Saturday, June 20, 2009

Saturday Musical Tribute, and a Brief Farewell from Harrogate

Off of Pink Floyd's much-maligned, but actually quite excellent, 1994 record The Division Bell. Here's the sublime album cover:

The song is "High Hopes," even without Waters it captures much of the beauty of Floyd. Enjoy the song, friends. Harrogate rejoins the TRS ranks in a week.

Assy McGee Award® for Saturday, June 20th: Bill O'Reilly Laments the Culture of "Personal Attacks Leveled Against Public People"

Chalk this one up in the OMFG category. Bill O'Reilly's column today weighs in on Letterman's now infamous joke about Sarah Palin and her daughter(s), and wags his righteous finger at an American discourse in which "increasingly, personal attacks are being used to marginalize opposing points of view."

Even more entertaining is this line: "I've been on the Letterman program five times. Last time around, he called me a goon and mocked Rush Limbaugh's weight. I asked him why he was doing that, but he did not have an answer."

So yeah, OMFG. Here we have a worldview in which Sarah Palin, Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh, are victims of increasingly crass, personal discourse represented by David Letterman.

O'Reilly, whose mode of discourse is fairly represented by the fact that he continues to pride himself on branding George Tiller with the "Baby Killer" moniker for year upon year. He laments the personal attack on Palin and her daughters. Palin, too, decried it as sexist, condescending, and more than a little bit gross to boot. All of which is bad. But calling GOP voters and their leaders the "real Americans," and the Dem candidate a friend of terrorists: that's just being "folks."


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A new love

C recently bought me Jason Mraz's new cd "A Beautiful Mess," and I have fallen in love with him. In fact, I'm declaring him my new boyfriend. Here is my favorite track off the album, "Make It Mine."

"A Profitable Enterprise"; Or, No Longer Meh about Clapton

Here is Slow Hand at his best.

Wednesday Musical Tribute Part the Second; or, A Dual Gesture of Love to M and Oxymoron

Sheryl Crow's "The Difficult Kind," as virtuously performed by herself and Eric Clapton.

Wednesday Musical Tribute, and a Homage of Sorts, to Little Green Footballs

Major Tip of the Hat to Little Green Footballs for this priceless image. Readers not familiar with the website should know that its proprietor, Charles Johnson, and the site's commenters regularly refer to themselves as "Lizards." While Harrogate has several times offered strong disagreement with LGF's politics, the unabashed centrism Johsnon represents includes a very strong support for speech rights and religious liberty, has vociferously defended Science and called out the nascent creationism that infests our current political landscape, and has made every bit as much effort to be fair to Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress, as he made with respect to Bush and the GOP Congress. Similarly, Johnson's loathing of the theocratic oppression in much of the Middle East is a sensibility that Americans of all political stripes ought to appreciate.

Plus, isn't the above just an awesome picture?

As an added measure of homage, Harrogate installs a wonderful live performance of Phish's "The Lizards," as the Wednesday Musical Tribute.

"Troll Slayer" Funniness; or, The Unstoppableness of the Twilight People

Monday, June 15, 2009

Monday Musical Tribute

A kickass version of "Gold Dust Woman" needs no particular reason to be posted. Verily, it simply deserves to be taken seriously.

A Right Winger's Response to Obama's Remarks on Islam in Cairo

An interesting column is up today, by Bruce Bialosky, entitled Let’s All Accept Islam.

The author is right that these Muslim theocracies are incredibly benighted, period, when it comes to political and human rights.

But what the author largely misses, as Bill Maher would quickly point out, is that what he is rightly skewering has a hell of a lot more to do with the nature of Theocracy than with the nature of Islam or any other religion. This is surely not a surprise given the author's political and religious biases. But if Bialosky wants to be intellectually honest, he'll have to accept the existence of a richly documented past of theocracies, ranging from pagan to Christian to Jewish to Mormon, featuring the broad suppression of women and in which social deviance of many kinds is met with violence on an institutional level.

The Old Testament reminds us that theocracies have rolled like this for quite some time.

Theocracy sucks. That's a statement to which Harrogate allows no "on the other hand."

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Buzz Is Building About Pixar's Lack of Female Protagonists

As Pixar's newest smash hit, Up, wows audiences in the way that all Pixar movies seem to do, a counter narrative about the franchise's lack of female protagonists is beginning to pick up real steam.

A week ago, from the blog "Truth, Justice, and Tacos", appeared a post, entitled Finding Nema - Where Are The Girls in Pixar Films?.

The thesis and methodological approach from the post:

This is not to say that Pixar doesn't include worthy female characters. But these characters are never the main focus - they're there to support the lead male character in whatever quest he's on. Most often, if you see a female, they're there either as a wife, mother or love interest.

Here's a breakdown of the notable female characters from each film, plus an overall feminist grade on the quality of the female characters:

Then today, appeared this post on the NPR website, endearingly entitled "Dear Pixar, From All The Girls With Band-Aids On Their Knees."

Gotta love this snippet:

I want so much for girls to have a movie like Up that is about someone they can dress up as for Halloween, as Anika Noni Rose said about starring as the voice in The Princess And The Frog. Not a girl who's a side dish, but a girl who's the big draw.

And I'd really, really like it not to be a princess.

My understanding is that after the summer blockbusters of 2010 and 2011 -- Toy Story 3 and Newt -- you're planning The Bear And The Bow, a Christmastime fairy tale rather than a summer adventure. And your first one about a girl -- way to go!

But why, oh why, does it have to be about a princess? Again?

Et tu, Pixar?


The Intellecutal Dishonesty, Indeed The Mendacity, of George Will-Style Econ-Conservatism, in a Nutshell

It is always a tough call deciding which piece of the ballyhooed Republican troica is worse. Is it the "social conservatives," the "fiscal conservatives," or the "national security hawks"? Harrogate puts these terms in quotation marks because they do not at all describe what it is they purport to. But, never mind that for now.

The following snippet from George Will's recent column,"More Judicial Activism, Please". Not so well buried within the "look how reasonable I am and how much constitutional understanding I possess" blather is at least one giant piece of hypocrisy.

Controversy about the judiciary's proper role is again at a boil because of a Supreme Court vacancy, and conservatives are warning against "judicial activism." But the Chrysler and GM bailouts and bankruptcies are reasons for conservatives to rethink the usefulness of that phrase and to make some distinctions.

Of course courts should not make policy or invent rights not stipulated or implied by statutes or the Constitution's text. But courts have no nobler function than that of actively defending property, contracts and other bulwarks of freedom against depredations by government, including by popularly elected, and popular, officials. Regarding Chrysler and GM, the executive branch is exercising powers it does not have under any statute or constitutional provision. At moments such as this, deference to the political branches constitutes dereliction of judicial duty.

Sunday Musical Tribute.... Waiting

Disclaimer: this post is for humor only. No one needs to read anything in to this post. It is time to laugh kids, it is time to laugh.

The theme for today revolves around the word: "waiting." Right now, our good friend M is waiting and waiting rather patiently too I would add. While I am sitting around as some sleep and others are at the store, I thought I would see how many good songs I could post that involve the word "waiting." And, I think, I got at least one song for everyone. Hopefully, while M waits, she will have a good soundtrack to enjoy.

May the pot boil!!!

The best song for me, of course, is Leonard Cohen's "Waiting for the Miracle." Even though this video is not the official video, it deserves the top billing if for no other reasons since I am here, awake, and posting the entry.

Besides "Waiting for a Miracle," here is a selective list of key songs and play excerpts that focus on the word "waiting." Remember, this is a selective list: no Jonas Brothers, Jenifer Whomever, John Mayer, or Richard Marx though I am not sure how Foreigner made the list. Also, remember, this is for laughs only as it is time to laugh. And, finally, now that I think about it, these are some damn good songs. Enjoy your Sunday.

One of the best ever: The Velvet Underground, "I'm Waiting for my Man."

For all of the punks in the audience tonight: Fugazi, "Waiting Room"

For Harrogate, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, "Waiting Is the Hardest Part"

For Oxymoron, maybe: Foreigner, "Waiting for a Girl Like You"

Another classic: The Rolling Stones, "Waiting on a Friend."

From The Garden State Soundtrack, Zero 7, "In the Waiting Line."

One of the best performers, ever: Annie Lennox, "Waiting in Vain."

A Classic: New Order, "Waiting for the Siren's Call"

Another classic: Depeche Mode, "Waiting for the Night"

For all of the Gap Punks in the audience tonight: Green Day, "Waiting"

For SupaDiscoMama: Gwen Stefani, "What You Waiting For?" (FIY- The Bean likes this song, a lot, as she dances in her high chair.)

Odd- Act I of Samuel Beckett's, "Waiting for Godot."

Odder, but kid friendly: From Monsterpiece Theatre, "Waiting for Elmo"

And last, but not least, Jack Johnson, "Sitting, Waiting, Watching."