Tuesday, October 31, 2006

In My Inbox

Just received:

Hello, SHOES fans!

This email is sent to inform you of a new book I've written about the early years of our band, SHOES. It's called, "Birth of A Band, The Record Deal and the Making of "Present Tense".

This book chronicles the band's origin and experiences in those early years with over 60 full-color photos and includes a "behind the scenes" peek at how the band signed their major label deal and recorded their debut album, "Present Tense" while in England.

It features personal photos from the studio sessions and exploits as well as anecdotes and personal recollections.

This 70 page, 8-1/2" x 11" book is available after November 1, 2006 for $20, plus $3 shipping and handling from Black Vinyl Records. You can go to ourwebsite at; www.blackvinyl.com and click on "Shoes" and "News" to read more or go to; http://www.blackvinyl.com/2order.htm
to order.

Thanks for your support through the years!


Jeff Murphy/SHOES

Interesting. I do have a birthday coming up....

Babyblogging: More Trick or Treat

Happy Halloween! Our party the other night was at the local children's museum: here's some more pics.

A pretty little puppy goes shopping in the pretend grocery store.

Where a monkey works checkout.

Meanwhile, a duckling attempts to eat some keys.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Things You Learn on the Internets

....and you know, honestly, I could have gone my whole life without knowing this, but apparently Rush Limbaugh was born with a tail.

NTodd quotes Slate noting that "Last year, Limbaugh, who used a tailbone defect to get out of the Vietnam draft, accused a Democratic candidate of having served in Iraq 'to pad the resume'." But commenter Interrobang corrects the record.
Rush didn't get deferred from Vietnam because of a "tailbone defect," he had a pilonidal cyst, which is a hair-filled sinus on the skin over the coccyx. The problem is entirely within the skin, and has nothing whatsoever to do with the tailbone itself.

So I looked this thing up (can you tell I'm procrastinating? I have a paper to write.) and it turns out that a pilonidal cyst is a little hairy thing located about here:

Ergo, a tail.

It actually explains a few things, including his being in league with Satan.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Babyblogging: Trick or Treat!

The children of Liberal Mountain, completely accidentally, have hit upon a theme.





New to the Blogroll

Two newbies, both excellent:

Powerpopulist. Ekim is an occasional commenter here, but a frequent lurker. He's got a terrific melodic sense and is one of the kindest, most generous people I have ever met. Did I mention that he has a kickass music collection? Well, now he has a blog too. Woohoo! It still has that New Blog smell.

Seattle Powerpop.
This, like the New York Powerpop page, is more scene-focused, but as thwe scene is, you know, Seattle, it's a really interesting and active pop community. Seatle Powerpop catalogs the action.


Friday, October 27, 2006

Albums You Need: Waved Out (1998)

Robert Pollard once kissed me on the cheek on New Year's Eve and changed my luck for a year.

It's true: we had made a decision to move north and things were looking pretty grim that night at Maxwell's. I was working a job I hated, Thers was adjuncting, I'd miscarried that summer, and we were beyond broke. I asked Pollard for a kiss for luck and in the next year I had a baby, Thers got a tenure-track job, and things changed pretty dramatically.

Been thinking lately that I need another Pollard kiss to get things moving again, but no matter.

But I always feel funny writing about Pollard. So much hipster ink is spilled on his brand of nearly psychotic genius, his frenetic, prolific catalogue, that it's almost pointless to try and say anything new, to suss out an Album You Need from the rapidly growing pile. And yet...

Waved Out is, I think, definitive for a number of ways. It's technically solo Pollard, though even when GBV was a going concern, he pretty unconcernedly drew from the solo catalogue as well for live shows. "Wrinkled Ghost," one of the most gorgeous songs from Waved Out, made its way onto the GBV stage at least once, to my delight, as did "Subspace Biographies," though Pollard sang the opening synth part himself. It features some of his finest songwriting, and some of his most professional recording up to that time. (This was before Ric Ocasek and the violins.) Not your standard lo-fi GBV outing, by any means. It's just a beautiful, melodic pop record (if the clunky "Showbiz Opera Walrus" be excepted). It's moody and thoughtful. Trust me; have I ever lied to you?

I mean, what can you say about this track list?
1. Make Use
2. Vibrations In The Woods
3. Just Say The Word
4. Subspace Biographies
5. Caught Waves Again
6. Waved Out
7. Whiskey Ships
8. Wrinkled Ghost
9. Artificial Light
10. People Are Leaving
11. Steeple Of Knives
12. Rumbling Joker
13. Showbiz Opera Walrus
14. Pick Seeds From My Skull
15. Second Step Next Language

An album which just had "Waved Out," "Make Use," and "Wrinkled Ghost" would already be a must-have. And that's not even cracking the transcendence of something like "Subspace Biographies."

From the Matador site:
Okay. As Dayton, OH¹s Guided by Voices moves ever-closer to Head Voice Bob Pollard¹s dream of re-making the first Cheap Trick record, he releases a (second) solo album showcasing the more eclectic side of his songwriting. Fine. It¹s all here, too: Wire, early Genesis, Nilsson Schmilsson, Beatles¹ White Album (Lennon only), Blue Oyster Cult (mainly Eric Bloom¹s haircut and Meltzer¹s song titles), XTC, Captain Beefheart, blah blah blah.

Waved Out (you know, like too many microwaves, radio waves, TV waves, New Wave) is a magnificent fucking record, maybe the best example yet of Bob¹s ability to compress a bunch of ideas that should by no means work together--drawing from prog, psych, and postpunk, mostly--into a two minute pop song that blows past most of what¹s out there like one of his ninety-mile-an-hour fastballs (Bob was, after all, the first to throw a no-hitter in the history of Wright State University).

A lot¹s been made of Pollard¹s spontaneous and prolific songwriting methods, and most of that¹s true, though he works much harder on his songs than even he likes to admit. Judging from Waved Out, he's growing increasingly comfortable and ambitious in formal studio-type settings, so that anyone who carps about ³unfinished arrangements² and ³shitty production values² ought to be pretty happy with this record. This doesn't apply, of course, to ³Caught Waves Again,² where he sings into a boombox over a tape of GbV guitarist Doug Gillard¹s noodling, or ³People Are Leaving,² (a really touching song, by the way, about a few recent Dayton tragedies) where he puts two separate melodies over an instrumental tape from LA-based songwriter Stephanie Sayers.

Let's see. A couple members of the latest Guided by Voices lineup (version 23, at least) played on the new record--Jim MacPherson (ex-Breeders drummer), the aforementioned Gillard. But the bulk of the record is pure Pollard, even a bunch of the drumming (his brother Jimmy helped out, too, as usual). Waved Out's extended musical reach is a much different matter than Pollard's first solo run, 1996's Not In My Airforce, which had a more spontaneous, DIY feel. The new one combines NIMA's self-indulgent bent with the better (i.e. more thoughtful) aspects of Bob's well-honed pop instincts.

What more to say? We're proud of the old coot, and despite his continued threats to move on to the ³porch rock² phase of his rock/drinking career, hope he continues to provide us with quality rock product of which Waved Out is the latest and one of the best.

Other reviews here and here. And an interview with Pollard from that period here.

Anyway, you need this record. Trust me: there is nothing worse than an undetermined person.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

RIP: Sandy West

Sandy West, drummer for the seminal girlpunk band the Runaways, dead at 47. Via CNN:

SAN DIMAS, California (AP) -- Sandy West, whose ferocious drumming fueled the influential all-female '70s rock band the Runaways, which she co-founded with Joan Jett, has died of lung cancer. She was 47.

West died Saturday night at a hospice in San Dimas, east of Los Angeles, her manager Mara Fox said. She was diagnosed a year ago.

West was only 16 when she started the Runaways in 1975 with Jett, a singer and guitarist.

Along with band members Lita Ford and Cherie Currie, they had such hits as "Cherry Bomb" and "Born to Be Bad."

"We shared the dream of girls playing rock and roll. Sandy was an exuberant and powerful drummer," Jett said in a statement. "I am overcome from the loss of my friend. I always told her we changed the world."

The Girls

Babyblogging Prime: Birfday!!!!

A friend (with a much better camera) sent me these pics from Rosie's birthday party, in late August.

Big bro wants to help with cake. Teens look on, slackjawed.


Want cake!

Ahhhh, cake.

Birthday princess. (Note cake on shoulder.)

Your blogmistress.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Babyblogging: Mobile Edition

Someone is learning to crawl. God help us all, and thank christ for the Roomba! (So far, he can only go backward, so he backs into things.)

Big Bro tries to lure him forward.

The crawling thing is frequently impeded by wicked cool objects.

And yummy!

It's amazing, really, how large motor skills, small motor skills, exploration, new foods, and teething coexist. And our SP* just rolls with the punches and keeps smiling.

* Sean Patrick or Secular Progressive; I'm cool either way.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A Musical Interlude: Pretty Vacant

Still all giddy about the Shoes thing, but watertiger's idenftification of GWB with Tommy Flanagan inspired me.

There's no point in asking you'll get no reply
I just remember I don't decide
I got no reason it's too all much
You'll always find us out to lunch

Oh we're so pretty
Oh so pretty
We're vacant
Oh we're so pretty
Oh so pretty
We're vacant

Don't ask us to attend 'cause we're not all there
I don't pretend 'cause I don't care
I don't believe illusions 'cause too much is real
So stop your cheap comment
'Cause we know what we feel

Oh we're so pretty
Oh so pretty
We're vacant
Oh we're so pretty
Oh so pretty
We're vacant
And we don't care!!

Boy, that's a facial expression I find myself making a lot these days.

Woo Hoo! The Present Tense Videos!

Yessssss!!!!! I've been waiting for YouTube to get these for a while.

Tomorrow Night

Cruel You

Too Late

In My Arms Again

What I know: there are four videos from this record, recorded in one session, in New York, on a layover returning from recording Present tense in England. Not everyone had enough changes of clothes. They're on videotape. When the band asked for more money to make videos, Elektra--owned by the same company that owned MTV--told them it wasn't important, that MTV would never amount to anything. These were intended for European release only.

But damn, I love these.

Back on Topic...

I've been doing a lot of political blogging lately--frankly, I think the world needs it--but it's only fair, because the political bloggers have been doing some fun music stuff.

via Atrios:
Fun guitar-based pop with some added flourishes to make it interesting. And they're shrill, which is very important.

I blogged about the Trolleyvox a few weeks ago when they played with PowerPop faves Milton and the Devils Party, but I had no idea they were shrill. Thanks, Atrios!

via FDL:

Lots of panels ranging from "Acting Up: Music Activism 2006", to "Hiring and Maintaining an Entourage". There is "CBGB: The Ultimate Reunion" with Chris Stein (Blondie) and Tommy Ramone (Ramones), as well as the panel that I'm on - "Lollapalooza 15th Anniversary Reunion".

I have to say, it's a doozey of a panel: George Clinton, Duane Denison (Jesus Lizard), Gibby Hanes (Butthole Surfers), Maureen Herman (Babes In Toyland), and yours truly (L7). We don't need a moderator, we need the Chief of Police. Should be interesting, all of us lined up on the dais…authority figures. I can almost hear Jackie Gleason saying "Har har hardy har har!".

(The "I" here, for those who aren't firedogs, is Donita Sparks of L7. We love her. She's shrill, too!)

via Sadly No!:

The Angels, "No Secrets"

(I love Gavin's "discovery" story here--all real audiophiles have one, or forty.)

They have Ted freaking Nugent. That's all I'm sayin'....

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Well Fuckity Fuck

Why is this news not everywhere?

Diebold Election Systems Inc. expressed alarm and state election officials contacted the FBI yesterday after a former legislator received an anonymous package containing what appears to be the computer code that ran Maryland's polls in 2004.

Cheryl C. Kagan, a longtime critic of Maryland's elections chief, says the fact that the computer disks were sent to her - along with an unsigned note criticizing the management of the state elections board - demonstrates that Maryland's voting system faces grave security threats.

A spokesman for Diebold, which manufactures the state's touch-screen voting machines, said the company is treating the software Kagan received as "stolen" and not as "picked up" at the State Board of Elections, as the anonymous note claimed. Lawyers for the company are seeking its return.

The disclosure comes amid heightened concerns nationwide about the security of the November elections and the ability of the state to keep tight controls on the thousands of machines that will be used next month.

Maryland's September primary - which used voting machines and electronic check-in equipment made by Diebold - suffered a series of mistakes, and the outcomes of some contests were not known for weeks.

This needs to be a huge issue, everywhere. If Republicans can't back fair elections, it's fair to ask why not.

And Robert Kennedy's excellent piece is here.

I want my democracy back.

UPDATE: As Eli notes, this issue is a passion of his, and it's his legitimate concern that convinced me of the importance of it.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


The New Face of Terrorism in America. Gaze Upon her Evil and Despair!

Gah, you can't make this shit up.

SACRAMENTO — Upset by the war in Iraq, Julia Wilson vented her frustrations with President Bush last spring on her Web page on MySpace.com. She posted a picture of the president, scrawled "Kill Bush" across the top and drew a dagger stabbing his outstretched hand. She later replaced her page on the social-networking site after learning in her eighth-grade history class that such threats are a federal offense.
It was too late.

Federal authorities had found the page and placed Wilson on their checklist. They finally reached her this week in her molecular biology class.


"I wasn't dangerous. I mean, look at what's (stenciled) on my backpack — it's a heart. I'm a very peace-loving person," said Wilson, an honor student who describes herself as politically passionate. "I'm against the war in Iraq. I'm not going to kill the president."

Aside from anything else, it took them six fucking months to track her down? Or they're looking at cached pages? Good work, guys! Good thing she wasn't building a fertilizer bomb in a Hello Kitty backpack or something.

They're scared of grandmothers and honor students. Period.

(Is it me, or does that pic have a Charlotte's Web vibe to it?)

Monday, October 16, 2006


No theme here: just some fun ones.

If it's content you want, enjoy Digby's fine post callling bullshit on the inevitable calls for bipartisanship to come.

Hilly Packs It In

From James Farber:
Back then, the best of the CBGB bands were not only great, they were great in such different ways. Contrary to the tidy "punk" term that bound them, none of these groups looked or sounded anything like each other. They were connected solely by the tightness of the scene, a point underscored by the jukebox that spun almost exclusively house bands. The result sealed this place as its own world, fostering the gloriously laughable notion that the Ramones were every bit as big as the Rolling Stones.

Amazingly, the CB's scene remained remarkably small throughout its heyday. Though every national publication (save Field & Stream) glowed about the bands here, you'd see the same 200 freaks there every week. I remember the first time Television finally managed to get off the Bowery and play the Palladium, as the opening act for Peter Gabriel in 1978.

They got booed off the stage. If they couldn't make it to 14th St., I thought, how could they possibly make it on Main Street?

From James Wolcott:
Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell may have been Lewis & Clark of the Lower East Side, discovering and claiming CBGB's for the future punk poets of America as Hilly Kristal gave the shrug that changed history, but it was Patti Smith who made everything possible--Patti who was CBGB's first star and benediction spirit, Patti who channeled the nomadic nerve of Rimbaud and Isabelle Eberhardt, the bop prosody of the Beats, and the monochromatic drive of the Velvets through her scrawny frame and expressive, air-sculpting fingers. Tonight Patti, the first performer I ever saw at CBGB's--back when her band was drummer-less, she and Tom Verlaine held hands between sets, her band was drummer-less, and the occasional beer bottle dropped from the men's shelter upstairs from the club, shattering on the sidewalk--will be headlining the club's farewell bill, as the former biker's bar on the Bowery joins Max's, Mercer Arts, the Mudd Club, and Danceteria in the foggy graveyard of bohemian legend. (Sirius Radio will be broadcasting the concert live at 9pm on channel 24.) It never occurred to any of us then that someday the CBGB's t-shirt would be a ubiquitous cultural signifier, Richard Hell's byline would grace the op-ed page of the NY Times, the Ramones' "Hey ho/let's go" would rev up car ads, Please Kill Me would be as much a classic of oral history as Edie or Studs Terkel's books, and Deborah Harry would achieve her dye-job dream of being a Warhol superstar in a post-Warhol world.

From Roy Edroso:
It made sense that the nexus of New York punk rock was such a ratty joint. A greybeard such as I have become will taunt the kids today for their backwards-looking rock gambits, but the old punk scene was full of magpies mining la boue for lost gems, and sometimes turds. This was said to be a rebuke to what was considered the smooth and stupefied state of the lively arts of the time. It was also a form of passive aggression: one could expect outsiders to be uncomfortable. I have a hunch you won't like it here, the potato chips are soggy, they water the beer, etc.

I became a habitue, saw many splendid shows (Ramones, Dead Boys, X-Ray Spex, B-52s) and a lot of lame ones. Eventually I hauled myself up on that stage and played some splendid/lame shows myself. I got accustomed to the smell, the smashed toilet, and the pleasurable clubhouse atmosphere that you get just by showing up and doing a little work. Nostalgie de la boue? No, it was happening right now! I always had a hand to shake or a back to pat or a face reading clearly, "Oh, this guy again" when I walked in the door.

All those hours spent loading in and loading out and drinking and hearing, or yelling, "You rock" or "You suck." Long after I stopped playing regularly, I considered it part of my life, until the day came when I realized I could count the time that had passed since I darkened Hilly's door in years, and if I walked through again it would be as a stranger.

From Tom Watson:
We live somewhere now in post neo-classic proto pre-post punk rock land. Everything is derivative, but there's more of it, and sometimes it makes you tap your toes on the morning commute. Always there in the DNA is the strange and wonderful cluster of gene markers known roughly to scientists as "New York punk." Others call it the Johnny Thunders mutation. Whatever it is, it's a historic part of our musical evolution, a marker on a place where music changed - and it changed best here.

Clearly, one of places in the long dual ribbon of DNA bears the name CBGB. A dark pestilent hole that attracted talent: that's the elevator speech. CB's closes tomorrow, but it's all so anti-climatic. All the youngsters wearing the iconic black t-shirts under their Gap jackets is testimony to a lasting rock brand - one that Hilly Kristal and his advisor's apparently hope to keep alive in Las Vegas and along the byways of cyber-commerce.

Lots of excellent links to other elegies through these, including the 'East Village' complex in Vegas where the CB's urinals may or may not be going.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

RIP: Freddy Fender

From WaPo:

Freddy Fender, 69, the "Bebop Kid" of the Texas-Mexico border who later turned his twangy tenor into the smash country ballad "Before the Next Teardrop Falls," died Oct. 14 at his home in Corpus Christi, Tex.

He received a diagnosis of lung cancer this year, and over the years had grappled with drug and alcohol abuse, was treated for diabetes and underwent a kidney transplant.


"Whenever I run into prejudice," he told The Washington Post in 1977, "I smile and feel sorry for them, and I say to myself, 'There's one more argument for birth control.' "

He won a Grammy for Best Latin Pop Album in 2002 for "La Musica de Baldemar Huerta." {Baldermar Huerta is his real name. --NYM} He also shared in two Grammys: with the Texas Tornados, which won in 1990 for best Mexican-American performance for "Soy de San Luis," and with Los Super Seven in the same category in 1998 for "Los Super Seven."

Steve Audio has a nice remembrance.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Happy Birthday Daily Show!

And what a bash it looks to be!

The Daily Show presents "Ten F#@king Years (The Concert)": a live event with appearances from Daily Show correspondents and personalities, live performances from Superchunk, Clem Snide and The Upper Crust, and lots of surprises. All proceeds benefit the New York-based tutoring center 826NYC.

The stars so far:

Think Craig Kilborn will show?

Free Lowe MP3's!

Since both The Kenosha Kid and Emerson recommended it, I wandered over to the supercool Post Punk Junk site. There's a lot of weird and interesting stuff there, but this struck me particularly:

I’ve got a severe soft spot in my heart for Nick Lowe, who was one of the first dudes I ever listened to with heavy regularity when I got out of my metal/prog listening phase in high school and jumped headfirst into college radio DJ-dom. His playing, singing and songwriting never seemed anything but effortless; his stuff simply made me feel good. His two albums from the late ’70s, “Jesus of Cool” and “Labour of Lust”, plus his work with Rockpile that resulted in the album “Seconds Of Pleasure”, made me a lifelong devotee, and while his later material never resonated with me in the way that those other records I just mentioned, I’m a lifelong fan and will freely and blindly acknowledge that he can do no wrong.

I was thrilled when I found out about the now-out-of-print late-’70s collection “The Wilderness Years”, all recorded in ‘77 but released in ‘91. About the CD, Allmusic sez:

“Between the disbanding of Brinsley Schwarz in 1974 and the formation of Rockpile in 1977, Nick Lowe recorded a lot, attempting to settle on a sound. Simultaneously, he became the house producer at Stiff Records, where he became notorious for his raw, quickly produced records. That attitude shines through on ‘The Wilderness Years’, a compilation of singles, outtakes, covers, rarities, and demos Lowe recorded during this year. With the exception of ‘Pure Pop/Jesus of Cool’, no other record captures Lowe’s sense of humor or love of pop music quite as well. Divided equally between gems and glorious throwaways, ‘The Wilderness Years is all over the place’, but that’s its charm…In fact, Nick doesn’t think much of any of this material, but an artist isn’t always the best judge of his own work — he rarely got any better than he did here.”

There are seven mp3s here, which should leave you on an mp3 bender. Enjoy!

(I'll admit, I got totally sucked into the Bruce McCullough mp3s too.)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Holiday Babyblogging: Percussion Edition

Happy Let's-Bring-Smallpox-to-the-Red-People Day!

A recent session, which speaks for itself.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Powerpop Photoblogging: Shoes Edition

Shoes and Cheap Trick at a Ribfest in Naperville, IL, 1997. From left to right: Robin Zander, Tom Petersen (ducking), John Murphy, Jeff Murphy, Bun E. Carlos, Gary Klebe, Rick Neilsen.

This is the beach at Zion IL in the early 1970's. Ah, the children playing in the shade of the cooling tower! Blinky did not get his picture taken at this time.

An early Shoesnews newletter. I don't actually have this one; mine start not long after this, however.


So The Kenosha Kid has formulated the only reasonable response to the Republican defense for Mark Foley, which involved dredging up a Democratic scandal from thirty years ago. (Today's Dems must be clean-living indeed, or you know we'd have heard about it.) His take:
The wingnut response to the Foleygate mess, predictably, has been to dredge up old Democratic scandals. I had never heard of this Gerry Studds guy before this week, but did anyone notice that his (consensual) relationship with a page occurred in 1973? That's crazy! It's almost as if Woodward was still exposing the Republican administration's lies! It's almost as if 60 Minutes was still covering Kissinger's bad advice regarding an endless war in Asia... wait a minute, maybe it really is 1973! In that case, it's time for an appropriate musical soundtrack!

I might add my own comment, too, in my own particular idiom:

Jesus, flares have come and gone twice since then, guys.

Apples in Stereo

Another one of those terrific, massively interconnected bands. Enjoy!

From Velocity of Sound, 2002.

From Powerpuff Girls: Heroes & Villians, 2000.

From Schneider side project Marbles, 2005.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Saturday Petblogging

I don't have pets, myself, but Manola Blablablanik, who was my maid of honor when I married Thers, does.

Plus, she has a piss-funny blog.


I actually meant to write this post during the national gorgefest of manufactured patriotism last month, but Thers does it better. I will note that I find "In the Lines" to be one of the most poignant songs I've ever heard.

For me, the best thing written about 9/11, so far, is the Portastatic record, Summer of the Shark (scroll down). Hell, this is maybe one of the best records I've ever heard, period, up there for me with The White Album and Abbey Road and For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, and all that shit. The reason for this is to do with the really quiet but determined way that it depicts the simple emotion of sorrow in the aftermath of 9/11. Indeed, it is the only artistic work that has to me expressed anything honest about that day, period, which is quite an achievement, given the kinds of pressures that exist to feel the "right" way about 9/11.

There are no firefighters in Summer of the Shark, no policemen -- and no terrorists. Except in the background, with the ghostly sirens. And hell, you have to take a bit on listening to the songs to even get that it's about 9/11 at all. The opening song, "Oh Come Down," makes no mention of the trauma; you only hear it by picking up cues from other songs. Like the second one, "In the Lines," which is all about trying to make a phone call to someone you're afraid might be dead: "Did you get lost?/ Or did our calls just cross/ In the lines?" Then you get to the bit where the singer gets a wrong number, and the woman who answers "starts crying": "I hope you find your friend/ I get lots of calls for him"...

That's what 9/11 was, for most people. Someone who would usually be pissed off at the wrong number, breaking down in tears because that utter stranger who's usually an annoyance... could have been killed in a totally horrible way.

And all this stuff is handled with no fanfare, no ostentation, no nothing, just the way it was.

We've talked about this a lot, Thers and I, about songs like "Don't Disappear" in which the singer dreams of walking with a friend who is just blown away into nothing. And I basically agree with his read on the subject and mood of this CD. It's a beautiful thing, and an Album You Need.

And that bastard Atrios got here before me, that whacked-out hippie.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Dear Denny,

A disco moment for you.

And now it's all right - it's O.K. -
And you may look the other way.
We can try to understand the New York Times' effect on man.
Whether you're a brother or whether you're a mother,
You're stayin alive, stayin' alive.
Feel the city breakin' and ev'rybody shakin'
and we're stayin' alive, stayin' alive.
Ah, ha, ha, ha, Stayin' Alive.

(The New York Times? Really? I swear to christ I never knew those were the lyrics.)

Alternately, there's this. Pollsters giving the Dems 20 seats if Hastert goes; 50 if he stays. Don't give up, Denny!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Simple Answers to Stupid Questions

In all of this, I have one big question: Why would the GOP cover for a sexual predator?

Because he gave them Florida in 2000.

As here:

Foley called for a quick end to the wrangling. "By any standards other than those used by political operatives, this election should be over," he said in the weekly Republican radio address.

He criticized the manual recount in Palm Beach County for its "selective enforcement" of examining chad and determining the votes on punch cards. And each time a ballot is inspected, he said, it runs the risk of being torn or damaged, and then misread.

Foley also called for an end to the welter of lawsuits and appeals that have been filed since Election Day, saying the country was "in limbo." Foley, elected to a fourth consecutive term in Congress, urged a quick end to the vote counting, no matter the result.

"It would be a sad commentary if this election ends up being taken out of the hands of the American people and decided by the courts," he said. "Florida's secretary of state will eventually certify this election, as she is required to do under Florida law. Whatever the outcome, we need to respect it."

And later:
TERENCE SMITH: Congressman Foley, if it does turn up new information, what's wrong with that?

REP. MARK FOLEY: Well, we don't like it simply because there are no standards. In fact, he just said, "We're not certain of the way we're going to conduct this or what the outcome will be." I think by now, these ballots are somewhat tainted. They've been shipped back and forth, they've been examined by people in Palm Beach County and Broward. I'm very, very concerned that this could attempt to undermine the legitimacy of this President. Mr. Gore conceded, the election's over. I think it's time, after watching the opening of this show, where members of Congress are joining together and working on education policies, that we focus on moving ahead, not backwards.

So I question: What is going to be achieved by this? If the Miami Herald and other news sources were looking at the machines, looking at the problems the machines created, I may be thinking differently now. But what I hear is we're sitting in a warehouse with reporters, we do not know the political affiliation of those reporters. As I understand it, the Miami Herald and most organizations who are doing the recounting endorsed Mr. Gore, so not suggesting a bias, but clearly they certainly an had an interest in the outcome by suggesting who may make a better president. And now, six weeks later, we're going to start going over these ballots once again and creating an element of doubt in the public's mind.

After all, what happened to others who threw him Florida in 2000?

In Congress.

At UN.

'Nuff said.

Videoblogging: Cheer Up Edition!

Sorry I've been on such a downer lately. Thanks so much to all of you for your kind thoughts here, on other blogs, and via email. I'm genuinely touched.

In order to cheer up, let's dance!

No? Better this?

I know, I know. This is what you really want.

Original here.

Hee, I feel better. Watching the Republicans implode is doing me some good, too.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Closer than a Sister to Her Baby Brother.....

I’m in a bit of a crisis right now, so posting is likely to be light until I get used to the idea that the lack of minor social graces is enough to sever a relationship of three and a half decades. It’s very hard to get used to the idea that someone you once knew and loved is no longer interested in knowing you, let alone loving you.

I love you, Matt. I wish I could believe that your behavior now is a result of the Manichaean world of fundamentalist Christian alternaculture in which you now dwell, but if I’m honest with myself, I know that’s not the case. Your behavior during my divorce was very much like this—hurtful, cold, unforgiving—and that was long before your immersion in that other world (though it was almost exactly twelve years ago today). I do not know whence the coldness comes, the judgmental narrowness that led you, years ago, to stop listening to Bob Mould because The Daily Show had replaced Mystery Science Theater on Comedy Central. There are other examples as well. But no matter. This is you, and I, all too human and flawed, overwhelmed by school and work and family, have failed to meet your standards. So be it.

I will miss you. You will never see this. But you gave me this song once, a long, long time ago. It will always be yours to me.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A Funny

I have no idea why this cracked me up like it did, but enjoy!

The Onion

Small Businessman Conducts Business On Miniature Golf Course

BURLINGTON, VT—Independent entrepreneur Phil Beenes secured yet another low-three-figure business contract for his four-person commercial...