Wednesday, November 29, 2006 

They got it for cheap(?)

All due respect to everything I've read before, including Evan McGarvey's fine review at Stylus, but this is the first thing I've read that really makes sense of the Clipse/makes sense talking about the Clipse to me. Mike Powell in being-awesome shocker!

And yes, like every other white critic with a blog, I've been listening to and enjoying Hell Hath No Fury. I'm not a fan of rap - which is not the same as liking or disliking it: I don't listen to nearly enough to be a fan, but I like some of it. Should its kind-of crossover appeal be held against this album? I doubt it.


My night is coloured headache grey

Feel good hits of the 29th of November, 2006 (special "I can't believe I slept through my alarm" edition):

R.E.M. - "Daysleeper"
The Beatles - "Here Comes the Sun"
Radiohead - "How To Disappear Completely"
Life Without Buildings - "Let's Get Out"
The Knife - "Heartbeats (Rex the Dog Remix)"
Hooverphonic - "Nirvana Blue"
The Dagons - "Helium"
Jamie Woon - "Wayfaring Stranger (Live)"
The Go-Betweens - "People Say"
Michael Nyman - "Lost and Found"


Until the end of the world

Not exactly sure what the edit to his post means, but there are at least rumours that they're going to make a TV show out of Preacher. Written by the guy who wrote Daredevil.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006 

Bwa ha ha

Clearly I should be doing more dishes.

Also, the phrase "sexual congress" will never stop being funny.


Smooth move, Ex-lax

Hey Ian, do you know what's great? When on those rare days you need to juggle your shift to get some school stuff done (meetings and the like), it'd be really awesome if you could forget that you have an evaluation to give to one of your students, and you could show up at work just after she's left after she's come in to work (despite being sick!) to get her evaluation. And walk in to your boss and your boss's boss wondering where the hell you were. jackass.


Mixed blessings

For once, I'm up this early because I woke up early to work, not stayed up late. It's better this way, really. Anyways, new Singles Jukebox; all of my blurbs got in, albeit in a number of cases chopped down to one line. Which is kind of flattering, because it makes me seem more pithy and less rambling than I am, but it also kind of makes me sound a bit flippant sometimes.

Monday, November 27, 2006 

Plug me in

Still mowing my way through some journal articles, but I happen to have the weekly article at Stylus this week, for the first time in a while; it's A week in my musical life, and although it's long hopefully it's interesting too.

But really, I just like the graphic.


I wanna hold your hand

I'm going to have to go with the standard critical line here; the Beatles' Love isn't that impressive, but it is the clearest, most forceful argument yet for Apple Corp to stop dragging its fucking feet and remaster the band's albums already. Everything from "I Am the Walrus" to "Something" sounds phenomenal here. If you ever wonder why a surprisingly large number of younger people don't think that much of the Beatles, it's because the CD versions of their records sound like crap!


I am young and I am lost

Feel good hits of the 27th of November, 2006 (special "up all night for a paper again" edition):

Maximo Park - "The Coast Is Always Changing"
Sloan - "G Turns To D"
Nelly Furtado - "All Good Things (Come to an End)"
Susanna and the Magical Orchestra - "Condition of the Heart"
Damian Rice - "9 Crimes"
Kate Bush - "The Big Sky"
The Research - "Lonely Hearts Still Beat the Same"
Pat Deighan - "Lost At Sea"
The Velvet Underground - "Pale Blue Eyes"
Slint - "Nosferatu Man"

Sunday, November 26, 2006 

Just so we're clear

The "murder rate" in Iraq is nothing like the murder rate in Washington, DC in the early 90s. I suggest reading both the nice and not-so-nice versions.


Beware bookcases

This is just bizarre. Tragic as well, of course (what a way to go!), but just incredibly odd.

Friday, November 24, 2006 

Don't die on the motorway

It's funny/nice to know that hungover, in the shower, I still remember all the words to the acoustic version of Radiohead's "Killer Cars," even though it's probably been a year since I've heard it.

Thursday, November 23, 2006 

And I will be two steps on the water

Kate Bush or the Futureheads, "Hounds of Love" really is one of the best songs ever, right up there with "Temptation" or "Heartbeats" as far as I'm concerned. If you are not familiar, your life is poorer for it. I can't decide which version, or which video, is better, but both are essential.



Maybe it's just because I love those freaky racoons and cephalopods, but this is the most I've laughed at a Dinosaur comics strip in a while, and I do laugh at least a little at pretty much every day's strip. Those first two panels alone are perfection.


Mega bottle ride

Reminder to self: When playing Mario Kart with Ben and Melvin, never let on that you're less drunk than they are. They'll just make you chug gin and tonics until you catch up, and since the gin is coming from the freezer, that shit is burning cold.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006 


Unsurprisingly, John Rogers has an excellent post on the whole Michael Richards thing.


The fuse will have to run out sometime

My Seconds article of the Mountain Goats' "Have to Explode" is up today.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006 

Commercial Mind-Machine Interface by 2011

I think this belongs in the "OMGWTFBBQ" department just as much as the "where's my jetpack?" one.


You're gonna need more rope

I am finally done the Kant midterm, by which I mean my brain just shifted out of gear and I refuse to do any more, and I think I basically have it. And I even have time for a two hour nap! How exciting! I am going to die!

Here's this week's Singles Jukebox to keep you occupied. All my blurbs got in, but they weren't very good. Sorry.

Monday, November 20, 2006 

Hook up with me, meet up at the rally

Feel good hits of the 20th of November, 2006:

Phoenix - "Rally"
Peter, Bjorn & John - "Objects of My Affection"
Leonard Cohen - "Famous Blue Raincoat"
Pilate - "Don't Stare"
Snow Patrol - "Open Your Eyes"
Thom Yorke - "Harrowdown Hill"
The Delgados - "The Light Before We Land"
Interpol - "Leif Erikson"
Yo La Tengo - "From A Motel 6"
Phoenix - "Lost And Found"

Not sure why I'm feeling so indie these days (mind you, I'm pretty sure the people who hated my Antics review would still want to kill me with fire if we chatted for a little while). Could be my extreme love for the new Phoenix LP It's Never Been Like That, it could even be because I've caved and gotten a profile on the extremely addictive and frivolous (but still awesome) Facebook. Still holding firm on the subject of MySpace, though. And my picture was prompted when we were all asked to pretend the Mob had just murdered our families. I was drunk at the time.


"Guys who don't really have that bright of a future"

I can't embed this one, but trust me, this is worth watching. The more I see of Dick Valentine, the more I like him.

Saturday, November 18, 2006 

Randomly generated

He's a scrappy white trash photographer with a robot buddy named Sparky. She's a psychotic junkie doctor who believes she is the reincarnation of an ancient Egyptian queen. They fight crime!


I want a piece of your mind

So I finally got my hands on the special 2-disc edition of Elvis Costello & the Attractions' Armed Forces, which I've loved more and more recently. One surprise, though, was the song "Sunday's Best" which is now in the running order of he original album. They mention in the liner notes that "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?" wasn't on the original UK LP, and I knew that, and it's still ends the album here; but my older copy of Armed Forces had no such song as "Sunday's Best" and the liner notes don't mention it not being present in the North American issue. In fact, checking allmusic now, I see it listed; but my copy only had 12 tracks and I've never heard "Sunday's Best" before. Which is kind of exciting but also kind of unnerving - what if it sucks? (unlikely) What if the first few times it messes with the way I normally hear the album? (more likely)

I mean, ultimately this is a good thing - more prime Costello and the Attractions, similarly to the way the bonus disc is chock full of goodies - but it's also a little strange.

Friday, November 17, 2006 

Girls like you ruin the future

My review of the new Electric Six, which is quite good, is up.

Thursday, November 16, 2006 

That was quick

My blog has been "reviewed, verified, and cleared for regular use so that
it will no longer appear as potential spam." So I've got that going for me, which is nice.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006 

I don't like spam

So right now I have to do the whole word verification thing before posting. Because apparently this blog "has characteristics of a spam blog" and so Blogger needs someone to take a look at it before that feature gets taken off. Which doesn't bug me - I'd rather err on the side of eliminating/curtailing spam blogs, thanks, and word verification ain't exactly tough to do.

I assume this is because I have many short posts here, rather than longer stuff. I'll be interested to see their response, as I kind of assume any human looking at Fractionals would decide pretty quickly it's too pointless to be spam...

(but just in case, does anyone out there want a mortgage? a bigger penis? drugs?)



Whatever happened to not being able to profit from your crimes?


Wireless energy

The idea that some years down the road you could just leave your iPod/phone/camera/whatever in a certain section of the room to recharge is one that appeals to me. To quote Primal Scream, "into the future! Into the future!"

Tuesday, November 14, 2006 

Tramline 3 smells of pee

"Finnish artists Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen collected the pet peeves and angst-ridden pleas of people in Helsinki and then composed this choral work around the list of complaints."

And it's complete with subtitles! Chalk another one up for Finland. I am strangely fond of the place, despite never having been.

(there's an English one too, by the same people)



In July 2001 a red rain fell on part of India. It contained biological cells that didn't contain DNA - alien lifeforms. Sounds like a bad sci fi movie? You wish.


More propulsive and softer

A good crop in this week's jukebox; I'm not in there disliking Bonnie Prince Billy (3) and liking George Strait (7), but other than that my blurbs got in.

Monday, November 13, 2006 

Expecting to fly

This is just adorable. The little guy is so very expressive - I don't want to say anything more, just watch it.

Sunday, November 12, 2006 

And I'm all hooked up

Feel good hits of the 12th of November, 2006:

Broken Social Scene - "Major Label Debut (Fast)"
Wheat - "Hey So Long (Ohio)"
Wilco - "Sunken Treasure"
The Black Neon - "Ode To Immer Weider"
The Mountain Goats - "Have To Explode"
The Tragically Hip - "Gift Shop"
Foo Fighters - "My Hero"
Phoenix - "Consolation Prizes"
Leonard Cohen - "Lover Lover Lover"
Volcano, I'm Still Excited! - "2nd Gun"

(I'm not really sure why I've been doing so many of these recently... sleep deprivation gets more songs stuck in my head, maybe?)

Saturday, November 11, 2006 

Remembrance Day

It's sad, but this year the day seems more relevant than maybe it ever has before during my lifetime. Despite what some of the nutjobs in the UC would tell you, today is about bitterly regretting the cost of war, about honouring those people who paid that cost for the rest of us, and about trying to figure out how we can make sure no-one ever has to pay it again. Or at Studs Terkel said, "Some of us are crazy enough to have a dream of a world in which it would be easier for people to behave decently."

So I hope you all have (and have had) poppies, go to a ceremony if you can, re-read Owen's Dulce et Decorum Est, and think about it. The last is most important; "Lest we forget" isn't just a random phrase.

Friday, November 10, 2006 

Submitted without comment


Let's do it right, now

Feel good hits of the 9th of November, 2006:

Robyn - "Bum Like You"
Electric Six - "I Buy The Drugs"
The Velvet Underground - "Sunday Morning"
COIL - "Fire of the Mind"
Cracker - "I Hate My Generation"
Readymade - "Hamburg (Live)"
Hood - "Closure"
The Salteens - "Bubba Da"
Superchunk - "Unbelievable Things"
Pavement - "Ann Don't Cry"

(I go through phases of listening to that Robyn album constantly, and this time I've decided "Bum Like You" may actually rival "Be Mine!")

(the live, extremely low fidelity recording of "Hamburg" I have is tonally a very different song than the original, but just as wonderful)

Thursday, November 09, 2006 

"lower the emergency donkey pinata"

Stephen Colbert is funny when the Republicans controlled all three branches of the US government. Now that they've lost two of them, he's hilarious. Jon Stewart was good too - nice to see it looks like he won't be taking it easy on the Democrats. I may have to start watching those shows more often.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006 

Love all of the people, but I don't know their names

I spend some time on the FF7 gushing about Hot Chip live. For whatever reason I always feel compelled to do "proper" blog posts there, pictures, titles, etc, etc. I don't really nail what I wanted to say about what they're like live, but honestly that's a function of how much I enjoyed the concert (unassisted by anything other than two beers beforehand, I hasten to add).

Tuesday, November 07, 2006 

"an otherworldly being so terrible that it can never be seen directly, but is manifested by various attributes"

There's a pretty great New York Review of Books article on H.P. Lovecraft now that he's gotten into the Library of America, as he deserves to. My favourite bit is this:

He had a flair for names, for instance. The monikers he hangs on his otherworldly manifestations—Nyarlathotep, Yog-Sothoth, Tsathoggua—are evocatively miscegenated constructions in which can be seen bits of ancient Egyptian, Arabic, Hebrew, Old Norse. The terror of Cthulhu is most vivid on the purely linguistic level: "Iä! Shub-Niggurath! The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young!"

Sante deftly nails one of the great things about Lovecraft, and at the risk of sounding like a broken record again, it's one of the things Grant Morrison almost certainly took from him; think of the declamatory style with which his superheroes tend to announce perils (in JLA, although to be fair this is a tendancy that some of the characters in The Invisibles share, albeit mostly the "evil" ones...), the similar way in which Morrison is more interested in evoking than telling.

And since the difference between evoking and telling feeds into a lot of issues I've written about here before (Borges, childhood terrors, Sapphire & Steel, disturbing art, etc, etc), is it any wonder I'm borderline obsessed with Morrison and (to a lesser extent, possibly since he is a lesser craftsman) Lovecraft?


Having trouble believing I'm awake right now

So in much the same way that I can't be sure my poor showing at last week's Singles Jukebox was because of me or a crowded field, I can be equally unsure as to what if anything the fact that all seven of my blurbs got in this week means. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to write the last three pages of my Plato paper, present it to my prof, go to work, come home, and die.

Hot Chip were absolutely facemeltingly amazing, though.

Monday, November 06, 2006 

"a pained no-no-no-please-stop camel-wheeze"

I often enjoy Katrina Onstad's writing, but she's outdone herself; Hers is probably my favourite review of Borat, just because she nails what the humour is like (in the TV show, at least) so precisely.

Sunday, November 05, 2006 

Look busy

I neeeeeeeed this shirt. If it actually existed. I'm not sure it needs the periods, though.

(via Warren Ellis, naturally)



Lil' Werner Heisenberg has the best super power ever.

Saturday, November 04, 2006 

You just gotta have it, just to know it / And set it on fire

Feel good hits of the 4th of November, 2006:

Cousteau - "Talking To Myself"
Pat Deighan - "Lost At Sea"
The Wedding Present - "Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft!"
Bloc Party - "Banquet"
Hot Chip - "Crap Kraft Dinner"
Fugazi - "Ex-Spectator"
Aberdeen City - "Another Seven Years"
Yo La Tengo - "Pass the Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind"
British Sea Power - "Carrion"
Foo Fighters - "February Stars"


The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude

Welcome to the Nietzsche Family Circus. Completely awesome. As with the link below on America's fucked up sex ed funding, it's via the ever-impressive K, toiling away down at Cornell.

Friday, November 03, 2006 

Every year, exactly this time of year

I've been so bogged down in this paper (law and self-knowledge in Plato's Crito, whee!), that I keep forgetting I'm going to go see motherfuggin' HOT CHIP on Monday. The Warning is neck and neck with the Knife's Silent Shout and maybe Palmless Prayer / Mass Murder Refrain as my #1 record of the year... but it's pretty doubtful that I'll get to see either other act any time soon (the Knife may be hitting America right now, but unless they added some dates I didn't hear of, they're not coming to Toronto), and really. Hot Chip. (pardon me, HOT CHIP) I can't remember the last time I looked forward to a concert this much.

I really hope they play "Crap Kraft Dinner".


Abstinence for adults

You know, this sort of thing makes me very much want to have a kid. Out of wedlock. Possibly so the mother and I can give it up for adoption to a loving, healthy gay couple (unmarried, of course).

I mean, saying "The message is 'It's better to wait until you're married to bear or father children,' " Horn said. "The only 100% effective way of getting there is abstinence"? Does that not piss off anyone else? and let's leave aside that 90% of the population is having sex. This isn't even my country, and I'm pissed that they're shovelling government money into a program that ignores reality.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006 

Demons as aliens

Nigel Kneale, writer of the Quatermass serials/films, The Stone Tape, The Woman in Black and many more things besides, has passed away. Although I haven't been fortunate enough to experience much of his work directly (yet), it's still had an effect on me - a hugely disproportionate one, actually. Two of the best accounts I've yet read are, naturally enough, courtesy of k-punk.


Social constructions

“Fat,” says Campos, “is a cultural construct, not a medical fact.” In 1985, Oliver notes, a consensus conference convened by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommended that men and women be considered “overweight” at BMIs of 27.8 and 27.3, respectively. In 1996 an NIH-sponsored review of the literature found that “increased mortality typically was not evident until well beyond a BMI level of 30.” Yet two years later, the NIH yielded to a World Health Organization recommendation that “overweight” be defined downward to a BMI of 25, with 30 or more qualifying as “obese.” Oliver says “the scientific ‘evidence’ to justify this change”—which made millions of Americans overweight overnight—“was nonexistent,” since “there is no uniform point on the BMI scale where all these diseases [linked to weight] become more evident.”


“Nearly all the warnings about obesity are based on little more than loose statistical conjecture,” says Oliver, adding that there is no plausible biological explanation for most of the asserted causal links between fatness and disease. “The health risks associated with increasing weight are generally small,” says Campos, and “these risks tend to disappear altogether when factors other than weight are taken into account.” For example, “a moderately active larger person is likely to be far healthier than someone who is svelte but sedentary.” Campos cites research finding that obese people “who engage in at least moderate levels of physical activity have around one half the mortality rate of sedentary people who maintain supposedly ideal weight levels.”

I can think of a number of people (almost all women, sadly) who could benefit from reading this. I'd heard of Campos' book before, but Oliver's is new to me; interesting that they both started assuming the status quo was correct and came to roughly the same, contrarian, conclusions.


You're dumb enough to break the mold, are you smart enough to fail?

Feel good tunes of the 1st of November, 2006, special "Back to the gym, or, How does my iPod keep picking such appropriate songs?" edition:

Ok Go - "It's A Disaster"
The Hives - "Abra Cadaver"
Superchunk - "100,000 Fireflies"
Maximo Park - "The Coast Is Always Changing"
Guided By Voices - "Game of Pricks"
The Bravery - "An Honest Mistake"
Fugazi - "Full Disclosure"
The Weakerthans - "Aside"
Idlewild - "Little Discourage"
Alien Ant Farm - "Movies"


Dinosaurs and fighter jets

This is exactly what the internets is like.


Really, really, really good

My review of the new record by MONO and world's end girlfriend, certainly one of the more striking (and satisfying) works I've heard this year, is up today.

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About me

Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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imathers at gmail dot com

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