Sunday, July 31, 2005

HotOrNot Meets GoogleMaps

We cannot tell you how many hours we wasted surfing HotOrNot back in the day. Hell, we still waste hours there. When we saw Google Maps, we immediately recognized the potential for wasted hours. So we are kicking ourselves for not thinking of this: HotOrNot entries plotted out by ZIP code on the Google Map. Note that all of the entries in the DC area are Not.

Rumored to be in the works: The ability to zoom in, Google Earth style, from a sat view of the world to a stalkers' eye view of hotties changing by open windows.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Please Hold

We thought this was pretty fkn great when we heard about it: The American Music Center, a foundation started by Aaron Copland to help starving composers make ends meet by linking them up with generous donors, recently commissioned music to replace the muzak callers hear while on hold. In other words, artsy-fartsy music to replace "on hold" muzak.

This is the perfect marriage. The only audience for modern classical is a captive audience. Nobody can stand a Philip Glass concert for more than about a minute, just like nobody can stand to be on hold for more than about a minute. Curt receptionists who say, "Please hold," and then play inane music piss us off. John Adams pisses us off, especially when playing his inane music. We could go on listing the reasons why this is so great...

Unfortunately, the irony seems lost on the American Music Center, which seems to think this is a great idea and hopes other, major companies will hire composers to write new music for their phone systems. Right.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Biggest P2P Music Trafficers = The Biggest Music Spenders

It's been a busy one here at NO, but this bit of news rings true with us. From arstechnica:

A new study published today claims that users who share and download music files online also buy four and a half times more music online than your average music listener, at least in the UK. Instead of magically costing the industry money, these users are apparently interacting with more music, and as a result, buying more music from legitimate channels. The study stems from a survey conducted by The Leading Question, a digital music research company who surveyed 600 self-styled music fans.
In other words, people who are nuts about music, like us, both buy it and share it and listen to it and download it and... well, you see the point. We have piles and piles of CDs and a hard drive full of mp3s and we're always prowling for more. And so do most of you. Why? Because people who enjoy music enjoy sifting through the enormous library of mediocrity that the world's musicians have produced to find those few awe-inspiring, earth-shaking pieces of music that we never knew we wanted.

You didn't go looking for a guy with a thin voice and twangy guitar accompaniment singing about Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot fighting in the captain's tower while calypso singers laugh at them and fishermen hold flowers--or at least we didn't--rather, you heard it out of some pile of old records somewhere and said, "Damn, this is good shit." And so you keep listening to piles and piles of as-yet-unheard records, CDs, mp3s, etc, compulsively, whether you bought, borrowed, or downloaded them, looking for more rewards like that one.

That is to say, all music is made for listeners, and while we don't have a problem with record companies making money in the process, we find their attempts to keep the music away from the listeners ABSO-FREAKIN-LUTELY INSANE.

Like Subservient Chicken?

Then try CoqRoq.

Global War On Terror: The Bottom Line.

What I’ve learned about the war on terror so far is that it doesn’t particularly matter which exact brown people we are fighting or why we are fighting them, and it especially doesn’t matter how we fight them, if we are making any progress toward any goal, or how many people on either side are killed and maimed in the process. Now, I admit that I don’t quite get why this is true, but I am lead [sic] to understand that the answer lies in making photo montages of terrorist attacks and saying that everyone who isn’t nodding in agreement after seeing your carnage collage must have amnesia. I understand, however, that while the exact whys and whos and hows and wheres and RIPs of the GWOT are irrelevent, it is extremely important that no one be allowed to say anything which might imply that the GWOT is anything but the most noble, successful, and self-evidently justified undertaking in human history, because then the terrorists win. I don’t know what they win, but, whatever it is, they cannot be allowed to win it.

(Via Tristram Shandy)

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

New Mag

Music Hurts. Yeah, don't it. Go with lots of time to kill--they have lots of (short) articles, complete with sound clips. Lots to explore.

The Trivial Pursuit dork in us especially loves the tidbits about Chinese Hip-hop, which is pro-communist and urges you to respect your elders, and Moracco's insistence that wearing black T shirts to concerts undermines public morality. And you thought Red State blue laws were annoying.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Viral Christianity

In-N-Out Burger: Billions-N-Billions Saved.

Quote of the Day

Poetry is like Celine Dion CDs and Thomas Kinkade paintings and white zinfandel. Lots of people love them. I do not. And never will.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

It Ain't Everyday You Meet Someone Famous

In the course of our daily lives in DC, we bump into some famous-for-DC types--last fall we spotted Teresa Heinz Kerry at Mass--but who really cares?

Besides, our bosses, not unskilled in the art of name dropping, often bring up stories about talking with Reagan or, in the case of some of the truly gray-haired old-timers, Eisenhower, so modern day famous-for-DC is really nothing worth mentioning. Today, though, we met an artist, Gunther Gumpert, who has 1) a cool name 2) a stereotyped French accent and wild, uncontrolled white hair and 3) a real claim to fame outside of DC a la his painting career.

And we are very jealous of him for having groupies in NY, Paris, and Berlin in addition to his DC mistress.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Is it news?

Dog Bites Man--not news. Man Bites Dog--that's news. Or so we've been told.

So what if a man has sex with a horse and the horse literally fks his brains out?

Who's On First?

Although we'd love to take credit for this, it was sent to us by an anonymous source. Whoever he is, he deserves a Pulitzer for the best summary of the Rove-Plame mess we've read:

Karl Rove: I didn't have anything to do with the leak about Mr. Wilson's wife.

George Bush: I will fire anyone that contributed to the leak about Mr. Wilson's wife.

Karl Rove's Attorney: Karl Rove did not mention Mr. Wilson's wife by her name.

Karl Rove: I learned about Mr. Wilson's wife from the media.

Karl Rove's Attorney: Mr. Rove is not guilty of any crime. He did not know Mr. Wilson's wife. He did not know her name. Therefore, he could not have leaked her name.

Karl Rove: I have not been convicted of any crime. I don't know any crimes. Therefore, I can't committ any crimes. If I don't know any crimes, I can't be convicted of any crimes.

George Bush: I will fire anyone convicted of crime. Crime is a conviction that is required with a crime.

Karl Rove's Lawyer: Even if the grand jury brings an indictment against my honorable client, that is not the same as being convicted of a crime. It represents the finest example of the finest justise system in the world.

Karl Rove: I didn't know Mr. Wilson was living with his wife when I named her to the entire White House Press corps.

George Bush: I know Karl Rove. I have been knowing him for a long time. It's been a long time since he's been fired for leaking in the wrong place at the wrong time. This time, like a long time ago, when I knew Karl Rove, by his name, his leaking isn't a crime. It wasn't done in the public arena or outside the arena where leaking is done. But, if the grand jury does its patriotic duty the way grand juries do duties, well, I can't comment on their duties until they've done them.

Karl Rove's Attorney: This is a matter for a jury of his peers not for the Liberal biased media.

Karl Rove: I know all my peers but I can't name them right now because some of them have wives and girlfriends. But, I don't know their girlfriends' names.

George Bush: We haven't exhausted all appeals yet, and appeals are exhausting. Until we're exhausted, and even then, we won't be where we should be to talk about this.

Karl Rove's Attorney: No, I was not in the movie
Legally Blonde.

George Bush: In the best interests of our country, which is a very interesting country, I signed a pardon today for Karl Rove and his attorney. I can't fire anyone with a pardon. Pardons do that you know. They stop things like going to jail.

Monday, July 18, 2005

How to Start Listening to LPs All Over Again

We are children of the CD generation. But our earliest memories of Dad's stereo involve him listening in the darkened living room, lit only by the glow of the vacuum tubes. Dad would lay himself down in the floor in front of the spinning turntable and the already-ancient stereo system in what was probably the most nearly religious moment the old man allowed himself.

Contrast that with this wonderful advice for starting a vinyl collection:

If you really want to get into analog, get Uncle Melvin to remember you in his will. Then replace his blood-pressure medication with a placebo. He was always a nasty old man anyway. The neighbors will be glad to see the last of his grey ponytail.
Read Shaded Dog Days.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Blogging from India

Over the years, several Indian hotties have turned our world upside down. In the best possible way. So it is only natural that we introduce you to DesiPundit.

Saturday, July 16, 2005


Not long ago we mentioned that the Garden State soundtrack ROCKS. Frou Frou's Let Go figures prominently there, which gave the group a huge boost in popularity.

Now, Frou Frou co-founder, singer, songwriter, etc, Imogen Heap will release her first CD in years. Singles have already shown up in The O.C. (which means we've been listening to her for a while thanx to bittorrent). Immi is the first vocalist to capture our attention like this since NoJo, but she is nothing like Norah.

If you don't get your hands on the whole album (we have no details on a US release), at least hit up iTunes for Hide and Seek.


Catholics Deemed "Not Christian Enough" To Adopt

The Bethany Christian Services adoption network, which receives money collected by the sale of Choose Life license plates in several states, says that the Catholic Church conflicts with their "Statement of Faith" and therefore does not allow Catholic couples to adopt children through their network.

This came to light recently when a couple in Jackson, MS, (who knew there were Catholics in Mississippi?) applied to adopt a child after reading the Statement of Faith that all Bethany Christian parents must sign and reviewing it with their priest, who agreed that it does not conflict with Catholic dogma. The Bethany Christian Services director Karen Stewart however, continues to say, "It has been our understanding that Catholicism does not agree with our Statement of Faith." (She clearly knows more about Catholicism than any priest.)

Now obviously, any donations to a group called Choose Life will be used to perpetuate narrow-mindedness and bigotry. And it is no real surprise that tax-deductible special license plate fees (ie, taxes by any other name) are being funneled to faith-based bigots in the current political climate. So the only question is, Will this lead to Holy War between Catholic pro-lifers and Protestant/Evangelical pro-lifers?

Tags: ,

Bob Dylan & Norah Jones Concert is having a concert featuring the above named on their website this afternoon. They are also running a sort of lottery wherein they give a customer everything on that person's wishlist. So go put a bunch of goodness on your wishlist while you are waiting to hear the best living voices do their thing.

We can't help but note that this is exactly the sort of thing rich, evil empires have always done to keep the masses happy, but this time the circus's not too shabby and the bread ain't stale.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Diet Coke

We have a one-a-day Diet Coke habit. As habits go, it is relatively easy to fund and socially acceptable enough that it need not be hidden.

For the past 3-4 months, every one of our daily Diet Cokes has proclaimed on its cap, "1 in 12 wins free Coke!" And the inside of every lid, where the token entitling the drinker to a free Coke product promises to live, has greeted us, "Drink Coke. Play Again."

So to all the people who have won a free Coke for every 11 I bought and paid for, You're welcome.

Tristram Shandy

We have always suspected that is an anagram for something, perhaps his father's cruel joke of naming the boy after an old girlfriend right under his mother's nose. Be that as it may, Tristram Shandy, Gentleman is an old friend. Read his stuff.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Church & Evolution

The other day, Christoph Cardinal Schonborn, Archbishop of Vienna and principle author of the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church, wrote in a NYTimes op-ed that the current scientific theory of evolution is not compatible with Catholic faith. [We'd link you to the op-ed, but you'll need a subscription to read it by the end of the week. has a reprint of the NYTimes response.]

Back in the 1990s, John Paul II made a vague statement the human mind has all the faculties necessary to discern our origins and that to accept a passage from Genesis as the totality of knowledge of origins that we will ever possess is an insult to our common intellects, especially given that modern science can reveal so much more. He went on to say that Truth cannot contradict Truth, meaning that when/if Science elucidates the actual mechanisms by which life originated, those mechanisms will add to, not detract from, the religious truth about the origin of life, which we Catholics believe to be the simple fact that God wants men and women to be here.

This vague statement has often been used to make the case that the Catholic Church "believes in evolution." First, "belief in evolution" is absurd. Scientific fact is a matter of data, NOT a matter of faith. Second this statement NOT an endorsement of evolution. It is an endorsement of the notion that scientific inquiry has already learned more about the mechanistic origins of life than Genesis revealed to us and will continue to learn more. The Church, we estimate, has a need to defend itself from those who would quote it to support the advancement of a particular scientific theory, which is not only bad science but also dangerous to the Church.

As a theory, evolution is currently messy. Scientists are certain that life has changed since it first showed up on this Earth, but the understanding of the mechanisms and nature of that change is imperfect at best, although it is better than what Darwin put forth a hundred years ago. A hundred years more research, and there will be better data to produce a better theory, which won't be as messy. If the Church were to tie itself to what turns out to be an early draft of a theory, it would have a huge problem: When the final edit of the theory is available, the Church would have to re-edit theology to fit. Now, although theology may need to be edited and the theory of evolution may need to be edited, they do not need edited because of each other.

And that is the mistake in Cardinal Schonborn's essay. He tries to edit the current draft of the theory of evolution. If he were a researcher with some new data, that would be the right thing to do. But he isn't. He is a theologian who would like to point out that while earlier drafts of the theory left some room open to a design under all of the changes in living things, the current draft (which we equate roughly with Gould's Structure of Evolutionary Theory) doesn't. To which we'd respond, Tough Sh*t, Your Imminence. But then again, he was trained as a theologian, not a scientist, so he is much more interested in pointing out inconsistencies than in explaining data.

And we think that is the crux of the issue: Until Science has an infinite data set, the Infinite will not make sense to Scientists, and until Science has consistently explained every data point in an infinite data set, the theologians will be untrustful of it.

Friday, July 08, 2005

A Note & A Link On London 7/7

We heard about the bombing on the way in to work yesterday a.m. The BBC blathered on for 8-10 minutes about the "import and ramifications of this morning's events" before spitting out the simple fact that several bombs had gone off throughout the London Underground, killing several and wounding many. Almost as obnoxious as the US newsmedia, although they did not overestimate the casualty counts.

Random Acts of Reality has several good posts and comments both from Londoners and outsiders. Since this is the day after, start with Normality.

We are particularly amused at the contrast between the British and American responses. The British are saying, "Eh, after 20 years of the IRA, we can cope." Meanwhile, the US Dept of Homeland Security, despite Chertoff's best efforts to keep his head, has its panties all in a wad.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Hollywood Subverting the Will of the People Through Judicial Activism

Fred Thompson, former Republican senator and current TV actor on Law and Order, has been appointed to hold hands with whomever Bush appoints to take Sandra Day O'Connor's SCOTUS seat.

Either Bush is planning on appointing a spineless cry baby who just needs lots of handholding, or Hollywood needs to make sure that the next SCOTUS Justice is at least as much of an activist as Clarence Thomas.

Feel free to contribute alternate headlines for this assinine appointment under comments.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Whose Sons Are Dying in Iraq?

The Palm Beach Post has an interactive map of the hometowns of GIs killed in Bush's War on Iraq. Not surprisingly, big dots loom over Texas, but most of the GIs BushCheneyRoveInc sent to death were from the East side of the Mississippi and a good number from above the Mason-Dixon line. The Chicago area seems unfairly represented among the casualties, too.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Good Beer.

A couple of weeks back, BoingBoing linked us to Flying Dog Ales out of Denver, CO. So we found a mixed case and man, is this good beer. This afternoon, to celebrate the 4th, we are drinking another case or so. Hope you are doing the same!


Way, WAY back in May Madpercolator mentioned her love of Satie's atmospheric music and, in the same post, brought attention to some really cool classically-trained kids in South Africa playing folk music on violins and violas. This made me want to send her to buy Ligeti's African Rhythms disc, but I have been lazy and put off writing even a blurb.

So, over the break I picked up some more Ligeti and enjoyed it on the drive home. Ligeti's atmospheric stuff, like the piano etudes, is more thoughtful than Satie's. Satie has a Vivaldi-like way of making noise serve as the atmosphere. Vivaldi occassionally gave us a melody on top of the noise, but Satie just gives us the noise. Ligeti is noisy, too, but his noise is more than a piano or violin approximating 5 minutes of a bubbling stream or similar. Each part contributing to the noise has a plan and its own polyphonic harmony, creating what Ligeti calls "cloudiness" as his harmonies blend into one another and into the next.

Rhythm, though, fascinates Ligeti more than texture, and so even though the atmospheric quality is what brought him to mind when Perc mentioned Satie, the rhythms of his music are what make the stuff great. Rhythm is also what sent him to hang out with the Pygmies in Africa, which became the source of the Africa Rhythms cd.

Good stuff.


Saturday, July 02, 2005

Back from Vacation, Almost

We've been in the Red States this past week, enjoying surprisingly good food in Chattanooga, TN, and witnessing the alarming passion with which the rebels still fight the War of Northern Aggression at the Stone Mountain Laser Show near Atlanta.

Two observations about Red States that must be published: 1) The number of half-dressed high school girls who have painted their faces to look like Britney Spears that you'll see in a mall or outside a movie theater down South is disgusting. We assume they are high school girls, btw, because once they turn 19 down South, they get married and pregnant, not necessarily in that order. 2) The Home of Faith and Family Values is also the Home of Strip Clubs. Driving down any given corridor of I-95 or I-85 south of the Mason-Dixon line, you will see LOTS of signs advertising, "WE BARE ALL!", "CAFE RISQUE!", "TOPLESS GIRLS 24 HOURS A DAY!", and the like. The actual strip clubs and adult video stores are found every 20 miles or so. The adult entertainment disappears just outside of cities like Richmond and Atlanta, an area corresponding to the sprawling suburbs, but downtown, the "gentlemen's clubs" outnumber gas stations. Contrast Boston, that den of liberal corruption, where there are two strip clubs, total: one Chippendale's and one Glass Slipper.

We promise to catch up on blogging early next week.