Scott's Soapbox

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Commercial

Some of you might recognize the dark haired fellow sitting at the desk in this ad for Franklin County (where I live) Commissioner candidate Marilyn Brown. A friend of mine is Marilyn's campaign manager, and she drafted me to be in this commercial- along with another ad still in post-production. A little powder, some concealer, a few dozen takes...and there we are. I had never met Marilyn before, but she seemed nice enough while repeating her campaign speech over and over for the cameras. She has never run for office before and seemed slightly bemused by all the fuss. I think she's the type of person who would rather do the job than campaign for it, and that's always a good sign. I was promised lunch by my friend for being in the ad, yet I think my performance- subtle yet passionate, while determinedly nodding my head- deserves a nice steak dinner at Morton's, don't you think? I'll have the filet...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Andrew's 80s Video Contest

For those of you that read Andrew Sullivan (and if you don't what's wrong with you?) he has been holding an 80s Music video contest to lighten the mood up a bit, and quite possibly inspired by his recent Pet Shop Boys concert. I e-mailed him asking why he never seems to mention New Order as well, the most influential band of the period and close friends with the Pets. Today, my prayers have been answered, as New Order's "True Faith" is the video of the day. Andrew writes:
New Order's "True Faith." I love the band - and still do. The video has it all: dead-pan choreography, surrealism, bad hair, concert energy, and a melody that still lives in my brain.

Of course it has all that and is probably the best "pop" song New Order has ever written. But it has many more elements that make it classic New Order. The fact that band members themselves are barely in the video (only in concert scenes). That the words "true faith" never occur in the song and there is a classic New Order "non chorus chorus." That the lyrics ended up being changed (removing a drug reference which they still sing live today) by their producer for fear it would run into trouble with American radio. That they went in expecting to record another track "1963" with "True Faith" as the b-side but changed their mind. The sleeve of simply a yellow leaf falling against blue sky is striking in its minimalist beauty. No band names, no title, nothing on the sleeve to distract from the mysterious image constructed by artist Peter Saville to match the music inside. The music itself is them, one knows it from the very start of the song...synths, high melodic bass, keyboards, drums, all working apart yet together in their always perfect time.

Here is first a rather silly interview and the song live- only 19 years after they first played it, it still sounds fresh to me!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Fun with

If you think it's appropriate to make fun of Michael J. Fox as he campaigns for stem cell research which (he hopes) might lead to a cure for his awful disease, then and Dean Barnett's post doing just that might be for you. Referring to the ad I linked to yesterday showing Fox obviously and tragically suffering from mand asking if a desperate Claire McCaskill would "trot out Marty McFly" as a campaign stunt seems to me beyond the pale. But what do you expect from Hugh Hewitt and

Dean Barnett explains his logic in another post further down the page- saying that "I find the Michael J. Fox ad crass, tasteless, exploitative and absurd" and while (of course) "AS FAR AS FOX IS CONCERNED [his emphasis], I feel bad for him." However, not content to feel simply feel empathy for another human being, Barnett adds "One last note on Michael J. Fox. Unlike Fox, I’ve been a sick person all my life. Like most sick people who try to define their lives by something other than their illness, I’ve always recoiled at pity and even sympathy."

Ok, where to begin- maybe calling another "crass" while dismissing a suffering person by a movie nickname is not so hot. Maybe trying to couch it with the middle section of but of course I feel bad for him-type stuff makes one a wimp. For me, the coup de gras is the disease-topper at the end. "Well, I've got a cold." "Well, I've got the flu." "Well, I've got pneumonia." "Well I've got cancer." "Well, I'm going to die right this minute (falls over)." Seriously, a "I'm sicker than you" contest. Michael J.Fox doesn't want pity, he wants a CURE for his disease to allieviate the suffering and himself and others. I have no idea what disease Dean Barnett suffers from, but I do know he suffers from a profound lack of not being an asshole.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

What's Beside the Bed

Someone asked me what books I was reading right now (I have a huge stack from the library) so here goes:


Bob Woodward's State Of Denial *just finished*
Andrew Sullivan's The Conservative Soul *my blogging hero*


Richard Russo's Empire Falls *I actually watched the miniseries first and decided I wanted go back and read the novel, I a barely into it but it is exsquite so far*


Robin Hobb's Forest Mage *This is book 2 in "Soldier's Son" series and that first one was my favorite of her's so far*
Mercedes Lackey's Aerie *Book 4 of the "Dragon Jousters" series which are as charming and light and escapist as can be*

I just recently finished (and highly recommend) Ron Suskind's The One Percent Doctrine which gives a great inside look into our intelligence operations in the War on Terror.

Of course every week an issue of my New Republic arrives and I read that at lunch normally over a cup of coffee. A few articles alone in the past few weeks have been worth my yearly subscription- Thomas Frank's "Shadow Capital"; John Judis' McCain profile and a series of really interesting articles regarding the Constitution and Electoral College. It's nice to balance out the quick reads I get from the newspapers and blogs with the longer and more centrist view of TNR.

So there you have it.

The Michael J. Fox Ad for Stem Cells

Josh at TPM wrote it best, this may be hard to watch, but it is very effective.

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Watch for this in your e-mail box, I have gotten this type of "phishing" e-mail from several different institutions, none of which I have accounts with. Clicking on it directs you to a website which looks authentic (again with proper corporate logos, et cetera) and asks you to put in your account information. You can tell easily by looking at the unusal webaddress. I have let all the companies know about them as I have recieved them and they are aware of these attacks.

Just a heads up.

Quick Election Predictions

Democrats take Senate seats in: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Missouri. Plus retain New Jersey. In Missouri, the sleeper issue is stem-cell research- there is an item favoring it, with two-thirds support- also on the ballot which should help McCaskill prevail. She has a very strong ad featuring Parkinson's stricken Michael J. Fox highlighting this difference and it maybe enough.

They will lose close in Tennesee, which Harold Ford Jr. will lose despite his mostly brilliant campaign. It's too tough to overcome to so-called "poll tax" wherein black candidates end up getting a lower percentage of the vote than they do in polls. If the polls show it even, expect Ford to lose by 5. Sad but true. In Virginia, I expect George Allen survives- assuming, and this is a tough assumption right now with the way he's been going- that Allen does not manage to shoot himself in the foot again. This could change however- I bet there is one more shoe to drop in the Macaca/n-word affair.

So I predict the Dems gain a few seats but not enough to take control.

On the House, I think the Democrats take over despite the money advantage of the Repuiblicans and all the redistricting that's gone on. So many seats are in play here, so unlike the Senate, the Democrats do not have to run the table to gain control. A seat here, a seat there, and it flips.

Does this mean the Romulans will not be able to see us either?

Work proceeding along well for cloaking device. No word on whether or not we would be able to fire phasers while cloaked, which was always a big sticking point as any Trekkie knows. There is more here.