Sunday, July 24, 2005

Also, I Am Moving To Bushwick 

SPOTTED: Al Franken at Minneapolis' Thai staple Sawatdee, yesterday evening. If the guy is planning to go back to being a regular ol' famous-for-Minnesota celeb, he's certainly dressing the part. I posted an item on Gawker about rumors of his impending move back to the Twin Cities, the gist of which was that the former Mr. Tom Davis was too big-time for the local Air America affiliate, which operates, from what I understand, out of the basement of a hardware store and pays its talent in bags of irregular washers and shims. Al is, I believe, looking for a house in the area, but rumors of his defection to Clear Channel have been greatly exaggerated. If anything, he ought to class 950 AM up a little once he moves the ol' dog and Lanpher show to the heartland. But not in that filthy white t-shirt he won't.

Yesterday also occasioned the annual celebration of my birth. I am approximately the same age as Live Aid, and just as effective.

Because this is a blog, here are some links:
This is Not News. This is 21st Century Bear Baiting [Doghouse Riley]
Hysterical Infringements in the NYC Subway [Majikthise]
Honestly, their production of Midsummer Night's Dream Was Pretty Scattered As Well [Heaneyland]

Friday, July 22, 2005

Friday Random Ten: Extended Absence Edition 

It's late, sure, but I went to The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari tonight at the local repertory theater, which excited me so much that I couldn't sit still long enough to post a list of songs. UNTIL NOW!

1. Johnny Cash -- "Down There By the Train"
An unreleased Tom Waits track, given reverent treatment by the man with the voice big enough to encompass all of America -- from John Wilkes Booth to Judas Iscariot, who, as the new David McCullough pop-biography shows, was one of our more effective early American political leaders. A+

2. Palace Brothers -- "Idle Hands Are the Devils Playthings"
I can't be bothered to see if this is actually a "Palace Music" or "Palace Brothers" or just "Palace" song... either way, it's a song I rather like by the man with the voice small enough to not quite encompass his beard, Will Oldham. I'm on the fence with regard to the man and his career, but this 2 minutes is just about right.

3. Big Star -- "You Get What You Deserve"
From my alternate universe '70s classic rock station. The Professor's having a Southern Rock debate in the faculty lounge tonight, but for me it begins and ends in Memphis, 1972-74.

4. Thelonious Monk -- "Round Midnight"
November, 1947. Rocks like Jerry Lee Lewis.

5. Johnny Cash -- "I'm A Drifter"
My mother and younger brother went on a vacation to Dollywood this summer. The woman has a free pass to be as self-mythologizing as she wants if she keeps writing 'em like this.

6. Randy Newman -- "Davy the Fat Boy"
Mr. Weill, meet Mr. Waller. Carl Stalling will be arriving shortly.

7. Leadbelly -- "Bourgeois Blues"
Saw Jon Langford, Mekons/Waco Brothers/Three Johns/Pine Valley Cosmonauts co-frontman in NY last winter. He told a long and funny story about playing this song on a ukulele at the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. I won't repeat it here, suffice it to say that in the version he played for us, the white man didn't "want no Welshmen up there."

8. Raymond Scott -- "Powerhouse"
You know this song. Think factories, anvils, and old Looney Tunes. Turns out the composer was some sort of Moogian pioneer of electronic music. And that this bit of cartoon background music is a great little jazz combo tune.

9. Mekons -- "Dan Dare"
The first song they ever wrote, the last song on their most recent album. A blast live. Punk rock is the new roots music. Outer space, it's a really nice place.

10. Elvis Costello and the Attractions -- "Big Boys"
I like the solo acoustic This Year's Model demo more. Never noticed until now that it's a breakup song. The second-person is the breakup song's best friend (see: Dylan's "She's Your Lover Now").

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Transfer Is Available To Temporary Security 

I know I'm supposed to welcome this kinda shit as necessary, especially considering the fact that London continues to have a bit of a problem with exploding backpacks, but christ, man, this is like textbook unconstitutional:

New York City will begin tomorrow morning randomly checking bags at subway stations, commuter railways and on buses, officials announced today in the wake of a second wave of bombings on the London transit system.

I mean, sure, it starts off looking for nailbombs, but think of the shit they're more likely to find -- if they do this on the F, all those poor smackhead hipsters will be busted in droves.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Sting 

Shortly after Broken Social Scene took the stage on Saturday at the Pitchfork-curated Intonation Music Festival, singer Kevin Drew announced to the audience: "We just decided 20 minutes into arriving in New York that it would be a good idea if we went and bought marijuana. And Dave preceded to get the shit kicked out of him by four policemen, ladies and gentlemen! He got thrown in jail for 24 hours!"
It happened on Thursday night. As Newfeld was being driven from Canada to New York by a friend to play a gig with Broken Social Scene at Central Park SummerStage, his pal and driver decided to stop off and score some weed...in Washington Square!
So, our Shaun Hunter exchanges $20 with a dealer in the park while Newfeld stands by watching the events unfold. As Newf tells it: "We walk around the corner, and all the sudden I'm tackled in a football style attack, like a mugger would do, you know? You grab the person and catch them by surprise and they ambush in a football tackle. And then they're like, 'Police, police, police! Fucking put your hands behind you!'" Due to the lax drug laws in Canada, Newfeld says he didn't connect what he assumed to be a mugging with his schwag score, assuming the "police" claim was a ploy by thugs to keep their victims passive for an easy stick-up.
-Pitchfork News

Shortly after beginning their set at last weekend's Fake an Affinity For Radio-Friendly Pop Music Festival, Craig Sterile, frontman of Manitoba-based twee-goth band How Green Was My Rudy Vallee made an announcement to the crowd: "Frank just had his ass kicked by the NYPD for trying to get Gay Married!"

It happened Thursday as Frank Robust, How Green's manager and sometime keyboardist, drove into New York for the first time, accompanied by a male friend. "My buddy said he knew the city pretty well, and we were down on 14th, and he said 'let's just go down to Union Square.' Well we get down there, and there are a couple loose-looking Ministers and a Justice of the Peace or two, and my friend says, 'fuck it, let's just get gay married.'"

Robust stood by and watched his friend approach a man in a long black robe. $20 was exchanged, and the judge asked the two men to face each other while he began reading their vows and preparing the necessary documents. "I guess we'd just promised to honor and cherish one another, when suddenly two big burly guys tackle me from behind and just start kicking the shit out of me." Robust, used to the lax treatment of sodomites by the Canadian government, didn't even connect his beating to the unnatural act he'd just been participating in.

"They kept shouting 'Police! Put your hands behind your back!' And I thought maybe they just had an objection to the wedding, which, frankly, I was beginning to develop some doubts about too. I mean, he's a nice guy, but he's terrible about commitment and never picks up after himself."

Later, recovering in the hospital from a broken collarbone, Robust was presented with charges of First-Degree Subversion of Moral Values and two counts of Legislating From the Bench.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Age of Mirth
Or: Staunchly Pro-Vie en Rose

I have it on good authority that Bush will announce tonight that his nominee to the Supreme Court is Judge Edith Wharton of the New York Court of Fashionable Society.

Either her or Judge Edith Piaf of the 72nd Court of Appeals de Belleville.

This flies in the face of conventional beltway wisdom, of course, as both candidates hold views that may raise the ire of conservatives, including strong ties to Paris.

SCOTUS Among Us [Wonkette]
Bush Nominates Judge John C. Roberts [AP]

Run Westy Run 

I know, I know.

Sorry. I really don't have a good excuse. Hey, I totally got dumped last month, ok. Gimme a break. I'm sitting here desolate, miserable, lonely, and all you leeches want me making funnies about Scooter Libby. Well I needed some time to recover, ok?

Then Minnesota's government shut down for a while, so I had some looting and pillaging to get in before the last-minute budget negotiations (I really needed some new slacks from Dayton's).

Then it got so damn late that, well, I figured I'd better have the best, funniest post ever when I came back, or else you'd all be mad at me.

But I don't and I won't anytime soon. So let's just ease back into this, shall we?

General "Buck" Turgidson, commander of American forces during the Vietnam conflict, has died at the age of 91. The Times eulogizes him with an admirable attempt at fairness, letting him explain just how he lost the war: "But in his memoirs, General Westmoreland blamed the outcome on the South Vietnamese Army and on President Johnson's refusal to broaden the war into Laos, Cambodia and North Vietnam."
Thoughtful of the old bastard to dig his own grave before he passed on, isn't it?

I'm sorry -- should we not speak ill of the dead? Ah, the guy lived to be 91 and died with a clear conscience. Lemme know when the AP eulogizes Sam Stone.

By the way, if you ever find yourself in a Barnes and Noble at midnight, make sure it's not on a night when a new one of those damn Harry Potter books is coming out. It was almost as chaotic as last month's The Secret Man release party. (Whoo! I got a million of 'em!)

And while we're on the subject of anonymous sources, I'm pretty sure I just saw on Inside Politics that the President has announced that he will definitely, totally 100% fire any member of his staff who murders anyone in cold blood. As long as he witnesses it personally. For serious.

See ya in another month.


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