Friday, August 31, 2007

Another Cole on the Fire

Sorry, but given I'm going to bring the summer project to a halt on Monday, and given I just discovered there's so much good Lloyd Cole out there on I'd be remiss not to post one of his songs made extra tasty by Robert Quine (who does not appear in the video, alas).

Beatlesque? Moi?

One of Lloyd Cole's lesser known numbers, but it's catchy as all hell.

Friday Random Ten

Sugar "Where Diamonds Are Halos" Besides (Bonus Disk--Like at First Ave., Minneapolis 11.02.94)
Dump 'The Big Bands" A Plea for Tenderness
Teenage Fanclub "Catholic Education 2" A Catholic Education
Bob Dylan "She Belongs to Me" Bob Dylan Live, 1966: The Royal Albert Hall Concert
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds "Let the Bells Ring" Abattoir Blues
Thelonious Monk "Brilliant Corners" Ken Burns Jazz: Thelonious Monk
Bright Eyes "Arc of Time (Time Code)" Digital Ash in a Digital Urn
Patti Smith "Dead City" [live] Land (1975-2002)
Roxy Music "Could It Happen to Me?" Siren
XTC "Millions" Drums and Wires

Ani DiFranco "Rock Paper Scissors" Revelling: Reckoning

The oldest song here is the best. Otherwise I'm back to the greater artists and their minor works.


I Look Mahvelous

For Dog Blog Friday: Mookie looking extra relaxed and extra handsome (as if that's possible).


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Blog and Run Away

Stephin Merritt AKA Magnetic Fields, AKA Gothic Archies with Daniel Handler AKA Lemony Snicket. Too much fun.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Other Day I Saw a Hummer with a License Plate Holder that Read "I Eat Organic"

I don't know Santa Barbara City Council Frank Hotchkiss from a hole in the ground (or anywhere else) but anyone who is a real estate agent and pissed about the Light Blue Line Project shouldn't make it past the bias meter even at the wreck-of-the-News-Press. That's particularly true when in an article entitled "Hotchkiss Vows Common Sense" in the Daily Sound, we get this line about global warming (that others have also offered as brilliant):

We can’t even predict the weather in three days and you are telling me this is accurate?

I assume with logic like that, Hotchkiss eschews modern medicine, too. After all, while medicine says he will die, his doctors can't predict when. So clearly all the rest of their knowledge must be worthless.

Seriously, the study of the weather is meteorology. The study of long-term changes in the world's "weather" is climatology. A person who can look good, can stand in front of a green screen while pointing to the right place, and can announce people's birthdays--that person can at least "play" a meteorologist on TV. A climatologist is someone like James Hansen who has a
M.S. in Astronomy and a Ph.D. in Physics and then works for NASA. Of course, the White House tried to stifle Hansen from talking about global warming, but that's a different blog entry. Or just more proof people just don't want to hear the bad news and are more than willing to stick their hands in their ears and sing LA-LA-LA really loudly. (The good news for them is sound travels more poorly under water.)

Indeed, someone on Blogabarbara I think wrote in a comment something to the effect of "how can we explain this to children? Won't the Blue Line just frighten them?" To which I answer--"let's hope just enough." The whole point of the line was to say, "This is what might happen--if we don't act."

But now our problem is that we can't even commit the first act of recognizing there's a problem.


One Good Drink Deserves Another

Since I'm going to end the summer video postings with the one on Labor Day, since Marty's response to Crooked Fingers made me think of this, here it is.

Not Katrina but the Waves

(Image courtesy Suspect Device)

Two years ago we let one of our greatest towns drown. Those in charge said things were ok and heckuva job. One of those in charge might soon be in charge of justice in this country.

That's just fucked up.

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Spare from the Tumbler

This wonderful wallow has to be one of the best songs of the past 15 years--in all his guises, Eric Bachmann (Archers of Loaf, Crooked Fingers, Barry Black) is brilliant.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

That's Really Super, Superchunk

For a run in the 1990s these folks were one of my favorite bands, so if you don't know them, visit YouTube for tons of good videos and music.

Monday, August 27, 2007

When Things Got Cheeky at the Department of Just-Ass

I don't know if you caught this, but spotted on the D.C. Craig's List "strictly platonic" board today was this entry:

Married Latino male looking for "bossman" who wants complete servitude--not even laws will get in the way of my adoration. You don't need to be too smart or too cute, just desirous of devotion. I promise to laugh at all your fart jokes and your imitations of women on death row (in fact, I'll help you put to death as many convicts as you like). I will never laugh when your grammar isn't the goodest. And even if I did, I won't remember anything you've ever done wrong. Especially if questioned under oath.

I'm into torture (of others--don't get any ideas!), purging US Attorneys who aren't good Republican soldiers, justifying spying on all Americans in case they don't support you the government. I find walks on the beach and the Geneva Conventions quaint. I can make John Ashcroft seem moderate, although, alas, I can't hold a tune the way that fine tenorino can. Then again, I will lie if it makes you smile. And it will.

I've got lots of time on my hands soon, so drop me an email, but not to my work email.

P.S. I'm much cuter than Skeletor, even if he has my job soon.

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You think that I Was Joking...

The Futureheads sing one for me that I dedicate to Alberto Gonzales. don't let the door of justice hit you on the ass on the way out, Al.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Tee-many Two-quilas

Originally uploaded by cshontz

I was just about to post another photo for Random Flickr-Blogging, but then I got distracted. (Luckily, I already had a photo of limes).

Monday random Flickr-blogging explained.


Day of the Cow

Originally uploaded by meaning_of_light

And the last thing I heard was, "Milk this!"


Friday, August 24, 2007

Deny Me and Be Doomed

There's no denying how wonderful this song, this film is. Plus you get animation from Emily Hubley, Faith and John's daughter and sister to Georgia of Yo La Tengo.The coolness multiplies in so many ways. I also want to know how John Cameron Mitchell, who had played the role a ton of times on stage, managed to get so into it once again for those killer close-ups in the last verse when the song becomes about him and not myth.

A Little Dapple Do Ya

For Dog Blog Friday: lots o' spots.


Friday Random Ten

Freedy Johnson "Fun Ride" Time for a Change--Bar/None Sampler #2
Matthew Sweet "Do It Again" Altered Beast
Elvis Costello "How to Be Dumb" Mighty Like a Rose
Glenn Gould "Two Part Invention #3 in D, BWV" Bach: The Two & Three Part Inventions
Pere Ubu "Ubu Dance Party" Datapanik in the Year Zero: 390° of Simulated Stereo, Vol. 2
Julie Miller "All My Tears" Songcatcher (sdtrk)
Miracle Legion "Homer" A Matter of Degrees (sdtrk)
Victoria Williams "Psalms" Loose
Outkast (Andre 3000) "God (Interlude)" The Love Below
Built to Spill "Liar" You in Reverse

Dave Brubeck Quartet "Blue Rondo a la Turk" Time Out

Perhaps the Random Ten just needed a week off to gear up for something truly tasty. I like much of this is, and much of this a lot. Robert Quine with Sweet, Elvis getting nasty to his bassist, Gould playing wonderfully, great voices like Julie Miller's and Victoria Williams's. And then Dave Brubeck. Take me out....


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Pompeii the Volume

Friday is the 1928th anniversary of Vesuvius going scrius on Pompeii (and Herculaneum, which clearly didn't have as good a marketing team since it tends to get barely remembered in the Great Natural Disasters Roll Call). Today it's hard to imagine what it might be like to have ash fall from the sky, oh, well, before July 4 it might have been, but more than a hard ash was gonna fall on the Pompeii-dours, as they liked to be called. Indeed, it was a pyroclastic flow (not to be confused with PyroKlastik Flo, the Norwegian death metal band of the 1980s) that buried them and their renowned erotic art--the entry about it on Wikipedia is a veritable Kama Sutra of mosaics (I guess you can get in those positions if you lay one tile at a time). There's even a phallus carving with the phrase "Hic Habitat Felicitas" around it, proving Pompeii had its own Beavus and Butt-headus. What's more, I learned Pliny the Elder died trying to rescue people after the disaster and Pliny the Younger (his nephew, actually) was a witness from across the bay. Today they are both beers at Russian River Brewing. There are worse fates. Meanwhile the modern town of Pompei exploits all the tourists who go see the excavations at Pompeii, hoping Vesuvius is fooled by the clever way they dropped one of the "i"s to seem farther away.

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Now That's Guitar

You know, if Robert Quine was in my band, I'd be good too.

I'd also be in heaven, but that's another story.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Drink to Me Only with Thine Beer and Wines

So after 6 days of seeing the world through a wine glass (and beer glass), I'm back at work and sad sad sad. But some of you wanted a report, so here's the thumbnail sketch of what got drunk where (note that's what not who). There's a lot of lovely potent potables out there.

Stone Epic 07-07-07 (we brought this with us to have in the SF hotel when we arrived)

An Alaska cocktail at the delightful and delicious and delovely Alembic: Suppose your tires have frozen flat on one side. or you chased a kodiak off your lawn. the lure of living in the great white north may have escaped you, but the purity of the frozen tundra can be had in the form of this martini variation--gin, yellow chartreuse, orange bitters, and a healthy twist of lemon peel. it’s been around a long time: ours is a drier adaptation of the one in harry’s abc, a 1919 cocktail handbook.

An Opera cocktail. we love aperitifs here at the alembic, firmly believing that every good meal opens with a good drink. this is one of our sexier starters. millers gin with spicy dubonnet rouge and a dash of maraschino liqueur for aromatic sweetness. served ice cold and up. this aria might get stuck in your head.

Some La Chouffe and half a Bear Republic Strong Ale (All still at Alembic. The food is great too.)

Russian River Brewing: Bravo Ale, Pliny the Elder Double IPA

Yorkville Cellars tasting: best their Bordeaux blend Richard-the-Lion- Hearted

Meyer Family Cellars tasting, including their stunning Meyer Family Port

Navarro Vineyards Method a l'Ancienne Pinot Noir 2004 (very good with dinner at Boonville Hotel)

North Coast Brewing: Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout (ungodly good on tap and fresh) and 2007 Old Stock Ale with lunch at the brewpub

Wines with dinner we made at The Other Place: Surh Luchtel 2004 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and 2004 Skewis Pinot Noir Demuth Vineyard Anderson Valley (double yum)

Wine tasting in Anderson Valley, part 1: Navarro, Lazy Creek, and Breggo (all delicious, and we get served by the winemaker at the last 2)

Dinner at the Highpockety Ox (the former Buckhorn Saloon, Mike)--it's no longer the Anderson Valley Brewing Brewpub, as they have a new facility and crappy, prefab tasting room down the road, but they still make the pleasing Hop Ottin IPA

Wine tasting in Anderson Valley, part 2: Goldeneye (where Amy took the picture above), the find of the trip Toulouse (the owner more or less gave us a hilarious seminar in winemaking while taking us through his pinots), and the building is better than the wine Standish

Bottled beer drinking on a lazy afternoon on a sun-dappled hillside: North Coast's Old Rasputin X Imperial Stout (barrel aged in bourbon barrels and as great as it sounds--wish I bought more) and North Coast's 25th Anniversary Ale, which is actually the same as their La Merle but in different packaging (smooth, spicy saisson style)

Dinner at the Ukiah Brewing Company, a delightfully hippiesque spot with solid and organic food and beer; I had the 10 Guilder and Coops Stout

And while we didn't imbibe, we did refill some Russian River Brewing growlers with Pliny the Elder and their IPA, so we did bring some of the trip home with us.

Plus endless photos (you'll see we're set for Friday Dog Blogging for awhile)....

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This World Belongs to the Winners, This Is a Consolation Blog

Back in the saddle, so thought might as well Waco Brother-up with Jon Lnagford ripping off Kobayashi Issa. Who, in fairness, didn't rock.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Let's Take a Trip

Programming note--the blog might be even less word-populated for a few days, as all of us, pups included, head up to San Francisco for a few days and then on to Anderson Valley, which I don't want to write about as I don't want any more of you to go there. (Simply put, it's gotta be what Napa was 40 years ago, but with the wines of today and great beer too.)

We will stay at a place where part of each morning will involve a walk to here:

Just as we won't be here and I might not even be virtually here, the rest of this post isn't here, either. But if you go to the Indy site, you can read how I stopped worrying and learned to love Fiesta.


Hey, That Columnist Has an Opinion

As I actually work for a living (at more than one job at that) I didn't make it to the NLRB hearing that kicked off yesterday in the latest struggle between real journalists and Ampersand Publishing, aka the SB News-Press. But reading the ever-trustworthy Matt Kettmann's write-up on the Independent website, a couple of things struck me as worthy of comment.

First, I simply love this quote from Scott Steepleton: “Sir, there were union people involved, but I don’t know if I thought this was part of a union campaign.”

Perhaps that should be the News-Press management's motto: We don't know if we thought.

Second, there's this passage:

As for the cancellation of Starshine Roshell’s column, which the union and government claims was done in retaliation for her union activities, [News-Press attorney Barry] Cappello explained that her column was just one of eight cancelled as part of a company-wide decision. That decision, Cappello implied, was just one way to root out bias in the paper.

It's simple--if you don't know what a column is, you shouldn't be allowed to own a newspaper. By its very definition a column is "biased." It's supposed to be someone's opinion, a place in the paper where readers can rub up against an actual voice (which can be in part a performance, but we're supposed to be smart enough to know that). That's why columns so often run with a little headshot of the author, while it doesn't really matter what the typical print reporter looks like (which is why TV journalism isn't always about getting the story right, or getting the story at all).

Not to mention if it's so bad to have columns as they add bias, where does bringing in Dr. (of Physiology) Laura put you on the bias continuum? I've never heard a strong opinion from that woman.


In This Blog They Could Shake Their Hips

You simply can't say enough about Jonathan Richman. On a lark Amy and I even contacted him to see if we could get him to play our wedding recpetion and we got a handwritten and kind no back--with best wishes for our marriage--on La Quinta stationery.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Well-Practiced in Fiddling When There's Burning

Former Presidential aide Karl Rove announced today that he is immediately taking a job supervising the fight to stop the Zaca Fire in the backcountry of Santa Barbara County that has now burned 101,472 acres and has cost 69.2 million dollars. While critics questioned Rove's preparation for this new undertaking, others suggested he was perfect for the job given his experience managing situations out of control.

From a special, fire-safe bunker in Montecito (rumored to be in the Four Seasons Resort) Rove issued his first statement on the fire: "There is no doubt we're winning this war. For if we don't fight the fire on the other side of the mountains, we will have to fight it here. I am amazed so many naysayers do not want to support our firefighters."

It is also rumored that Rove has been consulting with County Supervisors Brooks Firestone, Joni Gray [ed. note: spelling fixed--thanks, David], and Joseph Centeno and Governor Schwarzenegger, hoping they will do all they can to lower taxes on the region.

Meanwhile Grover Norquist was just about ready to drown the shrunken government and its services in a bathtub, but unfortunately the drought caused by global warming meant his bathtub's spigot ran dry.

(thanks to Esau and Trekking Left for their contributions to this idea)

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Well Bang My Erasers

This gives me the giggles every time I watch it. And the song rocks.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Polyester Has Been Drinking

Years before Larry Sanders, Martin Mull turned the talk show upsidedown. Don't know if I saw this episode back as a high schooler, but I probably thought Waits was weird then.

"Fist! Fist! Fist!"
"Uh, Maybe Not"

Originally uploaded by djukic

And that was the day bicycle seats decided they had to unionize.

(If you don't get this entry's title, check out this IMDB page. And probably some other IMDB pages I refuse to link to.)

Monday random Flickr-blogging explained.


Rock of Ages

Originally uploaded by evissa

Feeling left out when his group decided to tour with David Lee Roth, Hagar turned to an old, old friend for solace.



Originally uploaded by pixleslie

Someone's always rock hard when a full moon is busting out all over.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Burning with Optimism's Flames

While I never had to "duck and cover," I'm still plenty old enough to think the world might have ended in a lickety-split atomic moment, especially when there was a president who thought it funny to talk about outlawing Russia forever and begin bombing in five minutes. Sure, it might be because I spent too much time in eighth grade religion class in Catholic school on the Book of Revelations. It might be my own Eastern European angsty roots. But it's always been easy for me to think the apocalypse was just out of eye-shot (why do ears get to have all the "fun"?)--something horrible lurking around the corner. Where better for me to end up living than in California, where practically any disaster seems imminent, and they've all been written up by Mike Davis as if they're just a script waiting for the cameras to roll.

So it's more than a bit terrifying--in that your deepest fear is actually true way, in that weight on your heart way, not the run about screaming like a mad man way--to watch plumes of smoke come up from behind the Santa Ynez Mountains that generally are one reason living in Santa Barbara is so sustaining. We live between mountains and the sea, 5 easy minutes to either. Generally, that beauty doesn't leave you thinking how vulnerable you are, but with the Zaca Fire at 86K acres (that's like burning down New York's Central Park over 100 times) and spuming up little mushroom clouds, things get a bit, oh, nerve-wracking.

There are times you don't want to be right, you know. And what's even creepier to me, about me, is this manifestation of my fears that life can switch from happy to sad faster than a match-strike seems somehow the way things should be. That apocalypse just around the bend is almost in view. If you strain to see it, will you see it? Is that what you want?


Guilty Pleasures Week (8) -- This Guiltiness Goes to 8

They don't get much cheesier than this--ladies and gentlemen, the fabulous M performing Pop Muzik. Alas, there is nothing by New Musik on YouTube.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Guitly Pleasures Week (7) -- Guitar Geek-a-Rama

Some people have Alex Lifeson and Rush, or Steve Howe and Yes, but when I was younger my guitar geek hero was Mike Oldfield. The bit he gets to about halfway in (to a piece already chopped in half on YouTube) still thrills me, I'm afraid to say. And yes, this is a take-off on a Philip Glass motif.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Guilty Pleasures Week (6) -- Was Japan Big in Japan?

Might as well continue the sons of Bryan Ferry parade with David Sylvian and the gang.

Forecast Calls for Blurries

For Dog Blog Friday: Nigel, meet puppy. Puppy, there's a greyhound there somewhere, promise.

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Friday Random Ten

Rockpile "Teacher Teacher" Seconds of Pleasure
California Guitar Trio "Prelude Circulation" Invitation
The Fratellis "Got My Nuts from a Hippy" Costello Music
Guided by Voices "Run Wild" Isolation Drills
Tom Waits "Hang Down Your Head" Rain Dogs
Sebadoh "Worst Thing" Harmacy
Lucinda Williams "Learning How to Live" West
Amy Rigby "Stop Showing up in My Dreams" The Sugar Tree
Rain Tree Crow "Cries and Whispers" Rain Tree Crow
Bill Nelson "Spinnin' Around" Blue Moons and Laughing Guitars

Freedy Johnston "I Can Hear the Laughs" This Perfect World

It starts off well and never totally bombs out but rarely reaches the same pop height. But it does follow David Sylvian and Co. with Bill Nelson, which is sort of clever, and gets in an Ingmar Bergman reference in, too.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

My Phillie's a Phanatic (And She'll Forgive Me for This Title)

Amy and I are married 10 years today.

It's nearly impossible to say how happy that makes me, and that that happiness is dwarfed only by my expectations for the next decades of happiness. For those of you who don't know Amy, you don't know what you're missing. But here's a brief, some might say odd, example, to help make clear her incadescent terrific-ness.

I'm a bit (cough cough) of a baseball fan. This means I watch a lot, read a lot about it, comb the internets for tidbits, visit Yahoo Fantasy baseball obsessively waiting for Justin Upton to post (and I got him!), blab on and on about it, even put up with Baseball Tonight just to view the highlights. Being married to me means having to deal with all that. Or maybe it doesn't--I know plenty of couples who keep their interests very separate, and sadder, some couples who do all they can to change their partner to be only what he or she wants the person to be.

That's not Amy at all. At this point she's listened, and watched, and actually paid attention enough I'd be afraid that if she did join my fantasy league she'd finish higher than I would. But it's better than that, for she doesn't do it out of obligation, she does it because it matters to me and that gets her interested, too. And an interested Amy is a fascinating thing. A few weeks ago we're watching the All-Star Game and she can't get over Aaron Rowand, who, admittedly, looks odd in the batter's box, from his lazy bat wiggle to his almost arched back. And then there's the faces he makes at bat, a cross between looking dumb and looking like he just ate a lemon (because he was dumb enough to do so). We share a giggle at him (not like the one Tony LaRussa and Albert Pujols shared, I'm sure), and the next thing I know, Amy's standing and doing a spot-on imitation of Rowand. We're both rolling in laughter, now.

And, 10 wonderful years into our marriage, I can think of nothing better to say about Amy than I love a woman who can imitate Aaron Rowand.


Guilty Pleasures Week (5) -- The Soupcon of Silliness

I'm not sure I ever saw this video back in the day, but it makes me giggle now. That first ABC album is still quite strong, you know. Really.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

For the Little Red Schoolhouse of Our Mouths

I hadn't thought about Charles Simic in a few years, but it warmed my once-poetry-loving heart to hear he's our new Poet Laureate. His poetry is both instantly understandable AND mysterious, which makes it more mysterious, which makes it more like life. My guess is whatever Washington folks make these decisions didn't read all of his poetry, though, for our Poet Laureate has penned this work that admits to a lasciviousness that might shock the blue-bloods....


I love breasts, hard
Full breasts, guarded
By a button.

They come in the night.
The bestiaries of the ancients
Which include the unicorn
Have kept them out.

Pearly, like the east
An hour before sunrise,
Two ovens of the only
Philosopher's stone
Worth bothering about.

They bring on their nipples
Beads of inaudible sighs,
Vowels of delicious clarity
For the little red schoolhouse of our mouths.

Elsewhere, solitude
Makes another gloomy entry
In its ledger, misery
Borrows another cup of rice.

They draw nearer: Animal
Presence. In the barn
The milk shivers in the pail.

I like to come up to them
From underneath, like a kid
Who climbs on a chair
To reach the forbidden jam.

Gently, with my lips,
Loosen the button.
Have them slip into my hands
Like two freshly poured beer-mugs.

I spit on fools who fail to include
Breasts in their metaphysics
Star-gazers who have not enumerated them
Among the moons of the earth....

They give each finger
Its true shape, its joy:
Virgin soap, foam
On which our hands are cleansed.

And how the tongue honors
These two sour buns,
For the tongue is a feather
Dipped in egg-yolk.

I insist that a girl
Stripped to the waist
Is the first and last miracle,

That the old janitor on his deathbed
Who demands to see the breasts of his wife
For the one last time
Is the greatest poet who ever lived.

O my sweet, my wistful bagpipes.
Look, everyone is asleep on the earth.
Now, in the absolute immobility
Of time, drawing the waist
Of the one I love to mine,

I will tip each breast
Like a dark heavy grape
Into the hive
Of my drowsy mouth.


Guilty Pleasures Week (4) -- You Too Can Be U2

OK, first The Armoury Show was Scottish. Second, The Edge admits John McGeoch was one of his guitar heroes. Third, I really really want Richard Jobson's jacket.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Berry, Berry Good

I'm not one to pat myself on the back, but...I scooped the LA Times and I have to share. Of course it's about food, which isn't really news, but it's sure tastier than trying to swallow the Dems caving in to the Republicans again. (Why, exactly, is Diane Feinstein our senator?)

Oh well, back to the scoop. TWO Thursdays ago I extolled the virtues of Persian Mulberries.

Today on the LA Times Daily Dish Blog, Amy Scattergood (who does win points for that great last name, and of course I'm sort of partial to the first name, but she stole that, too) writes about how you need to get Persian Mulberries.

Remember, you heard it here first.

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Guilty Pleasures Week (3) -- I'm Going to Set This Vox on Ultra

It's still damn catchy, and you have to root for someone named Midge Ure, since you know he got beat up in school a lot just for his name.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Guilty Pleasures Week (2) -- I'm Not the Man They Think I Am at Home

I'm still sort of a sucker for Kate Bush, if not as much as I was 20 years ago. And this is one of my favorite recordings of hers, so thanks, Sir Elton. She doess get goofy in videos, yes.

Bubble Boy

Originally uploaded by cjvanston

George W. Bush as a young boy.

Monday Random Flickr-Blogging explained.

This leads directly to August 6, 2001:

"PDB? What PDB, I got some brush to clear." (For more on the 08-06-01 blogswarm see The Zen Cabin.)


Where There's Smoke There's an Insane Conspiracy

Some photos from a weekend of smoke and ash in Santa Barbara, as much of the wild area behind the Santa Ynez Mountains burns to a crisp. The last shot does get me thinking--perhaps Wendy had some people set it as a way to finish off the paper for good? Of course they didn't set it in the right place, because anything she tries to do gets horribly botched, but still....


Monday Non-Random Non-Flickr Blogging

Buried apostrophe first, no doubt.


Sunday, August 05, 2007

Between "Innocent" and "True Confessions" There Should Be a Clever and Cryptic Garland Jeffreys Allusion in This Title, But I'm Not that Smart

Got caught in an argument not of my making, so feel like I need to reset and explain. Scott Long over at The Juice Blog asked for 10 Desert Island Discs (no comps, no greatest hits, no sdtrks) plus one guilty pleasure. I orginally said this:

In the order I'm thinking, not the order I'm listening, I think:

Magnetic Fields "69 Love Songs"

Brian Eno "Another Green World"
Yo La Tengo "Electr-o-Pura"
Roxy Music "Siren"
Lucinda Williams "Lucinda Williams"
Elvis Costello "Imperial Bedroom"
Frank Sinatra "Songs for Swinging Lovers"
Mekons "Mekons Rock 'n' Roll"
Richard & Linda Thompson "Shoot Out the Lights"
Matthew Sweet "Girlfriend--special edition"*

WC--OK, it's not really a guilty pleasure, but leaving out Tom Waits' "Rain Dogs" just left me feeling really really bad. Plus I need some Marc Ribot.

*I'm assuming my wife will be there, and it's her favorite album. Plus then I get to listen to some Robert Quine.

Eventually, after a whole bunch of us posted, Scott got a bit pissy (it's his blog, that's his right):

Breaking my rules on compilation, live, or soundtrack has been flouted, but the people who can't understand the concept of a guilty pleasure is what makes me crazy. Some of us have dressed up for the costume party, and those of you who haven't are making us feel a bit self-conscious in our efforts at opening ourselves up to a bit of ridicule.

Which he later followed with a list of Google-found definitions for guilty pleasures:

something you enjoy, even though you know it's bad for you.
something that I pretend to like ironically, but secretly really like.
something that would ruin us if our friends knew about.
something you would listen to, but sure as hell wouldn't wear a t-shirt in public of.

Of course I kept jumping in, because the only thing I think I have more of than taste is opinions, and therefore I wrote:

I don't listen to the radio beyond NPR (in my Volvo, yes, why do you ask?). If I had to go with a guilty pleasure CD, which would mean I'm leaving behind a good 100 others I'd take before it, I'd grab ABC's "The Lexicon of Love" because it seemed easier back in the day to try to be Martin Fry rather than Bryan Ferry.

So of course I know what a guilty pleasure is--not only did I grow up Catholic and more or less survive my mom, liking what I tend to like (what no one else likes, let alone has heard of) means I can feel guilty mighty fast. I mean, I loved Peter Gabriel for years, but my love for him diminished as the places I saw him grew larger, and he does put on a fascinating enough live show to pull off that 20,000 seat arena, if anyone can. But I also think the more an artist appeals to a larger audience, the less he or she can be artistic. I really do believe artistry--the expression of an individual--can't have mass appeal. (This is where, for instance, Trekking Left at Average Man and I will split company on television as art.) Commerce kills art. It's that simple. (Is this just an excuse for me never having made money?)

So I will try to come up with videos this week that embody some of my musical guilty pleasures. For instance The Hold Steady today--could any narrative be more brilliantly rigged? Craig Finn proves that live, underlining everything clever in his lyrics, but they ARE clever lyrics (just the oranges and cigarettes bit is worth the price of admission). And when the woman and man first sing together, the song sort of lifts off--of course they hook up and "sing." It's theatrics at its simplest, and it's got a piano part to drive the point home. And I haven't even said the words "Bruce Springsteen"yet.

There will be more. What makes me guilty might leave you nonplussed, but that makes my sins no less a cause to keep me from a heaven that only I can make for myself.

Feel free to drop in your Desert Island Discs, too. Or your guilty pleasures. (And I haven't even mentioned it's easier to sustain a pleasurable guilt for a song rather than a wh0le album. You almost have to have greatest hits count for a guilty pleasure CD.)

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Guilty Pleasures Week (1) -- It Was Kinda Sexy, but It Was Kinda Creepy

The Hold Steady are so grand they're almost too much, but if you're going to like them you have to like them like this. Plus we get Elizabeth Elmore as a connection from women's week.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

I Do Like to Blog the Good Reputation

Some lawyers make better front women for rock bands. Yeah, the panning gets annoying, but this is the best video of The Reputation on YouTube. (This is for Marty.)

Friday, August 03, 2007

Like a Bridge into Troubled Waters

Here's a slogan the Democrats are welcome to use:

"We prevent. The other party reacts. Wrongly."

In Minnesota the Republican governor vetoes increased highway spending and the world comes crashing down. Meanwhile in the trade journals like Highway Contractor they say:

Most bridge engineers keep a stiff upper lip to deal with lack of funding and other mounting problems, but if they could have what they wanted to improve their bridges, it would mostly be money, money, and more money.

“We need increased funding for preventive maintenance,” says North Carolina Department of Transportation Bridge Maintenance Engineer John Emerson. “It’s easier to handle preventive maintenance than to react to problems.”

In Texas, Keith Ramsey says they need to increase emphasis on bridge maintenance. “Funds are limited to replacing bridges and the bridge inventory continues to age faster than funds are increased for rehab and replacement.”

Then there's the votes on the child healthcare extension--it's just too much for the Republicans to think kids might be healthy on the government's dime. (Oil companies, however, do need federal subsidies--they provide more suport when you're running for office than poor sick children do, after all.) President Bush's response was the poor could just go to emergency rooms, which takes the let them eat cake award.

It's time for government money to be spent shoring our nation up--its infrastrucutre, its health. It could be "simple" if it weren't for the $448 billion and running going to the Iraq fiasco. It's just one more way the Bush approach to fighting terror leads to terror--as our own country collapses all on its own without any kind of attack.


Signs of the Timms

The Waco Bros. decide it's time for a guest artiste. So we get a fast one, one of my favorite slow ones, and some banter to boot. Sally Timms keeps the women's week theme of posts going, too.

The Notorious I.G.

For Dog Blog Friday: Mookie must feel like having a little Italian.


Friday Random Ten

Elvis Costello & the Attractions "Clean Money" Armed Forces
R.E.M. "Rotary Ten" Dead Letter Office
Coralie Clement "Samba De Mon Coeur Qui Bat" Paris
Luna "The Creeps" Pup Tent
Odds "Eat My Brain" Brain Candy (sdtrk)
Guided by Voices "Everyday" Sandbox
Marshall Crenshaw "This Is Easy" This Is Easy: The Best of Marshall Crenshaw
Regina Spektor "That Time" Begin to Hope
Bob Mould "Can't Fight It" No Alternative
The Posies "I May Hate You Sometimes" Selections from Children of Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the Second Psychedelic Era 1976-1996

The Clash "Death or Glory" London Calling

Four comps/soundtracks, one from bonus material, one from a best of, one from an odds 'n' sods...but he who fucks with the random ten will later join the church.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Hills Are Alive

"Hooray for INOTBB, la-la-la-la-la, INOTBB!"

You can have your own Hollywood sign too.


Don't Adjust Your Sets

Just put on your X Ray Spex--it's Poly Styrene turning you punk and day-glo all at once.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Petra Haden and the Sell Outs do live what she did so well on CD. And we were even at this show (she opened for the Decemberists).

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