Friday, October 31, 2008

Putting the Weenie in Halloween

Oh, very scary--and not just Sal Solo but that I owned this record on vinyl way back when....


Blue Mooks

For Dog Blog Friday: There are angels in your angles.


Friday Random Ten

Johnny Cash "I Dreamed about Mama Last Night" Timeless: Hank Williams Tribute
Jimmie Dale Gilmore "Long, Long Time" Braver Newer World
Johnny Dowd "Greasy Hands" Pictures from Life's Other Side
Pete Fountain & His Band "Lazy River" Big Ol' Box of New Orleans
Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks "Wicked Wanda" Real Emotional Trash
Wilco "Candy Floss" Summerteeth
Taj Mahal "When I Feel the Sea Beneath My Soul" The Essential Taj Mahal
Neil Young "Hippie Dream" Lucky Thirteen
Dollar Store "Dying Light" Money Music
Dump "Lucy Grealy" Women in Rock

Bettie Serveert "Under the Surface" Palomine

Well, when the Neil Young that pops up is from that classic Landing on Water, you know what kind of wee/ak it is. Then again, this is the first of my random tens featuring a song about a woman I went to grad school with, so that has to mean something. Lots of country, proving there are many hearts in the heart. Some spleens and gall bladders too.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

From a Shit to Akaka

Sorry, just had to use that title. But this is certainly long overdue news.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Get Me to the Polling Place on Time

It's hard to know where to start, as I've been writing on this blog about gay marriage since the beginning and took on that nasty misdirection--"we can't have gay marriage to save the children"--just two weeks ago. I can't think of one reason why it shouldn't be permitted, and I've heard all the arguments--how could I not? I live in California and can't avoid the numerous ads paid for by the Mormons. In fact, I'm hoping to start a fund to run ads in Salt Lake City about how racist, sexist religions based on one whack job's ideas are a joke, and then insist I'm just exercising my First Amendment rights. They better not silence me.

But even if I did that, I wouldn't be doing something nearly as terrible as what they're up to in California. For denying gays and lesbians the right to marriage is denying them the rights of full legal citizenship. It's saying a religious belief trumps a human right. It's saying a religious belief is the basis of law. Of course it's also saying people create gods in their own images, for if there was a supreme being, would he/she offer hate as the way to live?

Back in November 2006 I wrote this about Jon Stewart's stand-up routine at UCSB:

He also did an extended segment on gay marriage, truly puzzled why it bugs (no, not buggers) folks so much. He joked about how Leviticus tosses about abominations like ums and uhs, stressing it calls shellfish an abomination, too. Then he said, "How come you never see one of those anti-gay protesters with a sign, 'Death to Fags...and Scallops'?" Later, in just one of the off-color moments he wondered, "What can bother them so much about gays? Does someone hear the distant sound of one man's balls slapping into another man's ass--wap, wap, wap, wap--and then say, 'Hey, I'm trying to work here?'"

Indeed, it's hard to understand why there's such a freak-out. This notion that gay marriage ruins marriage for heterosexuals in particular seems supsect; to quote Stewart one more time, "Divorce doesn't happen because 50% of marriages end in gayness."

Here's one man's take, unburdened by religion but true to a sense that the world needs to be taken care of and that perhaps--and yes, so often cynical, flippant me is writing this--perhaps all we need to be to is be bit nicer to each other. (Egad, he's resorting to the "be nice" card. Can a job at Hallmark be far behind?) I love my wife more than I can say and that bond is stronger since we had the opportunity to commit ourselves--legally and in front of our friends and family--to being one. I cherish that, and the idea of denying anyone else that right seems brutally wrong.

If you live in California I urge you to vote No on Proposition 8.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sure Are Liberal with Their Use of Liberal

I realize trying to get McCain, Palin, and the rest of the Republicans to use language as something we can at least pretend refers to things in the real world isn't easy, witness Senator Stevens not quite seeming to get "convicted felon." (OK, that might not be an issue of words, it might be he flouts the jury system, but what's "real American" about a trial by your peers? "Peers" sounds like such an English word, after all.) That said, if I hear the Obama-Pelosi-Reid troika invoked as the avatar of liberalism one more time, I'm going to throw my copy of Debs: His Life, Writings and Speeches at the television.

If Obama were so liberal, would he have flip-flopped on his vote for telecom immunity?

If Pelosi were so liberal, would Cindy Sheehan be running against her?

If, you gotta be f-ing kidding me, Reid were so liberal, would he be anti-choice? I mean, a super-liberal who thinks women are the test tube of god?


Monday, October 27, 2008

Breaking News! Governor Palin Associates with Convicted Felon

Nothing up in the ayers about this one, wright?

Labels: ,

Who's the Pussy Now?

Originally uploaded by SpiB

Although Mort did the right thing and stopped buying cat food made in China, he probably shouldn't have switched to the brand from Romania, either.

Monday random Flickr-blogging explained. (It's back! Come play along!)


Love, Where Is Thy Sting

Originally uploaded by smccann

"But I love you!"

"Sorry, my family would never let me marry a WASP."


Write Where It Hurts

Originally uploaded by Danarah

Alas, this photo gave the marketing team for Cialis an idea for their next series of ads.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Random Ten

James Carter "Oriental Shuffle" Chasin' the Gypsy
Lambchop "I Haven't Heard a Word I've Said" Aw C'mon
The Velvet Underground "I Found a Reason" Peel Slowly and See
Emmylou Harris "Deeper Well" Wrecking Ball
Psapp "New Rubbers" The Only Thing I Ever Wanted
Baaba Maal "Allah/Addu Jam" Missing You (Mi Yeewnii)
The Blackbyrds "Cornbread" BaadAsssss Cinema
Waco Brothers "Never Real" Electric Waco Chair
Rockpile "Wrong Again (Let's Face It)" Seconds of Pleasure
Grandaddy "Miner at the Dial-a-View" The Sophtware Slump

Sonny Rollins "Skylark" Silver City--A Celebration of 25 Years

In and out with jazz, but this list never manages to hit even the third best song on any of the CDs it played. Oh well. Fitting probably that my fave song of the list is called "Wrong Again."


And I'll Be Eight Steps on the Saltillo

For Dog Blog Friday: Look! It's in the trees! It's coming!


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Looks Like She Hit a Wet Spot

Once, there wasn't television. (Oops, forgot to tell you to sit down first.) The lack of TV meant it was much harder for people to make public asses out of themselves. Instead of appearing on Fear Factor or Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader? or doing an interview with Katie Couric, they had to scheme. Friday is the 107th anniversary of one of those events as Annie Edson Taylor went over Niagara Falls in a barrel, not just the first woman but the first person to do so, one of the few evidence points that women aren't smarter than men after all. She did wisely chose to go over Horseshoe Falls, figuring that was luckier, and she lived to tell the tale even if the landing was kind of Erie. (OK geography nazis, I know that's backwards, but let me see you make a pun with Ontario.) She was smart enough to travel with a lucky heart-shaped pillow; 19 years after her feat the wily Charles G. Stephens equipped his wooden barrel with an anvil for ballast. Rumor has it that he bought the anvil from a Road Runner.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

You Can't Step into the Same River Even Once

There's something fascinating about cover versions, the way they are familiar yet off-putting, the way they rearrange the furniture in your musical mind. (Look I could get all Freudian on your ass about this, and what would Sigmund say about my phrasing there anyway, but I'm not that kind of guy. Still, you might want to go read this essay.) That shifting can be a pleasant surprise--"oh, you now have such a great view out the window!"--or a disaster magnet--"damn, who moved the couch right where I could stub my toe when I walked through the room not thinking!"

Of course, listening to music makes us all toes just aching to stub. Suddenly we have to think to contextualize the recontextualization. After all, we are all poorer for Sixpence None the Richer's version of "There She Goes," since it helped push the La's even further away from ever being known. And at this point Ryan Adams' "When the Stars Go Blue" has been bastardized so many times it leaves you questioning if you should like the original in the first place.

But good covers manage to add, subtract, multiply, divide in ways to make you sing the praises of new math. They don't even have to obliterate the original, as we'll see--Kate Bush's "Hounds of Love" is still wonderful even if the Futureheads add more bubble to the song than seems imaginable (and while seemingly doing it faster, actually bring the cut in within seconds of the Bush version).

This is all prelude to some CDs. Tom Hilton at the ever-wonderful If I Ran the Zoo suggested we do a CD exchange of all cover versions. I couldn't stop and made two. Here they are, if you want to play along at home.

Two more notes:
1) There are things I wanted to use but couldn't as I have them only on vinyl and I got so frustrated trying to download my albums that the turntable to do so is currently in the garage (sort of the doghouse for hard-to-use electronics). If I could, I would definitely have The Feelies take on "She Said She Said," Costello and Lowe dueting on "Baby, It's You," Yung Wu doing "Big Day," and maybe even Peter Gabriel's "Strawberry Fields Forever" or the Fred Banana Combo crushing "Yesterday."
2) In some of these cases I've never heard the original, but like the cover so much that's good enough for me. For instance, I can't imagine "Packs of Three" sung from the (original) male viewpoint, but that first line sung by Shannon McArdle (pictured at right) you've got my attention. The other never heard originals: "Joed Out," "I Love You You Big Dummy," "In the Mirror," "Motel Blues" (heck, Wainwright has even covered this himself now), "Wild and Blue."

disc one
Futureheads "Hounds of Love" The Futureheads (orig. Kate Bush)
Steve Earle "Time Has Come Today" Sidetracks (orig. Chambers Brothers)
Lucinda Williams "Main Road" Sweet Relief (orig. Victoria Williams)
K. McCarty "Walking the Cow" Dead Dog's Eyeball (orig. Daniel Johnston)
Syd Straw "By This River" Pink Velour (orig. Brian Eno)
Crooked Fingers "When U Were Mine" Reservoir Songs (orig. Prince)
Richard Thompson "Oops! I Did It Again" 1000 Years of Popular Music (orig. Britney Spears)
Jon Langford & Sally Timms "Broken Bottle" Por Vida: The Songs of Alejandro Escovedo (orig. Alejandro Escovedo)
Johnny Cash "Hurt" American IV: The Man Comes Around (orig. Nine Inch Nails)
Petra Haden "Don't Stop Believin'" Guilt by Association (orig. Journey)
Luna "Sweet Child o Mine" The Days of Our Nights (orig. Guns N' Roses)
Barbara Manning & the San Francsico Seals "Joed Out" No Alternative (orig. The Verlaines)
Alejandro Escovedo "Sex Beat" Bourbonitis Blues (orig. Gun Club)
The Raincoats "Lola" Rough Trade Shops: Post Punk Volume 1 (orig. Kinks)
T Bone Burnett "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" Twenty Twenty: The Essential T Bone Burnett (orig. Carol Channing)
Yo La Tengo "You Tore Me Down" Fakebook (orig. Flamin' Groovies)
The Golden Palominos "These Days" This Is How It Feels (orig. Jackson Browne)
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss "Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)" Raising Sand (orig. Everly Brothers)

disc two
Magazine "I Love You You Big Dummy" Secondhand Daylight remastered (orig. Captain Beefheart)
Yo La Tengo "Dreaming" Freedom of Choice (orig. Blondie)
Superchunk "100,000 Fireflies" The Question Is How Fast ep (orig. Magnetic Fields)
The Schramms "In the Mirror" Rock Paper Scissors Dynamite (orig. The Saints)
Portastatic "St. Elmo's Fire" Scrapbook ep (orig. Brian Eno)
Johnny Cash "One" American III: Solitary Man (orig. U2)
Big Star "Motel Blues" Live (orig. Loudon Wainwright III)
The Mendoza Line "Packs of Three" Final Reflections of the Legendary Malcontent (orig. Arab Strap)
Jon Rauhouse w/Howe Gelb "Indian Love Call" Steel Guitar Rodeo (orig. Mary Ellis & Dennis King, more famously Jeanette McDonald & Nelson Eddy)
Alex Chilton "B-A-B-Y" Feudalist Tarts (orig. Carla Thomas)
David Byrne "Don't Fence Me In" The Bachelor sdtrk (orig. Roy Rogers, sort of)
Miles Davis "Time after Time" The Essential Miles Davis (orig. Cyndi Lauper)
Emmylou Harris "Wrecking Ball" Wrecking Ball (orig. Neil Young)
Nouvelle Vague "I Melt with You" Nouvelle Vague (orig. Modern English)
Iron & Wine and Calexico "Dark Eyes" I'm Not There (orig. Bob Dylan)
John Cale "Hallelujah" I'm Your Fan (orig. Leonard Cohen)
The Mekons "Wild and Blue" The Curse of the Mekons (orig. John Anderson)
Nickel Creek "Spit on a Stranger" This Side (orig. Pavement)
Los Lobos "I Wanna Be Like You (The Monkey Song)" Just Another Band from East L.A. (orig. Louis Prima)
Graham Parker and the Rumour "I Want You Back (Alive)" Squeezing Out Sparks & Live Sparks (orig. Jackson Five)

Labels: ,

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fasten Your Seat Belts, We're in for a Bumpy 2 Weeks

(from sf drama)

Looks like the McCain campaign is dead ahead!


Monday, October 20, 2008

The Campaign that Fell to Earth

ABC reports:

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin continued the Republican ticket's attempt to tie Sen. Barack Obama to what it calls socialist economic policies, attacking in new language Obama's plans to offer tax credits to those paying no income taxes and saying that "now is no time to experiment with socialism."

At an airport rally in Roswell, N.M. on Sunday afternoon, the Republican vice presidential nominee once again invoked Joe Wurzelbacher, now widely known as "Joe the Plumber," pushing Wurzelbacher's contention that Obama's tax plan sounded like socialism.

Palin went on to say, "'Artie the Alien' is also against this plan. Back on Artie's home planet--and I can see it from Alaska as we're higher on the globe and closer to the sky--they tried wealth distribution and discovered it was socialism. All the rich people, the whole 5% of top earning extra-terrestrials, said so. And if people with green skin can figure that out, so can John McCain with his melanoma-eaten skin. Which might be why it's so thin. Oh, wait, I think I just channeled Tina Fey, there--actually made a smart thought. They probably laughed at that too in the non-pro-America areas of this great nation."


Friday, October 17, 2008

The Win in Darwinian

Any More Adorable and I'd End Up Pinching Cheeks in Perpetuity

For Dog Blog Friday: One from the archives, Nigel at his first Christmas with us, when he was as big as Mookie's head. He's got lots more spots now, too.


Friday Random Ten

Brian Eno "Dead Finks Don't Talk" Here Come the Warm Jets
Lightning & Group "Long John" Martin Scorsese Presents: The Blues
Talking Heads "Pulled Up" Talking Heads: 77
Randy Newman "Cowboy" Guilty: 30 Years of Randy Newman
Sex Pistols "Anarchy in the U.K." Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle
Laurie Anderson "Puppet Motel" Bright Red Tightrope
Iris Dement "You've Done Nothing Wrong" My Life
Laurie Anderson "Speechless: The Eagle and the Weasel" Bright Red Tightrope
Victoria Williams "You R Loved" Loose
Wayne County & the Back Street Boys "Max's Kansas City 1976" D.I.Y.: Blank Generation--The New York Scene (1975-1978)

Glenn Gould "Gigue from Suite for Piano, Op. 25" Thirty-Two Short Films about Glenn Gould

Oh cheeky cheeky, oh naughty sneaky. Your future dream was a shopping scheme. Weasel! I'd never seen one wild before...oh, wait, that's the Annie Dillard and not the Laurie Anderson. Went down to the drunkards and told them everything is fine. Not just stuck in 77 but stuck singing about 77. There are worse things.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

You Mean I'm Supposed to Try to Get Women to Vote for Me?

Hiya. Would have blogged sooner but I got "Joe the Plumber" in our debate drinking game and in addition to other difficulties, my right eye finally opened.

Meanwhile on the stump today John McCain had the following to say: "I'm for the health of my campaign. You know, that's been stretched by the pro-McCain movement in America to mean almost anything. That's the extreme pro-McCain position, quote, 'health.'"


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

May She Live a Hundred Years, May She Drink a Hundred Beers

Today is Amy's birthday (won't say which one as age on the internets is forever), a day she shares with numerous luminaries, all of whom offer insights into her wonderfulness. There's Vergil, with whom she shares an epic quality, and Helen Maria Hunt Jackson, as both are mighty myth makers of Southern California (if not natives), and Nietzsche, as she is uberfrau. Then she evokes P.G. Wodehouse for her wit, John L. Sullivan as she's a knockout, John Kenneth Galbraith as she's money (and rightly wiser than Milton Friedman--just look around), a loyal lefty like Arthur Schlesinger Jr., an appreciator of brilliant pulp like Mario Puzo. Marrying her was the offer I couldn't refuse. She's an engaging clown like Penny Marshall, a sassy addition to any kitchen like Linda Lavin, great in her skivvies like Jim Palmer, and her fellow birthday-sharer Richard Carpenter knows why birds fall from the sky every time she walks by. Happy Birthday, Sweetie.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Let's Redefine Marriage--Maybe It Could Be, I Don't Know, about Love?

There's nothing worse than people who hide behind children. We just saw it recently on the campaign trail, as Sarah Palin, knowing she would get booed while dropping the ceremonial first puck at a Philadelphia Flyers game, dragged her daughter along as a human shield. She got booed anyway (then again the City of Brotherly Hate boos Santa, so don't assume it's one super-blue city).

But we're also seeing it right here in Santa Barbara as one man--Paul Sorensen--gets to op-ed his way around town on both the Independent and Noozhawk websites with the same defense of Proposition 8 , which, if it wins, will shoot down gay marriage in California. Sorensen asserts he's not a bigot (although his sense of what bigotry is is a tad confused--the McCarthy witch hunts had nothing to do with bigotry), he's just worried about the children.

For, he seemingly assumes, every gay couple will want one (or maybe the five he has--too bad he doesn't think overpopulation is as much a world problem as gay parents). And, he insists, children only survive if they have both a male parent and a female parent.

No, he doesn't explain why he's not fighting to ban divorce. He doesn't assert we need a law that widows and widowers must get remarried within a year for the good of the children. He doesn't admit that non-married gays can adopt or get pregnant right now. He doesn't seem to know that, according to a recent study, "gay and lesbian parents are raising 4 percent of all adopted children in the country."

That 4% must be enough for him to ban marriage for all gays. Talk about a law that seems to discriminate.

Instead, he asserts, "The science on parenting is in, and the consensus is overwhelming: the unique characteristics of both fathers and mothers are vital to the physical, mental, and emotional development of children." (He probably sneaks physical in there just to raise the tiniest specter of pedophilia, but no, he's no bigot.) Unfortunately, he either didn't look very far to find the science or didn't look at all; the American Psychological Association admits there aren't enough good studies but concludes:

In summary, there is no evidence to suggest that lesbian women or gay men are unfit to be parents or that psychosocial development among children of lesbian women or gay men is compromised relative to that among offspring of heterosexual parents. Not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents. Indeed, the evidence to date suggests that home environments provided by lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those provided by heterosexual parents to support and enable children's psychosocial growth.

Of course, what would the APA know?

Sorensen also asserts that "Every child has a 'fundamental right' to a mom and a dad. Indeed the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child specifically guarantees children this right." The thing is you can look up that Conventions on the Rights of a Child document and the word father doesn't appear in it once (mother does, in relation to pre-natal care). So I'm not sure where Sorensen finds his claim. The document does say that children have a right to their parents, but their gender isn't mentioned, and indeed it several times mentions "rights and duties of parents or, where applicable, the members of the extended family or community as provided for by local custom." It takes a village, not necessarily a father and mother, to raise a child.

One would think if someone thought it so crucial that children have their parents, he would spend every ounce of his strength trying to stop the Iraq War, say, as it has led to thousands of children losing parents both in the US and Iraq.

Ultimately what bugs me the most about Sorensen's argument is that marriage becomes merely the legal codification for breeding. Sure, he and his wife seem good at it--more power to them (literally, but let's leave the energy crisis out of this). But some of us, even some of us who are heterosexual, do not want to have or cannot have children. I'd like to think our marriages are as good as the next person's. Particularly since it doesn't bother me in the least if the next persons are two men, two women, or a man and woman. Perhaps all marriages would be stronger if they were more about love and the devotion of 2 becoming 1 and not just about 2 becoming 3 or 5 or 8.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Rehearsals for Extinct Anatomies

You might actually thank me for that picture above being under-exposed. For yes, that left plate features mice on toast. The one on the right is mouse pie, but you sort of have to take that for granted (unless you want to taste test). Which isn't easy, as this photo is of a display at the utterly wonderful (in the true wonder sense) and confounding Museum of Jurassic Technology that I finally went to yesterday after hearing about it for years. It might be best to think about this unique collection as the dream of a museum of a museum; it's odd (what else?) little store sells copies of the Quay Brothers films, and the spooky half-real world they create in their puppet animation films is a great analog for the museum.

Any student of rhetoric will be fascinated as the museum precisely nails all the cues that vouch for authority while never making us feel convinced what we view is real. One can pick up a phone receiver at a display and listen to a narrator relate the tale of, oh, the Stink Ant of the Cameroon, while one can gaze at a diorama of the rain forest and said stink ant. Alas, the ant has a date with a killer fungus, and the story plays out like this: "The fungus continues to consume first the nerve cells and finally all the soft tissue that remains of the ant. After approximately two weeks a spike appears from what had been the head of the ant. This spike is about an inch and a half in length and has a bright orange tip heavy with spores that rain down onto the rain forest floor for other unsuspecting ants to inhale." So that spike in the ant's head in the display isn't just sloppy diorama workmanship, after all. How convenient.

For the Jurassic leaves you doubting in any truth at all. That's because even the real things it offers seem fantastical, none moreso than the room dedicated to Hagop Sandaldjian, who doesn't even possess a believable name. This Armenian turns out to be real ( I think, and perhaps reality is only what we think?), a viola-ist (hold those musical jokes), a continuous immigrator (thus always a fish out of water), and a sculptor of "statues" so small you can barely see them even when looking through a magnifying glass. That one of Goofy is, well, goofy; if you could marshall the skill, patience, shear painstaking mote of dust at a time construction, would you use it to bring Disney some more attention? Or is it a way to cut Disney down to ridiculous size? Or have gods changed so much, just like truth? Perhaps it's most telling that the Sandaldjian room seems more centered on the film documentary you get to watch about him than the several miniatures waiting under magnifying glasses--it's always the story, the telling of the story, that matters.

Just go, if you're ever in LA. For a town famous as the illusion capital of the world, there's nothing more mystifying, captivating, and oddly charming than the Jurassic.

Plus it's all of three minutes by car from the new Culver City Father's Office. Among all the other goodies, they've got Craftsman El Prieto Dark Sour Ale on tap right now and if you want a sour that doesn't curl your nose hairs, this is the one. It pulls back just in time, with plenty of maltiness and an undercurrent of cherry.

Labels: ,

Friday, October 10, 2008

She Sells Sighthounds by the Seashore

For Dog Blog Friday: Just because we haven't gone to the beach in awhile doesn't mean we can't go to photos of the boys at the beach. Guest butt played by Patina.


Friday Random Ten

Graham Parker "Guardian Angels" Struck by Lightning
Elvis Costello "Interlude: Couldn't Call It Unexpected No. 2" Mighty Like a Rose
Television "Friction" Marquee Moon
John Wesley Harding "Come Gather Round" Why We Fight
Victoria Williams "Tarbelly and Featherfoot" Swing the Statue
Stephin Merritt "Sorry, Wrong Show" Showtunes
T Bone Burnett "Any Time at All" The Criminal Under My Own Hat
Elvis Costello & the Attractions "Tears Before Bedtime" Imperial Bedroom
Elvis Costello & Steve Nieve "I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself" Live at the Troubadour
Mahlathini & the Mahotella Queens "Safa Indlada" Paris--Soweto

Drive-By Truckers "The Opening Act" Brighter than Creation's Dark

iTunes sure got Costello obsessed this week. I mean, 21,027 songs and three Costellos. Still, Imperial Bedroom is one of my favorite albums. And Television adds some sparks. OK list.


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Hardly Smartie Strickland

It's one of those rare moments in which the Google and the YouTube are useless. I'm trying to find the latest anti-Hannah Beth Jackson TV ad I've caught a few times, the one that once again tries to hammer home the silly Taxin' Jackson meme. First, if Tony Strickland really thinks that the California budget crisis, which after almost 3 months we simply pushed off into next year, can be solved without, uh, "revenue enhancement," then he's an idiot.

But separate from his inability to understand simple math, he also doesn't seem to understand the pulse of the local populace very well. In the latest ad he refers to quotes from newspapers three times to help buttress his point. The first quote, which is displayed, as the other two are too, with that usual "ripped from the headlines" graphic all such political ads must use, is clearly from the Santa Barbara News-Press. For, indeed, it was dear Travis Armstrong who first came up with Taxin' Jackson. This moment of the ad only says "a local paper calls her Taxin' Jackson." Then the ad quotes something about what "the Journal" says about the terrible HBJ, as if the Montecito Journal has ever said anything good about anyone with a D after his or her name. Then again, how many turn to Jim Buckley, the editor of the Journal, for cutting political analysis?

The kicker is this, the third paper quoted is, again, the News-Press. The voice-over tells us, "The News-Press agrees...." This is something, given sometimes the paper doesn't agree with itself, but in general it seems an odd way to argue: A (who I won't name) thinks you stink; A (who I will name now) thinks you stink; therefore two entities think you stink.

Well, something certainly stinks.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Basho Wasn't a Dwarf but These Haiku Are

Ben Varkentine tagged me with a meme that requires poetry, if a mere 17 syllables of it at a time. You have to write about films, and you have to write 4 poems from the following genre-centered list:

comic book or animated movie

Luckily I was out of town when he tagged me. Then I got back and was busy. Then I ran out of excuses. So here goes nothing:

All truth is awful
A marriage melts, Cary Grant
Irene Dunne aren't done

Family values kills
Imperfect family spills blood
That's one tall birdhouse

Charisse's legs long
Lovely lithe limber likely
Yes Fred Astaire stares

When screws animate
You're screwed or a poor puppet
Cypher of desire

I'm not going to tag anyone, but I will open the comments to a quick quiz: can you name any/all of these films? In order they are: 1) a comedy, 2) a horror film, 3) a musical (OK, several answers apply), 4) an obscurity that's also animated (and a short, for some extra help).

Labels: ,

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Surge Iraq Is Going to Help Me

And a quick one about tonight's debate...McCain loves his "Obama still won't admit the surge worked" line as evidence of That One's bad judgment. Let's assume the surge did work for a second (not too long a second--check out this chilling article).* If we give McCain that, his argument is pretty much this: Sure we committed a murder, but I know the best way to get rid of the body.

*Actually, mostly when those who argue The Surge worked make that claim they mean fewer American soldiers are dying. For just as the dollars to find this illegal, unwinnable war are off the budget books, so is the cost in Iraqi lives.

Labels: ,

There's Too Many Rats in this Cage of a World

I felt bad not providing any music to go with that HSB write-up. So here's something that could have been played there, and seems too fitting for the world right now.


Monday, October 06, 2008

SF Seals the Food and Musical Deal

In an effort to prove you're never too old to attend a music festival in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, Amy and I hightailed it up our fine state to attend as much of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass as we could this past weekend. Of course there are terrific fringe benefits going to SF--we get to see Amy's brother Ken, we get to eat great food, we get to visit the city we'd most like to live in if we opted for a more urban life.

We arrived close to midnight Thursday, fueled by the inanity of Sarah Palin. First, is it necessary for a Republican to be unable to pronounce nuclear? Sort of some Masonic handshake of global understanding idiocy? And then she calls it "weaponry," like she's a LARPer or something. I mean, are they trying to find someone who makes Bush look sophisticated? For all her dropped "g"s she's one tallboy short of a Joe Six Pack if you ask me. Biden kicked ass.

Friday morning we decided to try a new (to us) breakfast place and now can only rave about the terrific Brenda's. It's tiny, in a sort of nowhere neighborhood (worse when you approach from the north as we did, bussing it all weekend), but the food is amazing--indeed French soul food as they bill it (turns out the soul of France is New Orleans--maybe that's why Republicans didn't care if it drowned). We both had specials; I had a hangtown fry, which is oysters and bacon, both of quite high quality, worked into a sort of omelet. The sides almost stole the show, as they have incredible, butter-oozing grits and flaky biscuits that don't stick at all to the roof of your mouth and are heavenly with the homemade strawberry jam. Amy had shrimp and grits, the shrimp cooked just right, the grits as good as the side grits (big surprise), the whole thing painted with a tasty just a bit hot sauce. Oh, and the coffee you can stand a spoon in.

Then we went to SFMOMA, took in the shows. Went and met Ken after his shift, hung out at his place near Alamo Square (yep, where the famous row of Victorians are, although I've never seen the Olsen twins there), and off to HSB we went. Along with maybe two-thirds of San Francisco. Friday night there was just one show (generally there were 5 stages going at once), and that show was Allison Krauss and Robert Plant with T Bone Burnett for free. From where we stood it looked sort of like this....

This sort of led to cranky George. I have this huge deficit (ok, one of several, don't be mean)--often I just don't even try to imagine what will befall me when I go someplace or experience something. This can be a good trait at times--it means events that might freak some folks out (like job interviews) don't faze me. But it also means stuff I should be prepared for can throw me. This was too many people happy to be at a free event in a beautiful park, and, oh, hey, there's some music playing, isn't there? Even the easily attainable contact high (who knew so many music-lovers are also medical marijuana users?) wasn't enough to make me happy. Plus, in the spot we choose, even the sound was warbly. So after 6 songs or so, we split. We did get to hear this, although Buddy Miller, as wonderful as he is, is no Marc Ribot.

If you want something to make you feel better quick in SF, go to Alembic. I've praised it before and am sure I will again. Even the website is cool. We ate lots of tasty small plates and I had a Southern Exposure and a Gilded Lily. Good gin is good.

Saturday had us hating the Love Festival. Ever ambitious, we left our Laurel Heights hotel and took the bus downtown to go to Mijita, Traci Des Jardins' Mexican place in the Ferry Building for breakfast. Another place you can't say enough about--such richly flavorful food, great huevos rancheros and chilaquiles. But, it turns out, Saturday there was something called the Love Festival going in SF (and isn't that always? that's like celebrating a Lie Fest in McCain HQ). Lots of young people with glitter and wings and sparkly tights. It also meant that busses weren't running, so we got trapped, and it took awhile to figure out how to untrap ourselves (plus a short BART ride). Simply put, it took us 2 hours to get from the Ferry Building to Golden Gate Park.

We arrived just as the Waco Brothers finished their set, and missing Jon Langford for me hurts. We then went to hear the Bad Livers, as I know of their legend if not of them enough, and I figure for free it's good to see people you haven't (instead of, say, seeing Richard Thompson for the maybe 15th time--sorry Richard). They were quite good, but I got stung by a bee. Nature and I often don't tend to get along (hey, I've camped, once). Then we moved to a different stage to see Three Girls and Their Buddy, which is a boring way to say: Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin, and Buddy Miller. Oddly, for the first part of the set, Miller's turns in the round robbin seemed best, but soon everyone was doing more and when all 4 harmonized on Patty Griffin's "Mary" to close, well, that was the nearly cry-worthy beauty I'd hoped for all along. Turns out if you don't mind standing, doing so right behind the sound board isn't too bad a place to be.

After that we went to the spot to meet Ken after he got off work, and then caught a bunch of Nick Lowe from up the hillside out of the actual meadow where the Rooster Stage was. Have I ever made it clear how much Lowe means to me? What terrific songs, even if he's never strung them together on albums as well as he did with his first two (back when I was still in high school). Still, he performed "Cruel to Be Kind," "Without Love," "I Live on a Battlefield," "I Knew the Bride," and "What's So Funny about Peace, Love, and Understanding" more or less in a row to close his set. Nice.

Then we held tight to see Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women. Those of you who know Alvin know he often tours with the Guilty Men, so this was a great shift, a band with all-stars including Christy McWilson, Amy Farris, Laurie Lewis, Sarah Brown, Lisa Pankratz, Nina Gerber, and Cindy Cashdollar. Alvin, as he always does, rocked like crazy, and somehow the great band never rolled over him. They closed with "Fourth of July," one of my favorite songs of all-time. There was accordion and dobro on it. I no longer felt my bee sting.

Then we walked over to the Banjo Stage and watched a bunch of Steve Earle's set. He was doing the single mic classic bluegrass style approach, but still had the Earle-ian gumption to kick off with his anti-draft song (hey, it was San Francisco) "My Uncle." That looked like this, but better, as I don't have a great zoom lens on our pocket digital. (Steve is in the hat.)

That evening we had a bit of bus hell getting back toward Ken's, but the edge was dulled by lovely cocktails at Nopa, which might be the best not-ridiculously-expensive restaurant in the country. My drink had cava, absinthe, violette liqueur. It made me special. And then we got yummy pizza at Little Star Pizza and brought it back to Ken's and watched the Dodgers finish off the Cubs. And somehow I'm now rooting for the Dodgers, even while eating deep-dish pizza, something I've never done in my time in CA. Totally Strictly Manny-Mania? (Caveat, he's on my fantasy team, too.)

Sunday we only have time for one quick show as we've got that 5-and-a-half hour ride home. This means we miss Evlis Costello, Iris Dement, Emmylou Harris, Peggi Young, Bonnie "Prince" Billy (sorry, ahab). We meet Ken right by our hotel to have the usual wonderful breakfast at Ella's. Then it's to the park for Jon Langford's Skull Orchard featuring Sally Timms & the Burlington Welsh Male Chorus. For a total Mekons-head like me, that's sort of heaven, especially as Langford never disappoints live. For an old-time punk he sure believes in entertainment value. He talks, he jokes, he builds a set. He plays like he means it, mostly with the Waco Brothers as the band, and with Timms not having enough to do, although even when 35 voices are singing, you can hear that clarion soprano in the mix. As for the Burlington Chorus, they are from Canada, almost all Welsh, one was a a punk Langford knew back in the day. They certainly added lift to the set, especially moving from a tune about Tom Jones flying back to take over Wales (without a plane) to a rollicking cover of "Dellilah" without a net. Just thinking about it makes me smile. And I swear they were closer than this, but maybe that's just because I always feel closer to Langford and the gang (Rcio Bell was there!) in my heart:

Postcript: While doing a bit of research for this entry, I discovered Langford is even cooler than he has to be. The old art student, who has been painting more and more, does the art for the special edition beers from Dog Fish Head. So my favorite band and my favorite brewery come together in one neat package. It's a small delightful world sometimes.

Labels: ,

Surreal Santa Barbara

So after work I go to the very wonderful local cheese shop. There's only one other customer, who looks very familiar. And indeed he is--it's John Cleese.

Yes, they did have cheese, btw.


Friday, October 03, 2008

Mookie Knows Satchel Paige Knew a Thing or Two

For Dog Blog Friday: You can just tell someone is not so happy someone else is back there.


Friday Random Ten

The Clash "Safe European Home" Clash on Broadway
Peter Gabriel "Bashi-Bazouk" Digging in the Dirt [single]
Davie Allan & the Arrows "Blues' Theme" Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era
Rhett Miller "Point Shirley" The Instigator
Shawn Colvin "Window to the World" Cover Girl
Billy Bragg "The Milkman of Human Kindness" Back to Basics
Foggy Mountain Fuckers "Always Country" Vol. 1--Full Tank
Weston "Uninspired" Matinee
The Strokes "The Modern Age" Is This It?
Lou Reed "NYC Man" Set the Twilight Reeling

XTC "Runaways" English Settlement

We get wimpy and punky and some odd stuff in between. Doesn't ever get better than cut 1, though.


Thursday, October 02, 2008

I ♥ Hicks

OK, the title is a cheap shot, especially as I come to praise brother Ralph Stanley. For he's cut a radio ad that's running in southwest Virginia--where he's lived his whole 82 years--supporting Obama. One of the father's of bluegrass, he supports Barrack Obama. True, he's been a Democratic supporter since his first vote for Harry Truman, but still, this has to pull weight in Appalachia. I mean, we're talking about a guy who named his son Ralph II.

Here's part of what Stanley says (hear it all here):

Howdy, friends. This is Ralph Stanley, and I think I know a little something about the families around here...

...and after the last eight years - I know we all need a change.

Nobody's looking for a handout, but we could use a leader that’s on our side.

That leader is Barack Obama.

Can't wait for the bumper sticker: Banjo pickers for Barack.


I ♥ Smarts

Berube's back in the blogging saddle again! Damn, have to figure out how to make those accents again. Here's some of what he has to say about the upcoming election:

I’ve been reading the GOP campaign as being not merely an assault on liberal elites—like I say, that’s old news—but a frontal attack on the very idea of standards of plausibility in argument. To friends and family (and one or two inquiring reporters), I’ve been calling it the National Insult My Intelligence Tour 2008.

And he says this about Sarah Palin:

Because, you know, the campaign didn’t have to say anything at all about Palin’s foreign-policy expertise. They could simply have said, “it’s not her strong suit, sure, but she’s a quick study and brings a lot of populist energy to the ticket.” Or they could have said, “she’s a strong social conservative and deeply knowledgeable about how to organize a Rapture.” But no. Instead, they went on national television and made a series of arguments so stunningly and egregiously stupid that they wouldn’t have passed muster forty years ago in my third-grade class’s debate over the relative merits of Nixon and Humphrey.

And he says a lot more, cause he's Bérubé, of course. Go read it all.

Hey, I got the accents, too!


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Putting the Bull in a Bullet List

It goes like this. The cold lingers, just enough of a bother to leave my brain befogged (fine, wise guy, more than usual). I mean, it's like trying to operate at Palin level or something. Then there's paid writing to do, which takes longer when connecting words into, I think people call them sentences, is so hard. Plus there was putting together my first round play-off roster for fantasy baseball, for even with a crippled cranium I get into my league's play-offs, I'm just that good.

So, here's some quick shots of things that should be whole entries but that just seems too hard right now:
  • Tell me this is all true, that Quinnipiac is right and Obama now leads in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. Then tell me that will be true November 4. If so, election over.
  • Someone needs to tell Wendy McCaw that the all black website is oh-so 1990s. Someone needs to help her program the site so it appears on Google--if you search her name the site doesn't come up on the first 10 pages. And while her "philosophy" asserts "her passion has been for all things living and providing them with safe and nurturing environments," it does seem odd she then only highlights animals, the environment, and historic preservation. If anyone was going to leave people out of the equation, it would be McCaw.
  • Offered without comment, but in fear and trembling, one scary sidebar to the recent economic mess from the Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required):

    Wachovia bank has frozen the accounts of nearly 1,000 colleges, leaving institutions unable to access billions of dollars they depend on for salaries, campus construction, and debt payments.

    The freeze, which affects most institutions that invest their endowment income and other assets through Commonfund, has some colleges worried that they won’t be able to make payroll this period, said Verne O. Sedlacek, president and chief executive of Commonfund, which manages investments for nonprofit institutions. Many colleges use the organization's short-term investment fund for operating expenses, “almost as a checking account,” he said.

    As of last Friday, the Common Fund for Short Term Investments managed approximately $9.3-billion in assets for 900 colleges and roughly 100 private schools.

  • Yes, I still owe you a review of the great Okkervil River concert in LA last Tuesday. It's just that with all of Will Sheff's words is so hard to come up with words of your own to describe what the band does. Plus in one of his most catchy tunes he sings, "He's the liar who lied in his pop song, and you're lying when you sing along."
  • Was it just me, or did the Mets lose the other day?


eXTReMe Tracker