Archive for February, 2009

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Does Obama Have A Message?

[ Comments Off ]Posted on February 23, 2009 by admin in Politics

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

I still have lots of Hope but I’m running out of Change

Like many, I was deeply moved by Barack Obama’s inauguration speech. In spite of this, I can’t at this moment remember a single word of what he said. And this troubles me slightly, in spite of my mild disdain for the sound-bite-centered language of the era we live in. I’ve recently been reading Words That Work by Frank Luntz, the man that has helped define the messages that have been helping the GOP win elections for over a decade. Luntz comes across to me as kind of an arrogant jerk, but I guess if you’re the Wizard to to the GOP’s Land of Oz, you’re entitled to poke out from behind the curtain once in a while. If you read around his gloating and self-aggrandizement, the book is full of excellent insights. Insights about language which I hope are put to work in Obama’s speech Tuesday night; this is an incredibly critical moment, with the global economy more obviously lurching back toward a downward spiral after what was feeling like a brief pause, and world leaders rattling sabres as they’re obligated to do at times like this. One hope I have is that he can provide a galvanizing message, as he did so well during the elections. America needs a simple set of words to pull it together. I certainly wouldn’t want Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau’s job at this point. See this US News piece for some amusing insight into how the guy works. Can he come up with the next “Nothing to fear but fear itself” or “Ask not what your country can do for you”?

Mardis Gras: The Sacred Rite of Beads For Boobs

[ 3 Comments ]Posted on February 23, 2009 by admin in Holidays

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Why I’m Giving Up Boobs For Lent

Unless someone buys me a plane ticket tomorrow, it looks like I’ll miss Mardi Gras once again. Which is okay by me, if this National Geographic Traveler article is any indication. Most of their suggestions seem to revolve around how not to be a blithering idiot, like “be wary of scam artists” or “don’t pee in public“. It otherwise has suggestions for how not to lose your family, friends, net worth, and personal freedom. Sounds like a great time down in New Orleans, doesn’t it? I have to laugh at people who proclaim that they’re not giving up anything for Lent because it’s a stupid Christian holiday, and then turn around and whoop it up about Mardi Gras, which is essentially Carnival, which is essentially a way to go nuts before you give up things for Lent. Haha! They gotcha anyway, you anti-Christan rebel you! And for an interesting look at how trading beads for boobs supports sweatshops in China, don’t miss the award-winning documentary Mardi Gras: Made in China

Nothing To Worry About

[ Comments Off ]Posted on February 23, 2009 by admin in Music

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Uplifting video for the song “Nothing To Worry About” from Peter Bjorn & John’s upcoming release Living Thing

If you’re having a rough day, play the video at left, and I guarantee you’ll have Nothing To Worry About. You may have already seen the disturbingly uplifting video for the song from Peter Bjorn & John’s upcoming release Living Thing, but you may not have realized that the crazy Japanese rockabilly breakdancers featured in the video do this every Sunday in Yoyogi Park next to Harajuku Station in Tokyo. More on the history of the shenanigans of the Takenoko-zoku (bamboo shoot kids) can be found here, and if you haven’t listened to Peter Bjorn & John before, you might start with their 2006 release Writer’s Block, in which they prove that you can capture the Decemberists‘ fan-base without being a bunch of pretentious smartypants. Read the rest of this entry »

Everything’s Amazing & Nobody’s Happy

[ 3 Comments ]Posted on February 22, 2009 by admin in Lifestyle & Culture

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

Louis CK on Conan O’Brien

I love this Louis CK bit on Conan O’Brien. I feel like he’s been following me with a hidden mike…

Thanks Donna Ryen!

U2 Still Hasn’t Found What I’m Looking For

[ Comments Off ]Posted on February 21, 2009 by admin in Music

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

I’m really not too fond of pop culture criticism; I think mom was right when she said “If you don’t have anything nice to say…”, so let me preface what I’m about to say with a little disclaimer: My inability to discern the differences between any two U2 albums is probably a result of my [...]

I’m really not too fond of pop culture criticism; I think mom was right when she said “If you don’t have anything nice to say...”, so let me preface what I’m about to say with a little disclaimer: My inability to discern the differences between any two U2 albums is probably a result of my own shortcomings. That being said, I haven’t been too thrilled with the band U2 since precisely the time that this became the case, or worse yet, since the moment I also became unable to tell if it was maybe a Coldplay song and not U2 at all. And I really lost my love for them when they sued Negativland, whose song is featured here in that audio-only YouTube clip (Warning: Lots of swearing by Casey Kasem). Well now, to give the added impression that they’re as out of touch with reality as a Beltway insider bailing out banks, they’re launching their latest release by making it free on MySpace until March 3rd. Shouldn’t they have maybe used Eons.com? Having taken a very quick listen, I’ll give them one thing; it sure as heck sounds like a U2 album. Keep up the good work lads. See you in Vegas in a few years. I mean that in the most positive possible way; Vegas is pretty cool, from what my grandma tells me.

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