Friday, October 06, 2006

Fosco: Too ugly to live?

Over the years, Fosco's friends have always had a difficult time coming up with a celebrity look-a-like for him. Now he knows why.

Fosco would like to call your attention to a (FREE) service being offered by you upload a photo of yourself and their software "analyzes" it and gives you a list of celebrities that you resemble (along with the percentage similarity for each match). I have my doubts about how well it works (see below), but even so, it is way more fun than anything else you were going to do today (ah, if only I had read my Heidegger before I came across this...).

I must admit the results, for me, were not exactly an ego boost. I share them with you, in the spirit of full disclosure and because they are, well, bizarre.

(I didn't include the photo I submitted--that would be telling!--but it was a recent photo of which I am quite fond.)

Presumably you, like me, don't know who Christopher Uckermann is. It turns out he is the star of a Mexican telenovela and, consequently, he is a pop star (you know how things are in Mexico...). I found this clip of him on YouTube and while I'm not too impressed by his physical appearance (is that a mullet?), I am fascinated and perplexed by what exactly is going on in this clip. As far as I can tell, he and some guy are flipping a coin to see who has to hold onto an electric shock generator. The perplexing thing is why this goes on for over three minutes. It isn't exactly Jackass, is it...

And hold on a sec... OJ Freakin' Simpson? OJ FREAKIN' SIMPSON? I know that my head is large (and I don't mean that metaphorically)--greater than 2 standard deviations above the population mean, to tell the truth. But still, just because OJ and I have large heads (literally, not figuratively), doesn't mean we look alike. And the fact that we each have been acquitted of a double murder that we actually did commit? Well, that shouldn't show up in our facial physiognomy, right?

On the other hand, I would like to think that I have some of the boyish charm of Hal Sparks.

Luckily, when Fosco tried again with a different picture, a completely different list of celebs appeared... What could this mean? How protean is Fosco?

This has all the makings of the "meme of the week" in the blogosphere: how did it work for (occasionally hubristic) musician John Mayer? Hilariously. It turns out that he only resembles himself by 68%. Although, in all fairness, that's probably true.

Are you ready to try this for yourself? [If you have a Mac, you have to use Firefox, not Safari.] Post your results as comments on this blog and win a free... um... well, nothing. But it will be fun!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Recent Advances in Beethoven Studies

Apparently, one cannot listen to My Chemical Romance every day for two weeks without eventually desiring to hear something different. (No offense is meant to MCR: I am looking forward to the new album more than any other recording released this year.) But, for a change of pace, the other day Fosco was playing through his classical discs...

And then he had an inspiration!

You see, a number of years ago, Count Fosco was the host of weekly radio show in Charlottesville, Virginia, devoted to contemporary classical music. Probably the station is one of the few in the US that would allow such a show to exist (as the audience for contemporary classical is, um, not large). He did this for almost five years, and he loved it. So many good memories:

  • chatting occasionally with a regular listener who also happens to be a well-known conservative cultural critic.
  • playing John Cage's 4'33" live on the air. Actually, as I recall, it was fund-raising week and my cohost and I gave our fundraising pitch for 4 minutes and 33 seconds. I suspect Cage would have approved.
  • following on air a rock show hosted by his pasty-faced Majesty.
  • causing a station-wide obscenity crisis by (naively) playing a musical setting of Allen Ginsberg's Howl. Silly me: I thought works of art were immune from obscenity rules... (This is SO not true, it turns out--stupid Supreme Court.)
Ah, good times, temporary layoffs...

But the thing I always wanted to do the most on that show I never did. You see, I heard once (and in the last 10 minutes of Google searching, I have been unable to track down a reliable source for this--if you have one, pass it along) that John Cage once played recordings of all nine Beethoven symphonies simultaneously. Several times during my radio years, it occurred to me that I would love to play such a "mashup" on my show. However, at the time, the technical difficulties of mixing the symphonies seemed a bit too daunting for me (i.e., I had a 386 with no sound card and no speakers) and the logistical difficulties of doing it "live" seemed to offer a problem as well (i.e., there weren't even nine working channels on the station's mixing board...).

Time has passed and I now have this MacBook that comes with (pre-installed!) some program called "GarageBand"--which is basically a mixing board for complete idiots (like me!). And so, flipping through my Beethoven discs last week, I realized that I am now fully capable of listening to ALL NINE BEETHOVEN SYMPHONIES SIMULTANEOUSLY.

And, to tell you the truth, it's even better than I thought it would be.

It's not the sonic mush that you might expect (at least if you, like me, can't imagine what to expect). And, believe it or not, it is quite catchy in parts--the beginning in particular.

Because I am Fosco and I love you, my Dear Reader, I want to make this experience available to you. If you want to hear this, you can download the sound file right here.

BEFORE you start downloading, here are the qualifications, caveats, etc:
1. This is a large file. 167 MB. It will take a bit of time and bandwidth.
2. The file format is AIFF. Why? I don't know. I'm not an expert at these things: just consider yourself lucky I could do this at all.
3. This is only the first movements of all nine symphonies. To go beyond that would be too complicated for me right now.
4. Do you know how hard it is to find a free filesharing site that will allow huge files and unlimited downloads and that will work with a Mac? It's hard, so I am using RapidShare. The downside is that, to download for free, you must A) choose the FREE download button and then B) wait like 3 minutes to begin (they even have an annoying timer). Alas.
5. For copyright reasons, I'm not going to tell you which recordings I've used. Just know that they are all the same conductor and orchestra. Does the conductor's last name (sort of) rhyme with "to-mah-to"? Could be. Does the orchestra's geographical location rhyme with "Merlin"? Maybe. I ain't sayin'.
6. Is this a travesty? Bite me.

Isn't contemporary music fun? And do I even need to tell you again to visit Osti Music to listen to some of John Mackey's compositions?

Why Fosco has a cold today

Yesterday evening was the first rain of the semester and so... well... things get a little weird here at UCSC when it rains.

As Gadamer once said: a tradition isn't really a tradition until there is nudity involved.

I think Gadamer also asked (in Truth and Method I believe): how many of your students have seen your penis?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Is Mark Foley just being misread?

So there's this (now former) US Representative Mark Foley who seems to have conducted inappropriately sexual IM conversations with underage (male!) Congressional pages. This is a seamy story with many deliciously juicy angles, including:

  • he was a high-ranking member of the Republican Congressional leadership.
  • his legislative priorities were focused on "championing laws against sexual predators" (NYT)
  • the House Republican Leadership may have known about his antics for almost a year (and kept it hush-hush).
  • he is, apparently, that rarest of unicorns: A Gay Republican.
Is it possible to drown in irony? Glub, glub, glub...

But, perhaps we're jumping to conclusions here. As Fosco knows, IM can be a tricky way to communicate. Unfortunately, it is often the only way for one to communicate with anyone under 20. Before Fosco hired his full-time personal assistant Geoffrey, he often employed several teenage interns of his own. And let me tell you, there were some IM-related misunderstandings--often stemming from the fact that specific lines of text were taken out-of-context by concerned parents, FBI agents, etc. Is it possible that the Liberal Media is ignoring parts of these messages--the parts that would reveal that they were actually intended innocently?

To speak to that question, Fosco will present some of his own IMs to his teen boy interns that have been intentionally misinterpreted by his enemies, typically by refusing to notice the second half of each IM conversation:

Case 1
FOSCO: what r u wearing?
CASEY04: tshirt and shorts
FOSCO: love to slip them off of u
FOSCO: cuz its gonna snow
FOSCO: and if u get sick i cant give u time off
FOSCO: put on a coat

Case 2
FOSCO: i want u on all fours on my rug
TIMMY_S: huh?
FOSCO: i lost a contact. i cant see it.

Case 3
FOSCO: bring me ur underwr
FOSCO: i wanna sniff em
FOSCO: cuz i thk i may be allergic to ur laundry detergent
FOSCO: and i have to find out before i get hives agin

Case 4
FOSCO: show me ur dick
FOSCO: cheney
FOSCO: action figure
FOSCO: sorry my im is acting screwy
FOSCO: but id love to see that action figure
FOSCO: i hear its funny

Case 5
FOSCO: wanna go to fcuk?
SPICY_TEEN17: u wanna fuck?
FOSCO: no fcuk = french connection uk. its my fave store and i nd u to buy me a coat
FOSCO: cuz its gonna snow

So let's not judge Rep. Foley until we get the FULL transcripts of these "sexually explicit" IMs. Fosco would hate to see another innocent homosexual brought down by a vicious media attack (like how Joyce Carol Oates alleged that James McGreevey killed all those teen vagrants). Shame on you, Liberal Journalist/Short-Story Writer Media Complex!

Denouement: 9/24-9/30

Last week, while you were writing sexually explicit emails to a teenage Congressional page, Fosco was