Saturday, September 4, 2010

Song of the Day: "Afraid of Everyone"

Another track from The National's High Violet album. I really hope the library gets a copy of this soon, otherwise I might have to buy it... ugh.

Friday, September 3, 2010

About Time: A Project Runway micro-recap (week 6)

The show expanded from an  hour to 90 minutes this season. This allows us to get to know the designers better.

It turns out that I don't want to know the designers better.

Least of all this week's winner.

I was initially sorry to see this week's eliminated designer go, but when I considered earlier designs, I realized there was no good reason to stay. I was basing my sorrow on personality, and I don't care, so good riddance.

Now to dump about 6 more of them ASAP.

This season is exhausting.

Happy Birthday Noah Baumbach

If he'd only written the line "Monkeys, Monkeys, Ted and Alice" I would still have a fondness for him. His 1995 indie comedy Kicking and Screaming (not to be confused with the Will Farrell movie) is amazingly funny, and it's important to listen to random snips of dialog happening in the background of scenes ("I'll tell you what the worst part of losing a foot is...").

It stars Josh Hamilton, Olivia D'Abo, Chris Eigman, Parker Posey, Carlos Jacott, Jason Wiles, and Eric Stoltz. But really it's about the kinds of people you knew after college, who just couldn't get on with their lives.

I can't embed but  here's a collection of scenes--they stand alone. "You've got a drinking problem, get help."

"Oh, I've been to Prague."

"I came up with a great come back to something you said earlier... I can't remember it now though."

"Go away cookie man!"

Love this movie.

Intensely love.

Other movies not as much (like/love or love, none are disliked)--they all (Mr. Jealousy, Squid and the Whale, Margot at the Wedding) have moments of greatness. He's also collaborated with Wes Anderson on The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and The Fantastic Mr. Fox. And he married my beloved Jennifer Jason Leigh.

It's all good.

But Kicking and Screaming, man that's something really special.

"How do you make God laugh?"

And a soundtrack that sneaks in the music of Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Alex Chilton, Nick Drake, Grant Hart's Nova Mob, and Freedy Johnston.  You know what Noah, following me around like that, not cool. Not without giving me some kind of credit.

I need to see Greenberg.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on! And best to your wife.

Song of the Day: "Even Though"

Lots of new music coming out over the next few weeks, so I want to clean-up some stuff I put on my list early in the Summer--first up, Morcheeba featuring their original singer Skye Edwards. It's a beautiful arrangement--like ambient trip hop, but lite ambient trip hop... in a good way. Also, love the video.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Christa McAuliffe

McAuliffe was the primary candidate for the Teacher in Space Project sponsored by NASA. In addition to a year spent training for the rigors of space travel, she was part of a large scale PR campaign to increase interest in the shuttle program, inspire students, honor teachers, and spur interest in mathematics, science, and space exploration. She made the rounds of morning news programs and other talk shows.

Because of her inclusion, the number of school kids watching the launch of Space Shuttle Challenger on January 26, 1986 was considerably larger than other recent shuttle launches.

I don't remember the name of the woman I went to high school with that I ran into the hall at Georgia State University that first told me about the shuttle explosion. I went to the TV lounge in the old student center and, along with hundreds of other students just stared blankly at the TVs, hoping for a weird cockpit ejection and a safe landing out at sea.

Rest in peace (all seven of you).

PS: The back-up candidate for Teacher in Space ultimately went into space, 21 years later--August 2007. I had no idea until just now.

A quick shout out to 2 blogs I love

The first, I Love Charts, is great because, truly, I love charts.

The second, Waking Up Now, is great because it focuses on the legal issues around marriage equality and is critical of vacuous quasi-emotional or partisan reactionary crap coming from organizations who are fighting for marriage equality (it's no better than "think of the children" arguments coming from those opposed to our equality).

And in the great Venn diagram where these 2 things meet, is this flow chart (h/t to ILC and Kurt White)--click to embiggen or get some glasses.

Clearly a sign from God

UPDATE: Well, it appears that Earl is heading toward Massachusetts, a state whose name I need help in spelling. And since hurricanes are never just extreme weather conditions subject to prevailing currents and barometric pressure (hello, they're God's wrath, duh), this can only mean that God's angrier with Mass. than with Obama. Probably gay marriage, although I'm thinking maybe this is about Sen. Scott Brown (R, MA) betraying his Tea Party mandate. Hope you're happy Scott Brown!
Hurricane Earl path, Sept. 2, 2010

It's heading straight for Washington DC. Clearly God something something Obama's fault.


Happy Birthday Mr. Pam Dawber (Mark Harmon)

People's Sexiest Man Alive, married to Pam Dawber for 23 years, and no wheelchair.

Take that George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Barrack Obama. You're all missing at least 1 of those very important points.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Song of the Day: "Beauty in the World"

My third time featuring a track from Macy Gray's The Sellout. I don't think this is an ad for Target stores (in fact, if I really thought it was, I'd boycott it), but it feels like it could be, so somebody warn me if it is.

I like Macy a lot, but The Sellout could easily be called The Codependent; lyrically speaking, I've played the best 3 songs--the rest are just too needy (actually, the first song I featured, "Lately," which I fucking love, is also codependent--girl, he's not worth it.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Here's how Maggie Gallagher can help kids

This is a continuation of the post below.

Maggie Gallagher of N.O.M. wants to prevent same-sex couples from marrying because she wants to keep kids from growing up in a home without a married mother and father. Which is kinda like banning chocolate because you're worried about kids drowning. (Think about it, they connect one with the other just as effectively).

But here's what Maggie OUGHT to be working for:
  • Make it illegal for a woman to have a baby if she's not married. I'm guessing either the law will force her to wed, or will abort the baby (because we can't have a kid growing up without a married mother and father... duh).
  • Make it illegal for married parents (which is the only kinds of parents we'd have) to divorce if they have children under 18. Sure, the death rate for people age 20 to 50 will increase considerably, what with divorce illegal, but the rates of children without a married mom and dad will plummet. And that's all she wants.
Look at that, no one's rights infringed on. Well, except women, and heterosexual couples who choose to have kids.

Let them fuck with Maggie. She's the one with a beef  against you, you failures as parents.

Eternity with Maggie Gallagher

(h\t Dave White)

Can I just say a-mutherfucking-men?!

If you don't know Maggie Gallagher, she heads the National Organization for Marriage which is actually the National Organization for Heterosexual-Only Marriage. These are the reasons she gave in 2004 for opposing the rights of same sex couples to marry (source):
1. Marriage is about affirming the ideal. And when it comes to children, science and common sense both say: Mothers and fathers both matter to children.
2. Same-Sex Marriage sends a terrible message to the next generation: alternative family forms are just as good as traditional families, children don't need a mother and a father, and marriage is about adult desires for affirmation or benefits, not about the well-being of children.
3. It's just wrong for the law to pretend that two men being intimate are the same as a husband and wife, especially when it comes to raising children.
4. Marriage belongs in the hands of the people. Four judges in Massachusetts have no business rewriting the moral rules our kids are going to live by.
5. Marriage isn't a special interest, it's a common good. Every American benefits from a healthy marriage culture. All Americans pay the price in increased taxes, social disorder, and human suffering when mothers and fathers fail to get and stay married.

My responses:
1. How does a same-sex couple marrying change that? This argument fails to connect allowing a same-sex couple to marry with undermining marriage as the ideal. Fuck, we are FIGHTING TO PARTICIPATE in that ideal. I kinda think we help people realize how fucking important it is. You wanna worry about someone? Talk to my 4-times divorced sister who's back on the market--believe me, I'm not the reason her kids don't see marriage as the ideal.
2. How, exactly? Again, this is predicated on the "100% of marriages are going to have babies" philosophy, and I'm sorry but that's just not fucking right.
3. What? Fuck you. Oh, and you know what, studies actually show that's just wrong. So suck on that.
4. Rights are not a popularity contest. The thing that I wish happened with the Prop 8 ruling was that ALL marriages were stayed until the appeals process finished. Hey, if 10% can't enjoy that right, no one can enjoy that right.
5. How is this in any way, shape or form undermined by same-sex marriage? It's not. Shit, I can't believe we're still losing to this cunt.

About Time: A Project Runway micro-recap (week 5, I think)

Here's the thing about Gretchen: someone has to be the bitch.

Here's the thing, Gretchen: not that much. Also, check your dosage.

That being said, there was a whole fucking lot of ugly sent down that runway. I stand by my reaction during the first week, there are only a handful of talented designers this year, and a whole lot of useless.

And so it goes.

Re-Mission Accomplished

(h/t Towleroad)

I have long said that George W. Bush is a war criminal, and Dick Cheney is both a war criminal AND a war profiteer. That is because those things are true. I also say crazy things like "it's raining" when it is actually raining. I'm wacky like that.

What I didn't know is that what I think of as war crimes--like the unjustified invasion of a country--are actually crimes against peace. But torturing prisoners, that's a war crime.

So George W. Bush is a war criminal AND a criminal against peace (that sounds awkward). And a dumb ass. And a drunk. And you do NOT want to have a beer with him, because his entitled bratty ass is gonna treat you like shit, average American. He's a fucking blue blood, private school bitch--what the hell are you gonna talk to him about? NASCAR? Good luck.

And Dick Cheney? War criminal AND criminal against peace AND war profiteer. But otherwise, an okay guy I guess. I mean, his non-lesbian daughter's a cunt, but that's only because she's been trading off his connections (okay, so maybe he bears some of that blame, so not an okay guy... oh well).

Rachel Maddow takes the time to smack down the Bush administration and set the record straight. When I grow up I want to be as smart and thoughtful and prepared as Rachel. Or as thin, I'll settle for that.

Banksy makes a kids' ride

Don't know any details except that it's teh awesum!
(h/t Dave Anthony via Twittah)

Happy Birthday Lily Tomlin

I saw Shampoo a few years ago--the 1975 film for which Lee Grant won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, beating out Lily Tomlin in Nashville, who had picked up a slew of critics awards going into the awards (Grant had no other wins before the Oscar--she was the Marisa Tomei of her time!). Its charms were lost on me. Lee Grant is the reason Lily Tomlin doesn't have a full EGOT. I wonder if Grant's aware of this, and sends a gift basket every Christmas. She should.

40+ years of fantastic work. I have no idea what this is from, but it's funny as shit.

Since Robert Altman's no longer with us (one of the few directors that seemed to get her as an actress), Lily should produce a live action short to try to pick up that Oscar. You can thank me in your acceptance speech.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Happy Birthday Barry F*ing Gibb

Or should I say Barry Alan Lee Maddison Crompton Gibb (that is a lot of name, and I'm a little surprised that Barry isn't short of Barnstable or something). I'm, let's say 3 degrees of separation from the Gibb boys, thanks to an uncle who knows a manager (or something like that). I wish I could say we played polo together or something, but I think at most this has manifested as an autographed Bee Gees album (for which I am grateful). But I also have the Bee Gees box set, because I am a fucking fan bitches!

And I am not alone. The citation presented during their induction in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (oh yeah, they're in there) says that only The Beatles, Elvis, Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney and Garth Brooks have outsold the Bee Gees. That was 13 years ago (and hell still hasn't frozen over), so there are probably a dozen artists in that neighborhood (actually Madonna, Elton John and the Rolling Stones could easily have passed them by now).

In addition, Barry writes and produces and otherwise makes the world a better place. Can you say the same?  How about some music!

We've recently discussed the Kenny & Dolly classic "Islands in the Stream" (it's a Bee Gees song!)--did you know this Al Green classic is too?

Back in 1987 or 1988 I caught Concrete Blonde at whatever that fairly large theatre in Buckhead was (is?). It was one of the few all-ages shows around that time in Atlanta, so it had a lot of younger folks in the audience, so I think I may have been one of the only people in the audience who knew they were doing an Bee Gees cover as an encore. Somehow, magically, someone has a video of this from a different show--you've got to listen past the douche who insists on talking (but you can pretend you're at Chastain Park if you want). When they did this in Atlanta, it was perfect.

But I honestly didn't know Elvis did it too.

And here's the original:

Hey, it's a medley! Here they are doing "Heartbreaker" (made famous by Dionne Warwick), "Guilty" (made famous by Barbra Streisand along with Barry), and "Chain Reaction" (call her Ms. Ross). I'm passing on the originals, but feel free to look them up on your own.

I'll wrap up the tunes with a song that ought to have been a hit for them here in the US. "You Win Again" was a huge hit everywhere but the US was infected with a case of "Bee Gees Aren't Cool-itis" and apparently the cure for that was heavy metal ballads.  Seriously, you'd rather hear White Lion than this?

6 Grammys, including Album of the Year, but no Oscar nominations (not even for "Grease" from Grease), nor Tony nominations for the stage musical adaptation of Saturday Night Fever. Not even a Nobel Peace Prize.

I can't resist the recurring Barry Gibb Talk Show clips from SNL. You're probably not even reading any more.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Song of the Day: "Bright Lit Blue Sky"

This is the second time I've been instantly taken by an Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti song without knowing who the band was. And since every time I type out that band's full name, I cringe, that's probably a good thing (the not knowing).

But I love the song, and I think Leland agrees on this one. So rock on kids!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Open Letter to The Situation

Dude, congrats on DWTS. Haters are gonna say it's gay, but fuck 'em. Just cause you're all ripped and take your shirt off at the drop of a hat doesn't make you gay--wait, who the fuck drops hats? You don't need a reason to take your shirt off. Hell, you need a good reason to put one on.
Shirt stays off until you give me a good reason to put one on.
Anyway, dude, Bristol Palin. You know she's the Wasilla town bike (everyone gets a ride).

We all know you're gonna hit that (probably already have, amiright?). But get this, Kim fucking Kardashian is banking major cash for putting her slutty ass (sorry, hefty slutty ass) on video. You're gonna want something like that--for 15 years from now, when you're ready to eat carbs. It'll help pay for future expenses (alimony, child support, defense attorneys, strippers, what not).

Any other year, I'd say Florence Henderson, but not when Miss Do As I Say Not As I Did is right there. I'd call it poetic justice, but that might not resonate.

How about fucking awesome! That's what it'll be, fucking awesome!

Later dude!

Song of the Day: "A Little Opera Goes A Long Way"

Sky Sailing is a second musical incarnation of Adam Young (his first, Owl City, is that band that totally sounds like The Postal Service, and I mean that in a good way since dude isn't interested in making another of those records for a while). I was hoping this would sound exactly like Death Cab for Cutie, but it doesn't. I'm not sure why he parses the music out like this since, from every indication, Young is the core of both bands.  Perhaps he's just determined to win a Best New Artist Grammy (I was really surprised Owl City wasn't nominated last year, but they seem to be running a year behind since they finally got around to MGMT and The Ting Tings).

Oh yeah, it's a pretty good song, check it out.

Happy Birthday Van Morrison

If Van is ever feeling blue, he should totally go read his Wikipedia entry (here). My mom, on her most supportive day, would never think to call me "transcendental" (which is fine since I might have gotten offended anyway). Apparently Morrison is the shit (in a good way).

I came way late to the party. I think my first (possibly only) of his albums that's not his Greatest Hits, is 1991's Hymns to the Silence. Yes, his 21st album was my first album, thanks to one of my buddies at his record label. Despite loving that album, I haven't really gone back to his catalog, but this gives me something new to seek out at the library. (Hooray for socialism!)

Nearly 20 years later I'm reading solid, but not spectacular, reviews of the album. I guess an artist of this stature has off days, even if those off days are B+/A- ratings. Rolling Stone's Elysa Gardner (here) said "you'll find moments of bittersweet longing and abundant joy. 'Carrying a Torch' has the makings of a classic, with a stately chorus and shining verses..." And thanks to the interwebz, someone has put their family's photos to the song on youtube, so thank you sammywonda.

"Professional Jealousy" opens the album, but I think the second track, "I'm Not Feeling It Any More" acts as the album's overture. (Or does it, crap--I won't subject you to me "thinking aloud" while I type, and I can't find "Professional Jealousy" in a format I can share, but I think that is the first track to literally get it out of the way, possibly a snarky aside directed at a contemporary, let's just say Bono so I can get on with this post...) Here it is live.

He wrote "Why Must I Always Explain?" to vent about having to explain his work to others. "I don't really want to have to explain myself because I'm not really interested in doing that." Dear Van, I make pretty pie charts for a living, and yet I'm constantly having to justify and explain wedge colors, and why do things go left to right instead of top to bottom, or top to bottom instead of left to right, and if you "understand" something, does that mean you "get it?" Sigh... have a listen. And if it sounds vaguely familiar, that's because the music is "Tupelo Honey."

There are 2 hymns on Hymns to the Silence, but neither of them is embedable. So I'll wrap up the songs with the title track.

According to the Wiki entry, Morrison has 6 Grammys, but according to the Grammy winners database (here) he has 2. Either way it's more than Liza. Oh, it's clarified that 2 are actual Grammy awards, and 4 are Hall of Fame entries, for Astral Weeks, Moondance, "Gloria" and "Brown Eyed Girl." Morrison is the first (living) inductee to skip his/her Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

And since "Brown Eyed Girl" is required for every other movie Julia Roberts makes, I'm sure Mr. The Man lives quite comfortably (even if he is constantly touring and recording).

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Breaking news

(h/t Salon)
The whole story is here.

The importance of good Rx coverage

(h/t Salon)

Senator Tom Coburn, OB-GYN (R, OK) is both a Senator and a doctor. And, AND, there are NO homosexuals in his entire family. [Oh noes! I'm confusing him with Sen. James Inhofe (also R, also fro the steers and queers producing state of Okalhoma)... my bad.) Dammit Jim, he's a Senator, not a doctor! Except he's totally also a doctor! Amazing and talented.

Coburn hates (and I believe I am using that word appropriately) Newt Gingrich (he doesn't get a letter or a state, because while he acts all politician-y, he hasn't held office in more than a decade), and he wants the world to know it. At a recent town hall meeting he had this to share about the oh-so-coy Gingrich (he really wants us all to know how super serious he is about considering a run for President, this time FOR SURE y'all):
[Gingrich] "is a super-smart man, but he doesn't know anything about commitment to marriage..."
Now that's unfair. Just because I'm morbidly obese doesn't mean I don't understand diet and exercise and nutrition. And clearly Newt thinks that publicly holding people to standards that he is currently, blatantly, violating serves a greater good (namely getting Bill Clinton impeached, that was totally worth it), so back off Newt. He's super serious this time! For sure!

But what makes this story so sweet is that Tom ("now this may be a little cold") Coburn is also bestest bible study buddies with Sen. Jon Ensign (R, NV). And as you know, Ensign studied commitment to marriage at the same place that Newt did (hey, Newt is so good he's had 3 marriages so far!). Even better, when Ensign's affair with his married staff member blew up (that's not sexual innuendo, but if that helps keep you reading, take it as such) on him, the good Senator/Doctor gave him some advice.

Some MEDICAL advice.

Or so he claims, since, when asked about discussions Coburn had with Engisn, Coburn claimed doctor/patient confidentiality.

And since Coburn in an obstetrician I think that makes Jon Ensign a big pussy.

Or possibly a big baby.

Regardless, here's the thing that caught my attention. According to Ensign's mistress' husband (I should clarify that, as of today, I only know of the one mistress, but I'm pretty sure there are more, unless Ensign, like me, doesn't count anyone whose name they didn't get), Coburn told Ensign to give the husband $1 million to make it go away.

That is one expensive rash.

But since Senator Doctor Coburn gave this "treatment" to his patient, it's probably a prescription.

And since even Republican Senators love their most socialist of health insurance, I'm sure Ensign was happy to go pick up that Rx with like an $8 co-pay. (It probably would have been $3 if he'd gone with a generic currency, but I'm sure he ponied up that extra $5.)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Kitty Wells

Born Ellen Muriel Deason, Wells is a pioneer in Country music--she is the Queen of Country Music (while Loretta is... wait, I'm not sure; Tammy Wynette may or may not be the First Lady of Country Music... sigh, it's too early).

Here's a quirky "your mama" joke for Wells's kids: "your mama's so old, her earliest hit records pre-date Billboard's Country Music Chart." (Oh snap!) She is the first woman to reach #1 on the Country Music Charts (with the song below) and the first woman to release a full length Country music album (you're welcome Faith Hill, Shania Twain, Juice Newton, and that brand new lesbian whose name I still can't recall):

But speaking of lesbians, credit to k.d. lang who first introduced me to Wells via her Shadowlands album. Wells, Loretta Lynn and Brenda Lee sang with lang on "Honky Tonk Angels Medley" featuring parts from 3 classic Country songs. The quartet picked up a Grammy nomination but lost to lang's duet with Roy Orbison. The only clip I can find is via servers in Bulgaria, so let's skip that--even if I could decipher the Cyrillic to figure out where the HTML embedding code was hiding, the server was painfully slow.

Kitty is an inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame (she is its oldest living inductee), and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1991 (becoming the first caucasian woman to receive the honor).

I'll send you off with Wells's second #1 song, "Making Believe":

Wells, who was a long-running member of my old Death Watch lists (fantasy football around celebrity deaths) turns 92 today. As I'm no longer playing Death Watch, I can say happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Song of the Day: "Tell 'Em"

Dr. Robert, one of the big bosses at work, told me about Sleigh Bells back in February or March. I played this clip, and my reply to him was "this sounds like noise." I am happy to tell you that this song takes a good 12 to 15 times to reveal its charms (your mileage may vary). I will warn you, this thing is loud and if its early for you, you might want to lower the volume before you play it.

Congratulations various Emmy winners

Apparently I will need to both finish the Temple Grandin book I bought 3 years ago, and watch the HBO movie about her that picked up a slew of Emmys last night. I'd also like to point out that a paid writer wrote this:
After sweeping several earlier categories, "Temple Grandin's" big win for Best Miniseries wasn't exactly an upset, but the sincerity of the moment was not to be denied.
Except that is the wrong category. "The Green Bay Packers win over the Atlanta Braves was easy to predict..."

I was thinking about the factor that makes Emmy winners much more daunting to predict, namely which specific episodes were submitted--lead actors submit a single episode from the entire season to represent them (supporting and guest can use clips from 2 episodes), so that collection of competing episodes become something like the NCAA basketball bracket if I can infuriate sports peeps the way Mary Elizabeth Williams did me (Temple Grandin won the Best Made for TV Movie Emmy, while The Pacific won Best Miniseries, and they're both HBO productions, continuing their Duke-like post seasons legacy).

I'm pretty happy with the winners (I don't watch Mad Men, but the sheer amount of buzz I encounter leads me to believe it's got a lot of merit--I don't watch any hour-long dramas, and technically I consider Castle a comedy, so don't remind me about that).

I liked Fallon as host, but often when he tries for breezy it seems rushed or forced. I don't know if that's lack of rehearsal or he can't find his teleprompter (his class of SNL performers were nightmarish in their reliance on teleprompters). I'll never actually watch his show, but I think he's found a good niche. Best line: "NBC asked the host of ‘Late Night’ to come to L.A. to host a different show. What could possibly go wrong?"

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Song of the Day: "From Above"

Ben Folds is collaborating with novelist Nick Hornby. Lonely Avenue is out next month, with music by Folds and lyrics by Hornby. Not quite sure why or how this came about, but I have a vague sense that the Chatroulette songs that Folds did helped spur it. Or I'm making shit up again.