Beach House: “Bloom”

It’s going to be a busy springtime for me this year music-wise, as the new Madonna album will be released in a few days, and new discs are expected in the next month or two from Ladyhawke, Saint Etienne, and Marsheaux, among others. But Beach House’s new album, Bloom, has leaked online and it’s bloody brilliant! It’s already well out in front in the early race for album of the year!

Here’s “Myth”, the album’s lead-off track:

Check out the band’s page at Sub Pop here.

Emily Blunt

Emily Blunt
(click to enlarge)

From Wikipedia:

Emily Olivia Leah Blunt (born 23 February 1983) is an English actress best known for her roles in The Devil Wears Prada (2006), The Young Victoria (2009), and The Adjustment Bureau (2011). She has been nominated for three Golden Globe Awards, two London Film Critics’ Circle Awards, and one BAFTA Award. She won a Golden Globe Award for her work in the BBC television drama Gideon’s Daughter (2007).

IE and the Default Save Folder

If you’re one of the 14 people still using Internet Explorer, you might have noticed an annoying new “feature” that Microsoft introduced in IE 8 and continued in IE 9: when you save images from different tabs, IE always defaults to the user’s “Pictures” folder instead of the previously used folder.

For example, say you’re at an imageboard like Reddit, and you have opened a bunch of funny images you want to save in to different tabs. You right-click the first image and choose “Save Picture As…” and IE opens the save dialog box in the Pictures folder. You navigate to your c:\MyStuff\pictures\reddit\funny folder and save the image. You then go to the next tab, right-click that image and choose save… but instead of the previous location, IE has defaulted back to the “Pictures” folder. So you have to navigate to the your preferred location. And then repeat the process for all the other pictures in open tabs.

This happens because Microsoft used a method it calls “Loosely Coupled IE” (LCIE) to spawn new instances of IE every time you open a new tab. In other words, every time you open a new IE tab, Windows treats it as a completely new instance of IE. Which is why new tabs revert to default locations, but saving multiple images from the same tab don’t exhibit this behavior. And the reason Microsoft did this is for stability: if one of your open tabs crashes, only that particular instance of IE is killed, not the other instances of IE. So LCIE makes IE much more stable generally, but adds a huge annoyance for saving images.

Can you change this behavior? Yes, but you need to read this first: Trust me, it’s not the usual techno-babble yadda yadda yadda.

You can force IE to run as a single process, but this has two important ramifications: for one thing, all instances of IE will run as a single process, so if one tab crashes, all tabs will crash. Also, forcing IE to run as a single process disables Protected Mode in Windows Vista and Windows 7, because IE is running as a single process, instead of separate instances which Windows can run at different integrity levels.

Continue reading “IE and the Default Save Folder”

Suranne Jones

(click to enlarge)

From Wikipedia:

Suranne Jones (born Sarah Anne Jones; 27 August 1978) is an English actress. She first rose to prominence playing the role of Karen McDonald in ITV1’s soap opera Coronation Street over a period of four years. In 2004, she left Coronation Street, later remarking: “I just thought, while [Karen]’s brilliant and I’m enjoying her, I’ve got to get out”.

Upon leaving, Jones took on roles in many drama series broadcast on ITV1 and BBC1, such as Vincent, Strictly Confidential, Unforgiven, Five Days and Single Father, whilst also appearing in various theatre productions, earning her critical acclaim, described by Andrew Billen of The Times as being in a category of “those brave, talented few who earn their wings on a soap and then fly gloriously beyond it”. In 2011 Jones starred in Scott & Bailey as DC Rachel Bailey, with the television series being an original idea conceived by Jones herself and fellow actress Sally Lindsay.

(click to enlarge)

Some Mad Men News

The season premiere of Mad Men is almost upon us, and I wanted to link to a couple of cool online things I’ve found recently.

The first is this interview with Matthew Weiner, in which he discusses how season 5 (and beyond) almost didn’t happen.

The second thing is this neat article from The Atlantic which discusses the language used in the show. If you’re a fan of the series, you probably know the amazing lengths the show goes to to ensure authenticity. The costumers require actresses to wear reproductions of period (no pun intended) underwear. The Foley artists track down actual newscasts from the day in question to play on radios in the background, and sounds of period office equipment as background noise. The prop designers painstakingly recreate concert tickets, newspapers, matchbooks, restaurant menus and other ephemera of the era. But when it comes to language, the show falls a bit short.

Benjamin Schmidt, author of the Atlantic piece and a “visiting graduate fellow at the Cultural Observatory at Harvard and a graduate student in history at Princeton University”, wrote a computer program that analyzes online Mad Men scripts and subtitle files ripped from DVDs, and then uses Google’s Ngram Viewer to compare the scripts to written works of the period. And while it’s true that there aren’t that many obvious mistakes (at no point does Peggy say “OhMyGod! Gag me with a spoon!”), there are a million subtle ones.

Much of the language in the show did exist as a concept at the time of the series, but wouldn’t enter popular usage for some time later. For example, in season 1, Salvatore talks about “espresso beans”; while the concept existed (and might have been common in Manhattan’s Italian community in the 60s), the specific phrase didn’t enter mainstream use until the 1980s. And speaking of the 80s, in season 4, Pete Campbell said that Philip Morris used SCDP as “leverage” to get a better deal with a competing agency. “Leverage” (in that sense) didn’t appear in “American Business English” until the 1980s. Sure, it existed as a banking term, but was almost unknown outside that. All in all, it’s a fascinating read, and worth checking out.

Mad Men season 5 promo

The Wednesday Roundup

Put on your seat belts kids… we’re hitting the ground running today!

– Ah, ObamaCare. The news just gets worse and worse for you.

– And research indicates that liberals are less tolerant online than other people? NO WAY! It’s hardly surprising, given all the liberal crap I see on Facebook and Twitter here in the Madison, Wisconsin of the South Charlotte, but it’s nice to see the actual black and white numbers.

– The Wall Street Journal has this short but sweet piece about Britain’s continuing War on Christianity. The author, in my opinion, quite rightly, states that “Britain’s equality and non-discrimination rules already have more loopholes than a coherent principle can bear”. The author mentions the case of Nadia Eweida, who was suspended without pay from her job at British Airways for wearing a crucifix. Wearing a crucifix, the British government said, is not actually a protected practice of religion, in the same way that Sikhs are required to wear turbans, or certain Jewish men feel compelled to wear a yarmulke. Furthermore, the government stated, Eweida was always free to seek employment elsewhere. However, the same government is prosecuting Peter and Hazelmary Bull, a married couple who own a bed & breakfast and have, for years, refused to rent rooms to  non-married couples (gay or straight). So while Eweida is free to seek employment elsewhere, people wanting accommodation at the Bulls’ B&B are not free to seek lodging elsewhere. Yeah, it makes perfect sense.

– I don’t know if this is true or not, but some rich Nazi supporters in California allegedly built a huge compound for Adolf Hitler in the hills above Los Angeles. It seems that these Nazi nutters were so sure that Hitler would conquer America that they had the compound built in hopes that Der Fuhrer would rule America from there (the property is in the news because it’s going to be bulldozed soon and made into a picnic area).

– This is also highly suspect, but the footage is kind of cool: there’s a grocery store in Adelaide, Australia that’s supposedly haunted, and CCTV captured candy flying off the shelf all by itself. So the story goes, the alleged ghost is a former customer known for having a sweet tooth.

– Artist Paul Cadden makes some incredible drawings using only a pencil. Check them out: you will seriously think you’re looking at B&W photographs!

– Speaking of art, scroll down this page to see a bunch of iconic album covers reproduced using Pantone swatches. I especially like the one of Roxy Music’s Country Life.

– Aaron Parecki is an iPhone app developer. He developed an app that tracked his movements via GPS for a year. The results are pretty… and pretty cool!

– And lastly, today’s “Cute Animal Pictures” involve a German Shepherd dog who has become friends with some Lynx kittens.

Top 10 Tunes

As always, from the home office in London… here’s the Top 10 song chart for the week ending March 18, 2012:

1) Marsheaux – “Faith’
2) Marsheaux – “Thirteen/True”
3) The Ultrasonics – “Perfect Girl (Marsheaux Remix)”
4) Marsheaux – “Summer”
5) Marsheaux – “Stand By”
6) Marsheaux – “The Promise”
7) Saint Etienne – “Tonight”
8) Marsheaux – “Ghost”
9) Two Door Cinema Club – “Something Good Can Work”
10) Marsheaux – “Breakthrough”

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-03-18

Continue reading “Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-03-18”

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!


My birthday is on March 11 and, for various reasons, we decided to not “officially” celebrate it until St. Pat’s this year. And so, because it’s both my birthday and St. Pat’s, I’ve decided that today will be known as “The Drunkening”.

I’m gonna live tweet The Drunkening from Sir Ed’s. If you wanna keep up with the festivities, click here.

Congrats, Illinois!

The state of Illinois is the first state in history to have two former governors in prison at the same time… and consecutive governors, no less. George H. Ryan is currently serving his sentence after being convicted of federal corruption charges, and Rod Blagojevich entered prison this week after being convicted of (wait for it) corruption charges.

In all, Illinois has had four governors serve prison terms: Ryan and Blagojevich, Dan Walker (governor from 1973 to 1977) and Otto Kerner, Jr. (governor from 1961 to 1968). Two other Illinois governors have been indicted but eventually acquitted: William G. Stratton (Kerner’s predecessor, governor from 1953 to 1961) and Len Small (governor from 1921 to 1929).

Only two other states – Louisiana and West Virginia – have had two incarcerated governors ever. And in both those cases – Richard Leche and Edwin Edwards of Louisiana and William Barron and Arch Moore of West Virginia – the convictions were decades apart.

Maryland also deserves a mention, as two of her consecutive governors – Spiro Agnew and Marvin Mandel – ended up as felons. Agnew pleaded no contest to accepting bribes, under condition that his main punishment was resigning from the office of Vice President of the United States. Mandel, the state’s only Jewish governor, was convicted of mail fraud and racketeering.

Arizona also has a notorious history. Evan Mecham, governor for just over a year, was impeached on charges of misuse of funds and obstruction of justice, but acquitted of criminal charges in the matter. Fife Symington III, who served after Mecham, was convicted of extortion, making false financial statements and bank fraud.

So… way to go, Illinois! You make America proud!