Archive for November, 2009

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[ Comments Off ]Posted on November 26, 2009 by admin in Editorial & Opinion

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Now how ’bout you start giving?

This Thanksgiving I’m pretty thankful. I’m thankful that people like you are reading this. I’m even more thankful when you click on the Google ads, the donate button in the upper right, or click through and buy something on Amazon, but there’s reward in just knowing that after people read the tripe I serve up, they actually come back for more. I’m thankful for all the friends that I’m lucky to have, I’m thankful for the fact that even during the tough financial times many of us have had recently, I for one have never once worried that I would actually go hungry, because I live in such an insanely prosperous country. Which reminds me that I’m thankful that people seem to be keeping a level head in the face of relatively bad times; although I think we could actually use a little civil unrest, there’s no need to get in a tizzy over a few endless wars and some relative poverty now, is there? Both things seem to be a part of the human condition. For the record, I think I’ve already had my *worst Thanksgivings. My worst was probably the year I got burglarized on Thanksgiving eve, and lost almost $10,000 worth of uninsured musical equipment. I called it “Thankstaking” for a couple of years after that. The second worst was when a former friend of mine in LA swore up and down that she knew that somewhere in LA, a decent place to eat would be open on Thanksgiving. I trusted her, and a rather testosterone-driven male friend of mine flew in from Las Vegas to join us for what we thought would be a sort of spontaneous and casual holiday dinner. Well, my friend was waaaaaaay wrong. After 3 or 4 hours of phone calls and driving around, we ended up waiting 45 minutes for a table at Denny’s. If I was thankful for anything that year, I was just thankful my guy friend didn’t eat *us before we found actual food. This year I’m having rack of lamb with a new friend, and chilling a little bit. I have no complaints. How about you? What was your best or worst Thanksgiving?

Racist Michelle Obama Images & Why Google Shouldn’t Delete Them

[ Comments Off ]Posted on November 25, 2009 by admin in Politics

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Apply a little Hope & Change attitude to help googlebomb away the racist images of the classiest, sauciest First Lady since Jackie O.

I’ve been a little amused by the recent minor hoopla about why Google will or won’t delete the racist image of Michelle Obama that comes up at the top of search results. To me it’s a no-brainer; if you believe in free speech and an open web, you don’t want Google removing images like this no matter how offensive they are. I mean, for cryin’ out loud, we’ve had to look at enough photoshopped images of Hillary Clinton half-nude brandishing a whip, and although there is probably some permanent psychological damage as a result, we’re still alive. What we really want to do here is apply a little of that hope and change attitude. Ironically, one of the reasons the image appears at the top of results is because the idiots writing about it keep linking to it! So since Michelle Obama is probably the classiest, sauciest First Lady since Jackie O, lets all pitch in and do our part. You’ll notice I didn’t link to the racist image myself, and have offered up a few saucy shots of Michelle for you to link to. they all have “michelle obama” and “racist” in the file names. Link to this article, link to the images, pass the images around, use her name a lot in links to classy pictures of her, whatever. Let’s Googlebomb the racism out of the first lady’s image search results! Read the rest of this entry »

Rubber Band Seeks Balloon Bassist, Air Guitarists Need Not Apply

[ Comments Off ]Posted on November 24, 2009 by admin in Music

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Meet Addi Somekh, probably the world’s only combination balloon bassist & globetrotting air hat haberdasher.

The Making of “Air, Rubber and Soul”

If Addi Somekh seems to come across with an inflated sense of self satisfaction, it’s probably okay; as an artist and musician, he’s taking balloons to new heights. Recently a clip called Balloon Bass and Box has been getting a lot of attention in the YouTubian Twitterverse. In the clip, two guys play a song, one playing “balloon bass” and the other playing a wooden box. Pretty amusing in itself, but what no-one seems to do is dig a little deeper and share what a genius this guy Addi Somekh really is. You might call it a bit of a stretch to call a balloon bassist a legitimate musician, but you’d be sadly mistaken in this case. The clip at left is a “making of” video about his new Balloon Bass based album “Air, Rubber and Soul”, which he’s made available for free download at (Warning: site annoyingly resizes your browser) Although I doubt he’ll generate download numbers like NIN or Radiohead, I’d recommend giving it a listen. Although it’s a little diverse stylistically, it has a quirky jazz heart that’s maybe a little reminscent of say, the Lounge Lizards. It features Addi on balloon bass, and has some genuinely solid tunes recorded with a number of his favorite jazz session musicians sitting in. But there’s a lot more to this guy than an inflatable bass. He has a pretty amusing YouTube “show” called InflatableMinute, in which he explores his and other balloon artists’ work (see the Rubber Tree Quartet clip below), and he also has pursued a global project called Balloon Hat, in which he travels around the globe making balloon hats and taking beautiful photos of them on the heads of people that have in some cases probably never even seen a balloon, let a lone a balloon hat. The juxtaposition can be be an odd combination of comical and beautiful (see photos below) and somehow convey a clear message of human love. Read the rest of this entry »

Nepal’s Gadhimai Mela: World’s Most Massive Pointless Animal Slaughter?

[ 5 Comments ]Posted on November 23, 2009 by admin in Lifestyle & Culture

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

No my friends, the United States still has firm grasp on THAT title.

I think PETA’s gonna have to come up with a better marketing strategy than wieners and boobs if they want to do anything to stop the annual slaughter of half a million animals in Nepal November 24th and 25th. I say “slaughter”, but this is apparently a ritual sacrifice to the Hindu deity Gadhimai. I usually restrain myself a bit when offering any opinions on the spiritual beliefs of others, but I think in this case I might make an exception, much like I might in the case of Mormons, Scientologists, and atheists. All I’ll say is that if the animals are being slaughtered in honor of a goddess of power, the devotees might want to find a new goddess of power. The last time I checked, the people of Nepal weren’t popping up on the first few pages of Google search results for “powerful people”. So, does the whole idea of this mass slaughter disturb you? Well get a grip. Granted, 500,000 animals is a lot of animals (if they were all three feet long and you lined them up nose-to-tail, they’d form a line 284 miles long) but before you get your PETA panties in a bunch, ponder the fact that in the US, we slaughter more cows than that every week of the year. In fact, about 90,000 cows or calves per day. Of course, we sacrifice ours to greed, gluttony, and capitalism, so our results seem to be a little more tangible than theirs. But in my opinion, these numbers make this year’s sudden international outrage seem a little silly. C’mon PETA, sort your priorities. I mean, just because Buddha Boy was a no-show, doesn’t mean you have to pick up all the slack. If you’d like to learn more about the “Gadhimai Mela”, see this rather informative HimalMag piece, and if you just want to wallow in the gore of it all, see this France24 piece or this Himalayan Beacon piece. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Did Wilhelm Scream? He Found Out Alan Smithee Was Dead

[ Comments Off ]Posted on November 22, 2009 by admin in Popular Media

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

Most people go to the movies to WATCH them. Some of us go to HEAR them. A look at some movie trivia you may or may not have heard.

The tools of a Foley Artist

If you’re a film buff, you’ve probably heard of the Wilhelm, and if you’re not, you’ve almost certainly heard it. For those who aren’t familiar with the now legendary film sound effect and insider joke, Wikipedia has a thorough history of the Wilhelm with a sound sample, and some nut has created a fairly comprehensive collection of the scenes in which it’s been used in this YouTube clip. It’s interesting that such an absurdly out of place sound can be used so pervasively without being noticed, but that without hundreds of other sounds, even the most visually compelling film is rendered lifeless. George Lucas definitely understood the value of sound; imagine Star Wars without the triumphant music, the distinctly different sounds of the empire vs rebel fighter crafts, the lightsaber, or the voices of Chewbacca and R2D2. The owners of the patented Godzilla Roar also understand the value of sound, they’ll sue the pants off of anyone who seems to infringe. And for several decades, “eerie” meant theremin. But otherwise, one of the most impactful aspects of film goes unacknowledged, with peculiar language to go along with its mysterious subculture. That background noise of people talking? It’s called – depending on the context – “walla”, “rhubarb”, or “snazzum”. Snazzum is a special kind of walla; it’s gibberish spoken by a specific extra Read the rest of this entry »

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