The regular reader of this blog already knows that I’m a huge fan of Tim Minchin. So for some pure, unadultered, politically-incorrect fun, enjoy the following music video (probably not recommended for little ears):
Hat tip to PodBlack Cat.
Following on in the skeptical mission of illustrating, italicising and underlining how utterly stupid, dangerous and ludicrous homeopathy really is, here’s something from the very funny That Mitchell & Webb Look BBC comedy sketch show:
It’s not just water wizardry it mocks, of course, but palmistry, astrology, chakras, crystal healing and other forms of bollocks. I love the homeopathic beer. Very clever stuff.
Interestingly, both David Mitchell and Robert Webb are alumni of the Cambridge Footlights. The Footlights count among its former members legendary people like Clive Anderson, Alexander Armstrong & Ben Miller, David Baddiel, Tim Brooke-Taylor (Goodies), Graham Chapman (Python), John Cleese (Python), Peter Cook, Hugh Dennis & Steve Punt, David Frost, Stephen Fry & Hugh Laurie (Fry & Laurie, Blackadder, QI, House, etc), Germaine Greer, Eric Idle (Python), Clive James, Simon Jones (HHGTTG), Bill Oddie (Goodies), John Oliver (Daily Show with Jon Stewart), Sue Perkins, Griff Rhys Jones, Emma Thompson, Sandi Toksvig, and Mark Watson. Basically every piece of TV and film comedy to have come out of the UK in the last 50 years. :)
Hat tip to Skepticblog.
This is so good it deserves a post all to itself: Scooby Doo (the ultimate skeptic show that we’ve seen since we were kids) versus the zombie apocalypse!
Looks like Shaggy, Fred and Daphne didn’t make it… Velma and Scooby are going to have to clear up the mess themselves.
If you’ve not heard of The Big Bang Theory, it’s a sitcom about a group of professionally-successful but nerdy guys who haven’t outgrown their teenage game-playing, comic-consuming and socially-inept lifestyles. The main characters are Sheldon (neurotic former child genius who works as a theoretical physicist), housemate Leonard (also a former child genius who works as a experimental physicist), Rajesh (astrophysicist and female-induced mute), Howard (aerospace engineer and creepy wannabe ladies’ man), and Penny (waitress with the showbiz dream) . Penny is the pretty and “normal” neighbour to contrast the others, and is also the (not entirely unwanted, it seems) object of Leonard’s attentions.
You get the idea. It’s the Hollywood sitcom formula with a nerdy twist, but it really works.
Another part of the show that I like is the theme song by the Barenaked Ladies, who are probably best known for their song One Week. The theme to The Big Bang Theory is the best TV show theme I can recall as it suits the show so well, being itself funny, intelligent and actually related to the show (lyrics here):
If you’re on the lookout for an intelligent sitcom to get your teeth into, I recommend that you check out The Big Bang Theory. There aren’t many shows that have me laughing aloud every 2-3 minutes.
Or maybe I’m more of a nerd than I thought… ;)
I’m going to assume that you don’t know who on earth Tim Minchin is. And that you’re unaware of how cool a musician, comedian and skeptic that he is. And by doing that, I’m going to assume that you’ve never heard me wax lyrical about him before.
To address that travesty, I strongly exhort you to go and watch Canvas Bags and Storm. Done? Now you know Tim.
Today Tim has released a longer studio version of a track from his Ready for This? album/DVD onto iTunes, his Christmas song called White Wine in the Sun (it’s also available online from HMV, We7, Play.com, TuneTribe and Tesco). Those of you who have grown up (or even holidayed) in a hot climate in December will know that roasts, hot eggnog, and the other trappings of the northern hemisphere’s winter solstice as celebrated for thousands of years (well before Christianity co-opted them, of course), are unimaginable most years. Instead, such locations typically go for a barbecue, cold meats, salads and cold drinks.
Hence… drinking white wine in the sun.
If you’re one of the few people reading this who don’t have the album and want to try-before-you-buy, have a listen to the live version of the song here:
Now that you’ve done that, please help make it reach the #1 position in your location’s music charts by buying the song on iTunes and if you are on Facebook, join the Tim Minchin for a Top 20 Place in the Christmas Charts! group.
So why am I shamelessly shilling one of Tim’s songs? One of the answers is two (or is it one?) words: X-Factor.
How sick are you of Simon Cowell‘s latest money-magnet protégé being pumped, pushed and manipulated through to #1 in the Christmas charts year after year? Does anyone over the age of five actually think that these airbrushed, possibly Auto-Tuned, divas are actually achieving this through hard work, songwriting, talent and skill? (If you do, then you’re banned from this blog).
For the rest of you… please consider making a stand this year. Yes, I’d like you to consider White Wine in the Sun because it’s moving and honest, but also because big business has hijacked the music industry. The pre- and early-teen market are their cash cows, but what about the rest of us? I’m 37 and am limited to Scuzz or Kerrang!, Planet Rock, ClassicFM, streaming facilities like Last.fm and Spotify, and my own music collection… commercial and popular radio seems to have become largely a minefield of poo interspersed with a few islands of goodness. There’s awesome music out there being made every day, but manufactured bands are given the most airtime.
While it’s true that manufactured bands have been around forever (The Monkees and Sex Pistols are two examples) and, while they sometimes contribute positively to music and culture, they’re not even playing the same game as their contemporaries (such as The Rolling Stones and The Clash) who built their names by raw talent, long hours and hard graft. How can a bedroom warbler get onto a talent show, spend a few weeks under the spotlight, impress a mogul and his minions, and suddenly be accelerated into super-stardom? That’s not a music industry — it’s an assembly line.
If you decide that you like Tim’s work, please also consider purchasing one of his excellent CDs or DVDs. You’ll laugh and you’ll enjoy.
Edit: Added links to the new track from various online stores.
…you must first invent the universe.” -Carl Sagan
The time between posts here is an unfortunate side-effect of having to study like mad for the archaeology course I’m doing that is rapidly coming to an end, and numerous projects I’m either doing or starting. Never enough time in the day — particularly when you have to work a day job and maintain a social life, too.
And I’m trying not to just fill the posts with random gibberish or “cool stuff wot I found on the internets” — unless you’re okay with that? (Seriously, please let me know).
So, doing just that I thought I’d take a moment to post something to do with my hero, Carl Sagan. YouTube is a wonderful medium not only for the inevitable popular (and normally copyright-infringing) snippets from popular films and TV shows, but also for historical pieces that are hard to get and for mashups and other creative exercises.
And this is one of the latter — a brilliant homage to Carl Sagan featuring none other than his brilliant British counterpart, Stephen W. Hawking:
It’s just amazing, isn’t it? Maybe I’m just a big girl’s blouse, but I’m not ashamed to admit it brought a tear to my eye.
It’s been a few years since I sat in my living room late one evening watching Paramount Stand Up! (or something) on the then Paramount Comedy channel and I saw a weird-haired, mascara-wearing comic and fellow Sandgroper singing a song about canvas bags:
I find the song clever and rather moving, and it’s what resolved me to actually do what the song says, rather than just thinking about it. Within a week or so, a friend and I had chipped in and bought 20 canvas bags from Clever Baggers for ourselves and family, and to this day we both independently take our bags to the supermarket.
That video was of course my first encounter with the brilliant, talented… and slightly eccentric Tim Minchin. Since then I’ve bought his three CDs — Darkside, So Rock and Ready For This? — and have tried to make it to his shows, but to date events have conspired against me (including the Nine Lessons & Carols for Godless People show where a twisted knee prevented me going).
And this brings me to his latest sensational piece of creativity. As he talks about his wife and friends in it, it’s entirely likely to be based on fact. But regardless of the details, it’s a great beat poem called Storm:
It sums up precisely what so many of us feel inside whenever we speak to a “true believer”. And there’s not enough beat poetry anymore…
If you like his stuff, please support him by buying his merchandise — and try to make it to a show, if you can. You won’t regret it.
What-a-sad-world disclaimer: I have no affiliation other than being from the same city, having a similar view of the world, and following him on Twitter!