I'm awake

Elvis Costello and the Imposters, Buffalo, NY 2011-06-25 - setlist

Because what else do I have to do tonight? Sleep?

I Hope You're Happy Now
Heart Of The City
Mystery Dance
Radio Radio
Every Day I Write The Book
Turpentine (?)
Beyond Belief
Stella Hurt
Green Shirt
Less Than Zero
Brilliant Mistake
Stations Of The Cross
I Don't Want To Go To Chelsea
Lipstick Vogue
Watching The Detectives
Alison medley:
  Tracks Of My Tears
  "wishing I could forget you been cheating"
  The Wind Cries Mary
  Somewhere Over The Rainbow
  "no place to run"
Pump It Up
  "too much to have to hold"
What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding?
I'm awake

An email to Rep. Brian Higgins, 112th Congress

Subject: Please vote NO on extending the Patriot Act

Dear Mr. Higgins:

It occurs to me, after reading today's news regarding the failure of the House Republican leadership to count well enough, denying them - for now - the renewal of three provisions of the Patriot Act, that I haven't yet told you how much I oppose said provisions.  I oppose them quite a bit, especially the provisions allowing for roving wiretaps and the seizure of "any tangible thing" in an antiterrorism investigation.  They allow for too much power to be concentrated in the hands of the security apparatus, with no oversight from the judiciary.  We need judges to sign off on warrants for a reason: namely, to prevent the abuse of institutional power.  The government's ability to spy on people is obviously a power that is ripe for abuse if clear limits and neutral, independent oversight are not provided for.  Any law that essentially tells an agency of the executive branch that it can watch and record our private activities as it chooses, keep its surveillance a secret, and never be subject to outside accountability, is one that threatens our liberty as Americans more than any mad bomber ever could.

I know that you voted in favor of renewal, but I fervently hope that you and your staff take this humble letter from one of your constituents to heart, and vote against renewal of these provisions when that opportunity arises again.  We can fight terrorism and protect our country without betraying or compromising our own principles.  I hope you feel the same way. 
I'm awake

My little message to Greg Steinhafel, CEO of Target

Some background info: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/nation/stories/DN-target_20nat.ART.State.Edition1.49b012b.html

The adorable boycott flash-mob announcement video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FhMMmqzbD8

Dear Mr. Steinhafel:

Judging from your apology to your employees, it seems that you've been contrite at least about the narrow partisan implications of your company's contribution to a right-wing political group, and that's all well and good.  However, a wider principle is at stake here; namely, that corporations, which represent an immense concentration of wealth under the control of a very small circle of managers and major shareholders, should not be handing out money in an attempt to influence the outcome of elections.  Whether such influence occurs solely before the election, with the funding of electioneering materials, or bleeds into the post-election period, with increased lobbyist access or quid-pro-quo deals with the candidates so elected, it erodes the egalitarianism of our society and the legitimacy of our democratic system. 

Therefore I implore you, on behalf of Target Corporation, to publicly declare that from this day forward, it will be Target's policy to refrain from making either direct or indirect contributions to the electoral campaigns of any candidate for public office.  This will set a positive example for all American businesses, who, I'm sure, would rather all their fellow citizens be able to view their government with respect, as true and fair representatives of their concerns as individuals, and not disdain them as the bought-and-paid-for puppets of powerful unions or big corporations.  It's better for Target, but in the long run, it's better for America as well. 

I thank you for your time and attention. 
I'm awake

Visa Guide to Benefits; or, In Good Hands (or Feet, or Any Combination Thereof)

As a Visa Cardholder, you, your spouse or domestic partner and your dependent child(ren) will be automatically insured against accidental loss of life, limb, sight, speech or hearing while riding as a passenger in, entering or exiting any licensed common carrier, provided the entire cost of the passenger fare(s), less redeemable certificates, vouchers, coupons, has been charged to your Visa account.  Collapse )
I'm awake

Wilco 2009-07-19 Lewiston

I guess this has become the Wilco-setlists-from-skooshje blog.  Seven months and this is what finally gets me to post.  A big shout-out to the aether! 

  1. Wilco (The Song)
  2. Every Little Thing
  3. I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
  4. A Shot In The Arm
  5. At Least That's What You Said
  6. Bull Black Nova
  7. Radio Cure
  8. One Wing
  9. Handshake Drugs
  10. Deeper Down
  11. Impossible Germany
  12. Jesus, Etc.
  13. Sonny Feeling
  14. Can't Stand It
  15. Hate It Here
  16. Walken
  17. I'm The Man Who Loves You
  18. Hummingbird
1st Encore
  1. Misunderstood ->
  2. Spiders
2nd Encore
  1. The Late Greats
  2. Heavy Metal Drummer
  3. California Stars (with Conor Oberst & the Mystic Valley Band)
  4. Hoodoo Voodoo
  5. I'm A Wheel
Let's see if I post again before the year is out. 
I'm awake

(no subject)

First off, it is in fact rational to vote. My standard answer to people who ask me why they should vote when one vote is incredibly unlikely to make a difference is that higher turnout in one's locality (electoral precinct, Congressional district, city, county) or demographic (age, race/ethnicity, gender, income bracket) translates to increased political influence. If you don't vote, then you don't count, and if people like you don't vote, then people like you don't count when it comes to deciding who gets what in the political process.  That's why it was such a struggle to get the right to vote for nonwhite men, and then for women, and then nonwhite people again, but for real this time.  People with real power often don't like sharing it, and the resistance put up against sharing the vote indicates that voting means real power.  That's what I usually say when people wonder what's in it for them. 

However, while I wasn't looking, a few professors have come up with a more economist-friendly argument in favor of voting. In "Vote for Charity's Sake", Aaron Edlin, Andrew Gelman, and Noah Kaplan argue that voters who desire a social benefit for all citizens usually have good reason to take an hour out of their day to cast a ballot on Election Day. Basically, it's perfectly rational to get out there and vote if you care about your country. Rarely has rational-choice theory made me feel so warm and fuzzy inside.

Okay, so now that we know that every decent American should vote (our very future is at stake!), how are you supposed to do it? And where? And for whom? The League of Women Voters has a polling place finder, state-by-state information for new and returning voters, and more at Vote411.org. If you live in New York State, you can verify your registration with the Board of Elections, as well as your various electoral districts. If you live in Erie County, the Buffalo/Niagara LWV has a voting guide with an overview of candidates and ballot measures; if you don't, your local chapter of the LWV may have something similar for your locale. 

I'm awake

Upon watching Transformers at the $3.50 theatre while eating a $3.75 bag of popcorn

This film is 80-90% about the visuals, and it delivers.  There was never a point where I thought, "That robot looks fake."  We all have ILM to thank for that.  Another triumph! 

Megan Fox looks like a hottie, but couldn't act her way out of a paper bag.  Does this woman have no inner life at all? Granted, performing with imaginary robots against a greenscreen raises certain challenges, but nothing any actor with a little stage training hasn't dabbled in already.  The final make-out scenes between her and LeBeouf in the concluding montage wasn't doing it for me; I suspect it's because I just can't fantasize about a piece of wood, no matter how curvaceous it is. 

Shia LeBeouf was surprisingly great in this.  He is the leading man, comic relief, and he convincingly plays a sympathetic human being.  All with a straight face.  Looks like he'll be in the next Indiana Jones movie.  He's going places, and I say right on. 

Jon Voight and John Turturro totally ham it up.  Turturro, in particular, apparently just sat in his trailer, said, "Fuck it," and turned it up to 11.  Maybe that's because the plot holes and nonsequiturs are big enough to drive a tractor trailer/giant robot through?  At a certain point, you just have to say fuck it, turn it up to 11, and just have fun. 

In conclusion: giant fighting robots are awesome. 
I'm awake

Rockin' at the Knox 2007

 or, Name That Feist Tune:
  1. ... my body is breaking..."
  2. "I'm Sorry" "So Sorry"
  3. "My Moon My Man"
  4. ... isn't it made to love?...
  5. ... I don't know what I knew then...
  6. [flugelhorn? intro] ... I say my oh oh ah...
  7. "Sealion"
  8. ... for a minute I feel young...
  9. "1 2 3 4"
E.C.'s set:
  1. "Accidents Will Happen" → (a couple lines of) "Rain"
  2. "(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes"
  3. "Either Side of the Same Town"
  4. "Tart"
  5. ... love could be so strong... (ed.: "The Long Honeymoon")
  6. "Girl Talk"
  7. "Indoor Fireworks"
  8. "Veronica"
  9. ... Liverpool... journey to turning into Americans... (ed.: "Kid About It")
  10. "Less Than Zero
  11. "Green Shirt"
  12. "Country Darkness"
  13. "Man Out Of Time"
  14. "Shipbuilding"
  15. ... Andrew Lloyd Webber's Requiem... (ed.: "God's Comic")
  16. ... I want you... you were fool enough to love it... (ed.: "I Want You" — simple enough)

  17. Encore
  18. "Radio Sweetheart"
  19. "Alison" → "Suspicious Minds"
  20. "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding"
  21. ... we will rise above this scarlet tide... a trickle flowing down the mountain... it separates the widow from the bride... (ed.: "The Scarlet Tide")