Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Everybody Loves Sleater-Kinney But You

The new Sleater-Kinney album is (finally) out. It's not what I expected, but it's awesome. Don't believe me? How about the Onion AV Club?
Although hard to digest at first, The Woods ingratiates itself on subsequent listens, making the band's other albums seem half-baked by comparison. Sleater-Kinney might have set the bar impossibly high for its subsequent albums.

Or, how about Metacritic, which gives it a score of 85:
Fans may have to have The Woods surgically removed from their players. It's just that powerful, demanding to be heard.

Even if you don't care for their music, you have to give Sleater-Kinney credit. They already had a lot of critical acclaim for their last couple of albums, and they could easily have sold out and gone mainstream and made a mint. They could have followed the same arc as most cool bands as they grow huge: reaching a plateau of of boring maturity. REM is my personal favorite example of this phenomenon. They "grew" from thoroughly cool pioneering rockers, of whom I'd immediately buy every new album, to boring purveyors of grocery-store background music who I couldn't care less about. With The Woods, Sleater-Kinney gives that career path six big middle fingers.

P.S., from their website, you can stream The Woods free, or download an MP3 of the first single, "Entertain".

Friday, May 27, 2005

Onion Vol. 41 Issue 21

What Are We Drawing Strength From?
Better late than never? No. This week's Onion.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

TMW: Language Is A Virus

This Modern World comic excerpt
A good This Modern World this week: "Language Is A Virus - An Ongoing Look At The Myriad Ways In Which Really, Really Stupid Ideas Infect The Political Mainstream".

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

A Tiny Revolution Good; Onion Bad

Sea Cucumber saying, 'I'll take three letter words for $1000, Alex'
Just in case you don't already know about it, be sure to add A Tiny Revolution to your regular weblog-reading schedule. It's The Best. For example, today a post about the dangers faced by journalists who step on the wrong toes, and what happens when propagandists start actually believing their propaganda.
But... we have to consider the possibility that Ruffini actually believes what he's saying. It's one thing when the people in charge just spray everyone else with bullshit every day, but it's really something else when they start enthusiastically consuming the bullshit themselves. And it's possible that's what we're seeing here. America's right wing has built itself an entire self-enclosed fantasy world, and the people inside may be getting squirrelly.

The guy can just really turn a phrase. He's worth keeping up on, even when my beloved Onion isn't. Like it isn't again this week, with the exception of one teeny tiny funny little bit, which I'll give you in full here so you won't go to this week's issue at all.
Local Man Pushed Well Within Limits of Human Endurance
DURHAM, NC—In the face of reasonable odds, Louis Collins, 27, endured a challenge Monday that tested, but did not by any means exceed, his ability to persevere. "The line at the DMV was really long, and I had a lunch meeting at noon," said Collins, recounting the inconvenient event that ultimately did no lasting damage. "Then I realized that I still needed to fill out a form, but I didn't have a pen. If I had left the line to use a pen at the counter, I would have had to start all over. Thank goodness someone in line lent me one." In spite of the unremarkable series of obstacles, Collins still arrived at lunch on time.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Social Security Self Gratification

Putting proposed Social Security reforms in perspective, on A Tiny Revolution:

Of course, as I say, this kind of philosophizing has zero relevance to what actually happens with Social Security; that will be decided by the relative power of the groups involved. My doing this in public is just an impolite form of self-gratification. Nevertheless, let me just unzip my pants here and... ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

...So, the main question—whether or not we should have a mandatory, nationwide retirement system—is settled. The remaining question—how it should be organized—is comparatively minor.

...On the Football Field of Human Freedom, this advances the ball perhaps three inches toward the goal line. People who continually harp on this as a great moral triumph are, to my mind, severely weird.

Whew! Well, that really relieved my pent up tension. But now I've lost all interest in the subject and am immediately going to fall asleep.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Tom DeLay is Going DOWN

...I hope. His troubles are continuing, that's for sure. I've talked about the guy before here, and even The Onion pitched in a few weeks ago.
"I heard Tom DeLay's blood was in the water and the sharks were circling him, but unfortunately, it turned out to be a metaphor."

Now, check out the cool interactive graphic at House of Scandal, then sign Public Campaign Action's latest petition. It's bad enough that Congress is full of Republicans, let's at least get rid of the blatantly crooked ones.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Republicans Believe The Darndest Things

This Modern World

A good This Modern World this week, the latest installment in "an occasional look at the world as conservatives see it": Republicans Believe The Darndest Things.

Onion vol. 41 #18

Not the greatest Onion this week.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Fun With Tarballs

Came across this cool game, available for Windows, Mac and even Linux, thanks to a Macworld review.
The basic storyline behind Gish, a new side-scrolling platform action game by Chronic Logic, may sound a bit hackneyed. When his girlfriend, Brea, is captured by an evil fiend, Gish must descend into the labyrinthine subterranean sewer world of Dross to save her—jumping from platform to platform, knocking down walls, and battling all manner of strange creatures. There’s just one catch: Gish doesn’t have arms or legs. He’s a 12-pound, animated ball of tar.

Partly I like this game for the regular reasons: it's clever, it's original, and my kids love it. The physics and expressions of Gish are fun to just play with, whether he's grimacing, sloshing against a wall, or racing along, stuck to the ceiling. But the other great thing about Gish to an old-school Unix geek like me, is that it finally gives personality to the age-old term, tarball.

Download the Gish demo and check it out for yourself.