Category: "culture/news"

Movie cliche roundup, bingo

After reading about the history of the Wilhelm Scream, a movie sound effect that has been reused in dozens of films, I found a page about other movie sound cliches. That lead me to some pages about movie cliches in general. I am hereby inventing a game: Movie Cliche Bingo. To make a game card you randomly place some movie cliches from the lists onto a 5 x 5 grid. Put on your favorite movie (or a really cheesy one for faster games) and mark your card as you spot cliches in the flick. I even made the first card for you.

Ike Likes Social Security

"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid." --Dwight D. Eisenhower (R), November 8, 1954

The bit about the Texas oil millionaires almost makes this seem made up, but Snopes confims that Ike did write this. They go on to say that he was a Republican generally in favor of smaller government, but he did feel that Social Security was worth the expense.


In somewhat related news, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist buys some $295 shoes from a store that's in the same building as the offices of Americans United to Protect Social Security. And, what do you know, they meet him at the door with a rally protesting the privatization of Social Security. has pictures.

(via Wonkette)

Second story on digg

Another of my submissions to got promoted to the front page. Huzzah! visual aids is a little Department of Homeland Security website that they whipped up to both prepare you for surviving an attack and scare the crap out of you. But they uses pictures throughout the page that can be much more fun if you add some captions.

After exposure to radiation it is important to consider that you may have mutated to gigantic dimensions: watch your head.

Estate tax

Mortimer B. Zuckerman, the usually conservative editor-in-chief of US News and World Report, had an editorial this week about the estate tax. In the 2000 campaign Bush talked a lot about getting rid of this "death tax" which he claimed would put family farms and small businesses under. The funny thing is, that's not how it works. The first S1.5 million of an estate is exempted, and there are no examples of what Bush described ever happening. Bush and the Republican Congress began reducing the estate tax in the 2001 budget, and the House has a motion to repeal the tax altogether. This will cost close to a trillion dollars over ten years. Democrats have proposed a compromise that raises the exemption amount to $3.5 M per person. That sound more reasonable that repealing the tax. The article has more numbers and some good background on the issue.

Stock photos

Sample image from Morgue Files: mountain sceneI think I've mentioned Stock Exchange before as a good source of stock photos. Morgue File is another good one. Both are free for non-commercial and commercial use.

(via the Daily Sucker)

The Office

The OfficeThere's a short list of shows that Sara and I never miss. NBC's The Office is the newest addition to that list. It's on Tuesdays at 9:30. You can read more about it at the official site and at TV Tome. It's based on a British sitcom of the same name. I haven't seen the original, but the American version is very funny. Steve Carell, former Daily Show correspondent, plays Michael Scott, the obliviously incompetent supervisor of an office of paper salesmen. He plays the part so that you can actually feel how uncomfortable it would be to work with him. The rest of the ensemble cast is excellent as well. There's some good talent behind the camera, too. Greg Daniels, creator, writer and executive producer, has worked on Seinfeld, The Simpsons, King of the Hill and Saturday Night Live. Give this show a try. The upcoming episode is the season finale, but they may be repeating the other episodes in the coming weeks. And if you already like the show, then you can go here and vote for it to prevent it from being canceled.

School board election results

The school board election was yesterday. Here are the results:



Three spots were open, so the top three have been elected. Official results are available here.

Bright Eyes

I've been meaning to post about this band for a while. I use the term band loosely; it is the brainchild of singer and songwriter Conor Oberst, and is made up of whatever musician friends he can bring together at the time. Bright Eyes reminds me a bit of Wilco and Uncle Tupelo because of the twang, the depression and the preoccupation with alcohol. He's also got some protest songs and some un-sappy love songs. One of my favorites is "Road to Joy" which uses the tune of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" (which you trombonists and tubas might remember from jr. high band) as a background for protest. He is wise way beyond his years (he's younger than I) and has powerful lyrics and a haunting voice. Here's a good example from "At the Bottom of Everything": "While my mother waters plants, my father loads his gun/He says, "Death will give us back to God, just like the setting sun/is returned to the lonesome ocean". Some songs on I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning feature Jim James of My Morning Jacket and Emmylou Harris. The coolest part is that Bright Eyes' label, Saddle Creek records, is independent, and Conor refuses to sign with a major label. In fact, Conor's collaborators are also opposed to big labels and ridiculous copyright laws: My Morning Jacket was featured on Wired Magazine's Creative Commons CD. (For more on creative commons licensing, search for "Free Culture" on our blog.) If you value my musical tastes at all (which I understand fully that you probably don't), you should take a listen. Oh yeah, and there are two free songs here.

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