Friday, January 14, 2011

Fandom power applied to charity

Earlier this evening, Adam posted an announcement on his official fansite that he'd like fans to make donations to a charity in lieu of sending him birthday gifts. The charity he selected this time is charity : water that funds clean drinking projects (wells and so forth) in areas lacking clean drinking water.

In honor of this being his 29th birthday, he set the goal amount at $29,000 to be raised over 85 days.

In under 6 hours, his fans donated . . . [drum roll] . . . more than $29,000 dollars.

This was accomplished without any distribution of a press release and no announcement on Twitter.

Happy 6oth Birthday!

No, not to Michael. To The Day the Earth Stood Still and thanks to AMC for showing one of my all time faves tonight. Still love Patricia Neal.

And what geek could even mention the classic without quoting this:

Michael Rennie was ill
The day the earth stood still
But he told us where we stand
And Flash Gordon was there
In silver underwear
Claude Rains was the Invisible Man
Then something went wrong
For Fay Wray and King Kong
They got caught in a celluloid jam
Then at a deadly pace
It came from outer space
And this is how the message ran.


Science fiction — double feature
Dr. X will build a creature
See Androids fighting Brad and Janet
Anne Francis stars in Forbidden Planet
Oh — at the late night double feature
Picture show

I knew Leo G. Carrol
Was over a barrel
When tarrantula took to the hills
And I got really hot
When I saw Jeanette Scott
Fight a triffid that spits poison and kills
Dana Andrews said prunes
Gave him the ruhnes
And passing them used lots of skills
And when worlds collide
Said George Pal to his bride
I'm going to give you some terrible thrills
Like a —


"Prunes?" Who knew?

R.I.P. Clarence Prevost

Clarence W. Prevost who alerted law enforcement about Zacarias Moussaoui's suspicious behavior while learning to fly a jumbo jet at a flight school in Eagan, MN, before the Sept. 11 terror attacks, has died at the age of 72.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

On Kanye

Chris Jackson writing at The Atlantic talks about Kanye, what Kanye is saying, and how to interpret rap:

I was the editor of Decoded, and one of Jay-Z's main ambitions for the book from the beginning is that it give both fans and haters a primer on how to listen to rap, and why it's always more complicated than you think it is. Rap can be free wordplay or linear narrative. Sometimes a rapper uses words as rhythmic devices, as percussion, with little concern about literal meaning. Rap can be polemic or stand-up comedy. It's autobiography, fantasy, confession, satire, lecture, dream. The voice of the rapper can be first-, second-, or third-person, comic or hyperbolic or earnest. Even then it's complicated: Jay-Z's voice, even in earnest first person, is not necessarily Shawn Carter's voice, but then again sometimes it is.


...but at the least I think it's hard to analyze Kanye's lyrics outside of the understanding that he's fundamentally a comic, a sometimes viciously comic, rapper ... and an artist . . ., and operating out of a tradition of which he's conscious (as indicated by the inclusion of Gil Scott-Heron and Chris Rock).


I think the most difficult, and most intriguing, aspect of Kanye as a rapper is that you never know whether he's celebrating or satirizing an idea, or doing both at the same time.


All of which is to say . . . that Kanye West may or may not be a racist and a misogynist, but before making that claim he deserves a fairer hearing than a surface reading of his lyrics. We all know that rap is narrative, with unreliable narrators, and that the point-of-view in any narrative is not necessarily the point of view of the writer, but then we occasionally choose to forget this; in those moments we make judgments on rap songs without making the effort to first understand them on the terms of the form.

H/t Ezra.

T-Paw on Stewart

Former Minnesota governor and potential candidate for President in 2012, Tim Pawlenty, appeared on the Daily Show last night. The interview, including the portion that didn't air, is here.

I don't agree with him on much policy, of course, but I think he deserves consideration from Republicans who want a serious candidate. He's smart; he's experienced; he's articulate; he's a true believer in a conservative economic philosophy without emphasizing a socially "conservative" agenda.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Samples used in My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Over the weekend, K and I saw Four Lions and heard, over the closing credits, a melody that is included in Blame Game on Kanye's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. That sent me to Kanye's liner notes that I had not read. That, plus LJ and Scooter's interest in the 21st Century Schizoid Man sample, motivated me to investigate the samples further.

With links to a cool site that streams audio of songs with their samples, side by side, here are Kanye's samples, in track order:

Dark Fantasy: Contains samples of “In High Places” by Mike Oldfield

Gorgeous: Contains portions of the composition “You Showed Me,” written by Gene Clark and Roger McGuinn.

  • Contains elements of “It’s Your Thing,” recorded by the Cold Grits.
  • Contains elements of “Afromerica” (Francois Bernheim/Jean-Pierre Lang/Boris Bergman)
  • Contains material sampled from “21st Century Schizoid Man” performed by King Crimson Taken from the album: In The Court Of The Crimson King.
All of the Lights: None

Monster: None

So Appalled: Contains samples of the Manfred Mann’s Earth Band recording “You Are – I Am.”

Devil in a New Dress: Contains samples of the recording “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” as performed by Smokey Robinson.

  • Contains a sample of “Expo 83” performed by Backyard Heavies.
  • Contains excerpts from Rick James ‘Live at Long Beach, CA’ 1981.
Hell of a Life:
  • Contains samples of the Mojo Men recording “She’s My Baby.”
  • Contains samples of the Tony Joe White recording “Stud-Spider.”
  • Contains portions of “Iron Man,” written by T. Butler, A. Iommi, J. Osbourne and W.T. Ward (Black Sabbath).
Blame Game: Contains elements of “Avril 14” by Richard James, Aphex Twin.

Lost in the World:
  • Contains portions of “Soul Makossa,” written by M. DiBango.
  • Contains a sample of the recording “Think (About It)” as performed by Lyn Collins. Written by James Brown.
  • Contains samples of “The Woods” performed by Bon Iver
  • Contains samples of “Comment No. 1” performed by Gil Scott-Heron.
Who Will Survive in America: Contains samples of “Comment No. 1” performed by Gil Scott-Heron

Of note, the artistic use of autotune at the beginning of Lost in the World, that I'd given Kanye credit for, is almost entirely the doing of Bon Iver.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Here's a great idea

from Ezra:
Treat the question of whether someone is a deficit hawk as a math problem rather than a subjective judgment.