Thursday, September 28

Well, it's official

We are Americans. We torture people in secret prisons.

The terrorists have won.

Miss America?

Senator Clinton, speaking against the pro-torture legislation in the Senate, remembers what America once professed to stand for.

Senator Obama echoes some of the same points.

Wednesday, September 27


Here's another adaptation of Google technology, this one charting the smells of the NYC subway system, station to station.

Monday, September 25

Dullard concert review: Roger Waters

Former Pink Floyd maestro Roger Waters is on the road again. We break down the show for you, Dullard-style:

SITE AND TIME: Nissan Pavilion, about 25 miles outside our nation's capital, on a pleasant Saturday evening.

THE CROWD: Predominantly male, as indicated by long lines for the men's room but not for the women's room. Some children in attendance, some as young as 8. Two African-Americans and a smattering of Indians.

LENGTH OF SHOW: Nearly three hours, including a 15-minute intermission. There was no opening act.


THE SETLIST: Waters wisely emphasized the Floyd songbook over his solo material, opening with two tracks from "The Wall." He touched on the band's trippy origins with a feedback-filled take on "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun," and images of Syd Barrett accompanied "Shine On You Crazy Diamond." The nostalgia was tempered by the contemporary as a photo of President Bush was on screen during "The Fletcher Memorial Home," as Waters attempted to link his past anti-war statements to today's conflicts. He did so more explicitly with the one new song he played, "Leaving Beirut," an angry blast at Bush, Blair, et al.

THE BAND: Waters has assembled a formidable army of minions, including the obligatory trio of backup singers. They came in handy during "Mother," in which one of the women took on the vocal part sung on "The Wall" by David Gilmour. Speaking of the absent Floyd guitarist, he was replaced by two anonymous players who did their best to mimic the original. Despite their best efforts, they couldn't capture the Gilmour sound.

Waters, his graying mane offset by black pants and shirt, stalked the stage, inciting and exhorting the crowd. At 63, he's only touring now because he wants to, and he was cleary enjoying himself. His weary voice, singed by cigarettes and primal screams, isn't what it once was, but he still managed to bring depth and emotion to the material, both in quieter moments such as "Southampton Dock" and rave-ups such as "Have A Cigar."

THE STAGECRAFT: As noted here, a new version of the inflatable pig made an appearance during a thrashing version of "Sheep." For this show, the "Impeach Bush" message remained on the creature's rear end, with the more cryptic "Kafka Rules, OK" on the side. A similar inflatable, this one of an astronaut, floated above the stage during "Perfect Sense," although the meaning of its appearance was less obvious and effective.

THE GIMMICK: The show's main selling point is a performance of the entire "Dark Side of the Moon." Although it's nice that Waters would acknowledge the importance of this album, the practicality of performing it creates a serious obstacle for him: He doesn't sing much on that album, leaving those duties to erstwhile Floyd members Rick Wright and David Gilmour. For this show, Waters' backing musicians shouldered much of the vocal duty, and that created the impression of watching a talented tribute band playing and singing "Dark Side" with Waters sitting in on bass. Only on the concluding "Eclipse" — in which Waters took the mic — did this performance of "Dark Side" truly shine.

THE ENCORE: Waters went all-"Wall" for the closing numbers, including an extended "Another Brick in the Wall." The show ended with a stirring medley of "Vera" and "Bring the Boys Back Home" — another indication of Waters connecting his previous work to modern times. It worked pretty well, especially as a segue into the inevitable closer, "Comfortably Numb."


Saturday, September 23

Friday, September 22

There's something very wrong with this

And apparently the folks at Sesame Street agree!

When bad things happen to cuddly critters

I like the meerkats, but some people get a bit too wrapped up in Meerkat Manor. I wish my life were so otherwise complete that I could invest so heavily in the fate of feral creature living together half a world a way.

Now, Flavor of Lovee on the other hand....

Do you like voting?

It may only be worth doing if you truly enjoy the sensory experience itself and aren't too attached to the outcome.

Thursday, September 21

Here's a role-model for Ange's journalism students

Possibly not a member of the American Meteorological Society. Though I wouldn't be suprised if those things had a climate system of their own.


Wednesday, September 20

Weird spam

Does anyone know what this means? I sort of like the sound of it.
Call out Gouranga be happy!
Gouranga Gouranga Gouranga
That which brings the highest happiness

Monday, September 18

Speaking of mind-boggling...

The US has 14,000 detainees in overseas secret prisons.

Untangle the wires

Titter-pating. The first two levels are easy. The third one is challenging. The fourth one made me cry like a little girl.

LISTS: Pop Music Firsts

Courtesy of

Alvar Hanso's nefarious plot to save the world

And some explanation about those numbers....

You may also want to have a look-see at what Lostpedia has to say about the Lost Experience game, and what clues it's given us about the show's backstory.

Do you want to live like a hobbit?

Then move here.

Sunday, September 17

Why won't Roger Waters support the troops?

That's the tone of this Drudge Report item, which takes the Pink Floyd maestro to task for using the famous flying pig to ask concert-goers to vote Democratic in the mid-term elections. Waters is on a U.S. tour, a show that's said to include the entire "Dark Side of the Moon."

DULLARD TAKE: This is typical Waters. Drudge apparently didn't hear the anti-war message in famous Floyd works such as "The Wall" and "The Final Cut," so this development isn't the big news he thinks it is. (Drudge probably overlooked the same themes in Waters' solo work, but then again, many of us did.)

WHAT'S AHEAD: Indulging in my Pink Floyd fetish, I am going to a Waters show in suburban D.C. next weekend, and I will report back on what he says about Bush, Iraq, etc.

R.E.M. reunited, repackaged

Retired drummer Bill Berry was back for a night as R.E.M. was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame this weekend. They opened their set with "Begin the Begin" from 1986's "Lifes Rich Pageant."

Meanwhile, yet another R.E.M. compilation is out. Titled "And I Feel Fine," it chronicles the band's years on the IRS label in a more comprehensive way than the "Eponymous" collection. It even includes "Life and How To Live It," an under-rated track from "Fables of the Reconstruction" that's a personal favorite. The cover art is pretty cool, too.

Friday, September 15

Patton Oswalt is a comic book geek

And one of the funniest comedians of comedy.

A pint of Jesus

This ad, intended to promote the church over the pub for the upcoming Christmas season, has raised a ruckus in the U.K. (It's reminiscent of the allegedly subliminal ads from the 1970s, which some people are still talking about.)

DULLARD TAKE: They've already got wine in some churches. Why not add beer? Put the pub and the church together, like those hybrid fast-food places that stick Baskin-Robbins and Dunkin' Donuts in the same building.

Thursday, September 14

Dullard news ticker: Death and birth edition

  • Ann Richards, the tart-tongued former governor of Texas, is no longer with us. Signature quote: "Poor George. He can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth."
  • Walter Koenig, Chekov of TV's "Star Trek," turns 70 today. Signature quote: "Aye, aye, Captain."

Tuesday, September 12

The mind boggles

We've clearly taken a wrong turn when we're having to figure out how to tell future humanoids 10,000 years in the future to keep away from the deadly radioactive waste.

Mmmmm, lamb.

I felt like this after eating lamb with Jody's parents over the weekend at an Afghani restaurant in San Jose.

Olbermann is a good man

When he was just the local station's snarky sports guy, I never suspected he would rise to the level of this.

Sunday, September 10

LISTS: Cheesiest Sid and Marty Krofft show openings

1. Land of the Lost. "Deliverance" meets dinosaurs. Viva la Chaka!
2. H.R. Pufnstuf. Nightmarish trip to a bizarro universe where the heroes are as ugly as the villains.
3. The Bugaloos. Brit-flavored Velveeta.

Friday, September 8

We still like you. Do you still like us?

The premiere of the Borat movie took a bad turn when the projector broke at the Toronto International Film Festival. Apparently not even Michael Moore could fix it, and fans went home angry, despite the stunning arrival of the mockumentary's star.

The movie, officially called "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan," opens at a theater near you in November. While you are waiting, you can see some of Borat's previous "reporting" here.

These analogies are as bad as...

Wait, actually, I think most of these are pretty good.

LISTS: Top 25 Simpsons Guest Appearances


If you're a House fan

You may enjoy these bloopers.

If you're a Ben Affleck fan, you're probably not reading this blog, but here's an interview that goews some way toward explaining the failure of Jersey Girl and the engagement to J.Lo.

If you're a Star Trek fan and you ARE reading this, you're name is probably Scott, and this one's for you.

Lewis Black is angry

Good interview.

Thursday, September 7

Out of time

I heard "Losing My Religion" twice today, once on the way to work and once coming home, on the local "hits of the 1980s and beyond" radio station. I hadn't heard the song in a while and was pleasantly encouraged that it didn't sound dated as some songs do. That's probably because that R.E.M. track was "out of time" for its day, with its mandolins and string sections set against Michael Stipe's typically twisted view of love.

Then I thought about how much time has gone by since its release in 1991. Yes, it's 15 years later.

In 1991, I would have told you that 1976 was ages ago, a completely different epoch that I was a part of but one that had no real bearing on our current place in time. But now, think about it: 1991 — the summer of the Dullards Across America road trip, which included repeated listenings of "Out of Time" as well as samba mix tapes — doesn't seem so long ago, does it? That was just yesterday. It still matters, right?

This must mean I'm old.

How to write a fugue

With a little help from Britney Spears:

Wednesday, September 6

Everybody loves Scarlett

Woody Allen loves Scarlett Johansson, as noted here previously. Maybe Bob Dylan does too, as evidenced in this new video.

Tuesday, September 5

Christgau canned

Lost in all the recent shakeups at The Village Voice is the dismissal of rock critic Robert Christgau. At least you can still read and search his old stuff.

Monday, September 4

The Crocodile Hunter is no longer with us

Steve Irwin is killed by a stingray barb to the chest.

Friday, September 1

LISTS: Ranking the "Entourage"

With HBO's "Entourage" floated as the successor to "Sex and the City," it's time to rank 'em like we do bands, on impact, originality and intangible coolness:

1. Johnny Drama: The show's best episodes (such as the one set at Comic-Con) prominently feature the struggling "Viking Quest" hero. The aptly named Drama is intense, insecure and unintentionally hilarious. Victory!

2. Turtle: His penchant for porn, X-Box and marijuana notwithstanding, the gang's designated driver works hard for whatever money — and respect — he can get. Turtle likes to give Drama and Eric grief, often with reason, but demonstrates loyalty and diplomacy as needed.

3. Vincent: He is ostensibly the "star" of the show, but Vinny is more cipher than hero. Vinny's essentially a good guy, even if his artistic stands tend feel forced. Is art-house actor really his career goal?

4. Eric: The voice of reason for the group can also be the whiniest when it comes to matters of love. Tiny E should be happy that Sloane (oof!) would give him the time of day. His sincerity in protecting and fostering Vince's career is nearly outweighed by his erratic decision-making in his own personal life.

5. Dom: Thankfully, this annoying character has been limited to a two-episode story arc — so far. Dom, as discussed earlier here, brings the show to a dead stop whenever he is on screen. He has all the vices of the other entourage members, but none of the redeeming charm. Plus, he stole Bruno Kirby's Shrek doll. Dom is the worst thing to happen to "Entourage," at least until K-Fed's cameo becomes reality.