Saturday, July 31, 2010

Good Reads/Random Cool Sites (7/31/2010)

I'd been wondering what would happen to the North Korean soccer team after their dismal showing in the World Cup.

No racism in the Tea Party movement, no sir.

The contrast between Shirley and Charles Sherrod and Andrew Breitbart.

A cultural map of the world.

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Friend me on Facebook

Covers that you might not have known are covers: "Dazed and Confused"

Lots of times, the most familiar version of a song isn't the original version. I'll be posting some of these "covers that you might not have known are covers" on Saturdays.

"Dazed and Confused"

This is one of several songs that Jimmy Page/Led Zeppelin extensively rewrote and then claimed complete songwriting credit for. Their version is definitive -- Page was genius, even if he was a song thief -- but it's obviously the same song, and Jake Holmes never received a penny from Led Zeppelin for it.

Familiar version: Led Zeppelin (1968)
Original version: Jake Holmes (1967)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Musical interlude: The Ohio Players, "Fire"

It's Friday -- get up and dance!

How Star Wars destroyed my faith in God

Star Wars destroyed my faith in God.

OK, it's actually a little more complicated than that. First of all, it wasn't Star Wars per se, it was actually the prequel trilogy. (Wouldn't you know it?) And it wasn't the prequel trilogy per se either, it was Star Wars fans talking about the prequel trilogy. And it wasn't my faith in God per se, it was my faith in apologetics. But losing my faith in apologetics was a big step towards losing my faith in God.

So, Star Wars fans talking about the prequel trilogy destroyed my faith in apologetics, which contributed to me losing my faith in God.

Are you with me so far?

The Adventures of Leonard McCoy, Space Doctor (#36)

"Leave me! Save yourselves!"

Follow the adventures of Leonard McCoy, Space Doctor, as he explores the far reaches of space (and my house... and my backyard... and my kids' toy boxes) with his friends Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock. Every week at ToTryANewSword.com.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Musical interlude: Moody Blues, "Ride My See-Saw"

The Adventures of Leonard McCoy, Space Doctor (#35)

"I believe it may have some sort of military purpose, Captain."

Follow the adventures of Leonard McCoy, Space Doctor, as he explores the far reaches of space (and my house... and my backyard... and my kids' toy boxes) with his friends Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock. Every week at ToTryANewSword.com.

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Covers that you might not have known are covers: "Mony Mony"

Lots of times, the most familiar version of a song isn't the original version. I'll be posting some of these "covers that you might not have known are covers" on Saturdays.

Haven't heard the Tommy James version of "Mony Mony" on the radio for a long, long time.

Familiar version: Billy Idol (1987)
Original version: Tommy James and the Shondells (1968)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Musical interlude: Tool, "Schism"

Kiss-kiss nipple-nipple kiss-kiss boff-boff, or, sex: ur doin it rong

This post discusses human sexuality in graphic terms (no pictures though). It may not be safe for work; it definitely isn't safe for children or prudes. It's a post for grownups. Don't read it if you aren't one. I'm not kidding.

Monday, July 19, 2010

'80s Music Monday: Talking Heads

Talking Heads was a New Wave band that formed in the late 1970s. They were a little different from most of the bands I listened to during the '80s in that they were pretty popular in the US. All their albums after their first one made it into the Top 30, and they had several singles that charted as well. They were actually one of the few '80s bands that made great music and were popular.


Here's five from Talking Heads. These are all from the 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Covers that you might not have known are covers: "Take Me to the River"

Lots of times, the most familiar version of a song isn't the original version. I'll be posting some of these "covers that you might not have known are covers" on Saturdays.

"Take Me to the River"
Familiar version: Talking Heads (1979)
Original version: Al Green (1974)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Musical interlude: Donovan, "Wear Your Love Like Heaven"

Happy Bastille Day!

Joyeux Quatorze Juillet!

The Adventures of Leonard McCoy, Space Doctor (#34)

"He's dead, Jim! He's been tickled to death!"

Follow the adventures of Leonard McCoy, Space Doctor, as he explores the far reaches of space (and my house... and my backyard... and my kids' toy boxes) with his friends Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock. Every week at ToTryANewSword.com.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Musical interlude: The Yardbirds, "Over Under Sideways Down"

One sentence movie review: "Thirst"

I love hate mail

I really like it when somebody makes a hateful comment on my blog. No, really. It's one of the best things that can happen in response to a blog post.

The best thing is when I touch someone emotionally in a positive way, when I write something happy, or sad, or elevating, and people respond in kind, when they tell me that my writing made them feel the same way, when they cheer for me, or comfort me, or share something personal with me.

The second-best thing that can happen is that I make someone laugh. I try that more often, and I think I succeed most of the time. Sometimes I just miss, I guess, and sometimes, through the vagaries of blogging, it seems like hardly anyone clicks through on a post even when I've written something that I think is pretty darn funny. But I think the funny stuff usually works, and I love making people laugh.

Another good thing is when when someone sees something in a new way because of something I wrote. It doesn't have to be something profound -- I don't try to write anything deep about politics and religion and such but once in awhile. But if someone just listens to a new band, or watches a movie or reads a book because of something I wrote, that makes me happy.

But hate mail is good too. It means that someone was moved by something I wrote. Of course, I've never gotten anything really horrid; no death threats or anything, and only one "You defend gay rights so I think you must be gay and that's bad and here's my elaborate gay fantasy about you." (I'm sorry, which one of us is supposed to be the gay one?)

Naturally, I'd rather move people in a positive way -- really I would -- but it's still something. And sometimes they're pretty funny. Mostly unintentionally, but still.

Anyway, I put some of my favorites, with spelling and punctuation corrected (quite extensively corrected in some cases) in the right sidebar. Anyone who wants to send me some hate, please write something at least that good. Maybe you'll make the sidebar someday.

Monday, July 12, 2010

'80s Music Monday: UB40

Reggae artist UB40 is still one of my all-time favorite bands. They're a British reggae band, but with a unique sound mixing synthesizers and brass with the usual guitar, bass, and drum. They also have a cool multi-culti vibe, with members with English, Scottish, Irish, Yemeni, and Jamaican heritages.

They're known in the US mainly for their cover songs, scoring number-1 hits with "Red, Red Wine" (which you can compare to the original version here) in 1983 and "(I Can't Help) Falling in Love With You" in 1993. But they wrote a lot of great original music too.

Their American popularity peaked in 1993, but they still sell a ton of records in the UK. Anyway, great musicianship, great sound, great songs -- they're just a great band. Here's five of my favorites from the '80s.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

kuri analyzes Great Art: The Creation of Adam

In which kuri provides his insights into Great Works of Art...

First up, Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam, from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

(Note that this Great Work of Art has nekkid people in it, so it, and my analysis, are possibly not safe for work/children/prudes.)


kuri's insights:

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Covers that you might not have known are covers: "Hurt"

Lots of times, the most familiar version of a song isn't the original version. I'll be posting some of these "covers that you might not have known are covers" on Saturdays.

The original Nine Inch Nails version of "Hurt" is pretty well known too, but the Johnny Cash cover was a little more popular. Anyway, they're both brilliant.

Familiar version: Johnny Cash (2002)
Original version: Nine Inch Nails (1994)

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Good Reads/Random Cool Sites (7/8/2010)

Octavia Nasr's firing and what The Liberal Media allows
(American conservatives are the most "politically correct" people on earth.)

A new entry in the sweepstakes for Worst Designed Website in Existence
(Gonna HTML like its 1999.... Nah, even in 1999, this was horrible. h/t: @ebertchicago)

Don'tEvenReply.com: Car Crusher.

Stay classy, Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. (h/t: @sportsguy33).
Three thoughts on LeBron James: 1) No problem with LBJ leaving Cleveland. He gave it seven years. But what a completely clueless and classless way to make his announcement. 2) I feel sorry for Cleveland fans. They didn't deserve that. 3) I don't feel one little bit sorry for billionaires like Dan Gilbert when they don't get what they want. Seriously, never feel sorry for a sports franchise owner. They don't deserve your sympathy.

Musical interlude: Quicksilver Messenger Service, "Gold and Silver"

Thursday haiku: last

"Everyone I know
goes away in the end." I
wonder who'll be last.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Musical interlude: The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, "Fire"

This song rather inexplicably went to #2 on the charts in 1968.
Also, Brown's fire helmet wasn't insulated, so he always had to take it off halfway through the song because his head would start to burn.
Also too, once he doffs the helmet and robes, this video features some of the best dancing in the history of dancing.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Good Reads/Random Cool Sites (7/6/2010)

(If you followed me on Twitter, you'd have seen these already. What are you waiting for?)

Twenty-Three Shockingly Sexist Vintage Ads (h/t: @MariaKlinke).

David Brooks's bogus claim that stimulus risks national insolvency.

This Modern World: the oil spill and conservative cognitive dissonance.

Wonder Woman's new costume (h/t: @janewiedlin)

Disappearing comments

Some of your comments are disappearing or not appearing at all. This is a Blogger issue. (Apparently it's a "known issue" with a fix just around the corner -- since March). I haven't deleted any comments. I think they'll even come back eventually. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Musical interlude: Lucinda Williams, "World without Tears"

Vanity of vanities

Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. -- Ecclesiastes 1:2
I don't regret much about the time I spent as a believer in the Mormon church. I don't feel deceived or betrayed like so many other former believers. I suppose that's largely because I was a convert. No one taught me to believe; I taught myself. Who but myself, then, can I blame for having believed?

And the church was good for me, for a long time. I was in a dismal place when I joined, one that could easily have led eventually to homelessness and/or suicide. The church rescued me from that. There are other ways I might have been rescued, but the church was the one that happened to do it. I feel grateful for that.

But there are a couple of things that do I regret.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Good Reads/Random Cool Sites (7/5/2010)

If you followed me on Twitter, you'd have seen these already.

Eric Snider's rejected "Eclipse" screenplay.

Plank Telescope captures image of cosmic afterglow.

I agree with Roger Ebert: Natasha Leggero has the best splash page on teh intenets.

Every country is best at something (h/t: anushayadav).

'80s Music Monday: My musical crushes

There were other musical women I liked -- Aimee Mann, Debbi Harry, Lene Lovich, Martha Davis of the Motels among them -- but these were my three main musical crushes on back in the day: Rachel Sweet, Annabella Lwin, and Jane Wiedlin.


Sunday, July 04, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

Happy Independence Day, Americans and resident aliens! Happy Sunday, everyone else!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Covers that you might not have known are covers: "Respect"

Lots of times, the most familiar version of a song isn't the original version. I'll be posting some of these "covers that you might not have known are covers" on Saturdays.

"Respect"
Familiar version: Aretha Franklin (1967)
Original version: Otis Redding (1965)

Friday, July 02, 2010

A picture of Jesus isn't Jesus

A picture of Jesus isn't Jesus; it's just a picture. Making fun of a picture of Jesus isn't the same thing as making fun of Jesus. Saying that an inept painting of Jesus inadvertently makes him look like a horndog isn't the same as saying Jesus is a horndog. Because THAT'S NOT REALLY JESUS! IT'S JUST A PAINTING! IT'S WHAT SOME ARTIST THINKS JESUS LOOKED LIKE! IT'S A FICTIONAL REPRESENTATION! WHEN I SAY THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG WITH A PICTURE OF JESUS, IT DOESN'T MEAN I'M SAYING THE SAME THING IS WRONG WITH JESUS! IT'S NOT REALLY HIM! IT'S JUST A PICTURE!

Ahem. Sorry about the shouting. And you're probably thinking, "Thank you, Captain Obvious." And it should be obvious, but apparently it's a difficult concept for some people. Such as this dim-witted twerp who left a stupid comment on my hilarious post this fine fellow who was kind enough leave a comment on my humble blog. Apparently, he thinks that if I were to say "That picture makes Jesus look like a pedophile" (which I didn't say; he's the one who brought it up), that would be the same as saying "Jesus is a pedophile."

But it's not. Because THAT'S NOT REALLY JESUS! IT'S JUST A PAINTING! IT'S WHAT SOME ARTIST THINKS JESUS LOOKED LIKE! IT'S A FICTIONAL REPRESENTATION! WHEN I SAY THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG WITH A PICTURE OF JESUS, IT DOESN'T MEAN I'M SAYING THE SAME THING IS WRONG WITH JESUS! IT'S NOT REALLY HIM! IT'S JUST A PICTURE!

Hope that's clear now.

Oh, and for the record, I have nothing against Jesus. I rather like his teachings (even if he did crib most of them from Hillel.) I only wish his followers would do a better job of, well, following him. And I know of no reason to believe Jesus actually was a horndog who liked underage girls. (Unlike a certain historical religious figure I could name but I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings so I won't. You probably know who I mean.)

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Good Reads/Random Cool Sites (7/1/2010)

If you followed me on Twitter, you'd have seen these already.

Tea Party Jesus.

The best planet pictures in the solar system.

The 24 types of libertarians.

Beck University.

Musical interlude: Dead Can Dance, "Summoning of the Muse"

Five words I love

From Hampton Stevens guesting at TNC's blog a while back:

Today, for a little afternoon diversion, we are looking for readers to post five favorite words. That is, five words—off the top of your head—that you just plain find fun to use. Nouns or verbs, adjective or adverb, "proper" English, pidgin, creole or street slang—it makes no nevermind. Just any five that give you a little smile to use see or hear.

5. Taciturn (temperamentally untalkative, disinclined to speak) Because I often am, and it sounds much better than most of the alternatives: quiet, shy, boring, etc. I'm taciturn, dammit!
4. In flagrante delicto (in the act, usually doing something bad, especially illicit sex)
3. Defenestrate (to throw someone or something out a window)
2. Insouciance: (carefree nonchalance) I like how it sounds like what it means
1. Callipygian (having beautifully proportioned buttocks) I like that there's a word for that (besides booty-licious, of course)

What are your five favorite words?

Feels like starting over

He drew a deep breath. "Well, I'm back," he said.