Saturday, December 31, 2005

WFMU, the source of all that is good and worthy

WFMU is a independent radio station in New Jersey, formerly affiliated with Yppsala College. (The college has apparently closed its doors.)

When I lived in New York, it was far and away my favorite radio station, because of the sheer variety of music and general refusal to adhere to the forms expected of a radio station, even a college radio station. One day, a DJ ragged on ABBA as being a awful band, which is not a terribly surprising opinion to find in college radio. What makes WFMU genius is what happened afterward: the very next DJ that came in staged a one-hour show devoted to the genius of ABBA.

Here's another example. Station Manager Ken's matchless collection of 61 separate recordings of the song Tico Tico. It's too late for Christmas, but there's always Valentine's Day.

They have streaming music, too. Check it out!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Too cute


Psst, psst.

Hey, you! You feeling tired, man? Holiday season got you down? You need a little quick something to pick you up?

Try this, man. It's an all natural high. Don't worry, no one will ever know. You can still wear your Marilyn Manson t-shirt, or opine knowledably about your favorite mezzo-soprano, or whatever social mask you use to hide your secret, gushing love for kittens and tiny birds and suchlike.

It will be our secret.

What will happen in 2006?

Molly Ivins writes a good summary of the FISA/NSA wiretapping scandal, and why you should be scared and/or outraged.

The first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. Thirty-five years ago, Richard Milhous Nixon, who was crazy as a bullbat, and J. Edgar Hoover, who wore women's underwear, decided some Americans had unacceptable political opinions. So they set our government to spying on its own citizens, basically those who were deemed insufficiently like Crazy Richard Milhous.

For those of you who have forgotten just what a stonewall paranoid Nixon was, the poor man used to stalk around the White House demanding that his political enemies be killed. Many still believe there was a certain Richard III grandeur to Nixon's collapse because he was also a man of notable talents. There is neither grandeur nor tragedy in watching this president, the Testy Kid, violate his oath to uphold the laws and Constitution of our country.

As someone with a lifelong interest in politics, I love to try to predict what will happen. But I honestly have no idea how all of these scandals will play out.
  • The Democrats -- when will they grow a spine? At what point does our nation's descent into a monarchy start to trouble them? When will they stop supporting the unpopular Iraq war altogether?
  • Fitzgerald -- what charges will he file against Rove? Libel, or something less spinnable as the work of an out-of-control prosecutor?
  • Libertarian wing of the Republican party (and the four or five guys who could be considered moderates) -- When will the libertarians and moderates vote their principles? Yeah, it's fun to be in uncontested power, and I'm sure everyone there has enjoyed all the swell gifts from the lobbyists. Still, at some point, the representatives who started out with libertarian principles will have to look in a mirror and realize they don't have anything left, not a single shred of a single principle of theirs is being supported by the GOP, or will ever be. There has been a absolute frenzy of spending and intrusive government that should be the antithesis of what a principled libertarian would support. When will the penny drop?
  • Self-interested wing of the Republican party -- Unaided by a hostile media and anything remotely resembling an organized push by the Democrats, many Americans are starting to associate rampant criminality with Republicans in office. The upcoming trials will not help, especially if Abramoff's plea bargain implicates important players. Immediately after the 2005 elections, some defections were seen in house votes from previously loyal GOP members, all from disputed districts. Will there be a consensus in Congress at some point that it will be better to hang Bush than hang with him?
  • People with a conscience -- Our government, the U.S. government representing us has kidnapped and tortured innocent people. It's just apalling, and every day it seems like there's worse news on this point. Of course, many millions of Americans were absolutely horrified by this news when it first broke; but there were people who simply could not believe the obvious conclusion that the license for these abuses came from the Whitehouse. Will the FISA/NSA scandal repel enough voters that the Democrats might regain a house in 2006? Will the long-delayed new photos of torture at Abu Ghraib have any impact?
I just don't see enough outrage over the wiretapping scandal. I think the most that we can hope for is a vote of censure against the president, and even that will be a stretch. The crucial thing for everyone in the House and Senate is that these issues must completely wrapped up as soon as possible. That is their most logical goal, because, short of their sending out an intern to go blow up a bridge somewhere, Americans are going to be really hard to distract on all of these issues. The recent Rasmussen poll said that 68% of Americans were following this case somewhat or very closely. That cannot be good news for the Bush Administration. In addition, if past history with them is any guide, we'll learn that the details are inconceivably worse than we could ever imagine, most likely direct wire taps of political opponents and even erstwhile allies, plus unauthorized wire taps of thousands more Americans. That's entirely speculative, but you read it here first. If, that is, anyone were reading this blog.

is there a housing bubble?

Who knows. I know most people can't afford houses in San Francisco, but that's hardly a formal definition. It's a very practical definition, however, unless you personally happen to be getting 18.2% pay raises annually.

However, the homes for sale just hit a 19-year-high, which would be an awfully alarming statistic if I were selling a house right now. From the article:

The number of previously owned homes on the market rose last month to the highest level in more than 19 years, while sales fell for the second-consecutive month, raising concerns that a housing bubble might be about to burst.

Here's a passionate exposition from someone who strongly believes there is a housing crisis, and somewhat more moderate remarks from a bearist economist. And if you're so fascinated by this that you cannot sleep, here is a 33-page paper that models the housing market by price-to-income ratios.

Funny neurology consultation

Here's a recent rant on exorcism I enjoyed.

Offensive to: exorcists, some Catholics.

Nerdius maximus

There's a zero-day security exploit out for Microsoft's WMF. (No, I hadn't heard of it, either.) You can be zapped by this by using any browser. Like so many of Microsoft's security holes, your computer will immediately be taken over and join the living dead. Not the fun kind.

There is a partial workaround, for those willing to brave regedit

For more news, you might try this link.

How to name a blog

How do you name a blog when you're the millionth person to the blogging party? I thought I would name my blog "tibo", which is a nickname I use when gaming. Nope, taken. What about my first name? There's no web site published with it on blogger, but it's still taken.

Perhaps I could name it "Crazy Horse". He was always a hero of mine, for being such a great warrior, and kicking George Custer's ass at the Battle of Little Bighorn. This reminds me that I haven't seen Little Big Man in a long time, and it's one of my favorites. It's a terrific, funny movie. But Crazy Horse is taken, too.

Then I thought I would name it "Krazy Kat", since I have been such a fan of comics, and the original Krazy Kat & Ignatz strips were such marvelous cartoons, full of love, word-play, and imagination. But you know someone named Katherine or Katrina would have grabbed this years ago, and sure enough, that one's taken, too.

I went through variations on phrases from Shakespeare: Bare Bodkin, Vasty Deep, Wandering Bark, all from soliloquies or poems I admire. Nothing. Dazang, as someone much younger and hipper than me would say. They were all taken. It's a little frustrating because, although these are not the bumper sticker phrases that define me in any significant way, they are relevant to me, and now they're all taken up by blogs that were never updated.

Finally, I tried a few phrases from King Lear, and jumped at the first one that worked. A little arrogant, a little humble, and I guess that's it. Poof: my l'il blog has a name now. Now all I need is some meaning, purpose, and a few dozen more posts before it becomes remotely interesting.

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