Lightning Round--Year End Edition in Review Edition Edition of 2013 Edition

>> Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Posted by Jay Allbritton

NYTimes: Six months ago, Russia passed a law that limited what they broadly define as "homosexual propaganda." Journalist Mark Gevisser looks at life in one of the areas where the ban was piloted. 

Open Culture: Kate Rix offers a primer on the International Children’s Digital Library, which collects "outstanding children's books from all over the world."

Ethan Siegel: 2013 saw the birth of a new island near Japan that is provisionally called Niijima, which is Japanese for new island.

The Good the Bad and the Unknown: Blogger acompleteunknown posted the top 11 albums of 2013

io9: Lauren Davis compiled some of the best sci-fi and fantasy short films of 2013.

LOLMyThesis: A tumblr with the tagline, "Summing up years of work in one sentence."

Happy New Year! More blogging in 2014 if I can get a second. If not, see you in 2015!


Louis C.K. on the B.S. Report

>> Saturday, December 7, 2013

Posted by Jay Allbritton

Back in June, Bill Simmons talked to Louis C.K. during Louie's promotional tour for "Live at the Beacon Theater." The interview is really good, but it goes to a different level when they discuss Louie's creative process for the Dane Cook episode, especially his feelings about taking notes from Cook, even the good ones.


Pardcast-a-thon 2013 Kicks off at 3pm Eastern

>> Thursday, November 28, 2013

Posted by Jay Allbritton

Friday at 3pm Eastern the annual Pardcast-a-thon kicks off. It will be streaming at Jimmy Pardo and his cohorts will welcome an array of stars of stage, screen, and podcast. The likes of Scott Aukerman, Phil Hendrie, Doug Benson and plenty more will yuck it up with Pardo for the benefit of Smile Train, which is a charity that sponsors cleft lip and palate surgeries throughout the world. Pardcast-a-thon is one of my favorite annual events. Co-hosts Matt Belknap and Pat Francis will join Pardo for the 13-hour video livestream. Tune it in on your internet machine and rip the nob off.

Pardo sat down with Take Part to talk about Pardcast 2013.



Saturday Play - Covers Edition

>> Friday, September 27, 2013

Posted by Jay Allbritton

On this week's Saturday Play, we're going to look at a few covers. First stop--Madonna doing Elliott Smith's "Behind the Bars".


This has been an extremely polarizing cover. Critics have been screaming about Madonna violating the sanctity of what is perhaps Elliott Smith's finest song. This is, of course, total crap. No song is beyond covering and if you don't like the results, just file the song along with the billion other songs you don't like and keep on going. Life awaits you, find a real problem. An issue was made of the song being used in what is more broadly a protest against the prison industrial complex, especially considering the song is about alcoholism not prison. I don't think that was lost on Madonna, I think she just made what is called an artistic choice. I was impressed with her voice, especially the choruses. The only thing that bothered me about the performance was that she didn't seem very well rehearsed and blew a couple of lyrics. Having one of the biggest stars in the world play one of Elliott's songs feels like a well deserved validation of Elliott's great music.

Next up George Lewis, Jr. of Twin Shadow covers Tori Amos's "Silent All These Years".


Okay, forget what I just said--how dare this dude cover Tori! Just kidding. This is actually a pretty amazing version and as Stereogum commenter Marlina Guzman writes, "It’s kind of refreshing to hear the song from a male’s perspective."

Speaking of switching gender perspectives, Lorde recently performed Kanye West's "Hold My Liquor" (h/t Cover Me).


Lorde's debut album isn't even out yet and she's the opening act of New Zealand’s iHeartRadio Festival at the age of 16.

Last we come to Fiona Apple, who covered "Pure Imagination" for a Chipotle ad campaign.


Chipotle ad campaign? Sure, it's confusing, but once you get past the Chipotle aspect of the situation, it's a fantastic version of a magical song.

NOTE: The Saturday Play was published on Friday just to mess with your head. Not really. Actually, I just hit publish instead of schedule and I am too lazy to fix it, but not too lazy to type this explanation.


Lightning Round--Shutdown Redux, Cable News Fails Again, iOS 7 Available, Wing Thief Warned, Google Takes on Death, More

>> Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Posted by Jay Allbritton

MaddowBlog: Steve Benen covers the power struggle that John Boehner just lost with the right wing of his party over how to proceed in the budget negotiations that will determine whether we have a government shutdown in less than two weeks.

TPM: A reader named PJ explains why the coming storm over GOP threats to shut down the government if Obamacare isn't defunded comes at a time when even the most politically engaged are dealing with a high level of political fatigue. The two dominant political stories leading into this were about Syria and the mass shooting in DC. "So the two dominant stories," PJ writes, "are about sad situations built around limited bad choices, intractable differences, and now we have to go into parliamentary arcana on the debt ceiling and how that is a different maneuver than actually voting for a law that requires revenue to fund? Who wants to follow this story other than Beltway media types?"

ABlog: Jon Stewart reviews the debacular coverage of the DC Navy Yard Shooting by cable news.

CNET: Apple iOS 7 is available for upload. CNET takes a look at the new features. Mine is uploading now, so disaster is imminent.

Passive Aggressive Notes: Roper won't let you get away with stealing $82 worth of chicken wings, Elwood!

Time Tech: Google is planning on taking down the Grim Reaper.

i09: Dragon robot is a thing.

Jezebel: Tegan and Sara have been unabashedly redefining themselves as a pop band (Nerdist appearance here) and sounding really good in the process. But what if dogs were performing their material?


The Computer of Tomorrow

>> Monday, September 9, 2013

Posted by Jay Allbritton

About 60 years ago this is what scientists thought home computers would look like in 2004 (h/t kpete via Democratic Underground).

In this TED Talk from last summer in Sidney, quantum physicist Michelle Simmons talked about the race to complete the quantum computer and how it will change everything.


Lightning Round--RIP Elmore Leonard, Strained Pulp, Conservatives and Climate Change, Future of Cable TV, Hypothetical Earth Rings, More

>> Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Posted by Jay Allbritton

OpenCulture: The great Elmore Leonard has died after recently suffering a stroke. He was a writer of pulp for the masses and he was masterful at it. Dan Colman at OpenCulture posted a list of Leonard's hot tips on how to not mess everything up as a writer. Leonard originally wrote the list for the New York Times and later expanded it into a book. I gorged on Leonard's fiction back in the 90s. A few months ago I returned to Leonard's world when I binged on four seasons of FX's Justified, a fabulous show based on Leonard's characters and written in his spirit. Mr. Leonard was 87.

New York Times Magazine: Last year A.O. Scott identified a certain tendency of certain recent American films he calls "strained pulp". Scott and fellow critics Stephanie Zacharek and Adam Sternbergh engaged in this panel discussion of strained pulp (h/t my buddy Kevin). Words of warning from Zacharek, who says, "If movies are too reflective of the culture of the past, then what, in 30 years, will be considered the movies of our time?"

Grist: David Roberts makes the case that conservatives will never come around on climate science (h/t Mr. Sullivan).

The Guardian: Meanwhile, some right wingers actually have hopped on the solar powered solar power bandwagon for their own reasons.

CProg: Mari Hernandez explains how rooftop solar theoretically will lead to a "utility death spiral".

Forbes: Speaking of death spirals, one of the more interesting battles to be fought over the next five to ten years will be waged by the buzzards picking over the remains of the cable television industry. Mark Rogowsky covers Sony's attempt to capitalize on the coming cable carnage. If you haven't cut cable yet, please, by all means, hasten the change.

Alligator Sunglasses: Ever wonder what it would be like if Earth had rings like Saturn? Me neither.

Monkey Muck: Get a load of Heroin Boy.

Holy Cuteness: Goat plays with yoga ball~!


Happy Birthday to You Too

>> Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Posted by Jay Allbritton

It's been my birthday only 39 minutes and I've already pulled a Brian Regan twice. "I don't know when to say the 'you too' phrase. I can't handle it." 

Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes and one day, when it's your birthday, you too! 


Relocation Update

>> Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Posted by Jay Allbritton

I'm back in the Wood. That being Hollywood, Florida. I'm caught up in a million mundane transitional activities that are somehow taking way longer than they should. While I'm fighting with the DMV over relatively new and ridiculously strict rules regarding diver's license renewal (if you thought the Tea Party were serious about birth certificates, you should see how these people roll) while simultaneously scouring the peninsula for an Ethernet line long enough to run from the router in the front room to the computer in my bedroom enjoy this set from John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats at The Newport Folk Festival via the good people at NPR.


Google Introduces Chromecast

>> Friday, July 26, 2013

Posted by Jay Allbritton

Looking for a quick and easy way to get music and video from your computer to your television? Google's Chromecast might be just the thing. Even if it's not, for $35 it's probably worth a try.

Andrew at AndroidCentral does a quick demonstration:

CNET has a more thorough look at the product here. Personally I'm excited about this product and I am eager to try it. Does it make up for Google killing Google Reader? I fear nothing ever will.


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