We Reinvented the Remix as a Marketing Ploy

Ben Williams: “The debut of Jennifer Lopez's J to Tha L-O! The Remixes at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart earlier this year was just another notch on the career bedpost for the multimedia Latina. But for the art of the remix, it was a milestone: the first time an album composed entirely of remixes hit No. 1 in the United States. Serendipitously enough, Lopez's collection followed directly on the heels of her onetime beau P. Diddy's We Invented the Remix—an album whose typically grandiose title, you won't be surprised to hear, is so much hooey. We Reinvented the Remix as a Marketing Ploy would have been more accurate.”

Puffy definitely did not invent the remix, but he, to a certain extent, did event a type of hip-hop remix, where the structure of the song is essentially the same, except with guest artists and a badder attitude. The first Puffy-style hip-hop remix is Craig Mack's "Flava in Ya Ear [remix]", which, in the remix version, featured such luminaries as LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes, Notorious B.I.G. and Rampage. And Puffy's trademark background quips.

Après ça, le déluge.

Dow Ends Up 447; Nasdaq Gains 73

Dow Ends Up 447; Nasdaq Gains 73 Yahoo! News

"Galvanized by hopes that the market's worst days are over, investors bought stocks enthusiastically Monday, sending the Dow Jones industrials surging more than 400 points for the second time in four sessions."

"The Dow also had its third-largest one-day point gain."

Repeat after me: "Point-gains are not relevant. Percentage gains are."

Trapped Miners

Yahoo! News - Trapped Miners Pulled From Pa. Shaft

"Ron Svonavec, of Somerset, was at the top of the rescue shaft when contact was first made. He said one of the miners said, 'There's nine men ready to get the hell out of here. We need some chew.'"

So the first thing the trapped miners wanted when they got out was some chewin' tobacco. Sounds about right to me.

Dating Lads

Leah McLaren: “None of the men I've dated in London could qualify as 'Lads'. They are all professionals: doctors, lawyers, bankers, journalists, business-owners; grown men ranging from their late-twenties to late-thirties, equipped with tidy flats, well-tended gardens and cultural interests that don't include the latest issue of Maxim. And yet, when it came to dating they were about as charming as Liam Gallagher after 12 pints and an eight ball.”

Could it be that they're married to their work?!

Later: “The most common English male dating crime by far is the Non-date Date. This is a strange ritual wherein the English male asks a woman out on a date without indicating that he has any romantic inclinations towards her. Any overt demonstration of desire might make her think he likes her — this is verboten.”

Nice to know that women like undivided attention. Why do we Self-Concsious Boys get the sense that she thinks it's creepy though? “Date number three and you still haven't spent more than half a moment alone with the English male. Doesn't he know that of all life's pleasures women enjoy undivided attention the most? If so, what is he afraid of?”

See the above commentary.

And again: “It wasn't always like this. Ten years ago it was common for Canadian and American women to become 'offended' by men who employed traditional courtly behaviour. Males were dressed down for opening doors and bills were split on principle. Since then, however, there has been a softening of the feminist ethic where romance is concerned.”

Oops, looks like I'm living in the past (referring to my belief that girls think it's creepy, still).

McLaren comes off as a high-class Rebecca Eckler: fluff pieces dominate her columns, but instead of learning what it's like to be pregnant and taking bus trips from one corner of North America to the other, McLaren goes to art galleries to pick up boys. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but at the end of the article, she romanticizes the Simple American Male (SAM for short) and seems unable to acknowledge the possibility that there are Simple British Males ready to make her swoon. Funny though, I know someone who's just like Leah.

Thanks to Paulo for the link. See also my previous McLaren-related incredulity.

Rack-and-Pinion Steering

Rack-and-Pinion Steering by Scott Memmer

Zing! Way over my head.

What prompted my looking this up? The episode on the Simpsons where Homer visits his long-lost elder brother, who's an auto executive. Homer called it "rack and peanuts steering".

Dow Up 490

Yahoo! News - House Expels Ohio Rep. Traficant

"Only Rep. Gary Condit, D-Calif., who was defeated in a primary for re-election after he was romantically linked with Chandra Levy, a government intern who was murdered, voted against Traficant's expulsion."

This has got to be the funniest part of the article. Traficant, if you were paying far too much attention to the Condit-Levy affair (oh, you know the pun is intended), Ohio Rep. James Traficant was convicted for accepting bribes (punished for getting caught? har har). Only in America would someone suspected by most of the nation (or at least its media) to have something to do with his intern's murder would think he can't sink any lower that he would vote against expelling someone convicted for bribery. Or possibly Italy.Update: There's more:

"Rep. James Hansen, R-Utah, presiding over the rare House expulsion proceedings, admonished Traficant more than once for uttering curse words during his defense."But even that's not enough: "Traficant is seeking re-election as an independent."

This guy has balls of steel. Also, the now former Representative's site, linked by the Yahoo! story, no longer exists.

It's the Percentages People!

Yahoo! News - Dow Closes Up Nearly 490 Points

"The Dow Jones industrials stormed up almost 490 points, the second-biggest one-day gain ever, and climbed back over 8,000 Wednesday as Wall Street cheered legal and legislative action on the corporate ethics scandals that fueled nine weeks of sharp losses."

Point-increases and point totals are totally irrelevant. What investors should look at is the percentage increase. The only reason point increases make news is because they are big numbers. Anything in three digits is big news, but it really shouldn't be. Single-day increases or decreases of, say, 4% or more are newsworthy. Otherwise, lets stick with political and business scandals, please?

Men: Too Emotional

"Men: Too Emotional?" by Maureen Dowd

"'I probably deep down believe that women are the superior sex,' [David E.] Kelley told TV critics gathered here for a fall preview."

What a fuckin' suckup.

Behind US Foreign Policy Scenes

Behind the Scenes of U.S. foreign intervention by Jake Sexton

I was looking at sites that talk about 'American Imperialism', trying to find something that was actually for it. This appeared on the first page of the Google results, and looked interesting. Early on I realized it was an anti-Imperialist screed, but I approached it with an open mind. That is, until I read these two paragraphs:Communism was the ultimate cover story. The Soviet Union was never an actual threat to the United States. The Cold War was essentially a front to fool the American people into accepting our global military campaigns.

Popular apologists claim that those nutty guys over at the CIA, well, they just goofed. Bullshit. The CIA did overestimate the capacities of the Soviet Union, but not by a hell of a lot. Even the most conservative estimates put the U.S. military budget at twice that of the USSR's and U.S. economic power at four times that of the Soviet Union. The policy of anti-Communism was a very handy tool to cover the tracks of immoral acts and it let American citizens pretend that they weren't accomplices in the butchery.

The main problem is that he seems to contradict himself.

"The CIA did overestimate the capacities of the Soviet Union, but not by a hell of a lot"?

So wait, if they didn't overestimate their capacities by a hell of a lot, wouldn't that mean that the threat perception was fairly close, meaning that maybe the threat was real? (Like how the Soviets kept short-range missiles with nuclear warheads, even after the Cuban missile crisis was long over? Or that the Soviets presumbably, according to a defector, had an agent with a 'suitcase bomb' ready to detonate in Washington if need be?) Anyway, much to dislike about the article (plus, I very vaguely remember George H. W. Bush actually saying that oil was a rationale for going in, despite what the article says). Here's a humourous take on American Imperialism, comparing it to the paragon of Empires, Rome.

I was a teenage abstainer

Andrew Coyne: “The politician, in particular, who confesses to having not tried marijuana invites all sorts of doubts. People will question his ability to set a credible example for today's youth. I mean, what kind of loser would never have had even one toke? If he's been covering this up all this time, they will ask, how do we know we can trust him now? It's not just about marijuana, after all. People will want to know what other drugs he hasn't used. Cocaine? Ecstasy? Alcohol? Who wants a killjoy like that for a leader? ¶ Apart from the known health effects [of not smoking marijuana] -- loss of appetite, increased motivation, inability to concentrate on a single spot for more than two hours at a time -- police believe that not using marijuana can be a "gateway" to not using other drugs. Some may scoff, but I can tell you it has been my experience. It starts with a little "no, thank you." Pretty soon you're doing homework, running track, still kidding yourself that you can quit any time. Before you know it, you've joined the chess club.”

Tiger Woods Sucks

Stunning 81 means no British Open title, no Grand Slam for Tiger Yahoo! Sports story: “Woods would go through glove after glove, trying to keep his grip dry. He took his hat off and went bareheaded so water wouldn't drip from it.”

Whoa, Tiger Woods sucked today. Actually, it took the full force of Mother Nature to keep him down (and his score up, way up). Finally a major golf tournament that Tiger doesn't win. Now that's news.