I love spam

Posted in Spam, wonderful spam on February 7th, 2006 by bill

OK, not really. I hate it just like you do. But every once in a while something interesting is spit up by the random word generators that they use to evade your spam filter. For instance, one diabolical software peddler has sent me emails with the following names in the sender field:

Mailboxes B. Sideswiped
Emptiness P. Assessments
Occupying F. Negroid
Paradoxes B. Lambasts
Neapolitan M. Ungrateful
Shoddiness Q. Outmaneuvers
Mercurial P. Medicate
Debtor H. Gibberish
Marseillaise S. Recessio
Correlations V. Afield
Typist C. Detestation
Anger H. Ruby
Idolatrous B. Plot

and the winner, the one that I may legally change my name to:

Multiplex H. Misfire

If I didn’t know better, I’d think that these names were the product of a higher order of intelligence. It’s the middle initials that really make them work.
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The BOC & Me

Posted in Dancing about architecture on February 4th, 2006 by bill

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This picture doesn’t do much to buttress my case in favor of the BÖC. That’s guitar hero Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser, resplendent in whitesuit, on the right.

Lately I’ve been deriving a lot of pleasure from listening to the music of the Blue Öyster Cult. I say this willingly and in public, despite knowing that the government is going to put me on some kind of list.

The BÖC doesn’t get a lot of respect — it cost me next to nothing to pick up a copy of their 2-CD collection Workshop of the Telescopes. And to be honest, the first disc is a waste of time, filled with early-period sludge like “Flaming Telepaths” and “Harvester of Eyes.” But the second disc is a whole different story. It leads off with “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,” an FM staple for 30-some years now, and recently further immortalized by the Christopher Walken “More Cowbell” sketch. With its chiming, insistent riff, eerie harmonies, and ample cowbell, “The Reaper” is every bit as pointless to resist as the Reaper himself.
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The Year in Music, Part 5

Posted in Because he's David Bowie, that's why, Dancing about architecture on February 3rd, 2006 by bill

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Beck/Guero
Devendra Banhart/Cripple Crow

The year in question, by the way, is 2005, and you may well ask: Do I feel guilty that this thing has now stretched into February, when everybody else did their year-end wrap-ups in December? Maybe a little, but not really; I think summing up the year before it’s actually over is a little hasty, and anyway thoughts take time to filter down. It’s like collecting rain in a bucket — it takes as long as it takes, so why be in a hurry?

Anyway, on with the music. I’m hard-pressed to explain why I’m putting these two albums together. I’m sure there is an affinity between them, it’s just hard to put your finger on. Beck is an established veteran, Banhart a relative newcomer (albeit a prolific one). Cripple Crow is spare and acoustic, with a sound that could have been achieved just as easily in 1969; Guero is all Pro Tools and the Dust Brothers, with an ultramodern low end and every note in digitally perfect position.
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Groundhog Day

Posted in Whatever Else on February 2nd, 2006 by bill

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Well, the results are in: That goddamn rodent saw his shadow again, dooming us to six more weeks of winter. Not that winter in the Oaktown is anything to get all worked up about, although I am kind of tired of the rain. It’s just such a tease; every year we’re promised the possibility of early spring, only to have it cruelly snatched away by an animal with a lower IQ than the average NASCAR fan. When was the last time the wretched creature failed to see its shadow? Why must we go through this charade year after year? And why on Earth did we empower this lowly beast — not even a primate, barely a mammal — to dictate our weather to us? Doesn’t it violate one of the commandments? Oh Lord, I beseech thee, smite the groundhog and deliver us from its tyranny.

Minor insight of the day

Posted in Whatever Else on February 1st, 2006 by bill

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Separated at birth?

In the last week I’ve watched both Casablanca and Star Wars (the original one — I can’t stand to call it “Episode IV” or “A New Hope”). And all of a sudden it occurred to me that Han Solo is Rick Blaine: the cynical mercenary who turns out to be a big softie. It’s so obvious I can’t believe I never thought of it before. Did everyone else already know this? If so, why didn’t anyone tell me?