bschaller at ltoa dot com
Thursday, January 29, 2004

I love NPR...

I am a huge fan of music but for some unknown reason talk radio has weaseled it's way into my life. I am not quite sure how this happened but now I wonder how I ever got along without it. I was listening to "Day to Day" on my lunch hour today and Alex Chadwick had some interesting stories. Here are three of them. The first is about a fellow blogger named Crystal Evans who publishes Crystal had been homeless for 3 years and for the past year has been blogging about it via the Boston Public Library's public internet terminals. On Monday of this week she got an apartment with the help of a couple in Cambridge who read her blog. Although not now currently homeless she is still going to use her blog to fight for the homeless and share their plight. The second story they had on was a little lighter. It was about Ebay auction where a girl was auctioning herself off to be someone's imaginary girlfriend for one month. I thought this was hysterical. Nerd culture has taken an entirely new gruesome twist. I went to eBay to check this out but I forgot the item number so I searched for "imaginary girlfriend". It got 79 hits. I thought this was one girl but apparently it has grown into quite the fad. Some girls even come with a pair of worn underwear. I am not quite sure how I feel about this very strange, yet tame, form of prostitution. Weird. The last story that had was an interview with the founder of Despair Inc.. Despair is one of my favorite online stores. They sell anti-motivational supplies. If you have ever been sick of "Sucessories", check these guys out. See kids, NPR is not just for dorks. It is a fun place where you can hear about all kinds of crazy things. Check it out, you just might like it. B

New Gaping Void Cartoons...

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Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Review: Gomez at Birdy's Indianapolis, Indiana

What do you get when you take 6 guys from England, a small club packed to the brim, and one very cold winters day? The answer: one hell of a show. These six Brits are Gomez. For band with very little radio play and mainstream exposure they almost sold the place out. I came to learn later that many fans at the show had driven from as far away as Northern Michigan and Wisconsin in borderline blizzard conditions. The fan's drive was not in vain. After the previous show in Cincinnati was snowed out and cancelled the band decided to rock Indy twice as hard. Tom Gray (guitar, keys, and vocals) lead the charge. Feeding of off the crowd noise and shooting it right back, a crowd that was head bobbing started going nuts. They started off with a couple of favorites including the last single off of In Our Gun, "Shot, Shot". In Our Gun was written in 2001 as a response to the election of George Bush. Needless to say, it is my favorite of their efforts so far. A couple of songs later they played the title track which masquerades as a nice ballad and then proceeds to rock out hard, the crowd went nuts. The band also debuted a hand full of new songs off of their forthcoming March release. All were solid, well written, and a whole lot of fun to dance to. After playing close to a two hour set, the band left the stage and came back for a 5 song encore. They played two of my favorites as encores: "Detroit Swing 66" and "Revolutionary Kind". The later devoling into front man Ian Ball playing solo and drawing out the chorus, very cool and a nice surprise ending. The sheer energy these guys poured into the show and a great crowd response made them a bit hit. I am sure Birdy's is the last small venue we will see them play in Indianapolis. If word of mouth is anything, these guys will spread like wild fire. B

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Measuring your worth by Google...

It started out as a hobby, now blogging is a full blown obsession. I can understand why it is so popular. At various times in my life I have experimented with having a journal but that never could really keep my interest. Plus it is no fun if no one else reads it. I think Matt said it best when describing my blog to a buddy of ours. He said "It's Byron's brain in text form". I could not agree more. Unfortunately I have gotten sucked into something I did not know was possible, a web popularity contest of sorts. In an effort to spread the word of Byron (please excuse all Jesus references...) I have been obsessed with tracking page hits and worse, my Google PageRank. When you install the google tool bar every page you visit shows a rank from 0 to 10 (yes 0 is possible). This is Google's estimation of the page's worth. I (In The Congo) rank a lowly one out of ten. Congrats to Proximity for ranking two out of ten. Hopefully one day this will increase. I have two goals, spread the word of the blog and increase my PageRank. I need a real hobby, I know this. I was pleased to find out that I am googleable now though. If you search for "Byron Schaller" on google I get four hits, all of which are actually me. Get excited. I am officially part of the World Wide Web. How do the rest of you rank? B

Monday, January 26, 2004

The Ghosts of Speeches Past...

Six days ago we all tuned in to hear President George W Bush give his fourth State of the Union address. It is pretty easy to tell by what I wrote earlier that I was not impressed. In fact the speech was so bad that I have been unable to stop thinking about it and how it should be a wake up call to a half asleep nation. This speech stands as the antithesis of what a rallying call should be. When I think of great speeches and the effect they can have, I fell that we were all short changed by this presidency. If GW is going to do unspeakable things in our name he can at least speak about them with grace and elegance. But that has never been his forte has it. His speeches have given us "The Axis of Evil", the sixteen words, and a hard fight against steroid use in pro sports. I am not quite sure what the last one has to do with the State of the Union at all. In all this doom and gloom I have jumped into the Way Back machine know as the Internet and looked up some speeches that were truly moving. William Jefferson Clinton and John Fitzgerald Kennedy were two of the greatest presidential orators this country has ever know. They will forever stand with the likes of Lincoln, Roosevelt, Washington, and Franklin as some of the best we have had. Here is some of what Clinton had to say in his 1997 State of the Union address: "America is far more than a place. It is an idea, the most powerful idea in the history of nations. And all of us in this Chamber, we are now the bearers of that idea, leading a great people into a new world. A child born tonight will have almost no memory of the 20th century. Everything that child will know about America will be because of what we do now to build a new century." That is truly moving. Here is what JFK had to say in his first State if the Union in 1961: "I am confident that that friendship will continue. Our Constitution wisely assigns both joint and separate roles to each branch of the government; and a President and a Congress who hold each other in mutual respect will neither permit nor attempt any trespass. For my part, I shall withhold from neither the Congress nor the people any fact or report, past, present, or future, which is necessary for an informed judgment of our conduct and hazards. I shall neither shift the burden of executive decisions to the Congress, nor avoid responsibility for the outcome of those decisions." Those are great words of partnership and responsibility. I long for the days when the commander and chief could move all Americans to action for the common good and not be mocked for his "strategery". In these coming days I will be paying close attention to these primary candidates and watching for greatness through speech. We need a president who can move a stagnant nation to the greatness it is capable of, through action not fear. I have gotten in to a bad habit of caring about politics and national discourse. I at least want what I watch to be moving. If that means sounding a barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world, so be it. B

New Gaping Void Cartoons...

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Bloggin with Words...

1.21 Gigawatts
Pressure Drop
Pretty Girl in the Corner
BenWa's World
Blogcritics Dot Org
Business Casual
Tequila Mockingbird
Being Homeless
Blog for America
Boing Boing
Emo Kid
Fashionably Late
Indiana Blogs
Information Pollution
Oliver Willis
Rebecca Blood
Wil Wheaton
Little. Yellow. Different.

Bloggin with Pictures...

Photoblogs Dot Org
Human Clock
Chicago Uncommon
Gaping Void
Blue Jake
[daily dose of imagery]
Chromogenic Dot Net
A Visual Notebook

Congo National Gallery

Leroy Neiman
Ralph Steadman
Salvador Dali
Edward Hopper
Dale Chihuly

In Heavy Rotation

Pernice Brothers: Yours, Mine & Ours
Air: Talkie Walkie
The Bens
Johnny Cash: Cash Unearthed
Squarepusher: Big Loada
Gomez: In Our Gun

The Screening Room

Mystic River
Swimming Pool
The Cooler
Big Fish

Summer Reading List

Don DeLillo: White Noise
Tony Morrison: Beloved
Jack Kerouac: On The Road
Sarah Vowell: Partly Cloudy Patriot

Radio! Radio!

NPR (try it, it's good)
Pacifica (God Damn Hippies)
Fresh Air
This American Life
WOXY FM Cincinatti

Fun Places to Go

Google News
Senses of Cinema
Home Star Runner
Film Threat
Okay Player
Group Hug
Exquisite Corpse
Poetry Slam Inc.
The Criterion Collection
The Digital Bits
DVD File
The Onion
80's Cartoons
Fifty Word Fiction

The Way-back Machine
10/12/2003 - 10/19/2003 / 10/19/2003 - 10/26/2003 / 10/26/2003 - 11/02/2003 / 11/02/2003 - 11/09/2003 / 11/09/2003 - 11/16/2003 / 11/16/2003 - 11/23/2003 / 11/30/2003 - 12/07/2003 / 12/07/2003 - 12/14/2003 / 12/14/2003 - 12/21/2003 / 12/21/2003 - 12/28/2003 / 12/28/2003 - 01/04/2004 / 01/04/2004 - 01/11/2004 / 01/11/2004 - 01/18/2004 / 01/18/2004 - 01/25/2004 / 01/25/2004 - 02/01/2004 / 02/01/2004 - 02/08/2004 / 02/08/2004 - 02/15/2004 / 02/15/2004 - 02/22/2004 / 02/22/2004 - 02/29/2004 / 02/29/2004 - 03/07/2004 / 03/07/2004 - 03/14/2004 / 03/14/2004 - 03/21/2004 / 03/21/2004 - 03/28/2004 /

Staff Art Selection...

Edward Hopper: "Rooms By The Sea"

Things To Do...

Open a Record Store
Take up Digital Photography
Take up Kayaking
Buy a Sail Boat
Start a music site better than these guys
Start a Band again...
Start a Leroy Neiman collection
Take up Yoga

My Most Recent BlogCritics Posts

Thirteen: Teen Vice in Inde Film
The Bens: 4 Track EP
Johnny Cash: Cash Unearthed
Don DeLillo's White Noise
Mystic River: A Real Contender
On The Road With Dean and Sal
Learning Modern Classics from Penguins

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