One Neat Thing a Day

Or two or three or four or…

  • Subscribe

  • Who is us?

    Sean Daily is an English major from New Jersey now living in Las Vegas, the Other City of Lights. "I consider 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' to be comfort reading, I like the al pastor tacos at Tacos Mexico and I count among my literary influences the Chainsaw from 'Doom'. 'RRRRRR! You don't like that, do you, Mr. Undead Marine! RRRRRR!'"

    Shanoah Alkire is our Discordian at large. "Born in Santa Cruz, I grew up in Grass Valley and the Bay Area, and now lurk in Las Vegas. My literary influences include Ray Bradbury, Lewis Carroll, and Douglas Adams. I also program as a hobby, and currently maintain the Gtk port of Angband. You can find a rather old bio of me here."

  • Flickr Photos

Archive for January, 2008

1-31-08 Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman – Time to Say Goodbye

Posted by Sean on January 31, 2008

I first heard this, of all places, playing during one of the fountain shows in front of the Bellagio here. The fountain shows there have a set of music, and most of it’s what you’d expect to be playing for the tourists. Frank Sinatra’s Luck Be a Lady? Check. Big Spender? Check. Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On? What a shocker! Elvis Presley’s Viva Las Vegas? Need we even ask?

And then suddenly…

Opera?

Now, I have to admit that I’m not a big opera fan. I’m not even a big Andrea Bocelli or Sarah Brightman fan; this is the only song of either that I’ve really ever heard. But as soon as I heard this booming out, I had to run out and buy Bocelli’s Romanza CD for just this one song.

It’s so strange, down in the tourist mecca that is the Strip, where everything hides behind a false face of plaster and flammable foam, to hear something this sincere and emotional and sung with that kind of power behind it. Maybe that’s why it caught my ear. Whatever the reason, I bought it, I liked it, and now I’m offering it to you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Posted in I Tunes Not U Tunes, Mailing List | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

1-30-08 Tom Waits – What’s He Building?

Posted by Sean on January 30, 2008

My friend Dan Phillips introduced me to Tom Waits lo these many years ago, and the good folks at WFMU recently re-introduced us. Waits is that rarity in the entertainment business: a guy who looks and sounds like he’s fighting off a two-day hangover but still sounds better (and certainly more intelligent) than guys half his age. Old dogs like me like hearing him howl, so you’ll be hearing a lot of him here, I suspect. Here’s to you, Tom, you who dare to look like hammered dogshit like the rest of us, and God bless you for it. 

Your Waitsery for today is What’s He Building?, a spoken word piece off 1999’s Mule Variations. This is what How the Grinch Stole Christmas would sound like if Dr. Seuss had been a paranoid schizophrenic. Can’t you just imagine Boris Karloff (the original narrator to the 1966 Grinch TV special) saying, “What’s he buiiiiilllllllding in there?”

Notice the logo in the upper right corner. That’s right: someone lifted this off of MTV. Sometimes even the Great Satan gets a clue.

Posted in I Tunes Not U Tunes, Mailing List | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

1-29-08 Iron Maiden – The Prisoner

Posted by Sean on January 29, 2008

Well, based on the numbers from yesterday, it seems that I’m playing host to about a hundred more people than I did only a few days ago. I am surprised and humbled that you would choose to spend some of your limited time in my particular corner of the Web – and grateful.

Now, based on the posts of the last few days, you may think that all I do here is biting and insightful political commentary, or maybe biting and insightful and somewhat emo philosophical commentary. Is that what you can expect?

Nope. Or at least, not on the surface. Right now I post about music… and not even not the most bleeding edge or hip or modern music, not even close. Right now, I’m just posting music that I like, and that I hope you like, too, or will like.

What music could be better after Super Tuesday, with the field of pathetic pymgies in the Republican party being pared down yet again and the tickets starting to shape up a bit,  than some good Iron Maiden – something to get the blood pumping and the imagination going, just what the soul needs in the final ugly run to November.

Sure, Maiden seems dated, that long hair looks ridiculous and the sight of a grown man like me headbanging with horns to the sky is a sight pathetic to behold. But when you’re a white boy growing up in the ‘burbs – or worse yet, when you’re someone trying, with only intermittent success, to hold a series of “entry level” jobs… well, my friend, Nicko and Company are your very best friend, as they are mine.

Needless to say, The Prisoner, off Number of the Beast, is my favorite. And it seems oddly timely now, with the world balkanized and demographed and the electorate confused and run amok, like Patrick McGoohan in the TV show that this song is named after. Poor No. 6 never could get away from the Village. I like Iron Maiden’s take on the series much better.

Say it with me now…

“I am not a number. I am a free man!”

Posted in I Tunes Not U Tunes, Mailing List | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Thank you thank you thank you thank you

Posted by Sean on January 29, 2008

This blog passed a milestone today, and I have you to thank for it.

For the first time, One Neat Thing a Day surpassed 100 views! Here’s the views as of 6 p.m. PST. WordPress’s servers turn over at 4 p.m. each day, so the view stats are always some hours behind the times. Click on the thumbnail for the full story.

blog-stats-1-28-08.jpg

That’s not the only thing. Most of you – 97 out of 116 of you, that is – chose to read my pre-State of the Union post, and most of you got there by typing “state of the union 1/28/08” or some variant into your search browsers. Somehow, and I’m still trying to figure out how, that post got into the top 10 for the search term “state of the union 1/28/08” – and made the #1 spot on CNN.com’s search engine.

 Google Search Results - 1-28-08  CNN Search Results - 1-28-08

In other words, there were some mighty confused pundits out there looking for Bush’s State of the Union address and instead getting mindfucked with American Psycho.

And that’s always a good thing.

Again, to everyone out there who made it possible, thank you.

Posted in FREAKIN' IMPORTANT MAN | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

1-28-08 A thought before Super Tuesday

Posted by Sean on January 28, 2008

So ya want “change”™, huh? Well, you won’t get it unless you get a little fired up – you know, a little rowdy. And if there’s anything that a political brouhaha like Super Tuesday needs, it’s a little rowdiness. I’ve got just the music to get you riled up.

NOTE: Some of these links ain’t work-safe. Browse at your own peril.

First, before we go any further, let’s remind ourselves what’s at stake here. Woody Guthrie‘s got just the song for that: This Land is Your Land.

For you Republicans and Risk fans such who think that the War on Terror™ is so neat but, you know, don’t want to inconvenience yourselves by actually joining the military and going overseas and actually fighting this conflict that is so indispensible to The Future of Our Nation™, Creedence Clearwater Revival‘s got just the song for you: Fortunate Son.

For you types who think that what this country needs is a more authoritarian leader – maybe even one of those neat theocracies like they have in Iran, who knows! – Jello Biafra and the Dead Kennedys bring you Holiday in Cambodia, and remind you what it’s like “where they get things done”.

For you fundies out there, Eric Schwartz sends his best with Keep Your Jesus Off My Penis (thanks to Lord Yellow Dog).

Not to be undone, Marilyn Manson, the fundie boogeyman, chimes in with mOBSCENEif only to remind you that we’ve been living in a Satanic nation since Sept. 11, 2001 (but then, you knew that already).

For us working slobs on the outside looking in on all this craziness, there’s One Big Union from Matthew Grimm and the Red Smear, guaranteed to scare the bejeezus out of “New” Democrats and Republicans alike (pretty much all the candidates, in other words). Don’t let your boss or “immediate supervisor” catch you listening to this. (thanks to Down With Tyrany)

Public Enemy reminds us all to just Shut ‘Em Down, always a good thing to remember in any election year.

And Eminem travels the road blazed by Chuck D and Flavor Flav et al. with 2004’s Mosh, which I first heard and saw, again thanks to Lord Yellow Dog, during the election that year. This is the version that aired before the election. There’s another version here, with Mr. Mathers leading the charge into the Capitol, but I don’t think that’s called for… yet.

And finally… it’s been said before, but it needs to be said again… DragonForce‘s Through the Fire and Flames, just what you need to hear before you go out to battle, political or otherwise.

Posted in Action Jesus, I Tunes Not U Tunes, Islamocommunifeminihomofascists, Mailing List | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

1-28-08 A thought before the State of the Union address

Posted by Sean on January 28, 2008

There is an idea of a Sean Daily, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me, only an entity, something illusory, and though I can hide my cold gaze and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense that our lifestyles are comparable, I simply am not there.

I recently took a survey of what I know and what I believe and found that everything I believe in – with a passion, with even the fanatical devotion of a suicide bomber – are things that people have told me to believe in. All I know, all I believe… what of it is truly mine, and what isn’t? How much of me isn’t just conditioning and Pavlovian reflexes? And I have to answer: not much. Maybe zero. I have this chilling feeling that, behind these black iron bars that’re shaped like Sean Daily, there’s nothing. The situation’s so bad, in fact, that I can’t express it in my own words, but only in the words of a Hollywood screenwriter.

This post may seem goth and emo, maybe even a little disturbed, but it has relevance. We’re coming up on the State of the Union address, and then Super Tuesday, which will probably determine, once and for all, who’s going to make the run for the White House. And after that is the 2008 election – very important, possibly the most important in recent history.

This question of what you and I believe, and whether you and I truly believe it, or whether we believe it only because some ad agency or pundit told us to believe it, is going to be of critical importance to our nation and our species in the coming months.

America, and by extension the world, is sitting on multiple ticking time bombs: Social Security, the federal debt, billions of dollars in defaulting loans, global warming, a military demolished and exhausted by nation building and guerilla warfare, etc., etc., etc. The only way we as a species can defuse these time bombs is if we see them with eyes clear and unfettered. If we let others guide our responses to them the way a teamster guides a mule team – with blinders and muzzles – we’re screwed.

Your neat thing for today are these questions: What do you truly believe in? Why do you believe it? Who told you to believe it: yourself, or someone else, someone who may not have your best interests at heart?

Who are you?

Posted in A Thought from a Sticky Mood, Happy Media, Mailing List | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

1-26-07 Dethklok – Fan Song

Posted by Sean on January 27, 2008

Yes, yes, I know, Dethklok isn’t a real band. They’re characters from Cartoon Central’s Metalocalypse. I’m aware of that.

They also have some of the best music on TV – good fast double-bass-pedal metal – and certainly better than what you can find on any Top 40 station. The fact that it’s supposed to be a parody should say something about the state of our culture.

My favorite is Fan Song, which kind of worries me, as the song’s theme is how much Dethklok hates its fans. But what can I say? I like a good guitar gallop.

Lyrics below the movie. They’re a hoot.

Fan Song
Dethklok

You people out there give us something more than just record sales. You give us something to hate. And we hate you, you brainless mutants.

Hate (16x)

You hunched and blinded mutants
living in chat rooms

You masturbate on the sheets
your mothers clean for you

You have lined my pockets
overflowed with gold

You’re living with your parents
and you’re 35 years old

You’re a bunch of banks
that I’d like to rob

You’re my online cash transaction
you’re my future stocks

Transfer you like money
to a Swiss account

Spend you on an impulse
and zero you all out

Hate (16x)

I would like to get some sleep
but you keep buying all our things

My overhead is way too deep
for us to not make all these things

It’s way too cynical, you see?
Hating what’s supporting me

I am not you, I thank the gods
and if I were, I’d die like dogs

Die (30x)
DIE!

Posted in I Tunes Not U Tunes, Mailing List | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

1-25-08 Robots turn my dance beat into hip hop

Posted by Sean on January 25, 2008

I just found out something neat! And so, this being a repository of neat things, I had to share.

Your neat thing today is a three-fer, and a testament to what a creative sampler can do. Sometimes it’s hard to tell who sampled what and when. But in this case, the path is both obvious and fairly well documented. I am certainly not the first person, or even the thousandth, to notice this.

Okay, in 1979 Edwin Birdsong comes out with a looooooong dance song called Cola Bottle Baby.

Daft Punk sampled the synth and beats and stuck it into their 2001 song Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger. The video, by the way, is by Japanese animator Leiji Matsumoto.

Kanye West then strips out all the original Cola Bottle Baby DNA from Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger, leaving nothing but the synthvoices, and uses it to accent his 2007 hit Stronger. The song simply would not be the same with those robotic voices – which themselves got their start, nearly 30 years ago, in the mind of a musician you’ve probably never even heard of.

The video look familiar? It’s an homage to the animated film Akira and a nice circle back to Daft Punk’s anime video, I think.

Posted in I Tunes Not U Tunes, Mailing List | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

1-25-08 Bad Religion – Sorrow

Posted by Sean on January 24, 2008

It’s funny what can get to me when my blood sugar is low and I’m on the emotional downswing, when it’s dreary and cold (and yes, it gets cold here in Vegas) and I just can’t seem to catch a break. Skate hooligan music, f’rinstance, good ol’ reliable hardcore… I’d never expect something like that to get the tears flowing – and yes, I’m a big crybaby, if you haven’t already noticed.

I heard Sorrow from Bad Religion, oh, maybe three or four years, a couple of homes and a lot of credit card debt ago. I was alone, listening to the news and living in my head too much, at a lousy job and just generally spinning my wheels and losing ground. Under those conditions, anything could’ve prostrated me. Hanson’s MMMBop could have taken me down. A song about how “there will be sorrow no more” and a world of post-Book of Revelations peace – a song about how I felt and what I wanted – had me bawling.

This song doesn’t quite pack the punch it did then. I’ve lost some friends, rediscovered others, lost jobs, got new ones, moved in and out of apartments. On the positive side of the ledger, my bank account’s a lot healthier and I’ve finally gotten the Visa Corporation off my back. On the negative, I’m living with my parents. I’m a different person from the guy who heard this song in front of the Jitters coffe shop at Warm Springs and Green Valley, lo these many years ago, and I don’t hang on every turn in Greg Graffin’s voice quite like I used to.

But it still moves me.

Posted in I Tunes Not U Tunes, Mailing List | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

1-23-08 Hex Dispensers – Are You an Assassin?

Posted by Sean on January 24, 2008

As I may have alluded in yesterday’s post, I used to like theatrical, orchestral, over-produced studio music. Still do, in fact… in small doses.

So what do I listen to instead of Enya et al.? Well, my tastes aren’t that nuanced. When they break, they tend to break all the way. They’re a lot the music scene of the mid-1970s, with the market was clogged with Ziggy Stardust and Pink Floyd and Queen and high conceit albums and endless disco dance beats (some of which still haven’t ended yet), and then suddenly…

The Ramones.

And garage rock was back – or more appropriately, the Ramones rammed it back onto the record store shelves. Garage rock never really went away. They called it punk, and it had more yelling and social consciousness, but at its core it was just kids in Mom’s garage or the basement, slashing away on guitars and drum kits as fast and hard as they could, DIY music that anyone could do. And oh Lord, but it was good.

I don’t quite have the musical acumen of Joey Ramone and, luckily, I don’t need it. I have the Hex Dispensers, a four-man outfit out of Austin, Texas that just released their debut, self-titled album. Joe Belock‘s Three Chord Monte at WFMU got me turned on to them. They may not quite have the speed of the Ramones (who could reportedly burn through six songs in 15 minutes), but they’ve got the slash and the crash.

Like I said, I still like Enya, Lisa Gerrard, Pink Floyd, Queen and on and on and on. They can still make me weep (especially Gerrard). But when my life starts to feel like 300 or the more Operation: Iraqi Freedom-ish bits of LOTR, and an antidote is indicated, some nice, fast, angry garage rock like these guys are just what the doctor ordered.

Posted in I Tunes Not U Tunes, Mailing List | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »