Archive for April, 2007

Things I saw today (Moyers/Stewart)

Monday, April 30th, 2007

The blog One Good Move is a brilliant collection of humorous/political links and clips. He recently high-lighted Bill Moyer’s “Buying the War” and a very insightful and interesting interview with Jon Stewart.

Things I saw today: Country-line worshipping

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

On the way to the shops today I walked past a church. The windows and doors were open, giving me a good view inside, but also allowing the extremely loud music to escape.

What I saw was about 50 church-goers country-line dancing to the Scissor Sisters “I don’t feel like dancing”.

It’s obviously a progressive church that would dance to a band with openly gay members, named after a lesbian sex position, and with songs that worship hedonism and drug use. I wonder many of the dancers knew, or cared. As a Scissor Sisters fan, I hope they all did.

Not really related, but my current favourite TV show, Friday Night Lights, has a character who forms a religious death metal band called Crucifictorious. Evidently they were thinking of naming it Stigmatalingus. Awesome.

“Good Omens” by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

Amy lent me “Good Omens” by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. An excellent book; very funny, from the foreword to the “about the author by the other author and vice versa”.

They write in the foreword that the authors “didn’t know they were going to write the most repaired book in the world.” and that they have “signed a delightfully large number of paperbacks that have been dropped in the bath, gone a worrying brown color, got repaired with sticky tape and string, and, in one case, consisted entirely of loose pages in a plastic bag.” And also that “the books are often well read to the point of physical disintegration; if we run across a shiny new copy, it’s usually because the owner’s previous five have been stolen by friends, struck by lightning or eaten by giant termites in Sumatra.”

I purchased of copy of this book in the San Jose airport last February on my way to Boston via Las Vegas. And then flights were delayed and I was stuck in Las Vegas for 9 hours. That gave me ample time to walk to the Strip, with my book in a plastic bag, purchase a few gifts from Vegas, place them in the plastic bag and go get my next flight. Unfortunately, I left the plastic bag somewhere in the Boston airport after landing.

Amy, I’m done with your book, thanks so much for lending it. As soon as I’m done writing this entry, I’ll be upstairs to give it back to you.

what’s so triffic about creating people as people and then gettin’ upset ‘cos they act like people

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

“It doesn’t matter!” snapped the Metatron. “The whole point of the creation of the Earth and Good and Evil–”
“I don’t see what’s so triffic about creating people as people and then gettin’ upset ‘cos they act like people,” said Adam severele. “Anyway, if you stopped tellin’ people it’s all sorted out after they’re dead, they might try sorting it all out while they’re alive. If I was in charge, I’d try makin’ people live a lot longer, like ole Methuselah. It’d be a lot more interestin’ and they might start thinkin’ about the sort of things they’re doing to all the enviroment and ecology, because they’ll still be around in a hundred years’ time.”

“Good Omens”
By Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Harry Belafonte & Muppet Show, The Banana Boat Song

Sunday, April 22nd, 2007

I knew this song as “Day-Oh”, by the French band Pow Wow who were mostly doing acapella songs. I learnt years later that it was a cover. I was searching for MP3s of the song and found a few: a version by Shaggy, one by Danny Elfman (the one used in the movie Beetlejuice), and one by Harry Belafonte & the Muppet Show. YouTube are great, I can now see what I had imagined after hearing the sound track numerous times:

Rinda Rinda (Linda Linda)

Sunday, April 22nd, 2007

The video/song “Yatta!” reminded Amy and I of Japan, and the song “Linda Linda” came up in the conversation. Ah yes, Amy was saying “Yatta!” was in her head and that maybe “Linda Linda” could fix this. I started to play the mp3 but as we were in a YouTube mood, we looked for it. Here it is. “Rinda Rinda” (Linda Linda) by the Blue Hearts:


Sunday, April 22nd, 2007

Vlad’s brother introduced us to Yatta! by Happa-tai (Green leaves). Wow, it’s a 2001 song. It’s bound to stay in your head for a while.

“Try keeping dogs, they’re cute!”

Things I saw today (Daily Show, Iraq, empathy)

Saturday, April 21st, 2007

Jon Stewart did a fascinating interview with Ali Allawi, former minister in the current Iraqi government and author of The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace the other night.

One part that particularly struck me was the interaction at the end of the show where Stewart asked Allawi, in light of the Virginia Tech shootings, how Iraqis, who face this kind of killing on a daily basis, grieve. It was a moving interaction and a useful method for generating kind of global empathy that I find very moving and would only wish to see more of.

From a transcript of the show:

Stewart: One more thing, on a more personal note, and I don’t even know if it’s appropriate to broach it, but we in this country, we’ve just had a very tragic situation occur at one of our universities, and it really has taken the country aback, and there’s a real grieving process that we’re going through — and going through it by mourning by learning about the victims and learning about it and showing our support, you know, I hesitate to say, How does your country handle what is that kind of carnage on a daily basis? Is there a way to grieve? Is there a numbness that sets in? How is that?

Allawi: I think the scale of violence in Iraq is really inconceivable in your terms. I mean, we have on a daily basis what you had the other day at Virginia Tech, massacres of that scale, practically on a daily basis, and it’s very hard to grieve. Most of the ways that people do treat this is just to leave the country. We now have a very large external refugee problem, nearly 2 million Iraqis have left the country, and an internal refugee problem, also about 2 million people displaced. But the scale of violence and its continuity is such that it really numbs you. In my case, for example, I had six people I had appointed in various positions in the government, including my office manager, we had a suicide bomber walk into my contingent of guards. So, it’s really quite a serious psychological problem that is going to be one of the legacies of this terrible crisis.

Stewart: Yeah, and I truly cannot fathom it and I just recall, there’s been so much information as I was becoming sort of wrapped up in our grief, and then I saw the headline today of literally 150 people killed, and I think it just sends an awful dagger through your heart. I can’t imagine how you feel, but we love the fact that you come here and you write such a powerful story, and good luck

While Stewart’s reaction was sorrowful and empathetic, in a recent post where he points out that that there are two Virginia Tech style attacks in Iraq every day, Juan Cole seems to speak with a sense of outrage about the loss of life suffered every day in Iraq and a call for us to try to understand.

We Americans can so easily, with a shudder, imagine the college student trying to barricade himself behind a door against the armed madman without. But can we put ourselves in the place of Iraqi students?

avoidance (things that made me laugh)

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

This cartoon reminded me of one of Coralie and my favorite scenes from “The Science of Sleep” (trailer) where Stéphane jumps onto the bed, curls up and covers his eyes when caught by Stephanie in her room.

things that made me laugh today (bunny)

Monday, April 16th, 2007

I’m embarrassed to admit that this made me laugh out loud. I thought I was, at least consciously, opposed to cutsey animal humor:

from I Can Has Cheeseburger