Thursday, May 29, 2008

Whistling Dixie

You may have missed this little news item from earlier in the week:

Earle H. Hagen, who co-wrote the jazz classic "Harlem Nocturne" and composed memorable themes for "The Andy Griffith Show," "I Spy," "The Mod Squad" and other TV shows, has died. He was 88.

Hagen, who is heard whistling the folksy tune for "The Andy Griffith Show," died Monday night at his home in Rancho Mirage, his wife, Laura, said Tuesday. He had been in ill health for several months.

I have recently been working my way through all of the Andy Griffith episodes...I am about half way through the 3rd season and so I am on about episode 60 and after that many episodes in a short time period the theme song takes a sort of haunting, ghost-like quality...I could see the theme used in a frightening sort of this...the clip stops before it gets too graphic:

Here are some of Mr. Hagen's greatest works:

The Andy Griffith Show Theme

The Mod Squad Theme

I Spy Theme

Spike Jonze -- Harlem Nocturne


So my number of posts are way down and there are a lot of thing to blame...I've got two weeks left of grad school and a bad of case of "I don't give a damn-itis"...summer has really hit Seattle recently and just being outside in the sun beats being a naked mole-rat typing away at the computer...I'm moving to Lawrence, Kansas in a month or so and the job hunt is in full swing and it's hard to justify pounding out my musing when I could/should be searching for a job...

While on one of my jaunts around Seattle, I stopped by Easy Street and took some snaps of the new-ish murals they have out front...

I've got to say I was surprised by the Black Tide mural. They are not exactly the typical Easy Street band but their new album is getting a lot of love from metal fans. Here's a sample:

Black Tide -- Shockwave

Black Tide -- Black Abyss

Black Tide -- Warriors of Time
All three tracks are from the new album Light From Above.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Matlock Meets Lee Harvey Oswald

Blogs are supposed to be great for their immediacy and ability to cover breaking, current controversies.

As evidenced by my popular culture reviews on this blog, I clearly have not gotten that memo. But I press on, undeterred.

"Death Of A President" was a darling of international film critics and the most controversial film of 2006, lambasted by all sides of the U.S. political divide. Hillary Clinton described it as despicable. It was banned by several top U.S. cinema chains.

The source of the controversy is that it revolves around the assassination of President George W. Bush after a Chicago speech in October 2007. Those of you who have even a tenuous grasp on reality will realize that President Bush is alive and was not shot in Chicago in October of last year. The CGI effects are respectable enough to make the footage look realistic enough.

But the fatal flaw to this highly controversial film: it wastes the controversy.

If you are going to make that kind of film, it better be worth it. It needs to be very original and make solid points. Yet this film only glides across its strongest points to be a B-level murder mystery.

The film references President Cheney using his predecessor's death to have Congress unanimously pass PATRIOT Act III to give law enforcement more tools to root out terrorism. But the film never explains what those tools are. Can law enforcement now listen to all phone calls all the time? Can it open your mail? Can law enforcement beat you to within an inch of your life simply because you are an Arab who goes to a mosque every day? Or does PAIII simply streamline processes? We never find out. The fertile ground of how civil liberties are protected (or not) in the wake of cataclysmic events is an extremely minor plot point.

And when the suspected assassin is a Syrian, the film gives us about two minutes on the saber-rattling between the U.S. and Syria as well as President Cheney's infatuation with a Syrian dissident in the U.S. who claims that he saw President Bush's name on a hit list. Any meaningful exploration of the Bush-Cheney foreign policy and its formulations is thrown aside.

For all of its skill and controversy, the film makes a mistake that Matlock never did. This murder mystery breaks one of the cardinal rules of the genre: the real killer has to be someone introduced early on. In every Matlock episode, we met the real killer long before the wise defense lawyer ever got that person up on the stand to confess at the 58 minute mark. This film is like a Matlock episode if you had the Muslim guy as Matlock's defendant, the disaffected veteran as the main suspect to be the real killer and the disaffected veteran's father as the real killer, only we don't even meet the father until the 56 minute mark. That would be an amazingly bad Matlock episode, yet that is what we have here.

Moral of Death of a President: If someone shoots the President, the Muslim guy will get blamed. It is a movie that uses controversy to wallpaper over two-dimensional characters, a lack of originality and a superficial knowledge of the issues. I give it zero stars, not because of the controversy, but because the controversy is wasted on a film unworthy of the attention.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Holy Jeez...I wasn't expecting a Jindel love fest CS! If he doesn't end up getting indicted [like every good Louisiana politician eventually does Democrat or Republican...mainly Democrat] it would be interesting to see how the larger Republican party would respond to him in a leadership position. Assuming there still is a Republican party after November 2008.

In terms of America in general, his future success or failure will be directly related to how Obama does. Is racism really so weakened in America that we can have a black president? If the answer is yes, Jindel has a better chance than Jeb Bush of getting anywhere near the presidency.

I have to ask though...can it really be that your favorite politician gave himself a nickname [I didn't think that was allowed...people have to give YOU a nickname, not the other way around] after a character from The Brady Bunch!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

McCain's Veep

As McCain picks his veep, there are three men that, if paired with McCain, would cause me not to vote for the good Senator:

1. Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA)
2. Robert Gates, Sec of Defense
3. Gen. Robert Petraeus

My opposition is not because I dislike any of those men. It is because I have nothing but the highest amount of respect for all three and do not want any of them removed from their current positions.

Gates and Petraeus are relatively easy to explain. Any success we have had recently in Iraq is largely because of those two men. Had Bush had them in charge from the beginning, we wouldn't have had a "cakewalk" with Iraqis waving palm leaves as we came in, but we also wouldn't have had the Rumsfeld-Franks-Bremer bungling that got us where we are.

Bobby Jindal might be my favorite politician in America. He is the symbol of a new generation of conservatism. Look at these quotes.

Here is a summary: Putting the state's money where its mouth is on the job readiness of its citizens. Understanding that higher education is an investment in the state's economy and not something to be ridiculed and kicked in the shins. Promoting and expanding pre-K programs. Aggressively working to get more poor kids government health insurance. Using the centrality of state government to help residents maximize their health-care buying power. Treating elected officials just like other state employees when it comes to ethics training, and punishing them when they do wrong.

I look forward to the day that I can vote for Bobby Jindal for national office. But that is not 2008. Louisiana is at a crucial moment. Hurricane Katrina's effects are still being felt as are years of corrupt subpar leadership. JFK famously said that Washington DC was "a city of Southern efficiency and Northern charm." Louisiana's politics have a Southern efficiency with a Chicago honesty. This state has produced colorful characters like Edwin Edwards and mediocrities like Kathleen Blanco. One of the reasons that the local, state and federal governments bungled Katrina so badly was the complete lack of political leadership in the state.

Bobby Jindal provides the ambition, brains and charisma to be the most important governor since Huey Long. Right now, it is just potential. But it is more potential than Louisiana has had since Long and comes at the perfect moment. I am not willing to take Bobby Jindal away from Louisiana so John McCain doesn't seem so old.

Jindal/Petraeus 2012 would be my greatest dream come true. I'd work for that ticket for free.


John McCain is hosting three possible Vice President candidates this weekend at his home in's the list:

1. Florida Governor Charlie Crist
2. Mitt Romney
3. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

If God is a Democrat, McCain will choose Bobby Jindal. It will effectively neutralize one of Obama's weak points in reaching some voters...a lack of easily explained foreign policy experience. These paragraphs from an article entitled "Who Is Bobby Jindal?" summarizes things nicely:

"But in an interesting development, the same quarters that have raised doubts about freshman Sen. Barack Obama's national security bona fides seem relatively unconcerned about Jindal's potential place on a ticket headed by a 71-year-old whose heath has been the subject of focus by the media. Similarly, given McCain's accusations regarding Obama's "inexperience," Jindal's short if well diversified resume has nevertheless failed to prove a stumbling block to speculation about the fast-tracking of his political future.

On the National Review's blog, The Corner, Yuval Levin wrote: "[Jindal has] more management and executive experience than Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, or John McCain can point to. The Democrats could hardly accuse him of a thin resume if they're running Obama." While that analysis could conceivably be run in reverse, as well, there is actually something besides armchair political analysis to consider when looking at Jindal."

Brian Jones

I love this photo of Brian Jones, the founder of The Rolling Stones or originally The Rollin' Stones...that's all I have to say about that.

The Rolling Stones -- Play With Fire
This was originally the b-side of "The Last Time" but I had really forgotten about this song until I saw The Darjeeling Limited this past week and this song is buried in the soundtrack somewhere. But in reading about the song, Brian Jones doesn't even play in it, just Jagger & Richards...and some major attitude. But I'm already too invested in this post to change things so I'll have to live with it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

What Really Happened

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Somewhere along the line this month this blog passed the 100,000 page impression barrier...God only knows how many of those was me fussing over the layout. We here at YASR Headquarters in Relevant Tower in the Greater YASR Plaza in downtown Seattle celebrated with a company wide conference video call/party with our satellite office in Indiana. Who would have thought C.S. would moon everyone? Now that he's a lawyer he thinks he can get away with everything.

Poison Control Center -- A Collage of Impressions
From their self-titled debut.

John Coltrane -- Impressions [Live]

From the Live in Antibes 1965 album.

Guided by Voices -- My Impression Now [Live]
From the Live from Austin, TX album.

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones -- The Impression That I Get [Live]
From the Live from the Middle East album.

Nip It!

There has been a lot of talk about West Virginia this week...more than I ever want to hear about really [for more on that, read this]...but it is important to remember the best and most important thing to ever come from West Virginia, Don Knotts.

Eric Clapton -- I Shot the Sheriff [Live]
From the Crossroads box set.

It's An About Schmidt Kind Of Day


The Seattle Times e-mail alerted me to the news:

AP: John Edwards endorsing Obama

Former U.S. Sen. John Edwards is endorsing Sen. Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee for president, according to The Associated Press.

It makes me wonder if John Edwards is really so spineless he had to wait until Obama had wrapped it up to jump on the bandwagon...I mean what has changed? What has made Obama a better candidate now then months ago? before the Ohio/Texas primary?

I remember reading an article about the possibility of Edwards becoming Attorney General if Obama was elected...I thought that was not really a possibility then and I am even more sure now that it won't happen. Edwards has effectively squandered all the pull he had in waiting so long to endorse.

Warren Zevon -- Lawyers, Guns and Money
From the A Quiet Normal Life greatest hits collection.

Oxford Collapse -- Lady Lawyers

From the Remember the Night Parties album.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Buddy Holly Megapost Continued

Here are a couple more Buddy Holly covers to add to the Megapost...tip of the hat to reader Dan who suggested some of these...

Grateful Dead -- Not Fade Away [Live]
This version is the shortest I've found at 3:21 and can be found on Dick's Picks Vol. 2.

Grateful Dead -- Not Fade Away [Live]

This version is a middle of the road performance (in terms of song length) at 9:03 and can be found on Dick's Picks Vol. 17.

Grateful Dead -- Not Fade Away [Live]
This version is the longest that I have found at 19:58 from Dick's Picks Vol. 15.

Jimmy Page -- Rave On

From the No Introduction Necessary album.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band -- Rave On
From the Uncle Charlie & His Dog Teddy album.


I know there is probably a reasonable excuse for this sort of thing but nonetheless it's weird when an election is called and the losing party has more votes at that time than the winner...[click the photo for a larger version]

Big Wreck -- West Virginia
From the The Pleasure and the Greed album.

Music & Lyrics: Donovan -- "Catch the Wind"

I don't think I have ever seen "Catch the Wind" listed as one of the greatest songs ever but I think it is...This is Donovan at his closest to Bob Dylan in terms of singing style and it is a better love song than Dylan ever wrote. Yeah, I said it.


In the chilly hours and minutes,
Of uncertainty, I want to be,
In the warm hold of your loving mind.

To feel you all around me,
And to take your hand, along the sand,
Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind.

When sundown pales the sky,
I wanna hide a while, behind your smile,
And everywhere I'd look, your eyes I'd find.

For me to love you now,
Would be the sweetest thing, 'twould make me sing,
Ah, but I may as well, try and catch the wind.

When rain has hung the leaves with tears,
I want you near, to kill my fears
To help me to leave all my blues behind.

For standin' in your heart,
Is where I want to be, and I long to be,
Ah, but I may as well, try and catch the wind.

Donovan -- Catch the Wind
From the Very Best of the Early Years collection.

Life On Mars [American Style]

Word came down today that ABC is really going to go forward with the American remake of the British drama series Life on Mars. I am hyper-sceptical about the chances that this will be anything close to the greatness of the original series. Although I have a lot of frustrations with how the BBC series ended and how the plot line was essentially abandoned for the follow-up series Ashes to Ashes, it still was probably the best cop drama I've seen since Homicide...not to even the best soundtrack to a cop drama ever.

David Bowie -- Life on Mars
From the Hunky Dory album.

David Bowie -- Live on Mars [Live]
From the 2nd disc of the Aladdin Sane album.

David Bowie -- Live on Mars [Live in Santa Monica]
From the Santa Monica 1972 Live album.

David Bowie -- Ashes to Ashes
From the Platinum Collection collection.

Clinton & West Virginia

So it looks like Hillary Clinton is going to win the West Virginia primary tomorrow...that might be the understatement of the week actually as she is leading 63%-23% in recent polls.

So she will have a win in the 37th largest state...right next to Nebraska and Idaho...two states that were labeled famously as "insignificant" by Clinton's former chief strategist Mark Penn:

“Could we possibly have a nominee who hasn't won any of the significant states -- outside of Illinois?” Chief Strategist Mark Penn said. “That raises some serious questions about Sen. Obama.”
I just hope West Virginia will be tried just as insignificantly.

P.S. Hillary, if you are reading this, I think you look very nice with glasses on...very professional.

McCain Leading Obama...Sort Of

Although the lead in this article from The Washington Post is "U.S. Outlook Is Worst Since '92, Poll Finds" the juicy stuff is a little buried [my emphasis added in bold]:

In a hypothetical general-election head-to-head, Obama leads McCain by a slim 51-to-44-percent margin, with the public split 49 percent for Clinton to 46 percent for McCain. Against McCain, Obama does better than Clinton among voters who are African American, college-educated and younger. Clinton draws more support than Obama does against McCain among white voters who are older or female and those whose family incomes are less than $50,000 a year.

Age could be a significant obstacle for McCain. Only three in 10 said they were "entirely comfortable" with the prospect of a 72-year-old new president, about half as many as those who said they would be similarly comfortable with an African American or female president.

McCain romps against Obama among the 16 percent who think the country is headed in the right direction, but among the near-record 82 percent who hold a pessimistic view, Obama runs more than 20 points ahead of McCain. Similarly, about seven in 10 of those who disapprove of Bush said they would back Obama over McCain, while McCain picks up most of those who are still behind the president. The trouble for McCain is that Bush's approval has slipped to 31 percent, and has been lower than 50 percent for 38 consecutive months.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Buddy Holly Megapost

As I've written before, one of my hobbies is collecting baseball cards and while I was going through a couple packs today I came upon this card:

Next year marks the 50th Anniversary of the "Day the Music Died." Each year Clear Lake, Iowa holds their Fifties in February concert in Buddy's honor at the Surf Ballroom where he played his last concert.

These are some of my favorite Buddy songs, with my top special being "Rave On." I would always play that one on the jukebox of my favorite bar during my undergrad years, The Joynt.

Buddy Holly -- Peggy Sue
From the Happy Days Jukebox collection.

Buddy Holly -- Rave On
From the Buddy Holly album.

Buddy Holly -- Dearest
From the Juno soundtrack.

Buddy Holly -- Everyday
From the Buddy Holly Album.

Rogue Wave -- Everyday [Buddy Holly cover]
From the Stubbs the Zombie soundtrack.

Buddy Holly -- Not Fade Away
From the Essential Masters collection.

The Rolling Stones -- Not Fade Away [Buddy Holly cover]
From the Singles Collection: The London Years collection.

The Rolling Stones -- Not Fade Away [Buddy Holly cover]
From the Stripped album.

Buddy Holly -- Oh Boy!

From the Essential Masters collection.

Buddy Holly -- Rock Around with Ollie Vee

From the Essential Masters collection.

Weezer -- Buddy Holly

From the Blue Album.

Rivers Cuomo -- Buddy Holly [Demo]

From the Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo.

The Portland Cello Project

Definitely check this out! [Click on the image for a larger version]

Portland Cello Project -- Toxic [Britney Spears Cover]

Portland Cello Project --Musée Mécanique

Both tracks are from their self-titled debut out in August.

George & Jenna's Dance

President Bush & First Daughter Jenna choose "You Are So Beautiful" to dance to during the father/daughter dance at Jenna's wedding over the that a little weird? At least it wasn't "You Light Up My Life" or "Afternoon Delight" as songs not about what you think they are about...

This is a version of the song, sung by the Beach Boys [well a version of the Beach Boys and sung by Dennis Wilson] from their Live at Knebworth, England concert in 1980.

The Beach Boys -- You Are So Beautiful


I am not really sure what is up with the new Coldplay album's title Viva la Vida or Death and All His is sort of a combination of The 7th Seal, meets Ricky Martin, battles Dr. Stranglove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

"Viva la Vida" is track #7, followed immediately by the first single "Violet Hill." I hear a little bit of "Politik" in "Viva's" orchestral arrangements but the track doesn't jump out at me as outstanding. I like "Violet Hill" a lot more and wished a little bit that it would have been called "Violent Hill" just to spice things up a bit.

Coldplay -- Viva la Vida

Coldplay -- Violet Hill
Both tracks are from the upcoming Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Adam Sandler as Bill Clinton

If you are curious as to what SNL would have been like if Phil Hartman had not played Bill Clinton and instead it was Adam Sandler or Chris Farley who took up the reigns, check this out:

SNL has a new site devoted entirely to politics and I love the older clips that seem just as relevant today as then...maybe even more so...speaking of that, this Bill Hicks clip is short but makes you think back to a simpler time when you only had to be upset about one Bush presidency.

Bill Hicks -- One of the Boys (Clinton)
From the Rant in E-Minor album

Lewis Black -- Bill Clinton and Oral Sex
From The White Album album.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Post 600!

From the Drudge Report

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Marx, Mediocre Food and The Pretender

Whenever anyone asks me about Penn Station subs (we have one directly across from the law school), I always compare them to socialism. In theory, it should work -- and be nearing utopia status. And yet, every time I eat at Penn Station, I come away disappointed. I should love a hot sammich, but I always end up regretting it. I haven't figured out if it is the bread or the cheese or the meat, but something always screws it up.

Jackson Browne is the complete opposite feeling. He is a respectable hippie (i.e. he showers and shaves) who writes about the sadness of middle class life while singing about social justice. I nearly threw up typing that. If you read his lyrics, you may want to gag. And despite all of that, I love his music.

The best description of Browne came from a Rolling Stone review of Lawyers in Love:

Hard cases make bad law, lawyers like to say, and no rock & roll case is harder to pin down than Jackson Browne. For many listeners, Browne is the quintessential guilty pleasure, a navel-gazing singer/songwriter whose moony ruminations and hokey melodies ought to give anyone the giggles. But they don't. When Browne has all his talents in register, his work is almost appallingly moving.

JB has written the perfect break-up song (In the Shape of a Heart), the perfect song for unrequited longing (Somebody's Baby -- the 80s version of "You're Beautiful" with the added benefit that Browne does not sound like two raccoons copulating in a burlap sack when he sings), the perfect bizarre song (Lawyers in Love), the perfect overwrought political song (Lives in the Balance), the perfect song to be endlessly played on oldies stations (Doctor My Eyes) and an underrated perfectly silly song (For A Rocker). And the song that describes my life perfectly -- Running on Empty.

Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels
I don't know how to tell you all just how crazy this life feels
I look around for the friends that i used to turn to to pull me through
Looking into their eyes i see them running too

And Rolling Stone had the best lines about this song: "This is the hymn of the Harvard cowboy, a pragmatic hobo's lullaby. It's what daydreamers have nightmares about."

I can't identify what it is about JB's music that not only makes his hippie pablum palatable, but enjoyable. It might be the melodies, which are exactly my flavor of bubble gum. But by all rights, I should find The Pretender to be pretenious hooey, yet it is one of the most played songs on my iPod. I don't think it is anyone one "thing" in particular, but the entire package. The songs just work for me. I can't explain it. Can someone provide me with either a musical or psychiatric opinion as to why I would love this man's music?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Keep Looking Up

There are a few things on TV that when I'm flipping around and I find it, I will watch all the way through...these include:

and anytime Star Gazer, formerly known as Star Hustler, is on PBS.

For those not familiar with the Star Gazer/Star Hustler he is Jack Horkeimer who is the Executive Director of the Miami Space Transit Planetarium at the Miami Science Museum. More impressive than the title however is the presentation of Star Hustler which incorporates fascinating astronomy news and updates with what can best be described as "amazing" video effects.

When I was a kid, my local PBS station would play Star Gazer/Star Hustler just before they signed off for the broadcast day and each episode would end with the Horkeimer's phrase "Keep Looking Up."

Here is an example of the older Star Hustler version of his show:

Simian Mobile Disco -- Hustler
From the Attack Decay Sustain Release album.

Jay-Z -- I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me) [Unplugged Version]
From the MTV Unplugged album...and although it doesn't have "Hustler" in the title, this song should be called "I'm A Hustler" for it's well known repeated sample.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

McCain and the Bridge

An interesting little thing is developing in Minnesota as potential V-P candidate Tim Pawlenty had to awkwardly disagree with John McCain this week as to the cause of the I-35 bridge collapse:

"Pawlenty is a national co-chairman of McCain's campaign and is often mentioned as a possible running mate. He stepped gingerly around the comments McCain made that the Interstate 35W bridge failure last summer could be traced to members of Congress diverting federal funds to wasteful projects.

Pawlenty said McCain's remarks were his opinion and that everyone should reserve judgment until federal investigators release findings later this year. Investigators have focused on an apparent design flaw involving beam-connecting gusset plates and construction weight above vulnerable components at the time of the failure."

Atmosphere -- That's Not Beef, That's Pork
From the Strictly Leakage album.

Happy May Day Everybody

The Libertines -- Mayday
This was a bonus track on Up the Bracket.

Elvis Perkins -- May Day
From Ash Wednesday.