The Big Red Dog

I live on a hill. It’s a pretty big hill, certainly one that will slow your pace and cause some heavy breathing should you walk or bike up. Especially if you are 105 years old. (continue reading…)


The Nihilism of Deadwood’s Al Swearengen

With Breaking Bad concluded, went looking for other “quality TV”. I had heard good things (aside from being canceled prematurely) about Deadwood, so it was added to the watchlist. Highly recommended, with some excellent writing and memorable characters.

One standout character in particular is Al Swearengen, the proprietor of the town’s more earthy saloon/whorehouse, played flawlessly by Ian McShane. It was said “when he ain’t lyin’, Al’s the most honorable man you’ll ever meet”. Although not to the same degree as Walter White, he’s something of a bad guy to be celebrated.

Al is, as the Doc says, “an object lesson in the healing powers of obstinacy and a hostile disposition”. Whether acting the role of Greek Chorus narrative when talking to a decapitated head, or strategizing with his more able-bodied cohorts, he had some acerbic lines that underscored a rather nihilistic philosophy of the hard life in the wild west. “Quiet! Al’s got words.”

[Editorial note: Al is a top-flight cusser. I’ve trimmed all the f**k**g to allow the wisdom of the words to soak in. Also of interest is that these individual quotes, when taken out of episodic sequence, almost make a coherent soliloquy in their entirety.]

In life you have to do a lot of things you don’t want to do. Many times, that’s what life is… one vile task after another.

From the moment we leave the forest, it’s all a givin’ up and adjustin’.

What can anyone of us ever really hope for, huh? Except for a moment here and there with a person who doesn’t want to rob, steal or murder us?

Pain or damage don’t end the world, or despair, or beatings. The world ends when you’re dead. Until then, you got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man – and give some back.

Every beatin’ I’m grateful for. Every one of them. Get all the trust beat outta you. And you know what the world is.

Most of what happens is people being drunk and stupid and trying to find something else to blame for that that makes their lives totally [messed up].

You gotta behave like a grown man, huh? You gotta shut up. Don’t be sorry, don’t look back, because, believe me, no one [cares].

I did not shame myself. I keep an open mind in that area. Kid yourself about your behavior, you’ll never learn a thing.

Worse ways to spend a night, puttin’ shoulder to an idea.

Do not fault them for your own fears of tumblin’ to somethin’ new.

That’s the way with any new idea. Takes the hoopleheads time to adjust.

Change calls the tune we dance to.

Till the race is finished, never mark the wager paid.

Bidding is open always on everyone.

Can you say it straight out before I have a birthday?

Ever wonder if you expressed yourself more directly you might weigh less?

When given to utterances of that type, consider drinking.

An opinion solicited does not equal one freely voiced.

If I sought an echo, I’d now be addressing a mountain.

I need your truthful reply. Lie, I will know it… and death will be no respite.

What a type you must consort with that not fear beatin’ for such an insult.

To work for crumbs or to keep from the lash says maybe a slave’s what you are.

Quit a job before you fall asleep on it.

I wouldn’t trust a man who wouldn’t try to steal a little.

If I bleat when I speak it’s because I just got fleeced.

Sometimes I wish we could just hit ’em over the head, rob ’em, and throw their bodies in the creek.

Don’t I yearn for the days when a draw across the throat made resolution.

You can’t slit the throat of everyone whose character it would improve.

You might want to learn how to indicate interest in a girl other than murdering another person.

I’d rather try touching the moon than take on a whore’s thinking.

Who amongst us hasn’t wanted to shoot at women once or twice?

Announcing your plans is a good way to hear God laugh.

Some shit’s best walked through alone.

My Top 25 Songs (2013 Edition)

A bit late, but no one else is paying close attention (or probably cares, for that matter). Here is my iPod play rankings for 2013 releases. Interesting to note that “new music discovery” can emerge from unusual circumstances, as Junip edged out the more mainstream OneRepublic “Counting Stars” and Bareilles “Brave” thanks to exposure in the commercial for the Breaking Bad finale…

  1. Lorde – Royals
  2. American Authors – Best Day Of My Life
  3. Fitz & the Tantrums – Out Of My League
  4. New Politics – Harlem
  5. Imagine Dragons – Demons
  6. Vampire Weekend – Unbelievers
  7. Smallpools – Dreaming
  8. Serena Ryder – Stompa
  9. Boy – Little Numbers
  10. Kacey Musgrave – Follow Your Arrow
  11. Haim – The Wire
  12. Delta Rae – If I Loved You
  13. Jake Bugg – Lightning Bolt
  14. Frank Turner – Recovery
  15. The 1975 – Chocolate
  16. Wild Cub – Thunder Clatter
  17. Nonono – Pumpin Blood
  18. The Dear Hunter – Whisper
  19. Jason Isbell – Live Oak
  20. Chvrches – Recover
  21. The Boxer Rebellion – Diamonds
  22. Bastille – Pompeii
  23. The National – Don’t Swallow The Cap
  24. Beth Hart – Bang Bang Boom Boom
  25. Junip – Line Of Fire

Vampire Weekend had my favorite overall album, honorable mention to Chvrches and Haim. Surprised that Lorde was Grammy-nominated for Best Song and Record Of The Year, but missed the Best New Artist trifecta, but then again, maybe it doesn’t matter

Top Songs of 2012

Last year was my first musical BestOf list (outside of that 1980s “Desert Island Discs” for Tower Records mag). Nice to have the darn thing to look back upon, for better or worse, even if its only me that references it. One time is an ‘incident’, and two might be a ‘trend’. Here is my ranked iPod playlist for 2012 releases:

  1. Bad Books – Forest Whitaker
  2. Alabama Shakes – Hold On
  3. The Gaslight Anthem – “45”
  4. Regina Spektor – How
  5. Jack White – Freedom At 21
  6. Pennywise – Let Us Hear Your Voice
  7. Phillip Phillips – Home
  8. passEnger – Let Her Go
  9. Morning Parade – Headlights
  10. Imagine Dragons – It’s Time
  11. Allen Stone – Sleep
  12. Royal Teeth – Wild
  13. Beach House – Myth
  14. Fun. – We Are Young
  15. Youngblood Hawke – We Come Running
  16. Passion Pit – Take A Walk
  17. Garbage – Blood For Poppies
  18. Ho Hey – The Lumineers
  19. The Tallest Man On Earth – Revelation Blues
  20. Atlas Genius – Trojans
  21. The Heavy – What Makes A Good Man?
  22. The Chevin – Champion
  23. Bloody Mary – Silversun Pickups
  24. Slightly Stoopid – Top Of The World
  25. Tennis – Origins

The big thing that stands out compared to last year is the lack of “Top 40″. Carly Rae Jepson, Neon Trees, Kelly Clarkson, Drake, Pink – even Green Day not having sufficient numbers. I attribute this to the discovery of AltNation on Sirius/XM in my new car. My trial subscription is almost over, and since I can’t see spending $15/mo essentially just for one radio station, it looks like I’ll be back to Spotify, Pandora, 91X, and KPRI in 2013.

And speaking of Spotify, a playlist for the above…

$ufficiently Indi$tingui$hable From Magic

I bought my Dad an AppleTV for Christmas. An avid travel photographer, the intent was to use it to replace the Windows-based HP Media Smart “appliance” that he used for viewing streamed photos on the TV. (The HP worked great for a long while, but eventually stopped being able to index and display new photos – probably because there were so many.) Something else was needed, and perhaps the AppleTV would fit the bill?

(continue reading…)

Thoughts on the Chevy Volt

A Car as Political Football

When I bought my Chevy Volt this month, I had no idea I was buying into politics. I just thought that given the escalating gas prices, my ever-predictable commute, tax/rebate incentives, and the gadgety nature of the car itself, an Electric Vehicle was a reasonable choice for a bleeding-edge tech guy such as me.

But no, apparently I am an idiot, an intellectual elitist who wants to flaunt my enlightenment. I’ve bought into some sort of Obama-led government meddling with GM. Well, as a registered Republican I can say this without partisan bias: sometimes a car is just a car, “going green” is not just for hippie tree-huggers, and given that the Volt actually pre-dates Obama, the Obama-hating conservatives with questionable logic skills should just STFU!

(continue reading…)

Haikus For The Social-Media Disillusioned

Facebook friends will post,
Intent on self-promotion,
Ignoring others’.

Tweet into ether:
Nobody is listening
Except Twitter spams.

LinkedIn connections,
Contacts from the Nth degree,

I have Google+.
All my Circles are dormant.
Why do I bother?

Happy Pi Day!

Even though I was a Math-CompSci major, my SAT-Math scores would attest that I leaned much more toward the written/verbal. So when it came to memorizing Pi, I was not some mathematical savant that could recite to an incredibly large number of decimal places. No, I turned it into a ‘piem‘: a mnemonic sentence, where the number of letters in each word represented the digits:

“Now I have a wordy histogram to remind nerds the value equating halfbaked spatial diameters and Pi run nineteen long digits, an actual ‘piem’.”

That equates to 3.14159265358979323846264.

I did this to impress my friends and win bar bets.

Neither of which happened.

As one would, in retrospect, expect.

Happy Pi Day!

Did You Hear The One About…

Will Apple come out with their own Siri-influenced TV in 2012, since Steve Jobs supposedly “finally cracked it” shortly before his death? What about the idea of an iPod Nano-based wristwatch – not just by adding a watch band, but by integrating Bluetooth and turning it into an iOS remote display device? And everyone was so bummed at the iPhone 4S release, expecting instead the oft-rumored iPhone 5 that never materialized – when will that finally appear?

Rumors abound with Apple. And because they are so tight-lipped about product release schedules, no one (who doesn’t work for Apple) will truly know for certain until the big unveiling. Tech journals are filled with unverifiable hints from supply chain partners and “sources familiar with the situation”, and everyone is eating it up in anticipation. Slow news day? Let’s throw out an Apple rumor to keep people interested!

Since your guess is as good as mine, I thought I would add my own random predictions to the mix. And random it truly is.

Introducing the “Apple Prediction Generator”.

All done in jest. No truths implied to named media outlets or unnamed sources. But isn’t it interesting how some generated quotes actually resemble real-life headlines? I’m just sayin’…


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