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Sunday, November 30, 2003
 
iPodWow - fantastic article in the New York Times Magazine about the iPod and why it's so successful. Major hat-tip to MacRumors.com.

Oh, and another to Monkey R.B., for convincing me that the iPod was the best player in the first place.


Saturday, November 29, 2003
 
Are We Or Are We Not Lincoln Men?

Tom Krannawitter wonders why Dixie hates Lincoln so. The reason, he says, has something to do with a fundamental misunderstanding of what the Constitution means. Worth pondering this weekend.


 
Happy Birthday To Me

Yesterday was my 35th birthday, and I woke up focused on one thing: Take advantage of as many free birthday goods and services as possible. In the end, I was only partly successful, but I'm definitely satisfied with my victory. Here's my agenda:

7:30am - Wake up, shower, and head up to Krispy Kreme for my free birthday treats. KK gives you 1/2 dozen doughnuts of your choice (plus the hot doughnut they give you as soon as you walk in), and a travel mug filled with coffee. Yippee!

8:40am - My girls gleefully give me presents: "The Two Towers" 4-disc extended edition and some fun Spongebob Squarepants pajama pants (so I can match them).

9:00am - Head down to Fry's Electronics for the 1-day only "Robb's Birthday Sale". They had another title, but it was clearly given in my honor. Yeah. I got a new scanner, powered speakers for my office computer, a 160GB hard drive for only $60 after rebate, and a bunch of stuff that will be "free" if I remember to fill out the 30 rebate forms. Odds: 38%

11:15am - Visit ANOTHER Krispy Kreme, across the street from Fry's, and get another six (plus one) doughnuts and another mug of coffee.

12:30pm - Drop off my Fry's treasure at home.

1:30pm - Go see "Timeline" (free birthday movie at Harkins Theatres) with Fingers. Not great, but kind of fun. It was fun for what it was: a Richard Donner film. Fingers expressed his respect for Donner knowing what he does and doing it unapologetically. I have to agree. Follow the Donner link - this guy directed episodes of THE RIFLEMAN. He's been around forever. Well, 73 years anyway. Virtually no recognizable actors in this film. I kept wondering if, had the script been better, they could have gotten Russell Crowe to play Andre Marek, instead of Gerard Butler, who seemed to be attempting his best Crowe imitation. At any rate, the movie was TONS better than, say, "Lethal Weapon 4".

4:00pm - Enjoy a banana split Blizzard at Dairy Queen. FYI - I should point out that although I have at this point received 14 free doughnuts, I only ate 3 of them. I also scarfed down a burger before "Timeline". The Blizzard was not free.

At this point, the wheels came off the self-indulgent cart. I went home, spent an hour on the phone with Bank of America and Wells-Fargo trying to get set up for direct access to my accounts through Quicken, and spent another hour futzing with Quicken 2004 itself. I may devote another blog entry to how much better my six-year-old copy of Microsoft Money is than the most current version of Quicken. This is one of the few situations where I miss my Windows-based options.

7:00pm - Watched "Finding Nemo" while eating pizza with the girls - Pixar continues to bat 1.000. Lots of fun (this was my third viewing)

9:00pm - Put the girls to bed and watched disc one of "The Two Towers" while sipping a glass of Powers Gold Label.

So, a pretty good birthday, all around. I did not manage to get free lunch, dinner, or whiskey out of the deal, but I did okay for an old man. :-)

Let's see, so many songs to pick. I already did the Cracker reference, so I could pick The Smiths, The Jazz Butcher, Pizzicato Five, Love Tractor...here we go:

Current Song: "Happy Birthday" from the album Free by Concrete Blonde


 
Wine ignoranceWine ignorance

It was my understanding that you aren't supposed to post about wine appreciation if you don't know what you're talking about. However, I notice that Hugh Hewitt has been blogging on the subject (sorry, no hyperlink yet - Nov. 28 entry), so that rule clearly has been rescinded. In light of our newfound liberty, I will make my daily heretical admission:

I love red wine, but I don't like it served at "room temperature", which is how restaurants serve it. Perhaps it comes from living in Arizona, where "room temperature" is close to 80 degrees during the summer, but I've had warm wine in California pretty frequently, as well, and they seem to serve it the same way. Now, my disdain for warm wine used to be so strong that I would actually drink it "cold", but nowadays I prefer to have it "cool", around 65 degrees. At home, I accomplish this by keeping wine in the fridge, and then pouring it about 15 minutes before I intend to drink it. The first glass is a little cooler than I like, but the second glass is usually about perfect.

I haven't looked, but I'm guessing my heresy is not as heterodox as I first thought. If wine was traditionally stored in underground catacombs and decanted immediately upon opening, then most of the year it probably ran a little cool anyway. Do I know what I'm talking about? Of course not.

Oh, and I like beer ice cold. Good beer, mind you, but the colder the better.

Current Song: "A Skull, A Suitcase, And A Long Red Bottle Of Wine" from the album Invisible Hitchcock by Robyn Hitchcock

Current Drink: Well, it's still before noon, so I must be drinking a homemade breve latte. Right, that's it. Because I couldn't be drinking something alcoholic this early. Never.



 
Not really spelunking

I'm taking a break from my personal schedule of heavy blogging (right) to take a trip down Kartchner Caverns. The new room just opened up a few weeks ago, so we're taking my visiting Aunt & Uncle from Georgia. [Link loads slowly, but features better content than the official site. Also, be wary of music.]


Friday, November 28, 2003
 
HeideggerDon't forget, Monkeys, that:

"Heidigger Heidegger was a boozy beggar who could think you under the table."

The philosopher's drinking song should be our theme song.


 
Glen Campbell is Crazy

I don't if any of you saw the arrest mug shot of country singer Glen Campbell. It's the most amazing picture I've seen. It's like so unrepentant. It's like: "That's right I did it, and I don't give a damn." Look at it. Look at it! Man, I wouldn't meet that guy in an alley, even if he is a damn fine singer.

Anyhow, the Glen Campbell thing is very amusing. According he reports, he wasn't just arrested for ordinary drunk driving-- he was arrested for extreme drunk driving. he doesn't drive drunk like ordinary mortals. He pushes it to the max. He's out there on the edge man.

Extreme drunk driving. I like that phrase. It sounds like a reality TV show. You get people tanked and then put them on a course and have them compete for cash and prizes.

That would be cool. You'd have like little obstacles and stuff. Like old ladies in walkers. Pregant ladies, stollers, nuns, school kids, people in wheelchair animals-- cardboard recreations, not the real thing-- and like depending on how many cardboard things you destroy, that would determine your score.

"Extreme Drunk Driving," I'm telling you, it could work.


 
My Favorite Cartoons Series of All Time
25. The Smurfs
24. Johnny Quest
23. The Transformers (original series)
22. Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends
21. Thundercats
20. Thundarr the Barbarian
19. Fat Albert
18. Tom and Jerry (the Tex Avery ones)
17. Perils of Penelope Pitstop
16. Bugs Bunny (the Chuck Jones ones)
15. The Snorks
14. Batman/Tarzan Hour
13. The Mighty Hercules
12. Captain Caveman
11. Jabberjaw
10. Speed Racer
9. Redwall
8. Robotech
7. Star Blazers
6. Pinky and the Brain
5. G.I Joe
4. Superman: The Animated Series
3. Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot
2. Batman: The Animated Series
1. The Animaniacs


My Favorite Live Action Kid Shows of All Time
25. Kids are People Too
24. The Big Blue Marble
23. Villa Allegre
22. The Electric Company
21. Zoom
20. H.R. Puffinstuff
19. Sweet Valley High
18. New Zoo Revue
17. Kroft Superstars
16. Magic Garden
15. Ark II
14. The Mighty Isis
13. Monster Squad
12. Wonderbug
11. Space Academy
10. Jason of Star Command
9. Mr. Rogers Neighborhood
8. Shazam
7. Korg 70,000 B.C.
6. Run Joe Run
5. Lidsville
4. Bigfoot and Wildboy
3. Big John, Little John
2. Sesame Street
1. Land of the Lost

My Favorite Video Games of All Time
25. Madden '93
24. Double Dribble
23. Dig Dug
22. Defender: Stargate
21. Joust
20. Galaga
19. Burger Time
18. Tecmo Bowl Football
17. NBA Live 2001
16. Punchout
15. Vice City
14. Star Craft
13. Spy Hunter
12. Tetris
11. Sim City
10. Sim City 2000
9. Mega Man X
8. Final Fantasy I
7. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
6. Super Mario Land
5. Baseball Simulator 1000
4. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
3. Paperboy
2. Robotron
1. Contra


 
Heidegger: Don't be stupid, be a smarty. Come and join the Nazi party!

I just couldn't resist Ben. That Mel Brooks obscure reference was just there for taking.... I would like to say that party affiliation has nothing the awarding of Philosopher of the Day. It's purely a random drawing. Though in the future we may ban Nazis and Communists and anyone associated with the Green Party.

Oh and by the way Ben: Turducken. Turducken! Turducken!!! Turducken!!!!!!!! Turducken!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Turducken!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TURDUCKEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Turducken Good. Very, very good.


 
Heidegger

Maybe I'm still a little woozy from all the pumpkin pie I inhaled yesterday, but I can't seem to find the part of Herr Professor Doktor Heidegger's biography in which he joined the National Socialist Party.


 
Congratulations to Martin Heidegger! You're Infinite Monkeys's Philosopher of the Day!!!!

You developed existential phenomenology and have been widely regarded as the 20th-century most original philosopher! You were born in Messkirch, Baden, on September 22, 1889! You studied Roman Catholic theology and then philosophy at the University of Freiburg, where you were a student of Edmund Husserl, the founder of phenomenology! You began teaching at Freiburg in 1915! After teaching at Marburg from 1923 to 1928, you became a professor of philosophy at Freiburg in 1928! You died in Messkirch on May 26, 1976, which must have been a total bummer!!! Anyhow, congratulations for your award Martin, and whatever plane of existence that happen to be at, I'm sure you're proud!!!!


 
Turducken-- The Other White Meat

Turducken. Turducken! Turducken!!! Turducken!!!!!!!! Turducken!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Turducken!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TURDUCKEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Must... have.... turducken... cannot resist the power of turducken. A tantalizing triumvirate of tastes --turkey, duck and chicken-- must have turducken.

All you need is a chicken,
if already have a duck
and the duck sits inside the turkey
wrap chicken around the duck
or stuff duck insdie the chicken
i want a chicken in a duck and duck in a turkey
or duck in a chicken and a chicken in a turkey
yeeeeeeee hawwwwwwwwwwwww!


Wednesday, November 26, 2003
 
Happy Thanksgiving Part II

If you've got RealPlayer installed, wait through the short Honda ad to see the inimitable Louis Black's recent piece on food.

It hits close to home since I'm doing the Zone (the 40-30-30 thing), and fellow Monkey Robb has dabbled in the Atkins. In not quite two months I've lost 15 pounds (with NO exercise) and I'm wearing some pants that I haven't been able to fit into for some time.

Aside from the predictable stuff, what am I thankful for? Splenda. Ah, sweet miracle of modern science...


 
Happy Thanksgiving

Ken Masugi explains the enduring political significance of Thanksgiving, through the words of George Washington.


 
Books Do More Than Just Furnish a Room

Whenever I visit somebody's home, I always try to have a look at his books. You can tell a lot about a man by the books on his shelves. Often, I'll ask questions. But sometimes, he'll explain himself.


 
Those Who Cannot Post, Link (Or: Sleeping the Sleep of the Tired)

Look, I'm not going to lie to you: I've been sleeping a lot lately. As a matter of fact, last night I slept nearly 11 hours, a feat I don't think I've accomplished since college; certainly not since our son was born. Anyway, that's partly why I haven't been posting much in the last several days. That, and having real work to get done before the holiday. I have several marvelous posts in the works, however. They are filled with humor and wisdom and great political insight, let me assure you. One has to do with Brian Anderson's provocative essay in the Autumn issue of City Journal. Another is an account of Bill Bennett's superb speech at the Claremont Institute's Churchill Dinner last Friday night. Yet another is my long-overdue take on "Kill Bill." And finally, I've got something cooking about the virtues of "war toys." Lord willing, I may actually get around to finishing one or more of these before the end of the week.

In the meantime, please read Martin Devon's fine analysis of the Republican ad that has so many liberals' panties in a bunch.


Tuesday, November 25, 2003
 
Woo hoo! Tuesday Morning Quarterback is back!

I haven't thought much of his stuff at Easterblogg but I love TMQ.


Monday, November 24, 2003
 
Sunday's Face The Nation

Lately, radio man Michael Medved has taken to calling presidential candidate Wesley Clark, "Weasely Clark." Let me go on the record stating that he really ought to suspend this practice. To call him a weasel implies that Clark has some talent or innate ability for prevaricating. As Clark demonstrates over and over, he's pretty bad at it.


 
H.U.A.C. (the A stands for "Asner")

The Hewitt Untruthful Activities Committee (H.U.A.C.) monitors picked up heavier than usual chatter last Thursday and Friday. Senior analysts expect the brashly conspicuous communiques to commence again Monday afternoon, after a weekend of silence. A tape has surfaced, purported to be the voice of Ed Asner endorsing the character to The Elder of Fraters Libertas. (Fraters personnel's take on the tape can be found here.) Currently, Hewitt operatives and sound engineers are working to put "excerpts" of the tape online.

What needs to be pointed out about this recording of alleged endorsement is its obvious fraudulence. Upon close inspection, Mr. Asner (analysts have confirmed the authenticity of his voice) can clearly be heard saying that he thinks "the Elder from Fraters 'Lee-bair-TAAD' is a great, great guy."

A true endorsement? Hardly. A slanderous episode of inept verbal coaching by one Hugh Hewitt? Absolutely.

Watch for more vicious attacks from Hugh today, who'll probably be surly after this past weekend. He's reeling not only from the sound thrashing delivered to Ohio State by Michigan, but he's also strained his neck by looking way up the rankings at the #2 USC Trojans.


Sunday, November 23, 2003
 
A new Bear Flag Review is up. Go read everything.


Saturday, November 22, 2003
 
There's been a lot of discussion today about the conspiracy therories around JFK's assassination. A non-scientific poll on CNN showed 73% of Americans doubt the conclusion that Oswald acted alone.

It's ridiculous. Why is it so hard for people to accept the simple, obvious explanation that's right there in front of them? Oswald acted alone, and he was sent from the future to stop the nuclear war that JFK was going to cause.


 
The 21st century Bernhard Goetz?


 
Comics

David, one can't blog about comics without mentioning Chris Muir's Day By Day. It just isn't proper. And I think Muir may be just the sort of artist that Berke is calling for in that article [just below].


 
I wish Gary Larson or Bill Watterson would come out of retirement, but I'll settle for Berkeley Breathed.

By the way, I have no doubt that Hart was up to something with the B.C. Berke refers to.


 
Through the Darkness, Darkly

Tonight was the Claremont Institute's 16th annual Sir Winston Churchill Dinner. Rush Limbaugh was supposed to be the keynote speaker, but he couldn't make it for some reason. So William J. Bennett was the headliner. And Hugh Hewitt was the Master of Ceremonies. Remarkably, Hugh refrained from committing slander. I'll have a full report on Bennett's remarks, later, when I'm slightly more lucid. Good Lord... it's 1:30 in the morning!


Friday, November 21, 2003
 
Monkey Revolutions!

Fellow Bear Flagger Howard Owens really disliked "Matrix: Revolutions":
Yes, a million monkeys typing endlessly might eventually write Hamlet, but first they would churn out a hundred thousand copies of Revolutions. In fact, I think monkeys wrote this movie.
Personally, I think he does a disservice to monkeys.

(Disclaimer: The Infinite Monkeys, their spouses, or their immediate families had no role, real or imagined, in the writing, re-writing, principal photography, post-production, distribution, or promotion of the motion picture "Matrix: Revolutions." But we're still sorry we saw it.)


 
Finally, the Answer We've All Been Waiting For

Estimating the Airspeed Velocity of an Unladen Swallow: African or European? It matters... (Hat tip: Miller's Time.)


 
I Say Lock 'Em All Up!!!!!

This whole Michael Jackson thing has got me thinking. I think for safety of the general public the government should open up celebtrity concentration camps. We'll let them out for the Oscars or when they're making movies and whatnot. But other than that they'll have to stay locked up.

The conditions will be nice, like those white collar crime prisons. The camps will have all of the amenities. Swimming pools, saunas, chefs, and guard dogs. Vicious ones. Dobermans or something like that. So that if any of the celebrites try to escape, the dogs will rip 'em apart. yeah. anyhow that's my idea.


 
Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em!

Okay, I'm back from my little vacation, and hell has broken. So, here's my question: Michael Jackson approaches you and says he wants to have a slumber party with your 12-year old kid okay? Fisrt let me start by stating the obvious: Michael Jackson is a middle-aged freak. We all know this. He's made no secret of it. He is unapologetic about his freakishness. He lives bizarro parallel world filled butterflies and zebras and monkeys and moonbeams.

Who the hell in their right mind would let their kid be alone with a man like that? I just asking the obvious question. I wouldn't let Michael Jackson get within ten feet of my kid, much less let him be alone in a room with the guy for a slumber party.

What were the parents thinking? Seriously. What are any of these people who let their kids hang out with Michael Jackson thinking? It just boggles the mind. That all said, "Off the Wall" was Michael Jackson's last great album. That Quincy Jones sure knew his stuff.....


Thursday, November 20, 2003
 
Everyone Should Have a Blog.

It's true. It's a great thing. R.B. just sent an e-mail to his co-monkeys saying "It's just cool having a blog," and I have to agree. You get to comment on whatever topic interests you, get e-mails from interesting and learned people (such as David Allen White), and get mocked on the air by nationally syndicated talk show hosts.

But do you really want everyone to have one? Think about it--do you want your mom to have a blog?

Well, I think R.B's mom reads this blog once in a while. I think she should have a blog. She could tell funny and heartwarming stories about embarrassing things R.B. did as a child. Do you hear me, J.M.? I'll even help you get it going (on Moveable Type, of course).

Wait a second--she could tell embarrassing stories about things I did as a child!

Never mind.


 
Oh, No...

David Allen White writes to inform us that the corrupted edition of Shakespeare is, in fact, the 5th and latest edition of Bevington. His advice: "Find good texts of the great books and preserve them as the good monks during the centuries of darkness preserved the writings of scripture and the insights of the saints. A long, dark, fiery night is coming..."

I cannot tell you how terrible this is. Get the 4th edition while you still can!


 
24 Hour Party PeopleWhile we don't have much positive to say about Ian Curtis, I have plenty of praise for a little film called "24 Hour Party People", a thoroughly enjoyable "history" of Manchester, England's Factory Records and the scene surrounding it, told from the perspective of Factory co-founder Tony Wilson.

A friend of mine had this to say about the movie when he saw it:
the lead actor in that film did an outstanding job. that's the kind of
performance to which i would want to see an oscar go (if oscars really
mattered).

the guy that played ian curtis was better than i'd have expected. that
would be a difficult role to approach, i would think, knowing that people
who REALLY LIKE IAN CURTIS would be sure to watch...

The DVD includes two separate commentary tracks - the first by director Michael Winterbottom and star Steve Coogan (who plays Tony Wilson), and the second by the REAL Tony Wilson.

Despite my ambivalence toward Joy Division, I really enjoy(ed) New Order and I was always fascinated by the Factory phenomenon. Rent it, it's a kick.


 
R.B. and Hugh Hewitt Are Shameless Tease-Boys!

Nowadays, my life is all about meetings. Preparing for meetings. Having meetings. Following up on meetings. So I missed the first airing of David Allen White's interview with Hugh Hewitt about politically correct Shakespeare because I was in an assignment meeting with my editor. I missed yesterday's re-airing because I was in an editorial board meeting. I don't have any meetings today, but I have to give a presentation at board meeting tomorrow.

I'm keenly interested in the subject of how Shakespeare is being corrupted by postmodern p.c.-hacks and the publishers who, ...uh, publish them. But the two CRUCIAL pieces of information that are missing from Brad's and Hugh Hewitt's posts are the NAME and EDITION of the GOL-DERNED BOOK!

Even though I don't know exactly what the discussion is about, I'll offer my recommendation anyway: Get David Bevington's edition of the complete works of Shakespeare. His notes are thorough and his commentary is pretty sound.


 
Clarification

I suppose I'm obliged to answer Robb's objections/defense of the Beatles with a vigorous defense of the Stones, and the Who, and whatever else. What I will not do, however, is put in the good word for Joy Division. But because I don't have time right now to serve up that defense, I will point you instead to a sentence in my original post in which I state that "I can't get 100 percent behind [that] piece in the London Guardian." Just to be clear, I'm referring to the bit about Ian Curtis. Please. Give me a little credit.

Update: Judging from this little thread over at Reason's blog, I am not alone.


 
Okay, so my defense of the Beatles yesterday was a little tepid. In my defense, I was cranking out a blog entry while attempting to participate in a conference call at work. On reflection, I think there is a better way to defend the Fab Four against the Stones, The Who, and certainly Joy Division. It is time-tested and blogger-approved: We must settle our differences via list-o-rama challenge. Here's the challenge: Establish the superiority of your chosen band by answering the following questions:

1. Top 10 reasons my band's songs are better than the others'. Rules: You must list single song titles. Any song from the band's catalog is permissible. Medleys are permitted only if they are routinely played that way on the radio (e.g. Pink Floyd's "The Happiest Days of Our Lives / Another Brick In The Wall Part 2")
2. Top 10 reasons my band's album tracks are better than the others'. Rules: You must list single song titles that did not and do not receive much airplay, relatively speaking.
3. Top 5 reasons my band's complete albums are better than the others'. Rules: No "Greatest Hits" collections allowed, although collections of predominantly non-album tracks are permitted. Example: The Smiths' "Louder Than Bombs" would be permitted, but "Best...I" would not.
4. Top 5 reasons the other guy might be right about why my band is not so great. Rules: List 5 songs and/or albums that make you embarassed to like this band.

I will take up the Beatles' cause:

Top 10 reasons the Beatles are better than the other bands:
1. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
2. A Day In The Life
3. Revolution
4. Happiness Is A Warm Gun
5. Strawberry Fields Forever
6. Taxman
7. Across the Universe
8. Eleanor Rigby
9. Paperback Writer
10. Here Comes The Sun

Top 10 reasons the Beatles' album tracks are better than the others':
1. She Said, She Said
2. Girl
3. I"m So Tired
4. Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite!
5. And Your Bird Can Sing
6. Run For Your Life
7. I Will
8. Doctor Robert
9. Savoy Truffle
10. Rain

Top 5 reasons my band's complete albums are better than the others':
1. Revolver
2. Rubber Soul
3. The Beatles ("White" album)
4. Abbey Road
5. Help!
(original British releases on all of these)

Top 5 reasons the other guy might be right about the Beatles being not-so-great:
1. The Long And Winding Road
2. Yesterday
3. Michelle
4. Revolution 9
5. Blue Jay Way

Fellow bloggers and gentle readers - please send links to your own responses to the e-mail address in the upper left corner of our blog. In a week or two, we'll post a round-up of links to other folks' responses.


 
Call Me Distinguished, If You Like

The venerable conservative weekly Human Events just published its list of "Ten American Biographies Everyone Should Read." As it happens, I was on the panel of "distinguished experts." I think it turned out well. And, without giving away too much, I'm pleased to report that three of my nominees made the final cut.

Two books I suggested that didn't make the final list—and probably had no hope of making it—were Terry Teachout's The Skeptic: A Life of H.L. Mencken, and Grover Cleveland: A Study in Courage, by Allen Nevins. (No joke! Cleveland was a fascinating president!) But I confess to being just a wee bit disappointed that my number-one pick didn't make the list at all: Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography. I mean, come on! Every American should read Franklin at least once. Twice if you want to learn anything. Three times to really profit from him.


Wednesday, November 19, 2003
 
Classical School Part III

As I type, Hugh Hewitt is replaying yesterday's show segment with Shakespeare Prof David Allen White. In case Hugh plays the tape past the break and includes his references to "Brad's school" again, here is the link to Providence Classical School.


 
The STONES?????

Okay, I can't let this one slide. While I would hardly say The Beatles were constantly great, I would say that there was a period of time where they consistently cranked out very good albums with few klinkers. The three albums in the mid-60's ("Help", "Rubber Soul", and "Revolver") were masterful pop with an edge, without teetering over that edge in the way they arguably did on "Magical Mystery Tour" and the White Album. And even with its weaknesses, I can still listen to most of "The Beatles" repeatedly, as long as I can skip "Revolution 9" and "Good Night", which I can do preemptively by leaving those songs off of my iPod.

It's a shame that this discussion had to start with "Let It Be", which was inexcusably bad - a document of the total collapse of the band, and bearing some of the worst adult contemporary pablum ever pressed on vinyl. When a friend asked me what the worst Beatles song ever was, I responded without hesitation, "The Long and Winding Road". But the Beatles really only had a one-album "slump", if you don't count re-packaging efforts like "Yellow Submarine", and then they broke up. The Stones, on the other hand...

I'm hoping Mitch Berg will come to the Fab Four's defense - if he reads that Guardian article, I can't imagine he'll let the claim that the loss of Joy Division's Ian Curtis was actually worse news than John Lennon's death. And the author refers to George Harrison as "The Other One"? Lunacy.


 
"The Low-Alcohol Lager of the 60s"

Look, I'm not going to lie to you: when it comes right down to it, given a choice between the Beatles and the Stones, I'll take the Stones any day of the week. Given a choice between the Beatles and the Who, it's even less of a contest. It's not that I don't like the Beatles. I do, I guess. I just was never bowled over by them. So, even though I can't get 100 percent behind this piece in the London Guardian, I can certainly appreciate the sentiment:
The line we're always pummelled with is that they set the standard for great songwriting. Yes, Strawberry Fields Forever and Hey Jude are marvellous. But if I ponder the rest—especially Yellow Submarine or Maxwell's Silver Hammer—all I think is "Help."
There's more. Much more.

(Hat tip: Doug, in the comments section of Cathy Seipp's blog.)


 
Round Up the Usual Suspects

The Accidental Jedi has this week's Bear Flag League Round-Up.


 
Re-Regulation?

How do you reinvigorate a large economy? Beats me, man. I majored in poli-sci. But something tells me—call it a rudimentary education, call it common sense—that this isn't such a good idea.

Run, Howard, run!


 
Go To Jail...

...go directly to jail. Do not pass "Go," do not collect $200. And keep your perverted hands to yourself.


 
Classical Education Part II

I wish everyone everywhere could have heard the end of the second hour of Hugh Hewitt's show yesterday. It featured a very important segment from bi-monthly guest David Allen White, the Professor who teaches Shakespeare and Classical Music at the US Naval Academy. While Prof White regularly launches right into a surprisingly engaging and delightful brief encounter with a bit of timeless beauty, be it stirring, sublime, comedic or tragic. Yesterday focused on a Shakespearean tragedy.

But yesterday was different... It was appropriately focused on the horrendous changes in the new edition of the Shakespeare text that the Prof has been using for years and years: full of politically correct garbage, and blatant destructive moral relativism. He was gracefully outraged, bemoaning the pop trends in modern literature departments throughout academia. The examples of the new commentaries and introductory passages from the text testified against themselves. I wish I had been able to take notes. Citations of Shakespeare himself were used to fashion a brilliant critique of the treatment now being given to classical literature throughout the realm of higher education. Professor White's anecdotes about the assault on truth by those who currently award post graduate degrees and keep the gates of faculty were (to my ears) devastating in their perspicuity. It was affecting to hear a man lament so thoughtfully.

I do so hope that he writes the topic up and publishes it somewhere. Perhaps the early drafts could take shape as guest blogger spots over at SCSU Scholars, where they document the incremental encroachment of so many things Politically Correct on the collegiate level.

When big interviews come along, or when there's audio of a particularly important event, it's not uncommon for the Hewitt show to replay the tape during hours in which it did not originally air. Occasionally a bit of audio will be replayed for each of several guests as they make their weekly appearance on the program. I would nominate Professor White's segment today for such status. No, it's not a frontpage headline topic. But it's as serious in its implications and as current as most more traditionally "hot" topics.

Let me say that I am grateful and feel honored that after Professor White's poignant segment, Hugh returned from the break and mentioned the fledgling school where I teach and serve on the board, and the Classical Christian school movement it is a part of, as examples of effective bulwarks standing against the tide in modern education. More than standing against the currents, we are actively promoting such concepts as truth and beauty, reason and logic, using proven teaching methods that date back centuries. It has only been in the last hundred years that schools in our country have departed from the traditional methods in favor of a series of experiments. Though, having grown up with them, most Americans now consider those experiments to be the norm. One of our goals for our classical school is to provide an approximation of the sort of education that a John Adams or a Thomas Jefferson received.

Here's a recent newspaper article about our school. To learn more about our endeavor, please visit our humble website at ProvidenceClassical.org. If, for any reason, your access to the site is hindered (we've had some strange reports - I'm investigating why we a triggering a particular blocking program), then please check out the wonderful site put together by another classical school supported by Hugh Hewitt, NorthPark Christian Academy in California's Santa Clarita Valley. Both schools are doing wonderful work. Both could use your prayers and support.


Tuesday, November 18, 2003
 
King Baby

Is this irony? Trying to read Plutarch's essay "On Listening" while my son is screaming his head off for candy.

He's asleep now, just so you know...


 
Classical Education

Here's the link to the Classical Christian school that Hugh mentioned on the show tonight. Providence Classical School is located in Mesa, AZ (a suburb of Phoenix). Once there, please check out the menu items on the left. Our school is in its second year of operation, and yes, the website is still "developing."


Monday, November 17, 2003
 
Big Boom!

Nukes in Korea? Yes. But perhaps not what you think.


 
Nice try, R.Brad, trying to make it look like we're talking about serious global policy issues, when it's clear to anyone reading the rest of the blog recently that the monkeys have gone completely feral. James is on a bender, Ben is carrying on a dialogue with an italicized writer who could only be one of the voices in his head, and Robb is drinking beer and listening to hip-hop.

Me? I'm plotting several things which shall be revealed soon. [maniacal laugh]

Meanwhile, Adrianna from Richmond, KY writes to say "Point: If you have one, please try to state it. Hugh Hewitt recommended this blog but that was after a tiring vacation."

Point, my dear Adrianna? From infinite monkeys you expect a point? Perhaps all the works of Shakespeare? No, my sweet misguided Adrianna, the point is what you see here. Make of it what you will.

For my part, it's 5:38 p.m. and I have yet to have a drink, a problem I will correct forthwith. Or, as Shakespeare said in Henry VIII, Act 2, "I meant to rectify my conscience."


 
Pay no attention...

...to that memo behind the major-media blackout. Nothing to see here. Move along. No. No. Might upset your mantra.

For a shorter story on the memo you're not supposed to hear about, go here


 
My Brother James

Now, I know you're wondering, "How in the world is Ben going to respond to James's vicious, if somewhat unhinged, rant about Ben's mom and her weird collection of skunks? Will he explode in a homicidal rage? Should James change his name and enter Witness Protection or something?"

Please. I'm a better man than that. First, we refer to mom as eccentric, not "weird." And, thanks to the miracle of modern medicine, I'm here to tell you that I haven't flown into a homicidal rage in more than eight weeks. (I just got my two-month pin!)

So, what can I say? For starters, how about the fact that Monday is James's day off. So if it seems a little . . . unorthodox to some that a man would post a drunken screed at 2:39 in the afternoon at the beginning of the traditional work week, well, that's our James!

Hold on. Isn't James on the East Coast?

Yes. So what?

Well, that means he really posted at 5:39.

What's your point?

My point is, he wrote his drunken screed after the socially accepted hour of 5:00 p.m.

Wait a sec, you don't really believe he was stone-cold sober at 5:00, do you?

I don't know if he was sober or not. I'm just saying, he wasn't necessarily hammered in the afternoon, as you tried to imply. Hell, you didn't imply it at all! You came right out and said it!

Okay, let's just say, for the sake of argument, that James was sober at 5:00. Can we at least agree that he's a lunatic?

Sure. But, I mean, doesn't that go without saying?

Yeah. Good point. And even if he was sober at 5:00, he could have chugged down three or four double-vodkas in short order. He'd be good and buzzed and thinking about skunks around 5:30. And, let's not forget, James is crazy.

I don't really see where you're going with this. You started out trying to smear James as a guy who basically drinks his breakfast, lunch, and dinner...

How do you know he doesn't?

...Don't interrupt. You try to portray the guy as some kind of latter-day black W.C. Fields, who's blotto most afternoons...

I didn't say "most." I said "Mondays."

...Whatever. You try to make the guy out to be some sort of crazy lush, when all he did was write some incoherent ramblings about your mom, her skunk collection, and your violent tendencies.

Have you read James's stuff?

Jeezus, you really are the Master of the Obvious, aren't you?

Go to Hell.


 
Ben, he's really busy. And I know if he had the time to respond to me making fun of his mom collecting skunk figurines, he would have. But he is a busy man. A busy, busy man. So I am going to respond for Ben. Because he is my friend:

"Bastard! Bastard, bastard, bastard!!! You mock my mother for colletcing skunks!!!!? You bastard!!!!! You heartless bastard!!!! Bastrarde!!! That's Italian by the way!!! I"LL KILL YOU JAMES. I WILL KILL YOU!!!! Okay, I know it's weird-- the skunk thing. But man, why my mom>? Why not Dave's mom? Or Robb's mom? Huh? I know the skunk thing is weird. I know it!!! Don't pick on my mommy. I love my mommy. I love her. You bastard. You heartless bastard. Bastard! There will be hell to pay James. I promise it. Yeah."

That's Ben response. If he was fucking blogging. Which he is is not. Bastard.


 
...and we'll monitor his mind...

The Hewitt Untruthful Activities Committee (HUAC) has hit its stride. See this entry at its flagship blog, Fraters Libertas.

Oh, and you can rest assured that the HUAC will be seeking operatives to put into the field for verification of whether Hugh Hewitt follows through on last Friday's challenge of frequent fill-in host Frank Pastore in an upcoming half-marathon.

In only slightly related news, my call for submissions on which Mystery Science Theater 3000 characters the Hugh Hewitt Show staff and contributors most resemble has netted these worthy entries:
Hugh as Pearle
Duane as brain guy
Moses as Bobo.
Add your own by emailing infinitemonkeys at zebra.net.


Sunday, November 16, 2003
 
Public Service Announcement

Today's the wife's birthday. She had a hankering for a Hawaiian burger, so off to the Islands in Rancho Cucamonga we went, with the boy and my mom and dad in tow. About midway through dinner, mom says to dad: "So, did you tell them you're having a colonoscopy this week?" A long, uncomfortable pause follows. "No," my dad replies. "But, I really don't want to talk about it now. We're trying to eat dinner." "Oh," mom says. "Sorry" ...as if dad should have jumped at the chance to discuss his colon midway through the meal. I mean, I hadn't even finished my first Mai Tai.

The moral of this story? When you order the Hawaiian burger at Islands, ask for extra teriyaki sauce. They always seem to skimp on the sauce. If you're paying that kind of money for a burger, make sure you get what you want.

Oh, and get a colonoscopy. If your doctor says you need one, that is. Or if you're 50. But finish your dinner first.


Saturday, November 15, 2003
 
Mmmmm... Roadhouse Whiskey

I saw the re-make of "Carrie" a couple of weeks ago. Terrible. Just terrible. It played like a pilot for a new series: "Carrie the Teenage Telekinetic." I don't know why I watched it. Beat working, I guess. I didn't even like the book very much. By comparison, though, the 1976 Brian DePalma version holds up pretty well. The very best thing? Piper Laurie as Carrie's crazy, religious zealot mom. And here's the very best snippet of dialogue from the film:
I should have killed myself when he took me. After the first time, before we were married, Ralph promised never again. He promised me and I believed him. But sin never dies. Sin never dies. At first it was alright. We lived sinlessly. We slept in the same bed but we never did it. And then, that night, I saw him lookin' down at me that way. We got down on our knees to pray for strength. I smelled the whiskey on his breath. Then he took me. He took me, with the stink of filthy roadhouse whiskey on his breath, and I liked it. I liked it! With all that dirty touchin' of his hands up on me, all over me. I should have given you to God when you were born, but I was weak and backslidin'. But now the devil has come home. We will pray. We'll pray. We'll pray. For the last time, we'll pray.
I didn't know, until just now, that "Carrie" was Piper Laurie's first film since "The Hustler," which she made 15 years earlier. And even though she's done a lot since then, not much of it has been up to her talent. "Children of a Lesser God"? Yeah, that was pretty good. And she had an interesting part in "Twin Peaks." Otherwise, not much. Why is that?


 
This ridiculous lawsuit has my blood boiling too much to really blog about it.

Update: Here's a great logo for this topic.

Another update: here is a round-up of our fellow Bear Flag Leaguer's support.


 
I thought of this idea a few months ago, and thought it was so obvious that someone must have done it already. I couldn't find it then, but finally there's an improvment on the Che t-shirts. I wish he was wearing a beret, though.


Friday, November 14, 2003
 
The Freaks Come Out at Night

I'm going to tell you guys another secret. I'm an idiot. I'd do anything to make people laugh. I'd do anything. Anything. If I could dance naked, live, on this weblog, and I knew it get a laugh, I'd do it.

I swear to God. I'd have to get some liquor in me first. Because I have body issues. But after that, I'd do it, I'd dance for you naked. You'd be like e-mailin' your friends saying, "you gotta see this black dude dancin' its' funny as hell."

Unfortunately, I can't dance naked on this weblog. But maybe one day there will naked dancing on weblogs. I think the world will be a better place for it. The whole blogosphere will able to get its freak on. Liberals and conservatives. Maybe even Andrew Sullivan.

Hey, why the hell not?


 
Match, Set, Point.... James

I tell you guys a secret. I work at this magazine-- I can't say where, but I have an editor who, every once in while, comes up with a bad idea that I have to execute. Even though there is a better way of doing it-- the way I want it done-- he still makes me do the bad idea. There are times where he really, really wants the bad idea to work. Like Captain Ahab and The White Whale. Or a crazed stalker who thinks Sheryl Crow or Lara Flynn Boyle is love with him and only him.

That's what it's like for him sometimes, and his bad ideas.

But the thing is, it's my job make sure that the bad idea doesn't work.

Which means I have make the bad idea look bad. Really bad. But not bad enough that it looks like I torpedoed his idea. It's a tricky balance for sure, but I've gotten pretty good at it. The whole trick to it is, is when I go up to see him, I always look all apologectic. You actually have to look like you're disappointed it didn't work. That you really tried hard to make it work. That you gave it the old college try, but gosh darn it "we" just couldn't pull it off.

Secretly, he knows I'm acting-- that I torpedoed his idea, so that he'll do it the way I want it done. Oh, he knows. And I know he knows that I know that he knows. And he knows that I know that he knows that I know. It's little game that we play. A twisted, twisted game.

Anyhow, I won today. And he doesn't even know it. heh. hee. hah. hah hah hah!!! hah hah hah hah!!! haaaah!!! haaaaaah!!!! haaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!!!!!!





 
Bully Pulpit

We have reached a critical juncture with the war in Iraq. I believe the decisions that will be made in the next weeks and months will have far reaching implications. In moments like these, you have to have balls of steel.

I really hope the Bush administration doesn't punk out here. They just can't afford to. I'm reminded of story I read once about Dallas Cowboy Head Coach Bill Parcells. He was talking about when he was a little boy there was a bully who terrorized him. He told his father, who was a pretty no-nonsense guy, and his told to go fight him. "Sometimes you just gotta fight," he said. Fighting sometimes is the only way you can get the other guy to leave you alone.

The other guy, in the case of Iraq, are jihadists. It sucks to read casualty reports in the paper. And I know it sucks for the soldiers over there. And I'm sure it sucks for their familes at home. But the thing is, if we end this fight on the terrorists' terms, it will only embolden them. And prove to them and their ilk that terror tactics do work. It's the law of the jungle, you can't back down from a bully. You just can't.

Victory on our terms. Democracy and stability and relative peace in Iraq is the only way out for us. We have to show the bully that it won't work. That we won't back down. That we are willing and able to sacrifice lives to acheive. That we aren't afraid.

Sometimes all it takes is standing up and calling a bully's bluff. But sometimes you just gotta fight. Either way it takes balls of steel.


 
If Only I Were King...

One thing I've been sorely dissapointed about in this Iraq thing is why there's never really been a serious discussion about partition. To me its seems like the logical way to go. If I were president that's the direction I'd go.

Basically I'd split Iraq into three separate states.

I'd give the north to the Kurds. Believe it or not, besides Israel, the Kurdish no-fly zone is the only other functioning democracy in the Middle East. If it ain't broke why fix it? Let 'em keep doing what they're doing. Why punish them by making then join the mess that is Iraq?

Sure, it'll piss off the Turks. But I say screw the Turks, because they screwed me first. I still haven't forgotten not letting my troops go through your country.

Now, I'd make a deal with the republic of Kurdistan--if you let me have a large military base in your country, I'll keep the Turks off your back. See? Problem solved in the North, and I get to screw Turkey. Cool.

The center, which we'll Iraq, I'd give to the Sunni. I'd be like, "Guess what Sunni dudes? You got your own country. Congratulations. Oh, and by the way, we're leaving." Problem solved in the center.

Now the south, of course goes to the Shi'ites. For the sake of this post, I will call the south Iraq II. I'd say to Iraq II, "Congrations Iraq II, how does it feel to be free of the Sunni who subjugated you for years? Feels pretty good don't it?

"Look Iraq II, let's play ball. You saw what happened after we pulled out of Iraq I. It's a bloodbath up there. Civil war. So what I'm saying is, don't be Iraq I. We pulled out and they're getting nothing from us. No humanitarian aid. No foreign aid. Nothing. They're totally screwed, they'll never really recover.

"I mean, we gave the oil fields in the north to the Kurds. Out of spite. And you guys have the oil fields in the south. That's a pretty good deal. And you'll be getting foreign aid and stuff for years from us. But it's all contingent, Iraq II, on one thing: don't act crazy like Iraq I. Okay? Be like Fonzie. Remember what Fonzie was like? He was cool. Be cool Iraq II, and everything will be cool okay? Just be cool."

Anyhow that's what I'd do if were president.


Thursday, November 13, 2003
 
Andrew Sullivan points out something truly remarkable about this Kinsley article. If you haven't read Sullivan yet, go skim the Kinsley article and see what he failed to mention, and then check Sullivan.

It's stunning.


 
Good Beer: UPDATED

Over at Fraters Libertas, the HUAC has taken up the cause of identifying good American beers, and I felt responsible to add to the list. In addition to echoing their praise for Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale, I heartily recommend:

1. From the Red Hook brewing company in Seattle, their ESB and Ballard's Bitter IPA are fantastic.
2. Virtually anything from the New Belgium Brewing Company in Ft. Collins, Colorado. Fat Tire is a good reliable ale, but I prefer their Trippel, Abbey, and 1554 beers.
3. Tempe, Arizona's Four Peaks Brewing Company produces a top-notch Scottish Ale called Kilt Lifter, and their 8th Street Ale and Raj India Pale Ale are also excellent.

The Fraters also remind us of Hugh's accusation that we monkeys have run out of ideas. I would love to say that Hugh is confusing the fact that we all have real jobs and families to distract us from blogging all day like certain radio hosts with an actual dearth of creativity. However, the truth is we actually ARE out of ideas. The well's run dry. Except for James. As long as there is Vodka on this earth, James will post something interesting.

Current Song: "Look What I Found In My Beer" from the album Quench by The Beautiful South

Current Drink: What else?

UPDATE: Monkey reader Pat D. reminded me that the New Belgium Brewing Company is located in "Ft. Collins, CO., home of the CSU Rams, not in Boulder, where the hated and pathetic Buffs roam." Thanks, Pat!


 
Panther Kicks Ass, Part 3Panther Kicks Arse
Part 3 - Fancy!

Part One can be found here.
Part Two can be found here.

Thanks to those of you who waited patiently through all of the geek-speak to get to the Bells and Whistles. For those of you who just skipped ahead, welcome!

It's hard to build a marketing campaign on fairly obscure compatibility details - the ingenuity of performing Exchange synchronization through the Outlook Web Access API set, rather than native MAPI, is a feature whose benefits are difficult to articulate to the average consumer. Much better to write a white paper for Microsoft systems administrators on how to integrate Macs into their network. It is easier to talk about the sexy GUI improvements. Fortunately, Panther has several of these improvements, and most of them are quite useful, to boot.

The biggest new is a feature called Exposé, a fancy new system for selecting between open windows. Even if you've got a 23" Cinema display (lucky bastard!), the stability of OS X has probably led you to leave lots and lots of windows open. Hiding and minimizing are fine, but most of us are likely to just keep stacking apps on top of each other. Enter Exposé - via hot keys or screen "hot corners", you can now easily perform three productivity-enhancing tasks. Hit F9 and Exposé takes every open window, shrinks them down, and re-arranges them so that they are all visible on the screen (or screens, if you use multiple monitors) at the same time. Find the window you want to access, click on it, and all of the windows return to their original size and position, with the selected window on top. F10 performs the same task, but only with the current application: if you've got multiple Safari browser windows open, or several Excel spreadsheets, for example. All other apps recede into the background and are dimmed so you can easily select the item you want. Finally, F11 slides ALL open windows off the screen so that you can see the desktop. You can open a finder window and browse to a document. The windows stay off screen until you hit F11 again, open a new document, or launch an application. After using Exposé for just a week, I was completely hooked. No more Jaguar for me!

On a related note, task-switching with Command-Tab is a little more straightforward now. Previously, when you hit Command-Tab, the active applications in your dock would inflate to indicate which application you were switching to. This could get a little confusing, because all of the other apps that were in your dock were still visible, so you had to pay attention to the little black triangles to know which application was "next". The new GUI element is much more "Windows-like": Large icons representing only the active applications appear horizontally in the middle of the screen, and you cycle through them by continuing to hit tab while holding the Command key. You can also, as long as you're still holding Command, use the arrow keys or mouse to move left or right in the list.

The Finder has also been re-designed in a couple of useful but not mind-blowing ways. The shortcuts that used to be at the top of the finder window are now in the lower left corner, and the upper left corner shows all mounted drives and your iDisk for easy selection. An eject icon appears next to any drive, network share, or mounted disk image that may be disconnected, and if you are synchronizing an on-line copy of your iDisk, an icon appears to trigger a sync operation and indicate when synchronization is occurring. The finder has also adopted the "brushed metal" interface styling that has replaced Aqua in most Apple applications.

Did I forget to mention iDisk synchronization? Shame on me! You can now configure your iDisk (100MB+ of shared web space that is part of Apple's .Mac service) to synchronize with your local hard drive. The chief benefit of this is that when you add or edit files on your iDisk, you make the modifications to your local copy, and the changes are synchronized as bandwidth is available (automatically). Right now, I'm sitting on an airplane with no Internet connectivity, editing my expense report. When I get home, it will automatically be synchronized (and effectively backed up) to my iDisk.

An additional feature added to the finder is color-coding of files and folders. I'm obsessive about color-coded organization in Microsoft Entourage - I'm involved in two different businesses (green and orange), and I use another color (blue) for personal messages, and one more (purple) for general information. I use the same color scheme for my calendars in iCal, and I welcome the opportunity to use the same colors to code my documents and folders. If only Apple would include this feature in their Mail application...

The last feature I'll discuss is fast user switching. This is a flashy-cool feature with a limited audience currently. Rather than having to close your applications and log out when someone else wants to log on, fast user switching allows you to leave all of your current applications open, and simply open a new desktop for the new user. The graphical representation is snazzy - your desktop rotates away like the face on a cube, and a blank login screen rotates into its place. This is nice for families who share a computer, of course. I use it at home on my family's iMac to make sure the Dantz Retrospect Client (our backup program) is always running, regardless of what the current user is doing.

As I said, there is currently a limited audience for this, but I think the feature bodes well for future versions of Mac OS X Server. In the Windows world, there is a feature (pioneered by Citrix and co-opted by Microsoft) that allows multiple virtual sessions to run on the same machine while being controlled remotely. Windows calls this feature "Terminal Services", and it is great for running infrequently used applications at LAN speeds over a relatively slow link. Because Microsoft has a Remote Desktop Client for the Mac, I am able to fully administer my company's Windows 2000 servers remotely from my Mac. In Windows XP, Microsoft leveraged the basics of this technology to allow both fast user switching and remote control of the Windows desktop. Since Apple is now bundling the Apple Remote Desktop with Panther as well, I'm hoping it won't be long before they use the two technologies to build "Macintosh Terminal Services" on OS X Server. Everyone cross your fingers.

I've had a lot of good things to say about Panther in the last three posts. In my next post, I will talk a bit about what's still missing.


 
Frater's Elder has come up with a perfect illustration of yesterday's Hugh Hewitt Show. (CSPAN + Hugh's commentary = Congressional MST3K)

That's why I couldn't watch the anti-filibuster last night or today. Don't get me wrong – I'm glad to see the Republicans turning up the heat on the blatant obstructionism and all... (show Frist and crew that they're on the right path by voting with your dollars at NRSC.org.)

But without the added remarks, the coverage just falls flat.

So, is Hugh more of a Joel or a Mike? And which bot is Duane? I'm nominating Lynne the Web Xena as Gypsy.

Orrrrrrrr... is Hugh more of a Dr. Forrester? Hmmm, and Duane would be TV's Frank? Lileks as Tom Servo or Torgo? (You remember, the guy with the knees from Manos: Hands of Fate.)

Can you help round out the HH staff and regular guests / contributors as Mystery Science Theater personalities? infinitemonkeys at zebra.net


 
Meow, meow, meow

So, my co-workers are having a sprited debate about whether or not a person should allowed to have eleven cats. Apparently, one the neighbors of somebody here in the office, has eleven cats who roam the neighborhood. Some dude.

Anyhow, work has literally round to a halt as they discuss the eleven cat situation.

Now to be honest, I'm a cat owner. And I have one. Every once in while, I entertain the notion of getting another one, to keep him company. Two cats are a sane limit. Three are a sane limit, if you live with your girlfriend or boyfriend or some kind of roomate or whatnot.

But not all three cats can belong to one person. If one person owns three cats-- even if they live with someone else-- are on the brink of being a crazy cat lady type of person.

Personally, I don't think a person should be allowed to have eleven cats. It's just plain weird. Especially if it is a man. And that's just really weird. I can understand a woman kinda losing it and somhow ending up with eleven cats. It happens. Women are a little crazy-- they do crazy stuff all the time-- like collecting Beanie Babies, or skunk figurines. It's a part of their nature.

But a man? With eleven cats? That's just inexcusable. Disturbing even. A man who loses control like that is just... I don't know, weird.

Eleven cats. Dude, maybe you should get a girlfriend. Or collect comics or something. Well, maybe not comics, that's still kinda fringe territory. Maybe you should do some volunteer work or something. But something man, and something that has nothing whatsoever to do with cats. And you might wanna think about some therapy. Big time.

Eleven cats? Weird man... weird.


 
Un-type...ing. Un-work...ing. Un-post...ed?

If James will yield the floor for a momentary previous-post-title-inspired poetry reference...

(No, I'm not trying to break his filibuster of the blog on what is an historic day.)

Woman...
Whoa-man...
Whooooooooaaaa-man.

[He] was a thief,
You gotta believe,
[He] stole my [time] and my [mag].
No, I'm not James' boss. I'm not a woman. Those [altered] lines from one of my favorite poems movies just came flooding into my head (he screamed into the night air like a firefighter going to a window that has no fire...).

UPDATE: James is no Samuel Boniface when it comes to care of his boss' things.


 
Stickin' it to The (Wo)Man

I just got back from the gym. Had a good workout. On my way back to my desk, I stole my boss's copy of Sports Illustrated. It is something I do on a regular basis.

The way I kind of justify it to myself is, "She wants me wants read this. She needs me to keep up on sports and everything. For goodness sake I work for a news organization . I would say it is my obligation keep up on this stuff. It's part of my job description as a journalist. Yeah. And besides she's a woman, what does she know about sports? About manly competition? Of camraderie among men? What does she know? Huh?! I totally deserve to get to read this copy of Sports Illustrated before her! And I'll tell you something, I only got a measley 4 percent pay hike! What the hell that all about?!!! Screw her. I am totally taking this Sports Illustrated. It my due."

That's what I tell myself when I take it out of her mailslot. And that's the same speech I make when I blog on company time, like I'm doing now. heh.


 
Obviously, I have the blog all to myself. I can write about anything! None of the other Monkeys will be the wiser. let's see, I've written about cannibals. My sucky record collection. What else can I write about? I know, I can write a self-reflexive post about posting. A post that ironically turns in on itself.

Nah, I don't feel like doing that. it seems trite. so done. that's just stupid. the stupidest idea for a post I've ever had.

How about a haiku post? that's kinda cool. that's different. haiku. I haven't written haiku in years:

baghdad is burning
we need more troops on the ground
bill parcells is god



 
What can I say that's funnier than this headline?

Fiji Villagers Apologize for Cannibalism


 
I Suck: Part Deux

Since I'm on the path to musical oblivion, I've made a decision: I'm going for it all. I'm going buy Russel Crowe's album. And the Bacon Brothers. And I'm going to buy the album by Keanu Reeve's band Dogstar. I mean, what the hell? I have no self respect anymore. I bought Don Johnson's album willingly. No one pointed a gun at my head. I wasn't taken hostage. I wasn't suffering from Stockholm syndrome. No, I was like, "hey man, that's a catchy tune. I gotta get that record."

And it wasn't like at some point I came to my senses.

I still own the casettte. I cherish it. And my Rick Astley cassette. And my Jane Child tape. If i started listing all of the tapes I own from my youth, you'd be like: "Dude, is there any bad band from the 80s who's music you'd didn't buy?"

And that's when I'd pull out my Judas Priest albums. Judas Priest:

"I'm your turbo lover
Tell me there's no other
I'm your turbo lover
Better run for cover..."

God, I do suck.


 
I Suck

To quote the great Eddie Murphy: "My girl wants to party all the time/party all the time/party all the time/party all the time/My girl wants to party all the time/party all the time..."

And you know what the sad part is? I bought that album. And Don Johnson's too. Oh God, and I bought Bruce Willis' album. Man, I have no musical taste at all.


Wednesday, November 12, 2003
 
When In Doubt, I Whip Fowler Out

An interesting discussion about the use and abuse of indefinite articles has broken out among XRLQ, my main man the Angry Clam, and Patterico. With certain caveats, I probably fall in with Patterico, although my mollusk friend isn't entirely off the mark. But rather than set down my own opinions, I opt to take the path of least resistance and defer to the wisdom of Mr. H.W. Fowler (I have the 4th printing [1950] of the first U.S. edition of Modern English Usage):
a, an. 1. A is used before all consonants except silent h (a history, an hour); an was formerly usual before an unaccented syllable beginning with h (an historical work), but now that the h in such words is pronounced the distinction has become pedantic, & a historical should be said & written; similarly an humble is now meaningless & undesirable. A is now usual also before vowels preceded in fact though not in appearance by the sound of y and w (a unit, a eulogy, a one).
Clear? Good. The lesson: Get Fowler—but track down an old one; don't waste your time or money on one of the newer, tepid, politically correct editions. ("How can I tell the difference?" you ask. Easy: Check the "C" section. Look for an entry beginning with the word "China" and ending with "man." If it's in there, buy the book. If it isn't, keep shopping.)


 
It's P. Diddy's world, but it would be nothing without a woman or a girl

So I was reading about how hip-hop impresario Sean "P. Diddy" Combs is being paid endorse video games. I've come to a conclusion about that guy, and it is this: P. Diddy will not satisfied until everybody in America is paying him to do something. There is no escaping it. There is nothing you can do to prevent it.

One day we will all live in a world controlled by P. Diddy. Every time you flush the toilet, five cents will go to P. Diddy. Everytime you pay your cable bill-- P. Diddy will get his cut. Same thing with your credit card bills, car payments, mortgages, groceries, whatever. I don't know how P. Diddy will accomplish all of this. But he will. Trust me on this.

Every time you have a roll of film developed, P. Diddy will be electronically inserted. The same with home videos. Nothing will be P. Diddy free. Even things that don't you wouldn't associate with P. Diddy will have P. Diddy in it.

Like the State of the Union address. You'll be watching the State of the Union and like, "Hey man, is that P. Diddy sittin' next to the vice president?" or like you'll be watching the Pope's give Christmas Mass, and you'll be like "hey, is that P. Diddy holdin' the sacraments?"

I'm talkin' weird shit man. Weird, weird shit.


Tuesday, November 11, 2003
 
X to the Y

Some weeks ago, my talk of music got Mitch Berg and even co-Monkey Robb blogging about hip-hop. As we're three suburban chaps of European heritage, it may have struck some as a bit, well...

(Did I mention that Robb and I have been granted "honorary brother" status by James?)

Anyway, I took Robb's request for hip-hop equivalents for the following categories so seriously as to outsource them to a Detroit/Ann Arbor friend o' mine. He's so Anglo that his first name is actually "Britain." But he's got the goods.

Here are his replies to Robb's categories:
1. The Velvet Underground - "Loaded" (i.e. the "commercial" album by a critically acclaimed band that you really liked the best, but told everybody you liked "The Velvet Underground and Nico" because it was
cooler to like that record)
Run-DMC, "Raising Hell." Any time you see someone paying tribute to Run-DMC in the mainstream it's always about "King of Rock." Although "Raising" has "Peter Piper," "It's Tricky," "My Adidas," the now-ubiquitous "Walk This Way," and the title track, it has hideous purple-and-green cover art that nobody wants to borrow as a template for their album cover, or use as a Ken Burns pan-and-zoom photo on Entertainment Tonight. I might have missed the point here, huh?
2. The Clash - "London Calling" (i.e. album by a previously good and
critically acclaimed group that was now "firing on all cylinders")
Public Enemy, "Fear of a Black Planet." Though I actually like "It Takes a Nation of Millions" better, this was the one that was the first album to sell one million copies in its first week.
3. R.E.M. - "Murmur" (i.e. debut album that caught everyone off-guard and effectively started a completely new "scene")
De La Soul, "3 Feet High and Rising," which cut a path for PM Dawn, Arrested D., etc. Speaking of PM Dawn, the intro to the album "Jesus Wept" is a keeper, as they borrow Linus' letter to the Great Pumpkin and lay it over one of those bits of tinkly Peanuts holiday special music, looped with a hip-hop beat.
4. The Beatles - "Let It Be" (i.e. absolutely wretched excess that effectively ended the career of a previously magnificent group)
Run DMC - that last album with all the cameos from, like, Fred Durst and Kid Rock and Stephan Jenkins from Third Eye Blind. They would've had a hard time coming back from that even if JMJ hadn't been murdered. Last Run-DMC note: if you like the file-sharing I highly recommend tracking down "What's It All About," where they flow over "Fool's Gold" by the Stone Roses. No shit!
5. Joy Division - "Closer" (i.e. album by a group that everybody pretended to like, but were actually complete crap, unless you were one of the five people on earth like Paul Morley who had some kind of gnostic experience causing them to worship Ian Curtis as the new messiah of rock)
My brother would argue anything by Mos Def. I would say Puff Daddy and the Family's "No Way Out."
Bonus: Name the hip-hop equivalent of the "Xanadu" soundtrack, and explain why.
[Sadly, no response from Britain on this one.]

Other points:
I lived in Detroit in the 90s, I had to love Barenaked Ladies. It was state law here for a while. As with all my fellow insufferable indie-rock pricks, my decreased interest in the band has dovetailed nicely with their increasing ubiquity. I know they're big Paul's fans, because at one of the six [6] BNL concerts I have attended, they introduced their next song as a cover of Angela Lansbury's love theme from "Beauty and the Beast," then launched into a faithful rendition of "Shake Your Rump."
As long as they cover the Beasties and don't cover Walkin' On Sunshine, they can't be all bad.


 
In the Market for a New Briefcase?

The good people at Heckler and Koch may have just what you're looking for.


Monday, November 10, 2003
 
HBOI can always count on HBO to find an excuse to parade naked people across my TV screen at 1:00am (I'm blogging from a hotel room in Tampa). If my career-related travel has taught me anything, it's that. Oh, and that if you make the mistake of tuning in to Showtime, there is a 50% chance you will see two men having sex with each other.

Uh, "not that there's anything wrong with that."

I'm not even exactly sure why there are so many naked people on my screen. Near as I can tell, some guy is traveling around the world, trying to take pictures of naked people in public places. Because it's, um, art. Or something. Or possibly because HBO can film it all and have naked people to show at 1:00am.

So, in the absence of ACTUAL art, I will kill my jet lag flipping back and forth between Law & Order reruns on two different cable networks. Yippee!


 
Panther Kicks Arse, Part 2
Part 2 - Compatibility

Part One can be found here.

The Macintosh OS and applications have long supported interaction with non-Mac systems, but only recently have Apple and its software vendors "gotten it" when it comes to compatibility. Compatibility doesn't happen until you stop having to ask yourself what Operating System the other person has. Importing and exporting files between formats doesn't cut it - you need native support for the same file formats, server authentication, messaging systems, and networking protocols. In practical terms, for a Mac user to be more than a second class citizen in a typical mixed network, they must be able to accomplish the following tasks seamlessly:

Log into a Windows NT and/or Active Directory domain
Access Windows file shares natively
Use other TCP/IP network infrastructure components (IP printing, DNS, DHCP)
Access a Microsoft Exchange server (including access to contacts, the Global Address List, and shared calendar information)
Edit Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) documents without importing or exporting

OS X 10.2 (Jaguar) and Microsoft Office X were the "killer tools" that allowed me to do my "job" on a Mac, even though I was the only Mac user in my company. Jaguar allowed me to authenticate to the Active Directory domain controller, browse Windows file shares and map drives, and take advantage of all of the other Windows (Server Message Block or SMB) services necessary to function.

Microsoft Office X finally solved the "Mac version / Windows version" file compatibility problem. Office X applications store, retrieve, and edit documents in exactly the same file format as their Windows counterparts (Office 97 and Office 2000 - no word yet on file compatibility with the recently released Office 2003). And Entourage, although it lacked support for MAPI (Microsoft Exchange's native communications protocol), still let me access my folder structure using IMAP, and receive meeting requests from my cohorts.

There were still limitations, of course. Jaguar could not "join" a Windows domain the way a Windows NT/2000/XP system could, allowing implicit management by Windows domain administrators, among other network management tasks. And neither Office X nor Apple's iCal and Address Book applications could effectively access my Exchange contacts or calendar folders. Browsing for network resources with Jaguar was awkward if you didn't already know what share you wanted to map to, and properly configuring your SaMBa settings (or even finding them) was a poorly documented chore.

Apple and Microsoft both addressed these limitations, however. Microsoft released a no-charge update for Office X that allowed Entourage X to sync contacts and calendar information, and view public free/busy data. And Panther significantly improved the experience of participating in Windows/Exchange server environments. My laptop is now a member of my corporate Active Directory domain, browsing resources with ease. And the new Exchange conduit for iSync allows me to synchronize my Address Book with the Contacts folder on my Exchange server with ease. See my parallel post [coming soon] on "Messaging and Personal Information Management" for more details on my configuration and the obstacles I faced.

Limitations remain: The documentation on these functions remains horrible. Exchange contact synchronization does not work "out of the box" if your Exchange server is not also a Domain Controller - which would be rare in most enterprises. Fixing this problem requires intervention by your Exchange administrator, and the change is a minor security risk that they might not be very keen to allow. iCal will not synchronize calendar information with Exchange at all, and the built-in Mail application won't receive appointments from Outlook users and post them automatically in iCal. Entourage is great, but it's a self-contained PIM, and inexplicably will not interface with the OS X Address Book or iCal. But in all, the compatibility gap has closed dramatically enough to make me quite comfortable using my Mac in my office environment.

Part Three focuses on the new user interface bells and whistles in Panther.

Synchronicity alert - I'm typing this post on a plane, listening to music on my iPod. The song that just finished was "Marnie" by The Jazz Butcher. It's about a girl that wants to house a large cat in her apartment, and includes the line, "Marnie has a problem: She wants to keep a panther in her tiny upstairs flat, and not just any panther - uh uh - Marnie wants it black." Perfect!


 
It stings the toes and bites the nose, as over the hills we go

[insert interrobang here] There's a "give yourself the gift of Botox Cosmetic" ad on the radio right now. Yep, jingly Christmas music in the background and all. Of course you'll want to look your best with the holiday parties and get togethers... Save for the Christmas music, it sounded just like those ads for all of the traditional medications (e.g. Rogain, Viagra, Nexium, Claratin, etc.). So much so, that I had to stop and listen carefully – I was thinking that it just had to be a parody. But it wasn't.

Perhaps I'm being a bit hypocritical. I support modern medical developments, and I don't think that the drug companies should be added to the Axis of Evil. But there's still a substantial "yuck-factor" about the idea of having Botulism hypodermically injected into one's face. This makes for holiday radio advertising now? Ick.


Sunday, November 09, 2003
 
And On The Seventh Day...

...the Monkeys rested.


Saturday, November 08, 2003
 
Take It From The Guy Whose Book Was Laughed Into The Remainder Bins...

"The idea that anything so trivial as a made-for-TV mockumentary might harm [Reagan's] reputation is ludicrous," writes Dutch author Edmund Morris in Sunday's New York Times.


 
The Clam and I

I've mentioned this before, but I'm happy to say it again: I am a great fan of The Angry Clam. We have a lot in common, the Clam and I. We're both angry. We both voted for Tom McClintock in the California recall. And, I just learned, we both favor union-busting (more or less).

Here's what the Clam wrote yesterday.

And here is what I wrote last month.

Uncanny! The main difference, I suspect, is that only one of us is a bi-valve mollusk. But, as I say, we're both very, very angry.

Update @ 10:00 p.m.: XRLQ puts the grammatical billy club to a quartet of grocery union members. Not to be missed.


 
Old Man With A Gun Legal Defense Fund

The other day, I noted the story of Mr. Lester Campbell, the New York octagenarian who defended himself from a mugger with an unlicensed pistol. For his trouble, he still lost his Social Security money and got arrested for illegal possession of the gun.

Now, an enterprising blogger has started the Lester Campbell (self-) Defense Fund to pay "for this guy's defense (and/or %&*#'ing FINE)."

I sent 10 bucks last night. I encourage you to do the same.


 
Expense reports suck. And credit card bills. They suck, too. And deadlines in general. To hell with deadlines!

Grrrrrrrr...


Friday, November 07, 2003
 
Now It All Makes Sense, I Tells Ya!

So I figured it out. You know the reason we can't find Saddam Hussein? It's because we already have him. We've captured him already, I'm sure of it. See the Bushies are clever, clever people. You don't annouce you got the guy now. What's the use of that?

No... you wait for an appropriate time to announce it. Like a couple of months or so before the presidential elections next year.

Yeah, I can totally see it.

"We got him!" they'll announce, and they'll have video footage him in handcuffs and stuff. Maybe even have Kal Rove and Andrew Card there slapping him around for good effect.

And they'll bring him to America, and put him in a giant cage. Like King Kong or those dinosaurs from Jurassic Park. It'll be a great spectacle. And they'll charge admission and they'll have rides and exhibits. It'll be like a giant street fair. With carnival barkers going, "Come see the evil dictator that your president--President Bush!--captured."

And the contract for building the cage will go to Kellogg, Brown and Root. And the contract for running the cage and the concessions and taking Saddam on a nationwide tour...will, of course, go to Haliburton.

Lots of money will made.

So much so that they'll decide not to put him before a military tribunal until after Saddam finishes a national tour.

Anyhow, that's how I think it's gonna play out.


 
The End Is Nigh!

James's "interesting" post stirred up a memory. For a short time when I was in the daily newspaper racket, I kept a file called "End of the World." It was sort of a catch-all for bad and bizarre news. Because I hold on to everything, I was able to locate the file just now among my archives here. Most of the stories are from 1998. They cover a wide range of topics, from rising Y2K hysterics and accounts of self-mutilation, to parents selling their children and Internet affairs gone horribly wrong. I've got items about the televised denouement of Jack Kevorkian's sordid career, the popularization of Wicca, a rash of "sorcerer" killings in Java, and reports of sundry acts of sexual perversion by clergymen, coaches, and other "trusted" adults. I've also got a few humorous ones, like an AP story about a Pittsburgh girl who had a half-million dollar "Titanic"-themed bat mitzvah, and a Wall Street Journal profile of "spiritual directors," called "Personal Trainers for the Soul."

That's all fine and dandy, but to what end? Honestly, I don't remember. I never had occasion to write about any of those things. Ascribe it to pre-millennial jitters. At the time, I was also obsessed with sensational news reports of teenage "vampirism," especially the so-called vampire-cult murders in Florida. I gathered a lot of material on the case, and even entertained the idea of writing something long and serious about it (as opposed to my first pass at the story). A magazine piece, perhaps. But that would have required actually going to Florida, something I had neither the time nor the wherewithal to do.

Funny thing, though, about the clippings in my "End of the World" file: Seems like I keep reading the same stories, five years later. The names and the places change, of course, and maybe some of the details are different, but the storylines are essentially the same. (For example, is this all that different from this?) Why? Does it have something to do with human nature? (Nothing new under the sun.) Or is the answer as mundane as the way the press plays (and overplays) these stories? (In the words of a former college paper colleague of mine: "Thank God somebody died!")

Interesting times, you say? Maybe. I have a few suspicions of my own (they generally follow a couple of double brandies).

Tell me something, though: When are times not interesting?


 
i think we live in a very interesting time. Even more interesating than the Sixties. It feels like there's something bubbling. 9/11 made the whole world go collectively crazy. And you see it in so many. From me losing 100 pounds. To Christina Aguilera acting like a total slut. To reality shows. To Kobe Bryant cheating on his wife. To Iraq. To Argentina. To Red Sox and the Cubs totally blowing it. To Argentina. To teenage boys dressing up as hookers, pretenting to be undercovers cops, and robbing unsuspecting johns. To stock brokers who don't even need the money pulling shady deals for measley $400,000. To dudes murdering their pregnant wives.


 
Go Back To Minnesota, Nature Girl!

The Elder over at Fraters Libertas makes a feeble attempt to vindicate his libel of California's honor by wagging his finger at the freaks in Bolinas. I don't understand those people up north, and I'm certainly not about to apologize for them. I'm a proud resident of the Inland Empire, a Southern California region known for its population of hearty, hard-working, hard-partying, tax-paying, middle-class, salt-o'-the-earth folk that just happens to be the fastest growing Republican enclave in the state. And if you think a little 150,000-acre brushfire is going to change that, you got another think comin', fella.

But I do think it's telling that the Elder failed to mention a certain detail about "Dakar," the woman who sponsored the Bolinas "nature preservation" measure. Turns out she's not a native Californian at all. Turns out, she's from someplace in the upper midwest. Care to guess where?

Update: The Elder responds: "This wack job left Minnesota. Why? Minnesota was not nut-baggy enough for her. Where does she go? California naturally. Your state is a magnet for these divorced from reality types. Like moths to the flame, they're irresistibly drawn to lunacy that is the Golden State."

Divorced from reality, eh? Well, I've got three words for you: Hubert H. Humphrey.

("Walter F. Mondale" and "Garrison-friggin'-Keillor" would also be acceptable.)

Update 2: Yes, that is the best I can do. For now.


 
Linux: the choice of supervillians. Uh, except for Bill Gates.


Thursday, November 06, 2003
 
Why Lileks is Lord of Us All

It's the little things. Like this sentence from Friday's Bleat: "So I paid my five dollars and prepared for that unique sensation you get in modern movies: being bored while battered repeatedly in the head."

Yes! Yes! Exactly right!

Well, except for the "five dollars" part.

Sure... in 1989.

A matinee, you say?

Yeah. In, like, 1994.

Then again, he swings the hammer pretty hard on Harry Knowles...