Thursday, July 31, 2008

Apathy Jack writes:

Today's music video is Hey Girl, Hey Boy by The Chemical Brothers. The Chemical Brothers' videos are routinely of above average quality, but this is my personal favourite, mixing real creepiness with a healthy dose of humour, and complimenting the song perfectly.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Apathy Jack writes:

Today's video, Witness The Fitness, by Roots Manuva. In addition to being a catchy tune, the video is a piece of genius. Takes a minute or so to get going, but this tale of Manuva returning to his old school is one of my favourites.

(As per usual, linked to rather than embedded because of the drop in quality that comes with embedding.)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Day Today - 29th July 2008

Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling writes:

Rules Have To Be Obeyed.

Lenny Woodward is 96, and almost blind, so you'd think people might understand when he accidentally put two glass jars in the wrong recycling bin. But sanitation workers in West Earlham, England, told the World War II veteran they would not take the bin until he removed the jars. Woodward told them that he was physically unable to bend over and get them out. So they left the bin where it was. In fact, they refused to touch it for two weeks When Woodward's daughter found out about the problem, she called the local council, but she says the officials she talked to simply insisted that her father had to follow the rules. Only after she contacted the local newspaper did they empty the bin.

I'm not normally given to emotionalism but seriously, since the chap is a war veteran, the council are just a bunch of

"Rules have to be obeyed" - that's what the little shit from the council said. the man's almost blind and he can't reach into the bins. Has any council anywhere, in the history of humankind, ever done anything except be a pain in the arse? Probably not. [HT Reason]

On a lighter note...

Even better, more Chinese Olympic advice on how to address the handicapped.

Pay attention to avoiding taboo subjects, quit using bad platitudes, and do not use insulting or discriminatory contemptuous or derogatory terms to address the disabled. Say things such as, “You are amazing,” or “You are really great.” When chatting with the visually impaired, do not say things like “It’s up ahead,” or “It’s over there.” When chatting with athletes who are paraplectic in their upper body, do not say things like “It’s behind you.”

Best cancer cure ever - genetically engineered tobacco plants!

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Day Today - 28th July 2008

Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling writes:

Comics are for children, and retards.

Where you vote affects how you vote - H.T. Tyler Cowen:

Essentially, people whose voting booth is located in a church are more likely to put more weight into social issues, people voting in fire houses care more about safety, and people voting in a school tend to put more weight on things like education.

A week at Lord's, watching test match cricket, the greatest game in the world. The diary contains this reminiscence...

The worst result of excess boozing I have ever witnessed (and this was at London’s less salubrious international cricket venue, the Oval) was a naked man treating those around him to a spirited and tuneful rendition of “Suspicious Minds”. By the time stewards had come to eject him he had put his clothes back on. “Who was it?” demanded the leader of the baffled forces of authority. “Was it you?” they demanded of the guilty party, who had assumed an air of wounded innocence. The stewards, still unsure of their quarry, surveyed the mass of cricket fans suspiciously until a distant voice piped up: “I am Spartacus”. Another voice, familiar with the famous scene in the epic film about the slave revolt in ancient Rome, chimed in with the same line. Then another and another, until the scene of Spartacus’s fellow rebels attempting to shield him from capture by the Romans was pleasingly recreated in the Peter May Stand at the Oval, south London.

Unfortunately "our Correspondent" talks in approving tones of that god-awful 20/20 hit and giggle rubbish - ugh.

A shocker from America. A policeman invents a crime lab reoprt to extract information from a suspect - and the fake evidence makes it all the way to trial. Even worse was the prosecution twice declining requests from the defence for more information, and the officer who invented the report only belatedly "remembering" that he had done so.

Are you a financial illiterate?

The George Bush Presidential library...

The Hurricane Katrina Room, which is still under construction.

The Alberto Gonzales Room, where you won't be able to remember anything.

The Texas Air National Guard Room, where you don't even have to show up.

The Walter Reed Hospital Room, where they don't let you in.

The Guantanamo Bay Room, where they don't let you out.

The Weapons of Mass Destruction Room, which no one has been able to find.

The National Debt room which is huge and has no ceiling.

The 'Tax Cut' Room with entry only to the wealthy.

The 'Economy Room' which is in the toilet.

The Iraq War Room. After you complete your first tour, they make you go back for a second, third, fourth, and sometimes fifth tour.

The Dick Cheney Room, in the famous undisclosed location, complete with shotgun gallery.

The Environmental Conservation Room, still empty.

The Supremes Gift Shop, where you can buy an election.

The Airport Men's Room, where you can meet some of your favorite Republican Senators.

The 'Decider Room' complete with dart board, magic 8-ball, Ouija board, dice, coins, and straws.

The museum will have an electron microscope to help you locate the President's accomplishments.

Admission: Republicans - free; Democrats - $1000 or 3 Euros

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Apathy Jack writes:

“Alright, let’s get this clear: If you go to university and spend time with a lot of educated people, then you will doubtlessly have many opportunities to discuss Roman epic poetry. However, if, as I suspect you will, you all end up working at McDonald’s, you will never have to talk about The Aeneid, so it won’t matter that some of you keep pronouncing Dido ‘Diddo’ and saying ‘Vir-Gil’ with a hard ‘G’ sound. However, let’s at least make sure we can spell them right for that credit-heavy end-of-year exam, alright?”
“What if McDonald’s introduces an Aeneid happy meal? Then we’d have to learn how to say them properly.”
“Well, in that unlikely event, you can correct all of the uneducated people who ask for a Diddo happy meal. I can just picture you in your McDonald’s uniform with a look of smug superiority on your face as you say ‘I think you’ll find it’s pronounced Dido’.”

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Apathy Jack writes:

Student 1 “Could the answer to number one be both pietas and furor?”
Me “Well spotted.”
Student 2 “Wait, what was the answer you said?”
Student 1 “I said shush and do your work. Sir, why are you laughing?”
Me “I’m just admiring this touching display of friendship and support.”
Student 1 “We can be friends later.”

Monday, July 21, 2008

High Culture

Apathy Jack writes:

Remember that song "I wish I was a little bit taller"?

If you don't, you need to watch the video below.

If you do, you should also watch the video below. Watching it for the first time in thirteen or so years, and it's even better than I remember it being...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Apathy Jack writes:

Is it just me who thinks the Beastie Boys’ videos are all overrated? Sure, they take a bunch of 70’s tropes and string them together, but (and I say this as a big fan of that ridiculous 70s style) that by itself doesn’t make a good video.

However, Bloc Party got it right. In their video Flux, they do pretty much what the BB’s were doing in Intergalactic, but do it Properly. Have a look.

(As per usual, linked to rather than embedded because of the drop in quality that comes with embedding.)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Day Today - 12th July 2008

Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling writes:

Top 10 Strangest Anti-Terrorism Patents.

Good News. John Howard's much maligned intervention to stop child abuse in Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory has been shown to be working.

But after visiting more than half the 73 communities eventually involved, Ms Gordon has found good progress in cutting violence and sexual abuse: alcohol and pornography have been banned, more children are going to school and police patrols have left more women feeling safer.

In the interests of fairness, following on from last week's missive on Rap, here's Punk.

Punk, says Suvy, is "the only view that makes sense to me." Work is for yuppies. Rent is for yuppies. Shelter is a basic human right. The government is bullshit. Corporations are bullshit. He "fucks capitalism" by pissing in the corner of the Dunkin' Donuts.

..or at least the poor employees responsible for cleaning up the mess. Hat Tip Reason.

Paul saw Paul Low's protest, and liketh it not - especially the triads not. But Cactus Kate sayeth that the Triads maketh the streets safe to walk at four in the morning,

Triads "the good gang" run the streets here and that's why I can confidently do something here I can't do anymore in Auckland - walk around at 4am on my own.

and points out that part of Mr Low's, and the rest of the 15,000 protester's concerns is the culture shock of coming from a place where you are allowed to defend yourself to one where you are prosecuted for doing so. Kate again:

Asians in New Zealand are as a group, peaceful law-abiding citizens. Problem is, back in Asia they are used to defending themselves from any intervention, and the interventions in middle-upper incomed areas are minimal. Very minimal. An Asian with enough money to migrate to New Zealand would NEVER be charged for killing a home intruder or defending themselves against a lower class of person. It's the Asian way....and by-in-large it works as criminal lower class scum know if they try to harm or steal from someone wealthier, they will not face the Police but a small army of protection and likely be shot on location if caught.

And that, as Stephen Franks says, is the rub.

Essentially the Police were there to stimulate, and to ensure, citizen self policing of civil behaviour. Constables were neighbours doing full-time what every decent citizen could and would do when necessary.

The 15,000 who marched with Mr Low are closer to this vision of policing than "we" are. They just want to be able to defend themselves and feel safe, and cannot understand that here in New Zealand you are not allowed to defend yourself, and instead must bleed to death for half an hour on your shop floor.

What will happen to Iran if it uses its missiles in anger?

We'll end with some levity, George Bush. As reported by the New York Times:

“Amigo! Amigo!” Mr. Bush called out cheerily in Spanish when he spotted the Italian prime minister. “How you doing, Silvio? Good to see you!"

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Comics You Should Be Reading Number 7 Of Probably Not Many; Comics Are For Children And Retards

Apathy Jack writes:

Originally uploaded by Brain Stab
Action Philosophers, by Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey

Actually, while I’m thinking of philosophy, I just finished the latest collection of Action Philosophers, a rollicking ride through the history of philosophy with wrestling and guns.

You know wrestling and guns make philosophy better.

Three volumes have been released, which I think is the whole lot finished now. In the next week, I’m going to do some judicious photocopying of this to use as a supplementary resource for the (it’s now up to) five students who are/will be reading Sophie’s World.

Apathy Jack: Making philosophy better. For the sake of the children.

(Oh, and if you wanted to check it out, the above link lets you read the sections on Jung, Descartes, the pre-Socratics and John Stewart Mill...)

Monday, July 07, 2008

Books You Should Be Reading Number 45 Of A Bunch

Apathy Jack writes:

Sophie’s World, Jostein Gaarder

The most subversive people are those who ask questions. Giving answers
is not nearly as threatening. Any one question can be more explosive
than a thousand answers.


No link for this one, as every site that talks about it (including the bloody Amazon site, for frigs sake) decides to be clever, and gives away the mystery that is a large part of the point of the book...

I like almost everything about this one: the weirdness; the mystery of it all; but most specifically, the way that it renders Philosophy degrees completely obsolete. If we can just get every teenager on Earth to read this (and I’m working on it: I finished it last week, and have already given it to one, and gotten two others to promise to read it when she’s finished) then they can find their way to the works of specific thinkers that catch their interest, and we can finally force a large number of the more pallid denizens of Auckland University to shave and dress properly.

It’s for their own good...

Friday, July 04, 2008

The Day Today - 4th July 2008

Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling writes:

New Zealand's Economy

With a contracting economy, high interest rates and soaring prices, kitchen-table issues are likely to be a major factor with voters, with the economic environment likely to be distinctly unfavourable to the incumbent Labour Party's chances of re-election.

How is the internet changing how we write?

The internet is always saying, "Heyyy." It is always welcoming you to the party; it is always patting you on the back to congratulate you for showing up.

Can rap change the world? No, no it cannot.

Consider the hot album of the moment: “Tha Carter III” by Lil Wayne. Its central message is that if you are a rap star, you will get laid. The song “Lollipop”, for example, celebrates a young lady who treats Lil Wayne as she might a lollipop.

Earnest hip-hop fans often argue that “commercial” rappers such as Lil Wayne are beside the point. Hip-hop’s revolutionary potential is best expressed by “conscious” rappers who focus on important issues rather than babes, bling and booze. The Roots, a group from Philadelphia, are often cited as an example. Their message? “If I can’t work to make it, I’ll rob and take it. Either that or me and my children are starving and naked.”

But crime and starvation are hardly the only options. Even without a high-school diploma, a black man can probably find a job if he looks. And some manual jobs, such as plumber or cable technician, pay quite well. “It may well be that you can’t write much of a rap about training someone to fix heaters or air conditioners,” sighs Mr McWhorter.

But when it comes to more contentious political issues, hip-hop offers no plausible solutions; only impotent and sometimes self-destructive rage. In “Lost in tha System” by Da Lench Mob, for example, the vocalist says, of a judge: “He added on another year cos I dissed him. Now here I go gettin’ lost in the system.” The disrespect in question was a suggestion that the judge perform fellatio on him.

Juries - I don't like them. It just seems odd that such important matters as putting someone in jail depends on the judgement of twelve random people. As any psychologist, statistician, or philosopher (such as HORansome) will tell you, accurately interpreting arguments and information does not come entirely naturally and the mind has all sorts of short cuts that can lead even well-meaning jurors to err. Let alone the blatant prejudices shown by The Hand Mirror's fellow jurors. Part of me thinks we should train professional jurors (or "wasps") for the task, but whether that could ever be feasible I am not sure.

Cheesewatch! Be alert people, I was almost fooled but realised in time.

Life Imitating Art! for Fundy Post Paul.

And finally The Funny. A conservative news outlet goofs replacing "gay" with "homosexual.