A conservatory of Ldotter blogs.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Over the past few years. . .

. . .I've developed a taste for 80's pop and new wave-type music. I don't know what brought it on, other than the kind of perspective that reveals itself to people when they approach their mid-thirties. Exactly what that perspective is, I can't really put a finger on. But, there is a distinct mellowing that occurs at this stage of life that causes one to feel less intense about things once loathed. And, make no mistake about it -- I absolutely loathed pop and new wave during the 80's. As I said in a post around this time last year, I was a metalhead. A headbanger. A longhaired, party-hardy, black concert t-shirt-wearing, rockstar wannabe.

Now, with my flaxen locks long since shorn (the part that hasn't fallen out, anyway) I find myself a little nostalgic for that which I once despised. Sure, there were some songs of that ilk for which I harbored a secret and shameful affection -- The Fixx's "Secret Separation" being one -- but they were limited in number, often tied to fond memories, or poignant moments. But, now, I find myself actually seeking out this music, and the newer music that evokes similar sensibilities. A recent example would be "Mr Brightside," by The Killers. For some reason, listening to that song brings back memories of things that never happened -- like me wearing a skinny leather tie and sunglasses, doing that pogo-stick type dance the new-wavers did at parties I never went to. In reality, I would have mocked and mercilessly derided anyone who dared be seen at such a party wearing such garb.

But, that's another thing that's mellowed in me over the past several years. I've learned to be much more forgiving of differences, particularly where matters of taste are involved. I find myself open to any kind of music -- even the odd hip-hop tune will have me nodding my head along with the bass line -- though, very rarely. (I've never been quite sure how to classify the Beastie Boys, but I do like a lot of their music -- just not the stuff on "License to Ill".)

One of the bands I've been listening to lately that remind me of that era in pop music, to much delight, is Texas (No. They're from the UK). I was introduced to them by my good friend blondie, a fellow Ldotter and somewhat lapsed blogger who has helped me with this blog on countless occasions with everything from html advice to putting together parody images. I can't recommend them too highly to anyone who has a taste for pop music. Their newest CD, Red Book, isn't available in the US, but I was fortunate enough to receive it as a gift from blondie a few weeks ago, and have been listening to it regularly ever since. It's difficult to nail down their sound as being similar to any single artist as their influences seem to range from Prince to Annie Lennox to no one you've ever heard before. Sharleen Spiteri, the group's lead singer, has an amazingly versatile voice (and a beautiful face to go along with it), and it amazes me that the band has remained a virtual secret on this side of the Atlantic for so long. If they're to ever have a big hit in the US, it ought to come from "Red Book". "Bad Weather" and "Cry" are wonderful examples, but unfortunately, the Amazon UK site doesn't offer any audio samples from their newest release. However, for a reasonable taste from past efforts, you can click here.

So, this is the kind of stuff I've been listening to lately. I just thought I'd offer up a few pointers to anyone who might be interested. Give them a listen, and if you like what you hear, email me and let me know.

Kristol's boosterism. . .

. . .for John McCain occasionally gives way to lucidity, as is the case in his piece for the January 2nd issue of the Weekly Standard, wherein he calls out the left-liberal establishment for its idiotic countenancing of various rabid left notions with regard to President Bush, the Patriot Act, and the Global War on Terror. Attributing the general tone of discourse from the left to a "Paranoid Style," Kristol sets out a few basic facts and poses some questions that ought to make any responsible member of the liberal opposition squirm.

And, as if on cue, the Standard-Times of New Bedford, MA has published the story of a young college student at UMass who claimed to have been visited by federal Homeland Security agents as the result of his request for a copy of Mao's "Little Red Book" through the school's inter-library loan service. It turns out the whole story was a hoax, perpetrated by a single student, apparently in dire need of attention.

The student's motivation remains a mystery, but in the interview on Thursday, he provided a glimpse.
"When I came back, like wow, there's this circus coming on. I saw my cell phone, and I see like, wow, I have something like 75 messages and like something like 87 missed calls," he said. "Wow, I was popular. I usually get one or probably two a week and that's about it, and I usually pick them up."

Hat-tip, Lucianne.com.

UPDATE: My schedule has prevented me from staying abreast of the issues to the extent that I would like. However, keen-eyed Ldotter IowaDad posted a quote from a piece by Sen. Edward Kennedy, recently published in The Boston Globe.

"Just this past week there were public reports that a college student in Massachusetts had two government agents show up at his house because he had gone to the library and asked for the official Chinese version of Mao Tse-tung's Communist Manifesto. Following his professor's instructions to use original source material, this young man discovered that he, too, was on the government's watch list.

Think of the chilling effect on free speech and academic freedom when a government agent shows up at your home -- after you request a book from the library.

Incredibly, we are now in an era where reading a controversial book may be evidence of a link to terrorists.

Something is amiss here. Something doesn't make sense. We need a thorough and independent investigation of these activities.

The Congress and the American people deserve answers now."

Teddy seems to have been sandbagging for the past 12 months, waiting until the last moment to turn in his submission for the Upper Class Twit of the Year Award.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Serendipity strikes. . .

. . .at the most opportune moments. But then, it wouldn't be serendipity if it didn't.

Anyway, I was refreshing the latest posts at Lucianne.com when I saw a link to this intriguing article from the UCLA campus publication. Since you can't post campus publications at Lucianne.com without prior permission from staff, the thread was closed. But, that doesn't mean it isn't newsworthy. So, thought I'd post a link to it here.

This addresses one of the left's biggest gripes today -- that corporate ownership of media causes news outlets to skew their coverage toward issues which favor the right. According to the UCLA study, it's quite the contrary. Of course, no self-respecting leftie will ever lend any credence to it. Still, it's that much more evidence in an ever-growing pile.

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