Friday, December 31, 2010

The Future

2011: Terrafugia Transition flying cars offered at $200,000.
2014: Lockheed Martin's HULC3 exoskeletons put in use by marines.
2018: Trans-Eurasia Express (Paris-Beijing) world's fastest train.
2020: Virgin Galactic lands on moon, charging $200 million a ticket.

50 Years Of Science Sagas

Genetically Engineered Crops

Aliens Among Us

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ice Core Scientist - "Pale Blue Dot" (2007)

The music video "was a nominated finalist at the Portobello Film festival in London, and the Concorto Film festival in Italy. It is broadcast on youtube with the kind permission of Cosmos Studios."

Michael Jordan in "Failure"

Sunday, December 26, 2010

2010: The Year in Movies

Top 10
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Iron Man 2
Inside Job
TRON: Legacy
The Town
Jackass 3D

Still Need To See:
The Social Network, Get Him to the Greek, 127 Hours, Howl, Toy Story 3, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, The Tourist, The Fighter, The Chronicles of Narnia, The King's Speech, The Kids Are All Right, Get Low, Black Swan, True Grit, Machete, Red, How to Train Your Dragon, Unstoppable, Centurion, The Ghost Writer, Waiting for Superman, Exit through the Gift Shop, Client 9: Elliot Spitzer, Hubble 3D

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Truce of 1914


The first months of World War I had seen an initial German attack through Belgium into France, which had been repulsed outside Paris by French and British troops at the Battle of the Marne in early September 1914. The Germans fell back to the Aisne valley, where they prepared defensive positions. In the subsequent Battle of the Aisne, the Allied forces were unable to push through the German line, and the fighting quickly degenerated into a static stalemate; neither side was willing to give ground, and both started to develop fortified systems of trenches. To the north, on the right of the German army, there had been no defined front line, and both sides quickly began to try to use this gap to outflank one another; in the ensuing "Race to the Sea", the two sides repeatedly clashed, each trying to push forward and threaten the end of the other's line. After several months of fighting, during which the British forces were withdrawn from the Aisne and sent north into Flanders, the northern flank had developed into a similar stalemate. By November, there was a continuous front line running from the North Sea to the Swiss frontier, occupied on both sides by armies in prepared defensive positions.

In the lead up to Christmas 1914, there were several peace initiatives. The Open Christmas Letter was a public message for peace addressed "To the Women of Germany and Austria", signed by a group of 101 British women suffragists at the end of 1914 as the first Christmas of World War I approached. Pope Benedict XV, on 7 December 1914, had begged for an official truce between the warring governments. He asked "that the guns may fall silent at least upon the night the angels sang." This attempt was, though, officially rebuffed.

Christmas 1914
Though there was no official truce, about 100,000 British and German troops were involved in unofficial cessations of fighting along the length of the Western Front. Through the week leading up to Christmas, parties of German and British soldiers began to exchange seasonal greetings and songs between their trenches; on occasion, the tension was reduced to the point that individuals would walk across to talk to their opposite numbers bearing gifts.

The Germans placed candles on their trenches and on Christmas trees, then continued the celebration by singing Christmas carols. The British responded by singing carols of their own. The two sides continued by shouting Christmas greetings to each other. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, many soldiers from both sides – as well as, to a lesser degree, from French units – independently ventured into no man's land, where they mingled, exchanging food, tobacco, alcohol, and souvenirs. As well as joint burial ceremonies, several meetings ended in carol-singing or games of football.

The truce is seen as a symbolic moment of peace and humanity amidst one of the most violent events of modern history. It was not ubiquitous, however; in some regions of the front, fighting continued throughout the day, whilst in others, little more than an arrangement to recover bodies was made. The following year, a few units again arranged ceasefires with their opponents over Christmas, but to nothing like the widespread extent seen in 1914; this was, in part, due to strongly worded orders from the high commands of both sides prohibiting such fraternization.

The truces were not unique to the Christmas period, and reflected a growing mood of "live and let live", where infantry units in close proximity to each other would stop overtly aggressive behavior, and often engage in small-scale fraternization, engaging in conversation or bartering for cigarettes. In some sectors there would be occasional ceasefires to go between the lines and recover wounded or dead soldiers, whilst in others there would be a tacit agreement not to shoot while men rested, exercised, or worked in full view of the enemy. However, the Christmas truces were particularly significant due to the number of men involved and the level of their participation - even in very peaceful sectors, dozens of men openly congregating in daylight was remarkable.

Later Truces
In the following months, there were a few sporadic attempts at truces, and in December there were explicit orders by the Allied commanders to forestall any repeat of the previous Christmas truce. The prohibition was not completely effective, however, and a small number of brief truces occurred. But in the later years of the war, December 1916 and 1917, German overtures to the British for truces were recorded without any success.

Evidence of a Christmas 1916 truce, previously unknown to historians, has recently come to light. In a letter home, 23-year-old Private Ronald MacKinnon told of a remarkable event that occurred on December 25, 1916, when German and Canadian soldiers reached across the battle lines near Vimy Ridge to share Christmas greetings and trade presents. "Here we are again as the song says," the young soldier wrote. "I had quite a good Xmas considering I was in the front line. Xmas eve was pretty stiff, sentry-go up to the hips in mud of course. ... We had a truce on Xmas Day and our German friends were quite friendly. They came over to see us and we traded bully beef for cigars."

Public Awareness
The events of the truce were not reported for a week, in an unofficial press embargo which was eventually broken by the New York Times on 31 December. The British papers quickly followed, printing numerous first-hand accounts from soldiers in the field, taken from letters home to their families, and editorials on "one of the greatest surprises of a surprising war". By January, both the Mirror and Sketch printed front-page photographs of British and German troops mingling and singing between the lines. The tone of the reporting was strongly positive, with the Times endorsing the "lack of malice" felt by both sides and the Mirror regretting that the "absurdity and the tragedy" would begin again.

Coverage in Germany was more muted, with some newspapers strongly criticizing those who had taken part, and no pictures published. In France, meanwhile, the greater level of press censorship ensured that the only word that spread of the truce came from soldiers at the front or first-hand accounts told by wounded men in hospitals.

More information:
» Washington Post: "A Victory for Human Kindness"
» NY Times: Excerpts from Letters, Journals, and Memoirs

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Chipmunks - "The Chipmunk Song" (1958)

In 1956, singer/songwriter/actor Ross Bagdasarian's career wasn't going so well. According to his son, Ross Bagdasarian, Jr., they were down to their last $200 when his father spent $190 on a V-M tape recorder that would allow him to vary tape speeds. Then in the summer of 1958, Bagdasarian (as David Seville) had a number-one hit with the "Witch Doctor," which was his first experiment with speeding an audio track to get a distinctive, squeaky, high-pitched voice, followed by "The Bird on My Head" which wasn't a hit.

During the Christmas season later that year, he decided to release a single as The Chipmunks called "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)", for which he won three Grammy Awards in 1959: Best Comedy Performance, Best Recording for Children, and Best Engineered Record (Non-Classical).

He named the three Chipmunk characters after record executives: Simon Waronker, Ted Keep (Theodore), and Alvin Bennett.

Following his hit records, Bagdasarian provided the voice for the David Seville and the Chipmunk characters in the Chipmunks' short-lived 1961-62 animated television series The Alvin Show.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Goodbye Gil

Gilbert Arenas is a three-time NBA All-Star, three-time member of the All-NBA Teams, and was voted the NBA Most Improved Player in the 2002–03 season. He surpassed the 10,000th career point mark last year, and is one of only 20 NBA players to score 60 or more points in a game (against the Lakers in 2006).

Arenas is most often nicknamed "Agent Zero", referring to his jersey number zero, which he chose to signify that he came from nothing as a child, when he and his father, an aspiring actor, survived by precarious means in Los Angeles.

He is also known as "The Hibachi," borrowing a phrase that his teammate Brendan Haywood first coined, which literally translates to "bowl of fire."

In 2005-2006, Arenas finished with the fourth-highest scoring average in the N.B.A., at 29.3 points a game, behind Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, and LeBron James. And for much of the 2006-2007 season he averaged 30.3 points, third behind Iverson and Carmelo Anthony.

"I think it’s opened up people’s minds," Arenas said of his consistency. "They can look my way and see what I've done in the past is not a fluke. What I’ve done in this league I deserve because I've actually worked for it."

Arenas is indeed very grateful for his success, but he is also a little resentful about being drafted in the second round in 2001 after playing college ball in Arizona. Feeling disrespected, he uses every slight — real or perceived — as motivation.

"In my mind, I arrived a long time ago," said Arenas. "It’s just convincing everybody else that I arrived."

Arenas has averaged 17.0 points, 5.5 assists and 3.2 rebounds in his nine-season NBA career. He was known as much for his tantrums as for on-court play when he came to Washington from Golden State in 2003, but he began to display more maturity as he developed into a take-over-the-game player with a knack for hitting buzzer-beating shots. Although he still has his many quirks - yelling "Hibachi!'' after making a big shot is just one of many - he has helped the Wizards became a playoff regular.

Arenas has proven to be one of the most dynamic players in the NBA when healthy, but a major knee and an overzealous rehabilitation sidelined him for most of the last season. He had a first surgery on the knee in April 2007, tried to come back too soon and had a second operation in November. He missed 66 games before returning late in the season, but he had to shut himself down again during the first-round playoff series against Cleveland.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Truth About 2012

"Most of what’s claimed for 2012 relies on wishful thinking, wild pseudoscientific folly, ignorance of astronomy, and a level of paranoia worthy of Night of the Living Dead."
-Dr. E.C. Krupp, Griffith Observatory Director
While the "end of the Maya calendar" foolishness is the starting point for most 2012 discussions, several other astronomical "events" have been drawn into the mix. All of these claims are fatally flawed and do not make sense. Each of them is listed below, followed by a straightforward discussion of why they do not pass muster.

1. The Maya Calendar is "Ending"
FALSE. The Maya calendar is not spooling up the thread of time. It is coming to the end of a particular cycle in an unending sequence of cycles. According to the rules of the Maya calendar system, a primary interval, Baktun-13, for all practical purposes ends on the winter solstice, 2012. Although pseudoscientific claims have linked this calendrical curiosity to a Maya prophecy of the end of time, there is no evidence for ancient Maya belief in the world's end in 2012 or even in any unusual significance to the cycle's completion.

The Maya calendar relied on multiple cycles of time. In Maya tradition, these cycles of time run far into the future, and there are ancient Maya hieroglyphic inscriptions that project time into the future well beyond 21 December 2012. At the end of Baktun 13 (a period of 144,000 days or 394 years), a new baktun will begin. There is no Baktun-13 end of time. The notion of a Baktun-13 transformational end of time is modern. It originated in Mexico Mystique, a book published in 1975 by an American writer, Frank Waters, who made computational errors.

2. We Are Emerging from a Galactic "Beam"
FALSE. In 1987, the notion of the Maya forecast of the end times was linked to a "beam" from the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. The writer who introduced this galactic element also promoted it through 1987's Harmonic Convergence. According to him, we emerge from the beam on winter solstice, 2012 because that's when the Maya calendar "ends." In reality, there is no galactic beam either observed or predicted. There is no astronomical or observational fact here, just assertion.

3. The Sun’s Pathway Through the Milky Way Is Somehow Related.
FALSE. Others have also noted the gradual precessional shift of the Sun's position at winter solstice across the Milky Way. They have claimed the winter solstice Sun will coincide with the center of the Milky Way Galaxy in 2012. In fact, the winter solstice Sun does not get closer than 3 degrees to the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. This is equal to six full moons, a very large discrepancy, even for the unaided eye. And the winter solstice Sun is actually closer to the center of Galaxy 200 years after 2012. Even a superficial glance at a typical celestial atlas verifies the current configuration. This is not true. The winter solstice Sun never coincides with the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. There is no "galactic alignment" on winter solstice, 2012. There is no meaningful midpoint across the Milky Way. A midpoint for the winter solstice sun's precessional passage across the Milky Way cannot be defined to a century, let alone a single day (and certainly not to 21 December 2012).

4. A Planetary Alignment Will Destroy the Earth.
FALSE. Some have claimed an alignment of planets occurs on winter solstice, 2012, and will cause a catastrophic reversal of the earth's magnetic field. There is no such planetary alignment on winter solstice, 2012, and even if all the planets did align in this fashion, it would not cause such a reversal of the Earth's magnetic field. There have been numerous planetary alignments and they have had no effect on the Earth.

5. The Mysterious Planet Niburu Is Headed Our Way.
FALSE. Conspiracy fatalists are convinced that the imaginary planet Niburu is out there and headed our way. According to this bizarre scenario, NASA, the astronomical community, and presumably everyone else "in the know" (except, of course, the ancient Maya calendar keepers) allegedly have observed the approach of the planet, placed an embargo on this knowledge, and are deliberately misleading the public. Proponents of this view imagine that all of the Earth’s hundreds of thousands of private and public telescopes are linked together in one giant, coordinated effort to mislead the public regarding the existence of this upcoming disaster, though it is not clear why they would do so if the world was going to end anyway. Of course, there is no Niburu on a collision course with Earth for winter solstice, 2012, or for any other date. There is absolutely no evidence of the existence of such a planet at all. The claims about Niburu are like those for the discredited "Planet X" hoax from 2003-04.

More information:
» "The Great 2012 Scare" by Dr. E.C. Krupp
» NASA: Ask An Astrobiologist

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tron: Legacy (2010)

"All the footage that was shot live action with Cameron Pace’s 3-D fusion system is basically two cameras offset about an inch that shoots two slightly different views. You have to track each eye separately and then composite your effects in each of those two views, which is a lot of effort. The full CG stuff is done with two virtual cameras offset the same amount." -Director Joseph Kosinski

In Tron: Legacy, the loud, long and less than wholly satisfying sequel to Tron, that's the bittersweet fate of Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), the computer-nerd hero of both the 1982 sci-fi cult classic and its high-tech, 3-D update. When we first meet the now-grizzled Flynn - who we learn in a prologue has been missing since 1989 - he's literally trapped inside a video game he created, a flesh-and-blood fugitive from a digital fascist state whose primary form of entertainment is gladiator-style combat using lethal flying disks and lightning-fast motorcycles.

In the two decades since Flynn disappeared from the real world, he has managed to not only stay alive but also to carve out a sweet life in hiding, far from the deadly gaming "grid" he designed. And in that time, it seems he has grown philosophical about his situation. More specifically, he has turned into a geek-chic version of the Dude, the laid-back slacker character Bridges played in "The Big Lebowski." Flynn spends much of Tron: Legacy meditating - he calls it "knocking on the sky and listening to the sound" - and addressing everyone as "man." The best way to fight, he says, is to "do nothing, be still." All that's missing is a white Russian in his hand.

Flynn's son Sam (Garrett Hedlund) looks into his father's disappearance and manages, with a few keystrokes, to get sucked into the same virtual world that his father is stuck in. Sam awakens in his father a yearning for the outside. Now it's up to the three of them to get there.

Much of Tron: Legacy involves heart-pounding if protracted sequences of video game action as Quorra and the Flynns make their way toward the exit. There's a lot of smashing, crashing and flashing lights as evil humanoid "programs" pursue our heroes and are summarily "de-rezzed," a word derived from de-resolution, which is what happens when bad computer programs go boom. At times, the soundtrack is so loud that you feel it more than hear it.

Director: Joseph Kosinski
Writers: Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde

More information:
» Official Site
» Tron (1982)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Arcade Fire - "The Suburbs" (2010)

Arcade Fire's third studio album, The Suburbs, was released in August 2010. The album debuted at #1 on the Irish Albums Chart, the UK Albums Chart, the U.S. Billboard 200, and the Canadian Albums Chart.

The album received nominations for "Album of the Year" and "Best Alternative Music Album" for the 53rd Grammy Awards, and the single "Ready to Start" was nominated for "Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal".

This music video, for the title track "The Suburbs", was released on November 18, 2010, directed by Spike Jonze. The video, filmed in Austin, Texas follows a group of teenagers living the suburbs and features a cameo of Win Butler and Régine Chassagne as cops.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

IBM Machine To Play Jeopardy All-Stars

The TV game show "Jeopardy!" will pit man versus machine this winter in a competition that will show how successful scientists are in creating a computer that can mimic human intelligence.

Two of the venerable game show's most successful champions - Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter - will play two games against "Watson," a computer program developed by IBM's artificial intelligence team. The matches will be spread over three days that will air February 14-16, the game show said on Tuesday.

The competition is reminiscent of when IBM developed a chess-playing computer to compete against chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997.

The "Jeopardy!" answer-and-question format is a different kind of challenge. It often requires contestants to deal with subtleties, puns and riddles and come up with answers fast.

The computer has already been tested in some 50 games against past "Jeopardy!" champions. But neither IBM nor "Jeopardy!" representatives would say what "Watson's" record was.

The winner gets a $1 million prize. IBM said it would donate its winnings to charity, while Jennings and Rutter said they would give half of their prize money away.

Jennings had the game show's longest winning streak, taking 74 games in a row during the 2004-2005 season. Rutter has won more money than any other "Jeopardy!" player, nearly $3.3 million during his original appearance and three subsequent tournaments.

More information:
» NYTimes: What is IBM's Watson?
» IBM: Meet the computer for a smarter planet

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hinduism and Living

Hinduism is formed of diverse traditions and has no single founder. Among its roots is the historical Vedic religion of Iron Age India, and as such Hinduism is often called the "oldest living religion" or the "oldest living major tradition." Demographically, Hinduism is the world's third largest religion, after Christianity and Islam, with more than a billion adherents, of whom approximately 1 billion, live in India. Other significant populations are found in Nepal (23 million), Bangladesh (14 million) and the Indonesian island of Bali (3.3 million).

In Hinduism, puruṣārtha refers to "that which is sought by man; human purpose, aim, or end." There are generally considered to be four such puruṣārthas:

Kāma: Desire, Love, Sensual Pleasure
"Sensory and sexual pleasure as well as spiritual love"

Artha: Wealth, Property, Power
"Material and financial prosperity as well as pursuit of meaning"

Dharma: Religion, Duty, Moral Harmony
"Religious, social and/or moral righteousness, both spiritual and ritual"

Mokṣa: Free From Delusion, Divine Knowledge
"Spiritual liberation; or renunciation as well as detachment"

In all schools of Hinduism, the meaning of life is tied up in the concepts of karma (causal action), sansara (the cycle of birth and rebirth), and moksha (liberation). Existence is conceived as the progression of the ātman (soul, one's true self) across numerous lifetimes, and its ultimate progression towards liberation from karma. Particular goals for life are generally subsumed under broader yogas (practices) or dharma (correct living) which are intended to create more favorable reincarnations, though they are generally positive acts in this life as well. Traditional schools of Hinduism often worship Devas which are manifestations of Ishvara (a personal or chosen God); these Devas are taken as ideal forms to be identified with, as a form of spiritual improvement.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Drive-By Truckers - "The Flying Wallendas" (2010)

Drive-By Truckers are an alternative country/Southern rock band based in Athens, Georgia, though three out of six members (Mike Cooley, Patterson Hood, and Shonna Tucker) are originally from The Shoals region of Northern Alabama. Their music uses three guitars as well as bass, drums, and now keyboards.

Pharrell, Julian Casablancas, Santigold - "My Drive Thru"

"My Drive Thru " is a collaborative single by Pharrell Williams, Julian Casablancas, and Santigold, created for Converse's centennial.

The music video was directed by Psyop's Marie Hyon and Marco Spier. The artists were filmed on a soundstage using three HD cameras and then animated using CGI. The production took about four months to complete as well as the use of nearly 10,000 paper cutouts of the artists. The video uses stop motion, and creates the illusion that Casablancas, White and Williams are all "unfolding" like paper dolls.

"There's not one single cut in the spot," says Hyon.

"It's two-and-a-half minutes of one-camera movement," adds Spier. "We wanted this aspect of connectivity in all [parts] of the video including the camera movement."

The two-and-a-half minute version was shortened into 30-second and 60-second cinema and television advertisements which debuted on July 14, 2008.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Janelle Monáe - "Tightrope" w/ Big Boi (2010)

"Tightrope" is the first official single from Janelle Monáe's debut studio album The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III). The video was released on March 31, 2010.

Janelle: "'Tightrope' is basically dealing with how in life it's important to keep your balance and not get too high or low about things during the time when you're either being praised or being criticised. Which is something that, as artists, Big Boi and I could both relate to, because there are so many peaks and dips along the journey of just being an artist on the road to success. So we both felt it was important to kinda help those everyday working people who are constantly dealing with life's obstacles, by giving them like a tutorial on how to deal with issues face-on."

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Good Old War

"We wanted to make a record unlike any other. It was exciting to rely on and nurture our own production skills, which was a new experience for all of us. Because the core of our sound is about simple elements: guitar, vocal harmonies, and percussion, the production is simple and organic" Keith Goodwin notes. "We discovered we had the ability to be largely self-reliant in the making of a record. I love that we can record whatever we want, whenever we want."

The second self-titled album by Pennsylvania indie-rock trio Good Old War is at its lush heart, an album of immense growth. A natural evolution from the band’s debut Only Way to Be Alone, Good Old War radiates with warmth and vulnerability, both qualities undoubtedly cultivated by the band’s hands-on self-production, and the environment of solitude in which the album was created.

Holed up in a remote house in the Pocono Mountains through the white winter month of February 2009, Keith Goodwin (vocalist/guitarist), Dan Schwartz (vocalist/guitarist), and Tim Arnold (vocalist/drummer) coalesced into a dynamic harmonious unit, using their time in complete isolation to explore new approaches to their music-making process. Unlike their debut, which was extensively pre-planned and rehearsed, Good Old War was created from scratch in the studio. Rather than recording live as they did on Only Way To Be Alone, the album was recorded track by track, allowing the musicians to discover intricacies in each other’s work.

Good Old War’s songwriting process has spontaneity, intuition and collectivity at its roots. The band first toured with Anthony Green in December 2007 (in lieu of Days Away which had recently dissolved). All of the songs that made their way onto the bands debut Only Way To Be Alone were written in a van on the way to those shows.

Good Old War's official site
Daniel Schwartz's previous band Unlikely Cowboy

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

History of Virginia Wine

Virginians have made wine for more than four centuries. The Jamestown settlers had such hopes that Virginia would become a major source of wine for the British Empire that in 1619 they signed into law a requirement for each male settler to plant and tend at least ten grape vines. Little came of it. Every effort to grow vinifera, or vines of European origin, met with failure from an unknown pest - Phylloxera as well as diseases in a new environment. The booming tobacco trade diluted British interest in the possibilities of American wine. Americans themselves lost interest. While fine wine could be had only from Europe, whiskey, beer and brandy were plentiful.

In hopes of one day realizing the promise of fine Virginia wines, Thomas Jefferson cultivated European grapes for more than 30 years. His Monticello vineyards never produced a single bottle of wine from his years of vineyard trials. He wasn’t alone in trying. After 11 years of efforts at Mount Vernon, George Washington had nothing to show for it either.

In the 1820s, wines made from Native American grapes met with great success. Then a Virginia Norton wine was named “best red wine of all nations” at the Vienna World’s Fair in 1873. Plus a gold medal for Norton at the Paris World’s Fair of 1889 when the Eiffel tower was constructed. The discovery in the late 1800s that native and European vines could be grafted gave Virginia’s nascent wine industry a lift – but in the early 20th century, Prohibition promptly brought it to a standstill. The industry was slow to bounce back. Some 17 years after Prohibition’s repeal, Virginia had all of 15 acres of commercial wine grapes.

In the late-1950s, experimental plantings of vinifera showed promise. With the establishment of six new wineries in the 1970s, the recovery was officially underway. A renewed effort to grow a European Chardonnay succeeded at the Waverly Estate in Middleburg in 1973. Then in 1976, Italian pioneer vintner Gianni Zonin hired Gabriele Rausse to grow and harvest vinifera grapes near Charlottesville. He established Barboursville Vineyards and then helped other vineyards do the same. By 1995, Virginia had 46 wineries. By 2005, 107. At 160 wineries and counting today, only California, New York, Oregon and Washington have more wineries than Virginia. The persistence of generations of winemakers is paying off. And the vision of one of Virginia’s most renowned native sons, Thomas Jefferson, is now coming true.

2007 and 2008 are best for Virginia reds,
2009 was a great vintage for Virginia whites.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sean Taylor Tribute

Raheem DeVaughn, Wale, Ms. Kim, Big G, Hazel, King Pin Slim & Duce Your Highness - "Every Given Sunday" (Sean Taylor Tribute)

Sean Taylor was 24, with one young child and a fiancée, at the time of his death on November 27, 2007.

The Redskins honored Taylor days after his death at a home game against Buffalo. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams had his team take the field with just 10 men.

On December 3, 2007, 4,000 people attended Taylor’s funeral service held at Florida International University. The entire Redskins organization attended the funeral and took up a section of the arena, traveling the day after a home game against the Buffalo Bills and two days before another home game against the Chicago Bears.

Speakers at the nationally televised funeral service included NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, then-Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs, and current and former professional and collegiate teammates LaVar Arrington, Clinton Portis and Buck Ortega. Reverend Jesse Jackson and O. J. Simpson, whose children went to Gulliver Prep, Taylor’s high school, were in attendance. Also attending were numerous prominent University of Miami alumni, including former teammates.

Taylor was posthumously voted starting free safety for the NFC team for the 2008 Pro Bowl as a second team All-Pro. During their first defensive play, the NFC defense took the field with only 10 players in honor of Taylor.

He was inducted posthumously into the Washington Redskins Ring of Fame on November 30, 2008. He joined 42 others and is the first player introduced to the ring since Gary Clark was inducted in late 2007.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

80's Video Dating Montage

This makes me feel better about being single.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Spotlight: Scores Nightclub

Soon after opening in 1991, Scores (and a few other gentlemen's clubs) changed the face of adult entertainment in Manhattan, displacing the old B-girl hustle bar with lavish adult nightclubs. It gained wider notoriety and popularity mostly due to frequent mention by Howard Stern on his radio show.

But sometime in 1993, John Gotti Jr. and the Gambino crime family started taking a cut of Scores' profits. Then in 1996, a late night Mafia dispute with two Albanians got a Scores waiter and bouncer killed.

Back in 1994, original owner Michael Blutrich and partner Lyle Pfeffer were charged with defrauding an insurance company in Orlando, Florida of $400 million, one of the biggest white-collar crime cases of its time. The club fell into the hands of a Brooklyn gambler who'd been working for Blutrich, who then recruited some ex-con friends and things went from bad to worse.  Lawsuits alleged all manner of bad behavior: customer overcharging, tip gouging, and sexual harassment.

In February 2006 a Manhattan grand jury returned tax evasion indictments against two Scores executives and a bookkeeper. Manhattan's District Attorney said that an investigation into customers' complaints of overcharging revealed a scheme by Scores managers involving shell companies, the pressuring of some strippers into giving kickbacks, and the falsification of income tax returns.

Today Scores has changed ownership and maintains its West 28th Street location. But back in its heyday it attracted high-end clientele, athletes, rock stars, and actors:

Former Australian PM Kevin Rudd visited.
New York Knicks center Patrick Ewing was a regular.
Dwight Gooden got drinks on the day of his season-long suspension for cocaine use in 1995.
Jean-Claude van Damme got dropped by Chuck Zito in 1996.
Kid Rock conducted his first MTV interview there.
Russell Crowe berated waiters and grabbed at a dancers' underwear.
George Clooney celebrated a birthday.
Chuck Norris had not one, but two bachelor parties.
Tommy Lee liked blondes with big boobs.
Sting liked blondes with small boobs.
Oliver Stone liked Asian women.
Oscar de la Hoya always rented the champagne room.
Dennis Quaid lost his credit card.
Bobby Brown broke the "no touching" rule by biting a dancer's nipple.
Dennis Rodman begged a dancer to marry him.
Elizabeth Berkeley researched Showgirls in 1995.
Demi Moore researched Striptease in 1996.
Madonna and Pamela Anderson visited.
Kate Moss pole-danced.
Lindsay Lohan danced and passed out.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Miike Snow - "The Rabbit" (2010)

Rabbit by Miike Snow from ChAoSKiD on Vimeo.

Miike Snow is an indie pop band from Stockholm, Sweden formed in 2007. The band consists of producing team Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg, also known as Bloodshy & Avant, and lead singer Andrew Wyatt.

"The Rabbit" is a new single released on the April 13, 2010, as part of the deluxe edition of their self-titled debut album from 2009.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Spotlight: Juan Tamad

Juan Tamad is a character from Filipino folklore who is known for being excessively lazy. The stories are likely taken from oral tradition, passed from generation to generation to warn children against being lazy.  The name (tamad is Filipino for “lazy”) is used to imply that anyone can befall the circumstances that Juan Tamad gets into if one is lazy. The stories are usually simple and short, involving just Juan Tamad's act of laziness and little else.

Arguably, the Juan Tamad story most often told illustrates his utmost laziness to the point of stupidity that it becomes comedic. In it, Juan Tamad comes upon a guava tree bearing ripe fruit. Being too slothful to climb the tree and take the fruits, he instead decides to lie beneath the tree and let gravity do its work. There he remained, waiting for the fruit to fall into his gaping mouth.

Other Juan Tamad stories include:

"Juan Tamad and the Mud Crabs"
Juan Tamad is instructed by his mother to purchase mud crabs at the market. Being too lazy to carry them home, he sets them free in a ditch and tells them to go on home, as he would be along later.

"Juan Tamad and the Rice Cakes"
Juan Tamad's mother makes some rice cakes and instructs him to sell these at the market. Passing by a pond, he sees frogs swimming to and fro. Being too lazy to sell the cakes at the market, he instead throws them at the frogs, who eat the cakes. Upon reaching home, he tells his mother that all the cakes had been sold on credit; the buyers would pay for them the next week.

"Juan Tamad and the Flea-Killer"
Juan Tamad's mother instructs him to go to the village market and buy a rice pot. A flea infestation in the village soon has Juan Tamad jumping and scratching for all he's worth; he lets go of the pot and it breaks into pieces. Thinking quickly, he picks up the pieces, grinds them into fine powder and wraps the powder in banana leaves, which he markets as "flea-killer."

Other Appearances
A book published by an unknown author in 1919 in Manila entitled Buhay na Pinagdaanan ni Juan Tamad na Anac ni Fabio at ni Sofia sa Caharian nang Portugal tells of how Juan Tamad was born to a couple named Fabio and Sofia, and his adventures in Portugal. There have also been several Filipino films with Juan Tamad as a central or supporting character.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Zenyatta Ends Thrilling Career 19-1

"She had a great career," trainer John Shirreffs said. "Let’s celebrate that. I’m pretty sure she’s not going to race anymore. She had a fabulous run. She’s been great for the business, a thrill to train. Look where she’s taken us. It’s disappointing, but we’ll get over it. She’s been the highlight of my career. I’ve had wonderful three years with Zenyatta. As a trainer, you have to let go."
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Zenyatta’s bid for racing immortality fell inches short at Churchill Downs on Saturday, where Blame held tenaciously through the final furlong to register a heart-stopping victory over the previously undefeated superstar in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Zenyatta, who had won all 19 of her previous starts, lagged nearly 20 lengths off the early leaders, saved some ground while beginning to advance around the second turn, swung outside to continue her bid into the stretch, and gained steadily on the winner through the final furlong.

But Blame held her off by a head, handing the six-year-old mare her first defeat. It was so close, a matter of inches, the result had to be resolved by a photo.

Owners Jerry and Ann Moss stood in stunned silence. Trainer John Shirreffs trudged slowly back to the barn, hands in his pockets.

Jockey Mike Smith, along for the ride in 16 of her 19 trophy dashes down the home stretch, took it the hardest, blaming himself for starting her too late on her final run. He got teary-eyed during his post-race press conference.

"It hurts more than I can explain," Smith said.

Zenyatta's quest to win the Classic for a second straight year and finish a perfect 20-0 provided the kind of buzz the sport has long coveted.

More than 70,000 shivered in the fall chill at Churchill Downs hoping to see history. Millions more watched on television, wondering if the horse who's been profiled everywhere from "60 Minutes" to "O Magazine" could put together one more dazzling stretch drive.

It would have been a perfect retirement package for this 6-year-old marvel. But 19-1, plus the memory of how hard she tried, how close she came and how much she did for a sport that needed her so badly, still deserves a pretty nice pension.

Zenyatta's 19 consecutive wins tied her for most all-time with Peppers Pride, who retired last year after running against much lesser competition. Peppers Pride never raced outside New Mexico and all her wins came against fillies and mares.

Personal Ensign, her modern-day equivalent, won 13 times in an unbeaten career that ended in 1988.

All the great ones lose eventually. Upset beat the unbeaten Man o'War; Triple Crown winner Secretariat was beaten; and Cigar won 16 in a row, but couldn't pull out one more.

Trainer Nick Zito said even in defeat Zenyatta showed "she could be the greatest filly of all-time."

Blame's trainer Albert Stall Jr. called her "the best racemare there's ever been in the game."

Shirreffs maintains Zenyatta should be named Horse of the Year despite her loss in the Classic, an award she has yet to win despite her unbeaten run.

Guinness has offered a trip to its famed St. James's Gate brewery in Dublin for Zenyatta, trainer John Shirreffs and owners Jerry and Ann Moss. Zenyatta is known to drink the dark Irish stout most afternoons in her stall.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

D.I.Y. Culture

The terms "DIY" and "do-it-yourself" are used to describe:

* Self-publishing books, zines, and alternative comics.
* Bands or solo artists releasing their music on self-funded record labels
* Trading of mixtapes as part of cassette culture
* Crafts such as knitting, sewing, handmade jewelry, ceramics, etc.
* Designing business cards, invitations, etc.
* Creating punk or indie musical merchandise through the use of recycling thrift store or discarded materials, usually decorated with art applied by silk screen.
* Independent game development and game modding.

DIY as a subculture could be said to have begun with the punk movement of the 1970s. Instead of traditional means of bands reaching their audiences through large music labels, bands began recording, manufacturing albums and merchandise, booking their own tours, and creating opportunities for smaller bands to get wider recognition and gain cult status through repetitive low-cost DIY touring. The burgeoning zine movement took up coverage of and promotion of the underground punk scenes, and significantly altered the way fans interacted with musicians. Zines quickly branched off from being hand-made music magazines to become more personal; they quickly became one of the youth culture's gateways to DIY culture. This led to tutorial zines showing others how to make their own shirts, posters, zines, books, food, etc.


DIY culture in the United States can be linked to many of the same philosophies of the Arts and Crafts movement of the 1900's, which sought to reconnect people with hands-on activities and the aesthetics associated with them - in direct opposition to the prevailing industrialization and modernization which was moving many aspects of the culture's aesthetics away from the hand-made artisan-created styles of the past and toward a mass-produced sleek modern vision of the future. DIY culture in the U.S. arguably evolved from a simple cost-saving activity of the 1940's and 1950's to an increasingly radical political activity which stood against the increasingly visible trends of mass-production, conspicuous consumerism, waste, and the industrial corporate philosophy of planned obsolescence.

The need to connect with the physical world without interacting with computers or other modern technology , which in modern industrialized societies can go unfulfilled for days at a time, becomes a significant motivating force in leading people to embrace DIY culture.

Ellen Lupton embellishes these thoughts in her book D.I.Y. Design It Yourself: "Around the world, people are making things themselves in order to save money, to customize goods to suit their exact needs and interests, and to feel less dependent on the corporations that manufacture and distribute most of the products and media we consume. On top of these practical and political motivations is the pleasure that comes from developing an idea, making it physically real, and sharing it with other people."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

N.A.S.A. - "Way Down" (2009)

"Way Down"
N.A.S.A. featuring RZA, Barbie Hatch and John Frusciante
The Spirit of Apollo

N.A.S.A. - "Gifted" (2009)

N.A.S.A. featuring Kanye West, Santigold and Lykke Li
The Spirit of Apollo

N.A.S.A. - "Money" (2009)

N.A.S.A. featuring David Byrne, Chuck D, Ras Congo, Seu Jorge & Z-Trip
The Spirit of Apollo

Monday, October 25, 2010

Madeira Wine

Madeira was a favorite wine of the Founding Fathers and was supposedly used to toast the Declaration of Independence. Up until the mid-19th century, no alcoholic beverage enjoyed greater cachet among well-to-do Americans than this fortified wine hailing from the Portuguese island of the same name. Today, though, Madeira is an obscurity; most consumers, if they know it at all, know it only as something used for cooking. A wine treasured by Thomas Jefferson is now relegated mainly to saucepans. How did Madeira so completely lose its stature, and what can it do to get it back?

During the 17th and 18th centuries, the island of Madeira was a popular port of call for ships traveling to Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Before leaving, the boats were loaded with casks of the local quaffer, which was usually a blend of several grapes: verdelho, sercial, bual, malvasia (also known as malmsey), and terrantez. So that the wines could better withstand the long journeys, it became standard practice to top them up with sugarcane brandy or a grape spirit, a step known as fortification. (Thanks to the added booze, Madeiras are typically between 19 percent and 21 percent alcohol, versus 12 percent to14 percent for table wines.) It turned out, though, that being stored in the warm hulls of ships and bounced around on the waves actually benefited the wines, producing smoother, more refined flavors. For a time, barrels of Madeira were sent out on round-trip journeys solely for the purpose of shaking and baking them. However, most Madeiras were ushered to maturity either by artificially heating the casks or by storing them in warm rooms (the latter method was and remains the preferred means of rearing quality Madeiras). Among its many virtues, Madeira is surely the world's most durable wine, which explains why bottles from the 19th and even 18th centuries are still drinking well.

Amid all this oceangoing, Madeiras found a receptive audience in the American colonies, an enthusiasm that endured through and beyond the Revolutionary War. By the end of the 18th century, the United States was importing roughly a quarter of all the Madeira on the market. Among the affluent, having a Madeira collection was a totem of success and sophistication; banking titan J.P. Morgan had probably the finest Madeira cellar in the world.

Beginning in the mid-19th century, Madeira producers were hit by a series of calamities that ultimately cost the wines their popularity. First, the island's vineyards were struck by a devastating outbreak of powdery mildew. Next, they were attacked by the phylloxera root louse, which forced growers to tear out huge swathes of vines. As was the case in other regions decimated by phylloxera, many farmers replanted with workhorse grapes, notably tinta negra mole. The natural disasters were followed by a pair of man-made ones: The Russian revolution deprived Madeira of one of its major markets, and Prohibition in the United States cut off another. From almost 200 wineries in 1880, the Madeira industry shrank steadily, and today there are only six houses left (and two of them are currently in the process of merging). A large percentage of the wines exported these days are bulk Madeiras, destined for kitchen pantries. But thanks to stricter regulations and a gradual comeback by traditional grapes such as sercial and bual, there are still high-quality Madeiras being made on the island.

Madeiras, though usually drunk as aperitifs or with dessert, can be consumed throughout a meal. What makes them so versatile (and also accounts in part for their remarkable longevity) is the potent acidity, which cuts through the richness and leaves your mouth feeling almost refreshed. And then there is the killer bouquet: Madeiras have some of the most enthralling aromatics of any wines. Orange peel, brown sugar, nuts, figs, raisins, honey, leather, chocolate, spices—the perfume alone will completely hook you on these wines.

Making of Madeira Wines

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Inside Job (2010)

The global financial meltdown, at a cost of over $20 trillion, resulted in millions of people losing their homes and jobs. Through extensive research and interviews with major financial insiders, politicians and journalists, INSIDE JOB traces the rise of a rogue industry and unveils the corrosive relationships which have corrupted politics, regulation and academia.

Inside Job hit theaters October 8th in NY and October 15th in LA.

Director: Charles Ferguson
In his small time as a documentary filmmaker, Ferguson has made quite the name for himself as a political filmmaker. His previous work, No End In Sight, conducted a deep and unforgiving look at the Bush administration and its control of the Iraq war conflict.

More information:
» Inside Job Official Site
» Fandango Showtimes

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Cinematic Orchestra - "Lilac Wine" (2010)

"Lilac Wine"
Performed by The Cinematic Orchestra
Directed by Blind
Written by James Shelton (in 1950)

About The Track
'Lilac Wine' was written in 1950 by the prolific James Shelton and, largely due to its ultra melancholic tones, the song was adopted by a succession of female artists. The very first being Eartha Kitt and then the great Nina Simone, whose haunting vocal rendition was cited by Jeff Buckley as reference to his cover. In the 1970s, 'Lilac Wine' came into the possession of more mainstream vocalists like Elkie Brooks.

In 1994, Buckley catapulted 'Lilac Wine' into the alternative psyche of the modern era. Featuring on his first and only studio album, the flawed masterpiece Grace, 'Lilac Wine' experienced resurgence and even went on to influence some of today’s music. Radiohead’s 'Fake Plastic Trees' was one such song and the band’s frontman Thom Yorke, famously delivered the vocal take for the track after returning home from a Jeff Buckley concert.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Roger Waters Live

October 10, 2010
Verizon Center
Thirty years after Pink Floyd first performed "The Wall" live, and two decades after Waters revived it to honor the fall of the Berlin Wall, the 67-year-old composer has brought the bricks back out on the road. "The Wall" was rebuilt Sunday at Verizon Center, and though the all-time-great album is about the overwhelming isolation of Pink from his fans, his wife, his parents and the world at large, there's nothing like a classic-rock concert to bring a crowd together.
Why Am I Doing The Wall Again Now?

I recently came across this quote of mine from 22 years ago:

"What it comes down to for me is this: Will the technologies of communication in our culture, serve to enlighten us and help us to understand one another better, or will they deceive us and keep us apart?"

I believe this is still a supremely relevant question and the jury is out. There is a lot of commercial clutter on the net, and a lot of propaganda, but I have a sense that just beneath the surface understanding is gaining ground. We just have to keep blogging, keep twittering, keep communicating, keep sharing ideas.

30 Years ago when I wrote The Wall I was a frightened young man. Well not that young, I was 36 years old.

It took me a long time to get over my fears. Anyway, in the intervening years it has occurred to me that maybe the story of my fear and loss with it’s concomitant inevitable residue of ridicule, shame and punishment, provides an allegory for broader concerns.: Nationalism, racism, sexism, religion, Whatever! All these issues and -isms are driven by the same fears that drove my young life.

This new production of The Wall is an attempt to draw some comparisons, to illuminate our current predicament, and is dedicated to all the innocent lost in the intervening years.

In some quarters, among the chattering classes, there exists a cynical view that human beings as a collective are incapable of developing more ‘humane’ ie, kinder, more generous, more cooperative, more empathetic relationships with one another.

I disagree.

In my view it is too early in our story to leap to such a conclusion, we are after all a very young species.

I believe we have at least a chance to aspire to something better than the dog eat dog ritual slaughter that is our current response to our institutionalized fear of each other.

I feel it is my responsibility as an artist to express my, albeit guarded, optimism, and encourage others to do the same. To quote the great man, "You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one."

- Roger Waters, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Duck Sauce - "Barbra Streisand" (2010)

Duck Sauce is a collaboration between DJs Armand Van Helden and A-Trak.

The song "Barbra Streisand" is getting heavy DJ and radio support in the UK, Ireland, Poland and Australia. The video features many prominent and affiliated artists, such as ?uestlove, Kanye West, Pharell Williams, Ryan Leslie, Buckshot, Smif-n-Wessun, DJ Premier, Chromeo, DJ Mehdi, So Me, Diplo, Ezra Koenig, Santigold and Fafi.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Temper Trap - "Sweet Disposition" (2009)

The Temper Trap is an alternative rock band from Melbourne, Australia noted for its atmospheric sound, featuring grand guitars set to pulsating rhythms.

Two years after they released their initial EP in 2006, the quartet recorded their first album, Conditions, with producer Jim Abbiss, who was at the controls for the debut albums by The Arctic Monkeys and Adele.

In an interview with a Melbourne newspaper in July 2010, the Temper Trap revealed that they are planning to work on their second album in the near future - as soon as their scheduled tour comes to an end - and slated the release of their 'crucial second album' as being sometime in late 2011.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Adobe Security Advisory

The definition of a "Critical" rating on the Adobe Severity Rating System is: "A vulnerability, which, if exploited would allow malicious native-code to execute, potentially without a user being aware."

Security bulletin

Security Advisory for Adobe Reader and Acrobat

Release date: September 8, 2010

Last updated: October 5, 2010

Vulnerability identifier: APSA10-02

CVE number: CVE-2010-2883

Platform: All


A critical vulnerability exists in Adobe Reader 9.3.4 and earlier versions for Windows, Macintosh and UNIX, and Adobe Acrobat 9.3.4 and earlier versions for Windows and Macintosh. This vulnerability (CVE-2010-2883) could cause a crash and potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system. There are reports that this vulnerability is being actively exploited in the wild.

A fix is now available for Adobe Reader 9.3.4 for Windows, Macintosh and UNIX, and Adobe Acrobat 9.3.4 for Windows and Macintosh as of Tuesday, October 5, 2010. Please refer to Security Bulletin APSB10-21.

Affected software versions

  • Adobe Reader 9.3.4 and earlier versions for Windows, Macintosh and UNIX
  • Adobe Acrobat 9.3.4 and earlier versions for Windows and Macintosh

Severity rating

Adobe categorizes this as a critical issue.


Adobe would like to thank Mila Parkour of for working on this issue with Adobe to help protect our customers.


October 5, 2010 - Updated with information on Security Bulletin APSB10-21
September 13, 2010 - Updated information on the release schedule, and that the releases represent the next quarterly security update (originally scheduled for October 12, 2010).
September 10, 2010 - Added the Mitigations section with instructions for a mitigation option for Windows users.
September 8, 2010 - Advisory released.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Soundgarden's New Compilation Album Is Instant Platinum

"Selling a platinum album may seem like small potatoes for a band like Soundgarden, whose hit 'Superunknown' went five times platinum following its release in 1994."


On its first day out, Soundgarden's new album, Telephantasm, has already scored a platinum award from the Recording Industry Association of America, which hands out such distinctions.

It's not unheard of for bands to get gold or platinum awards before a single copy has been sold. That's because they're based on the number of copies of an album shipped into stores, not sold.

What's unusual about Telephantasm is that its platinum award is based on the 1 million discs that are included in packages for the video game Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, released Tuesday at the same time as the album's 2-CD plus DVD deluxe edition.

Isn't that cheating? Not quite, because the music discs technically have been shipped into stores. But more significantly, Soundgarden is getting an undisclosed licensing fee from the game's publisher, Activision Blizzard Inc.

The Seattle grunge band's promoters are billing the release as a "groundbreaking partnership" because it's the first time the RIAA has recognized a sale of "non-returnable units from a music label to a gaming company."

“These 1 million units, purchased by Activision, are non-returnable and represent official sales of the album,” said RIAA director Kate Harold in a press release Tuesday.

Platinum albums aren’t easy to come by these days thanks to piracy and free streaming music: It took Justin Bieber’s screaming army of preteens two months to buy a million copies of My World 2.0.

Harold expects this kind of chicanery to continue. “I anticipate we’ll be seeing more and more of these types of partnerships and cross-pollination of industries which benefit everyone, especially music fans,” she said.

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, out Tuesday for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii, is the latest in Activision’s massive catalog of music games. The entirety of Telephantasm can be downloaded as playable game tracks for $18.

Soundgarden - "Black Rain" (2010)

Directed by Metalocalypse co-creator Brendon Small.

The song appears on the compilation album Telephantasm and on the music video game Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock. This is the first single that Soundgarden has released since 1997. It features lyrics written by frontman Chris Cornell and music written by bassist Ben Shepherd. The song was recorded during sessions for Badmotorfinger and, according to Chris Cornell in an interview with USA Today, "Black Rain" captures "that super heavy version (of the band) we were finally realizing to its fullest potential about 1991."

Chris Cornell: "Here we are, all these years later and we're in a room and talking about new music and it doesn't feel like carrying a mountain up a hill," he says. "It seems like a completely natural idea and a natural fun thing to do, all the baggage that I think can sometimes come along with that we don't have it at all."

Saturday, October 2, 2010

MADtv - North Korean Scientist (Video)

Season 12, Episode 8 – Aired: 12/9/2006
North Korea hires a loose cannon scientist (Bobby Lee) to test missles on American TV in "North Korean Missles Test".

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cee Lo Green - "Fuck You!" (2010)

On August 19, 2010, Cee Lo released a single, "Fuck You!", to YouTube ahead of his planned solo album release, The Lady Killer. "Fuck You!" was an instant viral smash hit, registering over two million plays in less than a week. Two weeks later on September 1, Cee Lo released to YouTube an official music video of the song. The album is set to be released by Elektra Records on November 9, 2010.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Isley Brothers - "Shout!" (1959)

Starting their careers in the gospel performing circuit in the early 1950s, they eventually crossed over to secular music first finding modest success in doo-wop until the release of their first million-selling hit, "Shout", in 1959. It was written by the brothers themselves as a call-and-response answer to Jackie Wilson's seminal "Lonely Teardrops" which they interpreted after performing that song during a club date.

While "Shout!" didn't reach higher than #47 on the Billboard Hot 100, it became their first gold single on the basis of its longevity and became a much-covered tune for them, with many U.S. and international artists recording the song. Joey Dee and the Starlighters reached #6 with their recording of the song in 1962, while the Isley Brothers' version re-charted that same year at #94. British pop singer Lulu had a #7 UK hit with the song in 1964 (attributed to Lulu & The Luvvers), and a #8 UK hit with a re-recorded version in 1986. The song, as performed by Otis Day and the Knights, was also prominently featured in the 1978 comedy film National Lampoon's Animal House.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Redskins vs. Texans

FedEx Field
September 19, 2010
Donovan McNabb threw for 426 yards last night, 1 touchdown, 0 picks, and completed 28 of 38 passes for a 73.7 percentage in a game where Washington lead through three quarters. Numbers alone won’t tell the tale, but it looks like McNabb is getting comfortable in burgundy and gold. He spread the ball out to 8 different receivers, improving on “The Moss and Cooley Show” from week 1, and had long passes of 62, 62, 35, and 34 yards. He is who we thought he was, but Donovan can’t do it by himself. The running game, despite Portis’ two goal-line scores -- which is also a marked improvement -- looked horrific. Portis’ 33 yards and 2.5 average a carry is not what I remember from Mike Shanahan’s running backs.

On defense we’re looking at a completely different sack of potatoes. At times they look ferocious, at times they look feeble. Andre Johnson caught 12 balls for 158 yards and a score. Kevin Walter, Houston’s No. 2 guy, caught 11 balls for 144 and a score. A week earlier, Miles Austin caught 10 balls for 146 and a score. Perhaps a healthy Kareem Moore improves our secondary, but a secondary that’s allowed 745 passing yards through two games needs more than a player fix. I’m not on the field, but it looked like Haslett called a solid game. Players need to execute, know their assignments, and communicate better, all things that take time.

Worst Dagger: Less than four minutes left, third-and-long, and Joey Galloway breaks free deep. McNabb's bomb was a bit too deep, and Galloway didn't seem to get a great look at it, and everything fell down incomplete in the end zone.

Through two weeks, the Redskins have won the first-half scoring battle, 30-7, and lost the second-half-and-overtime scoring battle, 30-10.

Best Block: Clinton Portis, obviously. When he crushed Eugene Wilson 50 yards downfield during 62-yard pass to Fred Davis late in the second quarter, Wilson flew backwards and Portis went flying up the field, pumping his knees up in the air in celebration. That was far more celebrating than he did after either of his touchdown runs. Portis's mouth might cause 43 public-relations debacles a season, but I don't think you've ever read a story questioning his effort on Sundays.

Worst Block: Bernard Pollard blocked a 29-yard field goal attempt that would have just about finished off the game midway through the fourth quarter. Those three points might have come in handy a bit later. Last week, the Redskins didn't even attempt a crucial 23-yarder after a poor snap, and almost wound up losing by a point. Failing to convert field goals of less than 30 yards is not often a great long-term strategy.

Best Mike Shanahan Quote: "When you lose, you lose."

More information:
ESPN Recap
Skins-Texans Staff Connections

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ok Go - "White Knuckles" (2010)

Damn Gina.

One dozen dogs and the goat were provided and trained by Talented Animals, with head trainer Lauren Henry; all of the dogs were from animal rescue shelters. Part of the requirement of the band was that the shot had to be performed in a single take, a feat that Roland Sonnenburg, a spokesperson for Talented Animals, said was "not bloody likely" to happen. The dogs were able to learn the routine's tricks; the most difficult trick, according to Tim Nordwind, was convincing two dogs to step in and out of a set of shelves while the band members provided platforms for the dogs to use and while spinning the shelves around.

A total of 124 takes were made during the filming period; about 30 were complete takes, and 10 of those being considered "excellent" by the group. The released version was Take 72, completed on the second-to-last day of shooting.

The song "White Knuckles" includes the words "paw" and "pet", matching up to the visuals of the video.