Sunday, May 10, 2009


UNM and Stephen Colbert.

I thoroughly enjoy the legacy of Colbert and university research legacy intersecting.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sweet and sour

Banjos and a simple-but-crisp aesthetic really make this video for "When Life Gives Me Lemons, I Make Lemonade" by The Boy Least Likely To:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Accordion makes everything better

A Ukrainian polka band covers Katy Perry's "Hot & Cold." The whole thing is great oom-pah-pah fun but the enthusiastic shouting echos of the second verse had me in stitches. "Eins, zwei, drei!"

Monday, March 30, 2009

Media: D.I.Y. and on-demand posted a piece about D.I.Y. magazine publishing. You can send your publication to MagCloud and print it on-demand for 20 cents per page.

Also the CBS Sunday Morning show had a great tidbit about what today's blogging shares with America's very first newspaper.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sirens by Dizzee Rascal

Dizzee Rascal is a rapper from London. The video for his song 'Sirens' really bowled me over with its commentary on the perpetuation of racism. The concept is simple, direct and visual, which is perfect for a music video. I don't care what kind of music you like, watch the whole thing all the way to the end.

I don't think there's any profanity in this song, but if you're intrigued into further investigation of Dizzee Rascal, fair warning that his other songs do make copious use of four-letter words.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

"Here Comes the Bride" hummed really quickly could be mistaken for the "Psycho" theme music

This a fabulous wedding photo.

See more photos and other things, like horrific bridesmaids' dresses, at Tacky Weddings

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Yes, that line forms on the right, babe

Bobby Darin's Mack the Knife is one of my favorite songs. I love the lounge act swing of it that contrasts with the dark subject matter of the lyrics. Maybe I'm the only one, but this is one of those songs that hooked me with its melody, and it was only several listens later that I realized, "Hey, it's about a guy who kills people!" The song has been performed by all sorts of people: Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Robbie Williams, Ella Fitzgerald, Nick Cave.

I pick Darin's as the definitive version (Fitzgerald's is a close second - she name drops fellow Mack-crooners Bobby Darin and Louis Armstrong, what's not to love?), but the song originated in a 1928 German musical called The Threepenny Opera, composed by Kurt Weill with lyrics by Bertolt Brecht. The song's original title? Die Moritat von Mackie Messer (The Ballad of Mack the Knife). It was apparently written for Weill's wife. Though wikipedia can be a dubious source, this tidbit about the song caught my interest:
A moritat (from mori meaning "deadly" and tat meaning "deed") is a medieval version of the murder ballad performed by strolling minstrels. In The Threepenny Opera, the moritat singer with his street organ introduces and closes the drama with the tale of the deadly Mackie Messer, or Mack the Knife, a character based on the dashing highwayman Macheath in John Gay's The Beggar's Opera. The Brecht-Weill version of the character was far more cruel and sinister, and has been transformed into a modern anti-hero.
The opera opens with the moritat singer comparing Macheath (unfavorably) with a shark, and then telling tales of his robberies, murders, rapes, and arson.

I can't find the original German from the 1931 film version, but the movie's a great watch if you're into old, subtitled musicals. Man, I love the film version organ and the way the song's intensity builds. And singing along lets me pretend like I know German. Here's the French-language version from the same year--they shot the same film in 2 languages at the same time:

-A few years ago there was a Tony-nominated Broadway revival of the show starring Cyndi Lauper, Alan Cumming and Nellie McKay. Cyndi Lauper sang Mack the Knife!
-Finally, I haven't watched all of it yet, but Northwestern University has posted an entire live, professional-quality live performance of Threepenny. It looks pretty neat so far - live orchestra, good production value, and decent filming and editing, so if German musicals don't float your boat, you can see it in English.

If today's post had a moral, it might be to steer clear of anyone with weapon as part of their nickname.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

If this dude had trouble in math, there's really no hope for me

Today in 1879, this guy:

was born in Germany.

I appreciate his contribution to the field of physics, but since I don't understand physics, here's a bunch of things he said that I get a kick out of.

Like his observations of the way we are:
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

"Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. How on earth can you explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love? Put your hand on a stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with that special girl for an hour and it seems like a minute. That's relativity."

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Or one that appeals to me especially in the midst of a spring break that will be filled with midterms studying and essay-writing:
"It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education."

And the significance of creativity:
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."

"Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking."

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity."

Monday, March 9, 2009

I have a more considered post waiting in the wings with content generated by me instead of a mishmash of re-posted stuff, but that's just going to have to wait because my brain, she has been taken by the midterms. In lieu of an actual post I offer this quote to ponder:

Michael Miner, writing in the Chicago Reader: "The Internet pelts us with news; a good newspaper arranges it in our heads." [Originally from here].

And, in closing, here's a creative video to stimulate the imagination:

Monday, March 2, 2009

Random bits of randomness

Some amusing videos I saw on the internet today:
-A video tutorial on "What Facebook is For".
-Wii Breakfast, the newest evolution in video games!
-My favorite of this round-up: Ryan Started the Fire, a ditty borrowing from Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" to pay homage to The Office.

Also, I watched The Jungle Book for the first time since I don't know when and everyone should have this song stuck in their heads if I do, so The Bare Necessities, a singalong:

Saturday, February 28, 2009

And no more for the rest of story

Paul Harvey died today.

His "And now for the rest of the story" tag line is (along with Garrison Keillor's 'Guy Noir, Private Eye' from "A Prairie Home Companion") my earliest and most enduring memory of listening to the radio.

Toolkit of the roving reporter

From the Feb./Mar. 2009 issue of Ready Made, suggestions for a complete roving multimedia reporter's kit. In case the print's too small to read, it contains, starting from bottom left and going clockwise:
-video (Flip MinoHD camcorder)
-digital audio recorder
-data storage (flash drive)
-a power source (Chargepod Charging Hub)
-tripod (Gorillapod)
-USB hub expander
-rechargeable batteries

I have nearly all these things, though I hardly carry them all around all at once. My digital camera substitutes as my video I guess. I have a knock-off Gorillapod which works fine but is a bit cumbersome to carry around. My rechargeable batteries aren't as nifty as the ones shown in the magazine which are really cool - they recharge via USB plug in.

They really needed to include a notebook and pen though.

What's in your multimedia kit?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Everyone's a Farmer

On Conan O'Brien's last show he showed his favorite clip: He went to Long Island where they play old time baseball with 1864 rules and costumes. Watch the clip till the end to see Conan participate, replete with Civil War-era mustache and slang.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I've just found my new favorite sentence

"'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies' features the original text of Jane Austen's beloved novel with all-new scenes of bone crunching zombie action."

Nothing like a little zombie killing to spice up stuffy Regency romance. I will be ordering my copy immediately. Because the only thing more dashing than Mr. Darcy is Mr. Darcy kicking zombie ass.

Fair use and all that

From Media Nation: Shepard Fairey, the artist of that ubiquitous Obama/hope poster, is suing another artist for the exact same thing that the Associated Press is suing him for.

I don't have anything to add to this beyond what Media Nation poster Dan Kennedy says in his post; I agree Fairey changed the AP's picture of Obama enough that it was a substantially new work. Way to be hypocritical, Fairey.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


This article from last year about Obama as an Othello for our times and this certainly make for some interesting talking points.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Turning away from the water cooler

I did not watch the Superbowl. Mostly because I do not care one mite about football. I am interested in television, but I didn't even partake for the commercials. This is because last year all the commercials worth seeing were on the internet is some form or another by the end of the week, if not sooner. (Edit: now here)

I love television. TV on DVD is clearly genius and has allowed me to relive Arrested Development and Dead Like Me over and over again long after their demise. I usually watch 4 or more shows regularly during their season. Networks' online episodes only have one 30-second commercial per break, which means by watching a show online I've effectively freed up between five and 15 minutes (the first for half hour slots, the second for an hour-long-slated show); I've watched my favorite shows and gotten the gift of time. Besides, if ABC's Web site broadcasts in HD, and Pushing Daisies' fairytale color palette looks far better on my computer screen in high-def than on my cheap, dusty TV, it's a matter of viewing quality as much as quantity.

The currency of culture is widening because of the internet. Which, like all things, has merits and disadvantages. Water cooler ubiquity is less common. Not every single household is watching the Beatles on Ed Sullivan when there's thousands of movie channels or DVDs or last week's Leno on TiVo or real-time soccer from Europe being broadcast.

The Superbowl is one of the last bastions of "Last-night-did-ya-watch-when...?" discussion starters. I'm just grateful I can avoid football to participate in the discussion.