Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Shirley Bassey remix

Some oldies get more remix attention than others. Shirley Bassey is one of the queens of the remix. Here is Shirley giving the Burt Bacharach treatment to The Door's hit, and then remixed by Kenny Dope.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Scary stoned robot

If I've only tentatively suggested that robots serve as a revealing metaphor for what we (or the Japanese) imagine our human condition to be, this video pretty much seals the deal.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Walking the walk

I'm off to San Francisco, to, you know . . . put on a suit.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Aaron Neville

"Please Come Home for Christmas"

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Little Boy is whining to open some chocolate candies. To distract him, I ask rhetorically, Who do you love? He responds decisively: Chocolates.

santa claus is going straight to the ghetto

Snoop Dog and company.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

James Brown

"Soulful Christmas"

Monday, December 22, 2008


I came upon this little bit of code in some YouTube comments. Added to the html of the embed code, it is supposed to improve the bitrate and quality of posted videos. I'll start using it. We'll see.

Death Metal Puppy

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mano Negra

Parisian punk band circa 1990, the "Clash" of France. One of their frontmen is now the much more famous Manu Chao ("me gustas tu").

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Freaking out

Little Boy, crying: I want that.

Me: Don't freak out.

Little Boy, impatiently: I am freaking out!

The Raveonettes

Rockabilly-noir from Denmark

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Robot density

From Spectrum Online:
There are now 1 million industrial robots toiling around the world, and Japan is where they’re the thickest on the ground. It has 295 of these electromechanical marvels for every 10 000 manufacturing workers—a robot density almost 10 times the world average and nearly twice that of Singapore (169), South Korea (164), and Germany (163).

Monday, December 15, 2008

Royal Trux

Fascinating twist on mid nineties grunge. RTX was based in San Francisco at the time.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Kafka the clerk

From the site Daily Routines. 8:30-2:30 wouldn't be so bad.

At the Assicurazioni Generali, Kafka despaired of his twelve-hour shifts that left no time for writing; two years later, promoted to the position of chief clerk at the Workers' Accident Insurance Institute, he was now on the one-shift system, 8:30 AM until 2:30 PM. And then what? Lunch until 3:30, then sleep until 7:30, then exercises, then a family dinner. After which he started work around 11 PM (as Begley points out, the letter- and diary-writing took up at least an hour a day, and more usually two), and then "depending on my strength, inclination, and luck, until one, two, or three o'clock, once even till six in the morning." Then "every imaginable effort to go to sleep," as he fitfully rested before leaving to go to the office once more.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bumper sticker . . . hmmm

Spotted yesterday: I &hearts Tongue

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Top 50 drug trips in movies

Den of Geek has collected them. I'm generally opposed to chemically induced states, but it's undeniable that I've seen most of these movies. What strikes me after looking at the list is how serious and literal movies from the sixties and seventies portray the trip, with laughably over the top special effects. Things have changed some. Bobby, the sixties homage from a couple of years ago, is part of a trend, I think, to treat the trip (more like the stoner movie, I guess) with more humor. Den of Geek has the clip up. It can still be terrifying, but its more transitory. A recent Entourage episode located at California's Joshua Tree is particularly funny. Their foreshortened haze coincides almost too perfectly with the narcissism of the entourage. And for the record, I've been to Joshua Tree - to camp.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Caesars

The last couple of months an increasing number of YouTube videos have faulted, giving me the error message "This video is no longer available." I've assumed that YouTube was being more diligent about copyright concerns. And then, I found myself telling some students a video that they had all been able to access was unavailabe. It took me a couple of hours, but I finally pinned it down. Updated my Flash plugin, which is the engine underlying YouTube video, and the problem is solved. It's somewhat irritating. I've updated my browsers multiple times. Shouldn't Flash be included in these updates?

Anyhoo, here's some power pop from The Caesars.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Bluetech - Alchemie Dub

Electro + ambient = psybient.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Placebo - Without You I'm Nothing

Performing live with David Bowie. So glam.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Opal - Supernova

Opal was a precursor to Mazzy Star, and a better band, perhaps.

Friday, December 5, 2008


A Sub Pop band in the late nineties. Lo-fi psychedelia (according to Wikipedia). This is a great clip from '99.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Big screen professors

Watched "Smart People" and "The Savages" this week, which feature an English professor (19th-c British) and Theatre professor (Brecht), respectively. A minor plot line in "The Savages" finds the professor ultimately subject to the "naturalistic" emotion (bad childhood) he eschews in his work; the "Smart People," predictably, don't turn out to be so smart. I enjoyed both. The best part of "Smart People" is the girl who played Juno, except for this time her precocity is grating and arrogant. "The Savages" is on another level. It stars two great actors, Laura Dern Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman, as a brother and sister who must deal with a dying father after not seeing him for many years. It's a grubby, bleak movie that throws into relief the meager sustenance their intellectual pretensions give them. The many free-floating issues are encapsulated in a last scene in which Linney's play about her childhood is being rehearsed. A father figure repeatedly hits a young boy, who then floats upward on wires. When we realize that this young boy is Seymour Hoffman, his emotionally challenged character suddenly comes into sharper focus. It's nicely done.

Neko Case

With The Sadies.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Requiem for a Maverick

Matt Taibbi writing today in Rolling Stone.
McCain was a war hero who married an heiress to a beer distributorship and had been in the Senate since the Mesozoic Era. His greatest strength as a politician had up until this year been his ability to "reach across the aisle," a quality that in the modern Republican Party was normally about as popular as open bisexuality. His presence atop the ticket this year was evidence of profound anxiety within the party about its chances in the general election. After eight disastrous years of Bush, they thought they had lost the middle — so they picked a middling guy to get it back.

Which made sense, right up until the moment when they stuck him with Pinochet in heels for a running mate. Sarah Palin would have been a brilliant choice as a presidential nominee — and she will be, in 2012, when she leads the inevitable Republican counter-revolution against Obama's presidency. She's a classic divide-and-conquer politician, an unapologetic Witch Hunter and True Believer with a gift for whipping up the mob against the infidel. In a way that even George W. Bush never was, she is Karl Rove's wet dream, the Osama bin Laden of soccer moms, crusading against germs, communism, atheism and other such unclean elements strictly banned by American law.

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Short clip of Spencer's version of trash punk blues. Whatever it is, he's kind of channeling Mick Jagger (who was channeling Skip James) here. But I think he briefly plays a Theremin at the end, which puts a geek spin on the Jagger strut.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Catching up on movies

I've seen a bunch of movies over the holiday break.

Quantum of Solace
Zach and Miri Make a Porno
The Rocker
Sex and the City

I think I liked Quantum of Solace the best. Daniel Craig is pretty good as Bond. He has the world-weariness of a Steve McQueen. He's less interested in parties and the good life and seems bound more to an inner moral code than other Bonds, even if he kills with more impunity.

Bolt, the new Pixar vehicle, was oddly the most intense to watch. My oldest sobbed deeply through most of the second half. Bolt, the super hero dog who doesn't at first realize that his powers are faked for a TV show, must ultimately find the power to save his "person." From my son's viewpoint, all the wrenching setbacks along the way are not for the faint of heart.

Pink Mountaintops

It's a poor quality video, but the best YouTube has to offer. Another shoegazy sound. Swoon.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Bad Sex in Fiction award

Bad sex may be better than no sex at all, but the same cannot be said for writing about sex.
The Literary Review's annual award was presented to Johnson for her novel Shire Hell at a ceremony at London's In and Out club.

Johnson was singled out for her novel's slew of animal metaphors, including comparing her male protagonist's "light fingers" to "a moth caught inside a lampshade", and his tongue to "a cat lapping up a dish of cream so as not to miss a single drop". Literary Review deputy editor Tom Fleming was also disturbed by the heroine's "grab, to put him, now angrily slapping against both our bellies, inside".

"You sort of think it might be a typo, but she is actually referring to his penis as him. It's a mixture of cliché and euphemism, but it's also very spirited – A plus for effort," he said. "All the entries were equally awful this year, but Rachel Johnson had the worst metaphors, and the worst animal metaphors." Link

John Updike won an unprecedented lifetime achievement award for The Widows of Eastwick.
"She had gagged, and moved him outside her lips, rubbing his spurting glans across her cheeks and chin," he writes. "God, she was antique, but here they were. Her face gleamed with his jism in the spotty light of the motel room, there on the far end of East Beach, within sound of the sea."


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

More Cake

"Sheep go to heaven / Goats to hell"

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Jim White

"If Jesus Drove a Motor Home"

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tom Waits

"Brother, Can You Spare a Dime"

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sylvia Pankhurst

One more from the Life archive.

Trafalgar Square, 1912

Fuck Capitalism

I've long been leery of the house of cards we like to call the free market. The blogger Eschaton (Duncan Black), who has a PhD in economics, has taken to calling it the "dog track." It's inherently unstable and has been since capital markets were first established. The only way it can work without causing intense human suffering is if we have a really solid safety net. Of course, some of our safety net (medicare, social security) was put in place following the Great Depression. And those nations who have embraced weak forms of socialism have learned this lesson even better. But maybe this is our opportunity to create real nationalized health care, to make unemployment benefits truely viable, and once again invest heavily in infrastructure. Capital markets will always be unstable, with ups always followed by downs (and those fantasists who believe otherwise - just about everyone involved in "business" - are fools). If another depression is occurring, we may all become poor but at least we could have health care and the basic needs of survival available to us.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Life Magazine on Google

Google has begun to make the Life Magazine photo archive available. Wow, I remember pouring through old issues (in the stacks of a college library) when I was a kid. It will suck you in.

Donn Teal, 1971, author of "The Gay Militants." Check out the Dickens poster.

Oregon, 1969. My family was doing something similar in mid 70s Idaho when an uncomfortable game warden came by to make sure we weren't poaching spawning fish. "No, officer, we're frolicking in our hippie freedom."

Crashing markets

From Daily Kos

- The Dow, as Bush takes office: 10,587.59

- The Dow, eight years later: 7,997.28

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sad and unpredictable

A friend of a friend, and a well-known academic, was just diagnosed with ovarian cancer. This is what AO's mom died from in 2001. It's very sad news. She'll have to deal with so much in the coming years, including really awful versions of chemo.

Even sadder was the suicide a few days ago of a friend's 20-year-old daughter. She'd had troubles, but no one saw this coming. We do our best, I guess. And sometimes it isn't enough.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Adventures in Parenting

We join the story while Dad is dropping something off at child's school:

The nice woman asks me the 9-Year-Old's name, which I provide as politely as I can, though I am grouchy. Then she asks me his teacher's name -- and this is a Problem.

See, his teacher is a wonderful person, very professional, very good with the kids. I have nothing but good things to say about her. Unfortunately, however -- and I am not remotely making this up -- her last name is a homonym for a very, very nasty Naughty Word indeed. When Molly first told me what it was, I genuinely could not believe it, but blinked at her in horror. "He's being taught by Mrs. WHAT?" No joke, her name cannot be repeated without a double-take.

As soon as this pleasant woman asked for the name of the boy's teacher, I could not remember her name at all. Nothing came to mind but a vile stream of foul obscenities. I blanked, I panicked. I knew she goes by Mrs. + a Dirty Word, but apart from that, nothing.

Ahem. Here, for posterity, is a record of my Thought Processes as I stood out in public in the middle of an elementary school lobby desperately racking my brains for the name of the wonderful person entrusted with the intellectual and social development of my beloved son six hours a day, five days a week:

"Oh, uh, wait... Mrs. Fukk? No, that's wrong... Mrs. Slutt! Oh, no, right, Mrs. Kumm... oh dear... Mrs. Kokk-Nobbler! Geez. Mrs. Bigtitz? Uh... Mrs. Sittshtayn? Mrs. B. J. S. Allnightz? Mrs. Farte? Mrs. Runnypoops? No? Hold on -- no need to call security -- it's Mrs. Dingleberry W. Nutt-Sack! Mrs. Greasypubes! Mrs. Dilldoe! Mrs. Cunnilingus Q. Asstomouth! Aieee!" (Exits school rapidly, pursued by security guard)

Read the full post here.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Prop. 8 protests

Andrew Sullivan is running a substantial series of posts entitled "The View from your Protest." It's pretty impressive to see the wave of dissent following California's vote. I think Sullivan is right, it's only a matter of time.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fuck GM

Now General Motors wants a piece of the bailout pie. I realize that the democrats want to save the union workers and the economies of the rust belt. Where I live. And it's a resonable desire. But GM has been so mismanaged and short-sighted for so long that I'd really rather the government simply create a new industry to employ all those workers. I mean, what did GM do with all those profits from SUVs and Hummers? They certainly weren't put to use in research and development, or even phasing out those archiac push-rod engines they still use in some cars.

Dirty Driving

We watched an HBO documentary last night called "Dirty Driving." It's a film about the culture of short-track racing in Anderson, Indiana. Anderson is a dying GM town, and the racing is crude, rude, and exciting. The back story for us is that AO, when she was working for the cable company, had always heard about the Anderson "party girls." She assumed it was an upper-middle class suburb, and the party girls spoiled sales executives. Nope. Anderson is rust belt. I'm sure they were -- to borrow a term my parents used -- "hard girls."

AO turned to me at some point and asked if it looked fun to me. The driving looked really fun, but the play yard trash talk ("you're my bitch, you pussy") and celebration of the confederacy are kind of beyond what I'm capable of. What was really odd were some flashback photos to the 70's featuring an HBO-sponsored car.

Kings of Leon - Crawl

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

This was the first Presidential candidate who I've supported in the primary who's actually won. This was the first campaign I've ever donated to. I even live in a red state that flipped to blue this election. What feels best about the Obama win, though, is that I'm not alone. A majority of Americans feels exactly like I do. Whatever happens and however disillusioned we become, this really was a democratic movement.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

P. J. Harvey

Rare footage from 1995. Someone had been listening to Patti Smith. I also notice a crunchy guitar sound that so many bands seek to recreate today, but it's better with narco pace.

For some reason, this clip makes me think of my wife, who I had just started dating circa 1995. Maybe it's the lipstick.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thinks with his base

McCain feels with his heart, but he thinks with his base. And when he picked Sarah Palin, he told the United States of America to go fuck itself. -- Leon Wieseltier

Jenny Lewis - Godspeed

Back to back posts of Jenny Lewis. It looks like these recent shows are phenomenal. The tour began in Santa Cruz!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue

Latest alt-country phenom, in a live version of her latest title track. Yes, acid is dropped, in a I-did-it-and-I'm-past-it kind of way.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Nightmares on Wax

A house music outfit that's been around since the nineties. Stay with this track. It breaks into a groove at about 30 sec.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sharon Olds

From "The Promise"

Think how we have floated together
eye to eye, nipple to nipple,
sex to sex, the halves of a creature
drifting up to the lip of matter
and over it—you know me from the bright, blood-
flecked delivery room, if a lion
had you in its jaws I would attack it, if the ropes
binding your soul are your own wrists, I will cut them


Very fun song ("Take Off Your Clothes"), with a video clearly inspired by The YouTube. Not really safe for work, but mostly tame.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

How White Are You?

Your result for The How White Are You Test...

Middle Man

You are 40% White

Ok so you did pretty good on the test. Your score says you appreciate different cultures, but you cant hide your true self. Just like the pic, you roll with the cool crowd, but you still go home to your mommy and eat macaroni and cheese.

Take The How White Are You Test at HelloQuizzy

Pop Levi

New glam pop with a sixties drone from England. This song is something about a "love child."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dead Meadow

Post-psych from D.C.

Best lines:
I'm so worried
don't know what I'm worried for

Monday, October 13, 2008

Paul Krugman wins Nobel Prize

My favorite left-leaning economist, Paul Krugman, just won the Nobel Prize. As a columnist for the New York Times, Krugman has been one of the best and most visible critics of neocon economics and one of the few talking sense about the credit crisis. It's a good sign.

The Roots

From their new album, "Phrenology."

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Jealous Girlfriends

"Organs on the Kitchen Floor." A youtube comment nails them: Norah Jones meets Portishead.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

MC Frontalot

Known as "nerdcore."

Friday, October 3, 2008

"Joe Biden is pretty for an older man"

What I heard from my students today. A beautiful smile and pretty eyes, to be precise. My students and Fox News (see previous post) getting to the heart of the matter.

UPDATE: It seems like my students aren't alone in seeing Biden as a dreamy democratic manly man. See this post at Salon, " Joe Biden is made of testosterone and strong verbs."

It helps to be physically attractive

Fox News deconstructs the debate:

KONDRACKE: One other thing though, when she's at her best, she's in a good mood. She was obviously in a good mood tonight.

HUME: Yes, she did seem happy to be there and cheerful. And it didn't hurt...

KONDRACKE: When she's a little chirpy

HUME: ... that, look, Joe Biden, he looks kinda like me. He's getting on in years. She's younger.

KRISTOL: You do an injustice to yourself there.

BARNES: It helps to be in a good mood.

HUME: It also helps to be physically attractive, which she certainly is. I'm not saying he's not but she's more so and everybody can agree on that point.

Main Street

How to look immediately discredible: use "Main Street" as an adjective.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Palin Poetry

"Befoulers of the Verbiage"

It was an unfair attack on the verbiage
That Senator McCain chose to use,
Because the fundamentals,
As he was having to explain afterwards,
He means our workforce.
He means the ingenuity of the American.
And of course that is strong,
And that is the foundation of our economy.
So that was an unfair attack there,
Again based on verbiage.

More at Slate.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Led Zeppelin

This video should be called Flight of the RILFs (rockers I'd like to fuck).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Buy my shit pile dot com

Add to the pile! Browse the pile! Purchase a pile!


My liberal arts degree, $3 million
John McCain's honor and integrity, $5.00
Erik Estrada, $5.00
Slightly used American intellectual, $0.95
My lost hope, $92K

Monday, September 22, 2008

Fuck the stock market

And all the fair weather capitalists who oppose living wages, health insurance, workers compensation, overtime pay, and unions, but are willing to stand in line for a government handout to protect their oligarchy.

For all those whose retirement funds just took a hit, you won't see even a fraction of all the money that's going to be flowing out of the U.S. Treasury. It's one more example of the "shock doctrine" in action. Shock & Awe, people. Or as the Bushies say to each other, carpe diem.

UPDATE: There's evidence that they've been sitting on this plan for awhile, waiting for the right "9/11" moment to ram it through.

The racism of white independents

Obama is right on most of the issues in the presidential election. He should win. I think it's become conventional wisdom, on the left if not also the right, that Obama will only lose the election because of racial attitudes. This is the racism, interestingly, of white "independents," who seem even more biased than white republicans. Frankly, I didn't think that Obama would get this far because of racism in this country, so all things considered this country's racial attitudes are probably better than I would have thought. But there are two countries in the U.S., call them red/blue, racist/post-racial, progressive/scared, christianist/christian, whatever. Their worlds, in my opinion, are further and further apart. Maybe the north should have let the south secede.

See the results of a study of racial attitudes here.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Police State 2.0

Check out a Naomi Klein article from back in May on China's surveillance apparatus. It's Stalinist-Capitalism, which isn't looking that unfamiliar these days. Best quote:

Remember how we've always been told that free markets and free people go hand in hand? That was a lie. It turns out that the most efficient delivery system for capitalism is actually a communist-style police state, fortressed with American "homeland security" technologies, pumped up with "war on terror" rhetoric. And the global corporations currently earning superprofits from this social experiment are unlikely to be content if the lucrative new market remains confined to cities such as Shenzhen. Like everything else assembled in China with American parts, Police State 2.0 is ready for export to a neighborhood near you.

Dave Alvin

Friday, September 19, 2008

DFW on the kiss

He's talking about the effects of language and images, but his remarkably simple, soft touch on one of the paradoxes of modern life is really admirable.

St. Vincent (aka Annie Clark)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Washington Consensus dies

Who knew the “Washington Consensus” would die in Washington, DC under a Republican President in a mad fit of bailouts and nationalizations?

And who imagined it that when it would die, its death would be confronted with deafening silence. Oh I miss the good old days when lecturing Latin American countries for their bad economic policies was what all the cool kids did

White Stripes

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Margaret Cho lets loose

From her blog entry, "I'm a Christian, you fuckers."

Don’t fucking question my Christianity you fucking idiot assholes. If you continue to have a problem, then talk to God about it, not me, you fucking racist homophobic misogynist fake Christian shitheads. God thinks it is funny that I swear so much. He said I could use his name in vain or whatever. He just wants me to use it. He loves me. So fuck you. And I guess he loves you too. Even though you are fake Christian assholes. If you were truly Christians, you would let gays get married, and send them fucking presents from Bed Bath and Beyond!

If you truly believed in Jesus, you would try to be like him and love us, fags and dykes and feminists all. God bless you, even you. You fucking fuckers.

Magnetic Fields

A literal homemade video. Good song, but couldn't find my favorite, "Acoustic Guitar."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

You're so white . . .

What up, RNC!


You white motherfuckers!


This conference so white, Helen Mirren tried to snort it!


Y’all the whitest white people in the history of white people. Even Barbara Bush sitting here right now going: ‘These are some white motherfuckers.’


You’re so white, your vice presidential nominee got the word ‘pale’ in her name!

(laughter, applause)

Look at this place. I can’t believe this shit! Y’all couldn’t find one single brother?


There is? Where?


Yo, what up, brother! Looks like you the only chocolate chip in the cookie.


You look like a fly in a glass of milk, yo. Swim! Swim for your life!


Alaska in the house!


Where the baby daddy at? Where he at?

(crowd noise)

Read the rest here.

Gallows Pole

Monday, September 15, 2008

Frijid Pink

Robot art

Eric Joyner paints robots. See more here.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Rare Bird

"Hard Time"

Friday, September 12, 2008

Andrew Marvell

Saw someone give a virtuoso performance leading a class discussion on the poem "To His Coy Mistress." The final lines are worth quoting today.

Let us roll all our strength, and all
Our sweetness, up into one ball;
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life.
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

"Tear our pleasures" indeed. What is interesting is that a number of students wanted to endorse the suggestion that Marvell is talking about procreation here, "one ball" being a fetus I guess. All boys, oddly. The girls pretty much thought that he's talking about the nasty.

Black Sabbath - 1970

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Camper van Beethoven

"Pictures of Matchstick Men"

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Best slogan of the day

Obama and not the Drama

Bill Withers

"Lonely Town, Lonely Street"

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Marlena Shaw remix

"California Soul"

Monday, September 8, 2008

Marlena Shaw

"Woman of the Ghetto"

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Nina Simone

"Feeling Good." A cool video too.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


In case you don't make it to the bottom of this morning's comment, the writer signs off with the chilling words, "be safe, be well, beware."


Sarah Palin's rapture

One interesting tidbit in Palin's hockey-mom world is the belief that Alaska will be a "refuge" in the "last days." I'm not unfamiliar with the concept. Indeed, in the mid seventies my parents moved us to Northern Idaho for exactly the same reason. The move was brief (the rapture didn't come, after all), but clearly others still harbor this frontier ideal. The YouTube video of Palin and her pastor is here.

What would have been worse? The elite establishment mormon, Mitt Romney, or the backwoods pentacostalist, Palin. Romney probably would have been more benign.


Covering Black Sabbath's "War Pigs." Cake is from Sacramento (my birthplace), where their studio is apparently powered by rooftop solar panels.

Friday, September 5, 2008

I can't believe I stayed up to watch McCain's speech

John "maverick is just another word for being a dick" McCain's POW experience has all the ingredients of a redemptive tale, but instead it struck me as so much false humility. As Ezra Klein puts it at American Prospect, "Such public declarations of patriotism are not about why John McCain loves this country. They are about why this country should love John McCain."

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Republican convention

Firedoglake captures my feeling best. The Republicans are again running a divide and conquer campaign, but one "based on an ideal. That Americans are stupid, base, resentful and bigoted."

Warren Zevon

Monday, September 1, 2008

Literature-space vs. cyberspace

Kevin Kelly's conclusion:

I think literature-space is orthogonal to cyberspace and to reading-space. You can get deep into a book online as well as in paper, and you can skip across ideas on paper as well as online. It is true the medium is a message itself, but what we are now inhabiting is an Intermedia, the media of medias, where one medium flows into another making it hard to define boundaries. The book can be found in cyberspace and in literature space. The book may be bigger than we think. Or smaller than we think. For sure we are in the process of redefining it.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Drive-by Truckers

I've been waiting for someone to upload this song - "You and Your Crystal Meth" - on to YouTube.

Indiana, Alabama
Oklahoma, Arizona
Texas, Florida, Ohio
Small-town America right next door

Friday, August 29, 2008

He looks so old

McCain naming a youngish woman (a mom, hunter, and fisher) as the VP nominee certainly seems bold. This pick is supposed to renew his claim to being a change agent and her right-wing credentials throw red meat to the party. But what I notice most of all is how this former beauty queen makes McCain just look old.

And it's like McCain just picked a new, even younger, trophy wife.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


The alphabet as seen through the mind of a kid. BB loves this, although I think he's a little unnerved it's an adult singing it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Mike Birbiglia

I heard this guy on This American Life talk about his sleep disorder, amounting to something akin to extreme sleepwalking. He's also a comedian. Here's his short skit on Whiffleball Tony.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Todd Rundgren

In a fabulous "fly-like-a-pheasant" outfit.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Nick Drake - Milk & Honey

I resisted posting his version of Summertime. All of Drake's songs are affecting, but this one stood out this afternoon.

They fade and die
And then I’d know
There’d be no others
Milk and honey
Where they lie

Friday, August 22, 2008

Bumper sticker

Seen today: "Who would Jesus bomb?" WWJB

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cloris Leachman

Roasting Bob Saget.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Jose Feliciano

A cover of "California Dreamin" performed on Soul Train. A bit different from my post of Eddie Hazel's version, but no less soulful. I'm happy to find other versions of this song. I love the song, but hate the Mamas and the Papas.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Kula Shaker redux

I really like this band's mix of pretty boy, post-psych, rocking pop. Less precious than their contemporaries, Oasis, they had (do?) a crush on all things Hindu (other, more psychedelic songs, are "Govinda," "Tattva,"and "Mystical Machine Gun"). Oasis just copied The Beatles best pop hooks; Kuka Shaker wants to recreate the spirit that impelled The Beatles to meditate with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. This clip is the more straight ahead "Great Hosannah."

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Oasis covered by Cat Power. The video is homemade by some YouTube user. I used to listen to Ryan Adams' version, but Cat Power leavens the emo quotient down a little.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Kula Shaker

Mid-nineties British psych pop group covering Deep Purple's "Hush." It's a better version, faster and a little less serious.

Happy Birthday to AO. "She's the best girl I ever had."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Keren Ann

Trying to stay chill today. Keren Ann has a fascinating bio. She's French, Israeli, and Dutch, and lives part of the time in the U.S. I'd call this melancholy pop.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Minor Threat

Instead of Duffy's overproduced cover of "Stepping Stone," I give you Minor Threat's version.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ministry (Guru remix)

Industrial goth with beats.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Saturday, August 9, 2008

King Kahn and The Shrines

The latest hotness on the "soul" scene. Kind of like The Bellrays, they bring a punk sensibility to R & B.

And recently in NYC.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Viral ad

Much-discussed ambiguous advertising from the UK. Once upon a time I too used to feel all primal listening to this Genesis song.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Let me be in France

The whole time I was in France I kept thinking about how well-situated it was to weather peak oil and the energy crisis. Not only are cars much smaller, with small, diesel-sipping engines, but the climate is amazing, temperate and (where we were) green. There are diverse farms, gardens, and livestock everywhere. At the local markets where we were, almost all the products came from France, with a few from Spain and the like. And for a place with a very centralized government, the country, at least, looks incredibly decentralized. It's where I'd like to be when the collapse comes.

See today's NYT for a good article on the hit that globalism is taking from growing transportation costs.

Wu-Tang - Queens Day 88 (Remix)

Super sweet beats, with an amazing Hammond organ sample. Based on the work of the Wu-Tang's DJ, Allah Mathematics.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


New single from Devendra Banhart, another wonderful iteration of New Weird America. Don't miss the squid kissing at the end.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Pinker Tones

Electronic pop from Barcelona.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Budos Band

FUUUUCK, I'm back. Here's "Origin of Man."

Friday, July 18, 2008


We're off to France for ten days, meeting up with AO's dad whose been living there this past year.

We'll be in Paris for the last day of the Tour, so the plan is to get over to the Champ Elysees to soak in some French sports mania.

I'll be out of range, so posting should resume at the end of the month.

Tom Russell

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Lili Drop

80's French Pop, with some ingenious video projection.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Fashion update

"The Croc looks like a plastic hoof." --Tim Gunn

I'm another wannabe metrosexual who watches Project Runway, but Tim Gunn makes the show worthwhile and suitably nerdy.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Cantelope Island

Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, Ron Carter, Tony Williams

Friday, July 11, 2008

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Melvins - A History of Bad Men

Back in the eighties, The Melvins' sludgy Seattle (well, Aberdeen, WA) sound predated Nirvana and Soundgarden. Here they are last year.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Surfwise and Wall-E

Surfwise is a documentary about a sixties/seventies-era family that lives in a camper and spends its time mainly surfing, and about the father's vision of living cleanly and simply. I'd heard an interview with one of the grown kids recently. It was both compelling and creepy, but what struck me the most was how much it was a vanity project. Although the family leaved in poverty and none of the kids went to school, they weren't exactly averse to publicity. And they are all sort of this way now. The adult children are so "LA" now, giving it the flavor of California dystopia.

My copy of Wall-E was pretty grainy, but it's a great movie. Great animation, good story, wonderfully imagined. It kind of ends like Battlestar Galactica, with robots and humans going forward together to rebuild a ruined earth. All in all, though, it's pretty disheartening that this is the best we can imagine at this point. Earth goes to shit, and in hundreds of years we can return with the machines to restore it. There's a millenarian theme buried in such plots as well.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Lucinda Williams - Joy

See it through to the end for the treat of watching a guitar nerd channel the spirit of rock greatness.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Rude Pundit says it best

Jessie Helms ends up in heaven (a surprise even to himself) and beholds [quote]:

fucking couples, as far as the eye can see, begin to reach out to each other, weaving together into a huge crazy patchwork quilt of an orgy, all races and sexualities merging together, sucking and plunging and coming and going back for more, never tiring, never losing erections or wetness, never getting sore, never needing to stop unless they want to, for, after all, it is heaven.

After witnessing heaven, the old racist rascal chooses hell, where:

he finds himself on a stool in a stark white room. In front of him is a glass of water that refills whenever he drinks it. After a while, what might be days, what might be centuries, he realizes that this is it: complete and utter isolation, bathed in whiteness, for all eternity, no one to touch but himself, no one to see but his own reflection in the glass.


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Summer breeze

Finding goth inspiration on this bright summer day. It's Type O' Negative.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy the 4th

Dedicated to the men who made this country great.

Netflix fraud

Netflix is charging me for a full month without sending even one movie to me.

Years ago I was a long time Netflix user, until they started using pop-up under-ads everywhere I surfed on the net. Back then it was also clear that they were throttling us, holding our returns for days at a time so our monthly totals were only about four or five movies. We gave up.

But there is one hard-to-find, old CBC series called The Newsroom, which is supposed to be a cross between The Wire and The Office. I couldn't find it anywhere and decided to give Netflix another try. They showed the series as available. Once I signed up they told me that they'd be sending my first discs the next day. The next day comes, and the queue says instead that they won't be doing a first shipment for FIVE more days. Meanwhile, I was able to find another source for The Newsroom.

Given the circumstances I decided to cancel the whole thing, since waiting a week for the first shipment seems like really bad service. And what does Netflix assure me? They'll still be charging for a month's worth of service, even though they didn't send me even ONE disc.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Elton John - Madman across the Water

Early seventies jamband version of Elton.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Everybody . . . pogo!

Monday, June 30, 2008


I used to have an unmarked cassette tape of Cymande (a tape I got from some Brighton connections), but until today didn't know who it was. Now, thanks to YouTube I know who it is. I played the absolutely shit out of this tape. From England, Cymande is easily some of the best funk to emerge from the early seventies. Not surprisingly, DJs have a real fondness for sampling them.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Dick Cheney was my mother

From a New York Times Q & A with professor of buddhism Robert Thurman (father of Uma):

What do you think about when you meditate? Usually, some form of trying to excavate any kind of negative thing cycling in the mind and turn it toward the positive. For example, when I am annoyed with Dick Cheney, I meditate on how Dick Cheney was my mother in a previous life and nursed me at his breast.

You mean you fantasize about being breast-fed by Dick Cheney? It’s a fantasy of releasing fear and developing affection. It’s a way of coming back to feeling grateful toward him and seeing his positive side, finding the mother in Dick Cheney.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Scarborough Fair

You know, "parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme." Covered by Queensryche.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Cracker - I Want Everything

A sentimental favorite.

Shorter: I don't know what I want, but I know I want everything. An addict's song?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Love Object: EVE

An abandoned, post-apocalyptic earth and orbital robot love, what's not to love? I'm feeling fanboyish.

Pictured: Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class (Wall-E) and Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator (EVE) of Pixar's latest animation.

Train table

With our new train table, it's as though we've become professional parents.

Monday, June 23, 2008

More sickness

I planned a productive day today, but Little Boy ended up with 102 degree temperature during the night. He was a hot little dude. Of course, he had a fever all day today as well. AO and I split the day. Like all parents under the sun, we (I) find it hard to be pinned down by a feverish two-year-old, who feels fussy and wants to held constantly. Unlike BB, Little Boy is too young to enjoy watching TV all day. The worst was going to pick up BB from camp. LB was so flushed and shivery it felt cruel to be packing him into a car seat. We're preparing for another night and day of the same.

Hercules and Love Affair

Disco's back. I love the horns in this track.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Used as an illustration

One of my sleeveface pics is used as an illustration announcing a King Crimson tour, complete with a critique in the comments.

Carny culture

A grimy carnival comes to town every year, ostensibly in the name of charity. We've never gone to it. This year, as we spent the week driving back and forth past, Big Boy has been pushing to attend. So yesterday we agreed to spend part of the early evening on the midway. But no such plans can stand without being challenged. By the late afternoon, pop-up thunderstorms were beginning to pass through. And there's nothing Big Boy fears more than a storm. He is hypervigilant for any hint of thunder or drops of rain. In tears, Big Boy decided he couldn't go to the carnival because the threat of storms was too great. Somehow, though, we convinced him that we should just "drive by" to see if it was still running, even with impending rain. So I drove him by. There were a few early birds, all kids around his age, riding alone on the Teacup or the Hurricane. At that point there was no rain and Big Boy decided that we could risk it. For my part, I was impressed at the authenticity of this traveling show. Every ride was roaring and rattling in the early evening light, with red shirted carnies moving listlessly among them. The merry-go-round was spinning at a speed I thought was usually reserved for thrill rides. And the first attraction we climbed aboard was manned by a bright-eyed gentleman with a swastika tattooed on his hand. Spinning around on hydraulic stained metal arms I couldn't help but think about the carnival scene as true outlaw (and probably frequently desperate) culture. What drama goes on in those sagging trailers we could see parked behind the generators? We rode a total of two rides before Big Boy felt three consecutive rain drops. So off we went in search of shelter. But at least BB has bragging rights now. He rode the Tornado just before the storm.

Sticky Vikki & the Pinecones

Featuring rockabilly dude Glen Glenn.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Milk run

How can you tell that you're a parent? You go out for milk at 10 p.m.

And you're amazed the neighborhood coop is still open.

Vast Aire - Dueces Wild

Best line: "I'm just bitin' faces."

Friday, June 20, 2008

A ducking dog

The dog has the most endearing tic when I drive him anywhere. Usually, I'm alone or with the kids so he rides up beside me. Whenever we go under an overpass or a big overhead sign he ducks his head down, eyes peering upward with a worried look. Without fail, we sweep under an overpass, he ducks. I can't get over how cute it is, and so alert.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Dreaming of dirigibles

Dreamt that I was a crew person on an aircraft. In the dream I assumed it was an airplane, but truthfully I was some kind of mechanic on a much bigger ship, possibly a lighter-than-air ship. At one point we were seated inside the craft in side-by-side boats that were equipped with seats. The dream shuttled between home and my job, working overnight flights. AO wasn't at all happy, in the dream, with my job. It took me away from home and the shifts were unpredictable. But, I argued to her, "I love the machines."

For good measure, at the end of the dream as I hurried to a shift, I had to take a shower -- outdoors -- on the edge of a big, Euro-like traffic circle. Humiliation, anxiety, dislocation, misplaced energy -- a classic dream.

The Trons

A band of robots. Not quite The Singularity (when machine intelligence surpasses human intelligence), but it seems oddly prescient. Rock on machines.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Feel like shit

Yeah, like dooce said today:

Do I feel like shit? OH DO I EVER FEEL LIKE SHIT. I feel like I've simultaneously got the flu, a cold, and strep throat. But I'd heard this might happen early on as the body rids itself of toxins. And I'm going to allow my body some time considering how badly I've treated it for so long.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Redneck wisdom

Seen on a full size pickup at the lake over the weekend:

"Stop Global Whining"

It makes me look forward to seeing gas at $8 or $9 or even $10 a gallon.


Swedish group that does acoustic covers of old metal songs. Their new LP is "Hymns in the Key of 666." This track is Black Sabbath's "Paranoid."

Winning couplet:
All day long I think of things but nothing seems to satisfy
Think I'll lose my mind if I don't find something to pacify

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Blackalicious - As the World Turns

The joke

Dedicated to all amused fathers everywhere.

Question: How to tell if summer camp is edifying and making memories for our son? Answer: Big Boy's humor savvy has ticked up a notch. He came home this week with a new joke, which goes thusly:

Three men are on the edge of a cliff with nowhere else to go.
The first man jumps off and says, "eagle," turns into an eagle and flies away.
The second man jumps and says, "falcon," turns into a falcon and flies away.
The third man slips, "crap," he exclaims, and a piece of crap falls away down the cliff.

We first overheard the joke while he was telling one of his friends in the neighborhood. Dude thinks he's pretty cool.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Valient Thorr - Exit Strategy

Southern hardcore via Venus. The band's purported backstory: Originally from Burlatia, which is located inside the planet Venus near three ice rivers, the Thorrs have been stranded on earth since Walt Disney stole their time machine. This is an anti-war song.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

McCain's balls

Today's best meme. Various people have been commenting on the golf gear for sale on John McCain's official website, but apparently the customer reviews were left unmoderated, resulting in gems like these:

The Golf Pack is Great, but June 10, 2008
Reviewer: Lobbyist Buddy from Washington DC
When are you going to offer a Joe Lieberman Certified McCain Ballwasher?

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:

A Must Have June 10, 2008
Reviewer: Your Friend from Chicago, IL United States
My friends, every order comes with free Pancakes!!

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:

Iraq Forever!!! June 10, 2008
Reviewer: Mitt Romney from Boston, MA United States
I thought that I would give this McBush golf set to Dad for Father's Day as a way to commemorate his leaving Mom for the younger, blonder, much richer woman!!

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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful:

I love John McCain's balls! June 10, 2008
Reviewer: Ron Burgundy from , Los Angeles
Perfectly dimpled, John McCain's balls fly straight into the hole every time!
I only wish that I could buy a John McCain ball-washer so that I could wash John McCain's balls, my balls, and all my buddies' balls with that signature John McCain ball-washing gusto.

John McCain's balls. Now there is change we can believe in!

McCain roolz!!! Obama droolz!!!

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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful:

golf balls whiter than the competition June 10, 2008
Reviewer: sebastian farmer from burlingame, CA United States
im so happy with these golf balls, they are at least twice as white as the other golf balls ive bought recently

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:

Mr. Gnome

Shoegazy trip-rock from Cleveland. They are like an inverted White Stripes, with a woman on lead and a dude on drums.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Favorite word: no

We had more rounds of thunderstorms during the night. Little "I refused to take a nap today" Boy is more apt to wake up, so AO was with him for a good part of the night. Then, Big Boy was scared and ended up in bed with me. The dog was there, too. So, there you have it. The reconfigured sleeping arrangements of the AI family.

There's more to LB's developmental curve than refusing to take naps. I think I've mentioned his recent tantrums. But worst of all is his new favorite word: "no." As in, I'll say "no" to everything. "Do you want up?" "No." "Do you want down?" "No." "Do you want to stay where you are?" "No." "Do you like the word no?" "No." Any transition or change, in attitude, position, or location leads him to break down. Needless to say when his mama leaves in the morning or when I drop him off at daycare he cries like there's no tomorrow.

It wears on a person.

The Gutter Twins

Dedicated to the future "fun times" of my sons.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Swell Season

Continuing the "fairy" vibe, this is a cover of Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic."

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Jethro Tull - 1970

Who let the elves out?

Dude can play a flute.

The view

I can't resist posting another flood picture. This is us two days ago. Today, a nearby town is completely underwater, with a river cresting many feet above its banks. Our region received up to 11 inches of rain in the last couple of days. We've been advised to avoid travel if possible.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


We had thunderstorms all night long, literally. I had weird dreams of basements spewing their contents. And this morning we were woken up by tornado sirens. There was nothing on the local media about it, and radar just showed lots of bowing red, so we headed to the basement. It's still raining, but as far as I know it hasn't rained quite quick enough to flash flood. We'll see. When you're in the midst of so much extreme weather it feels like the apocalypse.

N*E*R*D - Spaz

Friday, June 6, 2008

Friday robot blogging

Joe "Elmo" Pesci

Admittedly, I've got a soft spot for incongruous foul-mouthedness. But this is a good one. Mashup of Sesame Street and Casino.

Almost as good as Apocalypse Pooh, an original I first saw on 3/4 inch video tape.