Thursday, May 31, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
- A very good article by Andrew Ferguson on the passing of amateur Lincoln researcher James O. Hall. Excerpt: Uncorrupted by graduate degrees, with no thought of professional advancement, Mr. Hall exemplified a tradition in the study of American history, particularly in the Lincoln field, where the most interesting writing and research is often done by hobbyists. It's been this way from the beginning. Until the middle of the last century, all the great Lincoln biographers made their livings outside the university--journalists like Ida Tarbell and free-lance enthusiasts like Benjamin Thomas produced biographies that were beautifully written and filled with news. Even now, dozens of Lincoln or Civil War roundtables flourish, and many of them publish quirky newsletters in which members let drop bits of recondite research or boldly advance new theories. While other areas of academic research have shriveled into hyperspecialization, the amateur tradition has kept the Lincoln field blessedly free of the guild mentality that can make academic history seem the dreary province of pedants and bullies.
- I've been pimpin' out my Wikipedia User page. More to follow.
- Mashuptown: KISS + Tone-Loc + 20 Fingers.
- Via The Website at the End of the Universe, an insanely intricate map of the Star Trek Universe.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Jim Henson Pimping for Wilson's Meats
Saturday, May 26, 2007
What I've Been Watching Lately
Friday, May 25, 2007
Reading Great Jazz Book
I was surprised at how little I found on the Internet about this album, given how creative it was. It was a jazz musical, performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1962, about all sorts of things -- race, diplomacy, communism, American popular culture, the music business, the nature of God, a whole bunch of stuff. The Brubecks wrote it for Louis Armstrong, who performed it with Lambert, Hendricks, and Bavan (Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross on the soundtrack), and Carmen McRae. Here's an excerpt from the Von Eschen interview: I love the fact that it was written and rewritten over a period of five years, during the early dynamic years of the tours. It very powerfully captured both the foreign policy and domestic civil rights contradictions. For example, it opened with somebody saying something about going to Moscow, and Armstrong then calls out, "Forget Moscow, when do we play in New Orleans?" -- which is reminiscent of his standing up to Eisenhower, saying that he wouldn't play in the Soviet Union. While it very directly recalls his defiance of Eisenhower, it also very directly speaks to the idea of the Brubeck's wanting to honor Armstrong's role in civil rights. This was important because by this time, both among musicians and young fans of jazz, Armstrong was seen as an artist from an earlier generation -- an "Uncle Tom" who accommodated demeaning roles and strategies. The Brubeck's wanted to bring out his defiance, and did so in another part of the play when the narrator says that the "hero" is known for keeping his opinions to himself, after which Armstrong calls out, "Lady, if you could read my mind, your head would bust wide open."
But, there are efforts at foot by a woman named Dianne Mower to bring about a revival of the TRA musical. Here's her website, and in order to help get the word out, I am planning on creating TRA's very own Wikipedia entry. UPDATE: Wikipedia entry here.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Eminem + Black Sabbath; Eminem + Eurythmics
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Batgirl Becomes a Feminist
Now check her out just a few years later in this Department of Labor PSA! (Same narrator, btw.)
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Just Because We Gggget Around...
No Longer Qualifies for the Wikipedia Category of Living People (NLQWCLP)
Commitment to Apostrophe Responsibility. (Apostrobility?)
Of course the main responsibility of a corporation, according to the late great Milton Friedman, is to increase its profits. I'm sure that's what the inside of the brochure says; I haven't had a chance to read it yet.
Props to Angry Flower.
Good Research Sites; Web redesign; NYT on Cannes; NYT on Coulton et al.; Slave Leia
- Via Rebecca Blood, here's a whole bunch (119) of links to non-Google research resources on the Web.
- Help Me Redesign the Web -- Article from Technology Review. Excerpt: Like singing a song or writing a story, designing a printed page is a craft that is fundamentally unidirectional, or one-to-many. The flexibility of Web structures confounded and then humbled many traditional designers as they started trying to make Web pages. The whole thing had been developed to let the readers--the users, software developers confusingly called them, as if they were addicts--have control. How could that be good? For these reasons, and others, most magazines' websites until very recently were dull, repurposed versions of their print editions. Thus, a new crowd took on the design of websites. These enthusiasts assumed that the print crowd didn't get it, that what they saw as the "new paradigm" would last forever. The two-way flow of information, the Web's flexibility, immediacy, and cheapness, deeply appealed to them.
- Good NYT article on the Cannes Film Festival. Excerpt: Its international scope is part of what makes Cannes so unmistakably French. No matter how wide-ranging their selections, American festivals — New York, Chicago, San Francisco, even Sundance — remain parochial events, but Cannes is bigger than the city that bears its name. It is a French affair, a source of national pride and a reminder of this country’s cherished, and perhaps vestigial, status as a capital of world culture. The covers of the glossy magazines cluttering newsstands are divided between Nicolas Sarkozy, the newly elected president, and Cannes, and it is not always clear which — affairs of state or affairs of cinema — are more important.
- Another good NYT article, this one on the web-based efforts of musician Jonathan Coulton (Wiki, 43 Folders Pt. 1, 43 Folders Pt. 2, NPR) and others (OK Go,
Jane SiberryIssa, The Hold Steady). Excerpts: The universe of musicians making their way online includes many bands that function in a traditional way — signing up with a label — while using the Internet primarily as a means of promotion, the way OK Go has done. Two-thirds of OK Go’s album sales are still in the physical world: actual CDs sold through traditional CD stores. But the B-list increasingly includes a newer and more curious life-form: performers like Coulton, who construct their entire business model online. Without the Internet, their musical careers might not exist at all. Coulton has forgone a record-label contract; instead, he uses a growing array of online tools to sell music directly to fans. He contracts with a virtual fulfillment house called CD Baby, which warehouses his CDs, processes the credit-card payment for each sale and ships it out, while pocketing only $4 of the album’s price, a much smaller cut than a traditional label would take. CD Baby also places his music on the major digital-music stores like iTunes, Rhapsody and Napster. Most lucratively, Coulton sells MP3s from his own personal Web sites, where there’s no middleman at all... ...Will the Internet change the type of person who becomes a musician or writer? It’s possible to see these online trends as Darwinian pressures that will inevitably produce a new breed — call it an Artist 2.0 — and mark the end of the artist as a sensitive, bohemian soul who shuns the spotlight. In “The Catcher in the Rye,” J. D. Salinger wrote about how reading a good book makes you want to call up the author and chat with him, which neatly predicted the modern online urge; but Salinger, a committed recluse, wouldn’t last a minute in this confessional new world. Neither would, say, Margo Timmins of the Cowboy Junkies, a singer who was initially so intimidated by a crowd that she would sit facing the back of the stage. What happens to art when people like that are chased away?
- LBNL, here is a site of fangirls who like to dress up like the Jabba-enslaved Princess Leia.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Survivor: Fiji -- Liveblogging -- Epilogue
Survivor: Fiji -- Liveblogging -- Earl!
Survivor: Fiji -- Liveblogging -- Yau-Man Got Screwed!
I bet Dreamz comes up with all these rationales for why he welched on his end of the deal during the balance of the show and on the live aftershow -- He's one of these ones that makes a BFD out of honor, his word, etc. I'd rather see guys like Boston Rob do stuff like that, because he comes right out and says that he takes strategies straight from The Godfather.
Predictions for ultimate winner:
The ♥G♥: Dreamz.
Survivor: Fiji -- Liveblogging
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Danny Peary's Guide for the Film Fanatic; BttF Timelines; Bill O'Reilly Is a Ka-Ka Head; King of Thailand Is Also a Ka-Ka Head
- Over a year ago I commented on my affinity for the film writings of Danny Peary. Here is a very thorough website devoted to Mr. Peary. Excerpt: What’s this site all about? Sixteen years ago I bought a copy of Danny Peary’s Guide for the Film Fanatic (1986), and since then, I’ve steadily been trying to see each of the titles listed. I recently decided there was a need for a website where devotees of this book—and other hardcore film fanatics—could chat with each other, debate Peary’s selections, discuss how to locate the more hard-to-find films in the book, suggest “must see” movies released since the book’s publication, and more. I also wanted a forum for posting my own reviews for each of Peary’s listed titles, and I’m adding new ones every day. I started this site for me, but I hope you will enjoy it as well! Note: If you are at all interested in cinema, you need to check out Danny Peary.
- Speaking of film fanaticism, here's a chart that shows the timelines of the Back to the Future films.
- Here's a chart of how often Bill O'Reilly uses name-calling techniques, and comments from the WSJ. Mr. O'Reilly is compared with Father Charles Coughlin.
- Speaking of name-calling, NYT article: Google blocking videos that insult the King of Thailand. Excerpt: Google has agreed to block four video clips on its YouTube Web site that the government of Thailand said insulted its king. But in a letter to the minister of communications, Sitthichai Pookaiyaudom, Google said two other videos that had angered Thailand’s military government would stay on the site, because they did not break laws against offending the monarchy. “They appear to be political comments that are critical of both the government and the conduct of foreigners,” said the letter, signed by Kent Walker, Google’s general counsel. “Because they are political in nature, and not intended insults of His Majesty, we do not see a basis for blocking these videos.” The government, which blocked access to YouTube last month when clips mocking King Bhumibol Adulyadej first appeared, gave copies of the letter to reporters on Friday. The company could not immediately be reached for comment. You know what I have to say about that? Fuck the King of Thailand! The King of Thailand picks his earwax and eats it! Now that's not political at all -- it's just an insult. I don't even know anything about the poo-poo head King of Thailand; I just hate the fact that Google un-YouTubed those videos! What happened to "Don't Be Evil" --? Bangkoksuckers.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Welcome, House Surfer
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Finally Finished Hirohito Book
Safeguard Liberty; Bloggy Neighborhoods; Geometry; Writing
- I've been watching V: The Original Miniseries lately, and the other night we watched Children of Men. I know that V had some sappy early-80s haircuts and the special effects are primitive by today's standards, but I just get choked up over the old guy who survived the Nazi Holocaust showing the kids with the spray paint how to deface the Visitors' propaganda posters... "If you're going to do it, do it right. I'll show you." (Spray paints a "V" over one of the posters.) "You understand? For Victory! Go tell your friends." As for CoM, I really liked the look and feel of it, but IMHO the anti-globalization philosophy elucidated upon in the extras was contradictory to the anti-anti-immigration scenes depicted in the film. Both good reminders to be vigilant in our efforts to demand our civil liberties from the state. Speaking of which, check out this Agitator post. Excerpts: The Ocala, Florida Sheriff's Department shows off its new toy. You know, in case North Korea ever decides to invade Central Florida... ...I can't really think of any reason for a paramilitary police team to wear camouflage other than to mimic the military. Which, for the umpteenth time, isn't a healthy aspiration for the domestic peace officers charged with protecting our rights to have. All goes back to that "mindset" problem.
- America's Top 10 Bloggiest Neighborhoods, via S.B. Johnson.
- Here's a fun way to learn about geometry.
- Via Bookworm, Writers and writing: