Sunday, June 22, 2008

Another from the "made me laugh" file.

It happened during World War II, when Aptheker, a white Jewish Communist from New York, commanded a group of black solders stationed at an Army base near Pollock, La., a town with a nasty sundown sign [a sign saying something like "Nigger, Don't Let the Sun Set on You"].

As part of their training, the soldiers were required to complete a 25-mile march. Aptheker and a black sergeant decided to march through Pollock -- at midnight.

"It was all arranged by the men," Aptheker recalled. "As we approached Pollock around midnight . . . we all began singing 'John Brown's Body' at the top of our voices -- a hundred black men with rifles and one crazy white man in front with a pistol."

From the article found here.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

This video is funny. That is all.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

This (from the article here about Philip K. Dick) made me laugh out loud:
Also that year, the scholarly journal Science-Fiction Studies published a special issue devoted to his work; full of New Left and neo-Marxist analyses of Dick's Laingian, existentialist, and anti-capitalist themes, it provoked even more unwelcome visits from French intellectuals-whom he drove away by blasting Linda Ronstadt at top volume, and whose words of praise he invariably reported to the authorities.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Human intuition is a very bad at reasoning about certain problems. For example, consider the classic "Monty Hall" problem: there is a game where there are three doors. One of the doors has a prize behind it, and the other do not. You pick one door, but don't open it. The host of the show then opens another door that 1.) is not the one you picked and 2.) is not the winning door. So now you've picked one door, and another door is now revealed as not the winning door. There are now two unopened doors, the one you picked and another one. The host offers you the chance to switch your choice to the other unopened door. Does it make a difference to your chances of winning if you do so? The surprising answer is yes. You go from having a 1/3 chance of winning to having 2/3 chance of winning.

Now consider a slight variation on that. You've made your initial choice of door, when an earthquake hits and happens to open a door that 1.) is not the one that you picked and 2.) is not the winning door. The host then offers you the choice: do you want continue to bet on the door you initially picked, or switch to the other unopened door. Does it make a difference to you chances of winning? Perhaps even more surprisingly, no. Your odds are 50/50 either way!

Anyway, it took me a long time to see why the first is the case, although I was able to finally convince myself by argument why it was the case, instead of by brute mechanical force. However, to figure out the answer to the earthquake scenario, I actually plotted out on a piece of paper all the possible outcomes. Only after doing that was I able to reason out why it was the case, working backwards (I ended up also plotting out the possible outcomes of the first case (the "classic" Monthy Hall problem, too, in order to compare them.)

Oh well, I just wasted like an hour and a half just thinking about the second problem. (And about as long thinking about the first one, but that was about a year ago).

Thursday, April 3, 2008

There are 50 movies I've seen for the first time this past year (April 2007-April 2008) thanks to Netflix. I also rented a few TV shows (mainly The Wire, which was the reason I started subscribing to Netflix in the first place--it was expensive to rent all the DVDs from Blockbuster one at a time), and a few movies I'd seen before. I put a star (*) next to those that I rated five stars. Some movies would doubtlessly get bumped up to five stars, or bumped down from five if I were to rewatch them.

Scenes from a Marriage*
Solaris (Tarkovsky version)
I Fidanzati
The Firemen's Ball
The Godfather*
The Marriage of Maria Braun
The Godfather, Part II
Valerie and Her Week of Wonders
The Joke
La Jetee / Sans Soleil* (I'd seen La Jetee before, but not Sans Soleil)
Fat Girl
The Great Dictator
La Guerre Est Finie
Bringing Up Baby
Les Bonnes Femmes
Cries and Whispers
His Girl Friday
Early Summer*
Tokyo Story*
Late Spring*
Masculin Feminin
Sansho the Bailiff
Elevator to the Gallows*
Double Indemnity*
Dial M for Murder*
The Blood of a Poet
Equinox Flower
Blood Simple
Black Girl
A Story of Floating Weeds
The Conversation
Mean Streets
The Cow
Early Spring
Goodbye, Lenin
The Big Sleep*
Andrei Rublev*
Woman in the Dunes
Murmur of the Heart
I am Curious (Yellow)
The Pornographers
The Decameron

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Kemialliset Ystävät/Sublime Frequencies videos

Here are some even better, longer Sublime Frequencies trailers, but don't allow embedding:

Niger: Magic and Ecstasy in the Sahel
Musical Brotherhoods From The Trans-Saharan Highway
Isan: Folk and Pop Music of Northeast Thailand
Folk Music of the Sahara: Among the Tuareg of Libya

Sublime Frequencies

Dead People's Things

1. Abruptum "Ex Inferno Inferiori"
2. Nadja "Breakpoint"
3. Lau Nau "Kivi Murenee Jolla Kävelee"
4. Lovely Midget "Red Hut"
5. Edward Artemyev & Vyacheslav Ovchinnikov "Untitled {from the soundtrack to Solaris by Andrei Tarkovsky}"
6. oval "Untitled {track nine from the album ovalprocess}"
7. Ben Frost "Theory of Machines"
8. Scott Walker "Jolson and Jones"
9. Deathprod "Dead People's Things"


Download here
98.66 zip file

Saturday, March 29, 2008

New Weird Acoustic Guitarists

Sir Richard Bishop:

James Blackshaw:

Jack Rose:

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Times New Viking

Times New Viking /Psychedelic Horseshit show tonight!

Times New Viking is my favorite new indie-rock band! (Most of my favorite indie-rock bands are from the '90s.)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Unknown Legends and Urban Spacemen: A Tribute to Richie Unterberger

1. The Rising Storm "Frozen Laughter"
2. The Beau Brummels "I Will Go"
3. The Poets "I Love Her Still"
4. The Outsiders "I Love You, No. 2"
5. Skip Spence "Cripple Creek"
6. Tim Buckley "Aren't You the Girl"
7. The Blossom Toes "I'll Be Late for Tea"
8. Fred Neil "December's Dream"
9. Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood "Some Velvet Morning"
10. Can "Mushroom"
11. Young Marble Giants "Salad Days"
12. Mimi & Richard Fariña "Bold Marauder"
13. Judy Henske & Jerry Yester "St. Nicholas Hall"
14. Bonzo Dog Band "I'm the Urban Spacemen"
15. Love "The Good Humor Man He Sees Everything Like This"
16. Chris Knox "Half-Man / Half-Mole"
17. The Rutles "Cheese and Onions"
18. The Pretty Things "Balloon Burning"
19. The Raincoats "No Side to Fall In"
20. The Chocolate Watch Band "No Way Out"
21. The Monk "Oh, How to Do Now"
22. The Bobby Fuller Four "Never to be Forgotten"
23. The Great Society "White Rabbit (Live)
24. The Music Machine "Talk Talk"
25. Wanda Jackson "Fujiyama Mama"

96.43 MB zip file
Download here

All bands covered in Richie Unterberger's book Unknown Legends of Rock 'n' Roll and its sequel Urban Spacemen and Wayfaring Strangers. The Rising Storm song is from the CD included with the former book, and the Bobby Fuller Four song from the CD included with the latter. Those two books introduced me to so much amazing music!

The Outsiders (track 4) are the Dutch band, not the Chicago band that did "Time Won't Let Me".

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Anorak City: An Indie Pop Mix

1. Heavenly "Lemonhead Boy"
2. Bright Coloured Lights "Open Your Eyes"
3. Tiger Trap "My Broken Heart"
4. Amy Linton & Stewart Anderson "The Lights Are Out"
5. Another Sunny Day "Anorak City"
6. Brighter "I Don't Think It Matters"
7. Brittle Stars "Tripping Me Up"
8. Fat Tulips "Chainsaw"
9. My Favorite "The Happiest Days of My Life"
10. The Shermans "Practiced Performance"
11. The Flatmates "I Could Be in Heaven"
12. Rocketship "Hey Hey Girl"
13. Henry's Dress "Hey Allison"
14. The Lucksmiths "Music to Hold Hands To"
15. Math and Physics Club "Graduation Day"
16. McCarthy "This Nelson Rockefeller"
17. Nixon "Undevoted Friend"
18. Poundsign "The Best Days"
19. Red Sleeping Beauty "Sick and Tired"
20. The Cat's Miaow "Born on a Train"
21. Would-Be-Goods "Pantomime Devil"
22. 14 Iced Bears "Like a Dolphin"
23. Laura Watling "Perfect Penmanship"
24. Action Biker "Farrah"
25. Blueboy "Too Good to Be True"
26. Marine Girls "A Place in the Sun"
27. Even As We Speak "Anybody Anyway"
28. Dear Nora "Suicide Song"

Purest, sweetest indie-pop.

98.49 MB zip file
Download here

Friday, March 14, 2008

Tuonela, the land of the dead

1. Fursaxa "Rodeo in the Sky"
2. Islaja "Uni Pöllönä Olemisesta"
3. Six Organs of Admittance "Coming to Get You"
4. Charalambides "Denver Harbor"
5. Kemialliset Ystävät "Kiimaniityn Kutsu"
6. Sun City Girls "Esoterica of Abyssyina"
7. John Fahey "Planaria"
8. James Blackshaw "O True Believers"
9. Richard Youngs "Blossom"
10. Jackie-O Motherfucker "Pray"
11. Birchville Cat Motel "Lay Thy Hatred Down"
12. Double Leopards "The Fatal Affront"

103.42 MB zip file
Download here

This mix is inspired by playing with the Tune Glue website all day. Title stolen from the Wikipedia page for Finnish Mythology. Only Islaja and Kemialliset Ystävät are actually from Finland, as far as I know, but the title nonetheless fits the spooky feel of the mix.

Does anyone know of any good free audio editing programs that would let me make the mix one long file with cross-fades, and works with Mac OS 10.2?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Authentic Queers and Phony Virgins

Scott Walker doing "Jackie", originally by Jacques Brel.

And if one day I should become
A singer with a Spanish bum
Who sings for women of great virtue
I'd sing to them with a guitar
I borrowed from a coffee bar
Well, what you don't know doesn't hurt you
My name would be Antonio
And all my bridges I would burn
And when I gave them some they'd know
I'd expect something in return
I'd have to get drunk every night
And talk about virility
With some old grandmother
That might be decked out like a christmas tree
And though pink elephants I'd see
Though I'd be drunk as I could be
Still I would sing my song to me
About the time they called me "Jacky"

If I could be for only an hour
If I could be for an hour every day
If I could be for just one little hour
Cute in a stupid ass way

And if I joined the social whirl
Became procurer of young girls
Then i would have my own bordellos
My record would be number one
And I'd sell records by the ton
All sung by many other fellows
My name would then be handsome Jack
And I'd sell boats of opium
Whisky that came from Twickenham
Authentic queers
And phony virgins
If I had banks on every finger
A finger in every country
And every country ruled by me
I'd still know where I'd want to be
Locked up inside my opium den
Surrounded by some china men
I'd sing the song that I sang then
About the time they called me "Jacky"

If I could be for only an hour
If I could be for an hour every day
If I could be for just one little hour
Cute in a stupid ass way

Now, tell me, wouldn't it be nice
That if one day in paradise
I'd sing for all the ladies up there
And they would sing along with me
And we be so happy there to be
Cos' down below is really nowhere
My name would then be Junipher
Then I would know where I was going
And then I would become all knowing
My beard so very long and flowing
If I became deaf, dumb and blind
Because I pitied all mankind
And broke my heart to make things right
I know that every single night
When my angelic work was through
The angels and the Devil too
Would sing my childhood song to me
About the time they called me "Jacky"

If I could be for only an hour
If I could be for an hour every day
If I could be for just one little hour
Cute in a stupid ass way

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Wire

It sucks having to wait for Season 5 to come out on DVD. I think I am going to rewatch Season 1-4 soon. I watched a lot of that in four hour marathons (i.e. a whole disc in one sitting), so I'm sure there are lots of little (and even not-so-little) nuances I missed the first time.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Kind of a bummer I hadn't stumbled across this a few weeks earlier!

Heavenly - Our Love is Heavenly

I wish my life was like an indie-pop song. I'm not sure what that would entail concretely, but it is still part of my dream-life. A sign of some fundamental immaturity, I'm sure. Oh well.

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Cat's Miaow

I decided I need to do more to share the Cat's Miaow gospel. Here are some mp3s from their various CDs.


From A Kiss and a Cuddle:
The Phoebe I Know
Little and Small


From Songs For Girls To Sing:
Note on the Table
Let It Flow (live)


From The Long Goodbye:

I put up the original and The Long Goodbye versions of "Phoebe" so you could compare them yourselves and make up your own mind! The song "Let It Flow" is a Spiritualized cover.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Cat's Miaow - Third Floor Fire Escape View

One of the most unfairly neglected indie-pop groups. Just gorgeous, melancholy, perfect pop. Sadly, their two best CDs, A Kiss and a Cuddle and Songs For Girls to Sing appear to be out of print. Some U.S. label should really move to change that. The one CD by them that is in print, The Long Goodbye, is okay but no where as good as their other stuff. It is kind of synth-drone versions of some of their other songs. I like the original jangly guitar versions much better.

Friday, February 29, 2008

I couldn't get to sleep last night in part because I was thinking about the equator. I was disappointed at myself for not being able to better picture what the position of the sun in the sky would be at various times of the year at the equator. I did manage (correctly) to reason that every day would have to be 12 hours at the equator using the same symmetry argument mentioned here. But that is a sort of indirect way to go about it, and I was upset that I couldn't just directly (brute-force, as it were) visualize it. I have no idea why I started thinking about that.

I listened to a bunch of albums at work today on my iPod. I have a bunch of black metal, and some experimental stuff that The Wire magazine put on their best-of-2007 lists that Ricky gave me, but I wasn't in the mood for any of that today. Today I was in the mood for what more or less amounts to comfort music for me.
  • Guided by Voices, Vampire on Titus
  • Destroyer, Your Blues
  • The Lucksmiths, Why Doesn't That Surprise Me
  • The Magnetic Fields, Holiday
  • The Softies, The Softies
  • Spacemen 3, Playing With Fire
  • John Cale, Paris 1919
  • The Kinks, Face to Face
  • Silver Jews, The Natural Bridge
Those are all albums I know I am going to regularly listen to until I die. Well, maybe not that Destroyer album (but I probably will still be listening to a different Destroyer album, Streethawk: A Seduction (which doesn't have the whole weird cheesy MIDI-orchestration thing going on that Your Blues does) as an old man.)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Garfield and Marmaduke are Inane

Not big news, but the occasion for some humor parasitic on this inaneness.

Garfield Minus Garfield. What happens is the strip becomes both extremely despairing — and better.

Lasagna Cat. The addition of the music videos is what makes Lasagna Cat.

Marmaduke Explained. A model of subtle, careful exposition.

Simply Thrilled Honey

I was going to name this blog "Simply Thrilled Honey," but that was already taken. I am going to make my first post be the video for that song anyways. When I was a DJ at WPRK my show was called "Falling and Laughing." What can I say? I really like Orange Juice! They are one of those bands, like their fellow Scots Belle & Sebastian, whose songs I identify with way too much.