Monday, August 31, 2009

New for Tuesday.

Trying something new here. While I may turn this into a regular podcast of some sort, let's now just kick it off with a bunch of songs. A zip file. A playlist, if you will.

This is a quick jaunt of nine tracks. Maybe they'll ease you into the day, maybe they won't. I promise you'll be awake by the end. Here's a rundown of the contents:

Feller Abides v1

"Summer Circuit" (via The Hood Internet)

It's DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince and Daft Punk. Together. Damn I love The Hood Internet. Always good, and this is a redone classic. I feel like it closes the summer on an upbeat before we ease into the good part of the year.

Jemina Pearl "I Hate People (featuring Iggy Pop)"

Former lead singer for Be Your Own Pet - the great hope for punk rock Sonic Youth solidly got behind - hits another winner. BYOP was bound to implode because they were too good, too young and signed to a label that just didn't get it anyway. Iggy offers solid backing vocals on a heartfelt little ditty.

Daniel Johnston "Freedom"

The first single off Johnston's new album Is And Always Was has the indie-pop hero going electric. Maybe you remember him from the Kids soundtrack. He's way, way better than that. This may be my favorite song on this, uh, playlist.

No Age "You're A Target"

No Age just keeps getting better. I don't remember anything on their first album being this fast, snotty or catchy. The wall of feedback and noise the band works with makes this just the sort of thing people don't want to hear. Love it!

The Slew "Robbin' Banks (Doin Time)"

It took me a few listens to warm up to the new Kid Koala project. This guy takes forever to put stuff out. On here, he's doing more arranging than scratching.

Gun Outfit "Troubles Like Mine"

I hear Slint and Sonic Youth when I listen to this. And I listen to it more than one time when I do.

Pearl Jam "Supersonic"

Second single from the only grunge band that made it. I hate that word, grunge never existed and PJ is like a classic rock band. Eddie Vedder is singing about how much he needs his rock and roll. It's "Spin The Black Circle," but with a knowing satisfaction instead of an angsty rebellion.

Strung Out "Black Crosses"

Strung Out is like many of the SoCal punk bands to come out of the mid-90s - fast, melodic and consistent. Thankfully they've backed off from trying to be a metal band and are just influenced by it again.

Converge "Dark Horse"

If you didn't believe me that you'd be awake by the end of the list, this punishing new single from one of the best hardcore bands out there better prove it. Drums and solos, people. Drums and solos.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Are sharp corners really newsworthy?

Tech Crunch does a lot of good reporting and asks a lot of worthwhile questions. Look, the question on whether to follow someone or not on Twitter is valid - and using the golden ratio rule is not just valid but probably automatic, even for people who don't realize it.

Since joining Google as the driving force of American society a couple years ago, every single thing Facebook does has made for water-cooler eligible talking points. Various versions of the newsfeed, offering more highlights of friends posts, acquisitions that may or may not eventually steer Facebook toward whatever it is destined to become - this is all valid. I follow it. On several blogs.

But Tech Crunch may have jumped the shark yesterday. Well, if they didn't jump it, they certainly hit the thing.

I knew something was different about Facebook yesterday, but not enough to bother me. Just a slight difference that I was sure one of the FB blogs would mention in four lines. Tech Crunch dedicated a good size post to the elimination of rounded corners as a design feature. Rounded corners. An entire post.

Great reporting guys. You got quotes and background on the design, yes. But there's got to be something more important, or even just more interesting, to report. I hope that was the one that hit your quota for the day.

(Then again, I not only noticed the difference but read this post and the comments, and then wrote about the post on my own blog. That probably says something too.)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I'm talking to you Chuck Norris.

A public insurance option was a major part of the Democratic platform in the 2008 Presidential election. You'd think nobody was paying attention when they were voting. Well, I do remember Republicans spreading rumors about whether or not Obama was an American citizen or secretly an incognito Muslim last summer, while Democrats were arguing about health care and the wars.

Barack Obama Campaign Promise No. 518: Create a public option health plan for a new National Health Insurance Exchange.

I'm not a fan of the individual mandate to carry insurance - it's one of the reasons I voted for Obama over Clinton in the primary - but if that's a concession for the U.S. to join the rest of the civilized, Western world and offer its citizens an affordable option of some sort to compete with private insurance which is offering less and less for more money every year, I'm OK with it.

(And make that the requirement to buy from the government that you are a citizen or are verifiably in the process of becoming one. Private insurance doesn't care as long as you pay them - which means they'll still make boatloads of cash from people who aren't citizens or don't want to be citizens.)

The real problem is that most people knew this. I don't buy the "he won because of the economy" complaints. Anybody that voted for President Obama because of the economy was already pretty close to voting for him. His sane, calm response to the near-collapse convinced them the experience argument that didn't work in the Democratic primary wouldn't work in the general election either.

The problem right now is that the Republican Party, by which I mean all of the most well-known pundits and most of the leadership both inside and outside of Congress, are making things up to scare people. Death squads? You should be correcting people about end of life options. All health services, including some government programs, right this second, offer the opportunity to plan this stuff out so people know what you actually want to happen.

And the socialism stuff? Putting aside that this is always the argument, this isn't socialism. It would be socialist if all the doctors, hospitals, etc., were owned and operated by the government. This is the government, using our tax dollars, to pay private businesses, who will do business with other insurance providers also. If anything, it's a mild form of fascism. The government's part ownership in General Motors and the unbelievable giveaways to Goldman Sachs? That's actual fascism. Just pointing that out, since you retards get that wrong too.

Look, every time private industry gets itself in a bind, Mommy and Daddy - that's the American taxpayer and Uncle Sam - save them. Look through history and recognize that government has been pushing the so-called free market capitalism of this country since its creation.

The railroads, the ultimate stimulus package (WWII) pulling us out of the Great Depression, the crash in 1987, all electricity providers, the GI Bill, the Internet, quality controls like the FDIC, FDA and USDA - this is all government. It's how it works, and it has pretty clearly worked for a couple hundred years now. Get over it.

If you don't think the government should offer insurance beyond Medicare and Medicaid, just say it. The government isn't trying to kill people. Seriously. Stop saying that your country is being ruined and start saying you just don't think a government insurance option is a good idea.

There is no reason that people shouldn't be able to see any doctor for any ailment, as long as they pay into the system. That's how insurance works, or should work, now. This is about making health care more afforable and ending the restrictions that allow insurance companies to refuse to insure people. I want to hear the argument against that.

Stop making things up about any proposed legislation and posting Chuck Norris opinion pieces on the Internet with ironic glee and actually argue against the concept already.

An FYI for Chuck: most state governments have child protective service agencies, as well as other agencies that offer educational and other assistance services. IT ALREADY HAPPENS. The language in the bill requires a government option to continue offering these things. They require people to have degrees and know stuff about what they do, too. What am I missing?

Your doctors go to college, don't they Chuck?

Monday, August 17, 2009

New Weezer Single

I really really really want to hate the new Weezer single, "(If You Are Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To."

The problem, of course, is that the song makes me want to jump up and dance around like a drunken fool. I think I could handle a whole album of shitty ripped off pop songs just like this one. I think I could like an album like that a lot.

First, accept that it's a bad pop song. It's catchy and upbeat. After you consciously decide not to skip it on a playlist the first few times you hear "I Want You To," it becomes clear that this is exactly what Rivers Cuomo has been trying to do. Since the Green Album, everything has been patchy. This, hard as it is to believe, is good.

Despite the fact that it sounds an awful lot like Green Day's "Castaway" - I'm sure others will reveal themselves in the coming days, and I will update this as I find them - but it's still a good song. I can handle theft in rock & roll. It's the mediocrity that would kill it for me.

UPDATE: The album is going to be called Raditude. I may have to rethink my entire opinion of this now.

Weezer - "(If You Are Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To" (via tsururadio)

Green Day - "Castaway"

Castaway (Album Version) - Green Day

Monday, August 3, 2009

Hey record, where are you?

Since intentionally erasing the contents of my iPod a few weeks ago, I've been looking for all sorts of stuff to load back on that I haven't heard in months or years to complement the standards that never, ever drop off.

This morning, as I filled a sudden craving for The Clash and Pink Noise Test, it dawned on me that the growing pile of discs that I haven't refiled will be a bitch and a half to find later. To be honest, I haven't properly refiled a CD since we moved into the house in April. And it's been a bitch and a half to find anything as a result.

I'm torn though as to weather I should satisfy what used to be one of my greatest and most zen urges in life - looking through and endlessly "organizing" my record collection.

I don't even use the actual discs half the time, nor have I bought a new physical disc in... oh man, I don't even know how long.

The fact that I've even thought of this makes me think the desire to do it is enough of a reason. The more I think about it, though, the more I think it's a waste of time. Hell, part of me knows I'm holding onto the physical discs at least partway for nostalgia anyway. (I think I just aged 10 years with that one sentence. Now I'm gonna hop back in the minivan and get back to work. Ugh.)