Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day

I'm in the throes of wrapping up my first quarter of classes, but take some time off of your Memorial Day to flip through some of these photos taken during World War I of soldiers of the British Empire as they prepare for one of the longest and bloodiest battles in recorded history.

Which isn't to say that they're particularly sad or harrowing, but they are worth taking a look at, especially considering that they've been sitting in a French barn for the past 90 years and that next to nothing is known about them.

For me, I can only look at them and see these people, most of whom were probably younger than I am now when these were taken and many of whom were probably dead 6 months later, these people trying to retain something of themselves in what could only have been miserable conditions. They pose proudly, sometimes smiling, sometimes with local children, putting on a brave face to send back home to their parents or sweethearts or friends.

WWI both fascinates and terrifies me. It conjures the images placed there by people like Owen and Remarque, these horrific images of panic and weariness and death. this is a war in which modern warfare was born, and largely without the sister development of modern medicine that is supposed to accompany it. Never a good combination.

I've never been stupid enough to think I could hack it in a war. But if there is indeed a war that scares me above all others, this is it. War has never been sensible. But as hard to believe, I think it has only gotten more sensible.

Stop and remember that people are dead today. You don't have to agree with their cause or their government. you don't have to pick someone from your country. You don't have to pick the winners or the losers. But just think for a second that millions and millions of people have died for causes that are forgotten by most today. You don't have to remember them. But at least stop and think of them for a minute. It's the least they've earned.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

This is a picture, not a painting, of the Forth railway bridge in Scotland. It's apparently the "one internationally recognized Scottish landmark", which is news to me, but looking at this picture, I can certainly see why.

warning: other views are not as glamorous.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

1. Tom
2. "Let's Move to the Country" - Smog
3. "Section House" - The End of the World
4. "Je N'Aime Que Toi" - Ludivine Sagnier, Louis Garel, Clothilde Hesme
5. "Don't Be a Rude Boy" - The Rulers
6. "Chances Are" - The Breeders
7. "Silver Threads Among the Gold" - Cheyenne Mize and Bonnie "Prince" Billy
8. "What time is it?"
9. "Pinch Me (Baby Convince Me)" - Chestnut Station
10. "The Boys Are Leaving Town" - Japandroids
11. "And the Hazy Sea" - Cymbals Eat Guitars
12. "The Man Who Played God" (feat. Nina Persson) - Danger Mouse & Sparklerhorse
13. "When Will You Come Home" (Jouhn Peel version) - Galaxie 500
14. "It Just Dawned on Me" - John Doe and the Sadies
15. "What Time it is?"
16. "You Might as Well" - Sera Cahoone
17. "Freeway" - Kurt Vile
18. "Soldiers Take Over" - The Rio Grandes
19. "Loving Cajun Style" - Freddy Fender
20. "But I'm Different Now" - The Jam
21. "If You See What I Mean" - P.P. Arnold

download here.

This is mix I've been playing with for some time now, and I just now slapped some final pieces in and conjured up some artwork. I had to cut a few songs because they were too long, but it's kinda sad because I know I'll forget about them the next time I sit down to this. The new computer either makes it much harder or much easier to make mixes on, I haven't decided which, though.
the picture is of the old Luna Park in the North Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh. There were Luna Parks built all over the country, and this one seems only to have operated between 1905-1909, which is surprsing, considering how nice it looks and how much money was in that city at the time. About 85 years after that picture was taken, I lived there, any trace of it had disappeared. There's still a bar named after the place there, one I have only slurry memories of, but recall it as having the drunkest bartenders and most sexually ambiguous bouncer in town. Within 8 minutes of moving to the neighborhood, I locked my keys in the car right in front of the place and had the distinct pleasure of helping a talking to the cop with a beer in my hand as he slim-jimmed my door open (permanently damaging said passenger-side door inthe process). Once, while on a pseudo-date there, I man tried to sell me shopping bag full of pornography.
Good times....

Friday, May 15, 2009

Three separate friends, none of whom know each other, each had children in the past three days. This has to be some weird strike of stork lightning, right? RIGHT?

In any case, my congratulations go out to all of you that might read this. I'm truly amazed by your individual and collective efforts. May your children be strong and beautiful and carry the wonderful qualities that I see in their parents.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

As a requirement for one of my classes, I've been working what amounts to an online reference desk at the Internet Public Library. So far, it's been a pretty pleasant experience, and I enjoy it because I get to choose what questions I answer, which means it's usually something that I'm at least mildly curious about. Anything from Philadelphia's role in the Civil War to copyright laws, I've managed to pick up some interesting stuff.
A question I answered today was "Is Hello Kitty from Japan or England". It seemed like a pretty easy one to me, but as always that's a little deceiving (answer: both). Anyway, in my research, I stumbled across news records of the Hello Kitty murder, a case that shocked Hong Kong towards the end of the year 2000. Basically what happened is that a young woman was kidnapped, tortured, and murdered before her decapitated head was stuffed inside of a Hello Kitty doll. Terrifying, right? What's even crazier is that a 13 year-old girl had apparently been dreaming about it before the police there figured out what happened. Yikes. Anyway, I'm sorry if I'm ruining it for you, but I thought it was morbidly interesting.

Hopefully I'll have something a little more positive to report on for my next question...

Not to mention that there seems to be a number of Hello Kitty guns on the market... which I'm not even gonna get into.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I know I've been scarce lately, thank midterms. I'm too tired to think, and I've been listening to a startling amount of musical theater while I've been studying lately. I think it goes back to the (terrible) study habits I picked up when I once shared a study space with one of my brothers and one of my sisters and in an effort to fool my parents into thinking this setup was effective (it wasn't, but my siblings could smoke cigarettes in the house undetected), they would play Les Miserables while we sifted through notebooks.

In any case, I'll post something later, but in the meantime I need to get back to homework and then seriously try to limp my way over to the gym so I can claim I at least walked that far out of the house.

For now, though, I feel like this little guy.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Captain Chaos R.I.P.

Great, now I got the Golden Girls and Cannonball Run to slough through.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Thru You: Imagine slapping together songs a la Garageband, only with Youtube videos. The result is this hodgepodge of guys pretending to film instructional videos, jagoffs videotaping themselves shredding in their bedroom, distraught girls singing to themselves, etc... The list goes on. It sort of gels, and sort of looks like a bunch of people whose videos were chopped up and arranged into songs on more YouTube videos.

Anyway, it's worth checking out. It's real evidence that with enough pot and editing software, you can truly put something together. I recommend tracks 1,3,4, and 7.

edit: and pets. There seem to be a lot of pets around these people.
One of the more entertaining aspects of David Souter's retirement: I've heard the term "Bork" four times since Friday.

Sure, it's probably more of a name than a term, but it's still pretty awesome.

This is going to be a long, dumb war between ideologies coming up, but I can't imagine it's going to end up all that different that it is now.

hey, That should be a motto for our political system.
Saw this the other day and I can honestly say that it's a pretty decent approximation of the inside of my head.