Friday, August 31, 2007


Because it's payday and casual Friday:

Booker T. & The MGs -- Green Onions

The New Pornographers -- All The Things That Go to Make Heaven and Earth
Goldfrapp -- Ooh La La (Live)

Support Booker T & The MGs here, The New Pornographers here, and Goldfrapp here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Forgotten Classic #2: Big Wreck -- "The Oaf"

Tracking my downloads, I was suprised how popular the first instalment of "Forgotten Classic" was/has been and so I was looking for inspiration for another one this week...The Discount Bin at Half Price Books must have had me in mind as I was looking through it this could I have forgotten about Big Wreck and their outstanding "The Oaf"?

Big Wreck -- The Oaf

Although the band broke up in 2002, and their two albums are currently not in print in the United States, keep the lead singers ASCAP checks flowing by buying this.

Here's the Problem

Democrats seem to be getting beat at the same old game we have been losing for a while...our positions take more than a catch phrase to get our meaning across...the knee jerk reason is that we think things through a little more and take in the reality that the world is not so simple as a slogan or catchphrase...I don't believe that.

For example:

The headline yesterday were:

John Edwards: Americans Should 'Sacrifice' SUVs for Environment

When someone takes a stand that someone shouldn't "do" something it seems like common sense that they shouldn't do it themselves...and it should be common sense that every conservative blogger or journalist looking for a scoop will be searching for a recent photo of John Edwards in an SUV...or worse come to worse one of him standing by one...and so today, guess what, we have this article and photo:

The Republican argument: Edwards thinks you shouldn't own an SUV but he owns one.

The Democratic response (from Politico's article):

Edwards spokesman Eric Schultz says they buy carbon offsets for the vehicles,
and adds:

"John Edwards believes that all Americans need to be patriotic about something other than war, and that means conserving at home, at work, and in the cars they drive. And that includes the Edwards family. They drive a hybrid Ford Escape, but they also still own a Chrysler Pacifica – which they use less often. He is reducing his own impact on global warming by driving a hybrid, building an energy-efficient home, and subsidizing renewable energy to offset the carbon emissions of his home, vehicles, and his campaign."

Do you see what I mean? Why can't the response be, "John Edwards does not own an SUV and Americans should follow his lead and find alternatives?"

Atrios At His Best

This is a little dated...from yesterday:

Lay Off Miss Teen S.C.

I don't know if she's dumb as a stone or if she just understandably had a bit of a brain fart. I've got a Ph.D and I probably had moments like that in public. Either way she's just a young woman whose worst moment wasn't appreciably worse than the regular outbursts of our commander in chief. It means nothing. Let it go.

Christopher Hitchens

I am a life long Christopher Hitchens fan (didn't we all have our parent's reading Why Orwell Matters to us at bedtime) and one who has weathered nearly everything he has written about the Iraq war, including the increasingly ridiculously titled A Long Short War: A Postponed Liberation of Iraq as our involvement in it has now surpassed out involvement in World War II.

Recent articles about the letters of Mother Theresa have reminded me of Hitchens' best book, The Missionary Position: Mother Theresa in Theory and Practice in which he takes on one of the most universally respected people primarily because people know nothing about her.

Little Britain

Talking Points Memo links us to a Little Britain clip that is very appropriate with the current Senator Larry Craig scandal...there are many classic clips from the series, but this on is my favorite:

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Friday, August 24, 2007

Forgotten Classic #1: Marvelous 3 -- Freak of the Week

A song with only one equal, Dexter Freebish's "Leaving Town"

Marvelous 3 -- Freak of the Week

Support Marvelous 3 here.


Allmusic reviews Tim Buckley's (Jeff Buckley's dad) song "Starsailor"...inspiration for the British group of the same name (and their trademark lettering font)...The Starsailor album is out of print in a physical form but you can download it at iTunes...

Starsailor is usually regarded as one of the most difficult and unusual albums in all of rock. That assessment is certainly true – the record contains a host of songs that takes many listens to become accustomed to. The title track, with it’s eerie, unnerving opening, it emblematic of the whole album. Indeed, it certainly can be seen as an ambitious failure. “Star Sailor” is certainly atmospheric, but it’s convoluted, bizarre vocal is pretentious, and totally unrewarding. “Star Sailor” sounds like a slowed down record; what effect Buckley was trying to achieve here is hard to comprehend. Indeed, it’s probable that he was just being wilfully perverse. Nevertheless, “Star Sailor” sounds to modern ears to be a rather silly mistake from an artist whose ambitions for once got the better of him.

Buy some of Tim's albums at Rhino records.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Not a Brainstem: Al Sharpton

Alex Johnson, the author of the MSNBC article I quoted in the my Brainstem post about Al Sharpton, commented that the blog entry attributed to Rev. Sharpton is really a is what he wrote:


This is Alex Johnson, the author of the MSNBC story. Just for the record, I have determined that the Sharpton "blog" entry is a hoax and have issued a correction. I'd hate to see Mr. Sharpton get slammed for something he didn't actually say.

Alex Johnson

And here is the correction on

An earlier version of this article quoted from a blog entry purportedly by the Rev. Al Sharpton. has determined that the blog is a hoax. In July, Sharpton signed a letter with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals condemning dogfighting, saying: “Dogfighting is unacceptable. Hurting animals for human leasure or gain is despicable. Cruelty is just plain wrong.”

For the record: Al Sharpton is not a brainstem and thanks to Alex for the correction.

Brainstem of the Day: Al Sharpton

Brett Favre gets dragged through the by someone who honest to God thought he could be the President of the United States...don't count on Wisconsin's 10 electoral votes...

“If the police caught Brett Favre (a white quarterback for the Green Bay Packers) running a dolphin-fighting ring out of his pool, where dolphins with spears attached to their foreheads fought each other, would they bust him? Of course not,” Sharpton wrote Tuesday on his personal blog.

“They would get his autograph, commend him on his tightly spiraled forward passes, then bet on one of his dolphins.”

See the next post for an UPDATE.


Can someone please explain what this headline means and how it relates to Jenna Jameson having her breat implants removed?:

"Pop Tarts: Jenna Jameson Goes From Porn Star to Pancake"

Yeah, Maximo is Badly Drawn

The sound of Thursday:

Yeah Yeah Yeahs -- 10 x 10 (from the Is Is EP)

Badly Drawn Boy -- Born in the U.K. (from the Born in the U.K. album)

Iraqi Vacation

The Daily Show covers the Iraqi Parliament vacation with thoughts from some of our favorite part:

"Have fun on your vacation. We'll be over here holdin' down the fort, because this is an actual frickin' fort."


Slate nearly ejaculates with excitement about R. Kelly latest "milestone."

Buy this shirt here:

WILl COmply

Wilco -- What Light

You really should own all the Wilco CDs...get them here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Q: Do The Flight of the Conchords Rock? A: Affirmative

In the vain of Conan O'Brien's "In the Year 2000," this is your chance to hear a "Binary Solo"...

Flight of the Conchords -- Robots (Live)

Watch Flight of the Conchords on HBO and buy their music from Sub Pop.

I Went To A Wilco Concert And All I Got Were These Lousy Photos

I forgot/didn't bring the camera last night to the Wilco never know how strict security is going to be about these sort of things so I left it at home...but I had my cellphone and took a couple of photos...

The venue was a park in Redmond, WA (about 12 miles outside Seattle-proper) and it had the feeling like Sasquatch could be around every corner...The concert was great (my first time seeing Wilco) but their set list wasn't too groundbreaking...although starting with "Sunken Treasure" was something I thought Jeff Tweedy only did on solo tours...

Anyway, I will post some Wilco music later tonight...until then, enjoy my Area 51 type photos of the concert last night...they are more an homage to Wilco concert photos rather than actual Wilco concert photos...

Sounds Like A Case For Poirot


An 81-year-old houseguest suffered a fatal heart attack at the summer home of former President George H.W. Bush.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Only 499 To Go

A few issues ago, Q Magazine printed a list of 500 "Lost songs" which were mainly b-sides, live tracks, or unreleased is faithfully reprinted here...As an Arctic Monkeys completist I was happy to see they made the list at #67...

Arctic Monkeys -- Bigger Boys and Stolen Sweethearts

The View

The poor boys in The View never really had a chance here in the U.S. Not only do you have to compete with Barbara but also View: The Band...if they had only known what they were getting into...



Monday, August 20, 2007

Football Season

Salon's sports guy King Kaufman writes about NFL's decision to do something something with DirectTV and the Internets or something...anyway, he writes:

So, fine. I think it's a poor decision in the long term, but then again, NFL fans seem incapable of being offended enough by the league's anti-fan stance to do anything about it. The single most fan-unfriendly deal in North American team sports is the NFL charging regular-season prices for exhibition games, and then forcing season-ticket buyers, the best customers, to buy those exhibition-game tickets.

Couldn't disagree more. I've been on the season ticket list for my old home team, The Green Bay Packers, for a few years now and I'm not expecting to get tickets for a few decades or sooner if the Packers endure a few 2-14 seasons minus Mr. Favre. My only option for Packer games is buy online at above face value or pre-season.

The same is true where I live now, Seattle. Since they made it to the Super Bowl two seasons ago Seahawks tickets are sky high. My only shot to get a nice ticket at face value is pre-season which I am doing next Saturday versus my arch nemesis, The Minnesota Vikings.


The good folks of the group Amasser sent me some of their songs over the weekend and I have been giving them a listen too this afternoon...My favorite of the three is "Moonwatcher" and it demonstrates why they have given themselves the categorization of "Indie/Experiemental" on MySpace...

I would say early Flaming Lips meets the most far out Pavement. Enjoy!

P.S. "Amasser" means "to pile up" in French...

Amasser -- Legal Wall

Amasser -- Cranium Posse

Amasser -- Moonwatcher

B of A

A common mantra around my house is "Bank of America ______ (fill in your own negative verb)...this is from having to deal with America's larget bank and official bank of NASCAR (if only I'd known before signing up)...but this story is taking "Bank of America sucks" to a new level.

Check It Off The List

Back during my undergrad career, I had a bunch of different positions in the Student Senate over the years there and I occupied a number of the cubicles in the Senate offices...One day, I was helping my then-girlfriend (now fiance) clean out some old papers and belongings of a student who had quite her position with the Senate and just left her stuff was mainly old photocopies of meeting agendas and other paper miscellaneous paperwork...but when we dug deeper stumbled upon a "My Life Goals" written by the student in disturbing as finding something so personal so casually abandoned, it was a howling funny read...included as one of the items, I kid you not, was "marry a guy with a lot of money." Who writes that? Well, I guess I know who...but rhetorically, who writes that?

I think of that now as my fiance is heading to Latvia for 10 months as a Fulbright scholar and she mentions that she is fulfilling two of her life's goals at live in Europe and to learn to speak Latvian fluently...

What are my life goals?...and am I meeting any of them? Thinking about it, yes I am...recently, because of this blog I have been contacted by some musicians/artists about reviewing their music...I've always wanted to do this and I am excited to do it...I received a CD by one groups over the weekend and I will get something out shortly after I have time to digest the music...anyway, check that off the list.

Lack of Follow Through

I have been enjoying a few days off from work and a "lost weekend" of high asperations but a low level of follow through...

To make up for lost time here are two that were apart of my vacation:

Elvis Perkins -- While You Were Sleeping (from Ash Wednesday)

Aimee Mann -- Deathly (from the Magnolia Soundtrack)

My Future Daughters Will Be Going To This

Girls Rock Camp.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Bloc Party

For me, for the 2nd Bloc Party album, A Weekend in the City, would be a success if it had a song as good as "This Modern Love." I am easily sentimental and "TML" was it for me for about a year.

Thankfully, Bloc Party completed their mission nicely with "I Still Remember." Theme: A love that could have been if I was just brave enough to ask.

Buy Bloc Party merch here.

Bad Songs By Good People #1: The Flaming Lips

Sometimes good and great groups put out not so good songs...but who am I to total album output = zero...classic and great songs = zero...

After 11 Flaming Lips albums there are bound to be a few stinkers right? This is from the Spider-Man 3 soundtrack and the title alone raises some eyebrows...Could it possibly be as good as "Thank You Jack White (For the Fiber-Optic Jesus That You Gave Me)?

Buy everything relating to the The Flaming Lips including coffee mugs, gift certificates, and tote bags here.

Might As Well Jump

I'll start caring about Van Halen again when Michael Anthony gets rehired.

Two Events

One story that dominated the news for a few days (and rightfully so): Bridge Collapse...whoops, I'm sorry...wrong story...Bridge Collapse (in America)...

Here is another story that I don't think will get as much coverage. I know it isn't right in our backyard and Brian Williams can't easily broadcast from they don't have the great "Minnesota Nice" tag line...but we should be having around-the-clock updates on the hunt for the masterminds behind these murders.

Romney & The Ruskies

Previously on Mitt Romney: Presidential Candidate:

Mr. Romney referred to recent comments that Mrs. Clinton made about the economy. "She said we have been an ‘on-your-own society.' She said, ‘It's time to get rid of that and replace it with shared responsibility,'" Mr. Romney said. "That's out with Adam Smith and in with Karl Marx." Mr. Romney advocated lowering corporate and personal income taxes as well as a freeze on taxes on savings accounts. (That's my emphasis added -- Matt)

Currently on Mitt Romney: Presidential Candidate:

The 47-page federal report was something of a revelation for Romney as well. Forced to open his blind trust, the Romneys --and the world--discovered precisely which stocks, bonds and mutual funds they own.

Among them: $2.5 million to $8 million in AB Svensk Exportkredit, a Swedish export credit corporation; and $1 million to $5 million in Eksportfinans ASA, a Norwegian financing corporation, and $100,000 to $250,000 in Russian energy giant Gazprom. Ann Romney's trust reported various Goldman Sachs investments of more than $1 million (spousal assets can be reported in less precise figures). Romney's trust has $3.5 million to $16 million in Goldman Sachs investments. (That's my emphasis added again -- Matt)
Wikipedia on Gazprom:

Gazprom Shareholder Structure (as of September 5, 2005, [17]):

State Property Committee of Russia (Rosimushchestvo) - 38.37315 % (My emphasis one more time...--Matt)
Rosneftegaz - 10.73985 %
Gerosgaz - 2.92997 %
E.ON Ruhrgas - 2.5 %
Gazfond - 3.22159 %
Nafta Moscow - 2.12502 %
The Bank of New York International Nominees - 4.42218 %

Iowa Straw Poll

The USA Today has a very interesting breakdown of the dollars spent per vote by the Republican candidates in the Iowa Straw Poll:

• Third-place finisher Sam Brownback says he spent about $325,000 to win his
2,192 votes. That's $148.27 for each vote.

• Second-place finisher Mike Huckabee spent about $150,000 and received 2,587 votes. That's $57.98 per vote.

• Winner Mitt Romney has not said how much he spent. The reporting in this
Washington Post article
suggests at least $2 million and possibly more than twice that much. Assuming $2 million for 4,516 votes, that's $442.87 per vote. But it could top $1,000.
The exciting news for people interested in politics either left or right is the surprising showing by Mike Huckabee. I don't know much about him, outside of the fact he lost a ton of weight. Here is Governor Huckabee on the Daily Show:

Every Political Blogger's Duty

At some point, every political blogger needs to call "bullshit" on anyone that says America has not been hit by a terrorist attack since September 11th.

Here is today's headline reminder:

Judge: Reporters Must Reveal Sources in Anthrax Leak Case

The. Coolest. Senator. Ever.

Senator Pat Leahy:

Leahy is apparently a big comic book enthusiast, and actually served as an extra in the 1997 Batman installment: Batman and Robin.

The senator told the station he can't reveal the exact details of his role in the upcoming movie, but he did say he has landed a scene with its two stars, Christian Bale and Heath Ledger.

Monday, August 13, 2007

To All Those History Majors

Glenn Greenwald:

On a different note, is the curriculum for history classes in some American states restricted to learning about Hitler and the Nazis and 1938 and Hitler and Germany? It must be, because there are many right-wing fanatics whose entire understanding of the world is reduced in every instance to that sole historical event -- as though the world began in 1937, ended in 1945, and we just re-live that moment in time over and over and over:

Love war? You are Churchill, a noble warrior. Oppose war? You're Chamberlain, a vile appeaser. And everyone else is Hitler. That, more or less, composes the full scope of "thought" among this strain on the right.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Failure to Communicate

America's most trusted news source, MTV, on the draft, 10/28/04:

In response, Bush has addressed the rumor publicly: once during the second debate, and also on the campaign trail. During a speech in Ohio on Wednesday, he quickly quashed any proposed return of the draft: "There will be no draft," he said. "The all-volunteer army will remain an all-volunteer army."

The new War Czar on the draft, 8/10/07:

"And I can tell you, this has always been an option on the table. But ultimately, this is a policy matter between meeting the demands for the nation's security by one means or another," Lute added in his first interview since he was confirmed by the Senate in June.

In Case You Wondered

I'm bracing, coping, expecting delays, congested, jammin', having nightmares, and ready for some havoc playing.

My Favorite Kind of Article

One with bad news for McCain and amazing news for Obama...

The McCain numbers are striking. As recently as May, he led the pack in some Iowa polls. Just three months later, his support has dipped into the low single-digits. "We knew McCain was falling rapidly and other polls have showed him falling into the single digits, but we could not find Republican caucus-goers who said they were going to support McCain," said Redlawsk. "It was pretty shocking just how far down he was."

Perhaps most surprising of all, Obama actually finished third as the preferred general election candidate of registered Republicans, at 6.7 percent, behind Romney (21.8 percent), and Giuliani (10 percent), but ahead of Thompson (5.2 percent) and McCain (1.8 percent).

The Wedding Present vs. The Beach Boys

The Wedding Present -- Caroline No (Beach Boys Cover)

Buy all The Wedding Present CDs here.

Oldie But A Goodie

Now, this isn't as shocking as "He Hit Me (It Felt Like A Kiss) but this one will get the eyes rolling big time...

Outside of that though, the song is 2 minutes of Phil Spector produced Wall of Sound goodness...which is also about the length of the career of the Four Pennies.

Four Pennies -- If The Boy's Happy (The Girl's Happy Too)

You can't buy any Four Pennies (US) CDs anywhere but you can buy The Four Pennies (UK) here.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Thoughts on Blur

You know, it is getting to the point where an outsider has to wonder is/was Britpop's 2nd greatest band, Blur, less than the sum of it's parts?

You have Damon Albarn putting out two great Gorillaz CDs and almost silently (at least here in the United States) you have Graham Coxon releasing a slew of solo CDs which are just as good (if not better) than some of the Blur albums...(Modern Life if Rubbish and 13, I'm looking at you...)

Buy all of Graham Coxon's solo albums here.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Interpol B-side

This is the instrumental b-side of the Heinrich Maneuver single...

Interpol -- Mammoth

Buy everything Interpol here.

Brainstem of the Day

Camille Paglia, discusses the death of art films and things she has no clue about:

The waning of art film has been just one of the bitter cultural disappointments that the baby-boom generation has had to endure. Rock music, which exploded in the artistic renaissance of the '60s and '70s, seems to have exhausted its formulas. At the moment, hip-hop and disco-derived dance music enjoy far greater prestige everywhere.

Someday Glastonbury

Someday I will make it the Glastonbury Festival...until then:

The Killers -- Mr. Brightside (Live at Glastonbury 2005)

The Kaiser Chiefs -- Everyday I Love You Less and Less (Live at Glastonbury 2005)

Bloc Party -- Helicopter (Live at Glastonbury 2005)

Doves -- There Goes The Fear (Live at Glastonbury 2003)

Buy everything Killers related here.
Kaiser Chiefs Online Store here.
Get Bloc Party merch here.
Support Doves here.

The Raconteurs

This is a little dated, but work on the 2nd Raconteurs album has begun is a BBC session version of the best song from their first album.

Buy everything related to The Raconteurs here.

Karl & Kirby

As a life long Twins fan I am experiencing shock and awe this morning:

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Neptune Marquee #2: Sunshine

The other side says "Sunshine: Neither Eternal Nor Spotless."

Previously: Sicko

Tokyo Police Club

Tokyo Police Club -- Box

Buy Tokyo Polic Club music, shirts, and pins here.

Hitler's Playlist

From the Guardian:

Lew Besymenski was a Soviet intelligence officer who helped to interrogate captured Nazi generals. He found the record collection in Hitler's chancellery in May 1945 when he was ordered to make a search shortly after Berlin fell to the Red army. The discs were packed in crates - most likely for an evacuation to Hitler's Alpine retreat on the Obersalzberg. All were marked with the label Führerhauptquartier - Führer's HQ; in the event, Hitler elected to stay and fight to the end.

Monday, August 6, 2007

You Say "Jens", I Say "Yens"

The only reason I am a huge fan of Jens Lekman is because of music blogs. Sixeyes to be specific.
There is no one else out there like Jens and if you don't believe me, just listen for yourself...Jens offers a bunch of free mp3s over at his website.

This one is his first song from his new album, Night Falls Over Kortedala, which will be out October 6th in North America and September 6th in Scandinavia...

Jens Lekman -- Friday Night At The Drive-In Bingo

Buy Jens Lekman music here.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Good Morning

Buy Dntel music here.

Voxtrot Summer

My favorite track from my favorite album this summer, Voxtrot's Voxtrot album.

Buy Voxtrot music here.
UPDATE: Paste agrees with me I guess:
"Firecracker" has a gnarly distorto opening, then rides a svelte rhythm and
delay-drenched guitars toward an incandescent pop-rock chorus; it's the closest
song on the album to the Voxtrot I loved.

Friday, August 3, 2007

2 From Youth Group

One of the travesties of world is that Youth Group have not had a #1 album yet and they are mostly unknown now that The OC has been cancelled...they have two official releases here in North America and a bunch more in Australia...

Youth Group -- Sorry (from Casino Twilight Dogs)
Buy all the Youth Group CDs here.

Kasabian Flashback

Here is their first video for the song "Club Foot" which is dedicated to Jan Palach, a Czech student, who burned himself alive in 1968 to protest the Russian reaction to the Prague Spring.

Empire Strikes Back

I have only recently started to really investigate the 2nd Kasabian album, Empire, even though it came out last September...I loved their first album a little bit more than everyone else I think but with Album #2, I wasn't "ready" for it's hard to explain...anyway, the time has is Kasabian with a little support from a string section...

Buy music from Kasabian here.

It's Called "Phoning It In"

This little tidbit is from

The broken computers prompted protracted squabbles among lawmakers Friday
afternoon. Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.) questioned how they could vote if they were unable to see the usual tally. Lawmakers are accustomed to seeing how their colleagues are voting while they mull their own decision.

Burning Photographs

I've been returning to this album a lot recently and although Mr. Adams is in my top 10 favorite musicians, it is the only one of his albums that I can listen to straight through without skipping a song or two.

Buy Ryan Adams music here.

Oscar Lives Here

Washington: on the cutting edge of graffiti laws.

Troubled Bridge Over Troubled Water

Every newspaper is writing about bridges this week and the Seattle Times has some bad news for the people of Tacoma:
"The bridge, in my opinion, is beyond repair," said Jugesh Kapur, chief bridge engineer at the state Department of Transportation. "We really want to shut it down because we are taking a risk every day by keeping that bridge open."

There Are Limits...

This is from regarding the Yearly Kos Convention and Democratic opposition research :

Not that there aren’t limits.

After Gehrke and Mehta were finished, a man raised his hand and said that John McCain was a POW but that he never had psychological counseling to deal with post-traumatic stress syndrome, and this could be used against him.

The people in the room reacted to this with silence. Some shook their heads.

“Let’s be very, very careful,” Mehta said. “Some people say, ‘Romney is a Mormon and McCain was a POW.’ But let’s remember that [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid is a Mormon, too. We are the party of religious tolerance. Other people say, ‘Rudy Giuliani lived with a gay couple.’ Great, but we don’t think there is anything wrong with that. So let’s use things in the right way.”

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Bananas & Terrorists

The Washington Post:

On April 24, 2003, a board member of Chiquita International Brands disclosed to a top official at the Justice Department that the king of the banana trade was evidently breaking the nation's anti-terrorism laws.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Brainstem #1

In honor of Atrios' regular feature, Wanker of the Day, I will have Brainstem of the Day...

Michael Savage.

Further Thoughts

I've been thinking about gun violence and the events of Monday and I am struck by the idea that the man who was shot four times didn't die...the ambitious member of my graduate program (health care administration) put together a book club which will begin meeting when school begins in September and for the first book we are reading Better by Atul one of the chapters he tackles the improved nature of military hospitals and also the incorrect notion that a lower murder rate means that we are safer:

Little recognized is how fundamentally important the medical system is -- and not just the enemy's weaponry -- in determining weather or not someone dies. U.S. homicide rates, for example, have dropped in recent years to levels unseen since the min-1960s. Yet aggravated assaults, particularly with firearms, have more than tripled during that time period. A key mitigating factor appears to be the trauma care provided: more people maybe be getting shot, but doctors are saving even more of them. Mortality from gun assaults has fallen from 16 percent in 1964 to 5 percent today.

The Return of the Return of the Rentals

Matt Sharp's best band (excluding Weezer) is back with a new EP, "The Last Little Life" that comes out in physical form on August 14th (you can download it now at is one from their debut album "The Return of the Rentals."

Buy Rentals music here. Buy a Rentals frisbee here.

Monday, Monday

After work on Monday I was waiting for the bus as usual when the bus I usually take just drove on by my stop without slowing down. As they went by what I saw looked something like this:

The same thing happened with bus #2 and #3...they were full and they weren't stoppin'. My work is on 9th Avenue in downtown Seattle and I knew my bus route follows 3rd Avenue before turning towards my direction. Walking the six blocks would take some time but in the long run it might save me if the buses just continued to drive by.

I made my way to 3rd Avenue and was pleasantly reminded how many psychopaths inhabit Seattle during the summer and how many seem to love hanging around the Pikes Place Market area. I made my way to a bus stop out in front of the Macy's and right across from a McDonald's.

I got done with work that day at 4:45pm. By the time I missed three buses and made it to Macy's it was 5:45pm. If I had been a little less patient and started walking right after missing that first bus, I could have nearly made it on time for the attempted murder that happened at that bus stop. Read about it here. More here.

It is these little twists of fate that I think about a lot here in Seattle where things like this happen more often than they should.