Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I Don't Read Anymore

Seriously. I read, but I don't really read. I read a lot at work of course, but that's mostly marketing drivel. And most of my pleasure reading these days consists of books on history (ancient and medieval) or what I would call mass-market fiction. For example, the last two books I read were Codex and A Long Way Down, not the most literary of pursuits.

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

The Price of Gas

It's like the 70s all over again in Atlanta. Given the current situation on the gulf coast, the oil companies have decided to participate in their favorite sport: price gouging.

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.

It's Our Tsunami

The headline is a quote I heard on the news last night. I still can't really process the devastation on the gulf coast. I can only look on with horror from afar. South Knox Bubba, doing a guest stint at Facing South, probably sums it up better than anyone else has yet.

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

The Latest Music Meme

And yes, I know I just used the word meme. Here's the deal. You're supposed to go to musicoutfitters.com and search the year you graduate. Then select the link for the top 100 list for that year. Finally, you are supposed to copy the list into your blog and bold the songs you liked and strikethrough the songs you hated. Leave the ones you don't remember or don't care about alone. (via GrabbingSand)

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:
  1. Walk Like An Egyptian, Bangles [I don't mind the Bangles, just this particular song]
  2. Alone, Heart
  3. Shake You Down, Gregory Abbott
  4. I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me), Whitney Houston
  5. Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now, Starship [Is it possible to strike this one three or four times?]
  6. C'est La Vie, Robbie Nevil
  7. Here I Go Again, Whitesnake
  8. The Way It Is, Bruce Hornsby and the Range [He's from Virginia. And I know that's not a proper defense]
  9. Shakedown, Bob Seger
  10. Livin' On A Prayer, Bon Jovi
  11. La Bamba, Los Lobos
  12. Everybody Have Fun Tonight, Wang Chung
  13. Don't Dream It's Over, Crowded House
  14. Always, Atlantic Starr
  15. With Or Without You, U2
  16. Looking For A New Love, Jody Watley
  17. Head To Toe, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam
  18. I Think We're Alone Now, Tiffany
  19. Mony Mony, Billy Idol
  20. At This Moment, Billy Vera and The Beaters
  21. Lady In Red, Chris De Burgh
  22. Didn't We Almost Have It All, Whitney Houston
  23. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, U2
  24. I Want Your Sex,George Michael
  25. Notorious, Duran Duran
  26. Only In My Dreams, Debbie Gibson
  27. (I've Had) The Time Of My Life, Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
  28. The Next Time I Fall, Peter Cetera and Amy Grant [Peter Cetera is only cool at the Harvey Keitel]
  29. Lean On Me, Club Nouveau
  30. Open Your Heart, Madonna
  31. Lost In Emotion, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam
  32. (I Just) Died In Your Arms, Cutting Crew
  33. Heart And Soul, T'pau
  34. You Keep Me Hangin' On, Kim Wilde
  35. Keep Your Hands To Yourself, Georgia Satellites [And yes, I'm embarrassed by this]
  36. I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me), Aretha Franklin and George Michael
  37. Control, Janet Jackson
  38. Somewhere Out There, Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram
  39. U Got The Look, Prince
  40. Land Of Confusion, Genesis
  41. Jacob's Ladder, Huey Lewis and The News [I have no recollection of this at all, but it is Huey Lewis]
  42. Who's That Girl, Madonna
  43. You Got It All, Jets
  44. Touch Me (I Want Your Body), Samantha Fox [I did like the video though]
  45. I Just Can't Stop Loving You, Michael Jackson and Siedah Garrett
  46. Causing A Commotion, Madonna
  47. In Too Deep, Genesis
  48. Let's Wait Awhile, Janet Jackson
  49. Hip To Be Square, Huey Lewis and the News
  50. Will You Still Love Me?, Chicago
  51. Little Lies, Fleetwood Mac
  52. Luka, Suzanne Vega
  53. I Heard A Rumour, Bananarama
  54. Don't Mean Nothing, Richard Marx
  55. Songbird, Kenny G
  56. Carrie, Europe [Remember when they named bands after cities, and that even wasn't enough, so it became whole continents]
  57. Don't Disturb This Groove, System
  58. La Isla Bonita, Madonna
  59. Bad, Michael Jackson
  60. Sign 'O' The Times, Prince
  61. Change Of Heart, Cyndi Lauper
  62. Come Go With Me, Expose
  63. Can't We Try, Dan Hill
  64. To Be A Lover, Billy Idol
  65. Mandolin Rain, Bruce Hornsby and the Range
  66. Breakout, Swing Out Sister
  67. Stand By Me, Ben E. King
  68. Tonight, Tonight, Tonight, Genesis
  69. Someday, Glass Tiger
  70. When Smokey Sings, ABC
  71. Casanova, Levert [What?]
  72. Rhythm Is Gonna Get You, Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine
  73. Rock Steady, Whispers
  74. Wanted Dead Or Alive, Bon Jovi
  75. Big Time, Peter Gabriel
  76. The Finer Things, Steve Winwood
  77. Let Me Be The One, Expose
  78. Is This Love, Survivor
  79. Diamonds, Herb Alpert
  80. Point Of No Return, Expose
  81. Big Love, Fleetwood Mac
  82. Midnight Blue, Lou Gramm
  83. Something So Strong, Crowded House
  84. Heat Of The Night, Bryan Adams
  85. Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You, Glenn Medeiros
  86. Brilliant Disguise, Bruce Springsteen
  87. Just To See Her, Smokey Robinson
  88. Who Will You Run Too, Heart
  89. Respect Yourself, Bruce Willis [Where did Bruno return from anyway?]
  90. Cross My Broken Heart, Jets
  91. Victory, Kool and The Gang
  92. Don't Get Me Wrong, Pretenders
  93. Doing It All For My Baby, Huey Lewis and The News
  94. Right On Track, Breakfast Club
  95. Ballerina Girl, Lionel Richie
  96. Meet Me Half Way, Kenny Loggins
  97. I've Been In Love Before, Cutting Crew
  98. (You Gotta)Fight For Your Right To Party, Beastie Boys
  99. Funkytown, Pseudo Echo
  100. Love You Down, Ready For The World [Really, I have no idea]
NP: "Shine a Light" - Wolf Parade [First Post]
NP: "Pioneers" - Bloc Party [Update]

Friday, August 26, 2005

Friday Music Report

According to Last.fm, here are the 10 musical artists I listened to most in the last week, and there's been some shake-up at the top. No Clash, Charlatans, or defunct bands in sight:
  1. British Sea Power
  2. Spoon
  3. Wolf Parade
  4. Broken Social Scene
  5. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!
  6. VHS or Beta
  7. Wilco
  8. Autolux
  9. Death Cab for Cutie
  10. The Hold Steady
So far this week, the most listened to song is "Sister Jack" by Spoon (and it's a good one).

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

The Other Football

And yes, I mean Futbol. I don't post about sports much because there are so many good places to read about sports (like Sportsfilter) and there are other things that interest me. Sportswise, I'm mostly interested in soccer and baseball , but I do pay attention to other sports--I just don't get as worked up about them as I do about baseball and soccer. Of course, most sports are always a good excuse to hang out with friends and have a few cold beers.

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

How the Pixies Got Back Together

The Guardian has an interesting article on and interview with the Pixies that begins to explain how and why they got back together (even if they are just touring as of now). It also provides a nice, digestible history of how they came to be in the first place.

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

We Like Pictures

Dilettante in Distress has finally posted a photo of her daughter Annika. And I for one am not going to disagree with her assessment (though I think the same of my niece). I'm hoping the first day at "school" went well for her.

NP: "Marginal Over" - Wilderness

Friday Music Report

According to Last.fm, here are the 10 musical artists I listened to most in the last week:
  1. The Charlatans UK
  2. ...And You Will KNow Us by the Trail of Dead
  3. Stereolab
  4. Swervedriver
  5. Spoon
  6. Drive-By Truckers
  7. The Clash
  8. The Wedding Present
  9. The Jesus and Mary Chain
  10. The Soundtrack of Our Lives
A note on the methodology here. While I'm at work, I listen to my entire music library on my iPod using iTunes. Most of the time, I just use the shuffle tracks setting. Mysteriously, iTunes seems to fall in love with certain artists from time to time (it seems to inordinantly like Elvis Costello for example).

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

Follow Up to Yesterday's Rant

Where are the people like Margaret Chase Smith now? I stumbled upon her Declaration of Conscience speech this morning. An excerpt:
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

Simply Mind Boggling

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)

Blue Ridge Photography

As you may have noticed, I've added a few more links to the sidebar. One I'd like to specifically point out is Doctor HP Flowers blog. He features photography from my neck of the woods, the middle Appalachians, along with his miscellaneous musings. Some of the photos are just breathtaking, and almost all of them remind me of home in a bitter-sweet way.

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

Paste Magazine Profiled

The AJC profiles Paste Magazine. I've been receiving this magazine since its inception. A coworker who knew of my love of music brought me the first issue (a friend of her's had done some design work on it), and after reading it, I immediately subscribed. While I differ from the editors' musical taste more often than not, it is nice to hear other viewpoints, along with a free cd every issue to let me sample and to form my own opinions. In fact, they haven't said anything about the band I'm listening to right now (but maybe that's in the new issue that I haven't read yet).

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

Bad Movies

Roger Ebert checks in with his list of most hated films. It's pretty much the list you would expect. The only item that surprised me was his inclusion of The Usual Suspects:
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

Woodshedding Watershed

At long last, a long weekend. A graduation was celebrated. Stress was survived. And drinks were had. Immediately following the ceremony, we retired to Watershed restaurant in Decatur and enjoyed a fine meal. I for one didn't know that pimento cheese could be so good.

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

Early Friday Music Report

As I am taking tomorrow off for a much needed day of replenishment of soul and sleep, I thought I'd get this in early. This may also partially explain my slackness in posting lately--work deadlines and that. Action-Item Man was nowhere to be found to help with the various revisions and writings and meetings over the last weeks.

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.
  1. 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?
  2. 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).
  3. The Clash - Nothing to see here. Move along.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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).
  8. The Jesus and Mary Chain - I suppose they were about due to appear on this list.
  9. Blur - Them too.
  10. 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.
And the top track of the week? I heard three songs by Maximo Park four times over the week: "The Night I Lost My Head", "Apply Some Pressure", and "Graffiti".

Hopefully with my deadline now passed, normal posting should resume.

NP: "Ever Be the Same" - The Satellite Rides

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Audioscrobbler Evolves

Audioscrobbler, a cool service that records the different tracks I listen to over the course of the day and saves them for posterity has evolved into Last.fm. It still have all the features that power my Friday Music Reports: Last 10 tracks, most popular weekly artists and songs, and all time popular artists and songs.

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

It's Happy Hour Again

South Carolina are probably having a number of long happy hours on Anheuser-Busch's dime. The problem is, the money was intended to go to the South Carolina Republican party. Ooops. Now the Republicans want their money [Ed. Note: an actual point of real insight in this post? You're slipping]. And the Democrats say the check, well, er, uhm, it's in the mail.

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

Friday Music Report

I've listened to a lot of music over the last week, as I've been putting in a lot of hours and my iPod plays constantly when I'm busy at work.

According to Audioscrobbler, I listened to the following bands the most over the last week:
  1. Idlewild - Second week in a row. I'm really enjoying Warnings/Promises
  2. The Clash - Sandanista! mainly
  3. Aghan Whigs - Oh yeah, I know what jail is like
  4. The Charlatans UK - Same position as last week.
  5. Beck - Finally got around to listening to Guero
  6. Neko Case - Man, can this woman sing!
  7. Wilco - For those of you who know me, this should come no shock
  8. Swervedrive - Thanks Damon for filling out my collection here.
  9. Gorillaz - Demon Days is another album I'd highly recommend (if Gorillaz is your thing)
  10. The Smiths - And I still don't remember hearing them this much (33 times apparently)
And, drum roll please, the most listened to track of the last week? We have a five way tie with 13 times each!
  • 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"
I expect to see both Maximo Park and Artic Monkey on these lists next week. You've been warned!

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

Bad Science. Bad Religion.

Cosma Shalizi provides some thoughts on the whole Intelligent Design debate, which was recently re-ignited by Bush's opining that it should stand toe to toe with the theory of evolution in the classroom. Here's a money quote:
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

Monday, August 01, 2005

Gmail Invites?

I have a bunch of gmail invites to give (more than enough to satisfy my meager readership I'm sure). If you don't have a gmail account yet, and your want one, drop me a line.

NP: "Raise" - Swervedriver