Sunday, March 11, 2007

March 11, 2007 to March 17, 2007

Wherein everything will be in the comments


Blogger bill said...

The 'Nigger' Top 10
Rather than construct a logic-based argument against the prohibitionists, I thought it’d be fun to assemble a list of the all-time most socially redeeming usages of the word “nigger.” This would show by example that the word itself is neither good nor evil. It’s an instrument with which to convey ideas – as all words are – and thus has a right to exist.

To compile this list – The “Nigger” Top 10, if you will – I brought together a brain trust of good friends, each one a sharp-eyed observer of the culture: Larry Alexander, Lorenzo Heard and Thomas Stanley. (We’ve collaborated on various funk-related documentation projects since the early ’90s.)

We spent last Sunday afternoon in a suburban-D.C. apartment, speaking freely and pausing occasionally to listen to recordings such as Patti Smith’s “Rock ’n’ Roll Nigger” and the Last Poets’ “Niggers Are Scared of Revolution.”

Our mandate: to reach consensus on the most culturally significant and/or artistically valuable utteran

3/11/2007 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

Cooking and Eating Rabbit Ears

Michael Ruhlman:
I advocate eating rabbits, and even I felt unnerved by the images. That’s the point, that’s why this post is important. It’s rare that the food on our plate looks like what it is when it’s alive—this happens to be true with rabbit ears, as Rob’s photographs show. And it's rare furthermore that food we eat is so adorable. Bunny advocates have left some menacing comments on his post but also thoughtful ones (check out the youtube link left in comments). People who rejoice in eating the flesh of animals should feel obligated to acknowledge the life of that animal and do all that they can to ensure that the quality of that life was a good one, one not debased and abused by the farming practices that define industrial agriculture.

deep fried rabbit ears with aromatic herbs:
North American butchers are not nearly as open. "You're kidding, right?" is not the answer I was hoping for when I asked my local butcher about rabbit ears. His expression clearly communicated his doubts about my sanity and taste. Few butchers sell rabbit, and those that do buy pre-butchered rabbits from outside sources. That makes rabbit ears the specialest of special orders. Nonetheless, he promised to see what he could do. Sure enough, I got a call to pick up my ears about two weeks later. They were free, too, though the butcher requested I not ask for rabbit ears a second time. Apparently getting them requires calling in some favours. Why this should be is a mystery to me. The rabbits at St. Lawrence Market always come with the head attached and the fur and ears removed, so unless there's a clandestine market in bunny scalps, this is the only known use for them.

a good comment"
As a happy vegetarian with an affinity for the Easter Bunny, I approached this post with trepidation. However, you completely engaged me! Though I could never prepare or eat rabbit ears, I really enjoyed your post and learned a lot. Thanks!

a bad comment:
How disgusting! I have to wonder if you would be paying the morgue a visit for human ears-I am sure you would find them tasty dipped in batter and fried. As far as I am concerned, you have the same mentality as a Nazi during WWII.

3/11/2007 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

watching Lost for the very first time

This thread is for you to be entertained while I blog our watching of a hit show, and for you to share in the discovery of some communal cultural experience. PLEASE, for the love of Kate, DO NOT PUT SPOILERS IN THIS THREAD! I've managed to avoid any and all Lost discussion over the years, and all I know is the plane goes down, they're on an island, and they're not alone. Some "predator" like thing is also on the island. So please, please read your posts carefully to avoid spoilers. I've no clue who lives or dies, so "______ grows on you, give him a chance" is a spoiler. Or "Wow, I forgot about ______". Thanks.

3/11/2007 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

Message for Dick Vitale: Shut up shut up Shut up shut up Shut up shut up Shut up shut up Shut up shut up Shut up shut up Shut up shut up Shut up shut up Shut up shut up Shut up shut up Shut up shut up Shut up shut up Shut up shut up Shut up shut up Shut up shut up Shut up shut up Shut up shut up Shut up shut up Shut up shut up Shut up shut up Shut up shut up Shut up shut up Shut up shut up Shut up shut up SHUT UP.

3/11/2007 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

I've added another tune to the jukebox. Listen here: Thunderbird by the Whitefield Brothers.

Here's a quote:
This isn't tribal, it's primal. And by primal I mean William Hurt dropping acid and emerging from the isolation tank as a subhuman beast intent on killing. Listen to those wailing baritone saxes. That is the scream of virgins slaughtered for the fun of it.

This track conjures up such images of death, destruction, and mayhem, I think it would make an excellent marching band tune. You'd have the percussion section going apeshit crazy, the horns tearing a hole in the fabric of the universe and even the flutes would burn the opposing team's bus at midfield.

Listen to it and feel your life become enervated.

3/11/2007 11:57:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

Lorem Ipsum

One thing I do with my templates is insert a lot of dummy text. This is especially useful when creating new styles to get a sense of page layout. But it is also important (and necessary) as a style guide when handing off a template to a new writer. Then there's the time one new writer asked if we were writing in Latin--yeah, we're the documentation team for the Vatican. Great question.

There are a couple ways of doing this. In MS Word, there's the rand "virus">. This inserts the sentence: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog,” which contains every letter in the English alphabet. Great for comparing different font families against each other.

Most of the time I'm using the placeholder text of "Lorem Ipsum." In MS Word, I have a few lines saved as Autotext that I'll insert and edit if I need a Heading or a longer paragraph. Otherwise, pop in a bunch of text and apply styles: body, indented, numbered, bulleted, etc. In Framemaker, I've created two Lorem Ipsum variables.

How important is this? Well, my basic chapter template contains over 40 defined styles. This is pretty much required to work in Framemaker, but I've always done the same in MS Word. In Word, my goal is to never use the menu buttons--especially the numbering or bulleting shortcuts. Everything is defined and I even create templates that do not reference the because I'm paranoid.

If you require more information:
rand virus:

3/12/2007 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger reader_iam said...

You sure that you and I have never crossed paths?

3/12/2007 08:22:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

Made me laugh.

Pretty sure.

3/12/2007 09:33:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

Yes, I have a swizzle-stick collection. Pathetic, I know.

I think the pathetic part is that no one is surprised.

3/13/2007 07:35:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

I agree:

I just. . .I need this show in my life right now. Like Chlumsky needed Culkin in that movie. Until he was killed by the bees, of course.

3/13/2007 08:32:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

I didn't mean pathetic in a bad way. Just that...does that surprise anyone?

3/13/2007 08:35:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

Tuesday Trivia XXXVII (3/13/07)

1. That book about the bunnies. Watership Down? Yes. I bet free-range bunnies have tasty ears.
2. Color blindness. I had the correct sense, just the wrong test. For color blindness, use the Ishihara color test.
3. A cave. More
4. Patton. Knew I should have gone with a more recent general.
5. Duke.
6. Lama Ding Dong is probably wrong. Second guess is Thailand.
7. ???, as usual.

easy week: 4 of 6; or 3, since I didn't specify Carlsbad Caverns.

3/13/2007 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

To follow up on the styles discussion above in "Lorem Ipsum," I also predefine a handful of tables. Again, this is SOP in Framemaker, so while I'm designing I add a few more just in case. But I do the same thing in MS Word. Here's how.

1. Create the table in the template as you'd like it be--number of columns and a few rows. Apply any default paragraph styles like table header and table text.

2. Copy the table and save as AutoText.

3. To use, just Insert>AutoText>[table name].

Easy, ain't it?

3/13/2007 04:05:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

Apparently Geena Davis is unhappy with the lack of female cartoon characters. And kinda clueless. Something Old, Nothing New provides the links.

So Geena is all like: blah blah blah Minnie Mouse blah blah blah Hanna Barbera blah blah blah Smurfs blah blah blah Dora blah blah blah armed with our study blah blah blah.

Then Paul Dini gets all snotty: I don't mind people voicing pro and con opinions on animation or any other art form. Intelligent discussion sparks ideas that often lead to change. But people should at least have some general idea of what they are talking about before launching another "crusade" against evil animation.

Hey man, Geena started a FOUNDATION, so she's like all serious and shit. Besides, The Long Kiss Goodnight was a cool movie. Slutty assassin suffering from amnesia is a much better role model than a ball player who throws a game so her less talented sister can feel good about herself. Sure, she's happy, but you just screwed over your entire team.

I thought Lileks had discussed this:If Ms. Davis thinks the WB cartoons would have profited from strong female characters who acted like male characters, that would be an interesting debate. If Daffy had been a girl, would Bugs have tricked Elmer into shooting him in the head six times in a row? Probably not. Such a show of deference would send a bad message: Girls are too weak to withstand several close-range bill-spinning buckshot blasts. Of course, if Elmer did shoot Daffina, it would promote violence against female waterfowl. You probably can’t win.

You know what might be fun? Pairing Amy Goodman and Bill O'Reilly for a TV show. I can't think of anyone more insufferable and condescending than those two. They might even pull a muscle from sneering at each other.

3/14/2007 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...


3/14/2007 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger Icepick said...

Hey man, Geena started a FOUNDATION, so she's like all serious and shit.

That line has made my day.

3/14/2007 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

Originally found this linked somewhere yesterday, but forgot where I found it. Only some lucky googling turned it up today.

That Little Round-Headed Boy lists 30 acts or artists he believes should have been already inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame. Read it and enjoy. The point is not to argue, but to appreciate the effort of his argument. Let me pull out one:

25. Deep Purple. What kind of Hall of Fame doesn't have a place for the creators of one of the greatest riffs in the history of rock and roll that wasn't written by Keith Richards or Jimmy Page? Admit it, you're doing the head-nod to Smoke on The Water right this minute, aren't ya?

The boy is psychic, that's exactly what I was doing.

3/14/2007 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger Icepick said...

The Van Halen induction was absolutely inspired. From the incoherent drugged out script-reading of Velvet Revolver, to havinig two of the three currently ex-members be the only ones to show up, to VR's horrible performance, to DLR managing to make it all about him when he wasn't even there, it was pure rock & roll chaos! I bet they only had brown M&M's back stage.

The list of 30 acts that should already be in the Hall is pretty thin, IMO, although I will confess that I'm shocked that Link Wray and Dick Dale aren't in. But this is exactly why I lost interest in the Hall shortly after it kicked off. It was easy to predict that the Hall would quickly fill up with obnoxious, self-congratulatory idiots and record company promoted acts.

Also, there's just no way to nail down what's important anyway. I dare say that Van Halen has had a hell of a lot more impact than Patty Smith will ever have, and they should have been put in when they first became eligible. But they weren't, because they didn't need the help to sell records, and the college radio crowd hates them. Afterall, they had the wrong kind of influence. (Really, how the hell did they know that Poison would be the result of their inspired act?)

And don't even get me started about Motorhead. Another influential band that will never make it, for having the wrong kind of influence.

Even when the Hall has obthered with heavy metal, they've gotten it wrong. Not only did Black Sabbath go in about 12 years too late, they went in AFTER AC/DC had been in for a few years. That's just plain wrong! Don't get me wrong, I like AC/DC. No one does the single entendre better - but come on! At least for the punk rockers they got it right and put The Ramones in first.

3/14/2007 11:58:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

No Lost conversations today. I was out way past my bed time last night and will watch it tonight.

Went to Badly Drawn Boy; eh, it was ok. Just a reminder of why I rarely enjoy going out anymore.

Parking: $15
Ticket: $18
Plastic cup of coke: $3 (with tip)

Great, it's 8:10, I've already spent $36, and the main act isn't expected on stage until 10pm. Then, while I'm philosophically opposed to smoking bans I can't stand being in a smokey room. Something about a bar atmosphere that makes people not just smoke, but smoke like there's a contest to see who can go through the most cigarettes in one night. I say people, but mostly I mean women. Not too many men smoking.

Horrible opening act. The guy did have a strong voice; however his pretentious and precious lyrics and stage manner conjured up thoughts of imitating Bluto.

Badly Drawn Boy was grumpy, seemed unhappy with the cramped room and contantly yelled at the lighting crew. Large crowd that seemed happy to see him, but was also lethargic. Much to the consternation of the couple of drunk gals who tried to instigate dancing with constant hootin' and hollerin' .

To recap, I'm marginally entertained, though not enough to to buy his new CD, dead dog in the middle of the road tired, and still feeling like an ashtray.

We'll try this again this next week with a more anticipated Robyn Hitchcock show.

addendum: Sometimes I'm fascinated by the fact that I can spend 4 hours surrounded by a giant crowd of people and not utter a single word. Most times I can't imagine speaking to any of those people surrounding me.

3/15/2007 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

preview: Just to whet the appetite, Sunday's release to the audio library will be a song about beer vendors at the Metrodome. Really. Acoustic duet--good stuff.

For future weeks, I'm considering: A couple selections from "Cannibal: The Musical," Mahlathini & the Mahotella Queens, some Lynda Barry spoken word, maybe I'll try to find the most disgusting song I own, should probably put up something from "Don't Stand Me Down" as often as I've mentioned it.

That's a nice mix and gives me a month to come up with some more.

3/15/2007 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger XWL said...

I'm pretty sure Sartre said something to the effect of, "Hell is other people at rock concerts".

And yet, you wouldn't want the room to be empty either, you just hope for a relative lack of yahoos.

I haven't been to a rock concert in quite some time (that wasn't a free outdoor style one).

I guess I'm old.

Or the bands suck nowadays.

Or I suck, and the bands are old.

Also, since someone had to do it, I invoked the Cryptonomicon over at the comment thread to this post.

3/17/2007 06:35:00 AM  
Blogger Ahistoricality said...

Neal Stephenson on 300.

Short version: We're smarter than you think; we're not sure about you.

3/19/2007 03:40:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

How's that Baroque Cycle coming along?

3/19/2007 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger Ahistoricality said...

I stalled at the beginning of book 2: too much work going on, and 750 page books by actual historians on my desk. I'll pick it up again soon, though: I really am enjoying it.

3/20/2007 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

Hang in there, Book 3 has a classic Monty Python joke.

3/20/2007 05:23:00 PM  

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