Mini-reviews: Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, Infernal Machines; Star Trek; Nightlife at California Academy of Sciences. Then a roundup. And a brief political remark. Really an omnibus kind of a thing.

1. Just itunesed this new album (previously). The rest of the album matches the previews. It has a very Sketches of Spain feel to it, but crunchier, steampunkier, and with traces of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra around the edges, and then, just when it’s needed most, the out-busting of the shizmonito’funkiosity. Also moments that sound like rock, but not quite like any rock on which you can put your finger, sort of like if the great 60’s-80’s rockers got together to whale on one good guitar, kind of the Form of Rock, not really a sensible particular (try about 5:25 in Redeye for a good example). Highly recommended. If you must listen to one track, I still love Transit most. It gets very funky at 4:30, but start earlier to hear the trumpet player blow the place down.

2. Kirk is still a badass. But not nearly enough McCoy, insufficient cynicism from same. (Previously.) Also, one major moment of plot stupidity: why the fuck didn’t the Vulcans do on Vulcan what Spock eventually did on Earth: shoot to sever the gigantic unshielded cable coming from the sky? I don’t care how unwarlike the Vulcans are supposed to be, they could have spared something — a smallish hand grenade, some piece of industrial cutting equipment made airborne, even a sufficiently large rock. For that matter, why didn’t the Earthlings do that themselves the moment the fucking thing plunged into San Francisco bay? It was totally unshielded all along. C’mon. Real-world modern-day America could send a swat team on a helicopter with a bazooka to take the fucker out in half an hour flat.

3. The California Academy of Sciences (which is just a glorified museum of natural history in Golden Gate Park) has this weekly thing called “Nightlife” that’s basically a 21+ dance party with cool shit. I went the week before last for DJ Nako and a bunch of badass robots on display, including a bartending robot (that sadly was not running), a bunch of robot-wars type combat robots (ditto) and some random-ass spinning things. Pretty good scene, pretty lame bartenders (the robot could have done better, and probably had a larger selection of drinks, and yes, I say this despite the fact that the robot quite clearly was marked to produce precisely two — but I’m just a little grouchy because I couldn’t get a white Russian), excellent DJ (She played Everything Counts by Depeche Mode! I almost proposed on the spot.), some very strange (but quite attractive and nearly naked, so who am I to complain?) stoner/e-tard hippie types, etc. Show up early: they close various things (rain forest) mid-way though, and you have to get separate tickets that sell out for some stuff (planetarium).


1. Insert obligatory joke about quality here. Then drink heavily so you can get through contemplating the horrors that are about to be wrought on the internet again.

2. Gerald Dworkin on “Moral Anachronism.” Highly recommended.

3. Joshua Tucker asks a really hard question about the responsibilities of social scientists whose work might encourage wicked behavior. This shows up in the context of the question of torture’s effectiveness, but the issue goes beyond torture. (Suppose, for example, that psychologists — not incompetent hacks like Charles Murray — really did find that there were racial differences in IQ not traceable to the environment?)

4. Posner:Cardozo::Wordsworth:Milton? Given my opinions on both Wordsworth and Posner (hint: read Byron’s intro to Don Juan), I can go along with this.

5. The rain in Maine falls on a state that’s sane.


1. Why the hell hasn’t Obama just gotten rid of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell yet? This is the biggest no-brainer in politics: it’s the right thing to do, plus it won’t lose him any more votes than he’s already lost by not actually burning any witches or denouncing evolution. HEY BARACK! WAKE UP! EVERY SECOND YOU SPEND WITHOUT WIPING THIS STUPID, CYNICAL, UTTERLY UNPRINCIPLED, DISCRIMINATORY POLICY OFF THE MILITARY’S BOOKS — WHICH YOU CAN DO WITH A SINGLE SENTENCE PLUS YOUR SIGNATURE — THE DECENT PEOPLE OF AMERICA LOSE A LITTLE MORE FAITH IN YOU. Thank you for listening. And my Supreme Court appointment can be sent c/o the Stanford poli sci department.



6 Responses to “Mini-reviews: Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, Infernal Machines; Star Trek; Nightlife at California Academy of Sciences. Then a roundup. And a brief political remark. Really an omnibus kind of a thing.”

  1. ben wolfson Says:

    I can’t deny that I don’t see where the steampunk in DJA’s album is supposed to come in, except perhaps for the much-discussed cajon in the first track.

  2. Paul Gowder Says:

    But that track does do it rather strongly. Also, there’s a feel of it in Habeas Corpus. Also, I adore the end of the last track, which also has a dose of that feel, in an out-kind of a way. Sort of a brass soldiers marching on the Skies of America thing, savvy?

  3. arvita Says:

    *sniff, sniff* you went to the Cal Academy thing and didn’t invite me?

  4. Paul Gowder Says:

    Since when do you participate in riotous living on a Thursday?

  5. Jeff Albert Says:

    I think the steampunk thing is more a reference to getting this done outside of the large label system, and possible the cover art vibe.

  6. Arvita Says:

    I’m married, not dead. I would riot if invited.

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