Tooting One’s Own Horn


Schmap has apparently been rummaging through many a flickr account in order to find photos for their travel guides. The photo above was shortlisted, then selected for inclusion in their recent edition. Since it’s the Internet, I don’t get paid or anything, but I’m sure this will spread my name from shore to distant shore. What the heck, right? (Link below)

30.05.2008 • Permalink

I just watched an episode of Shark, even though the show (pardon the pun, people) jumped the proverbial shark a while back. As the team was interrogating witnesses regarding a sniper incident, I was struck by deja vu, or more correctly, deja entendu. One of the witnesses was a mousy older woman, hair covering most of her face. But the voice was unmistakable. And indeed, a quick look at the IMDB confirmed my suspicions: the lady was in fact Melanie McQueen, the voice actor from the original Robotech series back in the 80s. (She was Lisa Hayes and Marlene) I’m somewhat stoked at recognizing her from those few seconds, but I also feel a vague sense shame.

29.05.2008 • Permalink

Robert Rodriguez Loves the 70s

…and how! After bestowing one half (the better half) of last year’s Grindhouse upon us, Rodriguez is now trying to sell a TV series called Women in Chains or something. It will be a show about a woman’s prison and is set to star the True Love of His Life, Rose McGowan (but of course). As such, it will be a reverent homage to the exploitation genre of the 70s.

The new show also is rumored to be fashioned with a 1970s exploitation sensibility, with such staples like mud wrestling.

You know, after the critical and commercial success of Grindhouse, I really can’t see anything wrong with this idea at all.

29.05.2008 • Permalink

Naked Came I: Scott McClellan Tells All To Cover Own Ass

rally01So former White House press secretary Scott McClellan has written a book in which he reveals that the Bush administration lied about Saddam’s WMDs to go to war (gosh!), that they leaked Valerie Plame’s identity (no way!) and that they botched the response to Hurricane Katrina (you think?). He states that some of his assertions were “badly misguided”. Next he’ll be telling us the Terri Schiavo debacle was a cheap political ploy or something. Apparently, he chose to write the book because of the Plame thing, mostly because – and I’m reaching here – it had ramifications for McClellan himself. Since chubby little Scott is probably the worst professional liar ever (current mouthpiece Dana Perino is better, because she doesn’t seem to know shit about anything. although I suspect it’s an act), none of this is exactly earth-shattering news, but I expect this is just one of the first (of many) revealing tomes from inside the Bush administration to confirm the obvious truth and attempt to cover the author’s ass. It’ll be interesting to see how the apostate McClellan will be smeared for this.

UPDATE: A neat summary of the book.

29.05.2008 • Permalink


You know how you always sit around and snicker when you hear about people calling tech support and doing stupid things? Well, today, much to my chagrin, I invalidated myself. No longer can I make fun of these people. You see, I had a problem with my broadband connection, and after I had started and restarted the modem and the computer(s) many a time, I had to give up and call support. So I called – on my broadband phone, mind you – and the guy asked me a bunch of questions and then told me to remove the cable from the modem. Which I did.


“Hello? Still there? Anyone?”

You see, what I just found out is that when you’re trying to have a conversation on a telephone, it helps a lot if the telephone is actually connected to the grid. Otherwise, you need to talk REALLY, REALLY LOUD in order to be heard by the other party. I assume they had a bit of a laugh at the call center, and I got to feel (deservedly) like an idiot.

And that was the story of how I saved Amelia Earhart.

26.05.2008 • Permalink

The Eurovision Song Contest 2008

Several good numbers saw that the kitch appeal was lower than usual this year. The ESC is an oddity, but I can’t help but love it. There are many treasures and a lot of shit to be found, and it really epitomizes the European pop song, for better and (mostly) worse. Two years ago, I live blogged the show, which I won’t do again, but I feel I should say something, so here are some of the worst and some favorites from the past.

This is useful, because it shows how good the songs could be back in the day. Fantastic songs and glamorous singers. Irony and modern pop music has since killed torch songs dead, but goddamn, looking at Sandie Shaw, it was worth it. And hell, Spain submitted good songs, which you could never guess from the past decade. Also, the French language is great, ain’t it? And look, in part 2, you see a very young Celine Dion…

Epitomizes the Swedish sound. I had a big crush on these ladies when I was young, and my dad has the LP stashed away somewhere. Seeing the current Eurovision stage show, it boggles the mind that they’re wearing, you know, clothes.

My favorite of them all, bar none. One of the greatest songs is the history of the contest, possibly the best.

Well, maybe except this one. Man, Agneta was a dish, despite the wardrobe.

Or maybe this one, which is my second favorite and the winner in ’94. It was Ireland’s third win in a row. Norway won the year after, so the Irish took another victory the following year, just to drive the point home. A severe lack of tits means it would never win these days. Ireland has had a proud tradition of in the ESC, but have lost the plot in recent years…

…as exemplified here. This year, the Irish sent this.
(UPDATE: I was just told that it was more or less a protest against the show turning into a farce…so yeah, they were taking the piss.)

Unlike Spain, who sent this, and were serious.

In 1980, Norway submitted this. Half the lyrics are in the Sami language (the Lapps), the droning but is known as “joik”. I fucking love this song, because joik is moe powerful than gunpowder.

And let us not forget this one. Jahn Teigen is the Norwegian king of Eurovision. Nil points. Sad thing is, if you strip it of the horrible score, it’s actually a decent song. It was originally a country-tinged song, and Teigen hated the score. The following year, he put it on his album “This Year’s Loser”.

What the hell, let’s add this. I still don’t know if I like it or hate it, but it does stick in my head. The tall beauty is in fact a man, a fact my mother had to patiently explain at the time. I was about ten years old, and I’m sure it must have fucked me up in some way.

Ding a dong, motherfuckers. Criticized by the Brits for nonsensical lyrics at the time, the Dutch nevertheless rode to victory with this one. Since the Brits later canonized Noel Gallagher’s lyrics, anything they have to say on the matter is pretty much moot.

Someone claimed that Germany isn’t known for making good music. I’ll raise you a Beethoven and a Mozart there, but I see the argument when it comes to pop music. Still, the lovely Nicole knocked this one out the ballpark and took the victory in 1982.

Oh, fuck it. This is awesome. Is this the greatest choreography ever or what?

Look, I could do this all this day, but go hunting on your own.

25.05.2008 • Permalink

The Crow

I’ve revisited some items from my past recently, and one such thing was J.O. Barr’s The Crow. Mostly known to normal people as the movie in which Brandon Lee was killed in a freak accident, it was originally a comic book. It’s been seen as a goth classic, according to Wikipedia. (Citation needed, eh?)

The movie is a stylish exercise in violent revenge and nihilism, and while I admire its craft, I have never quite decided how I feel about it. Still, at its black heart lies a love story, unlike, say, Sin City, in which nothing much of interest (beyond Final Cut filters) is found, so I give it a pass. Also, David Patrick Kelly does his demeted schtick and ultimately blows up real good, so there’s that.

The sequels have without fail been atrocious, or so I’m told. I did rent the first sequel, but it so effectively plumbed hitherto unknown depths of shittiness that I wisely decided to stick with the first. Much lies at the capable hands of Alex Proyas. The man knows his way around a stylish set and despite a few ropey bluescreens (which aren’t that ropey unless you’re looking for it, as I tend to do), it looks amazing. I love the fact that he went on to make Dark City after that, a movie he wanted to make, rather than go straight to iRobot (which pisses on Asimov’s work, but was OK in a retarded way, and of course looked awesome). Even more than that, I love how he went home to Australia to make Garage Days, a movie about a rock band trying to get signed. It’s a low-budget affair, certainly no classic, but it coasts by on its considerable charms and is well worth a look.

Anyway, my complaint lies not with the movie versions of The Crow, but that comic. The concept is cool: avenger from beyond the grave and so on. Nothing new, but you can work with it. So I found The Crow: Dead Time in my comic collection and decided to re-read it. Boy, was that a mistake. The story idea was by Barr himself, but it was scripted by John Wagner (Batman, Judge Dredd). It also features art by Alexander Maleev, who seems to be of the Sam Kieth school, which is to say a few good splash pages and otherwise shitty. I dunno. Wikipedia says he’s supposed to be good. Citation needed, I guess.

Dead Time could have been a great sequel. The idea is sound: our man is brought back from the dead to avenge his wife and child, who were killed by outlaw soldier in the Civil War. They have been reincarnated in order to make amends, but have of course turned bad, and are in fact carousing with one another. I assume the crow works like The Matrix, as our man steals cars without much trouble. Prompting the single worst line I’ve read in a long time “Speed, bird, speed the wheels of justice!”

I am surprised that Wagner, who’s work tends to be nothing if not solid, scripted this. It’s shoddy and incoherent and is a classic example of a good idea executed terribly. I’ve never read the original Crow story; I tried a few pages then gave up. I have a feeling Barr got Wagner’s name on it to sell some extra copies. Anyway, I just wanted to share my disappointment.

13.05.2008 • Permalink