March 31, 2005

Promises, promises

Six things.


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Good to know

Here's a delightful little error message I get from time to time when I try to print article layouts here at work. It's either condescending or dense, I can't tell which.

This document may contain binary EPS files, which can cause the print job to fail. If the printer produces output, then the binary data did not interfere with printing.
Posted by Francis at 06:26 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Music report

Man, I have been all kinds of busy this week. Takes a toll on one's blogging, it does. But I have still been acquiring and listening to music, because that is what I do.

Finally got the new Andrew Bird, which is, as expected, terrific. The sound falls halfway between the wild variety of "The Swimming Hour" and the moody "Weather Systems", managing to be simultaneously catchy and experimental. (Which is how my friend James just described the Arcade Fire to me; I think that describes 90 percent of the music I love -- catchy but experimental.)

I also bought up three CDs by Chisel, Ted Leo's old band. None of them are weak, really, but "Set You Free" totally stands out. It's on a par with Ted Leo's best solo work -- except some of the songs have horns! Awesome.

The main reason I bought the new LCD Soundsystem was to have a collection of all the singles; I looked at what is ostensibly the main CD as a very long series of bonus tracks. And, honestly, the singles are, in fact, better than the new tracks, but come on -- how likely is it that someone who wrote "Losing My Edge" is ever going to top it? Still, "Daft Punk Is Playing at My House" comes close.

Rose requested that we purchase Weezer's Pinkerton; neither of us had ever heard it, but it is well-spoken-of in Weezer fan circles, so we gave it a shot. And the two of us pretty much agree: fine album! But they could write, you know, a different song once in a while. My favorite song on the CD, "Pink Triangle" (about a doomed crush, with the great lyric "I'm dumb, she's a lesbian") happens to have almost the exact same melody as "Say It Ain't So" from the blue album.

In the category of "music I downloaded off the Internet and yet still paid money for later" is Scritti Politti's "Early". I loooove Scritti Politti, but they are, like, three different bands. There's the smooth synthpop band from the '80s that everyone remembers, but they're also the weird crossover rap band that put out the excellent "Anomie and Bonhomie" (which isn't in print anymore, but you can buy it used for a song), and then there's the even weirder early pseudosoul group that put out Songs to Remember, which features a perky little number about Jacques Derrida. "Early" features two songs that would later appear on "Songs to Remember"; the eleven songs that predate those are even more disjointed and feel sort of half-formed -- but the future pop sensibilities seep through somehow.

In non-artifact-based music, Rose and I went to see Robyn Hitchcock last Friday; he played an all-acoustic, mostly request show, and was joined at a couple points by violinist Deni Bonet. The most memorable section of the performance was the encore, when Robyn played a series of cover songs that he hadn't rehearsed with Deni, asking her to play on them anyway. She was game, and it was fascinating to watch her grok the song structures as she went, eventually cutting loose into amazing solos. She and Robin had great interplay on "Gigolo Aunt" in particular, but it was all excellent. (A more thorough recap is here; god, I love it when other people keep track of set lists to help jog my poor memory.)

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March 30, 2005

Maybe if you spent less time drawing cartoons, you'd be more successful too

Six things.


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Force feeding

A highly amusing movie tie-in product, from M&M.

(Thanks to Debby for the tip.)

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March 29, 2005

When you notice the stripes

Six things.


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Yahoo, Tiberius

I haven't read Fametracker in a while, so thank god that Throwing Things alerted me to the funniest Fame Audit ever: William Shatner.

Posted by Francis at 01:55 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

It's 1:17 p.m. Do you know what your children are?

Wow, I thought I posted this months ago, but I'm an idiot and I saved it as a draft instead of actually posting it. This page had been linked to by a number of the usual suspects (Boing Boing, Incoming Signals) way back when I first wanted to link it, and has probably been linked to by a gazillion more by now, but still -- if by some chance you haven't seen The Cuddly Menace, you need to.

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March 28, 2005

Yes, foolin'

Six things.


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The rain in trains

Today was (and still is) a rainy day, and you know what that means for commuters: idiots putting their wet umbrellas on subway seats.

Well, today I happened to be prepared. Ha ha! As the woman moved her things with an interesting combination of an abashed expression and the traditional "I can't believe you're making me take up only one seat" look of entitlement, leaving a pool of water on the seat, I whipped out a wad of paper towels and triumphantly dried the seat. Take that! I don't know if you thought leaving a wet seat next to yourself would ensure that you had no neighbor for your commute, but you were wrong, sister.

Even better, I then got to be a seat-drying vigilante. The seat directly behind mine had also been sullied by an inconsiderate umbrella depositor, and a fellow commuter was looking grumpily down at the wet spot. I reached over with the wad of paper towels pulled from my utility belt and wiped that seat! Oh yes! Idiots beware -- for Wiper-Man awaits!

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Read the factless manual

It's like Wikipedia, except instead of a few people trying to fuck with it, everybody gets to fuck with it! It's the Uncyclopedia.

(Thanks to Debby for the tip.)

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March 25, 2005

The naming of things

Six things.


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Plog plog, fizz fizz

Check it out, it's the highest-tech Luddite in the world. (The comments and trackbacks are my favorite part.)

(Link swiped from Joecab.)

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A man's reach for ice cream should exceed his grasp

All right. I have submitted my dream ice cream flavor (vanilla ice cream, marshmallow swirl, fudge chunks, cranberry raisins) to the Ben & Jerry's suggestion box. Now...the waiting game begins.

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March 24, 2005

The great indoors

Six things.


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Exhuming McCarthy

Dennis Baxley, a Florida state legislator, feels that students who hold crazy beliefs should be able to sue their teachers for insufficient coddling. That is to say:

The law would give students who think their beliefs are not being respected legal standing to sue professors and universities.

Students who believe their professor is singling them out for “public ridicule” -- for instance, when professors use the Socratic method to force students to explain their theories in class -- would also be given the right to sue.

Well, okay! Thank goodness someone is finally standing up for people who are unable and/or unwilling to defend their beliefs. And thank goodness its someone who has such a complete mastery of the language of propaganda!

While promoting the bill Tuesday, Baxley said a university education should be more than “one biased view by the professor, who as a dictator controls the classroom,” as part of “a misuse of their platform to indoctrinate the next generation with their own views.”

... “Professors are accountable for what they say or do,” he said. “They’re accountable to the rest of us in society … All of a sudden the faculty think they can do what they want and shut us out. Why is it so unheard of to say the professor shouldn’t be a dictator and control that room as their totalitarian niche?”

Whoa! Somebody didn't enjoy their college experience.

Anyway, though, I mean, I guess I can see his point. I mean, if students weren't forced against their will to go to a college that they had no say in choosing, then students with beliefs they didn't wish to have challenged could choose to attend a school that would be likely to hold sympathetic views. But since students have no control whatsoever over their post-high-school academic life, professors should -- what? You say students do make their own decisions about what colleges they want to attend? Well, that throws my whole argument into a cocked hat.

(Via Happyscrappy.)

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March 23, 2005

To health with it

Six things.


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What is the sound of one shoulder shrugging?

These people seem close to my wavelength: meet the Church of Apatheism. They don't care whether there's a god or not!

Because I'm perverse, reading about them makes me want to play god's advocate (despite my atheism) and say, well, come on, if angels descended from the heavens and told you to stop watching reality TV, you'd at least consider it, wouldn't you? But in general, I agree with the mindset: like them, I feel that moral behavior doesn't require the presence of a supreme being. I mean, seriously, do people need the threat of eternal punishment to keep them from screwing over their fellow man? What are we, eight years old?

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How to lie with statistics

Innumeracy or conspiracy? You decide.

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March 22, 2005

While we're on the subject of gifts...

Six things.


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Star power

Sure, astrology is a crock. But that doesn't mean that it's not amusing. For instance, I learned from this morning's astrology report that today is a good day for me (and one-twelfth of the rest of the planet's population) to buy clothes.

Anyway, if being an Aries means that I'm awesome (which I'm pretty sure it does -- sometimes astrology can be uncannily accurate, despite its lack of, you know, basis in fact), then what does it mean that "Bridge Over Troubled Water" was the number one song on the day I was born (April 1, incidentally, for those of you who would like to send extravagant gifts)? Not much, except that I avoided the complexes developed by all the children born a few months later, complexes brought on by abandonment issues when those poor souls learned that their mamas had told them not to come into this world.

(Get the skinny on your popstrology sign here. Thanks to Kathryn for the tip.)

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March 21, 2005

Get fuzzy

Six things.


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Taking sophomoric humor to the sophomores

I could not possibly be more excited about this: "Skinny Domicile" (from Holy Tango of Literature, natch) is going to be reprinted in the next edition of this college lit anthology (in the "Poems inspired by Dickinson" section). Too awesome.

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How much is that free bird in the window? Oh, right, it's free.

Why did "Freebird" suddenly appear
At live shows as a cheer?
Folks like to be

(Via Happyscrappy.)

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March 20, 2005

Get your music sting cued up

For those of you interested in hearing more about the quirks of Poland Spring packaging, I bring you another report.

On the side of the plastic wrapper that encases all the little bottles of Poland Spring is this context-free legend, which presumably is meant to call attention to your ability to get Poland Spring stocked in your vending machines if that's your bag, but instead sounds like the tag line from the lamest horror movie ever, in which some mad scientist creates an undead monster -- a monster whose only dream is to own a store.


It vends! IT VEEEEEEENDS!!!!

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Paging Dr. Malvor

Considering destroying the earth? Better read this first.

(Thanks to Debby for the tip.)

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March 19, 2005

'Tis a far better lace

If you liked using math to tie your tie, you may like to try the same thing with your shoelaces.

(Thanks to Jon for the tip.)

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March 18, 2005

On this date in history

Six things. (Special graphically dense, too-wide-to-fit-on-your-screen edition.)


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Apple corps

Another chapter in the saga of "Oh, yes, downloading is killing music, riiiiight": Fiona Apple recorded an album two years ago and Sony refused to release it, because they didn't "hear a single." But now the entire album has been leaked, and so now its no big deal that Sony didn't release it, because everyone can just download it for free, right? Oh, no, wait -- in fact, fans are clamoring for Sony to release it, because they really, really like it and they want to buy it. (I've downloaded it, and I have to side with the fans -- it's good stuff. If Nellie McKay's album could sell, why not this?)

(Via Boing Boing.)

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It has "radio hit" written all over it

Ben Folds covers Dr. Dre's "Bitches Ain't Shit". Listen to streaming audio here, or if this person's webpage doesn't get over-bandwidthed, download the MP3 here.

(Via Happyscrappy.)

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March 17, 2005

A post about colors -- that has nothing to do with Crayola!

This is just one of the coolest online toys I've ever seen. You pick a color, and it finds photos shared on Flickr that approximate that color. I bet there are some actual uses such an applet could be put to, but honestly, it's really fun to just pick a color and see what pops up. (If you want to see larger versions of any of the photos, clicking on them will take you to the appropriate Flickr page.) Scroll down for variations on the theme which will give you different image results.

(Via Collision Detection.)

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Look who's Tolkien!

Six things.


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How would Jesus smell?

A South Dakota couple is selling candles that smell like Jesus. No word on whether a cologne is on the way.

Light up the candle called "His Essence" and its makers say you'll experience the fragrance of Christ.

Bob Tosterud and wife Karen say the formula is all spelled out in Psalm 45.

"It's a Messianic Psalm referring to when Christ returns and his garments will have the scent of myrrh, aloe and cassia," says Karen Tosterud.

Wondering what that must smell like, Karen Tosterud ordered those oils, a combination that produces sort of a flowery, cinnamon aroma. Then she called on a friend who just happened to be a candle-maker.

Well, he probably didn't just happen to be a candle-maker -- she probably called him because he was a candle-maker. But enough of my backseat copyediting!

"We wanted people to be able to experience Christ in new ways and to be able to read a bible and have that scent and that candle as a reminder that he is with us all the time."

"You can't see him and you can't touch him," says Bob Tosterud. "This is a situation where you may be able to sense him by smelling. And it provides a really new dimension to one's experience with Jesus."

I see they don't claim that you can't hear him (and, yes, many people claim to, but those people need medication) or, more importantly, taste him. Is a sequel in the works? Or are communion wafers and wine really an accurate representation of what Jesus tastes like?

(Via Boing Boing.)

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March 16, 2005

The famous flames

Six things.


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It's my blog, and I'll talk more about myself if I want to

I'm sorry, I know all I do nowadays is talk about my book. (Well, and draw cartoons.) Well, get ready for more, as I talk about last night's reading.

It went great! We had about 35-40 people in the audience, at least a quarter of which I did not know personally. The songs went over very well indeed, and as far as I know, Borders did not receive any complaints about "Up on Islam". (Apparently, after my Barnes and Noble reading/performance, some customers who weren't actually attending the reading but were within earshot were concerned that I was being disrespectful of Islam in that song. Now, as everyone here is probably well aware, I'll make fun of any religion [except Santeria, because those people will fuck you up], but the song's not so much about Islam per se as about reacting to the specter of terrorism. No, really, it's a comedy song, I swear!)

A bunch of people have asked me if I have any more readings coming up, and I do, just not in the New York area. I'll be one of the readers in the Mirth on the Mall series at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. on April 21...a date on which I believe almost everyone in the area that I was hoping to visit will be out of town. Maybe I can sucker Travis into going out drinking with me.

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March 15, 2005

He's "Euge" in Japan

For those of you who live far from Brooklyn and don't wish to pony up the cash to buy Stay Free!, you can now read my interview with Eugene Mirman from the last issue online. And don't miss Eugene's guide to his favorite hangouts.

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I once was blindfolded, but now I see

Six things.


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March 14, 2005

A quick reminder

Hey! Don't forget about my reading tomorrow night (tonight, if you're reading this on Tuesday).

If you're wondering how last week's reading was, I think my performance was pretty good (despite a few missed chords on the songs), and certainly the people in the audience seemed to be enjoying themselves. There could have been more people in the audience, but whaddaya gonna do. I've performed for larger groups who paid no attention to me at all, and let me tell you, I reeeeally prefer performing for a small group that's actually listening to me. But a massively huge audience that's actually listening to me would be even better! So come on out, if you can.

And if you've bought my book and like it enough to help proselytize on my behalf, remember: word of mouth sells books. (Word of megaphone is even better, and word of holy-crap-what-is-that-painted-on-the-side-of-that-building-is-that-a-giant-book-cover-that-can-be-seen-from-two-miles-away is better still.) So tell people about it, lend it out, write an Amazon review, go, go, fly, my minions, let the wild publicity rumpus begin!

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Please do not show my grandmother this cartoon

Six things.


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March 12, 2005

Oh, those heady days of five years ago

Six Things is only updated on weekdays, but if you'd like a cartoon fix today, here are three parodies of New Yorker cartoons I wrote (but did not illustrate; Mike Gorman did the art) for Modern Humorist. Two of them are reasonably easy to find on the Modern Humorist website, and one (my favorite of the three) is buried halfway down the page inside a different New Yorker parody.

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March 11, 2005

Punch the clock

Six things.


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Working to make the world a better place, one blog archive at a time

Heaneyland loves its readers, and that's why we take your requests seriously. You asked for a Six Things archive. You got it.

(There is also a link in the Archives section in the left-hand column. Thanks to Andrew at Panopticist for helping me figure out how to make Movable Type do what I wanted it to do.)

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Hot sink

I'm a pretty untutored cartoonist, so when I am actually called upon to draw something I've never drawn before -- like, say, a bathroom sink -- I like to look at some pictures so I can solidify the image in my mind. Thus it came to pass that I was doing a Google image search on the word "sink" this afternoon at work. Well, the fifth hit on the search results page, even with "Moderate SafeSearch" on, was not what you would call safe for work. (In case the Google search results change, here's a link to the really, really, really unsafe for work full-screen version of the unexpected image and the page on which it is featured, the Ass of the Week Desktop.)

Suffice it to say I will probably not be using that image as a model for any cartoons in the near future.

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March 10, 2005

And for my next number...

Six things.


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I lived in the desert with a cat with no name

Debby sent me a link to a delightful essay in praise of a cat whose name changes monthly: Abraham Lincoln (for now). I felt a special kinship to the author of the piece, not merely because I am a cat owner, but because I also once owned a cat whose name changed regularly.

It was way back in 1991, when I was just out of college and sharing an apartment in Santa Fe with my friend-on-whom-I-had-a-longstanding-desperate-but-unrequited-crush Betsey. A friend of a friend was moving out of town and couldn't take his cat with him, and we offered to adopt it. I no longer remember what name the cat arrived with; all I know is that neither of us liked it. But we couldn't agree on what to rename him. I favored the name "Fang" (since he had a tendency to suddenly start biting one's hand while one was in the middle of what seemed like a pleasant petting session), but Betsey didn't care for it.

We eventually hit upon a compromise plan where we each wrote names on many small slips of paper, shuffled them, dealt them out face down on the floor in a circle, and placed a piece of cat food on each one. We then placed the cat in the middle of the circle. Whichever name's piece of cat food got eaten first would henceforward be the cat's name.

A new plan soon had to be come up with, though, because the cat ate the piece of food on top of the piece of paper that said "Fang", and Betsey was having none of it. We then hit upon the idea of changing the cat's name once a week; we would start with Fang and move on from there. We hung a little sign from the dining room light fixture that said "The cat's name is..." The current cat's name dangled beneath that, attached by a binder clip. I don't remember most of the interim names we went through, but we did eventually hit upon a name which we both liked, and which the cat actually seemed to respond to, so we kept it.

That name: Icky Sticky Valentine.

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March 09, 2005

Tunnel visions

Six things.


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Editorial cartoon? More like lame-itorial car-suck!

Regular Heaneyland readers will recall that I am no fan of the New York Post's hack editorial cartoonist Sean Delonas. So, sure, I rolled my eyes at yesterday's fish-in-a-barrel bit of Martha Stewart mockery, but I really didn't expect him to be lame enough to use the exact same joke for two days running.

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March 08, 2005

March comes in like a craaaaaazy motherfucker

Six things.


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A-one, a-two, a-one two three four five

While I was working on my mix CD this weekend, I discovered that the Specials, in their not-especially-distinguished reunion lineup, recorded a version of "Take Five". Intrigued as to how they were going to manage to perform a ska version of a song in 5/4, I downloaded a copy. Turns out the way they did it was to change the time signature, stretching out a melody that used to take 5 beats into one that took 8 beats (by the use of long pauses). Really, now -- if you're going to do that, what's the point of even covering "Take Five"? (You can hear a short audio clip of it here; scroll down to track one.)

But they're not the only band to have smoothed the edges off a song in a quirky time signature. Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton of U2 completely fucked up the "Mission: Impossible" theme -- also in 5/4, in its original incarnation -- when they recorded it for the movie adaptation of the TV show. They also managed to awkwardly shoehorn the urgent original composition into an lugubrious 4/4 dance number. Seriously, people: isn't the fact that pretty much everyone who has ever heard the theme to "Mission: Impossible" is able to hum it a testament to the fact that it is plenty accessible as it is? (Hear a sample -- including the exact moment when the music changes from catchy to crappy -- here.)

And then there's Erasure, who took Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill" and de-7/8ed it, adding an extra beat -- a lot less blatant than adding three (especially to the untrained ear), but it still has a noticeably lame-ifying effect. (Song clip here.) Oh, it would all make me very sad if there weren't a new wave of prog-tinged alternative bands cropping up who like to drop the odd 15/16 chorus on people (as in the Dismemberment Plan's "Gyroscope") to cheer me up. Rose suggested making a mix CD of nothing but songs in weird time signatures. I like.

As for me, I much prefer taking songs that used to be in 4/4 and making them not be. Here's a link to a mash-up I made a while back of Madonna's "Frozen" over "Spice Rack", a multi-time-signatured instrumental by Wayne Horvitz's Zony Mash; it's called Ice Rack.

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March 07, 2005

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

Six things.


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A-one, a-two, a-one two three four

I finished another mix CD this weekend, and you, yes you, can help me with the next volume. The theme -- ascending numbers -- is one I've wanted to do for ages (ever since buying the CDs with "Fourteen" and "Fifteen" on them within, like, a month of each other), but never got around to for a while, and then, not long after I actually start compiling a list of potential songs for it, my computer crashed, and I never quite found myself with the energy to take up the gauntlet anew. Until now.

So, anyway, in the course of gathering songs for the tracklist you can see by following the link above, I naturally ended up with more songs than I could use for most numbers, some of which I'd be happy to see end up on another mix (The Clash, "Four Horsemen"; R.E.M., "Driver 8"; Barenaked Ladies, "Grade Nine"; The Fall, "15 Ways"; Dukes of Stratosphear, "25 O'Clock"; and so on). But even for the numbers I have, it never hurts to have more options, since I do try to find decent segues between songs from the stockpile available, and, more importantly, there are some numbers that I don't have many good songs for, especially for 17 and higher. So what I'm saying is, please bring on the suggestions in the comment thread.

(And most of my regular commenters will have noticed that I've turned on comment moderation to help out with a recent problem we've had with mega-spam-bombing, sometimes receiving over 100 comments in the space of a few minutes. So comments don't appear until they're approved, but I approve very promptly as long as I am at the computer and checking my e-mail regularly, which is, for all intents and purposes, all the time.

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Like, let's imagine that Dakota Fanning was really ill, and all her fans decided they needed to call her father to tell him to please make sure she's getting the best medical care because they weren't sure that he'd considered the idea

I got another phishing e-mail this morning. Well, of course I get one practically every morning, and every afternoon, and so on, but what I mean is that I got another phishing e-mail that is worth mentioning.

This one purported in its subject line to be from Paypal, but I believe most companies do not misspell their own name in the first lines of their e-mails:

It has come to our attention that your Papal account information needs to be updated as part of our continuing commitment to protect your account and to reduce the instance of fraud on our website.

I guess it could have been worse. It could have said "Your Papal account is about to expire." Which reminds me of an article I saw last week that had the headline "Catholics worldwide praying for pope". Now, of course, at some point those prayers are not going to work. Every pope so far has died, and I doubt Karol is going to be the exception. But let's assume that the prayers are merely, say, to keep the pope healthy and not to let him suffer unduly or whatever. If I remember my Catholicism correctly, Catholics believe the pope has a direct line to God (or, at least, that God pays attention to everything the pope has to say on matters of religion and morality and prevents him from ever saying anything incorrect on those subjects). So...I mean, man, what's the point in praying for the guy? I think God has really got to be aware of his health situation.

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March 06, 2005

The fox and the how do I get one?

National Geographic reports that domesticated foxes may be ready for prime time.

Each generation has been selectively bred for tameness—fearlessness and nonaggression toward humans. By now the foxes in the project behave like pet dogs, barking and wagging their tails at humans.

Also like pet dogs, the domesticated foxes can "read" human cues (pointing, for example) much better than their wild cousins or even tame chimpanzees, according to a new study published today in Current Biology.

And they're cuuuuuute! But my question is, why haven't they been doing this with red pandas???

(Via Boing Boing.)

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March 04, 2005

What's the buzz?

Six things.


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Schoolhouse rap

Indescribably awesome: rap songs designed as vocabulary builders for students planning to take the SAT, GRE, etc. Get down with your diabolical self at Flocabulary. (Features samples only, not full songs, unfortunately.)

(Thanks to Emily for the tip!)

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Consolidation station, what's your compensation?

Another swell link from Stay Free!: a Quicktime version of Robert Smigel's "Conspiracy Theory Rock", which aired exactly once on "Saturday Night Live" before the powers that be did the thing that they do.

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A 2,014-word short story (counting pictures)

Rose loves the Gates.


But no one told her they were taking them away.


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March 03, 2005

Chapter 27, in which I lose it entirely about pre-movie advertising

This is exciting news. A New York City Councilwoman has introduced legislation that would force theaters to advertise when movies actually start, for people (like me) who HATE HATE HATE WITH A BURNING HATE-FILLED PASSION OF HATE advertisement before movies.

Of course, this hypothetical law will be entirely meaningless for really popular movies, because you need to arrive early for such movies if you want to get a decent seat or not have to split up your group all over the theater. Also somewhat mitigating my excitement is the possibility that, though the law may raise consciousness about just how much time is wasted by advertising, the end result may very well be to create a preshow experience equivalent to "The 2wenty", which I HATE EVEN MORE THAN THE WAY I HATED THE PREVIOUS THING I RESORTED TO ALL CAPS FOR OH SO MUCH FUCKING HATE YOU HAD BETTER NOT STAND NEXT TO ME UNLESS YOU WANT HATE TO SPLASH ON YOU YEAH THAT'S RIGHT IF AURAS WEREN'T NEW AGE HOOEY MY AURA WOULD LOOK LIKE A FIERY RED HEDGEHOG OF HATEY HATE HATE WHEN I THINK ABOUT THE THRICE-DAMNED 2WENTY.

Some of you people may be unaware of "The 2wenty", which is a goddamn motherfucking 20-minute-long string of advertisements that takes place during the portion of the moviegoing experience during which, in the past, one would expect to spend hearing music over the PA, maybe seeing slides on the screen, and talking to the people one went to the movies with. "The 2wenty" neatly circumvents the problem of how, when you're talking to people, you are not necessarily facing the screen and absorbing advertising. It does this by blaring at such a volume that conversation is rendered impossible.

Mind you, a 2003 study claims that moviegoers don't mind pre-movie advertising -- hell, they love it!

Among younger movie fans aged 12 to 24, the percentage who do not mind seeing the ads rose to 70 percent, according to the study conducted by Arbitron Inc.

Huh. And as for "The 2wenty" in particular:

"Overwhelmingly, most of our patrons tell us they enjoy it (the 20-minute segment)," said Cliff Marks, president marketing and sales for Regal CineMedia.

Yeah. I would expect, overwhelmingly, most of your patrons don't tell you anything about it either way, because they don't expect that they can do anything about it. Not me, though! The first time I saw a movie that subjected me to "The 2wenty" (at the Union Square 14), I filled out a little form on which I registered my displeasure. They're still showing the damn thing, and I try never to go to that theatre anymore. What can we learn from this? Well, perhaps that people who really hate advertisements don't go to as many movies as they used to, and are thus not around to answer your stupid survey, because the moviegoing experience is unpleasant, and who wants to pay through the nose for something that's unpleasant? Giant hedgehogs do not fit in theater seats, and so theaters should perhaps make an effort not to turn their audiences into giant fiery red hedgehogs of hate. That's all I'm saying.

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I knew I should've taken that left turn at Albuquerque

Six things.


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A novel approach to pest control

An advertisement we saw on our way to Harlem Meer for our farewell to the Gates on Sunday:


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Where do you get your ideas?

Columbine was in town last weekend, and when I showed him a draft of yesternight's cartoon, he said, "'Six Things' really is an example of random neurons firing in your brain, isn't it?" Well, yes, sometimes, but there is often an actual inspiration.

For instance: I was heading to the F train platform as I was on my way to meet Columbine, his wife, and Rose for dinner, and I had a pen and paper with me so I could take notes for word search theme ideas (for another one of these, although this one will be shaped like a coffee cup instead of a toilet). As I came down the stairs, I noticed that Redemption Song Man was at the foot of the stairs, suiting up with his guitar and portable amp.

We could hear the faint sound of someone else in the station playing acoustic guitar, and R.S.M. didn't think much of his playing, shouting (multiple times) "Practice at home!" and muttering something about how if you were going to play your guitar in the subway, you should be entertaining the people. He then started playing "Roxanne" (thus revealing that his repertoire has expanded once again). And, honestly, it sounded pretty good. But it did make me realize, gee, Sting used to be a really controlling guy back before his "If you love somebody set them free" days: I told you once I won't tell you again, don't do this, don't do that, don't stand so close to me, I'll be watching you, jeez. So there you are.

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March 02, 2005

Don't blog so close to me

Six things.


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This shirt sucks

One thing I have learned in my new career as a copy editor is that, damn, magazines sure do receive a lot of promotional stuff, most of which never sees print. Here's a T-shirt that arrived here recently that we apparently decided not to use for some reason:


Classy, right? Surely an item that any woman would love to, naturally, you would want to send it to a men's magazine. The thing that really makes it such a special item, though, is the fact that it looks like it was meant to be worn by an eight-year-old girl. To give you a sense of its tininess, here it is, placed on top of another T-shirt (hand-dyed by Rose) we had lying around:


It's not even an extra small -- it's a medium "one size" which the company claims should fit all women from size 0 to size 8 (although my informants from the female world tell me that size numbers for women are essentially meaningless):


American Apparel explains this by saying that the fabric is stretchy. I suppose if you're the sort of person who would want to wear this shirt, you would want it to be skin-tight. I'm just surprised it doesn't come pre-doused with water.

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March 01, 2005

Why, yes, I did just finish reading "Geek Love"...why do you ask?

Six things.


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But how do you say "My hovercraft is full of eels" in Hungarian?

Traveling abroad? Here are some phrases that might come in handy (in very very very specific situations).

(Thanks to Jon for the tip.)

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The interpreters

I keep meaning to mention to any fellow music obsessives in the audience that there's an mp3 blog I've been addicted to recently: Copy, Right?. It features nothin' but cover songs, and anyone who's ever heard any of my mix CDs knows what a sucker I am for cover songs. The songs currently featured include one of my all-time favorite covers, Anthrax performing Joe Jackson's "Got the Time". (And other goodies -- the Kronos Quartet's version of "Marquee Moon" from Rubaiyat, an electroclash version of "I Love Rock and Roll". Seriously, check it out.)

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