Links Everywhere

Oooh. Pretty.

Monster! Monster!

Little books!

Because the Internet really does have everything!

Japanese folding (again)

Team America (Supermarionation is back!)

Inside the mind of Lewis Carroll

currently playing: Another Sunny Day — Rio

RIP Red Adair

I always liked him, ever since I read a story about him in a book my Granny gave to me years ago.

currently playing: All Girl Summer Fun Band — Jason Lee

The Music Replacement. I'm So Sorry.

Since the BPI have called a halt to Music Fridays — introducing: US Election round-up!

(Well, that'll keep them interested. *YAWN* — Ed.)

Anyway, the big story of the week is Swift Veterans Against Kerry. This is a group of Vietnam veterans who have written a book, Unfit For Command, and released an advert calling John Kerry's war record into question. Specifically, they say that Kerry did not deserve the Bronze Star he was awarded for rescuing Jim Rassman, and that he lied when testifying about war crimes. If nothing else, this advert has seriously pissed off John McCain, who called upon the White House to denounce it (so far, they've only issued a non-committal "we have said that we won't talk about Kerry's military record" statement). The book is currently number one on Amazon, but the story is beginning to fall apart already.

Firstly, none of the men in the advert actually served on Kerry's boat. All of the men who served with Kerry are supporting him, bar one who is now dead. Secondly, one of the members of SVAK, Larry Thurlow, who has been on several news networks this week denouncing Kerry and insisting that the attack never took place, won a Bronze Star himself for the incident. So he's lying now, or he doesn't deserve his Star either. And finally, George Elliot, a member of the group in the advert, appeared in today's Boston Globe to retract the claims that he made, and to say that he regretted making them.

One question remains though: how did this new group manage to find enough funds to broadcast in the hotly contested swing states of Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin (at a cost of roughly $500,000)? It appears the key figures behind the campaign are a Texan Republican, Bob Perry, who donated $100,000 to the group, and John O'Neill, the co-writer of Unfit For Command, who was once hired by the Nixon Government to discredit Kerry and the Veterans Against The War group back in the 1970s. No direct involvement from the White House. Of course.

Meanwhile, the latest news from Florida. Welcome to the bounce.

currently playing: Sebadoh — Sorry

A Promise To You, Our Faithful Readers

When we have lots of money and are making our own Hollywood blockbuster, we will make sure we have safety railings.

(I, Robot: Much better than you'd expect! And actually rather good!)

currently playing: Billy Bragg — When Will I See You Again?

Time Wasting

Lots of silly Flash games.

currently playing: The Flaming Lips — Fight Test

They're Addicted To Links, They Know They're Toxic

Well, gee, Ralph, perhaps someone took him aside and explained what would happen if you managed to become President (do you really think you’d get anything done with a Congress that is wholly united against you? If you want to break the two-party system, then you have to build a new party. But you don’t seem to be interested in that for some reason).

Time Crisis — but in Flash!

The films that Could Have Been.

This year's geekiest copyright violation!

What's that smell? (I can't remember smelling bad things when I was there last, but it was a while ago))

Anyone for socks?

No link, but I'm amused by people who say that the suffragettes weren't hardcore feminists (I'm sure that some of the opponents back then would have begged to differ).

currently playing: The Jackson Five — I Want You Back

Lawyers! Start Your Engines!

Colorado is going to be fun in November…

currently playing: Manic Street Preachers — Little Baby Nothing

A Last Hurrah?

(By the way, if the BPI is reading — I have permission, from the band themselves, to spread this song far and wide. So that’s what I’m doing here.)

Somewhere, what sounds like an out-of-tune version of the lambada plays. Then the song begins: "Win your complaints / Slam the doors and break all the plates" It's an explosion of Phil Spector and Motown tricks; a group of indie kids break into the derelict remains of Detroit, discover the Funk Brothers' old equipment and immediately set to work breaking a million hearts in mono. This is an unmixed, low bit-rate, unfinished song, and it's still one of the best things I've heard all year; a transcendent piece of pop. And this week, of all weeks, I needed to know that music isn't just there to cause me grief.

Saturday Looks Good To MeEmpty Room

currently playing: Saturday Looks Good To Me — When The Party Ends

Update

Thanks for everybody’s emails and comments. Some have requested further information. I don’t have much, but here you go:

This site is hosted in the US, but the music files were stored on my Linux server at home to save space.

I've checked the logs for both this site and my home machine. There's no access that corresponds with the time that the BPI gave. But there is a spike of activity on both servers from an IP address of 212.111.42.11 around that hour. The user-agent string is "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Windows NT; DigExt)". which doesn't seem special in any way, and I can't find any referral data, so I have no clue how they got here. The address doesn't resolve, but SideBit's Locator places it in the UK. The address is now blocked at my firewall, but that's just me being petty rather than a serious attempt at blocking their access.

The moral of the story seems to be: if you're running a music blog, make sure you don't host the files in the UK.

currently playing: Propaganda — P-Machinery (Beta Mix)

Is It Over?

You remember this article, right? How it seemed cynical even by the most jaded of standards? Well, let’s have a cheer for Pakistan for capturing Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani!

Meanwhile, the Commons foreign affairs select committee released a report on how well things are going in Iraq, oh, and Afghanistan too. Turns out that Afghanistan is safe, as long as you define "Afghanistan" to be a street in Kabul.

This looks like a fun book. I'm not sure that "We weren't as bad as the Nazis!" really counts as a defence though.

Anyway, the final day of the convention. For a change, I had a look at some of the other news networks, and I must say: why did Fox News bother going to the expense of moving everybody out to Boston? They're not showing most of the speeches, they're still running their regular programmes. It would have been so much easier to leave everybody behind...

Hmm, only just flipped back, but not sure if bringing up De Gaulle is a good idea, Sen. Biden, but a good point on trust.

Now Wesley Clark. Beating the war drum and, most likely, talking up Kerry's Vietnam record. Because I don't think they've mentioned it yet.

Ah, Joe Lieberman. Will I resist the urge to put my foot through the television? Yes, Joe, and look how that VP nomination turned out, eh? And don't think bringing up Obama is going to make you look any better. Sorry, I really don't like Lieberman. Always makes me feel that he's in the wrong party somehow. Like he took a wrong turn at Albuquerque along the line. Well, I hope there's not Hindus, Sikhs, or Buddhists watching, Joe. Will he mention Clinton in former Presidents? Yes, but skipped Johnson. For obvious reasons, I guess.

Bored now. Seen this? I'm quite impressed. Not to get all fanboy about it, but when do you stop? Will Lucas be happy when he's added a digital effect to every frame? Has anybody said "No, George, that would suck" to him in the last twenty years?

Nancy Pelosi. Making the case for a Democrat Congress. It's weird; even if there was an election going on over here at the moment, there would be as much emphasis on soldiers. I mean, she's talking about healthcare, education, and outsourcing now, but there's been so much talking about war and supporting the troops. Even if we're still in Iraq and Afghanistan next year, the issues will probably be Europe and public spending, with defence getting a cursory mention. Sorry, getting distracted here, but I think it's an intriguing difference…

Oh. She's gone. Whoops. BUT! WILLY NELSON! ON THE PULSE OF YOUNG AMERICA! Actually, this could be great. HE'S GOT A GOSPEL CHOIR, AND HE'S MAD ENOUGH TO USE IT! Dammit, why didn't they invite The Polyphonic Spree? Forty hippies on a stage! Hmm, this isn't as good as it could be. Oh well. Who else? "Coming up next! A bunch of emo bands and intelligent dance music! DEMOCRATS BIGGING IT UP IN THE AREA! SLAM-DUNKING, OUR KID!"

Or they could bring on Madeleine Albright. I like them, I do, but I'm now bored senseless. I'm guessing that the Republican Convention will be different, if only because there's more chance of me getting worked up when I see people like Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Bush. Or I might have a job by then and you will all be spared. I want to see Al Sharpton following Bush around all summer, with a sign saying "WHERE'S MY MULE?" Albirght: unity, security, truth, bringing the world back to America. The usual.

And I'm worried. There's not going to be a big bounce after this convention. Or even a little one, I think. And it doesn't matter that he's now in a better position than Carter in 1976, Reagan in 1980, and Clinton in 1992. No bounce means failure in the eyes of the media. So that's what it will be. But anybody who has watched any part of this convention will know about Kerry's war record and what he stands for. If they've been lucky, they've seen fantastic speeches (Gore/Clinton on first night, Obama on the second, and Sharpton yesterday). I don't know what I'm trying to say; I suppose I'm trying to say that the convention probably doesn't matter to people who are busy having lives and not sitting in front of a computer screen, so I don't understand why it's considered to be so important. Is it even being carried by the major networks?

Carole King. And guess what she;s singing? "Close your eyes and think of me / and soon I will be there" DO I SEE LIGHTERS? And a sing-a-long! And a "You've got a friend…in John Kerry" (aha!) moment.

JFK sounded good, didn't he? DEMOCRAT DANCE PARTY!

"Kerry/Edwards Time! Let's Get It On!"Willie Nelson's checking Hillary Clinton out!

Andre Heinz is coming out to Hey Ya. Dude. Heh, "6"6" with the hair" Vanessa Kerry is good. And now Alexandra Kerry. All the family! Hamster CPR! Leave no hamster behind!

and now, a special bio hosted by Morgan Freeman.

They've got the men of Kerry's patrol boat on stage. Wow. Introducing Senator Max Cleland. More Vietnam, although this time incorporating Kerry's protests afterwards.

He's walking through the crowd! To Bruce Springsteen! Don't screw it up.

Just guessing, but this is probably going to be a speech of few sentences and lots of cheering.

Life story first.

"I will have a Secretary of Defense who will listen to his military advisors, and I will appoint an Attorney General who will defend the Constitution of the United States" — oooh.

He's getting better. Warming up a little. And now laying into Bush for throwing away unity: "Saying mission accomplished doesn't make it so"

"We will not go to war because we want to, but only because we have to"

"We will never send you to war without a plan to win the peace."

Leading with the military, then. 40,000 new troops, but not for Iraq; to bolster an over-stretched army.

"The future doesn't belong to fear; it belongs to freedom"

"We shouldn't be opening firehouses in Baghdad and shutting them in America." ouch.

I know it's because I'm listening to him. But he sounds good. He's moving on to the domestic issues now, about "you don't take kids out of after-school programs to give Enron a bigger tax cut."

"help is on the way" investment, closing tax loop-holes for companies that outsources. And reintroducing fiscal responsibility. A pledge not to raise taxes for the middle classes, but rolling back tax cut for those that make over $200,000 a year.

Education: increased spending, especially in the poorer areas (his wording here about prison was great).

Healthcare: "[Healthcare] is a right for all Americans and we will make it so"

Energy - reducing the dependence on oil. DAMN

"I want to address these next words to President George W. Bush" — a pledge for unity and also a call for him not to abuse the Constitution (veiled reference to election postponement?)

Picking back up on Obama's speech — One America.

"What if we have a President who believes in Science?"

And U2's Beautiful Day to close us out. You can't have everything.

Kerry / Edwards on stage, balloons coming soon, I imagine.

Well, he had to be good. And he was. We can but hope.

currently playing: DNC 2004