Wednesday, May 26, 2004

The So-Called Liberal Media have jumped on pretty much every negative story involving Air America Radio. Lots of ink predicting its demise before the debut. The cockup with the owner of LA and Chicago stations got tons of play, as did the subsequent exodus of some AAR brass and investors.

So this week apparently Franken reported some Arbitron numbers saying that The O'Franken Factor was beating Limbaugh in a key demographic in NYC. And now the silence is deafening. True, it's not much of a victory at all, but in the interest of fairness and balance, you'd think the SCLM might have a little to say about this.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Wanted: GreenCine info

If you, or anyone you know, has experience with this DVD-by-mail service, please share a comment; I'm very interested in what you/they have to say. Realistically I'm unlikely to get rid of Netflix any time soon -- the fact that we're grandfathered into 4 movies at their 3-movie rate still makes the recent price hike negligible. But I have a beef with false inflation of the availability status. Of the 215 movies in my queue this morning, #73, 147 and 190 were Short Wait and #97 was Long Wait. Everything else was listed Now, so there's no reason why my #2, 3 and 4 selections should ship before my #1, right?

I just got in from poker. Tough table this evening. Let's just say I'm ahead for the year. During the day K. and I got to play impromptu hookey, as a brief morning storm was just fierce enough to play havoc with the office's Notes, Net (sporadically), HVAC, plumbing/water pressure (toilets wouldn't flush), and phones. So we closed around lunchtime; once away from the office, we watched the second season of...The Office. If I did a Fraught Watch a la Dwight, I'd put the US version of The Office on High.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

yeah, I mentioned it in the comments, but: Be sure to watch the 2004 World Curling Championships recap package on ESPN2 this Friday (that's, oh, look at the time, that's tomorrow now) at noon-1 ET or 5:30-6:30 ET. Or watch it both times. Then buy all the crap in the commercials. If they showcase the men's final, the ladies in the audience will enjoy some good-looking Swedes.

Look, people. it's either this or more dog shows and Magic: The Gathering on the Deuce. All I'm sayin'.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

I had a fine time curling at the Poynette Spring Spiel this weekend, finishing runner-up in the fourth event. That's essentially 8th out of 16, but still good enough to be in the jewelry. And not bad for four second-year curlers who'd been off the ice for six weeks. And surprisingly tough competition -- a team with one of the 2003 world champs (Ann Swisshelm-Silver) finished second. She was very nice, real down-to-earth -- she had played against one of us this year, and while chatting with Andrea introduced herself to the rest of us, and I'm thinking "yeah, I know who you are." Nice to know world-class athletes (yes, athletes; I was sore as hell yesterday) can be like that. Of course, if curling meant something to more than 16,000 Americans, things might be different.

Oh, and I also ran into the Taiwanese Curling Club, The Fighting Yams. Now there's a logo! You better believe I'm buying some merchandise.

Monday, May 17, 2004

weddin' bells

Congratulations and best wishes to all the happy couples in Massachusetts. This is going to be an incredible two years for the Bay State, and indeed, the nation. Here's hoping it lasts. The radio reports that New England has not in fact been destroyed in a rain of fire and brimstone (but then it's NPR, so they're probably lying to cover it up). And I imagine no one woke up today and said "Hey, my marriage was undermined last night and now I need a divorce," either. The actual downside is I get the idea some bonehead will take a shot at a couple within the next two years.

Why yes, this is my "single issue," why do you ask?

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Free movie pass for you

Before I head out of town for the weekend, I thought I'd pass along a chance to see a free sneak preview of Napoleon Dynamite, an apparently well-received new movie. It's being screened like crazy across the country, and is hitting most major cities (sorry Twin Cities and Atlanta contingents, either it's come and gone, or isn't scheduled there yet). Just go here, print out the PDF for the appropriate screening, show up early enough to get in, and enjoy.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

To air or not to air

(note: no links here. Just less-than 1000 words about pictures, and some disturbing pictures at that. If you want them, you're resourceful, go find 'em yourself.)

Of course the big story this week is the appalling beheading of Nick Berg, captured on video. The mainstream U.S. media have come to a rough consensus of how much to air of this grisly document. Meanwhile, it's mirrored in many places on the Net. This comes after a week's worth of seige on the breakfast-table-standard in the form of photos of Abu Ghraib prison abuses. Meanwhile the National Review's Jonah Goldberg is calling for the Berg tape to be shown as widely as the Abu Ghraib photos were, and claims CBS has Berg's blood on its hands for airing the photos.

Elsewhere, lost in the week's events is news that the Justice Department is reexamining the Emmett Till murder case. Till, as you may remember, was a 14-year-old from Chicago lynched in Mississippi in 1955 for allegedly whistling at a white woman. When he was found, he was identifiable only by an initialed ring. The circumstances of Till's death were not all that unusual in the hundred years or so following the Civil War. What made the case a national issue--and galvanized the civil rights movement--was the remarkable decision by Emmett's mother, Mamie Till Bradley, to have an open-casket funeral for her son. Thousands lined up to pay their respects. Jet magazine published photos of Emmett's body, shocking readers nationwide. Those photos, too, are on the Web, and are still haunting.

And so back to Berg, haunting enough while still alive. When are shocking images necessary?I think it's when they are instructive. The Till case and other lynchings that the NAACP publicized taught America, at least the part of white America that cared to listen, that the country's policy of institutional racism had a human toll. The Abu Ghraib lesson is that the US cannot be successful if it abandons the very values it seeks to export. And how is that unamerican? Making us better is as important as making the world better for us. And easier, too.

What lesson is to be learned from airing the Berg video? That al-Qaeda's evil? We learned that one three Septembers ago. That, as said elsewhere, we're not as bad as the worst people on the planet? Hey, there's a helluva lesson. Or maybe the lesson is that because of the administration's ineptitude in conducting the war, the U.S. has allowed al Qaeda to regroup and strengthen in the Middle East. But somehow I think that is not a lesson Goldberg has in mind. In any case, I reject Goldberg's position that the publicly airing the prison images caused Berg's death. Know what's a step away from that sort of thinking? The notion that we should continue to abuse Iraqi prisoners so we're not seen as "appeasers."

Monday, May 10, 2004

Okay, I don't mind the blogger changes a bit. Seems more intuitive, and I finally fixed my archives.

Weekend: Friday I finally had time to accept a longstanding poker invite. Suffice it to say I saved my ATM impression for another night.

Saturday: Fencing and a big nap. We watched this fantastically stupid movie; another cast of sorta-stars who should have known better. To think that Klaus Kinski turned down Raiders of the Lost Ark to do this. And poor Sterling Hayden...this was his basically his swan song.

Sunday: Watched Kiss Me Deadly. Now the homages in Repo Man and Pulp Fiction make sense. Supposedly there's an homage in GTA:Vice City, but apparently I haven't gotten that far yet. We went over and distracted Karlo while M&C watched the Survivor finale. I just don't get it. But here's a reality show I can get behind. Someone here should pick this up.
Well, let's see what this new Blogger interface does. I like the absence of all that blocky orange and blue, at least...

Tuesday, May 4, 2004

3 questions meme

Via Mark, who ganked it from Cooch the Younger:

Ask me 3 questions in the comments widget and I'll answer them. I may even be truthful.
lyric quiz

Appropriated from John, here's a lyrics quiz. Maybe one or two are hits, all are songs I own on some audio medium, and all are from my lifetime. Only one is a song from the past 18 months. Many can be, or would have been, heard on the nebulous format known as "college radio."

UPDATE: this is stale now, so here are all the answers. If you got them, give youself points on the honor system.

1. A country that even persecuted The Weavers "Home of the Brave," Naked Raygun

2. Can you stand me on my feet? "Color Me Impressed", the Replacements

3. A pack of franks and a big bag of Frito-Lays "Cold Lampin' With Flavor," Public Enemy

4. I suspect there'll be gerrymandering at the singles bar "I'm the Bomb," Electric Six

5. I'm not the best believer; not the most deserving"Sympathy," Sleater-Kinney

6. And you love me 'til my heart stops; love me 'til I'm dead "Naive Melody (This Must Be The Place)," Talking Heads

7. [E]very white face is an invitation to robbery "Safe European Home, " The Clash

8. And getting out of school meant getting out of hand "Celebrated Summer, " Husker Du

9. What's your favorite dish? I'm not gonna cook it but I'll order it from Zanzibar "F*** Her Gently," Tenacious D

10. And if I was Roy Rogers, I'd sure enough be single "If I Had A Boat," Lyle Lovett

11. Skateboards--I've almost made them respectable! "I'm the Man," Joe Jackson

12. Never needs winding, never needs winding, never needs winding "Step Right Up," Tom Waits

13. I was the walrus! Paul wasn't the walrus! I was just saying that to be nice but I was actually the walrus! "Magical Misery Tour," from the National Lampoon Radio Dinner album. That's Tony Hendra, of Spinal Tap infamy, as John Lennon

14. Well, listen, Buster-- you'd better start to move your feet "One Step Beyond", Madness

15. While my JVC vibrates the concrete "I Can't Live Without My Radio," LL Cool J

16. Me and Lucy opened it when Cynthia wasn't around "Starfish and Coffee," Prince

17. They didn't win another 'til 1962, the year he was discovered "Fifty Mission Cap", Tragically Hip

18. Well, I thought it was already as heavy as could be "Waitin' for a Superman," Flaming Lips

19. He covered me with tomatoes, hummus, chickpeas, and some strips of skin "Balloon Man," Robyn Hitchcock & the Egyptians

20. He could have scored more goals than Wayne Gretzky "Jesus Was Way Cool," King Missile

Monday, May 3, 2004

idle hands

Too much time spent here and way too much time spent here. I know one member of the rogues' gallery at left already knows about these sites, while at least one other would like them quite a bit.

On Saturday we went with Alexis and Jeremy down to the Chicago Cultural Center to see the Ron Popeil exhibit. It was tres cool; all that avocado green...The highlights were the sit-on trash compactor and the old Mr. Microphone ad. As our friend Chris pondered, "Hey good lookin', we'll be back to pick you up later" has got to be sampled in a song somewhere. I was somewhat surprised that of all the things on display, we only owned the Kitchen Magician.