Friday, February 24, 2006

Even Einstein Agrees...

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Random Music Mix / Scalzi's Musical Meme

I've been trying to do this random mix music thing on the weekend, surrounded by other entries, but my personal life is trying to interfere again. Internet access is kind of sporadic for me right now. Hopefully, I'll be cooking with gas again in a couple or three weeks. (Fingers crossed.)

Anyway, here's the master list, a random mix from the collection on my computer:

1. "Ramble On" - Led Zeppelin
2. "Return to Innocence" - Enigma
3. "Why Don't You Get a Job?" - The Offspring
4. "Heaven's Gate" - Ian McCulloch
5. "The World I Know" - Collective Soul
6. "Angel Dance" - Los Lobos
7. "Shepherd Moons" - Enya
8. "The Ghost of Tom Joad" - Bruce Springsteen
9. "Electric Co." - U2
10. "Mad World" - Gary Jules

Whew. Some weird transitions there, especially between songs two and three. Also, the rocking "Electric Co." is surrounded by a couple of slow, moody songs.A few notes: All good songs. Only one big hit - the Collective Soul. An old rocker - the Zeppelin. A slightly newer rocker - the U2. An even newer rocker, but not too new - the Offspring. Ian McCulloch is the former lead singer of Echo and the Bunnymen, a favorite band from my college years. The Gary Jules song is a cover of an old Tears for Fears song. Jules's version is from the Donnie Darko soundtrack. The U2 is a track I borrowed from the Internet, a live version from an old BBC broadcast.

Here's the favorites list from my MP3 player:

1. "Gold Rush Brides" - 10,000 Maniacs
2. "Down There" - Fury in the Slaughterhouse
3. "God Will Listen to You" - Nickel Creek
4. "Omaha" - Counting Crows
5. "Treasure" - The Cure
6. "In Your Eyes" - Staind
7. "Shiver and Shake" - The Cure
8. "Maps and Legends" - R.E.M.
9. "Building a Mystery" - Sarah McLachlan
10. "But I'm Different Now..." - The Jam

I'm not very religious, but I love Nickel Creek's version of that song. The harmonies are wonderful. There's a real dud here - Staind screwed up their cover of the Peter Gabriel song. There's a couple of others I like, but am kind of tired of for now; it's been a while since I changed the songs in my player. I'll have to do that before I do this again.

Over at Scalzi's AOL place, he points to Josh Hosler's site where you can find out what song was Number One on the Billboard Hot 100 on any date in history...well, any date where there actually was a Billboard chart.

The song that was Number One on the day I was born (10/17/1960): "Save the Last Dance for Me" by the Drifters. Eh. Not too bad.

It's interesting to look at the list on that date through the years to see how musical tastes have changed. And I see that "Monster Mash" made its first Halloween appearance in 1962.

I can't remember the exact date, but my high school graduation was during the first week in June in 1978. I figured it would be some disco garbage, but it's even worse. "You're the One that I Want" by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John was Number One that week. If there's a jukebox in Hell that song will be on it.

My wedding Number One was "I Just Died in Your Arms" by Cutting Crew. Eh.

My kids' birthday Number Ones are...

"Let's Go Crazy" - Prince
"True Colors" - Cyndi Lauper
"One More Try" - George Michael

Don't really remember the George Michael song, but I think that may be the worst of the birthday songs. Either that one or my grandson's: "All I Have" - Jennifer Lopez and LL Cool J.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Video of the Week

I could do this but I don't like to show off: Dvinsk Clan - Russian Parkour

The Weekend Random Music Mix

The Master List

1. "Suspicion" - R.E.M.
2. "Illegal Smile" - John Prine
3. "No One" - The BoDeans
4. "Testosterone" - Bush
5. "Immigrant Song" - Led Zeppelin
6. "Hot Hot Hot!!!" - The Cure
7. "Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven" - Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs
8. "Me in Honey" - R.E.M.
9. "A Gentle Place" - Clannad
10. "Seven Wonders" - Nickel Creek

The Favorites List

1. "Missing" - Everything but the Girl
2. "Ghost Train" - Counting Crows
3. "Thank You" - Dido
4. "Goodnight Elisabeth" - Counting Crows
5. "San Andreas Fault" - Natalie Merchant
6. "Please Forgive Me" - David Gray
7. "Don't Dream It's Over" - Crowded House
8. "Listen" - Collective Soul
9. "Epiphany" - Staind
10. "Collide" - Jars of Clay

Friday, February 10, 2006

Utterly Useless Websites

Over at By the Way, Scalzi passes out the weekend homework:

Weekend Assignment #98 - List the most useless website you have ever visited.
Extra Credit - Tell us why you can't stop going there.

Well, is it really useless if you keep going back there? Possibly. The most useless website I've EVER visited was the utterly silly Hamster Dance, but I don't go there...hardly ever. I'm assuming from the question (and the extra credit) that we're talking about totally useless websites that we visit from time to time (and maybe, just can't get enough of.) For me, the winner of totally useless website has to be the incomparable College Humor. Rude, crude, lewd, and occasionally hilarious, this site has something for the social degenerate in all of us, even a little nudity. I especially love the Hotlinks where you never quite know what kind of degenerate, juvenile tripe you're going to. But the Jokes are sometimes pretty funny too, especially the sick one about how a woman is like KFC. (Warning!!)

Update (2/13/06): Okay. I just found this one. It was featured in USA Today's Hotlist, which is supposed to be a list of useful sites, but it's pretty worthless. It's

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The West Wing

I was slow to realize what a great television show The West Wing is. I didn't watch it for the first time until several years into its run. Who wants to see a television show about a fairly liberal Democratic president while we're suffering through the Bush presidency in real life? But just an episode or two got me hooked and I'm pretty much caught up now after watching reruns on Bravo several times a day for quite a while. I doubt that there's more than a handful of shows I haven't seen now. I like ABC's Commander in Chief, but it's just a lukewarm substitute for the inner workings of the Bartlet Presidency.

Some memorable West Wing scenes and episodes:

The nightclub scene where Zoe Bartlet is kidnapped. Massive Attack's "Angel" starts as the techno music in the club and becomes the soundtrack, slowly building to its climax as we see Secret Service Agent Molly dead in the alley and Leo running to tell the president.

"What Kind of Day Has It Been," the Season One finale in which President Bartlet's conducts a town hall meeting with college students. The meeting/lecture is a good lesson in politics, but the show ends with shots fired at the president's entourage. Who's hit? Who's coming back for Season Two?

The first episode of Season Two, a two-parter called "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen." In the wake of the assassination attempt, as Josh and the president fight for life, flashbacks reveal how the Bartlet campaign team came together and won the nomination and the election.

"Two Cathedrals," the Season Two cliffhanging episode that's not much of a cliffhanger. President Bartlet deals with the death of his longtime secretary Delores Landingham and reveals to the nation that he has MS. He curses God in the National Cathedral after Mrs. Landingham's funeral, then goes to a press conference to answer questions, especially those concerning his political future. Will he run again? When he puts his hand in his pocket and looks away we know the answer. All the while, flashbacks reveal how a teenaged Jed first met Mrs. Landingham. Dire Strait's "Brothers in Arms" is a moody soundtrack to the final scenes.

C. J.'s pressroom outburst over the treatment of women in the fictional Middle Eastern country of Qumar.

"Posse Comitatus." Bartlet attends a Broadway play and finally greenlights a hit on the Qumari defense minister who has strong terrorist ties. C. J. Cregg's favorite secret service agent, Simon Donovan, is shot and killed when he walks in on an armed robbery at a convenience store. Jeff Buckley's version of "Hallelujah" is the touching soundtrack.

"The Long Goodbye." C. J. returns home to Dayton for her 20th class reunion and comes face-to-face with her father's Alzheimer's.

First Lady Abby Bartlet on Sesame Street. C. J. waits in the hall with Big Bird (You had to be there.)

Toby gets personally involved when a homeless Korean War veteran dies while wearing his coat.

The president lectures a conservative talk show host on homosexuality and the Bible.

"Isaac and Ishmail." Various White House staffers, including the president, discuss terrorism with a group of high-school students in a special episode that aired less than a month after 9/11.

Josh explains the humanity of space exploration by recounting the life and death of Blind Willie Johnson. He died of penniless of pnemonia from sleeping on a wet mattress in his burned-out house, but his music (the song "Dark Was the Night (Cold Was the Ground)," which provides a soundtrack to the episode) left the Solar System on Voyager 1.

The live debate between Matt Santos and Arnie Vinick.

I could go on like this for a while, but I'll stop now.

There was a cast of hundreds, including some memorable guest stars. Mary-Louise Parker, Mary Matlin, Lily Tomlin, John Goodman, Gary Cole, Moira Kelly, Matthew Perry, Edward James Olmos, Glenn Close, Tim Matheson, Timothy Busfield, Ken Howard, Roger Rees, Oliver Platt, Ron Silver, Hal Holbrook, Emily Procter, Mark Harmon, James Brolin, John Larroquette, Felicity Huffman, Penn & Teller, Ed Begley Jr., Mary Kay Place, Matthew Modine, Gabrielle Union, William Fichtner, John Amos, Christian Slater, Teri Polo and many others have all contributed unforgettable characters to the show.

Yes, I'm a fan. A late-comer, but a fan nonetheless. So I was a more than a little upset when I heard that NBC had cancelled the show. The producers had gone into the season undercutting their price per episode to get it on the air, and NBC, with their weakest lineup in years, had shoved the show away in the forgotten nether reaches of Sunday night. I turned the TV on the Sunday night after I heard the news, but no West Wing. No West Wing the next week either. Damn! Had they just cancelled it right out? We wouldn't even get to see the winner of the Santo-Vinick election? I had already lived through ABC cancelling The Night Stalker in the middle of a two-part episode, but this was too much.

I was somewhat relieved to see this article at the TV Guide website, "How Will The West Wing Say Goodbye". The show will continue until the end of the season and answer a lot of unanswered questions. The most important ones are: Who will win the election? How will the show deal with the death of John Spencer? The election episodes will air on April 2 & 9 after a Winter Olympics hiatus. The final episode will air on May 14. We'll see the transition to the next presidency and find out what happens next for all our favorite castmates.

Are you a West Wing fan? Did I leave out your favorite episode or scene? Or favorite guest star? Discuss.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Video of the Week

This is funny: the trailer for Brokeback to the Future.

Quote of the Week

From a newstory on, serving the Alexandria-Pineville area of Louisiana...

Debra Jackson said she likes shopping at the Dollar Palace because it is convenient and casual.
"I don't have to get all dressed up like I'm going to Wal-Mart or something," she said.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Regrouping / The Weekend Random 10

I'm not entirely sure what direction this journal/blog is going to take. The original reason for blogging/journaling was to have an outlet for my views on politics, but I do most of my political musing at the Blue Voice now. I've since branched out to other blogs for other interests. And I've never really been very hip on the whole idea of diary-keeping and the like so I'm pretty sure I'm not going to go in that direction. I'm too privacy-minded to put my personal situations out there for the whole world (or the small subset that might read this) to pore over.

I AM going to try to start writing in this blog a little more often and I'm going to try to keep it light-hearted and fun. I guess we'll figure this out together.

Here's something I'm going to try to do on a pretty regular basis. It's a random ten from my music lists to show you what I'm into. There are two lists. The computer list is my master list of songs on my computer. Right now it stands at around 1400 songs. The MP3 list is what's on my player. It's a somewhat more limited list. My player (a Rio Nitrus) only has room for around 400 songs. These are my favorites from the master list.

The Computer List

1. "Me" - Staind
2. "Virginia Plain" - Roxy Music
3. "Sharkwalk" - Shriekback
4. "The Flag" - Barenaked Ladies
5. "The Man with the Child in His Eyes" - Kate Bush
6. "Set Me Free (Rosa Lee)" - Los Lobos
7. "July" - Baby Bird
8. "Portrait of an Apology (live version)" - Jars of Clay
9. "I Have the Touch" - Peter Gabriel
10. "In a Lifetime" - Clannad

The MP3 List

1. "Ava Adore" - Smashing Pumpkins
2. "Three Libras" - A Perfect Circle
3. "Carnival" - Natalie Merchant
4. "Hey!" - Boingo
5. "Blood of Eden" - Peter Gabriel
6. "Passive" - A Perfect Circle
7. "Who Needs Sleep" - Barenaked Ladies
8. "AIDS and Armageddon" - David Baerwald
9. "Glycerine" - Bush
10. "Never Going Back Again" - Fleetwood Mac

Sorta strange that I've only got two A Perfect Circle songs on the player and they would both show up in the first ten, but damn good songs.

PS. Just in case you were wondering, I also have an AOL journal that mostly mirrors this site, a Civil War blog, a sports blog that focuses mainly on the Atlanta Braves, and a photo blog. Posting in all have been spotty lately, but should pick up now that my computer problems are behind me for now.