Comments from pcbowen

I think you are closer to the mark HMS Goose. NDT is a nerd, like, not the “cool” kind of nerd that hipsters like to claim for themselves. NDT is a genuine dork and all of a sudden people think he’s cool because he’s smart and does a good job of being a science booster.

The more you listen to StarTalk (his podcast) this comes across. It’s a bit endearing over time. He’s so enthusiastic he gets carried away sometimes and I think all of this attention he’s been getting may make him think he’s cooler than he actually is. Which just makes him that much more fun to watch or listen to. Actually Eugene Mirman is a perfect foil for him. He’s good at deflating NDT in these moments in a good natured way in which everybody comes across as people you would like to hang out with.

Professor Bryan Cox of CERN is the UK’s answer to NDT. His show The Infinite Monkey Cage is similar to StarTalk ( think it predates StarTalk). Without the comedian Robin Ince to temper Cox’s tendency to condescend the show wouldn’t work as well either.

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May 16, 2013 on The Thing About Neil Degrasse Tyson (Who Will Host Seth MacFarlane’s Cosmos Reboot)

Did miss the credits swooping up beyond The Wall to show where Mance and Snow are?I really like how this feature gives us a sense of close or far the different centers of on are. I was a bit frustrated to not see that.

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April 3, 2013 on Game Of Thrones Season 3 Premiere Open Thread

You make a good point, but here’s the thing. I don’t feel bad about stealing music on the internet. No amount of tsking at me is going to make me change my ways. I may be an exception but there ya go.

The one problem I have with this very good and thoughtful article and possibly your comment is that it seems to assume some golden age when artists made secure livings from royalties on records sales. Other than a very small elite of artists, most musicians mostly got screwed by their labels and never saw a dime in royalties because they could not cover the recording costs run up on advances.

I feel like lately things are a bit tougher to find for free. I’ll pay if I have to but I don’t really feel altruistic giving Amazon $8-$9 knowing the band may get a penny. That’s not much different than buying a CD or LP, just a bit cheaper.

Until there is a way for me to give way to give my money directly to the band (some have made this easy and I applaud it) I’m just going to look for the cheapest alternative.

I think this is similar to the sentiment some express that they’ll buy a t-shirt at the show. I don’t think they deserve to be shunned or persecuted. The idea is that we like to support bands we like but most of the time our money never gets to them. Show me a way I can guarantee my money ends up in the artist’s pocket and I’ll pony up.

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November 20, 2012 on Deconstructing: Pandora, Spotify, Piracy, And Getting Artists Paid

I don’t doubt that Stickles supported Occupy. However, the freedom and responsibility that he praises are very much the same things I believe are embodied in the Constitution.

Your point is well taken about the libertarian views espoused. But when you say you think I find different things in the Constitution beautiful than he does I think you are wrong. The lyrics quoted in this article speak of self reliance and responsibility for one’s own actions. Those are conservative principles whether Stickles also believes Occupy espouses them or not. The upshot is that I think there are things conservatives and leftists can agree on. If there was just some way to get people to listen to each other. I fully concede that rightists don’t always listen well either.

Occupy may believe the nebulous 1% should be held responsible but they do not seem to hold themselves to that standard. I also feel like it’s a lot of low risk posturing. Dissenters in America don’t disappear or go to jail like punks in Russia or in Soviet era Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary.

rskva, I see that your comments here and above are well thought out. I take you at your word on contact with right leaning thinkers but I’ve lived in those liberal bubbles, still do if to a lesser degree (Athens, GA). I see that bubble mentality amongst leftists every day. Ironically, the only other bubble I experienced like that is Churchgoers. Most of us conservatives are well aware of opposing views. Not because we are so enlightened necessarily, but because we don’t have a choice.

Again, I don’t mean to be disrespectful, I really do appreciate that you made substantive remarks.

and btw- I think Titus Andronicus are a great American rock band regardless of their politics.

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October 30, 2012 on Deconstructing: Titus Andronicus And The Possibility Of Punk Patriotism

I didn’t say all of them.

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October 30, 2012 on Deconstructing: Titus Andronicus And The Possibility Of Punk Patriotism

I’m really glad this article went up here. Pelly is very thoughtful and I think she gets a lot of things right. Ironically, (and I don’t fault her for this) some of those things pointed out as somehow anti-conservative are very much conservative values. For example:

“BECAUSE in the America we were promised, there is no limit to how high you can rise with hard work, discipline, and ingenuity”

This could be from the GOP platform. What the Occupy Movement seemed to be promoting was not this value but envy and urge to punish people for being successful. Just because some other guy is rich doesn’t mean he took money from you.

Also, in this quote:

“Something about the Local Business concept of promoting “Main Street” seems idealistically American as well, right down to the red-white-and-blue scheme of the website the band has set up for fans to share info on local businesses to support in their town.”

I think Pelly makes a really good point here. This is very much an American ideal, even patriotic. It is also very much a part of conservative values.

Judging by the comments most Stereogum readers and writers live in a leftist bubble, rarely if ever coming into contact with living breathing conservatives. The caricature of corporate fatcats in bed with “conservative” politicians is not entirely accurate. These days the Dems are just as guilty of crony capitalism and right leaning pols that indulge it (I’m looking at you Bush years Congress) are betraying conservative principles. Mainstreet capitalism of small and local businesses are the core of America’s greatness. I think Pelly and Titus realize that. The the thing that conservatism is trying to conserve are those classical LIBERAL ideals espoused by the Founding Fathers and embodied in our Constitution and Declaration. Stickles is spot on in pointing out the inspiring beauty in those documents. I just think much of what passes for leftist thought is all about the freedom part, but not so much on the self reliance and responsibility part that is necessary to make it work.

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October 30, 2012 on Deconstructing: Titus Andronicus And The Possibility Of Punk Patriotism

I gotta say, that was a good look for her. Super hot! I am so not kidding.

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October 27, 2012 on Thursday Night TV Open Thread

I know that movie looks dumb as fuck but I just don’t care. I have to see that one. I’d almost say it looked like a Tarsem movie what with the wackadoo headgear but the animation stuff suggests otherwise.

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October 26, 2012 on This Week In Movie Trailers, You Guys


How could Sail Cat not make the list today? Is it old or something. The whole high school I teach at was watching it all day.

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October 11, 2012 on The Petting Zoo: The Week’s Top 10 Animal Videos


You won’t lose the right to birth control. You may have to pay for it out of pocket though.

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October 5, 2012 on 2012 Presidential Debate Open Thread

First, I swear I’m not trying to be contentious. I just want to track down some sources. What are you basing the point that there’s been no change in food stamp rules for? I’ll admit I’ve read some stuff (other than what Romney said) about how food stamps are being encouraged and changes have been made. I’m willing to be convinced that no changes have been made.

Second, none of what Romney said last night was a surprise to me. I’ve read all of his claims many, many times in lots of places in right leaning publications, etc. This trope that Romney lied is a bit tedious at this point. Politifact is not a credible source (yeh, yeh, Pulitzer, whatevs). They are not some neutral org. Anyway, we should look at as many different sources and arguments as possible and see which ones are most convincing.

“He lied!” is just an excuse to not actually engage in the debate on the merits of the arguments being made. Most of the “lies” are only lies if you look at it through one perspective.

Example: $716B taken from Medicare to pay for Obamacare. Politifact and the Obama supporters say it’s not a cut to Medicare. Just a reduction of payments to unscrupulous insurance companies and healthcare providers. OK, you can think of that as NOT a cut. However, Healthcare providers, are doctors. Insurance companies reimburse doctors for treatment to patients. The proposal is to reduce (cut) the amounts that medicare will pay to reimburse insurance and doctors for these treatments. As we see with MedicAid already, the reimbursement rates do not cover the cost to the healthcare provider (doctor) to treat MedicAid patients. The result is doctors stop taking MedicAid patients.That is a reduction in the amount of healthcare available to low income people. I know this happens for a fact because I see it in my own family. Romney and the GOP are saying that these “reductions” in payments to insurance companies and healthcare providers ends up cutting services to patients.

Therefore, this is not a lie. Now, one can debate whether or not these two takes on the idea are more or less valid. But just calling it a lie is a cop out because it is avoiding, rather than engaging in the argument.

So are you saying that the numbers Romney cited ($2B) for the size of the tax break (subsidies) that oil companies get are made up? Because that is a number Obama uses to say that oil companies do not deserve the breaks. (I actually agree with Obama on this point). Or is the $90B paid out to green energy companies (many of which failed) made up? If so, what are the real numbers? Romney just (correctly) pointed out that this wasted money could have been spent more effectively to meet Obama’s own goals if put into hiring teachers.

So anyway, obviously all of this stuff depends on your point of view. I do respect that you’ve made a cogent argument, fondue cheddar.

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October 5, 2012 on 2012 Presidential Debate Open Thread

I’ll continue with a serious reply (a bit) fondue cheddar.

Romney’s point about food stamps was precisely that the Obama economy sucks.

re: position changes: Romney only changed positions from what Obama’s campaign and other have been saying his positions were. Obama has laid out a strawman and obviously his campaign thought it was true. Obama seemed unprepared to debate the guy who showed up. That’s not because Romney changed, it’s because Obama’s people didn’t bother to really research his positions.

Whenever Romney says something sensible the other side automatically calls it a lie. Obama will continue to loose debates if he and his people don’t get on the ball and look at what the other side is actually trying to do and say.

With all that said, I actually think Obama did fine if all you count are zingers or bazingas.

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October 4, 2012 on 2012 Presidential Debate Open Thread

This is anecdotal evidence so take it as you will.

My Dad is totally pro-abortion. I’m not even kidding. He’s a doctor so mainly, it is because he doesn’t want non-doctors doing it.

But, more than that, he figures there’s too many babies being born to people that shouldn’t; that adoption is not so great (on account of my 2 adopted cousins are fuckups). On top of that, there are more babies than people willing to adopt them.

I totally disagree with him but he has thought it through.

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October 4, 2012 on 2012 Presidential Debate Open Thread

It’s certainly true that the work market for young, entry level people is pretty shit. But Toth seems to think that anyone, himself especially, that really wants to make a living playing music deserves to be independently supported by only playing music. This has never been the case in music, even back in the bad old days of the big labels. I played in a great band in early 90s Athens, GA but guess what? LIfe happened and we all moved on. I went off and played in other bands in DC and NYC but got nowhere but nobody owes me anything just because I was willing to forgo “real” jobs while pursuing it.

Toth’s examples are interesting as well. Southern Lord especially illustrates what I think is the key. They started their own label to put out their own music and that of bands they really dig. I wonder, Mac McGaughan from Superchunk is probably doing fine but not “anti-gravity room” rich. He started a label. Fugazi, started a label. Thievery Corp. started their own label. Many or even most of the other bands on those labels probably didn’t make money for the label but the bigger bands act as tent-poles to keep smaller acts on the road. There’s not tons o’ money from ridiculous marketing budgets in big corporate labels anymore.That’s a good thing. Fuck the big labels. There are more quality bands out there today, I’d be willing to wager, than there were back in the day. Hell, we’re in a veritable golden age of metal right now!

My point is, you gotta hustle if you want to play music for a living. That has always been the case. For 1 in maybe 10,000 bands back in the day the dream of mega money happened. Most bands that got a deal at all got an advance that made them feel rich, not realizing the label would never pay them until the “album” sold enough to recoup the cost. Likely as not, the album never came out and the band gets dropped. Now they’ve got no deal, maybe no band, and they’ve squandered a year they could have been building their own path.

Those days are gone. There are plenty of jobs that aren’t soul killing (even, and especially in restaurants) that musicians work in all the time. I get the impression that any job that isn’t writing, recording and playing music qualifies as soul-killing for Toth. I feel for him but we have to do what we gotta do. I’m in grad school now to be a teacher. The big cop out. At the same time I will have a chance to play and record with my old bandmates without the pressure of trying to make money at it. Plus I’ll get to be a teacher.

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October 2, 2012 on Debating The Grizzly Bear NY Mag Story And Making A Living Making Music

The Last Resort pilot was decent. Andre Brauer is always great, Speedman is fine in it. Not much but setting up the premise for the whole episode. Oh, and the premise is ridiculously stupid. However, I’ll keep watching it ’cause some interesting stuff could come up we don’t see on TV. re: International Relations

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September 28, 2012 on New Fall Television Open Thread

I kept involuntarily yelling, “Bad Wig!!!” every time she came on screen. Who did they think they were fooling? That was amateur hour. Enjoying the new season well enough though.

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September 28, 2012 on New Fall Television Open Thread

In the full article Albini backs up his assertions. And I must say he’s totally right.

Palmer pulled in 1.2 Million Dollars from her kickstarter. Albini points out that he usually records albums (not just for himself, but this is his actual job to record big time albums for people remember) for about $10K or less. Not only did she make a ton o’ money from fan donations, she just kept a couple $100K (according to Albini) off the top of that. So she could have easily made an expensive album (let’s say $50K to be generous) and still have almost ONE MILLION DOLLARS which to go on the road. Also, take into account that she MAKES money on the shows so how can she not afford to pay musicians out of what she makes then?

The thing that’s gross is that she’s asking her fans to pay for everything up front so that she has no risk, but then begs for free labor after she’s got your money. I’d bet a lot of money many of the fans that would like to play have actually contributed to that $1.2Million so they’ll be paying her for the privilege of getting up on stage while she makes more money.

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September 18, 2012 on Amanda Palmer: Albini Is A Grumpy Fuck / Albini: She’s Gross

This is nice because, clearly, she thinks the kids will somehow pick up French and Spanish from watching cartoons. It doesn’t work that way stupid! Possibly, she has them tutored in French and Spanish? This would be a great time for them to do it. But passively listening to a language does NOT imprint in the brain or whatevs without actual language instruction going on in the cartoon.

Being a grad student for teaching makes one a pedantic dick (me).

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September 18, 2012 on A Completely Unsurprising Fact About Gwyneth Paltrow REVEALED!

Economic philosophy is not necessarily lock step, 1 to 1 ratio predictive of theological beliefs. Being an atheist does not make you a capitalist. It helps to be atheist if you’re a communist (see Soviet/ChiCom oppression of religion).

I guess it’s legit to make fun of Ryan for liking Rage’s music but not what they say. I used to like Rage despite their idiotic, bumper sticker, reactionary “radicalism.” But the weight of their self-important, sanctimoniously ill-informed mantras did finally make them a pain in the ass to listen to.

But in Ryan’s defense (That’s right, I’ll defend him) for a conservative to like music beyond classical and Pat Boone or the Nuge you kind of have to put blinders up to the philosophical bent of musicians. If you’re lucky they’re not political, or if they are they don’t have lyrics (i.e. Godspeed You! Black Emperor) or you can’t understand any damn thing they say anyway (black metal). Not a whole lot of center-right rock bands out there.

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August 17, 2012 on Paul Ryan Isn’t A “Lyrics” Guy