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Not Prince Hamlet

"Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse."

Album of the Year Nominee

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sultry songstress Neko Case comes out with her fifth album on March 3rd. For me, Case is one of those artists whose past work places anything she does into immediate consideration for annual superlatives. So, almost a week before the actual release of the record, I'm officially nominating it for my Album of the Year award.

Listen to the whole album on NPR's website before March 3rd.

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posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 9:26 PM | link | 0 comments |

Song of the Year Candidate: "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris"

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

One of my new year's resolutions was to invest in good music, rather than just acquiring, at no cost, whatever I could get my hands on. It's a resolution that grew of out envy, envy of those who are able to make best-of-the-year music lists in December. I read those lists and then go get that music. This year, I want to make my own list, and I want the list to be populated with stuff I've actually invested in.

So, to be eligible, an album or song must be released in 2009, and it must be in my library by conscious choice and at some cost. I'll provide regular nominee previews throughout the year.

Here's the first nominee for Song of the Year: Morrisey's "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris" from his recently released "Years of Refusal." Enjoy.

I'm Throwing My Arms Around Pa...

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posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 9:33 AM | link | 0 comments |

Wow, Didn't Know That

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Hat tip to Mara Einstein, through whose book, Brands of Faith, I'm currently strolling.

Zondervon, the publisher of that book by that guy who said that prayer at that ceremony last month, is owned by News Corporation, the parent company of the Fox Network and publisher of the Weekly Standard.

Oh, that company's owned by that big guy over there.

Just file that with the other stuff I didn't used to know.
posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 11:55 PM | link | 0 comments |

Parsing Steroids

Not Prince Hamlet is not a physicist or a statistician, but we did play a bit of baseball in high school and college, so I want to say something about how steroids actually work. The prevailing assumption is that a hitter aided by steroids will turn a routine fly ball to left field into a home run to left field and a home run to left field into a towering tape-measure job. That's not how it works.

If steroids chiefly build muscle mass and strength, then the advantage they grant to a hitter is increased bat speed. That doesn't mean that a hitter can hit the ball to the same part of the field, only harder and further. It means that a hitter can hit a ball that he otherwise would miss, or, more to the point, can hit a ball squarely that he otherwise would foul off or fight off his hands. Steroids don't turn routine fly balls into home runs; steroids turn weak ground balls into home runs.

So a hitter on 'roids has the bat speed to get the fat part of the bat around on a 96 mile-per-hour fastball on the inside corner. Other hitters will either be jammed by that pitch, or they will have to lay off it. So steroids expands a hitter's strike zone, allowing him to swing confidently at pitches he normally would take for a called strike.

Mind, he won't get the bat around on that pitch every time. But, whereas without steroids he'll get to it maybe once for every ten times he tries, with steroids that will go up to two or three times. That's statistically significant. It forces pitchers to find other ways to get him out.

This is a layman's analysis only. But the prevailing assumption about how steroids work doesn't go far enough. The drugs provide much more advantage to a hitter than popularly thought.
posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 7:55 AM | link | 0 comments |

Waiting on Biden's Breakdown

Sarah Smith of Wonkette thinks the Veep is headed for a nationally-televised breakdown wherein he will physically assault Barack Obama.

Exaggerate much?

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posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 7:50 AM | link | 0 comments |

Who Can Argue with Stupidity?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Alex Rodriguez's admission of performance-enhancing drug use is pure theatric. He's already getting praised for "opening a vein" in his presser on Tuesday, which is precisely what the event was meant to look like: the confessions of a chastened every-man.

Rodriguez hammered the adjectives "young," "stupid," and "naive" tirelessly on Tuesday because those flaws are so much more forgivable than being, say, "dishonest," "dishonorable," and "arrogant." In fact, stupidity and youth are hardly vices, are they? Who among us doesn't look back at their early-to-mid-20's with some mixture of wistful regret and tortured remorse? I was in grad. school at 24; how naive was that?

This is a wordsmithed tap dance staged as a penitent ballet. There's no way a five-year veteran of the Major Leagues is naive, 24 isn't young in the terms of a baseball career, and there's no way an athlete who only months before maneuvered his way into the biggest contract (at the time) in professional sports history can claim stupidity. Dude knew exactly what he was doing. He just can't say so.
posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 9:54 PM | link | 0 comments |

Let Me Get This Straight

Alex Rodriguez injected a substance into his body twice a month in six month cycles for three years thinking that it was an "energy booster."

Note to self: try taking morning coffee intravenously.

Alex Rodriguez describes his three year affair with the substance as the stupid escapades of a "young" and "naive" ballplayer, even though he was 24, 25, and 26 when he took it, had played five full seasons beforehand, and had already played in three All-Star games.

Note to self: you're 32 with an advanced degree and four years into a career. Stop being so stupid.
posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 9:44 PM | link | 0 comments |

[Mara] Einstein and the Theory of [religious] Relativity

Monday, February 09, 2009

iTunes search for "Douglas Rushkoff" produces this CUNY podcast of a forum featuring our search subject and Mara Einstein, who is hocking her book Brands of Faith. She is cogent and unafraid to disagree with such a sage as Rushkoff. I'm interested.

Order the book. Begin reading. Find this:

". . . religion is a commodity product. The majority of religions offer same end benefit for the consumer (salvation, peace of mind, etc.). Though packaged differently, fundamentally they are the same product, no different than buying one shampoo versus another."

What am I into here?

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posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 10:11 PM | link | 1 comments |

A Year with the Institutes, Day 37

". . . until human reason is subjected to the obedience of faith and learns to cultivate that quiet to which the sanctification of the seventh day invites us, it grumbles, as if such proceedings were foreign to God's power" (1.4.2).

Reason::faith::quiet

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posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 7:46 AM | link | 0 comments |

Three Cheers for Doubt

Sunday, February 08, 2009

I can't locate the article online, but February's Los Angeles Times Magazine has a wonderful little essay by the playwright John Patrick Shanley(Doubt). Here's someone who gives voice to my relationship to the world as a kid:

I was not exactly part of my time . . . I picked up what people around me were feeling. I heard what they said, but I did not participate. When people got worked up and started heading in some direction, I watched and walked along beside them, feeling their feelings, maybe even sharing them. But at bottom, they were not my feelings.
And in adulthood:

I was never a true believer. Not in the Catholic Church, not in Woodstock, not in the Vietnam War. I just couldn't get caught up in the whirlwind.
This is something other than skepticism, an orientation I have often been accused of possessing. Skepticism is grounded in a refusal to believe, an intractable resistance to getting caught up in the whirlwind, to use Shanley's phrase. This is inability, not refusal. Boy, do I get that.
posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 7:09 AM | link | 1 comments |

Biden: America Will Do More, but America Will Ask More Too

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Say what you will about Biden's rough-and-ready demeanor behind a mic: cowboy this aint. Good news, that.

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posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 5:01 PM | link | 0 comments |

Just What the World Needs

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

More amateur films made on laptops with cheesy effects and sloppy editing. It is the parchment of our age. Enjoy. And happy birthday, ma!

posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 6:51 AM | link | 0 comments |

Windell's Super Bowl Ad (That Never Was)

Monday, February 02, 2009

I bragged to everyone I know about this spot before the game, and it never actually ran. But here it is for your viewing enjoyment.

The schtick is that these are several attempts at one-second ads. My personal favorites: "Tito's here!" I choose to believe that's a reference to the legend that was Jeremy "Tito" Steinmetz who ruled Sterling College from 1995-'99. And "Back Bacon!" I choose to believe that's a reference to . . . back bacon.

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posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 7:07 AM | link | 0 comments |