Sunday, February 26, 2006

Rioting: Ireland

Does this picture capture Ireland perfectly, or wha? A rioter throwing a wheelbarrow at Riot Police (Riot Gardaí?).

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Words: "Yowsah"

I was watching a Warner Brothers cartoon called "The CooCoo Nut Grove" (1936). It caricatures many popular stars of the time. One is an avian bandleader named Ben Birdie who exclaims, "Yowsah!" This is based on Ben Bernie, who popularised the word "Yowsah", and would call it out between and during songs.

Does it derive from "yes sir" or the German "Jauchzer"? After reading this article on Runes and Yodeling, I'm leaning towards the latter. "By Juchzer, Jauchzer and Juchzer [cheers], we mean calls which come very close to being musical, but which stand somewhere between yodels and inarticulate cries."

If you're like me, you thought "Yowsah" originated with Chic and "Dance Dance Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)" (sample here). (Wasn't the "Yowsah Yowsah Yowsah" bit used by Mike Murphy on RTE Radio to introduce his really bad song segment?)

You can hear some Ben Bernie recordings at Robert's Delightful Old Schmaltz Archives

Friday, February 24, 2006

Combos: Product & Movie Title

Remember the fun we had combining product names and band names? Can we recapture that magic by combining brand names and movie titles?

  • Brokeback Mountain Dew
  • Marathon Manwich
  • Hebrew National Velvet
  • Swiss Miss Congeniality
  • My Left Footjoy Ride

The last one is a triple, and is valid under our old rule: if the overlap stops part way through a word, the rest of the word must be the next overlap.

Dogs: Fake Testicles

Rich pointed me to Neuticles, "testicular implantation for dogs". They give a dog his self-esteem after being neutered. I wanted to know if they made beef jerky flavoured ones, but Rich thinks it would be too traumatic for a dog if it ate its own balls. I think dogs are too stupid to realise what they've done.

In almost-related news, the band with the worst name in the history of Rock, Test Icicles, have broken up.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Advertising: Sellouts

Who is the bigger sellout? Parker Posey for appearing in a Pepsi ad with Jimmy Fallon, or Jane's Addiction for allowing a Jack Daniels commercial to use "Jane Says"? Jane's Addiction.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Internet: The Onion AV Club

The Onion's AV Club has a feature this week called Random Rules, where they ask five people to set their MP3 players on "shuffle" and comment on the tracks. Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse is writing songs with Johnny Marr, David Berman of Silver Jews has a theory about cross-eyed women, and David Cross once stalked the Who. (I set my Creative Zen Micro on random, and got Boo Hewerdine, Mansun and Beechwood Sparks.)

Monday, February 20, 2006

Music: Title Tracks

I've made my first contribution to Wikipedia, adding one entry to their list of albums that don't contain their title track. (The artist must have sung a song with that title elsewhere.)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Sports: Horrific Injuries

Shell has ruined my appetite by sending me this photo of Totti's ankle injury. Here's an animated gif of Joe Theisman's infamous injury.
To help you recover, here's Rebecca Theisman.

Lyrics Quiz: Animals

Inspired by Shell's "animal bands" post, here's a lyrics quiz on the same subject.

  1. Animals strike curious poses. They feel the heat, the heat between me and you.
  2. I’d rather be...I’d rather be with...I’d rather be with an animal.
  3. Feed animals in the zoo. Then later, a movie, too. And then home.
  4. And I want and I need and I lust animal. Take me, tame me. Make me your animal.
  5. They stab it with their steely knives but they just can't kill the beast.
  6. So you ride yourselves over the fields and you make all your animal deals and your wise men don't know how it feels...
  7. Do you know how animals die? Kitchen aromas aren’t very homely.
  8. He saw an animal up on a hill. Chewing up so much grass until she was filled. He saw milk comin' out but he didn't know how. "Ah, think I'll call it a cow."
  9. Priests and cannibals, prehistoric animals. Everybody happy as the dead come home.
  10. A long time ago when the earth was green, there were more kinds of animals than you'd ever seen.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Newspapers: Headlines

Is it wrong to laugh when you see the headline, "Ex-Governor Apologizes for Ogling Woman"? "Ogling" is a funny word (but only if pronounced correctly, as "ogue-ling", not "oggling"). Grainy picture of the 24-year-old woman at WBAL. His note to the woman is a classic non-apology apology:
"Dear Ms. Krum, Embarrass you intentionally, never. You have handled the affair as a trouper. Sorry you were put through this 'ordeal.'"

The 84-year-old William Donald Schaefer sounds like another one of those unreconstructed Demmycrats, like Robert Byrd, who should have been put out to pasture long ago.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Magazines: "Smash Hits"

The British pop magazine "Smash Hits" is ceasing publication. "Smash Hits" was a guilty pleasure for me back in the 1980s. The latest copy and a packet of Revels was quite a treat for young Patanoia. If you judged a magazine by its cover (and pull-out poster), it was aimed at teenage girls. But if you read the bits (or Bitz) on the inside, it was very silly and very funny. And they sneaked in some quality music too. I bought my first Go-Betweens album after reading their review of "Liberty Belle And The Black Diamond Express". This Guardian article sums up its appeal well. The Guardian blog has an additional tribute with reader comments. Lots of memories. No one mentions the "fright wigs" (e.g. Tina Turner), but the Sunday Herald (linked above) does. (They also mention how SH asked Billy Gibbons out of ZZ Top: "Do you wear your beard in, or out, of the bed-clothes at night?")

Cartoons: New Yorker

One-size-fits-all caption for New Yorker cartoons.

Music: Johnny Bush

Happy Birthday to "the great Johnny Bush" (that's how he refers to himself on a station ID for The Range). He was known as "The Country Caruso" until afflicted by Spasmodic Dysphonia (the same disorder that made Diane Rehm so hard to listen to). Fortunately, vocal treatments have enabled Johnny to start singing again.

Among the songs played on The Range this morning was "Toy Telephone" from 1974. Another one of those "so maudlin it's funny" songs that I love. Sadly, I can't find the track or lyrics online, so you'll have to call your local country music station. A father who is missing his daughter duets with a toy telephone that says things like, "Let's get together!" and "I love you!" (Telephone voice by Stella Parton, little sister of Dolly.)

Bonus: Johnny talks about a heartwarming tribute at a Pat Green concert.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Photography: Steichen

A rare photograph just sold for $2.9m. It's "The Pond-Moonlight" (1904) by Edward Steichen. I'd pay $1.85m for it.

The previous record was a cowboy photo by Richard Prince that isn't even a proper photo. He photographed a Marlboro ad. And there are multiple copies. He got $1.248m. I'd pay $12.48.

Edward Weston's "The Breast" (1921) fetched $822,400. Worth $105,000.

You can get a photo of Kristen Bell and a puppy for $4.50 on eBay. I'd pay $2.9m for that!

Animals Used More Than Once In Band Names

Animal used more than once in a band's name. May be both singular and plural. Cannot be the name of an animal, like Lassie. May be part of a word. Must be logical.

The Birds

T-Bone Burnett

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Movies: "Munich"

For those of you who have seen "Munich", here's a 1995 thesis by a Marine Corps student. He analyses the success of independent covert assassination teams, compared to more bureaucratic "in-house" teams. Someone should write a business book, promoting "Wrath Of God"-style small, persistent teams. I was surprised that so many details in the film are also in the book upon which it's based.

IMDb's list of goofs - apparently, you shouldn't say 'Mazel tov' to an expecting mother or father, as Golda Meir does.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Lyrics Quiz: Guns

Why are all these bleeding heart liberals making such a big deal about Dick Cheney gunning down his hunting partner? Like they've never filled a friend full of lead. Anyway, here's a Lyrics Quiz on the theme of Guns and Shooting People.

  1. Mama, just killed a man. Put a gun against his head. Pulled my trigger, now he's dead.
  2. When I was just a baby, my mama told me, "Son, always be a good boy; don't ever play with guns." But I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.
  3. I'm goin' down to shoot my old lady now. You know I caught her messin' 'round with another man.
  4. In the mornin you go gunnin' for the man who stole your water. And you fire till he is done in, but they catch you at the border.
  5. [Title], he shot me down. [Title], I hit the ground. [Title], that awful sound. [Title], my baby shot me down.
  6. [Title] I shot my baby. [Title] Dead, oh, shot her dead.
  7. Got my finger on the trigger, I'm gonna pull it. I'm picked to click now. I'm a son-of-a-gun.
  8. When they kick at your front door, how you gonna come? With your hands on your head, or on the trigger of your gun?
  9. She'll make you live her crazy life but she'll take away your pain like a bullet to your brain.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Phrases: "Writing On The Wall"

In the British Isles, we say "the writing's on the wall", but in the U.S. it seems more common to say, "the handwriting's on the wall". The origin is the Book of Daniel (not the cancelled NBC series).

I think the British version is correct. My guess is that Americans have combined/confused the mysterious "hand" with the "writing".

Compare and contrast "The Rubaiyyat of Omar Khaiyyam", as translated by Edward Fitzgerald:

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

(But note the alternate translation by Robert Graves and Omar Ali-Shahat at the end of this page.)

And, speaking of British-American differences, how do you pronounce "2001: A Space Odyssey"?

Friday, February 10, 2006

Maritime Communications

Did you hear about the "message in a bottle" that made it all the way from New York to England? And the nasty letter that the bottle finder sent back to the bottle launcher? 'Henry Biggelsworth' of Dorset wrote:
While you may consider this some profound experiment on the path and speed of oceanic currents, I have another name for it - litter. You Americans don't seem to be happy unless you are mucking up somewhere. If you wish to foul your own nest, all well and good. But please refrain in the future from fouling mine.

What is it about Dorset that breeds such self-righteous prigs? The hectoring, anti-American tone of this tirade reminds me of another Dorset writer, Rarb, who used to maintain a blog called "Ranting Rarb".

Is the story a hoax? Or did 'Biggelsworth' just use a false name & address?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Celebrities: Harvey Weinstein's Girlfriend

Harvey Weinstein's girlfriend designs dresses - and benefits from his influence. She's quite the looker - and too good for that fat bastard. (Looks like he had liposuction, and has excess skin where his chins used to be.)

Update: Better picture of her.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Monday Miscellany

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Advertising: Superbowl

Is it just me or is there too much cruelty in commercials nowadays? Today we saw a guy throw a cellphone at someone's head, and a guy allow his friend to be mauled by a bear. Worst of all was the FedEx commercial where the caveman kicks a baby dinosaur (anachronism!) and then gets stomped on by a big dinosaur. I didn't like this commercial anyway because, let's face it, cavemen are ugly.

On the other hand, that "Capote" sequel looks good, where he goes after Tom Cruise.

Sports: Superbowl

I know this is one of Shell's favourite games (when he's not playing with his Carly Patterson dolls): guess which songs the Superbowl Half-Time performer will play. This year it's the Rolling Stones. Here are my guesses (no more than 3 allowed).

  1. "Start Me Up" - obvious, but such a dynamic riff.
  2. "Rain Fall Down" - surely they'll plug the new album? This is the only track I know (from some commercial).
  3. "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" - they'll have to acknowledge Motown - either this (which they played in Detroit in 2005) or "Dancing In The Streets". (Is Bowie in Detroit?)

Bonus guess: Aretha Franklin will sing either "Pink Cadillac" or the National Anthem.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Sports: Carly Patterson

Shell is excited about gymnast Carly Patterson starting a singing career. He probably likes the quote from Joe Simpson (Jessica and Ashlee's dad): "I'm the kind of guy that likes to do things out of the box. ... Carly presents an exciting opportunity." I'm sure Shell will buy her CD and keep it beside his Carly box.

Film: Nina Persson

Cardigans front woman Nina Persson is co-starring in a new Swedish film called "Om Gud Vill" (or "God Willing"). You can watch the trailer (in which she sings a new song). She plays a Finnish woman, which is quite a stretch. If she played a woman without the cutest dimple in the history of Rock & Roll, well, you might as well give her the Oscar now.

Speaking of Oscars, get over to Enterpool and jump in their free Oscars contest.

Bonus photo of Nina in her fictional band in the film, Juli and the Monliths.

P.S. The song Nina sings in the trailer sounded vaguely familiar - I Googled the lyrics and sure enough, it's a cover. Listen for yourself first.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Movies: "Brokeback To The Future"

Defamer calls it the best "Brokeback Mountain" parody trailer: "Brokeback To The Future".

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Advertising: Six Flags

Now we know who plays the old man in those annoying Six Flags commercials. Damn - I was sure it was Steven Soderbergh.

TV: Fox

Some unsolicited advice for Fox TV.

  • I don't watch "24" but I've heard the rumours they might kill off Kiefer Sutherland's character this year. This would be better: Have him fall off a cliff, and then keep a camera trained on his motionless body. As the rest of the action continues, one corner of the screen would always show his body. For the rest of that episode. For the next episode. And for five or six episodes after that. Hey, we're only talking about 7 hours of real time. But the suspense would be killing, as viewers stare at Kiefer waiting for a sign of life. Finally, someone finds the body, feels his pulse, and says, "Yeah, he's dead."
  • "Bones" - get rid of that "Buffy" lunkhead, and add an identical twin for Emily Deschanel. She has a fascinating face. If she plays opposite herself, you could see her in profile and full on. (Or you could cast her sister Zooey.)
  • Bring back "Arrested Development".
  • "Skating With Celebrities" - weaken a patch of ice on the rink. We, the viewers, know where it is - the celebrities don't!
  • "The Quahog Informant" - don't change a thing.
  • And then, next season on "24", start with Jack being buried, and show his body in the coffin ALL SEASON LONG. Fans will be waiting for the moment when he wakes up and escapes from the grave - but it never happens!