Thursday, May 28, 2009

Predictive Text

While rifling off a text message today before returning to work, I noticed that when I press the 2-6-6-5 combination, the predictive text function on my (admittedly ancient) phone selects "book" as the first choice, instead of "cool".

So I guess my question is this: Should I be concerned? Does my phone know me so well that it associates literature with me over potentially "cool" things? I'm not sure if I should be upset, or just accept that this is my reality. I can fool a lot of people, but I'm certainly not fooling my phone.

This will not be my most popular blog entry.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

US Presidents of the Last 109 Years, As Described by Those Who Hate Them

Barack Obama - Impractical, Unqualified, Community-Organizing Socialist Dreamer
George W. Bush - Lying, Misdiseducated, Cocky Warmongering Asshole
William Clinton - Spendhappy, Philandering Liar and Cheater, Mediocre Saxophonist
George H.W. Bush - Graduate of the Gerald Ford School of Non-Descript Presidencies
Ronald Reagan - Senile, Contra-funding, Neo-conservative-spawning Hollywood type
Jimmy Carter - Economy-Killing, Bleeding-Heart-Liberal Enemy of Anyone with a Peanut Allergy.
Gerald Ford - Bald, Boring, Nixon-pardoning Pushover
Richard Nixon - Cut and ran from Vietnam, then White House
Lyndon B. Johnson - Vietnam-escalating, "Daisy Ad" Scaremongerer who was neither JFK nor RFK
John F. Kennedy - Womanizing, Irish Catholic, Babyfaced Bay of Pigs Assailant
Dwight Eisenhower - Grabbed Alaska and Hawaii for the US, forcing the USSR to settle on mere Outer Space.
Harry Truman - Worst Exit Rating Ever, Knew about the bomb after Stalin did, Lost to Dewey
Franklin D. Roosevelt - Welfare-state-creating Economic Interventionist Who Felt Called to Ignore Washington's Two-term President Precedent
Herbert Hoover - One Dam Big Trade-Stifling Economic Failure
Calvin Coolidge - Deregulating, Anti-social, Minimalist Stiff Masshole
Warren Harding - Adulterous, Bumbling, and Corrupt Winner of the Franklin Pierce Memorial Award for Worst President of the Century
Woodrow Wilson - Promised not to go to war, then did. Unapologetic Segregationist.

William H. Taft - Fatty "300+" McBlimperson
Theodore Roosevelt - Nothing. No one has ever hated on TR and lived to tell the tale.

Useless Post #3

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Case for Radio from A Face for Radio

Remember radio? You might be surprised to hear that it still exists. Yes, that relic from your childhood, riding in overheated cars with defective cassette decks and melted crayon on the dashboard, is still alive and... well, I shouldn't say well, but it's not sick or anything.

No one listens to the radio anymore. In an era of iPods, iPod car adapters, mix CDs, and in-car bands that sing about free credit reports, the idea of actually turning on the dial and taking a chance on what music you're going to be hearing seems borderline insane. People who text while driving consider the radio dial to be downright dangerous. What happens if it's a song you don't like, or worse, haven't heard before? What if you scroll through all 45 or so stations, realize that half of them are playing the same song, and find that none of them are playing your favorite obscure indie band whose early stuff was really good? Don't even get me started on commercials either, you say.

I'm here to step up to the plate and say that the radio has made many a long drive (and a few workdays) not only tolerable but actually enjoyable. While I am about 107.1% sure that my taste in music is vastly superior to anyone else's (and it's not even close), if left to my own devices I too will tend to listen to the same songs and bands over and over. I don't mean to, but it happens. I just got out of a weeklong stretch of listening to nothing besides Simon and Garfunkel, and while I felt more literate and spiritually refreshed, I also had an unresolved need to get my face rocked off.

That's where radio is great. You don't choose what you're going to hear. The chances for appreciating a song for the first time, gaining a new favorite artist, or even hearing something new and different go up exponentially. Without the radio, I would have never been introduced to songs like "Think I'm In Love" by Beck, "Denial Twist" by the White Stripes, "Love Removal Machine" by The Cult, "Mother Mary" by Foxboro Hot Tubs, "Hush" by Deep Purple, "Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand" by Primitive Radio Gods, and countless other songs that I listen to frequently now. That's just over the past year or so.

This is where I make a case for all southeastern Massachusetts listeners to check out Cool 102, Cape Cod's fantastically consistent mix radio station. It's pretty much like my iPod on shuffle.

I was aware of this the other night when I was faced with a long drive home after visiting some friends of mine north of Boston. Unable to find an upbeat CD that I hadn't heard recently, I decided to give WBCN (104.1 FM) a chance, and I got this righteous block of music:

"Smells Like Teen Spirit" - Nirvana
"Know Your Enemy" - Green Day
"Viva la Vida" - Coldplay
"Shipping Up to Boston" - Dropkick Murphys
"Hurt" - Nine Inch Nails
"Wish You Were Here" - Incubus
"No You Girls" - Franz Ferdinand
"Smoke Two Joints" - Sublime

Sure, there might be a few predictable titles up there. But at 11:51 at night, with 40 miles to go and the windows rolled down, that was just the kind of playlist I was looking for. Even the Nine Inch Nails was invigorating enough to keep up the energy. This succeeded where another round with Classic Rock Mix That Doesn't Suck, Vol. 2 or Happy Mother's Day Mix 2005 would have fallen short. Radio is super like that.

But if I hear "Crocodile Rock" one more time, I'm totally giving up on it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

An Open Letter to the Old Fart Liquor Store Cashier


Listen, we need to have a talk. You got off way too easy tonight. I should've handed you your ass on a plate, but instead I looked at you quizzically, dropped off my returnables, and left to buy beer up the street.

So here goes. Comb the hair in your ears out of the way and get your ear horn out, I'm only gonna say this once.

I'm so, so sorry that I returned empty bottles at 9:27pm. I was under the understanding that being open til 10 implied that you were working til 10. You certainly managed to express your displeasure (with a side of condescending disappointment!) at our interruption. Pulling away from your newspaper and forced to miss a moment of the Sox game, you made the cardinal sin of expressing out loud one of your "inside thoughts" and told me that now you had to do something with those bottles.

Don't say that out loud, you stupid ass. You think that stuff, sure, but you don't say it. Especially not to a customer.

Yes, you do in fact have to do something with those bottles. Novel concept, I know. Which brings me to the crux of my open letter. I'm a customer, dipshit. You should be holding the fucking door when I bless your sorry ass with your old, empty bottles. I mean, let's consider who your clientele are. I'm buying booze at 9:27 on a Tuesday, so I'm clearly already on shaky emotional ground. I'm probably trying to blow off some steam from a busy day of having stuff demanded of me, mostly from young children. This employment requires that I work hard (look it up) and prevents me from returning my bottles during daylight hours, numbnuts. Don't tell me what time it is. I know what fucking time it is.

And so, you stupid, crusty old bastard, you just effed with the wrong mothereffer. You lost my business, which heretofore probably generated a paltry $50 a month. But that's $50 that I'm not giving you. It's not much, but that's probably enough to bring you the Sox games on cable so your "working" hours can pass quickly. You know, when you're not sorting bottles.

You might not care (chances are, you don't) but I know quite a few people in town. Many of them read this. People who work hard for their money and don't like being treated as an inconvinience by folks who read the paper while on the clock. Those people now know that the old guy behind the counter at Pop's Fine Wines and Liquors is a curmudgeony old mouthbreather who doesn't like to do work at work, yet has no problem collecting his check.

Well, suck my longneck, sir. I hope you contract strep throat from my beer bottles.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Arguing With Myself Over M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes"

Setting: Inside the author's head, and somewhere between 87.7 and 107.9 MHz

Okay man, this is the third time today you've stopped on this song while scanning radio stations. Even allowing room for curiosity, it's now clear that you're totally into this tune. And it's not okay. This is pop music. Pop music is irrelevant fluff. Not only that, but the lyrics don't even make sense. This wouldn't necessarily be a problem if every single verse wasn't repeated twice. Hell, half of the lyrics in the chorus are replaced by, of all things, sound clips of gunshots and cash registers. And now every white kid on the street claims to have "swagger". Why are you listening to this stuff?

Yeah but dude, listen to that bass. It's great.

Sure it is. Repeating eighth notes over three pitches. I'm sure only Stanley Clarke could play that, or perhaps Larry Graham if he got lucky. Yeah. Looking beyond the massively complex technical details of the arrangement, doesn't it bother you that the editing is shaky? Listen to that poor edit right before the first chorus. There's a huge, choppy blip right there. No one noticed that when they were copying each verse twice? Serious studio wizardry this ain't. There's no way you can like this song.

Yeah but man, it's catchy.

Catchy, sure. So is the Arthur TV theme. Listen, this song sounds pretty violent. Those gunshots have to be glorifying armed robbery. At the very least. Are those kids singing that part? And there's a KGB reference, so now we're internationally offensive. Hey, the song is... it's talking about murdering people right there! The singer murders people! This part here, hey!

True, but some-a-some she lets go-o.

You are so unbelievably frustrating. Fine. How about this, then? The entire song is one looped sample of the intro of "Straight to Hell" by The Clash. The whole thing. There isn't a single original musical contribution in this piece, just lifted ideas from someone else. It's all been done before. You cannot possibly think this is a great song.

Yeah but dude... it's The Clash.

Ah. Touche, then.

Amusing Thought for the Day

Somewhere in America, at this very moment, it is distinctly possible that Stephen A. Douglas's great-great-great-great grandchildren are playing with Lincoln Logs.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Anecdote from a Killer Sports Weekend, and Links

Boston Globe photo collage
At Fenway, Tampa Bay's Pat Burrell stepped out of the batter's box as the stadium erupted in cheers [when] the Celtics took the win. "I didn't know if there was a big fight going on or did somebody run on the field," Burrell said. "Definitely, it was time to get out of the box. Then as soon as I thought about it, I said, 'Oh, it's probably hockey.' The home plate umpire said, 'I think it's basketball.'" (Source: The Boston Globe)

It was a ginormous weekend in Boston sports. Last night, the Bruins staved off elimination with a tremendously played 4-0 win at home against Carolina to force a Game 6. Shortly thereafter, a back-and-forth Celtics/Magic game came to a TV-movie finish as Glen "Big Baby" Davis sunk a long jump shot at the buzzer for a stunning 95-94 victory. As if ordained by fate, the Red Sox almost immediately picked up the slack in the eighth inning. Jason Bay provided what proved to be the winning RBI (it's what he does), and the Sox survived another rough 9th inning to beat Tampa (who have just owned them of late), 4-3. Looking back now, I'm a little disappointed that the Patriots didn't manage to find a way to win something yesterday.


Coffee may have a multitude of health benefits, according to new research. Apparently, much of the prior research on coffee drinkers failed to seperate the effects of smoking from the effects of coffee drinking, as there was (formerly) a high correlation in users between the two. Just bringing this news to you gives me the jitters. (Source: The Boston Globe)

Fantastic, free instrumental number called "B Minor" by Badman Records artist Lanterna. Reminds me a bit of U2 and some of Radiohead's Bends-era stuff, but just a little bit. As far as music goes, this is pretty accessible. I'm not a big fan of instrumentals but this one is pretty great. (Source: Amazon mp3)'s Word of the Day today is dissimulate, which is a verb meaning to "disguise one's intentions". I feel that dissimulate would make for an interesting comparison to obfuscate, but I'm a nerd so... there's that. (Source: A Word A Day)

My friend Todd is in animation school. Although he updates less frequently than I do, due to probably having far more of a social life, check out his blog! I'm biased of course, but I think his stuff is pretty entertaining.

Finally, has been providing me with uncomfortable laughs and tweaks of shame for a solid year now. If you're not hip, inform yourself.

There you go. Go get some sunshine, losers.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Facebook According to DF, Part 4 (Epilogue)

Facebook apparently doesn't get it.

I thought that last week's sponsored ads were the dumbest I'd seen yet (link here or scroll down), but apparently the marketing genius who thought of that crap is still working there. It would be nice to live in their alternate universe, where everyone would like to pay a dollar for Facebook gifts. I'm amazed I've gone this long without blogging on them already.

Another Home Run for SNL Digital Shorts

Dick in a Box, Part 2?

Andy Samburg and Justin Timberlake teamed up again this week, with cameos by Patricia Clarkson and a smokin' hot Susan Sarandon, to deliver yet another amazing, Color Me Badd-styled hit. This one's a pretty darn worthy sequel, too. Enjoy, if you're not easily offended. If you are easily offended, here's a cute picture of a bunny instead.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Facebook According to DF, Part 4

The Stupidest Facebook Ad Ever

Facebook has always had a perplexing, borderline-obsessive way of reminding you at every turn to invite friends of yours who do not have Facebook to join the network. Now I know that Facebook receives new users every day, but I have to believe that at least 95% of the people who would ever consider having a Facebook already have one. Additionally, I'm pretty sure 103% of people on the internets have heard of the site and know what it is.

It is in light of these (probably pretty accurate) made-up statistics that such tools as Friends You May Know and Add Your Email Contacts cause me to scratch my head. I'm pretty sure that, with hundreds of "friends" on Facebook, I haven't left out anyone I send frequent friendly emails to. I mean I could double check but... nope, they're both there. As far as the former tool goes, Friends You May Know might as well be called "Casual Acquaintances You Have No Intention Of Friending (Now Featuring Fan Pages for Snuggling!)".

This is why I find the following advertisement utterly baffling:

I'll be honest, I have no idea where to start with this one. Holy crap. Seriously, there are so many things wrong with this ad that I fear I will not be able to adequately cover it all.

Let's start with the obvious. Nobody wants their mom on Facebook. Nobody. No matter how cool you might be now with your mother, whether you're in college or beyond, your parents will get up at 9am on a Saturday to check out the latest tagged pictures of Friday night's drunken antics while you're still hung over and sleeping unaware. I really don't have much to hide, but let's be honest. People don't take pictures of you at work or eating breakfast, so the majority of your tagged photos show you out and, vis a vis, drinking copiously. Also, anyone who wants to give their mom full access to their complete wall-to-wall history with their friends is even needier than that kid that updates Twitter four times an hour from his iPhone. You know who you are. Stop it.

Facebook's ad here almost assumes this to be the case, too, which is even more head-scratching. Notice that within a few words of breaching the subject of signing Mum up for Facebook, it reminds you that you can control your privacy options. You know the best way to control what your Mom sees on Facebook? Don't sign her up for it.

Additionally, it's really nice of Facebook to offer itself up as the medium of choice for mothers and children to finally "start connecting". The social network certainly is more connective for moms and kids than, say, child rearing, role modeling, or umbilical cords could ever be. Great job, PR team!

The person who wrote this dumb Facebook ad has an IQ of 32. Can you beat that? Take this fun quiz now and find out!! (sponsored)

Finally, and I think this is the most obvious criticism, giving your mom Facebook for Mother's Day? Smeriously? I can see it now.
Hi Mom. As you know, the economy is bad, and I know you asked me not to spend any money on you this Mother's Day. I know that the best gifts are the gifts from the heart, and this year my gift is a little more homemade. The card? Oh, shoot you know I forgot the card. That's okay, we'll skip right to the gift. Mom, this year I got you the gift of Facebook! That's right, your very own Facebook profile. Well yes, you have to set it up yourself, that's kind of the point, but I got it for you! Okay, well technically, okay I sent you an email inviting you to it, I can't just put you there myself. Yeah it's like the old GMail invites, except, well yeah you don't technically have to be invited to join. But you are invited anyway! Then you can add me and we can... connect?
Great work. Your father will be proud. Either that, or terrified of what you'll get him for Father's Day (Friendster?).

Facebook, our relationship is a bit rocky these days and I think you're going to need to make it up to me. But for Pete's sake, don't update the layout again. I just got caught up.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Public Confession

Hello dear readers,

Today I come before you, heart in hand, with a tacit admission of guilt that is not easy for me to bear, and even more difficult for me to disclose. With the recent allegations and, some might say, damning evidence against such former sure-shot Hall of Famers as Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, and the milk guzzling former Marlins batboy, the natural beauty and timelessness of the sport of baseball have been called into question. Children growing up today must wonder if all of their idols will one day disappoint them, regardless of arena. Having been a bastion of truth and honesty until now, I humbly stand before you with a confession.

I, too, am guilty of using performance enhancers.

That's right. The very blog you are reading right now has been tainted by unspeakable use of performance enhancing materials, utilized during a period between last December and now, which has caused the material therein to be worded better and perhaps more verbose than would otherwise be the case. It started innocently enough over the winter, while I was dabbling with the Microsoft Word thesaurus. While my original goal was to merely find substitutes for repetative words such as "social", "network", and "douchebag", I soon found myself dropping the Shift+F7 several times daily.

Things began to spiral out of control shortly after January. I started sneaking dictionaries into public restroom stalls for a quick hit. I surfed over to Plinky for blog post ideas, though I still maintain that it was for research purposes only. I even--and it pains me to admit this--signed up for the "Word of the Day" email newsletter. Excuse me, I need a moment...

I can no longer keep up this facade. I do not, in fact, know everything. I read books, I have done research, and I have occasionally found synonyms or looked up the definitions of words I was unsure of. It's not something I'm proud to admit, but the pressure I felt to live up to my self-imposed title of "raddest f***ing Blogger alive!" (undisclosed Friday night, 1:37am) lead me to double and triple check each hastily crafted insult and laughable claim. I've even gone back and edited previously published entries. Yes, I know. As my audience grew, I found it harder and harder to stop.

Why come out now? Why voluntarily turn myself in, metaphorically speaking, and issue this mea culpa? With today's breaking news about Manny Ramirez testing positive for steriods, I knew it was only a matter of time until the microscope would be trained my way and I too would be exposed for the juicer I am. Of course, Ramirez maintains that he simply was taking a prescription fertility drug.

Now I know what you're thinking. A simple capsule that could actually make a man larger? [smarmy chuckle] But that wasn't Ramirez's problem, and it's not mine, either. The opposite, if you must know.

So while Ramirez begins his 50 game suspension without appeal, I come before you offering to not blog for the next 50 minutes. Yes, I realize that this could be viewed as excessively harsh. In the end, it may cost me a few readers. I am prepared to deal with that. I thank you for sticking by me through these shameful times. Doping to cover your weaknesses is never cool, whether on the ballfield or in bed (or in Rafael Palmiero's case, both). It takes a lot of courage to come out and admit that you don't know everything, and it also takes a whole lot of that certain part of the male anatomy. Not that I'm bragging.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Adventures in Education, Chapter 5

Apparently, sometimes I post adorable entries as well.

KG#1: Mr. Dan, [KG#2] just said the F word!!
KG#2: I didn't mean to say that she was fat! I'm really sorry!

Free Music Wednesday

Okay, so we've determined no one cares when I deliver heartfelt, passionate music reviews, but based on the blog traffic, apparently heartfelt, passionate alerts for free music are always a hit. Fine, then. I'm nothing if not a populist.

Flight of the Conchords (whom many of you know best as the songwriters behind such Providence College Special Guest hits as "Business Time") have released their next batch of music for season two of their HBO show, Flight of the Conchords (I know, right? Where'd they get that name for their program?). Among those songs, there is one brilliant piece called "Hurt Feelings", and even though reading the title gives you the gist of the joke, it is still highly worth checking out. The song is funny, holds up very well to the best of their material so far, and is just a bit catchy.

And the mp3 from Amazon is free, so there's that, too.

I know several of you have been looking for a real entry the last few times you've surfed over. To this, I say... stop whining. It's unattractive and will lose you my respect in the end. You're already floating on thin ice when you ramble on about LOST for half of your existence and wonder why I don't blog about it. Don't push your luck. I just may stop hanging out with you (collectively) (verbally) (online). Damn freeloaders.

Real entry soon.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


One month after the opening her tarot card and palm reading boutique, a local fortune teller in Easton's Five Corners was forced to close her shop due to poor business. Apparently she never saw that one coming.

Friday, May 1, 2009

New Music... Friday?

Each Wednesday, I attempted to review two or three songs that I was hearing for the first time, in an effort to both broaden my own musical tastes and perhaps inspire you to do the same. Instead, NMW became easily my least favorite post of the week, and probably everyone else's too. No one cares what I think. So I'm completely re-inventing the whole thing right now, with a NEW MUSIC FRIDAY. Yep. That fixes everything.

Ben Folds, Ben Folds Presents: University A Cappella!, 2009

Who doesn't like free music? Nobody (besides the RIAA), that's who. So while, yes, this is my second Ben Folds post in a week, I felt obligated to pass along that for a limited time you can have one track off of his new a cappella collection totally free.

After assembling his favorite selections of collegiate a cappella spins on his own songs, Folds personally recorded two more by multitracking his own a cappella arrangement. One of those songs, "Effington", is available for free download until Monday (5/4).

Though I'd probably never discuss it if it sucked, you can take my word for it: it's pretty great. Having heard it, I already know I would have happily paid 99 cents for it. But I didn't have to, and you don't have to either. Get it for free today, legally, before going back to illegally downloading stuff elsewhere.

Who hooks you up, babies? You're welcome.