22 January 2015

Throwback Thursday: Your Love by The Outfield

My cousin that I don't really talk to called me on the phone yesterday. It was so weird and unexpected that although I saw his name on my phone I thought it was a mistake. Phones do not make 'mistakes' so I am very obviously a moron but it seemed more likely than someone that hasn't called me in over a decade would decide to reach out on a rando Wednesday. I about fell out of my chair.

Cousin Jeff is the oldest of my three older cousins, and he had a lot of money and the cool house and the cool car and a kickass stereo in both and was always going to exotic places and doing cool shit like getting punched by Don Johnson in Aspen (during peak Don Johnson) and going in and out of debt on development deals and wearing neon and a mullet and powerboat racing and traveling the world and modeling and doing all the drugs. And, significantly: leaving me the keys to his estate while he did those things, for which I am eternally grateful.

This song was an inescapable hit in the big 80's that defined my cousins heyday. He probably didn't much care for it then (or now) - his musical taste is more sophisticated. That's his loss, because this jam is solid gold. 

Word is that his life is something of a mess now. That lifestyle is only sustainable if you have an unlimited amount of money; he does not. I can't say I really knew him very well - we moved in different orbits. He was always doing stuff I understood but didn't relate to, even now as an adult.

Anyway, I gotta call him back and talk about... something.

Enjoy the Outfield.

18 January 2015

Hot Slow Jamz: Passenger by Royal

This is the good shit. It dropped a couple weeks ago, it's got a few hundred thousand plays on Soundcloud so as these things go it's something of a hit. And a free download. You're welcome. 

17 January 2015


Legally is Spel(l)ed Wrong! LO(L)
Mitt Romney is going to run for president so he can 'lift poor people out of poverty'.

I wasn't sure if this was a real thing, or if it was something on The Onion.
Turns out it's a real thing. Mitt Romney is a tone-deaf idiot that made a LOT of money by moving jobs offshore and laying off American workers. So he did create jobs (overseas). I don't have an issue with that in principle: businesses are in business to make money. But if you do that and then run for public office on a platform that claims you have the public interest at heart it is... disingenuous.

How is Romney going to lift poor people out of poverty in 2016? Last time around it was to raise their taxes ("broaden the base") and prevent them from getting access to affordable health care. Because he's an asshole. So: not at all going to help poor people, then.

What's great is he probably thinks he has a real plan to help poor people because he only ever talks to rich people. An actual poor person would know immediately that he was full of shit. Unless they were stupid. And it's the American electorate we are talking about so, yeah, maybe he's got a chance at the nomination again. 


13 January 2015

Very Christian of You: Worship or Get Beaten

This has everything:
  • Doughy, righteous, self-important pastor with mil-spec haircut and macho goatee
  • 'Dangerous' bright kid
  • Gross abuse of power and authority in the name of religion
  • Physical violence from an adult to a child in order to teach them a lesson about worshiping Jesus
Apparently physical abuse is totally cool as long as you're doing it in the name of Christ. Something to be proud of, even. The kid learned to love Jesus AND that it's okay to hit someone in Jesus name. Efficiency.

This is how they teach at the Bible Baptist Church of New Jersey, courtesy Pastor Eric Dammann.

No word on what Pastor Eric's strategy is for adults who don't take the "Lord" seriously. Presumably he can't "punch as hard he can", not least because if you punch adults you will get charged with assault and/or get your ass kicked. But kids, enh, they can't fight back. Go right ahead and hit them.

I got a message for all the dangerously bright kids that don't take fictional characters seriously: it's not your fault you are smarter than your pastor / parent / teacher. Hang in there. It's a big wide intellectual world out there and it belongs to the future, which is you.

11 January 2015

Love Your Pet!

Today is love your pet day around here. If you have a pups or a cat or a tortoise or whatever then please take a special time out and love them today. And then do it again every day for as long as you get to have them with you.

Pets are the best! Love them! Give them all the kisses! All your dog wants is to be told how good he/she is. Do it for me today, and do it for them every other day of the year. No one gets to the end of their life and says, "yeah I loved that dog too much".

If you have a cat then do whatever your cat likes. Treats and hopped up on goofballs catnip? Yes!

Enjoy your day. I'm in training in Foreign Lands all week. Do they have the internet in Canada? Hope so.

See you out there.

09 January 2015

Vive la France!

I cannot sufficiently express how little I think of fundamentalists that slaughter people because they were offended by the depiction of their "prophet" (this includes all religious fundamentalists - I don't discriminate). The cowards that killed the staff at Charlie Hebdo are dead now, which is for the best. Current reports suggest they killed 12 people and wounded dozens more. Also let's not leave out the other cockroach that killed 4 people in a Jewish store. Unfortunately this is just one in a series of similar attacks around the world. Earlier this week it was a village in Nigeria, and a few years ago it was Mumbia, India. That's just the easy ones off the top of my head. There are too many examples to list.

This is not a holy war. This is a war against ignorance and intolerance and discrimination and bigotry masquerading as "religion". Fight it with intellect, and if need be fight it with force of arms. If that's what it takes then that's what it takes.

08 January 2015

More to Follow, but first: Steph Curry

When I used to imagine being really good at basketball I never even imagined that anyone could be as good at basketball as Steph Curry is right now. Enjoy.

05 January 2015

Sound Makes the Difference

I am a simple man. I like simple things.
This is solid gold. Needs audio for the full majesty.

Happy New Year! And: Battle of the Five Armies, Reviewed

Good Directions
I hope you had a nice Christmas or whatever. And also you were able to take a couple days off around the New Year. I was awake until midnight but not much later. I'm old and tire easily. Tried to talk The Girl into an East Coast New Year's but she wasn't having it. We compromised: went to a party for some food and company, were home before midnight.

Rounded out the new year by seeing Battle of the Five Armies, a long and boring movie about some dwarfs and elves and humans. And a hobbit. It was... not a good movie. Very predictable, with 'heroes in danger who will rescue them?!?' over and over again. Some stuff happened, and a breathtaking number of creatures were killed with no apparent loss of blood, because PG-13. But: not good.

Let's get this out of the way: the Lord of the Rings books are dated and racist. It's great that Tolkien came up with a fully realized fantasyland but the books have not held up well. If you want to read a fantasy classic that is still relevant then please read The Once and Future King by T.H. White. Heck even the later Harry Potter books are better than LotR.

LotR are part of the canon because it helped create a genre and set a very high standard for storytelling but the light/nature vs. dark/industrialism is too limited for modern (read: not overtly racist) tastes. That table-flat  / paper thin character structure leads to hundreds of thousands of orcs getting killed like cockroaches because they are evil and evil is bad and I'm six years old and can we get Liam Neeson in here I love when he kills things.

To be fair: nothing that Peter Jackson did to all the hundreds of thousands of dead orcs was as grotesque as the cash grab he executed when he stretched the Hobbit into three movies. You would think that Jackson would (eventually) run out of stuff to say. Well, you would think so until you remembered that his first three LotR movies were a marathon interminable slog. The advantage of those movies is that he had a lot more to work with than he did in the Hobbit.

Enjoy it on video at home. You can take snack breaks during the dull parts, which is most of them.

Point of interest: How do you stab someone and not get blood on your sword / knife / spear? If I cut myself shaving I bleed like a stuck pig for 20 minutes. If you get stabbed to death in the Hobbit movie you die from, ummm, something not blood loss. So that part was plain silly. Perfectly acceptable to decapitate any number of Orcs and also kill a huge dragon and burn up enormous numbers of villagers in fires and so forth. But no blood, because that would be scary. Censorship is real.

27 December 2014

Let's Do This: Motorhead Hill Climb in Japan

This is the dope shit: Motorhead Hill Climb on the Mazda Turnpike in Japan. 

I know what you're thinking* - drifting is lame, engine noise is loud, something something cars something loud. But you're wrong. Free your mind and embrace the joyful noise that is blowoff valves, straight cut gears, and unmuffled race exhaust. Superb. And that backing track is good too.

They drove a GT40 up that hill. The GT40 is glorious. The GT40 is an enormous fire-breathing dragon that is thinly disguised as a race car. The GT40 will straight throw your shit off a cliff.

@ 3:50 the guy drifting the corner at full throttle in fifth gear(!!) is a hero. Drifting is lame but that kind of commitment is beyond mortal ken.

* Not strictly true.

24 December 2014

Shit, Actually

GJAW is on record as liking the movie Love, Actually.
My movie taste is... suspect.

Here is a superb alternative reading of the text from Jezebel. Highly recommended.

19 December 2014

Neutral Milk Hotel - Holland, 1945

This song was in the news because Stephen Colbert played it at the end of his show last night.
It is great.

Word is he relates to the song lyrics. Per Maureen Dowd:

He had 10 older siblings. But after his father and the two brothers closest to him in age died in a plane crash when he was 10 and the older kids went off to college, he said, he was “pretty much left to himself, with a lot of books.”

He said he loved the “strange, sad poetry” of a song called “Holland 1945” by an indie band from Athens, Ga., called Neutral Milk Hotel and sent me the lyrics, which included this heartbreaking bit:

“But now we must pick up every piece
Of the life we used to love
Just to keep ourselves
At least enough to carry on. . . .

And here is the room where your brothers were born
Indentions in the sheets
Where their bodies once moved but don’t move anymore.”

See you out there.

17 December 2014

Sony is Lame

Beaker and Dr. Honeydew - Holiday Photo
I'm always a little bit baffled when powerful, 'successful' people do something that is outrageously stupid, especially when it happens in tech. I work in tech (internet security, if you must know) and I don't want to burst any bubbles but it's not really as hard people sometimes make it out to be. A little common sense and  elbow grease and you can fumble your way through quite a lot. I have a job, which should be proof enough. Point is: just because someone is smart in one way does not mean they are smart in others, and that's painfully obvious with the Sony hack.

Sony is resetting the bar for stupidity at all levels of IT and executive assholery. You generally don't want your very personal work emails made public, even moreso when you work with famous people. Their network was hacked, sensitive information was stolen, passwords were stored in an UNENCRYPTED txt file or spreadsheet with the filename 'passwords.txt', emails were stolen as a result. As we say in the business, "are you fucking kidding me?"

Sony doubled down on their stupidity by canceling the release of a (reportedly shit) movie. For realz? Someone got into your email and made vague, grammatically incorrect threats of violence and you canceled a movie? As the cybersecurity expert points out, some guy killed twelve people and shot 70 more at a theater the night Dark Knight opened and they kept that in theaters. He shot 82 fucking people, killing 12. Movie stayed open.

Take it away, cybersecurity expert person:

This same group threatened yesterday 9/11-style incidents at any movie theatre that chose to show the movie. Here, we need to distinguish between threat and capability—the ability to steal gossipy emails from a not-so-great protected computer network is not the same thing as being able to carry out physical, 9/11-style attacks in 18,000 locations simultaneously. I can't believe I'm saying this. I can't believe I have to say this.

I can't either. But hey: people are dumb! How dumb are they? Man, so g-damn dumb. Check it:

Yeah, you don't want to be in the category of blame the victim, but Sony has had hacks before. It's ​been hacked dating back to 2005, and the executives inside of it are still emailing to each other like it's 1997 and it's the first time they've ever been on email.

Man, I hear you.

16 December 2014

It's That Holiday Time of Year: Christmas Songs, Ranked (5 of them, anyway)

Holiday shit. Pretty short Christmas list this year. It looks like I'll be getting everyone new brakes for my high-performance German sports sedan. I already got you guys a new radio because the OEM version sucked major ass. You would think that was enough but: no. People I swear.

Stereo was expensive but what are you going to do? You guys don't want me to put some wack shit in the sweetmobile. I need fucking nav and a touchscreen up in that bitch. I can abide just about anything in a car except a shite stereo. One time expense, smiles per mile, etc, etc. Same with the brakes: they are a wear item and that's what happens when you buy a car with 80k miles on it. Good times. Don't thank me, friends and family. You're worth it.

Me and the holidays have an, umm, up and down history. (Now that I'm older I have cut out the binge drinking. That's a little thing I like to call maturity.) But I love me some Christmas music. Keep your presents, I'm rocking out with an egg nog. Favorite Christmas song? All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey. Is there a better Christmas song? I don't think so. Here's a short ranking:

1. All I Want for Christmas is You
2. Fairytale of New York - The Pogues and Kristy McColl
3. Happy Xmas (John Lennon)
4. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - U2
5. Do They Know It's Christmas - Band Aid

Juuuuuust outside the top 5: Oh hey did you want a pop version of Angels We Have Heard on High? You're welcome. You want to hate but that melody has been killing in English for 150 years (the French version even longer). Resistance is futile.

Related: If Me First and the Gimme Gimmes recorded a Christmas record then I would pay good green American money for it and their versions of the classics would constitute my entire "best Christmas song" list, although Mariah would probably still be number one. 1994-era Mariah? Tough to beat.

07 December 2014

Throwback Thursday (early): Our House by Madness

This is a classic: the beat, the lyrics, the melody, the awesome noise they get from the horn and string sections. I always thought that the strings were a synthesizer. Turn it up. 

05 December 2014

Come Over to the Dark Side

Big Cheese is unmoved by the new Star Wars trailer. He feels that after three terrible movies (and making three decent movies terrible retroactively) we should reject the new IP coming from Disney. He says:
i totally disagree with Alex, he is a f'n idiot. If I get my heart broken and my childhood maimed MULTIPLE times repeatedly, with extreme prejudice and without exception; should I go back for more under the idiotic pretense that it will be different this time??? bloody unlikely, and anyone who chooses to do so is without question a train-wreck of a person. 

I think what AP is getting at is that he was moved by the trailer in spite of all the disappointment and low blows that constitute everything that George Lucas has done to the franchise since he put Return of the Jedi in the can in the 80's. Is that stupid? Possibly. But the heart wants what it wants, and for better or worse this mythology has a way of cutting through his adult-armor and speaking to a part of him that is otherwise deaf and unreachable. He felt some feels, and here we are.

I don't expect much from this new iteration, but at least whoever cut the trailer knows what is cool: the Falcon doing a barrel roll while the theme kicks in. THAT IS THE DOPE SHIT. Returning to Brian Philips because this essay is one of the best things I read in 2014:

Something I’ve noticed since I entered my mid-thirties is that no one ever looks the right age anymore. When I see friends I’ve known for years, they’re always a little older than I expect, a little different from the images I’m carrying around in my head. But when I see old pictures of them, pictures from the time when those mental images ought to originate, they look astoundingly, impossibly young. No one was ever as young as they look. They look like elves with goofy hair. So what am I picturing when I think of them? Something that never really existed, probably. Something both finished and unfinished, a story I’ve told myself. We tell ourselves stories to make time bearable. But the World Cup is over now, for all that it meant and all that it didn’t mean.

That's what these movies have become: they are now a story we told ourselves when we were young. Yeah Lucas did everything he could to fuck that up but he's a jackass now and forever. Let's enjoy it for what it is, without a larger commitment to all that it meant, and all that it didn't mean.