Wednesday, August 31, 2005
What troubles me is that I was an English major. Not the type of English major who was only doing it as an entre into law or business, but an English major who studied it because I really liked it. Up until a year or so ago, just about everything I read would qualify as literature with the proverbial capital L. I used to try to read one big important book a year, and if I couldn't find something new, I'd just re-read Ulysses. A few months ago, I tried to reread Gravity's Rainbow, but couldn't get through the first 50 pages. What the heck is wrong with me? I read Gravity's Rainbow within the last 10 years and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and now I can't even get started. And I can't even remember the last time I read poetry for fun (not counting revising and posting my own, which were written at least three years ago).
Is this something that happens to everyone? Maybe I just don't have the energy these days after dealing with work and everything else that life deals you in your 30s. How do I get over this. My writing is suffering because of it.
Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed the most recent books. I mean, Nick Hornby is still Nick Hornby (and he is an Arsenal fan after all). Codex was allright, but I've read much more intellectually stimulating books on similar themes; The Name of the Rose and Plowing the Dark immediately come to mind. I have friends asking me about The Sound and the Fury. Unless I can get out my reading funk, do I really have the standing to talk to them about it?
Eventually, I'll get my head around it, and more St. Mary's posts will appear. I'm already climbing the google rankings on the subject anyway. And if I'm really lucky, I have more the poem sequence to share too.
NP: Willie Nelson on PBS. Up Next: The Carter Family
Even now, the price has risen 70 cents at nearby gas stations since lunch (to $3.40). Yes you read that right. 70 cents in four hours. There are lines at gas stations that spill out in the street. A coworker reported that a few stations are saying they are out of gas as well. I realize that Katrina will have a big impact on gas prices and availability, but after only 3 days? Two pipelines from the gulf come through Atlanta, but the city is surrounded by terminals that store the stuff.
Follow the madness here.
UPDATE: And there's more.
With that in mind, I'll reiterate to my small number of readers that you can help by donating to relief agencies, such as the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Second Harvest Food Bank, the Catholic Charities Disaster Response, the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, or others (via FEMA).
UPDATE: Mystery & Misery has a much more comprehensive list.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
I was prepared to do this (being a legitimate blog meme and all), but looking at 1987 is just too damn depressing. I made it through about the first 50 songs before I realized that I had only bolded about two or three songs. It's mind boogling how bad the musical taste of the time really was. It includes a song from Dirty Dancing for God sake!
So, on the advice of counsel, I'll leave all these bad music memories where they belong--in the dim recesses of an alcoholic haze brought on by my freshman year of college. Instead, I'll remember sitting on the steps outside Gilliam dorm discussing good music or being introduced to the Connells for the first time.
UPDATE: Well, if this is good enough for the Dilettante in Distress, I suppose I'll have to do it anyways too. She makes some great points about the good albums that came out that year. I still listen to Pleased to Meet Me quite a bit in fact. Find me a song more catchy than "Alex Chilton". I dare you. You're singing it right now aren't you. [Ed. Note: What's that song?]
So, after a little shaming, here's my list after all:
- Walk Like An Egyptian, Bangles [I don't mind the Bangles, just this particular song]
Alone, Heart Shake You Down, Gregory Abbott I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me), Whitney Houston Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now, Starship[Is it possible to strike this one three or four times?]
- C'est La Vie, Robbie Nevil
Here I Go Again, Whitesnake
- The Way It Is, Bruce Hornsby and the Range [He's from Virginia. And I know that's not a proper defense]
Shakedown, Bob Seger Livin' On A Prayer, Bon Jovi La Bamba, Los Lobos Everybody Have Fun Tonight, Wang Chung
- Don't Dream It's Over, Crowded House
Always, Atlantic Starr
- With Or Without You, U2
Looking For A New Love, Jody Watley Head To Toe, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam I Think We're Alone Now, Tiffany
- Mony Mony, Billy Idol
At This Moment, Billy Vera and The Beaters Lady In Red, Chris De Burgh Didn't We Almost Have It All, Whitney Houston
- I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, U2
I Want Your Sex,George Michael
- Notorious, Duran Duran
Only In My Dreams, Debbie Gibson (I've Had) The Time Of My Life, Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes The Next Time I Fall, Peter Cetera and Amy Grant[Peter Cetera is only cool at the Harvey Keitel] Lean On Me, Club Nouveau
- Open Your Heart, Madonna
Lost In Emotion, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam
- (I Just) Died In Your Arms, Cutting Crew
- Heart And Soul, T'pau
You Keep Me Hangin' On, Kim Wilde
- Keep Your Hands To Yourself, Georgia Satellites [And yes, I'm embarrassed by this]
I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me), Aretha Franklin and George Michael Control, Janet Jackson Somewhere Out There, Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram
- U Got The Look, Prince
Land Of Confusion, Genesis Jacob's Ladder, Huey Lewis and The News[I have no recollection of this at all, but it is Huey Lewis]
- Who's That Girl, Madonna
You Got It All, Jets Touch Me (I Want Your Body), Samantha Fox[I did like the video though] I Just Can't Stop Loving You, Michael Jackson and Siedah Garrett
- Causing A Commotion, Madonna
In Too Deep, Genesis Let's Wait Awhile, Janet Jackson Hip To Be Square, Huey Lewis and the News Will You Still Love Me?, Chicago
- Little Lies, Fleetwood Mac
- Luka, Suzanne Vega
- I Heard A Rumour, Bananarama
Don't Mean Nothing, Richard Marx Songbird, Kenny G Carrie, Europe[Remember when they named bands after cities, and that even wasn't enough, so it became whole continents] Don't Disturb This Groove, System
- La Isla Bonita, Madonna
Bad, Michael Jackson Sign 'O' The Times, Prince Change Of Heart, Cyndi Lauper Come Go With Me, Expose Can't We Try, Dan Hill To Be A Lover, Billy Idol
- Mandolin Rain, Bruce Hornsby and the Range
Breakout, Swing Out Sister
- Stand By Me, Ben E. King
Tonight, Tonight, Tonight, Genesis Someday, Glass Tiger
- When Smokey Sings, ABC
- Casanova, Levert [What?]
Rhythm Is Gonna Get You, Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine Rock Steady, Whispers Wanted Dead Or Alive, Bon Jovi
- Big Time, Peter Gabriel
- The Finer Things, Steve Winwood
Let Me Be The One, Expose Is This Love, Survivor Diamonds, Herb Alpert Point Of No Return, Expose Big Love, Fleetwood Mac Midnight Blue, Lou Gramm
- Something So Strong, Crowded House
Heat Of The Night, Bryan Adams
- Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You, Glenn Medeiros
- Brilliant Disguise, Bruce Springsteen
- Just To See Her, Smokey Robinson
Who Will You Run Too, Heart Respect Yourself, Bruce Willis[Where did Bruno return from anyway?] Cross My Broken Heart, Jets Victory, Kool and The Gang
- Don't Get Me Wrong, Pretenders
Doing It All For My Baby, Huey Lewis and The News Right On Track, Breakfast Club Ballerina Girl, Lionel Richie Meet Me Half Way, Kenny Loggins
- I've Been In Love Before, Cutting Crew
- (You Gotta)Fight For Your Right To Party, Beastie Boys
Funkytown, Pseudo Echo
- Love You Down, Ready For The World [Really, I have no idea]
NP: "Pioneers" - Bloc Party [Update]
Friday, August 26, 2005
- British Sea Power
- Wolf Parade
- Broken Social Scene
- Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!
- VHS or Beta
- Death Cab for Cutie
- The Hold Steady
On a side note, if you haven't heard this week's #1 artist, British Sea Power, I highly recommend that you check them out. They even have a few mp3s available for download underthe Audio/Visual link. Here are my impressions of their show at The Earl earilier this year.
Oh, and if anyone is interested in obtaining some samples of what I've been listening to, just drop me a line, and I can direct you to some mp3 downloads.
NP: "Perfect Day (Acoustic Demo)" - Lou Reed
Thursday, August 25, 2005
As for baseball, my favorite team, the Red Sox, are perilously close to media over-exposure right now. Even I'm getting tired of Johnny Damon and his beard. And the Braves? Well I think everyone who doesn't follow them is probably sick to death of them: for example incoming college freshman can't remember when they weren't in the playoffs. I mean, think of that.
So, soccer it is. Arsenal in particular. Like most Americans of my age, I sort of chanced upon soccer in general. It first entered my consciousness during the run up to the '94 World Cup, and I enjoyed that greatly. But it was a slow process. By the time I was ready to begin following it, I was lucky enough to attend a match at Highbury, and just like that, I was an Arsenal fan. I had never been to any sporting event where the passion ran that high. Not even college football, and I've heard Rocky Top in Knoxville. Of course, beating Chelsea that day didn't hurt, even though I had no idea what that meant at the time.
So with that background behind me. I'm now a fixture at the Brewhouse Cafe on many weekends. And now that the season is in full swing, it's time for me to pontificate. So far, Arsenal have looked to be slowly finding their form. They won their opener against Newcastle in a rather boring display for most of the match (aside from Robin Van Persie's fantastic goal in the last 15 minutes), and outplayed defending champions Chelsea in a 1-0 loss (the goal was offside I tell you [Ed. Note: Sure, they always are aren't they]. They found their form yesterday though, thumping Fulham 4-1.
Today, the Champion's League draw was announced. My first thought, having Liverpool and Chelsea in the same group will suck for their supporters, but make for some entertaining football for me. (I will be pulling for the Reds, Damon, don't worry.) In fact, I think this group is probably the hardest of the bunch because of Liverpool's presence here (defending champion and all) instead of whichever Romanian or Welsh team they beat to qualify. Both English teams should still move on though.
Arsenal's group consists of Ajax, Sparta Prague, and FC Thun (from Switzerland). I reckon that Arsenal and Ajax should easily advance, as it is one of the easier groups.
UPDATE: Edited slightly for clarity and to provide some link love to Sportsfilter.
UPDATE Deux: As usual, Arseblog has some thoughtful insight to add.
NP: "If I Love You?" - The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
For many years, a Pixies reunion was about as likely as a full Beatles or Clash reunion. They were rumored to hate each other that much. So what happens, Frank Black makes a verbal slip up (or an unguarded moment of honesty) and the whole thing gathers steam from there.
However it happened, their show at The Fox last October was probably the best show I saw in 2004. And 2004 was a good year for shows.
UPDATE: The comments mention The Smiths as another band about as likely to get back together. Well, here is why it will never happen. If I were a teenage girl, I'd probably be all over it though.
NP: "Your Sickness" - Pinback
Friday, August 19, 2005
NP: "Marginal Over" - Wilderness
- The Charlatans UK
- ...And You Will KNow Us by the Trail of Dead
- Drive-By Truckers
- The Clash
- The Wedding Present
- The Jesus and Mary Chain
- The Soundtrack of Our Lives
With that in mind, the ubiquity of the Charlatans and the Clash make sense because I have a tone of their songs on my iPod.
In other news, this is kind of funny, though if it happened to me, I'd be pissed.
NP: "No Cabaret" - VHS or Beta
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Those of us who shout the loudest about Americanism in making character assassinations are all too frequently those who, by our own words and acts, ignore some of the basic principles of Americanism:
The right to criticize;
The right to hold unpopular beliefs;
The right to protest;
The right of independent thought.
The exercise of these rights should not cost one single American citizen his reputation or his right to a livelihood nor should he be in danger of losing his reputation or livelihood merely because he happens to know someone who holds unpopular beliefs. Who of us doesn’t? Otherwise none of us could call our souls our own. Otherwise thought control would have set in.
When was this speech given? On June 1, 1950, against McCarthyism. On one hand, I suppose it makes me feel better than this sort of thing has happened before. On the other, when you have to compare a political era to McCarthyism, you'd better be taking stock real quick.
I promise to leave the politics alone for a while now.
NP: "Don't Let It Get You Down" - Echo & The Bunnymen
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
I don't do politics much here. I thought I'd reached outrage fatique, and believe it or not I do have friends (some very close) who vote and think very differently than I do politically, and I try to respect their beliefs. And frankly, politics doesn't interest me nearly as much as other things.
But sometimes I just get fed up, and I realize that polite discourse is impossible and that something just has to be said. For example, these quotes just make me want to run screaming away from civilization and live on a mountaintop somewhere. (Hat tip to kos.)
"You can support the troops but not the president."
--Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)
"Well, I just think it's a bad idea. What's going to happen is they're going to be over there for 10, 15, maybe 20 years."
--Joe Scarborough (R-FL)
"Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?"
--Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/6/99
"[The] President . . . is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy."
--Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)
"American foreign policy is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration is trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy."
--Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)
"If we are going to commit American troops, we must be certain they have a clear mission, an achievable goal and an exit strategy."
--Karen Hughes, speaking on behalf of George W Bush
"I had doubts about the bombing campaign from the beginning . . I didn't think we had done enough in the diplomatic area."
--Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)
"I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our over-extended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today"
--Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)
"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is."
--Governor George W. Bush (R-TX)
They are talking about the intervention in Kosovo. Of course, now that we have troops in Iraq they are steadfast in these beliefs because they reflect their core conservative philosphies, right? Wait a minute, what? They aren't? The rank stink of partisanship and hypocrisy here is just overpowering. Of course, anything is in bounds if a democrat is president; make nary a peep now, and you're branded a traitor. God forbid we question the President on anything. He keeps his pecker in his pants--isn't that good enough?
Witness the mud they're dragging Cindy Sheehan through right now, particularly Fox News (no link for them). What's her crime? Asking the same damn questions as they did in 1999. Who cares what her motives are. Who cares whether she's changed her mind on the war. Who cares what the hell Anne Coulter thinks. Just answer her damn questions!
I think a lot of citizens are interested in the answer.
My only apology for this post is drawn from William Blake: "The voice of righteous indignation is the voice of God".
UPDATE: Paul Begala has this exactly right.
NP: "All You Fascists" - Billy Bragg & Wilco (and yes this one is on purpose)
Maybe I just need to get my butt back up 85 and 77 soon to see some of this for myself. I'm sure my niece could use some additional spoilage!
NP: "Carrion" - British Sea Power
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
It's also nice to see that have some good signage on a building in downtown Decatur now. Here's to success guys.
If you have any interest in the magazine, you can subscribe here or download mp3s of the artists they cover here. You will be prompted to subscribe to their newsletter, but I've never found them to obnoxiously inundate your inbox.
NP: "Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood" - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!
Monday, August 15, 2005
Once again, my comprehension began to slip, and finally I wrote down: "To the degree that I do understand, I don't care." It was, however, somewhat reassuring at the end of the movie to discover that I had, after all, understood everything I was intended to understand. It was just that there was less to understand than the movie at first suggests.This isn't the funniest of the glimpses, and there's a fair amount of acidic humor here. For example his take on Joe Dirt:
We professional movie critics count it a banner week when only one movie involves eating, falling into or being covered by excrement (or a cameo appearance by Carson Daly). We are not prudes. We are prepared to laugh. But what these movies, including "Joe Dirt," often do not understand is that the act of being buried in crap is not in and of itself funny.I can't comment on most of these since I've only seen a couple of them (and none of them make my guilty pleasure list). I can tell you my most hated movie, and there's really no rhyme nor reason to it. My all time most hated movie is Never Been Kissed. Like I said, I can't logically explain it, but just seeing it on the cable listings is enough to make me run screaming from the living room straight to the nearest bar.
UPDATE: Of course! How could I not add Dirty Dancing to my list. Guess what, Baby, I just put you in the corner.
NP: "The Land Beyond" - British Sea Power
One quibble, while their bloody mary's seemed to fit the bill for those vodka drinkers among us, the mint julep decidedly did not. A mint julep is not a bourbon on the rocks with a sprig of mint people! Didn't anyone involved with this restaurant grow up in the South?
In case anyone involved with Watershed finds his or her way to this place, here is a recipe for a proper mint julep, and another, and another [Ed Note: We get the point]. Please note the presence of shaved ice and a frosted glass in all these.
Please stop the bait and switch.
NP: "Breakdown" - Suede
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Without further ado, here is what Last.fm tells me I've been listening to the most. Links are only included for bands that exist somewhere other than in my heart and memory.
- Maximo Park - Just got there album. The best parts of The Futureheads and Bloc Party. The real old school parts I mean. Who said BritPop was dead?
- Arctic Monkeys - A new (to me) band from Sheffield. Their sound seems more NY to my ear though, even though one of their songs includes the word "Mardy" (and no, I don't even know what that means).
- The Clash - Nothing to see here. Move along.
- The Charlatans - Has any ever noticed how many bands there are that start with the letter "C"? Really think about all the "C" bands you have in your collection. It boggles the mind really.
- Pulp - Rounding out an all British top 5. This list actually reminds me a bit of a mix tape I received years ago (UK vs. US - Thanks Vllack!). I still have that tape in my car by the way, and I sometimes listen to it when I forget my iPod.
- My Morning Jacket - I'm looking forward to their new album, Z, which is coming out October 4. Rumor has it that it's quite different from their earlier work.
- The White Stripes - I'm still undecided on their new album. Many of the songs really only sound like half songs--what I mean is that it seems to my ear that I'm missing the track with the other instruments. It is interesting, but not sure how emotionally satisfying (even though Blue Orchid does rock).
- The Jesus and Mary Chain - I suppose they were about due to appear on this list.
- Blur - Them too.
- Luna - Finally, another US band (looks like the UK wins this round). I'm still kind of bummed I missed their farewell tour. Maybe I'll dig up some Galaxie 500 this weekend, and listen to both bands.
Hopefully with my deadline now passed, normal posting should resume.
NP: "Ever Be the Same" - The Satellite Rides
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
For those of you who use iTunes, Winamp, or Real Player to listen to music through the day, it's a neat service, especially since you can link to friends and see what people with similar tastes are listening to. I've found a few new bands this way. All it requires is a plug-in that hasn't alarmed my spyware protection yet. Check it out.
For the record, here's my user page.
NP: "Fingers in the Factories" - The Editors
Monday, August 08, 2005
But seriously, isn't this like receiving something in the mail you didn't order. Don't you get to keep it? It's not the fault of the democrats that someone in St. Louis accidentally [Ed. Note: You mean some fifth column America hating mail clerk] sent it to the Democrats.
Maybe they should use it, whoever gets the money eventually, to buy people who are unemployed a beer or two. God knows with this economy, they need it.
But seriously, when people ask me why I voted for Kerry instead of Bush, as if it needs further explication, I say, "when Clinton was president, I drank Newcastle; now I'm can only afford Miller High Life. You do the math."
NP: "Stalemate" - Nada Surf
Friday, August 05, 2005
According to Audioscrobbler, I listened to the following bands the most over the last week:
- Idlewild - Second week in a row. I'm really enjoying Warnings/Promises
- The Clash - Sandanista! mainly
- Aghan Whigs - Oh yeah, I know what jail is like
- The Charlatans UK - Same position as last week.
- Beck - Finally got around to listening to Guero
- Neko Case - Man, can this woman sing!
- Wilco - For those of you who know me, this should come no shock
- Swervedrive - Thanks Damon for filling out my collection here.
- Gorillaz - Demon Days is another album I'd highly recommend (if Gorillaz is your thing)
- The Smiths - And I still don't remember hearing them this much (33 times apparently)
- Beck - "Pressure Zone"
- The Charlatans UK - "Impossible"
- Idlewild - "Everyone Says You're So Fragile"
- Idlewild - "I Want a Warning"
- Gorillaz - "Every Planet We Reach is Dead"
Finally, since I've never reported the top five all-time musical artist, here goes: The Clash, The Charlatans UK, Pulp, Wilco, and Idelwild (in that order). That seems about right to me even if Idlewild is currently a bit artificially high (displacing Afghan Whigs).
NP: "Black Dress" - Ed Harcourt
Thursday, August 04, 2005
The thing is, this leads to bad science, and, if an unbeliever can say so, bad religion. The stakes are more serious here than with silly “devotionals with mathematical content”, but the issues are not that different. Doing what you must know is shoddy science, in the hope that it will provide cover for propagating the gospel, shows a poor opinion of your fellow creatures, of the gospel, and of God. Of your fellow creatures, because you are resorting to trickery, rather than honest persuasion or the example of your own life, to win converts. Of the gospel, because you do not trust its ability to change lives and win souls. Last and worst, of God, because you are perverting what you believe to be the divine gift of intelligence, and refusing to learn about the Creator from the creation. And for what? To protect your opinion about what measure you think it fitting for God to employ.As they say on the Internets, read the whole thing.
NP: "Apply Some Pressure" - Maximo Park