Apr 28, 2010

Bioshock Evolve T Shirt from Zazzle.com

Bioshock Evolve T Shirt from Zazzle.com

I'm a t-shirt guy. I just love them, and not just regular white Hanes tees. I like the weird ones, ones that you have to get off the internet, from sites that would make the store owner from Gremlins cringe. They must have a slogan or picture for me to be happy. It doesn't have to be particularly well thought-out, but it should be present nonetheless. The irony of my outlook on life is that I despise people who cover their bumpers with slogans and other nonsense, and yet I'll be the first person to throw on a 'Day of the Dead' tee or (if I go all out and purchase this shirt) something to do with BioShock. Thing about life is, you can't be entirely free of contradictions. Contradictions are what make full, round, wonderful characters, and very few people in this world have such airtight logic, so I'm not that worried.

Apr 27, 2010

What Ralph Nader *May* Teach Us About Ron Paul

I'm not going into any specifics here, because the canyon between Paul and Nader couldn't be wider. However, what I want to caution you people out there against is judging the man too closely by his followers. I don't want to start a ruckus with Libertarians, but some of them are quite devoted to Paul. I have allowed the irony of their position - How can you follow Obama so blindly! Ron Paul's always right! - to keep me from thinking more deeply about whether or not his positions really, truly, honestly deserve the headspace I've been unwilling to give them.

How this relates to Ralph Nader is in the near-religious fervor with which both men's followers regard them. We live in an age of the cult of personality, and both me are subject to it, even in their respective lack of personality. What happened ten years ago is that the majority of Americans eschewed the message of Ralph Nader because his denizens were a bit wacky, and he was a turd in the punch bowl, but the anti-corporatism message he espoused is becoming eerily prescient in these financially bankrupt days of our republic.

Similarly, Paul's supporters are so fervent that they tend to turn the average person off, myself included, because you can kind of see that David Koresh look in their eyes when they talk about RP. That should not detract, however, from what the man is trying to say. We should keep the man separate from the message, indeed, as far as the supporters go. When I posed a question on the internet recently, asking Libertarians what their biggest grief with the man was, the most compelling answer I received was, "I wish he were twenty or thirty years younger. Oh, and he could be more forceful in his message." Honestly.

No doubt, Ron Paul has a track record to back up what he's saying, but that's not really the argument being made here. I demur from going into any real discussion of his positions - that is a post for another time - but the crux of this argument (and I hope RP fans can see through the veiled criticism to what is ostensibly a compliment) is that Ron Paul shouldn't be discounted simply because he's willing to throw a wrench in the modern political machine. I'll leave you with a quote from Ralph Nader in order to drive this point home: “When people say, ‘Why’d you do this in 2000?’ and so on,” Nader explains in AN UNREASONABLE MAN, “I’d say, ‘I’m a 20-year veteran of pursuing the folly of the least worst between the two parties.’ Because when you do that, you end up allowing them to both get worse every four years.”

Source: PBS.Org

Apr 24, 2010

Orangutans That Love DIY

This BBC video features orangutans that paddle along in boats, wash clothes, and make things, not because they were trained to do so, but because they watched others doing it and worked out how to do it for themselves. In other words, these are not parlor tricks, but real evidence of the cognitive ability of orangutans.

Apr 21, 2010

The Ooks of Hazzard - 'Kids' (MGMT Cover)

I believe it should be pronounced like Dukes without the D, but otherwise there's nothing confusing about this inspired cover of MGMT's 'Kids'. It's a straightforward, resonant track, and I hope to see more from this Americana group in the future. Enjoy.

Apr 19, 2010

A Jihad on South Park

For those of you who thought last week's episode of South Park was tame, think again. The fact that South Park even chose not to show Mohammed has sparked a controversy within radical Islamic sects. The web site Revolutionmuslim.com, which has been under investigation before for supporting violence (according to CNN), posted warnings about potential violence against creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone for even threatening to show the prophet Mohammed in the 200th episode.

As is quoted on the site (through CNN):

We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show. This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them.

The awful irony of arguing over whether or not Mohammed should be shown in an episode of South Park is that it has already happened. If you take a look at season five of the series, you will see an episode called 'Super Best Friends', which features Buddha, Krishna, and Mohammed as well. Fully visible. No Censorship bar. Nothing. In fact, if one were so inclined, he or she could got to the South Park web site and watch the entire episode right now (here is the page). In essence, this is already a moot point, but the humorless extremists on Revolutionmuslim are not very attuned to humor and irony, as it should be blatantly obvious.

Everyone is waiting for mainstream Muslims to condemn the actions taken against Theo Van Goh, who was murdered for a critical film regarding abuses suffered by Muslim women, and for this most recent threat of violence against Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Parker and Stone themselves are largely unafraid of repercussions, if their interview with BoingBoingVideo is any indication:

(Trey Parker) It would be so hypocritical against our own thoughts if we say, "Okay, well let's not make fun of them because they may hurt us...That's messed up to have that kind of thought process. Okay, well, we'll rip on the Catholics because they won't hurt us, but we won't rip on them because they might hurt us. That is not the way it works. (from from YouTube)

To be upset and appalled by the way your religion is portrayed on South Park is acceptable. That is one of the beautiful aspects of American culture, to realize that someone out there disagrees and has the right to disagree. The rights of free speech do not protect one's feelings, however. You may be astounded at the audacity of an artist willing to show Mohammed's face, but faith does not create an asylum for violence. To advocate violence for a satirical cartoon show - for any show, for that matter - only works to stretch the limitations of what is to be considered one freely practicing one's faith.

BoingBoing Interview w/ Trey Parker and Matt Stone
CNN - Radical Islam Web Site Takes on 'South Park'

Apr 14, 2010

Who Leads The (R)?

Even though I'm not a Republican, I am thoroughly interested in train wrecks, so naturally I would be interested in the elephantine party of 2010. Today's article of note comes from David Brooks of the New York Times, who takes a few moments to answer questions about the crumbling Republican Party in a brief opinion piece.

One of the more illuminating portions of the interview was when Brooks said the following:

First, let’s all stop paying attention to Sarah Palin for a little while. I understand why liberals want to talk about her. She allows them to feel intellectually superior to their opponents. And members of the conservative counterculture want to talk about her simply because she drives liberals insane. But she is a half-term former governor with a TV show. She is not going to be the leader of any party and doesn’t seem to be inclined in that direction.

The Sarah Palin phenomenon is a media psychodrama and nothing more. It gives people on each side an excuse to vent about personality traits they despise, but it has nothing to do with government.

Apr 12, 2010

About Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality is the idea that the internet should not be controlled by corporate interests. Basically, what cable and internet providers would like to do is become ostensible gatekeepers of the internet, creating a "fast lane" for web sites and search engines that pay them for a certain brand of preferred status, leaving those web sites too small or poor to stay in the "slow lane" of the internet. It would create a tiered system on the internet, favoring those with the most money and depriving the internet itself of a sort of free market, as it were. The above video explains it in much better detail and with more clarity, so watch it and become involved. On the FreePress site, you can sign a petition to keep the internet the way it is and send an e-mail to your congressperson.

Apr 6, 2010

8-bit Dr. Horrible Sing Along Game

I think the blog title is pretty self-explanatory, but for those who may be confused, Youtuber DoctorOctoroc has recreated Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog in an NES, 8-bit, old school Nintendo format. Curiously, the video does really seem to highlight both the movie itself and what an NES version of the movie might have done. Except, it probably would be much crappier and have nothing to do with the movie itself. Rather, you would probably be required to jump on bats or snakes and collect musical notes in order to advance to the next level.

Apr 5, 2010

Going Postal - Trailer

What's weird is, I recently read 'Going Postal' and thought, there's no way this will ever be made into a movie. I should say the same thing about all the books I want to see made into movies.

Apr 4, 2010

Hiroshima 'This is Your Life'

The documentary 'White Lights/Black Rain' details the destruction of Nagasaki and Hiroshima when US forces dropped The Bomb on them. In this excerpt, one of the survivors, Kiyoshi Tanimoto, is brought on the show 'This is Your Life' and forced to meet the man, Captain Robert A. Lewis, who co-piloted The Enola Gay on that singularly destructive day. Tanimoto, it should be noted, is famous for his work with the Hiroshima Maidens, the group of twenty-five seriously disfigured women who also survived the attack on Hiroshima in 1945.

Sexy ABCs and 123s

This video challenge has Youtuber DeStorm singing a love song using only letters, numbers, and symbols on the keyboard. I really didn't think I was going to like it when I first watched, but I had to go back and watch it a second time just to be able to take it all in.

Apr 1, 2010

Tool - 'Lateralus' on the Koto

Here is a cover of Tool's 'Lateralus' on a Japanese instrument called the Koto. According to Wikipedia, the Koto is "a traditional Japanese stringed musical instrument derived from the Chinese guzheng. The koto is the national instrument of Japan.[1] Koto are about 180 centimetres (71 in) width, and made from kiri wood (Paulownia tomentosa). They have 13 strings that are strung over 13 movable bridges along the width of the instrument. Players can adjust the string pitches by moving these bridges before playing, and use three finger picks (on thumb, index finger, and middle finger) to pluck the strings." It isn't that odd that Tool's music is so easily orchestrated in such a manner, but it's always refreshing to see a different take on popular music like this. It's not just novel but inventive as well, and I could see this tune being included in a score for a movie of some kind.

Here is a photo of a Koto.

Source: Koto