27 January 2009

I Try Not To Worry, But You've Got Me Terrified

The title of this post comes from Death Cab For Cutie lyrics heard on their latest effort, Narrow Stairs. The particular song is "Your New Twin Sized Bed." It's a great song.

What's not so great is the new reports that using the entirety of the $700 billion bailout cash could actually end up costing us $4 trillion. That's not so easy to swallow especially with the new administration and the Fed looking to create "aggregator banks" and other ideas to leverage the remaining bailout funds to deal with banks' illiquid assets.

It looks like the executive branch has its mind made up, though. No one seems to be listening to the voice of logic or the voice of the people who see this as continuing on a path of destruction. I guess we don't follow the example set by others. 'Tis ashame.

23 January 2009

Kill The Music

I'm at a loss for how to accurately describe the film The Tracey Fragments. It starts Ellen Page in a dramatic roll and the film itself was nothing short of an unbelievable labor of love. The entire film uses many frames and takes of scenes and pieces them together with other parts of the film in many different boxes that are continually moving and changing on the screen. Definitely not a film for those with ADD or a short attention span. But it's worth watching. And I apologize for being very vague, but this is a hard movie to try to describe.

22 January 2009

Prepare Your Speech

It's back. Lost is back for season five and it started out with a bang. After what turned out to be a great and informative season four, this season is looking to provide a good balance of keeping the viewer on the edge of their seat and answering a lot of questions.

Prepare to see the Oceanic Six make plans to get back to the island and Desmond be a great source of cause and effect. I am certainly a nerd about this, but it's a great show and I'm glad it's back.

21 January 2009

Alex Took Over For Alex Van Halen

Yesterday's inauguration was most definitely an historic and impressive event. And it better be impressive for an event that cost an estimated $170 million! I think I even heard that the stage built around the facade of the Capital building cost approximately $5 million! And if you're keeping score, that's two exclamation points in this post. The often times feared exclamation point is a punctuation mark that I very rarely use so to have it twice in one post show my truest shock.

Anyway, it really was great to watch. I kept trying to think of times when I was a kid when there wasn't even a hope of a black president (no, Alan Keyes didn't even get close). So the magnitude of it all was cool.

But I began to think about the task ahead of Obama. Yes, he has millions of people supporting him. And it's true that many are supporting him solely because of his race, but nevertheless he has the support. The fact of the matter is, however, that we are welcoming a President into the rule of a nearly bankrupt country which is supported by many major decision makers who are doing nothing more than winging it.

Check out this article for why we need to look upon Obama's new role with some much-warranted skepticism.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm pulling for the guy. I truly hope that he can do every thing needed to turn this mess or a nation around. But we all have to realize that even though Obama may stand before us with much integrity, there are the hundreds standing behind him with richly lined pockets and more selfish interests than those of the interests of the people of this nation.

20 January 2009

Deep Red Bells

Last week I used the often times trusty Netflix recommendation for a movie and King of California was sent to our house. The film starts Michael Douglas and Evan Rachel Wood and is the story of Douglas' character, Charlie, who has been released from a mental hospital and come home to live with his daughter, Miranda (Wood's character).

The story gets interesting with Charlie begins convincing Miranda that he's found the way to trace a hidden treasure left buried somewhere in southern California by a great Mexican traveler.

The story is entertaining and Douglas does an amazing job of playing an un-polished, crazy man. I wouldn't rush this one to the top of your cue, but it was a fun movie to watch. Good story, great visuals and nice choices of music.

15 January 2009

I Saw In The Bedroom

This one is too crazy not to post. According to this blog on Outside Magazine's site, people are taking to the staple to lose weight. "But isn't stomach stapling common?" you ask. Stomach stapling is common, indeed, but this is talking about ear stapling. Weird, right?

There are a large number of skeptics, but also a great number of people out there doing this with the hopes of curbing their appetite. A quick Google search yielded hundreds of sites with information and pricing for this procedure.

I think I like Outside's advice: Try going outside and running.

I like that idea. I think I'll stick to that.

11 January 2009

My Glove Compartment is Locked

This post is going to be a bit of a two-part post. We'll call it The Good & The Bad. So let's talk about the good. Hammock. Now, everyone knows that I'm a sucker for well-composed, ambient music. And I may or may not listen to Hammock all the time. Their latest effort, Maybe They Will Sing For Us Tomorrow, is nothing short of wildly impressive. Pulling strengths from their previous two efforts, this record will certainly keep you floating while making you think of the airports that Brian Eno wrote music for.

It's perfectly structured just enough to lack that rigid structure that makes ambient music so amiable. With layers upon layers of instrumentation, the depth created by these guys is really second to none. And if you don't trust me, you should know that Jónsi Birgisson of Sigur Ros recently asked the guys from Hammock to perform at one of his few art openings in the US for his Riceboy Sleeps art project and community. Riceboy Sleeps even took it upon themselves to create all of the artwork for the record. A nice tip of the hat, to be sure.

Check it out if you can. It's worth your time to really absorb this and any other record Hammock has created.

I Got Beef With Radio

Now on to the bad. Or as I call them, The Killers. Their newest album, Day & Age, is simply bad. Not horrendous, but compared to some of their previous tunes, which were pretty good, this compilation of 10 songs is weak, forced and at most times awkward.

Even the music video for their single, Human, is really weird and makes no sense whatsoever.

The songwriting is simply not good and is very very elementary on top of that. I don't have much room to criticize The Killers, but I know bad songs when I hear them and I've heard them and hope to not hear them again.

Having heard this poor effort, it makes me wonder if their other records were a fluke or if the guys in the band have come to a place where they simply don't care any more. You can decide for yourself, of course.

10 January 2009

Take Another Little Piece of My Heart

I am *not* a sucker for remixes, mashups or throwing DJ beats over Coldplay songs to make it really rave-like. But I've been sucked in to what I believe is being called Jaydiohead.

I'm not sure who's behind it or what mindset one would have to be in to take Radiohead's music and Jay Z's flow and stick them together. But I'll be darned if these songs haven't sucked me in. It's done so well that one might think that Radiohead wrote their music for the inherent purpose of being part of the world of hip hop.

I'd love to know more thoughts on this. Let me know what you think. Let's talk, turkey.

09 January 2009

Radio, Radio Contact

Time.com has published a report card for the financial bailout. It's a very interesting piece and I encourage you to check it out. A few of the lower grades were simply because the term "Bailout" didn't apply. Rather, in the case of Fannie and Freddie, it was actually a takeover. A buyout. Whatever. The US government assumed ownership of a company that was already neck deep in trillions of dollars of losses. This is a much larger risk than simply providing financial assistance to an organization.

The report card also gives Hank Paulson's $700 billion bailout a nasty C grading. All that money and houses keep foreclosing, jobs keep being made redundant and over all, it's made Paulson look like more of an idiot that before (that's right, he's always been an idiot). But he doesn't have to ask for a vote and the voice of the nation - even the voice of congress - doesn't matter to him.

The best grade given was the single A. It was given for the decision to provide larger financial insurance with banks and the FDIC. This one is going to really work out for the millionaires who happen to have excesses of over a quarter of million across a number of different account. Diversify, much?

Anyway, all this came to my attention while reading this article about Obama's proposed stimulus plan. He's meeting a lot of public and political resistance on this. More than he thought he would, I assume. But if the federal deficit is $1.2 trillion, what will an extra $750 billion hurt, right?

This was the best point of the article: The biggest split is over whether stimulus should take the form of tax cuts or government spending. The main argument for spending over taxes is that, at a time when American consumers have turned suddenly frugal, they're more likely to save any extra cash they get than spend it. This may be the right thing for most people to do, but it won't stimulate the economy. Meanwhile, if consumers do spend the money on TVs and cars and such, much of the impact will leak out overseas to pay for imports.

And that's exactly right. It's destined to fail. It's more about the campaign promises Obama made rather that doing what's actually right or logical, for that matter. It's not a small business where you have to spend money to make money. It's the nation teetering on literal bankruptcy and being in frightening debt with lovely folks such as China.

I reiterate...Maybe that *real* Change will come soon. Lord I hope so. Because the way things are looking now is simply unsettling.

08 January 2009

Put a Bullet to the NRA

This is a great Op-Ed piece by Thomas Geoghegan. It brings to light some of the weirdness surrounding the Blagojevich scandal and how the the Governors of certain states are unconstitutionally appointing Senators to fill the seats for those who are stepping over to a position on super team Obama. Something that I was unaware of is that it is actually illegal for state Governors to appoint a new Senator and that the Senators are required to be elected by a state-wide popular vote.

Anyway, have a read and prepare to be mildly frustrated. The entire system is flawed and we turn a blind eye to it. So sad.

In other Washington news, it looks like the Senate - even the blue portion of the Senate - is already shooting down Obama tax proposals. Dem. Senator, Kent Conrad even went so far as to say that his proposal was "misdirected." Maybe the real change is coming later.

05 January 2009

Maybe They Will Sing For Us Tomorrow

I promise that if you enjoy great movies that you will want to invest the time to watch Lars and the Real Girl. It stars Ryan Gosling as Lars, a simple man living and working in a nondescript Midwestern town. Having lived a mostly introverted life, Lars welcomes Bianca, a perfectly-designed, mail-order "female companion," into his quiet life.

After a local doctor diagnoses Lars as delusional, his brother, friends and co-workers simply have to go along with appeasing Lars and his belief that Bianca is his real-life girlfriend.

The movie is shot with each scene seeming as though it's a perfectly framed photograph and Gosling's performance as Lars is really amazing. The music is also pretty awesome. All around, I found nothing negative to think about this film.