Monday, February 27, 2012

Notes From The Week Magazine Early 2012: Samuel L. Jackson on Obama, Chipotle is the New Apple, UNtouched Lakes in Russia and more....

Enjoy some highlights of a magzine full of notes. It's like The Week but even shorter.

  • An excellent opinion piece by Frank Bruni on the ignored drug problem of this country, alcoholism, in the wake of Whitney Houston's death.
  • Samuel L. Jackson was quoted in Ebony and I'm shocked these kind of quotes haven't EXPLODED. Sam said "I voted for Barack because he was black... That's why other folks vote for other people - because they look like them. That's American politics, pure and simple. His message don't mean shit to me... I just hoped he would do some of what he said he was gonna do." Implying that Obama has not yet been able to behave like a "scary" "n*gga," Jackson said he hopes Obama will be more "scary" in his second term, "cuz he ain't gotta worry about getting re-elected." "I voted for Barack because he was black," Jackson said. "Cuz that’s why other folks vote for other people — because they look like them." I'd vote for Sam for president, wouldn't you?
  • Police in Zurich confiscated $6 trillion in counterfeit US bonds which equates to nearly half the US national debt (via BBC). Now, that sounds pretty fucking serious.
  • According to The Economist, in 2012 the number of federally mandated categories of illness and injuries for which hospitals may claim reimbursement will multiply from 18,000 to 140,000 including "nine categories for injuries caused by parrots and three relating to burns from flaming water skis. What I really want to know is who got paid to compile a list like this?
  • Confidence is what you have before you understand the problem. - Woody Allen AKA The King of Winning Absentee Oscars. Do you think someone will hand deliver the trophy to him in NY?
  • The Russians have broken through 2 miles of solid ice into a lake in the Antarctic that has been cut off from air and light for about 20 million years named Lake Vostok. While they claim to be doing testing for microbes, how long until they try to drill for oil?
  • Why do zebras have stripes? According to scientists in Sweden, the stripes exist as an optimal way to deflect eyes. May I recommend this idea to Floridians?
  • New Mexico State University Scientist have identified the world's hottest pepper, the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion rating 1.2 million Scoville units in hotness in comparison to 5,000 for a jalapeno. My butt just yelled at me for writing about it.
  • How Chipotle is the Apple of the causal dining world in innovation and growth? (via Slate)
  • According to, a woman in the military is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than being killed in action.
  • The US Postal System lost $3.3 billion in the last 3 months of 2011, 10x more than the same period in 2010.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Best of Nov/Dec 2011 Magazines & Periodicals Round-up Part I: A Visualization of Martin Scorcese's Career, Birth Control & Wi-Fi Cancer, Soccer Causes Brain Damage, Afghani Sesame Street Notable Missing Characters and more

The best of film list has been delayed I can see enough of the prospective contenders of 2011. So instead, some quick news tidbits that you might have missed in the news.  They might be interesting conversation starters.

From BusinessWeek.

Wondering why Italy's economy is in trouble? Take a look at a few interesting Italian worker statistics from the article"Italy's Labor Pains" :
  • On average, Italian workers spend almost six times as many hours on strike as their German counterparts, according to the European Industrial Relations Observatory. 
  • Italy supports a class of workers who, though universally despised, are the most pampered in the country. Most of the year they enjoy a roughly two-day workweek, for which they receive an aftertax salary of $90,000 per annum, plus a $5,500 living allowance and a similar sum for expenses. They get free plane and train tickets, meals subsidized by taxpayers, free seats at premier soccer games, and a generous pension that kicks in after just five years of service. They’re the country’s politicians. Any reform of Italy’s workforce will have to start with them. 
Here's a novel idea pharmaceutical giant Roche in Germany is offering a money back guarantee if there cancer drug Avastin fails you.

Three types of people you should fire immediately.

Why zany James Altucher is a beacon of hope for the post-crash world and you should be reading his blog (and the comic book he's inspired)?

Fast Company's Infographic showing the wide range of Martin Scorcese's varied film making career:

And here's a few interesting tidbits I ripped out and saved from The Week (literally).
  • Research from the UK says smart kids are more likely to take drugs. Girls between the ages of 5 and 10 who score in the top third on IQ tests are more than twice as likely to try marijuana or cocaine by age 30 as their lower-scoring peers.
  • Hormones found in birth control pills may be increasing men's risk of prostate cancer according to Canadian research. So women trying to avoid pregnancy are causing men cancer? A recompense?
  • On average, someone is murdered every seven and a half hours in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico's per capita rate of drug homicides is now higher than Mexico's. (via Washington Post)
  • A quote from Arthur Schopenhauer, "Talent hits a target no one else can hit; genius hits a target no one else can see." 
  • Gallup Survey: Americans are getting heavier, a shocker. The average American male now reports weighing 196 pounds, up from 180 in 1990. The average female claims 160  up from 142. Yet only 39 percent say they're overweight while 56 percent say they're "just right." Like Goldilocks' porridge.
  • The interesting work of artist CJ Pyle.
"The Audible Strains of Clarence White" C J Pyle

  • Dutch Christmas causes cries of racism. Why? Because all of Santa's (Sinterklaas) little helper in the Netherlands is Black Peter. Peter is done up in blackface. According to an editorial in De Telegraaf, "Black Peters are an integral part of a Dutch custom that has long been one of the country’s most important traditions and vital to our national heritage. And these sourpusses can’t change that.”
  • Via Sitting still for long stretches increases your cancer risk. Research shows that 49,000 cases of breast cancer and 43,000 cases of colon cancer can be prevented each year if people just stood up more often. So the computers are causing carpal tunnel, eye strain, and cancer... but they make things much more efficient.
  • Oh, I forgot. Using Wifi on a laptop can damage sperm too. Thanks COMPUTERS! (BBC)
  • Heading soccer balls linked to Brain Damage. Soccer moms, turn those vans around!
  • Explorer Ranulph Fiennes's very adept quote from The Times of India: "There's no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing."
  • From Fortune, Americans last year filled 254 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers like OxyContin and Percocet - enough to medicate every American adult around the clock for a month.
  • The US is one of a handful of countries including Swaziland and Papua New Guinea that do not require paid maternity leaves for mothers.
  • Afghanistan now has it's own Sesame Street as part of a government educational effort since at least 1/3 of Afghani children do not attend school. Funded by the US Embassy, it features many of the American Sesame Street characters but not Oscar the Grouch, who love of trash doesn't translate and not the Count, whose fangs perplexed viewers.
  • And last but not least, is e-mail obsolete? "Atos, Europe’s largest IT firm, thinks so. The company last week announced that it was banning internal email, as CEO Thierry Breton thinks that 90 percent of messages sent between employees are a waste of time. Instead, Breton wants his 74,000 staff members to talk to one another in person or on the phone, and switch to “real time” messaging tools like Facebook."

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Best of 2011: Top 25 Albums of the Year (plus a long list of honorable mentions) and a spotify playlist

Oh 2011, good riddance. You've been a decent year but the media/arts output especially in music has been critically underwhelming. Maybe some recent years have been so good that we've come to expect a musical revolution to occur every year. If there was a year worthy of skipping lists and contenders with the increasing influx of releases from all angles, you'd be a good year to set a precedence.

There's some good stuff in you but all time classics that will continually pop up in a collection are few and far between. Opening a new decade is a tough job but when the 2010's are up, you will hardly be remembered or mentioned. Either way, a year is over and the kids want a list so here it is.

  1. It's a Corporate World by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

    The top of the heap goes to a debut that I've been anticipating for quite a while after getting a taste of their 2010 Horse Power EP. The promise carried over in a eclectic collection of jangly, infectious pop.

    Full of effervescent energy, vigor and craftsmanship, It's A Corporate World delivers track after track. Catchy, peppy, and invigorating from the word go.

    Despite the perceived silly name, DEJJ have a cacophony of vibes to impart on a listener, looking for hook-filled pop perfection.

    It may not be the most daring, challenging, or coolest album in history but credit the quality, consistency, and whistle-ability for making it easily the most worn out LP (digitally of course) across my music collection in 2011.
  2. Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming by M83 
  3. Zonoscope by Cut Copy

  4. Apocalypse by Bill Callahan
  5. Let England Shake by PJ Harvey (Welcome back Ms. Harvey.)
  6. Days by Real Estate
  7. Smoke Ring for My Halo by Kurt Vile
  8. Drive (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
    Only four songs besides the high quality Cliff Martinez instrumentals but those four tracks are infinitely awesome.
  9. In The Mountain, In the Cloud by Portugal. The Man
  10. The Year of Hibernation by Youth Lagoon

  11. Reptilians by Starfuckers
  12. Bon Iver by Bon Iver
  13. Father, Son, Holy Ghost by Girls
  14. The King of Limbs by Radiohead
    They are my all-time favorite band and this may be a bit of posterity reach but it's my f'in list.
  15. Gimme Some by Peter Bjorn and John
    Everyone was on board after "Young Folks" but then completely lost interest yet these Scandanavians can really write a catchy tune.
  16. No Color by Dodos
    Another "it" band from a few years back didn't get enough love for their follow up.
  17. The Whole Love by Wilco 
  18. Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes

  19. 12 Desperate Straight Lines by Telekinesis
    Their last effort was amazing. This album is pretty high quality.

  20. Living Room Songs by Olafur Arnalds
  21. Dye It Blonde by Smith Westerns
  22. Circuital by My Morning Jacket
  23. Tomboy by Panda Bear
  24. Bad as Me by Tom Waits
  25. Build a Rocket Boys by Elbow

Honorable Mentions ('cause they all deserve some credit)

Part Lies Part Heart Part Truth Part Garbage: 1982-2011 by  R.E.M.

Greatest hits aren't eligible for the list but in honor of the recent demise, pack some R.E.M into a playlist before the New Year. I mean, what's a holiday mix without some "E-Bow the Letter"? Even their latest record had some pretty good tracks.

Tago Mago (40th Anniversary Edition) by Can

Don't usually do reissues either but I love me some Can and Tago Mago is a good gateway drug from a band that is too often overlooked in the history of music.

In Light by Givers
whokill by tuneyards
Diaper Island
by Chad Van Gaalen
Divine Providence
by Deer Tick
Within and Without by Washed Out
Slave Ambient
by The War on Drugs
Era Extrana by Neon Indian
Life Fantastic
by Man Man
Goblin by Tyler the Creator
Thursday by The Weeknd
C’mon by Low
Kiss Each Other Clean by Iron & Wine

And don't forget your free parting gift/goody bag, a lengthy Best of 2011 Spotify Mix, 5 hours full of the best that the year had to offer (although some great sadly aren't available on there). Enjoy and Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

A Glimpse at Daniel Day Lewis as Lincoln, Animated Drive, and the mentality of movie theatre crowds... I Read Something Dec. 1, 2011

Well that was an extremely lengthy hiatus for no apparent reason.

How do I fill the void? A link farm of course of worthy early December reading.

Surprisingly, I just recently started reading the in-depth peices on Observations on Film Art. A recent lengthy piece talking about the mentality of people and where they sit in a movie theatre is fascinating. Personally, I don't understand sitting in the back of a theatre unless it is 3D. But we all know 3D is a joke and that craze is slowly dying (again), mostly because people figured out it isn't worth it to pay 25% more to see a movie pop out at you and give you headaches.

No matter what your view on historical biopics, there is no way not to get excited after seeing this.

That is Daniel Day Lewis between takes of a Lincoln biopic for Spielberg. Found that via Comingsoon

Also from ComingSoon, Micheal Fassbender is quickly rocketing up my list of actors who make films must-sees. It appears Christain Bale has bailed on the next Darren Aronofosky flick and Fassbender might just have to step into a role of biblical proportions. Literally. Noah. The guy with the Ark and the animals.
After criminal oversight/BS-rules of the Academy last year Daft Punk is belatedly getting its due with a Grammy nomination for the Tron: Legacy soundtrack. Probably one of the most triumphant and innovative scores in years. (FirstShowing)

Gosling's Drive, not to be confused with Driver or Drive Faster, gets a cool animated tribute.

Check back soon as the best of 2011 lists will be popping up shortly, maybe with a Christmas treat as well. A best in film, music and maybe even a compilation of books I've read. Although I have to get back to the books to meet my goal of 40 read this year. Can't wait for the list, check out my goodreads profile.

Not as many books read as last year, but I have been a bit busy with the new business I've started. (Shameless plug: If you are not happy with your Wireless Internet Speed or feel insecure about network security, check out, providing high speed routers with modified firmware for increased speed, security, and more integrated capabilities.

I will not ignore as much in the future. And if you get a chance, I've started up an overlooked film/music blog called You've Missed A Lot.