Showing posts from January, 2017

The Upload Project #3

CD #21, Untitled Not a CD. More random pictures. CD #22, Untitled (I'm sort of at a loss to explain this one. It's most of Back To Black with a random track by Elbow thrown in for good measure. Weird.) Elbow- Forget Myself Amy Winehouse-Rehab Amy Winehouse-Tears Dry On Their Own Amy Winehouse- Back To Black Amy Winehouse- Addicted Amy Winehouse- Just Friends Amy Winehouse- Love Is A Losing Game Amy Winehouse- Me and Mr. Jones Amy Winehouse- You Know I'm No Good CD #23, 'All Marley' Get Up, Stand Up How Many Times Kinky Reggae Could You Be Loved? Kaya Now Lively Up Yourself Sun Is Shining Is This Love No Woman, No Cry Three Little Birds Buffalo Soldier Stir It Up One Love I Shot The Sheriff Wait in Vain Redemption Song Don't Rock My Boat Jamming CD #24, Untitled, but with five repeats! Kings of Leon- Use Somebody Alien Ant Farm- Smooth Criminal Rush- The Spirit of Radio Paramore- That's What You Get Jonas Brothers- Paran

Can We Talk About Immigration?

Editor's Note: This story is moving fast... the administration has backed down on the issue of Green Card holders- even backing off on the whole 'case by case' language that was so noxious over the weekend. It's also gratifying to stumble across articles like this. I'm going to leave the original post as it is though, the overall sentiments still seem real enough to me. On the one hand, it shouldn't be surprising. Nativism, xenophobia, racism- whatever the hell you want to call it- the whole general mish-mash of anti-immigration and anti-immigrant sentiment is, sadly, a tradition as American as apple pie. A century ago, the Irish and the Italians and the Germans were spoke of in such terms. Now, in this century, it's the turn of the Muslims and the Mexicans . "We won't apologize for keeping America safe." Safe from what, though? Safe from whom? We still do business with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. We still send them money. Don't you dar

Netflix & Chill #4: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Watched On: Amazon Prime Released: 2016 Starring: Tina Fey, Margot Robbie, Martin Freeman Prime Rating: 3.7 out of 5 Rotten Tomatoes: 68% Pick: Mine I remembered seeing a preview for this a few months back and it looked like a decent 'fish out of water' adventure/comedy that seemed like it was worth a peek. Tina Fey hits more than she misses, so I made the suggestion to the Missus, she agreed and we spooled it up on Amazon Prime, hopped into our warm, comfy bed and got to watching this bad boy. Fey stars as Kim Baker, a behind the scenes journalist who is bored with her career, has a boyfriend who travels too much and is ready to make a change- so when the opportunity to travel to Afghanistan on a three month assignment to cover Operation Enduring Freedom comes up, Baker jumps at the chance. She arrives in Afghanistan and gets swept into the low budget compound where the international journalists live- making friends with the BBC reporter, Tanya (Margot Robbie) an

This Week In Vexillology #198

I have a problem. I've being doing this for pretty much 198 weeks now- which, holy shit, almost adds up to four years straight and finally...  finally, at long last, I think I'm starting to run out of flags. I'm working on something big for #200 a couple of weeks from now, but in the meantime, what are we going to do until then? Well, on tap today, a nice trio of micronations! First up, the Dominion of British West Florida ! Yes, it's a thing... it's got it's own website , but basically this micronation was founded in 2005 to try and reassert British rights over the region and get Dominion status within the British Commonwealth within the United States (the website is sort of aiming for a similar status to that of Native American Reservations and other Tribal Nations?) I guess it's issued stamps, metal coins- issued in pre-decimalization pounds! So what's the deal with this? The founders assert that the US annexation of the region was illegal beca

Psephology Rocks: Les Regles du Jeu

psephology noun 1. the study of elections In the wake of the elections last November, I was sort of casting about, looking for some outlet for my general sense of self-abnegation of despair at the state of our political system and that's when it came to me: I love elections. Even last November, Election Day was fun, right up until the end, that is. There's something wonderful and joyous about witnessing democracy in action- and that's when it struck me: there's got to be a better way to do this. While I'm not pursuing a serious academic career in political science, whether through default, by dumb luck or just out of sheer random chance, I fell into the field of Comparative Politics because it honestly interested me, so I'm going to combine the fun of participatory democracy with my background in Comparative Politics, to take a look at some of the elections on tap for this year. First up: France. Before we can get into the fun and games currently going in

Burns Night

I always forget about Burns Night, which seems to be odd, given how much I love whiskey- and I almost forgot about it this year, but kept seeing Laphroig ads popping up in my Facebook feed so checked my calendar and here we are. I worked tonight, so I didn't have time to get a Burns Supper set up, but #SquadGoals, you know. One of these years I'll have one. Though granted, I haven't the faintest idea where one gets a haggis. Or bagpipes...   these things seem very involved. True confession: I haven't read too much of the poems of Robert Burns- 'To A Mouse' in it's original Scottish brogue is probably my favorite. But since this night is all about poetry, I think I should go with the poem that's sort of been my obsession for the past year or so. Ulysses, by Alfred Lord Tennyson was something I stumbled into when I finally finished by epic binge of Frasier . It was used to excellent effect in the series finale and I've read it multiple times sinc

Netflix & Chill #3: Notting Hill

Watched On: Amazon Prime Released: 1999 Starring: Julia Roberts, Hugh Grant, Rhys Ifans Prime Rating: 4.75 out of 5 Rotten Tomatoes: 83% Pick: Both of Us! Ah, a heady trip back to the golden age of romantic comedies with an all time classic of the genre. Yes, Notting Hill , back in those glorious days of early Tony Blair-era Labour Party Britain, where you could actually conceive of both owning a house in London and operating a travel bookstore in one of it's most Bohemian neighborhoods. Will Thacker is divorced, runs a travel bookstore in Notting Hill and lives with his Welsh roommate, Spike. His fairly ordinary life is turned upside down when Hollywood Superstar Anna Scott enters his shop looking for a book on Turkey. She leaves, but Will encounters her a few minutes later and manages to spill his drink all over her. Offering his nearby house for her to change in, Anna impulsively kisses him before leaving again. She sends him a message a few days later to come see

This Week In Vexillology #197: The End of The Brown Flag Challenge

So last week, we reached the end of The Brown Flag Challenge, which means I've got to go through and declare a winner! We looked at a variety of flags from a variety of places and it was honestly kind of a tough decision- but, eventually, one flag stood tall above all the rest. So, without further ado, let's start the proceedings! Honorable Mention: Michigan Most state flags are pretty vanilla affairs- and too many fall into the dreaded 'Seal On A Bedsheet' trap, but Michigan was a pleasant surprise. In terms of the criteria of our challenge, it certainly delivered- the elk, the moose, the eagle all deliver on the brown. Plus, as all good Michiganders are probably aware, this state flag comes with it's own Pledge of Allegiance, namely: I pledge allegiance to the flag of Michigan, and to the state for which it stands, two beautiful peninsulas, united by a bridge of steel, where equal opportunity and justice to all is our ideal. Seriously, Michiganders- help

And So It Begins...

At this point, I'm just numb to it all. The broken, poisonous nature of our political discourse is rapidly becoming such that if a Democrat is in office, the Republicans lose their minds, splutter in rage and apoplexy and foam ferociously at their collective mouths, if the reverse is true, the parties switch positions and the endless turning of our political wheel of chaos continues. I see no way forward to break the logjam. I assume and expect that the news will be unbearable. There will be rending of garments, sack cloth, ashes and the like. Lamentations of the left will ring from coast and to every corner of the land. None of it will matter. Democrats will foam and rage. Republicans will smugly remind them of their behavior was on the other foot and at noon today, Donald John Trump will become the 45th President of the United States of America. I am but a spoke in a very large wheel, but as a citizen of this republic, I grade my Presidents harshly, because I assume, as Presi

Albums2010 #85: Out of Time

Whatever happened to R.E.M. anyway? That was the first question that came to mind after listening to this album the first time. A deep dive on Wikipedia revealed the somewhat dispiriting news that they had broken up in 2011- having been around and kicking it since they emerged from Athens, Georgia in 1980. I do remember them breaking up- vaguely, in passing a few years ago, but then I sort of forgot about it- going back into Spotify and digging up Out of Time made me remember just how much they had been on the radio and just been part of the music of my childhood in many ways. I had a similar moment when I rediscovered the Stone Temple Pilots in college- the memories, the music- bands that float into your life and then back out of your life make you forget just how much you listened to them in the first place. R.E.M was one of those bands. (They're also one of those bands you wish would make a comeback too... in the dawn of the Age of Trump, they would surely have something to s

Squawk Box: Das Trekgold

So, last September marked the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek's debut on television. While another movie did come out last summer (Star Trek Beyond) and another television show is slowly making it's way toward reality (Star Trek: Discovery) the fact of the matter is that Paramount- in stark contrast to the celebrations put on by the BBC for Doctor Who- hasn't done a heck of a lot to mark the milestone. So I decided that if Paramount wasn't going to roll out the red carpet, I was going to roll up my sleeves and start a Star Trek Party of my own. Yes, I'm attempting to tackle the complete Star Trek Televisual Cycle-  the science fiction equivalent of The Ring Cycle (hence the title of my post- a rather weak paraphrasing of Part 1 of the Ring Cycle, Das Rheingold ). Between six television shows, there are 725 episodes to tackle. This is where I stand: Series Completed: 1, the Animated Series Episodes Watched: 286 Progress: 39.44% I've made my way through th

Netflix & Chill #2: Save The Date

Watched On:  Netflix Released:  2012 Starring:  Lizzy Caplan, Alison Brie, Martin Starr, Geoffrey Arend, Mark Webber Netflix Rating:  2/5 Rotten Tomatoes Rating:  45% Pick:  The Missus' Next up was Save The Date . In an effort to make up for my darker than expected pick with Filth , I (wisely) deferred to the Missus for Round 2 and after some browsing on Netflix she came up with Save The Date . It looked good, so we watched it. Sarah and Beth are sisters who are in relationships with Andrew and Kevin who are both in the same bend. Beth is engaged to Andrew and making plans for their wedding, while Sarah, an artist who manages a bookstore, reluctantly moves in with Kevin despite her ambivalence about taking their relationship to the next level. Kevin, for his part, is planning to propose and initially plans to do it onstage at their next show before Andrew thinks he talks him out of it. Well, guess what? When the performance in question rolls around- Sarah is approached b

This Week In Vexillology #196: The Queen's Personal Barbidian Flag

So, we've finally come to the end of the Brown Flag Challenge- last, but not at least, we're heading down to the Caribbean for a peek at a very exclusive flag indeed, the Personal Barbidian Flag of Queen Elizabeth II. Get a load of this: Approved for use in the 1970s, this flag is only used by the Queen in very limited circumstances- when she's in Barbados or attending an event abroad in her role as the head of state of Barbados. Her representative, the Governor-General of Barbados as his own flag. I really dig this flag, actually. It's simple, striking and it's kind of got a Cthulu/Octopi thing going on with the bearded fig tree in the center of the flag. The other royal standards ( Canada , New Zealand , Australia, the UK ) are more armorial- if that's the right word- heraldric? They're more old school- but Barbados breaks the mold quite nicely. As I mentioned already, the center of the flag features a bearded fig tree- a symbol of the island of Bar

January On Medium

This month's new short fiction has been rolling around in my head since the summer. It was part of a writing prompt we did at the Weekend Workshop I attended at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, which went a little something like this: Saturn, planet of melancholy A great place for Trends of contemporary living Titan spins in its orbit Magnificent Like a blooming hosta Wilting Moving out To feel dampness Carrying with ease Images of loved ones In empy vessels On Titan, we find dwindling bison rainbow trout wedged in the narrow pass So frightened At first, to be so far from the sun Reaching through the firs Reveals Itself, like carved stone While Saturn, planet of melancholy spins like a  silken dress Above (There's a few notes in the margins: WRITERS GO TO SATURN northern feel great thick trees climbing thru the nitrogen) And there's a reference to Billy Collins- Poet- forgetfullness-aimless love. No idea what that means. But this page


Adopt-A-Team Well, NEC Nijmegen appears to be solid mid-table contenders this deep into the season. They're at 12th currently which seems to be about where they've been for most of the season. Since last we checked in, however (December 5th) they've done okay for themselves- beating Den Haag 3-0 and scraping out to a 2-2 draw with Excelsior. Then Christmas happened...  things don't pick back up for NEC until January 15th- but they've got Willem II and Roda coming up before Feyenoord and Go Ahead Eagles to start off February. Willem II should be a decent match. They're sitting at 11th in the table right now- and if NEC wants to move up in the table, a win here would probably help. Roda and Go Ahead Eagles are at the bottom of the table, so good results there should help the cause- but they can't afford to drop points either. Feyenoord...   woof. Well, they're at the top of the table with 42 points. NEC is in 12th with 19 points. Fingers crossed for an

The Year The Light Turned On

I was technically alive when the Cold War ended, but I was young enough that I didn't real grasp the full ramifications of what the hell was happening until much later. The Fall of the Berlin Wall is something I've seen so much on television that I'm not sure if I can remember seeing it live or just remember the replays. What I do remember, however, is how different the map became. I recently stumbled across National Geographic's excellent cartography blog, All Over The Map and immediately fell in love. (Ditto for Atlas Obscura ! Awesome website1) I've always loved maps.  I could sit and pour over an atlas for days. The Times Atlas of European History that's somewhere in the Parentals' basement is dogeared and page worn because I'd spend hours with that too- watch the rise and fall of nations evolve over the page. In short, I dig maps. Hand me a globe and I'll spin it around and around and around until I can tell you  how old it is. So while c

Netflix & Chill #1: Filth

Watched On: Netflix Released: 2014 Starring: James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, Imogen Poots and Jim Broadbent Netflix Rating: 2/5 Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 64% Pick: Mine A New Year brought with it a new work schedule which means that I have every Thursday and Friday off now- which gives the Missus and I an entire night to you know, actually see each other and maybe talk to each other and drink a glass of wine- and yeah, sit on our couch and spin up the old Netflix and have a couch-movie date together. So, a new feature for the blog was born: Netflix & Chill, the chronicles of the (hopefully) enjoyable movie dates we have on our couch every week. First up, was Filth . I had seen previews for Filth and it looked like a delightfully raunchy film from the creator of Trainspotting . It looked twisted, fun- maybe a dark comedy you could get behind? Plus, it had James McAvoy and that's usually a pretty safe bet for a halfway decent movie. Yeah, oops. The key words in that la

This Week In Vexillology #195: Prince Edward Island

We're back! It's 2017! It's a brand new year! And we're heading into the home stretch of The Brown Flag Challenge- and, believe it or not, we're back in North America, heading just across the border to Canada for the Flag of Prince Edward Island! Adopted on March 24, 1964, the upper third of the flag features the English heraldic lion that's on the coat of arms of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent (who the province is named after) and it appears on the arms of King Edward VII as well. The lower two thirds feature a small plot of grass which represents both Prince Edward Island and Great Britain- both of which are islands. The three small trees represent the three counties of the province (Prince, Queens and Kings) and the big oak tree stands for Great Britain. (The trunks of all the trees are where we get the brown for the purposes of our Brown Flag Challenge.) The whole tree set up is a nod to the motto of the province- Parva sub ingenti , 'the small under the

The Great Social Media Experiment

At the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, I went ahead and began a little experiment for the New Year- I took Facebook and Twitter off of my phone. It's been four days and I think I'm adjusting well. The number of times I've idly flipped through my phone looking for Facebook or Twitter and then realizing, 'oh wait, I took those off of there' has diminished. That's not to say that I'm getting out of the social media game altogether- I still use Facebook. I still Snapchat and Instagram on occasion. I'm rocking the shit out of Pinterest. I tweet. But I decided that to start the New Year, I needed to put some distance between myself and the social media echo chamber. The past two months have been getting increasingly unbearable- especially on Twitter, but somewhat on Facebook as well. I don't know if it's the results of the election that did it- though I suspect that played a significant part, but everything took a negative, snarky tone that