Saturday, April 20, 2002

Oh, them?
"The thought was that everyone would love them, especially the Asian community. We thought they were cheeky, irreverent and funny and everyone would love them."

Although I'm sure the shirts woulda sold like hotcakes in the antebellum South.

Friday, April 19, 2002

I am so tired that I cannot see. Which makes this news a little more ominous.

So for the sake of brevity and laziness, bullet points.

• One of my fantasy baseball teams is way too far ahead in first place. It doesn't make any sense.

• I'm going to see a good friend's band this weekend. Take a look: (

• I think part of the tiredness is due to smoking a cigar earlier this evening, and I hadn't had one in a long time, so it went straight to my head. But it was nice to walk around the neighborhood, smoking at leisure, before the weather gets too hot. I like this graphic menu.

Thursday, April 18, 2002

Noah's Ark: United States Government
Things of this nature tend to be accompanied by lots of white-knuckled intensity and holier than thou drum-banging, but that's what can be expected when people mistake tautologies for actual logic. Which usually doesn't actually touch the truth, which in this case is the Ark. But it's still interesting.

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

My sleep schedule is completely out of whack. I alternate days of waking up insanely early or late. Just one of my many personal accents dashed onto the canvas of unemployment.

But at least I get to watch lots of TV! I was able to catch Wes Anderson’s Rushmore on Comedy Central. Rushmore is good, better than his most recent The Royal Tenenbaums, which is still good. Rushmore benefits from having fewer characters and thus a tighter focus. There is something unmistakably odd but still beautiful about those films. Like Escher prints. At first glance they’re a bit shocking, but the sublime beauty of it comes to the surface after extended viewing. Wes Anderson’s films have this old-time feel, like he went back to all of the old plays and books that he read to forge his aesthetic sensibility, then poured in his odd, understated sense of humor. Unlike this crap.

But the unemployment thing has me adrift. I’m not sure which direction to go, in terms of career choices. What’s worse now is that I’m even considering grad school (!). I’m having a hard time making choices, and I think I need to distill it down to what I want work or school to be like, then move forward from there. Right now I’m just throwing crap up against a wall, and surprisingly nothing is sticking.

Is there anything more irrelevant in sports than the NBA playoffs? Baseball, for all its bad financial press, still conjures in many of us thoughts of warm summer days and the slow lazy fun of taking in a game with your dad. The hockey playoffs win you over on sheer effort; there is a noticeable upshift in the level of play, and hockey played well is fun to watch. Football is the most popular sport in this country, period. But the NBA pales in comparison to even the college game, where the NCAA tournament is the best event in sports. The NBA offers no nostalgia (except for when we wish we were watching MJ or Magic or Bird) and no raised level of play (you can’t tell the difference between a playoff game and a regular season game). There was something electric about watching MJ or Magic play, and Shaq’s bludgeoning style is awful to watch. The NBA comes down to whoever has the most physical talent, wins.

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

"Rabbit in Your Headlights"
…was a collaborative song effort by Thom Yorke of Radiohead and DJ Shadow for the U.N.K.L.E. LP. (Here are the lyrics). I recently saw the video again on MTV, during their “Controversial Videos” program they’ve been running recently. I’m normally a big proponent of sinking MTV into the annals of irrelevance ASAP, but I was curious to see what made the videos they selected so “controversial.” I wouldn’t put it past any TV executive to use a format like this to float even more excessively sexual, violent, and disgusting content as a stab at advertising dollars, but hey, it did get my attention.
Back to "Rabbit in Your Headlights." The video takes place in a tunnel, with 2 lanes of traffic. The main character is a disheveled, dirty-looking homeless type. He’s wearing a parka with the hood thrown over, though we can still see his unshaven mug and the fact that he’s muttering something unintelligible, barely to be heard above the music. He periodically crescendos to a yell with his babble, but that doesn’t lend a clue to whatever it is he’s saying.
Our dirty protagonist is walking directly in the middle of the lane, so that cars must either swerve around him, or, shockingly, more as the video progresses, hit the guy to get him out of the way (the man is walking in the same direction as traffic, so he always gets him from behind). Our hero staggers along, limping more noticeably as the hits take a physical toll on him. Eventually, he takes off his parka, stumbling along bare-chested. We see a car about to run him over from behind, but at the last instant, he straightens up, spreads his arms out like a dirty Jesus on an imaginary cross, and the car smashes into bits against him, kicking up a cloud of computer generated dust, his rigid, arms-spread pose still intact as the video fades to black.
I can understand why this is "controversial," because of the depiction of a helpless man getting hit by cars repeatedly (he doesn’t really get hit, the CG is fairly obvious). I’m still trying to get a grasp of what it’s trying to say. Most of the time music videos aren’t so much an artistic statement as a bullet point on the director’s resume so he can get in and direct real movies instead of this music video crap, and a chance for the “talent” to thrash in front of the camera on the label’s dollar. But Thom Yorke collaborated on this, and I respect his (and Radiohead’s) integrity as an artist, which leads me to think that there was a purpose to the presentation.
So what is it? Was the man normal, but then life’s circumstances forced him into a babbling, half mad descent into madness? Are the cars that hit him personal demons he’s had to face? When he straightens up and the final car disintegrates after hitting him, is it because he’s learned to face his challenges with a stiff-backed determination? Why does he take off his parka before this happens?

In any case, the song is awfully good.

Monday, April 15, 2002

The Charm
A friend of mine told me about them, and I could have seen them on Saturday night. Maybe next time.
Test. Test. Like yelling out into the canyon and waiting for the echo to come back.