Friday, May 30, 2008

Our Nation Is Crumbling

I can't help but think NYC is falling apart. A crane on East 91 St collapsed this morning, becoming the second construction incident like this in the last two months. The Times noted the first collapse prompted "an extensive review of the safety of the city's cranes." I guess with all that reviewing they never got around to fixing the problem. The bridge collapse in Minneapolis, last summer's NYC steam pipe explosion, and the demolished New Orleans levees indicate America's aging infrastructure has developed osteoporosis.

Something needs to change. Unfortunately our flailing economy, futile stimulus package, and love of blowing things up are all drawing our attention away from this problem. Here's what I propose we do to get our infrastructure back on track:

-Instead of one gigantic crane, use 10-12 big cranes.

-Put riddle-telling trolls under all major bridges. Will spice up commutes and deter stupid, bridge-destroying drivers.

-Use aqueducts instead of underground pipes. We'll be able to see damage without digging anything up, plus they'll make beautiful ruins once everything around them collapses.

-Build roads out of diamonds. Nature's strongest mineral will not only last, but will be nice to have around once the dollar is worthless.

-All buildings taller than three stories must be made of marshmallow. Will soften the impact of falling cranes and serve as an emergency reserve for s'mores.

-Institute a you-break-it-you-buy-it policy for all damaged structures. Make that school bus full of kids pay for the Minneapolis bridge they destroyed, NOT the taxpayers.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Young Hillary

Is this YouTube clip of "Young Hillary" funny, or just kind of broad and dumb? I went back and forth a few times while watching this clip. Alas, it did make me laugh (multiple times), which probably makes me a bad person (or at least suggests I have bad taste). But hey, it does have a surprise appearance by Jerry O'Connell of Sliders fame! Oh man, was there anyone out there that didn't love that delightful time-traveling romp?

(Thanks go to Ben Smith's blog on Politico for the heads-up!)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Okay, I'm really kind of insanely busy right now catching up with work after spending a days hanging out with my mom in the city and then sitting around basically doing nothing at all for a few pseudo-vacationish days this long weekend.

But, that being said, have you seen Jason Maxiell's block of Kevin Garnett in last night's game? It was sick. And kind of unbelievable considering that he's about 8 inches shorter than Garnett. And, thus, this makes it too good not to share...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lykke Li-Dance Dance Dance

Sometimes, when you're feeling a little down about the music in your record collection, all it takes is a little Swedish Pop to perk you up. Case in point: Lykke Li. Here's a video of her singing the song "Dance Dance Dance" from her upcoming record, Youth Novels (more info here or here):

With summer almost here (Or so the calender says. Once we get some weather in, say, the high 60's I might be a little more inclined to believe it) isn't this pretty much the only kind of sound you want to hear for the next three months?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Delegate Scorecard

Ok, I'm just going to start this off with an apology: I've clearly gone down the "widgeting" rabbit hole at this point and I just can't stop myself from adding more and more to this site. Is it a lame excuse for a post? Yup.

That being said, here's my excuse: With the endgame approaching and delegates shifting so quickly as people shift from one candidate to the other (well, from Hillary to Barack), I've been obsessed with tracking how close Obama is to the magic delegate number of 2025 needed to clinch the nomination. So, that being the case, this post is getting put up for me and me only, suckas! (Alright, fine, you can check it obsessively too if you're a weirdo like me)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Rodney Stuckey

In order to pay tribute to Rodney Stuckey's fantastic job filling in for an injured Chauncey Billups in game 5, and in order to prove that I know how to import things on to this blog, here is a handy widget (seriously, you've got to love that word, right?) to keep track of Stuckey's progress as the Pistons move on to the Eastern Conference Finals to face either Cleveland (Lebron=Terrifying) or Boston (Garnett=Terrifying, Doc Rivers=Not so much).

I mean, c'mon, how much longer could you have expected to wait before I threw in some sort of Pistons-related post?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Apparently, there isn't as much love out there for Snagglepuss as I originally thought! After an impression I did of him a few days back was greeted by confusion and blank stares I figured I had to include a little clip to let people see what they were missing. So, here it is...

Kind of an odd character, eh? A pink, erudite, and fussy lion in cuffs and collar? What the hell was the Hanna/Barbara team thinking!?!

Still, the results are pretty hilarious (he sounds to me like someone doing an especially bad impression of Bill Murray's character in Caddyshack), and how can you not love one of the more bizarre and funny signature catchphrases ever created: "Heavens to Murgatroid!"

Friday, May 9, 2008

Not Just A Phase

It happens every year. Flowers bloom, people open windows to bring fresh air indoors, and I fiend for soul music like a junky craves angel dust. I feel soul might be the most universally accepted form of music, and there’s no better evidence than looking at the 1970s.

After the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, society seemed to be heading in the right direction. Segregation, discrimination, and Jim Crow were supposedly put to rest. The 70s proved that most segregation and discrimination were de facto and probably amplified by America’s economic problems. But throughout history, some of the most important forms of music (rock ‘n roll, hip-hop, punk, folk) emerged as reactions to societal struggles like these. Now granted, soul had been around for decades before the 70s, but it wasn’t until then that we started seeing many of its permutations.

For much of the 60s, soul was more pop than political. Motown made music for the masses, James Brown sang about feelin’ good before he voiced the frustrations of countless inner cities, and Marvin Gaye crooned about how sweet love was until What's Going On in ’71. By the time the 70s rolled around, a lot of soul’s sheen had been stripped off and artists like Curtis Mayfield focused on the social problems that had become unavoidable. But with Mayfield, his effortlessly melodic arrangements could transport you to a drug-filled Chicago alley or inside the home of a struggling family, it simply depended on whether he was using scuzzy guitar or sweeping strings. The culmination of political soul came in the soundtrack to Superfly, which, with Isaac Hayes’ efforts on Shaft, forever linked this musical era to Blaxploitation.

On the flip side of socially conscious soul was the blossoming of plastic soul. This is not to be confused with “blue-eyed” soul (Joe Cocker, Van Morrison, Dusty Springfield, et al.), which shouldn’t be classified as “plastic” because of its apparent sincerity. Plastic soul, on the other hand, has a certain level of affectation that acknowledges the strangeness of white people singing black music (especially when guys like Jagger and Bowie just look and sound so damn British). Despite its inherently detached appearance, plastic soul can be quite soulful. The aforementioned Brits did it quite well and Beck’s Midnight Vultures is a modern plastic classic, but sadly there were musicians who took this stuff far too seriously. Footnotes like Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins created yacht rock, which can’t be considered blue-eyed because of its insincerity (or pure schmaltziness) nor plastic because it doesn’t acknowledge its absurdity. But all of this music was fun, which was certainly a nice escape during the sometimes-gloomy 70s.

The infusion of fun back into soul was an inevitable backlash to the serious music of the late 60s and early 70s. A lot of singers found refuge in the hedonistic my-eyes-are-closed-and-everything-is-alright attitude of disco. The energy of danceable soul translated well across the world and focused more on rhythm and positive messages rather than social awareness. Essentially everyone knew things sucked and joyous songs helped people get by. Lately there’s been an emergence of African soul/psych/funk compilations from the 70s and most are quite good. It’s like big treasure chests in West Africa were simultaneously unearthed, giving us the funkiest offerings from Nigeria, Ghana, and Benin. The music is generally more socially conscious and subversive than its American counterparts, but just as danceable.

These are just a few of the many variations (70s) soul has to offer and I advise you delve further into it. The best thing about a soul phase is that when it’s over, the messages stay with you just as much as the catchy, catchy music.

Songs of soul:

Curtis Mayfield - The Other Side Of Town

Curtis Mayfield - (Don't Worry) If There’s A Hell Below, We're All Going To Go

David Bowie - Somebody Up There Likes Me

T-Fire - Will Of The People

Thursday, May 8, 2008

What the Hell?

It's one thing for Clinton to stay in the race even after everyone knows it over, but to start explicitly playing the race card? Maybe I'm just not cynical enough, but I really am shocked that she would stoop to such a desperate, lowest-common-denominator move at this precise stage of the game. I mean, it's one thing to play this card before Pennsylvania, or to do the subtly-racist thing like Bill Clinton did in South Carolina (i.e. attempting to compartmentalize Obama as the "black candidate" by equating his campaign with that of Jesse Jackson's in the 80's). But to say something like this now? I just don't get why she would do it or even how it helps to do anything except deeper the black/white rift that the Clinton campaign had been trying to create within the Democratic party. Are superdelegates really going to flock to her in droves because a bunch of racist white people won't vote for a (somewhat) black man?

All that being said, you've got to love the cover of this week's Time, right?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Is It, Finally, Almost Over?

Well, I can gladly admit that I was off on my predictions and that last night probably went about as well as it could if you're an Obama supporter (save for, you know, him actually winning, as opposed to basically splitting, Indiana with Clinton).

It looks like the media is starting to acknowledge what was pretty clear by the end of the February: the race for the Democratic nomination is, effectively, resolved:

Monday, May 5, 2008


With warm weather finally here and change in the air, I thought it was time to lay down my predictions for the next few months:

North Carolina: Obama 54% Clinton 46%
Indiana: Clinton 53%, Obama 47%
Democratic Nomination: Obama
Presidency: Obama 49%, McCain 46%, Nader, et al 5%

NBA Finals: Pistons over Lakers
Horse Racing: Big Brown wins the Preakness but falls short (like all the others) at the Belmont
MLB: Red Sox over Diamondbacks
Hockey: um...Wings over Pengiuns?
Tennis: Nadal over Federer at the French Open, Federer over Djokovic at Wimbledon, Djokovic over Roddick at the US Open
Golf: Woods wins the next two majors, some random fat guy wins the PGA Championship (very original, eh?)

Summer Films:
Biggest Movie: Indiana Jones
Biggest Comedy: Step-Brothers
Biggest Flop: Speed Racer
Movie I'll Personally like the Best: Pineapple Express

Amount of time before Bryan and I break down and get internet/cable in our new apartment: 2 weeks
Number of nights I'll annoy my friends this summer by talking about some new podcast I found: Approx. 137
Month before Brandon and I actually start to do our podcast: July
Month that I'll start getting sad that summer's almost over: May

Anyone else have any predictions they'd like to put out there?

Friday, May 2, 2008

Finally Done With the Move

I just finished moving to the third floor of my apartment, and the following places are where it hurts:

This morning was especially fun, as I spent 20 minutes rolling back and forth in bed, moaning in pain, while trying to gather the strength to get out of bad. I never thought I'd be the kind of guy to hire movers, but there's no way I'm going through that nonsense again. Anyway, I'd write more about this, but I've blacked out twice since I began this post and I think that I need to go buy a banana.

Regular posting to resume next week!