Archive for December, 2009

Best Books of the Decade

December 24, 2009

(of the ones I read).

I decided to contribute to the end of the decade festivities by creating my own best of the decade book list. Since I’ve lived outside of the US the entire decade I haven’t seen much TV like the Wire or the Sopranos. I rarely watch movies and I rarely read hardcover books, so I’m not a great resource for these lists. I also rarely buy music anymore so I could give opinions on the first half of the decade music-wise, but feel pretty out of the loop.

Instead, I’ll just note the best (or most affecting) books in different categories that I’ve read in the 21st century without paying attention to their publication date. (more…)

Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me… bait

December 22, 2009

Apparently, there is a man in the UK going around sniffing people’s butts in supermarkets. I honestly wouldn’t know how I would react if someone started sniffing my behind. This sounds like the final question in the lightning round for NPR’s Wait Wait.

Surprise, Rage Against the Machine won’t do what you tell them

December 21, 2009

So, Rage Against the Machine have the number one song in Britain over Christmas with the 17 year old track “Killing in the Name”. They beat out X-Factor winner, Joe, whom I had pegged as destined for the West End when I last heard him. He also seemed cute and humble. Now, he comes off as naive and arrogant, which makes him obnoxious. To wit, the article says Joe thinks he deserves to be number one for the holidays. He doesn’t seem to understand the point of the campaign to get a 17 year old song to the top.

And about the winner: well, BBC Radio 5 invited them on to discuss the campaign and to play the song. Radio 5, however, objected to the expletive-laden final verse, which is basically “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me” over and over ad nauseum. I can understand why Radio 5 would ask them to self censor, but did they think about the lyric? If these guys are at all serious about what they’re singing, then you can’t possibly expect them to do what you say, since the objectionable lyric is a declaration saying exactly that.

And, to be fair to Rage, what would they change it to? “Flip you, I won’t do what you tell me (except when it comes to obeying Ofcom)” doesn’t really work. Watch the clip to witness the producer’s response. Basically, she’s upset Rage didn’t do what she told them and so she endorses Joe’s track. Well, flip you, producer, I won’t do what you tell me. I’m buying “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix” (which is awesome and also not 17 years old [plus I can play it with my family in the same room without feeling like a surly teenager (unless I were a teenager named Joe from Newcastle who had a sugary track for sale)]).

Here’s Rage disobeying the man after the jump (the producer’s endorsement of Joe is at the 9 minute mark): (more…)

What’s so silly about Memphis Grizzlies?

December 18, 2009

I was listening to a Bill Simmons podcast and the subject of silly nicknames came up, which inevitably led to the silliness of Memphis having a basketball team named the Grizzlies. I’ve heard people before ridiculing the incongruity of that name, but I have to say, it doesn’t strike me as all that weird.

Okay, it made more sense when they were in Vancouver, but whenever this subject comes up, I often hear mention of the Grizzlies but rarely, if ever, hear anyone mention the Detroit Lions or Tigers, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Seattle Seahawks (a fictional animal), the Calgary Flames (named after a fire that destroyed Atlanta), the Hamilton Tigercats, the Toronto Argonauts, the Toronto Raptors, The Philadelphia Eagles (because their aren’t that many on the east coast), the New York Giants, the Tennessee Titans, (and what’s up with Kansas City’s love of royalty?) or the plethora of colleges named after animals or other objects that do not have anything to do with their regions: Auburn Tigers and/or War Eagles, the Alabama Crimson Tide, the Memphis Tigers, Houston Cougars, Tulsa Golden Hurricanes, the Pittsburgh State Gorillas, etc. (more…)

Crazy Heart = Tender Mercies?

December 18, 2009

I’m really looking forward to Crazy Heart with Jeff Bridges. While watching the trailer, I noticed that Robert Duvall is also in it and that made me think of another movie about a talented and all but forgotten country singer called Tender Mercies.

IMDB describes the older film’s plot thusly: “A broken-down, middle-aged country singer gets a new wife, reaches out to his long-lost daughter, and tries to put his troubled life back together.”

The trailer of Crazy Heart looks very similar, but change the daughter to grandson.

Tender Mercies trailer after the jump (with the grizzled singer throwing the football with a young boy rather than taking him to the park): (more…)

Chuck Norris should just go back to kicking people

December 18, 2009

*updated*

It’d be a lot more effective and make a lot more sense. Here is a ridiculous paragraph from an article by Walker, Texas Ranger:

Lastly, as we near the eve of another Christmas, I wonder: What would have happened if Mother Mary had been covered by Obamacare? What if that young, poor and uninsured teenage woman had been provided the federal funds (via Obamacare) and facilities (via Planned Parenthood, etc.) to avoid the ridicule, ostracizing, persecution and possible stoning because of her out-of-wedlock pregnancy? Imagine all the great souls who could have been erased from history and the influence of mankind if their parents had been as progressive as Washington’s wise men and women! Will Obamacare morph into Herodcare for the unborn?

It’s probably not productive to address this weird mess, but it does remind me of why I don’t really get the socially conservative problems with universal health care. By legislating against abortion but not providing universal coverage, the right’s goal seems to be to beat the sin out of apostate women. But that seems to me to be a cowardly copout. I, as a man, can make it more difficult for a woman to have an abortion by making abortion illegal. However, by doing this I still don’t make it easier for the woman to have the child.

(more…)

Since we’re talking about awards

December 12, 2009

I wrote this a few months ago for Culture-Voice.com and thought it fitting in a way with respect to the previous post on the Nobel Peace Prize: (more…)

Why it was good that Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize despite his not deserving it

December 12, 2009

I mean really, what’s the big deal about the Nobel Peace Prize anyway? It comes with a hefty bag of cash but other than that, who cares? I can see how the prizes in Medicine or Physics or Literature can give some recognition in an otherwise recognition-free slog of research or writing, but they are still prizes given by a small group of people as fallen as the next group of people. Two-hundred people were nominated for the peace prize in February and we won’t find out who the other nominees were for several decades, but I will give $500 to anyone who remembers this post when the nominees are announced if George W. Bush was not one of those other nominees. Granted, no one reads this and $500 won’t be very much money then, but I’m pretty sure that someone nominated him anyway. (more…)

How good is Vince Young?

December 2, 2009

Look at this final throw again. It almost looks like he mis-threw it. I love Vince Young and want him to succeed, but after having watched this drive (having not watched the game itself) I don’t know what to think. He missed a lot of receivers, got really lucky on occasion, and then this final throw where, when the camera shows his reaction to the throw, he looks kind of like he made a mistake, then, hey that was lucky. Was he really trying to hit the guy on the left and accidentally got the more open receiver? Or is he so accurate that he can throw a ball on the run like a champion darts tosser.

Watch it again:

Nevertheless, I’m glad he’s succeeding and would much rather watch VY than most other quarterbacks in the league. I’m mesmerised by his galloping in the open field. He never looks very fast but no one ever catches him.