Business As Usual
Posted Last Week
Just a note to say: is up at A87859796 and full of fun Stuff.
Please enjoy, and if you can post, let our contributors know you're reading.
Also, catch Galaxy Babe's latest on Babe Among the Stars at A87860442. The title, 'Volcano Vomit or Dust Bunnies on Mars?' indicates can't-miss entertainment and information.
Do You Love Hip-Hop and History? Alex Has His Groove On
Posted 2 Weeks Ago
Just a warning: this is very, er, contemporary music. In other words, I find it both boring and irritating. I am listening to it for professional reasons.
Fans of modern music, on the other hand, might enjoy it. It's a smash hit on Broadway. Since the cast recording is being made available on NPR, I thought you might as well take advantage. I hope it's available in the UK, too.
Oh, what is it? It's the musical 'Hamilton', a hip-hop musical about Alexander Hamilton, the man on the US ten-dollar bill. The story's not as dull as you think: Hamilton was killed in a duel. In Weehawken, New Jersey. (I did not make that up.) He was shot by the Vice President of the US at the time. And there was a small war that went on...
This musical is terrible history. It's what a thousand disapproving editors call 'presentism', meaning people in 1776 had better think and act exactly like people in 2015, or else...
If you like rap, you might get a chuckle out of this mishmash. But be warned: they make fun of George III. (So what else is new?)
Today's News, Tomorrow's Virtual Fish Wrap (Plus Freebie Film)
Posted 5 Weeks Ago
A roundup of the weird and wonderful.
First, a must-see film from 1977. It's called 'Tomorrow I'll Get Up and Scald Myself with Tea'. Well, its real title is 'Zítra vstanu a oparim se cajem', and it's in Czech.
There are subtitles, don't be a wuss, and Czech sounds like every other Slavic language that isn't Polish or Russian. If you know one, you can understand a good bit of any other. Anyway, the film is hilarious and intellectually stimulating at the same time. A terrific time-travel film that makes fun of Hitler. No, they don't try to kill him. But they do repeatedly throw a suitcase containing an atom bomb into a Czech pond. Don't ask, just watch - you'll be glad you did. The 'American' time-travel tourists are great.
Now, for some news. It's still the Silly Season in the US, since Labor Day isn't till Monday. Here are some of the weird things going on:
***The Pennsylvania courts are debating whether to let a hospital auction some rare wine for charity. It's a knotty issue. Why? First off, you need to know about the insane Pennsylvania legal situation vis-a-vis wine. It can only be sold in a State Store. Period. People actually smuggle wine in the trunks of their cars across the bridge from New Jersey to Philadelphia. State troopers actually stop them and search the cars. We are not making this up. It gets better.
State Stores don't carry rare vintages, natch. (And their prices are awful, so nobody in Pennsylvania drinks wine very much.) But recently, a Pennsylvania court seized 1404 bottles of rare vintage wine from a connoiseur in Malvern, Pennsylvania. He was selling it to friends, which is illegal. Now, normally this wine would either be sold through the State Store - which doesn't handle this kind of merchandise - or destroyed. However, a loophole in this antique law says that confiscated wine could be given to a hospital 'for medicinal purposes'. Aha...enterprising officials want to auction it off to benefit Chester County Hospital. Stay tuned as they figure out the legal ramifications of this.
***Veterans in the US are sacrosanct. (Except when the government doesn't feel like dealing with them. It's like what Kipling said.) So there is much Silly-Season outrage over the man in the Missouri Ozarks (they're mountains, folks, and the inhabitants get a lot of undeserved bad press as being yokels, ask Hypatia sometime) who built a patio with discarded military gravestones. It turns out the gravestones were 'seconds' - thrown away as defective - but they had NAMES on them, and some people got mad. So the man, who will not be charged with any crime because he committed none, gave up his patio, which will be given a decent burial. And everybody can go back to feeling virtuous about how 'supportive' they are of people in uniform.
Here are some more 'headlines':
***Woman bites rider who asks to move bag from seat in New York subway: Self-explanatory, but I'm guessing it was hot in NYC this week. Northerners do not deal well with heat, and around here they think 85F excuses just about any behaviour.
***France honors Americans, Briton who disarmed train gunman: That was good of them, but the jury's still out on whether the man they overcame was a) an Islamist terrorist, or b) a desperate illegal driven to violent robbery by hunger.
***Reading Hillary Clinton’s body language when she talks about the email debacle: I'm not sure why Ms Clinton shouldn't use her own private email server. After all, she's enough of an insider to understand exactly how many people are reading her emails, and what they might do with them. However, Reuters is going way past the boredom line when they analyse the politician's body language and then label her facial gestures 'discombobulated'. Who says that anymore, anyway?
***Selfie madness: too many dying to get the picture: This is actually a useful topic. 'Several governments and regulatory bodies have now begun treating the selfie as a serious threat to public safety, leading them to launch public education campaigns...Dozens of grisly selfie-related deaths and injuries in early 2015 led Russia's Interior Ministry to launch a campaign warning avid mobile phone snappers about the danger of, among other things, posing for a selfie with a lion.' No comment.
And yes, there's 10 point something million dollars being held in escrow while they figure out who cheated whom in the '50 Shades of Grey' deal. And the Supreme Court has told that woman in Kentucky what everyone from the Apostle Paul to George Bernard Shaw would have told her: if you indulge in civil disobedience, be prepared to pay the price for your convictions. Resign with grace, and don't expect to use your freedom as a weapon to take someone else's away. The world keeps spinning, sort of, although we're worried about the Chinese and Koreans.
Better go and watch the Czech time-travel movie, and forget about the news.
Killing Time with the Conspiracy Nuts
Posted Aug 15, 2015
You know me. I adore conspiracy theorists. You see, they make the lives of fiction writers and cartoonists SO much easier...
I've been reading selections from this blog aloud to Elektra. I have tears in my eyes from laughter.
Just in case you're bored and want some comic relief, here it is:
There are two particularly lovely threads going here. One concerns the alleged conspiracy of FEMA and/or the British Royal Family to escape coming climate change by hiding in Denver, Colorado, the mile-high city.
Another is the futile attempt by the mathematically literate to explain the numbers involved in pedigree collapse to the Illuminati fans.
Anyway, my favourite quotes are these:
First Poster: 'The President and Secretary of State are always members of The Pilgrims Society, whose patron is the British monarch. This is a secret society refusing to issue roster for public viewing and it controls the world's financial system the British are in competition with the Pope/Vatican but have had the upper hand against Rome for centuries."
Second Poster: 'this explains why I have freckles ...'
Some posters drop heavy hints about aliens...see if you can spot them...s are in ur gene pool, messin' wif ur DNA...
Anyway, have a nice Saturday.
Take an Auditory Break from that Headbanger Stuff...
Posted Aug 7, 2015
...and listen to this.
Okay, today's treat: Bobby McFerrin doing illegally cool things with his voice.
Just watch and listen to his version of Gounod's 'Ave Maria' (with audience participation):
And of course, his classic demonstration that the pentatonic scale is lodged somewhere in our brains:
I got there today by noodling around after I found the tune I was looking for, the unfortunately-named 'Distress'. Pretty tune, though:
Okay, back to what you were doing. But doesn't your brain feel better now?