Saturday, June 30, 2007

Theremin Cover of Gnarls Barkley

So before I get into any of the DC trip stuff, here's Gnarls Barkley covered on the Theremin. Note: It looks like these guys purposely included the GB stillshot at the exact halfway point of their video, knowing that that would be what showed when it displayed on YouTube.

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Sweet Home Chicago

Back from our Washington D.C./Virginia trip -- Jefferson, Madison, Library of Congress, Embassy Row, Spy Museum, lots of stuff. Pictures and comments to follow.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Show Me the Way to ALA

So tomorrow I'm going to the American Library Association meeting in Washington, D.C., and then afterwards The ♥G♥ and I are going to run around and see the sights for a few days. If I bump into a computer, maybe I'll blog from the road.

But until then, here's the Washington Post's welcoming question to the ALA.

Haunted Love:

Advice for HL here; More library-themed videos here.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

So a Utahn and a Peruvian Walk Into a Bar Graph...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Best. Political Ad. EVER.

With Johnny Sack!

Hillary Clinton reprend les Sopranos
Uploaded by exprimeo

Update: She blew her newly found hip status by picking some dumb Celine Dion song as her theme music. Now I am one of the only people in America who has no emotional reaction (+ or -) to Senator Clinton, but how lame! In so doing, she has plain and simple categorized herself as an old person, pop-culturally speaking. (I bet Bill would have pursued other suggestions.)

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Can't Wait to Read This Book

I have heard about this book by David Weinberger (his blog here) and I want to check it out -- Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder. Interview w/ R.U. Sirius here. Excerpts:

You know, in a library, a physical book has to go on only one shelf under one category. That’s not a natural restriction; a single book is about many different things. But even when you try to make up for that restriction with the catalog card, which is a very reduced form of meta-data for the book, the size of the card is dictated by the inconvenience of atoms. The size of the card means that you can’t put in very many of those references. But on the web, everybody can put in his or her own references. We can have hundreds or millions of references and links and connections of meaning linked to a single resource. There’s no limit. So, in some ways, the web reflects better the complexity of the linked nature of the world...

...Taxonomies are power. With a centralized top-down taxonomy, one problem is that somebody gets to say what you are. And lots of people will inevitably disagree with the categorization. A really bad example of this is what happened to a popular musician living under apartheid in South Africa, By the time he was fifty, he had become a different race five times because the law had changed. And once, he had to leave his wife and family because of it. So taxonomy is power. It’s not always that gross. But let’s say you’re trying to decide where Scientology or Jews For Jesus or Baha’i goes in the category of religions. Are they at the same level as the big ones? Power resides in that decision. Now that we can create local clusters of meaning, local taxonomies, categorizations — a lot of that power dissipates. That’s a good thing.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sudoku Godfather

From the Japan Times -- Sudoku Godfather Wants to Puzzle More:

"I want to seek out puzzle fans around the world and bring Nikoli puzzles to them," said Maki Kaji, president of Tokyo-based Nikoli Co.

Nikoli introduced sudoku to the world as an advanced version of the game that was invented by American Howard Garns and first published in the United States under the name Number Place in 1979.

Kaji runs the small firm, with about 20 employees. But for the Keio University dropout, it's all about fun and games. "My company's games bring you no merits," the 55-year-old said. "Our puzzles are not for educational purposes, nor are they aimed at developing the brain. They are just a way of killing time and enjoying recreation.

"Our readers are well aware of that and so they easily become creators of games."

Logic games are popular in Japan largely due to the work of Nikoli, which was founded 27 years ago, but sudoku is the only one known abroad.

That may change if Kaji gets his way.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Workin' Hard to Get My Phil

So I've been deconstructing the last episode of The Sopranos this whole week. Some people at work got all worked up over it. I didn't have a problem with it at all... I liked loved it! And I've been listening to Don't Stop Believin' every morning this week on the way to work. Was Tony killed? Did things just go on? Did Paulie rat him out? Is life fascinating? Boring? Terrifying? Looks like The Sopranos and Philosophy was written too early. (Note -- I also liked the last Seinfeld quite a bit, despite derision from others.) (Note - Various updates below over the course of Saturday morning.)

Lots of unfulfilled spoilers at Planck's Constant. Here's their recap of what actually happened.

Here's Amba on Blogcritics: That's David Chase's idea of what happens when you get your brains blown out: Nothing. (So much for Tony's "There's something beyond all this.") Tony has earlier looked into Uncle Junior's empty eyes and seen that our one shot at quasi-immortality — memory — ain't shit either. Paulie was the double-dealer. Working with Little Carmine, probably.

What if Sopranos had been on one of the broadcast networks?

The guys at Slate have been watching it all season: I thought the last episode was perfect. I'm not disappointed at all. We were privileged, over the past eight years, to receive an all-access pass to David Chase's brain. The pass has been revoked, but I think we were lucky to have been let inside in the first place. Sure, he played a trick on us, and it was even a pitiless trick (the final sound we heard after 86 hours of modern-day Shakespeare, after all, was Steve Perry's voice), but so what? When the screen went black, I laughed. Note - I neither agree nor disagree with whomever it was in the Slate exchange who said that Chase should have stuck with the courage of his convictions and kept Phil Leotardo in one piece, but think about this -- Had Phil survived the hit but been toppled from his position as head of the NY mob by his own lieutenants, it would have added yet another layer of ambiguity and real-life lack of resolution. Would Phil (in an al-Qaedaesque manner) have bided his time and waited another 20 years to get revenge on Tony? Or would he have sucked up his own big talk ("You never talk about This Thing of Ours. Never.") and cut a deal with the Feds, thus getting revenge on both Tony and his own guys, who (in his mind) betrayed him. (Mind you, I don't at all fault the New York middle management for firing their out-of-control boss.)

Occam's Razor and The Sopranos Finale: Since screen's across America went black on Sunday night there has been nonstop conjecture on what really happened in the Sopranos final episode. While there have been countless takes on what the events of the evening really added up to, there have been two consistent overall themes. Depending on which camp you are in, you either think David Chase (the creator of The Sopranos and writer of the final episode) was absolutely genius for leaving the ending open to the viewer's interpretation or you think he was lazy, shortchanged you and really left the ending open for a possible future movie. Interestingly, most of those in the first camp believe they are the 'true' Sopranos fans and are also way smarter than everyone else who just don't get it.

Tim Goodman from SFGate (with audio!): Now, quickly to the idea that Chase may be telling you it's all there. If you watch again, and put all Big Ideas and Murky Mythology aside, you'll see an episode that has Carlo flip to the Feds, Tony's lawyer concede that the process is in motion and Tony, at the end in the diner, tell Carmela that Carlo is going to testify. If you believe Tony is alive and life goes on for the Sopranos - the window shuts on their world - then the biggest of the myriad unanswered questions is, "Does Tony get indicted and found guilty and go to jail?" We'll never know. And we don't need to know. Closure is for broadcast television and tiny minds.

Emily Nussbaum, New York Magazine: But the moment that really wrenched the show off its axis was a brief, almost throwaway scene in the third season, in an episode titled “Second Opinion.” I remember the first time I watched it, the way it seemed to invert everything that came before. Carmela goes to a psychiatrist we’ve never met before, a Dr. Krakower. She is eager to make the session a referendum on personal growth: She wants to “define my boundaries more clearly”—from her perspective, the issue is that she’s unhappily married. She’s toying with divorce. But Krakower cuts her off. With riveting bluntness, he addresses Carmela not as a seeker but as a sinner. She is not Tony’s wife, he informs her; she’s his accomplice. She needs to leave now, reject Tony’s “blood money,” and save her children (“or what’s left of them”). And he adds a remark that might serve as a punch line for the series: “One thing you can never say, that you haven’t been told.” Of course, it doesn’t work. How could it? Carmela does leave Tony, but she goes back, and when she does, she has become something far worse than she was before, a woman who has consciously decided to become unconscious. To me, Krakower is Chase, and we are Carmela. He told us who Tony is, and each episode, he became crueler in delivering that message.

William F. Buckley: The sophistication of the Mephistophelian creator of The Sopranos was never underrated. The language is purely instrumental, even when the dialogue is between Tony and his resourceful shrink. What the language itself doesn’t communicate, facial muscles eloquently tell us. There is no face in Madame Tussaud’s that combines better than Tony Soprano’s the acceptance of irony, the grit of resolution, the trivialization of theft and murder. There is true underworld humor, and you are free to liberate yourself from the drag of orthodoxy as one more pistol shot explodes into the face of a character whose time is up, and who falls under the wheels of a car on the move. If one of the burly men had opened up in the restaurant with an Uzi, ending the lives of all four of the Sopranos, you’d have felt a quiver of moral relief. Instead, you were reminded by that blank screen that that kind of thing goes on and on, and reminded, also, of its bewitching power to entertain a spellbound, onanistic audience.

Update, Sunday night 6-17-07: Of course! Why didn't I think of this before?

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Wikipedia Inclusionism

Make sure to check out this article by Annalee Newitz on Wikipedia inclusionism. Excerpt: My experiences have made me strongly question the idea of "notableness" on Wikipedia. I am genuinely offended by the notion that obscure authors, technologies, ideas and events should be deleted from what's supposed to be a vast compendium of knowledge. It's not as if Wikipedia is running out of disk space and needs to delete stuff to keep going. And it's not as if an entry on an obscure writer will somehow undermine somebody's ability to search for less obscure ones. Besides, who is to say what is notable or not? Lutheran ministers? Bisexual Marxists? Hopefully both. For me, the utopianism of Wikipedia comes from its status as a truly democratic people's encyclopedia -- nothing is too minor to be in it.

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Gorillaz + No Doubt + Deep Purple; Beastie Boys + Beverly Hills Cop

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Battle of the Album Covers

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O'Reilly's Culture War

Check out this collection of News Corp.-owned Ho's, Glocks, & Drugs woven in with Oprah's interview with Bill O'Reilly. Originated at Hot Potato Mash.

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The Big Mashup

This is a good (though corporately slick) presentation on the opportunities inherent in Web 2.o, despite the misgivings of Andrew Keen and company.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Weekend Items

Several things:

  • I had never come across this transcipt/article before about DJ Spooky, That Subliminal Kid even though it's over seven years old. Excerpt: When we look at art we see how cultures become cross-fertilized. In the US there are many cultures, North/South American, African, Asian...The US has the widest variety of cultures in the smallest geographic region in the history of human civilization. So when you have access to the recordings of all these diverse cultures, continuous access to them, that's when things get really interesting. With collage, anything goes, anything can be mixed and transformed. Art is a reflection of culture, and to me music is our social reflection.
  • Cool blog to add to the sidebar, via Bella Rossa -- The Groovy Age of Horror.
  • Another blog to check out -- that of graphic novelist Warren Ellis.
  • Via Techyum, here's the NYT on the U.S. Court of Appeals telling the FCC to go fuck themselves. Excerpt: Mr. Martin, the chairman of the [Federal Communications C]ommission, attacked the panel’s reasoning. “I completely disagree with the court’s ruling and am disappointed for American families,” he said. “The court says the commission is ‘divorced from reality.’ It is the New York court, not the commission, that is divorced from reality.” He said that if the agency was unable to prohibit some vulgarities during prime time, “Hollywood will be able to say anything they want, whenever they want.Anything they want? Oh my God, not that!
  • Here's a guy who always likes to identify exactly which books are sitting on the shelves when he sees pictures with bookshelves in the background. Excerpt: I wish someone could put a stop to this epidemic. Whenever I see such pictures I have an uncontrollable urge to seize the nearest magnifying glass and try to decipher the titles. What is it that drives some people (I know others who confess to this failing) to devote their time to such snooping when we could be walking the downs, or exploring the music of Medtner, or deconstructing the latest piece about Paris Hilton? (No need to explain -- I do the same thing.)
  • I like the philosophy of this Rebecca Blood post (and the post of the librarian from whom she got the article) recreated here in its entirety: How to be a more effective researcher -- Q: Question: How do I start researching? Answer: Treat research as a lifestyle not an assignment. A great approach from what appears to be an academic librarian, including a new (to me) term: The Invisible College. [Wikipedia article] Bloggers will immediately see themselves in this role, so it's worth pointing out that anyone who limits themselves to blogs will miss many other communities of interest, online and off. Here's the main page of the blog referenced by a librarian named Linda Jones. That kind has to do with how I approach my Wikipedia edits... I get a topic I am interested in, and review the material that other "amateurs" have prepared, and then just kind of see how I can improve the organization, presentation, and indexing of the material, and see what blanks I can fill in to lend towards greater completion.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Star Trek in the Silent Era

Via Cinerati, Steam Trek: The Moving Picture --

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Several Excellent Kottke Links

Several excellent links from blogger Jason Kottke (whose wife Meg happens to be one of the developers of Blogger):

  • Women from Western art morphing into each other.

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Watching X Documentary

I'm watching a documentary from the mid-80s on the punk band X, titled X: The Unheard Music. X-cellent band, of course, but difficult to do keyword searches upon.

Here's a clip from this doc with X performing Soul Kitchen with their sometime producer, Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek:

Singing Los Angeles:

Exene in a silent film:

And here she is a couple years ago:

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