Here’s the most obscure thing you will see (or hear) today!

Chas Jankel, born Charles Jeremy Jankel on April 16 1952 in Stanmore, England, was the keyboard player and guitarist for the 1970s British punk band Ian Dury and the Blockheads. In fact, Jankel co-wrote most of the group’s biggest hits! But Dury was always the center of attention in that group, and the band broke up after Dury (just Dury) signed a contract with Polydor in 1982.

Although the band periodically got back together until Dury’s death in 2000, Jankel also had a short solo career in the early 80s. Here’s his song “Questionnaire” from 1981:

The song’s… okay, I guess. But the main reason I posted the video was because I had such fond memories of watching it on Video Jukebox, a music video show on HBO. The show began as a series of “filler” shows of 1-3 videos that ran between films. In December 1981, however, the show got its own half-hour timeslot on the network. And whoever chose the videos seemed to love “Questionnaire”, which ran, like, a million times!

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-12-26

  • Desawn J of the Eagles runs a punt for a TD, runs DOWN goal line to run out clock. JB: "Smart play", Jim Nantz: "He's showboating again!" #
  • Reason #19 Your Car Smells: The lid came off Fluffy's coffin. Enter Conan's #20PinetreeAirFresheners Sweepstacular @ http://bit.ly/an50kt #
  • Ding fries are done… #
  • @alisonbrie That's odd. In my teen jobs, if something odd was to be found in a restroom, it was ALWAYS the ladies room! #
  • Thank God Jason Stoogenke is okay! #
  • @DrPizza Amen, brother. I CAN'T STAND "drum and guitar" New Order! #
  • Thanks, Panthers! 1 more win to go! 🙂 #
  • HDCP almost ruined Christmas, but came through with a REPACK of the "Rake" finale! Thanks, guys! #
  • Shawn Spencer: "What is the deal with 'One Tree Hill'? I don't… understand it. It's like a poorly executed 'Dawson's Creek'." #
  • is still singin' "Galway Bay" #

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Here are a couple of pics that I’ve been meaning to post for, like, two weeks now:

Here’s Alison Brie from Mad Men and Community:

Alison Brie
(click to enlarge)

Wow! It’s photoshopped to hell and back, she she looks amazing, no?

Here’s one of my all-time favorite pics of Zooey Dechanel:

Zooey Dechanel
(click to enlarge)

She’s so damn cute!

My 10 Favorite Albums of 2010

Now that I’ve written up my thoughts on the year in television, it’s time to turn my attention to the year in music. 2010 wasn’t nearly as good for me as 2009 or 2008, years in which I found bumper crops of new bands to enjoy. In fact, compared to last year, 2010 looks like pretty slim pickin’s. But there’s still enough stuff to make a Top 10 list, so here goes.

Keep one thing in mind: while the shows in my  Top 10 TV list were listed in order, the following albums are not. Music is such a subjective thing. Some albums are good for when you wanna be mellow, while others are good for cranking up and driving around. In my mind, it just doesn’t seem fair to “rank” them.

Brian Eno – Small Craft on a Milk Sea – Aside from his early work with Roxy Music, I’ve never been a fan of Eno’s “pop” music. I had one listen to 2008’s Everything That Happens Will Happen Today (a collaboration with David Byrne) and promptly deleted it off my computer. But Milk Sea is more like his ambient albums, and a good one at that. Like the rest of Eno’s ambient work, though, you have to be in the mood for it.

Duran Duran – All You Need is Now – The Fab Five (or, I guess, the Fab Four) finally got smart and decided to stop trying to appeal to teenagers with this disc, which is a callback to the circa 1983 Duran Duran we all know and love. Producer Mark Ronson said that he was trying to create a “follow-up to Rio” with this disc, and while I’m not sure it hits that high mark, it’s one of their best albums in years.

Stars – The Five Ghosts – “Wasted Daylight” is one of my favorite songs of the year, so this album probably gets more props than it should. Especially since the singing duties in Stars are shared between (male) Torquil Campbell and (female) Amy Millan. Remember when you’d listen to a Dead Can Dance album and you’d fast forward over the Brendan Perry songs? Yeah, Stars is like that too. But when Millian sings, it’s pretty indie pop. That said, their cover of “A Fairytale of New York” is a crime against humanity; it’s “came in 18 to 1”, not “10 to 1”, you douchebag!

Vampire Weekend – Contra – College music hasn’t had this much fun with nerd rock since They Might Be Giants hit the scene. Vampire Weekend might not be the best band ever, but they’re an awful lot of fun, and this is a great album.

Continue reading “My 10 Favorite Albums of 2010”

A Stupid Facebook Trick

If you share webpages on Facebook using the “Share” link or a bookmarklet on your computer, you might not know that you can edit the URL and summary text seen in the window:


Just click on the URL or summary text (it will turn yellow as seen in the screencap above). You can then change either (or both) texts to read whatever you want. In the above example, I could change “Portable App Directory | PortableApps.com – Portable software for USB drives” into “Portable Apps” or even “Cool stuff!”.

Note that you can also delete the summary text (the paragraph under the yellow text in the screencap above) completely if you want to.

Windows Media Player and USB Devices

While I use iTunes to play most of my audio files, I still enjoy using Windows Media Player to watch video files. However, there’s one MAJOR annoyance with WMP that’s bothered me for years, and it’s this: if you’re watching a video and then insert a USB device (like a hard drive or flash drive), WMP assumes that it’s some kind of media device, and it wants to sync to it.

WMP will continue to play your video in the background, but the foreground window will change to a “sync screen” that asks if you want to synchronize your files to the device. So if you’re watching, say, a football game using WMP and absentmindedly insert a flash drive into your computer, you’ll miss a few minutes of the game as you race to figure out how to dismiss the stupid window and get back to the video.

You’d think that there’d be something in WMP’s options section where you could check a box that says “don’t do this stupid shit again”. But you’d be wrong. You’d think this would be a setting that a lot of companies would want to control via Group Policy, but if there is such an thing, I can’t find it. You could always disable AutoPlay completely, but this seems like such a nuclear option for such a niggling problem.

Continue reading “Windows Media Player and USB Devices”

Australia’s Greatest Mystery

On December 1, 1948 the body of a man was found on Somerton Beach in Adelaide, Australia.

He was a white male in his early 40s. He was clean-cut and wore a white dress shirt, a red and blue striped tie and brown pants. Strangely, he also wore a brown knit pullover and a European-style overcoat, even though December is summertime in Australia, and the previous day had been quite hot, the previous evening very warm. Even stranger, all the tags had been removed from his clothing (most clothing tags of the day bore the name of the store where they were purchased and not a global designer brand; this was sometimes useful for identifying bodies). None of the items found on the body – a pack of Juicy Fruit gum, an American-made steel comb, a box of matches, and a pack of Army Club cigarettes (which actually contained Kensitas brand cigarettes) – assisted in identifying the body.

Somerton Man death site
X marks the spot where the man was found

An autopsy was performed on the man, and there things only got stranger. The pathologist, Sir John Burton Cleland, was convinced that the man had been poisoned, due to the peculiar damage to the man’s internal organs. But no trace of poison was found in the man’s body. Cleland was even able to determine that the man’s last meal had been a pasty, a British pocket pie similar to an empanada. But no poison was found in the pasty, either.

Local media initially thought the the body might be that of a missing local man called E.C. Johnson. But on December 3rd, the very same Mr. Johnson walked in to a police station to identify himself, so that lead went nowhere. The next day, police announced that they had found no match for the man through fingerprint and dental records. The day after that, newspapers reported that police had started looking through military records after a local claimed to have been with the man at a local hotel bar on November 30th, and had allegedly seen the deceased with a military pension card with the same “Solomonson” on it. This also came to nothing.

Continue reading “Australia’s Greatest Mystery”