Friday, April 30, 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Onstage Now!

Log(arithm) Jam

If you have a YouTube account then you're familiar with "Recommended for You," in which they offer a selection of videos for your perusal and enjoyment based on stuff that you've viewed in the past: because you watched "X" we recommend "Y." Everyone knows this is all computer-generated (or whatever the correct technical term is).

Sometimes I check out the recommended videos and enjoy them. It doesn't take much genius to figure out that if I watched "Cavalcade of Nuclear Test Explosions" there's a good chance I might like "Planned Implosion Disasters," after all.

Sometimes the recommendations are somewhat mystifying, if not outright stupid (e.g. because you watched "Patrick Kane Hat Trick vs. Vancouver Canucks" we recommend "Susan Boyle--"Memory" from Cats"; WTF!?).

Sometimes, though, YouTube's recommendations are wrong in very subtle ways. Sometimes the logarithms (or whatever) are a bit too clever...

Take the example below. YouTube's 'bots believe that because I viewed Slim Harpo's "Shake Your Hips"...

...I might enjoy The Carpenters butchering performing "Jambalaya."

At first glance it seems that you'd have to be from another planet to think there was any musical similarity between Slim Harpo and The Carpenters. It seems like a stupid recommendation, if you're a human being. Of course, YouTube's 'bots (or million gerbils running on exercise wheels hooked up to a million abaci or whatever) are not human. What do they know about music? Nothing! But they're pretty damned good at scouring text, and it's in text that they found the "connection" that led to the recommendation.

This one is easy, so I'm not going to tell you what the connection is, but feel free to speculate in post comments. (Glenn, Dave, and Sussah are disqualified! Damn, that's a clue!).

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Holy Ghost Hokey Pokey

You put your right foot in,
You put your right foot out,
You put your right foot in
And you shake it all about.
You do the Hokey Pokey
And you turn yourself around,
That's what it's all about.
--The Hokey Pokey
You remember "The Hokey Pokey," right? It was a fun, goofy song you sang when you were a little kid. Watch a few seconds below if you need to refresh your memory. Seriously, a few seconds will be all you need...

Now check out the following video (VIA Bifurcated Rivets). You really need to watch at least 3 or 4 minutes of this. (In fact, I recommend watching the whole thing, appalling though it is)...

Here's what the person who uploaded that video to YouTube (sbails39) had to say about what you just experienced:
Perhaps the saddest, lowest, most incomprehensible moment in the history of Christianity. It is difficult to understand how any form of Christianity, at any point in the history of humanity, under any circumstance possible, could degrade into this foolishness.
To see any form of content so divorced from the extreme emotionalism is horrifying. It's the Hokey Pokey, and they treat it like magic.
And the way that dude sings the song... it's the Hokey Pokey dude. Come on.
Amen to that, Brother.

More and more these days I find myself somewhat tongue-tied when it comes to talking about some of the fucked up things going on in the world. Really, I don't even know where to begin. The above video is just one example among a countless number of things that are so wrong in so many ways and on so many levels that my mind recoils at the thought of even attempting any sort of coherently expressed argument about why this shit is fucked up.

In my mind I hear a forlorn voice sputtering something like: "But, but, this is no different than the kind of stuff that goes on a rock concerts and shit!" "Indeed," I hear myself reply. "But is that the kind of comparison you really want to make? Is that where you really want to go with this? If so, then let me tell you very plainly right now. You're doing it wrong."

Of course religion is only one fucked up thing in the world, and Christianity is only one religion. They're all wrong. Just so you know...

At the Confucius Shrine in Nagasaki (4)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Vending Machines, No. 98

Ain't No Grave

Johnny Cash

I just clicked the first tune of Johnny Cash's last album, Ain't No Grave. Now listening to track two. I can't keep up with this pace, but I'm completely floored by this album.

I can't thank a god that I don't believe in for Johnny Cash. If He/She existed, I sure as fuck would. I would drop down on my knees and thank fucking God for Johnny Cash.

Johnny Cash believed in God. I don't. And I can hear, I can feel, that Johnny Cash himself wouldn't give two flying fucks if I believed in God or not. This is beyond question to me.

I'm overwhelmed by Johnny Cash right now. It's the weirdest fucking thing...

Deep Thoughts

I've been having some really deep thoughts this evening. I'm confident that they'll lead to some really good plans...

Let Me Out!

As an ex-pat Canadian with a blog, I'm bound by the laws of Canada to post the below video at least twice a year. In fact, my failure to do so in the past has resulted in angry letters from the Dept. of Assimilation and Domination threatening me with excommunication. I have a family to consider, so it is my sincere hope that readers of this blog can forgive both my capitulation to these demands and my apparent reliance on recycling old material.

[Reading from card] This video from the greatest band in world history is a brilliant interpretation of Canadian Juche. Canadians have been "locked in the trunk" of imperialism for long enough.

Let us out!

[Still reading from card] I am Canadian. And I am Tragically Hip!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Gloomy Day

Busy at work, crappy weather...

...but the Bruins beat the Sabres today, and in a few minutes I'm off to band practice...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Outside the Prefectural Auditorium (1)

To Reverse Effects, Take Another Bite

I've never owned a Mac. I've never owned an iPod (and iTunes is an abomination). I don't own an iPhone. And I refuse to buy an iPad.

I used to joke that AOL was like the holodeck in Star Trek TNG-pretty cool, but NOT the real thing. The iPad (and where it looks like Apple wants to take it) is like the new AOL.
The model of interaction with the iPad is to be a "consumer," what William Gibson memorably described as "something the size of a baby hippo, the color of a week-old boiled potato, that lives by itself, in the dark, in a double-wide on the outskirts of Topeka. It's covered with eyes and it sweats constantly. The sweat runs into those eyes and makes them sting. It has no mouth... no genitals, and can only express its mute extremes of murderous rage and infantile desire by changing the channels on a universal remote."
Apple = Hip? Heh, I don't think so (nor have I ever thought so). Hmm... I seem to remember that Umberto Eco had a few thoughts on the topic...
I am firmly of the opinion that the Macintosh is Catholic and that DOS is Protestant. Indeed, the Macintosh is counter-reformist and has been influenced by the ratio studiorum of the Jesuits. It is cheerful, friendly, conciliatory; it tells the faithful how they must proceed step by step to reach -- if not the kingdom of Heaven -- the moment in which their document is printed. It is catechistic: The essence of revelation is dealt with via simple formulae and sumptuous icons. Everyone has a right to salvation.
Watch out for worms...

[Image Source]

Monday, April 19, 2010

At the Confucius Shrine in Nagasaki (3)

Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow

It seems like it's been raining non-stop all day. I stumbled upon this video while looking for something else with a "rainy" theme. It wasn't quite what I had in mind, but a rockin' party with go-go girls will chase them rainy day blues away...

Do you suppose when these kinds of bands were writing their songs they just threw a bunch of words in one of those bingo things and picked the first words to come out?

Friday, April 16, 2010

On the Cover of The Rolling Stone?

So, like, the latest issue of Rolling Stone (Special Issue!) contains a section called "State of Rock: 40 Reasons To Get Excited About Music: Starring The Black Eyed Peas."

Now, I gotta admit, I don't mind at all looking at that cover. But there's no way in hell that I'm gonna turn the page to see what's on the inside. I already know that whatever's on the inside has been gilded with shit (you know, with a shit spray bomb or something).

I actually used to buy Rolling Stone when I was a kid. I bought it for the record reviews. I get the distinct impression that music criticism isn't a strong point of Rolling Stone these days. I'd be embarrassed to be seen leaving a magazine shop with it these days, unless it was hidden somehow, perhaps sandwiched between the latest copies of Hustler and Easy Rider or something. [Read carefully, please.]

I wonder if this means I'm not getting older, I'm getting cooler, more hip? Bleh, who gives a shit?

Bring back CREEM!

At the Confucius Shrine in Nagasaki (2)

Viola Desmond

I was somewhat startled (and a bit ashamed) to read for the first time this morning about someone whose name I should have learned in school (but didn't): Viola Desmond.
Nova Scotia has apologized and granted a pardon to Viola Desmond, a black woman who was convicted for sitting in a whites-only section of a movie theatre in 1946.
Desmond, then a 32-year-old beautician, was driving from Halifax to Sydney on Nov. 8, 1946, when her car broke down in New Glasgow. She decided to see a movie at the Roseland Theatre while she waited for repairs.
Desmond sat downstairs, unaware of the theatre's rule that blacks could sit only in the balcony seats. She was asked to leave but refused. Eventually, the manager and a police officer pulled her out.
Desmond spent the night in jail. The next morning, she was convicted of tax evasion. Prosecutors made no mention of race. They told the judge that Desmond didn't pay the full price to sit up front and therefore didn't pay the proper tax — a difference of one cent.
She was fined $20 and sentenced to 30 days in jail.
Desmond decided to fight the case with the help of the newly created Nova Scotia Association for the Advancement of Coloured People. She lost the first appeal but won a second attempt on a technicality.
Thanks to Desmond's public court battle, the Nova Scotia government ended up dismantling its segregation laws.
Nova Scotia had segregation laws? I never learned that in school either. I guess I'd better educate myself...

Miyazaki Prefectural Museum

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Truth Is Stranger Than Fishin'

This evening as I was idly clicking web links while searching for nothing in particular, I came across a headline for a news story about a man who had admitted to cheating in a bass fishing tourney. For some unfathomable reason this headline stirred my curiosity, and I clicked the link to find out more...
Last fall, Robby Rose stuffed a lead weight into a bass during a fishing tournament and this week he learned his punishment.
An investigation by a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game warden concluded Rose stuffed his fish during the 2009 Bud Light Trail Boss Big Bass Tournament on Lake Ray Hubbard last October 24.
Rose, a competitive bass fisherman, was competing for a $55,000 bass boat tournament grand prize. The boat would be awarded to the angler who caught the biggest fish by weight.
After Rose turned in the fish and went to the polygraph area, officials noticed the bass had nearly sunk to the bottom of the tank. The fish was examined and a lump was found in its belly.
Wait a minute. What the... Went to the polygraph area? People in fishing tournaments have to take polygraph tests? This grabbed my attention. More research was required. And sure enough, a search on Google with the terms "competitive fishing" and "polygraph" returned pages of results on the business of polygraph testing at fishing competitions.

Now, don't get me wrong. I've got nothing against fishing; not even competitive fishing. But polygraph tests to weed out fishing cheaters? I'm sorry, but that seems a little bit fucked if you ask me. Maybe I just need to get out more, I don't know...

Speaking of polygraphs and things that are fucked up, did you know that the earliest polygraph was invented by the same guy--William Moulton Marston, who created the comic book character Wonder Woman? And what was the weapon Wonder Woman wielded so wonderfully? The Lasso of Truth ("forces anyone it captures to obey and tell the truth"), of course.

Image Source [Hmm...]

And then, of course, we have, where they believe that the polygraph and all of its "science" are complete bullshit.

And this shit is all true.

At the Confucius Shrine in Nagasaki (1)

You keep using that word...

... I do not think it means what you think it means.

Maybe it's time for English-speaking media pundits to stop using the word kabuki.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Elektronik Supersonik

After listening to/watching this, I think I'm about ready to listen to techno again...


While Walking...

Great Drum Fills, Pt. 5

It's been three years since I last posted one of these. Damned if I know why I stopped, but now that I'm playing drums semi-regularly I feel like being semi-geeky and talking about shit that I actually like--like drums! In case anyone is interested, I've done minor updates to previous entries so that you can now actually listen to the drum fills on the post pages (thanks, YouTube!). All "Great Drum Fills" posts (past, present, and future) can be found here.

[Image Source; and is that a bitchin' looking drum kit, or what?]

Back in my youthful, playin'-the-drums-for-a-livin' days, ZZ Top were among a handful of bands who, as far as I was concerned, ruled the world. In fact, if you ask any old fart rock-pig about his favorite bands, ZZ Top will likely be high on the list. They played the blues. They boogied. And they rocked. Sometimes all at the same time. They had probably the thickest, most razor-sharp sound of any three-piece unit I've ever heard. And they were mean players who avoided the kind of over-the-top, mindless boogie that was common to many 70's arena rock acts. Yeah, they were good...

In this installment of Great Drum Fills:

Drummer: Frank Beard
Group: ZZ Top
Album: Tres Hombres
Great Drum Fill: Tres Hombres was ZZ Top's first smash album. And no wonder, with classic cuts like "Waitin' for the Bus" and "Jesus Just Left Chicago." For our great drum fill I'd like to direct your attention to "Lagrange," a hard-driving blues/boogie number that is basically a hybrid of John Lee Hooker's "Boogie Chillen" and Slim Harpo's "Shake Your Hips." (You may recall the Stones' cover of "Shake Your Hips" on Exile on Main Street.) "Lagrange" is a fast blues shuffle with very John Lee Hooker-ish picking on the guitar. During the intro Beard is just doing a very trad clicking of the sticks to keep time. When the band kicks in (at around the 35 second mark in the clip below) could easily have been today's great drum fill, but it's the second "jump" (at the 1:10 mark in the clip below) leading into the guitar solo that has always knocked me out.

As is usual for these posts, there's nothing earth-shatteringly  technical about this particular fill. As usual, its simply a matter of playing exactly the right thing at just the right moment. If there were such a thing as the perfect performance of a perfect song, it would be nothing more (or less!) than a continuous series of such moments. As it is, I'll take them when I can find them...

[Warning: Technical Shit--As a drummer I'm not even sure what the proper notation for this fill is. It sounds like a simple bar of triplets with the snare (flam) and bass drum (single note), but if I try counting it as triplets when I play it, it doesn't seem to work. I've found that it works better as "slurred" (i.e. "sloppy"!) triplets, if that makes any sense. Any thoughts, O Brothers of the Stick?]


Tuesday, April 13, 2010



But then there are the children, and what am I to do about them? That's a question I can't answer. For the hundredth time I repeat, there are numbers of questions, but I've only taken the children, because in their case what I mean is so unanswerably clear. Listen! If all must suffer to pay for the eternal harmony, what have children to do with it, tell me, please? It's beyond all comprehension why they should suffer, and why they should pay for the harmony. Why should they, too, furnish material to enrich the soil for the harmony of the future? I understand solidarity in sin among men. I understand solidarity in retribution, too; but there can be no such solidarity with children.

If just one of the seemingly endless parade of Catholic pedophile-rapist apologists would shut up for five fucking seconds about the so-called damage recent events are causing to the "Universal Church," and say something, anything, about the untold thousands of children abused and raped for fuck knows how many years under the knowing "auspices" of the Church, I might not be clacking away angrily at my keyboard right now.

Well, I've had enough, and frankly I don't give a shit about the Catholic Church, and I don't give a shit if anyone reading this is offended.

Connecticut bishops fight sex abuse bill:
A bill in Connecticut's legislature that would remove the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse cases has sparked a fervent response from the state's Roman Catholic bishops, who released a letter to parishioners Saturday imploring them to oppose the measure.

Under current Connecticut law, sexual abuse victims have 30 years past their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit. The proposed change to the law would rescind that statute of limitations.

The proposed change to the law would put "all Church institutions, including your parish, at risk," says the letter, which was signed by Connecticut's three Roman Catholic bishops.
Here, and in many other examples, the message is clear: the institution of the Church is more important than the rights of those who have been abused, and more important in fact than actually bringing criminals to justice. (It's almost a variation of "too big to fail." How long before we see a Catholic Church IPO?)

The Church would have us believe, somewhat fantastically, that it is the victim in all of this reporting and talking about pedophile rapist priests and its own attempts to shut everybody up about it. According to Ross Douthat (wingnut and Catholic apologist of The New York Times; that link and the following one via Christopher Hitchens), in 2002 (then) Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said the following:
I am personally convinced that the constant presence in the press of the sins of Catholic priests, especially in the United States, is a planned campaign ... to discredit the church.
Much more recently, Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa ("the Pope's personal preacher"), in a sermon attended by the Pope, compared accusations against the Church to the "collective violence" suffered by Jews throughout history.

Again and again and fucking again--no mention of the only people in all of this who can honestly claim to have done some actual suffering: the thousands of children who were raped by Catholic priests. For Christ's sake, this is stupidity bordering on evil.

It seems to me that if the price for preserving the integrity of the "Universal Church" is the silencing of its victims (and they surely are its victims), then maybe its not worth preserving. Tear it the fuck down.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Some Funny Stuff

A few of my favorites from Analogies and Metaphors Found in High School Essays:
He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.

John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

It came down the stairs looking very much like something no one had ever seen before.

She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.

Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.**
[** I sense a kindred spirit.]


Judge Not...

Events in West Virginia have triggered the latest bit of nonsense from Fred Phelps. I wonder what kind of funeral he'll have when he finally kicks it?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


This Is Kinda Cool

Here's something I can tell my daughter about when I put her to bed this evening. When the space shuttle Discovery launched earlier this week there were three women astronauts aboard. When they arrive at the International Space Station they will meet up with a fourth woman, making it the largest gathering of women in space in history.

She told me the other night that she sometimes has dreams about being on the space shuttle...

Monday, April 05, 2010


Ceiling (3)

Tonight my daughter asked me, "Daddy, what's the biggest number?"

"I don't know," I said. "How high can you count?"

Ceiling (2)

When I was a kid I used to have this recurring dream in which I was standing in an empty, black room; just four bare walls, a ceiling and a floor. I had a long pole in my hands. In the dream I would stick the pole up through the ceiling. Every time I did this (and I did it often), another pole would come up through the floor. I couldn't explain it, but it was interesting.

Ceiling (1)

Restaurant Entrance

Friday, April 02, 2010

Dork of Rock

This evening I'm going out to play drums and drink beer with my mates. Eeehaaahh!

Have a good evening!