Archive for March, 2008

over and over (music I keep forgetting about then remembering I like)

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

Citizen Cope – Sideways

I also really like Bullet and a Target.

Sufjan Stevens – Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland

I also love his song Chicago

Damien Rice – Volcano

Beautiful and sad: “What I am to you is not real. What I am to you you do not need. What I am to you is not what you mean to me. You give me miles and miles of mountains. And I’ll ask for the sea” Yep, I’ve had a relationship like that.

Save Ferris – Come On Eileen

A fun ska version of the 80s song which Max pointed out to me. The original, of course, is in a category of its own…

Dexys Midnight Runners

This is my alpha song – it trumps any other song which might be going through my head.

elections, Mississippi – Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

I have been fairly obsessed with the 2008 presidential campaign recently, to the point where I have read so much information and have felt such emotion that don’t think I can usefully write any of my own thoughts right now.

I found a comment on Democracy Underground on Tuesday night, the night of the Mississippi primary, that I did want to share, though. It’s a beautiful, simple and incredibly moving reminder:

Please Read. This Is An Historic Night, and I think we should all just pause for a moment.

I dedicate this thread, and this beautiful night, to Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner.

Forty-four years ago, these three college students were murdered in Philadelphia, Mississippi for attempting to register blacks to vote.

Today, all citizens of this state have the opportunity to vote, and tonight, for the first time in history, they can, should they choose, vote for a black candidate for President of the United States.

That’s really all you need to know about truth, justice, equality, and our nation, which we love so dearly.

So tonight, as we watch the returns, let’s pause to thank those three brave, young men, who gave their lives so that tonight would even be possible.

by VolcanoJen


Things that made me laugh (wrenches, humor theory, Stinky McStinkface and Jeeves and Wooster)

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

Though Dean and Max had said it was funny, I hadn’t seen Dodgeball until it happened to be on TV the other day. I had a rough idea of the plot but found it funnier and more charming than I’d thought it would be, maybe because I didn’t have many expectations.

The “if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball” part made me laugh out loud, though I was rather bemused at myself that something so stupid could do so:

The scene goes on a bit longer with the crazy dodgeball coach, as training, continuing to throw wrenches at the team with all of them getting hit in various ways (but, by the continuation, showing they are all essentially unhurt and ok). I was a bit embarrassed to know about myself that physical humor of this type can make me laugh.

I’ve read a bit on the psychology of laughter and remembered (probably as way of comforting myself) that one theory of humor is that it occurs as a release of tension; that some humor is based on the raising of tension and that laughter comes about automatically as an expression of the relief we feel when the tension is released. Eg: a scene in which someone who is supposed to be helping does something so incongruous, unexpected and against the rules of acceptable behavior as to throw a wrench at someone, could be funny *if* the person they throw the wrench at is ok in the end (but would not be funny if the person was not ok).

Another thing which made me laugh recently was a commercial for Orbit gum, for which the theme of the ads is for cleaning ‘dirty mouths’.

This again turns on the diffusing of a tense situation with a juxtaposition of our expectations of normal behavior (and use of words). For me, I think there is always some element of juxtaposition and surprise in what makes me laugh. Too, I suppose, there is the issue of discomfort. I notice a lot of British humor, a kind of humor I seem to find consistently funny, works on the basis of discomfort, the breaking the rules of acceptable behavior in some way and word play.

One of the absolute highest examples of humor for me and my sisters is the Jeeves and Wooster P.G. Wodehouse TV series with Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. One of the things I remember we especially laughed at was a scene where Bertie is caught by an (accidental) fiance searching for a stolen book, so fakes a fainting spell and then later when his other (accidental) fiance and his harridan aunt join them in the room, he tries to keep them from finding out he is, very unwillingly, engaged to both. One of our favorite lines was when the fiances says: “I think he’s having a brain storm!” to which the aunt replies: “What with?”

You can see the scene on YouTube (no embed available, unfortunately) staring at 1:29 min in section 4/5
(The whole episode is available, though in different parts: 1/5, 2/5, 3/5, 5/5. It’s worth it to watch the whole episode, I think and I highly recommend the series and absolutely anything done by Hugh Laurie or Stephen Fry.)

Of course, I can try to think why something made me laugh, afterwards, but that knowledge doesn’t make something funny. I know it’s kind of useless to try to analyze humor, though wiser heads than mine have suggestions.

In order to laugh at something, it is necessary (1) to know what you are laughing at, (2) to know why you are laughing, (3) to ask some people why they think you are laughing, (4) to jot down a few notes, (5) to laugh. Even then, the thing may not be cleared up for days.
-Robert Benchley