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Beck Gets Serious

Gerald Marzorati: “In the increasingly globalized realm of pop, it has perhaps become too easy to overlook the fact that much of the music, and most of the best of it, remains stubbornly rooted in place. The rock the Strokes make is fundamentally downtown New York rock (Velvet Underground, Television, Richard Hell and the Voidoids); the rock the White Stripes play is, in essence, Detroit rock (Mitch Ryder, MC5, Iggy Pop and the Stooges). The music Beck makes is to a great degree informed by the musical traditions of Los Angeles.”

I love album reviews like these. They're not simply what the album is about or what the components are, but rather a brief history of the influences that went into the album's production (in this case, the importance of place in pop music). Beck has a unique ability to blend country sensibility yet have appeal among hiphop heads. If it's anything like Mutations (that album's "Nobody's Fault But My Own" being easily on my top 5 saddest songs of all time), I might have to take a look at his new joint.

Meeting People Through Websites

Kottke on meeting people through websites: “Anyone who meets me online -- including possible friends, fellow Web design enthusiaists, or potential employers -- has access to 4+ years of my thoughts before they even have to strike up a conversation. That's damn powerful stuff.”

This is in line with what I've been thinking about lately. I've met a lot of interesting people I've online, and the vast majority of them have been people who found me through my website. I've even been fortunate to meet some of them in the physical realm. Some people whom I'd describe as online friends (since that's where the majority of our conversations take place) I've actually met IRL before I knew about their online lives, like David and Tina, and some, like Lisa, Chunshek and Paulo, live so far away that online is the only way to communicate (Lisa and I have chatted on the phone twice, so we actually know what each other sounds like).

I'm not so sure about the matchmaker stuff the guy Kottke links talks about though. I still think that, despite articles on Salon.com and the like to the contrary, online dating is a little weird and awkward. In this field I have a little bit of experience, but due to the killer combination of trepidation (it's still weird explaining to my parents that I have online friends, much less that I've tried my hand at online dating) and laziness (my ad is devoid of hilarity), it's never gotten past the email stage.

Then again, this is the year 2002, and I know people who actually put online ads because they want to meet new people. It's funny though, because I didn't initially think of blogging as a way to meet people nor as a way for them to get to know me (my intentions were purely self-interested, in that I wanted to get the repetitive thoughts in my head out of my head). Now though, I think of blogging as a really good way to get a fairly detailed first impression of a person, keeping in mind that people's online personas are different than their offline ones (oh, don't deny it, your online persona is different than your offline persona, however slightly).

So now when people say to me that they've heard a lot about chatting but are having trouble meeting people online, I just tell them to put up a website, preferably a weblog.

Goodbye Taiwan?

Invading Iraq: pros and cons

Nicely laid out, in a kinda humourous way too: (e.g. "Goodbye Taiwan"). Slight problem with the following quote:

"The whole "regime change" effort by Bush could turn out to be a cakewalk. Or it could be a complete disaster."

Those are the two opposite extremes of possible outcomes. It could also be a minor victory, or a minor disaster, or could result balancing out in terms of costs and benefits. It's a bit of a tautological argument, like saying it's either going to rain tomorrow or it's not.

Cool graphic though.

I thank Tina for the link.

Neptunes Produced

Songs produced by the Neptunes

Totally unformatted, but who cares. I'm feelin' the Neptunes vibe (ever since N.O.R.E's Superthug, but now more so because of N.E.R.D.'s album), so I'll probably have to download most of the songs listed there. They're in the same vein as Mannie Fresh, Swizz Beats and Timbaland (you know, how you're not supposed to like them, but they're just too catchy), the first two who have seemed to fade from the spotlight, and the latter who has changed his style somewhat.

Decision to Go To College

Joseph Brean: “The report also shows that parental aspirations for their children's education are similar across the economic spectrum, but are higher among families with higher levels of education. In urban areas, parents are twice as likely to want their children to attend university over college, compared to equal preference in rural areas.”

This is about right for me. I don't actually rememeber making the decision to go to university. It was pretty much assumed by my parents that I would go, and I found this unproblematic because my sister and dad went, so I was under the impression that it was fun (I was right).

Sept 11 Dissent

'Death of Dissent' a myth: Refuting the doomsayers by Matt Welch

It was the first thing that caught my eye when looking for something to counter the claim that dissent is has been stifled because of the American government's reaction to September 11th.

“Newsrooms may have shut down their foreign bureaus, but individuals have learned how to scour the Internet for the latest news and opinion from the Middle East (and elsewhere), and then publish their findings online. A single Los Angeles Web designer and part-time musician named Charles Johnson (http://www.littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/weblog.php) attracts thousands of readers each week with his eagle-eyed watchdogging of the Arab and Israeli press.”

I'm a little disappointed that Welch didn't talk more about weblogging, because weblogs are a huge source of dissent (and even support) of American policies concerning terrorism and the military. Oh well, there has been a lot of dissent, but those who say it's being stifled either don't see it or are dissenters themselves and have something to gain (publicity) by saying it is stifled.

"You might think that an over-extended country, which spends far more of its gross domestic product on the military than any other major power, would react to a horrendously effective potshot by reconsidering its sprawling and occasionally heavy-handed engagement with the world. But you would be wrong."

This quote contains the problem I have with this article. I actually think that, for the size of it and the technology it possesses, the United States is under-extended militarily.

Glitter

Watched Glitter DVD, and it was just as bad as expected.

Telegraphed

Bush to UN: take on Iraq or I will

"The just demands of peace and security will be met, or action will be unavoidable. And a regime that has lost its legitimacy will also lose its power," [President Bush] told the annual debate of the UN General Assembly."

This has got to be the most telegraphed war in history. For at least 2 years now, Bush has said that deposing Saddam Hussein is priority number one when it comes to the United States' international security policy. And don't think Bush is doing it 'because' of Sept. 11. Like George F. Will says, "although the president's policy acquired special urgency with the terrorist attacks, the thrust of the policy was a campaign theme of candidate George W. Bush before the first primary of 2000."

Also, don't believe any numbers you read in the newspapers about the amount of troops near (or for that matter, in) Iraq. In fact, doubling it would be a safe bet.

An honest question

This sounds like I'm implying something, but I'd really like to know the answer to the following question, well, I haven't exactly read much Chilean history, if you know what I mean:

Why does it seem like the that Salvatore Allende's government was democratically elected was the only good thing about it? I mean, the Left goes on and on about it. Sure, democracy is a Good Thing, but sometimes democratic countries make mistakes when electing their governments. I mean, we elected Jean Chretien as Prime Minister for 3 straight terms for crying out loud.

What, other than that it was democratically elected, makes Allende's government so great to begin with? Kissinger, the thug that he is, surely did not base his decision to oust Allende solely on his (Allende's) reputation (such as it is) as a democrat.

Welp

Well, I made it until 10:30 before ending the Media Break.

I just bought a copy of the National Post, but I gotta watch a bad movie (it's Bad Movie Week at the place I'm crashing at) before I start reading it.

I have nothing poignant to say about it being one year later, except that the year seemed to go by really fast for me.

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