Archive for March, 2009

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Brazilian Girls & David Byrne – I’m Losing Myself

[ 2 Comments ]Posted on March 24, 2009 by admin in Music

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Or are they losing some listeners?

While I’m enthused about the new single by David Byrne and Brazilian Girls that’s being released exclusively on iTunes today, I’m a little bit frustrated by it’s exclusivity (more on that in a minute). I’ve been a fan of Brazilian Girls since their first release in 2005; their unique amalgam of Latin dance music, hip club stylings, and jazz influences is irresistible, and singer Sabina Sciubba’s poly-lingual antics keep the tunes interesting on repeated listening. It was always a joy at parties when people failed to realize they were headnod-dancing to a tune in which the refrain was “Pussy Pussy Pussy Marijuana”. And David Byrne? Well, as the main mastermind and vocalist of Talking Heads and occasional collaborator with Brian Eno, like him or not, he holds a pretty unique place in contemporary pop. The new tune is pretty fun, it’s an English-language remix of Brazilian Girls’ 2008 tune Losing Myself that’s been David Byrne-ified so it sounds a little like Talking Heads’ old classic “Life During Wartime”. So here’s my frustration: The new single is being released exclusively on iTunes. I am not (and may never be) an iTunes user, thanks to their shoddy history of DRM issues and insistence that you install a 70MB piece of software before they “allow” you to give them money for the music they’re selling. On top of that, the exclusive preview being offered was via the once-hip (but now a little self-indulgent and steampunk-prone) BoingBoing.net, which linked to a file that was in .wax format. It might as well be in .WTF format, as far as most people are concerned; the linked file might play in Windows Media Player , but most people have told me they couldn’t get it to play at all. I personally found a workaround using the Firefox plugin “FlashGot”. But enough bellyaching, check out the tune, if you can, and here’s the label’s press release. By the way: if you like David Byrne, you might also want to check out the tune Money from the recent release by N.A.S.A.

Monday Motivators – Head Butts, Paper Plates & Poodles

[ Comments Off ]Posted on March 23, 2009 by admin in Editorial & Opinion

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Even the Dalai Lama understands the benefits of a well-executed clean and jerk.


Even the Dalai Lama understands the
benefits of a well-executed clean and jerk.

If you’ve come here looking for our usual Monday Demotivators, maybe you need to rethink things a bit and pick up a copy of Getting Things Done, or just improve your approach to living in general with some Krishnamurti or Dalai Lama. If it’s a little early in the week to be talking about spiritual fitness, that’s okay. All the great masters say you should start with physical well-being anyway. So for the ladies, we have the inspiring Mariko Takahashi’s Fitness Video. If poodles can do it, so can you. For the guys, we have Bas Rutten’s Street Defense Tips. He’ll have you head-butting your way to health and happiness in no time. And for those of you that are such lard-butts that you refuse to leave your chair, and whose idea of weightlifting is to heft another danish to your mouth, don’t worry. There’s Chair Dancing Around the World, which eases you into the idea of actually exerting yourself gently, with (I wish I were joking) paper plates. So c’mon, get motivated! If this little 8-year old punk can get himself airtime on CNN, surely you can get at least get motivated enough to “Clean and Jerk” some paper plates. Read the rest of this entry »

How To Win At Monopoly: Always Be The Banker

[ 2 Comments ]Posted on March 22, 2009 by admin in Lifestyle & Culture

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

Printing your own money, for fun and….well, probably just fun.

I’m no expert on the economy, but I did play Monopoly as a kid. I learned a lot about money that way. Like how to broker elaborate side-deals with other players that would eventually break them. And how pointless that was, since once you have all the money, it really has no value, ’cause no one wants to play with you. Because you’re a jerk, and have all the money. It also doesn’t do you much good when you go to the store afterwards and have to hustle up real money to buy a candy bar. Given the game’s obvious parallels to reality recently, I’ve been surprised that the game hasn’t popped up in conversation more. Especially in light of things like the Banker’s Rules, one of which is: “The Bank never goes ‘broke’. If the Bank runs out of money it may issue as much more as may be needed by merely writing on any ordinary paper.” Sound familiar? It should, the game first gained real popularity during the Depression, when real money and Monopoly money probably had about the same value. For some amusing takes on Monopoly as reality, start with the Washington Post’s Econopoly, which uses a Flash-based Monopoly board to explain some of the current economic problems. Just click the dice and learn. McSweeny’s has The Economic Crisis Hits The Markson Family Monopoly Board, which tells the amusing tale of a family torn apart by Monopoly and real-world finance. And if you’re actually weird and obsessed enough with simply winning the game, see the disturbingly serious in-depth analysis How to Win at Monopoly – a Surefire Strategy. You’d think someone with that kind of attention to money-making might focus on the real thing. And on a slightly serious note, we might do well to deal with our addiction to US Currency in general. Not only can you print your own Monopoly money, you can print your own real money. After a fashion. Check out concepts like the Complementary Currency Resource Center or TimeBanks, which highlights the fact that time is indeed money. Anybody got a Get Out of Jail Card to sell to Bernie Madoff?

Easter Traditions: Chocolate And Spanking

[ 2 Comments ]Posted on March 21, 2009 by admin in Holidays

Saturday, March 21st, 2009

There’s more to the holiday than chocolate & Jesus, you know.


Even warmongering puppet
presidents love Easter!

Like many of us, I find Easter a little confusing. God’s son and the saviour of mankind ascends to heaven, and we celebrate by worshipping bunnies, eating chocolate, and hiding candy from the kids? As usual with American holidays, the Germans appear to be the culprit, having smuggled the Easter Bunny into the country via the Dutch in Pennsylvania in the 1700′s. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with the idea of eating chocolate as form of celebration, and it was clever of Jesus to ascend to heaven around Passover so no-one would forget the date, but really – a big bunny that lays eggs? The egg part is easy: early Catholics didn’t eat meat, dairy products or eggs during lent, so there were plenty of eggs to go around. The Protestants probably went the extra mile taunting their nemeses by not only eating eggs, but painting them bright colors in case the Catholics didn’t notice. The bunny part however, is on the one hand obvious, but on the other hand a little light on corroborating evidence. Yes, it’s Springtime, a time of fertility, yadda yadda yadda. However, the first bunny references seem to be the German ones in the 17th century, and how that got so strongly connected with eggs is beyond me. Personally, I might celebrate Easter this year by going to Bermuda and flying a kite. Or Eastern Europe has another fun angle: spanking and wet t-shirt contests. If you’re a little lost yourself regarding how to celebrate, you might try Cracked.com’s Find the God for You quiz. And I just realized I forgot to insert any insidious product links, so why don’t you go buy me a Lindt Easter Bunny. Not only will you be providing me with life-giving chocolate, but Amazon will give me like, 23 cents or something.

A Better Life Through Info Graphics

[ Comments Off ]Posted on March 20, 2009 by admin in Popular Media

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Even global economic collapse is fun as an info-graphic

In these troubled times, nothing soothes one’s anxiety like a cute info graphic. The video clip at left, for example, is a re-imagining of “Little Red Riding Hood”, told in helpful info-graphic form, with useful tooltips, and handy facts. Like grandma’s nutritional value, for instance. Even the corporate world is onto the fact that somehow life is just easier to digest in graphic form, which explains these examples of game-based training brought to us by BusinessWeek.com. This Japanese animation – Ensuring the Future of Food – makes consumer waste downright cute. And if you have a web site with lame traffic stats, just use VisitorVille to view the figures. Your web site is MUCH cooler when Google is represented by a cute little bus instead of a cold, heartless, data-harvesting bot that doesn’t visit your site as often or as deeply as you’d like. And then there’s The Sims. Do people still play The Sims? I’m a little out of the loop on stuff like that, but if they do, now they can buy their little imaginary info-graphic people imaginary little info-graphic furniture from Ikea. Speaking of the Sims, I can’t help think that a little misery might have also been spared if the sadists in the Bush administration had been given instructions on how to torture Sims instead. Read the rest of this entry »

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