Monday, December 24, 2007

Won't you blog about this song?
At the risk of parodying a parody, check out this spot-on video by the Richter Scales an a capella group who obviously know the Silicon Valley score.

Friday, December 21, 2007

CD Pick of the Week: Kitka
Kitka, 9-member female choral ensemble from the San Francisco Bay Area turn to Slavic folksangs in the Rusalka Cycle; based on “restless spirts, thought to be women who had died unjust or untimely deaths.” As you’d expect it’s dark, disturbing, and haunting. Amazingly beautiful vocal harmonies combine with unpredictable rhythms and dissonant counterpoints to produce gorgeous sounds; lightly backed by cellos & percussion. It is powerful, mystical and truly scary at times with an other-worldly evocation of ghosts. Wonderful and chill-inducing. One of my favorite CDs of the year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The School of Brutalism
Of all the ridiculous (and yet somehow fitting) names for architectural styles, the School of Brutalism has to take the prize. And I bet I don't even need to describe it, do I? Check out this article from The American Spectator about a crappy "Brutal" building and why it won't (or can't) go away.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Knit one, purl death
Death by knitting? Check out Sock Wars "the bloodiest extreme knitting tournament."

According to the rules of Sock Wars, participants must knit a pair of socks for another player and then mail them to the "target." Players are "killed" when they receive their socks in the mail. There's more to it, but I'm just amused at the concept.

Monday, December 10, 2007

You know, the can walk....
Now in the people are WAY to freaky about their pets department

Check out Just Pet Strollers. The "Burley Tail Wagon Stroller w/optional ski attachment" is only $400.
That baby ain't black enough...
From the Sunday London Times. "James Watson, the DNA pioneer who claimed Africans are less intelligent than whites, has been found to have 16 times more genes of black origin than the average white European."

After he published his own genome, researchers found a level, "you would expect in someone who had a great-grandparent who was African." So, Jimmy, what say you now?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

No wonder people don't read any more...

Have you seen the New York Times list of the 100 notable books of 2007? No? Here's my advice....if you like interesting books, an old-fashioned "thumping good read", and an enjoyable way to spend a rainy evening....don't read this list!

I swear the descriptions of the plots in these books reads like some parody of modern literature. Who would want to read this stuff? Here are a few samples:

- "A tale of two sisters, one awake all night, one asleep for months." Gosh, bet that's a page-turner.
- "A first novel about an Ethiopian exile in Washington, D.C., evokes loss, hope, memory and the solace of friendship." I'm a sucker for any book that evokes loss. Especially when it also evokes the solace of friendship!
- "A young woman searches for the truth about her parentage amid the snow and ice of Lapland in this bleakly comic yet sad tale of a child’s futile struggle to be loved." Oh God, not another "growing up lonely in Lapland" book. Haven't we had enough?
- "A Russian World War II veteran posthumously acquaints his stepdaughter with his grim past of rape and violence." Prozac not included.
- "The small-town regulars at Lucy’s Tavern carry their loneliness in “rough and beautiful” ways." Silly me, I carry my loneliness in a lovely quilted bag.
- "In this short yet spacious Norwegian novel, an Oslo professional hopes to cure his loneliness with a plunge into solitude." Hmmm....someone should introduce him to that lonely Lapp kid.

People, remember books that were fun to read? Full of interesting, lively characters doing fascinating things? Not "searching for the truth behind the brutal injustice of growing up left-handed in Zambia" fascinating but "hunting the bad guys, falling in love, searching for treasure, laughing with friends, living a real, normal life" fascinating.

I have absolutely NO desire to read any of these books. I long for the day when writers realize that "important" doesn't have to equal "dreary". It IS possible to write literate, poetic books with plots that make you want to stay up late -- rather than make you want to throw the book across the room.

Monday, December 03, 2007

I knew it!
For years I've said modern art looks like crap. Like paint thrown randomly on a canvas with no purpose other than to give art critics a chance to pretend they're esoteric geniuses by conning sheep into believing they too know art. And finally, I have proof.

A UK art critic, as a joke, wrote typically over-the-top reviews of a "modern artist" who is, in reality, the critic's 2-year old son. With lines such as "A bold use of colour. Inspired by the 'plein air' habit of painting by Monet, drawing on the natural world that surrounds us all," and "It seems that one stroke is being repeated - the same stroke or one very close to it, hence the possibility of the infinite opening up of the structure of time," writer Estelle Lovatt managed to fool people into thinking he was a real artist. Someone event bought one of his works (albeit for only 20 pounds -- but still...).

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Screw the experts...
Finally, some good news from my favorite African nation, Malawi.

According to the New York Times, Malawi has turned around its hunger status by ignoring the experts. By focusing on the importance of fertilizer they are now selling more corn to the World Food Program of the UN than any other country in southern Africa and exporting hundreds of thousands of tons of corn to Zimbabwe.

Both the US and Britian were skeptical about the need for fertilizer subsidies, a fact with which Malawi's new president, Bingu wa Mutharika disagreed. He saw the importance of regenerating his nation's soil -- crucial if they were ever going to make a true stand against hunger. And thanks to his forward-thinking, and his stand against the so-called experts, Malawi is succeeding.

Go Malawi!

Monday, November 26, 2007

That is one pissed fish!
Thanks to the wonderful Design Observerfor pointing out the 5 most unintentionally hilarious comic strips. You'll laugh, trust me.

Also, thanks to the same source, check out Rosa Loves, an online t-shirt company with a cause. Remember that some holiday gifts are more "giving" than others....
Surviving another Thanksgiving
Yes, it's true. Husband and I survived yet another Thanksgiving with my family. Regular readers might recall that soon after Thanksgiving last year I spent a week in the hospital with the first onset of the "mystery illness" which has plagued me periodically ever since. Stomach pains. Vomiting. Nausea. Having lived through years of hilarious tales of dinner with the folks, my friends (not surprisingly) asked if the symptoms were related to Thanksgiving at my mom's. And, strangely enough, the answer was "no."

This year wasn't too bad. True, the turkey did have a metallic aftertaste but other than that, nothing too awful. A shame, really, as it left me with no good stories to share with the next bookgroup. Poor souls, many of them live for my yearly post-Thanksgiving tales of microwaved instant mashed potatoes, sweet potatos with mini-marshmallows, canned cranberry sauce and the famous and patented "floating-bits-of-wonder gravy."

Perhaps Christmas will bring the requisite "my family tried to poison me" story for the holiday season.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

CD Pick of the week: Trio Mediaeval
Glorious vocal harmonies mark "Folk Songs," a wonderful collection of hymns, lullabies, and ballads. It’s the 10th anniversary for this Norwegian - Swedish female trio. Joined by percussion but it’s the solo voices that carry it all. You can’t go wrong with any track, they’re all beautiful, mostly down/midtempo. In keeping w/their name, all tracks have a medieval/Renaissance air & are all too short.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Clockwise or counter?
An interesting "are you right brained or left brained" test.

Check out this dancer. Which way is she spinning? I saw her first going counter-clockwise and then she switched and went clockwise. Proving, once again, I'm just messed up.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

CD Pick of the Week" Youssou N'Dour
A new release from this man is always cause for joy in the world music community. Rokku mi Rokka (Give and Take) is yet another delicious gift. Joyous, Senegalese mbalaz-inflused rhythms w/hints of the desert and touches of blues, reggae, even Cuba. Joined by his longtime band Super Etoile, it’s a total lovefest featuring his warm, engaging voice. Every track is a delight.

This week also check out Bamisphere by Gino Sitson:
Wonderfully versatile vocals from a Cameroon-born jazz singer. African rhythms pervade with touches of everything from bop to straight-up Afro-jazz. Fabulous musicians include bassist Ron Carter and drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts. Vocal gymnastics reminiscent of Bobby McFerrin but with a stronger African flavor. The tracks that are just layers of his voice(s) are gorgeous.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I love eggs!
Actually I'm sort of ambivalent about the danged things. But this video is too good to resist. Crank up the sound and watch until the end. Oh those wacky Japanese cartoons!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sure it's ugly, but leaks too!
OK, I admit it. I hate most contemporary architecture. I'm a classicist. I like beauty, not "statements." I'll take "asthetically pleasing" over "significant" any time. And I love beautiful details and materials -- why have concrete boxes when you can have Corinthian capitals?

So I was more than amused to find this story about how MIT is suing architect Frank Gehry "charging that flaws in his design of the $300 million Stata Center in Cambridge, one of the most celebrated works of architecture unveiled in years, caused leaks to spring, masonry to crack, mold to grow, and drainage to back up."

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Guess the word - feed the hungry
For a fun, free way to help feed the hungry visit Sponsored by various corporations who actually provide the rice and through the auspices of the UN Hunger Project, is an online word game where each correct answer puts rice in the bowl of one hungry person. The game has already raised 50,000 pounds of rice.

And lest ye think the game is a no-brainer, let me tell you that some of the words are pretty tough. Ophidian? Contemn? Annulate?

Come on folks, play the game. Feed the world.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Last Supper: The Musical
The art historian in me loves this.

An Italian musican believes he has discovered musical notes hidden in Leonardo's "Last Supper." How cool is that?
Making room
Oh the joys of a good clear out.
Husband and I are in the process of taking apart our seldom-used spare bedroom and turning it into a music room. (Not "music room" as in "that's where we'll put the harpsichord" but "music room" as in "we have 5000 CDs, where do we put them all?) To that end I've forced myself to become a ruthless "clearer outer" with piles of old clothing, bedding, books, housewares, and various other items we'll never use.

Thanks to the fine folks at the Salvation Army a HUGE load of items was picked up this morning, leaving me with a tremendous feeling of relief and lightness. It really is a magical sensation. Last night I went to bed overburdened with stuff and this morning I'm probably a hundred pounds lighter and much happier.

Of course along the way I had a few moments of "but how can I get rid of this overlarge sweater that I haven't worn in 5 years because nobody looks good in mustard?" I was resolute, however. Out went that beautiful picture book of English churches that I haven't opened in 10 years. Out with the comfy sweatshirts that I really don't have room for (OK, I kept one or two). Into the pile with old purses, jeans that no longer fit, kitchen gadgets that I've used once and vases that I don't recall buying. Ah.....the jettisoning of the unwanted fills me with such peace.

And a strange urge to go shopping...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

All hail the capybara!
Just because.
Monterey notebook
Fo's day-by-day review of the Monterey Jazz Festival is now online. It's so good that I don't mind the 4 days we were apart.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The joys of delayed gratification
These days it's all about "I want it now."

When a webpage takes longer than 3 seconds to load, we give up. When our digital cable takes a few seconds to change channels, we all but swear at the technology. And if the product we order isn't available to ship for longer than 24-hours, we demand an explanation. But sometimes waiting for things can be a delight.

Recently Husband was cleaning up the office and found a mysterious exposed roll of film. We had no idea what was on it. Really, it could have been anything. Christmas from 4 years ago? Our trip to Yosemite? The beach? A Giants game? A weekend in Tahoe? Who knows. The anticipation was delightfully tingly out of all proportion to the tiny plastic canister. An to make it better, it was real film Real, tangible, must-be-developed-which-prolongs-the-mystery film.

OK, so it was just some film but I found myself truly intrigued. What if it was (gasp) film from when I was married to my ex? What if it was footage of my much beloved, gone-too-soon best friend who died of AIDS in the 90s? How long would my hair be? Would Husband be included or would it be from the vast wasteland that was life pre-him? Come on, Walgreens, do your stuff.

And the winner is.... our dear friends Bridget & Dustin's wedding in Minnesota (at which I officiated) and snaps of our trip to Vancouver, B.C. How wonderful the chance to unexpectedly relive those wonderful memories. To recall how absolutely beautiful Bridget looked. To see that gorgeous mansion where they were married. To recall the tremendous honor of being asked to perform the ceremony. And Vancouver! The totem poles at Stanley Park. The architecture down at the waterfront.

There in the middle of an average week we were given the opportunity to have a delicious memory fest of some delightful times. I don't know how we managed to misplace such an important roll of film. But I have to highly recommend it. In fact, in the future I might just do it on purpose. Come back from vacation or a gathering of friends and put the roll of film in a drawer to be forgotten and found again a year or two later. Because there's nothing quite like the unexpected gift of delayed gratification.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The amazing internal cat-clock
Cipher (The World's Most Amazing Cat, Screw You If You Don't Agree TM) has an amazing internal clock. 6 am is the wake-up call. 5:30 pm is dinner. 9:30 is play time. You can set your watch by her. In fact, my poor husband hasn't had to use an alarm clock since Cipher came to rule the house.

The whole setting the clocks back thing, however, has really upset her schedule. This morning at 5 am she was raring to go. Last when the clock hit 4 she began to do her "it's dinner time soon, I just know it" pace. And her evening crazies began at about 8:30 and didn't really let up until nearly 10. Cat knows best and the time change is just some stupid human idea designed to keep a cat away from her dinner.

Husband and I have a deal. The cat is mine from 11 pm to 6 am. After 6, she's his. So the extra early wake up is my problem. She'll adjust in a few days (the writer says hopefully), but until then it's going to be hard to keep looking at those beautiful, pleading green eyes at 4:30 and tell her that she needs to wait for dinner.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Christmas is next month?!?!?
Having worked in bookstores throughout most of my college career, I developed a hatred of retail Christmases. Due to that hatred, I always try to have all my shopping done before Thanksgiving. Now the advent of the internet has eased some of that pre-holiday angst, but I still want to be done by turkey day.

The problem is, however, my large family. One mom, two sisters, two brothers, one sister-in-law, one nephew, one girlfriend-in-law, one girlfriend, one boyfriend. Forrest's family is easy. His mom and her husband. But my family requires a lot of inspiration and imagination. This is complicated by the fact that in most cases their taste is so incredibly far from my taste that you can't even drive to it from here. I seem to be out of inspiration this year. And I really, really hate to give dull gifts.
Oh poor little Mackenzie!
And now the winner of the most spoiled brat on the planet award. Check out this video clip where some rich bimbo freaks out because the car she gets for her birthday is the wrong color! Oh the poor, poor thing!

Monday, October 29, 2007

CD Pick of the week: Jim Robinson
Economy Hall Breakdown.Classic New Orleans jazz recorded live at Preservation Hall on Aug. 22, 1965. The late Robinson was a fabulous trombonist with a rich, warm sound. He’s joined by equally talented artists on cornet, clarinet, piano, and drums. All instrumentals except for one track featuring Robinson on vocals. It's brassy, sassy, and scintillating with a ragtime, speakeasy kind of feel. Great stuff.
Poor Philly!
Philadelphia just can't get no respect. Years ago a survey voted them the city with the most overweight citizens. Now Travel & Leisure magazine has decided they also have the most unnattractive citizens. I love the headline in the Philadelphia newspaperHey! We're not just fat -- we're ugly too.

Being married to a native of Philadelphia, I must object. Although I have to admit, the most overweight cops I've ever seen were getting pastries in a Philadelphia cafe.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

For the pretentious, but poor

Talk about ridiculous! Check out Bag, Borrow, or Steal a website where you can rent "the latest authentic designer handbags, purses, jewelry, and accessories."

OK, so obviously I'm not their target audience because I have no idea what the difference between a handbag and a purse is. But what the hell??? Why would you want to rent a Gucci purse? Because you want people to think you're rich enough to afford something both ugly and expensive? How shallow can you be that this is something that matters to you?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The heartbreak museum

I love Europe.

Check out this exhibition in Berlin.

"The Museum of Broken Relationships asks people in the cities it visits to donate mementos of everything from short flings to painful divorces."

In the report on the BBC website, it asks readers what they would donate to such a museum. Tough call. Having had my heart seriously broken in the past I know the power that objects associated with the ex can hold. And how cathartic it can be to take out your anger and hurt on inanimate objects. I don't think I have much left from that relationship and now that I'm past the hurt and have luckily managed to maintain a precious friendship with my ex, I'd have to say that I have nothing to donate. But right after it happened, I'm sure I could have found some suitable object.
Oh the humanity!

Ok, I'm sure I'm the last person in the world to see the latest You Tube hit but just in case you haven't seen this example of "talent" you really should check it out. Turn up the sound and sit in stunned silence as you watch this crime against humanity.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A good place to recommend to your annoying brother-in-law

Check out these reviews of the Eden Plaza Hotel in London. A sample of the headlines:

- Horiffic
- Dire
- Most disgusting hotel ever
and my favotite
- Bring disinfectant

Scrolling through the amazingly disgusted reviews is actually amusing. Some even include photos that lead you to believe every venomous word is justified. The place looks like a total pit.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Why can't birth control be retroactive?
In another brilliant move by our clueless leader, Bush just appointed Susan Orr to oversee federal family planning programs at the Department of Health and Human Services. This "highly qualified" (translation: brain-dead zealot) has been quoted as equating contraceptives with "the culture of death." She's written a paper entitled "Real Women Stay Married" and thinks that birth-control shouldn't be covered by health insureance because "fertility is not a disease."

Gosh, should I get barefoot and pregnant now or wait until Christmas is over?

Friday, October 19, 2007

CD Pick of the Week: Tango No. 9
This San Francisco-based band plays stylish, sophisticated tangos with flair and polish. A mix of tango standards and new compositions. At times they have a Cirque du Soliel-style creative theatricality and edge, at others there’re achingly romantic. All instrumentals, except for #7. Every track a gem.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

CD Pick of the Week: Taraf de Haidouks
With their new release, Maskarada, Taraf goes classical with a crazy gypsy take on Bartok, Khachaturian, and more (plus some originals). This is fabulous stuff, wacky good (mostly) instrumentals with an overall sound like some freaky traveling carnival that makes you want to lock up your kids. The playing is superb. Tight arrangements too. It's the soundtrack to Satan asking you to dance...

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Move over Nobel Prize
There's an even more prestigious award in town. America's Best Restroom! No, I'm not kidding. I wish I were. Yes, there are photos. But if you want to visit this year's number one (to do your number one) you'll have to go to Fairfield, Ohio.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

CD PIck of the Week: Beto Villa
Beto Villa: Father of Orquesta Tejana is a wickedly cool blend of big band swing and Mexican Tejana music recorded in the late 1940s and early ‘50s. All instrumentals, featuring Villa on a swinging alto sax. If you like retro charm, you will love this. Trust me.

Monday, August 27, 2007

CD Pick of the Week: Love Letters from Ella by Ella Fitzgerald
Oh my...
This selection of previously unreleased love songs from the ‘70s (one track from the early ‘80s) shows why she’s the undisputed queen of jazz vocalists. Every note is pitch-perfect and whisky-smooth, her style is impeccable, and it’s all worth at least three stars. Miss Ella, we love you right back.

Friday, August 10, 2007

CD Pick of the Week: The Rough Guide to Flamenco
Yet another wonderful Rough Guide compilation. This is a wonderful exploration of the contemporary state of Spanish flemenco music featuring artists at the top of their game. You can’t go wrong with any track. This delivers flamenco in all its emotional flavors – from absolute exultation to pure misery. Damned good stuff.
For women only
Well the fine folks at the Southwestern Baptist Theolgical Seminary in Tennessee knows what's important for their female students. Knowing how to cook, sew, and raise Christian babies.

They now offer a bachelor of arts program in humanities that includes a 23-hour concentration in homemaking -- for female students only.

According to an Associated Press article, "Coursework will include seven hours of nutrition and meal preparation, seven hours of textile design and "clothing construction," three hours of general homemaking, three hours on "the value of a child," and three hours on the "biblical model for the home and family."

What century are we in again? Sewing??? Who sews anymore? Why not just include a course in butter churning?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

CD Pick of the Week: Dobet Gnahore
Artist: Dobet Gnahore (DOH-bay gna-OR-ay). CD: Na Afriki From the Ivory Coast, delicious pan-African vocals ranging from sweet ballads to upbeat African grooves. Backed by a wonderful band and back-up singers, this release is a delight throughout. Fresh, at times funky, always fabulous. She is the real deal and, most impressive, she sings in about 8 different African languages. Read the lyrics, her songs have a lot to say.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Book Review: Suite Francaise
Suite Francaise, by Irene Nemirovsky details life in France as the Germans march in during WWII and what the occupation was like. There's one problem, it's the first draft of the first half of an unfinished novel.
It was never finished because the author (a Russian-born French writer) was Jewish and was transported to Auchwitz where she was killed. Given that tragic story, I feel guilty and petty for criticising this book but I didn't like it. My reason is just what I said -- it's a first draft of the first half of an unfinished novel.
The first part focuses on a group of Parisiens leaving the city before the Germans arrive. In short, it's a group of unpleasant people doing unpleasant things during unpleasant circumstances. Critics have hailed it as a biting satire, but I just found it unenjoyable. I liked the second half better -- set in farming country where the residents learn to deal with having German troops living in their homes. The characters were more likeable, the story focused more on people an less on what everyone chooses to pack while fleeing a war (what is that obsession with linens?), and it was a more polished work.
My short review is that this work has promise, and had the author been allowed to finish it I believe it could have been truly important. But were it not for her tragic end, would thid have deserved to be published?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Firecracker Jazz Band
Their CD "Explodes," truly lives up to the name. It's a total explosion of good time fun. Classic Dixieland that harkens back to the roaring 20s. Great material played with energy, style, and an obvious love for the material. Plus lots of tongue-in-cheekiness. Solid playing throughout with wonderful retro vocals and arrangements. It's the kind of music that instantly improves your mood. Trust me, it's impossible not to smile with this on the stereo.
I'm free!
Well, it's official. I am now unemployed. Having had it up to the preverbial "here" with life in the iPit, I quit my job and am now two weeks into life. Ahh.....

I can tell it's going to take me a long time to decompress. I still have that nagging "I'm sure I'm forgetting a major deadline" feeling in the back of my mind. But it's delicious to wake up in the morning and not dread having to go to the bad place.

So what am I doing? Reading a lot. Doing two radio shows (At the Cafe Bohemian, my regular world music show. Tuesdays from 6-9 pm. And The Hair of the Dog, a blues show on Friday afternoons from 1-3). Catching up on sleep. Going to physical therapy twice a week, and finally getting back into the swing of my daily walks. All-in-all, it's wonderful.

Many thanks to my beloved husband for supporting me in my decision to quit and supporting us while I take some time off.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Quadro Nuevo
This Munich-based quartet takes the tango as their starting point, turns it into jazz with a worldly accents, and creates something delicious with their CD Tango Bitter Sweet.
They expertly play an impressive array of instruments (sax, clarinet, mandolin, vibes, perc, accordion, bandoneon, piano, guitar, plus some vox). Each track is a fresh, new surprise that leaves you wanting to know will happen in the next minute.

Monday, June 18, 2007

It's a win-win situation!
Hate fake words and pointless cliches? Yeah, me too. That's why this article from the London Telegraph struck me as being so funny.

They held a contest to use as many cheesy phrases as possible in one paragraph. The results are cringe-worthy and truly funny.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

"Thank you God"
And thank you Fo for pointing me towards the best book ever! It is so hilariously bad, so tremendously awful, so painfully, wonderfully crap that you'll thank me for enriching your life.

So, what's your favorite part? I think mine is the picture of the horse that apparently died from smoking a joint.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Too bad it's not retroactive
The best commercial in Europe? Maybe. But it's pretty damned funny for those of us who have chosen not to breed.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The man with the tiny mind does it again!
Once again George Bush has earned his moron points.

His nominee for surgeon general, Kentucky cardiologist Dr. James Holsinger, wrote in 1991 that gay sex is unnatural and healthy. According to Dr. Tolerant, homosexuality is also a "choice" that can be "cured." (No doubt through prayer.)

Tiny brains think alike, apparently.

Oh, and don't ask me to comment about Paris Hilton's early release -- I'm just too pissed. Spoiled little bitch. (Did I say that?) Ok, one comment....this seems to have succeeded in encouraging rather than punishing DUIs. I mean hell, I'd love to be confined to my home (or, in her case, mansion) for 45 days. 45 days of sleeping late, watching movies, reading, playing with the cat, sitting in the sunshine in my yard -- and not having to go to work, or deal with grocery shopping or errands. Where do I sign up for that? Oh, I just need to drink and drive? In that case, pass the Cuervo.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Not a good sign
Poor London. First they unveil what might be the ugliest Olypmic logo ever conceived. Now their pro-Olympic TV footage has been pulled for causing seizures.

Have you seen the logo? Go look, I'll wait. It's supposed to represent the year 2012. Am I the only one who seems a man (on the right) doing something of an adult nature to a woman (on the left)? OK, ignore my dirty's just bad. It's about as far from asthetically pleasing as you can get. It's Paris Hilton ugly. And the sad/funny bit? It cost £400,000!

I understand that grapic designers are a high-paid species but that's just ridiculous. That much money and it looks like crap? So far petitions have been started for it to be scrapped and the London Olympic committee have gone on the defensive to say how proud they are of it. Here's a hint, people....when you have to publicly defend a decision, usually it's a bad decision.

This is a bad decision. A bad, bad decision. Hell, I can't draw a stick figure and I could do better than that ... and for a hell of a lot less than £400,000.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Got a match
I love this, from the unofficial website of Jeremy Hardy a British comedian, satirist, and journalist. He read this on the hilarious BBC radio program "The News Show."

"And thanks to David Carr for this, a transcript from the News Quiz. It’s from Jeremy’s friends Emma and Martin, taken from The Winchester and Mid Hampshire Observer, and it’s the editor replying to a reader’s letter (although Carrie Quinlan claims it is from an episode of the West Wing—I know not which came first):

“Good point well made, Mr. Duncan. As you clearly say, it states in Leviticus Chapter 18 Verse 22 that homosexuality is an abomination. Which reminds me—there are a couple of things I need guidance on. Firstly, If I wanted to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7, how much could I expect to make from such a deal? Also, my colleague Pete insists on working on the sabbath. Exodus clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or is it OK to get some outside help? Lastly, does the whole city really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side. And when I burn my mother for wearing garments made from two different threads, do I torch her whole or just a bit?”

To which I can only say, "bravo!"

Monday, June 04, 2007

Burgers and blues
Or hot dogs and hip hop. Yeah, whatever your food and musical preferences, the most ridiculous iPod accessory ever has you covered.

Behold the George Foreman BBQ grill with built-in iPod dock.

Good lord. Why?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

I've got the whole world, in my hands
This weekend I took on the position of world music director at KZSU. I've been assisting Fo (my husband and the previous world director) for a few years. But now the position is mine. Fo has become the new jazz director -- which is just where he should be. Given his encyclopedic knowledge of the genre, he's the perfect person for the job.

The change means that I'll probably have to do more reviewing, but I'm very excited about the role. I'm also still continuing as public affairs director, so I'll be extra busy from now on. But at least I can rest assured feeling like I'm doing all I can to earn my show.

It's amazing. Before I came to KZSU my knowledge of world music was limited to a few random artists discovered during my travels and on NPR. Now I'm the genre director. Cool!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Gee, that sounds like it could almost be a real country
Oh dear. Sweden, bless its scenic little heart, has opened an embassy in the virtual world of second life. No, I'm not kidding.
In addition to just being freaky, this will no doubt cause all sorts of problems to geographically-challenged Americans who will now think Sweden is only a virtual country and not a real place at all.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Spanish Harlem Orchestra - "United We Swing"
Holy crap! United We Swing has got to be the hottest Latin album of the year. The SHO’s 13-piece ensemble delivers fabulous salsa-based tunes with polish and style. Every track is amazing and it’s all totally on fuego. Wicked brass, solid vocals, hot percussion, it’s great -- seriously, seriously great.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Oh bite me
This ridiculous article from the NYT has the insulting tittle of "The Tyranny of the 2nd House." And it's all about those poor, way-too-rich people in New York who have country retreats for the weekend and how difficult it can be to own two houses.

People, and I mean this in the kindest way....SHUT THE FUCK UP!

I just want one, OK. Just one house. Not a mansion. Not a 2500-square foot monstrosity with a hot tub and 75-foot ceilings. I just want a little place, just big enough for me, my sweetie, our cat, and our books and music. But buying a house in the Bay Area, unless you have a trust fund, is impossible.

So forgive me if I just can't muster up sympathy for the fact that it's hard to get a pool contractor in West Chester.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

He gets a bazooka for his first birthday
Oh goodie. A 10-month old baby has just gotten a gun permit. As ridiculous as that sounds, here's something even crazier:

The baby's father applied for the card after the baby's grandfather "bought Bubba a 12-gauge Beretta shotgun as a gift." The poor child would be named "Bubba" wouldn't he? And what kind of lunatic buys a shotgun as a gift for his baby grandson?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Early Retirement?
Can you imagine working for 93 years without a vacation? At age 104, this man has decided it's time to retire. Wow...

Friday, March 16, 2007

Holy Sci-Fi Movie Plot, Batman!
Oddly enough I had to read about this in the BBC news, not in a California paper.

"Oil exploration work in California's Central Valley region has uncovered a possible space impact crater." It's a 5.5km-wide bowl located in San Joaquin County, and thought to be between 37 and 49 million years old.

Aren't B-movie actors supposed to use nuclear missles to protect us from impacts like this?

Friday, March 09, 2007

How Green Were the Nazis?

No? How about "The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America," or perhaps "Tattooed Mountain Women and Spoon Boxes of Daghestan." Vote now for the oddest book title of the year.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Stop the presses!
I love those ridiculous studies where some group spends years finding out something that we all knew already. My favorite was the "peer pressure leads to teens trying cigarettes for the first time" bombshell.

Now there's this article where five psychologists who apparently have nothing better to do, have concluded after a study that "today's college students are more narcissistic and self-centered than their prececessors."

We needed a study to prove that the majority of young people today are so selfish and egocentric that they really do think they are the center of the universe?

Gosh, glad those findings are in.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Snarky About Made-Up Words and Camping
In the ongoing decline of American language, we now have "glamping" "shorthand for glamorous camping", as created by someone who obviously hates English.

Glamping? Well that's wrong on two levels.

First off, I'm sick to death of smooshed together words that mean nothing and exist only because people are in too much of a hurry to get back into their SUVs to actually take the time to pronounce two whole words! camping? The article refers to a "wilderness resort" in British Columbia where tents have "Persian carpets, down duvets, and even electricity." So why bother? Why not go the whole way and hold out for actual walls?

Now don't think I'm being condescending to those too precious to go out for "real" camping. Personally, I hate camping. I was raised in a conservative, Catholic family which means I'm physically incapable of peeing into a bush. But the fact still seems hilarious that if you don't want to rough it, why are you even trying? Why bother to stay in a tent (even one with Persian carpets) if what you really want is room service and a jacuzzi?

As for the term "glamping" personally I think it's such a stupid concept that anyone who goes in for it deserved to be referred to as a "glamper."

Monday, March 05, 2007

Geography 101
Stop the presses! Forget Darfur, a larger world crisis has gone all but unnoticed by the media.

Switzerland, that dark horse, has invaded Liechtenstein. Ok, Ok, so it was dark and they were lost and tired but I mean really! War in Europe and we're all "ooh...Ann Coulter said bad word."

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Ok, I'm going out on a limb here. But I just want to say, for the record, "I don't give a fuck about Anna Nicole Smith."

Phew....I feel much better.

I mean really, people, why should we care? I feel the same vague sympathy for her family and friends that is appropriate at anyone's death, but beyond that my reaction is one of relief. Oh good, one less media-created semi-celebrity to annoy us. At least once her funeral coverage is over. But why in the world was she famous anyway? She had hooters and married rich. And that's all that is necessary for fame in this century. Alexander the Great had to conquer Persia in order to be a household name. Oh, if only he'd had hooters think of all the time he would have saved.

She was nothing. She did nothing. She didn't seem to make the world a better place. She didn't seem to do much of anything, and yet for years her clothing, her weight, her affairs...were all watched as if knowledge of her hemlines could cure cancer. How useless and superficial the world has become when someone so useless could be so famous.

So she's dead. So what? Forgive me if I seem heartless, but is this really a national tragedy?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

So here I am. Back from The Great Gall Bladder Heist of '07. All-in-all, not too bad. Modern medicine is truly amazing. I mean they take out one of your organs, and then send you home. Within 3-hours of the surgery I was curled up in my own comfy bed, high on vicodin and sleeping like I did before we got a cat.

The recovery has been easy too. It's hard for me to handle the whole "take it easy," instructions, though. My poor beloved husband keeps signing mournfully as he sees me carrying baskets of laundry around the house. But aside from my own pig-headedness, I'm fine.

The low-fat diet has, so far, proved to be easy. Cheese will be my Achilles' heel, though. Cheese -- the world's most perfect food. I can deal with low fat everything else....but how can I live in a world without triple-creme brie?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

So there I am...
...minding my own business, when suddenly I get sick. And not just "I feel icky" but "honey, can you drive me to ER?" sick. So into the hospital I go, for a week. They take my blood at 5 am. I pee into cups to repeatedly prove that I wasn't pregnant. I have CT scans and various other views of my innerds taken. Much boredom, much longing to get home to sweetie and kitty. Much drama.

I'm home now, thanks to modern chemistry, and I'll be having a gall bladder-ectomy at the end of the month. Whee.

If you ever get sick, the nurses on the 8th floor at Peninsula Hospital are amazing.