“I attended a writers conference a few years back and they gave us bottles of Elmer’s glue and put another label over it called ‘BUM GLUE.’ The directions on the bottle say, ‘Apply to seat of pants. SIT. WRITE. warning do not use while writing in the nude.’”—The Honeybees Writers Group: BUM GLUE
Looks like Google Voice recently introduced the second-best thing ever: ability to block a given “UNKNOWN” caller, even though, by definition, you don’t know their identity or number. Marry me.
Frankly, I don’t care whether this works by wires, slave labor, or fucking elfin magic, it’s gold, and it’s awesome, and I can finally stop dealing with mystery meat voicemails for poor Jhonny Garcia.
But, what would be the best thing ever? The total solution. For Google Voice to automatically test and, when necessary, [greylist/quarantine/voicemail] any number that’s not already in my contact list (viz, for which I have not provided specific permission to contact me).
Meaning, take it all a logical step further and—with just a bit of the technology that’s already built-in to every mobile service in the world—do all of the heavy lifting for me.
So, before I ever hear a ring, get a voicemail, or otherwise know the calling stranger even exists, they get the giant portcullis and a test:
Hi there. My phone robot can’t detect or doesn’t recognize the phone number you’re calling from. After the beep, enter the real phone number where you can be reached right now.
After my robot calls you back, please punch in ‘<captcha-like string>' then state your full name and the reason why you're calling me. Your message will be put through to me once for approval. Then I can call you back when I get a sec. Or, you know, hit the number “1” and ban you forever.
But, what if you don’t or can’t provide a real phone number? Well. Go, get one. Like the one I have. That you just called. Then try again. Otherwise I’ll never know this call even existed.
Which is kinda cool, right? Yeah, exactly. Thanks!
Heaven, that’d be.
Basically, I want my phone to be a posh secret island that only my friends even know exists—let alone knowing exactly where it is and how to get there. If you’re not on the passenger list for the packet that ferries you over to my island, you don’t get in: GVoice returns “null.”
Then? Then, my friends, the increasingly ignorable “phone” part of my iPhone might (potentially) become useful to me again.
While attending Antelope Valley High School in Lancaster, Van Vliet became close friends with fellow teenager Frank Zappa, the pair bonding through their interest in Chicago blues and R&B. Van Vliet is portrayed in both The Real Frank Zappa Book and Barry Miles’ biography Zappa as fairly spoiled at this stage of his life, as the center of attention as an only child, spending most of his time locked up in his room listening to records, often with Frank Zappa, into the early hours in the morning, eating leftover food from his father’s bread truck and demanding that his mother bring him a Pepsi.
Essentially, there’s a lot of bleating and whining and high nerd drama over how the restored versions of I and II don’t look—what?—”Blu-ray" enough, I guess.
Too dark, too overexposed, too red, too yellow, and waaaaaaaaaay too grainy, waaaaaah!!! complain a phalanx of disappointed 1080p fetishists, whose gold standard for cinema seems to be the director’s cut of Speed Racer.
So, here’s the interesting part. Given that the first two Godfather films are two of the unarguably greatest achievements in American popular culture, the desire for a refresh is no particular surprise.
But if, like me, you didn’t know the real story behind this restoration, you’ll be interested to know there’s way more to this than just shitting out a slightly different version of a proven best-seller.
What might surprise and shock you as much as it did me was the reason why this restoration had to happen. Because, in truth, this was an unbelievable, almost miraculous, labor of love that took a couple years and a lot of excruciating, white-knuckle person-hours.
Because, basically, it’s now clear that for decades, Paramount had been treating the source media for the Godfather movies like the half-roll of toilet paper your two-dollar whore chucks at your johnson.
Indeed, without this restoration, there’s a pretty good chance that by this point, there wouldn’t be a single usable negative of the Godfather films left. Period. Gone. Forever.
“To say that Alex Chilton is the reason I’m in a band is to understate his influence on my way of thinking. Besides the fact that [the Big Star albums are] three of the best records ever made, all three in my top 25, Big Star taught me that being original and real is always worth it, no matter whether people ‘get it’ or not. Big Star sold 4,000 records total while they were a band.”—wtfk
Choire: What is your favorite Alex Chilton video, song or tale?
Paul: My favorite tale is from Our Band Could Be Your Life, when he shut down Gibby Haynes’s rampage through the Netherlands:
Moments later a man entered the dressing room and asked if he could borrow a guitar. “BORROW A GUITAR??!!! WELL, WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU???!!! [Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers] screamed, eyes flashing in delirious anticpation of forthcoming violence. But the man was totally unfazed.
“I’m Alex Chilton,” the man answered calmly.
Haynes was flabbergasted. After a long pause, he methodically opened the remaining guitar cases one by one and gestured at them as if to say, “Take anything you want.”