Monthly Archives: November 2007

Friday random 10

What we’re listening to as we celebrate the accomplishments of now-former New York Met Lastings Milledge:

this machine kills fascistsAdventures in Solitude, The New Pornographers
Valley Winter Song, Fountains of Wayne
15 Step, Radiohead
Shake it Off, Wilco
Sourwood Mountain, Woody Guthrie
The Crane Wife 1 & 2, The Decembrists
The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades is Out to Get Us, Sufjan Stevens
Several Arrows Later, Matt Pond PA
Chickamauga, Uncle Tupelo
Cruised and Accused of Cruising, Lifter Puller

Bonus video: Cut Your Hair, Pavement (Live)

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Breaking: Mopey guy gets into pharmaceuticals, poetry — Is emo next?

Lucy the Blog has come through today with the greatest blog post of all time. In poetry, no less.

We still haven’t forgiven Lucy for the vicious anti-Scandinavian slurs of months past, but we’re on our way.

Do What You Feel Friday!: Scrape Away Your Dignity [Lucy the Blog]

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Breaking: Black people are not the bi-product of cursed Ham

Pax Arcana is a committed Pastafarian, but we are officially tolerant of all religions and beliefs. In fact, we like to praise — and repeat — the teachings of other religions when appropriate.

Like today, whereupon we come across what must be the high point of Christian philosophy (and just in time for the holidays!). This article goes a long way to achieving global racial harmony by addressing a central concern in many parts of the Christian world:

Are black people the result of a curse on Ham?

The answer, you will be happy to learn, is an emphatic “No”:

The belief that the skin color of black people is a result of a curse on Ham and his descendants is nowhere taught in the Bible.

Furthermore, it was not Ham who was cursed, but his son, Canaan (Genesis 9:18, 25, 10:6). Furthermore, Canaan’s descendants were probably mid-brown skinned (Genesis 10:15-19), not black.

False teaching about Ham has been used to justify slavery and other non-biblical racist practices. 

W.E.B. DuBois: Not descended from smited lunchmeat

So black people are decidedly not the result of a curse on Ham. Unfortunately for the Uzbeks, it is true that they were created by God to be zombie food upon the advance of the mighty zombie army. Sorry, Uzbeks.

Are black people the result of a curse on Ham? []


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Google may advance global domination today

Via TechCrunch, today may be the day we find out if Google is serious about pursuing the 700 MHz spectrum, which sounds like a load of crazy talk from that guy in front of the YMCA in Central Square but may actually prove to be a game-changer for all of us.

old_cell_phone.jpgHere’s the brief backstory: The Federal government has owned the entire broadcast spectrum since its founding — back when our great-grandparents snorted cocaine for headaches and burned communists at the stake. Now that the cable and satellite communications infrastructure have largely taken over, the government wants to sell off the unused 700 MHz spectrum, a powerful, wireless, broadcast spectrum that could easily be used as a carrier spectrum for cell phone communications. The catch is that government is specifying that the buyer of the spectrum use it for the public good.

Initially, the speculation was that Google planned to buy up the spectrum for the purposes of setting up its own cell network. Google could then simply out-source the manufacture of phones that would run the new Google cell phone OS (Android), and undercut the a-hole wireless companies that have been threatening to charge Google and other massive  Web companies more for distribution on their networks.

Some even predicted that Google could bankrupt Verizon by charging almost nothing for use of the spectrum (which would be relatively cheap to operate since there are already plenty of towers capable of broadcasting the spectrum).

TechCrunch says today’s the day that Google will announce its bid for the spectrum. We also learn that rather than using the spectrum for an all-out assault on wireless companies, Google may in fact be partnering up with a few to take advantage of the spectrum:

Since we last wrote about the auction Google has announced the Open Handset Alliance (Android) which includes T-Mobile and Sprint Nextel; in effect Google has an existing partnership with two of the four major existing mobile players in the United States. If Google is seeking to become a cellphone operator in its own right, this wouldn’t be well received by T-Mobile or Sprint Nextel; unless of course Google is already talking about partnerships where by one (or both) of their partners provides the towers and service provision whilst Google maintains spectrum ownership, whilst presumably dictating access terms that would favor open access and/ or Android itself.

We apologize if you found the above boring. Now back to our usual programming: Boobies,  zombies, VIKINGS, baseball, A-Rod’s a dick, Ryan Adams rules, Perk is still a beast, witty rejoinder, snarky comment, etc…

Google To Announce Wireless Spectrum Bid Friday [TechCrunch]

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Kobe is arthritic, smells like poop


No, not that Kobe. The other one. The one that sells for $160 for an 8 oz. filet. This one:


The Grinder today posts about an article in the December issue of Gourmet (not online until this “Interwebs” thing really catches on) that goes a long way to debunking the central myth of Kobe beef — that it is so tasty because the Waygu cattle used to produce Kobe beef are incredibly well cared-for. Conventional wisdom has it that the cattle are free to roam and munch on their favorite grasses, receive a steady stream of massages, and are even given beer to keep them relaxed.

Gourmet writer Barry Estabrook says the beer serves a different purpose altogether. He quotes an Australian Waygu cattle rancher who says the Japanese cows require beer because they are confined to a wood crate their whole lives:

“They get bored and go off their feed. Their gut stops working. The best way to start their gut working again is to give them a bottle of beer.”

Estabrook apparently found it strange that the Japanese federation that oversees the production of Kobe beef wouldn’t let him see for himself, so he relied on top-tier chefs who had been there. Here’s what one two-star Michelin chef said he saw:

“The animals were kept in some kind of crate, so there could be very little movement. They were very dirty from their own manure—and I know a dirty cow from a clean cow. It was disgusting, such a contradiction from what I’d read.”

It seems that the Japanese may have traded on the casual racism of Western orientalists — who just took it for granted that the Japanese had communed with the Shinto spirits or farming secrets passed down since before the Tokugawa Bakufu — to market what is basically the cruel result of long-term veal raising.

Anyway, we were looking for an excuse not to pay that much for a steak.

Kobe: The Arthritic Beef [The Grinder]

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Pax Alma Mater: Subject of widespread (and justified) ridicule

This is kind of old news for those of us who get the college newsletter, but Middlebury College has recently earned a bit of notoriety of late on account of a bunch of students starting a Quidditch club.

Pax Arcana and the Harry Potter phenomenon have lived under an uneasy truce since about 2002, when we realized we had a better chance of living in a marshmallow castle with Liz Phair than convincing the world that there was something profoundly silly about investing so much of our cultural capital on books that are meant for children. Since then we have watched as millions of otherwise intelligent adults have practiced a distinctly creepy ritual of self-infantilization — fording through thousands of pages of goofy, juvenile fantasy scripts only to emerge on the other side with annoying justifications for the practice, like “the books are really good,” and “the characters are fun” and “why did you stab me?”

The ridiculousness of the Quidditch fetish (and if devoting hours of your time trying to mimic an imaginary game from a series of children’s books isn’t fetishistic, I don’t know what is), has finally hit the blogosphere, as literally dozens of blogs have commented on the below video clip, in which a Vassar College student describes his club’s intention of challenging at the — get this — Quidditch World Cup at Middlebury:

And, because Pax Arcana has vowed not to allow ourselves to get too worked up about this stupidity, we’ll just quote some other people:

“People say a lot of bad things about frat boys, but I, for one, would love to see some popped Abercrombie collars and feathered bangs beating the shit out of these people.” – With Leather

“God I’m angry.  I’m going to punch every inanimate object I see, beginning with homeless people and eventually moving my way up to white babies (not that white babies are higher up, just that I don’t see black or Mexican kids playing goddamned Quidditch).  This is what happens when people stop beating their kids.  I don’t want to live in that world and if I have to smack your kids myself until they learn that there is such a thing as a stupid idea, so be it.

And if you’re keeping score at home, people who play quidditch just shot to the top of my list of people I want to stab, just above guys that listen to techno in their car, club promoters, white guys with dreads, and the cast of Sunset Tan.” – FilmDrunk


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Canadian kitchens are deathtraps

Found this over at Deadspin. We haven’t seen any of the Hostel movies, and we had memories of Candyman surgically removed in 1999, so this video is officially the scariest thing we have ever seen in our entire lives.

And we’ve been to Philadelphia.

Hot poutine in the face!

Canadian PSAs are Clearly Not Messing Around [Deadspin]


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Revisiting 1993

Every major cultural movement drags a backlash in its wake. This is especially true of pop music, in which tomorrow’s breakthrough artists are ritually massacred the day after.

Sometimes it is worth the mental exercise to put ourselves back at a time of sea change in the musical landscape and ignore that which came after. Pax Arcana took just such a trip back in time after stumbling upon a music blog by someone calling himself He’s a Whore, who sparingly lays out the year 1993 in music.


Consider that from 1986 to 1992, the pop airwaves were cluttered with soulless redundancies from the likes of Poison, Warrant, and other so-called “hair bands.” Some kids listened to Fugazi, sure, but the common currency was terrible music trafficked by evil warlords with bone necklaces and hatchets for hands.

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Bam the drum slowly

emeril.jpgWord out of New York is that Food Network bulwark Emeril Lagasse is leaving the network after a collapse in contract negotiations.

Food bloggers and writers practically took to the streets last year when the formerly ubiquitous Mario Batali was unceremoniously dismissed from most Food Network shows, including the ingenious Molto Mario. The demise of Emeril Live (the more boring Essence of Emeril will live on, apparently) marks another blow to the foundation of the network — which rose to its greatest heights on the ample haunches of Batali and Lagasse.

Our fondness for Emeril has waned over the past few years, but consider this: 10 years ago, Pax Arcana couldn’t have told you the difference between casserole and cassoulet. Then we started watching Emeril Live and got hooked on his enthusiasm and accessibility. Lagasse has a distinct talent for making the process of cooking seem enjoyable, understandable, and, most importantly, an exercise in creativity.

We’re now more interested in the more sophisticated fare of Alton Brown and Tony Bourdain, but for us Emeril Lagasse was the gateway drug into the world of cooking.

The real shame is that the Food Network seems intent on replacing the old workhorses (most of whom owned restaurants) with the sparkly food porn of Giada DeLaurentis, Rachael Ray, and witness cyborg swamp monster Sandra Lee. We like Giada, and we have more tolerance for Ray than most, but Sandra Lee, the fat fraud guy who does the diner show, and crapulent budget gourmet Dave Leiberman are not anything we’ll be watching.

At least there’s still Alton.

Bam! Emeril Leaves Food Network [Fishbowl]


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German TV almost as weird as Japanese TV

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