Monday, December 17, 2007

It' not right that I should like this so much . . .

Inspired by my trying to explain Drum Corps International to someone who's never heard of it or seen it, I went to the all-knowing Internet. A virtual treasure trove of video and audio. For some reason, maybe because rehearsing is the part I really miss most, this one was just stunning.

Blogged with Flock

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

TR Cracks open the ipod Touch

Tech Republic takes apart an ipod and posts pictures on their site. Pretty interesting to see how it's really just held together with glue and duct tape.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Wow for Wowio.

Whenever there's a new ebook service or reader I usually like to check it out. In most cases I'm not very impressed and quickly lose interest. Sometimes, I'll actually keep going back and trying new things, but never be much more impressed. That has been the case, for example, with the Microsoft Reader. There are a few products, though, that I've been sufficiently impressed with that I could get into a long term habit of using them. One is the New York Times reader. Not the website, but an app you dowload and install on your pc and use to load the content of the paper. On a laptop or tablet pc it's pretty darn good. If they start making for my iPaq I think I'll be hooked for good.

Since they don't make it for the iPaq, the alternative is AvantGo. This is a sync and go program that gets you access to content from a number of good sources, the Guardian, the NY Times, and The Sporting News, to name a few. Today I took this handy little thing with me to the evil empire coffee shop and was able to read several articles from today's paper while I waited for my coffee to cool enough to drink it.

And finally, and the inspiration for this post (which is really, you know, just a test of a new posting technology) is Wowio. You can get free, and I do mean FREE, books from Wowio. They're formatted as pdf files, so you can read them on any device that will run Acrobat Reader. Note, they don't reflow, so you have to reduce text size to the point of barely readable on the ipaq. The selection is not as good a I'd wish for, but they have some really good content. And they do seem to be adding new things over time. So, this is worth checking out. Wowio.

Would you like to Get Live?

Well, if you want to you can download the betas at I notice that they seem to be going with the "Windows" name rather than Microsoft. What should we be reading into that?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Happy Birthdays . . .

Just wanted to take a moment to wish a very happy birthday to some very special folks:

Kate Beckinsale
Sandra Bullock
Martha Geier
Dorothy Hamill
Mick Jagger
Julie Kredens
Helen Mirren
Jeremy Piven
Kevin Spacey

That's all. Thanks.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

July Journeys

So far this month we've been to a family reunion in Virginia and a school reunion in Alabama. It's been great to see old friends and distant family. Still, it's been a little sad to be reminded of all those who are no longer around for such good times. And now that the reuniting is over for a while, it's time for all-out road trips. First we'll get to finally see Kelly Willis in concert, then a week or so later it'll be time for Marah and the White Stripes (on two different nights) followed immediately by a few days of lazing seaside and trying not to get burned.

So I haven't written much because I've been too occupied with life to reflect on it. Ain't that a shame.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Twitter Redux

So I'm on twitter. I'm not terribly happy about it, but I've always been compulsively drawn to goofy crap like this. So now, if you add me on twitter you can find out that I've just given myself a pedicure, changed the light bulb in my refrigerator, or finished carrying the recycling to the curb. Won't your life be complete now? On the upside, the next time I'm being chased through Chinatown by international art thieves intent on executing me, I can whip out my cell phone and send off a text msg to twitter that says "help I'm being chased through Chinatown by international art thieves intent on executing me" and multiple twitter savvy rescuers will suddenly appear to save the day. I'll rest better with that trick up my sleeve.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Prudence Doofus

Prudence. It's an underrated concept. I used to mock George Bush "the First" as a doofus for his seemingly incessant obeisance to this very simple idea: before you go into something, know how you're going to get out. In retrospect, what I wrote off as excuse-making now seems visionary. And as I've gotten older I've found myself applying the concept in many and varied situations. Sure, sometimes I probably end up looking like a doofus a la "George the First". But I've come to accept that inevitability as fair commerce for never looking like a doofus a la "George the Second".

Friday, May 11, 2007

Petition now available.

You've read about it, now you can print it and sign it. It's the Petition for a Public Library District. Get one today and hit up every Jefferson County registered voter you know.

Friday, May 04, 2007

It's just another derby eve . . .

another night like all the rest.

I can't remember a time in the last 20 years or so when I've been less spirited about the greatest 2 minutes in sports. Maybe it's a malaise brought on by the growing signs of impending apocalypse--dwindling petroleum, disappearing bees, lingering wars, warming climates, contaminated food supplies, giant pigs, spreading fire ants, and violently self-righteous religious folk. Maybe it's just a function of my having preceded the normally climactic Derby weekend with one of those once-in-a-lifetime trips, to the New Orleans Jazz Festival last weekend. It was a fantastic trip, but it left me ragged. Maybe it's a side-effect of the repressed anger brought on by the deep and tragic remains of the great natural disaster that was Katrina, and the great civic disaster that is our national inability to fix what's broken there. An editorial in the paper, from a "crank" suggesting that we throw rotten fruit at the Queen rather than welcoming her to town did in fact remind me of how, over time, our mortal enemies the despotic Windsors have become our closest allies despite how they cling to what we're supposed to always have believed is an immoral and unnatural form of un-democratic government. Makes you wonder who in 400 years we'll be bombing (throwing wooden spears at?) and who we'll be welcoming (on their wooden sailing ships with their terrible diseases and tales of far away adventure?) to our shores. Or maybe it's just that I've been away, not caught up in the hype of the week and too busy to stop and ponder that all this can happen because some folks are gonna get some horses together and run them around in a circle and see which one gets back first. Really, it's pretty eccentric when you think about it--and for some reason, that still makes me smile.

So whatever is keeping me so mellow about it, I think it's time we all suck it up. Put on your fancy hat or your rain gear and your mud shoes and grab all the cash you can find and all the smokes you might need and let's go. Let's go roll in the mud, pay too much for sugar-watery bourbon, show our privates to strangers, eat too much, spend too much, drink too much, and have a blast. If our chances for revelry are running out, we'd better seize the day. And if they're not, well then we have something to celebrate.

Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun.

I'm calling it for Nobiz Like Showbiz or Circular Quay.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

whither twitter


"Why do we think we’re so important that we believe other people want to know about what we’re having for lunch, how bored we are at work or the state of inebriation we happen to be at this very moment in time? How did society get to the point that we are constantly improving technology so that this non-news can reach others even faster than a cell phone, a text message, a blog, our Facebook profiles?"*


"I don't get it, either. Enough said."


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Beyond Good and Evil

Here you'll find free for the downloading a pdf recreation of a public domain (?) edition of Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil. Never mind for now the content--the verbalized ideas. Just please peruse the pdf and note the slightly warped lines of text where the paper bends down at the binding. See the mottled paper, the faint brittleness of which the scanner managed to capture. The sight of the typeface and the slightly imperfect edges of the pages and the stained discolorations are as much a part of the experience of this book as are the words printed on the page. The cover looks to be a rather flexible leather binding. I can imagine the solid weight of it in my hands. I guess right away what it would smell like and the sound the pages would make as they turned, and what the paper will feel like under my fingertips. Apart from the reading matter there's a transcendent quality to the item itself. Without reading a word, I'm already changed by this book. Without touching it, by analogy to other books like it that I have known, I experience it, and that experience itself has import. Whatever else becomes of the book in our digital era, I hope the next generations get to read a book like this one.

Monday, March 26, 2007

John Crowley Blogs

I'm going to start reading this. Maybe you should too?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Weekend one update: NCAA that is

Suffice it to say that my bracket is hosed. I picked Boston College, and nearby schools Indiana, Notre Dame, and Louisville to all make the regional finals. I'm such a homer. At least it's almost baseball season. Cubs Fever--catch it now before there's a cure for it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

On-line NCAA bracket

You are invited to join my on-line college hoops bracket group! To accept this invitation and join the group, click the link below (or cut and paste the link into your browser's address bar). You'll be asked to enter the group's password before you can join. Send me a request and I'll send you the password.

Blogged with Flock

Friday, March 09, 2007


Testing blog post from flock. Flock is worth taking a look at.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


Whether you call it VOLver or BOLber, this is a really enjoyable movie. S and I went on opening night to the very crowded Baxter Avenue Theater. We had to choose between Volver and Notes on a Scandal. I wanted to see Notes, S wanted to see Volver, so (to steal a line from a TV commercial) we compromised and saw Volver. No, not really. I was up for both so we mutually agreed to see Volver. Any suggestion to the contrary is slander. But enough about me, this is about Volver.

This is a visually beautiful movie, from the landscape to the clothing to the food. Almodovar went out of his way, too, to make an advantage of Penelope Cruz from every angle. Seriously, there are a couple of shots here where there seemed to be no objective but to present her bosom. The story revolves (rebolbes?) around three women in Spain, each in her on way on a journey to deeper maturity. Two sisters, Raimunda and Sole, played by Cruz and Lola Dueñas, and Raimunda's daughter, Paula (21 year old actress Johana Cobo, playing a much younger-looking character).

This is a movie that deals with difficult themes, hard to elaborate without spoiling, so suffice it to say there's some life and some death, some violence, some cooking, lots of cooking actually. There's a lot of air-kissing. There's a wake, fascinating in it's character as old-fashioned European Catholic. With more air-kissing. There's a reunion of sorts. There's also a plot twist.

So if my reflections on the film seem intricate and messy, it's because the plot is like that--to great dramatic effect. This is a movie about relationships and life, and how badly we can mess them each up. It's also about love and redemption, made to look easier, perhaps, than they really are. It's about denial and vengeance and justice, and about deception and confession.

So Volver is a movie about hard living and dealing with tragedy and overcoming adversity. It would be easy for a movie about these things to be depressing, or saccharine, or maudlin. But this movie is none of those things. It is a little sweet, but not to an extreme. More importantly, it's provocative and entertaining. A great movie for date night, with something for everyone.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Why We [Still] Can't Wait.

Reflect on this:

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Now hear and see this:

The story carried by KOMO TV

The Documentary posted on You Tube

Now go out into the world and be committed to lifting up hearts.

Go out into the world and "live out the true meaning of [our] creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'"

Go out into the world and "make justice a reality for all of God's children."

We really can't wait.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Children of Men, indeed!

I was reminded kindly by a friend and co-worker of my neglecting to mention this movie in my last post. It was not, technically, that I had forgotten about having seen it. On the contrary, I have been quite unable to forget it. It's a very powerful, provocative, and startling movie to watch. Instead, I was just tossing off that blog entry to break the silence and for an other, much geekier, purpose than reflecting on great cinema. I've set out to solve a bit of a problem, that being my interest in hanging out sometimes with the alumni on Facebook, sometimes with the hipsters who are moving on to, sometimes with the very lonely and beautiful web-camera girls that continue incessantly to invite me to add them as friends on MySpace, and sometimes I just want to be alone on blogger. But that's an awful lot of overhead to have to make an appearance on each site from time to time--just to prove I'm still really there. So, I've rigged up an almost complete solution. I've found that I can write on blogger. Then I have that automatically sent via email to, which then gets picked up by Facebook and Wallop. Now if I could just figure out something for Myspace. Mind you, I told you it was geeky. But in my defense, I started out creating a profile on all those sites just out of voyeuristic curiosity--mesmerized by technological innovation (which IS my job after all) and intrigued by the rampant tales of tawdry titillation. But then, a funny thing happened. I found friends in all those places. One former college roommate; one former school mate who seems to not want to talk to me--you KNOW who you are Corbin; a host of present co-workers and friends; and even a couple of nephews-in-law who remind me just how old I am, just how much more fun college is than post-college, and just how much better the food and lodging is once one's career is good and off the ground.

So, what has that to do with Children of Men? Nothing. So here:

Children of Men is a movie I couldn't take my eyes off of--even when I really wanted to. The technical qualities are stunning, from the understated depiction of the near future, to the epic sized cast, to the not so subtle critiques of current western cultural, political, and economic absurdity. The basic premise, not really a spoiler at all, is the setting--a world where women have lost the ability to bear children. It's a hero's journey plot, with some of the great formulaic elements of great classic hero myths. He's not really that heroic, he often has to have someone else save his ass, and he (at least at the beginning) starts out with little or no interest in being a hero.

At least one review I read made reference to a "chase" scene in the woods. But I think I know what they were referring to and I didn't really think of it as a chase. I'd call it a journey. But it is some of the most dramatically arresting film-making I've ever seen. It's a pivotal moment in the plot of the movie--one of several in a shell-game of a narrative where you eventually come to realize the stakes that are in play.

There were moments when the plot seems contrived. I mean, I think they had to make some overstated predictions about the despicable potential of human nature. There was some gratuitous violence--even for a movie that seems bent on critiquing a culture whose bloodthirstiness, even in the midst of a put-on preference for pacifism and diplomacy, seems to have well-outlived its actual usefulness. But the cast was outstanding. Bravos in particular for Julianne Moore, Clive Owen, and Michael Caine (who provides much needed comic relief while also being essential to the movement of the plot).

This is not a perfect movie, but it's really, really good. I was affected by it almost to the point of hyperactive insomnia. (Think of the opening scenes charging the beach in Saving Private Ryan--it's that kind of intense). Again, not wanting to spoil it, but if you go not knowing what to expect, you could end up finding yourself sick.

The story is based on a P.D. James novel. I haven't read it, but the premise and plot seemed quite a departure from what I'd call her "style." So I'd be curious to hear the thoughts of people who have read the book. Maybe I'll even pick it up myself. As you'd expect from James, there are rich religious undertones. And in this case, they teeter between the blatant criticism of old-fashioned jeremiad and the the stylized caricatures of Enlightenment satire. Sadly, the most useful conclusions will almost certainly fail to have any impact on those most in need of facing them. But Lady James will certainly be able to say "I told you so."

Have a happy day.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A cultural amalgam

short takes on current events

Tom Waits' "Brawlers, Bawlers, and Bastards"

This was wrapped up and under the tree for Christmas. I've had a chance to listen to it several times now. It's a great collection of songs, most original--maybe all. There are five or six songs that are instant classics. He has a few songs you can listen to on his myspace page. It's definitely worth checking out.

Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes were Watching God

So I confess I've never read this. But apparently the whole city will be reading it during the month of February. So get your hands on a copy and let's see what this is like.

The Good Shepherd

Went to see this a week or so ago. Found it to be a really enjoyable move. Well photographed, good music, smart story that keeps you wondering (even after the movie ends). Highly recommended.

Lyle Lovett

Will be in concert in Louisville this weekend and I'm looking foreward to seeing him. He's appearing with an all-star group that also includes Joe Ely. I've never seen Lovett live but I have high hopes. Review to come.

Johnnie Berry and Roller Derby?

Saturday at Headliners. What more is there to say about that combination. I really do feel like I should go buy overalls.