Archive for June, 2009


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Charlie Jane Anders has a nice little article over at io9 on Transformers: ROTF as an art film. Along with a nice encapsulation of the Michael Bay character arc:

So LaBoeuf, who’s actually a fine actor, is the stand-in for the male viewers’ greatest fears about themselves. No matter how great a loser they might be, they can’t be as losery a loser as Sam Witwicky. And yet, Sam has awesome giant robots stomping around telling him he’s the most important awesome person ever. And he has the hottest girlfriend in the universe, Megan Fox, for whom banality is a huge aphrodisiac. The more pathetic Sam gets, the more Fox’s lips pout and her nipples point, like little Irish setters.

Haven’t seen it, and most likely won’t. Not sure if they need my $12.50 when it’s already made 60 million. And the weekend hasn’t even started.

“Spittin’ in the wind comes right back at you.” – Lou Reed

UPDATE: Here’s Shia LeBeouf being pretty damn cool to a fan on the Today Show. Between this and my favorite SNL Digital Short, I’m officially a fan. Shut up you cynical toads.

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From John Campbell’s web comic, Pictures for Sad Children.Famous

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From W.B. Yeats’ Cathleen Ní Houlihan:

They shall be remembered forever

They shall be alive forever

They shall be speaking forever

The people shall hear them forever.

Tipped, of course, by Andrew Sullivan and his relentless and unmatched Iran coverage.

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Autotune strikes again:


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Don’t care what the hipsters say; I still like this band.

I’m not that much of a classist that I can’t dig something even if it does come from Columbia.

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I know everybody here is on a 24-hour news cycle. I’m not.

An adult in the White House. Everybody breathe.

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Rumors and outright slander must be addressed:

1. Loving Big Country is all-but-impossible to do purely. I would contend that it’s difficult to love any album produced in the 80’s without acknowledging the production sounds incredibly dated. I think Steve Lillywhite is an amazing producer, but echo and reverb on every single track is still echo and reverb on every single track.

That being said, I still think “The Crossing” is a great album, and a perfect time capsule. Stuart Adamson had one of my favorite voices ever.

2. I havered in a Edinburgh pub bathroom once. Unlike Carl, I’ve actually been to Scotland.

3. The GI Joe cartoon was awful. You should be more angry your parents let you watch such transparent marketing tripe. It was a 30 minute toy commercial. It was “He-Man” bad. It was “Smurfs” bad.

4. I never hated Del Amitri. “Nothing Ever Happens” is fantastic. So is “Be My Downfall” and “Driving with the Brakes On.” It’s the “Roll To Me” and “Kiss This Thing Goodbye”s that don’t do it for me. Justin Currie’s a hell of a songwriter.

5. I am of more Irish descent than Scottish. But even the wee bit of Scots I am is more than Carl’s muddy genetic history.

This is will concede shamefully: today was the first I had ever heard of Ivo Cutler. Is he related to Jake Cutler? It would explain a lot.

Ah. Feel better. Back to discussing ideas, rather than judo-ing red herrings.

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So I was listening to Belle & Sebastian’s Dirty Dream Number Two, and the song got to the bridge, where the woman sing-speaks (1:55):

In a town so small theres no escaping you
In a town so small theres no escape from view
In a town so small theres nothing left to do

That gentle burr. Such a melancholy lilt, and the same time, unspeakably hot. I had a sudden moment of insight, like a single pin of light stabbing into the center of my forehead. Remember when Eddie first explains how he thought of the name ‘Dirk Diggler?’ Yeah, it was like that:

I Am a Bigger Fan of All Things Scottish than Dan

The safe version of this would be to say that The Only Thing Stronger Than Dan’s Grandiose Pride in his Scottish Heritage is My Jealousy of Same. (Family legend is that we are 2% Scottish, but family legend also contends that we have a similar (slightly less) amount of gypsy — not Romanian or Bulgarian mind you, but gypsy — which leads me to believe this history is somewhat suspect despite my longing for it to be true) But nooo, I’m going for the bolder claim.

See, Dan’s celebration of Ewan McGregor (the Flower of Scotland) weemers at the edges like false bravado.

Sure, always a booster of Big Country, that Dan. But his advocacy has a strong whiff of novelty about it, like his “unapologetic” (–such a preemptive “NOT SORRY” always implicitly acknowledges the need for qualification, obviously diminishing the original claim) love for that paperback Sting fanbook. (Sting, “he’s so hot…he’s cool!”) Dan likes Big Country like a Scottish Men At Work. Dan likes Big Country like he liked The Hooters. Which is to say, with a giant wink, and when it really comes down to it: not really.

Here’s what I bring to the table:

•  I cried like a little girl at Braveheart, a movie one shouldn’t even admit to having seen, let alone being moved by. Went in for some good claymores & kilts action, went out in diapers.

•  In my formative years I jerked off to Sheena Easton’s Strut every single day for three years straight. Three Years Straight.

• Dan never even havers! I haver with some frequency just on principle alone.

• Dan, finish this song lyric: “This is the story of over and ______.” (No googling!) See? He doesn’t even know it.

• It always made me angry that Destro, the supposed “Scottish arms dealer” on the old G.I. Joe cartoons, never had a Scottish accent, but a recycled vader-esque rebreather. Mind you I was not merely annoyed by this. It made me angry. (How Scottish is that?)

• I’m fairly certain I like Franz Ferdinand more than Dan does, but I’m pretty sure I like The Strokes better too, so it might be an unfair case of sub-genrephilia.

•  I liked Del Amitri back when it was very uncool to do so. Dan? Never liked them, even scoffed at them: merely because they sucked.

And now I must impeach Dan’s alleged Scottishness:

How Scottish is Dan, really? Sure, he has the name. But I knew a black dude named McDuffy. Now how Irish do you think he was? (And he wasn’t Mariah Carey black, either. he was Ron Artest black. He was Wes Snipes black.)

And does Dan really appreciate the great Scottish geniuses, like Ivor Cutler? I bring you a brilliant absurdist poet from the highlands. Dan dismisses him with a wave and an upturned nose.

Dan was always a better drinker than he was a fighter. I think he’s actually more Irish than he is Scottish. He sure did love The Commitments…

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From a translated Iranian blog:

“I will participate in the demonstrations tomorrow.  Maybe they will turn violent.  Maybe I will be one of the people who is going to get killed.  I’m listening to all my favorite music.  I even want to dance to a few songs.  I always wanted to have very narrow eyebrows.  Yes, maybe I will go to the salon before I go tomorrow! There are a few great movie scenes that I also have to see.  I should drop by the library, too.  It’s worth to read the poems of Forough and Shamloo again.  All family pictures have to be reviewed, too.  I have to call my friends as well to say goodbye.  All I have are two bookshelves which I told my family who should receive them.  I’m two units away from getting my bachelors degree but who cares about that.  My mind is very chaotic.  I wrote these random sentences for the next generation so they know we were not just emotional and under peer pressure.  So they know that we did everything we could to create a better future for them.  So they know that our ancestors surrendered to Arabs and Mongols but did not surrender to despotism.  This note is dedicated to tomorrow’s children…”

The old cannot kill the young forever.

Hat tip, once again, to Andrew Sullivan’s tireless and admirable coverage.

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Because, well, she’s adorable and brilliant:

And here’s the first thing I ever heard from her on NPR:

On the radio
We heard November Rain
That solo’s really long
But it’s a pretty song

I used to scream at my tv when Slash would walk out of that church into the desert and just rip a solo, man. When Regina Spektor can make me reconsider the sheer grotesque excess of post-Izzy GnR, that’s a pretty good song.

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From my new favorite blog, Everything is Terrible:

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Andrew Sullivan’s coverage of the Iranian “election” debacle and the subsequent protests and fascist crackdown by the Revolutionary Guard has been truly admirable. Something is happening in Iran, indeed.

You can’t force democracy down the barrel of a gun, the way the Neocons think. All this weekend, as all hell is breaking loose in Iran, I’ve had a line from Peter Gabriel’s “Biko” running through my head:

You can blow out a candle/But you can’t blow out a fire/Once the flame begins to catch/The wind will blow it higher.

There are young people in Iran (and all over the world) who are sick of the tyranny of old ideas, who want to be part of something hopeful, not repressive and brutal. While we’re worried about whether Adam Lambert is gay or indulging Sarah Palin’s shameless mock outrage at Letterman, people like this are fighting for their lives and freedom in Tehran.

One wonders if this was Obama’s long game: to engage the hopeful, and young, and through his Middle East address present them with a choice of continued submission to tyranny, or to forge their own future, much as the USA has done. “May you live in interesting times.” It doesn’t get much more interesting, y’all.

I wholeheartedly suggest following Andrew’s blog as well as Huffington Post’s coverage. It’s not as if Fox is gonna cover it; they’re too busy praying to God that Obama fails. Party first, country last, right guys?

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Sometimes you just need a LeBatard Bam:

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I haven’t been watching the Finals, as I was so discouraged by the Nuggets going out like lambs in the Western Conference Finals. And really, it was enough for me that the Magic made it rather than the Cavs. I’ll take it.

And I only watched the second quarter last night; apparently I missed a hellova game. Tuned in, saw the Magic was down 5, did the math: “Ok, they’re in LA, they won’t get the calls anyway, going to the gym. At least no one will be there.”

And so here is Bill Simmons masterful dismantling of last night’s game. Now, I didn’t watch the game. I’ve watched enough Lakers playoff games to know that the officials repeatedly hand them games. It’s really disgusting. Simmons has a great meter, his “Super-Dubious Foul Crunch-Time Scoreboard” which ends up with Orlando getting 10 dubious calls to LA’s one. Let’s subtract 50% Simmon’s Celtic bias, and you still have 5 to one wretched officiating. Glad I didn’t waste any time on it.

Some other great Simmon’s points- On NBA players whining:

Here’s my question: Are NBA players in denial when they commit fouls, or did they make a secret pact to complain after every foul and anyone who doesn’t will be made an outcast by the other players? I know the refs are bad, but holy crap — when’s the last non-Brian Scalabrine time you saw someone commit a foul in an NBA game and then admit that he did it?

On the ABC exploitative abomination, Wipeout:

I wish I could buy stock in things like, “A ‘Wipeout’ contestant will sue ABC for $100 million after getting seriously injured.”

On Kobe shooting in triple-coverage versus dishing out:

Funniest moment of the game: Kobe storms back to the bench, whacks the chair in disgust and sits down as Phil Jackson (already sitting) looks at him with a bemused, “Should I point out to him that MJ absolutely would have passed there?” smile on his face. Classic.

Anyway, the whole article’s pretty spot-on. I’m not gonna rip off the whole thing. Check it out.

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Another triumphant AutoTune the News:

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Just ask him. He has the unmitigated gall to challenge journalistic baddass Michael Ware who’s lived in Iraq for SIX YEARS, and just parrots the “threw them under the bus” bullshit GOP talking point again. Ware’s been in war zones for years, and this punk even tries to throw his resume against Ware’s?

Thiessen returns to the weasel-y “I was in the Pentagon on 9-11.” Are you kidding? This is your chickenhawk defense? You were a Bush speechwriter. You’re culpable.

Some days I can’t even deal with the toads trying to cover their master’s tracks. When Thiessen tries to jump on Ware’s affectionate Aussie “boys and girls” characterization, aggressively stating, “They aren’t boys and girls! They are heroes!” he sounds like Will Farrell in that old SNL sketch with the passive aggressive dad: “I drive a Dodge Stratus! I drive a Dodge Stratus!” Of course Ware knows they’re heroes. He’s been in foxholes with them for six years, you idiot.

Lastly(and this is a bit unfair, but oh well), why are all the NeoCons so doughy? One has only to look at the two vastly different men to see the extreme differences in their experience: Thiessen: manicured, clenched, suited, powdered, sputtering, scolding. I doubt he’s ever had a callus. Ware: somewhat haunted, unkept, relaxed, laughs easily (not desperately), moves in and out of camera as it suits him. It’s all there on the screen.

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Inscription on the Pillar of Shame in Hong Kong:

The Old Cannot Kill the Young Forever

Excerpts from “Watching TV” from Roger Waters’ fantastic album, Amused to Death.

We were watching TV
In Tiananmen Square
Lost my baby there
My yellow rose
In her bloodstained clothes
She was a short order pastry chef
In a Dim Sum dive on the Yangtze tideway
She had a shiny hair
She was a daughter of an engineer
Won’t you shed a tear
For my yellow rose
My yellow rose
In her bloodstained clothes
She had a perfect breasts
She had high hopes
She had almond eyes
She had yellow thighs
She was a student of philosophy
Won’t you grieve with me
For my yellow rose
Shed a tear
For her bloodstained clothes


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Kneel before the pure awesomeness.

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What a stunning song. Cannot wait for the next Matthew Ryan album. He really can do no wrong, in my book.

From that old street
to that new house
to those beautiful hills
Inside your blouse
To the rain that kept falling
And those years off the rails
When we smiled like two sailors
With holes in our sails
When I’d turn to a coma
With a black hole in my chest
When a kiss was the cure
& I’d save my breath
When you’d walk to the bedroom
& I’d fall on the couch
If I wasted your beauty
I’ll ignite it somehow

Single available at iTunes.

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