Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #47: Internet Meme FAIL (So Far)

I doubt this will ever catch on, or maybe it did years ago but I missed out. In any case, anatomically-based character/emotional metaphors and idioms border on the ridiculous, don't they? Metaphorically, they provide encouragement or a culturally-accepted description. When taken literally, on the other hand, these idioms are just tragic. For example:

Metaphorically: Break a leg = Thanks for wishing me a good performance!
Literally: Break a leg = Pain, followed by weeks of painful recovery and therapy.
Throughout the day, inspired by what apparently killed pitchman extraordinaire Billy Mays (an enlarged heart), I tweeted on this topic:
DeRamos We need to stop conflating character w/ anatomy. Big heart = Metaphorically good, literally lethal. RIP Billy Mays http://bit.ly/VYYrD

DeRamos More character vs. anatomy: Big head = Metaphorically uncool, literally might be a tumor. "It's not a tu-mah!" http://bit.ly/x20KD



DeRamos Same goes for big brain = Smart or http://bit.ly/x20KD #KindergartenCop #Schwarzenegger

DeRamos More character vs. anatomy: Yellow belly = Cowardice or jaundice?

DeRamos More character vs. anatomy: Two left feet = Clumsiness or a serious birth defect? DeRamos More character vs. anatomy: Remedy for a broken heart = Cheer up or transplant?

DeRamos More character vs. anatomy: Elbow grease = Metaphor for working hard or literally, go see a doctor...seriously.
Well, sometimes an Internet meme doesn't happen in a day, and of course, you can't will a meme into existence - unless you have that kind of influence on the connected masses (I don't).

Monday, June 29, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #46: #Volunteer at @LibriVox

She Was A Beauty by Henry Cuyler Bunner  
Download now or listen on posterous
shewasbeauty_bunner_rd.mp3 (878 KB)

Earlier this morning, I uploaded my first contribution to the LibriVox public domain audiobook library,  The LibriVox administrators (also volunteers) will soon add my recording (a poem in the public domain by Henry Cuyler Bunner entitled "She Was a Beauty") to the monthly compilation of short poetry.  Until then - and I don't know if my Blogger blog will embed the mp3 correctly - you can listen to my recording at my Posterous page.

I've been a fan of LibriVox audiobooks (free to download and in the public domain) since early 2007.  The volunteers (LibriVoxateers) - from the readers to the proof-listeners to the website administrators and every position in between - do magnificent work.  I've felt that way even before I signed up to volunteer (in early May 2009) and eventually put electrons to hard drive and read a poem (in late June 2009).

If you are an aspiring (or even established?) voice artist, you can practice (or show off!) your chops and help us bring history to the digital age.  If the microphone isn't your thing, proof-listeners are needed to compare what is recorded to what the text says.  If you are a proofreader or copy editor, LibriVox is just a stone throw's away from Project Gutenberg-related, text-based, public domain book digitizing projects.  If you are neither/nor and just want to read - that's the best kind of volunteerism:  With minimal ulterior motives!

If you don't want to volunteer (yet!), please check out http://librivox.org and download your pick of their - or dare I say our - extensive library of novels, non-fiction, short stories, poetry, and other forms of the written word in the public domain.  If you don't know where to start, I recommend either David Barnes' (slow and deliberate male BBC English) or Cori Samuel's (warm and friendly female Home Counties accent) recordings.  Be warned, however:  The reading voice inside your head may never be the same.

In any case, please spread the word about LibriVox to as many people as possible - people with failing eyesight, multitaskers who want to listen to good literature, and students who don't want to read their English homework (I must avoid making a cynical comment about the state of education).  If you help spread the word about LibriVox, you'll, in turn, help spread exponentially more words, sentences, paragraphs, pages, chapters, books, and bibliographies!

Posted via email from DeRamos' Clipboard

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #45: Inmates Pay Tribute to Michael Jackson

The "Thriller" Inmates uploaded another YouTube video...I mean...their warden who gave them no choice but to dance (still a good order) uploaded the inmates' tribute to Michael Jackson:



We can only hope that if/when these particular inmates of Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center are released, this dance therapy will have been a successful rehabilitation program. Otherwise, if any of these individuals relapse into a life of crime, may they resolve their disputes like in West Side Story - by dancing!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #44: California's Budget Crisis

Check out Gov. Schwarzenegger's update to the people of California (and YouTwitFace-land) concerning the overdue budget in this deep recession:



How about that? Arnold's lounging in what appears to be a wicker rocking chair, with a chessboard in the background. Anyhow, basically, the Governator wants to cut a massive amount of overhead (inefficient, fraud-prone, bureaucratic paper-pushing) by using Skynet. ::boom:: LOST

Goodnight, everybody!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #43: A Tweeter of Life and Death

The news was reported on Twitter yesterday, and shared amongst friends on Facebook. Here are my tweets from yesterday, with minimal notes (italicized):

@Billy RIP Sky. :-( Sky Saxon of the Seeds also died yesterday. Here is his cameo in the Smashing Pumpkins' "Superchrist" music video:



RIP Farrah Fawcett. :-( @tweetdouche LOL Thanks...I guess. Apparently I get the news from Twitter's Trending Topics column. #FarrahFawcett #Iran #Shaq etc. It's a crapshoot.

RT @williamdipini Fox "We Never Tolerate Facts" News: Sanford is a Democrat! http://bit.ly/18u5FB - sounds generous, but strike two?

@williamdipini "alcohol abuse, prostitution and sexual pursuit of minors" must be in an earlier draft of the Declaration. LOL

OK D = left hand, middle finger; R = left hand, index finger. A bit hard to typo that. http://bit.ly/10IL03 RE: Strike Two - err, foul ball? @FutureCougar Seems like Future Cougar has been promoted to Future Sugar Momma. :-)

RT @abc7 BREAKING NEWS: Michael Jackson has been rushed to a hospital after apparently suffering a cardiac arrest - abc7.com ??? Unlike many people just shocked by Jackson's death, ABC7's "heart attack" tweet pretty much prepared me for what was to come...

RT @abc7 Update on Michael Jackson breaking news: We're hearing paramedics did recognize him; When they arrived CPR was already underway

Memo to InterWebians: The usual English spelling for מִיכָאֵל / מיכאל‎ (Mikha'el) is Michael, not Micheal. Thanks. #frequent #typo When "Micheal" is in the Twitter trends and not the correct spelling, it's probably a combination of speedy typos, the dyslexic, and people who are cool with not knowing how to spell the common English rendering of "Michael."

RE: Comes in Threes - geographically and (pop) culturally assigned. Pick your three: http://bit.ly/yPOwH #MichaelJackson #Fawcett #McMahon

The Wikimocracy (Wikipedia + democracy) says who lives and who dies. #hyperbole #MichaelJackson #Fawcett #McMahon #Carradine

"This is it. I just want to say these will be my final show performances in London. This is it, when I say this is it, this is it" - MJ 6/14

Self-fulfilling prophecies are not exactly ideal. #WHH #MichaelJackson

Gonna dust off that original early '80s vinyl of Thriller and give it a spin. RIP (or get well soon?) Michael Jackson. :-(

@cmtwist :-(

Famous people dying is incapacitating Twitter.

@shondarhimes Same here. The evidence is on videotape, locked away, never to be YouTubed ever. :-\ The creator of Grey's Anatomy apparently moonwalked with her sister back in the day. Back in the day, my brother did most of the moonwalking. I was still getting the hang of walking on two feet.

Currently on Wikipedia: "At age 50, Michael Jackson died in Los Angles [sic], California due to an overdose of something." Someone actually retweeted this tweet! Awesome!

@greggrunberg I'm pretty sure his name [Jeff Goldblum] is just being used as a punchline in a list of three. Somewhat funny but in poor taste.

@ElizabethBanks Twitter is THE PLACE for late breaking news (and not political party faux typos http://bit.ly/10IL03).

@khinman You gotta pick young Michael Jackson and the J5 with "I'll Be There." Poignant. The Nightline production staff was deciding what to play at the end of tonight's episode. At the end of the show, they chose "I'll Be There." Hell yeah! Thanks, Katie Hinman (even though you all probably chose the song before and regardless of me saying anything).

R.I.P. Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Sky Saxon, et al.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Philly Roll

Pseudo-sushi (smoked salmon) because I don't want to give myself dysentery.

Posted via email from DeRamos' Clipboard

Waiting for 2010 #42: Quick Thoughts on Current Events

Gov. Sanford's Infidelity: Politics aside, only a true blue douchebag would ditch his kids on Father's Day to cheat on their mom. I @ replied to comedienne/smart person Aisha Tyler on Twitter:

aishatyler Gov Sanford drama even better than Perez meltdown. "I was hiking, & by hiking, I mean having dirty monkey sex with my Argentinian lover."

DeRamos @aishatyler ...on Father's Day, too, ignoring his kids' macaroni ashtrays (kids don't do ashtrays anymore, right?). Gov. Sanford's a douche.

(UPDATE!)
aishatyler @DeRamos super-douche.
Shaq Traded to Cleveland: Apparently we all found out on Twitter, Shaq included. What will happen to this new Cavalier team of LeBron and Shaq? Will Cavs 2010 be winners like Heat 2006 or runners-up like Lakers 2004 (or a repeat of Cavs 2009...or worse)?
DeRamos Can't wait for the @THE_REAL_SHAQ most valuable puppet. #Nike, strike up a deal. #Shaq #Cleveland #LeBron #Kobe #puppet
A Pau Gasol puppet would also be good.

Obama's Potential Healthcare Solutions on ABC: Back to politics: I watched most of the primetime program and its extension on the Nightline timeslot. You know what? I say go for the experiment, if the public, non-profit, government-subsidized insurer is alongside private for-profit insurers. We'll see if how many people choose quasi-socialism over the status quo of pseudo-capitalism (because, you know, all that collusion and everything involved with health care and drug companies).

Then again, maybe we could go for about six more months of debate. Open minds, nuance, numbers, and the lack of buzzword mudslinging (socialism!) are all essential in this debate. I'm with @jaketapper (ABC's Jake Tapper) in that pseudonymous trolls are not welcome in important debates anymore. However, they can continue to tweet and blog their fearmongering and disingenuous spin, as is their right and one of the many acceptable consequences of a free country. But we should continue to abstain from feeding aforementioned trolls, even if the temptation to mock them is overwhelming.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #41: Chord du Jour Cheat Shirts

It's time for another round of shameless self-promotion!

Anyhow, we at DeRamos Media run a periodically active blog called Chord du Jour (currently on hiatus) that focuses on teaching bits and pieces of (hopefully) useful musical knowledge to people who stumble upon the blog. While the site itself is on hiatus, we've been producing merchandise relevant to the aims of Chord du Jour, usually in the form of Cheat Shirts.

Basically, you wear a Cheat Shirt, strap on a guitar, and look down to see how to play a couple of scales. We've tried these shirts, and truth be told, it kind of works. Cheat Shirts tend to work better on flatter bodies (i.e., boobies and beer bellies might pose some problems) and for guitarists who sling their guitars lower on their bodies (relatively on or below the belly button).

We are constantly churning out variations on the design, but here are the two newest Cheat Shirts by Chord du Jour:


The above right-handed guitarist design is slightly lame, with a "Space Rocker" theme.


The above left-handed guitarist design is slightly creepy, with a play on words "Sinister Guitarist" theme (because sinister = left).

Currently, one scale is the Blues Scale (with hollow circles for root notes, special dots for blue notes, and supplemental minor pentatonic notes highlighted). The other helpful fretboard hint is the Mixolydian Mode (with hollow circles for root notes and supplemental major pentatonic notes highlighted). We will soon branch out to other scales and modes in future designs.

The classic Chord du Jour design is also available for righties and lefties:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #40: Histeria! for Today

I really liked the cartoon show Histeria!. It was a great successor to Animaniacs, which itself was light years beyond Tiny Toon Adventures. The show had a great balance of irreverent comedy for all ages (in layers of humor) and relevant historical information. Anyhow, here's a clip of the Spanish Inquisition short (seriously, the Spanish Inquisition in a children's show), which is relevant for today in at least two ways:



1. The dangers of totalitarianism and theocracy (a lethal combination for many), no matter the political and/or religious starting point. (Ahem, Iran, ahem.)

2. Lucky Bob's homage to the recently-departed Ed McMahon (click here or go to about 2 minutes and 38 seconds in the above embedded video). R.I.P. You are correct, sir. Yes now. Hi-yo!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #39: Ronald Mallett's Time Travel Quest



We'll have to call this temporal irony.

At a young age, Dr. Ronald Mallett resolved to time travel to save his father's life, who died in 1955. In the process of fulfilling this lifelong dream, Mallett learned physics, earned a Ph.D., is now a tenured professor at the University of Connecticut, and is apparently close to having his space-time bending machine prototype come to life. He's a real-life Daniel Faraday, I suppose.

Unfortunately:

The hypothetical only works from the moment it is turned on and forward into time. Therefore, Mallett cannot travel back to 1955 and thus fulfill his life's mission.

Which is good because:

If Dr. Mallett actually saved his father by travelling back to 1955, young 10-year old Ronald would never have been truly inspired to become a physicist on a mission to build a time machine. Young Ronald would not grow up to become time travelling Dr. Mallett, and no one would go back in time to save Ronald's father, thus inspiring Ronald to become a time traveling physicist, who would go back to save his father - and creating a crazy on/off time loop paradox, not to mention the ramifications for everything else in the universe (and the grammar of this sentence).

But then again:

Without telling anyone else, Dr. Mallett might have been able to figure out how his space-time machine could travel to 1955. In which case, Dr. Mallett could have tried to save his father in 1955, but since whatever happened, happened, he failed. And young Ronald was still inspired to become a time traveling physicist.

Alternatively:

Dr. Mallett probably realizes the consequences and possibilities of time travel. If he could physically travel to 1955 (or earlier), instead of preventing anything, he could just find a way to hang out with his dad for a day. Then he'd mysteriously travel back (or elsewhere) later. Since whatever happened, happened, whatever Mallett does in his travels is what was supposed to happen anyway.

On the other hand:

Who's to say that Mallett's time-bending machine will be any stable for use? Will the machine itself provide a constant location for time travellers to go from Time A to Time B? If not, it might send people to another time, but to a random location - whether another part of the Earth or a location along Earth's orbit around the Sun. If the latter, that would not be good for anyone.

Finally:

Maybe Ronald Mallett should take a cue from Daniel Faraday and try to make himself (and others) unstuck in time instead, via consciousness time travel. 64-year old Dr. Mallett could zap himself (or take some crazy drugs or hypnosis or whatever) back into his childhood, aware of his present but happy that he can spend some time in the past, probably not being able to change anything to affect the future.

The moral of the story is:

Make sure all your memories are happy and/or interesting. If consciousness time travel exists, you wouldn't want to be caught in bad times. In any case, make the most of your experiences.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #38: Cell Phone Pix of Father's Day Food

I hope those who celebrated had a Happy Father's Day earlier today. Without going into too much detail on the fun celebration of today, here are the highlights, as far as food is concerned:

I am not much of a culinary artist, but I think I can make a decent short order cook at a hole-in-the-wall diner. Anyhow, there are few people in the world for whom I am willing to rise at the crack of dawn and cook an ad hoc breakfast buffet unconditionally. Needless to say, pictured above, from the top left, counterclockwise: Blueberry muffin, corned beef hash, turkey bacon, beef sausage, wheat bread French toast, white bread French toast, scrambled eggs with mushrooms, and a pancake that turned out puffy like a biscuit. Not pictured, but on the menu, are banana muffins and turkey sausage.

Of course you gotta have a barbecue around noon time. Few things are timelessly manlier (timeless as in caveman manly) than pieces of animal (in this case, cow) impaled with pointy sticks. Not pictured: Beer. And shots of Tennessee whiskey. And glasses of Scotch whisky on the rocks. (Not all at once, of course. Don't be silly.)

This is apparently a sacrifice to the gods of paternity. I'm not a fan of when the fat drips into the fire, creating mini-explosions.

This is one of the sacrificial burger patties with sauteed onions and mushrooms, Swiss cheese (although my cell phone camera misrepresents the color), sandwiched between two hamburger buns, and surrounded by oven-roasted, seasoned, fry-cut potatoes. With an ice-cold, Caffeine-free Diet Pepsi, it was excellent.

Okay, I might have to detoxify for the next two weeks. In about two weeks, of course, is the Fourth of July, where it'll be much of the same as today. Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #37: Attempt to Write Standup Talk Show Monologue Relevant to Web Audience

I haven't seen Conan's, Letterman's, Kimmel's, Fallon's, or Ferguson's recent monologues (and thank goodness, at last check, Carson Daly reformatted his show into a quasi-documentary style and not an attempt at Magic Johnson comedy). So I don't know if any of them touched on the recent news that Apple CEO Steve Jobs received a liver transplant about two months ago.

Upon hearing (reading) the news, I tweeted:

Steve Jobs went to the hospital to upgrade liver. In related news, Michael Dell self-installed an incompatible kidney. #satire
Being a hardware (attempt at a) joke, Michael Dell was the punchline and not Steve Ballmer, Bill Gates, or that damn open source socialist Tux.

This got me thinking that I could try to do more stand-up-type, punchy one-liners:

Steve Jobs got a new liver? Apparently he wants to drink different!

Or this:

With a new liver, there's a drink for just about anything.

Cold beer? There's a drink for that.

Single malt whisky? There's a drink for for that.

Wine to complement roasted lamb? There's a drink for that.

OK, I'm done. Good morning!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #36: Fox Cable Comedy Is Fooling Less and Less People Every Day

Even at face value, Fox News is for entertainment purposes only. I hope everyone - no matter their economic and social ideology - who watches Fox News gets that fact. Unfortunately (tee hee), it is no longer an opinion that Fox News is non-news. It is fact, as evidence by their hypocrisy and convenient memory loss:

Fox News forgot about their late colleague, former Fox News personality, and former White House Press Secretary Tony Snow:



Previously, Fox News forgot about that they - Fox News - had a similar in-the-White-House setup as ABC News:



I am happy that the US still has freedom of speech, and therefore I am happy that Fox News can still broadcast their opinions. However, the word news is misused. Other than the oft-used visual pun Faux News, safer alternatives for Fox News are Fox News* (*fine print: not news) and Fox Nuze. Any misspelling of News would do, short of a possibly inappropriate Noose - the GOP (and by extension, Fox News) already has a racist joke problem on their hands.

(And that racist joke problem isn't so much a question of political correctness as it is about good manners coming from positions of power and influence. In this age of anonymous Internet trolls, whatever happened to manners?)

Anyhow, the Fox News problem of not being the news happens in other news organizations around the world - whether competing cable networks, broadcast TV networks, local news broadcast, satellite radio, broadcast radio, newspapers, and the World Wide Web - et cetera. I guess the current places for fair-and-balanced news are (1) Comedy Central (Stewart/Colbert's more-or-less liberal hour tempered by South Park's more-or-less libertarian slant) and (2) Twitter (for late breaking news, if you are patient to wade through the spam).

It's a brave new world, indeed.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #35: You Can't Beat That Tweet! #gokeyisadouche ???

I've copied and pasted the most recent top Twitter trends (as of around 11 PM yesterday), I've Googled what they're supposed to mean, and now I'm blogging about my rather trivial and useless conclusions:

Trending Topics

1. #gokeyisadouche - Apparently, someone related to American Idol contestant Danny Gokey posted some homophobic and/or generally offensive comments on Facebook, and this reflects poorly on Gokey himself. It probably started as a reasonably funny joke (like the beginnings of #unfollowdiddy weeks ago) that now seems more or less mean-spirited (somewhat like #unfollowdiddy). But what can you do?

2. #IranElection - Mostly serious tweets about the question of (and quest for) freedom in Iran is sadly the second place trend.

3. #nicerfilmtitles - Filler tweets are the equivalent to email forwards from the late 1990s and MySpace bulletins from earlier this decade. Today's filler topic is the modification of film titles to sound subjectively nicer.

4. iPhone - The next iPhone will be released this Friday, and tweeps tend to love their gadgets.

5. AT&T - In the US, the iPhone is exclusive to the AT&T as the service provider. Many of the iPhone tweets are related to AT&T's policies, whether good or bad.

6. Aramark - My Google search for why this corporation is currently a popular topic on Twitter, and I am not about to click on the bit.ly and TinyURL links of probable Twitter spammers.

7. Goodnight - Many tweeters live in the US (and by logical extension, other regions of the Western Hemisphere), and it's about bedtime for many. "Goodnight" is what they write for throwaway "What am I doing now (like you really care)?" tweets.

8. OS 3 - Relating to the new iPhone is the latest version of the iPhone operating system, available to many iPhone users right now. Complaints and praises abound.

9. Twugs - This word is evidently portmanteau for Twitter hugs, and/or a neologism that incorporates Tw- to everything Twitter. Power to the tweeple, I suppose.

10. MMS - Various tweeps have tweeted about woes and solutions to MMS text messaging, apparently relating to the iPhone, OS 3, and the AT&T service provider.

Other than being baffled by the Aramark trend (and not really caring about digging deeper into this likely triviality), I think that's that. Goodnight!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #34: Championship Effects

I'm glad that (as far as the TV news tells me) today's Lakers celebration did not descend into mob mentality chaos like on Sunday. I must congratulate the City of LA, its emergency services, and the fans for keeping everything cool today. Of course, I congratulate the Los Angeles Lakers once again for bringing home their 15th NBA Championship.

While the parade cost an estimated $2 million to produce, I hope the businesses along the parade route had a spectacular day of business. If street vendors were allowed in the area, I'm sure they also made some good money - and paid the City well in permit fees. I think the State of California received some needed revenue for the use of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan area of Southern California (that undisturbed continuum of urban/suburban between Ventura County and south Orange County, and between the Pacific coast and fading out in the Inland Empire counties of San Bernardino and Riverside) also claims the Los Angeles Lakers as their own. Because of this championship, lots of merchandise - from the $26 relic'd baseball caps to the $20 caricature T-shirts and then some - is moving from sporting good stores and other merchandisers throughout the Southland (and elsewhere, wherever Lakers fans exist).

Until SoCal remembers that economic times are tough, it's kind of good to have this spend-happy and celebrate-much vacation from our woes. It's good for the morale of the region.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #33: Time to LOL

Conan O'Brien has been a favorite comedian of mine ever since he took over Late Night in the early-mid '90s (and then I learned that he wrote for The Simpsons and Saturday Night Live previously). Norm Macdonald has been a comedic favorite not long after, since the mid-mid '90s on Saturday Night Live. Jim Gaffigan nearly killed me with his comedic rant against Hot Pockets on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, circa 2002. While (unfortunately) the meeting of the three on an episode of The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien last week didn't destroy me with belly-aching laughter, this promo outtake montage posted at NBC's website did the trick:



Well, Norm did most of the funny work, and Conan reacted fantastically. Gaffigan didn't do much, but I'm glad he was there, too. In any case, it was great to see three of my favorite comedians at the same time and in the same location. Maybe next time, they can up the funny to destroy the world. ::boom:: LOST

Monday, June 15, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #32: Hooray for the Lakers!

I am happy that the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA Championship, especially in the same exact fashion as I had anticipated:

1. Believe it or not: I really want the Lakers to win the Championship on Sunday's Game 5, not on Thursday. If not Sunday, then either Game 6 or 7 will do.
And so the Lakers won on Sunday.

The downside is that many of my fellow Laker fans - especially those congregated in Downtown LA - gave into the chemistry of human biology and ancient sociology when celebrating our team's victory. For the celebratory rioters, I think the sheer excitement and elation of the Lakers' championship turned into a chaotic mix of adrenaline, testosterone, and mob mentality. At some point in the celebration, the maddening crowd probably forgot that they were celebrating the Lakers in the midst of the destruction. Terms like "Lakers," "Kobe," and "Gasol" likely became mere abstractions compared to the urgent now of fire and congregating in circles and shaking passing automobiles.

My under-educated opinions aside, National Geographic published a better article on the phenomenon of sports riots.

Shifting gears: There is talk that the Cleveland Cavaliers want to bring @The_Real_Shaq into their fold. Shaquille O'Neal and LeBron James in a single team...where did I hear that before? Oh, yes, I wrote about that early Wednesday, in terms of building a better Clippers team:
2. Lure Shaquille O'Neal to play his final seasons in LA. Shaq loves LA, and LA loves Shaq, but there is no place in Kobe Bryant's Lakers for Shaq.

3. Convince LeBron James to play with Shaq in the Clippers. The newly demoted Prince James (who lost his Kingship due to poor sportsmanship after losing the Eastern Conference Finals) has an opportunity for both redemption and epic greatness if he can lead the Clippers to his first Championship.
In any case, I still wish the situation was for the Clippers and not the Cavaliers. Then again, a Kobe Bryant (with Pau Gasol, et al.) versus a combination of Shaq and LeBron in the NBA Finals is more epic than a meeting for a Western Conference title.

I say bring it, Cleveland, and sign/trade/deal for Shaq. And Nike had better make more Most Valuable Puppets commercials, too. They're delightful. (A guest appearance by Sesame Street's Grover to teach puppet LeBron the meaning of good sportsmanship would be an excellent premise.)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #31: Re-electing Ahmadinejad: Really, Iran?

File this under: Not a surprise at all.

In Iran, incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared himself winner of the recent election - noting a landslide victory, to boot - against leading rival, and last Iranian Prime Minister, Mir-Hossein Mousavi. On the other hand, Mousavi and his supporters suspect voter fraud in the electoral results.

The American press is (or was) hyping former Prime Minister Mousavi and his wife as an Obama-like team of positive change in Iran. (Both Obama and Mousavi even share cognate middle/second names.) Given the reputation of Iran for the past handful of decades, coupled with Ahmadinejad's totalitarian tendencies, along with the recent imprisonment of American journalist Roxana Saberi in Iran - I was hoping for a change in the Iranian government, too, in so much whatever semblance of democracy is allowed under that country's theocracy.

In any case, to this American outsider, the election zeitgeist of Iran feels more like 2004 America (but worse) than 2008 America. Yes, in hindsight, 2004's Bush re-election didn't bring about a feared American theology but rather an economic downturn that brings us to today's current situation. I'm just saying that this Ahmadinejad re-election essentially feels like what it felt like in November 2004 - voter fraud, fears of theocracy, a divided nation, an unknown future, etc. - albeit half a world away, in a culture that I do not fully grasp. (Then again, the United States of America is, in many regards, a sprawling country with regions and [sub]cultures that I don't fully understand right now, let alone back in 2004.)

News of riots and arrests, as well as a possible dictatorial backlash against dissenting voters, just adds to the volatility of the greater region. Iraq to the west has its own issues relating to the US-led invasion and war. Both Pakistan and Afghanistan to the east have issues with the Taliban and al-Qaeda. (We also have to facetiously mention Turkey to the northwest getting its hoop dreams dashed by native son Hedo Turkoglu and the Orlando Magic's possible NBA Finals loss tonight.) Will there be a civil war in Iran, due to the outcome of this election and the consequences of the outcome?

If so, no matter the outcome, what about Persia?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #30: Is 2009 Pittsburgh's Year?

Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Penguins for winning the NHL Stanley Cup, by coming back from a series deficit against the Detroit Redwings. It seems like a good year for the City of Black, Gold, and White (okay, the Penguins have a "Vegas Gold" variant to the Pittsburgh colors). Earlier this year, the Pittsburgh Steelers won the NFL Super Bowl. The City of Pittsburgh doesn't have a team in the NBA, but they have a chance at the MLB World Series in 2009 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who haven't won the title in 30 years (1979).

If there is no SoCal Freeway World Series (Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim), and if neither the Dodgers nor the Angels make it to the Series, I'd like to see the Pirates go all the way this year. I apologize to Chicago Cubs and their long-suffering fans.

Maybe if the Clippers move to Pittsburgh and change their colors to black, gold, and white, they'd win some NBA Championships. Pittsburgh Clippers, anyone? Steel-welding (and wielding) penguin pirates on clipper ships sounds catchy...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #29: Ridiculous Public Feuds: Palin vs. Letterman

Don't people know how and when to end trivial non-issues anymore? I guess those who have disagreements in private tend to deal better than those who have "feuds" in public - since public people are more apt to milk any event for what it's worth (even if it is worthless). Case in point: Alaska Governor/former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin versus longtime comedian and TV personality David Letterman.

Here's the context: Sometime this week, Palin, her husband Todd, and one of their children went to a Yankee game during their New York visit. That night, Letterman made a joke about an unnamed Palin daughter getting knocked up by Alex Rodriguez during a Yankee game. It turned out that the only Palin daughter at that game was one of the underaged ones* and not legal Bristol, the one who is a public figure (as a slightly ironic spokesperson for abstinence). If I remember the media law I took five years ago, American defamation laws (slander, libel, and the like) protect private people more than public people (politicians and famous people). Anyhow, Palin issued a statement condemning Letterman's joke. Then Letterman tried to clarify the issue as hilariously as possible:



Letterman said that the joke was meant for public figure and known pregnant person Bristol Palin, and apologized for the confusion. For many people, this excuse makes sense, and the joke is funny (and logical...as far humor goes) when the punchline consists Bristol and A-Rod, and not a more obscure Palin sibling. It really is nonsensical when applied to the younger Palin daughter. For others, Letterman meant it to be a cruel joke against the younger Palin daughter, with no possibility for a Bristol confusion. Yes, I have tried to make this entry a non-political rant, but how you feel about this non-issue likely depends on your political point of view.

Needless to say, Gov. Palin is in the latter category and continues the feud against Letterman:



In any case, Gov. Palin implied that Letterman is some kind of pedophile who advocates child rape.

My assessment:

1. Palin, in her role as a parent, has a right to be to offended that one of her children was the butt of a joke or jokes.

2. Letterman's A-Rod joke only makes sense when applied to Bristol, not her younger sister, so the confusion excuse is reasonable. And yes, the joke is tasteless regardless.

3. Because the joke was meant for public figure Bristol Palin, and because Gov. Palin essentially called public figure Letterman a child-rapin' pedophile - I say the feud is tit-for-tat over!

If this feud isn't over (and it seems nothing is ever over for Gov. Palin), then this sad state of affairs of "civilized" "humanity" makes me a sad panda.

*Yes, the daughter is named Willow, but I made her anonymous for the above content to try to show the difference between private and public people.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #28: Joe Scarborough Says to Be Cool

Check out this clip from Tavis Smiley, which is likely the same talking point former Republican congressman/TV personality Joe Scarborough has been making throughout the press tour promoting his new book The Last Best Hope:



Whatever you believe politically and/or ideologically, it makes sense to be cool and calm in this panicky time. To be angry and accusatory is to fuel a fire that needs to be quenched instead.

In another segment from Tavis Smiley's interview, Scarborough said that the "creative friction" between then-Republican majority Congress in the '90s and Bill Clinton's Democratic Administration forced the two sides to actually do stuff. By the turn of the century (pre-9/11), the United States had a budget surplus. In contrast, according to Scarborough (which I also agree), the unchecked power of much of the George W. Bush/majority Republican Congress years led to our current economic predicament. Scarborough also fears the same will happen with an unchecked Barack Obama Administration/Democratic Congress. When given the choice between unchecked political power over this large country and "creative friction" for the betterment of the United States, I'd have to choose the latter. Then again, we have some time between now and the 2010 midterm elections to see if the Obama Administration's relatively unchecked power fixes its inherited woes or makes them worse (and adds some new woes of its own).

Since Scarborough works for MSNBC (and not FOX News), and his strategy for a Republican comeback involves some degree of evenhanded nuance (if the above clip is any indication) - it's only a matter of time before the angry, thinks-everyone-else-is-a-commie, Cheney/Limbaugh Republican base throws the man under the cliche bus (if they haven't done so already).

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #27: Rebuild the Clippers?

OK, since my last post (about three hours ago), I still want to rant about basketball. So here's a little roadmap to cure the curse of California that is the Los Angeles Clippers:

1. Dump the existing team. Mike Dunleavy can stay as head coach and general manager, unless he (as GM) can get someone better as head coach.

2. Lure Shaquille O'Neal to play his final seasons in LA. Shaq loves LA, and LA loves Shaq, but there is no place in Kobe Bryant's Lakers for Shaq.

3. Convince LeBron James to play with Shaq in the Clippers. The newly demoted Prince James (who lost his Kingship due to poor sportsmanship after losing the Eastern Conference Finals) has an opportunity for both redemption and epic greatness if he can lead the Clippers to his first Championship.

4. Get one or more three-point shooters. When the Magic lose the Finals (okay, if the Magic lose the Finals), one of their sharpshootin' free agents (Hedo Turkoglu, perhaps?) would love to join this new dream team.

5. Leave Staples Center...eventually. I would love to see at least one Western Conference Finals with no road travel between the Clippers and the Lakers. After that, the reborn Clippers can move elsewhere in the Los Angeles metro region. Like the Angels baseball team, the Clippers might be able to get away with being a Los Angeles team of another city.

If Clippers owner Donald Sterling won't listen ('cause he probably won't), I'm pretty sure there are a few relatively recession-proof multibillionaires who are desperately looking for a crazy risk that just might work. Yes, a potential LeBron/Shaq Clippers organization is that crazy risk. If they move just barely into the Inland Empire, the stagnant housing market deeper in the region (i.e., all those empty new tract homes) will find a new turnaround with a championship-caliber professional team in the area. Some desperate (formerly) multimillionaire real estate developers should pool their funds to attract the aforementioned crazy multibillionaires to join in on the plot to buy out Sterling and start this insane process!

Here's to the Los Angeles Clippers of Ontario??? ::boom:: LOST

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #26: Rationalizing the Lakers' Game 3 Loss

Here are some good things about the Los Angeles Lakers losing Game 3, from the perspective of a lifelong Lakers fan:

1. Believe it or not: I really want the Lakers to win the Championship on Sunday's Game 5, not on Thursday. If not Sunday, then either Game 6 or 7 will do.

2. The little girl who sang the "Star Spangled Banner" continues her perfect good luck charm streak for the Orlando Magic.

3. The little boy (from the halftime segment) with the anxiety disorder that renders him speechless, who is magically healed (with the gift of gab) during Magic home games, will get to enjoy the last two games in Orlando.

4. Kobe Bryant was the one who committed the little-big mistakes that ultimately cost the Lakers the game, so the rest of the team won't get the blame for this loss. This also means that Bryant will be in redemption mode on Thursday.

5. The Magic finally get a Finals win for once in their history. Good for them - baby steps until they can win the Finals...another season.

6. After three games, Dwight Howard is still pretty useless thus far. I don't know what the voting fans were thinking, but Howard was not the Player of the Game. Rafer Alston was the Player of the Game tonight, and both Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu have been consistent for the past three games.

That's it for June 6, 2009. Remember, Soylent green is (some) people. ::boom:: LOST

Soylent Green Is People!



He won the lottery, indeed.  Pearl Jam "W.M.A.":

Posted via email from DeRamos' Clipboard

Monday, June 8, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #25: Google Is (Was) Slow Today

Something is up with many users' Googling experience today.  Appropriately enough, Google News loads slowly and (at last check) does not mention today's Google Empire sluggishness.  A usually mundane Google search with Firefox's Google Toolbar failed several times today by timing out.  This could be a pirate attack by Microsoft to influence Googlers to try out Bing.  (Could this Google slowdown possibly be targeted to Microsoft operating system users, since I use an XP Netbook?  CONSPIRACY!).

Right now, Blogger (run by Google) is nearly impossible to access today, and my daily DeRamos.org blog is a Blogger blog.  That's why I am on Posterous typing this reflexive meta-entry in the hope that it will auto-repost at DeRamos.org, too.  Gmail - typically the no-brainer webmail host due to its immense convenience and space - is also slow going.

As I finish this short rant of a post, Google seems to be picking up the pace as the sun sets in Pacific Time.  The moral of the story is to not put all your eggs in one basket, whether it be a G-basket (Gmail, Blogger, YouTube, Google Search, Google News, Google Apps, Google Docs, etc.) or an iBasket or a Microbasket or even a Penguin-basket (for the revolutionaries out there).  Diversification is the key, even though it may cost synergistic efficiency.  The Google Empire had a hiccup today (for many users), and those who rely on Google for virtually all of their Web-based needs had a hiccup of a day by consequence.

As for me, I'm glad I had things to do offline, as there is always something to do in my daily existence - Google or not, personal computer or not, electricity or not, and civilization or not.  Even though the mind can play tricks on you (I'll have to blog about today's perceptional experience later), the human brain is a beautiful biological supercomputer.  Virtually all our modern day toys are here to supplement the brain's power, not to complement it.  For many of us, the human brain (and by extension, the human spirit) is already pretty complete; maybe cooperation with other people's brains can complement our own when websites, applications, and technologies cannot.  And sure, there is the question of artificial intelligence, but remember that we usually compare the possibility of artificial intelligence with the decision-making of humanity.

Posted via web from DeRamos' Clipboard

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #24: Congratulations to the Class of 2009!

I'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate those graduating this year, whether kindergarten or middle school or high school or undergraduate college or postgraduate studies. Specifically, I would like raise a cup to the graduates of a high school where I taught three years ago, when they were freshmen then. This also includes my (then) freshmen who transferred to other schools in the past three years. They're all grows'd up now. Cheers! And keep on rockin' in the free world -



- Okay, maybe that video of Pearl Jam doing a Neil Young cover on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien would only appeal to me. But anyhow, I wish the Class of 2009 the best of luck in the future!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #23: D-Day and Whatever Happened, Happened

Today marks the 65th anniversary of the Normandy Landings during World War II, usually called D-Day. On this day, we remember the wave after wave of brave soldiers who fought, died, and used the spring tide to turn the tide of the war in Europe.

This notable anniversary led me to various interesting reads, including a D-Day dress rehearsal that became a disastrous surprise attack, massacre, and possible impetus for the success of the actual invasion. Further reading led me to our current President, whose grandfather Stanley Armour Dunham enlisted in the Army. His unit supported the 9th Air Force in the events of the D-Day invasion and followed the front six weeks later.

President Barack Obama's mother Stanley Ann Dunham had been born about a year and a half previously. However, had the senior Stanley not survived the war, his family might not have moved to Hawaii, where the President's parents met - thus possibly changing the very existence of our current President. That's something for any history-changing, possibly Axis-sympathizing time travelers to consider. Of course, agents of chronological chaos would likely fail. Even if such a covert assassin succeeded, a substitute Stanley Dunham would have returned home from the war in that case, thus making sure whatever happened, happened. ::boom:: LOST

Sgt. Dunham's Army photo is in the public domain.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #22: Concerning Poseidon's Domain and Eastward

My mind makes its way eastward, across the North American continent, and over the Atlantic Ocean for this entry:

I blame my daily re-watching of Lost episodes (one per night), which enables my imagination to run wild whenever there is inconclusive news about the very real and very tragic Air France 447. The latest news is that the debris found in the Atlantic Ocean is not from the missing airplane. Like Atlantis before it, apparently Poseidon keeps it hidden from rescuers...or the recovery team, as it is presumed.

As we travel past Poseidon's domain, we find land.

Not being a globally-conscious political scientist by any stretch of the imagination (that also goes for the terms "globally," "conscious," "political," and "scientist" taken separately), I have been trying to figure out the how various democracies work and how various super-nation entities (like the European Union) function.

Yesterday was the beginning of the current cycle of European Parliament elections. The United Kingdom and the Netherlands had first crack at voting for their respective seats. The UK results will be revealed on Sunday (or Monday for some regions), and I applaud their patience. In the States, the news tends to project election results the same night and oftentimes call it when only 1% of precincts report. Maybe the news across the pond does the same. Sometimes I wish I had a satellite feed of the BBC and related channels. The 5 AM BBC news program (programme?) on PBS isn't the same, methinks.

From what I understand, the UK also held county elections of various kinds yesterday. For all the British National Party's anti-immigration alarmist efforts, making the most of their opportunity in this global economic downturn and multicultural zeitgeist, the BNP gained one local county seat in Lancashire. The seat is evidently the very first for the far-right, racialist party. I suspect the anti-BNP Brits (of all colours - take that, BNP!) are now cautious because their ideological enemy has a slight foothold in the democratic system. The county of Lancashire might suffer some sort of reputational backlash due to the unpopular result of the local vote. In any case, as long as the system of true cyclical elections and freedom remains, democracy is good. Let the extremists have their say but make sure it doesn't last forever. Vote them in; vote them out - but don't let those voted in change the system into totalitarianism.

And so we travel eastward a bit to the Netherlands. In the United States, 2008's cultural climate of a bad economy, one unjustfied war, one ignored justified war, and other factors led the majority of voters to reject a continuation of center-right/sometimes further-right government for a center-left/potentially further-left new administration. In the Netherlands, similar domestic and global conditions have led their voters to seek the far right. The potentially ironically named Freedom Party (akin to totalitarian North Korea's ironic official name - Democratic People's Republic of Korea) has apparently secured seats in the European Parliament.

Are both the UK's and the Netherlands' results a sign for things to come in Europe? Will anti-immigration, religious suspicion (notably against Muslims), and economic stuggles point to a far right solution, a possible fascist solution? Sure, the far right, when seeking votes, notes that Islamic theocracy (and related extremism and terrorism) is a form of fascism. But if the far right gains power, wouldn't their ultimate goal be some sort of totalitarian regime, which in line with right-wing ideology, is a form of fascism? I am certain that reality of the situation needn't be a dichotomy of Eurofascism vs. Islamofascism. Please consider freedom, liberty, democracy, education, a balanced amount of tolerance, justice, a non-alarmist amount of caution, and a rational amount of optimism in human progress (good change!) - all beyond the fear of totalitarianism.

Oh, civilized humanity and your ever-repeating, never-learning history - would you risk your own existence and ruin your own progress with a third World War? ::boom:: LOST

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #21: Rally Against Totalitarianism Once Again (for Twitter: BNP, Tiananmen Square)

Even with all this perpetual connection to the InterTubes, sometimes I'm just stuck within the confines of my own workspace. Do I think of my locality, community? Sure, I try to patronize a local business (or a few thereof) at least weekly. However, I sometimes forget that the State of California is bankrupt and not very socially progressive as of late. I sometimes forget that the United States of America is still tangled up in at least a couple of wars, muddling near the bottom (hopefully we've bottomed already) of an economic downturn, and now the proud owner of General Motors.

Regarding various parts of the world, and as a whole, I don't even know most days. I might be learning how to say "Would you like something to drink? Beer? Wine?" in a sixth non-English language, but unfortunately I don't keep up with current events. (I used to intermittently but not recently, sadly.)

What I'm getting at now is today's (if the time zones are correct) election in the United Kingdom (maybe elsewhere, too) for seats in the European Parliament, as well as other local government offices. It caught me by surprise a bit. In the back of my head, I knew about several big events outside of my region about to happen, but unfortunately paid little attention to the details of time. Evidently the British National Party - a rather phenotype-driven, racial segregation-loving political party - has a real shot at winning some some seats and offices. It might be due to the economic and domestic (in the UK) and international zeitgeist. Of course, while the unbridled voices of kooks is a necessary evil in any (would-be) democracy, there is a chance that voters will actually listen to the kooks, and the kooks will gain momentum and increasing power. After a tipping point, the kooks have their totalitarian world order.

The rant against the above fascists applies to communists, too. We are approaching the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests and eventual massacre. It was a blow to human rights, democracy, and freedom in China. To celebrate this event, China is silent, and its totalitarian government has further censored the Internet from its people.

Let's bring this back to the US. The people essentially own shares in General Motors. Other than encouraging our new corporation to manufacture good electric/hybrid/alternative energy-powered automobiles, we need to reintroduce GM to what's left of the free market as soon as possible. (Mind you, the free market has always been less-than-ideal due to government stakeholding and government crony capitalism. Both extremes are at fault.)

In any case: Single-minded societies and narrow-minded people blow. Extremists are kooks; they are allowed to bark but not bite. Nuance, rationality, and civil debate are key. Freedom is awesome. The end.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #20: Pearl Jam "Santa Cruz"

In yesterday's entry, I mentioned the song "Santa Cruz" from the Pearl Jam's annual Ten Club (fan club) holiday single, distributed a few weeks ago (late holiday). I still dig it, and I hope it will be on Backspacer, in addition to "Got Some." I guess I'm in a mellow sort of mood this season, and "Santa Cruz" has this chill vibe with lyrics about the beach. That sounds like a good summer to me:

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #19: Pearl Jam "The Fixer" (Correction: "Got Some") on the Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien

Initially, I didn't know what to think of the new Pearl Jam song from their upcoming album Backspacer. Ed looked like he was competing with Russell Crowe for the slightly out-of-shape bearded Eddie Vedder look. (In the years 2000 and 2006, bearded Eddie Vedder was a bit more fit.) Mike had some strange distortion effect that make his guitar a bit like a trumpet or sax, which was kind of cool, actually. Jeff seemed to have recovered from his recent mugging in Atlanta. With the new song, Matt was given the opportunity to jazz it up with some drum soloing. Stone apparently hasn't had a haircut since I last saw him in October. The apparently entitled "Fixer" or "The Fixer" didn't hook me in at first listen, probably because I was distracted by the band itself. In any case, check out the performance:



I wanted Pearl Jam to play "Brother" (with vocals) from their Ten reissue box set, but that would mostly benefit the band's former record company, Sony/Epic, which owns the Ten master recordings. Backspacer belongs to Pearl Jam, and they have the freedom to distribute it themselves (through Ten Club LLC) and partner with whomever they choose (Target, among other Music Industry 2.0 dealings).

With that thought in mind, I then wished they had played "Santa Cruz" from their belated holiday vinyl single. Then again, it's a mellow song - maybe too mellow for a debut show. So I decided to give "Fixer" another listen - I found it again before through Google News, before Hulu can upload an official copy of the episode - and it's growing on me.

Pearl Jam 2006, with the rally-against-Bush swagger of "World Wide Suicide," grew on me instantly. Pearl Jam 2009 is slowly growing on me, on the other hand. Let me qualify that statement: New mellow stuff like "Santa Cruz" instantly connects with me these days, but raw rockers like "Fixer" might need some time and extra spins. It just might be the sign of the times - the whole cautious economic recovery of today and whatnot. Or maybe other songs - both loud and mellow- from Backspacer will change my rate of acceptance.

In any case, the band had better play SoCal sometime soon, and hopefully the fan club can give me some good tickets, like last time. Also: Where's Boom? ::boom:: LOST

Monday, June 1, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #18: Listen to Seven Minute Silence "This Disaster" EP (#7MS)

For context, either stream the new Seven Minute Silence EP This Disaster at sevenminutesilence.com or download it for free, courtesy of the band.

I've blogged about this band before. To review, Seven Minute Silence consists of John Ingles (lead vocals, guitar), Matt Bidart (lead guitar, vocals), Miguel "Miggy" Caraballo (bass), and Nick Bidart (drums). This Disaster (2009) is representative of Seven Minute Silence at its heaviest. Having seen the band perform live on two separate occasions, the four track EP is as loud, riff-heavy, and intense as their shows.

Production-wise, This Disaster showcases the band first and foremost, from the dual vocal attack of Ingles and Matt Bidart to the tight rhythm section of Caraballo and Nick Bidart. For the most part, the guitars are panned hard left and hard right, with minimal overdubbed guitars. In most of the songs, I assume it is Ingles' fuzztone guitar on the left and Bidart's scooped riff-maker on the right, but I could be wrong.

Ingles' and Bidart's vocal harmonies blend beautifully, and their vocal line exchanges are reminiscent of Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell, especially in "Dilemma." To be accurate, Ingles is a smoother Stayley and Bidart is more vocally James Hetfield than Cantrell - and this arrangement totally works!

Nick Bidart is a beast at the drums. When not riffing along with the guitarists, Caraballo's bassline fills are sparse but effective. (The sparseness is for good reason: This ain't a dueling bass funk album; it's freakin' metal, man!) Genre conventions aside: When the band gets into a groove, in my opinion, is where the rhythm section of Caraballo and Bidart truly shines: In. The. Pocket. Just download the EP (linked above) to hear the grooves (and feel the lower frequencies) for yourself.

This Disaster is not an overproduced hard rock/metal EP, which is a good thing at this early stage of the band: What you hear on the EP is what you will experience at their upcoming gigs. Omitting a slightly mellower rocker called "As I Bleed," This Disaster is essentially their set list from their first two gigs:

1. "Never Coming Home"
2. "Dilemma"
3. "This Disaster"
4. "Sense of Urgency"

After an epic almost-17 minutes of madness, you'll probably want more Seven Minute Silence. If so, then you are in luck, but you must be patient. Matt Bidart says, "We will be back in a month to do another 4 tracks. Get ready for many more shows this summer..."