February 2007 Archives

What we've been up to

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We've been luxuriously pondering such things and semiotics (including a truly fabulous hazy-dream in which various advertising characters sit at a bar and discuss their symbolic, indexical, or iconic natures) and wondering about our own abilities to actually function. Here's what's been going on with the side project at Sticks of Fire:

USF ranks high in music piracy, but not as high as Ohio

Tampa sportstalk host Steve Duemig is a bigot

Florida enjoys botching executions

Pure sex | VD is spelled the same as VD


Happy feast of St. Valentine. Once again, I find myself single, much as I did the previous 27 St. Valentine's Days in my past. (That's not ENTIRELY true, but four days a relationship does not make.) You might think this would make me bitter. Me? Bitter? No, never, never.

Anyway, despite my prolonged celibacy, I'm not averse to the S - E - X. In fact, I have a particular affinity for what I call "pure sex." Pure Sex, to me, is a song that strikes a very specific groove. A groove that makes you want to, well, groove. "Pure sex" isn't about sex, per se, it's just a designation -- there are other, more vivid realms to explore for... that sort of thing. So today we're featuring five songs that I feel are exemplars of "pure sex." Feel free to appropriate them for your own uses later today, and I even bothered to make flash players for each song. (Reading via RSS/XML/Bloglines? Click through to the entry if you can't see the music players. If you're using IE or Safari, your mileage may vary.)

On with the pure sex!

1. Zero 7, The Waiting Line

You probably heard this in Garden State. Part of what makes a great song "pure sex" is having a chorus/repeated line that is of an atmospheric or rhetorically-questioned nature. "Do you believe in what you see" is a perfect example.

2. Delerium (featuring Sarah McLachlan), Silence

I first heard this song in the back of Dan Stark's Mustang GT, on 4 August 1997. Yeah, I know the date. And no, Dan was not in the back seat with me. He was driving. Mia Vlah was riding shotgun. I remember feeling drunk with the beat coming from the subwoofers in the hatchback. I still feel that way every time I hear this song. It became a radio hit a few years later, thanks to a shorter edit Dan made that he never got credit for. This is one of several fantastic, sexy songs on the album Karma.

3. Ivy, Edge of the Ocean

I am in the group of people who believes Fountains of Wayne bassist Adam Schlesinger is America's greatest living songwriter. Not only is he responsible for FoW's brilliant music, he wrote the songs for several fake movie bands like The Wonders (That Thing You Do!) and the eponymous band in Josie And The Pussycats. His side project is Ivy, and this song (which I discovered in the first season of Veronica Mars set the bar for "pure sex." It's the first song I ever assigned that attribute to, in an email sent to a girl we've long forgotten, one year ago today.

4. Thievery Corporation, Lebanese Blonde

Also from the Garden State soundtrack, and probably the best song ever to utilize the sitar (shut up, Beatles fans.) I've noticed a lot of songs in the "pure sex" category refer to drug use. I cannot fathom the connection. I've never used drugs in my life.


5. Goldfrapp, Train

Alison Goldfrapp is finally getting some much-deserved attention. I had a hard time picking one song off this gorgeous Black Cherry album (Strict Machine is another perfect song) but this song, while more upbeat than the previous four, has so many perfectly-placed bizarre sounds that combine with Goldfrapp's voice to create what can only be described as sublime. The video's even better.

So there's your V-Day. I hope you enjoy yours. Mine will be spent working all day, and then more working. Maybe I'll have a drink when it's all done, but your NCA submissions are due tomorrow, kiddos, so don't slack off with your sweetheart.

Oh, and feel free to reply with your personal favorite "pure sex" tracks.

Who went to see Norbit?


Norbit opened with $33.7 million, easily beating the rest of the competition this weekend.

What the hell? Am I the only one who saw every TV trailer for this movie and thought, "F*ck, this movie looks damned stupid"?

I know I'm not, because 81 of 89 professional critics aggregated at Rotten Tomatoes panned the film. Who the hell went to go see this movie? IT LOOKS LIKE THE STUPIDEST THING IN HISTORY. I can see why kids might go see an even more critically-rejected film like Epic Movie because it is a "teen flick."

Norbit is not a teen flick. It is a stupid flick, that has absolutely nothing of interest in it save Thandie Newton, and even then that's a stretch. Yet it earned $33 million in one weekend? Huh?

Is America really that retarded?

Meanwhile, I was watching Mike Judge's Idiocracy. It would seem that, yes, we are that retarded. (Full review coming soon.)

Ted Haggard announced Tuesday he'd been "cured" of his homosexuality after a three-week "intensive seminar."

That same night, the plot of ABC's Boston Legal featured recurring character Judge Brown (played by the tremendous actor Henry Gibson, of Laugh-In and Blues Brothers fame) seeking to cure his own homosexuality by attending a similar camp. (It doesn't work, and he seeks the help of Denny Crane in recovering damages from the "therapists.")

Three days later, NBC's Law & Order (sadly now moved to Friday nights opposite Numb3rs) highlighted a story nearly identical to that of Haggard's, only having his wife killing the meth-happy male prostitute.

(Incidentally, and I say this every week, the easiest job in show business is writing for Dick Wolf. Open up the Post and go from there. They don't even use the phrase "ripped from the headlines" anymore because it's just assumed at this point.)

I know season scheduling is planned months in advance... I think. So I suppose it's just convenient that two popular dramas had storylines revolving around a real-life development (and one that garnered a lot of its own attention from both the mainstream press and the late-night talking heads)?

For what it's worth, they were both excellent episodes, though I'm partial to Boston Legal myself, if only because Denny Crane is the best character on television since Hawkeye Pierce. Or perhaps...

TOP FIVE TV CHARACTERS SINCE 1980 (in no particular order)

Hawkeye Pierce
Denny Crane
Quinn Mallory (seasons one and two, Sliders)
Veronica Mars (season one)
Bill McNeal (Phil Hartman's character on NewsRadio)

Honorable Mention:

Jack Tripper (duh)
Alex P. Keaton
Magnum, P.I.
Dr. Craig (from St. Elsewhere)

As for that last item, I just realized that William Daniels is a month away from 80 years old. 80! Mr. Feeny, John Adams, the voice of KITT is 80. 80 YEARS OLD!

The dude played Dustin Hoffman's FATHER in The Graduate for crying out loud!

You know what's really awesome, though? He's one of the figure skating judges in the upcoming Blades of Glory.


Henry Gibson:

William Daniels:

It's hot as hell in Philadelphia!

Things you realize in intellectual pursuits

I accidentally left the AC adapter to my Macbook at work Monday night. This left me with nothing to do Monday night, so I finally picked up a copy of Chuck Klosterman's brilliant Killing Yourself to Live loaned to me by one of my students. I didn't set it down until I'd finished it a few hours later.

Chuck Klosterman is probably the greatest living writer in America. He has aptly taken over for Hunter S. Thompson, despite having little in common with Thompson other than a penchant for road trips, drug abuse, and assignments from magazines to travel to odd places.

Hmm. So maybe they have a bit more in common than I thought. Yet Thompson was a true ethnographer, always capturing the very essence of what he experienced. Klosterman is a classic autoethnographer, and Killing Yourself is probably the greatest autoethnography written by a white, straight, middle-class (upbringing) Midwestern male in history.

Maybe I shouldn't have decided a white, straight, middle-class Midwestern male was incapable of writing good autoethnography. Maybe I coulda been a contendah.

ANYWAY, reading Klosterman makes a man (or woman, for that matter) realize two very important attributes about the people in their lives.

1. They make me much less happy than other people I could be spending time with.
2. They make me much less unhappy than other people I could be spending time with.

Note I did not say "one of two." I said two. Klosterman consistently makes me realize that bliss is nearly always accompanied by periods of misery, and to deprive one's self of both by engaging with individuals who take you to neither extreme is to deprive one's self of the emotional tension that's necessary to really interpret works of contemporary culture.

Klosterman generally leads me to the conclusion that everything I do is a waste of time, and I really ought to just spend more time listening to the Pixies by myself in my bedroom. And he's right, because he's always right.

BTW, if you're wondering how I typed this... i pulled the EW server out of the closet and installed X on it. It's never had X on it and I was quite content to keep things that way. Yet I really needed to check my email, as my phone doesn't work either. So I installed X.

Firefox 2.0 in Linux is the most gorgeous browser ever. Why can't it look like that on OS X? Or Windows, even?

Super Bowl semi-liveblogging

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Only because I can.

10:59 - The party went well. The cleanup is a pain in the ass. Parties suck when you're the host. The Miller Lite in my hand just told me not to hold your breath tomorrow for the commercial review. #1, I missed almost all of this year's ads (being a host and all) and #2 I'm going to bed now. Look for the commercial review on Tuesday, my day off.

10:15 - Peyton Manning, how does it feel to be the most "by default" MVP in Super Bowl history?

9:30 - People can't figure out why I'm cheering for the Colts to win and yet was begging for a reversal on the INT challenge. And now Bob Sanders just intercepted Rex Disgustingman again. This game is OVAR.

Also, Jenn is upset because I told her the dude who was going to propose to his girlfriend in a Super Bowl ad didn't come up with the money. Plus I just got a text message from The Girl that she sent the other night, something I probably should have responded to, you know, that night. Or yesterday. Or this morning.

9:14 - NO MORE SCORING! I want my 22-17 prediction to seem prescient.

9:00 - People keep getting drunk and leaving... there's only about ten people left here, and for some reason four of them are from Philadelphia and are proudly wearing Eagles gear. Jennifer has an odd coterie of friends.

8:26 - I forgot to mention I put the 13" color TV i bought in Wiki Wachee (sp?) on the way to the GMAC Bowl in my bathroom tonight, and everyone loves it. One of my roommate's friends headed to the bathroom at the beginning of the halftime show, saying, "I'm gonna go watch this in the bathroom." I might just have to make my bathroom TV a permanent fixture.

8:20 - Covering Dylan? The Foo Fighters? Brilliant. Best halftime show ever. At the very least, best halftime show since the wardrobe malfunction. Dammit, Prince melts my face off. I still have goosebumps.

8:16 - See, it's cute, get it? It's purple out, and it's raining? In all seriousness, this halftime show makes me want to shoot my roommate for not letting me set my home theatre sound system up in the new house.

7:50 - Two more fumbles. I want to take back what I said about the MAC. This game is more along the lines of a Class-AAA high school game. These guys don't resemble professional athletes in any way.

7:16 - First part of the Coke "GTA III" ad: genius. Second part? Had me searching under the cushions for my lost masculinity.

7:13 - My landlord's wife, an Auburn fan, is screaming every time Grossman drops back. "I'LL BE DAMNED IF A GATOR WINS THE SUPER BOWL!!!"

6:52 - Sorry, we have enough food for about 50 people here, and I'm trying to do my part. Meanwhile, can I please turn in my late-November bottom-of-the-barrel MAC game and get the NFL Super Bowl I ordered? This really isn't up to my standards. Oh, and I haven't really seen any ads yet. I've been too busy stuffing my piehole.

5:52 - Oh, God, they turned football into soccer. Or something else limp and Euro.

5:49 - The TV on the patio is SD, the TV in the living room is HD. The HD set is delayed several seconds, so the smokers on the patio actually get to see everything happen before those of us inside.

This isn't a huge deal, but right now, with this weird-ass music, it creates a bizarre pre-echo that really makes me wish I was drinking Absinthe instead of Coors Light.

5:38 - My roommate just confirmed what I'd suspected all along: she is entirely uninterested in the game, and would prefer we fast-forward through them to get to the commercials. "The Tivo doesn't work that way," Rob answered.

4:58 - When did Katie Couric get amazingly hot?

4:48 - Today I was watching Back to the Future part II and I realized that in that world, HDTV had yet to be invented in 2015. Watching Hines Ward's mother, I longed for those days of standard TV... because I just lost my appetite.

An infallible Super Bowl prediction

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Thanks to my roommate for not complaining too much about me simulating a football game in Tecmo Bowl while she's trying to clean. We're throwing a huge Super Bowl bash tonight, and she's going a bit nuts over it all.

I'll try and do the Super Bowl ad review this year (I know, I took a year off last year, bite me) if I don't get too drunk.

Here is a lesson for you all


If you are in a tornado, and people might want to call you to find out if you're okay, turn on your mobile phone.

Unlike what my parents have done, today, considering that the regular phones are down, 500 houses in their neighborhood damaged, yadda yadda, and I can't get a hold of them.


Turn on your damn mobile! Your son cares about you!

In the Sticks


Tampa blogger extraordinaire Tommy Duncan's invited me to join the staff of Sticks of Fire, your premier Tampa Bay Area blog site.

I happily accepted, and will mainly be focusing on USF news and events. I knew having it tops on my blogroll would lead to good things!

Even if you don't live down here, you should add it to your blogroll, because we're all sorts of cool. Thanks, Tommy!


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    About this Archive

    This page is an archive of entries from February 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

    January 2007 is the previous archive.

    May 2007 is the next archive.

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