Tuesday, October 31, 2006
This will have little to no effect on your life, but I wanted to share.
I think it will be the first step in a series of changes I want to make in my life. There's so much I want to do, so much I need to do, but much of it is not in my hands, or is too long-term to make a difference just yet.
So, I have to change the things I can. And I am.
In honor of this monumentous move, this homecoming of sorts, I'd like to offer up the following link to one of my favorite Springsteen songs, which is actually a Pete Seeger song. But who's keeping score?
It's called "Bring Em Home" and it's really an old Vietnam protest song, which the Boss revamped for a more modern day war cry.
At any rate, although it's referring to the soldiers fighting valiently abroad to defend my right to dick around on an internet site all day, I can't help feeling a little inspired by it from a personal perspective too.
At any rate: ENJOY the song.
Monday, October 30, 2006
I have a friend named Luke. Luke Something-or-other - I can't really remember. Actually, he asked me to remove his name to protect his secret identity. In addition to being a crimefighting caped crusader, he's a talented fella when it comes to music.
A few years back - actually, more like almost ten years back - Luke was really keen to start a band. He and I were just getting into "teaching ourselves" to play guitar around that time. I was way too self-concious about my playing, but Luke picked it up in no time - he's a real natural. Conversely, he wasn't too assured of his lyrical prowess back then, but I (perhaps naively) felt much better equipped for that end of the bargain.
He was looking for band names for a long time and petitioned lots of friends to give him ideas. Eventually I came up with one that tickled his history buff fancy, I guess: The Five Dollar Day. Here's a little history lesson on what that is, if you've never heard of it. Well, the name stuck. Ten years later and he still goes by that handle. And it's an entirely solo endeavor at this point - Luke not only took to the guitar, but he now plays all the drums, keyboards, spoons, tape recorders, woodwinds, and whatever else goes into his songs. He's John Brion meets Eric Bachmann. Recorded in an attic. In my book, that's a good way to be.
Back to the music for a second. Around 1998 or so, I sent him a string of words, lyrics, poems and such that would probalby mortify me to hear them today. But at the time, we thought it was the cat's pajamas, so to speak. I couldn't write a song to save my life, but I was happy to supply the words for old Mr. Luke.
Well, I eventually forgot all about those words and then one day, he gave me a cd and one of the songs on it sounded very familiar... because I'd written the lyrics! The song is called "Connect the Continents" and believe it or not, it still actually means something to me. Click the link to view the lyrics. And please, be kind if you have feedback. I was younger then, with more hair and full of big ideas about the world.
At any rate, I'd recommend checking out Luke aka the Five Dollar Day. He's a gifted son-of-a-gun. If you click HERE, you can download his first album Shine Like Justice for free. It includes "Connect the Continents" on it. I'm also quite a fan of "His Obituary." When I heard that song, I realized Luke didn't need any more of my damn lyrics, he was just fine writing his own.
If you click HERE, you can visit his highly designed web site.
And his Myspace page. If you go there, tell him I said hello. I think he's in the middle of a song-by-song battle with his friend. Each of them challenges one another with a Phil Collins song. they did a fantastic Rod Stewart duel recently too. I promise you, I'm not kidding. See for yourself!
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Friday, October 27, 2006
Who knew the salty dog still had it in him!?
Now, when is Jay Leno gonna take down this other moronic blowhard???
I tell you what, if you're looking for news reporting with balls, perhaps you shouldn't turn to Steven Colbert (although I love the wiley Frenchman). No, if you want a real American badass, check out my boy Keith Olbermann. His wallet is the one that says "Bad Motherfucker" on it.
I guess KO isn't really funny, per se, but oh my sweet lord, how his delivery brings me joy! Do a little YouTubin' and check out his take on my high school sweetheart, Ann "The Mann" Coulter. Somebody's not getting an RNC Christmas card this year. Oh hell, here's the link, because I love you so much. And why not check out this one too.
I should also point out that Keith has a blog, aptly titled Bloggermann.com. Now that is pretty funny.
Monday, October 23, 2006
"There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge."
- Bertrand Russell
"I have always tried to use humor to "help ever" and "hurt never," for I find that to laugh is like swallowing a secret that Santa Claus farted."
- David Cross
So a friend of mine invited me to do a weekly column on his blog site. I thought that was right neighborly of him.
Essentially, if I understand the offer correctly, I get to write about whatever I want. It can be a weekly rambling, a thrice-monthly recommendation, a biweekly endorsement, free association jazz poetry, favorite chili recipes, selected love letters to Ann Coulter, whatever blows my ever-dwindling hair back. That’s just a recipe for disaster – I mean, look at this site, for Christ’s sake.
Ideally, it would be a weekly submission. Ideally. My goal is to collect these little musings, to form some sort of useless portfolio with them that no one will ever want to read for any practical purpose whatsoever. I figure, aim low and you can’t be disappointed. Right? Well, I believe you can't find disappointment in anything anyway. It finds you.
So I’m trying to think of a name for the fated (fêted? fetid?) column. I’ve got a few ideas in my pun-infested pocket (that sounded a lot grosser than I intended it to, sorry). But do you, Dear Readers, have any suggestions? Just leave your picks in the comments section. I eagerly await reading them.
Leave some sort of name, nick or otherwise, so that I may identify you. Fake names are fine too - I'm looking at you MagicTheGathering69!
I hereby solemnly swear that I will write a selection of nonsensical poems about my favorite suggestions. Who could pass that up?
And if I use your suggestion, I will dedicate an entire post to extolling your good graces / graceful goodness, most handsome/winsome features and most endearing/enduring qualities. Even if I don’t know you personally/carnally. That’s the kind of guy I am.
So name away,
Yours ever (hurting never),
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Elliott Smith, my favorite songwriter ever, was dead.
Seems silly to miss someone you never knew, but I do. I always felt like he knew me. Three years ago today, and the guy still crosses my mind each day.
I'm aware that most people don't feel that kind of connection to music. But I do. For better or for worse, I do. I think I'm lucky in that way. It's good to know a song or a lyric can still affect you. If it can't, what is there left to enjoy? And what then actually would affect you? If you can't take solace in a song, or a book or a piece of art, what can you turn to? I honestly don't know.
I'm glad his music impacted me the way it did. I'm glad I enjoyed it while it was around. I just wish the son of a bitch was still around today. It's hard facing up to the fact that your hero just couldn't do it anymore. Where does that leave you? It's not a good place, I can tell you.
But I digress.
Today is a day better spent remembering. So, here's to you, my friend. Thanks for all the music and words you left to us. If nobody ever said it to you, I will: Thank you.
If you'd like to learn about Elliott or his music, here is a great place to start:
Say hello to my friend Charlie if you stop by there. I'm sure he'd love to hear from you today too.
And if you'd like to see a really surreal video of Elliott performing at the 1997 Academy Awards, click HERE. Make sure you give it some time to load properly.
Almost ten years later and it's still bizarre to see him standing between Trisha Yearwood and Celine Dion, followed by an announcement by Madonna. Haha. Makes me smile though.
Another great site to visit is The Trash Treasury. It’s a pretty comprehensive repository for Elliott Smith live tracks, unreleased demos and other lovely tidbits. You can hear the song I titled this post after there too. Click here to listen to “See You in Heaven.” It’s an unreleased demo that Elliott was working on just before his death. He never had the chance to record any lyrics for it, but the music stands on its own. It’s very playful, layered and diverse and brings to mind music you might hear from his friends in Quasi or Built to Spill. Simply fantastic. Makes you wonder what he would have done next.
Also, I learned recently that there will be a new release of Elliott material in March of 2007! It’s going to be a collection of previously unreleased demos form the Either/Or sessions, or somewhere thereabouts in his career. Check out the story HERE.
Friday, October 20, 2006
Thursday, October 19, 2006
My dear friend James O’Keeffe is having an art opening this evening in beautiful, provincial downtown Jersey City.
Simply put, James is one of the best painters I have ever encountered, and I am not just saying that because he’s one of my bro-dudes.
If you can make it there’s an opening reception tonight and then it will show there for a while. Details are below.
Thursday, October 19th from 7-11pm
Opening Reception of"Delay, decay. Living, living."- paintings and drawings
by James O'Keeffe
107 Brunswick St., Jersey City, NJ
The evening will also be the unveiling of Residue's backyard mural
createdby O'Keeffe as well.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Links will take you to Amazon to purchase and/or listen to audio samples.
Two Gallants – “What the Toll Tells”
The poor man’s review is that this sounds like Bright Eyes if Conor Oberst’s balls finally dropped. It’s actually much more staid and mature. Good songs, lots of energy.
Colossal Yes – “
A 70’s rock side project from the drummer from Comets on Fire. Sounds NOTHING like Comets, but it’s really pretty and groovy. Lazy Sunday music. Perfect for that.
Sonic Youth – “Rather Ripped”
I assume/hope you know what Sonic Youth sounds like. They should have called this “Rather Awesome” however.
The Hold Steady – “Boys and Girls in
What a clever, catchy and edgy band. Songs of drug addition, boozing and love gone wrong. But with a sound that is one part Springsteen, one part AC/DC, one part Kerouac and one part total punk rock piss and vinegar.
Current 93 – “Black Ships Ate the Sky”
Now this is a Jesus freak I can get behind. It doesn’t hurt when Ben Chasny is your guitar player. Guest appearances from Bonnie Prince Billy,
Make Believe – “Of Course”
This album is wild. Of all the Tim Kinsella musical outfits that have crossed my path over the years MB is the most unpredictable, amusing and consistently entertaining one.
The Lemonheads – “S/T”
Evan Dando follows a somewhat flaccid solo album with some smooth rockers that have him sounding better than he has in years. Think Lemonheads circa “Lovey,” just before “It’s a Shame About Ray.” Real nice.
Joan as Police Woman – “Real Life”
Lovely piano ballads, with a style that calls to mind a more lucid Cat Power. These are subtle, but focused songs. Really pretty, with the faintest touch of melancholy. As the gal says, “It’s true what they say, that I’m out of my mind, but you’ll like it. So take a chance.”
Pajo – “1968”
I didn’t know Dave Pajo made music this nice. I never much cared for his Papa M stuff in the past, but damn, this is a great album. The songs are all very dark, but they’re delivered in such a smooth, melodic fashion, you almost don’t catch how dire the lyrics are. Almost.
Joanna Newsom – “Ys”
This record is grandiose, but I mean that in a good way. It’s obvious that Joanna Newsom is a talented musician. On this record, she takes everything she did before and ups the stakes by a longshot. This album is long, meandering and full of little genius twists and turns. Gorgeous, really.
The sad friar of alt country indie strikes again. Jason Molina provides a strong argument against happiness and mental health. If being miserable is this good, it really makes you think twice about being happy.
Bob Dylan – “Modern Times”
Dude, I am not reviewing a Dylan record. It’s great. Son of a bitch, it's great. Go buy it!
Tom Petty – “Highway Companion”
Likewise, Tom Petty doesn’t need my small words to help his cause. Check out some sound samples and see how amazing this record is too. That’s my review!
President Bush has signed a new National Space Policy that rejects future arms-control agreements that might limit U.S. flexibility in space and asserts a right to deny access to space to anyone "hostile to U.S. interests."
Scarlett Johannson is going to record an album of Tom Waits covers. Yes, you read that right.
Don't believe me? Look here. And here.
It's called Scarlett Sings Tom Waits and it's coming out next spring from Rhino. How cool is that picture, by the way? I lifted it from the Pitchfork. Thanks, forkies.
My gut instinct tells me that this album is actually going to be kind of cool. I mean, if Tom himself endorses the idea, it can't be so bad, right? But as GOB Bluth once said, "my gut is also very hungry." I really don't know how I feel about this idea.
Do I hate it?
Do I date it?
Do I got a dyslexic heart?
I think this one falls into the "download first, then decide" category. But I must admit, I'm intrigued.
Probably for all the wrong reasons.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Rick Santorum and the "Eye of Mordor"
In an interview with the editorial board of the Bucks County Courier Times, embattled Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has equated the war in Iraq with J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings." According to the paper, Santorum said that the United States has avoided terrorist attacks at home over the past five years because the "Eye of Mordor" has been focused on Iraq instead.
"As the hobbits are going up Mount Doom, the Eye of Mordor is being drawn somewhere else," Santorum said. "It's being drawn to Iraq and it's not being drawn to the U.S. You know what? I want to keep it on Iraq. I don't want the Eye to come back here to the United States."
This, on the same day that this appears:
From ThinkProgress.org, taken from an interview with Vice President Dick "Buckshot" Cheney and Rush "Oxycontin" Limbaugh:
Cheney: ‘General Overall Situation’ In Iraq Is Going ‘Remarkably Well’Well, America, it was nice knowing you. Now let's hop in that handbasket and ride it straight to hell. Our leaders clearly have no idea what they are doing.
If you look at the general overall situation, they’re doing remarkably well.
It’s still very, very difficult, very tough. Nobody should underestimate the extent to which we’re engaged there with this sort of, at present, the “major front” of the war on terror. That’s what Osama bin Laden says, and he’s right. [emphasis mine]
By the way, at the time of this writing, the American death toll in Iraq is currently 2,635 since "Mission Accomplished" was declared. And at least 43,937 Iraqui civilians. (See: Casualties in Iraq).
Does everyone realize that this is going to keep (us and by extension) our kids from affording college? From ever having a chance of not forking over our/their whole livelyhoods in taxes? Paul Krugman's head must be exploding right now. I feel like mine is.
But maybe that's just because I had to fork over that additional $860 in income tax this week, unless I wanted to incur further fines and/or legal ramifications. The original story is HERE.
Okay, I better run. My new favorite show, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, just came on.
But really quickly: Lord of the Rings???? Are you kidding me???
Hey, wait a second...
Monday, October 16, 2006
This report from The Sunday Telegraph offers a resounding yes! (I've abridged this for reading pleasure, full story is in the Telegraph link.)
Hey, do you think he brought Dudley Heinsburgen to the party with him? That dude knows how to party. And he can hear real good too.
Bill Murray turns fiction into fact by pitching up at students' party in St Andrews with a new blonde friend – and then doing the dishes
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones
In the Oscar-winning film Lost in Translation, Bill Murray famously plays a lonely actor looking for meaning in his life in a strange land. He meets a young blonde woman and goes to a party with her.
Now life seems to have imitated art when the Hollywood star stunned a house full of students by turning up at their party in the early hours of the morning.
The 56-year-old actor was in St Andrews for a celebrity golf event but, rather than retire for an early night when last orders were called, he went off to explore the more playful side of the historic city.
He had been drinking with fellow golfers in the fashionable Ma Bells bar when he met Lykke Stavnef, a Norwegian blonde, who was out her friend Marie Bergene. To her surprise, Murray accepted her invitation to a party and accompanied her along the cobbled streets to a Georgian townhouse, where a gathering overflowing with young Scandinavians was in full swing.
"Nobody could believe it when I arrived at the party with Bill Murray," said Miss Stavnef, 22, a social anthropology student. "We met him in the bar and he made some jokes. He was just like the character in Lost in Translation."
"It was really funny because he was pretty old compared with all the other people there, but he was so relaxed and it was really amusing when he started to wash up," said Miss Stavnef. She was concerned that there were no clean glasses when she arrived with Murray but she said he was quite happy to drink vodka from a coffee cup.
As news spread around the city that Murray was a surprise guest at a student party, the house became crowded with people wanting to meet the star of Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day.
"The alcohol ran out very quickly when word got round that he was with us," said Agnes Huitfeldt, 22, an economics and finance student.
"I was standing in the hallway when he came in. I introduced myself, but I was really surprised when he remembered my name later as there were so many people there.
"He was joking with me about reheating some leftover pasta and how drunk everyone was. The pasta was probably quite hard to get off the dishes because they had been sitting around."
Shortly after finishing the washing-up piled high in the students' kitchen, the Hollywood star left with a couple of companions who were believed to have been involved in the golf competition.
"He couldn't fail to have a good time," said Tom Wright, 22, an international relations student. "The party was overflowing with stunning Scandinavian blondes. He seemed to be in his element, cracking lots of jokes. It was the talk of the town the next day."
Murray fired his publicist several years ago and has no agent. He could not be reached for comment.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Friday, October 13, 2006
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
She's had a heckuva year, Brownie!
- First she puts out an album with Al Green's band that is totally out of character and surprisingly upbeat.
- Then, she plans a tour.
- She cancels the tour. (Chan, if you're reading this, you broke my heart on Valentine's day.)
- She checks herself in to rehab. (Then I felt bad about having my heart broken.)
- She cleans up and checks out. Which is nice.
- She then re-embarks on her tour and simultaneously rereleases her album (at a discount price, thanks a lot Matador, I bought that the first day it came out!), since it didn't get much of a promotional push, due to the aforementioned cancellation.
And now, she seems like a happy little kitty for the first time ever. It's been great to see her have such a triumphant return after what was probably a harrowing recovery experience, on top of years of alcohol and drug abuse.
Then, Karl Lagerfeld, the nutball with a ponytail and a fan, who runs Chanel, personally picks her to be their new spokeskitten. Bravo, Karl! I know you're a total fucking mental case and this will be the only time you ever hear me say something nice about you, but I really commend your choice.
I leave you with the following picture of our feline friend. You can't really blame the guy for picking her, can you? Hell, I'd start my own fashion label if I thought it would get her attention. I think the world is ready for my designer underwear. Right?
A 91-year-old man has received a law degree from an Australian university, finishing the six-year course more than a year ahead of schedule because he said "time is of the essence."
Full story HERE.
Snap to it, folks.
Monday, October 09, 2006
For those of you who know my full name, try the following:
- Go to Google.com
- Do an image search for my full name in quotes
- Look half way down the page
- Laugh at my old circa 1998 haircut
You'll feel so good, you'll think you just found a twenty dollar bill on the ground.
Thanks, Uncle Redacted, for using the word narly. You are the only person who would still do that for me.Dude I haven't heard from or seen you since 6/25. Are you still alive? If you are, that is narly. Give me a call or send me an e-mail. As you can see, I've finally come into the 21st century.Uncle [redacted]
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
So, I'm sure you've all been following this Mark Foley story. At least, I hope you are. If you're not, you might wanna check your own pulse, uncle Fester. Because (albeit sadly), I hope that this, more than anything else that has happened since November 2000, may be the vital nail in the coffin that will get this rancid, stinking Bush administration tossed out on its collective asses. Maybe, one of these days. Somewhere, over the rainbow.
I'd just like to point something out that Gawker.com, in all its inifinte wisdom and quick-wittedness, has already pointed out.
Amidst the melee that has ensued as a result of ole Chester the Molester's "naughty emails" and instant message sessions with Danny the paperboy that would make Charles Nelson Reilly blush, CNN.com had the brass balls to run the following pair of headlines simultaneously.
Now balludos grandes are something we've all come to expect from the beloved Decider in Chief, but you'd think our liberally-biased media would have chosen its words more wisely. Please take a look at this:
So, what that's showing is that in the throws of one of the biggest governmental upsets since that fat chick eased some political tensions, Duhbya has the nerve to accuse the Democrats of being unfit to run Congress. Foley was having cyber sex while congressional votes were being passed, but it's the Democrats that are clearly the problem. The speaker of the house knew all about it and did nothing, but the Democrats are "soft on terror!"
You know what? If the Democrats can't come away winners in this situation, I'm inclined to side with George Junior on this one! They aren't fit to run Congress! Not if they can't use this to their advantage. I hardly heard a peep out of them all day. At least Hastert seems to realize the jeopardy he and Foley have put his party in (taken from NYTimes.com):
“If they get to me, it looks like they could affect our election as well,” Mr. Hastert said in an interview on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show.I hope they "get to him" since he's perfectly "get-able" in this whole damn thing! If the tables were turned, you can bet your ass the Republicans would be shouting anti-Dem scare-tactics from the rooftops in every town in America.
But what have we heard from the Democrats today? Not much. And what have we heard from them in the past 6 years, after act upon act of public endangerment, supposed homeland security, misallocation of troops, blatant disregard for established law and rules of governance, misuse and abuse of power, corruption and outright lies proliferated by the Bush administration? You guessed it.
Someone said to me today that if the Democrats can't turn this one around, he'll gladly register himself as a Republican.
There was a time when I would have thought he was kidding.
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Brett's book is a rather tender affair. It consists of a series of letters he wrote in the wake of a crushing heartbreak. It's called, "Greetings from Jersey City, New Jersey" and it's a lot like Rilke's "Letters to a Young Poet" except if Rilke had a fishing pole, a good buddy named Chuck, an obsession with the song "Thunder Road" and if he wrote letters to ex-girlfriends instead of Young Poets.
I won't get into a big sell on the book, but suffice it to say, it made me cry in front of a homeless man on the PATH train home that night. Granted, I can burst into tears when a traffic light turns red, but this really was a touching collection, this little book of his.
As for the party, well, it was a real champagne jam, held at the Brettmeister General's local bar Lucky Seven's, which probably took equal turns at both nurturing and inhibiting the creative forces that inspired this book.
Brett invited all his good dudes to guest DJ one side of one LP at the party, and I chose a real crowd pleaser, "Flight of the Eagle" by Om, taken from their latest album, Conference of the Birds. One side, one song, clocking in at 17 minutes and 27 seconds. It's really quite the brain melter.
You can and should buy Brett's book HERE.
Likewise, you can also buy Om's brilliant record HERE.
I leave you with this: a picture of Brett playing air saxophone, a concept I really can't get enough of. I mean, is this guy multi-talented or what? I hope that it brings you as much joy and happiness as it does for me.