Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Seemingly at random

Whilst looking for ... well, I don't know what, really, I came across a page that will serve up random quotations, if you want them. I like this one:

There is nothing so absurd but some philosopher has said it.
Cicero (106 BC - 43 BC), De Divinatione

The random quote thingie also has a weblog attached to it, by a person named Laura. The weblog links to this article on Choosing to be Childfree which, while interesting seems to end mid sentence. At any rate, it contains this interesting quote:
"There was one study that asked parents what was their primary reason for having children. The number one answer was, 'I don't know,'" says Sharon N. Covington, a clinical social worker at the Shady Grove Fertility Center in Maryland.
Why do I mention this? I don't know, but I discovered all this while listening to Juana Molina's latest cd, Son. It's so facking good, I can't even begin to describe it. Even though I review cds regularly for WXDU (my reason for being in possession of this cd, in fact), I really suck at it. I'm just not good at describing music, and have a really hard time coming up with Pitchfork-esque bullshittery. And legitimate, concise descriptions like "bringing together a bubbling thrum of acoustic instrumentation, organic electronics, found-sound fragments and of course Molina's honey-glazed vocals," don't occur to me like they do the reviewers at Boomkat. But anyway, so I really like this cd. And I also like this Pop Matters review of it.

At practically the opposite end of the I-like-it spectrum is Experimental Dental School, an "art rock" group from San Francisco or thereabouts who sound remarkably as one would expect from a group with such a name. Sort of like surf/garage-rock on meth ... very hyperactive and slightly disturbing in a carnival-of-vampires kind of way. See, that wasn't even a complete sentence. I suck at reviewing music. Good thing they have streaming samples on their website so you can see for yourself.

And for something completely different, I've also been listening to ¡Arriba Suena Marimba! Currulao Marimba Music from Colombia by Grupo Naidy on Smithsonian Folkways. ¡Marimbalicious!

And on one more audio note, have I mentioned how much I love everything musical that comes out of Mexico? Yep, I even like the cheesy synthesizer cumbias they play on "La Ley" (albeit in small doses). Well in honor of Cinco De Mayo (I know, I'm a few days late), Neil Hohmann, who produces a radio show/podcast called Ritmo Latino, put together a nice tribute to the many musical flavors of Mexico and its diaspora (several of the groups featured are US-based). Here's the playlist, and you can download the podcast for free from iTunes. (This may or may not be obvious, but you need iTunes installed on your computer first). ¡Mexilicious!

And to end very far from whence I began, I have this constant Mac-vs-Windows gripe that I would like to air: Windows' handling of special characters sucks. I'm talking about the upside-down exclamation points and accent marks of Spanish, which I often need to type. It's probably not such a pain for those using Windows on Spanish keyboards, but on an English keyboard, having to type a different alt-plus-four-number combination for every possiboccurrencence of an accented vowel or tilde (with capital letters having their own combination separate from lower case) is just a retarded, annoying way to do it. On a Mac, a simple option-e followed by the letter to be accented puts an accent (the right-flying one they use in Spanish--there's a whole 'nother one in french, plus several strange squiggles and such) wherever you want, and option-n gives you a tilde--regardless of whether you're using caps or lower-case. Easy to remember, easy to use. I have to tape a list of common special characters and their secret codes near my Windows computer at work. (The only one I have memorized is the bullet (option-8 on the Mac!) ... the rest I have to hunt for.) Sucks.

UPDATE: I should mention that sometimes I just resort to the "Type Spanish Accents Online" website.


christa said...

oh, i'm so glad you mentioned the juana molina CD! i didn't know she had a new one.

i saw her open for david byrne last year... it was a stupendously mesmerizing performance. you could hear a pin drop in that audience. phenomenal.

Anonymous said...

have you read the david cross pitchfork pisstake?


Lisa B. said...

Yes, I loved it!