it’s real?
  7. Oh, I, I got a funny feeling when she walked in the room and I, as I recall, it ended much too soon.
  8. In and out of Wandsworth with the numbers on their names. It's funny how their missus always look the bleeding same.
  9. If you're so funny, then why are you on your own tonight?
  10. Teacher thinks that I sound funny but she likes the way you sing.

Music: Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan

Stream tracks from an EP by Isobel Campbell (ex-Belle and Sebastian) and Mark Lanegan (ex-Screaming Trees). Their voices go well together.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Movies: Overrated Actors

On a transatlantic flight, they were showing a film I'd never heard of, "Noel". I was trying to sleep so I didn't bother putting on headphones. Every time I looked up and saw Susan Sarandon, it occurred to me what an overrated actress she is. She did the "sexy older woman" thing she always does. She did the "strong woman shows her vulnerable side" thing she always does. She did the "googly eyes like Bette Davis" thing she always does. Hang it up, Sarandon!

Most overrated actor? Gene Hackman. I haven't watched him on mute yet to verify this, but I'm pretty sure it's him.

Most overrated movie of all time? "Twilight".

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

TV: Letterman v O'Reilly

The Wahoo Gazette summarises last night's "Late Show", including the interview with Bill O'Reilly. Highlight from Dave: "I am not smart enough to debate you point by point on this, but I have a feeling about 60% of what you say is crap...but I don't know that for a fact." You can watch the video too.