Monday, June 30, 2008


I used to have an unmarked cassette tape of Cymande (a tape I got from some Brighton connections), but until today didn't know who it was. Now, thanks to YouTube I know who it is. I played the absolutely shit out of this tape. From England, Cymande is easily some of the best funk to emerge from the early seventies. Not surprisingly, DJs have a real fondness for sampling them.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Dick Cheney was my mother

From a New York Times Q & A with professor of buddhism Robert Thurman (father of Uma):

What do you think about when you meditate? Usually, some form of trying to excavate any kind of negative thing cycling in the mind and turn it toward the positive. For example, when I am annoyed with Dick Cheney, I meditate on how Dick Cheney was my mother in a previous life and nursed me at his breast.

You mean you fantasize about being breast-fed by Dick Cheney? It’s a fantasy of releasing fear and developing affection. It’s a way of coming back to feeling grateful toward him and seeing his positive side, finding the mother in Dick Cheney.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Scarborough Fair

You know, "parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme." Covered by Queensryche.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Cracker - I Want Everything

A sentimental favorite.

Shorter: I don't know what I want, but I know I want everything. An addict's song?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Love Object: EVE

An abandoned, post-apocalyptic earth and orbital robot love, what's not to love? I'm feeling fanboyish.

Pictured: Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class (Wall-E) and Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator (EVE) of Pixar's latest animation.

Train table

With our new train table, it's as though we've become professional parents.

Monday, June 23, 2008

More sickness

I planned a productive day today, but Little Boy ended up with 102 degree temperature during the night. He was a hot little dude. Of course, he had a fever all day today as well. AO and I split the day. Like all parents under the sun, we (I) find it hard to be pinned down by a feverish two-year-old, who feels fussy and wants to held constantly. Unlike BB, Little Boy is too young to enjoy watching TV all day. The worst was going to pick up BB from camp. LB was so flushed and shivery it felt cruel to be packing him into a car seat. We're preparing for another night and day of the same.

Hercules and Love Affair

Disco's back. I love the horns in this track.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Used as an illustration

One of my sleeveface pics is used as an illustration announcing a King Crimson tour, complete with a critique in the comments.

Carny culture

A grimy carnival comes to town every year, ostensibly in the name of charity. We've never gone to it. This year, as we spent the week driving back and forth past, Big Boy has been pushing to attend. So yesterday we agreed to spend part of the early evening on the midway. But no such plans can stand without being challenged. By the late afternoon, pop-up thunderstorms were beginning to pass through. And there's nothing Big Boy fears more than a storm. He is hypervigilant for any hint of thunder or drops of rain. In tears, Big Boy decided he couldn't go to the carnival because the threat of storms was too great. Somehow, though, we convinced him that we should just "drive by" to see if it was still running, even with impending rain. So I drove him by. There were a few early birds, all kids around his age, riding alone on the Teacup or the Hurricane. At that point there was no rain and Big Boy decided that we could risk it. For my part, I was impressed at the authenticity of this traveling show. Every ride was roaring and rattling in the early evening light, with red shirted carnies moving listlessly among them. The merry-go-round was spinning at a speed I thought was usually reserved for thrill rides. And the first attraction we climbed aboard was manned by a bright-eyed gentleman with a swastika tattooed on his hand. Spinning around on hydraulic stained metal arms I couldn't help but think about the carnival scene as true outlaw (and probably frequently desperate) culture. What drama goes on in those sagging trailers we could see parked behind the generators? We rode a total of two rides before Big Boy felt three consecutive rain drops. So off we went in search of shelter. But at least BB has bragging rights now. He rode the Tornado just before the storm.

Sticky Vikki & the Pinecones

Featuring rockabilly dude Glen Glenn.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Milk run

How can you tell that you're a parent? You go out for milk at 10 p.m.

And you're amazed the neighborhood coop is still open.

Vast Aire - Dueces Wild

Best line: "I'm just bitin' faces."

Friday, June 20, 2008

A ducking dog

The dog has the most endearing tic when I drive him anywhere. Usually, I'm alone or with the kids so he rides up beside me. Whenever we go under an overpass or a big overhead sign he ducks his head down, eyes peering upward with a worried look. Without fail, we sweep under an overpass, he ducks. I can't get over how cute it is, and so alert.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Dreaming of dirigibles

Dreamt that I was a crew person on an aircraft. In the dream I assumed it was an airplane, but truthfully I was some kind of mechanic on a much bigger ship, possibly a lighter-than-air ship. At one point we were seated inside the craft in side-by-side boats that were equipped with seats. The dream shuttled between home and my job, working overnight flights. AO wasn't at all happy, in the dream, with my job. It took me away from home and the shifts were unpredictable. But, I argued to her, "I love the machines."

For good measure, at the end of the dream as I hurried to a shift, I had to take a shower -- outdoors -- on the edge of a big, Euro-like traffic circle. Humiliation, anxiety, dislocation, misplaced energy -- a classic dream.

The Trons

A band of robots. Not quite The Singularity (when machine intelligence surpasses human intelligence), but it seems oddly prescient. Rock on machines.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Feel like shit

Yeah, like dooce said today:

Do I feel like shit? OH DO I EVER FEEL LIKE SHIT. I feel like I've simultaneously got the flu, a cold, and strep throat. But I'd heard this might happen early on as the body rids itself of toxins. And I'm going to allow my body some time considering how badly I've treated it for so long.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Redneck wisdom

Seen on a full size pickup at the lake over the weekend:

"Stop Global Whining"

It makes me look forward to seeing gas at $8 or $9 or even $10 a gallon.


Swedish group that does acoustic covers of old metal songs. Their new LP is "Hymns in the Key of 666." This track is Black Sabbath's "Paranoid."

Winning couplet:
All day long I think of things but nothing seems to satisfy
Think I'll lose my mind if I don't find something to pacify

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Blackalicious - As the World Turns

The joke

Dedicated to all amused fathers everywhere.

Question: How to tell if summer camp is edifying and making memories for our son? Answer: Big Boy's humor savvy has ticked up a notch. He came home this week with a new joke, which goes thusly:

Three men are on the edge of a cliff with nowhere else to go.
The first man jumps off and says, "eagle," turns into an eagle and flies away.
The second man jumps and says, "falcon," turns into a falcon and flies away.
The third man slips, "crap," he exclaims, and a piece of crap falls away down the cliff.

We first overheard the joke while he was telling one of his friends in the neighborhood. Dude thinks he's pretty cool.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Valient Thorr - Exit Strategy

Southern hardcore via Venus. The band's purported backstory: Originally from Burlatia, which is located inside the planet Venus near three ice rivers, the Thorrs have been stranded on earth since Walt Disney stole their time machine. This is an anti-war song.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

McCain's balls

Today's best meme. Various people have been commenting on the golf gear for sale on John McCain's official website, but apparently the customer reviews were left unmoderated, resulting in gems like these:

The Golf Pack is Great, but June 10, 2008
Reviewer: Lobbyist Buddy from Washington DC
When are you going to offer a Joe Lieberman Certified McCain Ballwasher?

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:

A Must Have June 10, 2008
Reviewer: Your Friend from Chicago, IL United States
My friends, every order comes with free Pancakes!!

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:

Iraq Forever!!! June 10, 2008
Reviewer: Mitt Romney from Boston, MA United States
I thought that I would give this McBush golf set to Dad for Father's Day as a way to commemorate his leaving Mom for the younger, blonder, much richer woman!!

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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful:

I love John McCain's balls! June 10, 2008
Reviewer: Ron Burgundy from , Los Angeles
Perfectly dimpled, John McCain's balls fly straight into the hole every time!
I only wish that I could buy a John McCain ball-washer so that I could wash John McCain's balls, my balls, and all my buddies' balls with that signature John McCain ball-washing gusto.

John McCain's balls. Now there is change we can believe in!

McCain roolz!!! Obama droolz!!!

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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful:

golf balls whiter than the competition June 10, 2008
Reviewer: sebastian farmer from burlingame, CA United States
im so happy with these golf balls, they are at least twice as white as the other golf balls ive bought recently

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:

Mr. Gnome

Shoegazy trip-rock from Cleveland. They are like an inverted White Stripes, with a woman on lead and a dude on drums.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Favorite word: no

We had more rounds of thunderstorms during the night. Little "I refused to take a nap today" Boy is more apt to wake up, so AO was with him for a good part of the night. Then, Big Boy was scared and ended up in bed with me. The dog was there, too. So, there you have it. The reconfigured sleeping arrangements of the AI family.

There's more to LB's developmental curve than refusing to take naps. I think I've mentioned his recent tantrums. But worst of all is his new favorite word: "no." As in, I'll say "no" to everything. "Do you want up?" "No." "Do you want down?" "No." "Do you want to stay where you are?" "No." "Do you like the word no?" "No." Any transition or change, in attitude, position, or location leads him to break down. Needless to say when his mama leaves in the morning or when I drop him off at daycare he cries like there's no tomorrow.

It wears on a person.

The Gutter Twins

Dedicated to the future "fun times" of my sons.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Swell Season

Continuing the "fairy" vibe, this is a cover of Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic."

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Jethro Tull - 1970

Who let the elves out?

Dude can play a flute.

The view

I can't resist posting another flood picture. This is us two days ago. Today, a nearby town is completely underwater, with a river cresting many feet above its banks. Our region received up to 11 inches of rain in the last couple of days. We've been advised to avoid travel if possible.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


We had thunderstorms all night long, literally. I had weird dreams of basements spewing their contents. And this morning we were woken up by tornado sirens. There was nothing on the local media about it, and radar just showed lots of bowing red, so we headed to the basement. It's still raining, but as far as I know it hasn't rained quite quick enough to flash flood. We'll see. When you're in the midst of so much extreme weather it feels like the apocalypse.

N*E*R*D - Spaz

Friday, June 6, 2008

Friday robot blogging

Joe "Elmo" Pesci

Admittedly, I've got a soft spot for incongruous foul-mouthedness. But this is a good one. Mashup of Sesame Street and Casino.

Almost as good as Apocalypse Pooh, an original I first saw on 3/4 inch video tape.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Ultimate DIY

With Little Boy talking more and more -- literally each day -- I've been thinking about his birth. And it occurs to me tonight that having him at home was the ultimate in DIY thinking. Thanks to the courage of my wife I've experienced what few, at least in this country, people are willing to choose for themselves. It's a self-reliant thing and makes us like the Amish or that surfer dad who raised his family in a camper (see Surfwise). I'm not going to be installing Linux tomorrow, but I'm happy about our (or my wife's) instincts regarding these things.

What is interesting about the choice to pursue DIY options is that they require a community. On the tech side of things, I've been able to teach myself how to run a little home network and hack some software by availing myself of little tech communities on the web. As far as home birth is concerned, we needed to find a midwife we were comfortable with and find others who could share their experiences and encourage us. My point is that DIY is not something one does in isolation; on the contrary, it's the nature of community (learning from others; building on experience) that makes it so appealing. I suppose the ultimate job might be the kind that relies on similar kinds of communities, say, like astrophysical engineering or medieval manuscript restoration. This must be the appeal of volunteering for open source projects or wikipedia. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the wikinovel has made much headway. I'm also sorry that my little world of scholarship doesn't work more like DIY projects.

Flash floods

After raining about two inches in an hour yesterday afternoon, we got to see what flash flooding really looks like. Parts of downtown had water up to the tops of cars, stores along a main commercial strip were all flooded, and most of the major arteries through town became impassable. It took both of us an hour of trying to finally make it to Little Boy's daycare, where the power had been out for two hours. Every ditch, containment pond, and small stream was literally obliterated. Dramatic and scary. I guess monsoon season has come to the midwest.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Jeeps that spin out

Speaking of SUVs. I've seen three Jeep (Grand) Cherokees spin out on wet roads in about as many weeks. All were making left turns, a bit too fast, and all broke loose and ended up either sideways or completely turned around. All just barely avoided hitting other vehicles, including me on one occasion. Normally, I'd say that bad tires are at fault, but to see this happening to just one particular car suggests that there is something wrong with its design. Who knows how common it is.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Death to the SUV

One (huge) reason why rising petroleum prices are good for us:

General Motors will close four of its truck and SUV plants in coming months, expand production of its more fuel efficient cars and move forward with development of an electric vehicle, as the auto giant adapts to skyrocketing energy costs and changing consumer preferences. Link

It also sounds like the Hummer might soon be history as well.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Found phone

We're back; we're tired. The drive took about an hour and a half longer than usual. We stopped too much. Ironically, neither of the boys would eat more than a few crackers. So much for trying to do the right thing.

While we were away, the cats shit on the bathroom rug, which is very unusual. Later today, the dog was thrilled to leave the kennel (where he chewed up all his toys). And I found a cell phone in the park while walking the dog. I couldn't find a "home" number, so I sent a text to the phone's "my email." "Found phone," I wrote, with my phone number.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Big city

It's been fun being in the big city. I love being in such a diverse place. Even with all the noise and concrete the mix of races and cultures makes the city seem more humane in a way. The kids have had a hard time. Nap times and meals haven't been routine enough, and they spent two evenings with a babysitter. But we've made it work so far. It hasn't hurt that the weather is absolutely gorgeous.

Big boy, especially, has held himself together. Our extended family keeps remarking on how mellow he's gotten the past year. He really seems mature on this trip, like you could pretty much take him anywhere or do anything with him. Little boy, however, has had his cousin to deal with, a fellow two-year-old who feels equally entitled. We've had some major tamtrums from him, which we've weathered without too much trauma. The real challenge is being tired oneself and needing to run after a careening toddler in a public park. We've all been drinking lots of coffee. We head for home tomorrow.