Any Poor Souls…

Obsessed? Moi?

Any pour souls who trespass against us,
Whether they be beast or man,
Will suffer the bite or be stung dead on sight,
By those who inhabit this land,

For their’s is the power and this is their kingdom,
As sure as the sun does burn,
So enter this path, but heed these four words,
You shall never return…

(This has no relevance to anything whatsoever, but the song and the image are so inextricably linked in my head that I had to post it some time πŸ™‚

Breaking Rhyme

More important things that the inauguration

I could carry on and on today about how great it is to finally see the end of the Bush Presidency, and how Obama is going to save America/The World/Civilisation/Life as We Know It, but I figure there’s enough blogs doing that. Bush is gone, Obama – who not only looks good by comparison but objectively seems to be fairly smart, sane and reasonable – is in, and we can all breath a sigh of relief. Enough said.

Instead I’m going to talk about something that’s been bugging me for a while, and that’s trying to figure out the name for a particular poetic or lyrical method (I tell ya, the excitement never stops at the Wyrmlog!)

The technique in question is where the lyrics – by means of first half of an obvious rhyme – lead you to expect a particular concluding rhyme, but then fail to fulfil the expectation by using a contrasting (and almost always non-rhyming) word instead, for purposes of comedy or satire.

Some examples…

A Two Ronnie’s parody of the song “I Dream of Jeanie”
I dream of Daisy-Mae who works at the Vicar’s,
Daisy drives me crazy, without any trouble,

“Kiss Me Son of God” by They Might be Giants
Now you’re the only one left who can tell me if it’s true,
That you love me, and I love me,

A parody of “Who do you think you are kidding Mr Hitler?” performed many years ago during my high school days…
We won’t put on our CJs, so take good note of it!
‘Cause frankly Mrs Fox we just couldn’t give a… (wait for it!) …damn!

You get the idea.

Working from the principal that every single thing you can do with words has been given a name at some point, this method must have a title. But I just can’t seem to discover what, and it’s driving me nuts…

So Long Mr Bush

It’s over. It’s finally over.

As we bid a fond *cough* farewell to the 43rd President of the United States, let’s all take a moment to consider his accomplishments, both international and domestic, and for one last time enjoy his plaintive version of REM’s The End of the World as we Know it.

(Now let’s just wait for Obama to screw things up…)

How Wude!

Noooooo!!!! My sideburns!!!!!!!!

Among various other bits of running around I had to do yesterday, I went and got a haircut – as the top of my head was starting to resemble… well something hairy and puffed up. I don’t know, a polar bear with a perm? Anyway it seriously needed cutting back.

So I went to my usual budget quick-in/quick-out haircut place where my hair was – in defiance of the trend established by every other visit I’ve made there over the last decade – cut by some guy, the place usually being staffed exclusively by women.

He did quite an adequate job – adequate is the best that can really be expected with my hair – but, as I noticed with horror in the mirror this morning, he shaved off my sideburns! Without even so much as a ‘by your leave’ he massacred my carefully cultivated semi-eccentric sideburns! Inconceivable!!

It’s going to take me at least three weeks of carefully not shaving near my ears to get them back to even a semblance of their former selves. Which is frankly a lot to ask at 6:30 in the morning when I’ve just stumbled out of bed and only my hindbrain has successfully completed its bootup sequence.


(Oh, the title. Well I spent a few hours yesterday reading through Darths and Droids, and hence my opinion of Jar Jar Binks has been elevated slightly. Give me a few days and I’ll revert to passionately hating him like every other sane person in this world.)

Getting annoyed about nothing at all

The people of central Massachusetts are seriously letting the side down.

Being a chronically over-educated and pedantic curmudgeon I sometimes find myself getting extremely annoyed about things of little consequence at all. Currently causing my blood to, if not boil certainly simmer, is an article in that renowned organ the Worcester Telegram and Gazette News, which has served the people of central Massachusetts since 1986.

The article is actually pretty good news – a woman (allegedly) abducted her granddaughter and was tracked down with the help of cell phone co-ordinates and Google Maps. What’s annoying me is the apparent complete ignorance of the authors regarding something as simple as reading co-ordinates off a map.

I quote…

“It then became a back and forth effort between the cell phone company, the police officer and Deputy Chief Lozier, who received latitude and longitude coordinates and triangulated them to learn where the two missing people were.”

So Deputy Chief Lozier “triangulated” the latitude and longitude? I find this hard to believe.

Triangulation is the process of taking bearings from two or more known locations towards an unknown location, and plotting said bearings to determine the position of said unknown location (where the bearings cross). A deceptively simple process, it was absolutely crucial to the making of accurate maps before the development of aerial and satellite photography, and remains important in cartography, navigation and the tracking of radio signals.

It is not used however in reading latitude and longitude off a map, which is a simple process of finding the appropriate markings on the margins and tracing them to where they cross, something even a child can do with minimal instruction.

To the authors of the article however reading co-ordinates off a map (not that you even have to do this if you’re using Google Maps) is apparently a strange and arcane science, involving high level mathematics and possibly the sacrifice of a goat – as opposed to simply “looking” and “reading”. Such a complicated process needs a suitably grand title, and “triangulation” fits the bill because it has something to do with maps and no-one (or at least no one who reads or works at the Telegram and Gazette) really knows what it means anyway.

This frankly is sloppy journalism. Sure, I understand the need to simplify concepts for publication and that a newspaper is no place for a detailed exploration of cartographic techniques, but a certain level of accuracy in terminology is surely not too much to aspire to? To refer to reading co-ordinates off a map as “triangulation” is akin to referring to a horse as a mule – sure they’re related, but no editor would let such a slip get through to print.

So yeah, that’s what’s annoying me at the moment – the general ignorance of the population in relation to basic cartographic and geometric terminology. Honestly, it’s like they’re not even trying. πŸ™‚

Back to work tomorrow. Urgh.

Hottest 100 2008/2009

It’s that time of year again…

So, it’s that time of the year again when loyal Triple J listeners vote on their top 10 tunes of the year. After some heavy thinking on Boxing Day I went ahead and voted for the following tracks, conveniently arranged in order from my least favourite best song of the year, to most favourite best song of the year. This year I’ve also included some thoughts on where each track will probably come in the countdown, so tune in on Australia day to see just how wrong I was!

10 This Boy’s In Love – The Presets: The presets have been getting a lot of press lately about how fantastic they are, and how they’re the saviors of the Australian dance/rave/electronica/doop-doop scene. Being a massive contrarian this would usually make me hate them, but they’re actually not bad, as this track ably demonstrates. Apparently the singing in the chorus was meant to be a guide track for another vocalist they were going to get in, but they liked how it sounded it so much that they kept it – not unlike the whistling in that Young Folks song from a few years back. Should do very, very well. The Presets have been going gangbusters all year.

9 Graveyard Girl – M83: I don’t know what it is about this song, but it grabbed me the first time I heard it, and has since refused to let go. The video clip (which I hadn’t seen until looking it up for this entry) is a weird emo-goth-teen dead-pet romance story, which frankly detracts from the song – making it sound like some kind of weird emo-goth-teen dead-pet romance story. Frankly for all I know maybe it is – I don’t care, I still like it. An eclectic song that will be limited to the 80s or 90s if it makes it in at all.

8 Naughty Girl – Mr G: This song is very, very, very stupid, which is why I like it. It’s a parody of creatively bankrupt dance music so effective that it is – effectively – creatively bankrupt dance music. It derives of course from TV’s Summer Heights High and if you’re not familiar with the show then it won’t make a lot of sense. The video clip – chopped together from videos submitted by fans – will make even less sense. Could be a sleeper and end up in the top 10, or fail to make it in at all. Hard to say.

7 Kids – MGMT: I have no idea what – if anything – this song is about. But I like it. MGMT have also been going gangbusters, so this could easily make it into the top 20.

6 That’s That – Cass McCombs: There seems to be some debate in the comments about whether this clip is actually of Cass McCombs or not. There’s also some weird jumps and lip synch issues, but it’s still the best version of the song I could find on YouTube. In any case it’s a catchy although plaintive little tune with a good baseline and that’s all that really matters. May make it in around the 50s – probably a bit subtle for the common palate.

5 Geraldine – Glasvegas: This song has three things going for it. A good – although simple – tune, a thick Scottish accent, and a twist in that it sounds like a typical love song, but isn’t. It’s also less cloying than Glasvegas’ other current hit Daddy’s Gone. Showed up late in the year so has a good chance to do well.

4 Guess Who Batman – Lily Allen: The first time I head this song I just managed to catch the last chorus. I had two thoughts. One – “that sounds like Lilly Allen”. Two – “that pretty sums up the way I feel about George W. Bush”. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the song is actually about George W Bush (as indicated by the initials of the title). I suspect that Lilly Allen and I may have some kind of deep psychic bond, that must somehow be exploitable for profit. (Note: Whoever transcribed the lyrics apparently has never heard the word medieval). Lilly Allen is a little bit too mainstream for the average JJJ listener. On the other hand songs with the f-word in the chorus traditionally do well, and she’s laying the boot into George W. Bush. As a consequence it’s impossible to say where this will end up.

3 Oxford Comma – Vampire Weekend: Vampire Weekend seem to specialise in catchy, cheery sounding songs, the meanings of which are completely impenetrable. This is no exception with lyrics about Lamas, Little John and lying about coal. The video clip is notable for two reasons – it’s directed by Richard Ayoade who plays Moss in The IT Crowd, and it’s all done in a single shot. Bet you didn’t notice that hey? Vampire Weekend have been doing well all year, however their vote could well end up split between the five or six eligible songs. Will probably show up in the 30s at the very least.

2 Now – Mates of State: My second favourite song of the entire year. Funnily enough there doesn’t seem to be a copy of the official recording on YouTube, but I’ve linked to a live performance, which is almost as good. May well slip into the background of all the other tracks available to vote for and not show up at all.

1 Det Snurrar I Min Skalle – Familjen: This Swedish song is not only my absolute favourite of the year, it has one of the best video clips I’ve ever seen, all cut together from black and white footage of some sort of revival meeting (sometime I’ll get around to making an animated gif of that accordionist’s creepy smile). Apparently it won a Swedish Grammy, or a Grammy in Sweden – I’m not 100% sure on the details. In any case, if I had my way this would be number one. Will probably do very well. A good bet for the top 10.

So that’s my votes. There’s at least one other song that I would have fitted in there somewhere (probably at number 4, pushing the Presets off the bottom of the list) if I’d actually been aware of it – apparently JJJ have been playing it for several weeks but somehow I managed to miss hearing it entirely. This is Help I’m Alive by Metric. The first few times I heard it I actually mistook it for the Breeders – to my ears at least Emily Haines sounds remarkably like Kim Deal. It’s a great song and I feel kind of sad that none of my ten votes will go to supporting it.

Some other songs that made my shortlist include…

So that’s it. Go make your own entertainment!

It’s from the Latin!

That’s the second time I’ve heard her do this…

Just a quick note for Triple J’s Gaby Brown. “Vale” – as in “Vale Ron Asheton” – is pronounced “Va-lay”. Not “Veil”!

(Man, that’s a totally sucky first blog for 2009. I’ve got a big one half written, I’ll have to knuckle down and get it finished.)

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