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Showing posts from February, 2017

The Upload Project #4

CD #31, Untitled with seven repeats from other CDs
Lyle Workman- Superwhat?
The Beatles- I Am The Walrus
Timbaland- The Way I Are
Sting and The Police- Message In A Bottle
Timbaland/Nelly Furtado- Promiscuous Girl
Aesop Rock- The Harbor Is Yours
The Strokes- Last Nite
Curtis Mayfield- Superfly
Nelly Furtado- Maneater
Genesis- Turn It On Again
Amy Winehouse- Rehab
Meredith Brooks- Bitch
Stevie Nicks- Edge of Seventeen
Black Crowes- Hard To Handle
The Clash- Should I Stay Or Should I Go?
Emimen ft/Nate Dogg- Shake That
Muddy Waters- Champagne and Reefer
Vampire Weekend- A-Punk

CD #32, pretty much a repeat of CD #30 with a record 16 repeats!
The Fratellis- Chelsea Dagger
Cage The Elephant- Ain't No Rest For The Wicked
Lady Gaga/Beyonce- Telephone
Snoop Dogg- Ain't Nothin' But A G Thing
Ke$ha- Don't Stop
Spin Doctors-Jimmy Olsen's Blues
Train- Hey Soul Sister
Bloodhound Gang-Mope
The Clash-Pressure Drop
Jason Aldean- Amarillo Sky
Cobra Starship- Good Girls Gone Bad
The Black Crowes- Har…

Scholarship Shenanigans

So, after being subjected to $18 million in cuts for the fiscal year, the University of Iowa pulled some scholarships to save some cash- about $4 million or so over the long term. Parents and students predictably lost their minds- I can understand that. It's yanking the rug out from under a person- especially since they're expecting this money and maybe even relying on this money to help pay for their education. Their outrage, I have no problem with. Their expected class action lawsuit? Mazeltov, I hope you do well.

You know whose outrage I don't have time for? The State Legislature's. When Speaker Upmeyer has the nerve to rip the move as 'politics at its worst' well then, I have to call bullshit on that. Because all the Legislature has been doing for years now is cutting cutting cutting and oh my yes- did I mention, the cutting? At a certain point the cupboard is going to be bare and shitty decisions like this are going to be have to made. When you make it cle…

Netflix & Chill #6: Moonrise Kingdom

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Watched On: Netflix
Released: 2012
Starring: Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwatzman, Bob Balaban
Netflix Rating: *** out of ****
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Pick: Mine

I don't think I've come across a Wes Anderson movie that I haven't genuinely liked before and Moonrise Kingdom is no exception. Set in September of 1965 on an island called New Penzance off of the New England Coast, an orphan by the name of Sam Shakusky(Jared Gilman)is attending a Khaki Scout Summer Camp lead by Scoutmaster Ward (Edward Norton). Suzy Bishop(Kara Hayward) another 12 year old that lives on the island with her parents Walt (Bill Murray) and Laura (Frances McDormand) along with her three younger brothers. She and Sam who are both outsiders and somewhat introverted met the previous year during a church performance of a play about Noah's Flood and have been pen pals ever since. As they write, their feelings for each other grow and so, at the start of the movie, the…

This Week In Vexillology #202

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Another 'Lost Weekend' In Vexillology is upon us! This time I'm heading back down to South America to a country whose history continues to intrigue me- the more I dig, the more fascinated I become. Yes, This Week In Vexillology it's the flag of Paraguay!
Here's the kicker, right off the bat: what do Paraguay and Oregon have in common? If you said their flags look different on either side, you'd be right. This is the front (obverse) of the Paraguayan flag:

And this is the reverse of the Paraguayan flag:

Before we get to the flag, we've got to break down Paraguay a little bit. The more I read about the place, the most interesting it becomes. For instance, it's first ruler, Jose Gaspar Rodriguez de Francia wanted to build an utopian society based on Rousseau's Social Contract so he imposed a rigid isolation on Paraguay and things got weird after that. (His political police, apparently: Pyragues or, 'hairy feet', Spaniards were banned from marry…

Bookshot #94: Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

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Well, damn. This book was not at all what I was expecting and it was a hell of a hard slog to get through, but damn it, I got through it. Finally. "One of the most important and influential books written in the past half-century," the back of the book proclaims...  I guess if the person writing up the synopsis was a philosophy major that'd be about right. So:

The story of a motorcycle trip from Minnesota to the Pacific Northwest, the narrator (who turns out to be the author- but we don't know that initially) is travelling with his son, Chris and a couple of friends of theirs, John and Sylvia initially. As they travel along, the narrator interweaves the story of their journey with what he calls 'Chautauquas' delving into various aspects of philosophy which gradually reveal a past self of the narrator, whom he refers to as Phaedrus. Phaedrus taught creative and technical writing at a small college and became engrossed with the ideas of what makes good writing o…

The Purge 3: Ideological Viewpoint Diversity

The headline from Iowa Starting Line was a little shriek-y and a little click bait-y: "Senator Mark Chelgren Aims To Purge Democrats From Iowa Universities" I literally laughed out loud. So, he wants to shut down Iowa's universities then- I mean, pretty much. I'm assuming if you get rid of the Democrats, there wouldn't be that many Republicans left- it's an idiotic idea. I didn't know legislation could be click bait as well, but hey, there it is.

Froth, fire and brimstone aside- if you step back and unpack the kernel of the idea a little bit, there might be something there worth discussing. But first, we have to knock off the obvious: this is a moronic piece of legislation. People with No Party registration (Independent, damn it! INDEPENDENT FOREVER!) are good to go- along with Republicans. Which begs the question: how do you prove that someone's registered the way they say they are? Say this goes through: there'd be a stampede of people who simpl…

This Week In Vexillology #201

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You know, I promised you 'Lost Weekends In Vexillology' last week- I just didn't figure I'd be launching into them so soon. But what better follow-up to my Psephology post on the legislative elections Uttar Pradesh than going back in time- way back in time- to dig into my very own personal collection to take a look once more at the flag of India:
Before we get to the flag, I have to admit that this one is something of a head-scratcher. For as long as I've been keeping track of the flags I've looked at, India has always been on the list. It was an early acquisition for my personal collection and I've always thought I had knocked it off way early on in the process when I was going through some flags in my personal collection, but I could never find the original post. So it's something of a mystery- which, now, happily, we get to resolve.

Well, right away I realized I needed a new picture for this post. The Flag Code of India specifies that the saffron ban…

Psephology Rocks: Uttar Pradesh and Why You Should Care

psephology
(noun) 1. The study of elections.

Part of the joy of elections and my amateur study of them is stumbling across an election that you didn't even know was going on and realizing that it's kind of a big deal- so imagine my excitement when I realized that legislative elections in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh were underway!

Indian elections are probably my favorite things in the world...  their national elections are the largest exercises in mass democracy anywhere in the world and it takes them about a month to get all the voting done- Uttar Pradesh is it's largest state with a population of just under 200 million and it's legislative election kicked off on February 11th and it's going to last until March 8th. In a word: awesome.

(Parenthetical time: elections in India are pretty much ignored by the US media and that needs to change- a point that John Oliver made on his show a few years back. India is a large and growing economy and it's going to be …

Wait, What?

So, I randomly saw a news article float by me this weekend about a ruling from the State Supreme Court. The last time I actually dug into a State Supreme Court decision was probably the Varnum decision which legalized marriage equality and usually it's a task I find myself loathe to do. I do it, because I figure if the media's going to spend terrabytes of data covering court decisions, I shouldn't have to take their word for it when I can get the actual decision complete and in full thanks to the magical powers of the internet. The problem I find is that I'm not a lawyer. I don't really speak legalese. I think I can do logic pretty well and have a rudimentary grasp of what the hell they're talking about most of the time, but this decision gave me a headache. A major headache. My brain hurts.

(Before I go further, a mild disclaimer: I'm going to be talking- or typing at least tangentially about my day job. Which doesn't happen on the blog all that often,…

Oh, What The Hell. Let's Abolish The State Senate!

You ever notice how politicians that talk about shrinking the size of state government or reducing the costs associated with state government never actually shrink state government? Yeah, me too. Do they, to paraphrase Grover Norquist, want government 'small enough so they can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub' or do they want lean and efficient government that actually works?

This is a growing problem for Conservatives. Their base hears all this talk about reducing the size of government, but government never actually shrinks. It just changes its priorities a little bit. It's the reason why Republicans are balking at repealing Obamacare- people are showing up at their townhalls and they're pissed off and they're scared because oh wait, despite the many flaws in the bill- and there are many, it actually does help some people. Thus, Republicans are confronting the uncomfortable truth:  voters actually do want some government. And they want it to …

Netflix & Chill #5: Mr. Holmes

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Watched On: Amazon Prime
Released: 2015
Starring: Ian McKellen, Laura Linney
Prime Rating: 4 out 5 stars
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Pick: Mine 

Oh, Mr. Holmes...  I'm honestly not sure how to feel about this movie. On the hand, it's a fascinating concept with an excellent cast. On the other hand, I don't think it quite really lived up to it's potential. Basically, in 1947,  Sherlock Holmes is 93, retired, living in the country in Sussex on a farmhouse where he keeps bees. He lives with his housekeeper Mrs. Munro and her son Roger.

As the movie opens Holmes is coming back from Japan, where he had gone to obtain the prickly ash plant, which, when converted into a jelly, he hopes he will improve his failing memory so he can recall the details of his final case- the real details, since he was somewhat unhappy with Dr. Watson's fictionalization of it, The Adventure of the Dove Grey Glove. He can't quite remember what happened with the case, but he knows that whatever happened,…

This Week in Vexillology #200: The Complete Archive

February On Medium

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So this month's short fiction on Medium is 'The Bridge':

This is my inspiration for the story... the Missus and I had an adventure day with the kids a few months back and drove up to Sutliff Bridge- it was an absolutely beautiful fall day and the story just flowed from there. I love Sutliff... it's all isolated and quiet and tucked away into the northwestern corner of the county. It made for a perfect setting...
I also remember reading a short story in high school, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge... that also seemed to be rolling around in my brain when I wrote this. So, I hope it helped me write a decent story.  Here's the official link:
The Bridge
Happy reading! And, as always, comments, questions and feedback are always welcome!

Albums2010 #86: None Shall Pass

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I don't really listen to a lot of rap, which makes it hard for me to write credibly about it, I think- but the whole purpose of this mess of a project of mine was to listen to the albums that I dig and there is a flavor of underground/indie/non-mainstream rap that I really, really dig. Folks like Hieroglyphics and Atmosphere- and yes, Aesop Rock.

I'm pretty sure I remember reading a review of None Shall Pass in EW which really dug the track, 'The Harbor Is Yours' so I listened to it, thought it was amazing and immediately downloaded it. I think it provides the perfect snapshot into why I like this album. The lyrics are dense, intelligent and literate and that's awesome. 'The Harbor Is Yours' tells a complete story, start to finish in just under four minutes and it more than just captures your attention- it entertains you as well. And it rhymes! The hooks and lyrics get into your brain and that to me in probably the secret to success in rap and hip/hop...  i…

Down The Free Speech Rabbit Hole

So, late last week, Conservative new media darling/icon of the alt-right/professional Internet troll Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to give a speech at the University of California Berkeley. Which in and of itself is no big deal, I would have thought. Except that it turned out to be a gigantic deal with riot police, destruction of property and fires and stuff. Needless to say, Milo didn't get to give his speech and the kids at Berkeley fucked up a whole bunch of their campus because they were so upset about what he was going to say.
This, naturally, has lead to the usual re-eruption of free speech vs. hate speech and blah blah blah blah blah...  this cartoon from XKCD is making the rounds again. And while XKCD has thrown down some good stuff over the years there's something not quite right about their take on free speech that's been bugging me all day- it's just not quite right. Not when applied to what happened at Berkeley. 
Don't get me wrong: there have been pl…

After-Super-Bowl

The old commandment, 'The personal is political' is getting really tiresome these days, because it's gone from 'okay then, sure' to a ticket to politicize every goddamn thing in the book. So, while Super Bowl commercials used to be the fun part of the game, where people would pick out the funny ones and the cool ones and the ones they were excited about and the cool movie previews and instead, maybe as a result of the dawning of Trump's America, we get ads full of controversy and social media fire and brimstone. (Though, the Pope- the actual Pope legit weighed on tonight's game. He didn't pick a winner though. I was really hoping for him to be all like 'Go Falcons!' at the end of that video.)

Let's start with 84 Lumber.

This was a gigantic middle finger to Trump, his wall and his immigration policies. If you're against all three of those things you're going to like this commercial. If you're in favor in all three of those things th…