Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Happy Halloween ... to all of you from all of us.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Sign Of The Times
This is the sign at the gas station/convenience store down the road:
I don't know if it's an advertisement or a warning. Big If ?? I think I'll pass on those hot dogs.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Assault On Battery
I really don't mean for this blog to degenerate into nothing more than a YouTube depository, but since I've been totally uninspired lately, the YouTubery will continue:
Thursday, October 25, 2007
No Country For Old Men Trailer
It's been ages ... ages ... since the Coen brothers did a film I wanted to see. After The Man Who Wasn't There they made a string of movies that just looked awful. I began to wonder if they'd ever do another good film.
Looks like they're back, with a western-noir feature that might mark a return to form for the Joel and Ethan. Judging from the trailer, it looks a little reminiscent of their debut, Blood Simple. No Country For Old Men seems like the kind of movie about which I can justifiably get my hopes up:
Have I Heard That Before?
It's a common observation among heavy metal (and rock) fans: "Hey, that song sounds just like that other song!" Sometimes this observation leads to arguments about who is or isn't guilty of stealing riffs, especially if it's particularly accurate.
A YouTube user called BakNBlack has put together a number of clips that feature back-to-back comparisons of a number of songs. Some of his observations are surprising, especially if I was previously familiar with both songs but never noticed the similarities. BakNBlack says he isn't accusing anyone of ripping off anyone else, he's just making note of the similarities in the good natured, fun spirit of rock and roll.
Here's his most recent clip:
He has quite a few more if you enjoyed that.
Hat Tip: The Governor.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
IHeard.com is a decent site full of links and embedded media related to online radio stations. Chances are, whatever you're interested in, you'll find something to listen to. A few of the links I tried didn't work, but most of 'em did.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Nerves Of Steel ...
... that's what it might take to watch this traffic-light camera video, so consider yourself warned:
Believe it or not, the guy lived. Details at Snopes.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
My Favorite Internet Headline Ever
Yes, I bet she does.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Was There Something There?
The Travel Channel is doing their Halloween thing tonight, a Most Haunted live broadcast from the infamous Winchester Mystery House, complete with live webcams and everything.
Here's the thing ... I am inclined to believe that there really is something to the phenomenon of ghostly sightings, having seen things myself that I can't explain.
Nonetheless, I brush off these TV shows because they usually strike me as melodramatic, silly and unbelievable.
Still, I was willing to watch some of tonight's show ... I even checked out the webcams ... and darned if I didn't think I saw something.
I had decided only to watch for a few minutes, but I was using the Windows desktop AVI maker to capture what I had on the screen just in case I saw something ... so I played it back for Wendy and darned if she didn't think she saw something, too.
So here it is, I've uploaded it. There are four cameras in the clip; watch the camera in the upper left. What we saw was very brief and very subtle, and I'm not trying to say that I know what it is, but it sure got our attention. Click play, watch the upper left camera, and tell us what you think:
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Mule In Richmond
About two months ago I was exposed to the music of Gov't Mule and I absolutely flipped. I couldn't remember the last time I heard a band that good. As a matter of fact, the last time I went this completely head-over-heels for a new band was back in '85, the first time I heard Metallica.
Gov't Mule isn't a new band, but they were new to me when I heard them in August. This really is the best band I've ever heard, and they're basically the only band I've listened to since late August (much to the frustration of my wife and friends, who wonder when I'll stop listening to the Mule exclusively.) Shortly after I got interested in the band I checked their tour agenda for autumn and I was thrilled to find out that they were coming to Richmond, easily within driving distance. Wendy agreed to go see them with me, tickets were bought, and I spent all of September and the first half of October basically unable to think about anything else.
Wendy and I arrived at Toad's Place about an hour before the 7:00 PM door time. The line was pretty packed by 6:30, and an enthusiastic crowd was inside to greet opening act Grace Potter and the Nocturnals at 8:00. The openers played for an hour, and I can report that Grace Potter and the Nocturnals are a real-life, honest-to-goodness band. Real musicians, real songs, good old-fashioned rock and roll. I wish I were more enthusiastic about them, since they're making the kind of music that I think needs to be supported. And I do think that Grace Potter is going to hit the big-time pretty soon. But the truth is, I was in Richmond to see Gov't Mule and sitting through Grace Potter's set was, for me, just a slightly more interesting way to kill an hour than staring at the floor.
Gov't Mule came on at 9:30 and played until somewhere around 12:50. Ah, man, what an amazing show. The first set was like a dream for me ... if the band had let me chose the songs for the first set, I couldn't have customized a better one.
And let me just say that Warren Haynes is a god. The founder of Gov't Mule (and also full-time member of the Allman Brothers Band) is just about the best musician I've ever seen play live. He's a damn good songwriter, a great singer, and an absolutely amazing guitarist. You just can't do any better than Warren Haynes.
Here's the setlist for the night, and I can't wait to buy this show at Muletracks.
Larger Than Life
Don't Step On The Grass Sam (Steppenwolf Cover)
Lay Your Burden Down
Mr. High & Mighty
Red House (Hendrix Cover)
Bad Little Doggie
How Many More Years (Howlin' Wolf Cover, with Higher Ground tease)
A Million Miles From Yesterday
When Doves Cry (Prince Cover)->
When Doves Cry->
Pygmy Twylyte (Zappa Cover)->
Trouble Every Day (Zappa Cover)->
Child Of The Earth
Three String George
32/20 Blues (Robert Johnson Cover)
Long Distance Call (Muddy Waters Cover)
You can check out pictures from the show at Gov't Mule's "On The Road" page. And here are a few crappy pics I took with my cellphone.
I'm happy to say that Wendy loved the show, too, and I think she finally gets my obsession with Gov't Mule. In fact, the word Wendy used to describe the first set was "amazing." I couldn't agree more.
If you haven't heard Gov't Mule, here are a few songs you can stream from my site if you'd like to check them out:
And if you get the chance to see them live, don't miss it. I think it's safe to say at this point that Gov't Mule has become my favorite band over the past couple of months, and seeing them this past Sunday only confirmed for me that they really are the best band I've ever heard.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Very Busy, Mule Ahead
I haven't had a lot of time to blog for a few days ... more importantly, I haven't had time to read (and comment at) the blogs I enjoy, so my apologies to those I've neglected.
I've been working some trades so that I can have Sunday off so that Wendy and I can go to Richmond to see the amazing Gov't Mule in concert. I'm sure I'll write a concert review after the show, raving about how great they were. Here's just a little sample of what I look forward to enjoying on Sunday:
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Google, Google, Google
I've been goofing around with the stuff that Google provides for it's users today. Yeah, Google is becoming a monopoly, Google is the AOL of this decade, Google is evil, blah blah blah blah.
But Google also provides its users with a lot of cool stuff, like Picasa, which enables you to do fun photo albums and slideshows and stuff:
(Yeah, no new pictures ... but new web toys, which are always cool.)
And since I switched our domain base over to a Google "partner page," I got lots of fun gadgets and widgets for it, too... like that same slideshow and RSS blogfeeds for both mine and Wendy's blog and yadda yadda yadda.
All of which is fun for a sophomore level codemonkey like me.
Monday, October 08, 2007
Clarence Thomas And A Bloodthirsty Media
He had to see it coming.
Clarence Thomas has kept his personal life a personal matter for years, and who can blame him? As one of the few conservatives on the US Supreme Court (along with Antonin Scalia and promising new recruit Sam Alito), Thomas is a constant target of the media and the left. Throughout the Clinton '90's, Thomas was a voice of reason ... his appointment to the country's highest court is surely the best thing that the first President Bush did during his term in office.
But Thomas has remained a private man, keeping his personal life just that; personal. And who can blame him? Thomas has been attacked by the left with more vitriol than any other Supreme Court justice that I can remember. Nothing has been ruled "out of bounds" by the left when it comes to Thomas. His race, his family, his education, the trumped-up Anita Hill controversy ... there's no mud that hasn't been slung at him.
So he had to see it coming when he published his memoir, My Grandfather's Son. Give the American left (and the preening main stream media) any bait and they'll take it.
To the left, Thomas is a liar, a man of questionable motives, they accuse him of self hate and they ask him ridiculous, insulting questions in television interviews. Boy, oh boy, do the leftists hate Thomas.
He must be doing something right to piss off that many liberal hacks.
Writing for the Wall Street Journal, John Yoo sees right through the hype:
Critics ignore the unique, powerful intellect that Justice Thomas brings to the Court. He is the justice most committed to the principle that the Constitution today means what the Framers thought it meant...
This is a black man with a much greater range of personal experience than most of the upper-class liberals who take potshots at him. A man like this on the Court is the very definition of the healthy diversity his detractors pretend to support.
Thomas Sowell, in my opinion the smartest commentator on America today, has also written a great piece about Thomas that you can read here.
Of course he saw it all coming. He had to.
And I'm sure the current round of attacks will leave Thomas as unflappable, as consistent, and as brilliant as he's always been.
Maybe He Doesn't Know He's Supposed To Be Vicious
When photographer Norbert Rosing was visiting Canada's Hudson Bay and he saw a polar bear approaching his sled dogs, he figured they were as good as dead.
The bear, far from hungry, may have just been bored. He returned every day for a week to play with Rosing's dogs.
More pictures and details are at Snopes.
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Mega-huge props, and overwhelming gratitude, to MCF for the new banner (refresh if you don't see it). As Rhodester might say, "I'm Verklempt."
Konsurvatives Is Dumm?
I didn't know about this deal until I read about it in the current issue of the National Review, but apparently David Amodio of NYU has done a study that proves conclusively that conservatives are stupid.
Here's how it worked: A group of 43 students were positioned in front of computer monitors, each monitor randomly flashing "M"s and "W"s. The students were instructed to give either a "go" or a "no go" signal, depending on which letters flashed. This test lasted for fifteen minutes.
At the conclusion of the test the results were compiled. Among the students who were judged most likely to make errors were seven students (the only seven in the group) who identified themselves as politically conservative.
From this, Amodio has determined that conservatives are stubborn and unable to adapt, whereas liberals "are more responsive to informational complexity, ambiguity and novelty."
Nevermind that my fifth grade son has put together science homework projects that are more thorough and exacting than this "experiment." Nevermind that the group was hopelessly skewed non-conservative (7 students? That's less than 15% of a group of 43). And forget that Amodio's conclusion is laughable when one considers the intellects of people like Thomas Sowell, William F. Buckley and Dr. Condoleezza Rice.
In fact, forget the whole preposterous "experiment" and it's silly presumptions. I'm more concerned with what this debacle says about the perspective of the modern American leftist. It sort of confirms for me a few beliefs I've had for some time. You might even call it … ahem … "scientific" confirmation.
It's been my experience for a while now that during any kind of debate, most of the conservatives I know attack the the other person's argument and most of the liberals I know attack the other person herself or himself. A conservative approach to an argument is something like "Your position is wrong and I can cite evidence to prove it." A liberal's approach is often something like "You dumb!"
Most of the liberals I know are simply bad at debating the issues. They can rarely cite hard data to support their beliefs, they don't usually do the research necessary to have an informed opinion, and they seldom regard historical evidence at all. If they did any of those things … well, they'd be conservatives, wouldn't they? ;)
In the face of well-thought-out arguments, lefties tend to rely on four methods of diversion:
C.S. Lewis coined this term, named for a fictional character who began every counter argument with the words "You only say that because…" In the absence of any facts to support their own claims, many lefties find it convenient to simply question the other person's motives and put that person's perspective in a box. Some examples of leftist Bulverism would include insulting attacks such as "Clarence Thomas is only a conservative because he's an Uncle Tom," and "Cheney only supports the war so he and his friends can get rich," and the ever popular "You only oppose illegal immigration because you're a racist."
- "Everybody Knows…"
The conservatives I know can cite their sources and give evidence that supports their opinions. The leftists just cite "everybody." As in "Everybody knows that Bush lied," and Everybody knows that Christians are bigots," and my favorite, "Everybody knows that 9/11 was a government conspiracy." In the absence of hard evidence, just mark your opinion up to common knowledge. After all, everybody knows that everybody is always right. Right?
A lot of liberals, when cornered, have no shame about resorting to purely theoretical concepts to defend their positions. I wish I had a dollar for every time I've heard a leftist refute my thoroughly researched opinion with a statement that begins "Yes, but the world would be so much better if people would just…" My eyes glaze over. I sometimes respond "And it would also be a better world if I sneezed pure gold."
And sometimes I don't say "sneezed."
- "You're Stupid."
If you can discount a person outright, you don't have to acknowledge their argument at all, right? "You're stupid" is the liberal smart-bomb, a way of ending a debate without defending their position or refuting a better argument. It's the ultimate, perfect way to end an argument you've lost and convince yourself that you've saved face. And now, thanks to David Amodio at NYU, leftists can justify that ploy "with science."
And so, in short, David Amodio has contributed an asterisk to 2007-In-Review. He's clearly contributed nothing to science or the level of political discourse.
But then again, everybody knows that I only say that because I'm a stupid conservative … and wouldn't the world be better if I weren’t?
PS - Thanks to One Of Them for the heads-up on my perpetual misspelling of "cite." I've fixed it. I don't know why I am programmed to type that word incorrectly every time, but I am. Maybe I am just dumb. ;)
Friday, October 05, 2007
The Office: Worth Watching And Worth Reading
You know, The Office (US) really is a funny show. I even go out of my way to make sure we Tivo it, and considering that I'm all Mr -anti -television -and -whatnot, that's probably really saying something. I guess.
Anyway, The Office has some funny viral marketing sites that are full of comedy gold for fans of the show:
- Dwight's Blog ... which seems to be written by one of the show's writers, since Dwight's "voice" is so clear and present.
- Creed's Blog ... which, contrary to Creed's belief, does not reside at www.creedthoughts.gov.www\creedthoughts.
- Dunder Mifflin Infinity ... the company's new marketing website. I haven't explored this one because I don't want to have to register as an NBC.com user, which is a prereq.
- Dunder Mifflin, Inc ...the company's old-school website.
MCFAT Four Point Eye Eye
Once again, MCF provides the answers and we come up with the questions … and, for some reason, this time I found myself primarily fixated on his dental records.
1. I'm hoping it's just dormant right now.
Is disco dead?
2. I'm no lizard.
Are you a lizard?
3. At least two.
How many days in advance did you anticipate my question for number two?
4. Eat fresh-ish.
What do you do while drunk at Subway?
5. No, I cut all of them.
Is it true that you never got all of your baby teeth?
6. Less than two months' ago.
When did you get the last of them?
And how many teeth do you have in total?
8. Small square, long rectangle, large square, small square, long rectangle, tall rectangle, small square...
Could you describe your teeth for us?
9. A dead crow.
Is there anything your teeth have not been able to chew through?
10. Duncan, Casey, Mohannan, Antonio, The Kisser, Jonas.
What are some pet names that the lovely ladies have given you over the years?
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Soapy The Germ Fighter
Little Billy used to be a very dirty boy ... until one night when he was menaced by a giant talking bar of soap that kept telling him to "lay back and shut your eyes."
Ya gotta love these classic classroom films from the 1950's. I especially enjoyed hearing young women advised to wash their hair "at least once every two weeks." Then there's the scene wherein a puppy is attempting to eat a girl's head. Good stuff.
Monday, October 01, 2007
While I Was Out (A Link Dump)
My schedule at work has been up in the air lately, so I've been away from the computer for a while. On top of the schedule problems, I've come down with either a mild case of flu or an extreme late-summer cold, so what free time I've had has largely been spent staring at the ceiling and moaning.
But, anyway, I had time to sit down today and catch up on some of what I've missed in the blogopshere. I thought I'd post links to a bunch of that neat stuff, so since this is Monday and I'm basically posting a list of cool links, I guess it would be fair to accuse me of a phantasmic theft.
- Speaking of things phantasmic, MCF recently created a few blog banners, including a super cool one for me. As soon as I get tired of the monkey-with-a-gun motif, you'll probably see that new banner at the top of this blog.
- A bear wandered out onto a bridge near Lake Tahoe, California, and ended up dangling precariously from the side (photo at right). Animal Control officers weren't sure what to do at first. After the bear spent a long night on the edge, a plan was devised involving helicopters, tranquilizer darts and a big red net. How'd it end up? click here to read the story.
- Some tasty satire from Terry Bisson via Rhodester... "They're made out of meat."
- Either Bishop Donald Pelotte is suffering from some sort of total mental collapse (and that's my bet) or he's being visited by aliens (not bloody well likely). Either way, he's in my prayers. HT to my friend Jamie.
- Jerry at Bent Sense has a story that is, at turns, humorous and horrifying:
A woman recently found herself locked inside a medical facility and called the police, who upon arriving simply had her unlock the door from the inside.
Funny? Sure ... until you read on and find out that the woman was a 67 year old cancer patient who'd been forgotten by technicians, inside a CAT scan machine, under a weighted blanket, for several hours. Read the whole thing and get as pissed off as I am.
- TJ at Dogs Cats Kids Life is tending to her dad during surgery ... but during a break she found time to post this very funny slice-of-life video for Scotland:
- Fans of politically conservative editorial cartoons (all five of us) are saddened to learn that Cox and Forkum are calling it quits.
- By way of B13 and MCF, here's a bit of mind blowing animation. I can only guess at the time and dedication involved in producing something like this.
- Am I the only person who thinks that White House corespondent Helen Thomas looks exactly like Yubaba from Spirited Away?
- The other day I mentioned that Scott Nehring had suffered a heart attack. Well, I'm glad to read that he's home and on the mend. And judging from the title of his recovery post ("Only Mostly Dead"), Scott's acerbic wit remains fully in tact. Good deal.
- That picture to the right? The one of the crazy looking turtle(s)? That picture has not been photoshopped.
- A two year old girl in Great Brittan fell from a seventh story apartment window (about one hundred feet up) and lived.
- Tough: giving birth to your twelfth child. Tougher: giving birth to your seventeen pound, one ounce twelfth child. In Russia.
- Lorna has posted some pics from a highly anticipated wedding ... one that her readers have anticipated vicariously right along with her.
- Finally! A search engine for our parents!
- You know, there really are worse things that can happen to a dog than being put to sleep. (Warning: story involves terrible abuse of an animal by an animal shelter employee.)
- Hey, if you'd been brainwashed by an Emperor (who turned out to be a member of a cult of evil warrior priests) and if you'd spent the last several years of your life trying to track down and destroy your own children, you'd have the blues during your "death bed scene" too. HT, Unseen:
Whew! I'm all caught up now. And you are, too.
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