Wednesday, December 23, 2009

top 10 favorite movies of the decade

i am running a bit behind on my list making these days, but i felt compelled to at least throw up my top 10 favorite movies of decade. like AA before me, many of these are certainly classics in the making, while some of these may only appeal to me and me alone. these are certainly not THE BEST movies of the decade by any means--just the ones that i enjoy the most. a top 50 might surface, but this is all i got for now...

1. Almost Famous
2. High Fidelity
3. School of Rock
4. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
5. Lord of the Rings Trilogy (also cheating!)
6. Juno
7. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
8. Moulin Rouge
9. The Royal Tenenbaums
10. Love Actually

A Christmas Wish from The Onion and Me

The Onion, funny as usual.

SOUTHFIELD, MI—Bored with scaring elderly misers, the Ghost of Christmas Future is spending the holiday season taunting modern children with visions of Christmas 2016's hottest toy: the Sony PlayStation 5, a 2,048-bit console featuring a 45-Ghz trinary processor, CineReal graphics booster with 2-gig biotexturing, and an RSP connector for 360-degree online-immersion play.

Silly Liberals

Kevin Drum noticed the following Mike Potemra quote at National Review online in a piece about Jean-Luc Picard.

I have over the past couple of months been watching DVDs of Star Trek: The Next Generation, a show I missed completely in its run of 1987 to 1994; and I confess myself amazed that so many conservatives are fond of it. Its messages are unabashedly liberal ones of the early post-Cold War era — peace, tolerance, due process, progress....
Sometimes I try and convince myself that part of the problem with liberals and conservatives is that we see cartoonish versions of one another that aren't a true picture. Then I read something like this.


Playing with the blog look a little over the holidays. May stick, may not. Hope to add a few more things to the sidebar as well. Suggestions welcome.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Garfunkel was Merely a Pawn

There is an individual I work with who comes around a couple of times a week to explain to me what new nefarious plots the government and the "New World Order" are up to currently. Today, I found out that the government is working on controlling our minds via HDTV and "the sound of silence."

This technology is about to be used, albeit in a more subtle fashion, against American citizens in a highly classified and covert operation to mind control and manipulate the entire population into 'compliance' with our New World order overlords. The technology will utilize a combination of HAARP transmitters, GWEN towers, microwave cell phone towers, and the soon-to-be-mandatory High Definition DIGITAL TV that will enter your home via A) Cable, B) Satellite, C) HD TVs, or D) those oh-so-easy -to-obtain "Digital Converter boxes" that the government is so anxious to help you obtain and underwrite most of the cost on your behalf...

...Moreover, what if televisions across the U.S. and Canada all went 100% DIGITAL [E.g. the mandatory HD conversion to take place in Feb. 2009] in their signals (which must happen in order to successfully link to pre-positioned, interconnected GWEN (Ground-Wave Emergency Network) Towers) which of course would allow the unrestricted use of the Sound of Silence frequencies in a complete and massive control of the nation’s mind and consciousness?
I made a crack about Paul Simon being in on the deal, but as it turns out after going to the Internet, the joke was on me.

Paul Kane's (Paul Simon) musical work in the early 1960's was primarily as a contracted songwriter in the famed "Brill Building machine." He would write songs for other artists to record. He did try his hand at performing, however. Assuming a new stage name - Paul Kane - he wrote many ballads and rockabilly tunes which were recorded, both by Paul and as a member of the mildly-successful Tico and the Triumphs. Paul also had a famous collaborator - Carole Kane (who changed her name to Carol King). Paul Simon, a Jew whose family was part of the 'military-industrialist complex' was very likely a product of the early 1960’s military experimentation in Silent Sound mind control –which is clearly what the lyrics of “The Sound of Silence” convey to those 'in the know'.
I'm starting to fear that the bridge over troubled water is actually a bridge to let those dirty communists Julio, Cecilia, and Mrs. Robinson into the U.S. to convert the country into some sort of dystopian Graceland.

Monday, December 21, 2009


An article in the New York Times helps highlight an under publicised problem with our current labor situation:

Halfway across the country, in Burlington, Iowa, the recession bypassed the Winegard Company. That is perhaps because Winegard makes television antennas and satellite receivers, and in hard times people watch more television, said Denise Baker, Winegard’s director of human resources. Whatever the case, to keep up with new orders, the company has added 70 workers in the last two years — all of them temps.

“An actual employee with benefits costs more than a temp or a contract worker,” Ms. Baker said, “and as long as I can still get highly skilled temps, I’ll go that route. It gives me more room to reverse course if the economy weakens again and sales do finally sink.”
Unemployment is certainly bad, but people don't just need jobs. They need jobs that come with some sense of security (and hopefully benefits). Trends like the one in the article are the kind of thing that will keep the income gap in the U.S. high and will keep many Americans in a dangerous situation.

Best of the 2000s: Movie Analysis

Because making a list of your favorite 50 movies of the decade isn't nerdy enough, here is a little analysis of the list to take it the extra mile.

A little by the numbers for your entertainment:

1 western

2 animated films

3 Wes Anderson movies

4 movies with George Clooney

4 kung fu movies

5 fantasy or sci-fi movies

6 movies that have virtually no chance of making any critics' top tens

7 movies from each of 2003, 2004 and 2005 (tied for top spot)

8 or so crime dramas

12 films from the years 2006, 2008 and 2009 listed without producing a top 10 designate

14 as a total score for the year 2001 if you inverted the top 10 list and assigned each movie the number the next to it and then added all the movies from the same year (2001 is #1 by that system)

Best of the 2000s: My Favorite Movies

Here are my favorite movies of the 2000s. I'm not claiming them to be the best movies of the 2000s from a critical perspective. Some really are testaments to great film making (Traffic) and some are ridiculous movies I just happen to really like (The Transporter). There was a pretty big list of movies that I had to leave off to pare down to 50. Feel free to comment on any serious omissions. (Note: I did cheat by listing both the Lord of the Rings movies and the Kill Bill movies as group entries. But it's my list.)

As an aside, I think 2009 is getting the shaft here because I haven't seen enough 2009 movies yet. From everything I have heard (and the quantity of George Clooney movies on this list), Up in the Air is going to be on this list once I see it, and perhaps there will be some others as well.

2000 – Traffic
2000 – High Fidelity
2000 – Gladiator
2000 – Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
2000 – Almost Famous
2001-2003 – Lord of the Rings Trilogy
2001 – The Royal Tennenbaums
2001 – Amelie
2001 – Monsters Inc.
2001 – Ocean’s Eleven
2002 – Road to Perdition
2002 – The Pianist
2002 – The Transporter
2002 – Punch Drunk Love
2003-2004 – Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2
2003 – Lost in Translation
2003 – Old School
2003 – Bad Santa
2003 – Seabiscuit
2003 – Shanghai Knights
2004 – Hero
2004 – Shaun of the Dead
2004 – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
2004 – Miracle
2004 – Napolean Dynamite
2004 – Layer Cake
2005 – The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
2005 – A History of Violence
2005 – Good Night and Good Luck
2005 – The Matador
2005 – Wedding Crashers
2005 – Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
2005 – Kung Fu Hustle
2006 – Pan’s Labyrinth
2006 – Volver
2006 – Children of Men
2006 – The Lives of Others
2007 – 3:10 to Yuma
2007 – Michael Clayton
2007 – The Darjeeling Limited
2007 – No Country for Old Men
2007 – Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten
2007 – Charlie Wilson’s War
2008 – The Dark Knight
2008 – RocknRolla
2008 – In Bruges
2008 – Gran Torino
2008 – Forgetting Sarah Marshall
2009 – Away We Go
2009 – Star Trek
2009 – Fantastic Mr. Fox

Top 10:
1. Traffic
2. The Royal Tennenbaums
3. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
4. The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
5. Lost in Translation
6. Hero
7. Amelie
8. Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2
9. 3:10 to Yuma
10. Monster’s Inc.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Back to School

Brandon Jennings has had a great rookie season thus far for the Milwaukee Bucks. After spending a year in Europe instead of college, he has offered us yet more proof that the NBA's rule that forces players to wait a year after high school before entering the draft is dumb.

On the other hand, perhaps Jennings should take a little of the money he is now earning and take a few college courses. He was recently fined by the league for a tweet that fell too close to the prohibited tweeting time around a game. But I think the timing should probably be excused before the message itself:

"Back to 500. Yess!!! "500" means where doing good. Way to Play Hard Guys."

I appreciate the enthusiasm, but I think maybe an English class is in order.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

So Russia is like, "I don't want to say I told you so, but..."

It was reported today that militant insurgents have found a way to hack U.S. drones in flight over conflict areas using a $26, off-the-shelf computer program. This seems both terrifying and hilarious given that an unnamed government official related that the unencrypted signals represented a flaw that was noticed during Bosnian operations in the '90s. Furthermore, the officials related that "...the Pentagon assumed local adversaries wouldn't know how to exploit it."

I'll leave broad interpretations to others in favor of a simple comparison of these separate intelligence approaches. The U.S. Government spends roughly 4.5 Million on each predator, plus expenses for maintenance and operation. The insurgents spend $25.95 plus shipping on software and something like $40 on a used Dell laptop attached to an old umbrella for an antenna.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

In Cahooters

The Chamber of Commerce wants you to be aware of "how to protect your family's future and bring common sense solutions to the health-care debate." More to the point, they want you to help them fight healthcare reform.

Just in case you can't be motivated by protecting your family's future, however, they have another offer for you:

To qualify for your $150 Amex gift card for use at Hooters you must continue through our survey below and complete the participation requirements. Click "Yes" to as many offers as you like and please make sure you click "No" to offers you don't.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Person of the Decade Bracket

The Washington Post has a bracket up allowing readers to help pick a most influential person of the decade. George Bush, I think stands a pretty decent chance to win this thing. On the other hand, it may just turn out to be a popularity contest, in which case he has no shot.

For my money, I think the technology guys, Steve Jobs, the Google guys, and Mr. Facebook have to at least be in the discussion. Hu Jintao probably has to be considered pretty highly as well, though he realistically has no shot in an American poll starting out against Obama.

I must say, as contrived gimmicks go, this is one I'm willing to follow.

Dreams are Weird

And here is my proof.

Last night in my dream, I wrestled Georgia Tech basketball coach Paul Hewitt for a newspaper containing the box score of a game I had just watched in an old church gymnasium.

Get out of my dreams Hewitt!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Best of 2009: Songs

As we've been mentioning, songs are a little more difficult than albums. Your favorite songs can change daily, and there are so many good songs that narrowing a list is a chore. Perhaps, however, doing the decade list was like training to run a mile by running a marathon. The song list seemed much easier than in years past, and I'm attributing it to the task of putting together a song list for the decade first.

Enough narrative, here are my top 10 songs of the year:

1. Summertime Clothes - Animal Collective
2. The Fixer - Pearl Jam
3. Hysteric - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
4. Got Nuffin - Spoon
5. Animal - Miike Snow
6. Percussion Gun - White Rabbits
7. Dylan's Hard Rain - Ryan Bingham
8. Pendergast Machine - Ha Ha Tonka
9. Don't Haunt This Place - The Rural Alberta Advantage
10. When I Died - The Thermals

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

25 favorite songs of the decade

unfortunately, this list was compiled totally off the cuff without the assistance of my cd/digital library. i also limited myself to only one song from each artist. again, this list is ever-changing, and could be drastically different tomorrow. it is, however, a damn fine list...

25 songs favorite songs of the 2000's
1. bob dylan- mississippi
2. wilco- pot kettle black
3. ryan adams- sweet carolina
4. iron and wine- naked as we came
5. son volt- afterglow 61
6. damien rice- cannonball
7. damien jurado- window
8. rilo kiley- with arms outstretched
9. jenny lewis- the charging sky
10. jay farrar- voodoo candle
11. eels- packing blankets
12. ben kweller- wasted and ready
13. bonnie prince billy- ease on down the road
14. ryan bingham- don’t wait for me
15. tom petty- flirting with time
16. the shout out louds- the comeback
17. SSLYBY- modern mystery
18. she and him- sentimental heart
19. sun kil moon- glenn tipton
20. bright eyes- another travelin’ song
21. band of horses- the general specific
22. the national- fake empire
23. spoon- the way we get by
24. gillian welch- red clay halo
25. moore-healey- good fortune

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Best of 2009: Albums

Almost lost in all the hoopla over end of decade lists was the fact that 2009, in fact, had some good music in it. I don't think it matched up with 2007 or 2008, but I also think there is much that I just haven't been able to absorb, and much much more that I haven't heard at all.

Anyway, I still liked quite a few albums and here are the 10 I liked the best (and a couple of the best tracks on each).

1. It's Blitz - The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
(Hysteric, Soft Shock)
2. Roadhouse Sun - Ryan Bingham
(Dylan's Hard Rain, Country Roads)
3. Backspacer - Pearl Jam
(The Fixer, Supersonic)
4. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix - Phoenix
(Lasso, 1901)
5. It's Frightening - White Rabbits
(Percussion Gun, They Done Wrong/We Done Wrong)
6. Farm - Dinosaur Jr.
(Ocean in the Way, Plans)
7. Merriweather Post Pavilion - Animal Collective
(Summertime Clothes, Taste)
8. Metric - Fantasies
(Twilight Galaxy, Help I'm Alive)
9. When the Devil's Loose - A.A. Bondy
(Oh the Vampyre, On the Moon)
10. Technicolor Health - The Harlem Shakes
(Strictly Game, Nothing but Change)

This list is subject to change, of course. The beauty of these things is that there is always more music out there. Metric actually just made the list this week when I started listening to them after seeing them in concert. There will surely be someone else who I find out about in the next few months who easily could have made the list. Other people's year end lists are often good sources to find those new albums.

I also wanted to mention a great live album, Nirvana's Live at Reading and a fantastic greatest hits album of sorts, The Vaselines' Enter the Vaselines. Neither fit my criteria for a best of 2009 list, but both were really, really good. What did you like in 2009?

Monday, December 7, 2009

In Which Hulk Hogan is Played by Nick Saban

Once again, the most furious month of the U.S. sports season is upon us. It's the college football postseason where competition has no place when there is money involved.

As usual, the national title game will be played by the champions of two BCS conferences, Alabama and Texas. And as usual, there are a few other teams who have a quite a case that they should be there instead.

Texas beat by a single point a Nebraska team that basically won the woeful Big 12 North by default. They beat two ranked opponents this season; Oklahoma State on the road and Nebraska.

Meanwhile, there are three other undefeated teams who will not be playing for the title in Cincinnati, Boise State, and TCU. Cincinnati beat 3 ranked opponents on the year, 2 of those on the road. Boise State beat the only ranked opponent they played this season in #7 Oregon, and then beat the crap out of everyone else on their schedule. And TCU beat 2 ranked opponents, one on the road, and went and beat two ACC schools on the road.

None of this is to say that these 3 teams are definitively better than Texas. But Texas certainly isn't definitively better than them either. Which is, of course, the problem with college football. Texas is essentially in the title game because they were ranked higher to start the season. That is stupid.

College football is stupid actually. Fortunately, it will be over in a month.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

25 Songs from the 2000s

Alright, this is much harder than an albums list. The number of songs I like over a period of 10 years is really, really high. I decided to just pick 25 songs I really love. This list could have 15 different songs on it if I did it again next week, but you have to start somewhere right? I decided to limit each band to one song, so I didn't end up with 2/3 of the list taken up by 3 or 4 bands. So here it is:

12 Inch 3 Speed Oscillating Fan – Big Smith
12:51 – The Strokes
Anything You Want – Spoon
Back in Your Head – Tegan and Sara
Banquet – Bloc Party
Black, Red, Yellow – Pearl Jam
C’mon C’mon – The Von Bondies
The District Sleeps Alone Tonight – The Postal Service
DLZ – TV on the Radio
Donde Esta la Playa – The Walkmen
Hey Ya – Outkast
I Burn Today – Frank Black
The Late Greats – Wilco
Lazy Eye – Silversun Pickups
Maps – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues – Eels
Party Hard – Andrew W.K.
The Runner – Kings of Leon
Sister Do You Know My Name – The White Stripes
Solid Gold – Eagles of Death Metal
Summertime Clothes – Animal Collective
Too Drunk to Dream - The Magnetic Fields
Trashcan – Delta Spirit
Wagon Wheel – Old Crow Medicine Show
Young Folks – Peter Bjorn & John

Interesting Maps

I like maps, and this Slate slideshow features a selection of odd maps from across history. There is even one map that unifies Kansas City.

There is also the map above, which charts different soil types and craters on the far side of the moon. Pretty neat stuff.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Assorted Items

- Start looking for rum drinks at fashionable places everywhere.

- Kansas City Star reporter Kent Babb should probably acknowledge the complete lack of pass rush when writing an article that criticises the secondary.

- In case you didn't know and you like rockabilly music, tune into KKFI on fridays from 5-7.

- A.I. a Sixer once again.

- Perhaps it is too early to tell if the Missouri State basketball team is really a contender in the MVC, but it is not too early to say that they are exponentially more fun to watch than they were last year.

But It's Less Fun When You Do it to Me

Republicans are mad at Al Franken.

The Republicans are steamed at Franken because partisans on the left are using a measure he sponsored to paint them as rapist sympathizers — and because Franken isn’t doing much to stop them...

...At issue is an amendment to the Pentagon spending bill that would bar “future and existing” federal contracts to defense contractors and subcontractors “at any tier” who mandate employees go through a company’s arbitration process for workplace discrimination claims — including claims of sexual assault. The measure passed 68-30, with 10 Republicans voting yes and 30 voting no.
The story goes on to say that Republicans voted no because of concerns over the cost of trials for discrmination claims. That, in and of itself, is pretty irritating considering the dubious history of the mandatory arbitration process.

But the ridiculousness here comes from the fact that Republicans are angry that the left is mischaracterizing their motives and using the episode for partisan gain. If the last decade has taught us nothing else, it is that Republicans can find a way to mischaracterize any Democratic action and use it for partisan gain. If they didn't want Democrats to do it, they shouldn't have taught them how.

The Christmas Spirit

Some charities in Houston are into it... unless you're a kid whose parents are illegal immigrants.

The Salvation Army and a charity affiliated with the Houston Fire Department are among those that consider immigration status, asking for birth certificates or Social Security cards for the children.

The point isn’t to punish the children but to ensure that their parents are either citizens, legal immigrants or working to become legal residents, said Lorugene Young, whose Outreach Program Inc. is one of three groups that distribute toys collected by firefighters.

“It’s not our desire to turn anyone down,” she said. “Those kids are not responsible if they are here illegally. It is the parents’ responsibility."

Well, there is no better way to punish parents than to make sure their kids can't get Christmas presents. Maybe someone should introduce a law that says for every speeding ticket a person gets, their kid loses a candy cane.

Free Blog Counter