It's been widely reported that Hillary Clinton has selected a new campaign song. which, if true, would have been a decidedly odd choice.
It's called "When The Lady Smiles," and it's by the Dutch rock group Golden "Radar Love" Earring. What really raised eyebrows, though, was the video, in which a nun is raped and a dog is seen eating part of a man's brain. Apparently MTV refused to play it, forcing a reshoot or at least big edits by the band.
Alas, it all appears to be a hoax, There's no mention of it on her official website and a commenter in this BoingBoing thread points to that paragon of journalistic ethics, The Huffington Post, which seized on the fact that the song was played at one of Clinton's campaign stops and made up the rest of it . So I'm guessing that Arianna is auditioning for the role of Obama's new hatchetman.
A pity. Some of the lyrics seem quite appropriate:
My friends tell me, she's the beast inside your paradise
I guess you've heard it all before
A fallen angel, that has got you hypnotised
and that always needs some more.
Posted by gnotalex on February 1, 2008 10:07 PM
February 2, 2008
This marked a turning point of sorts. I bought a small four-channel mixer and it dramatically improved our sound; making it much cleaner and.allowing us to place our instruments where we wanted them in the mix.
Second, I was more comfortable playing bass. This song was largely written around the bass riff, which itself is a variation of a "walking bass line," a musical structure commonly found in rock and blues.
Third, I was taking more chances with the vocals. Follow along as I bravely flout stale old conventions like starting the verses and chorus on the beat and with some grasp of the correct lyrics. I've helpfully indicated (with a "-->") the boo-boos, though they should be quite obvious to anyone with ears. For comparison see the second chorus, marked with "***." That's the way it was meant to sound. (In fairness, we were writing this on the spot, and this was my first attempt at it.)
And fourth, but by no means least, I was visited by the Spirit of Woo! By which I mean the apparently-spontaneous ejaculations (no, let's not go there) that rock vocalists pepper their songs with. Such as: Woo! and Woo-Hoo! and that perennial favorite [Name of city here] rocks! *
There are two reasons for this. One reason is to show that the lead singer is inspired to emit these primal yelps to demonstrate his deep communion with the music, and also that he isn't Barry Manilow.
The second reason is that the lead singer has completely lost his place in the song and is shouting out random gibberish until the music swings around to some portion he recognizes. There's a bit of both in this one.
With a practised eye
She estimates your size
Measures the future
like some cosmic tailor
Will be the grieving widow
appraising the undertaker
[Chorus x 2)
--> Her banker's phone number
Right next to yours
Her broker broke her heart
But her doctor found a cure
--> Something something
And a jeweler's loupe
She's got her eyes on dollars
But Krugerrands will do
She'll settle for a certified cheque
Money order, too
[Chorus x 1)
--> Her accountant wants an audit
Her lawyer wants it signed
Her psychic is complanin'
Cannot tead my mind
She's a cold golddigger
I'd be best to drop her soon
She's got rabbit on her shoulders
She's lookin' at raccoon
[Chorus x 1 and adlib out]
You might recall a couple of years ago Kanye West (with Jamie Foxx) had a song with the same theme and name. Video above.
I don't recall seeing a Negro in the basement at the time, so I'm baffled as to where he got the idea. Nevertheless, I humbly submit that my line "She's got rabbit on her shoulders/She's lookin' at raccoon" is 14.73% funnier than anything West has written **, or is likely to, in the foreseeable future.
* Do try to get the name of the city right. Also, even if you are of the opinion that said city in fact sucks worse than Moose Junction, Manitoba on a Saturday night. it is probably an impolitic idea to announce it from the stage. Save it for your memoirs.
** I should exempt the 1,526 (approx.) videos, interviews, etc., in which West compares himself (favorably) to Jesus Christ. That's comedy gold, man. As the prophet M.C. Hammer foretold: "U Can't Touch This."
The Democrats have now only two candidates who stand to chance against this powerful phalanx: Barack Obama, senator of City Chicago and nephew of Saddam Hussein; and Hillary Rodham Clinton, organizer of popular solidarity-building women's breakfasts for discussion of hair-hygiene and of place of woman in American politics, and only official wife of number-one enemy of Serbs and all Slavic peoples, Bill Clinton.
I really don't know what to make of this one. It's ostensibly a translation of an piece in a Belarus newspaper looking at the US presidential race, but it reads more like The Onion on acid. Going to the poster's website turns up a writer with a deeply-satirical bent who also contributes apparently-serious articles to Counterpunch, Alexander Cockburn's leftist ezine.
Well, whatever. It certainly is the funniest thing I've read today.
Several Conservatives are objecting to David Suzuki's suggestion that politicians who ignore the science behind climate change should be jailed.
"It's environmental fascism," said Ontario MPP Randy Hillier, who has previously cast doubt on the theory of global warming, saying he did not see greenhouse gases as a "terrible evil."
"It used to be unacceptable to have thoughts that were not politically correct, but pretty soon it will be a crime."
Outgoing MP Bob Mills, who called the Kyoto Protocol "a great socialist plot," was taken aback by the exhortation.
"What he says accomplished absolutely nothing," he said.
"Besides, I don't know a Conservative, a Bloc member, a Liberal member who denies that there is climate change."
The member from Red Deer, Alta., suggested that Mr. Suzuki talk about grassroots ways of improving the environment, rather than making accusations.
"Let's talk about clean-coal technology or solar," he said, adding that he himself is trying to install 28 solar panels but has encountered 1½ years of provincial bureaucratic bungling.
"We need to get moving on these kinds of practical issues."
While a spokesman for the noted environmentalist and broadcaster insisted that the comments made last Thursday at a McGill University event should not be taken literally, Mr. Suzuki previously made similar remarks, and attendees said that his tone was serious.
In a similar vein, I hereby call for the assassination of David Suzuki.
Ha! Ha! Just kidding! Ask my friends, I'm always joking around like that.
More seriously, I have neither the time nor the inclination to do anything about Suzuki; and I have no doubt that my readership, such as it is, is probably engaged in more constructive pursuits, like earning a living.
I can't say the same for Suzuki's crew of acolytes, several of whom are probably even nuttier than he. Because politicians are -- to put it mildly -- unlikely to enact legislation making Suzuki effectively the dictator of this country and because ordinary citizens have no ability to imprison people they don't like, that leaves only one option, which I've alluded to above.
It would not at all surprise me if one of Suzuki's befuddled admirers, inspired by his incendiary rhetoric, reaches the same conclusion and takes a serious run at a politician. What he is doing is no less than counselling murder.
Posted by gnotalex on February 8, 2008 10:25 PM
February 10, 2008
The Very Last Man On Earth
This marks the addition of keyboards to our sound. To be more specific, an early-model Casio with about 3/4 of a full 88 keys and four voices (piano, organ, harpsichord and either violin or clarinet, I forget which). You'd think that I, a touch typist, would find playing keyboards a snap, but you would be wrong. I've very much in the "hunt and peck" tradition. So there's no dazzling glissandos or barrelhouse pounding going on here. I mainly used it to accentuate the chords, and stuck to the notes associated with each.
Now, the song. It's the only (as far as I can recall) excursion I made into a common theme in science fiction, namely, of being the last human in the world, most recently seen in Will Smith's I Am Legend. It follows, too, a small tradition of SF in rock, such as the Rolling Stones' "2000 Light Years From Home," Elton John's "Rocket Man," and David Bowie's "Major Tom." "Space Oddity."
That might also explain why I inexplicably started singing this (faintly at the start, more pronouncedly towards the end) with an English accent. I later looked it up, and as the examples above indicate, it is illegal to attempt SF rock without an English accent. It's not just a suggestion: It's the LAW.
Whew. I was worried I was having an aneurism or something.
Yesterday morning the sky lit up
It shone with deadly glare
I saw the contrail
Of the last transport
I didn't mean to be
The very last man on earth
No, I didn't mean to be
The very last man on earth
[Chorus x 2]
Men's cities sit deserted
And men's machines rusted out
Men's museums vandalized
And churches blasted down
Men's inventions inventoried
And packed away for good
Men have fled the world
And I'm the last man on earth
Tomorrow this tired old world
will crack and shudder and break
I've got a front-row seat at the Apocalypse
I didn't mean to be
The very last man on earth
No, I didn't mean to be
The very last man on earth
The above link has been quite sluggish of late, so here's another. Unfortunately it isn't a streaming site, but you can click on the download link, and when the Windows or equivalent dialog box appears, you can elect to save it to disk, or (first choice) open up the song with the default media player, like iTunes, WinAmp, or Windows Media Player. The Very Last Man On Earth
The Royal Thai Police have released the sketch of a man suspected of stealing 200,000 baht from the Ladprao branch of the Government Savings Bank (GSB) in Bangkok several weeks ago. According to a report on the newsclip.be Japanese language Thai news site, this sketch is based on the recollections of eyewitnesses, who say the suspect wore a motorcycle helmet at the time of the robbery.
A simulation put out by the Australian Defence Force. I can only conclude that I would make a bloody awful F-18 pilot. Those stupid gates in the sky really inhibit my creativity.
I had to shrink it down about fifty or sixty pixels to make it fit my format. If you'd prefer playing the original, or some of the other games they have, go here. You don't have to register -- you can log in (on the upper right side) as "guest."
Canada needs to get with the times. The Canadian Armed Forces' website has only this, a .PDF file that you can print out and assemble into a warship.
Pictures purportedly of New Jersey teenagers and young adults in a new (and somewhat alarming) subculture which features spiky haircuts and those bottled tans that give your skin the healthy glow of a carrot.
A commenter at BoingBoing, though, points to a trend that's out of Europe:
The origin of this picture is actually probably not NJ, but rather a
techno discotheque in Vienna, Austria, called "NACHTSCHICHT"
("nightshift") whose patrons are primarily from working-class
The habit of using ridiculous amounts of tanning lotion - coupled
with regular visits to the solarium ("soli") - is so commonplace here
that you barely spend a day without seeing at least a couple of these
guys on the streets. There are numerous videos and galleries on the web
that provide you with "best-of" compilations of this absurd trend.
The skin hue is referred to as "Prolo-braun" (Proletarian Brown).
Many of these fashion victims refer to themselves as "Krocha", which is
also the name of the style of dance that they like to practice (related
to the europe-wide "jumpstyle" trend). Note that not all Krocha are
When we go out for breakfast and a cop shows up at the Denny's we are at, handcuffs her, puts her in the back of the squad car and threatens to arrest me for kidnapping the (unknown at the time) Sheriff's Daughter.
Warning: I didn't fully read the thread, and doubtless it's grown considerably since. Though Fark does screen out most profanity, things do slip through and people sometimes post pictures that are NSFW.
But by far the worst date I've ever heard about was one by this woman, who posted it to Gapers Block, a sort of Craig's List-like page for Chicagoans:
So instead we went to this park where I smoke another cigarette while he digs another hole. I didn't time it but I think it was about 45 minutes before he finished. He was crying the whole time also and would periodically look up at me and mumble how it was "all his fault". I said a couple things about how I needed to be getting back but he was oblivious, I just decided to wait it out. Finally he finishes, dumps the raccoon in and stands up, he's still crying. I light another cigarette and try not to look at him. "Well?" he says. I look up. "SAY SOMETHING!!" he's crying harder now. So I mutter something about God please guide this raccoon to your heavenly bosom etc, he begins to fill in the whole and who should show up then but two police officers.
Kate had this up on her site a few days ago, a so-called "screen cleaner.". Now it doesn't appear anywhere on the front page, though if you go to the original address, it still turns up. What is it that Kate is afraid to show you? It is this.
This was an attempt to simplify my lyrics, and I think it worked. What could be more basic than a love lust song trimmed down to "she" and "me." And, um, "freckles."
It also forced me to look at the song as a whole, and reduced the danger -- in my case an all-too-common fault - of wandering off into la-la land in the later verses. It's not unlike adhering to the rhyme and metrical schemes in that it imposes an internal structure to the song.
That said, I can think of enough counter-examples to invalidate it as the only way to write a song; but it is a useful exercise to think of the lyrics as variations branching off a central unifying theme.
I got a girl
She she she she
She's got freckles everywhere [rpt.]
Up and down her arms
Splashed across her breasts
I know this for a fact
I've seen that girl undressed
She she she she
Can squeeze so tight
Me me me me me me me
I'm doin' all right [rpt.]
Wrapped up in her arms
How could one man be so blessed?
I know this for a fact
That woman is dangerous
For the sake of redundancy, I've uploaded to this link too.. Unfortunately it isn't a streaming site, but you can click on the download link, and when the Windows or equivalent dialog box appears, you can elect to save it to disk, or (first choice) open up the song with the default media player, like iTunes, WinAmp, or Windows Media Player. I Got A Girl
We have to compromise and sacrifice for one another in order to get things done. Barack Obama is the only person in this race who understands that. That before we work on the problems, we have to fix our souls. Our souls are broken, in this nation. If we can't see ourselves in one another we will never make those sacrifices. So I am here right now because I am married to the only person in this race who has a chance of healing this nation.
Barack is more than ready. He will be ready today. He will be ready on day one, a year from now, five years from now, he is ready. That is not the question. The question is what are we ready for? Wait Wait Wait! Because we say we are ready for change. We say we are ready for change, but see, change is hard. Change will always be hard...
And Barack Obama, will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your division. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zone. That you push yourself to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved and uninformed.
Posted by gnotalex on February 19, 2008 10:17 PM
February 20, 2008
Photographs allegedly from school science projects. I say "allegedly" because some of them are so dumb (the project at left is titled "Crystal Meth -- Friend or Foe?") that I have difficulty believing that any teacher or advisor would give them the green light. Then again . . .
This song was written in that small window of the '80s when a blue collar steelworker from New Jersey with a terminal case of hockey hair could write songs about being a cowboy and be taken seriously. It was a very small window; it really only encased this one song. When he tried to repeat its success with "Blaze of Glory," the whole thing became laughable (when Bon Jovi insists that he is a "Colt in your stable," a lyric which may be the most unintentionally gay thing anybody ever said, ever, throughout time).
Posted by gnotalex on February 21, 2008 9:16 PM
February 22, 2008
Stairway To Heaven
The next part of our journey was almost more than I could bear. As we turned the corner, I was sickened to discover a perilous walk across the cliff. There in front of me were nearly two hundred feet of wooden planks jutting out from the side of the cliff. Nor was it a straight line - the damn thing turned a corner!
Yes, there were chains to hang onto, but there was ice and there was wind and the margin for error was very small. Those planks could not have been more than two feet wide. Exposed to the elements, I wondered just how safe they were. (Note: This ramp had a name: Floating-in-Air Road. But I called it Boardwalk)
The only reason we continued was those Chinese college kids. Laura and I watched them cross. It looked like they were dancing... step apart, step together, step apart, step together... they walked sideways across the cliff! And they were laughing!
I swear to God if it wasn't for those kids, Laura and I would have turned around a long time ago. Left to ourselves, we would have given into our panic, but to see those crazy kids fearlessly move across the cliff made us think we could do it too.
Laura and I gave each other the "what are we getting ourselves into this time?" look. I grabbed the chain, made sure not to look down, and did my step-together-step across the face of the rock.
I kept telling myself if they can do it, I can do it. Nevertheless, I nearly slipped one time. Normally I never actually picked up my feet, but there were places where the new set of boards didn't match the set I was standing on. Since I didn't dare look, when I switched to a new board, each step was an adventure.
As I took a step to the new board, my foot didn't hit the board right and my heel slipped on the edge of the board. I had only my left leg for support. I gripped tightly to the chain and regained my balance. Laura, bless her heart, didn't see it. She had enough problems of her own.
A panic attack immediately kicked in. I could feel my knees shaking. I was scared to death to take another step. I just stood there and breathed a while. Laura asked me if I was okay. That broke the ice. I decided I hadn't come nearly as close to dying as I first thought. So I nodded I was OK and started moving.
Soon I actually managed a laugh of my own. I found a spot on the rock smeared with lipstick. I suppose one of the Chinese girls had pressed her face so close to the wall, she kissed the rock.
You might not suffer from vertigo. On the other hand, you well may develop a case of it reading this harrowing account of these hiking trails up some mountains in central China. Methinks there's a serious shortage of personal-injury lawyers there.
Posted by gnotalex on February 23, 2008 10:16 PM
February 24, 2008
Cry Me A River
Billy Joel was once asked in an interview what the hardest thing to do onstage was, and without hesitation he replied, "whistling." There was a song on one of his early albums with a whistling intro, and he dreaded performing it for that reason.
I myself have dealt with this dilemma by never appearing on stage.
Or for that matter, ever writing a song with whistling in it. I hate songs with whistling in them.
There! Problem solved!
That left harmonies as our big stumbling block. It's hard not to feel like a complete goof doing them, especially for my cousin, who had very little experience singing.
It's a bit like a tightrope act, with Giggles the Clown constantly jiggling the wire and threatening to bring the whole thing down in a heap. (You can hear him puttering around in some of the more ragged edges.)
Or worse, one's kid sister could stick her head into the door and exclaim, "Hey, you guys sound just like a barbershop quartet!" When that chilling verdict rang out, there was nothing to do but down our tools and head for the local pub to try and drown our sorrows. (Well, we had kind of planned that anyway, but now we had an official excuse.)
Insidious wind come creeping up
A sly typhoon stirring up the dust
Imploding the house
You'll cry me a river [rpt.]
The crops you planted
Overtaken by worms
Your petri dishes
Overwhelmed by germs
Now the screws are on
And it's your turn
To cry me a river [rpt.]
The Mississippi or the Nile will do
I want you to hurt
Like I hurt for you
Or maybe the Rhine
When you fill up the oceans
You'll be done your cryin'
You'll cry me a river [rpt.]
[rpt. 1st Chorus]
An eye for an eye
A tooth for a tooth
Vengeance is mine
And it's the solemn truth
Back to the stone age
And the pain of youth
You'll cry me a river [rpt.]
Where it's wild and slow
Where the diesel boats go
The Ganges with its banks on fire
The waters are risin'
And they're gonna run higher
Alternately: Unfortunately it isn't a streaming site, but you can click on the download link, and when the Windows or equivalent dialog box appears, you can elect to save it to disk, or (first choice) open up the song with the default media player, like iTunes, WinAmp, or Windows Media Player. Cry Me A River
My fancy rewording for this short little game, in which you try to decide whether a still from a movie is a sex or death scene. I got eight out of ten right, which must mean that I am very observant or disturbed or something.
Warning: Pictures are safe for work but there's background music. You can turn it off with a button at the lower right.
OTTAWA-The United States returned up to a dozen children and teenagers held as "combatants" in Guantanamo Bay to their respective countries, and might well act if it received a request from Canada to return Omar Khadr, says his military lawyer.
No, no. Consider him our gift, from us to you. We didn't have time to get a card, but you know how it is, in the frenzy of the season and all.
U.S. Navy Lt.-Cmdr. Bill Kuebler, flanked by members of the three federal opposition parties, yesterday urged the Conservative government to insist on Khadr's return, suggesting the time is ripe for the U.S. to accede to such a request.
"Omar is, in our view and I think in the view of most of the international community who have looked at this case, a child soldier," said Kuebler. "His prosecution for war crimes is unprecedented in the history of war crimes tribunals."
A first! Maybe he can have his own entry in Guinness?
Khadr was 15 when arrested.
The opposition parties united for the first time in calling on the Canadian government to act, and said they would seek an emergency debate in Parliament on Khadr's fate, as well as a study by a human rights subcommittee of the Commons' Foreign Affairs committee.
But the federal government appeared unmoved by the arguments, calling demands to have Khadr returned "premature" as "legal" processes are still underway.
So sayeth the "Toronto" "Star."
New Democrat MP and justice critic Joe Comartin, Liberal Dominic Leblanc and the Bloc's Vivienne Barbot said Khadr is a "child soldier" who should be returned to Canada to face "due process."
Which, if the likes of you have anything to say about it, means he'll be walking the street the moment he arrives "home." Say, here's a proposition for you terrorist symps great humanitarians: Since you have such faith in the poor misguided babe-in-the-woods, how about you put your money where your mouths are and cough up a few million in peace bonds for wee Omar? When we catch him talking to his al-Qaeda buds again -- and we will -- he goes to jail, and your bonds default to the Crown. Deal?
I didn't think so.
Meanwhile, the Canadian Bar Association yesterday joined counterparts in France and England in calling on U.S. President George W. Bush to shut down the Guantanamo Bay prison, calling it "a grievous affront to the rule of law."'
Heh. That's just what I was saying the other day about the Canadian Bar Association.
I've never been one for "linkage" -- using one field of trade as leverage in an unconnected trade dispute. Like, say, tying energy exports to a resolution of the softwood lumber issue. For one thing, ownership of natural resources (with the exception of some offshore activity) is given under the Constitution to the provinces to do with it what they choose. It isn't Ottawa's oil; it's Alberta's.
Second, crippling the economy of our largest export market to try to win a small and relatively-unimportant battle would be a classic case of cutting off one's nose to spite one's face.
But make no mistake, we could blow a big hole in US energy security if we chose:
Canada remained the largest exporter of total petroleum in November, exporting 2.326 million barrels per day to the United States, which is a decrease from last month (2.431 thousand barrels per day). The second largest exporter of total petroleum was Saudi Arabia with 1.686 million barrels per day.
In 2000, about 36 percent of total U.S. net energy imports came from Canada (27 percent) and Mexico (9 percent).
Canada provided almost all United States net natural gas imports in 2000. These imports accounted for about 15 percent of U.S. gas consumption in 2000.
U.S. net oil imports from Canada and Mexico accounted for about 26 percent of U.S. net oil imports, and about 15 percent of total U.S. oil consumption in 2000.
Or if you'd prefer a more visual reference (click here for full size, and the tab on top for crude oil stats):
Now, to be sure I am not misunderstood: I have no problem with selling oil and gas to the Americans. They are our neighbors and friends, and ultimately our biggest protectors.
On the other hand, if certain politicians want to pander to ignorance, it's useful to remind ourselves that we have other options. The Chinese pay on time and in full; and they'll buy up everything we can pump out of the ground (and then some). Nor do we have to listen to sanctimonious lectures from them.
"I would immediately have a trade timeout"..
"We will stop the kind of constant sniping at our protections for our workers that can come from foreign companies because they have the authority to try to sue to overturn what we do to keep our workers safe"
"I have said that I will renegotiate NAFTA"
"No, I will say we will opt out of NAFTA unless we renegotiate it, and we renegotiate on terms that are favorable to all of America"
Open it up, Mrs. Clinton, and you open up all of it, including the original FTA provisions guaranteeing US access to Canadian energy at the same prices Canadians pay.
We went through those (ferocious) arguments back in the '80s, and I've got no interest in reliving them, especially not in support of your political ambitions. As for your threats of extraterritoriality, you can jam them up the nearest convenient orifice. We don't need you -- or your corrupt union backers -- rewriting our laws.
"I will make sure that we renegotiate, in the same way that Senator Clinton talked about. And I think actually Senator Clinton's answer on this one is right. I think we should use the hammer of a potential opt-out as leverage"
There's more than one hammer on that table, rookie.
A Feb. 17 article about a man shot and killed by police in a Davisville-area park included misquoted information. Christian van Heiningen said that three weeks ago a man was flashing (exposing himself), in Oriole Park, not slashing himself.
Back to good old-fashioned basic policework, says I. Thank God they didn't use a Taser.
* Unless, of course, it happens to be Gay Pride Week. They're cool with it then.
Advice on how to score with the ladies would probably never include the strategy that works best for at least one species of male spider: playing dead.
Not all male nursery web spiders looking for a little arachnid sex adopt this technique, but those that do more than double their chances of hitting the jackpot, according to new study in Behavioral Ecology, reported Wednesday in the British magazine New Scientist.
In experiments designed by Trine Bilde of the University of Aaarhus in Denmark, researchers set up date-and-mate opportunities for Pisaura mirabilis, a species native to Europe.
All the males sought to attract partners by offering a gift of food, held in the mouth.
But the ones that lay flat and motionless -- even if meant getting dragged about by a female that had latched onto the victuals -- wound up in a much better position, as it were, to engage in sexual activity.
The hapless males that tried the direct approach wound up keeping the free meal but not getting what they were really after.
Males that played dead were also allowed to copulate longer than males that did not, ensuring more eggs could fertilized, the researchers reported.
Playing dead is a well-known defence mechanism in nature, but this is apparently the first time such behaviour has been observed as a strategy for obtaining sexual favours.
It's not as sexy as it sounds. For one thing, those babes absolutely refuse to shave their legs. Two is bad enough; but eight? Now, that's creepy.