Thursday, December 17, 2009

The universe is big. Really big.

Find yourself seven free minutes, turn the lights off and check this out.

Produced by the American Museum of Natural History as a part of the exhibition “Visions of the Cosmos: From the Milky Ocean to an Evolving Universe”, at the Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan through May 2010.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Bottled Water Everywhere

The Facts About Bottled Water

This guilt-trip brought to you byOnline Education via Neatorama .

The Pixies and Weird Al

On November 4, indie-music-snob-mega-site (and I use the term most affectionately) Pitchfork reported:

At a December 8 benefit show at the Echoplex in L.A., "Weird Al" Yankovic will sing a Pixies song with members of the Pixies. This will obviously be an incredible thing to see.

Yankovic will sing the Doolittle jam "I Bleed". But maybe if we bug him enough, he'll subject a Pixies song or two to the "Weird Al" treatment. "Here Comes Your Spam"? "This Monkey's Gone to 7-11"? This needs to happen.

The show is one of two benefits, taking place December 8-9 at the Echoplex and the Echo, to raise money for Winston’s Village , which supports the family of Winston Bertrand, a nine-month-old baby born with lymphatic and venous malformations, two rare and life-threatening conditions.

Pixies frontman Black Francis will host the events. He'll perform solo as well as with members of the Pixies (including Flea filling in on bass!) and with the Grand Duchy, his duo with wife Violet Clark. The December 8 show will also feature performances from members of Love and Rockets and She Wants Revenge, as well as Michael Penn and the 88.

The next night, Francis will host an evening of comedy. The bill includes Tim and Eric, Bob Odenkirk, Brian Posehn, and Pixies drummer David Lovering. Francis will perform on both nights, which raises the absolutely intriguing possibility of a Black Francis stand-up comedy set.

Well, it actually happened. Kim Deal wasn’t there (she was in London) but guests included OK Go , Flea, Tenacious D, and Bauhaus's David J.

Here’s the proof…

Weird Al on “I Bleed” (and by the way Bob, is that the same gold, sparkly Les Paul that Joey Santiago is playing??)

Here’s Flea playing on “Where is my Mind?”

And here’s Tenacious D sitting in on “Oh My Golly!”

It’s funny because FOT’s Pat and Bob have been swapping email reminiscences about a Pixies show that we saw in 1988 at The Rat in Boston. Just one more piece of evidence about how shit-kicking cool I used to be.

Oh, and something I just noticed as I re-read this post...the Pitchfork report mentions in passing that among the comedians performing on the second night of the benefit is Pixies drummer David Lovering. Wha?

So I did some research using something called "Google" and discovered that Lovering became a magician sometime after the Pixies broke up in 1993. "I couldn't top the Pixies so I went into magic full-on and became a professional magician."

Even more, he developed a brand of magic he calls "Scientific Phenomenalism" in which he combined magic with a lifelong fascination with science.

I know, right? Me and David Lovering could TOTALLY hang out right? Turns out that he has a degree in electrical engineering and had a job building lasers before joining the Pixies. Right? Why haven't we been hanging out all this time? Anyway, his website is here and while I'm posting videos, here's one of his too...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Rewriting History

Just caught this blurb in Fast Company Magazine…

To liven up a standard card-services conference, Bank of America asked two employees to write a song about the merger with MBNA. Although their heartfelt performance – titled “One Bank” and set to the tune of U2’s “One” – was ridiculed when it leaked onto the internet, attendees gave it a standing ovation.

OK. Wait a second. I remember this video. And if the guys at Fast Company are now holding this up as an example of something that works, even (ye gads), something to be emulated, well, it’s time to cancel that subscription.

For a while there, this was a gruesome favorite of mine. In the same way that you might have a favorite car crash.

At one point it was pulled from YouTube (for copyright reasons, not aesthetic reasons…) but it’s back.

I have sat through a lot of sales meetings and conferences and god-bless ‘em for trying to liven things up in between “compliance training”, marketing reviews and break-out meetings but really, are these people blind? Deaf? Please, please tell me that their standing ovation was just group-think. Please let it be that one or two assholes leapt to their feet and the others followed begrudgingly so as not to stand out as sour-pusses.

Because this is the height of lame. The very pinnacle! There is no place to go from here except to less lame.

You be the judge.

And of course, what would the internet be if there weren’t hundreds of mocking parodies for our enjoyment. And who better than David Cross?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Little Richard on Jimi Hendrix

Did you know that Hendrix played in Little Richard’s band? I didn’t. But Wikipedia says its true so it must be…

On March 1, 1964, he brought a fledgling Jimi Hendrix into his band, Hendrix may have adopted his visual style from Little Richard, dressing and growing a mustache like his. He toured with Little Richard and played on at least a dozen tracks for Vee Jay Records between the spring of 1964 and 1965. Three singles, including a cover of Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On, would again hit the charts with moderate success. In 1966, Hendrix was quoted as saying, "I want to do with my guitar what Little Richard does with his voice."

Space Chair

Ever since I saw the video for Boards of Canada’s “Dayvan Cowboy”, which was the subject of a post in August, 2008 , I have been intrigued by the idea of reaching the edge of space by balloon.

Which is why I think that this new ad campaign by Toshiba is so cool. They strapped a chair and 8 Toshiba cameras to a high altitude balloon and sent it to the edge of the earth’s atmosphere and the images are pretty incredible.

Pretty neat right? Here is a video about the making of the commercial which, if you can stomach all the “marketing-speak”, is interesting also…

Thursday, December 3, 2009

More Video Fun From Those Guys With The Treadmills

Ok Go , those guys who did the fun video with treadmills have a new song with a catchy new video you might like.

And depending on how compelling you found that, you might like to watch this piece about the making of the WTF video…

And what the hell, if you haven’t seen the treadmill thing, here it is too…

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


The lights are up at stately Foil Manor!

Woolworth Stereo Spectacular

I remember doing some record shopping at Woolworth back in the day. In fact I remember in particular buying "Love Beach" by Emerson, Lake and Palmer at Woolworth.

After wearing out the grooves in ELP's "Brain Salad Surgery", I had high hopes for "Love Beach" but the cheesy cover should have tipped me off. Even as a twelve year old in 1978 I knew shite when I heard it!

That got me to thinking..."Love Beach" came out in 1978. What other choices might a young Tim Foil have had while browsing the New Releases section at Woolworth that fateful day long ago?

The Jam - All Mod Cons
Jethro Tull - Bursting Out
Atlanta Rhythm Section - Champagne Jam (included that one for you Rog!)
Neil Young - Comes A Time
Boston - Don't Look Back
Bruce Springsteen - Darkness on the Edge of Town
The Jacksons - Destiny
Billy Joel - 52nd Street
Kenny Rogers - The Gambler
The Clash - Give 'Em Enough Rope
Original Soundtrack - Grease
Cheap Trick - Heaven Tonight
Jethro Tull - Heavy Horses
AC/DC - If You Want Blood You've Got It
Dusty Springfield - It Begins Again
Kate Bush - The Kick Inside
Buzzcocks - Love Bites
Midnight Oil - Midnight Oil
The Kinks - Misfits
Brian Eno - Music For Films
Black Flag - Nervous Breakdown
The Police - Outlandos d'Amour
Blondie - Parallel Lines
Devo - Are We Not Men? We Are Devo!
The Rolling Stones - Some Girls
Elvis Costello - This Years Model
Al Stewart - Time Passages
The Boomtown Rats - A Tonic for the Troops
Van Halen - Van Halen
The Who - Who Are You?
Van Morrison - Wave Length
Kiss - Double Platinum

And speaking of Kiss, 1978 also marked the release of the eponymous solo records that each of those guys put out. (And of course you agree that Ace Frehley's "New York Groove" was the best of that bunch right? No argument really...)

By the way, this little nostalgic reverie was inspired by the Woolworh TV commercial below. $1.57 for an LP...Petula Clark and Canned Heat in-stock now!


There are a bunch of space-related, hi-def photographs of the most recent Space Shuttle mission to the ISS here .

It’s a weird site…it appears to be a digital version of “The Chamorro Bible”, Chamorro being the official language of the Territory of Guam. I didn’t take the time to sniff around and figure out what the connection is between The Chamorro Bible and these images but I was stopped in my track by this beauty…the sun setting on November 23, 2009 behind earth’s thin blue atmosphere…

(Click on the image for the awesome full-sized version...)

Discovered via Neatorama .

(Special note: I will be using the "Photography Loophole" to avoid violating the Space Moratorium .)