Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Frist Aborts Presidential Bid

Not too sure if I would break out the champagne yet. The election season is still in its infancy and a lot can happen to change his mind.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Pre-Thanksgiving iPod mix

Whitey (the name of my iPod) has been on a five-star tear today

But first...decent mix from LastFM...
"Holland" - Sufjan Stevens ***
"Tragic Kingdom" - No Doubt **
"Idiotique" - Radiohead *****

On to Whitey's list...
"Crystal Skull" - Mastodon ***
"Papa Was a Rodeo" - The Magnetic Fields *****
"What if We Give it Away?" - R.E.M. ***
"The Biz vs. The Nuge" - The Beastie Boyyyys ***
"Positive Jam" - The Hold Steady ****
"Inside Job" - Pearl Jam ****
"Wild Honey Pie" - The Beatles ***
"Styrofoam" - Fugazi *****
"I Can't Get Started" - Charlie Parker ***** (no junk, no soul)
"Blizzard of '77" - Nada Smurf *****
"Stone Free" - Jimi Hendrix ****
"Think (live)" - James Brown *****
"Not Ready to Make Nice" - Dixie Chicks ****
"I'm Always in Love" - Wilco *****
"No Better Place" - Fountains of Wayne *****
"Essence (live)" - Lucinda Williams ****
"Emily" Joanna Newsom *** (not totally sold on her yet)
"The L & N Don't Stop Here Anymore" - Johnny Cash ****
"We Got to Have Peace" - Curtis Mayfield ****
"Daylight" - Coldplay **** (could be *****)
"Don't Worry Baby" - Los Lobos ***
"Clam Lappers & Sonic the Hedgehog" - Bill Hicks *****
"When You're Right, You're Right (Darth Vader Brining in his Washing Mix) - Snow Patrol ***
"I Get Around" - 2 Pac ***
"R.L.'s Story" - R.L Burnside ***
"Falling Through Your Clothes" - The New Pornographers *****
"Seagull" - Ride ****


I just want to know - who is the sadist who scheduled the following games during Thanksgiving...
Dallas vs. Tampa Bay
Detroit vs. Miami

Not too sure if I could think of a worse lineup myself - with the exception of the Texans or the Titans.

On the plus side, the Chiefs/Broncos game should be good.

Here's hoping some network is running an all-day X-Files marathon...

Anyway - Happy Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Robert Altman - RIP

There are directors and there are legends. Robert Altman is a textbook definition of the latter. His latest movie, A Prairie Home Companion serves as an apt final bow for him as it focuses on a radio show on its final broadcast. M*A*S*H, Short Cuts, Nashville, The Player elevated cinema and even his stumbles are fascinating in their own way (though I thought Gosford Park's acclaim was primarily due to the director's name and not for the actual picture).
A sad day in filmmaking, but dang - what a life...


Tuesday Teaser

So, Pitchfork and Popmatters have weighed in on Jarvis Cocker's latest album. Popmatters was particularly kind:
Earlier this year, he released probably the best single of 2006: "Running the World." As many young punks/goths may sing about wanting to wipe intolerant people off the face of the Earth, Jarvis Cocker's response is more nuanced by maturity, but the message equals anything you would hear on a Descendents song:
"In theory I respect your right to exist/ I will kill you if you move in next to me."
The only problem was that this is shaping up to be a sort of Return to Cookie Mountain of the last part of this year, meaning a well-received album that was available in the UK but it was an annoying six months of pushed-back release dates before being available in the 'States. Of course, my nephew would say "Just download it from LimeWire and save your money." But for some CDs, like albums, I like to actually own and enjoy the ritual of going down to a local record store and keeping those stores alive in the age of LimeWire and heavily-discounted albums from Best Buy.
I saw Casino Royal this weekend. Daniel Craig is the mack. For what it's worth - it was the best James Bond film I have seen in a theater (I think my first Bond movie I saw in a theater was A View to A Kill.
Finally - sorry, this is a bit scattered - I woke up and found my inbox stuffed with four attachments. It was a short story a friend of mine wrote. The only thing is that this friend is a rather prolific writer and sends me EVERYTHING. "Here's an email I sent to ... - don't you love my response?" "Why haven't you left any comments on my LiveJournal blog?" She also has this habit of saying "Oh my god, I said the funniest thing..." - uh, no. Saying that pretty much, by default, almost completely negates the humor of the statement. It's sort of like saying "I wrote the best song..." or "I wrote the best poem" or "I cooked the meanest salsa last night" (ok, I've been guilty of saying that). Anyway - writers are a sensitive lot and need incessant feedback. And I'm not good at giving feedback with every single thing some friends send me - especially if I'm juggling a full-time job and two freelance projects. I guess as a writer, I'm extremely sensitive about sending stuff for folks to review. As for blogs and online album reviews, yeah - the stuff is out there on the Web, if you want to read it, awesome - if you want to comment, that's hellishly awesome. But as for stuff that I really want feedback, I tend not to show my stuff to friends, assuming their schedules are as busy as mine - and as a result, the only thing I would want to show them would be something I would absolutely want them to see/review.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Don't mean to gloat - but this photo was just too good

Hate to kick a foe while he's still down, hell - here it is - enjoy...

Republican smack-down

I'm slightly kidding when I say that last Wednesday, I felt like there was just a bit less evil in the world. I know that's not true, but it did warm my heart to see voters give Rick Santorum and George Allen their respective pink slips. Karl Rove may have overplayed the anti-gay/anti-pro choice card in this election as people seemed to care more about Iraq and the economy and less about what people do in the privacy of their own bedrooms.

Still, even if Allen kept his seat, there were still some moderates in the Republican party that would have me not sweating the fact that there was a Republican majority in the Senate (see John McCain, Chuck Hagel and Arlen Spector).

The end of this week, I was saddened to hear about the death of Ed Bradley. Once again, I know this is a bit naive, but Ed Bradley, like Peter Jennings, represented the old guard of journalists - and that is a compliment. I just watched 60 Minutes' profile on Ed Bradley and one word kept creeping into my head: "character." He hung with the likes of Hunter S. Thompson, he went on stage and performed in clubs, he was just 'cool.' The antithesis of Matt Lauer and Katie Couric - who seem to have emerged from a factory designed by network execs.

Still, I can look at Keith Olbermann and even Brian Williams and feel some sense of hope for network news. That said, there won't be another reporter quite like Ed Bradley.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Friday list - a bit heavy on the Sonic Youth...

..which is never a bad thing...

"Pints of Guinness Make Me Strong" - Against Me **** (yes they do!)
"I Could Hurt You Now" - Aimee Mann ***
"Pink Stream" - Sonic Youth ***
"Midnight Rambler" - The Rolling Stones ***** (absolute perfection)
"Sometimes I Don't Get You" - Yo La Tengo ***
"I Missed the Point" - Neko Case *****
"Full On Kevin's Mom" - Soundgarden **** (eww on the song title name)
"My Favorite Things" - Andre 3000 ** (self-absorbed pap)
"Incinerate" - Sonic Youth ****
"Shatter" - Liz Phair *****
"Airline to Heaven" - Billy Bragg & Wilco *****
"State Trooper" - Bruce Springsteen *****

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Shortbus and Borat

Never thought I would see so much male nudity in a mainstream theater this past weekend. I saw Borat with a bunch of friends. I saw Shortbus alone.

First off, Borat wasn't as funny as I expected. I've seen Sacha Baron Cohen's excellent Da Ali G Show and was anxious to see Borat. It's hilarious - and for the most part - the targets of ridicule deserve to be ridiculed. Any person who actively uses politics and religion to promote bigotry gets little sympathy in my book. That said - funny, but my sides weren't hurting the next morning. Still definitely worth the movie admission.

The majority of my friends did not want to see Shortbus. Most of my friends are not prudes, but a good number of them were not a fan of Hedwig and the Angry Inch and were not willing to go along for another ride from John Cameron Mitchell. I walked into the movie five minutes into the film. The ticketholder gave me the speech about knowing what to expect when going into the theater. The even had a note that said 'Shortbus Walkouts' with about eight marks on it.

That said - it was a mess of a movie. I seriously wondered who would have walked out of this movie knowing what to expect. I am willing to bet money all of the people who walked out of the movie have rented or have seen a porno at some time in their life. Maybe even a few times. But when these characters actually portray emotions like real human beings, this type of nudity makes people uncomfortable.

If you honestly tried to mentally keep the sex in Shortbus in its proper place, you would see a movie about people who are desperately trying to connect. Sofia (Sook-Yin Lee) is a sex therapist who has never had an orgasm. In a sensory deprivation tank (ok, a bit heavy on the metaphors), she confided that she believed attaining an orgasm would induct her into an exclusive club of womanhood. James (Paul Dawson) and Jamie (PJ DeBoy) are lovers who hope that the inclusion of another partner (played by Jay Brannan) will somehow bring the two closer to one another.

Much like Magnolia, Short Cuts and Boogie Nights, Shortbus features a cast of misfits whose lives clash into one another. It's hardly a movie that justifies a walkout if you know what you'll be seeing in the theater is going to be the same stuff that you've seen on Cinemax late at night or during Friday afternoon "bonding" times at most fraternities. Still, it's a movie that I would recommend to very few. Proceed with caution... -


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Unusually kind iPod suffle list today

"Almost True" - Yo La Tengo ***
"Fancy" - Yeah Yeah Yeahs ***
"Prisstina" - Sleater-Kinney ***
"(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below We're All Going To Go" - Curtis Mayfield *****
"Needles in My Eyes" - The Beta Band ****
"I Think I Smell A Rat" - The White Stripes ****
"In God's Country"- U2 *****
"Night Falls on Hoboken" - Yo La Tengo ****
"Anthrax" - Gang of Four ****
"I Know" - Fioner Apple ***
"Now I'm Here - Queen ***
"End of the Day" - Beck *****
"Over Time" - Lucinda Williams ****
"Cornflake Girl" - Tori Amos *****
"Down the Line" - Johnny Cash *****
"Center of the Universe" - Built to Spill ****
"Come On" - The Voive ****
"Graveyard Shift" - Uncle Tupelo *****
"Nothingman" - Pearl Jam ****
"Deep" - Pearl Jam *****
"Pass The Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind" - Yo La Tengo ***
"Bob Dylan's Blues" - Bob Dylan *****
"Something Against You"- The Pixies ****
"Helter Skelter" - The Beatles **** (****.95 actually)
"Easy Silence" - The Dixie Chicks ***
"Last Days of Tecumseh" - Grant Lee Buffalo ***
"Caffeine" - Faith No Mo *****
"B&A" - The Beta Band ****
"The Sea" - Moorcheeba *****
"Funeral" - Ice Cube ***
"Dancing in the Streets" - The Mamas and the Papas ***
"Creeque Alley" - The Mamas and the Papas *****
"One Step Up" - Bruce Springsteen ***** (It's a tough call, but I think 'Tunnel of Love' is a better breakup album than 'Sea Change' by a hair)
"Pineola (live)" - Lucinda Williams ****
"Sign O The Times" - Prince *****
"Plymouth Rock" - Lifter Puller ****