The decision to get real wild

Nature maintains an equilibrium of sorts, one extreme offset by another — yet the extremes continue to exist, the average/median/mode/whatever be damned.

So I was contemplating, once again, Rebecca Black and “Friday,” a simple song with four chords by a pretty young girl with not a whole lot of experience. What on earth could possibly offset that?

Right you are. Jandek’s first album came out in 1978; he’s had more than sixty releases since then. The man is clearly experienced, even if he went a quarter-century before doing a live gig, and I defy anyone to count his chords.

I’ve brought up Jandek here before, usually with an Irwin Chusid quote attached. (I even linked to that first live appearance, in Glasgow in 2004.) To say that Jandek marches to the beat of a different drummer would suggest a rhythmic precision he’d disdain; his off-center blues, or whatever, meander all over the place.

In 2003, the documentary Jandek on Corwood was released. Jandek himself does not appear in the film; however, Corwood Industries, which issues all Jandek product (and nothing but Jandek product), allowed the filmmakers the run of the catalog, which gave me an excuse to order the DVD. And to fill out the order, I added a wish-list item about which I’ve posted before:

I dearly love George Rochberg’s 3rd String Quartet, something there isn’t a chance in hell of hearing on the local classical station’s request show. (Which reminds me: I need to find this on CD if at all possible. My cassette dub, mixed to stereo from a quadraphonic tape — I no longer have my old open-reel gear — is starting to squeak.)

This is, I reckon, music about as un-Jandek-like as you can get and still not sound the least bit like Rebecca Black.

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A møøse once bit my sister

And they say you never learn anything from gaming:

World of Warcraft skillz save sister of gamer

We apologise for the fault in the title. Those responsible have been sacked.

(Via FAILBlog’s WIN!)

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The best that they can do

“Hollywood,” says a frequent Farkism, “is out of ideas.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that, says Neil Kramer:

Why should Hollywood waste time and energy searching for new ideas, when it can stick with the classics, such as Arthur?

In fact, Hollywood shouldn’t just stop with a Dudley Moore Arthur and a Russell Brand Arthur. There should be a black Arthur. An Asian Arthur. An Arthur all in Spanish. A gay Arthur. An Arthur where the roles are reversed and Arthur is a woman. A transsexual Arthur. A Pixar animated Arthur — in 3D Imax — where Arthur is a irresponsible raccoon who is a glutton with his acorns rather than an alcoholic, in order to keep it G-rated. I think there should be a new big budget Arthur produced EVERY 30 years. Ten year old Raymond Ochoa of the children’s TV show Drake and Josh will be perfect in thirty years time as the womanizing drunk in the new new Arthur, released in 2041.

And while we’re at it, let’s get Christopher Cross to do all the themes for all these Arthurs.

Except maybe for this one:

Hopefully, in thirty years, science will have perfected a time machine, so Hollywood studios, still hoping to recreate the success of the first Arthur, will go back in time to 1951, creating an Arthur appropriate for that era, starring Orson Welles, Deborah Kerr, and Spencer Tracy.

I wish I had a dime for every dime they spent on story conferences.

On the upside, a bevy of Arthur remakes might well silence the complaints about Lack of Inclusiveness being leveled by the Drunk Inebrio-American community.

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You can’t spell “incarnation” without “car”

It won’t take half an hour on busy downtown streets to tell you that there is nothing inherently poetic about bumper stickers.

On the other hand, the best of us can see the lyrical potential, and can run with it.

(The poet in question has been on Ye Olde Blogroll for years.)

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Hold not thine breath

Ric Locke has a category called “Probability Epsilon,” which deals with desirable outcomes that are less likely than the snowball’s getting past Cerberus on the way to from the warm nether regions.

This one, applying the sauce-for-the-gander principle, seems especially apt:

[E]mployees, including senior officials, at regulatory agencies should be subjected to the most extreme form possible of the edicts and ukases they enforce so enthusiastically. For instance, no EPA building, employee, or official should be permitted the use of solvents or heavy metals in any form, or engage in or benefit from any activity that emits carbon dioxide.

In fact, this need not be limited to the Executive Branch. We’ll know we’re making progress when Congressman Scheisskopf shows up with the sniffles at your local Doc-In-The-Box.

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Same as the old tunes

Brian J. dubs it Sudden Music Liking Syndrome:

This struck me today, as I heard the second song by The Who on the radio in two days (“Teenage Wasteland” today, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” yesterday) and decided, hey, maybe I ought to get an album by these guys.

Obviously the album to get is Who’s Next, which opens with “Baba O’Riley” (aka “Teenage Wasteland”) and closes with “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

This phenomenon is not entirely unheard of, even among those of us whose musical tastes are alleged to have matured: there is no shortage of acts I couldn’t stand in days gone by whose recordings I now actively seek out. (Think Eagles, though I still draw the line at “Hotel California.”) On the other hand, if I never hear another Paul Simon song, it will be too soon.

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Minorities rule

And they intend to keep doing so whenever and wherever possible. Might as well get used to it.

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15th anniversary open thread

Make of it what you will.

Historical note: This site went live on 9 April 1996 with seven pages. Not all of them are still up. One of the dearly departed was the then-obligatory links page, which eventually was subsumed by the blogroll; another was something called “Tyranny of the new,” which listed every last update in reverse chronological order. That disappeared in 2000, when I started updating every day. (Before that, updates were on an as-needed basis, except for The Vent, which came out fairly regularly four times a month.)

Some ideas from the early days that have since been excised:

  • A section of 1996’s Communications Decency Act was intended to criminalize online abortion information. I am no great fan of abortion, but I took offense at this, and posted a list of local, um, service providers. (And yes, there was a list of pro-life counselors, at the very next link.) Eventually, most of the CDA was canned, and I saw no reason to maintain the list, though one relic from that period remains: a send-up of a then-well-known anti-abortion group.
  • “Your 15 minutes are up” applied the classic Warholian interval to various celebrities and concepts. The Wayback Machine actually has a 1999 copy. I’ve since used the phrase for a blog category.
  • “Forty-one with a glass ceiling,” in the Music Room, was a list of songs that peaked at #41 in Billboard. (The Cars had three of them.) I took it down after deciding that their lawyers might think I’d used too many of their chart references in a single page.


  • The domain was obtained in March 1999. At the time, the counter service I was using had recorded 6,444 visits; I then switched to Site Meter, and set the starting number to 6,445. The count is currently a bit over 2.1 million.
  • Busiest day ever was 12 May 2009, with 13,636 visitors, mostly due to an Instalanche on this item.
  • Originally everything here was hand-coded. I installed Movable Type in August 2002 for the daily bloggage, and put up about 7000 posts over the next four years. In September 2006, noticing performance issues, I scrapped the old database — all the old posts remained as static pages — and started over with a new permalink structure. This lasted two years, until it started taking five, six minutes to publish a post; I exported all those new posts to WordPress, then deleted both the database and the static pages, so as to avoid duplicate content. There are now about 9500 posts in the WordPress database.

If anything else is bothering you about this site, feel free to use the space below.

(Stuck to the top of the screen all day.)

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Nuggets crushed

You wouldn’t have thought it would have gone that way if you’d sat through the first four minutes and watched Denver run — well, amble, actually — to an 8-0 lead. And the first quarter ended with a blah 17-17 tie. But the Thunder second unit opened up a lead, and “Hey, aren’t we the division champs or something?” began to take hold. OKC was up six at the half, eleven after three, and won it 104-89, taking the season series 3-1.

The answer tonight, as it was at the Pepsi Center earlier this week, was interior defense: in neither game could the Nuggets garner more than eight points in the paint. Forced to rely on dialing long-distance, Denver put up 18 attempts from beyond the arc, but only five went down. And 18 times they gave up the ball, handing the Thunder an ungodly number of points.

Still, Denver showed plenty of moxie. The Nuggets’ starting frontcourt — Nenê, Kenyon Martin and Danilo Gallinari — were good for 49 points and 31 rebounds. And Raymond Felton (17 points) was good enough to make you wonder how it is that Ty Lawson is starting. On the other hand, Al Harrington rang up six fouls in less than 13 minutes, an indication of how frustrated Denver must have been; the 40.3 shooting percentage is another.

The Thunder shot 46.3 percent and outrebounded Denver 46-40. And that second-period burst was engineered by Daequan Cook (8 points) and James Harden (14). Kevin Durant got a statistically-average 28 on 9-21 shooting; he was, shall we say, Not In The Zone. The line you want to see, though, is Russell Westbrook’s: 17 points (7-15), six steals, eight assists, and only two turnovers. (Eric Maynor didn’t score, but he didn’t give up the ball at all.) Then there’s +22 Nick Collison, with two points but eight boards.

Three games left: Sunday at Los Angeles against the Lakers, Monday at Sacramento against the team potentially known as the Anaheim Royals, and the finale at home against the Bucks. Playoffs start the following weekend, and right now, it looks like Thunder vs. Nuggets.

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Quote of the week

The Man of the West weighs in on Terry Jones’ barbecued-book escapade:

Not to put too fine a point on it, but it seems to me that certain things need to be pointed out to President Karzai: that Pastor Jones lives in the United States, not Afghanistan; that we enjoy the protection of the First Amendment; and that it is not Pastor Jones’ fault that Muslims are so frickin’ deranged as to go all apesquat over the burning of a copy of the Koran and that their doing so pretty much proves his point (I note again that I would not go all apesquat over the burning of a Bible, offensive though I might find it, nor would any other Christian I know). It further seems to me that the only thing preventing POTUS and our diplomats from pointing these things out to President Karzai and cheerfully inviting him to take his opinion and go tinkle up a rope is a pronounced and tragic lack of onions.

Well, the diplomats, maybe. POTUS would never, ever say such a thing, except maybe to Benjamin Netanyahu if he thought the microphones were off.

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Split that lane!

Well, maybe you shouldn’t, but maybe it shouldn’t be illegal either:

Lane-splitting, for the uninitiated, refers to the practice of going between cars when you’re on a motorcycle. It is legal here in California, and in not too many other places. I must admit that if I was on a motorcycle I’d probably not exploit this.

But here’s the justification, kinda sorta:

While this stupid suicidal practice remains legal, there is a layer of insulation separating California from the brink. It is the one way you can use your resourcefulness, and your drive, and your rugged individualism to get ahead of the crowd. It’s dangerous. California allows it and not too many other states do. We need more things like that, not fewer.

In 1988, when I made a perfunctory effort to become a resident of the Golden State, I was informed that on average, freeway traffic in and around L. A. moved at 33 mph. I quickly discovered that this figure was derived by averaging the speed during half the day, which was 66 mph, with the speed during the other half, which was zero. (Technically, this is not the correct mathematical approach, but work with me here.) I figured that no one felt the need to split a lane at 66, and it couldn’t possibly do any harm if the four-wheelers were sitting still.

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Expressing oneself

My younger sister, by a considerable margin, was the family hotshoe, and once upon a time she possessed the speediest production vehicle from these here United States:

In 1978 The Dodge Lil’ Red Express was the fastest American made vehicle from 0 to 100 MPH as tested by Car and Driver magazine.

Because of a loophole in the emissions regulations the 1978 Dodge Lil’ Red Express Trucks did not have catalytic converters, what the Lil’ Red Express did have was a special High Performance 360 C.I. 4-barrel small block engine code (EH1) which was a modified version of the 360 police engine (E58) producing 225 net horsepower @ 3800 RPM. The package also included Hemi style mufflers with a crossover pipe breathing through 2 chrome stacks located behind the cab, a special 727 transmission and 3.55:1 rear gearing.

I drove this thing a couple of times, and found it slightly intimidating. And nowadays 225 hp is no big deal; my semi-sedate sedan sports 227 ponies, albeit at a comparatively-stratospheric 6400 rpm, a couple of scratches below the redline. Still, I always wondered why Dodge didn’t revive this beast after we’d gotten through an energy crisis or two.

And maybe now is not the best time, but what the hell:

The new RAM 1500 Express [offers] a 390-hp HEMI, the coil-sprung platform which supposedly offers better dynamic qualities than the competition, and some youth-oriented features like 20-inch wheels, at an out-the-door price around $23,830.

Of course, that’s the price for the regular cab variant. It’s been a long time since that body style ruled the roost in pickupville. The RAM excuse, er, reason is that this truck is aimed at young people.

She’d have been 49 this summer. But I’d bet you a pair of Mopar valve covers she’d be on the waiting list for this truck.

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Dunham right

Some of you Fringe fans will recognize FBI agent Olivia Dunham, played by the lovely Anna Torv:

Anna Torv circa 2009

Some of you who are not Fringe fans will recognize Anna Torv from an earlier Rule 5-y post this week at the Rio Norte Line, which demonstrates, I suppose, that most people participating in this particular scheme are thinking faster than I am.

Torv has an unofficial and almost scarily-detailed fan site at

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He’s no clown, that Charlie Brown

Peanuts, 25 percent off:

Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comics often conceal the existential despair of their world with a closing joke at the characters’ expense. With the last panel omitted, despair pervades all.

It’s scary how often this works, though I don’t see it being as life-changing as, say, Garfield Minus Garfield.

(Via Pop Culture Junk Mail.)

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No, you can’t have cereal

“Which seat can I take?” sounds trivial until you think about societies that insist on telling you where you can sit, ostensibly for your own good. Libertarian writer/editor Jeffrey Tucker weighs in on Rebecca Black’s “Friday”:

And where is she headed? To catch the official, tax-funded school bus, which, though it is not shown, we know is painted yellow today just as it has been from time immemorial since there is never really progress or change in the state-run system. The tax-fueled machine comes to your door to snatch you away from home, where you are loved and valued, in order to transport you to the cement structure that teaches you about the glory of fitting in and believing what you are supposed to believe.

But then the protagonist experiences a foreshadowing of the liberation at hand. Arriving before the school bus is a car with “my friends.” They are smiling and inviting her to join them on the ride. And it is in this context that she confronts that glorious institution that is otherwise denied to her and every student in government school: human choice.

Oh, and in case you missed the point:

A child-like dream of Friday and what it represents for kids trapped in public school, kids who are transported around on tax-funded buses and ordered around by tax-funded propagandists for the state, is a plausible allegory for the plight of all people imprisoned in state-controlled environments.

It’s no accident that there’s no Federal Department of Fun, and it wouldn’t be worth a darn if there were.

(Previous Rebecca Black coverage.)

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They may never know Y

One of the books I’m reading this week is Adam Carolla’s In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks … And Other Complaints from an Angry Middle-Aged White Guy.

If Carolla is seeing things correctly, these guys are about forty-nine years ahead of their time.

(Via KingShamus.)

Addendum: Breda suggests an alternate title: “I don’t care how sensitive you think you are, you’re still not getting in my pants.”

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