Friday, September 30, 2005

Coney Island Baby on a Friday Afternoon

There is a simple beauty to Lou Reed.

The glory of love, might see you through



And I'm feeling that way for several reasons too. I don't know, I think I'll have to collect my thoughts a bit more before I write any more. Today was kind of hard to take though...

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

What did I just say about ethnic slurs?

So Bill Bennett, the gambling junkie/moral crusader has said that the real answer to crime is to abort every black baby.

Monday, September 26, 2005

"A koshatnik in Russian is a dealer of stolen cats."

Yes, that's right, more geeky language-obsessed posting. The BBC has a great article on words that don't really have an English equivalent. So come on all you cigercis and aviadors, check it out!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Total Incompetence

I'm surprised that this post hasn't made the rounds more, and/or been picked up by the mainstream media. The gist of it is just a simple visual, easy to throw up on a TV screen too. Go look!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

My Quote of the Day

Here it is, from an MSN conversation:
"Paris [Hilton] is like Michael Jackson in that they both look like how an alien would create a human face based only on seeing department store mannequins."

Ahh, it's funny because it's true.

Talking About Postmodernism

It always kind of bothers me when I read about someone trying to define postmodernism. This is especially true if they are doing so in a non-scholarly environment. The problem is that I don't think that we yet have a coherent idea of postmodernism that can be communicated to any layperson. When you describe the split between modern and medieval periods, it's easy to do it in a way that pretty much anyone can grasp. You can point to a few important things and draw contrasts from them. For the sake of example: printing presses, The Reformation, cogito ergo sum, Don Quixote, Gallileo. In the span of a couple centuries you can point to a few changes that precipitated a wholesale change in European and ultimately global culture. Of course these changes didn't all happen at once. Feudalism made to the 18th Century in France and to the 1860s in Russia to cite a couple examples.

So where does that leave us with postmodernism? I think we haven't gotten to the point where we can say that we've seen many of the fundamental develops that will define it. The very fact that we call it "postmodernism" indicates that we only know what it is in relation to something else. None of this is terribly new to anyone familiar with this kind of territory. But it's funny that we can't stop talking about postmodernity. Even though I don't think we know what it is. By "we" I mean society at large. I think that in many scholarly circles there is some understanding this phenomenon, but the average person doesn't have a clue. It's a just a catchall term for artworks that they cannot understand. I propose that we put a moratorium on using this word unless can give a definition of it that's worthy of the OED.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Sunday Afternoon

It's nice outside now, so I'm going out there. There is only so much to be gleaned staring at a screen.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

U2 Last Night

I went to see U2 at the Air Canada Centre last night. Wow. I don't think I've ever stood so much at concert where I had a seat.

After playing Vertigo to kick it off, they launched into two straight songs from their first album, I Will Follow and The Electric Co. Through this three song blast they sounded absolutely incredible, everything was raw and frenetic. The Edge got a really jagged sound out of his rig for those songs. During Electric Co. Bono sang a line from Bullet With Butterfly Wings. That was unexpected since almost all of Bono's little quotes are from artists that predate U2 (The Beatles, Jimmy Cliff, et cetera). Here he was working part of a song from 1995 into a song from 1980.

Other notable setlist treats included In a Little While (for the first time this tour) and Fast Cars (not done live ever). Additionally they did a great version of Miss Sarajevo. When they start this song I was wondering if they'd just do Pavarotti's opera bit with some kind of pre-recorded loop (like Satellite of Love on the ZooTV tour). But no, Bono hauled off and sang the whole damn thing himself. That was something else. It was quite a contrast too, because the rest of Miss Sarajevo seemed deliberately minimalist. It was mostly The Edge on piano and Bono singing with this stripped down almost Lou Reed-like quality.

Parts of the show seemed to be deliberate homages to earlier tours. I'd say that was particularly true of the Zoo Station/The Fly bit. They were calling on the magic of ZooTV there. Bono was dressed up as a little dictator, complete with the Dr. Strangelove salutes. The stage itself was supposed to be those concentric Vertigo circles, but it also reminded me of an olive, Popmart anyone?

For the closer they did a wonderful acoustic-dominated version of Yahweh followed by 40, complete with the instrument switch between The Edge and Adam Clayton. They walked off the stage one at a time after that. First Bono, then Adam, then The Edge. Larry was left by himself to finish the show. Getting off the kit finally, he walked out to the middle of the stage and waved. It was nice to see the spotlights all on the guy who started this whole thing in the first place.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Rambling Weekend Thoughts

Well, I have to say that it was nice to get the whole weekend off for the first time in a while. Nothing beats two days in a row of not-working. Well some things do, but that's beside the point. I did manage to get downtown and look around the shops. (Oooooo, how British, I typed "shops" and not "stores" look at that!) Once again I was in Soundscapes and I couldn't help myself. Or rather, I could help myself - to some CDs that is.

I am pleased to report that the new New Pornographers disc is superb. I was always lukewarm on their first two efforts (despite the rave reviews of a certain ex-flatmate) but this one sounded like a winner from the first track. Makes me want to listen to others again and see if I was missing something there.

I also picked up a reggae album from Lee Perry's Black Ark period. I haven't been listen to enough dub or reggae lately and I plan to rectify this. I also picked up M.I.A.'s disc. She kind of reminds of The Clash for the political views, the mish-mash of sounds and being based in the UK. I thought that this analogy would get weak in that she was from Sri Lanka, but then I recalled that Joe Strummer was actually born in Turkey I think (his father was a diplomat or something). So I guess they're both from Asia.

Walking south from Soundscapes towards Queen St I noticed that the whole neighbourhood was quite nice looking. Small houses crammed together, but well kept. It was sunny but not too warm so maybe that helped too. No part of Toronto is appealing in February.

On Queen St. I popped into Songbird. I have a post about my adventures there on my other blog. I guess that's pretty much what I did on Saturday. Oh well, it's back to the urns and steam wands for me tomorrow. But you knew that...

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Mike Brown: The Worst Man for the Job

That's the way it looks according to this article. An excerpt:
Brown was pleasant enough, if a bit opportunistic, Jones said, but he did not put enough time and energy into his job. "He would have been better suited to be a small city or county lawyer," he said. Jones was surprised Brown was being considered for job at FEMA but figured it wasn't impossible he could have risen high enough in local and state government to be considered for a job directing FEMA operations in Oklahoma.

The agents quickly corrected him. This was a national post in Washington, deputy director of FEMA, the arm of the federal government that prepares for and responds to disasters around the United States.

There you go: Mike Brown, out of his league even as a lawyer in Oklahoma, how the hell did this guy get his job?

Santorum is an Ass

This quote has been passed around the internet(s) and reported all over, but here it is:
"I mean, you have people who don't heed those warnings and then put people at risk as a result of not heeding those warnings. There may be a need to look at tougher penalties on those who decide to ride it out and understand that there are consequences to not leaving.”

These are the thoughts of Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. Of course this is insensitive to say the least, and I think most people see that. But let's look at a contrast between some in the media shaking their heads and tut-tutting and what would have been total outright media fury and outrage if had said the same thing after 9/11. I mean you could say the exact same thing too - if you were as twisted as Li'l Ricky that is - about 9/11. Terrorists had already attacked the Trade Center once, why not again? It's the fault of those dumb people that they worked in office towers. But wait! That's such a wretched and insensitive thing to say! Of course, and so it goes for Santorum's words too. Rick Santorum would be a tolerable nuisance I suppose if weren't for the fact that he goes around talking up his "Christian" values. (I wonder if Santorum is secretly disappointed every time that he reads Jesus saying things like, "blessed are the merciful" or healing people instead of telling them that it's their own fault that they are sick.) Santorum is cold towards the suffering of others but eager to try and impose his law on them. He uses religion like a pharisee, trying to make someone new outside-in. He is every negative stereotype that a non-believer can have about a believer all rolled into one guy. I'd reckon that he's going to become a leading cause of atheism if he gets much more time on the national stage in the US.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Out of Breath

It appears that I don't have much to say on anything this week. I think it's a function of doing too many openings in a row at work. Eww.

Sunday, September 04, 2005


This has been linked all over, but if you haven't seen it, see it.


This article on their website puts it better than I could. An excerpt:
When President Bush told "Good Morning America" on Thursday morning that nobody could have "anticipated" the breach of the New Orleans levees, it pointed to not only a remote leader in denial, but a whole political class.

It keeps on like this, read the whole thing! Now.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

9/11 in Slow Motion

That's the feeling that I get about Katrina. Sure the initial storm and flooding must have taken many, many lives. But how many are now dying from lack of food, water, medication and other basic necessities? This has been a problem for a week now, and they are moving too slow. The guy who runs FEMA is such a dumbass and he looks it on TV.

To paraphrase: "Duuuuuh, duh, I didn't know there was people in the convention centre, duuuuh... Wanna see how many fingers I can put in my ass, Paula?"

He's an idiot, someone should fire his ass. But considering that they won't fire Rummy, fat chance.

So in the meantime, more and more die. In slow motion this death toll rises. 1000? 2000? In the meantime Assclown Brown tells us what he doesn't know and is incapable of doing.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Race and Disaster

Look at who is hardest hit in this disaster. The picture are overwhelming of poor black people. The stories where people actually get to talk are almost all the stories of whites. Those hardest hit have no voice in the media. This is 2005, but this is also the deep south. It seems that Jim Crow is never all that far away. So what is the solution for all the impoverished of New Orleans? Park them in the Astrodome for several months! There are no military barracks, dormitories or any other, more suitable facilities? In the meantime, they can't seem to supply anything. The mayor says they lack buses, food, water, hospital facilities. Again, would this happen to a predominantly white population in the US? Is it impertinent to ask this? Perhaps. But to pretend that there are no classes in the US or that race is a non-issue in the US is to believe a myth.