March 2010 Archives

Religious Jokes

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Catholic Dog 

Muldoon lived alone in the Irish countryside with only a pet dog for company. One day the dog died, and Muldoon went to the parish priest and asked, "Father, my dog is dead. Could ya' be saying' a mass for the poor creature?"

Father Patrick replied, "I'm afraid not; we cannot have services for an animal in the church. But there are some Baptists down the lane, and there's no tellin' what they believe. Maybe they'll do something for the creature.'"

Muldoon said, "I'll go right away Father. Do ya' think $5,000 is enough to donate to them for the service?"

Father Patrick exclaimed, "Sweet Mary, Mother of Jesus! Why didn't ya tell me the dog was Catholic?"



Donation 

Father O'Malley answers the phone. 'Hello, is this Father O'Malley?' 

'It is!' 

'This is the IRS. Can you help us?' 

'I can!' 

'Do you know a Ted Houlihan?' 

'I do!' 

'Is he a member of your congregation?' 

'He is!' 

'Did he donate $10,000 to the church?' 

'He will.' 



Confession 

An elderly man walks into a confessional. The following conversation ensues: 

Man: "I am 92 years old, have a wonderful wife of 70 years, many children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Yesterday, I picked up two college girls, hitchhiking. We went to a motel, where I had sex with each of them three times."

Priest: "Are you sorry for your sins?"

Man: "What sins?"

Priest: "What kind of a Catholic are you?"

Man: "I'm Jewish."

Priest: "Why are you telling me all this?"

Man: "I'm 92 years old .... I'm telling everybody!"



Pest Control 

A woman was having a passionate affair with an inspector from a pest-control company. One afternoon they were carrying on in the bedroom together when her husband arrived home unexpectedly. 

'Quick,' said the woman to the lover, 'into the closet!' and she pushed him in the closet, stark naked. 

The husband, however, became suspicious and after a search of the bedroom discovered the man in the closet. 

'Who are you?' he asked him. 

'I'm an inspector from Bugs-B-Gone,' said the exterminator. 

'What are you doing in there?' the husband asked... 

'I'm investigating a complaint about an infestation of moths,' the man replied. 

'And where are your clothes?' asked the husband. 

The man looked down at himself and said, 'Those little bastards!' 

Friday [5] - Mar. 26

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A new meme making the rounds is Friday [5], I think started here. I first heard about if from Ross in his post here. In a Friday [5], you talk about 5 things in the land of books and media that you've been digging the past week. Being the meme-lover that I am, I'll jump on board with my first Friday [5]. As with all memes, feel free to grab the logo and run!

  1. Been lovin' the latest CD from Hot Chip, "One Life Stand", esp. "Hand Me Down Your Love"  
  2. A good book for me to read these days is "The Tough Guide To Fantasyland" by Diana Wynne Jones. It's an encyclopedia written like a travel guide to generic fantasy literature, and is ripping satiric fun. As I'm not a huge fantasy buff, it's been a hoot to read it, but it might cut too deep if you are a serious fan. You'll be noticing all the tropes skewered by Wynne Jones forever!
  3. Speaking of reading, Hilary Mantel's Booker Prizing winning Wolf Hall finally came on request from the library. Took at least six months. It's taken a little bit to get into the book's rhythm, but now I am enjoying it quite a bit. I need to set aside a couple of hours to really settle in, though. And the suffocating presence of The Church is getting to be wearisome to this rationalist.
  4. Some day, some way, I will get to SXSW, but until then I'll have to do it vicariously.  One of the best ways I found for this one was from the fanatastic All Songs Considered podcast, theirThe Austin 100: A SXSW Mix For 2010. It was 100 of their favorite bands who played SXSW. It played continously and so I'd drop in for a few songs. Damn, I liked just about everything I heard on it! Unfortunately, it seems to have been pulled, so just check out all their SXSW live shows. Also be sure to check out their free SWSW 2010 Sampler on iTunes. I don't get iTunes, but if you do and want to send me a copy, that'd be great!
  5. Speaking of Big Shows, another one coming up is Coachella. Wow, that lineup looks incredible, although I think my days of camping out in a field to listen to 3 days of music are probably long past. Anyway, there is a free Coachella Sampler available at plenty of local, independent record stores. I picked mine up with a coupon from Newbury Comics (you can get the coupon here). It's got a great selection of music and includes a 30 page booklet with interviews and stories on each of the 20 bands, which include Charlotte Gainsbourg, La Roux, The Temper Trap and Passion Pit. Track it down!


Book Review: Storm Front

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My rating: ★★★✩✩

I wish I was more of an "urban fantasy" reader, I really do. But while I appreciated the writing and the character of Harry Dresden, the whole magic thing just didn't work for this skeptic. I wanted it to, but in the end it just didn't.

Harry Dresden is a wizard - the only one who advertises in the Chicago phonebook. Not surprisingly, given his moral scruples against fraud, he can't get the work other, less scrupled, charlatans can get away with. And yes, he's a real wizard. But business is bad, until a damsel in distress comes to ask him to find her husband, who may be dabbling in some magic himself. Some easy money, Harry figures. But of course things get complicated.

It gets especially sticky when he is called in by an ally in the Chicago police department, who uses him as a consultant, when there are a pair of particularly gruesome murders, probably done with witchcraft. This brings Harry perilously close to the line drawn by the White Council, a high council of wizards that have put him on double secret probation, where one misstep could cause the Doom of Damocles (sic) to be brought down on him.

So, not surprisingly, the stories begin to intersect and Harry is force to confront some mighty powerful wizards, requiring all his magic skills. These include frog-like demons, scorpions and fire. But he does get is sorted out in the end, although he is left scarred and quite the worse for wear.

I was hoping the magic wouldn't turn into some maguffian, a crutch Dresden could turn to when things got tough. While he did show some imagination in how he used some pretty powerful spells, it still felt like a silver bullet that could rescue him whenever necessary. And I also got the "Alien The Movie Syndrome", where technology (or magic in this case), just appeared when necessary and disappeared when inconvenient. The magic of Dresden world was done pretty consistently, but it was hard to imagine him in trouble when he could just fly away when necessary.

The writing was good and the character dark, cynical and honorable, just like I like my private eyes. And told from the first person, again a feature I almost require. But I just couldn't swallow the magic. Oh well. But if you like urban fantasy, wizards, and good solid private eye writing, be sure to try this series out.


Storm Front
Jim Butcher

Weekend Wandom 10 for Spring

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  1. Yesterday Girl - The Smithereens (Blown To Smithereens - Best of The Smithereens 1985)
    Yesterday Girl
    The Smithereens
  2. Eyes as Candles - Passion Pit (Manners 2009)
    Eyes as Candles
    Passion Pit
  3. A Song For You - Whiskeytown (Return Of The Grievous Angel)
  4. Bennie and The Jets - Elton John (Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 1973)
  5. Twin Layers Of Lightning - The Go-Betweens (Liberty Belle and the Black Diamon Express 2004)
  6. Love Is A Wind That Screams  - Richard Barone (Cool Blue Halo 1987)
  7. End Theme - Zero 7 (Simple Things 2001)
    End Theme
    Zero 7
  8. The Walls Are Coming Down - Fanfarlo (Reservoir And Bonus Tracks 2009)
  9. Modern Man - Bess Rogers (Decisions Based on Information 2007)
    Modern Man
    Bess Rogers
  10. Dim Stars (The Boy in My Arms) - The American Analog Set (The Fun Of Watching Fireworks 1996)
    Dim Stars (The Boy in My Arms)
    The American Analog Set

Pretty nice Wandom 10 for this weekend, with songs from all over my collection. First up, The Smithereens, one of my favorite bands from the 80s and the Blown To is a great compilation. Then a local group that's been getting raves for this, their debut full length CD, although I can't say I'm really too wild about it. Then yet another song from the really nice Grievous Angel compilation of Gram Parsons covers. The Go-Betweens show up with an early effort, while the group was stilling coming together in preparation for the sublime 16 Lovers Lane CD to come out a couple years after Liberty Belle, which is nice, but, not surprisingly, falls short of that envious perch. Speaking of sublime, next up is Richard Barone's first solo effort after the seminal group The Bongos broke up. This is a really good live effort, with an especially bewitching performance of "Numbers With Wings". The song here is another great effort. Then Zero 7, a friend's recommendation that I like alot. I got the wonderful Fanfarlo CD for free from thier website, and they've been making quite a splash at SXSW I guess.  Then the very active Bess Rogers with a top cut from her debut effort. Be sure to see her live, as she puts on a great show. Another great recommendation from V♥M, btw. And finally a nice long cut from American Analog Set. I've always wanted to get more from this interesting group, but just haven't done it yet!

Try Roku?

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I'm still a big fan of my Roku box, especially now that they've added some new "channels", like Amazon OnDemand Video, Pandora and MLB.tv. It's such a small, foolproof box, anyone can stream Netflix on their TV! Roku has a new deal that's especially nice if you aren't already a Netflix customer (although I imagine both people who read this blog already have it) - $20 off a Roku box + free shipping if you sign up for Netflix TrialPlay. Even if you are already a Netflix customer, you get free shipping anyway. If you do sign up for Netflix, be sure to at least sign up for the "2 DVD" plan, as that gives you unlimited streaming, even in HD (video - still hoping for Netflix HD audio). If you use this link, I get some kind of pat on the back from Roku for being such a shill!


Get $20 off and FREE shipping!


Book Review: The Road

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My rating: ★★★★✩

What a fascinatingly dark book. Probably more of a 3.5 star book, but the writing was heart-wrenchingly gloomy and sparse, and so I'll move it up a notch.

The Road tells the story of "the man" and "the boy" - never named in the book. And they are on a quest to the sea in the east, and then south, in the hopes of finding the "good people", many (7? 8?) years after some undescribed apocalypse left the landscape in ashes, and small bands of survivors, usually cannibals, searching for food. The man and boy dodge trouble and continue on The Road.

And really, that's the entire story. What exactly happened isn't every clear, maybe even The Man doesn't know it. They have a few adventures and the book ends. I guess that was one strike against it - I just didn't feel like there was a point to the book or the characters, so I felt like the author could play at whatever he wanted to do. So I was on tenterhooks waiting for disaster to fall. But much like [The Cider House Rules, where I was just waiting for the bizarre, awful, Irving tragedy to crash down, it never did and I guess that's a good thing. I also had some trouble suspending disbelief, wondering just how some of it would really work in such a desolate landscape.

The ending was a little too trite, after all that gloom. But it was a good read, and the narrator, Tom Stechschulte, did a real good job of it. Sometimes, I wouldn't get out of the car as I awaited the next paragraph! Read it, but prepare to be depressed.

Book Review: Xombies: Apocalypse

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My rating: ★★✩✩✩

In yet another apocalypse book, Xombies : Apocalypse Blues tells the story of 17 year old Lulu, one of the few women immune to the Agent X plague, which turns women into slobbering killers, infecting men along the way. Lulu, for reasons which remain unclear to the end, doesn't get infected and helps lead a troop to safety in Greenland(!). A meandering book, with too few Xombies and too many strange discourses on the rich and famous, is a book I'm surprised I finished.

Lulu leads a nomadic life with her strange mother and they only find out about Agent X after it has been loose for a bit. Her mom gets it but she barely (one of many last minute extrications) escapes thru the help of a local man who may or may not be her father. They fight their way threw hoardes of xombies to a naval base that has a submarine. Then the next third or more of the book is spent on board this submarine, as they make their way to Greenland, where, perhaps, Agent X can't survive but they can. But when they get to Greenland, there's an even more bizarre community awaiting them.

I finished the book, which is suprising, because I usually have a short plug when I start to find a book boring. And when they got on  the sub and tehre were no more xombies, I got bored. And when they got to Greenland, I got bored and very very confused. I kept pushing thru, hoping for better but it never really made sense and in the end, I wish I hadn't stuck with it. It just wasn't that exciting.

Xombies: Apocalypse Blues
Walter Greatshell

Weekend Random 10 - Mar 7

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  1. China Girl - Anna Ternheim (Anna Ternheim 2007)
    China Girl
    Anna Ternheim
  2. The Twilight Hour - The The (Soul Mining 1983)
  3. Getting Older - The Clean (Anthology 2002)
    Getting Older
    The Clean
  4. Birthday - The Sugarcubes (Never Mind The Mainstream, Vol. 2 1991)
    Birthday
    Sugarcubes
  5. I'm Not In Love - 10cc (The Very Best of 10CC 1997)
  6. No Bounds - G. O. L. (Sensations of Tone 1995)
    No Bounds
    G.O.L.
  7. Glory Days - Bruce Springsteen (Born In The U.S.A. 1984)
    Glory Days
    Bruce Springsteen
  8. Wait Until June - The Go-Betweens (16 Lovers Lane [Bonus CD] 1988)
    Wait Until June
    The Go-Betweens
  9. The Camel's Back - Psapp (The Camel's Back 2008)
  10. I Started Something I Couldn't Finish - The Smiths (Strangeways, Here We Come 1987)

The spinning wheel of random music comes up 80s New Wave again. Wonder if my collection, at least the ripped part, is so heavily weighted that way in real life? We do start off with the song by Anna Ternheim that first grabbed me at that concert oh so long ago. Even though I had never heard her before, her simple rendition of this Bowie classic, accompanied only by her guitar, immediately stood out. Then we're back to the 80s, with The The and a favorite CD of mine. And another one from The Clean anthology, as well as one from the great Never Mind The Mainstream, The Best Of MTV's 120 Minutes, Vol. 2 collection. Wish I had volume 1! 10cc's The Original Soundtrack was a favorite LP back when it came out, and I played it all the time. Revisiting 10cc via this collection left me a little less enthralled, although this song and "I'm Mandy, Fly Me" are still standouts. Then some electronica from one of my favorite discoveries of last year, G.O.L. And a classic Bruce song. Speaking of favorite CDs, 16 Lovers Lane would be a desert island CD, especially if I could bring along the bonus disc from the re-release. Love the Psapp CD too. And while I wasn't a real big Smiths fanboi, this CD, their final one, is a real crowd pleaser, with plenty of songs in my favorite key - bouncy, bright rhythms with dark lyrics.

Broken Bells First Listen

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And this is a very nice sounding First Listen, from the new group Broken Bells, which is comprised of the ever-prolific Danger Mouse and The Shins frontman James Mercer. Like it alot!



Gorillaz First Listen

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NPR has the upcoming Gorillaz CD "Plastic Beach" available for a first listen until it is released next week. Give it a hear:



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