Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Soundtrack of My Life

As seen at the Corporate Headquarters of the San Antonio Gunslingers. Here's how it works:
  1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
  2. Put it on shuffle
  3. Press play
  4. For every question, type the song that's playing
  5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
Here's how mine played out:

Opening Credits:
"Hurt" - Johnny Cash (Ouch, I certainly hope that doesn't set the scene)

Waking Up:
"Dumbells" - Mission of Burma

First Day At School:
"Veronica" - Elvis Costello

Falling In Love:
"Rudy Foolish" - Matt Sweeny and Bonnie Prince Billy

Breaking Up:
"On Repeat" - LCD Soundsystem

"Coal Black Horses" - 16 Horsepower (this is getting all Carrie on me)

Life's Ok:
"Crush" - Smashing Pumpkins

Mental Breakdown:
"Elvis" - Longpigs

"Spiders (Kidsmoke)" - Wilco (a damn good driving song if I've ever heard one)

"Of All the Things We've Made" - OMD

Getting Back Together:
"The Wake of Medusa" - The Pogues (what the hell kind of relationship would that be)

Birth of Child:
"Dimensions and Verticals" - Say Hi to Your Mom

Wedding Scene:
"Someone Says" - Editors

Final Battle:
"Chance" - Big Country

Death Scene:
"Two States" - Pavement (this is getting kind of eerie now)

Funeral Song:
"Spine" - Bettie Serveert

End Credits:
"Lucy Doesn't Love You" - Ivy

This would make for quite a strange movie soundtrack. Such is any life I guess.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Klinsmann Confirms Talks with U.S. Soccer

Telling us what we already knew, Jurgen Klinsmann confirms talks with U.S. Soccer. This comes on the heels of some unofficial leaks that he was on the short list of both the U.S. and Mexico.
"Absolutely I’m interested. I kind of needed some time to reflect after the World Cup. I’ve been in touch with Sunil and had several conversations, all very positive."
When this possibility first surfaced immediately following his outstanding job of guiding Germany to the late stages of the World Cup, I was immediately for it. With the unimaginative job that Bruce Arena had turned in, I thought his willingness to shake things up was just the thing to keep U.S. Soccer from backsliding.

I still think he would be a good option, but I've had a lot of conversations about this with some very savvy soccer friend, and now I don't think he's the only option that can ensure building the program. Other interesting names, like Jose Peckermann, have surfaced. His work with the Argentine youth system alone bears a good long look. His only downside would be his lack of knowledge of U.S. soccer in general, but he wouldn't be afraid to make everyone earn a spot (I'm looking at you prima-Donovan).

A lot of folks also still think that the coach will have a more American flavor. (Klinsmann at least lives in California.) Of the best candidates in this pool, I think Peter Nowak, current coach of DC United, and Steve Nicol of New England are the best bets.

So that gives you a pool of what are probably the top four choices from Sunil Gulati will choose next month. What do I think? I would be very happy with either Klinsmann, Pekermann, or Nowak. Although each of these candidates is very different, they could all improve the standing of the game and the U.S. and the performance of the U.S. teams.

If we're going to live in fantasy land for a moment, Ideally, a combination of Pekermann and Klinsmann/Nowak would be best (thanks for the idea Xavier!). Leave the overall structure and development to Pekermann and leave the coaching to either Klinsmann or Nowak. I'know this idea isn't really workable, but it would probably do wonders for U.S. soccer.

In any case, it's looking like Klinsmann is the number one candidate. Hopefully he, or someone, takes the job real soon.

NP: "Gravity" - Pylon

Friday Music Report

According to my Last.fm profile, I listened to the following music the most last week:
  • Bettie Serveert
  • The Wedding Present
  • The Charlatans U.K.
  • Billy Bragg
  • Death Cab for Cutie
  • The Delgados
  • Elf Power
  • The Connells
  • Spiritualized
  • Dinosaur Jr.

For an completely different kind of look into my music library, here are 10 songs drawn totally at random from my library using iTunes' smart playlist functionality:

  • "Thirteen" - Johnny Cash
  • "Sound Check (Gravity)" - Gorillaz
  • "Little Fern" - Portastatic
  • "Knock Knock" - The Hives
  • "Isolation" - Joy Division
  • "Hell is Chrome" - Wilco
  • "Decoration Day" - Drive-By Truckers
  • "Cut Me DOwn" - Lloyd Cole & the Commotions
  • "Cars and Girls" - Prefab Sprout
  • "A Wooden Horse" - British Sea Power

NP: "This Is What It Should Have Been an Hour Ago" - Ocelot

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Do You Like Pho-Tography?

A wink's as good as a nudge to a blind bat, eh?

OK, it's a night of housekeeping here. I've finally updated my Flickr page with lots of new photographs, including the wedding last weekend, my Chicago trip, new St. Mary's pics, and more.

My photographic output is not nearly as prolific (or as good) as sweetfrenchtoast's photos or El Gray's photos, or GrabbingSand's photos, but oh, well, onward and upward.

More Tinkering Under the Hood

So I've switched things up a bit around here. The stacked sidebars at the right were kind of bugging me, so I thought I try something different. What do y'all think? Suggestions are welcome of course.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Coke Donates Land in Atlanta for Civil Rights Museum

Coca-Cola has donated land in downtown Atlanta for a National Civil Rights Museum. Good for Coke. And good for Atlanta. When you think about it, Atlanta makes a lot of sense for a civil rights museum, given its connection to the King family. It certainly would be better for the city than the NASCAR Hall of Fame, which Atlanta recently lost. Such a museum would complement the Georgia Aquarium nicely downtown.

NP: "Her Against Me (Featuring Ruby Belle)" - Afghan Whigs

An Exclusive Club

LogoThere is:
person with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

(via OW)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Friday Music Report

According to my Last.fm profile, I listened to the following music last week:
  1. Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros
  2. Echo & the Bunnymen
  3. Swervedriver
  4. Death Cab for Cutie
  5. Bettie Serveert
  6. Wilco
  7. Joy Division
  8. Sigur Rós
  9. The Clash
  10. The Charlatans U.K.
Nothing really surprising there. For a completely different view into my listening habits, here is a random 10 songs drawn from my iPod.
  • The Marriage - Billy Bragg
  • Roseablility - Idlewild
  • Ocean Spray - Manic Street Preachers
  • New Boy - The Connells
  • Lost In Space - Luna
  • Hummingbird - Wilco
  • Ghosts of American Astronauts - The Mekons
  • Do You Want To - Franz Ferdinand
  • Black Math - The White Stripes
  • A Parable - Clem Snide
NP: "I Can't Stand It" - Bettie Serveert

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Another Atlanta Institution Closing

Very sad news my friends. I found out this evening that The Silver Grill (not the Silver Skillet and their faux red-eye gravy) is closing December 22. Now, where will I go for cornbread that tastes like my Granny's and chicken and dumplings and fried chicken!

If you've never been, definitely drop by before the end to have the best fried chicken in Atlanta (voted so multiple times by Creative Loafing), share the ups and downs of Georgia football with Kevin, and fatten yourself up for at least one day.

I'm going to miss it. Where else will I go to eat when I have no idea what I want to eat. Any ideas? And don't tell me about the Silver Skillet. Son's Place is my best guess right now.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

More Web 2.0 B.S. Buzzwords Than You Can Shake a Stick At

Following up on my post about the overuse of buzzwords, especially in the Internet industry, here's some more buzzword bingo: The Web 2.0 Bullshit Generator!

Some of my favorite examples:
  • reinvent peer-to-peer communities
  • disintermediate user-contributed blogspheres (and you'd thought I made up that word)
  • integrate long-tail value
Anyone else find any favorites we can ridicule?

Related: Web economy bullshit generator.

NP: "Mercenary Song" - Steve Earle

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday Music Report

According to my Last.fm profile, I listened to the following music the most last week.
  1. Sufjan Stevens
  2. The Hold Steady
  3. Death Cab for Cutie
  4. Wilco
  5. Pavement
  6. Doves
  7. My Morning Jacket
  8. Broken Social Scene
  9. Swervedriver
  10. My Bloody Valentine
Continuing the new, random sampling feature of this report, here are 10 songs drawn totally at random from my iPod:
  • White Light - Gorillaz
  • Rabbit Hole - Year of The Rabbit
  • Quick Painless & Easy - Ivy
  • Night Light - Sleater-Kinney
  • Mr Malcontent - Lloyd Cole & The Commotions
  • L.A. - The Fall
  • Hey Now! - Oasis
  • Heavy Metal Drummer - Wilco
  • Hand In Hand - Elvis Costello & The Attractions
  • Dreamaniacs - Bettie Serveert
NP: "Tom Courtenay (Georgia Version)" - Yo La Tengo

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Deconstructing Roy Lichtenstein

David Barsalou has scoured the comic word to locate the source images for many of Roy Lichtenstein's paintings, and compares the original images side by side with Lichtenstein's paitings. presented them both side-by-side. Here's a sampling (and perhaps my favorite painting):

For the record, I think this exercise shows how accomplished Lichtenstein was since without fail, his paintings are huge improvements over the original images. I was lucky enough to see the above at the High Museum, and it is absolutely incredible.

NP: "Avery Island; April 1st" - Neutral Milk Hotel

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Tribe Pride. Get It?

The NCAA apparently does not. One of my alma maters, The College of William & Mary, has lost its appeal to the NCAA over the use of its logo, which includes a couple of feathers to indicate its nickname, the Tribe. The NCAA, however, has deemed that the nickname itself is just fine.

Now, I'm all for removing hints of our racist past from the ranks of sports mascots—Redskins is racist now matter how you slice it—but how the NCAA is going about this is just ridiculous and incoherent. How on earth is the spear on Florida State's helmet acceptable, where two feathers, totally divorced from any other native american symbols unacceptable.

I'm not too upset about this, but it seems the schools that are being told what they can and can't do are mostly those schools that aren't big football powerhouses.

NP: "Meantime" - The Futureheads

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Disney Recognizes Piracy as a Business Model

Disney's co-chair recognizes piracy as a business model during her keynote address at Mipcom. Here's a key quote: "[Piracy] exists to serve a need in the market for consumers who want TV content on demand."

She went on to say that the company would be relying on their content to drive everything moving forward, giving it primacy of place to drive traffic and create demand. However, Cory Doctorow responds: (@ boingboing.net)
Content isn't king. If I sent you to a desert island and gave you the choice of taking your friends or your movies, you'd choose your friends -- if you chose the movies, we'd call you a sociopath. Conversation is king. Content is just something to talk about.
Something to always remember, especially in my business.

NP: "This is Not What You Had Planned" - The Wrens

Friday, October 06, 2006

Salman Rushdie in Atlanta

Salman Rushdie will join Emory as writer in residence. Hopefully, in addition to his brief periods of teaching over the next five years, he'll find time to do a local reading or two.

I haven't read a lot of his works, just Midnight's Children and The Satanic Verses, so maybe I ought to brush up a bit. Any one got recommendations?

NP: "The Lament of Pretty Baby" - Cursive

Friday Music Report

According to my profile at Last.fm, I listened to the following artists the most last week:
  1. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros
  2. Broken Social Scene
  3. Swervedriver
  4. Sufjan Stevens
  5. The Hold Steady
  6. Echo & The Bunnymen
  7. Afghan Whigs
  8. Blur
  9. Pulp
  10. The Walkmen
To provide another cross-section of my musical tastes, here are a random 10: songs drawn totally at random from my iPod using the smart playlist function of iTunes:
  • The Boy With The Thorn In His Side - The Smiths
  • Sky Starts Falling - Doves
  • Shake The Sheets - Ted Leo & the Pharmacists
  • Phenomena - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  • Heaven Adores You - Earlimart
  • Give My Love to Kevin (Acoustic) - The Wedding Present
  • Coolin' By Sound - Pavement
  • Come into Our Room - Clinic
  • Coma Girl - Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros
  • $1000 Wedding - Gram Parsons
Obviously, I'd be remiss if I didn't say it's been a pretty awesome musical week, seeing both Sunset Rubdown and The Hold Steady, but if I went on any more about that, it would just be boring.

NP: "Junior Kickstart" - The Go! Team

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Hold Steady + Sean Na Na + The Secret Service

OK. Now's the time for a superlative. The Hold Steady are the best rock and roll band in America.

Take away all the adjectives: no "indie", no "progressive", no "post" anything. They just rock and roll. Spin has called them the best bar band in America too, so I'm not too far off the reservation. I'm going to depart from my usual style here and start by talking about their headlining performance last night at the Earl.

They opened with the opening track from Boys and Girls in America(Pitchfork Review 9.4), "Station to Station." It started there. The crowd was pumped. The band was pumped. The sound was huge. Loud. And lead singer Craig Finn was frenetic and magnetic.

You can't really be prepared for their stage presence just by seeing them during set up or sound check. As one of my friends put it, Craig Finnan looks like your high school English teacher, and is probably just as literate. But once the performance begins, all that just melts away. And it did for about an hour and a half as they pulled material from all three of their albums. Highlights for me were "Your Little Hoodrat Friend," "Station to Station," "Stevie Nix," and the final encore, "Most People are DJs," which ended up with a good portion of the audience on stage. Bonus points to whomever loaned Craig their Twins jersery for the first encore; he said it made him feel 10 feet tall, but truth be told, he performed like he was 10 feet tall all evening.

If you don't know this band, and you like bands with a huge sound that just flat out rock, I heartily recommend that you check them out.

Sean Na Na had the unenviable task of warming up the crowd for the headliner. Walking into the Earl, I really had no idea what to expect, but I was impressed. The band was a good pairing with The Hold Steady and got the crowd warmed up nicely. During the show, I discovered that I knew one of the tracks, but I still couldn't tell you the name of it. I'd see these guys again live and will do some googling to see what else of theirs I can find.

I don't have much to report about the first act, The Secret Service. I only caught about three songs, but I can report that they were loud. And fast. And the lead singer played a flying-V, which is something you don't see much these days.

NP: "Duress" - Swervedriver

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Limbo in Limbo

Pope Benedict XVI will end the Catholic doctrine of Limbo. As strange as the concept of Limbo sounds to those of us who were reared as protestants (and I imagine it's even weirder for Atheists and adherents of other faiths), it made a certain logical sense that virtuous people who did not have any opportunity to convert were not doomed to an eternity of pain. According to the article:

Limbo is traditionally held to be the place where the souls of children go if they die before they can be baptised and so freed from original sin.

It is also the fate of “holy people” such as the prophet Abraham who lived before the time of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe offered mankind redemption through his death and Resurrection.

I always thought Limbo, based on my knowledge of it from the Inferno, would been a pretty cool place to hang out. Imagine a poker game with Socrates, Abraham, and Caesar.

What's next on the chopping block, Purgatory? (Don't even get me started on how weird that one looks to Protestants.)

NP: "The Avalanche" - Sufjan Stevens

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Sunset Rubdown + Beaver + One Hand Loves the Other

Saturday night, I went to the new Lenny's to see Sunset Rubdown. It was my first time in the new Lenny's and I have to say it was a good place to see a show. It has probably double the capacity of the old bar, and everything is still cleanish (though I'm sure that will diminish over time).

I arrived early since I had a feeling this show would sell out, but as it turns out it didn't (more on that later). I had plenty of time to swill High Life while waiting for the first band to take the stage (which seemed to take forever). Eventually, however, local band On Hand Loves the Other started its set. They certainly didn't fit the bill of the usual act at Lenny's (which is now billing itself as Atlanta's CBGB's): the band consisted of two keyboards/synthesizers, a cello, and a lead singer. They had my interest piqued, but in the end the music was way too melodramatic for me and the singer kept singing in a falsetto. I think they've probably listened to "Bohemian Rhapsody" a few too many times. A couple of my friends enjoyed them, but they just weren't my cup of tea.

The next act, Beaver, was a complete shift of gears: very stripped down. I enjoyed this set quite a bit coming to listen with no knowledge of the music whatsoever. Beaver sounded a little like the Moutain Goats with great moments of Mangum-esque sound straight out of In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.

Then there was the main attraction for the evening, Sunset Rubdown. Originally, a side project of Spencer Krug from Wolf Parade, the group has expanded to include members from Pony Up! and XY Lover. Sunset Rubdown's sound doesn't fall far from the tree musically speaking. It's very similar to Krug's contributions to Wolf Parade. As for the show itself, I don't know if I have enough superlatives at my disposal. They rocked and rocked hard (even with an accordian). Spencer Krug is a very talented musician and songwriter. I had only heard a few of their songs before the show, but I definitely enjoyed all the material they played. If you don't know these guys, I recommend them very highly. This was the best show I've seen in quite a while.

On to the attendance. Where were you Atlanta? This show should have been a sellout! The crowd that did show up got a treat though and they showed a lot of energy throughout.

Now, if Wolf Parade would only swing through town.

NP: "Boo" - Pinback

On the Road Meets Google Maps

Littourati is mapping Kerouac's On the Road with Google Maps. Each post covers a section of the journey with a map, a quote from the book, and some further background information. An example: Creston, WY.

As the site says:
Literature often describes places we are curious about, regardless of whether we know them or not. This blog maps the journeys laid out in selected books and offers reflections corresponding to the various stops. Happy traveling!

I look forward to checking back on this from time to time. I wonder if he'll attempt Moby Dick.

NP: "For Today I Am a Buoy" - Antony & the Johnsons

Monday, October 02, 2006

New Robert Frost Poem Discovered

A new Robert Frost poem has been discovered at UVA. The poem, entitled, "War Thoughts at Home," seems particularly topical right now.

The poem will be published for the first time in the Virginia Quarterly Review (available today). Robert Stilling, the poem's discoverer, discusses the find and provides some details and quotes from the poem in question.

NP: "Citrus" - The Hold Steady