Tuesday, December 30

Made to Measure.

Umphrey's McGee
is an American progressive rock / jam band from Chicago, Illinois.

They have a sense of humor: they called their 1997 debut release Greatest Hits Vol. 3.

Musical influences include The Beatles, Led Zeppelin (both primary), and also Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, Miles Davis.

(I can hear alot of the Beatles in this song - MADE TO MEASURE.)

Free download HERE (from their upcoming album, Mantis).

Tuesday, December 23

Indian giver.

We draw names for Christmas. I got Bruce, my brother.

He has eclectic tastes which does him well with his hobbies; buying and selling on Ebay and spending weekends exploring for treasures (and junk) at garage sales and auctions.

Since he spends alot of time on the computer, I though this would be perfect.

A USB connection Toaster. LINK HERE

The more I look at it, the more I think I'll keep it for myself. I think I'll just give him a gift certificate instead.

If you are interested, here is the blurb from the online ad:

Don’t be tethered to the kitchen. Take your toast…to go! Now you can take a toaster everywhere you take your laptop. Insert a slice of any bread—white, wheat, even rye—and in 7-9 minutes, you have the kind of perfect toast you could only get from a computer. Winner of the 2006 Gold Floppy Disc Award for Best Cooking Peripheral. No. It's not real. But the box is.
No, the products aren't real. But the empty boxes are. Wrap your otherwise forgettable gift in an Onion gift box, and watch their faces fall when they realize there is no such thing as a USB-powered travel toaster—just a crappy bric-a-brac inside you waited until the last moment to buy.
Box dimensions: 12"x9"x4"
Sold individually or in multi-box sets. More designs available. See all boxes.

Saturday, December 20

Merry Christmas Will Do.

I like this song.

Material Issue was a local band.

The song has a holiday theme and I think a nice beat. Ha.

Looking at the record, there are some good groups included.

I'll have to check out ebay.

Merry Christmas Will Do - Material Issue

Wednesday, December 17

Goya's Ghosts.

House was a rerun this week. I thought I'd check out what movies were on cable instead.

I found one about Francisco Goya (the artist) and the Spanish Inquisition.

It wouldn't have been my first choice but it had film stars Natalie Portman (Ines), Javier Bardem (Brother Lorenzo), and Stellan Skarsgard (Goya) in it.

A Spanish film directed by Milos Forman (Amadeus, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest).

It is filled with beautiful period art and the camera work is such that some scenes and characters look like they are pieces of artwork themselves.

The plot jumped around but it was interesting enough to keep my interest.

Goya is the official court painter to the King and Queen. The Spanish Inquisition is disturbed by some of his works but he seems to escape any direct conflicts.

Portman plays a young model for artist Goya. She is falsely thrown into prison for religious reasons and Brother Lorenzo (who had originally commissioned a painting from Goya) tries to help her out.

I learned a few things about Goya also: he was deaf (later years of his life), his portraits had a disinclination to flatter (see below), and some of his work was really dark. And some reminded me of Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights (which was mentioned and shown in the movie):
From so what the fuss

I liked the comments made on this portrait below (looking closely, Goya certainly didn't flatter any of them):

The Family of Charles IV, 1800. Theophile Gautier described the figures as looking like "the corner baker and his wife after they won the lottery".

From so what the fuss

Link to the movie and reviews at Rotten Tomatoes: Link

Friday, December 12

Movie list 2008.

Richard Roeper comments on Chicago and movies.

I'm saving this article for the best movie list of 2008.


After reading (the link above), I looked up Shawn Edwards.

If you're unfamiliar with Shawn Edwards, he's a quote whore - a critic who doesn't write reviews (though Edwards does an occasional column for a local magazine in Kansas City), but gives "quotes" to movie companies to put on the promotional material for the movie. The "whore" part comes in when the movie is so bad that few people beyond horney teeagers actually like.


Anyway, here is a list of Roeper's Best Movies of 2008.

Besides the obvious ones, I'm happy to see In Bruges, The Visitor, Frozen River, and Snow Angels made it. I have them on my must see list.

I'm a little surprised Man on a Wire didn't make it.

1. "Slumdog Millionaire"

2. "The Dark Knight"

3. "The Wrestler"

4. "In Bruges"

5. "I've Loved You So Long"

6. "Gran Torino"

7. "Milk"

8. "The Visitor"

9. "Forgetting Sarah Marshall"

10. "Frozen River"

11. "Doubt"

12. "Snow Angels"

13. "Frost/Nixon"

14. "The Reader"

15. "Seven Pounds"

16. "Iron Man"

17. "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"

18. "W."

19. "Henry Poole Is Here"

20. "Burn After Reading"

21. "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"

22. "WALL-E"

23. "The Bank Job"

24. "Tropic Thunder"

25. "Che"

Tuesday, December 9

The Music of Chance.

James Spader has always been interesting.

I just saw him in the season (and series) final of Boston Legal.

His character, Alan Shore, was married to William Shatner's Denny Crane, officiated by Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia (it wasn't for sex).

Crazy show.

That reminded me of an old VHS movie I have starring James Spader:

The Music of Chance.

Quite an interesting cast. I have always thought Joel Gray, while very talented, very creepy.

It includes: James Spader, Mandy Patinkin, M. Emmet Walsh, Charles Durning, Joel Gray, Samantha Mathis, and Chris Penn.


James Nashe (Mandy Patinkin), picks up a ragged drifter by the side of the road one day.

The drifter, Jack Pozzi (James Spader) turns out to be a down on his luck, seedy poker player.
Spader convinces Mandy to back him in a poker game against two eccentric (and harmless???) millionaires who have invited him(them) to their posh mansion.
That's the start of their problems...

From Rotten Tomatoes (some above, all below):

The film, based on Paul Auster's existentialist novel, is laden with symbolism and a growing sense of menace as the story progresses.

Wednesday, December 3


The Jamaican musical group Toots and the Maytals,

originally called simply The Maytals,

are one of the best known ska and reggae vocal groups.

Their sound is a unique, original combination of gospel, ska, soul, reggae and rock.

Reggae makes me smile. Puts me in a good mood.

Here are a couple by Toots and the Maytals.

Funky Kingston:


Pressure Drop.

The Clash covered the song Pressure Drop.

So did Robert Palmer.

Guitarist Izzy Stradlin recorded a version of the song with his sometime band,

the Ju-Ju Hounds.

It is you, oh yeah
It is you, oh yeah

I said a pressure drop,
Oh pressure, oh yeah
Pressure's gonna drop on you
I said pressure drop
Oh pressure, oh yeah
Pressure's gonna drop on you

I said when it drops
Oh you gonna feel it
Oh that you were doin' it wrong, wrong, wrong
Now when it drops
Oh you gonna feel it
That you were doin' it wrong and how

I said when it drops
You gonna feel it
That you've been doin' it wrong
Now when it drops, drop
You gonna feel it
That you've been doin' wrong

Now when it drops, drop
Feel it
You make the wrong move
Now when it drops, drop
You gonna feel it
That you've been it doin' wrong

I said, pressure drop
Oh pressure, oh yeah
Pressure's gonna drop on you
Pressure drop
Oh pressure, oh yeah
Pressure's gonna drop on you

Now when it drops on your dirty little head
Where you gonna go?
It's you, you, you
When it drop on, oh you're gonna feel it
What you're doing is wrong, wrong, wrong
Pressure, pressure, pressure, pressure...
I said a pressure drop