Friday, April 29, 2011

Smokey and the Bandit

Right now my life is the plot of Smokey and the Bandit.  I'm stocking up on liquor to take over state lines.

Eastbound and down!  Right now I have five bottles of Osborne's Magno, two bottles of Osborne's Veterano, one bottle of the ironic false cognate Soberano, and one bottle of Terry Centenario.

The boys are thirsty in Grand Rapids!  And there's beer in Texarcana.  No, wait, there's brandy in Logan's Square?  Help me out here...

Also this:

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Movie idea: Gentlemen of Fortune

Inside me is a film director wishing to be unleashed.  So here I will bore you with my newest film idea:  Gentlemen of Fortune.  This is a movie about Somali Pirates.  I find them to be an incredibly fascinating lot.  First, let us start with the cinematic aspect of this film.  Imagine the basic setting like this:

It is, to me, a very visually striking image.  It defies the standard convention of what a pirate looks like.

Somali Pirates are a subject matter that many people have a cursory understanding; people know that they exist and have had some successes recently.  But many people know nothing else of this fascinating subject.  What do they look like?  As you can see they don't look like Jack Sparrow but they are colorful characters none the less.

This particular film would be a Picaresque look at a rogue who enters into piracy as a way to escape a life in Mogadishu as a warlord's foot soldier.  We begin in the war torn streets of the city, where the conflict takes a heavy toll on those around our protagonist (what shall we call him?  Asad?).  Fearing for his life as the warlords are driven out by al-Shabab, he ends up staring at the sea.

Opportunity.  Sometimes it only comes once in a lifetime.  You have to take it while you can or end up at the mercy of the tides.

Here our man befriends some pirates in a fishing village.  We see the way that these rouges operate, how they disguise themselves as fishermen from Seychelles and begin to prey upon hapless boats.  They grow increasingly bold until they make a major score:  an oil tanker bound for American shores. From here on out they are marked men as the big US gunboats hunt them down over the vastness of the ocean.  They are but a speck in the thousands of miles of the Indian Ocean, yet the American technology has made the ocean so small.  Eventually they are hunted down and captured, and the film ends with our protagonist sitting in jail in America waiting for trial.

What I want to make this narrative say is that our protagonist is a dreamer.  He dreams of a life where he is not under the thumb of a warlord, spilling blood to capture a few blocks of rubble or some relief food.  He takes to the sea to become free, where he feels he controls his own fate.  In the end, he is in prison.  An ironic fate for a man pursuing freedom to be destined to end up behind bars.

This film will be challenging for the typical American audience because the protagonist is not a "hero" or a "good guy".  He isn't particularly virtuous; an armed mercenary working for a warlord typically isn't.  Nor is he a terrible sadist.  He captures the crews, treats them like the valuable commodity they are, and sets them free when the ransom arrives.  He has a rudimentary knowledge of English and loves Bollywood movies.  But it would be an inside look at the lives of Somali Pirates.  The gritty stories of desperately poor young men searching for riches the only way they can might have some resonance with the entertainment audience.

It would be a good movie to make, and if it is made remember where you read it first and who was ripped off.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Yahoo: where good websites go to die

Once upon a time I was a big fan of Flickr.  It was one of the best photo sharing websites around.  The content was good and people who were into photography were really into the site.  There were problems with the site, but we used it anyways.

Then, like all Yahoo owned things, they focused on building things people didn't want and ignoring things that people wanted.  Uploading video clips was added instead of view on black settings.  No easy interface with facebook.  No good iPhone uploader app.  Then giving view on black but stripping EXIF.  No photo slideshow queuing.  Basically the only reason people still use it is that facebook is a closed network, tumblr too bloggy, and Google hasn't tried to get into the game.  Flickr sucks but no one has tried to make a better Flickr.  The online photo community I was once networked into dissolved because no one cares anymore because there are so many better online networking sites.

Basically I wish Google or someone would make a better Flickr, because everything Yahoo touches turns to poop.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What is a blend?

As Led Zepplin once said "sometimes words have two meanings".  That seems to be the case with blended whiskey.  Take, for example, Johnny Walker.  It is a blend.  But it is a blend of (depending on the label) around 40 different malt whiskies aged in oak for around a dozen years.  Other blends, not so much.  I haven't found a recent bottling that displays the breakdown, but I did recently come across a bottle of Hannah and Hogg blended whiskey that displayed the breakdown on the label.  I believe it was 20% straight whiskey aged 4 years and 80% grain neutral spirits.  Often I will read whiskey reviews that assumes any blend, especially American whiskey, is a blend of grain neutral spirits and straight whiskey.  But since the labeling doesn't tell you, who really knows?  I sure don't.  So what does blended whiskey mean?  I guess only what the label or the internet tells you.

Monday, April 18, 2011

In defense of Juggalos

The fans of the Insane Clown Posse, known as Juggalos, are an interesting group.  I find few groups that gather as much scorn from "the web" as Juggalos.  They are fairly easy targets.  For one, they stand out so.

And of course, there is ICP itself, which was such a target rich environment that SNL made into several funny skits.

But let's take a deeper look. Who are ICP and Juggalos?

I'm medicated.  I have a lot of medicine that I take. For depression. Panic attacks are really a serious part of my life.

ICP are from the inner ring suburbs of Detroit.  The region is predominantly white, and largely blue collar.  They claim to have grown up poor, which I don't doubt.  They seem to reflect their fans as a demographic.  White, blue collar, low educational attainment.

Just look at any picture of large groups of Juggalos.  They are largely young white men with low educational attainment and job skills.  For them, the middle class comfort their parents or grandparents experienced is gone forever.

You can see for yourself, the middle class jobs that a Juggalo would look forward to - low skills manufacturing - are largely gone.  Those that are left, as a result, pay very little.  It reminds me quite a lot of how David Simon views the inner city.

These really are the excess people in America. Our economy doesn’t need them—we don’t need 10 or 15 percent of our population. And certainly the ones who are undereducated, who have been ill-served by the inner-city school system, who have been unprepared for the technocracy of the modern economy, we pretend to need them. We pretend to educate the kids. We pretend that we’re actually including them in the American ideal, but we’re not. And they’re not foolish. They get it. They understand that the only viable economic base in their neighborhoods is this multibillion-dollar drug trade.

And so conversely Juggalos are largely a group of white people that grew up in the suburbs that America could do without.  They are similarly without job skills or education.  America does not want Juggalos whether they paint their faces and listen to rap or not; for the Juggalo never really had a future.

The sad clown. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tea time

As you may know I am a big fan of European culture.  It is superior to our American culture in so many ways.  One thing I am studying from the Europeans is the art of living.  How do you spend an afternoon well?  Today I made a carafe of tea:  two bags of Twinings jasmine green tea and one bag Twinings apple spiced chai.  I know, loose leaf is superior to bag.  It is leftover from the office days.  Those were good days...

It is a chilly, cloudy afternoon.  Nothing warms the soul like a good cup of hot tea and Beethoven's 3rd piano concerto played very loud.  Well, maybe a good European whiskey...

Jameson 18

It warms the soul...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pimping the Lansing thrash

So I have a ton of crap on my computer, but it is all strewn about in random directories and on random hard drives.  I blame my wife for this, by the way.  Anyways after some whisky and youtube poop I chanced upon an mp3 I had stashed away in a random photo directory.  from Lansing area thrash band Wartorn.  The song is called Vigilance in my Eyes.  There isn't a whole lot on the webernets about this band, so I'll tell you all I know.  It has some of the guys from the Lansing area that are thrash maniacs that you know and love.  Guys from Harbinger and Sauron.  Remember when I told you guys about Harbinger and Sauron?  Those were good times.  The mp3 is sweet and the band is (was?) all quality.  I recommend you scour the internet for everything you can find.

If you come up empty handed beg in the comments and I will put it online.  You're welcome.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Checking in with the booze army of the future

I have neglected my duties as leader of the booze army, and for that I apologize.  So I will now use this opportunity to pimp one of the biggest technological advances to the art of drinking in the 21st century:  the AI Bar.

In the future all jobs will be replaced by robots and computers.  In the futures only PhDs will afford booze.  Everyone else will drink synthohol.  Drink while you can...