Thursday, September 30, 2010

Quote of the Day: Steve Albini

I'm a big fan of musician and sound engineer Steve Albini, partly for his band, Shellac, and partly for what he's said about the music business. (See my post from last November about his article "The Problem With Music".)

So I was delighted to read an interview with Albini on He's articulate and opinionated, and not entirely negative about the state of the music business today.

But the best part was his response to the very last question, How would you describe your fashion?
"I think fashion is repulsive. The whole idea that someone else can make clothing that is supposed to be in style and make other people look good is ridiculous. It sickens me to think that there is an industry that plays to the low self-esteem of the general public. I would like the fashion industry to collapse. I think it plays to the most superficial, most insecure parts of human nature. I hope GQ as a magazine fails. I hope that all of these people who make a living by looking pretty are eventually made destitute or forced to do something of substance. At least pornography has a function."

Labels: ,

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Animal Camera

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Quote of the Day: Dave Silverman, President of American Atheists

“I have heard many times that atheists know more about religion than religious people. Atheism is an effect of that knowledge, not a lack of knowledge. I gave a Bible to my daughter. That’s how you make atheists.”
That's Dave Silverman, the president of the advocacy group American Atheists, quoted in the New York Times today.

Silverman was interviewed for an article about a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life that polled 3,400 Americans about religious knowledge. Atheists and agnostics scored the best, beating all other religious groups. Mormons and Muslims were close behind, and Hispanic Catholics scored the worst.

Interestingly, most respondents had trouble with questions about religion in public schools. According to the Times, "fewer than one of four knew that a public school teacher is permitted 'to read from the Bible as an example of literature.' And only about one third knew that a public school teacher is permitted to offer a class comparing the world’s religions."

And there were other areas of notable confusion or outright stupidity. Half of Protestants didn't know Martin Luther started the Protestant Reformation. Nearly half of Catholics didn't realize that they are actually consuming Christ's blood and flesh when taking communion. And 43% of Jews didn't know that the philosopher rabbi Maimonides was Jewish.

I took a shortened six-question version of the quiz on religion (via the Times), and I'm pleased to report a perfect score!

(When I tried to access the Pew Forum's website to look for the full questionnaire, I got an error message saying the server was too busy.)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Quote of the Day: William Gibson

"Give me a new technology and I will give you six sleazy, really disgusting things that people will do with it."
That was science fiction writer William Gibson, speaking on Minnesota Public Radio today. Gibson has a new book coming out: Zero History, the third in a trilogy that started with Pattern Recognition and Spook Country.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My New Blog

Anyone who checks The Masticator regularly will have been disappointed by a dearth of activity. While I'm not giving up on this blog, I have been focusing my energy on another one: Cocktails & Cologne, a blog about...cocktails and cologne.

Here's my first post, explaining the idea:
What do cocktails and cologne have in common? Both are careful concoctions designed to delight our senses, and in different ways, to intoxicate. Beyond my passion for these elixirs, one for the palate and the other for the nose, they are connected as expressions of masculinity and refinement.

My favorite cocktails are the ones that have few ingredients and don’t try to hide the alcohol with fruit or sugar. I like things bitter sometimes, or spicy. I like to be surprised by new variations or novel ingredients. And while it’s exciting to try an exotic infusion, like the bacon bourbon I recently tried at New York’s PDT (one of the most innovative cocktail bars in the City, hidden inside a hot dog shop), I prefer drinks I could make at home.

For colognes and other men’s fragrances, I like things that remind me of the past, but I’m always looking for something totally new. I’ve discovered that floral scents can be masculine and that some classically masculine scents would, in any other context be considered quite feminine. I prefer subtlety and elegance over bombast. I appreciate luxury but I’d rather have quality, and I’m convinced that quality can come at a modest price.

In both cocktails and cologne, I honor the classics while I search for the unique. This blog will chronicle my search with reviews, recommendations, recipes and stories.
Photo above by Morgan Sheff.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Taxidermy and Beer Together in Horrifying Harmony

Brew Dog, a Scottish craft beer company, has created limited edition ales at super-strength (55% alcohol, more than the typical whiskey at 40%), contained in bottles with small animal carcasses, like stoats and squirrels, around them. Word has it the animals were not killed by the brewers, but found dead. The brewers say:
This 55% beer should be drank in small servings whilst exuding an endearing pseudo vigilance and reverence for Mr Stoat. This is to be enjoyed with a weather eye on the horizon for inflatable alcohol industry Nazis, judgemental washed up neo-prohibitionists or any grandiloquent, ostentatious foxes.
The video below may tell more of the story.

The End of History from BrewDog on Vimeo.

Monday, July 19, 2010


An article in the German newspaper Der Spiegel discusses the dubious efficacy of homeopathic remedies, which are under increased scrutiny in Europe as healthcare costs rise.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

More Creepy Robots


Thursday, July 01, 2010

Quote of the Day: US Airways Passenger Donna Adamo

"I felt like they were crawling all over me because it only takes one maggot to upset your world. And as they're telling us to stay calm and seated, I see a maggot looking back at me and I'm thinking, 'These are anaerobic, flesh-eating larvae that the flight attendants don't have to sit with.'"
That's Donna Adamo, who saw maggots dropping from an overhead compartment above her on a US Airways flight from Atlanta to Charlotte.

According to the airline, the maggots came from another passenger's spoiled meat.
Site Meter