Break from Reality...

There's no other way to describe the average Fox "News" viewer's perception of their understanding of the world, versus what they actually know...

 My good friend Chas. D. would suggest that it's not killing nearly enough...

According to the Alternet report

In eight of the nine questions below, Fox News placed first in the percentage of those who were misinformed (they placed second in the question on TARP). That’s a pretty high batting average for journalistic fraud. Here is a list of what Fox News viewers believe that just aint so:
  • 91 percent believe the stimulus legislation lost jobs
  • 72 percent believe the health reform law will increase the deficit
  • 72 percent believe the economy is getting worse
  • 60 percent believe climate change is not occurring
  • 49 percent believe income taxes have gone up
  • 63 percent believe the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts
  • 56 percent believe Obama initiated the GM/Chrysler bailout
  • 38 percent believe that most Republicans opposed TARP
  • 63 percent believe Obama was not born in the U.S. (or that it is unclear)

That is stultifying stupidity. Right up there with the 7 out of 10 Americans that believe they have an actual, corporeal fallen angel; and the 51% who can name all of the Simpsons but not more than three rights embedded within the First Amendment.

Alternet, not generally known for being a bastion of "fair and balanced" themselves, pretty well sums up how so much disinformation is available in the public's noggins.

Fox News is deliberately misinforming its viewers and it is doing so for a reason. Every issue above is one in which the Republican Party had a vested interest. The GOP benefited from the ignorance that Fox News helped to proliferate. The results were apparent in the election last month as voters based their decisions on demonstrably false information fed to them by Fox News.

Friday's unbeloved...

Long weekend starts today; and not "long" as in "awesome". Long as in "I have to go to a firm retreat, and be locked up in a hotel all weekend to discuss firm financials, justify my existence, share case notes and strategy, and wheedle for a higher salary...all whilst dining awkwardly...with minimal chances of getting laid."

Sigh. I hate this kind of shit.

Anyway, Der Schatten hopes you have a great weekend (or, at least certainly better than mine). Bundle up mainland, and enjoy an absolute classic: VNV Nation's "Beloved".

Black screen for a reason. The lyrics are the point.
Absolutely one of the saddest, most touching songs ever written.


Wherein Der Schatten Tag-Teams Siouxsie Law's Dog Post*....

This morning, your Not-So-Humble Author was browsing the RSS feed, when he happened across an interesting post by Fellow Traveler, Siouxsie Law, "Dog Groomer Sues To Keep Gigantic Dog Mural on Her Building".

 Seriously. Look at this fucking thing. 
As Justice Potter Stewart said of pornography, "I'll know it when I see it". 
Ditto with art, and this fails the eyeball test.

Therein, Siouxie Law details the alleged First Amendment issues posed by the owner of a dog grooming business in Virginia. You'll have to read her post for the details, but the long and short of it is as follows:
  • Woman owns said business that abuts county lands, the latter of which also happens to be a community dog park.
  • Groomer then paints an abortion of an advertisement, not including her business' name but featuring stylized cartoon canines frolicking with reckless abandon, and it runs a full sixty (60') feet by sixteen (16') feet. Or, roughly, the size of a 1L's underclothes after a semester of inactivity, fast food and cheap beer. Or, for the rural folks, about the size of a small mobile home. (Appalachia, holler!).
  • County says, "that thing is hideous, and, despite your insistence that it's "art", it's very much an advertisement for your business." 
  • Nevertheless, County agrees to compromise: Groomer can keep her memento to bad taste so long as she paints "community dog park" above it, or some other such verbiage and/or indicia of non-profit motive.
  • Groomer resists; then files a suit against the County claiming that her rights to First Amendment expression have been abridged/infringed/got butthurt.

 First Amendment doctrine? Again?! AARGHGHGHGGGHHH
My feelings on First Amendment Doctrine are legendary (in my own fevered mind, at least).
Incidentally, I've been dying to use this picture. 

I will let Siouxsie handle the First Amendment ramifications (Spoiler: There's no case) because A) I'm a property law dork, and B) there are so many better reasons to tell this women to get drowned in effluent.

So, I did a lil' digging, because I am both a nerd and an insomniac, and it appears as though Virginia has some unusual party wall statutes. For those who don't know, a party wall is the legal fiction that both persons own a wall if/when it happens to separate properties. The ownership interest is of note, because even if I construct an improvement (fancy speak for building/dwelling, etc), and divide our land with the exterior wall, you -as my neighbor- still have interests in that wall. So it's not just a "party wall", but rather a "parti-" wall, e.g., partition.

This means that the non-owner of the parti wall still has rights and interests in the structure and can enjoin your use of it and/or seek compensation for loss of it (especially if it's such a tacky fucking 'mural' like the one above). And, as you would expect with such a legal fiction, there are some odd results that can follow. For instance, in Virginia, whence this case hails, there is an A.G. opinion that an owner of fee land, upon which a party wall was constructed, can't even videotape the shared wall because it would violate the State's wiretapping statutes as to the non-owner.

 Property law at 4:00 a.m? Won't you think of the puppies?

Now, look back up at the picture graciously hotlinked borrowed from Siouxsie's post. It appears as though the Groomer's building, including the dripline of the kennel's ceiling and any setbacks, probably run into lands of County. In other words, the County is probably considered a party/parti- owner, or adjacent owner, of the land upon which the party wall touches/divides. Under most zoning laws, the County is then likely a "party wall owner". 

I'd have to see the zoning ordinances, and the facts of the complaint, but homework and research are for suckers, especially when it's much more fun to speculate wildly and irresponsibly. This means that the County has rights to and interests in the Groomer's wall above, including enjoining this special needs painting above, and not having to subject other tax payers to a 960 square foot advertising (hell, that's a large Manhattan apartment!).

Wait a second, sayeth the average American. You mean if I share a wall, the adjacent landowner can stop me from painting tasteful cartoons upon it? Or, the County can stop me from using my own property in a commercial manner in which it was zoned for?


Unbeknown to most, the origin of "asplodes" has its roots in David Cronenberg's "Scanners"

Siouxsie's post makes excellent mention of zoning laws and advertising regulations as a perfectly legitimate exercise of the State's police powers (these are, after all, nothing more than very neutral time/place/manner restrictions on speech, be that speech commercial or otherwise). The examples she provides are Vegas, Staten Island and Times Square. All very good examples, I add, of how commercialization and/or "speech" can absolutely blight a city.

But why can these be regulated? Simple: members of the community have a right to not be exposed to monstrous advertising which gobbles up the skyline and/or diminishes the community characteristics. This is particularly true in areas where natural beauty is an attraction, or even for reasons as OCD as ensuring that certain areas of town all have the same facade/general structural/appearance.

Hell, I'll even through in a few more examples to help make her point:

 Hate me.

See the above? That's the view outside my place on the Kona/Kohala Gold Coast; aptly named so, as you can tell. Imagine a towering vacation rental, such as you see in my old Southern  stomping grounds, the Gulf Coast.

Sweet home.

Now, what's the difference here, although it is hard to tell initially? For a start, Hawaii County forbids the erection of structures exceeding forty feet. For any reason. That is so that people who aren't blessed enough to live right on makai (ocean-side) can still see the coast, the shoreline, the sunset, the horizon, scantily clad attractive people. 

And, the differences extend in a way salient to Siouxsie's point: For instance, on the same Kona/Kohala Coast, where the Shadow makes his living (and a bastion of artists, I add), no signage/displays/exhibits, etc can vertically exceed the horizon line. So, depending on where you're at, that's anywhere from 4'-14'. Hence, everyone gets to look at the natural beauty without a Bed, Bath & Beyond neon monstrosity. 

And, guess who lost a zoning fight to pollute the skyline? McDonalds: an entity that certainly has a more recognizable brand, and -some would argue- a more compelling reason to advertise its wares. But, you know what? As a community we've decided that the scenery beats the Golden Arches; that the rights of our residents and guests to enjoy the town and the natural sights takes precedent over gaudy commercialization, or even expressions of "artistic" speech. 

And, every court in the Nation will respect that as a valid objective and our methods a reasonable restriction on expression, speech, and commercial speech such as advertising.

I just had a seizure looking at this...

Bad pun absolutely intended: This is a dog of a case. Even if the County isn't a party owner to the dividing wall, there are plenty of compelling reasons to reasonably restrict advertising; especially when such advertising or "art" adjoins a public facility, paid for by the taxpayers, and used for the benefit of the taxpayers. 

That's more than enough for me.

*C'mon. You didn't think I was going to let the opportunity for a perfectly perverse pun pass me by, even at 3 in the morning?I've hopefully not slipped that much.


Saddest thing you'll read today...

...in a deeply, nation-questioning, existential way. This isn't about politics, per se,  more it is about the calamity that our fraudulent FIRE* economy has wrought on those who aren't beneficiaries of those sectors.

Trust me, it'll make sense in a bit...

The wife of the man who held a Florida school board at gunpoint said Wednesday that her husband was a gentle giant who was pushed over the edge by the economy and frustrated over her losing her teaching job.

"He wanted to get me an answer," Rebecca Duke said a day after her husband, Clay Duke, killed himself. He shot at school board members in Panama City, missing some of them by mere inches, before he exchanged gunfire with a security guard. As he lay on the floor in the boardroom, he shot himself to death in the head.

Sounds like just a gun-crazed, anti-gub'mint 'winger, doesn't it? Someone who hates the Man, and just went off the deep end?

Well, he did go off the deep end, but not for the reasons you'd think: It wasn't a product of random hatred, or a tax-protestin' conspiracy nut, or a ranting unhinged man...his were the actions of desperation that our society has created in the burgeoning underclass...

"The economy and the world just got the better of him," Rebecca Duke said in a rambling press conference to talk about the man she loved.

There's more at the Miami Herald (I particularly enjoy trying to paint a despondent, broken man as a random lunatic, while ignoring the substance of what makes a man walk into a building and try to shoot those who fired his wife).

I am not for one instant condoning his actions, and am greatful that the body count was just one. However, I am deeply saddened that the country has fallen into such a balkanized state of haves and have nots such that violence seems the only way to respond. When you play by the rules, yet our bullshit illusory economy continues to shit on you, when our policy makers are blind, deaf and clinically fucking sociopathic, there is left nothing but a hollow, often-misplaced, impotent rage. 
And he felt it in spades.

[he] apparently created a Facebook page last week that refers to class warfare and is laced with images from the movie "V for Vendetta," in which a mysterious figure battles a totalitarian government.

So, America. Everyone is too big to fail except for we, the people; all 370 million of us who are extorted, cajoled, imprisoned and indebted by at least 40% of our income to pay for those privileged few. These weren't the first shots of a class war; the class war has been waged for a while now. However, these may be the first actual shots that will wake people up, and pay attention to the seething frustrations in our world. Ours is rapidly approaching a failed state, where the only thing keeping the minions in line is agitprop and the not-inconsiderate state violence inflicted on our citizens through a militarized police force.

Grab the popcorn...

The final lines are chilling: 
"My testament: Some people (the government sponsored media) will say I was evil, a monster (V) ... no ... I was just born poor in a country where the Wealthy manipulate, use, abuse, and economically enslave 95 percent of the population. Rich Republicans, Rich Democrats ... same-same ... rich ... they take turns fleecing us ... our few dollars ... pyramiding the wealth for themselves."

* FIRE, incidentally, refers to the sham "wealth" and prosperity that has fueled the economic machine for the past two and a half decades: Finance, Insurance, Real Estate. Much, much more to come on this when I get a few good hours.

Stumped by what to wear: Men, too, have this problem.

I'm seriously out of my realm here in the style department; let that be said first thing out of the gate. On the weekends, when I ordinarily go do physical activities, shop, and generally get caught up on the business of life, you will see me in a white/black/gray tee shirt, shorts and sandals. (Remember, it's 84 degrees and sunny every day, and this apartment -like many- doesn't have an air conditioner).

During work days, it's usually a dress aloha shirt/Polo and slacks or chinos, or traditional mainland business wear (Court days, sadly, are the only ones in which that I wear a tie (and I have a serious tie fetish. Besides, this isn't Honolulu or the East Coast where that sort of thing is de rigueur,  It's much more like the reservations I lived and worked on: People in full suits, besides being sweaty and uncomfortable, are viewed very suspiciously. Or, worse, as a Republican. And, trust me, we simply do not have Republicans on my Island (and that's also a shame...not the Republican part, but the lack of suit-wearing...I also have a suit fetish. Well-tailored, black or charcoal double-breasted ones, in fact).

 I see I'm not alone in that. BTW: I own that tie. Red ties are classic, powerful, and butch, dammit. This American Eagle shiny pastel shit has absolutely neutered the classic, clean, masculine suit.

So, Hawaii is the land of comfort and utility. But, there's one occasion that I wish to do this up right: My wedding. Yes, yes, Der Schatten is off the market (and has been for several years; although, the Fetching Frau Schatten may possibly share if you're a curvy brunette rocking the Black No. 1 <-- just one of many reasons I dig her).

Rest in Peace, Peter. Don't look at the Green Light...


Anyway, we're looking for suits to wear. I think the consensus opinion, as of this moment, at least,  is to rock the Morning Dress. Morning Dress looks a bit steam-punkish, as well it should. For over 200 years it has been the formal dress wear of the Royals. And, if you like jagged lines, and all the accoutrement and formal trappings, this is definitely your bag: Top hat, tails, gloves, cane, vest, etc.

Does this tie make me look like a doucher?

What I do not like about the traditional morning suit, however, is the heavy reliance on light gray. While I like gray, and it tends to look good on me, the above morning suit, for instance, is about as dark as morning suit slacks every get. In most cases, the color scheme for the vest and pants are reversed. While it is formal in Britain, I do not look good in, nor do I like, light-colored trousers.

Which brings me to my next option: The Morning Dress Tuxedo. There is literally very little that I don't like about this look, except for one very important fact: It is not only ridiculously formal, it will also likely be hot as shit to wear, while stand in the sun, on black sand and lava rocks, for an hour.


Finally, it should be noted that of all the colors in the universe of clothing, perhaps the one that looks the best are brown-tones. I have a natural brown/dark yellow undertone, so I can pull off interesting colors, such as cream and pale yellows; golds and tans and browns, very well. Being the vane prick that I am, perhaps something in the earth-tones would be just as effective?

Smug doesn't do justice to this guy's face...
My biggest concern with the brown suit, however, is that it's not quite formal enough. And, let's face it, unless you drop $600, the chance that a brown suit will look cheap is very very high. The margin for error in brown is razor thin, and you ride the knife's edge between beautiful and cheap looking. Also, I do not think this will match. Everything in the wedding is monochromatic: Black and white. Classic. Timeless. Appropriate enough for the visitors, yet with enough wiggle room to really trick it out.

So many choices; so little time (March 12th). One thing is certain, though: On March 13, 2011, our paychecks will be larger (c'mon, how could you think that two lawyers wouldn't consider the financial impact of signing the social contract? Benefits and tax breaks, as well as homebuyer credits and lowered consolidated student loan payments, are as good a reason to get married as any!).

So, what sayeth the blogerrati? Traditional? Traditional tux? Brown?


Thursday is feeling sexy...or revolting.

I just can't decide which one yet.

I used to play this every set at Paradox/Metro. Why? Because it's so damned sleazy; this Revolting Cocks cover of Rod Stewart's "Do ya' think I'm Sexy" is the auditory equivalent of chlamydia, yet is surprisingly danceable. The video, will make you want to shower afterwards...which could be a good thing, depending on your mood.

Enjoy some unadulterated sleaze to start your day. 

Tip 'o the cap to the incomparable DJ Zillah (who drank too much gin) for turning me on to this so long ago.




Cartoon Characters I Want To Sleep With: Velma Dinkley

Velma gets such a bad rap. I can't imagine why, though. What's not to love? The shapely figure, pleated skirt, power-lesbian bob, knee-length tights, and snug sweater really does it for me.

 Well-visualized, sayeth I.

Besides, she is the coolest of the gang (and by far the most ambitious). While Scoobs and Shaggy are horking down bowls of dank, and Daphne is strip-teasing to Fred's ascot, our erstwhile brainy, sexy heroine has to do all the mystery-solving

Even better when realized with Linda Cardellini's breasts...

There is definitely a surfeit of disturbing Velma porn out there too: Velma on Daphne, Velma in bondage, Velma being mounted by Scooby (that one has to be Dutch or German), and lots and lots of Velma topless and/or upskirt tributes.

I thought I was a pervert...
So, for all you nerd-lovers out there; and all of you who cling on to hope that a cartoon will one day unleash the naughty-librarian sex fiend within, please enjoy (indeed, respect) Velma Dinkley. Especially when Linda Cardellini is depicting her.

We can all get behind nerd porn...

 I don't remember this much cleavage in Scooby Doo. However, I am certain I would have spent much more of my youth in front of the television, if so.


David Cameron: Prime Minister...of Goth!

Absolutely brilliant episode of Prime Minister's questions, wherein PM David Cameron takes questions from the Members of Parliament...and confesses his love of The Smiths.

Too bad this guy is a Tory dipshit, but, hey, we can't all be perfect. And, at his age (44), I doubt very seriously I will be the leader of a puppet regime, a large, vibrant Western Democracy...although I am accepting applications for minion (concave.scream@yahoo.com)

Give it up for your Prime Minister of Goth.
Somehow, you gotta' think he'd approve of "the Queen is Dead"

tip' o the cap to Beth 
(who I totally adored in a past life!)



Wednesday is SO VERY excited about this tripleheader...

So, this morning, my iPod randomly played one of the most unheralded, yet powerful, bands I've heard in my three decades on the mortal coil: Canaan.

You may have heard of their original act, Ras Algethi. Named after an Arabic star, Oneiricon - The White Hypnotic, is so ridiculously hard to find that you wouldn't believe it.  But if you can, sell a kidney to a sketchy Thai prostitute to get this one! (or, send me an email, and I'll rip you a copy, DMRC be damned).

Anyway, following the demise of Ras Algethi, the Italian Berbers who comprised the group resurfaced in Italy, their home land, under a new name: Canaan. The music is much the same as Ras Algethi: Transcendentalist, Atmospheric, Gothic Doom Rock.

In short, they are the one, and only, band I've ever heard that sounds like this. And, Loki bless 'em for that. More importantly, bless Loki that someone else in YouTube land has heard them! Enjoy, won't you?

Please enjoy them, as well as my recommendations to enhance your listening pleasure.

Canaan's Grey...
Shadow Recommends: Grey Goose and sullen masturbation in a dawning sky.
* * * 

A Magic Farewell...
Shadow Recommends: Klonipin & luke warm black coffee 

* * * 

Ghosts of Betrayal...
Shadow recommends: Speedball & grits; you've hit rock bottom.



I don't always drink beer,

...But when I do, I swim in the meme pool.

Because you'd have to...

 I see the frat boys got out on work release...

 If you're a lawyer, multiple this sentiment by about two-dozen (graduating class had 23 persons with DUIs).

...and, my personal favorite....
If you laugh at this you go to hell
(see you there).

Facebook has the Hive Mind...

Beware Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook and epitome of Nerdy Evil Villian.

Today's story from the Hive is meant to be "cool", an "intern's" visualization of the connections between friends meant to create another view of the world: One without geographic limitations such as territorial boundaries.

Take it away "intern"

When the data is the social graph of 500 million people, there are a lot of lenses through which you can view it. One that piqued my curiosity was the locality of friendship. I was interested in seeing how geography and political borders affected where people lived relative to their friends. I wanted a visualization that would show which cities had a lot of friendships between them.

I began by taking a sample of about ten million pairs of friends from Apache Hive, our data warehouse. I combined that data with each user's current city and summed the number of friends between each pair of cities. Then I merged the data with the longitude and latitude of each city.

Okay, Einstein, sum it up for those in the Facebook Sphere of Influence...

After a few minutes of rendering, the new plot appeared, and I was a bit taken aback by what I saw. The blob had turned into a surprisingly detailed map of the world. Not only were continents visible, certain international borders were apparent as well. 

Well, what does this look like?

 It is surprisingly cool, though.
Click to John Holmes this bitch (big file...3.8 mbs), or, go to the source page

But, what corporate endeavour to track and plot 1/2 a billion souls is complete without a lil' PR language allegedly spoken by the "intern".

What really struck me, though, was knowing that the lines didn't represent coasts or rivers or political borders, but real human relationships. Each line might represent a friendship made while travelling, a family member abroad, or an old college friend pulled away by the various forces of life.

This is meant to put our mind at ease, but, we really know what these lines represent; and it isn't "a relationship." Rather, it's more than likely dick jokes and pictures of drunks behaving badly.

Like yours truly, in the foreground, wrecking folks in the pit.
 Ah, to be young and indestructible again.

Tuesday is having iPhone withdrawals...

The 14 hours I spent dealing with it yesterday, as well as tech support at Apple and AT&T are hours I'd rather not relive again. Suffice it to say, there may have been some threatening demands made after about hours 13.

Enjoy this Lacuna Coil track, "Spellbound".  I'd like to post some older stuff, but that's just not possible, since everyone seems to think Lacuna Coil started with their release of the commercially-accesible "Comalies". Gracious, "Coil" have mellowed over the years. 

As have we all, as have we all.

Relatedly, I notice they are still on Century Media. For those who don't know, Century Media apparently just signs two types of bands now: Underground metal outfits and aging acts who've mellowed out (e.g., Lacuna Coil, Tiamat etc.).



Monday has a Sad Panda day...

Off to a bad start, Boils and Ghouls. At 4:45 my alarm (a/k/a iPhone Alarm O' Doom) went off, as I had some early work to do before I get to the office. I turned on the LED Flashlight App to walk down the stairs and -POOF- Phone is dead.

No problems, figured I: I'll just plug it in, let it charge, and then start my day with some coffee and the  the invaluable Twitter/Facebook/email/Angry Birds Quadrafection of Awesome (tm).

No luck. It appears I have a firmware issue that my little Mac Book can't fix. This is a job for the Big Mac at the office (and, more importantly, do it on my boss's time, rather than my own).

May not be around much today, if I have to make a trip to the Apple Store. Just in case, enjoy the Sad Sexual Harassment Panda, won't you?

Remix, yo.