3/30/2007

so I always liked that Voltaire quote "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it," it's a good quote. However, I read somewhere he
didn't say it, it was actually a biographer:
The men who had hated [the book], and had not particularly loved Helvétius, flocked round him now. Voltaire forgave him all injuries, intentional or unintentional. 'What a fuss about an omelette!' he had exclaimed when he heard of the burning. How abominably unjust to persecute a man for such an airy trifle as that! 'I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,' was his attitude now.
It was by Evelyn Beatrice Hall, who used the pseudonym S. G. Tallentyre. Apparently a lot of famous quotes weren't really said by the supposed speakers - like "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" by David Farragut (as in Farraguts North and West). Pretty interesting.

3/28/2007

so i just read this study. i think they discovered NO SHIT!

3/27/2007

so the other day on C-SPAN, the House was debating about giving Washington, DC a vote in Congress - currently, it has none. Texas Republican Louie Gohmert made the argument that DC doesn't need a voting member, because all of the 435 members represent the District.

He said "I would submit to you that Washington, D.C. is also the only city in the entire country that every Senator and every Member of Congress has a vested interest in seeing that it works properly, that water works, sewer works, and no other city in America has that."

Wow! This is ludicrous, so the staff DCist.com (me included) were furious and ran a post saying that since he made this claim, he is thus the person we should call when we have any problem with the city - trash not being picked up, loud people late at night, etc etc. He's been bombarbed with calls, and I urge everybody else to do the same thing. I have a big bag of leaves that's been in front of my house for months, for example. I should call my new congressman and see what he can do.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune also wrote about the shenanigans.

Here's the DCist post, the comments are hilarious
(C-SPAN misidentified him at first, it's really Gohmert)

And Gohmert's phone : 202-225-3035

And Gohmert's page

3/26/2007

so I just read about this new band, the Broken West. They're power-poppy, like Sloan or Ben Kweller or a less-kooky Spoon. Which makes sense, as they're on the same label as Spoon, Merge Records.

I like em, check them out. They're playing in DC April 3rd at the Rock N Roll Hotel. DCist has a review about their show in DC last weekend.

3/23/2007

so i've really been liking Gilbert Arenas this year (guard for the Wizards) because he's good and he does a lot of hilarious stuff. He has a blog too, and I really like this post.

3/21/2007

so tonight i was flipping channels and landed on Current, that TV network Al Gore started. I'd never watched it, but ended up watching about three hours straight. It's good. It was founded to be an anti-Fox News, but they changed their model before it launched (and maybe a good thing, since Air America Radio is having problems) to be a series of news "pods" for younger people, i.e. 18-30ish. Some are produced by viewers and some are made by the station staff, but they're all pretty interesting.

The station operates differently than any other TV I can think of, all the pods are a few minutes long, and then there's another one. I saw one about coca growing in Colombia, a solider with post-traumatic stress syndrome, a Swedish band (Mando Diao, maybe I'll check them out), a dance club in London, a guy doing "parkour," which is a sport where you run around and jump off stuff, and so on. They're not corny or coying, and they remind me most of Channel One News, if anybody had that back in school. But they were cooler than that, and some weren't news at all, just interesting stuff. I really enjoyed it and if you have it, I recommend it.

3/16/2007

so I got Illinois' seven song EP "What the Hell Do I Know?" the other day, and it's fantastic. I wrote about a few of their songs a couple weeks ago as well.

Illinois are from Bucks County, PA, and are on Ace Fu Records, also home to Pinback, Kaiser Chiefs, Annuals, etc. They play eclectic, interesting indie, briefly reminiscent of so many good and different bands that they sound unique. The EP is great almost the whole way through, except for the last track, which sounds tacked on or unfinished. They're hard to classify really, other than just plain good indie rock.

The first track, "Alone Again," is Broken Social Scene-ish cracked pop with a really rich sound, and is followed by "Nosebleed," which starts out with "Mellow Gold"-era Beck banjo and a fuzzy beat, then gradually adds sounds and a catchy little banjo refrain. "What Can I Do For You" is the most straight-forward number on the CD, a bittersweet piano-focused song, briefly sounding like Badly Drawn Boy or something of that ilk. "One on One" sounds very British, with all the towering fuzzy Anglo-guitar indie of Ash and vocals that sound a bit like the guy from Placebo. "Screendoor" sounds like what would happen if Neutral Milk Hotel upped the pop quotient a lot, resulting in happy, catchy fuzz-folk. And "Headphones" is busy, with competing guitars and crashing cymbals, sounding energetic like the Arcade Fire. The last track, "Bad Day" is a guy talking over more buzzing drums. It's OK but could have been left off.

The songs fly by, all at 3:14 or less, and I almost wish they were longer. The briefness accentuates the difference between all the songs, but that makes me wonder how it translates live, since the songs differ so much from one to the next. However, judging by the energy of the disc, I bet they're pretty impressive. They'll be playing a bunch at SXSW this week, and will be in DC May 12. I'll be there.

MP3 - "Alone Again"
MP3 - "Screen Door"

their Myspace
Official site
Ace Fu

Photo from their myspace

3/14/2007

so here's something else awesome from Wikipedia. An article about beer pong... in Latin.

3/02/2007

so I used to be a big They Might Be Giants fan. Huge. My fandom or whatever sort of died down eventually, and I don't listen to them much anymore. But the other day I saw this article, they made a bunch of songs meant to be ringtones, which is pretty funny. I like "Phone Phone Phone" especially.