Month: May 2010

Awesome: The Bismarck

The Bismarck - Great PlainsIndependent rockers The Bismarck have offered a free preview of their new album, Great Plains, in its entirety. I highly recommend you take them up on it. Great Plains (Pride of Dakota Records), at first listen, is an awesome—as in, “awe-inspiring”—album counting down its last week until release (May 29).

No, really, I haven’t been this pleasantly surprised by some random album that I heard of through the blogosphere since … um … the blogosphere itself, I guess.

Seriously, these guys have my attention, and barring some obscene scandal like Nazi child molesting orgies or something, that’s a good thing. For me. I mean, for them? Well, who the hell am I? Except for the person telling you to go listen to this album right freaking now?

Yes, really.

Rock on.

(I should note, since I just now found it, that there is a really cool visualizer behind the cover art at The Bismarck’s site. Hover, click for the drop-down menu, and select something to go along with the music. Oh, yeah … and turn the volume way the hell up.)

Sad: Wasted Opportunities

The headline, from Reuters:

    Top Republican sees bumpy Kagan court confirmation

And the lede:

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan will face tough questions at a Senate confirmation hearing because she has never been a judge and has no record of judicial opinions, a top Republican senator said on Sunday.

As if this is news.

With judicial appointments in general, the question is no longer whether or not the opposition will obstruct, but, rather, how they go about doing it. To the administration’s favor in the coming confirmation fight for Elena Kagan is her one great merit throughout—she is very good at appeasing conservatives. (more…)


Taylor Jones - Betty Red White and BlueUm … I have no idea what this is supposed to mean. Truth told, I think I’d rather not know. But, yes, Taylor Jones’ cartoon depicts venerable actress Betty White with a slice of cherry pie and a bottle of Viagra. Sleep well.

To the other, I did make a cursory attempt to figure it out, and came across only scary news, including what I think was a joke about Ms. White as a spokeswoman for a female version of Viagra. At least, I hope it was a joke. And that the blogger responsible gets some serious help. And that I can pretend that I didn’t just see last year’s SodaHead poll that put White up against Barbara Streisand and Nancy Pelosi as potential pink pill pushers.

Fear is my mother, my father, my God. I don’t have the courage. Or something like that.

The weenie is so good ....But can you really blame me? This journey has even led me to a quote of Betty White saying, “The weenie is so good ….”

Who’s going to rock me to sleep tonight?

What You Pay For, or Maybe Not: Journalism

Clock from Times Square VBIEDWhenever someone comes around to solicit a newspaper subscription, I always politely decline. There are at least a couple reasons for this. First, I remember the stacks of old newspaper the last time I had a subscription to The Seattle Times, which is now the only major daily left in town. And, because of that memory, I generally read news online or in other people’s magazines.

But there is another reason that I generally don’t lay on whoever knocks on my door; they don’t need that kind of friction in their day. But why would I pay for a newspaper subscription, given the state of the news these days?

It might as well be The New York Times, which is struggling to adapt to online business models. And in this case, the latter criticism would apply, as evidenced by Al Baker‘s article slated for today’s front page:

Among the enduring images left by car bombings, overseas or in the United States, is investigators on their hands and knees, crawling through the wreckage searching for clues: a blasting cap or a timing device, a piece of the explosive’s casing or a trace of the chemicals used.

Car bombs, by design, do their best to devour any evidence of their existence, or send it flying.

On Saturday in Times Square, a homemade bomb built inside a Nissan Pathfinder did not explode — and as a result, a trove of evidence was left behind for investigators to pore over, not only for physical evidence or forensic clues, but also as a reflection of an assailant’s methods, mind-set and possible motives.

This pabulum setup goes on to discuss the implications the failure last weekend of a car bomb to detonate. “There is a lot there to read into the case that really helps them,” said James Cavanaugh, an explosives expert, about the remains of any given bomb. And Kevin Barry, a former NYPD bomb squad detective, explained, “He was trying to cover his tracks, but he left more clues than a guy walking into a bank to rob it without a mask. This guy left everything here but his wallet.”


A Foreboding Welcome

    There are not many persons who know what wonders are opened to them in the stories and visions of their youth; for when as children we listen and dream, we think but half-formed thoughts, and when as men we try to remember, we are dulled and prosaic with the poison of life. But some of us awake in the night with strange phantasms of enchanted hills and gardens, of fountains that sing in the sun, of golden cliffs overhanging murmuring seas, of plains that stretch down to sleeping cities of bronze and stone, and of shadowy companies of heroes that ride caparisoned white horses along the edges of thick forests; and then we know that we have looked back through the ivory gates into that world of wonder which was ours before we were wise and unhappy.

    —H. P. Lovecraft

This is …

    … your world.

    … your America.

    … your today, tomorrow, and yesterday.

This is a bad joke, as many have long suspected of life itself. This is a testament to the Sisyphan Absurd. This is the essence of the painful and confusing dimensions in which we live. This is what makes us human, and this is why it is tragic.

Come in, come in. All are welcome. Shield your eyes if you must. Clap your hands over your ears. Run in terror, if you think that will help. But don’t say you weren’t warned.


Going Out In Style

Corpse on a MotorcycleIt is often said that funerals are for the living, so I’m not sure what to make of a story out of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Morticians at the Marin Funeral Home paid homage to David Morales Colón, a twenty-two year old shooting victim, by arranging his body for display at the wake on his motorcycle.

No, really. If you don’t believe me, the story is up at Jalopnik, which pulled its coverage from the Guaynabo tabloid, Primera Hora.

Corpse on a Motorcycle, AgainBut no, I’m not sure what to think. I mean, part of me despises grandiose funerary rites as misguided therapeutic rituals for the survivors. But then, there’s also a part of me that wants to follow Timothy Leary and Gene Roddenberry, to be shot into space and allowed to decay from orbit. (See Ray Bradbury’s “Kaleidoscope”.) Given the extravagance, though, I think it would be much more fun for the living to shoot my remains out of a cannon. You know, just for the hell of it. Leave ’em laughing, that sort of thing.

So, yes, that part of me looks at the late Señor Colón on his motorcycle and thinks, “Yeah, that’s pretty cool. Ride on, zombie.”

Middle America in the 21st Century

Not much to say about this one. The Associated Press reports:

Police say a 24-year-old man is missing a chunk of his right ear that was bitten off by a woman who didn’t like being called “fat.” Police spokeswoman Katie Flood said officers were called to a Lincoln hospital around 3:25 a.m. Wednesday to talk to the injured man ….

…. Flood said officers later learned that the injured man and two others had been arguing with other people at the birthday party. Flood says the man told 21-year-old Anna Godfrey that she was fat.

Officers said Godfrey then tackled the man and took a bite.

Flood said the ear chunk was not found.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Mike Tyson is from New York, but that was thirteen years ago. Ms. Godfrey, apparently, is somewhat behind the times. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Middle America.