Friday, April 28, 2006

Firday Music Report

According to my profile over at Last.fm, I listened to the following music the most last week:
  1. The National
  2. The Wedding Present
  3. Pulp
  4. The Charlatans U.K.
  5. Echo & the Bunnymen
  6. Wilco
  7. Guided by Voices
  8. Death Cab for Cutie
  9. Blur
  10. Kings of Convenience
NP: "Execution Day" - The New Pornographers

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

102 Movies for Film Literacy

Film critic Jim Emerson recently listed 102 movies to see before you are movie "literate." He explains the list this way:

... [They are] the movies you just kind of figure everybody ought to have seen in order to have any sort of informed discussion about movies. They're the common cultural currency of our time..."

I've reproduced Emerson's list here and bolded those that I've seen.

2001: A Space Odyssey
The 400 Blows
8 1/2
Aguirre, the Wrath of God
Alien
All About Eve
Annie Hall
Apocalypse Now
Bambi
The Battleship Potemkin
The Best Years of Our Lives
The Big Red One
The Bicycle Thief
The Big Sleep
Blade Runner
Blowup
Blue Velvet
Bonnie and Clyde
Breathless
Bringing Up Baby
Carrie
Casablanca
Un Chien Andalou
Children of Paradise / Les Enfants du Paradis
Chinatown
Citizen Kane
A Clockwork Orange
The Crying Game
The Day the Earth Stood Still
Days of Heaven
Dirty Harry
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
Do the Right Thing
La Dolce Vita
Double Indemnity
Dr. Strangelove
Duck Soup
E.T. -- The Extra-Terrestrial
Easy Rider
The Empire Strikes Back
The Exorcist
Fargo
Fight Club
Frankenstein
The General
The Godfather, The Godfather, Part II
Gone With the Wind
GoodFellas
The Graduate
Halloween
A Hard Day's Night
Intolerance
It's a Gift
It's a Wonderful Life
Jaws
The Lady Eve
Lawrence of Arabia
M
Mad Max 2 / The Road Warrior
The Maltese Falcon
The Manchurian Candidate
Metropolis
Modern Times
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Nashville
The Night of the Hunter
Night of the Living Dead
North by Northwest
Nosferatu
On the Waterfront
Once Upon a Time in the West
Out of the Past
Persona
Pink Flamingos
Psycho
Pulp Fiction
Rashomon
Rear Window
Rebel Without a Cause
Red River
Repulsion
The Rules of the Game
Scarface (I assume this means Cagney's but I've seen both)
The Scarlet Empress
Schindler's List
The Searchers
The Seven Samurai
Singin' in the Rain
Some Like It Hot
A Star Is Born
A Streetcar Named Desire
Sunset Boulevard
Taxi Driver
The Third Man
Tokyo Story
Touch of Evil
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Trouble in Paradise
Vertigo
West Side Story
The Wild Bunch
The Wizard of Oz

67 out of 102. I could be much better, especially on the earlier movies (though I steadfastly refuse to willingly watch a musical). How do you rate? I'm guessing Krista and Senior both outrank that. And which of the ones that I haven't seen are must sees? Aguirre the Wrath of God is already on my Netflix queue. (via kottke)

NP: "Blue for You" - The Charlatans U.K.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

On to Paris!

And Thierry Henry gets to go home for a match. Arsenal managed to hold off Villareal today 0-0, thus ensuring a place in the Champion's League final for the first time in the club's history. Lehmann saved the day again, saving a most dubious penalty in the 89th minute. I'm afraid I can't comment on the match too much right now. I'm drained and I only was able to listen to the match online.

What a strange season its been thus far. While struggling to find any sort of form in the Premier League, Arsenal quietly did something no one expected them to do. Win in Europe. And keep winning. During the group stages, no one really noticed, because, well, they are the group stages. The survived and moved on.

Then, as the knockout round approached, and we drew Real Madrid as the opponent, I couldn't help but feel like this was going to be yet another disappointment. Surely a team sporting a cobbled together defense, a team that struggled to beat such competition as West Brom (currently racing toward relegation), a team that seemed to have lost the desire to challenge for the league title, surely no team such as this could challenge the mighty Galacticos. But challenge they did. In Europe, they just continued to win and continued to keep clean sheets.

Now, after dispatching Juventus handily, and weathering the Spanish storm during the second leg at Villareal, Arsenal are going to the final. Today, Jens Lehmann put the team on his back--again--as he has so many times in this run and held the yellow submarine goalless, setting a Champion's Leagure record for the most minutes played without a goal in the competition. Boring, boring Arsenal indeed! (1 Nil to the Arsenal!).

I'm ecstatic.


UPDATE: The match wasn't the best one in the world to be honest. Villareal definitely had the better chances, but he same could be said of Aresenal in the first leg. At the end of the day, Arsenal's defense held and stayed very well organized, despite numerous almost goals from Villareal. They could have easily conceded a goal that would take the game to extra time were it not for Jens Lehmann (getting well deserved congratulations above). He was definitely man of the match.

Now, Arsenal take a record 10 clean sheets into the final, where they will likely be the underdog to either Milan or Barcelona. That role suits them well, as they are usually the underdogs in this competition. I think Arsenal will be joined by Barcelona--that would certainly ensure the most entertaining football match featuring the world's two best players. Joga Bonita indeed.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Weekend

There was football (-1). There was more football (+1). There was Whisky (+1). There wasn't a nap (-1). There was an early evening exit (-1). There was a good movie (+1). More to follow, as I have a lot to catch up on right now.

NP: "Wake Up" - The Walkmen

Friday, April 21, 2006

Friday Music Report

According to the stats compiled by Last.fm, I listened to the following music the most last week:
  1. The Wedding Present
  2. Wilco
  3. Pulp
  4. Luna
  5. Ryan Adams
  6. Guided by Voices
  7. Hüsker Dü
  8. Sigur Rós
  9. Elvis Costello
  10. Blur
NP: NPR's All Songs Considered (Neko Case & Martha Wainwright)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

High Five Day

While it's not nearly as fun as Talk Like a Pirate Day, happy High Five Day! In honor of this grand day, I offer you an appropriate song:
(What else will those crazy Wahoos think up?)

NP: "I'm Ready" - Scrawl

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Longest Baseball Game Ever Played

The Washington Post has the details. The numbers:
  • 39 Hits.
  • 33 Innings.
  • 13 at bats for a player without a hit (0-13).
  • 10 scoreless innings by a single pitcher.
  • 5 Runs.
  • 4 Errors.
  • 2 Hall of Famers.
  • And a birthday.
It's a long read, but it's worth it. This is good sports journalism.

NP: "Three Days Four Nights" - Castanets

Monday, April 17, 2006

Neko Case + The High Dials + Kelly Hogan

Now that's what I call a Good Friday!

The Variety Playhouse was packed early Friday night, as most people arrived at the show early to catch Kelly Hogan's return to Atlanta. She and her band of pirates (her words not mind) didn't disappoint. She has a marvelous voice, which she used to good effect, variously singing very traditional americana and what I would call somewhat jazzy and smooth numbers. And the crowd lapped it up. She played a short set, but still had a surprise up her sleeve to close it out. On her final number, Neko Case joined her, mostly to dance with her during instrumentals and hang out--that is until the last verse, where she took over and belted it out. All in all, the set was a very nice appetizer.

Next up, The High Dials, yet another band from Montreal. Before Friday, I'd read about this band a fair bit, but hadn't summoned the energy to check them out. After seeing them live, I probably should have taken the time to do so. This five-piece band brings a very pop-oriented sound, but not obsessively so. Their sound was certainly a contrast to Kelly Hogan's and Neko Case's, but that's probably for the best. Their music was aimed straight into my wheelhouse, good, basic, smart guitar music with backing harmonies. Their set was marred a bit because of some bad mixing. The lead guitar seemed to be a bit too quiet, and the music seemed to lack a bit of the bite that I thought it was supposed to have (subsequent listening to samples on Saturday confirmed this). They played a solid half-hour set, closing with a song that featured a Sitar (Ravi Shankar!). I feared the song would be too hippie-dippy for my taste, but it was used to good effect.

Finally, what can I say about Neko Case that hasn't been repeated over and over and over again. She simply has the best voice I think I could even imagine, and she knows how to use it. By the time she started, the Variety was as full as I have ever seen it. And unlike her last show, she didn't have a cold. She played for about an hour and forty-five minutes before an entirely mesmerized audience, including two encores. In between the "boner" jokes and some playful back and forth with Kelly Hogan (who joined her as a backup singer), she played material from her entire opus, not focusing entirely on her new songs from Fox Confessor Brings the Flood.

She set the tone early in the set, by singing "Favorite", to the crowd's great delight. Of the new tunes, she features, "Star Witness", "Magarite vs. Pauline", and "A Widow's Toast". All the songs were outstanding, but I think my favorite of the evening was the traditional "Wayfaring Stranger" during the first encore. Singing a song that both Johnny Cash and Tony Rice have made their own and go toe to toe with them says something.

Memo to Nashville. Here's the next Patsy Cline or Loretta Lynn. She simply has the best voice for good, traditional country music of anyone out there. Why the hell aren't you paying attention.

If anyone out there wants a sample of what I heard Friday night, Kwaya Na Kisser has a collection of live mp3s from NPR's All Songs Considered, which broadcast her show in Washington D.C. If you don't know Neko's music, this is a great place to start.

Sorry for the lack of photos, since they weren't allowed during the show (and I chose to respect that).

NP: "Thinking of Ways" - The Boo Radleys

Friday, April 14, 2006

Weekly Music Report

According to the fine folks over at Last.fm, who keep a keep a handy record of what I've been listening to, these were my top ten musical artists last week:
  1. The Charlatans UK
  2. Afghan Whigs
  3. Pavement
  4. Joy Division
  5. Swervedriver
  6. Wilco
  7. The Velvet Underground
  8. Neko Case
  9. Killing Joke
  10. R.E.M.
Now I know I'm not the only one that listens to music this much, so I'd encourage everyone to sign up with Last.fm (I'll make you my friend), and then we can all compare notes at the end of the week. I know that my listening habits exhibit certain trends--associated with the seasons and what not--and I'd be curious to see if there is any correlation amongst a group. Maybe I'm just full of vim and vigor today, proposing such big projects (as if I don't have enough of those at work).

NP: "Get Action!" - The Delgados

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Mapping Religion in America

The Regions of Mind blog has an interesting post with maps dissecting the distribution of religious adherents in America (full larger versions of all these maps). The real surprise isn't that the south is predominently Baptist (well duh), but that Catholics and Lutherans have such large representations, and we hardly hear about them when anyone talks about the religious right.

One more interesting note. On the map of Prebyterianism, the bright spot in the Virginia mountains is where I'm from. This squares very well with my own experience growing up. All those Scots-Irish immigrants that populated that area where Presbyterian after all. I'm more surprised that Presbyterians make up such a small segment overall (relegated to the other category on the main maps).

NP: "2/4" - Clinic

Gas War

UPDATE: As pointed out in the comments, I feel for this one big time. It won't work. This email has been around for years, as snopes.com points out. Maybe Bill Gates will give me money after all. I feel sort of sheepish actually since I usually have a pretty good internal BS detector.

I just had this email forwarded to me by a colleague. At first, I thought it was another silly chain email, like Bill Gates wanting to give me money. Now, I'm not so sure. And since I'm not a big fan of Exxon in general, it certainly can't hurt. So here it is in its entirety:
Join the resistance! I hear we are going to hit close to $ 4.00 a gallon by next summer and it might go higher!! Want gasoline prices to come down? We need to take some intelligent, united action.

[Ed. Note: Name witheld] offered this good idea. This makes much more sense than the "don't buy gas on a certain day" campaign that was going around last April or May! The oil companies just laughed at that because they knew we wouldn't continue to "hurt" ourselves by refusing to buy gas. It was more of an inconvenience to us than it was a problem for them. but, whoever thought of this idea, has come up with a plan that can really work. Please read on and join with us!

By now you're probably thinking gasoline priced at about $1.50 is super cheap. Me too! It is currently $2.79 for regular unleaded in my town. Now that the oil companies and the OPEC nations have conditioned us to think that the cost of a gallon of gas is cheap at $1.50 - $1.75, we need to take aggressive action to teach them that buyers control the marketplace... not sellers. With the price of gasoline going up more each day, we consumers need to take action. The only way we are going to see the price of gas come down is if we hit someone in the pocketbook by not purchasing their gas! And, we can do that witho0ut hurting ourselves. How?

Since we all rely on our cars, we can't just stop buying gas. But we can have an impact on gas prices if we all act together to force a price war. Here's the idea: For the rest of this year, don't purchase any gasoline from the two biggest companies (which now are one), Exxon and Mobil. If they are not selling any gas, they will be inclined to reduce their prices. If they reduce their prices, the other companies will have to follow suit. But to have an impact, we need to reach literally millions of Exxon and Mobil gas buyers. It's really simple to do! Now, don't wimp out on me at this point...keep reading and I'll explain how simple it is to reach millions of people!

[Ed. Note: warning, math ahead] I am sending this note to over 30 people. If each of us send it to at least ten more (30 x 10 = 300) ... and those 300 send it to at least ten more (300 x 10 = 3,000)...and so on, by the time the message reaches the sixth group of people, we will have reached over three million consumers.

If those three million get excited and pass this on to ten friends each, then 30 million people will have been contacted! If it goes one level further, you guessed it..... three hundred million people!

Again, all you have to do is send this to 10 people. That's all! (If you don't understand how we can reach 300 million and all you have to do is send this to 10 people.... Well, let's face it, you just aren't a mathematician. But I am . so trust me on this one.)

How long would all that take? If each of us sends this e-mail out to ten more people within one day of receipt, all 300 million people could conceivably be contacted within the next 8 days! I'll bet you didn't think you and I had that much potential, did you! Acting together we can make a difference.

If this makes sense to you, please pass this message on. I suggest that we not buy from Exxon/Mobil until they lower their prices $1.30 range and keep them down. This can really work.
I generally get my gas at a BP station anyways, so this will be pretty easy for me.


NP: "Red Tan" - The Raveonettes

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Neko Case Interview

Just in time for her show at the Variety Playhouse Friday evening, Pitchfork has a good interview with Ms. Case--who pulls no punches and shines some light on her song writing process.

NP: "The Idea of Fires" - Preston School of Industry

Friday, April 07, 2006

Friday Music Report

According to Last.fm, I listened to the following music the most last week:
  1. The Charlatans UK
  2. Death Cab for Cutie
  3. Echo & the Bunnymen
  4. Swervedriver
  5. Wilco
  6. Idlewild
  7. Luna
  8. The Smiths
  9. 16 Horsepower
  10. The Damned
NP: "Away" - The Bolshoi

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon is one of the coolest tools I've seen for a while on the web. Install it as a Firefox extension, and one click of the "Stumble!" button will take you cool websites in categories you select when you sign up. So far, I've stumbled upon a timeline of art history, a online planetarium, some cool animations, and a dictionary of British slang.

I warn you. Do not install this right now if you have a lot of work to do. Seriously, this can totally be a time suck.

NP: "Eighties" - Killing Joke

Atlanta Sports News

Just a little housekeeping news here, but I wanted to direct everyone's attention to a new addition on the sidebar: Braves & Birds - The Atlanta Sports Blog.

I've been reading its thoughtful analysis of the Atlanta sports scene for a while now, but have been negligent in adding a link until now. As an added bonus, there's some soccer coverage there as well, mostly about Barcelona though. In any case, I hope that Barcelona win their Champion's League match today, but all my attention will be focused on the second leg of the Arsenal and Juventus. Go Gunners!

UPDATE: Sweet success! Arsenal drew 0-0 to advance to the semifinals for the first time in their history. Barcelona also advanced today. Next round, Arsenal face Villareal from La Liga in Spain.

NP: "Autotomy" - The Dears

Monday, April 03, 2006

World Cup Fever Continues to Rise

Really, I'm not trying to bore all my readers who don't enjoy the beautiful game as much as I do. It's just that with the World Cup on the horizon and the Champion's League in its final stages, many of the things I'm finding right now are soccer related.

Submitted for your approval: The World Cup Blog. It seems to have some pretty comprehensive coverage, with blogs dedicated to each of the 32 teams in the tournament. Right now, the USA blog is in the process of helping out Bruce Arena by picking the 23 man roster a month early.

Also, since some of my occassional readers also find follow other teams involved as well, here's a couple more: Brazil, England, and Argentina (for you X!). Finally, in the interest of completeness, here are the blogs for the other teams in the USA's group: Italy, the Czech Republic, and Ghana. (via Spofi)

NP: "Nextstopexjock" - The Oranges Band