October 31, 2006

The ‘Tute

Filed under: nerd, video — ted @ 2:24 pm

I read about this in the Guardian, instead of knowing about it from YouTube, and I don’t know whether to be ashamed of my backwardness or proud of my choice of content…

The video in question was produced out by the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants in attempt to freshen up their image, and that of accountants in general. The results are hard to handle:

I can’t get enough of the first rhyme: “Well I’m a CPA and that’s what I do / I know it doesn’t sound sexy to you.”

Along with the rap video, the ‘Tute has re-launched its staid magazine, Hong Kong Accountant, as “A Plus”.

The cover of its first post-makeover issue showed a group of sharply-dressed accountants with attitude, with the headline: “Accountants just got cool”.

The aim, according to the HKICPA, was to show that accounting is a “dynamic profession.”

A dynamic failure, I would say. Let this be a lesson to any of you considering a career in finance.


The Uninitiated

Filed under: books, criticism, humor — ted @ 12:35 pm

You have to love this collection of reviews of classics posted on Amazon.

This one can be found in the comments section:

Jane Eyre is the scourge of literature

Reading this book was about as pleasant as a throwing knife to the face. I am going to be a senior in high school next year, and I just finished this book for my summer assignments for AP Literature. I literally took a victory lap around my house upon completion. I HATED this book. It was boring and rather pointless. No one cares about the romantic struggles of a fake character. This is basically the chick flick of books. I honestly believe this is the worst book I’ve ever read. I encourage everyone with a Y chromosome to stay as far away from this book as possible.

Songs for Christmas

Filed under: music — ted @ 11:18 am

Great news in Sufjan land: a new box set, Songs for Christmas, will be released November 21 and is available now as a stream.

Lots of the material is available elsewhere, although not for sale: Sufjan Christmas EPs have been floating around for years, and they’re lovely. This collections compiles the lot into a delightful box set, features new songs, and comes with some fun goodies. Nice!

Ayn Rand

Filed under: books — ted @ 10:42 am

Via Toothpaste for Dinner:

October 30, 2006


Filed under: ephemera — ted @ 11:30 am

An answer, with lots of great pictures, to a perplexing question:

How does an Etch-a-Sketch work?

Bag o’ Hopes

Filed under: politics — ted @ 11:24 am

From Slate‘s “Today’s Cartoons”

by Tony Auth 

October 27, 2006


Filed under: movies — ted @ 12:00 pm

I haven’t seen Babel yet, and won’t until at least next week, but I read two superb reviews this morning, and they have me fantastically intrigued.

What interests me in Babel is not so much that I think I’m going to like it — I did not particularly like Amores Peros, and very much disliked 21 Grams, the two previous collaborations between this screenwriter and director — but what it means on a larger scale, namely, as an example of a growing form of movie-making and storytelling.

First, there’s this from A. O. Scott’s marvelous review in the Times:

The splintered, jigsaw-puzzle structure of “Babel” will be familiar to viewers who have seen “Amores Perros” or “21 Grams,” the other two features Mr. Arriaga and Mr. González Iñárritu have made together. Indeed, this movie belongs to an increasingly common, as yet unnamed genre — “Crash” is perhaps the most prominent recent example — in which drama is created by the juxtaposition of distinct stories, rather than by the progress of a single narrative arc.

Perhaps the most common feature of movies of this kind is that they are more interested in fate than in psychology. The people in “Babel” behave irrationally — if often quite predictably — but any control they appear to have over their own lives is illusory. They suffer unequally and unfairly, paying disproportionately for their own mistakes and for the whims of chance and the laws of global capitalism.

Throw another movie I hated — Crash — into the mix. Then add this reflection from Andrew O’Hehir’s review in Salon:

It’s the kind of electrifying, almost ecstatic moment that reveals Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu (“Amores Perros,” “21 Grams”) as one of the purest talents to emerge in this medium since Martin Scorsese. Beyond cinematic daring, the nightclub scene seems to reflect or capture, if only for an instant, the themes that González Iñárritu and screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga fumble with over the course of this sprawling two-hour-plus film. We are all connected, your experiences of joy and pain are closely akin to mine, but we can only pierce each other’s consciousness in fleeting, split-second increments.

Personally, I believe all that, or I think I do. But the risk that “Babel” takes, in laboriously and lovingly connecting the private tragedies of four families in four different countries, is turning that observation, which may be lovely as a momentary flash of insight, into a stoned college freshman’s profound theory about the universe. Tremendous resources have been expended here so that Cate Blanchett can lie on a dirt floor and moan, while we ponder why we can’t all get along, and whether we aren’t all the same under the skin.

I’ll leave it at that for now. Suffice to say I can’t wait to see Babel, and form a genuine opinion about all of this…

October 26, 2006

Fun with Maps

Filed under: web — ted @ 12:52 pm

Today, after completing this cool 50 states map game, I realized that I’ve accumulated quite a few fun pages featuring maps of late, and figured I’d gather them all together in one themed post.

Middle East Matching Map. This is absurdly difficult…

Google Maps 7 Wonders of the World. Someone’s hard work paid off — this post is unbelievably awesome.

Generic Names for Soft Drinks by County. This blog is written in strong “soda” territory.

Worldmapper. A wealthy resource: “Worldmapper is a collection of world maps, where territories are re-sized on each map according to the subject of interest.” For example, here is an adjusted “Meat Consumed” map:

There are tons more like this.

American Ethnic Geography. These maps demonstrate the density of religious groups throughout the U.S. They’re amazing. Here’s the Mormon map:

Lastly, check out these scale models of cities.

October 25, 2006

My, how lovely

Filed under: art — ted @ 4:03 pm

More great stuff from BibliOdyssey:


Both images are illustrations for a book of children’s fables by Maurice Boutet de Monvel, and can be seen on the Library of Congress website. A few English translations of the fables can be found here.

Chuck Norris, columnist

Filed under: web — ted @ 12:57 pm

In a delightful new spin on the dying Chuck Norris internet phenomenon, Chuck is now writing a column for WorldNetDaily, a (very popular) conservative news site and blog.

In yesterday’s column, Chuck responds to his new fame, and expresses his hope that “maybe these one liners will prompt some one to seek out the real facts about me and the beliefs that have shaped my life and my career.”

Thankfully, Chuck treats us to a few choice cuts, which come in the form of responses to particular “facts” about him. For example:

Alleged Chuck Norris Fact: “There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live.” It’s funny. It’s cute. But here’s what I really think about the theory of evolution: It’s not real. It is not the way we got here. In fact, the life you see on this planet is really just a list of creatures God has allowed to live. We are not creations of random chance. We are not accidents. There is a God, a Creator, who made you and me. We were made in His image, which separates us from all other creatures.

By the way, without him, I don’t have any power. But with Him, the Bible tells me, I really can do all things – and so can you.

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