Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I've been trying desperately to become a regular reader of the Freakonomics blog at the New York Times. Always a thought-provoking read, but dude, I just can't seem to keep up!

So, in the tradition of my lateness in all things, and my wanton ignorance of the internet space-time continuum -- where one day in internet time is like, 5 years, thus rendering anything you discover posted from three days ago an instant fossil...

This post from a few days ago on the sometimes distinctive African-American naming process (along with their nod to the Freakonomics chapter Perfect Parenting, Part II; or: Would a Roshanda by Any Other Name Smell as Sweet?) -- which chronicles whether or not distinctive and misunderstood names set children up for failure or success -- was a HOOT.

Why? Because it led me to the one of the mightiest of blogs: The Peoples News.

I am dying. Dying, I say! Go now!

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Boozy birthday BBQ's bouncy house aftermath:

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Oi, '80s sentimentalist alert! Check out this article (and some true stories) about the lure, the lore, and the sad demise of the mixtape.

Amazing to think how we've all probably got our share of forgotten mixtapes banging about out in this world, eh? I made loads of them in junior high and high school, exactly the same way as described in this essay -- first from the radio, forbidding my little sister in our shared bedroom to make the slightest noise, lest it come through in the capture. Hoping hoping hoping that the DJ wouldn't talk too long in the intro to songs or fade it out too early, or, god forbid, fade the song I wanted into something horrendous.

I can almost feel my legs falling asleep as I picture myself as a gangly and awkward 12 year old, sitting on the floor of my room with my finger poised at the ready over the pause button of my shiny and new dual cassette boombox that my parents bought for me for my birthday.

You know what I'm talking about, right? Have you forgotten?

When we were kids
We hated things our parents did
We listened low
To Casey Kasem's radio show
That's when friends were made
To think of them just makes you feel nice
The smell of grass in spring
And October leaves cover everything

Later I would record songs tape to tape, priding myself on my mixing skills to choose songs that got that fade in/fade out just right, whilst maintaining the "mood" just right as well.

I also remember getting very good at gauging how long I really had left on a tape and having a list of songs that I used pretty exclusively as end filler. Anything by The Dwarves and Minor Threat was pretty much a given, most songs being less than a minute long anyway!

I loved making covers for them, poring over discarded magazines and, oddly enough, the J. Crew catalog, which I subscribed to but from which I could never afford to order. Great colors abounded for tape covers though, and the catalog meshed with the mixes I made to fuel my passionate adolescent dreams of getting out of my little hometown someday (and wearing clothes like that, and meeting men who look like that!) Anyway, I digress -- the mixtape cover: in our increasingly throwaway world, what a lost art that is as well.

I can credit a mixtape for snagging my hubby. I can't remember the particulars, but I do remember 'I Want You Now' by Depeche Mode and 'There is a Light That Never Goes Out' by The Smiths making an appearance. I am anything but subtle.

I still love making mixes, now on CDs, and I love receiving them as well. But there's just nothing like the love that is apparent in a mixtape. RIP.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

I can't get enough of this.


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Friday, April 25, 2008

Reminder: Trevor is reading tonight at Book Zoo as part of the celebration of the release of the journal Back Room Live from Life Long Press.

If you can't make it, to tide you over until his next reading, check it -- Trevor's is the current poem being pimped over at Weird Deer. Listen to "Complexity Trumps Static" here.

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Oi, I feel like I can barely fit in eating today, much less blogging -- which means a ginormous post dump of things in the queue.

Hold on to your hats!

Things making me happy right now:



The Miss Piggy sandwich and a glass of Rosé at 900 Grayson. I could eat this every day:


Oh how I love Juliette Binoche.

Botox makes people look older. You look at women who have had it, you see the fear of aging on their face.


Not a big watcher of fanvids, but this is so awesome. Plus, random Michael McDonald. Those crazy Minnesotans!


Recent acquisitions:

Billy Bragg -- Mr. Love and Justice
Lyrics Born -- Everywhere at Once
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds -- Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!
Portishead -- Third


Cylon Detector Test :: Battlestar Galactica Wiki

For those of you on the edge of your seat in suspense, I was deemed Dee Dualla.

A young but capable bridge officer, your loyalties are more to your people than to your job. You're willing to bend — even break — the so-called “rules” if necessary, and you have a very strong sense of what's right and what's fair. You're always up for a little constructive conspiracy, and you're great at keeping things quiet.

Which is not so bad except for the whole Apollo thing -- girl, have some respect for yourself. I would never ever go there. Run away!

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The May 2008 issue of Vogue (cover: a luminous Gwyneth Paltrow, furiously pimping for Iron Man) has an article about the New York Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art exhibition, Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy, running May 7, 2008 – September 1, 2008.

This homage to Poison Ivy is STUNNING:

More photos here

press release

Objects will be organized thematically around specific superheroes, whose movie costumes and superpowers will be catalysts for discussion of key concepts of superheroism and their expression in fashion. Superman and Spider-Man costumes will address the subject of The Graphic Body, relating Superman's 'S' chevron to designer logos and branding. Catwoman will represent The Paradoxical Body, which will explore the character's vacillating manifestations of good and bad. The stars and stripes of Wonder Woman's uniform, a composite of the American flag, epitomize The Patriotic Body and designs that appropriate patriotic emotions implicit in the character. The Hulk, a metaphor for male potency, will introduce a section on The Virile Body, which includes inflatable clothing that swells to exaggerate the male physique.

I really can't tell if this is super cool or totally lame. I vacillate between the two every time I read it!


The Flash – a character who possesses superhuman speed -- will address the Aerodynamic Body as manifest in high-tech sportswear such as Nike's "Swift Suit" and Speedo's "Fastskin Suit," which enhance athletic performance in sprinters and swimmers respectively. Batman and Iron Man will represent The Armored Body, and examine avant-garde fashion that merges mesh and metal, skin and chromium. The Mutant Body, denoted by the X-Men, will highlight clothing that morphs men into beasts. Ghost Rider (the biker-demon with flaming skull) and The Punisher (the vigilante who sports a giant death-skull emblem on his T-shirt) will symbolize The Postmodern Body that suggests an anti-hero identity through the eclectic mixing of street styles.

Oi, Mark will love this:

Nathan Crowley, a production designer of films including Batman Begins and the upcoming The Dark Knight, will serve as the exhibition's creative consultant.

More riot cops for my bondage party. Whee!

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ugh. God forbid I should ever agree with off the deep end Debra Saunders, but her article lambasting $200,000+ earners who lambasted her for calling them rich is creating that (albeit, tiny) snowball in hell.

They see only what other people have and they do not have. They do not see what they have, but others do not. They apparently do not notice the people with whom they work every day who live on less. They are not chastened by commenters who were appalled that anyone would complain that he could not buy a home or put aside any savings on a measly $200,000-plus a year.

And these commenters pretty much say it all for me:

Okay, first off, I am in the family of three making under 50K a year category. If we made another $20K-150K a year it could all go to savings. I am sorry, but I see you guys out there with the $1000 strollers (when you could buy one for $10), the $4 Lattes (when you could make your own for 50 cents), the $100 pairs of jeans, the $100+ diaper bags... You think you are struggling, but what it really is is that we have been taught to hyper consume. And yeah, I know I am unlikely to be able to buy a home in the Bay Area, but that is no longer part of the middle class experience here in the Bay Area.

The clincher:

$200k per year IS rich, where you CHOOSE to live and HOW to spend it is a different matter, but it IS rich.

I grew up solidly working class, no fronting. I also grew up with a sense of need vs. want, and to value quality vs. quantity/keeping up with the Jones' (thanks Mom and Dad!). I have lived in the Bay Area -- one of the most "hyper-consumer" places in the world -- for 8 years. Most of the time, my honey has been in grad school (oh glorious graduation in December!), so we have never made enough to live more than paycheck to paycheck, yet we still vacation and eat organic and go to shows and aren't freezing in a cardboard box. We also drive a car from the 80s (when we drive) and live in a studio apartment, our idea of good meal out is usually under $30, and I would never spend $100 on jeans. Choices, baby.

I don't disparage people who make $200,000 a year and then make the choice to have a new car or eat at a fancy restaurant or buy the $100 jeans. I take extreme offense, however, at said person calling themselves working class (even middle class) or "struggling." Bitch, please. Pull your head out.

I have a good friend who lived on $7-9 an hour in Oakland for many years. She lived in a cooperative house, didn't own a car, and shopped at the thrift store. Girl saved a big chunk of change, put tens of thousands away in her retirement account, and still bought quality clothes and organic food.

Good choices can augment sparse economic reality, but nothing makes someone who earns $200,000+ a year struggle but ignorance.

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Happy Earth Day!

As per usual all the rags have excellent Earth Day publications out about green living and such, with tips on how easy it is to green your life. A very good thing. But I also sometimes fear that the push to "go green" is becoming so ubiquitous -- with so few easily discernable rewards on the consumer's part -- that a lot of folks are liable to exhibit a certain degree of "green-fatigue." I know I certainly feel that way sometimes.

So, on that note, The Omnivore's Dilemma author Michael Pollan asks us, Why Bother?

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Monday, April 21, 2008

If you live in the United States, on this Thursday, April 24th be sure to participate in Dining Out For Life. Help raise money for AIDS service organizations while enjoying a good meal!

East Bay folks, you can find participating restaurants here. See you at Phuong Nam!


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Two things I really really want to see but I think I may have a hard time tracking down:

1) Kamome Shokudo (The Seagull Diner)

This just sounds so charming and quirky. And it centers on one of my favorite things to eat, onigiri yo!

2) Kafka Inaka Isha (Franz Kafka's A Country Doctor)

Just look at the art!

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Look what we found in someone's trash!

Actually, look what Trevor found in someone's bulky trash pickup and talked me into bringing home. It reminded him of my old vintage Schwinn I had in college, and that I still miss terribly. He only wants me to be happy. :)

I was skeptical because it looked like it needed a lot of work, but I was heartened by the fact the brakes were still in good working order, the gearing was all Shimano, and the bike seemed like it was of Japanese origin. Trevor took it in to the lovely folks at Tip Top Bike Shop and they said they can get it up and running for less than what it costs for omakase for two.

It is somewhat of a mystery bike: I can't find any identifying marks on the frame, and judging only by the name on the seat (and its mad style), it could be made by Katakura, with what seems like stock parts (like a Nitto stem). It's definitely vintage, but what year or make I'm unsure. It says "Suntour" on the gearshifts but I haven't been able to find anything relating that name to a Katakura bicycle.

What I do know is that I love it, and I love my sweetie-pie.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Holy smokes, that's larger than I thought it would be! Oh well, gotta run with it when you get it.

I'm a little late (as per usual), but my good online friend Mark was recently tagged for his blog excellence, and he in turn tagged this humble blog -- among others I am proud to be listed alongside -- as one of his excellent reads.

I'm here to once again say cheers to Mr. Cardwell, but also pass along my top five** par excellence as well. I read a lot of blogs, lurking on most and commenting on a few, but there are some that really stand out for me as go-tos for content, freshness, and good old-fashioned entertainment.

(It may be cheating, but I do have to put in for Mark's Bad Librarianship. Comics, gee-tar love, librarianship, and pop culture ditties, all relayed from his fortress of black humor in Northern Ireland.)


1) A fairly new one on my regular rounds, Nishikata Film Review is a lush and thoughtful catalog of Japanese film, including anime. Lovely lovely lovely.

2) Call me biased, but I love my honey's blog The Casual-T. Chock full of poetics, nerd musings, and ninja-ing in the night, my man also drops some serious library science on your ass. What else is there in life?

Oi, music baby.

3) Canada is saving the world from music mediocrity. How can I be so sure? B(oot)log. Only the finest in indie-rock boots, most with a Canadian flavor. I've added so many great bands to my collection from Rod's dedicated b(oot)logging. Awesome contests too, that people really do win (like me).

4) Bassist for New York outfit Funeral Crashers and all-around music aficionado Frankie Teardrop's blog Systems of Romance is a "dumping ground for all great things post-punk, coldwave, synthpunk, [and] minimal wave." The man's collection is vast, and he regularly uploads very obscure, out of print, or generally hard to find stuff. All this and he also takes requests. Go get some.

5) The Stresstaster, AKA Taste the Stress. Poetry and stream of consciousness that routinely blows my mind and/or makes me laugh out loud, written by a person who spends a lot of time with dead bodies. Sweet. Plus, moderate to severe bro-outs are de rigueur. Respect.

**I'm listing two more -- not in my top five because it's not like they need any more pimpage, but if I'm honest I look forward to them every day...

6) The Sartorialist. Street fashion snaps from New York, Milan, Paris, and everywhere in-between. The commentary makes this one, especially when there are snaps of smoking fashionistas. Brutal!

7) Neil Gaiman's blog. Peer into the mind and home of the creator of Vertigo's The Sandman, see his horrible injuries, get the lowdown on his beekeeping. Oh yeah, and read about his new projects. This is also where you go to get your burning questions answered and get the help you need when proposing to your girlfriend.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I like this very much.

Toning for his sins: Blessed are those who work out regularly at St. Yuri Monastery near Veliky Novgorod, Russia.

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Trevor relays the truth about the importance of independent bookstores.

A plea for foresight, indeed.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Oi, I hate politics.

When will the US either a) legalize prostitution, or b) start prosecuting the scumbag "family values" hypocrite politicians who keep it illegal but within their reach?

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Just when you thought Japan couldn't get any more wackalicious, and just when I thought I had a full plate of things to do when I visit next:

Hibaritei: Japanese Salarymen Dress As Maids

This is the latest spin on the popular Japanese maid cafe where women dress in provocative and/or Lolita maid outfits and welcome customers as "masters" while serving tea and snacks.

Hibaritei features "maids" who are men. In Akihabara, it's common to see men dressed as maids or their favorite anime characters, but this trend has reached new heights with the launch of cross-dressing maid troupe Hibaritei. In a twist, the cross-dressing maids are all weekday salarymen who are straight, most having girlfriends. These men are not financially troubled in any way. Most work in IT companies and come to Akiba often because of work.

Despite having a rather unconventional all-male staff, Hibaritei does not fall short of the usual services one finds in a typical maid cafe. We can hear the usual "Welcome home, master!" greeting, omurice with ketchup writing, cheki service and even a customized gatchapon (capsule toys from vending machines) with original Hibaritei character badges drawn by their in-house illustrator. They also feature a lottery style gatchapon (300 yen) that allows you to win an original photo of the Hibaritei maids. No two are alike.

BTW, I've never seen anyone -- man or woman -- dressed like an anime character or a maid in Akihabara (Harajuku, sure), but maybe I'm not frequenting the right joints. I did see a man dressed as Sailor Moon at 3 am in Shinjuku's gay quarter, but I don't think he was plying tea and curry.

Oh Nihon, while you are still bizarrely homophobic and outrageously rigid in your gender roles, you still sometimes outdo my Bay neighbor, San Francisco, in wacky fabulosity. It's always the quiet ones, isn't it? I'm almost afraid to ask: What will you think of next?

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Reading for Back Room Live book release Friday April 25th, 7 pm at Book Zoo, 6395 Telegraph Avenue in Oakland.

With /BackRoomLive/ Contributors ~ Trevor Calvert ~ Challen Clarke ~ Zach Demby ~ Eleanor Johnson ~ Blake Ellington Larson ~ Sarah Garrigan

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Caralee McElroy and Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu, Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco, April 12, 2008

I love Xiu Xiu so much and have written so extensively about them here that I'm almost spent when it comes to pimping them. Dear readers, trust -- they are mind-blowing multi-instrumentalists who create unreal tapestries of sound, with lyrics so brutal and honest you won't know what to do with yourself.

Bonuses: watching Ches Smith hit the skins will make you cry. Caralee McElroy is the nicest person you'll ever meet. Jamie Stewart gargles with beer.

Their show was $12. What are you waiting for?

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Thursday, April 10, 2008

In the old days there was luxury but no market. Today there is all market and no luxury. -- Karl Lagerfeld

Excellent interview with Karl Lagerfeld in the March 2008 issue of Prestige Hong Kong.

He is so entertaining -- not many people can be so arrogant and yet so charming. How can Karl say he is "too superficial" to be bothered to comment on certain things, that he "reads 10 books at a time" and hates charity, and that he will only go places via private jet because he "cannot go on airlines because people stare at me, you have to be touched by people" and be taken seriously? Is it because we are obsessed with -- and love to hate -- arrogance, vanity, wealth, celebrity, and the social hierarchy we all create with those things?

Sure. But I think people listen to him mostly because he's honest, and extremely articulate when he's not just pared down to misanthropic soundbites, and that is respectable. He is outrageous, but if more people were as honest as I think he is, our world would be something else entirely. Our species might die out, but at least we'd all be owning it.

This interview gave me a newfound respect for Lagerfeld. He's made it in a world where you are only the sum of what other people think of you. And whether or not his cutting persona and misanthropy are a result of being in the fashion field, whether or not in the end one thinks he's just a superficial and mean bitch, some of the things he says are refreshing to read, because I really do think he means what he says. That honesty in his line of work is rare.

Haha, but speaking of misanthropic soundbites, you must check out this bit summarizing from the article what Karl can really do without in this life. Fat people. Children. The Smell of Cooking. Love. He's certainly a piece of work.

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Two cool things I heard about today:

1) Corpus, the human body museum in the Netherlands.

Strap on 3-D glasses and watch holograms of cartoon sperm sprinting to fertilize an egg. Climb inside a gigantic nose, enjoy the smell of fresh hay, then feel the wind blast on your neck when it sneezes. Walk across a bouncy rubber tongue complete with taste buds and realistic burping noises in the background...[v]isitors begin their tour via an escalator that carries them through a wound in the giant figure's calf. Once inside, they see an exhibition on what happens when a wood splinter pierces the skin.

Awesome, possum.

2) Squee -- George Michael is touring the US. He apparently gave a pair of tickets away to every member of Ellen DeGeneres' studio audience the other day, and if you go to the Ellen website you can register to win a pair for the date closest to you.

Or you can, you know, register to win a pair to the San Jose show for me, because there is no way in hell I'm paying $55 for a nosebleed seat in an arena for anybody.

My rancor about outrageous ticket prices is especially well-documented, as is my habit of resorting to Gootube like a stiff drink in times of disappointment because of musical crisis.

Hey, it's like watching a show in an arena -- no singer in sight!

But this song + Linda Evangelista + a leather jacket on fire = class.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Two words have overtaken my life.

Battlestar. Galactica.

Holy frak.

This show is worth it for Edward James Olmos alone, yo. Equally amazing: how Briton Jamie Bamber as Apollo consistently has a better American accent than any American I know.

Oh yes, and one more thing...Helo. *swoonage*

Remember, I don't have a TV! Don't give anything away! I'm only mid-season 2.5, despite the fact that most evenings all I can bring myself to do is make carbalicious dinners and sit on my ass plowing through DVDs.

Oh glorious 2 more seasons of goodness ahead of me!

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Monday, April 07, 2008


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Friday, April 04, 2008

Yay for strawberry season!

Strawberry shortcake from one of the best things about our neighborhood, Bakesale Betty's.

Oh man, I have to watch myself around that place or I'll become 500 pounds. Today I treated myself to HALF a fried chicken sandwich -- the sex of food.

^^ Betty (Alison) and her legendary sandwich

Bakesale Betty's Fried Chicken Sandwich
Serves 4

You'll have some breading left over, even after dipping twice. This makes a hefty sandwich in all regards - you'll need two hands to eat it.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 6 ounces each
Kosher salt to taste
1 quart buttermilk

The vinaigrette

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

The coleslaw

1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1 cup red wine vinegar
2 jalapenos, seeded, cut in half and sliced crosswise
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 green cabbage, core and outer leaves removed, and very thinly sliced
Kosher salt

The breading

1 pound all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt + more to taste
1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 quarts vegetable oil, for frying
4 Acme Bakery torpedo rolls, sliced lengthwise

Instructions: Season chicken breasts with kosher salt. Let sit at least 5 minutes. Fill a wide, shallow nonreactive bowl or casserole dish with buttermilk. Add the chicken and soak in the refrigerator for 1 hour up to overnight.

For the vinaigrette: Combine mustard, vinegar and salt in a bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil until well blended.

For the coleslaw: Macerate onions in red wine vinegar, and let sit at least 20 minutes. Remove onions and discard vinegar. Toss onions with jalapeno, parsley, cabbage and salt. Toss with vinaigrette until evenly coated.

To fry chicken: Pour vegetable oil into a large stockpot. Do not fill up more than halfway, or the oil could splatter. Bring oil up to 365°, using a digital thermometer/candy thermometer to monitor the heat. Prepare the the breading while waiting for oil to heat up.

In a wide shallow bowl, mix flour, cayenne, salt and pepper. Pull a chicken breast out of the buttermilk one by one, letting excess drip off, and dredge completely in flour. To create a thick crust, place in buttermilk and dredge in flour a second time. Do not drain or shake off excess buttermilk or flour during the breading process.

When the oil is at 365°, carefully place chicken pieces into oil one by one. Let it cook for a minute before disturbing chicken, then help it "swim" in the oil with tongs, until it is evenly cooked, about 5-7 minutes. Remove chicken from oil and drain on paper towels. Season immediately with salt.

For the sandwich: Place fried chicken breast on bottom of torpedo roll and top generously with coleslaw.

I've deliberately omitted the calories and fat content, but if interested, you can find them here. Trust me though: you'll be much happier NOT clicking that link. Just enjoy the truth in the chicken sandwich of the gods.

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Wow, this project by artist Phil Collins looks really cool. Sorry I missed it (in 2006!) at the SFMOMA.

The Smiths were made for karaoke. Angsty, drunken karaoke done at a gay bar when you find out your ex has moved on. I think I can safely say the next best thing is Smiths karaoke by nonnative-English speakers in countries recovering from, or in the midst of, conflict.

Tragic, funny, or poignant, these vids are at the very least entertaining, and a solid reminder that good music transcends language and place and tickles us where we live as humans.

This one is terrific:

Be sure to watch it until the end.

There are lots of little bits from the show all over Gootube, but you can find a few snippets of different songs (including the above) in one video here.

You are sleeping, you do not want to believe. You are sleeping.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I read an article recently about a Cistercian order of monks who started an online office supply business. The monks have no personal income or possessions, but are required to be self-supporting. After they noticed the mark up on ink supplies was "sinfully high" (no joke!) they started their business. But get this, they not only claim to save customers a lot of money, but donate all of their net revenue to nonprofits.

There's a certain amount of religious thinking in the American Christian world that says money is kind of tainted — that there's something kind of evil about it — and I think that's wrong. That's part of the reason why (people) say, 'Monks making money? Monks running a big business?' They think there's something wrong with that ... What I've come to realize is that (money) is a tool, however I make it, whether it's selling ink and toner, or beer, or investing in stocks. It's a commodity that can be useful for doing a lot of good for others.

But even more seriously, this is truly "commerce with compassion" and a business I can totally get behind.

Anyway, I mentally filed it away when I read the article, thinking I would check it out next time I needed toner.

And so the time for toner arrived. Holy moley! I just saved a significant amount, and got to choose where I wanted to invest what I spent from their list of nonprofit organizations. I was so impressed I'm posting their info here.

Laser Monks

I just hope they don't mind being pimped by an NC-17 rated blog. Sorry guys.

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Secret Film Will Show Slaughter to the World: Covert Operation Finally Exposes Taiji's Annual Dolphin Horror.

[The fishermen] drive [the dolphins] into a "capture cove" by banging on long metal bell-ended poles placed in the water to disrupt the dolphins' sonar, causing them to become completely disorientated and panic...captured dolphins were filmed writhing in pain as Taiji whalers speared them repeatedly or cracked their spines with spiked weapons. Stricken dolphins are also shown thrashing about wildly, blood pouring from their wounds until they finally the killing cove's bloodied, ruby-red water swept round into the adjacent capture cove.

No matter how one feels about killing animals for food, the unnecessary and horrific violence that befalls dolphins in Taiji every year is an abomination, as is the peddling of the resulting meat (that is rife with heavy metals) to the Japanese populace in the name of tradition.

The secret filming by members of the U.S. conservation group Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS) — equipped with state-of-the-art technology and financed to the tune of $5 million by Netscape founder Jim Clark — is being turned into a major documentary feature film destined for worldwide release this summer (although distribution in Japan is at present not certain).

As a frequent visitor to Japan, I can tell you this film is a feat. The complacency of the Japanese police, the lure of tradition -- however outdated and detrimental -- and its ties to nationalism, the state-sanctioned bias and unbridled malice toward foreigners, and the mafia tactics of the fishing industry are very very real; ergo, the danger in making a film like this is very real as well.

Stars like Hayden Panettiere have recently protested Taiji, and this has helped to bring this beyond cruel slaughter to people who have never had Japan on their radar before. But I am very excited about this film as people can finally see with their own eyes that the horror stories are true. This will bring international disgrace to Japan, and I hope it will finally force the government to join the 21st century and stop this barbarism.


Happy April Fools!

I've been receiving many a top ten list of April Fools pranks in my inbox, beginning, oh, last week. Now that said day has finally arrived, I can tell you I think it's going to be a long day. A long day indeed.

But out of all the Firefox hack pranks designed to freak the people in your office and the "top ten April Fools pranks for nerds" filling my inbox, I think the demonstration of the art virus for the Mac is the coolest "prank" I've seen.


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