Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
The pup has a tag, which even has a telephone number on it. Alas, the lady who answered tells us she's only had that number for about 3 months, and gets lots of calls for the previous number-owner.
So, the "Found Dog" signs are up, and here's hoping these two weren't dumped. If they were, hopefully we'll have an easier time unloading them then Liz's two previous "acquisitions", which were both Pit Bull pups.
We'll call these two Pepe and Mimi. BTW, I never gave the final outcome of Poochie, Liz's last bring-home. After 10 days of no one claiming him, I finally persuaded a friend of Jason's to take him. They hit it off immediately, but alas, said friend had to move into an apartment a week later, and it was a "No Pets" deal.
This had the making of another family crisis, as Liz wanted to bring Poochie back here, and I, along with our three resident mutts, said "No!!" But there was a happy ending to the story, as the friend found a relative to take Poochie. So Poochie, who is now named Mustache (don't ask. it's a long story), did finally get a happy home. For you sentimental dog-lovers, you can see a picture of Poochie/Mustache here.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
Alas, it turns out Emmylou wasn't talking chemistry at all. The title to Track 09, "Old five and dimers like me", refers to her being a geezer. Or something like that.
Which reminds me - do you know how to tell if someone you know is a chemist? They think "unionized" is a four-syllable word. ;-)
Sunday, July 27, 2008
In other news, we saw Batman : The Dark Knight yesterday. It is very good, but I wouldn't put a label like "best ever" on it. A more-detailed review to follow.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Album Title : The True False Identity (59:30 minutes)
Genre : Rock (50's & 60's)
Rating : ***** *½ (out of 10*)
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Trivia question for the day : from what country do we import the greatest amount of oil?
Monday, July 14, 2008
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
This Week I'm Listening To...
Andrew Bird is a Chicago musician, formerly of the Squirrel Nut Zippers, and who plays a bitchin' electric violin, as well as mandolin, guitar, and (of all things) glockenspiel. Oh yeah, he is also one superb whistler. You can read more about him here at Wikipedia.
TMPoE is his 2005 solo release. It's hard to classify this album. Wiki calls it Baroque Pop, and that's as good as any appellation.
You can hear the album version of the fantastic track, Fake Palindromes, (audio only) here. For a live version of him doing FP at Bonnaroo (whatever that is), click here. You can see another video from Bonnaroo, A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left, here.
What's To Like...
Simply the best electric violin-playing since the early days of ELO. Excellent arrangements; bizarrely surreal lyrics (with a chemistry bent!); skilled musicianship; and nice rhyming schemes. The best way I describe him is as a slightly-psychopathic Mensa nutcase version of (Tiptoe Thru The Tulips) Tiny Tim.
Bird is also a techno-geek, who uses some cool devices to allow him and one other performer to sound like a 4-piece band. You can read about this at the above Wiki link. The main thing to recognize in those two Bonnaroo videos is that none of that music is piped in.
Oh yeah, the album cover is très cool, too.
What's Not To Like...
Not much. His guitar-playing is a notch below his virtuoso voilin performances. And while it is impressive how many instruments he and the drummer can play at once, one wonders if things would be easier if they added a keyboardist and a guitar player to the band. Still, this is mere quibbling.
"I like long walks and sci-fi movies,
You're six foot tall and east-coast bred;
Some lonely night we can get together,
I'm gonna tie your wrists with leather,
And drill a tiny hole into your head." (from Fake Palindromes)
Andrew Bird brings an original sound to the music scene. He's everything Britney Spears is not. You'll have to give it a close listen in order to appreciate the strange, subtle, and intellectually-stimulating lyrics. In spite of the somewhat psychotic atmosphere to TMPoE, this is not a depressing album.
With 13 cool, catchy and complex tracks (only the last cut, The Happy Birthday Song, dips to being merely "mediocre"), we'll give TMPoE a solid nine stars, and see if we can find his 2007 (and most-recent) release, Armchair Apochrypha.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
This Week I Read...
Oh, the absurdity of war! John Yossarian is a bombadier, stationed in the Mediterranean during the last half of World War 2. He spends his time bombing the northern half of Italy, falling in love with various whores in Rome, agonizing that his next mission will end in his death, and trying to figure out how to convince the military to ship him back to the states.
There is a way out, of course. If you're found to be insane, that's an instant ticket home. Alas, by attempting to show that you're insane, you demonstrate your sanity. That's Catch-22, and that means it is impossible for Yossarian to ever get himself discharged.
What's To Like...
Yossarian is a classic anti-hero : full of faults, scared of dying, and anti-establishment. The group he's stuck with (the "Fighting 256th") has country bumpkins, back-stabbers, buxom nurses, milquetoast chaplains, incompetent Generals (anyone remember the Peter Principle?), ambitious Colonels, capitalistic Majors, and a host of other engaging characters to become acquainted with.
If you like paradoxes, there are a couple billion of them in this book. Then there are the Catch-22's themselves, which are similar to, yet different, from paradoxes. BTW, a "Catch-22" is entirely fictional. FWIW, there were quite a few numbers tried prior to the book being released - Catch-11; Catch-14; etc.
I suspect if you've ever been in the service, you'll find this book hilariously close to how things really were. I'm not a vet (both the Army and me are stronger because of this), so there's a limited amount of relevancy here for me.
What's Not To Like...
It's a slow read. As with the other Heller book I've read ("God Knows"), its way too repetitious. You could slice 150 pages out of C-22, and it would be much better. You'll find yourself skipping "text" paragraphs to get to the dialogue parts.
There's no plot for the first 75% of the book. It's like watching a 24-hour M*A*S*H marathon - there's humor and wit, but no progression in the tale at all. To be fair, Heller wakes up around page 330, and things finally begin to unfold. The book gets markedly darker after that, which IMNSHO is a plus.
Finally, the ending just plain sucks. I know this is a farce, but it was a believable farce until... well, no spoilers here.
It's The History, Stupid...
If you judge Catch-22 solely on its literary merits. it doesn't stand the test of time very well. Joseph Heller was destined never to repeat his initial smash hit. I'd go as far to say that the success of C-22 was due more to good timing than good writing. Of course, I say that about Seinfeld too.
But Catch-22 is a breakthrough opus. Along with authors like Kurt Vonnegut, there was finally something distinctive about American literature. Yeah, the Brits figured this out before we did, but hey, they've had more practice at this sort of thing.
You can see the influence of Catch-22 in M*A*S*H, and maybe-just-maybe, even in Dilbert. So we'll remember its time-period, and give it a shaky B. With Heller, Vonnegut, and Hunter S. Thompson all now departed, maybe it's time for a new generation of talented American authors to emerge.
Monday, July 07, 2008
Saturday, July 05, 2008
Friday, July 04, 2008
This is a holiday unique to the USA, where our culture takes center stage. In baseball, the Yankees are playing the Red Sox, which is as American as it gets. So I turned on the TV to ESPN, and what did I find?
A hotdog-eating contest. Indescribeable drama as Takeru Kobayashi tried to retake the title from last year's winner and upstart, Joey Chestnut (pictured above).
So I switched over to CNN (Channel 38), and what was their headline news-story? You betcha, the hotdog-eating contest. Indeed, if you go to the MSNBC website, you'll find this is also one of their top stories for the day. Click here.
In case you're dying to know, Chestnut and Kobayashi were tied at the end of the 10-minute contest, each having eaten 59 hotdogs (including buns). In the 1-minute "dog-off", Chestnut retained the title by downing 5 more.
Thursday, July 03, 2008
Fortunately, I'm off this week, so I had time to buy a push-broom and sweep the street. In 112° heat and monsoon mugginess. What fun.I blame my Druid persona for this. Him and his cotton-pickin' fertility rites. Those trees were sterile for the first 10 years we had them. A few leaves; no pods. But oh no, Mr. "Viva Vercingetorix" just had to perform some sort of Druidic ritual. And since there are no oak groves in Phoenix, he was forced to make do with the two trees in our front yard. Sheesh.
(*) : Yeah, I know. "gallons" is a liquid measure. But I filled my 5-gallon bucket 6 times with those &*#!$% pods you see in the street.