best of









Never Forget [31 Jan 2008 | 04:09pm]

January 31st, 2007

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"The Seeker"? [24 Sep 2007 | 05:24pm]

Hmmm. Be very, very afraid. (And I thought I was frightened before.)

Was Over Sea, Under Stone deemed too dull for a crowd of 2007 children?

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See Also [26 Apr 2007 | 04:04pm]

Clicky to comic source.

(I'd also find someone who could do a better job with the text.)

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Listen: [12 Apr 2007 | 10:56am]

Kurt Vonnegut has come unstuck in time.


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Magnetic Poetry [12 Feb 2007 | 06:21pm]

We have a (metric) ton of magnetic poetry bits on the fridge here at work, including a plethora of medieval and technological words. In my opinion, the following excerpt, proudly displayed in the kitchen, wins an award for something:
    Perilous any lady that beseechest her lover
    to tattoo the codpiece or pierce his man cluster

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List of Lists [19 Jan 2007 | 11:02am]

This site, which provides rather arbitrary lists of five items, slays me.

By way of example:
    Five terrible fake Morrissey songs
      1. Bachelor in a Casserole
      2. The Swirling Clergyman’s Lament
      3. St. Sebastian’s Disused Quiver
      4. Dolorous Dolores
      5. Gracious Knows These Trousers Bind
    Five things I’ll bet can be hard for pirates
      1. getting decent disability insurance
      2. rum allergies
      3. sexual harassment from that fancy new bosun
      4. irritable bowel syndrome
      5. finding one-legged pants that won’t make your hips look too broad
    Five things you did while MySpace was down
      1. repeatedly checked progress of floppy emo forelock
      2. wrote lengthy longhand list of “friends”; “de-friended” each by means of vigorous horizontal pen strokes
      3. idly doodled “Dr. and Mrs. Good Charlotte” in margins of your Consumer Math book
      4. cutting — again with the cutting
      5. imagined own funeral (and how sad and sorry everyone will be)

I cannot endorse, however, spelling words with digits. Sorry.

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Songs You Might Find Interesting: B1-4 [18 Jan 2007 | 07:48pm]

1) Babylon - David Gray
      ...because, the oft dropped third verse really makes the song make sense
      ...because Gray's voice has a beautiful emotive quality to it
      ...because the melody is in a rather compressed vocal range, yet still seems to soar
    Listen: the lyric, "Let go your heart, let go your head, and feel it now" -- one of my favorite descriptions of breaking through an emotional wall

2) Band on the Run - Paul McCartney and Wings
      ...because I love the transition from the initial brooding lyric to the liberated body of the song
      ...because the chorus is so hooky, it should be illegal
      ...because there's some great lyrical imagery to unravel: we fell into the sun? What?
    Listen: one of the best songwriters in the history of Rock and Roll stretching out a bit

3) Beautiful Freak - Eels
      ...because you may have limited (read: Novocaine for the Soul) experience with Eels, and, in that case, you're really missing out
      ...because E carries a tune well while still sounding like somebody took a belt sander to his vocal cords
      ...because too few people sing about freaks without sounding like, say, Marilyn Manson
    Listen: the awesome juxtaposition of simple, traditional-style melody and lyrics with a message of acceptance of the bizarre

4) Behind Closed Doors - Charlie Rich
      ...because I'm sick of hearing about people who "listen to everything except country and rap," or who think that country only means Shania Twain and/or that jackass who sings about putting a boot in the ass of foreign powers
      ...because Rich was a great, but terribly flawed, non-conformist in an age when country music was not very tolerant of differences
      ...because Rich always sounds like he means exactly what he's saying; if I were to choose a second version of America the Beautiful to push, it would be his
    Listen: the soft touch of The Silver Fox on the piano -- classic country keyboarding

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Songs You Might Find Interesting: A21-24 [22 Dec 2006 | 11:21am]

21) Ana Ng - They Might be Giants
      ...because, outside of Particle Man, this was the first TMBG song I ever heard, I think
      ...because knowing it may save your ass in The Sorceress' Tower should you ever play Kingdom of Loathing
      ...because it's TMBG in a nutshell; if you don't like Ana Ng, you're probably not going to like anything else they do
    Listen: the cryptic, circular lyrics -- who was at the DuPont Pavillion? Why was the bench still warm? Who had been there?

22) Annie's Song - John Denver
      ...because it was "the song" at my wedding
      ...because John Denver is (extremely) unfairly dismissed by a large number of people as 70s schlock
      ...because Denver's melodies work with their lyrics better than just about anybody else's -- the two almost always feel part and parcel, indistinct
    Listen: one of the purest songs about love ever written

23) Aqualung - Jethro Tull
      ...because it has that classic guitar line
      ...because as uncofortable as the lyrics are, they're also wonderfully evocative
      ...because dynamics are important, damn it, and Tull seem to actually get that
    Listen: the transitions between themes; the song is unexpectedly complex for a radio hit

24) Asleep and Dreaming - The Magnetic Fields
      ...because if I don't point it out, who will?
      ...because The Magnetic Fields' harmonies are always gorgeously twisting
      ...because it's not even two minutes long -- if you don't like it, no harm, no foul
    Listen: all of these songs again. Maybe twice. :)
( Hope you enjoyed the list. Someday I'll get started on this B list I've had sitting around for ages now. ;) )

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Songs You Might Find Interesting: A17-20 [09 Nov 2006 | 08:18pm]

17) American Idiot - Green Day
      ...because I was wrong to write-off Green Day so quickly, lo, the many years ago
      ...because it has that great speed-hook, if you'll allow the term
      ...because it would be great fun to play in Guitar Hero
    Listen: a track off of today's generation's Tommy

18) American Tune - Simon & Garfunkel
      ...because I promise (threaten!) that there will be less Simon & Garfunkel in future lists, so you should get your fill now
      ...because I can't think of another writer who could write so wrenchingly about pilgrims
      ...because it's as meaningful today as it was when it was composed
    Listen: the great key change at the end of each verse

19) Amie - Damien Rice
      ...because if you don't know Rice yet, you're totally missing out
      ...because the string arrangement is gorgeous
      ...because Rice's voice sounds alternately so fragile and so powerful, so effortlessly
    Listen: the way the harmonies slowly fill in as the song progresses, taking us from sparse to lush

20) Amos Moses - Jerry Reed
      ...because every song on this list isn't a tear-jerker
      ...because Reed honestly sounds like he's having the time of his life in every song he performs
      ...because the lyrics are so delightfully absurd
    Listen: the guitar style -- nobody sounds like Jerry Reed

( one more A list to go... sooner or later. ;) )

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Enlisted [07 Nov 2006 | 02:00pm]

Things I Like About Okra:
  • The texture
  • The smell
  • The color
  • The name

Ha ha, just kidding. Things I Actually Like About Okra:
  • Nothing

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A Bit of Don McLean's Opus [06 Nov 2006 | 05:50pm]

A long, long time ago
I can still remember how the squirrels used to make me cry
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could sew those squirrels pants
And maybe they'd be happy for a while

When January came, they shivered
They sat in snowdrifts and they quivered
I watched from my windows
And dreamed of tiny chinos

I can't remember if tried
To knit them socks or if inside
I knew those mini-mammals' pride
Would wait for gnaugahide

Man, what a great tune.

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Songs You Might Find Interesting: A13-16 [09 Aug 2006 | 11:30am]

13) All You Need Is Love - The Beatles
      ...because the seven-time in the verse is wonderfully unobtrusive (and catchy!)
      ...because it makes me think of The Prisoner
      ...because it's true
    Listen: the horn section go freakin' nuts, along with Paul, who apparently forgets what song they're doing ;)

14) Amazon - John Denver (The Wildlife Concert)
      ...because the trees, rivers and flowers need a voice too
      ...because nobody did environmental songs like Denver, and it's a tragedy that many of them didn't get listened to during his final years
      ...because it's got a simple structure, yet it builds into a thundering climax
    Listen: the awesome recorder solos -- yeah, that's right, recorder solos

15) America - Simon & Garfunkel
      ...because it's the heart of the Bookends album, and that album tends to get unfairly overlooked
      ...because the final verse is *perfect*
      ...because we're all lost, sometimes, even when we know exactly where we are
    Listen: the instrumentation, and dynamics, and intonation, and... well, everything

16) America the Beautiful - Ray Charles
      ...because it's the best rendition of the song ever recorded
      ...because Ray's voice was a national treasure, and it was clear that he meant every word he sang
      ...because if you only think of Diet Pepsi and lottery commercials when you think of Ray Charles, then you're missing out, something fierce
    Listen: the skillful arrangement -- by beginning with the third verse, Ray keeps the better known lyrics close to his vest until we're fully engaged

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Songs You Might Find Interesting: A9-12 [08 Aug 2006 | 03:04pm]

9) All Along the Watchtower - Bob Dylan
      ...because sometimes it doesn't take a cover to prove just how good a song can be, even if said cover is excellent
      ...because each person's interpretation of lyrics is different, but each is correct for that listener
      ...because not knowing this song is the musical equivalent of not having seen Casablanca, or not having read... er... something worthwhile
    Listen: the two primary characters' dialog, especially as a foreshadowing of the final verse

10) All for Leyna - Billy Joel
      ...because Joel is misrepresented by many as overrated kitsch
      ...because the Glass Houses album was an incredible high-water mark in Joel's oeuvre
      ...because angst doesn't have to be emo
    Listen: that stellar piano line in the intro and coda

11) All I Want - Toad the Wet Sprocket
      ...because this is the song that took Toad from college-radio to sold-out shows
      ...because "Nothing's so loud as hearing when we lie / Truth is not kind, and you said neither am I" is a great opening-line hook
      ...because it can serve you well as a gateway to the rest of Toad's catalog, if you're unfortunate enough to not already own it
    Listen: a definitive sample of Toad-style harmony

12) All U Can Eat - Ben Folds
      ...because, let's face it, somebody had to say it
      ...because the piano alone is worth the price of admission
      ...because this song grabbed me by the neck (and shook) the very first time I heard it
    Listen: a beautifully concise statement of my philosophies of humanity

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Songs You Might Find Interesting: A5-8 [07 Aug 2006 | 01:38pm]

5) Against All Odds - The Postal Service
      ...because sometimes it takes a cover to prove just how good a song can be
      ...because the transition from lo-fi is beautifully unexpected, even when you know it's coming
      ...because I can tell a Postal Service tune from 100 paces, and that's a good thing

    Listen: the way a change in instrumentation and syncopation can move us from saccharine to heart-felt

6) Airport Song - Guster
      ...because "Glad you made it; welcome to the farm / Who's your daddy? I'm your daddy now" is a freakily catchy first line
      ...because it showcases Brian Rosenworcel's drumming
      ...because it ends with ping-pong

    Listen: the way the song ultimately builds into a disorienting disintegration

7) AKA Driver - They Might Be Giants
      ...because a song about time and space has never sounded so good
      ...because the "big hand's on 120 / little hand's on E" -- awesome
      ...because it's about NyQuil, dude!

      ...and bounce up and down, as you should during any good TMBG song

8) Alice Childress - Ben Folds Five
      ...because Ben Folds does isolation and alienation better than most
      ...because every Ben Folds Five song has a deeper meaning, if you pay attention
      ...because it gives me chills, and I'm the one making the list

    Listen: any Ben Folds album, in its entirety, when this song is finished

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Songs You Might Find Interesting: A1-4 [04 Aug 2006 | 03:41pm]

1) A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall - Edie Brickell & New Bohemians
      ...because musical poetry that doesn't suck is quite rare
      ...because Bob Dylan's composition meets its perfect mate in Brickell's strong, raw vocals
      ...because every line is a symbolic masterpiece, waiting to be unravelled

    Listen: this song and Simon & Garfunkel's The Sounds of Silence back to back

2) A Lifetime - Better than Ezra
      ...because BtE still exists, damnit
      ...because the imagery is overpoweringly vivid
      ...because the hook is well-crafted and anthemic

    Listen: the dynamic shifts, and how well they serve the theme

3) A Sorta Fairytale (Album Track) - Tori Amos
      ...because it's worth remembering that Tori knows how to write simple, hooky songs
      ...because the radio version is cruelly chopped, and sacrifices the effectiveness of the bridge
      ...because we've all felt a dream dissolve

    Listen: the way the spare backing vocals entwine about the lead

4) A Whiter Shade of Pale - Procol Harum
      ...because few songs can manage a reference to Vestal Virgins with a straight face
      ...because, for me, it always conjures images of The Canterbury Tales, and that's pretty impressive
      ...because if you're going to listen to a song with "White" in the title, it should be this one, and not Nights in White Satin

    Listen: one of the best meandering organ lines this side of The Band

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[22 Jun 2006 | 01:23pm]

There's a box of "Earl Grey Green Tea" in the kitchen here at work.

I wonder if Earl Grey Green was of a delicate constitution. Perhaps he'd always really enjoyed culinary adventures, but after suffering through the aftermath countless times, he decided thenceforth to play it a bit closer to the vest.

Perhaps his cousin, the better known Earl Grey, always gave him a hard time. When he'd visit, he'd always clap Earl Grey Green on the back, as if in camaraderie, but just hard enough to knock the younger lad off balance. Beneath the ostensible good humor, that sharp, thin line of sadism was ever so visible, if you knew where to look, maybe.

Perhaps Earl Grey Green began carrying a heavy rock in his pocket. One with some sharp edges, maybe, but mostly just heavy. Heavy enough to get the job done.

You know, just in case.

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A Great Lyric [12 May 2006 | 01:35pm]

The new Paul Simon album includes this great turn of phrase:
I got a call from my broker: The broker informed me I'm broke.

Jim DeRogatis follow up on it in his review of the album:
[That] isn't hard to believe after the "Capeman" fiasco.


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By Way of Example: [11 May 2006 | 06:15pm]

Regarding: How to Deconstruct Almost Anything--My Postmodern Adventure, by Chip Morningstar:

While interesting, this text divides the world quite baselessly into two disparate camps, "the literary critics," and "the rest of us." It is quite obvious that the author has judged the literary intellectuals as the lacking half, as those in need of intervention:
It is clear to me that the humanities are not going to emerge from the jungle on their own. I think that the task of outreach is left to those of us who retain some connection, however tenuous, to what we laughingly call reality. We have to go into the jungle after them and rescue what we can. Just remember to hang on to your sense of humor and don't let them intimidate you.

Why would he need to make this distinction? He describes himself quite clearly as a technical professional, and he needs have no truck with the professionals upon whose concern he purports to act. In fact, typical Americans -- hell, typical humans -- are going to have very little cause to consider these concepts during the course of their typical lives. Mr. Morningstar's intent is, instead, to, by seeding these concepts in a wider scope of minds, foster a larger-scale application of the concepts of Deconstruction and Postmodernism. His notability hinges on the existence and perfusion of these concepts, and he acts as their champion while wearing the guise of their foe.

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Two Links: [28 Apr 2006 | 06:15pm]

This one, and this one.

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The Mood is a Harsh Mistress [04 Apr 2006 | 01:23pm]

[ mood  |  Harsh, Mistress ]

It's been a while. How long? *click* *wait* Over four months, that's how long. What have I been doing?

  1. I am no longer employed by that company which no longer employs me.

  2. I am now employed by a company at which I have procured employment.

  3. Uh, I totally moved a while back. Like six months ago. Like, before I stopped updating. Like, sorry.

  4. I bought a new car. Mine was, as the kids say, "shitting the bed."

  5. I was in Florida in January. That was nice.

  6. I was working part time in the five and dime. The boss was Mister McGee.

  7. Not really -- that last item is really a song lyric. But I like the song.

  8. I've got characters on Asheron's Call and Dungeons and Dragons Online. Want to play? Ping me.

Yeah, I'm sure that's just the tip of the berg of ice, but there you go.

I'll try and be a bit more involved. Maybe. ;)

And if you said anything you needed me to hear during my Age of Unemployment (new from Ensemble Studios!), please reply it here, as I probably missed it.

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