Monday, January 31

The Ethics of Atheism

Natalie Angier on raising her daughter to hate Jesus.

I tend to think that folks who care too much about atheism have something a bit wrong with them, almost as much as those with an overabundance of faith. As I linked to earlier in the month, I like the idea of apatheism - not really knowing or caring much if there is a god, and being a good person whether anyone's watching or not.

News You Can Use

How to make a customized 20' by 30' poster with iPhoto, for less than $30.

Desperate to Get Peter Buck's Attention...

...former Jack Nicholson paramour and Skeletor model Lara Flynn Boyle acts out.

In slightly less humiliating news, two-thirds of The Police are apparently broke.

Is This Not a Reasonable Place to Park?

Car vs. telephone wires.

"Hell in a Handbasket" Stat of the Week

According to USAToday, 36% of US high school students believe newspapers should get "government approval" of stories before publishing.

Friday, January 28

Make That 520

There are some truly egregious omissions from the list below. I'll assume they passed up a number of Beatle gems due to overexposure. "Yesterday," "Something," "Let it Be," and "Imagine" at the very least deserve spots on that list. Here are some others:

  • Chuck Berry - Brown Eyed Handsome Man, Memphis
    As Dr. Winston O'Boogie put it, "If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry," and these are two of the reasons. Besides inventing an entirely new guitar style, Berry was rock's first singer-songwriter, and his best lyrics were poetry. A tender-hearted love song with a twist (the number he's trying to get from the operator is for his daughter, taken away from him by his babymomma), "Memphis" has one of my favorite all-time lyrics in "hurry home drops on her cheeks." "Brown Eyed Handsom Man" was a surprisingly subversive song for a man who claimed to be cynically writing about stuff that would appeal to white teeny boppers, "brown-eyed" being code for a black man -- specifically in the last verse, to a then still-controversial Jackie Robinson.

  • Tom Waits - Jockey Full of Bourbon, Downtown Train
    Yeah, well, Rod Stewart almost ruined a lot of songs. "Downtown Train" still rocks. And "Jockey Full of Bourbon" is the sort of Tom Waits song I like best. Impressionistic lyrics paint a subterranean world I'm only half privvy to; I don't know what the two dollar pistol or the flamingo drinking from a cocktail glass are doing there, but I've been so full of bourbon I can't stand up, and on the lawn with someone else's wife, and the herky-jerky tango and off-kilter guitar of this song feel like home to me.

  • Nick Lowe - Cruel to Be Kind
    You gotta blast that shit.

  • Squeeze - Tempted
    They get a bit lazy in they 2nd verse lyrics and intentionally soil their own song with some odd vocal choices, which show that "Black Coffee in Bed" is really their best song.... But as Woody Allen (no stranger to temptation) said, "the heart wants what it wants," and I want to do 110 up the 5 blasting this song.

  • XTC - Mayor of Simpleton, Dear God
    "Mayor of Simpleton" is a perfectly polished little pop jem. Andy Partridge originally left "Dear God" off the Skylarking album because he felt he failed to do the subject justice. Yeah, you and everyone else in the history of mankind, Ange, lighten up. Released as a B-side, it rightfully became a surprise hit and was included on all subsequent pressings of the US version of the record, replacing "Mermaid Smiles." Sarah McLachlan does an incredible cover on Testimonial Dinner, an XTC tribute record.

  • Kinks - Rock and Roll Fantasy
    And about two dozen other Kinks songs, but Ray's mash note to his brother and the Kinks' legacy, in the context of the love/hate relationship he's had with both, always chokes me up.

  • Smokey Robinson - Tears of a Clown
    The man used bassoon and piccolo on a pop record long before it was cool to use bassoon and piccolo on your pop record. Proper.

  • Stones - Under My Thumb
    Sort of a dark-underside of Motown song, it borrows a page out of Smokey Robinson's book by starting out with one of your less rock-and-roll instruments, the marimba. And then proceeds to smack my bitch up.

  • Creedence Clearwater Revival - Suzy Q
    The best thing to come out of San Jose (besides my wife), you can easily make a case for any of their hits, especially the tragically still-relevant "Fortunate Son." But Fogerty really rocks the mic on this one.

  • Hollies - Bus Stop
    A band that was almost Zelig-like in its lack of identity, the Hollies changed styles with every passing musical fad. They put out one of the 10 best Creedence records with "Long Cool Woman (in a Black Dress)" but for the most part were stunningly adequate. But somehow they stumbled onto a great single in Bus Stop.

  • Commodores - Brick House
    Lionel Richie did this!? Try to be in a bad mood to this song. 36-24-36, what a winning hand!

  • Oasis - Wonderwall
    I interviewed Mike Watt in 1986 or 87, and he said "There are two kinds of people -- those who like Madonna, and those who won't admit they like Madonna." He was, of course wrong. But I'll say this: "There are two kinds of people, those who love 'Wonderwall,' and cock-biters." Don't be a cock-biter. Oh, and it's named for an obscure electronic music soundtrack by George Harrison, released on Zapple Records.

  • Patsy Cline - Walking After Midnight
    One of the best songs ever, though inappropriately chirpy.

Let me know what else was left out!

The 500 Best Songs Ever

We like lists, and this one has some great commentary, like this quote about Velvet Underground's 'Sweet Jane':

Despite the efforts by the Cowboy Junkies efforts to ruin this song by putting a flowery dress on it and stuffing it full of Tampax, this song still has some asskicking left in it. If you happen to like the cover version, congratulations, you're an asshole."

Is Our Children Learning?

New England town scraps spelling bee for violating "No Child Left Behind" Act -- by leaving all but one child behind.

Perhaps they should have just named it "No Child Gets Too Far Ahead."

Third "Curb" is out!

The third and, by almost any measure, best season of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" is out on DVD.

Key cameos: Ted Danson, Michael York, Alanis, Cheri O'Teri and Marty Scorsese.

Key episodes: Chet's Shirt, Club Soda and Salt, The Special Section and (of course) Krazee-Eyez Killa.

Ange Bob says check it out.

Pittsburgh's Got it Goin' Awn!

Yeah Boyeeeeee!

Thursday, January 27

"Gig of a Lifetime"

Yeah, this gig just might fill out the rest of your lifetime if you take it -- Armed Forces Entertainment is looking for musicians to tour the Middle East.

I'm desperate for gigs, but....

Who Are You People?

And why aren't there more of you? The dullard blog just cracked 5000 views since I started tracking that, sometime in Spring of 2004. During the run-up to the election, we'd get as many as 80 views in a day. Now we're pretty steady at around 20 or so. A slim majority of those seem to be repeat viewers, which is good, though I'm not quite sure who comes here how often. I had hoped more people would use the comments on here, though I'm grateful we don't get any commenting SPAM.

About a fifth of the views we get are from search-engine queries. Sometimes it's people searching on "dullard," which I assume are folks who forgot the exact address of the blog. But more often it's in response to anytime we make a reference to Eva Langoria. Sadly, "Abu Grabe Sex Photos" was a really popular search term for awhile, as well. I imagine having "Eva Langoria" and "Sex Photos" in the same paragraph (twice!) will actually result in quite a traffic spike.

We get a few referrers from being on the blog rolls of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Douglas's Enthalpy blog, and the Pop Culture Gadabout. I used to get a few hits from my lame brothers, but they seem to have forsaken their blogging duties. Oh, and I get occasional (international!) traffic from Jose Augusto's Deshonestidad, a Peruvian blog -- and one more reason I am sad to be so illiterate in Spanish.

Oh, and about a fifth of the queries are from those annoying "NEXT BLOG" buttons at the top of every free site. Has anyone found this site via one of those and bothered to return?

So, I guess in the final analysis, there's really only a dozen or so real readers of this blog, and no noticable trend upwards -- which is good in the sense that there's exactly zero pressure to try to make this anymore than it is -- a place to occasionally rant, and to toss things Ange and I find on the web where we can find them again -- and hopefully amuse each other, as well as Tim, Jody, and Scott. If anyone else is reading this regularly, please introduce yourselves in the Comment section -- let me know how you found the blog, and why you stick around.

Hmmm, given that "blogging about blogging" is the internet equivalent of jumping the shark, I guess we've actually hit two milestones in one day.... Anyway, thanks for reading the Dullard Gazette.

I Thought I Watch Too Much TV

Looking for an obsessive guide to every inter-series crossover? Here ya go. Who knew that Star Trek and Knight Rider exist in the same fictional universe? Now I can die a happy man.

Crazy Old Men I May Become (First in a Series)

A rotting vestige of one man's egotism that festers like a sore on the community's body? Or a Los Angeles public monument? This
stack of decaying wooden beer pallets is both!

Wednesday, January 26

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's... RINGO?!

I know Stan Lee lost a fortune on a sketchy internet concern a few years ago, but the stuff he's doing lately is just embarassing. Maybe now that he's been awarded 10% of the Spiderman movie profits, he'll have the sense to retire gracefully....

(I'm not so worried for Ringo's legacy -- once you've starred in Caveman, and penned the lyric "You were in a car crash/and you lost your hair," there's nowhere to go but up.)

Tuesday, January 25

More Ache Than Wood Some Days

I've been hawking Achewood on this blog because I find it delightfully odd. Though, sometimes I suspect it is just scary odd.

To the sound of old T. Rex

Dinosaur skin for sale on eBay.

Is it worth $19,995? You better you bet! At $29.95, the shipping is a bit steep, however.

Gore Vidal on Bush's Inaugural Address

The Most Un-American Speech I've Ever Heard.

No on Gonzales

It may be about as effective as voiding one's bladder up a rope, but I certainly can't not support the bloggers opposing the confirmation of Alberto Gonzales.

Scott and Mona Bought a New Car!

Must be theirs, as I can't imagine anyone else in this.

First Tiffany....

Now Deborah "Debbie" Gibson is baring it all ["tastefully"] for Playboy. Wouldn't she get more career traction by going on some D-list celebrity "reality" show like The Surreal Life? Or is disrobing for aging onanists less embarassing?

Bush Nominated for Award

W gets a Razzie nod as Worst Actor for his performance in Farenheit 9/11.

Sunday, January 23

Saturday, January 22

Heart of Philip Glass

The "Koyaanisqatsi" composer talks about his latest work on NPR.

How to Have D'n'D Sex

Hmm, there's a "dungeon-master' joke in there somewhere, but the caffeine hasn't kicked in yet this morning....

Interview with a Python

Terry Jones has written a number of (mostly humorous) anti-war editorials for the London Observor, and talks to Slate about them and the War of Error.

Friday, January 21

Top 100 British Toys of the 70s

Kind of a fun list. Interesting to see the similarities and differences to American toys of the same period. Made me miss Merlin....

Raisin Pooper

Untranslatable words. I think I'm an ilunga. I fear that I may be a korinthenkacker.

Michael Powell Resigning from FCC

Good news. Wonder if he jumped, or was pushed?

Thursday, January 20

Cat Fight!

Watch Vanity Fair's Judy Bachrach spread the whoop-ass all over a FOX news anchor.

To be fair, I believe most of the $40 Mil W spent on parties came from corporate special interests rather than tax payers. So there is that. The only taxpayers who got soaked are the citizens of Washington D.C., who had to cough up $12 Mil to cover security this week. And yes, it's just a coincidence that those citizens voted 9 to 1 for Kerry. Why Bush hasn't a vindictive bone in his body, and I'm shcocked, shocked that anyone would suggest otherwise....

An American in Paris

Viewing the inaugural from across the pond.

Whatever and Ever, Amen

I've found religion.

My Birthday is Next Month

I'm just saying.

Chris Rock Hosting the Oscars

Sporadically humorous article in the NYT.

Kraken Hari Kari

Hundreds of giant squid, apparently despondent over the second coronation of George the Lesser, committing mass-suicide on California beaches.

Photographs of Signs Enforcing Racial Discrimination

Not cool.

Leaving the Brothel Behind

Very cool.

Monday, January 17

Bloodsucking freak stalks England!

Forget about the werewolves of London. Residents of Birmingham say a vampire is among them.

Key quote:
All I've heard is that there's a fellow who is going round attacking people like a dog and biting them. It does put the wind up you.

Sunday, January 16

Nina Gordon

Nina Gordon (formerly of Veruca Salt) does a great cover of N.W.A.'s "Straight Outta Compton".

Friday, January 14

Huygens Sends First Titan Images

Looks like there are oceans (probably of methane or somesuch -- it's much too cold for liquid water there).

Wednesday, January 12

Monday, January 10

Gallagher is a Bitter Man

A bitter man with a sledgehammer. Not a good combo....

Italy Bans Public Smoking

I'm against such laws in principal, but love them in practice.

Oh, Fer the Love of All That is Holy

Will you just go check out Achewood already?

Paul Giamatti is ... "Sideways!"

So I finally saw "Sideways" over the weekend and was quite impressed. My companion, however, initially found the ending unsatisfying. Upon further reflection and discussion, however, she agreed that it worked and that progress, however incremental, had been made.

Other observations:

-- No dead bodies; one Saab convertible on life support.
-- Golf course fu. Wine spitoon fu.
-- One nekkid guy running down the street (something for the ladies).
-- Sandra Oh. Oof!

Four stars. Ange Bob says check it out.

Saturday, January 8

Kudos to Dems

Senators Lautenberg, Kennedy, and Reid get all up in Bush's grill about undermining the fourth estate.

Well, on the positive side of this scandal, it's now pretty impossible to simply dismiss the Al Frankens and Michael Moores when they claim Fox News is just an extension of the administration. On the downside, our hypocrisies as purported exporters of "Democracy" to the rest of the world are ever more clearly exposed, and America's credibility on the world stage just sunk the tiniest bit lower.

Lt. Uhuru Sings!

Just a reminder of the treasure trove of hideous music over in April Winchell's audio archives. The Star Trek theme and the Odd Couple doing "You're So Vain are ironic favorites; Eminen vs. Ragtime is educational; and the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" cover by Ragnar Bjarnason is legitimately brilliant.

Have a Miscarriage, Go to Jail

Let's hope this doesn't, uh, pass. I don't want to live in that America.

Love, death and donuts

Anyone hungry for a Strawberry Frosted? A blog chronicles how Dunkin' Donuts intersects all of our lives.

Meanwhile back East, couples are vying for the privilege (not a right) to wed at a Dunkin' shop.

Friday, January 7

Your Shudder for the Week

"Cry for Mama."

Conan O'Brien Interviews Bill Gates

Transcript from CES.

New Signature iPods


Tsunami - Before & After

Satelite photos of various towns, allowing you to toggle between before & after shots. The first 3 are shots of the waters receding before the tsunami hits. The remaining 11 show the destruction caused.

Stitch N Bitch: Santa Monica Knitting and Crochet Group

Huh. Link for Jody, who enjoys the stitching AND the occasional bitching.

The Donnas

Just saw the Donnas (or as he referred to them, "The Madonnas") on the Craig Ferguson Late Late Show. I want to like them, but wish they were a bit more power-poppy. What's wrong with a hook now and then, girls? And then, too, maybe it would be nice if they could sing. Also, there's never been a successful band where the drummer was way better looking than the lead singer. Beatles? Police? Stones? Who? Zeplin?

OK, maybe the Kinks....

(And no, Meg White doesn't count; she's just a novelty act in Jack White's solo project.)

Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares

My new favorite reality show. British chef has a week to turn a hell hole of a restaurant around. This man knows how to cuss.

Thursday, January 6

Horrifying Photo of Tsunami Wreckage

This is the first photo I've seen which made me appreciate the scope of the toll the Indonesian tsunami has taken. It's very graphic, so be forewarned.

Kudos to LA Times

LA Times drops daily Garfield strip.

On the flip side, they recently added Mallard Fillmore, so this only evens out their karma a bit. Great quote in the article describing everyone's lasagna-loving, Monday-hating quadraped as "a strip produced by a committee, devoid of originality, devoid of guts, a strip cynically DESIGNED to be inoffensive and bad, on the theory that public tastes are insipid."

The only dailies I follow anymore are Boondocks (a bit better lately, if still uneven), Doonesbury (losing a step or two, though I'm enjoying the BD-as-Gulf-War-amputee storyline), Gasoline Alley (I don't have to justify it!) and the brilliant online strip Achewood.

Been Waiting For a Matrix Parody Starring Vanilla Ice?

Next week, you're in luck.

(Great, another reason to stab hot pokers into my eye sockets.)

Wednesday, January 5

That's a Fartfull Right There

Does IKEA have any English-speakers working in its product-development department?

Bundtworld in mourning!

Some Dullards love comic books and lament the loss of great pioneers in that field. Other Dullards love Bundt cakes.

The man who gave us the Bundt cake pan has died. H. David Dalquist, a visionary, was 86.

How to Tell if Your Prostitute is an Extraterrestrial

Courtesy of government experts (and the Weekly World News):

A hooker who sees a police car and whispers, 'Cheese it, the fuzz!' likely hails from deep space."

Steve Jobs Giving Away Mansion

Includes pipe organ. But you have to come pick it up.

Natalie Portman to Headline 'V is for Vendetta'

Wachowski Brothers (or, perhaps, "Brothers") to produce. It'll take a little updating & adapting, but hopefully Hollywood won't ruin another great Alan Moore story. But I'll go see it anyway, because it's, uh, Natalie Portman.

Tuesday, January 4


Governor of Baghdad slain. And this up-is-down administration still insists everything is hunky-dory in their little Potemkin nation.

'For much of the country, the situation is secure enough to move forward on holding elections,' [White House spokesman Scott]McClellan said. 'There are a few areas that we're continuing to work to improve the security situation, so those areas will be able to have as full a participation as possible in elections.'

I Got It

I got your number on the wall.

Will Eisner, R.I.P.

You may have to be a bit of a comics nut to be saddened by this. You've probably never read his work, but if you read comics at all, this is the guy who influenced every comic book writer you ever liked. He more or less invented the graphic novel with his chronicles of life in early 20th century New York, and The Spirit was perhaps the most innovative newspaper strip in the history of the comics page. The man literally wrote the book on how to make comics, and was still putting out innovative work as of last year, at age 87. He will be missed.

Keep an eye out for the inevitable, slightly-too-wordy Michael Chabon tribute in Harper's or McSweeny's sometime in the spring.... In the meantime, Newsarama has a good overview of his career.

Evil Androids on the march!

Our dear friend and fellow WPHS alumnus Chris Hoerter offers news and reviews from the world of sci-fi at his site,

Monday, January 3

Ghost Town @ 14 Below on Wednesday

We're playing in Santa Monica on Wednesday, January 5th at celebrated watering hole, 14 Below. We're the last of 4 bands, so we'll probably hit the stage around 11 pm. It's a 6 dollar cover, and an excellent place to get your drink on.

8:00 Daniel Turnbull
9:00 Dopesick
10:00 Jared Barken
11:00 Ghost Town -- check out tracks 2 & 11, as we're more of a straight-ahead pop/vocal/jam group now.

An Obit Writer Looks Back

A couple funny stories, especially on the first page.

Mega-rat invades Keys!

The African Gambian pouch rat has landed on the Florida islands. The creature is the size of a raccoon. Key quote from a biologist:

There's no telling what would happen if they made it to the mainland.

Sunday, January 2

Yet Another Reason I'm Proud To Be an American

Joshua Micah Marshall on Social Security

Good, succinct summary and analysis, as per usual.

What To Do With Gitmo Detainees?

What do we do in America when we don't have enough evidence to bring a suspect to trial? If you said "drop charges and release," well, you're suffering from a pre-9/11 mindset, buddy. Here in W's America, we make arrangements to imprison said suspects for life, without a trial.

And we have the gall to be purportedly exporting our way of life to the middle-east. Hopefully this will be a brief, shameful chapter in our history.