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    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."

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Archive for October, 2008

Holloween

Posted by shanoah on October 31, 2008

I’m posting a little late tonight, but here we are. Holloween. All Hollows Eve. The day when the veil between the spiritual and material world is at it’s weakest, and ghosts and goblins come out to play.

And the day that I voted. I couldn’t think of a more appropriate day, and it made sense symbolically, in it’s own way.

I was going to write a filk to celebrate today, and post it, but I never got to it. For those who are interested, the title was going to be “I Voted Obama (and I Did Not Vote for John McCain)”.

Still, while aliens are cool, as is a nation-wide freak out, for today I thought I’d play a song that goes more on the spiritual site of things. And, frankly, creeps me out:

The Jezebel Spirit – Bryan Eno & David Byrne

This actually strikes me as a song you’d like, Sean. You see, the voices on this song are recorded off the radio, from an American Evangelist[1] doing an exorcism.

With the music and the pictures set to it, I just find this a very disturbing piece. And since that was clearly the intention, I consider it well done.

Of course, being a Talking Heads fan, I’m a bit biased…

[1] Possibly more then one; I can’t really tell.

Posted in Blogs, Facts for Freaks and Other Criminals, fnord, FREAKIN' ME OUT MAN, From Shanoah, I Tunes Not U Tunes, I'm probably going to hell for this, Mailing List, Not Work Safe, Politics and Other Things In Which I'm Not Qualified | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

10-30-08 The War of the Worlds

Posted by Sean on October 30, 2008

Today marks the seventieth anniversary of one of the most remarkable shows in entertainment history. But if you haven’t heard about it, don’t worry. It’s not exactly a show that people want to remember.

On Oct. 30, 1938, Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre of the Air broadcast a radio dramatization of H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds, and in so doing performed perceptual judo on a sizable portion of the American population. Using nothing more than some cheap sound effects and a microphone, Welles’ fake radio broadcast threw thousands into a blind panic and convinced millions more that the world was being invaded and that humanity was being systematically destroyed, enslaved or, worst of all, rounded up for harvest.

To understand the broadcast’s impact, it helps to understand the time in which it was broadcast. Germany occupied Austria in March and marched into Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland on Oct. 1 under the terms of the Munich Agreement. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had said that the Munich Agreement would bring “peace in our time”. Winston Churchill didn’t agree, and Oct. 16, condemned it in a radio broadcast heard in the United States. The German invasion of Poland, which dragged France and England into the war, was less than a year away.

It also helps to remember that the United States was also in the middle of the Great Depression. There was a recession in 1937, which wiped out whatever progress the nation had made since 1929. By 1937, unemployment jumped from the previous year’s 14.3% to 19.0% – almost a fifth of all Americans ready and to work. Even if things were improving by the end of October, as Welles says during the introduction to War of the Worlds,the nation’s economic problems must still have been fresh in everyone’s minds.

All this came to people through newspapers, newsreels and, importantly, radio.  According to this on Google Answers:

… The 1940 population of New York City was 7.5 million, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.  Family sizes were close to 4 people per family (they are about 2.5 people per family today), making for about 1.9 million households.

The New York Times, on Dec. 25, 1938 carried a report from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) saying that 80% of the 19.7 million families with incomes above $1,070 had radios. This would probably match pretty well to New York at the time, as it was then the metropolitan area with the highest per capita income.

That would put radios in 1.5 million of the estimated 1.9 million households.

Radio was the TV of its time, the perfect medium for Welles to play with.

Brilliant by any metric or measurement you want to use, he was already a radio actor, a touring Shakespearean stage actor and a stage director by the age of 22. He had already directed an all-black production of Macbeth for the Federal Theatre Project and, in 1937, directed a wildly successful modern-dress adaptation of Julius Caesar set in fascist Italy with his newly formed Mercury Theatre. The Mercury Theatre of the Air, the radio version, didn’t fare as well. Part of the problem was that Welles’ company was up against the hugely popular Chase & Sanborn Hour, which featured Charlie McCarthy (yes, I know, a radio ventriloquist show. Just accept it and move on with your life).

Still, radio was the perfect toy for a highly ambitious prodigy like Welles to play with. He’s quoted in this article as saying, after the fact: “Radio in those days, before the tube and the transistor, wasn’t just a noise in somebody’s pocket – it was the voice of authority. Too much so. At least, I thought so. It was time for someone to take the starch out of some of that authority: hence my broadcast.”

Consider the worsening news that people had been hearing through their radios for months through their radios. Hearing a “news broadcast” about the destruction of Southern New Jersey, then the rest of the state, and then New York City (by far the largest and most powerful city in the nation at the time) must have been like throwing a lit match into a room full of dynamite for some people. Some of the stories of the panic are probably apocryphal and, like any good story, have been embellished over time. But the University of San Diego’s article sounds pretty accurate:

The radio described how the Martians in giant machines with metal legs destroyed everything in their path with a heat ray. The state militia, the artillery, the V-8-43 Army bombers were not able to stop them. The Secretary of the Interior was heard urging calm and courage, in a voice that sounded remarkably similar to an FDR Fireside Chat. A panic spread quickly among radio listeners. The CBS switchboard was overloaded, the New York Times took 875 calls, and AP issued a bulletin at 8:48 pm that there was no invasion from Mars. New Jersey highways were clogged with cars fleeing to New York and Philadelphia, and gas masks were donned by some residents around Trenton… CBS had to settle lawsuits out of court for several thousand dollars and the FCC made an investigation but took no action. Hadley Cantril, a psychologist at Princeton, conducted a study of the panic, concluding that 2 million people thought it was real, especially affecting those with lower education living in the South.

It may sound hard to believe, but a lot of people really thought the world was being invaded. And it wasn’t just suspension of disbelief. They thought – at least briefly, long enough to make a phone call – that the world was ending.

It didn’t help that a lot of people tuned in after Welles’ introduction, and that the broadcast’s “authenticity” was boosted by Howard Koch’s brilliant script and the show’s seemingly chaotic production – including at least two long stretches of dead silence. After all, “everyone knows” that radio shows don’t just have long stretches of silence. It costs money, after all. The radio station’s technicians are probably trying to keep up with a fluid, rapidly changing news story, instead… ergo, it must be real!

Both Koch and Welles knew how to play on people’s expectations. If they were really malicious, instead of merely ambitious, they might have done some real damage.

Modern audiences will scoff at the naiveté of 1938 radio listeners. But we’re in no position to make fun of them.

Demographics, psychology and advertising were in their infancy in 1938. Broadcasters, advertisers, politicians and, yes, even news agencies have learned a lot in that time. TV and the Internet now have reach and authority that radio broadcasters couldn’t even dream of back then, and the audience has been demographically sliced and dissecting until “messages” can be “targeted” like a Tomahawk missile homing in on a laser designator.

Take Barack Obama. All the rumors about him – ties to Islamic terrorists, his “Jewish problem”, his foreign residency – have been refuted, some of them numerous times and long ago. And people still believe them. Why? Because “the Internet told me so” or “I read it on this blog” or “it was on FOXNews”… and because the message has been tailored to the expectations of the audience, many of whom are white and are threatened, at least subconsciously, by a black president.

Or the election. The results are almost guaranteed to be contested, and seriously contested, no matter who wins. The Republicans will blame ACORN and the Democrats will blame Diebold, without really understanding what these are or even how extensive their influence on the election really is. These are both memes tailor-made for their audiences – memes of a vast, shadowy, Illuminati-like conspiracy employing armies of illegal voters (ACORN) or manipulating voting machines (Diebold et al.) to “steal the election” from “us”. And people incorporate these memes into their thinking until it’s of one piece with their thought processes. Why? Again, because “the Internet told me so” or “I read it on this blog” or “it was on the news”.

It’s a shame that Orson Welles chose Hallowe’en – the holiday closest to Election Day – for his broadcast. Hallowe’en, after all, is the traditional day for giving people a fright, and he did it beautifully. But if it was a little earlier in the year, then we could have held this seventieth anniversary when Silly Season was young. We could have reflected on Welles’ accidental experiment into human perception when it could have done us some good, and we could have armored ourselves better against the election memes that are flying faster and thicker every day.

War of the Worlds radio broadcast at Archive.org
http://www.archive.org/download/WAROFTHEWORLDS2/19381030WarOfTheWorlds.mp3

War of the Worlds radio script
http://jeff560.tripod.com/script.html

Posted in bulldada, fnord, From Sean, Mailing List, Politics and Other Things In Which I'm Not Qualified | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Neko

Posted by shanoah on October 30, 2008

All right, today I decided to go with an anime theme, and I’m specifically doing with ones with a “Neko“[1] theme.

The last video in this batch is not worksafe, incidentally. I originally had that one in a draft by itself as “Catgirl Hentai”, and I’ve kept certain comments from that. ^_^

This could also be considered to have a theme of “catchy songs that get stuck in your head”:

Neko Mimi Mode

I love this opening. It’s so random. And I couldn’t resist watching a show with a vampire catgirl, anyways. Enjoyed the show, too. The first few episodes, anyways.

Neko Hanten!

This is from Ranma 1/2, and as you can see, is a slideshow to the song. This song is basically Shampoo advertising for her restaurant, the Cat Cafe. And it’s catchy as all hell.

And to warn you, the next video is from a hentai game.

Neko Kawaii Gari

It’s cute. It’s Hentai. It involves underage[2] catgirls. And its Engrish.

So why have I watched it so many times?

Dunno. Cat girl fetish?

And would I buy this hentai game if I came across it in a store? Oh, hell, probably. 🙂

And, yes, I know you’re reading this in the draft section, Sean. ^_- (From Sean: Darn you and your uncanny knowledge of my kinks, Shanoah! DARN YOU TO HEEEEEECCCCCCKKKKKK!)

Actually, from what I’ve read, looks like the cat girls in this game are terminally ill, and it may actually have a plot and backstory.

If you want to find out more, you might check the ending music. I’ll warn you that it’s rather sad and depressing, though.

[1] Japanese for cat. But I’m sure you already know that.

[2] Well, they look under 18, anyways. Maybe cat girls age slower then humans? Or it may just be better explained by the fact that in Japan, the age of consent varies anywhere from 13 to 18.[3]

[3] If you’re interested, 13 is national law. Most prefactures override it with local laws, pushing the age up to 18 or so.[4]

[4] Often with Clintonesque definitions of sex, IIRC…

Posted in AMV, cats, Facts for Freaks and Other Criminals, fnord, From Shanoah, Gettin' Yer Freak On, I Tunes Not U Tunes, I'm probably going to hell for this, Mailing List, Not Work Safe | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

10-29-08 IT’S COMING! A MIGHTY PANORAMA OF EARTH-SHAKING FURY!

Posted by Sean on October 29, 2008

Well, that’s just my world-famous missing-the-point kicking in, Shanoah. It’s a great thing to have, especially if you’re a reporter.

But since you did TV today… I’ll do a movie! This movie trailer is a sneak peak of your neat thing for tomorrow. And if you can guess why I’m playing the trailer for George Pal’s 1953 adaptation of War of the Worlds for tomorrow’s post, why, you win a cookie.

Courtesy of SonGoku87.

Posted in Happy Media, Mailing List | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

TV

Posted by shanoah on October 29, 2008

You know, Sean, I didn’t really intend my last post to be a tribute to Obama, per say. I just thought it tied in well. I did, however, come up with a video that not only continued the American theme, but also could go with either candidate, depending on how sarcastic I was feeling:

Greatest American Hero Theme

You know, I always liked this theme song. It’s probably the association with freedom and the air again. It just makes me feel good.

Believe it or not, I’m walking on air.
I never thought I could feel so free.
Flying away on a wing and a prayer.
Who could it be?
Believe it or not it’s just me.

Of course, you then posted again and changed themes. I, however, had already picked a video for my next post, and decided to stay with it.

I then thought I’d be nice to continue on the theme of tv show openings, which is how I ended up with this video. In German, none the less.

Die Fraggles!

Ah, Fraggle Rock. The opening was already cool, and I just think the German accentuates it. Plus, the phrase “Die Fraggles” amuses me.

So I was hunting around for a third theme. And found a clip that was not a theme tune, but I really wanted to play…

The Avengers intro clip

Let’s just say, I enjoyed this enough that I didn’t care that it wasn’t a tv theme. Ignore the “Celebs in Leather” ads. After all, once you’ve seen Diana Riggs in leather, why would you want anyone else, anyways?

Posted in Blogs, bulldada, fnord, From Shanoah, Gettin' Yer Freak On, I Tunes Not U Tunes, I'm probably going to hell for this, Mailing List, Wenches For Your Toolbox | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Obama Defeats McCain!

Posted by Sean on October 28, 2008

You heard it here first (sort of) on One Neat Thing a Day! With 0% of the precincts reporting, we’re calling the election for Barack Obama! And he promises to go back on all his election promises like any other politician! Yay!

I figure I can’t lose with this post. Either I’ll be hailed for my incredible prescience and be able to parlay it into a fat cat job as a nationally syndicated op-ed columnist (where, let’s face it, I’ll be just as qualified as most of the columnists out there)… or I’ll be able to print it out and sell it for a bajillion bucks if McCain wins, kinda like those “Dewey Defeats Truman” copies of the Chicago Tribune.

Thanks to CNN’s Political Ticker for giving me the idea for this post.

Posted in Politics and Other Things In Which I'm Not Qualified | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

10-28-08 Harry McClintock performed by Lew Dite – The Great American Bum

Posted by Sean on October 28, 2008

Well, Shanoah, if you’re gonna put up a song for Barack Obama, then I’ll just have to put up something for John McCain! Yes, it’s all part of our trademarked Unfair and Unbalanced (as in “Rush Limbaugh on a Whiskey, Crack and Oxycontin Binge Unbalanced”) coverage.

Well now, lessee here. If Obama is peddling “socialism”, then McCain must be peddling good old fashioned cutthroat American capitalism, right? You know, the kind of cutthroat capitalism that worked so well for the United States and the rest of the world in 1929? In other words, if McCain’s elected president, you might want to learn a few bum songs from Harry McClintock – you know, to while away the time while you’re riding the rails and waiting for the railroad dick to beat you up.

Come to think of it, you’d better bone up on your Depression-era songs no matter who’s elected president…

This is Montreal’s Lew Dite performing McClintock’s The Great American Bum.

Posted in From Sean, I Tunes Not U Tunes, Mailing List, Politics and Other Things In Which I'm Not Qualified | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Who Can It Be (At The Zoo)?

Posted by shanoah on October 28, 2008

Well, you know, Sean, I remembered having posted Men At Work’s Be Good Johnny before, and I figured Down Under would have been posted by one of us around then.

But, since it wasn’t, and I’ve posted Dr. Heckyll and Mr. Jive, there is only one thing to be done. Post more:

Who Can It Be Now? – Men At Work

Aside from the three songs already posted, this is the other song I think of when I think of Men At Work. It seems appropriate, since people have been knocking on my door lately.

And yes, the answer to the question in this song is clearly Barack Obama supporters. 🙂

At The Zoo – Simon & Garfunkel

I know this isn’t Men At Work, but it’s short, and I wanted to play it. ^_^

Sorry, but this is such a bouncy fun song I couldn’t resist.

Zebras are reactionaries, 
Antelopes are missionaries, 
Pigeons plot in secrecy, 
and hamsters turn on frequently...

Something to keep in mind next time you post the hamster dance, Sean…

Posted in Blogs, fnord, From Shanoah, Gooey Gummi Goodness, I Tunes Not U Tunes, Mailing List | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

10-27-08 Men at Work – Down Under

Posted by Sean on October 27, 2008

Silly boy, Shanoah. How can you post about Men at Work without mentioning the bestest estest Men at Work song ever? That song, of course, is Down Under, off 1981’s Business As Usual.

And if it’s not the bestest estest Men at Work song ever, then it’s definitely the bestest estest Men at Work video ever. It manages to avoid much of the video silliness that was rampant on MTV at the time and replace it with its own brand of video silliness. Look! They must be in a land down under! They’re eating Vegemite sandwiches! And drinking Fosters (“It’s Australian for ‘wallaby piss'”)!

Courtesy of alliewolfgal.

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

Mr Jive

Posted by shanoah on October 27, 2008

I can sympathize, Sean. Of course, I often find it more interesting to just listen and encourage people like that. It’s interesting what people will say to a complete stranger who lends a sympathetic ear.

Like the lady who told me that one of the reasons why she was moving to a town in Oregon was that everyone (or just about) was white. Seriously.

Sorry, the subjects of bigotry and voting for McCain just blend together in my mind; didn’t mean to get off track.

I’ve decided to play Men At Work today:

Dr. Heckyll and Mr. Jive – Men At Work

For some reason, I forgot about this song when playing mad science songs. Pity; it’s quite enjoyable. But then, I’ve always enjoyed Jekyll and Hyde. And yes, this is a rather amusing video.

Hopefully it comes through in stereo properly, rather then mono…

Posted in Blogs, fnord, FREAKIN' ME OUT MAN, From Shanoah, Gettin' Yer Freak On, I Tunes Not U Tunes, I'm probably going to hell for this | 1 Comment »