Saturday, January 31, 2009

January ends with a Saturday Random Ten

Yes it does. I'll probably be talking about some other stuff tomorrow. Last night my friends' long-time girlfriend said she had never seen me smirk before. Really?

1. The Velvet Underground--Some Kinda Love
2. The Beatles--You've Got to Hide Your Love Away
3. Outkast--Dracula's Wedding
4. The Whites--Keep on the Sunny Side
5. Roxy Music--Ladytron
6. Captain Beefheart--Beatle Bones 'n' Smokin' Stones
7. Barenaked Ladies--Maybe Katie
8. Ben Folds Five--Uncle Walter
9. Electric Six--Danger! High Voltage
10. Nellie McKay w/ Bob Dorough & Nancy Reed--Politan

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Spoken for Friday

Slight service advisory. Friday Random Ten is put off again this week, for music-related reasons. I'll be seeing They Might Be Giants (sometimes seen on the FRT) at Lupo's with a friend. This should be exciting.

There will probably be a Saturday Random Ten. Probably.

Apres le deluge

We've had a big buildup of snow so far. And heavy rain was forecast for today--accurately. Silly, naive Rhode Islanders. I've heard some people with short memories saying, "Maybe it will wash away some of this snow." Well, it washed something away. This was one of thise nights when it became impossible to cross the street without stepping in ankle deep water.

Which is a temporary annoyance. And I like snow. But a lot of people really don't. One guy I saw today was using his boot to write "I hate snow" in the snow. And this sort of anti-Winter mania causes some magical thinking.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hell no! We won't go!

From Tom Hilton late last week.

There it is: it comes from al Qaeda. They may or may not have posted it after Obama's executive order (none of the stories is any more specific than 'this week'), but at the very least it coincides with the arrival of a new President who has consistently said he plans to close Guantanamo.

'Coincides.' Right.

So it seems to me the big story here is not that one former Guantanamo detainee joined al Qaeda (whether because the administration blew it in the first place, or because he was radicalized by the Guantanamo experience, or maybe both); the big story is that al Qaeda is trying to sabotage efforts to close Guantanamo.

Well, Al Qaeda may be heartened to have Eric Fehrnstrom working in concert with them on this one. Well, not that heartened, but beggars can't be choosers. While there's probably no love lost, he throws out a few helping hands.

Bush generously gave us a choice of names in describing the terrorist forces: "Islamic radicalism," "militant Jihadism," and "Islamo-fascism."

Our enemy is distinguishable from the religion of Islam, but also a subset of it. Tony Blair called it "a strain within the worldwide religion of Islam." Those who belong to it want to establish a religious caliphate. They demand the end of Western influence in their lands. They call for the annihilation of the Israeli state and the collapse of the United States, economically and militarily.

As should be obvious, our tying emnity to America and terrorist violence to Islam is a question of identity. And that's a funny thing about identity. Imposing it can create enemies where they weren't before.

Anyway, this little masterpiece is titled "Guantanamo: A symbol of US resolve." Which it is. Any stupid thing you continue to do after you should know better is a symbol of resolve.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Keep the Friday Random Ten flag flying

I'm up. I'm at the computer. What the hey.

1. The Beatles--Ticket to Ride
2. Sarah Vaughan--Thanks for the Ride
3. M83--Coloring the Void
4. Nellie McKay--Galleon
5. Elvis Costello & the Attractions--So Young
6. Don Byron--Wondering Where
7. Thelonious Monk--Monk's Mood
8. XTC--Human Alchemy
9. Arcade Fire--Vampire/Forest Fire
10. Mika--Relax, Take it Easy

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chappelle's field studies

From Dave Chappelle, proof that you can be politically incorrect without being a complete dick. Well, some can, at least.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The insanity of a new generation

From Roy Edroso's column at the Village Voice.
That's grand mischief, but merely speaks to rightbloggers' usefulness at spreading propaganda from the central office. They're much more adorable when they come up with their own stuff. So at the end of the pre-Obama era, let's review some of the outrages they needed no help to discover -- like the Pepsi's new Obama-fied logo and campaign, and all the companies rightbloggers will have to boycott because they've climbed aboard the Obama bandwagon.

Now, I thought, "He must be making up the Pepsi thing." And how I wish he were. But he's got links, and people are actually talking about this.

For context, here's an image of a Pepsi bottle from the fifties.

If somebody accused the Obama campaign of plagiarizing Pepsico's logo, it would be embarassing and inane, but at least it would show a grasp of cause-effect relations.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Icy, icy, Friday Random Ten

It's slippery out, what with all the cold and all. I had my first fall of the Winter tonight. Now it's official.

A few times this week I've heard people say, "Man, it's freezing out." I've managed to keep myself from saying, "Hence the ice on the streets not melting." I might be a bit more popular because of this restraint.

Now the warm tunes.

1. Fats Domino--It's You I Love
2. Nellie McKay--Mother of Pearl
3. Paul Simon--How Can You Live in the Northeast?
4. Fiona Apple--Get Him Back
5. Elvis Costello & the Attractions--Riot Act
6. Sly & the Family Stone--We Love All
7. REM--Good Advices
8. Louis Armstrong & His Hot Five with Earl Hines--A Monday Date
9. M83--Waves Waves Waves
10. Dressy Bessy--Makeup

Thursday, January 15, 2009


From the deep files of the Sesame Street beat.

The bit about the White Rabbit being late is a neat nod to the Lewis Carroll source.

Now as to why Alice's clothes grew with her but Kermit's suit didn't change size? I think she must know Reed Richards, and therefore has access to unstable molecules. She seems like she could be a capable ally to the Baxter Building.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dishonor roll

The Buffalo Beast has its annual 50 Most Loathsome People in America list out. These are always worth multiple reads. I'm not particularly stung by the "You" entry. Ha. These people have no idea what an asshole I can really be.

The beasties have, though, zeroed in on one of the people most responsible for the effectiveness of working the refs.

36. Ron Fournier

Charges: Since taking the reigns as AP Washington bureau chief in 2006, Fournier's steered the notorious just-the-facts wire service toward an opinionated brand of reporting he's dubbed “accountability journalism.” It sounds good, but when the country's most widely syndicated news outlet pawns its right-leaning opinions off as hard news, everybody gets a little more stupider. Fournier's “Obama walks arrogance line” article from March was the genesis of one such dumbed-down national conversation.

Exhibit A: Told Karl Rove to “Keep up the fight" in a recently revealed e-mail.

Sentence: Falling out with Rove, “accidental” plane crash.

Oh, that's sweet.

Jim Ed springs ahead

As much of a sports fan as I'm not, I still get a good feeling from Jim Rice getting into Cooperstown. Part of it is the apparent sadism of the nomination limit. If you don't get in after fifteen votes, you're screwed. This was Rice's fifteenth nomination, and I'm glad he doesn't have to write personal "you suck" notes to all the voters.

He also deserves credit for winning over a tough crowd. Boston in the late seventies was basically Aggrieved White Person Central after the busing riots. This was a city that didn't want to hear it from black people, and the sports--intentionally or not--reflected this. Rice was an indispensible part of the Red Sox, though, and I think is an important figure in that regard.

There's also his lack of polish, something that may have kept him back. Globe sportswriter Dan Shaughnessy says:
Explaining his cold war with writers yesterday, he said, "Maybe they thought I was arrogant, and that wasn't true at all. My thing was I was very protective of the players that I played with. I got in a lot of trouble by not giving the writers what they wanted - and that was a story for them to probably talk about another player."

No. It's fair to say that Rice was shy and uncomfortable talking about himself. He never made excuses. He arrived with the city of Boston in a particularly inflammatory racial climate, which must have been difficult for a 21-year-old man from South Carolina. But to say he got in trouble by not talking dirt about his teammates is simply false. Rice was churlish more often than not. Not just with writers. Sometimes with his adoring public.

True to some extent, but not a disquakifier by any sane measure. Players and managers who are "a workhorse not a showhorse" or "let their bat do the talking" are always lionized at some point. This wasn't standoffish macho posturing on his part. Rice was a professional who didn't have handlers for his public appearances. These days that's at least as much of a surprise as the lack of juicing.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Real BC

Ah, Neanderthals. The more I hear/read about them, the more interesting they seem to be. In a way it's too bad that we never got a chance to know them in modern times. And it's very unfortunate that we've grown used to using their name as a slur. I guess the good thing is that it's not the name they answered to anyway.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Anniversary of the Friday Random Ten? Maybe?

Well, it's approximately a year, anyway.

1. Mika--Lollipop
2. Roxy Music--If There is Something
3. Louis Armstrong--Hotter Than That
4. They Might Be Giants--We Want a Rock*
5. M83--My Own Strange Path
6. Captain Beefheart--Sure 'Nuff 'n Yes I Do
7. Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention--Big Leg Emma
8. Soul Coughing--Blame
9. The Kinks--David Watts
10. Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderley--Happy Thoughts

* Gotta love the title's goof on Twisted Sister.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Frances Farmer Fun

Don't you hate it when bloggers get behind and they decide to just post videos and cute comments because they need sleep? You do? Well, tough titty.

We hardly knew ye, lad.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I link not

Hm. Had to take a blog off my link list. Well, I didn't have to, but I can't read it anymore because it's gone to invited readers only. Apparently I'm not cool, because I didn't get an invite.

Oh well, there's plenty of ghoti in the sea.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


It's raining tonight, which probably means more ice tomorrow. But screw it, I like the sound at night.

Watched a bit of the first season of Art21 tonight, which was stimulating and educational. (Try to imagine that phrase in a Carl Sagan voice.)

Kara Walker may at this point be the best-known visual artist to come out of RISD. David Byrne does paint, but most people know him as an oversize suit model. Since the subject matter of Walker's silhouettes is pretty grim for the most part, it's a bit of a relief to see how laid back she is in person. Her segment on the DVD also gives some neat hints as to process. She really works those overhead projectors.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Doctor in the house

Congratulations to Matt Smith on the new gig. He bears a certain resemblance to the young David Bowie, so I wonder if he'll be painting the TARDIS red, like so.

Smith will be the youngest Doctor to date, surpassing Peter Davison. Now Davison was amazing in the part, and Tom Baker before him had also been the youngest to date, so it's not necessarily a question of "too young." (What I've seen of Tennant has been very good too, even if the scripts seem to puff him up a little too much.) It is a little sad, though, that both producers of the New Who seem to have given up on older, crankier actors. The character shouldn't have to be young and sexy. One would think he can buy his own drinks.

Friday, January 2, 2009

And so we start again: First Friday Random Ten of 200i

Ah. Can't forget this one.

1. XTC--Frost Circus
2. Brian Eno--BAby's on Fire
3. Nick Drake--Three Hours
4. Elvis Costello & Burt Bacharach--Toledo
5. Lambert, Hendricks & Ross--Fiesta in Blue
6. Jane Monheit--Save Your Love for Me
7. Fiona Apple--Parting Gift
8. Duke Ellington--Five O'Clock Whistle
9. Emmylou Harris, Allison Krauss & Gillian Welch--Didn't Leave Nobody but the Baby
10. Cannonball Adderley--Teaneck

There. I can drift off to sleep now in good conscience.