Thursday, March 31, 2005

Random Movie Quote Thursday

Brian
I believe in taking care of myself,
and a balanced diet and a rigorous exercise routine.
In the morning, if my face is a little puffy,
I'll put on an ice pack while doing my stomach crunches.
I can do a thousand now.
After I remove the ice pack, I use a deep pore cleanser lotion.
In the shower, I use a water activated gel cleanser.
Then a honey almond body scrub.
And on the face, an exfoliating gel scrub.
Then apply an herb mint facial mask,
which I leave on for 10 minutes while I prepare the rest of my routine.
I always use an aftershave lotion with little or no alcohol,
because alcohol dries your face out and makes you look older.
Then moisturizer,
then an anti-aging eye balm followed by a final moisturizing protective lotion.
There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman,
some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me.
Only an entity, something illusory.
And though I can hide my cold gaze,
and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours
and maybe you can even sense our life styles are probably comparable,
I simply am not there.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Leonard Bernstein, Lenny Bruce, Lester Bangs

Brian
I just read a piece in Rolling Stone by James Howard Kunstler about how we're about to reach our global peak oil production, like this year or next, and after that everything is going to go to hell:
Most immediately we face the end of the cheap-fossil-fuel era. It is no exaggeration to state that reliable supplies of cheap oil and natural gas underlie everything we identify as the necessities of modern life -- not to mention all of its comforts and luxuries: central heating, air conditioning, cars, airplanes, electric lights, inexpensive clothing, recorded music, movies, hip-replacement surgery, national defense -- you name it.
. . .
The upshot of all this is that we are entering a historical period of potentially great instability, turbulence and hardship. Obviously, geopolitical maneuvering around the world's richest energy regions has already led to war and promises more international military conflict. Since the Middle East contains two-thirds of the world's remaining oil supplies, the U.S. has attempted desperately to stabilize the region by, in effect, opening a big police station in Iraq. The intent was not just to secure Iraq's oil but to modify and influence the behavior of neighboring states around the Persian Gulf, especially Iran and Saudi Arabia. The results have been far from entirely positive, and our future prospects in that part of the world are not something we can feel altogether confident about.
. . .
The circumstances of the Long Emergency will require us to downscale and re-scale virtually everything we do and how we do it, from the kind of communities we physically inhabit to the way we grow our food to the way we work and trade the products of our work. Our lives will become profoundly and intensely local. Daily life will be far less about mobility and much more about staying where you are. Anything organized on the large scale, whether it is government or a corporate business enterprise such as Wal-Mart, will wither as the cheap energy props that support bigness fall away. The turbulence of the Long Emergency will produce a lot of economic losers, and many of these will be members of an angry and aggrieved former middle class.

Link
. Kunstler's complete doomsday scenario is outlined in his book, The Long Emergency.

The writing's on the wall this morning in a piece from The Christian Science Monitor noting that, thanks to rising oil prices, it's not just gas that's getting more expensive, but everything:

"The true cost of energy is now being felt more broadly through the entire economy," says Mark Routt, a senior consultant at Energy Security Analysis, Inc., in Wakefield, Mass.

The reason, according to Mr. Routt, is what he calls the "tale of two economies." Most consumers focus on gas prices and the impact on their wallets. But diesel, which fuels truckers and some manufacturers, has gone up just as fast, and in some cases, gone higher. Thanks to that competition for consumers, combined with the concurrent growth of cheap imports, most people have so far been sheltered from that impact.


Link. Well, um, this should be interesting.


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They're mopping the floors!

Brian
Snopes.com, the destination for all your urban-legend-debunking and -bunking needs, has a transcript of a real 911 call over a botched fast food order:
Dispatcher: Ma'am, then I suggest you get your money back and go somewhere else. This is . . . this is not a criminal issue. We can't go out there and make them make you a cheeseburger the way you want it.

Woman: Well . . . that is . . . that . . . you're supposed to be here to protect me.

Dispatcher: Well, what are we protecting you from, a wrong cheeseburger?

Woman: No . . .

Dispatcher: Is this like . . . is this a harmful cheeseburger or something? I don't understand what you want us to do.

Link includes both the transcript and the audio file. I just...dang.

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Cat-resistant Mice

Brian
Dr. Andrew Saxon at UCLA genetically engineered mice that were allergic to cats. Then he cured them:

The mice were genetically engineered to react like a person with a cat allergy. They wheezed and got watery eyes when there was a cat around.
. . .
[Dr. Saxon] injected the allergic mice with a protein that combines cat and human proteins. He used very small doses over time. The mice’s immune systems learned to stop reacting to cat chemicals, and they were cured.


Link. The next step is, of course, creating mice that can defeat cats in battle. Tear it. Tear it up.

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Monday, March 28, 2005

If it hadn't been for my horse

Brian
We all have had the experience of overhearing a stranger say something that, out of context, or even in context, sounds completely ridiculous. Well, if you live in New York, which I don't, but whatever, there's a website for you: www.overheardinnewyork.com, where people record the strange things they've overheard other people say. In New York. Such as...

Receptionist: So, it's your name on the insurance card?
Girl: No, it's my partner's.
Receptionist: Your husband?
Girl: No, my partner.
Receptionist: What's his name?
Girl: Emily.
Receptionist: Your husband's name is Emily?
Girl: She's a girl.
Receptionist: Oh...Ohhh.

--Park Slope ob/gyn

...and...

Woman #1: It's really small, you know, but the sex is wonderful.
Woman #2: You mean he's rich?
Woman #1: Yeah. Exactly.

--Union Square

The fun never ends.

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Sunday, March 27, 2005

TheGoodReverend's Tour of Tucson

Brian
Of the few unique manmade attractions in Tucson, the airplane boneyard is at once the most impressive and the most ridiculous. The boneyard is a wide open field filled with decommissioned aircraft on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and apparently affiliated with the Pima Air and Space Museum. Old planes are put out to pasture in retirement mecca Tucson, but if needed they can always be called back into duty.

I grew up less than a mile from the most visible portion of the yard at Kolb and Escalante in the Southeast. When you're a kid, the idea of miles and miles of airplanes, wrapped in protective coccoons, excites the same part of you that sees forts in sofa cushions and lava on the ground around stepping stones. When you're an adult, it just makes you smile. Gloriously reproduced in the immortal Tucson 80s flick Can't Buy Me Love, the boneyard is in reality best glimpsed through fences along Escalante or Valencia roads. Anyone with developed senses of both irony and wonder must not miss the boneyard on a visit to Tucson.

Previously on "TheGoodReverend's Tour of Tucson" . . .

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The Night They Raided Doc Johnson's

Brian
The Philadelphia Inquirer's Tom Ferrick, Jr. has been reporting on the closing of Doc Johnson's, a Philadelphia landmark porn store:
The pornography emporium has been a fixture at the corner of 13th and Arch Streets for more than 25 years, offering a veritable plethora of porn - dirty books, sexual devices, and peep shows (live and on tape).
Today the Inquirer published his followup, reminiscing for the non-halcyon years that brought dirty politics and smut to Our Fair City:

The '70s were the Golden Age of Porn Shops in Philly. Doc's was one of several dozen X-rated businesses. We had two adult theaters on Market Street, right across from City Hall. Another adult cinema at 1812 Chestnut. A live porn theater (featuring nude wrestling, etc.) around 20th and Market. Lots of peep-show arcades and dirty bookstores. It was a sign of the city's distress.

The oldest was the Troc at 10th and Arch Streets, home to burlesque, and famous for the names and slogans it bestowed on its strippers. Some examples: Kris Kringle "She'll Ring Your Bells." Emma Nems "Melts in Your Arms." And, my personal favorite, Carlotta Tendant "Park Yourself Here."


Link. This reminds me of the San Francisco porn mecca Big Al's, which towers above Broadway and Columbus like an electric Sodom and Gomorrah.


Big Al's will close someday, sure, but probably around the same time they close Coit Tower and the Golden Gate Bridge. San Francisco has a different view of its smut than Philadelphia. Philly thinks of it as a relic of a grimier time, like the Times Square of Taxi Driver. San Francisco views it as an ironic monument to sexual liberty pinned not to a particular era but to the heart of the City.

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Links to the Philadelphia Inquirer require registration. If you don't like compulsory registration at sites like that, check out bugmenot.com, which will supply you with a login, and even includes an extension to allow Firefox users to do it automatically.

Hello Dali

Brian
This Salvador Dali exhibit is the talk of Philadelphia right now. Philadelphia Will Do has got the story on the great Art Museum steps image of the Halsman Dali protrait, including some nice pics like this:

I need to get off my butt and go see this exhibit.

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Saturday, March 26, 2005

Without a Trace

Brian
One of my college buddies has put up this AIM away message:
in Cabo San Lucas... if this message is more than 5 days idle... send out a search party to Mexico to look for me...

And of course, as I type, he's been idle for 7 days, 16 hours, and 2 minutes. He's the kind of guy about whom I shouldn't be surprised--fun-loving, impulsive, etc. Still, there're a dozen traps he could have fallen into in Baja. Since I've tried calling him and he hasn't answered, I'm guessing he's...

a) in Mexican prison.
b) trapped under a fallen keg
c) lying in the gutter
d) started his own taxi business.

I wouldn't put any of these things past him. Here's hoping all is well.

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Three is a magic number

Brian
In honor of Easter, I figured I'd point you over to thesneeze.com, where they have a video of the banana's mystical property of splitability into a trinity of wedges, or, as I like to call them, the father, the son, and the holy bananas, Batman!

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Lay it on your radio

Brian
Since Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D., did such a stupendous job diagnosing Terri Schiavo via video, these folks had the idea to send Frist pictures and videos of faults, defects, or shortcomings, you know, like arthritis, rheumatism, or migraines, whatever part of your body it is, laid on Flickr, and letting the vibes flow through. Yeah, upload pics of your problems and see if he can diagnose them.

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Friday, March 25, 2005

Shrouded in cloth, glass and paint

Brian
A random English teacher from Idaho claims to have figured out one way the Shroud of Turin, the relic said to be the burial shroud of Jesus complete with his image burned into it, could have been forged in the middle ages, when radio-carbon dating says the cloth is from:

Wilson is himself an evangelical Christian but said his views on the shroud don't change his faith.

"I'm a Bible-believing Christian who believes in the Resurrection completely without a doubt," he said.

The Shroud of Turin is a linen cloth, about 14 feet long and 3 feet wide, that has been kept in the city of Turin, Italy, since 1578. It bears the image of a man with wounds similar to those suffered by Jesus. Believers say it was used to wrap Christ after he was taken off the cross.

The English instructor believes a medieval forger could have painted the image of a crucified man on a pane of glass, laid it on the linen, then left it outside in the sun to bleach the cloth for several days. As the linen lightened, the painted image of the man remained dark on the cloth, creating the equivalent of a photo negative.


Link to AP story. Also, here's the teacher's website. And here's a picture of the way he pulled it off:



Only fitting that a pinko like Nathan Wilson would be from a town called Moscow.

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Recipe Friday

Brian

Today we are blessed with the triumphant return of Recipe Friday. This time:

Thai Lemon Beef

(special thanks to The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook).


You’ll need:

1 boneless top round steak or flank steak

1/3 cup of soy sauce

1/4 cup of lemon juice

1/4 cup of water

3 teaspoons crushed red pepper (like the kind you get at pizza places—a few packets of the free stuff from Pizza Hut would work)

4 cloves of garlic

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

4 green onions

2 carrots

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 cup of rice


Heavy artillery:

Sharp knives

Measuring cups and spoons

Large bowl or Tupperware container

Big skillet or wok (nonstick)

Spatula

Garlic press, if you got it

Whisk (or a fork, the poor man’s whisk)

Medium sauce pan

Cutting board

Refrigerator

Stove

Time to do some pre-cutting:

Peel and mince the garlic (or press it)

Cut the green onions into 2” pieces

Peel the carrots and slice them as thinly as possible

Cut the steak diagonally (that is, at like a 60 degree angle to the floor) across the grain (usually means width-wise) into 1/8 in strips, then place it in your large bowl

Now to make the marinade:

Combine soy sauce, lemon juice, water, crushed red pepper, and garlic. Pour half of it over the steak, and keep the other half. Cover the steak and stick it in the fridge for at least half an hour. My theory is, the longer you marinate, the better, but you probably don’t have time to wait all day.

Rice is a separate issue:

You’re going to cook the rice according to the instructions on the package, which probably means boiling it in a specific amount of water for like half an hour or something. The tricky part is timing. You want to have the rice done at about the same time, or slightly before, the steak, which will take about ten minutes to finish once you are done marinating it. So start the rice an appropriate amount of time before you take the steak out of the fridge.

Ready to take the steak out and get this show on the road?:

Drain the steak and throw that marinade away (remember, you kept the other half of it). Put your big skillet or wok on the stove over medium-high heat, and heat 1/2 tablespoon of oil in it. Put half of the steak in the skillet and stir-fry it a minute or so, until it’s a color darker and browner than pink. Then take that steak out and start the process over again with new oil and the remaining steak, which you will then pull out.

Now put the green onions and carrots in the skillet and stir-fry them for three minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk (or fork) the cornstarch into the marinade that you saved. After the three minutes is up on the veggies, add this cornstarch marinade to the skillet and continue stir-frying until it gets thick.

Your rice should be done or almost done. Just making sure.

Finally, add all the steak to the skillet. Just keep stir-frying until everything is heated.

Great, you’re done. Put some rice on a plate and pour the steak over the top of it. As they say in Thailand, bon appetít!

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Sneaky octopus

Brian
Researchers at Cal Berkeley report instances of bipedal behavior in octopi--that is, they stand up and walk around on two tentacles on the ocean floor:

The other type of octopus, which camouflages itself as algae in tropical waters from Indonesia to Australia, looks like a sea monster scooting along the sea floor on two legs. Huffard filmed this creature off Australia's Great Barrier Reef easily rolling over rocks and other obstacles.

"This behavior is very exciting," said Huffard, who first noted it five years ago in the coconut octopus but only recently was able to capture both types of octopuses on film. "This is the first underwater bipedal locomotion I know of, and the first example of hydrostatic bipedal movement."


Link - and they've got video. Well hopefully octopuses won't go the way of the dolphins and evolve opposable thumbs.

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Thursday, March 24, 2005

Gregor would plotz

Brian
Scientists at Purdue have discovered a plant that backs up its genes and somehow manages to repair unfortunate mutations:

The finding implies that some organisms may contain a cryptic backup copy of their genome that bypasses the usual mechanisms of heredity. If confirmed, it would represent an unprecedented exception to the laws of inheritance discovered by Gregor Mendel in the 19th century. Equally surprising, the cryptic genome appears not to be made of DNA, the standard hereditary material.

The discovery also raises interesting biological questions - including whether it gets in the way of evolution, which depends on mutations changing an organism rather than being put right by a backup system.

"It looks like a marvelous discovery," said Dr. Elliott Meyerowitz, a plant geneticist at the California Institute of Technology. Dr. David Haig, an evolutionary biologist at Harvard, described the finding as "a really strange and unexpected result," which would be important if the observation holds up and applies widely in nature.

The result, reported online yesterday in the journal Nature by Dr. Robert E. Pruitt, Dr. Susan J. Lolle and colleagues at Purdue, has been found in a single species, the mustardlike plant called arabidopsis that is the standard laboratory organism of plant geneticists. But there are hints that the same mechanism may occur in people, according to a commentary by Dr. Detlef Weigel of the Max-Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, Germany. Dr. Weigel describes the Purdue work as "a spectacular discovery."


Link.




Nasty mutation on the left; pretty bootstrap-repaired normal offspring on the right.

If only we'd discovered this sooner, we wouldn't have had to put up with those pesky ninja turles.

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Random Movie Quote Thursday

Brian
All train compartments smell vaguely of ****.
It gets so you don't mind it.
That's the worst thing that I can confess.
You know how long it took me to get there?
A long time.
When you die you're going to regret the things you don't do.
You think you're queer?
I'm going to tell you something: we're all queer.
You think you're a thief?
So what?
You get befuddled by a middle-class morality?
Get shut of it. Shut it out.
You cheated on your wife?
You did it, live with it.
You **** little girls, so be it.
There's an absolute morality? Maybe.
And then what?
If you think there is, then be that thing.
Bad people go to hell? I don't think so.
If you think that, act that way.
A hell exists on earth? Yes.
I won't live in it. That's me.
You ever take a dump made you feel like you'd just slept for twelve hours?

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Ebu Gogo Broken

Brian


Renegade scientist man stole the bones of everyone's favorite recently discovered mythical creature, H. floresiensis, and then messed them all up:

Aside from four leg bones that remain in Jacob's custody, the fossils were returned on Feb. 23. The team charges the remains were severely damaged by rubber molds made at Jacob's lab:

• Much of the detail at the base of the skull was pulled off.

• The left outer eye socket and two teeth were broken off and glued back. Bits of molded rubber still adhere to some sections.

• Long, deep cuts mark the lower edge of the hobbit's jaw on both sides, left by a blade used to cut away molded rubber.

• The chin of a second hobbit jaw was snapped off, losing bone. It was glued back together misaligned and at an incorrect angle.

• The pelvis was smashed, perhaps in transit, destroying details that reveal body shape, gait and evolutionary history.

"We have a big dispute with Professor Jacob," says Tony Djubiantono, chief of the archaeology center and co-leader of the team. "We didn't give him permission to do any of these things."

The return of the bones to the Jakarta center is cloaked in mystery, says discovery team member Richard Roberts of Australia's University of Wollongong. The team believes the government intervened. Paleoanthropologist Harry Widianto of the Yogyakarta Archaeology Agency was sent to get the bones.


Link. This after National Geographic says they're smart little buggers. I, for one, am pissed. But I'll be much happier when I find a living one in the caves.

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Monday, March 21, 2005

TheGoodReverend's Tour of Tucson

Brian
Tucson is a small city and it lacks the glamour of San Francisco or even Philadelphia. But it does have this:



The Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Arizona. At the corner of Speedway and Mountain, this building stands as a monument to feats of engineering for engineering's own sake. For starters, the front entrance is graced with a lopsided awning that seems to say, "Look at me, I'm lopsided but I'm still stable; what a feat of engineering!"

The best parts of the building, however, are the twin spring-loaded bridges between the third or fourth floors of the two department sides. A Tucson adventurer can venture out on them at night; they are accessible from an exterior staircase. Walk out to the middle of the bridge and jump up and down. Then stop. You'll notice that the bridge continues to spring up and down. This works best if you have a few people because heavier weight affects the mechanism more.

I don't know what this kind of bridge is called. Maybe you ME kids can clue me in. It's got two long beams coming down beneath the center of the span, and at the bottom of the beams cables run to the buildings. It looks like an upside down suspension bridge. Somehow the cables or the beams or a combination of both act as shock absorbers that allow the bridge to move up and down under the pressure of the load on it. For teenagers who want a trippy equilibrium experience, it's awesome.

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Swallow

Brian
The missus tipped me off on this scholarly study that asks the question "what is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?"

On a related note, Wikipedia has the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything.

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But the stars we could reach were just starfish on the beach

Brian
Slate has an article on the enduring legacy of Terry Jacks's 1974 camp awesomeness "Seasons in the Sun." The coolest part is that it links to snippets of covers by Nirvana, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, and the original French Jacques Brel.

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Thursday, March 17, 2005

Random Movie Quote Thursday

Brian
Right now everything is great,
everyone is happy,
everyone is in love and that is wonderful.
But you gotta know that sooner or later
you're gonna be screaming at each other
about who's gonna get this dish.
This eight dollar dish
will cost you a thousand dollars
in phone calls to the legal firm of
That's Mine, This Is Yours.
Please, Jess, Marie.
Do me a favor, for your own good,
put your name in your books right now
before they get mixed up and you won't know whose is whose.
'Cause someday, believe it or not,
you'll go 15 rounds over who's gonna get this coffee table.
This stupid, wagon wheel,
Roy Rogers garage sale coffee table.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Cuckoo!

Brian

I’ve been working on this idea for a musical based on One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Here’s a few segments:

Scanlon: So here you are, McMurphy, one of us now.

McMurphy: Am I?

Scanlon: Or course you are!

Scanlon, Martini, and Taber, singing:

Consider yourself a loon!

Consider yourself part of the nuthouse!

You’re in here among the best.

You’re flying over the cuckoo’s nest.

* * *

Nurse Ratched: I’m sorry, Mr. McMurphy, but you don’t have enough votes to change the routine meeting time.

McMurphy: I can get one more. Just you watch. Singing:

Put up your hand, Chief Bromden.

The truth is it’s for the Series.

All through my time here

I’m sick of routine.

Stick it to the Big Nurse,

Put the game on the screen.

* * *

McMurphy: What’s that salve for?

Nurse: Conductant.

McMurphy: So I suppose after this I’ll be in for goodness and mercy, huh Doc?

Doctor puts bit in McMurphy’s mouth, then sings:

Gray matter’s gonna clear up,

Put on an electrode;

Just tell your mind to cheer up,

Put on an electrode.

Take off that crazy mask of lunacy,

It’s all a crock;

There’s just one thing for your brain,

That’s an electro-shock!

Sanity will be flowing like it never flowed,

Just put on an electrode!

* * *

At the finale there's a big show-stopper:

Bromden: What’s wrong McMurphy? Are you lost? Anything is better than being lost.

McMurphy, rising from catatonic state, sings:

I just wanna shout

Lobotomy

Betcher bottom dollar that Lobotomy

Will cure your ills.

Just thinkin’ about

Lobotomy

Put away the anarchy and the sodomy

And the thrills.

When I think of a brain

In pain and misery,

I just stick out my lobe

And hope and pray

Lobotomy! Lobotomy!

I love ya, Lobotomy!

You’re only a corpus callosum away

Bromden, lifting a pillow, sings:

When I think of a brain

In pain and misery,

I just pick up a cushion

And push him away!

Lobotomy! Lobotomy!

I hate you, Lobotomy!

I’ll suffocate you away!


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TheGoodReverend's Tour of the Bay Area

Brian
One of the most inspiring places in all of the Bay Area, my former home, is the Marin Headlands. In a location that makes it some of the most valuable real estate in the country, the Headlands remain almost entirely undeveloped and natural as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. I proposed to Mrs. Good Reverend on the oddly named Slacker Hill, a peak in the Headlands providing a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline to any who venture on a half-mile hike.

The Headlands are peppered with artillery batteries built at the start of the twentieth century to use huge guns to sink approaching enemy ships. If you take the first exit after you come across the bridge from San Francisco and wind westward through the hills, passing through a long, one-lane tunnel at which you have to sit and wait for opposing traffic, you'll eventually come upon some of these batteries. One of them, Battery Mendell, is cut into a hillside right along the road.

Some of my high school friends and I discovered Battery Mendell on our first trip to the Bay Area. We came upon it unexpectedly, not knowing what we were going to find on our exploration of "the other side of the bridge." While the main function of the battery was to provide a platform for big guns, it also has an interior guarded by barred-over windows. If you can slide between the bars or under them where they've been bent, you'll access a hidden world of concrete walls and graffiti. Some artists over the years went beyond the simple scribble to create great, mesmerizing murals and mixed media works, like this one:

Battery Mendel interior

It's tucked away in a dark concrete corridor that reminded Arizona-raised me of cave walls with pictographs. And that corridor is tucked away in an abandoned battery, tucked away in an underexplored corner of the megalopolis.

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The art of the mix

Brian
The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick it off with a killer to grab attention. Then you gotta take it up a notch, but you don't want to blow your wad. So then you gotta cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules.

Like any good red-blooded American music lover, I cut my teeth on mix tapes. Good, old-fashioned, analog tapes. The problem is, no one listens to tapes anymore. Conveniently, the demise of the tape coincided with the advent of the CD burner. Now sensitive guys can funnel their musical angst into a digital medium, creating a somewhat different beast: the mix CD. "Mix CD" has such a horrible ring to it, though. I'll always think of it as a mix tape. But when it's on CD, certain things change.

For one, CDs hold less music. Plus they only hold it on one side. This changes the dynamics of your message. No sweet dichotomy, not unless you're willing to burn two CDs. Another thing is, you have to burn CDs from computer files--usually mp3s, which just sound different than a tape dubbed from CDs, vinyl records, or other tapes. The different sound might make you choose different songs.

It's nice to have a theme, but it's not necessary, so long as everything has a somewhat cohesive flow. This is not to say that every song must be from the same artist or genre--that would kind of defeat the purpose. But by juxtaposing this song with that one, you are expressing something, pointing out both their commonalities and their differences. Just be conscious of that.

Apart from selecting the songs, the most important aspect is arranging them--making sure they are in a good order. As Rob points out above, there are a lot of rules. But I think most of it can be summed up by analogy to another creature of order: the baseball lineup.

You're going to want to choose a leadoff hitter whose specialty is getting on base by any means necessary. Sometimes that means a nice hit, while other times it might be a walk. The first player has to set the game in motion.

The number two is the sacrificial player. He's there not really to score for himself, but to advance the other baserunners.

By the time number three comes along, the memory of the first two is starting to coalesce into a rhythm. This third one has to tie that together and bring it home, setting the tone for the assault.

Fourth is the cleanup hitter--this is your biggest bat, your most muscle, the one who can knock it out of the park. If you can get that one-four progression to click, you're in a groove.

After that, you're free to follow your own strategic decisions. Sometimes you'll want to cool it off and start over, building to another crescendo. Other times you'll want to follow your cleanup with more big hitters so nobody can be pitched around. Toward the end it will be time for your catcher and pitcher, assuming you're playing by National League rules. These guys won't get a hit every time, but if your team is clicking, they'll round out the order on a happy note--and lead back in to another successful go-round.

Sports metaphors aside, keep in mind the primacy and recency effects. People won't remember everything in a list, but they'll remember what comes at the beginning and what comes at the end. Make these count. They serve different functions, but they are equally important.

If you are a child of the digital age taking a stab at the mix CD or, heaven forbid, the mp3 playlist, I recommend you first blow the dust of a tape deck and take a stab at that old dinosaur, the mix tape. I know, I know, it's so 1998. But it'll put hair on your chest.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Junk in the trunk

Brian
If you are from a city in the western United States whose name people identify with the outdoors, sports, nature, speed, or fun, you expect, sooner or later, your hometown's name will be co-opted by a car manufacturer. Your only hope is that, when that happens, the car will be a pretty good one, bringing pride upon your city's good name. How about a sporty german roadster? Or a manly pickup truck that can yank a four-ton tree out of the ground and haul it thirty miles?

Or how about a little Korean mini-SUV that industry insiders refer to as a "cute ute?"

Enter the Hyundai Tucson. This thing brings something to the good name of my hometown, but I don't think it's pride.

Consumer Reports raves:
The Tucson is not very agile. The ride is reasonably comfortable, but suspension noise is pronounced.

Automobile Magazine gushes:
[D]espite its 173 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque, the Tucson's noisy 2.7-liter DOHC V-6 is anything but [noteworthy]. . . . Ride quality and body control are noteworthy only in relation to other Hyundais. The Tucson is certainly more willing to change direction than the Jell-O-legged Santa Fe, but it still feels a bit ponderous for such tidy dimensions, lacking the playful demeanor of its Japanese rivals.

Car and Driver is enthusiastic:
The Tucson certainly fits th[e "cute ute"] description, its stubby ends and flaring fenders imparting the appearance of a clumsy shar-pei puppy. Whether this is a good or bad thing, we don’t know—it’s a matter of personal taste. We do know that cute generally translates into “chick car,” so, like the roly-poly dog, the Tucson’s fetching façade is likely to garner more attention from women than men.

Rawr. Shar-pei.

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Eerie perfection

Brian
In the midwest they are freaking out about how nice their weather is. Oh to know such agony:
Goldilocks weather conditions — not too cloudy, not too hot, just enough rain — fueled record harvests in every major Midwest crop, scientists said Friday.
I would be worried too. It's the Lawrence Welk effect. Speaking of eerie things in the midwest, didn't there used to be a show called Eerie, Indiana? This sounds like something they'd be interested in.

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Segue

Brian
The year was 2002, and fear over a new scooter wrapped its icy tendrils around the throat of the nation...
Opinion.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Halsman

Brian
Nixon jumping

One of my favorite photographers is Philippe Halsman, the great portrait artist. He's taken several portraits that everyone has seen, like this shot of Einstein and this Audrey Hepburn. His most brilliant work involved asking his subjects to jump for him, then capturing them midair. Everyone from Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis to Salvador Dali, Richard Nixon, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor complied. You can see a lot of these great shots here and here. For this Dali portrait, he had to suspend several props from wires, then have a perfectly timed bucket of water and three cats sail across the frame as Dali jumped.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Random Movie Quote Thursday

Brian
Hello. Hello.
I'm looking for my wife.
Wait. Okay, okay. Okay.
If this is where it has to happen,
then this is where it has to happen.
I'm not letting you get rid of me.
How about that?
This used to be my specialty.
You know, I was good in the living room.
They'd send me in there, I'd do it alone.
And now I just...I don't know.
But tonight, our little project,
our company,
had a very big night.
A very, very big night.
But it wasn't complete,
wasn't nearly close to being in the same vicinity as complete,
because I couldn't share it with you.
I couldn't hear your voice,
or laugh about it with you.
I missed my wife.
We live in a cynical world,
a cynical, cynical world,
and we work in a business of tough competitors.
I love you.
You complete me.
And if I just had...

(interrupting)
Shut up. Just shut up...
You had me at hello.
You had me at hello.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The Ultimate in Reality

Brian
A couple years back, C-Man and I came up with a great idea for a reality TV show. Modelled after and shows of that ilk, ours would feature a young (but legal), beautiful virgin who would select from a group of sixteen suitors the lucky winner of her v-card. I believe if they slept with her while the contest was still going on, there would be a penalty, but if they waited and were the final devirginator they would win a cool million along with the less tangible prize.

Well, now it's a freakin' book called . So there goes that idea. I don't know if the book is any good, but it's by a , so he's got that going for him.

Well, our idea had a better name anyway: The Deflower Hour.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Bigfoot

Brian

Still from the 1967 Patterson/Gimlin film.

I've been reading up recently on creatures rumored to exist but unconfirmed. Probably the most famous example of this in the United States is bigfoot.

I'm not a guy who believes everything I see on the X-Files, and I'm fairly skeptical of bigfoot stories. I try, however, not to be so skeptical that I ignore evidence. After all, the mountain gorilla and giant panda were once considered mythical beasts as well. The most compelling fact about bigfoot is that hundreds of people over centuries have reported first-hand encounters. Hundreds, possibly thousands. I'm not convinced one way or the other of the existence of bigfoot in any particular form, and I'm not sure if there really is a hairy hominid or an ape or another animal or a man or an imaginary figment or a psychological defect running around in the woods, but, to paraphrase Carl Jung on UFOs, this idea seems so important to some people that there's got to be something going on.

But whatever is going on, it remains fun to read about these eye-witness accounts. David Thompson was surveying near Jasper, Alberta, in 1811 when he came upon huge tracks. Albert Ostman, a random logger, reported that he was trekking through the northwest wilderness in 1924 when he was abducted by a bigfoot. His account is shocking in how believable and downright mundane it is up until bigfoot shows up. Then there's Fred Beck, who was camping with a group the same year in what came to be known as Ape Canyon on the slopes of Mt. St. Helens, and who tells that the group shot and killed a bigfoot. Their cabin was apparently subsequently attacked by a group of bigfeet. Ape Canyon was decimated in the eruption of 1980.

Dot Com

Brian
Thegoodreverend.com is besmirching my good name. I refuse to even link to it, and I warn you that if you are too curious to keep from going there, you will see things that you've never...okay, you've probably seen them before, and maybe even on the internets, but not beneath the formerly virginal purity of my moniker. I feel so besmirched.

I swear, last month that domain name had nothing and was "in development." Que barbaridad.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Rugrats

Brian
Mrs. Good Reverend and I spent the weekend watching over my cousin's little girls while their folks are in Europe. They're five- and seven-years-old. Playing with them, watching them smile, I realized one thing:

I don't want to have kids. At least for a while. A good while.

I mean they are fun. Don't get me wrong. Cute, funny, and small enough to take wherever you need to go. But there are a few annoyances you don't think about when you think of kids:

(1) If you do something fun for them, like pick them up and spin them around, or play a game with them, they will constantly ask you to do it again, over and over, until you regret the day you ever thought of such a diversion.

(2) They grow to be big enough to hurt you long before they figure out how to not hurt you, or even that hurting you isn't a good idea.

(3) They're sneaky. They lie, cheat, steal, and commit arson for one more piece of licorice when you told them two was the limit.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Barilla

Brian
These creep me out.

I think it's the slightly awkward chef. And the weird camera shots. And the music. God, the music. Make it stop.

Random Movie Quote Thursday

Brian
So I jump ship in and make my way over to ,
and I get on as a looper at a course over in the .
A , you know,
a caddy, a looper, a jock.
So, I tell them I'm a ,
and who do you think they give me?
The , himself.
Twelfth son of the .
The flowing robes, the grace, bald... .
So, I'm on the first tee with him.
I give him the driver.
He hauls off and one -
big hitter, the -
long, into a ten-thousand foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier.
Do you know what the Lama says?
.
So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me.
And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something,
you know, for the effort, you know."
And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money,
but when you die, on your ,
you will receive total ."
So I got that goin' for me,
which is .

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Sam Johnson scares me

Brian
...especially when the congressman says we should nuke Syria, all of it, because he's got a hunch that's where those pesky Iraqi WMDs went.

On the other hand, lets me find peace again.