Sunday, January 30, 2005

Best Whatever

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Well, I'm back to my old tricks--with nothing to post about, I'll post about anything, starting with a photo that hasn't anything to do with anything.

Behold, Unrelated Content:

Comida que me gusta Saturday night I dinnered at El Maguey y La Tuna, which I hadn't been to for months and months (as illustrated here, at the very, very bottom of the post, back when I really knew how to put a bunch of unrelated info together in a single post.) El Maguey y La Tuna is definitely officially the Mexican restaurant I am most satisfied with on the isle of Manhattan. I had the nachos and a bowl of pozole--I can't explain the ordering of nachos aside from I've really wanted nachos lately, but I ordered the pozole because its cold out and I wanted to order something that would test the kitchen's ability to turn out something which is undisputedly truly Mexican, and they did good. I also made many covetous glances at Bryant's plate of mole enchiladas. I'm going back soon to get some of those, as I did have them there before I found them to be just plain perfect. I'm not usually a snob about authenticity, I like Taco Bell as much as the next guy, as long as something that is supposedly Mexican is tasty I'm down, but sometimes there's nothing like a restaurant that serves classic Mexican dishes properly and doesn't mess it up--or force guacamole ground at my table upon me. Now, if I could only find a place that made tacos that were small enough.

Pelicula que no me gusto Saturday afternoon I walked half a block to the Quad Cinema to catch "Lost Embrace," and Argentine film that was supposed to be good. Turns out it wasn't. The tale of an Argentine Jew who helps his mother run her store at a little Latin-American mall while thinking about his father who he's never met, it was really boring and I left after an hour because I knew there had to be something better to do with my time.

Pelicula que me voy a gustar Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy test-screening reviews are beginning to appear. This movie is going to be great, I can just feel it. As it comes out on May 6, it should prove to be the perfect little outer space apertif to Revenge of the Sith. The Internet is currently clogged with all sorts of Revenge of the Sith spoilerific hotness . . . I have a hard enough time resisting these pictures and scoops myself, so I'm sorry, but I won't be facilitating access to them through Steady Mobbin'.

Una lista de 500 canciones! A few months ago Rolling Stone magazine published their list of the 500 Greatest Rock Songs, a (in a sense) predictable parade of Dylan and Stones praise with not a classic overlooked. Yawn. Here's a much better list of 500 Best Rock Songs--it's exciting off the bat, as their #1 song is "Roadrunner" by the Modern Lovers. It's ridiculous to even suggest that there could be a correct list of the 500 Best rock songs, myself, I don't know that I can name 500 songs that I really, really like and then rank them in correct order of "greatness"--but these lists are a little thought provoking, and the Matt Toby list in particular might turn you on to something you've never heard, or properly appreciated, before.

Y una cosa mas Some people don't know that Tim Burton has a new animated movie coming out this year called "The Corpse Bride." Well, he does. And here's the trailer. This I will like, much more than I like the Nightmare Before Christmas, which I don't even really like. Stop motion certainly has come a long way, like, I've got to be honest this thing looks so good I have my doubts about it really being stop motion, doesn't that look Pixar-good to you? Lighting, it has to be the lighting.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Best Unexpected Bit of News

Mormons, in general, went crazy when they found out that Gladys Knight had really, really joined the church. Today I went crazy when I found out that Arthur Kane, former bassist for the New York Dolls, has belonged to the church for years. This fact had to be pointed out to me by my dad in the shape of this newspaper article about a new documentary about Mr., I mean, "Brother" Kane that premiered at Sundance. So I'm feeling pretty good that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can now claim an R&B Legend and a Father of Punk Rock among the ranks.

If you need the reminder, the New York Dolls were just about the number one highlight of the magnificent madness that was the Little Steven Underground Garage Festival I caught back in August. Click here and scroll way down to take in my take on their performance . . . I have absolutely no idea if Kane was with the group when they performed. . . Update okay, now that I have actually read the whole article on Kane I'm guessing he definitely was in the show. . . Update No, no, now that I have really, really read the whole article I'm thinking Kane was dead by the time I saw the Dolls. Oh well. Sounds like a good movie.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Best Emergency Content

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As threatened earlier, because I haven't much to say, here's my Law School "newspaper" "review" of the Jimmy Smith concert I went to a couple of weeks ago.

Famed jazz organist Jimmy Smith visited New York this past week to play four nights of shows at the Iridium Jazz Club off Times Square. Hailed by aficionados as “the Father of the (Hammond) B3” or “the Father of Soul Jazz”, Mr. Smith is most likely to be recognized by the uninitiated of our generation as the man behind the organ sample on the Beastie Boys’ classic “Root Down” (lifted from Smith’s “Root Down (And Get It)”—at least that’s how I suddenly realized who Jimmy Smith was upon first listening to him.

Smith’s second set on January 13 proved that, while the years are catching up to this legend, his spirit remains strong along with his commitment to entertain. Having celebrated his 76th birthday less than a month ago, Smith required a steadying hand to help him climb the four or five steps up to the Iridium stage and looked significantly more frail then the last time I saw him (back when he was just 73). But upon taking the stage, Smith charmed the audience with a few quick shuffling dance moves before taking his place behind his organ, backed by a three piece band consisting of a guitarist, bassist, and drummer. (I suppose if I were a true arts journalist I’d have noted who his bandmates were, but, hey, I’m not a true arts journalists.)

Smith’s set consisted of just a handful of lengthy numbers, ranging from the mellow to hot. Smith eschewed organ solos (Smiths lack of soloing these days is a common grip of real jazz critics), deferring to his backing musicians for solos on their own instruments (which they provided quite nicely) and substituted entertaining moves like striking at the keys with his hat or playing a few chords with his chin (a move that Smith told the audience “I ain’t never done before”) for his virtuosic runs of yesterday. But I don’t mean to come down hard on Smith, the show was excellent and the crowd was fortunate to catch Smith willing to perform classics of his like “The Sermon” and “I Got my Mojo Working.” Smith himself seemed to be in a fairly lighthearted mood and embellished several of his numbers with especially ridiculous scatting—which is saying something, when you consider the inherently nonsensical nature of scat.

All in all, it was a fine show, and one that I’m glad I caught. And a word on the Iridium: I’d never been to this club before, but I found it to be one of the most accommodating and well-run jazz clubs I’ve visited in the city with excellent sight-lines throughout the club—and no seats along the back of the stage (I’m looking at you, Blue Note), which is especially nice. Should you notice a favorite artist of yours is headed to the Iridium (located at the southeast corner of Broadway and 51st) I’d recommend taking a trip up to catc them.

The first time I saw Jimmy Smith, at the Catolina Bar and Grill in Hollywood, Arsenio Hall was there and I had to ask him to get out of my way so I could get into the bathroom. He did.

I'll be back with fresh content when I've got it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Yeah, you've already heard this, but the Oscar nominations are out. Yawn. I'd really like to be able to say that I'll not be watching the Oscars this year, but who am I kidding.

Rumors on the newest Nintendo system are surfacing. Check it. For me, the most interesting items are 1) That Nintendo is putting their Okay on HD-DVD instead of Blu-Ray (poor Sony, its the return of VHS vs. Betamax, but maybe this time the power of the Playstation will have the world agreeing with Sony's notions of where technology should head?) 2) This notion of gyroscope controls . . . remember how, when you first started playing games and if you had a hard time getting Mario over a pit you'd heft your controller in the direction of the jump, instinctively, in hopes of getting a little more air? Seems Nintendo is latching onto that instinctive motion and now your furtive body language will actually get Mario over the pit or Pirhana Plant.

Best So-So Content I Can Provide

Not the hottest weekend I just had. Friday: M.I.A. tickets sell out as I'm buying them, my IBM laptop ("The Stepchild") murders itself during Con Law, the kind of computer death that causes people to gather around your monitor and shake their heads because definitely there is nothing that can be done, the Death from Above 1979 show also sells out before I can get my hands on tickets, Saturday I eat a horrible plate of nachos and my evening sociality consists in me trying to make the most perfect BLT possible (complete with special mayonnaise), blah blah blah, it wasn't so bad, really . . . because I'm not a regular rider of the A or C anymore, becuse then I'd really have something to complain about for the next million years.

So, I ask myself and I ask myself, do I blog about Johnny Carson dying? The answer: if I were a Grandparent blogger, I would. While I did watch his final show ever whilst babysitting for the French people across the street from my house, he was definitely before my time, to say the least. I do remember my own Grandfather remarking that he (Mr. Carson, not Dr. Taylor) wore a different suit every night. But Johnny Carson did make this joke about death, and it's fairly funny, in the old people way: "For three days after death hair and fingernails continue to grow but phone calls taper off." But I am definitely not missing Letterman tonight (not Monday night, it's a repeat) because I know it'll certainly be something else. Leno tonight? So-so. But what can you expect?

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Best Behavior: Be On It

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As you may know, if you are my mother or a close friend, I am nuts about manners. Etiquette books captivate me. I'm pretty much walking around the time, thinking about good behavior (if only I could act on this fascination . . . but that's another post altogether.) Anyway, a week ago the Meddler wrote a post on the importance of good manners and it just set my manners brain on fire and I've been thinking about etiquette extra hard for the last week and I've finally come up with this, the Steady Mobbin' A to Z of Brilliantly Great Behavior. You might think this is a big joke, but I'm totally serious, and you may think this is a big rip off of something you may have seen in Vice once, but I'd rather you not dwell on that.


Apartments One of the first things I learned about Manhattan manners is that it is not rude to ask people what kind of square footage they’ve got or what sort of rent they’re paying. It’s pretty much how one says hello to someone they’ve just met out here.

Busses If it’s the early evening and you’re supposed to meet up with a friend, it is very bad manners to take the M14 bus because it will take forever and you will be late. “I had to wait forever for the subway” is always an acceptable excuse for tardiness, “I was on the bus forever” is never an acceptable excuse because we all know it was really sloppy for you to think you could take a bus in the first place.

Car Door It has always been my manners fantasy to get to open the car door for someone who was getting out of a car.

Dog Runs The signs at the dog runs always say that you aren’t supposed to bring your dog to the dog run if it is in heat, and this always cracks me up, because I’m not very mature . . . especially if you were also going to break the rule about bringing a big dog into the small dogs dog run (but I suppose it’d be more funny if you were to bring a little dog to the big dog dog run, but I’m going to far.) Also, the signs at the dog runs also say you aren’t supposed to pick up your dog, because an exposed dog belly is a sign of weakness and invites attack. Sorry Kelsi.

Elvis Costello I’m sure Elvis Costello really appreciates how discreet I am about how he lives in the same apartment building as me and how I may give him good, long stares whenever I see him in the lobby but never get all up in his grill. But should we ever wind up in the same elevator, whoah boy, he’ll be getting an earful. (Note to Self: learn something about Elvis Costello’s music)

Friends It isn’t polite to tell your friends if they’re doing something that’s bad manners, which is a crying shame, because you’re a real pig sometimes.

Garbage Room I say it isn’t rude to take your neighbors old magazines that they’ve put in the garbage room recycling bins home for your own perusal, but I’m not sure what they’d think. Also, it is very good manners that if you’re leaving a defective appliance at the curb to be taken away to leave a little sign on it like “Danger! This Lamp is Dangerous!” because you know somebody is going to see your old lamp and want to take it home.

Helping People Move If someone helps you move, you pretty much owe them, or someone else who comes along in the great chain of moving karma, help moving—or you at least owe it to yourself to have a really, really good excuse as to why you can’t help them move (besides “I’m sorry, I really hate moving—that’s why I had you help me that first time, you know” even though if honesty truly equals goodness it would be the best excuse in the world.)

Ice Cream It was rude of me to eat an ice cream cone in front of you because I always make the biggest mess. I’m realizing that the cup is no longer a sign of weakness or lack of fancifulness but a statement I shouldn’t be afraid to make, “Yes, I Wind Up Sticky When I Get a Sugar Cone.”

Jokes Everyone loves jokes, if they’re appropriate. If you think of a funny joke, but it’s inappropriate, then you shouldn’t tell it. But if you think of a funny joke, and it’s really, really inappropriate, then you should definitely tell it. Works for me, at least.

Karate Chops If your friend is practicing his karate chops, it would be rude of you not hold a wooden board for him to chop—but if he’s practicing his flying karate kicks, it’s okay to say you’d rather not hold the board in front of yourself for him, because he’s probably going to go flying right through it and into you.

Love If you love a new TV show, it’d be rude of you not to start a website or bulletin board about how much you love that new show, especially if it’s a reality show.

Mala Educacion Pedro Almodovar’s new movie is called “Mala Educacion”, and all the signs in English call it “Bad Education”, but, in Spanish, to say someone’s got a “mala educacion” is to say they’ve got bad manners. No wonder everyone is giving this movie four stars, it’s probably a totally awesome Spanish movie about the importance of manners. For cross-dressers.

Nerf Weaponry Even though your Nerf sword is soft that doesn’t make it okay to hit people with it whenever you want. (Especially if those people are old.)

Old People You should always be nice to old people, especially old people you don’t know, because, hey, that could be someone’s grandma, you know? And how would you feel if some stranger was rude to your grandma? However, it isn’t rude of me to ignore the crazy old lady who lives next door to me when she’s lying in the hall, moaning for help, because that’s just a game she likes to play.

Puppies I sort of regret that paragraph I wrote on dog run manners. I could’ve been a little more mature than that.

Questions It is good manners to say "There are no stupid questions" but in my life I have definitely heard at least one stupid question. I was on a tour of JPL in Southern California (it's pretty much the NASA of unmanned spacecraft) and we visited this fake Martian landscape where they had tested the Mars rover before sending it to, uhm, Mars and the dirt was all red and the rocks were all red and craggly, y'know, just like in the pictures of Mars and when our visit was opened up to questions this lady asked "How did you get all these rocks down from Mars?" That, dear reader, is a stupid question.

Really Late Being really late is like the worstest manners there are. What, you caught a bus or something? Oh, you were waiting for the subway? Ok, nevermind then.

Sushi The sushi chef takes great offense if you soak that sucker in the soy sauce because it is his fishy little work of art. Also, word is the pickled ginger isn’t a topping. Keep that in mind. And rubbing your chopsticks together to de-splinter them is rude because it’s a sign of stinginess, and who wants to look stingy on half-price sushi night?

Television Everytime you watch something like “The Fabulous Life of . . .” or “E! True Hollywood Story” you are being rude to yourself because that is time taken from your life that you will never, ever get back, no matter how much you learn about the cast of Gilligan’s Island or the spending habits of Hillary Duff. However, watching "I Love the 90's" (or any of the "I Love . . ." series of programs) and "Best Week Ever" actually makes you smarter.

Unusual Smells If you notice an unusual smell in mixed company, don’t make a scene. It’s not polite.

Vampires Say what you will about Vampires, they have very good manners. They’re pretty much the only psychotic monsters that absolutely won’t come into your home unless invited. But once you have invited a vampire into your home, there’s not much accounting for their manners from that point on.

Walking In my notes I’ve indicated that I wanted to address the etiquette of walking. I cannot imagine what I had thought I should say about the walking manners. Uhm, don’t walk in weaving line down crowded sidewalks, maybe? Here’s another one: Wanting to Be a Writer. Make no more movies, plays, musicals, or books about people who want to be writers. I'm not having it any more. If you want to be a writer, that's great, but don't make me watch a movie, play, musical or read a book about your desire to be writer.

X-Men Dear Makers of X-Men (the Comic Book): The reason I quit reading your comic in the 90’s is because you kept reforming the team every fourteen months. That was bad manners. I started reading Uncanny X-Men just in time to catch the Mutant Massacre story arc back in 1986 or 87, and I kept reading for the next seven years waiting for the team to completely recover from the beating they took from the Marauders and then I finally got it: the X-Men I knew weren’t going to get back together, you just wanted to keep coming up with new lineups and costumes and STUPID characters like Bishop.

Yoga It’s not polite to stare, but if one of your law school classmates does yoga poses like this one in the hall during breaks, that’s your freebie right there.

Zoning When NYU Law started building their (our?) new law school building and realized it’d block the sun from reaching the stained glass of a nearby church they built a giant box of light bulbs to simulate the sun for that window. That, my friends, is very good manners.

And if you were wondering, yes, this was my special post I mentioned earlier that I was working on. I know, I know, you probably expected lots of photos or something. And since there's been some questions, yes, I came up with this whole post on my own, to have taken other people's ideas without giving them a shout out, that'd be bad manners.

At all Best? You Decide.

Here's the new Postal Service video for "We Will Become Silhouettes" directed by Jared Hess, the director of Napoleon Dynamite.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Best Batch of Brand New Bentleys

First off, too bad there aren't any synonyms for "new" that start with a "b." Nextly, check it, instead of actual content today, I've got pictures of the new Bentleys.

First up, the Continental Flying Spur, the four-door answer to the beautiful new Continental coupes that always make my jaw drop when I see them around town. 0-60 in 5 seconds? 190 mph top speed? Perhaps more beautiful than anything else in the automotive world? Word.
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And here's the "drophead" (crazy Brits with their funny words) version of the Arnage. Despite the Continental hotness, the Arnage remains the company flagship and stays all classy looking, but I dig the tweeking they've done to the headlights and look closely, the flying B hood ornament has returned. It really has the look of something you could drive to a picnic, y'know?
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As far as truly original content goes, I've been working on a post for a few days (here and there, not day and night) that I hope to finish soon. And also, like five minutes ago I got this idea for a book or a movie that'll probably be the most popular book or movie ever born.

Also The Fantastic Four trailer is up. I have to admit it looks better than I had feared, there's not much good word on this movie. It's sort of too bad that a perfect Fantastic Four movie was made this last year by Disney, it was called "The Incredibles." Someday, when I'm not about to start reading my Con Law, I'm bound to expound upon the importance of there being an awesome Fantastic Four movie.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Best Alternative to Outer-Space Thai Food

I didn't have to visit too many Thai restaurants out here (particularly those belonging to the Spice family of restaurants) to discover that the thing about New York Thai restaurants is that they're the most super-futuristic looking restaurants in the city (next to the Lever House, of course), full of neon, 2001-looking chairs and tables, reflective ceilings, and out of the ordinary bathrooms. But do you remember that old lady with the odd grown son who still lived with her and her little house full of all kitschy, miss-matched decorations that your family would take you to visit every now and then even though you weren't related to her? (in my case that would be Betty's house, if I remember correctly) Now imagine her living room, with all its beaded curtains and photos of animals and curios ordered out of the back of Parade Magazine as a thai restaurant and you're imagining the East Village's Fake Orchid, a charming home-style Thai restaurant that I noticed a few months ago and finally visited this weekend with some amigos before heading to an amiga's birthday party. Though absolutely tiny, it was a fun place and the food was plenty good and plenty cheap and the music they were playing kept the group nostalgic for 80's movies I never saw.

Here Lexia delights in her tilapia:
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Lauren, Alejandro, and Reghan don't notice they're being photographed:
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And I munch on my chicken satay appetizer, which I got for free!
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So, yeah, it was fun and stuff.

Wait a Second I've forgotten to keep you abreast of my most recent celebrity sightings: A week ago I saw Peter Dinklage and a ladyfriend walking down 6th Avenue, Saturday night I saw Elvis Costello in my building for the first time in a while (he was carrying a poinsettia) and a little bit after that I saw Danny Glover in Soho. So I'm doing pretty well these days, but, as usual, I'm mostly just spotting older dudes.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Best Big Ol’ Bucket of Culture

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Man, the last week or so, I’ve been getting so much culture, it’s crazy. Like, right now, at this moment, I’m probably the most cultured person in all of New York, if not the world. Here’s the short version of how cultured I am right now:

Little Women: The Broadway Musical Spectacular When my folks were in town they wanted to go to a Broadway show and I agreed to go see the new production of Little Women (still in previews, actually) because 1) I didn’t know the story of Little Women and 2) It stars Sutton Foster, whom I saw in Thoroughly Modern Millie and dug plenty (let the record show that Millie is the only musical I’ve ever spoken about enthusiastically). But imagine my disappointment when we got to the theater and discovered that Sutton wasn’t going to be there that night and that we’d be getting some understudy. Despite our little understudy’s hard work and our awesome seats (second row, yo, gracias a the cheap ticket booth) I didn’t fall in love with the show, mostly because I really, really couldn’t stand the main character. For some reason, I really, really wanted her to fail and never realize her dreams of becoming a famous writer, or whatever. Why is it movies and plays are always about people who want to become writers? Like, it’s the easy way to stamp a main character as a free-spirit, a dreamer, and someone to admire, or something. I want the next musical I see to be about a girl who moves to New York and gets a job in an office filing and that’s it. Nothing else happens.

Tales of Hoffman at the Met That’s the Met that’s an opera house, not the Met that’s a museum. Tales of Hoffman was probably the best opera I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to 6 operas . . . maybe 7. Why the best? For starters, I could actually follow the plot. For seconders, the set design and production can’t be messed with. A good way to leave me dang impressed with something is to have one massive set suddenly sink into the stage as another giant set rolls forward. For thirdly, there was a robot girl in it. When it was revealed she was a robot (one of those sorts of revelations that’s obvious to the whole audience but no one on stage) they actually sang “A Robot! A Robot!” And finally, it was funny . . . and when I say it was funny, I mean that opera is typically so devoid of any joking around that a single kick towards a crotch at the Met will have the entire audience rolling in the aisles like they’d never seen America’s Funniest Home Videos.

Jimmy Smith at the Iridium Jazz Club Did you know you can text questions to Google? That’s how we found the Iridium, at 51st and Broadway, on Thursday night. Jimmy Smith is, as all the flyers say, the Father of the (Hammond) B3 Organ. I had seen him once before in Hollywood, two years ago or so, and Jimmy has aged a lot since then (he’s 76 now) but this organ-master still knows how to keep the crowd well-entertained. Although he’s now replaced virtuosic solos with slapping at the keyboard with his cap or playing a couple of chords with his chin. Best thing about the show is he played “The Sermon”, it was great. I wrote a much longer review of his show for the Law School paper, I’ll probably post it on a slow day this week.

Second-Hand Memories Sometimes Saturdays start like this: *ring ring* “Hello?” “Dude, we’ve got tickets to Woody Allen’s new play, do you wanna go? It starts in an hour.” Next thing I know I’m catching a matinee of Woody Allen’s new play, Second-Hand Memories, at a little theater in Chelsea. All I knew going into the play was that it was the story of a Jewish family living in Brooklyn in the 50’s, so I was expecting lots of talk of stickball and radio shows and whatnot (yes, sometimes I mistake the 50s for the 30s and 40s). But it turns out it was a story of awful people making awful decisions being awful to each other . . . but as far as total bummer plays go, it was actually pretty good, if you’re into middle of the afternoon bummers. Also, Michael McKean (from Lavern and Shirley and Best In Show and stuff) was in it, and he was great. I had hoped that nervous little guy with the glasses that’s in all of Woody Allen’s movies was going to be in it, but no such luck. Oh well.

Yeah, I know that’s an old Simpsons joke. But it’s a good one.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Best Commencement of a US Invasion, I Hope

I just discovered that the video for M.I.A.'s song "Galang" is up at the iTunes music store, along with heaps of Galang remixes. I hope I never regret writing this, but I'm inclined to want to say overly-enthusiastic about M.I.A., things like "M.I.A. is someone I plan on digging for the rest of my life." I just cannot be reasonable in my praise of M.I.A., "Galang", or the video for Galang which is exactly the sort of awesome I hoped it would be. Remember back in High School where the thing to do was be like "Yeah, I liked (band name) back before they were popular, now that they're popular, I'm just not so into them . . . it's like they sold out or something." Forget that, with M.I.A. (if I dare say I was ever ahead of what bandwagon I pray developes) I hope she becomes the most popular artist in the world, from nursery schools to nursing homes around the world. SO, if you've got the iTunes on your computer, click on the "Music Videos" link and you shall easily find this video. Watch it, then either wonder what my deal is or thrill in its awesomeness.

Previous M.I.A. ranting can be found here. (Check it, she's wearing that same jogging outfit in the video.) And had I made a "Hottest Joints of 2004" list like I said I might, it would've been topped by "Toxic" (Britney Spears--seriously), "Fire" (Joe Budden), and "Galang." UPDATED: My bad, "Fire" came out in 2003, but no one heard it before the party scene in Mean Girls, right?

Whilst I'm suggesting visiting iTunes to watch music videos, may I recommend you search out "I'd Rather Dance" by Kings of Convenience (it's in there, you just have to seek it out, which is much easier if you choose to sort by Artist Name or Song Title over there on the right hand side of the screen). You will never see a more charming video. It will warm your day and spread a smile across your face, this I am certain of. And it'll give you a good idea of how I wish I could decorate my apartment.

Also Can someone explain to me in what way 50 Cent's new track "Disco Inferno" is at all different from Lloyd Banks' summer hit "On Fire"?

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Best Inexplicable Internet Phenomenon of the Day

I cannot explain how this happened, but The Firearm has reappeared on the internet. The Firearm would be the thing, I suppose it was like a newsletter or something, that Andrew and I made during my last year at BYU. I'm still proud of it. Several of the issues, they are filled with brilliance. Again, I don't know how The Firearm dot Com as returned to the interweb, but it has, and if you're a fan of Steady Mobbin', you should check this thing out.

PS No, there was never a Firearm book.

Best Reason for You to Hate Me, Maybe

Camera, camera, camera. Why do I always leave you home when I’m going to need you most? If I can think to bring my camera to my brother’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor, why can’t I remember to bring it along when I head off to indie-hipster-hip hop shows? It’s like I’m trying to make people hate my blog.

Anyway, tonight (or maybe I should say “last night”) I caught some of the Definitive Jux Records show at Mercury Lounge. As it was a Tuesday night and I feel I’ve got plenty going on right now, I mostly headed out because the one performer on the bill with whom I was the most familiar, Rob Sonic, was performing first. I figured I’d check out Rob, then stick around as long as I felt like it afterwards, and call it a night. So that’s what I did. I almost feel I could stop this post right here, but I’ll carry on a bit longer.

The crowd was slow to arrive for the show, even if everything got started an hour later than had been advertised. When I got there, about ten minutes after the supposed official start time, two dj’s were spinning records for a nearly empty room habitated by a smattering a wall-huggers, and the crowd wasn’t all that thick when Rob Sonic took the stage. At various previous times here at Steady Mobbin’ I’ve praised Mr. Sonic’s work, and it was fun to see him live, but as rappers just rap over records of their tracks from their records, the benefit of a live show isn’t always so big, unless the energy of the place is off the hook . . . and in this case it wasn’t really. So, mostly catching Rob was an exercise in making sure he could remember all his lyrics (and he could) and checking out what sort of between-song banter he had going on (pretty good.) While this appraisal of Rob’s work doesn’t sound so incredibly positive, let the record show that I did dig his performance.

Rob was to be followed by an MC known as Beans. I had heard of Beans, and since I had a little name recognition going on (but no music in my head that I could attach that name to), I stuck around for his set. And this Beans, he is why I wish I had my camera with me . . . because I’m pretty sure that Beans is the world’s greatest OCD rapper. Howso? Let me explain: For starters, he dressed quite sharply, in the hipster way, with a colorful scarf hanging in a loose knot around his neck. He stopped between songs several times to step back and adjust the knot of his scarf so that it was just how it needed to be . . . at first I was pretty sure this was the affectation of a showman shooting to entertain his audience with his every nuance, but as Beans continued to take the time to fix his scarf, I began to feel he was doing it for himself. Also, there was his dancing. Were I not a kinder fellow, I’d suggest that Beans’ dancing suggested a more profound mental affliction than “simple” obsessive-compulsive behavior. Beans had a different wiggly worm dance move for each of his songs, ranging from an off-kilter gyroscopic swiveling of the knees to one song, a hopping twist dance around his microphone stand during another, and swinging his arm above himself as he hunched over, quite close to the stage (he may or may not have called this move “doing the ice pick”, it’s in debate right now.) And then there was the meticulous arranging of the water bottles on the stage, water which he didn’t really drink, but liked to have lined up in a certain way. All in all, very interesting fellow to watch, also, not a bad rapper at all.

By the time Beans was done, the place had gotten plenty crowded and numerous acts were to follow him. But I felt my need for Tuesday night entertainment was taken care of and slipped out of the club with Mike the Model and Lisa from High School as one of the dj’s was announcing that Aesop Rock was “in the house.” (Though I don’t know if his announcement was meant to simply indicated that Aesop Rock was at the show or that he’d be performing later on that night.) The three of us headed over to a 31 Flavors where I ordered a rocky road milkshake, the preparation of which seemed to be the greatest mental and physical challenge the girl behind the counter had ever faced. She kept looking up at the Baskin Robins “menu” for clues as to what this mysterious milkshake might entail, considered the workings of their blenders quite carefully (and eventually got it to work using a guess and check system of trial and error) and after my 16 oz. treat was finished, I’m pretty sure she headed to the back of the store to take a breather and to talk to someone about getting milkshakes taken off of the menu.

That wasn’t supposed to sound mean. Thank you rappers for rapping, and teenage slaves to corporate ice cream giants for preparing my delicious chocolate ice cream and marshmallow beverage.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Best Scoop That's About to Become Obsolete

The scoop, that is. The computer itself? About to become incredibly hot. This is the "first picture ever" of the new Headless Macintosh that's gonna be selling for $500.
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You can just call it phase two of the new world Apple domination that started with the iPod. I imagine full details on this product (being announced at the MacWorld expo at this very moment) will be up at the Apple website before most visitors see this post.

Update Yup, less than thirty minutes after I first posted that picture Apple has got their Mac mini page up. Just read the copy, clearly directed at people who might be moving away from PCs.
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Oh yeah, I totally forgot to tell you. When I was in Chicago, we went to the Museum of Science and Industry, and I got a root beer.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Best Dining Marathon

Well, I returned to New York on Thursday and brought my folks with me. To get dinner. And lunch. Sure, we caught some shows, I kept up the culture level, but really, eating was our business. Here's the rundown.

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Here's Mom and Dad at Dumont with the lobster bisque Thursday night. Dad wondered what was up with me taking him out to Brooklyn for dinner, but I'm all "Dad, don't worry about it, I'm just taking you to the best restaurant in the world that's across the street from a gas station." Aside from the lobster bisques all around, we had sea scallops with potatoes and bacon, the mad-delicious crab cake, Dad had the duck, which was crazy good, Mom had the strip steak, and I had the skirt steak, the only thing I've ever eaten at Dumont that didn't make me almost fall out of my chair. For dinner, some fallen chocolate cake and the insane chocolate custard.

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Our first stop on our two-restaurant lunch Friday was at Cafe Habana. Here's Mom and Dad with the Mexican-style corn on the cob (ah, sweet street-food memories). I'm always impressed with Cafe Habana, like, it does not need to be nearly as good as it is. Mom had some salad, Dad had the excellent black bean + avocado + white cheese torta and I had the fancy synchronizada, which, if I may repeat myself, did not need to be as delicious as it was.

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Then we went over to the Dumpling House on Eldridge, because my parents demand dumplings when they come to New York. Here's Dad with the sesame pancake with beef.

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And Mom with the dumplings. Dumpling House is insane, almost as insane as the various gazillion-star reviews they have posted on their walls now.

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For dinner we went to the Burger Joint. Perhaps you have been to the Burger Joint, and if you so, you then I need say nothing more than "We went to the Burger Joint" to make you jealous.

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Dinner Saturday was at the Stip House. Very good, Mom had the Rib Chop, Dad and I both had filets, we had their truffled spinach and goose fat potatoes as sides . . . unfortunately, truffled spinach and goose fat potatoes sound a lot more decadent than they taste. No complaints, though. Man, I just love spinach these days.

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Sunday we got a brilliant hookup for Five Points brunch. My folks demand Five Points brunch when they come to New York, and I am not one to deny such a demand. We had some polenta, the churros y chocolate (as seen here), Mom had a frittata with olives and stuff in it, Dad had the oven-roasted eggs and tomatoes, I first ordered the pork shoulder, but they ran out of pig shoulders, so I had a fine, bloody burger (that's a positive, y'know) -- although I now wonder why I didn't order a brunch speciality, I mean, one can get a burger at any time. There isn't much in this world that surpasses a Five Points brunch.

Later I'll talk about the other stuff we did. Later. Until then, lots of people had better leave lots of comments about how cute my Mom looks in these pictures.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Best "Isn't This What It's All Supposed to Be About?"

Back in the early history of the internet, I believe blogs were supposed to just be sites with links to more sites. Now, blogs are like just about pictures from vacation or feelings or Top 140 lists. But, today, today Steady Mobbin' is gonna be about links to other sites. And then, after today, Steady Mobbin' is going to be about "My Top 25 Feelings I Had About My Pictures From Vacation."

The Olympic Watercube (a.k.a. "Where everyone is going to be swimming at the Beijing Olympics") might be the most awesome looking thing ever, if it winds up looking just like these drawings of what it's supposed to look like.

These dishes look cooler than the ones I got at Ikea.

A Battle of the Planets Movie? Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer? For Disney? Combining CGI and live-action elements? I won't lie, I'm down with the idea. Battle of the Planets ("G-Force" to some) was my first favorite cartoon, I've got very pleasant childhood memories of watching it wrapped in blankets fresh from the dryer in my Alhambra home. And when the internet first came into my life, about all I used it for was looking up stuff about Battle of the Planets.

Beastles, you are no Grey Album.

Fake Mormonads? Somesay best Provonian-humor since the Firearm (RIP).

A few posts ago I sent shout-outs to friendly bloggers, and I totally forgot to plug Kristen and Cory's blog. If you think Steady Mobbin' doesn't have enough pictures of my niece and nephew, then Bruises and Bragging Rights is the place for you.

Sometimes I write a word like "niece" and wonder for a second if I spelled it right, so I type it into, and that's when I find out that "niece" also means "The illegitimate daughter of an ecclesiastic who has taken a vow of celibacy." So, it's like, yeah, I have a niece, but I don't have a niece, if you know what I mean.

Hey! Hey! Did you hear about the turtle that adopted the hippo? Make sure to click on the link to see the other photos, if you want your day to be as warm and fuzzy as it can possibly get from animals without fur.

Also How tall it 5'7"? How tall is 5'8"? Is anyone reading this 5'7" or 5'8" (I'm actually interested in the difference between the two heights)? If you can say "Hey, Brigham, I'm Five-Seven" or "Hey, Brigham, I'm Five-Eight" it'd be greatly appreciated. If you know me, you know I'm always trying to imagine heights. And now that I think about it, how tall is my sister Kristen?

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Best Bunch of Words about Bunches of Words

Trapped within the depths of finals, it was easy to imagine I'd spend Christmas break reading book after book. But the truth is, I've barely read a thing--mostly, I've been perfecting my Tetris game (and let me tell you I'm getting hotter than ever, don't even bring your Tetris trash talk 'round here if you can't beat Level 15 [for consistency's sake, I've been playing Tetris Worlds on the GBA]). The one book I have read is Neil Labute's new short story collection, "Seconds of Pleasure." I picked it up at the Oak Park Library and I'm really glad we've got such a well-stocked library because otherwise I would have bought this book and I'd be stuck with it. Since he's a fellow Coug, my reaction whenever I come across anything Labutian is to go "Ooh, Neil Labute has a new [book/play/movie/etc.] and I'm drawn in and what do I find? The same really dark, disturbing stories where people are awful awful to each other. But I'll give it to "Seconds of Pleasure," the title is quite fitting because I stuck in out until the end and every now and then I'd go "huh, that story was actually good . . . for a second." But for the most part, I don't understand Mr. Labute obsession with being the Modern Poe of Urban Unpleasentness. [Yet, whenever I walk down Christopher street and pass Fat Pig I can't help but think "Ooh, the new Neil Labute play!"]

Along with "Seconds of Pleasure" I checked out David Foster Wallace's "Oblivion" from the library, too. I've been working on it, but Wallace's maximalism hasn't really caught my attention in this particular volume of short stories. BUT "Oblivion" has made me think about Mr. Foster Wallace a bit (just like bloggin' late at night has had me dashing into the den to catch Blind Date repeats for the first time in a long time.) I think of all the modern authors of the moment, DFW most deserves ridiculous renown. There really are a lot of great authors putting out great stuff right now (the McSweeneys folk and Jonathan Safran Foer, for example) and while, yes, Dave Eggers put out a jealousy-inspiring memoir and started a publishing mini-revolution and Safran Foer's "Everything is Illuminated" is simply stunning (and I mean this not in the way that you'd tell a bride she looks stunning but in the way you might read a book and suddenly be stunned and freeze up and maybe accidentally drop the book as you're being stunned [and, for the record, I heard Safran Foer read a portion of his new novel ("Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close") that's coming out this year and it made "Everything is Illuminated" seem vulgar and inconsequential by comparison--but that's just me using strong words]) and David Sedaris makes us all chuckle good at his stories, David Foster Wallace is a real renaissance man who just shuts things down. Just consider what he's produced, the experimental-fiction compendium (at least that's what I'm calling it) "Brief Interviews With Hideous Men", the spot-on New New Journalism essays of "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again", the modern monstrosity "Infinite Jest" which I'll never finish yet people around me read and reread and underline and annotate like dude was the new Joyce (I won't go that far), and he's whipped up "Everything and More", his little book on the history of infinity . . . plus, there's "The Girl With Curious Hair" (more short stories) and "The Broom of the System" (which I'm about to start talking about.) [No, I'm not going to link to each of those books, but here's all of them on one page.] While his peers refine themselves in set categories (and prove, as was the case with "Know Our Velocity", that they really ought not venture outside of their better genre's) Foster Wallace has proven himself a reporter, an inventor, a storyteller, and a scholar. All he's got to do is write a children's book and maybe publish a book of photography and he'll have proven he can do it all quite well.

So, anyway, as you may have figured from the paragraph above, Oblivion got me thinking about Mr. David Foster Wallace and I started thinking about his novel, "Broom of the System", which I read in Berkeley, CA and Nashville, TN two years ago after finishing up college and before finishing up the LSAT. I couldn't remember much about the book, except that it was long but I shot through it in no time at all [it's the second-longest book I've read in as short a time possible. The first-longest quick read was "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay", so I'll say "Broom of the System" rivals Chabon's ability to tell an enormous tale full of fascinating characters) and that there was a suburban desert in it and it touched on some Wittgenstein. So, tonight, as the great Midwest Snownami (I invented that) began to descend on Lake street, I ducked into Borders to grab myself a new copy of "Broom of the System" (no, the library didn't have it.) I think B.o.S. was out of print for a while, but now it's looking a little thinner and has a prettier cover, so I'm set. As soon as I stop talking about David Foster Wallace, I'll start reading him. And then, maybe I'll tell you why it was I liked B.o.S. enough to read it twice. But no matter what happens, I just tricked you into reading a really, really long post . . . if you really read it. Oh, also, "Broom of the System" was published when DFW was 24, which makes me feel really great about myself and the fact that I haven't finished writing a story for like 4 years now.

And Another Thing did anyone, like, TiVo or DiVo or whatever that new show Committed? 'Cuz I watched some of it and it seemed good, but then I had to go park my car.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Best Family-Oriented Content of the Year

You know what's totally back in for 2005? Getting your Eagle Scout Award, if you're a Barnes family boy. It's like your bar mitzvah or something. Only 13 or 14 years after I got mine, my brother Owen just had his Court of Honor tonight . . . and for some reason, I think it's really, really blogworthy.

Here you'll see the Barnes family Scouts: Greg, Owen, and Me (as you can see, my mother dug up an unused Boy Scout uniform for me to wear.)

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In case you didn't notice from the picture, Owen just got his Eagle.
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And I've had my Eagle forever.
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But Greg? No Eagle. Yet. He's just a Life Scout. Ha! Just a Life!
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And here's the whole family (like I said, it was like a Barnes family Bar Mitzvah, everyone came out for it.)
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Also Perhaps you have read in a magazine at a dentist's office about how Bloggin' is the big thing these days. I suppose it is, I mean, something has to be, right? But, f'real, everyone's a stinkin' blogger these days. Mary and Emily have recently begun bloggin (If I were named Mary, my blog would be called "Mary, Mary . . . why you bloggin'? Don't get it? You must not have listened to Run DMC on their way out of style. Click.), and Sariah's been bloggin for a while now (I expect you all to know this). And, as I said before, the Mulcock boys have a site of their own, and Matt and Mike Lemmon have websites, not that they update them much or anything.

I Steal Only the Best for You, Dear Reader

Here's a picture of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen singing "Jesse's Girl" with John Stamos on New Years Eve. Yeah, that's Michelle(s) and Uncle Jesse gettin' down in Miami. Wild.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.usStolen, wickedly and blatently, from, the website of some photographer guy that hangs out with Jason Dill and Chloe Sevigny all the time.