December 31, 2006

Favorite Albums of 2006

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 9:07 AM

My final year-end list: my favorite five albums of 2006. As with last year, the number 1 choice was easiest and the number 5 choice was hardest. Somewhat unsurprisingly, these albums contributed the top five songs from my previous list (in a slightly different order). The criteria here are a little different though: a good average song quality is necessary, but I also weight coherent themes and the ability to enjoy playing the record all the way through, as opposed to just adding the best few songs to my iTunes playlist. This knocked Pretty Girls Make Graves' Élan Vital out of the top five, since it had a lot of great songs but didn't hang together as well as the others.

5. Asobi Seksu, Citrus
This was the year I fell in love with noise pop and shoegazing music, as I looked at classic albums from the '90s, and I was delighted to find that Asobi Seksu is keeping the genre alive, and putting their own stamp on it. I picked "New Years" for the top songs list as the best example of their fuzzy, dreamlike songs, but all the songs on the album have these textures without sounding alike. The best tracks, "Goodbye" and "Miso Asobi" along with "New Years", bring a warm and happy feeling out of the noise and distortion, but everything in between is interesting in its own way. It's one of the most seamless albums of the year.

4. TV on the Radio, Return to Cookie Mountain
This is a highly acclaimed album among rock critics, but unlike Justin Timberlake's, it's for a good reason: it's original, inventive, and excellent. It's hard to come up with something to compare it to, since the sound is so unique—it doesn't even really sound like TV on the Radio's earlier work and represents a major step forward for the band. Perhaps a good metaphor could be drawn from one of the best songs on the album: this record is a dirty whirlwind of music. The maelstrom approaches ominously with "Hours", reaches peak speed at "Wolf Like Me", slows to a calm center for "Method", and then picks up again. Not all the tracks are as good as "Wolf Like Me", but nothing is filler.

3. The Hold Steady, Boys And Girls In America
The Hold Steady topped last year's list with Separation Sunday, and so it is not a surprise to see them on the list again this year. Their latest album is more song and less story than its predecessor, presenting short vignettes instead of an overall arc and with lead singer Craig Finn taking a more melodic approach. This was initially a little disappointing, but I warmed up to it since the songs are very good indeed. Their Springsteen-esque hard rock rocks harder than just about anything else from this year, and with "Citrus" they showed they could do acoustic ballads too. Even though it's not the equal of Separation Sunday, it's still one of the best albums of the year.

2. Belle & Sebastian, The Life Pursuit
This will also be an unsurprising choice, since regular readers know that I hold Belle & Sebastian in high regard. However, this is a standout album even in their catalog, the best since their 1996 release If You're Feeling Sinister. After several albums that felt like poor copies of Sinister, they've tried some new directions starting with Dear Catastrophe Waitress and now, with great success, in The Life Pursuit. The new songs are bright, polished, and sunny (sometimes literally), as well as catchy and infectious. While the pervasive melancholy of their early albums has been left behind, Belle & Sebastian can still write songs that are heartbreaking ("Dress Up In You") or wistful ("Funny Little Frog"). But the best songs here are simply fun, like "The White Collar Boy" and "The Blues Are Still Blue".

1. Islands, Return to the Sea
I'm not seeing this album on very many other year-end lists, but it was definitely my favorite of the year. Maybe their quirky blend of indie-rock and tropical music has limited appeal (ok, probably), but I love it. The first couple of songs are epic: "Swans (Life After Death)" is a metaphorical account of how the band was formed after the dissolution of the Unicorns, something I only discovered after I bought the Unicorns' last album and could decode the references. "Humans" is more straightforward, telling the story of refugees fleeing an (alien?) invasion. After this they move to shorter songs, but no less variety in topics: anorexia, the diamond trade, environmental disaster, and with "Jogging Gorgeous Summer", a simple and beautiful love song. All these disparate themes are tied together with island and ocean metaphors, which tie in perfectly with the musical style. I never got tired of listening to this album and felt like I noticed something new and interesting in the music every time.

Actually, I do have one more music list to post: at the beginning of the year I made a resolution to fill out my collection of '90s albums, and promised to post my favorites a year later. So that list will appear next week.

Permalink | Tags: Lists, Music

December 30, 2006

starbucks nighthawks

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 12:13 PM


starbucks nighthawks, originally uploaded by arcanegazebo.

Here's the Starbucks decoration I blogged about yesterday. The photo quality is a little poor because I apparently broke the LCD screen of my camera a couple days ago, and have to take pictures in automatic mode without knowing what the flash or focus settings are. This is exceptionally bad timing since I'll be starting the photo-a-day project on Monday.

Permalink | Tags: Photos

December 29, 2006

Year-end Miscellany 2006

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 1:56 PM

I usually name a favorite book, movie, and game of the year. This year none of the books I read were recent enough to qualify, so I'll just do the other two:

2006 Movie of the Year: Brick
There wasn't a standout film in this category, but I think Brick was my favorite of what I saw this year. (There are many reportedly excellent movies that I haven't seen yet as well, such as The Departed.) Brick puts a classic detective noir in a high school setting, and does an excellent job of blending the two genres, much as Buffy did with horror. (The movie is definitely influenced by Buffy and works in a subtle but unmistakeable reference.) All the elements of the classic noir movies are present, from the convoluted plot to the familiar character archetypes to the eerie soundtrack. The juxtaposition with high school students is sometimes funny, sometimes striking, but never cheesy or over-the-top.

2006 Game of the Year: Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria
I didn't play a large number of video games this year, but there was a clear winner, the sequel to one of my all-time favorite games. The original Valkryrie Profile was a great dungeon crawler with beautiful visuals and complex and interesting characters. It only suffered from somewhat repetitive combat, which was completely reworked in the sequel to one of the most interesting and engaging systems I've ever seen in an RPG. The signature side-scrolling dungeons (hence "Profile") were preserved with a couple new twists—the ability to switch places with monsters, and sealstones that alter the mechanics—that gave the puzzles more depth. Overall I found the gameplay addictive in a way that I hadn't seen in years, and the only flaws I found are by comparison to the original Valkyrie Profile (mainly in the aesthetics and the character development).

Later this weekend, I'll post my favorite albums of the year.

2007 March Meeting Abstract

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 12:22 PM

The program for the 2007 APS March Meeting is now up. I have an invited talk this year; unfortunately it's in an early morning session. Here's the abstract:

Session N2: Progress in Superconducting Quantum Computing

8:00 AM–11:00 AM, Wednesday, March 7, 2007
Colorado Convention Center - Four Seasons 4

Sponsoring Units: GQI DCMP
Chair: Robert Schoelkopf, Yale University
Abstract: N2.00002 : Solid State Qubits with Current-Controlled Coupling
8:36 AM–9:12 AM

Author: Travis Hime (University of California, Berkeley)

The ability to switch the coupling between quantum bits (qubits) on and off is essential for implementing many quantum computing algorithms. We have demonstrated such control with two, three-junction flux qubits coupled together via their mutual inductances and via the dc SQUID (Superconducting Quantum Interference Device) that reads out their magnetic flux states. The flux in each qubit was controlled by an on-chip loop, and the chip was surrounded by a superconducting cavity that eliminates fluctuations in the ambient magnetic field. By applying microwave radiation to the device, we observed resonant absorption in each of the qubits when the level splitting in the qubit matched the energy of the microwave photons. With the qubits biased at the same frequency, the interaction produced an avoided crossing in their energy spectrum. At the avoided crossing transitions to the first excited state were suppressed and transitions to the second excited state enhanced, indicating formation of singlet and triplet states in the coupled-qubit system. The observed peak amplitudes were consistent with calculated matrix elements. When both qubits were biased at their degeneracy points, a level repulsion was observed in the energy spectrum. A bias current applied to the SQUID in the zero-voltage state prior to measurement induced a change in its dynamic inductance, reducing the coupling energy controllably to zero and even reversing its sign. The dependence of the splitting on the bias current was in good agreement with predictions. This work was performed in collaboration with P.A. Reichardt, B.L.T. Plourde, T.L. Robertson, C.-E. Wu, A.V. Ustinov, and John Clarke, and supported by NSF, AFOSR, ARO and ARDA.

On a related subject, I still intend to write a post about the results in our Science paper, but I haven't got around to it yet.

Back east

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 11:19 AM

Ok, so I took an unannounced blogging vacation. I'm now in Connecticut. A couple travel notes:

I shared an airport shuttle with a guy in an MIT baseball cap. He gave directions to the driver in the form "if the light is red, it's faster to go right; if it's green, it's faster to go left". The driver apparently didn't have gambits turned on, so this had to be abbreviated to "go right".

At a Starbucks in Ridgefield, CT I saw a disturbing piece of corporate art: a reproduction of Edward Hopper's painting Nighthawks in which the diner had been turned into a Starbucks (and the patrons were noticeably less depressed). I wish I had taken a picture of this since I can't seem to find one with a Google search.

Permalink | Tags: Life, Travel

December 19, 2006

Other top music lists

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 12:46 PM

If you'd like some other indie-rockish lists of top songs of the year, there's Stylus's top 50 singles and Pitchfork's top 100 tracks. There's some overlap between their lists and mine; "Wolf Like Me" and "Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken" appear on all three. Also some respectable alternate choices from some of the same albums I drew from. However, both publications appear to have a case of the crazies: Stylus puts Justin Timberlake's "My Love" at #6, and Pitchfork names it the #1 song of the year. So approach these lists with some skepticism.

They also have top albums lists up; I'll do one myself closer to the new year.

Permalink | Tags: Life, Music

December 18, 2006

Kip Hawley is still an idiot

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 12:00 AM

I'm flying to Dallas tomorrow for the Newton's Birthday holiday, and right now I am packing my quart bag of three-ounce bottles of liquids and gels. This, of course, is because of TSA's ridiculous rules about carrying liquids on airplanes. Now would be a good time to recall that the supposed terrorist plot that inspired these rules was basically just made up by the British and Pakistani governments to scare people. The case against the main suspect was recently dropped due to lack of evidence. Here's an article about just how plausible the explosive mechanism is. Here's the Wikipedia page about the "plot".

If this was all bogus, why all the silly rules about three ounce bottles of liquid on planes? Maybe the government just likes to see us line up complacently for arbitrary, inconvenient, and humiliating searches in the name of security. It's not working though—I just end up being really angry by the time I'm through the checkpoint.

Tomorrow I'll post on what happens when the TSA reads your blog and flags you for the "thorough" search.

[Post title is a reference to this.]

Permalink | Tags: Travel

December 17, 2006

Will it blend?

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 8:58 PM

In what Majikthise aptly terms the "greatest online advertising campaign in the history of the internet," BlendTec advertises their blenders by posting videos of blending inappropriate objects, such as hockey pucks, or a rake handle, or an iPod.

December 14, 2006

Favorite Songs of 2006: Year of the Wolf

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 3:47 PM

Today is mix CD release day, so here's my ranking of my favorite 20 songs of 2006 (which, in a different order, comprise the tracklist of the CD). The CD is entitled Year of the Wolf, copies of which are available upon request. (If I see you during the holidays I'm going to hand you a copy even if you don't request one.) This naming scheme (following last year's Year of the Phoenix) may or may not continue in the future, but since it worked again this year I went with it.

The rules: Only music released in 2006 (or December 2005) qualifies, and no more than one track is selected from a single album. Generally records which were released earlier in other countries (typically the UK) before a 2006 US release are disqualified, but I have been inconsistent in applying this rule.

Special congratulations to the Decemberists and The Hold Steady, who are returning from last year's favorite songs list.

20. "Help Us Out" by the Futureheads (from News and Tributes [US release])

This was a bonus track on the US release (and a B-side to one of the British singles), and the runner-up for Best Bonus Track of 2006. (The Art Brut bonus track named there was disqualified from this list due to an earlier British release.) Maybe it's the way it captures the energy of the Futureheads' superior debut album, but I liked this track more than any of the non-bonus tracks on the record. A wonderfully frenetic song that races through its two-and-a-half minutes.

19. "I Bet You Looked Good On The Dance Floor" by Arctic Monkeys (from Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not)
The Arctic Monkeys were one of the most hyped bands of the year, but this, their key single, lives up to its reputation. A gem of Britrock in the line of the Libertines or Pulp, with clever lyrics and terrific guitar riffs.

18. "I Feel Space" by Lindstrøm (from It's A Feedelity Affair)
The title is an apt description of the song, gorgeous spacey electronica suitable for some retro-futuristic disco.

17. "Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken" by Camera Obscura (from Let's Get Out Of This Country)
This bright-sounding pop-song was a striking opening track for Camera Obscura's album, so striking that I kept it as the opener for my mix CD.

16. "Roka" by Calexico (from Garden Ruin)
A strong runner-up in the Best Bilingual Song category, Calexico mixes some Spanish vocals into their Southwestern-country style to great effect.

15. "Way Out" by Ellen Allien and Apparat (from Orchestra of Bubbles)
This European electronica collaboration produced some great tracks, none better than the ethereal "Way Out", which feels like exploring an alien landscape.

14. "Conventional Wisdom" by Built To Spill (from You In Reverse)
Trading off between a spectacular guitar riff and catchy vocals, the first two minutes of the song are rock perfection. So we'll forgive them the next four minutes of aimless jamming.

13. "Summersong" by the Decemberists (from The Crane Wife)
The Decemberists forgo their usual narrative-heavy songwriting to evoke a bittersweet summer's day, and the result is the best song on the album.

12. "Set The Fire To The Third Bar" by Snow Patrol (from Eyes Open)
Gary Lightbody makes several attempts on the latest album to recapture the anthematic glory of Final Straw; this duet with Martha Wainwright is the one that best succeeds.

11. "Love & Communication" by Cat Power (from The Greatest)
A simply beautiful song which achieves a nice synthesis between Chan Marshall's voice and the accompanying Memphis Rhythm Band.

10. "Glasgow Mega-Snake" by Mogwai (from Mr Beast)
If the title conjures an image of a gigantic snake eating Glasgow, it's an appropriate one. Heavier than usual for Mogwai, a direction they should perhaps go more often.

9. "Pictures of a Night Scene" by Pretty Girls Make Graves (from Élan Vital)
PGMG members shuffle instruments among themselves and trade their usual aggressiveness for a tense and haunted atmosphere.

8. "Marble House" by The Knife (from Silent Shout)
Nearly eveything from The Knife's eerie record was good, with this track edging out "We Share Our Mother's Health" as my favorite.

7. "Black Flowers" by Yo La Tengo (from I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass)
A perfectly calm and comforting song that always leaves me feeling peaceful.

6. "Revolver" by Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan (from Ballad of the Broken Seas)
Mark Lanegan's songwriting contribution to this album is the best Americana song of the year, a dark contemplation of life and death.

5. "New Years" by Asobi Seksu (from Citrus)
Somewhere between shoegazing and J-pop lies Asobi Seksu, and this is the best of their fuzzy, blissful pop. I don't understand the (mostly Japanese) lyrics, but the song does somehow feel like New Year's Eve.

4. "Hot Soft Light" by The Hold Steady (from Boys and Girls in America)
It was tough choosing just one song from this album, but this is the one I found the catchiest. Craig Finn takes the persona of a guy being questioned by the police, his story backed by the band's most formidable rock.

3. "The Blues Are Still Blue" by Belle & Sebastian (from The Life Pursuit)
My most-played song of 2006 (it helps that it came out in February), it's one of those perfect Belle & Sebastian pop songs that I can't get enough of.

2. "Rough Gem" by Islands (from Return to the Sea)
Originally I thought this song a notch below some of the others on this amazing album, but after multiple plays it kept growing on me. Mixes commentary on the diamond trade with plays on the singer's name and some thoroughly impenetrable lyrics, on top of Islands' irresistible calypso-tinged pop, here at its most vibrant and coherent.

1. "Wolf Like Me" by TV on the Radio (from Return to Cookie Mountain)
This one astonishing song towers over everything else on an already excellent album. Filled with passion, energy, and primal desire, given powerful expression by Tunde Adebimpe's vocals, it's the best song about werewolves since Warren Zevon.

Permalink | Tags: Lists, Music

December 13, 2006

Christmas by The Knife

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 2:09 PM

Tired of the same old Christmas music? Weird and haunting electronica band The Knife has released a new song online, "Christmas Reindeer". (Actually, it's a reworking of a song from their self-titled debut album.) Via Pitchfork.

Permalink | Tags: Music

The Man/Volts Relationship

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 1:59 PM

Today's Scary Go Round was highly entertaining for those of us who have to keep the volts happy:

December 12, 2006

On seeing the 100% perfect t-shirt

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 11:23 PM

I was reading wigu when something improbable happened: I actually noticed a banner ad. (My brain's banner ad filter has been extremely good since about 1997.) It was an ad for t-shirt shop Seibei, and the reason I noticed it is that it had a list of topics which included "Murakami". Of course this was Haruki Murakami, one of my favorite writers (as opposed to pulp novelist Ryu Murakami). Sadly, the shirt in question doesn't appeal to me—I guess I'm not that fond of sandwiches.

The shirt is a reference to the (very) short story, "On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning", which can be found online and which you should all read. It can also be found in the collection The Elephant Vanishes. He's got a new collection of short stories out, which I haven't picked up yet (because it's still in hardcover), but I'm looking forward to it.

There was an interview with Murakami recently in the Wall Street Journal (via JSpur), but I'm pretty sure it's behind their subscription wall so I can't link to it.

In conclusion, better Murakami t-shirts are needed.

UPDATE: Here's the WSJ piece, thanks again to JSpur.

December 11, 2006

Chasing Butterflies [Open Thread]

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 11:29 PM

The 2006 CD is ready! Distribution will begin this week in the Bay Area and continue through my holiday travels. I'll post the list of songs sometime this week. Meanwhile, we continue with our regularly scheduled reviews:

Deja Vu: This is a thriller with a touch of sci-fi, as Denzel Washington plays a detective investigating a terrorist attack with the help of a secret government time machine. It's not terribly profound, and one should not think too hard about the consistency of the time-travel logic, but it's a reasonably fun ride with plenty of explosions and shootouts and car chases. Rating: 3/5

Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan: Ballad of the Broken Seas: Isobel Campbell, formerly of Belle & Sebastian, is not the person I'd look to for a great Americana record, seeing as she's Scottish. Nevertheless, that is what she's produced here in collaboration with grunge veteran Mark Lanegan. Campbell provides a soft and ghostly voice which is nicely complemented by Lanegan's deep growl. But both are nearly upstaged by the acoustic instrumentation, which is beautiful. Most of the tracks were written by Campbell; highlights are "Black Mountain", "Deus Ibi Est" (despite the bad pronunciation of the Latin lyrics), and "Honey Child What Can I Do?" which was my runner-up for the Best Romantic Song of 2006. My favorite song, however, is the dark "Revolver" which was written by Lanegan. There's also a cover of "Ramblin' Man" which is a bit cheesy, and is only saved by Campbell's whispered vocals. Several of these tracks are available on MySpace, and two of them are downloadable. (The version of "Revolver" here is different from the one on the album, however.) Rating: 4/5

December 8, 2006

Friday Non-Random 10: Miscellaneous Song Awards, 2006

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 3:37 PM

It's December and therefore time for lots of meaningless best-of-year lists. I've started putting together the CD with my favorite songs of the year, and will probably post that list at the end of next week. (Really great songs that are released this month will be included in next year's list.) Meanwhile, I want to acknowledge some songs that may not make it onto the CD, but deserve special recognition in a particular category. Some of these categories will likely return next year, but some will be one-shots. I've added links to songs that the artists have made available online.

Pirate Song of the Year, awarded back in September to the best song about pirates:
"Selling the Wind" by Pretty Girls Make Graves

Best Romantic Song, for the song that turns me into a hopeless romantic for three minutes:
"Jogging Gorgeous Summer" by Islands

Best Breakup Song, to balance out the Best Romantic Song:
"Tears for Affairs" by Camera Obscura

Best Bilingual Song, for the ultimate in impenetrable lyrics:
"New Years" by Asobi Seksu (English and Japanese) [mp3 download]
[Dishonorable mention to Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan for "Deus Ibi Est", in which they employ Latin but pronounce it like French.]

Best Protest Song, in a year with plenty to protest:
"Parade" by Pretty Girls Make Graves [MySpace stream]

Best Religious Song, because religion sometimes does inspire greatness:
"Act of the Apostle Part I" by Belle & Sebastian

Best Irreligious Song, because blasphemy is usually more fun:
"Here's Your Future" by the Thermals [mp3 download]

Best Apocalyptic Song, for when it feels like the end of the world:
"Volcanoes" by Islands [MySpace stream]

Best Bonus Track, where too many are just lame filler:
"Really Bad Weekend" by Art Brut

Arrested Development Memorial Award for Multilayered and Allusive Lyrics, for when I need to listen to your previous band's catalog to understand the song:
"Swans (Life After Death)" by Islands

Tune in next week for the best songs of the year! In the meantime, dispute my choices above or create your own categories in the comments.

Permalink | Tags: Lists, Music

December 7, 2006

Penny Stock Spam: Who falls for this?

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 4:43 PM

The New York Times had an article yesterday about the recent surge in spam volume (which I'd definitely noticed, although Gmail and Thunderbird catch almost all of it). The article reports that the most profitable form of spam is penny stock advertisements:

Many of the messages in the latest spam wave promote penny stocks — part of a scheme that antispam researchers call the “pump and dump.” Spammers buy the inexpensive stock of an obscure company and send out messages hyping it. They sell their shares when the gullible masses respond and snap up the stock. No links to Web sites are needed in the messages.

Though the scam sounds obvious, a joint study by researchers at Purdue University and Oxford University this summer found that spam stock cons work. Enough recipients buy the stock that spammers can make a 5 percent to 6 percent return in two days, the study concluded.


I get lots of these messages myself, so this must be correct. But still: I know there's a lot of stupidity in the world, but who are these people dumb enough to actually buy stocks based on e-mail recommendations from strangers? And how are they able to tie their own shoes? Could anything be more obviously a scam?

Overheard in the Lab

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 3:10 PM

"The fume hood's gone from suck to blow!"

Permalink | Tags: Lab

December 6, 2006

Gazebo. Arcane Gazebo. [Open Thread]

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 3:10 PM

I meant to post this, like, a week ago. This may be the first December where my posting frequency goes up when I go on vacation. Anyway, I'm going to overuse the 4 rating again in this set of reviews.

Happy Feet: There is no truth whatsoever to the vicious rumor that I saw Happy Feet.

Casino Royale: By now, unless you've been living under a rock, you will have heard reports that this new start for the Bond franchise is really good. And I agree—not just a great Bond movie, but a great spy movie in general. It's gritty and a big step away from the excesses of the Pierce Brosnan films. Casino Royale is a sort of Bond origin-story, which begins with his earning the 007 rank, and shows how he developed into the character we're familiar with. Daniel Craig does a great job playing this unpolished Bond—later we were debating in lab the merits of the various Bond actors, and were only arguing over the #3 slot after an easy consensus on Connery and Craig as the two best. (The sentence "I like Timothy Dalton" was uttered without being intended as a Buffy reference.) Anyway, this is the best Bond film in years. My only complaint is that it is a bit too long, at nearly two and a half hours, but for most of this time it's pretty gripping. Rating: 4/5

Arrested Development - Season Three: On the other hand, my only complaint about this is that it's too short, because Fox canceled the show halfway through the season. This prompts the writers to step up the self-referential humor another notch, with embedded pleas to viewers and other networks to save the series, as well as digs at their competition (Desperate Housewives). Once again there are a few revelations that are foreshadowed in ways that make a second viewing rewarding. Although the second season is the show's peak, it ends on a very strong note. Rating: 4/5

The Decemberists: The Crane Wife: This could be the Decemberists' best album, at least the equal of Picaresque and maybe a little better. Although it doesn't have standout tracks on the level of "The Mariner's Revenge Song", it's much more coherent and has a more professional sound (maybe the result of their move to a major label). There are a couple of epic tracks: "The Island", which has some really excellent sections during its 12 minute extent, and "The Crane Wife 1 & 2", which is fairly good all the way through. I find that I prefer some of the shorter tracks, though: "O Valencia!" is especially good, as well as the final track "Sons and Daughters" which is a little brighter than the others. A stream of the former track, along with "Summersong", is available on their website. Rating: 4/5

December 1, 2006

Fijian Army opts for rugby over coup

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at 11:10 AM

Presented without comment:

Fiji military play rugby amidst confusion over coupSUVA - The Fijian Army is taking on arch-rivals the Police in the much-anticipated annual Sukuna Bowl rugby clash, rather than stage a coup.

Hundreds of Fijians have gathered to watch the clash even as both the Government and military manoeuvre in the coup crisis.

To make matters even more surreal, the Government of Fiji says it has been given an extended deadline until Monday or face a coup - but the military has denied it.

Fiji's military chief, Commmodore Frank Bainimarama, maintained his threat today to stage a coup if the government failed to meet his demands for a change, but added he would not act until after the annual military versus police rugby game in Suva.


Via Marginal Revolution.