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Showing posts from 2006

Apostrophe catastrophe

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G rammatical peeve of the day from conversations overheard on the MRT: "fats" is plural if you're referring to different kinds of fats - saturated, monounsaturated etc. "Fats" is not plural if you're referring to the spare tyre around your stomach. (Non-grammatical peeve: quasi-anorexic women speaking about fat (or 'fats' - ugh) that don't exist.) Oh, another peeve spotted on the MRT (see photo of ad above): use of the open inverted comma (aka the single quote mark) when you should use an apostrophe , such as before a year. I don't mind the Prince-style use of "4" for "for" that much - it's a bit naff and dated, but tolerable - but that quote mark really grates with me. I know - I complained about it earlier this month , complete with link to a typography page , but I figured I might as well drum the point home...

Linksfest: My tabs

In which I just put up all the random articles I've found interesting over the last few days: The Least Essential Albums of 2006 . An article that taught me about Neil Hamburger . Inbred dogs in Japan , land of fads. Very sad. And the part about dogs being mated with their offspring is just gross. David Pogue lists the top 10 ideas in technology . I like the flash drive fuel gauge. Regret the Error lists the best corrections of 2006. I particularly like the fake corrections ( IN previous issues of this newspaper, we may have given the impression that the people of France were snail swallowing garlic munching surrender-monkeys whose women never bother to shave their armpits. We now realise that the French football team can stop the Portuguese – and in particular their cheating whingeing winger Cristiano Ronaldo – from getting to the World Cup Final which we so richly deserved to do.) Speaking of which, Kill Duck Before Serving , the book about New York Times corrections, is pretty

Mario the Stripper

Mario the stripper Okay, so this made me laugh.

Reviews of Notes on a Scandal

A pity the Notes on a Scandal movie, which I had looked forward to , has been getting disappointing reviews . Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett, Richard Eyre as director, Patrick Marber as screenwriter - it all seems so promising, especially given how good the source material is (glad I chanced upon it in the library). Still will probably go see it - wonder how they dealt with the unreliable narrator, and of course reviews aren't always right. Plus Dench is always marvellous to watch.

RIP James Brown

A nd... RIP James Brown . Thank you for "I Feel Good", for the "Funky Drummer" break that spawned a million samples, for Live at the Apollo and countless other great musical moments... including "Soulful Christmas" which I had listened to earlier in the day before I heard the news.

Angular momentum

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Late to the party, probably, but I've discovered the joy of xkcd 's off-kilter geek humour Also: I love playpen balls . And the MC Hammer slide .

Christmas video of the day - Chinese Food on Christmas

From the Jewish perspective... Happy Boxing Day!

Christmas video of the day - All I Want For Christmas is You

H ey, I've gone with the Pogues, Sufjan, Run-DMC... I think I can indulge my love for this song without totally ruining my cred. Plus, what the hell, Sasha Frere-Jones likes it , so I'm not alone... Having said that, one of my fondest Christmas memories is housesitting for my prof back in Boston and watching the Christmas edition of Pop-Up Video , which included a spectacular piss-take on this song, including such gems as "Falling snow in dreams can represent sexual excitement". And on that cheery psychoanalytic note, Merry Christmas one and all!

Christmas video of the day - Fairytale of New York

R.I.P. Kirsty McColl

Pachelbel Rant

P achelbel Rant - Rob Paravonian goes off about the ubiquity of Pachelbel's Canon in D. The bit near the end where he freaks out about how a million songs use the same chord progressions is awesome. In fact, what the hey - in the spirit of the season, here's reindeer segueing from Pachelbel straight into "Basket Case" .

Christmas video of the day - That Was the Worst Christmas Ever!

Sufjan's voice has always been suited for Christmas songs...

NewWave/Back

Justin Timberlake is teaming up with Duran Duran . I suppose now that he's done the Michael Jackson and Prince things, he's on to following other 80s groups... Plus here's Timberlake on SNL with very rude lyrics .

Linksfest: In Bloom

I love Slate's the Explainer column, and this week's collection of the questions the Explainer couldn't answer is pretty funny. (Sample: "yea i have my own 620 gang and i dont know how to run it to make not look like a little bitch gang joke it is just me and my friend how do i run it?") Personal ads from the London Review of Books . Literate, wry, self-deprecating. Saparmurat Niyazov, old-school dictator , passes away. The NY Times' "Fantastically well-developed personality cult" barely scratches the surface - but then it seems hard to describe someone who created a statue of himself that rotated to face the sun. In case you ever needed to buy pantaloons . Or bloomers. The most disturbing part is that they offer "split crotch bloomers".

Christmas video of the day - Christmas in Hollis

All Time Wants for Christmas is You

M eanwhile, Time's "Person of the Year" is You . Or Me. Or something. Somehow I feel cheated by that choice. I know it's one way of encapsulating the explosion of user-generated content and its influence, but it's becoming a bit of a Time magazine cop-out to use a group (like last year's "Good Samaritans" Bill & Melinda Gates and Bono) or a generic figure (the American soldier in 2003). Surely they could've gone like Salon and named a figure - S. R. Sidarth, as much as anyone else, helped show the influence of YouTube in 2006 - turning an offhand, obscure insult like "macaca" into ultimately something that helped bring down a would-be Presidential contender and possibly influenced the control of the Senate.

Charlotte's Web - in anticipation

I have to say I was very, very skeptical about the film version of Charlotte's Web . When I think about the magic of that book - or even that sheer expression of terror on Wilbur's face in the illustrations when Charlotte is dying - it makes me well up, and I had my doubts about how much any film version could do it justice. But the reviews look good, and the preview does seem to show a film that hews to the spirit of E.B. White's classic. Wilbur looks appropriately cute, Charlotte looks like a real spider (rather than some cartoony one), and I do like the use of some distinctive voices - Steve Buscemi, Andre Benjamin from Outkast, Reba McEntire. So... please let this be good please let this be good. Some pig, indeed. Link to trailer

Cetacean Rescue

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Now that's a really good use of long arms - World's tallest man saves dolphins . As Cool Looking Stuff points out , this ain't even the first time a tall person has used his arms to save a dolphin. Tangentially, I'm kind of surprised the current tallest man in the world is only 7" 9' - I would have guessed 8 feet.

On Doug Rosses

Was rewatching Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask) and realised the Gene Wilder's doctor character was named Doug Ross, just like George Clooney's character in ER. But I guess George Clooney's character never lost his job for sleeping with a sheep.

Because it is bitter, and because it is my heart

B ecause I like allusions, references (although I've used the Joyce Carol Oates one before), the sense of the poem as non-hermetic unit but rather part of a whole literary world: excerpted from Lit (or: to the scientist I am not speaking to any more), by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz Be glad you don’t read, Jason, because maybe you won’t understand this as I scream it to you on your front lawn, on Christmas Day, brandishing three hypodermic needles, a ginsu knife and a letter of permission from Bret Easton Ellis.

Casino Royale

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W atched Casino Royale yesterday. Daniel Craig is an awesome Bond. There's a certain unease in his smile that seems right for the part of the proto-Bond, a not-quite-all-there double-0 in the making. And I liked the simultaneous nods to tradition - the 1964 Aston Martin, Bond making up the ridiculous "Stephanie Broadchester" name - with the debunking of it (Bartender: "Shaken or stirred?" Bond: "Do I look like I give a damn?"). Paul Haggis wrote the dialogue between Bond and Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), and their scene on a train, each one second-guessing the other's background, was a great sign that this Bond has moved beyond just wink-wink silly innuendo. And Bond does seem really more passionate in this film: whereas Brosnan was shiny and slick, Craig brings out the rougher, animal side - the film imbues him with a sexual charge, a tender side (there's a shower scene that strips Bond of his traditional detachment, and it's a powerful one

Thank you for not smoking

Apparently polonium-210 can be found in cigarettes . (Here's another cite .) Good lord.

Linksfest: A Design for Life

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Some pieces on design: The roller toaster looks great. An awesome piece of Singaporean design. A rave review of the Tesla Roadster . I hope someday to get a chance to drive the car. It's really nice to see that it replaces the internal combustion engine not just for environmental reasons but for performance. Ten tips for top type . I particularly like point #3, on using typographer's quotes (and apostrophes): "Here's one thing the program can't do for you: It can't tell an apostrophe from a single open-quote at the start of a word. That's how you end up with a backwards apostrophe before an abbreviated year ('98, '06), or with the two apostrophes in "rock 'n' roll" looking like mirror images of each other, instead of identical." The backwards apostrophe always annoys me. Trans-krypt: setting song lyrics to graphic design . Which is where the "A Design for Life" art comes from.

Away in a Manger

H ey, Pret has opened in Singapore ! File that under "things I missed while I was gone", I guess. Or things I missed from elsewhere while I was gone, reading that phrase another way. Mmm, sandwiches.

Why are we so in denial?

Hey Ya!, acoustic - as I've said before, the lyrics to the song are incredibly sad, and this version plays up the melancholy.

Nothing but blue skies

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There was something about the quality of the colours in the Kenyan countryside - the richness of the blue, the starkness of the yellows. I do like the solitude of this shot.

Lake Nakuru, from Baboon Cliff

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W ithout a doubt one of the most visually stunning things I've ever seen - the clouds reflected in the still surface of Lake Nakuru . Not sure how much a photo can do it justice - you just see it when you come around the bend of the cliff and all you can do is look in awe. The brown areas represent, unfortunately, the apparent retreat of the lake due to prolonged drought, possibly caused by climate change. "Der bestirnte Himmel über mir und das moralische Gesetz in mir" - Kant Kenya photo set

Return to Sin

A m back in Singapore, trying to recover from a whirlwind series of work trips - 3 continents, 2 days. Think in the last 10 days I've seen savannah, desert, jungle, and temperate forests. Can't talk about work, of course, but I'll try to post the best pictures from what leisure time I eked out. Or you can entertain yourself first with my Kenya Flickr set .

Africa

G ood Lord, I'm sitting in the lobby of my hotel in Nairobi (they moved me to a new room with no wireless Internet, so now I've got to use the wireless from the lobby) and suddenly in the background Toto's "Africa" comes on.

Jambo bwana

Here's the song stuck in my head after hearing it about 5 times tonight over dinner at Carnivore : Jambo Jambo, Jambo bwana, Habari gani, Mzuri sana. Wageni, Wakaribishwa, Kenya yetu Hakuna Matata. Kenya nchi nzuri, Hakuna Matata. Nchi ya maajabu Hakuna Matata. Nchi yenye amani, Hakuna Matata. Hakuna Matata, Hakuna Matata. Watu wote, Hakuna Matata, Wakaribishwa, Hakuna Matata. Hakuna Matata, Hakuna Matata.

Nairobi

A m in Nairobi now, for the annual climate change conference. My first time in Africa. Walked out of the airport into an incredible sight - people singing because some of their friends had come home. It's a pity that I won't have much time to catch the sights - glancing quickly at Time Out 's Nairobi guide , I really wish I could see the National Museum and the Sheldrick Animal Orphanage. But apparently in my one day off I'll get to see the flamingoes of Nakuru National Park .

Youth and Climate Change - Clean and Green Week

Promoting something I'm helping in organising... feel free to show up, bring friends :) Youth and Climate Change: Making a World of Difference A Clean & Green Week Youth Forum with Dr Joel Swisher, Rocky Mountain Institute, USA A/Prof Ho Hiang Kwee, NTU Mr Fabian Foo, WWF Singapore Moderator: Mr Howard Shaw, Singapore Environment Council Venue: Republic Polytechnic - Theatrette / Movies, Level 3, Building W3. Date: Sunday, 5 Nov 2006 Time: 11.30 am – 1.00 pm Admission: Free

Sexy lobster

The Girls's Costume Warehouse clip , just for Halloween. That "And... frog" line always gets me.

Vainglorious attempts at banking application

T he woeful tale of Aleksey Vayner, I-banking applicant . Hell, he's even cited as an example of "what not to do" in writing a CV . Sure, he's a Yalie, and Yalies have been known to tell a fib or two ... but faux inter-school rivalry aside, no matter how weird/sad that video resume was, it certainly shouldn't have been leaked... (Man, Blogger has been acting up on me - was impossible to post anything.)

Twins

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W oman gives birth to twins, one black, one white (same dad, before anyone besmirches the mother's good name). (Tangent: I love the word "besmirch".) Wonder if such a dichotomous twin birth has happened in Singapore? Anyway, back on point - the two boys really are cute - and really do look like each other.

Linksfest: World gone topsy-turvy

Global ecosystems 'face collapse' (from the Living Planet Report ) The conservative Weekly Standard places a Democrat on the cover and writes a glowing report . More on invisibility , from Popular Science . Salon's Broadsheet blog notes the furore over a Peekaboo pole-dancing kit being inadvertently put in the children's toys and games section at Tesco. Yep = iPhoto for PDFs (via Popagandhi ). Nifty.

On manipulation or the lack thereof

W illiam Saletan (who can at times be insufferable) has a good response to Rush Limbaugh's claims that Michael J. Fox was somehow not playing fair in his campaign for stem cell research ("This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting, one of the two.") The fact is - once you've established that he's not acting (which by all accounts he isn't), how could it be wrong to display the symptoms of a disease if he's really suffering from it? There's a tendency, as Amanda Marcotte has sharply noted in her critique of Ann Coulter's rhetorical technique , to exploit the culture's valuing of detached observation over experience (would that be the Intuitive/Sensing divide in the Myers-Briggs test?) to try to disqualify those with experience from speaking out: I think the purpose of slandering 9/11 widows is that Coulter needs an outrageous distraction to smuggle in the idea that politics is a gam

Die or diet

N ew York has a fascinating article on calorie restriction - not to be confused with anorexia - and how it could potentially double your lifespan. Certainly not my thing - it's entirely possible that I've had more than 1800 calories in a day just from Pepsi/Coke - but the rigour is intriguing. Take Michael, the guy who counts 1913 calories a day - no more, no less. (Clever quip: "Cooking for him is the same elaborate exercise in dietary Sudoku it is for all CR die-hards, only more so.") How much of the extra lifespan is spent weighing and counting calories? I have to say this, though. Michael is cited in the article as having a BMI of 15.6. For the longest time, until I went to America, that was pretty much my BMI (I was a meaty 15.9 entering the army). Consider those dimensions for a moment. Divide Michael’s weight by the square of his height and you get a body-mass index of 15.6. Compare that with the minimum BMI of 18 recently decreed by the organizers of the Ma

Parkinson's and the Fox

If you haven't seen the Michael J. Fox campaign ad yet, the display of his Parkinson's symptoms is pretty shocking. Marty McFly, travelling through time, now reduced to not even having full control of his muscles.

Blog community

M et up with some fellow bloggers - including old friends Kin Mun , Adrianna , and Adrian - at a dinner thing with Richard Edelman tonight (talking about concepts such as the horizontal peer to peer conversation ). 'Twas just nice to emerge out of my work burrow for some blog-related stuff, if only for an evening. And 'twas nice to catch up with Kin Mun and see his spankin' new studio. (A koan: what is the sound of one hand clapping? I don't know, but it has much less echo in a soundproof studio.) And while I admit I almost never talk about the so-called Singaporean blogosphere, I do know that Mr Miyagi has left the Mr Brown show, and it was nice of him to throw in a credit to me for the "Zhng My Car" concept in his post about leaving . (I must stress the scripts and everything else were solely theirs, and I should note that "Zhng My Car" arose out of some goofiness with my friends.) As for the very popular character ‘Johnny’, played inimitably

You say conundra, I say conundrums

S o, randomly, I decided to look up the plural of conundrum today, and, as this illuminating discussion points out, "conundrum" isn't definitively Latin in origin. I particularly like the correction of the snob who insists that 'octopuses' is wrong: I hope that Philip Moreland says octopodes not octopi, given that octopus is 3rd declension Greek not 2nd declension Latin. Actually I am sure he does, but for anyone to whom this is news, the word octopodes has four syllables.

The Prestige

O ne of the chief aspects of The Prestige is, well, the prestige - the point in the magic show where the magician shows the audience something they've never seen before. And, as Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) warns, a good magician should never reveal his secrets, for without his secrets he is nothing. And yet the best part of this show - just as in Memento , the first film written by the Nolan brothers - is the revelation of all its secrets, the part where the audience figures out how everything is pieced together... A full review will follow when I have the time, but just wanted to note that this was a great film, some fine, solid acting by Hugh Jackman (one does feel sorry for his character in the end) and Christian Bale...

Linksfest: Sunday Randomness

History Shots . What crisp presentation of information. An old one, but Fiona Apple is a sweetheart . Weird Al Yankovic, and what he owes to MTV , as well as why he's not weird.

Barb Wire

Crikey, another stingray-to-the-chest attack .

She Blinded Me With Science

T alk about science fiction - coming up to breathe for a few minutes, I found news about the world's first (non-fictional) cloaking device and then teleportation (between light and matter, no less)... I love how the article on the invisibility device allowed the reporter to bring out his geek-lit side, referencing H2G2: In the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy , Douglas Adams extended the desire for invisibility from people to problems, with the "Somebody else's problem field", which banishes worries by rendering objects inside it someone else's concern.

The Office, worldwide

S late had a fascinating comparison of what different countries' versions of "The Office" reflect about work (and general) culture . (And yes, I do love "The Office" .) What would a Singaporean version look like, I wonder?

Hello, Panda

China wants more pandas. And that involves "panda porn" apparently. Cue sleazy music, scantily clad pandas...

Who Moved My Blackberry

J ust read Who Moved My Blackberry? , the book-length version of Lucy Kellaway's "Martin Lukes" Financial Times column parodying business speak and jargon (the Martin Lukes character loves, loves the concept of 'creovativity', a bastard blend of creativity and innovation). I got hooked on the column in Bonn (the hotel I was in gave me the FT as the daily paper) and it was quite funny to read this tale of the absurdity of corporate life.

Amusing Characters in History, Part 1

Always found eccentrics amusing, so I was highly intrigued when someone pointed out Timothy Dexter , eccentric and very lucky man: Because he was basically uneducated, his business sense was peculiar but extremely lucky. Somebody inspired him to send warming pans for sale to West Indies, a tropical area. His captain sold them as ladles for local molasses industry and made a good profit. Next Dexter sent wool mittens to the same place. Asian merchants bought them for export to Siberia. His next venture was selling coal to Newcastle, which should have been a sure failure. His ships happened to arrive in the time of a coalminer's strike and potential customers were actually desperate. Here's the tale of his business success in Dexter's own words ... But the most eccentric part was his relationship with his wife: Dexter's own relationship with his wife was troubled as well. This became evident when he started telling visitors that his wife had died, despite the fact that s

Oktoberfest

O ctober's here again, and with it brings the promise of one of my favourite dishes, German pork knuckles... okay, I just had real German pork knuckles in Bonn in May, so it's not like I've been deprived, but man, nothing like a huge chunk o' meat. Spotted this on the Amara hotel brochure promoting their Oktoberfest buffet... "our delectable buffet variety such as Wiener Schnitzel... Roasted Pork with Crispy Crust, Linzer Torte" (so far so good), "Seafood Teppanyaki... and crispy Tempura station". Um. I'm not saying I'm a major cultural expert or anything, but something tells me that teppanyaki and tempura are not German...

Bringing the Sexy

A l Gore had a funny opening quote at the MTV Video Music Awards - "I actually was not planning on being here tonight, but then MTV explained to me that Justin Timberlake is bringing sexy back". But I can't get "Sexy Back" out of my head - there's a raunch to that song that suggests Timberlake's Prince-loving side, and that's more fun than his Michael Jackson wannabe side... Anyway, since I'm talking about Al Gore and the environment and energy, stalkers should note that you might catch glimpses of me on Questions for the Future on CNBC Europe and CNBC Asia this Sunday, assuming they panned to the studio audience (was in the front row). More seriously, for non-stalkers: it's a pretty good programme if you're interested in energy demand in Asia.

Tech this and shove it - new MSN address

B ack in secondary school, for a "street theatre" festival, I wrote a short play that involved a guy being strangled by an extension cord as a sort of commentary on the stifling effects of technology. (Not very subtle, but hey, I was 13.) These days, technology seems determined to strangle me. Just when I was getting mad at Apple for totally screwing up my Macbook , Microsoft reliably screws up as well. The story: I get a message from my MSN Messenger saying that I have to change my e-mail ID to connect (I was using a Yahoo account as my MSN e-mail ID, and I suspect the new integration of Windows Live Messenger with Yahoo Messenger was confusing for the program). Which is fine, MSN promises me all will be well and my contact list will be intact. Well, it is intact, that much I'll grant. But now no one can see me online - nor can I see anyone online. Bloody bleeping hell. I'm in an IM world of its own. An IM singularity. I M lonely. So, if you're on my MSN list

Sunday, Monday - Happy Days

Incidentally - yes, that's me in the Sunday Times (Singapore, not the London one) today. If you haven't seen it - don't worry about it.

Random Macbook Shutdown

I cannot in good conscience recommend my Macbook anymore, much as I'm in love with its features and ease of use. Apparently the "random shutdown" syndrome that I experienced has been pretty much experienced by many around the world - the worrying thing is reading some of the comments on Ubergeek it seems having the logic board replaced (as my computer is doing right now) may not prevent a recurrence of the problem. And the fact that Apple is only issuing a terse response is pretty crap.

Jargon and Obfuscation

W as reading an article about the attempts to turnaround Ford's fortunes (well, shame on them for sticking so long to fuel-inefficient SUVs) and came across this quote by Mark Fields, president of Ford’s Americas operations: “My intent is that, going forward we bring that to the next level,” Fields said on CNBC. “We have to do and we are going to do a much better job of leveraging our global architecture to spin more products through product development.” Um, could you have any more jargon in two sentences? "Going forward", "leveraging"... ugh. The worst thing from a communications and clarity point of view is after reading that you have not much idea what the company will actually do to develop new products. Or maybe I'm just not used to leveraging global architecture... Plain English Campaign

Stingray Revenge

So now people are carrying out revenge attacks on stingrays as a result of Steve Irwin's freak death. Didn't they even get the point of his conservation messages?

Linksfest: Hunka Hunka Burnin' Love

Gary Brolsma, the Numa Numa guy, sells out . Where the phrase "hunka hunka burning love" comes from . I particularly like the titbit that "in 2005, an Australian woman stabbed her partner in the back, thigh, and shoulder with a pair of scissors because he played the song too many times. His injuries were classified as 'non-life threatening'". Slate has a slideshow on various kinds of balustrades - this particular one links to I.M. Pei's work at the National Gallery of Art.

Five years on

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Edit: Check out Keith Olbermann's scathing commentary on the Bush administration's response to 9/11 .

High Fidelity as a Musical

I t seems that they're making a High Fidelity musical (via Stereogum ). This sounds like it has the potential to be incredibly naff, a terrible travesty of a pop cultural milestone. Of course, I thought that when I first heard about the film version, but it turned out to be pretty good. But checking out the "music" section of the musical's website (and I use the quote marks deliberately), there's only one thing to say: the songs sound atrocious. The Rob character of the book or film would kick the singer of these words straight out of Championship Vinyl - check out the lyrics of "Desert Island Top 5 Breakups": "These were the ones that tore my heart out / These were the ones that ate me alive You might squeeze the top 10 Laura / But you're nowhere near the top 5..." Urgh. "Nine Percent Chance" (which refers to when Laura says facetiously to Rob that there's a 9% chance of them getting back together) has the even more execra

Casting Against Type

F or various reasons, I've been thinking of the Frere-Jones brothers. Firstly, I got in a shipment of magazines from my aunt's store including an old New Yorker that had Sasha Frere-Jones writing about Mariah Carey and how with the "Fantasy" remix with ODB she invented the whole "male rapper / female chorus" sound that's so ubiquitous today. Which come to think of it is probably true, that whole sound is such a cliche now. He also writes glowingly about "All I Want For Christmas Is You" as one of the few worth additions to the modern Christmas canon, and it's nice to know someone shares my opinion of that song. And then I read in Karen's blog that Helvetica , a film about the ubiquitous Helvetica typeface and about typography in general is coming out next year, on the 50th anniversary of Helvetica. Here's a quick description: Helvetica is a feature-length independent film about typography, graphic design and global visual cul

Banksy vs Paris Hilton

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I 've written about Banksy before - I think his art work is great. This latest prank involving doctoring the Paris Hilton album in stores is a pretty subversive way to critique the whole weirdness of the cult of celebrity around Paris: Banksy has replaced Hilton's CD with his own remixes and given them titles such as Why am I Famous?, What Have I Done? and What Am I For? He has also changed pictures of her on the CD sleeve to show the US socialite topless and with a dog's head. Pictures of the doctored album are up on this Flickr set .

Griping about AppleCentre service

J ust got off the phone with a very frustrating experience with the AppleCentre@Orchard people. Basically, last Friday when I took my Macbook in, they said that it was probably a logic board problem, and that logic boards were out of stock and would take 2 weeks to ship in. But they promised me that they would do the diagnostics, and if it did turn out to be the logic board, I could take back the Macbook for those 2 weeks while the thing was being shipped in, and then they would call me in to get the part replaced. And they promised that they would call me to tell me if the logic board was out of stock. So, fast forward a week, and no word from them. Finally I decide to call the service centre. First, of course, I was put on hold, which was fine until some computerised voice said "you have exceeded the number of tries" and promptly disconnected me. Bad sign #1. Second try, got through. Asked about the status of my Macbook. The guy at the other end went "oh, we're w

The Chaucer Blog

Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog , yclept, um, "Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog". I particularly like his attempt to be on Hot or Not : Plese uote for me and saye that ich am hotte. Peraventure my peynture may plese nat the moderatoures (for it is a manuscripte and ich haue but litel cleavage), yet lette vs yive this a trye! I also thought Serpentes on a Shippe was quite a clever title...

Linksfest: I'll let you whip me if I misbehave

H eard Mousse T's "Horny as a Dandy", the mashup of Mousse T's "Horny" and the Dandy Warhols' "Bohemian Like You" on the radio today, and decided to look up the video. Meanwhile, some random links. Dane Cook is overrated . Advergaming spoofs . Sorryassbabydaddies . I just thought the domain name was funny.

Double Jeopardy

Ken Jennings, Jeopardy champion extraordinaire, has quite a funny piece on the show on his blog: We were a bit of an item a couple years back, in all the papers, but I think we both know that was just a summer thing. The last time we saw each other…well, the magic just wasn’t there. That’s why I don’t mind when I see you with a new special someone. Or two. Nearly every night! … I’m sorry, is this sounding passive-aggressive? I don’t mean to badger you. I remember that, when we were together, it seems like all I ever did was nag you with questions.

Macbook issues

M y Macbook started turning itself off automatically on Thursday. No warning, no nothing, just an odd "click" sound and then all power goes off. Bleah. Gave it one day and hoped for the best, but by Saturday I had to take it into the service centre. Some logic board fault, most likely, they said. And wouldn't you know it, they're out of logic boards for about 2 weeks. Man, two months and it goes cuckoobananas on me. Oh well, while my Mac's recuperating, I downloaded ObjectDock as part of turning my PC into a Mac . Mmm.

Hedging your bets

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I have to say that I find hedgehogs inexplicably cute. So it's nice to know the McFlurry is being redesigned in the UK to prevent trapping hedgehogs (however improbable). Here's a pic of the original hedgehog-unfriendly cup...

Canon Rock

T he New York Times reveals the identity of "funtwo" , the guy playing Pachelbel's Canon in that video above. Somewhere in the middle - around 3:30 or so - the playing gets really, really impressive.

Linksfest: The Naked and the Dead

China stops the practice of having strippers at a funeral . Ah, traditional Asian values. Beautiful people are more likely to give birth to girls , apparently. Kobayashi breaks another eating record. 58 brats ! Obliterating the 2nd-placed guy (45 brats) and the world record (the dimunitive Sonya Thomas had held that with 34.5 brats). The guy's so far ahead of his competition it's like watching Tiger Woods in his prime. Knee Defender to counter those annoying people who recline their airplane seats too much.

Student-led initiatives

W ent to Confluence over the weekend - very impressed by the fact that this major conference was organised through sheer willpower of the students. (Plus I got lots of free stationery and other swag...) Then, helping out my alma mater, I was an expert reviewer for the Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations held here this year in Singapore, and that was another major conference run entirely by college students. Which got me to thinking: I do like seeing things done through the pure energy of students. Among all the things being in the US taught me, one was just to think big: why shouldn't a student paper scoop the New York Times , why shouldn't a student-run conference invite major dignitaries?

Egg McBook

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O ne thing any Macbook user knows is that these babies get HOT. Was reminded of that by the new firmware upgrade for the fan which hopefully will cool things down. (Can't say I've encountered the fan noise problem that some have mentioned.) In the meantime, here's a funny pic of how the Macbooks are hot enough to cook an egg on :

Apology banner

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P assed by this on the way to work - someone had gone to the trouble of making an elaborate banner to apologise to his girlfriend for an unnamed transgression. Man, and I'd just read in the papers about some guy who was standing around Scotts Road crying and holding a sign of apology. What's with the public wailing and gnashing of teeth and wearing of sackcloth?

Suan Lum Night Bazaar ferris wheel

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W ell, some of you asked for photos of Bangkok - I can't say I have that many (I actually did work there - not much time to see the sights!), but here's one of the ferris wheel at Suan Lum Night Bazaar. Bangkok trip photos

Random Mac question

How do you rotate the thumbnails of pictures in Finder? Also - is there a good way to batch-rename files? Google throws up a variety of solutions, but what do people like? Otherwise - very pleased with my purchase thus far.

Bangkok Chile (Slight Return)

H aven't had the chance to post in ages - and in fact this will only be a slight return - Bangkok photos up soon, but here's quick Bangkok impressions that I had jotted down on my laptop a week ago and hadn't had time to post - the sea of yellow was really apparent: it's the 60th year of King Bhumipol's ascension, plus the King was undergoing surgery when I was there, and the Thais were all showing their support. Even at the wholesale Bo Be clothes market, down below my hotel. it seemed like the only things on sale were yellow shirts. I wish I knew some basic Thai - yesterday, at Suan Lum market, I walked around with a Malaysian conference participant, and realised they immediately spoke to him in English, but quite happily tried to chat with me in Thai. At the very least, it would be nice to know what the price they were quoting me in Thai would be! As it stood, I picked up a fake Andy Warhol-style Marilyn Monroe print to hang, and a used copy of the Rolling Ston

Bangkok

All right, loyal reader(s) (there must be at least one...) - will be in Bangkok for the next couple of days for work. Updates to dsng.net will be intermittent.

Snakes on a Plane (Bring It)

The original Snakes on a Plane soundtrack video is out!

Tiny frogs

Adding to the tales of fauna in my home, lately these tiny little frogs have appeared in my garden, each one the size of my thumbnail. Incredibly cute.

Spare change?

S igns that celebrities have run out of causes to campaign for: Kevin Federline is campaigning for the preservation of the penny . (Seems to be another one of those increasingly tiresome Virgin publicity stunts, actually, but hey - he chose to put his name on it.)

What hath man wrought?

The black rhino is extinct , apparently. (Via Indri )

Tofu Cheesecake

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W ent to Sun With Moon for dinner today, and for dessert I had the tofu cheesecake. Even as an admitted dedicated carnivore, the tofu cheesecake was delicious. But the best part was the presentation - the little bird cage, the folded paper crane, the tiny little mint leaf. I particularly liked the way the shadows fell on the cake.

Football's coming home

W hy do football fans sing, while American football fans don't? The Washington Post finds some who theorise about individuality versus community ("although the social structure in many European countries is less fixed than it was ages ago... thinking in group terms is still more prevalent when it comes to self-definition. The different classes are replaced by different soccer teams one can identify with."). If you ask me, it's probably because Americans just don't have any good chants...

How to Shop Like a Cuban

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T ook this last week at the Cathay (and got gently chided by the security guards there for it - why isn't there photo-taking at a shopping centre?) - anyway, the tagline "How to Shop Like a Cuban" amused me.

Fake numbers

S ometimes, in my more misanthropic moments, to avoid conversation, I give out a fake number (my old pager number - the key is to deliver it smoothly). But I see that there's a whole Rejection Line industry. (Found via the Barmaid Blog , which is pretty amusing in its own right.)

Linksfest: Random

No soap, radio ! On one of the most popular joke traditions. The New Yorker looks at the long tail The Pedant's Revolt looks like the kind of book I'd like - all about misconceptions and myths Speaking of things that are false, the urban legend that Alabama redefined pi is false .

My DVD Collection

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O bsessive-compulsive ways to spend the weekend: cataloguing one's film collection. So, yes, there I was, using my Mac's iSight camera to scan DVD barcodes... if only the Delicious Library app recognised more non-US/UK/Japan DVDs though! But that's a function of them using Amazon for their catalogue - no region 3 DVDs on Amazon, I guess. Still, it's nice to see a visual representation of my DVD collection (see screenshot above!). And it'll help me track those DVDs I occasionally lend out. (Ooh - that reminds me - a friend still has my copies of Withnail and I and The Rules of Attraction !) I realised with DVDs I often have a memory associated not just with the film, but also with where I purchased the film - my copy of Crazed Fruit , for instance, came from Montreal media emporium Archambault , which I stumbled onto one briskly cool day. I suppose that's one of the joys of physical media as opposed to, say, buying a video off iTunes - but then I suppose not

Film effects

W hile talking to J- today about film effects, I stumbled onto the Digital Air site , a firm that deals with digital manipulation of multiple cameras, and I thought it was quite cool how they described and demonstrated the various effects possible. Which made me think: how much of our acceptance of even basic effects involving time in films (fast forward, reverse, etc.) is based on our experience of them, simply because film-watching (or film fast-forwarding/rewinding?) is such a common part of modern life? Did we have to learn to accept time effects as being a natural vocabulary of films, or was that innate? I mean, they are so obviously artificial, but at this point it's hard for me to even think of fast forward, reverse, etc as being "special effects" at all - they're just part of the language of films, like jump-cuts (although of course even jump cuts can be special, for instance the famous Lawrence of Arabia jump-cut ). In fact, how much did we have to learn to

Comfort Films

F ound myself back home fairly early, and, amazingly, without anything pressing to do for a change (well, assuming I work over the weekend, as is my usual practice). So I sat on the couch with my laptop and surfed as I watched films. And while I started with The Limey , which I hadn't seen and was finishing up, and even though there are films in my DVD collection that I am still supposed to get around to seeing ( Clean , The Fast Runner ), I ended up watching two films I've seen many times before: Woody Allen's Love and Death , as well as Notting Hill , which I watched with the commentary on. There's something about watching films whose rhythm you know well, I think. Familiar, comfortable. And yet both still retained the capacity to make me laugh.

The Mosquito Ringtone

M eant to blog about this a while ago, but anyway, I thought the idea of a ringtone that only teenagers can hear was a pretty nifty technological innovation. Here's the ringtone as an MP3 - I suppose it's good that even after all those years of DJing I can stil hear it, although I keep hearing lingering buzzing after playing that...

Short thought

Everyone talks about procrastination, but no one gets around to doing anything about it.

Superballs

B ecause we have a shared interest in the Red Sox, I guess, Seth Mnookin e-mailed me to promote his Feeding the Monster book (very different from his previous investigation into the Jayson Blair scandal, I suppose). But I ended up being distracted by this Sony ad that he linked on his blog - there's something about superballs that brings out the kid in me... and José Gonzalez's "Heartbeats" is a beautiful, delicate song.

Myspace Spam

W hat is with Myspace spam? It's always the same suspicious pattern - out of the blue 10 different women e-mail you wanting to be your friend - and you don't even have to click on their profiles to know what you'll see.

Penelope, and Fireworks

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W hile snooping around for something else, I chanced upon this description of a very short (3 minute) film by Phil Solomon, called "Yes, I Said Yes, I Will, Yes" based on the last chapter of Ulysses : “The title is, of course, borrowed from the last lines of Molly Bloom's monologue, where, after reviewing all the lovers of her life, she comes home to Bloom, in a swooning affirmation like no other in all of western literature. I have always loved making 'quickie' films for a specific occasion, and this film was made in couple of days as a wedding present for my wife. My most simple, direct, and joyful film.” ( Link ) This sounds quite great - wonder if I'll ever find a chance to watch it. But then I've always loved that last chapter of Ulysses - at the end of Bloomsday, it transcends the density of the previous chapters to reach "swooning affirmation". Which leads me to another thought (hey, if I'm writing about Joyce I can damn wel

Foosball

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S o my brother bought a new foosball / table football set (never did figure out why the German name for football got associated with the game) via Inta-web auction, and the two of us drove out to pick it up over the weekend. Sometimes it's fun talking to the brother - we ended up talking about the same repertoire of all the music in hip-hop clubs in Singapore (and wondered why people seem not to get tired of the similar progressions - "Hollaback Girl" etc etc), the innate sadness of the lyrics of "Hey Ya!" (a pet topic of mine), and why there should be more of Killers songs played in clubs. I got a bit confused because I thought he was referring to Seal/Adamski's "Killer". Which I haven't heard in years, and is a pretty decent song. Thought: even in Singapore with its erstwhile taste for retro music, the late 80s/early 90s gets passed over a bit - it would be nice to hear "Dub Be Good to Me". But anyway that also made me think, a

Mac, the Ninth

W ell, at least I think it's been 9 days since I picked up my Macbook. So - to report - the switching experience has been quite easy, and everytime I've brought out the computer I've inspired gadget envy. I did get my first Mac crash on day #1 (Firefox quit unexpectedly), which horrified my friend at Apple, who promptly blamed the Firefox extensions. But otherwise everything's been smooth. The Bluetooth integration is great, actually - just being able to send photos to my computer or Hotsyncing my Palm with it Oh, and the main reason I wouldn't get a Mac - the lack of a right click on a laptop (yes, I know you can add a two-button mouse, but that's not much help if you want to carry it around and use the trackpad) - is nicely fixed on the Macbook. Two fingers on the trackpad to right-click, say, on a link, vs one to left-click. Very elegant. I still agree with Slate that the new Mac "switch" ads are terrible , though.

Schadenfreude

M y assistant editor Alice and I used to always eagerly await the Fiver back when I was editing for Let's Go (hey, you know how hard it was to get football news in the US?) Here's a snippet from today's gem (admittedly the humour writes itself): "England's penalty fools are out! Once again Wayne Rooney weakened his team with his lack of self-control. Eriksson had to substitute 'Giraffe' Crouch up front, and take Joe Cole off. When it comes to taking penalties England are the world's idiots" - German rag Bild am Sonntag displays its compassionate side. Ah, there's a reason schadenfreude is a German word, I guess.

Axis vs Allies

So it's Germany-Italy in one semifinal. If it's England-France in the other, we can all play Axis and Allies.

Apple-Magritte mashup

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I have to say, this intersection of the Apple logo and Magritte's "Son of Man" is a damn fine idea.

Switch

G ot my Macbook today (and am blogging on it while watching Brazil play Ghana). Have followed Adri's useful guide to what to do with a new Mac , including downloading Adium for IMing, plus tried out Delicious Library . Very, very lovely. Except for the overheating - if I keep this on my lap too long (as opposed to on a cushion) I might sterilise myself...

All wireless all the time

R andom thought about the new wireless broadband network that's supposed to cover all of Singapore - beyond the obvious idea of people tapping into the network to check e-mail, I think it would also be (geekily) cool if the always-on network was used by standalone devices. Such as a vending machine that sends e-mails back when it's out of Coke. Okay, so it wasn't that random a thought. A man needs his morning caffeine!

And piles to sort before I sleep

I was impressed by this video of a 3-D Desktop Prototype created by the folks at the Dynamic Graphics Project .

Stream of unconsciousness

A bout to be a groomsman at one of my best friends' weddings today. And, on an unrelated note, have an incredible craving for a doughnut. The Zen philosopher Basho once wrote, 'A flute with no holes, is not a flute. And a donut with no hole, is a danish'. Funny guy. Dreams over the last couple of days: 1. I was singing Prince's "Kiss" onstage, and was doing a damn decent falsetto if I may say so myself. (This was related, methinks, to reading an article about people who can't stop singing along to music.) 2. I was lying on a mattress on the floor, and there was a huge amount of water coming in through a gaping hole in the wall, and in order to avoid drowning I got up and moved to the bed, but the water kept rising, and I had to swim to the door.

The urban future

T he urban economist and the SimCity lover in me loves the fact that the Metroquest computer sim (based on SimCity, natch) is being used to see future consequences of decisions . The software has also been used with planners in Bali, Indonesia - where it showed the island was heading for serious trouble. The island's tourism-based economy is so linked to its environment "that they're inseperable" - but the environment was under serious strain, the programme showed. "When we went there, we discovered that they were reaching their carrying capacity on so many sustainability issues - overcrowded streets, congested arteries, brownouts for electricity on a regular basis, and at their capacity for water supply," Mr Biggs said. Speaking of urbanism, I found this piece on the competition in Boston between a new "lifestyle centre", where the shopping centre attempts to replicate the Main Street feel, and the old-style Burlington Mall, very interesting.

Germany v Sweden

B ack from my time in the sun (and the rain) at the firing range. Watched Germany-Sweden in the World Cup - nice to see Singaporean representation on the field, even if today it was only in the form of a fourth official (Shamsul Maidin). That Shamsul's the top-rated ref over at Soccernet is pretty impressive. Certainly he was miles better than Graham "can't count to two" Poll... Speaking of German football players, I was quite amused by Mortiz Volz's ability to take the piss out of the standard German stereotypes on his home page , including this whole page dedicated to David Hasselhoff ("Being German, I love David Hasselhoff. It's actually the law back in the Motherland. For me the Hoff is almost like some kind of higher spirit. Hoff-ness is everywhere. The Hoff is a big inspiration - in times of trouble I often ask myself 'how would the Hoff deal with this situation...?'")

In Reserve

Well, in reservist at least: will be off for my annual jaunt serving the country for the next couple of days, so all will be quiet on the eastern front here.

Woman attacks breeder

T he weird thing about reading this story about a woman who attacked a dog breeder with the dead puppy she had bought is that without seeing the byline I knew it took place in Missouri. I guess I'd just read too many horror stories about puppy mills there.

A Design For Life

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M y main souvenir from Bonn was something not very German at all: the Alessi "Girotondo" Key-Ring , by King Kong Design (if we're going to get fancy-schmancy: King Kong are Stefano Giovanni and Guido Venturini, key ring designed 1996). Only got the boy one - but it looks like it would be cute as part of a his-and-hers thing. Yeah - I have a weakness for Alessi products. Although I must say in the entire time I've had the Starck Juicy Salif I've squeezed oranges on it a grand total of once.

A soon-to-be Mac user

Y esterday, I caught a severe case of gadget lust at seeing the new MacBook - decently priced, decent power, and in any case I'd been looking for a laptop so that I can surf while downstairs. Mmm. (Yes, that smacks of self-justification, but oh well.) So today - man of impulse that I am - I plonked down the money for a MacBook. But 3 weeks' wait! Groan. I'm not all that good with delayed gratification. I'd been looking forward to trying out Delicious Library . Friend/Mac evangelist Matt MacInnis is just waiting for the chance to show me what the machine can do. On a separate tech-geek note, I have a spare Palm Tx that I bought thinking I'd lost my original... and then I found my original in my gym bag. Will be willing to sell the Palm (including an SD card, a leather case, and a screen protector) for a decent price - if you're interested e-mail me at daryl [at] dsng [dot] net.

All Greek to me

L ast night, over a delicious dinner at Da Paolo (mmm... squid ink pasta), the topic came to what the most traumatic name you could give your kid would be. I put forward a whole host of names from tragedies: Clytemnestra, Ulysses (oh yeah - missed Bloomsday a couple of days back - down with allergies), but my personal favourite was Oedipus. Now that would really screw your kid up. As the old joke about the Jewish mother goes - Oedipus, schmoedipus, what does it matter so long as he loves his mother?

Linksfest: Wallflowers for Algernon

Book/band mashup titles . I like "The Natalie Merchant of Venice" and "The Sun Also RZA". On the Chinese gaming business . Actually the entire issue of the Escapist on the subject is good to read.

Last night's gig

D Jing at the Butter Factory was lots of fun - thanks go out to all of my friends who showed up, and thanks for the compliments. Glad y'all liked it - it was great doing the side room, got to showcase a whole range of everything, really, from Lyn Collins to Diplo to Nelly Furtado covering Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" to, of course, that staple of my sets, the Postal Service.

I say, old bean

Meanwhile, I was slightly confused a couple of days back by The Great Hatsby AIM bot, but this clears it up.

Modern Grooming

Why is it when I get up in the morning, I have to spend time putting gel on my hair to achieve the "out of bed" look?

DJing at the Butter Factory

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I have been asked to DJ this Wednesday (14 June) at the Butter Factory , #01-03 Riverside 48, 48 Robertson Quay, from 11pm-1am. I'll be spinning eclectic grooves in the chillout area while the usual bangin' hip-hop goes on in the main room. It'll be "eclectic" and not necessarily obscure - just trawling through the more interesting corners of my MP3 collection. Motown, soul, 80s, kitsch covers, house, and whatever floats my boat, actually. Damage: It's a charity gig - $20 if you prepay, $25 at the door including one drink, with all ticket proceeds going to the Straits Times Pocket Money Fund . Plus 1 for 1 on all house pours from 10pm-midnight. E-mail me at daryl [at] dsng.net for presale tix, booking tables, or outright donations. Or just show up at the door! See y'all, yo. DJ Slapdash in the house!

Mashup!

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An old one, by Sue Trowbridge . The AP on mashups

Paya Lebar

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Posted a whole bunch of old pics onto my Flickr page , including this one - I liked the way the track sees to recede into the horizon.

The Vegetable Orchestra

O r, Terry Schiavo plays the tuber. The Vegetable Orchestra (Das gemüseorchester) were pretty much what you'd expect from their name - music played with carrots and cucumbers turned into instruments. They're not completely out of their gourd, but they certainly brought the fun to Jubilee Hall. The visual spectacle of the live event was just as much part of the effect - in the background were projections of veggies being sliced up, while the sound of tumbling pumpkins and aubergines was much enhanced by seeing them tumble. All in all, an enjoyable evening, although from a pure musical perspective the tunes that focused on percussion (such as "Greenhouse" , a house music piece) fared much better than the efforts at melody - the carrot flute was an intriguing effort, but sometimes one thought of that old Samuel Johnson quote about a dog walking on its hind legs ("It's not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all"). But that's being chur

Film blogs

T he Girlfriend once referenced girish , and it turned out to be a pretty impressive film blog - well written, erudite. Take this excerpt from his piece on Godard's Every Man For Himself , for instance: Late Godard is often referred to as his “transcendental period” and this movie is where that period begins. In the most heart-stopping scenes, Nathalie Baye bicycles around the Swiss countryside, surrounded by rolling hills, manicured farms, backdropped by picturesque sky. The camera seizes mid-rapture, and the images hurtle into a stuttering succession of freeze frames; it’s not quite slow motion, but a sort of freeze-frame motion . (Perhaps this is where Wong Kar-Wai first encountered it.) I occasionally pretend to write about film , but reading blogs like girish or Like Anna Karina's Sweater does remind me I'm such a dilettante.

Kung? Pow! Chicken...

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Newsflash: Kung fu worthless against trains . (Interesting that Xinhua doesn't use the hanyu pinyin version of "kung fu".) Liang jumped down to the tracks and wanted to use Xianglongshibazhang, a famous kung fu posturing described in many swordsman fictions, to stop the running train. Also from the Xinhua site, a performance piece in Siberia :

Stars on 45

A true kitsch classic: the Stars on 45 Medley. I didn't realise it had a video. Featuring women in aerobics outfits doing disco handclaps!

The Ice Harvest

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W hile Harold Ramis will probably never top the virtuosity that is Groundhog Day , this black comedy of dishonour among thieves shows that he still retains the ability to capture the bleak side of a holiday. The Ice Harvest features John Cusack in a bad-guy role that's more Grosse Point Blank than, say, Say Anything . In this case he's Wichita mob lawyer Charlie Arglist, who's teamed up with Vic Cavanaugh (Billy Bob Thornton) to steal a couple million bucks from his boss on Christmas Eve. After he and Vic get away with the money, they have to act cool for a few hours, but Charlie dithers, not out of any goodness (he's amoral enough that he runs a strip joint) but because he's not exactly the picture of steely-eyed resolve. And women, of course, complicate the matter: in this case, Renata (Connie Nielsen), who runs the Sweet Cage strip club and whom Charlie hopes to slip out of town with. The bitter cold and the ice storm that hits holiday-eve Wichita thus form

Signs in Bonn

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Another picture from Bonn. Nothing special, except I thought the text ("cyclists / moped riders please dismount") and the picture didn't quite match. I kind of get what it means - 'people are bringing kids here, please get off to avoid running them over'. But it still seemed a bit of a jump.

Song Interpolations - Mony Mony

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"M ony Mony" - the Billy Idol version, not the Tommy James and the Shondells original - came up on my MP3 playlist today and it reminded me of how people chant the "hey motherf***er" lines in between the lines of the verse. There she comes round singin' Mony Mony ("hey motherf***er...") Here in Singapore, the 'added' lines always sounded like "hey motherf***er hey hey motherf***, but when I was in the US people would chant "hey motherf***er get laid get f***ed", but the general swearing theme remains intact. So I was thinking that this is a very strange thing to spread globally - does anyone know the origins of this "tradition"? Looking it up on Google, I found an entertaining thread about the whole "added lyrics" thing : I did know that people do sing "so good, so good, so good" in between the chorus of "Sweet Caroline", and that "Family Tradition," by Hank Williams Jr., gets

Linksfest: Danger! Cookies!

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Slate reimagines classic novels with pulp covers Or you could spell out the whole of Camus' "The Myth of Sisyphus" in cookies Meat grown in a lab . On the one hand, this has a weird-science feel about it. On the other - it would solve a lot of ethical dilemmas, such as concerns for overfishing or living conditions on farms. A funny interpretation of "Sugar, We're Going Down" and its mumbled lyrics. Meanwhile, the Iraqis love Lionel Richie . "Richie says he was told Iraqis were playing 'All Night Long,' on the streets the night U.S. tanks rolled into the country in 2003."

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