Archive for October 19, 2005

the worst stephen malkmus track ever

i still hold pavement somewhere in my heart as a band I like, but dude… this is awful… Baby Come On. Sure you want to be Alex Chilton, but come on… this is not your best track. It’s probably the worst pavement related thing I’ve ever heard, but that’s probably the point this isn’t pavement, but bluesu infected pysch comes better from elsewhere.


October 19, 2005 at 8:07 pm Leave a comment

The Whole aka Dong by Ming-liang Tsai

The Whole by King-linag Tsai has spurred me onto 2 different reviews so far. The first by e-mail:


watching a move called the hole. Taiwanese I think seems a bit to weird for china unless it’s hong Kong. it’s worth seeing so far. it’s about a guy and a girl in an apartment complex. the guy’s ceiling caves in and the girl starts to get annoyed and well it’s kinda a weird metaphor for the simultaneous pleasure ,degregation, and pain of a rather intense crush. there’s also a kinda zombie-virus-sub-plot too and a lot of weird little scenes where the girl acts out her desires through rather innocent and kinda fun 50’s doo-wop sequences. worth a look.

and then I had to get all intellectual about it:

In the middle of The Hole I e-mailed a friend of mine to summarize it. Not sure if the film would break down into a series of submissive gestures, I felt a little un-easy recommending it, but then I saw the ending. It’s perfect. I’ve been living in Korea for 6 months, and this film could just as easily summarize the strange ennui and frustration of any Asian metropolis as it takes on Taiwan here. It uses the myth of Hong Kong musicals the same way Godard or Hartley use Western musicals, but takes it to an extreme, it’s gritty world and occasionally Kafka-esquire logic make it all the better. I really feel like The Hole’s closest comparison is Hal Hartley’s Surviving Desire, but have a kinda bleak edge to what are ultimately hopefully and strangely metaphorical films. Anyway, this is what I wrote to Esther. Hope you like The Hole too.

It turns out The Hole was part of a series parially commissioned by La Sept Arte which included Hartley’s quite awful The Book of Life. Anyway, two reviews is probably enough. If your wondering
the musical tid-bits come from Hong Kong musicals It’s ending is a relief to what is a crush that manages to transcend genders while making two far from perfect characters who’s characters seem to be fleshed out in musical form. What was intended as a response to 2000 ends up a timely meditation on pleasure and the pains that drive it. Sometimes we’re all driven a little bit off the edge of humanity by love sickness. Ming_ling Tsai’s got a new one out too called The Wayward Cloud

October 19, 2005 at 7:30 am Leave a comment

Iraq’s money and the microcreditors

It occured to me once to see if Iraq had proper banking after the fall of Hussein. It does, in fact the infiltration of banking into Iraq happened in record time (some several years faster than in Europe after WWII). But one small problem remains, while more than enough money was printed to exchange every bill in Iraq for the newer post-Hussein bills, they only got 1/3 of the printed money. 1/3 ain’t bad when it’s several billion your exchanging in paper bills, but that still means 60% of the money in Iraq isn’t legitimate. As The Economist put it,“This would seem to be a suitable case for foreign investment to bring in the needed know-how and technology. “ As The Economist points out most Iraq people typically haven’t used modern banking system, under Hussein the banks suffered from control and bad book keeping. The emphaisis is on getting loans out there as fast as possible. While microcredit is obviouslly a good way to get loans out there fast it also has the advantage of providing a good way for Iraq people to exchange their old bills for new ones. Deposited and verified money would be replaced with the new dinar which is already rising in value. Additionally, Brazil’s microcredit program is a good example of how to set-up a bank with out having to make tellers or new banks all over the place. The system lets people start a bank account with just cash, no credit check, and allows you to deposit money at post offices and authorized retailers. I.E. the corner market becomes an ATM and a grocery store. Additionally the banking spots could collect applications for grameen loans. This would give the U.S. a good way to exchange out the old dinar for the new one, allow Iraq’s residents to begin saving, help facilitate small time loans, and additionally provide merchants with an added way of making revenue. I also was thinking it would be nice to put a small cell phone buried into the bank box that automatically sends text messages in regularly to make sure the box hasn’t been stolen. You could also try rfid similar to lo-jack’s car installation so that the decentralized banking system could be secure (well at least 80% of the time). Finally, with the saving you could issue atm cards and then begin to modernize the system with actual electronic banking and all that. I think if we’re ever going to leave Iraq it’s going to be when we can truly offer them a place better than what they had before. Getting them up to spead on essential services like banking is obviously a good start. While progress has been made, I haven’t heard of a system that really takes advantages of modern day methods of banking. While Brazil is leading the way in services for the poor (their even investing in alternative energy solutions for folks off the grid), it seems like many of the services currently being offered are based on assumptions of American behavoir instead of middle eastern. I might be wrong though and their already is widely available banking in Iraq.

October 19, 2005 at 6:05 am Leave a comment

“Fake” news spots or Bush isn’t that bad

Occasionally something pops up in the blogopshere (and perhaps in the news at home) that really is a biased issue. Today I read that Bush is producing “fake” news spots for television. Well, here’s the problem, almost all presidents have created “fake news.” These are news items created by publicists that are used as filler in broadcasts and newspapers. It’s not just presidents that make these, in fact there are entire promotional firms with stockloads of “free articles” for newspapers to pick up that are in fact written by publicists paid by companies to sell a product. The day google went down a story circulated that becuase google was down people were trying MSN search. It was written by an ad agency in D.C. who Microsoft employs to circulate articles that have a pro-microsoft voice. Similarly, Bill Clinton created many “fake” news pieces over the years. If you don’t beleive me, check out Brian Spinger’s Spin available for free from illegal art. There are plenty of anchors in these tid-bits that are paid employees of the white house.

October 19, 2005 at 4:29 am 2 comments


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