Tuesday, November 27, 2007


These next couple weeks will be a busy one for me with papers, presentations, and reading so posting will be cut back on my part...until things return to normal enjoy these selections...

Dan Wilson -- Breathless
Dan was the singer from the great Minnesota band Semisonic and he just released his first solo album Free Life.

Neil Young -- From Hank to Hendrix (from MTV Unplugged)
From Neil's MTV Unplugged concert it can originally be found on the Harvest Moon album.

Orba Squara -- Perfect Timing This Morning (iPhone theme)
Here that semi-annoying theme song to those iPhone commercials...with lyrics...

Rollins Band -- Liar
A forgoten 1990's classic...from the Weight album.

Shout Out Louds -- Streams of Whiskey
This is a b-side on the Tonight I Have To Leave It EP...the Swedes do their best Irish impersonation.

The Moldy Peaches -- Lucky Number Nine
The Moldy Peaches debut was my favorite album of to The Strokes' debut.

The Turtles -- Me About You
This is my favorite Turtles' song that never became a can be found on pretty much any Turtles collection or Happy Together.

Vince Guaraldi -- Christmas Time Is Here (Vocal Version)
Christmas break can't get here fast enough...this can be found on a Charlie Brown Christmas.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Best Wishes to a Player I Can't Stand

As a devoted Cowboys fan, it isn't hard to fathom why I would despise the Washington Redskins. It is an organization run by a midget tyrant whose sole goal in life is to be the George Steinbrenner of the NFL. They have the worst team name in professional sports and have been a thorn in the Cowboys side since time and memorial.

And up until today, Sean Taylor was the epitome of what I hated about the Skins. He was a cocky player with a nasty reputation coming out of The U. He didn't have the solid game to match the hype. But what happened today was tragic and I sincerely wish him nothing but the best. Right now, his biggest battle will simply be surviving. But if he is able to play again, I will stand up and cheer for his courage....and then hope that Jason Witten flattens him on the way to the end zone.

Read this blog for the best updates on the situation.

UPDATED: RIP Sean Taylor.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Craig Kilborn

Gin-Soaked Craig Kilborn Shows Up Broke, Homeless At <i>SportsCenter</i> Studio

The Onion

Gin-Soaked Craig Kilborn Shows Up Broke, Homeless At SportsCenter Studio

BRISTOL, CT—Craig Kilborn, the former host of The Late Late Show With Craig Kilborn, actor from the film The Benchwarmers, and SportsCenter anchor from 1993 to 1997, was spotted at 5:30 a.m. this morning broke,...

Dirty Pretty Things -- Gin & Milk
From the Waterloo to Anywhere album.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Young Dudes

I'm hearing some early and late Primal Scream influences (I'm talking Screamadelica era Primal Creamhere and not Evil Heat the type album they did for a few years) in the Young Dudes and I like it a lot. This is the first single from their debut album.

From the Riot City Blues album.

And although I have no evidence Young Dudes derive their name from this song, here is a 1970's classic:

From the All the Young Dudes album.

Presidential Photo of the Day

President Bush:

Neil Young & Crazy Horse -- Danger Bird
From the Zuma album.

The Liars -- Do As the Birds, Eat the Remains
From the Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack EP.

Christmas Ideas

Lego Imperial Walker:

Ash -- Walking Barefoot
From the Free All Angels album.

Ben Folds Five -- Eddie Walker
From the Naked Baby Photos album.

The Beach Boys -- Walk On By (Mono Version)
A bonus track from the Friends/ 20/20 double album.

The Kingsnakes -- Walk of Shame
The Kingsnakes are from my hometown of Eau Claire, WI and are now known as the Eau Claire Blues All-Stars.

Remember the Beer Next Time

Thanks to my buddy Dan for forwarding this article to doesn't look good the motherland...

WAUPACA, Wis. — A man who was upset with his wife for not buying beer took
vengeance by shooting one of the family's two pet goats, prosecutors say.

Peter W. Mischler, 48, was charged this week in Circuit Court with mistreatment of animals, possession of a firearm while intoxicated and disorderly conduct with a dangerous weapon.

The complaint said Mischler came home Saturday from hunting and became angry with his 22-year-old daughter for letting the goats out and making a mess. While she was talking on the phone to her mother, authorities said, he told her to tell his wife to bring home some beer, but his wife refused.

He then threatened to shoot the goats, according to the complaint.

After his wife arrived home, she and the daughter heard four gunshots and went outside and found one of the two goats with its entrails hanging out, authorities said. They said that goat had to be killed later by a sheriff's deputy.

A judge scheduled a hearing for Tuesday.

Beck -- Beercan
From the Mellow Gold album.

Siberian -- Belgian Beer and Catholic Girls
From the With Me (Dig) album.

The Simpsons -- It Was A Very Good Beer
From the The Simpsons: Songs in the Key of Springfield soundtrack.

Abandon All Hope

For the first time in several years, I didn't get up early today and hit the stores in the early AM of Black's not from a lack of desire; I would have gone if there was anything worth risking my life for...

Bruce Springsteen -- Land of Hopes & Dreams (Live)
From The Essential Bruce Springsteen collection.

Oasis -- I Hope, I Think, I Know
From the Be Here Now album.

The Who -- My Generation/Land of Hope and Glory
From A Quick One album.


Another week, another feel good win. But it all comes down to next week's Cowboys game. I think I will be writing my Congressman that the game will be on a Thursday night on the frickin' NFL network which my cable doesn't have...

Jimmy Eat World -- Ten
From the Clarity album.

Led Zeppelin -- Ten Years Gone
From the Physical Graffiti album.

R.E.M. -- Rotary Ten
From the Dead Letter Office album.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Proof That Norwegians Can Be Evil

As I prepare to go home for Thanksgiving and see my family, I think of my full-blooded Norwegian grandfather. And when I think of him, I think of lutefisk. And then my gag reflex kicks in.

For those of you not from the upper Midwest (WI, MN, IA, ND, SD, etc.), you probably have no idea what lutefisk is. Here is your first idea of what you are dealing with. Wisconsin state statutes specifically state that lutefisk is not a hazardous substance (see Wis. Stat. 101.58(2)(j)(2)(f)). When state laws are necessary to say that your ethnic delicacy is not the equivalent of pesticides or nuclear waste, you begin to see where the problem lies.

Take a perfectly good piece of cod. Soak it in water until it has the consistency of jelly. Soak it in lye. Soak it in water again. Cook it in a pan. Pass out from the smell, which approximates a chemical spill at an animal rendering plant. Wake up from the smell. Try to eat it by just swallowing little bits, hoping that if you don't chew it, you won't taste it. A sickened grimace crosses your face as you realize that you can still taste it.

There is your Cliff Notes recipe for lutefisk. And now you understand why aquavit is necessary. Clay Shirky put it best.

To understand the relationship between aquavit and lutefisk, here's an experiment you can do at home. In addition to aquavit, you will need a slice of lemon, a cracker, a dishtowel, ketchup, a piece of lettuce, some caviar, and a Kit-Kat candy bar.

1. Take a shot aquavit.
2. Take two. (They're small.)
3. Put a bit of caviar on a bit of lettuce.
4. Put the lettuce on a cracker.
5. Squeeze some lemon juice on the caviar.
6. Pour some ketchup on the Kit-Kat bar.
7. Tie the dishtowel around your eyes.

If you can taste the difference between caviar on a cracker and ketchup on a Kit-Kat while blindfolded, you have not had enough aquavit to be ready for lutefisk. Return to step one.

I love my grandfather. But not enough to eat lutefisk.

Holidays In The Sun -- The Sex Pistols

Mean, Mean World -- John Lee Hooker

"He's got the leg into it......"

If you know anything about IU football, you know that this video needs no introduction.

RIP, Coach Hep.

The Clash of the Titans

I suspect that this post might make Blugold Matt regret bringing me on....

But I cannot wait for Thanksgiving and even more so for the following Thursday when the Green Bay Packers actually have to play a good team when they travel to Big D to take on my Dallas Cowboys.

Even though the teams have the same record, the Packers are having a magical season. GB's season feels like something out of a movie as a good team is getting all of the right breaks. Cowboys fans knew that this team had potential to be very good, but there were plenty of question marks (especially Tony Romo). Essentially, this Cowboys team has been living up to its best case scenario. I can't wait to see the two teams meet. I'll save the story of how a teenager living in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, ends up becoming a rabid Cowboys fan for another post.

TANGENT ALERT: Wade Phillips has been the most pleasant surprise for me. He is currently throwing a monkey wrench in my theory about teams that hire Larry Brown in the NBA or Bill Parcells in the NFL. My Brown/Parcells theory is that when teams hire them, they are essentially making a Faustian bargain. The team will get better immediately and will contend for titles. Considering where the Cowboys were as the Dave Campo era ended, I was happy to make that bargain. But the guy that follows Brown or Parcells is essentially set up for failure. If the next coach is a relaxed players coach, the team will treat him the way a classroom of sixth graders treat a nice guy substitute teacher when their strict teacher is out sick (think Pete Carroll with the Pats and to a lesser extent, Flip Saunders with the Pistons). And if the new coach is a tough guy type, the players won't respect him. They were willing to put up with Parcells/Brown because they knew that it was worth it. But the new guy likely hasn't proven himself and the players aren't going to take more yelling from a guy who isn't as smart as Brown/Parcells. At least for now, Wade Phillips seems to have busted this theory and I'm not sure how he has done it. Then again, Pete Carroll went 10-6 his first year with the Pats. END TANGENT.

This week, the Cowboys essentially get a bye week as the 2-8 New Yawk Jets, led by whistle blowing coach Eric Mangini, come to Dallas. Meanwhile, the Packers face a 6-4 Detroit team whose season is in some turmoil. Both make rather disappointing preludes to the big event.

The Race Is On -- George Jones

Welcome to Paradise -- Green Day

Dead Solid Perfect

We have something for everyone in this post.

College football fans: Read this article by ESPN's Ivan Maisel. It is an appreciation of one of the greatest sportswriters and college football fans to ever walk the Earth, Dan Jenkins.

Non-college football fans: You can enjoy Dan Jenkins' Ten Stages of Drunkenness.

1. Witty and Charming
2. Rich and Powerful
3. Benevolent
4. Clairvoyant
5. Fuck Dinner
6. Patriotic
7. Crank up the Enola Gay
8. Witty and Charming, Part II
9. Invisible
10. Bulletproof

Monday, November 19, 2007

Presidential Photo of the Day

Check out all of David Hume Kennerly's photos from the Ford years here.

Nice Work If You Can Get It -- Thelonious Monk

Face Off, Newsweek Style

Newsweek has new contributors as Karl Rove and "Kos" (Markos Moulitsas) have penned their inaugural columns for the magazine. A Cliff Notes version recap.

Rove: Hillary will likely be the Democratic nominee. She is tough, smart and focused. The Republican nominee cannot expect to win just by being "Not Hillary," and must create a narrative about who he is and how he would govern.

Kos: The Bush Record is abysmal and the Democrats need to run on it and club the Republican nominee with it. Unless the Democrats get soap opera-style amnesia, this will not be a problem.

Verdict: I think Rove's article does a better job with dealing with the political realities of 2008. He talks about the Republican will need to show the voters who he is and where he stands, even if his stance is unpopular. He also said that normally Republican issues like crime and welfare won't have much salience in 2008, so the nominee better be prepared to talk about the rising cost of education and health care, which are normally Dem issues.

The Democrat can not run solely as "I'm against Bush." Political campaigns are as much about the future, if not more, than about the past. In some ways, every campaign turns out to be "how can we rectify the failings of the last president." We elected Reagan because he wasn't a wimp. We elected Clinton because he understood how domestic issues affected every day Americans. We elected Bush II because he campaigned as a Clinton-style moderate who would keep it in his pants. So the Democratic nominee will have to show the personal qualities that make him/her different from the current occupant. Simply running against the Bush record doesn't do that.

Kos does not deal with how the nominee can create a narrative of who they will be. The better strategy with the Bush Record is to set up situations where the press asks the GOP nominee, "Do you agree with the Bush Administration on X," and let the press drag down the Republican with the comparisons while the Democrat articulates his/her vision for America. The Bush Record is a good weapon for the Democrats, but Kos' article makes it sound like the only weapon.

Business as Usual -- Blues Traveler

Politician -- Cream

A Blast From The Packers' Past

Remember when the Packers drafted Tony instead of Barry Sanders, Deion Sanders, and Derrick Thomas?

From the Release the Stars album.

Yip Yips

The New York Times has an interesting article about the arrival on DVD of the first episodes of Sesame Street and the shock and horror that a parental advisory will appear saying that these episodes are not really for kids.

The first season of Sesame Street came out in 1969 and I really didn't start watching until the early 80's. Yet, I remember being terrified by some of the skits on there at the time. For example, there is this skit, titled by fans as "The Yip Yips Meet the Telephone."

This is my warning to you, this video is the Sesame Street version of the video in the movie The Ring.

Where was my warning Jim Henson? Where?

The Blakes -- Streets
From The Blakes album.

The Kinks -- Deadend Street
From The Kink Kronikles double album.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Secret Service Part III

Part II is here and Part I is here.

Moving away a little bit from the original topic, to just John McCain in general, in the eyes liberals it is a case of "what could have been." In 2000, he was a Republican that we could almost feel comfortable with. In 2004, he was possibly our Vice Presidential candidate for a second or two. And then he went and did this:

His endorsement of President Bush after what his campaign did to him in South Carolina in 2000 is one of those moments that forever changed our attitudes toward him. It's a matter of self dignity. And for McCain it was a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" moment. He would have to sacrifice some independent votes but through his support of Bush he would be the heir apparent and hell, maybe even pick up Bush's endorsement. And that's the way it played out at first in terms of the conventional wisdom of the Chris Matthews of the world about McCain in early 2007...but then they actually got around to asking what Republican voters were looking hasn't been McCain but there is time for things to change...and it might start tomorrow with the endorsement from 9/11 Commission Chairperson Tom Kean.

Embrace -- Nature's Law
Embrace -- Sainted
Both tracks are from the This New Day album.

Secret Service, Part II

Blugold Matt,

I don't think McCain's stance comes from a desire to project a false machismo. To whatever extent he has changed his positions, he has never changed his fundamental persona. He had the same position in 2000, as evidenced by him turning it down after winning New Hampshire. And I think he understands the extent to which we value stable leadership. I think it comes from a fatalism that is acquired after spending 6 years in a prisoner of war camp.

Serious presidential candidates have come to grips with the idea that their public profile is raised to such a point that they can be killed anywhere at anytime. The Secret Service is the best trained and best equipped security team in the history of the world. But they couldn't stop Oswald (or whatever hair-brained conspiracy you can conjure up) from killing Kennedy in Dallas. They couldn't stop Hinckley from shooting Reagan. A determined assassin, who is either very prepared or very lucky, can kill a candidate or president and there is nothing we can do to stop it.

Being a prisoner of war, where your fate is entirely in the hands of your captors and you have that same powerlessness, likely fuels McCain's view on this matter. It gives him a fatalism about being able to prevent a determined man from ending his life. I'm sure that McCain will still have the Secret Service investigate any threats and provide protection for his family -- President McCain's* daughter would have some new friends at school -- but how does having a massive security detail of 50 SUVs prevent the protectee from getting killed? The article makes clear that he isn't waving off all protections. He is just saying that it is overkill and that all the protections in the world don't protect you from a sniper. I think it is an interesting view.


* -- I just like typing President John McCain. It sounds so much better than President Hillary Clinton or President Rudolph Guiliani.

Beach Boys -- Heroes and Villains

The Clash -- Living in Fame

Chuck Norris & Mike Huckabee

Not much more needs to be added to this video:

Chuck Berry -- Johnny B. Goode
From The Definitive Collection.

Mike Patton -- Six Pack (Blag Flag Cover)
From the Rise Above: 24 Blag Flag Songs to Benefit the West Memphis Three compilation.

Secret Service

I know I am blogging on dangerous ground as fellow contributor CS is a supporter of John McCain but I can't pretend that this article from the Washington Post's campaign blog "The Trail" is a good idea. Here is a segment of the article:

"It's my intention, if we win this nomination, to reject Secret Service," he said during one of his many conversations with reporters on his Straight Talk Express this weekend. "Why do I need it?"

He adds: "The day that the Secret Service can assure me that if we're driving in the motorcade and there's a guy in a rooftop with a rifle, that they can stop that guy, then I'll say fine. But the day they tell me, 'well, we can't guarantee it,' then fine, I'll take my chances."

McCain rejected Secret Service protection in 2000, after winning the New Hampshire primary. But he wants to go further, rejecting the massive security apparatus should he become president.

"It's the inconvenience," McCain said. "It's the inconvenience it causes people. It's a waste of the taxpayers money. It's just everything I don't like."

Now I'm not sure how much this is McCain trying to be a Republican tough guy and giving a little "bring it on" to potential assassins versus just being incredibly naive about how important a stable leadership is to a democratically elected government of any state, let alone the United States. It's a surprisingly stupid position to have and it makes me seriously doubt his ability to assess threats and dangers that may not be so "clear and present."

Any thoughts CS?

Guided By Voices -- Secret Stars (Live)
From the Live From Austin, Texas double live CD.

Feist -- Secret Heart
From the Let It Die album.


This video has been viewed over 65 million times and I had never heard of it before until I tried to find something possibly relating to this Killers song that I love. What does that say about me? And, more importantly, where are all my friends forwarding me these pop-culturally important moments?

The Killers -- Where the White Boys Dance
From the Sawdust album.

Piano Driven

In brief, Sean Jackson is new to me and I really like this single a lot.

From the album For You.

Sky Blue Sky Bonus EP

If you bought Sky Blue Sky don't forget to get your free bonus EP that Wilco are giving away currently. Here are all the details and directions on how to get it...

Weezer News

Let's do the Weezer news rundown:

1. Lead singer Rivers Cuomo will be releasing a collection of demos dating from 1992-2007 on December 18th which will make a nice Christmas gift for myself...

2. Album #6 will be ready to roll in April 2008...which will make a nice birthday gift for myself.


As Brett Favre (age: 38) battled Vinny Testaverde (age: 44) today it was a match up for the record books as two quarterbacks this close to collecting social security had never met before...The miracle season continued as the Packers wiped the floor with the Panthers...
Up next for Boys in Green, the Lions on Thanksgiving Day...a win would essentially lock up the division title.
And one more thing...yes, that is the typical size of the lunch that kids in Wisconsin eat.
From the 9 album.

From The Beginning Stages Of... album.

From the Nine Black Alps EP.

From the Into the Afterlife album.

No Recess

This week while I am eating turkey, watching the Packers crush the Lions, and preparing for my 5am shopping spree at Best Buy on Friday, the US Senate will still be in session…well sort of…nobody will be there passing bills and raising taxes but they will be “in session” so President Bush cannot use his recess appointment powers…These are some tactics that any parliamentarian would love.

Nirvana – School (Live)
From the From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah album.
Here is a photo of the muddy banks of the Wishkah River that I took in Aberdeen, Washington (Kurt Cobain's hometown)...the bridge in the photo is the bridge made famous in "Something In The Way."

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Moving On Face Bethel

The mighty Blugolds of UW-Eau Claire moved on today with a 24-20 victory over St. Norbert in the NCAA Division III playoffs. The last time the Blugolds were in the DIII playoffs was in 1998; I was a lowly freshman at UWEC and Blugold Matt was a sophomore. Those Blugolds were Cardiac Kids, edging past Central and St. John's before falling in the national semifinals. Here's hoping this year's edition can keep going with a win over Bethel next Saturday.

Dropkick Murphys -- The Gauntlet

Queen -- Play The Game

Friday, November 16, 2007

I Want My MTV -- For Free

In the ever-fluctuating music industry, I am probably safe in making the following two predictions:

1. In 10 years, people will still listen to music.
2. The chief methods of delivering that music will look much different in 2017 than in 2007.

The current methods favored by the music industry, which would be an almost pre-internet delivery using CDs, cannot sustain itself. Even as the RIAA tries to crack down, it can only nab a few thousand people out of the millions who illegally share music. No one ever believes they will get busted and statistically speaking, it is highly unlikely that they ever will. While a small percentage of people might be influenced not to pirate music because of the threat of being sued, most people fall into the two traditional camps: "It's stealing" v. "Who cares? The labels and artists make enough money as it is." We've heard the arguments before, there is no need to rehash them.

SMALL TANGENT: I don't truly fall into either category. While I will admit to having pirated some music, I generally don't because I don't trust most music available via download programs. There are enough Trojan horse viruses lurking in MP3s that are put out there on LimeWire, BitTorrent, etc., that it is safer to get the music through trusted sources. I suppose it can make me feel virtuous, but if there was a program that gave me absolute certainty that the files were safe and of a high-quality, I can't say that I wouldn't regularly use it. END SMALL TANGENT

The music industry can continue to use a kids' sandbox bucket to clean up a raging flood or it can adapt. The situation is probably most analogous to the dotcom bubble. For all of the hype of different programs and methods, the music industry is still sorting out what works and what doesn't. The Radiohead "In Rainbows" experiment is a perfect example. If the new listeners and buzz about the album gets it increased radio play and brings more people to the concerts and helps pad the bottom line, you will see other groups dipping their toes in the water and following suit. But it is going to take continued trial and error to find a new method of delivery that recognizes that many music consumers aren't willing to pay for music anymore -- at least not the type of music they can store on their computer. Personally, I think the future will lie in giving away most music and utilizing some current forms of delivery into a hybrid system where the free stuff is a loss-leader. An artist/label will give away the music online, but the CD version might have some terrific liner notes and an extra track or two that isn't given away online. You use the free music as a way of promoting a concert tour, etc. This much is clear: instead of fighting the uphill battle to make consumers pay for digital music, the industry will need to recognize that it is not going away and use it to its advantage.

This story in the Wall Street Journal about the new music blog Rcrd Lbl (pronounced Record Label) illustrates how some artists/labels are doing just that.

Old Negro Space Program

If you haven't seen this video yet, you need to take 10 minutes out of your day and enjoy.

NSFW: Language.

What Would Potter Stewart Say About The Seeger Sessions?

"Rob, top five musical crimes perpetuated by Stevie Wonder in the '80s and '90s. Go. Sub-question: is it in fact unfair to criticize a formerly great artist for his latter day it better to burn out or fade away?"

Because I only dabble in music, I am woefully behind the times. I am sure that I am going to talk about albums and music and issues that the real music blogosphere probably hashed out long ago. My options are to shut up and let it be or I can talk about it anyways. I pick Option 2, because Option 1 would mean that I have virtually nothing to contribute to the blog except Muppets videos.

At what point does an artist get critical leeway to do vanity projects? Much like Potter Stewart and hardcore porn, it is hard to define a vanity project, but you will know it when you see it. When Springsteen did the Seeger sessions, it was Exhibit A of what a vanity project is. Bruce Springsteen singing folk songs sounds like a bad SNL skit. Springsteen's voice is clearly geared toward the classic rock that made him famous -- he has no more of the twangy acoustic voice that good folk requires than he has the ability to flap his arms and fly to the moon.

But somewhere a long the way, Springsteen earned the right to record an album with one of his idols, Pete Seeger. Again, to harken back to the pornography comparison, I don't know where/when Springsteen crossed that line where he gets that free pass, but he did. (The fact that most of the music on the Seeger sessions is almost painful to listen to didn't keep it from getting critical acclaim, but that is a story for a different post).

It isn't hard to see why artists do vanity projects. When you get to the point that you are so famous that you can meet anyone you want and you can do anything you want without having to worry if you will be forced to fire your butler, it is appealing to do things that you have always wanted to do. Bonus points if you get to hang out with your heroes while doing it.

As an aside, there is nothing wrong with a vanity project that makes legitimately good music. Even if Ray Charles hadn't earned the right long ago, his Genius Loves Company album would be exempt because it was one of the best CDs in years. The Seeger Sessions, by comparison, was not good music, but Springsteen earned the right to explore those kinds of projects.

But where is that line that makes it acceptable for an artist to do a vanity project and get a free pass? I am generally not comfortable with gut instinct tests -- indeed, many young American men and women are patrolling Baghdad right now because of a gut instinct test -- so I like some test or method of determining something. It doesn't need to be a precise mathematical formula, just a list of factors. But if you started listing artists and asking if they had earned the right to do a vanity project and get that "you earned the right to do what you want seal of approval," I would only go with my gut. Elton John? Sure, he's paid his dues. Gnarls Barkley? Uh, no. Lets work on getting a second album out. Eminem? Ehhhhh.....God, that would be a tough one.

It's hard to even think of what factors would be used in this test. I can pretty much concede that if you have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, you can probably get a free pass to do vanity projects -- you've done your time, you've proven yourself. I wish I could end this post with a flourish, where I wittily answer the questions I have posed. But I've got nothing. I'm thinking out loud more than anything else and if anyone can rescue me from the recesses of my mind -- a very scary place to be -- I would forever in your debt, I Dream of Jeannie-style.

Ray Charles & Van Morrison -- Crazy Love

Bruce Springsteen -- Froggie Went A Courtin

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I've been having a pretty stressful week at school but every once in a while I will remember that the Packers are 8-1 and all is well in the world.

From the Down in Albion album.

From the Help: A Day in the Life charity compilation.

From the self-titled "Pink album"

Fromo the So-Called Chaos album.

Frank Sinatra Lives -- and he Smells Like Teen Spirit

I begin with a word to the wise. If you want to build up your music collection on your computer and don't feel like earning the pricey wrath of the RIAA, there is a simple solution: your public library. Nearly every public library has a CD collection. Go there, check out what they have and try some different things out. It is a no-risk way to explore music. While you probably won't find new releases, it is a great way to find things you never knew existed.

Had it not been for the Monroe County Public Library, this blog post would not exist.

At first glance, the CD seemed utterly ridiculous. Insane. A practical joke. Paul Anka would take some 80s hits, set them to swing music and belt them out. He called it Rock Swings -- ugh. Hasn't Canada inflicted enough pain on us already? Smells Like Teen Spirit sung by a Frank Sinatra-wannabe. Good Lord.

If you know me, you know what happened next. I checked it out. I figured that it would be laughably, demonstrably, memorably awful and I could torture my friends by having my laptop blare the swing version of "Eye of the Tiger." Yes, I am a horrible person.

In spite of itself, it works. I can't fully explain it. Anka has an infectious style, very Sinatra-like. He knows how crazy this album is and is enjoying himself. You will play it and crank up the volume. A campy style works when the performer knows it is campy and rolls with it and has fun.

TANGENT ALERT: The A-Team was pure 1980s camp, but because it was done with a wink-and-a-nod and knew exactly what it was, so it was enjoyable. It didn't take long to get the timing of the show. The first two segments set up the problem faced by the helpless victims and the A-Team's role. We quickly saw the A-Team get into trouble and the bad guys (whether it was the crooked businessman who the A-Team was after or the U.S. Army that was chasing them) would pull the same mistake as most Bond villains and either admit their evil to the A-Team or not actually kill the A-Team, deciding to lock them up and take care of them later -- in both cases, because they thought they had the A-Team pinned. The A-Team would regroup and, in a wonderful three minute-montage, would knock everyone out and deliver the bad guys into the long arms of the law before evading those same arms. When Hannibal quipped, "I love it when a plan comes together," it was a wink-and-nod at the audience, because a plan always came together. The show wasn't enjoyable because of the plots -- we always knew that the A-Team would be victorious, come back in one piece and avoid the hapless Army pursuer (Col. Decker was always my favorite). We didn't watch for what happened, but for how it was pulled off and for the joy/familiarity of the characters -- they have a charm that makes them irresistible (they would have loved this video). Compare this kind of camp to Walker, Texas Ranger. They share the same general outline (first two segments set up the problem, third one sees heroes get into deep water, fourth segment sees heroes beat bad guys, fifth segment is the aftermath), but Walker treats the plot as paramount rather than the deus ex machina for seeing our heroes in action. Walker actually expects the audience to be in suspense about whether Walker and Trivette will live to see another day. The distinction between the two explains why the A-Team's intentional campiness is enjoyable, while the laughs that come from Walker are purely unintentional. This album is definitely more A-Team than Walker. END TANGENT.

The songs were very well selected -- they really do work in this setting. I was listening on my iPod on the way home from work and put It's My Life by Bon Jovi and then It's My Life by Paul Anka on back to back and was struck at how both work when you imagine different situations. The angry defiance of the Bon Jovi version that made it an anthem for every rebellious 80s teenager is turned into a Rat Pack style bravado. It has the same underlying "you don't control me" vibe, but the delivery makes all the difference. Imagine a teenager yelling at his parents from the top of the stairs versus Frank Sinatra telling off a broad. I keep coming back to Sinatra, but there really isn't any other comparison. The album is so filled with his cool braggadocio that if Old Blue Eyes wasn't dead, I'd suspect him of singing it and using Paul Anka as a pseudonym.

The best song on the album is his cover of Tears in Heaven. Most covers of the Clapton classic go with a spare acoustic instrumental sound. Anka keeps the swing music, but the sound works. Not all swing/jazz/big band is Dean Martin singing Ain't That a Kick in the Head. It is quite capable of slow, sad songs and this one The "time can bring you down" opening lines were done masterfully and the music evoked the right mixture of melancholy. If even if you never heard any of the lyrics, it would have aroused the proper emotions. You could take away the lyrics and it would work as a movie soundtrack for that sorrowful moment in the plot. Anka kept the right tone, of a mourning father who lost his son, even as his version has an obviously different sound. Had Anka not struck the perfect chord, this could have turned macabre in a hurry.

The same could be said for the entire album.

P.S. Yes, I know that I am two years behind the times on this one. That's what happens when you use the public library to build your collection. The reviews on this one were pretty mixed. You have the love it group and the hate it group. I think this one gets it pretty much right.

It's My Life -- Paul Anka

It's My Life -- Bon Jovi

Tears in Heaven -- Paul Anka

Tears in Heaven -- Eric Clapton

The Suel Forrester Concert

I suppose I should write about the concert that led to me posting here.

Amos Lee was good -- you should definitely check him out. Elvis Costello was great -- sang a great combination of old (Veronica, Allison, Peace Love and Understanding) and new (he ended with a song about a war widow who questions her government, only to be labeled a traitor). I especially enjoyed his cover of Jackie Wilson Said (the Van Morrison fan in me was thrilled).

Bob Dylan? Errrr......

The man definitely has an extra charisma in person that does necessarily come through in any other medium. The man in the black hat mystery man routine only adds to his mystique. So far, so good.

And then he started to sing.

Calling it singing isn't quite accurate. I clearly recognized Spirit on the Water and I am pretty sure that I heard Subterranean Homesick Blues. Sadly, he sang more than two songs. The rest of his songs were a bluegrass sound. His singing sounded like a low, grumbling moan. I always knew that Dylan's talent did not lie in his vocal ability, but I don't think that enunciation and differentiation is too much to ask. Remember the dismal SNL skit where Chris Kattan would play Suel Forrester, who would try to talk and express an idea, but all that came out was unintelligible gibberish? Bob Dylan was Suel Forrester set to music. His band was amazing -- I spent most of Dylan's set just listening to the music and tuning him out. My companion burst out laughing after one song. I asked why she was laughing and she said, "I just realized that this all sounds the same! Every song sounds like the song he just played." We left early.

The difference between Suel Forrester and Bob Dylan is in the reaction. In the mediocre Forrester skits -- I cannot emphasize enough how unfunny these skits were -- the other characters would respond with, "What did you say? Did you just call me a prostitute?" and were bewildered as they tried to translate his gibberish. Bob Dylan's music is treated with a reverence typically reserved for religion or the Founding Fathers. The man can barely sing, but we are somehow supposed to feel honored simply to be in his presence. We should not expect good music, but be content to enjoy a cultural experience.

In sports, there is always a never-ending debate about when a legend should hang it up. It is said that our memories should not be tainted by watching Willie Mays limp in centerfield in a Mets uniform or Michael Jordan being Earth-bound because of lousy knees in a Wizards uniform or Jerry Rice catching passes for Denver. If I asked you what you thought of when I mentioned Mays, Jordan or Rice, this, this and this are more likely what comes to mind. We remember legends for what made them famous and Dylan will always be remembered for his music during the 60s, as a symbol for the counterculture movement. His accomplishments give him the leeway to sing bluegrass music and generally be unintelligible, but I can't say that I enjoyed the experience.

Don't have any Amos Lee music available. But here is a YouTube of him singing "I've Seen It All Before" on Carson Daly. And his website.

Allison -- Elvis Costello

Subterranean Homesick Blues -- Bob Dylan
(I'll give you the one song I thought I recognized)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Save the Last Dance for Doc Pomus

One of my favorite songs is "Save the Last Dance" by the Drifters. It turns out that the story behind the song is even more poignant that the song itself. From the story:

"The crowning achievement was the Drifters’ sublime “Save the Last Dance for Me.” In a story straight out of Hollywood, Pomus actually wrote the lyrics on the back of an invitation to his own wedding, remembering how it felt to watch his bride dance with his brother, knowing that he himself was unable to navigate a dance floor. “Under his pen,” Halberstadt writes, “the simple declaration of love he set out to write wavered, giving way to vulnerability and fear.”

This is a book I need to read -- Doc Pomus sounds like an incredible character. Read the whole review.

The Drifters -- Save the Last Dance For Me

The Walkmen -- Save the Last Dance For Me

Monday, November 12, 2007

Hebrew Hammer Strikes Again

As a Brewers fan who was heartbroken by the team's mid-season collapse, I can at least take some solace that the Hebrew Hammer was named the National League Rookie of the Year.

.324 batting average
34 home runs
97 RBIs
.370 on base percentage
.634 slugging

I think I am in love. Please don't break my heart, Pat Listach-style. Or Scott Podsednik-style.

G-Cel, My Time to Shine

The Worst People in the World

Read this story.

And then try to tell me why the neighbors should ever be allowed to walk the face of this Earth. Responsible parents know to be on the lookout for "To Catch a Predator" types on MySpace, Facebook, etc. Who knew that you also had to be on the lookout for manipulative neighbors?

Ugly Kid Joe, Neighbor

Every Big Guy's Dream

I realize this is from last week's Lions vs. Broncos game but I forgot to write about it earlier in the week...As the title suggests...this is every big guy's dream...

The first video is of the event in actual time...the other is set to music...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Glenn Quagmire's Kind of Guy

You can call it a double standard. In fact, it is a double standard. But I will spell it out clearly for you:

When a woman writes an article about the history of vibrators, she is empowering women to understand their sexuality.
When a man writes an article about the history of vibrators, he is a pervert.

And that is the way it should be.

I couldn't find a good, hip indie song to express this idea, so I went with a classic.

Remix Sunday

Bloc Party -- Helicopter (Whitey Remix)
From the Helicopter EP.

Clearklake -- Good Clean Fun (Nobody Remix)
From the Wonder If The Snow Will Settle EP.

Le Tigre -- Deceptacon (DFA Remix)
The original version is from the Le Tigre album.

Peter Bjorn & John -- All Those Expectations (Weak Remix)
From the bonus disk to Writer's Block.

The Futureheads -- Decent Days and Nights (Shy Child Remix)
This was a bonus track from the News & Tributes album.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

One and Done

2008 could be Barack Obama's only chance to win the presidency.

Consider the most likely outcome of the race for the 2008 Democratic party nomination: Hillary's money, name-recognition and popularity with the party's base give her the nod. Obama ends up going the way of other Democratic party priests like Gary Hart, Paul Tsongas and Bill Bradley before him. So far it doesn't sound too bad. Obama is only 46. Presumably, he would still be a viable candidate until, oh, say, 2032. But consider what happens next.

When Hillary sits down to select a running mate, Obama is the obvious pick. He's got national name recognition. He's an engaging speaker who is beloved within the party. It's a historic pick that makes the Democrats, with a woman and a black male, look like the party of the future compared to the two white men the Republicans will likely be running. He appeals to independents. He has been throughly vetted by the national press during his own run, so Eagleton-like skeletons are unlikely to appear. So she offers him the gig.

Now Obama is trapped. If he accepts, he will also have to accept the veep role: the subservient attack dog. What he says is handed down to him by the Clinton campaign. He will get to put it in his own words, but it will be whatever Hillary believes is politically advantageous to her. His political future is only a consideration to whatever extent it factors into her political future. Obama makes such an appealing pick because he has avoided being the pit bull, so his harsh words have more meaning, more punch, more oomph. And the Clinton campaign would love it, so they would keep sending him in there to deliver roundhouse kicks to the Republicans. And after four or eight years of being an attack dog, he loses his greatest asset -- the notion that he is not just another politician. And he loses his independence. A vice-presidential nominee is forever anchored to the policies of the presidential nominee. The public doesn't buy it if the former veep distances himself from those policies -- in the future, he would have almost no choice but to run as a continuation of the Clinton years. That cannot be an appealing prospect.

If he turns down the nod and Clinton loses a close race, the fingers would inevitably point Obama's way that he was the cause of her downfall. Had she only had Obama to win over independents, she would have won, the pundits will wag. Obama quickly becomes persona-non-grata in the party for giving delivering America into the evil that would be President Guiliani.

And if he turns her down and she wins, he can expect to be frozen out. The Clintons can play hardball as well as anyone; there is a definite Omerta within the FOB/FOH clan. Not only will Hillary fill the vacuum -- presidents tend to suck the oxygen out of the political room naturally, not allowing new political stars to form -- but she will see to it that the remaining oxygen does not go Obama's way. The press would instantly attach itself to any hint of animosity between the two, creating a new RFK-LBJ rivalry, where every word Obama says critical of the Clinton Administration would been as the latest broadside in a personal and political feud. And again, this robs him of the thoughtful, independent, "not just another politician" qualities that make him such an attractive candidate to begin with.

So he has two options. He can either hope that Hillary passes him over for someone with national security credentials. That isn't the best option either. Obama's campaign has already stolen away several old Clinton hands (see here) and President Hillary is unlikely to be magnanimous, so it would likely turn out very similar to the he-turns-her-down, she-wins-anyways scenario.

Or in the words of Jake Taylor, he can win the whole f**king thing.

Lucky #13

Since Hype Machine became the "new and improved Hype Machine" that it is today, I have been having trouble tracking my posts popularity...posts would appear on the "Popular" charts for a few minutes, then I would hit refresh and it would be gone all together...I had been enjoying seeing my blog on the charts mainly on the weekends as that's when I have time to post...but low and behold today we're back at lucky #13...It is still surprising to me that people read this blog...thanks!

13th Floor Elevators -- You're Gonna Miss Me

Kevin Drew -- Lucky Ones

The Verve -- Lucky Man

The Verve are back again and touring but there is nothing new for you to buy yet...until then any of these Verve albums will fit the bill. Kevin Drew, leader of the Broken Social Scene, and his first solo album can be found here. Over the past few years, the 13th Floor Elevators' albums have been reissued and remastered, check them out here.

This Shot WAS Meant for You

Have you ever said to yourself, "I wish that Dropkick Murphys sounded less Irish and went with a full-blown pirate motif?"

Then today is your lucky day. As usual, my friend BethAnn led me down a new musical path that ended with me discovering The Karkadens. BA did not directly introduce me to the Karkadens; however, she is the but-for cause.

My favorite song on their site was "They Should Die Horrible Fierty Deaths and Suffer Until Misery Drives Them to Madness." Brevity is not their strong suit.

For more from The Karkadens, go here.

4 or 5 Magicians

The outstanding English band 4 or 5 Magicians have an EP out for the single "Forever On The Edge" and they were nice enough to share a reworked version in the style of Tom Waits.

You can stream the original version on their MySpace page.

You can buy the EP here.

The Making of the Nominee, 2008*

* = Republican-side

As the conservative side of this duo, I feel compelled to cover the GOP race for president. We have a motley crew of candidates, none of whom really excite anyone. Here is the path that each can take to become the 44th President of the United States or the path to joining the ranks of Harold Stassen, Pete DuPont, Bob Dornan and Gary Bauer. And with the help of Blugold Matt, we have thought of a campaign theme song for each.

Rudy Guiliani
Best case: A top-3 finish in Iowa (with Huckabee doing well and cutting into any Romney momentum) is followed with a win in New Hampshire. The momentum carries over into S.C. and the rest of the dominoes fall. Hillary wins in Iowa, so conservatives stick with Rudy as their best chance to taking down their most feared candidate. Bernie Kerik takes a plea deal in April or so, ensuring that he stays out of the headlines during the general election. Rudy personally beheads Osama on live television before the first debate.

Worst case: Romney cruises (7+ point victory) in Iowa. Hillary finishes behind a surging Barack Obama and no longer looks like a shoo-in for the nomination. McCain rises up for one last stand in N.H., cutting into some voters who would go for Rudy. With Romney, Huckabee and McCain fighting it out, Rudy's momentum and national lead dwindle away. Pat Robertson doesn't offer him a job as a 700 Club correspondent.

You May Be Right by Billy Joel
You may be right. I might be crazy. But it just may be a lunatic that you're looking for.

Mitt Romney
Best case: Very similiar to Rudy's worst case. Huckabee's momentum gets dented and ends up sharing votes with Fred, ensuring that neither get off the ground. An easier than expected win in Iowa, combined with Hillary winning Iowa with relative ease, ensures that Romney gets the Time/Newsweek covers and the media attention and the ensuing boomlet rachets up the NH numbers. McCain gets second in NH, removing Rudy as a serious contender and McCain's lack of money means that he can't seriously compete across the country.

Worst case: A loss in Iowa. Anything less than first in Iowa makes the rest of his strategy meaningless. Whoever beat him would have all of the momentum. If it's Rudy, it means he is invincible. Anyone else probably becomes the defacto choice of the base, leaving Romney in the cold.

The New American Way by the Dropkick Murphys
Do you know what we're fighting for? I know in an instant I could lose everything I'm working toward.

Fred Thompson
Best case: Press turns on Huckabee, digging up dirt from his gubernatorial days, sending him to the back of the pack and Thompson picks up that support. Romney ends up feuding with either McCain or Rudy, turning off voters. A perfect folksy moment in a late debate -- the kind of clip that gets played ad inifintum -- vaults him to a top-3 Iowa finish and establishes him as the conservative favorite. America gets its best looking First Lady since Dolley Madison. Even though he is considered a top tier candidate, I really think his chances depend almost entirely on other candidates faltering. He doesn't control his own destiny as much as he is relying on being everyone's second-favorite candidate. And he's done nothing to dispel the notion that he wants to be president, but he isn't really willing to do the work -- he wants a coronation instead of a nomination.

Worst case: Huckabee continues to shine and Fred muddles his way to several fourth and fifth place finishes before agreeing to return to Law and Order.

Beautiful Loser by Bob Seger
He'll never make any enemies, enemies, no. He won't complain if he's caught in a freeze. He'll always ask, he'll always say please. (Stacy's Mom was the runner-up pick).

John McCain
Best case: A replay of John Kerry, circa 2004. He keeps climbing in Iowa with several strong performances. Pat Robertson : Rudy Guiliani :: Al Gore : Howard Dean (the endorsement that marked the high-water point of a doomed campaign). Rudy and Romney turn on each other as McCain escapes unscathed because the other campaigns have still left him for dead. A top-2 Iowa finish is followed by a re-creation of the 2000 magic in NH. Fred, who has always liked McCain, takes one for the team and goes nuclear on Romney in a last ditch effort to become relevant again in the race. The ensuing slime only helps McCain, who cruises the rest of the way.

Worst case: A replay of Joe Lieberman, circa 2004. No money equals bad Iowa finish and he has no momentum to succeed in NH and is out of the race before Jan. 10. Full disclosure: I am supporting McCain for the nomination. Even though I think the case for McCain is even stronger than it was in 2000, it is impossible to deny that the mojo has not carried over. So my song choice is less reflective of what I think of the man than the reality of his struggling campaign.

After The Thrill is Gone by the Eagles
Time passes and you must move on, Half the distance takes you twice as long. So you keep on singing for the sake of the song.

Mike Huckabee
Best case: Continues to peel voters away from Fred, allowing himself to take the mantle as the charismatic Southern conservative in the race. McCain, Rudy and Romney train fire on each other in Iowa, allowing Huckabee's optimistic outlook to appeal to weary voters. A stunning upset win in Iowa gets him the Time/Newsweek cover/60 Minutes profile/evening news interviews and money starts pouring in. He has a top 3 finish in NH and SC comes out for the southern favorite.

Worst case: Basically the same as Fred. Thompson rises back up (stealing away Chuck Norris' endorsement), Huckabee finishes no better than 4th in Iowa and NH and goes on the lecture circuit. Not being selected as vice president causes him to seek into a deep depression, which he attempts to cure with biscuits and gravy, fried egg sammiches with bacon and a pint of Ben and Jerry's for dessert.

Hold on Hope by Guided by Voices
Everybody's got a hold on hope. It's the last thing holding me.

Ron Paul
Best case: His money and poll numbers continue to rise. He pulls off a stunning top-3 finish in iconoclastic New Hampshire and even wins a few primaries after the nominee has all but been decided. Is given a primetime speaking slot at the convention in the hopes he won't run on a 3rd party ticket.

Worst case: He makes a major gaffe that causes his rational supporters (i.e. not 9/11 Truthers or black helicopter-ites) to abandon him and becomes a minor footnote. The United States does not return to the gold standard, giving William Jennings Bryan a small smirk from beyond the grave.

Song: Crashing Your Party by Phantom Planet
I've come to crash your party. And no, you can't decline. I've come to crash your party, girl. Cause you ruined mine.

Duncan Hunter
Best case: Finishes 5th or so in a few primaries, makes a name for himself and becomes the defacto Secretary of Defense nominee if a Republican wins.

Worst case: No one knows who he is after finishing 6th or so in a few primaries and he becomes a lobbyist for some defense contractors.

: Who Are You? by the Who.
Who are you, I really wanna know.

Tom Tancredo
Best case: All of the other candidates are killed in the 24 hours leading up to the Iowa primary and Tancredo wins by default. The same happens in the general election, giving us President Tancredo. Americans cross the Mexican border in droves, hoping to live and work illegally in a better nation than the one they came from.

Worst case: For everyone other than Tom Tancredo and Pat Buchanan, the best case scenario is the worst case scenario.

: America by Neil Diamond
On the boats and on the planes, they're coming to America.