Saturday, January 24, 2009

Film/Physics: "The Italian Job"

"The Italian Job" problem solved. (How do they get the gold from the end of the bus (which is hanging over a cliff)?)
I agree with the commenter who wrote:
"So... once they've deflated the tyres and drained the fuel tanks (presumably over the edge of the cliff) how do they drive away with the gold? The winning solution has just replaced one problem with another."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

YouTube: Wolves and Foxes

I've created a couple of music video playlists for bands who are named after or sing about wolves or foxes. Enjoy.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Music: Country Lyrics

Do you ever see or hear something so strange that it makes you think that either the world has gone crazy or you have? I had that sensation when I saw the TV ad for Snuggies. Truly a WTF moment. (And now I just saw the Slanket video.)

Driving home tonight, I heard "Mental Revenge", as performed by Waylon Jennings. Something about the lyrics struck me as just a little off. "So all in all, if the curtain should fall, Lord, I hope that it falls on you." That's stupid but funny, I suppose. "Well, I hope that the train from Caribou, Maine, runs over your new love affair. You walk the floor from door to door, and pull out your peroxide hair." Bitter! And then the chorus: "I will have sweet, sweet, sweet mental revenge. I will have sweet, sweet, sweet mental revenge." I'm not sure what "mental revenge" is. How does it differ from non-mental revenge? I think it was just my frame of mind, but at the time, this song struck me as completely nuts.

Shouldn't be surprised by the repetition of "sweet" considering the song was written by stammering Mel Tillis.

That song was immediately followed by Randy Houser's "Anything Goes", and that has great lyrics (written by Brice Long and John Wiggins). "Anything goes when everything's gone." It represents what I like best about country music - clever yet meaningful wordplay.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Music: U2 Cover

Pitchfork reports that the cover of the new U2 album is a photograph that was previously used by some "sound artists". (They sound like white noise to me.) I'm sure this was an innocent move by U2, who, like the rest of us, had probably never heard of these pretentious tossers.

Didn't U2 get into trouble for "The Unforgettable Fire" photos by Anton Corbijn, because he was copying the technique of another photo artist? Now they actually pay to use the original photo and get (very minor) flak.

My only objection is that the album is called "No Line On The Horizon", and the photo very clearly has a line on the horizon.

Pitchfork mentions this happened before to Bob Dylan and Luna.

The same photo was also used by Fountains Of Wayne and The Flamingoes.

You can hear the new U2 single, "Get On Your Boots", on their site. I like the "sexy boots" line but "Kinky Boots" would be better. In fact, "Zip Up Your Mickey" would have been a better title for the song.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Music: "Running With The Devil"

I've actually never heard Van Halen's "Running With The Devil" before, but someone must have leaked Dave Lee Roth's isolated vocal track, because it's all over the internet.

There's a Diamond Dave soundboard. Not sure if you could really make a prank call with it. (Although Howard Stern did one with an impersonator.)

Now someone has put the vocals to an auto-generated backing track, and it's awful. The software that created the music, Microsoft's Songsmith, has a cheesetastic promo video.

The DLR vocals have also been used in mash-ups with
the Beatles, Queen, Michael Jackson, and (the best of a bad lot) Stevie Wonder.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

TV: "Countdown"

I'm looking forward to seeing the new host of "Countdown", Jeff Stelling, on my next trip home. (I liked Des O'Connor more than I expected, Des Lynam was terrible, and Richard Whitely was a lovable idiot.)

Stelling is a sports presenter in Britain, and his Wikipedia page lists some of his "Dad" jokes, like "it looks as if Jellyman has thrown a wobbly" and (when Guy Branston was sent off) "he got himself in a pickle". He comes across as a nice chap in this Guardian interview.

The official photo of Carol Vorderman's replacement, Rachel Riley, doesn't do her any favours. Looks far too prim and proper. The Daily Mail has a high school photo for comparison. Then again, Carol had some awful '80s looks at the start.

Their first show is tomorrow, January 12.

Sports: Appropriate Names

New York Giants DE Justin Tuck has an appropriate name. Did they create the Tuck Rule for him? Either way, he gets to start his vacation early.

And here's a cryptic crossword clue for Eric:

QB Pennington may scramble (6,7)

Music: Bonnie "Prince" Billy

The stand-out track on Bonnie "Prince" Billy's latest album, "Lie Down In The Light", has to be "Missing One", particularly for anyone who has lost a parent. You can hear it at this blog.

Will Oldham played some acoustic concerts with his brothers in 2006. It seems to have been a tribute to their father, who had died recently. Mostly traditional songs. You can hear most of it at Aquarium Drunkard.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Music: First Aid Kit

Charming video of Swedish duo First Aid Kit covering "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song" by Fleet Foxes. (And it's a bit late, but they also do a great "Blue Christmas".

(There's also a Nova Scotian band called the First Aid Kit (who don't exactly stand out from the crowd), an extinct post-punk band called First Aid Kit from Connecticut, and a Spanish electronic-ish band called First Aid Kit, who are actually quite pleasant.)

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Crime: Mug Shots

2008 Mug Shots Of The Year from The Smoking Gun. #16 is an excellent example of gurning. #8 is a model father-son relationship. But #7 is the most poignant - a single tear barely visible below the shades.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

YouTube: Hank and Townes

A piece in the Irish Times yesterday reminded me that Hank Williams and Townes Van Zandt both died on January 1 (1953 and 1997 respectively). Here are some YouTube highlights.