Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sean Hannity has no soul

This just in from Tom Tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Levon Helm

Former vocalist and drummer for the Band, Levon Helm has a new album out and it's called Dirt Farmer. It is just amazing. His voice has aged well and the band he has surrounded himself with is just stellar and it has an old timey feel to it that is mesmerizing. You can read about the album on Helm's website here. You can listen to a cut called The Mountain just below. It's a Steve Earle song.

The Mountain - Levon Helm

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hard Drive Parties

I had never heard of hard drive parties before but it is such a cool idea. Cory Doctorow has a nice paragraph about them here:

"Will this stop kids from trading infringing files? Kids are time-rich and cash-poor and have an infinite supply of ingenuity and impecuniousness to apply to the job of getting music for free. Last year, my freshman university students in Los Angeles regaled me with stories of "hard-drive parties" where everyone would gather with guitars, beers and whopping great hard drives that cost less than either the guitars or the beers. While the students jammed, sang and danced, they simply synchronised their drives using whatever laptops were lying around, transferring hundreds of gigabytes' worth of music while composing and recording songs of their own."

I've said it before and I'll say it again, "Die, music industry, die!"
Warren Ellis is funny

Warren Ellis thought of the day. I'd like to Frank Millerize Rio Bravo. Sorry about the horrible Photoshopping. I was using Gimp and didn't have time to do a good job. I think you get the idea.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fox + News = Ass

You can't make up stuff this retarded. Do people still watch TV news? I can't remember exactly when I stopped watching but it's been several years.

Wow, the video below of paparazzi is priceless.

Paparazzi at The Ivy in Los Angeles from Mark Frauenfelder on Vimeo.

Both of these items were found at Boingboing.
Tiger Stadium Demolition

I knew this day was coming but I wasn't ready for it. What a terrible sight. At least they should blow it up so we don't have to see pictures of it slowly crumbling away while cranes and bulldozers nibble at it like the skeeters on my back porch.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Raconteurs

Last night while hanging out on the back porch with Mel and the guys I played a good chunk of the new album by Jack White's other band, The Raconteurs. It's called Consolers of the Lonely and it's been an almost guaranteed group "okey dokey" whenever I play it. I'm enjoying it but I still have a hard time really loving Jack's non White Stripes band. I do really like the title track which you can play below.

1 Consolers Of The Lonely - Raconteurs

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Biggest Loser

You know who is the biggest baseball-related loser of the steroid era? Ken Griffey Jr.. If the steroid-ridden monsters of the horrible era of baseball had played fairly Ken Griffey Jr. would be regarded as the greatest power hitter of this generation. Not Sammy Sosa. Not Barry Bonds and certainly not Mark McGuire.

Think about it, right now Ken Griffey is number 6 on the all-time career home run list. If you don't count Sosa and Bonds (which I don't) then he is number 4 all time and the first natural player to hit 600 home runs since Hank Aaron. In fact, Griffey has entered a pretty amazing place. Before he broke the 600 threshold recently only three other non-juiced players had ever done that. That should be the home run story of the last 20 years. All that attention that Mcguire, Sosa and Bonds received over the years was taken directly from Ken Griffey. They stole a lot of glory from him.

What is really sad to me is that a natural Barry Bonds would probably have hit 500 home runs. Plenty enough dingers to get you into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. Good enough to be counted among the immortals of the game. He would have been considered one of the greats. Now he'll never get in. If things work out the way they should and Griffey retires in a couple of years then five years after that he will be the last man standing. Then the baseball world will have to acknowledge that Ken Griffey was the best slugger of his generation.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Do you take pictures?

Hell, yes. Who doesn't? If you are a shutterbug, an avid photographer or, as I've been called by several friends, a pain in the ass with that dadgum camera. Hey, get that camera outta my face, man! Geez! I am going to punch you right in the mouth if you don't stop with the takin' pictures! OK? C'mon! Something like that. If that describes you or if you have been yelled at like that by your friends or family you need to head on over to the Everyman Photography Contest. It's been going on since 2001 and I've mentioned it here before and I've been submitting since the beginning. I have missed two years but I have already submitted this year. I won't win, never have, but it's fun to enter.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I wanna eat here

I guess you can trust those translation websites too completely.
The New Yorker Cover

John Scalzi has a nice take of the fake controversy: "I think it’s a little sad we’ve all reached a point where the difference between racist dog-whistling and the satirizing of such dog-whistling is effectively lost on folks, but I guess we are at that point, and I also recognize the wisdom of the Obama folks handling all this stuff the same way. At this point I’m mostly just tired of it all, and we’ve got four months to go yet."

Naturally John Stewart and the genius writers at the Daily Show sum it up better than about anybody else.

Tom Tomorrow has a nice breakdown on how stupid this whole thing is here.
Garrison Keillor

Retired library person, guitarist, singer, curmudgeon and blogger Jim sends me a link to Garrison Keillor's columns that are published in They are always excellent but this one is especially satisfying.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Nobody Needs Another Linkblog

Warren Ellis says that and a lot more as he ponders the state of personal web pages. You can read his thoughts here. One of the reasons I check Kevin's blog and Troy's webpage every day is that they both provide a lot of original material. I have always linked to things I find interesting but I do get lazy for days at a time and just link to other web pages. When I'm not feeling particularly inspired it is a way to keep things fresh.

Polo Grounds

Polo Grounds LF stands, 10/8/12 (LOC)
Originally uploaded by The Library of Congress

I don't remember if I have mentioned it here before or not but the Library of Congress has posted some of their photography collection on Flickr. This shot is the left field stands at the Polo Grounds in New York City during the 1912 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Giants.

Send down the dog
Originally uploaded by zzazazz

The cats have been getting braver lately. That little dog better watch out or he might get ambushed by two cats that have had enough of running away.

Fox "News" still sucks

Last night for the hell of it Melanie and I watched the first five minutes of the horrible, horrible, horrible Hannity and Colmes show on Fox last night. God, it was just horrible. They spent the first ten minutes trying to work up controversy over the current cover of the New Yorker magazine. I think what the right is trying to do is portray the left as being angry about the cover and the reason the liberals are angry is because liberals think the average American is too stupid to understand the cover's message. It's classic current right wing propaganda and, unfortunately, it works.

Mark Hemingway, at the National Review, comes to the defense of the radical right when he writes that the idea that right wingers think Obama is a terrorist and hates America "is laughable." Of course he misses the point or, as the right works, intentionally twists what is being said. No one is saying that the right's propagandists believe the bile they spew in their whisper campaigns. Of course they couldn't believe such crap. The problem is that the image of Obama and his wife on the cover of the New Yorker is the one they want the average Fox "News" viewer to see in his mind's eye. It's not what you think that is the problem, Hemingway, it's what your buddies want Joe Average to think.

I found a nice article about the cover and Obama and humor. He interviews several humorists and I think Stephen Colbert makes a couple of the best points.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Big Rain

Originally uploaded by zzazazz

For about the fifth day in a row it poured here today. It's strange to finally start getting a normal amount of rain and to have that feel wrong. I guess that's how severe the drought has been here for the last couple of years. Normally during the summer you get a rain shower around 6 pm almost every day. It's hasn't done that in so long that this normal weather is starting to feel like monsoon season to me.

Lightning Strike

Check this out. Someone films a near lightning strike and it scares the hell out of them, of course.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Gogol Bordello

Just when you think you've heard everything a friend introduces you to a new band. On the 4th of July Melanie and I were at Chris' for a couple of drinks and some grilling. After we ate we retired inside and he showed us a few music videos. I finally got to see the performance by Queen at Live Aid and it was as amazing as I had heard. A band at its peak onstage at just the right moment. What an incredible document. After that Chris showed us a segment of a European festival performance by Gogol Bordello. Chris described it as gypsy punk and that's how they describe themselves also. Chris is so smart.

I was stunned by the performance. This band is all over the map. It has punk drumming, reggae rhythm, many different forms of European folk music thrown into an incredible blend and it is fronted by a guy that is a mixture of Iggy Pop and Ian Anderson. Somehow they pull it off and come up with music that is full of energy, originality and is very listenable. The performance that we saw reminded me of all the really great bands I have seen live, it was a celebration of just being alive.

If you would like a look at these guys I found a nice video from their appearance on the Henry Rollins show here.

I am really liking this band and I am dying to see them live.

This song is off their most recent album that came out in 2007.
Wonderlust King - Gogol Bordello

Saturday, July 05, 2008

So long, Jesse

Yesterday Jesse Helms died. You remember him, he was a North Carolina senator for like 30 years. You can read about him in all over the net.

When I first moved to Charlotte in the summer of 1990 Harvey Gantt, a black man and former mayor of Charlotte, was running against Jesse Helms for the senate. I'd heard of Jesse before I moved here and Gantt was guaranteed my vote.

One day after work I went to a nice bar in south Charlotte to listen to some jazz and have a drink. I got into a conversation with a native Charlottean. He was in his late forties or early fifties and had one of those wonderful Charlotte accents that are slowly disappearing in this town. The race for the senate was getting pretty heated and naturally it entered our conversation. He asked me, "Who are you voting for?" I answered immediately, "Harvey Gantt." His face went to stone and his eyes turned real unfriendly and he got made, real mad. He leaned close and said in a low angry voice, "You mean you want to give all your money to the niggers?" I swear to god that is verbatim and it ended our conversation. I don't remember saying anything. I just turned away from him.

I was too shocked to say a word. I had just spent four years in the Marines and had experienced my share of racial tension and harmony. Often in the same ten minutes. I had never heard such blatant racism before. I remember my step dad had used that word in my presence during my high school years but, as someone who lived in northern Michigan his whole life, it was an uninformed racism. I don't recall him being like that once he moved here and lived and worked in a big integrated city as opposed to the lily white north. But this guy, in this fancy bar in Charlotte with a nice jazz band, blew me away. The raw hatred of blacks and me, because I was going to happily for vote a black man, showed me that I was in the South. I didn't realize I was actually in The South until that day. You can bet your ass I voted that fall and voted for Harvey Gantt.

I wonder where that guy is right now? Does he remember the 22 year old Yankee he scared the piss out of in the summer of 1990? If he does and he reads this he can go blow himself. Screw him and Jesse Helms.
The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts by Thomas Farley

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I tore through this book. Like the history of Saturday Night Live called "Live from New York" this is an oral biography of Chris Farley (interestingly, in this book the "Live from New York" book takes a pretty harsh hit from someone claiming he was misquoted in the SNL history). The oral format worked for me. As Tom wrote in the introduction, Chris Farley lived the type of life where all his friends had "Chris stories."

This book, like its subject's life, is funny, revealing, touching, maddening and ultimately tragic. There is a period in Chris' life where he really had his stuff together he was on top of the world and I was unaware of that. I was not prepared to for the Chris Farley that was sober and on top of things and brightening the world around him. That high period in his life makes his ending all the more depressing. Especially since it really seemed he was going to keep his addictions down and go on to break out from the "fat guy falls down" comedy and truly make something great one day.

What surprised me was the unanimous love for Chris by everyone that is interviewed. Surely they could have found someone out there that knew Chris that thought he was a jerk? Even at his most outrageous he could still find a way to make people love him. To me, that's another tragedy of his life. He was greatly loved and it seems he really didn't see it or, if he did see it, feel he deserved it.

It's also impressive for the honesty of all those interviewed. Sure, they all loved Chris but they do not airbrush his faults. Even some of things that made him endearing could become a pain in the behind if a schtick was carried on too long. His drinking, his drug use, his rehab and the problems of and caused by his family are all addressed here. It's an honest book and in a biography, that is all that you can really hope for.

View all my reviews.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Carvey and Hicks

According to a comment on my post about the possibility of Dana Carvey lifting from Bill Hicks, Hicks may have done a similar bit that you can view here. You can skip to the 1:20 mark to hear the bit. I still swear Bill may have done the bit the way I remember because his act could be pretty fluid.
1950's Communist China Inspires American Interrogators

Wow, it's really amazing that something could come be revealed about the Bush administration that still has the ability to to shock. Our government was torturing people using methods that were proven not to work? What's that piece of sewage, Sean Hannity, got to say about that?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Dana Carvey

We watched the recent Dana Carvey HBO special the other night and it was good. It was good to see him onstage again. I really like his 1995 special, especially the segment in which he talks about his kids. This one also was at its best when he talked about his kids that are now teenagers. What disturbed is I think he stole a joke from Bill Hicks. At one point he says women want a man that is sensitive and likes to talk and unfortunately those guys already have boyfriends. I haven't listened to a lot of Hicks recently but I swear he told that joke. I guess I'll have to break out my Hicks and take a listen.
Unsung Heroes

I just heard about a movie today called The Wrecking Crew. It's a documentary about a group of session musicians in Los Angeles that seems to have played on almost every big hit of the sixties that came out of L.A. I'm intrigued.
Where is Gibby now?

Today I was showing a coworker the Kirk Gibson pictures that I found during my vacation and I got to wondering what Kirk Gibson is up to these days. Did you know that he is a bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks? Neither did I.

Have you ever noticed that when you leave your keys in another room and someone else picks them up you can tell just by the distinct jingle the keys make that it is your keys that are being handled?