Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The news just confuses me.

National Geographic is a good one for this, but in general, it's always funny to see headlines that make assumptions about your knowledge of the situation- and then see how it gets misunderstood when you had no idea it was even an issue. Case in point-

For headlines like the former, I usually assume its the publication making a correction to a previous article. Maybe some NG.com inadvertantly turned a joyous story of birth into one a tragedy ("Rare Zoo Cubs Killed!"), and then had to scramble to fixed the disgruntled, unpaid intern's mistake. Maybe Dewey defeated Truman. But it's also that split second between reading it and realizing that you were supposed to take as your basic assumption that zoo cubs are usually killed (right after they are born-- a failure on the part of succinctness in headlines) and ancient deformed children were also usually killed that makes them peculiar and sometimes funny, if morbid. The assumption that this rare zoo cub is brought into the world via murder rather than birth, or maybe the headline forces you to assume that they had once found a mass grave in the Netherlands full of little side show ice man babies, and that you should have known about it. Maybe what's funny is the heights people go to prove to even themselves that they are savvier than they believed.

As it turns out, those rare cubs are clouded leopard cubs, of a species that has a tendency towards violent captive behavior. Explains the article, "For reasons still unknown, breeding clouded leopards in captivity usually turns bloody. Males often kill their mates, and females tend to neglect their cubs or inadvertently kill them. " Likewise, ancient parents have always been assumed, like many mammals, to have killed their little freak babies. The 530,000 year old deformed skull of a ten year old recently discovered may prove otherwise. Again, I had no idea that this was a thing; I never assumed ancient peoples did that. Which just goes to show my ignorance. The only thing I can say to those who already knew that clouded leopard cubs are born, not killed, is that you sure are missing out on some interpretively wackadoo headlines that would have made you giggle. (And that's my defense for being a dummy.)

Also interesting is nature's tendency to cause NG to have theme headline groups. This time it was about homicidal parents. A few weeks ago, with all the crazy squid discovery and life in Antarctica stories as well as the rats are invading India thing, it was positively Lovecraftian.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

So I'm Taking A Quick Procrastination Break

I realize I've been really really negligent and haven't done any of the posts I've indicated I would do like 2 months ago, nor the ones I promised B to do... but... here's a quick 'un:

Just another bit of Tennessee Ernie Ford that I just found on youtube-- just listen to the depth of that voice! The song is the lovely traditional "Shenandoah." I'm also wondering what's up with the ship background--- the two people on the left keep looking like they are talking....

Saturday, March 21, 2009

best picture ever

Hey all- I've been on spring break right now-- houseguests, tourists, a lot of walking, exhaustion, papers due oops!-- but we'll be back up and running in the next week.

For now, this is my favorite new photo, taken at the Ellis Island museum (definitely worth the visit) where I was at on Monday. There's something about the pure tragedy of the girl's face and the bemused, edging towards the edge of patience of the boy that keeps me from deciding if I should feel pity, especially in light of the history behind it, or indulge in the humor. Either way, they need hugs. And they have tiny shoes.

The Pogues - Thousands Are Sailing

Found at skreemr.com

How not to celebrate women's history month.

Since I can't decide if this theme is crass or sobering, I'm gonna go ahead and post on the merit of the music.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

4 things with one theme. . .

1. Setting the Woods on Fire is midway through a great set of drinking songs, including Jerry Jeff Walker's "What Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me)," so make sure to check that out.

2. On the other hand, all we got in the house is Colt 45 :(

3. There are still Pogues tickets available for this weekend's NYC shows, as well as planned day-of sales. For the tour schedule, click!

4. and 1 more thing: they just opened a bar beneath the apartment. . . it looks like a douchebar. [edit:] It is a douchebar: $6.50/pint.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Tennessee Ernie Ford

I've always had a soft spot for Tennessee Ernie through my exposure to him via I Love Lucy and The Lucy Show though it was only recently that I actually sat down and listened to his stuff, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked his voice. On the shows, he is in full form as the hillbilly cousin Ernie, and his voice is notably different from his singing voice, which is rich and deep. Ernie Ford has stars in radio, television, and records on the Walk of Fame, and was an entertainer of the classic type. He had a major hit with Merle Travis' "Sixteen Tons," which includes the great line, "Saint Peter, don't you call me, 'cause I can't go;/I owe my soul to the company store." His version is great; the sparse arrangement and Ernie's vocals perfectly complement the fatalistic swagger of the lyrics and music.

While the ambitiously-named "Proper Introduction" seems to be missing "Sixteen Tons," it looks to be a good collection of songs (though the focus is more on the pop/country western stuff than his gospel songs.) Big hits included are "Shotgun Boogie" and "Smokey Mountain Boogie." There's also "Mule Train" and "Hey Good Lookin'," with Helen O'Connell. "Bright Lights and Blond Haired Women" makes me want to call Ernie the crooner of country-western. Check it out!


Saturday, March 07, 2009

Cutest Sea Slug Ever

I've recently been really into underwater creature photography, despite my general dislike for sea creatures (they're CREEPY.) But not this little guy, he has a little hat!

And then there's my second favorite from this series: he's on fire! These photos are from a sweet collection of sea slugs prints from the National Geographic print store, starting at $20 for 10" unframed. Check them out! They're all really quite remarkable (and colorful.) It's interesting to see their camouflage evolutions.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Janelle Monae

I was really excited to find out that Janelle Monae has released something (and got a Grammy nod), so I'm bummed I'm only just getting around to posting about it. Janelle Monae is the vocalist on the only track I listen to still off the Idlewild soundtrack, and I was always struck by the purity of her voice.

Ms Monae's newest offering is an EP with the ambitious name of Metropolis Suite I of IV: The Chase. It's a concept album about a robot that falls in love and is consequently pursued across her futuristic city. The music is sweeping and orchstral without losing its pop and dance sensibilities. To get a better idea, check out the sweet music video for "Many Moons," which features a robot auction/fashion show and some sweet Michael Jackson-inspired dancing; she moonwalks forward AND backwards.

The Special Edition of the EP is really quite impressive. It starts off with a cinematic intro to the story and goes straight into the energetic "Violet Stars Happy Hunting," in which the chase starts. "Many Moons" is next, the catchy dance track where you feel most Outkast's influence. The track has some "Ghetto Defendant"-esque word association halfway through (and miles better than the Burroughs version) and Monae's voice shows off its flexibility, from operatic to a young Michael Jackson-type energy (you know, those creepy Jackson 5 songs where he's like, 5, singing about how he's got to be there when she wakes up.) Then my favorite, "Sincerely Jane," where Monae's vocals get to really (as if they hadn't) show their range over a nice syncopated chorus, Star Wars-like brasses and strings, and some good mixing. It also has a cool sultry opening. The next two tracks are the weaker of the group, but that's not saying their bad-- all in all it's a very strong offering, but when she does everything right, the results are stunning.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Southern Gothic Wine

Hey all, my turn to apologize for the MIA- it's midterms time, which has come in the form of EIGHT BILLION PAPERS to write, and as you can see, it's been some time since the last post. The problem is actually deeper than that, because I was supposed to throw up a VD mix and some other things, but just completely ran out of spare time. So I'm gonna go back to smaller posts, and I will be doing my best to reply to comments, but just be warned things will be a bit spotty on both counts for the next week or so.

For now, as if James Jean's art wasn't good enough-- it now comes encasing alcohol. (Distraction: Is anyone gonna drink that Schaefer in the fridge? Will anyone notice that it's gone?)

Of the three triptychs being used, one of my favorites of his work, Southern Belle is being used as the label for a shiraz. So if you are wine inclined. . . I'm not, but if I get my hands on some discretionary income- ie, rob a bank- I might pick this up for the after party. It is, it seems, a "Deep crimson color with complex aromas of black currant, leather and molasses. Rich, dark berry fruit palate of cassis and fruitcake, finishing with soft oak spice."


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