Archive for May, 2004

Yuh Pawticipatian is Impowtant

May 27, 2004 in Linkage

Rezedents Rights & Rispansabilities is an actual, recalled government HUD pamphlet. What seems like a horribly funny racist joke is actually the result of a translation screw-up (as the page explains).

Bill Cosby, for one, would not like this one bit.


I just remembered what a rebus was

May 18, 2004 in Humor

Don’t you hate it when you can’t remember the exact word for something? You know the definition, but not the word?

Somehow, inexplicably, I happened to pull a very obscure word that I never use out of the depths of my memory (with the aid of a computerized dictionary). Here’s the word I was looking for:

rebus n. A puzzle where you decode a message consisting of pictures representing syllables and words.

I’m redesigning my front page. The reason I wanted to find the word rebus will be obvious once the front page design is done.

More trash cinema with ninjas: Bikini Bandits Experience

May 16, 2004 in Film

Another bad (as in good) Blockbuster rental: Bikini Bandits Experience is a stylish, yet trashy B-movie for the Internet age. (Also, it has ninjas.) Featuring Corey Feldman in a starring role, the film also features Dee Dee Ramone as the Pope, Jello Biafra as the porn producer, Maynard James Keenan (of Tool) as Satan, with Hank the Dwarf and Gary the Retard of Howard Stern fame.

Developed from a series of Internet shorts, Bikini Bandits Experience is a hodgepodge of MTV-style quick edits, animation, random skits, hot rods, and yes, babes in bikinis brandishing guns. Interestingly, Bikini Bandits is the creation of Steven Grasse of Gyro, a “brand consultancy” (i.e. advertising) agency that specialises in unconventional marketing for many major companies. Gyro also runs two apparel lines and the G*Mart e-commerce/retail store in downtown Philadelphia.

Despite their corporate cred, Gyro makes some good, trashy underground cinema. Check out the shorts, and rent the movie next time you’re at Blockbuster.

Conservatize Me!

May 15, 2004 in Linkage

Inspired by the movie Supersize Me, lefty liberal Oliver Griswold decides to embark on a similar experiment, reading nothing but right-wing news for a month. The results are none too surprising.

The Morning News - Reading With the Enemy

Kill Bill references

May 13, 2004 in Film

Just watched Kill Bill again. One of the interesting things about the movie is the sheer amount of film references to pick out. I don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of film, but I was able to see the influence of kung-fu and samurai films.

The Quentin Tarantino archives have produced an exhaustive list of film references in Kill Bill. Some excellent resources are also listed at the bottom.

Satanic messages hidden in Stairway to Heaven redux

May 12, 2004 in Linkage

In reference to an earlier post about the supposed backward Satanic messages in Stairway to Heaven, I offer a few resources to those visitors who still believe that this hokum is for real.

  • A rant from an old psych major about the Stairway to Heaven message
  • An enlightening and informative Wikipedia entry about backwards messages.
  • A chapter on backwards messages from a book by John K. Vokey, who performed a definitive psychological study on the existence of backward masking, and it’s subliminal effects. (Hint: There aren’t any.)
  • ‘For example, playing the phrase “Jesus
    loves you” backward will sound something like “we smell sausage”, particularly
    now that you’ve been told what to listen for, but it is strictly coincidence.’

    The 100 Worst Porn Movie Titles

    May 11, 2004 in Humor

    The 100 Worst Porn Movie Titles!

    All real! Some of my favorites include:

    And, the aptly-titled SEX

    Also, not quite as funny, but exhaustively researched: Porn Movie Titles Based On Real Movies.

    The Stanford Prison Experiment and Abu Ghraib

    May 09, 2004 in Current Events

    This website concerning the 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment has been making the rounds lately, as it’s lessons are very relevant to the current prisoner abuse scandals in Iraq.

    For those unfamiliar with the Stanford Prison Experiment, 24 college students participated in a psychological experiment of prison life. These psychologically normal subjects were split into equal groups of guards and prisoners. There were no directions given to the guards as to how they should perform their jobs.

    Over the next week, the behavior of the guards became increasingly sadistic, and the prisoners became equally despondent and powerless. The experiment was ended after less than a week.

    A recent article in the NYT also explores the parallels between Stanford and Abu Ghraib. Everything that has happened in Army-run Iraqi prisons has already been observed at Stanford.

    The perils of new technology

    May 08, 2004 in Tech

    I just noticed my beloved SharpMT posted a few entries more than once (one of them at least three times). Why didn’t anyone tell me I looked like an ass?

    Modest Mouse review

    May 08, 2004 in Music

    This was intended for publication elsewhere, but for various reasons that didn’t happen. I’d hate to waste a good review, so I’m presenting it here, like I was going to do anyway :-)

    Modest Mouse
    Good News for People Who Love Bad News
    5 out of 5 stars

    Since their 1997 breakthrough album, The Lonesome Crowded West, Modest Mouse has amassed a rabidly devoted following. Their quixotic music and stream of consciousness lyrics have earned them many fans, but have also left just as many people scratching their heads, wondering what the big deal is.

    Wonder no more. Good News for People Who Love Bad News represents a giant musical leap forward for Modest Mouse. This album is to Modest Mouse what Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots was to the Flaming Lips, or what Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was to Wilco; a work of broadened musical horizons and newfound maturity that will define the band for the rest of their career.

    Good News is also the first Modest Mouse album for people who aren’t Modest Mouse fans. Listeners who were captivated by the band’s genius, but turned off by their obvious musical eccentricities, will find Good News to be much more palatable and accessible. Isaac Brock’s trademark sing-song delivery and screamo vocals - which most casual listeners found annoying - are largely gone here. The resulting music is still distinctive Modest Mouse, minus the rough edges that categorized their indie label output.

    Good News reaches the musical nadir that 2000’s The Moon and Antarctica aspired to, but narrowly missed. As usual, Modest Mouse touches on a wide variety of musical styles and influences. Listen closely, and you’ll hear hints of white-boy funk, demented Appalachia, and symphonic pop. The production is lush, and the instrumentation runs the gamut from guitar and standup bass to mellotron, ukulele, accordion and fiddle; with special appearances from members of the Flaming Lips and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Yet, Good News manages to remain a cohesive work throughout, and clocks in at a reasonably listenable 50 minutes.

    Modest Mouse’s commercial profile will undoubtedly increase with this album; the first single, “Float On” is already getting mainstream radio airplay, and visible commercial spots have been seen on late-evening cable TV. With this album, Modest Mouse has officially passed the stage of hip indie band into alternative rock prominence. Good News offers something for long-time fans and new listeners alike, and will likely rank among 2004’s best albums.