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Showing posts from April, 2017

The Upload Project #6

CD #51, Untitled, all repeats except for
Jay Z & Alicia Keys- Empire State of Mind
Cake- Short Skirt Long Jacket
Van Morrison- Baby Please Don't Go
John Lennon- Stand By Me

CD #52, Untitled (pretty close to being an original CD! The Missus made this one, I'm pretty sure. 1 repeat.)
Beck- Loser
Bruce Springsteen- Born To Run
Fall Out Boy- The Take Over, The Break's Over
The Format-Let's Make This Moment A Crime
Green Day- Basket Case
Janis Joplin- Try (Just A Little Bit Harder)
Kaiser Chiefs- Ruby
Kanye West-Stronger
The Killers- Mr. Brightside
Jet- Cold Hard Bitch
OK Go- Do What You Want
Prince- Get Off
Jay Z and Rihanna- Umberella
Sex Pistols- Anarchy In The UK
Sublime- Santeria
U2-Angel Of Harlem
The Vapors- I'm Turning Japanese
Weezer- Undone (The Sweater Song)
White Stripes-Icky Thump

CD #53, Untitled, repeats except for:
Earth, Wind and Fire- September
Rolling Stones- All Down The Line
The Clash- White Man (In Hammersmith Palais)
Taylor Swift- Mine
Eric Clapt…

This Week In Vexillology #211

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It's another 'Lost Weekend' In Vexillology, but this time it's a particularly timely one- what with North Korea and South Korea in the news so much of late, I figured what better time to go back into the mists of cyberspace to take a look at not one, but both Koreas.  First up, South Korea:
The national flag and ensign of the Republic of Korea (South Korea's official name), it's been adopted a few times. January 27, 1883 it was adopted by the Korean Empire and then after Japanese Occupation and a couple of world wars it was adopted again with August 15th, 1948 upon the foundation of the Republic of Korea and an updated version was adopted in October 1997. What's the 4-1-1 on this flag? Well, the background is white, which is a traditional Korean color that represents peace and purity. The yin-yang in the center represents the balance of the universe. The blue half stands for the negative cosmic forces and the red for the opposing positive forces.

Where thin…

Boozehound Unfiltered: 2 Gingers

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We're back with some Irish whiskey- and to be honest, I can't remember why I purchased this particular bottle of whiskey, but there was a reason. I think perhaps it was for a recipe of some kind that I was working on, but it totally escapes me at the moment. (Or maybe it was just to have a bottle of Irish whiskey in the house for Saint Patrick's Day? Could it have been that simple.)

Anyway, for whatever the reason, I settled on 2 Gingers and it turned out to be a decent buy. I haven't really explored too much of Irish whiskey beyond the usual suspects of Jameson and Bushmills, so it was nice to break out and spread my wings a little bit and try something new.

So what's the deal with 2 Gingers? It's from Minnesota... yeah... that was kind of a puzzlement to me as well. But Minnesota bar owner and businessman Kieran Folliard was inspired by his fiery haired mother and aunt (Mary and Delia) to found 2 Gingers. So it claims Minnesota as it's home, but was found…

Psephology Rocks: Oh, Snap

So, the build-up to the French Presidential election was sort of muted by the sudden announcement of a snap election for the UK to be held on June the 8th, British Prime Minister Theresa May is apparently seeking a wider mandate to handle Brexit- but before we get to that, let's talk France:

So, it's Macron vs. Le Pen for Round 2 of the election, set for May 7th and I find myself curiously unwilling to make a prediction on this election. It's probably going to be Macron. Probably. The French have a sensible tendency to close ranks against the National Front in second round elections at all levels of their Republic, so I don't see a good reason why that wouldn't happen again.

And yet...  the first round was kind of a train wreck and a half- Macron won with 24.01% of the vote, Le Pen following with 21.3% but after that you had Fillon at 20.01% and Melenchon with 19.58% right behind them. The top four candidates were pretty much in a photo finish here, with Macron tak…

Netflix & Chill #12: Kubo and The Two Strings

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Watched On: Redbox (literally the day before it hit Netflix. Grrrrr...)
Released: 2016
Starring: Charlize Theron, Art Parkinson, Ralph Fiennes, Rooney Mara, George Takei, Matthew McConaughey
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Pick: Mine 

This was the second time that I had tried to watch this movie and happily, this was the successful time- freakishly, despite a time lapse of some months (this movie proved to be too scary for Little Man- or more precisely, the freaky underwater scenes with the gigantic eyeballs were a bridge too far for him) the DVD player new exactly where we had left off in the movie, which...  disturbed me a little bit. (How did it know? Wasn't like it was the same DVD- had to be a different DVD from a different Redbox and all that jazz.  Technology, man. It's alive and it's going to kill us all someday.)

But anyway: Kubo and the Two Strings is the story of Kubo, a one-eyed young boy who cares for his  mother in a cave atop a mountain next to a village. Every day, he goe…

This Week In Vexillology #210

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So, on this date in the year 1500 or so, a Portuguese fleet saw this:
Obviously, they weren't on land when they saw it- they were at see, but this is Monte Pascoal which is on the Northeast Coast of Brazil in state of Bahia- and is believed to be the first chunk of Brazil ever seen by Europeans- which is why today is Discovery Day down in Brazil and why This Week In Vexillology, we're dipping back into Brazilian State Flags to take a look at the flag of Bahia:
Adopted on June 11th, 1960 as the state flag, it's influences spring from what this website calls 'a synthesis of libertarian ideals' which seems pretty close to the mark. The colors recall the 1798 Revolt of the Alfaiates- which was a slave rebellion that engulfed the region which was separatist and looking to free slaves and all the other classes that were oppressed or discriminated by the colonial society in the state. The triangle recalls another great revolt from the decade prior- the Inconfidencia Miner…

Albums2010 #88: A Picture of Nectar

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So, true confession time: I had never listened to a single Phish album before I listened to this one. I don't know what it was- whether it was the fact that Dave Matthews was more radio friendly and I never listened to alternative college radio back in the day so Phish was just one of those bands I just assumed was tasty and delicious like the ice cream and never actually sat down and listened to them. But I decided that no survey of music or albums or whatever the hell this thing I've been trying to do for seven years now is would be complete without listening to one Phish album, so one Google search for 'where should I start with Phish' and one Reddit thread later, I found myself listening to A Picture of Nectar, which, I was surprise to learn was their first major studio release.

(Wiki-Tangent: they've been kicking since December 1983, three months after I was born. And in a weird twist of something- fate, perhaps? My family would begin our long, strange America…

"Oh, the Facepalms..."

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This picture pretty much sums up this past week quite nicely and while last Monday we had something of a mixed bag of not-quite-Facepalms to talk about, today, we're all Facepalms.

First up, Arsenal FC, who shat the bed in spectacular fashion against Crystal Palace. Palace fans serenaded manager Arsene Wenger thusly. Now anyone who's ever watched a soccer match will know that you can get a basic idea of what people are singing usually. Usually. In this case, you can understand each and every single fucking word. It's dispiriting when my team is having something of a dumpster fire of a season and that players like Alexis and Ozil will probably be running screaming at the earliest opportunity. Fans of other teams seem to be having a lot more fun that Arsenal is this season- and whether it's the dressing room culture or falling out of the Top 4, which seems inevitable now, change is coming. It's just a matter of when it comes, now, I think- and in what manner. I'…

Netflix & Chill #11: What Happened, Miss Simone?

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Watched On: Netflix
Released: 2015
Directed By: Liz Garbus
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Pick: Mine

I had seen trailers/ad floating around for this documentary for awhile now, but never got around to watching it until now. I first heard the music of Nina Simone when 'Sinnerman' was more or less engraved into the soundtrack of 1999's The Thomas Crown Affair (a legit good movie that I feel like I should go back and watch) and she got sampled on a Kanye track a few years later and then this documentary came out and I thought- you know what? I should probably sit down and find out who Miss Nina Simone was and what she was all about.

Turns out, she was about a lot. Growing up in poverty, she began training to be a classical pianist at a young age and began running into the blockades of segregation and racism almost immediately: she wasn't allowed to perform in certain venues or give recitals in others but kept at it before being discovered at a bar in Atlantic City where she was working…

This Week In Vexillology #209

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You know, the calendar has been good to me these past few weeks and while This Week In Vexillology is technically another 'Lost Week In Vexillology' the timing couldn't be more perfect- because we're heading back to the Island of Malta to take a peek at their flag, which features The George Cross, which was awarded to Malta by King George VI 75 years ago today. (Malta's been in the news, with the sad, tragic collapse of the Azure Window.)

Adopted on September 21st, 1964 as the national flag as well as the state and naval ensign. The cross used to be in a blue canton, but that was removed in 1964 and a red fimbriation was added around the Cross to help make it appear less prominent. Interestingly enough it also helped the flag to conform to a rule of heraldry which states: "no color may touch a color, or metal touch a metal" The metals in this case being silver/white and yellow/gold. (I clicked the wiki-link to check out heraldry, hoping that there would be…

Bookshot Special: The Play's The Thing

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

I couldn't understand why anyone would want to sit through a party like this one. I mean Nick and Honey just stick around and stick around and stick around long past the point of common sense and just when you think it couldn't possibly make any more sense whatsoever, it all comes together in a rush that's like a punch to the gut. I want to see a production of this- my question is mainly centered around speed- in my head, this dialogue went by at Gilmore Girls level speed, but a view YouTube videos later revealed that wasn't true at all.

In contrast to August: Osage County, this particular copy was pretty light on stage setting instructions and stage directions as well. But the dialogue is razor sharp- I'm talking Peter O'Toole vs. Katherine Hepburn in The Lion In Winter type of sharp and I dig that. And the ending...  wow. The ending. Knocked me right off my damn feet.


August: Osage County

I kind of want to go and see a produ…

Squawk Box: Meditations on Early 'Grey's'

The Missus has been making her way through Grey's Anatomy on Netflix for a couple of months now. In general, after McDreamy died I was pretty much done even remotely caring about that show (and sure enough, recent episodes seem to involve a lot of the characters shouting at each other about things that I didn't really care all that much about- either because the show is going through a bad stretch of writing (doubtful, but possible given it's longevity) or because I lack the context to understand why I should care about the hospital politics they're all wrangling about of late.) But what sucked me back into Grey's was not the newer episodes, but the older ones. And that got me thinking and remembering a (seemingly, but really not that surprising given my taste in television) surprising thing: once upon a time, Grey's Anatomy was appointment television for me.

Like Picasso, I had something of a Blue Period in the latter days of my undergraduate experience. Weird…

"Good News, Everyone!"

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Where do we begin the week? It's Monday morning, so Facepalms of note await us from the week prior? What boneheaded bill has been proposed? What's preposterous policies have been enacted? Grab your coffee. Irish it up with some whiskey Because, as the wise man said, "it's going to be a buuuuumpy ride."

First up, "Well, we're bombing Syria." Or more precisely, we did bomb Syria. We lobbed some cruise missiles onto the airbase which the Assad Regime had used to drop sarin gas on a bunch of it's own people. Big noise went boom and it turned out didn't do a hell of lot more than that because it was back up, running and dropping bombs on it's own people pretty much right away. Reaction was decidedly mixed to the strikes and legal experts seem to be of the opinion that the old "well, this falls under that resolution Congress passed at breakneck speed in the aftermath of September the 11th" line doesn't apply here.

Personally, th…

Netflix & Chill #10: Doctor Strange

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Watched On: Redbox
Released: 2016
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachek McAdams, Benedict Wong, Tilda Swinton, Mads Mikkelsen
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Pick: Mine

Despite the urge to say things like "Yer a wizard, Harry!" I enjoyed the hell out of Doctor Strange. The origin story of Marvel's Sorcerer Supreme opens with a decapitation courtesy of the sorcerer Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) and his followers, who break into the magic library of Kamar-Taj to steal a mystical text from the library of the Ancient One. The Ancient One attempts to stop them and pursues them, but they get away after some nifty, Inception-level twisting of the landscape.

In New York City, our hero, Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is an acclaimed neurosurgeon, but he's not the McDreamy-type with long flowing locks and loving glances and make out sessions in the elevator- instead, he's arrogant, likes expensive watches and fast cars (and I have to admit, this Honest Trailer doe…

This Week In Vexillology #208

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Another week and another consultation of the calendar which gave me the idea for This Week In Vexiollogy- yes, it's International Romani Day, so what better way to mark the occasion than by unpacking the flag of the Romani:
Created by the General Union of the Roma of Romania in 1933, it wasn't adopted internationally until the First World Romani Congress of 1971, which was help in London. (There's a minor split between Western European and Eastern European Romani over the issue- a 1992 Congress help in Latvia agreed on a different flag- retaining the blue and the green but changing out the wheel for a horse head to represent the independence of the ethnic group.)

Breaking down the symbolism of the flag, let's take the official explanation:
The World Romani Congress have adopted a Romani flag which is respected by all the Roma the world over. It comprises of blue and green traditional colors with the red wheel in the center. Blue is the blue sky and the heavens,. Green i…

100 Years Gone

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Today marks 100 years since America entered the First World War. PBS is starting a documentary on The Great War next week which I'm sure will be up to it's usual standards of excellence. (I might DVR it, actually.) The Moustache, in one of his dwindling acts as Our Glorious and Eternal Governor declared today World War One Centennial Reflection Day- and with good reason: 114,000 Iowans served in World War I and 3,576 of them died. If you've been in and around Des Moines ever at any point in your life, you've probably seen signs or driven down Merle Hay Road, named after Private Merle Hay, who was one of the first American Soldiers to die in combat during the war. Marion Crandell of Cedar Rapids was the first American woman to die in the combat zone.
I feel like World War I gets overlooked a lot in the history classes here in America. As a nation, our big moment moving onto the international stage was World War II instead of World War I and along with Korea, it makes a…

Bookshot #96: Fahrenheit 451

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While I didn't intend to read The Martian Chronicles- I was just happy to find it at the Library, I was, however, after Fahrenheit 451, which up until now, I had somehow manage to escape reading- and it was worth the wait, believe me.

Set in a future America, where books are banned, Fahrenheit 451 tells the story of Guy Montag, the fireman- though these fireman don't put out fires, they round up books and burn them. (The title refers to the temperature at which books burn.) Books are banned and people get all their news and entertainment from 'television.' Montag is sleepwalking through his life as the book begins when he meets a new neighbor, Clarisse McClellan who is a free-thinker and talks about the past when people read books and learned things and pokes at Montag until he begins to look around and question his life and existence. He comes home that night to find his wife Mildred has overdosed on sleeping pills, calls for medical attention- but she doesn't rem…

Monday Morning Facepalms

Coupled with the cheerful news that Public Service Loan Forgiveness might well be ignored or the DoE might just say things like, 'Sorry dude, no forgiveness for you' it's easy to give in to cynicism and despair or just plain anger, but not to be out done, the State Legislature in Des Moines stepped up to the plate and delivered not one, not two, but three shining facepalms to begin our week.

First up, the minimum wage roll back! For a party the proclaims the glories of local control and less government, Republicans down in Des Moines sure seem to be interested in micromanaging Iowa's 99 counties and the minimum wages they set. I mean, who really cares if Johnson County has a higher minimum wage than say, Iowa County? Minimum wage is stupid right? We should just abolish the minimum wage altogether? But no, no, that's not enough for the Party of Small Government and Local Control, no, they need to rein this shit in. Can't be paying workers a fair wage now, can we…

Netflix & Chill #9: The Big Short

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Watched On: Netflix
Released: 2015
Starring: Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Pick: Mine 

This has been lodged in my Netflix streaming line-up for awhile now, but I never really rolled up my sleeves and went to it until a couple of weeks ago and right off the bat, I'll tell you this: this movie should never have worked. In a million billion years, it should never have worked. But it did and that's impressive and probably speaks volumes about Adam McKay's abilities as a Director and a screenwriter. (He shared credit with Charles Randolph for the screenplay.)

So, what's it about? The housing market collapse of 2008. I know- a movie about the housing market collapse sounds about as appealing as paint drying, but it's actually not. It's massively entertaining, because the movie looks at three separate storylines- the first is about a somewhat eccentric hedge fund manager, Michael Burry (Christian Bale) who discovers all the way…

This Week In Vexillology #207

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Well, I was going to take advantage of the wide spread mourning over the collapse of the Azure Window to revisit the flag of Malta, but I some digging provided a much more exciting alternative than another Lost Weekend in Vexillology- because you see, today, the Canadian Province of Nunavut turns 18! Nunavut's legal! Woot woot!

So, Happy Birthday to Canada's newest province- so let's check out their flag:
This is a boss flag. According to Wikipedia, it was criticized for having too many colors, the placement of the star at the end of the flag and the use of gold and white as the background field and the black outline around the red inuksuk in the center. All, IMHO, utterly bullshit complaints and here's why: the gold and white are a good color combination and the red inuksuk at the center acts as the glue between the two sides of the flag perfectly. Had they but the blue star on the gold portion of the flag, I might buy into the whole idea that there are too many color…