28 April 2009

Random Music Tuesdays: "Angel On My Shoulder" by Kaskade Featuring Tamra Keenan

I have my beau to thank for this week's selection. It's a song written and mixed by Ryan Raddon, better known by his stage name Kaskade. This mix is taken from the song's single, but the song comes from Kaskade's fifth album Strobelite Seduction and features Tamra Keenan on vocals.

Kaskade has quickly become one of my favorite dance music mixers. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.


Angel On My Shoulder (Extended Edit) - Kaskade

24 April 2009

Joke Of The Week

"Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining or testing your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live." -- Dave Carhart

21 April 2009

What Happens When The Lights Are Off

I'm sure you're familiar with this video. It's made quite the rounds over the past week.



What you didn't see is what happened after Ms. Roesgen sent it back to the studio. Have a look.



There were two things that stood out to me as I watched the second clip. First is Ms. Roesgen telling the woman, at the 3:50 mark of the second video, "You don't need to be so antagonistic." Antagonistic? Watch the first video again and see antagonism jump out at the 0:54 mark. I guess what's good for the goose isn't good for the gander.

The second thing that jumped out at me was when Ms. Roesgen said, at the 4:08 mark of the second video, "I looked at every sign that was in our field of view." Every sign? Really, Ms. Roesgen? That very same sign that the woman pointed in the second video is very clear to see in the first video as well (at the 0:29 mark). Surely Ms. Roesgen could have seen it if she tried. I wasn't even trying and I saw it.

Now before you jump all in my sh!t about being a right-wing nutjob, I'm not. I would just have easily called out any other news organization. Because I believe in fairness, especially in our "unbiased" mainstream media reporting. Unfortunately, I don't think there are any unbiased reporters left in the MSM.

Random Music Tuesdays: "Ready For A Miracle" by Patti LaBelle And Edwin Hawkins

The movie may have been forgettable, but the soundtrack rocked! With a reworking of a song from a musical, a cover of an Elton John tune, and a most epic classic rock song, this soundtrack was already bitchin'. Throw in a bunch of gospel music and ... well ... how could you not love it?

What's that? Not good enough? You need another reason? Fine. I'll see your skepticism with one gospel legend and raise you one diva with street cred and pipes. And what! I defy you to listen to this and not get religion.

And all God's children say ... AMEN!


Ready For A Miracle - Patti LaBelle And Edwin Hawkins

20 April 2009

Does Washington Have A New Professional Sports Team?



Has the play of the Washington Nationals gotten so bad that they have to distract the fans any way they can? Or are the owners still pinching pennies so tightly that they're skimping on letters?

I wouldn't be surprised by either. Let's face it, the Nationals aren't exactly taking Major League Baseball by storm this year. And the Lerners have uncharacteristically opened their wallets a little early this year.

Someone needs to speak to the folk over on 'Taxation Without Representation' Street and let them know that they have now fielded the biggest laughing stock in all of sportsdom. And that's saying quite a bit.

19 April 2009

We're So Small And The World's So Vast. We Found Each Other Down In The Grass.

First, this post is inspired by my parents, who have been together for more than 40 years.

Second, the post title is taken from "September Grass" from James Taylor's album October Road.

Third, while there will be references to my relationship with my ex, I'm not wishing to have that back. The past is the past, and for the most part, it's a good one and I will always treasure it.

Good. We have an understanding. Now.

I want what my parents have. I want someone to see me, disgusting faults and all, and still want and love me. I want someone who will know me inside and out, who will discover those deepest darkest parts of me, and will still readily claim "He's mine!"

I thought I had that with my ex. But I didn't. It's not his fault, nor is it mine. Despite our best efforts, we weren't meant to be.

Yet each passing day makes me wonder ... Has my time passed? Am I beyond the point of someone taking a gamble on me?

I'd like to think I'm not. But I'm hardly the judge on this point, now am I?

I don't know what I should think or how I should act. I can only do the best I can and hope that the Universe will return the best to me.

17 April 2009

Expectations

A couple days ago, I watched the video clip from "Britain's Got Talent", in which Susan Boyle wowed the judges with her rendition of "I Dreamed A Dream" from Les Misérables. In case you've been living under a rock the past week, here is the clip with the actual song beginning at the 1:44 mark.



Ms. Boyle has been the darling of the Internet ... aye, the world even ... based on this simple Google search. Why, she even already has her own Wikipedia page. Her voice has been described as "angelic", "pitch perfect", and "breathtaking".

I have to admit that the first time I watched the video, I was incredibly impressed as well. But upon further viewing, I realized that I had fallen for one of the oldest tricks in the book.

See, Ms. Boyle isn't what a great number of us would call attractive. I get the impression that this self admitted "never been kissed" woman might not be the most socially adept person in her hometown of Blackburn, Scotland. It is for these reasons, her homely looks and her awkward manners, that we have been duped into believing her talents to be more than they really are.

What we see in Ms. Boyle is a bit of ourselves. We see our own commonness. We see our own wish to achieve a dream. We see our own hope to pursue that which we love. And in seeing part of ourselves in her, we elevate her own abilities higher than they truly are. Don't get me wrong. Ms. Boyle has a nice voice. I would even go as far as to say it's lovely. But "angelic"? "Pitch perfect"? "Breathtaking"? Hardly. She is simply enjoying the fruits of exceeding the very low expectations we had of her upon first impression.

These aren't sour grapes. Nor am I trying to tear Ms. Boyle down. I simply want things to be kept in perspective. The world had done her no favors by mocking her appearance before and it continues to do her no favors by exaggerating her talents now.

I sincerely wish her the best as she moves forward in this competition. I even hope she wins the whole enchilada. But let's not fool ourselves here ... she isn't going to be the next Elaine Page.

16 April 2009

*SIGH*

There is very little more heartbreaking than to have to turn down a job possibility on the phone because you don't have the experience for it (not even close) ... especially when that job possibility would have increased your annual salary by $50,000.

Le sigh.

15 April 2009

Rock The Red!

Tonight is Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, with the New York Rangers facing my Washington Capitals at the Phone Booth at 7pm. The game will be aired on Comcast Sports Network.

Although I have season tickets and tickets to all post-season games, I will not be able to watch the game, due to work. But I will be recording it and will be Rocking The Red in my heart.

LET'S GO CAPS!!!

Breaks On Tax Day

Yes, happy Tax Day, my faithful readers! This is the day to which we all look forward each year. It is the day in which we write letters to Uncle Sam, telling him what we want so early in the new year.

What's that? Uncle Sam is being stingy with the cash? Fret not! There are rebates all around you!

God bless America!

14 April 2009

Taking His Ball And ... Oh, Wait ... It's Not His Ball (UPDATED)

It seems that our City Council and our Mayor will never get along. Fenty is yet again playing hard ball and trying to squeeze the councilmembers out of their private suite.
For the second year in a row, D.C. Council members say Mayor Adrian M. Fenty is holding hostage the baseball tickets to their suite at Nationals Park.

The councilmembers, showing that they aren't some bush league team, are once more stepping up to the plate.
[Council Chairman Vincent C.] Gray said he will write a letter to the Nationals today demanding that they void the tickets for Suite 61 that Fenty is holding.

"We know these tickets were intended for Council members," Gray said. "This will be an opportunity for them to correct their mistake."

One councilmember decided that enough is enough and will go to bat for the residents of this fine city.
Council member Kwame Brown (D-At Large) said he's considering going even farther. Brown said he might introduce legislation to put both the Council's and the Mayor's suites at the ballpark on the auction block.

"We should sell both boxes to the highest bidder and use the money to help with budget pressures," Brown said. "It's the people's boxes. It's the people's stadium. Why does the mayor get the boxes?"

Some residents are already hoping that Brown's legislation will make the line-up; he is certainly swinging for the fences with it. If it does happen, Brown would hit one out of the park and become the populists' MVP.

Right now, this is anyone's ballgame. Someone will be the hero and someone will be the goat.

But quite frankly, I'm a bit tired of both sides making every miniscule issue a bench clearing rhubarb. I don't understand how they can't both see that they're playing on the same team ... the team of The District of Columbia.

UPDATE: Washington City Paper has the transcript from this morning's exchange between Mayor Fenty and the media. You really should listen to it ... it loses a lot in translation from audio to text.

Smithsonian Selects The Next Great Museum

Several weeks ago, the Smithsonian Institution reviewed the designs of the six finalists for the new African American Museum to be built on the National Mall on Constitution Avenue between 14th and 15th Streets NW. For those who can't visualize it, the location will be here:


View Larger Map

After roughly 2-1/2 weeks of looking over the six proposals, the Smithsonian has chosen a design that it thinks "will be an important addition to the National Mall and to the architecture of the city".
The winning designers -- the Freelon Group, Adjaye Associates, Davis Brody Bond and SmithGroup -- envisioned a museum with two of the above-ground stories shaped like wide crowns. They sit upon a wide stone porch, and the exhibits are contained on four floors. The exterior features bronze screens that change color during the day and night, and are designed to be porous filters for light inside the sharp geometric structure.

David Adjaye, one of the architects, said the design followed themes of "celebration and praise. We are celebrating an incredible journey and looking to the future."

While quite striking, the Freelon Group, Adjaye Associates, Davis Brody Bond, and SmithGroup design was only my second favorite. I much preferred the Foster + Partners/URS Group, Inc. design ("Proposal C" from the first link in this post) because of its soft lines, its harmony with the landscape, and its contrast with the harsh rectangular buildings surrounding it.

Still, the Smithsonian has chosen a smart design that should fit well amongst the rest of the museums on the Mall.


Random Music Tuesdays: "Fool In The Rain" by Led Zeppelin

Included on their eighth record In Through The Out Door, "Fool In The Rain" was the final song to make the American pop singles charts for Led Zeppelin. It would also be the last time the band recorded together, as drummer John Bonham died of pulmonary edema a year later.

I dig this song because:
  1. C'mon ... it's friggin' Led Zeppelin!
  2. It has a whistle! Any rock song with a whistle automatically kicks @$$.
  3. It has one of the coolest groove lines ever with bassist John Paul Jones at the piano.
  4. The whistle marks a samba-style breakdown in the middle of the song. You know I loves me some Latin-influenced music.
  5. The song is so damned infectious!

This work of art is over six minutes long (6:13, to be exact) so make sure you've set aside some time before clicking that arrow down there.


Fool In The Rain - Led Zeppelin

13 April 2009

Dancing On The Head Of A Pin

Once in a great while, I will experience something so brief as to almost go unnoticed ... a lyric in a song, a scent on a breeze, a glimpse of a color ... that will cause my past and present to merge for one singular moment. In that moment I realize all over again how fantastically, sadly, beautifully, tragically wonderful my life is.

I remember how insignificant I am in this universe. I remember how blessed I am to have people in my life who would argue that fact with me. I remember what I have lost. I remember what I have gained. I remember what brings me joy and what I could do without. I remember my sins and how many of them have gone without atonement. I remember how deeply I have loved. I remember how hotly I have hated. I remember moments I have tried painfully to erase from my memory.

I can clearly see this person that I am and all that has happened to shape me.

And in this one singular moment I know that I am exactly who I am meant to be. In this one singular moment I am completely at peace.

11 April 2009

Is This Man Even American?

It's bad enough that the President is so ashamed of his country that he has to apologize the the whole world. Does he also have to whif at his Presidential duties?

10 April 2009

Spring Cleaning, On The Inside


2009 has been a year of changes. It started with relationships, some ending and some beginning.

Then I quit smoking.

Yes, you read that right. I quit smoking.

Then I joined a kickball league.

Yes, you read that right, too. I joined a kickball league.

A bunch of good friends of mine decided to form a team this year and I was asked to play along. And so I am. Lord knows I need the exercise. Sitting around the house all day is not good for anything, except for getting fat and lazy. Maybe it's just me but I don't think this would look good on me. Not a'tall.

Kickball is very much as I remember it from elementary school ... except that perhaps the ball seems a wee bit smaller than it did back then. You still have to kick the ball, on the ground preferably. You still have to run the bases. You still have to catch the ball. And you still have to dodge the ball. The game is still a blast.

So we had our second practice last night (the first that I could make). While not all of our players were present, twelve of us were. We practiced throwing, catching, and kicking. Then we played a 6-on-6 scrimmage game. I have to say that, based on what I saw last night, we've got a pretty good team. Our defense is pretty darned good, if I do say so myself ... and I did. Our offense, however, needs some work. We kick way too many fly balls and we aren't thinking strategically. But we've planned a few more practices before the first game of the season to iron out the wrinkles and work out the kinks.

So far this year, I'm making good decisions. This is yet another. And I'm glad I decided to do this.

Do I sense a recurring kickball recap coming?

09 April 2009

Ah ... Disturbing Commercials I Love ... From Quizno's

A recent status update on a certain social networking site stated the following: "[User Name] is wondering if anyone else finds the Quiznos commercials a tad ... inappropriate?" The commercial to which this user is referring is this one:



It's not the only Quizno's commercial running right now. In fact, it's one of three (from my latest counts) involving the toaster oven and Scott. But watching them reminded me of another Quizno's commercial that was disturbing ... and yet I also loved it:



Again, while this was not the only Quizno's commercial involving the Spongmonkeys, but it was the best.

Or how about this oldie but goodie:



Ah. Good times. But before you think that I'm a fan of all of Quizno's commercials, there was one line of commercials that I just could not stand.



There's something wrong about a talking baby with a smoker's voice. There's something even more gross about a grown woman flirting with a baby.

Am I alone here? What are your favorite or most hated commercials?

08 April 2009

A Startling Television Mystery Solved

This week's episode of House M.D., began with and focused on the suicide of Dr. Lawrence Kutner. Dr. Kutner was played by actor Kal Penn, best known for co-staring in the "Harold and Kumar" movies.

Dr. Kutner was introduced last season as one of Dr. House's new diagnostic team. His character brought a warmth and a calm that seemed absent from the rest of the team. He had become a fan favorite because of this and his suicide was sudden and jarring. The bulk of this week's episode focused on finding reason for/in Dr. Kutner's suicide. While none was found onscreen, we finally have one offscreen.
Actor and longtime Obama supporter Kal Penn is joining the Obama administration, the White House confirmed to CNN Tuesday.

The actor will be part of the White House Office of Public Liaison, which is run by Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. Penn will be primarily involved in dealing with Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and the arts community.

It appears that the way that his character was written off the show was as much a shock to him as it was to the rest of us.
One of the things I love about our show is you never know what's going to happen. So that news struck me in the same way we hope it strikes the audience: there was a little bit of anger and some depression. You really go through those emotions, especially when somebody dies in that fashion. Ultimately, it was a really interesting choice for them to make. We don't really know why he did it, unless it's resolved in the episodes after [I left], which, of course, I'm not privy to anymore. At least in [last night's] episode, we don't really know why he did it. There's no note. There's no explanation. And as a testament to David and Katie, that's a huge risk. 'Cause it is going to make people upset, and it is going to piss off some of the audience. And, ultimately, in my opinion, that's what art really is -- when you can conjure up those kinds of emotions. And it's rare nowadays to be able to do that on network television, but they managed to.

I wish Mr. Penn all the best in his new (political) role. His acting on House M.D. will be missed.

Countdown

One ...

... two ...

... three ...

... four ...

... four-and-a-half ...

... five?

Touché, Tuffie. Touché.

Remember this? Well ... no more trash-talking. It's game on, biatches!

Thanks for the heads up, Tuffie!

07 April 2009

04 April 2009

Sorry ...

... no blogging today or tomorrow. It's just too nice outside. Catch you on Monday, peeps!

03 April 2009

Joke Of The Week

One particular Sunday morning, Pastor Green noticed little Steven was standing and staring up at the large plaque that hung in the foyer of the church. The young lad of seven had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the pastor walked up and stood beside him. Gazing up at the plaque along with the boy, he said quietly, "Good morning, son."

"Good morning, pastor" replied the boy, not taking his eyes off the plaque. "Sir, what is this?" Steven asked.

"Well, son, these are all the people who have died in the service," replied the pastor. Soberly, they stood together staring up at the large plaque.

Little Steven's voice barely broke the silence when he asked quietly, "Which one, sir ... Sunday School or the 10:30 service?"

02 April 2009

A TV Favorite Returns

Project Runway is coming back to cable TV on Lifetime sometime this summer. And hosannas were heard throughout the fashion world. Make it work, people!

Anacostia Rail Delayed Again. Surprise All Around.


Well, this sucks monkey balls.
The District's much-anticipated streetcar project is running behind schedule, pushing plans to run a red-and-gray trolley in Anacostia from late this year to sometime in 2012, officials said.

Apparently, this latest delay was born from the route change.
District officials had planned a 1.3-mile segment between Bolling Air Force Base and the Anacostia Metro station. But D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) and several community representatives argued that it made little sense to run a city-funded line on a route flanked by a freeway on one side and a military installation on the other. In November, officials announced they were dropping the southern portion to Bolling and extending the route north through downtown Anacostia, along Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE to Good Hope Road. The new route would begin at a maintenance facility to be built at Firth Sterling Avenue SE and South Capitol Street.

And those streetcars that have been in storage in the Czech Republic? Don't worry too much about them.
Meanwhile, the Czech manufacturer is conducting monthly maintenance on the streetcars. They are powered up and operated for about 200 yards on tracks in Ostrava, then put back in storage.

It would be nice to have this done sooner rather than later. But that's D.C. for you.

Since We're Talking Vices

The House of Representatives passed legislation that will allow the Federal Government to regulate tobacco products.
[California Democrat Rep. Henry Waxman's] bill wouldn't let the FDA ban nicotine or tobacco outright, but the agency would be able to regulate the contents of tobacco products, make public their ingredients, prohibit flavoring, require much larger warning labels and strictly control or prohibit marketing campaigns, especially those geared toward children.

The Senate would still have to write up its own bill. And the President would still have to sign whatever makes it out of Congress. So it's not a done deal. But still, this news on top of the yesterday's tobacco tax hike.
The increases, which raise the federal cigarette tax from 39 cents a pack to $1.01, applies to all tobacco products. It comes as more than two dozen states, desperate for revenue in a sunken economy, consider boosting their own tobacco taxes this year.

It's enough to make one think that if Government can't cajole, shame, or persuade smokers into quitting then they'll tax and regulate them into quitting.

But our government would never do that.

You've Got To Be Kidding Me With This

Dear alcoholics, please stop destroying the earth. Thank you.

01 April 2009

No April Fool's Joke

No, my faithful readers, this is the real deal. If you've had it, please let the rest of us know how it is. Until then, I'll try to keep the bile from rising in my throat.

A Step Back In The Right Direction

It seems that the ill-will from last year is mostly gone and our new tenants are becoming good, responsible tenants. I admit that I was terribly excited when the District finally landed a baseball team. But all the bull$h!t from last year seriously soured me on the team. This won't win me back completely, but it does abate my anger a little towards them for being such douchebags.

Now start fielding a team that can actually play and win games, and you might win back this former season ticket holder.

Of Life And Limbs

I told you that I would be opening up more and I am.

I don't like limbs. I don't like being out there on them. I made a decision recently (i.e. within the past six months) that I would no longer allow myself to be left on one by myself.

Limbs are flimsy. Limbs are uncertain. Limbs can break. And you know what's there to stop you when they do? Nothing. What you get is lacerated by the other limbs as gravity takes control. Not fun. Not at all.

And so I won't do it. I won't be the only one to climb out there. I won't be the only one to be left out there. I've done it more times in my life than I care to count ... the one to stick his neck out professionally for a "friend", the one to be in a place personally when other parties are not, the one to volunteer out of some perverse sense of duty and fairness.

I won't be that person any more.

Let me ask you, my faithful readers (and recent folk) ... how many times in your life have you been left out on a limb either because you crawled out there of your own accord, crawled out there because you thought you would be accompanied, or left out there because everyone else crawled back to the trunk? Please share with the class. You may do so anonymously, if you so wish. Inquiring minds want to know.

What's Good For The Goose Is Good For Th ... Oh Look, A Penny!

Mayor Fenty, whatever shall we do with you? You are turning out to be everything I thought (and hoped you would not) be. Just like another certain recently-elected official, you said a lot of pretty, popular things during your campaign but your actual governance is ... how shall we say ... radically different.

Let's take a look at one thing in particular over which you were very harsh with your predecessor: traveling.

The mayor's traveling habits are getting so bad ... so secretively, shadowy bad ... that he is receiving unsolicited advice on how he should be handling it.
"It comes down to making people understand the priority being served, and the connection of where you are going will be a benefit to the city," said D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D), who has attended two car shows in Europe and a shopping convention in Las Vegas with other city officials. The Washington Auto Show organizers paid for his trips to Europe, which were aimed at drumming up support for the D.C. show, and his council budget paid for the trip to Las Vegas.

I think it goes down deeper than that.
Still, Fenty's approach has left him open to the kind of second-guessing that he used to do to former mayor Williams (D), who was dogged for leaving town too often. Williams, who served as the head of the National League of Cities, traveled 137 days during one year.

See, Anthony Williams had good cause, open cause, appropriate cause for his traveling. What cause does Fenty have? Who knows. The mayor isn't saying much about it.

Oh. And if you think I'm the only one raising stink over this, think again.

Happy April Fools' Day

What is the greatest April Fools prank you have ever pulled?

The comments are yours.