Friday, July 20, 2007

I am evil and you will all hate me

But this is too weird not to pass on.  Chocolate Rain by Tay Zonday.
This bizarre little video is starting to get a cult following on YouTube. Tay Zonday is the next Star Wars Kid. Like SWK, the most interesting part about an internet phenom is not the original video, but all the strange stuff that springs up based on it. For Chocolate Rain, it's cover versions, people video-blogging in an effort to explain what it means, parodying the song, remixing the song, putting an effect on it so the song sound like Darth Vader sang it... It's incredible the kind of effort people from all over the world put into coming up with some kind of answer or comeback to one thing that suddenly gains popularity in an internet filled with literally billions of similar things. So with no further ado, here's a brief selection of what's available on YouTube, making Tay Zonday a internet superstar. Bless you, Tay, for you are now made of win.
Here's an attempt to explain the song.
Here's a kid in his bedroom kinda grooving to the song.
Zak Broman conducts a fake interview with "Tay Zonday".
Someone made a rather dull video for the song based on footage of Family Guy.
Sick of it yet? How about this Darth Vader-ised version...
Another attempt to explain it goes awry.
Sister Maria de Lupus does a cover of the song.
Here's another video recorded from the PSP game Monster Hunter Freedom.
And finally...
The internet is an extraordinary thing.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Fighting the Unwinnable War

I've heard it called the Long War and the War Against Terror, but there's always been this strange optimism that somehow we can win. We've been fighting it now for almost 6 full years, and now, according to this New York Times article, we'll be in it for at least another 3.
WASHINGTON, July 17 - The United States will face "a persistent and evolving terrorist threat" over the next three years, as Al Qaeda continues to plot attacks comparable in scale to those of Sept. 11, 2001, the nation's intelligence agencies said today.
Less than one year after the events of 9/11 led us to this position, I wrote this piece on a site that was actually about the band I was in at the time. I wrote it because it explained a little about the lyrics to an album I was working on back then. I'm not the kind to completely blow my own trumpet, I buy CDs of royalty-free lopps and samples for that sort of thing, but it seems I was quite prescient back then...
An Unwinnable War?
According to George W. Bush's inexorable State Of The Union address in January 2002: "When I called our troops into action, I did so with complete confidence in their courage and skill. And tonight, thanks to them, we are winning the war on terror." Oh, reeaaa-ha-eaallly...

And exactly how is the war against terror going to be won? Exactly when will the victims of terrorism be able to celebrate VT Day? Is the US plan to take complete control over the entire planet and subject all 5 billion of its people to a single police state, hammering down all the sticky-out nails of dissent or resistance? Well if Ashcroft had anything to with it...

The more you subjugate people, the more people will fight back. Simple as that. Communism couldn't survive, the Roman Empire couldn't survive, hell, even George Lucas knows what happens to Evil Empires. This is simply an unwinnable war, and what makes it worse is that people are allowing the US government to get away with all sorts of injustices because we are in a "war situation". Unfortunately, it seems most people here haven't realised that this war doesn't have an end.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The first rule of Consensual Fighting Club is...

Don't talk about Consensual Fighting Club. The second rule is No Smoking.

Three men in jail over bomb at church

Star-Telegram staff writer

Map: Arson investigation
Map: Arson investigation

Three Burleson men who belong to a "radical Christian activist group" were in the Johnson County Jail on Friday night after a church deacon caught two of them attempting to ignite an explosive device on Independence Day at a church under construction in north Burleson, authorities said Friday.

Dayton Lee Calaway, 19, and Michael Philip Plaisted Jr., 18, were arrested Wednesday night near the Victory Family Church after they got bogged down in mud as a fleet-footed deacon chased them from the church in the 400 block of Northwest John Jones Drive, police said.

Two other people drove away, the deacon told officers.

An explosive device in a glass container was found propped against the church door. The suspects apparently tried to detonate the device twice before being interrupted by the deacon, police and Burleson Fire Marshal Stacy Singleton said.

As authorities were investigating at the church, they were notified of a fire on undeveloped land behind a north Burleson residential subdivision. A nearby resident reported seeing a vehicle drive away.

On Thursday, Jered Michael Ragon, 18, voluntarily went to the police station for questioning after Calaway and Plaisted implicated him, police Detective T. Catron said. Police called a MedStar ambulance because Ragon's feet were burned, and a emergency medical crew treated him at the station.

Ragon had gotten gasoline on his feet as he tried to destroy evidence from the church fire in the field, and his feet were burned, Catron said.

Calaway, Plaisted and Ragon face charges of arson at a place of worship, a first-degree felony that carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, Singleton said.

They remained in the Johnson County Jail in Cleburne on Friday night with bail set at $30,000 each. Ragon also faces a charge of tampering with evidence; bail was set at $5,000.

The glass container from the church and evidence found in the field have been sent to a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives lab for analysis, Singleton said. The ATF and the U.S. attorney's office are reviewing the case to determine whether federal charges will be filed, he said.

Search warrants served Thursday night and Friday morning at Ragon's and Plaisted's homes uncovered evidence that was also sent to the ATF lab, police said.

Cmdr. Chris Havens, the Police Department spokesman, said the suspects boasted about belonging to a leaderless group of 10 or 15 who share a belief that society has become too focused on self-improvement and self-gratification and has lost focus on the glorification of God.

"They admit to being Christian and being brought up Christian, but they believe there should be one denomination and one church, not multiple denominations," Havens said.

"They did not say they had a name for their group, other than they were a radical Christian activist group. That was the way they explained their group," he said.

The suspects said the group has three levels of involvement: Bible study, consensual fighting and destructive acts. Because one of their beliefs is free thought, however, participation in all three levels is not mandatory, they told police.

There's more at the site, but this is just brilliant. Of course, it will doubtless receive hardly any press outside the blogosphere, because despite being as crap at terrorism as the London and Glasgow Airport "bombers" of two weeks ago, they're all white Christians, and will therefore be presented as criminals rather than terrorists. What a fun place this country is turning into! I'm so glad I'm here to witness it.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Destroy 'Em

Far be it from me to look at the Republican Party campaigners with a gleeful schadenfreude, but this story is pretty awesome. I'm no fan of the Republicans, and to be honest, I'm not much of a fan of the Democrats either. Neither seem to be untainted nor useful in a public servant sense, but the game going on behind the scenes in the race to the Whitehouse is becoming more worthy of ESPN than CNN, and it's more fun to get a little behind the no-hopers that have some semblance of personality than it is to follow the likes of Mitt Romney, who, besides once strapping his dog to the roof his car on a family outing back in the day, is pretty boring to listen to. "Double Guantanamo!" indeed. What a pussy.
It takes real balls to stand up and declare that one of the greatest evils in the US is the Internal Revenue Service, that income tax should abolished, and the US should withdraw from the United Nations. Republican Congressman Ron Paul has stated all those things, and continues to break away from the party line, calling for an immediate end to the Iraq occupation and re-instating a policy of non-intervention. I don't agree with everything he says, but I have to admire him. And it looks like many more are doing so each day, from Libertarians disillusioned with the crazies in their party, to Republicans dissilusioned with the crazies in their party to Democrats dis... Oh, you get the picture.
So here's Ron Paul, one of the Big 8 (R) candidates, and he discovers that he, for no given reason, has been excluded from a candidates' forum in Iowa last weekend. He cries a little bit, then decided to do something about it. If they won't let you in their rally, book the place next door and draw a bigger crowd than all the other 7 candidates put together. That's how a president is supposed to act.

Nose Ring, Big Butt Cures Scarlett Fever

Get it!?!? Scarlett Fever! Come on you E! Online readers, it's genius, right?
Okay, well anyone who read my rant the other day about how entertainment news is fast overtaking actual real event news will be glad to know that according to, because Scarlett Johansson has gotten herself a nose-ring and is wearing shorts that give her a butt, she'll never EVER win "Sexiest Woman Alive" again. Just so you know, ladeez, you're just a lack of nose-ring and a pair of ass-flattening pants away from taking the title right out of her sweaty little fingers.

Separated at Birth?

Al Gore III
Little did I know that Al Gore III, Al Gore's son, who has just been arrested for being able to hit 100 mph in a Prius (oh and some drugs were involved) looks scarily like a fat Alan Tudyk.
Alan Tudyk
Okay. Maybe not that much...

Monday, July 02, 2007

For When We Don't Always Have Paris...

What a shame this seems so staged.It's actually quite indicative of how bad news broadcasts are in America that even protests about how bad news broadcasts are in America are nothing more than self-referential, neo-post-modernist infotainment.

Here's a case in point: CBS Evening News anchor, Katie Couric.

Woah there, Nelly!

Not only is she constantly under fire from TV critics, but also from her peers. Dan Rather said she is "dumbing it down, tarting it up, going to celebrity coverage rather than war coverage", and at $15m a year, I'm sure she cries every night into a pillow of money, since it is Rather's shoes that she now fills. But I fear that Desperate Dan has missed the point somewhat on what has happened to CBS Evening News. Firstly, it's on in the evening, at around 6.30pm. And let's face it, your average American worker simply doesn't work 9-5 anymore, with a nice 20 minute commute to arrive home in time to sit by the TV and watch it. Any of it.

Secondly, there's no news there. And the link in the first paragraph of this little diatribe shows that off for all it's worth. There's no news anywhere. Insider is not much more than an extention of the evening news, these days, and actually, if you include the follow up Entertainment Tonight program, which is basically the same thing but with a different presenter, it actually lasts longer. Sure, we get 1.5 hours of local news before that, but with generally only 5 local reporters, how many real stories are getting? And this is just CBS. NBC also has its Nightly News show which is then followed by Extra! and Access Hollywood. ABC has the ABC World News show, which is the biggest misnomer I've ever seen, as unless a bomb has gone off somewhere, you're lucky if the 'World' extends beyond Central America, and by Central America, I mean Kansas.

So why is US television news so bad these days, when all you have to do is see 'Good Night and Good Luck' to realize that it was, once, extremely good?

It's not money, but it is. Even back then in the age of the Burrows' and the Cronkites, news departments had to pander somewhat to sponsors. For every stone turned, there had to be one unturned. But back then news departments were expected to still provide news items, even if the content may be a little suspect, and the reason behind that is that those departments were expected to lose money. They were festering sink-holes of cash for a major network who were prepared to lose it for the sake of quality journalism. Not highly-paid anchors, but actual quality journalism. Now, however, we have shifted to news departments which are expected to make profits, in the same way that tabloid newspapers do, by sensationalizing real-world events, and by filling your screen with pointless stories of pretty starlets and things either shock you or make you go 'awww!'. Of course, none of this is revelation, but strangely it seems to be missed by the networks themselves,and this is why I mention Katie Couric by name.

Ever since Couric took over the hot-seat at CBS, the Evening News ratings have tanked, and this has been such a tale for national debate that it would cause otherwise respected journos such as Dan Rather to make the remarks he made. Overlooked slightly is that Brian Williams and NBC's Nightly News has ratings that are falling faster than those of CBS, but that CBS still remains last, with Charles Gibson's ABC World News coming out on top.

Even more overlooked than all of this is that ratings, when news is concerned, shouldn't actually be a factor. No news show should be deciding what constitutes a worthy news story based on whether it will put butts on seats, they should be reporting the news, period. You don't want to be showing the same stories at the same time as everyone else? Then stagger your broadcast, rather than having 3 major networks broadcast the evening news at exactly the same time, followed by 2 networks going to into exactly the same post-news programming. It seems there are two reasons why ratings are tanking for evening news: one, the lack of news; two, there's no one there to watch it. Replace your pointless entertainment shows with a news broadcast at 7.30pm instead of 6.30, and you may pick up a whole bunch of viewers, if there's still time before the country forgets what good news is and starts thinking that US Weekly is more important than USA Today.